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Title: History of Company E of the Sixth Minnesota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry
Author: Stees, Charles J., Hill, A. J. (Alfred James), 1833-1895
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Company E of the Sixth Minnesota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry" ***

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[Illustration: Photo of Alfred J. Hill and handwritten inscription:
"Yours truly, Alfred J. Hill"]







St. Paul, Minn.:

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1899, by
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

All Rights Reserved.


It will be remembered by those connected with the military service that
towards the end of the late Civil War, there went through the camps and
barracks of the volunteer soldiers agents of publishing houses busily
engaged in procuring material for "company histories," and still more
anxiously soliciting subscriptions for the same. These histories were
mere broadsides or charts, giving the name and rank of each man, with a
few other personal facts, compiled from the muster rolls, and in
addition an abstract of campaign movements, battles, and so forth; all
the information being brought up to date of subscription. Of course as
permanent and final records such publications would be failures, there
being no "next" in which to "conclude" their stories.

While the Sixth Minnesota Infantry Regiment lay at New Orleans, one of
the visitations described occurred to it (this being a very successful
one), and thereupon a member of Company E proposed to a comrade the
getting up of something of the kind among themselves, to be of home
manufacture. Time permitting, the work was then commenced, continued in
the field, and kept up with current events till the order for return
home of the command to which the company belonged. Serious illness of
the compiler, and the scattering of the members of the company,
prevented the finishing of the work at the intended time, and caused
its indefinite postponement.

As a contribution, though humble, to material for some future history
of the part taken by Minnesota in the war for the Union this little
book has been completed and published, and the writer would be greatly
pleased if its appearance should stimulate the necessary research for
the putting on record in somewhat similar form of the histories of
other companies of our state regiments.


St. Paul, Minn., 1869.



In the spring of 1862 a sixth regiment of infantry had been called for
from Minnesota by the Governor of the State, but, from various causes,
the enlistments proceeded very languidly till the disasters of the
Virginian armies in the summer and the consequent proclamations of the
President of the United States for volunteers gave an immense impulse
to recruiting.

Under such circumstances it was that the "Sigel Guards," afterwards
Company E of the Sixth Regiment, were projected and raised. In the
month of June, Mathias Holl, of St. Paul, was authorized to recruit for
the proposed company; and on the 23rd of July, twenty men having been
enlisted, he received a regular recruiting commission. Rudolph
Schoenemann and Christian Exel, of the same city, also engaged in the
work in connection with Lieutenant Holl, themselves enlisting in the
company on the 6th and 14th of August, respectively. Many of the
members, however, were not obtained particularly by these gentlemen,
some having been recruited for other companies or regiments and
transferred involuntarily to the Sigel Guards, others who had purposed
enlisting in other companies--that never were filled--having joined it
of their own accord, while a large proportion acted as their own
recruiting officers, and made it their first choice. The names of those
recruited for, or who intended to join, other organizations, are as
follows, viz.: (1) Beckendorf, Besecke, Detert, Gropel, Mahle, Mann,
Metz, J. J. Mueller, Schaefer, Simon, and Temme, were to have belonged
to the company projected by Messrs. Klinkenfus, Knauft, and Krueger, of
Lower Town, St. Paul. They joined in a body. (2) Bast, Blesius,
Blessner, Dreis, Fandel, Greibler, Hoscheid, and Neierburg were
enlisted August 15th by Messrs. Julius Gross and Lieutenant Kreitz, of
St. Paul, for the Tenth Regiment, but were transferred to the Sixth.
(3) George Paulson, a recruit for L. C. Dayton's company (St. Paul) for
the Eighth Regiment, was transferred to the Sixth. (4) John, Kilian,
Kraemer, Meyer, Praxl, and Radke came to Fort Snelling from Winona, as
recruits for the Seventh Regiment, but enlisted instead in the Sigel
Guards. All the recruits were enlisted and sworn in as privates except
the drummer, the period of enlistment being "for three years unless
sooner discharged."

The general rendezvous was at Fort Snelling, and, the "minimum" number
(83) having been obtained, the company was provisionally organized
there, on the 16th of August, by the enlisted men expressing, by vote,
their preference for candidates to fill the commissioned offices, and
by the captain, then chosen, appointing the non-commissioned officers.
Schoenemann and Holl were thus respectively elected captain and second
lieutenant of the Sigel Guards, and were commissioned as such, on the
19th, by the Governor of the State, and Lieutenant Exel, already
commissioned (August 11th), accepted as first lieutenant.

By the 19th of August the aggregate number of members was 94; their
names, rank, etc., being shown in the following roll:

                            |                       | When
     NAME                   |  NATIVE COUNTRY       | Enlisted
                            |                       | 1862
  OFFICERS.                 |                       |
_Captain_     --            |                       |
  *Rudolph Schoenemann      | Prussia               | Aug. 14
_First Lieutenant_     --   |                       |
  Christian Exel            | Hesse Darmstadt       | Aug. 6
_Second Lieutenant_     --  |                       |
  Mathias Holl              | Hesse Darmstadt       | July 23
_First Sergeant_     --     |                       |
  Justus B. Bell            | Ohio                  | Aug. 4
_Second Sergeant_     --    |                       |
  George Huhn               | Bavaria               | Aug. 7
_Third Sergeant_     --     |                       |
  *Frederick Scheer         | Prussia               | July 23
_Fourth Sergeant_     --    |                       |
  Ernst J. Knobelsdorff     | Prussia               | July 29
_Fifth Sergeant_     --     |                       |
  *Elias Siebert            | Hesse Cassel          | Aug. 2
_First Corporal_     --     |                       |
  *Paul P. Huth             | Prussia               | June 13
_Second Corporal_     --    |                       |
  John Burch                | Prussia               | Aug. 13
_Third Corporal_     --     |                       |
  *Mathias Mueller          | Prussia               | Aug. 5
_Fourth Corporal_     --    |                       |
  *William Rohde            | Hesse Cassel          | Aug. 2
_Fifth Corporal_     --     |                       |
  Peter Leitner             | Bavaria               | Aug. 6
_Sixth Corporal_     --     |                       |
  Reinhard Stiefel          | Prussia               | Aug. 7
_Seventh Corporal_     --   |                       |
  George Sauer              | Bavaria               | Aug. 7
_Eighth Corporal_     --    |                       |
  Richard Mueller           | Prussia               | Aug. 8
_Musician_     --           |                       |
  *Charles Seidel           | Prussia               | July 9
_Privates_     --           |                       |
  Bast, William             | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  Beckendorf, Peter H.      | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Becker, Mathias           | Prussia               | Aug. 13
  Besecke, Ferdinand        | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Blesius, John             | Prussia               | Aug. 15
  Blessner, Charles         | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  Boos, Michael             | Bavaria               | June 12
  Bristle, Christian        | Baden                 | Aug.  4
  Detert, Henry             | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Dreis, Nicholas           | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  *Eberdt, Charles          | Mecklenb              | Aug. 13
  Eheim, Joseph             | Austria               | Aug. 14
  Fandel, Henry             | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  *Ferlein, Joseph          | Bavaria               | June  2
  Fischer, Louis            | Switzerland           | Aug. 16
  Gaheen, Samuel            | Canada                | Aug. 14
  *Gantner, Jacob           | Switzerland           | June 10
  Goldner, Joseph           | Prussia               | July 23
  Griebler, Joseph          | Prussia               | Aug. 15
  *Gropel, Henry            | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Hahn, F. Carl             | Wurtemberg            | July 23
  Harrfeldt, August         | Holstein              | July 28
  Hauck, Jacob              | Baden                 | Aug. 14
  *Hellmann, Herman         | Prussia               | Aug.  9
  Henricks, Frederick       | Prussia               | July 28
  Henricks, Henry           | Prussia               | Aug.  5
  Hill, Alfred J.           | England               | Aug. 14
  Hill, William A.          | Virginia              | July 22
  Hoscheid, Nicholas        | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  Jakobi, Conrad            | Hesse Darmstadt       | July 18
  John, Jacob               | Bremen                | Aug. 18
  *Juergens, Louis          | Waldeck               | Aug. 16
  *Kellermann, August       | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Kernen, Jacob             | Switzerland           | Aug. 14
  Kilian, Philip            | Hesse Darmstadt       | Aug. 18
  *Klinghammer, Louis       | Prussia               | July  9
  *Kobelitz, Frederick      | Bremen                | July 28
  *Koenig, Louis            | Baden                 | Aug. 12
  *Kraemer, Frederick       | Wurtemberg            | Aug. 18
  *Krueger, Henry           | Schleswig             | Aug. 15
  Mahle, William            | Wurtemberg            | Aug. 14
  Mann, Jacob               | Wurtemberg            | Aug. 14
  *Martin, Frederick        | Prussia               | Aug. 16
  Metz, Charles             | Hanover               | Aug. 14
  Maurer, John J.           | Prussia               | Aug. 13
  Meyer, John H.            | Ohio                  | Aug. 18
  Mueckenhausen, Joseph     | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Mueckenhausen, Mathias    | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Mueller, John Jacob       | Wurtemberg            | Aug. 14
  Munson, John              | Sweden                | June 26
  Neierburg, Michael        | Luxemburg             | Aug. 15
  Parks, Thomas M.          | Pennsylvania          | June 13
  *[1]Paulson, George       | Prussia               | July 28
  Paulson, Paul             | Norway                | June 10
  Peterson, Ole             | Norway                | July 28
  Porth, William            | Prussia               | Aug.  7
  Praxl, Anthony A.         | Austria               | Aug. 18
  Radke, Rudolph            | Prussia               | Aug. 18
  Rehse, August             | Prussia               | Aug.  4
  *Reimers, Joachim         | Holstein              | Aug. 13
  *Reuter, Henry            | Hanover               | July 23
  Rossion, Jean             | Belgium               | July 31
  Schafer, Henry            | Canada                | Aug. 14
  Schauer, August           | Prussia               | Aug.  4
  Scheibel, Augustin        | France                | Aug. 15
  Schene, William           | Hanover               | Aug. 12
  Schermann, George         | Austria               | Aug. 11
  Schoenheiter, Frederick   | Prussia               | Aug. 16
  Simon, John               | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Smith, Joseph             | France                | Aug. 14
  Smith, William A.         | Indiana               | Aug. 19
  Sproesser, William D.     | Wurtemberg            | July 23
  Stengelin, Gottfried      | Wurtemberg            | July 16
  Temme, Charles            | Prussia               | Aug. 14
  Wetteran, Louis           | Wisconsin             | Aug.  5
  Willialms, August         | Sweden                | June 10
  *Wolf, Anton              | Prussia               | June 2

* In military service before.

      [1] This young man's real name was Paul Bierstach, the other
      having been assumed to enable him to get sworn in without his
      parents' consent.

With the exception of less than half a dozen, all of the above were
residents of Minnesota, fifty-four being from St. Paul, eight from
Winona, and the remainder from other parts of the state. Twenty-four of
the members had been soldiers previously, many of them having seen
active service--seventeen in European armies, one in the United States
regulars, and six in the United States volunteer forces. Wolf--then a
boy of sixteen--enlisted in Bulow's Army Corps, fought at Quatre Blas,
and was present at the battle of Waterloo.



Immediately after the organization of the company the usual recruit
life began. Military clothing and equipments were issued, squad drill
commenced, and light guard duty done in and around the fort. The
quarters of the company were two rooms on the northern side of the
parade grounds, with a kitchen and dining room below. Fritz Stirneman,
a civilian, but an ex-soldier of the First Regiment, assisted by
Rossion, was hired to do the cooking.

The monotony of barrack life, however, did not last long. The news of
the outbreak of the Sioux Indians in the western part of the state
turned all thoughts from anticipations of Southern campaigns to the
necessities of the hour. The regiment was put on a war footing, orders
to march were issued, and arms and accoutrements supplied to the men;
four Sibley tents being allowed for the enlisted men of each company.
On the 20th of August the first battalion of the Sixth Regiment,
consisting of three companies, left Fort Snelling for the scene of the
massacre, and, together with Company A, which had been ordered to march
across the country, arrived at St. Peter on the 22nd. All being ready,
the second battalion, including Company E, embarked on the evening of
the 22nd, on the steamboat _Wilson_ for the upper Minnesota River. At
the time of embarkation the aggregate strength of the company was 94,
the number present being 84; the absentees being Lieutenant Exel, on
recruiting service; John, Harrfeldt, Kraemer, Martin, Meyer, Praxl, and
Radke, on furlough; Dreis and Fandel, who had not yet joined; and
Porth, left behind at the fort on account of inability to march.

On the morning of the 23rd we disembarked at Shakopee, 24 miles from
the fort. From this day commenced the official organization of the
regiment, it being the date of Colonel William Crooks' commission. The
route followed was through Jordan, Belle Plaine, and Henderson, to St.
Peter, where we arrived on the 24th. All the companies of the Sixth
were now concentrated at this point, where an expeditionary force was
collecting for the relief of Fort Ridgley, then sorely pressed by the
Indians. On the 26th the expedition commenced the march, and arrived at
the fort on the 28th; the regiment encamping on the prairie near by.

H. Henricks was appointed wagoner of the company on the 30th. Also on
that day Louis Thiele, a Prussian settler of the neighborhood, whose
family had been murdered by the Indians, enlisted in the company as a

On the 31st an expedition under the command of Major Joseph E. Brown,
consisting of the Union Guards (Company A), under Captain Grant, and a
detail of men from the other companies of the Sixth Regiment, and the
Cullen Guards under Captain Anderson, was dispatched to the Lower
Agency to bury the dead, and ascertain if possible the position of the

Early on the morning of September 2nd, rapid firing was heard in the
direction of the Agency. The scouts reported that the detachment under
Major Brown was attacked and surrounded at Birch Coolie, 20 miles from
the fort and 3 miles from the Lower Agency. A second detachment under
Colonel McPhail, consisting of the Hickory Guards (Company B), Sigel
Guards (Company E), Young Men's Guard (Company G), of the Sixth
Regiment, under Major McLaren, also some cavalry and one howitzer under
Captain Mark Hendricks, was at once sent forward to their relief. When
within three miles of the beleaguered force, the demonstrations of the
Indians became so threatening--coming near enough to shoot one of the
horses--that the commander of the relieving party, not daring to fight
his way through, made a halt, had the horses unhitched, and disposed
the men to meet the expected attack, but, as the enemy did not return
any nearer to us, we shortly fell back some distance to a better
position. Night soon came on and it was spent watchfully by the men
behind their corralled wagons, the silence being broken only by the
occasional firing of the howitzer. The firing had been heard at the
fort and towards morning the little force was strengthened by the
arrival of the remainder of the Sixth Regiment, the Seventh Regiment,
which had just arrived at the fort, and two pieces of artillery. About
daylight on the 3rd, the combined forces were drawn up in line of
battle, ready to move; the Indians soon appeared and commenced the
attack, but the return fire was so heavy, and evidently so unexpected,
that they almost immediately retreated to the woods in the coolie, from
which they were driven by the heavy fire delivered by the artillery.
The Indians having been repulsed, the whole force continued their march
to Birch Coolie camp, and the Indians then abandoned the attack of the
party there, though the soldiers of the first relieving party were not
allowed the honor of driving them, which was given to the Seventh
Regiment. After burying the dead and attending to the wounded, the
troops returned to their camp at Fort Ridgley.

Five men of the company were with the original detachment at the battle
of Birch Coolie. R. Mueller and Klinghammer were severely wounded, the
former in the side and arm, and the latter in the leg. They were cared
for at the post hospital. Dreis and Fandel were there, having
accompanied the volunteer cavalry from St. Paul; Dreis joined on the
4th and Fandel, being wounded in the hand, went to the hospital.
Thiele, too, was present at this fight. About this time Lieutenant Exel
with the seven furloughed Winona men returned.

Shortly after this affair the order of the adjutant general of the
state was received and published, fixing the letters of the companies
according to the rank of the respective captains. The Sigel Guards were
the fifth company, and so became E; in position it was therefore the
seventh from the right wing of the regiment, and had, when marching
during the summer, Company A of the Ninth Regiment in front, and
Company K of the Sixth in the rear.

While preparations for the campaign were progressing, the troops were
drilled daily in the "school of the soldier" and "of the company;" and,
among other things, trenches were dug at the fort, and beyond the
camps. About the middle of the month Eberdt was detailed as regimental

On the 18th of the month the expeditionary force took up the line of
march from its base at Fort Ridgley. Crossing at the ferry near by, the
route pursued was on the south side of the Minnesota River, fording the
Red Wood at the usual place, and touching Wood Lakes, about three miles
from Yellow Medicine, which was reached on the 22nd. On the morning of
the 23rd the Indians surprised a foraging party half a mile distant
from the camp. The Third Regiment formed in line, and, crossing a
ravine, opened fire on the Indians, but immediately received orders to
fall back. The Third recrossed the ravine, and, the Renville Rangers
coming to their support, the Indian advance was checked. Captain
Hendricks placed his artillery in a raking position at the head of the
ravine, and soon dislodged the enemy. On the right, Colonel Marshall
with five companies of the Seventh Regiment, and Companies A and I of
the Sixth under Lieutenant Colonel Averill, charged and drove the
Indians from their position. On the left, a similar flank movement was
repelled by Major McLaren with Companies F and K of the Sixth, while
the remainder of the regiment was held in reserve. The action lasted
about two hours, at the end of which time, the Indians being unable to
withstand the murderous fire of shot and shell rained upon them, fled
with great precipitation, and thus ended the battle of Wood Lake. The
whole plan of battle seems to have been of defense, fought on the old
lines of chivalry--man for man, instead of bringing all the troops in
line of action and dealing the enemy a crushing blow at the beginning.
This mode of action may have been very nice from an Indian's point of
view, but the men in the reserve who stood in line of battle for nearly
two hours, and those engaged at the front who were held back and not
allowed to drive the enemy, would have preferred a little less chivalry
and a few more dead Indians.

On the 25th the line of march was again taken up, and on the 26th we
arrived at the camp of the "so-called" friendly Indians, where were
most of the white captives taken during the insurrection, and who in a
day or two were delivered up. This place was nearly opposite the mouth
of the Chippewa River, and near by, about a quarter of a mile south of
the Minnesota River, was formed the camp ever afterwards to be known in
local history as Camp Release, from this memorable surrender of
captives there.

On the 4th of October, Captain Whitney, with two companies of the Sixth
and one from the Seventh, was sent below in charge of the Indian
prisoners to gather the crops in the vicinity of the Yellow Medicine
Agency. On the 5th all the company present, 91 in number, were mustered
into the military service of the United States, "for three years from
their respective dates of enrollment." On the 13th, Colonel Marshall
was sent to the westward with a detachment consisting of Company G of
the Sixth Regiment, 100 men of the Third, and one howitzer, in quest of
the Indians reported to be near the headwaters of the Lac qui Parle
River and Two Lakes (Mde-nonpana) in the Coteaus. The expedition
returned on the 21st, having penetrated the prairies nearly to the
James River, and having in charge about 150 Indian prisoners, including
men, women and children.

By company order of September 22nd, Corporal Huth was promoted to fifth
sergeant, and Privates J. Smith and Martin appointed seventh and eighth
corporals, respectively. On October 13th warrants bearing the same date
were made out and signed by the colonel for all the non-commissioned
officers, making the grades agree with said order, but causing them to
take effect from the 18th of August. On the 14th Company F left for
Yellow Medicine to reinforce Captain Whitney. On the night of the 15th,
Captain Merriman, with Company B and 35 mounted men (including 25
scouts), made a raid beyond the lower Lac qui Parle, and captured 23
lodges, in all 67 Indians. On the 18th W. A. Hill rejoined. While at
Camp Release the duty performed was chiefly guarding the Indian
prisoners, foraging, and serving on camp guard,--a very strict and
irksome one. Company drill in the morning and battalion drill in the
afternoon were also required.

Though within sixty miles of depots of supplies, and though the
majority of the fighting men of the insurgent Indians had either been
captured, or had surrendered, or retreated further up the Minnesota
river, the rank and file of this small army had here to suffer for the
want of commissary stores,--truly following the advice of the ancient
philosopher to leave off eating with yet a little appetite. Had it not
been for the potatoes of the Indian gardens and cattle of the
slaughtered and fugitive settlers--which provisions, though costing
nothing to the government at the time, were made to offset the amounts
due for non-issued rations, the source of "company funds"--we would
have been nearly starved.

The return march was begun on the 23rd of October, on which day the
weather turned suddenly cold and a high wind rose, which blew down many
of the tents at Yellow Medicine that night. Arrived at the Lower Agency
on the 25th, and then went into camp at Camp Sibley; and remained there
till the 8th of November, and then resumed the march. The next day the
company was detailed as guard for the prisoners, two men being assigned
to each wagon. Though the troops left the village of New Ulm a mile or
more to the left, yet the citizens, exasperated at the sight of the
Indians in the wagons guarded by the soldiers, lined the road opposite
the town in great excitement, hurling stones and endeavoring to get at
the Indians, in which they partly succeeded. On the 10th we arrived at
Blue Earth River bridge, and camped a little beyond it, on the townsite
of Le Hillier (L'Huillier) and immediately south of the isolated bluff
at the mouth of the river,--the camp being called Camp Lincoln.

Here Eberdt was relieved. Fischer left on the 15th on furlough, from
which he never returned; Juergens and Knobelsdorff, sick, were sent to
the hospital at Mankato the same day. Gaheen, Gantner, Meyer and Parks
had been detailed or detached as regimental teamsters during parts of
October and November, but by this time were all with the company again
for duty.

The regiment marched, by the way of Mankato, to St. Peter, on the 17th,
having traveled to the latter place, since leaving Fort Snelling in
August, as a regiment of the expeditionary brigade, about 350 miles.
The campaign being terminated, the companies departed to their various
assigned winter stations,--Companies A, B, G, H, and K for Fort
Snelling; D for Forest City; E for Hutchinson, McLeod county; and C, F,
and I for Glencoe. Lieutenant Holl was detailed as quartermaster and
commissary for the company during its separation from the regiment.

On the 18th of November we left St. Peter with Companies C, D, and F:
four miles beyond New Auburn parted with C and F, and with D at
Hutchinson, where we arrived on the 20th. This place was already
garrisoned by Company B of the Ninth Regiment, quartered in good log
houses, but there was no accommodation for the newly-arrived company,
and fatigue parties had at once to be set to work cutting and hauling
logs for building. The season, however, being too far advanced, the
work was abandoned, permission having been obtained to hire quarters at
Kingston instead. On the 24th Dreis died of diphtheria. He was buried
in the village burial-grounds near by. Seven men had to be left at
Hutchinson on departure,--five sick and two as nurses.

On the 28th we left for Kingston, traveling by the way of Greenleaf,
Round Lake, and Forest City, and reaching destination the next day. An
old frame store near the mill on the west bank of the Crow River was
used for barrack purposes, and by the erection of a log kitchen and
bake house, with some other improvements, served the purpose very well.
Duties were light, provisions good and ample in quantity, and the time
passed pleasantly enough. A system of furloughs was inaugurated, and
every man had the privilege of fifteen days' leave of absence. After
the departure of Fischer, Koenig had to cook alone, and when he went on
furlough, December 16th, Gantner and Rossion conducted the kitchen in
the interim. Sergeant Burch left on furlough on the 16th, but being
detailed in St. Paul at District Headquarters he did not return to the
company at the expiration of his leave of absence; also Griebler, who
did not return to Kingston either. Sergeant Scheer was reduced to the
ranks at his own request on the 20th, and on the same day Corporal
Burch was, by company order, promoted to fifth sergeant; also privates
Neierburg and Eheim were appointed, respectively, seventh and eighth
corporals, on the 4th of January, 1863, to fill vacancies, the enlisted
men having shown their preferences by special election; the same day
also Gaheen and Hauck were similarly recommended for company cooks, and
were detailed as such. Juergens rejoined on the 13th. A. J. Hill left
for Washington, D.C., in obedience to orders from the Headquarters of
the Army requiring him to report there for duty; same day John left on
furlough, but, becoming ill, did not return to the company at its
expiration. Sproesser was detailed as company fifer on February 1st.
Klinghammer rejoined, sick, on the 6th; he having been mustered in at
Fort Ridgley on the 13th of October.

The company being ordered to Fort Snelling, where the headquarters of
the regiment were, left Kingston on the 27th of February, on the
arrival of Company H, which relieved it, and traveled, in sleighs
mostly, by the way of Clear Water and Dayton, reaching the fort on the
1st of March. Quarters were assigned it in the old barracks, near the
sutler's store, and the usual routine of drill and guard duty began
again. Here Fandel joined, sick, and Griebler rejoined. Jakobi was
detailed as company bugler on the 22nd, and John rejoined on the 29th.
Private Kobelitz was on the 1st of April honorably discharged, for
disability. The regiment went into camp on the river, about a mile
above the fort, on the 4th, and Sibley tents were issued as before.
George Paulson left on detached service for Yellow Medicine on the
12th, afterwards (in June) acting as orderly at regimental
headquarters. William Gabbert, a Prussian, resident of St. Paul,
enlisted as private in the company on the 13th. Privates Griebler and
Maurer left on the 17th on a (forged) pass, but did not return at the
proper time, and were afterwards found to have deserted. Privates
Harrfeldt, W. A. Hill, and Meyer were, by District order of the 1st of
May, transferred to the Third Minnesota Battery.



At the end of April, 1863, orders were received to rendezvous at Camp
Pope on the upper Minnesota River. Fifteen of the men had to be left
behind at the fort, viz.: J. J. Mueller and Reimers, on detached
service; and Becker, Fandel, Gantner, John, Kellermann, Knobelsdorff,
Koenig, Mann, J. Mueckenhausen, Peterson, Schauer, Scheer, and Wolf,
sick. On the 28th of April Companies E and D embarked on the steamboat
Favorite, but could go no further by water than to within about three
miles of Mankato, thence going on foot, arriving at their destination
on the 5th of May.

Camp Pope was not an original settlement, but a spot selected
especially as a base of operations against the Indians; for which
purpose storehouses had been erected there. It was situated on the
river about a mile and a quarter above the crossing of the Red Wood
River. On the reassembling of the regiment the company held the same
rank (5th) and position (7th) as before, but had as neighbors Company G
on the right and Company I on the left.

In the latter part of the month (May) a regimental band was formed, and
Seidel, Eberdt, and Jakobi were detailed as members of it. J. J.
Mueller and Reimers rejoined on the 5th. Detert was detailed as
regimental pioneer on the 15th. The expedition being ready, those sick
and unable to travel were left behind at Camp Pope; of Company E,
Hellmann and Paul Paulson remained there. The strength of the company
present at this time was 68, and aggregate number 85.

The second expedition for the chastisement of the Dakotas left Camp
Pope on the 16th of June, 1863. The 19th and 21st of the month were
spent in camp. On the 23rd, transportation permitting, the knapsacks of
the men were carried in wagons. The valley between Big Stone Lake and
Lake Traverse was reached on the 26th, and a camp established about a
mile from the latter on the south side of the Minnesota River (there
but a rivulet), which camp was situated near but outside of the state
boundary. The camp was called McLaren, and three days were spent there.
From here a detachment consisting of three companies of infantry,
including Company H of the Sixth Regiment, some cavalry, and one piece
of artillery, all under command of Lieutenant Colonel Averill, was
dispatched to Fort Abercrombie for supplies. Klinghammer, unable to
march, was sent along to the fort. It may be here noted, as a matter of
interest to hydrographers, that Lake Traverse was not at this time an
unbroken sheet of water, as a corporal of Company G crossed it on foot
near the middle, seeing the lake in two parts, to the right and left of

Resumed the march on June 30th, and forded the Sheyenne River on the
4th of July, camping a little beyond it at a spot three-quarters of a
mile northeast of the two mounds called "The Bowshot" and in the
neighborhood of where the fight occurred about forty years before
between the Pawnees, Shawnees, and Sheyennes, which, as I am informed,
resulted in the annihilation of the last-named tribe. At this
place,--named Camp Hayes,--70 miles distant from Camp McLaren, the
expedition lay six days, awaiting the supply train, which arrived on
the 9th. Resumed the march on the 11th, on which day Lieutenant Exel
left on furlough. The 12th was spent in camp. The second crossing of
the Sheyenne was made on the 17th. On the 18th arrived at two lakes
named Jessie[2] and Leda, 90 miles from Camp Hayes. An entrenched camp
was established on the banks of the former (the more easterly one of
these two lakes) which was about three miles long. The camp was called
Atchison, and a day and one-half were spent there in making
arrangements for a vigorous pursuit of the Indians. Companies C and G
of the Sixth were stationed there as a part of the garrison, and five
of the company were left behind there, viz.: Seidel, Eberdt, and
Jakobi, as members of the band, and Kraemer and Reuter, who were too
sick to travel.

      [2] This camp was located on the W. 1/2 of the N.W. 1/4 of
      section 28, and the E. 1/2 of the N.E. 1/4 of section 29,
      township 147 north, of range 60 west, on the northeast side of
      what is now known as Lake Sibley, and about 11 miles in a direct
      line to the northwest of Cooperstown, Griggs County, North
      Dakota.--T. H. L.

On the 20th, all the arrangements having been completed, the expedition
began a more rapid advance in pursuit of the enemy, and on the 24th of
July, 89 miles from Camp Atchison was fought the battle of "Big Hills"
or "Big Mound." As soon as it was known that the Indians were in force,
the train was corralled on the margin of a small lake, Big Mound being
directly to the eastward and distant about one and one-quarter miles.
The Sixth Regiment with one company of Mounted Rangers and a section of
artillery occupied the east front, and threw up a line of earthworks
for protection. As soon as the attack began, Colonel Crooks at once
deployed Companies E, I, and K of the Sixth and A of the Ninth, under
Major McLaren, as skirmishers, and they pursued the Indians two and
one-half miles. Three companies of the Sixth were also deployed on the
left flank, and the Indians were repulsed at that point. Major McLaren
with companies A, B, D, I, and K advanced four miles at a double-quick,
having been ordered to support the troops already at the front, but on
their arrival they were ordered to return to camp.

On the 25th the expedition moved only about five miles to a better
camping place and remained there on account of the jaded horses. On the
26th, with the Sixth Regiment in advance, the march was resumed. On
arriving at Dead Buffalo Lake, some 15 miles from the last camp, the
Indians again appeared in force and commenced an attack. Colonel Crooks
immediately deployed a part of the Sixth, including Company E, as
skirmishers, under Lieutenant Colonel Averill, and they advanced
steadily, driving the enemy as they went; the remainder of the regiment
under Major McLaren being held in reserve. After an advance of about
one and one-half miles Major McLaren with five companies of the Sixth
was ordered to return to the camp at the lake, three companies
remaining at the front. Desultory firing was kept up until about 3
p.m., when the Indians made a final assault, which was repulsed in fine
style by the troops under command of Major McLaren. The Indians, having
been defeated at every point, now withdrew from the field.

On the morning of the 27th the advance was again resumed, and in the
afternoon a camp was formed on Stony Lake. On the 28th, as the troops
were forming in column, the Indians again appeared and made their last
charge. About one mile beyond the lake the Sixth Regiment was deployed
to skirmish on the right of the train, and they repelled the attack of
the Indians who threatened it. The firing continued for a time, the
Indians finally making a rapid retreat in the face of the advancing
expedition. The pursuit was continued until Apple River was reached,
where a camp was formed for the night.

On the 29th the army crossed Apple River, continuing the pursuit, and
in the afternoon the Missouri River was reached, the regiment, under
the immediate command of Colonel Crooks, skirmishing nearly two miles
through the woods to it. The Indians having crossed to the west bank
and hoisted white flags, the battery which had been advanced, and was
in good position for shelling, was moved away, as the policy seemed to
be to kill Indians only when they made an attack. Many of the
skirmishers ventured to the river bank and began filling their
canteens, when suddenly the enemy fired at them from the other side and
the men were forced back, but not without sending a volley in return. A
camp was formed on the banks of the Missouri River near the mouth of
Apple River. The point on the river struck was in about 46° 40´ north
latitude, 600 miles from Fort Snelling by the route followed, 6 miles
above the mouth of Apple River, and 85 miles from the Big Mound.

On the 30th Colonel Crooks with Companies A, I, and K and details of
men from other regiments, proceeded to the Indian crossing, and
destroyed all the wagons and such other property as would be of service
to the Indians, and then returned to camp.

The return march began on the 2nd of August. The 5th and 9th of the
month were spent in camp. Passed to the southward of the outward
journey, shortening the route some thirty miles, and arrived at Camp
Atchison on the 10th. Rested on the 11th. Reached Sheyenne River on the
13th, and camped three miles beyond it.

At this last place the nightly entrenching, commenced on departure from
Camp Pope, was abandoned, the impulse of discontinuance coming from
Company E. It had been the custom, both in the campaign of 1862 and
this, to throw up every evening light exterior mounds and ditches for
defense, a work necessarily irksome and unpopular with men fatigued
with hard marching, and in the presence of an enemy (and some times
not) they neither respected nor feared. The traces of these works,
slight as they were, will be visible for years, and if properly noted
by the surveyors of the public lands as the surveys extend westward,
and by future Pacific Railroad parties, will furnish means for exactly
determining the routes of the two expeditions; certainly as regards
that of 1863, which lay through trackless wastes, over which not even
an odometer passed with this expedition. It is to be regretted that the
commanding officer of the expedition, lavish as were the expenses
attending it, thought fit to negative a proposition made to form a
quasi-topographical force for its use. Such a proposition would have
involved no other expense than that of a few simple instruments for the
use of the surveyor and his assistants (enlisted men) who might be
detailed, and their labors would have furnished valuable material for
the maps which were afterwards ordered to be constructed, besides
contributing to the interests of geographical science in general.

The 16th and 18th of August were spent in camp. Reached Fort
Abercrombie on the 21st and camped on the west side of it; distance
from Camp Atchison about 115 miles. Remained at the fort three days.
Here Klinghammer rejoined. Resumed march on the 25th. Spent the 30th in
camp. Arrived at Sauk Centre on the 2nd of September, and remained
there all the next day. Here Rehse was left behind, sick. At this place
the expeditionary forces were divided, the Sixth Regiment being ordered
to Fort Snelling. We left Sauk Centre on the 5th; and spent the next
day in camp. The route was by the way of St. Joseph, St. Cloud, and
Anoka, and the neighborhood of the fort was reached on the 12th; the
return route from Apple River being about 510 miles.

John and Scher rejoined on arrival at the fort, and Seidel, Eberdt, and
Jakobi were relieved, the band being temporarily suspended. Corporal
Eheim was sent to the hospital on the 18th.

Companies A, C, E, F, G, and H, being ordered to Fort Ridgley, left
together on September 19th, going by the way of Bloomington, Shakopee,
Jordan, Belle Plaine, and Le Sueur. At the latter place Gantner
rejoined on the 22nd. Passed through Traverse, and came to Fort Ridgley
on the 25th. Detert was now relieved. Here the destinations of the
companies ordered to guard the southwestern frontier of the state were
announced. Of Company E the main body (or two-thirds) was to proceed to
the station at Lake Hanska in Brown county (35 miles off) and the
remainder to the post of Cottonwood (12 miles), to relieve the troops
there in garrison. Accordingly on the 28th the movement took place, the
smaller force reaching its assigned position the same day, the main
body taking two days for its journey. While at Lake Hanska, Sergeant
Bell left for St. Paul, where, on the 9th of November, he was
commissioned second lieutenant of the company.

Company E, having been designated (in lieu of Company F) as part of the
escort to the train fitting out to convey provisions to the Indian
bands removed from Minnesota to Crow Creek Agency or Fort Thompson on
the Missouri River, was ordered to rendezvous at New Ulm, which was
done on the 29th of October by both the detachments. The smaller one
had left Big Cottonwood on the 25th under orders to garrison Buffalo
Creek station (25 miles northeast of the fort), but immediately on
reaching that place received the counter order. By the promotion of
Sergeant Bell to the second lieutenancy, Sergeant Huhn became first or
orderly sergeant, according to company order of the 1st of November.

Left New Ulm on the 3rd of the month, and reached Mankato, 28 miles
distant, the assembling point of the train and escort, the next day.
Eberdt and Jakobi left on the 4th to report at Fort Ridgley, and
Lieutenant Holl for St. Paul. Seidel and Sproesser left, on the 6th,
for Fort Ridgley, Corporal Steifel was sent there sick, and Radke was
sent to the hospital at Mankato on the same day.

The expedition, with Captain J. C. Whitney in command, started on the
7th. The escort consisted of Companies D, E, and H, of the Sixth
Regiment. The 9th, 10th, and 11th were spent in camp, also the 14th at
Leavenworth, where the nuts were taken off the wagons (said to have
been done by the men of Company D who felt themselves aggrieved).
Sergeant Siebert, sick, left for St. Peter on the 15th, and Bast on
furlough; from which, falling sick, he did not return at the appointed
time. Reached Des Moines River, near the outlet of Lake Shetek, on the
18th, and there remained in camp all the next day. Here Lieutenant Holl
rejoined and commenced to act as first lieutenant, having been
commissioned as such November 7th; the present strength of the company
was now 59, and aggregate 79. G. Paulson accompanied the expedition,
but is not reckoned in this number, as he was on detached service at
the headquarters of the expedition. The route of the train was a few
miles to the northward of the Red Pipe Stone Quarry, and the Big Sioux
River was reached and crossed--53 miles from Lake Shetek--on the 23rd.
Crossed the James River, 90 miles from the Big Sioux, on the 28th.
Arrived at Fort Thompson, 75 miles further, on the 2nd of December, and
remained there three days. This fort is a stockaded inclosure about 500
feet square, built to include and protect the Agency and barracks; it
is 95 miles, by river road, above Fort Randall, two miles from the
Missouri, and about a mile from Crow Creek. On the 5th left the fort
for return. Remained in camp on the 14th, twelve miles below Yankton;
Corporal Leitner was promoted fifth sergeant, and privates Juergens,
Gaheen, and Hoscheid appointed to fill the vacant offices of sixth,
seventh, and eighth corporal. The 17th was also spent in camp on
account of a terrible snowstorm. Reached the neighborhood of Sioux
City, Iowa, on the 18th, camping two and one-half miles northwest of
it. On the 21st the troops again moved; traveling by the way of
Melbourne, Cherokee, Peterson's, Spirit Lake, and Estherville, Iowa,
they came to Fairmont, Minnesota, on the 30th. Remained in camp the
next two days. Passed through Winnebago City and arrived at Mankato on
the 3rd of January, 1864, when Company D left for the north.

This journey of about 750 miles--315 outward from, and 435 return to,
Mankato--was accomplished in fifty-four days; and because of the rigor
of the Northwestern winter, and much of it through a pathless
country,--the command sleeping in tents on the snow-covered
ground,--the men called it the "Moscow journey." The mercury at times
stood 30° below zero, and never was above the freezing point.

Companies E and H returned by way of New Ulm to Fort Ridgley, 45 miles,
on the 7th and 8th of January, having marched since leaving the former
place in November about 825 miles. The only company of the Sixth
Regiment at the fort at this time was A. Company E was assigned
quarters in the stone barracks, on north side. The duties were not
heavy and the time passed comfortably enough for soldiers. Musicians
Seidel, Eberdt, Jakobi, and Sproesser now rejoined, but not for duty,
being detailed in the band; also Sergeant Steifel and George Paulson.
Sergeant Siebert rejoined on the 20th. Sergeant Huhn was detached as
acting post hospital steward on the 27th, being afterwards
discharged--on the 20th of February--to enlist in the same capacity in
the regular army. Henry Steck, enlisted as private in the regiment on
the 3rd of February and assigned to the company, joined for duty March
20th,--native country of recruit, Wurtemberg. Bast rejoined on the
10th, and Radke about the 15th. Captain Schoenemann left for St. Paul
April 4th, and Lieutenant Holl assumed command of the company. On the
19th Sergeant Siebert was promoted to first sergeant and Corporal
Stiefel to fifth sergeant, and privates Radke and Gabbert appointed
seventh and eighth corporals, respectively; but the latter scarcely
ever acted as such and was reduced to the ranks, at his own request, on
the 13th of the following month. George Paulson was detailed in the
regimental band on the 7th of May.

At the beginning of May a detail of about a dozen men of the company,
under Sergeant Huth and Corporal Radke, were sent from Fort Ridgley to
Milford--12 miles--to relieve the cavalry at that post. On the 15th
Corporal Smith replaced Corporal Radke there. This detachment returned
at the end of the month. While there the woods of the Big Cottonwood
and in the neighborhood of Milford were thoroughly scouted, both by
parties from Company E and from Company G (posted at Fort Wilkin and
Madelia), but by the former traces only of the Indians were found.

The Sixth Regiment being ordered to rendezvous at Fort Snelling, to
prepare for their departure to the South, in accordance with the order
of the War Department of the 26th of May requiring it to report at
Helena, Arkansas, Companies A, E, and H left Fort Ridgley on the 2nd of
June. The only member of the company left behind there was F. Henricks,
sick in hospital. Traveled by the way of Henderson, Belle Plaine, and
Shakopee, and arrived at Fort Snelling on the 7th, and went into camp
about a mile above the fort--Camp Crooks.

Between the 8th and 12th the following recruits joined the company for
duty as privates, viz.: Edward Bryan, a native of Ireland, enlisted
November 7th, 1863; Henry Wetterau, native of Wisconsin, enlisted
February 4th, 1864; Peter Holtzmer, native of Luxemburg, enlisted
February 5th; Joseph Rachel, enlisted February 11th; Michael Knopf,
native of New York, enlisted February 24th; Charles Foglesang, native
of Baden, and William Hildebrandt, native of Hanover, enlisted February
26th; Mathias Frank, native of Luxemburg, enlisted February 27th;
Stephen Iwan, and Francz Troska, natives of Prussian Poland, enlisted
February 29th; John Lieber, native of Nassau, enlisted June 10th,--and
all were enlisted for three years. Of these Bryan had been enlisted for
the company at St. Paul, but having been at once placed on detached
service did not join his command till this time (the 8th); with him,
from the same duty--herding mules at Glencoe--returned Rehse. Corporal
Gaheen was detailed in the regimental color guard on the 12th; and on
the 14th Captain Schoenemann resumed command, and Burch rejoined.

The sum of the distance traveled by the company from its organization
to this time was over 2,700 miles.



On the 14th of June, 1864, the whole regiment left Fort Snelling,
marched to St. Paul, and embarked on the steamboats Enterprise and
Hudson, each having two barges in tow for additional accommodation of
the men. Arrived at Dunleith, Illinois, on the 17th and took the cars
to Cairo, which point was reached on the 19th. Here wagoner Henricks,
sick, was left in the hospital. Embarked on the steamer Empress at
midnight, and arrived at Helena, Arkansas, and landed there, on the

By changes in commissions occurring during the spring, the company had
now become the third in rank and in regimental position the fifth from
the right, with Company A in front and Company I in the rear or left.
Its strength at the time of the arrival was, present 76, aggregate 84;
the absentees being Lieutenant Bell and A. J. Hill on detached service,
the two Henricks and Schauer sick, and Scheer, Iwan, and Troska left
behind at St. Paul.

The regiment at once went into camp, on the bank of the river, one-half
mile above the town. Shelter tents were issued now for the first time.
The camp was called Camp Buford, and was the last one that was
officially named. Troska and Iwan rejoined on the 24th, and also the
next day A. J. Hill from detached service at Washington. Detert and
Scheibel were detailed as regimental pioneers on the 28th and A. J.
Hill as company clerk in the beginning of July.

From the beginning there was a close guard kept around the limited area
occupied by the regiment, and it was maintained several weeks. The duty
required by the District Commandant was chiefly prison and picket
guard. In the first week of July orders were issued to build quarters,
and fatigue parties were at once set to work cutting, hauling, and
sawing logs for that purpose. Wagoner Henricks rejoined on the 18th.

Companies E and F being detailed to proceed to certain points with a
view of obtaining information of the movements of the enemy, the major
part embarked, with forty men of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, on the
evening of the 13th, on the steamboat Dove, and proceeded up the
Mississippi River, reaching Buck Island (No. 52) on the next day, and
searched it as ordered. Returned to the levee at Helena the same night,
and lay there. Next day, the 15th, went up the St. Francis River, some
thirty-five miles, to Alligator Bayou, then returned to Helena and into
camp again. The Mississippi River part of this trip was under command
of Captain Schoenemann, and the other under that of the major of
cavalry. No guerrillas or other enemies were seen. The infantry forces
did not land, but the cavalry did and scouted between the two rivers.

Kilian was detached as nurse in the regimental hospital on the 21st.
Lieutenant Bell returned on the 22nd, and with him Scheer.

On the 26th of July the regiment went out about two miles beyond the
picket lines on the Little Rock road to cover the retreat of some
colored troops and cavalry who had been very severely handled that
morning at a creek some few miles west of town. On the 1st of August it
went out again on the same road as before, but not quite so far, and
remained on picket in the woods on the right of the road during the
night, returning to camp the next morning. It was understood that a
projected attack by the enemy on the defences of the town was the cause
of this movement. Nothing of the kind, however, took place.

The heat was now intense, and the sickness increased with alarming
rapidity. The building of quarters was given up or postponed, and the
houses, more or less finished, occupied as well as they could be.
Company E managed to complete--walls and roof--one of the four
prescribed barracks, but, being destitute of chinking, in a rainstorm
it afforded but poor shelter. Being composed of log and frame houses,
board and canvas shanties, the camp of the Sixth Regiment presented, by
autumn, a melancholy variety indeed.

Bast was detached for provost duty in Helena on the 16th; on the 18th
Schafer was detached for provost duty, and Praxl as nurse in the post
hospital on the 19th. J. J. Mueller was detached as cook in the
regimental hospital (now in town) on the 20th.

The following men of the company died while at Helena, viz.: Jean
Rossion on July 25th; Joseph Rachel, July 27th; Louis Wetterau, August
5th; Frederick Schoenheiter on the 10th, Michael Boos on the 18th;
August Willialms on the 23rd, and Henry Reuter on the 25th. The latter
was the last of the company that died at Helena; all seven dying of
disease. They were buried with the rest of the regimental dead on the
summit of a rising ground about one-half mile northwest of the camp.
Properly marked boards were placed at their graves.

In September the sick men had become so numerous that large numbers
were sent north. Of Company E there went as follows: On the 1st of the
month, Bristle was sent to the hospital at Memphis; Corporal Hoscheid,
wagoner Henricks, Foglesang, Metz, Mueckenhausen, Rehse, Thiele, and H.
Wetterau, sick, were sent to the hospital at Jefferson Barracks, Mo.,
on the 3rd; Sergeants Leitner and Stiefel, Corporals Neierburg,
Juergens, and Radke, and Ferlein, Gabbert, Hauck, Holtzmer, John,
Kilian, Kraemer, Krueger, M. Mueller, Munson, Schene, Steck, and Temme,
sick, were also sent to Jefferson Barracks hospital, on the 19th. F.
Henricks rejoined on the 21st, and on the same day Sergeant Rohde was

At about this time the once strong Sixth Regiment had become the shadow
of its former self, and added little to the effective strength of the
garrison of the post. It was pitiable to look at the companies as they
marched to dress parade; very often having but half a dozen men in

Gantner was relieved on the 28th; and Bast rejoined on the 1st of
October. The same day the following recruits, who had enlisted as
privates for one year in the regiment, joined the company, and were two
days afterwards assigned to it by regimental order, viz.: William S.
Adams, native of Minnesota, enlisted August 25th; Henry Churchill,
native of Vermont, enlisted August 27th; George R. Bell, native of
Ohio, and Nelson A. Chandler, a native of New York, enlisted September
10th; Melchior Steinmann, a native of Switzerland, enlisted September
12th. All of the above but Adams (a Sioux of mixed blood) were young
boys, and incapable of full military duty.

On the 12th, details of men commenced to build barracks on selected
regimental grounds located in town, opposite to the church used as a
Soldiers' Home. No order had been received to go into regular winter
quarters, but the necessities of the case required this course. George
Bell was detailed as orderly at regimental headquarters on the 21st.
Sergeant Stiefel, and Foglesang and Schene rejoined on the 22nd.

The removal of the company to the log quarters on the east side of the
above-named ground took place on the 25th. Company E was now shifted to
the extreme left of the regiment, becoming the tenth from the right
wing and the second in rank. Company I was on the immediate right of

An order from New Orleans requiring the regiment to report at St. Louis
was received and read on the 3rd of November and preparations made at
once to comply with the same. Detert, Scheibel, Kernen, and J. J.
Mueller were relieved the same day and Schafer rejoined; also Burch and
Praxl (the latter rejoined on the 2nd) were detached for provost duty
in Helena. The two latter, with Churchill, sick, were all of the
company left behind there.

On the 4th, the Twenty-Third Wisconsin having arrived to relieve it,
the Sixth Minnesota embarked on the steamboat Thomas E. Tutt, truly
glad to leave a place so associated with disease, suffering, and death.
The number of the company now on the boat was 54, out of an aggregate
of 80. While lying at Memphis, on the 6th, Bristle, wagoner Henricks,
and Ferlein rejoined.

Arrived at St. Louis on the evening of the 11th, after a tedious
voyage. Next morning the regiment disembarked and marched through the
city. Six companies were quartered at Winter Street Barracks, E being
among them. At this time the military post of St. Louis was under the
enlightened command of Colonel James H. Baker of the Tenth Minnesota,
whose regulations for the government of troops stationed there were
liberal and just, and an admirable model for the imitation of officers
having volunteer soldiers of the Republic under their control. The
sojourn in this city would have been generally very pleasant had it not
been for the incessant duty, which, consisting almost exclusively of
prison guard, was severe, just half of the men's time being taken up by
it. The weather, too, was very cold for outside posts of sentinels.

J. J. Mueller was detailed as orderly at company headquarters on the
12th, Kernen detached as cook in the regimental hospital on the 15th,
and Steinmann detailed as company drummer on the 22nd. The absent
members now began rapidly to return. M. Mueckenhausen rejoined on the
17th. Sergeant Leitner on the 21st, Burch, Praxl, Corporal Radke, and
Kilian, Kraemer, and Temme on the 25th, Churchill on the 26th, M.
Mueller on the 27th, and Krueger on the 30th. Eberdt was relieved on
the 29th. Lieutenant Bell was dismissed from service by order of the
Department Commander on the 29th. Knopf left on furlough December 9th,
but sickness prevented him from returning at its expiration.

The companies in Winter Street Barracks moved into Schofield Barracks
No. 2 on the 13th of December; E being quartered in the northern
quadrangle. Corporal Gaheen was relieved on the 19th, and Sergeant
Leitner detached as keeper at Gratiot Street Military Prison on the
20th. Metz rejoined on the 27th, and Holtzmer on the 29th. Lieutenant
Bell, having been restored to command by order of the President of
January 3rd, 1865, rejoined on the 10th. Kernen rejoined on the 11th.
To fill vacancies occasioned by the death of Neierburg and reduction of
Gabbert, Bast and Beckendorf were appointed seventh and eighth
corporals on the 12th, and confirmed as such on the 17th.

Having been ordered to report at New Orleans, La., the regiment left
St. Louis on the 29th of January, and traveled by rail to Cairo, where
it was put on board the steamboat W. R. Arthur, which left the next
evening. The boat then had on board over 1,000 souls in all. Reached
New Orleans the 6th of February, and marched to quarters in Louisiana
Cotton Press No. 1, used as a camp of distribution. Lieutenant Holl was
detailed as assistant regimental quartermaster, and Corporal Gaheen
again on color guard, on the 7th.

The northern soldiers found much to amuse and instruct them when they
arrived at this southwestern satrapy, for such--from its isolated
position, its semi-tropical products, its swarthy and varied
population, strange tongues, manners, and customs, and from its form of
government--the Military Division of West Mississippi might well be
termed. They, however, soon discovered the difference between New
Orleans and St. Louis. The former was under the strictest rule of a
martinet of the regular army. The accidental absence of a pass, even in
daytime, or the slightest divergence from the prescribed dress, whether
occurring on or off duty, rendered enlisted men subject to ruthless
fine or imprisonment, and the other offending articles to confiscation
by the provost marshal.

No duty was called for till the 10th, when, for two days, fatigue
parties were set to work on the military railroad on St. Joseph street.
On the 13th details for miscellaneous guard duty were furnished.
Corporal Hoscheid and John rejoined on the 12th. Musician Chandler was
transferred to Company B on the 13th, there being more than the regular
number of musicians in Company E. Wagoner Henricks was detailed in
regimental quartermaster's depot on the 15th. On the 19th the regiment
moved into the barracks formerly Terrill's Cotton Press, opposite the
southeast corner of Annunciation Square, just vacated by the Seventh
Vermont. Sergeant Rohde was detailed as sergeant of police on the 20th.
Eberdt and Gropel were detached to guard stores on steamboats, under
command of an ordnance officer, on the 25th. Stengelin, sick, was sent
to the general hospital on the 26th.

Towards the end of the month the regiment received orders to repair to
Chalmette, and to report to the Sixteenth Army Corps, to which it had
been assigned, as soon as relieved by a certain colored regiment. On
the 3rd of March, having been relieved, the regiment moved into the
square immediately opposite, where, having a few days previously been
supplied with shelter tents, a camp was established. J. J. Mueller was
relieved on the 4th. The strength of the company was now as follows:
Present, 66; absent, 11,--aggregate 77.

By this time it was authoritatively known that the Sixth Regiment
belonged to the Second Brigade of the Second Division, Sixteenth Army
Corps, Major General A. J. Smith commanding.



The regiment left New Orleans on the 6th of March and proceeded along
the river six miles to the plain of Chalmette, where at a point a
little below the old battlefield, and exactly opposite the present
rebel earthworks, it embarked on the small ocean steamship Cromwell.
Lieutenant Holl and wagoner Henricks did not go along with the company.
This was a wretched voyage. The men were packed as closely as negroes
on a slave-ship; the majority being unable to get more than sitting
room, and no chance to lie at full length for sleep. In the afternoon
of the 8th the troops were landed at Fort Gaines, Alabama, whence they
marched to a camping ground on the south shore of the island (Dauphin)
about two miles west of the fort.

Mahle was detached to serve on brigade provost guard by order issued on
the 10th; Knopf and Stengelin rejoined on the 13th; and Scheibel was
detached to serve in the Division Pioneer Company, by order issued on
the 17th.

While at Dauphin Island the system of company cooking was abandoned,
and that of distributing to each man his proportion of the rations, for
disposal at will, adopted instead. Company cooks, consequently, were no
longer required.

Broke camp on the 19th, and embarked at Fort Gaines on a gunboat (tin
clad). Lay all night in Navy Cove near Fort Morgan. Next day the fleet
crossed to Fish River and ascended it several miles to Dalney's Mill
Landing, on the west side, where the force disembarked and went into
camp, the Second Brigade being about a mile from the river on the south
side of a small but rapid creek. While at this place breastworks were
commenced to the west, but soon discontinued. Lieutenant Holl and
wagoner Henricks rejoined on the 21st, the former having been relieved
by the return of the regimental quartermaster.

On the 25th the forward march of the troops began, and eight miles were
made. The next day the Second Brigade was in front and the Sixth
Minnesota was detailed for skirmishing, Company E being employed to
cover the left flank of the brigade while marching. The enemy's
skirmishers hovered in front the whole time and an incessant fusillade
was kept up. By noon the creek on which Cyrus Sibley's house and mills
were was reached and crossed, and at about a mile beyond the company
was halted, and remained, with some other companies, on picket there
the whole night. The enemy's pickets and ours were often in view of
each other and exchanged many shots. Next morning, the 27th, the rest
of the regiment moved up and camped there; and breastworks were thrown
up and a battery stationed on the right flank. On the 28th the regiment
fell back; to the south side of the creek, where the camp of the Second
Division was entrenched, immediately opposite Sibley's house.

Here there was very little to do or see, but time enough to listen to
the almost continuous cannonading at the Spanish Fort, which however
soon ceased to be an object of remark except when, occasionally, the
rush of the enormous shells from the rebel gunboats drew every one's
attention. A reconnoissance on the Blakely road, to a point three miles
out, was made on the 2nd of April by the brigade. Near the place of
return two torpedoes were exploded by the feet of the horses at the
head of the column. On the same day Klinghammer, who had been arrested
on Dauphin Island, for very insubordinate conduct, and subsequently
tried by court-martial, found guilty, and sentenced to one year's hard
labor at a military prison, was turned over to the provost marshal, and
the company saw him no more.

On the 3rd the division broke camp and moved, by the way of Origen
Sibley's mills, to the front, near Blakely, on the Tensas River, about
twelve miles from Mobile, taking position on the left of the Thirteenth
Corps, which had appeared before the enemy's defenses there a few days

About a mile and a half to the eastward of the rebel works immediately
defending the town are some private graves among the pine trees,
apparently the commencement of a cemetery, but without fencing or other
general improvements. The tomb of one of General Marion's men, Godbold,
is there; and, immediately to the north of it a couple of rods, a local
family, the Wilkinsons, have a little plot of land, about fifteen paces
square, surrounded by a low brick wall.

Here, shortly before sunset on the 3rd of April, the brigade encamped,
the Sixth Minnesota being a couple of hundred paces distant from the
brick graveyard, to the east and southeast of it. The troops were told
to pitch no tents, light no fires, but lie on their arms, keep as quiet
as possible, and await further orders. It was rumored that the enemy's
works were to be stormed that night, but we were not disturbed. The
musicians, however, were called out and held subject to the surgeon's
orders. Next day, the 4th, tents were pitched and the usual camp
arrangements recommenced, except that all calls were discontinued lest
the sound of the bugles and drums should reach the enemy's ears and
guide them in shelling our camp.

While here a large detail was furnished every day by the regiment for
duty in the trenches and on the skirmish line. Before sunrise each
morning the soldiers filed off through the gloomy ravines to their
posts in the trenches and pits of the advance, some half a mile away,
there to lie and exchange shots with the enemy, and subject to their
shells, till relieved. Fortunately during the week spent in this camp
not a man of the company was injured, and it is understood that but two
casualties (slight wounds) occurred in the regiment the whole time the
siege of Blakely lasted. On two or three occasions shells reached the
brigade camp, one of which cut off a thick pine near to Godbold's
grave, but did not injure either living or dead. These shots were
provoked by men climbing the tall pine trees to get sight of the
enemy's works. The bombardment of the Spanish Fort on the evening of
the 8th was very plainly heard. It lasted from 5:30 o'clock to 7, and
the reports averaged about thirty a minute, by count.

In the afternoon of the next day tents were struck and the regiment
left camp, knapsacks packed, at 4 o'clock, and moved silently through
the woods to the line of trenches used by the reserve of the picket
guard, and there, knapsacks being unslung and with other impediments
piled together, the men were stationed to await orders. Immediately to
the right of the Sixth was a battery and beyond that another regiment,
also posted in reserve; and on the left there was nothing. From this
position to the enemy's redoubts it was about half a mile in a direct
course westward, and from the advanced skirmish line to the same works
some 400 yards. About 5:15 p.m. the various batteries of the Union
forces opened fire upon the enemy's lines, but their guns did not reply
for about ten minutes, when the cannonading became brisk on both sides,
lasting until 25 minutes to 6; the battery near the regiment sharing in
it. Now it ceased suddenly on our side, and in its place were heard the
ringing cheers of the soldiers as they rose, in full view of the
reserves, from their trenches in the front and rushed towards the
Confederate fortifications. By 6 o'clock the noise of the cannon had
ceased and a white flag was visible, which told of the enemy's
surrender; and shortly the Stars and Stripes superseded it. Thus, on
the evening of the 9th of April, 1865, took place the battle of
Blakely, which, like that of New Orleans in 1815, was fought after the
necessity for it had passed away.

The regiment returned to the original camp for the night. Next morning
if crossed the battle grounds and encamped immediately within the
former hostile earthworks, about a quarter of a mile from the village,
but remained there only two days, returning on the 12th to the
neighborhood of the cemetery. Here Ferlein, unable to march, was left

Without the men having any idea as to where they were going, the line
of march was taken up on the morning of the 13th of April, but a few
hours proved that it was neither to Mobile nor to Pensacola, but to the
north, showing that the Sixteenth Corps was on one of its
characteristic marches again. The strength of the company was now:
Present, 63; aggregate, 76. For over sixty miles the route lay through
pine forests, with very few clearings; and the villages then
successively passed were Burnt Corn, Midway, Activity, Greenville, and
Sandy Ridge. No enemy was seen, but, on the contrary, when the settled
country was reached, every house displayed a white flag or cloth,
generally with the words "The Union Forever" on it. On the 19th, a few
miles south of Midway, the official news of the surrender of Lee's army
overtook the expedition; and at camp on the 24th the rumor of Mr.
Lincoln's death, not at first believed, met it. For thirteen days, to
the 25th, the troops marched each day, arriving then at a stream five
miles south of Montgomery, having traveled a distance of 170 miles,
from the cemetery near Blakely. The 26th was spent in camp, to rest and
wash. On the 27th the troops moved through the city,--the cradle of the
rebel government,--and encamped beyond it. The camp of the brigade was
just beyond a swamp on the river road, about two miles northeastward of
the city. From the 26th to the 30th, as the transports had not arrived,
the soldiers were supplied by foraging parties with cornmeal, supplies
of fresh beef, and a little bacon. F. Henricks and Knopf, sick, were
sent to the hospital in the city, May 2nd. Ferlein rejoined on the 8th.

On the 18th of May the regimental camp was moved about a mile further
from the river, nearly to the Wetumka road, to get higher ground and
purer water. Sergeant Leitner rejoined on the 22nd. Lieutenant Holl
left on sick furlough on the 25th. Eberdt and Gropel rejoined on the
26th, the former being detailed in the band on the 29th. On the 31st
Sergeant Steifel was honorably discharged for disability contracted
while in the service. The same day a review of the Second Division took
place. Private Ferlein was honorably discharged on the 1st of June, his
term of service having expired. On the same day Mahle and Scheibel
rejoined, and Huth was sent to the hospital. On the 6th soft bread was
issued for the first time in three months. Jakobi was sent to the
hospital in town on the 13th. Sergeant Huth (in hospital) and privates
Gantner and Parks were honorably discharged on the 15th, their terms of
service having expired. On the 25th Krueger was sent to the division
hospital in town. The same day Schermann died of disease. He was buried
near the second mile-post on the Wetumka road. On the 30th Corporals
Sauer and Joseph Smith were promoted fourth and fifth sergeants,
respectively, and J. Mueller and Blesius seventh and eighth
corporals,--to take effect on the 16th of June. Knopf rejoined July
1st. Private Jakobi was honorably discharged on the 7th for disability
contracted while in the service; and on the same day the regiment acted
as guard at a military execution. Private Schene died of disease on the
8th, and was buried in the city cemetery. Musician Seidel was honorably
discharged on the 9th, his term of service having expired. He was the
last man discharged previous to the general mustering out. On the 13th
the men whose terms of service did not expire before the 1st of October
were transferred to and ordered to join the Fifth Regiment; those from
Company E being as follows: Bryan, Foglesang, Frank, Hildebrandt,
Holtzmer, Iwan, Knopf, Lieber, and Troska. While at Montgomery, by
change of captains in Company D, Company E became the first in rank,
its appropriate position in regimental line being the first on the
right flank, with Company I on the left.

After much weary waiting the regiment at last received orders to
proceed to Vicksburg, to be mustered out, and, joyfully striking tents
for the last time, on the 16th embarked on the steamer Coquette for
Selma, which place was reached next morning. Here, instead of
proceeding at once, the regiment remained three days by reason of
change of opinions in regard to the recruits just transferred. The
order transferring them was revoked, and they were returned to their
companies to be mustered out with the main body. The strength of
Company E was now as follows: Present, 60; absent, 6,--aggregate, 62.

On the 20th, left Selma by railroad. Reached Demopolis in the
afternoon, and descended the river there, on a steamboat, four miles to
the continuation of the railroad on the west bank, which place was
known as McDowell's Landing. Here camped for the night. The next day
arrived at Meridian, Mississippi, and lay there over night, and on the
day after, the 22nd, arrived at Pearl River opposite Jackson. Owing to
the destruction of the bridge over this stream, and that of the Big
Black, there was a gap of over thirty miles in the railroad
communication, which had to be traversed the best way possible. Most of
the men walked, having hired teams for their things. By the 25th nearly
all of the regiment had rendezvoused on the west side of the Big Black
River, near the railroad. The next day took cars for Vicksburg.

The regiment was now, it seems, ordered to report at St. Louis, and
accordingly, on the evening of the 26th, embarked at Vicksburg on the
steamboat Missouri for that place. Having arrived at St. Louis on the
31st, it received orders to proceed to Fort Snelling, and on the 1st of
August started on the steamboat Brilliant for St. Paul. Private W.
Smith was found dead in his place on the deck on the morning of August
3rd, and his body was left at Burlington, Iowa, for interment. On the
7th arrived at St. Paul, where a most cordial reception by the citizens
was experienced, and after being entertained at the capitol,
re-embarked and went to Fort Snelling. Here Lieutenant Holl, and F.
Henricks, Krueger, Schauer, Simon, and some others who had remained at
Jackson, rejoined.

The company was mustered out, with the rest of the regiment, on the
19th of August, at the fort. Of the original members there were now
discharged 47, who had served their full three years. Their names were
as follows, viz.: Bast, Beckendorf, J. B. Bell, Besecke, Blesius,
Blessner, Bristle, Burch, Detert, Eberdt, Gaheen, Goldner, Gropel,
Hahn, F. Henricks, H. Henricks, A. J. Hill, Holl; Hoscheid, John,
Kernen, Kilian, Kraemer, Krueger, Leitner; Mahle; Martin, Metz, M.
Mueckenhausen, J. J. Mueller, M. Mueller, G. Paulson, Praxl, Radke,
Reimers, Rohde, Sauer, Schafer, Scheer, Scheibel, Schoenemann, Siebert,
Simon, J. Smith, Sproesser, Stengelin, and Temme, The recruits
discharged numbered 12, and were: G. Bell, Bryan, Churchill, Foglesang,
Frank, Hildebrandt, Holtzmer, Iwan, Knopf, Lieber, Steinmann, and

                     *      *      *      *      *

Although the foregoing pages are but a history of one company of the
Sixth Regiment, yet in general the account of its movements applies
generally to all.

The lot of this regiment, as an organization, was somewhat peculiar,
and, in respect to military glory, unfortunate. It boasts of no hard
won victories, laments no disheartening defeats, but it did faithfully
its assigned duty; and, in so doing, deserved well of the Republic.




_Nationality_: 82 men were of German blood, 4 born in North America; 4
of American (U.S.); 4 of Scandinavian; 2 of French; 1 of Magyar; and 1
of British.

_Religions_: Proportion of Lutheran and Methodist, 25 per cent.; Roman
Catholic, 19 per cent.; Rationalistic, 17 per cent.; and 39 per cent.
were unclassified.

_Occupations_: Proportion of farmers, 30 per cent.; mechanics, 54 per
cent.; professional men, 8 per cent.; and miscellaneous and unknown, 8
per cent.


Previous to the summer of 1864 the health of the regiment had always
been very good. At the time of the departure for the South the
proportion of sick in the whole company was under 5 per cent., the
cases being mostly of a trivial nature. The following table, compiled
from the monthly returns, will show how rapidly the ratio increased
during the sojourn at Helena:

                   Whole Number  Aggregate   Percentage
      Day.           of Sick.   of Company.   of Sick.
    June 30            10           84          12
    July 31            24           82          30
    August 31          41           78          52
    September 30       46           76          60
    October 31         30           81          37

The "daily" and "extra" duty men would swell the last column somewhat
if their health had been generally reported, but it is not customary to
enter their names in the "sick" book. Every man of the company was sick
at one time or another while in the South.

The poor economy of sending the regiment to Helena immediately from a
northern climate at the commencement of the summer, and keeping it
there so long, is plainly seen in the following calculation (and other
companies showed a similar state of things to Company E): If we take
the sum of the "aggregates" of the morning reports during each month
the product is the maximum number of days' service the government can
expect for that period, but which, however, it really never gets. By
similarly adding together the columns of "sick" we have a figure
representing loss of service, and which should be within reasonable
limits. While in Minnesota this loss never amounted to 20 per cent. of
the whole service due, and generally fluctuated between 8 and 17. In a
space of time equal to and immediately preceding the time spent at
Helena,--nineteen weeks,--it was as low as 3 per cent.; while there it
was 43; and for the same length of time immediately after leaving
Helena, it was 23. In March, 1865, it was 13; in April, 13; in May, 18;
and in June, 27. As no morning reports were made after the middle of
July, the figures for the remainder of the term of service cannot be
obtained, but undoubtedly they would result in at least 30 per cent.

The number of deaths occurring while in Helena, and traceable to
disease contracted while at that point and Montgomery, is 13, equal to
15 per cent., or nearly one-sixth of the whole company.



Resigned, 1; transferred, 13; discharged previous to expiration of
service, 16; died, 14; deserted, 2; missing, 1; mustered out at
expiration of service in June and July, 1865, 5; mustered out in
corpore August 19th, 1865, 59; in military prison and unknown, 2. Total
number of members, 113.


En route, on campaigns and expeditions, 177 days. En route, changing
stations, 68 days. Stationary, at posts and barracks, 439 days.
Stationary in camp, 412 days. Total, or entire term of service, 3


On foot, 2,800 miles; in wagons, 100 miles; by steamboat, 4,235 miles;
by railroad, 865 miles. Total, 8,000 miles.


_Latitude_: From 47° 32', at Lake Jessie, D. T., approximate
position, to 27°, at the mouth of the Mississippi; being 20° 32'
difference, equal to 1,416 statute miles, measured on a meridian line.

_Longitude_: From 86° 25', at Montgomery, Ala., to 100° 35', at the
mouth of Apple River, D. T., approximate position; being 14° 10'
difference, equal to 757 statute miles on the line of middle latitude.

_Greatest included right line_: From Lake Jessie, D. T., approximate
position, to the mouth of the Mississippi; course S. 21° E., distance
1,372 miles.

An air line drawn from Montgomery, Alabama, the last station, to St.
Paul, Minnesota, would be 945 miles in length, course N.N.W. The water
route to the latter place, via Mississippi Sound and New Orleans, is
about 2,350 miles; while that actually traveled, via Vicksburg, is
about 1,585 miles.





After the memorable release of the captives at Camp Release, the scouts
were very diligent in searching out and locating the numerous small
bands of hostile Indians who were scattered through the country to the
north and west of the camp. Upon learning that there were several
lodges of Indians to the westward in the vicinity of Wild Goose Nest
Lake, General Sibley, under date of October 13th, 1862, directed
Lieutenant Colonel Marshall of the Seventh Regiment to take command of
an expedition detailed to capture any bands to be found along the upper
Lac qui Parle valley, and, if necessary, to go as far as the western
side of the Coteaus, about 45 miles distant.

      [3] From the journal of Charles J. Stees, late captain of Company
      G, Sixth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and formerly
      major of the Fourth Regiment, Third Brigade, First Division,
      Pennsylvania Infantry.

October 13th (1862). Cold, windy day. Company G was ordered to be ready
to move at 12 o'clock, midnight, with six days' rations. The men
thought they were going below with the prisoners, but were disappointed
on learning that we were off on an Indian hunt. The expedition under
Lieutenant Colonel Marshall consisted of Company G, of the Sixth
Regiment, under command of Captain Valentine; 100 men of the Third
Regiment--50 mounted--under Lieutenant Swan; Company B, Seventh
Regiment, Captain Curtis; a mountain howitzer with 8 men under Sergeant
O'Shea; Major Joseph R. Brown and 4 scouts (Bell, Quinn, and 2
Indians). Left Camp Release at 10 p.m. for the Lac qui Parle valley.
It was very cold traveling, so much so that the water froze in our

October 14th. We made a very rapid march during the night, and reached
the Lac qui Parle River before daybreak, made a bridge, using the
wagons for the purpose, and all crossed over. Soon after passed a
deserted bark village. The scouts reported that there were Indians
ahead with eight ox teams, but there was nothing to be seen but the sky
and prairie. The Indians, discovering that they were pursued, now fired
the prairie in front of us with the evident intention of retarding our
movements and to prevent our horses from having forage. The wind being
high, it carried the burnt dirt and ashes along in clouds, flying into
our eyes, and they became very painful and bloodshot. Was appointed
officer of the guard for the night, and, by using three reliefs of 15
men each, dug six rifle-pits for the protection of the camp.

October 15th. Aroused the camp at 4 o'clock, struck the tents, and was
on the march by 6 a.m. Following up the Lac qui Parle, at 10 o'clock
we captured four prisoners,--an Indian warrior, a half-breed boy, and
two squaws. The half-breed was a son of Roubillard, a Frenchman who
lived back of us in St. Paul, in 1851. I used to play with him. He
speaks French, English, and Sioux, and gave us much information about
what we were after. A short distance beyond we crossed the state line
into Dakota Territory. William Wallace, E. J. Van Slyke, and I visited
one of the line posts, which was marked, "26 miles from Big Stone Lake"
(located about 8 miles north of Gary, South Dakota); and the other
three sides were marked "Minnesota," "Dakota," and "1859." Wallace was
on the survey and helped plant the post. In order to celebrate the
event, each of us, with one foot in Dakota and the other in Minnesota,
shook hands together. We were now in sight of Re Wakan or Spirits Hill
(so named by the Dakotas). Although distant, the appearance of the
Coteau des Prairies, as they loom up like a dark wall against the clear
western sky, is very beautiful. Halted in a hollow for a lunch. The
scouts returned and reported 19 Indian lodges ahead, which made the men
feel joyful at the prospect of a fight. Marched three miles further and
camped for the night in a beautiful dell at the headwaters of the Lac
qui Parle. One wagon and six Indians were brought in. Of those captured
up to this time, the young men were held as prisoners, and the squaws
and children were given into the custody of the old men and ordered to
report at Camp Release, and they faithfully followed the instructions.

October 16th. During the night wolves were howling in the vicinity of
the camp. Left camp before daylight and commenced ascending the Coteau
des Prairies, the highest table-land in this section of the United
States, and full of lakes. A chain of twenty or more lakes could be
seen from the highest point, which form the headwaters of the Lac qui
Parle, Yellow Medicine, and Whetstone Rivers, on one side, and furnish
many tributary streams to the Big Sioux on the west side,--many miles
of land and bluffs, prairies, and lakes seeming as not ten miles
distant. At various points we passed through fields of buffalo bones.
Arrived at "Two Lakes" (Mde-nonpana), where the Indians camped last
night and left a sign indicating that they had moved to the westward
two days previously. In order to overtake them, Colonel Marshall took
the mounted men, howitzer, and the best teams, and pushed ahead,
leaving the infantry and baggage train, under command of Captain
Valentine, to follow on his trail and camp at the next creek for the
night, with instructions to continue the forward movement if he did not
return. Instead of following instructions, Captain Valentine crossed
the creek, and, ascending the next hill, perceived what appeared to be
a beautiful lake a few miles distant; he continued the march, intending
to camp there; so we marched and marched, but no lake appeared; the
men, worn and fatigued, lagged behind, some straggling back for five
miles, and curses, loud and deep, were heard on every hand,--the lake
turned out to be a mirage, a sight not uncommon in this region. Failing
to arrive at the lake, we finally camped in the prairie grass, without
wood or water; and, the rations being short, we went to sleep,
supperless, after marching until 10 o'clock at night.

October 17th. The morning found us camped on the top of the Coteaus
with no sign of Colonel Marshall and his men. Struck tents before
daylight and were on the march without breakfast. At about two miles
from the last camp we arrived at the Big Sioux River (here very narrow,
with marshy banks), and halted for breakfast; but there was no feed for
the horses. The men of the Third Regiment dealt out their last
crackers, and Company G had one ration of flour, sugar, and coffee.
Flour mixed with water and fried in fat was indeed and in truth a great
luxury, of which even a white plumed knight might well be proud,--at
this stage of the game. The expedition was now four days' march from
Camp Release, and the provisions were all gone. The scouts returned and
reported that they had seen "nothing of Marshall or any other man." We
again resumed the march, and at sundown arrived at Hawk's Nest Lake.
Here we met Quinn (the scout), and some mounted men, who brought the
cheering news of the capture of 150 Indians, including 34 warriors.

On leaving the main body of the expedition, Colonel Marshall had moved
forward as rapidly as possible, and soon after midnight on the 17th
overtook and surrounded the Indians, who, not anticipating such an
event, were camped down and peacefully enjoying a good night's rest.
The baying of their dogs was the first intimation that they had of the
presence of the troops. The scouts informed them that they would not be
harmed, and demanded their immediate surrender, which was complied
with. A few of the younger men attempted to get away, but were
overtaken and all made prisoners. By this capture much stolen property,
in the way of goods, oxen, horses, and wagons, was recovered. Only one
white child was found among them. The prisoners (warriors) were brought
in under guard, their weapons having been taken from them, and they
were securely tied. Among them was one chief, Wa-ka-mo-no (Wa-kan-mane),
Spirit Walker, or Walking Spirit. At 10 p.m. William Quinn and two
mounted men were dispatched to Camp Release to obtain a reinforcement
to meet the expedition with provisions and forage.

In honor of the successful termination of the pursuit and capture of
the Indians, Colonel Marshall changed the name of Hawk's Nest Lake[4]
to Captive Lake. The lake is very long, winding, and deep, and was very
high, trees standing in the water 12 feet from the shore. Very
singularly it rises and falls without any apparent assistance from the
rains or snows, as if it had a connection with some underground system
of streams.

      [4] This lake is probably the most eastern one of the two lakes
      now known as Twin Lakes, situated in township 118 north, of range
      54 west, in Coddington county, South Dakota, as no other lake in
      this region corresponds with the description. Its Dakota name
      is Chan-nonpa (Two Wood Lake), and that of the western one is
      Tizaptona (Five Lodge Lake). "Wild Goose Nest" (Magaiticage) and
      "Hawk's Nest" (Hecaoti) Lakes are "on the Minnesota Coteaus," and
      not over thirty miles west of the state line.--T. H. L.

October 18th. According to the estimates of the scouts and others we
were about 120 miles from Camp Release and 25 miles from James River,
or half way between the Big Sioux and the James. Left Captive Lake
bright and early, and halted on the Big Sioux for dinner, at the place
where we breakfasted (?) the day previous. Took coffee with the Third
Regiment. At the request of Major Brown, we took his sister-in-law (a
squaw by the name of Sinte, the wife of Captain James Gorman of the
Renville Rangers) into our wagon. In order to have a little fun as a
side diversion, a race with our mules was commenced, the tailor George
driving. His position was lubricous as he drove over the rough ground,
shaking the squaw and the old man well. Having gotten some distance
ahead, we halted at a creek for target practice; and some good shots
were made.

Homeward bound, as viewed from a high ridge, the appearance of our
train was romantic and picturesque. The Indian warriors with their
mounted guard were in the advance, and then the infantry with their
arms and bayonets shining brightly. The mounted men with their Sharps
rifles, contrasting with the Springfields carried by Company G; then
comes the "little barker" (the mountain howitzer on wheels in a wagon),
the gunners riding alongside; then our teams laden with camp equipage,
tents, kettles, etc., the whole cavalcade ending with the Indian camp
following in true Indian style. Ponies loaded almost to the ground:
cows, oxen and wagons the same; and squaws loaded as if their backs
would break. A pretty squaw, with a snow-white blanket around her, is
perched high on top of a big load on a little pony; then there are
other ponies with papooses on their backs, followed by any quantity of
dogs. A simple strap is thrown across the back of a pony, ox, or cow,
supporting the ends of two poles, while the other ends drag on the
ground; midway between the ends are perched the teepee skin, camp
traps, etc., and on top of the whole are placed the children, who are
riding as gaily as if they were on a honeymoon; a string of bells
around the pony's neck, with the bellowing of the cattle, the bright
blue sky above, the surrounding hills (some black with burnt grass,
others green and waving), with the beautiful lakes contrasted,--combined
to make it one of the strangest, wildest, and most beautiful and
romantic pictures I ever witnessed. Camped at sundown on a creek
between two high hills, where a cow was shot,--a promise of fresh beef
for to-morrow.

Sunday, October 19th. It was cold sleeping last night; water frozen in
canteen; but the day was ushered in with the sun shining bright.
Breaking camp in the valley was a beautiful sight, as viewed from the
top of the adjoining hill,--fires burning, tents taken down, mounted
men starting off at a brisk trot. Infantry looked lively and cheerful
at the prospect of soon greeting their comrades at Camp Release, with
their good success, prisoners, spoils, etc., they march straight up the
hill, while the teams and "Moccasin Train" wind around the sides to
make the ascent more easy. Such a scene as here witnessed carries one
back to the days when he read fancy sketches of such expeditions in
novels. With a party of friends we were now in advance of the train,
and during the day shot geese, brant, ducks and snipes. It was indeed a
grand sight to see thousands of white brant flying between us and the
burned and blackened hills. Arrived at our old camp "Hollow" at the
head of the Lac qui Parle at 3 p.m.,--one hour in advance of the
train,--and took advantage of the occasion to cook and feast on some of
our game. The train arrived, having in charge more prisoners, who had
been out hunting, and, on returning and finding their band all gone,
followed our trail and gave themselves up.

October 20th. More Indians joined us last night; they attempted to slip
in past the guard, but were caught. Struck tents at daylight and
resumed the march, crossing the line into Minnesota at 10 a.m. Met the
relief train under Quinn at 11 a.m. After leaving Captive Lake, and at
a point some 18 miles distant, William Quinn's horse gave out, and was
abandoned. He walked all the rest of the way to Camp Release beside of
the other horses, reaching there at 11 o'clock Saturday night (making
good time). He took a short nap, started on the return trip Sunday
morning, and met the train as above stated. He brought the news of the
capture of 23 more lodges (67 Indians) near the lower Lac qui Parle by
Captain Merriman and a detachment of the Sixth Regiment, who took them
to Camp Release. At 12 o'clock, noon, we arrived at the camping place
first used on our outward trip. Took dinner with the artillery. The
prairie took fire from Company G's cook-fire, making us skedaddle at a
double-quick. The flames spread with fearful rapidity, causing
consternation and alarm, and inducing the moccasin train to move at a
lively gait. There was a feeling of real joy when all had reached
burned ground. Quinn now led us by a new route. The prairie was on fire
all around us, and at one point we passed between two fires. The camp
for the night was established on a beautiful spot near the bank of the
Lac qui Parle River. Was appointed officer of the guard.

During the night there were indications of the prisoners trying to
escape. C. J. Sudheimer and Peter Molitor were placed as sentinels on
the top of the edge of the plateau, near the camp. The wind was blowing
at a 30 or 35 mile gait, so they finally took post on the more
sheltered slope near the top. About 11 p.m. an Indian with a halter in
his hand appeared and crossed the line some 50 feet distant, when he
was halted by Sudheimer, who, finding that he was a prisoner trying to
make his escape, promptly arrested him. I immediately doubled the guard
and had all the prisoners (warriors) searched, which resulted in the
finding of a pocket-knife, which was duly confiscated. The job of
searching them was very disagreeable. Ugh! what filth. This task being
completed, they were securely tied, placed in a Sibley tent, and a
double guard stationed over them. Visited the Indian camp with George
Brown to see the sights. Found them in their teepees spread out around
the fire, which was located in the center.

October 21st. Broke camp before daybreak, and was on the march before
sunrise. The day proved to be a horrible one, the wind blowing a
perfect hurricane; the black dust of the burnt prairie filling and
blinding our eyes, the lashes on which the dust accumulated creating a
cutting, grinding pain, causing us to suffer much pain. Being near our
journey's end, we moved forward as fast as it was possible under the
circumstances, and arrived at Camp Release at 4 p.m., where we joined
our comrades, who were very glad to see us. But our arrival did not
improve matters so far as we were concerned, for the camp was a perfect
wreck,--tents ripped up and chimneys blown down. There was not much
news at the camp, the most important event during our absence having
been the arrival of the sutler, on which occasion nearly all hands got
tight, with the result that one colonel, six captains, and any quantity
of lieutenants were put under arrest.

With all our forced marches, cold nights, windy days, and fasting, the
trip was a most successful one; for, besides those who voluntarily
surrendered themselves, we captured 39 men and 100 women and children,
not to mention the horses, cattle, wagons, and plunder, which were also
brought in.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Company E of the Sixth Minnesota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry" ***

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