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Title: Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army — Complete
Author: Sheridan, Philip Henry, General, 1831-1888
Language: English
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By Philip Henry Sheridan


When, yielding to the solicitations of my friends, I finally decided
to write these Memoirs, the greatest difficulty which confronted me
was that of recounting my share in the many notable events of the
last three decades, in which I played a part, without entering too
fully into the history of these years, and at the same time without
giving to my own acts an unmerited prominence.  To what extent I have
overcome this difficulty I must leave the reader to judge.

In offering this record, penned by my own hand, of the events of my
life, and of my participation in our great struggle for national
existence, human liberty, and political equality, I make no
pretension to literary merit; the importance of the subject-matter of
my narrative is my only claim on the reader's attention.

Respectfully dedicating this work to my comrades in arms during the
War of the Rebellion, I leave it as a heritage to my children, and as
a source of information for the future historian.


Nonguitt, Mass., August 2, 1888






My parents, John and Mary Sheridan, came to America in 1830, having
been induced by the representations of my father's uncle, Thomas
Gainor, then living in Albany, N. Y., to try their fortunes in the
New World: They were born and reared in the County Cavan, Ireland,
where from early manhood my father had tilled a leasehold on the
estate of Cherrymoult; and the sale of this leasehold provided him
with means to seek a new home across the sea.  My parents were
blood relations--cousins in the second degree--my mother, whose
maiden name was Minor, having descended from a collateral branch of
my father's family.  Before leaving Ireland they had two children,
and on the 6th of March, 1831, the year after their arrival in this
country, I was born, in Albany, N. Y., the third child in a family
which eventually increased to six--four boys and two girls.

The prospects for gaining a livelihood in Albany did not meet the
expectations which my parents had been led to entertain, so in 1832
they removed to the West, to establish themselves in the village of
Somerset, in Perry County, Ohio, which section, in the earliest days
of the State; had been colonized from Pennsylvania and Maryland.  At
this period the great public works of the Northwest--the canals and
macadamized roads, a result of clamor for internal improvements--were
in course of construction, and my father turned his attention to
them, believing that they offered opportunities for a successful
occupation.  Encouraged by a civil engineer named Bassett, who had
taken a fancy to him, he put in bids for a small contract on the
Cumberland Road, known as the "National Road," which was then being
extended west from the Ohio River.  A little success in this first
enterprise led him to take up contracting as a business, which he
followed on various canals and macadamized roads then building in
different parts of the State of Ohio, with some good fortune for
awhile, but in 1853 what little means he had saved were swallowed up
--in bankruptcy, caused by the failure of the Sciota and Hocking
Valley Railroad Company, for which he was fulfilling a contract at
the time, and this disaster left him finally only a small farm, just
outside the village of Somerset, where he dwelt until his death in

My father's occupation kept him away from home much of the time
during my boyhood, and as a consequence I grew up under the sole
guidance and training of my mother, whose excellent common sense and
clear discernment in every way fitted her for such maternal duties.
When old enough I was sent to the village school, which was taught by
an old-time Irish "master"--one of those itinerant dominies of the
early frontier--who, holding that to spare the rod was to spoil the
child, if unable to detect the real culprit when any offense had been
committed, would consistently apply the switch to the whole school
without discrimination.  It must be conceded that by this means he
never failed to catch the guilty mischief-maker.  The school-year was
divided into terms of three months, the teacher being paid in each
term a certain sum--three dollars, I think, for each pupil-and having
an additional perquisite in the privilege of boarding around at his
option in the different families to which his scholars belonged.
This feature was more than acceptable to the parents at times, for
how else could they so thoroughly learn all the neighborhood gossip?
But the pupils were in almost unanimous opposition, because Mr.
McNanly's unheralded advent at any one's house resulted frequently in
the discovery that some favorite child had been playing "hookey,"
which means (I will say to the uninitiated, if any such there be)
absenting one's self from school without permission, to go on a
fishing or a swimming frolic.  Such at least was my experience more
than once, for Mr. McNanly particularly favored my mother's house,
because of a former acquaintanceship in Ireland, and many a time a
comparison of notes proved that I had been in the woods with two
playfellows, named Binckly and Greiner, when the master thought I was
home, ill, and my mother, that I was at school, deeply immersed in
study.  However, with these and other delinquencies not uncommon
among boys, I learned at McNanly's school, and a little later, under
a pedagogue named Thorn, a smattering of geography and history, and
explored the mysteries of Pike's Arithmetic and Bullions' English
Grammar, about as far as I could be carried up to the age of
fourteen.  This was all the education then bestowed upon me, and
this--with the exception of progressing in some of these branches by
voluntary study, and by practical application in others, supplemented
by a few months of preparation after receiving my appointment as a
cadet--was the extent of my learning on entering the Military

When about fourteen years old I began to do something for myself; Mr.
John Talbot, who kept a country store in the village, employing me to
deal out sugar, coffee, and calico to his customers at the munificent
salary of twenty-four dollars a year.  After I had gained a
twelve-months' experience with Mr. Talbot my services began to be
sought by, others, and a Mr. David Whitehead secured them by the offer
of sixty dollars a year--Talbot refusing to increase my pay, but not
objecting to my advancement.  A few months later, before my year was
up, another chance to increase my salary came about; Mr. Henry Dittoe,
the enterprising man of the village, offering me one hundred and
twenty dollars a year to take a position in the dry-goods store of
Fink & Dittoe.  I laid the matter before Mr. Whitehead, and he frankly
advised me to accept, though he cautioned me that I might regret it,
adding that he was afraid Henry (referring to Mr. Dittoe) "had too
many irons in the fire." His warning in regard to the enterprising
merchant proved a prophecy, for "too many irons in the fire" brought
about Mr. Dittoe's bankruptcy, although this misfortune did not befall
him till long after I had left his service.  I am glad to say,
however, that his failure was an exceptionally honest one, and due
more to the fact that he was in advance of his surroundings than to
any other cause.

I remained with Fink & Dittoe until I entered the Military Academy,
principally in charge of the book-keeping, which was no small work
for one of my years, considering that in those days the entire
business of country stores in the West was conducted on the credit
system; the customers, being mostly farmers, never expecting to pay
till the product of their farms could be brought to market; and even
then usually squared the book-accounts by notes of hand, that were
often slow of collection.

From the time I ceased to attend school my employment had
necessitated, to a certain degree, the application of what I had
learned there, and this practical instruction I reinforced somewhat
by doing considerable reading in a general way, until ultimately I
became quite a local authority in history, being frequently chosen as
arbiter in discussions and disputes that arose in the store.  The
Mexican War, then going on, furnished, of course, a never-ending
theme for controversy, and although I was too young to enter the
military service when volunteers were mustering in our section, yet
the stirring events of the times so much impressed and absorbed me
that my sole wish was to become a soldier, and my highest aspiration
to go to West Point as a Cadet from my Congressional district.  My
chances for this seemed very remote, however, till one day an
opportunity was thrown in my way by the boy who then held the place
failing to pass his examination.  When I learned that by this
occurrence a vacancy existed, I wrote to our representative in
Congress, the Hon. Thomas Ritchey, and asked him for the appointment,
reminding him that we had often met in Fink & Dittoe's store, and
that therefore he must know something of my qualifications.  He
responded promptly by enclosing my warrant for the class of 1848; so,
notwithstanding the many romances that have been published about the
matter, to Mr. Ritchey, and to him alone, is due all the credit--if
my career justifies that term--of putting me in the United States

At once I set about preparing for the examination which precedes
admission to the Military Academy, studying zealously under the
direction of Mr. William Clark; my old teachers, McNanly and Thorn,
having disappeared from Somerset and sought new fields of usefulness.
The intervening months passed rapidly away, and I fear that I did not
make much progress, yet I thought I should be able to pass the
preliminary examination.  That which was to follow worried me more
and gave me many sleepless nights; but these would have been less in
number, I fully believe, had it not been for one specification of my,
outfit which the circular that accompanied my appointment demanded.
This requirement was a pair of "Monroe shoes."  Now, out in Ohio,
what "Monroe shoes" were was a mystery--not a shoemaker in my section
having so much as an inkling of the construction of the perplexing
things, until finally my eldest brother brought an idea of them from
Baltimore, when it was found that they were a familiar pattern under
another name.

At length the time for my departure came, and I set out for West
Point, going by way of Cleveland and across Lake Erie to Buffalo.  On
the steamer I fell in with another appointee en route to the academy,
David S. Stanley, also from Ohio; and when our acquaintanceship had
ripened somewhat, and we had begun to repose confidence in each
other, I found out that he had no "Monroe shoes," so I deemed myself
just that much ahead of my companion, although my shoes might not
conform exactly to the regulations in Eastern style and finish.  At
Buffalo, Stanley and I separated, he going by the Erie Canal and I by
the railroad, since I wanted to gain time on account of commands to
stop in Albany to see my father's uncle.  Here I spent a few days,
till Stanley reached Albany, when we journeyed together down the
river to West Point.  The examination began a few days after our
arrival, and I soon found myself admitted to the Corps of Cadets, to
date from July 1, 1848, in a class composed of sixty-three members,
many of whom--for example, Stanley, Slocum, Woods, Kautz, and Crook
--became prominent generals in later years, and commanded divisions,
corps, and armies in the war of the rebellion.

Quickly following my admission I was broken in by a course of hazing,
with many of the approved methods that the Cadets had handed down
from year to year since the Academy was founded; still, I escaped
excessive persecution, although there were in my day many occurrences
so extreme as to call forth condemnation and an endeavor to suppress
the senseless custom, which an improved civilization has now about
eradicated, not only at West Point, but at other colleges.

Although I had met the Academic board and come off with fair success,
yet I knew so little of Algebra or any of the higher branches of
mathematics that during my first six months at the Academy I was
discouraged by many misgivings as to the future, for I speedily
learned that at the January examination the class would have to stand
a test much severer than that which had been applied to it on
entering.  I resolved to try hard, however, and, besides, good
fortune gave me for a room-mate a Cadet whose education was more
advanced than mine, and whose studious habits and willingness to aid
others benefited me immensely.  This room-mate was Henry W. Slocum,
since so signally distinguished in both military and civil capacities
as to win for his name a proud place in the annals of his country.
After taps--that is, when by the regulations of the Academy all the
lights were supposed to be extinguished, and everybody in bed--Slocum
and I would hang a blanket over the one window of our room and
continue our studies--he guiding me around scores of stumbling-blocks
in Algebra and elucidating many knotty points in other branches of
the course with which I was unfamiliar.  On account of this
association I went up before the Board in January with less
uneasiness than otherwise would have been the case, and passed the
examination fairly well.  When it was over, a self-confidence in my
capacity was established that had not existed hitherto, and at each
succeeding examination I gained a little in order of merit till my
furlough summer came round--that is, when I was half through the
four-year course.

My furlough in July and August, 1850, was spent at my home in Ohio,
with the exception of a visit or two to other Cadets on furlough in
the State, and at the close of my leave I returned to the Academy in
the full expectation of graduating with my class in 1852.

A quarrel of a belligerent character in September, ,1851, with Cadet
William R. Terrill, put an end to this anticipation, however, and
threw me back into the class which graduated in 1853.  Terrill was a
Cadet Sergeant, and, while my company was forming for parade, having,
given me an order, in what I considered an improper tone, to "dress"
in a certain direction, when I believed I was accurately dressed, I
fancied I had a grievance, and made toward him with a lowered
bayonet, but my better judgment recalled me before actual contact
could take place.  Of course Terrill reported me for this, and my ire
was so inflamed by his action that when we next met I attacked him,
and a fisticuff engagement in front of barracks followed, which was
stopped by an officer appearing on the scene.  Each of us handed in
an explanation, but mine was unsatisfactory to the authorities, for I
had to admit that I was the assaulting party, and the result was that
I was suspended by the Secretary of War, Mr. Conrad, till August 28,
1852--the Superintendent of the Academy, Captain Brewerton, being
induced to recommend this milder course, he said, by my previous good
conduct.  At the time I thought, of course, my suspension a very
unfair punishment, that my conduct was justifiable and the
authorities of the Academy all wrong, but riper experience has led me
to a different conclusion, and as I look back, though the
mortification I then endured was deep and trying, I am convinced that
it was hardly as much as I deserved for such an outrageous breach of

There was no question as to Terrill's irritating tone, but in giving
me the order he was prompted by the duty of his position as a file
closer, and I was not the one to remedy the wrong which I conceived
had been done me, and clearly not justifiable in assuming to correct
him with my own hands.  In 1862, when General Buell's army was
assembling at Louisville, Terrill was with it as a brigadier-general
(for, although a Virginian, he had remained loyal), and I then took
the initiative toward a renewal of our acquaintance.  Our renewed
friendship was not destined to be of long duration, I am sorry to
say, for a few days later, in the battle of Perryville, while
gallantly fighting for his country, poor Terrill was killed.

My suspension necessitated my leaving the Academy, and I returned
home in the fall of 1851, much crestfallen.  Fortunately, my good
friend Henry Dittoe again gave me employment in keeping the books of
his establishment, and this occupation of my time made the nine
months which were to elapse before I could go back to West Point pass
much more agreeably than they would have done had I been idle.  In
August, 1852, I joined the first class at the Academy in accordance
with the order of the War Department, taking my place at the foot of
the class and graduating with it the succeeding June, number
thirty-four in a membership of fifty-two.  At the head of this class
graduated James B. McPherson, who was killed in the Atlanta campaign
while commanding the Army of the Tennessee.  It also contained such
men as John M. Schofield, who commanded the Army of the Ohio; Joshua
W. Sill, killed as a brigadier in the battle of Stone River; and many
others who, in the war of the rebellion, on one side or the other,
rose to prominence, General John B. Hood being the most distinguished
member of the class among the Confederates.

At the close of the final examination I made no formal application
for assignment to any particular arm of the service, for I knew that
my standing would not entitle me to one of the existing vacancies,
and that I should be obliged to take a place among the brevet second
lieutenants.  When the appointments were made I therefore found
myself attached to the First Infantry, well pleased that I had
surmounted all the difficulties that confront the student at our
national school, and looking forward with pleasant anticipation to
the life before me.



On the 1st day of July, 1853, I was commissioned a brevet second
lieutenant in the First Regiment of United States Infantry, then
stationed in Texas.  The company to which I was attached was
quartered at Fort Duncan, a military post on the Rio Grande opposite
the little town of Piedras Negras, on the boundary line between the
United States and the Republic of Mexico.

After the usual leave of three months following graduation from the
Military Academy I was assigned to temporary duty at Newport
Barracks, a recruiting station and rendezvous for the assignment of
young officers preparatory to joining their regiments.  Here I
remained from September, 1853, to March, 1854, when I was ordered to
join my company at Fort Duncan.  To comply with this order I
proceeded by steamboat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New
Orleans, thence by steamer across the Gulf of Mexico to Indianola,
Tex., and after landing at that place, continued in a small schooner
through what is called the inside channel on the Gulf coast to Corpus
Christi, the headquarters of Brigadier-General Persifer F. Smith, who
was commanding the Department of Texas.  Here I met some of my old
friends from the Military Academy, among them Lieutenant Alfred
Gibbs, who in the last year of the rebellion commanded under me a
brigade of cavalry, and Lieutenant Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, of the
Mounted Rifles, who resigned in 1854 to accept service in the French
Imperial army, but to most of those about headquarters I was an
entire stranger.  Among the latter was Captain Stewart Van Vliet, of
the Quartermaster's Department, now on the retired list.  With him I
soon came in frequent contact, and, by reason of his connection with
the Quartermaster's Department, the kindly interest he took in
forwarding my business inaugurated between us--a lasting friendship.

A day or two after my arrival at Corpus Christi a train of Government
wagons, loaded with subsistence stores and quartermaster's supplies,
started for Laredo, a small town on the Rio Grande below Fort Duncan.
There being no other means of reaching my station I put my small
personal possessions, consisting of a trunk, mattress, two blankets,
and a pillow into one of the heavily loaded wagons and proceeded to
join it, sitting on the boxes or bags of coffee and sugar, as I might
choose.  The movement of the train was very slow, as the soil was
soft on the newly made and sandy roads.  We progressed but a few
miles on our first day's journey, and in the evening parked our train
at a point where there was no wood, a scant supply of water--and that
of bad quality--but an abundance of grass.  There being no
comfortable place to sleep in any of the wagons, filled as they were
to the bows with army supplies, I spread my blankets on the ground
between the wheels of one of them, and awoke in the morning feeling
as fresh and bright as would have been possible if all the comforts
of civilization had been at my command.

It took our lumbering train many days to reach Laredo, a distance of
about one hundred and sixty miles from Corpus Christi.  Each march
was but a repetition of the first day's journey, its monotony
occasionally relieved, though, by the passage of immense flocks of
ducks and geese, and the appearance at intervals of herds of deer,
and sometimes droves of wild cattle, wild horses and mules.  The
bands of wild horses I noticed were sometimes led by mules, but
generally by stallions with long wavy manes, and flowing tails which
almost touched the ground.

We arrived at Laredo during one of those severe storms incident to
that section, which are termed "Northers" from the fact that the
north winds culminate occasionally in cold windstorms, frequently
preceded by heavy rains.  Generally the blow lasts for three days,
and the cold becomes intense and piercing.  While the sudden
depression of the temperature is most disagreeable, and often causes
great suffering, it is claimed that these "Northers" make the climate
more healthy and endurable.  They occur from October to May, and in
addition to the destruction which, through the sudden depression of
the temperature, they bring on the herds in the interior, they are
often of sufficient violence to greatly injure the harbors on the

The post near Laredo was called Fort McIntosh, and at this period the
troops stationed there consisted of eight companies of the Fifth
Infantry and two of the First, one of the First Artillery, and three
of the Mounted Rifles.  Just before the "Norther" began these troops
had completed a redoubt for the defense of the post, with the
exception of the ditches, but as the parapet was built of sand--the
only material about Laredo which could be obtained for its
construction--the severity of the winds was too much for such a
shifting substance, and the work was entirely blown away early in the

I was pleasantly and hospitably welcomed by the officers at the post,
all of whom were living in tents, with no furniture except a cot and
trunk, and an improvised bed for a stranger, when one happened to
come along.  After I had been kindly taken in by one of the younger
officers, I reported to the commanding officer, and was informed by
him that he would direct the quartermaster to furnish me, as soon as
convenient, with transportation to Fort Duncan, the station of my

In the course of a day or two, the quartermaster notified me that a
Government six-mule wagon would be placed at my disposal to proceed
to my destination.  No better means offering, I concluded to set out
in this conveyance, and, since it was also to carry a quantity of
quartermaster's property for Fort Duncan, I managed to obtain room
enough for my bed in the limited space between the bows and load,
where I could rest tolerably well, and under cover at night, instead
of sleeping on the ground under the wagon, as I had done on the road
from Corpus Christi to Laredo.

I reached Fort Duncan in March, 1854., and was kindly received by the
commanding officer of the, regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson
Morris, and by the captain of my company ("D"), Eugene E. McLean, and
his charming wife the only daughter of General E. V. Sumner, who was
already distinguished in our service, but much better known in after
years in the operations of the Army of the Potomac, during its early
campaigns in Virginia.  Shortly after joining company "D" I was sent
out on scouting duty with another company of the regiment to Camp La
Pena, about sixty or seventy miles east of Fort Duncan, in a section
of country that had for some time past been subjected to raids by the
Lipan and Comanche Indians.  Our outpost at La Pena was intended as a
protection against the predatory incursions of these savages, so
almost constant scouting became a daily occupation.  This enabled me
soon to become familiar with and make maps of the surrounding
country, and, through constant association with our Mexican guide, to
pick up in a short time quite a smattering of the Spanish language,
which was very useful to one serving on that frontier.

At that early day western Texas was literally filled with game, and
the region in the immediate vicinity of La Pena contained its full
proportion of deer, antelope, and wild turkeys.  The temptation to
hunt was therefore constantly before me, and a desire to indulge in
this pastime, whenever free from the legitimate duty of the camp,
soon took complete possession of me, so expeditions in pursuit of
game were of frequent occurrence.  In these expeditions I was always
accompanied by a soldier named Frankman, belonging to "D" company,
who was a fine sportsman, and a butcher by trade.  In a short period
I learned from Frankman how to approach and secure the different
species of game, and also how to dress and care for it when killed.
Almost every expedition we made was rewarded with a good supply of
deer, antelope, and wild turkeys, and we furnished the command in
camp with such abundance that it was relieved from the necessity of
drawing its beef ration, much to the discomfiture of the disgruntled
beef contractor.

The camp at La Pena was on sandy ground, unpleasant for men and
animals, and by my advice it was moved to La Pendencia, not far from
Lake Espantosa.  Before removal from our old location, however, early
one bright morning Frankman and I started on one of our customary
expeditions, going down La Pena Creek to a small creek, at the head
of which we had established a hunting rendezvous.  After proceeding
along the stream for three or four miles we saw a column of smoke on
the prairie, and supposing it arose from a camp of Mexican rancheros
catching wild horses or wild cattle, and even wild mules, which were
very numerous in that section of country along the Nueces River, we
thought we would join the party and see how much success they were
having, and observe the methods employed in this laborious and
sometimes dangerous vocation.  With this object in view, we continued
on until we found it necessary to cross to the other side of the
creek to reach the point indicated by the smoke.  Just before
reaching the crossing I discovered moccasin tracks near the water's
edge, and realizing in an instant that the camp we were approaching
might possibly be one of hostile Indians--all Indians in that country
at that time were hostile--Frankman and I backed out silently, and
made eager strides for La Pena, where we had scarcely arrived when
Captain M. E. Van Buren, of the Mounted Rifle regiment, came in with
a small command, and reported that he was out in pursuit of a band of
Comanche Indians, which had been committing depredations up about
Fort Clark, but that he had lost the trail.  I immediately informed
him of what had occurred to me during the morning, and that I could
put him on the trail of the Indians he was desirous of punishing.

We hurriedly supplied with rations his small command of thirteen,
men, and I then conducted him to the point where I had seen the
smoke, and there we found signs indicating it to be the recently
abandoned camp of the Indians he was pursuing, and we also noticed
that prairie rats had formed the principal article of diet at the
meal they had just completed.  As they had gone, I could do no more
than put him on the trail made in their departure, which was well
marked; for Indians, when in small parties, and unless pressed,
usually follow each other in single file.  Captain Van Buren followed
the trail by Fort Ewell, and well down toward Corpus Christi, day and
night, until the Indians, exhausted and used up, halted, on an open
plain, unsaddled their horses, mounted bareback, and offered battle.
Their number was double that of Van Buren's detachment, but he
attacked them fearlessly, and in the fight was mortally wounded by an
arrow which entered his body in front, just above the sword belt, and
came through the belt behind.  The principal chief of the Indians was
killed, and the rest fled.  Captain Van Buren's men carried him to
Corpus Christi, where in a few days he died.

After our removal to La Pendencia a similar pursuit of savages
occurred, but with more fortunate results.  Colonel John H. King, now
on the retired list, then a captain in the First Infantry, came to
our camp in pursuit of a marauding band of hostile Indians, and I was
enabled to put him also on the trail.  He soon overtook them, and
killing two without loss to himself, the band dispersed like a flock
of quail and left him nothing to follow.  He returned to our camp
shortly after, and the few friendly Indian scouts he had with him
held a grand pow-wow and dance over the scalps of the fallen braves.

Around La Pendencia, as at La Pena, the country abounded in deer,
antelope, wild turkeys, and quail, and we killed enough to supply
abundantly the whole command with the meat portion of the ration.
Some mornings Frankman and I would bring in as many as seven deer,
and our hunting expeditions made me so familiar with the region
between our camp and Fort Duncan, the headquarters of the regiment,
that I was soon enabled to suggest a more direct route of
communication than the circuitous one then traversed, and in
a short time it was established.

Up to this time I had been on detached duty, but soon my own company
was ordered into the field to occupy a position on Turkey Creek,
about ten or twelve miles west of the Nueces River, on the road from
San Antonio to Fort Duncan, and I was required to join the company.
Here constant work and scouting were necessary, as our camp was
specially located with reference to protecting from Indian raids the
road running from San Antonio to Fort Duncan, and on to the interior
of Mexico.  In those days this road was the great line of travel, and
Mexican caravans were frequently passing over it, to and fro, in such
a disorganized condition as often to invite attack from marauding
Comanches and Lipans.  Our time, therefore, was incessantly occupied
in scouting, but our labors were much lightened because they were
directed with intelligence and justice by Captain McLean, whose
agreeable manners and upright methods are still so impressed on my
memory that to this day I look back upon my service with "D" Company
of the First Infantry as among those events which I remember with
most pleasure.

In this manner my first summer of active field duty passed rapidly
away, and in the fall my company returned to Fort Duncan to go into
winter quarters.  These quarters, when constructed, consisted of "A"
tents pitched under a shed improvised by the company.  With only
these accommodations I at first lived around as best I could until
the command was quartered, and then, requesting a detail of wagons
from the quartermaster, I went out some thirty miles to get poles to
build a more comfortable habitation for myself.  In a few days enough
poles for the construction of a modest residence were secured and
brought in, and then the building of my house began.  First, the
poles were cut the proper length, planted in a trench around four
sides of a square of very small proportions, and secured at the top
by string-pieces stretched from one angle to another, in which
half-notches hack been made at proper intervals to receive the
uprights.  The poles were then made rigid by strips nailed on
half-way to the ground, giving the sides of the structure firmness,
but the interstices were large and frequent; still, with the aid of
some old condemned paulins obtained from the quartermaster, the walls
were covered and the necessity for chinking obviated.  This method of
covering the holes in the side walls also possessed the advantage of
permitting some little light to penetrate to the interior of the
house, and avoided the necessity of constructing a window, for which,
by the way, no glass could have been obtained.  Next a good large
fire-place and chimney were built in one corner by means of stones
and mud, and then the roof was put on--a thatched one of prairie
grass.  The floor was dirt compactly tamped.

My furniture was very primitive: a chair or two, with about the same
number of camp stools, a cot, and a rickety old bureau that I
obtained in some way not now remembered.  My washstand consisted of a
board about three feet long, resting on legs formed by driving sticks
into the ground until they held it at about the proper height from
the floor.  This washstand was the most expensive piece of furniture
I owned, the board having cost me three dollars, and even then I
obtained it as a favor, for lumber on the Rio Grande was so scarce in
those days that to possess even the smallest quantity was to indulge
in great luxury.  Indeed, about all that reached the post was what
came in the shape of bacon boxes, and the boards from these were
reserved for coffins in which to bury our dead.

In this rude habitation I spent a happy winter, and was more
comfortably off than many of the officers, who had built none, but
lived in tents and took the chances of "Northers." During this period
our food was principally the soldier's ration: flour, pickled pork,
nasty bacon--cured in the dust of ground charcoal--and fresh beef, of
which we had a plentiful supply, supplemented with game of various
kinds.  The sugar, coffee, and smaller parts of the ration were good,
but we had no vegetables, and the few jars of preserves and some few
vegetables kept by the sutler were too expensive to be indulged in.
So during all the period I lived at Fort Duncan and its sub-camps,
nearly sixteen months, fresh vegetables were practically
unobtainable.  To prevent scurvy we used the juice of the maguey
plant, called pulque, and to obtain a supply of this anti-scorbutic I
was often detailed to march the company out about forty miles, cut
the plant, load up two or three wagons with the stalks, and carry
them to camp.  Here the juice was extracted by a rude press, and put
in bottles until it fermented and became worse in odor than
sulphureted hydrogen.  At reveille roll-call every morning this
fermented liquor was dealt out to the company, and as it was my duty,
in my capacity of subaltern, to attend these roll-calls and see that
the men took their ration of pulque, I always began the duty by
drinking a cup of the repulsive stuff myself.  Though hard to
swallow, its well-known specific qualities in the prevention and cure
of scurvy were familiar to all, so every man in the command gulped
down his share notwithstanding its vile taste and odor.

Considering our isolation, the winter passed very pleasantly to us
all.  The post was a large one, its officers congenial, and we had
many enjoyable occasions.  Dances, races, and horseback riding filled
in much of the time, and occasional raids from Indians furnished more
serious occupation in the way of a scout now and then.  The proximity
of the Indians at times rendered the surrounding country somewhat
dangerous for individuals or small parties at a distance from the
fort; but few thought the savages would come near, so many risks were
doubtless run by various officers, who carried the familiar
six-shooter as their only weapon while out horseback riding, until
suddenly we were awakened to the dangers we had been incurring.

About mid-winter a party of hostile Lipans made a swoop around and
skirting the garrison, killing a herder--a discharged drummer-boy--in
sight of the flag-staff.  Of course great excitement followed.
Captain J. G. Walker, of the Mounted Rifles, immediately started with
his company in pursuit of the Indians, and I was directed to
accompany the command.  Not far away we found the body of the boy
filled with arrows, and near him the body of a fine looking young
Indian, whom the lad had undoubtedly killed before he was himself
overpowered.  We were not a great distance behind the Indians when
the boy's body was discovered, and having good trailers we gained on
them rapidly, with the prospect of overhauling them, but as soon as
they found we were getting near they headed for the Rio Grande, made
the crossing to the opposite bank, and were in Mexico before we could
overtake them.  When on the other side of the boundary they grew very
brave, daring us to come over to fight them, well aware all the time
that the international line prevented us from continuing the pursuit.
So we had to return to the post without reward for our exertion
except the consciousness of having made the best effort we could to
catch the murderers.  That night, in company with Lieutenant Thomas
G. Williams, I crossed over the river to the Mexican village of
Piedras Negras, and on going to a house where a large baille, or
dance, was going on we found among those present two of the Indians
we had been chasing.  As soon as they saw us they strung their bows
for a fight, and we drew our six-shooters, but the Mexicans quickly
closed in around the Indians and forced them out of the house--or
rude jackal--where the "ball" was being held, and they escaped.  We
learned later something about the nature of the fight the drummer had
made, and that his death had cost them dear, for, in addition to the
Indian killed and lying by his side, he had mortally wounded another
and seriously wounded a third, with the three shots that he had

At this period I took up the notion of making a study of ornithology,
incited to it possibly by the great number of bright-colored birds
that made their winter homes along the Rio Grande, and I spent many a
leisure hour in catching specimens by means of stick traps, with
which I found little difficulty in securing almost every variety of
the feathered tribes.  I made my traps by placing four sticks of a
length suited to the size desired so as to form a square, and
building up on them in log-cabin fashion until the structure came
almost to a point by contraction of the corners.  Then the sticks
were made secure, the trap placed at some secluded spot, and from the
centre to the outside a trench was dug in the ground, and thinly
covered when a depth had been obtained that would leave an aperture
sufficiently large to admit the class of birds desired.  Along this
trench seeds and other food were scattered, which the birds soon
discovered, and of course began to eat, unsuspectingly following the
tempting bait through the gallery till they emerged from its farther
end in the centre of the trap, where they contentedly fed till the
food was all gone.  Then the fact of imprisonment first presented
itself, and they vainly endeavored to escape through the interstices
of the cage, never once guided by their instinct to return to liberty
through the route by which they had entered.

Among the different kinds of birds captured in this way,
mocking-birds, blue-birds, robins, meadow larks, quail, and plover
were the most numerous.  They seemed to have more voracious appetites
than other varieties, or else they were more unwary, and consequently
more easily caught.  A change of station, however, put an end to my
ornithological plans, and activities of other kinds prevented me from
resuming them in after life.

There were quite a number of young officers at the post during the
winter, and as our relations with the Mexican commandant at Piedras
Negras were most amicable, we were often invited to dances at his
house.  He and his hospitable wife and daughter drummed up the female
portion of the elite of Piedras Negras and provided the house, which
was the official as well as the personal residence of the commandant,
while we--the young officers--furnished the music and such
sweetmeats, candies, &c., for the baille as the country would afford.

We generally danced in a long hall on a hard dirt floor.  The girls
sat on one side of the hall, chaperoned by their mothers or some old
duennas, and the men on the other.  When the music struck up each man
asked the lady whom his eyes had already selected to dance with him,
and it was not etiquette for her to refuse--no engagements being
allowed before the music began.  When the dance, which was generally
a long waltz, was over, he seated his partner, and then went to a
little counter at the end of the room and bought his dulcinea a plate
of the candies and sweetmeats provided.  Sometimes she accepted them,
but most generally pointed to her duenna or chaperon behind, who held
up her apron and caught the refreshments as they were slid into it
from the plate.  The greatest decorum was maintained at these dances,
primitively as they were conducted; and in a region so completely cut
off from the world, their influence was undoubtedly beneficial to a
considerable degree in softening the rough edges in a half-breed

The inhabitants of this frontier of Mexico were strongly marked with
Indian characteristics, particularly with those of the Comanche type,
and as the wild Indian blood predominated, few of the physical traits
of the Spaniard remained among them, and outlawry was common.  The
Spanish conquerors had left on the northern border only their
graceful manners and their humility before the cross.  The sign of
Christianity was prominently placed at all important points on roads
or trails, and especially where any one had been killed; and as the
Comanche Indians, strong and warlike, had devastated northeastern
Mexico in past years, all along the border, on both sides of the Rio
Grande, the murderous effects of their raids were evidenced by
numberless crosses.  For more than a century forays had been made on
the settlements and towns by these bloodthirsty savages, and, the
Mexican Government being too weak to afford protection, property was
destroyed, the women and children carried off or ravished, and the
men compelled to look on in an agony of helplessness till relieved by
death.  During all this time, however, the forms and ceremonials of
religion, and the polite manners received from the Spaniards, were
retained, and reverence for the emblems of Christianity was always
uppermost in the mind of even the most ignorant.



In November, 1854, I received my promotion to a second lieutenancy in
the Fourth Infantry, which was stationed in California and Oregon. In
order to join my company at Fort Reading, California, I had to go to
New York as a starting point, and on arrival there, was placed on
duty, in May, 1855, in command of a detachment of recruits at
Bedloe's Island, intended for assignment to the regiments on the
Pacific coast.  I think there were on the island (now occupied by the
statue of Liberty Enlightening the World) about three hundred
recruits.  For a time I was the only officer with them, but shortly
before we started for California, Lieutenant Francis H. Bates, of the
Fourth Infantry, was placed in command. We embarked for the Pacific
coast in July, 1855, and made the journey without incident via the
Isthmus of Panama, in due time landing our men at Benecia Barracks,
above San Francisco.

From this point I proceeded to join my company at Fort Reading, and
on reaching that post, found orders directing me to relieve
Lieutenant John B. Hood--afterward well known as a distinguished
general in the Confederate service.  Lieutenant Hood was in command
of the personal mounted escort of Lieutenant R. S. Williamson, who
was charged with the duty of making such explorations and surveys as
would determine the practicability of connecting, by railroad, the
Sacramento Valley in California with the Columbia River in Oregon
Territory, either through the Willamette Valley, or (if this route
should prove to be impracticable) by the valley of the Des Chutes
River near the foot-slopes of the Cascade chain.  The survey was
being made in accordance with an act of Congress, which provided both
for ascertaining the must practicable and economical route for a
railroad between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean, and for
military and geographical surveys west of the Mississippi River.

Fort Reading was the starting-point for this exploring expedition,
and there I arrived some four or five days after the party under
Lieutenant Williamson had begun its march.  His personal escort
numbered about sixty mounted men, made up of detachments from
companies of the First Dragoons, under command of Lieutenant Hood,
together with about one hundred men belonging to the Fourth Infantry
and Third Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Horatio Gates Gibson,
the present colonel of the Third United States Artillery.  Lieutenant
George Crook--now major-general--was the quartermaster and commissary
of subsistence of the expedition.

The commanding officer at Fort Reading seemed reluctant to let me go
on to relieve Lieutenant Hood, as the country to be passed over was
infested by the Pit River Indians, known to be hostile to white
people and especially to small parties.  I was very anxious to
proceed, however, and willing to take the chances; so, consent being
finally obtained, I started with a corporal and two mounted men,
through a wild and uninhabited region, to overtake if possible
Lieutenant Williamson.  Being on horseback, and unencumbered by
luggage of any kind except blankets and a little hard bread, coffee
and smoking-tobacco, which were all carried on our riding animals, we
were sanguine of succeeding, for we traversed in one day fully the
distance made in three by Lieutenant Williamson's party on foot.

The first day we reached the base of Lassan's Butte, where I
determined to spend the night near an isolated cabin, or dugout, that
had been recently constructed by a hardy pioneer.  The wind was
blowing a disagreeable gale, which had begun early in the day.  This
made it desirable to locate our camp under the best cover we could
find, and I spent some little time in looking about for a
satisfactory place, but nothing better offered than a large fallen
tree, which lay in such a direction that by encamping on its lee side
we would be protected from the fury of the storm.  This spot was
therefore fixed upon, and preparation made for spending the night as
comfortably as the circumstances would permit.

After we had unsaddled I visited the cabin to inquire in regard to
the country ahead, and there found at first only a soldier of
Williamson's party; later the proprietor of the ranch appeared.  The
soldier had been left behind by the surveying party on account of
illness, with instructions to make his way back to Fort Reading as
best he could when he recovered.  His condition having greatly
improved, however, since he had been left, he now begged me in
beseeching terms to take him along with my party, which I finally
consented to do, provided that if he became unable to keep up with
me, and I should be obliged to abandon him, the responsibility would
be his, not mine.  This increased my number to five, and was quite a
reinforcement should we run across any hostile Indians; but it was
also certain to prove an embarrassment should the man again fall ill.

During the night, notwithstanding the continuance of the storm, I had
a very sound and refreshing sleep behind the protecting log where we
made our camp, and at daylight next morning we resumed our journey,
fortified by a breakfast of coffee and hard bread.  I skirted around
the base of Lassan's Butte, thence down Hat Creek, all the time
following the trail made by Lieutenant Williamson's party.  About
noon the soldier I had picked up at my first camp gave out, and could
go no farther.  As stipulated when I consented to take him along, I
had the right to abandon him, but when it came to the test I could
not make up my mind to do it.  Finding a good place not far off the
trail, one of my men volunteered to remain with him until he died;
and we left them there, with a liberal supply of hard bread and
coffee, believing that we would never again see the invalid.  My
reinforcement was already gone, and another man with it.

With my diminished party I resumed the trail and followed it until
about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when we heard the sound of voices,
and the corporal, thinking we were approaching Lieutenant
Williamson's party, was so overjoyed in anticipation of the junction,
that he wanted to fire his musket as an expression of his delight.
This I prevented his doing, however, and we continued cautiously and
slowly on to develop the source of the sounds in front.  We had not
gone far before I discovered that the noise came from a band of Pit
River Indians, who had struck the trail of the surveying expedition,
and were following it up, doubtless with evil intent.  Dismounting
from my horse I counted the moccasin tracks to ascertain the number
of Indians, discovered it to be about thirty, and then followed on
behind them cautiously, but with little difficulty, as appearances of
speed on their part indicated that they wished to overtake Lieutenant
Williamson's party, which made them less on the lookout than usual
for any possible pursuers.  After following the trail until nearly
sundown, I considered it prudent to stop for the night, and drew off
some little distance, where, concealed in a dense growth of timber,
we made our camp.

As I had with me now only two men, I felt somewhat nervous, so I
allowed no fires to be built, and in consequence our supper consisted
of hard bread only.  I passed an anxious night, but beyond our own
solicitude there was nothing to disturb us, the Indians being too
much interested in overtaking the party in front to seek for victims
in the rear, After a hard-bread breakfast we started again on the
trail, and had proceeded but a short distance when, hearing the
voices of the Indians, we at once slackened our speed so as not to
overtake them.

Most of the trail on which we traveled during the morning ran over an
exceedingly rough lava formation--a spur of the lava beds often
described during the Modoc war of 1873 so hard and flinty that
Williamson's large command made little impression on its surface,
leaving in fact, only indistinct traces of its line of march.  By
care and frequent examinations we managed to follow his route through
without much delay, or discovery by the Indians, and about noon,
owing to the termination of the lava formation, we descended into the
valley of Hat Greek, a little below where it emerges from the second
canon and above its confluence with Pit River.  As soon as we reached
the fertile soil of the valley, we found Williamson's trail well
defined, deeply impressed in the soft loam, and coursing through
wild-flowers and luxuriant grass which carpeted the ground on every

When we struck this delightful locality we traveled with considerable
speed, and after passing over hill and vale for some distance, the
trail becoming more and more distinct all the time, I suddenly saw in
front of me the Pit River Indians.

This caused a halt, and having hurriedly re-capped our guns and
six-shooters, thus preparing for the worst, I took a look at the band
through my field-glass.  They were a half-mile or more in our front
and numbered about thirty individuals, armed with bows and arrows
only.  Observing us they made friendly demonstrations, but I had not
implicit faith in a Pit River Indian at that period of the settlement
of our country, and especially in that wild locality, so after a
"council of war" with the corporal and man, I concluded to advance to
a point about two hundred yards distant from the party, when, relying
on the speed of our horses rather than on the peaceable intentions of
the savages, I hoped to succeed in cutting around them and take the
trail beyond.  Being on foot they could not readily catch us, and
inasmuch as their arrows were good for a range of only about sixty
yards, I had no fear of any material damage on that score.

On reaching the place selected for our flank movement we made a dash
to the left of the trail, through the widest part of the valley, and
ran our horses swiftly by, but I noticed that the Indians did not
seem to be disturbed by the manoeuvre and soon realized that this
indifference was occasioned by the knowledge that we could not cross
Hat Creek, a deep stream with vertical banks, too broad to be leaped
by our horses.  We were obliged, therefore, to halt, and the Indians
again made demonstrations of friendship, some of them even getting
into the stream to show that they were at the ford.  Thus reassured,
we regained our confidence and boldly crossed the river in the midst
of them.  After we had gained the bluff on the other side of the
creek, I looked down into the valley of Pit River, and could plainly
see the camp of the surveying party.  Its proximity was the influence
which had doubtless caused the peaceable conduct of the Indians.
Probably the only thing that saved us was their ignorance of our
being in their rear, until we stumbled on them almost within sight of
the large party under Williamson.

The Pit River Indians were very hostile at that time, and for many
succeeding years their treachery and cruelty brought misfortune and
misery to the white settlers who ventured their lives in search of
home and fortune in the wild and isolated section over which these
savages roamed.  Not long after Williamson's party passed through
their country, the Government was compelled to send into it a
considerable force for the purpose of keeping them under control.
The outcome of this was a severe fight--resulting in the loss of a
good many lives--between the hostiles and a party of our troops under
Lieutenant George Crook.  It finally ended in the establishment of a
military post in the vicinity of the battle-ground, for the permanent
occupation of the country.

A great load was lifted from my heart when I found myself so near
Williamson's camp, which I joined August 4, 1855, receiving a warm
welcome from the officers.  During the afternoon I relieved
Lieutenant Hood of the command of the personal escort, and he was
ordered to return, with twelve of the mounted men, over the trail I
had followed.  I pointed out to him on the map the spot where he
would find the two men left on the roadside, and he was directed to
take them into Fort Reading.  They were found without difficulty, and
carried in to the post.  The sick man--Duryea--whom I had expected
never to see again, afterward became the hospital steward at Fort
Yamhill, Oregon, when I was stationed there.

The Indians that I had passed at the ford came to the bluff above the
camp, and arranging themselves in a squatting posture, looked down
upon Williamson's party with longing eyes, in expectation of a feast.
They were a pitiable lot, almost naked, hungry and cadaverous.
Indians are always hungry, but these poor creatures were particularly
so, as their usual supply of food had grown very scarce from one
cause and another.

In prosperity they mainly subsisted on fish, or game killed with the
bow and arrow.  When these sources failed they lived on grasshoppers,
and at this season the grasshopper was their principal food.  In
former years salmon were very abundant in the streams of the
Sacramento Valley, and every fall they took great quantities of these
fish and dried them for winter use, but alluvial mining had of late
years defiled the water of the different streams and driven the fish
out.  On this account the usual supply of salmon was very limited.
They got some trout high up on the rivers, above the sluices and
rockers of the miners, but this was a precarious source from which to
derive food, as their means of taking the trout were very primitive.
They had neither hooks nor lines, but depended entirely on a
contrivance made from long, slender branches of willow, which grew on
the banks of most of the streams.  One of these branches would be
cut, and after sharpening the butt-end to a point, split a certain
distance, and by a wedge the prongs divided sufficiently to admit a
fish between.  The Indian fisherman would then slyly put the forked
end in the water over his intended victim, and with a quick dart
firmly wedge him between the prongs.  When secured there, the work of
landing him took but a moment.  When trout were plentiful this
primitive mode of taking them was quite successful, and I have often
known hundreds of pounds to be caught in this way, but when they were
scarce and suspicious the rude method was not rewarded with good

The band looking down on us evidently had not had much fish or game
to eat for some time, so when they had made Williamson understand
that they were suffering for food he permitted them to come into
camp, and furnished them with a supply, which they greedily swallowed
as fast as it was placed at their service, regardless of possible
indigestion.  When they had eaten all they could hold, their
enjoyment was made complete by the soldiers, who gave them a quantity
of strong plug tobacco.  This they smoked incessantly, inhaling all
the smoke, so that none of the effect should be lost.  When we
abandoned this camp the next day, the miserable wretches remained in
it and collected the offal about the cooks' fires to feast still
more, piecing out the meal, no doubt, with their staple article of

On the morning of August 5 Lieutenant Hood started back to Fort
Reading, and Lieutenant Williamson resumed his march for the Columbia
River.  Our course was up Pit River, by the lower and upper canons,
then across to the Klamath Lakes, then east, along their edge to the
upper lake.  At the middle Klamath Lake, just after crossing Lost
River and the Natural Bridge, we met a small party of citizens from
Jacksonville, Oregon, looking for hostile Indians who had committed
some depredations in their neighborhood.  From them we learned that
the Rogue River Indians in southern Oregon were on the war-path, and
that as the "regular troops up there were of no account, the citizens
had taken matters in hand, and intended cleaning up the hostiles."
They swaggered about our camp, bragged a good deal, cursed the
Indians loudly, and soundly abused the Government for not giving them
better protection.  It struck me, however, that they had not worked
very hard to find the hostiles; indeed, it could plainly be seen that
their expedition was a town-meeting sort of affair, and that anxiety
to get safe home was uppermost in their thoughts.  The enthusiasm
with which they started had all oozed out, and that night they
marched back to Jacksonville.  The next day, at the head of the lake,
we came across an Indian village, and I have often wondered since
what would have been the course pursued by these valiant warriors
from Jacksonville had they gone far enough to get into its vicinity.

When we reached the village the tepees--made of grass--were all
standing, the fires burning and pots boiling--the pots filled with
camas and tula roots--but not an Indian was to be seen.  Williamson
directed that nothing in the village should be disturbed; so guards
were placed over it to carry out his instructions and we went into
camp just a little beyond.  We had scarcely established ourselves
when a very old Indian rose up from the high grass some distance off,
and with peaceable signs approached our camp, evidently for the
purpose of learning whether or not our intentions were hostile.
Williamson told him we were friendly; that we had passed through his
village without molesting it, that we had put a guard there to secure
the property his people had abandoned in their fright, and that they
might come back in safety.  The old man searchingly eyed everything
around for some little time, and gaining confidence from the
peaceable appearance of the men, who were engaged in putting up the
tents and preparing their evening meal, he concluded to accept our
professions of friendship, and bring his people in.  Going out about
half a mile from the village he gave a peculiar yell, at which
between three and four hundred Indians arose simultaneously from the
ground, and in answer to his signal came out of the tall grass like a
swarm of locusts and soon overran our camp in search of food, for
like all Indians they were hungry.  They too, proved to be Pit
Rivers, and were not less repulsive than those of their tribe we had
met before.  They were aware of the hostilities going on between the
Rogue Rivers and the whites, but claimed that they had not taken any
part in them.  I question if they had, but had our party been small,
I fear we should have been received at their village in a very
different manner.

From the upper Klamath Lake we marched over the divide and down the
valley of the Des Chutes River to a point opposite the mountains
called the Three Sisters.  Here, on September 23, the party divided,
Williamson and I crossing through the crater of the Three Sisters and
along the western slope of the Cascade Range, until we struck the
trail on McKenzie River, which led us into the Willamette Valley not
far from Eugene City.  We then marched down the Willamette Valley to
Portland, Oregon, where we arrived October 9, 1855

The infantry portion of the command, escorting Lieutenant Henry L.
Abbot, followed farther down the Des Chutes River, to a point
opposite Mount Hood, from which it came into the Willamette Valley
and then marched to Portland.  At Portland we all united, and moving
across the point between the Willamette and Columbia rivers, encamped
opposite Fort Vancouver, on the south bank of the latter stream, on
the farm of an old settler named Switzler, who had located there many
years before.



Our camp on the Columbia, near Fort Vancouver, was beautifully
situated on a grassy sward close to the great river; and--as little
duty was required of us after so long a journey, amusement of one
kind or another, and an interchange of visits with the officers at
the post, filled in the time acceptably.  We had in camp an old
mountaineer guide who had accompanied us on the recent march, and who
had received the sobriquet of "Old Red," on account of the shocky and
tangled mass of red hair and beard, which covered his head and face
so completely that only his eyes could be seen.  His eccentricities
constantly supplied us with a variety of amusements.  Among the
pastimes he indulged in was one which exhibited his skill with the
rifle, and at the same time protected the camp from the intrusions
and ravages of a drove of razor-backed hogs which belonged to Mr.
Switzler.  These hogs were frequent visitors, and very destructive to
our grassy sward, rooting it up in front of our tents and all about
us; in pursuit of bulbous roots and offal from the camp.  Old Red
conceived the idea that it would be well to disable the pigs by
shooting off the tips of their snouts, and he proceeded to put his
conception into execution, and continued it daily whenever the hogs
made their appearance.  Of course their owner made a row about it;
but when Old Red daily settled for his fun by paying liberally with
gold-dust from some small bottles of the precious metal in his
possession, Switzler readily became contented, and I think even
encouraged the exhibitions--of skill.

It was at this period (October, 1855) that the Yakima Indian war
broke out, and I was detached from duty with the exploring party and
required by Major Gabriel J. Rains, then commanding the district, to
join an expedition against the Yakimas.  They had some time before
killed their agent, and in consequence a force under Major Granville
O. Haller had been sent out from the Dalles of the Columbia to
chastise them; but the expedition had not been successful; in fact,
it had been driven back, losing a number of men and two mountain

The object of the second expedition was to retrieve this disaster.
The force was composed of a small body of regular troops, and a
regiment of Oregon mounted volunteers under command of Colonel James
W. Nesmith--subsequently for several years United States Senator from
Oregon.  The whole force was under the command of Major Rains, Fourth
Infantry, who, in order that he might rank Nesmith, by some
hocus-pocus had been made a brigadier-general, under an appointment
from the Governor of Washington Territory.

We started from the Dalles October 30, under conditions that were not
conducive to success.  The season was late for operations; and worse
still, the command was not in accord with the commanding officer,
because of general belief in his incompetency, and on account of the
fictitious rank he assumed.  On the second day out I struck a small
body of Indians with my detachment of dragoons, but was unable to do
them any particular injury beyond getting possession of a large
quantity of their winter food, which their hurried departure
compelled them to abandon.  This food consisted principally of dried
salmon-pulverized and packed in sacks made of grass-dried
huckleberries, and dried camas; the latter a bulbous root about the
size of a small onion, which, when roasted and ground, is made into
bread by the Indians and has a taste somewhat like cooked chestnuts.

Our objective point was Father Pandoza's Mission, in the Yakima
Valley, which could be reached by two different routes, and though
celerity of movement was essential, our commanding officer
"strategically" adopted the longer route, and thus the Indians had
ample opportunity to get away with their horses, cattle, women and
children, and camp property.

After the encounter which I just now referred to, the command, which
had halted to learn the results of my chase, resumed its march to and
through the Klikitat canon, and into the lower Yakima Valley, in the
direction of the Yakima River.  I had charge at the head of the
column as it passed through the canon, and on entering the valley
beyond, saw in the distance five or six Indian scouts, whom I pressed
very closely, until after a run of several miles they escaped across
the Yakima River.

The soil in the valley was light and dry, and the movement of animals
over it raised great clouds of dust, that rendered it very difficult
to distinguish friend from foe; and as I was now separated from the
main column a considerable distance, I deemed it prudent to call a
halt until we could discover the direction taken by the principal
body of the Indians.  We soon learned that they had gone up the
valley, and looking that way, we discovered a column of alkali dust
approaching us, about a mile distant, interposing between my little
detachment and the point where I knew General Rains intended to
encamp for the night.  After hastily consulting with Lieutenant
Edward H. Day, of the Third United States Artillery, who was with me,
we both concluded that the dust was caused by a body of the enemy
which had slipped in between us and our main force.  There seemed no
alternative left us but to get back to our friends by charging
through these Indians; and as their cloud of dust was much larger
than ours, this appeared a desperate chance.  Preparations to charge
were begun, however, but, much to our surprise, before they were
completed the approaching party halted for a moment and then
commenced to retreat.  This calmed the throbbing of our hearts, and
with a wild cheer we started in a hot pursuit, that continued for
about two miles, when to our great relief we discovered that we were
driving into Rains's camp a squadron of Nesmith's battalion of Oregon
volunteers that we had mistaken for Indians, and who in turn believed
us to be the enemy.  When camp was reached, we all indulged in a
hearty laugh over the affair, and at the fright each party had given
the other.  The explanations which ensued proved that the squadron of
volunteers had separated from the column at the same time that I had
when we debouched from the canon, and had pursued an intermediate
trail through the hills, which brought it into the valley of the
Yakima at a point higher up the river than where I had struck it.

Next day we resumed our march up the valley, parallel to the Yakima.
About 1 o'clock we saw a large body of Indians on the opposite side
of the river, and the general commanding made up his mind to cross
and attack them.  The stream was cold, deep, and swift, still I
succeeded in passing my dragoons over safely, but had hardly got them
well on the opposite bank when the Indians swooped down upon us.
Dismounting my men, we received the savages with a heavy fire, which
brought them to a halt with some damage and more or less confusion.

General Rains now became very much excited and alarmed about me, and
endeavored to ford the swift river with his infantry and artillery,
but soon had to abandon the attempt, as three or four of the poor
fellows were swept off their feet and drowned.  Meantime Nesmith came
up with his mounted force, crossed over, and joined me.

The Indians now fell back to a high ridge, on the crest of which they
marched and countermarched, threatening to charge down its face.
Most of them were naked, and as their persons were painted in gaudy
colors and decorated with strips of red flannel, red blankets and gay
war-bonnets, their appearance presented a scene of picturesque
barbarism, fascinating but repulsive.  As they numbered about six
hundred, the chances of whipping them did not seem overwhelmingly in
our favor, yet Nesmith and I concluded we would give them a little
fight, provided we could engage them without going beyond the ridge.
But all our efforts were in vain, for as we advanced they retreated,
and as we drew back they reappeared and renewed their parade and
noisy demonstrations, all the time beating their drums and yelling
lustily.  They could not be tempted into a fight where we desired it,
however, and as we felt unequal to any pursuit beyond the ridge
without the assistance of the infantry and artillery, we re-crossed
the river and encamped with Rains.  It soon became apparent that the
noisy demonstrations of the Indians were intended only as a blind to
cover the escape of their women and children to a place of safety in
the mountains.

Next morning we took up our march without crossing the river; and as
our route would lead us by the point on the opposite bank where the
Indians had made their picturesque display the day before, they at an
early hour came over to our side, and rapidly moved ahead of us to
some distant hills, leaving in our pathway some of the more
venturesome young braves, who attempted, to retard our advance by
opening fire at long range from favorable places where they lay
concealed.  This fire did us little harm, but it had the effect of
making our progress so slow that the patience of every one but
General Rains was well-nigh exhausted.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon we arrived well up near the base of
the range of hills, and though it was growing late we still had time
to accomplish something, but our commanding officer decided that it
was best to go into camp, and make a systematic attack next morning.
I proposed that he let me charge with my dragoons through the narrow
canon where the river broke through the range, while the infantry
should charge up the hill and drive the enemy from the top down on
the other side.  In this way I thought we might possibly catch some
of the fugitives, but his extreme caution led him to refuse the
suggestion, so we pitched our tents out of range of their desultory
fire, but near enough to observe plainly their menacing and
tantalizing exhibitions of contempt.

In addition to firing occasionally, they called us all sorts of bad
names, made indecent gestures, and aggravated us, so that between 3
and 4 o'clock in the afternoon, by an inexplicable concert of action,
and with a serious breach of discipline, a large number of the men
and many of the officers broke en masse from the camp with loud yells
and charged the offending savages.  As soon as this mob got within
musket-shot they opened fire on the Indians, who ran down the other
face of the ridge without making the slightest resistance.  The hill
was readily taken by this unmilitary proceeding, and no one was hurt
on either side, but as Rains would not permit it to be held, a large
bonfire was lighted on the crest in celebration of the victory, and
then all hands marched back to camp, where they had no sooner arrived
and got settled down than the Indians returned to the summit of the
ridge, seemingly to enjoy the fire that had been so generously built
for their benefit, and with renewed taunts and gestures continued to
insult us.

Our camp that night was strongly picketed, and when we awoke in the
morning the Indians still occupied their position on the hill.  At
daylight we advanced against them, two or three companies of infantry
moving forward to drive them from the summit, while our main column
passed through the canon into the upper Yakima Valley led by my
dragoons, who were not allowed to charge into the gorge, as the
celerity of such a movement might cause the tactical combination to

As we passed slowly and cautiously through the canon the Indians ran
rapidly away, and when we reached the farther end they had entirely
disappeared from our front, except one old fellow, whose lame horse
prevented him keeping up with the main body.  This presented an
opportunity for gaining results which all thought should not be lost,
so our guide, an Indian named "Cut-mouth John," seized upon it, and
giving hot chase, soon, overtook the poor creature, whom he speedily
killed without much danger to himself, for the fugitive was armed
with only an old Hudson's Bay flint-lock horse-pistol which could not
be discharged.

"Cut-mouth John's" engagement began and ended all the fighting that
took place on this occasion, and much disappointment and discontent
followed, Nesmith's mounted force and my dragoons being particularly
disgusted because they had not been "given a chance."  During the
remainder of the day we cautiously followed the retreating foe, and
late in the evening went into camp a short distance from Father
Pandoza's Mission; where we were to await a small column of troops
under command of Captain Maurice Maloney, of the Fourth Infantry,
that was to join us from Steilicom by way of the Natchez Pass, and
from which no tidings had as yet been received.

Next morning the first thing I saw when I put my head out from my
blankets was "Cut-mouth John," already mounted and parading himself
through the camp.  The scalp of the Indian he had despatched the day
before was tied to the cross-bar of his bridle bit, the hair dangling
almost to the ground, and John was decked out in the sacred vestments
of Father Pandoza, having, long before any one was stirring in camp,
ransacked the log-cabin at the Mission in which the good man had
lived.  John was at all times a most repulsive looking individual, a
part of his mouth having been shot away in a fight with Indians near
Walla Walla some years before, in which a Methodist missionary had
been killed; but his revolting personal appearance was now worse than
ever, and the sacrilegious use of Father Pandoza's vestments, coupled
with the ghastly scalp that hung from his bridle, so turned opinion
against him that he was soon captured, dismounted, and his parade
brought to an abrupt close, and I doubt whether he ever after quite
reinstated himself in the good graces of the command.

In the course of the day nearly all the men visited the Mission, but
as it had been plundered by the Indians at the outbreak of
hostilities, when Father Pandoza was carried off, little of value was
left about it except a considerable herd of pigs, which the father
with great difficulty had succeeded in accumulating from a very small
beginning.  The pigs had not been disturbed by the Indians, but the
straggling troops soon disposed of them, and then turned their
attention to the cabbages and potatoes in the garden, with the
intention, no doubt, of dining that day on fresh pork and fresh
vegetables instead of on salt junk and hard bread, which formed their
regular diet on the march.  In digging up the potatoes some one
discovered half a keg of powder, which had been buried in the garden
by the good father to prevent the hostile Indians from getting it to
use against the whites.  As soon as this was unearthed wild
excitement ensued, and a cry arose that Father Pandoza was the person
who furnished powder to the Indians; that here was the proof; that at
last the mysterious means by which the Indians obtained ammunition
was explained--and a rush was made for the mission building. This was
a comfortable log-house of good size, built by the Indians for a
school and church, and attached to one end was the log-cabin
residence of the priest.  Its destruction was a matter of but a few
moments.  A large heap of dry wood was quickly collected and piled in
the building, matches applied, and the whole Mission, including the
priest's house, was soon enveloped in flames, and burned to the
ground before the officers in camp became aware of the disgraceful
plundering in which their men were engaged.

The commanding officer having received no news from Captain Maloney
during the day, Colonel Nesmith and I were ordered to go to his
rescue, as it was concluded that he had been surrounded by Indians in
the Natchez Pass.  We started early the next morning, the snow
falling slightly as we set out, and soon arrived at the eastern mouth
of the Natchez Pass.  On the way we noticed an abandoned Indian
village, which had evidently not been occupied for some time.  As we
proceeded the storm increased, and the snow-fall became deeper and
deeper, until finally our horses could not travel through it.  In
consequence we were compelled to give up further efforts to advance,
and obliged to turn back to the abandoned village, where we encamped
for the night.  Near night-fall the storm greatly increased, and our
bivouac became most uncomfortable; but spreading my blankets on the
snow and covering them with Indian matting, I turned in and slept
with that soundness and refreshment accorded by nature to one
exhausted by fatigue.  When I awoke in the morning I found myself
under about two feet of snow, from which I arose with difficulty, yet
grateful that it had kept me warm during the night.

After a cup of coffee and a little hard bread, it was decided we
should return to the main camp near the Mission, for we were now
confident that Maloney was delayed by the snow, and safe enough on
the other side of the mountains.  At all events he was beyond aid
from us, for the impassable snowdrifts could not be overcome with the
means in our possession.  It turned out that our suppositions as to
the cause of his delay were correct.  He had met with the same
difficulties that confronted us, and had been compelled to go into

Meanwhile valuable time had been lost, and the Indians, with their
families and stock, were well on their way to the Okenagan country, a
region into which we could not penetrate in the winter season.  No
other course was therefore left but to complete the dismal failure of
the expedition by returning home, and our commander readily gave the
order to march back to the Dalles by the "short" route over the
Yakima Mountains.

As the storm was still unabated, it was evident our march home would
be a most difficult one, and it was deemed advisable to start back at
once, lest we should be blocked up in the mountains by the snows for
a period beyond which our provisions would not last.  Relying on the
fact that the short route to the Dalles would lead us over the range
at its most depressed point, where it was hoped the depth of snow was
not yet so great as to make the route impassable, we started with
Colonel Nesmith's battalion in advance to break the road, followed by
my dragoons.  In the valley we made rapid progress, but when we
reached the mountain every step we took up its side showed the snow
to be growing deeper and deeper.  At last Nesmith reached the summit,
and there found a depth of about six feet of snow covering the
plateau in every direction, concealing all signs of the trail so
thoroughly that his guides became bewildered and took the wrong
divide.  The moment I arrived at the top my guide--Donald Mc Kay--who
knew perfectly the whole Yakima range, discovered Nesmith's mistake.
Word was sent to bring him back, but as he had already nearly crossed
the plateau, considerable delay occurred before he returned.  When he
arrived we began anew the work of breaking a road for the foot troops
behind us, my detachment now in advance.  The deep snow made our work
extremely laborious, exhausting men and horses almost to the point of
relinquishing the struggle, but our desperate situation required that
we should get down into the valley beyond, or run the chance of
perishing on the mountain in a storm which seemed unending.  About
midnight the column reached the valley, very tired and hungry, but
much elated over its escape.  We had spent a day of the most intense
anxiety, especially those who had had the responsibility of keeping
to the right trail, and been charged with the hard work of breaking
the road for the infantry and artillery through such a depth of snow.

Our main difficulties were now over, and in due time we reached the
Dalles, where almost everyone connected with the expedition voted it
a wretched failure; indeed, General Rains himself could not think
otherwise, but he scattered far and wide blame for the failure of his
combinations.  This, of course, led to criminations and
recriminations, which eventuated in charges of incompetency preferred
against him by Captain Edward O. C. Ord, of the Third Artillery.
Rains met the charges with counter-charges against Ord, whom he
accused of purloining Father Pandoza's shoes, when the soldiers in
their fury about the ammunition destroyed the Mission.  At the time
of its destruction a rumor of this nature was circulated through
camp, started by some wag, no doubt in jest; for Ord, who was
somewhat eccentric in his habits, and had started on the expedition
rather indifferently shod in carpet-slippers, here came out in a
brand-new pair of shoes.  Of course there was no real foundation for
such a report, but Rains was not above small things, as the bringing
of this petty accusation attests.  Neither party was ever tried, for
General John E. Wool the department commander, had not at command a
sufficient number of officers of appropriate rank to constitute a
court in the case of Rains, and the charges against Ord were very
properly ignored on account of their trifling character.

Shortly after the expedition returned to the Dalles, my detachment
was sent down to Fort Vancouver, and I remained at that post during
the winter of 1855-'56, till late in March.



The failure of the Haller expedition from lack of a sufficient force,
and of the Rains expedition from the incompetency of its commander,
was a great mortification to the officers and men connected with
them, and, taken together, had a marked effect upon the Indian
situation in Oregon and Washington Territories at that particular
era.  Besides, it led to further complications and troubles, for it
had begun to dawn upon the Indians that the whites wanted to come in
and dispossess them of their lands and homes, and the failures of
Haller and Rains fostered the belief with the Indians that they could
successfully resist the pressure of civilization.

Acting under these influences, the Spokanes, Walla Wallas, Umatillas,
and Nez Perces cast their lot with the hostiles, and all the savage
inhabitants of the region east of the Cascade Range became involved
in a dispute as to whether the Indians or the Government should
possess certain sections of the country, which finally culminated in
the war of 1856.

Partly to meet the situation that was approaching, the Ninth Infantry
had been sent out from the Atlantic coast to Washington Territory,
and upon its arrival at Fort Vancouver encamped in front of the
officers' quarters, on the beautiful parade-ground of that post, and
set about preparing for the coming campaign.  The commander, Colonel
George Wright, who had been promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment
upon its organization the previous year, had seen much active duty
since his graduation over thirty years before, serving with credit in
the Florida and Mexican wars.  For the three years previous to his
assignment to the Ninth Infantry he had been stationed on the Pacific
coast, and the experience he had there acquired, added to his
excellent soldierly qualities, was of much benefit in the active
campaigns in which, during the following years, he was to
participate.  Subsequently his career was brought to an untimely
close when, nine years after this period, as he was returning to the
scene of his successes, he, in common with many others was drowned by
the wreck of the ill-fated steamer Brother Jonathan.  Colonel Wright
took command of the district in place of Rains, and had been at
Vancouver but a short time before he realized that it would be
necessary to fight the confederated tribes east of the Cascade Range
of mountains, in order to disabuse them of the idea that they were
sufficiently strong to cope with the power of the Government.  He
therefore at once set about the work of organizing and equipping his
troops for a start in the early spring against the hostile Indians,
intending to make the objective point of his expedition the heart of
the Spokane country on the Upper Columbia River, as the head and
front of the confederation was represented in the person of old
Cammiackan, chief of the Spokanes.

The regiment moved from Fort Vancouver by boat, March 25, 1856, and
landed at the small town called the Dalles, below the mouth of the
Des Chutes River at the eastern base of the Cascade Range, and just
above where the Columbia River enters those mountains.  This
rendezvous was to be the immediate point of departure, and all the
troops composing the expedition were concentrated there.

On the morning of March 26 the movement began, but the column had
only reached Five Mile Creek when the Yakimas, joined by many young
warriors-free lances from other tribes, made a sudden and unexpected
attack at the Cascades of the Columbia, midway between Vancouver and
the Dalles, killed several citizens, women and children, and took
possession of the Portage by besieging the settlers in their cabins
at the Upper Cascades, and those who sought shelter at the Middle
Cascades in the old military block-house, which had been built some
years before as a place of refuge under just such circumstances.
These points held out, and were not captured, but the landing at the
Lower Cascades fell completely into the hands of the savages.
Straggling settlers from the Lower Cascades made their way down to
Fort Vancouver, distant about thirty-six miles, which they reached
that night; and communicated the condition of affairs.  As the
necessity for early relief to the settlers and the re-establishment
of communication with the Dalles were apparent, all the force that
could be spared was ordered out, and in consequence I immediately
received directions to go with my detachment of dragoons, numbering
about forty effective men, to the relief of the middle blockhouse,
which really meant to retake the Cascades.  I got ready at once, and
believing that a piece of artillery would be of service to me, asked
for one, but as there proved to be no guns at the post, I should have
been obliged to proceed without one had it not been that the regular
steamer from San Francisco to Portland was lying at the Vancouver
dock unloading military supplies, and the commander, Captain Dall,
supplied me with the steamer's small iron cannon, mounted on a wooden
platform, which he used in firing salutes at different ports on the
arrival and departure of the vessel.  Finding at the arsenal a supply
of solid shot that would fit the gun, I had it put upon the steamboat
Belle, employed to carry my command to the scene of operations, and
started up the Columbia River at 2 A.M. on the morning of the 27th.
We reached the Lower Cascades early in the day, where, selecting a
favorable place for the purpose, I disembarked my men and gun on the
north bank of the river, so that I could send back the steamboat to
bring up any volunteer assistance that in the mean time might have
been collected at Vancouver.

The Columbia River was very high at the time, and the water had
backed up into the slough about the foot of the Lower Cascades to
such a degree that it left me only a narrow neck of firm ground to
advance over toward the point occupied by the Indians.  On this neck
of land the hostiles had taken position, as I soon learned by
frequent shots, loud shouting, and much blustering; they, by the most
exasperating yells and indecent exhibitions, daring me to the

After getting well in hand everything connected with my little
command, I advanced with five or six men to the edge of a growth of
underbrush to make a reconnoissance.  We stole along under cover of
this underbrush until we reached the open ground leading over the
causeway or narrow neck before mentioned, when the enemy opened fire
and killed a soldier near my side by a shot which, just grazing the
bridge of my nose, struck him in the neck, opening an artery and
breaking the spinal cord.  He died instantly.  The Indians at once
made a rush for the body, but my men in the rear, coming quickly to
the rescue, drove them back; and Captain Doll's gun being now brought
into play, many solid shot were thrown into the jungle where they lay
concealed, with the effect of considerably moderating their
impetuosity.  Further skirmishing at long range took place at
intervals during the day, with little gain or loss, however, to
either side, for both parties held positions which could not be
assailed in flank, and only the extreme of rashness in either could
prompt a front attack.  My left was protected by the back water
driven into the slough by the high stage of the river, and my right
rested secure on the main stream.  Between us was only the narrow
neck of land, to cross which would be certain death.  The position of
the Indians was almost the exact counterpart of ours.

In the evening I sent a report of the situation back to Vancouver by
the steamboat, retaining a large Hudson's Bay bateau which I had
brought up with me.  Examining this I found it would carry about
twenty men, and made up my mind that early next morning I would cross
the command to the opposite or south side of the Columbia River, and
make my way up along the mountain base until I arrived abreast the
middle blockhouse, which was still closely besieged, and then at some
favorable point recross to the north bank to its relief, endeavoring
in this manner to pass around and to the rear of the Indians, whose
position confronting me was too strong for a direct attack.  This
plan was hazardous, but I believed it could be successfully carried
out if the boat could be taken with me; but should I not be able to
do this I felt that the object contemplated in sending me out would
miserably fail, and the small band cooped up at the block-house would
soon starve or fall a prey to the Indians, so I concluded to risk all
the chances the plan involved.

On the morning of March 28 the savages were still in my front, and
after giving them some solid shot from Captain Dall's gun we slipped
down to the river-bank, and the detachment crossed by means of the
Hudson's Bay boat, making a landing on the opposite shore at a point
where the south channel of the river, after flowing around Bradford's
Island, joins the main stream.  It was then about 9 o'clock, and
everything had thus far proceeded favorably, but examination of the
channel showed that it would be impossible to get the boat up the
rapids along the mainland, and that success could only be assured by
crossing the south channel just below the rapids to the island, along
the shore of which there was every probability we could pull the boat
through the rocks and swift water until the head of the rapids was
reached, from which point to the block-house there was smooth water.
Telling the men of the embarrassment in which I found myself, and
that if I could get enough of them to man the boat and pull it up the
stream by a rope to the shore we would cross to the island and make
the attempt, all volunteered to go, but as ten men seemed sufficient
I selected that number to accompany me.  Before starting, however, I
deemed it prudent to find out if possible what was engaging the
attention of the Indians, who had not yet discovered that we had left
their front.  I therefore climbed up the side of the abrupt mountain
which skirted the water's edge until I could see across the island.
From this point I observed the Indians running horse-races and
otherwise enjoying themselves behind the line they had held against
me the day before.  The squaws decked out in gay colors, and the men
gaudily dressed in war bonnets, made the scene most attractive, but
as everything looked propitious for the dangerous enterprise in hand
I spent little time watching them.  Quickly returning to the boat, I
crossed to the island with my ten men, threw ashore the rope attached
to the bow, and commenced the difficult task of pulling her up the
rapids.  We got along slowly at first, but soon striking a camp of
old squaws who had been left on the island for safety, and had not
gone over to the mainland to see the races, we utilized them to our
advantage.  With unmistakable threats and signs we made them not only
keep quiet, but also give us much needed assistance in pulling
vigorously on the towrope of our boat.

I was laboring under a dreadful strain of mental anxiety during all
this time, for had the Indians discovered what we were about, they
could easily have come over to the island in their canoes, and, by
forcing us to take up our arms to repel their attack, doubtless would
have obliged the abandonment of the boat, and that essential adjunct
to the final success of my plan would have gone down the rapids.
Indeed, under such circumstances, it would have been impossible for
ten men to hold out against the two or three hundred Indians; but the
island forming an excellent screen to our movements, we were not
discovered, and when we reached the smooth water at the upper end of
the rapids we quickly crossed over and joined the rest of the men,
who in the meantime had worked their way along the south bank of the
river parallel with us.  I felt very grateful to the old squaws for
the assistance they rendered.  They worked well under compulsion, and
manifested no disposition to strike for higher wages.  Indeed, I was
so much relieved when we had crossed over from the island and joined
the rest of the party, that I mentally thanked the squaws one and
all.  I had much difficulty in keeping the men on the main shore from
cheering at our success, but hurriedly taking into the bateau all of
them it could carry, I sent the balance along the southern bank,
where the railroad is now built, until both detachments arrived at a
point opposite the block-house, when, crossing to the north bank, I
landed below the blockhouse some little distance, and returned the
boat for the balance of the men, who joined me in a few minutes.

When the Indians attacked the people at the Cascades on the 26th,
word was sent to Colonel Wright, who had already got out from the
Dalles a few miles on his expedition to the Spokane country.  He
immediately turned his column back, and soon after I had landed and
communicated with the beleaguered block-house the advance of his
command arrived under Lieutenant-Colonel Edward J. Steptoe.  I
reported to Steptoe, and related what had occurred during the past
thirty-six hours, gave him a description of the festivities that were
going on at the lower Cascades, and also communicated the
intelligence that the Yakimas had been joined by the Cascade Indians
when the place was first attacked.  I also told him it was my belief
that when he pushed down the main shore the latter tribe without
doubt would cross over to the island we had just left, while the
former would take to the mountains.  Steptoe coincided with me in
this opinion, and informing me that Lieutenant Alexander Piper would
join my detachment with a mountain' howitzer, directed me to convey
the command to the island and gobble up all who came over to it.

Lieutenant Piper and I landed on the island with the first boatload,
and after disembarking the howitzer we fired two or three shots to
let the Indians know we had artillery with us, then advanced down the
island with the whole of my command, which had arrived in the mean
time; all of the men were deployed as skirmishers except a small
detachment to operate the howitzer.  Near the lower end of the island
we met, as I had anticipated, the entire body of Cascade Indianmen,
women, and children--whose homes were in the vicinity of the
Cascades.  They were very much frightened and demoralized at the turn
events had taken, for the Yakimas at the approach of Steptoe had
abandoned them, as predicted, and fled to the mountians.  The chief
and head-men said they had had nothing to do with the capture of the
Cascades, with the murder of men at the upper landing, nor with the
massacre of men, women, and children near the block-house, and put
all the blame on the Yakimas and their allies.  I did not believe
this, however, and to test the truth of their statement formed them
all in line with their muskets in hand.  Going up to the first man on
the right I accused him of having engaged in the massacre, but was
met by a vigorous denial.  Putting my forefinger into the muzzle of
his gun, I found unmistakable signs of its having been recently
discharged.  My finger was black with the stains of burnt powder, and
holding it up to the Indian, he had nothing more to say in the face
of such positive evidence of his guilt.  A further examination proved
that all the guns were in the same condition.  Their arms were at
once taken possession of, and leaving a small, force to look after
the women and children and the very old men, so that there could be
no possibility of escape, I arrested thirteen of the principal
miscreants, crossed the river to the lower landing, and placed them
in charge of a strong guard.

Late in the evening the steamboat, which I had sent back to
Vancouver, returned, bringing to my assistance from Vancouver,
Captain Henry D. Wallen's company of the Fourth Infantry and a
company of volunteers hastily organized at Portland, but as the
Cascades had already been retaken, this reinforcement was too late to
participate in the affair.  The volunteers from Portland, however,
were spoiling for a fight, and in the absence of other opportunity
desired to shoot the prisoners I held (who, they alleged, had killed
a man named Seymour), and proceeded to make their arrangements to do
so, only desisting on being informed that the Indians were my
prisoners, subject to the orders of Colonel Wright, and would be
protected to the last by my detachment.  Not long afterward Seymour
turned up safe and sound, having fled at the beginning of the attack
on the Cascades, and hid somewhere in the thick underbrush until the
trouble was over, and then made his way back to the settlement.  The
next day I turned my prisoners over to Colonel Wright, who had them
marched to the upper landing of the Cascades, where, after a trial by
a military commission, nine of them were sentenced to death and duly
hanged.  I did not see them executed, but was afterward informed
that, in the absence of the usual mechanical apparatus used on such
occasions, a tree with a convenient limb under which two empty
barrels were placed, one on top of the other, furnished a rude but
certain substitute.  In executing the sentence each Indian in turn
was made to stand on the top barrel, and after the noose was adjusted
the lower barrel was knocked away, and the necessary drop thus
obtained.  In this way the whole nine were punished.  Just before
death they all acknowledged their guilt by confessing their
participation in the massacre at the block-house, and met their doom
with the usual stoicism of their race.



While still encamped at the lower landing, some three or four days
after the events last recounted, Mr. Joseph Meek, an old frontiersman
and guide for emigrant trains through the mountains, came down from
the Dalles, on his way to Vancouver, and stopped at my camp to
inquire if an Indian named Spencer and his family had passed down to
Vancouver since my arrival at the Cascades.  Spencer, the head of the
family, was a very influential, peaceable Chinook chief, whom Colonel
Wright had taken with him from Fort Vancouver as an interpreter and
mediator with the Spokanes and other hostile tribes, against which
his campaign was directed.  He was a good, reliable Indian, and on
leaving Vancouver to join Colonel Wright, took his family along, to
remain with relatives and friends at Fort Dalles until the return of
the expedition.  When Wright was compelled to retrace his steps on
account of the capture of the Cascades, this family for some reason
known only to Spencer, was started by him down the river to their
home at Vancouver.

Meek, on seeing the family leave the Dalles, had some misgivings as
to their safe arrival at their destination, because of the excited
condition of the people about the Cascades; but Spencer seemed to
think that his own peaceable and friendly reputation, which was
widespread, would protect them; so he parted from his wife and
children with little apprehension as to their safety.  In reply to
Meek's question, I stated that I had not seen Spencer's family, when
he remarked, "Well, I fear that they are gone up," a phrase used in
that country in early days to mean that they had been killed.  I
questioned him closely, to elicit further information, but no more
could be obtained; for Meek, either through ignorance or the usual
taciturnity of his class, did not explain more fully, and when the
steamer that had brought the reinforcement started down the river, he
took passage for Vancouver, to learn definitely if the Indian family
had reached that point.  I at once sent to the upper landing, distant
about six miles, to make inquiry in regard to the matter, and in a,
little time my messenger returned with the information that the
family had reached that place the day before, and finding that we had
driven the hostiles off, continued their journey on foot toward my
camp, from which point they expected to go by steamer down the river
to Vancouver.

Their non-arrival aroused in me suspicions of foul play, so with all
the men I could spare, and accompanied by Lieutenant William T.
Welcker, of the Ordnance Corps--a warm and intimate friend--I went in
search of the family, deploying the men as skirmishers across the
valley, and marching them through the heavy forest where the ground
was covered with fallen timber and dense underbrush, in order that no
point might escape our attention.  The search was continued between
the base of the mountain and the river without finding any sign of
Spencer's family, until about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when we
discovered them between the upper and lower landing, in a small open
space about a mile from the road, all dead--strangled to death with
bits of rope.  The party consisted of the mother, two youths, three
girls, and a baby.  They had all been killed by white men, who had
probably met the innocent creatures somewhere near the blockhouse,
driven them from the road into the timber, where the cruel murders
were committed without provocation, and for no other purpose than the
gratification of the inordinate hatred of the Indian that has often
existed on the frontier, and which on more than one occasion has
failed to distinguish friend from foe.  The bodies lay in a
semicircle, and the bits of rope with which the poor wretches had
been strangled to death were still around their necks.  Each piece of
rope--the unwound strand of a heavier piece--was about two feet long,
and encircled the neck of its victim with a single knot, that must
have been drawn tight by the murderers pulling at the ends.  As there
had not been quite enough rope to answer for all, the babe was
strangled by means of a red silk handkerchief, taken, doubtless, from
the neck of its mother.  It was a distressing sight.  A most cruel
outrage had been committed upon unarmed people--our friends and
allies--in a spirit of aimless revenge.  The perpetrators were
citizens living near the middle block-house, whose wives and children
had been killed a few days before by the hostiles, but who well knew
that these unoffending creatures had had nothing to do with those

In my experience I have been obliged to look upon many cruel scenes
in connection with Indian warfare on the Plains since that day, but
the effect of this dastardly and revolting crime has never been
effaced from my memory.  Greater and more atrocious massacres have
been committed often by Indians; their savage nature modifies one's
ideas, however, as to the inhumanity of their acts, but when such
wholesale murder as this is done by whites, and the victims not only
innocent, but helpless, no defense can be made for those who
perpetrated the crime, if they claim to be civilized beings.  It is
true the people at the Cascades had suffered much, and that their
wives and children had been murdered before their eyes, but to wreak
vengeance on Spencer's unoffending family, who had walked into their
settlement under the protection of a friendly alliance, was an
unparalleled outrage which nothing can justify or extenuate.  With as
little delay as possible after the horrible discovery, I returned to
camp, had boxes made, and next day buried the bodies of these hapless
victims of misdirected vengeance.

The summary punishment inflicted on the nine Indians, in their trial
and execution, had a most salutary effect on the confederation, and
was the entering wedge to its disintegration; and though Colonel
Wright's campaign continued during the summer and into the early
winter, the subjugation of the allied bands became a comparatively
easy matter after the lesson taught the renegades who were captured
at the Cascades.  My detachment did not accompany Colonel Wright, but
remained for some time at the Cascades, and while still there General
Wool came up from San Francisco to take a look into the condition of
things.  From his conversation with me in reference to the affair at
the Cascades, I gathered that he was greatly pleased at the service I
had performed, and I afterward found that his report of my conduct
had so favorably impressed General Scott that that distinguished
officer complimented me from the headquarters of the army in general

General Wool, while personally supervising matters on the Columbia
River, directed a redistribution to some extent of the troops in the
district, and shortly before his return to San Francisco I was
ordered with my detachment of dragoons to take station on the Grande
Ronde Indian Reservation in Yamhill County, Oregon, about twenty-five
miles southwest of Dayton, and to relieve from duty at that point
Lieutenant William B. Hazen--late brigadier-general and chief signal
officer--who had established a camp there some time before.  I
started for my new station on April 21, and marching by way of
Portland and Oregon City, arrived at Hazen's camp April 25.  The camp
was located in the Coast range of mountains, on the northeast part of
the reservation, to which last had been added a section of country
that was afterward known as the Siletz reservation.  The whole body
of land set aside went under the general name of the "Coast
reservation," from its skirting the Pacific Ocean for some distance
north of Yaquina Bay, and the intention was to establish within its
bounds permanent homes for such Indians as might be removed to it.
In furtherance of this idea, and to relieve northern California and
southwestern Oregon from the roaming, restless bands that kept the
people of those sections in a state of constant turmoil, many of the
different tribes, still under control but liable to take part in
warfare, were removed to the reservation, so that they might be away
from the theatre of hostilities.

When I arrived I found that the Rogue River Indians had just been
placed upon the reservation, and subsequently the Coquille, Klamath,
Modocs, and remnants of the Chinooks were collected there also, the
home of the latter being in the Willamette Valley.  The number all
told amounted to some thousands, scattered over the entire Coast
reservation, but about fifteen hundred were located at the Grande
Ronde under charge of an agent, Mr. John F. Miller, a sensible,
practical man, who left the entire police control to the military,
and attended faithfully to the duty of settling the Indians in the
work of cultivating the soil.

As the place was to be occupied permanently, Lieutenant Hazen had
begun, before my arrival, the erection of buildings for the shelter
of his command, and I continued the work of constructing the post as
laid out by him.  In those days the Government did not provide very
liberally for sheltering its soldiers; and officers and men were
frequently forced to eke out parsimonious appropriations by toilsome
work or go without shelter in most inhospitable regions.  Of course
this post was no exception to the general rule, and as all hands were
occupied in its construction, and I the only officer present, I was
kept busily employed in supervising matters, both as commandant and
quartermaster, until July, when Captain D. A. Russell, of the Fourth
Infantry, was ordered to take command, and I was relieved from the
first part of my duties.

About this time my little detachment parted from me, being ordered to
join a company of the First Dragoons, commanded by Captain Robert
Williams, as it passed up the country from California by way of
Yamhill.  I regretted exceedingly to see them go, for their faithful
work and gallant service had endeared every man to me by the
strongest ties.  Since I relieved Lieutenant Hood on Pit River,
nearly a twelvemonth before, they had been my constant companions,
and the zeal with which they had responded to every call I made on
them had inspired in my heart a deep affection that years have not
removed.  When I relieved Hood--a dragoon officer of their own
regiment--they did not like the change, and I understood that they
somewhat contemptuously expressed this in more ways than one, in
order to try the temper of the new "Leftenant," but appreciative and
unremitting care, together with firm and just discipline, soon
quieted all symptoms of dissatisfaction and overcame all prejudice.
The detachment had been made up of details from the different
companies of the regiment in order to give Williamson a mounted
force, and as it was usual, under such circumstances, for every
company commander to shove into the detail he was called upon to
furnish the most troublesome and insubordinate individuals of his
company, I had some difficulty, when first taking command, in
controlling such a medley of recalcitrants; but by forethought for
them and their wants, and a strict watchfulness for their rights and
comfort, I was able in a short time to make them obedient and the
detachment cohesive.  In the past year they had made long and
tiresome marches, forded swift mountain streams, constructed rafts of
logs or bundles of dry reeds to ferry our baggage, swum deep rivers,
marched on foot to save their worn-out and exhausted animals, climbed
mountains, fought Indians, and in all and everything had done the
best they could for the service and their commander.  The disaffected
feeling they entertained when I first assumed command soon wore away,
and in its place came a confidence and respect which it gives me the
greatest pleasure to remember, for small though it was, this was my
first cavalry command.  They little thought, when we were in the
mountains of California and Oregon--nor did I myself then dream--that
but a few years were to elapse before it would be my lot again to
command dragoons, this time in numbers so vast as of themselves to
compose almost an army.

Shortly after the arrival of Captain Russell a portion of the Indians
at the Grande Ronde reservation were taken down the coast to the
Siletz reservation, and I was transferred temporarily to Fort
Haskins, on the latter reserve, and assigned to the duty of
completing it and building a blockhouse for the police control of the
Indians placed there.

While directing this work, I undertook to make a road across the
coast mountains from King's Valley to the Siletz, to shorten the haul
between the two points by a route I had explored.  I knew there were
many obstacles in the way, but the gain would be great if we could
overcome them, so I set to work with the enthusiasm of a young
path-finder.  The point at which the road was to cross the range was
rough and precipitous, but the principal difficulty in making it would
be from heavy timber on the mountains that had been burned over years
and years before, until nothing was left but limbless trunks of dead
trees--firs and pines--that had fallen from time to time until the
ground was matted with huge logs from five to eight feet in diameter.
These could not be chopped with axes nor sawed by any ordinary means,
therefore we had to burn them into suitable lengths, and drag the
sections to either side of the roadway with from four to six yoke of

The work was both tedious and laborious, but in time perseverance
surmounted all obstacles and the road was finished, though its grades
were very steep.  As soon as it was completed, I wished to
demonstrate its value practically, so I started a Government wagon
over it loaded with about fifteen hundred pounds of freight drawn by
six yoke of oxen, and escorted by a small detachment of soldiers.
When it had gone about seven miles the sergeant in charge came back
to the post and reported his inability to get any further.  Going out
to the scene of difficulty I found the wagon at the base of a steep
hill, stalled.  Taking up a whip myself, I directed the men to lay on
their gads, for each man had supplied himself with a flexible hickory
withe in the early stages of the trip, to start the team, but this
course did not move the wagon nor have much effect on the demoralized
oxen; but following as a last resort an example I heard of on a
former occasion, that brought into use the rough language of the
country, I induced the oxen to move with alacrity, and the wagon and
contents were speedily carried to the summit.  The whole trouble was
at once revealed: the oxen had been broken and trained by a man who,
when they were in a pinch, had encouraged them by his frontier
vocabulary, and they could not realize what was expected of them
under extraordinary conditions until they heard familiar and possibly
profanely urgent phrases.  I took the wagon to its destination, but
as it was not brought back, even in all the time I was stationed in
that country, I think comment on the success of my road is

I spent many happy months at Fort Haskins, remaining there until the
post was nearly completed and its garrison increased by the arrival
of Captain F. T. Dent--a brother-in-law of Captain Ulysses S. Grant
--with his company of the Fourth Infantry, in April, 1857.  In the
summer of 1856, and while I was still on duty there, the Coquille
Indians on the Siletz, and down near the Yaquina Bay, became, on
account of hunger and prospective starvation, very much excited and
exasperated, getting beyond the control of their agent, and even
threatening his life, so a detachment of troops was sent out to set
things to rights, and I took command of it.  I took with me most of
the company, and arrived at Yaquina Bay in time to succor the agent,
who for some days had been besieged in a log hut by the Indians and
had almost abandoned hope of rescue.

Having brought with me over the mountains a few head of beef cattle
for the hungry Indians, without thinking of running any great
personal risk I had six beeves killed some little distance from my
camp, guarding the meat with four Soldiers, whom I was obliged to
post as sentinels around the small area on which the carcasses lay.
The Indians soon formed a circle about the sentinels, and impelled by
starvation, attempted to take the beef before it could be equally
divided.  This was of course resisted, when they drew their knives
--their guns having been previously taken away from them--and some of
the inferior chiefs gave the signal to attack.  The principal chief,
Tetootney John, and two other Indians joined me in the centre of the
circle, and protesting that they would die rather than that the
frenzied onslaught should succeed, harangued the Indians until the
rest of the company hastened up from camp and put an end to the
disturbance.  I always felt grateful to Tetootney John for his
loyalty on this occasion, and many times afterward aided his family
with a little coffee and sugar, but necessarily surreptitiously, so
as not to heighten the prejudices that his friendly act had aroused
among his Indian comrades.

The situation at Yaquina Bay did not seem very safe, notwithstanding
the supply of beef we brought; and the possibility that the starving
Indians might break out was ever present, so to anticipate any
further revolt, I called for more troops.  The request was complied
with by sending to my assistance the greater part of my own company
("K")from Fort Yamhill.  The men, inspired by the urgency of our
situation, marched more than forty miles a day, accomplishing the
whole distance in so short a period, that I doubt if the record has
ever been beaten.  When this reinforcement arrived, the Indians saw
the futility of further demonstrations against their agent, who they
seemed to think was responsible for the insufficiency of food, and
managed to exist with the slender rations we could spare and such
indifferent food as they could pick up, until the Indian Department
succeeded in getting up its regular supplies.  In the past the poor
things had often been pinched by hunger and neglect, and at times
their only food was rock oysters, clams and crabs.  Great quantities
of these shell-fish could be gathered in the bay near at hand, but
the mountain Indians, who had heretofore lived on the flesh of
mammal, did not take kindly to mollusks, and, indeed, ate the
shell-fish only as a last resort.

Crab catching at night on the Yaquina Bay by the coast Indians was a
very picturesque scene.  It was mostly done by the squaws and
children, each equipped with a torch in one hand, and a sharp-pointed
stick in the other to take and lift the fish into baskets slung on
the back to receive them.  I have seen at times hundreds of squaws
and children wading about in Yaquina Bay taking crabs in this manner,
and the reflection by the water of the light from the many torches,
with the movements of the Indians while at work, formed a weird and
diverting picture of which we were never tired.

Not long after the arrival of the additional troops from Yamhill, it
became apparent that the number of men at Yaquina Bay would have to
be reduced, so in view of this necessity, it was deemed advisable to
build a block-house for the better protection of the agents and I
looked about for suitable ground on which to erect it.  Nearly all
around the bay the land rose up from the beach very abruptly, and the
only good site that could be found was some level ground used as the
burial-place of the Yaquina Bay Indians--a small band of fish-eating
people who had lived near this point on the coast for ages.  They
were a robust lot, of tall and well-shaped figures, and were called
in the Chinook tongue "salt chuck," which means fish-eaters, or
eaters of food from the salt water.  Many of the young men and women
were handsome in feature below the forehead, having fine eyes,
aquiline noses and good mouths, but, in conformity with a
long-standing custom, all had flat heads, which gave them a distorted
and hideous appearance, particularly some of the women, who went to
the extreme of fashion and flattened the head to the rear in a sharp
horizontal ridge by confining it between two boards, one running back
from the forehead at an angle of about forty degrees, and the other up
perpendicularly from the back of the neck.  When a head had been
shaped artistically the dusky maiden owner was marked as a belle, and
one could become reconciled to it after a time, but when carelessness
and neglect had governed in the adjustment of the boards, there
probably was nothing in the form of a human being on the face of the
earth that appeared so ugly.

It was the mortuary ground of these Indians that occupied the only
level spot we could get for the block-house.  Their dead were buried
in canoes, which rested in the crotches of forked sticks a few feet
above-ground.  The graveyard was not large, containing probably from
forty to fifty canoes in a fair state of preservation.  According to
the custom of all Indian tribes on the Pacific coast, when one of
their number died all his worldly effects were buried with him, so
that the canoes were filled with old clothes, blankets, pieces of
calico and the like, intended for the use of the departed in the
happy hunting grounds.

I made known to the Indians that we would have to take this piece of
ground for the blockhouse.  They demurred at first, for there is
nothing more painful to an Indian than disturbing his dead, but they
finally consented to hold a council next day on the beach, and thus
come to some definite conclusion.  Next morning they all assembled,
and we talked in the Chinook language all day long, until at last
they gave in, consenting, probably, as much because they could not
help themselves, as for any other reason.  It was agreed that on the
following day at 12 o'clock, when the tide was going out, I should
take my men and place the canoes in the bay, and let them float out
on the tide across the ocean to the happy hunting-grounds:

At that day there existed in Oregon in vast numbers a species of
wood-rat, and our inspection of the graveyard showed that the canoes
were thickly infested with them.  They were a light gray animal,
larger than the common gray squirrel, with beautiful bushy tails,
which made them strikingly resemble the squirrel, but in cunning and
deviltry they were much ahead of that quick-witted rodent.  I have
known them to empty in one night a keg of spikes in the storehouse in
Yamhill, distributing them along the stringers of the building, with
apparently no other purpose than amusement.  We anticipated great fun
watching the efforts of these rats to escape the next day when the
canoes should be launched on the ocean, and I therefore forbade any
of the command to visit the graveyard in the interim, lest the rats
should be alarmed.  I well knew that they would not be disturbed by
the Indians, who held the sacred spot in awe.  When the work of
taking down the canoes and carrying them to the water began,
expectation was on tiptoe, but, strange as it may seem, not a rat was
to be seen.  This unexpected development was mystifying.  They had
all disappeared; there was not one in any of the canoes, as
investigation proved, for disappointment instigated a most thorough
search.  The Indians said the rats understood Chinook, and that as
they had no wish to accompany the dead across the ocean to the happy
hunting-grounds, they took to the woods for safety.  However that may
be, I have no doubt that the preceding visits to the burial-ground,
and our long talk of the day before, with the unusual stir and
bustle, had so alarmed the rats that, impelled, by their suspicious
instincts, they fled a danger, the nature of which they could not
anticipate, but which they felt to be none the less real and



The troubles at the Siletz and Yaquina Bay were settled without
further excitement by the arrival in due time of plenty of food, and
as the buildings, at Fort Haskins were so near completion that my
services as quartermaster were no longer needed, I was ordered to
join my own company at Fort Yamhill, where Captain Russell was still
in command.  I returned to that place in May, 1857, and at a period a
little later, in consequence of the close of hostilities in southern
Oregon, the Klamaths and Modocs were sent back to their own country,
to that section in which occurred, in 1873, the disastrous war with
the latter tribe.  This reduced considerably the number of Indians at
the Grande Ronde, but as those remaining were still somewhat unruly,
from the fact that many questions requiring adjustment were
constantly arising between the different bands, the agent and the
officers at the post were kept pretty well occupied.  Captain Russell
assigned to me the special work of keeping up the police control, and
as I had learned at an early day to speak Chinook (the "court
language" among the coast tribes) almost as well as the Indians
themselves, I was thereby enabled to steer my way successfully on
many critical occasions.

For some time the most disturbing and most troublesome element we had
was the Rogue River band.  For three or four years they had fought
our troops obstinately, and surrendered at the bitter end in the
belief that they were merely overpowered, not conquered.  They openly
boasted to the other Indians that they could whip the soldiers, and
that they did not wish to follow the white man's ways, continuing
consistently their wild habits, unmindful of all admonitions.
Indeed, they often destroyed their household utensils, tepees and
clothing, and killed their horses on the graves of the dead, in the
fulfillment of a superstitious custom, which demanded that they
should undergo, while mourning for their kindred, the deepest
privation in a property sense.  Everything the loss of which would
make them poor was sacrificed on the graves of their relatives or
distinguished warriors, and as melancholy because of removal from
their old homes caused frequent deaths, there was no lack of occasion
for the sacrifices.  The widows and orphans of the dead warriors were
of course the chief mourners, and exhibited their grief in many
peculiar ways.  I remember one in particular which was universally
practiced by the near kinsfolk.  They would crop their hair very
close, and then cover the head with a sort of hood or plaster of
black pitch, the composition being clay, pulverized charcoal, and the
resinous gum which exudes from the pine-tree.  The hood, nearly an
inch in thickness, was worn during a period of mourning that lasted
through the time it would take nature, by the growth of the hair,
actually to lift from the head the heavy covering of pitch after it
had become solidified and hard as stone.  It must be admitted that
they underwent considerable discomfort in memory of their relatives.
It took all the influence we could bring to bear to break up these
absurdly superstitious practices, and it looked as if no permanent
improvement could be effected, for as soon as we got them to discard
one, another would be invented.  When not allowed to burn down their
tepees or houses, those poor souls who were in a dying condition
would be carried out to the neighboring hillsides just before
dissolution, and there abandoned to their sufferings, with little or
no attention, unless the placing under their heads of a small stick
of wood--with possibly some laudable object, but doubtless great
discomfort to their victim--might be considered such.

To uproot these senseless and monstrous practices was indeed most
difficult.  The most pernicious of all was one which was likely to
bring about tragic results.  They believed firmly in a class of
doctors among their people who professed that they could procure the
illness of an individual at will, and that by certain incantations
they could kill or cure the sick person.  Their faith in this
superstition was so steadfast that there was no doubting its
sincerity, many indulging at times in the most trying privations,
that their relatives might be saved from death at the hands of the
doctors.  I often talked with them on the subject, and tried to
reason them out of the superstitious belief, defying the doctors to
kill me, or even make me ill; but my talks were unavailing, and they
always met my arguments with the remark that I was a white man, of a
race wholly different from the red man, and that that was the reason
the medicine of the doctors would not affect me.  These villainous
doctors might be either men or women, and any one of them finding an
Indian ill, at once averred that his influence was the cause,
offering at the same time to cure the invalid for a fee, which
generally amounted to about all the ponies his family possessed.  If
the proposition was accepted and the fee paid over, the family, in
case the man died, was to have indemnity through the death of the
doctor, who freely promised that they might take his life in such
event, relying on his chances of getting protection from the furious
relatives by fleeing to the military post till time had so assuaged
their grief that matters could be compromised or settled by a
restoration of a part of the property, when the rascally leeches
could again resume their practice.  Of course the services of a
doctor were always accepted when an Indian fell ill; otherwise the
invalid's death would surely ensue, brought about by the evil
influence that was unpropitiated.  Latterly it had become quite the
thing, when a patient died, for the doctor to flee to our camp--it
was so convenient and so much safer than elsewhere--and my cellar was
a favorite place of refuge from the infuriated friends of the

Among the most notable of these doctors was an Indian named Sam
Patch, who several times sought asylum in any cellar, and being a
most profound diplomat, managed on each occasion and with little
delay to negotiate a peaceful settlement and go forth in safety to
resume the practice of his nefarious profession.  I often hoped he
would be caught before reaching the post, but he seemed to know
intuitively when the time had come to take leg-bail, for his advent
at the garrison generally preceded by but a few hours the death of
some poor dupe.

Finally these peculiar customs brought about the punishment of a
noted doctress of the Rogue River tribe, a woman who was constantly
working in this professional way, and who had found a victim of such
prominence among the Rogue Rivers that his unlooked for death brought
down on her the wrath of all.  She had made him so ill, they
believed, as to bring him to death's door notwithstanding the many
ponies that had been given her to cease the incantations, and it was
the conviction of all that she had finally caused the man's death
from some ulterior and indiscernible motive.  His relatives and
friends then immediately set about requiting her with the just
penalties of a perfidious breach of contract.  Their threats induced
her instant flight toward my house for the usual protection, but the
enraged friends of the dead man gave hot chase, and overtook the
witch just inside the limits of the garrison, where, on the
parade-ground, in sight of the officers' quarters, and before any one
could interfere, they killed her.  There were sixteen men in pursuit
of the doctress, and sixteen gun-shot wounds were found in her body
when examined by the surgeon of the post.  The killing of the woman
was a flagrant and defiant outrage committed in the teeth of the
military authority, yet done so quickly that we could not prevent it.
This necessitated severe measures, both to allay the prevailing
excitement and to preclude the recurrence of such acts.  The body was
cared for, and delivered to the relatives the next day for burial,
after which Captain Russell directed me to take such steps as would
put a stop to the fanatical usages that had brought about this
murderous occurrence, for it was now seen that if timely measures were
not taken to repress them, similar tragedies would surely follow.

Knowing all the men of the Rogue River tribe, and speaking fluently
the Chinook tongue, which they all understood, I went down to their
village the following day, after having sent word to the tribe that I
wished to have a council with them.  The Indians all met me in
council, as I had desired, and I then told them that the men who had
taken part in shooting the woman would have to be delivered up for
punishment.  They were very stiff with me at the interview, and with
all that talent for circumlocution and diplomacy with which the
Indian is lifted, endeavored to evade my demands and delay any
conclusion.  But I was very positive, would hear of no compromise
whatever, and demanded that my terms be at once complied with.  No
one was with me but a sergeant of my company, named Miller, who held
my horse, and as the chances of an agreement began to grow remote, I
became anxious for our safety.  The conversation waxing hot and the
Indians gathering close in around me, I unbuttoned the flap of my
pistol holster, to be ready for any emergency.  When the altercation
became most bitter I put my hand to my hip to draw my pistol, but
discovered it was gone--stolen by one of the rascals surrounding me.
Finding myself unarmed, I modified my tone and manner to correspond
with my helpless condition, thus myself assuming the diplomatic side
in the parley, in order to gain time.  As soon as an opportunity
offered, and I could, without too much loss of self-respect, and
without damaging my reputation among the Indians, I moved out to
where the sergeant held my horse, mounted, and crossing the Yamhill
River close by, called back in Chinook from the farther bank that
"the sixteen men who killed the woman must be delivered up, and my
six-shooter also." This was responded to by contemptuous laughter, so
I went back to the military post somewhat crestfallen, and made my
report of the turn affairs had taken, inwardly longing for another
chance to bring the rascally Rogue Rivers to terms.

When I had explained the situation to Captain Russell, he thought
that we could not, under any circumstances, overlook this defiant
conduct of the Indians, since, unless summarily punished, it would
lead to even more serious trouble in the future.  I heartily seconded
this proposition, and gladly embracing the opportunity it offered,
suggested that if he would give me another chance, and let me have
the effective force of the garrison, consisting of about fifty men, I
would chastise the Rogue Rivers without fail, and that the next day
was all the time I required to complete arrangements.  He gave me the
necessary authority, and I at once set to work to bring about a
better state of discipline on the reservation, and to put an end to
the practices of the medicine men (having also in view the recovery
of my six-shooter and self-respect), by marching to the village and
taking the rebellious Indians by force.

In the tribe there was an excellent woman called Tighee Mary (Tighee
in Chinook means chief), who by right of inheritance was a kind of
queen of the Rogue Rivers.  Fearing that the insubordinate conduct of
the Indians would precipitate further trouble, she came early the
following morning to see me and tell me of the situation Mary
informed me that she had done all in her power to bring the Indians
to reason, but without avail, and that they were determined to fight
rather than deliver up the sixteen men who had engaged in the
shooting.  She also apprised me of the fact that they had taken up a
position on the Yamhill River, on the direct road between the post
and village, where, painted and armed for war, they were awaiting

On this information I concluded it would be best to march to the
village by a circuitous route instead of directly, as at first
intended, so I had the ferry-boat belonging to the post floated about
a mile and a half down the Yamhill River and there anchored.  At 11
o'clock that night I marched my fifty men, out of the garrison, in a
direction opposite to that of the point held by the Indians, and soon
reached the river at the ferryboat.  Here I ferried the party over
with little delay, and marched them along the side of the mountain,
through underbrush and fallen timber, until, just before daylight, I
found that we were immediately in rear of the village, and thence in
rear, also, of the line occupied by the refractory Indians, who were
expecting to meet me on the direct road from the post.  Just at break
of day we made a sudden descent upon the village and took its
occupants completely by surprise, even capturing the chief of the
tribe, "Sam," who was dressed in all his war toggery, fully armed and
equipped, in anticipation of a fight on the road where his comrades
were in position.  I at once put Sam under guard, giving orders to
kill him instantly if the Indians fired a shot; then forming my line
on the road beyond the edge of the village, in rear of the force
lying in wait for a front attack, we moved forward.  When the hostile
party realized that they were completely cut off from the village,
they came out from their stronghold on the river and took up a line
in my front, distant about sixty yards with the apparent intention of
resisting to the last.

As is usual with Indians when expecting a fight, they were nearly
naked, fantastically painted with blue clay, and hideously arrayed in
war bonnets.  They seemed very belligerent, brandishing their muskets
in the air, dancing on one foot, calling us ugly names, and making
such other demonstrations of hostility, that it seemed at first that
nothing short of the total destruction of the party could bring about
the definite settlement that we were bent on.  Still, as it was my
desire to bring them under subjection without loss of life, if
possible, I determined to see what result would follow when they
learned that their chief was at our mercy.  So, sending Sam under
guard to the front, where he could be seen, informing them that he
would be immediately shot if they fired upon us, and aided by the
cries and lamentations of the women of the village, who deprecated
any hostile action by either party, I soon procured a parley.

The insubordinate Indians were under command of "Joe," Sam's brother,
who at last sent me word that he wanted to see me, and we met between
our, respective lines.  I talked kindly to him, but was firm in my
demand that the men who killed the woman must be given up and my
six-shooter returned.  His reply was he did not think it could be done,
but he would consult his people.  After the consultation, he returned
and notified me that fifteen would surrender and the six-shooter
would be restored, and further, that we could kill the sixteenth man,
since the tribe wished to get rid of him anyhow, adding that he was a
bad Indian, whose bullet no doubt had given the woman her death
wound.  He said that if I assented to this arrangement, he would
require all of his people except the objectionable man to run to the
right of his line at a preconcerted signal.  The bad Indian would be
ordered to stand fast on the extreme left, and we could open fire on
him as his comrades fell away to the right.  I agreed to the
proposition, and gave Joe fifteen minutes to execute his part of it.
We then returned to our respective forces, and a few minutes later
the fifteen ran to the right flank as agreed upon, and we opened fire
on the one Indian left standing alone, bringing him down in his
tracks severely wounded by a shot through the shoulder.

While all this was going on, the other bands of the reservation,
several thousand strong, had occupied the surrounding hills for the
purpose of witnessing the fight, for as the Rogue Rivers had been
bragging for some time that they could whip the soldiers, these other
Indians had come out to see it done.  The result, however,
disappointed the spectators, and the Rogue Rivers naturally lost
caste.  The fifteen men now came in and laid down their arms
(including my six-shooter) in front of us as agreed, but I compelled
them to take the surrendered guns up again and carry them to the
post, where they were deposited in the block-house for future
security.  The prisoners were ironed with ball and chain, and made to
work at the post until their rebellious spirit was broken; and the
wounded man was correspondingly punished after he had fully
recovered.  An investigation as to why this man had been selected as
the offering by which Joe and his companions expected to gain
immunity, showed that the fellow was really a most worthless
character, whose death even would have been a benefit to the tribe.
Thus it seemed that they had two purposes in view--the one to
propitiate me and get good terms, the other to rid themselves of a
vagabond member of the tribe.

The punishment of these sixteen Indians by ball and chain ended all
trouble with the Rogue River tribe.  The, disturbances arising from
the incantations of the doctors and doctresses, and the practice of
killing horses and burning all worldly property on the graves of
those who died, were completely suppressed, and we made with little
effort a great stride toward the civilization of these crude and
superstitious people, for they now began to recognize the power of
the Government.  In their management afterward a course of justice
and mild force was adopted, and unvaryingly applied.  They were
compelled to cultivate their land, to attend church, and to send
their children to school.  When I saw them, fifteen years later,
transformed into industrious and substantial farmers, with neat
houses, fine cattle, wagons and horses, carrying their grain, eggs,
and butter to market and bringing home flour, coffee, sugar, and
calico in return, I found abundant confirmation of my early opinion
that the most effectual measures for lifting them from a state of
barbarism would be a practical supervision at the outset, coupled
with a firm control and mild discipline.

In all that was done for these Indians Captain Russell's judgment and
sound, practical ideas were the inspiration.  His true manliness,
honest and just methods, together with the warm-hearted interest he
took in all that pertained to matters of duty to his Government,
could not have produced other than the best results, in what position
soever he might have been placed.  As all the lovable traits of his
character were constantly manifested, I became most deeply attached
to him, and until the day of his death in 1864, on the battle-field
of Opequan, in front of Winchester, while gallantly leading his
division under my command, my esteem and affection were sustained and
intensified by the same strong bonds that drew me to him in these
early days in Oregon.

After the events just narrated I continued on duty at the post of
Yamhill, experiencing the usual routine of garrison life without any
incidents of much interest, down to the breaking out of the war of
the rebellion in April, 1861.  The news of the firing on Fort Sumter
brought us an excitement which overshadowed all else, and though we
had no officers at the post who sympathized with the rebellion, there
were several in our regiment--the Fourth Infantry--who did, and we
were considerably exercised as to the course they might pursue, but
naturally far more so concerning the disposition that would be made
of the regiment during the conflict.

In due time orders came for the regiment to go East, and my company
went off, leaving me, however--a second lieutenant--in command of the
post until I should be relieved by Captain James J. Archer, of the
Ninth Infantry, whose company was to take the place of the old
garrison.  Captain Archer, with his company of the Ninth, arrived
shortly after, but I had been notified that he intended to go South,
and his conduct was such after reaching the post that I would not
turn over the command to him for fear he might commit some rebellious
act.  Thus a more prolonged detention occurred than I had at first
anticipated.  Finally the news came that he had tendered his
resignation and been granted a leave of absence for sixty days.  On
July 17 he took his departure, but I continued in command till
September 1, when Captain Philip A. Owen, of the Ninth Infantry,
arrived and, taking charge, gave me my release.

From the day we received the news of the firing on Sumter until I
started East, about the first of September, 1861, I was deeply
solicitous as to the course of events, and though I felt confident
that in the end the just cause of the Government must triumph, yet
the thoroughly crystallized organization which the Southern
Confederacy quickly exhibited disquieted me very much, for it alone
was evidence that the Southern leaders had long anticipated the
struggle and prepared for it.  It was very difficult to obtain direct
intelligence of the progress of the war.  Most of the time we were in
the depths of ignorance as to the true condition of affairs, and this
tended to increase our anxiety.  Then, too, the accounts of the
conflicts that had taken place were greatly exaggerated by the
Eastern papers, and lost nothing in transition.  The news came by the
pony express across the Plains to San Francisco, where it was still
further magnified in republishing, and gained somewhat in Southern
bias.  I remember well that when the first reports reached us of, the
battle of Bull Run--that sanguinary engagement--it was stated that
each side had lost forty thousand men in killed and wounded, and none
were reported missing nor as having run away.  Week by week these
losses grew less, until they finally shrunk into the hundreds, but
the vivid descriptions of the gory conflict were not toned down
during the whole summer.

We received our mail at Yamhill only once a week, and then had to
bring it from Portland, Oregon, by express.  On the day of the week
that our courier, or messenger, was expected back from Portland, I
would go out early in the morning to a commanding point above the
post, from which I could see a long distance down the road as it ran
through the valley of the Yamhill, and there I would watch with
anxiety for his coming, longing for good news; for, isolated as I had
been through years spent in the wilderness, my patriotism was
untainted by politics, nor had it been disturbed by any discussion of
the questions out of which the war grew, and I hoped for the success
of the Government above all other considerations.  I believe I was
also uninfluenced by any thoughts of the promotion that might result
to me from the conflict, but, out of a sincere desire to contribute
as much as I could to the preservation of the Union, I earnestly
wished to be at the seat of war, and feared it might end before I
could get East.  In no sense did I anticipate what was to happen to
me afterward, nor that I was to gain any distinction from it.  I was
ready to do my duty to the best of my ability wherever I might be
called, and I was young, healthy, insensible to fatigue, and desired
opportunity, but high rank was so distant in our service that not a
dream of its attainment had flitted through my brain.

During the period running from January to September, 1861, in
consequence of resignations and the addition of some new regiments to
the regular army, I had passed through the grade of first lieutenant
and reached that of captain in the Thirteenth United States Infantry,
of which General W. T. Sherman had recently been made the colonel.
When relieved from further duty at Yamhill by Captain Owen, I left
for the Atlantic coast to join my new regiment.  A two days' ride
brought me down to Portland, whence I sailed to San Franciso, and at
that city took passage by steamer for New York via the Isthmus of
Panama, in company with a number of officers who were coming East
under circumstances like my own.

At this time California was much agitated--on the question of
secession, and the secession element was so strong that considerable
apprehension was felt by the Union people lest the State might be
carried into the Confederacy.  As a consequence great distrust
existed in all quarters, and the loyal passengers on the steamer, not
knowing what might occur during our voyage, prepared to meet
emergencies by thoroughly organizing to frustrate any attempt that
might possibly be made to carry us into some Southern port after we
should leave Aspinwall.  However, our fears proved groundless; at all
events, no such attempt was made, and we reached New York in safety
in November, 1861.  A day or two in New York sufficed to replenish a
most meagre wardrobe, and I then started West to join my new
regiment, stopping a day and a night at the home of my parents in
Ohio, where I had not been since I journeyed from Texas for the
Pacific coast.  The headquarters of my regiment were at Jefferson
Barracks, Missouri, to which point I proceeded with no further delay
except a stay in the city of St. Louis long enough to pay my respects
to General H. W. Halleck.



Some days after I had reached the headquarters of my regiment near
St. Louis, General Halleck sent for me, and when I reported he
informed me that there existed a great deal of confusion regarding
the accounts of some of the disbursing officers in his department,
whose management of its fiscal affairs under his predecessor, General
John C. Fremont, had been very loose; and as the chaotic condition of
things could be relieved only by auditing these accounts, he
therefore had determined to create a board of officers for the
purpose, and intended to make me president of it.  The various
transactions in question covered a wide field, for the department
embraced the States of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas,
and all of Kentucky west of the Cumberland River.

The duty was not distasteful, and I felt that I was qualified to
undertake it, for the accounts to be audited belonged exclusively to
the Quartermaster and Subsistence departments, and by recent
experience I had become familiar with the class of papers that
pertained to those branches of the army.  Indeed, it was my
familiarity with such transactions, returns, etc., that probably
caused my selection as president of the board.

I entered upon the work forthwith, and continued at it until the 26th
of December, 1861.  At that date I was relieved from the auditing
board and assigned to duty as Chief Commissary of the Army of
Southwest Missouri, commanded by General Samuel R. Curtis.  This army
was then organizing at Rolla, Missouri, for the Pea Ridge campaign,
its strength throughout the campaign being in the aggregate about
fifteen thousand men.

As soon as I received information of my selection for this position,
I went to General Halleck and requested him to assign me as Chief
Quartermaster also.  He was reluctant to do so, saying that I could
not perform both duties, but I soon convinced him that I could do
both better than the one, for I reminded him that as Chief
Quartermaster I should control the transportation, and thus obviate
all possible chances of discord between the two staff departments; a
condition which I deemed essential to success, especially as it was
intended that Curtis's army should mainly subsist on the country.
This argument impressed Halleck, and becoming convinced, he promptly
issued the order making me Chief Quartermaster and Chief Commissary
of Subsistence of the Army of Southwest Missouri, and I started for
Rolla to enter upon the work assigned me.

Having reported to General Curtis, I quickly learned that his system
of supply was very defective, and the transportation without proper
organization, some of the regiments having forty to fifty wagon each,
and others only three or four.  I labored day and night to remedy
these and other defects, and with the help of Captain Michael P.
Small, of the Subsistence Department, who was an invaluable
assistant, soon brought things into shape, putting the transportation
in good working order, giving each regiment its proper quota of
wagons, and turning the surplus into the general supply trains of the
army.  In accomplishing this I was several times on the verge of
personal conflict with irate regimental commanders, but Colonel G. M.
Dodge so greatly sustained me with General Curtis by strong moral
support, and by such efficient details from his regiment--the Fourth
Iowa Volunteer Infantry--that I still bear him and it great affection
and lasting gratitude.

On January 26, 1862, General Curtis's army began its march from Rolla
to Springfield, Missouri, by way of Lebanon.  The roads were deep
with mud, and so badly cut up that the supply trains in moving
labored under the most serious difficulties, and were greatly
embarrassed by swollen streams.  Under these circumstances many
delays occurred, and when we arrived at Lebanon nearly all the
supplies with which we had started had been consumed, and the work of
feeding the troops off the country had to begin at that point.  To
get flour, wheat had to be taken from the stacks, threshed, and sent
to the mills to be ground.  Wheat being scarce in this region, corn
as a substitute had to be converted into meal by the same laborious
process.  In addition, beef cattle had to be secured for the meat

By hard work we soon accumulated a sufficient quantity of flour and
corn meal to justify the resumption of our march on Springfield; at
or near which point the enemy was believed to be awaiting us, and the
order was given to move forward, the commanding general cautioning
me, in the event of disaster, to let no salt fall into General
Price's hands.  General Curtis made a hobby of this matter of salt,
believing the enemy was sadly in need of that article, and he
impressed me deeply with his conviction that our cause would be
seriously injured by a loss which would inure so greatly and
peculiarly to the enemy's benefit; but we afterward discovered, when
Price abandoned his position, that about all he left behind was salt.

When we were within about eight miles of Springfield, General Curtis
decided to put his troops in line of battle for the advance on the
town, and directed me to stretch out my supply trains in a long line
of battle, so that in falling back, in case the troops were repulsed,
he could rally the men on the wagons.  I did not like the tactics,
but of course obeyed the order.  The line moved on Springfield, and
took the town without resistance, the enemy having fled southward, in
the direction of Pea Ridge, the preceding day.  Of course our success
relieved my anxiety about the wagons; but fancy has often pictured
since, the stampede of six mule teams that, had we met with any
reverse, would have taken place over the prairies of southwest

The army set out in pursuit of Price, but I was left at Springfield
to gather supplies from the surrounding country, by the same means
that had been used at Lebanon, and send them forward.  To succeed in
this useful and necessary duty required much hard work.  To procure
the grain and to run the mills in the country, replacing the
machinery where parts had been carried away, or changing the
principle and running the mills on some different plan when
necessary, and finally forward the product to the army, made a task
that taxed the energy of all engaged in it.  Yet, having at command a
very skillful corps of millwrights, machinists, and millers, detailed
principally from the Fourth Iowa and Thirty-sixth Illinois volunteer
regiments, we soon got matters in shape, and were able to send such
large quantities of flour and meal to the front, that only the bacon
and small parts of the ration had to be brought forward from our
depot at Rolla.  When things were well systematized, I went forward
myself to expedite the delivery of supplies, and joined the army at
Cross Hollows, just south of Pea Ridge.

Finding everything working well at Cross Hollows, I returned to
Springfield in a few days to continue the labor of collecting
supplies.  On my way back I put the mills at Cassville in good order
to grind the grain in that vicinity, and perfected there a plan for
the general supply from the neighboring district of both the men and
animals of the army, so that there should, be no chance of a failure
of the campaign from bad roads or disaster to my trains.  Springfield
thus became the centre of the entire supply section.

Just after my return to Springfield the battle of Pea Ridge was
fought.  The success of the Union troops in this battle was
considerable, and while not of sufficient magnitude to affect the
general cause materially, it was decisive as to that particular
campaign, and resulted in driving all organized Confederate forces
out of the State of Missouri.  After Pea Ridge was won, certain
efforts were made to deprive Curtis of the credit due him for the
victory; but, no matter what merit belonged to individual commanders,
I was always convinced that Curtis was deserving of the highest
commendation, not only for the skill displayed on the field, but for
a zeal and daring in campaign which was not often exhibited at that
early period of the war.  Especially should this credit be awarded
him, when we consider the difficulties under which he labored, how he
was hampered in having to depend on a sparsely settled country for
the subsistence of his troops.  In the reports of the battle that
came to Springfield, much glory was claimed for some other general
officers, but as I had control of the telegraph line from Springfield
east, I detained all despatches until General Curtis had sent in his
official report.  He thus had the opportunity of communicating with
his superior in advance of some of his vain subordinates, who would
have laid claim to the credit of the battle had I not thwarted them
by this summary means.

Not long afterward came the culmination of a little difference that
had arisen between General Curtis and me, brought about, I have since
sometimes thought, by an assistant quartermaster from Iowa, whom I
had on duty with me at Springfield.  He coveted my place, and finally
succeeded in getting it.  He had been an unsuccessful banker in Iowa,
and early in the war obtained an appointment as assistant
quartermaster of volunteers with the rank of captain.  As chief
quartermaster of the army in Missouri, there would be opportunities
for the recuperation of his fortunes which would not offer to one in
a subordinate place; so to gain this position he doubtless intrigued
for it while under my eye, and Curtis was induced to give it to him
as soon as I was relieved.  His career as my successor, as well as in
other capacities in which he was permitted to act during the war, was
to say the least not savory.  The war over he turned up in Chicago as
president of a bank, which he wrecked; and he finally landed in the
penitentiary for stealing a large sum of money from the United States
Treasury at Washington while employed there as a clerk.  The chances
that this man's rascality would be discovered were much less when
chief of the departments of transportation and supply of an army than
they afterward proved to be in the Treasury.  I had in my possession
at all times large sums of money for the needs of the army, and among
other purposes for which these funds were to be disbursed was the
purchase of horses and mules.  Certain officers and men more devoted
to gain than to the performance of duty (a few such are always to be
found in armies) quickly learned this, and determined to profit by
it.  Consequently they began a regular system of stealing horses from
the people of the country and proffering them to me for purchase.  It
took but a little time to discover this roguery, and when I became
satisfied of their knavery I brought it to a sudden close by seizing
the horses as captured property, branding them U. S., and refusing to
pay for them.  General Curtis, misled by the misrepresentations that
had been made, and without fully knowing the circumstances, or
realizing to what a base and demoralizing state of things this course
was inevitably tending, practically ordered me to make the Payments,
and I refused.  The immediate result of this disobedience was a
court-martial to try me; and knowing that my usefulness in that army
was gone, no matter what the outcome of the trial might be, I asked
General Halleck to relieve me from duty with General Curtis and order
me to St. Louis.  This was promptly done, and as my connection with
the Army of Southwest Missouri was thus severed before the court
could be convened, my case never came to trial.  The man referred to
as being the cause of this condition of affairs was appointed by
General Curtis to succeed me.  I turned over to the former all the
funds and property for which I was responsible, also the branded
horses and mules stolen from the people of the country, requiring
receipts for everything.  I heard afterward that some of the blooded
stock of southwest Missouri made its way to Iowa in an unaccountable
manner, but whether the administration of my successor was
responsible for it or not I am unable to say.

On my arrival at St. Louis I felt somewhat forlorn and disheartened
at the turn affairs had taken.  I did not know where I should be
assigned, nor what I should be required to do, but these
uncertainties were dispelled in a few days by General Halleck, who,
being much pressed by the Governors of some of the Western States to
disburse money in their sections, sent me out into the Northwest with
a sort of roving commission to purchase horses for the use of the
army.  I went to Madison and Racine, Wis., at which places I bought
two hundred horses, which were shipped to St. Louis.  At Chicago I
bought two hundred more, and as the prices paid at the latter point
showed that Illinois was the cheapest market--it at that time
producing a surplus over home demands--I determined to make Chicago
the centre of my operations.

While occupied in this way at Chicago the battle of Shiloh took
place, and the desire for active service with troops became uppermost
in my thoughts, so I returned to St. Louis to see if I could not get
into the field.  General Halleck having gone down to the Shiloh
battle-field, I reported to his Assistant Adjutant-General, Colonel
John C. Kelton, and told him of my anxiety to take a hand in active
field-service, adding that I did not wish to join my regiment, which
was still organizing and recruiting at Jefferson Barracks, for I felt
confident I could be more useful elsewhere.  Kelton knew that the
purchasing duty was but temporary, and that on its completion,
probably at no distant date, I should have to join my company at the
barracks; so, realizing the inactivity to which that situation of
affairs would subject me, he decided to assume the responsibility of
sending me to report to General Halleck at Shiloh, and gave me an
order to that effect.

This I consider the turning-point in my military career, and shall
always feel grateful to Colonel Kelton for his kindly act which so
greatly influenced my future.  My desire to join the army at Shiloh
had now taken possession of me, and I was bent on getting there by
the first means available.  Learning that a hospital-boat under
charge of Dr. Hough was preparing to start for Pittsburg Landing, I
obtained the Doctor's consent to take passage on it, and on the
evening of April 15, I left St. Louis for the scene of military
operations in northeastern Mississippi.

At Pittsburg Landing I reported to General Halleck, who, after some
slight delay, assigned me to duty as an assistant to Colonel George
Thom, of the topographical engineers.  Colonel Thom put me at the
work of getting the trains up from the landing, which involved the
repair of roads for that purpose by corduroying the marshy places.
This was rough, hard work, without much chance of reward, but it, was
near the field of active operations, and I determined to do the best
I could at it till opportunity for something better might arise.

General Halleck did not know much about taking care of himself in the
field.  His camp arrangements were wholly inadequate, and in
consequence he and all the officers about him were subjected to much
unnecessary discomfort and annoyance.  Someone suggested to him to
appoint me quartermaster for his headquarters, with a view to
systematizing the establishment and remedying the defects complained
of, and I was consequently assigned to this duty.  Shortly after this
assignment I had the satisfaction of knowing that General Halleck was
delighted with the improvements made at headquarters, both in camp
outfit and transportation, and in administration generally.  My
popularity grew as the improvements increased, but one trifling
incident came near marring it.  There was some hitch about getting
fresh beef for General Halleck's mess, and as by this time everybody
had come to look to me for anything and everything in the way of
comfort, Colonel Joe McKibben brought an order from the General for
me to get fresh beef for the headquarters mess.  I was not caterer
for this mess, nor did I belong to it even, so I refused point-blank.
McKibben, disliking to report my disobedience, undertook persuasion,
and brought Colonel Thom to see me to aid in his negotiations, but I
would not give in, so McKibben in the kindness of his heart rode
several miles in order to procure the beef himself, and thus save me
from the dire results which he thought would follow should Halleck
get wind of such downright insubordination.  The next day I was made
Commissary of Subsistence for the headquarters in addition to my
other duties, and as this brought me into the line of fresh beef,
General Halleck had no cause thereafter to complain of a scarcity of
that article in his mess.

My stay at General Halleck's headquarters was exceedingly agreeable,
and my personal intercourse with officers on duty there was not only
pleasant and instructive, but offered opportunities for improvement
and advancement for which hardly any other post could have afforded
like chances.  My special duties did not occupy all my time, and
whenever possible I used to go over to General Sherman's division,
which held the extreme right of our line in the advance on Corinth,
to witness the little engagements occurring there continuously during
the slow progress which the army was then making, the enemy being
forced back but a short distance each day.  I knew General Sherman
very well.  We came from near the same section of country in Ohio,
and his wife and her family had known me from childhood.  I was
always kindly received by the General, and one day he asked me if I
would be willing to accept the colonelcy of a certain Ohio regiment
if he secured the appointment.  I gladly told him yes, if General
Halleck would let me go; but I was doomed to disappointment, for in
about a week or so afterward General Sherman informed me that the
Governor of Ohio would not consent, having already decided to appoint
some one else.

A little later Governor Blair, of Michigan, who was with the army
temporarily in the interest of the troops from his State, and who
just at this time was looking around for a colonel for the Second
Michigan Cavalry, and very anxious to get a regular officer, fixed
upon me as the man.  The regiment was then somewhat run down by
losses from sickness, and considerably split into factions growing
out of jealousies engendered by local differences previous to
organization, and the Governor desired to bridge over all these
troubles by giving the regiment a commander who knew nothing about
them.  I presume that some one said to the Governor about this time,
"Why don't you get Sheridan?"  This, however, is only conjecture.  I
really do not know how my name was proposed to him, but I have often
been told since that General Gordon Granger, whom I knew slightly
then, and who had been the former colonel of the regiment, first
suggested the appointment.  At all events, on the morning of May 27,
1862, Captain Russell A. Alger--recently Governor of Michigan
--accompanied by the quartermaster of the regiment, Lieutenant Frank
Walbridge, arrived at General Halleck's headquarters and delivered to
me this telegram:

(By Telegraph.)
"DETROIT, May 25, 1862.


"Captain Philip H. Sheridan, U. S. Army, is hereby appointed
Colonel of the Second Regiment Michigan Cavalry, to rank from
this date.

"Captain Sheridan will immediately assume command of the

"By order of the Commander-in-Chief,

I took the order to General Halleck, and said that I would like to
accept, but he was not willing I should do so until the consent of
the War Department could be obtained.  I returned to my tent much
disappointed, for in those days, for some unaccountable reason, the
War Department did not favor the appointment of regular officers to
volunteer regiments, and I feared a disapproval at Washington.  After
a further consultation with Captain Alger and Lieutenant Walbridge, I
determined to go to the General again and further present the case.
Enlarging on my desire for active service with troops, and urging the
utter lack of such opportunity where I was, I pleaded my cause until
General Halleck finally resolved to take the responsibility of
letting me go without consulting the War Department.  When I had
thanked him for the kindness, he said that inasmuch as I was to leave
him, he would inform me that the regiment to which I had just been
appointed was ordered out as part of a column directed to make a raid
to the south of the enemy, then occupying Corinth, and that if I
could turn over my property, it would probably be well for me to join
my command immediately, so that I could go with the expedition.  I
returned to my tent, where Alger and Walbridge were still waiting,
and told them of the success of my interview, at the same time
notifying them that I would join the regiment in season to accompany
the expedition of which Halleck had spoken.

In the course of the afternoon I turned over all my property to my
successor, and about 8 o'clock that evening made my appearance at the
camp of the Second Michigan Cavalry, near Farmington, Mississippi.
The regiment was in a hubbub of excitement making preparations for
the raid, and I had barely time to meet the officers of my command,
and no opportunity at all to see the men, when the trumpet sounded to
horse.  Dressed in a coat and trousers of a captain of infantry, but
recast as a colonel of cavalry by a pair of well-worn eagles that
General Granger had kindly given me, I hurriedly placed on my saddle
a haversack, containing some coffee, sugar, bacon, and hard bread,
which had been prepared, and mounting my horse, I reported my
regiment to the brigade commander as ready for duty.



The expedition referred to by General Halleck in his parting
conversation was composed of the Second Michigan and Second Iowa
regiments of cavalry, formed into a brigade under command of Colonel
Washington L. Elliott, of the Second Iowa.  It was to start on the
night of the 27th of May at 12 o'clock, and proceed by a circuitous
route through Iuka, Miss., to Booneville, a station on the Mobile and
Ohio Railroad, about twenty-two miles below Corinth, and accomplish
all it could in the way of destroying the enemy's supplies and
cutting his railroad communications.

The weather in that climate was already warm, guides unobtainable,
and both men and horses suffered much discomfort from the heat, and
fatigue from the many delays growing out of the fact that we were in
almost total ignorance of the roads leading to the point that we
desired to reach.  In order that we might go light we carried only
sugar, coffee, and salt, depending on the country for meat and bread.
Both these articles were scarce, but I think we got all there was,
for our advent was so unexpected by the people of the region through
which we passed that, supposing us to be Confederate cavalry, they
often gave us all they had, the women and servants contributing most
freely from their, reserve stores.

Before reaching Booneville I had the advance, but just as we arrived
on the outskirts of the town the brigade was formed with the Second
Iowa on my right, and the whole force moved forward, right in front,
preceded by skirmishers.  Here we encountered the enemy, but forced
him back with little resistance.  When we had gained possession of
the station, Colonel Elliott directed me to take the left wing of my
regiment, pass to the south, and destroy a bridge or culvert supposed
to be at a little distance below the town on the Mobile and Ohio
Railroad.  The right wing, or other half of the regiment, was to be
held in reserve for my support if necessary.  I moved rapidly in the
designated direction till I reached the railroad, and then rode down
it for a mile and a half, but found neither bridge nor culvert.  I
then learned that there was no bridge of any importance except the
one at Baldwin, nine miles farther down, but as I was aware, from
information recently received, that it was defended by three
regiments and a battery, I concluded that I could best accomplish the
purpose for which I had been detached--crippling the road--by tearing
up the track, bending the rails, and burning the cross-ties.  This
was begun with alacrity at four different points, officers and men
vieing with one another in the laborious work of destruction.  We had
but few tools, and as the difficulties to overcome were serious, our
progress was slow, until some genius conceived the idea that the
track, rails and ties, might be lifted from its bed bodily, turned
over, and subjected to a high heat; a convenient supply of dry
fence-rails would furnish ample fuel to render the rails useless.
In this way a good deal of the track was effectively broken up, and
communication by rail from Corinth to the south entirely cut off.
While we were still busy in wrecking the road, a dash was made at my
right and rear by a squadron of Confederate cavalry.  This was
handsomely met by the reserve under Captain Archibald P. Campbell, of
the Second Michigan, who, dismounting a portion of his command,
received the enemy with such a volley from his Colt's repeating
rifles that the squadron broke and fled in all directions.  We were
not molested further, and resumed our work, intending to extend the
break toward Baldwin, but receiving orders from Elliott to return to
Booneville immediately, the men were recalled, and we started to
rejoin the main command.

In returning to Booneville, I found the railroad track above where I
had struck it blocked by trains that we had thus cut off, and the
woods and fields around the town covered with several thousand
Confederate soldiers.  These were mostly convalescents and
disheartened stragglers belonging to General Beauregard's army, and
from them we learned that Corinth was being evacuated.  I spent some
little time in an endeavor to get these demoralized men into an open
field, with a view to some future disposition of them; but in the
midst of the undertaking I received another order from Colonel
Elliott to join him at once.  The news of the evacuation had also
reached Elliott, and had disclosed a phase of the situation so
different from that under which he had viewed it when we arrived at
Booneville, that he had grown anxious to withdraw, lest we should be
suddenly pounced upon by an overwhelming force from some one of the
columns in retreat.  Under such circumstances my prisoners would
prove a decided embarrassment, so I abandoned further attempts to get
them together--not even paroling them, which I thought might have
been done with but little risk.

In the meantime the captured cars had been fired, and as their
complete destruction was assured by explosions from those containing
ammunition, they needed no further attention, so I withdrew my men
and hastened to join Elliott, taking along some Confederate officers
whom I had retained from among four or five hundred prisoners
captured when making the original dash below the town.

The losses in my regiment, and, in fact, those of the entire command,
were insignificant.  The results of the expedition were important;
the railroad being broken so thoroughly as to cut off all rolling
stock north of Booneville, and to place at the service of General
Halleck's army the cars and locomotives of which the retreating
Confederates were now so much in need.  In addition, we burned
twenty-six cars containing ten thousand stand of small arms, three
pieces of artillery, a great quantity of clothing, a heavy supply of
ammunition, and the personal baggage of General Leonidas Polk.  A
large number of prisoners, mostly sick and convalescent, also fell
into our hands; but as we could not carry them with us--such a hurried
departure was an immediate necessity, by reason of our critical
situation--the process of paroling them was not completed, and they
doubtless passed back to active service in the Confederacy, properly
enough unrecognized as prisoners of war by their superiors.

In returning, the column marched back by another indirect route to
its old camp near Farmington, where we learned that the whole army
had moved into and beyond Corinth, in pursuit of Beauregard, on the
13th of May, the very day we had captured Booneville.  Although we
had marched about one hundred and eighty miles in four days, we were
required to take part, of course, in the pursuit of the Confederate
army.  So, resting but one night in our old camp, we were early in
the saddle again on the morning of the 2d of June.  Marching south
through Corinth, we passed on the 4th of June the scene of our late
raid, viewing with much satisfaction, as we took the road toward
Blackland, the still smoldering embers of the burned trains.

On the 4th of June I was ordered to proceed with my regiment along
the Blackland road to determine the strength of the enemy in that
direction, as it was thought possible we might capture, by a
concerted movement which General John Pope had suggested to General
Halleck, a portion of Beauregard's rear guard.  Pushing the
Confederate scouts rapidly in with a running fire for a mile or more,
while we were approaching a little stream, I hoped to gobble the main
body of the enemy's pickets.  I therefore directed the sabre
battalion of the regiment, followed by that portion of it armed with
revolving rifles, to dash forward in column, cut off these videttes
before they could cross the stream, and then gather them in.  The
pickets fled hastily, however, and a pell-mell pursuit carried us
over the stream at their heels by a little bridge, with no thought of
halting till we gained a hill on the other side, and suddenly found
ourselves almost in the camp of a strong body of artillery and
infantry.  Captain Campbell being in advance, hurriedly dismounted
his battalion for a further forward movement on foot, but it was
readily seen that the enemy was present in such heavy force as almost
to ensure our destruction, and I gave orders for a hasty withdrawal.
We withdrew without loss under cover of thick woods, aided much,
however, by the consternation of the Confederates, who had hardly
recovered from their surprise at our sudden appearance in their camp
before we had again placed the stream between them and us by
recrossing the bridge.  The reconnoissance was a success in one way
--that is, in finding out that the enemy was at the point supposed by,
General Pope; but it also had a tendency to accelerate Beauregard's
retreat, for in a day or two his whole line fell back as far south as
Guntown, thus rendering abortive the plans for bagging a large
portion of his army.

General Beauregard's evacuation of Corinth and retreat southward were
accomplished in the face of a largely superior force of Union troops,
and he reached the point where he intended to halt for reorganization
without other loss than that sustained in the destruction of the cars
and supplies at Booneville, and the capture of some stragglers and
deserters that fell into our hands while we were pressing his rear
from General Pope's flank.  The number of these was quite large, and
indicated that the enemy was considerably demoralized.  Under such
circumstances, an energetic and skillfully directed pursuit might not
have made certain the enemy's destruction, but it would largely have
aided in disintegrating his forces, and I never could quite
understand why it was not ordered.  The desultory affairs between
rear and advance guards seemed as a general, thing to have no
particular purpose in view beyond finding out where the enemy was,
and when he was found, since no supporting colums were at hand and no
one in supreme control was present to give directions, our
skirmishing was of little avail and brought but small reward.

A short time subsequent to these occurrences, Colonel Elliott was
made a brigadier-general, and as General Pope appointed him his
Chief-of-Staff, I, on the 11th of June, 1862, fell in command of the
brigade by seniority.  For the rest of the month but little of moment
occurred, and we settled down into camp at Booneville on the 26th of
June, in a position which my brigade had been ordered to take up some
twenty miles, in advance of the main army for the purpose of covering
its front.  Although but a few days had elapsed from the date of my
appointment as colonel of the Second Michigan to that of my
succeeding to the command of the brigade, I believe I can say with
propriety that I had firmly established myself in the confidence of
the officers and men of the regiment, and won their regard by
thoughtful care.  I had striven unceasingly to have them well fed and
well clothed, had personally looked after the selection of their
camps, and had maintained such a discipline as to allay former

Men who march, scout, and fight, and suffer all the hardships that
fall to the lot of soldiers in the field, in order to do vigorous
work must have the best bodily sustenance, and every comfort that can
be provided.  I knew from practical experience on the frontier that
my efforts in this direction would not only be appreciated, but
requited by personal affection and gratitude; and, further, that such
exertions would bring the best results to me.  Whenever my authority
would permit I saved my command from needless sacrifices and
unnecessary toil; therefore, when hard or daring work was to be done
I expected the heartiest response, and always got it.  Soldiers are
averse to seeing their comrades killed without compensating results,
and none realize more quickly than they the blundering that often
takes place on the field of battle.  They want some tangible
indemnity for the loss of life, and as victory is an offset the value
of which is manifest, it not only makes them content to shed their
blood, but also furnishes evidence of capacity in those who command
them.  My regiment had lost very few men since coming under my
command, but it seemed, in the eyes of all who belonged to it, that
casualties to the enemy and some slight successes for us had repaid
every sacrifice, and in consequence I had gained not only their
confidence as soldiers, but also their esteem and love as men, and to
a degree far beyond what I then realized.

As soon as the camp of my brigade was pitched at Booneville, I began
to scout in every direction, to obtain a knowledge of the enemy's
whereabouts and learn the ground about me.  My standing in drawing at
the Military Academy had never been so high as to warrant the belief
that I could ever prove myself an expert, but a few practical lessons
in that line were impressed on me there, and I had retained enough to
enable me to make rough maps that could be readily understood, and
which would be suitable to replace the erroneous skeleton outlines of
northern Mississippi, with which at this time we were scantily
furnished; so as soon as possible I compiled for the use of myself
and my regimental commanders an information map of the surrounding
country.  This map exhibited such details as country roads, streams,
farmhouses, fields, woods, and swamps, and such other topographical
features as would be useful.  I must confess that my crude sketch did
not evidence much artistic merit, but it was an improvement on what
we already possessed in the way of details to guide the command, and
this was what I most needed; for it was of the first importance that
in our exposed condition we should be equipped with a thorough
knowledge of the section in which we were operating, so as to be
prepared to encounter an enemy already indicating recovery from the
disorganizing effects of his recent retreat.

In the immediate vicinity of Booneville the country was covered with
heavy forests, with here and there clearings or intervening fields
that had been devoted to the cultivation of cotton and corn.  The
ground was of a low character, typical of northeastern Mississippi,
and abounded in small creeks that went almost totally dry even in
short periods of drought, but became flooded with muddy water under
the outpouring of rain peculiar to a semi-tropical climate.  In such
a region there were many chances of our being surprised, especially
by an enemy who knew the country well, and whose ranks were filled
with local guides; and great precautions as well as the fullest
information were necessary to prevent disaster.  I therefore
endeavored to familiarize all with our surroundings, but scarcely had
matters begun to shape themselves as I desired when our annihilation
was attempted by a large force of Confederate cavalry.

On the morning of July 1, 1862, a cavalry command of between five and
six thousand-men, under the Confederate General James R. Chalmers,
advanced on two roads converging near Booneville.  The head of the
enemy's column on the Blackland and Booneville road came in contact
with my pickets three miles and a half west of Booneville.  These
pickets, under Lieutenant Leonidas S. Scranton, of the Second
Michigan Cavalry, fell back slowly, taking advantage of every tree or
other cover to fire from till they arrived at the point where the
converging roads joined.  At this junction there was a strong
position in the protecting timber, and here Scranton made a firm
stand, being reinforced presently by the few men he had out as
pickets on the road to his left, a second company I had sent him from
camp, and subsequently by three companies more, all now commanded by
Captain Campbell.  This force was dismounted and formed in line, and
soon developed that the enemy was present in large numbers.  Up to
this time Chalmers had shown only the heads of his columns, and we
had doubts as to his purpose, but now that our resistance forced him
to deploy two regiments on the right and left of the road, it became
apparent that he meant business, and that there was no time to lose
in preparing to repel his attack.

Full information of the situation was immediately sent me, and I
directed Campbell to hold fast, if possible, till I could support
him, but if compelled to retire he was authorized to do so slowly,
taking advantage of every means that fell in his way to prolong the
fighting.  Before this I had stationed one battalion of the Second
Iowa in Booneville, but Colonel Edward Hatch, commanding that
regiment, was now directed to leave one company for the protection of
our camp a little to the north of the station, and take the balance
of the Second Iowa, with the battalion in Booneville except two sabre
companies, and form the whole in rear of Captain Campbell, to protect
his flanks and support him by a charge should the enemy break his
dismounted line.

While these preparations were being made, the Confederates attempted
to drive Campbell from his position by a direct attack through an
open field.  In this they failed, however, for our men, reserving
their fire until the enemy came within about thirty yards, then
opened on him with such a shower of bullets from our Colt's rifles
that it soon became too hot for him, and he was repulsed with
considerable loss.  Foiled in this move, Chalmers hesitated to attack
again in front, but began overlapping both flanks of Campbell's line
by force of numbers, compelling Campbell to retire toward a strong
position I had selected in his rear for a line on which to make our
main resistance.  As soon as the enemy saw this withdrawing he again
charged in front, but was again as gallantly repelled as in the first
assault, although the encounter was for a short time so desperate as
to have the character of a hand-to-hand conflict, several groups of
friend and foe using on each other the butts of their guns.  At this
juncture the timely arrival of Colonel Hatch with the Second Iowa
gave a breathing-spell to Campbell, and made the Confederates so
chary of further direct attacks that he was enabled to retire; and at
the same time I found opportunity to make disposition of the
reinforcement to the best advantage possible, placing the Second Iowa
on the left of the new line and strengthening Campbell on its right
with all the men available.

In view of his numbers, the enemy soon regained confidence in his
ability to overcome us, and in a little while again began his
flanking movements, his right passing around my left flank some
distance, and approaching our camp and transportation, which I had
forbidden to be moved out to the rear.  Fearing that he would envelop
us and capture the camp and transportation, I determined to take the
offensive.  Remembering a circuitous wood road that I had become
familiar with while making the map heretofore mentioned, I concluded
that the most effective plan would be to pass a small column around
the enemy's left, by way of this road, and strike his rear by a
mounted charge simultaneously with an advance of our main line on his
front.  I knew that the attack in rear would be a most hazardous
undertaking, but in the face of such odds as the enemy had the
condition of affairs was most critical, and could be relieved, only
by a bold and radical change in our tactics; so I at once selected
four sabre companies, two from the Second Michigan and two from the
Second Iowa, and placing Captain Alger, of the former regiment, in
command of them, I informed him that I expected of them the quick and
desperate work that is usually imposed on a forlorn hope.

To carry out the purpose now in view, I instructed Captain Alger to
follow the wood road as it led around the left of the enemy's
advancing forces, to a point where 'it joined the Blackland road,
about three miles from Booneville, and directed him, upon reaching
the Blackland road, to turn up it immediately, and charge the rear of
the enemy's line.  Under no circumstances was he to deploy the
battalion, but charge in column right through whatever he came upon,
and report to me in front of Booneville, if at all possible for him
to get there.  If he failed to break through the enemy's line, he was
to go ahead as far as he could, and then if any of his men were left,
and he was able to retreat, he was to do so by the same route he had
taken on his way out.  To conduct him on this perilous service I sent
along a thin, sallow, tawny-haired Mississippian named Beene, whom I
had employed as a guide and scout a few days before, on account of
his intimate knowledge of the roads, from the public thoroughfares
down to the insignificant by-paths of the neighboring swamps.  With
such guidance I felt sure that the column would get to the desired
point without delay, for there was no danger of its being lost or
misled by taking any of the many by-roads which traversed the dense
forests through which it would be obliged to pass.  I also informed
Alger that I should take the reserve and join the main line in front
of Booneville for the purpose of making an advance of my whole force,
and that as a signal he must have his men cheer loudly when he struck
the enemy's rear, in order that my attack might be simultaneous with

I gave him one hour to go around and come back through the enemy, and
when he started I moved to the front with the balance of the reserve,
to put everything I had into the fight.  This meant an inestimable
advantage to the enemy in case of our defeat, but our own safety
demanded the hazard.  All along our attenuated line the fighting was
now sharp, and the enemy's firing indicated such numerical strength
that fear of disaster to Alger increased my anxiety terribly as the
time set for his cheering arrived and no sound of it was heard.

Relying, however, on the fact that Beene's knowledge of the roads
would prevent his being led astray, and confident of Alger's
determination to accomplish the purpose for which he set out, as soon
as the hour was up I ordered my whole line forward.  Fortunately,
just as this moment a locomotive and two cars loaded with grain for
my horses ran into Booneville from Corinth.  I say fortunately,
because it was well known throughout the command that in the morning,
when I first discovered the large numbers of the enemy, I had called
for assistance; and my troops, now thinking that reinforcements had
arrived by rail from Rienzi, where a division of infantry was
encamped, and inspirated by this belief, advanced with renewed
confidence and wild cheering.  Meantime I had the engineer of the
locomotive blow his whistle loudly, so that the enemy might also
learn that a train had come; and from the fact that in a few moments
he began to give way before our small force, I thought that this
strategem had some effect.  Soon his men broke, and ran in the utmost
disorder over the country in every direction.  I found later,
however, that his precipitous retreat was due to the pressure on his
left from the Second Iowa, in concert with the front attack of the
Second Michigan, and the demoralization wrought in his rear by Alger,
who had almost entirely accomplished the purpose of his expedition,
though he had failed to come through, or so near that I could hear
the signal agreed upon before leaving Booneville.

After Alger had reached and turned up the Blackland road, the first
thing he came across was the Confederate headquarters; the officers
and orderlies about which he captured and sent back some distance to
a farm-house.  Continuing on a gallop, he soon struck the rear of the
enemy's line, but was unable to get through; nor did he get near
enough for me to hear his cheering; but as he had made the distance
he was to travel in the time allotted, his attack and mine were
almost coincident, and the enemy, stampeded by the charges in front
and rear, fled toward Blackland, with little or no attempt to capture
Alger's command, which might readily have been done.  Alger's
troopers soon rejoined me at Booneville, minus many hats, having
returned by their original route.  They had sustained little loss
except a few men wounded and a few temporarily missing.  Among these
was Alger himself, who was dragged from his saddle by the limb of a
tree that, in the excitement of the charge, he was unable to flank.
The missing had been dismounted in one way or another, and run over
by the enemy in his flight; but they all turned up later, none the
worse except for a few scratches and bruises.

My effective strength in this fight was 827 all told, and Alger's
command comprised ninety officers and men.  Chalmers's force was
composed of six regiments and two battalions, and though I have been
unable to find any returns from which to verify his actual numbers,
yet, from the statements of prisoners and from information obtained
from citizens along his line of march, it is safe to say that he had
in the action not less than five-thousand men.  Our casualties were
not many--forty-one in all.  His loss in killed and wounded was
considerable, his most severely wounded--forty men--falling into our
hands, having been left at farm-houses in the vicinity of the

The victory in the face of such odds was most gratifying, and as it
justified my disinclination--in fact, refusal--to retire from
Booneville without fighting (for the purpose of saving my
transportation, as directed by superior authority when I applied in
the morning for reinforcements), it was to me particularly grateful.
It was also very valuable in, view of the fact that it increased the
confidence between the officers and men of my brigade and me, and
gave us for the balance of the month not only comparative rest, but
entire immunity from the dangers of a renewed effort to gobble my
isolated outpost.  In addition to all this, commendation from my
immediate superiors was promptly tendered through oral and written
congratulations; and their satisfaction at the result of the battle
took definite form a few days later, in the following application for
my promotion, when, by an expedition to Ripley, Miss., most valuable
information as to the enemy's location and plans was captured:

"JULY 30, 1862.--3.05 P. M.

"Washington, D. C.

"Brigadiers scarce; good ones scarce.  Asboth goes on the month's
leave you gave him ten months since; Granger has temporary command.
The undersigned respectfully beg that you will obtain the promotion
of Sheridan.  He is worth his weight in gold.  His Ripley expedition
has brought us captured letters of immense value, as well as
prisoners, showing the rebel plans and dispositions, as you will
learn from District Commander.

"W. S. ROSECRANS, Brigadier-General.
"C. C. SULLIVAN,      "       "
"G. GRANGER,          "       "
"W. L. ELLIOTT,       "       "
"A. ASBOTH,           "       "     "



After the battle of Booneville, it was decided by General Rosecrans,
on the advice of General Granger, that my position at Booneville was
too much exposed, despite the fact that late on the evening of the
fight my force had been increased by the addition of, a battery of
four guns and two companies of infantry, and by the Third Michigan
Cavalry, commanded by Colonel John K. Mizner; so I was directed to
withdraw from my post and go into camp near Rienzi, Mississippi,
where I could equally well cover the roads in front of the army, and
also be near General Asboth's division of infantry, which occupied a
line in rear of the town.  This section of country, being higher and
more rolling than that in the neighborhood of Booneville, had many
advantages in the way of better camping-grounds, better grazing and
the like, but I moved with reluctance, because I feared that my
proximity to Asboth would diminish to a certain extent my
independence of command.

General Asboth was a tall, spare, handsome man, with gray mustache
and a fierce look.  He was an educated soldier, of unquestioned
courage, but the responsibilities of outpost duty bore rather heavily
on him, and he kept all hands in a state of constant worry in
anticipation of imaginary attacks.  His ideas of discipline were not
very rigid either, and as by this time there had been introduced into
my brigade some better methods than those obtaining when it first
fell to my command, I feared the effect should he, have any control
over it, or meddle with its internal affairs.  However, there was
nothing to do but to move to the place designated, but General
Granger, who still commanded the cavalry division to which the
brigade belonged, so arranged matters with General Rosecrans, who had
succeeded to the command of the Army of the Mississippi, that my
independence was to be undisturbed, except in case of a general
attack by the enemy.

We went into camp near Rienzi, July 22, sending back to the general
field-hospital at Tuscumbia Springs all our sick--a considerable
number--stricken down by the malarial influences around Booneville.
In a few days the fine grazing and abundance of grain for our
exhausted horses brought about their recuperation; and the many large
open fields in the vicinity gave opportunity for drills and parades,
which were much needed.  I turned my attention to those disciplinary
measures which, on account of active work in the field, had been
necessarily neglected since the brigade had arrived at Pittsburg
Landing, in April; and besides, we had been busy in collecting
information by scouting parties and otherwise, in prosecution of the
purpose for which we were covering the main army.

I kept up an almost daily correspondence with General Granger,
concerning the information obtained by scouts and reconnoitring
parties, and he came often to Rienzi to see me in relation to this
and other matters.  Previously I had not had much personal
association with Granger.  While I was at Halleck's headquarters we
met on one or two occasions, and the day I joined the Second Michigan
at Farmington I saw him for a few moments, but, with such slight
exception, our intercourse had been almost exclusively official.  He
had suggested my name, I was told, to Governor Blair, when the
Governor was in search of an officer of the regular army to appoint
to the colonelcy of the Second Michigan Cavalry, but his
recommendation must have been mainly based on the favorable opinions
he had heard expressed by General Halleck and by some of the officers
of his staff, rather than from any personal knowledge of my capacity.
Of course I was very grateful for this, but some of his
characteristics did not impress me favorably, and I sometimes wished
the distance between our camps greater.  His most serious failing was
an uncontrollable propensity to interfere with and direct the minor
matters relating to the command, the details for which those under
him were alone responsible.  Ill-judged meddling in this respect
often led to differences between us, only temporary it is true, but
most harassing to the subordinate, since I was compelled by the
circumstances of the situation not only invariably to yield my own
judgment, but many a time had to play peacemaker--smoothing down
ruffled feelings, that I knew had been excited by Granger's freaky
and spasmodic efforts to correct personally some trifling fault that
ought to have been left to a regimental or company commander to
remedy.  Yet with all these small blemishes Granger had many good
qualities, and his big heart was so full of generous impulses and
good motives as to far outbalance his short-comings; and
not-withstanding the friction and occasional acerbity of our official
intercourse, we maintained friendly relations till his death.

In pursuance of the fatal mistake made by dispersing Halleck's forces
after the fall of Corinth, General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the
Ohio had been started some time before on its march eastward toward
Chattanooga; and as this movement would be followed of course by a
manoeuvre on the part of the enemy, now at Tupelo under General
Braxton Bragg, either to meet Buell or frustrate his designs by some
counter-operation, I was expected to furnish, by scouting and all
other means available, information as to what was going on within the
Confederate lines.  To do the work required, necessitated an increase
of my command, and the Seventh Kansas Cavalry was therefore added to
it, and my picket-line extended so as to cover from Jacinto
southwesterly to a point midway between Rienzi and Booneville, and
then northwesterly to the Hatchie River.  Skirmishes between outposts
on this line were of frequent occurrence, with small results to
either side, but they were somewhat annoying, particularly in the
direction of Ripley, where the enemy maintained a considerable
outpost.  Deciding to cripple if not capture this outpost, on the
evening of July 27, I sent out an expedition under Colonel Hatch,
which drove the enemy from the town of Ripley and took a few
prisoners, but the most valuable prize was in the shape of a package
of thirty-two private letters, the partial reading of which disclosed
to me the positive transfer from Mississippi of most of Bragg's army,
for the purpose of counteracting Buell's operations in northern
Alabama and East Tennessee.  This decisive evidence was of the utmost
importance, and without taking time to read all the letters, I
forwarded them to General Granger July 28, in a despatch which
stated: "I deem it necessary to send them at once; the enemy is
moving in large force on Chattanooga."  Other than this the results
of the expedition were few; and the enemy, having fled from Ripley
with but slight resistance, accompanied by almost all the
inhabitants, re-occupied the place next day after our people had
quitted it, and resumed in due time his annoying attacks on our
outposts, both sides trying to achieve something whenever occasion

The prevalence of a severe drought had resulted in drying up many of
the streams within the enemy's lines, and, in consequence, he was
obliged to shift his camps often, and send his beef-cattle and mules
near his outposts for water.  My scouts kept me well posted in regard
to the movements of both camps and herds; and a favorable opportunity
presenting itself, I sent an expedition on August 14 to gather in
some animals located on Twenty-Mile Creek, a stream always supplied
with water from a source of never-failing, springs.  Our side met
with complete success in this instance, and when the expedition
returned, we were all made happy by an abundance of fresh beef, and
by some two hundred captured mules, that we thus added to our trains
at a time when draft animals were much needed.

Rations for the men were now supplied in fair quantities, and the
only thing required to make us wholly contented was plenty of grain
for our animals.  Because of the large number of troops then in West
Tennessee and about Corinth, the indifferent railroad leading down
from Columbus, Ky., was taxed to its utmost capacity to transport
supplies.  The quantity of grain received at Corinth from the north
was therefore limited, and before reaching the different outposts, by
passing through intermediate depots of supply, it had dwindled to
insignificance.  I had hopes, however, that this condition of things
might be ameliorated before long by gathering a good supply of corn
that was ripening in the neighborhood, and would soon, I thought, be
sufficiently hard to feed to my animals.  Not far from my
headquarters there was a particularly fine field, which, with this
end in view, I had carefully protected through the milky stage, to
the evident disappointment of both Asboth's men and mine.  They bore
the prohibition well while it affected only themselves, but the trial
was too great when it came to denying their horses; and men whose
discipline kept faith with my guards during the roasting-ear period
now fell from grace.  Their horses were growing thin, and few could
withstand the mute appeals of their suffering pets; so at night the
corn, because of individual foraging, kept stealthily and steadily
vanishing, until the field was soon fringed with only earless stalks.
The disappearance was noticed, and the guard increased, but still the
quantity of corn continued to grow less, the more honest troopers
bemoaning the loss, and questioning the honor of those to whose
safekeeping it had been entrusted.  Finally, doubtless under the
apprehension that through their irregularities the corn would all
disappear and find its way to the horses in accordance with the
stealthy enterprise of their owners, a general raid was made on the
field in broad daylight, and though the guard drove off the
marauders, I must admit that its efforts to keep them back were so
unsuccessful that my hopes for an equal distribution of the crop were
quickly blasted.  One look at the field told that it had been swept
clean of its grain.  Of course a great row occurred as to who was to
blame, and many arrests and trials took place, but there had been
such an interchanging of cap numbers and other insignia that it was
next to impossible to identify the guilty, and so much crimination
and acrimony grew out of the affair that it was deemed best to drop
the whole matter.

On August 27 about half of the command was absent reconnoitring, I
having sent it south toward Tupelo, in the hope of obtaining some
definite information regarding a movement to Holly Springs of the
remainder of the Confederate army, under General Price, when about
mid-day I was suddenly aroused by excited cries and sounds of firing,
and I saw in a moment that the enemy was in my camp.  He had come in
on my right flank from the direction of the Hatchie River, pell-mell
with our picket-post stationed about three miles out on the Ripley
road.  The whole force of the enemy comprised about eight hundred,
but only his advance entered with my pickets, whom he had charged and
badly stampeded, without, on their part, the pretense of a fight in
behalf of those whom it was their duty to protect until proper
dispositions for defense could be made.  The day was excessively hot,
one of those sultry debilitating days that had caused the suspending
of all military exercises; and as most of the men were lounging or
sleeping in their tents, we were literally caught napping.  The alarm
spread instantly through the camp, and in a moment the command turned
out for action, somewhat in deshabille it is true, but none the less
effective, for every man had grabbed his rifle and cartridge-box at
the first alarm.  Aided by a few shots from Captain Henry Hescock's
battery, we soon drove the intruders from our camp in about the same
disorder in which they had broken in on us.  By this time Colonel
Hatch and Colonel Albert L. Lee had mounted two battalions each, and
I moved them out at a lively pace in pursuit, followed by a section
of the battery.  No halt was called till we came upon the enemy's
main body, under Colonel Faulkner, drawn up in line of battle near
Newland's store.  Opening on him with the two pieces of artillery, I
hurriedly formed line confronting him, and quickly and with but
little resistance drove him in confusion from the field.  The sudden
turning of the tables dismayed Faulkner's men, and panic seizing
them, they threw away every loose article of arms or clothing of
which they could dismember themselves, and ran in the wildest
disorder in a mad effort to escape.  As the chase went on the panic
increased, the clouds of dust from the road causing an intermingling
of friend and foe.  In a little while the affair grew most ludicrous,
Faulkner's hatless and coatless men taking to the woods in such
dispersed order and so demoralized that a good many prisoners were
secured, and those of the enemy who escaped were hunted until dark.
When the recall was sounded, our men came in loaded down with plunder
in the shape of hats, haversacks, blankets, pistols, and shotguns, in
a quantity which amply repaid for the surprise of the morning, but
did not excuse the delinquent commander of our picket-guard, who a
few days later was brought to a realizing sense of his duty by a

Shortly after this affair Captain Archibald P. Campbell, of the
Second Michigan Cavalry, presented me with the black horse called
Rienzi, since made historical from having been ridden by me in many
battles, conspicuously in the ride from Winchester to Cedar Creek,
which has been celebrated in the poem by T. Buchanan Read.  This
horse was of Morgan stock, and then about three years old.  He was
jet black, excepting three white feet, sixteen hands high, and
strongly built, with great powers of endurance.  He was so active
that he could cover with ease five miles an hour at his natural
walking gait.  The gelding had been ridden very seldom; in fact,
Campbell had been unaccustomed to riding till the war broke out, and,
I think, felt some disinclination to mount the fiery colt.  Campbell
had an affection for him, however, that never waned, and would often
come to my headquarters to see his favorite, the colt being cared for
there by the regimental farrier, an old man named John Ashley, who
had taken him in charge when leaving Michigan, and had been his groom
ever since.  Seeing that I liked the horse--I had ridden him on
several occasions--Campbell presented him to me on one of these
visits, and from that time till the close of the war I rode him
almost continuously, in every campaign and battle in which I took
part, without once finding him overcome by fatigue, though on many
occasions his strength was severely tested by long marches and short
rations.  I never observed in him any vicious habit; a nervousness
and restlessness and switch of the tail, when everything about him
was in repose, being the only indication that he might be
untrustworthy.  No one but a novice could be deceived by this,
however, for the intelligence evinced in every feature, and his
thoroughbred appearance, were so striking that any person accustomed
to horses could not misunderstand such a noble animal.  But Campbell
thought otherwise, at least when the horse was to a certain degree
yet untrained, and could not be pursuaded to ride him; indeed, for
more than a year after he was given to me, Campbell still retained
suspicions of his viciousness, though, along with this mistrust, an
undiminished affection.  Although he was several times wounded, this
horse escaped death in action; and living to a ripe old age, died in
1878, attended to the last with all the care and surrounded with
every comfort due the faithful service he had rendered.

In moving from Corinth east toward Chattanooga, General Buell's army
was much delayed by the requirement that he should repair the Memphis
and Charleston railroad as he progressed.  The work of repair obliged
him to march very slowly, and was of but little use when done, for
guerrillas and other bands of Confederates destroyed the road again
as soon as he had passed on.  But worst of all, the time thus
consumed gave General Bragg the opportunity to reorganize and
increase his army to such an extent that he was able to contest the
possession of Middle Tennessee and Kentucky.  Consequently, the
movement of this army through Tennessee and Kentucky toward the Ohio
River--its objective points being Louisville and Cincinnati--was now
well defined, and had already rendered abortive General Buell's
designs on Chattanooga and East Tennessee.  Therefore extraordinary
efforts on the part of the Government became necessary, and the
concentration of National troops at Louisville and Cincinnati to meet
the contingency of Bragg's reaching those points was an obvious
requirement.  These troops were drawn from all sections in the West
where it was thought they could be spared, and among others I was
ordered to conduct thither--to Louisville or Cincinnati, as
subsequent developments might demand--my regiment, Hescock's battery,
the Second and Fifteenth Missouri, and the Thirty-sixth and
Forty-fourth Illinois regiments of infantry, known as the "Pea Ridge
Brigade." With this column I marched back to Corinth on the 6th of
September, 1862, for the purpose of getting railroad transportation
to Columbus, Kentucky.

At Corinth I met General Grant, who by this time had been
reestablished in favor and command somewhat, General Halleck having
departed for Washington to assume command of the army as
General-in-Chief.  Before and during the activity which followed his
reinstatement, General Grant had become familiar with my services
through the transmission to Washington of information I had furnished
concerning the enemy's movements, and by reading reports of my fights
and skirmishes in front, and he was loth to let me go.  Indeed, he
expressed surprise at seeing me in Corinth, and said he had not
expected me to go; he also plainly showed that he was much hurt at
the inconsiderate way in which his command was being depleted.  Since
I was of the opinion that the chief field of usefulness and
opportunity was opening up in Kentucky, I did not wish him to retain
me, which he might have done, and I impressed him with my conviction,
somewhat emphatically, I fear.  Our conversation ended with my wish
gratified.  I afterward learned that General Granger, whom General
Grant did not fancy, had suggested that I should take to Cincinnati
the main portion of Granger's command--the Pea Ridge Brigade--as well
as the Second Michigan Cavalry, of which I was still colonel.
We started that night, going by rail over the Mobile and Ohio road to
Columbus, Ky., where we embarked on steamboats awaiting us.  These
boats were five in number, and making one of them my flag-ship,
expecting that we might come upon certain batteries reported to be
located upon the Kentucky shore of the Ohio, I directed the rest to
follow my lead.  Just before reaching Caseyville, the captain of a
tin-clad gunboat that was patrolling the river brought me the
information that the enemy was in strong force at Caseyville, and
expressed a fear that my fleet could not pass his batteries.
Accepting the information as correct, I concluded to capture the
place before trying to pass up the river.  Pushing in to the bank as
we neared the town, I got the troops ashore and moved on Caseyville,
in the expectation of a bloody fight, but was agreeably surprised
upon reaching the outskirts of the village by an outpouring of its
inhabitants--men, women, and children--carrying the Stars and
Stripes, and making the most loyal professions.  Similar
demonstrations of loyalty had been made to the panic-stricken captain
of the gunboat when he passed down the river, but he did not stay to
ascertain their character, neither by landing nor by inquiry, for he
assumed that on the Kentucky bank of the river there could be no
loyalty.  The result mortified the captain intensely; and deeming his
convoy of little further use, he steamed toward Cairo in quest of
other imaginary batteries, while I re-embarked at Caseyville, and
continued up the Ohio undisturbed.  About three miles below
Cincinnati I received instructions to halt, and next day I was
ordered by Major-General H. G. Wright to take my troops back to
Louisville, and there assume command of the Pea Ridge Brigade,
composed of the Second and Fifteenth Missouri, Thirty-sixth and
Forty-fourth Illinois infantry, and of such other regiments as might
be sent me in advance of the arrival of General Buell's army.
When I reached Louisville I reported to Major-General William Nelson,
who was sick, and who received me as he lay in bed.  He asked me why
I did not wear the shoulder-straps of my rank.  I answered that I was
the colonel of the Second Michigan cavalry, and had on my appropriate
shoulder-straps.  He replied that I was a brigadier-general for the
Booneville fight, July 1, and that I should wear the shoulder-straps
of that grade.  I returned to my command and put it in camp; and
as I had no reluctance to wearing the shoulder-straps of a
brigadier-general, I was not long in procuring a pair, particularly
as I was fortified next day by receiving from Washington official
information of my appointment as a brigadier-general, to date from
July 1, 1862, the day of the battle of Booneville.



I reported to Major-General Nelson at the Galt House in Louisville,
September 14, 1862, who greeted me in the bluff and hearty fashion of
a sailor--for he had been in the navy till the breaking out of the
war.  The new responsibilities that were now to fall upon me by
virtue of increased rank caused in my mind an uneasiness which, I
think, Nelson observed at the interview, and he allayed it by giving
me much good advice, and most valuable information in regard to
affairs in Kentucky, telling me also that he intended I should retain
in my command the Pea Ridge Brigade and Hescock's battery.  This
latter assurance relieved me greatly, for I feared the loss of these
troops in the general redistribution which I knew must soon take
place; and being familiar with their valuable service in Missouri,
and having brought them up from Mississippi, I hoped they would
continue with me.  He directed me to take position just below the
city with the Pea Ridge Brigade, Hescock's battery, and the Second
Michigan Cavalry, informing me, at the same time, that some of the
new regiments, then arriving under a recent call of the President for
volunteers, would also be assigned to my command.  Shortly after the
interview eight new regiments and an additional battery joined me,
thus making good his promise of more troops.

A few days later came Nelson's tragic end, shocking the whole
country.  Those of us in camp outside of the city were startled on
the morning of September 29 by the news that General Jefferson C.
Davis, of the Union Army, had shot General Nelson at the Galt House,
and the wildest rumors in regard to the occurrence came thick and
fast; one to the effect that Nelson was dead, another having it that
he was living and had killed Davis, and still others reflecting on
the loyalty of both, it being supposed by the general public at first
that the difficulty between the two men had grown out of some
political rather than official or personal differences.  When the
news came, I rode into the city to the Galt House to learn the
particulars, reaching there about 10 o'clock in the forenoon.  Here I
learned that Nelson had been shot by Davis about two hours before, at
the foot of the main stairway leading from the corridor just beyond
the office to the second floor, and that Nelson was already dead.  It
was almost as difficult to get reliable particulars of the matter at
the hotel as it had been in my camp, but I gathered that the two men
had met first at an early hour near the counter of the hotel office,
and that an altercation which had begun several days before in
relation to something official was renewed by Davis, who, attempting
to speak to Nelson in regard to the subject-matter of their previous
dispute, was met by an insulting refusal to listen.  It now appears
that when Nelson made this offensive remark, Davis threw a small
paper ball that he was nervously rolling between his fingers into
Nelson's face, and that this insult was returned by Nelson slapping
Davis (Killed by a Brother Soldier.--Gen. J. B. Fry.) in the face.
But at the time, exactly what had taken place just before the
shooting was shrouded in mystery by a hundred conflicting stories,
the principal and most credited of which was that Davis had demanded
from Nelson an apology for language used in the original altercation,
and that Nelson's refusal was accompanied by a slap in the face, at
the same moment denouncing Davis as a coward.  However this may be,
Nelson, after slapping Davis, moved toward the corridor, from which a
stairway led to the second floor, and just as he was about to ascend,
Davis fired with a pistol that he had obtained from some one near by
after the blow had been struck.  The ball entered Nelson's breast
just above the heart, but his great strength enabled him to ascend
the stairway notwithstanding the mortal character of the wound, and
he did not fall till he reached the corridor on the second floor.  He
died about half an hour later.  The tragedy cast a deep gloom over
all who knew the men, for they both had many warm personal friends;
and affairs at Louisville had hardly recovered as yet from the
confused and discouraging condition which preceded the arrival of
General Buell's army.  General Buell reported the killing of Nelson
to the authorities at Washington, and recommended the trial of Davis
by court-martial, but no proceedings were ever instituted against him
in either a civil or military court, so to this day it has not been
determined judicially who was the aggressor.  Some months later Davis
was assigned to the command of a division in Buell's army after that
officer had been relieved from its command.

Two Confederate armies, under General Kirby Smith and General Braxton
Bragg, had penetrated into Kentucky, the one under Smith by the way
of Cumberland Gap, the other and main army under Bragg by way of the
Sequatche Valley, Glasgow, and Mumfordsville.  Glasgow was captured
by the enemy on the 17th of September, and as the expectation was
that Buell would reach the place in time to save the town, its loss
created considerable alarm in the North, for fears were now
entertained that Bragg would strike Louisville and capture the city
before Buell could arrive on the ground.  It became necessary
therefore to put Louisville in a state of defense, and after the
cordon of principal works had been indicated, my troops threw up in
one night a heavy line of rifle-pits south of the city, from the
Bardstown pike to the river.  The apprehended attack by Bragg never
came, however, for in the race that was then going on between him and
Buell on parallel roads, the Army of the Ohio outmarched the
Confederates, its advance arriving at Louisville September 25.

General Buell immediately set about reorganizing the whole force, and
on September 29 issued an order designating the troops under my
command as the Eleventh Division, Army of the Ohio, and assigning
Brigadier-General J. T. Boyle to command the division, and me to
command one of its brigades.  To this I could not object, of course,
for I was a brigadier-general of very recent date, and could hardly
expect more than a brigade.  I had learned, however, that at least
one officer to whom a high command had been given--a corps--had not
yet been appointed a general officer by the President, and I
considered it somewhat unfair that I should be relegated to a
brigade, while men who held no commissions at all were being made
chiefs of corps and divisions; so I sought an interview with General
Buell's chief-of-staff, Colonel Fry, and, while not questioning
Buell's good intentions nor his pure motives, insisted that my rights
in the matter should be recognized.  That same evening I was assigned
to the command of the Eleventh Division, and began preparing it at
once for a forward movement, which I knew must soon take place in the
resumption of offensive operations by the Army of the Ohio.

During the interval from September 25 till October 1 there was among
the officers much criticism of General Buell's management of the
recent campaign, which had resulted in his retirement to Louisville;
and he was particularly censured by many for not offering battle to
General Bragg while the two armies were marching parallel to each
other, and so near that an engagement could have been brought on at
any one of several points--notably so at Glasgow, Kentucky, if there
had been a desire to join issue.  It was asserted, and by many
conceded, that General Buell had a sufficient force to risk a fight.
He was much blamed for the loss of Mumfordsville also.  The capture
of this point, with its garrison, gave Bragg an advantage in the race
toward the Ohio River, which odds would most likely have ensured the
fall of Louisville had they been used with the same energy and skill
that the Confederate commander displayed from Chattanooga to Glasgow;
but something always diverted General Bragg at the supreme moment,
and he failed to utilize the chances falling to him at this time,
for, deflecting his march to the north toward Bardstown, he left open
to Buell the direct road to Louisville by way of Elizabethtown.

At Bardstown Bragg's army was halted while he endeavored to establish
a Confederate government in Kentucky by arranging for the
installation of a provisional governor at Lexington.  Bragg had been
assured that the presence of a Confederate army in Kentucky would so
encourage the secession element that the whole State could be forced
into the rebellion and his army thereby largely increased; but he had
been considerably misled, for he now found that though much latent
sympathy existed for his cause, yet as far as giving active aid was
concerned, the enthusiasm exhibited by the secessionists of Kentucky
in the first year of the war was now replaced by apathy, or at best
by lukewarmness.  So the time thus spent in political machinations
was wholly lost to Bragg; and so little reinforcement was added to
his army that it may be said that the recruits gained were not enough
to supply the deficiencies resulting from the recent toilsome marches
of the campaign.

In the meanwhile Buell had arrived at Louisville, system had been
substituted for the chaos which had previously obtained there, and
orders were issued for an advance upon the enemy with the purpose of
attacking and the hope of destroying him within the limits of the
"blue grass" region, and, failing in that, to drive him from
Kentucky.  The army moved October 1, 1862, and my division, now a
part of the Third Corps, commanded by General C. C. Gilbert, marched
directly on Bardstown, where it was thought the enemy would make a
stand, but Bragg's troops retreated toward Perryville, only resisting
sufficiently to enable the forces of General Kirby Smith to be drawn
in closer--they having begun a concentration at Frankfort--so they
could be used in a combined attack on Louisville as soon as the
Confederate commander's political projects were perfected.

Much time was consumed by Buell's army in its march on Perryville,
but we finally neared it on the evening of October 7.  During the
day, Brigadier-General Robert B. Mitchell's division of Gilbert's
corps was in the advance on the Springfield pike, but as the enemy
developed that he was in strong force on the opposite side of a small
stream called Doctor's Creek, a tributary of Chaplin River, my
division was brought up and passed to the front.  It was very
difficult to obtain water in this section of Kentucky, as a drought
had prevailed for many weeks, and the troops were suffering so for
water that it became absolutely necessary that we should gain
possession of Doctor's Creek in order to relieve their distress.
Consequently General Gilbert, during the night, directed me to push
beyond Doctor's Creek early the next morning.  At daylight on the 8th
I moved out Colonel Dan McCook's brigade and Barnett's battery for
the purpose, but after we had crossed the creek with some slight
skirmishing, I found that we could not hold the ground unless we
carried and occupied a range of hills, called Chaplin Heights, in
front of Chaplin River.  As this would project my command in the
direction of Perryville considerably beyond the troops that were on
either flank, I brought up Laiboldt's brigade and Hescock's battery
to strengthen Colonel McCook.  Putting both brigades into line we
quickly carried the Heights, much to the surprise of the enemy, I
think, for he did not hold on to the valuable ground as strongly as
he should have done.  This success not only ensured us a good supply
of water, but also, later in the day, had an important bearing in the
battle of Perryville.  After taking the Heights, I brought up the
rest of my division and intrenched, without much difficulty, by
throwing up a strong line of rifle-pits, although the enemy's
sharpshooters annoyed us enough to make me order Laiboldt's brigade
to drive them in on the main body.  This was successfully done in a
few minutes, but in pushing them back to Chaplin River, we discovered
the Confederates forming a line of battle on the opposite bank, with
the apparent purpose of an attack in force, so I withdrew the brigade
to our intrenchments on the crest and there awaited the assault.

While this skirmishing was going on, General Gilbert--the corps
commander--whose headquarters were located on a hill about a mile
distant to the rear, kept sending me messages by signal not to bring
on an engagement.  I replied to each message that I was not bringing
on an engagement, but that the enemy evidently intended to do so, and
that I believed I should shortly be attacked.  Soon after returning
to the crest and getting snugly fixed in the rifle-pits, my attention
was called to our left, the high ground we occupied affording me in
that direction an unobstructed view.  I then saw General A. McD.
McCook's corps--the First-advancing toward Chaplin River by the
Mackville road, apparently unconscious that the Confederates were
present in force behind the stream.  I tried by the use of signal
flags to get information of the situation to these troops, but my
efforts failed, and the leading regiments seemed to approach the
river indifferently prepared to meet the sudden attack that speedily
followed, delivered as it was from the chosen position of the enemy.
The fury of the Confederate assault soon halted this advance force,
and in a short time threw it into confusion, pushed it back a
considerable distance, and ultimately inflicted upon it such loss of
men and guns as to seriously cripple McCook's corps, and prevent for
the whole day further offensive movement on his part, though he
stoutly resisted the enemy's assaults until 4 o'clock in the

Seeing McCook so fiercely attacked, in order to aid him I advanced
Hescock's battery, supported by six regiments, to a very good
position in front of a belt of timber on my extreme left, where an
enfilading fire could be opened on that portion of the enemy
attacking the right of the First Corps, and also on his batteries
across Chaplin River.  But at this juncture he placed two batteries
on my right and began to mass troops behind them, and General
Gilbert, fearing that my intrenched position on the heights might be
carried, directed me to withdraw Hescock and his supports and return
them to the pits.  My recall was opportune, for I had no sooner got
back to my original line than the Confederates attacked me furiously,
advancing almost to my intrenchments, notwithstanding that a large
part of the ground over which they had to move was swept by a heavy
fire of canister from both my batteries.  Before they had quite
reached us, however, our telling fire made them recoil, and as they
fell back, I directed an advance of my whole division, bringing up my
reserve regiments to occupy the crest of the hills; Colonel William
P. Carlin's brigade of Mitchell's division meanwhile moving forward
on my right to cover that flank.  This advance pressed the enemy to
Perryville, but he retired in such good order that we gained nothing
but some favorable ground that enabled me to establish my batteries
in positions where they could again turn their attention to the
Confederates in front of McCook, whose critical condition was shortly
after relieved, however, by a united pressure of Gilbert's corps
against the flank of McCook's assailants, compelling them to retire
behind Chaplin River.

The battle virtually ended about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, though
more or less desultory firing continued until dark.  Considering the
severity of the engagement on McCook's front, and the reverses that
had befallen him, I question if, from that part of the line, much
could have been done toward retrieving the blunders of the day, but
it did seem to me that, had the commander of the army been able to be
present on the field, he could have taken advantage of Bragg's final
repulse, and there would have remained in our hands more than the
barren field.  But no attempt was made to do anything more till next
morning, and then we secured little except the enemy's killed and
most severely wounded.

The operations of my division during the engagement pleased.  General
Gilbert very much, and he informed me that he would relax a rigidly
enforced order which General Buell had issued some days before,
sufficiently to permit my trains to come to the front and supply my
almost starving troops with rations.  The order in question was one
of those issued, doubtless with a good intent, to secure generally
the safety of our trains, but General Gilbert was not elastic, and on
the march he had construed the order so illiberally that it was next
to impossible to supply the men with food, and they were particularly
short in this respect on the eve of the battle.  I had then
endeavored to persuade him to modify his iron-clad interpretation of
the order, but without effect, and the only wagons we could bring up
from the general parks in rear were ambulances and those containing
ammunition.  So to gain access to our trains was a great boon, and at
that moment a more welcome result than would have been a complete
victory minus this concession.

When the battle ceased General Gilbert asked me to join him at
Buell's headquarters, which were a considerable distance to the rear,
so after making some dispositions for the evening I proceeded there
as requested.  I arrived just as Buell was about to sit down to his
supper, and noticing that he was lame, then learned that he had been
severely injured by a recent fall from his horse.  He kindly invited
me to join him at the table, an invitation which I accepted with
alacrity, enjoying the meal with a relish known only to a very-hungry
man, for I had eaten nothing since morning.  Of course the events of
the day were the chief topic of discussion--as they were during my
stay at headquarters--but the conversation indicated that what had
occurred was not fully realized, and I returned to my troops
impressed with the belief that General Buell and his staff-officers
were unconscious of the magnitude of the battle that had just been

It had been expected by Buell that he would fight the enemy on the
9th of October, but the Confederates disposed of that proposition by
attacking us on the 8th, thus disarranging a tactical conception
which, with our superior numbers, would doubtless have proved
successful had it not been anticipated by an enterprising foe.
During the battle on the 8th the Second Corps, under General Thomas
L. Crittenden, accompanied by General George H. Thomas, lay idle the
whole day for want of orders, although it was near enough to the
field to take an active part in the fight; and, moreover, a large
part of Gilbert's corps was unengaged during the pressure on McCook.
Had these troops been put in on the enemy's left at any time after he
assaulted McCook, success would have been beyond question; but there
was no one on the ground authorized to take advantage of the
situation, and the battle of Perryville remains in history an example
of lost opportunities.  This was due in some measure probably to
General Buell's accident, but is mainly attributable to the fact that
he did not clearly apprehend Bragg's aim, which was to gain time to
withdraw behind Dick's River all the troops he had in Kentucky, for
the Confederate general had no idea of risking the fate of his army
on one general battle at a place or on a day to be chosen by the
Union commander.

Considering the number of troops actually engaged, the losses to
Buell were severe, amounting to something over five thousand in
killed, wounded, and missing.  Among the killed were two brigade
commanders of much promise--General James S. Jackson and General
William R. Terrill.  McCook's corps lost twelve guns, some of which
were recovered next day.  The enemy's loss in killed and wounded we
never learned, but it must have equalled ours; and about four
thousand prisoners, consisting principally of sick and wounded, fell
into our hands.  In the first report of the battle sent North to the
newspapers I was reported among the killed; but I was pleased to
notice, when the papers reached us a few days later, that the error
had been corrected before my obituary could be written.

The enemy retired from our front the night of the 8th, falling back
on Harrodsburg to form a junction with Kirby Smith, and by taking
this line of retreat opened to us the road to Danville and the chance
for a direct march against his depot of supplies at Bryantsville.  We
did not take advantage of this opening, however, and late in the day
--on the 9th--my division marched in pursuit, in the direction of
Harrodsburg, which was the apex of a triangle having for its base a
line from Perryville to Danville.  The pursuit was slow, very slow,
consuming the evening of the 9th and all of the 10th and 11th.  By
cutting across the triangle spoken of above, just south of the apex,
I struck the Harrodsburg-Danville road, near Cave Springs, joining
there Gilbert's left division, which had preceded me and marched
through Harrodsburg.  Here we again rested until the intention of the
enemy could be divined, and we could learn on which side of Dick's
River he would give us battle.  A reconnoissance sent toward the
Dickville crossing developed to a certainty that we should not have
another engagement, however; for it disclosed the fact that Bragg's
army had disappeared toward Camp Dick Robinson, leaving only a small
rear-guard at Danville, which in turn quickly fled in the direction
of Lancaster, after exchanging a few shots with Hescock's battery.

While this parting salute of deadly projectiles was going on, a
little, daughter of Colonel William J. Landram, whose home was in
Danville, came running out from his house and planted a small
national flag on one of Hescock's guns.  The patriotic act was so
brave and touching that it thrilled all who witnessed the scene; and
until the close of the war, when peace separated the surviving
officers and men of the battery, that little flag was protected and
cherished as a memento of the Perryville campaign.

Pursuit of the enemy was not continued in force beyond Crab Orchard,
but some portions of the army kept at Bragg's heels until he crossed
the Cumberland River, a part of his troops retiring to Tennessee by
way of Cumberland Gap, but the major portion through Somerset.  As
the retreat of Bragg transferred the theatre of operations back to
Tennessee, orders were now issued for a concentration of Buell's army
at Bowling Green, with a view to marching it to Nashville, and my
division moved to that point without noteworthy incident.  I reached
Bowling Green with a force much reduced by the losses sustained in
the battle of Perryville and by sickness.  I had started from
Louisville on October 1 with twelve regiments of infantry--four old
and eight new ones--and two batteries, but many poor fellows,
overcome by fatigue, and diseases induced by the heat, dust, and
drought of the season, had to be left at roadside hospitals.  This
was particularly the case with the new regiments, the men of which,
much depressed by homesickness, and not yet inured to campaigning,
fell easy victims to the hardships of war.

At Bowling Green General Buell was relieved, General W. S. Rosecrans
succeeding him.  The army as a whole did not manifest much regret at
the change of commanders, for the campaign from Louisville on was
looked upon generally as a lamentable failure, yet there were many
who still had the utmost confidence in General Buell, and they
repelled with some asperity the reflections cast upon him by his
critics.  These admirers held him blameless throughout for the
blunders of the campaign, but the greater number laid every error at
his door, and even went to the absurdity of challenging his loyalty
in a mild way, but they particularly charged incompetency at
Perryville, where McCook's corps was so badly crippled while nearly
30,000 Union troops were idle on the field, or within striking
distance.  With these it was no use to argue that Buell's accident
stood in the way of his activity, nor that he did not know that the
action had assumed the proportions of a battle.  The physical
disability was denied or contested, but even granting this, his
detractors claimed that it did not excuse his ignorance of the true
condition of the fight, and finally worsted his champions by pointing
out that Bragg's retreat by way of Harrodsburg beyond Dick's River so
jeopardized the Confederate army, that had a skillful and energetic
advance of the Union troops been made, instead of wasting precious
time in slow and unnecessary tactical manoeuvres, the enemy could
have been destroyed before he could quit the State of Kentucky.



My division had moved from Crab Orchard to Bowling Green by easy
marches, reaching this place November 1. General Rosecrans assumed
command of the department October 30, at Louisville, and joined the
army November 2.  There had been much pressure brought to bear on
General Buell to induce him to take measures looking to the occupancy
of East Tennessee, and the clamor to this end from Washington still
continued; but now that Bragg was south of the Cumberland River, in a
position threatening Nashville, which was garrisoned by but a small
force, it was apparent to every one at all conversant with the
situation that a battle would have to be fought somewhere in Middle
Tennessee.  So, notwithstanding the pressure from Washington, the
army was soon put in motion for Nashville, and when we arrived there
my division went into camp north of the river, on a plateau just
outside the little town of Edgefield, until the movements of the
enemy should be further developed.

While in this camp, on the plantation of Mr. Hobson, there came to my
headquarters one morning an East Tennessean named James Card, who
offered to the Union cause his services in any capacity in which they
might be made useful.  This offer, and the relation of his personal
history, were given with such sincerity of speech and manner that in
a short time I became convinced of his honesty of purpose.  He was a
small, active, busy man, with a determined way about him, and his
countenance indicated great intelligence.  He gave minute information
that was of inestimable value to me regarding East and Middle
Tennessee and northern Georgia, for, with a view to the army's future
movements, I was then making a study of the topography of this
region, and posting myself as to Middle Tennessee, for all knew this
would be the scene of active operations whenever the campaign was
resumed.  This man, like most of the East Tennesseans whom I had met,
was intensely loyal and patriotic, and the interview led in a few
days to his employment as a scout and guide, and subsequently to the
engaging in the same capacity of two of his brothers, who were good
men; but not quite as active nor so intelligent as he was.  Card had
been a colporter, having pedled books, especially religious tracts,
over all Middle and East Tennessee and Georgia, assisted by his
brothers at times, and was therefore thoroughly familiar with these
regions, their roads and inhabitants.  He also preached to country
congregations occasionally, when ministers were scarce, and I have no
doubt often performed the functions of family physician in the
mountain district.  Thus his opportunities were great; and the loyal
people in every section of the country being well known to him and
his brothers, the three began, at this time, a system of scouting and
investigation which bore its first-fruits in specifically locating
the different divisions of Bragg's army, with statements of their
strength and condition, and all with so much accuracy that I
thereafter felt reasonably sure that I could at all times procure
such knowledge of the enemy's operations as would well equip me for
any contingency that might arise.

By the middle of November the enemy, having assembled his forces in
Middle Tennessee, showed considerable boldness, and it became
necessary to rearrange the Union lines; so my troops were moved to
the south side of the river, out on the Murfreesboro' pike, to Mill
Creek, distant from Nashville about seven miles.  While we were in
camp on Mill Creek the army was reorganized, and General Joshua W.
Sill, at his own request, was assigned to my division, and took
command of Colonel Nicholas Greusel's brigade.  My division became at
the same time the Third Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps,
its three brigades of four regiments each being respectively
commanded by General Sill, Colonel Frederick Schaefer and Colonel Dan
McCook; but a few days later Colonel George W. Roberts's brigade,
from the garrison at Nashville, was substituted for McCook's.

General Sill was a classmate of mine at the Military Academy, having
graduated in 1853.  On graduating he was appointed to the Ordnance
Corps, and served in that department at various arsenals and ordnance
depots throughout the country till early in 1861, when he resigned to
accept a professorship of mathematics and civil engineering at the
Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.  At the breaking out
of the war he immediately tendered his services to the Government,
and soon rose to the colonelcy of the Thirty-Third Ohio Volunteers,
and afterward to the rank of brigadier-general.  I knew him well, and
was glad that he came to my division, though I was very loth to
relieve Colonel Greusel, of the Thirty-Sixth Illinois, who had
already indicated much military skill and bravery, and at the battle
of Perryville had handled his men with the experience of a veteran.
Sill's modesty and courage were exceeded only by a capacity that had
already been demonstrated in many practical ways, and his untimely
death, almost within a month of his joining me, abruptly closed a
career which, had it been prolonged a little more, not only would
have shed additional lustre on his name, but would have been of
marked benefit to his country.

Colonel Schaefer, of the Second Missouri Infantry, had been absent on
sick-leave during the Kentucky campaign, but about this date he
returned to duty, and by seniority fell in command of the second
brigade.  He was of German birth, having come from Baden, where,
prior to 1848, he had been a non-commissioned officer in the service
of his State.  He took part as an insurgent in the so-called
revolution which occurred at Baden in that year, and, compelled to
emigrate on the suppression of the insurrection, made his way to this
country and settled in St. Louis.  Here the breaking out of the war
found him, and through the personal interest which General Sigel took
in him he was commissioned a colonel of volunteers.  He had had a
pretty fair education, a taste for the military profession, and was
of tall and slender build, all of which gave him a student-like
appearance.  He was extremely excitable and nervous when anticipating
a crisis, but always calmed down to cool deliberation when the
critical moment came.  With such a man I could not be less than well
satisfied, although the officer whom he replaced--Colonel Laiboldt
--had performed efficient service and shown much capacity in the
recent campaign.

Colonel G. W. Roberts, of the Forty-Second Illinois Infantry, also
came to me in the reorganization.  He was an ideal soldier both in
mind and body.  He was young, tall, handsome, brave, and dashing, and
possessed a balance-wheel of such good judgment that in his sphere of
action no occasion could arise from which he would not reap the best
results.  But he too was destined to lay, down his life within a few
days, and on the same fatal field.  His brigade had been performing
garrison duty in Nashville during the siege of that city while
Buell's army was in Kentucky, but disliking the prospect of
inactivity pending the operations opening before us, Roberts had
requested and obtained a transfer to the army in the field.  His
brigade relieved Colonel Dan McCook's, the latter reluctantly joining
the garrison at Nashville, every one in it disappointed and disgusted
that the circumstances existing at this time should necessitate their
relegation to the harassing and tantalizing duty of protecting our
depots and line of supply.

I was fortunate in having such brigade commanders, and no less
favored in the regimental and battery commanders.  They all were not
only patriots, but soldiers, and knowing that discipline must be one
of the most potent factors in bringing to a successful termination,
the mighty contest in which our nation was struggling for existence,
they studied and practiced its methods ceaselessly, inspiring with
the same spirit that pervaded themselves the loyal hearts of their
subordinate officers and men.  All worked unremittingly in the camp
at Mill Creek in preparing for the storm, which now plainly indicated
its speedy coming.  Drills, parades, scouts, foraging expeditions,
picket and guard duty, made up the course in this school of
instruction, supplemented by frequent changes in the locations of the
different brigades, so that the division could have opportunity to
learn to break camp quickly and to move out promptly on the march.
Foraging expeditions were particularly beneficial in this respect,
and when sent out, though absent sometimes for days, the men went
without tents or knapsacks, equipped with only one blanket and their
arms, ammunition, and rations, to teach them to shift for themselves
with slender means in the event of necessity.  The number of
regimental and headquarters wagons was cut down to the lowest
possible figure, and everything made compact by turning into the
supply and ammunition trains of the division all surplus
transportation, and restricting the personal baggage of officers to
the fewest effects possible.

My own staff also was somewhat reorganized and increased at Mill
Creek, and though it had been perfectly satisfactory before, yet, on
account of the changes of troops that had occurred in the command, I
found it necessary to replace valuable officers in some instances,
and secure additional ones in others.  The gathering of information
about the enemy was also industriously pursued, and Card and his
brothers were used constantly on expeditions within the Confederate
lines, frequently visiting Murfreesboro', Sparta, Tullahoma,
Shelbyville, and other points.  What they learned was reported to
army headquarters, often orally through me or personally communicated
by Card himself, but much was forwarded in official letters,
beginning with November 24, when I transmitted accurate information
of the concentration of Bragg's main force at Tullahoma.  Indeed,
Card kept me so well posted as to every movement of the enemy, not
only with reference to the troops in my immediate front, but also
throughout his whole army, that General Rosecrans placed the most
unreserved reliance on all his statements, and many times used them
to check and correct the reports brought in by his own scouts.

Slight skirmishes took place frequently during this period, and now
and then heavy demonstrations were made in the neighborhood of
Nolensville by reconnoitring parties from both armies, but none of
these ever grew into a battle.  These affairs sprung from the desire
of each side to feel his antagonist, and had little result beyond
emphasizing the fact that behind each line of pickets lay a massed
and powerful army busily preparing for the inevitable conflict and
eager for its opening.  So it wore on till the evening of December
25, 1862; then came the order to move forward.

General Rosecrans, in the reorganization of the army, had assigned
Major-General A. McD. McCook to command the right wing, Major-General
George H. Thomas the centre, and Major-General T. L. Crittenden the
left wing.  McCook's wing was made up of three divisions,
commanded in order of rank by Brigadier-General Jeff. C. Davis;
Brigadier-General R. W. Johnson, and Brigadier-General P. H. Sheridan.
Although the corps nomenclature established by General Buell was
dropped, the grand divisions into which he had organized the army at
Louisville were maintained, and, in fact, the conditions established
then remained practically unaltered, with the exception of the
interchange of some brigades, the transfer of a few general officers
from one wing or division to another, and the substitution of General
Thomas for Gilbert as a corps commander.  The army was thus compact
and cohesive, undisturbed by discord and unembarrassed by jealousies
of any moment; and it may be said that under a commander who, we
believed, had the energy and skill necessary to direct us to success,
a national confidence in our invincibility made us all keen for a
test of strength with the Confederates.  We had not long to wait.

Early on the morning of December 26, 1862, in a heavy rain, the army
marched, the movement being directed on Murfreesboro', where the
enemy had made some preparation to go into winter-quarters, and to
hold which town it was hoped he would accept battle.  General Thomas
moved by the Franklin and Wilson pikes, General Crittenden by the
Murfreesboro' pike, through Lavergne, and General McCook by the
Nolensville pike--Davis's division in advance.  As McCook's command
neared Nolensville, I received a message from Davis informing me that
the Confederates were in considerable force, posted on a range of
hills in his front, and requesting me to support him in an attack he
was about to make.  When the head of my column arrived at Nolensville
I began massing my troops on the right of the road, and by the time
this formation was nearly completed Davis advanced, but not meeting
with sufficient resistance to demand active assistance from me, he
with his own command carried the hills, capturing one piece of
artillery.  This position of the Confederates was a strong one,
defending Knob's Gap, through which the Nolensville and Triune pike
passed.  On the 27th Johnson's division, followed by mine, advanced
to Triune, and engaged in a severe skirmish near that place, but my
troops were not called into action, the stand made by the enemy being
only for the purpose of gaining time to draw in his outlying troops,
which done, he retired toward Murfreesboro'.  I remained inactive at
Triune during the 28th, but early on the 29th moved out by the Bole
Jack road to the support of, Davis in his advance to Stewart's Creek,
and encamped at Wilkinson's crossroads, from which point to
Murfreesboro', distant about six miles, there was a good turnpike.
The enemy had sullenly resisted the progress of Crittenden and McCook
throughout the preceding three days, and as it was thought probable
that he might offer battle at Stewart's Creek, Thomas, in pursuance
of his original instructions looking to just such a contingency, had
now fallen into the centre by way of the Nolensville crossroads.

On the morning of the 30th I had the advance of McCook's corps on the
Wilkinson pike, Roberts's brigade leading.  At first only slight
skirmishing took place, but when we came within about three miles of
Murfreesboro' the resistance of the enemy's pickets grew serious, and
a little further on so strong that I had to put in two regiments to
push them back.  I succeeded in driving them about half a mile, when
I was directed by McCook to form line of battle and place my
artillery in position so that I could act in concert with Davis's
division, which he wished to post on my right in the general line he
desired to take up.  In obedience to these directions I deployed on
the right of, and oblique to the Wilkinson pike, with a front of four
regiments, a second line of four regiments within short supporting
distance, and a reserve of one brigade in column of regiments to the
rear of my centre.  All this time the enemy kept up a heavy artillery
and musketry fire on my skirmishers, he occupying, with his
sharpshooters, beyond some open fields, a heavy belt of timber to my
front and right, where it was intended the left of Davis should
finally rest.  To gain this point Davis was ordered to swing his
division into it in conjunction with a wheeling movement of my right
brigade, until our continuous line should face nearly due east.  This
would give us possession of the timber referred to, and not only rid
us of the annoying fire from the skirmishers screened by it, but also
place us close in to what was now developing as Bragg's line of
battle.  The movement was begun about half-past 2, and was
successfully executed, after a stubborn resistance.  In this
preliminary affair the enemy had put in one battery of artillery,
which was silenced in a little while, however, by Bush's and
Hescock's guns.  By sundown I had taken up my prescribed position,
facing almost east, my left (Roberts's brigade) resting on the
Wilkinson pike, the right (Sill's brigade) in the timber we had just
gained, and the reserve brigade (Schaefer's) to the rear of my
centre, on some rising ground in the edge of a strip of woods behind
Houghtaling's and Hescock's batteries.  Davis's division was placed
in position on my right, his troops thrown somewhat to the rear, so
that his line formed nearly a right angle with mine, while Johnson's
division formed in a very exposed position on the right of Davis,
prolonging the general line just across the Franklin pike.

The centre, under Thomas, had already formed to my left, the right of
Negley's division joining my left in a cedar thicket near the
Wilkinson pike, while Crittenden's corps was posted on the left of
Thomas, his left resting on Stone River, at a point about two miles
and a half from Murfreesboro'.

The precision that had characterized every manoeuvre of the past
three days, and the exactness with which each corps and division fell
into its allotted place on the evening of the 30th, indicated that at
the outset of the campaign a well-digested plan of operations had
been prepared for us; and although the scheme of the expected battle
was not known to subordinates of my grade, yet all the movements up
to this time had been so successfully and accurately made as to give
much promise for the morrow, and when night fell there was general
anticipation of the best results to the Union army.



The enemy under Bragg lay between us and stone River in order of
battle, his general line conforming to the course of that stream. In
my immediate front he appeared to be established in strong force in a
dense cedar wood, just beyond an open valley, which varied from two
hundred to four hundred yards in width, the cedars extending the
entire length of the valley.  From the events of the day and evening
of the 3oth, it was apparent that the two armies were in close
proximity, and orders received during the night revealed the fact
that Rosecrans intended to attack by throwing his left on the enemy's
right, with the expectation of driving it in toward Murfreesboro', so
that the right of Crittenden's corps could attack Bragg's centre in
reverse, while Thomas supported Crittenden by a simultaneous front
assault; and from the movements of the enemy at daylight next
morning, it was plainly indicated that Bragg had planned to swing his
left on our right by an exactly similar manoeuvre, get possession of
the railroad and the Nashville pike, and if possible cut us off from
our base at Nashville.  The conceptions in the minds of the two
generals were almost identical; but Bragg took the initiative,
beginning his movement about an hour earlier than the time set by
Rosecrans, which gained him an immense advantage in execution in the
earlier stages of the action.

During the evening, feeling keenly all the solicitude which
attends one in anticipation of a battle, I examined my position with
great care, inspecting its whole length several times to remedy any
defects that might exist, and to let the men see that I was alive to
their interests and advantages.  After dark, I went back to the rear
of my reserve brigade, and establishing my headquarters behind the
trunk of a large fallen tree, which would shelter me somewhat from
the cold December wind, lay down beside a small camp-fire to get some

At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 31st General Sill came back to me
to report that on his front a continuous movement of infantry and
artillery had been going on all night within the Confederate lines,
and that he was convinced that Bragg was massing on our right with
the purpose of making an attack from that direction early in the
morning.  After discussing for a few minutes the probabilities of
such a course on the part of the enemy, I thought McCook should be
made acquainted with what was going on, so Sill and I went back to
see him at his headquarters, not far from the Griscom House, where we
found him sleeping on some straw in the angle of a worm-fence.  I
waked him up and communicated the intelligence, and our consequent
impressions.  He talked the matter over with us for some little time,
but in view of the offensive-defensive part he was to play in the
coming battle, did not seem to think that there was a necessity for
any further dispositions than had already been taken.  He said that
he thought Johnson's division would be able to take care of the
right, and seemed confident that the early assault which was to be
made from Rosecrans's left would anticipate and check the designs
which we presaged.  We two then returned to my little camp-fire
behind the log, and as we continued talking of what might be expected
from the indications on the right, and Sill becoming more anxious, I
directed two regiments from the reserve to report to him, that they
might be placed within very short supporting distance of his line.
He then rejoined his brigade, better satisfied, but still adhering to
the belief he had expressed when first making his report.

Long before dawn my division breakfasted, and was assembled under
arms, the infantry in line, the cannoneers at their pieces, but while
we were thus preparing, all the recent signs of activity in the
enemy's camp were hushed, a death-like stillness prevailing in the
cedars to our front.  Shortly after daylight General Hardee opened
the engagement, just as Sill had predicted, by a fierce attack on
Johnson's division, the extreme right of the Union line.  Immediate
success attending this assault, Hardee extended the attack gradually
along in front of Davis, hip movement taking the form of a wheel to
the right, the pivot being nearly opposite the left of my division.
Johnson's division soon gave way, and two of Davis's brigades were
forced to fall back with it, though stubbornly resisting the
determined and sweeping onset.

In the meantime the enemy had also attacked me, advancing across an
old cotton-field in Sill's front in heavy masses, which were
furiously opened upon by Bush's battery from Sill's line, and by
Hescock's and Houghtaling's batteries, which had an oblique fire on
the field from a commanding position in rear of my centre.  The
effect of this fire on the advancing column was terrible, but it
continued on till it reached the edge of the timber where Sill's
right lay, when my infantry opened at a range of not over fifty
yards.  For a short time the Confederates withstood the fire, but
then wavered, broke, and fell back toward their original line.  As
they retired, Sill's brigade followed in a spirited charge, driving
them back across the open ground and behind their intrenchments.  In
this charge the gallant Sill was killed; a rifle ball passing through
his upper lip and penetrating the brain.  Although this was a heavy
loss, yet the enemy's discomfiture was such as to give us an hour's
time, and as Colonel Greusel, Thirty-sixth Illinois, succeeded to
Sill's command, I directed him, as he took charge, to recall the
brigade to its original position, for the turning-column on my
extreme right was now assuming the most menacing attitude, and it was
urgently necessary to prepare for it.

When that portion of the enemy driven back by Sill recovered from its
repulse it again advanced to the attack, this time directing its
efforts chiefly upon my extreme right, and the front of Woodruff's
brigade of Davis's division, which brigade still held on in its first
position.  In front of my centre the Confederates were again driven
back, but as the assault on Woodruff was in conjunction with an
advance of the column that had forced Johnson to retire, Woodruff was
compelled unfortunately to give way, and two regiments on the right
of my line went with him, till they rallied on the two reserve
regiments which, in anticipation of the enemy's initiatory attack I
had sent to Sill's rear before daylight.

Both Johnson's and Davis's divisions were now practically gone from
our line, having retired with a loss of all formation, and they were
being closely pursued by the enemy, whose columns were following the
arc of a circle that would ultimately carry him in on my rear.  In
consequence of the fact that this state of things would soon subject
me to a fire in reverse, I hastily withdrew Sill's brigade and the
reserve regiments supporting it, and ordered Roberts's brigade, which
at the close of the enemy's second repulse had changed front toward
the south and formed in column of regiments, to cover the withdrawal
by a charge on the Confederates as they came into the timber where my
right had originally rested.  Roberts made the charge at the proper
time, and was successful in checking the enemy's advance, thus giving
us a breathing-spell, during which I was able to take up a new
position with Schaefer's and Sill's brigades on the commanding ground
to the rear, where Hescock's and Houghtaling's batteries had been
posted all the morning.

The general course of this new position was at right angles with my
original line, and it took the shape of an obtuse angle, with my
three batteries at the apex.  Davis, and Carlin of his division,
endeavored to rally their men here on my right, but their efforts
were practically unavailing,--though the calm and cool appearance of
Carlin, who at the time was smoking a stumpy pipe, had some effect,
and was in strong contrast to the excited manner of Davis, who seemed
overpowered by the disaster that had befallen his command.  But few
could be rallied, however, as the men were badly demoralized, and
most of them fell back beyond the Wilkinson pike, where they
reorganized behind the troops of General Thomas.

At this juncture the enemy's turning-column began advancing again in
concert with Cheatham's division, and as the extreme left of the
Confederates was directed on Griscom's house, and their right on the
Blanton house, my new position was in danger of envelopment.  No hope
of stemming the tide at this point seemed probable, but to gain time
I retained my ground as long as possible, and until, under directions
from General McCook, I moved to the front from my left flank and
attached myself to the right of Negley's division, which up to this
hour had been left almost undisturbed by the enemy in the line it had
taken up the night before.  Under a heavy fire we succeeded in this
manoeuvre, Schaefer's brigade marching first, then the batteries, and
Roberts's and Sill's brigades following.  When my division arrived on
this new ground, I posted Roberts on Negley's right, with Hescock's
and Bush's guns, the brigade and guns occupying a low rocky ridge of
limestone, which faced them toward Murfreesboro', nearly south.  The
rest of my division was aligned facing west, along the edge of a
cedar thicket, the rear rank backed up on the right flank of Roberts,
with Houghtaling's battery in the angle.  This presented Sill's and
Schaefer's brigades in an almost opposite direction to the line we
had so confidently taken up the night before, and covered Negley's
rear.  The enemy, in the meantime, had continued his wheeling
movement till he occupied the ground that my batteries and reserve
brigade had held in the morning, and I had now so changed my position
that the left brigade of my division approached his intrenchments in
front of Stone River, while Sill's and Schaeffer's brigades, by
facing nearly west, confronted the successful troops that had smashed
in our extreme right.

I had hardly got straightened out in this last place when I was
attacked by Cheatham's'division, which, notwithstanding the
staggering blows it had previously received from Sill and Roberts,
now again moved forward in conjunction with the wheeling movement
under the immediate command of Hardee.  One of the most sanguinary
contests of the day now took place.  In fulfillment of Bragg's
original design no doubt, Cheatham's division attacked on my left,
while heavy masses under Hardee, covered by batteries posted on the
high ground formerly occupied by my guns, assaulted my right, the
whole force advancing simultaneously.  At the same time the enemy
opened an artillery fire from his intrenchments in front of
Murfreesboro', and it seemed that he was present on every side.  My
position was strong, however, located in the edge of a dense cedar
thicket and commanding a slight depression of open ground that lay in
my front.  My men were in good spirits too, notwithstanding they had
been a good deal hustled around since daylight, with losses that had
told considerably on their numbers.  Only a short distance now
separated the contending lines, and as the batteries on each side
were not much more than two hundred yards apart when the enemy made
his assault, the artillery fire was fearful in its effect on the
ranks of both contestants, the enemy's heavy masses staggering under
the torrent of shell and canister from our batteries, while our lines
were thinned by his ricochetting projectiles, that rebounded again
and again over the thinly covered limestone formation and sped on to
the rear of Negley.  But all his efforts to dislodge or destroy us
were futile, and for the first time since daylight General Hardee was
seriously checked in the turning movement he had begun for the
purpose of getting possession of the Nashville pike, and though
reinforced until two-fifths of Bragg's army was now at his command,
yet he met with repulse after repulse, which created great gaps in
his lines and taught him that to overwhelm us was hopeless.

As the enemy was recoiling from his first attack, I received a
message from Rosecrans telling me that he was making new
dispositions, and directing me to hold on where I was until they were
completed.  From this I judged that the existing conditions of the
battle would probably require a sacrifice of my command, so I
informed Roberts and Schaefer that we must be prepared to meet the
demand on us by withstanding the assault of the enemy, no matter what
the outcome.  Every energy was therefore bent to the simple holding
of our ground, and as ammunition was getting scarce, instructions
were given throughout the command to have it reserve its fire till
the most effective moment.  In a little while came a second and a
third assault, and although they were as daring and furious as the
first, yet in each case the Confederates were repulsed, driven back
in confusion, but not without deadly loss to us, for the noble
Roberts was killed, and Colonel Harrington, of the Twenty-Seventh
Illinois, who succeeded to his brigade, was mortally wounded a few
minutes later.  I had now on the death-roll three brigade commanders,
and the loss of subordinate officers and men was appalling, but their
sacrifice had accomplished the desired result; they had not fallen in
vain.  Indeed, the bravery and tenacity of my division gave to
Rosecrans the time required to make new dispositions, and exacted
from our foes the highest commendations.

A lull followed the third fierce assault, and an investigation showed
that, with the exception of a few rounds in my brigade, our
ammunition was entirely exhausted; and while it was apparent that the
enemy was reluctant to renew the conflict in my front, yet I was
satisfied I could not hold on much longer without the danger of
ultimate capture, so I prepared to withdraw as soon as the troops of
Rousseau's division, which had been ordered to take up a line on my
right, came into position.  Schaefer's and Sill's brigades being
without a cartridge, I directed them to fix bayonets for a charge,
and await any attempt of the enemy to embarrass my retreat, while
Roberts's brigade, offering such resistance as its small quantity of
ammunition would permit, was pulled slowly in toward the Nashville
pike.  Eighty of the horses of Houghtaling's battery having been
killed, an attempt was made to bring his guns back by hand over the
rocky ground, but it could not be done, and we had to abandon them.
Hescock also had lost most of his horses, but all his guns were
saved.  Bush's battery lost two pieces, the tangled underbrush in the
dense cedars proving an obstacle to getting them away which his
almost superhuman exertions could not surmount.  Thus far the bloody
duel had cost me heavily, one-third of my division being killed or
wounded.  I had already three brigade commanders killed; a little
later I lost my fourth--Colonel Schaefer.

The difficulties of withdrawing were very great, as the ground was
exceptionally rocky, and the growth of cedars almost impenetrable for
wheeled carriages.  Retiring sullenly under a heavy fire, while the
general line was reformed to my right and rear, my division was at
length drawn through the cedars and debouched into an open space near
the Murfreesboro' pike, behind the right of Palmer's division.  Two
regiments of Sill's brigade, however, on account of the conformation
of the ground, were obliged to fall back from the point where
Woodruff's brigade of Davis's division had rallied after the disaster
of the early morning.  The division came out of the cedars with
unbroken ranks, thinned by only its killed and wounded--but few
missing.  When we came into the open ground, McCook directed
Roberts's brigade--now commanded by Colonel Luther P. Bradley--to
proceed a short distance to the rear on the Nashville pike, to repel
the enemy's threatening attempt at our communications.  Willingly and
cheerfully the brigade again entered the fight under these new
conditions, and although it was supplied with but three or four
cartridges to the man now, it charged gallantly and recaptured two
pieces of artillery which the Union troops had had to abandon at that

Shortly after we debouched from the cedars I was directed by
Rosecrans to send some aid to the right of General Palmer's division;
and two of Schaefer's regiments, having obtained ammunition, were
pushed up on Palmer's right, accompanied by four of Hescock's guns;
but the advance of the enemy here had already been checked by Palmer,
and only a desultory contest ensued.  Rosecrans, whom I now met in
the open ground west of the railroad, behind Palmer, directed that my
command should relieve Wood's division, which was required to fall
back and take up the new line that had been marked out while I was
holding on in the cedars.  His usually florid face had lost its ruddy
color, and his anxious eyes told that the disasters of the morning
were testing his powers to the very verge of endurance, but he seemed
fully to comprehend what had befallen us.  His firmly set lips and,
the calmness with which his instructions were delivered inspired
confidence in all around him; and expressing approbation of what my
division had done, while deliberately directing it to a new point, he
renewed in us all the hope of final victory, though it must be
admitted that at this phase of the battle the chances lay largely
with the enemy.

Withdrawing the two regiments and Hescock's battery, that I had
posted on the right of Palmer, I moved as directed by Rosecrans into
the position to the east of the railroad, and formed immediately to
the right of Wood, who was now being attacked all along his front,
but more particularly where his right rested near the railroad.
Under a storm of shot and shell that came in torrents my troops took
up the new ground, advancing through a clump of open timber to Wood's
assistance.  Forming in line in front of the timber we poured a
telling fire into the enemy's ranks, which were then attacking across
some cleared fields; but when he discovered additional troops
confronting him, he gave up the attempt to carry Wood's position.  It
was here that I lost Schaefer, who was killed instantly, making my
fourth brigade commander dead that day.  The enemy in front of Wood
having been checked, our whole line east of the railroad executed
undisturbed its retrograde movement to a position about three hundred
yards to its rear.  When I fell back to the edge of the clump of
timber, where when first coming on the ground I had formed to help
Wood, I was ordered by Rosecrans to prepare to make a charge should
the enemy again assault us.  In anticipation of this work I massed my
troops in close column.  The expected attack never came, however, but
the shot and shell of a furious cannonade told with fatal effect upon
men and officers as they lay on their faces hugging the ground.  The
torments of this trying situation were almost unbearable, but it was
obvious to all that it was necessary to have at hand a compact body
of troops to repel any assault the enemy might make pending the
reconstruction of the extreme right of our line, and a silent
determination to stay seemed to take hold of each individual soldier;
nor was this grim silence interrupted throughout the cannonade,
except in one instance, when one of the regiments broke out in a
lusty cheer as a startled rabbit in search of a new hiding-place
safely ran the whole length of the line on the backs of the men.

While my troops were still lying here, General Rosecrans, with a part
of his staff and a few orderlies, rode out on the rearranged line to
supervise its formation and encourage the men, and in prosecution of
these objects moved around the front of my column of attack, within
range of the batteries that were shelling us so viciously.  As he
passed to the open ground on my left, I joined him.  The enemy seeing
this mounted party, turned his guns upon it, and his accurate aim was
soon rewarded, for a solid shot carried away the head of Colonel
Garesche, the chief-of-staff, and killed or wounded two or three
orderlies.  Garesche's appalling death stunned us all, and a
momentary expression of horror spread over Rosecrans's face; but at
such a time the importance of self-control was vital, and he pursued
his course with an appearance of indifference, which, however, those
immediately about him saw was assumed, for undoubtedly he felt most
deeply the death of his friend and trusted staff-officer.

No other attacks were made on us to the east of the railroad for the
rest of the afternoon, and just before dark I was directed to
withdraw and take up a position along the west side of the Nashville
pike, on the extreme right of our new line, where Roberts's brigade
and the Seventy-third and Eighty-eighth Illinois had already been
placed by McCook.  The day had cost me much anxiety and sadness, and
I was sorely disappointed at the general result, though I could not
be other than pleased at the part taken by my command.  The loss of
my brigade commanders--Sill, Roberts, Schaefer, and Harrington-and a
large number of regimental and battery officers, with so many of
their men, struck deep into my heart: My thinned ranks told the
woeful tale of the fierce struggles, indescribable by words, through
which my division had passed since 7 o'clock in the morning; and
this, added to our hungry and exhausted condition, was naturally
disheartening.  The men had been made veterans, however, by the
fortunes and misfortunes of the day, and as they went into their new
places still confident of final success, it was plain to see that
they felt a self-confidence inspired by the part they had already

My headquarters were now established on the Nashville pike, about
three miles and a half from Murfreesboro'; my division being aligned
to the west of the pike, bowed out and facing almost west, Cleburn's
division of the Confederates confronting it.  Davis's division was
posted on my right, and Walker's brigade of Thomas's corps, which had
reported to me, took up a line that connected my left with Johnson's

Late in the evening General Rosecrans, accompanied by General McCook,
and several other officers whose names I am now unable to recall,
rode by my headquarters on their way to the rear to look for a new
line of battle--on Overall's creek it was said--that would preserve
our communications with Nashville and offer better facilities for
resistance than the one we were now holding.  Considerable time had
elapsed when they returned from this exploration and proceeded to
their respective commands, without intimating to me that anything had
been determined upon by the reconnoissance, but a little later it was
rumored through the different headquarters that while the party was
looking for a new position it discovered the enemy's troops moving
toward our right and rear, the head of his columns being conducted in
the darkness by the aid of torches, and that no alternative was left
us but to hold the lines we then occupied.  The torches had been seen
unquestionably, and possibly created some alarm at first in the minds
of the reconnoitring party, but it was soon ascertained that the
lights came from a battalion of the Fourth regular cavalry that was
picketing our flank and happened to be starting its bivouac fires at
the moment.  The fires and the supposed movements had no weight,
therefore, in deciding the proposition to take up a line at Overall's
creek, but General Rosecrans, fortunately for the army, decided to
remain where he was.  Doubtless reflections during his ride caused
him to realize that the enemy must be quite as much crippled as
himself.  If it had been decided to fall back to Overall's creek, we
could have withdrawn without much difficulty very likely, but such a
retrograde movement would have left to the enemy the entire
battle-field of Stone River and ultimately compelled our retreat
to Nashville.

In the night of December 3rd several slight demonstrations were made
on my front, but from the darkness neither party felt the effect of
the other's fire, and when daylight came again the skirmishers and
lines of battle were in about the same position they had taken up the
evening before.  Soon after daybreak it became evident that the
conflict was to be renewed, and a little later the enemy resumed the
offensive by an attack along my left front, especially on Walker's
brigade.  His attempt was ineffectual, however, and so easily
repulsed as to demonstrate that the desperate character of his
assaults the day before had nearly exhausted his strength.  About 3
o'clock in the afternoon he made another feeble charge on my front,
but our fire from the barricades and rifle-pits soon demoralized his
advancing lines, which fell back in some confusion, thus enabling us
to pick up about a hundred prisoners.  From this time till the
evening of January 3 Bragg's left remained in our front, and
continued to show itself at intervals by weak demonstrations, which
we afterward ascertained were directly intended to cover the
desperate assault he made with Breckenridge on the left of Rosecrans,
an assault that really had in view only a defensive purpose, for
unless Bragg dislodged the troops which were now massing in front of
his right he would be obliged to withdraw General Polk's corps behind
Stone River and finally abandon Murfreesboro'.  The sequel proved
this to be the case; and the ill-judged assault led by Breckenridge
ending in entire defeat, Bragg retired from Murfreesboro' the night
of January 3.

General Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro' on the 4th and 5th, having
gained a costly victory, which was not decisive enough in its
character to greatly affect the general course of the war, though it
somewhat strengthened and increased our hold on Middle Tennessee.
The enemy in retiring did not fall back very far--only behind Duck
River to Shelbyville and Tullahoma--and but little endeavor was made
to follow him.  Indeed, we were not in condition to pursue, even if
it had been the intention at the outset of the campaign.

As soon as possible after the Confederate retreat I went over the
battle-field to collect such of my wounded as had not been carried
off to the South and to bury my dead.  In the cedars and on the
ground where I had been so fiercely assaulted when the battle opened,
on the morning of the 31st, evidences of the bloody struggle appeared
on every hand in the form of broken fire-arms, fragments of
accoutrements, and splintered trees.  The dead had nearly all been
left unburied, but as there was likelihood of their mutilation by
roving swine, the bodies had mostly been collected in piles at
different points and inclosed by rail fences.  The sad duties of
interment and of caring for the wounded were completed by the 5th,
and on the 6th I moved my division three miles, south of
Murfreesboro' on the Shelbyville pike, going into camp on the banks
of Stone River.  Here the condition of my command was thoroughly
looked into, and an endeavor made to correct such defects as had been
disclosed by the recent battle.

During the engagement there had been little straggling, and my list
of missing was small and legitimate; still, it was known that a very
few had shirked their duty, and an example was necessary.  Among this
small number were four officers who, it was charged, had abandoned
their colors and regiments.  When their guilt was clearly
established, and as soon as an opportunity occurred, I caused the
whole division to be formed in a hollow square, closed in mass, and
had the four officers marched to the centre, where, telling them that
I would not humiliate any officer or soldier by requiring him to
touch their disgraced swords, I compelled them to deliver theirs up
to my colored servant, who also cut from their coats every insignia
of rank.  Then, after there had been read to the command an order
from army headquarters dismissing the four from the service, the
scene was brought to a close by drumming the cowards out of camp.  It
was a mortifying spectacle, but from that day no officer in that
division ever abandoned his colors.

My effective force in the battle of Stone River was 4,154 officers
and men.  Of this number I lost 1,633 killed, wounded, and missing,
or nearly 40 per cent.  In the remaining years of the war, though
often engaged in most severe contests, I never experienced in any of
my commands so high a rate of casualties.  The ratio of loss in the
whole of Rosecrans's army was also high, and Bragg's losses were
almost equally great.  Rosecrans carried into the action about 42,000
officers and men.  He lost 13,230, or 31 per cent.  Bragg's effective
force was 37,800 officers and men; he lost 10,306, or nearly 28 per

Though our victory was dearly bought, yet the importance of gaining
the day at any price was very great, particularly when we consider
what might have been the result had not the gallantry of the army and
the manoeuvring during the early disaster saved us from ultimate
defeat.  We had started out from Nashville on an offensive campaign,
probably with no intention of going beyond Murfreesboro', in
midwinter, but still with the expectation of delivering a crushing
blow should the enemy accept our challenge to battle.  He met us with
a plan of attack almost the counterpart of our own.  In the execution
of his plan he had many advantages, not the least of which was his
intimate knowledge of the ground, and he came near destroying us.
Had he done so, Nashville would probably have fallen; at all events,
Kentucky would have been opened again to his incursions, and the
theatre of war very likely transferred once more to the Ohio River.
As the case now stood, however, Nashville was firmly established as a
base for future operations, Kentucky was safe from the possibility of
being again overrun, and Bragg, thrown on the defensive, was
compelled to give his thoughts to the protection of the interior of
the Confederacy and the security of Chattanooga, rather than indulge
in schemes of conquest north of the Cumberland River.  While he still
held on in Middle Tennessee his grasp was so much loosened that only
slight effort would be necessary to push him back into Georgia, and
thus give to the mountain region of East Tennessee an opportunity to
prove its loyalty to the Union.

The victory quieted the fears of the West and Northwest, destroyed
the hopes of the secession element in Kentucky, renewed the drooping
spirits of the East Tennesseans, and demoralized the disunionists in
Middle Tennessee; yet it was a negative victory so far as concerned
the result on the battle-field.  Rosecrans seems to have planned the
battle with the idea that the enemy would continue passive, remain
entirely on the defensive, and that it was necessary only to push
forward our left in order to force the evacuation of Murfreesboro';
and notwithstanding the fact that on the afternoon of December 30
McCook received information that the right of Johnson's division.
resting near the Franklin pike, extended only to about the centre of
the Confederate army, it does not appear that attack from that
quarter was at all apprehended by the Union commanders.

The natural line of retreat of the Confederates was not threatened by
the design of Rosecrans; and Bragg, without risk to his
communications, anticipated it by a counter-attack of like character
from his own left, and demolished his adversary's plan the moment we
were thrown on the defensive.  Had Bragg followed up with the spirit
which characterized its beginning the successful attack by Hardee on
our right wing--and there seems no reason why he should not have done
so--the army of Rosecrans still might have got back to Nashville, but
it would have been depleted and demoralized to such a degree as to
unfit it for offensive operations for a long time afterward.  Bragg's
intrenchments in front of Stone River were very strong, and there
seems no reason why he should not have used his plain advantage as
explained, but instead he allowed us to gain time, intrench, and
recover a confidence that at first was badly shaken.  Finally, to cap
the climax of his errors, he directed Breckenridge to make the
assault from his right flank on January 2, with small chance for
anything but disaster, when the real purpose in view could have been
accomplished without the necessity of any offensive manoeuvre



On the 6th of January, 1863, my division settled quietly down in its
camp south of Murfreesboro'.  Its exhausted condition after the
terrible experiences of the preceding week required attention.  It
needed recuperation, reinforcement, and reorganization, and I set
about these matters without delay, in anticipation of active
operations early in the spring.  No forward movement was made for
nearly six months, however, and throughout this period drills,
parades, reconnoissances, and foraging expeditions filled in the time
profitably.  In addition to these exercises the construction of
permanent fortifications for the security of Murfreesboro' was
undertaken by General Rosecrans, and large details from my troops
were furnished daily for the work.  Much attention was also given to
creating a more perfect system of guard and picket duty-a matter that
had hitherto been somewhat neglected in the army, as its constant
activity had permitted scant opportunity for the development of such
a system.  It was at this time that I received my appointment as a
major-general of Volunteers.  My promotion had been recommended by
General Rosecrans immediately after the battle of Stone River, but
for some reason it was delayed until April, and though a long time
elapsed between the promise and the performance, my gratification was

My scout, Card, was exceedingly useful while encamped near
Murfreesboro, making several trips to East Tennessee within the
enemy's lines to collect information as to the condition of the loyal
people there, and to encourage them with the hope of early
liberation.  He also brought back from each trip very accurate
statements as to the strength and doings of the Confederate army,
fixing almost with certainty its numbers and the locations of its
different divisions, and enabling my engineer-officer--Major
Morhardt--to construct good maps of the country in our front.  On
these dangerous excursions Card was always accompanied by one of his
brothers, the other remaining with me to be ready for duty if any
accident occurred to those who had gone out, or in case I wanted to
communicate with them.  In this way we kept well posted, although the
intelligence these men brought was almost always secured at the risk
of their lives.

Early in the spring, before the Tullahoma campaign began, I thought
it would be practicable, by sending out a small secret expedition of
but three or four men, to break the Nashville and Chattanooga
railroad between Chattanooga and the enemy's position at Tullahoma by
burning the bridges in Crow Creek valley from its head to Stevenson,
Alabama, and then the great bridge across the Tennessee River at
Bridgeport.  Feeling confident that I could persuade Card to
undertake the perilous duty, I broached the contemplated project to
him, and he at once jumped at the opportunity of thus distinguishing
himself, saying that with one of his brothers and three other loyal
East Tennesseeans, whose services he knew could be enlisted, he felt
sure of carrying out the idea, so I gave him authority to choose his
own assistants.  In a few days his men appeared at my headquarters,
and when supplied with money in notes of the State Bank of Tennessee,
current everywhere as gold in those days, the party, composed of
Card, the second brother, and the three East Tennesseeans, started on
their precarious enterprise, their course being directed first toward
the Cumberland Mountains, intending to strike the Nashville and
Chattanooga railroad somewhere above Anderson's station.  They
expected to get back in about fifteen days, but I looked for some
knowledge of the progress of their adventure before the expiration of
that period, hoping to hear through Confederate sources prisoners and
the like-of the destruction of the bridges.  I waited in patience for
such news, but none came, and as the time Card had allotted himself
passed by, I watched anxiously for his return, for, as there was
scarcely a doubt that the expedition had proved a failure, the fate
of the party became a matter of deep concern to Card's remaining
brother and to me.  Finally this brother volunteered to go to his
father's house in East Tennessee to get tidings of the party, and I
consented, for the probabilities were that some of them had made
their way to that point, or at least that some information had
reached there about them.  As day after day went by, the time fixed
for this brother's return came round, yet he also remained out; but
some days after the lad was due Card himself turned up accompanied by
the brother he had taken with him, soon explained his delay in
getting back, and gave me the story of his adventures while absent.

After leaving my camp, his party had followed various byways across
the Cumberland Mountains to Crow Creek Valley, as instructed; but
when nearing the railroad above Anderson's Station, they were
captured by some guerrillas prowling about that vicinity, and being
suspected of disloyalty to the Confederacy, were carried to
Chattanooga and imprisoned as Yankee spies.  Their prospects now were
decidedly discouraging, for death stared them in the face.
Fortunately, however, some delays occurred relative to the
disposition that should be made of them, and they, meanwhile,
effected their escape from their jailors by way of one of the prison
windows, from which they managed to displace a bar, and by a skiff,
in the darkness of night, crossed the Tennessee River a little below
Chattanooga.  From this point the party made their way back to my
camp, traveling only at night, hiding in the woods by day, and for
food depending on loyal citizens that Card had become acquainted with
when preaching and peddling.

Card's first inquiry after relating his story was for the youngest
brother, whom he had left with me.  I told him what I had done, in my
anxiety about himself, and that more than sufficient time had elapsed
for his brother's return.  His reply was: "They have caught him.  The
poor fellow is dead."  His surmise proved correct; for news soon came
that the poor boy had been captured at his father's house, and
hanged.  The blow to Card was a severe one, and so hardened his heart
against the guerrillas in the neighborhood of his father's home--for
he knew they were guilty of his brother's murder--that it was with
difficulty I could persuade him to continue in the employment of the
Government, so determined was he to avenge his brother's death at the
first opportunity.  Finally, however, I succeeded in quieting the
almost uncontrollable rage that seemed to possess him, and he
remained with me during the Tullahoma and Chickamauga campaigns; but
when we reached Knoxville the next winter, he took his departure,
informing me that he was going for the bushwhackers who had killed
his brother.  A short time after he left me, I saw him at the head of
about thirty well-armed East Tennesseeans--refugees.  They were
determined-looking men, seeking revenge for the wrongs and sufferings
that had been put upon them in the last two years, and no doubt
wreaked their vengeance right and left on all who had been in any way
instrumental in persecuting them.

The feeding of our army from the base at Louisville was attended with
a great many difficulties, as the enemy's cavalry was constantly
breaking the railroad and intercepting our communications on the
Cumberland River at different points that were easily accessible to
his then superior force of troopers.  The accumulation of reserve
stores was therefore not an easy task, and to get forage ahead a few
days was well-nigh impossible, unless that brought from the North was
supplemented by what we could gather from the country.  Corn was
abundant in the region to the south and southwest of Murfreesboro',
so to make good our deficiences in this respect, I employed a brigade
about once a week in the duty of collecting and bringing in forage,
sending out sometimes as many as a hundred and fifty wagons to haul
the grain which my scouts had previously located.  In nearly every
one of these expeditions the enemy was encountered, and the wagons
were usually loaded while the skirmishers kept up a running fire,
Often there would occur a respectable brush, with the loss on each
side of a number of killed and wounded.  The officer in direct
command always reported to me personally whatever had happened during
the time he was out--the result of his reconnoissance, so to speak,
for that war the real nature of these excursions--and on one occasion
the colonel in command, Colonel Conrad, of the Fifteenth Missouri,
informed me that he got through without much difficulty; in fact,
that everything had gone all right and been eminently satisfactory,
except that in returning he had been mortified greatly by the conduct
of the two females belonging to the detachment and division train at
my headquarters.  These women, he said, had given much annoyance by
getting drunk, and to some extent demoralizing his men.  To say that
I was astonished at his statement would be a mild way of putting it,
and had I not known him to be a most upright man and of sound sense,
I should have doubted not only his veracity, but his sanity.
Inquiring who they were and for further details, I was informed that
there certainly were in the command two females, that in some
mysterious manner had attached themselves to the service as soldiers;
that one, an East Tennessee woman, was a teamster in the division
wagon-train and the other a private soldier in a cavalry company
temporarily attached to my headquarters for escort duty.  While out
on the foraging expedition these Amazons had secured a supply of
"apple-jack" by some means, got very drunk, and on the return had
fallen into Stone River and been nearly drowned.  After they had been
fished from, the water, in the process of resuscitation their sex was
disclosed, though up to this time it appeared to be known only to
each other.  The story was straight and the circumstance clear,
so, convinced of Conrad's continued sanity, I directed the
provost-marshal to bring in arrest to my headquarters the two
disturbers of Conrad's peace of mind, After some little search the
East Tennessee woman was found in camp, somewhat the worse for the
experiences of the day before, but awaiting her fate content idly
smoking a cob-pipe.  She was brought to me, and put in duress under
charge of the division surgeon until her companion could be secured.
To the doctor she related that the year before she had "refugeed" from
East Tennessee, and on arriving in Louisville assumed men's apparel
and sought and obtained employment as a teamster in the
quartermaster's department.  Her features were very large, and so
coarse and masculine was her general appearance that she would readily
have passed as a man, and in her case the deception was no doubt
easily practiced.  Next day the "she dragoon" was caught, and proved
to be a rather prepossessing young woman, and though necessarily
bronzed and hardened by exposure, I doubt if, even with these marks of
campaigning, she could have deceived as readily as did her companion.
How the two got acquainted, I never learned, and though they had
joined the army independently of each other, yet an intimacy had
sprung up between them long before the mishaps of the foraging
expedition.  They both were forwarded to army headquarters, and, when
provided with clothing suited to their sex, sent back to Nashville,
and thence beyond our lines to Louisville.

On January 9, by an order from the War Department, the Army of the
Cumberland had been divided into three corps, designated the
Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first.  This order did not alter the
composition of the former grand divisions, nor change the commanders,
but the new nomenclature was a decided improvement over the clumsy
designations Right Wing, Centre, and Left Wing, which were well
calculated to lead to confusion sometimes.  McCook's wing became the
Twentieth Corps, and my division continued of the same organization,
and held the same number as formerly-the Third Division, Twentieth
Corps.  My first brigade was now commanded by Brigadier-General
William H. Lytle, the second by Colonel Bernard Laiboldt, and the
third by Colonel Luther P. Bradley.

On the 4th of March I was directed to move in light marching order
toward Franklin and join General Gordon Granger, to take part in some
operations which he was projecting against General Earl Van Dorn,
then at Spring Hill.  Knowing that my line of march would carry me
through a region where forage was plentiful, I took along a large
train of empty wagons, which I determined to fill with corn and send
back to Murfreesboro', believing that I could successfully cover the
train by Minty's brigade of cavalry, which had joined me for the
purpose of aiding in a reconnoissance toward Shelbyville.  In
marching the column I placed a regiment of infantry at its head, then
the wagon-train, then a brigade of infantry--masking the cavalry
behind this brigade.  The enemy, discovering that the train was with
us, and thinking he could capture it, came boldly out with his,
cavalry to attack.  The head of his column came up to the crossroads
at Versailles, but holding him there, I passed the train and infantry
brigade beyond toward Eagleville, and when my cavalry had been thus
unmasked, Minty, followed by the balance of my division, which was
still behind, charged him with the sabre.  Success was immediate and
complete, and pursuit of the routed forces continued through
Unionville, until we fell upon and drove in the Confederate outposts
at Shelbyville.  Here the enemy was taken by surprise evidently,
which was most fortunate for us, otherwise the consequences might
have been disastrous.  Minty captured in the charge about fifty
prisoners and a few wagons and mules, and thus enabled me to load my
train with corn, and send it back to Murfreesboro' unmolested.  In
this little fight the sabre was freely used by both sides, and I do
not believe that during the whole war I again knew of so large a
percentage of wounds by that arm in proportion to the numbers

That night I encamped at Eagleville, and next day reported to Granger
at Franklin, arriving in the midst of much excitement prevailing on
account of the loss of Coburn's brigade, which had been captured the
day before a little distance south of that point, while marching to
form a junction with a column that had been directed on Columbia from
Murfreesboro'.  Shortly after Coburn's capture General Granger had
come upon the scene, and the next day he advanced my division and
Minty's troops directly on Spring Hill, with a view to making some
reprisal; but Van Dorn had no intention of accommodating us, and
retired from Spring Hill, offering but little resistance.  He
continued to fall back, till finally he got behind Duck River, where
operations against him ceased; for, in consequence of the incessant
rains of the season, the streams had become almost impassable.
Later, I returned by way of Franklin to my old camp at Murfreesboro',
passing over on this march the ground on which the Confederate
General Hood met with such disaster the following year in his attack
on Stanley's corps.

My command had all returned from the Franklin expedition to
Murfreesboro' and gone into camp on the Salem pike by the latter part
of March, from which time till June it took part in only the little
affairs of outposts occurring every now and then on my own front.  In
the meanwhile General Rosecrans had been materially reinforced by the
return of sick and wounded men; his army had become well disciplined,
and was tolerably supplied; and he was repeatedly pressed by the
authorities at Washington to undertake offensive operations.

During the spring and early summer Rosecrans resisted, with a great
deal of spirit and on various grounds, these frequent urgings, and
out of this grew up an acrimonious correspondence and strained
feeling between him and General Halleck.  Early in June, however,
stores had been accumulated and other preparations made for a move
forward, Resecrans seeming to have decided that he could safely risk
an advance, with the prospect of good results.  Before finally
deciding, he called upon most of his corps and division commanders
for their opinions on certain propositions which he presented, and
most of them still opposed the projected movement, I among the
number, reasoning that while General Grant was operating against
Vicksburg, it was better to hold Bragg in Middle Tennessee than to
push him so far back into Georgia that interior means of
communication would give the Confederate Government the opportunity
of quickly joining a part of his force to that of General Johnson in

At this stage, and in fact prior to it, Rosecrans seemed to manifest
special confidence in me, often discussing his plans with me
independent of the occasions on which he formally referred them for
my views.  I recollect that on two different occasions about this
time he unfolded his designs to me in this informal way, outlining
generally how he expected ultimately to force Bragg south of the
Tennessee River, and going into the details of the contemplated move
on Tullahoma.  His schemes, to my mind, were not only comprehensive,
but exact, and showed conclusively, what no one doubted then, that
they were original with him.  I found in them very little to
criticise unfavorably, if we were to move at all, and Rosecrans
certainly impressed me that he favored an advance at an early day,
though many of his generals were against it until the operations on
the Mississippi River should culminate in something definite.  There
was much, fully apparent in the circumstances about his headquarters,
leading to the conviction that Rosecrans originated the Tullahoma
campaign, and the record of his prior performances collaterally
sustains the visible evidence then existing.  In my opinion, then,
based on a clear recollection of various occurrences growing out of
our intimacy, he conceived the plan of the Tullahoma campaign and the
one succeeding it; and is therefore entitled to every credit that
attended their execution, no matter what may be claimed for others.

On the 23d of June Bragg was covering his position north of Duck
River with a front extending from McMinnville, where his cavalry
rested, through Wartrace and Shelbyville to Columbia, his depot being
at Tullahoma.  Rosecrans, thinking that Bragg would offer strong
resistance at Shelbyville--which was somewhat protected by a spur
of low mountains or hills, offshoots of the Cumberland Mountains
--decided to turn that place; consequently, he directed the mass
of the Union army on the enemy's right flank, about Manchester.

On the 26th of June McCook's corps advanced toward Liberty Gap, my
divisions marching on the Shelbyville pike.  I had proceeded but a
few miles when I encountered the enemy's pickets, who fell back to
Christiana, about nine miles from Murfreesboro'.  Here I was assailed
pretty wickedly by the enemy's sharpshooters and a section of
artillery, but as I was instructed to do nothing more than cover the
road from Eagleville, over which Brannan's division was to approach
Christiana, I made little reply to this severe annoyance, wishing to
conceal the strength of my force.  As soon as the head of Brannan's
column arrived I marched across-country to the left, and encamped
that night at the little town of Millersburg, in the vicinity of
Liberty Gap.  I was directed to move from Millersburg, on Hoover's
Gap--a pass in the range of hills already referred to, through which
ran the turnpike from Murfreesboro' to Manchester--but heavy rains
had made the country roads almost impassable, and the last of my
division did not reach Hoover's Gap till the morning of June 27,
after its abandonment by the enemy.  Continuing on to Fairfield, the
head of my column met, south of that place, a small force of
Confederate infantry and cavalry, which after a slight skirmish
Laiboldt's brigade drove back toward Wartrace.  The next morning I
arrived at Manchester, where I remained quiet for the day.  Early on
the 29th I marched by the Lynchburg road for Tullahoma, where the
enemy was believed to be in force, and came into position about six
miles from the town.

By the 31st the whole army had been concentrated, in spite of many
difficulties, and though, on account of the heavy rains that had
fallen almost incessantly since we left Murfreesboro', its movements
had been slow and somewhat inaccurate, yet the precision with which
it took up a line of battle for an attack on Tullahoma showed that
forethought and study had been given to every detail.  The enemy had
determined to fall back from Tullahoma at the beginning of the
campaign, however, and as we advanced, his evacuation had so far
progressed that when, on July 1.  We reached the earthworks thrown.
up early in the year for the defense of the place, he had almost
wholly disappeared, carrying off all his stores and munitions of war
except some little subsistence and eleven pieces of artillery.  A
strong rearguard remained to cover the retreat, and on my front the
usual encounters between advancing and retreating forces took place.
Just before reaching the intrenchments on the Lynchburg road, I came
upon an open space that was covered by a network of fallen trees and
underbrush, which had been slashed all along in front of the enemy's
earthworks.  This made our progress very difficult, but I shortly
became satisfied that there were only a few of the enemy within the
works, so moving a battalion of cavalry that had joined me the day
before down the road as rapidly as the obstructions would permit, the
Confederate pickets quickly departed, and we gained possession of the
town.  Three siege guns, four caissons, a few stores, and a small
number of prisoners fell into my hands.

That same evening orders were issued to the army to push on from
Tullahoma in pursuit, for, as it was thought that we might not be
able to cross Elk River on account of its swollen condition, we could
do the enemy some damage by keeping close as possible at his heels.
I marched on the Winchester road at 3 o'clock on the 2d of July and
about 8 o'clock reached Elk River ford.  The stream was for the time
truly an impassable torrent, and all hope of crossing by the
Winchester ford had to be abandoned.  Deeming that further effort
should be made, however, under guidance of Card, I turned the head of
my column in the direction of Alisona, marching up the river and
nearly parallel with it till I came to Rock Creek.  With a little
delay we got across Rock Creek, which was also much swollen, and
finding a short distance above its mouth a ford on Elk River that
Card said was practicable, I determined to attempt it: Some of the
enemy's cavalry were guarding this ford, but after a sharp little
skirmish my battalion of cavalry crossed and took up a strong
position on the other bank.  The stream was very high and the current
very swift, the water, tumbling along over its rocky bed in an
immense volume, but still it was fordable for infantry if means could
be devised by which the men could keep their feet.  A cable was
stretched across just below the ford as a lifeline for the weaker
ones, and then the men of the entire division having secured their
ammunition by placing the cartridge-boxes on their shoulders, the
column pushed cheerfully into the rushing current.  The men as they
entered the water joined each other in sets of four in a close
embrace, which enabled them to retain a foothold and successfully
resist the force of the flood.  When they were across I turned the
column down the left bank of Elk River, and driving the enemy from
some slight works near Estelle Springs, regained the Winchester road.

By this time it was clear that Bragg intended to fall back behind the
Tennessee River, and our only chance of accomplishing anything of
importance was to smash up his rear-guard before it crossed the
Cumberland Mountains, and in pursuance of this idea I was directed to
attack such of his force as was holding on to Winchester.  At 4
o'clock on the morning of July 2 I moved on that town, and when we
got close to it directed my mounted troops to charge a small force of
Confederate cavalry that was picketing their front.  The Confederates
resisted but little, and our men went with them in a disorderly chase
through the village to Boiling Fork, a small stream about half a mile
beyond.  Here the fleeing pickets, rallying behind a stronger force,
made a stand, and I was directed by McCook to delay till I
ascertained if Davis's division, which was to support me, had made
the crossing of Elk River, and until I could open up communication
with Brannan's division, which was to come in on my left at Decherd.
As soon as I learned that Davis was across I pushed on, but the delay
had permitted the enemy to pull his rear-guard up on the mountain,
and rendered nugatory all further efforts to hurt him materially, our
only returns consisting in forcing him to relinquish a small amount
of transportation and forage at the mouth of the pass just beyond
Cowan, a station on the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga

At Cowan, Colonel Watkins, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, reported to
me with twelve hundred mounted men.  Having heard during the night
that the enemy had halted on the mountain near the University--an
educational establishment on the summit--I directed Watkins to make a
reconnoissance and find out the value of the information.  He learned
that Wharton's brigade of cavalry was halted at the University to
cover a moderately large force of the enemy's infantry which had not
yet got down the mountain on the other side, so I pushed Watkins out
again on the 5th, supporting him by a brigade of infantry, which I
accompanied myself.  We were too late, however, for when we arrived
at the top of the mountain Wharton had disappeared, and though
Watkins pursued to Bridgeport, he was able to do nothing more, and on
his return reported that the last of the enemy had crossed the
Tennessee River and burned the railroad bridge.

Nothing further could now be done, so I instructed Watkins to rejoin
the division at Cowan, and being greatly fatigued by the hard
campaigning of the previous ten days, I concluded to go back to my
camp in a more comfortable way than on the back of my tired horse.
In his retreat the enemy had not disturbed the railway track at all,
and as we had captured a hand-car at Cowan, I thought I would have it
brought up to the station near the University to carry me down the
mountain to my camp, and, desiring company, I persuasively invited
Colonel Frank T. Sherman to ride with me.  I sent for the car by a
courier, and for a long time patiently awaited its arrival, in fact,
until all the returning troops had passed us, but still it did not
come.  Thinking it somewhat risky to remain at the station without
protection, Sherman and myself started our horses to Cowan by our
orderlies, and set out on foot to meet the car, trudging along down
the track in momentary expectation of falling in with our private
conveyance.  We had not gone very far before night overtook us, and
we then began to realize the dangers surrounding us, for there we
were alone and helpless, tramping on in the darkness over an unknown
railroad track in the enemy's country, liable on the one hand to go
tumbling through some bridge or trestle, and on the other, to
possible capture or death at the hands of the guerrillas then
infesting these mountains.  Just after dark we came to a little cabin
near the track, where we made bold to ask for water, notwithstanding
the fact that to disclose ourselves to the inmates might lead to
fatal consequences.  The water was kindly given, but the owner and
his family were very much exercised lest some misfortune might befall
us near their house, so they encouraged us to move on with a frankness
inspired by fear of future trouble to themselves.

At every turn we eagerly hoped to meet the hand-car, but it never
came, and we jolted on from tie to tie for eleven weary miles,
reaching Cowan after midnight, exhausted and sore in every muscle
from frequent falls on the rough, unballasted road-bed.  Inquiry.
developed that the car had been well manned, and started to us as
ordered, and nobody could account for its non-arrival.  Further
investigation next day showed, however, that when it reached the foot
of the mountain, where the railroad formed a junction, the improvised
crew, in the belief no doubt that the University was on the main line
instead of near the branch to Tracy City, followed the main stem
until it carried them clear across the range down the Crow Creek
Valley, where the party was captured.

I had reason to remember for many a day this foolish adventure, for
my sore bones and bruised muscles, caused me physical suffering until
I left the Army of the Cumberland the next spring; but I had still
more reason to feel for my captured men, and on this account I have
never ceased to regret that I so thoughtlessly undertook to rejoin my
troops by rail, instead of sticking to my faithful horse.



The Tullahoma campaign was practically closed by the disappearance of
the enemy from the country north of the Tennessee River.  Middle
Tennessee was once more in the possession of the National troops, and
Rosecrans though strongly urged from Washington to continue on,
resisted the pressure until he could repair the Nashville and
Chattanooga railroad, which was of vital importance in supplying his
army from its secondary base at Nashville.  As he desired to hold
this road to where it crossed the Tennessee, it was necessary to push
a force beyond the mountains, and after a few days of rest at Cowan
my division was ordered to take station at Stevenson, Alabama, the
junction of the Memphis and Charleston road with the Nashville and
Chattanooga, with instructions to occupy Bridgeport also.

The enemy had meanwhile concentrated most of his forces at
Chattanooga for the twofold purpose of holding this gateway of the
Cumberland Mountains, and to assume a defensive attitude which would
enable him to take advantage of such circumstances as might arise in
the development of the offensive campaign he knew we must make.  The
peculiar topography of the country was much to his advantage, and
while we had a broad river and numerous spurs and ridges of the
Cumberland Mountains to cross at a long distance from our base, he
was backed up on his depots of supply, and connected by interior
lines of railway with the different armies of the Confederacy, so
that he could be speedily reinforced.

Bridgeport was to be ultimately a sub-depot for storing subsistence
supplies, and one of the points at which our army would cross the
Tennessee, so I occupied it on July 29 with two brigades, retaining
one at Stevenson, however, to protect that railway junction from
raids by way of Caperton's ferry.  By the 29th of August a
considerable quantity of supplies had been accumulated, and then
began a general movement of our troops for crossing the river.  As
there were not with the army enough pontoons to complete the two
bridges required, I was expected to build one of them of trestles;
and a battalion of the First Michigan Engineers under Colonel Innis
was sent me to help construct the bridge.  Early on the 31st I sent
into the neighboring woods about fifteen hundred men with axes and
teams, and by nightfall they had delivered on the riverbank fifteen
hundred logs suitable for a trestle bridge.  Flooring had been
shipped to me in advance by rail, but the quantity was insufficient,
and the lack had to be supplied by utilizing planking and
weather-boarding taken from barns and houses in the surrounding
country.  The next day Innis's engineers, with the assistance of the
detail that had felled the timber, cut and half-notched the logs, and
put the bridge across; spanning the main channel, which was swimming
deep, with four or five pontoons that had been sent me for this
purpose. On the 2d and 3d of September my division crossed on the
bridge in safety, though we were delayed somewhat because of its
giving way once where the pontoons joined the trestles.  We were
followed by a few detachments from other commands, and by nearly
all the transportation of McCook's corps.

After getting to the south side of the Tennessee River I was ordered
to Valley Head, where McCook's corps was to concentrate.  On the 4th
of September I ascended Sand Mountain, but had got only half way
across the plateau, on top, when night came, the march having been a
most toilsome one.  The next day we descended to the base, and
encamped near Trenton.  On the 10th I arrived at Valley Head, and
climbing Lookout Mountain, encamped on the plateau at Indian Falls.
The following day I went down into Broomtown Valley to Alpine.
The march of McCook's corps from Valley Head to Alpine was in
pursuance of orders directing it to advance on Summerville, the
possession of which place would further threaten the enemy's
communications, it being assumed that Bragg was in full retreat
south, as he had abandoned Chattanooga on the 8th.  This assumption
soon proved erroneous, however, and as we, while in Broomtown Valley,
could not communicate directly with Thomas's corps, the scattered
condition of the army began to alarm us all, and McCook abandoned the
advance to Summerville, ordering back to the summit of Lookout
Mountain such of the corps trains as had got down into Broomtown

But before this I had grown uneasy in regard to the disjointed
situation of our army, and, to inform myself of what was going on,
determined to send a spy into the enemy's lines.  In passing Valley
Head on the 10th my scout Card, who had been on the lookout for some
one capable to undertake the task, brought me a Union man with whom
he was acquainted, who lived on Sand Mountain, and had been much
persecuted by guerrillas on account of his loyal sentiments.  He knew
the country well, and as his loyalty was vouched for I asked him to
go into the enemy's camp, which I believed to be near Lafayette, and,
bring me such information as he could gather.  He said such a journey
would be at the risk of his life, and that at best he could not
expect to remain in that section of country if he undertook it, but
that he would run all the chances if I would enable him to emigrate
to the West at the end c f the "job," which I could do by purchasing
the small "bunch" of stock he owned on the mountain.  To this I
readily assented, and he started on the delicate undertaking.  He
penetrated the enemy's lines with little difficulty, but while
prosecuting his search for information was suspected, and at once
arrested and placed under guard.  From this critical situation he
escaped; however, making his way through the enemy's picket-line in
the darkness by crawling on his belly and deceiving the sentinels by
imitating the grunts of the half-wild, sand-colored hogs with which
the country abounded.  He succeeded in reaching Rosecrans's
headquarters finally, and there gave the definite information that
Bragg intended to fight, and that he expected to be reinforced by

By this time it was clear that Bragg had abandoned Chattanooga with
the sole design of striking us in detail as we followed in pursuit;
and to prevent his achieving this purpose orders came at 12 o'clock,
midnight, for McCook to draw in toward Chattanooga.  This could be
done only by recrossing Lookout Mountain, the enemy's army at
Lafayette now interposing between us and Thomas's corps.  The
retrograde march began at once.  I moved back over the mountain on
the 13th and 14th to Stevens's Mills, and on the 15th and 16th
recrossed through Stevens's Gap, in the Lookout range, and encamped
at its base in McLamore's cove.  The march was made with all possible
celerity, for the situation was critical and demanded every exertion.
The ascent and descent of the mountains was extremely exhausting, the
steep grades often rendering it necessary to drag up and let down by
hand both the transportation and artillery.  But at last we were in
conjunction with the main army, and my division breathed easier.

On the 17th I remained in line of battle all day and night in front
of McLamore's cove, the enemy making slight demonstrations against me
from the direction of Lafayette.  The main body of the army having
bodily moved to the left meanwhile, I followed it on the 18th,
encamping at Pond Spring.  On the 19th I resumed the march to the
left and went into line of battle at Crawfish Springs to cover our
right and rear.  Immediately after forming this line, I again became
isolated by the general movement to the left, and in consequence was
directed to advance and hold the ford of Chickamauga Creek at Lee and
Gordon's Mills, thus coming into close communication with the balance
of our forces.  I moved into this position rapidly, being compelled,
though, first to drive back the enemy's cavalry skirmishers, who,
having crossed to the west side of the creek, annoyed the right flank
of my column a good deal while en route.

Upon arrival at Lee and Gordon's Mills I found the ford over
Chickamauga Creek temporarily uncovered, through the hurried movement
of Wood to the assistance of Davis's division.  The enemy was already
present in small force, with the evident intention of taking
permanent possession, but my troops at once actively engaged him and
recovered the ford with some slight losses.  Scarcely had this been
done when I was directed to assist Crittenden.  Leaving Lytle's
brigade at the ford, I proceeded with Bradley's and Laiboldt's to
help Crittenden, whose main line was formed to the east of the
Chattanooga and Lafayette road, its right trending toward a point on
Chickamauga Creek about a mile and a half north of Lee and Gordon's
Mills.  By the time I had joined Crittenden with my two brigades,
Davis had been worsted in an attack Rosecrans had ordered him to make
on the left of that portion of the enemy's line which was located
along the west bank of the Chickamauga, the repulse being so severe
that one of Davis's batteries had to be abandoned.  Bradley's brigade
arrived on the ground first and was hastily formed and thrown into
the fight, which up to this moment had been very doubtful, fortune
inclining first to one side, then to the other.  Bradley's brigade
went in with steadiness, and charging across an open corn-field that
lay in front of the Lafayette road, recovered Davis's guns and forced
the enemy to retire.  Meanwhile Laiboldt's brigade had come on the
scene, and forming it on Bradley's right, I found myself at the end
of the contest holding the ground which was Davis's original
position.  It was an ugly fight and my loss was heavy, including
Bradley wounded.  The temporary success was cheering, and when
Lytle's brigade joined me a little later I suggested to Crittenden
that we attack, but investigation showed that his troops, having been
engaged all day, were not in condition, so the suggestion could not
be carried out.

The events of the day had indicated that Bragg's main object was to
turn Rosecrans's left; it was therefore still deemed necessary that
the army should continue its flank movement to the left, so orders
came to draw my troops in toward the widow Glenn's house.  By
strengthening the skirmish line and shifting my brigades in
succession from right to left until the point designated was reached,
I was able to effect the withdrawal without much difficulty, calling
in my skirmish line after the main force had retired.

My command having settled down for the night in this new line I rode
to army headquarters, to learn if possible the expectations for the
morrow and hear the result of the battle in General Thomas's front.
Nearly all the superior officers of the army were at headquarters,
and it struck me that much depression prevailed, notwithstanding the
fact that the enemy's attempts during the day to turn our left flank
and also envelop our right had been unsuccessful.  It was now
positively known, through prisoners and otherwise, that Bragg had
been reinforced to such an extent as to make him materially outnumber
us, consequently there was much apprehension for the future.

The necessity of protecting our left was most apparent, and the next
day the drifting in that direction was to be continued.  This
movement in the presence of the enemy, who at all points was actively
seeking an opportunity to penetrate our line and interpose a column
between its right and left, was most dangerous.  But the necessity
for shifting the army to the left was obvious, hence only the method
by which it was undertaken is open to question.  The move was made by
the flank in the face of an exultant foe superior in numbers, and was
a violation of a simple and fundamental military principle.  Under
such circumstances columns naturally stretch out into attenuated
lines, organizations become separated, and intervals occur, all of
which we experienced; and had the orders for the movement been
construed properly I doubt if it could have been executed without
serious danger.  Necessity knows no law, however, and when all the
circumstances of this battle are fully considered it is possible that
justification may be found for the manoeuvres by which the army was
thus drifted to the left.  We were in a bad strait unquestionably,
and under such conditions possibly the exception had to be applied
rather than the rule.

At daylight on the morning of the 20th a dense fog obscured
everything; consequently both armies were passive so far as fighting
was concerned.  Rosecrans took advantage of the inaction to rearrange
his right, and I was pulled back closer to the widow Glenn's house to
a strong position, where I threw together some rails and logs as
barricades, but I was disconnected from the troops on my left by a
considerable interval.  Here I awaited the approach of the enemy, but
he did not disturb me, although about 9 o'clock in the forenoon he
had opened on our extreme left with musketry fire and a heavy
cannonade.  Two hours later it was discovered by McCook that the
interval between the main army and me was widening, and he ordered me
to send Laiboldt's brigade to occupy a portion of the front that had
been covered by Negley's division.  Before getting this brigade into
place, however, two small brigades of Davis's division occupied the
ground, and I directed Laiboldt to form in column of regiments on the
crest of a low ridge in rear of Carlin's brigade, so as to prevent
Davis's right flank from being turned.  The enemy was now feeling
Davis strongly, and I was about sending for Lytle's and Bradley's
brigades when I received an order to move these rapidly to the
extreme left of the army to the assistance of General Thomas.  I rode
hastily back toward their position, but in the meanwhile, they had
been notified by direct orders from McCook, and were moving out at a
double-quick toward the Lafayette road.  By this time the enemy had
assaulted Davis furiously in front and flank, and driven him from his
line, and as the confused mass came back, McCook ordered Laiboldt to
charge by deploying to the front.  This he did through Davis's broken
ranks, but failed to check the enemy's heavy lines, and finally
Laiboldt's brigade broke also and fell to the rear.  My remaining
troops, headed by Lytle, were now passing along the rear of the
ground where this disaster took place--in column on the road--en
route to Thomas, and as the hundreds of fugitives rushed back, McCook
directed me to throw in Lytle's and Bradley's brigades.  This was
hastily done, they being formed to the front under a terrible fire.
Scarcely were they aligned when the same horde of Confederates that
had overwhelmed Davis and Laiboldt poured in upon them a deadly fire
and shivered the two brigades to pieces.  We succeeded in rallying
them, however, and by a counter attack regained the ridge that
Laiboldt had been driven from, where we captured the colors of the
Twenty-fourth Alabama.  We could not hold the ridge, though, and my
troops were driven back with heavy loss, including General Lytle
killed, past the widow Glenn's house, and till I managed to establish
them in line of battle on a range of low hills behind the Dry Valley

During these occurrences General Rosecrans passed down the road
behind my line, and sent word that he wished to see me, but affairs
were too critical to admit of my going to him at once, and he rode on
to Chattanooga.  It is to be regretted that he did not wait till I
could join him, for the delay would have permitted him to see that
matters were not in quite such bad shape as he supposed; still, there
is no disguising the fact that at this juncture his army was badly

Shortly after my division had rallied on the low hills already
described, I discovered that the enemy, instead of attacking me in
front, was wedging in between my division and the balance of the
army; in short, endeavoring to cut me off from Chattanooga.  This
necessitated another retrograde movement, which brought me back to
the southern face of Missionary Ridge, where I was joined by Carlin's
brigade of Davis's division.  Still thinking I could join General
Thomas, I rode some distance to the left of my line to look for a way
out, but found that the enemy had intervened so far as to isolate me
effectually.  I then determined to march directly to Rossville, and
from there effect a junction with Thomas by the Lafayette road.  I
reached Rossville about o'clock in the afternoon, bringing with me
eight guns, forty-six caissons, and a long ammunition train, the
latter having been found in a state of confusion behind the widow
Glenn's when I was being driven back behind the Dry Valley road.

The head of my column passed through Rossville, appearing upon
Thomas's left about 6 o'clock in the evening, penetrated without any
opposition the right of the enemy's line, and captured several of his
field-hospitals.  As soon as I got on the field I informed Thomas of
the presence of my command, and asked for orders.  He replied that
his lines were disorganized, and that it would be futile to attack;
that all I could do was to hold on, and aid in covering his
withdrawal to Rossville.

I accompanied him back to Rossville, and when we reached the skirt of
the little hamlet General Thomas halted and we dismounted.  Going
into one of the angles of a worm fence near by I took a rail from the
top and put it through the lower rails at a proper height from the
ground to make a seat, and General Thomas and I sat down while, my
troops were moving by.  The General appeared very much exhausted,
seemed to forget what he had stopped for, and said little or nothing
of the incidents of the day.  This was the second occasion on which I
had met him in the midst of misfortune, for during the fight in the
cedars at Stone River, when our prospects were most disheartening, we
held a brief conversation respecting the line he was then taking up
for the purpose of helping me.  At other times, in periods of
inactivity, I saw but little of him.  He impressed me, now as he did
in the cedars, his quiet, unobtrusive: demeanor communicating a
gloomy rather than a hopeful view of the situation.  This apparent
depression was due no doubt to the severe trial through which he had
gone in the last forty-eight hours, which, strain had exhausted him
very much both physically and mentally.  His success in maintaining
his ground was undoubtedly largely influenced by the fact that
two-thirds of the National forces had been sent to his succor, but his
firm purpose to save the army was the mainstay on which all relied
after Rosecrans left the field.  As the command was getting pretty
well past, I rose to go in order to put my troops into camp.  This
aroused the General, when, remarking that he had a little flask of
brandy in his saddle-holster, he added that he had just stopped for
the purpose of offering me a drink, as he knew I must be very tired.
He requested one of his staff-officers to get the flask, and after
taking a sip himself, passed it to me.  Refreshed by the brandy, I
mounted and rode off to supervise the encamping of my division, by no
means an easy task considering the darkness, and the confusion that
existed among the troops that had preceded us into Rossville.

This done, I lay down at the foot of a tree, with my saddle for a
pillow, and saddle-blanket for a cover.  Some soldiers near me having
built a fire, were making coffee, and I guess I must have been
looking on wistfully, for in a little while they brought me a
tin-cupful of the coffee and a small piece of hard bread, which I
relished keenly, it being the first food that had passed my lips
since the night before.  I was very tired, very hungry, and much
discouraged by what had taken place since morning.  I had been
obliged to fight my command under the most disadvantageous
circumstances, disconnected, without supports, without even
opportunity to form in line of battle, and at one time contending
against four divisions of the enemy.  In this battle of Chickamauga,
out of an effective strength Of 4,000 bayonets, I had lost 1,517
officers and men, including two brigade commanders.  This was not
satisfactory indeed, it was most depressing--and then there was much
confusion prevailing around Rossville; and, this condition of things
doubtless increasing my gloomy reflections, it did not seem to me
that the outlook for the next day was at all auspicious, unless the
enemy was slow to improve his present advantage.  Exhaustion soon
quieted all forebodings, though, and I fell into a sound sleep, from
which I was not aroused till daylight.

On the morning of the 21st the enemy failed to advance, and his
inaction gave us the opportunity for getting the broken and
disorganized army into shape.  It took a large part of the day to
accomplish this, and the chances of complete victory would have been
greatly in Bragg's favor if he could have attacked us vigorously at
this time.  But he had been badly hurt in the two days' conflict, and
his inactivity on the 21st showed that he too had to go through the
process of reorganization.  Indeed, his crippled condition began to
show itself the preceding evening, and I have always thought that,
had General Thomas held on and attacked the Confederate right and
rear from where I made the junction with him on the Lafayette road,
the field of Chickamauga would have been relinquished to us; but it
was fated to be otherwise.

Rosecrans, McCook, and Crittenden passed out of the battle when they
went back to Chattanooga, and their absence was discouraging to all
aware of it.  Doubtless this had much to do with Thomas's final
withdrawal, thus leaving the field to the enemy, though at an immense
cost in killed and wounded.  The night of the 21st the army moved
back from Rossville, and my division, as the rearguard of the
Twentieth Corps, got within our lines at Chattanooga about 8 o'clock
the morning of the 22d.  Our unmolested retirement from Rossville
lent additional force to the belief that the enemy had been badly
injured, and further impressed me with the conviction that we might
have held on.  Indeed, the battle of Chickamauga was somewhat like
that of Stone River, victory resting with the side that had the grit
to defer longest its relinquishment of the field.

The manoeuvres by which Rosecrans had carried his army over the
Cumberland Mountains, crossed the Tennessee River, and possessed
himself of Chattanooga, merit the highest commendation up to the
abandonment of this town by Bragg on the 8th of September; but I have
always fancied that that evacuation made Rosecrans over-confident,
and led him to think that he could force Bragg south as far as Rome.
After the Union army passed the river and Chattanooga fell into our
hands; we still kept pressing the enemy's communications, and the
configuration of the country necessitated more or less isolation of
the different corps.  McCook's corps of three divisions had crossed
two difficult ridges--Sand and Lookout mountains--to Alpine in
Broomtown Valley with intentions against Summerville.  Thomas's corps
had marched by the way of Stevens's Gap toward Lafayette, which he
expected to occupy.  Crittenden had passed through Chattanooga, at
first directing his march an Ringgold.  Thus the corps of the army
were not in conjunction, and between McCook and Thomas there
intervened a positive and aggressive obstacle in the shape of Bragg's
army concentrating and awaiting reinforcement at Lafayette.  Under
these circumstances Bragg could have taken the different corps in
detail, and it is strange that he did not, even before receiving his
reinforcements, turn on McCook in Broomtown Valley and destroy him.

Intelligence that Bragg would give battle began to come to us from
various sources as early as the 10th of September, and on the 11th
McCook found that he could not communicate with Thomas by the direct
road through Broomtown Valley; but we did not begin closing in toward
Chattanooga till the 13th, and even then the Twentieth Corps had
before it the certainty of many delays that must necessarily result
from the circuitous and difficult mountain roads which we would be
obliged to follow.  Had the different corps, beginning with McCook's,
been drawn in toward Chattanooga between the 8th and 12th of
September, the objective point of the campaign would have remained in
our hands without the battle of Chickamauga, but, as has been seen,
this was not done.  McCook was almost constantly on the march day and
night between the 13th and the 19th, ascending and descending
mountains, his men worried and wearied, so that when they appeared on
the battle-field, their fatigued condition operated greatly against
their efficiency.  This delay in concentration was also the original
cause of the continuous shifting toward our left to the support of
Thomas, by which manoeuvre Rosecrans endeavored to protect his
communications with Chattanooga, and out of which grew the intervals
that offered such tempting opportunities to Bragg.  In addition to
all this, much transpired on the field of battle tending to bring
about disaster.  There did not seem to be any well-defined plan of
action in the fighting; and this led to much independence of judgment
in construing orders among some of the subordinate generals.  It also
gave rise to much license in issuing orders: too many people were
giving important directions, affecting the whole army, without
authority from its head.  In view, therefore, of all the errors that
were committed from the time Chattanooga fell into our hands after
our first crossing the Tennessee, it was fortunate that the Union
defeat was not more complete, that it left in the enemy's possession
not much more than the barren results arising from the simple holding
of the ground on which the engagement was fought.



By 9 o'clock on the morning of September 22 my command took up a
position within the heavy line of intrenchments at Chattanooga, the
greater part of which defenses had been thrown up since the army
commenced arriving there the day before.  The enemy, having now
somewhat recovered from the shock of the recent battle, followed
carefully, and soon invested us close into our lines with a parallel
system of rifle-pits.  He also began at once to erect permanent lines
of earthworks on Missionary Ridge and to establish himself strongly
on Lookout Mountain.  He then sent Wheeler's cavalry north of the
Tennessee, and, aided greatly by the configuration of the ground,
held us in a state of partial siege, which serious rains might
convert into a complete investment.  The occupation of Lookout
Mountain broke our direct communication with Bridgeport--our
sub-depot--and forced us to bring supplies by way of the Sequatchie
Valley and Waldron's Ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, over a road
most difficult even in the summer season, but now liable to be
rendered impassable by autumn rains.  The distance to Bridgeport by
this circuitous route was sixty miles, and the numerous passes,
coves, and small valleys through which the road ran offered tempting
opportunities, for the destruction of trains, and the enemy was not
slow to take advantage of them.  Indeed, the situation was not
promising, and General Rosecrans himself, in communicating with the
President the day succeeding the battle of Chickamauga, expressed
doubts of his ability to hold the gateway of the Cumberland

The position taken up by my troops inside the lines of Chattanooga
was near the old iron-works, under the shadow of Lookout Mountain.
Here we were exposed to a continual fire from the enemy's batteries
for many days, but as the men were well covered by secure though
simple intrenchments, but little damage was done.  My own
headquarters were established on the grounds of Mr. William
Crutchfield, a resident of the place, whose devotion to the Union
cause knew no bounds, and who rendered me--and, in fact, at one time
or another, nearly every general officer in the Army of the
Cumberland--invaluable service in the way of information about the
Confederate army.  My headquarters camp frequently received shots
from the point of Lookout Mountain also, but fortunately no
casualties resulted from this plunging fire, though, I am free to
confess, at first our nerves were often upset by the whirring of
twenty-pounder shells dropped inconsiderately into our camp at
untimely hours of the night.

In a few days rain began to fall, and the mountain roads by which our
supplies came were fast growing impracticable.  Each succeeding train
of wagons took longer to make the trip from Bridgeport, and the draft
mules were dying by the hundreds.  The artillery horses would soon go
too, and there was every prospect that later the troops would starve
unless something could be done.  Luckily for my division, a company
of the Second Kentucky Cavalry had attached itself to my
headquarters, and, though there without authority, had been left
undisturbed in view of a coming reorganization of the army incidental
to the removal of McCook and Crittenden from the command of their
respective corps, a measure that had been determined upon immediately
after the battle of Chickamauga.  Desiring to remain with me, Captain
Lowell H. Thickstun, commanding this company, was ready for any duty
I might find, for him, so I ordered him into the Sequatchie Valley
for the purpose of collecting supplies for my troops, and sent my
scout, Card along to guide him to the best locations.  The company
hid itself away in a deep cove in the upper end of the valley, and by
keeping very quiet and paying for everything it took from the people,
in a few days was enabled to send me large quantities of corn for my
animals and food for the officers and men, which greatly supplemented
the scanty supplies we were getting from the sub-depot at Bridgeport.
In this way I carried men and animals through our beleaguerment in
pretty fair condition, and of the turkeys, chickens, ducks, and eggs
sent in for the messes of my officers we often had enough to divide
liberally among those at different headquarters.  Wheeler's cavalry
never discovered my detached company, yet the chances of its capture
were not small, sometimes giving much uneasiness; still, I concluded
it was better to run all risks than to let the horses die of
starvation in Chattanooga.  Later, after the battle of Missionary
Ridge, when I started to Knoxville, the company joined me in
excellent shape, bringing with it an abundance of food, including a
small herd of beef cattle.

The whole time my line remained near the iron-mills the shelling from
Lookout was kept up, the screeching shots inquisitively asking in
their well-known way, "Where are you? Where are you?" but it is
strange to see how readily, soldiers can become accustomed to the
sound of dangerous missiles under circumstances of familiarity, and
this case was no exception to the rule.  Few casualties occurred, and
soon contempt took the place of nervousness, and as we could not
reply in kind on account of the elevation required for our guns, the
men responded by jeers and imprecations whenever a shell fell into
their camp.

Meantime, orders having been issued for the organization of the army,
additional troops were attached to my command, and it became the
Second Division of the Fourth Army Corps, to which Major-General
Gordon Granger was assigned as commander.  This necessitated a change
of position of the division, and I moved to ground behind our works,
with my right resting on Fort Negley and my left extending well over
toward Fort Wood, my front being parallel to Missionary Ridge.  My
division was now composed of twenty-five regiments, classified into
brigades and demi-brigades, the former commanded by Brigadier-General
G. D. Wagner, Colonel C. G. Harker, and Colonel F. T. Sherman; the
latter, by Colonels Laiboldt, Miller, Wood, Walworth, and Opdyke.
The demi-brigade was an awkward invention of Granger's; but at this
time it was necessitated--perhaps by the depleted condition of our
regiments, which compelled the massing of a great number of
regimental organizations into a division to give it weight and force.

On October 16, 1863, General Grant had been assigned to the command
of the "Military Division of the Mississippi," a geographical area
which embraced the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the
Tennessee, thus effecting a consolidation of divided commands which
might have been introduced most profitably at an earlier date.  The
same order that assigned General Grant relieved General Rosecrans,
and placed General Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland.
At the time of the reception of the order, Rosecrans was busy with
preparations for a movement to open the direct road to Bridgeport
--having received in the interval, since we came back to Chattanooga,
considerable reinforcement by the arrival in his department of the
Eleventh and Twelfth corps, under General Hooker, from the Army of
the Potomac.  With this force Rosecrans had already strengthened
certain important points on the railroad between Nashville and
Stevenson, and given orders to Hooker to concentrate at Bridgeport
such portions of his command as were available, and to hold them in
readiness to advance toward Chattanooga.

On the 19th of October, after turning the command over to Thomas,
General Rosecrans quietly slipped away from the army.  He submitted
uncomplainingly to his removal, and modestly left us without fuss or
demonstration; ever maintaining, though, that the battle of
Chickamauga was in effect a victory, as it had ensured us, he said,
the retention of Chattanooga.  When his departure became known
deep and almost universal regret was expressed, for he was
enthusiastically esteemed and loved by the Army of the Cumberland,
from the day he assumed command of it until he left it,
notwithstanding the censure poured upon him after the battle of

The new position to which my division had been moved, in consequence
of the reorganization, required little additional labor to strengthen
it, and the routine of fatigue duty and drills was continued as
before, its monotony occasionally broken by the excitement of an
expected attack, or by amusements of various kinds that were
calculated to keep the men in good spirits.  Toward this result much
was contributed by Mr. James E. Murdock, the actor, who came down
from the North to recover the body of his son, killed at Chickamauga,
and was quartered with me for the greater part of the time he was
obliged to await the successful conclusion of his sad mission.  He
spent days, and even weeks, going about through the division giving
recitations before the camp-fires, and in improvised chapels, which
the men had constructed from refuse lumber and canvas.  Suiting his
selections to the occasion, he never failed to excite intense
interest in the breasts of all present, and when circumstances
finally separated him from us, all felt that a debt of gratitude was
due him that could never be paid.  The pleasure he gave, and the
confident feeling that was now arising from expected reinforcements,
was darkened, however, by one sad incident.  Three men of my division
had deserted their colors at the beginning of the siege and made
their way north.  They were soon arrested, and were brought back to
stand trial for the worst offense that can be committed by a soldier,
convicted of the crime, and ordered to be shot.  To make the example
effective I paraded the whole division for the execution, and on the
13th of November, in the presence of their former comrades, the
culprits were sent, in accordance with the terms of their sentence,
to render their account to the Almighty.  It was the saddest
spectacle I ever witnessed, but there could be no evasion, no
mitigation of the full letter of the law; its timely enforcement was
but justice to the brave spirits who had yet to fight the rebellion
to the end.

General Grant arrived at Chattanooga on October 23, and began at once
to carry out the plans that had been formed for opening the shorter
or river road to Bridgeport.  This object was successfully
accomplished by the moving of Hooker's command to Rankin's and
Brown's ferries in concert with a force from the Army of the
Cumberland which was directed on the same points, so by the 27th of
October direct communication with our depots was established.  The
four weeks which followed this cheering result were busy with the
work of refitting and preparing for offensive operations as soon as
General Sherman should reach us with his troops from West Tennessee.
During this period of activity the enemy committed the serious fault
of detaching Longstreet's corps--sending it to aid in the siege of
Knoxville in East Tennessee--an error which has no justification
whatever, unless it be based on the presumption that it was
absolutely necessary that Longstreet should ultimately rejoin Lee's
army in Virginia by way of Knoxville and Lynchburg, with a chance of
picking up Burnside en route.  Thus depleted, Bragg still held
Missionary Ridge in strong force, but that part of his line which
extended across the intervening valley to the northerly point of.
Lookout Mountain was much attenuated.

By the 18th of November General Grant had issued instructions
covering his intended operations.  They contemplated that Sherman's
column, which was arriving by the north bank of the Tennessee, should
cross the river on a pontoon bridge just below the mouth of
Chickamauga Creek and carry the northern extremity of Missionary
Ridge as far as the railroad tunnel; that the Army of the Cumberland
--the centre--should co-operate with Sherman; and that Hooker with a
mixed command should continue to hold Lookout Valley and operate on
our extreme right as circumstances might warrant.  Sherman crossed on
the 24th to perform his alloted part of the programme, but in the
meantime Grant becoming impressed with the idea that Bragg was
endeavoring to get away, ordered Thomas to make a strong
demonstration in his front, to determine the truth or falsity of the
information that had been received.  This task fell to the Fourth
Corps, and at 12 o'clock on the 23d I was notified that Wood's
division would make a reconnoissance to an elevated point in its
front called Orchard Knob, and that I was to support it with my
division and prevent Wood's right flank from being turned by an
advance of the enemy on Moore's road or from the direction of
Rossville.  For this duty I marched my division out of the works
about 2 p.m., and took up a position on Bushy Knob.  Shortly after we
reached this point Wood's division passed my left flank on its
reconnoissance, and my command, moving in support of it, drove in the
enemy's picket-line.  Wood's took possession of Orchard Knob easily,
and mine was halted on a low ridge to the right of the Knob, where I
was directed by General Thomas to cover my front by a strong line of
rifle-pits, and to put in position two batteries of the Fourth
regular artillery that had joined me from the Eleventh Corps.  After
dark Wood began to feel uneasy about his right flank, for a gap
existed between it and my left, so I moved in closer to him, taking
up a line where I remained inactive till the 25th, but suffering some
inconvenience from the enemy's shells.

On the 24th General Sherman made an attack for the purpose of
carrying the north end of Missionary Ridge.  His success was not
complete, although at the time it was reported throughout the army to
be so.  It had the effect of disconcerting Bragg, however, and caused
him to strengthen his right by withdrawing troops from his left,
which circumstance led Hooker to advance on the northerly face of
Lookout Mountain.  At first, with good glasses, we could plainly see
Hooker's troops driving the Confederates up the face of the mountain.
All were soon lost to view in the dense timber, but emerged again on
the open ground, across which the Confederates retreated at a lively
pace, followed by the pursuing line, which was led by a color-bearer,
who, far in advance, was bravely waving on his comrades.  The
gallantry of this man elicited much enthusiasm among us all, but as
he was a considerable distance ahead of his comrades I expected to
see his rashness punished at any moment by death or capture.  He
finally got quite near the retreating Confederates, when suddenly
they made a dash at him, but he was fully alive to such a move, and
ran back, apparently uninjured, to his friends.  About this time a
small squad of men reached the top of Lookout and planted the Stars
and Stripes on its very crest.  Just then a cloud settled down on the
mountain, and a heavy bank of fog obscured its whole face.

After the view was lost the sharp rattle of musketry continued some
time, but practically the fight had been already won by Hooker's men,
the enemy only holding on with a rear-guard to assure his retreat
across Chattanooga Valley to Missionary Ridge.  Later we heard very
heavy cannonading, and fearing that Hooker was in trouble I sent a
staff-officer to find out whether he needed assistance, which I
thought could be given by a demonstration toward Rossville.  The
officer soon returned with the report that Hooker was all right, that
the cannonading was only a part of a little rear-guard fight, two
sections of artillery making all the noise, the reverberations from
point to point in the adjacent mountains echoing and reechoing till
it seemed that at least fifty guns were engaged.

On the morning of the 25th of November Bragg's entire army was
holding only the line of Missionary Ridge, and our troops, being now
practically connected from Sherman to Hooker, confronted it with the
Army of the Cumberland in the centre--bowed out along the front of
Wood's division and mine.  Early in the day Sherman, with great
determination and persistence, made an attempt to carry the high
ground near the tunnel, first gaining and then losing advantage, but
his attack was not crowned with the success anticipated.  Meanwhile
Hooker and Palmer were swinging across Chattanooga Valley, using me
as a pivot for the purpose of crossing Missionary Ridge in the
neighborhood of Rossville.  In the early part of the day I had driven
in the Confederate pickets in my front, so as to prolong my line of
battle on that of Wood, the necessity of continuing to refuse my
right having been obviated by the capture of Lookout Mountain and the
advance of Palmer.

About 2 o'clock orders came to carry the line at the foot of the
ridge, attacking at a signal of six guns.  I had few changes or new
dispositions to make.  Wagner's brigade, which was next to Wood's
division, was formed in double lines, and Harker's brigade took the
same formation on Wagner's right.  Colonel F. T. Sherman's brigade
came on Harker's right, formed in a column of attack, with a front of
three regiments, he having nine.  My whole front was covered with a
heavy line of skirmishers.  These dispositions made, my right rested
a little distance south of Moore's road, my left joined Wood over
toward Orchard Knob, while my centre was opposite Thurman's house
--the headquarters of General Bragg--on Missionary Ridge.  A small
stream of water ran parallel to my front, as far as which the ground
was covered by a thin patch of timber, and beyond the edge of the
timber was an open plain to the foot of Missionary Ridge, varying in
width from four to nine hundred yards.  At the foot of the ridge was
the enemy's first line of rifle-pits; at a point midway up its face,
another line, incomplete; and on the crest was a third line, in which
Bragg had massed his artillery.

The enemy saw we were making dispositions for an attack, and in plain
view of my whole division he prepared himself for resistance,
marching regiments from his left flank with flying colors; and
filling up the spaces not already occupied in his intrenchments.
Seeing the enemy thus strengthening himself, it was plain that we
would have to act quickly if we expected to accomplish much, and I
already began to doubt the feasibility of our remaining in the first
line of rifle-pits when we should have carried them.  I discussed the
order with Wagner, Harker, and Sherman, and they were similarly
impressed, so while anxiously awaiting the signal I sent Captain
Ransom of my staff to Granger, who was at Fort Wood, to ascertain if
we were to carry the first line or the ridge beyond.  Shortly after
Ransom started the signal guns were fired, and I told my brigade
commanders to go for the ridge.

Placing myself in front of Harker's brigade, between the line of
battle and the skirmishers, accompanied by only an orderly so as not
to attract the enemy's fire, we moved out.  Under a terrible storm of
shot and shell the line pressed forward steadily through the timber,
and as it emerged on the plain took the double-quick and with fixed
bayonets rushed at the enemy's first line.  Not a shot was fired from
our line of battle, and as it gained on my skirmishers they melted
into and became one with it, and all three of my brigades went over
the rifle-pits simultaneously.  They then lay down on the face of the
ridge, for a breathing-spell and for protection' from the terrible
fire, of canister and musketry pouring over us from the guns on the
crest.  At the rifle-pits there had been little use for the bayonet,
for most of the Confederate troops, disconcerted by the sudden rush,
lay close in the ditch and surrendered, though some few fled up the
slope to the next line.  The prisoners were directed to move out to
our rear, and as their intrenchments had now come under fire from the
crest, they went with alacrity, and without guard or escort, toward

After a short pause to get breath the ascent of the ridge began, and
I rode, into the ditch of the intrenchments to drive out a few
skulkers who were hiding there.  Just at this time I was joined by
Captain Ransom, who, having returned from Granger, told me that we
were to carry only the line at the base, and that in coming back,
when he struck the left of the division, knowing this interpretation
of the order, he in his capacity as an aide-de-camp had directed
Wagner, who was up on the face of the ridge, to return, and that in
consequence Wagner was recalling his men to the base.  I could not
bear to order the recall of troops now so gallantly climbing the hill
step by step, and believing we could take it, I immediately rode to
Wagner's brigade and directed it to resume the attack.  In the
meantime Harker's and F. T. Sherman's troops were approaching the
partial line of works midway of the ridge, and as I returned to the
centre of their rear, they were being led by many stands of
regimental colors.  There seemed to be a rivalry as to which color
should be farthest to the front; first one would go forward a few
feet, then another would come up to it, the color-bearers vying with
one another as to who should be foremost, until finally every
standard was planted on the intermediate works.  The enemy's fire
from the crest during the ascent was terrific in the noise made, but
as it was plunging, it over-shot and had little effect on those above
the second line of pits, but was very uncomfortable for those below,
so I deemed it advisable to seek another place, and Wagner's brigade
having reassembled and again pressed up the ridge, I rode up the face
to join my troops.

As soon as the men saw me, they surged forward and went over the
works on the crest.  The parapet of the intrenchment was too high for
my horse to jump, so, riding a short distance to the left, I entered
through a low place in the line.  A few Confederates were found
inside, but they turned the butts of their muskets toward me in token
of surrender, for our men were now passing beyond them on both their

The right and right centre of my division gained the summit first,
they being partially sheltered by a depression in the face of the
ridge, the Confederates in their immediate front fleeing down the
southern face.  When I crossed the rifle-pits on the top the
Confederates were still holding fast at Bragg's headquarters, and a
battery located there opened fire along the crest; making things most
uncomfortably hot.  Seeing the danger to which I was exposed, for I
was mounted, Colonel Joseph Conrad, of the Fifteenth Missouri, ran up
and begged me to dismount.  I accepted his excellent advice, and it
probably saved my life; but poor Conrad was punished for his
solicitude by being seriously wounded in the thigh at the moment he
was thus contributing to my safety.

Wildly cheering, the men advanced along the ridge toward Bragg's
headquarters, and soon drove the Confederates from this last
position, capturing a number of prisoners, among them Breckenridge's
and Bates's adjutant-generals, and the battery that had made such
stout resistance on the crest-two guns which were named "Lady
Breckenridge" and "Lady Buckner" General Bragg himself having barely
time to escape before his headquarters were taken.

My whole division had now reached the summit, and Wagner and Harker
--the latter slightly wounded--joined me as I was standing in the
battery just secured.  The enemy was rapidly retiring, and though
many of his troops, with disorganized wagon-trains and several pieces
of artillery, could be distinctly seen in much confusion about half a
mile distant in the valley below, yet he was covering them with a
pretty well organized line that continued to give us a desultory
fire.  Seeing this, I at once directed Wagner and Harker to take up
the pursuit along Moore's road, which led to Chickamauga Station
--Bragg's depot of supply--and as they progressed, I pushed Sherman's
brigade along the road behind them.  Wagner and Harker soon overtook
the rearguard, and a slight skirmish caused it to break, permitting
nine guns and a large number of wagons which were endeavoring to get
away in the stampede to fall into our hands.

About a mile and a half beyond Missionary Ridge, Moore's road passed
over a second ridge or high range of hills, and here the enemy had
determined to make a stand for that purpose, posting eight pieces of
artillery with such supporting force as he could rally.  He was
immediately attacked by Harker and Wagner, but the position was
strong, the ridge being rugged and difficult of ascent, and after the
first onset our men recoiled.  A staff-officer from Colonel Wood's
demi-brigade informing me at this juncture that that command was too
weak to carry the position in its front, I ordered the Fifteenth
Indiana and the Twenty-Sixth Ohio to advance to Wood's aid, and then
hastening to the front I found his men clinging to the face of the
ridge, contending stubbornly with the rear-guard of the enemy.
Directing Harker to put Opdyke's demi-brigade in on the right, I
informed Wagner that it was necessary to flank the enemy by carrying
the high bluff on our left where the ridge terminated, that I had
designated the Twenty-Sixth Ohio and Fifteenth Indiana for the work,
and that I wished him to join them.

It was now dusk, but the two regiments engaged in the flanking
movement pushed on to gain the bluff.  Just as they reached the crest
of the ridge the moon rose from behind, enlarged by the refraction of
the atmosphere, and as the attacking column passed along the summit
it crossed the moon's disk and disclosed to us below a most
interesting panorama, every figure nearly being thrown out in full
relief.  The enemy, now outflanked on left and right, abandoned his
ground, leaving us two pieces of artillery and a number of wagons.
After this ridge was captured I found that no other troops than mine
were pursuing the enemy, so I called a halt lest I might become too
much isolated.  Having previously studied the topography of the
country thoroughly, I knew that if I pressed on my line of march
would carry me back to Chickamauga station, where we would be in rear
of the Confederates that had been fighting General Sherman, and that
there was a possibility of capturing them by such action; but I did
not feel warranted in marching there alone, so I rode back to
Missionary Ridge to ask for more troops, and upon arriving there I
found Granger in command, General Thomas having gone back to

Granger was at Braggy's late headquarters in bed.  I informed him of
my situation and implored him to follow me up with the Army of the
Cumberland, but he declined, saying that he thought we had done well
enough.  I still insisting, he told me finally to push on to the
crossing of Chickamauga Creek, and if I, encountered the enemy he
would order troops to my support.  I returned to my division about
12 o'clock at night, got it under way, and reached the crossing,
about half a mile from the station, at 2 o'clock on the morning of
the 26th, and there found the bridge destroyed, but that the creek
was fordable.  I did not encounter the enemy in any force, but feared
to go farther without assistance.  This I thought I might bring up by
practicing a little deception, so I caused two regiments to simulate
an engagement by opening fire, hoping that this would alarm Granger
and oblige him to respond with troops, but my scheme failed.  General
Granger afterward told me that he had heard the volleys, but
suspected their purpose, knowing that they were not occasioned by a
fight, since they were too regular in their delivery.

I was much disappointed that my pursuit had not been supported, for I
felt that great results were in store for us should the enemy be
vigorously followed.  Had the troops under Granger's command been
pushed out with mine when Missionary Ridge was gained, we could have
reached Chickamauga Station by 12 o'clock the night of the 25th; or
had they been sent even later, when I called for them, we could have
got there by daylight and worked incalculable danger to the
Confederates, for the force that had confronted Sherman did not pass
Chickamauga Station in their retreat till after daylight on the
morning of the 26th.

My course in following so close was dictated by a thorough knowledge
of the topography of the country and a familiarity with its roads,
bypaths, and farm-houses, gained with the assistance of Mr.
Crutchfield; and sure my column was heading in the right direction,
though night had fallen I thought that an active pursuit would almost
certainly complete the destruction of Bragg's army.  When General
Grant came by my bivouac at the crossing of Chickamauga Creek on the
26th, he realized what might have been accomplished had the
successful assault on Missionary Ridge been supplemented by vigorous
efforts on the part of some high officers, who were more interested
in gleaning that portion of the battle-field over which my command
had passed than in destroying a panic-stricken enemy.

Although it cannot be said that the result of the two days'
operations was reached by the methods which General Grant had
indicated in his instructions preceding the battle, yet the general
outcome was unquestionably due to his genius, for the manoeuvring of
Sherman's and Hooker's commands created the opportunity for Thomas's
corps of the Army of the Cumberland to carry the ridge at the centre.
In directing Sherman to attack the north end of the ridge, Grant
disconcerted Bragg--who was thus made to fear the loss of his depot
of supplies at Chickamauga Station--and compelled him to resist
stoutly; and stout resistance to Sherman meant the withdrawal of the
Confederates from Lookout Mountain.  While this attack was in process
of execution advantage was taken of it by Hooker in a well-planned
and well-fought battle, but to my mind an unnecessary one, for our
possession of Lookout was the inevitable result that must follow from
Sherman's threatening attitude.  The assault on Missionary Ridge by
Granger's and Palmer's corps was not premeditated by Grant, he
directing only the line at its base to be carried, but when this fell
into our hands the situation demanded our getting the one at the top

I took into the action an effective force of 6,000, and lost 123
officers and 1,181 men killed and wounded.  These casualties speak
louder than words of the character of the fight, and plainly tell
where the enemy struggled most stubbornly for these figures comprise
one-third the casualties of the entire body of Union troops
--Sherman's and all included.  My division captured 1,762 prisoners
and, in all, seventeen pieces of artillery.  Six of these guns I
turned over with caissons complete; eleven were hauled off the field
and appropriated by an officer of high rank--General Hazen.  I have
no disposition to renew the controversy which grew out of this
matter.  At the time the occurrence took place I made the charge in a
plain official report, which was accepted as correct by the corps and
army commanders, from General Granger up to General Grant.  General
Hazen took no notice of this report then, though well aware of its
existence.  Nearly a quarter of a century later, however, he
endeavored to justify his retention of the guns by trying to show
that his brigade was the first to reach the crest of Missionary
Ridge, and that he was therefore entitled to them.  This claim of
being the first to mount the ridge is made by other brigades than
Hazen's, with equal if not greater force, so the absurdity of his
deduction is apparent:

NOTE: In a book published by General Hazen in 1885, he endeavored to
show, by a number of letters from subordinate officers of his
command, written at his solicitation from fifteen to twenty years
after the occurrence, that his brigade was the first to mount
Missionary Ridge, and that it was entitled to possess these guns.
The doubtful character of testimony dimmed by the lapse of many years
has long been conceded, and I am content to let the controversy stand
the test of history, based on the conclusions of General Grant, as he
drew them from official reports made when the circumstances were
fresh in the minds of all.

General Grant says: "To Sheridan's prompt movement, the Army of the
Cumberland and the nation are indebted for the bulk of the capture of
prisoners, artillery, and small-arms that day.  Except for his prompt
pursuit, so much in this way would not have been accomplished."

General Thomas says: "We captured all their cannon and ammunition
before they could be removed or destroyed.  After halting a few
moments to reorganize the troops, who had become somewhat scattered
in the assault of the hill, General Sheridan pushed forward in
pursuit, and drove those in his front who had escaped capture across
Chickamauga Creek."

"When within ten yards of the crest, our men seemed to be thrown
forward as if by some powerful engine, and the old flag was planted
firmly and surely on the last line of works of the enemy, followed by
the men, taking one battery of artillery."

...."I pushed men up to the second line of works as fast as possible;
on and on, clear to the top, and over the ridge they went, to the
hollow beyond, killing and wounding numbers of the enemy as we
advanced, and leaving the rebel battery in our rear.  We captured
great numbers of prisoners, and sent them to the rear without guards,
as we deemed the pursuit of the enemy of greater importance....
"I cannot give too much praise to Captain Powers, Company "H,"
Lieutenant Smith, Company "K," Lieutenant Gooding, Company "A," and
Second Lieutenant Moser, Company "G," for their assistance, and for
the gallant manner in which they encouraged their men up the side of
the mountain, and charging the enemy's works right up to the muzzles
of their guns."

...."The first on the enemy's works, and almost simultaneously, were
Lieutenant Clement, Company "A," Captain Stegner, Company "I,"
Captain Bacon, Company "G," and Captain Leffingwell, with some of
their men.  The enemy was still in considerable force behind their
works; but, for some unaccountable reason, they either fled or
surrendered instantly upon the first few of our men reaching them
--not even trying to defend their battery, which was immediately
captured by Captain Stegner."

...."In connection with other regiments of this brigade, we assisted
in capturing several pieces of artillery, a number of caissons, and a
great quantity of small-arms."

...."At the house known as Bragg's headquarters, the enemy were
driven from three guns, which fell into our hands."

...."I ordered the command to storm the ridge, bringing up the
Fifteenth Indiana and Ninety-seventh Ohio, which had not yet been
engaged, although suffering from the enemy's artillery.  The result
is a matter of history, as we gained the ridge, capturing artillery,
prisoners, and small-arms; to what amount, however, I do not know, as
we pushed on after the enemy as soon as I had re-formed the command.
....Captain Tinney, with his usual gallantry, dashed up the line with
the first troops, and with the aid of an orderly (George Dusenbury,
Fifteenth Indiana), turned the loaded gun of the enemy on his
retreating ranks."

...."Our captures amounted to prisoners not counted, representing
many different regiments; several pieces of artillery, and some

...."As the regiment reached the top of the ridge and swept for.
ward, the right passed through, without stopping to take possession,
the battery at General Bragg's headquarters that had fired so
venomously during the whole contest."

...."In passing to the front from Missionary Ridge, we saw several
pieces of artillery which had been abandoned by the enemy, though I
did not leave any one in charge of them."

...."I immediately organized my regiment, and while so doing
discovered a number of pieces of artillery in a ravine on my left.  I
sent Lieutenant Stewart, of Company A, to see if these guns which the
enemy had abandoned could not be turned upon them.  He returned and
reported them to be four ten-pound Parrotts and two brass Napoleons;
also that it would require a number of men to place them in position.
I ordered him to report the same to General Wagner, and ask
permission, but before receiving a reply was ordered by you to move
forward my regiment on the left of the Fifty-Eighth Indiana

...."My right and Colonel Sherman's left interlocked, so to speak, as
we approached the summit, and it was near this point that I saw the
first part of my line gain the crest.  This was done by a few brave
men of my own and Colonel Sherman's command driving the enemy from
his intrenchments.  The gap thus opened, our men rushed rapidly in,
and the enemy, loth to give up their position, still remained, firing
at my command toward the left, and the battery in front of the house
known as General Bragg's headquarters was still firing at the troops,
and was captured by our men while the gunners were still at their
...."We captured and sent to division and corps headquarters 503
prisoners and a large number of small-arms.  In regard to the number
of pieces of artillery, it will probably be difficult to reconcile
the reports of my regimental commanders with the reports of other
regiments and brigades who fought so nobly with my own command, and
who alike are entitled to share the honors and glories of the day.
More anxious to follow the enemy than to appropriate trophies already
secured, we pushed to the front, while the place we occupied on
ascending the hill was soon occupied by other troops, who, I have
learned, claim the artillery as having fallen into their own hands.
It must therefore remain with the division and corps commanders, who
knew the relative position of each brigade and division, to accord to
each the trophies to which they are due.
...."From my personal observation I can claim a battery of six guns
captured by a portion of my brigade."

...."My command captured Bragg's headquarters, house, and the six
guns which were near there; one of these I ordered turned upon the
enemy, which was done with effect."

...."The point at which the centre of my regiment reached the crest
was at the stable to the left of the house said to be Bragg's
headquarters, and immediately in front of the road which leads down
the southern slope of the ridge.  One piece of the abandoned battery,
was to the left of this point, the remainder to the right, near by."

...."The position in which my regiment found itself was immediately
in front of a battery, which belched forth a stream of canister upon
us with terrible rapidity.  In addition to this, the enemy, whenever
driven from other points, rallied around this battery, and defended
it with desperation.  It cost a struggle to take it; but we finally
succeeded, and the colors of the Sixty-fifth Ohio were the first
planted upon the yet smoking guns.  Captain Smith, of my regiment,
was placed in charge of the captured battery, which consisted of 5
guns, 3 caissons, and 17 horses."

...."Perceiving that the ridge across which my regiment extended was
commanded to the very crest by a battery in front, also by those to
right and left, I directed the men to pass up the gorges on either
side.  About forty men, with Captain Parks and Lieutenant Stinger,
passed to the left, the balance to the right, and boldly charged on,
till, foremost with those of other regiments, they stood on the
strongest point of the enemy's works, masters alike of his guns and
position....  Captain Parks reports his skirmish-line to have charged
upon and captured one gun, that otherwise would have been hauled

...."The right of the regiment rested on the left of the road, where
it crossed the rebel fortification, leading up the hill toward
Bragg's headquarters.  We took a right oblique direction through a
peach orchard until arriving at the woods and logs on the side of the
ridge, when I ordered the men to commence firing, which they did with
good effect, and continued it all the way up until the heights were
gained.  At this point the left of the regiment was near the right of
the house, and I claim that my officers and men captured two large
brass pieces, literally punching the cannoniers from their guns.
Privates John Fregan and Jasper Patterson, from Company "A," rushed
down the hill, captured one caisson, with a cannonier and six horses,
and brought them back."

...."The regiment, without faltering, finally, at about 4.30 P.M.,
gained the enemy's works in conjunction with a party of the
Thirty-sixth Illinois, who were immediately on our right.  The
regiment, or a portion of it, proceeded to the left, down the ridge,
for nearly or quite a quarter of a mile capturing three or four pieces
of cannon, driving the gunners from them."



The day after the battle of Missionary Ridge I was ordered in the
evening to return to Chattanooga, and from the limited supply of
stores to be had there outfit my command to march to the relief of
Knoxville, where General Burnside was still holding out against the
besieging forces of General Longstreet.  When we left Murfreesboro'
in the preceding June, the men's knapsacks and extra clothing, as
well as all our camp equipage, had been left behind, and these
articles had not yet reached us, so we were poorly prepared for a
winter campaign in the mountains of East Tennessee.  There was but
little clothing to be obtained in Chattanooga, and my command
received only a few overcoats and a small supply of India-rubber
ponchos.  We could get no shoes, although we stood in great need of
them, for the extra pair with which each man had started out from
Murfreesboro' was now much the worse for wear.  The necessity for
succoring Knoxville was urgent, however, so we speedily refitted as
thoroughly as was possible with the limited means at hand.  My
division teams were in very fair condition in consequence of the
forage we had procured in the Sequatchie Valley, so I left the train
behind to bring up clothing when any should arrive in Chattanooga.

Under these circumstances, on the 29th of November the Fourth Corps
(Granger's) took up the line of march for Knoxville, my men carrying
in their haversacks four days' rations, depending for a further
supply of food on a small steamboat loaded with subsistence stores,
which was to proceed up the Tennessee River and keep abreast of the

Not far from Philadelphia, Tennessee, the columns of General
Sherman's army, which had kept a greater distance from the river than
Granger's corps, so as to be able to subsist on the country, came in
toward our right and the whole relieving force was directed on
Marysville, about fifteen miles southwest of Knoxville.  We got to
Marysville December 5, and learned the same day that Longstreet had
shortly before attempted to take Knoxville by a desperate assault,
but signally failing, had raised the siege and retired toward Bean's
Station on the Rutledge, Rogersville, and Bristol road, leading to
Virginia.  From Marysville General Sherman's troops returned to
Chattanooga, while Granger's corps continued on toward Knoxville, to
take part in the pursuit of Longstreet.

Burnside's army was deficient in subsistence, though not to the
extent that we had supposed before leaving Chattanooga.  It had eaten
out the country in the immediate vicinity of Knoxville, however;
therefore my division did not cross the Holstein River, but was
required, in order to maintain itself, to proceed to the region of
the French Broad River.  To this end I moved to Sevierville, and
making this village my headquarters, the division was spread out over
the French Broad country, between Big Pigeon and Little Pigeon
rivers, where we soon had all the mills in operation, grinding out
plenty of flour and meal.  The whole region was rich in provender
of all kinds, and as the people with rare exceptions were
enthusiastically loyal, we in a little while got more than enough
food for ourselves, and by means of flatboats began sending the
surplus down the river to the troops at Knoxville.

The intense loyalty of this part of Tennessee exceeded that of any
other section I was in during the war.  The people could not do too
much to aid the Union cause, and brought us an abundance of
everything needful.  The women were especially loyal, and as many of
their sons and husbands, who had been compelled to "refugee" on
account of their loyal sentiments, returned with us, numbers of the
women went into ecstasies of joy when this part of the Union army
appeared among them.  So long as we remained in the French Broad
region, we lived on the fat of the land, but unluckily our stay was
to be of short duration, for Longstreet's activity kept the
department commander in a state of constant alarm.

Soon after getting the mills well running, and when the shipment of
their surplus product down the river by flatboats had begun, I was
ordered to move to Knoxville, on account of demonstrations by
Longstreet from the direction of Blain's crossroads.  On arriving at
Knoxville, an inspection of my command, showed that the shoes of many
of the men were entirely worn out, the poor fellows having been
obliged to protect their feet with a sort of moccasin, made from
their blankets or from such other material as they could procure.
About six hundred of the command were in this condition, plainly not
suitably shod to withstand the frequent storms of sleet and snow.
These men I left in Knoxville to await the arrival of my train, which
I now learned was en route from Chattanooga with shoes, overcoats,
and other clothing, and with the rest of the division proceeded to
Strawberry Plains, which we reached the latter part of December.

Mid-winter was now upon us, and the weather in this mountain region
of East Tennessee was very cold, snow often falling to the depth of
several inches.  The thin and scanty clothing of the men afforded
little protection, and while in bivouac their only shelter was the
ponchos with which they had been provided before leaving Chattanooga;
there was not a tent in the command.  Hence great suffering resulted,
which I anxiously hoped would be relieved shortly by the arrival of
my train with supplies.  In the course of time the wagons reached
Knoxville, but my troops derived little comfort from this fact, for
the train was stopped by General Foster, who had succeeded Burnside
in command of the department, its contents distributed pro rata to
the different organizations of the entire army, and I received but a
small share.  This was very disappointing, not to say exasperating,
but I could not complain of unfairness, for every command in the army
was suffering to the same extent as mine, and yet it did seem that a
little forethought and exertion on the part of some of the other
superior officers, whose transportation was in tolerable condition,
might have ameliorated the situation considerably.  I sent the train
back at once for more clothing, and on its return, just before
reaching Knoxville, the quartermaster in charge, Captain Philip
Smith, filled the open spaces in the wagons between the bows and load
with fodder and hay, and by this clever stratagem passed it through
the town safe and undisturbed as a forage train.  On Smith's arrival
we lost no time in issuing the clothing, and when it had passed into
the hands of the individual soldiers the danger of its appropriation
for general distribution, like the preceding invoice, was very

General Foster had decided by this time to move his troops to
Dandridge for the twofold purpose of threatening the enemy's left and
of getting into a locality where we could again gather subsistence
from the French Broad region.  Accordingly we began an advance on the
15th of January, the cavalry having preceded us some time before.
The Twenty-third Corps and Wood's division of the Fourth Corps
crossed the Holstein River by a bridge that had been constructed at
Strawberry Plains.  My division being higher up the stream, forded
it, the water very deep and bitter cold, being filled with slushy
ice.  Marching by way of New Market, I reached Dandridge on the 17th,
and here on my arrival met General Sturgis, then commanding our
cavalry.  He was on the eve of setting out to, "whip the enemy's
cavalry," as he said, and wanted me to go along and see him do it.  I
declined, however, for being now the senior officer present, Foster,
Parke, and Granger having remained at Knoxville and Strawberry
Plains, their absence left me in command, and it was necessary that I
should make disposition of the infantry when it arrived.  As there
were indications of a considerable force of the enemy on the
Russellville road I decided to place the troops in line of battle, so
as to be prepared for any emergency that might arise in the absence
of the senior officers, and I deemed it prudent to supervise
personally the encamping of the men.  This disposition necessarily
required that some of the organizations should occupy very
disagreeable ground, but I soon got all satisfactorily posted with
the exception of General Willich, who expressed some discontent at
being placed beyond the shelter of the timber, but accepted the
situation cheerfully when its obvious necessity was pointed out to

Feeling that all was secure, I returned to my headquarters in the
village with the idea that we were safely established in ease of
attack, and that the men would now have a good rest if left
undisturbed; and plenty to eat, but hardly had I reached my own camp
when a staff-officer came post-haste from Sturgis with the
information that he was being driven back to my lines, despite the
confident invitation to me (in the morning) to go out and witness the
whipping which was to be given to the enemy's cavalry.  Riding to the
front, I readily perceived that the information was correct, and I
had to send a brigade of infantry out to help Sturgis, thus relieving
him from a rather serious predicament.  Indeed, the enemy was present
in pretty strong force, both cavalry and infantry, and from his
vicious attack on Sturgis it looked very much as though he intended
to bring on a general engagement.

Under such circumstances I deemed it advisable that the responsible
commanders of the army should be present, and so informed them.  My
communication brought Parke and Granger to the front without delay,
but Foster could not come, since the hardships of the winter had
reopened an old wound received during the Mexican War, and brought on
much suffering.  By the time Parke and Granger arrived, however, the
enemy, who it turned out was only making a strong demonstration to
learn the object of our movement on Dandridge, seemed satisfied with
the results of his reconnoissance, and began falling back toward
Bull's Gap.  Meanwhile Parke and Granger concluded that Dandridge was
an untenable point, and hence decided to withdraw a part of the army
to Strawberry Plains; and the question of supplies again coming up,
it was determined to send the Fourth Corps to the south side of the
French Broad to obtain subsistence, provided we could bridge the
river so that men could get across the deep and icy stream without

I agreed to undertake the construction of a bridge on condition that
each division should send to the ford twenty-five wagons with which
to make it.  This being acceded to, Harker's brigade began the work
next morning at a favorable point a few miles down the river.  As my
quota of wagons arrived, they were drawn into the stream one after
another by the wheel team, six men in each wagon, and as they
successively reached the other side of the channel the mules were
unhitched, the pole of each wagon run under the hind axle of the one
just in front, and the tailboards used so as to span the slight space
between them.  The plan worked well as long as the material lasted,
but no other wagons than my twenty-five coming on the ground, the
work stopped when the bridge was only half constructed.  Informed of
the delay and its cause, in sheer desperation I finished the bridge
by taking from my own division all the wagons needed to make up the

It was late in the afternoon when the work was finished, and I began
putting over one of my brigades; but in the midst of its crossing
word came that Longstreet's army was moving to attack us, which
caused an abandonment of the foraging project, and orders quickly
followed to retire to Strawberry Plains, the retrograde movement to
begin forthwith.  I sent to headquarters information of the plight I
was in--baggage and supplies on the bank and wagons in the stream
--begged to know what was to become of them if we were to hurry off at
a moment's notice, and suggested that the movement be delayed until I
could recover my transportation.  Receiving in reply no assurances
that I should be relieved from my dilemma--and, in fact, nothing
satisfactory--I determined to take upon myself the responsibility of
remaining on the ground long enough to get my wagons out of the river;
so I sent out a heavy force to watch for the enemy, and with the
remainder of the command went to work to break up the bridge. Before
daylight next morning I had recovered everything without interference
by Longstreet, who, it was afterward ascertained, was preparing to
move east toward Lynchburg instead of marching to attack us; the small
demonstration against Dandridge, being made simply to deceive us as to
his ultimate object.  I marched to Strawberry Plains unmolested, and
by taking the route over Bay's Mountain, a shorter one than that
followed by the main body of our troops, reached the point of
rendezvous as soon as the most of the army, for the road it followed
was not only longer, but badly cut up by trains that had recently
passed over it.

Shortly after getting into camp, the beef contractor came in and
reported that a detachment of the enemy's cavalry had captured my
herd of beef cattle.  This caused me much chagrin at first, but the
commissary of my division soon put in an appearance, and assured me
that the loss would not be very disastrous to us nor of much benefit
to the enemy, since the cattle were so poor and weak that they could
not be driven off.  A reconnoissance in force verified the
Commissary's statement.  From its inability to travel, the herd,
after all efforts to carry it off had proved ineffectual, had been
abandoned by its captors.

After the troops from Chattanooga arrived in the vicinity of
Knoxville and General Sherman had returned to Chattanooga, the
operations in East Tennessee constituted a series of blunders,
lasting through the entire winter; a state of affairs doubtless due,
in the main, to the fact that the command of the troops was so
frequently changed.  Constant shifting of responsibility from one to
another ensued from the date that General Sherman, after assuring
himself that Knoxville was safe, devolved the command on Burnside.
It had already been intimated to Burnside that he was to be relieved,
and in consequence he was inactive and apathetic, confining his
operations to an aimless expedition whose advance extended only as
far as Blain's crossroads, whence it was soon withdrawn.  Meanwhile
General Foster had superseded Burnside, but physical disabilities
rendered him incapable of remaining in the field, and then the chief
authority devolved on Parke.  By this time the transmission of power
seemed almost a disease; at any rate it was catching, so, while we
were en route to Dandridge, Parke transferred the command to Granger.
The latter next unloaded it on me, and there is no telling what the
final outcome would have been had I not entered a protest against a
further continuance of the practice, which remonstrance brought
Granger to the front at Dandridge.

While the events just narrated were taking place, General Grant had
made a visit to Knoxville--about the last of December--and arranged
to open the railroad between there and Chattanooga, with a view to
supplying the troops in East Tennessee by rail in the future, instead
of through Cumberland Gap by a tedious line of wagon-trains.  In
pursuance of his plan the railroad had already been opened to Loudon,
but here much delay occurred on account of the long time it took to
rebuild the bridge over the Tennessee.  Therefore supplies were still
very scarce, and as our animals were now dying in numbers from
starvation, and the men were still on short allowance, it became
necessary that some of the troops east of Knoxville should get nearer
to their depot, and also be in a position to take part in the coming
Georgia campaign, or render assistance to General Thomas, should
General Johnston (who had succeeded in command of the Confederate
army) make any demonstration against Chattanooga.  Hence my division
was ordered to take station at Loudon, Tennessee, and I must confess
that we took the road for that point with few regrets, for a general
disgust prevailed regarding our useless marches during the winter.

At this time my faithful scout Card and his younger brother left me,
with the determination, as I have heretofore related, to avenge their
brother's death.  No persuasion could induce Card to remain longer,
for knowing that my division's next operation would be toward
Atlanta, and being ignorant of the country below Dalton, he
recognized and insisted that his services would then become
practically valueless.

At Loudon, where we arrived January 27, supplies were more plentiful,
and as our tents and extra clothing reached us there in a few days,
every one grew contented and happy.  Here a number of my regiments,
whose terms of service were about to expire, went through the process
of "veteranizing," and, notwithstanding the trials and hardships of
the preceding nine months, they re-enlisted almost to a man.

When everything was set in motion toward recuperating and refitting
my troops, I availed myself of the opportunity during a lull that
then existed to take a short leave of absence--a privilege I had not
indulged in since entering the service in 1853.  This leave I spent
in the North with much benefit to my physical condition, for I was
much run down by fatiguing service, and not a little troubled by
intense pain which I at times still suffered from my experience in
the unfortunate hand-car incident on the Cumberland Mountains the
previous July.  I returned from leave the latter part of March,
rejoining my division with the expectation that the campaign in that
section would begin as early as April.

On the 12th of March, 1864, General Grant was assigned to the command
of the armies of the United States, as general-in-chief.  He was
already in Washington, whither he had gone to receive his commission
as lieutenant-general.  Shortly after his arrival there, he commenced
to rearrange the different commands in the army to suit the plans
which he intended to enter upon in the spring, and out of this grew a
change in my career.  Many jealousies and much ill-feeling, the
outgrowth of former campaigns, existed among officers of high grade
in the Army of the Potomac in the winter of 1864, and several general
officers were to be sent elsewhere in consequence.  Among these,
General Alfred Pleasonton was to be relieved from the command of the
cavalry, General Grant having expressed to the President
dissatisfaction that so little had hitherto been accomplished by that
arm of the service, and I was selected as chief of the cavalry corps
of the Army of the Potomac, receiving on the night of the 23d of
March from General Thomas at Chattanooga the following telegram:

"MARCH 23, 1864.

"Lieutenant-General Grant directs that Major-General Sheridan
immediately repair to Washington and report to the Adjutant-General
of the Army.

Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

I was not informed of the purpose for which I was to proceed to
Washington, but I conjectured that it meant a severing of my
relations with the Second Division, Fourth Army Corps.  I at once set
about obeying the order, and as but little preparation was necessary,
I started for Chattanooga the next day, without taking any formal
leave of the troops I had so long commanded.  I could not do it; the
bond existing between them and me had grown to such depth of
attachment that I feared to trust my emotions in any formal parting
from a body of soldiers who, from our mutual devotion, had long
before lost their official designation, and by general consent within
and without the command were called "Sheridan's Division."  When I
took the train at the station the whole command was collected on the
hill-sides around to see me off.  They had assembled spontaneously,
officers and men, and as the cars moved out for Chattanooga they
waved me farewell with demonstrations of affection.

A parting from such friends was indeed to be regretted.  They had
never given me any trouble, nor done anything that could bring aught
but honor to themselves.  I had confidence in them, and I believe
they had in me.  They were ever steady, whether in victory or in
misfortune, and as I tried always to be with them, to put them into
the hottest fire if good could be gained, or save them from
unnecessary loss, as occasion required, they amply repaid all my care
and anxiety, courageously and readily meeting all demands in every
emergency that arose.

In Kentucky, nearly two years before, my lot had been cast with about
half of the twenty-five regiments of infantry that I was just
leaving, the rest joining me after Chickamauga.  It was practically a
new arm of the service to me, for although I was an infantry officer,
yet the only large command which up to that time I had controlled was
composed of cavalry, and most of my experience had been gained in
this arm of the service.  I had to study hard to be able to master
all the needs of such a force, to feed and clothe it and guard all
its interests.  When undertaking these responsibilities I felt that
if I met them faithfully, recompense would surely come through the
hearty response that soldiers always make to conscientious exertion
on the part of their superiors, and not only that more could be
gained in that way than from the use of any species of influence, but
that the reward would be quicker.  Therefore I always tried to look
after their comfort personally; selected their camps, and provided
abundantly for their subsistence, and the road they opened for me
shows that my work was not in vain.  I regretted deeply to have to
leave such soldiers, and felt that they were sorry I was going, and
even now I could not, if I would, retain other than the warmest
sentiments of esteem and the tenderest affection for the officers and
men of "Sheridan's Division," Army of the Cumberland.

On reaching Chattanooga I learned from General Thomas the purpose for
which I had been ordered to Washington.  I was to be assigned to the
command of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  The
information staggered me at first, for I knew well the great
responsibilities of such a position; moreover, I was but slightly
acquainted with military operations in Virginia, and then, too, the
higher officers of the Army of the Potomac were little known to me,
so at the moment I felt loth to undergo the trials of the new
position.  Indeed, I knew not a soul in Washington except General
Grant and General Halleck, and them but slightly, and no one in
General Meade's army, from the commanding general down, except a few
officers in the lower grades, hardly any of whom I had seen since
graduating at the Military Academy.

Thus it is not much to be wondered at that General Thomas's
communication momentarily upset me.  But there was no help for it, so
after reflecting on the matter a little I concluded to make the best
of the situation.  As in Virginia I should be operating in a field
with which I was wholly unfamiliar, and among so many who were
strangers, it seemed to me that it would be advisable to have, as a
chief staff-officer, one who had had service in the East, if an
available man could be found.  In weighing all these considerations
in my mind, I fixed upon Captain James W. Forsyth, of the Eighteenth
Infantry, then in the regular brigade at Chattanooga--a dear friend
of mine, who had served in the Army of the Potomac, in the Peninsula
and Antietam campaigns.  He at once expressed a desire to accept a
position on my staff, and having obtained by the next day the
necessary authority, he and I started for Washington, accompanied by
Lieutenant T. W. C. Moore, one of my aides, leaving behind Lieutenant
M. V. Sheridan, my other aide, to forward our horses as soon as they
should be sent down to Chattanooga from Loudon, after which he was to
join me.



Accompanied by Captain Forsyth and Lieutenant Moore, I arrived in
Washington on the morning of April, 4, 1864, and stopped at Willard's
Hotel, where, staying temporarily, were many officers of the Army of
the Potomac en route to their commands from leave at the North.
Among all these, however, I was an entire stranger, and I cannot now
recall that I met a single individual whom I had ever before known.

With very little delay after reaching my hotel I made my way to
General Halleck's headquarters and reported to that officer, having
learned in the meantime that General Grant was absent from the city.
General Halleck talked to me for a few minutes, outlining briefly the
nature and duties of my new command, and the general military
situation in Virginia.  When he had finished all he had to say about
these matters, he took me to the office of the Secretary of War, to
present me to Mr. Stanton.  During the ceremony of introduction, I
could feel that Mr. Stanton was eying me closely and searchingly,
endeavoring to form some estimate of one about whom he knew
absolutely nothing, and whose career probably had never been called
to his attention until General Grant decided to order me East, after
my name had been suggested by General Halleck in an interview the two
generals had with Mr. Lincoln.  I was rather young in appearance
--looking even under than over thirty-three years--but five feet five
inches in height, and thin almost to emaciation, weighing only one
hundred and fifteen pounds.  If I had ever possessed any
self-assertion in manner or speech, it certainly vanished in the
presence of the imperious Secretary, whose name at the time was the
synonym of all that was cold and formal.  I never learned what Mr.
Stanton's first impressions of me were, and his guarded and rather
calculating manner gave at this time no intimation that they were
either favorable or unfavorable, but his frequent commendation in
after years indicated that I gained his goodwill before the close of
the war, if not when I first came to his notice; and a more intimate
association convinced me that the cold and cruel characteristics
popularly ascribed to him were more mythical than real.

When the interview with the Secretary was over, I proceeded with
General Halleck to the White House to pay my respects to the
President.  Mr. Lincoln received me very cordially, offering both his
hands, and saying that he hoped I would fulfill the expectations of
General Grant in the new command I was about to undertake, adding
that thus far the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac had not done all
it might have done, and wound up our short conversation by quoting
that stale interrogation so prevalent during the early years of the
war, "Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?"  His manner did not impress
me, however, that in asking the question he had meant anything beyond
a jest, and I parted from the President convinced that he did not
believe all that the query implied.

After taking leave I separated from General Halleck, and on returning
to my hotel found there an order from the War Department assigning me
to the command of the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac.  The next
morning, April 5, as I took the cars for the headquarters of the Army
of the Potomac, General Grant, who had returned to Washington the
previous night from a visit to his family, came aboard the train on
his way to Culpeper Court House, and on the journey down I learned
among other things that he had wisely determined to continue
personally in the field, associating himself with General Meade's
army; where he could supervise its movements directly, and at the
same time escape the annoyances which, should he remain in
Washington, would surely arise from solicitude for the safety of the
Capital while the campaign was in progress.  When we reached Brandy
Station, I left the train and reported to General Meade, who told me
that the headquarters of the Cavalry Corps were some distance back
from the Station, and indicated the general locations of the
different divisions of the corps, also giving me, in the short time I
remained with him, much information regarding their composition.

I reached the Cavalry Corps headquarters on the evening of April 5,
1864, and the next morning issued orders assuming command.  General
Pleasonton had but recently been relieved, and many of his
staff-officers were still on duty at the headquarters awaiting the
arrival of the permanent commander.  I resolved to retain the most of
these officers on my staff, and although they were all unknown to me
when I decided on this course, yet I never had reason to regret it,
nor to question the selections made by my predecessor.

The corps consisted of three cavalry divisions and twelve batteries
of horse artillery.  Brigadier-General A. T. A. Torbert was in
command of the First Division, which was composed of three brigades;
Brigadier-General D. McM. Gregg, of the Second, consisting of two
brigades; and Brigadier-General J. H. Wilson was afterward assigned
to command the Third, also comprising two brigades: Captain Robinson,
a veteran soldier of the Mexican war, was chief of artillery, and as
such had a general supervision of that arm, though the batteries,
either as units or in sections, were assigned to the different
divisions in campaign.

Each one of my division commanders was a soldier by profession.
Torbert graduated from the Military Academy in 1855, and was
commissioned in the infantry, in which arm he saw much service on the
frontier, in Florida, and on the Utah expedition.  At the beginning
of hostilities in April, 1861, he was made a colonel of New Jersey
volunteers, and from that position was promoted in the fall of 1862
to be a brigadier-general, thereafter commanding a brigade of
infantry in the Army of the Potomac till, in the redistribution of
generals, after Grant came to the East, he was assigned to the First
Cavalry Division.

Gregg graduated in 1855 also, and was appointed to the First
Dragoons, with which regiment, up to the breaking out of the war, he
saw frontier service extending from Fort Union, New Mexico, through
to the Pacific coast, and up into Oregon and Washington Territories,
where I knew him slightly.  In the fall of 1861 he became colonel of
the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and a year later was made a
brigadier-general.  He then succeeded to the command of a division of
cavalry, and continued in that position till the close of his
service, at times temporarily commanding the Cavalry Corps.  He was
the only division commander I had whose experience had been almost
exclusively derived from the cavalry arm.

Wilson graduated in 1860 in the Topographical Engineers, and was
first assigned to duty in Oregon, where he remained till July, 1861.
In the fall of that year his active service in the war began, and he
rose from one position to another, in the East and West, till, while
on General Grant's staff, he was made a brigadier-general in the fall
of 1863 in reward for services performed during the Vicksburg
campaign and for engineer duty at Chattanooga preceding the battle of
Missionary Ridge.  At my request he was selected to command the Third
Division.  General Grant thought highly of him, and, expecting much
from his active mental and physical ability, readily assented to
assign him in place of General Kilpatrick.  The only other general
officers in the corps were Brigadier-General Wesley Merritt,
Brigadier-General George A. Custer, and Brigadier-General Henry E.
Davies, each commanding a brigade.

In a few days after my arrival at Brandy Station I reviewed my new
command, which consisted of about twelve thousand officers and men,
with the same number of horses in passable trim.  Many of the general
officers of the army were present at the review, among them Generals
Meade, Hancock, and Sedgwick.  Sedgwick being an old dragoon, came to
renew his former associations with mounted troops, and to encourage
me, as he jestingly said, because of the traditional prejudices the
cavalrymen were supposed to hold against being commanded by an
infantry officer.  The corps presented a fine appearance at the
review, and so far as the health and equipment of the men were
concerned the showing was good and satisfactory; but the horses were
thin and very much worn down by excessive and, it seemed to me,
unnecessary picket duty, for the cavalry picket-line almost
completely encircled the infantry and artillery camps of the army,
covering a distance, on a continuous line, of nearly sixty miles,
with hardly a mounted Confederate confronting it at any point.  From
the very beginning of the war the enemy had shown more wisdom
respecting his cavalry than we.  Instead of wasting its strength by a
policy of disintegration he, at an early day, had organized his
mounted force into compact masses, and plainly made it a favorite;
and, as usual, he was now husbanding the strength of his horses by
keeping them to the rear, so that in the spring he could bring them
out in good condition for the impending campaign.

Before and at the review I took in this situation, and determined to
remedy it if possible; so in due time I sought an interview with
General Meade and informed him that, as the effectiveness of my
command rested mainly on the strength of its horses, I thought the
duty it was then performing was both burdensome and wasteful.  I also
gave him my idea as to what the cavalry should do, the main purport
of which was that it ought to be kept concentrated to fight the
enemy's cavalry.  Heretofore, the commander of the Cavalry Corps had
been, virtually, but an adjunct at army headquarters--a sort of chief
of cavalry--and my proposition seemed to stagger General Meade not a
little.  I knew that it would be difficult to overcome the recognized
custom of using the cavalry for the protection of trains and the
establishment of cordons around the infantry corps, and so far
subordinating its operations to the movements of the main army that
in name only was it a corps at all, but still I thought it my duty to

At first General Meade would hardly listen to my proposition, for he
was filled with the prejudices that, from the beginning of the war,
had pervaded the army regarding the importance and usefulness of
cavalry, General Scott then predicting that the contest would be
settled by artillery, and thereafter refusing the services of
regiment after regiment of mounted troops.  General Meade deemed
cavalry fit for little more than guard and picket duty, and wanted to
know what would protect the transportation trains and artillery
reserve, cover the front of moving infantry columns, and secure his
flanks from intrusion, if my policy were pursued.  I told him that if
he would let me use the cavalry as I contemplated, he need have
little solicitude in these respects, for, with a mass of ten thousand
mounted men, it was my belief that I could make it so lively for the
enemy's cavalry that, so far as attacks from it were concerned, the
flanks and rear of the Army of the Potomac would require little or no
defense, and claimed, further, that moving columns of infantry should
take care of their own fronts.  I also told him that it was my object
to defeat the enemy's cavalry in a general combat, if possible, and
by such a result establish a feeling of confidence in my own troops
that would enable us after awhile to march where we pleased, for the
purpose of breaking General Lee's communications and destroying the
resources from which his army was supplied.

The idea as here outlined was contrary to Meade's convictions, for
though at different times since he commanded the Army of the Potomac
considerable bodies of the cavalry had been massed for some special
occasion, yet he had never agreed to the plan as a permanency, and
could not be bent to it now.  He gave little encouragement,
therefore, to what I proposed, yet the conversation was immediately
beneficial in one way, for when I laid before him the true condition
of the cavalry, he promptly relieved it from much of the arduous and
harassing picket service it was performing, thus giving me about two
weeks in which to nurse the horses before the campaign opened.

The interview also disclosed the fact that the cavalry commander
should be, according to General Meade's views, at his headquarters
practically as one of his staff, through whom he would give detailed
directions as, in his judgment, occasion required.  Meade's ideas and
mine being so widely divergent, disagreements arose between us later
during the battles of the Wilderness, which lack of concord ended in
some concessions on his part after the movement toward Spottsylvania
Court House began, and although I doubt that his convictions were
ever wholly changed, yet from that date on, in the organization of
the Army of the Potomac, the cavalry corps became more of a compact
body, with the same privileges and responsibilities that attached to
the other corps--conditions that never actually existed before.

On the 4th of May the Army of the Potomac moved against Lee, who was
occupying a defensive position on the south bank of the Rapidan.
After detailing the various detachments which I was obliged to supply
for escorts and other mounted duty, I crossed the river with an
effective force of about 10,000 troopers.  In the interval succeeding
my assignment to the command of the cavalry, I had taken the pains to
study carefully the topography of the country in eastern Virginia,
and felt convinced that, under the policy Meade intended I should
follow, there would be little opportunity for mounted troops to
acquit themselves well in a region so thickly wooded, and traversed
by so many almost parallel streams; but conscious that he would be
compelled sooner or later either to change his mind or partially give
way to the pressure of events, I entered on the campaign with the
loyal determination to aid zealously in all its plans.

General Lee's army was located in its winter quarters behind
intrenchments that lay along the Rapidan for a distance of about
twenty miles; extending from Barnett's to Morton's ford.  The fords
below Morton's were watched by a few small detachments of Confederate
cavalry, the main body of which, however, was encamped below
Hamilton's crossing, where it could draw supplies from the rich
country along the Rappahannock.  Only a few brigades of Lee's
infantry guarded the works along the river, the bulk of it being so
situated that it could be thrown to either flank toward which the
Union troops approached.

General Grant adopted the plan of moving by his left flank, with the
purpose of compelling Lee to come out from behind his intrenchments
along Mine Run and fight on equal terms.  Grant knew well the
character of country through which he would have to pass, but he was
confident that the difficulties of operation in the thickly wooded
region of the Wilderness would be counterbalanced by the facility
with which his position would enable him to secure a new base; and by
the fact that as he would thus cover Washington, there would be
little or no necessity for the authorities there to detach from his
force at some inopportune moment for the protection of that city.

In the move forward two divisions of my cavalry took the advance,
Gregg crossing the Rapidan at Ely's ford and Wilson at Germania ford.
Torbert's division remained in the rear to cover the trains and
reserve artillery, holding from Rapidan Station to Culpeper, and
thence through Stevensburg to the Rappahannock River.  Gregg crossed
the Rapidan before daylight, in advance of the Second Corps, and when
the latter reached Ely's ford, he pushed on to Chancellorsville;
Wilson preceded the Fifth Corps to Germania ford, and when it reached
the river he made the crossing and moved rapidly by Wilderness
Tavern, as far as Parker's Store, from which point he sent a heavy
reconnoissance toward Mine Run, the rest of his division bivouacking
in a strong position.  I myself proceeded to Chancellorsville and
fixed my headquarters at that place, whereon the 5th I was joined by
Torbert's division.

Meanwhile, General Meade had crossed the Rapidan and established his
headquarters not far from Germania ford.  From that point he was in
direct communication with Wilson, whose original instructions from me
carried him only as far as Parker's Store, but it being found, during
the night of the 4th, that the enemy was apparently unacquainted with
the occurrences of the day, Meade directed Wilson to advance in the
direction of Craig's Meeting House; leaving one regiment to hold
Parker's Store.  Wilson with the second brigade encountered Rosser's
brigade of cavalry just beyond the Meeting House, and drove it back
rapidly a distance of about two miles, holding it there till noon,
while his first brigade was halted on the north side of Robinson's
Run near the junction of the Catharpen and Parker's Store roads.

Up to this time Wilson had heard nothing of the approach of the Fifth
Corps, and the situation becoming threatening, he withdrew the second
brigade to the position occupied by the first, but scarcely had he
done so when he learned that at an early hour in the forenoon the
enemy's infantry had appeared in his rear at Parker's Store and cut
off his communication with General Meade.  Surprised at this, he
determined to withdraw to Todd's Tavern, but before his resolution
could be put into execution the Confederates attacked him with a
heavy force, and at the same time began pushing troops down the
Catharpen road.  Wilson was now in a perplexing situation, sandwiched
between the Confederates who had cut him off in the rear at Parker's
store and those occupying the Catharpen road, but he extricated his
command by passing it around the latter force, and reached Todd's
Tavern by crossing the Po River at Corbin's bridge.  General Meade
discovering that the enemy had interposed at Parker's store between
Wilson and the Fifth Corps, sent me word to go to Wilson's relief,
and this was the first intimation I received that Wilson had been
pushed out so far, but, surmising that he would retire in the
direction of Todd's Tavern I immediately despatched Gregg's division
there to his relief.  Just beyond Todd's Tavern Gregg met Wilson, who
was now being followed by the enemy's cavalry.  The pursuing force
was soon checked, and then driven back to Shady Grove Church, while
Wilson's troops fell in behind Gregg's line, somewhat the worse for
their morning's adventure.

When the Army of the Potomac commenced crossing the Rapidan on the
4th, General J. E. B. Stuart, commanding the Confederate cavalry,
began concentrating his command on the right of Lee's infantry,
bringing it from Hamilton's crossing and other points where it had
been wintering.  Stuart's force at this date was a little more than
eight thousand men, organized in two divisions, commanded by Generals
Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee.  Hampton's division was composed of
three brigades, commanded by Generals Cordon, Young, and Rosser;
Fitzhugh Lee's division comprised three brigades also, Generals W. H.
F. Lee, Lomax, and Wickham commanding them.

Information of this concentration, and of the additional fact that
the enemy's cavalry about Hamilton's crossing was all being drawn in,
reached me on the 5th, which obviated all necessity for my moving on
that point as I intended at the onset of the campaign.  The
responsibility for the safety of our trains and of the left flank of
the army still continued, however, so I made such dispositions of my
troops as to secure these objects by holding the line of the Brock
road beyond the Furnaces, and thence around to Todd's Tavern and
Piney Branch Church.  On the 6th, through some false information,
General Meade became alarmed about his left flank, and sent me the
following note:

"May 6, 1864.--1 o'clock P. M.
"Commanding Cavalry Corps

"Your despatch of 11.45 a.m., received.  General Hancock has been
heavily pressed, and his left turned.  The major-general commanding
thinks that you had better draw in your cavalry, so as to secure the
protection of the trains.  The order requiring an escort for the
wagons to-night has been rescinded.

"Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

On the morning of the 6th Custer's and Devin's brigades had been
severely engaged at the Furnaces before I received the above note.
They had been most successful in repulsing the enemy's attacks,
however, and I felt that the line taken up could be held; but the
despatch from General Humphreys was alarming, so I drew all the
cavalry close in toward Chancellorsville.  It was found later that
Hancock's left had not been turned, and the points thus abandoned had
to be regained at a heavy cost in killed and wounded, to both the
cavalry and the infantry.

On the 7th of May, under directions from headquarters, Army of the
Potomac, the trains were put in motion to go into park at Piney
Branch Church, in anticipation of the movement that was about to be
made for the possession of Spottsylvania Court House.  I felt
confident that the order to move the trains there had been given
without a full understanding of the situation, for Piney Branch
Church was now held by the enemy, a condition which had resulted from
the order withdrawing the cavalry on account of the supposed disaster
to Hancock's left the day before; but I thought the best way to
remedy matters was to hold the trains in the vicinity of Aldrich's
till the ground on which it was intended to park them should be

This led to the battle of Todd's Tavern, a spirited fight for the
possession of the crossroads at that point, participated in by the
enemy's cavalry and Gregg's division, and two brigades of Torbert's
division, the latter commanded by Merritt, as Torbert became very ill
on the 6th, and had to be sent to the rear.  To gain the objective
point--the crossroads--I directed Gregg to assail the enemy on the
Catharpen road with Irvin Gregg's brigade and drive him over Corbin's
bridge, while Merritt attacked him with the Reserve brigade on the
Spottsylvania road in conjunction with Davies's brigade of Gregg's
division, which was to be put in on the Piney Branch Church road, and
unite with Merritt's left.  Davies's and Irvin Gregg's brigades on my
right and left flanks met with some resistance, yet not enough to
deter them from, executing their orders.  In front of Merritt the
enemy held on more stubbornly, however, and there ensued an
exceedingly severe and, at times, fluctuating fight.  Finally the
Confederates gave way, and we pursued them almost to Spottsylvania
Court House; but deeming it prudent to recall the pursuers about
dark, I encamped Gregg's and Merritt's divisions in the open fields
to the east of Todd's Tavern.

During the preceding three days the infantry corps of the army had
been engaged in the various conflicts known as the battles of the
Wilderness.  The success of the Union troops in those battles had not
been all that was desired, and General Grant now felt that it was
necessary to throw himself on Lee's communications if possible, while
preserving his own intact by prolonging the movement to the left.
Therefore, on the evening of the 7th he determined to shift his whole
army toward Spottsylvania Court House, and initiated the movement by
a night march of the infantry to Todd's Tavern.  In view of what was
contemplated, I gave orders to Gregg and Merritt to move at daylight
on the morning of the 8th, for the purpose of gaining possession of
Snell's bridge over the Po River, the former by the crossing at
Corbin's bridge and the latter by the Block House.  I also directed
Wilson, who was at Alsop's house, to take possession of Spottsylvania
as early as possible on the morning of the 8th, and then move into
position at Snell's bridge conjointly with the other two divisions.
Wilson's orders remained as I had issued them, so he moved
accordingly and got possession of Spottsylvania, driving the enemy's
cavalry a mile beyond, as will be seen by the following despatch sent
me at 9 A. M. of the 8th:


"Have run the enemy's cavalry a mile from Spottsylvania Court House;
have charged them, and drove them through the village; am fighting
now with a considerable force, supposed to be Lee's division.
Everything all right.

"Brigadier-General Commanding.

During the night of the 7th General Meade arrived at Todd's Tavern
and modified the orders I had given Gregg and Merritt, directing
Gregg simply to hold Corbin's bridge, and Merritt to move out in
front of the infantry column marching on the Spottsylvania road.
Merritt proceeded to obey, but in advancing, our cavalry and infantry
became intermingled in the darkness, and much confusion and delay was
the consequence.  I had not been duly advised of these changes in
Gregg's and Merritt's orders, and for a time I had fears for the
safety of Wilson, but, while he was preparing to move on to form his
junction with Gregg and Merritt at Snell's bridge, the advance of
Anderson (who was now commanding Longstreet's corps) appeared on the
scene and drove him from Spottsylvania.

Had Gregg and Merritt been permitted to proceed as they were
originally instructed, it is doubtful whether the battles fought at
Spottsylvania would have occurred, for these two divisions would have
encountered the enemy at the Pa River, and so delayed his march as to
enable our infantry to reach Spottsylvania first, and thus force Lee
to take up a line behind the Po.  I had directed Wilson to move from
the left by "the Gate" through Spottsylvania to Snell's bridge, while
Gregg and Merritt were to advance to the same point by Shady Grove
and the Block House.  There was nothing to prevent at least a partial
success of these operations; that is to say, the concentration of the
three divisions in front of Snell's bridge, even if we could not
actually have gained it.  But both that important point and the
bridge on the Block House road were utterly ignored, and Lee's
approach to Spottsylvania left entirely unobstructed, while three
divisions of cavalry remained practically ineffective by reason of
disjointed and irregular instructions.

On the morning of the 8th, when I found that such orders had been
given, I made some strong remonstrances against the course that had
been pursued, but it was then too late to carry out the combinations
I had projected the night before, so I proceeded to join Merritt on
the Spottsylvania road.  On reaching Merritt I found General Warren
making complaint that the cavalry were obstructing his infantry
column, so I drew Merritt off the road, and the leading division of
the Fifth Corps pushed up to the front.  It got into line about  11
o'clock, and advanced to take the village, but it did not go very far
before it struck Anderson's corps, and was hurled back with heavy
loss.  This ended all endeavor to take Spottsylvania that day.

A little before noon General Meade sent for me, and when I reached
his headquarters I found that his peppery temper had got the better
of his good judgment, he showing a disposition to be unjust, laying
blame here and there for the blunders that had been committed.  He
was particularly severe on the cavalry, saying, among other things,
that it had impeded the march of the Fifth Corps by occupying the
Spottsylvania road.  I replied that if this were true, he himself had
ordered it there without my knowledge.  I also told him that he had
broken up my combinations, exposed Wilson's division to disaster, and
kept Gregg unnecessarily idle, and further, repelled his insinuations
by saying that such disjointed operations as he had been requiring of
the cavalry for the last four days would render the corps inefficient
and useless before long.  Meade was very much irritated, and I was
none the less so.  One word brought on another, until, finally, I
told him that I could whip Stuart if he (Meade) would only let me,
but since he insisted on giving the cavalry directions without
consulting or even notifying me, he could henceforth command the
Cavalry Corps himself--that I would not give it another order.

The acrimonious interview ended with this remark, and after I left
him he went to General Grant's headquarters and repeated the
conversation to him, mentioning that I had said that I could whip
Stuart.  At this General Grant remarked: "Did he say so? Then let him
go out and do it."  This intimation was immediately acted upon by
General Meade, and a little later the following order came to me:

"May 8th, 1864 1 P. M.

"Commanding Cavalry Corps.

"The major-general commanding directs you to immediately concentrate
your available mounted force, and with your ammunition trains and
such supply trains as are filled (exclusive of ambulances) proceed
against the enemy's cavalry, and when your supplies are exhausted,
proceed via New Market and Green Bay to Haxall's Landing on the James
River, there communicating with General Butler, procuring supplies
and return to this army.  Your dismounted men will be left with the
train here.

"Major-General, Chief-of-staff."

As soon as the above order was received I issued instructions for the
concentration of the three divisions of cavalry at Aldrich's to
prepare for the contemplated expedition.  Three days' rations for the
men were distributed, and half rations of grain for one day were
doled out for the horses.  I sent for Gregg, Merritt, and Wilson and
communicated the order to them, saying at the same time, "We are
going out to fight Stuart's cavalry in consequence of a suggestion
from me; we will give him a fair, square fight; we are strong, and I
know we can beat him, and in view of my recent representations to
General Meade I shall expect nothing but success."  I also indicated
to my division commanders the line of march I should take--moving in
one column around the right flank of Lee's army to get in its rear
--and stated at the same time that it was my intention to fight Stuart
wherever he presented himself, and if possible go through to Haxall's
Landing; but that if Stuart should successfully interpose between us
and that point we would swing back to the Army of the Potomac by
passing around the enemy's left flank by way of Gordonsville.  At
first the proposition seemed to surprise the division commanders
somewhat, for hitherto even the boldest, mounted expeditions had been
confined to a hurried ride through the enemy's country, without
purpose of fighting more than enough to escape in case of
molestation, and here and there to destroy a bridge.  Our move would
be a challenge to Stuart for a cavalry duel behind Lee's lines, in
his own country, but the advantages which it was reasonable to
anticipate from the plan being quickly perceived, each division
commander entered into its support unhesitatingly, and at once set
about preparing for the march next day.



The expedition which resulted in the battle of Yellow Tavern and the
death of General Stuart started from the vicinity of Aldrich's toward
Fredericksburg early on the morning of May 9, 1864, marching on the
plank-road, Merritt's division leading.  When the column reached
Tabernacle Church it headed almost due east to the telegraph road,
and thence down that highway to Thornburg, and from that point
through Childsburg to Anderson's crossing of the North Anna River, it
being my desire to put my command south of that stream if possible,
where it could procure forage before it should be compelled to fight.
The corps moved at a walk, three divisions on the same road, making a
column nearly thirteen miles in length, and marched around the right
flank of the enemy unsuspected until my rear guard had passed
Massaponax Church.  Although the column was very long, I preferred to
move it all on one road rather than to attempt combinations for
carrying the divisions to any given point by different routes.
Unless the separate commands in an expedition of this nature are very
prompt in movement, and each fully equal to overcoming at once any
obstacle it may meet, combinations rarely work out as expected;
besides, an engagement was at all times imminent, hence it was
specially necessary to keep the whole force well together.

As soon as the Ny, Po, and Ta rivers were crossed, each of which
streams would have afforded an excellent defensive line to the enemy,
all anxiety as to our passing around Lee's army was removed, and our
ability to cross the North Anna placed beyond doubt. Meanwhile
General Stuart had discovered what we were about, and he set his
cavalry in motion, sending General Fitzhugh Lee to follow and attack
my rear on the Childsburg road, Stuart himself marching by way of
Davenport's bridge, on the North Anna, toward Beaver Dam Station,
near which place his whole command was directed to unite the next

My column having passed the Ta River, Stuart attacked its rear with
considerable vigor, in the hope that he could delay my whole force
long enough to permit him to get at least a part of his command in my
front; but this scheme was frustrated by Davies's brigade, which I
directed to fight as a rear-guard, holding on at one position and
then at another along the line of march just enough to deter the
enemy from a too rapid advance.  Davies performed this responsible
and trying duty with tact and good judgment, following the main
column steadily as it progressed to the south, and never once
permitting Fitzhugh Lee's advance to encroach far enough to compel a
halt of my main body.  About dark Merritt's division crossed the
North Anna at Anderson's ford, while Gregg and Wilson encamped on the
north side, having engaged the enemy, who still hung on my rear up to
a late hour at night.

After Merritt's division passed the river, Custer's brigade proceeded
on to Beaver Dam Station to cut the Virginia Central railroad.
Before reaching the station he met a small force of the enemy, but
this he speedily drove off, recapturing from it about four hundred
Union prisoners, who had been taken recently in the Wilderness and
were being conducted to Richmond.  Custer also destroyed the station,
two locomotives, three trains of cars, ninety wagons, from eight to
ten miles of railroad and telegraph lines, some two hundred thousand
pounds of bacon and other supplies, amounting in all to about a
million and a half of rations, and nearly all they medical stores of
General Lee's army, which had been moved from Orange Court House
either because Lee wished to have them directly in his rear or
because he contemplated falling back to the North Anna.

On the morning of the 10th Gregg and Wilson, while crossing the North
Anna, were again attacked, but were covered by the division on the
south side of the stream; the passage was effected without much loss,
notwithstanding the approach of Stuart on the south bank from the
direction of Davenport's bridge.  The possession of Beaver Dam gave
us an important point, as it opened a way toward Richmond by the
Negro-foot road.  It also enabled us to obtain forage for our
well-nigh famished animals, and to prepare for fighting the enemy,
who, I felt sure, would endeavor to interpose between my column and

Stuart had hardly united his troops near Beaver Dam when he realized
that concentrating there was a mistake, so he began making
dispositions for remedying his error, and while we leisurely took the
Negro-foot toad toward Richmond, he changed his tactics and hauled
off from my rear, urging his horses to the death in order to get in
between Richmond and my column.  This he effected about 10 o'clock on
the morning of the 11th, concentrating at Yellow Tavern, six miles
from the city, on the Brook turnpike.  His change of tactics left my
march on the 10th practically unmolested, and we quietly encamped
that night on the south bank of the South Anna, near Ground Squirrel
Bridge.  Here we procured an abundance of forage, and as the distance
traveled that day had been only fifteen to eighteen miles, men and
horses were able to obtain a good rest during the night.

At 2 o'clock in the morning, May 11, Davies's brigade of Gregg's
division marched for Ashland to cut the Fredericksburg railroad.
Arriving there before the head of the enemy's column, which had to
pass through this same place to reach Yellow Tavern, Davies drove out
a small force occupying the town, burnt a train of cars and a
locomotive, destroyed the railroad for some distance, and rejoined
the main column at Allen's Station on the Fredericksburg and Richmond
railroad.  From Allen's Station the whole command moved on Yellow
Tavern, Merritt in the lead, Wilson following, and Gregg in the rear.

The appearance of Davies's brigade at Ashland in the morning had had
the effect of further mystifying the enemy as to my intentions; and
while he held it incumbent to place himself between me and Richmond,
yet he was still so uncertain of my movements that he committed the
same fault that he did the first day, when he divided his force and
sent a part to follow me on the Childsburg road.  He now divided his
command again, sending a portion to hang upon my rear, while he
proceeded with the rest to Yellow Tavern.  This separation not only
materially weakened the force which might have been thrown across my
line of march, but it also enabled me to attack with almost my entire
corps, while occupying the pursuers with a small rearguard.

By forced marches General Stuart succeeded in reaching Yellow Tavern
ahead of me on May 11; and the presence of, his troops, on the
Ashland and Richmond road becoming known to Merritt as he was
approaching the Brook turnpike, this general pressed forward at once
to the attack.  Pushing his division to the front, he soon got
possession of the turnpike and drove the enemy back several hundred
yards to the east of it.  This success had the effect of throwing the
head of my column to the east of the pike, and I quickly brought up
Wilson and one of Gregg's brigades to take advantage of the situation
by forming a line of battle on that side or the road.  Meanwhile the
enemy, desperate but still confident, poured in a heavy fire from his
line and from a battery which enfiladed the Brook road, and made
Yellow Tavern an uncomfortably hot place.  Gibbs's and Devin's
brigades, however, held fast there, while Custer, supported by
Chapman's brigade, attacked the enemy's left and battery in a mounted

Custer's charge, with Chapman on his flank and the rest of Wilson's
division sustaining him, was brilliantly executed.  Beginning at a
walk, he increased his gait to a trot, and then at full speed rushed
at the enemy.  At the same moment the dismounted troops along my
whole front moved forward, and as Custer went through the battery,
capturing two of the guns with their cannoneers and breaking up the
enemy's left, Gibbs and Devin drove his centre and right from the
field.  Gregg meanwhile, with equal success, charged the force in his
rear-Gordon's brigadeand the engagement ended by giving us complete
control of the road to Richmond.  We captured a number of prisoners,
and the casualties on both sides were quite severe, General Stuart
himself falling mortally wounded, and General James B. Gordon, one of
his brigade commanders, being killed.

After Custer's charge, the Confederate cavalry was badly broken up,
the main portion of it being driven in a rout toward Ashland and a
small part in the direction of Richmond, which latter force finally
rejoined Fitzhugh Lee near Mechanicsville.  A reconnoitring party
being now sent up the Brook turnpike toward the city, dashed across
the South Fork of the Chickahominy, drove a small force from the
enemy's exterior intrenchments and went within them.  I followed this
party, and after a little exploration found between the two lines of
works a country road that led across to the pike which runs from
Mechanicsville to Richmond.  I thought we could go around within the
outer line of works by this country road across to the Mechanicsville
pike on the south side of the Chickahominy, and encamp the next night
at Fair Oaks; so I determined to make the movement after dark, being
influenced in this to some extent by reports received during the
afternoon from colored people, to the effect that General B. F.
Butler's army had reached a small stream on the south side of the
James, about four miles south of Richmond.  If I could succeed in
getting through by this road, not only would I have a shorter line of
march to Haxall's landing, but there was also a possibility that I
could help Butler somewhat by joining him so near Richmond.
Therefore, after making the wounded as comfortable as possible, we
commenced the march about 11 o'clock on the night of the 11th, and
massed the command on the plateau south of the Meadow bridge near
daylight on the 12th.

The enemy, anticipating that I would march by this route, had planted
torpedoes along it, and many of these exploded as the column passed
over them, killing several horses and wounding a few men, but beyond
this we met with no molestation.  The torpedoes were loaded shells
planted on each side of the road, and so connected by wires attached
to friction-tubes in the shells, that when a horse's hoof struck a
wire the shell was exploded by the jerk on the improvised lanyard.
After the loss of several horses and the wounding of some of the men
by these torpedoes, I gave directions to have them removed, if
practicable, so about twenty-five of the prisoners were brought up
and made to get down on their knees, feel for the wires in the
darkness, follow them up and unearth the shells.  The prisoners
reported the owner of one of the neighboring houses to be the
principal person who had engaged in planting these shells, and I
therefore directed that some of them be carried and placed in the
cellar of his house, arranged to explode if the enemy's column came
that way, while he and his family were brought off as prisoners and
held till after daylight.

Meanwhile the most intense excitement prevailed in Richmond.  The
Confederates, supposing that their capital was my objective point,
were straining every effort to put it in a state of defense, and had
collected between four and five thousand irregular troops, under
General Bragg, besides bringing up three brigades of infantry from
the force confronting General Butler south of the James River, the
alarm being intensified by the retreat, after the defeat at Yellow
Tavern, of Stuart's cavalry, now under General Fitzhugh Lee, by way
of Ashland to Mechanicsville, on the north side of the Chickahominy,
for falling back in that direction, left me between them and

Our march during the night of the 11th was very tedious, on account
of the extreme darkness and frequent showers of rain; but at daylight
on the 12th the head of my column, under Wilson, reached the
Mechanicsville pike.  Here Wilson, encountering the enemy's works and
batteries manned by General Bragg's troops, endeavored to pass.  In
this he failed, and as soon as I was notified that it was
impracticable to reach Fair Oaks by passing between the works and the
Chickahominy, Custer's brigade was directed to make the crossing to
the north side of the Chickahominy, at the Meadow bridge.  Custer
moved rapidly for the bridge, but found it destroyed, and that the
enemy's cavalry was posted on the north side, in front of
Mechanicsville.  When this information came back, I ordered Merritt
to take his whole division and repair the bridge, instructing him
that the crossing must be made at all hazards; for, in view of an
impending attack by the enemy's infantry in Richmond, it was
necessary that I should have the bridge as a means of egress in case
of serious disaster.

All the time that Merritt was occupied in this important duty, the
enemy gave great annoyance to the working party by sweeping the
bridge with a section of artillery and a fire from the supporting
troops, so a small force was thrown across to drive them away.
When Merritt had passed two regiments over, they attacked, but
were repulsed.  The work on the bridge continued, however,
not-withstanding this discomfiture; and when it was finished, Merritt
crossed nearly all his division, dismounted, and again attacked the
enemy, this time carrying the line, of temporary breastworks, built
with logs and rails, and pursuing his broken troops toward Gaines's

While Merritt was engaged in this affair, the Confederates advanced
from behind their works at Richmond, and attacked Wilson and Gregg.
Wilson's troops were driven back in some confusion at first; but
Gregg, in anticipation of attack, had hidden a heavy line of
dismounted men in a bushy ravine on his front, and when the enemy
marched upon it, with much display and under the eye of the President
of the Confederacy, this concealed line opened a destructive fire
with repeating carbines; and at the same time the batteries of
horse-artillery, under Captain Robinson, joining in the contest,
belched forth shot and shell with fatal effect.  The galling fire
caused the enemy to falter, and while still wavering Wilson rallied
his men, and turning some of them against the right flank of the
Confederates, broke their line, and compelled them to withdraw for
security behind the heavy works thrown up for the defense of the city
in 1862.

By destroying the Meadow bridge and impeding my column on the
Mechanicsville, pike, the enemy thought to corner us completely, for
he still maintained the force in Gregg's rear that had pressed it the
day before; but the repulse of his infantry ended all his hopes of
doing us any serious damage on the limited ground between the
defenses of Richmond and the Chickahominy.  He felt certain that on
account of the recent heavy rains we could not cross the Chickahominy
except by the Meadow bridge, and it also seemed clear to him that we
could not pass between the river and his intrenchments; therefore he
hoped to ruin us, or at least compel us to return by the same route
we had taken in coming, in which case we would run into Gordon's
brigade, but the signal repulse of Bragg's infantry dispelled these

Even had it not been our good fortune to defeat him, we could have
crossed the Chickahominy if necessary at several points that were
discovered by scouting parties which, while the engagement was going
on, I had sent out to look up fords.  This means of getting out from
the circumscribed plateau I did not wish to use, however, unless
there was no alternative, for I wished to demonstrate to the Cavalry
Corps the impossibility of the enemy's destroying or capturing so
large a body of mounted troops.

The chances of seriously injuring, us were more favorable to the
enemy this time than ever they were afterward, for with the troops
from Richmond, comprising three brigades of veterans and about five
thousand irregulars on my front and right flank, with Gordon's
cavalry in the rear, and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry on my left flank,
holding the Chickahominy and Meadow bridge, I was apparently hemmed
in on every side, but relying on the celerity with which mounted
troops could be moved, I felt perfectly confident that the seemingly
perilous situation could be relieved under circumstances even worse
than those then surrounding us.  Therefore, instead of endeavoring to
get away without a fight, I concluded that there would be little
difficulty in withdrawing, even should I be beaten, and none whatever
if I defeated the enemy.

In accordance with this view I accepted battle; and the complete
repulse of the enemy's infantry, which assailed us from his
intrenchments, and of Gordon's cavalry, which pressed Gregg on the
Brook road, ended the contest in our favor.  The rest of the day we
remained on the battle-field undisturbed, and our time was spent in
collecting the wounded, burying the dead, grazing the horses, and
reading the Richmond journals, two small newsboys with commendable
enterprise having come within our lines from the Confederate capital
to sell their papers.  They were sharp youngsters, and having come
well supplied, they did a thrifty business.  When their stock in
trade was all disposed of they wished to return, but they were so
intelligent and observant that I thought their mission involved other
purposes than the mere sale of newspapers, so they were held till we
crossed the Chickahominy and then turned loose.

After Merritt had crossed the Chickahominy and reached
Mechanicsville, I sent him orders to push on to Gaines's Mills.  Near
the latter place he fell in with the enemy's cavalry again, and
sending me word, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon I crossed the
Chickahominy with Wilson and Gregg, but when we overtook Merritt he
had already brushed the Confederates away, and my whole command went
into camp between Walnut Grove and Gaines's Mills.

The main purposes of the expedition had now been executed. They were
"to break up General Lee's railroad communications, destroy such
depots of supplies as could be found in his rear, and to defeat
General Stuart's cavalry."  Many miles of the Virginia Central and of
the Richmond and Fredericksburg railroads were broken up, and
several of the bridges on each burnt.  At Beaver Dam, Ashland, and
other places, about two millions of rations had been captured and
destroyed. The most important of all, however, was the defeat of
Stuart.  Since the beginning of the war this general had
distinguished himself by his management of the Confederate mounted
force.  Under him the cavalry of Lee's army had been nurtured, and
had acquired such prestige that it thought itself well-nigh
invincible; indeed, in the early years of the war it had proved to be
so.  This was now dispelled by the successful march we had made in
Lee's rear; and the discomfiture of Stuart at Yellow Tavern had
inflicted a blow from which entire recovery was impossible.

In its effect on the Confederate cause the defeat of Stuart was most
disheartening, but his death was even a greater calamity, as is
evidenced by the words of a Confederate writer (Cooke), who says:
"Stuart could be ill spared at this critical moment, and General Lee
was plunged into the deepest melancholy at the intelligence of his
death.  When it reached him he retired from those around him, and
remained for some time communing with his own heart and memory.  When
one of his staff entered and spoke of Stuart, General Lee said: 'I
can scarcely think of him without weeping.'"

From the camp near Gaines's Mills I resumed the march to Haxall's
Landing, the point on the James River contemplated in my instructions
where I was to obtain supplies from General Butler.  We got to the
James on the 14th with all our wounded and a large number of
prisoners, and camped between Haxall's and Shirley.  The prisoners,
as well as the captured guns, were turned over to General Butler's
provost-marshal, and our wounded were quickly and kindly cared for by
his surgeons.  Ample supplies, also, in the way of forage and
rations, were furnished us by General Butler, and the work of
refitting for our return to the Army of the Potomac was vigorously
pushed. By the 17th all was ready, and having learned by scouting
parties sent in the direction of Richmond and as far as Newmarket
that the enemy's cavalry was returning to Lee's army I started that
evening on my return march, crossing the Chickahominy at Jones's
bridge, and bivouacking on the 19th near Baltimore crossroads.

My uncertainty of what had happened to the Army of the Potomac in our
absence, and as to where I should find it, made our getting back a
problem somewhat difficult of solution, particularly as I knew that
reinforcements for Lee had come up from the south to Richmond, and
that most likely some of these troops were being held at different
points on the route to intercept my column.  Therefore I determined
to pass the Pamunkey River at the White House, and sent to Fort
Monroe for a pontoon-bridge on which to make the crossing.  While
waiting for the pontoons I ordered Custer to proceed with his brigade
to Hanover Station, to destroy the railroad bridge over the South
Anna, a little beyond that place; at the same time I sent Gregg and
Wilson to Cold Harbor, to demonstrate in the direction of Richmond as
far as Mechanicsville, so as to cover Custer's movements.  Merritt,
with the remaining brigades of his division, holding fast at
Baltimore crossroads to await events.

After Gregg and Custer had gone, it was discovered that the railroad
bridge over the Pamunkey, near the White House, had been destroyed
but partially--the cross-ties and stringers being burned in places
only--and that it was practicable to repair it sufficiently to carry
us over.  In view of this information General Merritt's two brigades
were at once put on the duty of reconstructing the bridge.  By
sending mounted parties through the surrounding country, each man of
which would bring in a board or a plank, Merritt soon accumulated
enough lumber for the flooring, and in one day the bridge was made
practicable.  On the 22d Gregg, Wilson, and Custer returned.  The
latter had gone on his expedition as far as Hanover Station,
destroyed some commissary stores there, and burned two trestle
bridges over Hanover Creek.  This done, he deemed it prudent to
retire to Hanovertown.  The next morning he again marched to Hanover
Station, and there ascertained that a strong force of the enemy,
consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, was posted at the
South Anna bridges.  These troops had gone there from Richmond en
route to reinforce Lee.  In the face of this impediment Custer's
mission could not be executed fully, so he returned to Baltimore

The whole command was drawn in by noon of the 22d, and that day it
crossed the Pamunkey by Merritt's reconstructed bridge, marching to
Ayletts, on the Mattapony River, the same night.  Here I learned from
citizens, and from prisoners taken during the day by scouting parties
sent toward Hanover Court House, that Lee had been, forced from his
position near Spottsylvania Court House and compelled to retire to
the line of the North Anna.  I then determined to rejoin the Army of
the Potomac at the earliest moment, which I did by making for
Chesterfield Station, where I reported to General Meade on the 24th
of May.

Our return to Chesterfield ended the first independent expedition the
Cavalry Corps had undertaken since coming under my command, and our
success was commended highly by Generals Grant and Meade, both
realizing that our operations in the rear of Lee had disconcerted and
alarmed that general so much as to aid materially in forcing his
retrograde march, and both acknowledged that, by drawing off the
enemy's cavalry during the past fortnight, we had enabled them to
move the Army of the Potomac and its enormous trains without
molestation in the manoeuvres that had carried it to the North Anna.
Then, too, great quantities of provisions and munitions of war had
been destroyed--stores that the enemy had accumulated at sub-depots
from strained resources and by difficult means; the railroads that
connected Lee with Richmond broken, the most successful cavalry
leader of the South killed, and in addition to all this there had
been inflicted on the Confederate mounted troops the most thorough
defeat that had yet befallen them in Virginia.

When the expedition set out the Confederate authorities in Richmond
were impressed, and indeed convinced, that my designs contemplated
the capture of that city, and notwithstanding the loss they sustained
in the defeat and death of Stuart, and their repulse the succeeding
day, they drew much comfort from the fact that I had not entered
their capital.  Some Confederate writers have continued to hold this
theory and conviction since the war.  In this view they were and are
in error.  When Stuart was defeated the main purpose of my
instructions had been carried out, and my thoughts then turned to
joining General Butler to get supplies.  I believed that I could do
this by cutting across to the Mechanicsville pike and Fair Oaks on
the south side of the Chickahominy, but the failure of Wilson's
column to get possession of the outwork which commanded the pike
necessitated my crossing at Meadow bridge, and then moving by
Mechanicsville and Gaines's Mills instead of by the shorter route.
Moreover, my information regarding General Butler's position was
incorrect, so that even had I been successful in getting to Fair Oaks
by the direct road I should still have gained nothing thereby, for I
should still have been obliged to continue down the James River to



When I rejoined the Army of the Potomac, near Chesterfield Station,
the heavy battles around Spottsylvania had been fought, and the
complicated manoeuvres by which the whole Union force was swung
across the North Anna were in process of execution.  In conjunction
with these manoeuvres Wilson's division was sent to the right flank
of the army, where he made a reconnoissance south of the North Anna
as far as Little River, crossing the former stream near Jericho
Mills.  Wilson was to operate from day to day on that flank as it
swung to the south, covering to New Castle ferry each advance of the
infantry and the fords left behind on the march.  From the 26th to
the 30th these duties kept Wilson constantly occupied, and also
necessitated a considerable dispersion of his force, but by the 31st
he was enabled to get all his division together again, and crossing
to the south side of the Pamunkey at New Castle ferry, he advanced
toward Hanover Court House.  Near Dr Pride's house he encountered a
division of the enemy's cavalry under General W. H. F. Lee, and drove
it back across Mechamp's Creek, thus opening communication with the
right of our infantry resting near Phillips's Mills.  Just as this
had been done, a little before dark, Wilson received an order from
General Meade directing him to push on toward Richmond until he
encountered the Confederates in such strength that he could no longer
successfully contend against them, and in compliance with this order
occupied Hanover Court House that same day.  Resuming his march at
daylight on June 1, he went ahead on the Ashland road while sending
Chapman's brigade up the south bank of the South Anna to destroy the
bridges on that stream.  Chapman having succeeded in this work,
Wilson re-united his whole command and endeavored to hold Ashland,
but finding the Confederate cavalry and infantry there in strong
force, he was obliged to withdraw to Dr. Price's house.  Here he
learned that the army had gone to the left toward Cold Harbor, so on
the 2d of June he moved to Hawe's Shop.

While Wilson was operating thus on the right, I had to cover with
Gregg's and Torbert's divisions the crossing of the army over the
Pamunkey River at and near Hanovertown.  Torbert having recovered
from the illness which overtook him in the Wilderness, had now
returned to duty.  The march to turn the enemy's right began on the
26th.  Torbert and Gregg in advance, to secure the crossings of the
Pamunkey and demonstrate in such manner as to deceive the enemy as
much as possible in the movement, the two cavalry divisions being
supported by General D. A. Russell's division of the Sixth Corps.

To attain this end in the presence of an ever-watchful foe who had
just recently been reinforced in considerable numbers from Richmond
and further south--almost enough to make up the losses he had
sustained in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania--required the most
vigorous and zealous work on the part of those to whom had been
allotted the task of carrying out the initial manoeuvres.  Torbert
started for Taylor's ford on the Pamunkey with directions to
demonstrate heavily at that point till after dark, as if the crossing
was to be made there, and having thus impressed the enemy, he was to
leave a small guard, withdraw quietly, and march to Hanovertown ford,
where the real crossing was to be effected.  Meanwhile Gregg marched
to Littlepage's crossing of the Pamunkey, with instructions to make
feints in the same manner as Torbert until after dark, when he was to
retire discreetly, leaving a small force to keep up the
demonstration, and then march rapidly to Hanovertown crossing, taking
with him the pontoon-bridge.

At the proper hour Russell took up the march and followed the
cavalry.  The troops were in motion all night, undergoing the usual
delays incident to night marches, and, early on the morning of the
27th the crossing was made, Custer's brigade of Torbert's division
driving from the ford about one hundred of the enemy's cavalry, and
capturing between thirty and forty prisoners.  The remainder of
Torbert's division followed this brigade and advanced to Hanovertown,
where General Gordon's brigade of Confederate cavalry was met.
Torbert attacked this force with Devin's brigade, while he sent
Custer to Hawe's Shop, from which point a road leading to the right
was taken that brought him in rear of the enemy's cavalry; when the
Confederates discovered this manoeuvre, they retired in the direction
of Hanover Court House.  Pursuit continued as far as a little stream
called Crump's Creek, and here Torbert was halted, Gregg moving up on
his line meanwhile, and Russell encamping near the crossing of the
river.  This completed our task of gaining a foothold south of the
Pamunkey, and on the 28th the main army crossed unharassed and took
up a position behind my line, extending south from the river, with
the Sixth Corps on the right across the Hanover Court House road at
Crump's Creek, the Second Corps on the left of the Sixth, and the
Fifth Corps about two miles in front of Hanovertown, its left
extending to the Tolopotomy.

There was now much uncertainty in General Grant's mind as to the
enemy's whereabouts, and there were received daily the most
conflicting statements as to the nature of Lee's movements.  It
became necessary, therefore, to find out by an actual demonstration
what Lee was doing, and I was required to reconnoitre in the
direction of Mechanicsville.  For this purpose I moved Gregg's
division out toward this town by way of Hawe's Shop, and when it had
gone about three-fourths of a mile beyond the Shop the enemy's
cavalry was discovered dismounted and disposed behind a temporary
breastwork of rails and logs.

This was the first occasion on which, since the battle of Yellow
Tavern, the Confederate troopers had confronted us in large numbers,
their mounted operations, like ours, having been dependent more or
less on the conditions that grew out of the movements in which Lee's
infantry had been engaged since the 14th of May.

On that date General Lee had foreshadowed his intention of using his
cavalry in connection with the manoeuvres of his infantry by issuing
an order himself, now that Stuart was dead, directing that the "three
divisions of cavalry serving with the army [Lee's] will constitute
separate commands, and will report directly to and receive orders
from the headquarters of the army."  The order indicates that since
Stuart's death the Confederate cavalry had been re-organized into
three divisions, that were commanded respectively by General Wade
Hampton, General Fitzhugh Lee, and General W. H. F. Lee, the
additional division organization undoubtedly growing out of the fact,
that General M. C. Butler's brigade of about four thousand men had
joined recently from South Carolina.

When this force developed in Gregg's front, he attacked the moment
his troops could be dismounted; and the contest became one of
exceeding stubborness, for he found confronting him Hampton's and
Fitzhugh Lee's divisions, supported by what we then supposed to be a
brigade of infantry, but which, it has since been ascertained, was
Butler's brigade of mounted troops; part of them armed with
long-range rifles.  The contest between the opposing forces was of
the severest character and continued till late in the evening.  The
varying phases of the fight prompted me to reinforce Gregg as much as
possible, so I directed Custer's brigade to report to him, sending,
meanwhile, for the other two brigades of Torbert, but these were not
available at the time--on account of delays which occurred in
relieving them from the line at Crump's Creek--and did not get up
till the fight was over.  As soon as Custer joined him, Gregg
vigorously assaulted the Confederate position along his whole front;
and notwithstanding the long-range rifles of the South Carolinians,
who were engaging in their first severe combat it appears, and fought
most desperately, he penetrated their barricades at several points.

The most determined and obstinate efforts for success were now made
on both sides, as the position at Hawe's Shop had become of very
great importance on account of the designs of both Lee and Grant.
Lee wished to hold this ground while he manoeuvred his army to the
line of the Tolopotomy, where he could cover the roads to Richmond,
while Grant, though first sending me out merely to discover by a
strong reconnoissance the movements of the enemy, saw the value of
the place to cover his new base at the White House, and also to give
us possession of a direct road to Cold Harbor.  Hawe's Shop remained
in our possession finally, for late in the evening Custer's brigade
was dismounted and formed in close column in rear of Gregg, and while
it assaulted through an opening near the centre of his line, the
other two brigades advanced and carried the temporary works.  The
enemy's dead and many of his wounded fell into our hands; also a
considerable number of prisoners, from whom we learned that
Longstreet's and Ewell's corps were but four miles to the rear.

The battle was a decidedly severe one, the loss on each side being
heavy in proportion to the number of troops engaged.  This fight took
place almost immediately in front of our infantry, which, during the
latter part of the contest, was busily occupied in throwing up
intrenchments.  Late in the afternoon I reported to General Meade the
presence of the enemy's infantry, and likewise that Hampton's and
Fitzhugh Lee's divisions were in my front also, and asked, at the
same time; that some of our infantry, which was near at hand, be sent
to my assistance.  I could not convince Meade that anything but the
enemy's horse was fighting us, however, and he declined to push out
the foot-troops, who were much wearied by night marches.  It has been
ascertained since that Meade's conclusions were correct in so far as
they related to the enemy's infantry; but the five cavalry brigades
far outnumbered my three, and it is to be regretted that so much was
risked in holding a point that commanded the roads to Cold Harbor and
Meadow bridge, when there was at hand a preponderating number of
Union troops which might have been put into action.  However, Gregg's
division and Custer's brigade were equal to the situation, all
unaided as they were till dark, when Torbert and Merritt came on the
ground.  The contest not only gave us the crossroads, but also
removed our uncertainty regarding Lee's movements, clearly
demonstrating that his army was retiring by its right flank, so that
it might continue to interpose between Grant and the James River; as
well as cover the direct route to Richmond.

General Lee reported this battle to his Government as a Confederate
victory, but his despatch was sent early in the day, long before the
fight ended, and evidently he could not have known the final result
when he made the announcement, for the fight lasted until dark.
After dark, our own and the Confederate dead having been buried, I
withdrew, and moving to the rear of our infantry, marched all night
and till I reached the vicinity of Old Church, where I had been
instructed to keep a vigilant watch on the enemy with Gregg's and
Torbert's divisions.  As soon as I had taken position at Old Church
my pickets were pushed out in the direction of Cold Harbor, and the
fact that the enemy was holding that point in some force was clearly
ascertained.  But our occupation of Cold Harbor was of the utmost
importance; indeed, it was absolutely necessary that we should
possess it, to secure our communications with the White House, as
well as to cover the extension of our line to the left toward the
James River.  Roads from Bethesda Church, Old Church, and the White
House centred at Cold Harbor, and from there many roads diverged also
toward different crossings of the Chickahominy, which were
indispensable to us.

The enemy too realized the importance of the place, for as soon as he
found himself compelled to take up the line of the Tolopotomy he
threw a body of troops into Cold Harbor by forced marches, and
followed it up by pushing a part of this force out on the Old Church
road as far as Matadequin Creek, where he established a line of
battle, arranging the front of it parallel to the road along the
south bank of the Pamunkey; this for the purpose of endangering our
trains as they moved back and forth between the army and the White

Meanwhile I had occupied Old Church and pushed pickets down toward
Cold Harbor.  The outposts struck each other just north of Matadequin
Creek, and a spirited fight immediately took place.  At first our
pickets were sorely pressed, but Torbert, who was already preparing
to make a reconnoissance, lost no time in reinforcing them on the
north side of the creek with Devin's brigade.  The fight then became
general, both sides, dismounted, stubbornly contesting the ground.
Of the Confederates, General Butler's South Carolinians bore the
brunt of the fight, and, strongly posted as they were on the south
bank of the creek, held their ground with the same obstinacy they had
previously shown at Hawe's Shop.  Finally, however, Torbert threw
Merritt's and Custer's brigades into the action, and the enemy
retired, we pursuing to within a mile and a half of Cold Harbor and
capturing a number of prisoners.  Gregg's division took no part in
the actual fighting, but remained near Old Church observing the roads
on Torberts flanks, one leading toward Bethesda Church on his right,
the other to his left in the direction of the White House.  This
latter road Gregg was particularly instructed to keep open, so as to
communicate with General W. F. Smith, who was then debarking his
corps at the White House, and on the morning of the 31st this
general's advance was covered by a brigade which Gregg had sent him
for the purpose.

Torbert having pursued toward Cold Harbor the troops he fought at
Matadequin Creek, had taken up a position about a mile and a half
from that place, on the Old Church road.  The morning of the 31st I
visited him to arrange for his further advance, intending thus to
anticipate an expected attack from Fitzhugh Lee, who was being
reinforced by infantry.  I met Torbert at Custer's headquarters, and
found that the two had already been talking over a scheme to capture
Cold Harbor, and when their plan was laid before me it appeared so
plainly feasible that I fully endorsed it, at once giving directions
for its immediate execution, and ordering Gregg to come forward to
Torbert's support with such troops as he could spare from the duty
with which he had been charged.

Torbert moved out promptly, Merritt's brigade first, followed by
Custer's, on the direct road to Cold Harbor, while Devin's brigade
was detached, and marched by a left-hand road that would bring him in
on the right and rear of the enemy's line, which was posted in front
of the crossroads.  Devin was unable to carry his part of the
programme farther than to reach the front of the Confederate right,
and as Merritt came into position to the right of the Old Church road
Torbert was obliged to place a part of Custer's brigade on Merritt's
left so as to connect with Devin.  The whole division was now in
line, confronted by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, supported by Clingman's
brigade from Hoke's division of infantry; and from the Confederate
breastworks, hastily constructed out of logs, rails, and earth, a
heavy fire was already being poured upon us that it seemed impossible
to withstand.  None of Gregg's division had yet arrived, and so
stubborn was the enemy's resistance that I began to doubt our ability
to carry the place before reinforcements came up, but just then
Merritt reported that he could turn the enemy's left, and being
directed to execute his proposition, he carried it to a most
successful issue with the First and Second regular cavalry.  Just as
these two regiments passed around the enemy's left and attacked his
rear, the remainder of the division assailed him in front.  This
manoeuvre of Merritt's stampeded the Confederates, and the defenses
falling into our hands easily, we pushed ahead on the Bottom's bridge
road three-fourths of a mile beyond Cold Harbor.

Cold Harbor was now mine, but I was about nine miles away from our
nearest infantry, and had been able to bring up only Davies's brigade
of cavalry, which arrived after the fight.  My isolated position
therefore made me a little uneasy.  I felt convinced that the enemy
would attempt to regain the place, for it was of as much importance
to him as to us, and the presence of his infantry disclosed that he
fully appreciated this.  My uneasiness increased as the day grew
late, for I had learned from prisoners that the balance of Hoke's
division was en route to Cold Harbor, and Kershaw near at hand,
interposing between the Union left near Bethesda Church and my
position.  In view of this state of affairs, I notified General Meade
that I had taken Cold Harbor, but could not with safety to my command
hold it, and forthwith gave directions to withdraw during the night.
The last of my troops had scarcely pulled out, however, when I
received a despatch from Meade directing me to hold Cold Harbor at
every hazard.  General Grant had expected that a severe battle would
have to be fought before we could obtain possession of the place; and
its capture by our cavalry not being anticipated, no preparation had
been made for its permanent occupancy.  No time was to be lost,
therefore, if the advantages which possession of Cold Harbor gave us
were to be improved, so at the same hour that Meade ordered me to
hold the place at all hazards the Sixth Corps was started on a forced
march, by Grant's directions, to aid in that object, and on arrival
to relieve my cavalry.

The moment Meade's order was received, I directed a reoccupation of
Cold Harbor, and although a large portion of Torbert's command was
already well on its way back to the line we held on the morning of
the 31st, this force speedily retraced its steps, and re-entered the
place before daylight; both our departure and return having been
effected without the enemy being aware of our movements.  We now
found that the temporary breastworks of rails and logs which the
Confederates had built were of incalculable benefit to us in
furnishing material with which to establish a line of defense, they
being made available by simply reversing them at some points, or at
others wholly reconstructing them to suit the circumstances of the
ground: The troops, without reserves, were then placed behind our
cover dismounted, boxes of ammunition distributed along the line, and
the order passed along that the place must be held.  All this was
done in the darkness, and while we were working away at our cover the
enemy could be distinctly heard from our skirmish-line giving
commands and making preparations to attack.

Just after daylight on the 1st of June the Confederate infantry under
General Kershaw endeavored to drive us out, advancing against my
right from the Bethesda Church road.  In his assault he was permitted
to come close up to our works, and when within short range such afire
was opened on him from our horse-artillery and repeating carbines
that he recoiled in confusion after the first onset; still, he seemed
determined to get the place, and after reorganizing, again attacked;
but the lesson of the first repulse was not without effect, and his
feeble effort proved wholly fruitless.  After his second failure we
were left undisturbed, and at 9 A.M. I sent the following despatch to
army headquarters:

"Cold Harbor, Va., June 1, 1864--9 A.M.


"GENERAL: In obedience to your instructions I am holding Cold Harbor.
I have captured this morning more prisoners; they belong to three
different infantry brigades.  The enemy assaulted the right of my
lines this morning, but were handsomely repulsed.  I have been very
apprehensive, but General Wright is now coming up.  I built slight
works for my men; the enemy came up to them, and were driven back.
General Wright has just arrived.

"Major-General Commanding."

About 10 o'clock in the morning the Sixth Corps relieved Torbert and
Davies, having marched all night, and these two generals moving out
toward the Chickahominy covered the left of the infantry line till
Hancock's corps took their place in the afternoon.  By this time
Gregg had joined me with his two brigades, and both Torbert and Gregg
were now marched to Prospect Church, from which point I moved them to
a position on the north side of the Chickahominy at Bottom's bridge.
Here the enemy's cavalry confronted us, occupying the south bank of
the stream, with artillery in position at the fords prepared to
dispute our passage; but it was not intended that we should cross; so
Gregg and Torbert lay quiet in camp at Bottom's bridge and at Old
Church without noteworthy event until the 6th of June.

As before related, Wilson's division struck the enemy's infantry as
well as W. H. F. Lee's cavalry near Ashland on the 1st of June, and
although Chapman destroyed the bridges over the South Anna, which was
his part of the programme, Wilson found it necessary to return to
Price's Store.  From this point he continued to cover the right of
the Army of the Potomac, on the 2d of June driving the rear-guard of
the enemy from Hawe's Shop, the scene of the battle of May 28.  The
same day he crossed Tolopotomy Creek, and passed around the enemy's
left flank so far that Lee thought his left was turned by a strong
force, and under cover of darkness withdrew from a menacing position
which he was holding in front of the Ninth Corps.  This successful
manoeuvre completed, Wilson returned to Hawe's Shop, and on the 4th
went into camp at New Castle ferry, in anticipation of certain
operations of the Cavalry Corps, which were to take place while the
Army of the Potomac was crossing to the south side of the James.



By the 6th of June General Grant again determined to continue the
movement of the army by its left flank to the south bank of the James
River, his unsuccessful attack on the enemy's works near Cold Harbor
having demonstrated that Lee's position north of the Chickahominy
could not be carried by assault with results that would compensate
for the enormous loss of life which must follow; therefore a further
attempt to fight a decisive battle north of Richmond was abandoned.
In carrying the army to the James River the hazardous manoeuvres
would be hampered by many obstacles, such as the thick timber,
underbrush, and troublesome swamps to be met in crossing the
Chickahominy.  Besides, Lee held an interior line, from which all the
direct roads to Richmond could be covered with his infantry, leaving
his cavalry free to confront our advance on the south bank of the
Chickahominy as far down as Jones's bridge, and thence around to
Charles City Court House.  In view of these difficulties it became
necessary to draw off the bulk of the enemy's cavalry while the
movement to the James was in process of execution, and General Meade
determined to do this by requiring me to proceed with two divisions
as far as Charlottesville to destroy the railroad bridge over the
Rivanna River near that town, the railroad itself from the Rivanna to
Gordonsville, and, if practicable, from Gordonsville back toward
Hanover Junction also.

"June 5, 1864.  3.30 P. M.

"MAJOR-GENERAL SHERIDAN, Commanding Cavalry Corps.

"I am directed by the major-general commanding to furnish the
following instructions for your guidance in the execution of the duty
referred to in the order for movements and changes of position
to-night, a copy of which order accompanies this communication.

"With two divisions of your corps you will move on the morning of the
7th instant to Charlottesville and destroy the railroad bridge over
the Rivanna near that town; you will then thoroughly destroy the
railroad from that point to Gordonsville, and from Gordonsville
toward Hanover Junction, and to the latter point, if practicable.
The chief engineer, Major Duane, will furnish you a canvas
pontoon-train of eight boats.  The chief quartermaster will supply you
with such tools, implements, and materials as you may require for the
destruction of the road.  Upon the completion of this duty you will
rejoin this army.

"Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

After Meade's instructions reached me they were somewhat modified by
General Grant, who on the same evening had received information that
General Hunter, commanding the troops in West Virginia, had reached
Staunton and engaged with advantage the Confederate commander,
General Jones, near that place.  General Grant informed me orally
that he had directed Hunter to advance as far as Charlottesville,
that he expected me to unite with him there, and that the two
commands, after destroying the James River canal and the Virginia
Central road, were to join the Army of the Potomac in the manner
contemplated in my instructions from General Meade; and that in view
of what was anticipated, it would be well to break up as much of the
railroad as possible on my way westward.  A copy of his letter to
Hunter comprised my written instructions.  A junction with this
general was not contemplated when the expedition was first conceived,
but became an important though not the paramount object after the
reception of the later information.  The diversion of the enemy's
cavalry from the south side of the Chickahominy was its main purpose,
for in the presence of such a force as Lee's contracted lines would
now permit him to concentrate behind the Chickahominy, the
difficulties of crossing that stream would be largely increased if he
also had at hand a strong body of horse, to gain the time necessary
for him to oppose the movement at the different crossings with masses
of his infantry.

The order calling for two divisions for the expedition, I decided to
take Gregg's and Torbert's, leaving Wilson's behind to continue with
the infantry in its march to the James and to receive instructions
directly from, the headquarters of the army.  All my dismounted men
had been sent to the White House some days before, and they were
directed to report to Wilson as they could be provided with mounts.

"COLD HARBOR, VA., June 6, 1964.

"MAJOR-GENERAL D. HUNTER, Commanding Dept West Virginia.

"General Sheridan leaves here to-morrow morning with instructions to
proceed to Charlottesville, Va., and to commence there the
destruction of the Virginia Central railroad, destroying this way as
much as possible.  The complete destruction of this road and of the
canal on James River is of great importance to us.  According to the
instructions I sent to General Halleck for your guidance, you will
proceed to Lynchburg and commence there.  It would be of great value
to us to get possession of Lynchburg for a single day.  But that
point is of so much importance to the enemy, that in attempting to
get it such resistance may be met as to defeat your getting into the
road or canal at all.  I see, in looking over the letter to General
Halleck on the subject of your instructions, that it rather indicates
that your route should be from Staunton via Charlottesville.  If you
have so understood it, you will be doing just what I want.  The
direction I would now give is, that if this letter reaches you in the
valley between Staunton and Lynchburg, you immediately turn east by
the most practicable road until you strike the Lynchburg branch of
the Virginia Central road.  From there move eastward along the line
of the road, destroying it completely and thoroughly, until you join
General Sheridan.  After the work laid out for General Sheridan and
yourself is thoroughly done, proceed to join the Army of the Potomac
by the route laid out in General Sheridan's instructions.  If any
portion of your force, especially your cavalry, is needed back in
your department, you are authorized to send it back.  If on receipt
of this you should be near to Lynchburg and deem it practicable to
reach that point, you will exercise your judgment about going there.
If you should be on the railroad between Charlottesville and
Lynchburg, it may be practicable to detach a cavalry force to destroy
the canal.  Lose no opportunity to destroy the canal.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

Owing to the hard service of the preceding month we had lost many
horses, so the number of dismounted men was large; and my strength
had also been much reduced by killed and wounded during the same
period of activity.  The effective mounted force of my two divisions
was therefore much diminished, they mustering only about six thousand
officers and men when concentrated on June 6 at New Castle ferry.
Here they were provided with three days' rations, intended to last
five days, and with two days' grain for the horses.  The rations and
forty rounds of ammunition per man were to be carried on the persons
of the troopers, the grain on the pommel of the saddle, and the
reserve ammunition in wagons.  One medical wagon and eight ambulances
were also furnished, and one wagon was authorized for each division
and brigade headquarters; enough canvas-covered boats for a small
pontoon-bridge were also provided.

My instructions permitting latitude in the route I should take, I
decided to march along the north bank of the North Anna River, cross
that stream at Carpenter's ford, strike the Virginia Central railroad
at Trevillian Station, destroy it toward Louisa Court House, march
past Gordonsville, strike the railroad again at Cobham's Station, and
destroy it thence to Charlottesville as we proceeded west.  The
success of the last part of this programme would of course depend on
the location of General Hunter when I should arrive in the region
where it would be practicable for us to communicate with each other.

From my camp at New Castle ferry we crossed the Pamunkey, marched
between Aylett's and Dunkirk on the Mattapony River, and on the 8th
of June encamped at Polecat Station.  The next day we resumed the
march along the North Anna--our advance guard skirmishing with a few
mounted men of the enemy, who proved to be irregulars--and bivouacked
on Northeast Creek, near Young's Mills.  This day I learned from some
of these irregulars whom we made prisoners that Breckenridge's
division of infantry, en route to the Shenandoah Valley by way of
Gordonsville, was passing slowly up the railroad parallel to me, and
that the enemy's cavalry had left its position on the south side of
the Chickahominy, and was marching on the old Richmond and
Gordonsville road toward Gordonsville, under command of General Wade
Hampton, the information being confirmed by a scouting party sent out
to cut the telegraph wires along the railroad in the night.
Breckenridge had been ordered back to the valley by General Lee as
soon as he heard of Hunter's victory near Staunton, but now that my
expedition had been discovered, the movement of Breckenridge's troops
on the railroad was being timed to correspond with the marches of my
command till Hampton could get more nearly parallel with me.

On the 10th we resumed the march, passing by Twyman's store, crossing
the North Anna at Carpenter's ford and encamping on the road leading
along the south fork of the North Anna to Trevillian Station.  During
the evening and night of the 10th the boldness of the enemy's
scouting parties, with which we had been coming into collision more
or less every day, perceptibly increased, thus indicating the
presence of a large force, and evidencing that his shorter line of
march had enabled him to bring to my front a strong body of cavalry,
although it started from Lee's army nearly two days later than I did
from Grant's.  The arrival of this body also permitted Breckenridge
to pass on to Gordonsville, and from there to interpose between
General Hunter and me at either Charlottesville or Waynesboro' as
circumstances might determine.

On the night of the Loth General Hampton's division camped about
three miles northwest of Trevillian, at a place called Green Spring
Valley and Fitzhugh Lee's division not far from Louisa Court House,
some six miles east of Trevillian.  Learning that I was at
Carpenter's ford, Hampton marched his division by way of Trevillian
Station toward Clayton's store, on the road from Trevillian to
Carpenter's ford, intending to attack me at Clayton's.  Fitzhugh
Lee's division was to join Hampton at Clayton's store from Louisa
Court House; but on the morning of the 11th the two generals were
separated by several miles.

At daylight of the 11th my march, to Trevillian Station was resumed
on the direct road to that point, and engaging the enemy's pickets
and advanced parties soon after setting out, we began to drive them
in.  Torbert had the lead with Merritt's and Devin's brigades, and as
he pressed back the pickets he came upon the enemy posted behind a
line of barricades in dense timber about three miles from Trevillian.
Meanwhile Custer's brigade had been sent from where we bivouacked, by
a wood road found on our left, to destroy Trevillian Station.  In
following this road Custer got to the rear of Hampton's division,
having passed between its right flank and Fitzhugh Lee's division,
which was at the time marching on the road leading from Louisa Court
House to Clayton's store to unite with Hampton.

Custer, the moment he found himself in Hampton's rear, charged the
led horses, wagons, and caissons found there, getting hold of a vast
number of each, and also of the station itself.  The stampede and
havoc wrought by Custer in Hampton's rear compelled him to turn
Rosser's brigade in that direction, and while it attacked Custer on
one side, Fitzhugh Lee's division, which had followed Custer toward
Trevillian, attacked him on the other.  There then ensued a desperate
struggle for the possession of the captured property, resulting
finally in its being retaken by the enemy.  Indeed, the great number
of horses and vehicles could not be kept on the limited space within
Custer's line, which now formed almost a complete circle; and while
he was endeavoring to remove them to a secure place they, together
with Custer's headquarters wagon and four of his caissons, fell into
the hands of their original owners.

As soon as the firing told that Custer had struck the enemy's rear, I
directed Torbert to press the line in front of Merritt and Devin,
aided by one brigade of Gregg's division on their left, Gregg's other
brigade in the meantime attacking Fitzhugh Lee on the Louisa Court
House road.  The effect of this was to force Hampton back, and his
division was so hard pushed that a portion of it was driven pell-mell
into Custer's lines, leaving there about five hundred prisoners.  The
rest of Hampton's men did not rally till they got some distance west
of Trevillian, while, in the meantime, Gregg had driven Fitzhugh Lee
toward Louisa Court House so far that many miles now intervened
between the two Confederate divisions, precluding their union until
about noon the next day, when Fitzhugh Lee effected the junction
after a circuitous march in the night.  The defeat of Hampton at the
point where he had determined to resist my further advance, and his
retreat westward, gave me undisturbed possession of the station; and
after destroying the railroad to some extent toward Gordonsville, I
went into camp.

From prisoners taken during the day, I gathered that General Hunter,
instead of coming toward Charlottesville, as I had reason to expect,
both from the instructions given me and the directions sent him by
General Grant, was in the neighborhood of Lexington--apparently
moving on Lynchburg--and that Breckenridge was at Gordonsville and
Charlottesville.  I also heard, from the same source, that Ewell's
corps was on its way to Lynchburg, but this intelligence proved
afterward to be incorrect, for these troops, commanded by General
Early, did not leave Richmond till two days later.

There was no doubt as to the information about Hunter's general
location, however.  He was marching toward Lynchburg, away from
instead of toward me, thus making the junction of our commands beyond
all reasonable probability.  So in view of this, I made up my mind to
abandon that part of the scheme, and to return by leisurely marches,
which would keep Hampton's cavalry away from Lee while Grant was
crossing the James River.  I was still further influenced to this
course by the burden which was thrown on me in the large number of
wounded--there being about five hundred cases of my own--and the five
hundred prisoners that I would probably be forced to abandon, should
I proceed farther.  Besides, the recent battle had reduced my supply
of ammunition to a very small amount--not more than enough for one
more respectable engagement; and as the chances were that I would
have to fight a great deal before I could reach Hunter, now that the
enemy's cavalry and Breckenridge's infantry were between us, the
risks of the undertaking seemed too great to warrant it.

The morning of June 12 Gregg's division commenced destroying the
railroad to Louisa Court House, and continued the work during the
day, breaking it pretty effectually.  While Gregg was thus occupied,
I directed Torbert to make a reconnoissance up the Gordonsville road,
to secure a by-road leading over Mallory's ford, on the North Anna,
to the Catharpen road, as I purposed following that route to
Spottsylvania Court House on my return, and thence via Bowling Green
and Dunkirk to the White House.  About a mile beyond Trevillian the
Gordonsville road fork--the left fork leading to Charlottesville--and
about a mile beyond the fork Hampton had taken up and strongly
intrenched a line across both roads, being reinforced by Fitzhugh
Lee, who, as before related, had joined him about noon by a
roundabout march.  Torbert soon hotly engaged this line, and by the
impetuosity of his first attack, gained some advantage; but the
appearance of Fitzhugh Lee's troops on the right, and Hampton's
strong resistance in front, rendered futile all efforts to carry the
position; and, although I brought up one of Gregg's brigades to
Torbert's assistance, yet the by-road I coveted was still held by the
enemy when night closed in.

This engagement, like that off the day before around Trevillian, was
mostly fought dismounted by both sides, as had also been the earlier
fights of the cavalry during the summer in the Wilderness, at Todd's
Tavern, Hawe's Shop, and Matadequin Creek.  Indeed, they could hardly
have been fought otherwise than on foot, as there was little chance
for mounted fighting in eastern Virginia, the dense woods, the
armament of both parties, and the practice of barricading making it
impracticable to use the sabre with anything like a large force; and
so with the exception of Yellow Tavern the dismounted method
prevailed in almost every engagement.

The losses at Mallory's Crossroads were very heavy on both sides.
The character of the fighting, together with the day's results,
demonstrated that it was impossible to make the passage of the North
Anna at Mallory's ford without venturing another battle the next day.
This would consume the little ammunition left, and though we might
gain the road, yet the possibility of having no ammunition whatever
to get back with was too great a hazard, so I gave orders to withdraw
during the night of the 12th.  We retired along the same road by
which we had come, taking with us the prisoners, and all of our
wounded who could be moved.  Those who could not be transported, some
ninety in number, and all the Confederate wounded in my hands, were
left at Trevillian in hospitals, under charge of one of our surgeons,
with plenty of medical and other stores.

We recrossed the North Anna at Carpenter's ford the following
morning, and halting there, unsaddled and turned the horses out to
graze, for they were nearly famished, having had neither food nor
water during the preceding forty-eight hours.  Late in the afternoon
we saddled up and proceeded to Twyman's Store, while General
Hampton's main body moved down the south bank of the North Anna, with
the purpose of intervening between me and the Army of the Potomac, in
the hope of preventing my return to it; but his movements took no
definite shape beyond watching me, however, till several days later,
near St. Mary's Church, when I was crossing the peninsula to the
James River.

On the 14th the march was continued, and we reached the Catharpen
road, upon which it was originally intended to move if we had been
able to cross at Mallory's ford, and this conducted me to Shady Grove
Church.  The next day we passed over the battle-field of
Spottsylvania Court House.  The marks of the recent conflicts about
there were visible on every hand, and in the neighboring houses were
found many Union and Confederate wounded, who had been too severely
hurt to be removed from the field-hospitals at the time of the
battles.  Such of our wounded as were able to travel were brought

On the 16th I marched from Edge Hill on the Ta River through Bowling
Green to Dr. Butler's, on the north side of the Mattapony.  When I
arrived here I was unable to ascertain the position of the Army of
the Potomac, and was uncertain whether or not the base at the White
House had been discontinued.  I had heard nothing from the army for
nine days except rumors through Southern sources, and under these
circumstances did not like to venture between the Mattapony and
Pamunkey rivers, embarrassed as I was with some four hundred wounded,
five hundred prisoners, and about two thousand negroes that had
joined my column in the hope of obtaining their freedom.  I therefore
determined to push down the north bank of the Mattapony far enough to
enable me to send these impediments directly to West Point, where I
anticipated finding some of our gunboats and transports, that could
carry all to the North.  Following this plan, we proceeded through
Walkerton to King and Queen Court House, and bivouacked in its
vicinity the night of the 18th.  Next day I learned that the depot at
the White House had not yet been broken up entirely, and that
supplies were in store for me there; so after sending the wounded,
prisoners, and negroes to West Point under an escort of two
regiments, I turned back to Dunkirk, on the Mattapony, and crossed to
the south side at a place where the stream was narrow enough to
bridge with my pontoon-boats.

In returning from Trevillian, as the most of our wounded were hauled
in old buggies, carts, and such other vehicles as could be made
available in the absence of a sufficient number of ambulances, the
suffering was intense, the heat of the season and dusty roads adding
much to the discomfort.  Each day we halted many times to dress the
wounds of the injured and to refresh them as much as possible, but
our means for mitigating their distress were limited.  The fortitude
and cheerfulness of the poor fellows under such conditions were
remarkable, for no word of complaint was heard.  The Confederate
prisoners and colored people being on foot, our marches were
necessarily made short, and with frequent halts also, but they too
suffered considerably from the heat and dust, though at times the
prisoners were relieved by being mounted on the horses of some of our
regiments, the owners meantime marching on foot.  Where all the
colored people came from and what started them was inexplicable, but
they began joining us just before we reached Trevillian--men, women,
and children with bundles of all sorts containing their few worldly
goods, and the number increased from day to day until they arrived at
West Point.  Probably not one of the poor things had the remotest
idea, when he set out, as to where he would finally land, but to a
man they followed the Yankees in full faith that they would lead to
freedom, no matter what road they took.

On the morning of the 20th, at an early hour, we resumed our march,
and as the column proceeded sounds of artillery were heard in the
direction of the White House, which fact caused us to quicken the
pace.  We had not gone far when despatches from General Abercrombie,
commanding some fragmentary organizations at the White House,
notified me that the place was about to be attacked.  I had
previously sent an advance party with orders to move swiftly toward
the cannonading and report to me by couriers the actual condition of
affairs.  From this party I soon learned that there was no occasion
to push our jaded animals, since the crisis, if there had been one,
was over and the enemy repulsed, so the increased gait was reduced to
a leisurely march that took us late in the afternoon to the north
bank of the Pamunkey, opposite Abercrombie's camp.  When I got to the
river the enemy was holding the bluffs surrounding the White House
farm, having made no effort to penetrate General Abercrombie's line
or do him other hurt than to throw a few shells among the teamsters
there congregated.

Next day Gregg's division crossed the Pamunkey dismounted, and
Torbert's crossed mounted. As soon as the troops were over, Gregg,
supported by Merritt's brigade, moved out on the road to Tunstall's
Station to attack Hampton, posted an the west side of Black Creek,
Custer's brigade meanwhile moving, mounted, on the road to
Cumberland, and Devin's in like manner on the one to Baltimore
crossroads.  This offer of battle was not accepted, however, and
Hampton withdrew from my front, retiring behind the Chickahominy,
where his communications with Lee would be more secure.

While at the White House I received orders to break up that depot
wholly, and also instructions to move the trains which the Army of
the Potomac had left there across the peninsula to the pontoon-bridge
at Deep Bottom on the James River.  These trains amounted to hundreds
of wagons and other vehicles, and knowing full well the dangers which
would attend the difficult problem of getting them over to
Petersburg, I decided to start them with as little delay as
circumstances would permit, and the morning of the 22d sent Torbert's
division ahead to secure Jones's bridge on the Chickahominy, so that
the wagons could be crossed at that point.  The trains followed
Torbert, while Gregg's division marched by a road parallel to the one
on which the wagons were moving, and on their right flank, as they
needed to be covered and protected in that direction only.

The enemy made no effort to attack us while we were moving the trains
that day, and the wagons were all safely parked for the night on the
south side of the Chickahominy, guarded by General Getty, who had
relieved Abercrombie from command of the infantry fragments before we
started off from the White House.

To secure the crossing at Jones's bridge, Torbert had pushed Devin's
brigade out on the Long Bridge road, on the side of the Chickahominy
where, on the morning of the 23d, he was attacked by Chambliss's
brigade of W. H. F. Lee's division.  Devin was driven in some little
distance, but being reinforced by Getty with six companies of colored
troops, he quickly turned the tables on Chambliss and re-established
his picket-posts.  From this affair I learned that Chambliss's brigade
was the advance of the Confederate cavalry corps, while Hampton
discovered from it that we were already in possession of the Jones's
bridge crossing of the Chickahominy; and as he was too late to
challenge our passage of the stream at this point he contented
himself with taking up a position that night so as to cover the roads
leading from Long Bridge to Westover, with the purpose of preventing
the trains from following the river road to the pontoon-bridge at
Deep Bottom.

My instructions required me to cross the trains over the James River
on this pontoon-bridge if practicable, and to reach it I should be
obliged to march through Charles City Court House, and then by
Harrison's Landing and Malvern Hill, the latter point being held by
the enemy.  In fact, he held all the ground between Long Bridge on
the Chickahominy and the pontoon-bridge except the Tete de pont at
the crossing.  Notwithstanding this I concluded to make the attempt,
for all the delays of ferrying the command and trains would be
avoided if we got through to the bridge; and with this object in view
I moved Torbert's division out on the Charles City road to conduct
the wagons.  Just beyond Charles City Court House Torbert encountered
Lomax's brigade, which he drove across Herring Creek on the road to
Westover Church; and reporting the affair to me, I surmised, from the
presence of this force in my front, that Hampton would endeavor to
penetrate to the long column of wagons, so I ordered them to go into
park near Wilcox's landing, and instructed Gregg, whose division had
been marching in the morning along the road leading from Jones's
bridge to St.  Mary's Church for the purpose of covering the exposed
flank of the train, to hold fast near the church without fail till
all the transportation had passed Charles City Court House.

Meanwhile, General Hampton, who had conjectured that I would try to
get the train across the James by the pontoon-bridge at Deep Bottom,
began concentrating all his troops except Lomax's brigade, which was
to confront the head of my column on the river road, in the vicinity
of Nance's Shop.  This was discovered by Gregg at an early hour, and
divining this purpose he had prepared to meet it by constructing
hasty cover for his men before receiving my instructions.  About 4
o'clock in the afternoon Hampton got his force in hand, and with
Fitzhugh Lee's division assailed the whole front of Gregg's line, and
his left flank with Chambliss's and Geary's brigades.  For two hours
he continued to attack, but made little impression on Gregg--gain at
one point being counterbalanced by failure at another.  Because of
the evident strength of Hampton, Gregg had placed all his troops in
line of battle from the first, and on discovery of the enemy's
superior numbers sent message after message to me concerning the
situation, but the messengers never arrived, being either killed or
captured, and I remained in total ignorance till dark of the strait
his division was in.

Toward night it became clear to Gregg that he could maintain the
unequal contest no longer, and he then decided to retreat, but not
until convinced that the time won had enabled all the trains to pass
Charles City Court House in safety.  When he had got all his led
horses fairly on the way, and such of the wounded as could be
transported, he retired by his right flank-in some confusion, it is
true, but stubbornly resisting to Hopewell Church, where Hampton
ceased to press him.

Gregg's losses were heavy, and he was forced to abandon his dead and
most seriously wounded, but the creditable stand made ensured the
safety of the train, the last wagon of which was now parked at
Wilcox's Landing.  His steady, unflinching determination to gain time
for the wagons to get beyond the point of danger was characteristic
of the man, and this was the third occasion on which he had exhibited
a high order of capacity and sound judgment since coming under my
command.  The firmness and coolness with which he always met the
responsibilities of a dangerous place were particularly strong points
in Gregg's make-up, and he possessed so much professional though
unpretentious ability, that it is to be regretted he felt obliged a
few months later to quit the service before the close of the war.

Gregg's fight fully satisfied me that we could not get the trains up
to the pontoon-bridge, for of course Hampton would now throw all his
cavalry in my front, on the river road, where it could be backed up
by Lee's infantry.  Meanwhile, General Meade had become assured of
the same thing, and as he was now growing anxious about the fate of
Wilson's division--which, during my absence, had been sent out to
break the enemy's communications south of Petersburg, by destroying
the Southside and Danville railroads--he sent ferryboats to cross me
over the James.  During the night of the 24th, and next morning, the
immense train--which ought never to have been left for the cavalry to
escort, after a fatiguing expedition of three weeks--was moved back
through Charles City Court House to Douthard's landing, and there
ferried over the river, followed by my troops in like manner.  When
General Hampton discovered this, he moved to Drury's Bluff, and
there, on the morning of the 27th, crossed the James by the
Confederate pontoon-bridge.



While I was absent on the expedition to Trevillian, the movement of
the Army of the Potomac across the James River was effected, and
Wilson, whom I had left behind for the purpose, was engaged in the
duty of covering its front and rear.  Late on the night of June 12
he, with Chapman's brigade, crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge,
in advance of the Fifth Corps, and by 7 o'clock next morning had
driven the enemy's pickets up to White Oak bridge, where he waited
for our infantry.  When that came up, he pushed on as far as Riddle's
Shop, but late that evening the Confederate infantry forced him to
withdraw to St. Mary's Church; for early in the morning General Lee
had discovered the movement of our army, and promptly threw this
column of infantry south of the Chickahominy to White Oak Swamp, with
the design of covering Richmond.  From St. Mary's Church Wilson
guarded all the roads toward White Oak Swamp and Riddle's Shop,
McIntosh's brigade joining him on the 14th, by way of Long Bridge, as
the rear of the Army of the Potomac passed the Chickahominy.  In the
performance of this duty Wilson did not have to fight any engagement
of magnitude, for the bulk of the enemy's cavalry had followed me to
Trevillian.  During the 15th and 16th Wilson drew his troops in
toward the James River, and next day crossed it on the pontoon-bridge
and camped on the Blackwater, near Mt. Sinai Church.  Here he
remained till the 22d of June--the same day I reached the White House
with Gregg and Torbert--when, under orders from General Meade, he set
out to cut the enemy's communications to the south and southwest of

His instructions implied that the breaking up of the Petersburg and
Lynchburg, and Richmond and Danville railroads at Burkeville was the
most important part of his mission, and that when the work of
destruction began, it should be continued till he was driven off by
the enemy.  Wilson's force consisted of about 5,500 men, General A.
V. Kautz, with the cavalry of the Army of the James, having joined
him for the expedition.  In moving out Wilson crossed the Weldon road
near Ream's Station, first destroying it effectually at that point.
About fourteen miles west of Petersburg he struck the Southside
railroad, and broke it up clear to Burkeville, a distance of thirty
miles.  Having destroyed everything at Burkeville Junction, he moved
along the Danville road to Staunton River, completely wrecking about
thirty miles of that line also.  At Staunton River he found the
railroad bridge strongly guarded, and seeing that he could not burn
it, he began his return march that night, and reached Nottoway River,
some thirty miles south of Petersburg, at noon of the next day--the

In this expedition Wilson was closely followed from the start by
Barringer's brigade of W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, but the operations
were not interfered with materially, his success being signal till he
reached the vicinity of Stony Creek depot on his return.  At this
point General Hampton, with his own and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, got
between Wilson and the Army of the Potomac, there being behind them
at Ream's Station, at the same time, two brigades of infantry under
General Mahone.  A severe battle ensued, resulting in Wilson's
defeat, with the loss of twelve guns and all his wagons.  In
consequence of this discomfiture he was obliged to fall back across
the Nottoway River with his own division, and rejoined the army by
way of Peter's bridge on that stream, while Kautz's division, unable
to unite with Wilson after the two commands had become separated in
the fight, made a circuit of the enemy's left, and reached the lines
of our army in the night of the 28th.

Neither the presence of Hampton's cavalry at Stony Creek depot, nor
the possession of Ream's Station by the Confederate infantry, seems
to have been anticipated by Wilson, for in the report of the
expedition he states:

"Foreseeing the probability of having to return northward, I wrote to
General Meade the evening before starting that I anticipated no
serious difficulty in executing his orders; but unless General
Sheridan was required to keep Hampton's cavalry engaged, and our
infantry to prevent Lee from making detachments, we should probably
experience great difficulty in rejoining the army.  In reply to this
note, General Humphreys, chief-of-staff, informed me it was intended
the Army of the Potomac should cover the Weldon road the next day,
the Southside road the day after, and that Hampton having followed
Sheridan toward Gordonsville, I need not fear any trouble from him."

I doubt that General Meade's letter of instructions and Wilson's note
of the same evening, warrant what General Wilson here says.  It is
true that the Weldon railroad near Ream's Station was not covered by
our infantry, as General Humphreys informed him it would be, but
Wilson is in error when he intimates that he was assured that I would
look after Hampton.  I do not think General Meade's instructions are
susceptible of this interpretation.  I received no orders requiring
me to detain Hampton.  On the contrary, when I arrived at the White
House my instructions required me to break up the depot there, and
then bring the train across the Peninsula as soon as practicable, nor
were these instructions ever modified.  I began the duty imposed on
me on the morning of the 23d, totally in the dark as to what was
expected of Wilson, though it seems, from some correspondence between
Generals Grant and Meade, which I never saw till after the war, that
Grant thought Wilson could rely on Hampton's absence from his field
of operations throughout the expedition.

"June 21, 1864. 9:20 A. M.

"Commanding Third Division Cavalry Corps.

"The major-general commanding directs that you move your command at
2 A. M. to-morrow, the 22d instant, in execution of the duty assigned
you of destroying certain railroads.  Despatches received from the
White House state that Hampton's cavalry was before that place
yesterday evening, and that General Sheridan had also reached there,
hence it is desirable that you should march at the earliest moment.
In passing Petersburg you will endeavor to avoid the observation of
the enemy, and then move by the shortest routes to the intersection
of the Petersburg and Lynchburg, and the Richmond and Danville
railroads, and destroy both these roads to the greatest extent
possible, continuing their destruction until driven from it by such
attacks of the enemy as you can no longer resist.  The destruction of
those roads to such an extent that they cannot be used by the enemy
in connection with Richmond during the remainder of the campaign is
an important part of the plan of campaign.  The latest information
from Major-General Hunter represents him to be a few miles west of
Lynchburg.  He may endeavor to form a junction with this army; you
will communicate with him if practicable, and have delivered to him
verbally the contents of the following copy of a communication from
Lieutenant-General Grant to the major-general commanding this army.
Lieutenant Brooks, who will accompany your expedition part of the
way, should be informed where General Hunter will probably be found.

"The success of your expedition will depend upon the secrecy with
which it is commenced, and the celerity with which its movements are
conducted; your command will, therefore, have with it the lightest
supplies and smallest number of wheels consistent with the thorough
execution of the duty, the supplies of the section of country you
will operate in being taken into account.  Upon the completion of the
work assigned you, you will rejoin this army.

"The chief quartermaster was directed yesterday to supply you with
the implements and material for the destruction of railroads obtained
for General Sheridan.

"[Signed] "A. A. HUMPHREYS,
"Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

Mount Sinai Church, June 21, 1864--6 P.M.

"The instructions of the major-general commanding, of this date, are
received.  I shall march in obedience thereto at 2 A. M. to-morrow.
Before starting I would like to know if our infantry forces cover the
Weldon road.

"I propose striking the Southside road first at Sutherland Station,
or some point in that vicinity, tearing up the track sufficiently to
delay railroad communication ten or twelve hours.  At this place I
shall detach a force to strike the Richmond and Danville road, by a
rapid march, at the nearest point, tearing up the track at every
practicable point between there and Burkeville.

"From Sutherlands I shall move the main body of my command by the
Great road (breaking the railroad at every convenient point) directly
to Burkeville, which, if we succeed in capturing, will afford us the
opportunity of prosecuting our work with great advantage.  As soon as
I have made dispositions for communicating with Hunter and done all
the damage possible, I shall move with all possible rapidity for
Danville and Grenboro'.

"Circumstances must, however, is a great degree control our movements
after leaving Burkeville.

"If Sheridan will look after Hampton, I apprehend no difficulty, and
hope to be able to do the enemy great damage.  The ammunition issued
to my command is very defective.  The implements for destroying roads
have not yet arrived, but I learn from General Ingalls that they will
certainly be here early to-morrow.

"[Signed] J. H. WILSON,
"Brigadier-General Commanding."

The moment I received orders from General Meade to go to the relief
of Wilson, I hastened with Torbert and Gregg by way of Prince George
Court House and Lee's Mills to Ream's Station.  Here I found the
Sixth Corps, which Meade had pushed out on his left flank immediately
on hearing of Wilson's mishap, but I was too late to render any
material assistance, Wilson having already disappeared, followed by
the enemy.  However, I at once sent out parties to gather
information, and soon learned that Wilson had got safe across the
Nottoway at Peter's bridge and was making for the army by way of
Blunt's bridge, on the Blackwater.

The benefits derived from this expedition, in the destruction of the
Southside and Danville railroads, were considered by General Grant as
equivalent for the losses sustained in Wilson's defeat, for the
wrecking of the railroads and cars was most complete, occasioning at
this, time serious embarrassment to the Confederate Government; but I
doubt if all this compensated for the artillery and prisoners that
fell into the hands of the enemy in the swamps of Hatcher's Run and
Rowanty Creek.  Wilson's retreat from the perilous situation at
Ream's station was a most creditable performance--in the face of two
brigades of infantry and three divisions of cavalry--and in the
conduct of the whole expedition the only criticism that can hold
against him is that he placed too much reliance on meeting our
infantry at Ream's station, seeing that uncontrollable circumstances
might, and did, prevent its being there.  He ought to have marched on
the 28th by Jarrett's Station to Peter's bridge, on the Nottoway, and
Blunts bridge on the Blackwater, to the rear of the Army of the

When the safety of Wilson's command was assured, I was ordered back
to Light House Point, where I had gone into camp after crossing the
James River to rest and recruit my command, now very much reduced in
numbers by reason of casualties to both horses and men.  It had been
marching and fighting for fifty consecutive days, and the fatiguing
service had told so fearfully on my animals that the number of
dismounted men in the corps was very large.  With the exception of
about four hundred horses that I received at the White House, no
animals were furnished to supply the deficiencies which had arisen
from the wearing marches of the past two months until I got to this
camp at Light House Point; here my needs were so obvious that they
could no longer be neglected.

I remained at Light House Point from the 2d to the 26th of July,
recuperating the cavalry, the intensely warm weather necessitating
almost an entire suspension of hostilities on the part of the Army of
the Potomac.  Meanwhile fifteen hundred horses were sent me here, and
these, with the four hundred already mentioned, were all that my
troops received while I held the personal command of the Cavalry
Corps, from April 6 to August 1, 1864.  This was not near enough to
mount the whole command, so I disposed the men who could not be
supplied in a dismounted camp.

By the 26th of July our strength was pretty well restored, and as
General Grant was now contemplating offensive operations for the
purpose of keeping Lee's army occupied around Richmond, and also of
carrying Petersburg by assault if possible, I was directed to move to
the north side of the James River in conjunction with General
Hancock's corps, and, if opportunity offered, to make a second
expedition against the Virginia Central railroad, and again destroy
the bridges on the North Anna, the Little and the South Anna rivers.

I started out on the afternoon of the 26th and crossed the Appomattox
at Broadway landing.  At Deep Bottom I was joined by Kautz's small
division from the Army of the James, and here massed the whole
command, to allow Hancock's corps to take the lead, it crossing to
the north bank of the James River by the bridge below the mouth of
Bailey's Creek.  I moved late in the afternoon, so as not to come
within the enemy's view before dark, and after night-fall Hancock's
corps passed me and began crossing the pontoon-bridge about 2 o'clock
in the morning.

By daylight Hancock was across, the cavalry following.  Soon a
portion of his corps attacked the enemy's works on the east side of
Bailey's Creek, and, aided by the cavalry moving on its right,
captured four pieces of artillery.  This opened the way for Hancock
to push out his whole corps, and as he advanced by a wheel, with his
left as a pivot, the cavalry joined in the movement, pressing forward
on the New Market and Central or Charles City roads.

We did not go far before we found the enemy's infantry posted across
these two roads behind a strong line of intrenchments on the west
bank of Bailey's Creek.  His videttes in front of Ruffin's house on
the New Market road were soon driven in on their main line, and the
high ground before the house was immediately occupied by Torbert and
Gregg, supported by Kautz's division.  By the time the cavalry line
was formed the Confederate General Kershaw, with his own division of
infantry and those of Wilcox and Heath, advanced to attack us.
Directing the most of his troops against the cavalry, which was still
mounted, Kershaw drove it back some distance over the high ground.
When it reached the eastern face of the ridge, however, it was
quickly dismounted, and the men directed to lie down in line of
battle about fifteen yards from the crest, and here the onset of the
enemy was awaited.  When Kershaw's men reached the crest such a
severe fire was opened on them, and at such close quarters, that they
could not withstand it, and gave way in disorder.  They were followed
across the plain by the cavalry, and lost about two hundred and fifty
prisoners and two battle-flags.  The counter attack against the
infantry by Torbert and Gregg re-established our line and gave us the
victory of Darbytown, but it also demonstrated the fact that General
Lee had anticipated the movement around his left flank by
transferring to the north side of the James a large portion of his
infantry and W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry.

This development rendered useless any further effort on Hancock's
part or mine to carry out the plan of the expedition, for General
Grant did not intend Hancock to assault the enemy's works unless
there should be found in them but a very thin line of infantry which
could be surprised.  In such event, Hancock was to operate so that
the cavalry might turn the Confederates on the Central or Charles
City road, but the continually increasing force of the enemy showed
this to be impracticable.  The long front presented by Hancock's
corps and the cavalry deceived General Lee, and he undoubtedly
thought that nearly all of Grant's army had been moved to the north
side of the James River; and to meet the danger he transferred the
most of his own strength to the same side to confront his adversary,
thinning the lines around Petersburg to reinforce those opposing us
on the Central and New Market roads.  This was what Grant hoped Lee
would do in case the operations of Hancock and myself became
impracticable, for Grant had an alternative plan for carrying
Petersburg by assault in conjunction with the explosion of a mine
that had been driven under the enemy's works from the front of
Burnside's corps.

Now that there was no longer a chance for the cavalry to turn the
enemy's left, our attention was directed to keeping up the deception
of Lee, and on the afternoon of the 28th Hancock's corps withdrew to
a line nearer the head of the bridge, the cavalry drawing back to a
position on his right.  From now on, all sorts of devices and
stratagems were practiced--anything that would tend to make the
Confederates believe we were being reinforced, while Hancock was
preparing for a rapid return to Petersburg at the proper time.  In
order to delude the enemy still more after night-fall of the 28th I
sent one of my divisions to the south side of the James, first
covering the bridgeway with refuse hay to keep the tramp of the horses
from being heard.  After daylight the next morning, I marched this
division back again on foot, in full view of the enemy, to create the
impression of a continuous movement large bodies of infantry to the
north side, while the same time Kautz was made to skirmish with the
enemy on our extreme right.  These various artifices had the effect
intended, for by the evening of the 29th Lee had transferred all his
infantry to the north bank of the James, except three divisions, and
all his cavalry save one.

The morning of the 30th had been fixed upon to explode the mine and
assault the enemy's works, so after dark on the evening of the 29th
Hancock hastily but quietly withdrew his corps to the south side to
take part in the engagement which was to succeed the explosion, and I
was directed to follow Hancock.  This left me on the north side of
the river confronting two-thirds of Lee's army in a perilous
position, where I could easily be driven into Curl's Neck and my
whole command annihilated.  The situation, therefore, was not a
pleasant one to contemplate, but it could not be avoided.  Luckily
the enemy did not see fit to attack, and my anxiety was greatly
relieved by getting the whole command safely across the bridge
shortly after daylight, having drawn in the different brigades
successively from my right.  By 10 o'clock on the morning of the 30th
my leading division was well over toward the left of our army in
front of Petersburg, marching with the purpose to get around the
enemy's right flank during the operations that were to succeed the
mine explosion, but when I reached General Meade's headquarters I
found that lamentable failure had attended the assault made when the
enemy's works were blown up in the morning.  Blunder after blunder
had rendered the assault abortive, and all the opportunities opened
by our expedition to the north side were irretrievably lost, so
General Meade at once arrested the movement of the cavalry.

In the expedition to Deep Bottom I was under the command of
Major-General Hancock, who, by seniority, was to control my corps as
well as his own until the way was opened for me to get out on the
Virginia Central railroad.  If this opportunity was gained, I was to
cut loose and damage Lee's communications with the Shenandoah Valley
in such manner as best suited the conditions, but my return was not to
be jeopardized nor long delayed.  This necessitated that Hancock's
line should extend to Bottom's bridge on the Chickahominy.  The
enemy's early discovery of the movement and his concentration of
troops on the north side prevented Hancock from accomplishing the
programme laid out for him.  Its impracticability was demonstrated
early on the 27th, and Hancock's soldierly instincts told him this the
moment he unexpectedly discovered Kershaw blocking the New Market and
Charles City roads.  To Hancock the temptation to assault Kershaw's
position was strong indeed, but if he carried it there would still
remain the dubious problem of holding the line necessary for my safe
return, so with rare judgment he desisted zealously turning to the
alternative proposition--the assault on Petersburg--for more
significant results. This was the only occasion during the war in
which I was associated with Hancock in campaign.  Up till then we had
seldom met, and that was the first opportunity I had to observe his
quick apprehension, his physical courage, and the soldierly
personality which had long before established his high reputation.

On the 1st of August, two days after the mine explosion, I was.
relieved from the personal command of the Cavalry Corps, and ordered
to the Shenandoah Valley, where at a later date Torbert's and
Wilson's divisions joined me.  Practically, after I went to the
valley, my command of the Cavalry Corps became supervisory merely.
During the period of my immediate control of the corps, I tried to
carry into effect, as far as possible, the views I had advanced
before and during the opening of the Wilderness campaign, i.e., "that
our cavalry ought to fight the enemy's cavalry, and our infantry the
enemy's infantry"; for there was great danger of breaking the spirit
of the corps if it was to be pitted against the enemy's compact
masses of foot-troops posted behind intrenchments, and unless there
was some adequate tactical or strategical advantage to be gained,
such a use of it would not be justified.  Immediately succeeding the
battles of the Wilderness, opportunity offered to put this plan into
execution to some extent, and from that time forward--from the battle
of Yellow Tavern--our success was almost continuous, resulting
finally, before the close of the war, in the nearly total
annihilation of the enemy's cavalry.

The constant activity of the corps from May 5 till August 1 gave
little opportunity for the various division and brigade commanders to
record its work in detail; so there exists but meagre accounts of the
numerous skirmishes and graver conflicts in which, in addition to the
fights mentioned in this narrative, it engaged.  A detailed history
of its performances is not within the province of a work of this
nature; but in review, it can be said, without trespassing on the
reader's time, that the Cavalry Corps led the advance of the Army of
the Potomac into the Wilderness in the memorable campaign of 1864;
that on the expedition by way of Richmond to Haxall's it marked out
the army's line of march to the North Anna; that it again led the
advance to the Tolopotomy, and also to Cold Harbor, holding that
important strategic point at great hazard; and that by the Trevillian
expedition it drew away the enemy's cavalry from the south side of
the Chickahominy, and thereby assisted General Grant materially in
successfully marching to the James River and Petersburg.
Subsequently, Wilson made his march to Staunton bridge, destroying
railroads and supplies of inestimable value, and though this was
neutralized by his disaster near Ream's Station, the temporary
set-back there to one division was soon redeemed by victory over
the Confederate infantry at the battle of Darbytown.

In the campaign we were almost always on the march, night and day,
often unable to care properly for our wounded, and obliged to bury
our dead where they fell; and innumerable combats attest the part the
cavalry played in Grant's march from the Rapidan to Petersburg.  In
nearly all of these our casualties were heavy, particularly so when,
as was often the case, we had to engage the Confederate infantry; but
the enemy returned such a full equivalent in dead and wounded in
every instance, that finally his mounted power, which from the
beginning of the war had been nurtured with a wise appreciation of
its value, was utterly broken.



When the attempt to take Petersburg in conjunction with the mine
explosion resulted in such a dismal failure, all the operations
contemplated in connection with that project came to a standstill,
and there was every prospect that the intensely hot and sultry
weather would prevent further activity in the Army of the Potomac
till a more propitious season.  Just now, however, the conditions
existing in the Shenandoah Valley and along the upper Potomac
demanded the special attention of General Grant, for, notwithstanding
the successful march that Major-General David Hunter had made toward
Lynchburg early in the summer, what he had first gained was
subsequently lost by strategical mistakes, that culminated in
disaster during the retreat he was obliged to make from the vicinity
of Lynchburg to the Kanawha Valley.  This route of march uncovered
the lower portion of the Valley of the Shenandoah, and with the
exception of a small force of Union troops under General Franz Sigel
posted aft Martinsburg for the purpose of covering the Baltimore and
Ohio railroad, there was nothing at hand to defend the lower valley.

The different bodies of Confederates which compelled Hunter's retreat
were under command of General Jubal A. Early, who had been sent to
Lynchburg with Ewell's corps after the defeat of the Confederate
General W. C. Jones near Staunton on the 5th of June, to take command
of the Valley District.  When Early had forced Hunter into the
Kanawha region far enough to feel assured that Lynchburg could not
again be threatened from that direction, he united to his own corps
General John C. Breckenridge's infantry division and the cavalry of
Generals J. H. Vaughn, John McCausland.  B. T. Johnson, and J. D.
Imboden, which heretofore had been operating in southwest and western
Virginia under General Robert Ransom, Jr., and with the column thus
formed, was ready to turn his attention to the lower Shenandoah
Valley.  At Early's suggestion General Lee authorized him to move
north at an opportune moment, cross the upper Potomac into Maryland
and threaten Washington.  Indeed, General Lee had foreshadowed such a
course when Early started toward Lynchburg for the purpose of
relieving the pressure in front of Petersburg, but was in some doubt
as to the practicability of the movement later, till persuaded to it
by the representations of Early after that general had driven Hunter
beyond the mountains and found little or nothing opposing except the
small force of Sigel, which he thought he could readily overcome by
celerity of movement.

By rapid marching Early reached Winchester on the 2d of July, and on
the 4th occupied Martinsburg, driving General Sigel out of that place
the same day that Hunter's troops, after their fatiguing retreat
through the mountains, reached Charlestown, West Virginia.  Early was
thus enabled to cross the Potomac without difficulty, when, moving
around Harper's Ferry, through the gaps of the South Mountain, he
found his path unobstructed till he reached the Monocacy, where
Ricketts's division of the Sixth Corps, and some raw troops that had
been collected by General Lew Wallace, met and held the Confederates
till the other reinforcements that had been ordered to the capital
from Petersburg could be brought up.  Wallace contested the line of
the Monocacy with obstinacy, but had to retire finally toward
Baltimore.  The road was then open to Washington, and Early marched
to the outskirts and began against the capital the demonstrations
which were designed to divert the Army of the Potomac from its main
purpose in front of Petersburg.

Early's audacity in thus threatening Washington had caused some
concern to the officials in the city, but as the movement was looked
upon by General Grant as a mere foray which could have no decisive
issue, the Administration was not much disturbed till the
Confederates came in close proximity.  Then was repeated the alarm
and consternation of two years before, fears for the safety of the
capital being magnified by the confusion and discord existing among
the different generals in Washington and Baltimore; and the imaginary
dangers vanished only with the appearance of General Wright, who,
with the Sixth Corps and one division of the Nineteenth Corps, pushed
out to attack Early as soon as he could get his arriving troops in
hand, but under circumstances that precluded celerity of movement;
and as a consequence the Confederates escaped with little injury,
retiring across the Potomac to Leesburg, unharassed save by some
Union cavalry that had been sent out into Loudoun County by Hunter,
who in the meantime had arrived at Harper's Ferry by the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad.  From Leesburg Early retired through Winchester
toward Strasburg, but when the head of his column reached this place
he found that he was being followed by General Crook with the
combined troops of Hunter and Sigel only, Wright having returned to
Washington under orders to rejoin Meade at Petersburg.  This
reduction of the pursuing force tempting Early to resume the
offensive, he attacked Crook at Kernstown, and succeeded in
administering such a check as to necessitate this general's retreat
to Martinsburg, and finally to Harper's Ferry.  Crook's withdrawal
restored to Early the line of the upper Potomac, so, recrossing this
stream, he advanced again into Maryland, and sending McCausland on to
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, laid that town in ashes, leaving three
thousand non-combatants without shelter or food.

When Early fell back from the vicinity of Washington toward
Strasburg, General Grant believed that he would rejoin Lee, but later
manoeuvres of the enemy indicated that Early had given up this idea,
if he ever, entertained it, and intended to remain in the valley,
since it would furnish Lee and himself with subsistence, and also
afford renewed opportunities for threatening Washington.  Indeed, the
possession of the Valley of the Shenandoah at this time was of vast
importance to Lee's army, and on every hand there were indications
that the Confederate Government wished to hold it at least until
after the crops could be gathered in to their depots at Lynchburg and
Richmond.  Its retention, besides being of great advantage in the
matter of supplies, would also be a menace to the North difficult for
General Grant to explain, and thereby add an element of considerable
benefit to the Confederate cause; so when Early's troops again
appeared at Martinsburg it was necessary for General Grant to
confront them with a force strong enough to put an end to incursions
north of the Potomac, which hitherto had always led to National
discomfiture at some critical juncture, by turning our army in
eastern Virginia from its chief purpose--the destruction of Lee and
the capture of the Confederate capital.

This second irruption of Early, and his ruthless destruction of
Chambersburg led to many recommendations on the part of General Grant
looking to a speedy elimination of the confusion then existing among
the Union forces along the upper Potomac, but for a time the
authorities at Washington would approve none of his propositions.
The President and Secretary Stanton seemed unwilling to adopt his
suggestions, and one measure which he deemed very important--the
consolidation into a single command of the four geographical
districts into which, to relieve political pressure no doubt, the
territory had been divided--met with serious opposition.  Despite
Grant's representations, he could not prevail on the Administration
to approve this measure, but finally the manoeuvres of Early and the
raid to Chambersburg compelled a partial compliance, though Grant had
somewhat circumvented the difficulty already by deciding to appoint a
commander for the forces in the field that were to operate against

On the 31st of July General Grant selected me as this commander, and
in obedience to his telegraphic summons I repaired to his
headquarters at City Point.  In the interview that followed, he
detailed to me the situation of affairs on the upper Potomac, telling
me that I was to command in the field the troops that were to operate
against Early, but that General Hunter, who was at the head of the
geographical department, would be continued in his position for the
reason that the Administration was reluctant to reconstruct or
consolidate the different districts.  After informing me that one
division of the Cavalry Corps would be sent to my new command, he
went on to say that he wanted me to push the enemy as soon as this
division arrived, and if Early retired up the Shenandoah Valley I was
to pursue, but if he crossed the Potomac I was to put myself south of
him and try to compass his destruction.  The interview having ended,
I returned to Hancock Station to prepare for my departure, and on the
evening of August 1 I was relieved from immediate duty with the Army
of the Potomac, but not from command of the cavalry as a corps

I arrived at Washington on the 4th of August, and the next day
received instructions from General Halleck to report to General Grant
at Monocacy Junction, whither he had gone direct from City Point, in
consequence of a characteristic despatch from the President
indicating his disgust with the confusion, disorder, and helplessness
prevailing along the upper Potomac, and intimating that Grant's
presence there was necessary.

In company with the Secretary of War I called on the President before
leaving Washington, and during a short conversation Mr. Lincoln
candidly told me that Mr. Stanton had objected to my assignment to
General Hunter's command, because he thought me too young, and that
he himself had concurred with the Secretary; but now, since General
Grant had "ploughed round" the difficulties of the situation by
picking me out to command the "boys in the field," he felt satisfied
with what had been done, and "hoped for the best."  Mr. Stanton
remained silent during these remarks, never once indicating whether
he, too, had become reconciled to my selection or not; and although,
after we left the White House, he conversed with me freely in regard
to the campaign I was expected to make, seeking to impress on me the
necessity for success from the political as well as from the military
point of view, yet he utterly ignored the fact that he had taken any
part in disapproving the recommendation of the general-in-chief.

August 6, I reported to General Grant at the Monocacy, and he there
turned over to me the following instructions, which he had previously
prepared for General Hunter in the expectation that general would
continue to command the department:

"Monocacy Bridge, Md., Aug.  5, 1864.

"GENERAL: Concentrate all your available force without delay in the
vicinity of Harper's Ferry, leaving only such railroad guards and
garrisons for public property as may be necessary.

"Use in this concentration the railroad, if by so doing time can be
saved.  From Harper's Ferry, if it is found that the enemy has moved
north of the Potomac in large force, push north, following and
attacking him wherever found; following him, if driven south of the
Potomac, as long as it is safe to do so.  If it is ascertained that
the enemy has but a small force north of the Potomac, then push south
the main force, detaching, under a competent commander, a sufficient
force to look after the raiders and drive them to their homes.  In
detaching such a force, the brigade of cavalry now en route from
Washington via Rockville may be taken into account.

"There are now on the way to join you three other brigades of the
best of cavalry, numbering at least five thousand men and horses.
These will be instructed, in the absence of further orders, to join
you by the south side of the Potomac.  One brigade will probably
start to-morrow.

"In pushing up the Shenandoah Valley, as it is expected you will have
to go first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to
invite the enemy to return.  Take all provisions, forage, and stock
wanted for the use of your command.  Such as cannot be consumed,
destroy.  It is not desirable that the buildings should be destroyed
--they should, rather, be protected; but the people should be informed
that so long as an army can subsist among them recurrences of these
raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them at all

"Bear in mind, the object is to drive the enemy south; and to do this
you want to keep him always in sight.  Be guided in your course by
the course he takes.

"Make your own arrangements for supplies of all kinds, giving regular
vouchers for such as may be taken from loyal citizens in the country
through which you march.

"Very respectfully,
"U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General."

"Major-General D. HUNTER,
"Commanding Department of West Virginia."

When I had read the letter addressed to Hunter, General Grant said I
would be expected to report directly to him, as Hunter had asked that
day to be wholly relieved, not from any chagrin at my assignment to
the control of the active forces of his command, but because he
thought that his fitness for the position he was filling was
distrusted by General Halleck, and he had no wish to cause
embarrassment by remaining where he could but remove me one degree
from the headquarters of the army.  The next day Hunter's unselfish
request was complied with, and an order was issued by the President,
consolidating the Middle Department, the Department of Washington,
the Department of the Susquehanna, and the Department of West

Under this order these four geographical districts constituted the
Middle Military Division, and I was temporarily assigned to command
it.  Hunter's men had been bivouacking for some days past in the
vicinity of Monocacy Junction and Frederick, but before General
Grant's instructions were written out, Hunter had conformed to them
by directing the concentration at Halltown, about four miles in front
of Harper's Ferry, of all his force available for field service.
Therefore the different bodies of troops, with the exception of
Averell's cavalry, which had followed McCausland toward Moorefield
after the burning of Chambersburg, were all in motion toward Halltown
on August 6.

Affairs at Monocacy kept me but an hour or two, and these disposed
of, I continued on to Harper's Ferry by the special train which had
brought me from Washington, that point being intended as my
headquarters while making preparations to advance.  The enemy was
occupying Martinsburg, Williamsport, and Shepherdstown at the time;
sending occasional raiding parties into Maryland as far as
Hagerstown.  The concentration of my troops at Halltown being an
indication to Early that we intended to renew the offensive, however,
he immediately began counter preparations by drawing in all his
detached columns from the north side of the Potomac, abandoning a
contemplated raid into Maryland, which his success against Crook at
Kernstown had prompted him to project, and otherwise disposing
himself for defense.

At Harper's Ferry I made my headquarters in the second story of a
small and very dilapidated hotel, and as soon as settled sent for
Lieutenant John R. Meigs, the chief engineer officer of the command,
to study with him the maps of my geographical division.  It always
came rather easy to me to learn the geography of a new section, and
its important topographical features as well; therefore I found that,
with the aid of Meigs, who was most intelligent in his profession,
the region in which I was to operate would soon be well fixed in my
mind.  Meigs was familiar with every important road and stream, and
with all points worthy of note west of the Blue Ridge, and was
particularly well equipped with knowledge regarding the Shenandoah
Valley, even down to the farmhouses.  He imparted with great
readiness what he knew of this, clearly pointing out its
configuration and indicating the strongest points for Confederate
defense, at the same time illustrating scientifically and forcibly
the peculiar disadvantages under which the Union army had hitherto

The section that received my closest attention has its northern limit
along the Potomac between McCoy's ferry at the eastern base of the
North Mountain, and Harper's Ferry at the western base of the Blue
Ridge.  The southern limit is south of Staunton, on the divide which
separates the waters flowing into the Potomac from those that run to
the James.  The western boundary is the eastern slope of the
Alleghany Mountains, the eastern, the Blue Ridge; these two distinct
mountain ranges trending about southwest inclose a stretch of quite
open, undulating country varying in width from the northern to the
southern extremity, and dotted at frequent intervals with patches of
heavy woods: At Martinsburg the valley is about sixty miles broad,
and on an east and west line drawn through Winchester about
forty-five, while at Strasburg it narrows down to about twenty-five.
Just southeast of Strasburg, which is nearly midway between the
eastern and western walls of the valley, rises an abrupt range of
mountains called Massanutten, consisting of several ridges which
extend southward between the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah
River until, losing their identity, they merge into lower but broken
ground between New Market and Harrisonburg.  The Massanutten ranges,
with their spurs and hills, divide the Shenandoah Valley into two
valleys, the one next the Blue Ridge being called the Luray, while
that next the North Mountain retains the name of Shenandoah.

A broad macadamized road, leading south from Williamsport, Maryland,
to Lexington, Virginia, was built at an early day to connect the
interior of the latter State with the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, and
along this road are situated the principal towns and villages of the
Shenandoah Valley, with lateral lines of communication extending to
the mountain ranges on the east and west.  The roads running toward
the Blue Ridge are nearly all macadamized, and the principal ones
lead to the railroad system of eastern Virginia through Snicker's,
Ashby's Manassas, Chester, Thornton's Swift Run, Brown's and
Rock-fish gaps, tending to an ultimate centre at Richmond.  These gaps
are low and easy, offering little obstruction to the march of an army
coming from eastern Virginia, and thus the Union troops operating west
of the Blue Ridge were always subjected to the perils of a flank
attack; for the Confederates could readily be brought by rail to
Gordonsville and Charlottesville, from which points they could move
with such celerity through the Blue Ridge that, on more than one
occasion, the Shenandoah Valley had been the theatre of Confederate
success, due greatly to the advantage of possessing these interior

Nature had been very kind to the valley, making it rich and
productive to an exceptional degree, and though for three years
contending armies had been marching up and down it, the fertile soil
still yielded ample subsistence for Early's men, with a large surplus
for the army of Lee.  The ground had long been well cleared of
timber, and the rolling surface presented so few obstacles to the
movement of armies that they could march over the country in any
direction almost as well as on the roads, the creeks and rivers being
everywhere fordable, with little or no difficulty beyond that of
leveling the approaches.

I had opposing me an army largely composed of troops that had
operated in this region hitherto under "Stonewall" Jackson with
marked success, inflicting defeat on the Union forces almost every
time the two armies had come in contact. These men were now commanded
by a veteran officer of the Confederacy-General Jubal A. Early--whose
past services had so signalized his ability that General Lee
specially selected him to take charge of the Valley District, and,
notwithstanding the misfortunes that befell him later, clung to him
till the end, of the war.  The Confederate army at this date was
about twenty thousand strong, and consisted of Early's own corps,
with Generals Rodes, Ramseur, and Gordon commanding its divisions;
the infantry of Breckenridge from southwestern Virginia; three
battalions of artillery; and the cavalry brigades of Vaughn, Johnson,
McCausland, and Imboden.  This cavalry was a short time afterward
organized into a division under the command of General Lomax.

After discovering that my troops were massing in front of Harper's
Ferry, Early lost not a moment in concentrating his in the vicinity
of Martinsburg, in positions from which he could continue to obstruct
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and yet be enabled to retire up the
valley under conditions of safety when I should begin an offensive

When I took command of the Army of the Shenandoah its infantry force
comprised the Sixth Corps, one division of the Nineteenth Corps, and
two divisions from West Virginia.  The Sixth Corps was commanded
by Major-General Horatio G. Wright; its three divisions by
Brigadier-Generals David A. Russell, Geo.  W. Getty, and James B.
Ricketts. The single division of the Nineteenth Corps had for its
immediate chief Brigadier-General William Dwight, the corps being
commanded by Brigadier-General Wm.  H. Emory.  The troops from West
Virginia were under Brigadier-General George Crook, with Colonels
Joseph Thoburn and Isaac H. Duval as division commanders, and though
in all not more than one fair-sized division, they had been
designated, on account of the department they belonged to, the Army of
West Virginia.  General Torbert's division, then arriving from the
Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, represented the mounted arm
of the service, and in the expectation that Averell would soon join me
with his troopers, I assigned General Torbert as chief of cavalry, and
General Wesley Merritt succeeded to the command of Torbert's division.

General Wright, the commander of the Sixth Corps, was an officer of
high standing in the Corps of Engineers, and had seen much active
service during the preceding three years.  He commanded the
Department of the Ohio throughout the very trying period of the
summer and fall of 1862, and while in that position he, with
other prominent officers, recommended my appointment as a
brigadier-general.  In 1863 he rendered valuable service at the battle
of Gettysburg, following which he was assigned to the Sixth Corps, and
commanded it at the capture of the Confederate works at Rappahannock
Station and in the operations at Mine Run.  He ranked me as a
major-general of volunteers by nearly a year in date of commission,
but my assignment by the President to the command of the army in the
valley met with Wright's approbation, and, so far as I have ever
known, he never questioned the propriety of the President's action.
The Sixth Corps division commanders, Getty, Russell, and Ricketts,
were all educated soldiers, whose records, beginning with the Mexican
War, had already been illustrated in the war of the rebellion by
distinguished service in the Army of the Potomac.

General Emory was a veteran, having graduated at the Military Academy
in 1831, the year I was born.  In early life he had seen much service
in the Artillery, the Topographical Engineers, and the Cavalry, and
in the war of the rebellion had exhibited the most soldierly
characteristics at Port Hudson and on the Red River campaign.  At
this time he had but one division of the Nineteenth Corps present,
which division was well commanded by General Dwight, a volunteer
officer who had risen to the grade of brigadier-general through
constant hard work.  Crook was a classmate of mine--at least, we
entered the Military Academy the same year, though he graduated a
year ahead of me.  We had known each other as boys before we entered
the army, and later as men, and I placed implicit faith in his
experience and qualifications as a general.

The transfer of Torbert to the position of chief of cavalry left
Merritt, as I have already said, in command of the First Cavalry
Division.  He had been tried in the place before, and from the day he
was selected as one of a number of young men to be appointed general
officers, with the object of giving life to the Cavalry Corps, he
filled the measure of expectation.  Custer was one of these young men
too, and though as yet commanding a brigade under Merritt, his
gallant fight at Trevillian Station, as well as a dozen others during
the summer, indicated that he would be equal to the work that was to
fall to him when in a few weeks he should succeed Wilson.  But to go
on down the scale of rank, describing the officers who commanded in
the Army of the Shenandoah, would carry me beyond all limit, so I
refrain from the digression with regret that I cannot pay to each his
well-earned tribute.

The force that I could take with me into the field at this time
numbered about 26,000 men.  Within the limits of the geographical
division there was a much greater number of troops than this.
Baltimore, Washington, Harper's Ferry, Hagerstown, Frederick,
Cumberland, and a score of other points; besides the strong
detachments that it took to keep the Baltimore and Ohio railroad open
through the mountains of West Virginia, and escorts for my trains,
absorbed so many men that the column which could be made available
for field operations was small when compared with the showing on
paper.  Indeed, it was much less than it ought to have been, but for
me, in the face of the opposition made by different interests
involved, to detach troops from any of the points to which they had
been distributed before I took charge was next to impossible.

In a few days after my arrival preparations were completed, and I was
ready to make the first move for the possession of the Shenandoah
Valley.  For the next five weeks the operations on my part consisted
almost wholly of offensive and defensive manoeuvring for certain
advantages, the enemy confining himself meanwhile to measures
intended to counteract my designs.  Upon the advent of Torbert, Early
immediately grew suspicious, and fell back twelve miles south of
Martinsburg, to Bunker Hill and vicinity, where his right flank would
be less exposed, but from which position he could continue to
maintain the break in the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and push
reconnoitring parties through Smithfield to Charlestown.  These
reconnoitring parties exhibited considerable boldness at times, but
since they had no purpose in view save to discover whether or not we
were moving, I did not contest any ground with them except about our
outposts.  Indeed, I desired that Early might remain at some point
well to the north till I was fully prepared to throw my army on his
right and rear and force a battle, and hence I abstained from
disturbing him by premature activity, for I thought that if I could
beat him at Winchester, or north of it, there would be far greater
chances of weighty results.  I therefore determined to bring my
troops, if it were at all possible to do so, into such a position
near that town as to oblige Early to fight.  The sequel proved,
however, that he was accurately informed of all my movements.  To
anticipate them, therefore, he began his retreat up the valley the
day that I moved out from Halltown, and consequently was able to
place himself south of Winchester before I could get there.



For a clear understanding of the operations which preceded the
victories that resulted in almost annihilating General Early's army
in the Shenandoah Valley, it is necessary to describe in considerable
detail the events that took place prior to the 19th of September.  My
army marched from Harper's Ferry on the 10th of August, 1864, General
Torbert with Merritt's division of cavalry moving in advance through
Berryville, going into position near White Post.  The Sixth Corps,
under General Wright, moved by way of Charlestown and Summit Point to
Clifton; General Emory, with Dwight's division of the Nineteenth
Corps, marched along the Berryville pike through Berryville to the
left of the position of the Sixth Corps at Clifton; General Crook's
command, moving on the Kabletown road, passed through Kabletown to
the vicinity of Berryville, and went into position on the left of
Dwight's division, while Colonel Lowell, with a detached force of two
small regiments of cavalry, marched to Summit Point; so that on the
night of August 10 my infantry occupied a line stretching from
Clifton to Berryville, with Merritt's cavalry at White Post and
Lowell's at Summit Point.  The enemy, as stated before, moved at the
same time from Bunker Hill and vicinity, and stretched his line from
where the Winchester and Potomac railroad crosses Opequon Creek to
the point at which the Berryville and Winchester pike crosses the
same stream, thus occupying the west bank to cover Winchester.

On the morning of the 11th the Sixth Corps was ordered to move across
the country toward the junction of the Berryville-Winchester pike and
the Opequon, and to take the crossing and hold it, Dwight's division
being directed to move through Berryville on the White Post road for
a mile, then file to the right by heads of regiments at deploying
distances, and carry the crossing of Opequon Creek at a ford about
three-fourths of a mile from the left of the Sixth Corps, while Crook
was instructed to move out on the White Post road, a mile and a half
beyond Berryville, then head to the right and secure the ford about a
mile to the left of Dwight; Torbert's orders were to push Merritt's
division up the Millwood pike toward Winchester, attack any force he
might run against, and ascertain the movements of the Confederate
army; and lastly, Lowell received instructions to close in from
Summit Point on the right of the Sixth Corps.

My object in securing the fords was to further my march on Winchester
from the southeast, since, from all the information gathered during
the 10th, I still thought Early could be brought to a stand at that
point; but in this I was mistaken, as Torbert's reconnoissance
proved, for on the morning of the 11th, when Merritt had driven the
Confederate cavalry, then covering the Millwood pike west of the
Opequon, off toward Kernstown, he found that their infantry and
artillery were retreating south, up the Valley pike.

As soon as this information was obtained Torbert moved quickly
through the toll-gate on the Front Royal and Winchester road to
Newtown, to strike the enemy's flank and harass him in his retreat,
Lowell following up through Winchester, on the Valley pike; Crook was
turned to the left and ordered to Stony Point, while Emory and
Wright, marching to the left also, were directed to take post on the
night of the 11th between the Millwood and Front Royal roads, within
supporting distance of Crook.  Merritt meeting some of the enemy's
cavalry at the tollgate, drove it in the direction of Newtown till it
got inside the line of Gordon's division of infantry, which had been
thrown out and posted behind barricades to cover the flank of the
main force in its retreat.  A portion of Merritt's cavalry attacked
this infantry and drove in its skirmish-line, and though not able to
dislodge Gordon, Merritt held the ground gained till night-fall, when
the Confederate infantry moved off under cover of darkness to Hupp's
Hill, between Strasburg and Cedar Creek.

The next morning Crook marched from Stony Point to Cedar Creek, Emory
followed with Dwight, and the cavalry moved to the same point by way
of Newtown and the Valley pike, the Sixth Corps following the
cavalry.  That night Crook was in position at Cedar Creek, on the
left of the Valley pike, Emory on the right of the pike, the Sixth
Corps on the right of Emory, and the cavalry on the flanks.  In the
afternoon a heavy skirmish-line had been thrown forward to the
heights on the south side of Cedar Creek, and a brisk affair with the
enemy's pickets took place, the Confederates occupying with their
main force the heights north of Strasburg.  On the morning of the
13th my cavalry went out to reconnoitre toward Strasburg, on the
middle road, about two and a half miles west of the Valley pike, and
discovered that Early's infantry was at Fisher's Hill, where he had
thrown up behind Tumbling Run earthworks extending clear across the
narrow valley between the Massanutten and North mountains.  On the
left of these works he had Vaughan's, McCausland's, and Johnson's
brigades of cavalry under General Lomax, who at this time relieved
General Ramseur from the command of the Confederate mounted forces.

Within the past day or two I had received information that a column
of the enemy was moving up from Culpeper Court House and approaching
Front Royal through Chester Gap, and although the intelligence was
unconfirmed, it caused me much solicitude; for there was strong
probability that such a movement would be made, and any considerable
force advancing through Front Royal toward Winchester could fall upon
my rear and destroy my communication with Harper's Ferry, or, moving
along the base of Massanutten Mountain, could attack my flank in
conjunction with the force at Fisher's Hill without a possibility of
my preventing it.

Neither Wilson's cavalry nor Grower's infantry had yet joined me, and
the necessities, already explained, which obliged me to hold with
string garrisons Winchester and other points heretofore mentioned.
had so depleted my line of battle strength that I knew the enemy
would outnumber me when Anderson's corps should arrive in the valley.
I deemed it advisable, therefore, to act with extreme caution, so,
with the exception of a cavalry reconnoissance on the 13th, I
remained on the defensive, quietly awaiting developments.  In the
evening of that day the enemy's skirmishers withdrew to Tumbling Run,
his main force remaining inactive behind the intrenchments at
Fisher's Hill waiting for the arrival of Anderson.

The rumors in regard to the force advancing from Culpeper kept
increasing every hour, so on the morning of the 14th I concluded to
send a brigade of cavalry to Front Royal to ascertain definitely what
was up.  At the same time I crossed the Sixth Corps to the south side
of Cedar Creek, and occupied the heights near Strasburg.  That day I
received from the hands of Colonel Chipman, of the Adjutant-General's
Department, the following despatch, to deliver which he had ridden in
great haste from Washington through Snicker's Gap, escorted by a
regiment of cavalry:

"CITY POINT, August 12, 1864--9 A. M.


"Inform General Sheridan that it is now certain two (2) divisions of
infantry have gone to Early, and some cavalry and twenty (20) pieces
of artillery.  This movement commenced last Saturday night.  He must
be cautious, and act now on the defensive until movements here force
them to detach to send this way.  Early's force, with this increase,
cannot exceed forty thousand men, but this is too much for General
Sheridan to attack.  Send General Sheridan the remaining brigade of
the Nineteenth Corps.

"I have ordered to Washington all the one-hundred-day men.  Their
time will soon be out, but for the present they will do to serve in
the defenses.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

The despatch explained the movement from Culpeper, and on the morning
of the 15th Merritt's two remaining brigades were sent to Front Royal
to oppose Anderson, and the Sixth Corps withdrawn to the north side
of Cedar Creek, where it would be in a position enabling me either to
confront Anderson or to act defensively, as desired by General Grant.

To meet the requirements of his instructions I examined the map of
the valley for a defensive line--a position where a smaller number of
troops could hold a larger number--for this information led me to
suppose that Early's force would greatly exceed mine when Anderson's
two divisions of infantry and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry had joined him.
I could see but one such position, and that was at Halltown, in front
of Harper's Ferry.  Subsequent experience convinced me that there was
no other really defensive line in the Shenandoah Valley, for at
almost any other point the open country and its peculiar topography
invites rather than forbids flanking operations.

This retrograde movement would also enable me to strengthen my
command by Grower's division of the Nineteenth Corps and Wilson's
cavalry, both of which divisions were marching from Washington by way
of Snicker's Gap.

After fully considering the matter, I determined to move back to
Halltown, carrying out, as I retired, my instructions to destroy all
the forage and subsistence the country afforded.  So Emory was
ordered to retire to Winchester on the night of the 15th, and Wright
and Crook to follow through Winchester to Clifton the next night.

For the cavalry, in this move to the rear, I gave the following

"....In pushing up the Shenandoah Valley, as it is expected you will
have to go first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left
to invite the enemy to return.  Take all provisions, forage, and
stock wanted for the use of your command.  Such as cannot be
consumed, destroy.  It is not desirable that buildings should be
destroyed--they should, rather, be protected; but the people should
be informed that so long as an army can subsist among them,
recurrences of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to
stop them at all hazards...." [Grant's letter of instructions.]

"Cedar Creek, Va., August 16, 1864.

"GENERAL: In compliance with instructions of the Lieutenant-General
commanding, you will make the necessary arrangements and give the
necessary orders for the destruction of the wheat and hay south of a
line from Millwood to Winchester and Petticoat Gap.  You will seize
all mules, horses, and cattle that may be useful to our army.  Loyal
citizens can bring in their claims against the Government for this
necessary destruction.  No houses will be burned, and officers in
charge of this delicate but necessary duty must inform the people
that the object is to make this valley untenable for the raiding
parties of the rebel army.

"Very respectfully,

"Major-General Commanding.

"Chief of Cavalry, Middle Military Division."

During his visit to General Hunter at the Monocacy, General Grant had
not only decided to retain in the Shenandoah Valley a large force
sufficient to defeat Early's army or drive it back to Lee, but he had
furthermore determined to make that sections by the destruction of
its supplies, untenable for continued occupancy by the Confederates.
This would cut off one of Lee's main-stays in the way of subsistence,
and at the same time diminish the number of recruits and conscripts
he received; the valley district while under his control not only
supplying Lee with an abundance of food, but also furnishing him many
men for his regular and irregular forces.  Grant's instructions to
destroy the valley began with the letter of August 5 to Hunter, which
was turned over to me, and this was followed at intervals by more
specific directions, all showing the earnestness of his purpose.

"CITY POINT, Va., Aug. 16--3:30 P. M., 1864.

"If you can possibly spare a division of cavalry, send them through
Loudoun County to destroy and carry off the crops, animals, negroes,
and all men under fifty years of age capable of bearing arms.  In
this way you will get many of Mosby's men.  All male citizens under
fifty can fairly be held as prisoners of war, not as citizen
prisoners.  If not already soldiers, they will be made so the moment
the rebel army gets hold of them.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

"CITY POINT, Aug. 21, 1864.


"In stripping Loudoun County of supplies, etc., impress from all
loyal persons so that they may receive pay for what is taken from
them.  I am informed by the Assistant Secretary of War that Loudoun
County has a large population of Quakers, who are all favorably
disposed to the Union.  These people may be exempted from arrest.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

"CITY POINT, Va., Aug. 26,2:30 P. M. 1864.


"Telegraphed you that I had good reason for believing that Fitz Lee
had been ordered back here.  I now think it likely that all troops
will be ordered back from the valley except what they believe to be
the minimum number to detain you.  My reason for supposing this is
based upon the fact that yielding up the Weldon road seems to be a
blow to the enemy he cannot stand.  I think I do not overstate the
loss of the enemy in the last two weeks at 10,000 killed and wounded.
We have lost heavily, mostly in captured when the enemy gained
temporary advantages.  Watch closely, and if you find this theory
correct, push with all vigor.  Give the enemy no rest, and if it is
possible to follow to the Virginia Central road, follow that far.  Do
all the damage to railroads and crops you can.  Carry off stock of
all descriptions and negroes, so as to prevent further planting.  If
the war is to last another year we want the Shenandoah Valley to
remain a barren waste.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

"CITY POINT, Va., Sept. 4,--10 A. M.--1864.


"In cleaning out the arms-bearing community of Loudoun County and the
subsistence for armies, exercise your own judgment as to who should
be exempt from arrest, and as to who should receive pay for their
stock, grain, etc.  It is our interest that that county should not be
capable of subsisting a hostile army, and at the same time we want to
inflict as little hardship upon Union men as possible.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

"CITY POINT, Va., Nov. 9, 1864.

"Do you not think it advisable to notify all citizens living east of
the Blue Ridge to move out north of the Potomac all their stock,
grain, and provisions of every description?  There is no doubt about
the necessity of clearing out that country so that it will not
support Mosby's gang.  And the question is whether it is not better
that the people should save what they can.  So long as the war lasts
they must be prevented from raising another crop, both there and as
high up the valley as we can control.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

He had rightly concluded that it was time to bring the war home to a
people engaged in raising crops from a prolific soil to feed the
country's enemies, and devoting to the Confederacy its best youth.  I
endorsed the programme in all its parts, for the stores of meat and
grain that the valley provided, and the men it furnished for Lee's
depleted regiments, were the strongest auxiliaries he possessed in
the whole insurgent section.  In war a territory like this is a
factor of great importance, and whichever adversary controls it
permanently reaps all the advantages of its prosperity.  Hence, as I
have said, I endorsed Grant's programme, for I do not hold war to
mean simply that lines of men shall engage each other in battle, and
material interests be ignored.  This is but a duel, in which one
combatant seeks the other's life; war means much more, and is far
worse than this.  Those who rest at home in peace and plenty see but
little of the horrors attending such a duel, and even grow
indifferent to them as the struggle goes on, contenting themselves
with encouraging all who are able-bodied to enlist in the cause, to
fill up the shattered ranks as death thins them.  It is another
matter, however, when deprivation and suffering are brought to their
own doors.  Then the case appears much graver, for the loss of
property weighs heavy with the most of mankind; heavier often, than
the sacrifices made on the field of battle.  Death is popularly
considered the maximum of punishment in war, but it is not; reduction
to poverty brings prayers for peace more surely and more quickly than
does the destruction of human life, as the selfishness of man has
demonstrated in more than one great conflict.

In the afternoon of the 16th I started back to Winchester, whence I
could better supervise our regressive march.  As I was passing
through Newtown, I heard cannonading from the direction of Front
Royal, and on reaching Winchester, Merritt's couriers brought me word
that he had been attacked at the crossing of the Shenandoah by
Kershaw's division of Anderson's corps and two brigades of Fitzhugh
Lee's cavalry, but that the attack had been handsomely repulsed, with
a capture of two battle-flags and three hundred prisoners.  This was
an absolute confirmation of the despatch from Grant; and I was now
more than satisfied with the wisdom of my withdrawal.

At daylight of the 17th Emory moved from Winchester to Berryville,
and the same morning Crook and Wright reached Winchester, having
started from Cedar Creek the day before.  From Winchester, Crook and
Wright resumed their march toward Clifton, Wright, who had the rear
guard, getting that day as far as the Berryville crossing of the
Opequon, where he was ordered to remain, while Crook went ahead till
he reached the vicinity of Berryville.  On the afternoon of the 17th
Lowell with his two regiments of troopers came into Winchester, where
he was joined by Wilson's mounted division, which had come by a rapid
march from Snicker's ferry.  In the mean time Merritt, after his
handsome engagement with Kershaw near Front Royal, had been ordered
back to the neighborhood of White Post, so that my cavalry outposts
now extended from this last point around to the west of Winchester.

During all these operations the enemy had a signal-station on Three
Top Mountain, almost overhanging Strasburg, from which every movement
made by our troops could be plainly seen; therefore, early on the
morning of the 17th he became aware of the fact that we were retiring
down the valley, and at once made after us, and about sundown drove
Torbert out of Winchester, he having been left there-with Wilson and
Lowell, and the Jersey brigade of the Sixth Corps, to develop the
character of the enemy's pursuit.  After a severe skirmish Wilson and
Lowell fell back to Summit Point, and the Jersey brigade joined its
corps at the crossing of the Opequon.  This affair demonstrated that
Early's whole army had followed us from Fisher's Hill, in concert
with Anderson and Fitzhugh Lee from Front Royal, and the two columns
joined near Winchester the morning of the 18th.

That day I moved the Sixth Corps by way of Clifton to Flowing Spring,
two and a half miles west of Charlestown, on the Smithfield pike; and
Emory, with Dwight's and Grower's divisions (Grower's having joined
that morning from Washington), to a position about the same distance
south of Charlestown, on the Berryville pike.  Following these
movements, Merritt fell back to Berryville, covering the Berryville
pike crossing of the Opequon, and Wilson was stationed at Summit
Point, whence he held a line along the Opequon as far north as the
bridge at Smithfield.  Crook continued to hold on near Clifton until
the next day, and was then moved into place on the left of Emory.

This line was practically maintained till the 21st, when the enemy,
throwing a heavy force across the Opequon by the bridge at
Smithfield, drove in my cavalry pickets to Summit Point, and followed
up with a rapid advance against the position of the Sixth Corps near
Flowing Spring.  A sharp and obstinate skirmish with a heavy
picket-line of the Sixth Corps grew out of this manoeuvre, and
resulted very much in our favor, but the quick withdrawal of the
Confederates left no opportunity for a general engagement.  It seems
that General Early thought I had taken position near Summit Point, and
that by moving rapidly around through Smithfield he could fall upon my
rear in concert with an attack in front by Anderson, but the warm
reception given him disclosed his error, for he soon discovered that
my line lay in front of Charlestown instead of where he supposed.

In the manoeuvre Merritt had been attacked in front of Berryville and
Wilson at Summit Point, the former by cavalry and the latter by
Anderson's infantry.  The exposed positions of Merritt and Wilson
necessitated their withdrawal if I was to continue to act on the
defensive; so, after the army had moved back to Halltown the
preceding night, without loss or inconvenience, I called them in and
posted them on the right of the infantry.

My retrograde move from Strasburg to Halltown caused considerable
alarm in the North, as the public was ignorant of the reasons for it;
and in the excited state of mind then prevailing, it was generally
expected that the reinforced Confederate army would again cross the
Potomac, ravage Maryland and Pennsylvania, and possibly capture
Washington.  Mutterings of dissatisfaction reached me from many
sources, and loud calls were made for my removal, but I felt
confident that my course would be justified when the true situation
was understood, for I knew that I was complying with my instructions.
Therefore I paid small heed to the adverse criticisms pouring down
from the North almost every day, being fully convinced that the best
course was to bide my time, and wait till I could get the enemy into
a position from which he could not escape without such serious
misfortune as to have some bearing on the general result of the war.
Indeed, at this time I was hoping that my adversary would renew the
boldness he had exhibited the early part of the month, and strike for
the north side of the Potomac, and wrote to General Grant on the 20th
of August that I had purposely left everything in that direction open
to the enemy.

On the 22d the Confederates moved to Charlestown and pushed well up
to my position at Halltown.  Here for the next three days they
skirmished with my videttes and infantry pickets, Emory and Cook
receiving the main attention; but finding that they could make no
impression, and judging it to be an auspicious time to intensify the
scare in the North, on the 25th of August Early despatched Fitzhugh
Lee's cavalry to Williamsport, and moved all the rest of his army but
Anderson's infantry and McCausland's cavalry to Kerneysville.  This
same day there was sharp picket firing along the whole front of my
infantry line, arising, as afterward ascertained, from a heavy
demonstration by Anderson.  During this firing I sent Torbert, with
Merritt's and Wilson's divisions, to Kerrteysville, whence he was to
proceed toward Leetown and learn what had become of Fitz. Lee.

About a mile from Leetown Torbert met a small force of Confederate
cavalry, and soon after encountering it, stumbled on Breckenridge's
corps of infantry on the march, apparently heading for Shepherdstown.
The surprise was mutual, for Torbert expected to meet only the
enemy's cavalry, while the Confederate infantry column was
anticipating an unobstructed march to the Potomac.  Torbert attacked
with such vigor as at first to double up the head of Breckenridge's
corps and throw it into confusion, but when the Confederates realized
that they were confronted only by cavalry, Early brought up the whole
of the four infantry divisions engaged in his manoeuvre, and in a
sharp attack pushed Torbert rapidly back.

All the advantages which Torbert had gained by surprising the enemy
were nullified by this counter-attack, and he was obliged to withdraw
Wilson's division toward my right, to the neighborhood of Duffield's
Station, Merritt drawing back to the same point by way of the
Shepherdstown ford.  Custer's brigade becoming isolated after the
fight while assisting the rear guard, was also obliged to retire,
which it did to Shepherdstown and there halted, picketing the river
to Antietam ford.

When Torbert reported to me the nature of his encounter, and that a
part of Early's infantry was marching to the north, while Fitzhugh
Lee's cavalry had gone toward Martinsburg, I thought that the
Confederate general meditated crossing his cavalry into Maryland, so
I sent Wilson by way of Harper's Ferry to watch his movements from
Boonesboro', and at the same time directed Averell, who had reported
from West Virginia some days before, to take post at Williamsport and
hold the crossing there until he was driven away.  I also thought it
possible that Early might cross the Potomac with his whole army, but
the doubts of a movement like this outweighed the probabilities
favoring it.  Nevertheless, to meet such a contingency I arranged to
throw my army on his rear should the occasion arise, and deeming my
position at Halltown the most advantageous in which to await
developments, my infantry was retained there.

If General Early had ever intended to cross the Potomac, Torbert's
discovery of his manoeuvre put an end to his scheme of invasion, for
he well knew that and success he might derive from such a course
would depend on his moving with celerity, and keeping me in ignorance
of his march till it should be well under way; so he settled all the
present uncertainties by retiring with all his troops about
Kerneysville to his old position at Bunker Hill behind the Opequon,
and on the night of the 26th silently withdrew Anderson and
McCausland from my front at Halltown to Stephenson's depot.

By the 27th all of Early's infantry was in position at Brucetown and
Bunker Hill, his cavalry holding the outposts of Leetown and
Smithfield, and on that day Merritt's division attacked the enemy's
horse at Leetown, and pressed it back through Smithfield to the west
side of the Opequon.  This reconnoissance determined definitely that
Early had abandoned the projected movement into Maryland, if he ever
seriously contemplated it; and I marched my infantry out from
Halltown to the front of Charlestown, with the intention of occupying
a line between Clifton and Berryville the moment matters should so
shape themselves that I could do so with advantage.  The night of the
28th Wilson joined me near Charlestown from his points of observation
in Maryland, and the next day Averell crossed the Potomac at
Williamsport and advanced to Martinsburg.

Merritt's possession of Smithfield bridge made Early somewhat uneasy,
since it afforded opportunity for interposing a column between his
right and left flanks, so he concluded to retake the crossing, and,
to this end, on the 29th advanced two divisions of infantry.  A
severe fight followed, and Merritt was forced to retire, being driven
through the village toward Charlestown with considerable loss.  As
Merritt was nearing my infantry line, I ordered.  Ricketts's division
of the Sixth Corps to his relief, and this in a few minutes turned
the tide, the Smithfield crossing of the Opequon being regained, and
afterward held by Lowell's brigade, supported by Ricketts.  The next
morning I moved Torbert, with Wilson and Merritt, to Berryville, and
succeeding their occupation of that point there occurred along my
whole line a lull, which lasted until the 3d of September, being
undisturbed except by a combat near Bunker Hill between Averell's
cavalry and a part of McCausland's, supported by Rodes's division of
infantry, in which affair the Confederates were defeated with the
loss of about fifty prisoners and considerable property in the shape
of wagons and beef-cattle.

Meanwhile Torbert's movement to Berryville had alarmed Early, and as
a counter move on the 2d of September he marched with the bulk of his
army to Summit Point, but while reconnoitring in that region on the
3d he learned of the havoc that Averell was creating in his rear, and
this compelled him to recross to the west side of the Opequon and
mass his troops in the vicinity of Stephenson's depot, whence he
could extend down to Bunker Hill, continue to threaten the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad, and at the same time cover Winchester.

The same day I was moving my infantry to take up the Clifton-Berryville
line, and that afternoon Wright went into position at Clifton, Crook
occupied Berryville, and Emory's corps came in between them, forming
almost a continuous line.  Torbert had moved to White Post meanwhile,
with directions to reconnoitre as far south as the Front Royal Pike.

My infantry had just got fairly into this position about an hour
before sunset, when along Crook's front a combat took place that at
the time caused me to believe it was Early's purpose to throw a
column between Crook and Torbert, with the intention of isolating the
latter; but the fight really arose from the attempt of General
Anderson to return to Petersburg with Kershaw's division in response
to loud calls from General Lee.  Anderson started south on the 3d of
September, and possibly this explains Early's reconnoissance that day
to Summit Point as a covering movement, but his rapid withdrawal left
him in ignorance of my advance, and Anderson marched on heedlessly
toward Berryville, expecting to cross the Blue Ridge through Ashby's
Gap.  At Berryville however, he blundered into Crook's lines about
sunset, and a bitter little fight ensued, in which the Confederates
got so much the worst of it that they withdrew toward Winchester.
When General Early received word of this encounter he hurried to
Anderson's assistance with three divisions, but soon perceiving what
was hitherto unknown to him, that my whole army was on a new line, he
decided, after some slight skirmishing, that Anderson must remain at
Winchester until a favorable opportunity offered for him to rejoin
Lee by another route.

Succeeding the discomfiture of Anderson, some minor operations took
place on the part of, Averell on the right and McIntosh's brigade of
Wilson's division on the left, but from that time until the 19th of
September no engagement of much importance occurred.  The line from
Clifton to Berryville was occupied by the Sixth Corps and Grower's
and Dwight's divisions of the Nineteenth, Crook being transferred to
Summit Point, whence I could use him to protect my right flank and my
communication with Harper's Ferry, while the cavalry threatened the
enemy's right flank and line of retreat up the valley.

The difference of strength between the two armies at this date was
considerably in my favor, but the conditions attending my situation
in a hostile region necessitated so much detached service to protect
trains, and to secure Maryland and Pennsylvania from raids, that my
excess in numbers was almost canceled by these incidental demands
that could not be avoided, and although I knew that I was strong,
yet, in consequence of the injunctions of General Grant, I deemed it
necessary to be very cautious; and the fact that the Presidential
election was impending made me doubly so, the authorities at
Washington having impressed upon me that the defeat of my army might
be followed by the overthrow of the party in power, which event, it
was believed, would at least retard the progress of the war, if,
indeed, it did not lead to the complete abandonment of all coercive
measures.  Under circumstances such as these I could not afford to
risk a disaster, to say nothing of the intense disinclination every
soldier has for such results; so, notwithstanding my superior
strength, I determined to take all the time necessary to equip myself
with the fullest information, and then seize an opportunity under
such conditions that I could not well fail of success.


By Philip Henry Sheridan



While occupying the ground between Clifton and Berryville, referred
to in the last chapter of the preceding volume, I felt the need of an
efficient body of scouts to collect information regarding the enemy,
for the defective intelligence-establishment with which I started out
from Harper's Ferry early in August had not proved satisfactory.  I
therefore began to organize my scouts on a system which I hoped would
give better results than bad the method hitherto pursued in the
department, which was to employ on this service doubtful citizens and
Confederate deserters.  If these should turn out untrustworthy, the
mischief they might do us gave me grave apprehension, and I finally
concluded that those of our own soldiers who should volunteer for the
delicate and hazardous duty would be the most valuable material, and
decided that they should have a battalion organization and be
commanded by an officer, Major H. K. Young, of the First Rhode Island
Infantry.  These men were disguised in Confederate uniforms whenever
necessary, were paid from the Secret-Service Fund in proportion to
the value of the intelligence they furnished, which often stood us in
good stead in checking the forays of Gilmore, Mosby, and other
irregulars.  Beneficial results came from the plan in many other ways
too, and particularly so when in a few days two of my scouts put me
in the way of getting news conveyed from Winchester.  They had
learned that just outside of my lines, near Millwood, there was
living an old colored man, who had a permit from the Confederate
commander to go into Winchester and return three times a week, for
the purpose of selling vegetables to the inhabitants.  The scouts had
sounded this man, and, finding him both loyal and shrewd, suggested
that he might be made useful to us within the enemy's lines; and the
proposal struck me as feasible, provided there could be found in
Winchester some reliable person who would be willing to co-operate
and correspond with me.  I asked General Crook, who was acquainted
with many of the Union people of Winchester, if he knew of such a
person, and he recommended a Miss Rebecca Wright, a young lady whom
he had met there before the battle of Kernstown, who, he said, was a
member of the Society of Friends and the teacher of a small private
school.  He knew she was faithful and loyal to the Government, and
thought she might be willing to render us assistance, but he could
not be certain of this, for on account of her well known loyalty she
was under constant surveillance.  I hesitated at first, but finally
deciding to try it, despatched the two scouts to the old negro's
cabin, and they brought him to my headquarters late that night.  I
was soon convinced of the negro's fidelity, and asking him if he was
acquainted with Miss Rebecca Wright, of Winchester, he replied that
he knew her well.  There upon I told him what I wished to do, and
after a little persuasion he agreed to carry a letter to her on his
next marketing trip.  My message was prepared by writing it on tissue
paper, which was then compressed into a small pellet, and protected
by wrapping it in tin-foil so that it could be safely carried in the
man's mouth.  The probability, of his being searched when he came to
the Confederate picketline was not remote, and in such event he was
to swallow the pellet.  The letter appealed to Miss Wright's loyalty
and patriotism, and requested her to furnish me with information
regarding the strength and condition of Early's army.  The night
before the negro started one of the scouts placed the odd-looking
communication in his hands, with renewed injunctions as to secrecy
and promptitude.  Early the next morning it was delivered to Miss
Wright, with an intimation that a letter of importance was enclosed
in the tin-foil, the negro telling her at the same time that she
might expect him to call for a message in reply before his return
home.  At first Miss Wright began to open the pellet nervously, but
when told to be careful, and to preserve the foil as a wrapping for
her answer, she proceeded slowly and carefully, and when the note
appeared intact the messenger retired, remarking again that in the
evening he would come for an answer.

On reading my communication Miss Wright was much startled by the
perils it involved, and hesitatingly consulted her mother, but her
devoted loyalty soon silenced every other consideration, and the
brave girl resolved to comply with my request, notwithstanding it
might jeopardize her life.  The evening before a convalescent
Confederate officer had visited her mother's house, and in
conversation about the war had disclosed the fact that Kershaw's
division of infantry and Cutshaw's battalion of artillery had started
to rejoin General Lee.  At the time Miss Wright heard this she
attached little if any importance to it, but now she perceived the
value of the intelligence, and, as her first venture, determined to
send it to me at once, which she did with a promise that in the
future she would with great pleasure continue to transmit information
by the negro messenger.

"SEPTEMBER 15, 1864.

"I learn from Major-General Crook that you are a loyal lady, and
still love the old flag.  Can you inform me of the position of
Early's forces, the number of divisions in his army, and the strength
of any or all of them, and his probable or reported intentions?  Have
any more troops arrived from Richmond, or are any more coming, or
reported to be coming?

"You can trust the bearer."

"I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General Commanding."

"SEPTEMBER 16, 1864.

"I have no communication whatever with the rebels, but will tell you
what I know.  The division of General Kershaw, and Cutshaw's
artillery, twelve guns and men, General Anderson commanding, have
been sent away, and no more are expected, as they cannot be spared
from Richmond.  I do not know how the troops are situated, but the
force is much smaller than represented.  I will take pleasure
hereafter in learning all I can of their strength and position, and
the bearer may call again.

"Very respectfully yours,"

Miss Wright's answer proved of more value to me than she anticipated,
for it not only quieted the conflicting reports concerning Anderson's
corps, but was most important in showing positively that Kershaw was
gone, and this circumstance led, three days later, to the battle of
the Opequon, or Winchester as it has been unofficially called.  Word
to the effect that some of Early's troops were under orders to return
to Petersburg, and would start back at the first favorable
opportunity, had been communicated to me already from many sources,
but we had not been able to ascertain the date for their departure.
Now that they had actually started, I decided to wait before offering
battle until Kershaw had gone so far as to preclude his return,
feeling confident that my prudence would be justified by the improved
chances of victory; and then, besides, Mr. Stanton kept reminding me
that positive success was necessary to counteract the political
dissatisfaction existing in some of the Northern States.  This course
was advised and approved by General Grant, but even with his powerful
backing it was difficult to resist the persistent pressure of those
whose judgment, warped by their interests in the Baltimore and Ohio
railroad, was often confused and misled by stories of scouts (sent
out from Washington), averring that Kershaw and Fitzhugh Lee had
returned to Petersburg, Breckenridge to southwestern Virginia, and at
one time even maintaining that Early's whole army was east of the
Blue Ridge, and its commander himself at Gordonsville.

During the inactivity prevailing in my army for the ten days
preceding Miss Wright's communication the infantry was quiet, with
the exception of Getty's division, which made a reconnoissance to the
Opequon, and developed a heavy force of the enemy at Edwards's
Corners.  The cavalry, however, was employed a good deal in this
interval skirmishing heavily at times to maintain a space about six
miles in width between the hostile lines, for I wished to control
this ground so that when I was released from the instructions of
August 12, I could move my men into position for attack without the
knowledge of Early.  The most noteworthy of these mounted encounters
was that of McIntosh's brigade, which captured the Eighth South
Carolina at Abraham's Creek September 13.

It was the evening of the 16th of September that I received from Miss
Wright the positive information that Kershaw was in march toward
Front Royal on his way by Chester Gap to Richmond.  Concluding that
this was my opportunity, I at once resolved to throw my whole force
into Newtown the next day, but a despatch from General Grant
directing me to meet him at Charlestown, whither he was coming to
consult with me, caused me to defer action until after I should see
him.  In our resulting interview at Charlestown, I went over the
situation very thoroughly, and pointed out with so much confidence
the chances of a complete victory should I throw my army across the
Valley pike near Newtown that he fell in with the plan at once,
authorized me to resume the offensive, and to attack Early as soon as
I deemed it most propitious to do so; and although before leaving
City Point he had outlined certain operations for my army, yet he
neither discussed nor disclosed his plans, my knowledge of the
situation striking him as being so much more accurate than his own.

[Extract from "Grant's Memoirs," page 328.]

"....Before starting I had drawn up a plan of campaign for Sheridan,
which I had brought with me; but seeing that he was so clear and so
positive in his views, and so confident of success, I said nothing
about this, and did not take it out of my pocket...."

The interview over, I returned to my army to arrange for its movement
toward Newtown, but while busy with these preparations, a report came
to me from General Averell which showed that Early was moving with
two divisions of infantry toward Martinsburg.  This considerably
altered the state of affairs, and I now decided to change my plan and
attack at once the two divisions remaining about Winchester and
Stephenson's depot, and later, the two sent to Martinsburg; the
disjointed state of the enemy giving me an opportunity to take him in
detail, unless the Martinsburg column should be returned by forced

While General Early was in the telegraph office at Martinsburg on the
morning of the 18th, he learned of Grant's visit to me; and
anticipating activity by reason of this circumstance, he promptly
proceeded to withdraw so as to get the two divisions within
supporting distance of Ramseur's, which lay across the Berryville
pike about two miles east of Winchester, between Abraham's Creek and
Red Bud Run, so by the night of the 18th Wharton's division, under
Breckenridge, was at Stephenson's depot, Rodes near there, and
Gordon's at Bunker Hill.  At daylight of the 19th these positions of
the Confederate infantry still obtained, with the cavalry of Lomax,
Jackson, and Johnson on the right of Ramseur, while to the left and
rear of the enemy's general line was Fitzhugh Lee, covering from
Stephenson's depot west across the Valley pike to Applepie Ridge.

My army moved at 3 o'clock that morning.  The plan was for Torbert to
advance with Merritt's division of cavalry from Summit Point, carry
the crossings of the Opequon at Stevens's and Lock's fords, and form
a junction near Stephenson's depot, with Averell, who was to move
south from Darksville by the Valley pike.  Meanwhile, Wilson was to
strike up the Berryville pike, carry the Berryville crossing of the
Opequon, charge through the gorge or canyon on the road west of the
stream, and occupy the open ground at the head of this defile.
Wilson's attack was to be supported by the Sixth and Nineteenth
corps, which were ordered to the Berryville crossing, and as the
cavalry gained the open ground beyond the gorge, the two infantry
corps, under command of General Wright, were expected to press on
after and occupy Wilson's ground, who was then to shift to the south
bank of Abraham's Creek and cover my left; Crook's two divisions,
having to march from Summit Point, were to follow the Sixth and
Nineteenth corps to the Opcquon, and should they arrive before the
action began, they were to be held in reserve till the proper moment
came, and then, as a turning-column, be thrown over toward the Valley
pike, south of Winchester.

McIntosh's brigade of Wilson's division drove the enemy's pickets
away from the Berryville crossing at dawn, and Wilson following
rapidly through the gorge with the rest of the division, debouched
from its western extremity with such suddenness as to capture a
small earthwork in front of General Ramseur's main line; and
not-withstanding the Confederate infantry, on recovering from its
astonishment, tried hard to dislodge them, Wilson's troopers
obstinately held the work till the Sixth Corps came up.  I followed
Wilson to select the ground on which to form the infantry.  The Sixth
Corps began to arrive about 8 o'clock, and taking up the line Wilson
had been holding, just beyond the head of the narrow ravine, the
cavalry was transferred to the south side of Abraham's Creek.

The Confederate line lay along some elevated ground about two miles
east of Winchester, and extended from Abraham's Creek north across
the Berryville pike, the left being hidden in the heavy timber on Red
Bud Run.  Between this line and mine, especially on my right, clumps
of woods and patches of underbrush occurred here and there, but the
undulating ground consisted mainly of open fields, many of which were
covered with standing corn that had already ripened.

Much time was lost in getting all of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps
through the narrow defile, Grover's division being greatly delayed
there by a train of ammunition wagons, and it was not until late in
the forenoon that the troops intended for the attack could be got
into line ready to advance.  General Early was not slow to avail
himself of the advantages thus offered him, and my chances of
striking him in detail were growing less every moment, for Gordon and
Rodes were hurrying their divisions from Stephenson's depot
--across-country on a line that would place Gordon in the woods south
of Red Bud Run, and bring Rodes into the interval between Gordon and

When the two corps had all got through the canyon they were formed
with Getty's division of the Sixth to the left of the Berryville
pike, Rickett's division to the right of the pike, and Russell's
division in reserve in rear of the other two.  Grover's division of
the Nineteenth Corps came next on the right of Rickett's, with Dwight
to its rear in reserve, while Crook was to begin massing near the
Opequon crossing about the time Wright and Emory were ready to

Just before noon the line of Getty, Ricketts, and Grover moved
forward, and as we advanced, the Confederates, covered by some heavy
woods on their right, slight underbrush and corn-fields along their
Centre, and a large body of timber on their left along the Red Bud,
opened fire from their whole front.  We gained considerable ground at
first, especially on our left but the desperate resistance which the
right met with demonstrated that the time we had unavoidably lost in
the morning had been of incalculable value to Early, for it was
evident that he had been enabled already to so far concentrate his
troops as to have the different divisions of his army in a connected
line of battle, in good shape to resist.

Getty and Ricketts made some progress toward Winchester in connection
with Wilson's cavalry, which was beyond the Senseny road on Getty's
left, and as they were pressing back Ramseur's infantry and Lomax's
cavalry Grover attacked from the right with decided effect.  Grover
in a few minutes broke up Evans's brigade of Gordon's division, but
his pursuit of Evans destroyed the continuity of my general line, and
increased an interval that had already been made by the deflection of
Ricketts to the left, in obedience to instructions that had been
given him to guide his division on the Berryville pike.  As the line
pressed forward, Ricketts observed this widening interval and
endeavored to fill it with the small brigade of Colonel Keifer, but
at this juncture both Gordon and Rodes struck the weak spot where the
right of the Sixth Corps and the left of the Nineteenth should have
been in conjunction, and succeeded in checking my advance by driving
back a part of Ricketts's division, and the most of Grover's.  As
these troops were retiring I ordered Russell's reserve division to be
put into action, and just as the flank of the enemy's troops in
pursuit of Grover was presented, Upton's brigade, led in person by
both Russell and Upton, struck it in a charge so vigorous as to drive
the Confederates back in turn to their original ground.

The success of Russell enabled me to re-establish the right of my
line some little distance in advance of the position from which it
started in the morning, and behind Russell's division (now commanded
by Upton) the broken regiments of Ricketts's division were rallied.
Dwight's division was then brought up on the right, and Grover's men
formed behind it.

The charge of Russell was most opportune, but it cost many men in
killed and wounded.  Among the former was the courageous Russell
himself; killed by a piece of shell that passed through his heart,
although he had previously been struck by a bullet in the left
breast, which wound, from its nature, must have proved mortal, yet of
which he had not spoken.  Russell's death oppressed us all with
sadness, and me particularly.  In the early days of my army life he
was my captain and friend, and I was deeply indebted to him, not only
for sound advice and good example, but for the inestimable service he
had just performed, and sealed with his life, so it may be inferred
how keenly I felt his loss.

As my lines were being rearranged, it was suggested to me to put
Crook into the battle, but so strongly had I set my heart on using
him to take possession of the Valley pike and cut off the enemy, that
I resisted this advice, hoping that the necessity for putting him in
would be obviated by the attack near Stephenson's depot that
Torbert's cavalry was to make, and from which I was momentarily
expecting to hear.  No news of Torbert's progress came, however, so,
yielding at last, I directed Crook to take post on the right of the
Nineteenth Corps and, when the action was renewed, to push his
command forward as a turning-column in conjunction with Emory.  After
some delay in the annoying defile, Crook got his men up, and posting
Colonel Thoburn's division on the prolongation of the Nineteenth
Corps, he formed Colonel Duval's division to the right of Thoburn.
Here I joined Crook, informing him that I had just got word that
Torbert was driving the enemy in confusion along the Martinsburg pike
toward Winchester; at the same time I directed him to attack the
moment all of Duval's men were in line.  Wright was instructed to
advance in concert with Crook, by swinging Emory and the right of the
Sixth Corps to the left together in a half-wheel.  Then leaving
Crook, I rode along the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, the open ground
over which they were passing affording a rare opportunity to witness
the precision with which the attack was taken up from right to left.
Crook's success began the moment he started to turn the enemy's left;
and assured by the fact that Torbert had stampeded the Confederate
cavalry and thrown Breckenridge's infantry into such disorder that it
could do little to prevent the envelopment of Gordon's left, Crook
pressed forward without even a halt.

Both Emory and Wright took up the fight as ordered, and as they did
so I sent word to Wilson, in the hope that he could partly perform
the work originally laid out for Crook, to push along the Senseny
road and, if possible, gain the valley pike south of Winchester.  I
then returned toward my right flank, and as I reached the Nineteenth
Corps the enemy was contesting the ground in its front with great
obstinacy; but Emory's dogged persistence was at length rewarded with
success, just as Crook's command emerged from the morass of Red Bud
Run, and swept around Gordon, toward the right of Breckenridge, who,
with two of Wharton's brigades, was holding a line at right angles
with the Valley pike for the protection of the Confederate rear.
Early had ordered these two brigades back from Stephenson's depot in
the morning, purposing to protect with them his right flank and line
of retreat, but while they were en route to this end, he was obliged
to recall them to his left to meet Crook's attack.

To confront Torbert, Patton's brigade of infantry and some of
Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry had been left back by Breckenridge, but, with
Averell on the west side of the Valley pike and Merritt on the east,
Torbert began to drive this opposing force toward Winchester the
moment he struck it near Stephenson's depot, keeping it on the go
till it reached the position held by Breckenridge, where it
endeavored to make a stand.

The ground which Breckenridge was holding was open, and offered an
opportunity such as seldom had been presented during the war for a
mounted attack, and Torbert was not slow to take advantage of it.
The instant Merritt's division could be formed for the charge, it
went at Breckenridge's infantry and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry with such
momentum as to break the Confederate left, just as Averell was
passing around it.  Merritt's brigades, led by Custer, Lowell, and
Devin, met from the start with pronounced success, and with sabre or
pistol in hand literally rode down a battery of five guns and took
about 1,200 prisoners.  Almost simultaneously with this cavalry
charge, Crook struck Breckenridge's right and Gordon's left, forcing
these divisions to give way, and as they retired, Wright, in a
vigorous attack, quickly broke Rodes up and pressed Ramseur so hard
that the whole Confederate army fell back, contracting its lines
within some breastworks which had been thrown up at a former period
of the war, immediately in front of Winchester.

Here Early tried hard to stem the tide, but soon Torbert's cavalry
began passing around his left flank, and as Crook, Emory, and Wright
attacked in front, panic took possession of the enemy, his troops,
now fugitives and stragglers, seeking escape into and through

When this second break occurred, the Sixth and Nineteenth corps were
moved over toward the Millwood pike to help Wilson on the left, but
the day was so far spent that they could render him no assistance,
and Ramseur's division, which had maintained some organization, was
in such tolerable shape as to check him.  Meanwhile Torbert passed
around to the west of Winchester to join Wilson, but was unable to do
so till after dark.  Crook's command pursued the enemy through the
town to Mill Greek, I going along.

Just after entering the town, Crook and I met, in the main street,
three young girls, who gave us the most hearty reception.  One of
these young women was a Miss Griffith, the other two Miss Jennie and
Miss Susie Meredith.  During the day they had been watching the
battle from the roof of the Meredith residence, with tears and
lamentations, they said, in the morning when misfortune appeared to
have overtaken the Union troops, but with unbounded exultation when,
later, the tide set in against the Confederates.  Our presence was,
to them, an assurance of victory, and their delight being
irrepressible, they indulged in the most unguarded manifestations and
expressions.  When cautioned by Crook, who knew them well, and
reminded that the valley had hitherto been a race-course--one day in
the possession of friends, and the next of enemies--and warned of the
dangers they were incurring by such demonstrations, they assured him
that they had no further fears of that kind now, adding that Early's
army was so demoralized by the defeat it had just sustained that it
would never be in condition to enter Winchester again.  As soon as we
had succeeded in calming the excited girls a little I expressed a
desire to find some place where I could write a telegram to General
Grant informing him of the result of the battle, and General Crook
conducted me to the home of Miss Wright, where I met for the first
time the woman who had contributed so much to our success, and on a
desk in her school-room wrote the despatch announcing that we had
sent Early's army whirling up the valley.

My losses in the battle of the Opequon were heavy, amounting to about
4,500 killed, wounded, and missing.  Among the killed was General
Russell, commanding a division, and the wounded included Generals
Upton, McIntosh and Chapman, and Colonels Duval and Sharpe.  The
Confederate loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners about equaled
mine, General Rodes being of the killed, while Generals Fitzhugh Lee
and York were severely wounded.

We captured five pieces of artillery and nine battle-flags.  The
restoration of the lower valley--from the Potomac to Strasburg--to
the control of the Union forces caused great rejoicing in the North,
and relieved the Administration from further solicitude for the
safety of the Maryland and Pennsylvania borders.  The President's
appreciation of the victory was expressed in a despatch so like Mr.
Lincoln that I give a facsimile of it to the reader:

[In the handwriting of President Lincoln]
"WASHINGTON, Sep.  20, 1864


"Have just heard of your great victory.  God bless you all, officers
and men.  Strongly inclined to come up and see you.


This he supplemented by promoting me to the grade of
brigadier-general in the regular army, and assigning me to the
permanent command of the Middle Military Department, and following that
came warm congratulations from Mr. Stanton and from Generals Grant,
Sherman, and Meade.

The battle was not fought out on the plan in accordance with which
marching orders were issued to my troops, for I then hoped to take
Early in detail, and with Crook's force cut off his retreat.  I
adhered to this purpose during the early part of the contest, but was
obliged to abandon the idea because of unavoidable delays by which I
was prevented from getting the Sixth and Nineteenth corps through the
narrow defile and into position early enough to destroy Ramseur while
still isolated.  So much delay had not been anticipated, and this
loss of time was taken advantage of by the enemy to recall the troops
diverted to Bunker Hill and Martinsburg on the 17th, thus enabling
him to bring them all to the support of Ramseur before I could strike
with effect.  My idea was to attack Ramseur and Wharton,
successively, at a very early hour and before they could get succor,
but I was not in condition to do it till nearly noon, by which time
Gordon and Rodes had been enabled to get upon the ground at a point
from which, as I advanced, they enfiladed my right flank, and gave it
such a repulse that to re-form this part of my line I was obliged to
recall the left from some of the ground it had gained.  It was during
this reorganization of my lines that I changed my plan as to Crook,
and moved him from my left to my right.  This I did with great
reluctance, for I hoped to destroy Early's army entirely if Crook
continued on his original line of march toward the Valley pike, south
of Winchester; and although the ultimate results did, in a measure
vindicate the change, yet I have always thought that by adhering to
the original plan we might have captured the bulk of Early's army.



The night of the 19th of September I gave orders for following Early
up the valley next morning--the pursuit to begin at daybreak--and in
obedience to these directions Torbert moved Averell out on the Back
road leading to Cedar Creek, and Merritt up the Valley pike toward
Strasburg, while Wilson was directed on Front Royal by way of
Stevensburg.  Merritt's division was followed by the infantry,
Emory's and Wright's columns marching abreast in the open country to
the right and left of the pike, and Crook's immediately behind them.
The enemy having kept up his retreat at night, presented no
opposition whatever until the cavalry discovered him posted at
Fisher's Hill, on the first defensive line where he could hope to
make any serious resistance.  No effort was made to dislodge him, and
later in the day, after Wright and Emory came up, Torbert shifted
Merritt over toward the Back road till he rejoined Averell.  As
Merritt moved to the right, the Sixth and Nineteenth corps crossed
Cedar Creek and took up the ground the cavalry was vacating, Wright
posting his own corps to the west of the Valley pike overlooking
Strasburg, and Emory's on his left so as to extend almost to the road
leading from Strasburg to Front Royal.  Crook, as he came up the same
evening, went into position in some heavy timber on the north bank of
Cedar Creek.

A reconnoissance made pending these movements convinced me that the
enemy's position at Fisher's Hill was so strong that a direct assault
would entail unnecessary destruction of life, and, besides, be of
doubtful result.  At the point where Early's troops were in position,
between the Massanutten range and Little North Mountain, the valley
is only about three and a half miles wide.  All along the precipitous
bluff which overhangs Tumbling Run on the south side, a heavy line of
earthworks had been constructed when Early retreated to this point in
August, and these were now being strengthened so as to make them
almost impregnable; in fact, so secure did Early consider himself
that, for convenience, his ammunition chests were taken from the
caissons and placed behind the breastworks.  Wharton, now in command
of Breckenridge's division--its late commander having gone to
southwest Virginia--held the right of this line, with Gordon next
him; Pegram, commanding Ramseur's old division, joined Gordon.
Ramseur with Rodes's division, was on Pegram's left, while Lomax's
cavalry, now serving as foot-troops, extended the line to the Back
road.  Fitzhugh Lee being wounded, his cavalry, under General
Wickham, was sent to Milford to prevent Fisher's Hill from being
turned through the Luray Valley.

In consequence of the enemy's being so well protected from a direct
assault, I resolved on the night of the 20th to use again a
turning-column against his left, as had been done on the 19th at the
Opequon. To this end I resolved to move Crook, unperceived if possible,
over to the eastern face of Little North Mountain, whence he could
strike the left and rear of the Confederate line, and as he broke it
up, I could support him by a left half-wheel of my whole line of
battle. The execution of this plan would require perfect secrecy,
however, for the enemy from his signal-station on Three Top could
plainly see every movement of our troops in daylight.  Hence, to escape
such observation, I marched Crook during the night of the 20th into
some heavy timber north of Cedar Creek, where he lay concealed all day
the 21st.  This same day Wright and Emory were moved up closer to the
Confederate works, and the Sixth Corps, after a severe fight, in which
Ricketts's and Getty were engaged, took up some high ground on the
right of the Manassas Gap railroad in plain view of the Confederate
works, and confronting a commanding point where much of Early's
artillery was massed.  Soon after General Wright had established this
line I rode with him along it to the westward, and finding that the
enemy was still holding an elevated position further to our right, on
the north side of Tumbling Run, I directed this also to be occupied.
Wright soon carried the point, which gave us an unobstructed view of
the enemy's works and offered good ground for our artillery.  It also
enabled me to move the whole of the Sixth Corps to the front till its
line was within about seven hundred yards of the enemy's works; the
Nineteenth Corps, on the morning of the 22d, covering the ground
vacated by the Sixth by moving to the front and extending to the right,
but still keeping its reserves on the railroad.

In the darkness of the night of the gist, Crook was brought across
Cedar Creek and hidden in a clump of timber behind Hupp's Hill till
daylight of the 22d, when, under cover of the intervening woods and
ravines, he was marched beyond the right of the Sixth Corps and again
concealed not far from the Back road.  After Crook had got into this
last position, Ricketts's division was pushed out until it confronted
the left of the enemy's infantry, the rest of the Sixth Corps
extending from Ricketts's left to the Manassas Gap railroad, while
the Nineteenth Corps filled in the space between the left of the
Sixth and the North Fork of the Shenandoah.

When Ricketts moved out on this new line, in conjunction with
Averell's cavalry on his right, the enemy surmising, from information
secured from his signal-station, no doubt, that my attack was to be
made from Ricketts's front, prepared for it there, but no such
intention ever existed.  Ricketts was pushed forward only that he
might readily join Crook's turning-column as it swung into the
enemy's rear.  To ensure success, all that I needed now was enough
daylight to complete my arrangements, the secrecy of movement imposed
by the situation consuming many valuable hours.

While Ricketts was occupying the enemy's attention, Crook, again
moving unobserved into the dense timber on the eastern face of Little
North Mountain, conducted his command south in two parallel columns
until he gained the rear of the enemy's works, when, marching his
divisions by the left flank, he led them in an easterly direction
down the mountain-side.  As he emerged from the timber near the base
of the mountain, the Confederates discovered him, of course, and
opened with their batteries, but it was too late--they having few
troops at hand to confront the turning-column.  Loudly cheering,
Crook's men quickly crossed the broken stretch in rear of the enemy's
left, producing confusion and consternation at every step.

About a mile from the mountain's base Crook's left was joined by
Ricketts, who in proper time had begun to swing his division into the
action, and the two commands moved along in rear of the works so
rapidly that, with but slight resistance, the Confederates abandoned
the guns massed near the centre.  The swinging movement of Ricketts
was taken up successively from right to left throughout my line, and
in a few minutes the enemy was thoroughly routed, the action, though
brief, being none the less decisive.  Lomax's dismounted cavalry gave
way first, but was shortly followed by all the Confederate infantry
in an indescribable panic, precipitated doubtless by fears of being
caught and captured in the pocket formed by Tumbling Run and the
North Fork of the Shenandoah River.  The stampede was complete, the
enemy leaving the field without semblance of organization, abandoning
nearly all his artillery and such other property as was in the works,
and the rout extending through the fields and over the roads toward
Woodstock, Wright and Emory in hot pursuit.

Midway between Fisher's Hill and Woodstock there is some high ground,
where at night-fall a small squad endeavored to stay us with two
pieces of artillery, but this attempt at resistance proved fruitless,
and, notwithstanding the darkness, the guns were soon captured.  The
chase was then taken up by Devin's brigade as soon as it could be
passed to the front, and continued till after daylight the next
morning, but the delays incident to a night pursuit made it
impossible for Devin to do more than pick up stragglers.

Our success was very great, yet I had anticipated results still more
pregnant.  Indeed, I had high hopes of capturing almost the whole of
Early's army before it reached New Market, and with this object in
view, during the manoeuvres of the 21st I had sent Torbert up the
Luray Valley with Wilson's division and two of Merritt's brigades, in
the expectation that he would drive Wickham out of the Luray Pass by
Early's right, and by crossing the Massanutten Mountain near New
Market, gain his rear.  Torbert started in good season, and after
some slight skirmishing at Gooney Run, got as far as Milford, but
failed to dislodge Wickham.  In fact, he made little or no attempt to
force Wickham from his position, and with only a feeble effort
withdrew.  I heard nothing at all from Torbert during the 22d, and
supposing that everything was progressing favorably, I was astonished
and chagrined on the morning of the 23d, at Woodstock, to receive the
intelligence that he had fallen back to Front Royal and Buckton ford.
My disappointment was extreme, but there was now no help for the
situation save to renew and emphasize Torbert's orders, and this was
done at once, notwithstanding that I thought, the delay, had so much
diminished the chances of his getting in the rear of Early as to make
such a result a very remote possibility, unless, indeed, far greater
zeal was displayed than had been in the first attempt to penetrate
the Luray Valley.

The battle of Fisher's Hill was, in a measure, a part of the battle
of the Opequon; that is to say, it was an incident of the pursuit
resulting from that action.  In many ways, however, it was much more
satisfactory, and particularly so because the plan arranged on the
evening of the 20th was carried out to the very letter by Generals
Wright, Crook, and Emory, not only in all their preliminary
manoeuvres, but also during the fight itself.  The only drawback was
with the cavalry, and to this day I have been unable to account
satisfactorily for Torbert's failure.  No doubt, Wickham's position
near Milford was a strong one, but Torbert ought to have made a
fight.  Had he been defeated in this, his withdrawal then to await
the result at Fisher's Hill would have been justified, but it does
not appear that he made any serious effort of all to dislodge the
Confederate cavalry: his impotent attempt not only chagrined me very
much, but occasioned much unfavorable comment throughout the army.

We reached Woodstock early on the morning of the 23d, and halted
there some little time to let the troops recover their organization,
which had been broken in the night march they had just made.  When
the commands had closed up we pushed on toward Edinburg, in the hope
of making more captures at Narrow Passage Creek; but the
Confederates, too fleet for us, got away; so General Wright halted
the infantry not far from Edinburg, till rations could be brought the
men.  Meanwhile I, having remained at Woodstock, sent Dedin's brigade
to press the enemy under every favorable opportunity, and if possible
prevent him from halting long enough to reorganize.  Notwithstanding
Devin's efforts the Confederates managed to assemble a considerable
force to resist him, and being too weak for the rearguard, he awaited
the arrival of Averell, who, I had informed him, would be hurried to
the front with all possible despatch, for I thought that Averell must
be close at hand.  It turned out, however, that he was not near by at
all, and, moreover, that without good reason he had refrained from
taking any part whatever in pursuing the enemy in the flight from
Fisher's Hill; and in fact had gone into camp and left to the
infantry the work of pursuit.

It was nearly noon when Averell came up, and a great deal of precious
time had been lost.  We had some hot words, but hoping that he would
retrieve the mistake of the night before, I directed him to proceed
to the front at once, and in conjunction with Devin close with the
enemy.  He reached Devin's command about 3 o'clock in the afternoon,
just as this officer was pushing the Confederates so energetically
that they were abandoning Mount Jackson, yet Averell utterly failed
to accomplish anything.  Indeed, his indifferent attack was not at
all worthy the excellent soldiers he commanded, and when I learned
that it was his intention to withdraw from the enemy's front, and
this, too, on the indefinite report of a signal-officer that a
"brigade or division" of Confederates was turning his right flank,
and that he had not seriously attempted to verify the information, I
sent him this order:

"Woodstock, Va., Sept.  23, 1864


"Your report and report of signal-officer received.  I do not want
you to let the enemy bluff you or your command, and I want you to
distinctly understand this note.  I do not advise rashness, but I do
desire resolution and actual fighting, with necessary casualties,
before you retire.  There must now be no backing or filling by you
without a superior force of the enemy actually engaging you.

"Major-General Commanding."

Some little time after this note went to Averell, word was brought me
that he had already carried out the programme indicated when
forwarding the report of the expected turning of his right, and that
he had actually withdrawn and gone into camp near Hawkinsburg.  I
then decided to relieve him from the command of his division, which I
did, ordering him to Wheeling, Colonel William H. Powell being
assigned to succeed him.

The removal of Averell was but the culmination of a series of events
extending back to the time I assumed command of the Middle Military
Division.  At the outset, General Grant, fearing discord on account
of Averell's ranking Torbert, authorized me to relieve the former
officer, but I hoped that if any trouble of this sort arose, it could
be allayed, or at least repressed, during the campaign against Early,
since the different commands would often have to act separately.
After that, the dispersion of my army by the return of the Sixth
Corps and Torbert's cavalry to the Army of the Potomac would take
place, I thought, and this would restore matters to their normal
condition; but Averell's dissatisfaction began to show itself
immediately after his arrival at Martinsburg, on the 14th of August,
and, except when he was conducting some independent expedition, had
been manifested on all occasions since.  I therefore thought that the
interest of the service would be subserved by removing one whose
growing indifference might render the best-laid plans inoperative.

"HARRISONBURG, VA., SEPT.  25, 1864 11:30 P. M.
"LIEUT-GENERAL GRANT, Comd'g, City Point, Va.

"I have relieved Averell from his command.  Instead of following the
enemy when he was broken at Fisher's Hill (so there was not a cavalry
organization left), he went into camp and let me pursue the enemy for
a distance of fifteen miles, with infantry, during the night.

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General."

The failure of Averell to press the enemy the evening of the 23d gave
Early time to collect his scattered forces and take up a position on
the east side of the North Fork of the Shenandoah, his left resting
on the west side of that stream at Rude's Hill, a commanding point
about two miles south of Mt. Jackson.  Along this line he had
constructed some slight works during the night, and at daylight on
the 24th, I moved the Sixth and Nineteenth corps through Mt. Jackson
to attack him, sending Powell's division to pass around his left
flank, toward Timberville, and Devin's brigade across the North Fork,
to move along the base of Peaked Ridge and attack his right.  The
country was entirely open, and none of these manoeuvres could be
executed without being observed, so as soon as my advance began, the
enemy rapidly retreated in line of battle up the valley through New
Market, closely followed by Wright and Emory, their artillery on the
pike and their columns on its right and left.  Both sides moved with
celerity, the Confederates stimulated by the desire to escape, and
our men animated by the prospect of wholly destroying Early's army.
The stern-chase continued for about thirteen miles, our infantry
often coming within range, yet whenever we began to deploy, the
Confederates increased the distance between us by resorting to a
double quick, evading battle with admirable tact.  While all this was
going on, the open country permitted us a rare and brilliant sight,
the bright sun gleaming from the arms and trappings of the thousands
of pursuers and pursued.

Near New Market, as a last effort to hold the enemy, I pushed Devin's
cavalry--comprising about five hundred men--with two guns right up on
Early's lines, in the hope that the tempting opportunity given him to
capture the guns would stay his retreat long enough to let my
infantry deploy within range, but he refused the bait, and after
momentarily checking Devin he continued on with little loss and in
pretty good order.

All hope of Torbert's appearing in rear of the Confederates vanished
as they passed beyond New Market.  Some six miles south of this place
Early left the Valley Pike and took the road to Keezletown, a move
due in a measure to Powell's march by way of Timberville toward
Lacy's Springs, but mainly caused by the fact that the Keezletown
road ran immediately along the base of Peaked Mountain--a rugged
ridge affording protection to Early's right flank--and led in a
direction facilitating his junction with Kershaw, who had been
ordered back to him from Culpeper the day after the battle of the
Opequon.  The chase was kept up on the Keezeltown road till darkness
overtook us, when my weary troops were permitted to go into camp; and
as soon as the enemy discovered by our fires that the pursuit had
stopped, he also bivouacked some five miles farther south toward Port

The next morning Early was joined by Lomax's cavalry from
Harrisonburg, Wickham's and Payne's brigades of cavalry also uniting
with him from the Luray Valley.  His whole army then fell back to the
mouth of Brown's Gap to await Kershaw's division and Cutshaw's
artillery, now on their return.

By the morning of the 25th the main body of the enemy had disappeared
entirely from my front, and the capture of some small, squads of
Confederates in the neighboring hills furnished us the only incidents
of the day.  Among the prisoners was a tall and fine looking officer,
much worn with hunger and fatigue.  The moment I saw him I recognized
him as a former comrade, George W. Carr, with whom I had served in
Washington Territory.  He was in those days a lieutenant in the Ninth
Infantry, and was one of the officers who superintended the execution
of the nine Indians at the Cascades of the Columbia in 1856.  Carr
was very much emaciated, and greatly discouraged by the turn events
had recently taken.  For old acquaintance sake I gave him plenty to
eat, and kept him in comfort at my headquarters until the next batch
of prisoners was sent to the rear, when he went with them.  He had
resigned from the regular army at the commencement of hostilities,
and, full of high anticipation, cast his lot with the Confederacy,
but when he fell into our hands, his bright dreams having been
dispelled by the harsh realities of war, he appeared to think that
for him there was no future.

Picking up prisoners here and there, my troops resumed their march
directly south on the Valley pike, and when the Sixth and Nineteenth
corps reached Harrisonburg, they went into camp, Powell in the
meanwhile pushing on to Mt. Crawford, and Crook taking up a position
in our rear at the junction of the Keezletown road and the Valley
pike.  Late in the afternoon Torbert's cavalry came in from New
Market arriving at that place many hours later than it had been

The succeeding day I sent Merritt to Port Republic to occupy the
enemy's attention, while Torbert, with Wilson's division and the
regular brigade, was ordered to Staunton, whence he was to proceed to
Waynesboro' and blow up the railroad bridge.  Having done this,
Torbert, as he returned, was to drive off whatever cattle he could
find, destroy all forage and breadstuffs, and burn the mills.  He
took possession of Waynesboro' in due time, but had succeeded in only
partially demolishing the railroad bridge when, attacked by Pegram's
division of infantry and Wickham's cavalry, he was compelled to fall
back to Staunton.  From the latter place he retired to Bridgewater,
and Spring Hill, on the way, however, fully executing his
instructions regarding the destruction of supplies.

While Torbert was on this expedition, Merritt had occupied Port
Republic, but he happened to get there the very day that Kershaw's
division was marching from Swift Run Gap to join Early.  By accident
Kershaw ran into Merritt shortly after the latter had gained the
village.  Kershaw's four infantry brigades attacked at once, and
Merrit, forced out of Port Republic, fell back toward Cross Keys; and
in anticipation that the Confederates could be coaxed to that point,
I ordered the infantry there, but Torbert's attack at Wavnesboro' had
alarmed Early, and in consequence he drew all his forces in toward
Rock-fish Gap.  This enabled me to re-establish Merritt at Port
Republic, send the Sixth and Nineteenth corps to the neighborhood of
Mt. Crawford to await the return of Torbert, and to post Crook at
Harrisonburg; these dispositions practically obtained till the 6th of
October, I holding a line across the valley from Port Republic along
North River by Mt. Crawford to the Back road near the mouth of Briery
Branch Gap.

It was during this period, about dusk on the evening of October 3,
that between Harrisonburg and Dayton my engineer officer, Lieutenant
John R. Meigs, was murdered within my lines.  He had gone out with
two topographical assistants to plot the country, and late in the
evening, while riding along the public road on his return to camp, he
overtook three men dressed in our uniform.  From their dress, and
also because the party was immediately behind our lines and within a
mile and a half of my headquarters, Meigs and his assistants
naturally thought that they were joining friends, and wholly
unsuspicious of anything to the contrary, rode on with the three men
some little distance; but their perfidy was abruptly discovered by
their suddenly turning upon Meigs with a call for his surrender.  It
has been claimed that, refusing to submit, he fired on the
treacherous party, but the statement is not true, for one of the
topographers escaped--the other was captured--and reported a few
minutes later at my headquarters that Meigs was killed without
resistance of any kind whatever, and without even the chance to give
himself up.  This man was so cool, and related all the circumstances
of the occurrence with such exactness, as to prove the truthfulness
of his statement.  The fact that the murder had been committed inside
our lines was evidence that the perpetrators of the crime, having
their homes in the vicinity, had been clandestinely visiting them,
and been secretly harbored by some of the neighboring residents.
Determining to teach a lesson to these abettors of the foul deed--a
lesson they would never forget--I ordered all the houses within an
area of five miles to be burned.  General Custer, who had succeeded
to the command of the Third Cavalry division (General Wilson having
been detailed as chief of cavalry to Sherman's army), was charged
with this duty, and the next morning proceeded to put the order into
execution.  The prescribed area included the little village of
Dayton, but when a few houses in the immediate neighborhood of the
scene of the murder had been burned, Custer was directed to cease his
desolating work, but to fetch away all the able-bodied males as



While we lay in camp at Harrisonburg it became necessary to decide
whether or not I would advance to Brown's Gap, and, after driving the
enemy from there, follow him through the Blue Ridge into eastern
Virginia.  Indeed, this question began to cause me solicitude as soon
as I knew Early had escaped me at New Market, for I felt certain that
I should be urged to pursue the Confederates toward Charlottesville
and Gordonsville, and be expected to operate on that line against
Richmond.  For many reasons I was much opposed to such a plan, but
mainly because its execution would involve the opening of the Orange
and Alexandria railroad.  To protect this road against the raids of
the numerous guerrilla bands that infested the region through which
it passed, and to keep it in operation, would require a large force
of infantry, and would also greatly reduce my cavalry; besides, I
should be obliged to leave a force in the valley strong enough to
give security to the line of the upper Potomac and the Baltimore and
Ohio railroad, and this alone would probably take the whole of
Crook's command, leaving me a wholly inadequate number of fighting
men to prosecute a campaign against the city of Richmond.  Then, too,
I was in doubt whether the besiegers could hold the entire army at
Petersburg; and in case they could not, a number of troops sufficient
to crush me might be detached by Lee, moved rapidly by rail, and,
after overwhelming me, be quickly returned to confront General Meade.
I was satisfied, moreover, that my transportation could not supply me
further than Harrisonburg, and if in penetrating the Blue Ridge I met
with protracted resistance, a lack of supplies might compel me to
abandon the attempt at a most inopportune time.

I therefore advised that the Valley campaign be terminated north of
Staunton, and I be permitted to return, carrying out on the way my
original instructions for desolating the Shenandoah country so as to
make it untenable for permanent occupation by the Confederates.  I
proposed to detach the bulk of my army when this work of destruction
was completed, and send it by way of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad
through Washington to the Petersburg line, believing that I could
move it more rapidly by that route than by any other.  I was
confident that if a movement of this character could be made with
celerity it would culminate in the capture of Richmond and possibly
of General Lee's army, and I was in hopes that General Grant would
take the same view of the matter; but just at this time he was so
pressed by the Government and by public-opinion at the North, that he
advocated the wholly different conception of driving Early into
eastern Virginia, and adhered to this plan with some tenacity.
Considerable correspondence regarding the subject took place between
us, throughout which I stoutly maintained that we should not risk, by
what I held to be a false move, all that my army had gained.  I being
on the ground, General Grant left to me the final decision of the
question, and I solved the first step by determining to withdraw down
the valley at least as far as Strasburg, which movement was begun on
the 6th of October.

The cavalry as it retired was stretched across the country from the
Blue Ridge to the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, with orders to
drive off all stock and destroy all supplies as it moved northward.
The infantry preceded the cavalry, passing down the Valley pike, and
as we marched along the many columns of smoke from burning stacks,
and mills filled with grain, indicated that the adjacent country was
fast losing the features which hitherto had made it a great magazine
of stores for the Confederate armies.

During the 6th and 7th of October, the enemy's horse followed us up,
though at a respectful distance.  This cavalry was now under command
of General T. W. Rosser, who on October 5 had joined Early with an
additional brigade from Richmond.  As we proceeded the Confederates
gained confidence, probably on account of the reputation with which
its new commander had been heralded, and on the third day's march had
the temerity to annoy my rear guard considerably.  Tired of these
annoyances, I concluded to open the enemy's eyes in earnest, so that
night I told Torbert I expected him either to give Rosser a drubbing
next morning or get whipped himself, and that the infantry would be
halted until the affair was over; I also informed him that I proposed
to ride out to Round Top Mountain to see the fight.  When I decided
to have Rosser chastised, Merritt was encamped at the foot of Round
Top, an elevation just north of Tom's Brook, and Custer some six
miles farther north and west, near Tumbling Run.  In the night Custer
was ordered to retrace his steps before daylight by the Back road,
which is parallel to and about three miles from the Valley pike, and
attack the enemy at Tom's Brook crossing, while Merritt's
instructions were to assail him on the Valley pike in concert with
Custer.  About 7 in the morning, Custer's division encountered Rosser
himself with three brigades, and while the stirring sounds of the
resulting artillery duel were reverberating through the valley
Merritt moved briskly to the front and fell upon Generals Lomax and
Johnson on the Valley pike.  Merritt, by extending his right, quickly
established connection with Custer, and the two divisions moved
forward together under Torbert's direction, with a determination to
inflict on the enemy the sharp and summary punishment his rashness
had invited.

The engagement soon became general across the valley, both sides
fighting mainly mounted.  For about two hours the contending lines
struggled with each other along Tom's Brook, the charges and counter
charges at many points being plainly visible from the summit of Round
Top, where I had my headquarters for the time.

The open country permitting a sabre fight, both sides seemed bent on
using that arm.  In the centre the Confederates maintained their
position with much stubbornness, and for a time seemed to have
recovered their former spirit, but at last they began to give way on
both flanks, and as these receded, Merritt and Custer went at the
wavering ranks in a charge along the whole front.  The result was a
general smash-up of the entire Confederate line, the retreat quickly
degenerating into a rout the like of which was never before seen.
For twenty-six miles this wild stampede kept up, with our troopers
close at the enemy's heels; and the ludicrous incidents of the chase
never ceased to be amusing topics around the camp-fires of Merritt
and Custer.  In the fight and pursuit Torbert took eleven pieces of
artillery, with their caissons, all the wagons and ambulances the
enemy had on the ground, and three hundred prisoners.  Some of
Rosser's troopers fled to the mountains by way of Columbia Furnace,
and some up the Valley pike and into the Massamitten Range,
apparently not discovering that the chase had been discontinued till
south of Mount Jackson they rallied on Early's infantry.

After this catastrophe, Early reported to General Lee that his
cavalry was so badly demoralized that it should be dismounted; and
the citizens of the valley, intensely disgusted with the boasting and
swaggering that had characterized the arrival of the "Laurel Brigade"
in that section, baptized the action (known to us as Tom's Brook) the
"Woodstock Races," and never tired of poking fun at General Rosser
about his precipitate and inglorious flight.  (When Rosser arrived
from Richmond with his brigade he was proclaimed as the savior of the
Valley, and his men came all bedecked with laurel branches.)

On the 10th my army, resuming its retrograde movement, crossed to the
north side of Cedar Creek.  The work of repairing the Manassas Gap
branch of the Orange and Alexandria railroad had been begun some days
before, out from Washington, and, anticipating that it would be in
readiness to transport troops by the time they could reach Piedmont,
I directed the Sixth Corps to continue its march toward Front Royal,
expecting to return to the Army of the Potomac by that line.  By the
12th, however, my views regarding the reconstruction of this railroad
began to prevail, and the work on it was discontinued.  The Sixth
Corps, therefore, abandoned that route, and moved toward Ashby's Gap
with the purpose of marching direct to Washington, but on the 13th I
recalled it to Cedar Creek, in consequence of the arrival of the
enemy's infantry at Fisher's Hill, and the receipt, the night before,
of the following despatch, which again opened the question of an
advance on Gordonsville and Charlottesville:

"WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864, 12 M.


"Lieutenant-General Grant wishes a position taken far enough south to
serve as a base for further operations upon Gordonsville and
Charlottesville.  It must be strongly fortified and provisioned.
Some point in the vicinity of Manassas Gap would seem best suited for
all purposes.  Colonel Alexander, of the Engineers, will be sent to
consult with you as soon as you connect with General Augur.

"H.  W.  HALLECK, Major-General."

As it was well known in Washington that the views expressed in the
above despatch were counter to my convictions, I was the next day
required by the following telegram from Secretary Stanton to repair
to that city:

"WASHINGTON, October 13, 1864.

(through General Augur)

"If you can come here, a consultation on several points is extremely
desirable.  I propose to visit General Grant, and would like to see
you first.

"Secretary of War."

I got all ready to comply with the terms of Secretary Stanton's
despatch, but in the meantime the enemy appeared in my front in
force, with infantry and cavalry, and attacked Colonel Thoburn, who
had been pushed out toward Strasburg from Crook's command, and also
Custer's division of cavalry on the Back road.  As afterward
appeared, this attack was made in the belief that all of my troops
but Crook's had gone to Petersburg.  From this demonstration there
ensued near Hupp's Hill a bitter skirmish between Kershaw and
Thoburn, and the latter was finally compelled to withdraw to the
north bank of Cedar Creek.  Custer gained better results, however, on
the Back road, with his usual dash driving the enemy's cavalry away
from his front, Merritt's division then joining him and remaining on
the right.

The day's events pointing to a probability that the enemy intended to
resume the offensive, to anticipate such a contingency I ordered the
Sixth Corps to return from its march toward Ashby's Gap.  It reached
me by noon of the 14th, and went into position to the right and rear
of the Nineteenth Corps, which held a line along the north bank of
Cedar Creek, west of the Valley pike.  Crook was posted on the left
of the Nineteenth Corps and east of the Valley pike, with Thoburn's
division advanced to a round hill, which commanded the junction of
Cedar Creek and the Shenandoah River, while Torbert retained both
Merritt and Custer on the right of the Sixth Corps, and at the
same time covered with Powell the roads toward Front Royal.  My
head-quarters were at the Belle Grove House, which was to the west of
the pike and in rear of the Nineteenth Corps.  It was my intention to
attack the enemy as soon as the Sixth Corps reached me, but General
Early having learned from his demonstration that I had not detached as
largely as his previous information had led him to believe, on the
night of the 13th withdrew to Fisher's Hill; so, concluding that he
could not do us serious hurt from there, I changed my mind as to
attacking, deciding to defer such action till I could get to
Washington, and come to some definite understanding about my future

To carry out this idea, on the evening of the 15th I ordered all of
the cavalry under General Torbert to accompany me to Front Royal,
again intending to push it thence through Chester Gap to the Virginia
Central railroad at Charlottesville, to destroy the bridge over the
Rivanna River, while I passed through Manassas Gap to Rectortown, and
thence by rail to Washington.  On my arrival with the cavalry near
Front Royal on the 16th, I halted at the house of Mrs. Richards, on
the north bank of the river, and there received the following
despatch and inclosure from General Wright, who had been left in
command at Cedar Creek:

"October 16, 1864.


"I enclose you despatch which explains itself.  If the enemy should
be strongly reenforced in cavalry, he might, by turning our right,
give us a great deal of trouble.  I shall hold on here until the
enemy's movements are developed, and shall only fear an attack on my
right, which I shall make every preparation for guarding against and

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"H.  G.  WRIGHT, Major-General Commanding.
"Commanding Middle Military Division."


"Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you, and we will crush

"LONGSTREET, Lieutenant-General."

The message from Longstreet had been taken down as it was being
flagged from the Confederate signal-station on Three Top Mountain,
and afterward translated by our signal officers, who knew the
Confederate signal code.  I first thought it a ruse, and hardly worth
attention, but on reflection deemed it best to be on the safe side,
so I abandoned the cavalry raid toward Charlottesville, in order to
give General Wright the entire strength of the army, for it did not
seem wise to reduce his numbers while reinforcement for the enemy
might be near, and especially when such pregnant messages were
reaching Early from one of the ablest of the Confederate generals.
Therefore I sent the following note to General Wright:

"Front Royal, October 16, 1864.

"GENERAL: The cavalry is all ordered back to you; make your position
strong.  If Longstreet's despatch is true, he is under the impression
that we have largely detached.  I will go over to Augur, and may get
additional news.  Close in Colonel Powell, who will be at this point.
If the enemy should make an advance, I know you will defeat him.
Look well to your ground and be well prepared.  Get up everything
that can be spared.  I will bring up all I can, and will be up on
Tuesday, if not sooner.

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General.

"Commanding Sixth Army Corps."

At 5 o'clock on the evening of the 16th I telegraphed General Halleck
from Rectortown, giving him the information which had come to me from
Wright, asking if anything corroborative of it had been received from
General Grant, and also saying that I would like to see Halleck; the
telegram ending with the question: "Is it best for me to go to see
you?"  Next morning I sent back to Wright all the cavalry except one
regiment, which escorted me through Manassas Gap to the terminus of
the railroad from Washington.  I had with me Lieutenant-Colonel James
W.  Forsyth, chief-of-staff, and three of my aides, Major George A.
Forsyth, Captain Joseph O'Keefe, and Captain Michael V. Sheridan.  I
rode my black horse, Rienzi, and the others their own respective

Before leaving Cedar Creek I had fixed the route of my return to be
by rail from Washington to Martinsburg, and thence by horseback to
Winchester and Cedar Creek, and had ordered three hundred cavalry to
Martinsburg to escort me from that point to the front.  At Rectortown
I met General Augur, who had brought a force out from Washington to
reconstruct and protect the line of railroad, and through him
received the following reply from General Halleck:

"WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16 1864

"Rectortown, Va.

General Grant says that Longstreet brought with him no troops from
Richmond, but I have very little confidence in the information
collected at his headquarters.  If you can leave your command with
safety, come to Washington, as I wish to give you the views of the
authorities here.

"H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Chief-of-Staff."

In consequence of the Longstreet despatch, I felt a concern about my
absence which I could hardly repress, but after duly considering what
Halleck said, and believing that Longstreet could not unite with
Early before I got back, and that even if he did Wright would be able
to cope with them both, I and my staff, with our horses, took the
cars for Washington, where we arrived on the morning of the 17th at
about 8 o'clock.  I proceeded at an early hour to the War Department,
and as soon as I met Secretary Stanton, asked him for a special train
to be ready at 12 o'clock to take me to Martinsburg, saying that in
view of existing conditions I must get back to my army as quickly as
possible.  He at once gave the order for the train, and then the
Secretary, Halleck, and I proceeded to hold a consultation in regard
to my operating east of the Blue Ridge.  The upshot was that my views
against such a plan were practically agreed to, and two engineer
officers were designated to return with me for the purpose of
reporting on a defensive line in the valley that could be held while
the bulk of my troops were being detached to Petersburg.  Colonel
Alexander and Colonel Thom both of the Engineer Corps, reported to
accompany me, and at 12 o'clock we took the train.

We arrived about dark at Martinsburg, and there found the escort of
three hundred men which I had ordered before leaving Cedar Creek.  We
spent that night at Martinsburg, and early next morning mounted and
started up the Valley pike for Winchester, leaving Captain Sheridan
behind to conduct to the army the Commissioners whom the State of New
York had sent down to receive the vote of her troops in the coming
Presidential election.  Colonel Alexander was a man of enormous
weight, and Colonel Thom correspondingly light, and as both were
unaccustomed to riding we had to go slowly, losing so much time, in
fact, that we did not reach Winchester till between 3 and 4 o'clock
in the afternoon, though the distance is but twenty-eight miles.  As
soon as we arrived at Colonel Edwards's headquarters in the town,
where I intended stopping for the night, I sent a courier to the
front to bring me a report of the condition of affairs, and then took
Colonel Alexander out on the heights about Winchester, in order that
he might overlook the country, and make up his mind as to the utility
of fortifying there.  By the time we had completed our survey it was
dark, and just as we reached Colonel Edwards's house on our return a
courier came in from Cedar Creek bringing word that everything was
all right, that the enemy was quiet at Fisher's Hill, and that a
brigade of Grover's division was to make a reconnoissance in the
morning, the 19th, so about 10 o'clock I went to bed greatly
relieved, and expecting to rejoin my headquarters at my leisure next

Toward 6 o'clock the morning of the 19th, the officer on picket duty
at Winchester came to my room, I being yet in bed, and reported
artillery firing from the direction of Cedar Creek.  I asked him if
the firing was continuous or only desultory, to which he replied that
it was not a sustained fire, but rather irregular and fitful.  I
remarked: "It's all right; Grover has gone out this morning to make a
reconnoissance, and he is merely feeling the enemy." I tried to go to
sleep again, but grew so restless that I could not, and soon got up
and dressed myself.  A little later the picket officer came back and
reported that the firing, which could be distinctly heard from his
line on the heights outside of Winchester, was still going on.  I
asked him if it sounded like a battle, and as he again said that it
did not, I still inferred that the cannonading was caused by Grover's
division banging away at the enemy simply to find out what he was up
to.  However, I went down-stairs and requested that breakfast be
hurried up, and at the same time ordered the horses to be saddled and
in readiness, for I concluded to go to the front before any further
examinations were made in regard to the defensive line.

We mounted our horses between half-past 8 and 9, and as we were
proceeding up the street which leads directly through Winchester,
from the Logan residence, where Edwards was quartered, to the Valley
pike, I noticed that there were many women at the windows and doors
of the houses, who kept shaking their skirts at us and who were
otherwise markedly insolent in their demeanor, but supposing this
conduct to be instigated by their well-known and perhaps natural
prejudices, I ascribed to it no unusual significance.  On reaching
the edge of the town I halted a moment, and there heard quite
distinctly the sound of artillery firing in an unceasing roar.
Concluding from this that a battle was in progress, I now felt
confident that the women along the street had received intelligence
from the battle, field by the "grape-vine telegraph," and were in
raptures over some good news, while I as yet was utterly ignorant of
the actual situation.  Moving on, I put my head down toward the
pommel of my saddle and listened intently, trying to locate and
interpret the sound, continuing in this position till we had crossed
Mill Creek, about half a mile from Winchester.  The result of my
efforts in the interval was the conviction that the travel of the
sound was increasing too rapidly to be accounted for by my own rate
of motion, and that therefore my army must be falling back.

At Mill Creek my escort fell in behind, and we were going ahead at a
regular pace, when, just as we made the crest of the rise beyond the
stream, there burst upon our view the appalling spectacle of a
panic-stricken army-hundreds of slightly wounded men, throngs of others
unhurt but utterly demoralized, and baggage-wagons by the score, all
pressing to the rear in hopeless confusion, telling only too plainly
that a disaster had occurred at the front.  On accosting some of the
fugitives, they assured me that the army was broken up, in full
retreat, and that all was lost; all this with a manner true to that
peculiar indifference that takes possession of panic-stricken men.  I
was greatly disturbed by the sight, but at once sent word to Colonel
Edwards commanding the brigade in Winchester, to stretch his troops
across the valley, near Mill Creek, and stop all fugitives, directing
also that the transportation be, passed through and parked on the north
side of the town.

As I continued at a walk a few hundred yards farther, thinking all
the time of Longstreet's telegram to Early, "Be ready when I join
you, and we will crush Sheridan," I was fixing in my mind what I
should do.  My first thought was too stop the army in the suburbs of
Winchester as it came back, form a new line, and fight there; but as
the situation was more maturely considered a better conception
prevailed.  I was sure the troops had confidence in me, for
heretofore we had been successful; and as at other times they had
seen me present at the slightest sign of trouble or distress, I felt
that I ought to try now to restore their broken ranks, or, failing in
that, to share their fate because of what they had done hitherto.

About this time Colonel Wood, my chief commissary, arrived from the
front and gave me fuller intelligence, reporting that everything was
gone, my headquarters captured, and the troops dispersed.  When I
heard this I took two of my aides-de-camp, Major. George A. Forsyth
and Captain Joseph O'Keefe, and with twenty men from the escort
started for the front, at the same time directing Colonel James W.
Forsyth and Colonels Alexander and Thom to remain behind and do what
they could to stop the runaways.

For a short distance I traveled on the road, but soon found it so
blocked with wagons and wounded men that my progress was impeded, and
I was forced to take to the adjoining fields to make haste.  When
most of the wagons and wounded were past I returned to the road,
which was thickly lined with unhurt  men, who, having got far enough
to the rear to be out of danger, had halted, without any
organization, and begun cooking coffee, but when they saw me they
abandoned their coffee, threw up their hats, shouldered their
muskets, and as I passed along turned to follow with enthusiasm and
cheers.  To acknowledge this exhibition of feeling I took off my hat,
and with Forsyth and O'Keefe rode some distance in advance of my
escort, while every mounted officer who saw me galloped out on either
side of the pike to tell the men at a distance that I had come back.
In this way the news was spread to the stragglers off the road, when
they, too, turned their faces to the front and marched toward the
enemy, changing in a moment from the depths of depression, to the
extreme of enthusiasm.  I already knew that even in the ordinary
condition of mind enthusiasm is a potent element with soldiers, but
what I saw that day convinced me that if it can be excited from a
state of despondency its power is almost irresistible.  I said
nothing except to remark as I rode among those on the road: "If I had
been, with you this morning this disaster would not have happened.
We must face the other way; we will go back and recover our camp."

My first halt was made just north of Newtown, where I met a chaplain
digging his heels into the sides of his jaded horse, and making for
the rear with all possible speed.  I drew up for an instant, and
inquired of him how matters were going at the front.  He replied,
"Everything is lost; but all will be right when you get there"; yet
notwithstanding this expression of confidence in me, the parson at
once resumed his breathless pace to the rear.  At Newtown I was
obliged to make a circuit to the left, to get round the village.  I
could not pass through it, the streets were so crowded, but meeting
on this detour Major McKinley, of Crook's staff, he spread the news
of my return through the motley throng there.

When nearing the Valley pike, just south of Newtown I saw about
three-fourths of a mile west of the pike a body of troops, which
proved to be Ricketts's and Wheaton's divisions of the Sixth Corps,
and then learned that the Nineteenth Corps had halted a little to the
right and rear of these; but I did not stop, desiring to get to the
extreme front.  Continuing on parallel with the pike, about midway
between Newtown and Middletown I crossed to the west of it, and a
little later came up in rear of Getty's division of the Sixth Corps.
When I arrived, this division and the cavalry were the only troops in
the presence of and resisting the enemy; they were apparently acting
as a rear-guard at a point about three miles north of the line we
held at Cedar Creek when the battle began.  General Torbert was the
first officer to meet me, saying as he rode up, "My God! I am glad
you've come." Getty's division, when I found it, was about a mile
north of Middletown, posted on the reverse slope of some slightly
rising ground, holding a barricade made with fence-rails, and
skirmishing slightly with the enemy's pickets.  Jumping my horse over
the line of rails, I rode to the crest of the elevation, and there
taking off my hat, the men rose up from behind their barricade with
cheers of recognition.  An officer of the Vermont brigade, Colonel A.
S. Tracy, rode out to the front, and joining me, informed me that
General Louis A. Grant was in command there, the regular division
commander, General Getty, having taken charge of the Sixth Corps in
place of  Ricketts, wounded early in the action, while temporarily
commanding the corps.  I then turned back to the rear of Getty's
division, and as I came behind it, a line of regimental flags rose up
out of the ground, as it seemed, to welcome me.  They were mostly the
colors of Crook's troops, who had been stampeded and scattered in the
surprise of the morning.  The color-bearers, having withstood the
panic, had formed behind the troops of Getty.  The line with the
colors was largely composed of officers, among whom I recognized
Colonel R. B. Hayes, since president of the United States, one of the
brigade commanders.  At the close of this incident I crossed the
little narrow valley, or depression, in rear of Getty's line, and
dismounting on the opposite crest, established that point as my
headquarters.  In a few minutes some of my staff joined me, and the
first directions I gave were to have the Nineteenth Corps and the two
divisions of Wright's corps brought to the front, so they could be
formed on Getty's division, prolonged to the right; for I had already
decided to attack the enemy from that line as soon as I could get
matters in shape to take the offensive.  Crook met me at this time,
and strongly favored my idea of attacking, but said, however, that
most of his troops were gone.  General Wright came up a little later,
when I saw that he was wounded, a ball having grazed the point of his
chin so as to draw the blood plentifully.

Wright gave me a hurried account of the day's events, and when told
that we would fight the enemy on the line which Getty and the cavalry
were holding, and that he must go himself and send all his staff to
bring up the troops, he zealously fell in with the scheme; and it was
then that the Nineteenth Corps and two divisions of the Sixth were
ordered to the front from where they had been halted to the right and
rear of Getty.

After this conversation I rode to the east of the Valley pike and to
the left of Getty's division, to a point from which I could obtain a
good view of the front, in the mean time sending Major Forsyth to
communicate with Colonel Lowell (who occupied a position close in
toward the suburbs of Middletown and directly in front of Getty's
left) to learn whether he could hold on there.  Lowell replied that
he could.  I then ordered Custer's division back to the right flank,
and returning to the place where my headquarters had been established
I met near them Ricketts's division under General Keifer and General
Frank Wheaton's division, both marching to the front.  When the men
of these divisions saw me they began cheering and took up the double
quick to the front, while I turned back toward Getty's line to point
out where these returning troops should be placed.  Having done this,
I ordered General Wright to resume command of the Sixth Corps, and
Getty, who was temporarily in charge of it, to take command of his
own division.  A little later the Nineteenth Corps came up and was
posted between the right of the Sixth Corps and Middle Marsh Brook.

All this had consumed a great deal of time, and I concluded to visit
again the point to the east of the Valley pike, from where I had
first observed the enemy, to see what he was doing.  Arrived there, I
could plainly see him getting ready for attack, and Major Forsyth now
suggested that it would be well to ride along the line of battle
before the enemy assailed us, for although the troops had learned of
my return, but few of them had seen me.  Following his suggestion I
started in behind the men, but when a few paces had been taken I
crossed to the front and, hat in hand, passed along the entire length
of the infantry line; and it is from this circumstance that many of
the officers and men who then received me with such heartiness have
since supposed that that was my first appearance on the field.  But
at least two hours had elapsed since I reached the ground, for it was
after mid-day, when this incident of riding down the front took
place, and I arrived not later, certainly, than half-past 10 o'clock.

After re-arranging the line and preparing to attack I returned again
to observe the Confederates, who shortly began to advance on us.  The
attacking columns did not cover my entire front, and it appeared that
their onset would be mainly directed against the Nineteenth Corps,
so, fearing that they might be too strong for Emory on account of his
depleted condition (many of his men not having had time to get up
from the rear), and Getty's division being free from assault I
transferred a part of it from the extreme left to the support of the
Nineteenth Corps.  The assault was quickly repulsed by Emory,
however, and as the enemy fell back Getty's troops were returned to
their original place.  This repulse of the Confederates made me feel
pretty safe from further offensive operations on their part, and I
now decided to suspend the fighting till my thin ranks were further
strengthened by the men who were continually coming up from the rear,
and particularly till Crook's troops could be assembled on the
extreme left.

In consequence of the despatch already mentioned, "Be ready when I
join you, and we will crush Sheridan," since learned to have been
fictitious, I had been supposing all day that Longstreet's troops
were present, but as no definite intelligence on this point had been
gathered, I concluded, in the lull that now occurred, to ascertain
something positive regarding Longstreet; and Merritt having been
transferred to our left in the morning, I directed him to attack an
exposed battery then at the edge of Middletown, and capture some
prisoners.  Merritt soon did this work effectually, concealing his
intention till his troops got close in to the enemy, and then by a
quick dash gobbling up a number of Confederates.  When the prisoners
were brought in, I learned from them that the only troops of
Longstreet's in the fight were of Kershaw's division, which had
rejoined Early at Brown's Gap in the latter part of September, and
that the rest of Longstreet's corps was not on the field.  The
receipt of this information entirely cleared the way for me to take
the offensive, but on the heels of it came information that
Longstreet was marching by the Front Royal pike to strike my rear at
Winchester, driving Powell's cavalry in as he advanced.  This renewed
my uneasiness, and caused me to delay the general attack till after
assurances came from Powell denying utterly the reports as to
Longstreet, and confirming the statements of the prisoners.

Between half-past and 4 o'clock, I was ready to assail, and decided
to do so by advancing my infantry line in a swinging movement, so as
to gain the Valley pike with my right between Middletown and the
Belle Grove House; and when the order was passed along, the men
pushed steadily forward with enthusiasm and confidence.  General
Early's troops extended some little distance beyond our right, and
when my flank neared the overlapping enemy, he turned on it, with the
effect of causing a momentary confusion, but General McMillan quickly
realizing the danger, broke the Confederates at the reentering angle
by a counter charge with his brigade, doing his work so well that the
enemy's flanking troops were cut off from their main body and left to
shift for themselves.  Custer, who was just then moving in from the
west side of Middle Marsh Brook, followed McMillan's timely blow with
a charge of cavalry, but before starting out on it, and while his men
were forming, riding at full speed himself, to throw his arms around
my neck.  By the time he had disengaged himself from this embrace,
the troops broken by McMillan had gained some little distance to
their rear, but Custer's troopers sweeping across the Middletown
meadows and down toward Cedar Creek, took many of them prisoners
before they could reach the stream--so I forgave his delay.

My whole line as far as the eye could see was now driving everything
before it, from behind trees, stone walls, and all such sheltering
obstacles, so I rode toward the left to ascertain how matters were
getting on there.  As I passed along behind the advancing troops,
first General Grover, and then Colonel Mackenzie, rode up to welcome
me.  Both were severely wounded, and I told them to leave the field,
but they implored permission to remain till success was certain.
When I reached the Valley pike Crook had reorganized his men, and as
I desired that they should take part in the fight, for they were the
very same troops that had turned Early's flank at Winchester and at
Fisher's Hill, I ordered them to be pushed forward; and the alacrity
and celerity with which they moved on Middletown demonstrated that
their ill-fortune of the morning had not sprung from lack of valor.

Meanwhile Lowell's brigade of cavalry, which, it will be remembered,
had been holding on, dismounted, just north of Middletown ever since
the time I arrived from Winchester, fell to the rear for the purpose
of getting their led horses.  A momentary panic was created in the
nearest brigade of infantry by this withdrawal of Lowell, but as soon
as his men were mounted they charged the enemy clear up to the stone
walls in the edge of Middletown; at sight of this the infantry
brigade renewed its attack, and the enemy's right gave way.  The
accomplished Lowell received his death-wound in this courageous

All our troops were now moving on the retreating Confederates, and as
I rode to the front Colonel Gibbs, who succeeded Lowell, made ready
for another mounted charge, but I checked him from pressing the
enemy's right, in the hope that the swinging attack from my right
would throw most of the Confederates to the east of the Valley pike,
and hence off their line of retreat through Strasburg to Fisher's
Hill.  The eagerness of the men soon frustrated this anticipation,
however, the left insisting on keeping pace with the centre and
right, and all pushing ahead till we regained our old camps at Cedar
Creek.  Beyond Cedar Creek, at Strasburg, the pike makes a sharp turn
to the west toward Fisher's Hill, and here Merritt uniting with
Custer, they together fell on the flank of the retreating columns,
taking many prisoners, wagons, and guns, among the prisoners being
Major-General Ramseur, who, mortally wounded, died the next day.

When the news of the victory was received, General Grant directed a
salute of one hundred shotted guns to be fired into Petersburg, and
the President at once thanked the army in an autograph letter.  A few
weeks after, he promoted me, and I received notice of this in a
special letter from the Secretary of War, saying:

"--that for the personal gallantry, military skill, and just confidence
in the courage and patriotism of your troops, displayed by you on the
19th day of October at Cedar Run, whereby, under the blessing of
Providence, your routed army was reorganized, a great National
disaster averted, and a brilliant victory achieved over the rebels
for the third time in pitched battle within thirty days, Philip H.
Sheridan is appointed a major-general in the United States Army."

The direct result of the battle was the recapture of all the
artillery, transportation, and camp equipage we had lost, and in
addition twenty-four pieces of the enemy's artillery, twelve hundred
prisoners, and a number of battle-flags.  But more still flowed from
this victory, succeeding as it did the disaster of the morning, for
the reoccupation of our old camps at once re-established a morale
which for some hours had been greatly endangered by ill-fortune.

It was not till after the battle that I learned fully what had taken
place before my arrival, and then found that the enemy, having
gathered all the strength he could through the return of
convalescents and other absentees, had moved quietly from Fisher's
Hill, in the night of the 18th and early on the morning of the 19th,
to surprise my army, which, it should be remembered, was posted on
the north bank of Cedar Creek, Crook holding on the left of the
Valley pike, with Thoburn's division advanced toward the creek on
Duval's (under Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes) and Kitching's
provisional divisions to the north and rear of Thoburn.  The
Nineteenth Corps was on the right of Crook, extending in a
semi-circular line from the pike nearly to Meadow Brook, while the
Sixth Corps lay to the west of the brook in readiness to be used as a
movable column.  Merritt's division was to the right and rear of the
Sixth Corps, and about a mile and a half west of Merrit was Custer
covering the fords of Cedar Creek as far west as the Middle road.

General Early's plan was for one column under General Gordon,
consisting of three divisions of infantry (Gordon's, Ramseur's, and
Pegram's), and Payne's brigade of cavalry to cross the Shenandoah
River directly east of the Confederate works at Fisher's Hill, march
around the northerly face of the Massanutten Mountain, and again
cross the Shenandoah at Bowman's and McInturff's fords.  Payne's task
was to capture me at the Belle Grove House.  General Early himself,
with Kershaw's and Wharton's divisions, was to move through
Strasburg, Kershaw, accompanied by Early, to cross Cedar Creek at
Roberts's ford and connect with Gordon, while Wharton was to continue
on the Valley pike to Hupp's Hill and join the left of Kershaw, when
the crossing of the Valley pike over Cedar Creek became free.

Lomax's cavalry, then in the Luray Valley, was ordered to join the
right of Gordon on the field of battle, while Rosser was to carry the
crossing of Cedar Creek on the Back road and attack Custer.  Early's
conceptions were carried through in the darkness with little accident
or delay, Kershaw opening the fight by a furious attack on Thoburn's
division, while at dawn and in a dense fog Gordon struck Crook's
extreme left, surprising his pickets, and bursting into his camp with
such suddenness as to stampede Crook's men.  Gordon directing his
march on my headquarters (the Belle Grove House), successfully turned
our position as he gained the Valley pike, and General Wright was
thus forced to order the withdrawal of the Nineteenth Corps from its
post at the Cedar Creek crossing, and this enabled Wharton to get
over the stream there unmolested and join Kershaw early in the

After Crook's troops had been driven from their camps, General Wright
endeavored to form a line with the Sixth Corps to hold the Valley
pike to the left of the Nineteenth, but failing in this he ordered
the withdrawal of the latter corps, Ricketts, temporarily commanding
the Sixth Corps, checking Gordon till Emory had retired.  As already
stated, Wharton was thus permitted to cross Cedar Creek on the pike,
and now that Early had a continuous line, he pressed his advantage so
vigorously that the whole Union army was soon driven from its camps
in more or less disorder; and though much disjointed resistance was
displayed, it may be said that no systematic stand was made until
Getty's division, aided by Torbert's cavalry, which Wright had
ordered to the left early in the action, took up the ground where, on
arriving from Winchester, I found them.

When I left my command on the 16th, little did I anticipate that
anything like this would happen.  Indeed, I felt satisfied that Early
was, of himself, too weak to take the offensive, and although I
doubted the Longstreet despatch, yet I was confident that, even
should it prove true, I could get back before the junction could be
made, and at the worst I felt certain that my army was equal to
confronting the forces of Longstreet and Early combined.  Still, the
surprise of the morning might have befallen me as well as the general
on whom it did descend, and though it is possible that this could
have been precluded had Powell's cavalry been closed in, as suggested
in my despatch from Front Royal, yet the enemy's desperation might
have prompted some other clever and ingenious scheme for relieving
his fallen fortunes in the Shenandoah Valley.



Early's broken army practically made no halt in its retreat after the
battle of Cedar-Creek until it reached New Market, though at Fisher's
Hill was left a small rear-guard of cavalry, which hastily decamped,
however, when charged by Gibbs's brigade on the morning of the 20th.
Between the date of his signal defeat and the 11th of November, the
enemy's scattered forces had sufficiently reorganized to permit his
again making a reconnoissance in the valley as far north as Cedar
Creek, my army having meanwhile withdrawn to Kernstown, where it had
been finally decided that a defensive line should be held to enable
me to detach troops to General Grant, and where, by reconstructing
the Winchester and Potomac railroad from Stephenson's depot to
Harper's Ferry, my command might be more readily, supplied.  Early's
reconnoissance north of Cedar Creek ended in a rapid withdrawal of
his infantry after feeling my front, and with the usual ill-fortune
to his cavalry; Merritt and Custer driving Rosser and Lomax with ease
across Cedar Creek on the Middle and Back roads, while Powell's
cavalry struck McCausland near Stony Point, and after capturing two
pieces of artillery and about three hundred officers and men chased
him into the Luray Valley.

Early got back to New Market on the 14th of November, and, from lack
of subsistence, being unable to continue demonstrations to prevent my
reinforcement of General Grant, began himself to detach to General
Lee by returning Kershaw's division to Petersburg, as was definitely
ascertained by Torbert in a reconnoissance to Mount Jackson.  At this
time General Grant wished me to send him the Sixth Corps, and it was
got ready for the purpose, but when I informed him that Torbert's
reconnoissance had developed the fact that Early still retained four
divisions of infantry and one of cavalry, it was decided, on my
suggestion, to let the Sixth Corps remain till the season should be a
little further advanced, when the inclemency of the weather would
preclude infantry campaigning.  These conditions came about early in
December, and by the middle of the month the whole of the Sixth Corps
was at Petersburg; simultaneously with its transfer to that line
Early sending his Second Corps to Lee.

During the entire campaign I had been annoyed by guerrilla bands
under such partisan chiefs as Mosby, White, Gilmore, McNeil, and
others, and this had considerably depleted my line-of-battle
strength, necessitating as it did large, escorts for my
supply-trains.  The most redoubtable of these leaders was Mosby, whose
force was made up from the country around Upperville, east of the Blue
Ridge, to which section he always fled for a hiding-place when he
scented danger.  I had not directed any special operations against
these partisans while the campaign was active, but as Mosby's men had
lately killed, within my lines, my chief quartermaster, Colonel Tolles,
and Medical Inspector Ohlenchlager, I concluded to devote particular
attention to these "irregulars" during the lull that now occurred; so
on the 28th of November, I directed General Merritt to march to the
Loudoun Valley and operate against Mosby, taking care to clear the
country of forage and subsistence, so as to prevent the guerrillas from
being harbored there in the future their destruction or capture being
well-nigh impossible, on account of their intimate knowledge of the
mountain region.  Merritt carried out his instructions with his usual
sagacity and thoroughness, sweeping widely over each side of his
general line of march with flankers, who burned the grain and brought
in large herds of cattle, hogs and sheep, which were issued to the

While Merritt was engaged in this service the Baltimore and Ohio
railroad once more received the attention of the enemy; Rosser, with
two brigades of cavalry, crossing the Great North Mountain, capturing
the post of New Creek, with about five hundred prisoners and seven
guns, destroying all the supplies of the garrison, and breaking up
the railroad track.  This slight success of the Confederates in West
Virginia, and the intelligence that they were contemplating further
raids in that section, led me to send, Crook there with one division,
his other troops going to City Point; and, I hoped that all the
threatened places would thus be sufficiently protected, but
negligence at Beverly resulted in the capture of that station by
Rosser on the 11th of January.

In the meanwhile, Early established himself with Wharton's division
at Staunton in winter quarters, posting his cavalry in that
neighborhood also, except a detachment at New Market, and another
small one at the signal-station on Three Top Mountain.  The winter was
a most severe one, snow falling frequently to the depth of several
inches, and the mercury often sinking below zero.  The rigor of the
season was very much against the success of any mounted operations,
but General Grant being very desirous to have the railroads broken up
about Gordonsville and Charlottesville, on the 19th of December I
started the cavalry out for that purpose, Torbert, with Merritt and
Powell, marching through Chester Gap, while Custer moved toward
Staunton to make a demonstration in Torbert's favor, hoping to hold
the enemy's troops in the valley.  Unfortunately, Custer did not
accomplish all that was expected of him, and being surprised by
Rosser and Payne near Lacy's Springs before reveille, had to abandon
his bivouac and retreat down the valley, with the loss of a number of
prisoners, a few horses, and a good many horse equipments, for,
because of the suddenness of Rosser's attack, many of the men had no
time to saddle up.  As soon as Custer's retreat was assured,
Wharton's division of infantry was sent to Charlottesville to check
Torbert, but this had already been done by Lomax, with the assistance
of infantry sent up from Richmond.  Indeed, from the very beginning
of the movement the Confederates had been closely observing the
columns of Torbert and Custer, and in consequence of the knowledge
thus derived, Early had marched Lomax to Gordonsville in anticipation
of an attack there, at the same time sending Rosser down the valley
to meet Custer.  Torbert in the performance of his task captured two
pieces of artillery from Johnson's and McCausland's brigades, at
Liberty Mills on the Rapidan River, but in the main the purpose of
the raid utterly failed, so by the 27th of December he returned,
many, of his men badly frost-bitten from the extreme cold which had

This expedition practically closed all operations for the season, and
the cavalry was put into winter cantonment near Winchester.  The
distribution of my infantry to Petersburg and West Virginia left with
me in the beginning of the new year, as already stated, but the one
small division of the Nineteenth Corps.  On account of this
diminution of force, it became necessary for me to keep thoroughly
posted in regard to the enemy, and I now realized more than I had
done hitherto how efficient my scouts had become since under the
control of Colonel Young; for not only did they bring me almost every
day intelligence from within Early's lines, but they also operated
efficiently against the guerrillas infesting West Virginia.

Harry Gilmore, of Maryland, was the most noted of these since the
death of McNeil, and as the scouts had reported him in Harrisonburg
the latter part of January, I directed two of the most trustworthy to
be sent to watch his movements and ascertain his purposes.  In a few
days these spies returned with the intelligence that Gilmore was on
his way to Moorefield, the centre of a very disloyal section in West
Virginia, about ninety miles southwest of Winchester, where, under
the guise of a camp-meeting, a gathering was to take place, at which
he expected to enlist a number of men, be joined by a party of about
twenty recruits coming from Maryland, and then begin depredations
along the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.  Believing that Gilmore might
be captured, I directed Young to undertake the task, and as a
preliminary step he sent to Moorefield two of his men who early in
the war had "refugeed" from that section and enlisted in one of the
Union regiments from West Virginia.  In about a week these men came
back and reported that Gilmore was living at a house between three
and four miles from Moorefield, and gave full particulars as to his
coming and going, the number of men he had about there and where they

With this knowledge at hand I directed Young to take twenty of his
best men and leave that night for Moorefield, dressed in Confederate
uniforms, telling him that I would have about three hundred cavalry
follow in his wake when he had got about fifteen miles start, and
instructing him to pass his party off as a body of recruits for
Gilmore coming from Maryland and pursued by the Yankee cavalry.  I
knew this would allay suspicion and provide him help on the road;
and, indeed, as Colonel Whittaker, who alone knew the secret,
followed after the fleeing "Marylanders," he found that their advent
had caused so little remark that the trail would have been lost had
he not already known their destination.  Young met with a hearty,
welcome wherever he halted on the way, and as he passed through the
town of Moorefield learned with satisfaction that Gilmore still made
his headquarters at the house where the report of the two scouts had
located him a few days before.  Reaching the designated place about
12 o'clock on the night of the 5th of February, Young, under the
representation that he had come directly from Maryland and was being
pursued by the Union cavalry, gained immediate access to Gilmore's
room.  He found the bold guerrilla snugly tucked in bed, with two
pistols lying on a chair near by.  He was sleeping so soundly that to
arouse him Young had to give him a violent shake.  As he awoke and
asked who was disturbing his slumbers, Young, pointing at him a
cocked six-shooter, ordered him to dress without delay, and in answer
to his inquiry, informed him that he was a prisoner to one of
Sheridan's staff.  Meanwhile Gilmore's men had learned of his
trouble, but the early appearance of Colonel Whittaker caused them to
disperse; thus the last link between Maryland and the Confederacy was
carried a prisoner to Winchester, whence he was sent to Fort Warren.

The capture of Gilmore caused the disbandment of the party he had
organized at the "camp-meeting," most of the men he had recruited
returning to their homes discouraged, though some few joined the
bands of Woodson and young Jesse McNeil, which, led by the latter,
dashed into Cumberland, Maryland, at 3 O'clock on the morning of the
21st of February and made a reprisal by carrying off General Crook
and General Kelly, and doing their work so silently and quickly that
they escaped without being noticed, and were some distance on their
way before the colored watchman at the hotel where Crook was
quartered could compose himself enough to give the alarm.  A troop of
cavalry gave hot chase from Cumberland, striving to intercept the
party at Moorefield and other points, but all efforts were fruitless,
the prisoners soon being beyond reach.

Although I had adopted the general rule of employing only soldiers as
scouts, there was an occasional exception to it.  I cannot say that
these exceptions proved wholly that an ironclad observance of the
rule would have been best, but I am sure of it in one instance.  A
man named Lomas, who claimed to be a Marylander, offered me his
services as a spy, and coming highly recommended from Mr. Stanton,
who had made use of him in that capacity, I employed him.  He made
many pretensions, often appearing over anxious to impart information
seemingly intended to impress me with his importance, and yet was
more than ordinarily intelligent, but in spite of that my confidence
in him was by no means unlimited.  I often found what he reported to
me as taking place within the Confederate lines corroborated by
Young's men, but generally there were discrepancies in his tales,
which led me to suspect that he was employed by the enemy as well as
by me.  I felt, however, that with good watching he could do me
little harm, and if my suspicions were incorrect he might be very
useful, so I held on to him.

Early in February Lomas was very solicitous for me to employ a man
who, he said, had been with Mosby, but on account of some quarrel in
the irregular camp had abandoned that leader.  Thinking that with two
of them I might destroy the railroad bridges east of Lynchburg, I
concluded, after the Mosby man had been brought to my headquarters by
Lomas about 12 o'clock one night, to give him employment, at the same
time informing Colonel Young that I suspected their fidelity,
however, and that he must test it by shadowing their every movement.
When Lomas's companion entered my room he was completely disguised,
but on discarding the various contrivances by which his identity was
concealed he proved to be a rather slender, dark-complexioned,
handsome young man, of easy address and captivating manners.  He gave
his name as Renfrew, answered all my questions satisfactorily, and
went into details about Mosby and his men which showed an intimacy
with them at some time.  I explained to the two men the work I had
laid out for them, and stated the sum of money I would give to have
it done, but stipulated that in case of failure there would be no
compensation whatever beyond the few dollars necessary for their
expenses.  They readily assented, and it was arranged that they
should start the following night.  Meanwhile Young had selected his
men to shadow them, and in two days reported my spies as being
concealed at Strasburg, where they remained, without making the
slightest effort to continue on their mission, and were busy, no
doubt, communicating with the enemy, though I was not able to fasten
this on them.  On the 16th of February they returned to Winchester,
and reported their failure, telling so many lies about their
hazardous adventure as to remove all remaining doubt as to their
double-dealing.  Unquestionably they were spies from the enemy, and
hence liable to the usual penalties of such service; but it struck me
that through them, I might deceive Early as to the time of opening
the spring campaign, I having already received from General Grant an
intimation of what was expected of me.  I therefore retained the men
without even a suggestion of my knowledge of their true character,
Young meanwhile keeping close watch over all their doings.

Toward the last of February General Early had at Staunton two
brigades of infantry under Wharton.  All the rest of the infantry
except Echol's brigade, which was in southwestern Virginia, had been
sent to Petersburg during the winter, and Fitz. Lee's two brigades of
cavalry also.  Rosser's men were mostly at their homes, where, on
account of a lack of subsistence and forage in the valley, they had
been permitted to go, subject to call.  Lomax's cavalry was at
Millboro, west of Staunton, where supplies were obtainable.  It was
my aim to get well on the road before Early could collect these
scattered forces, and as many of the officers had been in the habit
of amusing themselves fox-hunting during the latter part of the
winter, I decided to use the hunt as an expedient for stealing a
march on the enemy, and had it given out officially that a grand
fox-chase would take place on the 29th of February.  Knowing that
Lomas, and Renfrew would spread the announcement South, they were
permitted to see several red foxes that had been secured, as well as a
large pack of hounds which Colonel Young had collected for the sport,
and were then started on a second expedition to burn the bridges.  Of
course, they were shadowed as usual, and two days later, after they had
communicated with friends from their hiding-place, in Newtown, they
were arrested.  On the way north to Fort Warren they escaped from their
guards when passing through Baltimore, and I never heard of them again,
though I learned that, after the assassination of, Mr. Lincoln,
Secretary Stanton strongly suspected his friend Lomas of being
associated with the conspirators, and it then occurred to me that the
good-looking Renfrew may have been Wilkes Booth, for he certainly bore
a strong resemblance to Booth's pictures.

On the 27th of February my cavalry entered upon the campaign which
cleared the Shenandoah Valley of every remnant of organized
Confederates.  General Torbert being absent on leave at this time, I
did not recall him, but appointed General Merritt Chief of Cavalry.
for Torbert had disappointed me on two important occasions--in the
Luray Valley during the battle of Fisher's Hill, and on the recent
Gordonsville expedition--and I mistrusted his ability to conduct any
operations requiring much self-reliance.  The column was composed of
Custer's and Devin's divisions of cavalry, and two sections of
artillery, comprising in all about 10,000 officers and men.  On
wheels we had, to accompany this column, eight ambulances, sixteen
ammunition wagons, a pontoon train for eight canvas boats, and a
small supply-train, with fifteen days' rations of coffee, sugar, and
salt, it being intended to depend on the country for the meat and
bread ration, the men carrying in their haversacks nearly enough to
subsist them till out of the exhausted valley.

Grant's orders were for me to destroy the Virginia Central railroad
and the James River canal, capture Lynchburg if practicable, and then
join General Sherman in North Carolina wherever he might be found, or
return to Winchester, but as to joining Sherman I was to be governed
by the state of affairs after the projected capture of Lynchburg.
The weather was cold, the valley and surrounding mountains being
still covered with snow; but this was fast disappearing, however,
under the heavy rain that was coming down as the column moved along
up the Valley pike at a steady gait that took us to Woodstock the
first day.  The second day we crossed the North Fork of the
Shenandoah on our pontoon-bridge, and by night-fall reached Lacy's
Springs, having seen nothing of the enemy as yet but a few partisans
who hung on our flanks in the afternoon.

March 1 we encountered General Rosser at Mt. Crawford, he having been
able to call together only some five or six hundred of his troops,
our unsuspected march becoming known to Early only the day before.
Rosser attempted to delay us here, trying to burn the bridges over
the Middle Fork of the Shenandoah, but two regiments from Colonel
Capehart's brigade swam the stream and drove Rosser to Kline's Mills,
taking thirty prisoners and twenty ambulances and wagons.

Meanwhile General Early was busy at Staunton, but not knowing my
objective point, he had ordered the return of Echol's brigade from
southwestern Virginia for the protection of Lynchburg, directed
Lomax's cavalry to concentrate at Pond Gap for the purpose of
harassing me if I moved toward Lynchburg, and at the same time
marched Wharton's two brigades of infantry, Nelson's artillery, and
Rosser's cavalry to Waynesboro', whither he went also to remain till
the object of my movement was ascertained.

I entered Staunton the morning of March 2, and finding that Early had
gone to Waynesboro' with his infantry and Rosser, the question at
once arose whether I should continue my march to Lynchburg direct,
leaving my adversary in my rear, or turn east and open the way
through Rockfish Gap to the Virginia Central railroad and James River
canal.  I felt confident of the success of the latter plan, for I
knew that Early numbered there not more than two thousand men; so,
influenced by this, and somewhat also by the fact that Early had left
word in Staunton that he would fight at Waynesboro', I directed
Merritt to move toward that place with Custer, to be closely followed
by Devin, who was to detach one brigade to destroy supplies at
Swoope's depot.  The by-roads were miry beyond description, rain
having fallen almost incessantly since we left Winchester, but
notwithstanding the down-pour the column pushed on, men and horses
growing almost unrecognizable from the mud covering them from head to

General Early was true to the promise made his friends in Staunton,
for when Custer neared Waynesboro' he found, occupying a line of
breastworks on a ridge west of the town, two brigades of infantry,
with eleven pieces of artillery and Rosser's cavalry.  Custer, when
developing the position of the Confederates, discovered that their
left was somewhat exposed instead of resting on South River; he
therefore made his dispositions for attack, sending around that flank
the dismounted regiments from Pennington's brigade, while he himself,
with two brigades, partly mounted and partly dismounted, assaulted
along the whole line of breastworks.  Pennington's flanking movement
stampeded the enemy in short order, thus enabling Custer to carry the
front with little resistance, and as he did so the Eighth New York
and First Connecticut, in a charge in column, broke through the
opening made by Custer, and continued on through the town of
Waynesboro', never stopping till they crossed South River.  There,
finding themselves immediately in the enemy's rear, they promptly
formed as foragers and held the east bank of the stream till all the
Confederates surrendered except Rosser, who succeeded in making his
way back to the valley, and Generals Early, Wharton, Long, and
Lilley, who, with fifteen or twenty men, escaped across the Blue
Ridge.  I followed up the victory immediately by despatching Capehart
through Rock-fish Gap, with orders to encamp on the east side of the
Blue Ridge.  By reason of this move all the enemy's stores and
transportation fell into our hands, while we captured on the field
seventeen battle flags, sixteen hundred officers and men, and eleven
pieces of artillery.  This decisive victory closed hostilities in the
Shenandoah Valley.  The prisoners and artillery were sent back to
Winchester next morning, under a guard of 1,500 men, commanded by
Colonel J.  H.  Thompson, of the First New Hampshire.

The night of March 2 Custer camped at Brookfield, Devin remaining at
Waynesboro'.  The former started for Charlottesville the next morning
early, followed by Devin with but two brigades, Gibbs having been
left behind to blow up the iron railroad bridge across South River.
Because of the incessant rains and spring thaws the roads were very
soft, and the columns cut them up terribly, the mud being thrown by
the sets of fours across the road in ridges as much as two feet high,
making it most difficult to get our wagons along, and distressingly
wearing on the animals toward the middle and rear of the columns.
Consequently I concluded to rest at Charlottesville for a couple of
days and recuperate a little, intending at the same time to destroy,
with small parties, the railroad from that point toward Lynchburg.
Custer reached Charlottesville the 3d, in the afternoon, and was met
at the outskirts by a deputation of its citizens, headed by the
mayor, who surrendered the town with medieval ceremony, formally
handing over the keys of the public buildings and of the University
of Virginia.  But this little scene did not delay Custer long enough
to prevent his capturing, just beyond the village, a small body of
cavalry and three pieces of artillery.  Gibbs's brigade, which was
bringing up my mud-impeded train, did not arrive until the 5th of
March.  In the mean time Young's scouts had brought word that the
garrison of Lynchburg was being increased and the fortifications
strengthened, so that its capture would be improbable.  I decided,
however, to move toward the place as far as Amherst Court House,
which is sixteen miles short of the town, so Devin, under Merritt's
supervision, marched along the James River, destroying the canal,
while Custer pushed ahead on the railroad and broke it up.  The two
columns were to join at New Market, whence I intended to cross the
James River at some point east of Lynchburg, if practicable, so as to
make my way to Appomattox Court House, and destroy the Southside
railroad as far east as Farmville.  Owing to its swollen condition
the river was unfordable but knowing that there was a covered bridge
at Duguidsville, I hoped to secure it by a dash, and cross there, but
the enemy, anticipating this, had filled the bridge with inflammable
material, and just as our troops got within striking distance it
burst into flames.  The bridge at Hardwicksville also having been
burned by the enemy, there was now no means of crossing except by
pontoons.  But, unfortunately, I had only eight of these, and they
could not be made to span the swollen river.

Being thus unable to cross until the river should fall, and knowing
that it was impracticable to join General Sherman, and useless to
adhere to my alternative instructions to return to Winchester, I now
decided to destroy still more thoroughly the James River canal and
the Virginia Central railroad and then join General Grant in front of
Petersburg.  I was master of the whole country north of the James as
far down as Goochland; hence the destruction of these arteries of
supply could be easily compassed, and feeling that the war was
nearing its end, I desired my cavalry to be in at the death.

On March 9 the main column started eastward down the James River,
destroying locks, dams, and boats, having been preceded by Colonel
Fitzhugh's brigade of Devin's division in a forced march to Goochland
and Beaver Dam Creek, with orders to destroy everything below
Columbia.  I made Columbia on the 10th, and from there sent a
communication to General Grant reporting what had occurred, informing
him of my condition and intention, asking him to send forage and
rations to meet me at the White House, and also a pontoon-bridge to
carry me over the Pamunkey, for in view of the fact that hitherto it
had been impracticable to hold Lee in the trenches around Petersburg,
I regarded as too hazardous a march down the south bank of the
Pamunkey, where the enemy, by sending troops out from Richmond, might
fall upon my flank and rear.  It was of the utmost importance that
General Grant should receive these despatches without chance of
failure, in order that I might, depend absolutely on securing
supplies at the White House; therefore I sent the message in
duplicate, one copy overland direct to City Point by two scouts,
Campbell and Rowan, and the other by Fannin and Moore, who were to go
down the James River in a small boat to Richmond, join the troops in
the trenches in front of Petersburg, and, deserting to the Union
lines, deliver their tidings into General Grant's hands.  Each set of
messengers got through, but the copy confided to Campbell and Rowan
was first at Grant's headquarters.

I halted for one day at Columbia to let my trains catch up, for it
was still raining and the mud greatly delayed the teams, fatiguing
and wearying the mules so much that I believe we should have been
forced to abandon most of the wagons except for the invaluable help
given by some two thousand negroes who had attached themselves to the
column: they literally lifted the wagons out of the mud.  From
Columbia Merritt, with Devin's division, marched to Louisa Court
House and destroyed the Virginia Central to Frederick's Hall.
Meanwhile Custer was performing similar work from Frederick's Hall to
Beaver Dam Station, and also pursued for a time General Early, who,
it was learned from despatches captured in the telegraph office at
Frederick's Hall, was in the neighborhood with a couple of hundred
men.  Custer captured some of these men and two of Early's
staff-officers, but the commander of the Valley District, accompanied
by a single orderly, escaped across the South Anna and next day made
his way to Richmond, the last man of the Confederate army that had so
long contended with us in the Shenandoah Valley.

At Frederick's Hall, Young's scouts brought me word from Richmond
that General Longstreet was assembling a force there to prevent my
junction with Grant, and that Pickett's division, which had been sent
toward Lynchburg to oppose my march, and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, were
moving east on the Southside railroad, with the object of
circumventing me.  Reasoning that Longstreet could interpose
effectually only by getting to the White House ahead of me, I pushed
one column under Custer across the South Anna, by way of Ground
Squirrel bridge, to Ashland, where it united with Merritt, who had
meanwhile marched through Hanover Junction.  Our appearance at
Ashland drew the Confederates out in that direction, as was hoped,
so, leaving Colonel Pennington's brigade there to amuse them, the
united command retraced its route to Mount Carmel church to cross the
North Anna.  After dark Pennington came away, and all the troops
reached the church by midnight of the 15th.

Resuming the march at an early hour next morning, we took the road by
way of King William Court House to the White House, where, arriving
on the 18th, we found, greatly to our relief, the supplies which I
had requested to be sent there.  In the meanwhile the enemy had
marched to Hanover Court House, but being unable either to cross the
Pamunkey there or forestall me at the White House on the south side
of the river, he withdrew to Richmond without further effort to
impede my column.

The hardships of this march far exceeded those of any previous
campaigns by the cavalry.  Almost incessant rains had drenched us for
sixteen days and nights, and the swollen streams and well-nigh
bottomless roads east of Staunton presented grave difficulties on
every hand, but surmounting them all, we destroyed the enemy's means
of subsistence, in quantities beyond computation, and permanently
crippled the Virginia Central railroad, as well as the James River
canal, and as each day brought us nearer the Army of the Potomac, all
were filled with the comforting reflection that our work in the
Shenandoah Valley had been thoroughly done, and every one was buoyed
up by the cheering thought that we should soon take part in the final
struggle of the war.



The transfer of my command from the Shenandoah Valley to the field of
operations in front of Petersburg was not anticipated by General
Grant; indeed, the despatch brought from Columbia by my scouts,
asking that supplies be sent me at the White House, was the first
word that reached him concerning the move.  In view of my message the
general-in-chief decided to wait my arrival before beginning spring
operations with the investing troops south of the James River, for he
felt the importance of having my cavalry at hand in a campaign which
he was convinced would wind up the war.  We remained a few days at
the White House resting and refitting the cavalry, a large amount of
shoeing being necessary; but nothing like enough horses were at hand
to replace those that had died or been disabled on the mud march from
Staunton to the Pamunkey River, so a good many of the men were still
without mounts, and all such were sent by boat to the dismounted camp
near City Point.  When all was ready the column set out for Hancock
Station, a point on the military railroad in front of Petersburg, and
arriving there on the 27th of March, was in orders reunited with its
comrades of the Second Division, who had been serving with the Army
of the Potomac since we parted from them the previous August.
General Crook, who had been exchanged within a few days, was now in
command of this Second Division.  The reunited corps was to enter
upon the campaign as a separate army, I reporting directly to General
Grant; the intention being thus to reward me for foregoing, of my own
choice, my position as a department commander by joining the armies
at Petersburg.

Taking the road across the Peninsula, I started from the White House
with Merritt's column on the 25th of March and encamped that night at
Harrison's Landing.  Very early next morning, in conformity with a
request from General Grant, I left by boat for City Point, Merritt
meanwhile conducting the column across the James River to the point
of rendezvous, The trip to City Point did not take long, and on
arrival at army headquarters the first person I met was General John
A. Rawlins, General Grant's chief-of-staff.  Rawlins was a man of
strong likes and dislikes, and positive always both in speech and
action, exhibiting marked feelings when greeting any one, and on this
occasion met me with much warmth.  His demonstrations of welcome
over, we held a few minutes' conversation about the coming campaign,
he taking strong ground against a part of the plan of operations
adopted, namely, that which contemplated my joining General Sherman's
army.  His language was unequivocal and vehement, and when he was
through talking, he conducted me to General Grant's quarters, but he
himself did not enter.

General Grant was never impulsive, and always met his officers in an
unceremonious way, with a quiet "How are you" soon putting one at his
ease, since the pleasant tone in which he spoke gave assurance of
welcome, although his manner was otherwise impassive.  When the
ordinary greeting was over, he usually waited for his visitor to open
the conversation, so on this occasion I began by giving him the
details of my march from Winchester, my reasons for not joining
Sherman, as contemplated in my instructions, and the motives which
had influenced me to march to the White House.  The other provision
of my orders on setting out from Winchester--the alternative return
to that place--was not touched upon, for the wisdom of having ignored
that was fully apparent.  Commenting on this recital of my doings,
the General referred only to the tortuous course of my march from
Waynesboro' down, our sore trials, and the valuable services of the
scouts who had brought him tidings of me, closing with the remark
that it was, rare a department commander voluntarily deprived himself
of independence, and added that I should not suffer for it.  Then
turning to the business for which he had called me to City Point, he
outlined what he expected me to do; saying that I was to cut loose
from the Army of the Potomac by passing its left flank to the
southward along the line of the Danville railroad, and after crossing
the Roanoke River, join General Sherman.  While speaking, he handed
me a copy of a general letter of instructions that had been drawn up
for the army on the 24th.  The letter contained these words
concerning the movements of my command:

"The cavalry under General Sheridan, joined by the division now under
General Davies, will move at the same time (29th inst.) by the Weldon
road and the Jerusalem plank-road, turning west from the latter
before crossing the Nottoway, and west with the whole column before
reaching Stony Creek.  General Sheridan will then move independently
under other instructions which will be given him.  All dismounted
cavalry belonging to the Army of the Potomac, and the dismounted
cavalry from the Middle Military Division not required for guarding
property belonging to their arm of the service, will report to
Brigadier-General Benham to be added to the defenses of City Point."

When I had gone over the entire letter I showed plainly that I was
dissatisfied with it, for, coupled with what the General had outlined
orally, which I supposed was the "other instructions," I believed it
foreshadowed my junction with General Sherman.  Rawlins thought so
too, as his vigorous language had left no room to doubt, so I
immediately began to offer my objections to the programme.  These
were, that it would be bad policy to send me down to the Carolinas
with a part of the Army of the Potomac, to come back to crush Lee
after the destruction of General Johnston's army; such a course would
give rise to the charge that his own forces around Petersburg were
not equal to the task, and would seriously affect public opinion in
the North; that in fact my cavalry belonged to the Army of the
Potomac, which army was able unaided to destroy Lee, and I could not
but oppose any dispersion of its strength.

All this was said in a somewhat emphatic manner, and when I had
finished he quietly told me that the portion of my instructions from
which I so strongly dissented was intended as a "blind" to cover any
check the army in its general move, to the left might meet with, and
prevent that element in the North which held that the war could be
ended only through negotiation, from charging defeat.  The fact that
my cavalry was not to ultimately join Sherman was a great relief to
me, and after expressing the utmost confidence in the plans unfolded
for closing the war by directing every effort to the annihilation of
Lee's army, I left him to go to General Ingalls's quarters.  On the
way I again met Rawlins, who, when I told him that General Grant had
intimated his intention to modify the written plan of operations so
far as regarded the cavalry, manifested the greatest satisfaction,
and I judged from this that the new view of the matter had not
previously been communicated to the chief-of-staff, though he must
have been acquainted of course with the programme made out on the
24th of March.

Toward noon General Grant sent for me to accompany him up the river.
When I joined the General he informed me that the President was on
board the boat--the steamer Mary Martin.  For some days Mr. Lincoln
had been at City Point, established on the steamer River Queen,
having come down from Washington to be nearer his generals, no doubt,
and also to be conveniently situated for the reception of tidings
from the front when operations began, for he could not endure the
delays in getting news to Washington.  This trip up the James had
been projected by General Meade, but on account of demands at the
front he could not go, so the President, General Grant, and I
composed the party.  We steamed up to where my cavalry was crossing
on the pontoon-bridge below the mouth of the Dutch Gap canal, and for
a little while watched the column as it was passing over the river,
the bright sunshine presaging good weather, but only to delude, as
was proved by the torrents of rain brought by the succeeding days of
March.  On the trip the President was not very cheerful.  In fact, he
was dejected, giving no indication of his usual means of diversion,
by which (his quaint stories) I had often heard he could find relief
from his cares.  He spoke to me of the impending operations and asked
many questions, laying stress upon the one, "What would be the result
when the army moved out to the left, if the enemy should come down
and capture City Point?" the question being prompted, doubtless, by
the bold assault on our lines and capture of Fort Steadman two days
before by General Gordon.  I answered that I did not think it at all
probable that General Lee would undertake such a desperate measure to
relieve the strait he was in; that General Hartranft's successful
check to Gordon had ended, I thought, attacks of such a character;
and in any event General Grant would give Lee all he could attend to
on the left.  Mr. Lincoln said nothing about my proposed route of
march, and I doubt if he knew of my instructions, or was in
possession at most of more than a very general outline of the plan of
campaign.  It was late when the Mary Martin returned to City Point,
and I spent the night there with General Ingalls.

The morning of the 27th I went out to Hancock Station to look after
my troops and prepare for moving two days later.  In the afternoon I
received a telegram from General Grant, saying: "General Sherman will
be here this evening to spend a few hours.  I should like to have you
come down."  Sherman's coming was a surprise--at least to me it was
--this despatch being my first intimation of his expected arrival.
Well knowing the zeal and emphasis with which General Sherman would
present his views, there again came into my mind many misgivings with
reference to the movement of the cavalry, and I made haste to start
for Grant's headquarters.  I got off a little after 7 o'clock, taking
the rickety military railroad, the rails of which were laid on the
natural surface of the ground, with grading only here and there at
points of absolute necessity, and had not gone far when the
locomotive jumped the track.  This delayed my arrival at City Point
till near midnight, but on repairing to the little cabin that
sheltered the general-in-chief, I found him and Sherman still up
talking over the problem whose solution was near at hand.  As already
stated, thoughts as to the tenor of my instructions became uppermost
the moment I received the telegram in the afternoon, and they
continued to engross and disturb me all the way down the railroad,
for I feared that the telegram foreshadowed, under the propositions
Sherman would present, a more specific compliance with the written
instructions than General Grant had orally assured me would be

My entrance into the shanty suspended the conversation for a moment
only, and then General Sherman, without prelude, rehearsed his plans
for moving his army, pointing out with every detail how he would come
up through the Carolinas to join the troops besieging Petersburg and
Richmond, and intimating that my cavalry, after striking the
Southside and Danville railroads, could join him with ease.  I made
no comments on the projects for moving, his own troops, but as soon
as opportunity offered, dissented emphatically from the proposition
to have me join the Army of the Tennessee, repeating in substance
what I had previously expressed to General Grant.

My uneasiness made me somewhat too earnest, I fear, but General Grant
soon mollified me, and smoothed matters over by practically repeating
what he had told me in regard to this point at the close of our
interview the day before, so I pursued the subject no further.  In a
little while the conference ended, and I again sought lodging at the
hospitable quarters of Ingalls.

Very early the next morning, while I was still in bed, General
Sherman came to me and renewed the subject of my joining him, but
when he saw that I was unalterably opposed to it the conversation
turned into other channels, and after we had chatted awhile he
withdrew, and later in the day went up the river with the President,
General Grant, and Admiral Porter, I returning to my command at
Hancock Station, where my presence was needed to put my troops in
march next day.

During the entire winter General Grant's lines fronting Petersburg
had extended south of the Appomattox River, practically from that
stream around to where the Vaughn road crosses Hatcher's Run, and
this was nearly the situation Wilien the cavalry concentrated at
Hancock Station, General Weitzel holding the line north of the
Appomattox, fronting Richmond and Bermuda Hundred.

The instructions of the 24th of March contemplated that the campaign
should begin with the movement of Warren's corps (the Fifth) at
3 o'clock on the morning of the 29th, and Humphreys's (the Second) at
6; the rest of the infantry holding on in the trenches.  The cavalry
was to move in conjunction with Warren and Humphreys, and make its
way out beyond our left as these corps opened the road.

The night of the 28th I received the following additional
instructions, the general tenor of which again disturbed me, for
although I had been assured that I was not to join General Sherman,
it will be seen that the supplemental directions distinctly present
that alternative, and I therefore feared that during the trip up the
James River on the morning of the 28th General Grant had returned to
his original views:

"City Point, Va., March 28, 1865.


"The Fifth Army Corps will move by the Vaughn road at 3 A.M.
tomorrow morning.  The Second moves at about 9 A.M., having but about
three miles to march to reach the point designated for it to take on
the right of the Fifth Corps, after the latter reaches Dinwiddie
Court House.

"Move your cavalry at as early an hour as you can, and without being
confined to any particular road or roads.  You may go out by the
nearest roads in rear of the Fifth Corps, pass by its left, and
passing near to or through Dinwiddie, reach the right and rear of the
enemy as soon as you can.  It is not the intention to attack the
enemy in his intrenched position, but to force him out if possible.
Should he come out and attack us, or get himself where he can be
attacked, move in with your entire force in your own way, and with
the full reliance that the army will engage or follow the enemy, as
circumstances will dictate.  I shall be on the field, and will
probably be able to communicate with you; should I not do so, and you
find that the enemy keeps within his main intrenched line, you may
cut loose and push for the Danville road.  If you find it practicable
I would like you to cross the Southside road, between Petersburg and
Burkeville, and destroy it to some extent.  I would not advise much
detention, however, until you reach the Danville road, which I would
like you to strike as near to the Appomattox as possible; make your
destruction of that road as complete as possible; you can then pass
on to the Southside road, west of Burkeville, and destroy that in
like manner.

"After having accomplished the destruction of the two railroads,
which are now the only avenues of supply to Lee's army, you may
return to this army, selecting your road farther south, or you may go
on into North Carolina and join General Sherman.  Should you select
the latter course, get the information to me as early as possible, so
that I may send orders to meet you at Goldsboro'.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General."

These instructions did not alter my line of march for the morrow, and
I trusted matters would so come about as not to require compliance
with those portions relative to the railroads and to joining Sherman;
so early on the 29th I moved my cavalry out toward Ream's Station on
the Weldon road, Devin commanding the First Division, with Colonels
Gibbs, Stagg, and Fitzhugh in charge of the brigades; the Third
Division under Custer, Colonels Wells, Capehart and Pennington being
the brigade commanders.  These two divisions united were commanded by
Merritt, as they had been since leaving Winchester.  Crook headed the
Second Division, his brigades being under General Davies and Colonels
John I. Gregg and Smith.

Our general direction was westward, over such routes as could be
found, provided they did not embarrass the march of the infantry.
The roads, from the winter's frosts and rains, were in a frightful
state, and when it was sought to avoid a spot which the head of the
column had proved almost bottomless, the bogs and quicksands of the
adjoining fields demonstrated that to make a detour was to go from
bad to worse.  In the face of these discouragements we floundered on,
however, crossing on the way a series of small streams swollen to
their banks.  Crook and Devin reached the county-seat of Dinwiddie
about 5 o'clock in the evening, having encountered only a small
picket, that at once gave way to our advance.  Merritt left Custer at
Malon's crossing of Rowanty Creek to care for the trains containing
our subsistence and the reserve ammunition, these being stuck in the
mire at, intervals all the way back to the Jerusalem plank-road; and
to make any headway at all with the trains, Custer's men often had to
unload the wagons and lift them out of the boggy places.

Crook and Devin camped near Dinwiddie Court House in such manner as
to cover the Vaughn, Flatfoot, Boydton, and Five Forks roads; for, as
these all intersected at Dinwiddie, they offered a chance for the
enemy's approach toward the rear of the Fifth Corps, as Warren
extended to the left across the Boydton road.  Any of these routes
leading to the south or west might also be the one on which, in
conformity with one part of my instructions, I was expected to get
out toward the Danville and Southside railroads, and the Five Forks
road would lead directly to General Lee's right flank, in case
opportunity was found to comply with the other part.  The place was,
therefore, of great strategic value, and getting it without cost
repaid us for floundering through the mud.

Dinwiddie Court House, though a most important point in the campaign,
was far from attractive in feature, being made up of a half-dozen
unsightly houses, a ramshackle tavern propped up on two sides with
pine poles, and the weatherbeaten building that gave official name to
the cross-roads.  We had no tents--there were none in the command--so
I took possession of the tavern for shelter for myself and staff, and
just as we had finished looking over its primitive interior a rain
storm set in.

The wagon containing my mess equipment was back somewhere on the
road, hopelessly stuck in the mud, and hence we had nothing to eat
except some coffee which two young women living at the tavern kindly
made for us; a small quantity of the berry being furnished from the
haversacks of my escort.  By the time we got the coffee, rain was
falling in sheets, and the evening bade fair to be a most dismal one;
but songs and choruses set up by some of my staff--the two young
women playing accompaniments on a battered piano--relieved the
situation and enlivened us a little.  However, the dreary night
brought me one great comfort; for General Grant, who that day had
moved out to Gravelly Run, sent me instructions to abandon all idea
of the contemplated raid, and directed me to act in concert with the
infantry under his immediate command, to turn, if possible, the right
flank of Lee's army.  The despatch made my mind easy with respect to
the objectionable feature of my original instructions, and of course
relieved me also from the anxiety growing out of the letter received
at Hancock Station the night of the 28th; so, notwithstanding the
suspicions excited by some of my staff concerning the Virginia
feather-bed that had been assigned me, I turned in at a late hour and
slept most soundly.

The night of the 29th the left of General Grant's infantry--Warren's
corps--rested on the Boydton road, not far from its intersection with
the Quaker road.  Humphreys's corps was next to Warren; then came
Ord, next Wright, and then Parke, with his right resting on the
Appomattox.  The moving of Warren and Humphreys to the left during
the day was early discovered by General Lee.  He met it by extending
the right of his infantry on the White Oak road, while drawing in the
cavalry of W. H. F. Lee and Rosser along the south bank of Stony
Creek to cover a crossroads called Five Forks, to anticipate me
there; for assuming that my command was moving in conjunction with
the infantry, with the ultimate purpose of striking the Southside
railroad, Lee made no effort to hold Dinwiddie, which he might have
done with his cavalry, and in this he made a fatal mistake.  The
cavalry of Fitz. Lee was ordered at this same time from Sunderland
depot to Five Forks, and its chief placed in command of all the
mounted troops of General Lee's army.

At daylight on the 30th I proceeded to make dispositions under the
new conditions imposed by my modified instructions, and directed
Merritt to push Devin out as far as the White Oak road to make a
reconnoissance to Five Forks, Crook being instructed to send Davies's
brigade to support Devin.  Crook was to hold, with Gregg's brigade,
the Stony Creek crossing of the Boydton plank road, retaining Smith's
near Dinwiddie, for use in any direction required.  On the 29th W. H.
F. Lee conformed the march of his cavalry with that of ours, but my
holding Stony Creek in this way forced him to make a detour west of
Chamberlin's Run, in order to get in communication with his friends
at Five Forks.

The rain that had been falling all night gave no sign of stopping,
but kept pouring down all day long, and the swamps and quicksands
mired the horses, whether they marched in the roads or across the
adjacent fields.  Undismayed, nevertheless, each column set out for
its appointed duty, but shortly after the troops began to move I
received from General Grant this despatch, which put a new phase on

"GRAVELLY RUN, March 30, 1865.


"The heavy rain of to-day will make it impossible for us to do much
until it dries up a little, or we get roads around our rear repaired.
You may, therefore, leave what cavalry you deem necessary to protect
the left, and hold such positions as you deem necessary for that
purpose, and send the remainder back to Humphrey's Station where they
can get hay and grain.  Fifty wagons loaded with forage will be sent
to you in the morning.  Send an officer back to direct the wagons
back to where you want them.  Report to me the cavalry you will leave
back, and the position you will occupy.  Could not your cavalry go
back by the way of Stony Creek depot and destroy or capture the store
of supplies there?

"U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General."

When I had read and pondered this, I determined to ride over to
General Grant's headquarters on Gravelly Run, and get a clear idea of
what it was proposed to do, for it seemed to me that a suspension of
operations would be a serious mistake.  Mounting a powerful gray
pacing horse called Breckenridge (from its capture from one of
Breckenridge's staff-officers at Missionary Ridge), and that I knew
would carry me through the mud, I set out accompanied by my Assistant
Adjutant-General, Colonel Frederick C.  Newhall, and an escort of
about ten or fifteen men.  At first we rode north up the Boydton
plank-road, and coming upon our infantry pickets from a direction
where the enemy was expected to appear, they began to fire upon us,
but seeing from our actions that we were friends, they ceased, and
permitted us to pass the outposts.  We then struggled on in a
northeasterly direction across-country, till we struck the Vaughn
road.  This carried us to army headquarters, which were established
south of Gravelly Run in an old cornfield.  I rode to within a few
yards of the front of General Grant's tent, my horse plunging at
every step almost to his knees in the mud, and dismounted near a
camp-fire, apparently a general one, for all the staff-officers were
standing around it on boards and rails placed here and there to keep
them from sinking into the mire.

Going directly to General Grant's tent, I found him and Rawlins
talking over the question of suspending operations till the weather
should improve.  No orders about the matter had been issued yet,
except the despatch to me, and Rawlins, being strongly opposed to the
proposition, was frankly expostulating with General Grant, who, after
greeting me, remarked, in his quiet way: "Well, Rawlins, I think you
had better take command."  Seeing that there was a difference up
between Rawlins and his chief, I made the excuse of being wet and
cold, and went outside to the fire.  Here General Ingalls met me and
took me to his tent, where I was much more comfortable than when
standing outside, and where a few minutes later we were joined by
General Grant.  Ingalls then retired, and General Grant began talking
of our fearful plight, resulting from the rains and mud, and saying
that because of this it seemed necessary to suspend operations.  I at
once begged him not to do so, telling him that my cavalry was already
on the move in spite of the difficulties, and that although a
suspension of operations would not be fatal, yet it would give rise
to the very charge of disaster to which he had referred at City
Point, and, moreover, that we would surely be ridiculed, just as
General Burnside's army was after the mud march of 1863.  His better
judgment was against suspending operations, but the proposition had
been suggested by all sorts of complaints as to the impossibility of
moving the trains and the like, so it needed little argument to
convince him, and without further discussion he said, in that manner
which with him meant a firmness of purpose that could not be changed
by further complainings, "We will go on."  I then told him that I
believed I could break in the enemy's right if he would let me have
the Sixth Corps; but saying that the condition of the roads would
prevent the movement of infantry, he replied that I would have to
seize Five Forks with the cavalry alone.

On my way back to Dinwiddie I stopped at the headquarters of General
Warren, but the General being asleep, I went to the tent of one of
his staff-officers.  Colonel William T. Gentry, an old personal
friend with whom I had served in Oregon.  In a few minutes Warren
came in and we had a short conversation, he speaking rather
despondently of the outlook, being influenced no doubt by the
depressing weather.

From Warren's headquarters I returned, by the Boydton road to
Dinwiddie Court House, fording Gravelly Run with ease.  When I got as
far as the Dabney road I sent Colonel Newhall out on it toward Five
Forks, with orders for Merritt to develop the enemy's position and
strength, and then rode on to Dinwiddie to endeavor to get all my
other troops up.  Merritt was halted at the intersection of the Five
Forks and Gravelly Church roads when Newhall delivered the orders,
and in compliance moving out Gibbs's brigade promptly, sharp
skirmishing was brought on, Gibbs driving the Confederates to Five
Forks, where he found them behind a line of breastworks running along
the White Oak road.  The reconnoissance demonstrating the intention
of the enemy to hold this point, Gibbs was withdrawn.

That evening, at 7 o'clock, I reported the position of the
Confederate cavalry, and stated that it had been reinforced by
Pickett's division of infantry.  On receipt of this despatch, General
Grant offered me the Fifth Corps, but I declined to take it, and
again asked for the Sixth, saying that with it I believed I could
turn the enemy (Pickett's) left, or break through his lines.  The
morning of the 31st General Grant replied the the Sixth Corps could
not be taken from its position in the line, and offered me the
Second; but in the mean time circumstances had changed, and no corps
was ordered.



The night of March 30 Merritt, with Devin's division and Davies's
brigade, was camped on the Five Forks road about two miles in front
of Dinwiddie, near J. Boisseau's.  Crook, with Smith and Gregg's
brigades, continued to cover Stony Creek, and Custer was still back
at Rowanty Creek, trying to get the trains up.  This force had been
counted while crossing the creek on the 29th, the three divisions
numbering 9,000 enlisted men, Crook having 3,300, and Custer and
Devin 5,700.

During the 30th, the enemy had been concentrating his cavalry, and by
evening General W. H. F. Lee and General Rosser had joined Fitzhugh
Lee near Five Forks.  To this force was added, about dark, five
brigades of infantry--three from Pickett's division, and two from
Johnson's--all under command of Pickett.  The infantry came by the
White Oak road from the right of General Lee's intrenchments, and
their arrival became positively known to me about dark, the
confirmatory intelligence being brought in then by some of Young's
scouts who had been inside the Confederate lines.

On the 31st, the rain having ceased, directions were given at an
early hour to both Merritt and Crook to make reconnoissances
preparatory to securing Five Forks, and about 9 o'clock Merritt
started for the crossroads, Davies's brigade supporting him.  His
march was necessarily slow because of the mud, and the enemy's
pickets resisted with obstinacy also, but the coveted crossroads fell
to Merritt without much trouble, as the bulk of the enemy was just
then bent on other things.  At the same hour that Merritt started,
Crook moved Smith's brigade out northwest from Dinwiddie to
Fitzgerald's crossing of Chamberlain's Creek, to cover Merritt's
left, supporting Smith by placing Gregg to his right and rear.  The
occupation of this ford was timely, for Pickett, now in command of
both the cavalry and infantry, was already marching to get in
Merritt's rear by crossing Chamberlain's Creek.

To hold on to Fitzgerald's ford Smith had to make a sharp fight, but
Mumford's cavalry attacking Devin, the enemy's infantry succeeded in
getting over Chamberlain's Creek at a point higher up than
Fitzgerald's ford, and assailing Davies, forced him back in a
northeasterly direction toward the Dinwiddie and Five Forks road in
company with Devin.  The retreat of Davies permitted Pickett to pass
between Crook and Merritt, which he promptly did, effectually
separating them and cutting off both Davies and Devin from the road
to Dinwiddie, so that to get to that point they had to retreat across
the country to B. Boisseau's and then down the Boydton road.

Gibbs's brigade had been in reserve near the intersection of the Five
Forks and Dabney roads, and directing Merritt to hold on there, I
ordered Gregg's brigade to be mounted and brought to Merritt's aid,
for if Pickett continued in pursuit north of the Five Forks road he
would expose his right and rear, and I determined to attack him, in
such case, from Gibbs's position.  Gregg arrived in good season, and
as soon as his men were dismounted on Gibbs's left, Merritt assailed
fiercely, compelling Pickett to halt and face a new foe, thus
interrupting an advance that would finally have carried Pickett into
the rear of Warren's corps.

It was now about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we were in a critical
situation, but having ordered Merritt to bring Devin and Davies to
Dinwiddie by the Boydton road, staff-officers were sent to hurry
Custer to the same point, for with its several diverging roads the
Court House was of vital importance, and I determined to stay there
at all hazards.  At the same time orders were sent to Smith's
brigade, which, by the advance of Pickett past its right flank and
the pressure of W. H. F. Lee on its front, had been compelled to give
up Fitzgerald's crossing, to fall back toward Dinwiddie but to
contest every inch of ground so as to gain time.

When halted by the attack of Gregg and Gibbs, Pickett, desisting from
his pursuit of Devin, as already stated, turned his undivided
attention to this unexpected force, and with his preponderating
infantry pressed it back on the Five Forks road toward Dinwiddle,
though our men, fighting dismounted behind barricades at different
points, displayed such obstinacy as to make Pickett's progress slow,
and thus give me time to look out a line for defending the Court
House.  I selected a place about three-fourths of a mile northwest of
the crossroads, and Custer coming up quickly with Capehart's brigade,
took position on the left of the road to Five Forks in some open
ground along the crest of a gentle ridge.  Custer got Capehart into
place just in time to lend a hand to Smith, who, severely pressed,
came back on us here from his retreat along Chamberlain's "bed"--the
vernacular for a woody swamp such as that through which Smith
retired.  A little later the brigades of Gregg and Gibbs, falling to
the rear slowly and steadily, took up in the woods a line which
covered the Boydton Road some distance to the right of Capehart, the
intervening gap to be filled with Pennington's brigade.  By this time
our horse-artillery, which for two days had been stuck in the mud,
was all up, and every gun was posted in this line.

It was now near sunset, and the enemy's cavalry thinking the day was
theirs, made a dash at Smith, but just as the assailants appeared in
the open fields, Capehart's men opened so suddenly on their left
flank as to cause it to recoil in astonishment, which permitted Smith
to connect his brigade with Custer unmolested.  We were now in good
shape behind the familiar barricades, and having a continuous line,
excepting only the gap to be filled with Pennington, that covered
Dinwiddie and the Boydton Road.  My left rested in the woods about
half a mile west of the Court House, and the barricades extended from
this flank in a semicircle through the open fields in a northeasterly
direction, to a piece-of thick timber on the right, near the Boydton

A little before the sun went down the Confederate infantry was formed
for the attack, and, fortunately for us, Pennington's brigade came up
and filled the space to which it was assigned between Capehart and
Gibbs, just as Pickett moved out across the cleared fields in front
of Custer, in deep lines that plainly told how greatly we were

Accompanied by Generals Merritt and Custer and my staff, I now rode
along the barricades to encourage the men.  Our enthusiastic
reception showed that they were determined to stay.  The cavalcade
drew the enemy's fire, which emptied several of the saddles--among
others Mr. Theodore Wilson, correspondent of the New York Herald,
being wounded.  In reply our horse-artillery opened on the advancing
Confederates, but the men behind the barricades lay still till
Pickett's troops were within short range.  Then they opened, Custer's
repeating rifles pouring out such a shower of lead that nothing could
stand up against it.  The repulse was very quick, and as the gray
lines retired to the woods from which but a few minutes before they
had so confidently advanced, all danger of their taking Dinwiddie or
marching to the left and rear of our infantry line was over,
at least for the night.  The enemy being thus checked, I sent a
staff-officer--Captain Sheridan--to General Grant to report what had
taken place during the afternoon, and to say that I proposed to stay at
Dinwiddie, but if ultimately compelled to abandon the place, I would do
so by retiring on the Vaughn road toward Hatcher's Run, for I then
thought the attack might be renewed next morning.  Devin and Davies
joined me about dark, and my troops being now well in hand, I sent a
second staff-officer--Colonel John Kellogg--to explain my situation
more fully, and to assure General Grant that I would hold on at
Dinwiddie till forced to let go.

By following me to Dinwiddie the enemy's infantry had completely
isolated itself, and hence there was now offered the Union troops a
rare opportunity.  Lee was outside of his works, just as we desired,
and the general-in-chief realized this the moment he received the
first report of my situation; General Meade appreciated it too from
the information he got from Captain Sheridan, en route to army
headquarters with the first tidings, and sent this telegram to
General Grant:

"March 31, 1865.  9:45 p.m.


"Would it not be well for Warren to go down with his whole corps and
smash up the force in front of Sheridan?  Humphreys can hold the line
to the Boydton plank-road, and the refusal along with it.  Bartlett's
brigade is now on the road from G. Boisseau's, running north, where
it crosses Gravelly Run, he having gone down the White Oak road.
Warren could go at once that way, and take the force threatening
Sheridan in rear at Dinwiddie, and move on the enemy's rear with the
other two.

"G. G. MEADE, Major-General."

An hour later General Grant replied in these words:

"DABNEY'S MILLS, March 311, 1865.  10:15 P. M.

"Commanding Army of the Potomac.

Let Warren move in the way you propose, and urge him not to stop for
anything.  Let Griffin (Griffin had been ordered by Warren to the
Boydton road to protect his rear) go on as he was first directed.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

These two despatches were the initiatory steps in sending the Fifth
Corps, under Major-General G. K. Warren, to report to me, and when I
received word of its coming and also that Genera Mackenzie's cavalry
from the Army of the James was likewise to be added to my command,
and that discretionary authority was given me to use all my forces
against Pickett, I resolved to destroy him, if it was within the
bounds of possibility, before he could rejoin Lee.

In a despatch, dated 10:05 p.m., telling me of the coming of Warren
and Mackenzie, General Grant also said that the Fifth Corps should
reach me by 12 o'clock that night, but at that hour not only had none
of the corps arrived, but no report from it, so believing that if it
came all the way down to Dinwiddie the next morning, our opportunity
would be gone, I concluded that it would be best to order Warren to
move in on the enemy's rear while the cavalry attacked in front, and,
therefore, at 3 o'clock in the morning of April 1 sent this despatch
to General Warren:

"April 1, 1865--3. A.M.

"Commanding Fifth Army Corps.

"I am holding in front of Dinwiddie Court House, on the road leading
to Five Forks, for three-quarters of a mile with General Custer's
division.  The enemy are in his immediate front, lying so as to cover
the road just this side of A. Adams's house, which leads across
Chamberlain's bed, or run.  I understand you have a division at J.[G]
Boisseau's; if so, you are in rear of the enemy's line and almost on
his flank.  I will hold on here.  Possibly they may attack Custer at
daylight; if so, attack instantly and in full force.  Attack at
daylight anyhow, and I will make an effort to get the road this side
of Adams's house, and if I do, you can capture the whole of them.
Any force moving down the road I am holding, or on the White Oak
road, will be in the enemy's rear, and in all probability get any
force that may escape you by a flank movement.  Do not fear my
leaving here.  If the enemy remains, I shall fight at daylight.

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General."

With daylight came a slight fog, but it lifted almost immediately,
and Merritt moved Custer and Devin forward.  As these divisions
advanced the enemy's infantry fell back on the Five Forks road, Devin
pressing him along the road, while Custer extended on the left over
toward Chamberlain's Run, Crook being held in watch along Stony
Creek, meanwhile, to be utilized as circumstances might require when
Warren attacked.

The order of General Meade to Warren the night of March 31--a copy
being sent me also--was positive in its directions, but as midnight
came without a sign of or word from the Fifth Corps, notwithstanding
that was the hour fixed for its arrival, I nevertheless assumed that
there were good reasons for its non-appearance, but never once
doubted that measures would be taken to comply with my despatch Of
3 A. M. and therefore hoped that, as Pickett was falling back slowly
toward Five Forks, Griffin's and Crawford's divisions would come in
on the Confederate left and rear by the Crump road near J.[G]
Boisseau's house.

But they did not reach there till after the enemy had got by.  As a
matter of fact, when Pickett was passing the all-important point
Warren's men were just breaking from the bivouac in which their chief
had placed them the night before, and the head of Griffin's division
did not get to Boisseau's till after my cavalry, which meanwhile had
been joined by Ayres's division of the Fifth Corps by way of the
Boydton and Dabney roads.  By reason of the delay in moving Griffin
and Crawford, the enemy having escaped, I massed the Fifth Corps at
J.[G] Boisseau's so that the men could be rested, and directed it to
remain there; General Warren himself had not then come up.  General
Mackenzie, who had reported just after daybreak, was ordered at first
to stay at Dinwiddie Court House, but later was brought along the
Five Forks road to Dr. Smith's, and Crook's division was directed to
continue watching the crossings of Stony Creek and Chamberlain's Run.

That we had accomplished nothing but to oblige our foe to retreat was
to me bitterly disappointing, but still feeling sure that he would
not give up the Five Forks crossroads without a fight, I pressed him
back there with Merritt's cavalry, Custer advancing on the Scott
road, while Devin drove the rearguard along that leading from J.[G]
Boisseau's to Five Forks.

By 2 o'clock in the afternoon Merritt had forced the enemy inside his
intrenchments, which began with a short return about three-quarters
of a mile east of the Forks and ran along the south side of the White
Oak road to a point about a mile west of the Forks.  From the left of
the return over toward Hatcher's Run was posted Mumford's cavalry,
dismounted.  In the return itself was Wallace's brigade, and next on
its right came Ransom's, then Stewart's, then Terry's, then Corse's.
On the right of Corse was W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry.  Ten
pieces of artillery also were in this line, three on the right of the
works, three near the centre at the crossroads, and four on the left,
in the return.  Rosser's cavalry was guarding the Confederate trains
north of Hatcher's Run beyond the crossing of the Ford road.

I felt certain the enemy would fight at Five Forks--he had to--so,
while we were getting up to his intrenchments, I decided on my plan
of battle.  This was to attack his whole front with Merritt's two
cavalry divisions, make a feint of turning his right flank, and with
the Fifth Corps assail his left.  As the Fifth Corps moved into
action, its right flank was to be covered by Mackenzie's cavalry,
thus entirely cutting off Pickett's troops from communication with
Lee's right flank, which rested near the Butler house at the junction
of the Claiborne and White Oaks roads.  In execution of this plan,
Merritt worked his men close in toward the intrenchments, and while
he was thus engaged, I ordered Warren to bring up the Fifth Corps,
sending the order by my engineer officer, Captain Gillespie, who had
reconnoitred the ground in the neighborhood of Gravelly Run Church,
where the infantry was to form for attack.

Gillespie delivered the order about 1 o'clock, and when the corps was
put in motion, General Warren joined me at the front.  Before he
came, I had received, through Colonel Babcock, authority from General
Grant to relieve him, but I did not wish to do it, particularly on
the eve of battle; so, saying nothing at all about the message
brought me, I entered at once on the plan for defeating Pickett,
telling Warren how the enemy was posted, explaining with considerable
detail, and concluding by stating that I wished his troops to be
formed on the Gravelly Church road, near its junction with the White
Oak road, with two divisions to the front, aligned obliquely to the
White Oak road, and one in reserve, opposite the centre of these two.

General Warren seemed to understand me clearly, and then left to join
his command, while I turned my attention to the cavalry, instructing
Merritt to begin by making demonstrations as though to turn the
enemy's right, and to assault the front of the works with his
dismounted cavalry as soon as Warren became engaged.  Afterward I
rode around to Gravelly Run Church, and found the head of Warren's
column just appearing, while he was sitting under a tree making a
rough sketch of the ground.  I was disappointed that more of the
corps was not already up, and as the precious minutes went by without
any apparent effort to hurry the troops on to the field, this
disappointment grew into disgust.  At last I expressed to Warren my
fears that the cavalry might expend all their ammunition before the
attack could be made, that the sun would go down before the battle
could be begun, or that troops from Lee's right, which, be it
remembered, was less than three miles away from my right, might, by
striking my rear, or even by threatening it, prevent the attack on

Warren did not seem to me to be at all solicitous; his manner
exhibited decided apathy, and he remarked with indifference that
"Bobby Lee was always getting people into trouble."  With unconcern
such as this, it is no wonder that fully three hours' time was
consumed in marching his corps from J.[G]  Boisseau's to Gravelly Run
Church, though the distance was but two miles.  However, when my
patience was almost worn out, Warren reported his troops ready,
Ayres's division being formed on the west side of the Gravelly Church
road, Crawford's on the east side, and Griffin in reserve behind the
right of Crawford, a little different from my instructions.  The
corps had no artillery present, its batteries, on account of the mud,
being still north of Gravelly Run.  Meanwhile Merritt had been busy
working his men close up to the intrenchments from the angle of the
return west, along the White Oak road.

About 4 o'clock Warren began the attack.  He was to assault the left
flank of the Confederate infantry at a point where I knew Pickett's
intrenchments were refused, almost at right angles with the White Oak
road.  I did not know exactly how far toward Hatcher's Run this part
of the works extended, for here the videttes of Mumford's cavalry
were covering, but I did know where the refusal began.  This return,
then, was the point I wished to assail, believing that if the assault
was made with spirit, the line could be turned.  I therefore intended
that Ayres and Crawford should attack the refused trenches squarely,
and when these two divisions and Merritt's cavalry became hotly
engaged, Griffin's division was to pass around the left of the
Confederate line; and I personally instructed Griffin how I wished
him to go in, telling him also that as he advanced, his right flank
would be taken care of by Mackenzie, who was to be pushed over toward
the Ford road and Hatcher's Run.

The front of the corps was oblique to the White Oak road; and on
getting there, it was to swing round to the left till perpendicular
to the road, keeping closed to the left.  Ayres did his part well,
and to the letter, bringing his division square up to the front of
the return near the angle; but Crawford did not wheel to the left, as
was intended.  On the contrary, on receiving fire from Mumford's
cavalry, Crawford swerved to the right and moved north from the
return, thus isolating his division from Ayres; and Griffin,
uncertain of the enemy's position, naturally followed Crawford.

The deflection of this division on a line of march which finally
brought it out on the Ford road near C. Young's house, frustrated the
purpose I had in mind when ordering the attack, and caused a gap
between Ayres and Crawford, of which the enemy quickly took
advantage, and succeeded in throwing a part of Ayres's division into
confusion.  At this juncture I sent word to General Warren to have
Crawford recalled; for the direction he was following was not only a
mistaken one, but, in case the assault at the return failed, he ran
great risk of capture.  Warren could not be found, so I then sent for
Griffin--first by Colonel Newhall, and then by Colonel Sherman--to
come to the aid of Ayres, who was now contending alone with that part
of the enemy's infantry at the return.  By this time Griffin had
observed and appreciated Crawford's mistake, however, and when the
staff-officers reached him, was already faced to the left; so,
marching across Crawford's rear, he quickly joined Ayres, who
meanwhile had rallied his troops and carried the return.

When Ayres's division went over the flank of the enemy's works,
Devin's division of cavalry, which had been assaulting the front,
went over in company with it; and hardly halting to reform, the
intermingling infantry and dismounted cavalry swept down inside the
intrenchments, pushing to and beyond Five Forks, capturing thousands
of prisoners.  The only stand the enemy tried to make was when he
attempted to form near the Ford road.  Griffin pressed him so hard
there, however, that he had to give way in short order, and many of
his men, with three pieces of artillery, fell into the hands of
Crawford while on his circuitous march.

The right of Custer's division gained a foothold on the enemy's works
simultaneously with Devin's, but on the extreme left Custer had a
very severe combat with W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, as well as with
Corse's and Terry's infantry.  Attacking Terry and Corse with
Pennington's brigade dismounted, he assailed Lee's cavalry with his
other two brigades mounted, but Lee held on so obstinately that
Custer gained but little ground till our troops, advancing behind the
works, drove Corse and Terry out.  Then Lee made no further stand
except at the west side of the Gillian field, where, assisted by
Corse's brigade, he endeavored to cover the retreat, but just before
dark Custer, in concert with some Fifth Corps regiments under Colonel
Richardson, drove ihe last of the enemy westward on the White Oak

Our success was unqualified; we had overthrown Pickett, taken six
guns, thirteen battle-flags, and nearly six thousand prisoners.  When
the battle was practically over, I turned to consider my position
with reference to the main Confederate army.  My troops, though
victorious, were isolated from the Army of the Potomac, for on the
31st of March the extreme left of that army had been thrown back
nearly to the Boydton plank-road, and hence there was nothing to
prevent the enemy's issuing from his trenches at the intersection of
the White Oak and Claiborne roads and marching directly on my rear.
I surmised that he might do this that night or early next morning.
It was therefore necessary to protect myself in this critical
situation, and General Warren having sorely disappointed me, both in
the moving of his corps and in its management during the battle, I
felt that he was not the man to rely upon under such circumstances,
and deeming that it was to the best interest of the service as well
as but just to myself, I relieved him, ordering him to report to
General Grant.

I then put Griffin in command of the Fifth Corps, and directed him to
withdraw from the pursuit as quickly as he could after following the
enemy a short distance, and form in line of battle near Gravelly Run
Church, at right angles with the White Oak road, with Ayres and
Crawford facing toward the enemy at the junction of the White Oak and
Claiborne roads, leaving Bartlett, now commanding Griffin's division,
near the Ford road.  Mackenzie also was left on the Ford road at the
crossing of Hatcher's Run, Merritt going into camp on the Widow
Gillian's plantation.  As I had been obliged to keep Crook's division
along Stony Creek throughout the day, it had taken no active part in
the battle.

Years after the war, in 1879, a Court of Inquiry was given General
Warren in relation to his conduct on the day of the battle.  He
assumed that the delay in not granting his request for an inquiry,
which was first made at the close of the war, was due to opposition
on my part.  In this he was in error; I never opposed the ordering of
the Court, but when it was finally decided to convene it I naturally
asked to be represented by counsel, for the authorization of the
Inquiry was so peculiarly phrased that it made me practically a

"NEW YORK CITY, May 3, 1880

"President Court of Inquiry, Governor's Island.

"Sir: Since my arrival in this city, under a subpoena to appear and
testify before the Court of which you are president, I have been
indirectly and unofficially informed that the Court some time ago
forwarded an invitation to me (which has not been received) to appear
personally or by counsel, in order to aid it in obtaining a knowledge
as to the facts concerning the movements terminating in the battle of
'Five Forks,' with reference to the direct subjects of its inquiry.
Any invitation of this character I should always and do consider it
incumbent on me to accede to, and do everything in my power in
furtherance of the specific purposes for which courts of inquiry are
by law instituted.

"The order convening the Court (a copy of which was not received by
me at my division headquarters until two days after the time
appointed for the Court to assemble) contemplates an inquiry based on
the application of Lieutenant Colonel G. K. Warren, Corps of
Engineers, as to his conduct while major-general commanding the Fifth
Army Corps, under my command, in reference to accusations or
imputations assumed in the order to have been made against him, and I
understand through the daily press that my official report of the
battle of Five Forks has been submitted by him as a basis of inquiry.

"If it is proposed to inquire, either directly or indirectly, as to
any action of mine so far as the commanding general Fifth Army Corps
was concerned, or my motives for such action, I desire to be
specifically informed wherein such action or transaction is alleged
to contain an accusation or imputation to become a subject of
inquiry, so that, knowing what issues are raised, I may intelligently
aid the Court in arriving at the facts.

"It is a long time since the battle of Five Forks was fought, and
during the time that has elapsed the official reports of that battle
have been received and acknowledged by the Government; but now, when
the memory of events has in many instances grown dim, and three of
the principal actors on that field are dead--Generals Griffin,
Custer, and Devin, whose testimony would have been valuable--an
investigation is ordered which might perhaps do injustice unless the
facts pertinent to the issues are fully developed.

"My duties are such that it will not be convenient for me to be
present continuously during the sessions of the Court.  In order,
however, that everything may be laid before it in my power pertinent
to such specific issues as are legally raised, I beg leave to
introduce Major Asa Bird Gardner as my counsel.

"Very respectfully,

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Lieut.-General."

Briefly stated, in my report of the battle of Five Forks there were
four imputations concerning General Warren.  The first implied that
Warren failed to reach me on the 1st of April, when I had reason to
expect him; the second, that the tactical handling of his corps was
unskillful; the third, that he did not exert himself to get his corps
up to Gravelly Run Church; and the fourth, that when portions of his
line gave way he did not exert himself to restore confidence to his
troops.  The Court found against him on the first and second counts,
and for him on the third and fourth.  This finding was unsatisfactory
to General Warren, for he hoped to obtain such an unequivocal
recognition of his services as to cast discredit on my motives for
relieving him.  These were prompted by the conditions alone--by the
conduct of General Warren as described, and my consequent lack of
confidence in him.

It will be remembered that in my conversation with General Grant on
the 30th, relative to the suspension of operations because of the
mud, I asked him to let me have the Sixth Corps to help me in
breaking in on the enemy's right, but that it could not be sent me;
it will be recalled also that the Fifth Corps was afterward tendered
and declined.  From these facts it has been alleged that I was
prejudiced against General Warren, but this is not true.  As we had
never been thrown much together I knew but little of him.  I had no
personal objection to him, and certainly could have none to his
corps.  I was expected to do an extremely dangerous piece of work,
and knowing the Sixth Corps well--my cavalry having campaigned with
it so successfully in the Shenandoah Valley, I naturally preferred
it, and declined the Fifth for no other reason.  But the Sixth could
not be given, and the turn of events finally brought me the Fifth
after my cavalry, under the most trying difficulties, had drawn the
enemy from his works, and into such a position as to permit the
realization of General Grant's hope to break up with my force Lee's
right flank.  Pickett's isolation offered an opportunity which we
could not afford to neglect, and the destruction of his command would
fill the measure of General Grant's expectations as well as meet my
own desires.  The occasion was not an ordinary one, and as I thought
that Warren had not risen to its demand in the battle, I deemed it
injudicious and unsafe under the critical conditions existing to
retain him longer.  That I was justified in this is plain to all who
are disposed to be fair-minded, so with the following extract from
General Sherman's review of the proceedings of the Warren Court, and
with which I am convinced the judgment of history will accord, I
leave the subject:

"....It would be an unsafe and dangerous rule to hold the commander
of an army in battle to a technical adherence to any rule of conduct
for managing his command.  He is responsible for results, and holds
the lives and reputations of every officer and soldier under his
orders as subordinate to the great end--victory.  The most important
events are usually compressed into an hour, a minute, and he cannot
stop to analyze his reasons.  He must act on the impulse, the
conviction, of the instant, and should be sustained in his
conclusions, if not manifestly unjust.  The power to command men, and
give vehement impulse to their joint action, is something which
cannot be defined by words, but it is plain and manifest in battles,
and whoever commands an army in chief must choose his subordinates by
reason of qualities which can alone be tested in actual conflict.

"No one has questioned the patriotism, integrity, and great
intelligence of General Warren.  These are attested by a long record
of most excellent service, but in the clash of arms at and near Five
Forks, March 31 and April 1, 1865, his personal activity fell short
of the standard fixed by General Sheridan, on whom alone rested the
great responsibility for that and succeeding days.

"My conclusion is that General Sheridan was perfectly justified in
his action in this case, and he must be fully and entirely sustained
if the United States expects great victories by her arms in the



When the news of the battle at Five Forks reached General Grant, he
realized that the decisive character of our victory would necessitate
the immediate abandonment of Richmond and Petersburg by the enemy;
and fearing that Lee would escape without further injury, he issued
orders, the propriety of which must be settled by history, to assault
next morning the whole intrenched line.  But Lee could not retreat at
once.  He had not anticipated dissster at Five Forks, and hence was
unprepared to withdraw on the moment; and the necessity of getting
off his trains and munitions of war, as well as being obliged to
cover the flight of the Confederate Government, compelled him to hold
on to Richmond and Petersburg till the afternoon of the 2d, though
before that Parke, Ord, and Wright had carried his outer
intrenchments at several points, thus materially shortening the line
of investment.

The night of the 1st of April, General Humphreys's corps--the Second
--had extended its left toward the White Oak road, and early next
morning, under instructions from General Grant, Miles's division of
that corps reported to me, and supporting him with Ayres's and
Crawford's divisions of the Fifth Corps, I then directed him to
advance toward Petersburg and attack the enemy's works at the
intersection of the Claiborne and White Oak roads.

Such of the enemy as were still in the works Miles easily forced
across Hatcher's Run, in the direction of Sutherland's depot, but the
Confederates promptly took up a position north of the little stream,
and Miles being anxious to attack, I gave him leave, but just at this
time General Humphreys came up with a request to me from General
Meade to return Miles.  On this request I relinquished command of the
division, when, supported by the Fifth Corps it could have broken in
the enemy's right at a vital point; and I have always since regretted
that I did so, for the message Humphreys conveyed was without
authority from General Grant, by whom Miles had been sent to me, but
thinking good feeling a desideratum just then, and wishing to avoid
wrangles, I faced the Fifth Corps about and marched it down to Five
Forks, and out the Ford road to the crossing of Hatcher's Run.  After
we had gone, General Grant, intending this quarter of the field to be
under my control, ordered Humphreys with his other two divisions to
move to the right, in toward Petersburg.  This left Miles entirely
unsupported, and his gallant attack made soon after was unsuccessful
at first, but about 3 o'clock in the afternoon he carried the point
which covered the retreat from Petersburg and Richmond.

Merritt had been sent westward, meanwhile, in the direction of Ford's
Station, to break the enemy's horse which had been collecting to the
north of Hatcher's Run.  Meeting, with but little opposition, Merritt
drove this cavalry force in a northerly direction toward Scott's
Corners, while the Fifth Corps was pushed toward Sutherland's depot,
in the hope of coming in on the rear of the force that was
confronting Miles when I left him.  Crawford and Merritt engaged the
enemy lightly just before night, but his main column, retreating
along the river road south of the Appomattox, had got across Namozine
Creek, and the darkness prevented our doing more than to pick up some
stragglers.  The next morning the pursuit was resumed, the cavalry
again in advance, the Fifth Corps keeping up with it all the while,
and as we pressed our adversaries hundreds and hundreds of prisoners,
armed and unarmed, fell into our hands, together with many wagons and
five pieces of artillery.  At Deep Creek the rearguard turned on us,
and a severe skirmish took place.  Merritt, finding the enemy very
strong, was directed to await the arrival of Crook and for the rear
division of the Fifth Corps; but by the time they reached the creek,
darkness had again come to protect the Confederates, and we had to be
content with meagre results at that point.

From the beginning it was apparent that Lee, in his retreat, was
making for Amelia Court House, where his columns north and south of
the Appomattox River could join, and where, no doubt, he expected to
meet supplies, so Crook was ordered to march early on April 4 to
strike the Danville railroad, between Jettersville and Burkeville,
and then move south along the railroad toward Jettersville, Merritt
to move toward Amelia Court House, and the Fifth Corps to
Jettersville itself.

The Fifth Corps got to Jettersville about 5 in the afternoon, and I
immediately intrenched it across the Burkeville road with the
determination to stay there till the main army could come up, for I
hoped we could force Lee to surrender at Amelia Court House, since a
firm hold on Jettersville would cut him off from his line of retreat
toward Burkeville.

Accompanied only by my escort--the First United States Cavalry, about
two hundred strong--I reached Jettersville some little time before
the Fifth Corps, and having nothing else at hand I at once deployed
this handful of men to cover the crossroads till the arrival of the
corps.  Just as the troopers were deploying, a man on a mule, heading
for Burkeville, rode into my pickets.  He was arrested, of course,
and being searched there was found in his boots this telegram in
duplicate, signed by Lee's Commissary General.

"The army is at Amelia Court House, short of provisions.  Send
300,000 rations quickly to Burkeville Junction." One copy was
addressed to the supply department at Danville, and the other to that
at Lynchburg.  I surmised that the telegraph lines north of
Burkeville had been broken by Crook after the despatches were
written, which would account for their being transmitted by
messenger.  There was thus revealed not only the important fact that
Lee was concentrating at Amelia Court House, but also a trustworthy
basis for estimating his troops, so I sent word to Crook to strike up
the railroad toward me, and to Merritt--who, as I have said, had
followed on the heels of the enemy--to leave Mackenzie there and
himself close in on Jettersville.  Staff-officers were also
despatched to hurry up Griffin with the Fifth Corps, and his tired men
redoubled their strides.

My troops too were hard up for rations, for in the pursuit we could
not wait for our trains, so I concluded to secure if possible these
provisions intended for Lee.  To this end I directed Young to send
four of his best scouts to Burkeville Junction.  There they were to
separate, two taking the railroad toward Lynchburg and two toward
Danville, and as soon as a telegraph station was reached the telegram
was to be transmitted as it had been written and the provisions thus
hurried forward.

Although the Fifth Corps arrived at Jettersville the evening of April
4, as did also Crook's and Merritt's cavalry, yet none of the army of
the Potomac came up till about 3 o'clock the afternoon of the 5th,
the Second Corps, followed by the Sixth, joining us then.  General
Meade arrived at Jettersville an hour earlier, but being ill,
requested me to put his troops in position.  The Fifth Corps being
already intrenched across the Amelia Court House road facing north, I
placed the Sixth on its right and the Second on its left as they
reached the ground.

As the enemy had been feeling us ever since morning--to learn what he
was up to I directed Crook to send Davies's brigade on a
reconnoissance to Paine's crossroads.  Davies soon found out that Lee
was trying to escape by that flank, for at the crossroads he found
the Confederate trains and artillery moving rapidly westward.  Having
driven away the escort, Davies succeeded in burning nearly two
hundred wagons, and brought off five pieces of artillery.  Among
these wagons were some belonging to General, Lee's and to General
Fitzhugh Lee's headquarters.  This work through, Davies withdrew and
rejoined Crook, who, with Smith and Gregg, was established near Flat

It being plain that Lee would attempt to escape as soon as his trains
were out of the way, I was most anxious to attack him when the Second
Corps began to arrive, for I felt certain that unless we did so he
would succeed in passing by our left flank, and would thus again make
our pursuit a stern-chase; but General Meade, whose plan of attack
was to advance his right flank on Amelia Court House, objected to
assailing before all his troops were up.

I then sent despatches to General Grant, explaining what Davies had
done, and telling him that the Second Corps was arriving, and that I
wished he himself was present.  I assured him of my confidence in our
capturing Lee if we properly exerted ourselves, and informed him,
finally, that I would put all my cavalry, except Mackenzie, on my
left, and that, with such a disposition of my forces, I could see no
escape for Lee.  I also inclosed him this letter, which had just been

"AMELIA C. H., April 5, 1865.


"Our army is ruined, I fear.  We are all safe as yet.  Shyron left us
sick.  John Taylor is well--saw him yesterday.  We are in line of
battle this morning.  General Robert Lee is in the field near us.  My
trust is still in the justice of our cause, and that of God.  General
Hill is killed.  I saw Murray a few minutes since.  Bernard, Terry
said, was taken prisoner, but may yet get out.  I send this by a
negro I see passing up the railroad to Mechlenburg.  Love to all.

"Your devoted son,

"Wm. B. TAYLOR, Colonel."

General Grant, who on the 5th was accompanying General Ord's column
toward Burkeville Junction, did not receive this intelligence till
nearly nightfall, when within about ten miles of the Junction.  He
set out for Jettersville immediately, but did not reach us till near
midnight, too late of course to do anything that night.  Taking me
with him, we went over to see Meade, whom he then directed to advance
early in the morning on Amelia Court House.  In this interview Grant
also stated that the orders Meade had already issued would permit
Lee's escape, and therefore must be changed, for it was not the aim
only to follow the enemy, but to get ahead of him, remarking during
the conversation that, "he had no doubt Lee was moving right then."
On this same occasion Meade expressed a desire to have in the
proposed attack all the troops of the Army of the Potomac under his
own command, and asked for the return of the Fifth Corps.  I made no
objections, and it was ordered to report, to him.

When, on the morning of the 6th, Meade advanced toward Amelia Court
House, he found, as predicted, that Lee was gone.  It turned out that
the retreat began the evening of the 5th and continued all night.
Satisfied that this would be the case, I did not permit the cavalry
to participate in Meade's useless advance, but shifted it out toward
the left to the road running from Deatonsville to Rice's station,
Crook leading and Merritt close up.  Before long the enemy's trains
were discovered on this road, but Crook could make but little
impression on them, they were so strongly guarded; so, leaving
Stagg's brigade and Miller's battery about three miles southwest of
Deatonsville--where the road forks, with a branch leading north
toward the Appomattox--to harass the retreating column and find a
vulnerable point, I again shifted the rest of the cavalry toward the
left, across-country, but still keeping parallel to the enemy's line
of march.

Just after crossing Sailor's Greek, a favorable opportunity offering,
both Merritt and Crook attacked vigorously, gained the Rice's Station
road, destroyed several hundred wagons, made many prisoners, and
captured sixteen pieces of artillery.  This was important, but more
valuable still was the fact that we were astride the enemy's line of
retreat, and had cut off from joining Longstreet, waiting at Rice's
Station, a corps of Confederate infantry under General Ewell,
composed of Anderson's, Kershaw's, and Custis Lee's divisions.
Stagg's brigade and Miller's battery, which, as I have said, had been
left at the forks of the Deatonsville road, had meanwhile broken in
between the rear of Ewell's column and the head of Gordon's, forcing
Gordon to abandon his march for Rice's Station, and to take the
right-hand road at the forks, on which he was pursued by General

The complete isolation of Ewell from Longstreet in his front and
Gordon in his rear led to the battle of Sailor's Creek, one of the
severest conflicts of the war, for the enemy fought with desperation
to escape capture, and we, bent on his destruction, were no less
eager and determined.  The capture of Ewell, with six of his generals
and most of his troops, crowned our success, but the fight was so
overshadowed by the stirring events of the surrender three days
later, that the battle has never been accorded the prominence it

The small creek from which the field takes its name flows in a
northwesterly direction across the road leading from Deatonsville to
Rice's Station.  By shifting to the left, Merritt gained the Rice's
Station road west of the creek, making havoc of the wagon-trains,
while Crook struck them further on and planted himself square across
the road.  This blocked Ewell, who, advancing Anderson to some high
ground west of the creek, posted him behind barricades, with the
intention of making a hard fight there, while the main body should
escape through the woods in a westerly direction to roads that led to
Farmville.  This was prevented, however, by Crook forming his
division, two brigades dismounted and one mounted, and at once
assaulting all along Anderson's front and overlapping his right,
while Merritt fiercely attacked to the right of Crook.  The enemy
being thus held, enabled the Sixth Corps--which in the meantime I had
sent for--to come upon the ground, and Ewell, still contending with
the cavalry, found himself suddenly beset by this new danger from his
rear.  To, meet it, he placed Kershaw to the right and Custis Lee to
the left of the Rice's Station road, facing them north toward and
some little distance from Sailor's Creek, supporting Kershaw with
Commander Tucker's Marine brigade.  Ewell's skirmishers held the line
of Sailor's Creek, which runs through a gentle valley, the north
slope of which was cleared ground.

By General Grant's directions the Sixth Corps had been following my
route of march since the discovery, about 9 o'clock in the morning,
that Lee had decamped from Amelia Court House.  Grant had promptly
informed me of this in a note, saying, "The Sixth Corps will go in
with a vim any place you may dictate," so when I sent word to Wright
of the enemy's isolation, and asked him to hurry on with all speed,
his gallant corps came as fast as legs could carry them, he sending
to me successively Major McClellan and Colonel Franklin, of his
staff, to report his approach.

I was well advised as to the position of the enemy through
information brought me by an intelligent young soldier, William A.
Richardson, Company "A," Second Ohio, who, in one of the cavalry
charges on Anderson, had cleared the barricades and made his way back
to my front through Ewell's line.  Richardson had told me just how
the main body of the enemy was posted, so as Seymour's division
arrived I directed General Wright to put it on the right of the road,
while Wheaton's men, coming up all hot and out of breath, promptly
formed on Seymour's left.  Both divisions thus aligned faced
southwest toward Sailor's Creek, and the artillery of the corps being
massed to the left and front of the Hibbon house, without waiting for
Getty's division--for I feared that if we delayed longer the enemy
might effect his escape toward Farmville--the general attack was
begun.  Seymour and Wheaton, moving forward together, assailed the
enemy's front and left, and Stagg's brigade, too, which in the mean
time had been placed between Wheaton's left and Devin's right, went
at him along with them, Merritt and Crook resuming the fight from
their positions in front of Anderson.  The enemy, seeing little
chance of escape, fought like a tiger at bay, but both Seymour and
Wheaton pressed him vigorously, gaining ground at all points except
just to the right of the road, where Seymour's left was checked.
Here the Confederates burst back on us in a counter-charge, surging
down almost to the creek, but the artillery, supported by Getty, who
in the mean time had come on the ground, opened on them so terribly
that this audacious and furious onset was completely broken, though
the gallant fellows fell back to their original line doggedly, and
not until after they had almost gained the creek.  Ewell was now
hemmed in on every side, and all those under his immediate command
were captured.  Merritt and Crook had also broken up Anderson by this
time, but he himself, and about two thousand disorganized men escaped
by making their way through the woods toward the Appomattox River
before they could be entirely enveloped.  Night had fallen when the
fight was entirely over, but Devin was pushed on in pursuit for about
two miles, part of the Sixth Corps following to clinch a victory
which not only led to the annihilation of one corps of Lee's
retreating army, but obliged Longstreet to move up to Farmville, so
as to take a road north of the Appomattox River toward Lynchburg
instead of continuing toward Danville.

At the close of the battle I sent one of my staff--Colonel Redwood
Price--to General Grant to report what had been done; that we had
taken six generals and from nine to ten thousand prisoners.  On his
way Price stopped at the headquarters of General Meade, where he
learned that not the slightest intelligence of the occurrence on my
line had been received, for I not being under Meade's command, he had
paid no attention to my movements.  Price gave the story of the
battle, and General Meade, realizing its importance, sent directions
immediately to General Wright to make his report of the engagement to
the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, assuming that Wright was
operating independently of me in the face of Grant's despatch Of
2 o'clock, which said that Wright was following the cavalry and would
"go in with a vim" wherever I dictated.  Wright could not do else
than comply with Meade's orders in the case, and I, being then in
ignorance of Meade's reasons for the assumption, could say nothing.
But General Grant plainly intending, and even directing, that the
corps should be under my command, remedied this phase of the matter,
when informed of what had taken place, by requiring Wright to send a
report of the battle through me.  What he then did, and what his
intentions and orders were, are further confirmed by a reference to
the episode in his "Memoirs," where he gives his reasons for ordering
the Sixth Corps to abandon the move on Amelia Court House and pass to
the left of the army.  On the same page he also says, referring to
the 6th of April: "The Sixth Corps now remained with the cavalry
under Sheridan's direct command until after the surrender."  He
unquestionably intended all of this, but his purpose was partly
frustrated by General Meade's action next morning in assuming
direction of the movements of the corps; and before General Grant
became aware of the actual conditions the surrender was at hand.



The first report of the battle of Sailor's Creek that General Grant
received was, as already stated, an oral message carried by Colonel
Price, of my staff.  Near midnight I sent a despatch giving the names
of the generals captured.  These were Ewell, Kershaw, Barton, Corse,
Dubose, and Custis Lee.  In the same despatch I wrote: "If the thing
is pressed, I think that Lee will surrender."  When Mr. Lincoln, at
City Point, received this word from General Grant, who was
transmitting every item of news to the President, he telegraphed
Grant the laconic message: "Let the thing be pressed." The morning of
the 7th we moved out at a very early hour, Crook's division marching
toward Farmville in direct pursuit, while Merritt and Mackenzie were
ordered to Prince Edward's Court House to anticipate any effort Lee
might make to escape through that place toward Danville since it had
been discovered that Longstreet had slipped away already from the
front of General Ord's troops at Rice's Station.  Crook overtook the
main body of the Confederates at Farmville, and promptly attacked
their trains on the north side of the Appomattox with Gregg's
brigade, which was fiercely turned upon and forced to re-cross the
river with the loss of a number of prisoner's, among them Gregg
himself.  When Crook sent word of this fight, it was clear that Lee
had abandoned all effort to escape to the southwest by way of
Danville.  Lynchburg was undoubtedly his objective point now; so,
resolving to throw my cavalry again across his path, and hold him
till the infantry could overtake him, I directed everything on
Appomattox depot, recalling Crook the night of the 7th to Prospect
Station, while Merritt camped at Buffalo Creek, and Mackenzie made a
reconnoissance along the Lynchburg railroad.

At break of day, April 8, Merritt and Mackenzie united with Crook at
Prospect Station, and the cavalry all moved then toward Appomattox
depot.  Hardly had it started when one of the scouts--Sergeant White
--informed me that there were four trains of cars at the depot loaded
with supplies for Lee's army; these had been sent from Lynchburg, in
compliance with the telegram of Lee's commissary-general, which
message, it will be remembered, was captured and transmitted to
Lynchburg by two of Young's scouts on the 4th.  Sergeant White, who
had been on the lookout for the trains ever since sending the
despatch, found them several miles west of Appomattox depot feeling
their way along, in ignorance of Lee's exact position.  As he had the
original despatch with him, and took pains to dwell upon the pitiable
condition of Lee's army, he had little difficulty in persuading the
men in charge of the trains to bring them east of Appomattox Station,
but fearing that the true state of affairs would be learned before
long, and the trains be returned to Lynchburg, he was painfully
anxious to have them cut off by breaking the track west of the

The intelligence as to the trains was immediately despatched to
Crook, and I pushed on to join him with Merritt's command.  Custer
having the advance, moved rapidly, and on nearing the station
detailed two regiments to make a detour southward to strike the
railroad some distance beyond and break the track.  These regiments
set off at a gallop, and in short order broke up the railroad enough
to prevent the escape of the trains, Custer meanwhile taking
possession of the station, but none too soon, for almost at the
moment he did so the advance-guard of Lee's army appeared, bent on
securing the trains.  Without halting to look after the cars further,
Custer attacked this advance-guard and had a spirited fight, in which
he drove the Confederates away from the station, captured twenty-five
pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and a large park of wagons,
which, in the hope that they would reach Lynchburg next day, were
being pushed ahead of Lee's main body.

Devin coming up a little before dusk, was put in on the right of
Custer, and one of Crook's brigades was sent to our left and the
other two held in reserve.  I then forced the enemy back on the
Appomattox road to the vicinity of the Court House, and that the
Confederates might have no rest, gave orders to continue the
skirmishing throughout the night.  Meanwhile the captured trains had
been taken charge of by locomotive engineers, soldiers of the
command, who were delighted evidently to get back at their old
calling.  They amused themselves by running the trains to and fro,
creating much confusion, and keeping up such an unearthly screeching
with the whistles that I was on the point of ordering the cars
burned.  They finally wearied of their fun, however, and ran the
trains off to the east toward General Ord's column.

The night of the 8th I made my headquarters at a little frame house
just south of the station.  I did not sleep at all, nor did anybody
else, the entire command being up all night long; indeed, there had
been little rest in the cavalry for the past eight days.  The
necessity of getting Ord's column up was so obvious now that
staff-officer after staff-officer was sent to him and to General Grant
requesting that the infantry be pushed on, for if it could get to the
front, all knew that the rebellion would be ended on the morrow.
Merritt, Crook, Custer, and Devin were present at frequent intervals
during the night, and everybody was overjoyed at the prospect that
our weary work was about to end so happily.  Before sun-up General
Ord arrived, and informed me of the approach of his column, it having
been marching the whole night.  As he ranked me, of course I could
give him no orders, so after a hasty consultation as to where his
troops should be placed we separated, I riding to the front to
overlook my line near Appomattox Court House, while he went back to
urge along his weary troops.

The night before General Lee had held a council with his principal
generals, when it was arranged that in the morning General Gordon
should undertake to break through my cavalry, and when I neared my
troops this movement was beginning, a heavy line of infantry bearing
down on us from the direction of the village.  In front of Crook and
Mackenzie firing had already begun, so riding to a slight elevation
where a good view of the Confederates could be had, I there came to
the conclusion that it would be unwise to offer more resistance than
that necessary to give Ord time to form, so I directed Merritt to
fall back, and in retiring to shift Devin and Custer to the right so
as to make room for Ord, now in the woods to my rear.  Crook, who
with his own and Mackenzie's divisions was on my extreme left
covering some by-roads, was ordered to hold his ground as long as
practicable without sacrificing his men, and, if forced to retire, to
contest with obstinacy the enemy's advance.

As already stated, I could not direct General Ord's course, he being
my senior, but hastily galloping back to where he was, at the edge of
the timber, I explained to him what was taking place at the front.
Merritt's withdrawal inspired the Confederates, who forthwith began
to press Crook, their line of battle advancing with confidence till
it reached the crest whence I had reconnoitred them.  From this
ground they could see Ord's men emerging from the woods, and the
hopelessness of a further attack being plain, the gray lines
instinctively halted, and then began to retire toward a ridge
immediately fronting Appomattox Court House, while Ord, joined on his
right by the Fifth Corps, advanced on them over the ground that
Merritt had abandoned.

I now directed my steps toward Merritt, who, having mounted his
troopers, had moved them off to the right, and by the time I reached
his headquarters flag he was ready for work, so a move on the enemy's
left was ordered, and every guidon was bent to the front.  As the
cavalry marched along parallel with the Confederate line, and in
toward its left, a heavy fire of artillery opened on us, but this
could not check us at such a time, and we soon reached some high
ground about half a mile from the Court House, and from here I could
see in the low valley beyond the village the bivouac undoubtedly of
Lee's army.  The troops did not seem to be disposed in battle order,
but on the other side of the bivouac was a line of battle--a heavy
rear-guard--confronting, presumably, General Meade.

I decided to attack at once, and formations were ordered at a trot
for a charge by Custer's and Devin's divisions down the slope leading
to the camps.  Custer was soon ready, but Devin's division being in
rear its formation took longer, since he had to shift further to the
right; Devin's preparations were, therefore, but partially completed
when an aide-decamp galloped up to with the word from Custer, "Lee
has surrendered; do not charge; the white flag is up."  The enemy
perceiving that Custer was forming for attack, had sent the flag out
to his front and stopped the charge just in time.  I at once sent
word of the truce to General Ord, and hearing nothing more from
Custer himself, I supposed that he had gone down to the Court House
to join a mounted group of Confederates that I could see near there,
so I, too, went toward them, galloping down a narrow ridge, staff and
orderlies following; but we had not got half way to the Court House
when, from a skirt of timber to our right, not more than three
hundred yards distant, a musketry fire was opened on us.  This halted
us, when, waving my hat, I called out to the firing party that we
were under a truce, and they were violating it.  This did not stop
them, however, so we hastily took shelter in a ravine so situated as
to throw a ridge between us and the danger.

We traveled in safety down this depression to its mouth, and thence
by a gentle ascent approached the Court House.  I was in advance,
followed by a sergeant carrying my battleflag.  When I got within
about a hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's line, which was
immediately in front of the Court House, some of the Confederates
leveled their pieces at us, and I again halted.  Their officers kept
their men from firing, however, but meanwhile a single-handed contest
had begun behind me, for on looking back I heard a Confederate
soldier demanding my battle-flag from the color-bearer, thinking, no
doubt, that we were coming in as prisoners.  The sergeant had drawn
his sabre and was about to cut the man down, but at a word from me he
desisted and carried the flag back to my staff, his assailant quickly
realizing that the boot was on the other leg.

These incidents determined me to remain where I was till the return
of a staff-officer whom I had sent over to demand an explanation from
the group of Confederates for which I had been heading.  He came back
in a few minutes with apologies for what had occurred, and informed
me that General Gordon and General Wilcox were the superior officers
in the group.  As they wished me to join them I rode up with my
staff, but we had hardly met when in front of Merritt firing began.
At the sound I turned to General Gordon, who seemed embarrassed by
the occurrence, and remarked: "General, your men fired on me as I was
coming over here, and undoubtedly they are treating Merritt and
Custer the same way.  We might as well let them fight it out."  He
replied, "There must be some mistake."  I then asked, "Why not send a
staff-officer and have your people cease firing; they are violating
the flag." He answered, "I have no staff-officer to send."  Whereupon
I said that I would let him have one of mine, and calling for
Lieutenant Vanderbilt Allen, I directed him to carry General Gordon's
orders to General Geary, commanding a small brigade of South Carolina
cavalry, to discontinue firing.  Allen dashed off with the message
and soon delivered it, but was made a prisoner, Geary saying, "I do
not care for white flags: South Carolinians never surrender...."  By
this time Merritt's patience being exhausted, he ordered an attack,
and this in short order put an end to General Geary's "last ditch"
absurdity, and extricated Allen from his predicament.

When quiet was restored Gordon remarked: "General Lee asks for a
suspension of hostilities pending the negotiations which he is having
with General Grant."  I rejoined: "I have been constantly informed of
the progress of the negotiations, and think it singular that while
such discussions are going on, General Lee should have continued his
march and attempted to break through my lines this morning.  I will
entertain no terms except that General Lee shall surrender to General
Grant on his arrival here.  If these terms are not accepted we will
renew hostilities."  Gordon replied: "General Lee's army is
exhausted.  There is no doubt of his surrender to General Grant."

It was then that General Ord joined us, and after shaking hands all
around, I related the situation to him, and Gordon went away agreeing
to meet us again in half an hour.  When the time was up he came back
accompanied by General Longstreet, who brought with him a despatch,
the duplicate of one that had been sent General Grant through General
Meade's lines back on the road over which Lee had been retreating.

General Longstreet renewed the assurances that already had been given
by Gordon, and I sent Colonel Newhall with the despatch to find
General Grant and bring him to the front.  When Newhall started,
everything on our side of the Appomattox Court House was quiet, for
inevitable surrender was at hand, but Longstreet feared that Meade,
in ignorance of the new conditions on my front might attack the
Confederate rearguard.  To prevent this I offered to send Colonel J.
W. Forsyth through the enemy's lines to let Meade know of my
agreement, for he too was suspicious that by a renewed correspondence
Lee was endeavoring to gain time for escape.  My offer being
accepted, Forsyth set out accompanied by Colonel Fairfax, of
Longstreet's staff, and had no difficulty in accomplishing his

About five or six miles from Appomattox, on the road toward Prospect
Station near its intersection with the Walker's Church road, my
adjutant-general, Colonel Newhall, met General Grant, he having
started from north of the Appomattox River for my front the morning
of April 9, in consequence of the following despatches which had been
sent him the night before, after we had captured Appomattox Station
and established a line intercepting Lee:

"CAVALRY HEADQUARTERS, April 8, 1865--9:20 P. M.

"Commanding Armies of the U.  S.

"General: I marched early this morning from Buffalo Creek and
Prospect Station on Appomattox Station, where my scouts had reported
trains of cars with supplies for Lee's army.  A short time before
dark General Custer, who had the advance, made a dash at the station,
capturing four trains of supplies with locomotives.  One of the
trains was burned and the others were run back toward Farmville for
security.  Custer then pushed on toward Appomattox Court House,
driving the enemy--who kept up a heavy fire of artillery--charging
them repeatedly and capturing, as far as reported, twenty-five pieces
of artillery and a number of prisoners and wagons.  The First Cavalry
Division supported him on the right.  A reconnoissance sent across
the Appomattox reports the enemy moving on the Cumberland road to
Appomattox Station, where they expect to get supplies.  Custer is
still pushing on.  If General Gibbon and the Fifth Corps can get up
to-night, we will perhaps finish the job in the morning.  I do not
think Lee means to surrender until compelled to do so.

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General."

"HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, April 8, 1865--9:40 p.m.

"Commanding Armies U. S.

"GENERAL: Since writing the accompanying despatch, General Custer
reports that his command has captured in all thirty-five pieces of
artillery, one thousand prisoners--including one general officer--and
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred wagons.

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General."

In attempting to conduct the lieutenant-general and staff back by a
short route, Newhall lost his bearings for a time, inclining in
toward the enemy's lines too far, but regained the proper direction
without serious loss of time.  General Grant arrived about 1 o'clock
in the afternoon, Ord and I, dismounted, meeting him at the edge of
the town, or crossroads, for it was little more.  He remaining
mounted, spoke first to me, saying simply,

"How are you, Sheridan?"  I assured him with thanks that I was
"first-rate," when, pointing toward the village, he asked, "Is
General Lee up there?" and I replied: "There is his army down in that
valley, and he himself is over in that house (designating McLean's
house) waiting to surrender to you."  The General then said, "Come,
let us go over," this last remark being addressed to both Ord and me.
We two then mounted and joined him, while our staff-officers
followed, intermingling with those of the general-in-chief as the
cavalcade took its way to McLean's house near by, and where General
Lee had arrived some time before, in consequence of a message from
General Grant consenting to the interview asked for by Lee through
Meade's front that morning--the consent having been carried by
Colonel Babcock.

When I entered McLean's house General Lee was standing, as was also
his military secretary, Colonel Marshall, his only staff-officer
present.  General Lee was dressed in a new uniform and wore a
handsome sword.  His tall, commanding form thus set off contrasted
strongly with the short figure of General Grant, clothed as he was in
a soiled suit, without sword or other insignia of his position except
a pair of dingy shoulder-straps.  After being presented, Ord and I,
and nearly all of General Grant's staff, withdrew to await the
agreement as to terms, and in a little while Colonel Babcock came to
the door and said, "The surrender had been made; you can come in

When we re-entered General Grant was writing; and General Lee, having
in his hand two despatches, which I that morning requested might be
returned, as I had no copies of them, addressed me with the remark:
"I am sorry.  It is probable that my cavalry at that point of the
line did not fully understand the agreement." These despatches had
been sent in the forenoon, after the fighting had been stopped,
notifying General Lee that some of his cavalry in front of Crook was
violating the suspension of hostilities by withdrawing.  About
3 o'clock in the afternoon the terms of surrender were written out
and accepted, and General Lee left the house, as he departed
cordially shaking hands with General Grant.  A moment later he
mounted his chunky gray horse, and lifting his hat as he passed out
of the yard, rode off toward his army, his arrival there being
announced to us by cheering, which, as it progressed, varying in
loudness, told he was riding through the bivouac of the Army of
Northern Virginia.

The surrender of General Lee practically ended the war of the
rebellion.  For four years his army had been the main-stay of the
Confederacy; and the marked ability with which he directed its
operations is evidenced both by his frequent successes and the length
of time he kept up the contest.  Indeed, it may be said that till
General Grant was matched against him, he never met an opponent he
did not vanquish, for while it is true that defeat was inflicted on
the Confederates at Antietam and Gettysburg, yet the fruits of these
victories were not gathered, for after each of these battles Lee was
left unmolested till he had a chance to recuperate.

The assignment of General Grant to the command of the Union armies in
the winter of 1863-64 gave presage of success from the start, for his
eminent abilities had already been proved, and besides, he was a
tower of strength to the Government, because he had the confidence of
the people.  They knew that henceforth systematic direction would be
given to our armies in every section of the vast territory over which
active operations were being prosecuted, and further, that this
coherence, this harmony of plan, was the one thing needed to end the
war, for in the three preceding years there had been illustrated most
lamentable effects of the absence of system.  From the moment he set
our armies in motion simultaneously, in the spring of 1864, it could
be seen that we should be victorious ultimately, for though on
different lines we were checked now and then, yet we were harassing
the Confederacy at so many vital points that plainly it must yield to
our blows.  Against Lee's army, the forefront of the Confederacy,
Grant pitted himself; and it may be said that the Confederate
commander was now, for the first time, overmatched, for against all
his devices--the products of a mind fertile in defense--General Grant
brought to bear not only the wealth of expedient which had hitherto
distinguished him, but also an imperturbable tenacity, particularly
in the Wilderness and on the march to the James, without which the
almost insurmountable obstacles of that campaign could not have been
overcome.  During it and in the siege of Petersburg he met with many
disappointments--on several occasions the shortcomings of generals,
when at the point of success, leading to wretched failures.  But so
far as he was concerned, the only apparent effect of these
discomfitures was to make him all the more determined to discharge
successfully the stupendous trust committed to his care, and to bring
into play the manifold resources of his well ordered military mind.
He guided every subordinate then, and in the last days of the
rebellion, with a fund of common sense and superiority of intellect,
which have left an impress so distinct as to exhibit his great
personality.  When his military history is analyzed after the lapse
of years, it will show, even more clearly than now, that during these
as well as in his previous campaigns he was the steadfast Centre
about and on which everything else turned.



The surrender at Appomattox put a stop to all military operations on
the part of General Grant's forces, and the morning of April 10 my
cavalry began its march to Petersburg, the men anticipating that they
would soon be mustered out and returned to their homes.  At Nottoway
Court House I heard of the assassination of the President.  The first
news came to us the night after the dastardly deed, the telegraph
operator having taken it from the wires while in transmission to
General Meade.  The despatch ran that Mr. Lincoln had been, shot at
10 o'clock that morning at Willard's Hotel, but as I could conceive
of nothing to take the President there I set the story down as a
canard, and went to bed without giving it further thought.  Next
morning, however, an official telegram confirmed the fact of the
assassination, though eliminating the distorted circumstances that
had been communicated the night before.

When we reached Petersburg my column was halted, and instructions
given me to march the cavalry and the Sixth Corps to Greensboro',
North Carolina, for the purpose of aiding General Sherman (the
surrender of General Johnston having not yet been effected), so I
made the necessary preparations and moved on the 24th of April,
arriving at South Boston, on the Dan River, the 28th, the Sixth Corps
having reached Danville meanwhile.  At South Boston I received a
despatch from General Halleck, who immediately after Lee's surrender
had been assigned to command at Richmond, informing me that General
Johnston had been brought to terms.  The necessity for going farther
south being thus obviated we retraced our steps to Petersburg, from
which place I proceeded by steamer to Washington, leaving, the
cavalry to be marched thither by easy stages.

The day after my arrival in Washington an important order was sent
me, accompanied by the following letter of instructions, transferring
me to a new field of operations:

"Washington, D. C., May 17, 1865.

"GENERAL: Under the orders relieving you from the command of the
Middle Military Division and assigning you to command west of the
Mississippi, you will proceed without delay to the West to arrange
all preliminaries for your new field of duties.

"Your duty is to restore Texas, and that part of Louisiana held by
the enemy, to the Union in the shortest practicable time, in a way
most effectual for securing permanent peace.

"To do this, you will be given all the troops that can be spared
by Major-General Canby, probably twenty-five thousand men of
all arms; the troops with Major-General J. J. Reynolds, in
Arkansas, say twelve thousand, Reynolds to command; the Fourth
Army Corps, now at Nashville, Tennessee, awaiting orders; and
the Twenty-Fifth Army Corps, now at City Point, Virginia, ready
to embark.

"I do not wish to trammel you with instructions; I will state,
however, that if Smith holds out, without even an ostensible
government to receive orders from or to report to, he and his men are
not entitled to the considerations due to an acknowledged
belligerent.  Theirs are the conditions of outlaws, making war
against the only Government having an existence over the territory
where war is now being waged.

"You may notify the rebel commander west of the Mississippi--holding
intercourse with him in person, or through such officers of the rank
of major-general as you may select--that he will be allowed to
surrender all his forces on the same terms as were accorded to Lee
and Johnston.  If he accedes, proceed to garrison the Red River as
high up as Shreveport, the seaboard at Galveston, Malagorda Bay,
Corpus Christi, and mouth of the Rio Grande.

"Place a strong force on the Rio Grande, holding it at least to a
point opposite Camargo, and above that if supplies can be procured.

"In case of an active campaign (a hostile one) I think a heavy force
should be put on the Rio Grande as a first preliminary.  Troops for
this might be started at once.  The Twenty-Fifth Corps is now
available, and to it should be added a force of white troops, say
those now under Major-General Steele.

"To be clear on this last point, I think the Rio Grande should be
strongly held, whether the forces in Texas surrender or not, and that
no time should be lost in getting troops there.  If war is to be
made, they will be in the right place; if Kirby Smith surrenders,
they will be on the line which is to be strongly garrisoned.

"Should any force be necessary other than those designated, they can
be had by calling for them on Army Headquarters.


"United States Army."

On receipt of these instructions I called at once on General Grant,
to see if they were to be considered so pressing as to preclude my
remaining in Washington till after the Grand Review, which was fixed
for the 23d and 24th of May, for naturally I had a strong desire to
head my command on that great occasion.  But the General told me that
it was absolutely necessary to go at once to force the surrender of
the Confederates under Kirby Smith.  He also told me that the States
lately in rebellion would be embraced in two or three military
departments, the commanders of which would control civil affairs
until Congress took action about restoring them to the Union, since
that course would not only be economical and simple, but would give
the Southern people confidence, and encourage them to go to work,
instead of distracting them with politics.

At this same interview he informed me that there was an additional
motive in sending me to the new command, a motive not explained by
the instructions themselves, and went on to say that, as a matter of
fact, he looked upon the invasion of Mexico by Maximilian as a part
of the rebellion itself, because of the encouragement that invasion
had received from the Confederacy, and that our success in putting
down secession would never be complete till the French and Austrian
invaders were compelled to quit the territory of our sister republic.
With regard to this matter, though, he said it would be necessary for
me to act with great circumspection, since the Secretary of State,
Mr. Seward, was much opposed to the use of our troops along the
border in any active way that would be likely to involve us in a war
with European powers.

Under the circumstances, my disappointment at not being permitted to
participate in the review had to be submitted to, and I left
Washington without an opportunity of seeing again in a body the men
who, while under my command, had gone through so many trials and
unremittingly pursued and, assailed the enemy, from the beginning of
the campaign of 1864 till the white flag came into their hands at
Appomattox Court House.

I went first to St.  Louis, and there took the steamboat for New
Orleans, and when near the mouth of the Red River received word from
General Canby that Kirby Smith had surrendered under terms similar to
those accorded Lee and Johnston.  But the surrender was not carried
out in good faith, particularly by the Texas troops, though this I
did not learn till some little time afterward when I was informed
that they had marched off to the interior of the State in several
organized bodies, carrying with them their camp equipage, arms,
ammunition, and even some artillery, with the ultimate purpose of
going to Mexico.  In consequence of this, and also because of the
desire of the Government to make a strong showing of force in Texas,
I decided to traverse the State with two columns of cavalry,
directing one to San Antonio under Merritt, the other to Houston
under Custer.  Both commands were to start from the Red River
--Shreveport and Alexandria--being the respective initial points--and
in organizing the columns, to the mounted force already on the Red
River were added several regiments of cavalry from the east bank of
the Mississippi, and in a singular way one of these fell upon the
trail of my old antagonist, General Early.  While crossing the river
somewhere below Vicksburg some of the men noticed a suspicious
looking party being ferried over in a rowboat, behind which two
horses were swimming in tow.  Chase was given, and the horses, being
abandoned by the party, fell into the hands of our troopers, who,
however, failed to capture or identify the people in the boat.  As
subsequently ascertained, the men were companions of Early, who was
already across the Mississippi, hidden in the woods, on his way with
two or three of these followers to join the Confederates in Texas,
not having heard of Kirby Smith's surrender.  A week or two later I
received a letter from Early describing the affair, and the capture
of the horses, for which he claimed pay, on the ground that they were
private property, because he had taken them in battle.  The letter
also said that any further pursuit of Early would be useless, as he
"expected to be on the deep blue sea" by the time his communication
reached me.  The unfortunate man was fleeing from imaginary dangers,
however, for striking his trail was purely accidental, and no effort
whatever was being made to arrest him personally.  Had this been
especially desired it might have been accomplished very readily just
after Lee's surrender, for it was an open secret that Early was then
not far away, pretty badly disabled with rheumatism.

By the time the two columns were ready to set out for San Antonio and
Houston, General Frank Herron,--with one division of the Thirteenth
Corps, occupied Galveston, and another division under General Fred
Steele had gone to Brazos Santiago, to hold Brownsville and the line
of the Rio Grande, the object being to prevent, as far as possible,
the escaping Confederates from joining Maximilian.  With this purpose
in view, and not forgetting Grant's conviction that the French
invasion of Mexico was linked with the rebellion, I asked for an
increase of force to send troops into Texas in fact, to concentrate
at available points in the State an army strong enough to move
against the invaders of Mexico if occasion demanded.  The Fourth and
Twenty-fifth army corps being ordered to report to me, accordingly, I
sent the Fourth Corps to Victoria and San Antonio, and the bulk of
the Twenty-fifth to Brownsville.  Then came the feeding and caring
for all these troops--a difficult matter--for those at Victoria and
San Antonio had to be provisioned overland from Indianola across the
"hog-wallow prairie," while the supplies for the forces at
Brownsville and along the Rio Grande must come by way of Brazos
Santiago, from which point I was obliged to construct, with the labor
of the men, a railroad to Clarksville, a distance of about eighteen

The latter part of June I repaired to Brownsville myself to impress
the Imperialists, as much as possible, with the idea that we intended
hostilities, and took along my chief of scouts--Major Young--and four
of his most trusty men, whom I had had sent from Washington.  From
Brownsville I despatched all these men to important points in
northern Mexico, to glean information regarding the movements of the
Imperial forces, and also to gather intelligence about the
ex-Confederates who had crossed the Rio Grande.  On information
furnished by these scouts, I caused General Steele to make
demonstrations all along the lower Rio Grande, and at the same time
demanded the return of certain munitions of war that had been turned
over by ex-Confederates to the Imperial General (Mejia) commanding at
Matamoras.  These demands, backed up as they were by such a
formidable show of force created much agitation and demoralization
among the Imperial troops, and measures looking to the abandonment of
northern Mexico were forthwith adopted by those in authority--a
policy that would have resulted in the speedy evacuation of the
entire country by Maximilian, had not our Government weakened;
contenting itself with a few pieces of the contraband artillery
varnished over with the Imperial apologies.  A golden opportunity was
lost, for we had ample excuse for crossing the boundary, but Mr.
Seward being, as I have already stated, unalterably opposed to any
act likely to involve us in war, insisted on his course of
negotiation with Napoleon.

As the summer wore away, Maximilian, under Mr. Seward's policy,
gained in strength till finally all the accessible sections of Mexico
were in his possession, and the Republic under President Juarez
almost succumbed.  Growing impatient at this, in the latter part of
September I decided to try again what virtue there might be in a
hostile demonstration, and selected the upper Rio Grande for the
scene of my attempt.  Merritt's cavalry and the Fourth Corps still
being at San Antonio, I went to that place and reviewed these troops,
and having prepared them with some ostentation for a campaign, of
course it was bruited about that we were going to invade Mexico.
Then, escorted by a regiment of horse I proceeded hastily to Fort
Duncan, on the Rio Grande just opposite the Mexican town of Piedras
Negras.  Here I opened communication with President Juarez, through
one of his staff, taking care not to do this in the dark, and the
news, spreading like wildfire, the greatest significance was ascribed
to my action, it being reported most positively and with many
specific details that I was only awaiting the arrival of the troops,
then under marching orders at San Antonio, to cross the Rio Grande in
behalf of the Liberal cause.

Ample corroboration of the reports then circulated was found in my
inquiries regarding the quantity of forage we could depend upon
getting in Mexico, our arrangements for its purchase, and my sending
a pontoon train to Brownsville, together with which was cited the
renewed activity of the troops along the lower Rio Grande.  These
reports and demonstrations resulted in alarming the Imperialists so
much that they withdrew the French and Austrian soldiers from
Matamoras, and practically abandoned the whole of northern Mexico as
far down as Monterey, with the exception of Matamoras, where General
Mejia continued to hang on with a garrison of renegade Mexicans.

The abandonment of so much territory in northern Mexico encouraged
General Escobedo and other Liberal leaders to such a degree that they
collected a considerable army of their followers at Comargo, Mier,
and other points.  At the same time that unknown quantity, Cortinas,
suspended his free-booting for the nonce, and stoutly harassing
Matamoras, succeeded in keeping its Imperial garrison within the
fortifications.  Thus countenanced and stimulated, and largely
supplied with arms and ammunition, which we left at convenient places
on our side of the river to fall into their hands, the Liberals,
under General Escobedo--a man of much force of character--were
enabled in northern Mexico to place the affairs of the Republic on a
substantial basis.

But in the midst of what bade fair to cause a final withdrawal of the
foreigners, we were again checked by our Government, as a result of
representations of the French Minister at Washington.  In October, he
wrote to Mr. Seward that the United States troops on the Rio Grande
were acting "in exact opposition to the repeated assurances Your
Excellency has given me concerning the desire of the Cabinet at
Washington to preserve the most strict neutrality in the events now
taking place in Mexico," and followed this statement with an emphatic
protest against our course.  Without any investigation whatever by
our State Department, this letter of the French Minister was
transmitted to me, accompanied by directions to preserve a strict
neutrality; so, of course, we were again debarred from anything like
active sympathy.

After this, it required the patience of Job to abide the slow and
poky methods of our State Department, and, in truth, it was often
very difficult to restrain officers and men from crossing the Rio
Grande with hostile purpose.  Within the knowledge of my troops,
there had gone on formerly the transfer of organized bodies of
ex-Confederates to Mexico, in aid of the Imperialists, and at this
period it was known that there was in preparation an immigration
scheme having in view the colonizing, at Cordova and one or two other
places, of all the discontented elements of the defunct Confederacy
--Generals Price, Magruder, Maury, and other high personages being
promoters of the enterprise, which Maximilian took to readily.  He
saw in it the possibilities of a staunch support to his throne, and
therefore not only sanctioned the project, but encouraged it with
large grants of land, inspirited the promoters with titles of
nobility, and, in addition, instituted a system of peonage, expecting
that the silver hook thus baited would be largely swallowed by the
Southern people.

The announcement of the scheme was followed by the appointment of
commissioners in each of the Southern States to send out emigrants;
but before any were deluded into starting, I made to General Grant a
report of what was going on, with the recommendation that measures be
taken, through our State Department, looking to the suppression of
the colony; but, as usual, nothing could be effected through that
channel; so, as an alternative, I published, in April, 1866, by
authority of General Grant, an order prohibiting the embarkation from
ports in Louisiana and Texas, for ports in Mexico, of any person
without a permit from my headquarters.  This dampened the ardor of
everybody in the Gulf States who had planned to go to Mexico; and
although the projectors of the Cordova Colonization Scheme--the name
by which it was known--secured a few innocents from other districts,
yet this set-back led ultimately to failure.

Among the Liberal leaders along the Rio Grande during this period
there sprang up many factional differences from various causes, some
personal, others political, and some, I regret to say, from downright
moral obliquity--as, for example, those between Cortinas and Canales
--who, though generally hostile to the Imperialists, were freebooters
enough to take a shy at each other frequently, and now and then even
to join forces against Escobedo, unless we prevented them by coaxing
or threats.  A general who could unite these several factions was
therefore greatly needed, and on my return to New Orleans I so
telegraphed General Grant, and he, thinking General Caravajal (then
in Washington seeking aid for the Republic) would answer the purpose,
persuaded him to report to me in New Orleans.  Caravajal promptly
appeared, but he did not impress me very favorably.  He was old and
cranky, yet, as he seemed anxious to do his best, I sent him over to
Brownsville, with credentials, authorizing him to cross into Mexico,
and followed him myself by the next boat.  When I arrived in
Brownsville, matters in Matamoras had already reached a crisis.
General Mejia, feeling keenly the moral support we were giving the
Liberals, and hard pressed by the harassing attacks of Cortinas and
Canales, had abandoned the place, and Caravajal, because of
his credentials from our side, was in command, much to the
dissatisfaction of both those chiefs whose differences it was
intended he should reconcile.

The day after I got to Brownsville I visited Matamoras, and had a
long interview with Caravajal.  The outcome of this meeting was, on
my part, a stronger conviction than ever that he was unsuitable, and
I feared that either Canales or Cortinas would get possession of the
city.  Caravajal made too many professions of what he would do--in
short, bragged too much--but as there was no help for the situation,
I made the best of it by trying to smooth down the ruffled feathers
of Canales and Cortinas.  In my interview with Caravajal I
recommended Major Young as a confidential man, whom he could rely
upon as a "go-between" for communicating with our people at
Brownsville, and whom he could trust to keep him informed of the
affairs of his own country as well.

A day or two afterward I recrossed the Gulf to New Orleans, and then,
being called from my headquarters to the interior of Texas, a
fortnight passed before I heard anything from Brownsville.  In the
meanwhile Major Young had come to New Orleans, and organized there a
band of men to act as a body-guard for Caravajal, the old wretch
having induced him to accept the proposition by representing that it
had my concurrence.  I at once condemned the whole business, but
Young, having been furnished with seven thousand dollars to recruit
the men and buy their arms, had already secured both, and was so
deeply involved in the transaction, he said, that he could not
withdraw without dishonor, and with tears in his eyes he besought me
to help him.  He told me he had entered upon the adventure in the
firm belief that I would countenance it; that the men and their
equipment were on his hands; that he must make good his word at all
hazards; and that while I need not approve, yet I must go far enough
to consent to the departure of the men, and to loan him the money
necessary to provision his party and hire a schooner to carry them to
Brazos.  It was hard in deed to resist the appeals of this man, who
had served me so long and so well, and the result of his pleading was
that I gave him permission to sail, and also loaned him the sum asked
for; but I have never ceased to regret my consent, for misfortune
fell upon the enterprise almost from its inception.

By the time the party got across the Gulf and over to Brownsville,
Caravajal had been deposed by Canales, and the latter would not
accept their services.  This left Young with about fifty men to whom
he was accountable, and as he had no money to procure them
subsistence, they were in a bad fix.  The only thing left to do was
to tender their services to General Escobedo, and with this in view
the party set out to reach the General's camp, marching up the Rio
Grande on the American side, intending to cross near Ringgold Bar
racks.  In advance of them, however, had spread far and wide the
tidings of who they were, what they proposed to do, and where they
were going, and before they could cross into Mexico they were
attacked by a party of ex-Confederates and  renegade Mexican
rancheros.  Being on American soil, Young forbade his men to return
the fire, and bent all his efforts to getting them over the river;
but in this attempt they were broken up, and became completely
demoralized.  A number of the men were drowned while swimming the
river, Young himself was shot and killed, a few were captured, and
those who escaped--about twenty in all--finally joined Escobedo, but
in such a  plight as to be of little use.  With this distressing
affair came to an end pretty much all open participation of American
sympathizers with the Liberal cause, but the moral support afforded
by the presence of our forces continued, and this was frequently
supplemented with material aid in the shape of munitions of war,
which we liberally supplied, though constrained to do so by the most
secret methods.

The term of office of Juarez as President of the Mexican Republic
expired in December, 1865, but to meet existing exigencies he had
continued himself in office by proclamation, a course rendered
necessary by the fact that no elections could be held on account of
the Imperial occupation of most of the country.  The official who, by
the Mexican Constitution, is designated for the succession in such an
emergency, is the President of the Supreme Court, and the person then
eligible under this provision was General Ortega, but in the interest
of the Imperialists he had absented himself from Mexico, hence the
patriotic course of Juarez in continuing himself at the head of
affairs was a necessity of the situation.  This action of the
President gave the Imperialists little concern at first, but with the
revival of the Liberal cause they availed themselves of every means
to divide its supporters, and Ortega, who had been lying low in the
United States, now came forward to claim the Presidency.  Though
ridiculously late for such a step, his first act was to issue a
manifesto protesting against the assumption of the executive
authority by Juarez.  The protest had little effect, however, and his
next proceeding was to come to New Orleans, get into correspondence
with other disaffected Mexicans, and thus perfect his plans.  When he
thought his intrigue ripe enough for action, he sailed for Brazos,
intending to cross the Rio Grande and assert his claims with arms.
While he was scheming in New Orleans, however, I had learned what he
was up to, and in advance of his departure had sent instructions to
have him arrested on American soil.  Colonel Sedgwick, commanding at
Brownsville, was now temporary master of Matamoras also, by reason of
having stationed some American troops there for the protection of
neutral merchants, so when Ortega appeared at Brazos, Sedgwick
quietly arrested him and held him till the city of Matamoras was
turned over to General Escobedo, the authorized representative of
Juarez; then Escobedo took charge, of Ortega, and with ease prevented
his further machinations.

During the winter and spring of 1866 we continued covertly supplying
arms and ammunition to the Liberals--sending as many as 30,000
muskets from Baton Rouge Arsenal alone--and by mid-summer Juarez,
having organized a pretty good sized army, was in possession of the
whole line of the Rio Grande, and, in fact, of nearly the whole of
Mexico down to San Louis Potosi.  Then thick and fast came rumors
pointing to the tottering condition of Maximilian's Empire-first,
that Orizaba and Vera Cruz were being fortified; then, that the
French were to be withdrawn; and later came the intelligence that the
Empress Carlotta had gone home to beg assistance from Napoleon, the
author of all of her husband's troubles.  But the situation forced
Napoleon to turn a deaf ear to Carlotta's prayers.  The brokenhearted
woman besought him on her knees, but his fear of losing an army made
all pleadings vain.  In fact, as I ascertained by the following
cablegram which came into my hands, Napoleon's instructions for the
French evacuation were in Mexico at the very time of this pathetic
scene between him and Carlotta.  The despatch was in cipher when I
received it, but was translated by the telegraph operator at my
headquarters, who long before had mastered the key of the French

"PARIS, January 10, 1867.  FRENCH CONSUL, New Orleans, La.


"Received your despatch of the 9th December.  Do not compel the
Emperor to abdicate, but do not delay the departure of the troops;
bring back all those who will not remain there.  Most of the fleet
has left.


This meant the immediate withdrawal of the French.  The rest of the
story--which has necessarily been but in outline--is soon told.
Maximilian, though deserted, determined to hold out to the last, and
with the aid of disloyal Mexicans stuck to his cause till the spring.
When taken prisoner at Queretaro, he was tried and executed under
circumstances that are well known.  From promptings of humanity
Secretary Seward tried hard to save the Imperial prisoner, but
without success.  The Secretary's plea for mercy was sent through me
at New Orleans, and to make speed I hired a steamer to proceed with
it across the Gulf to Tampico.  The document was carried by Sergeant
White, one of my scouts, who crossed the country from Tampico, and
delivered it to Escobedo at Queretaro; but Mr. Seward's
representations were without avail--refused probably because little
mercy had been shown certain Liberal leaders unfortunate enough to
fall into Maximilian's hands during the prosperous days of his

At the close of our war there was little hope for the Republic of
Mexico.  Indeed, till our troops were concentrated on the Rio Grande
there was none.  Our appearance in such force along the border
permitted the Liberal leaders, refugees from their homes, to
establish rendezvous whence they could promulgate their plans in
safety, while the countenance thus given the cause, when hope was
well-nigh gone, incited the Mexican people to renewed resistance.
Beginning again with very scant means, for they had lost about all,
the Liberals saw their cause, under the influence of such significant
and powerful backing, progress and steadily grow so strong that
within two years Imperialism had received its death-blow.  I doubt
very much whether such, results could have been achieved without the
presence of an American army on the Rio Grande, which, be it
remembered, was sent there because, in General Grant's words, the
French invasion of Mexico was so closely related to the rebellion as
to be essentially a part of it.



Although in 1865-66 much of my attention was directed to
international matters along the Rio Grande, the civil affairs of
Texas and Louisiana required a certain amount of military supervision
also in the absence of regularly established civil authority.  At the
time of Kirby Smith's surrender the National Government had
formulated no plan with regard to these or the other States lately in
rebellion, though a provisional Government had been set up in
Louisiana as early as 1864.  In consequence of this lack of system,
Governor Pendleton Murray, of Texas, who was elected under
Confederate rule, continued to discharge the duties of Governor till
President Johnson, on June 17, in harmony with his amnesty
proclamation of May 29, 1865, appointed A. J. Hamilton provisional
Governor.  Hamilton was empowered by the President to call a
Constitutional convention, the delegates to which were to be elected,
under certain prescribed qualifications, for the purpose of
organizing the political affairs of the State, the Governor to be
guided by instructions similar to those given the provisional
Governor of North Carolina (W. W. Holden), when appointed in May.

The convening of this body gave rise to much dissatisfaction among
the people of Texas.  They had assumed that affairs were to go on as
of old, and that the reintegration of the State was to take place
under the administration of Governor Murray, who, meanwhile, had
taken it upon himself, together with the Legislature, to authorize
the election of delegates to a State Convention, without restriction
as to who should be entitled to vote.  Thus encouraged, the element
but lately in armed rebellion was now fully bent on restoring the
State to the Union without any intervention whatever of the Federal
Government; but the advent of Hamilton put an end to such illusions,
since his proclamation promptly disfranchised the element in
question, whose consequent disappointment and chagrin were so great
as to render this factor of the community almost uncontrollable.  The
provisional Governor at once rescinded the edict of Governor Murray,
prohibited the assembling of his convention, and shortly after
called, one himself, the delegates to which were to b chosen by
voters who could take the amnesty-oath.  The proclamation convening
this assemblage also announced the policy that would be pursued in
governing the State until its affairs were satisfactorily
reorganized, defined in brief the course to be followed by the
Judiciary, and provided for the appointment, by the Governor, of
county officials to succeed those known to be disloyal.  As this
action of Hamilton's disfranchised all who could not take the amnesty
oath, and of course deprived them of the offices, it met at once with
pronounced and serious opposition, and he quickly realized that he
had on his hands an arduous task to protect the colored people,
particularly as in the transition state of society just after the
close of the war there prevailed much lawlessness, which vented
itself chiefly on the freedmen.  It was greatly feared that political
rights were to be given those so recently in servitude, and as it was
generally believed that such enfranchisement would precipitate a race
war unless the freedmen were overawed and kept in a state of
subjection, acts of intimidation were soon reported from all parts of
the State.

Hamilton, an able, determined, and fearless man, tried hard to curb
this terrorism, but public opinion being strong against him, he could
accomplish little without military aid.  As department commander, I
was required, whenever called upon, to assist his government, and as
these requisitions for help became necessarily very frequent, the
result was that shortly after he assumed his duties, detachments of
troops were stationed in nearly every county of the State.  By such
disposition of my forces fairly good order was maintained under the
administration of Hamilton, and all went well till the inauguration
of J. W. Throckmorton, who, elected Governor in pursuance of an
authorization granted by the convention which Hamilton had called
together, assumed the duties of the office August 9, 1866.

One of Governor Throckmorton's first acts was to ask the withdrawal
or non-interference of the military.  This was not all granted, but
under his ingenious persuasion President Johnson, on the 13th of
August, 1866, directed that the new State officials be entrusted with
the unhampered control of civil affairs, and this was more than
enough to revive the bulldozing methods that had characterized the
beginning of Hamilton's administration.  Oppressive legislation in
the shape of certain apprentice and vagrant laws quickly followed,
developing a policy of gross injustice toward the colored people on
the part of the courts, and a reign of lawlessness and disorder
ensued which, throughout the remote districts of the State at least,
continued till Congress, by what are known as the Reconstruction
Acts, took into its own hands the rehabilitation of the seceded

In the State of Louisiana a provisional government, chosen by the
loyal element, had been put in operation, as already mentioned, as
early as 1864.  This was effected under encouragement given by
President Lincoln, through the medium of a Constitutional convention,
which met at New Orleans in April, 1864, and adjourned in July.  The
constitution then agreed upon was submitted to the people, and in
September, 1864, was ratified by a vote of the few loyal residents of
the State.

The government provided under this constitution being looked upon as
provisional merely, was never recognized by Congress, and in 1865 the
returned Confederates, restored to citizenship by the President's
amnesty proclamation, soon got control of almost all the State.  The
Legislature was in their hands, as well as most of the State and
municipal offices; so, when the President, on the 20th of August,
1866, by proclamation, extended his previous instructions regarding
civil affairs in Texas so as to have them apply to all the seceded
States, there at once began in Louisiana a system of discriminative
legislation directed against the freedmen, that led to flagrant
wrongs in the enforcement of labor contracts, and in the remote
parishes to numbers of outrages and murders.

To remedy this deplorable condition of things, it was proposed, by
those who had established the government of 1864, to remodel the
constitution of the State; and they sought to do this by reassembling
the convention, that body before its adjournment having provided for
reconvening under certain conditions, in obedience to the call of its
president.  Therefore, early in the summer of 1866, many members of
this convention met in conference at New Orleans, and decided that a
necessity existed for reconvening the delegates, and a proclamation
was issued accordingly by B. K. Howell, President-pro-tempore.

Mayor John T.  Monroe and the other officials of New Orleans looked
upon this proposed action as revolutionary, and by the time the
convention assembled (July 30), such bitterness of feeling prevailed
that efforts were made by the mayor and city police to suppress the
meeting.  A bloody riot followed, resulting, in the killing and
wounding of about a hundred and sixty persons.

I happened to be absent from the city at the time, returning from
Texas, where I had been called by affairs on the Rio Grande.  On my
way up from the mouth of the Mississippi I was met on the night of
July 30 by one of my staff, who reported what had occurred, giving
the details of the massacre--no milder term is fitting--and informing
me that, to prevent further slaughter, General Baird, the senior
military officer present, had assumed control of the municipal
government.  On reaching the city I made an investigation, and that
night sent the following report of the affair:

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., Aug.  1, 1866.


"You are doubtless aware of the serious riot which occurred in this
city on the 30th.  A political body, styling themselves the
Convention of 1864, met on the 30th, for, as it is alleged, the
purpose of remodeling the present constitution of the State.  The
leaders were political agitators and revolutionary men, and the
action of the convention was liable to produce breaches of the public
peace.  I had made up my mind to arrest the head men, if the
proceedings of the convention were calculated to disturb the
tranquility of the Department; but I had no cause for action until
they committed the overt act.  In the meantime official duty called
me to Texas, and the mayor of the city, during my absence suppressed
the convention by the use of the police force, and in so doing
attacked the members of the convention, and a party of two hundred
negroes, with fire-arms, clubs, and knives, in a manner so
unnecessary and atrocious as to compel me to say that it was murder.
About forty whites and blacks were thus killed, and about one hundred
and sixty wounded.  Everything is now quiet, but I deem it best to
maintain a military supremacy in the city for a few days, until the
affair is fully investigated.  I believe the sentiment of the general
community is great regret at this unnecessary cruelty, and that the
police could have made any arrest they saw fit without sacrificing

"Major-General Commanding."

On receiving the telegram, General Grant immediately submitted it
to the President.  Much clamor being made at the North for the
publication of the despatch, Mr. Johnson pretended to give it to the
newspapers.  It appeared in the issues of August 4, but with this
paragraph omitted, viz.:

"I had made up my mind to arrest the head men, if the proceedings of
the convention were calculated to disturb the tranquility of the
Department, but I had no cause for action until they committed the
overt act.  In the mean time official duty called me to Texas, and
the mayor of the city, during my absence, suppressed the convention
by the use of the police force, and in so doing attacked the members
of the convention, and a party of two hundred negroes, with
fire-arms, clubs, and knives, in a manner so unnecessary and atrocious
as to compel me to say it was murder."

Against this garbling of my report--done by the President's own order
--I strongly demurred; and this emphatic protest marks the beginning of
Mr. Johnson's well-known personal hostility toward me.  In the mean
time I received (on August 3) the following despatch from General Grant
approving my course:

"WAR DEPT., WASHINGTON, D. C., "August 3, 1866--5 p.m.

"Commanding Mil. Div. of the Gulf,
"New Orleans, La.

"Continue to enforce martial law, so far as may be necessary to
preserve the peace; and do not allow any of the civil authorities to
act, if you deem such action dangerous to the public safety.  Lose no
time in investigating and reporting the causes that led to the riot,
and the facts which occurred.


In obedience to the President's directions, My report of August 1 was
followed by another, more in detail, which I give in full, since it
tells the whole story of the riot:

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 6, 1866.

"President United States.

"I have the honor to make the following reply to your despatch of
August 4.  A very large number of colored people marched in
procession on Friday night, July twenty-seven (27), and were
addressed from the steps of the City Hall by Dr. Dostie, ex-Governor
Hahn, and others.  The speech of Dostie was intemperate in language
and sentiment.  The speeches of the others, so far as I can learn,
were characterized by moderation.  I have not given you the words of
Dostie's speech, as the version published was denied; but from what I
have learned of the man, I believe they were intemperate.

"The convention assembled at twelve (12) M.  on the thirtieth (30),
the timid members absenting themselves because the tone of the
general public was ominous of trouble.  I think there were about
twenty-six (26) members present.  In front of the Mechanics
Institute, where the meeting was held, there were assembled some
colored men, women, and children, perhaps eighteen (18) or twenty
(20), and in the Institute a number of colored men, probably one
hundred and fifty (150).  Among those outside and inside there might
have been a pistol in the possession of every tenth (10) man.

"About one (1) p. m.  a procession of say from sixty (60) to one
hundred and thirty (130) colored men marched up Burgundy Street and
across Canal Street toward the convention, carrying an American flag.
These men had about one pistol to every ten men, and canes and clubs
in addition.  While crossing Canal Street a row occurred.  There were
many spectators on the street, and their manner and tone toward the
procession unfriendly.  A shot was fired, by whom I am not able to
state, but believe it to have been by a policeman, or some colored
man in the procession.  This led to other shots and a rush after the
procession.  On arrival at the front of the Institute there was some
throwing of brickbats by both sides.  The police, who had been held
well in hand, were vigorously marched to the scene of disorder.  The
procession entered the Institute with the flag, about six (6) or
eight (8) remaining outside.  A row occurred between a policeman and
one of these colored men, and a shot was again fired by one of the
parties, which led to an indiscriminate fire on the building through
the windows by the policemen.  This had been going on for a short
time, when a white flag was displayed from the windows of the
Institute, whereupon the firing ceased, and the police rushed into
the building.

"From the testimony of wounded men, and others who were inside the
building, the policemen opened an indiscriminate fire upon the
audience until they had emptied their revolvers, when they retired,
and those inside barricaded the doors.  The door was broken in, and
the firing again commenced, when many of the colored and white people
either escaped throughout the door or were passed out by the
policemen inside; but as they came out the policemen who formed the
circle nearest the building fired upon them, and they were again
fired upon by the citizens that formed the outer circle.  Many of
those wounded and taken prisoners, and others who were prisoners and
not wounded, were fired upon by their captors and by citizens.  The
wounded were stabbed while lying on the ground, and their heads
beaten with brickbats.  In the yard of the building, whither some of
the colored men had escaped and partially secreted themselves, they
were fired upon and killed or wounded by policemen.  Some were killed
and wounded several squares from the scene.  Members of the
convention were wounded by the police while in their hands as
prisoners, some of them mortally.

"The immediate cause of this terrible affair was the assemblage of
this Convention; the remote cause was the bitter and antagonistic
feeling which has been growing in this community since the advent of
the present Mayor, who, in the organization of his police force,
selected many desperate men, and some of them known murderers.
People of clear views were overawed by want of confidence in the
Mayor, and fear of the thugs, many of which he had selected for his
police force.  I have frequently been spoken to by prominent citizens
on this subject, and have heard them express fear, and want of
confidence in Mayor Monroe.  Ever since the intimation of this last
convention movement I must condemn the course of several of the city
papers for supporting, by their articles, the bitter feeling of bad
men.  As to the merciless manner in which the convention was broken
up, I feel obliged to confess strong repugnance.

"It is useless to disguise the hostility that exists on the part of a
great many here toward Northern men, and this unfortunate affair has
so precipitated matters that there is now a test of what shall be the
status of Northern men--whether they can live here without being in
constant dread or not, whether they can be protected in life and
property, and have justice in the courts.  If this matter is
permitted to pass over without a thorough and determined prosecution
of those engaged in it, we may look out for frequent scenes of the
same kind, not only here, but in other places.  No steps have as yet
been taken by the civil authorities to arrest citizens who were
engaged in this massacre, or policemen who perpetrated such
cruelties.  The members of the convention have been indicted by the
grand jury, and many of them arrested and held to bail.  As to
whether the civil authorities can mete out ample justice to the
guilty parties on both sides, I must say it is my opinion,
unequivocally, that they cannot.  Judge Abell, whose course I have
closely watched for nearly a year, I now consider one of the most
dangerous men that we have here to the peace and quiet of the city.
The leading men of the convention--King, Cutler, Hahn, and others
--have been political agitators, and are bad men.  I regret to say that
the course of Governor Wells has been vacillating, and that during the
late trouble he has shown very little of the man.

"Major-General Commanding."

Subsequently a military commission investigated the subject of the
riot, taking a great deal of testimony.  The commission substantially
confirmed the conclusions given in my despatches, and still later
there was an investigation by a select committee of the House of
Representatives, of which the Honorables Samuel Shellabarger, of
Ohio, H. L. Elliot, of Massachusetts, and B. M. Boyer, of
Pennsylvania, were the members.  The majority report of the committee
also corroborated, in all essentials, my reports of the distressing
occurrence.  The committee likewise called attention to a violent
speech made by Mr. Johnson at St. Louis in September, 1866, charging
the origin of the riot to Congress, and went on to say of the speech
that "it was an unwarranted and unjust expression of hostile feeling,
without pretext or foundation in fact."  A list of the killed and
wounded was embraced in the committee's report, and among other
conclusions reached were the following: "That the meeting of July 30
was a meeting of quiet citizens, who came together without arms and
with intent peaceably to discuss questions of public concern....
There has been no occasion during our National history when a riot
has occurred so destitute of justifiable cause, resulting in a
massacre so inhuman and fiend-like, as that which took place at New
Orleans on the 30th of July last.  This riotous attack upon the
convention, with its terrible results of massacre and murder, was not
an accident.  It was the determined purpose of the mayor of the city
of New Orleans to break up this convention by armed force."

The statement is also made, that, "He [the President] knew that
'rebels' and 'thugs' and disloyal men had controlled the election of
Mayor Monroe, and that such men composed chiefly his police force."

The committee held that no legal government existed in Louisiana, and
recommended the temporary establishment of a provisional government
therein; the report concluding that "in the meantime the safety of
all Union men within the State demands that such government be formed
for their protection, for the well being of the nation and the
permanent peace of the Republic."

The New Orleans riot agitated the whole country, and the official and
other reports served to intensify and concentrate the opposition to
President Johnson's policy of reconstruction, a policy resting
exclusively on and inspired solely by the executive authority--for it
was made plain, by his language and his acts, that he was seeking to
rehabilitate the seceded States under conditions differing not a whit
from those existing before the rebellion; that is to say, without the
slightest constitutional provision regarding the status of the
emancipated slaves, and with no assurances of protection for men who
had remained loyal in the war.

In December, 1866, Congress took hold of the subject with such vigor
as to promise relief from all these perplexing disorders, and, after
much investigation and a great deal of debate, there resulted the
so-called "Reconstruction Laws," which, for a clear understanding of
the powers conferred on the military commanders, I deem best to append
in full:

AN ACT to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel

WHEREAS, no legal State governments or adequate protection for life
or property now exist in the rebel States of Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana,
Florida, Texas, and Arkansas; and whereas, it is necessary that peace
and good order should be enforced in said States until loyal and
republican State governments can be legally established; therefore,

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That said rebel
States shall be divided into military districts and made subject to
the military authority of the United States as hereinafter
prescribed; and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first
district; North Carolina and South Carolina, the second district;
Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, the third district; Mississippi and
Arkansas, the fourth district; and Louisiana and Texas, the fifth

SEC. 2.  And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
President to assign to the command of each of said districts an
officer of the army not below the rank of brigadier-general, and to
detail a sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform
his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he
is assigned.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each
officer assigned as aforesaid to protect all persons in their rights
of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and
violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of
the public peace and criminals, and to this end he may allow local
civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and to try offenders, or,
when in his judgment it may be necessary for the trial of offenders,
he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for
that purpose, and all interference, under cover of State authority,
with the exercise of military authority under this act, shall be null
and void.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons put under
military arrest by virtue of this act shall be tried without
unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unjust punishment shall be
inflicted; and no sentence of any military commission or tribunal
hereby authorized affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall
be executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the
district; and the laws and regulations for the government of the army
shall not be affected by this act except in so far as they conflict
with its provisions: Provided, That no sentence of death, under the
provisions of this act, shall be carried into effect without the
approval of the President.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of
said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in
conformity with the Constitution of the United States in all
respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male
citizens of said State twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever
race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said
State for one year previous to the day of such election, except such
as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion, or for
felony at common law; and when such constitution shall provide that
the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have
the qualifications herein stated for electors of delegates; and when
such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons
voting on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors
for delegates, and when such constitution shall have been submitted
to Congress for examination and approval, and Congress shall have
approved the same; and when said State, by a vote of its legislature
elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to
the Constitution of the United States proposed by the Thirty-ninth
Congress, and known as article fourteen; and when said article shall
have become a part of the Constitution of the United States, said
State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and
senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their
taking the oath prescribed by law; and then and thereafter the
preceding sections of this act shall be inoperative in said State:
Provided, That no person excluded from the privilege of holding
office by said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United
States shall be eligible to election as a member of the convention to
frame a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such
person vote for members of such convention.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That until the people of said
rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation in the
Congress of the United States, any civil government which may exist
therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject
to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to
abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same; and in all elections
to any office under such provisional governments all persons shall be
entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the
fifth section of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any
office under any such provisional governments who would be
disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the third
article of said constitutional amendment.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.

AN ACT supplementary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the
more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second,
eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That before the first
day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding
general in each district defined by an act entitled "An act to
provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,"
passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a
registration to be made of the male citizens of the United States,
twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or
parish in the State or States included in his district, which
registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to
vote for delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and
subscribed the following oath or affirmation: "I,------, do
solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of the Almighty God, that
I am a citizen of the State of ---------; that I have resided in said
State for----- months next preceding this day, and now reside in the
county of -------, or the parish of --------, in said State, (as the
case may be); that I am twenty-one years old; that I have not been
disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against
the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any
State or of the United States; that I have never been a member of any
State Legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any
State, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against
the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof;
that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United
States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any
State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any
State, to support the constitution of the United States, and
afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United
States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I will
faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United
States, and will, to the best of my ability, encourage others so to
do: so help me God."; which oath or affirmation may be administered
by any registering officer.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after the completion of the
registration hereby provided for in any State, at such time and
places therein as the commanding general shall appoint and direct, of
which at least thirty days' public notice shall be given, an election
shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose of
establishing a constitution and civil government for such State loyal
to the Union, said convention in each State, except Virginia, to
consist of the same number of members as the most numerous branch of
the State Legislature of such State in the year eighteen hundred and
sixty, to be apportioned among the several districts, counties, or
parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving each
representation in the ratio of voters registered as aforesaid as
nearly as may be.  The convention in Virginia shall consist of the
same number of members as represented the territory now constituting
Virginia in the most numerous branch of the Legislature of said State
in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned as

SEC.  3. And be it further enacted, That at said election the
registered voters of each State shall vote for or against a
convention to form a constitution therefor under this act.  Those
voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or printed on
the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words
"For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall
have written or printed on such ballot the words "Against a
convention." The persons appointed to superintend said election, and
to make return of the votes given thereat, as herein provided, shall
count and make return of the votes given for and against a
convention; and the commanding general to whom the same shall have
been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each
State for and against a convention.  If a majority of the votes given
on that question shall be for a convention, then such convention
shall be held as hereinafter provided; but if a majority of said
votes shall, be against a convention, then no such convention shall
be held under this act: Provided, That such convention shall not be
held unless a majority of all such registered voters shall have voted
on the question of holding such convention.

SEC.  4.  And be it further enacted, That the commanding general of
each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be
necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons, to make and
complete the registration, superintend the election, and make return
to him of the votes, list of voters, and of the persons elected as
delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election; and upon
receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons
elected as delegates, according to the returns of the officers who
conducted said election, and make proclamation thereof; and if a
majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a
convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date
of election, shall notify the delegates to assemble in convention, at
a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, and said
convention, when organized, shall proceed to frame a constitution and
civil government according to the provisions of this act, and the act
to which it is supplementary; and when the same shall have been so
framed, said constitution shall be submitted by the convention for
ratification to the persons registered under the provisions of this
act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons
appointed or to be appointed by the commanding general, as
hereinbefore provided, and to be held after the expiration of thirty
days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention;
and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of
the district.

SEC.  5.  And be it further enacted, That if, according to said
returns, the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the
votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast
at said election, at least one-half of all the registered voters
voting upon the question of such ratification, the president of the
convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the
President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same
to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then
immediately upon its next assembling; and if it shall moreover appear
to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and
qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely,
and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if the
Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution meets the approval
of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the
said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity
with the provisions of the act to which this is supplementary, and
the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, and
the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall
be declared entitled to representation, and senators and
representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided.

SEC.  6.  And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States
mentioned in the said "Act to provide for the more efficient
government of the rebel States" shall, during the operation of said
act, be by ballot; and all officers making the said registration of
voters and conducting said elections, shall, before entering upon the
discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by
the act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,
entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office": Provided, That if
any person shall knowingly and falsely take and subscribe any oath in
this act prescribed, such person so offending and being thereof duly
convicted, shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities
which by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of wilful
and corrupt perjury.

SEC. 7. And be if further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the
several commanding generals, or by virtue of any orders issued, or
appointments made, by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be
paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State
shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all
delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or
necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein
otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection
of such taxes on the property in such State as may be necessary to
pay the same.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the word "article," in the
sixth section of the act to which this is supplementary, shall be
construed to mean, "section."

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.



The first of the Reconstruction laws was passed March 2, 1867, and
though vetoed by the President, such was the unanimity of loyal
sentiment and the urgency demanding the measure, that the bill became
a law over the veto the day the President returned it to Congress.
March the 11th this law was published in General Orders No. 10, from
the Headquarters of the Army, the same order assigning certain
officers to take charge of the five military districts into which the
States lately in rebellion were subdivided, I being announced as the
commander of the Fifth Military District, which embraced Louisiana
and Texas, a territory that had formed the main portion of my command
since the close of the war.

Between the date of the Act and that of my assignment, the Louisiana
Legislature, then in special session, had rejected a proposed repeal
of an Act it had previously passed providing for an election of
certain municipal officers in New Orleans.  This election was set for
March 11, but the mayor and the chief of police, together with
General Mower, commanding the troops in the city, having expressed to
me personally their fears that the public peace would be disturbed by
the election, I, in this emergency, though not yet assigned to the
district, assuming the authority which the Act conferred on district
commanders, declared that the election should not take place; that no
polls should be opened on the day fixed; and that the whole matter
would stand postponed till the district commander should be
appointed, or special instructions be had.  This, my first official
act under the Reconstruction laws, was rendered necessary by the
course of a body of obstructionists, who had already begun to give
unequivocal indications of their intention to ignore the laws of

A copy of the order embodying the Reconstruction law, together with
my assignment, having reached me a few days after, I regularly
assumed control of the Fifth Military District on March 19, by an
order wherein I declared the State and municipal governments of the
district to be provisional only, and, under the provisions of the
sixth section of the Act, subject to be controlled, modified,
superseded, or abolished.  I also announced that no removals from
office would be made unless the incumbents failed to carry out the
provisions of the law or impeded reorganization, or unless willful
delays should necessitate a change, and added: "Pending the
reorganization, it is, desirable and intended to create as little
disturbance in the machinery of the various branches of the
provisional governments as possible, consistent with the law of
Congress and its successful execution, but this condition is
dependent upon the disposition shown by the people, and upon the
length of time required for reorganization."

Under these limitations Louisiana and Texas retained their former
designations as military districts, the officers in command
exercising their military powers as heretofore.  In addition, these
officers were to carry out in their respective commands all
provisions of the law except those specially requiring the action of
the district commander, and in cases of removals from and appointment
to office.

In the course of legislation the first Reconstruction act, as I have
heretofore noted, had been vetoed.  On the very day of the veto,
however, despite the President's adverse action, it passed each House
of Congress by such an overwhelming majority as not only to give it
the effect of law, but to prove clearly that the plan of
reconstruction presented was, beyond question, the policy endorsed by
the people of the country.  It was, therefore, my determination to
see to the law's zealous execution in my district, though I felt
certain that the President would endeavor to embarrass me by every
means in his power, not only on account of his pronounced personal
hostility, but also because of his determination not to execute but
to obstruct the measures enacted by Congress.

Having come to this conclusion, I laid down, as a rule for my
guidance, the principle of non-interference with the provisional
State governments, and though many appeals were made to have me
rescind rulings of the courts, or interpose to forestall some
presupposed action to be taken by them, my invariable reply was that
I would not take cognizance of such matters, except in cases of
absolute necessity.  The same policy was announced also in reference
to municipal affairs throughout the district, so long as the action
of the local officers did not conflict with the law.

In a very short time, however, I was obliged to interfere in
municipal matters in New Orleans, for it had become clearly apparent
that several of the officials were, both by acts of omission and
commission, ignoring the law, so on the 27th of March I removed from
office the Mayor, John T.  Monroe; the Judge of the First District
Court, E. Abell; and the Attorney-General of the State, Andrew S.
Herron; at the same time appointing to the respective offices thus
vacated Edward Heath, W. W. Howe, and B. L. Lynch.  The officials
thus removed had taken upon themselves from the start to pronounce
the Reconstruction acts unconstitutional, and to advise such a course
of obstruction that I found it necessary at an early dav to replace
them by men in sympathy with the law, in order to make plain my
determination to have its provisions enforced.  The President at once
made inquiry, through General Grant, for the cause of the removal,
and I replied:

"New Orleans, La., April 19, 1867.

"GENERAL: On the 27th day of March last I removed from office Judge
E. Abell, of the Criminal Court of New Orleans; Andrew S. Herron,
Attorney-General of the State of Louisiana; and John T. Monroe, Mayor
of the City of New Orleans.  These removals were made under the
powers granted me in what is usually termed the 'military bill,'
passed March 2, 1867, by the Congress of the United States.

"I did not deem it necessary to give any reason for the removal of
these men, especially after the investigations made by the military
board on the massacre Of July 30, 1866, and the report of the
congressional committee on the same massacre; but as some inquiry has
been made for the cause of removal, I would respectfully state as

"The court over which judge Abell presided is the only criminal court
in the city of New Orleans, and for a period of at least nine months
previous to the riot Of July 30 he had been educating a large portion
of the community to the perpetration of this outrage, by almost
promising no prosecution in his court against the offenders, in case
such an event occurred.  The records of his court will show that he
fulfilled his promise, as not one of the guilty has been prosecuted.

"In reference to Andrew J. Herron, Attorney-General of the State of
Louisiana, I considered it his duty to indict these men before this
criminal court.  This he failed to do, but went so far as to attempt
to impose on the good sense of the whole nation by indicting the
victims of the riot instead of the rioters; in other words, making
the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.  He was therefore, in my
belief, an able coadjutor with judge Abell in bringing on the
massacre of July 30.

"Mayor Monroe controlled the element engaged in this riot, and when
backed by an attorney-general who would not prosecute the guilty, and
a judge who advised the grand jury to find the innocent guilty and
let the murderers go free, felt secure in engaging his police force
in the riot and massacre.

"With these three men exercising a large influence over the worst
elements of the population of this city, giving to those elements an
immunity for riot and bloodshed, the general-in-chief will see how
insecurely I felt in letting them occupy their respective positions
in the troubles which might occur in registration and voting in the
reorganization of this State.

"I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"Major-General U. S. A.

"Commanding Armies of the United States,
"Washington, D. C."

To General Grant my reasons were satisfactory, but not so to the
President, who took no steps, however, to rescind my action, for he
knew that the removals were commended by well-nigh the entire
community in the city, for it will be understood that Mr. Johnson
was, through his friends and adherents in Louisiana and Texas, kept
constantly advised of every step taken by me.  Many of these persons
were active and open opponents of mine, while others were spies,
doing their work so secretly and quickly that sometimes Mr. Johnson
knew of my official acts before I could report them to General Grant.

The supplemental Reconstruction act which defined the method of
reconstruction became a law despite the President's veto on March 23.
This was a curative act, authorizing elections and prescribing
methods of registration.  When it reached me officially I began
measures for carrying out its provisions, and on the 28th of March
issued an order to the effect that no elections for the State,
parish, or municipal officers would be held in Louisiana until the
provisions of the laws of Congress entitled "An act to provide for
the more efficient government of the rebel States," and of the act
supplemental thereto, should have been complied with.  I also
announced that until elections were held in accordance with these
acts, the law of the Legislature of the State providing for the
holding over of those persons whose terms of office otherwise would
have expired, would govern in all cases excepting only those special
ones in which I myself might take action.  There was one parish,
Livingston, which this order did no reach in time to prevent the
election previously ordered there, and which therefore took place,
but by a supplemental order this election was declare null and void.

In April.  I began the work of administering the Supplemental Law,
which, under  certain condition of eligibility, required a
registration of the voter of the State, for the purpose of electing
delegate to a Constitutional convention.  It therefore became
necessary to appoint Boards of Registration throughout the election
districts, and on April 10 the boards for the Parish of Orleans were
given out, those for the other parishes being appointed ten days
later.  Before announcing these boards, I had asked to be advised
definitely as to what persons were disfranchised by the law, and was
directed by General Grant to act upon my own interpretation of it,
pending an opinion expected shortly from the Attorney-General--Mr.
Henry Stanbery--so, for the guidance of the boards, I gave the
following instructions:

"New Orleans, La., April 10, 1867.

"Special Orders, No. 15.

"....In obedience to the directions contained in the first section of
the Law of Congress entitled "An Act supplemental to an Act entitled
'An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel
States'" the registration of the legal voters, according to that law
in the Parish of Orleans, will be commenced on the 15th instant, and
must be completed by the 15th of May.

"The four municipal districts of the City of New Orleans and the
Parish of Orleans, right bank (Algiers), will each constitute a
Registration district.  Election precincts will remain as at present

"....Each member of the Board of Registers, before commencing his
duties, will file in the office of the Assistant-Inspector-General at
these headquarters, the oath required in the sixth section of the Act
referred to, and be governed in the execution of his duty by the
provisions of the first section of that Act, faithfully administering
the oath therein prescribed to each person registered.

"Boards of Registers will immediately select suitable offices within
their respective districts, having reference to convenience and
facility of registration, and will enter upon their duties on the day
designated.  Each Board will be entitled to two clerks.  Office-hours
for registration will be from 8 o'clock till 12 A. M., and from 4
till 7 P. M.

"When elections are ordered, the Board of Registers for each district
will designate the number of polls and the places where they shall be
opened in the election precincts within its district, appoint the
commissioners and other officers necessary for properly conducting
the elections, and will superintend the same.

"They will also receive from the commissioners of elections of the
different precincts the result of the vote, consolidate the same, and
forward it to the commanding general.

"Registers and all officers connected with elections will be held to
a rigid accountability and will be subject to trial by military
commission for fraud, or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties.  Their rate of compensation and manner
of payment will be in accordance with the provisions of sections six
and seven of the supplemental act.

"....Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old
and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who has
been resident in the State of Louisiana for one year and Parish of
Orleans for three months previous to the date at which he presents
himself for registration, and who has not been disfranchised by act
of Congress or for felony at common law, shall, after having taken
and subscribed the oath prescribed in the first section of the act
herein referred to, be entitled to be, and shall be, registered as a
legal voter in the Parish of Orleans and State of Louisiana.

"Pending the decision of the Attorney-General of the United States on
the question as to who are disfranchised by law, registers will give
the most rigid interpretation to the law, and exclude from
registration every person about whose right to vote there may be a
doubt.  Any person so excluded who may, under the decision of the
Attorney-General, be entitled to vote, shall be permitted to register
after that decision is received, due notice of which will be given.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN,

"Assistant Adjutant-General."

The parish Boards of Registration were composed of three members
each.  Ability to take what was known as the "ironclad oath" was the
qualification exacted of the members, and they were prohibited from
becoming candidates for office.  In the execution of their duties
they were to be governed by the provisions of the supplemental act.
It was also made one of their functions to designate the number and
location of the polling-places in the several districts, to appoint
commissioners for receiving the votes and in general to attend to
such other matters as were necessary, in order properly to conduct
the voting, and afterward to receive from the commissioners the
result of the vote and forward it to my headquarters.  These
registers, and all other officers having to do with elections, were
to be held to a rigid accountability, and be subject to trial by
military commission for fraud or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties; and in order to be certain that the
Registration Boards performed their work faithfully and
intelligently, officers of the army were appointed as supervisors.
To this end the parishes were grouped together conveniently in
temporary districts, each officer having from three to five parishes
to supervise.  The programme thus mapped out for carrying out the law
in Louisiana was likewise adhered to in Texas, and indeed was
followed as a model in some of the other military districts.

Although Military Commissions were fully authorized by the
Reconstruction acts, yet I did not favor their use in governing the
district, and probably would never have convened one had these acts
been observed in good faith.  I much preferred that the civil courts,
and the State and municipal authorities already in existence, should
perform their functions without military control or interference, but
occasionally, because the civil authorities neglected their duty, I
was obliged to resort to this means to ensure the punishment Of
offenders.  At this time the condition of the negroes in Texas and
Louisiana was lamentable, though, in fact, not worse than that of the
few white loyalists who had been true to the Union during the war.
These last were singled out as special objects of attack, and were,
therefore, obliged at all times to be on the alert for the protection
of their lives and property.  This was the natural outcome of Mr.
Johnson's defiance of Congress, coupled with the sudden conversion to
his cause of persons in the North--who but a short time before had
been his bitterest enemies; for all this had aroused among the
disaffected element new hopes of power and place, hopes of being at
once put in political control again, with a resumption of their
functions in State and National matters without any preliminary
authorization by Congress.  In fact, it was not only hoped, but
expected, that things were presently to go on just as if there had
been no war.

In the State of Texas there were in 1865 about 200,000 of the colored
race-roughly, a third of the entire population--while in Louisiana
there were not less than 350,000, or more than one-half of all the
people in the State.  Until the enactment of the Reconstruction laws
these negroes were without rights, and though they had been liberated
by the war, Mr. Johnson's policy now proposed that they should have
no political status at all, and consequently be at the mercy of a
people who, recently their masters, now seemed to look upon them as
the authors of all the misfortunes that had come upon the land.
Under these circumstances the blacks naturally turned for protection
to those who had been the means of their liberation, and it would
have been little less than inhuman to deny them sympathy.  Their
freedom had been given them, and it was the plain duty of those in
authority to make it secure, and screen them from the bitter
political resentment that beset them, and to see that they had a fair
chance in the battle of life.  Therefore, when outrages and murders
grew frequent, and the aid of the military power was an absolute
necessity for the protection of life, I employed it unhesitatingly
--the guilty parties being brought to trial before military
commissions--and for a time, at least, there occurred a halt in the
march of terrorism inaugurated by the people whom Mr. Johnson had

The first, Military Commission was convened to try the case of John
W. Walker, charged with shooting a negro in the parish of St. John.
The proper civil authorities had made no effort to arrest Walker, and
even connived at his escape, so I had him taken into custody in New
Orleans, and ordered him tried, the commission finding him guilty,
and sentencing him to confinement in the penitentiary for six months.
This shooting was the third occurrence of the kind that had taken
place in St.  John's parish, a negro being wounded in each case, and
it was plain that the intention was to institute there a practice of
intimidation which should be effective to subject the freedmen to the
will of their late masters, whether in making labor contracts, or in
case these newly enfranchised negroes should evince a disposition to
avail themselves of the privilege to vote.

The trial and conviction of Walker, and of one or two others for
similar outrages, soon put a stop to every kind of "bull-dozing" in
the country parishes; but about this time I discovered that many
members of the police force in New Orleans were covertly intimidating
the freedmen there, and preventing their appearance at the
registration offices, using milder methods than had obtained in the
country, it is true, but none the less effective.

Early in 1866 the Legislature had passed an act which created for the
police of New Orleans a residence qualification, the object of which
was to discharge and exclude from the force ex-Union soldiers.  This
of course would make room for the appointment of ex-Confederates, and
Mayor Monroe had not been slow in enforcing the provisions of the
law.  It was, in fact, a result of this enactment that the police was
so reorganized as to become the willing and efficient tool which it
proved to be in the riot of 1866; and having still the same
personnel, it was now in shape to prevent registration by threats,
unwarranted arrests, and by various other influences, all operating
to keep the timid blacks away from the registration places.

That the police were taking a hand in this practice of repression, I
first discovered by the conduct of the assistant to the chief of the
body, and at once removed the offender, but finding this ineffectual
I annulled that part of the State law fixing the five years'
residence restriction, and restored the two years' qualification,
thus enabling Mayor Heath, who by my appointment had succeeded
Monroe, to organize the force anew, and take about one-half of its
members from ex-Union soldiers who when discharged had settled in New
Orleans.  This action put an end to intimidation in the parish of
Orleans; and now were put in operation in all sections the processes
provided by the supplemental Reconstruction law for the summoning of
a convention to form a Constitution preparatory to the readmission of
the State, and I was full of hope that there would now be much less
difficulty in administering the trust imposed by Congress.

During the two years previous great damage had been done the
agricultural interests of Louisiana by the overflow of the
Mississippi, the levees being so badly broken as to require extensive
repairs, and the Legislature of 1866 had appropriated for the purpose
$4,000,000, to be raised by an issue of bonds.  This money was to be
disbursed by a Board of Levee Commissioners then in existence, but
the term of service of these commissioners, and the law creating the
board, would expire in the spring of 1867.  In order to overcome this
difficulty the Legislature passed a bill continuing the commissioners
in office but as the act was passed inside of ten days before the
adjournment of the Legislature, Governor Wells pocketed the bill, and
it failed to become a law.  The Governor then appointed a board of
his own, without any warrant of law whatever.  The old commissioners
refused to recognize this new board, and of course a conflict of
authority ensued, which, it was clear, would lead to vicious results
if allowed to continue; so, as the people of the State had no
confidence in either of the boards, I decided to end the contention
summarily by appointing an entirely new commission, which would
disburse the money honestly, and further the real purpose for which
it had been appropriated.  When I took this course the legislative
board acquiesced, but Governor Wells immediately requested the
President to revoke my order, which, however, was not done, but
meanwhile the Secretary of War directed me to suspend all proceedings
in the matter, and make a report of the facts.  I complied in the
following telegram:

"NEW ORLEANS, La., June 3, 1867.

"SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of
this date in reference to the Levee Commissioners in this State.

"The following were my reasons for abolishing the two former boards,
although I intended that my order should be sufficiently explanatory:

"Previous to the adjournment of the Legislature last winter it passed
an act continuing the old Levee board in office, so that the four
millions of dollars ($4,000,000) in bonds appropriated by the
Legislature might be disbursed by a board of rebellious antecedents.

"After its adjournment the Governor of the State appointed a board of
his own, in violation of this act, and made the acknowledgment to me
in person that his object was to disburse the money in the interest
of his own party by securing for it the vote of the employees at the
time of election.

"The board continued in office by the Legislature refused to turn
over to the Governor's board, and each side appealed to me to sustain
it, which I would not do.  The question must then have gone to the
courts, which, according to the Governor's judgment when he was
appealing to me to be sustained, would require one year for decision.
Meantime the State was overflowed, the Levee boards tied up by
political chicanery, and nothing done to relieve the poor people, now
fed by the charity of the Government and charitable associations of
the North.

"To obviate this trouble, and to secure to the overflowed districts
of the State the immediate relief which the honest disbursement of
the four millions ($4,000,000) would give, my order dissolving both
boards was issued.

"I say now, unequivocally, that Governor Wells is a political
trickster and a dishonest man.  I have seen him myself, when I first
came to this command, turn out all the Union men who had supported
the Government, and put in their stead rebel soldiers who had not yet
doffed their gray uniform.  I have seen him again, during the July
riot of 1866, skulk away where I could not find him to give him a
guard, instead of coming out as a manly representative of the State
and joining those who were preserving the peace.  I have watched him
since, and his conduct has been as sinuous as the mark left in the
dust by the movement of a snake.

"I say again that he is dishonest, and that dishonesty is more than
must be expected of me.

"Major-General, U. S. A.

"Hon. E. M. STANTON,
"Secretary of War, Washington, D. C."

The same day that I sent my report to the Secretary of War I removed
from office Governor Wells himself, being determined to bear no
longer with the many obstructions he had placed in the way of
reorganizing the civil affairs of the State.  I was also satisfied
that he was unfit to retain the place, since he was availing himself
of every opportunity to work political ends beneficial to himself.
In this instance Wells protested to me against his removal, and also
appealed to the President for an opinion of the Attorney-General as
to my power in the case; and doubtless he would have succeeded in
retaining his office, but for the fact that the President had been
informed by General James B. Steadman and others placed to watch me
that Wells was wholly unworthy.

"NEW ORLEANS, June 19, 1867.
"ANDREW JOHNSON, President United States,
"Washington City:

"Lewis D.  Campbell leaves New Orleans for home this evening.  Want
of respect for Governor Wells personally, alone represses the
expression of indignation felt by all honest and sensible men at the
unwarranted usurpation of General Sheridan in removing the civil
officers of Louisiana.  It is believed here that you will reinstate
Wells.  He is a bad man, and has no influence.

"I believe Sheridan made the removals to embarrass you, believing the
feeling at the North would sustain him.  My conviction is that on
account of the bad character of Wells and Monroe, you ought not to
reinstate any who have been removed, because you cannot reinstate any
without reinstating all, but you ought to prohibit the exercise of
this power in the future.

"Respectfully yours,


I appointed Mr. Thomas J. Durant as Wells's successor, but he
declining, I then appointed Mr. Benjamin F. Flanders, who, after I
had sent a staff-officer to forcibly eject Wells in case of
necessity, took possession of the Governor's office.  Wells having
vacated, Governor Flanders began immediately the exercise of his
duties in sympathy with the views of Congress, and I then notified
General Grant that I thought he need have no further apprehension
about the condition of affairs in Louisiana, as my appointee was a
man of such integrity and ability that I already felt relieved of
half my labor.  I also stated in the same despatch that nothing would
answer in Louisiana but a bold and firm course, and that in taking
such a one I felt that I was strongly supported; a statement that was
then correct, for up to this period the better classes were disposed
to accept the Congressional plan of reconstruction.

During the controversy over the Levee Commissioners, and the
correspondence regarding the removal of Governor Wells, registration
had gone on under the rules laid down for the boards.  The date set
for closing the books was the 30th of June, but in the parish of
Orleans the time was extended till the 15th of July.  This the
President considered too short a period, and therefore directed the
registry lists not to be closed before the 1st of August, unless
there was some good reason to the contrary.  This was plainly
designed to keep the books open in order that under the
Attorney-General's interpretation of the Reconstruction laws, published
June 20, many persons who had been excluded by the registration boards
could yet be registered, so I decided to close the registration, unless
required by the President unconditionally, and in specific orders, to
extend the time.  My motives were manifold, but the main reasons were
that as two and a half months had been given already, the number of
persons who, under the law, were qualified for registry was about
exhausted; and because of the expense I did not feel warranted in
keeping up the boards longer, as I said, "to suit new issues coming in
at the eleventh hour," which would but open a "broad macadamized road
for perjury and fraud."

When I thus stated what I intended to do, the opinion of the
Attorney-General had not yet been received.  When it did reach me it
was merely in the form of a circular signed by Adjutant-General
Townsend, and had no force of law.  It was not even sent as an order,
nor was it accompanied by any instructions, or by anything except the
statement that it was transmitted to the 11 respective military
commanders for their information, in order that there might be
uniformity in the execution  of the Reconstruction acts.  To adopt
Mr. Stanbery's interpretation of the law and reopen registration
accordingly, would defeat the purpose of Congress, as well as add to
my perplexities.  Such a course would also require that the officers
appointed by me for the performance of specified duties, under laws
which I was empowered to interpret and enforce, should receive their
guidance and instructions from an unauthorized source, so on
communicating with General Grant as to how I should act, he directed
me to enforce my own construction of the military bill until ordered
to do otherwise.

Therefore the registration continued as I had originally directed,
and nothing having been definitely settled at Washington in relation
to my extending the time, on the 10th of July I ordered all the
registration boards to select, immediately, suitable persons to act
as commissioners of election, and at the same time specified the
number of each set of commissioners, designated the polling-places,
gave notice that two days would be allowed for voting, and followed
this with an order discontinuing registration the 31st of July, and
then another appointing the 27th and 28th of September as the time
for the election of delegates to the State convention.

In accomplishing the registration there had been little opposition
from the mass of the people, but the press of New Orleans, and the
office-holders and office-seekers in the State generally, antagonized
the work bitterly and violently, particularly after the promulgation
of the opinion of the Attorney-General.  These agitators condemned
everybody and everything connected with the Congressional plan of
reconstruction; and the pernicious influence thus exerted was
manifested in various ways, but most notably in the selection of
persons to compose the jury lists in the country parishes it also
tempted certain municipal officers in New Orleans to perform illegal
acts that would seriously have affected the credit of the city had
matters not been promptly corrected by the summary removal from
office of the comptroller and the treasurer, who had already issued a
quarter of a million dollars in illegal certificates.  On learning of
this unwarranted and unlawful proceeding, Mayor Heath demanded an
investigation by the Common Council, but this body, taking its cue
from the evident intention of the President to render abortive the
Reconstruction acts, refused the mayor's demand.  Then he tried to
have the treasurer and comptroller restrained by injunction, but the
city attorney, under the same inspiration as the council, declined to
sue out a writ, and the attorney being supported in this course by
nearly all the other officials, the mayor was left helpless in his
endeavors to preserve the city's credit.  Under such circumstances he
took the only step left him--recourse to the military commander; and
after looking into the matter carefully I decided, in the early part
of August, to give the mayor officials who would not refuse to make
an investigation of the illegal issue of certificates, and to this
end I removed the treasurer, surveyor, comptroller, city attorney,
and twenty-two of the aldermen; these officials, and all of their
assistants, having reduced the financial credit of New Orleans to a
disordered condition, and also having made efforts--and being then
engaged in such--to hamper the execution of the Reconstruction laws.

This action settled matters in the city, but subsequently I had to
remove some officials in the parishes--among them a justice of the
peace and a sheriff in the parish of Rapides; the justice for
refusing to permit negro witnesses to testify in a certain murder
case, and for allowing the murderer, who had foully killed a colored
man, to walk out of his court on bail in the insignificant sum of
five hundred dollars; and the sheriff, for conniving at the escape
from jail of another alleged murderer.  Finding, however, even after
these removals, that in the country districts murderers and other
criminals went unpunished, provided the offenses were against negroes
merely (since the jurors were selected exclusively from the whites,
and often embraced those excluded from the exercise of the election
franchise) I, having full authority under the Reconstruction laws,
directed such a revision of the jury lists as would reject from them
every man not eligible for registration as a voter.  This order was
issued August 24, and on its promulgation the President relieved me
from duty and assigned General Hancock as my successor.

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 24, 1867.


"The registration of voters of the State of Louisiana, according to
the law of Congress, being complete, it is hereby ordered that no
person who is not registered in accordance with said law shall be
considered as, a duly qualified voter of the State of Louisiana.  All
persons duly registered as above, and no others, are consequently
eligible, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, to serve as
jurors in any of the courts of the State.

"The necessary revision of the jury lists will immediately be made by
the proper officers.

"All the laws of the State respecting exemptions, etc., from jury
duty will remain in force.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN.

"GEO. L. HARTNUFF, Asst. Adj't-General."

Pending the arrival of General Hancock, I turned over the command of
the district September 1 to General Charles Griffin; but he dying of
yellow fever, General J. A. Mower succeeded him, and retained command
till November 29, on which date General Hancock assumed control.
Immediately after Hancock took charge, he revoked my order of August
24 providing for a revision of the jury lists; and, in short,
President Johnson's policy now became supreme, till Hancock himself
was relieved in March, 1868.

My official connection with the reconstruction of Louisiana and Texas
practically closed with this order concerning the jury lists.  In my
judgment this had become a necessity, for the disaffected element,
sustained as it was by the open sympathy of the President, had grown
so determined in its opposition to the execution of the
Reconstruction acts that I resolved to remove from place and power
all obstacles; for the summer's experience had convinced me that in
no other way could the law be faithfully administered.

The President had long been dissatisfied with my course; indeed, he
had harbored personal enmity against me ever since he perceived that
he could not bend me to an acceptance of the false position in which
he had tried to place me by garbling my report of the riot of 1866.
When Mr. Johnson decided to remove me, General Grant protested in
these terms, but to no purpose:

"WASHINGTON, D. C., August 17, 1867

"SIR: I am in receipt of your order of this date directing the
assignment of General G. H. Thomas to the command of the Fifth
Military District, General Sheridan to the Department of the
Missouri, and General Hancock to the Department of the Cumberland;
also your note of this date (enclosing these instructions), saying:
'Before you issue instructions to carry into effect the enclosed
order, I would be pleased to hear any suggestions you may deem
necessary respecting the assignments to which the order refers.'

"I am pleased to avail myself of this invitation to urge--earnestly
urge--urge in the name of a patriotic people, who have sacrificed
hundreds of thousands of loyal lives and thousands of millions of
treasure to preserve the integrity and union of this country--that
this order be not insisted on.  It is unmistakably the expressed wish
of the country that General Sheridan should not be removed from his
present command.

"This is a republic where the will of the people is the law of the
land.  I beg that their voice may be heard.

"General Sheridan has performed his civil duties faithfully and
intelligently.  His removal will only be regarded as an effort to
defeat the laws of Congress.  It will be interpreted by the
unreconstructed element in the South--those who did all they could to
break up this Government by arms, and now wish to be the only element
consulted as to the method of restoring order--as a triumph.  It will
embolden them to renewed opposition to the will of the loyal masses,
believing that they have the Executive with them.

"The services of General Thomas in battling for the Union entitle him
to some consideration.  He has repeatedly entered his protest against
being assigned to either of the five military districts, and
especially to being assigned to relieve General Sheridan.

"There are military reasons, pecuniary reasons, and above all,
patriotic reasons, why this should not be insisted upon.

"I beg to refer to a letter marked 'private,' which I wrote to the
President when first consulted on the subject of the change in the
War Department.  It bears upon the subject of this removal, and I had
hoped would have prevented it.

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

"General U. S. A., Secretary of War ad interim.

"His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
"President of the United States."

I was ordered to command the Department of the Missouri (General
Hancock, as already noted, finally becoming my successor in the Fifth
Military District), and left New Orleans on the 5th of September.  I
was not loath to go.  The kind of duty I had been performing in
Louisiana and Texas was very trying under the most favorable
circumstances, but all the more so in my case, since I had to contend
against the obstructions which the President placed in the way from
persistent opposition to the acts of Congress as well as from
antipathy to me--which obstructions he interposed with all the
boldness and aggressiveness of his peculiar nature.

On more than one occasion while I was exercising this command,
impurity of motive was imputed to me, but it has never been
truthfully shown (nor can it ever be) that political or corrupt
influences of any kind controlled me in any instance.  I simply tried
to carry out, without fear or favor, the Reconstruction acts as they
came to me.  They were intended to disfranchise certain persons, and
to enfranchise certain others, and, till decided otherwise, were the
laws of the land; and it was my duty to execute them faithfully,
without regard, on the one hand, for those upon whom it was thought
they bore so heavily, nor, on the other, for this or that political
party, and certainly without deference to those persons sent to
Louisiana to influence my conduct of affairs.

Some of these missionaries were high officials, both military and
civil, and I recall among others a visit made me in 1866 by a
distinguished friend of the President, Mr. Thomas A. Hendricks.  The
purpose of his coming was to convey to me assurances of the very high
esteem in which I was held by the President, and to explain
personally Mr. Johnson's plan of reconstruction, its flawless
constitutionality, and so on.  But being on the ground, I had before
me the exhibition of its practical working, saw the oppression and
excesses growing out of it, and in the face of these experiences even
Mr. Hendricks's persuasive eloquence was powerless to convince me of
its beneficence.  Later General Lovell H. Rousseau came down on a
like mission, but was no more successful than Mr. Hendricks.

During the whole period that I commanded in Louisiana and Texas my
position was a most unenviable one.  The service was unusual, and the
nature of it scarcely to be understood by those not entirely familiar
with the conditions existing immediately after the war.  In
administering the affairs of those States, I never acted except by
authority, and always from conscientious motives.  I tried to guard
the rights of everybody in accordance with the law.  In this I was
supported by General Grant and opposed by President Johnson.  The
former had at heart, above every other consideration, the good of his
country, and always sustained me with approval and kind suggestions.
The course pursued by the President was exactly the opposite, and
seems to prove that in the whole matter of reconstruction he was
governed less by patriotic motives than by personal ambitions.  Add
to this his natural obstinacy of character and personal enmity toward
me, and no surprise should be occasioned when I say that I heartily
welcomed the order that lifted from me my unsought burden.



The headquarters of the military department to which I was assigned
when relieved from duty at New Orleans was at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, and on the 5th of September I started for that post.  In due
time I reached St. Louis, and stopped there a day to accept an
ovation tendered in approval of the course I had pursued in the Fifth
Military District--a public demonstration apparently of the most
sincere and hearty character.

From St. Louis to Leavenworth took but one night, and the next day I
technically complied with my orders far enough to permit General
Hancock to leave the department, so that he might go immediately to
New Orleans if he so desired, but on account of the yellow fever
epidemic then prevailing, he did not reach the city till late in

My new command was one of the four military departments that composed
the geographical division then commanded by Lieutenant-General
Sherman.  This division had been formed in 1866, with a view to
controlling the Indians west of the Missouri River, they having
become very restless and troublesome because of the building of the
Pacific railroads through their hunting-grounds, and the
encroachments of pioneers, who began settling in middle and western
Kansas and eastern Colorado immediately after the war.

My department embraced the States of Missouri and Kansas, the Indian
Territory, and New Mexico.  Part of this section of country--western
Kansas particularly--had been frequently disturbed and harassed
during two or three years past, the savages every now and then
massacring an isolated family, boldly attacking the surveying and
construction parties of the Kansas-Pacific railroad, sweeping down on
emigrant trains, plundering and burning stage-stations and the like
along the Smoky Hill route to Denver and the Arkansas route to New

However, when I relieved Hancock, the department was comparatively
quiet.  Though some military operations had been conducted against
the hostile tribes in the early part of the previous summer, all
active work was now suspended in the attempt to conclude a permanent
peace with the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, in
compliance with the act of Congress creating what was known as the
Indian Peace Commission of 1867.

Under these circumstances there was little necessity for my remaining
at Leavenworth, and as I was much run down in health from the
Louisiana climate, in which I had been obliged to live continuously
for three summers (one of which brought epidemic cholera, and another
a scourge of yellow fever), I took a leave of absence for a few
months, leaving Colonel A. J. Smith, of the Seventh Cavalry,
temporarily in charge of my command.

On this account I did not actually go on duty in the department of
the Missouri till March, 1868.  On getting back I learned that the
negotiations of the Peace Commissioners held at Medicine Lodge, about
seventy miles south of Fort Larned had resulted in a treaty with the
Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, by which agreement it
was supposed all troubles had been settled.  The compact, as
concluded, contained numerous provisions, the most important to us
being one which practically relinquished the country between the
Arkansas and Platte rivers for white settlement; another permitted
the peaceable construction of the Pacific railroads through the same
region; and a third requiring the tribes signing the treaty to retire
to reservations allotted them in the Indian Territory.  Although the
chiefs and head-men were well-nigh unanimous in ratifying these
concessions, it was discovered in the spring of 1868 that many of the
young men were bitterly opposed to what had been done, and claimed
that most of the signatures had been obtained by misrepresentation
and through proffers of certain annuities, and promises of arms and
ammunition to be issued in the spring of 1868.  This grumbling was
very general in extent, and during the winter found outlet in
occasional marauding, so, fearing a renewal of the pillaging and
plundering at an early day, to prepare myself for the work evidently
ahead the first thing I did on assuming permanent command was to make
a trip to Fort Larned and Fort Dodge, near which places the bulk of
the Indians had congregated on Pawnee and Walnut creeks.  I wanted to
get near enough to the camps to find out for myself the actual state
of feeling among the savages, and also to familiarize myself with the
characteristics of the Plains Indians, for my previous experience had
been mainly with mountain tribes on the Pacific coast.  Fort Larned I
found too near the camps for my purpose, its proximity too readily
inviting unnecessary "talks," so I remained here but a day or two,
and then went on to Dodge, which, though considerably farther away
from the camps, was yet close enough to enable us to obtain easily
information of all that was going on.

It took but a few days at Dodge to discover that great discontent
existed about the Medicine Lodge concessions, to see that the young
men were chafing and turbulent, and that it would require much tact
and good management on the part of the Indian Bureau to persuade the
four tribes to go quietly to their reservations, under an agreement
which, when entered into, many of them protested had not been fully

A few hours after my arrival a delegation of prominent chiefs called
on me and proposed a council, where they might discuss their
grievances, and thus bring to the notice of the Government the
alleged wrongs done them; but this I refused, because Congress had
delegated to the Peace Commission the whole matter of treating with
them, and a council might lead only to additional complications.  My
refusal left them without hope of securing better terms, or of even
delaying matters longer; so henceforth they were more than ever
reckless and defiant.  Denunciations of the treaty became outspoken,
and as the young braves grew more and more insolent every day, it
amounted to conviction that, unless by some means the irritation was
allayed, hostilities would surely be upon us when the buffalo
returned to their summer feeding-grounds between the Arkansas and the

The principal sufferers in this event would be the settlers in middle
and western Kansas, who, entirely ignorant of the dangers hanging
over them, were laboring to build up homes in a new country.  Hence
the maintenance of peace was much to be desired, if it could be
secured without too great concessions, and although I would not meet
the different tribes in a formal council, yet, to ward off from
settlers as much as possible the horrors of savage warfare, I showed,
by resorting to persuasive methods, my willingness to temporize a
good deal.  An abundant supply of rations is usually effective to
keep matters quiet in such cases, so I fed them pretty freely, and
also endeavored to control them through certain men who, I found,
because of former associations, had their confidence.  These men,
employed as scouts, or interpreters, were Mr. William Comstock, Mr.
Abner S. Grover, and Mr. Richard Parr.  They had lived on the Plains
for many years with different tribes of Indians, had trapped and
hunted with them, and knew all the principal chiefs and headmen.
Through such influences, I thought I saw good chances of preserving
peace, and of inducing the discontented to go quietly to their
reservations in the Indian Territory as soon as General Hazen, the
representative of the Peace Commissioners, was ready to conduct them
there from Fort Larned.

Before returning to Leavenworth I put my mediators (as I may call
them) under charge of an officer of the army, Lieutenant F. W.
Beecher, a very intelligent man, and directed him to send them out to
visit among the different tribes, in order to explain what was
intended by the treaty of Medicine Lodge, and to make every effort
possible to avert hostilities.  Under these instructions Comstock and
Grover made it their business to go about among the Cheyennes--the
most warlike tribe of all--then camping about the headwaters of
Pawnee and Walnut creeks, and also to the north and west of Fort
Wallace, while Parr spent his time principally with the Kiowas and

From the different posts--Wallace, Dodge, and Larned Lieutenant
Beecher kept up communication with all three scouts, and through him
I heard from them at least once a week.  Every now and then some
trouble along the railroad or stage routes would be satisfactorily
adjusted and quiet restored, and matters seemed to be going on very
well, the warm weather bringing the grass and buffalo in plenty, and
still no outbreak, nor any act of downright hostility.  So I began to
hope that we should succeed in averting trouble till the favorite war
season of the Indians was over, but the early days of August rudely
ended our fancied tranquility.

In July the encampments about Fort Dodge began to break up, each band
or tribe moving off to some new location north of the Arkansas,
instead of toward its proper reservation to the south of that river.
Then I learned presently that a party of Cheyennes had made a raid on
the Kaws--a band of friendly Indians living near Council Grove--and
stolen their horses, and also robbed the houses of several white
people near Council Grove.  This raid was the beginning of the Indian
war of 1868.  Immediately following it, the Comanches and Kiowas came
to Fort Larned to receive their annuities, expecting to get also the
arms and ammunition promised them at Medicine Lodge, but the raid to
Council Grove having been reported to the Indian Department, the
issue of arms was suspended till reparation was made.  This action of
the Department greatly incensed the savages, and the agent's offer of
the annuities without guns and pistols was insolently refused, the
Indians sulking back to their camps, the young men giving themselves
up to war-dances, and to powwows with "medicine-men," till all hope
of control was gone.

Brevet Brigadier-General Alfred Sully, an officer of long experience
in Indian matters, who at this time was in command of the District of
the Arkansas, which embraced Forts Larned and Dodge, having notified
me of these occurrences at Larned, and expressed the opinion that the
Indians were bent on mischief, I directed him there immediately to
act against them.  After he reached Larned, the chances for peace
appeared more favorable.  The Indians came to see him, and protested
that it was only a few bad young men who had been depredating, and
that all would be well and the young men held in check if the agent
would but issue the arms and ammunition.  Believing their promises,
Sully thought that the delivery of the arms would solve all the
difficulties, so on his advice the agent turned them over along with
the annuities, the Indians this time condescendingly accepting.

This issue of arms and ammunition was a fatal mistake; Indian
diplomacy had overreached Sully's experience, and even while the
delivery was in progress a party of warriors had already begun a raid
of murder and rapine, which for acts of devilish cruelty perhaps has
no parallel in savage warfare.  The party consisted of about two
hundred Cheyennes and a few Arapahoes, with twenty Sioux who had been
visiting their friends, the Cheyennes.  As near as could be
ascertained, they organized and left their camps along Pawnee Creek
about the 3d of August.  Traveling northeast, they skirted around
Fort Harker, and made their first appearance among the settlers in
the Saline Valley, about thirty miles north of that post.  Professing
friendship and asking food at the farm-houses, they saw the
unsuspecting occupants comply by giving all they could spare from
their scanty stores.  Knowing the Indian's inordinate fondness for
coffee, particularly when well sweetened, they even served him this
luxury freely.  With this the demons began their devilish work.
Pretending to be indignant because it was served them in tin cups,
they threw the hot contents into the women's faces, and then, first
making prisoners of the men, they, one after another, ravished the
women till the victims became insensible.  For some inexplicable
reason the two farmers were neither killed nor carried off, so after
the red fiends had gone, the unfortunate women were brought in to
Fort Harker, their arrival being the first intimation to the military
that hostilities had actually begun.

Leaving the Saline, this war-party crossed over to the valley of the
Solomon, a more thickly settled region, and where the people were in
better circumstances, their farms having been started two or three
years before.  Unaware of the hostile character of the raiders, the
people here received them in the friendliest way, providing food, and
even giving them ammunition, little dreaming of what was impending.
These kindnesses were requited with murder and pillage, and worse,
for all the women who fell into their hands were subjected to horrors
indescribable by words.  Here also the first murders were committed,
thirteen men and two women being killed.  Then, after burning five
houses and stealing all the horses they could find, they turned back
toward the Saline, carrying away as prisoners two little girls named
Bell, who have never been heard of since.

It was probably the intention to finish, as they marched back to the
south, the devilish work begun on the Saline, but before they reached
that valley on the return, the victims left there originally had fled
to Fort Harker, as already explained, and Captain Benteen was now
nearing the little settlement with a troop of cavalry, which he had
hurriedly marched from Fort Zarah.  The savages were attacking the
house of a Mr. Schermerhorn, where a few of the settlers had
collected for defense, when Benteen approached.  Hearing the firing,
the troopers rode toward the sound at a gallop, but when they
appeared in view, coming over the hills, the Indians fled in all
directions, escaping punishment through their usual tactics of
scattering over the Plains, so as to leave no distinctive trail.

When this frightful raid was taking place, Lieutenant Beecher, with
his three scouts--Comstock, Grover, and Parr--was on Walnut Creek.
Indefinite rumors about troubles on the Saline and Solomon reaching
him, he immediately sent Comstock and Grover over to the headwaters
of the Solomon, to the camp of a band of Cheyennes, whose chief was
called "Turkey Leg," to see if any of the raiders belonged there; to
learn the facts, and make explanations, if it was found that the
white people had been at fault.  For years this chief had been a
special friend of Comstock and Grover.  They had trapped, hunted, and
lived with his band, and from this intimacy they felt confident of
being able to get "Turkey Leg" to quiet his people, if any of them
were engaged in the raid; and, at all events, they expected, through
him and his band, to influence the rest of the Cheyennes.  From the
moment they arrived in the Indian village, however, the two scouts
met with a very cold reception.  Neither friendly pipe nor food was
offered them, and before they could recover from their chilling
reception, they were peremptorily ordered out of the village, with
the intimation that when the Cheyennes were on the war-path the
presence of whites was intolerable.  The scouts were prompt to leave,
of course, and for a few miles were accompanied by an escort of seven
young men, who said they were sent with them to protect the two from
harm.  As the party rode along over the prairie, such a depth
of attachment was professed for Comstock and Grover that,
notwithstanding all the experience of their past lives, they were
thoroughly deceived, and in the midst of a friendly conversation some
of the young warriors fell suddenly to the rear and treacherously
fired on them.

At the volley Comstock fell from his horse instantly killed.  Grover,
badly wounded in the shoulder, also fell to the ground near Comstock
Seeing his comrade was dead, Grover made use of his friend's body to
protect himself, lying close behind it.  Then took place a remarkable
contest, Grover, alone and severely wounded, obstinately fighting the
seven Indians, and holding them at bay for the rest of the day.
Being an expert shot, and having a long-range repeating rifle, he
"stood off" the savages till dark.  Then cautiously crawling away on
his belly to a deep ravine, he lay close, suffering terribly from his
wound, till the following night, when, setting out for Fort Wallace,
he arrived there the succeeding day, almost crazed from pain and

Simultaneously with the fiendish atrocities committed on the Saline
and Solomon rivers and the attack on Comstock and Grover, the
pillaging and murdering began on the Smoky Hill stage-route, along
the upper Arkansas River and on the headwaters of the Cimarron.  That
along the Smoky Hill and north of it was the exclusive work of, the
Cheyennes, a part of the Arapahoes, and the few Sioux allies
heretofore mentioned, while the raiding on the Arkansas and Cimarron
was done principally by the Kiowas under their chief, Satanta, aided
by some of the Comanches.  The young men of these tribes set out on
their bloody work just after the annuities and guns were issued at
Larned, and as soon as they were well on the road the rest of the
Comanches and Kiowas escaped from the post and fled south of the
Arkansas.  They were at once pursued by General Sully with a small
force, but by the time he reached the Cimarron the war-party had
finished its raid on the upper Arkansas, and so many Indians combined
against Sully that he was compelled to withdraw to Fort Dodge, which
he reached not without considerable difficulty, and after three
severe fights.

These, and many minor raids which followed, made it plain that a
general outbreak was upon us.  The only remedy, therefore, was to
subjugate the savages immediately engaged in the forays by forcing
the several tribes to settle down on the reservations set apart by
the treaty of Medicine Lodge.  The principal mischief-makers were the
Cheyennes.  Next in deviltry were the Kiowas, and then the Arapahoes
and Comanches.  Some few of these last two tribes continued friendly,
or at least took no active part in the raiding, but nearly all the
young men of both were the constant allies of the Cheyennes and
Kiowas.  All four tribes together could put on the war-path a
formidable force of about 6,000 warriors.  The subjugation of this
number of savages would be no easy task, so to give the matter my
undivided attention I transferred my headquarters from Leavenworth to
Fort Hays, a military post near which the prosperous town of Hays
City now stands.

Fort Hays was just beyond the line of the most advanced settlements,
and was then the terminus of the Kansas-Pacific railroad.  For this
reason it could be made a depot of supplies, and was a good point
from which to supervise matters in the section of country to be
operated in, which district is a part of the Great American Plains,
extending south from the Platte River in Nebraska to the Red River in
the Indian Territory, and westward from the line of frontier
settlements to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a vast region
embracing an area of about 150,000 square miles.  With the exception
of a half-dozen military posts and a few stations on the two overland
emigrant routes--the Smoky Hill to Denver, and the Arkansas to New
Mexico--this country was an unsettled waste known only to the Indians
and a few trappers.  There were neither roads nor well-marked trails,
and the only timber to be found--which generally grew only along the
streams--was so scraggy and worthless as hardly to deserve the name.
Nor was water by any means plentiful, even though the section is
traversed by important streams, the Republican, the Smoky Hill, the
Arkansas, the Cimarron, and the Canadian all flowing eastwardly, as
do also their tributaries in the main.  These feeders are sometimes
long and crooked, but as a general thing the volume of water is
insignificant except after rain-falls.  Then, because of unimpeded
drainage, the little streams fill up rapidly with torrents of water,
which quickly flows off or sinks into the sand, leaving only an
occasional pool without visible inlet or outlet.

At the period of which I write, in 1868, the Plains were covered with
vast herds of buffalo--the number has been estimated at 3,000,000
head--and with such means of subsistence as this everywhere at hand,
the 6,000 hostiles were wholly unhampered by any problem of
food-supply.  The savages were rich too according to Indian standards,
many a lodge owning from twenty to a hundred ponies; and
consciousness of wealth and power, aided by former temporizing, had
made them not only confident but defiant.  Realizing that their
thorough subjugation would be a difficult task, I made up my mind to
confine operations during the grazing and hunting season to
protecting the people of the new settlements and on the overland
routes, and then, when winter came, to fall upon the savages
relentlessly, for in that season their ponies would be thin, and weak
from lack of food, and in the cold and snow, without strong ponies to
transport their villages and plunder, their movements would be so
much impeded that the troops could overtake them.

At the outbreak of hostilities I had in all, east of New Mexico, a
force of regulars numbering about 2,600 men--1,200 mounted and 1,400
foot troops.  The cavalry was composed of the Seventh and Tenth
regiments; the infantry, of the Third and Fifth regiments and four
companies of the Thirty-Eighth.  With these few troops all the posts
along the Smoky Hill and Arkansas had to be garrisoned, emigrant
trains escorted, and the settlements and routes of travel and the
construction parties on the Kansas-Pacific railway protected.  Then,
too, this same force had to furnish for the field small movable
columns, that were always on the go, so it will be rightly inferred
that every available man was kept busy from the middle of August till
November; especially as during this period the hostiles attacked over
forty widely dispersed places, in nearly all cases stealing horses,
burning houses, and killing settlers.  It was of course impossible to
foresee where these descents would be made, but as soon as an attack
was heard of assistance was always promptly rendered, and every now
and then we succeeded in killing a few savages.  As a general thing,
though, the raiders escaped before relief arrived, and when they had
a few miles the start, all efforts to catch them were futile.  I
therefore discouraged long pursuits, and, in fact, did not approve of
making any at all unless the chances of obtaining paying results were
very evident, otherwise the troops would be worn out by the time the
hard work of the winter was demanded from them.

To get ready for a winter campaign of six months gave us much to do.
The thing most needed was more men, so I asked for additional
cavalry, and all that could be spareds--even troops of the Fifth
Cavalry--was sent tome.  Believing this reinforcement insufficient,
to supplement it I applied for a regiment of Kansas volunteers, which
request being granted, the organization of the regiment was
immediately begun at Topeka.  It was necessary also to provide a
large amount of transportation and accumulate quantities of stores,
since the campaign probably would not end till spring.  Another
important matter was to secure competent guides for the different
columns of troops, for, as I have said, the section of country to be
operated in was comparatively unknown.

In those days the railroad town of Hays City was filled with so
called "Indian scouts," whose common boast was of having slain scores
of redskins, but the real scout--that is, a 'guide and trailer
knowing the habits of the Indians--was very scarce, and it was hard
to find anybody familiar with the country south of the Arkansas,
where the campaign was to be made.  Still, about Hays City and the
various military posts there was some good material to select from,
and we managed to employ several men, who, from their experience on
the Plains in various capacities, or from natural instinct and
aptitude, soon became excellent guides and courageous and valuable
scouts, some of them, indeed, gaining much distinction.  Mr. William
F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill"), whose renown has since become world-wide,
was one of the men thus selected.  He received his sobriquet from his
marked success in killing buffaloes for a contractor, to supply fresh
meat to the construction parties, on the Kansas-Pacific railway.  He
had given up this business, however, and was now in the employ of the
quartermaster's department of the army, and was first brought to my
notice by distinguishing himself in bringing me an important despatch
from Fort Larned to Fort Hays, a distance of sixty-five miles,
through a section infested with Indians.  The despatch informed me
that the Indians near Larned were preparing to decamp, and this
intelligence required that certain orders should be carried to Fort
Dodge, ninety-five miles south of Hays.  This too being a
particularly dangerous route--several couriers having been killed on
it--it was impossible to get one of the various "Petes," "Jacks," or
"Jims" hanging around Hays City to take my communication.  Cody
learning of the strait I was in, manfully came to the rescue, and
proposed to make the trip to Dodge, though he had just finished his
long and perilous ride from Larned.  I gratefully accepted his offer,
and after four or five hours' rest he mounted a fresh horse and
hastened on his journey, halting but once to rest on the way, and
then only for an hour, the stop being made at Coon Creek, where he
got another mount from a troop of cavalry.  At Dodge he took six
hours' sleep, and then continued on to his own post--Fort Larned
--with more despatches.  After resting twelve hours at Larned, he was
again in the saddle with tidings for me at Fort Hays, General Hazen
sending him, this time, with word that the villages had fled to the
south of the Arkansas.  Thus, in all, Cody rode about 350 miles in less
than sixty hours, and such an exhibition of endurance and courage was
more than enough to convince me that his services would be extremely
valuable in the campaign, so I retained him at Fort Hays till the
battalion of the Fifth Cavalry arrived, and then made him chief of
scouts for that regiment.

The information brought me by Cody on his second trip from Larned
indicated where the villages would be found in the winter, and I
decided to move on them about the 1st of November.  Only the women
and children and the decrepit old men were with the villages, however
enough, presumably, to look after the plunder most of the warriors
remaining north of the Arkansas to continue their marauding.  Many
severe fights occurred between our troops and these marauders, and in
these affairs, before November 1 over a hundred Indians were killed,
yet from the ease with which the escaping savages would disappear
only to fall upon remote settlements with pillage and murder, the
results were by no means satisfactory.  One of the most noteworthy of
these preliminary affairs was the gallant fight made on the
Republican River the 17th of September by my Aide, Colonel George A.
Forsyth, and party, against about seven hundred Cheyennes and Sioux.
Forsyth, with Lieutenant Beecher, and Doctor J. H. Mooers as surgeon,
was in charge of a company of citizen scouts, mostly expert
rifle-shots, but embracing also a few Indian fighters, among these
Grover and Parr.  The company was organized the latter part of August
for immediate work in defense of the settlements, and also for future
use in the Indian Territory when the campaign should open there.  About
the time the company had reached its complement--it was limited to
forty-seven men and three officers--a small band of hostiles began
depredations near Sheridan City, one of the towns that grew up
over-night on the Kansas-Pacific railway.  Forsyth pursued this party,
but failing to overtake it, made his way into Fort Wallace for rations,
intending to return from there to Fort Hays.  Before he started back,
however, another band of Indians appeared near the post and stole some
horses from the stage company.  This unexpected raid made Forsyth hot
to go for the marauders, and he telegraphed me for permission, which I
as promptly gave him.  He left the post on the 10th of September, the
command consisting of himself, Lieutenant Beecher, Acting Assistant
Surgeon Mooers, and the full strength, forty-seven men, with a few pack
mules carrying about ten days' rations.

He headed north toward the Republican River.  For the first two days
the trail was indistinct and hard to follow.  During the next three
it continued to grow much larger, indicating plainly that the number
of Indians ahead was rapidly increasing.  Of course this sign meant a
fight as soon as a large enough force was mustered, but as this was
what Forsyth was after, he pushed ahead with confidence and alacrity.
The night of the 16th of September he encamped on the Arickaree
branch of the Republican, not far from the forks of the river, with
the expectation of resuming the march as usual next day, for the
indications were that the main body of the savages must be still a
long way off, though in the preceding twenty-four hours an occasional
Indian had been seen.

But the enemy was much nearer than was thought, for at daybreak on
the morning of the 17th he made known his immediate presence by a
sudden dash at Forsyth's horses, a few of which were stampeded and
captured before the scouts could reach them.  This dash was made by a
small party only to get the horses, so those engaged in it were soon
driven off, but a few minutes later hundreds of savages--it was
afterward learned that seven hundred warriors took part in the fight
--hitherto invisible, showed themselves on the hills overlooking the
camp and so menacingly as to convince Forsyth that his defense must
be one of desperation.  The only place at hand that gave any hope of
successful resistance was a small island in the Arickaree, the
channel on one side being about a foot deep while on the other it was
completely dry; so to this position a hurried retreat was made.  All
the men and the remaining animals reached the island in safety, but
on account of the heavy fire poured in from the neighboring hills the
packs containing the rations and medicines had to be abandoned.

On seeing Forsyth's hasty move, the Indians, thinking they had him,
prepared to overwhelm the scouts by swooping down on one side of the
island with about five hundred mounted warriors, while about two
hundred, covered by the tall grass in the river-bottom attacked the
other side, dismounted.  But the brave little band sadly disappointed
them.  When the charge came it was met with such a deadly fire that a
large number of the fiends were killed, some of them even after
gaining the bank of the island.  This check had the effect of making
the savages more wary, but they were still bold enough to make two
more assaults before mid-day.  Each of these ending like the first,
the Indians thereafter contented themselves with shooting
all the horses, which had been tied up to some scraggy little
cottonwood-trees, and then proceeded to lay siege to the party.

The first man struck was Forsyth himself.  He was hit three times in
all--twice in one leg, both serious wounds, and once on the head, a
slight abrasion of the scalp.  A moment later Beecher was killed and
Doctor Mooers mortally wounded: and in addition to these misfortunes
the scouts kept getting hit, till several were killed, and the whole
number of casualties had reached twenty-one in a company of
forty-seven.  Yet with all this, and despite the seeming hopelessness
of the situation, the survivors kept up their pluck undiminished, and
during a lull succeeding the third repulse dug into the loose soil till
the entire party was pretty well protected by rifle-pits.  Thus covered
they stood off the Indians for the next three days, although of course
their condition became deplorable from lack of food, while those who
were hurt suffered indescribable agony, since no means were at hand for
dressing their wounds.

By the third day the Indians, seeming to despair of destroying the
beleaguered party before succor might arrive, began to draw off, and
on the fourth wholly disappeared.  The men were by this time nearly
famished for food.  Even now there was nothing to be had except
horse-meat from the carcasses of the animals killed the first day,
and this, though decidedly unpalatable, not to say disgusting, had to
be put up with, and so on such unwholesome stuff they managed to live
for four days longer, at the end of which time they were rescued by a
column of troops under Colonel Bankhead, which had hastened from Fort
Wallace in response to calls for help, carried there by two brave
fellows--Stilwell and Truedell--who, volunteering to go for relief,
had slipped through the Indians, and struck out for that post in the
night after the first day's fight.



The end of October saw completed the most of my arrangements for the
winter campaign, though the difficulties and hardships to be
encountered had led several experienced officers of the army, and
some frontiersmen like Mr. James Bridger, the famous scout and, guide
of earlier days, to discourage the project.  Bridger even went so far
as to come out from St. Louis to dissuade me, but I reasoned that as
the soldier was much better fed and clothed than the Indian, I had
one great advantage, and that, in short, a successful campaign could
be made if the operations of the different columns were energetically
conducted.  To see to this I decided to go in person with the main
column, which was to push down into the western part of the Indian
Territory, having for its initial objective the villages which, at
the beginning of hostilities, had fled toward the head-waters of the
Red River, and those also that had gone to the same remote region
after decamping from the neighborhood of Larned at the time that
General Hazen sent Buffalo Bill to me with the news.

The column which was expected to do the main work was to be composed
of the Nineteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Colonel
Crawford; eleven troops of the Seventh United States Cavalry, under
General Custer, and a battalion of five companies of infantry under
Brevet Major John H. Page.  To facilitate matters, General Sully, the
district commander, was ordered to rendezvous these troops and
establish a supply depot about a hundred miles south of Fort Dodge,
as from such a point operations could be more readily conducted.  He
selected for the depot a most suitable place at the confluence of
Beaver and Wolf creeks, and on his arrival there with Custer's and
Page's commands, named the place Camp Supply.

In conjunction with the main column, two others also were to
penetrate the Indian Territory.  One of these, which was to march
east from New Mexico by way of Fort Bascom was to be composed of six
troops of the Third Cavalry and two companies of infantry, the whole
under Colonel A. W. Evans.  The other, consisting of seven troops of
the Fifth Cavalry, and commanded by Brevet Brigadier-General Eugene
A. Carr, was to march southeast from Fort Lyon; the intention being
that Evans and Carr should destroy or drive in toward old Fort Cobb
any straggling bands that might be prowling through the country west
of my own line of march; Carr, as he advanced, to be joined by Brevet
Brigadier-General W. H. Penrose, with five troops of cavalry already
in the field southeast of Lyon.  The Fort Bascom column, after
establishing a depot of supplies at Monument Creek, was to work down
the main Canadian, and remain out as long as it could feed itself
from New Mexico; Carr, having united with Penrose on the North
Canadian, was to operate toward the Antelope Hills and headwaters of
the Red River; while I, with the main column was to move southward to
strike the Indians along the Washita, or still farther south on
branches of the Red River.

It was no small nor easy task to outfit all these troops by the time
cold weather set in, and provide for them during the winter, but by
the 1st of November I had enough supplies accumulated at Forts Dodge
and Lyon for my own and Carr's columns, and in addition directed
subsistence and forage for three months to be sent to Fort Gibson for
final delivery at Fort Arbuckle, as I expected to feed the command
from this place when we arrived in the neighborhood of old Fort Cobb,
but through some mismanagement few of these stores got further than
Gibson before winter came on.

November 1, all being ready, Colonel Grawford was furnished with
competent guides, and, after sending two troops to Fort Dodge to act
as my escort, with the rest of his regiment he started from Topeka
November 5, under orders to march straight for the rendezvous at the
junction of Beaver and Wolf creeks.  He was expected to reach his
destination about the 20th, and there unite with the Seventh Cavalry
and the battalion of infantry, which in the mean time were on the
march from Dodge.  A few days later Carr and Evans began their march
also, and everything being now in motion, I decided to go to Camp
Supply to give the campaign my personal attention, determined to
prove that operations could be successfully conducted in spite of
winter, and bent on showing the Indians that they were not secure
from punishment because of inclement weather--an ally on which they
had hitherto relied with much assurance.

We started from Fort Hays on the 15th of November, and the first
night out a blizzard struck us and carried away our tents; and as the
gale was so violent that they could not be put up again, the rain and
snow drenched us to the skin.  Shivering from wet and cold, I took
refuge under a wagon, and there spent such a miserable night that,
when at last morning came, the gloomy predictions of old man Bridger
and others rose up before me with greatly increased force.  As we
took the road the sleet and snow were still falling, but we labored
on to Dodge that day in spite of the fact that many of the mules
played out on the way.  We stayed only one night at Dodge, and then
on the 17th, escorted by a troop of cavalry and Forsyth's scouts, now
under the command of Lieutenant Lewis Pepoon, crossed the Arkansas
and camped the night of the 18th at Bluff Creek, where the two troops
of the Nineteenth Kansas, previously detailed as my escort, were
awaiting our coming.  As we were approaching this camp some
suspicious looking objects were seen moving off at a long distance to
the east of us, but as the scouts confidently pronounced them
buffalo, we were unaware of their true character till next morning,
when we became satisfied that what we had seen were Indians, for
immediately after crossing Beaver Creek we struck a trail, leading to
the northeast, of a war party that evidently came up from the
head-waters of the Washita River.

The evening of November 21st arrived at the Camp Supply depot, having
traveled all day in another snowstorm that did not end till
twenty-four hours later.  General Sully, with Custer's regiment and the
infantry battalion, had reached the place several days before, but the
Kansas regiment had not yet put in an appearance.  All hands were hard
at work trying to shelter the stores and troops, but from the trail
seen that morning, believing that an opportunity offered to strike an
effective blow, I directed Custer to call in his working parties and
prepare to move immediately, without waiting for Crawford's regiment,
unaccountably absent.  Custer was ready to start by the 23d, and he was
then instructed to march north to where the trail had been seen near
Beaver Creek and follow it on the back track, for, being convinced that
the war party had come from the Washita, I felt certain that this plan
would lead directly to the villages.

The difficulties attending a winter campaign were exhibited now with
their full force, as the march had to be conducted through a
snow-storm that hid surrounding objects, and so covered the country as
to alter the appearance of the prominent features, making the task of
the guides doubly troublesome; but in spite of these obstacles fifteen
miles had been traversed when Custer encamped for the night. The next
day the storm had ceased, and the weather was clear and cold.  The
heavy fall of snow had of course obliterated the trail in the bottoms,
and everywhere on the level; but, thanks to the wind, that had swept
comparatively bare the rough places and high ground, the general
direction could be traced without much trouble.  The day's march, which
was through a country abounding with buffalo, was unattended by any
special incident at first, but during the afternoon, after getting the
column across the Canadian River--an operation which, on account of the
wagons, consumed considerable time--Custer's scouts (friendly Osages)
brought back word that, some miles ahead, they had struck fresh signs,
a trail coming into the old one from the north, which, in their
opinion, indicated that the war party was returning to the villages.

On the receipt of this news, Custer, leaving a guard with the wagons,
hastily assembled the rest of his men' and pushing on rapidly,
overtook the scouts and a detailed party from his regiment which had
accompanied them, all halted on the new trail awaiting his arrival.
A personal examination satisfied Custer that the surmises of his
scouts were correct; and also that the fresh trail in the deep snow
could at night be followed with ease.  After a short halt for supper
and rest the pursuit was resumed, the Osage scouts in advance, and
although the hostile Indians were presumed to be yet some distance
off, every precaution was taken to prevent detection and to enable
our troops to strike them unawares.  The fresh trail, which it was
afterward ascertained had been made by raiders from Black Kettle's
village of Cheyennes, and by some Arapahoes, led into the valley of
the Washita, and growing fresher as the night wore on, finally
brought the Osages upon a campfire, still smoldering, which, it was
concluded, had been built by the Indian boys acting as herders of the
ponies during the previous day.  It was evident, then, that the
village could be but a few miles off; hence the pursuit was continued
with redoubled caution until, a few hours before dawn of the 27th, as
the leading scouts peered over a rise on the line of march, they
discovered a large body of animals in the valley below.

As soon as they reported this discovery, Custer determined to
acquaint himself with the situation by making a reconnoissance in
person, accompanied by his principal officers.  So, sending back word
to halt the cavalry, he directed the officers to ride forward with
him; then dismounting, the entire party crept cautiously to a high
point which overlooked the valley, and from where, by the bright moon
then shining, they saw just how the village was situated. Its
position was such as to admit of easy approach from all sides.  So,
to preclude an escape of the Indians, Custer decided to attack at
daybreak, and from four different directions.

The plan having been fully explained to the officers, the remaining
hours of the night were employed in making the necessary
dispositions.  Two of the detachments left promptly, since they had
to make a circuitous march of several miles to Teach the points
designated for their attack; the third started a little later; and
then the fourth and last, under Custer himself, also moved into
position.  As the first light grew visible in the east, each column
moved closer in to the village, and then, all dispositions having
been made according to the prearranged plan, from their appointed
places the entire force to the opening notes of "Garry Owen," played
by the regimental band as the signal for the attack--dashed at a
gallop into the village.  The sleeping and unsuspecting savages were
completely surprised by the onset; yet after the first confusion,
during which the impulse to escape principally actuated them, they
seized their weapons, and from behind logs and trees, or plunging
into the stream and using its steep bank as a breastwork, they poured
upon their assailants a heavy fire, and kept on fighting with every
exhibition of desperation.  In such a combat mounted men were
useless, so Custer directed his troopers to fight on, foot, and the
Indians were successively driven from one point of vantage to
another, until, finally, by 9 o'clock the entire camp was in his
possession and the victory complete.  Black Kettle and over one
hundred of his warriors were killed, and about fifty women and
children captured; but most of the noncombatants, as well as a few
warriors and boys, escaped in the confusion of the fight.  Making
their way down the river, these fugitives alarmed the rest of the
Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and also the Kiowas and Comanches, whose
villages were in close proximity--the nearest not more than two miles

Then of course all the warriors of these tribes rallied to attack
Custer, who meantime was engaged burning Black Kettle's camp and
collecting his herds of ponies.  But these new foes were rather wary
and circumspect, though they already had partial revenge in an
unlooked for way by cutting off Major Elliott and fifteen men, who
had gone off in pursuit of a batch of young warriors when the fight
was going on at the village.  In fact, the Indians had killed
Elliott's whole party, though neither the fate of the poor fellows,
nor how they happened to be caught, was known till long afterward.
It was then ascertained that the detachment pursued a course due
south, nearly at right angles to the Washita River, and after
galloping a couple of miles over the hills, crossing a small branch
of the Washita on the way, they captured some of the fugitives.  In
bringing the prisoners back, Elliott was in turn attacked on the open
prairie by a large number of savages from farther down the Washita,
who by this time were swarming to the aid of Black Kettle's village.
The little band fought its way gallantly to within rifle-range of the
small creek referred to, but could get no farther, for the Indians
had taken up a position in the bed of the stream, and from under
cover of its banks Elliott and all his remaining men were quickly
killed.  No relief was sent them, for Custer, not having seen Elliott
set out, knew nothing of the direction taken, and, besides, was busy
burning the villages and securing the ponies, and deeply concerned,
too, with defending himself from the new dangers menacing him.
Elliott and his brave little party were thus left to meet their fate

While Custer was burning the lodges and plunder and securing the
ponies, the Indians from the villages down the Washita were gathering
constantly around him till by mid-day they had collected in
thousands, and then came a new problem as to what should be done.  If
he attacked the other villages, there was great danger of his being
overwhelmed, and should he start back to Camp Supply by daylight, he
would run the risk of losing his prisoners and the ponies, so,
thinking the matter over, he decided to shoot all the ponies, and
keep skirmishing with the savages till nightfall, and then, under
cover of the darkness, return to Camp Supply; a programme that was
carried out successfully, but Custer's course received some severe
criticism because no effort was made to discover what had become of

Custer had, in all, two officers and nineteen men killed, and two
officers and eleven men wounded.  The blow struck was a most
effective one, and, fortunately, fell on one of the most villainous of
the hostile bands that, without any provocation whatever, had
perpetrated the massacres on the Saline and Solomon, committing
atrocities too repulsive for recital, and whose hands were still red
from their bloody work on the recent raid.  Black Kettle, the chief,
was an old man, and did not himself go with the raiders to the Saline
and Solomon, and on this account his fate was regretted by some.  But
it was old age only that kept him back, for before the demons set out
from Walnut Creek he had freely encouraged them by "making medicine,"
and by other devilish incantations that are gone through with at war
and scalp dances.

When the horrible work was over he undertook to shield himself by
professions of friendship, but being put to the test by my offering
to feed and care for all of his band who would come in to Fort Dodge
and remain there peaceably, he defiantly refused.  The consequence of
this refusal was a merited punishment, only too long delayed.

I received the first news of Custer's fight on the Washita on the
morning of November 29.  It was brought to me by one of his white
scouts, "California Joe," a noted character, who had been
experiencing the ups and downs of pioneer life ever since crossing
the Plains in 1849.  Joe was an invaluable guide and Indian fighter
whenever the clause of the statute prohibiting liquors in the Indian
country happened to be in full force.  At the time in question the
restriction was by no means a dead letter, and Joe came through in
thirty-six hours, though obliged to keep in hiding during daylight of
the 28th.  The tidings brought were joyfully received by everybody at
Camp Supply, and they were particularly agreeable tome, for, besides
being greatly worried about the safety of the command in the extreme
cold and deep snows, I knew that the immediate effect a victory would
be to demoralize the rest of the hostiles, which of course would
greatly facilitate and expedite our ultimate success.  Toward evening
the day after Joe arrived the head of Custer's column made its
appearance on the distant hills, the friendly Osage scouts and the
Indian prisoners in advance.  As they drew near, the scouts began a
wild and picturesque performance in celebration of the victory,
yelling, firing their guns, throwing themselves on the necks and
sides of their horses to exhibit their skill in riding, and going
through all sorts of barbaric evolutions and gyrations, which were
continued till night, when the rejoicings were ended with the hideous
scalp dance.

The disappearance of Major Elliott and his party was the only damper
upon our pleasure, and the only drawback to the very successful
expedition.  There was no definite information as to the detachment,
--and Custer was able to report nothing more than that he had not
seen Elliott since just before the fight began.  His theory was,
however, that Elliott and his men had strayed off on account of
having no guide, and would ultimately come in all right to Camp
Supply or make their way back to Fort Dodge; a very unsatisfactory
view of the matter, but as no one knew the direction Elliott had
taken, it was useless to speculate on other suppositions, and
altogether too late to make any search for him.  I was now anxious to
follow up Custer's stroke by an immediate move to the south with the
entire column, but the Kansas regiment had not yet arrived.  At first
its nonappearance did not worry me much, for I attributed the delay
to the bad weather, and supposed Colonel Crawford had wisely laid up
during the worst storms.  Further, waiting, however, would give the
Indians a chance to recover from the recent dispiriting defeat, so I
sent out scouting parties to look Crawford up and hurry him along.
After a great deal of searching, a small detachment of the regiment
was found about fifty miles below us on the North Canadian, seeking
our camp.  This detachment was in a pretty bad plight, and when
brought in, the officer in charge reported that the regiment, by not
following the advice of the guide sent to conduct it to Camp Supply,
had lost its way.  Instead of relying on the guides, Crawford had
undertaken to strike through the canyons of the Cimarron by what
appeared to him a more direct route, and in the deep gorges, filled
as they were with snow, he had been floundering about for days
without being able to extricate his command.  Then, too, the men were
out of rations, though they had been able to obtain enough buffalo
meat to keep from starving.  As for the horses, since they could get
no grass, about seven hundred of them had already perished from
starvation and exposure.  Provisions and guides were immediately sent
out to the regiment, but before the relief could reach Crawford his
remaining horses were pretty much all gone, though the men were
brought in without loss of life.  Thus, the regiment being dismounted
by this misfortune at the threshold of the campaign, an important
factor of my cavalry was lost to me, though as foot-troops the Kansas
volunteers continued to render very valuable services till mustered
out the next spring.



A few days were necessarily lost setting up and refitting the Kansas
regiment after its rude experience in the Cimarron canyons.  This
through with, the expedition, supplied with thirty days' rations,
moved out to the south on the 7th of December, under my personal
command.  We headed for the Witchita Mountains, toward which rough
region all the villages along the Washita River had fled after
Custer's fight with Black Kettle.  My line of march was by way of
Custer's battle-field, and thence down the Washita, and if the
Indians could not sooner be brought to terms, I intended to follow
them into the Witchita Mountains from near old Fort Cobb.  The snow
was still deep everywhere, and when we started the thermometer was
below zero, but the sky being clear and the day very bright, the
command was in excellent spirits.  The column was made up of ten
companies of the Kansas regiment, dismounted; eleven companies of the
Seventh Cavalry, Pepoon's scouts, and the Osage scouts.  In addition
to Pepoon's men and the Osages, there was also "California Joe," and
one or two other frontiersmen besides, to act as guides and
interpreters.  Of all these the principal one, the one who best knew
the country, was Ben Clark, a young man who had lived with the
Cheyennes during much of his boyhood, and who not only had a pretty
good knowledge of the country, but also spoke fluently the Cheyenne
and Arapahoe dialects, and was an adept in the sign language.

The first day we made only about ten miles, which carried us to the
south bank of Wolf Creek.  A considerable part of the day was devoted
to straightening out matters in the command, and allowing time for
equalizing the wagon loads, which as a general thing, on a first
day's march, are unfairly distributed.  And then there was an
abundance of fire-wood at Wolf Creek; indeed, here and on Hackberry
Creek--where I intended to make my next camp--was the only timber
north of the Canadian River; and to select the halting places near a
plentiful supply of wood was almost indispensable, for as the men
were provided with only shelter-tents, good fires were needed in
order to keep warm.

The second day, after marching for hours through vast herds of
buffalo, we made Hackberry Creek; but not, however, without several
stampedes in the wagon-train, the buffalo frightening the mules so
that it became necessary to throw out flankers to shoot the leading
bulls and thus turn off the herds.  In the wake of every drove
invariably followed a band of wolves.  This animal is a great coward
usually, but hunger had made these so ravenous that they would come
boldly up to the column, and as quick as a buffalo was killed, or
even disabled, they would fall upon the carcass and eagerly devour
it.  Antelope also were very numerous, and as they were quite tame
--being seldom chased--and naturally very inquisitive, it was not an
unfrequent thing to see one of the graceful little creatures run in
among the men and be made a prisoner.  Such abundance of game
relieved the monotony of the march to Hackberry Creek, but still,
both men and animals were considerably exhausted by their long tramp,
for we made over thirty miles that day.

We camped in excellent shape on the creek and it was well we did, for
a "Norther," or "blizzard," as storms on the Plains are now termed
struck us in the night.  During the continuance of these blizzards,
which is usually about three days, the cold wind sweeps over the
Plains with great force, and, in the latitude of the Indian
Territory, is weighted with great quantities of sleet and snow,
through which it is often impossible to travel; indeed, these
"Northers" have many times proved fatal to the unprotected
frontiersman.  With our numbers the chance of any one's being lost,
and perishing alone (one of the most common dangers in a blizzard),
was avoided; but under any circumstances such a storm could but
occasion intense suffering to all exposed to it, hence it would have
been well to remain in camp till the gale was over, but the time
could not be spared.  We therefore resumed the march at an early hour
next morning, with the expectation of making the south bank of the
main Canathan and there passing the night, as Clark assured me that
timber was plentiful on that side of the river.  The storm greatly
impeded us, however, many of the mules growing discouraged, and some
giving out entirely, so we could not get to Clark's "good camp," for
with ten hours of utmost effort only about half a day's distance
could be covered, when at last, finding the struggle useless, we were
forced to halt for the night in a bleak bottom on the north bank of
the river.  But no one could sleep, for the wind swept over us with
unobstructed fury, and the only fuel to be had was a few green
bushes.  As night fell a decided change of temperature added much to
our misery, the mercury, which had risen when the "Norther" began,
again falling to zero.  It can be easily imagined that under such
circumstances the condition of the men was one of extreme discomfort;
in truth, they had to tramp up and down the camp all night long to
keep from freezing.  Anything was a relief to this state of things,
so at the first streak of day we quit the dreadful place and took up
the march.

A seemingly good point for crossing the Canadian was found a couple
of miles down the stream, where we hoped to get our train over on the
ice, but an experiment proving that it was not strong enough, a ford
had to be made, which was done by marching some of the cavalry
through the river, which was about half a mile wide, to break up the
large floes when they had been cut loose with axes.  After much hard
work a passage-way was thus opened, and by noon the command was
crossed to the south bank, and after thawing out and drying our
clothes before big fires, we headed for a point on the Washita, where
Clark said there was plenty of wood, and good water too, to make us
comfortable till the blizzard had blown over.

We reached the valley of the Washita a little before dark, and camped
some five or six miles above the scene of Custer's fight, where I
concluded to remain at least a day, to rest the command and give it a
chance to refit.  In the mean time I visited the battle-field in
company with Custer and several other officers, to see if there was a
possibility of discovering any traces of Elliotts party.  On arriving
at the site of the village, and learning from Custer what
dispositions had been made in approaching for the attack, the
squadron of the escort was deployed and pushed across the river at
the point where Elliott had crossed.  Moving directly to the south,
we had not gone far before we struck his trail, and soon the whole
story was made plain by our finding, on an open level space about two
miles from the destroyed village, the dead and frozen bodies of the
entire party.  The poor fellows were all lying within a circle not
more than fifteen or twenty paces in diameter, and the little piles
of empty cartridge shells near each body showed plainly that every
man had made a brave fight.  None were scalped, but most of them were
otherwise horribly mutilated, which fiendish work is usually done by
the squaws.  All had been stripped of their clothing, but their
comrades in the escort were able to identify the bodies, which being
done, we gave them decent burial.  Their fate was one that has
overtaken many of our gallant army in their efforts to protect the
frontiersmen's homes and families from savages who give no quarter,
though they have often received it, and where the possibility of
defeat in action carries with it the certainty of death and often of
preceding torture.

From the meadow where Elliott was found we rode to the Washita, and
then down the river through the sites of the abandoned villages, that
had been strung along almost continuously for about twelve miles in
the timber skirting the stream.  On every hand appeared ample
evidence that the Indians had intended to spend the winter here, for
the ground was littered with jerked meat, bales of buffalo robes,
cooking utensils, and all sorts of plunder usually accumulated in a
permanent Indian camp.  There were, also, lying dead near the
villages hundreds of ponies, that had been shot to keep them from
falling into our hands, the scant grazing and extreme cold having
made them too weak to be driven along in the flight.  The wholesale
slaughter of these ponies was a most cheering indication that our
campaign would be ultimately successful, and we all prayed for at
least a couple of months more of cold weather and plenty of snow.

At the Kiowa village we found the body of a white woman--a Mrs.
Blynn--and also that of her child.  These captives had been taken by
the Kiowas near Fort Lyon the previous summer, and kept close
prisoners until the stampede began, the poor woman being reserved to
gratify the brutal lust of the chief, Satanta; then, however, Indian
vengeance demanded the murder of the poor creatures, and after
braining the little child against a tree, the mother was shot through
the forehead, the weapon, which no doubt brought her welcome release,
having been fired so close that the powder had horribly disfigured
her face.  The two bodies were wrapped in blankets and taken to camp,
and afterward carried along in our march, till finally they were
decently interred at Fort Arbuckle..

At an early hour on December 12 the command pulled out from its cosy
camp and pushed down the valley of the Washita, following immediately
on the Indian trail which led in the direction of Fort Cobb, but
before going far it was found that the many deep ravines and canyons
on this trail would delay our train very much, so we moved out of the
valley and took the level prairie on the divide.  Here the traveling
was good, and a rapid gait was kept up till mid-day, when, another
storm of sleet and snow coming on, it became extremely difficult for
the guides to make out the proper course; and fearing that we might
get lost or caught on the open plain without wood or water--as we had
been on the Canadian--I turned the command back to the valley,
resolved to try no more shortcuts involving the risk of a disaster to
the expedition.  But to get back was no slight task, for a dense fog
just now enveloped us, obscuring all landmarks.  However, we were
headed right when the fog set in, and we had the good luck to reach
the valley before night-fall, though there was a great deal of
floundering about, and also much disputing among the guides as to
where the river would be found Fortunately we struck the stream right
at a large grove of timber, and established ourselves, admirably.  By
dark the ground was covered with twelve or fifteen inches of fresh
snow, and as usual the temperature rose very sensibly while the storm
was on, but after night-fall the snow ceased and the skies cleared
up.  Daylight having brought zero weather again, our start on the
morning of the 17th was painful work, many of the men freezing their
fingers while handling the horse equipments, harness, and tents.
However, we got off in fairly good season, and kept to the trail
along the Washita notwithstanding the frequent digging and bridging
necessary to get the wagons over ravines.

Continuing on this line for three days, we at length came to a point
on the Washita where all signs indicated that we were nearing some of
the villages.  Wishing to strike them as soon as possible, we made a
very early start next morning, the 17th.  A march of four or five
miles brought us to a difficult ravine, and while we were making
preparations to get over, word was brought that several Indians had
appeared in our front bearing a white flag and making signs that they
had a communication to deliver.  We signaled back that they would be
received, when one of the party came forward alone and delivered a
letter, which proved to be from General Hazen, at Fort Cobb.  The
letter showed that Hazen was carrying on negotiations with the
Indians, and stated that all the tribes between Fort Cobb and my
column were friendly, but the intimation was given that the
Cheyennes and Arapahoes were still hostile, having moved off
southward toward the Red River.  It was added that Satanta and Lone
Wolf--the chiefs of the Kiowas--would give information of the
whereabouts of the hostiles; and such a communication coming direct
from the representative of the Indian Department, practically took
the Kiowas--the village at hand was of that tribe--under its
protection, and also the Comanches, who were nearer in to Cobb.  Of
course, under such circumstances I was compelled to give up the
intended attack, though I afterward regretted that I had paid any
heed to the message, because Satanta and Lone Wolf proved, by
trickery and double dealing, that they had deceived Hazen into
writing the letter.

When I informed the Klowas that I would respect Hazen's letter
provided they all came into Fort Cobb and gave themselves up, the two
chiefs promised submission, and, as an evidence of good faith,
proposed to accompany the column to Fort Cobb with a large body of
warriors, while their villages moved to the same point by easy
stages, along the opposite bank of the river--claiming this to be
necessary from the poor condition of the ponies.  I had some
misgivings as to the sincerity of Satanta and Lone Wolf, but as I
wanted to get the Kiowas where their surrender would be complete, so
that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes could then be pursued, I agreed to
the proposition, and the column moved on.  All went well that day,
but the next it was noticed that the warriors were diminishing, and
an investigation showed that a number of them had gone off on various
pretexts--the main one being to help along the women and children
with the villages.  With this I suspected that they were playing me
false, and my suspicions grew into certainty when Satanta himself
tried to make his escape by slipping beyond the flank of the column
and putting spurs to his pony.  Fortunately, several officers saw
him, and q