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Title: Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army — Volume 1
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.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army — Volume 1" ***

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