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Title: Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army — Volume 2
Author: Sheridan, Philip Henry, General, 1831-1888
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army — Volume 2" ***

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By Philip Henry Sheridan



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

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

"SEPTEMBER 15, 1864.

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

"You can trust the bearer."

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

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

"SEPTEMBER 16, 1864.

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

"Very respectfully yours,"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Woodstock, Va., Sept.  23, 1864


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

"Major-General Commanding."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864, 12 M.


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

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

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

"WASHINGTON, October 13, 1864.

(through General Augur)

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

"Secretary of War."

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

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

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

"October 16, 1864.


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

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


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

"LONGSTREET, Lieutenant-General."

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

"Front Royal, October 16, 1864.

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

"P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General.

"Commanding Sixth Army Corps."

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

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

"WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16 1864

"Rectortown, Va.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"GRAVELLY RUN, March 30, 1865.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

To hold on to Fitzgerald's ford Smith had to make a sharp fight, but
Mumford's cavalry attacking Devin, the enemy's infantry succeeded in
getting over Chamberlain's Creek at a point higher up than
Fitzgerald's ford, and assailing Davies, forced him back in a
northeasterly direction toward the Dinwiddie and Five Forks road in
company with Devin.  The retreat of Davies permitted Pickett to pass
between Crook and Merritt, which he promptly did, effectually
separating them and cutting off both Davies and Devin from the road
to Dinwiddie, so that to get to that point they had to retreat across
the country to B. Boisseau's and then down the Boydton road.

Gibbs's brigade had been in reserve near the intersection of the Five
Forks and Dabney roads, and directing Merritt to hold on there, I
ordered Gregg's brigade to be mounted and brought to Merritt's aid,
for if Pickett continued in pursuit north of the Five Forks road he
would expose his right and rear, and I determined to attack him, in
such case, from Gibbs's position.  Gregg arrived in good season, and
as soon as his men were dismounted on Gibbs's left, Merritt assailed
fiercely, compelling Pickett to halt and face a new foe, thus
interrupting an advance that would finally have carried Pickett into
the rear of Warren's corps.

It was now about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we were in a critical
situation, but having ordered Merritt to bring Devin and Davies to
Dinwiddie by the Boydton road, staff-officers were sent to hurry
Custer to the same point, for with its several diverging roads the
Court House was of vital importance, and I determined to stay there
at all hazards.  At the same time orders were sent to Smith's
brigade, which, by the advance of Pickett past its right flank and
the pressure of W. H. F. Lee on its front, had been compelled to give
up Fitzgerald's crossing, to fall back toward Dinwiddie but to
contest every inch of ground so as to gain time.

When halted by the attack of Gregg and Gibbs, Pickett, desisting from
his pursuit of Devin, as already stated, turned his undivided
attention to this unexpected force, and with his preponderating
infantry pressed it back on the Five Forks road toward Dinwiddle,
though our men, fighting dismounted behind barricades at different
points, displayed such obstinacy as to make Pickett's progress slow,
and thus give me time to look out a line for defending the Court
House.  I selected a place about three-fourths of a mile northwest of
the crossroads, and Custer coming up quickly with Capehart's brigade,
took position on the left of the road to Five Forks in some open
ground along the crest of a gentle ridge.  Custer got Capehart into
place just in time to lend a hand to Smith, who, severely pressed,
came back on us here from his retreat along Chamberlain's "bed"--the
vernacular for a woody swamp such as that through which Smith
retired.  A little later the brigades of Gregg and Gibbs, falling to
the rear slowly and steadily, took up in the woods a line which
covered the Boydton Road some distance to the right of Capehart, the
intervening gap to be filled with Pennington's brigade.  By this time
our horse-artillery, which for two days had been stuck in the mud,
was all up, and every gun was posted in this line.

It was now near sunset, and the enemy's cavalry thinking the day was
theirs, made a dash at Smith, but just as the assailants appeared in
the open fields, Capehart's men opened so suddenly on their left
flank as to cause it to recoil in astonishment, which permitted Smith
to connect his brigade with Custer unmolested.  We were now in good
shape behind the familiar barricades, and having a continuous line,
excepting only the gap to be filled with Pennington, that covered
Dinwiddie and the Boydton Road.  My left rested in the woods about
half a mile west of the Court House, and the barricades extended from
this flank in a semicircle through the open fields in a northeasterly
direction, to a piece-of thick timber on the right, near the Boydton

A little before the sun went down the Confederate infantry was formed
for the attack, and, fortunately for us, Pennington's brigade came up
and filled the space to which it was assigned between Capehart and
Gibbs, just as Pickett moved out across the cleared fields in front
of Custer, in deep lines that plainly told how greatly we were

Accompanied by Generals Merritt and Custer and my staff, I now rode
along the barricades to encourage the men.  Our enthusiastic
reception showed that they were determined to stay.  The cavalcade
drew the enemy's fire, which emptied several of the saddles--among
others Mr. Theodore Wilson, correspondent of the New York Herald,
being wounded.  In reply our horse-artillery opened on the advancing
Confederates, but the men behind the barricades lay still till
Pickett's troops were within short range.  Then they opened, Custer's
repeating rifles pouring out such a shower of lead that nothing could
stand up against it.  The repulse was very quick, and as the gray
lines retired to the woods from which but a few minutes before they
had so confidently advanced, all danger of their taking Dinwiddie or
marching to the left and rear of our infantry line was over,
at least for the night.  The enemy being thus checked, I sent a
staff-officer--Captain Sheridan--to General Grant to report what had
taken place during the afternoon, and to say that I proposed to stay at
Dinwiddie, but if ultimately compelled to abandon the place, I would do
so by retiring on the Vaughn road toward Hatcher's Run, for I then
thought the attack might be renewed next morning.  Devin and Davies
joined me about dark, and my troops being now well in hand, I sent a
second staff-officer--Colonel John Kellogg--to explain my situation
more fully, and to assure General Grant that I would hold on at
Dinwiddie till forced to let go.

By following me to Dinwiddie the enemy's infantry had completely
isolated itself, and hence there was now offered the Union troops a
rare opportunity.  Lee was outside of his works, just as we desired,
and the general-in-chief realized this the moment he received the
first report of my situation; General Meade appreciated it too from
the information he got from Captain Sheridan, en route to army
headquarters with the first tidings, and sent this telegram to
General Grant:

"March 31, 1865.  9:45 p.m.


"Would it not be well for Warren to go down with his whole corps and
smash up the force in front of Sheridan?  Humphreys can hold the line
to the Boydton plank-road, and the refusal along with it.  Bartlett's
brigade is now on the road from G. Boisseau's, running north, where
it crosses Gravelly Run, he having gone down the White Oak road.
Warren could go at once that way, and take the force threatening
Sheridan in rear at Dinwiddie, and move on the enemy's rear with the
other two.

"G. G. MEADE, Major-General."

An hour later General Grant replied in these words:

"DABNEY'S MILLS, March 311, 1865.  10:15 P. M.

"Commanding Army of the Potomac.

Let Warren move in the way you propose, and urge him not to stop for
anything.  Let Griffin (Griffin had been ordered by Warren to the
Boydton road to protect his rear) go on as he was first directed.

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

These two despatches were the initiatory steps in sending the Fifth
Corps, under Major-General G. K. Warren, to report to me, and when I
received word of its coming and also that Genera Mackenzie's cavalry
from the Army of the James was likewise to be added to my command,
and that discretionary authority was given me to use all my forces
against Pickett, I resolved to destroy him, if it was within the
bounds of possibility, before he could rejoin Lee.

In a despatch, dated 10:05 p.m., telling me of the coming of Warren
and Mackenzie, General Grant also said that the Fifth Corps should
reach me by 12 o'clock that night, but at that hour not only had none
of the corps arrived, but no report from it, so believing that if it
came all the way down to Dinwiddie the next morning, our opportunity
would be gone, I concluded that it would be best to order Warren to
move in on the enemy's rear while the cavalry attacked in front, and,
therefore, at 3 o'clock in the morning of April 1 sent this despatch
to General Warren:

"April 1, 1865--3. A.M.

"Commanding Fifth Army Corps.

"I am holding in front of Dinwiddie Court House, on the road leading
to Five Forks, for three-quarters of a mile with General Custer's
division.  The enemy are in his immediate front, lying so as to cover
the road just this side of A. Adams's house, which leads across
Chamberlain's bed, or run.  I understand you have a division at J.[G]
Boisseau's; if so, you are in rear of the enemy's line and almost on
his flank.  I will hold on here.  Possibly they may attack Custer at
daylight; if so, attack instantly and in full force.  Attack at
daylight anyhow, and I will make an effort to get the road this side
of Adams's house, and if I do, you can capture the whole of them.
Any force moving down the road I am holding, or on the White Oak
road, will be in the enemy's rear, and in all probability get any
force that may escape you by a flank movement.  Do not fear my
leaving here.  If the enemy remains, I shall fight at daylight.

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

With daylight came a slight fog, but it lifted almost immediately,
and Merritt moved Custer and Devin forward.  As these divisions
advanced the enemy's infantry fell back on the Five Forks road, Devin
pressing him along the road, while Custer extended on the left over
toward Chamberlain's Run, Crook being held in watch along Stony
Creek, meanwhile, to be utilized as circumstances might require when
Warren attacked.

The order of General Meade to Warren the night of March 31--a copy
being sent me also--was positive in its directions, but as midnight
came without a sign of or word from the Fifth Corps, notwithstanding
that was the hour fixed for its arrival, I nevertheless assumed that
there were good reasons for its non-appearance, but never once
doubted that measures would be taken to comply with my despatch Of
3 A. M. and therefore hoped that, as Pickett was falling back slowly
toward Five Forks, Griffin's and Crawford's divisions would come in
on the Confederate left and rear by the Crump road near J.[G]
Boisseau's house.

But they did not reach there till after the enemy had got by.  As a
matter of fact, when Pickett was passing the all-important point
Warren's men were just breaking from the bivouac in which their chief
had placed them the night before, and the head of Griffin's division
did not get to Boisseau's till after my cavalry, which meanwhile had
been joined by Ayres's division of the Fifth Corps by way of the
Boydton and Dabney roads.  By reason of the delay in moving Griffin
and Crawford, the enemy having escaped, I massed the Fifth Corps at
J.[G] Boisseau's so that the men could be rested, and directed it to
remain there; General Warren himself had not then come up.  General
Mackenzie, who had reported just after daybreak, was ordered at first
to stay at Dinwiddie Court House, but later was brought along the
Five Forks road to Dr. Smith's, and Crook's division was directed to
continue watching the crossings of Stony Creek and Chamberlain's Run.

That we had accomplished nothing but to oblige our foe to retreat was
to me bitterly disappointing, but still feeling sure that he would
not give up the Five Forks crossroads without a fight, I pressed him
back there with Merritt's cavalry, Custer advancing on the Scott
road, while Devin drove the rearguard along that leading from J.[G]
Boisseau's to Five Forks.

By 2 o'clock in the afternoon Merritt had forced the enemy inside his
intrenchments, which began with a short return about three-quarters
of a mile east of the Forks and ran along the south side of the White
Oak road to a point about a mile west of the Forks.  From the left of
the return over toward Hatcher's Run was posted Mumford's cavalry,
dismounted.  In the return itself was Wallace's brigade, and next on
its right came Ransom's, then Stewart's, then Terry's, then Corse's.
On the right of Corse was W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry.  Ten
pieces of artillery also were in this line, three on the right of the
works, three near the centre at the crossroads, and four on the left,
in the return.  Rosser's cavalry was guarding the Confederate trains
north of Hatcher's Run beyond the crossing of the Ford road.

I felt certain the enemy would fight at Five Forks--he had to--so,
while we were getting up to his intrenchments, I decided on my plan
of battle.  This was to attack his whole front with Merritt's two
cavalry divisions, make a feint of turning his right flank, and with
the Fifth Corps assail his left.  As the Fifth Corps moved into
action, its right flank was to be covered by Mackenzie's cavalry,
thus entirely cutting off Pickett's troops from communication with
Lee's right flank, which rested near the Butler house at the junction
of the Claiborne and White Oaks roads.  In execution of this plan,
Merritt worked his men close in toward the intrenchments, and while
he was thus engaged, I ordered Warren to bring up the Fifth Corps,
sending the order by my engineer officer, Captain Gillespie, who had
reconnoitred the ground in the neighborhood of Gravelly Run Church,
where the infantry was to form for attack.

Gillespie delivered the order about 1 o'clock, and when the corps was
put in motion, General Warren joined me at the front.  Before he
came, I had received, through Colonel Babcock, authority from General
Grant to relieve him, but I did not wish to do it, particularly on
the eve of battle; so, saying nothing at all about the message
brought me, I entered at once on the plan for defeating Pickett,
telling Warren how the enemy was posted, explaining with considerable
detail, and concluding by stating that I wished his troops to be
formed on the Gravelly Church road, near its junction with the White
Oak road, with two divisions to the front, aligned obliquely to the
White Oak road, and one in reserve, opposite the centre of these two.

General Warren seemed to understand me clearly, and then left to join
his command, while I turned my attention to the cavalry, instructing
Merritt to begin by making demonstrations as though to turn the
enemy's right, and to assault the front of the works with his
dismounted cavalry as soon as Warren became engaged.  Afterward I
rode around to Gravelly Run Church, and found the head of Warren's
column just appearing, while he was sitting under a tree making a
rough sketch of the ground.  I was disappointed that more of the
corps was not already up, and as the precious minutes went by without
any apparent effort to hurry the troops on to the field, this
disappointment grew into disgust.  At last I expressed to Warren my
fears that the cavalry might expend all their ammunition before the
attack could be made, that the sun would go down before the battle
could be begun, or that troops from Lee's right, which, be it
remembered, was less than three miles away from my right, might, by
striking my rear, or even by threatening it, prevent the attack on

Warren did not seem to me to be at all solicitous; his manner
exhibited decided apathy, and he remarked with indifference that
"Bobby Lee was always getting people into trouble."  With unconcern
such as this, it is no wonder that fully three hours' time was
consumed in marching his corps from J.[G]  Boisseau's to Gravelly Run
Church, though the distance was but two miles.  However, when my
patience was almost worn out, Warren reported his troops ready,
Ayres's division being formed on the west side of the Gravelly Church
road, Crawford's on the east side, and Griffin in reserve behind the
right of Crawford, a little different from my instructions.  The
corps had no artillery present, its batteries, on account of the mud,
being still north of Gravelly Run.  Meanwhile Merritt had been busy
working his men close up to the intrenchments from the angle of the
return west, along the White Oak road.

About 4 o'clock Warren began the attack.  He was to assault the left
flank of the Confederate infantry at a point where I knew Pickett's
intrenchments were refused, almost at right angles with the White Oak
road.  I did not know exactly how far toward Hatcher's Run this part
of the works extended, for here the videttes of Mumford's cavalry
were covering, but I did know where the refusal began.  This return,
then, was the point I wished to assail, believing that if the assault
was made with spirit, the line could be turned.  I therefore intended
that Ayres and Crawford should attack the refused trenches squarely,
and when these two divisions and Merritt's cavalry became hotly
engaged, Griffin's division was to pass around the left of the
Confederate line; and I personally instructed Griffin how I wished
him to go in, telling him also that as he advanced, his right flank
would be taken care of by Mackenzie, who was to be pushed over toward
the Ford road and Hatcher's Run.

The front of the corps was oblique to the White Oak road; and on
getting there, it was to swing round to the left till perpendicular
to the road, keeping closed to the left.  Ayres did his part well,
and to the letter, bringing his division square up to the front of
the return near the angle; but Crawford did not wheel to the left, as
was intended.  On the contrary, on receiving fire from Mumford's
cavalry, Crawford swerved to the right and moved north from the
return, thus isolating his division from Ayres; and Griffin,
uncertain of the enemy's position, naturally followed Crawford.

The deflection of this division on a line of march which finally
brought it out on the Ford road near C. Young's house, frustrated the
purpose I had in mind when ordering the attack, and caused a gap
between Ayres and Crawford, of which the enemy quickly took
advantage, and succeeded in throwing a part of Ayres's division into
confusion.  At this juncture I sent word to General Warren to have
Crawford recalled; for the direction he was following was not only a
mistaken one, but, in case the assault at the return failed, he ran
great risk of capture.  Warren could not be found, so I then sent for
Griffin--first by Colonel Newhall, and then by Colonel Sherman--to
come to the aid of Ayres, who was now contending alone with that part
of the enemy's infantry at the return.  By this time Griffin had
observed and appreciated Crawford's mistake, however, and when the
staff-officers reached him, was already faced to the left; so,
marching across Crawford's rear, he quickly joined Ayres, who
meanwhile had rallied his troops and carried the return.

When Ayres's division went over the flank of the enemy's works,
Devin's division of cavalry, which had been assaulting the front,
went over in company with it; and hardly halting to reform, the
intermingling infantry and dismounted cavalry swept down inside the
intrenchments, pushing to and beyond Five Forks, capturing thousands
of prisoners.  The only stand the enemy tried to make was when he
attempted to form near the Ford road.  Griffin pressed him so hard
there, however, that he had to give way in short order, and many of
his men, with three pieces of artillery, fell into the hands of
Crawford while on his circuitous march.

The right of Custer's division gained a foothold on the enemy's works
simultaneously with Devin's, but on the extreme left Custer had a
very severe combat with W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, as well as with
Corse's and Terry's infantry.  Attacking Terry and Corse with
Pennington's brigade dismounted, he assailed Lee's cavalry with his
other two brigades mounted, but Lee held on so obstinately that
Custer gained but little ground till our troops, advancing behind the
works, drove Corse and Terry out.  Then Lee made no further stand
except at the west side of the Gillian field, where, assisted by
Corse's brigade, he endeavored to cover the retreat, but just before
dark Custer, in concert with some Fifth Corps regiments under Colonel
Richardson, drove ihe last of the enemy westward on the White Oak

Our success was unqualified; we had overthrown Pickett, taken six
guns, thirteen battle-flags, and nearly six thousand prisoners.  When
the battle was practically over, I turned to consider my position
with reference to the main Confederate army.  My troops, though
victorious, were isolated from the Army of the Potomac, for on the
31st of March the extreme left of that army had been thrown back
nearly to the Boydton plank-road, and hence there was nothing to
prevent the enemy's issuing from his trenches at the intersection of
the White Oak and Claiborne roads and marching directly on my rear.
I surmised that he might do this that night or early next morning.
It was therefore necessary to protect myself in this critical
situation, and General Warren having sorely disappointed me, both in
the moving of his corps and in its management during the battle, I
felt that he was not the man to rely upon under such circumstances,
and deeming that it was to the best interest of the service as well
as but just to myself, I relieved him, ordering him to report to
General Grant.

I then put Griffin in command of the Fifth Corps, and directed him to
withdraw from the pursuit as quickly as he could after following the
enemy a short distance, and form in line of battle near Gravelly Run
Church, at right angles with the White Oak road, with Ayres and
Crawford facing toward the enemy at the junction of the White Oak and
Claiborne roads, leaving Bartlett, now commanding Griffin's division,
near the Ford road.  Mackenzie also was left on the Ford road at the
crossing of Hatcher's Run, Merritt going into camp on the Widow
Gillian's plantation.  As I had been obliged to keep Crook's division
along Stony Creek throughout the day, it had taken no active part in
the battle.

Years after the war, in 1879, a Court of Inquiry was given General
Warren in relation to his conduct on the day of the battle.  He
assumed that the delay in not granting his request for an inquiry,
which was first made at the close of the war, was due to opposition
on my part.  In this he was in error; I never opposed the ordering of
the Court, but when it was finally decided to convene it I naturally
asked to be represented by counsel, for the authorization of the
Inquiry was so peculiarly phrased that it made me practically a

"NEW YORK CITY, May 3, 1880

"President Court of Inquiry, Governor's Island.

"Sir: Since my arrival in this city, under a subpoena to appear and
testify before the Court of which you are president, I have been
indirectly and unofficially informed that the Court some time ago
forwarded an invitation to me (which has not been received) to appear
personally or by counsel, in order to aid it in obtaining a knowledge
as to the facts concerning the movements terminating in the battle of
'Five Forks,' with reference to the direct subjects of its inquiry.
Any invitation of this character I should always and do consider it
incumbent on me to accede to, and do everything in my power in
furtherance of the specific purposes for which courts of inquiry are
by law instituted.

"The order convening the Court (a copy of which was not received by
me at my division headquarters until two days after the time
appointed for the Court to assemble) contemplates an inquiry based on
the application of Lieutenant Colonel G. K. Warren, Corps of
Engineers, as to his conduct while major-general commanding the Fifth
Army Corps, under my command, in reference to accusations or
imputations assumed in the order to have been made against him, and I
understand through the daily press that my official report of the
battle of Five Forks has been submitted by him as a basis of inquiry.

"If it is proposed to inquire, either directly or indirectly, as to
any action of mine so far as the commanding general Fifth Army Corps
was concerned, or my motives for such action, I desire to be
specifically informed wherein such action or transaction is alleged
to contain an accusation or imputation to become a subject of
inquiry, so that, knowing what issues are raised, I may intelligently
aid the Court in arriving at the facts.

"It is a long time since the battle of Five Forks was fought, and
during the time that has elapsed the official reports of that battle
have been received and acknowledged by the Government; but now, when
the memory of events has in many instances grown dim, and three of
the principal actors on that field are dead--Generals Griffin,
Custer, and Devin, whose testimony would have been valuable--an
investigation is ordered which might perhaps do injustice unless the
facts pertinent to the issues are fully developed.

"My duties are such that it will not be convenient for me to be
present continuously during the sessions of the Court.  In order,
however, that everything may be laid before it in my power pertinent
to such specific issues as are legally raised, I beg leave to
introduce Major Asa Bird Gardner as my counsel.

"Very respectfully,

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

Briefly stated, in my report of the battle of Five Forks there were
four imputations concerning General Warren.  The first implied that
Warren failed to reach me on the 1st of April, when I had reason to
expect him; the second, that the tactical handling of his corps was
unskillful; the third, that he did not exert himself to get his corps
up to Gravelly Run Church; and the fourth, that when portions of his
line gave way he did not exert himself to restore confidence to his
troops.  The Court found against him on the first and second counts,
and for him on the third and fourth.  This finding was unsatisfactory
to General Warren, for he hoped to obtain such an unequivocal
recognition of his services as to cast discredit on my motives for
relieving him.  These were prompted by the conditions alone--by the
conduct of General Warren as described, and my consequent lack of
confidence in him.

It will be remembered that in my conversation with General Grant on
the 30th, relative to the suspension of operations because of the
mud, I asked him to let me have the Sixth Corps to help me in
breaking in on the enemy's right, but that it could not be sent me;
it will be recalled also that the Fifth Corps was afterward tendered
and declined.  From these facts it has been alleged that I was
prejudiced against General Warren, but this is not true.  As we had
never been thrown much together I knew but little of him.  I had no
personal objection to him, and certainly could have none to his
corps.  I was expected to do an extremely dangerous piece of work,
and knowing the Sixth Corps well--my cavalry having campaigned with
it so successfully in the Shenandoah Valley, I naturally preferred
it, and declined the Fifth for no other reason.  But the Sixth could
not be given, and the turn of events finally brought me the Fifth
after my cavalry, under the most trying difficulties, had drawn the
enemy from his works, and into such a position as to permit the
realization of General Grant's hope to break up with my force Lee's
right flank.  Pickett's isolation offered an opportunity which we
could not afford to neglect, and the destruction of his command would
fill the measure of General Grant's expectations as well as meet my
own desires.  The occasion was not an ordinary one, and as I thought
that Warren had not risen to its demand in the battle, I deemed it
injudicious and unsafe under the critical conditions existing to
retain him longer.  That I was justified in this is plain to all who
are disposed to be fair-minded, so with the following extract from
General Sherman's review of the proceedings of the Warren Court, and
with which I am convinced the judgment of history will accord, I
leave the subject:

"....It would be an unsafe and dangerous rule to hold the commander
of an army in battle to a technical adherence to any rule of conduct
for managing his command.  He is responsible for results, and holds
the lives and reputations of every officer and soldier under his
orders as subordinate to the great end--victory.  The most important
events are usually compressed into an hour, a minute, and he cannot
stop to analyze his reasons.  He must act on the impulse, the
conviction, of the instant, and should be sustained in his
conclusions, if not manifestly unjust.  The power to command men, and
give vehement impulse to their joint action, is something which
cannot be defined by words, but it is plain and manifest in battles,
and whoever commands an army in chief must choose his subordinates by
reason of qualities which can alone be tested in actual conflict.

"No one has questioned the patriotism, integrity, and great
intelligence of General Warren.  These are attested by a long record
of most excellent service, but in the clash of arms at and near Five
Forks, March 31 and April 1, 1865, his personal activity fell short
of the standard fixed by General Sheridan, on whom alone rested the
great responsibility for that and succeeding days.

"My conclusion is that General Sheridan was perfectly justified in
his action in this case, and he must be fully and entirely sustained
if the United States expects great victories by her arms in the



When the news of the battle at Five Forks reached General Grant, he
realized that the decisive character of our victory would necessitate
the immediate abandonment of Richmond and Petersburg by the enemy;
and fearing that Lee would escape without further injury, he issued
orders, the propriety of which must be settled by history, to assault
next morning the whole intrenched line.  But Lee could not retreat at
once.  He had not anticipated dissster at Five Forks, and hence was
unprepared to withdraw on the moment; and the necessity of getting
off his trains and munitions of war, as well as being obliged to
cover the flight of the Confederate Government, compelled him to hold
on to Richmond and Petersburg till the afternoon of the 2d, though
before that Parke, Ord, and Wright had carried his outer
intrenchments at several points, thus materially shortening the line
of investment.

The night of the 1st of April, General Humphreys's corps--the Second
--had extended its left toward the White Oak road, and early next
morning, under instructions from General Grant, Miles's division of
that corps reported to me, and supporting him with Ayres's and
Crawford's divisions of the Fifth Corps, I then directed him to
advance toward Petersburg and attack the enemy's works at the
intersection of the Claiborne and White Oak roads.

Such of the enemy as were still in the works Miles easily forced
across Hatcher's Run, in the direction of Sutherland's depot, but the
Confederates promptly took up a position north of the little stream,
and Miles being anxious to attack, I gave him leave, but just at this
time General Humphreys came up with a request to me from General
Meade to return Miles.  On this request I relinquished command of the
division, when, supported by the Fifth Corps it could have broken in
the enemy's right at a vital point; and I have always since regretted
that I did so, for the message Humphreys conveyed was without
authority from General Grant, by whom Miles had been sent to me, but
thinking good feeling a desideratum just then, and wishing to avoid
wrangles, I faced the Fifth Corps about and marched it down to Five
Forks, and out the Ford road to the crossing of Hatcher's Run.  After
we had gone, General Grant, intending this quarter of the field to be
under my control, ordered Humphreys with his other two divisions to
move to the right, in toward Petersburg.  This left Miles entirely
unsupported, and his gallant attack made soon after was unsuccessful
at first, but about 3 o'clock in the afternoon he carried the point
which covered the retreat from Petersburg and Richmond.

Merritt had been sent westward, meanwhile, in the direction of Ford's
Station, to break the enemy's horse which had been collecting to the
north of Hatcher's Run.  Meeting, with but little opposition, Merritt
drove this cavalry force in a northerly direction toward Scott's
Corners, while the Fifth Corps was pushed toward Sutherland's depot,
in the hope of coming in on the rear of the force that was
confronting Miles when I left him.  Crawford and Merritt engaged the
enemy lightly just before night, but his main column, retreating
along the river road south of the Appomattox, had got across Namozine
Creek, and the darkness prevented our doing more than to pick up some
stragglers.  The next morning the pursuit was resumed, the cavalry
again in advance, the Fifth Corps keeping up with it all the while,
and as we pressed our adversaries hundreds and hundreds of prisoners,
armed and unarmed, fell into our hands, together with many wagons and
five pieces of artillery.  At Deep Creek the rearguard turned on us,
and a severe skirmish took place.  Merritt, finding the enemy very
strong, was directed to await the arrival of Crook and for the rear
division of the Fifth Corps; but by the time they reached the creek,
darkness had again come to protect the Confederates, and we had to be
content with meagre results at that point.

From the beginning it was apparent that Lee, in his retreat, was
making for Amelia Court House, where his columns north and south of
the Appomattox River could join, and where, no doubt, he expected to
meet supplies, so Crook was ordered to march early on April 4 to
strike the Danville railroad, between Jettersville and Burkeville,
and then move south along the railroad toward Jettersville, Merritt
to move toward Amelia Court House, and the Fifth Corps to
Jettersville itself.

The Fifth Corps got to Jettersville about 5 in the afternoon, and I
immediately intrenched it across the Burkeville road with the
determination to stay there till the main army could come up, for I
hoped we could force Lee to surrender at Amelia Court House, since a
firm hold on Jettersville would cut him off from his line of retreat
toward Burkeville.

Accompanied only by my escort--the First United States Cavalry, about
two hundred strong--I reached Jettersville some little time before
the Fifth Corps, and having nothing else at hand I at once deployed
this handful of men to cover the crossroads till the arrival of the
corps.  Just as the troopers were deploying, a man on a mule, heading
for Burkeville, rode into my pickets.  He was arrested, of course,
and being searched there was found in his boots this telegram in
duplicate, signed by Lee's Commissary General.

"The army is at Amelia Court House, short of provisions.  Send
300,000 rations quickly to Burkeville Junction." One copy was
addressed to the supply department at Danville, and the other to that
at Lynchburg.  I surmised that the telegraph lines north of
Burkeville had been broken by Crook after the despatches were
written, which would account for their being transmitted by
messenger.  There was thus revealed not only the important fact that
Lee was concentrating at Amelia Court House, but also a trustworthy
basis for estimating his troops, so I sent word to Crook to strike up
the railroad toward me, and to Merritt--who, as I have said, had
followed on the heels of the enemy--to leave Mackenzie there and
himself close in on Jettersville.  Staff-officers were also
despatched to hurry up Griffin with the Fifth Corps, and his tired men
redoubled their strides.

My troops too were hard up for rations, for in the pursuit we could
not wait for our trains, so I concluded to secure if possible these
provisions intended for Lee.  To this end I directed Young to send
four of his best scouts to Burkeville Junction.  There they were to
separate, two taking the railroad toward Lynchburg and two toward
Danville, and as soon as a telegraph station was reached the telegram
was to be transmitted as it had been written and the provisions thus
hurried forward.

Although the Fifth Corps arrived at Jettersville the evening of April
4, as did also Crook's and Merritt's cavalry, yet none of the army of
the Potomac came up till about 3 o'clock the afternoon of the 5th,
the Second Corps, followed by the Sixth, joining us then.  General
Meade arrived at Jettersville an hour earlier, but being ill,
requested me to put his troops in position.  The Fifth Corps being
already intrenched across the Amelia Court House road facing north, I
placed the Sixth on its right and the Second on its left as they
reached the ground.

As the enemy had been feeling us ever since morning--to learn what he
was up to I directed Crook to send Davies's brigade on a
reconnoissance to Paine's crossroads.  Davies soon found out that Lee
was trying to escape by that flank, for at the crossroads he found
the Confederate trains and artillery moving rapidly westward.  Having
driven away the escort, Davies succeeded in burning nearly two
hundred wagons, and brought off five pieces of artillery.  Among
these wagons were some belonging to General, Lee's and to General
Fitzhugh Lee's headquarters.  This work through, Davies withdrew and
rejoined Crook, who, with Smith and Gregg, was established near Flat

It being plain that Lee would attempt to escape as soon as his trains
were out of the way, I was most anxious to attack him when the Second
Corps began to arrive, for I felt certain that unless we did so he
would succeed in passing by our left flank, and would thus again make
our pursuit a stern-chase; but General Meade, whose plan of attack
was to advance his right flank on Amelia Court House, objected to
assailing before all his troops were up.

I then sent despatches to General Grant, explaining what Davies had
done, and telling him that the Second Corps was arriving, and that I
wished he himself was present.  I assured him of my confidence in our
capturing Lee if we properly exerted ourselves, and informed him,
finally, that I would put all my cavalry, except Mackenzie, on my
left, and that, with such a disposition of my forces, I could see no
escape for Lee.  I also inclosed him this letter, which had just been

"AMELIA C. H., April 5, 1865.


"Our army is ruined, I fear.  We are all safe as yet.  Shyron left us
sick.  John Taylor is well--saw him yesterday.  We are in line of
battle this morning.  General Robert Lee is in the field near us.  My
trust is still in the justice of our cause, and that of God.  General
Hill is killed.  I saw Murray a few minutes since.  Bernard, Terry
said, was taken prisoner, but may yet get out.  I send this by a
negro I see passing up the railroad to Mechlenburg.  Love to all.

"Your devoted son,

"Wm. B. TAYLOR, Colonel."

General Grant, who on the 5th was accompanying General Ord's column
toward Burkeville Junction, did not receive this intelligence till
nearly nightfall, when within about ten miles of the Junction.  He
set out for Jettersville immediately, but did not reach us till near
midnight, too late of course to do anything that night.  Taking me
with him, we went over to see Meade, whom he then directed to advance
early in the morning on Amelia Court House.  In this interview Grant
also stated that the orders Meade had already issued would permit
Lee's escape, and therefore must be changed, for it was not the aim
only to follow the enemy, but to get ahead of him, remarking during
the conversation that, "he had no doubt Lee was moving right then."
On this same occasion Meade expressed a desire to have in the
proposed attack all the troops of the Army of the Potomac under his
own command, and asked for the return of the Fifth Corps.  I made no
objections, and it was ordered to report, to him.

When, on the morning of the 6th, Meade advanced toward Amelia Court
House, he found, as predicted, that Lee was gone.  It turned out that
the retreat began the evening of the 5th and continued all night.
Satisfied that this would be the case, I did not permit the cavalry
to participate in Meade's useless advance, but shifted it out toward
the left to the road running from Deatonsville to Rice's station,
Crook leading and Merritt close up.  Before long the enemy's trains
were discovered on this road, but Crook could make but little
impression on them, they were so strongly guarded; so, leaving
Stagg's brigade and Miller's battery about three miles southwest of
Deatonsville--where the road forks, with a branch leading north
toward the Appomattox--to harass the retreating column and find a
vulnerable point, I again shifted the rest of the cavalry toward the
left, across-country, but still keeping parallel to the enemy's line
of march.

Just after crossing Sailor's Greek, a favorable opportunity offering,
both Merritt and Crook attacked vigorously, gained the Rice's Station
road, destroyed several hundred wagons, made many prisoners, and
captured sixteen pieces of artillery.  This was important, but more
valuable still was the fact that we were astride the enemy's line of
retreat, and had cut off from joining Longstreet, waiting at Rice's
Station, a corps of Confederate infantry under General Ewell,
composed of Anderson's, Kershaw's, and Custis Lee's divisions.
Stagg's brigade and Miller's battery, which, as I have said, had been
left at the forks of the Deatonsville road, had meanwhile broken in
between the rear of Ewell's column and the head of Gordon's, forcing
Gordon to abandon his march for Rice's Station, and to take the
right-hand road at the forks, on which he was pursued by General

The complete isolation of Ewell from Longstreet in his front and
Gordon in his rear led to the battle of Sailor's Creek, one of the
severest conflicts of the war, for the enemy fought with desperation
to escape capture, and we, bent on his destruction, were no less
eager and determined.  The capture of Ewell, with six of his generals
and most of his troops, crowned our success, but the fight was so
overshadowed by the stirring events of the surrender three days
later, that the battle has never been accorded the prominence it

The small creek from which the field takes its name flows in a
northwesterly direction across the road leading from Deatonsville to
Rice's Station.  By shifting to the left, Merritt gained the Rice's
Station road west of the creek, making havoc of the wagon-trains,
while Crook struck them further on and planted himself square across
the road.  This blocked Ewell, who, advancing Anderson to some high
ground west of the creek, posted him behind barricades, with the
intention of making a hard fight there, while the main body should
escape through the woods in a westerly direction to roads that led to
Farmville.  This was prevented, however, by Crook forming his
division, two brigades dismounted and one mounted, and at once
assaulting all along Anderson's front and overlapping his right,
while Merritt fiercely attacked to the right of Crook.  The enemy
being thus held, enabled the Sixth Corps--which in the meantime I had
sent for--to come upon the ground, and Ewell, still contending with
the cavalry, found himself suddenly beset by this new danger from his
rear.  To, meet it, he placed Kershaw to the right and Custis Lee to
the left of the Rice's Station road, facing them north toward and
some little distance from Sailor's Creek, supporting Kershaw with
Commander Tucker's Marine brigade.  Ewell's skirmishers held the line
of Sailor's Creek, which runs through a gentle valley, the north
slope of which was cleared ground.

By General Grant's directions the Sixth Corps had been following my
route of march since the discovery, about 9 o'clock in the morning,
that Lee had decamped from Amelia Court House.  Grant had promptly
informed me of this in a note, saying, "The Sixth Corps will go in
with a vim any place you may dictate," so when I sent word to Wright
of the enemy's isolation, and asked him to hurry on with all speed,
his gallant corps came as fast as legs could carry them, he sending
to me successively Major McClellan and Colonel Franklin, of his
staff, to report his approach.

I was well advised as to the position of the enemy through
information brought me by an intelligent young soldier, William A.
Richardson, Company "A," Second Ohio, who, in one of the cavalry
charges on Anderson, had cleared the barricades and made his way back
to my front through Ewell's line.  Richardson had told me just how
the main body of the enemy was posted, so as Seymour's division
arrived I directed General Wright to put it on the right of the road,
while Wheaton's men, coming up all hot and out of breath, promptly
formed on Seymour's left.  Both divisions thus aligned faced
southwest toward Sailor's Creek, and the artillery of the corps being
massed to the left and front of the Hibbon house, without waiting for
Getty's division--for I feared that if we delayed longer the enemy
might effect his escape toward Farmville--the general attack was
begun.  Seymour and Wheaton, moving forward together, assailed the
enemy's front and left, and Stagg's brigade, too, which in the mean
time had been placed between Wheaton's left and Devin's right, went
at him along with them, Merritt and Crook resuming the fight from
their positions in front of Anderson.  The enemy, seeing little
chance of escape, fought like a tiger at bay, but both Seymour and
Wheaton pressed him vigorously, gaining ground at all points except
just to the right of the road, where Seymour's left was checked.
Here the Confederates burst back on us in a counter-charge, surging
down almost to the creek, but the artillery, supported by Getty, who
in the mean time had come on the ground, opened on them so terribly
that this audacious and furious onset was completely broken, though
the gallant fellows fell back to their original line doggedly, and
not until after they had almost gained the creek.  Ewell was now
hemmed in on every side, and all those under his immediate command
were captured.  Merritt and Crook had also broken up Anderson by this
time, but he himself, and about two thousand disorganized men escaped
by making their way through the woods toward the Appomattox River
before they could be entirely enveloped.  Night had fallen when the
fight was entirely over, but Devin was pushed on in pursuit for about
two miles, part of the Sixth Corps following to clinch a victory
which not only led to the annihilation of one corps of Lee's
retreating army, but obliged Longstreet to move up to Farmville, so
as to take a road north of the Appomattox River toward Lynchburg
instead of continuing toward Danville.

At the close of the battle I sent one of my staff--Colonel Redwood
Price--to General Grant to report what had been done; that we had
taken six generals and from nine to ten thousand prisoners.  On his
way Price stopped at the headquarters of General Meade, where he
learned that not the slightest intelligence of the occurrence on my
line had been received, for I not being under Meade's command, he had
paid no attention to my movements.  Price gave the story of the
battle, and General Meade, realizing its importance, sent directions
immediately to General Wright to make his report of the engagement to
the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, assuming that Wright was
operating independently of me in the face of Grant's despatch Of
2 o'clock, which said that Wright was following the cavalry and would
"go in with a vim" wherever I dictated.  Wright could not do else
than comply with Meade's orders in the case, and I, being then in
ignorance of Meade's reasons for the assumption, could say nothing.
But General Grant plainly intending, and even directing, that the
corps should be under my command, remedied this phase of the matter,
when informed of what had taken place, by requiring Wright to send a
report of the battle through me.  What he then did, and what his
intentions and orders were, are further confirmed by a reference to
the episode in his "Memoirs," where he gives his reasons for ordering
the Sixth Corps to abandon the move on Amelia Court House and pass to
the left of the army.  On the same page he also says, referring to
the 6th of April: "The Sixth Corps now remained with the cavalry
under Sheridan's direct command until after the surrender."  He
unquestionably intended all of this, but his purpose was partly
frustrated by General Meade's action next morning in assuming
direction of the movements of the corps; and before General Grant
became aware of the actual conditions the surrender was at hand.



The first report of the battle of Sailor's Creek that General Grant
received was, as already stated, an oral message carried by Colonel
Price, of my staff.  Near midnight I sent a despatch giving the names
of the generals captured.  These were Ewell, Kershaw, Barton, Corse,
Dubose, and Custis Lee.  In the same despatch I wrote: "If the thing
is pressed, I think that Lee will surrender."  When Mr. Lincoln, at
City Point, received this word from General Grant, who was
transmitting every item of news to the President, he telegraphed
Grant the laconic message: "Let the thing be pressed." The morning of
the 7th we moved out at a very early hour, Crook's division marching
toward Farmville in direct pursuit, while Merritt and Mackenzie were
ordered to Prince Edward's Court House to anticipate any effort Lee
might make to escape through that place toward Danville since it had
been discovered that Longstreet had slipped away already from the
front of General Ord's troops at Rice's Station.  Crook overtook the
main body of the Confederates at Farmville, and promptly attacked
their trains on the north side of the Appomattox with Gregg's
brigade, which was fiercely turned upon and forced to re-cross the
river with the loss of a number of prisoner's, among them Gregg
himself.  When Crook sent word of this fight, it was clear that Lee
had abandoned all effort to escape to the southwest by way of
Danville.  Lynchburg was undoubtedly his objective point now; so,
resolving to throw my cavalry again across his path, and hold him
till the infantry could overtake him, I directed everything on
Appomattox depot, recalling Crook the night of the 7th to Prospect
Station, while Merritt camped at Buffalo Creek, and Mackenzie made a
reconnoissance along the Lynchburg railroad.

At break of day, April 8, Merritt and Mackenzie united with Crook at
Prospect Station, and the cavalry all moved then toward Appomattox
depot.  Hardly had it started when one of the scouts--Sergeant White
--informed me that there were four trains of cars at the depot loaded
with supplies for Lee's army; these had been sent from Lynchburg, in
compliance with the telegram of Lee's commissary-general, which
message, it will be remembered, was captured and transmitted to
Lynchburg by two of Young's scouts on the 4th.  Sergeant White, who
had been on the lookout for the trains ever since sending the
despatch, found them several miles west of Appomattox depot feeling
their way along, in ignorance of Lee's exact position.  As he had the
original despatch with him, and took pains to dwell upon the pitiable
condition of Lee's army, he had little difficulty in persuading the
men in charge of the trains to bring them east of Appomattox Station,
but fearing that the true state of affairs would be learned before
long, and the trains be returned to Lynchburg, he was painfully
anxious to have them cut off by breaking the track west of the

The intelligence as to the trains was immediately despatched to
Crook, and I pushed on to join him with Merritt's command.  Custer
having the advance, moved rapidly, and on nearing the station
detailed two regiments to make a detour southward to strike the
railroad some distance beyond and break the track.  These regiments
set off at a gallop, and in short order broke up the railroad enough
to prevent the escape of the trains, Custer meanwhile taking
possession of the station, but none too soon, for almost at the
moment he did so the advance-guard of Lee's army appeared, bent on
securing the trains.  Without halting to look after the cars further,
Custer attacked this advance-guard and had a spirited fight, in which
he drove the Confederates away from the station, captured twenty-five
pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and a large park of wagons,
which, in the hope that they would reach Lynchburg next day, were
being pushed ahead of Lee's main body.

Devin coming up a little before dusk, was put in on the right of
Custer, and one of Crook's brigades was sent to our left and the
other two held in reserve.  I then forced the enemy back on the
Appomattox road to the vicinity of the Court House, and that the
Confederates might have no rest, gave orders to continue the
skirmishing throughout the night.  Meanwhile the captured trains had
been taken charge of by locomotive engineers, soldiers of the
command, who were delighted evidently to get back at their old
calling.  They amused themselves by running the trains to and fro,
creating much confusion, and keeping up such an unearthly screeching
with the whistles that I was on the point of ordering the cars
burned.  They finally wearied of their fun, however, and ran the
trains off to the east toward General Ord's column.

The night of the 8th I made my headquarters at a little frame house
just south of the station.  I did not sleep at all, nor did anybody
else, the entire command being up all night long; indeed, there had
been little rest in the cavalry for the past eight days.  The
necessity of getting Ord's column up was so obvious now that
staff-officer after staff-officer was sent to him and to General Grant
requesting that the infantry be pushed on, for if it could get to the
front, all knew that the rebellion would be ended on the morrow.
Merritt, Crook, Custer, and Devin were present at frequent intervals
during the night, and everybody was overjoyed at the prospect that
our weary work was about to end so happily.  Before sun-up General
Ord arrived, and informed me of the approach of his column, it having
been marching the whole night.  As he ranked me, of course I could
give him no orders, so after a hasty consultation as to where his
troops should be placed we separated, I riding to the front to
overlook my line near Appomattox Court House, while he went back to
urge along his weary troops.

The night before General Lee had held a council with his principal
generals, when it was arranged that in the morning General Gordon
should undertake to break through my cavalry, and when I neared my
troops this movement was beginning, a heavy line of infantry bearing
down on us from the direction of the village.  In front of Crook and
Mackenzie firing had already begun, so riding to a slight elevation
where a good view of the Confederates could be had, I there came to
the conclusion that it would be unwise to offer more resistance than
that necessary to give Ord time to form, so I directed Merritt to
fall back, and in retiring to shift Devin and Custer to the right so
as to make room for Ord, now in the woods to my rear.  Crook, who
with his own and Mackenzie's divisions was on my extreme left
covering some by-roads, was ordered to hold his ground as long as
practicable without sacrificing his men, and, if forced to retire, to
contest with obstinacy the enemy's advance.

As already stated, I could not direct General Ord's course, he being
my senior, but hastily galloping back to where he was, at the edge of
the timber, I explained to him what was taking place at the front.
Merritt's withdrawal inspired the Confederates, who forthwith began
to press Crook, their line of battle advancing with confidence till
it reached the crest whence I had reconnoitred them.  From this
ground they could see Ord's men emerging from the woods, and the
hopelessness of a further attack being plain, the gray lines
instinctively halted, and then began to retire toward a ridge
immediately fronting Appomattox Court House, while Ord, joined on his
right by the Fifth Corps, advanced on them over the ground that
Merritt had abandoned.

I now directed my steps toward Merritt, who, having mounted his
troopers, had moved them off to the right, and by the time I reached
his headquarters flag he was ready for work, so a move on the enemy's
left was ordered, and every guidon was bent to the front.  As the
cavalry marched along parallel with the Confederate line, and in
toward its left, a heavy fire of artillery opened on us, but this
could not check us at such a time, and we soon reached some high
ground about half a mile from the Court House, and from here I could
see in the low valley beyond the village the bivouac undoubtedly of
Lee's army.  The troops did not seem to be disposed in battle order,
but on the other side of the bivouac was a line of battle--a heavy
rear-guard--confronting, presumably, General Meade.

I decided to attack at once, and formations were ordered at a trot
for a charge by Custer's and Devin's divisions down the slope leading
to the camps.  Custer was soon ready, but Devin's division being in
rear its formation took longer, since he had to shift further to the
right; Devin's preparations were, therefore, but partially completed
when an aide-decamp galloped up to with the word from Custer, "Lee
has surrendered; do not charge; the white flag is up."  The enemy
perceiving that Custer was forming for attack, had sent the flag out
to his front and stopped the charge just in time.  I at once sent
word of the truce to General Ord, and hearing nothing more from
Custer himself, I supposed that he had gone down to the Court House
to join a mounted group of Confederates that I could see near there,
so I, too, went toward them, galloping down a narrow ridge, staff and
orderlies following; but we had not got half way to the Court House
when, from a skirt of timber to our right, not more than three
hundred yards distant, a musketry fire was opened on us.  This halted
us, when, waving my hat, I called out to the firing party that we
were under a truce, and they were violating it.  This did not stop
them, however, so we hastily took shelter in a ravine so situated as
to throw a ridge between us and the danger.

We traveled in safety down this depression to its mouth, and thence
by a gentle ascent approached the Court House.  I was in advance,
followed by a sergeant carrying my battleflag.  When I got within
about a hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's line, which was
immediately in front of the Court House, some of the Confederates
leveled their pieces at us, and I again halted.  Their officers kept
their men from firing, however, but meanwhile a single-handed contest
had begun behind me, for on looking back I heard a Confederate
soldier demanding my battle-flag from the color-bearer, thinking, no
doubt, that we were coming in as prisoners.  The sergeant had drawn
his sabre and was about to cut the man down, but at a word from me he
desisted and carried the flag back to my staff, his assailant quickly
realizing that the boot was on the other leg.

These incidents determined me to remain where I was till the return
of a staff-officer whom I had sent over to demand an explanation from
the group of Confederates for which I had been heading.  He came back
in a few minutes with apologies for what had occurred, and informed
me that General Gordon and General Wilcox were the superior officers
in the group.  As they wished me to join them I rode up with my
staff, but we had hardly met when in front of Merritt firing began.
At the sound I turned to General Gordon, who seemed embarrassed by
the occurrence, and remarked: "General, your men fired on me as I was
coming over here, and undoubtedly they are treating Merritt and
Custer the same way.  We might as well let them fight it out."  He
replied, "There must be some mistake."  I then asked, "Why not send a
staff-officer and have your people cease firing; they are violating
the flag." He answered, "I have no staff-officer to send."  Whereupon
I said that I would let him have one of mine, and calling for
Lieutenant Vanderbilt Allen, I directed him to carry General Gordon's
orders to General Geary, commanding a small brigade of South Carolina
cavalry, to discontinue firing.  Allen dashed off with the message
and soon delivered it, but was made a prisoner, Geary saying, "I do
not care for white flags: South Carolinians never surrender...."  By
this time Merritt's patience being exhausted, he ordered an attack,
and this in short order put an end to General Geary's "last ditch"
absurdity, and extricated Allen from his predicament.

When quiet was restored Gordon remarked: "General Lee asks for a
suspension of hostilities pending the negotiations which he is having
with General Grant."  I rejoined: "I have been constantly informed of
the progress of the negotiations, and think it singular that while
such discussions are going on, General Lee should have continued his
march and attempted to break through my lines this morning.  I will
entertain no terms except that General Lee shall surrender to General
Grant on his arrival here.  If these terms are not accepted we will
renew hostilities."  Gordon replied: "General Lee's army is
exhausted.  There is no doubt of his surrender to General Grant."

It was then that General Ord joined us, and after shaking hands all
around, I related the situation to him, and Gordon went away agreeing
to meet us again in half an hour.  When the time was up he came back
accompanied by General Longstreet, who brought with him a despatch,
the duplicate of one that had been sent General Grant through General
Meade's lines back on the road over which Lee had been retreating.

General Longstreet renewed the assurances that already had been given
by Gordon, and I sent Colonel Newhall with the despatch to find
General Grant and bring him to the front.  When Newhall started,
everything on our side of the Appomattox Court House was quiet, for
inevitable surrender was at hand, but Longstreet feared that Meade,
in ignorance of the new conditions on my front might attack the
Confederate rearguard.  To prevent this I offered to send Colonel J.
W. Forsyth through the enemy's lines to let Meade know of my
agreement, for he too was suspicious that by a renewed correspondence
Lee was endeavoring to gain time for escape.  My offer being
accepted, Forsyth set out accompanied by Colonel Fairfax, of
Longstreet's staff, and had no difficulty in accomplishing his

About five or six miles from Appomattox, on the road toward Prospect
Station near its intersection with the Walker's Church road, my
adjutant-general, Colonel Newhall, met General Grant, he having
started from north of the Appomattox River for my front the morning
of April 9, in consequence of the following despatches which had been
sent him the night before, after we had captured Appomattox Station
and established a line intercepting Lee:

"CAVALRY HEADQUARTERS, April 8, 1865--9:20 P. M.

"Commanding Armies of the U.  S.

"General: I marched early this morning from Buffalo Creek and
Prospect Station on Appomattox Station, where my scouts had reported
trains of cars with supplies for Lee's army.  A short time before
dark General Custer, who had the advance, made a dash at the station,
capturing four trains of supplies with locomotives.  One of the
trains was burned and the others were run back toward Farmville for
security.  Custer then pushed on toward Appomattox Court House,
driving the enemy--who kept up a heavy fire of artillery--charging
them repeatedly and capturing, as far as reported, twenty-five pieces
of artillery and a number of prisoners and wagons.  The First Cavalry
Division supported him on the right.  A reconnoissance sent across
the Appomattox reports the enemy moving on the Cumberland road to
Appomattox Station, where they expect to get supplies.  Custer is
still pushing on.  If General Gibbon and the Fifth Corps can get up
to-night, we will perhaps finish the job in the morning.  I do not
think Lee means to surrender until compelled to do so.

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

"HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, April 8, 1865--9:40 p.m.

"Commanding Armies U. S.

"GENERAL: Since writing the accompanying despatch, General Custer
reports that his command has captured in all thirty-five pieces of
artillery, one thousand prisoners--including one general officer--and
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred wagons.

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

In attempting to conduct the lieutenant-general and staff back by a
short route, Newhall lost his bearings for a time, inclining in
toward the enemy's lines too far, but regained the proper direction
without serious loss of time.  General Grant arrived about 1 o'clock
in the afternoon, Ord and I, dismounted, meeting him at the edge of
the town, or crossroads, for it was little more.  He remaining
mounted, spoke first to me, saying simply,

"How are you, Sheridan?"  I assured him with thanks that I was
"first-rate," when, pointing toward the village, he asked, "Is
General Lee up there?" and I replied: "There is his army down in that
valley, and he himself is over in that house (designating McLean's
house) waiting to surrender to you."  The General then said, "Come,
let us go over," this last remark being addressed to both Ord and me.
We two then mounted and joined him, while our staff-officers
followed, intermingling with those of the general-in-chief as the
cavalcade took its way to McLean's house near by, and where General
Lee had arrived some time before, in consequence of a message from
General Grant consenting to the interview asked for by Lee through
Meade's front that morning--the consent having been carried by
Colonel Babcock.

When I entered McLean's house General Lee was standing, as was also
his military secretary, Colonel Marshall, his only staff-officer
present.  General Lee was dressed in a new uniform and wore a
handsome sword.  His tall, commanding form thus set off contrasted
strongly with the short figure of General Grant, clothed as he was in
a soiled suit, without sword or other insignia of his position except
a pair of dingy shoulder-straps.  After being presented, Ord and I,
and nearly all of General Grant's staff, withdrew to await the
agreement as to terms, and in a little while Colonel Babcock came to
the door and said, "The surrender had been made; you can come in

When we re-entered General Grant was writing; and General Lee, having
in his hand two despatches, which I that morning requested might be
returned, as I had no copies of them, addressed me with the remark:
"I am sorry.  It is probable that my cavalry at that point of the
line did not fully understand the agreement." These despatches had
been sent in the forenoon, after the fighting had been stopped,
notifying General Lee that some of his cavalry in front of Crook was
violating the suspension of hostilities by withdrawing.  About
3 o'clock in the afternoon the terms of surrender were written out
and accepted, and General Lee left the house, as he departed
cordially shaking hands with General Grant.  A moment later he
mounted his chunky gray horse, and lifting his hat as he passed out
of the yard, rode off toward his army, his arrival there being
announced to us by cheering, which, as it progressed, varying in
loudness, told he was riding through the bivouac of the Army of
Northern Virginia.

The surrender of General Lee practically ended the war of the
rebellion.  For four years his army had been the main-stay of the
Confederacy; and the marked ability with which he directed its
operations is evidenced both by his frequent successes and the length
of time he kept up the contest.  Indeed, it may be said that till
General Grant was matched against him, he never met an opponent he
did not vanquish, for while it is true that defeat was inflicted on
the Confederates at Antietam and Gettysburg, yet the fruits of these
victories were not gathered, for after each of these battles Lee was
left unmolested till he had a chance to recuperate.

The assignment of General Grant to the command of the Union armies in
the winter of 1863-64 gave presage of success from the start, for his
eminent abilities had already been proved, and besides, he was a
tower of strength to the Government, because he had the confidence of
the people.  They knew that henceforth systematic direction would be
given to our armies in every section of the vast territory over which
active operations were being prosecuted, and further, that this
coherence, this harmony of plan, was the one thing needed to end the
war, for in the three preceding years there had been illustrated most
lamentable effects of the absence of system.  From the moment he set
our armies in motion simultaneously, in the spring of 1864, it could
be seen that we should be victorious ultimately, for though on
different lines we were checked now and then, yet we were harassing
the Confederacy at so many vital points that plainly it must yield to
our blows.  Against Lee's army, the forefront of the Confederacy,
Grant pitted himself; and it may be said that the Confederate
commander was now, for the first time, overmatched, for against all
his devices--the products of a mind fertile in defense--General Grant
brought to bear not only the wealth of expedient which had hitherto
distinguished him, but also an imperturbable tenacity, particularly
in the Wilderness and on the march to the James, without which the
almost insurmountable obstacles of that campaign could not have been
overcome.  During it and in the siege of Petersburg he met with many
disappointments--on several occasions the shortcomings of generals,
when at the point of success, leading to wretched failures.  But so
far as he was concerned, the only apparent effect of these
discomfitures was to make him all the more determined to discharge
successfully the stupendous trust committed to his care, and to bring
into play the manifold resources of his well ordered military mind.
He guided every subordinate then, and in the last days of the
rebellion, with a fund of common sense and superiority of intellect,
which have left an impress so distinct as to exhibit his great
personality.  When his military history is analyzed after the lapse
of years, it will show, even more clearly than now, that during these
as well as in his previous campaigns he was the steadfast Centre
about and on which everything else turned.



The surrender at Appomattox put a stop to all military operations on
the part of General Grant's forces, and the morning of April 10 my
cavalry began its march to Petersburg, the men anticipating that they
would soon be mustered out and returned to their homes.  At Nottoway
Court House I heard of the assassination of the President.  The first
news came to us the night after the dastardly deed, the telegraph
operator having taken it from the wires while in transmission to
General Meade.  The despatch ran that Mr. Lincoln had been, shot at
10 o'clock that morning at Willard's Hotel, but as I could conceive
of nothing to take the President there I set the story down as a
canard, and went to bed without giving it further thought.  Next
morning, however, an official telegram confirmed the fact of the
assassination, though eliminating the distorted circumstances that
had been communicated the night before.

When we reached Petersburg my column was halted, and instructions
given me to march the cavalry and the Sixth Corps to Greensboro',
North Carolina, for the purpose of aiding General Sherman (the
surrender of General Johnston having not yet been effected), so I
made the necessary preparations and moved on the 24th of April,
arriving at South Boston, on the Dan River, the 28th, the Sixth Corps
having reached Danville meanwhile.  At South Boston I received a
despatch from General Halleck, who immediately after Lee's surrender
had been assigned to command at Richmond, informing me that General
Johnston had been brought to terms.  The necessity for going farther
south being thus obviated we retraced our steps to Petersburg, from
which place I proceeded by steamer to Washington, leaving, the
cavalry to be marched thither by easy stages.

The day after my arrival in Washington an important order was sent
me, accompanied by the following letter of instructions, transferring
me to a new field of operations:

"Washington, D. C., May 17, 1865.

"GENERAL: Under the orders relieving you from the command of the
Middle Military Division and assigning you to command west of the
Mississippi, you will proceed without delay to the West to arrange
all preliminaries for your new field of duties.

"Your duty is to restore Texas, and that part of Louisiana held by
the enemy, to the Union in the shortest practicable time, in a way
most effectual for securing permanent peace.

"To do this, you will be given all the troops that can be spared
by Major-General Canby, probably twenty-five thousand men of
all arms; the troops with Major-General J. J. Reynolds, in
Arkansas, say twelve thousand, Reynolds to command; the Fourth
Army Corps, now at Nashville, Tennessee, awaiting orders; and
the Twenty-Fifth Army Corps, now at City Point, Virginia, ready
to embark.

"I do not wish to trammel you with instructions; I will state,
however, that if Smith holds out, without even an ostensible
government to receive orders from or to report to, he and his men are
not entitled to the considerations due to an acknowledged
belligerent.  Theirs are the conditions of outlaws, making war
against the only Government having an existence over the territory
where war is now being waged.

"You may notify the rebel commander west of the Mississippi--holding
intercourse with him in person, or through such officers of the rank
of major-general as you may select--that he will be allowed to
surrender all his forces on the same terms as were accorded to Lee
and Johnston.  If he accedes, proceed to garrison the Red River as
high up as Shreveport, the seaboard at Galveston, Malagorda Bay,
Corpus Christi, and mouth of the Rio Grande.

"Place a strong force on the Rio Grande, holding it at least to a
point opposite Camargo, and above that if supplies can be procured.

"In case of an active campaign (a hostile one) I think a heavy force
should be put on the Rio Grande as a first preliminary.  Troops for
this might be started at once.  The Twenty-Fifth Corps is now
available, and to it should be added a force of white troops, say
those now under Major-General Steele.

"To be clear on this last point, I think the Rio Grande should be
strongly held, whether the forces in Texas surrender or not, and that
no time should be lost in getting troops there.  If war is to be
made, they will be in the right place; if Kirby Smith surrenders,
they will be on the line which is to be strongly garrisoned.

"Should any force be necessary other than those designated, they can
be had by calling for them on Army Headquarters.


"United States Army."

On receipt of these instructions I called at once on General Grant,
to see if they were to be considered so pressing as to preclude my
remaining in Washington till after the Grand Review, which was fixed
for the 23d and 24th of May, for naturally I had a strong desire to
head my command on that great occasion.  But the General told me that
it was absolutely necessary to go at once to force the surrender of
the Confederates under Kirby Smith.  He also told me that the States
lately in rebellion would be embraced in two or three military
departments, the commanders of which would control civil affairs
until Congress took action about restoring them to the Union, since
that course would not only be economical and simple, but would give
the Southern people confidence, and encourage them to go to work,
instead of distracting them with politics.

At this same interview he informed me that there was an additional
motive in sending me to the new command, a motive not explained by
the instructions themselves, and went on to say that, as a matter of
fact, he looked upon the invasion of Mexico by Maximilian as a part
of the rebellion itself, because of the encouragement that invasion
had received from the Confederacy, and that our success in putting
down secession would never be complete till the French and Austrian
invaders were compelled to quit the territory of our sister republic.
With regard to this matter, though, he said it would be necessary for
me to act with great circumspection, since the Secretary of State,
Mr. Seward, was much opposed to the use of our troops along the
border in any active way that would be likely to involve us in a war
with European powers.

Under the circumstances, my disappointment at not being permitted to
participate in the review had to be submitted to, and I left
Washington without an opportunity of seeing again in a body the men
who, while under my command, had gone through so many trials and
unremittingly pursued and, assailed the enemy, from the beginning of
the campaign of 1864 till the white flag came into their hands at
Appomattox Court House.

I went first to St.  Louis, and there took the steamboat for New
Orleans, and when near the mouth of the Red River received word from
General Canby that Kirby Smith had surrendered under terms similar to
those accorded Lee and Johnston.  But the surrender was not carried
out in good faith, particularly by the Texas troops, though this I
did not learn till some little time afterward when I was informed
that they had marched off to the interior of the State in several
organized bodies, carrying with them their camp equipage, arms,
ammunition, and even some artillery, with the ultimate purpose of
going to Mexico.  In consequence of this, and also because of the
desire of the Government to make a strong showing of force in Texas,
I decided to traverse the State with two columns of cavalry,
directing one to San Antonio under Merritt, the other to Houston
under Custer.  Both commands were to start from the Red River
--Shreveport and Alexandria--being the respective initial points--and
in organizing the columns, to the mounted force already on the Red
River were added several regiments of cavalry from the east bank of
the Mississippi, and in a singular way one of these fell upon the
trail of my old antagonist, General Early.  While crossing the river
somewhere below Vicksburg some of the men noticed a suspicious
looking party being ferried over in a rowboat, behind which two
horses were swimming in tow.  Chase was given, and the horses, being
abandoned by the party, fell into the hands of our troopers, who,
however, failed to capture or identify the people in the boat.  As
subsequently ascertained, the men were companions of Early, who was
already across the Mississippi, hidden in the woods, on his way with
two or three of these followers to join the Confederates in Texas,
not having heard of Kirby Smith's surrender.  A week or two later I
received a letter from Early describing the affair, and the capture
of the horses, for which he claimed pay, on the ground that they were
private property, because he had taken them in battle.  The letter
also said that any further pursuit of Early would be useless, as he
"expected to be on the deep blue sea" by the time his communication
reached me.  The unfortunate man was fleeing from imaginary dangers,
however, for striking his trail was purely accidental, and no effort
whatever was being made to arrest him personally.  Had this been
especially desired it might have been accomplished very readily just
after Lee's surrender, for it was an open secret that Early was then
not far away, pretty badly disabled with rheumatism.

By the time the two columns were ready to set out for San Antonio and
Houston, General Frank Herron,--with one division of the Thirteenth
Corps, occupied Galveston, and another division under General Fred
Steele had gone to Brazos Santiago, to hold Brownsville and the line
of the Rio Grande, the object being to prevent, as far as possible,
the escaping Confederates from joining Maximilian.  With this purpose
in view, and not forgetting Grant's conviction that the French
invasion of Mexico was linked with the rebellion, I asked for an
increase of force to send troops into Texas in fact, to concentrate
at available points in the State an army strong enough to move
against the invaders of Mexico if occasion demanded.  The Fourth and
Twenty-fifth army corps being ordered to report to me, accordingly, I
sent the Fourth Corps to Victoria and San Antonio, and the bulk of
the Twenty-fifth to Brownsville.  Then came the feeding and caring
for all these troops--a difficult matter--for those at Victoria and
San Antonio had to be provisioned overland from Indianola across the
"hog-wallow prairie," while the supplies for the forces at
Brownsville and along the Rio Grande must come by way of Brazos
Santiago, from which point I was obliged to construct, with the labor
of the men, a railroad to Clarksville, a distance of about eighteen

The latter part of June I repaired to Brownsville myself to impress
the Imperialists, as much as possible, with the idea that we intended
hostilities, and took along my chief of scouts--Major Young--and four
of his most trusty men, whom I had had sent from Washington.  From
Brownsville I despatched all these men to important points in
northern Mexico, to glean information regarding the movements of the
Imperial forces, and also to gather intelligence about the
ex-Confederates who had crossed the Rio Grande.  On information
furnished by these scouts, I caused General Steele to make
demonstrations all along the lower Rio Grande, and at the same time
demanded the return of certain munitions of war that had been turned
over by ex-Confederates to the Imperial General (Mejia) commanding at
Matamoras.  These demands, backed up as they were by such a
formidable show of force created much agitation and demoralization
among the Imperial troops, and measures looking to the abandonment of
northern Mexico were forthwith adopted by those in authority--a
policy that would have resulted in the speedy evacuation of the
entire country by Maximilian, had not our Government weakened;
contenting itself with a few pieces of the contraband artillery
varnished over with the Imperial apologies.  A golden opportunity was
lost, for we had ample excuse for crossing the boundary, but Mr.
Seward being, as I have already stated, unalterably opposed to any
act likely to involve us in war, insisted on his course of
negotiation with Napoleon.

As the summer wore away, Maximilian, under Mr. Seward's policy,
gained in strength till finally all the accessible sections of Mexico
were in his possession, and the Republic under President Juarez
almost succumbed.  Growing impatient at this, in the latter part of
September I decided to try again what virtue there might be in a
hostile demonstration, and selected the upper Rio Grande for the
scene of my attempt.  Merritt's cavalry and the Fourth Corps still
being at San Antonio, I went to that place and reviewed these troops,
and having prepared them with some ostentation for a campaign, of
course it was bruited about that we were going to invade Mexico.
Then, escorted by a regiment of horse I proceeded hastily to Fort
Duncan, on the Rio Grande just opposite the Mexican town of Piedras
Negras.  Here I opened communication with President Juarez, through
one of his staff, taking care not to do this in the dark, and the
news, spreading like wildfire, the greatest significance was ascribed
to my action, it being reported most positively and with many
specific details that I was only awaiting the arrival of the troops,
then under marching orders at San Antonio, to cross the Rio Grande in
behalf of the Liberal cause.

Ample corroboration of the reports then circulated was found in my
inquiries regarding the quantity of forage we could depend upon
getting in Mexico, our arrangements for its purchase, and my sending
a pontoon train to Brownsville, together with which was cited the
renewed activity of the troops along the lower Rio Grande.  These
reports and demonstrations resulted in alarming the Imperialists so
much that they withdrew the French and Austrian soldiers from
Matamoras, and practically abandoned the whole of northern Mexico as
far down as Monterey, with the exception of Matamoras, where General
Mejia continued to hang on with a garrison of renegade Mexicans.

The abandonment of so much territory in northern Mexico encouraged
General Escobedo and other Liberal leaders to such a degree that they
collected a considerable army of their followers at Comargo, Mier,
and other points.  At the same time that unknown quantity, Cortinas,
suspended his free-booting for the nonce, and stoutly harassing
Matamoras, succeeded in keeping its Imperial garrison within the
fortifications.  Thus countenanced and stimulated, and largely
supplied with arms and ammunition, which we left at convenient places
on our side of the river to fall into their hands, the Liberals,
under General Escobedo--a man of much force of character--were
enabled in northern Mexico to place the affairs of the Republic on a
substantial basis.

But in the midst of what bade fair to cause a final withdrawal of the
foreigners, we were again checked by our Government, as a result of
representations of the French Minister at Washington.  In October, he
wrote to Mr. Seward that the United States troops on the Rio Grande
were acting "in exact opposition to the repeated assurances Your
Excellency has given me concerning the desire of the Cabinet at
Washington to preserve the most strict neutrality in the events now
taking place in Mexico," and followed this statement with an emphatic
protest against our course.  Without any investigation whatever by
our State Department, this letter of the French Minister was
transmitted to me, accompanied by directions to preserve a strict
neutrality; so, of course, we were again debarred from anything like
active sympathy.

After this, it required the patience of Job to abide the slow and
poky methods of our State Department, and, in truth, it was often
very difficult to restrain officers and men from crossing the Rio
Grande with hostile purpose.  Within the knowledge of my troops,
there had gone on formerly the transfer of organized bodies of
ex-Confederates to Mexico, in aid of the Imperialists, and at this
period it was known that there was in preparation an immigration
scheme having in view the colonizing, at Cordova and one or two other
places, of all the discontented elements of the defunct Confederacy
--Generals Price, Magruder, Maury, and other high personages being
promoters of the enterprise, which Maximilian took to readily.  He
saw in it the possibilities of a staunch support to his throne, and
therefore not only sanctioned the project, but encouraged it with
large grants of land, inspirited the promoters with titles of
nobility, and, in addition, instituted a system of peonage, expecting
that the silver hook thus baited would be largely swallowed by the
Southern people.

The announcement of the scheme was followed by the appointment of
commissioners in each of the Southern States to send out emigrants;
but before any were deluded into starting, I made to General Grant a
report of what was going on, with the recommendation that measures be
taken, through our State Department, looking to the suppression of
the colony; but, as usual, nothing could be effected through that
channel; so, as an alternative, I published, in April, 1866, by
authority of General Grant, an order prohibiting the embarkation from
ports in Louisiana and Texas, for ports in Mexico, of any person
without a permit from my headquarters.  This dampened the ardor of
everybody in the Gulf States who had planned to go to Mexico; and
although the projectors of the Cordova Colonization Scheme--the name
by which it was known--secured a few innocents from other districts,
yet this set-back led ultimately to failure.

Among the Liberal leaders along the Rio Grande during this period
there sprang up many factional differences from various causes, some
personal, others political, and some, I regret to say, from downright
moral obliquity--as, for example, those between Cortinas and Canales
--who, though generally hostile to the Imperialists, were freebooters
enough to take a shy at each other frequently, and now and then even
to join forces against Escobedo, unless we prevented them by coaxing
or threats.  A general who could unite these several factions was
therefore greatly needed, and on my return to New Orleans I so
telegraphed General Grant, and he, thinking General Caravajal (then
in Washington seeking aid for the Republic) would answer the purpose,
persuaded him to report to me in New Orleans.  Caravajal promptly
appeared, but he did not impress me very favorably.  He was old and
cranky, yet, as he seemed anxious to do his best, I sent him over to
Brownsville, with credentials, authorizing him to cross into Mexico,
and followed him myself by the next boat.  When I arrived in
Brownsville, matters in Matamoras had already reached a crisis.
General Mejia, feeling keenly the moral support we were giving the
Liberals, and hard pressed by the harassing attacks of Cortinas and
Canales, had abandoned the place, and Caravajal, because of
his credentials from our side, was in command, much to the
dissatisfaction of both those chiefs whose differences it was
intended he should reconcile.

The day after I got to Brownsville I visited Matamoras, and had a
long interview with Caravajal.  The outcome of this meeting was, on
my part, a stronger conviction than ever that he was unsuitable, and
I feared that either Canales or Cortinas would get possession of the
city.  Caravajal made too many professions of what he would do--in
short, bragged too much--but as there was no help for the situation,
I made the best of it by trying to smooth down the ruffled feathers
of Canales and Cortinas.  In my interview with Caravajal I
recommended Major Young as a confidential man, whom he could rely
upon as a "go-between" for communicating with our people at
Brownsville, and whom he could trust to keep him informed of the
affairs of his own country as well.

A day or two afterward I recrossed the Gulf to New Orleans, and then,
being called from my headquarters to the interior of Texas, a
fortnight passed before I heard anything from Brownsville.  In the
meanwhile Major Young had come to New Orleans, and organized there a
band of men to act as a body-guard for Caravajal, the old wretch
having induced him to accept the proposition by representing that it
had my concurrence.  I at once condemned the whole business, but
Young, having been furnished with seven thousand dollars to recruit
the men and buy their arms, had already secured both, and was so
deeply involved in the transaction, he said, that he could not
withdraw without dishonor, and with tears in his eyes he besought me
to help him.  He told me he had entered upon the adventure in the
firm belief that I would countenance it; that the men and their
equipment were on his hands; that he must make good his word at all
hazards; and that while I need not approve, yet I must go far enough
to consent to the departure of the men, and to loan him the money
necessary to provision his party and hire a schooner to carry them to
Brazos.  It was hard in deed to resist the appeals of this man, who
had served me so long and so well, and the result of his pleading was
that I gave him permission to sail, and also loaned him the sum asked
for; but I have never ceased to regret my consent, for misfortune
fell upon the enterprise almost from its inception.

By the time the party got across the Gulf and over to Brownsville,
Caravajal had been deposed by Canales, and the latter would not
accept their services.  This left Young with about fifty men to whom
he was accountable, and as he had no money to procure them
subsistence, they were in a bad fix.  The only thing left to do was
to tender their services to General Escobedo, and with this in view
the party set out to reach the General's camp, marching up the Rio
Grande on the American side, intending to cross near Ringgold Bar
racks.  In advance of them, however, had spread far and wide the
tidings of who they were, what they proposed to do, and where they
were going, and before they could cross into Mexico they were
attacked by a party of ex-Confederates and  renegade Mexican
rancheros.  Being on American soil, Young forbade his men to return
the fire, and bent all his efforts to getting them over the river;
but in this attempt they were broken up, and became completely
demoralized.  A number of the men were drowned while swimming the
river, Young himself was shot and killed, a few were captured, and
those who escaped--about twenty in all--finally joined Escobedo, but
in such a  plight as to be of little use.  With this distressing
affair came to an end pretty much all open participation of American
sympathizers with the Liberal cause, but the moral support afforded
by the presence of our forces continued, and this was frequently
supplemented with material aid in the shape of munitions of war,
which we liberally supplied, though constrained to do so by the most
secret methods.

The term of office of Juarez as President of the Mexican Republic
expired in December, 1865, but to meet existing exigencies he had
continued himself in office by proclamation, a course rendered
necessary by the fact that no elections could be held on account of
the Imperial occupation of most of the country.  The official who, by
the Mexican Constitution, is designated for the succession in such an
emergency, is the President of the Supreme Court, and the person then
eligible under this provision was General Ortega, but in the interest
of the Imperialists he had absented himself from Mexico, hence the
patriotic course of Juarez in continuing himself at the head of
affairs was a necessity of the situation.  This action of the
President gave the Imperialists little concern at first, but with the
revival of the Liberal cause they availed themselves of every means
to divide its supporters, and Ortega, who had been lying low in the
United States, now came forward to claim the Presidency.  Though
ridiculously late for such a step, his first act was to issue a
manifesto protesting against the assumption of the executive
authority by Juarez.  The protest had little effect, however, and his
next proceeding was to come to New Orleans, get into correspondence
with other disaffected Mexicans, and thus perfect his plans.  When he
thought his intrigue ripe enough for action, he sailed for Brazos,
intending to cross the Rio Grande and assert his claims with arms.
While he was scheming in New Orleans, however, I had learned what he
was up to, and in advance of his departure had sent instructions to
have him arrested on American soil.  Colonel Sedgwick, commanding at
Brownsville, was now temporary master of Matamoras also, by reason of
having stationed some American troops there for the protection of
neutral merchants, so when Ortega appeared at Brazos, Sedgwick
quietly arrested him and held him till the city of Matamoras was
turned over to General Escobedo, the authorized representative of
Juarez; then Escobedo took charge, of Ortega, and with ease prevented
his further machinations.

During the winter and spring of 1866 we continued covertly supplying
arms and ammunition to the Liberals--sending as many as 30,000
muskets from Baton Rouge Arsenal alone--and by mid-summer Juarez,
having organized a pretty good sized army, was in possession of the
whole line of the Rio Grande, and, in fact, of nearly the whole of
Mexico down to San Louis Potosi.  Then thick and fast came rumors
pointing to the tottering condition of Maximilian's Empire-first,
that Orizaba and Vera Cruz were being fortified; then, that the
French were to be withdrawn; and later came the intelligence that the
Empress Carlotta had gone home to beg assistance from Napoleon, the
author of all of her husband's troubles.  But the situation forced
Napoleon to turn a deaf ear to Carlotta's prayers.  The brokenhearted
woman besought him on her knees, but his fear of losing an army made
all pleadings vain.  In fact, as I ascertained by the following
cablegram which came into my hands, Napoleon's instructions for the
French evacuation were in Mexico at the very time of this pathetic
scene between him and Carlotta.  The despatch was in cipher when I
received it, but was translated by the telegraph operator at my
headquarters, who long before had mastered the key of the French

"PARIS, January 10, 1867.  FRENCH CONSUL, New Orleans, La.


"Received your despatch of the 9th December.  Do not compel the
Emperor to abdicate, but do not delay the departure of the troops;
bring back all those who will not remain there.  Most of the fleet
has left.


This meant the immediate withdrawal of the French.  The rest of the
story--which has necessarily been but in outline--is soon told.
Maximilian, though deserted, determined to hold out to the last, and
with the aid of disloyal Mexicans stuck to his cause till the spring.
When taken prisoner at Queretaro, he was tried and executed under
circumstances that are well known.  From promptings of humanity
Secretary Seward tried hard to save the Imperial prisoner, but
without success.  The Secretary's plea for mercy was sent through me
at New Orleans, and to make speed I hired a steamer to proceed with
it across the Gulf to Tampico.  The document was carried by Sergeant
White, one of my scouts, who crossed the country from Tampico, and
delivered it to Escobedo at Queretaro; but Mr. Seward's
representations were without avail--refused probably because little
mercy had been shown certain Liberal leaders unfortunate enough to
fall into Maximilian's hands during the prosperous days of his

At the close of our war there was little hope for the Republic of
Mexico.  Indeed, till our troops were concentrated on the Rio Grande
there was none.  Our appearance in such force along the border
permitted the Liberal leaders, refugees from their homes, to
establish rendezvous whence they could promulgate their plans in
safety, while the countenance thus given the cause, when hope was
well-nigh gone, incited the Mexican people to renewed resistance.
Beginning again with very scant means, for they had lost about all,
the Liberals saw their cause, under the influence of such significant
and powerful backing, progress and steadily grow so strong that
within two years Imperialism had received its death-blow.  I doubt
very much whether such, results could have been achieved without the
presence of an American army on the Rio Grande, which, be it
remembered, was sent there because, in General Grant's words, the
French invasion of Mexico was so closely related to the rebellion as
to be essentially a part of it.



Although in 1865-66 much of my attention was directed to
international matters along the Rio Grande, the civil affairs of
Texas and Louisiana required a certain amount of military supervision
also in the absence of regularly established civil authority.  At the
time of Kirby Smith's surrender the National Government had
formulated no plan with regard to these or the other States lately in
rebellion, though a provisional Government had been set up in
Louisiana as early as 1864.  In consequence of this lack of system,
Governor Pendleton Murray, of Texas, who was elected under
Confederate rule, continued to discharge the duties of Governor till
President Johnson, on June 17, in harmony with his amnesty
proclamation of May 29, 1865, appointed A. J. Hamilton provisional
Governor.  Hamilton was empowered by the President to call a
Constitutional convention, the delegates to which were to be elected,
under certain prescribed qualifications, for the purpose of
organizing the political affairs of the State, the Governor to be
guided by instructions similar to those given the provisional
Governor of North Carolina (W. W. Holden), when appointed in May.

The convening of this body gave rise to much dissatisfaction among
the people of Texas.  They had assumed that affairs were to go on as
of old, and that the reintegration of the State was to take place
under the administration of Governor Murray, who, meanwhile, had
taken it upon himself, together with the Legislature, to authorize
the election of delegates to a State Convention, without restriction
as to who should be entitled to vote.  Thus encouraged, the element
but lately in armed rebellion was now fully bent on restoring the
State to the Union without any intervention whatever of the Federal
Government; but the advent of Hamilton put an end to such illusions,
since his proclamation promptly disfranchised the element in
question, whose consequent disappointment and chagrin were so great
as to render this factor of the community almost uncontrollable.  The
provisional Governor at once rescinded the edict of Governor Murray,
prohibited the assembling of his convention, and shortly after
called, one himself, the delegates to which were to b chosen by
voters who could take the amnesty-oath.  The proclamation convening
this assemblage also announced the policy that would be pursued in
governing the State until its affairs were satisfactorily
reorganized, defined in brief the course to be followed by the
Judiciary, and provided for the appointment, by the Governor, of
county officials to succeed those known to be disloyal.  As this
action of Hamilton's disfranchised all who could not take the amnesty
oath, and of course deprived them of the offices, it met at once with
pronounced and serious opposition, and he quickly realized that he
had on his hands an arduous task to protect the colored people,
particularly as in the transition state of society just after the
close of the war there prevailed much lawlessness, which vented
itself chiefly on the freedmen.  It was greatly feared that political
rights were to be given those so recently in servitude, and as it was
generally believed that such enfranchisement would precipitate a race
war unless the freedmen were overawed and kept in a state of
subjection, acts of intimidation were soon reported from all parts of
the State.

Hamilton, an able, determined, and fearless man, tried hard to curb
this terrorism, but public opinion being strong against him, he could
accomplish little without military aid.  As department commander, I
was required, whenever called upon, to assist his government, and as
these requisitions for help became necessarily very frequent, the
result was that shortly after he assumed his duties, detachments of
troops were stationed in nearly every county of the State.  By such
disposition of my forces fairly good order was maintained under the
administration of Hamilton, and all went well till the inauguration
of J. W. Throckmorton, who, elected Governor in pursuance of an
authorization granted by the convention which Hamilton had called
together, assumed the duties of the office August 9, 1866.

One of Governor Throckmorton's first acts was to ask the withdrawal
or non-interference of the military.  This was not all granted, but
under his ingenious persuasion President Johnson, on the 13th of
August, 1866, directed that the new State officials be entrusted with
the unhampered control of civil affairs, and this was more than
enough to revive the bulldozing methods that had characterized the
beginning of Hamilton's administration.  Oppressive legislation in
the shape of certain apprentice and vagrant laws quickly followed,
developing a policy of gross injustice toward the colored people on
the part of the courts, and a reign of lawlessness and disorder
ensued which, throughout the remote districts of the State at least,
continued till Congress, by what are known as the Reconstruction
Acts, took into its own hands the rehabilitation of the seceded

In the State of Louisiana a provisional government, chosen by the
loyal element, had been put in operation, as already mentioned, as
early as 1864.  This was effected under encouragement given by
President Lincoln, through the medium of a Constitutional convention,
which met at New Orleans in April, 1864, and adjourned in July.  The
constitution then agreed upon was submitted to the people, and in
September, 1864, was ratified by a vote of the few loyal residents of
the State.

The government provided under this constitution being looked upon as
provisional merely, was never recognized by Congress, and in 1865 the
returned Confederates, restored to citizenship by the President's
amnesty proclamation, soon got control of almost all the State.  The
Legislature was in their hands, as well as most of the State and
municipal offices; so, when the President, on the 20th of August,
1866, by proclamation, extended his previous instructions regarding
civil affairs in Texas so as to have them apply to all the seceded
States, there at once began in Louisiana a system of discriminative
legislation directed against the freedmen, that led to flagrant
wrongs in the enforcement of labor contracts, and in the remote
parishes to numbers of outrages and murders.

To remedy this deplorable condition of things, it was proposed, by
those who had established the government of 1864, to remodel the
constitution of the State; and they sought to do this by reassembling
the convention, that body before its adjournment having provided for
reconvening under certain conditions, in obedience to the call of its
president.  Therefore, early in the summer of 1866, many members of
this convention met in conference at New Orleans, and decided that a
necessity existed for reconvening the delegates, and a proclamation
was issued accordingly by B. K. Howell, President-pro-tempore.

Mayor John T.  Monroe and the other officials of New Orleans looked
upon this proposed action as revolutionary, and by the time the
convention assembled (July 30), such bitterness of feeling prevailed
that efforts were made by the mayor and city police to suppress the
meeting.  A bloody riot followed, resulting, in the killing and
wounding of about a hundred and sixty persons.

I happened to be absent from the city at the time, returning from
Texas, where I had been called by affairs on the Rio Grande.  On my
way up from the mouth of the Mississippi I was met on the night of
July 30 by one of my staff, who reported what had occurred, giving
the details of the massacre--no milder term is fitting--and informing
me that, to prevent further slaughter, General Baird, the senior
military officer present, had assumed control of the municipal
government.  On reaching the city I made an investigation, and that
night sent the following report of the affair:

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., Aug.  1, 1866.


"You are doubtless aware of the serious riot which occurred in this
city on the 30th.  A political body, styling themselves the
Convention of 1864, met on the 30th, for, as it is alleged, the
purpose of remodeling the present constitution of the State.  The
leaders were political agitators and revolutionary men, and the
action of the convention was liable to produce breaches of the public
peace.  I had made up my mind to arrest the head men, if the
proceedings of the convention were calculated to disturb the
tranquility of the Department; but I had no cause for action until
they committed the overt act.  In the meantime official duty called
me to Texas, and the mayor of the city, during my absence suppressed
the convention by the use of the police force, and in so doing
attacked the members of the convention, and a party of two hundred
negroes, with fire-arms, clubs, and knives, in a manner so
unnecessary and atrocious as to compel me to say that it was murder.
About forty whites and blacks were thus killed, and about one hundred
and sixty wounded.  Everything is now quiet, but I deem it best to
maintain a military supremacy in the city for a few days, until the
affair is fully investigated.  I believe the sentiment of the general
community is great regret at this unnecessary cruelty, and that the
police could have made any arrest they saw fit without sacrificing

"Major-General Commanding."

On receiving the telegram, General Grant immediately submitted it
to the President.  Much clamor being made at the North for the
publication of the despatch, Mr. Johnson pretended to give it to the
newspapers.  It appeared in the issues of August 4, but with this
paragraph omitted, viz.:

"I had made up my mind to arrest the head men, if the proceedings of
the convention were calculated to disturb the tranquility of the
Department, but I had no cause for action until they committed the
overt act.  In the mean time official duty called me to Texas, and
the mayor of the city, during my absence, suppressed the convention
by the use of the police force, and in so doing attacked the members
of the convention, and a party of two hundred negroes, with
fire-arms, clubs, and knives, in a manner so unnecessary and atrocious
as to compel me to say it was murder."

Against this garbling of my report--done by the President's own order
--I strongly demurred; and this emphatic protest marks the beginning of
Mr. Johnson's well-known personal hostility toward me.  In the mean
time I received (on August 3) the following despatch from General Grant
approving my course:

"WAR DEPT., WASHINGTON, D. C., "August 3, 1866--5 p.m.

"Commanding Mil. Div. of the Gulf,
"New Orleans, La.

"Continue to enforce martial law, so far as may be necessary to
preserve the peace; and do not allow any of the civil authorities to
act, if you deem such action dangerous to the public safety.  Lose no
time in investigating and reporting the causes that led to the riot,
and the facts which occurred.


In obedience to the President's directions, My report of August 1 was
followed by another, more in detail, which I give in full, since it
tells the whole story of the riot:

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 6, 1866.

"President United States.

"I have the honor to make the following reply to your despatch of
August 4.  A very large number of colored people marched in
procession on Friday night, July twenty-seven (27), and were
addressed from the steps of the City Hall by Dr. Dostie, ex-Governor
Hahn, and others.  The speech of Dostie was intemperate in language
and sentiment.  The speeches of the others, so far as I can learn,
were characterized by moderation.  I have not given you the words of
Dostie's speech, as the version published was denied; but from what I
have learned of the man, I believe they were intemperate.

"The convention assembled at twelve (12) M.  on the thirtieth (30),
the timid members absenting themselves because the tone of the
general public was ominous of trouble.  I think there were about
twenty-six (26) members present.  In front of the Mechanics
Institute, where the meeting was held, there were assembled some
colored men, women, and children, perhaps eighteen (18) or twenty
(20), and in the Institute a number of colored men, probably one
hundred and fifty (150).  Among those outside and inside there might
have been a pistol in the possession of every tenth (10) man.

"About one (1) p. m.  a procession of say from sixty (60) to one
hundred and thirty (130) colored men marched up Burgundy Street and
across Canal Street toward the convention, carrying an American flag.
These men had about one pistol to every ten men, and canes and clubs
in addition.  While crossing Canal Street a row occurred.  There were
many spectators on the street, and their manner and tone toward the
procession unfriendly.  A shot was fired, by whom I am not able to
state, but believe it to have been by a policeman, or some colored
man in the procession.  This led to other shots and a rush after the
procession.  On arrival at the front of the Institute there was some
throwing of brickbats by both sides.  The police, who had been held
well in hand, were vigorously marched to the scene of disorder.  The
procession entered the Institute with the flag, about six (6) or
eight (8) remaining outside.  A row occurred between a policeman and
one of these colored men, and a shot was again fired by one of the
parties, which led to an indiscriminate fire on the building through
the windows by the policemen.  This had been going on for a short
time, when a white flag was displayed from the windows of the
Institute, whereupon the firing ceased, and the police rushed into
the building.

"From the testimony of wounded men, and others who were inside the
building, the policemen opened an indiscriminate fire upon the
audience until they had emptied their revolvers, when they retired,
and those inside barricaded the doors.  The door was broken in, and
the firing again commenced, when many of the colored and white people
either escaped throughout the door or were passed out by the
policemen inside; but as they came out the policemen who formed the
circle nearest the building fired upon them, and they were again
fired upon by the citizens that formed the outer circle.  Many of
those wounded and taken prisoners, and others who were prisoners and
not wounded, were fired upon by their captors and by citizens.  The
wounded were stabbed while lying on the ground, and their heads
beaten with brickbats.  In the yard of the building, whither some of
the colored men had escaped and partially secreted themselves, they
were fired upon and killed or wounded by policemen.  Some were killed
and wounded several squares from the scene.  Members of the
convention were wounded by the police while in their hands as
prisoners, some of them mortally.

"The immediate cause of this terrible affair was the assemblage of
this Convention; the remote cause was the bitter and antagonistic
feeling which has been growing in this community since the advent of
the present Mayor, who, in the organization of his police force,
selected many desperate men, and some of them known murderers.
People of clear views were overawed by want of confidence in the
Mayor, and fear of the thugs, many of which he had selected for his
police force.  I have frequently been spoken to by prominent citizens
on this subject, and have heard them express fear, and want of
confidence in Mayor Monroe.  Ever since the intimation of this last
convention movement I must condemn the course of several of the city
papers for supporting, by their articles, the bitter feeling of bad
men.  As to the merciless manner in which the convention was broken
up, I feel obliged to confess strong repugnance.

"It is useless to disguise the hostility that exists on the part of a
great many here toward Northern men, and this unfortunate affair has
so precipitated matters that there is now a test of what shall be the
status of Northern men--whether they can live here without being in
constant dread or not, whether they can be protected in life and
property, and have justice in the courts.  If this matter is
permitted to pass over without a thorough and determined prosecution
of those engaged in it, we may look out for frequent scenes of the
same kind, not only here, but in other places.  No steps have as yet
been taken by the civil authorities to arrest citizens who were
engaged in this massacre, or policemen who perpetrated such
cruelties.  The members of the convention have been indicted by the
grand jury, and many of them arrested and held to bail.  As to
whether the civil authorities can mete out ample justice to the
guilty parties on both sides, I must say it is my opinion,
unequivocally, that they cannot.  Judge Abell, whose course I have
closely watched for nearly a year, I now consider one of the most
dangerous men that we have here to the peace and quiet of the city.
The leading men of the convention--King, Cutler, Hahn, and others
--have been political agitators, and are bad men.  I regret to say that
the course of Governor Wells has been vacillating, and that during the
late trouble he has shown very little of the man.

"Major-General Commanding."

Subsequently a military commission investigated the subject of the
riot, taking a great deal of testimony.  The commission substantially
confirmed the conclusions given in my despatches, and still later
there was an investigation by a select committee of the House of
Representatives, of which the Honorables Samuel Shellabarger, of
Ohio, H. L. Elliot, of Massachusetts, and B. M. Boyer, of
Pennsylvania, were the members.  The majority report of the committee
also corroborated, in all essentials, my reports of the distressing
occurrence.  The committee likewise called attention to a violent
speech made by Mr. Johnson at St. Louis in September, 1866, charging
the origin of the riot to Congress, and went on to say of the speech
that "it was an unwarranted and unjust expression of hostile feeling,
without pretext or foundation in fact."  A list of the killed and
wounded was embraced in the committee's report, and among other
conclusions reached were the following: "That the meeting of July 30
was a meeting of quiet citizens, who came together without arms and
with intent peaceably to discuss questions of public concern....
There has been no occasion during our National history when a riot
has occurred so destitute of justifiable cause, resulting in a
massacre so inhuman and fiend-like, as that which took place at New
Orleans on the 30th of July last.  This riotous attack upon the
convention, with its terrible results of massacre and murder, was not
an accident.  It was the determined purpose of the mayor of the city
of New Orleans to break up this convention by armed force."

The statement is also made, that, "He [the President] knew that
'rebels' and 'thugs' and disloyal men had controlled the election of
Mayor Monroe, and that such men composed chiefly his police force."

The committee held that no legal government existed in Louisiana, and
recommended the temporary establishment of a provisional government
therein; the report concluding that "in the meantime the safety of
all Union men within the State demands that such government be formed
for their protection, for the well being of the nation and the
permanent peace of the Republic."

The New Orleans riot agitated the whole country, and the official and
other reports served to intensify and concentrate the opposition to
President Johnson's policy of reconstruction, a policy resting
exclusively on and inspired solely by the executive authority--for it
was made plain, by his language and his acts, that he was seeking to
rehabilitate the seceded States under conditions differing not a whit
from those existing before the rebellion; that is to say, without the
slightest constitutional provision regarding the status of the
emancipated slaves, and with no assurances of protection for men who
had remained loyal in the war.

In December, 1866, Congress took hold of the subject with such vigor
as to promise relief from all these perplexing disorders, and, after
much investigation and a great deal of debate, there resulted the
so-called "Reconstruction Laws," which, for a clear understanding of
the powers conferred on the military commanders, I deem best to append
in full:

AN ACT to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel

WHEREAS, no legal State governments or adequate protection for life
or property now exist in the rebel States of Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana,
Florida, Texas, and Arkansas; and whereas, it is necessary that peace
and good order should be enforced in said States until loyal and
republican State governments can be legally established; therefore,

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That said rebel
States shall be divided into military districts and made subject to
the military authority of the United States as hereinafter
prescribed; and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first
district; North Carolina and South Carolina, the second district;
Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, the third district; Mississippi and
Arkansas, the fourth district; and Louisiana and Texas, the fifth

SEC. 2.  And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
President to assign to the command of each of said districts an
officer of the army not below the rank of brigadier-general, and to
detail a sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform
his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he
is assigned.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each
officer assigned as aforesaid to protect all persons in their rights
of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and
violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of
the public peace and criminals, and to this end he may allow local
civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and to try offenders, or,
when in his judgment it may be necessary for the trial of offenders,
he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for
that purpose, and all interference, under cover of State authority,
with the exercise of military authority under this act, shall be null
and void.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons put under
military arrest by virtue of this act shall be tried without
unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unjust punishment shall be
inflicted; and no sentence of any military commission or tribunal
hereby authorized affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall
be executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the
district; and the laws and regulations for the government of the army
shall not be affected by this act except in so far as they conflict
with its provisions: Provided, That no sentence of death, under the
provisions of this act, shall be carried into effect without the
approval of the President.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of
said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in
conformity with the Constitution of the United States in all
respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male
citizens of said State twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever
race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said
State for one year previous to the day of such election, except such
as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion, or for
felony at common law; and when such constitution shall provide that
the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have
the qualifications herein stated for electors of delegates; and when
such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons
voting on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors
for delegates, and when such constitution shall have been submitted
to Congress for examination and approval, and Congress shall have
approved the same; and when said State, by a vote of its legislature
elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to
the Constitution of the United States proposed by the Thirty-ninth
Congress, and known as article fourteen; and when said article shall
have become a part of the Constitution of the United States, said
State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and
senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their
taking the oath prescribed by law; and then and thereafter the
preceding sections of this act shall be inoperative in said State:
Provided, That no person excluded from the privilege of holding
office by said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United
States shall be eligible to election as a member of the convention to
frame a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such
person vote for members of such convention.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That until the people of said
rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation in the
Congress of the United States, any civil government which may exist
therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject
to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to
abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same; and in all elections
to any office under such provisional governments all persons shall be
entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the
fifth section of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any
office under any such provisional governments who would be
disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the third
article of said constitutional amendment.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.

AN ACT supplementary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the
more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second,
eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That before the first
day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding
general in each district defined by an act entitled "An act to
provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,"
passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a
registration to be made of the male citizens of the United States,
twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or
parish in the State or States included in his district, which
registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to
vote for delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and
subscribed the following oath or affirmation: "I,------, do
solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of the Almighty God, that
I am a citizen of the State of ---------; that I have resided in said
State for----- months next preceding this day, and now reside in the
county of -------, or the parish of --------, in said State, (as the
case may be); that I am twenty-one years old; that I have not been
disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against
the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any
State or of the United States; that I have never been a member of any
State Legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any
State, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against
the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof;
that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United
States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any
State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any
State, to support the constitution of the United States, and
afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United
States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I will
faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United
States, and will, to the best of my ability, encourage others so to
do: so help me God."; which oath or affirmation may be administered
by any registering officer.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after the completion of the
registration hereby provided for in any State, at such time and
places therein as the commanding general shall appoint and direct, of
which at least thirty days' public notice shall be given, an election
shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose of
establishing a constitution and civil government for such State loyal
to the Union, said convention in each State, except Virginia, to
consist of the same number of members as the most numerous branch of
the State Legislature of such State in the year eighteen hundred and
sixty, to be apportioned among the several districts, counties, or
parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving each
representation in the ratio of voters registered as aforesaid as
nearly as may be.  The convention in Virginia shall consist of the
same number of members as represented the territory now constituting
Virginia in the most numerous branch of the Legislature of said State
in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned as

SEC.  3. And be it further enacted, That at said election the
registered voters of each State shall vote for or against a
convention to form a constitution therefor under this act.  Those
voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or printed on
the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words
"For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall
have written or printed on such ballot the words "Against a
convention." The persons appointed to superintend said election, and
to make return of the votes given thereat, as herein provided, shall
count and make return of the votes given for and against a
convention; and the commanding general to whom the same shall have
been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each
State for and against a convention.  If a majority of the votes given
on that question shall be for a convention, then such convention
shall be held as hereinafter provided; but if a majority of said
votes shall, be against a convention, then no such convention shall
be held under this act: Provided, That such convention shall not be
held unless a majority of all such registered voters shall have voted
on the question of holding such convention.

SEC.  4.  And be it further enacted, That the commanding general of
each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be
necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons, to make and
complete the registration, superintend the election, and make return
to him of the votes, list of voters, and of the persons elected as
delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election; and upon
receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons
elected as delegates, according to the returns of the officers who
conducted said election, and make proclamation thereof; and if a
majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a
convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date
of election, shall notify the delegates to assemble in convention, at
a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, and said
convention, when organized, shall proceed to frame a constitution and
civil government according to the provisions of this act, and the act
to which it is supplementary; and when the same shall have been so
framed, said constitution shall be submitted by the convention for
ratification to the persons registered under the provisions of this
act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons
appointed or to be appointed by the commanding general, as
hereinbefore provided, and to be held after the expiration of thirty
days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention;
and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of
the district.

SEC.  5.  And be it further enacted, That if, according to said
returns, the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the
votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast
at said election, at least one-half of all the registered voters
voting upon the question of such ratification, the president of the
convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the
President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same
to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then
immediately upon its next assembling; and if it shall moreover appear
to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and
qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely,
and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if the
Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution meets the approval
of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the
said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity
with the provisions of the act to which this is supplementary, and
the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, and
the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall
be declared entitled to representation, and senators and
representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided.

SEC.  6.  And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States
mentioned in the said "Act to provide for the more efficient
government of the rebel States" shall, during the operation of said
act, be by ballot; and all officers making the said registration of
voters and conducting said elections, shall, before entering upon the
discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by
the act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,
entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office": Provided, That if
any person shall knowingly and falsely take and subscribe any oath in
this act prescribed, such person so offending and being thereof duly
convicted, shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities
which by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of wilful
and corrupt perjury.

SEC. 7. And be if further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the
several commanding generals, or by virtue of any orders issued, or
appointments made, by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be
paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State
shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all
delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or
necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein
otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection
of such taxes on the property in such State as may be necessary to
pay the same.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the word "article," in the
sixth section of the act to which this is supplementary, shall be
construed to mean, "section."

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.



The first of the Reconstruction laws was passed March 2, 1867, and
though vetoed by the President, such was the unanimity of loyal
sentiment and the urgency demanding the measure, that the bill became
a law over the veto the day the President returned it to Congress.
March the 11th this law was published in General Orders No. 10, from
the Headquarters of the Army, the same order assigning certain
officers to take charge of the five military districts into which the
States lately in rebellion were subdivided, I being announced as the
commander of the Fifth Military District, which embraced Louisiana
and Texas, a territory that had formed the main portion of my command
since the close of the war.

Between the date of the Act and that of my assignment, the Louisiana
Legislature, then in special session, had rejected a proposed repeal
of an Act it had previously passed providing for an election of
certain municipal officers in New Orleans.  This election was set for
March 11, but the mayor and the chief of police, together with
General Mower, commanding the troops in the city, having expressed to
me personally their fears that the public peace would be disturbed by
the election, I, in this emergency, though not yet assigned to the
district, assuming the authority which the Act conferred on district
commanders, declared that the election should not take place; that no
polls should be opened on the day fixed; and that the whole matter
would stand postponed till the district commander should be
appointed, or special instructions be had.  This, my first official
act under the Reconstruction laws, was rendered necessary by the
course of a body of obstructionists, who had already begun to give
unequivocal indications of their intention to ignore the laws of

A copy of the order embodying the Reconstruction law, together with
my assignment, having reached me a few days after, I regularly
assumed control of the Fifth Military District on March 19, by an
order wherein I declared the State and municipal governments of the
district to be provisional only, and, under the provisions of the
sixth section of the Act, subject to be controlled, modified,
superseded, or abolished.  I also announced that no removals from
office would be made unless the incumbents failed to carry out the
provisions of the law or impeded reorganization, or unless willful
delays should necessitate a change, and added: "Pending the
reorganization, it is, desirable and intended to create as little
disturbance in the machinery of the various branches of the
provisional governments as possible, consistent with the law of
Congress and its successful execution, but this condition is
dependent upon the disposition shown by the people, and upon the
length of time required for reorganization."

Under these limitations Louisiana and Texas retained their former
designations as military districts, the officers in command
exercising their military powers as heretofore.  In addition, these
officers were to carry out in their respective commands all
provisions of the law except those specially requiring the action of
the district commander, and in cases of removals from and appointment
to office.

In the course of legislation the first Reconstruction act, as I have
heretofore noted, had been vetoed.  On the very day of the veto,
however, despite the President's adverse action, it passed each House
of Congress by such an overwhelming majority as not only to give it
the effect of law, but to prove clearly that the plan of
reconstruction presented was, beyond question, the policy endorsed by
the people of the country.  It was, therefore, my determination to
see to the law's zealous execution in my district, though I felt
certain that the President would endeavor to embarrass me by every
means in his power, not only on account of his pronounced personal
hostility, but also because of his determination not to execute but
to obstruct the measures enacted by Congress.

Having come to this conclusion, I laid down, as a rule for my
guidance, the principle of non-interference with the provisional
State governments, and though many appeals were made to have me
rescind rulings of the courts, or interpose to forestall some
presupposed action to be taken by them, my invariable reply was that
I would not take cognizance of such matters, except in cases of
absolute necessity.  The same policy was announced also in reference
to municipal affairs throughout the district, so long as the action
of the local officers did not conflict with the law.

In a very short time, however, I was obliged to interfere in
municipal matters in New Orleans, for it had become clearly apparent
that several of the officials were, both by acts of omission and
commission, ignoring the law, so on the 27th of March I removed from
office the Mayor, John T.  Monroe; the Judge of the First District
Court, E. Abell; and the Attorney-General of the State, Andrew S.
Herron; at the same time appointing to the respective offices thus
vacated Edward Heath, W. W. Howe, and B. L. Lynch.  The officials
thus removed had taken upon themselves from the start to pronounce
the Reconstruction acts unconstitutional, and to advise such a course
of obstruction that I found it necessary at an early dav to replace
them by men in sympathy with the law, in order to make plain my
determination to have its provisions enforced.  The President at once
made inquiry, through General Grant, for the cause of the removal,
and I replied:

"New Orleans, La., April 19, 1867.

"GENERAL: On the 27th day of March last I removed from office Judge
E. Abell, of the Criminal Court of New Orleans; Andrew S. Herron,
Attorney-General of the State of Louisiana; and John T. Monroe, Mayor
of the City of New Orleans.  These removals were made under the
powers granted me in what is usually termed the 'military bill,'
passed March 2, 1867, by the Congress of the United States.

"I did not deem it necessary to give any reason for the removal of
these men, especially after the investigations made by the military
board on the massacre Of July 30, 1866, and the report of the
congressional committee on the same massacre; but as some inquiry has
been made for the cause of removal, I would respectfully state as

"The court over which judge Abell presided is the only criminal court
in the city of New Orleans, and for a period of at least nine months
previous to the riot Of July 30 he had been educating a large portion
of the community to the perpetration of this outrage, by almost
promising no prosecution in his court against the offenders, in case
such an event occurred.  The records of his court will show that he
fulfilled his promise, as not one of the guilty has been prosecuted.

"In reference to Andrew J. Herron, Attorney-General of the State of
Louisiana, I considered it his duty to indict these men before this
criminal court.  This he failed to do, but went so far as to attempt
to impose on the good sense of the whole nation by indicting the
victims of the riot instead of the rioters; in other words, making
the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.  He was therefore, in my
belief, an able coadjutor with judge Abell in bringing on the
massacre of July 30.

"Mayor Monroe controlled the element engaged in this riot, and when
backed by an attorney-general who would not prosecute the guilty, and
a judge who advised the grand jury to find the innocent guilty and
let the murderers go free, felt secure in engaging his police force
in the riot and massacre.

"With these three men exercising a large influence over the worst
elements of the population of this city, giving to those elements an
immunity for riot and bloodshed, the general-in-chief will see how
insecurely I felt in letting them occupy their respective positions
in the troubles which might occur in registration and voting in the
reorganization of this State.

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

"Major-General U. S. A.

"Commanding Armies of the United States,
"Washington, D. C."

To General Grant my reasons were satisfactory, but not so to the
President, who took no steps, however, to rescind my action, for he
knew that the removals were commended by well-nigh the entire
community in the city, for it will be understood that Mr. Johnson
was, through his friends and adherents in Louisiana and Texas, kept
constantly advised of every step taken by me.  Many of these persons
were active and open opponents of mine, while others were spies,
doing their work so secretly and quickly that sometimes Mr. Johnson
knew of my official acts before I could report them to General Grant.

The supplemental Reconstruction act which defined the method of
reconstruction became a law despite the President's veto on March 23.
This was a curative act, authorizing elections and prescribing
methods of registration.  When it reached me officially I began
measures for carrying out its provisions, and on the 28th of March
issued an order to the effect that no elections for the State,
parish, or municipal officers would be held in Louisiana until the
provisions of the laws of Congress entitled "An act to provide for
the more efficient government of the rebel States," and of the act
supplemental thereto, should have been complied with.  I also
announced that until elections were held in accordance with these
acts, the law of the Legislature of the State providing for the
holding over of those persons whose terms of office otherwise would
have expired, would govern in all cases excepting only those special
ones in which I myself might take action.  There was one parish,
Livingston, which this order did no reach in time to prevent the
election previously ordered there, and which therefore took place,
but by a supplemental order this election was declare null and void.

In April.  I began the work of administering the Supplemental Law,
which, under  certain condition of eligibility, required a
registration of the voter of the State, for the purpose of electing
delegate to a Constitutional convention.  It therefore became
necessary to appoint Boards of Registration throughout the election
districts, and on April 10 the boards for the Parish of Orleans were
given out, those for the other parishes being appointed ten days
later.  Before announcing these boards, I had asked to be advised
definitely as to what persons were disfranchised by the law, and was
directed by General Grant to act upon my own interpretation of it,
pending an opinion expected shortly from the Attorney-General--Mr.
Henry Stanbery--so, for the guidance of the boards, I gave the
following instructions:

"New Orleans, La., April 10, 1867.

"Special Orders, No. 15.

"....In obedience to the directions contained in the first section of
the Law of Congress entitled "An Act supplemental to an Act entitled
'An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel
States'" the registration of the legal voters, according to that law
in the Parish of Orleans, will be commenced on the 15th instant, and
must be completed by the 15th of May.

"The four municipal districts of the City of New Orleans and the
Parish of Orleans, right bank (Algiers), will each constitute a
Registration district.  Election precincts will remain as at present

"....Each member of the Board of Registers, before commencing his
duties, will file in the office of the Assistant-Inspector-General at
these headquarters, the oath required in the sixth section of the Act
referred to, and be governed in the execution of his duty by the
provisions of the first section of that Act, faithfully administering
the oath therein prescribed to each person registered.

"Boards of Registers will immediately select suitable offices within
their respective districts, having reference to convenience and
facility of registration, and will enter upon their duties on the day
designated.  Each Board will be entitled to two clerks.  Office-hours
for registration will be from 8 o'clock till 12 A. M., and from 4
till 7 P. M.

"When elections are ordered, the Board of Registers for each district
will designate the number of polls and the places where they shall be
opened in the election precincts within its district, appoint the
commissioners and other officers necessary for properly conducting
the elections, and will superintend the same.

"They will also receive from the commissioners of elections of the
different precincts the result of the vote, consolidate the same, and
forward it to the commanding general.

"Registers and all officers connected with elections will be held to
a rigid accountability and will be subject to trial by military
commission for fraud, or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties.  Their rate of compensation and manner
of payment will be in accordance with the provisions of sections six
and seven of the supplemental act.

"....Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old
and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who has
been resident in the State of Louisiana for one year and Parish of
Orleans for three months previous to the date at which he presents
himself for registration, and who has not been disfranchised by act
of Congress or for felony at common law, shall, after having taken
and subscribed the oath prescribed in the first section of the act
herein referred to, be entitled to be, and shall be, registered as a
legal voter in the Parish of Orleans and State of Louisiana.

"Pending the decision of the Attorney-General of the United States on
the question as to who are disfranchised by law, registers will give
the most rigid interpretation to the law, and exclude from
registration every person about whose right to vote there may be a
doubt.  Any person so excluded who may, under the decision of the
Attorney-General, be entitled to vote, shall be permitted to register
after that decision is received, due notice of which will be given.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN,

"Assistant Adjutant-General."

The parish Boards of Registration were composed of three members
each.  Ability to take what was known as the "ironclad oath" was the
qualification exacted of the members, and they were prohibited from
becoming candidates for office.  In the execution of their duties
they were to be governed by the provisions of the supplemental act.
It was also made one of their functions to designate the number and
location of the polling-places in the several districts, to appoint
commissioners for receiving the votes and in general to attend to
such other matters as were necessary, in order properly to conduct
the voting, and afterward to receive from the commissioners the
result of the vote and forward it to my headquarters.  These
registers, and all other officers having to do with elections, were
to be held to a rigid accountability, and be subject to trial by
military commission for fraud or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties; and in order to be certain that the
Registration Boards performed their work faithfully and
intelligently, officers of the army were appointed as supervisors.
To this end the parishes were grouped together conveniently in
temporary districts, each officer having from three to five parishes
to supervise.  The programme thus mapped out for carrying out the law
in Louisiana was likewise adhered to in Texas, and indeed was
followed as a model in some of the other military districts.

Although Military Commissions were fully authorized by the
Reconstruction acts, yet I did not favor their use in governing the
district, and probably would never have convened one had these acts
been observed in good faith.  I much preferred that the civil courts,
and the State and municipal authorities already in existence, should
perform their functions without military control or interference, but
occasionally, because the civil authorities neglected their duty, I
was obliged to resort to this means to ensure the punishment Of
offenders.  At this time the condition of the negroes in Texas and
Louisiana was lamentable, though, in fact, not worse than that of the
few white loyalists who had been true to the Union during the war.
These last were singled out as special objects of attack, and were,
therefore, obliged at all times to be on the alert for the protection
of their lives and property.  This was the natural outcome of Mr.
Johnson's defiance of Congress, coupled with the sudden conversion to
his cause of persons in the North--who but a short time before had
been his bitterest enemies; for all this had aroused among the
disaffected element new hopes of power and place, hopes of being at
once put in political control again, with a resumption of their
functions in State and National matters without any preliminary
authorization by Congress.  In fact, it was not only hoped, but
expected, that things were presently to go on just as if there had
been no war.

In the State of Texas there were in 1865 about 200,000 of the colored
race-roughly, a third of the entire population--while in Louisiana
there were not less than 350,000, or more than one-half of all the
people in the State.  Until the enactment of the Reconstruction laws
these negroes were without rights, and though they had been liberated
by the war, Mr. Johnson's policy now proposed that they should have
no political status at all, and consequently be at the mercy of a
people who, recently their masters, now seemed to look upon them as
the authors of all the misfortunes that had come upon the land.
Under these circumstances the blacks naturally turned for protection
to those who had been the means of their liberation, and it would
have been little less than inhuman to deny them sympathy.  Their
freedom had been given them, and it was the plain duty of those in
authority to make it secure, and screen them from the bitter
political resentment that beset them, and to see that they had a fair
chance in the battle of life.  Therefore, when outrages and murders
grew frequent, and the aid of the military power was an absolute
necessity for the protection of life, I employed it unhesitatingly
--the guilty parties being brought to trial before military
commissions--and for a time, at least, there occurred a halt in the
march of terrorism inaugurated by the people whom Mr. Johnson had

The first, Military Commission was convened to try the case of John
W. Walker, charged with shooting a negro in the parish of St. John.
The proper civil authorities had made no effort to arrest Walker, and
even connived at his escape, so I had him taken into custody in New
Orleans, and ordered him tried, the commission finding him guilty,
and sentencing him to confinement in the penitentiary for six months.
This shooting was the third occurrence of the kind that had taken
place in St.  John's parish, a negro being wounded in each case, and
it was plain that the intention was to institute there a practice of
intimidation which should be effective to subject the freedmen to the
will of their late masters, whether in making labor contracts, or in
case these newly enfranchised negroes should evince a disposition to
avail themselves of the privilege to vote.

The trial and conviction of Walker, and of one or two others for
similar outrages, soon put a stop to every kind of "bull-dozing" in
the country parishes; but about this time I discovered that many
members of the police force in New Orleans were covertly intimidating
the freedmen there, and preventing their appearance at the
registration offices, using milder methods than had obtained in the
country, it is true, but none the less effective.

Early in 1866 the Legislature had passed an act which created for the
police of New Orleans a residence qualification, the object of which
was to discharge and exclude from the force ex-Union soldiers.  This
of course would make room for the appointment of ex-Confederates, and
Mayor Monroe had not been slow in enforcing the provisions of the
law.  It was, in fact, a result of this enactment that the police was
so reorganized as to become the willing and efficient tool which it
proved to be in the riot of 1866; and having still the same
personnel, it was now in shape to prevent registration by threats,
unwarranted arrests, and by various other influences, all operating
to keep the timid blacks away from the registration places.

That the police were taking a hand in this practice of repression, I
first discovered by the conduct of the assistant to the chief of the
body, and at once removed the offender, but finding this ineffectual
I annulled that part of the State law fixing the five years'
residence restriction, and restored the two years' qualification,
thus enabling Mayor Heath, who by my appointment had succeeded
Monroe, to organize the force anew, and take about one-half of its
members from ex-Union soldiers who when discharged had settled in New
Orleans.  This action put an end to intimidation in the parish of
Orleans; and now were put in operation in all sections the processes
provided by the supplemental Reconstruction law for the summoning of
a convention to form a Constitution preparatory to the readmission of
the State, and I was full of hope that there would now be much less
difficulty in administering the trust imposed by Congress.

During the two years previous great damage had been done the
agricultural interests of Louisiana by the overflow of the
Mississippi, the levees being so badly broken as to require extensive
repairs, and the Legislature of 1866 had appropriated for the purpose
$4,000,000, to be raised by an issue of bonds.  This money was to be
disbursed by a Board of Levee Commissioners then in existence, but
the term of service of these commissioners, and the law creating the
board, would expire in the spring of 1867.  In order to overcome this
difficulty the Legislature passed a bill continuing the commissioners
in office but as the act was passed inside of ten days before the
adjournment of the Legislature, Governor Wells pocketed the bill, and
it failed to become a law.  The Governor then appointed a board of
his own, without any warrant of law whatever.  The old commissioners
refused to recognize this new board, and of course a conflict of
authority ensued, which, it was clear, would lead to vicious results
if allowed to continue; so, as the people of the State had no
confidence in either of the boards, I decided to end the contention
summarily by appointing an entirely new commission, which would
disburse the money honestly, and further the real purpose for which
it had been appropriated.  When I took this course the legislative
board acquiesced, but Governor Wells immediately requested the
President to revoke my order, which, however, was not done, but
meanwhile the Secretary of War directed me to suspend all proceedings
in the matter, and make a report of the facts.  I complied in the
following telegram:

"NEW ORLEANS, La., June 3, 1867.

"SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of
this date in reference to the Levee Commissioners in this State.

"The following were my reasons for abolishing the two former boards,
although I intended that my order should be sufficiently explanatory:

"Previous to the adjournment of the Legislature last winter it passed
an act continuing the old Levee board in office, so that the four
millions of dollars ($4,000,000) in bonds appropriated by the
Legislature might be disbursed by a board of rebellious antecedents.

"After its adjournment the Governor of the State appointed a board of
his own, in violation of this act, and made the acknowledgment to me
in person that his object was to disburse the money in the interest
of his own party by securing for it the vote of the employees at the
time of election.

"The board continued in office by the Legislature refused to turn
over to the Governor's board, and each side appealed to me to sustain
it, which I would not do.  The question must then have gone to the
courts, which, according to the Governor's judgment when he was
appealing to me to be sustained, would require one year for decision.
Meantime the State was overflowed, the Levee boards tied up by
political chicanery, and nothing done to relieve the poor people, now
fed by the charity of the Government and charitable associations of
the North.

"To obviate this trouble, and to secure to the overflowed districts
of the State the immediate relief which the honest disbursement of
the four millions ($4,000,000) would give, my order dissolving both
boards was issued.

"I say now, unequivocally, that Governor Wells is a political
trickster and a dishonest man.  I have seen him myself, when I first
came to this command, turn out all the Union men who had supported
the Government, and put in their stead rebel soldiers who had not yet
doffed their gray uniform.  I have seen him again, during the July
riot of 1866, skulk away where I could not find him to give him a
guard, instead of coming out as a manly representative of the State
and joining those who were preserving the peace.  I have watched him
since, and his conduct has been as sinuous as the mark left in the
dust by the movement of a snake.

"I say again that he is dishonest, and that dishonesty is more than
must be expected of me.

"Major-General, U. S. A.

"Hon. E. M. STANTON,
"Secretary of War, Washington, D. C."

The same day that I sent my report to the Secretary of War I removed
from office Governor Wells himself, being determined to bear no
longer with the many obstructions he had placed in the way of
reorganizing the civil affairs of the State.  I was also satisfied
that he was unfit to retain the place, since he was availing himself
of every opportunity to work political ends beneficial to himself.
In this instance Wells protested to me against his removal, and also
appealed to the President for an opinion of the Attorney-General as
to my power in the case; and doubtless he would have succeeded in
retaining his office, but for the fact that the President had been
informed by General James B. Steadman and others placed to watch me
that Wells was wholly unworthy.

"NEW ORLEANS, June 19, 1867.
"ANDREW JOHNSON, President United States,
"Washington City:

"Lewis D.  Campbell leaves New Orleans for home this evening.  Want
of respect for Governor Wells personally, alone represses the
expression of indignation felt by all honest and sensible men at the
unwarranted usurpation of General Sheridan in removing the civil
officers of Louisiana.  It is believed here that you will reinstate
Wells.  He is a bad man, and has no influence.

"I believe Sheridan made the removals to embarrass you, believing the
feeling at the North would sustain him.  My conviction is that on
account of the bad character of Wells and Monroe, you ought not to
reinstate any who have been removed, because you cannot reinstate any
without reinstating all, but you ought to prohibit the exercise of
this power in the future.

"Respectfully yours,


I appointed Mr. Thomas J. Durant as Wells's successor, but he
declining, I then appointed Mr. Benjamin F. Flanders, who, after I
had sent a staff-officer to forcibly eject Wells in case of
necessity, took possession of the Governor's office.  Wells having
vacated, Governor Flanders began immediately the exercise of his
duties in sympathy with the views of Congress, and I then notified
General Grant that I thought he need have no further apprehension
about the condition of affairs in Louisiana, as my appointee was a
man of such integrity and ability that I already felt relieved of
half my labor.  I also stated in the same despatch that nothing would
answer in Louisiana but a bold and firm course, and that in taking
such a one I felt that I was strongly supported; a statement that was
then correct, for up to this period the better classes were disposed
to accept the Congressional plan of reconstruction.

During the controversy over the Levee Commissioners, and the
correspondence regarding the removal of Governor Wells, registration
had gone on under the rules laid down for the boards.  The date set
for closing the books was the 30th of June, but in the parish of
Orleans the time was extended till the 15th of July.  This the
President considered too short a period, and therefore directed the
registry lists not to be closed before the 1st of August, unless
there was some good reason to the contrary.  This was plainly
designed to keep the books open in order that under the
Attorney-General's interpretation of the Reconstruction laws, published
June 20, many persons who had been excluded by the registration boards
could yet be registered, so I decided to close the registration, unless
required by the President unconditionally, and in specific orders, to
extend the time.  My motives were manifold, but the main reasons were
that as two and a half months had been given already, the number of
persons who, under the law, were qualified for registry was about
exhausted; and because of the expense I did not feel warranted in
keeping up the boards longer, as I said, "to suit new issues coming in
at the eleventh hour," which would but open a "broad macadamized road
for perjury and fraud."

When I thus stated what I intended to do, the opinion of the
Attorney-General had not yet been received.  When it did reach me it
was merely in the form of a circular signed by Adjutant-General
Townsend, and had no force of law.  It was not even sent as an order,
nor was it accompanied by any instructions, or by anything except the
statement that it was transmitted to the 11 respective military
commanders for their information, in order that there might be
uniformity in the execution  of the Reconstruction acts.  To adopt
Mr. Stanbery's interpretation of the law and reopen registration
accordingly, would defeat the purpose of Congress, as well as add to
my perplexities.  Such a course would also require that the officers
appointed by me for the performance of specified duties, under laws
which I was empowered to interpret and enforce, should receive their
guidance and instructions from an unauthorized source, so on
communicating with General Grant as to how I should act, he directed
me to enforce my own construction of the military bill until ordered
to do otherwise.

Therefore the registration continued as I had originally directed,
and nothing having been definitely settled at Washington in relation
to my extending the time, on the 10th of July I ordered all the
registration boards to select, immediately, suitable persons to act
as commissioners of election, and at the same time specified the
number of each set of commissioners, designated the polling-places,
gave notice that two days would be allowed for voting, and followed
this with an order discontinuing registration the 31st of July, and
then another appointing the 27th and 28th of September as the time
for the election of delegates to the State convention.

In accomplishing the registration there had been little opposition
from the mass of the people, but the press of New Orleans, and the
office-holders and office-seekers in the State generally, antagonized
the work bitterly and violently, particularly after the promulgation
of the opinion of the Attorney-General.  These agitators condemned
everybody and everything connected with the Congressional plan of
reconstruction; and the pernicious influence thus exerted was
manifested in various ways, but most notably in the selection of
persons to compose the jury lists in the country parishes it also
tempted certain municipal officers in New Orleans to perform illegal
acts that would seriously have affected the credit of the city had
matters not been promptly corrected by the summary removal from
office of the comptroller and the treasurer, who had already issued a
quarter of a million dollars in illegal certificates.  On learning of
this unwarranted and unlawful proceeding, Mayor Heath demanded an
investigation by the Common Council, but this body, taking its cue
from the evident intention of the President to render abortive the
Reconstruction acts, refused the mayor's demand.  Then he tried to
have the treasurer and comptroller restrained by injunction, but the
city attorney, under the same inspiration as the council, declined to
sue out a writ, and the attorney being supported in this course by
nearly all the other officials, the mayor was left helpless in his
endeavors to preserve the city's credit.  Under such circumstances he
took the only step left him--recourse to the military commander; and
after looking into the matter carefully I decided, in the early part
of August, to give the mayor officials who would not refuse to make
an investigation of the illegal issue of certificates, and to this
end I removed the treasurer, surveyor, comptroller, city attorney,
and twenty-two of the aldermen; these officials, and all of their
assistants, having reduced the financial credit of New Orleans to a
disordered condition, and also having made efforts--and being then
engaged in such--to hamper the execution of the Reconstruction laws.

This action settled matters in the city, but subsequently I had to
remove some officials in the parishes--among them a justice of the
peace and a sheriff in the parish of Rapides; the justice for
refusing to permit negro witnesses to testify in a certain murder
case, and for allowing the murderer, who had foully killed a colored
man, to walk out of his court on bail in the insignificant sum of
five hundred dollars; and the sheriff, for conniving at the escape
from jail of another alleged murderer.  Finding, however, even after
these removals, that in the country districts murderers and other
criminals went unpunished, provided the offenses were against negroes
merely (since the jurors were selected exclusively from the whites,
and often embraced those excluded from the exercise of the election
franchise) I, having full authority under the Reconstruction laws,
directed such a revision of the jury lists as would reject from them
every man not eligible for registration as a voter.  This order was
issued August 24, and on its promulgation the President relieved me
from duty and assigned General Hancock as my successor.

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 24, 1867.


"The registration of voters of the State of Louisiana, according to
the law of Congress, being complete, it is hereby ordered that no
person who is not registered in accordance with said law shall be
considered as, a duly qualified voter of the State of Louisiana.  All
persons duly registered as above, and no others, are consequently
eligible, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, to serve as
jurors in any of the courts of the State.

"The necessary revision of the jury lists will immediately be made by
the proper officers.

"All the laws of the State respecting exemptions, etc., from jury
duty will remain in force.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN.

"GEO. L. HARTNUFF, Asst. Adj't-General."

Pending the arrival of General Hancock, I turned over the command of
the district September 1 to General Charles Griffin; but he dying of
yellow fever, General J. A. Mower succeeded him, and retained command
till November 29, on which date General Hancock assumed control.
Immediately after Hancock took charge, he revoked my order of August
24 providing for a revision of the jury lists; and, in short,
President Johnson's policy now became supreme, till Hancock himself
was relieved in March, 1868.

My official connection with the reconstruction of Louisiana and Texas
practically closed with this order concerning the jury lists.  In my
judgment this had become a necessity, for the disaffected element,
sustained as it was by the open sympathy of the President, had grown
so determined in its opposition to the execution of the
Reconstruction acts that I resolved to remove from place and power
all obstacles; for the summer's experience had convinced me that in
no other way could the law be faithfully administered.

The President had long been dissatisfied with my course; indeed, he
had harbored personal enmity against me ever since he perceived that
he could not bend me to an acceptance of the false position in which
he had tried to place me by garbling my report of the riot of 1866.
When Mr. Johnson decided to remove me, General Grant protested in
these terms, but to no purpose:

"WASHINGTON, D. C., August 17, 1867

"SIR: I am in receipt of your order of this date directing the
assignment of General G. H. Thomas to the command of the Fifth
Military District, General Sheridan to the Department of the
Missouri, and General Hancock to the Department of the Cumberland;
also your note of this date (enclosing these instructions), saying:
'Before you issue instructions to carry into effect the enclosed
order, I would be pleased to hear any suggestions you may deem
necessary respecting the assignments to which the order refers.'

"I am pleased to avail myself of this invitation to urge--earnestly
urge--urge in the name of a patriotic people, who have sacrificed
hundreds of thousands of loyal lives and thousands of millions of
treasure to preserve the integrity and union of this country--that
this order be not insisted on.  It is unmistakably the expressed wish
of the country that General Sheridan should not be removed from his
present command.

"This is a republic where the will of the people is the law of the
land.  I beg that their voice may be heard.

"General Sheridan has performed his civil duties faithfully and
intelligently.  His removal will only be regarded as an effort to
defeat the laws of Congress.  It will be interpreted by the
unreconstructed element in the South--those who did all they could to
break up this Government by arms, and now wish to be the only element
consulted as to the method of restoring order--as a triumph.  It will
embolden them to renewed opposition to the will of the loyal masses,
believing that they have the Executive with them.

"The services of General Thomas in battling for the Union entitle him
to some consideration.  He has repeatedly entered his protest against
being assigned to either of the five military districts, and
especially to being assigned to relieve General Sheridan.

"There are military reasons, pecuniary reasons, and above all,
patriotic reasons, why this should not be insisted upon.

"I beg to refer to a letter marked 'private,' which I wrote to the
President when first consulted on the subject of the change in the
War Department.  It bears upon the subject of this removal, and I had
hoped would have prevented it.

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

"General U. S. A., Secretary of War ad interim.

"His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
"President of the United States."

I was ordered to command the Department of the Missouri (General
Hancock, as already noted, finally becoming my successor in the Fifth
Military District), and left New Orleans on the 5th of September.  I
was not loath to go.  The kind of duty I had been performing in
Louisiana and Texas was very trying under the most favorable
circumstances, but all the more so in my case, since I had to contend
against the obstructions which the President placed in the way from
persistent opposition to the acts of Congress as well as from
antipathy to me--which obstructions he interposed with all the
boldness and aggressiveness of his peculiar nature.

On more than one occasion while I was exercising this command,
impurity of motive was imputed to me, but it has never been
truthfully shown (nor can it ever be) that political or corrupt
influences of any kind controlled me in any instance.  I simply tried
to carry out, without fear or favor, the Reconstruction acts as they
came to me.  They were intended to disfranchise certain persons, and
to enfranchise certain others, and, till decided otherwise, were the
laws of the land; and it was my duty to execute them faithfully,
without regard, on the one hand, for those upon whom it was thought
they bore so heavily, nor, on the other, for this or that political
party, and certainly without deference to those persons sent to
Louisiana to influence my conduct of affairs.

Some of these missionaries were high officials, both military and
civil, and I recall among others a visit made me in 1866 by a
distinguished friend of the President, Mr. Thomas A. Hendricks.  The
purpose of his coming was to convey to me assurances of the very high
esteem in which I was held by the President, and to explain
personally Mr. Johnson's plan of reconstruction, its flawless
constitutionality, and so on.  But being on the ground, I had before
me the exhibition of its practical working, saw the oppression and
excesses growing out of it, and in the face of these experiences even
Mr. Hendricks's persuasive eloquence was powerless to convince me of
its beneficence.  Later General Lovell H. Rousseau came down on a
like mission, but was no more successful than Mr. Hendricks.

During the whole period that I commanded in Louisiana and Texas my
position was a most unenviable one.  The service was unusual, and the
nature of it scarcely to be understood by those not entirely familiar
with the conditions existing immediately after the war.  In
administering the affairs of those States, I never acted except by
authority, and always from conscientious motives.  I tried to guard
the rights of everybody in accordance with the law.  In this I was
supported by General Grant and opposed by President Johnson.  The
former had at heart, above every other consideration, the good of his
country, and always sustained me with approval and kind suggestions.
The course pursued by the President was exactly the opposite, and
seems to prove that in the whole matter of reconstruction he was
governed less by patriotic motives than by personal ambitions.  Add
to this his natural obstinacy of character and personal enmity toward
me, and no surprise should be occasioned when I say that I heartily
welcomed the order that lifted from me my unsought burden.



The headquarters of the military department to which I was assigned
when relieved from duty at New Orleans was at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, and on the 5th of September I started for that post.  In due
time I reached St. Louis, and stopped there a day to accept an
ovation tendered in approval of the course I had pursued in the Fifth
Military District--a public demonstration apparently of the most
sincere and hearty character.

From St. Louis to Leavenworth took but one night, and the next day I
technically complied with my orders far enough to permit General
Hancock to leave the department, so that he might go immediately to
New Orleans if he so desired, but on account of the yellow fever
epidemic then prevailing, he did not reach the city till late in

My new command was one of the four military departments that composed
the geographical division then commanded by Lieutenant-General
Sherman.  This division had been formed in 1866, with a view to
controlling the Indians west of the Missouri River, they having
become very restless and troublesome because of the building of the
Pacific railroads through their hunting-grounds, and the
encroachments of pioneers, who began settling in middle and western
Kansas and eastern Colorado immediately after the war.

My department embraced the States of Missouri and Kansas, the Indian
Territory, and New Mexico.  Part of this section of country--western
Kansas particularly--had been frequently disturbed and harassed
during two or three years past, the savages every now and then
massacring an isolated family, boldly attacking the surveying and
construction parties of the Kansas-Pacific railroad, sweeping down on
emigrant trains, plundering and burning stage-stations and the like
along the Smoky Hill route to Denver and the Arkansas route to New

However, when I relieved Hancock, the department was comparatively
quiet.  Though some military operations had been conducted against
the hostile tribes in the early part of the previous summer, all
active work was now suspended in the attempt to conclude a permanent
peace with the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, in
compliance with the act of Congress creating what was known as the
Indian Peace Commission of 1867.

Under these circumstances there was little necessity for my remaining
at Leavenworth, and as I was much run down in health from the
Louisiana climate, in which I had been obliged to live continuously
for three summers (one of which brought epidemic cholera, and another
a scourge of yellow fever), I took a leave of absence for a few
months, leaving Colonel A. J. Smith, of the Seventh Cavalry,
temporarily in charge of my command.

On this account I did not actually go on duty in the department of
the Missouri till March, 1868.  On getting back I learned that the
negotiations of the Peace Commissioners held at Medicine Lodge, about
seventy miles south of Fort Larned had resulted in a treaty with the
Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, by which agreement it
was supposed all troubles had been settled.  The compact, as
concluded, contained numerous provisions, the most important to us
being one which practically relinquished the country between the
Arkansas and Platte rivers for white settlement; another permitted
the peaceable construction of the Pacific railroads through the same
region; and a third requiring the tribes signing the treaty to retire
to reservations allotted them in the Indian Territory.  Although the
chiefs and head-men were well-nigh unanimous in ratifying these
concessions, it was discovered in the spring of 1868 that many of the
young men were bitterly opposed to what had been done, and claimed
that most of the signatures had been obtained by misrepresentation
and through proffers of certain annuities, and promises of arms and
ammunition to be issued in the spring of 1868.  This grumbling was
very general in extent, and during the winter found outlet in
occasional marauding, so, fearing a renewal of the pillaging and
plundering at an early day, to prepare myself for the work evidently
ahead the first thing I did on assuming permanent command was to make
a trip to Fort Larned and Fort Dodge, near which places the bulk of
the Indians had congregated on Pawnee and Walnut creeks.  I wanted to
get near enough to the camps to find out for myself the actual state
of feeling among the savages, and also to familiarize myself with the
characteristics of the Plains Indians, for my previous experience had
been mainly with mountain tribes on the Pacific coast.  Fort Larned I
found too near the camps for my purpose, its proximity too readily
inviting unnecessary "talks," so I remained here but a day or two,
and then went on to Dodge, which, though considerably farther away
from the camps, was yet close enough to enable us to obtain easily
information of all that was going on.

It took but a few days at Dodge to discover that great discontent
existed about the Medicine Lodge concessions, to see that the young
men were chafing and turbulent, and that it would require much tact
and good management on the part of the Indian Bureau to persuade the
four tribes to go quietly to their reservations, under an agreement
which, when entered into, many of them protested had not been fully

A few hours after my arrival a delegation of prominent chiefs called
on me and proposed a council, where they might discuss their
grievances, and thus bring to the notice of the Government the
alleged wrongs done them; but this I refused, because Congress had
delegated to the Peace Commission the whole matter of treating with
them, and a council might lead only to additional complications.  My
refusal left them without hope of securing better terms, or of even
delaying matters longer; so henceforth they were more than ever
reckless and defiant.  Denunciations of the treaty became outspoken,
and as the young braves grew more and more insolent every day, it
amounted to conviction that, unless by some means the irritation was
allayed, hostilities would surely be upon us when the buffalo
returned to their summer feeding-grounds between the Arkansas and the

The principal sufferers in this event would be the settlers in middle
and western Kansas, who, entirely ignorant of the dangers hanging
over them, were laboring to build up homes in a new country.  Hence
the maintenance of peace was much to be desired, if it could be
secured without too great concessions, and although I would not meet
the different tribes in a formal council, yet, to ward off from
settlers as much as possible the horrors of savage warfare, I showed,
by resorting to persuasive methods, my willingness to temporize a
good deal.  An abundant supply of rations is usually effective to
keep matters quiet in such cases, so I fed them pretty freely, and
also endeavored to control them through certain men who, I found,
because of former associations, had their confidence.  These men,
employed as scouts, or interpreters, were Mr. William Comstock, Mr.
Abner S. Grover, and Mr. Richard Parr.  They had lived on the Plains
for many years with different tribes of Indians, had trapped and
hunted with them, and knew all the principal chiefs and headmen.
Through such influences, I thought I saw good chances of preserving
peace, and of inducing the discontented to go quietly to their
reservations in the Indian Territory as soon as General Hazen, the
representative of the Peace Commissioners, was ready to conduct them
there from Fort Larned.

Before returning to Leavenworth I put my mediators (as I may call
them) under charge of an officer of the army, Lieutenant F. W.
Beecher, a very intelligent man, and directed him to send them out to
visit among the different tribes, in order to explain what was
intended by the treaty of Medicine Lodge, and to make every effort
possible to avert hostilities.  Under these instructions Comstock and
Grover made it their business to go about among the Cheyennes--the
most warlike tribe of all--then camping about the headwaters of
Pawnee and Walnut creeks, and also to the north and west of Fort
Wallace, while Parr spent his time principally with the Kiowas and

From the different posts--Wallace, Dodge, and Larned Lieutenant
Beecher kept up communication with all three scouts, and through him
I heard from them at least once a week.  Every now and then some
trouble along the railroad or stage routes would be satisfactorily
adjusted and quiet restored, and matters seemed to be going on very
well, the warm weather bringing the grass and buffalo in plenty, and
still no outbreak, nor any act of downright hostility.  So I began to
hope that we should succeed in averting trouble till the favorite war
season of the Indians was over, but the early days of August rudely
ended our fancied tranquility.

In July the encampments about Fort Dodge began to break up, each band
or tribe moving off to some new location north of the Arkansas,
instead of toward its proper reservation to the south of that river.
Then I learned presently that a party of Cheyennes had made a raid on
the Kaws--a band of friendly Indians living near Council Grove--and
stolen their horses, and also robbed the houses of several white
people near Council Grove.  This raid was the beginning of the Indian
war of 1868.  Immediately following it, the Comanches and Kiowas came
to Fort Larned to receive their annuities, expecting to get also the
arms and ammunition promised them at Medicine Lodge, but the raid to
Council Grove having been reported to the Indian Department, the
issue of arms was suspended till reparation was made.  This action of
the Department greatly incensed the savages, and the agent's offer of
the annuities without guns and pistols was insolently refused, the
Indians sulking back to their camps, the young men giving themselves
up to war-dances, and to powwows with "medicine-men," till all hope
of control was gone.

Brevet Brigadier-General Alfred Sully, an officer of long experience
in Indian matters, who at this time was in command of the District of
the Arkansas, which embraced Forts Larned and Dodge, having notified
me of these occurrences at Larned, and expressed the opinion that the
Indians were bent on mischief, I directed him there immediately to
act against them.  After he reached Larned, the chances for peace
appeared more favorable.  The Indians came to see him, and protested
that it was only a few bad young men who had been depredating, and
that all would be well and the young men held in check if the agent
would but issue the arms and ammunition.  Believing their promises,
Sully thought that the delivery of the arms would solve all the
difficulties, so on his advice the agent turned them over along with
the annuities, the Indians this time condescendingly accepting.

This issue of arms and ammunition was a fatal mistake; Indian
diplomacy had overreached Sully's experience, and even while the
delivery was in progress a party of warriors had already begun a raid
of murder and rapine, which for acts of devilish cruelty perhaps has
no parallel in savage warfare.  The party consisted of about two
hundred Cheyennes and a few Arapahoes, with twenty Sioux who had been
visiting their friends, the Cheyennes.  As near as could be
ascertained, they organized and left their camps along Pawnee Creek
about the 3d of August.  Traveling northeast, they skirted around
Fort Harker, and made their first appearance among the settlers in
the Saline Valley, about thirty miles north of that post.  Professing
friendship and asking food at the farm-houses, they saw the
unsuspecting occupants comply by giving all they could spare from
their scanty stores.  Knowing the Indian's inordinate fondness for
coffee, particularly when well sweetened, they even served him this
luxury freely.  With this the demons began their devilish work.
Pretending to be indignant because it was served them in tin cups,
they threw the hot contents into the women's faces, and then, first
making prisoners of the men, they, one after another, ravished the
women till the victims became insensible.  For some inexplicable
reason the two farmers were neither killed nor carried off, so after
the red fiends had gone, the unfortunate women were brought in to
Fort Harker, their arrival being the first intimation to the military
that hostilities had actually begun.

Leaving the Saline, this war-party crossed over to the valley of the
Solomon, a more thickly settled region, and where the people were in
better circumstances, their farms having been started two or three
years before.  Unaware of the hostile character of the raiders, the
people here received them in the friendliest way, providing food, and
even giving them ammunition, little dreaming of what was impending.
These kindnesses were requited with murder and pillage, and worse,
for all the women who fell into their hands were subjected to horrors
indescribable by words.  Here also the first murders were committed,
thirteen men and two women being killed.  Then, after burning five
houses and stealing all the horses they could find, they turned back
toward the Saline, carrying away as prisoners two little girls named
Bell, who have never been heard of since.

It was probably the intention to finish, as they marched back to the
south, the devilish work begun on the Saline, but before they reached
that valley on the return, the victims left there originally had fled
to Fort Harker, as already explained, and Captain Benteen was now
nearing the little settlement with a troop of cavalry, which he had
hurriedly marched from Fort Zarah.  The savages were attacking the
house of a Mr. Schermerhorn, where a few of the settlers had
collected for defense, when Benteen approached.  Hearing the firing,
the troopers rode toward the sound at a gallop, but when they
appeared in view, coming over the hills, the Indians fled in all
directions, escaping punishment through their usual tactics of
scattering over the Plains, so as to leave no distinctive trail.

When this frightful raid was taking place, Lieutenant Beecher, with
his three scouts--Comstock, Grover, and Parr--was on Walnut Creek.
Indefinite rumors about troubles on the Saline and Solomon reaching
him, he immediately sent Comstock and Grover over to the headwaters
of the Solomon, to the camp of a band of Cheyennes, whose chief was
called "Turkey Leg," to see if any of the raiders belonged there; to
learn the facts, and make explanations, if it was found that the
white people had been at fault.  For years this chief had been a
special friend of Comstock and Grover.  They had trapped, hunted, and
lived with his band, and from this intimacy they felt confident of
being able to get "Turkey Leg" to quiet his people, if any of them
were engaged in the raid; and, at all events, they expected, through
him and his band, to influence the rest of the Cheyennes.  From the
moment they arrived in the Indian village, however, the two scouts
met with a very cold reception.  Neither friendly pipe nor food was
offered them, and before they could recover from their chilling
reception, they were peremptorily ordered out of the village, with
the intimation that when the Cheyennes were on the war-path the
presence of whites was intolerable.  The scouts were prompt to leave,
of course, and for a few miles were accompanied by an escort of seven
young men, who said they were sent with them to protect the two from
harm.  As the party rode along over the prairie, such a depth
of attachment was professed for Comstock and Grover that,
notwithstanding all the experience of their past lives, they were
thoroughly deceived, and in the midst of a friendly conversation some
of the young warriors fell suddenly to the rear and treacherously
fired on them.

At the volley Comstock fell from his horse instantly killed.  Grover,
badly wounded in the shoulder, also fell to the ground near Comstock
Seeing his comrade was dead, Grover made use of his friend's body to
protect himself, lying close behind it.  Then took place a remarkable
contest, Grover, alone and severely wounded, obstinately fighting the
seven Indians, and holding them at bay for the rest of the day.
Being an expert shot, and having a long-range repeating rifle, he
"stood off" the savages till dark.  Then cautiously crawling away on
his belly to a deep ravine, he lay close, suffering terribly from his
wound, till the following night, when, setting out for Fort Wallace,
he arrived there the succeeding day, almost crazed from pain and

Simultaneously with the fiendish atrocities committed on the Saline
and Solomon rivers and the attack on Comstock and Grover, the
pillaging and murdering began on the Smoky Hill stage-route, along
the upper Arkansas River and on the headwaters of the Cimarron.  That
along the Smoky Hill and north of it was the exclusive work of, the
Cheyennes, a part of the Arapahoes, and the few Sioux allies
heretofore mentioned, while the raiding on the Arkansas and Cimarron
was done principally by the Kiowas under their chief, Satanta, aided
by some of the Comanches.  The young men of these tribes set out on
their bloody work just after the annuities and guns were issued at
Larned, and as soon as they were well on the road the rest of the
Comanches and Kiowas escaped from the post and fled south of the
Arkansas.  They were at once pursued by General Sully with a small
force, but by the time he reached the Cimarron the war-party had
finished its raid on the upper Arkansas, and so many Indians combined
against Sully that he was compelled to withdraw to Fort Dodge, which
he reached not without considerable difficulty, and after three
severe fights.

These, and many minor raids which followed, made it plain that a
general outbreak was upon us.  The only remedy, therefore, was to
subjugate the savages immediately engaged in the forays by forcing
the several tribes to settle down on the reservations set apart by
the treaty of Medicine Lodge.  The principal mischief-makers were the
Cheyennes.  Next in deviltry were the Kiowas, and then the Arapahoes
and Comanches.  Some few of these last two tribes continued friendly,
or at least took no active part in the raiding, but nearly all the
young men of both were the constant allies of the Cheyennes and
Kiowas.  All four tribes together could put on the war-path a
formidable force of about 6,000 warriors.  The subjugation of this
number of savages would be no easy task, so to give the matter my
undivided attention I transferred my headquarters from Leavenworth to
Fort Hays, a military post near which the prosperous town of Hays
City now stands.

Fort Hays was just beyond the line of the most advanced settlements,
and was then the terminus of the Kansas-Pacific railroad.  For this
reason it could be made a depot of supplies, and was a good point
from which to supervise matters in the section of country to be
operated in, which district is a part of the Great American Plains,
extending south from the Platte River in Nebraska to the Red River in
the Indian Territory, and westward from the line of frontier
settlements to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a vast region
embracing an area of about 150,000 square miles.  With the exception
of a half-dozen military posts and a few stations on the two overland
emigrant routes--the Smoky Hill to Denver, and the Arkansas to New
Mexico--this country was an unsettled waste known only to the Indians
and a few trappers.  There were neither roads nor well-marked trails,
and the only timber to be found--which generally grew only along the
streams--was so scraggy and worthless as hardly to deserve the name.
Nor was water by any means plentiful, even though the section is
traversed by important streams, the Republican, the Smoky Hill, the
Arkansas, the Cimarron, and the Canadian all flowing eastwardly, as
do also their tributaries in the main.  These feeders are sometimes
long and crooked, but as a general thing the volume of water is
insignificant except after rain-falls.  Then, because of unimpeded
drainage, the little streams fill up rapidly with torrents of water,
which quickly flows off or sinks into the sand, leaving only an
occasional pool without visible inlet or outlet.

At the period of which I write, in 1868, the Plains were covered with
vast herds of buffalo--the number has been estimated at 3,000,000
head--and with such means of subsistence as this everywhere at hand,
the 6,000 hostiles were wholly unhampered by any problem of
food-supply.  The savages were rich too according to Indian standards,
many a lodge owning from twenty to a hundred ponies; and
consciousness of wealth and power, aided by former temporizing, had
made them not only confident but defiant.  Realizing that their
thorough subjugation would be a difficult task, I made up my mind to
confine operations during the grazing and hunting season to
protecting the people of the new settlements and on the overland
routes, and then, when winter came, to fall upon the savages
relentlessly, for in that season their ponies would be thin, and weak
from lack of food, and in the cold and snow, without strong ponies to
transport their villages and plunder, their movements would be so
much impeded that the troops could overtake them.

At the outbreak of hostilities I had in all, east of New Mexico, a
force of regulars numbering about 2,600 men--1,200 mounted and 1,400
foot troops.  The cavalry was composed of the Seventh and Tenth
regiments; the infantry, of the Third and Fifth regiments and four
companies of the Thirty-Eighth.  With these few troops all the posts
along the Smoky Hill and Arkansas had to be garrisoned, emigrant
trains escorted, and the settlements and routes of travel and the
construction parties on the Kansas-Pacific railway protected.  Then,
too, this same force had to furnish for the field small movable
columns, that were always on the go, so it will be rightly inferred
that every available man was kept busy from the middle of August till
November; especially as during this period the hostiles attacked over
forty widely dispersed places, in nearly all cases stealing horses,
burning houses, and killing settlers.  It was of course impossible to
foresee where these descents would be made, but as soon as an attack
was heard of assistance was always promptly rendered, and every now
and then we succeeded in killing a few savages.  As a general thing,
though, the raiders escaped before relief arrived, and when they had
a few miles the start, all efforts to catch them were futile.  I
therefore discouraged long pursuits, and, in fact, did not approve of
making any at all unless the chances of obtaining paying results were
very evident, otherwise the troops would be worn out by the time the
hard work of the winter was demanded from them.

To get ready for a winter campaign of six months gave us much to do.
The thing most needed was more men, so I asked for additional
cavalry, and all that could be spareds--even troops of the Fifth
Cavalry--was sent tome.  Believing this reinforcement insufficient,
to supplement it I applied for a regiment of Kansas volunteers, which
request being granted, the organization of the regiment was
immediately begun at Topeka.  It was necessary also to provide a
large amount of transportation and accumulate quantities of stores,
since the campaign probably would not end till spring.  Another
important matter was to secure competent guides for the different
columns of troops, for, as I have said, the section of country to be
operated in was comparatively unknown.

In those days the railroad town of Hays City was filled with so
called "Indian scouts," whose common boast was of having slain scores
of redskins, but the real scout--that is, a 'guide and trailer
knowing the habits of the Indians--was very scarce, and it was hard
to find anybody familiar with the country south of the Arkansas,
where the campaign was to be made.  Still, about Hays City and the
various military posts there was some good material to select from,
and we managed to employ several men, who, from their experience on
the Plains in various capacities, or from natural instinct and
aptitude, soon became excellent guides and courageous and valuable
scouts, some of them, indeed, gaining much distinction.  Mr. William
F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill"), whose renown has since become world-wide,
was one of the men thus selected.  He received his sobriquet from his
marked success in killing buffaloes for a contractor, to supply fresh
meat to the construction parties, on the Kansas-Pacific railway.  He
had given up this business, however, and was now in the employ of the
quartermaster's department of the army, and was first brought to my
notice by distinguishing himself in bringing me an important despatch
from Fort Larned to Fort Hays, a distance of sixty-five miles,
through a section infested with Indians.  The despatch informed me
that the Indians near Larned were preparing to decamp, and this
intelligence required that certain orders should be carried to Fort
Dodge, ninety-five miles south of Hays.  This too being a
particularly dangerous route--several couriers having been killed on
it--it was impossible to get one of the various "Petes," "Jacks," or
"Jims" hanging around Hays City to take my communication.  Cody
learning of the strait I was in, manfully came to the rescue, and
proposed to make the trip to Dodge, though he had just finished his
long and perilous ride from Larned.  I gratefully accepted his offer,
and after four or five hours' rest he mounted a fresh horse and
hastened on his journey, halting but once to rest on the way, and
then only for an hour, the stop being made at Coon Creek, where he
got another mount from a troop of cavalry.  At Dodge he took six
hours' sleep, and then continued on to his own post--Fort Larned
--with more despatches.  After resting twelve hours at Larned, he was
again in the saddle with tidings for me at Fort Hays, General Hazen
sending him, this time, with word that the villages had fled to the
south of the Arkansas.  Thus, in all, Cody rode about 350 miles in less
than sixty hours, and such an exhibition of endurance and courage was
more than enough to convince me that his services would be extremely
valuable in the campaign, so I retained him at Fort Hays till the
battalion of the Fifth Cavalry arrived, and then made him chief of
scouts for that regiment.

The information brought me by Cody on his second trip from Larned
indicated where the villages would be found in the winter, and I
decided to move on them about the 1st of November.  Only the women
and children and the decrepit old men were with the villages, however
enough, presumably, to look after the plunder most of the warriors
remaining north of the Arkansas to continue their marauding.  Many
severe fights occurred between our troops and these marauders, and in
these affairs, before November 1 over a hundred Indians were killed,
yet from the ease with which the escaping savages would disappear
only to fall upon remote settlements with pillage and murder, the
results were by no means satisfactory.  One of the most noteworthy of
these preliminary affairs was the gallant fight made on the
Republican River the 17th of September by my Aide, Colonel George A.
Forsyth, and party, against about seven hundred Cheyennes and Sioux.
Forsyth, with Lieutenant Beecher, and Doctor J. H. Mooers as surgeon,
was in charge of a company of citizen scouts, mostly expert
rifle-shots, but embracing also a few Indian fighters, among these
Grover and Parr.  The company was organized the latter part of August
for immediate work in defense of the settlements, and also for future
use in the Indian Territory when the campaign should open there.  About
the time the company had reached its complement--it was limited to
forty-seven men and three officers--a small band of hostiles began
depredations near Sheridan City, one of the towns that grew up
over-night on the Kansas-Pacific railway.  Forsyth pursued this party,
but failing to overtake it, made his way into Fort Wallace for rations,
intending to return from there to Fort Hays.  Before he started back,
however, another band of Indians appeared near the post and stole some
horses from the stage company.  This unexpected raid made Forsyth hot
to go for the marauders, and he telegraphed me for permission, which I
as promptly gave him.  He left the post on the 10th of September, the
command consisting of himself, Lieutenant Beecher, Acting Assistant
Surgeon Mooers, and the full strength, forty-seven men, with a few pack
mules carrying about ten days' rations.

He headed north toward the Republican River.  For the first two days
the trail was indistinct and hard to follow.  During the next three
it continued to grow much larger, indicating plainly that the number
of Indians ahead was rapidly increasing.  Of course this sign meant a
fight as soon as a large enough force was mustered, but as this was
what Forsyth was after, he pushed ahead with confidence and alacrity.
The night of the 16th of September he encamped on the Arickaree
branch of the Republican, not far from the forks of the river, with
the expectation of resuming the march as usual next day, for the
indications were that the main body of the savages must be still a
long way off, though in the preceding twenty-four hours an occasional
Indian had been seen.

But the enemy was much nearer than was thought, for at daybreak on
the morning of the 17th he made known his immediate presence by a
sudden dash at Forsyth's horses, a few of which were stampeded and
captured before the scouts could reach them.  This dash was made by a
small party only to get the horses, so those engaged in it were soon
driven off, but a few minutes later hundreds of savages--it was
afterward learned that seven hundred warriors took part in the fight
--hitherto invisible, showed themselves on the hills overlooking the
camp and so menacingly as to convince Forsyth that his defense must
be one of desperation.  The only place at hand that gave any hope of
successful resistance was a small island in the Arickaree, the
channel on one side being about a foot deep while on the other it was
completely dry; so to this position a hurried retreat was made.  All
the men and the remaining animals reached the island in safety, but
on account of the heavy fire poured in from the neighboring hills the
packs containing the rations and medicines had to be abandoned.

On seeing Forsyth's hasty move, the Indians, thinking they had him,
prepared to overwhelm the scouts by swooping down on one side of the
island with about five hundred mounted warriors, while about two
hundred, covered by the tall grass in the river-bottom attacked the
other side, dismounted.  But the brave little band sadly disappointed
them.  When the charge came it was met with such a deadly fire that a
large number of the fiends were killed, some of them even after
gaining the bank of the island.  This check had the effect of making
the savages more wary, but they were still bold enough to make two
more assaults before mid-day.  Each of these ending like the first,
the Indians thereafter contented themselves with shooting
all the horses, which had been tied up to some scraggy little
cottonwood-trees, and then proceeded to lay siege to the party.

The first man struck was Forsyth himself.  He was hit three times in
all--twice in one leg, both serious wounds, and once on the head, a
slight abrasion of the scalp.  A moment later Beecher was killed and
Doctor Mooers mortally wounded: and in addition to these misfortunes
the scouts kept getting hit, till several were killed, and the whole
number of casualties had reached twenty-one in a company of
forty-seven.  Yet with all this, and despite the seeming hopelessness
of the situation, the survivors kept up their pluck undiminished, and
during a lull succeeding the third repulse dug into the loose soil till
the entire party was pretty well protected by rifle-pits.  Thus covered
they stood off the Indians for the next three days, although of course
their condition became deplorable from lack of food, while those who
were hurt suffered indescribable agony, since no means were at hand for
dressing their wounds.

By the third day the Indians, seeming to despair of destroying the
beleaguered party before succor might arrive, began to draw off, and
on the fourth wholly disappeared.  The men were by this time nearly
famished for food.  Even now there was nothing to be had except
horse-meat from the carcasses of the animals killed the first day,
and this, though decidedly unpalatable, not to say disgusting, had to
be put up with, and so on such unwholesome stuff they managed to live
for four days longer, at the end of which time they were rescued by a
column of troops under Colonel Bankhead, which had hastened from Fort
Wallace in response to calls for help, carried there by two brave
fellows--Stilwell and Truedell--who, volunteering to go for relief,
had slipped through the Indians, and struck out for that post in the
night after the first day's fight.



The end of October saw completed the most of my arrangements for the
winter campaign, though the difficulties and hardships to be
encountered had led several experienced officers of the army, and
some frontiersmen like Mr. James Bridger, the famous scout and, guide
of earlier days, to discourage the project.  Bridger even went so far
as to come out from St. Louis to dissuade me, but I reasoned that as
the soldier was much better fed and clothed than the Indian, I had
one great advantage, and that, in short, a successful campaign could
be made if the operations of the different columns were energetically
conducted.  To see to this I decided to go in person with the main
column, which was to push down into the western part of the Indian
Territory, having for its initial objective the villages which, at
the beginning of hostilities, had fled toward the head-waters of the
Red River, and those also that had gone to the same remote region
after decamping from the neighborhood of Larned at the time that
General Hazen sent Buffalo Bill to me with the news.

The column which was expected to do the main work was to be composed
of the Nineteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Colonel
Crawford; eleven troops of the Seventh United States Cavalry, under
General Custer, and a battalion of five companies of infantry under
Brevet Major John H. Page.  To facilitate matters, General Sully, the
district commander, was ordered to rendezvous these troops and
establish a supply depot about a hundred miles south of Fort Dodge,
as from such a point operations could be more readily conducted.  He
selected for the depot a most suitable place at the confluence of
Beaver and Wolf creeks, and on his arrival there with Custer's and
Page's commands, named the place Camp Supply.

In conjunction with the main column, two others also were to
penetrate the Indian Territory.  One of these, which was to march
east from New Mexico by way of Fort Bascom was to be composed of six
troops of the Third Cavalry and two companies of infantry, the whole
under Colonel A. W. Evans.  The other, consisting of seven troops of
the Fifth Cavalry, and commanded by Brevet Brigadier-General Eugene
A. Carr, was to march southeast from Fort Lyon; the intention being
that Evans and Carr should destroy or drive in toward old Fort Cobb
any straggling bands that might be prowling through the country west
of my own line of march; Carr, as he advanced, to be joined by Brevet
Brigadier-General W. H. Penrose, with five troops of cavalry already
in the field southeast of Lyon.  The Fort Bascom column, after
establishing a depot of supplies at Monument Creek, was to work down
the main Canadian, and remain out as long as it could feed itself
from New Mexico; Carr, having united with Penrose on the North
Canadian, was to operate toward the Antelope Hills and headwaters of
the Red River; while I, with the main column was to move southward to
strike the Indians along the Washita, or still farther south on
branches of the Red River.

It was no small nor easy task to outfit all these troops by the time
cold weather set in, and provide for them during the winter, but by
the 1st of November I had enough supplies accumulated at Forts Dodge
and Lyon for my own and Carr's columns, and in addition directed
subsistence and forage for three months to be sent to Fort Gibson for
final delivery at Fort Arbuckle, as I expected to feed the command
from this place when we arrived in the neighborhood of old Fort Cobb,
but through some mismanagement few of these stores got further than
Gibson before winter came on.

November 1, all being ready, Colonel Grawford was furnished with
competent guides, and, after sending two troops to Fort Dodge to act
as my escort, with the rest of his regiment he started from Topeka
November 5, under orders to march straight for the rendezvous at the
junction of Beaver and Wolf creeks.  He was expected to reach his
destination about the 20th, and there unite with the Seventh Cavalry
and the battalion of infantry, which in the mean time were on the
march from Dodge.  A few days later Carr and Evans began their march
also, and everything being now in motion, I decided to go to Camp
Supply to give the campaign my personal attention, determined to
prove that operations could be successfully conducted in spite of
winter, and bent on showing the Indians that they were not secure
from punishment because of inclement weather--an ally on which they
had hitherto relied with much assurance.

We started from Fort Hays on the 15th of November, and the first
night out a blizzard struck us and carried away our tents; and as the
gale was so violent that they could not be put up again, the rain and
snow drenched us to the skin.  Shivering from wet and cold, I took
refuge under a wagon, and there spent such a miserable night that,
when at last morning came, the gloomy predictions of old man Bridger
and others rose up before me with greatly increased force.  As we
took the road the sleet and snow were still falling, but we labored
on to Dodge that day in spite of the fact that many of the mules
played out on the way.  We stayed only one night at Dodge, and then
on the 17th, escorted by a troop of cavalry and Forsyth's scouts, now
under the command of Lieutenant Lewis Pepoon, crossed the Arkansas
and camped the night of the 18th at Bluff Creek, where the two troops
of the Nineteenth Kansas, previously detailed as my escort, were
awaiting our coming.  As we were approaching this camp some
suspicious looking objects were seen moving off at a long distance to
the east of us, but as the scouts confidently pronounced them
buffalo, we were unaware of their true character till next morning,
when we became satisfied that what we had seen were Indians, for
immediately after crossing Beaver Creek we struck a trail, leading to
the northeast, of a war party that evidently came up from the
head-waters of the Washita River.

The evening of November 21st arrived at the Camp Supply depot, having
traveled all day in another snowstorm that did not end till
twenty-four hours later.  General Sully, with Custer's regiment and the
infantry battalion, had reached the place several days before, but the
Kansas regiment had not yet put in an appearance.  All hands were hard
at work trying to shelter the stores and troops, but from the trail
seen that morning, believing that an opportunity offered to strike an
effective blow, I directed Custer to call in his working parties and
prepare to move immediately, without waiting for Crawford's regiment,
unaccountably absent.  Custer was ready to start by the 23d, and he was
then instructed to march north to where the trail had been seen near
Beaver Creek and follow it on the back track, for, being convinced that
the war party had come from the Washita, I felt certain that this plan
would lead directly to the villages.

The difficulties attending a winter campaign were exhibited now with
their full force, as the march had to be conducted through a
snow-storm that hid surrounding objects, and so covered the country as
to alter the appearance of the prominent features, making the task of
the guides doubly troublesome; but in spite of these obstacles fifteen
miles had been traversed when Custer encamped for the night. The next
day the storm had ceased, and the weather was clear and cold.  The
heavy fall of snow had of course obliterated the trail in the bottoms,
and everywhere on the level; but, thanks to the wind, that had swept
comparatively bare the rough places and high ground, the general
direction could be traced without much trouble.  The day's march, which
was through a country abounding with buffalo, was unattended by any
special incident at first, but during the afternoon, after getting the
column across the Canadian River--an operation which, on account of the
wagons, consumed considerable time--Custer's scouts (friendly Osages)
brought back word that, some miles ahead, they had struck fresh signs,
a trail coming into the old one from the north, which, in their
opinion, indicated that the war party was returning to the villages.

On the receipt of this news, Custer, leaving a guard with the wagons,
hastily assembled the rest of his men' and pushing on rapidly,
overtook the scouts and a detailed party from his regiment which had
accompanied them, all halted on the new trail awaiting his arrival.
A personal examination satisfied Custer that the surmises of his
scouts were correct; and also that the fresh trail in the deep snow
could at night be followed with ease.  After a short halt for supper
and rest the pursuit was resumed, the Osage scouts in advance, and
although the hostile Indians were presumed to be yet some distance
off, every precaution was taken to prevent detection and to enable
our troops to strike them unawares.  The fresh trail, which it was
afterward ascertained had been made by raiders from Black Kettle's
village of Cheyennes, and by some Arapahoes, led into the valley of
the Washita, and growing fresher as the night wore on, finally
brought the Osages upon a campfire, still smoldering, which, it was
concluded, had been built by the Indian boys acting as herders of the
ponies during the previous day.  It was evident, then, that the
village could be but a few miles off; hence the pursuit was continued
with redoubled caution until, a few hours before dawn of the 27th, as
the leading scouts peered over a rise on the line of march, they
discovered a large body of animals in the valley below.

As soon as they reported this discovery, Custer determined to
acquaint himself with the situation by making a reconnoissance in
person, accompanied by his principal officers.  So, sending back word
to halt the cavalry, he directed the officers to ride forward with
him; then dismounting, the entire party crept cautiously to a high
point which overlooked the valley, and from where, by the bright moon
then shining, they saw just how the village was situated. Its
position was such as to admit of easy approach from all sides.  So,
to preclude an escape of the Indians, Custer decided to attack at
daybreak, and from four different directions.

The plan having been fully explained to the officers, the remaining
hours of the night were employed in making the necessary
dispositions.  Two of the detachments left promptly, since they had
to make a circuitous march of several miles to Teach the points
designated for their attack; the third started a little later; and
then the fourth and last, under Custer himself, also moved into
position.  As the first light grew visible in the east, each column
moved closer in to the village, and then, all dispositions having
been made according to the prearranged plan, from their appointed
places the entire force to the opening notes of "Garry Owen," played
by the regimental band as the signal for the attack--dashed at a
gallop into the village.  The sleeping and unsuspecting savages were
completely surprised by the onset; yet after the first confusion,
during which the impulse to escape principally actuated them, they
seized their weapons, and from behind logs and trees, or plunging
into the stream and using its steep bank as a breastwork, they poured
upon their assailants a heavy fire, and kept on fighting with every
exhibition of desperation.  In such a combat mounted men were
useless, so Custer directed his troopers to fight on, foot, and the
Indians were successively driven from one point of vantage to
another, until, finally, by 9 o'clock the entire camp was in his
possession and the victory complete.  Black Kettle and over one
hundred of his warriors were killed, and about fifty women and
children captured; but most of the noncombatants, as well as a few
warriors and boys, escaped in the confusion of the fight.  Making
their way down the river, these fugitives alarmed the rest of the
Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and also the Kiowas and Comanches, whose
villages were in close proximity--the nearest not more than two miles

Then of course all the warriors of these tribes rallied to attack
Custer, who meantime was engaged burning Black Kettle's camp and
collecting his herds of ponies.  But these new foes were rather wary
and circumspect, though they already had partial revenge in an
unlooked for way by cutting off Major Elliott and fifteen men, who
had gone off in pursuit of a batch of young warriors when the fight
was going on at the village.  In fact, the Indians had killed
Elliott's whole party, though neither the fate of the poor fellows,
nor how they happened to be caught, was known till long afterward.
It was then ascertained that the detachment pursued a course due
south, nearly at right angles to the Washita River, and after
galloping a couple of miles over the hills, crossing a small branch
of the Washita on the way, they captured some of the fugitives.  In
bringing the prisoners back, Elliott was in turn attacked on the open
prairie by a large number of savages from farther down the Washita,
who by this time were swarming to the aid of Black Kettle's village.
The little band fought its way gallantly to within rifle-range of the
small creek referred to, but could get no farther, for the Indians
had taken up a position in the bed of the stream, and from under
cover of its banks Elliott and all his remaining men were quickly
killed.  No relief was sent them, for Custer, not having seen Elliott
set out, knew nothing of the direction taken, and, besides, was busy
burning the villages and securing the ponies, and deeply concerned,
too, with defending himself from the new dangers menacing him.
Elliott and his brave little party were thus left to meet their fate

While Custer was burning the lodges and plunder and securing the
ponies, the Indians from the villages down the Washita were gathering
constantly around him till by mid-day they had collected in
thousands, and then came a new problem as to what should be done.  If
he attacked the other villages, there was great danger of his being
overwhelmed, and should he start back to Camp Supply by daylight, he
would run the risk of losing his prisoners and the ponies, so,
thinking the matter over, he decided to shoot all the ponies, and
keep skirmishing with the savages till nightfall, and then, under
cover of the darkness, return to Camp Supply; a programme that was
carried out successfully, but Custer's course received some severe
criticism because no effort was made to discover what had become of

Custer had, in all, two officers and nineteen men killed, and two
officers and eleven men wounded.  The blow struck was a most
effective one, and, fortunately, fell on one of the most villainous of
the hostile bands that, without any provocation whatever, had
perpetrated the massacres on the Saline and Solomon, committing
atrocities too repulsive for recital, and whose hands were still red
from their bloody work on the recent raid.  Black Kettle, the chief,
was an old man, and did not himself go with the raiders to the Saline
and Solomon, and on this account his fate was regretted by some.  But
it was old age only that kept him back, for before the demons set out
from Walnut Creek he had freely encouraged them by "making medicine,"
and by other devilish incantations that are gone through with at war
and scalp dances.

When the horrible work was over he undertook to shield himself by
professions of friendship, but being put to the test by my offering
to feed and care for all of his band who would come in to Fort Dodge
and remain there peaceably, he defiantly refused.  The consequence of
this refusal was a merited punishment, only too long delayed.

I received the first news of Custer's fight on the Washita on the
morning of November 29.  It was brought to me by one of his white
scouts, "California Joe," a noted character, who had been
experiencing the ups and downs of pioneer life ever since crossing
the Plains in 1849.  Joe was an invaluable guide and Indian fighter
whenever the clause of the statute prohibiting liquors in the Indian
country happened to be in full force.  At the time in question the
restriction was by no means a dead letter, and Joe came through in
thirty-six hours, though obliged to keep in hiding during daylight of
the 28th.  The tidings brought were joyfully received by everybody at
Camp Supply, and they were particularly agreeable tome, for, besides
being greatly worried about the safety of the command in the extreme
cold and deep snows, I knew that the immediate effect a victory would
be to demoralize the rest of the hostiles, which of course would
greatly facilitate and expedite our ultimate success.  Toward evening
the day after Joe arrived the head of Custer's column made its
appearance on the distant hills, the friendly Osage scouts and the
Indian prisoners in advance.  As they drew near, the scouts began a
wild and picturesque performance in celebration of the victory,
yelling, firing their guns, throwing themselves on the necks and
sides of their horses to exhibit their skill in riding, and going
through all sorts of barbaric evolutions and gyrations, which were
continued till night, when the rejoicings were ended with the hideous
scalp dance.

The disappearance of Major Elliott and his party was the only damper
upon our pleasure, and the only drawback to the very successful
expedition.  There was no definite information as to the detachment,
--and Custer was able to report nothing more than that he had not
seen Elliott since just before the fight began.  His theory was,
however, that Elliott and his men had strayed off on account of
having no guide, and would ultimately come in all right to Camp
Supply or make their way back to Fort Dodge; a very unsatisfactory
view of the matter, but as no one knew the direction Elliott had
taken, it was useless to speculate on other suppositions, and
altogether too late to make any search for him.  I was now anxious to
follow up Custer's stroke by an immediate move to the south with the
entire column, but the Kansas regiment had not yet arrived.  At first
its nonappearance did not worry me much, for I attributed the delay
to the bad weather, and supposed Colonel Crawford had wisely laid up
during the worst storms.  Further, waiting, however, would give the
Indians a chance to recover from the recent dispiriting defeat, so I
sent out scouting parties to look Crawford up and hurry him along.
After a great deal of searching, a small detachment of the regiment
was found about fifty miles below us on the North Canadian, seeking
our camp.  This detachment was in a pretty bad plight, and when
brought in, the officer in charge reported that the regiment, by not
following the advice of the guide sent to conduct it to Camp Supply,
had lost its way.  Instead of relying on the guides, Crawford had
undertaken to strike through the canyons of the Cimarron by what
appeared to him a more direct route, and in the deep gorges, filled
as they were with snow, he had been floundering about for days
without being able to extricate his command.  Then, too, the men were
out of rations, though they had been able to obtain enough buffalo
meat to keep from starving.  As for the horses, since they could get
no grass, about seven hundred of them had already perished from
starvation and exposure.  Provisions and guides were immediately sent
out to the regiment, but before the relief could reach Crawford his
remaining horses were pretty much all gone, though the men were
brought in without loss of life.  Thus, the regiment being dismounted
by this misfortune at the threshold of the campaign, an important
factor of my cavalry was lost to me, though as foot-troops the Kansas
volunteers continued to render very valuable services till mustered
out the next spring.



A few days were necessarily lost setting up and refitting the Kansas
regiment after its rude experience in the Cimarron canyons.  This
through with, the expedition, supplied with thirty days' rations,
moved out to the south on the 7th of December, under my personal
command.  We headed for the Witchita Mountains, toward which rough
region all the villages along the Washita River had fled after
Custer's fight with Black Kettle.  My line of march was by way of
Custer's battle-field, and thence down the Washita, and if the
Indians could not sooner be brought to terms, I intended to follow
them into the Witchita Mountains from near old Fort Cobb.  The snow
was still deep everywhere, and when we started the thermometer was
below zero, but the sky being clear and the day very bright, the
command was in excellent spirits.  The column was made up of ten
companies of the Kansas regiment, dismounted; eleven companies of the
Seventh Cavalry, Pepoon's scouts, and the Osage scouts.  In addition
to Pepoon's men and the Osages, there was also "California Joe," and
one or two other frontiersmen besides, to act as guides and
interpreters.  Of all these the principal one, the one who best knew
the country, was Ben Clark, a young man who had lived with the
Cheyennes during much of his boyhood, and who not only had a pretty
good knowledge of the country, but also spoke fluently the Cheyenne
and Arapahoe dialects, and was an adept in the sign language.

The first day we made only about ten miles, which carried us to the
south bank of Wolf Creek.  A considerable part of the day was devoted
to straightening out matters in the command, and allowing time for
equalizing the wagon loads, which as a general thing, on a first
day's march, are unfairly distributed.  And then there was an
abundance of fire-wood at Wolf Creek; indeed, here and on Hackberry
Creek--where I intended to make my next camp--was the only timber
north of the Canadian River; and to select the halting places near a
plentiful supply of wood was almost indispensable, for as the men
were provided with only shelter-tents, good fires were needed in
order to keep warm.

The second day, after marching for hours through vast herds of
buffalo, we made Hackberry Creek; but not, however, without several
stampedes in the wagon-train, the buffalo frightening the mules so
that it became necessary to throw out flankers to shoot the leading
bulls and thus turn off the herds.  In the wake of every drove
invariably followed a band of wolves.  This animal is a great coward
usually, but hunger had made these so ravenous that they would come
boldly up to the column, and as quick as a buffalo was killed, or
even disabled, they would fall upon the carcass and eagerly devour
it.  Antelope also were very numerous, and as they were quite tame
--being seldom chased--and naturally very inquisitive, it was not an
unfrequent thing to see one of the graceful little creatures run in
among the men and be made a prisoner.  Such abundance of game
relieved the monotony of the march to Hackberry Creek, but still,
both men and animals were considerably exhausted by their long tramp,
for we made over thirty miles that day.

We camped in excellent shape on the creek and it was well we did, for
a "Norther," or "blizzard," as storms on the Plains are now termed
struck us in the night.  During the continuance of these blizzards,
which is usually about three days, the cold wind sweeps over the
Plains with great force, and, in the latitude of the Indian
Territory, is weighted with great quantities of sleet and snow,
through which it is often impossible to travel; indeed, these
"Northers" have many times proved fatal to the unprotected
frontiersman.  With our numbers the chance of any one's being lost,
and perishing alone (one of the most common dangers in a blizzard),
was avoided; but under any circumstances such a storm could but
occasion intense suffering to all exposed to it, hence it would have
been well to remain in camp till the gale was over, but the time
could not be spared.  We therefore resumed the march at an early hour
next morning, with the expectation of making the south bank of the
main Canathan and there passing the night, as Clark assured me that
timber was plentiful on that side of the river.  The storm greatly
impeded us, however, many of the mules growing discouraged, and some
giving out entirely, so we could not get to Clark's "good camp," for
with ten hours of utmost effort only about half a day's distance
could be covered, when at last, finding the struggle useless, we were
forced to halt for the night in a bleak bottom on the north bank of
the river.  But no one could sleep, for the wind swept over us with
unobstructed fury, and the only fuel to be had was a few green
bushes.  As night fell a decided change of temperature added much to
our misery, the mercury, which had risen when the "Norther" began,
again falling to zero.  It can be easily imagined that under such
circumstances the condition of the men was one of extreme discomfort;
in truth, they had to tramp up and down the camp all night long to
keep from freezing.  Anything was a relief to this state of things,
so at the first streak of day we quit the dreadful place and took up
the march.

A seemingly good point for crossing the Canadian was found a couple
of miles down the stream, where we hoped to get our train over on the
ice, but an experiment proving that it was not strong enough, a ford
had to be made, which was done by marching some of the cavalry
through the river, which was about half a mile wide, to break up the
large floes when they had been cut loose with axes.  After much hard
work a passage-way was thus opened, and by noon the command was
crossed to the south bank, and after thawing out and drying our
clothes before big fires, we headed for a point on the Washita, where
Clark said there was plenty of wood, and good water too, to make us
comfortable till the blizzard had blown over.

We reached the valley of the Washita a little before dark, and camped
some five or six miles above the scene of Custer's fight, where I
concluded to remain at least a day, to rest the command and give it a
chance to refit.  In the mean time I visited the battle-field in
company with Custer and several other officers, to see if there was a
possibility of discovering any traces of Elliotts party.  On arriving
at the site of the village, and learning from Custer what
dispositions had been made in approaching for the attack, the
squadron of the escort was deployed and pushed across the river at
the point where Elliott had crossed.  Moving directly to the south,
we had not gone far before we struck his trail, and soon the whole
story was made plain by our finding, on an open level space about two
miles from the destroyed village, the dead and frozen bodies of the
entire party.  The poor fellows were all lying within a circle not
more than fifteen or twenty paces in diameter, and the little piles
of empty cartridge shells near each body showed plainly that every
man had made a brave fight.  None were scalped, but most of them were
otherwise horribly mutilated, which fiendish work is usually done by
the squaws.  All had been stripped of their clothing, but their
comrades in the escort were able to identify the bodies, which being
done, we gave them decent burial.  Their fate was one that has
overtaken many of our gallant army in their efforts to protect the
frontiersmen's homes and families from savages who give no quarter,
though they have often received it, and where the possibility of
defeat in action carries with it the certainty of death and often of
preceding torture.

From the meadow where Elliott was found we rode to the Washita, and
then down the river through the sites of the abandoned villages, that
had been strung along almost continuously for about twelve miles in
the timber skirting the stream.  On every hand appeared ample
evidence that the Indians had intended to spend the winter here, for
the ground was littered with jerked meat, bales of buffalo robes,
cooking utensils, and all sorts of plunder usually accumulated in a
permanent Indian camp.  There were, also, lying dead near the
villages hundreds of ponies, that had been shot to keep them from
falling into our hands, the scant grazing and extreme cold having
made them too weak to be driven along in the flight.  The wholesale
slaughter of these ponies was a most cheering indication that our
campaign would be ultimately successful, and we all prayed for at
least a couple of months more of cold weather and plenty of snow.

At the Kiowa village we found the body of a white woman--a Mrs.
Blynn--and also that of her child.  These captives had been taken by
the Kiowas near Fort Lyon the previous summer, and kept close
prisoners until the stampede began, the poor woman being reserved to
gratify the brutal lust of the chief, Satanta; then, however, Indian
vengeance demanded the murder of the poor creatures, and after
braining the little child against a tree, the mother was shot through
the forehead, the weapon, which no doubt brought her welcome release,
having been fired so close that the powder had horribly disfigured
her face.  The two bodies were wrapped in blankets and taken to camp,
and afterward carried along in our march, till finally they were
decently interred at Fort Arbuckle..

At an early hour on December 12 the command pulled out from its cosy
camp and pushed down the valley of the Washita, following immediately
on the Indian trail which led in the direction of Fort Cobb, but
before going far it was found that the many deep ravines and canyons
on this trail would delay our train very much, so we moved out of the
valley and took the level prairie on the divide.  Here the traveling
was good, and a rapid gait was kept up till mid-day, when, another
storm of sleet and snow coming on, it became extremely difficult for
the guides to make out the proper course; and fearing that we might
get lost or caught on the open plain without wood or water--as we had
been on the Canadian--I turned the command back to the valley,
resolved to try no more shortcuts involving the risk of a disaster to
the expedition.  But to get back was no slight task, for a dense fog
just now enveloped us, obscuring all landmarks.  However, we were
headed right when the fog set in, and we had the good luck to reach
the valley before night-fall, though there was a great deal of
floundering about, and also much disputing among the guides as to
where the river would be found Fortunately we struck the stream right
at a large grove of timber, and established ourselves, admirably.  By
dark the ground was covered with twelve or fifteen inches of fresh
snow, and as usual the temperature rose very sensibly while the storm
was on, but after night-fall the snow ceased and the skies cleared
up.  Daylight having brought zero weather again, our start on the
morning of the 17th was painful work, many of the men freezing their
fingers while handling the horse equipments, harness, and tents.
However, we got off in fairly good season, and kept to the trail
along the Washita notwithstanding the frequent digging and bridging
necessary to get the wagons over ravines.

Continuing on this line for three days, we at length came to a point
on the Washita where all signs indicated that we were nearing some of
the villages.  Wishing to strike them as soon as possible, we made a
very early start next morning, the 17th.  A march of four or five
miles brought us to a difficult ravine, and while we were making
preparations to get over, word was brought that several Indians had
appeared in our front bearing a white flag and making signs that they
had a communication to deliver.  We signaled back that they would be
received, when one of the party came forward alone and delivered a
letter, which proved to be from General Hazen, at Fort Cobb.  The
letter showed that Hazen was carrying on negotiations with the
Indians, and stated that all the tribes between Fort Cobb and my
column were friendly, but the intimation was given that the
Cheyennes and Arapahoes were still hostile, having moved off
southward toward the Red River.  It was added that Satanta and Lone
Wolf--the chiefs of the Kiowas--would give information of the
whereabouts of the hostiles; and such a communication coming direct
from the representative of the Indian Department, practically took
the Kiowas--the village at hand was of that tribe--under its
protection, and also the Comanches, who were nearer in to Cobb.  Of
course, under such circumstances I was compelled to give up the
intended attack, though I afterward regretted that I had paid any
heed to the message, because Satanta and Lone Wolf proved, by
trickery and double dealing, that they had deceived Hazen into
writing the letter.

When I informed the Klowas that I would respect Hazen's letter
provided they all came into Fort Cobb and gave themselves up, the two
chiefs promised submission, and, as an evidence of good faith,
proposed to accompany the column to Fort Cobb with a large body of
warriors, while their villages moved to the same point by easy
stages, along the opposite bank of the river--claiming this to be
necessary from the poor condition of the ponies.  I had some
misgivings as to the sincerity of Satanta and Lone Wolf, but as I
wanted to get the Kiowas where their surrender would be complete, so
that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes could then be pursued, I agreed to
the proposition, and the column moved on.  All went well that day,
but the next it was noticed that the warriors were diminishing, and
an investigation showed that a number of them had gone off on various
pretexts--the main one being to help along the women and children
with the villages.  With this I suspected that they were playing me
false, and my suspicions grew into certainty when Satanta himself
tried to make his escape by slipping beyond the flank of the column
and putting spurs to his pony.  Fortunately, several officers saw
him, and quickly giving chase, overhauled him within a few hundred
yards.  I then arrested both him and Lone Wolf and held them as
hostages--a measure that had the effect of bringing back many of the
warriors already beyond our reach.

When we arrived at Fort Cobb we found some of the Comanches already
there, and soon after the rest of them, excepting one band, came in
to the post.  The Kiowas, however, were not on hand, and there were
no signs to indicate their coming.  At the end of two days it was
plain enough that they were acting in bad faith, and would continue
to unless strong pressure was brought to bear.  Indeed, they had
already started for the Witchita Mountains, so I put on the screws at
once by issuing an order to hang Satanta and Lone Wolf, if their
people did not surrender at Fort Cobb within forty-eight hours.  The
two chiefs promised prompt compliance, but begged for more time,
seeking to explain the non-arrival of the women and children through
the weak condition of the ponies; but I was tired of their duplicity,
and insisted on my ultimatum.

The order for the execution brought quick fruit.  Runners were sent
out with messages, by the two prisoners, appealing to their people to
save the lives of their chiefs, and the result was that the whole
tribe came in to the post within the specified time.  The two
manacled wretches thus saved their necks; but it is to be regretted
that the execution did not come off; for some years afterward their
devilish propensities led them into Texas, where both engaged in the
most horrible butcheries.

The Kiowas were now in our hands, and all the Comanches too, except
one small band, which, after the Custer fight, had fled toward the
headwaters of the Red River.  This party was made up of a lot of very
bad Indians--outlaws from the main tribe--and we did not hope to
subdue them except by a fight, and of this they got their fill; for
Evans, moving from Monument Creek toward the western base of the
Witchita Mountains on Christmas Day, had the good fortune to strike
their village.  In the snow and cold his approach was wholly
unexpected, and he was thus enabled to deal the band a blow that
practically annihilated it.  Twenty-five warriors were killed
outright, most of the women and children captured, and all the
property was destroyed.  Only a few of the party escaped, and some of
these made their way in to Fort Cobb, to join the rest of their tribe
in confinement; while others, later in the season, surrendered at
Fort Bascom.

This sudden appearance of Evans in the Red River region also alarmed
the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and their thoughts now began to turn to
submission.  Food was growing scarce with them, too, as there was but
little game to be found either in the Witchita Mountains or on the
edge of the Staked Plains, and the march of Carr's column from
Antelope Hills precluded their returning to where the buffalo ranged.
Then, too, many of their ponies were dead or dying, most of their
tepees and robes had been abandoned, and the women and children,
having been kept constantly on the move in the winter's storms, were
complaining bitterly of their sufferings.

In view of this state of things they intimated, through their
Comanche-Apache friends at Fort Cobb, that they would like to make
terms.  On receiving their messages I entered into negotiations with
Little Robe, chief of the Cheyennes, and Yellow Bear, chief of the
Arapahoes, and despatched envoys to have both tribes understand
clearly that they must recognize their subjugation by surrendering at
once, and permanently settling on their reservations in the spring.
Of course the usual delays of Indian diplomacy ensued, and it was
some weeks before I heard the result.

Then one of my messengers returned with word that Little Robe and
Yellow Bear were on their way to see me.  They arrived a few days
later, and, promptly acceding to the terms, promised to bring their
people in, but as many of them would have to come on foot on account
of the condition of the ponies, more time was solicited.  Convinced
of the sincerity of their professions I gave them a reasonable
extension, and eventually Yellow Bear made good his word, but Little
Robe, in spite of earnest and repeated efforts, was unable to deliver
his people till further operations were begun against them.

While these negotiations were in progess I came to the conclusion
that a permanent military post ought to be established well down on
the Kiowa and Comanche reservation, in order to keep an eye on these
tribes in the future, Fort Cobb, being an unsuitable location,
because too far to the north to protect the Texas frontier, and too
far away from where it was intended to permanently place the Indians.
With this purpose in view I had the country thoroughly explored, and
afterward a place was fixed upon not far from the base of the
Witchita Mountains, and near the confluence of Medicine Bluff and
Cash creeks, where building stone and timber could be obtained in
plenty, and to this point I decided to move.  The place was named
Camp Sill-now Fort Sill--in honor of my classmate, General Sill,
killed at Stone River; and to make sure of the surrendered Indians, I
required them all, Kiowas, Comanches, and Comanche-Apaches, to
accompany us to the new post, so they could be kept under military
control till they were settled.

During the march to the new camp the weather was not so cold as that
experienced in coming down from Camp Supply; still, rains were
frequent, and each was invariably followed by a depression of
temperature and high winds, very destructive to our animals, much
weakened by lack of food.  The men fared pretty well, however, for on
the rough march along the Washita, and during our stay at Fort Cobb,
they had learned to protect themselves materially from the cold.  For
this they had contrived many devices, the favorite means being
dugouts--that is, pits dug in the ground, and roofed over, with
shelter-tents, and having at one end a fire-place and chimney
ingeniously constructed with sod.  In these they lived very snugly
--four men in each--and would often amuse themselves by poking their
heads out and barking at the occupants of adjacent huts in imitation
of the prairie-dog, whose comfortable nests had probably suggested
the idea of dugouts.  The men were much better off, in fact, than
many of the officers, for the high winds frequently made havoc with
our wall-tents.  The horses and mules suffered most of all.  They
could not be sheltered, and having neither grain nor grass, the poor
beasts were in no condition to stand the chilling blasts.  Still, by
cutting down cottonwood-trees, and letting the animals browse on the
small soft branches, we managed to keep them up till, finally even
this wretched food beginning to grow scarce, I had all except a few
of the strongest sent to Fort Arbuckle, near which place we had been
able, fortunately, to purchase some fields of corn from the
half-civilized Chickasaws and Choctaws.

Through mismanagement, as previously noted, the greater part of the
supplies which I had ordered hauled to Arbuckle the preceding fall
had not got farther on the way than Fort Gibson, which post was about
four hundred miles off, and the road abominable, particularly east of
Arbuckle, where it ran through a low region called "boggy bottom."
All along this route were abandoned wagons, left sticking in the mud,
and hence the transportation was growing so short that I began to
fear trouble in getting subsistence up for the men.  Still, it would
not do to withdraw, so I made a trip to Arbuckle chiefly for the
purpose of reorganizing the transportation, but also with a view to
opening a new route to that post, the road to lie on high ground, so
as to avoid the creeks and mud that had been giving us so much
trouble.  If such a road could be made, I hoped to get up enough
rations and grain from the cornfields purchased to send out a
formidable expedition against the Cheyennes, so I set out for
Arbuckle accompanied by my quartermaster, Colonel A. J. McGonigle.
"California Joe" also went along to guide us through the scrub-oaks
covering the ridge, but even the most thorough exploration failed to
discover any route more practicable than that already in use; indeed,
the high ground was, if anything, worse than the bottom land, our
horses in the springy places and quicksands often miring to their
knees.  The ground was so soft and wet, in fact, that we had to make
most of the way on foot, so by the time we reached Arbuckle I was
glad to abandon the new road project.

Finding near Arbuckle more fields of corn than those already
purchased, I had them bought also, and ordered more of the horses
back there to be fed.  I next directed every available mule to be put
to hauling rations, having discovered that the full capacity of the
transportation had not yet been brought into play in forwarding
stores from Gibson, and with this regulation of the supply question I
was ready to return immediately to Camp Sill.  But my departure was
delayed by California Joe, who, notwithstanding the prohibitory laws
of the Territory, in some unaccountable way had got gloriously tipsy,
which caused a loss of time that disgusted me greatly; but as we
could not well do without Joe, I put off starting till the next day,
by which time it was thought he would sober up.  But I might just as
well have gone at first, for at the end of the twenty-four hours the
incorrigible old rascal was still dead drunk.  How he had managed to
get the grog to keep up his spree was a mystery which we could not
solve, though we had had him closely watched, so I cut the matter
short by packing him into my ambulance and carrying him off to Camp

By the time I got back to Sill, the Arapahoes were all in at the
post, or near at hand.  The promised surrender of the Cheyennes was
still uncertain of fulfillment, however, and although Little Robe and
his family had remained with us in evidence of good faith, the
messages he sent to his followers brought no assurance of the tribe's
coming in--the runners invariably returning with requests for more
time, and bringing the same old excuse of inability to move because
the ponies were so badly off.  But more time was just what I was
determined not to grant, for I felt sure that if a surrender was not
forced before the spring grass came, the ponies would regain their
strength, and then it would be doubtful if the Cheyennes came in at

To put an end to these delays, Custer proposed to go out and see the
Cheyennes himself, taking with him for escort only such number of men
as could be fairly well mounted from the few horses not sent back to
Arbuckle.  At first I was inclined to disapprove Custer's
proposition, but he urged it so strongly that I finally consented,
though with some misgivings, for I feared that so small a party might
tempt the Cheyennes to forget their pacific professions and seek to
avenge the destruction of Black Kettle's band.  However, after
obtaining my approval, Custer, with characteristic energy, made his
preparations, and started with three or four officers and forty
picked men, taking along as negotiators Yellow Bear and Little Robe,
who were also to conduct him to the head-waters of the Red River,
where it was supposed the Cheyennes would be found.  His progress was
reported by couriers every few days, and by the time he got to the
Witchita foot-hills he had grown so sanguine that he sent California
Joe back to me with word that he was certain of success.  Such
hopeful anticipation relieved me greatly, of course, but just about
the time I expected to hear that his mission had been achieved I was
astonished by the party's return.  Inquiring as to the trouble, I
learned that out toward the Staked Plains every sign of the Cheyennes
had disappeared.  Surprised and disappointed at this, and discouraged
by the loneliness of his situation--for in the whole region not a
trace of animal life was visible, Custer gave up the search, and none
too soon, I am inclined to believe, to save his small party from

This failure put a stop to all expeditions till the latter part of
February, by which time I had managed to lay in enough rations to
feed the command for about thirty days; and the horses back at
Arbuckle having picked up sufficiently for field service they were
ordered to Sill, and this time I decided to send Custer out with his
own and the Kansas regiment, with directions to insist on the
immediate surrender of the Cheyennes, or give them a sound thrashing.
He was ordered to get everything ready by March 1, and then move to
the mouth of Salt Creek, on the North Fork of the Red River, at which
place I proposed to establish a new depot for feeding the command.
Trains could reach this point from Camp Supply more readily than from
Arbuckle, and wishing to arrange this part of the programme in
person, I decided to return at once to Supply, and afterward rejoin
Custer at Salt Creek, on what, I felt sure, was to be the final
expedition of the campaign.  I made the three hundred and sixty miles
from Sill to Supply in seven days, but much to my surprise there
found a despatch from General Grant directing me to repair
immediately to Washington.  These orders precluded, of course, my
rejoining the command; but at the appointed time it set out on the
march, and within three weeks brought the campaign to a successful

In this last expedition, for the first few days Custer's route was by
the same trail he had taken in January--that is to say, along the
southern base of the Witchita Mountains--but this time there was more
to encourage him than before, for, on getting a couple of marches
beyond old Camp Radziminski, on all sides were fresh evidences of
Indians, and every effort was bent to strike them.

From day to day the signs grew hotter, and toward the latter part of
March the game was found.  The Indians being in a very forlorn
condition, Custer might have destroyed most of the tribe, and
certainly all their villages, but in order to save two white women
whom, it was discovered, they held as captives, he contented himself
with the renewal of the Cheyennes' agreement to come in to Camp
Supply.  In due time the entire tribe fulfilled its promise except
one small band under "Tall Bull," but this party received a good
drubbing from General Carr on the Republican early in May.  After
this fight all the Indians of the southern Plains settled down on
their reservations, and I doubt whether the peace would ever again
have been broken had they not in after years been driven to
hostilities by most unjust treatment.

It was the 2d of March that I received at Camp Supply Grant's
despatch directing me to report immediately in Washington.  It had
been my intention, as I have said, to join Custer on the North Fork
of the Red River, but this new order required me to recast my plans,
so, after arranging to keep the expedition supplied till the end of
the campaign, I started for Washington, accompanied by three of my
staff--Colonels McGonigle and Crosby, and Surgeon Asch, and Mr. Deb.
Randolph Keim, a representative of the press, who went through the
whole campaign, and in 1870 published a graphic history of it.  The
day we left Supply we, had another dose of sleet and snow, but
nevertheless we made good time, and by night-fall reached Bluff
Creek.  In twenty-four hours more we made Fort Dodge, and on the 6th
of March arrived at Fort Hays.  Just south of the Smoky Hill River, a
little before we got to the post, a courier heading for Fort Dodge
passed us at a rapid gait.  Suspecting that he had despatches for me,
I directed my outrider to overtake him and find out.  The courier
soon turned back, and riding up to my ambulance handed me a telegram
notifying me that General Grant, on the day of his inauguration,
March 4, 1869, had appointed me Lieutenant-General of the Army.  When
I reported in Washington, the President desired me to return to New
Orleans and resume command of the Fifth Military District, but this
was not at all to my liking, so I begged off, and was assigned to
take charge of the Division of the Missouri, succeeding General
Sherman, who had just been ordered to assume command of the Army.



After I had for a year been commanding the Division of the Missouri,
which embraced the entire Rocky Mountain region, I found it necessary
to make an inspection of the military posts in northern Utah and
Montana, in order by personal observation to inform myself of their
location and needs, and at the same time become acquainted with the
salient geographical and topographical features of that section of my
division.  Therefore in May, 1870, I started west by the
Union-Pacific railroad, and on arriving at Corinne' Station, the next
beyond Ogden, took passage by stage-coach for Helena, the capital of
Montana Territory.  Helena is nearly five hundred miles north of
Corinne, and under ordinary conditions the journey was, in those
days, a most tiresome one.  As the stage kept jogging on day and
night, there was little chance for sleep, and there being with me a
sufficient number of staff-officers to justify the proceeding, we
chartered the "outfit," stipulating that we were to stop over one
night on the road to get some rest.  This rendered the journey more
tolerable, and we arrived at Helena without extraordinary fatigue.

Before I left Chicago the newspapers were filled with rumors of
impending war between Germany and France.  I was anxious to observe
the conflict, if it was to occur, but reports made one day concerning
the beginning of hostilities would be contradicted the next, and it
was not till I reached Helena that the despatches lost their doubtful
character, and later became of so positive a nature as to make it
certain that the two nations would fight.  I therefore decided to cut
short my tour of inspection, so that I could go abroad to witness the
war, if the President would approve.  This resolution limited my stay
in Helena to a couple of days, which were devoted to arranging for an
exploration of what are now known as the Upper and the Lower Geyser
Basins of the Yellowstone Park.  While journeying between Corinne and
Helena I had gained some vague knowledge of these geysers from an old
mountaineer named Atkinson, but his information was very indefinite,
mostly second-hand; and there was such general uncertainty as to the
character of this wonderland that I authorized an escort of soldiers
to go that season from Fort Ellis with a small party, to make such
superficial explorations as to justify my sending an engineer officer
with a well-equipped expedition there next summer to scientifically
examine and report upon the strange country.  When the arrangements
for this preliminary expedition were completed I started for Fort
Benton, the head of navigation on the Missouri River, on the way
passing through Fort Shaw, on Sun River.  I expected to take at
Benton a steamboat to Fort Stevenson, a military post which had been
established about eighty miles south of Fort Buford, near a
settlement of friendly Mandan and Arickaree Indians, to protect them
from the hostile Sioux.  From there I was to make my way overland,
first to Fort Totten near Devil's lake in Dakota, and thence by way
of Fort Abercrombie to Saint Cloud, Minnesota, the terminus of the

Luckily I met with no delay in getting a boat at Benton, and though
the water was extremely low, we steamed down the channel of the
Missouri with but slight detention till we got within fifty miles of
Fort Buford.  Here we struck on a sandbar with such force of steam
and current as to land us almost out of the water from stem to
midships.  This bad luck was tantalizing, for to land on a bar when
your boat is under full headway down-stream in the Missouri River is
no trifling matter, especially if you want to make time, for the
rapid and turbid stream quickly depositing sand under the hull, makes
it commonly a task of several days to get your boat off again.  As
from our mishap the loss of much time was inevitable, I sent a
messenger to Fort Buford for a small escort, and for horses to take
my party in to the post.  Colonel Morrow, the commandant, came
himself to meet us, bringing a strong party of soldiers and some
friendly Indian scouts, because, he said, there were then in the
region around Buford so many treacherous band of Sioux as to make
things exceedingly unsafe.

Desiring to reach the post without spending more than one night on
the way, we abandoned our steamer that evening, and set off at an
early hour the next morning.  We made camp at the end of the day's
march within ten miles of Buford, and arrived at the post without
having had any incident of moment, unless we may dignify as one a
battle with three grizzly bears, discovered by our friendly Indians
the morning of our second day's journey.  While eating our breakfast
--a rather slim one, by the way--spread on a piece of canvas, the
Indians, whose bivouac was some distance off, began shouting
excitedly, "Bear! bear!" and started us all up in time to see, out on
the plain some hundreds of yards away, an enormous grizzly and two
almost full-grown cubs.  Chances like this for a bear hunt seldom
offered, so there was hurried mounting--the horses being already
saddled--and a quick advance made on the game from many directions,
Lieutenant Townsend, of the escort, and five or six of the Indians
going with me.  Alarmed by the commotion, bruin and her cubs turned
about, and with an awkward yet rapid gait headed for a deep ravine,
in which there was brushwood shelter.

My party rode directly across the prairie and struck the trail not
far behind the game.  Then for a mile or more the chase was kept up,
but with such poor shooting because of the "buck fever" which had
seized most of us, that we failed to bring down any of the grizzlies,
though the cubs grew so tired that the mother was often obliged to
halt for their defense, meanwhile urging them on before her.  When
the ravine was gained she hid the cubs away in the thick brushwood,
and then coming out where we could plainly see her, stood on the
defense just within the edge of the thicket, beyond the range of our
rifles though, unless we went down into the canyon, which we would
have to do on foot, since the precipitous wall precluded going on
horseback.  For an adventure like this I confess I had little
inclination, and on holding a council of war, I found that the
Indians had still less, but Lieutenant Townsend, who was a fine shot,
and had refrained from firing hitherto in the hope that I might bag
the game, relieved the embarrassing situation and saved the credit of
the party by going down alone to attack the enemy.  Meanwhile I
magnanimously held his horse, and the Sioux braves did a deal of
shouting, which they seemed to think of great assistance.

Townsend, having descended to the bottom of the ravine, approached
within range, when the old bear struck out, dashing into and out of
the bushes so rapidly, however, that he could not get fair aim at
her, but the startled cubs running into full view, he killed one at
the first shot and at the second wounded the other.  This terribly
enraged the mother, and she now came boldly out to fight, exposing
herself in the open ground so much as to permit a shot, that brought
her down too, with a broken shoulder.  Then the Indians and I,
growing very brave, scrambled down to--take part in the fight.  It
was left for me to despatch the wounded cub and mother, and having
recovered possession of my nerves, I did the work effectively, and we
carried off with us the skins of the three animals as trophies of the
hunt and evidence of our prowess.

As good luck would have it, when we reached Buford we found a
steamboat there unloading stores, and learned that it would be ready
to start down the river the next day.  Embarking on her, we got to
Stevenson in a few hours, and finding at the post camp equipage that
had been made ready for our use in crossing overland to Fort Totten,
we set out the following forenoon, taking with us a small escort of
infantry, transported in two light wagons, a couple of Mandans and
the post interpreter going along as mounted guides.

To reach water we had to march the first day to a small lake forty
miles off, and the oppressive heat, together with the long distance
traveled, used up one of the teams so much that, when about to start
out the second morning, we found the animals unable to go on with any
prospect of finishing the trip, so I ordered them to be rested
forty-eight hours longer, and then taken back to Stevenson.  This
diminished the escort by one-half, yet by keeping the Indians and
interpreter on the lookout, and seeing that our ambulance was kept
closed up on the wagon carrying the rest of the detachment, we could,
I thought, stand off any ordinary party of hostile Indians.

About noon I observed that the scouts in advance had left the trail
and begun to reconnoitre a low ridge to their right, the sequel of
which was that in a few minutes they returned to the wagons on a dead
run and reported Sioux just ahead.  Looking in the direction
indicated, I could dimly see five or six horsemen riding in a circle,
as Indians do when giving warning to their camp, but as our halt
disclosed that we were aware of their proximity, they darted back
again behind the crest of the ridge.  Anticipating from this move an
immediate attack, we hastily prepared for it by unhooking the mules
from the wagon and ambulance, so that we could use the vehicles as a
barricade.  This done, I told the interpreter to take the Mandan
scouts and go over toward the ridge and reconnoitre again.  As the
scouts neared the crest two of them dismounted, and, crawling slowly
on their bellies to the summit, took a hasty look and returned at
once to their horses, coming back with word that in the valley beyond
was a camp of at least a hundred Sioux lodges, and that the Indians
were hurriedly getting ready to attack us.  The news was anything but
cheering, for with a village of that size the warriors would number
two or three hundred, and could assail us from every side.

Still, nothing could be done, but stand and take what was to come,
for there was no chance of escape--it being supreme folly to
undertake in wagons a race with Indians to Fort Stevenson, sixty
miles away.  To make the best of the situation, we unloaded the
baggage, distributing and adjusting the trunks, rolls of bedding,
crackerboxes, and everything else that would stop a bullet, in such
manner as to form a square barricade, two sides of which were the
wagons, with the mules haltered to the wheels.  Every man then
supplied himself with all the ammunition he could carry, and the
Mandan scouts setting up the depressing wail of the Indian
death-song, we all awaited the attack with the courage of despair.

But no attack came; and time slipping by, and we still unmolested,
the interpreter and scouts were sent out to make another
reconnoissance.  Going through just such precautions as before in
approaching the ridge, their slow progress kept us in painful
suspense; but when they got to the crest the strain on our nerves was
relieved by seeing them first stand up boldly at full height, and
then descend beyond.  Quickly returning, they brought welcome word
that the whole thing was a mistake, and no Sioux were there at all.
What had been taken for a hundred Indian lodges turned out to be the
camp of a Government train on its way to Fort Stevenson, and the
officer in charge seeing the scouts before they discovered him, and
believing them to be Sioux, had sent out to bring his herds in.  It
would be hard to exaggerate the relief that this discovery gave us,
and we all breathed much easier.  The scare was a bad one, and I have
no hesitation in saying that, had we been mounted, it is more than
likely that, instead of showing fight, we would have taken up a
lively pace for Fort Stevenson.

After reciprocal explanations with the officer in charge of the
train, the march was resumed, and at the close of that day we camped
near a small lake about twenty miles from Fort Totten.  From Totten
we journeyed on to Fort Abercrombie.  The country between the two
posts is low and flat, and I verily believe was then the favorite
abiding-place of the mosquito, no matter where he most loves to dwell
now; for myriads of the pests rose up out of the tall rank grass
--more than I ever saw before or since--and viciously attacked both
men and animals.  We ourselves were somewhat protected by gloves and
head-nets, provided us before leaving Totten, but notwithstanding these
our sufferings were well-nigh intolerable; the annoyance that the poor
mules experienced must, therefore, have been extreme; indeed, they were
so terribly stung that the blood fairly trickled down their sides.
Unluckily, we had to camp for one night in this region; but we partly
evaded the ravenous things by banking up our tent walls with earth, and
then, before turning in, sweeping and smoking out such as had got
inside.  Yet with all this there seemed hundreds left to sing and sting
throughout the night.  The mules being without protection, we tried
hard to save them from the vicious insects by creating a dense smoke
from a circle of smothered fires, within which chain the grateful
brutes gladly stood; but this relief was only partial, so the moment
there was light enough to enable us to hook up we pulled out for
Abercrombie in hot haste.

From Abercrombie we drove on to Saint Cloud, the terminus of the
railroad, where, considerably the worse for our hurried trip and
truly wretched experience with the mosquitoes, we boarded the welcome
cars.  Two days later we arrived in Chicago, and having meanwhile
received word from General Sherman that there would be no objection
to my going to Europe, I began making arrangements to leave, securing
passage by the steamship Scotia.

President Grant invited me to come to see him at Long Branch before I
should sail, and during my brief visit there he asked which army I
wished to accompany, the German or the French.  I told him the
German, for the reason that I thought more could be seen with the
successful side, and that the indications pointed to the defeat of
the French.  My choice evidently pleased him greatly, as he had the
utmost contempt for Louis Napoleon, and had always denounced him as a
usurper and a charlatan.  Before we separated, the President gave me
the following letter to the representatives of our Government abroad,
and with it I not only had no trouble in obtaining permission to go
with the Germans, but was specially favored by being invited to
accompany the headquarters of the King of Prussia:

"LONG BRANCH, N. J., July 25, 1870.

"Lieutenant-General P. H. Sheridan, of the United State Army, is
authorized to visit Europe, to return at his own pleasure, unless
otherwise ordered.  He is commended to the good offices of all
representatives of this Government whom he may meet abroad.

"To citizens and representatives of other Governments I introduce
General Sheridan as one of the most skillful, brave and deserving
soldiers developed by the great struggle through which the United
States Government has just passed.  Attention paid him will be duly
appreciated by the country he has served so faithfully and

"U. S. GRANT."

Word of my intended trip was cabled to Europe in the ordinary press
despatches, and our Minister to France, Mr. Elihu B. Washburn, being
an intimate friend of mine, and thinking that I might wish to attach
myself to the French army, did me the favor to take preliminary steps
for securing the necessary authority.  He went so far as to broach
the subject to the French Minister of War, but in view of the
informality of the request, and an unmistakable unwillingness to
grant it being manifested, Mr. Washburn pursued the matter no
further.  I did not learn of this kindly interest in my behalf till
after the capitulation of Paris, when Mr. Washburn told me what he
had done of his own motion.  Of course I thanked him gratefully, but
even had he succeeded in getting the permission he sought I should
not have accompanied the French army.

I sailed from New York July 27, one of my aides-de-camp, General
James W. Forsyth, going with me.  We reached Liverpool August 6, and
the next day visited the American Legation in London, where we saw
all the officials except our Minister, Mr. Motley, who, being absent,
was represented by Mr. Moran, the Secretary of the Legation.  We left
London August 9 for Brussels, where we were kindly cared for by the
American Minister, Mr. Russell Jones who the same evening saw us off
for Germany.  Because of the war we secured transportation only as
far as Vera, and here we received information that the Prussian
Minister of War had telegraphed to the Military Inspector of
Railroads to take charge of us on our arrival a Cologne, and send us
down to the headquarter of the Prussian army, but the Inspector, for
some unexplained reason, instead of doing this, sent us on to Berlin.
Here our Minister, Mr. George Bancroft, met us with a telegram from
the German Chancellor, Count Bismarck, saying we were expected to
come direct to the King's headquarters and we learned also that a
despatch had been sent to the Prussian Minister at Brussels directing
him to forward us from Cologne to the army, instead of allowing us to
go on to Berlin, but that we had reached and quit Brussels without
the Minister's knowledge.



Shortly after we arrived in Berlin the Queen sent a messenger
offering us an opportunity to pay our respects, and fixed an hour for
the visit, which was to take place the next day; but as the tenor of
the despatch Mr. Bancroft had received from Count Bismarck indicated
that some important event which it was desired I should witness was
about to happen at the theatre of war, our Minister got us excused
from our visit of ceremony, and we started for the headquarters of
the German army that evening--our stay in the Prussian capital having
been somewhat less than a day.

Our train was a very long one, of over eighty cars, and though drawn
by three locomotives, its progress to Cologne was very slow and the
journey most tedious.  From Cologne we continued on by rail up the
valley of the Rhine to Bingebruck, near Bingen, and thence across
through Saarbrucken to Remilly, where we left the railway and rode in
a hay-wagon to Pont-a-Mousson, arriving there August 17, late in the
afternoon.  This little city had been ceded to France at the Peace of
Westphalia, and although originally German, the people had become, in
the lapse of so many years, intensely French in sentiment.  The town
was so full of officers and men belonging to the German army that it
was difficult to get lodgings, but after some delay we found quite
comfortable quarters at one of the small hotels, and presently, after
we had succeeded in getting a slender meal, I sent my card to Count
von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the North German Confederation, who
soon responded by appointing an hour--about 9 o'clock the same
evening--for an interview.

When the Count received me he was clothed in the undress uniform of
the Cuirassier regiment, of which he was the colonel.  During the
interview which ensued, he exhibited at times deep anxiety regarding
the conflict now imminent, for it was the night before the battle of
Gravelotte, but his conversation was mostly devoted to the state of
public sentiment in America, about which he seemed much concerned,
inquiring repeatedly as to which side--France or Prussia--was charged
with bringing on the war.  Expressing a desire to witness the battle
which was expected to occur the next day, and remarking that I had
not had sufficient time to provide the necessary transportation, he
told me to be ready at 4 o'clock in the morning, and he would take me
out in his own carriage and present me to the King--adding that he
would ask one of his own staff-officers, who he knew had one or two
extra horses, to lend me one.  As I did not know just what my status
would be, and having explained to the President before leaving
America that I wished to accompany the German army unofficially, I
hardly knew whether to appear in uniform or not, so I spoke of this
matter too, and the Count, after some reflection, thought it best for
me to wear my undress uniform, minus the sword, however, because I
was a non combatant.

At 4 o'clock the next morning, the 18th, I repaired to the
Chancellor's quarters.  The carriage was at the door, also the
saddle-horse, but as no spare mount could be procured for General
Forsyth, he had to seek other means to reach the battle-field.  The
carriage was an open one with two double seats, and in front a single
one for a messenger; it had also a hand-brake attached.

Count Bismarck and I occupied the rear seat, and Count
Bismarck-Bohlen--the nephew and aide-decamp to the Chancellor--and
Doctor Busch were seated facing us.  The conveyance was strong,
serviceable, and comfortable, but not specially prepossessing, and
hitched to it were four stout horses--logy, ungainly animals, whose
clumsy harness indicated that the whole equipment was meant for heavy
work.  Two postilions in uniform, in high military saddles on the nigh
horse of each span, completed the establishment.

All being ready, we took one of the roads from Pont-a-Mousson to
Rezonville, which is on the direct road from Metz to Chalons, and
near the central point of the field where, on the 16th of August, the
battle of Mars-la-Tour had been fought.  It was by this road that the
Pomeranians, numbering about 30,000 men, had been ordered to march to
Gravelotte, and after proceeding a short distance we overtook the
column.  As this contingent came from Count Bismarck's own section of
Germany, there greeted us as we passed along, first in the dim light
of the morning, and later in the glow of the rising sun, continuous
and most enthusiastic cheering for the German Chancellor.

On the way Count Bismarck again recurred to the state of public
opinion in America with reference to the war.  He also talked much
about our form of government, and said that in early life his
tendencies were all toward republicanism, but that family influence
had overcome his preferences, and intimated that, after adopting a
political career, he found that Germany was not sufficiently advanced
for republicanism.  He said, further, that he had been reluctant to
enter upon this public career, that he had always longed to be a
soldier, but that here again family opposition had turned him from
the field of his choice into the sphere of diplomacy.

Not far from Mars-la-Tour we alighted, and in a little while an
aide-de-camp was introduced, who informed me that he was there to
conduct and present me to his Majesty, the King of Prussia.  As we were
walking along together, I inquired whether at the meeting I should
remove my cap, and he said no; that in an out-of-door presentation it
was not etiquette to uncover if in uniform.  We were soon in presence
of the King, where--under the shade of a clump of second-growth
poplar-trees, with which nearly all the farms in the north of France
are here and there dotted--the presentation was made in the simplest
and most agreeable manner.

His Majesty, taking my hand in both of his, gave me a thorough
welcome, expressing, like Count Bismarck, though through an
interpreter, much interest as to the sentiment in my own country
about the war.  At this time William the First of Prussia was
seventy-three years of age, and, dressed in the uniform of the
Guards, he seemed to be the very ideal soldier, and graced with most
gentle and courteous manners.  The conversation, which was brief, as
neither of us spoke the other's native tongue, concluded by his
Majesty's requesting me in the most cordial way to accompany his
headquarters during the campaign.  Thanking him for his kindness, I
rejoined Count Bismarck's party, and our horses having arrived
meantime, we mounted and moved off to the position selected for the
King to witness the opening of the battle.

This place was on some high ground overlooking the villages of
Rezonville and Gravelotte, about the centre of the battlefield of
Mars-la-Tour, and from it most of the country to the east toward Metz
could also be seen.  The point chosen was an excellent one for the
purpose, though in one respect disagreeable, since the dead bodies of
many of the poor fellows killed there two days before were yet
unburied.  In a little while the King's escort began to remove these
dead, however, bearing them away on stretchers improvised with their
rifles, and the spot thus cleared was much more acceptable.  Then,
when such unexploded shells as were lying around loose had been
cautiously carried away, the King, his brother, Prince Frederick
Charles Alexander, the chief-of-staff, General von Moltke, the
Minister of War, General von Roon, and Count von Bismarck assembled
on the highest point, and I being asked to join the group, was there
presented to General von Moltke.  He spoke our language fluently, and
Bismarck having left the party for a time to go to a neighboring
house to see his son, who had been wounded at Mars-la-Tour, and about
whom he was naturally very anxious, General von Moltke entertained me
by explaining the positions of the different corps, the nature and
object of their movements then taking place, and so on.

Before us, and covering Metz, lay the French army, posted on the
crest of a ridge extending north, and about its centre curving
slightly westward toward the German forces.  The left of the French
position was but a short distance from the Moselle, and this part of
the line was separated from the Germans by a ravine, the slopes,
fairly well wooded, rising quite sharply; farther north, near the
centre, this depression disappeared, merged in the general swell of
the ground, and thence on toward the right the ground over which an
approach to the French line must be made was essentially a natural
open glacis, that could be thoroughly swept by the fire of the

The line extended some seven or eight miles.  To attack this
position, formidable everywhere, except perhaps on the right flank,
the Germans were bringing up the combined forces of the First and
Second armies, troops that within the past fortnight had already
successfully met the French in three pitched battles.  On the right
was the First Army, under command of General Von Steinmetz, the
victors, August 6, of Spicheren, near Saar, and, eight days later, of
Colombey, to the east of Metz; while the centre and left were
composed of the several corps of the Second Army, commanded by Prince
Frederick Charles of Prussia, a part of whose troops had just been
engaged in the sanguinary battle of Mars-la-Tour, by which Bazaine
was cut off from the Verdun road, and forced back toward Metz.

At first the German plan was simply to threaten with their right,
while the corps of the Second Army advanced toward the north, to
prevent the French, of whose intentions there was much doubt, from
escaping toward Chalons; then, as the purposes of the French might
be, developed, these corps were to change direction toward the enemy
successively, and seek to turn his right flank.  But the location of
this vital turning-point was very uncertain, and until it was
ascertained and carried, late in the afternoon, the action raged with
more or less intensity along the entire line.

But as it is not my purpose to describe in detail the battle of
Gravelotte, nor any other, I will speak of some of its incidents
merely.  About noon, after many preliminary skirmishes, the action
was begun according to the plan I have already outlined, the Germans
advancing their left while holding on strongly with their right, and
it was this wing (the First Army) that came under my observation from
the place where the King's headquarters were located.  From here we
could see, as I have said, the village of Gravelotte.  Before it lay
the German troops, concealed to some extent, especially to the left,
by clumps of timber here and there.  Immediately in front of us,
however, the ground was open, and the day being clear and sunny, with
a fresh breeze blowing (else the smoke from a battle between four
hundred thousand men would have obstructed the view altogether), the
spectacle presented Was of unsurpassed magnificence and sublimity.
The German artillery opened the battle, and while the air was filled
with shot and shell from hundreds of guns along their entire line,
the German centre and left, in rather open order, moved out to the
attack, and as they went forward the reserves, in close column, took
up positions within supporting distances, yet far enough back to be
out of range.

The French artillery and mitrailleuses responded vigorously to the
Krupps, and with deadly effect, but as far as we could see the German
left continued its advance, and staff-officers came up frequently to
report that all was going on well at points hidden from our view
These reports were always made to the King first, and whenever
anybody arrived with tidings of the fight we clustered around to hear
the news, General Von Moltke unfolding a map meanwhile, and
explaining the situation.  This done, the chief of the staff, while
awaiting the next report, would either return to a seat that had been
made for him with some knapsacks, or would occupy the time walking
about, kicking clods of dirt or small stones here and there, his
hands clasped behind his back, his face pale and thoughtful.  He was
then nearly seventy years old, but because of his emaciated figure,
the deep wrinkles in his face, and the crow's-feet about his eyes, he
looked even older, his appearance being suggestive of the practice of
church asceticisms rather than of his well-known ardent devotion to
the military profession.

By the middle of the afternoon the steady progress of the German left
and centre had driven the French from their more advanced positions
from behind stone walls and hedges, through valleys and hamlets, in
the direction of Metz, but as yet the German right had accomplished
little  except to get possession of the village of Gravelotte,
forcing the French across the deep ravine I have mentioned, which
runs north and south a little distance east of ihe town.

But it was now time for the German right to move in earnest to carry
the Rozerieulles ridge, on which crest the French had evidently
decided to make an obstinate fight to cover their withdrawal to Metz.
As the Germans moved to the attack here, the French fire became heavy
and destructive, so much so, indeed, as to cause General Von
Steinmetz to order some cavalry belonging to the right wing to make a
charge.  Crossing the ravine before described, this body of horse
swept up the slope beyond, the front ranks urged forward by the
momentum from behind.  The French were posted along a sunken road,
behind stone walls and houses, and as the German cavalry neared these
obstructions it received a dreadful fire without the least chance of
returning it, though still pushed on till the front ranks were
crowded into the deep cut of the road.  Here the slaughter was
terrible, for the horsemen could make no further headway; and because
of the blockade behind, of dead and wounded men and animals, an
orderly retreat was impossible, and disaster inevitable.

About the time the charge was ordered, the phase of the battle was
such that the King concluded to move his headquarters into the
village of Gravelotte; and just after getting there, we first learned
fully of the disastrous result of the charge which had been entered
upon with such spirit; and so much indignation was expressed against
Steinmetz, who, it was claimed, had made an unnecessary sacrifice of
his cavalry, that I thought he would be relieved on the spot; though
this was not done.

Followed by a large staff, General Steinmetz appeared in the village
presently, and approached the King.  When near, he bowed with great
respect, and I then saw that he was a very old man though his
soldierly figure, bronzed face, and shortcropped hair gave some
evidence of vigor still.  When the King spoke to him I was not close
enough to learn what was said; but his Majesty's manner was
expressive of kindly feeling, and the fact that in a few moments the
veteran general returned to the command of his troops, indicated
that, for the present at least, his fault had been overlooked.

The King then moved out of the village, and just a little to the east
and north of it the headquarters were located on high, open ground,
whence we could observe the right of the German infantry advancing up
the eastern face of the ravine.  The advance, though slow and
irregular, resulted in gradually gaining ground, the French resisting
stoutly with a stubborn musketry fire all along the slopes.  Their
artillery was silent, however; and from this fact the German
artillery officers grew jubilant, confidently asserting that their
Krupp guns had dismounted the French batteries and knocked their
mitrailleuses to pieces.  I did not indulge in this confidence,
however; for, with the excellent field-glass I had, I could
distinctly see long columns of French troops moving to their right,
for the apparent purpose of making a vigorous fight on that flank;
and I thought it more than likely that their artillery would be heard
from before the Germans could gain the coveted ridge.

The Germans labored up the glacis slowly at the most exposed places;
now crawling on their bellies, now creeping on hands and knees, but,
in the main, moving with erect and steady bearing.  As they
approached within short range, they suddenly found that the French
artillery and mitrallleuses had by no means been silenced--about two
hundred pieces opening on them with fearful effect, while at the same
time the whole crest blazed with a deadly fire from the Chassepot
rifles.  Resistance like this was so unexpected by the Germans that
it dismayed them; and first wavering a moment, then becoming
panic-stricken, they broke and fled, infantry, cavalry, and artillery
coming down the slope without any pretence of formation, the French
hotly following and pouring in a heavy and constant fire as the
fugitives fled back across the ravine toward Gravelotte.  With this
the battle on the right had now assumed a most serious aspect, and
the indications were that the French would attack the heights of
Gravelotte; but the Pomeranian corps coming on the field at this
crisis, was led into action by Von Moltke, himself, and shortly after
the day was decided in favor of the Germans.

When the French guns opened fire, it was discovered that the King's
position was within easy range, many of the shells falling near
enough to make the place extremely uncomfortable; so it was suggested
that he go to a less exposed point.  At first he refused to listen to
this wise counsel, but yielded finally--leaving the ground with
reluctance, however--and went back toward Rezonville.  I waited for
Count Bismarck, who did not go immediately with the King, but
remained at Gravelotte, looking after some of the escort who had been
wounded.  When he had arranged for their care, we set out to rejoin
the King, and before going far, overtook his Majesty, who had stopped
on the Chalons road, and was surrounded by a throng of fugitives,
whom he was berating in German so energetic as to remind me forcibly
of the "Dutch" swearing that I used to hear in my boyhood in Ohio.
The dressing down finished to his satisfaction, the King resumed his
course toward Re'zonville, halting, however, to rebuke in the same
emphatic style every group of runaways he overtook.

Passing through Rezonville, we halted just beyond the village; there
a fire was built, and the King, his brother, Prince Frederick
Charles, and Von Roon were provided with rather uncomfortable seats
about it, made by resting the ends of a short ladder on a couple of
boxes.  With much anxiety and not a little depression of spirits news
from the battle-field was now awaited, but the suspense did not last
long, for presently came the cheering intelligence that the French
were retiring, being forced back by the Pomeranian corps, and some of
the lately broken right wing organizations, that had been rallied on
the heights of Gravelotte.  The lost ground being thus regained, and
the French having been beaten on their right, it was not long before
word came that Bazaine's army was falling back to Metz, leaving the
entire battle-field in possession of the Germans.

During the excitement of the day I had not much felt the want of
either food or water, but now that all was over I was nearly
exhausted, having had neither since early morning.  Indeed, all of
the party were in like straits; the immense armies had not only eaten
up nearly everything in the country, but had drunk all the wells dry,
too, and there seemed no relief for us till, luckily, a squad of
soldiers came along the road with a small cask of wine in a cart.
One of the staff-officers instantly appropriated the keg, and
proceeded to share his prize most generously.  Never had I tasted
anything so refreshing and delicious, but as the wine was the
ordinary sour stuff drunk by the peasantry of northern France, my
appreciation must be ascribed to my famished condition rather than to
any virtues of the beverage itself.

After I had thus quenched my thirst the King's, brother called me
aside, and drawing from his coat-tail pocket a piece of stale black
bread, divided it with me, and while munching on this the Prince
began talking of his son--General Prince Frederick Charles, popularly
called the Red Prince--who was in command of the Second Army in this
battle--the German left wing.  In recounting his son's professional
career the old man's face was aglow with enthusiasm, and not without
good cause, for in the war between Prussia and Austria in 1866, as
well as in the present campaign, the Red Prince had displayed the
highest order of military genius.

The headquarters now became the scene of much bustle, despatches
announcing the victory being sent in all directions.  The first one
transmitted was to the Queen, the King directing Count Bismarck to
prepare it for his signature; then followed others of a more official
character, and while these matters were being attended to I thought I
would ride into the village to find, if possible, some water for my
horse.  Just as I entered the chief street, however, I was suddenly
halted by a squad of soldiers, who, taking me for a French officer
(my coat and forage cap resembling those of the French), leveled
their pieces at me.  They were greatly excited, so much so, indeed,
that I thought my hour had come, for they could not understand
English, and I could not speak German, and dare not utter
explanations in French.  Fortunately a few disconnected German words
came to me in the emergency.  With these I managed to delay my
execution, and one of the party ventured to come up to examine the
"suspect" more closely.  The first thing he did was to take off my
cap, and looking it over carefully, his eyes rested on the three
stars above the visor, and, pointing to them, he emphatically
pronounced me French.  Then of course they all became excited again,
more so than before, even, for they thought I was trying to practice
a ruse, and I question whether I should have lived to recount the
adventure had not an officer belonging to the King's headquarters
been passing by just then, when, hearing the threatenings and
imprecations, he rode up to learn the cause of the hubbub, and
immediately recognized and released me.  When he told my wrathy
captors who I was, they were much mortified of course, and made the
most profuse apologies, promising that no such mistake should occur
again, and so on; but not feeling wholly reassured, for my uniform
was still liable to mislead, I was careful to return to headquarters
in company with my deliverer.  There I related what had occurred, and
after a good laugh all round, the King provided me with a pass which
he said would preclude any such mishap in the future, and would also
permit me to go wherever I pleased--a favor rarely bestowed.



While I was absent, as related in the preceding chapter, it had been
decided that the King's quarters should be established for the night
in the village of Rezonville; and as it would be very difficult, at
such a late hour, to billet the whole party regularly, Count Bismarck
and I went off to look for shelter for ourselves.  Remembering that I
had seen, when seeking to water my horse, a partly burned barn with
some fresh-looking hay in it, I suggested that we lodge there.  He
too thought it would answer our purpose, but on reaching it we found
the unburned part of the barn filled with wounded, and this
necessitating a further search we continued on through the village in
quest of some house not yet converted into a hospital.  Such,
however, seemed impossible to come upon, so at last the Count fixed
on one whose upper floor, we learned, was unoccupied, though the
lower one was covered with wounded.

Mounting a creaky ladder--there was no stairway--to the upper story,
we found a good-sized room with three large beds, one of which the
Chancellor assigned to the Duke of Mecklenburg and aide, and another
to Count Bismarck-Bohlen and me, reserving the remaining one for
himself.  Each bed, as is common in Germany and northern France, was
provided with a feather tick, but the night being warm, these spreads
were thrown off, and discovering that they would make a comfortable
shakedown on the floor, I slept there leaving Bismarck-Bohlen
unembarrassed by companionship--at least of a human kind.

At daylight I awoke, and seeing that Count Bismarck was already
dressed and about to go down the ladder, I felt obliged to follow his
example, so I too turned out, and shortly descended to the
ground-floor, the only delays of the toilet being those incident to
dressing, for there were no conveniences for morning ablutions.  Just
outside the door I met the Count, who, proudly exhibiting a couple of
eggs he had bought from the woman of the house, invited me to
breakfast with him, provided we could beg some coffee from the king's
escort.  Putting the eggs under my charge, with many injunctions as
to their safe-keeping, he went off to forage for the coffee, and
presently returned, having been moderately successful.  One egg
apiece was hardly enough, however, to appease the craving of two
strong men ravenous from long fasting.  Indeed, it seemed only to
whet the appetite, and we both set out on an eager expedition for
more food.  Before going far I had the good luck to meet a sutler's
wagon, and though its stock was about all sold, there were still left
four large bologna sausages, which I promptly purchased--paying a
round sum for them too--and hastening back found the Count already
returned, though without bringing anything at all to eat; but he had
secured a couple of bottles of brandy, and with a little of this--it
was excellent, too--and the sausages, the slim ration of eggs and
coffee was amply reinforced.

Breakfast over, the Chancellor invited me to accompany him in a ride
to the battle-field, and I gladly accepted, as I very much desired to
pass over the ground in front of Gravelotte, particularly so to see
whether the Krupp guns had really done the execution that was claimed
for them by the German artillery officers.  Going directly through
the village of Gravelotte, following the causeway over which the
German cavalry had passed to make its courageous but futile charge,
we soon reached the ground where the fighting had been the most
severe.  Here the field was literally covered with evidences of the
terrible strife, the dead and wounded strewn thick on every side.

In the sunken road the carnage had been awful; men and horses having
been slaughtered there by hundreds, helpless before the murderous
fire delivered from behind a high stone wall impracticable to mounted
troops.  The sight was sickening to an extreme, and we were not slow
to direct our course elsewhere, going up the glacis toward the French
line, the open ground over which we crossed being covered with
thousands of helmets, that had been thrown off by the Germans during
the fight and were still dotting the field, though details of
soldiers from the organizations which had been engaged here were
about to begin to gather up their abandoned headgear.

When we got inside the French works, I was astonished to observe how
little harm had been done the defenses by the German artillery, for
although I had not that serene faith in the effectiveness of their
guns held by German artillerists generally, yet I thought their
terrific cannonade must have left marked results.  All I could
perceive, however, was a disabled gun, a broken mitrailleuse, and two
badly damaged caissons.

Everything else, except a little ammunition in the trenches, had been
carried away, and it was plain to see, from the good shape in which
the French left wing had retired to Metz, that its retreat had been
predetermined by the disasters to the right wing.

By this hour the German cavalry having been thrown out to the front
well over toward Metz, we, following it to get a look at the city,
rode to a neighboring summit, supposing it would be a safe point of
observation; but we shortly realized the contrary, for scarcely had
we reached the crest when some of the French pickets, lying concealed
about six hundred yards off, opened fire, making it so very hot for
us that, hugging the necks of our horses, we incontinently fled.
Observing what had taken place, a troop of German cavalry charged the
French outpost and drove it far enough away to make safe our return,
and we resumed possession of the point, but only to discover that the
country to the east was so broken and hilly that no satisfactory view
of Metz could be had.

Returning to Gravelotte, we next visited that part of the battlefield
to the northeast of the village, and before long Count Bismarck
discovered in a remote place about twenty men dreadfully wounded.
These poor fellows had had no attention whatever, having been
overlooked by the hospital corps, and their condition was most
pitiful.  Yet there was one very handsome man in the group--a captain
of artillery--who, though shot through the right breast, was
talkative and cheerful, and felt sure of getting well.  Pointing,
however, to a comrade lying near, also shot in the breast, he
significantly shook his head; it was easy to see on this man's face
the signs--of fast approaching death.

An orderly was at once despatched for a surgeon, Bismarck and I doing
what we could meanwhile to alleviate the intense sufferings of the
maimed men, bringing them water and administering a little brandy,
for the Count still had with him some of the morning's supply.  When
the surgeons came, we transferred the wounded to their care, and
making our way to Rezonville, there took the Count's carriage to
rejoin the King's headquarters, which in the mean time had been moved
to Pont-a-Mousson.  Our route led through the village of Gorze, and
here we found the streets so obstructed with wagons that I feared it
would take us the rest of the day to get through, for the teamsters
would not pay the slightest heed to the cries of our postilions.  The
Count was equal to the emergency, however, for, taking a pistol from
behind his cushion, and bidding me keep my seat, he jumped out and
quickly began to clear the street effectively, ordering wagons to the
right and left.  Marching in front of the carriage and making way for
us till we were well through the blockade, he then resumed his seat,
remarking, "This is not a very dignified business for the Chancellor
of the German Confederation, but it's the only way to get through."

At Pont-a-Mousson I was rejoined by my aide, General Forsyth, and for
the next two days our attention was almost wholly devoted to securing
means of transportation.  This was most difficult to obtain, but as I
did not wish to impose on the kindness of the Chancellor longer, we
persevered till, finally, with the help of Count Bismarck-Bohlen, we
managed to get tolerably well equipped with a saddle-horse apiece,
and a two-horse carriage.  Here also, on the afternoon of August 21,
I had the pleasure of dining with the King.  The dinner was a simple
one, consisting of soup, a joint, and two or three vegetables; the
wines vin ordinaire and Burgundy.  There were a good many persons of
high rank present, none of whom spoke English, however, except
Bismarck, who sat next the King and acted as interpreter when his
Majesty conversed with me.  Little was said of the events taking
place around us, but the King made many inquiries concerning the war
of the rebellion, particularly with reference to Grant's campaign at
Vicksburg; suggested, perhaps, by the fact that there, and in the
recent movements of the German army, had been applied many similar
principles of military science.

The French army under Marshal Bazaine having retired into the
fortifications of Metz, that stronghold was speedily invested by
Prince Frederick Charles.  Meantime the Third Army, under the Crown
Prince of Prussia--which, after having fought and won the battle of
Worth, had been observing the army of Marshal MacMahon during and
after the battle of Gravelotte--was moving toward Paris by way of
Nancy, in conjunction with an army called the Fourth, which had been
organized from the troops previously engaged around Metz, and on the
22d was directed toward Bar-le-Duc under the command of the Crown
Prince of Saxony.  In consequence of these operations the King
decided to move to Commercy, which place we reached by carriage,
traveling on a broad macadamized road lined on both sides with
poplar-trees, and our course leading through a most beautiful country
thickly dotted with prosperous-looking villages.

On reaching Commercy, Forsyth and I found that quarters had been
already selected for us, and our names written on the door with chalk
the quartermaster charged with the billeting of the officers at
headquarters having started out in advance to perform this duty and
make all needful preparations for the King before he arrived, which
course was usually pursued thereafter, whenever the royal
headquarters took up a new location.

Forsyth and I were lodged with the notary of the village, who over
and over again referred to his good fortune in not having to
entertain any of the Germans.  He treated us most hospitably, and
next morning,  on departing, we offered compensation by tendering a
sum--about what our bill would have been at a good hotel--to be used
for the "benefit of the wounded or the Church."  Under this
stipulation the notary accepted, and we followed that plan of paying
for food and lodging afterward, whenever quartered in private houses.

The next day I set out in advance of the headquarters, and reached
Bar-le-Duc about noon, passing on the way the Bavarian contingent of
the Crown Prince's army.  These Bavarians were trim-looking soldiers,
dressed in neat uniforms of light blue; they looked healthy and
strong, but seemed of shorter stature than the North Germans I had
seen in the armies of Prince Frederick Charles and General von
Steinmetz.  When, later in the day the King arrived, a guard for him
was detailed from this Bavarian contingent; a stroke of policy no
doubt, for the South Germans were so prejudiced against their
brothers of the North that no opportunity to smooth them down was
permitted to go unimproved.

Bar-le-Duc, which had then a population of about 15,000, is one of
the prettiest towns I saw in France, its quaint and ancient buildings
and beautiful boulevards charming the eye as well as exciting deep
interest.  The King and his immediate suite were quartered on one of
the best boulevards in a large building--the Bank of France--the
balcony of which offered a fine opportunity to observe a part of the
army of the Crown Prince the next day on its march toward Vitry.
This was the first time his Majesty had had a chance to see any of
these troops--as hitherto he had accompanied either the army of
Prince Frederick Charles, or that of General Steinmetz--and the
cheers with which he was greeted by the Bavarians left no room for
doubting their loyalty to the Confederation, notwithstanding ancient

While the troops were passing, Count Bismarck had the kindness to
point out to me the different organizations, giving scraps of their
history, and also speaking concerning the qualifications of the
different generals commanding them.  When the review was over we went
to the Count's house, and there, for the first time in my life, I
tasted kirschwasser, a very strong liquor distilled from cherries.
Not knowing anything about the stuff, I had to depend on Bismarck's
recommendation, and he proclaiming it fine, I took quite a generous
drink, which nearly strangled me and brought on a violent fit of
coughing.  The Chancellor said, however, that this was in no way due
to the liquor, but to my own inexperience, and I was bound to believe
the distinguished statesman, for he proved his words by swallowing a
goodly dose with an undisturbed and even beaming countenance,
demonstrating his assertion so forcibly that I forthwith set out with
Bismarck-Bohlen to lay in a supply for myself.

I spent the night in a handsome house, the property of an
exceptionally kind and polite gentleman bearing the indisputably
German name of Lager, but who was nevertheless French from head to
foot, if intense hatred of the Prussians be a sign of Gallic
nationality.  At daybreak on the 26th word came for us to be ready to
move by the Chalons road at 7 o'clock, but before we got off, the
order was suspended till 2 in the afternoon.  In the interval General
von Moltke arrived and held a long conference with the King, and when
we did pull out we traveled the remainder of the afternoon in company
with a part of the Crown Prince's army, which after this conference
inaugurated the series of movements from Bar-le-Duc northward, that
finally compelled the surrender at Sedan.  This sudden change of
direction I did not at first understand, but soon learned that it was
because of the movements of Marshal MacMahon, who, having united the
French army beaten at Worth with three fresh corps at Chalons, was
marching to relieve Metz in obedience to orders from the Minister of
War at Paris.

As we passed along the column, we noticed that the Crown Prince's
troops were doing their best, the officers urging the men to their
utmost exertions, persuading weary laggards and driving up
stragglers.  As a general thing, however, they marched in good shape,
notwithstanding the rapid gait and the trying heat, for at the outset
of the campaign the Prince had divested them of all impedimenta
except essentials, and they were therefore in excellent trim for a
forced march.

The King traveled further than usual that day--to Clermont--so we did
not get shelter till late, and even then not without some confusion,
for the quartermaster having set out toward Chalons before the change
of programme was ordered, was not at hand to provide for us.  I had
extreme good luck, though, in being quartered with a certain
apothecary, who, having lived for a time in the United States,
claimed it as a privilege even to lodge me, and certainly made me his
debtor for the most generous hospitality.  It was not so with some of
the others, however; and Count Bismarck was particularly unfortunate,
being billeted in a very small and uncomfortable house, where,
visiting him to learn more fully what was going on, I found him,
wrapped in a shabby old dressing-gown, hard at work.  He was
established in a very small room, whose only furnishings consisted of
a table--at which he was writing--a couple of rough chairs, and the
universal feather-bed, this time made on the floor in one corner of
the room.  On my remarking upon the limited character of his
quarters, the Count replied, with great good-humor, that they were
all right, and that he should get along well enough.  Even the tramp
of his clerks in the attic, and the clanking of his orderlies' sabres
below, did not disturb him much; he said, in fact, that he would have
no grievance at all were it not for a guard of Bavarian soldiers
stationed about the house for his safety, he presumed the sentinels
from which insisted on protecting and saluting the Chancellor of the
North German Confederation in and out of season, a proceeding that
led to embarrassment sometimes, as he was much troubled with a severe
dysentery.  Notwithstanding his trials, however, and in the midst of
the correspondence on which he was so intently engaged, he graciously
took time to explain that the sudden movement northward from
Bar-le-Duc was, as I have previously recounted, the result of
information that Marshal MacMahon was endeavoring to relieve Metz by
marching along the Belgian frontier; "a blundering manoeuvre," remarked
the Chancellor, "which cannot be accounted for, unless it has been
brought about by the political situation of the French."



All night long the forced march of the army went on through Clermont,
and when I turned out, just after daylight, the columns were still
pressing forward, the men looking tired and much bedraggled, as
indeed they had reason to be, for from recent rains the roads were
very sloppy.  Notwithstanding this, however, the troops were pushed
ahead with all possible vigor to intercept MacMahon and force a
battle before he could withdraw from his faulty movement, for which
it has since been ascertained he was not at all responsible.  Indeed,
those at the royal headquarters seemed to think of nothing else than
to strike MacMahon, for, feeling pretty confident that Metz could not
be relieved, they manifested not the slightest anxiety on that score.

By 8 o'clock, the skies having cleared, the headquarters set out for
Grand Pre', which place we reached early in the afternoon, and that
evening I again had the pleasure of dining with the King.  The
conversation at table was almost wholly devoted to the situation, of
course, everybody expressing surprise at the manoeuvre of the French
at this time, their march along the Belgian frontier being credited
entirely to Napoleon.  Up to bed-time there was still much
uncertainty as to the exact positions of the French, but next morning
intelligence being received which denoted the probability of a
battle, we drove about ten miles, to Buzancy, and there mounting our
horses, rode to the front.

The French were posted not far from Buzancy in a strong position,
their right resting near Stonne and the left extending over into the
woods beyond Beaumont.  About 10 o'clock the Crown Prince of Saxony
advanced against this line, and while a part of his army turned the
French right, compelling it to fall back rapidly, the German centre
and right attacked with great vigor and much skill, surprising one of
the divisions of General De Failly's corps while the men were in the
act of cooking their breakfast.

The French fled precipitately, leaving behind their tents and other
camp equipage, and on inspecting the ground which they had abandoned
so hastily, I noticed on all sides ample evidence that not even the
most ordinary precautions had been taken to secure the division from
surprise, The artillery horses had not been harnessed, and many of
them had been shot down at the picket-rope where they had been
haltered the night before, while numbers of men were lying dead with
loaves of bread or other food instead of their muskets in their

Some three thousand prisoners and nearly all the artillery and
mitrailleuses of the division--were captured, while the fugitives
were pursued till they found shelter behind--Douay's corps and the
rest of De Failly's beyond Beaumont.  The same afternoon there were
several other severe combats along the Meuse, but I had no chance of
witnessing any of them, and just before night-fall I started back to
Buzancy, to which place the King's headquarters had been brought
during the day.

The morning of the 31st the King moved to Vendresse.  First sending
our carriage back to Grand Pre' for our trunks, Forsyth and I mounted
our horses and rode to the battle-field accompanied by an English
nobleman, the Duke of Manchester.  The part of the field we traversed
was still thickly strewn with the dead of both armies, though all the
wounded had been collected in the hospitals.  In the village of
Beaumont, we stopped to take a look at several thousand French
prisoners, whose worn clothing and evident dejection told that they
had been doing a deal of severe marching under great discouragements.

The King reached the village shortly after, and we all continued on
to Chemery, just beyond where his Majesty alighted from his carriage
to observe his son's troops file past as they came in from the
direction of Stonne.  This delay caused us to be as late as 9 o'clock
before we got shelter that night, but as it afforded me the best
opportunity I had yet had for seeing the German soldiers on the
march, I did not begrudge the time.  They moved in a somewhat open
and irregular column of fours, the intervals between files being
especially intended to give room for a peculiar swinging gait, with
which the men seemed to urge themselves over the ground with ease and
rapidity.  There was little or no straggling, and being strong, lusty
young fellows, and lightly equipped--they carried only needle-guns,
ammunition, a very small knapsack, a water-bottle, and a haversack
--they strode by with an elastic step, covering at least three miles an

It having been definitely ascertained that the demoralized French
were retiring to Sedan, on the evening of August 31 the German army
began the work of hemming them in there, so disposing the different
corps as to cover the ground from Donchery around by Raucourt to
Carignan.  The next morning this line was to be drawn in closer on
Sedan; and the Crown Prince of Saxony was therefore ordered to take
up a position to the north of Bazeilles, beyond the right bank of the
Meuse, while the Crown Prince of Prussia was to cross his right wing
over the Meuse at Remilly, to move on Bazeilles, his centre meantime
marching against a number of little hamlets still held by the French
between there and Donchery.  At this last-mentioned place strong
reserves were to be held, and from it the Eleventh Corps, followed by
the Fifth and a division of cavalry, was to march on St. Menges.

Forsyth and I started early next morning, September 1, and in a thick
fog-which, however, subsequently gave place to bright sunshine--we
drove to the village of Chevenges, where, mounting our horses, we
rode in a northeasterly direction to the heights of Frenois and
Wadelincourt, bordering the river Meuse on the left bank, where from
the crest we had a good view of the town of Sedan with its circling
fortifications, which, though extensive, were not so formidable as
those around Metz.  The King and his staff were already established
on these heights, and at a point so well chosen that his Majesty
could observe the movements of both armies immediately east and south
of Sedan, and also to the northwest toward Floing and the Belgian

The battle was begun to the east and northeast of Sedan as early as
half-past 4 o'clock by the German right wing--the fighting being
desultory--and near the same hour the Bavarians attacked Bazeilles.
This village, some two miles southeast of Sedan, being of importance,
was defended with great obstinacy, the French contesting from street
to street and house to house the attack of the Bavarians till near
10 o'clock, when, almost every building being knocked to pieces, they
were compelled to relinquish the place.  The possession of this
village gave the Germans to the east of Sedan a continuous line,
extending from the Meuse northward through La Moncelle and Daigny to
Givonne, and almost to the Belgian frontier.

While the German centre and right were thus engaged, the left had
moved in accordance with the prescribed plan.  Indeed, some of these
troops had crossed the Meuse the night before, and now, at a little
after 6 o'clock, their advance could be seen just north of the
village of Floing.  Thus far these columns, under the immediate eye
of the Crown Prince of Prussia, had met with no opposition to their
march, and as soon as they got to the high ground above the village
they began extending to the east, to connect with the Army of the
Meuse.  This juncture was effected at Illy without difficulty, and
the French army was now completely encompassed.

After a severe fight, the Crown Prince drove the French through
Floing, and as the ground between this village and Sedan is an
undulating open plain, everywhere visible, there was then offered a
rare opportunity for seeing the final conflict preceding the
surrender.  Presently up out of the little valley where Floing is
located came the Germans, deploying just on the rim of the plateau a
very heavy skirmish-line, supported by a line of battle at close
distance.  When these skirmishers appeared, the French infantry had
withdrawn within its intrenched lines, but a strong body of their
cavalry, already formed in a depression to the right of the Floing
road, now rode at the Germans in gallant style, going clear through
the dispersed skirmishers to the main line of battle.  Here the
slaughter of the French was awful, for in addition to the deadly
volleys from the solid battalions of their enemies, the skirmishers,
who had rallied in knots at advantageous places, were now delivering
a severe and effective fire.  The gallant horsemen, therefore, had to
retire precipitately, but re-forming in the depression, they again
undertook the hopeless task of breaking the German infantry, making
in all four successive charges.  Their ardor and pluck were of no
avail, however, for the Germans, growing stronger every minute by the
accession of troops from Floing, met the fourth attack in such large
force that, even before coming in contact with their adversaries, the
French broke and retreated to the protection of the intrenchments,
where, from the beginning of the combat, had been lying plenty of
idle infantry, some of which at least, it seemed plain to me, ought
to have been thrown into the fight.  This action was the last one of
consequence around Sedan, for, though with the contraction of the
German lines their batteries kept cannonading more or less, and the
rattle of musketry continued to be heard here and there, yet the hard
fighting of the day practically ended on the plateau of Floing.

By 3 o'clock, the French being in a desperate and hopeless situation,
the King ordered the firing to be stopped, and at once despatched one
of his staff--Colonel von Bronsart--with a demand for a surrender.
Just as this officer was starting off, I remarked to Bismarck that
Napoleon himself would likely be one of the prizes, but the Count,
incredulous, replied, "Oh no; the old fox is too cunning to be caught
in such a trap; he has doubtless slipped off to Paris"--a belief
which I found to prevail pretty generally about headquarters.

In the lull that succeeded, the King invited many of those about him
to luncheon, a caterer having provided from some source or other a
substantial meal of good bread, chops and peas, with a bountiful
supply of red and sherry wines.  Among those present were Prince
Carl, Bismarck, Von Moltke, Von Roon, the Duke of Weimar, the Duke of
Coburg, the Grand-Duke of Mecklenburg, Count Hatzfeldt, Colonel
Walker, of the English army, General Forsyth, and I.  The King was
agreeable and gracious at all times, but on this occasion he was
particularly so, being naturally in a happy frame of mind because
this day the war had reached a crisis which presaged for the near
future the complete vanquishment of the French.

Between 4 and 5 o'clock Colonel von Bronsart returned from his
mission to Sedan, bringing word to the King that the commanding
officer there General Wimpffen, wished to know, in order that the
further effusion of blood might be spared, upon what terms he might
surrender.  The Colonel brought the intelligence also that the French
Emperor was in the town.  Soon after Von Bronsart's arrival a French
officer approached from Sedan, preceded by a white flag and two
German officers.  Coming up the road till within a few hundred yards
of us, they halted; then one of the Germans rode forward to say that
the French officer was Napoleon's adjutant, bearing an autograph
letter from the Emperor to the King of Prussia.  At this the King,
followed by Bismarck, Von Moltke, and Von Roon, walked out to the
front a little distance and halted, his Majesty still in advance, the
rest of us meanwhile forming in a line some twenty paces to the rear
of the group.  The envoy then approached, at first on horseback, but
when within about a hundred yards he dismounted, and uncovering, came
the remaining distance on foot, bearing high up in his right hand the
despatch from Napoleon.  The bearer proved to be General Reille, and
as he handed the Emperor's letter to the King, his Majesty saluted
him with the utmost formality and precision.  Napoleon's letter was
the since famous one, running so characteristically, thus: "Not
having been able to die in the midst of my troops, there is nothing
left me but to place my sword in your Majesty's hands." The reading
finished, the King returned to his former post, and after a
conference with Bismarck, Von Moltke, and Von Roon, dictated an
answer accepting Napoleon's surrender, and requesting him to
designate an officer with power to treat for the capitulation of the
army, himself naming Von Moltke to represent the Germans.  The King
then started for Vendresse, to pass the night.  It was after
7 o'clock now, and hence too late to arrange anything more where we
were, so further negotiations were deferred till later in the
evening; and I, wishing to be conveniently near Bismarck, resolved to
take up quarters in Donchery.  On our way thither we were met by the
Count's nephew, who assuring us that it would be impossible to find
shelter there in the village, as all the houses were filled with
wounded, Forsyth and I decided to continue on to Chevenge.  On the
other hand, Bismarck-Bohlen bore with him one great comfort--some
excellent brandy.  Offering the flask to his uncle, he said: "You've
had a hard day of it; won't you refresh yourself?"  The Chancellor,
without wasting time to answer, raised the bottle to his lips,
exclaiming: "Here's to the unification of Germany!" which sentiment
the gurgling of an astonishingly long drink seemed to emphasize.  The
Count then handed the bottle back to his nephew, who, shaking it,
ejaculated, "Why, we can't pledge you in return--there is nothing
left!" to which came the waggish response, "I beg pardon; it was so
dark I couldn't see"; nevertheless there was a little remaining, as I
myself can aver.

Having left our carriage at Chevenge, Forsyth and I stopped there to
get it, but a long search proving fruitless, we took lodging in the
village at the house of the cure, resolved to continue the hunt in
the morning.  But then we had no better success, so concluding that
our vehicle had been pressed into the hospital service, we at an
early hour on the 2d of September resumed the search, continuing on
down the road in the direction of Sedan.  Near the gate of the city
we came on the German picket-line, and one of the Officers,
recognizing our uniforms--he having served in the war of the
rebellion--stepped forward and addressed me in good English.  We
naturally fell into conversation, and in the midst of it there came
out through the gate an open carriage, or landau, containing two men,
one of whom, in the uniform of a general and smoking a cigarette, we
recognized, when the conveyance drew near, as the Emperor Louis
Napoleon.  The landau went on toward Donchery at a leisurely pace,
and we, inferring that there was something more important at hand
just then than the recovery of our trap, followed at a respectful
distance.  Not quite a mile from Donchery is a cluster of three or
four cottages, and at the first of these the landau stopped to await,
as we afterward ascertained, Count Bismarck, with whom the diplomatic
negotiations were to be settled.  Some minutes elapsed before he
came, Napoleon remaining seated in his carriage meantime, still
smoking, and accepting with nonchalance the staring of a group of
German soldiers near by, who were gazing on their fallen foe with
curious and eager interest.

Presently a clattering of hoofs was heard, and looking toward the
sound, I perceived the Chancellor cantering down the road.  When
abreast of the carriage he dismounted, and walking up to it, saluted
the Emperor in a quick, brusque way that seemed to startle him.
After a word or two, the party moved perhaps a hundred yards further
on, where they stopped opposite the weaver's cottage so famous from
that day.  This little house is on the east side of the Donchery
road, near its junction with that to Frenois, and stands about twenty
paces back from the highway.  In front is a stone wall covered with
creeping vines, and from a gate in this wall runs to the front door a
path, at this time bordered on both sides with potato vines.

The Emperor having alighted at the gate, he and Bismarck walked
together along the narrow path and entered the cottage.  Reappearing
in about a quarter of an hour, they came out and seated themselves in
the open air, the weaver having brought a couple of chairs.  Here
they engaged in an animated conversation, if much gesticulation is
any indication.  The talk lasted fully an hour, Bismarck seeming to
do most of it, but at last he arose, saluted the Emperor, and strode
down the path toward his horse.  Seeing me standing near the gate, he
joined me for a moment, and asked if I had noticed how the Emperor
started when they first met, and I telling him that I had, he added,
"Well, it must have been due to my manners, not my words, for these
we're, 'I salute your Majesty just as I would my King.'"  Then the
Chancellor continued to chat a few minutes longer, assuring me that
nothing further was to be done there, and that we had better go to
the Chateau Bellevue, where, he said, the formal surrender was to
take place.  With this he rode off toward Vendresse to communicate
with his sovereign, and Forsyth and I made ready to go to the Chateau

Before we set out, however, a number of officers of the King's suite
arrived at the weaver's cottage, and from them I gathered that there
were differences at the royal headquarters as to whether peace should
be made then at Sedan, or the war continued till the French capital
was taken.  I further heard that the military advisers of the King
strongly advocated an immediate move on Paris, while the Chancellor
thought it best to make peace now, holding Alsace and Lorraine, and
compelling the payment of an enormous levy of money; and these rumors
were most likely correct, for I had often heard Bismarck say that
France being the richest country in Europe, nothing could keep her
quiet but effectually to empty her pockets; and besides this, he
impressed me as holding that it would be better policy to preserve
the Empire.

On our way to the chateau we fell in with a number of artillery
officers bringing up their guns hurriedly to post them closer in to
the beleaguered town on a specially advantageous ridge.  Inquiring
the cause of this move, we learned that General Wimpffen had not yet
agreed to the terms of surrender; that it was thought he would not,
and that they wanted to be prepared for any such contingency.  And
they were preparing with a vengeance too, for I counted seventy-two
Krupp guns in one continuous line trained on the Chateau Bellevue and

Napoleon went directly from the weaver's to the Chateau Bellevue, and
about 10 o'clock the King of Prussia arrived from Frenois,
accompanied by a few of his own suite and the Crown Prince with
several members of his staff; and Von Moltke and Wimpffen having
settled their points of difference before the two monarchs met,
within the next half-hour the articles of capitulation were formally

On the completion of the surrender--the occasion being justly
considered a great one--the Crown Prince proceeded to distribute
among the officers congregated in the chateau grounds 'the order of
the Iron Cross'--a generous supply of these decorations being carried
in a basket by one of his orderlies, following him about as he walked
along.  Meantime the King, leaving Napoleon in the chateau to
ruminate on the fickleness of fortune, drove off to see his own
victorious soldiers, who greeted him with huzzas that rent the air,
and must have added to the pangs of the captive Emperor.



The Crown Prince having got to the bottom of his medal basket-that is
to say, having finished his liberal distribution of decorations to
his officers--Forsyth and I rode off by way of Wadelincourt to
Bazeilles to see what had taken place on that part of the field, and
the sight that met our eyes as we entered the village was truly
dreadful to look upon.  Most of the houses had been knocked down or
burned the day before, but such as had been left standing were now in
flames, the torch having been applied because, as it was claimed,
Frenchmen concealed in them had fired on the wounded.  The streets
were still encumbered with both German and French dead, and it was
evident that of those killed in the houses the bodies had not been
removed, for the air was loaded with odors of burning flesh.  From
Bazeille we rode on toward the north about two miles, along where the
fight had been largely an artillery duel, to learn what we could of
the effectiveness of the Krupp gun.  Counting all the French dead we
came across killed by artillery, they figured up about three hundred
--a ridiculously small number; in fact, not much more than one dead
man for each Krupp gun on that part of the line.  Although the number
of dead was in utter disproportion to the terrific six-hour
cannonade, yet small as it was the torn and mangled bodies made such
a horrible sight that we turned back toward Bazeilles without having
gone further than Givonne.

At Bazeilles we met the King, accompanied by Bismarck and several of
the staff.  They too had been riding over the field, the King making
this a practice, to see that the wounded were not neglected.  As I
drew up by the party, Bismarck accosted me with, "Well, General,
aren't you hungry?  This is just the place to whet one's appetite
--these burning Frenchmen--Ugh!" and shrugging his shoulders in evident
disgust, he turned away to join his Majesty in further explorations,
Forsyth and I continuing on to Chevenges.  Here we got the first
inkling of what had become of our carriage since leaving it two days
before: it had been pressed into service to carry wounded officers from
the field during the battle, but afterward released, and was now safe
at the house in Vendresse where we had been quartered the night of the
31st, so, on hearing this, we settled to go there again to lodge, but
our good friend, the cure', insisting that we should stay with him, we
remained in Chevenges till next morning.

On September 3 the King removed from Vendresse to Rethel, where he
remained two days; in the mean while the Germans, 240,000 strong,
beginning their direct march to Paris.  The French had little with
which to oppose this enormous force, not more, perhaps, than 50,000
regular troops; the rest of their splendid army had been lost or
captured in battle, or was cooped up in the fortifications of Metz,
Strasburg, and other places, in consequence of blunders without
parallel in history, for which Napoleon and the Regency in Paris must
be held accountable.  The first of these gross faults was the fight
at Worth, where MacMahon, before his army was mobilized, accepted
battle with the Crown Prince, pitting 50,000 men against 175,000; the
next was Bazaine's fixing upon Metz as his base, and stupidly putting
himself in position to be driven back to it, when there was no
possible obstacle to his joining forces with MacMahon at Chalons;
while the third and greatest blunder of all was MacMahon's move to
relieve Metz, trying to slip 140,000 men along the Belgian frontier.
Indeed, it is exasperating and sickening to think of all this; to
think that Bazaine carried into Metz--a place that should have been
held, if at all, with not over 25,000 men--an army of 180,000,
because it contained, the excuse was, "an accumulation of stores."
With all the resources of rich France to draw upon, I cannot conceive
that this excuse was sincere; on the contrary, I think that the
movement of Bazaine must have been inspired by Napoleon with a view
to the maintenance of his dynasty rather than for the good of France.

As previously stated, Bismarck did not approve of the German army's
moving on Paris after the battle of Sedan.  Indeed, I think he
foresaw and dreaded the establishment of a Republic, his idea being
that if peace was made then, the Empire could be continued in the
person of the Prince Imperial who--, coming to the throne under
German influences, would be pliable in his hands.  These views found
frequent expression in private, and in public too; I myself
particularly remember the Chancellor's speaking thus most unguardedly
at a dinner in Rheims.  But he could not prevent the march to Paris;
it was impossible to stop the Germans, flushed with success.  "On to
Paris" was written by the soldiers on every door, and every
fence-board along the route to the capital, and the thought of a
triumphant march down the Champs Elysees was uppermost with every
German, from the highest to the lowest grade.

The 5th of September we set out for Rheims.  There it was said the
Germans would meet with strong resistance, for the French intended to
die to the last man before giving up that city.  But this proved all
fudge, as is usual with these "last ditch" promises, the garrison
decamping immediately at the approach of a few Uhlans.  So far as I
could learn, but a single casualty happened; this occurred to an
Uhlan, wounded by a shot which it was reported was fired from a house
after the town was taken; so, to punish this breach of faith, a levy
of several hundred bottles of champagne was made, and the wine
divided about headquarters, being the only seizure made in the city,
I believe, for though Rheims, the centre of the champagne district,
had its cellars well stocked, yet most of them being owned by German
firms, they received every protection.

The land about Rheims is of a white, chalky character, and very poor,
but having been terraced and enriched with fertilizers, it produces
the champagne grape in such abundance that the region, once
considered valueless, and named by the peasantry the "land of the
louse," now supports a dense population.  We remained in Rheims eight
days, and through the politeness of the American Consul--Mr. Adolph
Gill--had the pleasure of seeing all the famous wine cellars, and
inspecting the processes followed in champagne making, from the step
of pressing the juice from the grape to that which shows the wine
ready for the market.  Mr. Gill also took us to see everything else
of special interest about the city, and there being much to look at
--fine old churches, ancient fortifications, a Roman gateway, etc.
--the days slipped by very quickly, though the incessant rains
somewhat interfered with our enjoyment.

For three or four days all sorts of rumors were rife as to what was
doing in Paris, but nothing definite was learned till about the 9th;
then Count Bismarck informed me that the Regency had been overthrown
on the 4th, and that the Empress Eugenie had escaped to Belgium.  The
King of Prussia offered her an asylum with the Emperor at
Wilhelmshohe, "where she ought to go," said the Chancellor, "for her
proper place is with her husband," but he feared she would not.  On
the same occasion he also told me that Jules Favre--the head of the
Provisional Government--had sent him the suggestion that, the Empire
being gone, peace should be made and the Germans withdrawn, but that
he (Bismarck) was now compelled to recognize the impossibility of
doing this till Paris was taken, for although immediately after the
surrender of Sedan he desired peace, the past few days had made it
plain that the troops would not be satisfied with anything short of
Paris, no matter what form of Government the French should ultimately

The German army having met with no resistance whatever in its march
on Paris, its advance approached the capital rapidly, and by the 14th
of September the royal headquarters moved by a fine macadamized road
to the Chateau Thierry, and on the 5th reached Meaux, about
twenty-eight miles from Paris, where we remained four days awaiting the
reconstruction of some railroad and canal bridges.  The town of Meaux
has a busy population of about 10,000 souls, in peaceable times
principally occupied in manufacturing flour for the Paris market,
having a fine waterpower for the many mills.  These were kept going day
and night to supply the German army; and it was strange to see with
what zeal Frenchmen toiled to fill the stomachs of their inveterate
enemies, and with what alacrity the mayor and other officials filled
requisitions for wine, cheese, suits of livery, riding-whips, and even
squab pigeons.

During our stay at Meaux the British Minister Lord Lyons, endeavored
to bring about a cessation of hostilities, to this end sending his
secretary out from Paris with a letter to Count Bismarck, offering to
serve as mediator.  The Chancellor would not agree to this, however,
for he conjectured that the action of the British Minister had been
inspired by Jules Favre, who, he thought, was trying to draw the
Germans into negotiations through the medium of a third party only
for purposes of delay.  So the next morning Lord Lyons's secretary,
Mr. Edward Malet, returned to Paris empty-handed, except that he bore
a communication positively declining mediation; which message,
however, led no doubt to an interview between Bismarck and Favre a
couple of days later.

The forenoon of September 19 the King removed to the Chateau
Ferrieres--a castle belonging to the Rothschild family, where
Napoleon had spent many happy days in the time of his prosperity.
His Majesty took up his quarters here at the suggestion of the owner,
we were told, so that by the presence of the King the magnificent
chateau and its treasures of art would be unquestionably protected
from all acts of vandalism.

All of the people at headquarters except the King's immediate suite
were assigned quarters at Lagny; and while Forsyth and I, accompanied
by Sir Henry Havelock, of the British army, were driving thither, we
passed on the road the representative of the National Defense
Government, Jules Favre, in a carriage heading toward Meaux.
Preceded by a flag of truce and accompanied by a single, companion,
he was searching for Count Bismarck, in conformity, doubtless, with
the message the Chancellor had sent to Paris on the 17th by the
British secretary.  A half-mile further on we met Bismarck.  He too
was traveling toward Meaux, not in the best of humor either, it
appeared, for having missed finding the French envoy at the
rendezvous where they had agreed to meet, he stopped long enough to
say that the "air was full of lies, and that there were many persons
with the army bent on business that did not concern them."

The armies of the two Crown Princes were now at the outskirts of
Paris.  They had come from Sedan mainly by two routes--the Crown
Prince of Saxony marching by the northern line, through Laon and
Soissons, and the Crown Prince of Prussia by the southern line,
keeping his right wing on the north bank of the Marne, while his left
and centre approached the French capital by roads between that river
and the Seine.

The march of these armies had been unobstructed by any resistance
worth mentioning, and as the routes of both columns lay through a
region teeming with everything necessary for their support, and rich
even in luxuries, it struck me that such campaigning was more a vast
picnic than like actual war.  The country supplied at all points
bread, meat, and wine in abundance, and the neat villages, never more
than a mile or two apart, always furnished shelter; hence the
enormous trains required to feed and provide camp equipage for an
army operating in a sparsely settled country were dispensed with; in
truth, about the only impedimenta of the Germans was their wagons
carrying ammunition, pontoon-boats, and the field-telegraph.

On the morning of the 20th I started out accompanied by Forsyth and
Sir Henry Havelock, and took the road through Boissy St. George,
Boissy St. Martins and Noisy Le Grand to Brie.  Almost every foot of
the way was strewn with fragments of glass from wine bottles, emptied
and then broken by the troops.  There was, indeed, so much of this
that I refrain from making any estimate of the number of bottles,
lest I be thought to exaggerate, but the road was literally paved
with glass, and the amount of wine consumed (none was wasted) must
have been enormous, far more, even, than I had seen evidence of at
any time before.  There were two almost continuous lines of broken
bottles along the roadsides all the way down from Sedan; but that
exhibit was small compared with what we saw about Brie.

At Brie we were taken charge of by the German commandant of the
place.  He entertained us most hospitably for an hour or so, and
then, accompanied by a lieutenant, who was to be our guide, I set out
ahead of my companions to gain a point on the picket-line where I
expected to get a good look at the French, for their rifle-pits were
but a few hundred yards off across the Marne, their main line being
just behind the rifle-pits.  As the lieutenant and I rode through the
village, some soldiers warned us that the adventure would be
dangerous, but that we could probably get to the desired place unhurt
if we avoided the French fire by forcing our horses to a run in
crossing some open streets where we would be exposed.  On getting to
the first street my guide galloped ahead to show the way, and as the
French were not on the lookout for anything of the kind at these
dangerous points, only a few stray shots were drawn by the
lieutenant, but when I followed, they were fully up to what was going
on, and let fly a volley every time they saw me in the open.
Fortunately, however, in their excitement they overshot, but when I
drew rein alongside of my guide under protection of the bluff where
the German picket was posted, my hair was all on end, and I was about
as badly scared as ever I had been in my life.  As soon as I could
recover myself I thought of Havelock and Forsyth, with the hope that
they would not follow; nor did they, for having witnessed my
experience, they wisely concluded that, after all, they did not care
so much to see the French rifle-pits.

When I had climbed to the top of the bluff I was much disappointed,
for I could see but little--only the advanced rifle-pits across the
river, and Fort Nogent beyond them, not enough, certainly, to repay a
non-combatant for taking the risk of being killed.  The next question
was to return, and deciding to take no more such chances as those we
had run in coming out, I said we would wait till dark, but this
proved unnecessary, for to my utter astonishment my guide informed me
that there was a perfectly safe route by which we might go back.  I
asked why we had not taken it in coming, and he replied that he had
thought it "too long and circuitous."  To this I could say nothing,
but I concluded that that was not quite the correct reason; the truth
is that early that morning the young fellow had been helping to empty
some of the many wine bottles I saw around Brie, and consequently had
a little more "Dutch courage"--was a little more rash--than would
have been the case under other conditions.

I rode back to Brie by the "long and circuitous" route, and inquiring
there for my companions, found Havelock waiting to conduct me to the
village of Villiers, whither, he said, Forsyth had been called to
make some explanation about his passport, which did not appear to be
in satisfactory shape.  Accordingly we started for Villiers, and
Havelock, being well mounted on an English "hunter," and wishing to
give me an exhibition of the animal's training and power, led the way
across ditches and fences, but my horse, never having followed "the
hounds," was unsafe to experiment with, so, after trying a low fence
or two, I decided to leave my friend alone in his diversion, and a
few moments later, seeing both horse and rider go down before a ditch
and high stone wall, I was convinced that my resolution was a
discreet one.  After this mishap, which luckily resulted in no harm,
I hoped Sir Henry would give up the amusement, but by failure
becoming only the more determined, in a second effort he cleared the
wall handsomely and rode across-country to the villages.  Following
the road till it passed under a railway bridge, I there thought I saw
a chance to gain Villiers by a short-cut, and changing my course
accordingly, I struck into a large vineyard to the left, and
proceeding a few hundred yards through the vines, came suddenly upon
a German picket-post.  The guard immediately leveled their rifles at
me, when, remembering my Rezonville experience of being taken for a
French officer because of my uniform, I hastily flung myself from the
saddle in token of surrender.  The action being rightly interpreted,
the men held their fire, and as my next thought was the King's pass I
reached under my coat-skirt for the document, but this motion being
taken as a grab for my pistol, the whole lot of them--some ten in
number--again aimed at me, and with such loud demands for surrender
that I threw up my hands and ran into their ranks.  The officer of
the guard then coming up, examined my credentials, and seeing that
they were signed by the King of Prussia, released me and directed the
recovery of my horse, which was soon caught, and I was then conducted
to the quarters of the commandant, where I found Forsyth with his
pass properly vised, entirely ignorant of my troubles, and
contentedly regaling himself on cheese and beer.  Havelock having got
to the village ahead of me, thanks to his cross-country ride, was
there too, sipping beer with Forsyth; nor was I slow to follow their
example, for the ride of the day, though rather barren in other
results, at any rate had given me a ravenous appetite.

Late that evening, the 20th, we resumed our old quarters at Lagny,
and early next day I made a visit to the royal headquarters at
Ferrires, where I observed great rejoicing going on, the occasion for
it being an important victory gained near Mendon, a French corps of
about 30,000 men under General Ducrot having been beaten by the Fifth
Prussian and Second Bavarian corps.  Ducrot had been stubbornly
holding ground near Mendon for two or three days, much to the
embarrassment of the Germans too, since he kept them from closing a
gap in their line to the southwest of Paris; but in the recent fight
he had been driven from the field with such heavy loss as to render
impossible his maintaining the gap longer.  The Crown Prince of
Prussia was thus enabled to extend his left, without danger, as far
as Bougival, north of Versailles, and eventually met the right of the
Crown Prince of Saxony, already at Denil, north of St. Denis.  The
unbroken circle of investment around Paris being well-nigh assured,
news of its complete accomplishment was momentarily expected;
therefore everybody was jubilant on account of the breaking up of
Ducrot, but more particularly because word had been received the same
morning that a correspondence had begun between Bazaine and Prince
Frederick Charles, looking to the capitulation of Metz, for the
surrender of that place would permit the Second Army to join in the
siege of Paris.

Learning all this, and seeing that the investment was about
completed, I decided to take up my quarters at Versailles, and
started for that place on the 22d, halting at Noisy le Grand to take
luncheon with some artillery officers, whose acquaintance we had made
the day of the surrender at Sedan.  During the meal I noticed two
American flags flying on a couple of houses near by.  Inquiring the
significance of this, I was told that the flags had been put up to
protect the buildings--the owners, two American citizens, having in a
bad fright abandoned their property, and, instead of remaining
outside, gone into Paris,--"very foolishly," said our hospitable
friends, "for here they could have obtained food in plenty, and been
perfectly secure from molestation."

We arrived at Versailles about 7 o'clock that evening and settled
ourselves in the Hotel Reservoir, happy to find there two or three
American families, with whom, of course, we quickly made
acquaintance.  This American circle was enlarged a few days later by
the arrival of General Wm. B. Hazen, of our army, General Ambrose E.
Burnside, and Mr. Paul Forbes.  Burnside and Forbes were hot to see,
from the French side, something of the war, and being almost beside
themselves to get into Paris, a permit was granted them by Count
Bismarck, and they set out by way of Sevres, Forsyth and I
accompanying them as far as the Palace of St. Cloud, which we,
proposed to see, though there were strict orders against its being
visited generally.  After much trouble we managed, through the "open
sesame" of the King's pass, to gain access to the palace; but to our
great disappointment we found that all the pictures had been cut from
the frames and carried off to Paris, except one portrait, that of
Queen Victoria, against whom the French were much incensed.  All
other works of art had been removed, too--a most fortunate
circumstance, for the palace being directly on the German line, was
raked by the guns from the fortress of Mont Valerien, and in a few
days burned to the ground.

In less than a week Burnside and Forbes returned from Paris.  They
told us their experience had been interesting, but were very reticent
as to particulars, and though we tried hard to find out what they had
seen or done, we could get nothing from them beyond the general
statement that they had had a good time, and that General Trochu had
been considerate enough to postpone a sortie, in order to let them
return; but this we did not quite swallow.  After a day or two they
went into Paris again, and I then began to suspect that they were
essaying the role of mediators, and that Count Bismarck was feeding
their vanity with permits, and receiving his equivalent by learning
the state of affairs within the beleaguered city.

From about the 1st of October on, the Germans were engaged in making
their enveloping lines impenetrable, bringing up their reserves,
siege guns, and the like, the French meanwhile continuing to drill
and discipline the National Guard and relieving the monotony
occasionally by a more or less spirited, but invariably abortive,
sortie.  The most notable of these was that made by General Vinoy
against the heights of Clamart, the result being a disastrous repulse
by the besiegers.  After this, matters settled down to an almost
uninterrupted quietude, only a skirmish here and there; and it being
plain that the Germans did not intend to assault the capital, but
would accomplish its capture by starvation, I concluded to find out
from Count Bismarck about when the end was expected, with the purpose
of spending the interim in a little tour through some portions of
Europe undisturbed by war, returning in season for the capitulation.
Count Bismarck having kindly advised me as to the possible date.

Forsyth and I, on the 14th of October, left Versailles, going first
direct to the Chateau Ferrieres to pay our respects to the King,
which we did, and again took luncheon with him.  From the chateau we
drove to Meaux, and there spent the night; resuming our journey next
morning, we passed through Epernay, Rheims, and Rethel to Sedan,
where we tarried a day, and finally, on October 18, reached Brussels.



On reaching Brussels, one of the first things to do was to pay my
respects to the King of Belgium, which I did, accompanied by our
Minister, Mr. Russell Jones.  Later I dined with the King and Queen,
meeting at the dinner many notable people, among them the Count and
Countess of Flanders.  A day or two in Brussels sufficed to mature
our plans for spending the time up to the approximate date of our
return to Paris; and deciding to visit eastern Europe, we made Vienna
our first objective, going there by way of Dresden.

At Vienna our Minister, Mr. John Jay, took charge of us--Forsyth was
still with me--and the few days' sojourn was full of interest.  The
Emperor being absent from the capital, we missed seeing him; but the
Prime Minister, Count von Beust, was very polite to us, and at his
house we had the pleasure of meeting at dinner Count Andrassy, the
Prime Minister of Hungary.

From Vienna we went to Buda-Pesth, the Hungarian capital; and thence,
in a I small, crowded, and uncomfortable steamboat, down the Danube
to Rustchuck, whence we visited Bucharest--all who travel in eastern
Europe do so--and then directing our course southward, we went first
to Varna, and from that city by steamer through the Black Sea to

We reached the Turkish capital at the time of Ramadan, the period of
the year (about a month) during which the Mohammedans are commanded
by the Koran to keep a rigorous fast every day from sunrise till
sunset.  All the followers of the Prophet were therefore busy with
their devotions--holding a revival, as it were; hence there was no
chance whatever to be presented to the Sultan, Abdul Aziz, it being
forbidden during the penitential season for him to receive
unbelievers, or in fact any one except the officials of his
household.  However, the Grand Vizier brought me many messages of
welcome, and arranged that I should be permitted to see and salute
his Serene Highness on the Esplanade as he rode by on horseback to
the mosque.

So, the second day after arrival, the Grand Vizier drove me in a
barouche to the Esplanade, where we took station about midway of its
length an hour or so before the Sultan was to appear.  Shortly after
we reached the Esplanade, carriages occupied by the women of the
Sultan's harem began to appear, coming out from the palace grounds
and driving up and down the roadway.  Only a few of the women were
closely veiled, a majority of them wearing an apology for veiling,
merely a strip of white lace covering the forehead down to the
eyebrows.  Some were yellow, and some white-types of the Mongolian
and Caucasian races.  Now and then a pretty face was seen, rarely a
beautiful one.  Many were plump, even to corpulence, and these were
the closest veiled, being considered the greatest beauties I presume,
since with the Turk obesity is the chief element of comeliness.  As
the carriages passed along in review, every now and then an occupant,
unable or unwilling to repress her natural promptings, would indulge
in a mild flirtation, making overtures by casting demure
side-glances, throwing us coquettish kisses, or waving strings of amber
beads with significant gestures, seeming to say: "Why don't you
follow?"  But this we could not do if we would, for the Esplanade
throughout its entire length was lined with soldiers, put there
especially to guard the harem first, and later, the Sultan on his
pilgrimage to the mosque.

But as it was now time for His Serene Highness to make his appearance
the carriages containing his wives drove off into the palace grounds,
which were inclosed by a high wall, leaving the Esplanade wholly
unencumbered except by the soldiers.  Down between the two ranks,
which were formed facing each other, came the Sultan on a white
steed--a beautiful Arabian--and having at his side his son, a boy
about ten or twelve years old, who was riding a pony, a diminutive
copy of his father's mount, the two attended by a numerous
body-guard, dressed in gorgeous Oriental uniforms.  As the procession
passed our carriage, I, as pre-arranged, stood up and took off my
hat, His Serene Highness promptly acknowledging the salute by raising
his hand to the forehead.  This was all I saw of him, yet I received
every kindness at his hands, being permitted to see many of his
troops, to inspect all the ordnance, equipment, and other military
establishments about Constantinople, and to meet numbers of the high
functionaries of the Empire.

Among other compliments tendered through his direction, and which I
gladly accepted, was a review of all the troops then in Stamboul
--about 6,000--comprising infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

They were as fine looking a body of soldiers as I ever saw--well
armed and well clothed, the men all large and of sturdy appearance.

After the review we attended a grand military dinner given by the
Grand Vizier.  At the hour set for this banquet we presented
ourselves at the palace of the Grand Vizier, and being ushered into a
large drawing-room, found already assembled there the guests invited
to meet us.  Some few spoke French, and with these we managed to
exchange an occasional remark; but as the greater number stood about
in silence, the affair, thus far, was undeniably a little stiff.
Just before the dinner was announced, all the Turkish officers went
into an adjoining room, and turning their faces to the east,
prostrated themselves to the floor in prayer.  Then we were all
conducted to a large salon, where each being provided with a silver
ewer and basin, a little ball of highly perfumed soap and a napkin,
set out on small tables, each guest washed his hands.  Adjacent to
this salon was the dining-room, or, rather, the banqueting room, a
very large and artistically frescoed hall, in the centre of which
stood a crescent-shaped table, lighted with beautiful silver
candelabra, and tastefully decorated with flowers and fruits.  The
viands were all excellent; cooked, evidently, by a French chef, and
full justice was done the dishes, especially by the Turks, who, of
course, had been fasting all day.

At the close of the banquet, which consisted of not less than fifteen
courses, we withdrew to a smoking-room, where the coffee was served
and cigarettes and chibouks offered us--the latter a pipe having a
long flexible stem with an amber mouthpiece.  I chose the chibouk,
and as the stem of mine was studded with precious stones of enormous
value, I thought I should enjoy it the more; but the tobacco being
highly flavored with some sort of herbs, my smoke fell far short of
my anticipations.  The coffee was delicious, however, and I found
this to be the case wherever I went in Constantinople, whether in
making calls or at dinner, the custom of offering coffee and tobacco
on these occasions being universal.

The temptations to linger at Constantinople were many indeed, not the
least being the delightful climate; and as time pressed, we set out
with much regret on the return journey, stopping a few days at
Athens, whence we made several short excursions into the interior.
King George and Queen Olga made our stay in Athens one of extreme
interest and exceeding pleasure.  Throwing aside all ceremony, they
breakfasted and dined us informally, gave us a fine ball, and in
addition to these hospitalities showed us much personal attention,
his Majesty even calling upon me, and the Queen sending her children
to see us at our hotel.

Of course we visited all that remained of the city's ancient
civilization--the Acropolis, temples, baths, towers, and the like;
nor did we omit to view the spot where St. Paul once instructed the
Athenians in lessons of Christianity.  We traveled some little
through the country districts outside of Athens, and I noticed that
the peasantry, in point of picturesqueness of dress and color of
complexion, were not unlike the gypsies we see at times in America.
They had also much of the same shrewdness, and, as far as I could
learn, were generally wholly uneducated, ignorant, indeed, except as
to one subject--politics--which I was told came to them intuitively,
they taking to it, and a scramble for office, as naturally as a duck
to water.  In fact, this common faculty for politics seems a
connecting link between the ancient and modern Greek.

Leaving Athens with the pleasantest recollections, we sailed for
Messina, Sicily, and from there went to Naples, where we found many
old friends; among them Mr. Buchanan Reed, the artist and poet, and
Miss Brewster, as well as a score or more of others of our
countrymen, then or since distinguished, in art and letters at home
and abroad.  We remained some days in Naples, and during the time
went to Pompeii to witness a special excavation among the ruins of
the buried city, which search was instituted on account of our visit.
A number of ancient household articles were dug up, and one, a terra
cotta lamp bearing upon its crown in bas-relief the legend of "Leda
and the Swan," was presented to me as a souvenir of the occasion,
though it is usual for the Government to place in its museums
everything of such value that is unearthed.

From Naples to Rome by rail was our next journey.  In the Eternal
City we saw picture-galleries, churches, and ruins in plenty, but all
these have been so well described by hundreds of other travelers that
I shall not linger even to name them.  While at Rome we also
witnessed an overflow of the Tiber, that caused great suffering and
destroyed much property.  The next stage of our tour took us to
Venice, then to Florence--the capital of Italy--for although the
troops of the King of Italy had taken possession of Rome the
preceding September, the Government itself had not yet removed

At Florence, our Minister, Mr. Marsh, though suffering with a lame
foot, took me in charge, and in due course of time I was presented to
King Victor-Emmanuel.  His Majesty received me informally at his
palace in a small, stuffy room--his office, no doubt--and an untidy
one it was too.  He wore a loose blouse and very baggy trousers; a
comfortable suit, certainly, but not at all conducing to an ideal
kingliness of appearance.

His Majesty's hobby was hunting, and no sooner had I made my bow than
he began a conversation on that subject, thrusting his hands nearly
up to the elbows into the pockets of his trousers.  He desired to
learn about the large game of America, particularly the buffalo, and
when I spoke of the herds of thousands and thousands I had seen on
the plains of western Kansas, he interrupted me to bemoan the fate
which kept him from visiting America to hunt, even going so far as to
say that "he didn't wish to be King of Italy, anyhow, but would much
prefer to pass his days hunting than be bedeviled with the cares of
state." On one of his estates, near Pisa, he had several large herds
of deer, many wild boars, and a great deal of other game. Of this
preserve he was very proud, and before we separated invited me to go
down there to shoot deer, adding that he would be there himself if he
could, but feared that a trip which he had to take to Milan would
interfere, though he wished me to go in any event.

I gladly accepted the invitation, and in two or three days was
notified when I would be expected at the estate.  At the designated
time I was escorted to Pisa by an aide-de-camp, and from there we
drove the few miles to the King's chateau, where we fortified
ourselves for the work in hand by an elaborate and toothsome
breakfast of about ten courses.  Then in a carriage we set out for
the King's stand in the hunting-grounds, accompanied by a crowd of
mounted game-keepers, who with great difficulty controlled the pack
of sixty or seventy hounds, the dogs and keepers together almost
driving me to distraction with their yelping and yelling.  On
reaching the stand, I was posted within about twenty' yards of a
long, high picket-fence, facing the fence and covered by two trees
very close together.  It was from behind these that the King usually
shot, and as I was provided with a double-barreled shot-gun, I
thought I could do well, especially since close in rear of me stood
two game-keepers to load and hand me a second gun when the first was

Meantime the huntsmen and the hounds had made a circuit of the park
to drive up the game.  The yelps of the hounds drawing near, I
cautiously looked in the direction of the sound, and the next moment
saw a herd of deer close in to the fence, and coming down at full
speed.  Without a miss, I shot the four leading ones as they tried
to run the gauntlet, for in passing between the stand and the fence,
the innocent creatures were not more than ten to fifteen paces from
me.  At the fourth I stopped, but the gamekeepers insisted on more
butchery, saying, "No one but the King ever did the like" (I guess no
one else had ever had the chance), so, thus urged, I continued firing
till I had slaughtered eleven with eleven shots--an easy task with a
shot-gun and buckshot cartridges.

The "hunt" being ended--for with this I had had enough, and no one
else was permitted to do any shooting--the aide-decamp directed the
game to be sent to me in Florence, and we started for the chateau.
On the way back I saw a wild boar the first and only one I ever saw
--my attention being drawn to him by cries from some of the
game-keepers.  There was much commotion, the men pointing out the game
and shouting excitedly, "See the wild boar!" otherwise I should not
have known what was up, but now, looking in the indicated direction, I
saw scudding over the plain what appeared to me to be nothing but a
halfgrown black pig, or shoat.  He was not in much of a hurry either,
and gave no evidence of ferocity, yet it is said that this
insignificant looking animal is dangerous when hunted with the spear
--the customary way.  After an early dinner at the chateau we returned
to Florence, and my venison next day arriving, it was distributed among
my American friends in the city.

Shortly after the hunt the King returned from Milan, and then honored
me with a military dinner, his Majesty and all the guests, numbering
eighty, appearing in full uniform.  The banqueting hall was lighted
with hundreds of wax candles, there was a profusion of beautiful
flowers, and to me the scene altogether was one of unusual
magnificence.  The table service was entirely of gold--the celebrated
set of the house of Savoy--and behind the chair of each guest stood a
servant in powdered wig and gorgeous livery of red plush.  I sat at
the right of the King, who--his hands resting on his sword, the hilt
of which glittered with jewels--sat through the hour and a half at
table without once tasting food or drink, for it was his rule to eat
but two meals in twenty-four hours--breakfast at noon, and dinner at
midnight.  The King remained silent most of the time, but when he did
speak, no matter on what subject, he inevitably drifted back to
hunting.  He never once referred to the Franco-Prussian war, nor to
the political situation in his own country, then passing through a
crisis.  In taking leave of his Majesty I thanked him with deep
gratitude for honoring me so highly, and his response was that if
ever he came to America to hunt buffalo, he should demand my

From Florence I went to Milan and Geneva, then to Nice, Marseilles,
and Bordeaux.  Assembled at Bordeaux was a convention which had been
called together by the government of the National Defense for the
purpose of confirming or rejecting the terms of an armistice of
twenty-one days, arranged between Jules Favre and Count Bismarck in
negotiations begun at Versailles the latter part of January.  The
convention was a large body, chosen from all parts of France, and was
unquestionably the most noisy, unruly and unreasonable set of beings
that I ever saw in a legislative assembly.  The frequent efforts of
Thiers, Jules Favre, and other leading men to restrain the more
impetuous were of little avail.  When at the sittings a delegate
arose to speak on some question, he was often violently pulled to his
seat and then surrounded by a mob of his colleagues, who would throw
off their coats and gesticulate wildly, as though about to fight.

But the bitter pill of defeat had to be swallowed in some way, so the
convention delegated M. Thiers to represent the executive power of
the country, with authority to construct a ministry three
commissioners were appointed by the Executive, to enter into further
negotiations with Count Bismarck at Versailles and arrange a peace,
the terms of which, however, were to be submitted to the convention
for final action.  Though there had been so much discussion, it took
but a few days to draw up and sign a treaty at Versailles, the
principal negotiators being Thiers and Jules Favre for France, and
Bismarck on the part of the Germans.  The terms agreed upon provided
for the occupation of Paris till ratification should be had by the
convention at Bordeaux; learning of which stipulation from our
Minister, Mr. Washburn, I hurried off to Paris to see the conquerors
make their triumphal entry.

In the city the excitement was at fever heat, of course; the entire
population protesting with one voice that they would never, never
look upon the hated Germans marching through their beloved city.  No!
when the day arrived they would hide themselves in their houses, or
shut their eyes to such a hateful sight.  But by the 1st of March a
change had come over the fickle Parisians, for at an early hour the
sidewalks were jammed with people, and the windows and doors of the
houses filled with men, women, and children eager to get a look at
the conquerors.  Only a few came in the morning, however--an
advance-guard of perhaps a thousand cavalry and infantry.  The main
column marched from the Arc-de-Triomphe toward the middle of the
afternoon. In its composition it represented United Germany--Saxons,
Bavarians, and the Royal Guard of Prussia--and, to the strains of
martial music, moving down the Champ Elysees to the Place de la
Concorde, was distributed thence over certain sections of the city
agreed upon beforehand.  Nothing that could be called a disturbance
took place during the march; and though there was a hiss now and then
and murmurings of discontent, yet the most noteworthy mutterings were
directed against the defunct Empire.  Indeed, I found everywhere that
the national misfortunes were laid at Napoleon's door--he, by this
time, having become a scapegoat for every blunder of the war.

The Emperor William (he had been proclaimed German Emperor at
Versailles the 18th of January) did not accompany his troops into
Paris, though he reviewed them at Long Champs before they started.
After the occupation of the city he still remained at Versailles, and
as soon as circumstances would permit, I repaired to the Imperial
headquarters to pay my respects to his Majesty under his new title
and dignities, and to say good-bye.

Besides the Emperor, the only persons I me at Versailles were General
von Moltke and Bismarck.  His Majesty was in a very agreeable frame
of mind, and as bluff and hearty as usual.  His increased rank and
power had effected no noticeable change of any kind in him, and by
his genial and cordial ways he made me think that my presence with
the German army had contributed to his pleasure.  Whether this was
really so or not, I shall always believe it true, for his kind words
and sincere manner could leave no other conclusion.

General von Moltke was, as usual, quiet and reserved, betraying not
the slightest consciousness of his great ability, nor the least
indication of pride on account of his mighty work.  I say this
advisedly, for it is an undoubted fact that it was his marvelous
mind that perfected the military system by which 800,000 men were
mobilized with unparalleled celerity and moved with such certainty of
combination that, in a campaign of seven months, the military power
of France was destroyed and her vast resources sorely crippled.

I said good-bye to Count Bismarck, also, for at that busy time the
chances of seeing him again were very remote.  The great Chancellor
manifested more joy over the success of the Germans than did anyone
else at the Imperial headquarters.  Along with his towering strength
of mind and body, his character partook of much of the enthusiasm and
impulsiveness commonly restricted to younger men, and now in his
frank, free way be plainly showed his light-heartedness and
gratification at success.  That which for years his genius had been
planning and striving for--permanent unification of the German
States, had been accomplished by the war.  It had welded them
together in a compact Empire which no power in Europe could disrupt,
and as such a union was the aim of Bismarck's life, he surely had a
right to feel jubilant.

Thanks to the courtesies extended me, I had been able to observe the
principal battles, and study many of the minor details of a war
between two of the greatest military nations of the world, and to
examine critically the methods followed abroad for subsisting,
equipping, and manoeuvring vast bodies of men during a stupendous,
campaign.  Of course I found a great deal to interest and instruct
me, yet nowadays war is pretty much the same everywhere, and this one
offered no marked exception to my previous experiences.  The methods
pursued on the march were the same as we would employ, with one most
important exception.  Owing to the density of population throughout
France it was always practicable for the Germans to quarter their
troops in villages, requiring the inhabitants to subsist both
officers and men.  Hence there was no necessity for camp and garrison
equipage, nor enormous provision trains, and the armies were
unencumbered by these impedimenta, indispensable when operating in a
poor and sparsely settled country.  As I have said before, the only
trains were those for ammunition, pontoon-boats, and the field
telegraph, and all these were managed by special corps.  If
transportation was needed for other purposes, it was obtained by
requisition from the invaded country, just as food and forage were
secured.  Great celerity of combination was therefore possible, the
columns moving in compact order, and as all the roads were broad and
macadamized, there was little or nothing to delay or obstruct the
march of the Germans, except when their enemy offered resistance, but
even this was generally slight and not very frequent, for the French
were discouraged by disaster from the very outset of the campaign.

The earlier advantages gained by the Germans may be ascribed to the
strikingly prompt mobilization of their armies, one of the most
noticeable features of their perfect military system, devised by
almost autocratic power; their later successes were greatly aided by
the blunders of the French, whose stupendous errors materially
shortened the war, though even if prolonged it could, in my opinion,
have had ultimately no other termination.

As I have previously stated, the first of these blunders was the
acceptance of battle by MacMahon at Worth; the second in attaching
too much importance to the fortified position of Metz, resulting in
three battles Colombey, Mars-la-Tour, and Gravelotte--all of which
were lost; and the third, the absurd movement of MacMahon along the
Belgian frontier to relieve Metz, the responsibility for which, I am
glad to say, does not belong to him.

With the hemming in of Bazaine at Metz and the capture of MacMahon's
army at Sedan the crisis of the war was passed, and the Germans
practically the victors.  The taking of Paris was but a sentiment
--the money levy could have been made and the Rhine provinces held
without molesting that city, and only the political influences
consequent upon the changes in the French Government caused peace to
be deferred.

I did not have much opportunity to observe the German cavalry, either
on the march or in battle.  The only time I saw any of it engaged was
in the unfortunate charge at Gravelotte.  That proved its mettle good
and discipline fair, but answered no other purpose.  Such of it as
was not attached to the infantry was organized in divisions, and
operated in accordance with the old idea of covering the front and
flanks of the army, a duty which it thoroughly performed.  But thus
directed it was in no sense an independent corps, and hence cannot
be, said to have accomplished anything in the campaign, or have had a
weight or influence at all proportionate to its strength.  The method
of its employment seemed to me a mistake, for, being numerically
superior to the French cavalry, had it been massed and manoeuvred
independently of the infantry, it could easily have broken up the
French communications, and done much other work of weighty influence
in the prosecution of the war.

The infantry was as fine as I ever saw, the men young and hardy in
appearance, and marching always with an elastic stride.  The infantry
regiment, however, I thought too large--too many men for a colonel to
command unless he has the staff of a general--but this objection may
be counterbalanced by the advantages resulting from associating
together thus intimately the men from the same district, or county as
we would call it; the celerity of mobilization, and, in truth, the
very foundation of the German system, being based on this local or
territorial scheme of recruiting.

There was no delay when the call sounded for the march; all turned
out promptly, and while on the road there was very little straggling,
only the sick falling out.  But on such fine, smooth roads, and with
success animating the men from the day they struck the first blow, it
could hardly be expected that the columns would not keep well closed
up.  Then, too, it must be borne in mind that, as already stated,
'campaigning' in France--that is, the marching, camping, and
subsisting of an army--is an easy matter, very unlike anything we,
had during the war of the rebellion.  To repeat: the country is rich,
beautiful, and densely populated, subsistence abundant, and the
roads--all macadamized highways; thus the conditions; are altogether
different from those existing with us.  I think that under the same
circumstances our troops would have done as well as the Germans,
marched as admirably, made combinations as quickly and accurately,
and fought with as much success.  I can but leave to conjecture how.
the Germans would have got along on bottomless roads--often none at
all--through the swamps and quicksands of northern Virginia, from,
the Wilderness to Petersburg, and from Chattanooga to Atlanta and the

Following the operations of the German armies from the battle of
Gravelotte to the siege of Paris, I may, in conclusion, say that I
saw no new military principles developed, whether of strategy or
grand tactics, the movements of the different armies and corps being
dictated and governed by the same general laws that have so long
obtained, simplicity of combination and manoeuvre, and the
concentration of a numerically superior force at the vital point.

After my brief trip to Versailles, I remained in Paris till the
latter part of March.  In company with Mr. Washburn, I visited the
fortifications for the defense of the city, and found them to be
exceptionally heavy; so strong, indeed, that it would have been very
hard to carry the place by a general assault.  The Germans, knowing
the character of the works, had refrained from the sacrifice of life
that such an attempt must entail, though they well knew that many of
the forts were manned by unseasoned soldiers.  With only a combat
here and there, to tighten their lines or repulse a sortie, they
wisely preferred to wait till starvation should do the work with
little loss and absolute certainty.

The Germans were withdrawn from Paris on the 3d of March, and no
sooner were they gone than factional quarrels, which had been going
on at intervals ever since the flight of the Empress and the fall of
her regency on the 4th of September, were renewed with revolutionary
methods that eventually brought about the Commune.  Having witnessed
one or two of these outbreaks, and concluding that while such
turbulence reigned in the city it would be of little profit for me to
tarry there, I decided to devote the rest of the time I could be away
from home to travel in England, Ireland, and Scotland.  My journeys
through those countries were full of pleasure and instruction, but as
nothing I saw or did was markedly different from what has been so
often described by others, I will save the reader this part of my
experience.  I returned to America in the fall, having been absent a
little more than a year, and although I saw much abroad of absorbing
interest, both professional and general, yet I came back to my native
land with even a greater love for her, and with increased admiration
for her institutions.

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