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Title: Four Years A Scout and Spy
Author: Downs, E. C.
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: "GENERAL BUNKER."]

                              FOUR YEARS
                           A SCOUT AND SPY.

                           "GENERAL BUNKER,"


                     EMBRACING HIS SERVICES FOR

                            By E. C. DOWNS,


                         ZANESVILLE, OHIO:
                      PUBLISHED BY HUGH DUNNE,

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by


In the Clerk's Office of the United States District Court, for the
Southern District of Ohio.


     _Whose undaunted energy, heroic valor, superior generalship,
                   and devotion to his country,
                      have proved him_


                      _And won for him_

                      A WORLD-WIDE FAME;

          _And to the gallant Officers and Soldiers
who have nobly assisted in sustaining our glorious nationality
                by crushing the great rebellion,_



It was with much difficulty that I was induced to give to the public a
narrative of my experience as a scout and spy. It was the intense
interest with which the people have listened to my narratives, whenever
I have related them, and their earnest entreaties to have them
published, that have prevailed upon me to do so.

I entered the army from purely patriotic motives. I had no vain ambition
to gratify, but simply a desire to sustain and perpetuate the noble
institutions that had been purchased by the blood of our fathers. I
valued the cause of liberty as well worth all the sacrifice that it
might cost to save it. I saw at once that the conflict was to be one
involving great principles, and that in the end Truth and Justice _must

The part that I have borne in putting down the great rebellion is the
one that naturally fell to me by the force of circumstances, and
entirely unsolicited. My relation in the affairs of life seems to have
been such as to have just adapted me to that part that fell to my lot to

I have, without doubt, been indiscreet at times. Who has not? But the
reader must remember that he who goes from the peaceful pursuits of
life, for the first time, to engage in the art of war, does so with a
lack of experience. Soldiering was not my trade. War is demoralizing in
its tendency. This fact, I trust, will very much lessen any feelings of
prejudice that may arise, in the course of these narratives, from
passages clothed with the rough-and-tumble of army life.

Rough language and blunt manners are characteristics of war, because its
tendency is to destroy the finer feelings of our natures. Some of the
language used is of that character, and it would fail to be a truthful
representation of the reality if rendered less so. The incidents that I
have narrated are all of them facts that have occurred in my experience,
and, without further apology, I submit them to an indulgent public.




  Parentage--Early discipline--Childhood incidents--Subsequent
  occupations--Driven from Mississippi--Works on rebel
  fortifications--Escape to Illinois--Enlists as a soldier--
  Supposed to have deserted--How he got his name--Examination
  by the Surgeon--Roster of the Regiment                              11


  Moves to Cincinnati--Detailed to guard the forts--Meets a secesh
  lady--First scout--Unexpected visit of the Colonel--The drill--
  Bad report--The mischief investigated--Attempts to discover the
  rogues--Innocent man accused--The accusers skedaddle--Who got
  the chickens                                                        22


  "Marching orders"--Arrives at Fort Donelson--The surrender--Goes
  North with prisoners--Meets an old friend as a rebel Captain--
  The Captain attempts to bribe him--Expedition up the Tennessee
  River--Touching incident--Battle of Shiloh--Captures an Enfield
  --Recommended as a scout                                            30


  Rumored attack upon Grand Junction--"General Bunker" sent out
  as spy--Passes himself as a rebel soldier--Falls in with rebel
  cavalry--Visits a rebel camp--Attempts to deprive him of his
  revolver--Discovers a Yankee forage party--Undertakes to return
  --Captured by Yankees, and robbed of his revolver and money--
  Passes as a rebel spy--Sent to the Provost-marshal--Sent to
  General Hurlbut--Returned to Grand Junction                         38


  Fired at by a citizen--The sick overseer--How he was cured--
  Pickets fired on--Trip to White Church--Visits General Van Dorn
  --Meets a rebel spy--Reports to General Leggett--Grand Junction
  evacuated--Again sees the rebel spy--Attempt to arrest him--
  Drinks wine with the rebel General Jackson--Discovers a hole in
  the fence                                                           53


  The value of the Oath--Attempt to take "Bunker's" life--Sent
  to Grand Junction--The hazardous ride--Shoots the picket--The
  chase--Unfortunate occurrence--The chase abandoned--Meets with
  guerrillas--They invite him to drink--Renewed vigilance--The
  battle of Middleburg                                                69


  Attempts to visit the enemy's camp--Learns the strength and
  position of the enemy--Return intercepted--Perilous situation--
  Loses his mule--Frightened by men of his own regiment--The plan
  to capture the enemy--The negro's report--The forces discovered
  --Disposes of a rebel picket--Reports his discovery                 76


  Sent to find the enemy's pickets--Suspicious circumstance--Sick
  child--Captures three citizens standing picket--Releases them--
  Falls asleep--Perilous situation--Fortunate turn of affairs--
  Attack on the pickets--A very pious man--He proves a rebel spy      85


  Sent to Somerville--Finds himself a prisoner--Taken to Cold
  Water--Meets with old acquaintances--Is paroled--Runs with the
  2d Arkansas Cavalry--Goes to Lumpkins' Mills--Interview with
  General Price--Stays all night with his brother, the rebel
  General--Return to Bolivar--Reports to General Ross--"Steals
  the Colonel's horse," and returns to the enemy--Runs away from
  the enemy                                                           93


  Sent to Grand Junction to capture guerrillas--Suspicious
  incident--Strategy to get out the guerrillas--Orders disobeyed
  --The rebel flag--The very kind secesh lady--The mistake--Out
  of the frying-pan into the fire--Guerrillas watching for them
  --The attack--The prisoner--Result of the trio                     103


  Sent to Lagrange--Observes two cavalrymen--Arrival at
  Lagrange--Waits for the cavalry--Accompanies them out--Takes
  his departure--Is pursued--Evades the pursuit--Finds himself
  cornered--Crosses the Cypress Swamp--Robbed by outlaws--
  Disloyal citizen--The fate of the robbers                          115


  Starts to find General Bragg's forces--"Wools" the secesh farmer
  --Receives a bottle of rum--Guerrillas washing stockings--Finds
  Bragg's advance--Recognized as a Yankee spy--Ordered off his
  mule to be shot--The clamor of the crowd--Recognized as a
  Confederate spy--Rebel Surgeon vouches for him--Is released--
  Gray-headed rebel brought to justice--The Sutler of the 2d
  Arkansas Cavalry a prisoner--What became of the guerrillas
  that were washing stockings                                        127


  Reconnoiters Hickory Flats with a squad of seven men--Shoots at
  the mark--Orders to march with two days' rations--Cause of the
  alarm--Reconnoiter beyond Whitesville--Major Mudd's trap--
  "Bunker" entices the rebs into it--Rides into the trap behind
  rebel Captain--Sent out beyond Pocahontas--Passes as a rebel
  artillerist--Secesh citizen stands guard for him--The a very
  kind secesh lady--The anxious wife--Discovers guerrillas
  burning a human being                                              139


  Starts on a trip for General Lauman--His instructions--A
  Confederate widow--Discovers a squad of rebel soldiers--Captures
  part of their arms--Learns the whereabouts of guerrillas--
  Attempt to capture them--Guerrillas escape--Captures a prisoner
  --Cause of guerrillas' escape--The "General" and squad get
  arrested--The charges and specifications                           157


  Unfortunate state of affairs--Informality of charge and
  specifications--Assistance of friends--Fails to get a trial--
  Gloomy prospects--Evidence accumulates--Guard-house incident--
  The "General" concludes to help himself--Narrow escape from
  guerrillas--The capture--Reaches his regiment--Himself and
  squad released                                                     169


  Starts for Grenada--Instructions--Is captured--Returns to Water
  Valley--Starts again--Arrives at Grenada--Condition of Price's
  army--He returns--Again sent to Grenada--Proposes some fun--
  Plan of strategy--Plan unnecessary--Returns with rebel cavalry
  --Bivouac at Big Springs--The attack--More fun than bargained
  for--The result                                                    182


  The forage party--Runaways--Daring scout--Narrow escape--The line
  of battle--Safe return--Scout reports--Assumes the character of a
  rebel prisoner--Finds a friend--How he introduced himself--Where
  he belongs--The burning of Holly Springs--The heroine--What she
  captured--Shows partiality--Offers assistance--Rebel doctor
  executed                                                           192


  Arrival in Memphis--Daring robbery--Detailed by the Provost-
  marshal General--Assumes the character of a rebel Major--Secesh
  acquaintances--Captures a rebel mail--A jollification--A rebel
  trader--Plan to run the pickets--The escape of the outlaws         204


  Reports to Major-General McPherson--Instructions--Disguise--
  Starts for Vicksburg--Changes his route--Reports to General
  Denver--Acquaintance with a cotton-buyer--Plan to make money--
  Visits guerrilla Sol. Street--The arrangement consummated--
  Visit to General Price--Arrival at Jackson--Robbed of his
  field-glasses--Introduction to President Davis--Visit to
  Vicksburg--Visit to Edwards' Station--Meets his bear-hunting
  comrades--Visits Black River bridge--Robbed of his horse--The
  return--Reports to General McPherson--Reports to General Grant     217


  Return to Mississippi--Instructions--Visit to Troy--Movement of
  cavalry--Reports to General Denver--Is arrested--Federal cavalry
  driven back--Is released--Visits Greenwood--Journey to the
  Mississippi River--The perilous crossing--Again arrested--
  Interview with Gen. Prentiss--Takes the oath of allegiance--
  Meets a friend--Makes his escape--Reports to Gen. Grant            233


  Return to the regiment--The Henry rifle--The march from Milliken's
  Bend--The tug of war--The army crosses the Mississippi--Capture
  of Port Gibson--Battle of Raymond--Amusing Capture--The charge on
  Jackson--Battle of Champion Hills--The rebel courier--Sharp-
  shooting--The gallant charge--The march to Vicksburg--The place
  besieged                                                           245


  First sharp-shooting at Vicksburg--Silences two guns--The rifle-
  pit--Shoots a Carolinian--The Carolinian's comrade--Outshoots a
  squad of sixteen--The defiant rebel--Shoots for Gens. McPherson
  and Logan--Beats the Parrot rifles--Joke on the Adjutant-General
  --Visit to Admiral Porter--The French spy--The disclosures--
  Capture of a rebel dispatch--The fate of the spy                   259


  Sent for by General Grant--Instructions--Crosses Black River--
  Is captured by rebel cavalry--Sent to General DeVieu--The
  interview--Passes as Johnston's spy--The attempt to escape--The
  pursuit--Fired at by Federal pickets--Again fired at by the
  enemy--The pursuers driven back--Again fired at by Federal
  pickets--The alarm--Reports to General Osterhaus--Reports to
  General Grant                                                      275


  Visit to Chickasaw Landing--Surrender of Vicksburg--Visit to
  the city--The paroled Major--The Yankee trick--Returns to
  Vicksburg--Made detective--Is sent to Yazoo City--Attends a
  guerrilla organization--Makes them a speech--Returns to
  Vicksburg                                                          286


  Taken sick with the ague--Encounters his Satanic Majesty--The
  Devil afraid of General Grant--Expedition to Bogue Chitto
  Creek--Captures a rebel Colonel--Enlists as a veteran--Makes
  a speech to the soldiers                                           295


  Frightened by a dead Colonel--Burns Confederate corn in face
  of the enemy--Gets into a tight place--A frightened Major--
  Captures information--A headstrong Captain gobbled up--Captures
  a rebel Provost-marshal General--Encounter with General Ross'
  cavalry--A strange adventure--Races with a rebel Colonel--A
  hard-hearted woman                                                 305


  Starts home on veteran furlough--Trouble at the table--Bluffs
  the Captain--Suspected of being a rebel spy--Commissioned
  officer serves him at the table--Kind attentions at home--
  Silences an old maid--Returns to the front--Shot at twenty-one
  times--The remedy--A Union lady--The dwarf weaver--The weaver
  beheaded--Goes into Marietta as a spy--Confederate side of the
  lines--Escape from the rebs--General McPherson's death--Hard
  fighting                                                           331


  Goes to Ohio to recruit--Raises twenty-one men--Difficulty with
  the Governor--Visits Lieutenant-General Grant--Order from the
  War Department--Again in difficulty--Runs away from the
  Governor--Reports to General Sherman--Georgia raid--An amusing
  coincident--Reports to General Granger, at Mobile--Reports to
  General Grierson, in Texas--Makes a trip to the Upper Colorado
  --Incident at General Grant's head-quarters--The war over          358


  Ludicrous effect of fear--A Corporal outflanks a Captain--A
  good Union man--A touching appeal--A scene among the wounded--An
  old Secesh discovers his mistake--Suggestions from experience--
  Concluding thoughts                                                390


Lorain Ruggles was enlisted by me in December, 1861, at Columbus, Ohio.
The name of "General Bunker" was given to him by the men in his company,
and it was by that name that he was most generally known in the army,
and very many knew him by no other name.

Mr. Ruggles is a man possessed of great presence of mind, a strong
memory, and not a little of native wit, and great power of physical
endurance. These, with his knowledge of the Southern people and country,
admirably fitted him for the duties of a scout.

The narratives here related are of facts that actually occurred in his
experience, and very many of them are as well authenticated as any facts
in history can be. There has been no aim at making this a work of
general history, but simply a narrative of personal experience, coupled
with only so much of the general history of the war as is necessary to
explain the cause of the events that transpired in his experience. Many
of these are incidents of daring that are without parallel in the scout
service. The following testimonials of the value of his services and the
truthfulness of his reports will be read with interest:

     "17TH ARMY CORPS, December, 11, 1863.     }

     "_Captain E. C. Downs, 20th Ohio:_

     "CAPTAIN--I have known Mr. Ruggles since December, 1861,
     when your company was first mustered. I remember very well
     his first expedition as a spy, in June, 1862, when the
     20th was at Grand Junction, then an exposed outpost, under
     command of General Leggett.

     "Since that time he has been continually employed on such duty,
     often on expeditions of extreme hazard. He has shown as much
     address as daring. Many a camp-fire has been enlivened with
     stories of his adventures while commanding officers have set
     high value upon his reports.

     "I remember Mr. Ruggles as one of our best sharp-shooters in
     the war. His skill as a sharp-shooter, as well as scout, often
     got him leave to go out from the line on somewhat independent
     duty. At Champion Hills I gave him leave to go out with company
     A, which was sent out as skirmishers to open the way for an
     advance, on account of his skill.

     "At the siege of Vicksburg, he had a special permanent
     permission to be among the sharp-shooters on the advanced
     lines. On the day of the general but unsuccessful charge in
     May, he was mainly instrumental in driving away the
     artillerists from two of the enemy's guns on the right of the
     Jackson road.

     "His Henry rifle, given to him by General Grant, was one of the
     marked pieces among the sharp-shooters of the 17th Corps at
     that siege.

     "Very respectfully, your ob't serv't,

     "M. F. FORCE,
     "_Brig.-Gen'l. Vols., late Colonel 20th Ohio_."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "VICKSBURG, MISS., December 7, 1863.     }

     "_Captain E. C. Downs:_

     "DEAR SIR--Mr. Ruggles (or 'General Bunker,' as he is better
     known) has acted as scout and spy for me on very many occasions
     since the early part of June, 1862, and is now acting in that
     capacity. In this character he has been remarkably successful,
     seldom ever failing to satisfactorily accomplish the mission
     on which he was sent.

     "Many scenes of his life as a spy are intensely interesting. It
     has been my fortune to meet in life very few persons who could
     so successfully act an assumed character.

     "At some future time, I shall probably be at liberty to relate
     a few incidents of considerable interest in his career, of
     which he himself is as yet ignorant.

     "Very respectfully,

     "M. D. LEGGETT,

       *       *       *       *       *

     "MEMPHIS, TENN., November 28, 1863.

     "_Captain E. C. Downs:_

     "DEAR SIR--You wrote me sometime since, inquiring as to the
     services of Mr. Ruggles as a scout and spy for the Union army.
     In reply I would state that Mr. Ruggles was a superior man
     for the work assigned him, and the information obtained
     through him of the movements of the enemy was always reliable.

     "In the discharge of his duties, he was active, energetic, and
     heroically brave. His gallantry in the service deserves
     honorable mention in the work of which you speak.

     "I am truly yours, etc.,

     "LEEMAN F. ROSS."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "VICKSBURG, MISS., December 15, 1863. }

     "_To whom it may concern:_

     "This is to certify that Mr. Ruggles has been employed by me at
     various times during the past year, and I have always found him
     brave, adventurous, and truthful.

     "His services as a scout have been very important, and he
     deserves well of the military authorities.


       *       *       *       *       *

     "ZANESVILLE, O., July 31, 1866.

     "_Major E. C. Downs:_

     "DEAR SIR--It affords me pleasure to state that I am
     personally acquainted with Mr. Lorain Ruggles, known in the
     army as 'General Bunker.' He belonged to my command, and I know
     he was regarded as one of the most intrepid scouts in the 17th
     Army Corps. He was in high favor with all our general officers,
     and I think rendered more efficient service in the capacity of
     scout and spy than any man with whom I am acquainted. He
     certainly deserves well of his country.

     "I never knew him to give false intelligence, and in his
     forthcoming work should recommend it as a truthful narrative of
     his personal adventures, many of which I am known to.

     "G. F. WILES,
     "_Late Colonel 78th O. V. V. I., and Brevet Brig.-General_."

     "CARROLLTON, OHIO, June 27, 1866.

     "_Major E. C. Downs, Zanesville, Ohio:_

     "MAJOR--I am glad to add my testimony to the reputation of
     'Bunker' as a scout and spy. I believe him to have been the
     most reliable and successful scout in the Western army.

     "'Bunker' had the confidence of Lieut.-General Grant and
     Major-Generals McPherson and Logan, which he earned by skillful
     labor during the campaign which resulted in the capture of
     Vicksburg and its garrison. 'Bunker' deserves well of his

     "Yours truly,

     "B. F. POTTS,
     "_Late Brevet Major-General U. S. Vols._"

       *       *       *       *       *

     "CARBONDALE, ILL., July 1, 1866.
     "_Major Downs:_

     "DEAR SIR--I am well acquainted with Mr. Ruggles, or, as we
     called him in the army, 'General Bunker.' He was certainly a
     very excellent scout, and performed great service in that
     ranch of duties. He served as scout for me, as well as for
     many others, and at all times performed his part well, ran
     great risks; was not only a good scout, but one of the best
     sharp-shooters perhaps in the army.

     "Yours truly,

     "JOHN A. LOGAN."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "WASHINGTON, D. C., July 9, 1865.

     "_Major E. C. Downs:_

     "DEAR SIR--In the work of which you speak, you are at
     liberty to refer to me concerning the value of the services
     rendered by Mr. Ruggles as a scout and spy. His reports were
     always reliable, and were held in high estimation by me.

     "Yours truly,

     "U. S. GRANT,
     "_Lieutenant-General U. S. A._"

Such testimonials as the foregoing give the narratives contained in the
following pages a reputation of reliability that can not be doubted.
Whenever a mission of great danger was to be executed, Mr. Ruggles was
the man that was usually chosen to perform it. His quick comprehension
and heroic daring enabled him to address himself to the work, which he
rarely ever failed to accomplish. Often the boldness of his designs
proved to be the reason of his success. Very few have equaled, while
none have excelled, him in that line of duty. Many of the incidents in
his experience are so wonderful that in them the "truth seems stranger
than fiction."




    Parentage--Early discipline--Childhood incidents--Subsequent
      occupations--Driven from Mississippi--Works on rebel
      fortifications--Escape to Illinois--Enlists as a
      soldier--Supposed to have deserted--How he got his
      name--Examination by the Surgeon--Roster of the Regiment.

I was born in the town of Copley, in what is now known as Summit County,
Ohio, on the 17th day of June, 1823, and at the time that I entered the
army I was thirty-nine years of age. My father's name was Alfred
Ruggles. At the time of his death he was living with his second wife.
His family numbered twelve sons and seven daughters. I am the youngest
of seven children by my father's second wife.

My father was a blacksmith by trade, and all of his sons, except myself,
were learned the trade, under his personal instruction. Lorenzo Ruggles,
my father's second son by his first wife, after having finished his
trade, was sent to college and educated. He is the General Ruggles of
the Confederate army.

When I was ten years of age my father died, leaving a large farm
disposed of by a will. The children went to law, and spent the entire
property in breaking the will and settling the estate. In consequence of
that I was thrown upon my own labor for my support at a very early age.

My father was an old-fashioned strict disciplinarian; in the government
of his family "he ruled with an iron hand." His government was not only
rigid but chilling. The deviation of a hair from the paternal command
was usually followed by a whipping, and sometimes one was administered
without proper investigation.

People often ask me, "What is the essential qualification of a good
spy?" My answer is, "It requires an _accomplished liar_." I mean by
that, a man that can _successfully practice deception_. I do not mean by
that that a man must be an _habitual liar_. There is nothing that I
despise more than a man whose word can not be relied upon. Whether
deception, as I have practiced it in the discharge of my duty as a spy,
is a moral wrong, I shall not here attempt to argue. Of this much I am
sure: it has many times saved my life, and perhaps the lives of
thousands of others, besides saving immense sums of money to the

Whatever of the art of deception I possess has been somewhat shaped by
the chilling discipline administered to me by my father. An incident or
two from my early life will serve to show what that discipline was, and
what effect it may have had in my after career.

In my childhood days I was noted as "a mischievous boy." I suppose that
means that I was constantly devising or hunting some sort of diversion.
My father usually kept wrought nails of his own manufacture to sell to
his customers. These I used to get and drive into the fence, firewood,
shade-trees, or any thing else that came in my way. This my father had
forbidden me to do, but sometimes the impulse of the moment would cause
me to break over, and as often I would be whipped for my disobedience.

One day, as my father was going away from home he charged me
particularly not to go into the shop during his absence. While he was
gone I became so much interested in play that I never thought of going
to the shop. Near the close of the day my father returned, and it so
happened that he needed a few wrought nails to use the first thing after
his arrival. On going to the shop after some, he found his nail-box
empty. His last impression, on leaving, had been that I _would_ get
them, and now his first impression was that I _had_ got them.
Consequently, I was immediately summoned to give an account of them.

"My son, what made you go into the shop during my absence?" inquired my

"Father, I did not go into the shop," I replied.

"Somebody has been there and carried off my nails. Nobody else was here
but you; you _must be_ the one that got them."

"I did not get them, father; neither did I go to the shop. I certainly
did not."

My father knew that I had been in the habit of getting them, and, though
he had never known me to tell him a willful lie, nevertheless, he
thought that I had carried off his nails. I had not only disobeyed, but
had lied about it. It was too aggravated an offense to let pass without
punishment. Taking a hickory gun-wiper that stood in a corner of the
shop, he gave me a severe whipping, and then said, "Lorain, what did you
do with the nails?" Again I denied getting them, and again he whipped
me, which was repeated several times. At length "forbearance ceased to
be a virtue"--at least, my poor back _felt so_--and I said to him,
"Father, if you won't whip me any more, I'll tell you what I did with

"Well, what did you do with them?"

"_I drove them into the grind-stone block._"

After having talked to me about the wickedness of telling a lie, he sent
me into the house, little thinking that he had been _forcing me to tell

The next morning, as I was standing by, a customer entered the shop for
some nails. He had called the day before, and finding nobody present,
and needing them for immediate use, took all that he could find, weighed
them, and returned home. "There, father," said I, "I told you that I did
not get your nails!" His heart smote him for the whipping that he had
given me, and he wept like a child. The incident, however, had its
effect, and not many days passed until I was again placed on trial.

Myself and sister Electa attended the district school. Our nearest
neighbor, Mr. Moss, had a daughter about the age of my sister, who used
to attend the same school; her name was Cordelia. She was a very
proud-spirited girl, and improved every opportunity to show off. Her
mother bought her a new work-pocket; this she would frequently display,
and say to my sister, in a proud, haughty way, "You haint got no new
work-pocket bought out of the store." It displeased me considerably to
have her assume to be any better than my sister; so I resolved to stop
it at the first opportunity.

One day, as we were returning from school we espied a squirrel that had
taken refuge in a small tree by the roadside. Cordelia laid her
work-pocket at the roots of the tree, and she and my sister mounted the
fence, and commenced to climb the tree to catch it. Discovering the
work-pocket, I picked it up unperceived, and started on. Coming to a
bank of loose earth, where a tree had been recently uprooted by the
wind, I buried it, and then returned toward my companions and called to
them to come along. The girls had started to overtake me, when Cordelia,
missing her work-pocket, returned to get it. She searched for it a long
time, but without success. Failing to find it, she accused me of getting
it, which I stoutly denied. At last, complaint was made to my father.
Both of the girls had seen it lying near the tree, but neither of them
had seen me have it. My father asked me what I had done with it; but I
denied having seen it. "You _must_ have taken it," said the old man,
"for nobody else was there that could have taken it."

"I _must_ have got the nails too," I replied. This outflanked him; he
remembered having whipped me once wrongfully, and feared a repetition
of the same thing. The result was I evaded punishment, and my father
never found out what I had done with the work-pocket.

The next summer, after my father's death, I hired out on board of one of
the packet-boats running on the Ohio Canal, as cabin-boy. I continued
for three summers to follow the canal in that capacity, and for four
summers following I was a canal driver. The last three seasons I drove
the same team, and at the end of the third season I received from the
Transportation Company a prize of ten dollars for having kept my team in
the best order.

The winter following, my seventh season on the canal, I went down the
Mississippi River to Arkansas, and spent the season chopping steamboat
wood. While thus employed on Island Twenty-eight, I had the fortune to
kill a very large black bear, which I sold to a steamboat captain for
what seemed to me at that time a great price. The incident turned my
attention to trapping and bear-hunting. I spent several successive
winters in hunting and trapping in the wilds of Arkansas. In the winter
of 1851 and 1852 I was employed in hunting wild hogs in the Yazoo
bottoms for a man in Vicksburg, Miss. I was thus engaged at the same
time that the fourteen French hunters were killed by wild hogs in the
Yazoo bottoms. I spent one year as an overseer for Mr. James Ford, of
Memphis, Tenn., on the French palace plantation, near the fort of Island
No. 60. My summers were usually spent on the Mississippi and its
tributaries. In the summer of 1859 I went to Pike's Peak, and thence to
Salt Lake. The winter of 1860 and 1861 I was at work on White River,
Ark., and had several hands at work with me, filling a contract for
shingles for a man by the name of Hanner, in Bolivar County,

In the spring, I commenced to deliver the shingles, but Mr. Hanner
refused to receive them, on the ground that the country was engaged in
war. His refusal to receive them provoked me, and I said to him, "All
you need is a good thrashing, and then you'll behave yourself and not
talk so." That enraged him, and he turned and left me, muttering
vengeance as he went. An hour later he returned with a party of men,
threatening to hang me if he should catch me, but I was not to be found.
Mr. Hanner did not accuse me of being an abolitionist or a Northern man.
He was soon after made Colonel of the 17th Mississippi Zouaves. Knowing
that my life was in danger there, I made my way to Memphis, Tenn.

At Memphis, Tenn., I found the secession element decidedly too hot for
me. I saw no other way for me to do but "aid and comfort" the secession
movement or leave the country.

Lying at the levee was a steamboat just getting up steam, destined, it
was said, for St. Louis, Mo. She had on board a cargo of picks, spades,
wheelbarrows, and whisky. I took passage in her and went to Columbus,
Ky., and there she stopped and commenced to discharge her cargo. I soon
learned that she was going no further.

At that place I came across Mr. James Ford, for whom I had been an
overseer on the French palace plantation. He gave me a warm greeting,
and said that he was glad that I had come. He was at that time in
command of the post, and engaged in fortifying the place. He persuaded
me to take charge of a gang of negroes and work on the forts, which I
did, to kill all suspicion until an opportunity occurred for me to
escape. When I had been there engaged for five days, the steamboat
Amelia came up the river and landed, on her way to Cairo, Ill. I
happened to know the pilot, and told him that I was in a tight place,
and by his assistance I secreted myself on board the boat and went to
Cairo. It was the last steamer that was allowed to pass by Columbus,
Ky., until the place was captured by the Federal army.

From Cairo I went to Toledo, O. Recruiting for the Federal army was
going on rapidly all over the North. In the fall of 1861 I visited the
principal cities in Ohio, in search of a company of sharp-shooters, in
which to enlist. I found several such organizations, but none of them
were officered by men that suited me. In the month of December, while at
Columbus, Ohio, I met Lieutenant Downs, of the 20th Ohio Volunteer
Infantry, with a squad of ten men, on his way to Trumbull County to
recruit. Liking his appearance and that of his men, I enlisted, on
condition that he would furnish me with an Enfield rifle.

From Columbus we took the first train of cars to Cleveland; it was late
in the evening when we arrived. Passing a boot and shoe store that was
yet open, I obtained leave of the Lieutenant to stop and purchase a
pair of boots before going to our place of lodging. The Lieutenant and
party did not stop, but continued on to the hotel where we were to stop.
After having purchased a pair of boots, I got into an interesting
conversation with the shop-keeper, and remained somewhat longer than was
necessary. I had been intrusted to the care of Corporal Grinnell by the
Lieutenant, and my long absence had created a suspicion in the mind of
the Corporal that I had deserted. He had also heard Lieutenant Bostwick,
while in Columbus, advise Lieutenant Downs not to enlist me, for fear I
would run away. At last he started out with three men in search of me,
and found me still at the shop. I have since had many a joke with
Lieutenant Bostwick and Corporal Grinnell about their suspecting that I
would desert. They have been among my warmest friends in the army. The
next morning, at eleven o'clock, we reached Warren. At that place the
party dispersed to their homes, and I was furnished boarding at the
Eagle House, where I remained for ten days.

On Monday, January 8, 1862, we met to go to the regiment, then at Camp
King, near Covington, Ky. The squad had increased by accession of
recruits to twenty men. Our journey passed off pleasantly, and in two
days' time we reached our regiment. The party that went home with the
Lieutenant had carried their knapsacks with them; not knowing at that
time the name for them, I asked the Lieutenant if he had a "Bunker Hill"
for me to wear on my back. From that I received the name of "Bunker,"
and have been more generally known by that name in the army than any

The next morning after our arrival in camp, we were marched over to the
Surgeon's quarters for examination. From a list of names that the
Lieutenant had handed him, the Surgeon called "Lorain Ruggles!"

"Here I am, Doctor," I answered; "what do you want of me?"

"I want to examine you, and see if you are sound."

"Oh, that's it, is it. You need not be to that trouble, I'm _sound_

"Well, but I must _see_ whether you are sound or not; hold out your
hands; work your fingers; touch your hands over your head."

Going through the motions, I added, "_Oh, I tell you that I am all

"Are you ruptured," he continued.

"_Ruptured!_ what is that?"

"Are you bursted?"

"No, I ain't _quite_ busted yet; I've a couple of dollars left."

"You don't understand me, Mr. Ruggles," continued the surgeon, placing
his hands on my abdomen. "Are your _bowels_ all right?"

"_Oh, I understand you now! They are a little thin; the rations don't
relish well yet._"

The doctor succeeded at last in making me understand, and having
finished his examination, we were accepted as a soldier in the United
States army.

Like all other recruits, as soon as mustered in I was placed under
drill. To me the "steps" and "facings," "times" and "motions," were
perfectly incomprehensible. I formed a dislike to them that I could
never get over. I was expert in the forest at handling my piece, and I
did not see why the same times and motions that would kill a bear would
not kill a "reb."

The following is a list of the commissioned officers that were in the
20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the time that I entered it:

  M. F. FORCE, Colonel,
  J. N. MCELROY, Major,
  E. L. HILL, Surgeon,
  J. G. PURPLE, Asst. Surgeon,
  E. N. OWEN, Adjutant,
  P. M. HITCHCOCK, Qr.-Master,
  JAMES KNAPP, Chaplain.

  Elisha Hiatt,     Captain Co. A.   W. W. Updegraff,   Captain Co. F.
  William Rogers,   1st Lt. Co. A.   D. R. Hume,        1st Lt. Co. F.
  L. N. Ayres,      2d Lt.  Co. A.   W. D. Neal,        2d Lt.  Co. F.
  John C. Fry,      Captain Co. B.   J. N. Cassel,      Captain Co. G.
  A. J. Edwards,    1st Lt. Co. B.   G. L. Melick,      1st Lt. Co. G.
  R. M. Colby,      2d Lt.  Co. B.   Nathan Bostwick,   2d Lt.  Co. G.
  J. M. McCoy,      Captain Co. C.   James Powers,      Captain Co. H.
  Z. P. Atkins,     1st Lt. Co. C.   E. C. Downs,       1st Lt. Co. H.
  Conrad Garris,    2d Lt.  Co. C.   H. M. Davis,       2d Lt.  Co. H.
  C. H. McElroy,    Captain Co. D.   F. M. Shaklee,     Captain Co. L.
  V. T. Hills,      1st Lt. Co. D.   Harrison Wilson,   1st Lt. Co. L.
  Henry Sherman,    2d Lt.  Co. D.   W. L. Waddell,     2d Lt.  Co. L.
  George Rogers,    Captain Co. E.   Abraham Kaga,      Captain Co. K.
  B. A. F. Greer,   1st Lt. Co. E.   David Rhinehart,   1st Lt. Co. K.
  W. H. Jacobs,     2d Lt.  Co. E.   Seneca Hale,       2d Lt.  Co. K.


    Moves to Cincinnati--Detailed to guard the forts--Meets a
      secesh lady--First scout--Unexpected visit of the
      Colonel--The drill--Bad report--The mischief
      investigated--Attempts to discover the rogues--Innocent man
      accused--The accusers skedaddle--Who got the chickens.

Shortly after I joined the regiment it moved to the city barracks in
Cincinnati, Ohio. It was the duty of the regiment at that time to guard
the fortifications that had been built to protect the cities of
Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport. Not long after we arrived at the
barracks, company "H," to which I belonged, was detailed for a three
days' tour at guarding the line of defenses. Lieutenant Downs, with a
squad consisting of three sergeants and twenty-seven men, were sent to
guard that part of the defenses known as the Three-mile Batteries. I was
one of the squad.

These batteries formed a chain of defenses running eastward from the
Licking River at a distance of two miles and a half south of the city of
Newport. Beginning near the Licking River, was situated Fort Shaler; a
mile and a half east was Fort Stuart, and a mile and a half east of that
was Beechwoods Battery.

The detail was divided into three squads, of a sergeant and nine men
each, for each of the three forts. I was one of the squad that went to
Fort Stuart. That fort being between the other two, was made
head-quarters of the officer commanding the detail.

We crossed the Ohio River on a ferry-boat to Newport, and then marched
out. When we had gone about half-way to the forts, we were met by a lady
in a carriage, who, as we passed, called out, "Hurrah for Jeff. Davis!"
We took it as a downright insult, but passed along without making any
disturbance. We soon overtook a young man, who told us where the lady
lived, who she was, and also that she was secesh, and that her
sentiments were well known in the neighborhood. She was a widow.

The next morning I asked Lieutenant Downs for the privilege of taking
three men with me to scout the neighborhood for information concerning
the secesh woman's disloyalty. He granted the request, with the
condition that we report back promptly by 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We
were allowed to take our arms with us.

We visited all the neighbors living in the immediate vicinity of the
lady's residence, and they all confirmed what we had heard of her
disloyalty. We then went to her house, but found that she was absent.
The members of her family said that she was not disloyal, but very
strongly sympathized with the secession movement. Her negroes said she
was secesh. We were treated courteously by the family, and urged to stay
to dinner, which we did. While the dinner was being prepared, we
enlivened the time by narrating our camp stories, very much to their
amusement. When we were about to take our departure, we were invited to
come the next day and bring our Lieutenant. The invitation was pressed
so hard that we promised to come.

At the hour specified, we reported to our Lieutenant, and gave him all
the information that we had gathered concerning the woman's disloyalty
and the feeling that existed against her among her neighbors. It was
determined, in consequence of the insult that we had received, and her
known sympathy with the enemy, to lay the matter before the Colonel on
our return to the regiment.

The next day was very rainy, so we did not repeat our visit as we had
promised to do. About the middle of the afternoon we were very much
surprised by the appearance at the fort of Colonel Force. Had he come in
the night it would not have surprised us, because he had become
proverbial for "making the rounds," especially in bad weather. At the
time of his arrival the Lieutenant was absent, inspecting the other

The manner of the Colonel seemed strange. He was very inquisitive about
our rations--whether they held out and whether we had had any other than
Government rations; he also inquired whether any of us had been absent
from the fort at any time. I then told him of our trip the day before.
He then inquired if we had any of us been there since, and we answered
in the negative. He then inspected our ration-boxes, and the grounds all
about the fort, examining carefully the wood-pile, fence-corners, and
bushes, evidently looking for something on the ground. After having
finished his search he did not seem satisfied, but acted as if he was
disappointed in something. We were all satisfied that "something was

Having finished his inspection, he told me to get my gun and he would
drill me in the manual while he was waiting for the return of the
Lieutenant. I got along finely in all the movements until he gave the
command, "Charge--bayonet."

It being the most natural for me, I brought my piece down to my left
side, with a half-face to the left instead of to the right, as I ought
to have done.

"Not so, not so--the other way; there--fix it so," said the Colonel,
fixing it in its proper position.

"I can never charge bayonet that way."

"Hold it fast; let me try it," said he, putting his hand against the
muzzle of the piece.

"I will if I can." He pushed, and over I went to the ground. Springing
up and resuming my old position of half-face to the left, "You can't do
that again; now try."

The Colonel did try, but could not budge me. He then told me to put up
my gun. I had become extremely anxious to know what had brought him
over, and I resolved to give him a hint to that effect; so I said to
him, "Colonel, you must like the military profession _pretty well_."

"Why so? what makes you think that?"

"Because you came all the way over here from Cincinnati _just to drill

The Colonel smiled, but said nothing. By this time the Lieutenant made
his appearance. The Colonel took him out to one side and had some
private conversation, and then left. We learned from the Lieutenant that
complaint had been made at head-quarters that a squad of men from the
forts had been to Mrs. ----'s house the night before and taken
possession with fixed bayonets, and demanded meat, butter, chickens, and
potatoes, and threatened, if the articles demanded were not given them,
they would help themselves. The lady remonstrated, and finally begged of
them not to disturb her property, but all to no purpose. They then
helped themselves to such articles as they wanted, including about
thirty chickens.

The Lieutenant seemed surprised and grieved to hear such reports about
his men. He questioned us closely, as the Colonel had done, but all to
no purpose; every man denied knowing any thing about the outrage. He
searched the premises for any traces of chickens, such as offal, bones,
or feathers, but none could be found.

The lady had represented to the Colonel that the soldiers that committed
the outrage wore dark-blue blouses, and carried muskets with bayonets.
The soldiers of no other regiment about there wore that kind of uniform
or carried that kind of arms. When the Colonel left Fort Stuart, he went
over to the Beechwoods Battery, and there the same investigation was
made, but with no better result. Five of the men that accompanied me to
the lady's house were taken over to see if they would be identified as
having been there in the night, but the members of the family said they
were not among the number. It was then arranged that the members of the
family should go over to the barracks the day that we would return, and
see if they could identify the men that did the mischief, on dress

During the balance of our stay at the forts, the Lieutenant was very
strict with us, and watched narrowly every movement that we made, but
discovered no evidence of guilt. On our way back to the barracks, as we
passed through the streets of Newport and Cincinnati, we seemed to be
observed with more than usual interest, on account of the notoriety
given us by the report. Dress parade came, and with it two members of
the family, one a son of the lady, to point out the guilty soldiers.
When parade was over the companies were all dismissed but company "H."
The two persons then passed along the line, and succeeded in pointing
out _one man_. He was a man of unexceptional character, and the very
last man in the company that would have been guilty of such a thing; and
besides he had been on duty at the fort next to the river, which was
more than three miles distant from the lady's house.

Whatever suspicions the officers of the company might have had of men in
the company, they were then well convinced that an innocent man had been
wrongfully accused. The Colonel still believed that some of the men in
the company had done it. It was then arranged that the son should return
the next day and bring another member of the family--a young man that
was teaching there--and see if he would have any better success.

Passes were prohibited us for ten days. Each one of the men on detail at
the forts was examined separately, and I was called in for examination
several times. After he had questioned me over and over again about it,
I said to him, "Look here, Colonel, that would be a right smart trick
for new recruits to do, wouldn't it? Besides, they tell me, Colonel,
that you are like a comet; that you come when no man knoweth it.
Supposing that you had "made the rounds" that night, and found
Lieutenant Downs' men all gone. He would have been in a _pretty_ fix! By
and by the guard would call out, 'Halt! who comes there?' 'Chicken
thieves!' would have been the reply. _That would have been nice!_ You
would have sent _every man_ of us home in disgrace! I tell you, Colonel,
Lieutenant Downs aint so big a fool as to let his men get disgraced in
that way! He aint, indeed he aint."

The Colonel then walked his room back and forth, as if in a deep study,
and then stopped, and facing me, said: "Is this the first time you were
ever caught in a scrape of that kind?"

"You haven't caught me in _that yet_," I replied.

"That will do," said he; "you are either _innocent_ or _very well
drilled_! You can go to your quarters."

The next afternoon the two young men came over. When they arrived, the
battalion was on drill, except the new recruits. While watching the
drill, the son of the lady undertook to point out to the man that had
accompanied him the person that he had previously pointed out. That, I
thought, was not fair. I told the new recruits what was being done, and
they all began to gather around the two young men to frighten them off.
Some would cackle like hens; some crow like roosters; some pinned paper
on their coat-tails; others would slip pork rinds into their coat
pockets, and then accuse them of _stealing soap-grease from the poor

It was a rougher reception than they had bargained for, and, as soon as
the crowd opened, they broke for the street and never came back again.

The "chicken scrape" is among the incidents of the past. Several of the
men of the detachment that were on the forts at that time have nobly
sacrificed their lives, and others their health, in the cause of their
country; and, however well they loved chickens, they have all since
proved themselves brave, heroic soldiers. In a future reckoning, the
depredations committed that night will vanish when weighed by the
"hurrahs for Jeff. Davis" by the lady in the carriage.

I leave the reader to draw his own conclusions, but I am inclined to
think that _somebody got the chickens_.


    "Marching orders"--Arrives at Fort Donelson--The
      surrender--Goes North with prisoners--Meets an old friend
      as a rebel Captain--The Captain attempts to bribe
      him--Expedition up the Tennessee River--Touching
      incident--Battle of Shiloh--Captures an
      Enfield--Recommended as a scout.

On the 9th day of February, 1862, the regiment received "marching
orders." It was a day of hurry and excitement. The order was received
with delight by the men, for they had become tired with the dull
monotony of guard duty, and were eager for a change.

It was a wet day, and the streets were filled with mud and slush from
the rain and melting snow, and our feet dragged heavily as we marched to
the levee, but, nevertheless, our hearts were light and cheerful. Little
did we realize the hardships, the privations, and the sufferings that
were in store for us, or think of the change that would take place ere
we returned to the soil of our own loved State.

Two transports--the Emma Duncan and the Dr. Kane--were ready for us at
the levee, and we embarked on board of them, and were soon under way. At
Warsaw, Ky., we took on board two companies that had been doing duty
there, and then proceeded on our way. We had an abundance of
room--which added much to our comfort--and a pleasant trip all the way
to Paducah, Ky., where we reported for orders on the 13th of February.

We were immediately ordered to report to General U. S. Grant, near Fort
Donelson, without delay, and in a few hours we were under way. We
reached our destination Friday afternoon, February 14th. The fighting
had commenced, and at the time of our arrival our gun-boats were engaged
with the rebel batteries in sight of where we landed.

The regiment was ordered to report to Colonel--since
Brigadier-General--McArthur, commanding a brigade on the extreme right
of the Federal lines. To reach our position we had to make a march of
ten miles. The weather was cold, and the ground covered with several
inches of snow. We started very early on the morning of the 15th to take
our position. Being unused to marching with heavy knapsacks, the march
was fatiguing to us in the extreme. We succeeded, however, in getting
our position in line of battle by 10 o'clock, A. M.

At the time we took our position the battle was raging with intense
fury. The roar of musketry, the crash of artillery, the scream of
shells, the whiz of bullets, and the sight of the dead and wounded were
not calculated to fill the minds of inexperienced soldiers with very
pleasant sensations; nevertheless, every man of the regiment exhibited a
coolness and firmness that would do honor to veterans in battle.

Toward night the enemy withdrew within his fortifications. That night
we slept on our arms, in line of battle, on the snow-covered ground,
expecting to renew the battle in the morning. The next morning--Sunday
--about nine o'clock, the news came that Fort Donelson had surrendered.

_Such shouts_ as went up from that army had never been heard before.
From one end of the line to the other, cheer after cheer went up, until
it seemed as if the trees of the forest were repeating the shouts. It
was a glorious victory! It exceeded by far any victory previously
achieved since the commencement of the rebellion. Over 14,000 prisoners
were captured, besides an immense amount of artillery and small arms.

The 20th Ohio was one of the regiments that was detailed to guard the
prisoners to the North. Companies A and H were assigned to the steamer
Empress, and were intrusted with the guarding of 2,300 prisoners. Soon
after daylight on Monday morning we were on our way down the Cumberland

Nothing of unusual interest occurred until we arrived at Bloody Island,
opposite St. Louis, Mo., where we were to land the prisoners and embark
them on board the cars, for Chicago, Ill. It was in the evening when we
arrived there, and the prisoners remained on board until the next day.

I was on guard that night, and my post was at the gangway, with
instructions to prevent, at all hazards, any attempt of prisoners to go
ashore. About 1 o'clock at night a rebel Captain stepped up to me, and
addressing me by name, said, "How are you?"

I recognized in him an old acquaintance by the name of Captain Brown,
with whom I had formed an acquaintance at Island No. Twenty-eight, in
the summer of 1852. At that time he was the owner and captain of the
Memphis and Nashville packet steamer Sligo. When the rebellion broke out
he raised a company at Nashville, and was made a captain in the --th
Tennessee Infantry. At one time, while in difficulty in Memphis, Captain
Brown had rendered me valuable assistance.

"How are _you_?" said I, as soon as I discovered who it was. "What are
you doing _here_?"

"I'm a prisoner, and my old friend is guarding me."

"Yes, I _see_! Quite a change since you and I last met."

"Yes, something of a change! I hardly expected to meet you in arms
against me! You have lived a long time in the South. Do you think that
you are doing exactly right to take up arms against us?"

"The old government and the old flag are good enough for me," I replied,
"and I mean to stick by them so long as I live."

"Do you expect to pin the States together again with bayonets?" he

"I don't know whether we shall _pin_ the States together again or not;
but I _do know one thing_; we'll have the _soil back again_, whether we
have the people or not."

"See here!" said he. "Do you remember of my assisting you one time in
Memphis, when you was in trouble?"

"Certainly I do! And you had my gratitude for it."

"Well, I am in trouble. Can you render me any assistance?"

"I will if I can."

"Well, you can."


"By letting me cross your beat and go ashore."

"I _can't do that_."

"Why not? I helped you; why not help me?"

"Because I am no traitor to my country! I never asked you to raise your
hand against your country to assist me."

"Here, take this watch; perhaps I can buy you," said he, offering me a
splendid gold watch.

"Not _much_ you can't buy me! I think too much of the stars and stripes
for that."

"Take it," said he, "and let me cross your beat, and I'll give you a
hundred dollars in gold besides."

"_I can't do it_," said I; "_don't you ask me again._"

Captain Brown went away quite chop-fallen, satisfied, I presume, that
gold was not at par with genuine patriotism.

We guarded the prisoners to Camp Douglas, near Chicago, Ill., where we
remained nine days, and then returned to Bloody Island, where we arrived
on the 6th day of March. That night the regiment embarked on board the
steamer Continental, for Paducah, Ky., which place we reached in time to
join in the grand expedition up the Tennessee River.

At Paducah, General Sherman and staff came on board the Continental, and
made it his head-quarters; and that boat, preceded by the gun-boats,
led the fleet.

When under way, that vast fleet of steamers, loaded down with troops, as
they moved along, one after another, at nearly equal distances apart,
presented a grand and imposing appearance. The weather was mild and
pleasant, which added much to the interest of the trip. The banks of the
river often presented crowds of people that had gathered to witness the
grand display of force that was penetrating the territory of the
rebellion. Sometimes we were cheered by the crowds that lined the banks,
indicating their loyalty, and at other times a sullen silence told
plainly that we were not welcome.

One little incident occurred that I shall never forget. We had on board
a citizen of Tennessee, who owned a large plantation on the left bank of
the Tennessee River, about eight miles below Savanna. He was an exile
from home on account of his devotion to the Union. An attempt was made
by his neighbors to capture and hang him, but he succeeded in making his
escape, and in getting through to Paducah, Ky., after having suffered a
great deal from hunger and exposure, incident to traveling by night,
through forests and swamps, to evade discovery. The last that his family
had heard from him was that his disloyal neighbors were in pursuit of
him, determined to hang him, and they did not know whether he was alive
or not.

As we neared his plantation, a group of persons was observed standing on
the bank of the river not far from his residence. He requested the
captain of the boat, as we passed, to run the boat near the shore, so
that he might recognize his wife and children, if they were there. The
crowd on the deck of the steamer moved back, to give him a large clear
space, that his family might more readily recognize him. As the boat
neared the shore the group proved to be his wife, children, and
servants, gazing with intense interest at the passing fleet. It was a
touching scene, when that exile from home recognized his loved ones.

"I am alive! It is me!" he shouted, swinging his hat. "I am coming home!
Glory to God! The Union forever! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory!" etc. He
jumped and shouted as if in ecstasies of delight.

Such manifestations of love for home and country are unmistakable
evidences of patriotism and loyalty. The incident is but one of
thousands that have been witnessed in the prosecution of the war.

From that time on, nothing of special interest occurred in my experience
until the battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing. The battle was fought
on the 6th and 7th of April, 1862. I acted my part in that bloody
conflict, but the details of the battle I must leave to the pen of the
historian. At that battle I succeeded in capturing an Enfield rifle. My
"handspike" was turned over, and with it dissipated the disgust with
which I had carried it.

The next day after the battle of Shiloh, a circular was sent to the
company commanders, from brigade head-quarters, requesting them to send
in the names of such men as were trustworthy and suitable for scouts.
Captain Downs (formerly Lieutenant Downs) sent in my name as one, which
opened the way for the experiences that I shall narrate in the following

Early in June, soon after the evacuation of Corinth, the 20th Ohio
Regiment moved to Bolivar, and soon after to Grand Junction, Tenn.


    Rumored attack upon Grand Junction--"General Bunker" sent out
      as spy--Passes himself as a rebel soldier--Falls in with
      rebel cavalry--Visits a rebel camp--Attempts to deprive him
      of his revolver--Discovers a Yankee forage
      party--Undertakes to return--Captured by Yankees, and
      robbed of his revolver and money--Passes as a rebel
      spy--Sent to the Provost Marshal--Sent to General
      Hurlbut--Returned to Grand Junction.

Soon after the evacuation of Corinth by the forces under General
Beauregard, a part of General Grant's army was distributed along the
Ohio and Mississippi and the Mississippi Central, and also the Memphis
and Charleston Railroads, to garrison the principal towns and open up
communication for supplies by railroad instead of by the Tennessee
River, which was becoming so low as to be an uncertain route for

At the time I speak of, Grand Junction was garrisoned by a small brigade
of infantry and a battery of artillery, under command of
Brigadier-General M. D. Leggett. Grand Junction is situated on the
Mississippi Central Railroad at its junction with the Memphis and
Charleston Railroad, and was an exposed outpost.

A rumor had become current among the citizens that a large force of the
enemy's cavalry was in the vicinity, preparing to capture the brigade
garrisoning the post. General Grant, who was still at Corinth, informed
General Leggett by telegraph that his command was in danger; that an
attempt would be made to capture his force; that he would be attacked on
his right by cavalry and on his left by infantry, and advised him to
vacate the place and fall back to Bolivar, twenty miles north of Grand
Junction, where the Mississippi Central Railroad crosses the Hatchee
River. The enemy's force was represented to be 900 cavalry at Davis'
Mills, and three brigades of cavalry at what is known as the White
Church, on Wolf River, the former nine and the latter twelve miles from
Grand Junction, in a south-west direction. An additional force of a
division of infantry were said to be at Salem, seventeen miles
south-east of Grand Junction.

General Leggett had some doubts about the rebels having very much force
near the place, and the large quantities of cotton that were being
brought in, and the abundance of corn for forage, made it an object to
hold the place as long as prudence would admit, and he resolved to
ascertain whether there was any cause for alarm before vacating it.

General Leggett sent for me and told me what he wanted, and asked me if
I was willing to undertake the job. It was the first opportunity that I
had ever had of working as a spy, and I had for a long time been anxious
to try my hand at it, and I felt certain that I could do the Government
more good in that way than in any other. It was my time to strike, and
I determined to improve it. I told General Leggett that I was willing to
try, and would do the best that I could, and if I got back safe, "all
right;" if not, my fate would be no worse than that of others before me.

I returned to my quarters and made the necessary arrangements, and the
next morning, at daylight, I started out on the road to Salem, disguised
as a Confederate soldier belonging to infantry.

The day was clear and pleasant, and a recent shower had laid the dust
and cooled the air, and made it much pleasanter traveling than is apt to
be the case in that country in the month of July. I was on foot, and the
coolness of the atmosphere very much facilitated my progress. I was not
interrupted in my progress until I had gone about eight miles, when I
observed, as I approached a planter's house, a negro woman in the yard,
engaged in churning. Being somewhat fond of buttermilk, I resolved to
pay the inmates of the house a visit. As I approached the house, a lady
came to the door, and, observing my Confederate uniform, seemed pleased
to see me, and asked me to walk in and be seated, to which I complied.

"Where have you been?" she inquired.

"I have been out to the Yankee pickets, and I had a fight with them last
night and killed three of the d----d Yankees. They killed my horse for
me in the fight, and I am going back to Salem to get another that I left
there. I have walked until I am tired. Seeing the woman churning in the
yard, I thought I would stop and rest myself, and see if you would have
the kindness to give me a drink of buttermilk."

"I am glad you did. You shall have all the buttermilk you want. You are
not a-gwine to _walk_ to Salem, are you?"

"Yes. I've got another horse there, and I don't like to trouble any body
for the use of one."

"Well, now, you are not a-gwine to walk down thar; we've got heaps o'
horses and mules, and you shall have one to ride. Bob! Bob!" calling to
a darky in the yard, "you run right quick to the cotton-gin and fetch
your master."

While Bob went on a double-quick for his master, the lady ordered me
some buttermilk and wheat biscuit. While I was eating, the planter came

"Lord bless you, John!" exclaimed the lady, as her husband entered,
"here is one of _our soldiers_, and he has had a fight with the Yankee
pickets and has killed three of them! He says he's gwine to walk to
Salem after another hoss. I tell him that he's not a-gwine to walk when
we've got heaps o' mules! I think any of our soldiers that has killed
_three Yankees_ is entitled to a mule to ride!"

"You can have a mule in welcome; there's no occasion for you to walk,"
said the planter.

"Thank you!" said I, "I am under very great obligations to you for your
kindness, but it may not be possible for me to return this way. I will
not take a mule, but I am a thousand times obliged to you."

With many blessings from them, and an urgent invitation to call if I
returned, I took my departure. When about twelve miles from Grand
Junction, I was overtaken by a squad of thirteen rebel cavalry,
including one Sergeant, under command of a Lieutenant.

"How are you, boys?" said I, as they came up.

"Fine!" said the Lieutenant. "How do you do?"

"I'm getting _pretty near well_, I thank you."

"Where do you belong?" he inquired.

"To the 13th Tennessee Infantry, Col. Vaughn's regiment."

"Ah--yes, yes; he's all right. I remember of seeing him in Corinth last
spring," said the Sergeant; "I have a cousin in the same regiment."

"Where do _you_ belong?" I inquired.

"To Jackson's First Battalion of Cavalry," answered the Lieutenant.
"Where are you gwine?"

"I am gwine down to my regiment," said I. "I have been sick, and have
been home in Osceola, Mississippi County, Arkansas, and I am gwine down
to Salem to report myself to the nearest head-quarters. I have heard
that there is some of our forces there, and I want to find out where my
regiment is."

"You are mistaken," said the Lieutenant; "there is none of our forces
there. And besides, it is not necessary for you to report at any
head-quarters. Your regiment is at Tupelo, where you will have no
difficulty in getting to it. We have some spare horses here; get on one
of them and ride."

I mounted one of the horses and rode along with them. I learned, from
conversation with them, that their regiment was stationed at Tupelo,
Miss., and that they were detailed to traverse the country and visit
all the planters, and tell them to haul their cotton, corn, and bacon to
a place known as the Double Block-house, where it would be guarded to
prevent the Yankees from stealing it.

We only went about a mile after I mounted the horse before we turned to
the right, and a half a mile more brought us to the double log-house. At
that place three regiments of infantry were camped, and their principal
object appeared to be to guard the stuff that the planters were hauling
in for protection. Several thousand bushels of corn and large quantities
of bacon had already been hauled there.

We dismounted and remained in the camp about an hour. While there the
Lieutenant told me that I had better not be in a hurry about going to
Tupelo; "for," he said, "the times are rather tough for a man just
recovering from sickness, and the rations are not such as a sick man can
relish." He told me that he was going round on to the lower Tupelo road
in a day or two, and that I had better run with them till that time, and
he would put me on to a road where I would find clever people and plenty
to eat. It all seemed very good advice, and favorable to my purpose, and
so I accepted it.

The balance of the day was spent in visiting every plantation on the
roads to the west and north of the block-house, and when we halted for
the night we were within three miles of Davis' Mills.

There I was like to have a little difficulty with the Sergeant. I had
with me a very nice navy revolver that I had borrowed of Colonel Force
preparatory to starting out. The Sergeant discovered that I had it, and
was going to take it away from me.

"What business has an infantry soldier with such a revolver as that?"
said the Sergeant. "Infantry soldiers don't need them, and cavalry
soldiers do. It will never do you any good if you keep it; so give it to

"Sergeant," said I, "you are superior to me in rank, and if you insist I
shall have to obey; but if you take that revolver away from me I'll
report you to Billy Jackson! I will indeed!"

"Sergeant," said the Lieutenant, who heard our words, "if Colonel Vaughn
is willing that his men should carry such things, it is none of our
business. Let the soldier keep his revolver!"

"Thank you, Lieutenant," said I. "I prize that revolver very highly. I
bought it in Memphis, about the time the war commenced, to kill the
Yankee sons of b--hes with, and when I enlisted Colonel Vaughn told me I
might carry it, and I mean to do it."

"That's right!" said the Lieutenant. "Turn up as many of the d--d
Yankees' heels with it as you can! Soldier, what road did you come in on
this morning?"

"I came down on the Somerville road, across the Hickory flats, by the
old man Pruett's, and then over on to the Salem and Grand Junction

"You came a very good route, indeed."

"I am aware of that," I replied. "I know this here country all through
in here. Lieutenant, where did you boys stay last night?"

"At Davis' Mills."

"Haven't we got a cavalry force there?"

"No. There was only us fourteen there last night."

"The old man Pruett told me yesterday that there was, that we had three
brigades of cavalry at the White Church on Wolf River."

"The old man was mistaken. There is none of our forces nearer than
Tupelo, except the three regiments that you saw to-day, and a few of the
same company that I belong to, that are scattered about the country on
the same business that we are on."

In the morning our operations of notifying the planters was renewed, and
our route lay along the bottoms of Davis Creek, toward the head-waters
of the creek. About noon we very unexpectedly found a Yankee forage

"There is some of the Yankee sons of b--hes now!" said the Lieutenant.

"Where?" said I.

"There, up on top of the hill to the left," said he, pointing toward

I looked, and sure enough there they were. There was about thirty of the
Yankees, and eight teams. They had halted to feed, and had stacked arms.
They did not see us. We moved along a little further to a cow-path that
led to the right up a ridge of ground parallel to the one occupied by
the Yankees. The hollow that intervened was filled with a growth of
bushes extending to the path which we were in, which screened us from
view and enabled us to approach within fifty yards of the Yankees
without being seen.

I now recognized the detachment as belonging to my own regiment, and one
of the men was _my own bunk-mate_!

The Lieutenant told us to be quiet and not to speak a word, and if the
Yankees ventured away from their arms, we would make a dash upon them
and capture their arms and mules, and burn the wagons. Little did they
mistrust the relation that I bore to these Yankees. I determined, if a
dash was attempted, to do what execution I could upon my butternut
companions with my revolver, hoping to dispose of four or five of them
before my _true relation_ was discovered. It was a moment of fearful
suspense as we watched those Federal soldiers; but my butternut
companions were too deeply interested in the watch to observe any
feelings that my actions might have betrayed.

For about twenty minutes we watched them, but they did not move away
from their arms. The Lieutenant, fearing his own safety might be
endangered by too long a stay, silently withdrew his men, and made his
way back toward Davis' Mills by another route. That night we stayed at a
planter's house, ten miles from Grand Junction.

At three o'clock the next morning we were again on the move, and a two
hours' ride brought us to four corners in the road somewhere south-west
of Lagrange, and three or four miles distant from that place. There we
halted, and the Lieutenant told me that one of the roads was the one
that I wanted to take to go to Tupelo. He gave me the names of several
planters that lived on the road, and advised me to stop two or three
days at a place and recruit my health all I could on the way to my
regiment, and assured me that the planters he had named were clever
people, and that I would be welcome with any of them. I thanked him and
bade him a good morning, and started on the road that he had pointed
out, not caring whether it led to Tupelo or not, if I could get away
from him and his squad.

As soon as the cavalry was out of sight, I made a detour through a large
cotton-field to my left, and continued on until I came into a road that
I supposed led direct to Grand Junction; while in company with the
cavalry, we had zigzagged through the country so much that I had become
somewhat confused, and I was not sure where the road did lead to. I took
it, however, and moved along very fast to get, as soon as possible, as
far away from the vicinity where we parted, lest, by some chance or
other, I might be found going toward Grand Junction instead of Tupelo. I
kept, as I supposed, a sharp look-out as I moved along, and had gone, as
near as I could judge, three miles, when I was very unexpectedly
interrupted in my course by a challenge of "Halt! halt! you son of a

I was considerably alarmed, for I supposed that I must have encountered
a rebel picket. On looking to see where the challenge came from, I found
that it emanated from a Federal picket. A clump of bushes had prevented
me from seeing him until I was close on to him. My position was clear
enough now. I had taken a road to Lagrange, instead of Grand Junction,
and had encountered General Hurlbut's pickets.

"Ha! ha! my butternut soldier!" exclaimed the guard, as I halted; "you
got caught rather unexpectedly."

"I reckon I did," I replied.

"Where do you belong?"

"To the 13th Tennessee."

"You've got tired soldiering on short rations, I suppose?"

"I reckon I a'n't starved yet."

One of the pickets then took me to the Captain in command, at the
reserve. There I was subjected to a rigid questioning and search, but I
was determined to carry out my disguise until I could report to some
commanding officer. My revolver and money, and other articles, were
taken from me by the Captain, and then I was ordered to stand up by a
tree until further orders. I remonstrated with the Captain about
depriving me of my revolver and private property, and told him that
"_we_ always respected a prisoner's right to his side arms and personal
effects." The Captain replied that I might be d--d glad to get off so,
and if he had his way about it, he would shoot every rebel in the
Southern Confederacy.

While standing at the tree, I observed a plantation house that stood
within less than a hundred yards from me, and that it was occupied. My
early start and the distance I had traveled gave me a ravenous appetite,
so I asked the Captain if he would be so kind as to allow me to go to
the house and get some breakfast.

"Yes," said he, "you may go; but, G--d d--n you, if you undertake to get
away, I'll have you shot!"

"I won't run away," I replied; "I didn't come in here to run away. I'll
come right back as soon as I get my breakfast."

When I got to the house, I met the man of the house at the door. He had
evidently seen me coming, and my uniform attracted his attention.

"Good morning!" said I, as he came out.

"Good morning; won't you come in?"

"Yes, I don't care if I do; and I should like right well to get some
breakfast here, if you please, for I am mighty hungry."

"Walk in; you shall have all the breakfast you want. Where do you

"To Col. Vaughn's regiment, the 13th Tennessee."

"You do?"


"Well, I belong to Colonel Strawl's regiment, the 4th Tennessee. I am a
surgeon in that regiment; my name is Biggs. What is your name?"

"My name is _Ruggles_. I am a brother to General Ruggles."

"Is it possible! I know the General very well. What are you doing up

"I am going through the d--d Yankee lines to-day, if I can."

"You are? A'n't you afraid they'll _get you_?"

"No; I expect they'll get me into the guard-house, but I'll soon manage
to get out."

"Well, do the best that you can. If they _do_ get you into the
guard-house, you sha'n't want for anything to eat. I'll see to that

Breakfast was announced as ready for me, and I sat up to the table.
They had got me fried ham, baked sweet potatoes, warm biscuit with
butter and honey, and coffee with sugar and cream. I think the condition
of my appetite enabled me to do that meal ample justice. When I had
finished, I asked the doctor how much I should pay him.

"Oh, Lord! not a cent! Do you think I'd charge one of our soldiers for a
meal of victuals! I feel thankful that I have it to give you!" Then
turning, and pointing toward the pickets, he said, "But them d--d Yankee
thieves down there I make pay me fifty cents for a meal of nothing but
bread and meat!"

"You've got them rightly named, doctor," said I; "for they took my
revolver and my money, and every thing else I had, away from me this

"You needn't be surprised at such treatment as that," said he; "for
there are officers down there that would steal the Lord's supper, and
men that would steal the table-cloths!"

"You are about right, doctor; but I see they are looking as if uneasy
about me, and I must go back."

"Well," said he, "if you get into trouble, I'll do all I can for you. I
have got things fixed pretty smooth between me and the pickets, and I
think I can help you carry out your plans."

"Haven't you taken the _oath_, doctor?"

"Oh, yes! I had to do that in order to get along smoothly."

"Well, you be careful and not get yourself into any scrape by it. I
would advise you to say nothing, and if I get into the guard-house, you
see that I get plenty to eat, and I'll wriggle out some way."

I then bid him good-by, and returned to my position by the tree. When
the new pickets came out to relieve the old ones, two of the old guards
took me in to the Provost-marshal. As I entered his office, I was
saluted by, "Well, old hoss, who are you?"

"I am an Arkansas school-master," I replied.

"What do you want?"

"I want to see General Hurlbut."

"What do you want of General Hurlbut?"

"I want to see him. I've heard that he's a very red-faced man, and I
want to see for myself how he looks!"

"_Yes, you want to see him!_ You'll go to the guard-house!"

"No I won't!"

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"You give me those two guards and send me to General Hurlbut, and find
out who I am!"

"Guards," said he, "take him off; take him down to General Hurlbut's. I
don't know who the h--l he is!"

The guards took me to the General's quarters, and one of them went in
and told the General that they had got a fellow that they had captured
at the picket-line, and that he was dressed like a rebel soldier, and
that the Provost-marshal could not find out who he was, and had sent him
there. The General came out of the tent, and, seeing who it was, said:

"Ah, yes! I know him! Guards you can go to your quarters."

"Hold on, General," said I; "the Captain that had command of those
guards took a revolver away from me that belongs to Colonel Force, and
took my pocket-book, and every thing else I had in my pockets."

"What kind of d--d thieving and robbing will take place next! Guards, go
and tell that Captain to march his men up here!"

In a few minutes, the Captain marched his men into the yard and formed
them in a line; when that was done, "Captain," said the General, "give
that man the things that you robbed him of!"

The Captain handed out the articles, one after another, and last of all
he handed me _an old fine-tooth comb_! That was too much for the
equanimity of the officers and men that were looking on, and they burst
into a roar of laughter. The poor Captain looked as if he would sink
into the earth. "That will do," said the General, when he had handed me
all; "you can dismiss your men."

I told General Hurlbut the result of my trip, and he complimented me
very highly upon my success, and then gave me a "little smile" of brandy
and loaf sugar, and a pass to Grand Junction.

The pass saved me any further annoyance by the Federal pickets, and Dr.
Biggs from the trouble of visiting the guard-house with "commissary

I reported my trip to General Leggett, and, for some reason, the brigade
did not vacate the place for more than two weeks after.


    Fired at by a citizen--The sick overseer--How he was
      cured--Pickets fired on--Trip to White Church--Visits
      General Van Dorn--Meets a rebel spy--Reports to General
      Leggett--Grand Junction evacuated--Again sees the rebel
      spy--Attempt to arrest him--Drinks wine with the rebel
      General Jackson--Discovers a hole in the fence.

It was my duty, while the brigade remained at Grand Junction, to watch
for any demonstrations of General Van Dorn's, Wheeler's, or Jackson's
cavalry. For that purpose I used to ride out on a road running east and
west, that lay three miles to the south of Grand Junction. I used to
scout that road for about ten miles regularly every day. One morning,
before going out, I called upon Captain Jacobs, Provost-marshal of the
post, on business. While I was there, an overseer that I had frequently
seen in my scouts came in, and requested a renewal of his pass, and a
permit to carry out certain articles that he wished to purchase. He had
with him the oath of allegiance. As soon as my business was completed, I
started out on my scout, as usual, leaving the overseer there. I made
the trip out, and had returned to within a few yards of the overseer's
house, when he stepped out from a fence-corner, with a squirrel-rifle in
his hands, and said to me, "Are you a Yankee soldier?"

"No, sir, I'm not a Yankee soldier, I'm a Federal soldier."

"What are you doing out here?"

"I'm watching for rebel cavalry."

"I'll soon stop your watching Confederate cavalry."

"Are you going to shoot me?"

He said nothing, but the click of his gun, as he cocked it, said "Yes."
As he was bringing it to his face, I put the spurs to my horse, and as I
passed, he fired, but missed me. I went in and reported to General
Leggett, who replied, "You had better look out, or some of those _good
Union men will kill you_." He issued no order to have the man arrested;
and perhaps it would have done no good if he had, for such characters,
with their oily tongues, are as slippery as eels. As a general thing,
they manage to evade justice, and get released from the Federal
authorities. I well knew that if the overseer was allowed to live
undisturbed my own life was in jeopardy, so I telegraphed to General
Grant, then at Jackson, Tennessee, to know what to do with such a man.
His reply was, "If you are a scout for the Government, _you ought to
know yourself_."

That night I went to the 20th Ohio Infantry and got two Sergeants, whose
real names I shall not give, but designate them as the "big Sergeant"
and the "little Sergeant"--both of them belonged to company H--to assist
me in bringing the overseer to justice. Knowing that if we accomplished
our purpose there would be complaints entered at head-quarters the next
day, I resolved to proceed as noiselessly about it as possible. Instead
of getting the countersign, and thus letting it be known that we were
going out, we stole through the picket line, and nobody knew that we had
left camp.

It was about four miles to the overseer's house; thither we proceeded.
When we came to his yard, myself and the little Sergeant went at once to
the house, and the big Sergeant went to the negro quarters. The overseer
and his family had retired for the night. Our rap for admittance was
answered by "Who is there?" My reply was, "Federal soldiers; get up and
open the door." The summons was obeyed by the overseer's wife. As we
entered we heard the groans of a man as if in distress, proceeding from
an adjoining room. On going into the room I found the overseer in bed,
and feigning to be laboring under severe pain. Approaching the bedside,
I said to him: "You are sick, are you, old hoss?"

With great difficulty, seemingly, he answered, "Yes--I'm--very sick."

"How long have you been sick?"

"It's--going on--two weeks--now."

"You lying whelp," said the little Sergeant, unable to contain himself;
"I saw you in Grand Junction this morning."

"Get up, old fellow," said I, "you need a little exercise; it will do
you good to move about."

"I can't--gentlemen,--I tell you--I'm sick," (still groaning, and
letting on to be in great distress.)

"Yes, that wolfish-looking face of yours _looks sick_! Get out of that!"
He commenced to rise, trembling all over as if with nervous fear. "Your
nerves a'n't so steady as they were this morning," I added.

"Indeed--I _am_--sick--gentlemen."

"I should think your conscience would make you tremble."

"Are you--gwine to--kill me?" he asked, getting more and more agitated
with alarm.

"No, we won't kill you, but we'll give you a furlough to a warmer
climate. I think it will improve your health."

"You will give--a body--time--to pray--won't you?"

"Praying won't do you any good; you will go to the warm climate, anyhow;
so, hurry on them clothes and come along with us." We then walked him
out of the house; we found that he could travel as strong as we could.

The wife took on dreadfully, wringing her hands and crying out, "_Have
mercy! have mercy!_ Don't kill him!"

"Yes, _traitors are pretty objects of mercy_. You stay where you are."
She was too much frightened to follow. As we passed out into the yard,
we met the big Sergeant, accompanied by a nigger who had an iron collar
on his neck, with a chain fastened to it, with the other end fastened
around his waist.

"Here, Bunker," said the Sergeant, "see what I have found."

"That chain is just exactly what I want. Bring your nigger around here,"
said I, as I led my prisoner around to the rear of the house, and out to
the stable. There we found two crotches standing upright, and a pole
laid from one to the other. A large box was rolled out from the stable
and placed under the pole, and the overseer made to get on to the box.
The nigger had been sent to the rebel fortifications to work, and had
run away. The overseer had captured him, and had punished him by putting
him in irons, as described. In the morning he would chain him to the
plow, and at night release him and make the chain fast around his body.
On searching the pockets of the overseer, I found the key that unlocked
the chain. I then unlocked the chain from the negro, and placed it upon
the overseer's neck, and made the other end fast to the pole overhead;
and having fastened the overseer's hands behind him, I said to the
negro, "This man has been your overseer for a long time--you may change
about now, and be his overseer awhile."

"Lor' bress you, massa!" he exclaimed. "Thank de Lord fur dat; he's dun
druv dis nigga long enuf."

"Well, you _drive_ him now."

"Shall I drive him thar?"

"Yes, drive him where you please."

"I reckon he won't do dat box no good standin' there," and suiting the
action to the word, he jerked the box from under him, leaving him
suspended by the neck; adding, "Now, I specs he'll drive hisself. I'se
more important business to 'tend to."

The overseer being in a fair way to have his "furlough approved," we
returned to camp by the same way that we went out. The next morning,
early, the wife came in with a complaint to the Provost-marshal that a
party of Federal soldiers had been to her house the night before, and
had taken her sick husband out of bed and had hung him, and begged for
protection from further outrage.

The Provost-marshal said to her, "I don't believe a word of it; for no
soldiers have been permitted to go out through our lines during the
night. Perhaps you had a husband and perhaps not. I advise you to go
back about your business and not be in here blaming Federal soldiers
with that which they have never done."

During the day a forage party, on its return to camp, visited the
plantation and brought away sixty contrabands, and among them was the
one that we had liberated from his chains. The overseer was dead, but
had been taken down and carried into the house. On his arrival in camp,
the negro reported that the Yankees had made him hang his master.
Outside of the lines it was generally believed that the Yankees had done
it, but the soldiers generally believed that the negroes on the
plantation had done it. It was never suspected that I had had a hand in
it. "My personal safety as a scout demanded that he should be disposed
of," is all the excuse that I have to offer. I continued to scout the
road for several days after, but met with no further interruption.

Early in the month of July, the first train of cars that was to run
through from Memphis to Grand Junction started out, and, when only a
short distance from Memphis, was captured, and the railroad badly

Owing to the difficulty of protecting the road from the raids of the
enemy, the opening of it was abandoned for a time, and the roads from
Columbus, Ky., to Grand Junction and Corinth were relied upon for the
transportation of supplies. When the opening of the road was abandoned,
the forces at Lagrange, under command of General Hurlbut, moved to
Memphis, which left the small brigade at Grand Junction without any
troops for support nearer than Bolivar, a distance of twenty miles. The
exposed position of so small a force undoubtedly emboldened the enemy in
their plans for capturing the post. As I have explained in the preceding
chapter, the abundance of cotton and forage was an object to hold the
place as long as the safety of the force would admit.

After General Hurlbut's forces left Lagrange, our pickets were
frequently fired upon, and small squads of cavalry were seen, indicating
a boldness on the part of the enemy indicative of a strong force not far

It was under that state of affairs that General Leggett requested me to
go out as a spy, and learn the position and force of the enemy.

On this occasion I rode out on a mule, disguised as a rebel soldier,
taking the road that led to the White Church. I saw several squads of
rebel cavalry, but at some distance from me, soon after passing our own
pickets, but none of them interrupted me. Just after I had crossed Wolf
River, I discovered the rebel pickets; how I was to pass them was more
than I knew. I resolved, however, to go on and try the effect of a bold
front. With as much unconcern and freedom as though I was one of their
number, and perfectly at home, I rode up, and without halting or
letting on that I expected to be halted, I said, "Good morning, boys!
have _our forces all got up yet_?"

"Yes," said one; "where have you been?"

"Out to the Yankee lines by the old cotton-gin near Grand Junction," I
replied, still riding along.

By this time I had got clear by, without any attempt being made to stop
me. At the White Church I came to the rebel camp; there I dismounted and
inquired of a soldier for head-quarters.

"Whose--General Van Dorn's?" was asked.

"Yes," I replied.

He then showed me General Van Dorn's tent. I had supposed that if I
found much of a force it would be that of General Van Dorn. I proceeded
to the tent that had been pointed out. In front of it was the usual
head-quarters guard. Saluting him, I inquired if General Van Dorn was
in, and was answered in the affirmative. The moment I entered, I saw two
Generals. One I instantly recognized as the Confederate General Wheeler;
I had known him in Memphis before the war. Without speaking to him, I
turned to the other and addressed him; I said, "General, I wish to get a
pass, if you please, to go outside of the lines."

"Who are you?" the General inquired.

"My name is Ruggles."

"General Van Dorn," said General Wheeler, "don't you know him? He is a
brother of General Ruggles, and belongs to the 2d Arkansas Cavalry."

"Ah! Indeed!"

"Yes, and I want to go out to the Yankee lines and see what they are
doing out there."

"I wish you would, Ruggles," said Van Dorn, "and see if the Yankees have
obstructed the Grand Junction and Salem road with timber. That's the
road that I want to take a part of my forces in on in the morning."

General Van Dorn instructed his Adjutant to write me a pass, which I
received, and then went out and mounted my mule. "_That's the road I
want to take a part of my forces in on in the morning!_" was something
that needed my immediate attention. I rode leisurely through the camp.
Every thing was bustle and activity preparatory to a move, and confirmed
what I had heard at head-quarters. As near as I could judge, the camp
contained 9,000 or 10,000 men.

Having satisfied myself of the probable force of the enemy, I started
back on the road I came in on. I stopped at the pickets and showed my
pass, and then went on. After I had crossed Wolf River, I made a detour
across the country to the right, in order to get on to the Grand
Junction and Salem road, as General Van Dorn had directed me, so that if
by any mishap I should be captured and sent to head-quarters, I could
show that I was captured right where I had been sent.

About five miles from the White Church, I dismounted at a large,
beautiful spring of water, to drink and rest myself. While there, a
cavalryman rode up and halted for the same purpose; I immediately
recognized him as having been one of the squad I had fallen in with and
accompanied so far in my former trip. He rode a Texan pony, with a
peculiarly constructed saddle, that I could not mistake as having seen

"Where have you been?" I inquired, as he stopped.

"I've been up to the Yankee lines."

"You must be a scout, then."

"Yes, I am a spy; where do you belong?"

"I _belong to the Yankees_!" I replied, placing my hand on my revolver,
as if to draw it.

My movements agitated him. Raising his hands in a supplicating attitude,
as if he thought I meant to kill him, he said, "D--don't shoot!
hold--hold on! don't lets you and I quarrel; let us help each other,
since we are both in the same business."

"Very well! just as you say about that."

"You played off the spy pretty well the other day when you was with us,"
he continued, somewhat composed.

"Yes, I did well enough for that time; but I am in a hurry this time, so
you and I must make short visits."

At that, we both mounted and started in opposite directions, eyeing each
other, with revolvers drawn, until out of sight. I might have shot him
at the time he thought I intended to do it, but I did not think my own
safety would admit of it.

At 5 o'clock that afternoon I arrived at General Leggett's
head-quarters, and reported what I had learned, and before daylight the
next morning the brigade was on its way to Bolivar, and it had not been
gone an hour until General Van Dorn's forces were in possession of the

The movement on the part of General Leggett was a masterly one, and was
conducted with such skill that, though pursued by a force chagrined
with disappointment, which several times outnumbered his entire command,
his brigade reached Bolivar without the loss of a single man or a
dollar's worth of stores.

Shortly after our arrival at Bolivar, I was in town, accompanied by
Sergeant Wonders, of the 20th Ohio. Hitched in front of one of the
stores was the same little Texan pony and peculiar saddle that I had
seen twice before. I knew that I could not be mistaken in them. I did
not like the idea of his running at large. An encounter with him in the
enemy's camp would prove fatal, so I resolved to find him and have him
arrested. After searching for some time, without success, I returned to
where I had seen the pony, and found that it was gone. From a soldier I
learned that somebody had ridden the pony out toward the depot. I
followed after, and when about half way to the depot, I saw the pony
coming. I sent the Sergeant back and told him to see where the man went,
and I would join him after awhile. Just before we met, he halted and
commenced to fasten his pony. Stepping up to him and speaking very low,
I said, "Hallo, old fellow! are you in here?"

"Yes, h--h--how d--do you do?" he said, trembling from head to foot.

"Never mind, you needn't be afraid. _It's all right_," I added in a
confidential way, "you need not be afraid of me; I am in a great hurry
this morning, so you must excuse me." Without further words I walked on
rapidly, as though I cared nothing about him. As soon as out of sight,
I made my way around to the office of the Provost-marshal. There I was
joined by the Sergeant, who remained outside to watch.

On entering his office, I found him asleep on a cot. I woke him up and
told him the circumstances about the spy, and that I wanted some guards
to capture him. By the time I had finished telling him, he was fast
asleep. I again woke him up, and commenced to tell what I wanted, when
he said:


"Yes! I know the man!"


"Yes! I know the horse and I know the saddle."


By this time he was again fast asleep. I tried again to wake him, but
with no better success. I do not say that he was drunk, but I _do_ say
that he acted just as I do when I am drunk. The result was, the spy
escaped, and I have never seen him since.

As we were passing along by Adams & Brother's store, a few hours after,
the door chanced to be open, and we observed that the room was occupied
by many citizens, engaged in a spirited conversation, and so we dropped
in to see what was going on. One of the persons present I knew to be
Brigadier-General Neely, of the Confederate army, who had been captured
by the Federal troops when they first took possession of the place, and
he was on parole of honor within the limits of the town.

When we first entered, the conversation stopped, but it was soon
gradually resumed. A great deal was said about the Yankees stealing
corn, cotton, and niggers, and they complained that it was ruining many
of the planters. I listened a few minutes, and then, addressing myself
to General Neely, said: "Gentlemen, so far as I am concerned, I have
never yet stolen a cent's worth of property since I have been in the
Federal army, and if I had known that a United States soldier had got to
steal corn, cotton, and niggers from the citizens of the South, I would
never have enlisted."

"Nor I either," said the Sergeant, "I didn't think when I enlisted that
this was going to be made a nigger war!"

"For my part," I continued, "I'm getting tired of fighting for
_niggers_, and if I wasn't afraid they would hang me for a spy, I'd go
and join Billy Jackson's cavalry."

"And so would I," said the Sergeant; "I think I'd like the Southern
people very much. I have often heard "Bunker" talk about them; he used
to live in the South."

"Yes, I did, indeed! and I'm almost ashamed to be fighting against them.
I used to live in Mississippi, and I have spent several years in
Arkansas and Tennessee. I am well acquainted in Memphis. General, do you
know Jim Ford and Charlie Ford, of Memphis?"

"Yes, I know them very well; they are wholesale dealers in produce. I
get my supply of pork from them every year."

He then motioned to me and the Sergeant and one of the citizens in the
room, who had been listening with a good deal of interest to our
conversation, to accompany him into a back room, which we did. He then
called for two bottles of wine, and asked us to drink with him, which we
were not in the least backward about doing.

The citizen then said that he had not time to stay longer, and, shaking
hands with us, bade us good-by, and went out.

"General," said I, when the citizen had gone, "do you know where Billy
Jackson is?"

"Yes! He's not far off; if you want to join his cavalry you would have
no trouble in getting to him."

"If I wa'n't afraid General Jackson would get me and hang me for a spy,
I'd run away, and so would this Sergeant, and we'd join his cavalry."

"There is no danger of that," said the General, "for _that was General
Jackson that drank the wine with us_, and has just left. He heard all
you said about joining his cavalry. If you want to go, boys, you will
have no trouble in doing so."

"Well, General," said I, "since you are acquainted with General Jackson,
can't you give us a pass that will make us all safe after we get out of
the Yankee lines?"

"I'm on parole of honor," he replied, "and I have no right to do that."

"There would be no harm in it; the Yankees would never find it out."
Pulling out my wallet, I said, "General, how much did you pay for that
wine? We must have another bottle--not at your expense, but mine. It's
my treat this time."

"Oh, no! no, no!" said the General, "I'll pay for the wine! Mr. Adams,
bring us another bottle. Boys, you come over to-morrow and I'll have
your passes fixed out for you!"

I assured him that we would, and, having drank the wine, we left and
returned to camp, considerably elated with our adventure.

Unfortunately, Billy Jackson and the spy both got away. The only good
that I could then do was to find the "hole in the fence" where they had
gone out, and prevent a repetition of it.

I knew that Mrs. Dr. Coleman was a daughter of General Neely, and I
thought that she, probably, knew where Jackson and his spy went out
through our lines. I had been there a number of times, and had become
considerably acquainted, and Mrs. Coleman had not yet found out that I
belonged to the Federal army. Doctor Coleman was a practicing physician,
and was absent from home the most of the time, visiting his patients.

The next morning I went over to see her. After we had conversed awhile,
I said to her, "'Melia, did you see Billy Jackson in town yesterday?"

"Yes, did you?"

"Yes, I saw him, but I was wondering how in the world he managed to get
out; the Yankees are getting mighty particular who they pass out."

"Why, I can tell you; he went right through our corn-field, and out at
the water-gulch under the fence."

"Yes, yes; I do remember that place now; that's a good place to go out.
By the way, how does the doctor like the Yankees being so strict?"

"He don't like it at all; he had to go and take the oath before they
would give him a pass to visit his patients."

"Did he?"

"Yes; and I never felt so bad about any thing in my life as I did about
that. The nasty, dirty thieves! I perfectly hate the sight of them. I
assure you the doctor don't consider himself bound by it; no, indeed he

She was very indignant to think that her husband had been compelled to
take the oath. From there I went to see her father, General Neely, who
gave me the pass that he had promised me the day before. Thus prepared,
I went to head-quarters and reported.

That day Doctor Coleman's corn was all cut down, so that the pickets had
a fair view of the ground without changing the line, and General Neely
was sent North for a violation of his parole.


    The value of the Oath--Attempt to take "Bunker's" life--Sent
      to Grand Junction--The hazardous ride--Shoots the
      picket--The chase--Unfortunate occurrence--The chase
      abandoned--Meets with guerrillas--They invite him to
      drink--Renewed vigilance--The battle of Middleburg.

The troops stationed at Bolivar, Tennessee, at the time of the
evacuation of Grand Junction, were under the command of
Brigadier-General L. F. Ross, and my next labors in the secret service
of the United States was under his orders and instructions. I made
frequent expeditions from Bolivar, but many of them were so similar in
the incidents experienced that I shall not undertake to give a narrative
of all of them. These expeditions elicited the fact, however, that
nearly all of the citizens of that part of Tennessee, in the face of the
military occupation of the country, professed loyalty to the Federal
Government, and to give their pretensions the color of reality, and
secure the privilege to be obtained from the military authorities, took
the oath of allegiance.

Every trip that I made in the disguise of a Confederate soldier revealed
to me Confederate wolves clad in Union garments. On one occasion, I had
been sent for, and was in the act of receiving my instructions from the
Adjutant in regard to a trip that I was required to make, when an old
gray-headed citizen called in to procure some military favor. The
Adjutant, not supposing the little he had yet to communicate to me would
give the citizen any clue to the plans I was about to carry out,
finished his instructions in his presence. I observed that the old man
paid more than usual attention to what was said, and, from the
expression of his countenance, I suspected that he comprehended the move
that I was about to make. I became so impressed with the idea that the
old man meant me evil, that after I had left and the old man had taken
his departure, I went back and obtained permission to take a squad of
men with me.

I made the trip in the night. My route was on a road that passed the old
man's house. I came upon two men by the roadside, evidently watching for
somebody to pass. As soon as they discovered that a _squad_ of men,
instead of a _single man_, was approaching, they fled without waiting
for me to come up. Had the old man succeeded, it would have been my last
scout. I ascertained from the colored people on the place that the two
men were the old man and his son, and that they were watching to kill a
Yankee spy that they expected would pass that night.

When General Van Dorn gave up the pursuit after General Leggett's
brigade, he fell back with his command to Coldwater and Holly Springs,
Mississippi, and for a few weeks every thing remained quiet.

Toward the latter part of August rumor became prevalent that an attack
was intended against the forces garrisoning Bolivar, which rendered it
necessary to watch closely. On the night of August 27th, General Ross
told me that he had heard that a force of the enemy had again got as far
north as Grand Junction, and that he wanted I should ride down that
night and find the enemy's pickets if they were north of the Junction;
if not, to go on to the Junction and then return.

I started at 9 o'clock. The weather was warm, but the night was
extremely dark, which rendered the undertaking unpleasant and hazardous.
It was impossible to distinguish objects at a distance, and it would
require the utmost precaution to prevent running into the pickets before
I was aware of their presence.

After having arrived within three miles of Grand Junction, the ride
became more dangerous than before. Knowing that my safety required
increased vigilance, I slackened my pace to a very slow walk, peering
forward into the dark distance with all the powers of my vision, hoping
if there was any pickets I might be able to see them in time to escape.

In that manner I felt my way along in suspense, until within
three-quarters of a mile of Grand Junction. Here a single sentry stepped
out in the midnight darkness, not more than six feet ahead of my mule,
and challenged:

"Halt! who comes there?"

I had got too close to venture an escape by running, and I resolved to
make the best use of my position that the circumstances would permit,
and take my chance for the result.

"A friend, with the countersign," I replied, at the same time drawing my
revolver and hanging it down by my side.

"Advance one, with the countersign!" said the sentry.

"There a'n't but one here," said I; "my mule is so ugly that I don't
like to dismount, and so skittish that I don't know as I can advance;"
and at the same time I pretended to urge my mule forward to the sentry,
who stood with his piece at "arms port." "Bring your piece to an
'order,'" said I, "if you please, so that I can get my mule up without
dismounting." He brought his piece to an order, and as the mule moved
forward, he stepped one foot forward and leaned toward me to receive the
countersign. I leaned forward, and, thrusting my revolver to his breast,
_gave him my countersign_! The heavy _thug_, as he dropped, told _me_
that the "_countersign was correct_!"

I did not wait to observe the effect of the report of my revolver upon
his sleeping companions, but, putting spurs to my mule, I dashed back
toward Bolivar. On did I press my mule at the top of his speed, fairly
_flying_ over the ground until I reached Van Buren. As I was passing old
Billy Moore's house, his dogs sprang at my mule, from the side of the
road, with an infernal yelp, and the next instant I lay sprawling in the
road--stunned from the shock of the fall. How long I lay there I do not
know--probably not long--but as soon as I came to consciousness, I was
alarmed for my safety, and made an effort to get up. My mule had stopped
when I fell, and stood facing me, only a few feet from where I lay. I
managed, however, to get on my mule and go on.

A short distance from Van Buren I came to a cross-road that led to
another road that came out into the one that I was on. There I halted,
thinking that, perhaps, the same dogs that had done me an evil turn, by
barking at me, would do me a good one by barking at my pursuers, if any
there were. I had waited but a few minutes when they commenced to bark,
and in an instant more I could hear the tramp of horses approaching.

I again dashed ahead down the cross-road into the other one and on to
Spring Creek bottoms. Where each of the roads crosses the bottoms the
water spreads out over the roads to the width of a hundred yards. I
crossed to the opposite side and there halted, and listened for the
splash of the water as my pursuers came up, but none came. At the
cross-road, not knowing which I had taken, they abandoned the pursuit.
Feeling satisfied of this, I moved on leisurely toward Bolivar.

At daylight I reached Mr. Dicken's plantation, which is within five
miles of Bolivar. I had called there several times, and had become
considerably acquainted with the family. Being sore from my bruises, and
much fatigued and hungry from my night's ride, I concluded to give them
a call. As I rode up I observed three strange horses feeding in one of
the out-sheds. My rap at the door was responded to by Mrs. Dickens, who
received me with a hearty welcome; and Mr. Dickens was equally glad to
see me. I had, on a former occasion, introduced myself as a citizen of
Tennessee, living in Memphis. My mule was cared for by one of the
servants, and in a few minutes we were engaged in a free and easy
conversation about the news from _our_ army; and likewise we
congratulated each other upon the future success of the Confederate
cause. The Lincoln tyranny also came in for its share of discussion.
While thus engaged, three strangers entered, without rapping, to whom I
was introduced as one of "_our_ folks" from Memphis. I soon learned that
they had been there all night.

Shortly after the three men entered, one of them said that he had
something to drink in another room, and proposed that we retire by
ourselves and "take a smile." So we men folks all repaired to the other
room, where we indulged pretty freely. It was not long until the
conversation of my new acquaintances flowed as freely as their liquor
had done, and I learned from it that they were guerrillas, who had
stopped to spend the night on their way to Middleburg, to attend a
jollification to come off that day. By this time breakfast was
announced, and we repaired to the table. I have rarely eaten a meal that
relished better, though it was only a plain one.

When breakfast was over, my guerrilla acquaintances invited and even
urged me to accompany them; but I declined, stating as a reason that I
had business of great importance, the nature of which I was not at
liberty to divulge, and that several of _our most reliable_ friends were
waiting in anticipation of my arrival at the house of Dr. Coleman, in
Bolivar. My mule was got ready, and, having bid them farewell, I resumed
my ride back to camp.

Two days after, I accompanied an expedition to Middleburg to capture the
guerrillas, but without success. My report at head-quarters caused an
increase in vigilance on the part of scouts and pickets. On the 31st of
August, the enemy, 6,000 strong, was found to be advancing in the
vicinity of Middleburg. General Leggett, with less than one thousand
men, mostly from the 20th and 78th Ohio regiments of infantry, met them
there, and a desperate fight ensued, in which our loss was trifling and
that of the enemy severe. So badly punished was the enemy that he
withdrew his forces.


    Attempts to visit the enemy's camp--Learns the strength and
      position of the enemy--Return intercepted--Perilous
      situation--Loses his mule--Frightened by men of his own
      regiment--The plan to capture the enemy--The negro's
      report--The forces discovered--Disposes of a rebel
      picket--Reports his discovery.

After the fight in the vicinity of Middleburg, a part of the enemy went
into camp between the battle-ground and Van Buren. Soon after, General
Leggett requested me to visit the enemy's camp and learn his force, and
whether he had any artillery. He gave me a pass to go out, in the
presence of the field-officer of the day, who said that no passes were
being given out at division head-quarters, and objected to my going out.
General Leggett told the officer that I was a privileged character, and
that he would take the responsibility of passing me out, but that he
would give passes to no others.

Dressed like a citizen, and mounted on a mule, I went out and made my
way to the rebel picket line, where I tried to pass in, but was informed
by the pickets that they had orders forbidding them to pass citizens in
or out. I passed along the line to other posts, but found that they all
had the same orders. I made myself quite familiar with the pickets, and
those not on duty did not hesitate to enter into conversation with me,
by means of which I learned that the force consisted of three regiments
of cavalry, and that there was no artillery.

Having gathered up what information I could, I went to visit the
battle-field, and while there I came across a young man who was on his
way from Saulsbury to Somerville, and had met with the same difficulty I
had encountered about getting through the lines, and, in order to
continue his journey, he had made a detour round the lines. My own
observations and his gave me a correct knowledge of the rebel lines on
three sides, and also the position of the rebel camp.

After completing my visit to the battle-ground, I returned toward
Bolivar. On my way out to the rebel lines, I had seen and conversed with
an old man, a Mr. Knight, who lives about three miles from Bolivar. As I
approached his house, on my return, and when within one hundred yards of
it, I saw in his front yard two persons dressed like rebel soldiers, who
had squirrel rifles. The moment they saw me, they brought their pieces
to a ready, as if preparing to fire. I remembered distinctly that
General Leggett had said that he would pass nobody else out; besides, I
was a little suspicious of the old man Knight's loyalty; so I very
naturally concluded that he, knowing that I had gone out, had went and
got two soldiers to watch for me as I returned.

I immediately wheeled my mule about and went back behind a rise of
ground, and then turned to my left into a corn-field. I dashed ahead
about three hundred yards, when I discovered a company of rebel cavalry
coming in a line toward me. I turned to my left again, and was dashing
ahead toward Bolivar, when I unexpectedly encountered a deep water-gulch
that was impassable to my mule. In my flight through the corn, I had
already lost my hat. There I was, surrounded, with the enemy to my
right, left, and rear, and a frightful ditch in front of me; it was no
time for hesitation. I jumped off from my mule and left it, and
clambered down into the ditch and then out on the other side, and ran
for Bolivar as hard as I could go, bare-headed.

I made my way into camp, and procured a detachment of men and returned,
hoping to find my mule, but did not succeed. I learned, however, that
the two men that had caused my fright were Daniel Harris and Columbus
Johnson, _of my own regiment_. They had been permitted to visit the
battle-ground without arms, but, contrary to their instructions, had
taken their arms with them.

On my return, I reported the force and position of the enemy, and also a
plan for its capture. So well pleased was General Leggett with my plan,
that he sent me with it to General Crocker, who was then commanding the
post, during a temporary absence of General Ross. The position of the
enemy was as follows:

Five miles from Bolivar, on the road leading south to Van Buren, the
road forks; the right-hand road leads to Middleburg, a distance of two
miles. On the left-hand road, at a distance of two miles from the fork,
is a cross-road, called "Wash. Newbern's road," leading into the
right-hand road at Middleburg. The three roads inclose a section of
country in shape like a regular triangle. We will call the Wash. Newbern
road the base, and the right- and left-hand roads the sides of the
triangle; Wash. Newbern's house stands on the south side of the road
constituting the base, and about three hundred yards from the left-hand
road. On a line parallel with the base, and three hundred yards south of
it, was the rebel camp. Two of the regiments were on the west side of
the left-hand road, and one on the east side; the regiment occupying the
left of the enemy's line was directly south of Newbern's house. In front
of Newbern's house, north of the road, is a pasture-field extending
north to the road leading from the fork to Middleburg; the fence along
the road in front of Newbern's was thrown down. The pasture-field is
narrow at each end, but in the center it is much wider, making the space
in the center diamond-shaped. At the corner of the cross-road, near the
rebel camp, was the reserve pickets, and about one hundred yards north
of the reserve was the advance post. On the west side of the
pasture-field was a large corn-field, and on the east side a piece of

My plan to capture the enemy was to take four regiments of infantry, and
place two regiments on each side of the diamond space in the field, in
the morning, before daylight, and have them lay down in the corn-field
and woods, so as to be out of sight. Then, at daylight, with what was
known as the "mule cavalry," (infantry mounted on mules,) numbering one
hundred men, make a dash on the reserve pickets and drive them in; then
turn down the Wash. Newbern road, and, when in front of Newbern's
house, break into confusion and disorder, and, with whoops and shouts of
defiance, start leisurely down through the pasture. The enemy would
naturally mount their horses and give chase, and, when once within the
lines of the infantry, they would suddenly rise up, raise a shout, and
close in each flank, and have them bagged.

General Crocker thought my plan would work, but, being only temporarily
in command, did not like to assume the responsibility of executing it,
and so it was abandoned.

The "mule cavalry" above alluded to was organized to facilitate
scouting, and watch more closely the movements of the enemy, and to
check the depredations of guerrillas that infested the country. It was
composed of men from the infantry, selected for their daring and
gallantry. On account of the thorough knowledge that I had obtained of
the country, I was generally sent out with them, to guide them in their

Not a great while after the foregoing adventure, as the "mule cavalry"
was going out on the road leading south from Bolivar, I accompanied them
on my own responsibility. After we had got outside of the lines a short
distance, I left the mule cavalry and took across the fields to the
left, to Mr. Bill's plantation. I had got into a cotton-field on his
plantation, and was riding leisurely along, when one of the niggers, who
was picking cotton a short distance to my right, called out:

"Hallo, dar, Mr. Bunker! you come dis way."

I obeyed, and rode out to see what the nigger wanted.

"Mr. Bunker, hab we got forces down dar in de bottom?"

"No, we haven't got any forces there."

"Wal, dar's forces down in dar; for de horn souns down in dar reg'lar
ebery mornin', ebery noon, an' ebery night, an' dar mus' be forces down

"It must be rebel forces, then; probably rebel cavalry."

"Oh, Lord! Mr. Bunker, don't talk dat ar way, for dey will be up here
for sure some night, an' dey will kill all de niggers Massa Bill hab

"Well, I must go and see who is down there. Can you tell me of any path
that leads down there?"

"Thar's heaps o' hog-paths dat leads down in dat ar way as yer go
through de gate in de fur en' de field," said the nigger, pointing to
the fence.

I rode on through the field in the direction pointed out, and following
one of the hog-paths, I descended a hill, and was just rising to the top
of another, when I discovered, on a ridge in advance of me, fourteen
mounted rebels. They evidently had not seen me. I immediately backed my
mule down the hill so far as to be out of sight, and then turned to the
left and went down into a hollow, and then up a narrow ridge, or hog's
back, leading in the direction of Bolivar. When I had rode along about
four hundred yards through the scattering timber, I saw a fellow dressed
like a rebel soldier, about fifty yards ahead, approaching me, with a
double-barreled shotgun, which he carried, lying across the back of his
neck, resting on both shoulders, with both his arms up over the gun. As
he came along he was whistling a very lively tune, apparently perfectly
unconcerned at my approach.

The moment I saw him, and before he discovered my movements, I drew my
revolver, and held it down by my side out of sight, and when within
about six feet of him, I presented my revolver and ordered him to halt.
He did so, looking perfectly astonished. "Lay that gun right down on the
ground," I continued. He did so, by raising it right up over his head
with both hands and laying it down in front of him; then, straightening
himself up in the position of a soldier, said:

"Well, sir; what will you have?"

"Step right back, away from that gun!" He did so. "That will do," said
I, when about six feet away, at the same time riding up to the gun.

"What were you doing here?"

"I've just been relieved from the look-out post, out thar."

"Look-out post! What's that?"

"Don't you belong to that ar mule cavalry?"

"No, I don't belong to it, but I sometimes go with it. What command do
you belong to?"

"Armstrong's 2d Battalion of Cavalry."

"How many are there of you here?"

"There are one hundred and sixty of us."

"What are you doing here?"

"We are sent out here to watch the mule cavalry."

"Where is your look-out post?"

"Well, sir, are you acquainted about here?"

"I am acquainted with all the roads, but not with your look-out post."

"Well, sir, our look-out post is in old 'Squire Knight's wheat-field.
There is a big black stump there, with a plank across the top of it; we
stand on that. From there we can see your mule cavalry at Joe Knight's,
and we can see you at John Ursury's blacksmith-shop, and tell whether
you take the Middleburg or Van Buren road; and the next place that we
can see you is at Wash. Newbern's lane, and we can tell whether you go
to Van Buren or to Wash. Newbern's. If ever you get down past Beaver's
lane, going to Van Buren, it will be the last of you and your mule

I then dismounted and picked up the shotgun. What to do with the soldier
was hard for me to decide. If I undertook to take him to Bolivar, it was
quite probable that I would lose my prisoner, and perhaps my life. To
let him go would endanger my life and that of others; particularly my
own, in case he should ever recognize me within their lines. I reflected
a moment, and then disposed of him in the only way that I thought my own
safety and the good of the service would admit; then shouldered the gun
and started for Bolivar. I did not feel safe in carrying the gun, lest
it should betray me in case I should be captured by a squad of the rebel
cavalry; so, at the first stump I came to, I dismounted and broke it,
and then went on. If I had had a gun of long range, I should have tried
a pull at the man on the look-out post, but as it was, I did not think
it advisable to molest him.

On reaching camp, I concluded that it was my duty to report to some
body; but not having been officially sent out, I reported to Colonel
Force. He listened to my report, and when I had finished, told me to
report to General Ross. I did so, and he told me to have myself in
readiness the next morning to guide a force of cavalry around to the
rear of the rebel force, and that he would send a regiment of infantry
in front, and try to capture the whole of them. Morning came, and I was
ready to go, but received no orders. I have since learned that the plan
fell through because the Colonel wanted his regiment to go, and the
General wanted his old regiment to go, and finally did not send any.


    Sent to find the enemy's pickets--Suspicious
      circumstance--Sick child--Captures three citizens standing
      picket--Releases them--Falls asleep--Perilous
      situation--Fortunate turn of affairs--Attack on the
      pickets--A very pious man--He proves a rebel spy.

About a week after my attempts to get into the rebel camp near Wash.
Newbern's, General Ross sent me down to the corners, at Newbern's lane,
to ascertain whether the enemy had any pickets there. I was ordered to
take three men with me, and to be very cautious in my movements, and, if
I found any pickets near the place designated, not to fire into them,
but to come immediately back and report. The place I was to visit was
seven miles from Bolivar; we started out after 9 o'clock in the evening;
I was mounted on a mule, but the three men that accompanied me were on
foot. It was a starlight night--not so dark but that we could discern
objects at a considerable distance, and yet dark enough to facilitate
our movements.

Five miles from Bolivar, we came to a house occupied by Mr. John Ursury,
and, as we approached it, we observed in it a light. We had moved along
very slowly, and it had then got to be past 11 o'clock. Thinking it was
rather strange that a light should be burning there at that hour of the
night, I resolved to ascertain the cause of it.

Taking one man with me, and sending the other two to the rear of the
house, to capture any persons that might undertake to escape, I rode up
to the front door, with my revolver drawn, and, without dismounting,
lifted the latch and shoved the door wide open. The persons present were
Mrs. Ursury and children, one of them a small child, and a brother of
John Ursury, about fifteen years old.

"What are you doing here with a light at this time of night?" I

"We have got a sick child," replied Mrs. Ursury, "and we are doctoring

"It's best to see whether the child is sick or not," said the man that
accompanied me. He then went in and found it awake in the cradle, and,
stranger as he was, soon had the child in a frolic, laughing and

"It's a curious sickness that that child has got," said the man, coming

I then called the brother out, and, pointing my revolver at him, said:
"There is something going on here besides doctoring a sick child, you
young d--l, you! and if you don't tell me in a minute what it is, I'll
blow the heart right out of you!"

"Mr. Bunker," said he, "is there any forces coming along here?"

"Yes, there is a large force coming."

"Well, my brother is standing watch up by the railroad. Hadn't I better
go up and tell him to come down?"

"No; you go into the house and stay there. I'll go after him myself."

I then called my men and went into the road, where I ordered them to
remain until I should call. I then rode forward to see what was going
on. When I came in sight of the railroad crossing, I saw five men; three
of the men were mounted and two were not; they did not seem to have any
arms. I called to my men to come on, and then dashed up to them with
revolver drawn, and demanded of them to surrender. As I was dashing up,
the two that were not mounted fled, and the other three stood their

"Don't shoot us, Mr. Bunker! Don't, for God's sake!" called out Mr.
Ursury, who at once recognized me.

"March down into the road, then, if you don't want to be shot! Fine
business, this! Good loyal men standing picket for rebel soldiers! March
down there! I'll see about this."

I then marched them over to where I had left my men, who, failing to
hear me call, had remained where I left them. One of the prisoners was
an old, gray-headed preacher, by the name of Parson Hamers; I have
forgotten the name of the other. The two that I have named I had seen
several times before.

"What were you doing there at this time of night?" I inquired.

"We were watching for some niggers to come along that ran away from my
brother-in-law," said Ursury.

"Who were those two men with you that ran away?"

"I don't know," replied Ursury.

I asked the other two, and they denied knowing who they were.

"Well, I can tell who they were," I continued. "There are rebel forces
over in Mr. Dickens' woods, and those men belong to them, and you men
were standing picket for them." This they stoutly denied, and said that
if there were any rebel forces there they did not know it.

Addressing Parson Hamers, I said; "You are an old, gray-headed man--a
preacher of the Gospel; you ought to be ashamed of yourself. An old man
like you, with one foot in the grave and the other just ready to slip
in, out at this time of night _watching for niggers_! That's a fine
excuse! It don't look reasonable. You are a d--d old rebel, with the
oath in your pocket, and you deserve to be shot!"

I did not know what to do with them; I had two miles further to go, and
it was necessary for me to take all my men with me, and to be encumbered
with prisoners, in case we should run into a force, would be hazardous.
I finally took down their names and released them, and then went on.

Finding no pickets at Newbern lane, we returned. On arriving at the
railroad crossing where I had captured the prisoners, I sent my men to
camp by way of the railroad, which was a much shorter route than the
wagon-road, and kept on myself the way I had come out.

Having slept but very little for several nights, by reason of being out
on scouts, after parting company with my men I became very sleepy, and
experienced considerable difficulty in keeping awake, and at last fell

All at once my mule came to a sudden halt, throwing up its head as if
something was wrong. The movement woke me up, and there, stretched
across the road, was a line of soldiers bringing their pieces to a
ready. I could plainly hear the click-ick-ick as they cocked them, for
they were not more than fifteen yards from me. I can not describe the
horror and alarm that I felt at my situation; it was of no use to run,
so I resolved to put on a bold front and sell my life as dear as
possible. Surrender! no, never! thought I, if I die the next instant.

"Who comes there?" said I, drawing my revolver.

"Advance and give the countersign!" said the officer in command of the

"Who are you?" said I.

"No matter!" said he; "advance and give the countersign."

"I sha'n't advance a step until I know who you are!"

"Well, you advance one," said he, "and I'll advance one."

"Very well; come on!"

As we met, each with revolver cocked, the officer exclaimed, "Why,
Bunker! Is that you? I am frightened to think of it! Why didn't you
stop? In an instant more my whole company would have fired into you!"

"I was asleep, Captain! It _was_ a narrow escape, wasn't it?"

"Indeed, it was!"

It was no other than Captain Ayres and company A, of the 20th Ohio, sent
out as a support for me to fall back on if I was discovered by the enemy
and pursued. They had been sent out after I left, and I had no knowledge
that they were coming. The result of it was, I came _very near falling
back without any support_!

My suspicions of a rebel force being in Dickens' woods was confirmed in
the morning by an attack on our pickets, by a force of five hundred men,
by which two men of the 23d Indiana were wounded. After firing into the
pickets, the enemy made a detour to the north-west of Bolivar, and there
encountered a large Federal foraging party, that fired into them and
killed seven, which made them skedaddle.

The next day I was sent out with a party of nine men to procure forage.
Having found a fine lot of honey, some fresh butter, and a quantity of
chickens, we loaded them into an open buggy, confiscated a mule to draw
it, and then bent our way back to camp. We had proceeded but a little
way, when I discovered a man a short distance ahead. As soon as he saw
us, he sat down in the shade of a tree in a bend of the road, pulled out
a Testament, and commenced to read. Coming up to him, I said, "Daddy,
how do you do?"

"By the grace of God, I am well, and I hope you enjoy the same
blessing," was his answer.

"You are mighty good, a'n't you? You are a soldier, I suppose."

"No, gentlemen, I am not a soldier. By the providence of God, I am a
preacher of the Gospel pure."

"Look here, daddy; don't you know that this country is invaded? Over
there lies the Federal army, and yonder the Confederate army. What
business have you to be prowling about between the lines of the two
contending armies?"

"I have got a Federal pass," said he, handing me one signed by General
Ross, "and I have taken the oath. I have no connection with the
Confederate army."

"Well, daddy, you don't look like a man with a clear conscience; we must
search you." We proceeded to search him, which resulted in finding, in a
leg of his pantaloons, between the outside and lining, a map eighteen
inches by twenty-two, representing exactly our fortifications,
intrenchments, camp, and picket line at Bolivar. It was skillfully
executed, and was as accurate as it could well be made. Our discovery of
the map took away the old man's sanctimonious dignity. "This is one of
your sermons, I suppose!" I remarked, as I drew out the map. "A fine
subject for a minister of the Gospel!" He dropped his head and made no

"Now, daddy, you look tired; you get into the buggy and ride." So the
old man got in. "Now, boys, take the rope from the mule's neck and put
it on the old man's neck." So they changed places with the rope. By this
time the man looked terribly frightened, and as white as a ghost. "One
of you that is good at climbing mount that tree." There was a limb from
the tree where the old man had been sitting, that extended out over the
road where we had halted the buggy. To this the rope was made fast.
Every thing being ready, I said, "Daddy, you are in a hurry to get to
Canaan, and we are in a hurry to get to camp, so good day, sir." Our
mule then gave a desperate plunge, leaving him to travel his journey
alone to that place where, by the grace of God, he'll have no use for
maps of Federal fortifications.

I carried the map to General Ross, and related to him the circumstances
of its capture.

"Did you bring the man in?" he inquired.

"No, sir; we have brought in several disloyal characters, and they have
all managed to get released; for that reason we thought it not worth

"You let him go, did you?"

"Yes, we let him go--_by the jerk_!"

General Ross sent the map to General Grant, then at Jackson, Tenn.,
accompanied with the particulars of its capture.


    Sent to Somerville--Finds himself a prisoner--Taken to Cold
      Water--Meets with old acquaintances--Is paroled--Runs with
      the 2d Arkansas Cavalry--Goes to Lumpkins' Mills--Interview
      with General Price--Stays all night with his brother, the
      rebel General--Return to Bolivar--Reports to General
      Ross--"Steals the Colonel's horse," and returns to the
      enemy--Runs away from the enemy.

About the middle of September, the enemy having disappeared from our
immediate front, General Ross sent me to Somerville, with instructions
to reconnoiter the country all about, and find out, if possible, where
the enemy had gone to, and such other information as I could obtain.

I started out quite early in the morning, mounted on a mule, dressed
like a citizen in easy circumstances. Whenever I met a planter, I would
stop and converse with him about the "news from our army," and the
prospects of the war, and the "d--d thieving Yankees that were robbing
us of our cotton and niggers." In the course of such conversation, I
learned there were no rebel forces in that immediate vicinity. About
noon, I reached Somerville. There I found every thing quiet as a Sabbath
morning. Passing through the town, I took the road to Moscow. Coming to
a large, fine brick house that stands near the railroad depot, I drew up
and alighted from my mule, and went in, in pursuit of some dinner.

"Stranger," said I, addressing an elderly gentleman that I found on
entering, "can I get some dinner here?"

"I reckon so," he said, handing me a chair; "dinner will be ready in a
few minutes. Sit down."

I complied.

"Where do you belong?" he inquired.

"My home is in Memphis, Tennessee, but"--

Just then I was interrupted by the entrance of two men, who came in from
an adjoining room, one of whom asked me where I belonged.

"I was just saying to this gentleman," I replied, "that my home is in
Memphis, Tennessee, but I came from Bolivar here."

"Do you belong to the Federal army?"

"No, sir; I am a citizen of this State, and my home, as I said before,
is in Memphis."

"How came you to be in Bolivar?"

"I went out there to see General Neely and Doctor Coleman, and the
Adamses, and several others that I am acquainted with, and when I got in
there the Yankees would not let me out when I wanted them to, and I had
to remain there several days."

"Did you get a pass from the Yank's to get out with?"

"Yes, sir; but it only passed me out, and was retained by the pickets."

"Have you got any fire-arms or papers with you?"

"No, sir; I had a nice navy revolver that I carried to Bolivar, but I
was obliged to leave it with an acquaintance when I left, to keep the
Yankees from taking it away from me."

"Well, sir, you may consider yourself my prisoner, and after dinner
we'll go down to Cold Water and see what they can do for you there."

"Gentlemen," said I, "I am no Yankee soldier. I am a citizen, and I
can't see what object you can have in taking me there."

"It don't matter whether you do or not. I think that they will have some
use for you."

Dinner was then announced as ready, and we all sat up. "_I think that
they will have some use for you!_" reverberated through my brain, and
set me into a train of thought any thing but agreeable, _I'm to be a
conscript then!_ thought I. I tried to suppress my feelings, and feigned
to be cheerful, as if nothing had occurred to disturb my equanimity. In
fact, my only hope was in appearing cheerful.

When dinner was over, the two men had their horses brought out, and we
all three mounted and started for Cold Water, forty miles distant. On
the way I kept up a cheerful conversation, and on several occasions I
had my butternut friends convulsed with laughter. I found out that the
man who had made me a prisoner was Captain Daniels, a noted guerrilla,
and the other person was a Quartermaster.

At 2 o'clock, A. M., we reached the outpost near Cold Water, where we
halted until daylight, and then went in. As we were going in, we met a
soldier, who, when he saw me, called out, "Hallo, Ruggles, is that you?
Where in the h--l have you been? I hav'n't seen you since we made
shingles together on White River!"

"I'm a prisoner," said I.

"A prisoner? the h--l you are!"

"Yes, Captain Daniels, here, captured me at Somerville, yesterday."

"Ha, ha! captured _you_? Why, Captain, I have known that man for years,
and made shingles for him on White River, in Arkansas, and he is as
loyal to the Confederate cause as you are! There are five or six other
boys here that know him as well as I do!"

Captain Daniels then took me to the head-quarters of the regiment, and
there I found, in the Colonel, another man that I was well acquainted
with. His name was Slemmens; he used to be prosecuting attorney at
Napoleon, Arkansas. When I entered his quarters--

"Lord bless me!" he said, "if here a'n't Ruggles! How are you?"

"Pretty well, I thank you. I am glad to meet you. I didn't know that you
was in the service. The last time we met was at Napoleon, I believe."

"Yes; but pray what fetched you here?"

"Captain Daniels captured me and fetched me here."

"_Captured_ you?"

"Yes; I told him I was a citizen of the South, but he did not believe

"I have known Ruggles these six years, Captain; he's all right. But,
then, never mind--I see! we'll make him count one in exchange. I'll
parole him. Where did you capture him?"

Daniels told him the particulars of my capture, and that I had been in
Bolivar several weeks.

"Well," said the Colonel, "I'll parole him."

"Do you know the name of any Colonel in Bolivar, and the regiment that
he commands?"

"Yes, I know one; his name is Force, and he commands the 20th Ohio

"Well, that will do as well as any."

He then paroled me as belonging to the 20th Ohio Infantry, commanded by
Colonel Force.

Captain Daniels and the Quartermaster then left me with Colonel
Slemmens, and returned toward Somerville. My old acquaintances all got
together at the Colonel's quarters, and we had a right lively visit.
They were all urgent to have me join the regiment, and I finally
consented to run with them awhile, and promised to join if I liked the
regiment. I had found out, by this time, that the regiment was the 2d
Arkansas Cavalry, and was there on outpost duty. It had been raised in a
part of Arkansas where I was well acquainted. There was no other
regiment there at that time. The principal part of the rebel forces in
Northern Mississippi were then camped at Lumpkins' Mills, seven miles
south of Holly Springs.

Among the acquaintances that I made during my stay in the regiment, was
the Lieutenant-Colonel and the regimental sutler. The former was a
Methodist clergymen, by the name of Rosebrook. He was very urgent in his
endeavors to have me join the regiment.

Two days after my arrival, the regiment received orders from General
Villipigue to move to Gun Town, on the Ohio and Mobile Railroad, seventy
miles distant. I went with it. There it received orders from General
Van Dorn to go to Ripley. We remained at Ripley a few days, during which
time we made two or three cotton-burning trips. We then received orders
to go back to Cold Water.

From Cold Water I accompanied Colonel Slemmens on a visit to Lumpkins'
Mills. While there we called on General Price, and I was introduced as a
brother of General _Ruggles_. In the conversation that was had with
Colonel Slemmens and myself, General Price learned that I did not belong
to any organized regiment, but that I had temporarily attached myself to
the 2d Arkansas Cavalry. He told me that I would have to be assigned to
some regiment as a conscript. I objected to that. He said that it would
have to be done, and unless it was done I could not draw any pay or
subsistence from the Confederate Government.

"General," said I, "the Southern Confederacy is of _more consequence_ to
me than _pay_. I did not come into the army for _pay_. I have got six
hundred dollars in my pocket, and I intend to fight on that until it is
gone. I have got a rich sister in Memphis, and when that is gone, I will
go to her and get more. Besides, I can do more good as I am, because
when there is a fight coming off any where, I can go into it, but if I
am fast, I can only go where the regiment goes to which I belong."

"Well," said the General, "perhaps you can do the most good as you are;
you may remain so."

In the afternoon of the day before we were to return, General Price sent
me word that my brother, General _Ruggles_, had arrived. I immediately
went to head-quarters to see him. He expressed great delight at meeting
me, and called me "Bub," as he used to do when at home, though I was
forty years old. The Adjutant-General assigned us a tent by ourselves,
and I remained with my brother all night. He had not been to Ohio for a
great many years, and he was very much interested in learning the
changes that had taken place in the neighborhood where he was raised.
All I learned of him about the army was, that his command was near Baton
Rouge, La., and that he had come there on business pertaining to his
command. He did not ask me where I lived, nor allude to the subject of
the rebellion. He knew that I had spent a great portion of my life in
the South, and, naturally enough, supposed that I was identified with
her interests.

In the morning I returned with Colonel Slemmens to Cold Water. I had
learned, by this time, a great deal of information, and had been absent
a much greater length of time than I had calculated on when I left
Bolivar, and I began to feel anxious to get back and report. I had
become quite a favorite with Colonel Slemmens, and I could generally get
from him any favor that I asked for.

"Colonel," said I to him, the next morning after we returned, "all the
rest of the boys have got horses of their own, and I have got nothing
but that little mule of mine to ride, and I want something else. Can't
you make a cotton-burning trip up into the vicinity of Bolivar? While I
was there I found one regiment of Yankees camped out a little distance
from the other regiments, and the Colonel of it has got a splendid
horse; if you will go, I can get in there and capture it."

"Pshaw! You could not get into the lines if you were there!"

"Yes I can; I know right where to get in, and if I don't get _that_
horse I'll get some other. I'm bound to have a horse."

"Well, I can't go now, but I'll see about it."

I waited two days, and then tried him again.

"Colonel," said I, "what do you think about that cotton trip to Bolivar
now? I'm getting _very_ anxious for that horse."

"If I thought you would succeed, I'd go."

"I _know_ I'll succeed."

"How close can we get without getting into the Yankee pickets?"

"We can get as far as Jonathan Herse's place, and there you can halt
until I go in and return."

"Well, then, I'll take five companies and we'll go up there to-day, and
we'll have every thing ready to start at 10 o'clock A. M."

At the appointed time we started, and moved along rapidly until we
reached Herse's plantation. It was in the night when we reached there.
The Colonel retained three companies, and sent two, under command of a
Captain, with me, with instructions to stop at such a place as I should
designate, and wait three hours for me to return, unless I returned
sooner, and if I did not come back at the end of that time, to return
without me.

We went on until we came within about four hundred yards of the pickets,
where I had the Captain halt his men, and, leaving my mule, I went on.
I found the advanced picket right where I expected to. He was on the
alert, and challenged me as I came up. There I cautioned the officer in
command of the pickets to be on the alert, for two companies of rebel
cavalry were within rifle-shot of him. The pickets were all called up,
and I was sent, under guard, to General Ross. I had him called up, and
reported to him what I had learned, and told him that, in order to carry
out my plans, I wanted an order on the Quartermaster for a number one
horse. I also told him that I would leave my mule on Mr. Herse's
plantation, and requested him to send a forage party out the next day
and bring the mule in. He gave me the order, and I went immediately to
C. C. Williams, Assistant Quartermaster, and woke him up, and told him I
was in a great hurry and wanted the horse then.

However strangely he may have thought of my movements then, I am sure
that when he reads these pages he will know why I disturbed him at that
unusual hour of the night. He furnished me with a beautiful nag. With an
old gun-sling and canteen strap I rigged up a sort of bridle, mounted
the horse, and returned to my rebel escort.

On my return, I was in ecstasies of delight over "my captured" nag. I
told the Captain that I had stolen it from a Colonel, and that I found
it not twenty yards from his quarters, and that I tried to steal his
saddle, bridle, and holsters, but his d--d nigger was sleeping with his
head on the saddle and I could not get them without waking him up.

The men were all highly interested with the narration of my exploit, and
not only conceded that I "was a h--l of a fellow," but "that I had got a
d--d good horse." We then returned to Herse's plantation, and I awoke
the Colonel to show him my prize. He was as much delighted as the rest
had been.

It was by this time daylight, and we started for Cold Water; I left the
mule, as I had agreed to do, on Mr. Herse's plantation. On our way back
we burned considerable cotton. I remained a few days longer at Cold
Water, and then accompanied a detachment to Saulsbury to burn cotton;
from there I ran away and returned to Bolivar. My mule had been brought
in as I requested, and so I exchanged my horse for it. I had been gone
in all twenty days.


    Sent to Grand Junction to capture guerrillas--Suspicious
      incident--Strategy to get out the guerrillas--Orders
      disobeyed--The rebel flag--The very kind secesh lady--The
      mistake--Out of the frying-pan into the fire--Guerrillas
      watching for them--The attack--The prisoner--The result of
      the trip.

A part of the duties assigned me, in the many trips I made to Bolivar,
was to hunt up guerrilla organizations, learn their intended movements,
and make arrangements for their capture. During my scouts, I had learned
that there was an organized band of guerrillas at Grand Junction. On
reporting the fact to General Ross, he requested me to go down and
capture them, and gave me for that purpose a force of one hundred
infantry, under command of a Captain, and forty cavalry, under command
of a Lieutenant, with instructions to the officers that they should obey
my orders in whatever plans I should choose to adopt. I was also
furnished with a train of ten four-horse teams and wagons, and was
instructed to let the infantry ride out, and, on my return, to load the
wagons with forage.

It was about sundown when the detachment moved out from Bolivar. I rode
about one hundred yards in advance, then came the cavalry, and in the
rear the train bearing the infantry. My dress on this occasion was that
of a citizen.

When the last lingering rays of daylight had disappeared, the night
became extremely dark--so dark that it was impossible to distinguish
friend from foe by the powers of vision. While crossing a piece of
bottom land, with a forest of trees on each side of the road that seemed
to make the darkness still more impenetrable, I met three persons. I
saluted them with a "Good-evening," and inquired of them where they were
going, and was told that they were going after some horses that had
strayed away, and that they wanted to go on to Mr. Dickens' and stay all
night, and resume the search for the horses in the morning. By this time
the Lieutenant of the cavalry came up, and, on further inquiry, found
that they had passes. He took their passes to examine, but could not
find a match with which to make a light. He then concluded, from the
feeling of the paper, that they were our passes, and allowed them to go
on. When they passed the train, the infantry soldiers were sitting down
in the bottom of the wagon-beds, and the most of them were asleep, and
the men, in passing, probably did not discover any force but the

When within three miles of Grand Junction, we halted and waited until
nearly daylight, and then moved on to within a mile of the place. There
I had the team's turned about, facing toward Bolivar, and gave the
teamsters instructions to remain by their teams, and, if we were driven
back, to push forward to Bolivar, if possible. I then moved the cavalry
and infantry forward as noiseless as possible into the lane, within half
a mile of town, and instructed the officers to remain there just half an
hour, and, if I did not return, to make a dash into the town, for they
might know by my absence that I was captured.

My plan was to leave my men there, and ride into town myself and find
the guerrillas, and, if they were not concentrated, to find their leader
and have him get out his men, to capture a small squad of Lincoln
cavalry that I would report as feeding their horses near town, and while
he would be getting out his men, I would reconnoiter to see if they were
still there, tell the Federal officers where to place their men, and
then go back and act as guide to the guerrillas.

Having given all the instructions that I thought were necessary, I rode
on into town. As I drew up in front of the Percy House, the doors of the
house were being opened, and "mine host" came out.

"Good morning, sir," said I, as he made his appearance.

"Good morning, sir," said he, eyeing me closely.

"Have we got any cavalry here?"

"No, there is none nigher than Davis Creek, three miles from here."

"Have we got any guerrillas here?"

"Yes, some. Why, what do you want?"

"Thar's a squad of Lincoln cavalry right up thar," said I, pointing
toward my own men.

"Where are you from?" he inquired, as if uncertain whether I was right
or not.

"Oh, _I_ am all right. I am just from Memphis, and, as I was coming in
this morning, I saw a squad of Lincoln cavalry feeding their horses, and
I would like to get out a squad of _our_ men and go and capture them."

"Well, I don't know how many guerrillas there is here; but there is
Captain Robison, that keeps the corner grocery, and lives across the
street as you go round the corner; he is Captain of the band, and he can
tell you all about it."

"Thank you;" and I started off to find him.

When I got round the corner, I saw a nigger coming from a house that I
took to be the Captain's; so I waited till he came out to me. I learned
from him that it was the Captain's house, and that he was at home. Just
then I was startled by the tramp of horses. Knowing that it was not time
for my men to come in, I very naturally supposed that it was rebel
cavalry. I went back to the corner to see what it was, and there came my
own men, the cavalry on a gallop and the infantry on a double-quick.
Instead of waiting _thirty_ minutes, they had only waited _eight_! I was
vexed to have my plans, through disobedience of orders, spoiled; and
more so, because I had learned from experience that all attempts to
convict a guerrilla after he was captured would be futile unless he was
caught with arms in his hands fighting against us. With the oath of
allegiance in their pockets, and the use of their oily tongues, they
invariably managed to get released.

We then arrested Captain Robison, and such other persons as, from their
actions, we had reason to believe belonged to the band.

Captain Robison kept, in addition to the grocery, a billiard saloon,
which had been a favorite resort in the summer for the Federal officers,
while the place was being garrisoned by the brigade under command of
General Leggett. One day, while engaged in playing a game of billiards,
Lieut. P. M. Hitchcock, regimental Quartermaster of the 20th Ohio,
having occasion to look under the table for something, discovered,
fastened up underneath the table, a large rebel flag, which he captured
and carried to camp. The flag had been secreted there when the Federal
troops first took possession of the place, and the officers had played
on that table every day for weeks without having discovered it.

Having secured our prisoners, we proceeded to make the citizens of the
place furnish breakfast for the detachment. This they were reluctant to
do, but finally submitted. When all had been supplied, we returned to
the teams. The teamsters had not fared so well, and, as soon as I
returned, they requested me to make arrangements for their breakfast. I
told them to drive on and I would do so. I then rode on, to find a house
that looked as if its occupants had a supply sufficient to furnish the
breakfast, and forage for the horses and mules.

About four miles from Grand Junction, I came to a large brick house on
the right-hand side, a short distance from the road. I opened the gate,
entered the yard, and rode up toward the house, and, as I drew up to the
door, an elderly lady came out, whom I addressed, and inquired if I
could get breakfast there for sixteen men, and feed for a hundred and
fifty horses.

Supposing me to be a secesh Colonel, she replied, "Well, yes, so far as
breakfast for the men is concerned; but really, Colonel, about the corn,
I don't know as I have got enough here to feed so many; but if you are a
mind to be to the trouble to send over to my nigger quarters, about
three-quarters of a mile from here, you can get all the corn you want."

"Thank you, madam. I will ride down and halt the train, and send the men
up for their breakfast."

As I rode away, I heard her order the niggers to get the breakfast. I
halted the train, and set the niggers (who were returning with us from
Grand Junction) to cutting up corn from a field on the opposite side of
the road for the teams. The infantry soldiers immediately began to
scatter about the plantation, in search of horses and mules, of which we
had gotten several at Grand Junction.

The thought now occurred to me that I had been supposed by the lady to
be a secesh Colonel, and that as soon as she saw the blue trousers, the
getting of breakfast would be stopped; so I went back to the house to
see about it. As soon as I came up, she met me at the door and commenced
to complain.

"I thought that it was _our cavalry_ coming; I was mistaken. Instead, I
find that it is nothing but a _parcel of confounded Lincoln

"We are all liable to mistakes, madam."

"Now, could you," she continued, "demand of a _poor lone widow_, like I
am, breakfast for sixteen men and feed for a hundred and fifty horses?"

"The subject has changed appearances considerably since I was here
before. I'll see about breakfast myself."

I dismounted and fastened my mule, and then went to a wood-pile and
procured a big club, and then repaired to the cook-house. The niggers
had evidently commenced to get things ready for the breakfast, but had

"What are you about, you black, woolly scoundrels! Why a'n't you cooking
breakfast?" said I, addressing the niggers.

"Missus dun tole us not to get de breckfust!"

"Well, you go right to work and get the breakfast, or I'll thrash h--l
out of your black hides! Start right away!" At that I made for them with
my club.

"Hole on! hole on, massa! we'll dun an' get de breckfust!"

They all sprang to work in good earnest. One of the niggers told me that
the woman had locked up the meat. I started for the smoke-house door,
with my club, to break it in, but the woman, who had been watching me,
followed with the keys, and, when she saw that I was going in any way,
_begged_ of me to let her unlock the door. On inquiry of the niggers, I
found that she had butter locked up in a cupboard. I told her to get out
some butter, and she declared she hadn't got a bit in the house. I
walked toward the cupboard, with my club raised, without saying any
thing further, when she came running to the cupboard, with the keys in
her hand, saying, "Don't break it! don't break it! I'll get it out! I'll
get it out for you! Do give a body time!"

By dint of perseverance, using a good many threats and some motions, I
succeeded in having the breakfast made ready; which, having been
accomplished, the teamsters were called in to enjoy it. While the
teamsters were eating, a squad of soldiers came through the yard, with
about thirty geese that they had confiscated. The lady saw them, and
came to me to plead for them.

"Now, _don't_ let the men take those geese; _don't_! they are _great
favorites_ of mine, and I _hate_ to part with them!"

I had noticed, a few minutes before, a large, close pen in one corner of
the yard, filled with nice, fat turkeys, which one of the darkeys had
told me were being fatted to send to the rebel officers. The boys had
not yet discovered them.

"Boys, put down those geese; don't be packing geese from here to
Bolivar! Throw them down!"

"Why, Bunker!" they exclaimed, "you said we might get any thing that we

"_Throw them down!_"

Down they went.

"Now, if you want any thing of the feathered tribe, pitch into those
turkeys in that pen yonder," said I, pointing to it.

Away the boys went, a-flying.

"_Good Lord! Now don't! don't get those turkeys!_ I'd rather you had
took _every goose_ on the place!"

"You _are_ in a bad fix now, a'n't you?" said I. "Right out of the
frying pan into the fire!"

Just then a little nigger girl came running in, and said:

"Missis, de Yankees dun got Lucy!"

"Where?" inquired the lady.

"Right out dat ar way," said the girl, pointing in the direction.

"_Well now, I declare!_ _Don't_ take that riding nag away from me, a
poor lone widow, as I am; _don't_! Have a _little_ mercy on me; _do_!"

"Yes!" said I, "you are a _mighty poor widow_! worth two hundred
thousand dollars, and paying an overseer a thousand dollars a year; you
are _mighty poor_! Soldier, fetch that mare back, and let the _poor
widow_ keep the d--d p--t-g--tt-d thing! It a'n't worth riding to

As soon as breakfast was over, we again moved on. When within two miles
of Van Buren, near where the Whitesville road takes off to the left, a
little incident occurred to attract our attention. As I was riding
along, in advance of the detachment, I saw a nigger coming up the road
toward me, with his hat in his hand, and running as fast as he could,
and appearing to be wonderfully excited about something.

"What's up?" said I, as I met him.

"Thar's a heap ob de secesh cavalry down by Massa's house, and dey are
gwine to git you all!"

Here, then, was something to do. I was well acquainted with the features
of the country all about there, and I knew where they would most likely
be posted, and which way they would retreat if we were too much for
them. I was also well satisfied that the enemy consisted of Hall's
guerrillas, from Saulsbury, and that the men that we had met on our way
down belonged to them, and, instead of going to Mr. Dickens' to stay
all night, had gone down to Saulsbury and got out the band to capture
our train, not knowing that we had any infantry force along.

I sent the Captain, with fifty men, to the right, to get to their flank
in a piece of woods, where I was sure they would attempt to escape if we
overpowered them. The Captain had a corn-field to cross, in reaching the
woods, that would cover his men from view. I was to watch from the top
of the fence, and see the Captain deploy his men in the woods, before
ordering an attack in front.

I watched until I knew that the Captain had had plenty of time to have
reached the woods; but, for some reason, he had not made his appearance.
I waited as long as I thought it would do, and then, leaving ten men to
guard the prisoners, I ordered the cavalry to charge, supported by the
balance of the infantry.

As we dashed over the hill toward the house, a man was seen on the top
of a large gate-post, watching for us to approach. He evidently had
underestimated our force, and had not looked for a charge. In the yard
by him was a splendid mule and a new saddle. He gave a look at them and
then at us, and then broke for the corn-field on foot, leaving his mule
and saddle for us. The saddle was a new one, and, I learned by the
people in the house, belonged to Captain Richardson, who happened to be
there, and was helping Hall's guerrillas to capture us. The saddle cost
him thirty-seven dollars, and he had just received it the night before.
As soon as the guerrillas discovered that we were charging on them,
they fled to the woods where I had ordered the Captain to deploy his
men, and they all escaped but one. The Captain had halted his men in the
corn-field, and did not take them into the woods; had he done so, we
might have captured the whole band, numbering, in all, thirty men.

The prisoner that we captured declared that he was no guerrilla, but a
citizen; he told us that he lived in Memphis. At Van Buren, Mrs. Moore
told me that she knew him, and that he was one of their nearest
neighbors, and one of the finest men living in the county. At Mr.
Marshall's we found a collection of neighbors, engaged in burying a
child near the roadside. Mrs. Marshall, whom I saw there, told me that
she knew him, and that he lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, and that he and
his wife were out there on a visit, and that his wife was present
somewhere in the gathering.

Just then the wife saw her husband, a prisoner, and she began to make a
dreadful fuss, crying and wringing her hands, and begged of the
Lieutenant to let him go; "for," said she, "I know that he will _never_
take the oath, and they will _hang him, sure_, and I shall _never, never
see him again in this world_!"

The Lieutenant passed on with his prisoner, and I remained behind until
after the detachment had all passed, when I started on. Before
overtaking them, I met the prisoner, coming back, with a written
statement, signed by the Lieutenant, stating that he had been released.
Before reaching Bolivar, the wagons were loaded with forage. Aside from
the forage, mules, and contrabands that we gathered, the expedition was
a failure.

The men we arrested at Grand Junction all managed to get released. I
felt mortified at the result, because I felt sure that, if my plans had
been carried out, we might have made a brilliant little affair of it.
General Ross reprimanded the officers severely for not having obeyed my

The reader can see by the foregoing what might have been done on that
expedition; yet it was a failure, because the parties concerned
neglected to obey orders. It is a parallel case, on a small scale, to
numerous others of greater magnitude, in the prosecution of the war.

Captain Richardson, who made his escape in the corn-field, has since
been made a Colonel of a rebel regiment, raised near Lafayette, Tenn.


    Sent to Lagrange--Observes two cavalrymen--Arrival at
      Lagrange--Waits for the Cavalry--Accompanies them
      out--Takes his departure--Is pursued--Evades the
      pursuit--Finds himself cornered--Crosses the Cypress
      Swamp--Robbed by outlaws--Disloyal citizen--The fate of the

Not long after my return from running with the 2d Arkansas Cavalry,
General Ross requested me to make a general reconnoissance of the
country along the railroad as far as Lagrange, and to examine carefully
the trestle-work and bridges of the railroad, and to watch for any
movement that might be intended as an attack on the post or a raid upon
the railroad.

I went out, disguised as a citizen, mounted on a mule. Ten miles from
Bolivar I stopped at Mr. M----'s, where I spent an hour or more in
conversation with the members of the family. Mr. M---- was absent in the
hospital, he having been wounded in the battle of Shiloh, and had not
yet sufficiently recovered to enable him to get home.

While there I received an introduction to Miss Armstrong, a sister of
the rebel General Armstrong. I found her a very frank, open-hearted
woman, and very hopeful of the Southern cause. She did not evade the
fact of the gloom and darkness that seemed to envelop the cause, but
spoke cheerful and hopeful of the result. She inquired if I had any late
news from "_our_" forces, and I, in turn, gained as much general
information of Southern matters as I could.

When passing myself as a citizen of the South, I have always found the
people affable in their manners, sociable, and extremely liberal in
their hospitality. Whenever an occasion was offered them of rendering
any assistance which they supposed was furthering the cause they had
espoused, their kindness and generosity knew no restraint.

Two miles further on is the residence of Captain Rose, to whom I paid a
visit. Captain Rose had served in the United States army eleven years,
and is one of your genuine Union men, and has always been loyal to the
Government. I have visited him frequently since, and was always made
welcome. I did not disguise the fact of belonging to the Federal army to
him, and have several times received from him valuable information. It
was of rare occurrence that I found among the citizens of that locality
such genuine sentiments of loyalty and devotion to the Federal
Government as I found in Captain Rose.

I moved on leisurely, examining the railroad as I went, but saw nothing
worthy of attention after I left Captain Rose until two miles west of
Van Buren, where the road from Whitesville comes in. As I came near that
place, I saw two rebel cavalrymen, who had been coming up the Grand
Junction road, turn off toward Whitesville.

"Halloo, boys!" said I, hailing them, "stop a minute; I want to see

"We haven't time to stop," answered one; "our company has gone on to
Whitesville, and we want to overtake it."

They dashed ahead without stopping. Their reply, however, answered my
purpose. "A company of cavalry had gone to Whitesville," and it remained
for me to find out what it had gone _for_. The two men were without
luggage, from which I concluded they would return the next day; and,
knowing that the rebel forces were principally at Lumpkins' Mills, it
seemed probable that when the company returned it would pass through
Lagrange, so I resolved to go on to Lagrange that night. It was then
nearly dark.

I arrived at Lagrange about 11 o'clock at night, and halted at the
depot. It was very dark, and every body had retired for the night, and,
not liking to blunder about the place for lodgings, lest I might
encounter some rebel cavalry, I lay down upon the depot platform, with
my bridle over my arm, ready to spring up at the slightest alarm, and
went to sleep.

In the morning I repaired to a house of entertainment, kept by a Mr.
Lee, and procured some breakfast for myself and feed for my mule. There
I waited for the return of the cavalry. About 1 o'clock, P. M., they
came in and halted to feed.

I did not think that it was prudent to mingle with the cavalry while
they remained in town, so I had my mule got ready, and remained at the
public house until the cavalry commenced to move out, when I mounted
and moved out on the same road in their rear, and, at a short distance
from town, I came up with them. I rode along in company with them, as if
I were a citizen returning to my home from town.

I asked the boys how they liked soldiering, and whether they had ever
been in any fights, and what regiment they belonged to, and various
other questions, such as I supposed a citizen would naturally ask; and,
finally, I inquired where they had been, and was told that they had been
to Whitesville, on a scout, to see whether the Yankees had been
committing any depredations on the property of the citizens. In that
manner I kept up my conversation until we were within three miles of the
Cold Water Creek, without having excited any suspicion but what I was
all right.

I had gone as far as I cared about, and began to think up some plan by
which I could make my exit from their company without exciting
suspicion. To accomplish my object, I gradually fell back to the rear,
and the first rise of ground that the cavalry went over, that was large
enough to hide me from view until I could get a good start on my way
back, I turned about and left them.

I moved along on a good fast trot, occasionally looking back to see if I
was pursued. I had made about four miles, when, on looking back, I saw a
squad of fifteen or sixteen cavalry in full chase after me. My sudden
departure had excited their suspicions. I put the spurs to my mule and
dashed ahead at the top of its speed. My pursuers gained on me. I urged
my mule still harder, and still they continued to gain. My situation
seemed a hopeless one. I could not outstrip them in the chase, and they
were rapidly gaining on me. If captured, my flight under the
circumstances would be conclusive evidence against me. Still, on I
pressed, the distance between myself and pursuers growing rapidly less.
My mule, too, was becoming exhausted, and my pursuers were within five
hundred yards of me. I had come full three miles since I saw them giving
chase. Passing a bend in the road, with a growth of small trees and
brush along the fence that hid me from view, I came to a gap in the
fence, through which I passed into a field. The field was covered with
stubble and tall weeds. I dashed ahead at right angles with the road for
about two hundred yards, when I entered a basin or depression in the
surface of the ground, that in a wet time would have been a pond, but at
that time it was dry. The ground was considerably lower than the surface
of the field between the basin and the road. There I dismounted and sat
down, and, in an instant more, I heard the tramp of horses as my
pursuers passed on.

I had despaired of making my escape, but as my pursuers passed on, hope
began to revive. It was then about sundown. I waited there until dark,
and then mounted my mule and started on. I knew that my pursuers would
soon return, and I must manage so as not to be seen. When I arrived at
the place where the road turns off to the right, that goes to Davis'
Mills, I turned to the left into the edge of a piece of woods, where I
could see without being seen, and halted.

In a few minutes I heard my pursuers approaching, who, when they came to
the corners, took the road to Davis' Mills. I remained under cover of
the woods until I thought all stragglers of the party, if there should
be any, had passed, and then went on, watching carefully as I went.

As I was riding along, the thought occurred to me that, perhaps, my
pursuers might have mistrusted that I had turned out into the field to
evade them, and had placed a picket on the bridge across Wolf River,
near Lagrange, to capture me if I attempted to cross. I rode on to
within two hundred yards of the bridge, and there I left my mule and
went forward to reconnoiter. When within a few paces of the bridge I
stopped and listened, but did not hear any thing. I moved a few feet
further, and then I thought I heard a footstep. I crept up still closer,
and peered forward in the black distance, and there I could see, on the
bridge, the form of a man. I watched and he moved. There was no mistake
about it! My fears were realized! The picket was there!

The glimmerings of hope that had lightened me up as my pursuers passed
me now vanished. I was completely cornered. The only bridge besides that
one was on the Davis Mills road, and my pursuers were on that road.
Between the two bridges was an extensive cypress swamp, and below the
bridge that I was at was another swamp still worse. The only possible
way that I could see to get away from my pursuers was to cross the
swamp between the two bridges. To think of the undertaking was horrible!

I crept cautiously back to my mule, mounted, and rode through a dense
growth of brush to my right, until I reached the edge of the swamp,
where I halted. To undertake to cross in daylight would be hazardous,
and in the dark utterly impossible; so I concluded to wait until morning
before making the attempt. I laid down upon the ground, with my bridle
over my arm, with the venomous insects and serpents as my companions,
and the intervening brush over my head and the broad canopy of heaven,
curtained with black clouds, my only covering. Such surroundings are not
very conducive to sleep, but exhausted nature soon yielded, and I slept,
and slept soundly--so soundly that when I awoke in the morning the sun
was two hours high.

The mule, to satisfy its hunger, had eaten the boughs on the bushes,
around where I lay, as far as it could reach, and yet it had neither
pulled away from me nor disturbed my slumbers, but had been as careful
of me and manifested as much attachment for me as a faithful dog would
for his master.

The mule had been presented to me by General Ross, and had been a common
sharer with me in the exposures and dangers that I had experienced, and
had borne me safely thus far, and was, perhaps, to be the only friendly
companion to witness the end that would befall me. When I thought of my
situation, and witnessed the careful attachment expressed for me by that
dumb animal, I could not control my feelings, but embraced the neck of
that mule with joyous affection and wept.

I had not tasted a mouthful of food since I had eaten my breakfast, at
the public house, the morning before, and I was not in a very fit state
of body or mind to accomplish such an undertaking as was then before me.
The tug of war had come, however, and the Rubicon had to be crossed.

Leading my mule by the bridle, I started in, sometimes at midsides in
mire and water, and then on top of a bog or root, and then--splash into
the water again! On I went, clambering, wallowing, splashing, and
plunging! As all things earthly have an end, so had that swamp; and, in
spite of venomous moccasins, tangled brush, cypress trees, mire and
water, I arrived on the bank of the river. There I mounted my mule, and
forded the river to the opposite bank.

Myself and mule were frightful looking objects, from the mire we had
wallowed through, and, before going any further, it became necessary for
me to clean off the mule to prevent suspicion. Several hours were spent
in cleaning and drying before I felt safe to venture out.

As soon as I thought prudent, I mounted my mule and rode on across the
country. I passed to the east of Lagrange, in sight of town, keeping a
sharp look-out for cavalry. When I reached the Memphis and Corinth stage
road, I took my course toward Bolivar.

When about two miles from Grand Junction, I saw approaching me from the
east, and a long way ahead, three persons on horseback. I resolved to
face the music this time, let come what would. My recent experience at
running, had satisfied me. As they came nearer, I saw that they were
dressed like citizens, which very much relieved my anxiety.

One of them was a very large man, of roughly-defined outline, with light
hair and a red face; the second was a medium-sized man, of fair
appearance, and the third was a little man, with small, round face,
black hair, and sharp, black eyes. Their clothing was made of homespun
cloth. As they met me, two came up on one side and one on the other, and
halted; so I halted.

"Good afternoon, stranger!" said the big man, as we halted.

"Good afternoon, gentlemen!" I replied.

"That's a fine mule you are riding," continued the big man.

"Yes, it is a tolerable good one."

"Well, mister, we want that mule, and we are going to have it. Get off
from that mule," said the big man. Each of them, at the same time, drew
out a derringer and pointed it at me.

"You are the strongest party," said I, "and I suppose that you must have

I dismounted, and, at the same time, they dismounted, and the big man
took possession of the mule. It was like parting with a last friend to
give up my favorite, but "it had to be did."

"Have you got any money?" said the little man, coming up and thrusting
his hands into my pockets. He took out every thing that I had in them,
and then, casting his eyes toward my feet, said: "You have got a good
pair of boots there; we want them."

"Strangers," said I, "that's going a little too far. You have got my
mule and got my money, and now to take my boots and leave me to walk
twenty miles to my home barefooted is _too much_. You _can't have_ them,
_unless you take them off from my dead body; by G--d, you can't_!"

"That _is_ a little too hard," said the big man; "you may keep your

They then mounted and rode away, leading my mule with them, in the
direction from which they came, and I followed behind them, on foot. It
is not often that I pray, but then I prayed. My prayer was, "_that the
11th Illinois Cavalry would come dashing down on the road from Bolivar,
and capture the lawless villains that had robbed me of my mule and my

Hungry and fatigued, with twenty miles to travel on foot, and that, too,
upon the top of my misfortunes of the night before, made me any thing
but good-natured, and I muttered vengeance to the robbers that had taken
my favorite, if ever an opportunity occurred.

When I reached the house of old Mr. Pruett, hunger impelled me to stop.
I found the people absent, except a daughter and a young lady from a
neighboring family, that had called in. I found them obliging and
sociable, and in a few minutes their fair hands, secesh as they were,
had spread for me a bountiful repast, much to the delight of my ravenous
appetite. I told the ladies that I had been robbed of my mule and money,
and described to them the villains that had done it. The lady that had
called in said that they answered the description of three outlaws that
had robbed her uncle, a few days before, of $3,600 in gold, that he had
just received for his cotton, and then they beat him on the head with
their derringers, until they supposed he was dead, for having sold his
cotton to the Yankees. She also said that they were supposed to live
near Ripley, Miss.

Having satisfied my hunger, I resumed my walk toward Bolivar. When I
came to the railroad crossing, I followed the railroad. I was too tired
to make rapid progress, and made frequent stops to rest myself. When I
arrived at Middleburg it was between 9 and 10 o'clock at night. As I was
about passing a well near the depot platform, I saw a person drawing a
bucket of water. Being thirsty, I stopped and asked for a drink. I
recognized the man as the merchant that kept the brick store near by;
he, however, did not know me. He handed me a drink, and when I returned
him the cup, he inquired if I had any news. I told him there was no

"Have you got a Southern paper?"

"No, sir."

"I would give _ten dollars_ for a Southern paper. I feel anxious to hear
from Baton Rouge."

"I have no paper and no news from Baton Rouge."

"Where are you from?"

"Holly Springs."

"You from Holly Springs, and ha'n't got any news!"

"Look 'e here, mister, you are a stranger to me; I don't know who you

"Oh! I am all right!"

"Well, I don't know you. I am sent up here on special business," said I,
in a confidential way.

"_Oh! that's it, is it?_ I didn't know that!" Then, patting me on the
shoulder, he said, "Go on! that's right! I hope you will have good luck
and get through."

Before daylight next morning I was once more in camp at Bolivar.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next January, as the army was on its way back from its campaign in
Mississippi, while riding on ahead of the division to which I belonged,
I came across my favorite mule. It was in company K, of the 7th Kansas
Cavalry. I went to Captain Bostwick, who was in command of the company,
and told him that he had my mule, and how I came by it and how I lost
it, and also described the men that took it away from me. The Captain
returned me the mule, and told me that, while making a raid near Tupelo,
Mississippi, during the fall, he had captured three men of the
description I had given, and with them eighteen mules, including mine,
and that the men had been sent to Alton, Illinois, as guerrillas; so I
never had an opportunity of retaliating on them for their outrage to me.
I am fully convinced that they were professional robbers, and belonged
to neither army.


    Starts to find General Bragg's forces--"Wools" the secesh
      farmer--Receives a bottle of rum--Guerrillas washing
      stockings--Finds Bragg's advance--Recognized as a Yankee
      spy--Ordered off his mule to be shot--The clamor of the
      crowd--Recognized as a Confederate spy--Rebel Surgeon
      vouches for him--Is released--Gray-headed rebel brought to
      justice--The Sutler of the 2d Arkansas Cavalry a
      prisoner--What became of the guerrillas that were washing

The next trip that I made was under the following instructions from
General Ross:

"I understand," said he, "by report from citizens, that General Bragg is
coming this way with his forces, and I want to know whether he _really
is_ coming or not, and on what road and with how much force he is
coming. I want you to go to Somerville, and if you find nothing there,
go to Lagrange, and thence to Grand Junction, Saulsbury, Middleton, and
Pocahontas, and then back. If you find a force at any place in your
route, you will come immediately back and report. You will make the trip
with as little delay as possible."

I received my instructions in the evening, and early the next morning,
in the disguise of a well-dressed citizen, mounted on a mule, I was on
my way. During the cool of the morning I traveled along at a smart
trot, and by sunrise I had made about eight miles. When about twelve
miles out, I was about passing a plantation house, when an old planter,
who was feeding some hogs near the road, motioned me to stop.

"Good morning, stranger," said he, as I reined up.

"Good morning, sir."

"Where have you been?"

"Oh, ho, ho, ho; I have been to Bolivar," said I, laughing. "I have been
there a week, and I know all about the Yankee forces in there, and now,
if I can only find General Bragg, then I am all right!"

"Oh, indeed! I am delighted to hear it. Won't you alight and come in?"

"Well, yes, I don't care if I do; for I have been riding since before

I dismounted and went in, and, as soon as I was seated, the old man
inquired who I was.

"I have been acting the Yankee, and I belong to General Bragg's

"You do?"

"Yes, _sir_!"

"Well, do you ever drink any?"

"Oh, yes, I drink when I can get it; but a man is very fortunate to get
it these times."

"I have got some nice rum here; will you try some of it?" (offering me a
glass and bottle.)

"Yes, _sir_! I'll take a drink of _rum_."

"How did you manage to get into Bolivar?"

"Oh, I told them that I was a _Union_ man, and wanted to go in and take
the _oath_!"

"Well, there is right smart of them gets in that way, but there a'n't
many of them that thinks it binding."

"You have taken the oath, I suppose."

"Yes, we _all_ do that, in order to get along smoothly. But, come,
breakfast is ready; sit up and eat some breakfast."

"Thank you; my ride this morning makes me quite hungry."

The breakfast was just what I wanted, and his invitation saved me the
trouble of asking for it. When I had finished, said I,

"Mister, look 'e here; have you got any more of that 'divine, adorable

"Yes, I have got more of it in the cellar."

"Well, can't you bestow a little more of your hospitality on a fellow,
in the shape of about a pint, to put in my pocket and take along?"

"Yes, certainly you can," spoke the planter's wife, "if I can find any
thing to put it in." She then went in search of a bottle, and soon
returned with a pint bottle filled with it, which she stowed away in my
coat pocket with her own hands.

With a profusion of thanks and good wishes to them, I bade them adieu,
and resumed my journey. Somewhere near three miles east of Somerville is
a beautiful spring, that makes its exit from the ground beneath a group
of shady elm trees. There I saw three men, engaged in _washing their
stockings_! It is not usual for _men_ to wash their own stockings in the
ordinary peaceful avocations of life, and the fact of their being so
engaged, and also dressed like citizens, was conclusive evidence to me
that they were guerrillas. Riding down to the spring and dismounting, I
said, pulling out my bottle, "Look 'e here, boys; here is a present that
I received this morning; won't you try some of it?"

One of the men took the bottle and drank, and the other two declined,
saying that they never drank. I then took a "little smile" myself,
mounted my horse, and rode on.

Finding no troops at Somerville, on my arrival there, I continued on,
taking the road that leads south to Lagrange, which place I reached late
in the afternoon. There I found four regiments of infantry and two
regiments of cavalry. They had just arrived, and had not yet thrown out
any pickets. The advance cavalry had but just entered the town, and the
other troops were coming in the distance.

I rode along into town among the soldiers, as familiarly as if I
belonged in the place, and stopped near the drug store. Standing within
a few feet of the drug store, was a large, corpulent, red-faced old man,
with hair almost white, leaning upon a walking-staff; near by was a
Colonel, dismounted, and leaning with his left hand upon his saddle; all
about were cavalry soldiers, dismounted. As I reined up, the old man
pointed to me, and said, "Colonel, there is a d--d Yankee spy; he ought
to be shot. I know him, Colonel, and know that he is a Yankee spy."

"If he is a Yankee spy he shall be shot."

"I have seen him before. I _know_ that he is a Yankee spy."


"A Yankee spy!" "A Yankee spy!" "Shoot him!" "Hang the d--d son of a
b--h!" cried out the soldiers, rushing up to get a sight of me.

"Where do you belong?" inquired the Colonel.

"My home is in Osceola, Mississippi County, Arkansas; but I am from
Memphis now."

"What are you doing here?"

"I have been out to Somerville, and beyond toward Bolivar, to see some

"Yes, _Bolivar_," cried the old man; "the d--d rascal has just come from
Bolivar, and _there_ is where he belongs. I tell you, Colonel, I _know_
him; I _know_ that he is a Yankee spy."

"Well, if you know him to be a Yankee spy, I'll shoot him." (Addressing
me, and drawing his revolver and cocking it:) "Get off from your mule."

I dismounted, and one of the soldiers led my mule to one side, and the
crowd opened behind me. The excitement was intense, and the crowd dense,
and, in its excitement, it swayed to and fro like an angry mob, and
cries went up from every direction, "Hang him!" "Shoot him!" "Shoot the
d--d rascal!" I can not picture the horror that filled me. In all that
vast multitude, there was not a friendly eye to witness my doom. To
escape was utterly impossible! Die I must by the hands of traitors, and
my fate be wrapped in oblivion to my comrades and relatives! The color
left my face and a cold tremor crept over me, and such indescribable
sensations filled me as makes me shudder at this when I think of it.

Just then Doctor Biggs, surgeon of the 4th Tennessee Infantry, stepped
out of the drug store to learn the cause of the excitement. As he came
out, he saw me and recognized me as the Confederate spy that had been
captured by the Federal pickets near his house, and who had eaten
breakfast with him.

"Colonel, you are gwine to shoot the wrong man thar," said the doctor.
"I know that ar man, and I know who he is and whar he belongs. He is
_no_ Yankee spy."

"I know that he _is_ a Yankee spy," said the old man.

"_I know better_," said the doctor; "and if you kill him, you kill the
_wrong_ man. You ar not a gwine to find out his business; and if you
kill him, he'll not tell you. I _know that he is all right_. I have seen
him in a _tighter place_ than he is in now." Then stepping to the
soldier that held my mule, he snatched the bridle out of his hand, and,
turning to me, he said: "Here, take your mule; they are not a gwine to
shoot you." Then turning to the Colonel, and stamping his foot on the
ground, he said: "_You are not a gwine to shoot that man, for I_
KNOW _that he is all right_!"

"Well, doctor, if you know that he is all right, and are willing to
vouch for him, I'll let him go."

"I _will_ vouch for him, for I know who he is." Then turning to me, he
said: "Get on your mule and go about your business; they are not a gwine
to hurt you."

I mounted my mule and the soldiers opened the way for me, and I went _a
sailing_ out of town; and I don't think I was very long in getting back
to Bolivar.

I tell you, reader, in that Doctor Biggs I fully realized that "a friend
in _need_ was a _friend indeed_." His appearance at that critical moment
was as unexpected as would have been a visit from an angel in heaven.
When I reported to General Ross, I narrated to him my adventure.

"Bunker," said he, "don't you know that when you go out as a spy, you
go, as it were, with a rope round your neck, ready for any body to draw
it tight?"

"Yes, I think I had a _slight hint_ of that fact on this trip."

I resolved that, if ever an opportunity offered, the old, gray-headed
rebel at Lagrange should be brought to account for his treatment; so I
went to the Provost-marshal and gave him a narrative of the adventure,
and a description of the rebel, so that in case he should ever visit the
place he might be captured.

About two months after the foregoing adventure occurred, Lagrange was
occupied by Federal troops, and the same officer that was
Provost-marshal in Bolivar now commanded the post at Lagrange. As I was
passing along the streets, one day, I saw, not ten feet from the place
where I first saw him, the old, gray-headed rebel, with his staff in his
hand. His appearance was permanently stereotyped in my mind, and I could
not be mistaken in the man who had so nearly deprived me of my life.

Drawing my revolver, I walked up to him, saying, "You d--d old,
gray-headed rebel! do you remember the '_Yankee spy_?' Do you '_know
him' now_? Have you '_seen him before_?'"

"What do you mean?" said he; "I don't understand you!"

"_You don't know what I mean!_ You don't remember telling the rebel
Colonel, standing in the tracks where you now stand, '_I know him; I
have seen him before; I know that he is a Yankee spy!_' Don't tell me,
you old, gray-headed villain, that you _don't know what I mean_! You
start with me to the commander of the post, or I'll blow your brains out

The old fellow led the way and I followed, with, my revolver cocked.

"Colonel," said I, as we entered his office, "here is the old,
gray-headed devil that said to the rebel Colonel, 'Kill the Yankee spy;'
and I have brought him in for you to dispose of."

"Bunker," said the Colonel, "a'n't you mistaken?"

"No, I a'n't! I know him, and I found him standing in the very place
where he tried to have me shot!" Then turning to the old man, I said:
"Didn't you tell the rebel Colonel that I was a Yankee spy, and try to
have him shoot me? _Tell me the truth, or I'll kill you right here!_"

"Ye--yes, I--believe I--d-do--recollect it now."

"_You old whelp! you deserve to be shot!_" said the Colonel. "Here I
have been guarding your house, and guarding your mules, and boarding
with you; and you representing yourself to have _always been a Union
man, and the oath in your pocket that you took last summer_!" Then
turning to me, he said: "Bunker, I'll dispose of him as he ought to

"Thank you, Colonel, I wish you would."

The next morning the guards were removed from the old man's premises,
and he was put aboard the cars, in irons, destined to go North.

A day or two afterward I happened to be passing by where a number of
rebel prisoners were confined, and there I saw the sutler of the 2d
Arkansas Cavalry (the regiment that I run with so long). The sutler knew
me, and motioned to me to come in; so I got permission of the officer in
charge to go in and see him. He still supposed that I was secesh.

"Ruggles," said he, "I am here under arrest as a guerrilla. Now, you
know that I am _no guerrilla_, but a regularly authorized sutler in the
2d Arkansas Cavalry. I wish you would see the commander of the post and
explain that fact to him, so that I may be treated as a prisoner of war,
and not as an outlaw."

"Well, I will tell him what I know about it. Perhaps he will recognize
you as a prisoner of war."

"Thank you! Do what you can for me. But, between you and I, (speaking
confidentially,) I quit sutlering and joined a band of guerrillas,
because I thought that I could make more money at it. It was all bad
management that we got captured."

Just then another prisoner came up, and, taking me by the hand, said,
"Don't you know me?"

"No, I don't remember you, as I know of."

"Do you remember of seeing three men at the spring, three miles east of
Somerville, last summer, when you was riding by, and of offering them
some rum to drink?"

"Oh, yes! I do recollect it now."

"Well, I am the man that drank with you, and the other two are here."

"Are they?"

"Yes. Now, you know that we are only citizens, and that we don't belong
to any guerrilla band."

"Of course I do! You are no guerrillas!"

"If you please, I want to have you go and see the commanding officer,
and tell him that we are not guerrillas, but _peaceable, quiet

"Certainly, boys! I'll help you out of this, if I can?"

I went to the commander of the post and told him what "I _knew about
them_," and did all I could to "_get them out of that_," and a few days
after they were all sent North in irons.


    Reconnoiters Hickory Flats with a squad of seven men--Shoots
      at the mark--Orders to march with two days' rations--Cause
      of the alarm--Reconnoiter beyond Whitesville--Major Mudd's
      trap--"Bunker" entices the rebs into it--Rides into the
      trap behind a rebel Captain--Sent out beyond
      Pocahontas--Passes as a rebel artillerist--Secesh citizen
      stands guard for him--The very kind secesh lady--The
      anxious wife--Discovers guerrillas burning a human being.

Near the close of September, General Hurlbut arrived at Bolivar, with
his division, from Memphis, and assumed command of the post. General
Ross recommended me to him as a reliable and successful spy. I knew the
General, but had never worked for him. I will here acknowledge that I am
indebted to General Hurlbut for some of the best lessons that I have
ever received in regard to my duties as a spy.

The first time that I went out for General Hurlbut, he told me that he
wanted I should go out to the Hickory Flats, and scout all over the
flats and see if I could find any rebel cavalry. I asked the privilege
of taking seven men with me, which was granted, and I was told to select
such men as I preferred. At that time detachments of the enemy, mostly
cavalry, were scattered about the country, watching for opportunities
to annoy us, by attacking our forage parties, and making raids upon the
railroad that we depended upon to transport our supplies. It had been
extremely difficult to find such detachments, because they usually
stayed but a short time in a place, and generally encamped in some back,
out-of-the-way place, concealed by swamps, woods, and cane-brakes,
reached by unfrequented roads or paths. The object of my trip was to
examine thoroughly the Hickory Flats and its vicinity for any such

I selected my men, and proceeded to the place and examined it, so far as
I could, on the day that I went out. I remained there over night, and in
the morning resumed my work, and by noon had thoroughly reconnoitered
the locality, without having discovered any detachments of the enemy. We
then eat dinner, and prepared to return.

As we were about to leave, Sergeant Downs, one of my squad, proposed
that, inasmuch as we were fifteen miles away from camp, I allow the men
to shoot a few rounds at a mark, for practice. Not thinking that there
_might_ be any serious consequences resulting from it, I consented. We
all engaged in shooting, following one after the other in quick
succession, until we had fired, in all, forty-seven shots. I was not
aware that any other scouting party had been sent out. Having finished
our shooting, we returned to camp. It was late when we arrived, and,
being very tired, I deferred reporting to General Hurlbut until the next

About 2 o'clock in the morning the troops were wakened up, and given
orders to put two days' cooked rations in their haversacks, and be ready
to march at a moment's notice. It seemed a strange move for me, for I
thought that I was as well posted as any body of the whereabouts of the
enemy. I could not comprehend what the move meant.

My curiosity became so excited about it, that I started for
head-quarters to report much earlier than I otherwise would have done.
As I passed the different camps, every thing was bustle and hurry, with
preparations for a march. The cavalry horses were saddled and the
artillery horses harnessed, in preparation for a move. Something was up,
sure, and I wondered what it could be.

"What's up? What do you think is the matter?" said I, calling to an
artilleryman, as I passed.

"The cavalry that went out yesterday reported a large force of rebel
cavalry on the Hickory Flats, and I expect that we are going out there,"
was the reply.

It was all clear enough then! I had done the mischief! I felt badly
worked up about it. I knew that I had no business to fire a gun; but I
was so far away that I did not suppose any of our forces would hear it.
It was my first scout for General Hurlbut, and I expected that it would
destroy his confidence in me. I expected a severe rebuke, at least, and
I dreaded to report. I determined, however, to face the music, let come
what would; so I went in.

"Good morning, General," said I, saluting him as I went in. "I have got

"Good morning, Bunker. What's the news?"

"Nothing; I haven't got any news this morning."

"Where did you go?"

"I went right where you told me to go--out to Hickory Flats, and back,
by way of Middleburg, to camp."

"Have you been out to the Hickory Flats?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you see any rebel cavalry there?"

"No, sir, I did not."

"Well, Bunker, your report and that of the cavalry don't agree at all."

"I can't help it, General; I have been right where you told me to go,
and I did not see any rebel cavalry."

"_Bunker!_" said the General, with emphasis, "_do you come here and tell
me that you have been down on the Hickory Flats, and that there is no
rebel cavalry there?_"

"Yes, sir, I do. I know what the trouble is. I expect that I'll catch
"Hail Columbia" now! I caused the mischief."

"How so?"

"After I finished my reconnoissance yesterday, before starting back, I
allowed the men to fire at the mark, and they kept up a pretty brisk
fire until they had fired forty-seven shots. I suspect that the cavalry
has been out there and heard it. I knew that we were fifteen miles away
from camp, and I did not think that we might cause an alarm by it."

"That's a _fact_, is it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well; that will do. Be careful the next time."

An hour later all was quiet in camp; the horses were unharnessed, and
every thing moved off as usual.

       *       *       *       *       *

A little incident took place during a reconnoissance to a small town on
the right bank of the Hatchee River, west of Whitesville, some time in
September, 1862, that I will here narrate.

A brigade of infantry, a regiment of cavalry, a battery of artillery,
and the detachment known as the "mule cavalry" constituted the force.
The cavalry was the 2d Illinois, under the command of Major Mudd. When
within four miles of the town, the infantry and artillery halted, and
the 2d Illinois and mule cavalry went on to the river.

On several occasions, scouting parties of cavalry had dashed into the
town, and they had always found some rebel cavalry, who, on the approach
of the Federal cavalry, would skedaddle, taking a path that led to a
ford across the river, and hide themselves among the canes that grew
upon the bottoms along the river. To prevent their escape, on this
occasion, Major Mudd sent two companies and the "mule cavalry" by the
road into town, and took the balance of his command down the river to
the ford that I have mentioned, and disposed his men among the canes in
such a way as not to be seen from the side of the river next to the
town, and, at the same time, be able to capture all that crossed at the

I accompanied the Major, and, after he had got his men satisfactorily
arranged, I undressed and waded to the opposite side to see how things
looked there. Having dressed myself, I proceeded to examine the
locality. I found that, at a few paces from the river, there was a path
that turned down the stream and crossed at a ford below where the Major
had set his trap. It was then too late to change the disposal of the
men, so I resolved to act as "stool-pigeon" to the Major's trap. I
stationed myself where I would be in plain view of any person that might
take the wrong path, and whenever a man would incline to turn down the
river, I would motion to him to come toward me, as if I mistrusted there
was something wrong down below, and as he came up, I would say to him,
as if by way of caution, "There is Lincoln cavalry down there; you had
better cross here."

Some rode across the ford without any enticing, and others inclined to
take the wrong path; such I would entice to take the right path. In this
I was successful at every attempt. My dress being like that of a
citizen, they did not mistrust my character. I had succeeded in enticing
five men into the trap, when a rebel Captain made his appearance, with a
pair of beautiful mouse-colored mules, as sleek as moles, and manifested
a disposition to take the wrong path. He was riding one of the mules
himself, and a colored boy was riding the other. I motioned to the
Captain to come toward me. As he came up--

"There is Lincoln cavalry down that way," said I; "you had better cross
here. What's the matter up in town?"

[Illustration: WHOA, MULE! CAPTURED, BY G--D!]

"The town is full of Lincolnites!"

"They'll be down here directly, then, I reckon. I had better get out of
this. Won't you let me get on behind you and ride across?"

"Yes, come this way." He rode alongside of a bank of earth, and I
straddled the mule, behind him. We crossed the stream, and had ascended
the bank on the opposite side, when, discovering the Lincolnites, with
their carbines leveled at us, he exclaimed, "Whoa, mule! Captured, by
G--d! Both of us! I swear, that's too bad! Here I am, within five miles
of my command, and captured!"

"That's a fact, Captain, but we can't help it now. I expect we had
better ride on up; it's no place to trade jack-knives here!" So we went

"Whew!" said the Major, "that's the way I like to see you come; when you
come, come double!"

We rode up to the Major, who ordered us to dismount, and, taking
possession of the mules, he said, pointing to the group he had already
captured: "There, you had better go right down there, out of sight;
that's the best place for you. How do you like my trap, Captain?"

"I think it's a very good one; it caught me mighty nice!"

He felt sold over his capture, and doubly so when he learned that _I_
had _enticed_ him into the trap. The Major having succeeded in
entrapping eighteen "very fine" rebs, we returned with the brigade to

On the 3d day of October, General Price attacked General Rosecrans at
Corinth, Miss., and, after a severe engagement, was defeated and
compelled to retreat. General Hurlbut immediately marched the troops
under his command to General Rosecrans' assistance. On his way, he met
the rebel army on its retreat, while it was crossing the Hatchee River,
and completely routed it.

A few days after the return of General Hurlbut's command to Bolivar, he
sent me out to find where the scattered fragments of General Price's
army were concentrating. I was allowed to take a man with me, and was
requested to make the trip as quickly as possible. As I was about
leaving the General's quarters, he called to me, "Here, come back!" I
went back, and he continued: "I want you to understand that you are to
work for me now. I don't want you to tattle on the picket line. I have
been told that you have sometimes reported to your Colonel; you might as
well report to a _corporal_ as to a Colonel, unless he sends you out. I
want you to report to me."

"General, explain to me, if you please, what that means. I have never
reported to a Colonel but once."

"Well, _that's once_ too much. That's the reason the detachment of
Armstrong's cavalry was not captured, that you reported to General Ross,
the other day."

I begged the General's pardon, and promised to do better. I have been
very careful since not to report to any body but the officer that sent
me out.

I selected Sergeant E. W. Quackenbush, of the 20th Ohio, to accompany
me. He had been with me on previous scouts. We were on foot, disguised
like rebel soldiers belonging to artillery.

Owing to the lateness of the hour of our departure, when night came on
we had made but about seven miles. Stopping at the gate in front of a
farm-house, just before dark, and, addressing the man of the house, who
was standing on the porch, I said: "Halloo, mister, can we get a little
supper here, and stay all night?"

"Well, no, sir; the Yankees have done taken all that I had; you can't
get any supper here."

"Partner," said I to the Sergeant, "let us go on. Blast that man's
picture! he'll hear from me some day to pay for treating his _own
soldiers_ in that way!"

"Hold on, soldiers!" said the man; "where do you belong?"

"I am Orderly Sergeant of Price's 1st Battery of Artillery," I replied,
"and this man with me belongs to the same battery. We were captured by
the Yankees, and have succeeded in getting away from them; we have been
without any thing to eat for twenty-four hours."

"Yes, yes!" said the man's wife, who had heard what had been said; "you
_can_ have something to eat, and you can have the best bed in the house!
Come in, boys, come in."

We went in and sat down. "You were in the fight on the Hatchee, the
other day, were you?" said the man.

"Yes, till we got captured."

"Well, how did the fight come off?"

"I can't tell you very much about it. When we had fired only three
rounds, some Lincoln cavalry charged right up to us, and captured us and
our battery, and immediately sent us to the rear; consequently, I don't
know much about it."

"I declare!" said he; "I _would like to hear_ from the fight!"

"Have you lived in these parts long?"

"Yes, I was raised in this county."

"You have taken the _oath_ to the Lincoln Government, I suppose?"

"Yes, we _all_ do that. I was obliged to do it, but I don't consider it
binding at all. I have been in the Confederate army fifteen months! You
didn't know that, did you, boys?"

"No; you had better keep that thing to yourself, for if the Yankees find
it out they'll hang you."

"Pshaw! I am not afraid of their finding it out. But, come boys, I see
that supper is ready; sit up and eat some supper."

The lady of the house had prepared us a meal worthy of veterans in a
nobler cause than we feigned to represent. The table was bountifully
supplied. In times of peace a better table would rarely have been set.
It had been a long time since our eyes had rested upon such a meal. I
think, however, that we did the subject justice.

Having finished our supper and shoved back, the Sergeant began to show
signs of drowsiness, and in a few minutes was asleep in his chair.
"That's a _brave, gallant soldier_," said I. "Very few men have the
_daring_ and the _courage_ that he possesses; but I see that the _poor
fellow is tired out with his hardships, and has gone to sleep_."

"_Poor soldier!_" exclaimed the lady. "_How the poor soldiers do have to

"Yes, and there are very few persons, outside of the army, that realize
the hardships and sufferings that the soldiers have to endure."

"_God bless their brave hearts!_" she exclaimed; "_How I do pity them!_"

The "poor soldier" was wakened up and shown to bed. Before retiring, I
took off my belt and revolver, and, handing it to the man, I said: "Now,
mister, I would like to ask another favor of you. Can't you take this
revolver and keep watch for us to-night, while we sleep, so that we can
_both_ get one good night's sleep? Can't you afford to do that much for
us? We have got away from the Yankees, and we don't want to be captured

"Yes, I'll stand guard for you. How did you keep the Yankees from taking
your revolver?"

"I had it rolled up in my coat, and I carried my coat under my arm; they
did not suspect that I had one."

"Well, that was lucky, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was lucky for me, but my partner lost his."

I then retired to bed. Before I had gone to sleep, the man visited my
room, and said: "If the Yankees come, you must unhook the window-blind,
shove it open, and jump out, and run down into a gully behind the stable
and hide, and when the Yankees are all done gone, I'll come down and
tell you." For some time before closing my eyes in sleep, I could hear
the man pacing back and forth across the floor, like a sentry pacing
his beat. The night passed away and we enjoyed a most refreshing sleep,
under the "_guarding influence_" of our secesh friend. We arose early in
the morning to renew our journey, and found our guard still on duty. We
were about to leave, when the man said, "You'll stop with us to
breakfast, won't you?" "No, I thank you; we should be glad to, but we
_must_ go, for I am afraid that the Yankees will be after us by-and-by,
and we do not want to get captured again. We are under very great
obligations to you for our excellent supper and the refreshing sleep
that we have had. You have been a soldier, and you know, by experience,
_how very grateful_ a soldier feels for such kindness." We then shook
hands with him and his wife, bade them a good-by, and went on.

When we had traveled about six miles, we came to a large, fine, white
house, with every thing about it that indicated wealth and refinement.
Our walk had created an appetite for breakfast, and we concluded to give
the people of the house a call. I noticed, as we entered, that breakfast
was about ready. Addressing myself to the lady of the house, said I,
"Can we get some breakfast here this morning? We are in rather a tight
place. We were captured by the Yankees in the fight on the Hatchee, and
we have run away from them; they have robbed us of all our money, and we
have got nothing to pay you with."

"Why, certainly you can have some breakfast. How you _poor soldiers do
have to suffer_! Sit down and rest yourselves."

We sat down, and but a few minutes elapsed before breakfast was ready,
when we were invited to sit up with the family. The Sergeant was seated
next to the lady, and I next to him. I had finished my breakfast, and
was about shoving back, when the lady of the house said: "_Don't be in a
hurry, my dear soldiers; eat all you want_; we have got plenty. You
don't know when you will get any thing to eat again."

I thanked her, and shoved back. When the Sergeant had finished, she
said: "_Now, dear soldiers_, fill your pockets with those nice wheat
biscuits. The Lord only knows when you will get any thing more. _How I
do pity you!_"

The Sergeant declined, but she insisted. "You _must_ take some. As
likely as not you won't get any thing again for several days; _do_ take
some. Here, take these," (and she began to stuff them into his pockets,
which she continued until she had filled them full.) "_There_; how
nicely they will relish."

"Partner," said I, "we had better be getting back to the woods again,
for the Yankees might come along and find us."

"Yes," said the lady, "_do be very careful_. Don't let them take you if
you can help it, for you don't know how much you might have to suffer.
_How glad I am to help you!_"

Thanking her for her good wishes and kindness, we proceeded on our way.

That lady was a _noble, generous-hearted_ woman, and her eyes sparkled
with crystals of sympathy while she was bestowing upon us those little
acts of kindness. So full had she filled the Sergeant's pockets with
cakes, that they rendered him uncomfortable while walking, and he was
obliged to throw part of them away.

The next house that we stopped at was occupied by an elderly lady, who,
when we entered, was engaged in churning. She invited us to be seated,
and then said: "Have you been in the fight?"

"Yes, we were in the fight and were captured, and have made our escape."

"Dear me! how anxious I do feel about my husband!"

"Was he in the fight?"

"Yes, he took his gun and went down to help whip the Yankees; I am so
afraid that he is killed that I don't know what to do! What a dreadful
thing it would be if he should get killed!"

We listened to the lady's expressions of anxiety about her husband until
the churning was finished, when she gave us some buttermilk to drink,
which, with some of our nice wheat cakes, made us an excellent lunch.

From there we went on, without seeing any thing of interest until we
came to the vicinity of Middleton. As we approached that place, we saw a
dense smoke arise, and smelt a peculiar odor, which was so strong and
peculiar as to attract our attention, and lead us to suspect that all
was not right. We moved along cautiously, keeping a sharp look-out for
soldiers or guerrillas. As we rose to the top of the hill to the west of
the town, we could see a large fire, and about thirty men standing
around it, with long poles in their hands. The odor that arose was
almost intolerable. This was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We crept
up as near as we could without exposing ourselves to full view, and
then--_oh, horrible to tell!_--we could see the men move about
excitedly, and push with their poles something into the fire. Then
sparks would fill the air, and we could hear screams like those of human
beings. Amid the screams would arise horrid oaths, and cries of "_Bring
on another!_"

I did not see a human form in the fire; but that _odor, those screams_,
intermingled with such _horrid blasphemy_, was _unmistakable evidence_
that some poor mortal was suffering the _hellish torture_ of a band of
guerrillas! Perhaps some brave soldier, unable to keep up with his
command on its return from the late battle; or some citizen, whose
loyalty made him dare to breathe his sentiments; or, some poor mortal so
unfortunate as to possess a sable complexion, was there, immolated upon
the altar of fiendish revenge. As much used to sights of suffering as I
have been, the recollection of that scene, as I call it to mind, makes
me shudder to think of it.

We did not dare to remain there long, lest it might be our turn next to
gratify their hellish barbarism. We went back down the hill, and took
off in another direction. We soon found the country full of guerrillas
and squads of soldiers, that had become routed during the fight. They
were gathering together in small squads wherever they could, some with
arms and some without. The victory to the Federal troops had been a
complete route of Price's army.

I did not go as far as I had intended to go, because the state of the
country was such that I deemed it imprudent to venture further; so we
returned to camp the next day. I did not find out where the scattered
troops were concentrating.


    Starts on a trip for General Lauman--His instructions--A
      Confederate widow--Discovers a squad of rebel
      soldiers--Captures part of their arms--Learns the
      whereabouts of guerrillas--Attempt to capture
      them--Guerrillas escape--Captures a prisoner--Cause of
      guerrillas' escape--The "General" and squad get
      arrested--The charges and specifications.

When General Hurlbut took command of the District of Jackson, with his
head-quarters at Jackson, Tenn., Brigadier-General Lauman took command
of the post at Bolivar.

On the 13th day of October, 1862, I reported to General Lauman for
orders to go out on a scout. I received instructions to take with me a
squad of ten men, and reconnoiter thoroughly a strip of country that lay
south of Bolivar, between the road to Grand Junction, which would be on
my right, and the road to Pocahontas, which would be on my left. I was
ordered to kill all the guerrillas that I could find, bring in all that
I had strong suspicions were guerrillas, and capture all the straggling
rebel soldiers and arms that I could find. The General also told me that
he would send out cavalry on my right, on the Grand Junction road, and,
on my left, on the Pocahontas road. He did not limit me in time, or the
distance to go, nor instruct me to take rations. I have usually, when
out as a scout or spy, got my subsistence wherever I went.

The men that I selected to accompany me were Sergeants W. G. Downs and
Thomas Watson, and eight privates, all of them from the 20th Ohio
Infantry. It was nearly noon of the day I received my instructions
before we were ready to march. The day was extremely warm, and we made
but slow progress. We did not follow any road, but took our way across
the fields and woods, and examined all the valleys that lay along our
route for any signs that might exist of cavalry or guerrillas.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we called at a house about eight miles
from Bolivar, which we found to be owned and occupied by a widow lady by
the name of Cheshire, who, by the way, is what might be called a
Confederate widow. Her husband had belonged to the Confederate army, but
had deserted. He came home and took the oath of allegiance, but,
unfortunately for him, was captured by the Confederate authorities, and
the oath found in his pocket. He was carried back to the rebel army and
hung. In my scouts in the Southern Confederacy, I found that _widows_
were of frequent occurrence, and the proportion of them to the
population remaining at home was _astonishingly large_. I am inclined to
think that many of the ladies chose to call themselves widows, rather
than admit to Union soldiers (if they knew them to be such) that their
husbands were in the rebel army. I call them all, whether real or
professed, that have become such on account of the war, _Confederate

At Mrs. Cheshire's we procured our supper, which was provided and served
up by her with a cheerfulness and willingness not characteristic of an
enmity to the Federal Government. I offered to pay her, but she
positively refused to receive any compensation.

After we had finished our supper, we moved a mile and a half, to Mr.
Campbell's, where we halted for the night. Mr. Campbell was absent from
home, but his wife extended to us every assistance that she could to
make us comfortable. She gave us a room in the house to occupy during
the night, and in the morning a bountiful breakfast was prepared for us,
of which sweet potatoes and chickens formed no inconsiderable part. I
offered to pay her, but she refused to accept any remuneration, and
expressed astonishment at the gentlemanly behavior of the whole party.
She said that it was the first time that Federal soldiers had ever
visited her house, and she had heard that they were nothing but a set of
thieves and robbers, and, for that reason, she had been happily
disappointed in our behavior.

Thanking her for her compliments and hospitality, we bade her a good
morning, and resumed our march. We had proceeded only about two miles,
when we discovered a small squad of rebel soldiers, in a large
cotton-field, at some distance in advance of us and to our right. As
soon as they saw us, they broke for the woods; the distance that they
had in advance made it useless for us to pursue.

Near the road, and between where we saw them and ourselves, stood a
dwelling-house. Having observed that but one of the rebs had arms, the
thought occurred to me that the others might have left theirs at the
house, and that our approach had been discovered too late to allow of a
return for them; so I determined to institute a search. On entering, I
inquired of an elderly man present if there were any arms about the
house. He said there was not. I told him that I had reason to believe
that there was. He insisted that there was not. A search was made, and
three guns were found, which we carried with us.

At night we halted fourteen miles from Bolivar. On former trips, I had
learned that a squad of guerrillas were stopping somewhere in that
vicinity; during the day we had obtained a partial list of their names,
and had learned that they were harbored by a Mr. W. S. Perry, who was
also supposed to be one. This information we gathered from the people
that we saw in our route.

At 3 o'clock the next morning we were again under way, on a road leading
direct to Mr. Perry's. When we had gone about a mile, we came to a
farm-house, where I halted my men, and aroused the inmates by rapping
upon the door, which was answered by, "Who is there?"

"A friend," I replied.

"What do you want?"

"I want you to get up and come to the door." Hearing some one come to
the door, I inquired where Mr. W. S. Perry lived, and was asked,

"Who are you?"

"I sha'n't tell you," was my reply.

"Then I sha'n't tell where Mr. Perry lives," was the response.

Fearing to make any disturbance that might spoil my plans, I proceeded
on my way, without obtaining the desired information. At the next house
I inquired again for Mr. Perry, but the occupant refused to inform me.
These refusals increased my suspicions that he was not all right. Not
knowing certainly but that I was already at his house, I distributed my
men among the negro-quarters in the yard, to capture any persons that
might attempt to escape. It was time for daylight to make its
appearance, but a dense fog had arisen, which made it difficult to see.

Having arranged my men to my satisfaction, I returned to the door of the
house, which I found open, and was met by an aged woman, who told me
that her name was Tabitha Perry, and that she was grandmother of W. S.
Perry, and that W. S. Perry lived in the next house.

While I was engaged in conversation with the old lady, two men were seen
to run out of one of the out-buildings that stood in the yard; the
density of the fog prevented shooting them, or observing whither they
went; so, they made their escape. On examining the building they were
seen to emerge from, it was found to have the appearance of being nearly
filled with cotton-seed, but in the center of the building there was a
large vacant space, and in it was a bed that was yet warm from the
animal heat of the persons that had occupied it.

We then searched carefully all the buildings in the yard, but without
success. From there we went to the residence of W. S. Perry, only a
short distance from the residence of the old lady. We found Mr. Perry at
home, and arrested him. In searching his house, we found considerable
quantities of goods, that looked as if they might have been remnants
from some dry goods store; or, what is more probable, the booty of some
band of outlaws.

We captured at W. S. Perry's one horse and two mules, and at the old
lady's house one horse and one mule. The bed that we found in the
cotton-seed at the old lady's we gave to the niggers on the place,
except two quilts that we used to put upon the mules' backs, to ride on.

Very much against Mr. Perry's wishes, I compelled him to furnish myself
and men with breakfast, which was no more, perhaps, than he would have
done willingly to as many guerrillas, if we had not been seen in the

When breakfast was over, we commenced our return to camp, taking with us
our prisoner and captured property. The men were much in need of saddles
and bridles, with which to ride the captured mules and horses, and
requested the privilege of taking them if they could be found; to which
I consented, providing they could be found on the premises of the man
who refused to give me information about Perry. The man's name, I had
learned, was Dougherty.

When we arrived at Dougherty's place, we halted, and the men commenced
to search for saddles and bridles, and, in a few minutes, reported to me
that they had found twelve United States army saddles and as many
bridles. I told them to take five of them. Dougherty remonstrated, but
the men told him that he had no business with that kind of property in
his possession, and took them along.

On our way back to Bolivar, I learned the reason why we did not find any
more guerrillas at Perry's. A colored boy, belonging to Mr. William
Moore, of Van Buren, had been sent to mill, and, while on his way, he
happened to see us. On his return, he told his master that he had seen
some Yankee soldiers in the woods, and that they were going south. Dr.
Tansey Russel, a man of disloyal proclivities, happened to be present,
and heard what the colored boy said. The doctor had some Enfield and
Whitney rifles in his possession, that he had managed to get of
unprincipled Federal soldiers, which he had collected for the benefit of
the guerrillas. As soon as he heard of the Yankee soldiers being in the
woods, he concluded, readily enough, what their business was; so he took
his guns, eight in all, and carried them over to Perry's, and gave them
to the guerrillas, and warned them that there were Yankee scouts in the
vicinity. There was eleven of them, besides W. S. Perry. On hearing
about the scouts, they all left and went to Saulsbury, except W. S.
Perry, John Shaw, and Gid. Galloway. The two latter were the persons
that escaped from the out-building in the old lady's yard.

When we arrived within six miles of Bolivar, I sent the five men that
were not mounted across the country, by the shortest route, to camp, and
the rest of us went on by way of the road. At Mr. Lawhorn's, near
Dunlap's Springs, we halted a short time, and three of us went into the
house. Mr. Lawhorn was absent from home. One of the men asked Mrs.
Lawhorn for some milk, which she refused, saying that she had none. From
the colored people about the house the man learned that she had milk in
abundance, and where it was, of which he helped himself, and then passed
some to the rest of the squad. None was wasted and nothing else was

Having rested ourselves, we went on to Bolivar. I immediately turned
over my prisoner to the Provost-marshal, Lieutenant W. S. Dewey. I also
gave him a list of the names of those that I had been informed were
guerrillas. It was after noon when we arrived, and we had eaten nothing
since breakfast, and, being very hungry, I took my men into camp to get
my dinner, before reporting to General Lauman. On my arrival in camp, I
told Colonel Force what property I had brought in, and asked him what I
had better do with it, and was told to turn it over to the post
Quartermaster. I told him that I would, as soon as I had eaten some

I had eaten my dinner, and was on my way to see about turning over the
captured property, when I was met by some guards, with an order from
Lieutenant W. S. Dewey, Provost-marshal, to arrest me. I accompanied
them to the Provost-marshal's office, where I found Lieutenant Dewey, in
a dreadful rage.

"What do you want of me?" I asked.

"I want to hang you, and all the rest of the G--d d--d robbers that were
with you!" was his reply.

"What is that for?"

"For going through the country and deceiving the people, and
representing yourself as a citizen of Tennessee."

"I have never been through the country, except as I have been sent on
scouts by my commanding officer."

"I'll _scout_ you, d--n you! I'll scalp you! What's the names of the men
that belong to your band?"

"I haven't got any band."

"What's the names of the men that were out with you?"

I then gave him a list of the men that accompanied me, and was then
ordered to be put in the guard-house. The court-room of the court-house
was used as a guard-house. The Provost-marshal's office was in one of
the lower rooms of the court house.

The Provost-marshal had all the men that had been with me arrested, and
when he had got us all together in the guard-house, we were marched,
under guard, into his office. Addressing us, he said:

"There has been a great deal of stealing and robbing going on in the
country about here, lately, and I believe that you are the men that have
done it, and I mean to make an example of you, and I shall use my
_utmost endeavors to have every man of you shot_."

"What have we done," I inquired, "that you should have such an awful
antipathy against us?"

"You will see when I make out my charges and specifications. Guards,
take them back to the guard-house."

When back in the guard-house, and left to reflection, the words, "_I
shall use my utmost endeavors to have you shot_," seemed to force
themselves upon my mind with vivid impression. What could it mean, that
an officer in the United States army should express himself so
emphatically, as committed against us, when justice every-where holds a
man to be _innocent_ until he is _proved_ to be guilty.

While I had been in camp getting my dinner, the Provost-marshal had
released Mr. Perry, and had administered to him the oath of allegiance,
and returned to him the property that we had taken. On being released,
Mr. Perry found Doctor Russel Parson Hamers, and Mr. Lawhorn--who
happened to be in town at the time--and, in company with them, went to
the Provost-marshal, (who tolerated their complaints,) and fabricated
such statements as they chose to make against us, and upon those
statements the Provost-marshal based his charges and caused our arrest.

It was humiliating in the extreme, for us, after having served our
country with devoted patriotism, and imperiled our lives for its
preservation, to be thus made the victims of revenge by those whom we
knew were at enmity with the Government.

Two days after our imprisonment, we received a copy of the charges
against us, of which the following is an exact copy:


     "CHARGE.--_Indiscriminate plundering and pillaging of
     citizens in the country._

     "SPECIFICATION FIRST.--That Corporal L. Ruggles, Corporal
     D. W. Huxley, Sergeants W. G. Downs and Thomas J. Watson, and
     privates John Lawrence, Jacob W. Snook, H. Chryst, S.
     Rosebaum, Granville Cassedy, John Sessler, and B. F.
     Wannamaker, did, on or about the 14th day of October, 1862,
     enter the house of one W. S. Perry and break the locks of two
     trunks, and take from them W. S. Perry's clothes; also, the
     clothing of his children, some finger-rings, some jaconet cloth
     for children's clothes, and rummaged through every part and
     portion of the house; also taking two mules, one horse and one
     saddle, and one double-barreled shotgun, both tubes being

     "SPECIFICATION SECOND.--That Corporal L. Ruggles, and ten
     others, named in specification first, did, on or about the
     14th day of October, 1862, enter the house of one Mrs. Tabitha
     Perry, took from her possession two bed-quilts, one sheet, a
     pair of pillows, and a bolster; also, one mule.

     "SPECIFICATION THIRD.--That Corporal L. Ruggles, and ten
     others, named in specification first, did enter the house of
     Mr. Lawhorn, break the door of the ladies' wardrobe, searched
     through the whole house, brandishing their pistols. Mrs.
     Milliken endeavoring to save her property, they threatened
     to shoot her, and used insulting and threatening language to
     the same; also, taking the milk in the house, prepared for sick
     and wounded Federal soldiers at Dunlap's Springs, of which they
     were notified.

     "SPECIFICATION FOURTH.--That Corporal L. Ruggles, and ten
     others, named in specification first, did, on or about the
     14th day of October, 1862, at the farm-house of W. S. Daugherty,
     enter his outhouse, and take therefrom three saddles and three
     bridles, threatening to take said Daugherty's life in case of
     his interfering.

     "SPECIFICATION FIFTH.--That Corporal L. Ruggles, and ten
     others, named in specification first, approached the house
     of B. N. Hendricks, at which place Mrs. Goforth was staying,
     and demanded their dinner, frightening Mrs. Goforth to such an
     extent as to cause a miscarriage, after being _enceinte_ seven
     months, her life placed in a very dangerous condition.

     "SPECIFICATION SIXTH.--That Corporal L. Ruggles did forcibly
     take a pair of gloves from W. S. Perry and wear them to town.
     That Sergeant T. J. Watson did take from W. S. Perry's trunk
     one razor-strop and shaving-box. That Private B. F. Wannamaker
     did take from same one pair of men's shoes."

     "All the above charges being calculated to destroy the good
     character of our army and soldiery, being contrary to the laws
     of war and army regulations, demoralizing in their tendency, I
     submit them."

     "W. S. DEWEY,
     "_Provost-marshal 4th Div., Bolivar, Tenn._

     "The witnesses are as follows: Doctor Tanzy Russel, Parson
     Hamers, W. S. Perry, Mr. Lawhorn, W. S. Daugherty.

     "SPECIFICATION SEVENTH.--That Corporal L. Ruggles did, after
     being entertained gentlemanly for the night by Parson Hamers,
     take said Hamers' _watch, which hung on the mantel-board_."

This last specification occurred in the original in the same order in
which it is here placed.


    Unfortunate state of affairs--Informality of charge and
      specifications--Assistance of friends--Fails to get a
      trial--Gloomy prospects--Evidence accumulates--Guard-house
      incident--The "General" concludes to help himself--Narrow
      escape from guerrillas--The capture--Reaches his
      regiment--Himself and squad released.

The reader will remember that I once arrested Parson Hamers, while
standing picket for the enemy, and released him. Doctor Russel, I had
learned from reliable sources, had been engaged in contraband trade
between Federal soldiers and guerrillas. Mr. Lawhorn had tried to induce
one of the men under arrest with me to desert, and, to prevent suspicion
of desertion, offered to carry him in his own carriage to a rebel
paroling officer, and get him paroled and bring him back. Perry had been
captured on suspicion of being a guerrilla. Such were the men that were
allowed to make statements against me.

It is easy to conceive how such men would connive together for the
injury of Federal soldiers, if they could only get the military
authorities to tolerate their complaints and give them a hearing. Under
such a state of affairs, it would be an easy matter for any disloyal
citizen to cause the imprisonment of any soldier, however spotless his

When men are mean enough to attempt the destruction of the fairest and
the best Government that ever existed, and to insult that national
emblem which has called forth the honor and respect of the world, it is
no wonder that they should resort to falsehood, or any other dirty
means, to work their revenge upon those that love and fight for their

It was extremely unfortunate for us that we were thus imprisoned during
the command of a temporary post-commander, to whom I was an entire
stranger, and that, too, at a time when a new and extensive campaign was
about to commence.

The charge and specifications, as preferred against us, were _very
informal_, and it is doubtful whether any court-martial would have
attempted a trial based on such informalities. But, nevertheless, there
were grounds for our arrest and confinement.

About two weeks after our arrest, a general court-martial convened, and
our friends used every exertion in their power to have our trial come
on, but did not succeed. Soon afterward the principal part of the forces
stationed at Bolivar moved to Lagrange, Tenn., to which place we soon
followed them. A second and a third court-martial was convened at
Lagrange, and still we failed to get a trial.

On the 28th day of November, the Army of the Tennessee commenced to move
from Lagrange, on its campaign into the State of Mississippi, and with
it was crushed all hope of our immediate trial. With the movement of
the army, the court-martial had been dismissed, and our witnesses,
friends, and counsel scattered beyond a probability of rendering us any
assistance for a long time; and, to make the matter still more
unpleasant, we were confined in a dirty, filthy building, extremely
loathsome and unhealthy, and too small for the number of men confined.

During our confinement, up to the time the army moved, evidence
continued to accumulate in our favor. The list of guerrillas that I had
given to the Provost-marshal, he had destroyed the same day that it was
handed to him. During our confinement, W. S. Perry, and all the persons
named in the list that I gave to him, were captured by a detachment of
the 7th Kansas Cavalry and sent North as guerrillas, showing
conclusively that I had not been mistaken in supposing them such. In
taking their property, under the circumstances that I found it, I did no
more than any detachment of troops would have done under the same

The property found at W. S. Perry's was evidently plunder that had been
seized by himself and band. Very much of the specifications against us
were grossly false. What property we did take, I was making arrangements
to turn over to the Quartermaster when I was arrested, showing
conclusively that I did not take it for my personal benefit.

The lady that we were charged with having frightened not one of us had
ever seen; neither had we ever been nearer than three-quarters of a mile
of Mr. Hendrick's house. Mrs. C---- visited us twice while we were
confined at Bolivar, and spoke very complimentary of our behavior while
at her house, and assured us that we need not feel at all uneasy about
the charge of frightening Mrs. Goforth, because that it could easily be
proven that "_her husband was in the rebel army, and had not been home
for more than a year_!" Doctor Russel was the man that trumped up the
charges about Mrs. Goforth. A soldier by the name of William Goodhart,
of the 20th Ohio Regiment, visited Dr. Russel, one day, and, in the
course of conversation, remarked, "Doctor, you have got some of the
Yankee soldiers in rather a tight place, hav'n't you?"

"Yes, I have had some of them shut up awhile."

"Well, it will be apt to go pretty hard with them, won't it?"

"No, I think not. I don't expect to prove any thing against them. They
will probably get clear in the end; but it will keep _Ruggles_ from
running all over the country and representing himself as a citizen of
the State of Tennessee."

Parson Hamers, in specification seventh, accuses me of stealing his
watch, but neglects to fix the date of theft. He afterward fixed the
date as the 30th of September. My company commander was able to show
that I was in camp on the 29th and 30th of September and on the 1st of
October. In a conversation with Parson Hamers, had in the presence of
Sergeant E. W. Quackenbush, of the 20th Ohio Regiment, a few days before
I was arrested, he spoke of having had his watch stolen, and said that
he was so sick at the time that _he did not know who took it_.

During our confinement we were under the custody of four different
Provost-marshals. As a general thing, we met with kind treatment from
those that were guarding us, and oftentimes, through the kindness of
officers and men, we received favors not usually given to soldiers under
arrest. There were a few exceptions to our kind treatment, and I will
narrate an incident illustrative of it:

The whole number of prisoners confined in the guard-house at the time I
allude to, including my own squad, was forty-three, and we all occupied
the same room. Among the prisoners confined with us was a very young
soldier--a mere boy--by the name of George S----, of the 18th Ohio. He
had been in confinement much longer than myself and squad, and was noted
for being decidedly a "hard case." His recklessness sometimes caused
restrictions to be placed upon all confined, thereby causing the
innocent to suffer for the guilty.

One night, George took a rail from off the banisters that surrounded the
stairway and placed it from the portico in front of the court-house into
a tree that stood close by, and, by that means, got out of the
guard-house, unobserved by the guard, and spent the evening in town. On
his return, he neglected to take the rail away. In the morning the
officer of the guard discovered it, and concluded correctly what it had
been placed there for. He commenced an inquiry of the prisoners to find
out who put it there. None of the boys would acknowledge having done it.
Several told him that they supposed George had done it. George denied
it, and nobody had seen him do it.

The officer would not take suppositions as to who did it, but told us
that he should hold us all responsible for a correct report of who did
it, and would give us till roll-call at night to find out; and at that
time, if we did not report, we should all live on nothing but bread and
water until we did.

We told him that we had already said all that we knew about it, and that
we did not feel like submitting to punishment as a body for the acts of
an individual. Roll-call came, but nobody was able to report. We were
then told by the officer that we should have nothing but bread and water
until we reported who did it.

During the night, the boys took several pocket-handkerchiefs and made a
black flag, about three feet square, and fastened it to a long strip of
molding, which they tore off from the wood-work of the room, and hoisted
it upon the top of the court-house cupola. In the morning it attracted
every body's attention, by its disgusting appearance, as it floated from
the most conspicuous place in town. It created universal indignation
throughout the town.

The officer of the guard came up and ordered us to take it down. We
replied that as long as we had to subsist upon bread and water, it was
the flag that we rallied under. He then ordered the guards to make us
remove it. As they were attempting to come up the stairs, George, who
had armed himself with an armful of bricks from the fire-place in the
room, opened fire upon them from the head of the stairs, which made them
beat a hasty retreat, and the officer could not induce them to renew the
attempt. In about half an hour, a detail came, armed, not with guns and
bayonets, but with mess-pans and kettles, filled with _soft bread_,
_beefsteak_, _and coffee_. It is needless to add, the "additional
reinforcements" compelled us to "surrender" and take down the flag. As
long as we remained in charge of that officer, we continued to receive
an abundance of good, wholesome rations.

During our confinement in the guard-house at Bolivar, quite a number of
rebel soldiers, that had been captured by the Federal cavalry, were
temporarily confined with us. Several of them were men that belonged to
the 2d Arkansas Cavalry, and I had become acquainted with them during
the time that I was with that regiment.

On the 3d day of December, 1862, five days after the army had advanced
from Lagrange, I came to the conclusion that I had been confined long
enough, and that my only way of getting myself and men released, without
delay, would be to visit in person my commanding officers, and lay the
case before them. One inducement that I had was, I had learned that
there were no papers in the hands of the Provost-marshal with charges
against us. They had either become lost, or, what is more probable, were
returned to the officer that preferred them, on account of
informalities. In the absence of such papers, I felt convinced that I
could get an order for the release of myself and men. It was an
unmilitary way of doing business, but, nevertheless, I resolved to leave
the guard-house, _without authority, to obtain authority for my release
and that of my men_.

We had been in confinement _fifty days_, and before I could reach the
army it would be more than a hundred miles from Lagrange. It was a great
undertaking to leave the guard-house without authority, and, without
rations, to run a gauntlet of that distance, through Federal pickets and
railroad guards, stationed at frequent intervals along the whole route,
every one of whom would halt me to examine my pass, or would turn me
back if without one.

Sergeant T. J. Watson volunteered to go with me. _How_ we got out of the
guard-house it is not necessary for me to mention. From Lagrange we took
a south-east course, across the country toward Davis' Mills; we struck
the railroad where the wagon road crosses it. There we found some
pickets, belonging to a detachment of five companies stationed at Davis'
Mills, under command of a Major, and charged with guarding a portion of
the railroad. At the time we approached them, they were all, except the
sentry, engaged in cooking a part of a fat porker that they had
confiscated during the night. We halted and entered into conversation
with the boys, as though we had no intention of going on. Having
finished their cooking, they asked us to eat with them, which we were no
way backward about doing. We finished our breakfast, and were about
starting on, when the sentry, who had been more attentive to duty than
we had hoped, asked us if we had passes. I told him we had not, and that
we were on our way to the front, and had not been asked for passes
before, and did not know as it was necessary to have them. With that
explanation, the sergeant of the guard let us pass, but told us that it
would not do to let the Captain in command see us.

Not liking to run our chances with him, we crossed the railroad and left
it to our right, and crossed Davis Creek on a log, and, a short distance
from the creek, turned to our right, so as to reach the bridge across
Wolf River, near Davis' Mills. As we were passing through the cleared
field, I discovered to my left, on a rise of ground, a squad of
guerrillas, mounted on horses. We were within easy shot of them. We were
then within half a mile of the detachment camped at Davis' Mills; they
probably did not wish to alarm the Federal pickets. They had evidently
discovered us first, and were watching for an opportunity to "gobble us

"Tom," said I to the Sergeant, "what kind of soldiers do you call them?"

"What kind are they, Bunker?"

"They are a band of guerrillas, and they will have us in less than a
minute, if we don't get away from here."

Just then the guerrillas started for us.

"Come on, Bunker; for God's sake, let us run!" said Tom. "They are
coming now!"

Turning square to the right, away we went, as hard as we could run,
toward Davis Creek. A hundred and fifty yards brought us to a dense
growth of brush and briars, so thick as to seem impenetrable. There was
no getting around it, for our pursuers were close upon us. With all the
strength we could muster, we sprang into that briar patch and scrambled
through. It was no time to mind scratches, and so we dashed on to the
creek. Our pursuers could not get their horses through the briars, and
before they could get round them, we were across the creek. We made our
way to Davis' cotton-gin, where we found a picket post. A few paces from
the post, the guerrillas were in sight. I showed them to the pickets,
and told them I would go and report the guerrillas to the Major in

Having found the Major, I said: "Major, there are about thirty
guerrillas just across Davis Creek, not half a mile from here, and if
you will get out your men, you can surround them and capture them."

"Who are you?" he inquired.

"I am a scout for the Government."

"Where are you from?"

"Why, I am right from the guerrillas," said I, getting out of patience;
"they have just chased me through a briar patch. Look at my hands and
face, if you want any evidence of it. You can _see_ the guerrillas from
the cotton-gin."

"Who is that man with you?"

"Which is of the most importance, Major: for me to sit down and tell you
my history, or for you to get out your men and capture those

By this time the pickets had become alarmed, and sent in for support.
The long roll began to beat, and every thing was excitement. Then was my
time to get away.

"Come on, Tom," said I to the Sergeant; "we must pass the pickets at
Wolf River bridge during the confusion incident to this alarm, or we
will not get away from here without trouble."

As I had expected, the confusion enabled us to get by the pickets at the
bridge. We continued on until about 7 o'clock in the evening, when we
were halted by a railroad guard. The guard allowed us to come up, and we
stayed at the post all night. Before we went to sleep, a messenger came
along on a hand-car, with orders to double the guards during the night,
for an attack on the railroad was intended, and that thirty guerrillas
had already been captured at Davis' Mills, and that more were supposed
to be in the vicinity.

At daylight I tried my persuasive influence upon the guards, and
succeeded in getting leave to pass. From that time on we had very little
difficulty in passing the guards. When we had gone about half a mile, we
met six rebel soldiers, of the 8th Kentucky Regiment, on their way to
give themselves up. They had become tired of the rebellion, and were
anxious to return to their homes. From them I learned that a raid upon
Holly Springs was in contemplation by the forces of Generals Van Dorn
and Tighlman. The rebel deserters were so candid in their statements
that I deemed them reliable; and when we reached Waterford, where
General Ross' division was encamped, I called at his head-quarters, to
report what I had learned. General Ross was absent, so I reported to the
Adjutant-General. We then resumed our journey, and in five days from the
time we left Lagrange, we reached our regiment, then at Oxford, Miss.

I immediately reported to Colonel Force, who inquired if I had been
released from the guard-house.

I said, "No, sir; we ran away."

"Well, Bunker, I am sorry to say it: I can't harbor you in my regiment."

"I suppose, then, Colonel, that the best thing that we can do is to get
away from here; a'n't it?"

"Well, I don't know but it is."

I then left him, and went to General Leggett, commanding the brigade,
and told him the situation of affairs. He told me that we need not go
back to the guard-house, and that we might stay with the regiment. I
told him that I did not wish to stay, unless the men of my squad were
released. He assured me that they should be, and immediately went in
person to Major-General McPherson and explained the situation of affairs
to him. He issued an order releasing the whole of us. When the order
reached the men in the guard-house, they had been in confinement
fifty-eight days. They reached the regiment when it was encamped about
three miles south of the Yacona River.

During our confinement, very much interest and sympathy was manifested
for us by both officers and men, and many of them rendered us valuable
assistance. To General M. D. Leggett and Colonel M. F. Force, and to
Captains F. M. Shaklee, E. C. Downs, and B. A. F. Greer, of the 20th
Ohio, we are under very great obligations; and to the officers and men
of the 78th Ohio and the 17th Illinois Regiments, who guarded us during
the greater part of our confinement, I will here take the opportunity to
express, in behalf of myself and squad, sincere and heart-felt thanks
for their kindness and assistance.


    Starts for Grenada--Instructions--Is captured--Returns to
      Water Valley--Starts again--Arrives at Grenada--Condition
      of Price's army--He returns--Again sent to
      Grenada--Proposes some fun--Plan of strategy--Plan
      unnecessary--Returns with rebel cavalry--Bivouac at Big
      Springs--The attack--More fun than bargained for--The

Soon after I joined my regiment, the army advanced to the Yacona River,
and the brigade to which I belonged was made the advanced post of
infantry, and was stationed three miles south of the river. I had been
with the brigade but a few days, when General Leggett requested me to
make a trip to Grenada, a distance of thirty-two miles.

As General Grant's army had advanced, General Price's army had been
forced back, and the movements of the Federal forces had been so
skillfully managed as to cause Price, after evacuating his strong
position at the Tallahatchie River, to make a hasty and rapid retreat to
Grenada, which place he then occupied.

General Leggett wanted me to find out the strength and condition of
Price's army; of what his force consisted, and, if possible, what were
his intended movements.

I started out on foot, disguised like a rebel soldier, with a pass to
Colonel Lee (since Brigadier-General), of the 7th Kansas Cavalry,
stationed five miles in advance of the infantry, at a railroad station
called Water Valley. I carried with me a request to Colonel Lee that he
would pass me through his lines, if it would not interfere with his
arrangements. The Colonel detained me over night, and then passed me

I went on through Coffeeville, and to within a mile of Grenada, without
being molested. Not liking to venture in on the direct road from Water
Valley, I turned to my left when within a mile of the place, calculating
to enter the town on some other road. I had proceeded but a short
distance, when I met three soldiers, dressed exactly like rebel
soldiers, who captured me and made me turn back.

When we came back to the Water Valley road, I was surprised to find that
I was being taken toward Water Valley instead of Grenada. I then found
that I had been captured by soldiers belonging to _the 7th Kansas
Cavalry_. I tried to make them believe that I was a Federal soldier, and
was scouting for the Government, but it was of no avail; they were not
to be _persuaded_ out of their prisoner.

We had traveled but a few hundred yards after taking the Water Valley
road, when we met a negro, who was riding a splendid mule, with a nice
saddle, bridle, and spurs, and was carrying on the mule, in front of
him, a sack of corn-meal.

"Halt, you black devil!" said one of the soldiers. "Get off from that
mule and let white folks ride!"

The negro dismounted and turned over his establishment to me, and then,
shouldering his meal, he resumed his way. I mounted the mule with a
somewhat lighter heart than I had had at the prospect of walking all the
way back.

When we arrived at Water Valley, I was taken to Colonel Lee, who, on
inquiring of the soldiers where they caught me, elicited the fact that
they had _ran away from camp and gone to Grenada without leave_.

"Go to your quarters, men," said the Colonel; "I'll take care of your
_prisoner now_, and take care of _you in the morning_."

The next morning I started again for Grenada, mounted on the mule taken
from the negro the night before, with a letter to Captain Townsend, who
had been sent to the vicinity of Coffeeville, during the night, with a
detachment of cavalry, requesting him, if admissible, to pass me on. On
reporting to the Captain, he informed me that he had men deployed all
through the country about Coffeeville, watching for rebel scouts and
stragglers, and that it would be hazardous for me to undertake to get
through, and advised me to remain with him until his men came in before
attempting to go on.

It was so late in the afternoon when the cavalry came in that I
concluded to remain with the Captain all night. In the morning I resumed
my journey, and at 1 o'clock, P. M., without having experienced any
difficulty in passing the rebel pickets, I entered Grenada.

The first thing that attracted my attention, was the suffering and
destitute condition of the infantry and artillery soldiers. Very many of
them were lame and foot-sore. Hundreds of them were barefooted, and very
many of them were bare-headed, and all of them more or less ragged and
destitute of blankets. Sickness prevailed to a great extent. The
soldiers were loud in pronouncing curses upon General Sherman, whom they
represented as having brought on much of their suffering by attempting
to execute a flank movement upon them while in their intrenchments at
the Tallahatchie River, which caused them to make a precipitate retreat
to Grenada.

A Sergeant, in describing to me the retreat, said: "So closely were we
pressed, that while camping at Water Valley for the night, after a hard
day's march, we undertook to get some breakfast before resuming our
march in the morning, and had hardly commenced when the Yankees
commenced shelling us, and we had to leave. We then marched to the
vicinity of Grenada, and there worked several hours at cutting down
timber and forming abattis, to protect us from the Yankee cavalry,
before resting long enough to get any thing to eat."

From such hardships and exposures, and the prevailing destitution of
clothing at the worst season of the year, the men had become sick and
disheartened. Artillery horses were in as bad a condition as the men,
having been worked and short-fed until nearly starved. Large numbers of
sick, lame, and foot-sore men were being sent on the cars to Jackson,
Miss. The heavy artillery and commissary stores were also being sent
there. Every thing indicated to me that General Price did not expect to
hold the place.

As near as I could learn, General Price had had at the Tallahatchie
18,000 men; but the force then in Grenada did not exceed 12,000. What
cavalry troops there were in the place seemed to be much better clad and
in better spirits than the infantry or artillery.

I remained in Grenada two nights, and then started back. I took the road
that leads to Pontotoc. I came out, and had proceeded but a short
distance, when I was overtaken by three regiments of rebel cavalry. As
they came up, I fell in with them and accompanied them. In conversation
with one of the Captains, he told me that "they were on their way to
assist General Van Dorn to make a raid upon Holly Springs and the
railroad, to cut off the Yankee supplies." He expressed himself as very
confident of success, and remarked that "if we can't whip the Yankees by
force of arms, we can by starvation."

About twelve miles from Grenada, we came to a large plantation, owned by
a wealthy planter by the name of Leggett. Mr. Leggett had evidently
expected the cavalry along, and had caused to be prepared a large
wagon-box of corn cakes, of about a pound and a half weight each, and a
large quantity of fresh beef, cooked and cut up into pieces of about a
pound each. As we passed, two large negroes handed each man a cake and a
piece of meat. I received a share the same as the cavalry.

I continued on in company with the cavalry until about the middle of
the afternoon, when I concluded I had gone far enough on that road. I
then dashed on ahead of the cavalry to a piece of woodland, where I
dismounted and sat down, as if to rest myself, and remained there until
the cavalry had all passed on out of sight. I then mounted, and started
across the country toward Water Valley. A few minutes travel brought me
into a road that led direct to the place.

When I arrived at the picket lines, the guards arrested me and took me
to the Colonel of the 3d Michigan Cavalry, who sent me to Colonel Lee. I
reported to him the three regiments of cavalry that I had accompanied
out, and he immediately started in pursuit of them. I learned afterward
that the chase was kept up to the Rocky Ford, on the Tallahatchie River.
On reporting to General Leggett, he expressed himself well pleased with
the result of my trip, and requested me to make another to the same
place, which I accordingly undertook to do.

Early the next morning I was again on my way to Grenada, mounted on a
mule, and disguised as before. At Water Valley I found the 3d Michigan
Cavalry still encamped, and called upon the Colonel, whose name I have
forgotten. I told him that I was going into Grenada, and that if he
wanted a little fun, I would decoy out a regiment of rebel cavalry to a
place within twelve miles of him, on the Pontotoc road, known as the Big
Spring. The spring, from its distance from Grenada and the abundance of
water that it afforded, and the excellent ground about it for camping
purposes, made a fine natural place for troops passing out from Grenada
to halt for the night.

I told the Colonel that I would go into Grenada and see what cavalry was
in there, and select the regiment that I wanted; and then I would go to
General Price and tell him that I knew of three companies of Lincoln
cavalry, camped near the Pontotoc road, a long distance from support,
watching to pick up "our" couriers and small parties that happened to
pass that way, and if he would let that regiment go, I would guide it so
that it could surround the Lincolnites and capture the last one of them.
I also told the Colonel that he could take his regiment over to the
place the next night, and then, early next morning, crawl close up to
the rebels, and suddenly rise up and pour in five volleys into them, in
quick succession, from their five-shooting carbines (the regiment was
armed with five-shooters), which would so surprise and terrify them that
they would break and run without stopping for guns, horses, or any thing
else, and that he would be able to capture the most of their arms and
horses, and very many of the men.

The Colonel seemed pleased with my proposals, and promised to have his
regiment there in time. I had no doubts whatever about my ability to
decoy a regiment out there, but I was not so sure that the Colonel had
confidence enough in me to keep his promise. With the understanding,
however, that I was to return the next day with a regiment of cavalry, I
resumed my journey.

I halted for the night a short distance out from Grenada, and early the
next morning I started in. At the bridge across the Yallabusha River,
about half a mile from town, I came to the rebel pickets. They
manifested some hesitation about passing me, and asked me various
questions about where I lived and what I wanted to go in for, etc. While
they were questioning me, a regiment of cavalry made its appearance,
coming out. I did not press the pickets to pass me, but remained in
conversation with them until the cavalry came out, and then fell in and
went along with them.

My prospects now seemed bright. The regiment coming out would answer my
purpose, provided it went far enough, and had saved me the trouble of
carrying out my strategy. I soon found out that it was a Texas regiment,
and, like the three regiments I had accompanied on a former trip, they
were on their way to report to General Van Dorn. Having found that out,
I felt almost sure that they would halt for the night at the desired

The sun was about an hour high when we arrived at the Big Spring, and my
anxiety was considerably relieved by the regiment coming to a halt.
Preparations were made for the night--horses fed, supper prepared, and a
picket thrown out on the road to Water Valley, but on no other.

Long before daylight in the morning, the men were up feeding their
horses and preparing breakfast for an early start. At the approach of
daylight, the pickets were drawn in. My anxiety for the appearance of
the Federal cavalry now became intense. Not a movement could I see that
indicated their approach. Not a suspicion had yet been excited among my
grayback companions. How I longed to hear the crack of those revolving

Breakfast was now ready, and all fell to work at it with a hearty
relish. I took some in my hands, and seated myself near a large oak
tree, and began to eat, wondering whether the Colonel really would come.
The moments seemed unusually long, and, as I occasionally glanced my
eyes toward the place where I had hoped the cavalry would make its
appearance, all was quiet. I had come to the conclusion that the Colonel
had failed to fulfill his promise, when, Bang! bang! crash! crash! went
the carbines in a perfect roar of musketry, and the air was filled with
whizzing bullets. I instantly sprang behind the oak tree and stood
there. So sudden had been the attack, that, although I had been looking
for it, a volley was fired before I was aware of the approach of the
regiment. The leaden messengers came in much greater profusion and
closer proximity to my person than I ever want them again. But such a
panic, such confusion, such running, such scrambling was never seen
before! It was beyond description. Some fled without horses or arms;
some cut the halters of their horses and mounted without arms or
saddles--_all_ were _terribly_ frightened.

Myself and sixty others were captured, and as many horses and twice as
many saddles and arms, with their accouterments. Eight men were killed,
and several horses and quite a number of men were wounded. The rebs
fired but a very few scattering shots, and not a man of the Federals was

It was a brilliant success, but for a few minutes _rather serious fun_.
The Colonel played his part with admirable ability. After the stores
were gathered up, I was released, and we returned to camp. During my
absence, the brigade to which I belonged had advanced to Water Valley,
at which place I found it.


    The forage party--Runaways--Daring scout--Narrow escape--The
      line of battle--Safe return--Scout reports--Assumes the
      character of a rebel prisoner--Finds a friend--How he
      introduced himself--Where he belongs--The burning of Holly
      Springs--The heroine--What she captured--Shows
      partiality--Offers assistance--Rebel doctor executed.

When the army fell back behind the Tallahatchie River, General Leggett's
brigade remained at Abbeville, as advanced outpost of the army. It was
while we were there on outpost duty, that the troops experienced the
inconvenience of short rations, caused by General Van Dorn's cavalry
raid into Holly Springs. While the scarcity of rations prevailed, the
troops were under the necessity of frequently sending out foraging
expeditions to obtain assistance for both men and animals.

On one occasion, an expedition was sent out to the east of Abbeville
after forage. After it had been gone a short time, I took a notion that
I would go; so I mounted my mule and started out. Soon after passing the
pickets, I overtook two men, who, I found, had run away from camp, and,
by representing to the pickets that they belonged to the detail guarding
the train, had succeeded in passing. They were going out on their "own
hooks" to forage a fat sheep.

About a mile from the pickets, the road forked; the left-hand road, or
main road, led straight ahead to the east, and the right-hand road led
to the south-east. The forage party had taken the left-hand road; the
runaways took the right-hand road, and I followed them out a piece to
see what I could find. About a mile from the forks, both roads pass
through a belt of timber-land, several hundred yards in width, and then
emerge into an open space of country, inclosed in fields. After passing
through the timber, we halted and mounted the fence to look for the
forage party on the other road. They had halted at a plantation-house,
and were engaged in loading the train. While on the fence, the two
runaways espied some fat sheep in the field near by us. They immediately
gave chase, and I remained on the fence to watch the forage party. We
had been discovered by the forage party while on the fence, and directly
a man was seen dashing across the fields toward us, on horseback, to
reconnoiter. In the brigade was a chaplain, not very brave, who
sometimes undertook to perform the duties of a scout. As the man on
horseback approached, it proved to be the chaplain scout. The field, on
the side where we were, was covered with tall weeds, as high as a man's
head, and for that reason the runaways did not see the chaplain until he
was within fifty yards of them. The boys had not yet captured a sheep,
but were trying to corner one, when they discovered him.

"There comes our chaplain, as sure as h--ll!" said one. "We must
frighten him back, or we'll both be arrested for running away."

"I'll stop him," said the other, aiming his piece.

"Snap!" went the cap, but the gun did not go.

"Are you going to _shoot_ him?" said the first.

"Yes, by G--d!" said the other.

"Then I'll shoot," said the first. Bang! went his gun.

That was too much for the chaplain; he wheeled his horse about, and went
_flying back_. The chaplain did not see the boys, but saw me on the
fence, dressed in rebel uniform, and my mule hitched to the fence. As
soon as he got back and reported, the men not engaged in loading the
train were formed in line of battle, ready to repel an expected attack.

The runaways succeeded in capturing a fine, nice sheep, and carried it
on their shoulders back to the forks in the road, to wait for the train.
There I left them, and joined the forage party, which I found drawn up
in line of battle.

When the train was loaded and ready to return, flankers were thrown out
on each side of the road, and in that way, succeeded in reaching camp
without the loss of a man. The runaways got into camp with their forage
without being detected.

I felt curious to know what sort of report the chaplain would make; so,
on my return to camp, I immediately repaired to head-quarters and
awaited his arrival. When he made his appearance, it was with a
countenance indicating that something _serious_ and _impressive_ weighed
upon his mind.

"Has the forage party come in, chaplain?" said General Leggett, as he

"Yes, we _made out_ to get back."

"Well, what luck did you have?"

"We had a very _narrow escape_, indeed."

"Why so?"

"Well, I'll tell you; we halted about four miles out, to load the train,
and, while thus engaged, some rebels were seen about a mile distant,
across the field, on the fence, watching our movements. I was sent to
reconnoiter and find out about them, and when I had got within a short
distance of them, I saw a long line of them dismounted, behind the
fence. Several of them snapped their pieces at me, and one went off, and
the ball came whizzing by my head. I wheeled my horse and ran back as
fast as I could go. I tell you, General, it was a _providential escape
for me_! We then formed a line of battle, to repel any attack until the
train was ready to start; then we threw out flankers on each side of the
road, and in that way we marched in, without being attacked."

The joke was a serious one, but, inasmuch as nobody was hurt, I
concluded not to expose the roguery of the runaways, or the bravery of
the chaplain.

       *       *       *       *       *

While the army was on its march from the Tallahatchie to Lagrange, I had
an amusing little adventure with a secesh lady. It was on the day that
General Leggett's brigade left Holly Springs. I was riding along behind
my regiment, in company with Levi Hood, of the 20th Ohio, when I
observed, to the left of the road, and about half a mile back, a large,
fine white house. I told Levi that, from the fine appearance of things
about the house, I presumed we could get feed there for our mules; so we
rode out to see.

The house was built with a porch extending across its entire front. As
we approached, we saw a Federal guard standing on the porch, near the
main entrance to the house, and two Federal officers, one of them a
Captain and the other a Major. The officers were engaged in conversation
with a lady belonging to the house. We halted in front of the steps
leading on to the porch, when Levi, addressing the lady, said: "Madam,
have you got any corn or fodder here?"

"Yes, I expect there _is some_ out there," she replied, pointing to an
outhouse; "go out and get it. Take it _all_, if you can; don't leave
any. I shall be glad when it is _gone_; then you won't _bother_ me."

We rode to the outhouse and procured what fodder we wanted, and, having
fed our mules in a yard in front of the house, we repaired to the porch,
where the officers and lady were still engaged in conversation. They
were talking about the burning of Holly Springs, and as I came near, I
heard the lady say:

"If General Van Dorn and General Price can't _thrash_ you out of
Mississippi, they can _starve_ you out, or get you out in some way; _you
are going out, anyhow_."

"Yes," said I, "that's one of General Van Dorn's capers; he is just the
man to do such tricks as that."

The officers left as soon as I came up, and the lady turned her
conversation to me:

"Do you know General Van Dorn?"

"Yes, I know _all of our_ Generals; and I know you, too."

"Where did you ever see me?"

"A'n't you the lady that sent Colonel Slemmens the boquet last summer,
when he was on outpost duty, with his regiment, at Cold Water?"

"Why, yes, I believe I was; where was you?"

"I was sent from Lumpkins' Mills, by General Villipique to Colonel
Slemmens, with orders."

"Where do you belong?"

"I belong to the 17th Mississippi Zouaves, the pride of the

"Who is the Colonel?"

"Colonel Hanner."

"Yes, yes! that's a fact! I thought that you was fooling me, at first,
but I don't think you are now. How in the world did you come to be up

"I was captured near Grenada."

"You was? That's too bad! Oh, tell me, have you received your new guns

"Yes; we received them on the 18th day of last August."

"They were so long coming, that I was afraid they never would get
through the Federal lines. How do you like them?"

"Very much, indeed. They are Colt's six-shooters, and are a most
excellent gun."

"Well, I am glad of it; they ought to be a _good_ gun, for they cost
the Confederacy sixty dollars apiece. You are really a prisoner, then,
are you?"


"Well, come into the house."

"I would if I could; but that man is my guard, and I don't think he'll
let me."

"Oh, no!" said Levi, "I can't; I am instructed not to let him go into
any houses nor out of my sight."

"Well, you can see him at the end of the porch; let him go there. He
won't run away. Come this way, soldier." She led the way and I followed.

"Now," said she, speaking low, "_do tell_ me how the Yankees like the
burning of Holly Springs."

"Well, as near as I can find out, they hate it like blazes, and it makes
some of them real heartsick."

"Good! I am glad of it! I am getting back pay for my trouble now!"

"Did you help take the place?"

"No, I did not help to take it, but I was chief of the signal corps, and
signaled the town all night. I had nearly all the ladies of the town
out, and had them watching the movements of the Yankees. We sent up
rockets, every hour, all night. I tell you, I felt _so much_ relieved at
the approach of General Van Dorn, and when he captured the Yankees I was
_perfectly delighted_! Then I just _went_ for things! I had four mules
and a yoke of steers and a cart in there, and I just _loaded them down_
with stuff! I got a hundred overcoats, and lots of pants and blankets,
and nice canvased hams, and other things, until I had the garret of my
house _stowed full_."

"Did you do _all that alone_?"

"Oh, no! my husband, Captain McKisic, was there--he is captain of
company A, of Bragg's 1st Battalion--and my servants were there, and
they all helped. Oh, I really do wish that you could come into the

"There is no use talking about that, for the guard _won't let me_."

"Well, I'll tell you," said she (casting her eyes at the man who was
guarding her house, and speaking still lower); "I was suspicious that
some of the Yankee soldiers might ransack my house and find out what
stuff I had got, and so I went over to the Colonel of the --th Illinois
Regiment and sung him a few songs of love, and he sent me over a guard,
to keep the soldiers from going into my house."

"You are all right, then, if you keep things to yourself."

"I can do that, I assure you; I have run with the army almost two years,
and I have learned how to do that."

"_Come_, prisoner," said Levi, manifesting impatience; "a'n't you
getting about through with your conversation?"

"Wait! wait a minute, if you please, guard," said the lady, and away she
went into the house. She soon returned with a lot of apples, and
commenced to stuff them into my pockets. "There, you eat them yourself.
Give the guard these _three little ones_; don't give him any more; eat
those nice ones yourself. But, pray tell me, what is your situation for

"I have got about five dollars."

"Is that all? Really, that a'n't enough! Sha'n't I help you to some? I
am sure that you can't get along with that?"

"No, I thank you; I can get along in some way."

"_Do_ let me help you; I have got three thousand dollars in the house,
and I'd just as leave help you as not. _Do_ take some."

"No; I won't take any. I might never return this way to repay it."

"I should think that you might get away. Why don't you get paroled, or
run away from that guard?"

"I might, but, on account of a plan that I have got, I don't want to get
away yet."

"Why, what is it?"

"Well, I'll tell you. I want to go with Grant's army to Lagrange, and
see which way it goes from there, and then I'll come back and report

"That's a good idea, certainly; get all the information that you can."

"_Prisoner!_" called Levi, getting more impatient; "the mules are done
eating and we must _go_!"

I then bade Mrs. McKisic good-by, and we resumed our march. On my return
to the regiment, I related the incident to the Colonel, and he replied:
"If the _women_ are a mind to take advantage of the _disgraceful
surrender_ of Holly Springs, I don't know as I have any objection."

During the march of the army north-west, from its campaigns against
General Price, and when we were near the Tennessee line, thinking that
an opportunity might occur of retaliating upon a certain doctor living
in the State of Tennessee, who had been instrumental in causing the
arrest and imprisonment of myself and ten others, by false accusations,
I called upon General Grant and told him what we had suffered by the
doctor, and asked him if I might take the same men and go through the
lines some night and kill him.

The General said, "I can not give you leave to take a man's life, except
under such circumstances as are warranted by the rules of war; if you
wish to capture him, I'll give you the countersign."

The next evening a party of eleven men, without the countersign, went
through the lines, unobserved, and repaired to the house of the said
doctor. Stopping at a neighboring house, about a mile from the doctor's,
was a Miss Armstrong, a sister of the Confederate General Armstrong. I
had paid some attention to her the summer before. When we came near
where she lived, I said to the men, "I have an old acquaintance living
about a mile from here that I want to see. You go on and capture the
doctor, and wait there until I come." I found the lady at home, and
passed the evening with her very pleasantly. Before I was aware of it,
two hours had passed. Recollecting my promise to meet the men at the
doctor's, I bade the lady adieu and hastened on, fearing, perhaps, my
long absence had caused them to return to camp without me. When I
arrived, I found the men impatiently waiting for me. Seeing only my own
number of men, I inquired: "Was the doctor at home?"


"Where is he?"

"This way, Bunker." (I followed to the far end of the yard.) "There he

The reader can judge of my horror and surprise at the sight before me.
There lay the trunk of the man in one place and the head in another,
looking as if pulled asunder by fastening the neck to a tree and the
feet to a span of mules. The mules were still fastened to the feet of
the lifeless form.

As much used to scenes of bloodshed and slaughter as I have been, and as
much as I felt myself wronged by the ill-treatment of the doctor, the
sight was revolting indeed. While I have no doubt but that the doctor
would have rejoiced to have caused the death of myself and ten others, I
am clear from ever having desired his death by acts of barbarism and
cruelty. I regret very much that Federal soldiers have ever felt
constrained to resort to such acts of retaliation.

It is a fact, however, in the prosecution of this war, that oftentimes
the worst of traitors, after having been captured, have escaped the
penalty of the law, and then, in their last state, have acted sevenfold
worse than in the first. It is in consequence of such evasions of
justice, that individuals have felt compelled to deal out punishment
themselves. In the face of the cruelties that our men have suffered at
the hands of the rebels, contrary to all the rules of war, it is a
wonder to me that they have committed so few acts of retaliation.

When arrested, the doctor declared, with most emphatic assertions, that
he was a loyal man, though the men that confronted him knew, by sad
experience, that such assertions were false. Such provocation, coupled
with the fear that he would escape punishment, caused this summary
execution. I only regret that a more civilized mode was not resorted to.
The next day the troops moved on toward Memphis, and no complaint was
ever made about it at head-quarters.


    Arrival in Memphis--Daring robbery--Detailed by the
      Provost-marshal General--Assumes the character of a rebel
      Major--Secesh acquaintances--Captures a rebel mail--A
      jollification--A rebel trader--Plan to run the
      pickets--Escape of the outlaws.

On the 22d day of January, 1863, General Logan's division arrived in
Memphis, Tenn., preparatory to moving down the Mississippi, to join in
the campaign against Vicksburg. While there, as I was passing through
the city, accompanied by William Goodhart, of the 20th Ohio, I saw a
splendid carriage approaching, drawn by a fine pair of black horses,
with silver-plated harness. In it were Captain Daniels and the
Quartermaster that had captured me and taken me to Cold Water to be

As the carriage came up, we sprang into the street toward it, to capture
the inmates. Recognizing me, they sprang out at the opposite side, and
ran in different directions and made their escape. Supposing that the
carriage and horses belonged to them, we unfastened the horses, mounted
them, and started for camp, leaving the carriage standing in the street.
We reported, with the horses, to division head-quarters, and thence was
ordered to brigade head-quarters. At brigade head-quarters we were
ordered to turn them over to the Quartermaster of our own regiment,
which we did. The next morning, the following article appeared in the
Memphis _Bulletin_:

     "DARING ROBBERY.--Yesterday, some time during the day, two
     soldiers entered the stable of a citizen on Adams street, and
     took therefrom a valuable span of black horses, and a set of
     silver-plated harness, and succeeded in getting away with the
     stolen property.

     "Such outrages upon citizens of this city have become frequent
     of late, and it is high time that the military authorities took
     the matter in hand and suppressed such disgraceful

The same day that the above article appeared, an order was procured by a
citizen of the city for the release of the horses and harness. From what
I could learn, the horses belonged to him, and not to the persons
driving them.

With nothing to do about Memphis but idle my time away in camp, I began
to get restless and uneasy, and was about contriving some way to get
outside of the lines to work, when I received word that General Logan
wanted to see me. I immediately reported to him, and was handed a sealed
envelope and ordered to report with it to Colonel Hillyer,
Provost-marshal General on General Grant's staff. I carried the
communication to the Colonel, as directed, and, when he had read it, he
immediately sat down and wrote me an order, of which the following is a

     "MEMPHIS, TENN., February 6, 1863.           }

     "The bearer, Lorain Ruggles, is in scout service of the
     Government. He will be passed through all lines, at all hours.
     He will be furnished with whatever assistance he may require.

     "He has authority to make arrests, reporting the same to the
     nearest military commander or Provost-marshal.

     "All officers and soldiers of this command will, in every way,
     facilitate his operations.

     "By command of Major-General U. S. Grant.

     "_Provost-marshal General_."

Handing me the order and some money, the Colonel told me to procure a
place to board, and then commence operations. He requested me to report
every two or three days the result of my labors, and to do my reporting,
when practicable, at night.

I selected a boarding-house on Adams street, kept by a Mrs. W----s.
There I represented myself as a Major in the rebel army. My former
residence in the city, at intervals of time, gave me an acquaintance
that enabled me readily to carry out the character of a rebel officer,
without exciting any suspicion to the contrary.

Having established myself in my boarding-house, I proceeded to drum up
the acquaintance of such persons as I had reason to believe were of
suspicious loyalty.

My first acquaintance of that sort was a Captain Wells, who formerly
commanded an independent company in Vicksburg, Miss., but who had
resigned his commission in the Confederate army and established himself
in business in Memphis. He was at that time a "_Union man_," with the
oath of allegiance in his pocket, but engaged in buying horses of
Federal soldiers, and smuggling them through the Federal lines.

My acquaintance with him soon led to an acquaintance with others,
variously engaged--some as guerrillas, some horse-stealers, some
smugglers, some as mail-carriers, and others in various disloyal
capacities. They all knew me by my assumed rank, and always addressed me
as Major Ruggles.

On one occasion, while looking about the city, one of my disloyal
acquaintances informed me that there was a large mail in town from
Missouri, to go to General Price's army; and, said he, "Major, I thought
that, perhaps, you would be going down that way soon, and if you are,
why not take it with you? I presume it is a mail of considerable
importance, and undoubtedly General Price would compensate you well for

"Perhaps I will take it down," I replied. "But I must make some
arrangements with my wife before I go, and I will let you know in the

"Very well. Come up in the morning."

I then went and told the Provost-marshal General what I had learned. He
told me to keep watch, and when it started out, to capture it.

The next day I went to see about carrying it out myself, and was told
that a man had already made arrangements to carry it, and that it was
packed up, ready to go. While talking about the mail, another of my new
acquaintances came up, and I invited the two to walk over to the Italian
saloon with me and take something to drink.

"You go with me," said the new comer, "over to the saloon where I get my

"Very well," said I, and we all went over.

In front of the saloon was hitched a horse and buggy. In the saloon,
besides the proprietor, was a very gentlemanly-looking man, who, soon
after we entered, asked the proprietor of the saloon if he had any word
that he wanted to send to Hernando. The man said he was going down that
way, and if he had any thing to send he would take it.

The proprietor had nothing to send, and the gentleman, without making
any further business, went out. The thought now occurred to me that the
mail was in the buggy at the door, and the man that went out was the
mail-carrier. I excused myself from my companions, as soon as I could,
and started out to watch the suspected gentleman. When I went out, he
had unhitched and started down the street. I followed along, through one
street after another, until the buggy stopped at a provision store.
There the gentleman purchased a demijohn of something, and a side of
bacon. I saw him place them in the buggy, and then return to make other

I then went to Captain Taylor, who had charge of the Government horses
in the city, whom I found sitting on his horse at his stables. I told
him that a rebel mail was going out through the lines, and that I wanted
his horse long enough to ride out to the picket line, on the Hernando
road, and stop it. He lent me his horse, and I soon found myself at the
picket line.

I found a Lieutenant in command of the pickets. I told him that there
would be a rebel mail attempt to pass his lines, and that it would be in
a one-horse buggy, driven by a very gentlemanly-looking man, and that
the buggy that contained the mail would contain a demijohn and a side of
bacon. I told him to be thorough, and search the man's person and his
buggy and the cushions, and every thing else about the buggy and to do
it in such a way as not to lead the man to suspect that any information
had been given him. I then took another road and returned to the city.

I had not been gone more than an hour, when the man described drove up
to the pickets, halted, and handed out his pass for examination. The
Lieutenant, having examined it, told him that he presumed he was all
right, but attempts had been made to carry contraband articles through
the lines, and his instructions were such that he was under the
necessity of making a thorough search before passing him. The man
assured the Lieutenant that he had no objections to being searched, and
that nothing could be found about himself or buggy not mentioned in the

The man's person was searched and then the buggy and finally the
cushions of the buggy were examined, and in them, neatly quilted in, was
found the mail. It is needless to add that the gentlemanly personage was
furnished accommodations in the Irving Block, and the mail was turned
over to the Provost-marshal General. I never learned what became of the
man afterward.

A few days after the arrest of the rebel mail-carrier, I invited several
of my new acquaintances down to my boarding-house, to have a little
jollification. They all accepted the invitation, and, at the appointed
time, made their appearance.

When I went to Mrs. W----s's to board, I took with me a yellow boy that
had been in my Captain's employ nearly a year. I had trained him so that
he understood me perfectly, and, being naturally of a smart, ready turn
of mind, and quick to comprehend my meaning, was of great assistance,
when I was visited by rebel friends, in helping me to carry out my
assumed character.

On this occasion, he represented to perfection the character of a negro
waiter. I called him "Spence." Whenever his name was called, he would
promptly enter the room, with his hat under his arm, and approach me
with as much manifestation of profound respect as if I had been a king,
receive my orders with marked attention and execute them with wonderful
agility, and then immediately retire from the room.

I had procured a supply of whisky, and Spence was frequently called in
to exercise his masterly skill at preparing slings, punches, etc., for
which my guests had a peculiar relish.

From my rank, my companions seemed to regard me as possessing peculiar
advantages over them, and all seemed desirous to secure my advice and my
personal assistance in their individual projects. By that means, I was
enabled to find out very much that was going on, that I otherwise would
not have done.

Among my guests of that evening was a man that had been in the
Confederate army, and had been severely wounded in the shoulder in the
battle at Fort Donelson. On account of his wound he had been
discharged. As a sort of compensation, to enable him to make a living,
for which his disability had seriously disabled him, General Price had
given him a paper authorizing him to trade and sell goods in the
Confederate army.

After showing me his paper, signed by General Price, "Now," said he,
"Major, you can render me some assistance, if you feel disposed, that
will be of great help to me in my circumstances."

"Indeed! I should be very happy to do so; but you must remember that I
am under bonds to the Federal authorities, and I have to be very careful
what I do; if I am caught in any scrape, they will surely hang me."

"I am well aware of that, Major, but I think you can do it, without
subjecting yourself to any great danger."

"Well, what is it that you want I should do?"

"I'll tell you. I have been engaged, for some time, in purchasing, in
small quantities at a time, various articles of goods, to take through
the Federal lines to sell, and I have now got about four hundred
dollars' worth. The military authorities are beginning to suspicion me,
and I have got to move the goods to some place for safe-keeping. Your
boarding-rooms are not very public, and you could keep the goods here
without exciting suspicion."

"I expect that I might. I have done more hazardous jobs than that since
I have been in the Confederate service. I think I can manage it. You may
get the goods ready, and then let me know it, and I will send my servant
after them."

"Thank you, Major! You are just the man to do it. I will get them ready
in the morning."

My friend Captain W----s also had a little scheme in view, which he
related to me, as follows:

"I have got six fine horses, that I have purchased of Federal
cavalrymen, and I want to manage some way to get them through the Yankee
lines. Now, Major, what plan do you propose to get them through?"

"Well, really, Captain, I hardly know what course would be advisable.
The 'Yankees' are getting to be mighty strict in their picket duties. A
sudden dash upon the pickets, some dark night, by as many plucky riders
as you have horses, might take them through."

"That's my mind exactly, Major! and I was thinking if I could get some
military man of experience, like yourself, to lead us, the plan might be
executed to a charm! What do you say? will you lead us?"

"Well, Captain, the undertaking is a bold one, but I think I am good for
it; at any rate, I will try."

"Good! good! Major, here's your health!" and they all drank heartily.

Late at night, the festival broke up, with an agreement to meet at
frequent intervals, as opportunity offered.

The next day the contraband goods were brought over to my rooms and

I will here relate a little incident concerning my servant Spence, to
show how well I succeeded in making my secesh acquaintances believe that
I was a Southerner and a slave-owner. I was in the habit of finding
fault with him, and would reprimand him severely for the slightest
neglect, and sometimes imaginary ones, were sufficient to call forth
from me the severest rebuke.

A few mornings after the night of our festival, several of my secesh
friends called on me to ride out in the city. I ordered Spence to bring
out my horse. When he made his appearance at the front of the house, I
went out to see that every thing was in proper order, and at once flew
into a terrible passion with him, on the pretense that the horse was not
properly cleaned. Spence, as if mistrusting something was up, was about
to leave.

"Here, you black rascal!" said I; "why didn't you clean that horse's
legs? Ha'n't I taught you better than that? Come here, you black lazy
calf, till I thrash you! What! lived with me all your life, and _don't
know how to clean a horse_! Ha'n't I thrashed you time and again for
that? Come here, I say! I'll fix you!"

Spence, as if apprehending a booting, manifested a wonderful fear of me,
and no inclination to approach nearer, and, as I approached him, he
involuntarily drew back. I attempted to catch him, and he ran away from
me into the back yard, and I after him. "Stop! stop! you black d--l you!
Stop! or I'll shoot you!" I shouted.

Mrs. W----s and my companions ran to the back door to see what I was
doing. As they came out, I fired my revolver. Spence stopped, and,
facing me, implored, "Oh, Lord! Massa Ruggles, don't shoot dis nigger!
don't shoot again, for de Lord's sake! don't shoot! I'll done clean de
hoss all off clean de nex' time! I will. I will, for shure, Massa

"Don't shoot him, Major!" implored Mrs. W----s.

"Don't shoot him, Major! for God's sake, don't shoot him!" implored my

"Well, I won't shoot him this time, but the next time he won't get off
so easy. Do you understand that, you black rascal?"

"Yes. Massa Ruggles! I 'spects dat I was careless. I'll done clean him
good now!" and away he went to clean the horse.

Many a laugh have Spence and I had, when by ourselves, over my pretense
to shoot him.

A few nights after the above occurrence, another jollification was held
at my rooms. Before separating, it was agreed that eight of us,
including myself and Spence, should take the contraband horses and
goods, and, on a night agreed upon, if every thing was favorable, make a
dash through the lines.

The time agreed upon came, and with it my rebel acquaintances, prepared
for the dash. I was not ready, and apologized by saying that the weather
had been so bad for a day or two that I didn't think they would be along
that night. I told them that I had left my saddle at a harness shop to
be repaired, but if they would wait until I could go and get it, I would
accompany them. To this they agreed. Taking Spence with me, I started
for the saddle.

I procured one, to prevent suspicion, and, carrying it with me, I went
to the officer of the provost-guards. I told him what was going on, and
then showed him my order from Colonel Hillyer, and told him that I
wanted six men. My plan was to place them where they could throw
themselves suddenly across a street that we would have to pass, as we
came up, and halt us, and to fire into every man that did not halt.
Spence and myself would, of course, halt and be captured. The Captain
would not give me any men unless I would take a whole company. I
remonstrated. I knew that six men would not be suspected of any thing
more than an ordinary patrol guard, if seen on their way to the place
designated, and it would be impossible to get so many men into position
without their being seen. The Captain would not yield, and I started
with a full company, under command of a Lieutenant. After we had
started, the Captain halted us, and charged the Lieutenant not to divide
the company into squads, but to keep his men compact in a body. That
completely spoiled my plans, but I had no other alternative.

Before we got within three hundred yards of the outlaws, they discovered
the force coming and mistrusted their object. They raised a yell of
defiance, and, swinging their hats with whoops and hurrahs, dashed out
of sight before the company could be got into line. They succeeded in
dashing through the lines, and I have never heard of them since.

The contraband goods, however, remained in my possession, and I turned
them over to the Provost-marshal.

I was heartily vexed with the failure, and disgusted with the detective
service, and resolved that I would never have any thing more to do with
it. How well I kept my resolution the sequel will show.


    Reports to Major-General
      McPherson--Instructions--Disguise--Starts for
      Vicksburg--Changes his route--Reports to General
      Denver--Acquaintance with a cotton-buyer--Plan to make
      money--Visit to guerrilla Sol. Street--The arrangement
      consummated--Visit to General Price--Arrival at
      Jackson--Robbed of his field-glasses--Introduction to
      President Davis--Visit to Vicksburg--Visit to Edwards'
      Station--Meets his bear-hunting comrades--Visits Black
      River bridge--Robbed of his horse--The return--Reports to
      General McPherson--Reports to General Grant.

Having fully determined to do no more detective service, I went to
Colonel Hillyer, of General Grant's staff, and told him that I was
desirous of making a trip to Jackson, Mississippi, and also to
Vicksburg, and that General Ross had frequently promised me an
opportunity of doing so. The Colonel said that he was not only willing
but desirous that I should do so, and that, as General Grant had gone
down to Milliken's Bend, I had better report to General McPherson, and
tell him what I wanted. I did so, and was informed by the General that,
as I was a stranger to him, if Colonel Hillyer wanted me to go, he must
give me a written order to that effect. On reporting back to the
Colonel, he gave me a written order, and on that authority General
McPherson at once gave me his instructions, and furnished me with funds
to supply myself with an outfit. I also received from Colonel Hillyer a
large roll of Confederate money, with which to bear my expenses.

My instructions were to go down on the Hernando road from Memphis to
Grenada, and see how many troops were there, and whether the enemy was
fortifying at that place, and whether appearances indicated a
determination to remain there long. I was then to go on to Jackson,
Miss., and see how many troops were there, and ascertain, if I could,
from a reliable source, whether the rebs were still operating the
Confederate States armory at Columbus, Miss., or had removed it, as had
been reported, to the State of Alabama. Then I was to go to Clinton,
Miss., and see how many troops were there; and then to Edwards' Station,
and see how many were there; and then to Black River bridge, and see its
defenses, and gather all the information that I could concerning them,
and find out, if possible, how many forces were at Haines' Bluff; and
then return to Memphis, and if General McPherson was not there, to
follow down the Mississippi River until I found him.

When he had finished his instructions, I said to him, "General, I am
confident that I can get to Jackson, Mississippi, easy enough; but what
excuse can I make, or business can I pretend to have, that will call me
to Black River bridge? Why not instruct me to go on to Vicksburg, and
then there can be no suspicion on my visit to the bridge."

He replied, "Ruggles, the Government has sent six men into Vicksburg
already, and none of them have returned; it is of no use to send out men
unless they return. Act your pleasure about it, but go no further than
you can go and get back."

I felt uneasy about trying to go to Black River bridge without going to
Vicksburg, and I did not like to assume the responsibility without
saying something about it, for fear I might fail to get back. I decided
to go in only on condition that circumstances favored a certainty of

The disguise that I chose was that of a well-to-do Southern planter,
accompanied by a servant--myself on horseback and my servant mounted
upon a mule. Spence went with me as servant. We were both of us richly
dressed. I carried on my shoulders a pair of field-glasses, and had in
my possession a splendid gold watch, which was furnished me as a part of
my outfit, and afterward given to me by General Grant. My hair, at that
time, was very long, hanging down upon my shoulders. I wore a very
broad-brimmed black hat.

Every thing being ready, I started out on the road leading to Hernando
on the morning of the 24th day of February, 1863. When we were fairly
outside of the Federal lines, Spence began to reflect on what the
consequences would be if I were found out to be a spy. After riding
several miles without saying a word, and appearing to be more than
usually serious, he said: "Mr. Bunker, a'n't you gwine right down in
among de rebils?"

"Yes; why?"

"If de secesh dun git us, won't dey hang us both?"

"You keep that to yourself; if you don't they will certainly hang us
both. Remember what I say: all you have to do is to obey me promptly at
all times. You must be my nigger--raised with me, and just a day and a
half older than I am. Do you understand me?"

"I spects dat I do."

"No matter," I continued, "how much I scold or boot you, you must carry
out the character of a tip-top genteel nigger waiter; and you must make
every body think that you have got the _best master_ in the world. Can
you do it?"

"I spects dat I can."

Spence was too deeply impressed with the reality of the situation to say
much; but, however much he feared the consequences of a discovery, he
acted well the part assigned him, and that, too, knowing the certain
fate awaiting him if my real character should be found out.

At the time that I started, the weather had been rainy for some time,
and the ground had become completely saturated with water, the roads
muddy, and the streams very high. I had gone but about twenty miles,
when I found that the bridges across the streams had all been destroyed
either by the enemy or swept off by the water, and that they were too
high for me to ford them.

I then turned to go back to Memphis, but I found that a squad of
guerrillas had got between me and the city. Not wishing to encounter
them, I made my way across to Lafayette, a town on the Memphis and
Charleston Railroad. At that place I found Brigadier-General Lee
(formerly Colonel of the 7th Kansas Cavalry). I called on him, and
requested him to inform General McPherson that on account of the high
water, I was unable to get through on the Hernando road. From Lafayette
I went to Lagrange, at which place I found General Denver. I requested
of him a pass to go through his lines. He inquired who I was. I told
him, and, to convince him, showed him the order Colonel Hillyer gave me
to scout, in Memphis; but, for some reason, best known to himself, he
took the order away from me. It was raining at the time I asked for the
pass, and I requested to have it dated for the next day. The Adjutant
remarked that if I had it dated a day ahead it would afford me a _fine
opportunity to see how many forces they had before I went out_. A pass
was granted me, however, to go out, but not to return, and I remained at
Lagrange until the next day. I think that General Denver doubted my
being a Federal scout. Not expecting to pass any Federal lines, except
when I left Memphis, I had no pass proper for the occasion, and showed
the order that I had for want of something better.

I put up at a house of entertainment kept by a Mr. Lee, where I met with
a cotton-buyer by the name of Hall, who was boarding at the same place.
In the course of our conversation, something was said about a noted
guerrilla by the name of Sol. Street. I remarked, "I don't see how it
comes that Sol. Street has managed to make himself so noted; he is a
man that very little was said about before the war."

"Do you know Sol. Street?" said the cotton-buyer.

"Yes, I have known him for ten or twelve years. I knew him when he lived
in Memphis, and then afterward when he lived on Island 40, and then
again when he moved up to the foot of Island 37."

"Now, see here," said Hall; "you want to make money and I want to make
money, and now is the time to do it. If you are acquainted with Sol.
Street, you can arrange the matter so as to make a handsome thing of it
for both of us."

"How so?"

"Well, I will tell you. Sol. Street has got about eighty guerrillas
stationed back in the country a few miles, and in their rear is a large
amount of cotton. I have seen it, and it is worth eighty cents a pound.
Sol. Street likes money as well as either you or I. Now, if you will see
him, and get him to give you a writing that he will withdraw his men for
ten days, and let Government teams in there, without molesting them, to
haul the cotton away, I will give Sol. one-half of the proceeds of the
cotton, at eighty cents a pound, and I will give you five thousand
dollars of my share, and you shall see the cotton weighed and carry
Sol.'s money to him."

"That would really be a nice little spec, wouldn't it?"

"Yes; and now is the time to strike."

"Well, I am going down into the Confederacy to be gone several days,
perhaps two weeks, and I will try and see Sol. Street and find out what
he will do about it, and I will let you know on my return."

"Well, do. I am sure that you can't make five thousand dollars easier."

In the morning, I resumed my journey, and had proceeded as far as
Waterford, when I accidentally come across Sol. Street. He immediately
recognized me as an old acquaintance. After conversing awhile, I said to
him, "Sol., you like to make money and so do I, and it don't matter much
how we make it, either. I know of a chance for both of us to make

"Well, what is it?"

"There is a large lot of cotton in the country, to the rear of your men,
and there is a Yankee cotton-buyer, that has seen the cotton, who says
that it is worth eighty cents a pound, and that if you will agree to
withdraw your men for ten days, and allow him, unmolested, to haul the
cotton out with Federal teams, he will sell the cotton and pay over to
me one-half of the proceeds of the cotton for you, and will give me five
thousand dollars. What do you think of that, Sol.?"

"Will you be responsible to me for my share?"

"Yes, I will, and I think it is as fine a chance for you to make a
little fortune, and do it easy, as you will ever have. What do you say,
will you do it?"

"Yes, I will; I am bound to make money out of this war, and I don't care
a d--n how I do it."

"That's the understanding then, is it?"

"Yes, and when you get ready to have the cotton out, let me know it, and
I'll withdraw the men."

However well I had completed the arrangements, I had no intention of
participating in a traffic of that kind on my own responsibility. I
relate it merely that the reader may see one of the internal phases of
this monstrous rebellion. Others have made money in that way.

The journey from Waterford to Grenada was a painfully lonesome one. Not
a human being, save a few citizens at Oxford, were seen to enliven the
solitude that prevailed. Scarcely a living being was to be seen, save
perhaps, now and then, a poor, old, blind and crippled mule or horse, in
the last stages of starvation. Even the feathered songsters of the
forest seemed to realize the utter desolation that prevailed, and lent,
by their silence and seclusion, to that inexpressible gloom. Scarcely a
fence or plantation-house remained to mark the place where happiness and
prosperity had once existed. Huge chimney-stacks pointed out where the
consuming elements had been, and stood as monuments of retribution that
was being meted out to those whose folly had led them to participate in
their own fearful destruction. I involuntarily exclaimed, "Surely, the
way of the transgressor is hard!"

On my arrival at the rebel lines, near Grenada, I experienced no
difficulty in passing, and, without having met with any obstacles after
leaving the Federal lines, I found myself once more a sojourner in
Grenada. I found about 14,000 troops stationed there, composed of
infantry, cavalry and artillery, and considerably improved in appearance
since my last visit to the place.

I repaired at once to General Price's head-quarters, and there I found
General Wheeler, whom I have mentioned as having met before in the rebel
army, at General Van Dorn's head-quarters. I asked General Price for a
pass to visit Jackson, and for the privilege of leaving my horse and
mule with his head-quarter horses until my return, which was granted.
While there, I found out that General Wheeler had just received a permit
to visit Jackson, so I proposed to accompany him, to which he assented,
and we both took the cars together.

At the depot I met with an old acquaintance from Arkansas, from whom I
learned that three of my old bear-hunting comrades, by the names of
Samuel Teel, Henry Thomas, and Lemuel McIntosh, were in the 10th
Arkansas Infantry, and that the regiment was at Edwards' Station, four
miles from Black River. I knew that Teel had been a regular cane-brake
ranger, and I concluded that, if I could find him, I could contrive some
way to get safely to Black River bridge.

On our way down, General Wheeler told me that President Davis was to be
at Jackson, and that his business down there was to see the President.
The idea of seeing Jeff. Davis pleased me. I told the General that I was
glad to hear that the President was to be there, for I had never been so
fortunate as to have met him, and that I should be very happy to make
his acquaintance. He promised that if an opportunity occurred, he would
give me an introduction.

On our arrival at Jackson, we repaired at once to the Confederate
House, registered our names, and procured rooms. Before I had been shown
to my room, a General (I learned afterward) from South Carolina, stepped
up to me, and, taking my field-glasses from my shoulders and placing
them upon his own, said: "Citizens have no use for such things, and
Generals have."

"Take them, General; take them along, sir! I am willing to do any thing
for our Government. You are perfectly welcome, sir."

I knew that it would do no good to object, but I should have been better
pleased if he had as much as thanked me for them, but, instead, he
walked off with as much dignity as if "Monarch of all he surveyed."

Shortly after our arrival, I entered the sitting-room, in company with
General Wheeler, where we found President Davis and his attendants, and
Lieutenant-General Joe Johnston. Among the attendants were several
Generals, whose names I did not learn; one of them, however, had my
field-glasses. General Wheeler approached the President and introduced
himself, and then introduced me as a brother of General Ruggles. He also
introduced me, in the same way, to General Johnston.


I remained at the Confederate House four days, at an expense of thirteen
dollars per day for myself and servant. During our stay, Spence came in
for his share of notoriety. He was remarkably attentive to my wants and
scrupulously exact in all his arrangements of my toilet. His own
clothing was richer than that of any body-servant at the hotel, and
he kept it perfectly clean. His superior dress helped him wonderfully in
carrying out the character he had assumed. It was really amusing to
observe his lofty and dignified bearing among those of his own color.

After having seen what I could to advantage in Jackson, I went to
General Johnston and showed him my pass from General Price, and told him
that I wanted him, if agreeable to his good will and pleasure, to give
me a permit to visit Vicksburg and return. I told him that I had some
friends in there, and, as we did not always know what might be the
fortunes of war, I was extremely anxious to see them. He made no
hesitation about it, but immediately ordered the required pass for a
period of ten days, subject to the approval of the Provost-marshal in
Vicksburg, whenever I wished to return.

I took the cars the same day, and went into Vicksburg, where I remained
two days. I found a force of ten regiments of infantry there, and, as
near as I could judge, 2,000 heavy artillery. From what I could learn,
there was at Haines' Bluff about 12,000 troops. The batteries along the
river were very formidable, and seemed to me sufficient, if well served,
to annihilate any water craft that might undertake to pass.

At the expiration of two days, I went to the Provost-marshal and got my
pass approved, and returned as far as Edwards' Station, where I had the
good fortune to find my old friends, whose names I have mentioned. They
were very much delighted to see me. Sam. Teel still carried his old
favorite rifle, which he called "Old Bill." Many a bear had I seen
succumb to its unerring aim. The next day after my arrival, Sam. Teel
procured a pass for himself and three others (mentioning our names) to
visit Black River and fish. We went directly to the bridge, and then
rambled up and down the stream as much as we pleased. Teel showed me how
they had blockaded the river below the bridge by sinking two small
steamboats, one a little above the other, to keep our gun-boats from
coming up to the bridge. The bridge and its approaches was guarded by a
force of 1,000 men. It was nearly night when we returned to camp. At
Edwards' Station, I found a force of 40,000 men. I remained there five
days, and then returned to Jackson on foot.

At Clinton, a smart little place, ten miles west of Jackson, I saw one
regiment of infantry. At Jackson there was but one regiment of infantry;
that was the 17th Mississippi Zouaves, called the "Pride of the
Confederacy," and armed with Colt's revolving rifles. I was informed in
Jackson that the armory at Columbus, Miss., had been removed into the
State of Alabama.

Having found out all that had been required of me in my instructions, I
thought it was best to return. Accordingly, I again visited General
Johnston, and requested a pass to Grenada, which was granted.

On arriving at General Price's head-quarters, I found that during my
absence my horse had been stolen. I made no complaint about it, but
continued my journey with my mule and servant. Just before night, on
the first day out from Grenada, I passed a stable that contained a very
good-looking horse. I proceeded on about two miles, and halted until
after dark, when, leaving my servant and mule until my return, I went
back and took possession of the horse.

We then rode all night, and the next day until nearly night, without
halting, for fear that the owner of the horse would get track of us and
follow on after. We succeeded, however, in making our way to the Federal
lines without difficulty.

On our arrival at Memphis, being unable to procure transportation down
the river for my horse and mule, I turned the former over to the post
Quartermaster, and left the latter at my old boarding place, on Adams
street. It was the same mule that had been given to me by General Ross,
and taken from me by the outlaws. I then took a steamboat passage to
Lake Providence, La., where I found General McPherson.

Having heard my report, the General expressed a doubt about the two
steamboats that I have spoken of being sunk in Black River, below the
bridge. In order to test my reliability, he questioned me about what
kind of a man General Wheeler was, his stature, weight, complexion,
etc., and let on that he was a very large man. I told him that he was
mistaken, or else the General Wheeler that he knew and the one that I
knew were two different persons. He then told me that he and General
Wheeler both attended the Military School at West Point at the same
time, and that he knew him well, and that I described him exactly. I
afterward had an opportunity of proving to him that I was correct about
the sunken steamboats, by taking him in person to the place and showing
him the remains of them.

After I had finished my report to General McPherson, he sent me to
General Grant, who was then at Milliken's Bend, La. I reported to him
all the particulars of my trip, even to the conversation that I had held
with Hall, the cotton-buyer, and Sol. Street, the guerrilla. I also
asked the General if there would be any harm in such outside
transactions. I told him that if I was allowed to do it, I could pay my
own expenses in the secret service, and thereby save that much expense
to the Government.

Said he, "Ruggles, don't you have any business transactions with
outlaws; if you do, I shall certainly disgrace you. Do a
straightforward, honest business for the Government, and then, if you
should ever need any assistance, come to me about it, and I will see
that you have all the help that you need. A good name, well earned, is
worth more to you than all you can make by unlawful traffic."

I think the General's advice was excellent. At all events, I have
followed it, and saved myself the disgrace that has since fallen upon
many, far my superiors in rank. I have never seen the cotton-buyer nor
the guerrilla since.


    Return to Mississippi--Instructions--Visit to Troy--Movement
      of cavalry--Reports to General Denver--Is arrested--Federal
      Cavalry driven back--Is released--Visits Greenwood--Journey
      to the Mississippi River--The perilous crossing--Again
      arrested--Interview with General Prentiss--Takes the oath
      of allegiance--Meets a friend--Makes his escape--Reports to
      General Grant.

When General Grant had heard my report of my Mississippi trip, he
supplied me with funds, and requested me to return into the Confederacy,
to whatever place I thought proper, and remain until I saw a movement
worthy of his notice, and then immediately return.

With these instructions, I started for Memphis, leaving my servant
Spence to report himself to my Captain.

At the time I undertook to make the trip, a part of the army operating
for the capture of Vicksburg was engaged in trying to get through the
Yazoo Pass into the Yazoo River. A part was at Lake Providence, a part
at Milliken's Bend, and the rest at Young's Point; the three latter
places are in Louisiana, and the former in Mississippi.

I made up my mind to visit that part of Mississippi through which any
force designing to operate against General Grant's movements might be
seen in time to communicate the fact to General Grant.

Supposing that I might have swamps and rivers to cross, which would have
to be accomplished in canoes or on rafts, I determined to make the trip
on foot.

I left Memphis some time in the latter part of March, in the same dress
that I had worn on the previous trip, and directed my course to Grenada,
on the Hernando road. I met with nothing of interest on the entire road
to Grenada, a distance of one hundred miles.

On my arrival at Grenada, I found the forces that were there on my last
visit to the place, under command of General Price, gone, except the

General Price, as I learned afterward, had gone to Missouri. At that
time, however, I supposed his forces were at Fort Pemberton, near
Greenwood, Miss., resisting the advance of the Federal force through the
Yazoo Pass.

From Grenada I intended to visit Yazoo City, and left for that purpose
the next morning after my arrival, on the road to Troy, which place I
reached about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There I remained until the
next morning, and was about resuming my journey, when a force of five
regiments of cavalry made its appearance, coming in on the same road
that I intended to take out. They passed through Troy, and took the
direct road to Coffeeville. I followed them on foot, and on my arrival
at Coffeeville, I found them halted for the night. I had been there
only a few minutes, when another cavalry force of five regiments came in
on the road from Grenada, and halted for the night.

The next morning a council was held by the commanding officers, but I
was unable to learn the subject of discussion. The opinion prevailed
among the troops that they were part of a force designed to take

I was of a different opinion. I did not think that they could bring to
bear a sufficient force to take the place, and from what I had heard
from some of the officers, I concluded they intended an attempt to
capture Fort Randolph, above Memphis, and intercept the supplies being
sent below for General Grant's army. I felt convinced that the movement
was of such importance as to warrant me in reporting it, and, not
knowing how rapid the movement might be, I determined to report to the
nearest Federal commander.

Soon after the council of officers was held, the force started--the
first five regiments on the road to Holly Springs, and the other five on
the road to Hernando. I accompanied the first.

One of the soldiers had an extra horse, which I persuaded him to let me
ride. The march was continued to Lumpkins' Mills, where the regiments
halted. There I turned my horse over to its owner, and before any
pickets were thrown out I was on my way to Lagrange, which place I
succeeded in reaching without any interruption.

At the Yacona River a little incident occurred which amused me
considerably. Previous to evacuating that position, the Federal troops
destroyed the bridge across the river. The water in the stream at that
place was quite shallow, but the mud was exceedingly soft and very deep,
and the banks at the immediate edge of the water very steep and high for
a horse to step from. The General in command of the force attempted to
cross in advance of his command, and his horse, in stepping from the
edge of the bank into the water with its forefeet, plunged in so
unexpectedly deep that he precipitated the General over his head into
the water, all over. By the time he had established himself on _terra
firma_, he was, from his sousing in the mud and water, a ludicrous
looking personage.

On my arrival at Lagrange, I immediately reported the movements of the
enemy to General Denver. For some reason, best known to himself, he did
not credit my report, and detained me under arrest until he could
ascertain the truth of the matter.

I told the General my instructions, and assured him that I thought the
movement of the enemy was one worthy of notice. A regiment of cavalry
was then sent out to reconnoiter, and when near Holly Springs they
encountered the enemy, and a sharp engagement took place, in which the
superior numbers of the enemy enabled them to drive the Federals back,
with a loss of eighteen killed and wounded. At the end of three days the
regiment returned, and the General was convinced that a _part of my
report_, _at least, was true_. He then told me that I had better report
the movement to General Grant.

I replied, "I have been of that opinion for _three days_."

I then determined to penetrate the country between Hernando and
Coffeeville to Greenwood, and find out the locality of the other five
regiments of cavalry, and see the position and force of the enemy at
Greenwood, and, if possible, communicate with General Ross, and then
make my way across to the Mississippi River, and then to General Grant's
head-quarters at Milliken's Bend, La.

In crossing the country, I left Hernando to my right, but learned, by
citizens, that the cavalry stopped at that place, and that General
Hurlbut had sent a small force of cavalry to reconnoiter, which, like
the one General Denver sent out, was driven back with considerable loss.

On arriving at Greenwood, I found that the principal part of the rebel
force was twenty miles below; to which place I went. The force there at
that time was a division of fourteen regiments of infantry, under
General Tighlman, and one other division of infantry, under whose
command I did not learn, and some artillery.

At the time of my arrival, the rebs had erected a battery on a flat near
the river, which they flattered themselves would do immense execution
upon the Yankee fleet. The Yankees, during its erection, cut the levee
above, and in the morning the rebs were chagrined to find the flat
overflowed with three feet of water.

I was exceedingly anxious to communicate with General Ross, and the
cutting of the levee had very much increased the difficulty of doing so.
I made a great many inquiries concerning the Yankee fleet and the danger
of crossing to the opposite side of the river. The soldiers assured me
that every person that had attempted to cross had been fired into by the
Federal gun-boats. The overflow of water made it impossible to reach
General Ross from the side I was on. My anxiety to do so caused me to
make several indiscreet inquiries of the rebel soldiers, which, I was
convinced, made them somewhat suspicious of me, and I thought it not
advisable to remain there longer than was absolutely necessary.

On reflecting upon what course to pursue, I decided that the safest way
would be for me to make my way to the Mississippi River, opposite
Helena. With that determination, I left the rebel force in the afternoon
of the next day after my arrival, and retraced my way twelve miles
toward Greenwood, and there I took to the left on the bluff road that
leads to the river, opposite Helena.

So strong had my fears been excited for my safety, by the suspicions
caused by my indiscreet inquiries, that I did not feel safe to stop at
any plantation-house over night, but stayed by myself in the woods.

Fortunately, the enemy did not suspicion me strong enough to induce them
to follow. After seven days' hard walking, I arrived at Crowder's
plantation, on the Mississippi River, near the foot of Island No. 60,
without any molestation.

I was then three miles from Helena, with the Father of Waters between,
and no means of transportation across. I immediately commenced a search
for some means of crossing. After spending several hours in search of a
boat, I found a Dutchman, who owned an old leaky dug-out, which was very
small and extremely unsafe for even one person to cross in. I concluded,
however, that if I could buy it, I would make an attempt. The Dutchman
asked me ten dollars for it, and could not be induced to take any thing
less. I took it, at last, and paid him ten dollars in Confederate money.

I embarked in it and undertook to cross. The water came in on me
rapidly, and by the time I had reached the sand-bar at the foot of
Island 60, my frail bark was so full of water that I was in imminent
danger of going down.

I landed on the bar, and drew my dug-out up on the sand and emptied out
the water. I had still all of two miles further to go, without any
intervening place on which to land, and before re-embarking it was
necessary to contrive some way to stop the leaks.

Nine years previous to that time I had been engaged in chopping
steamboat wood on that very island. Two winters I had chopped wood
there; consequently, I was no stranger to the locality.

About a quarter of a mile from where I landed, near an old
wood-chopper's shanty, I found an old shirt; with that I stopped some of
the worst leaks, which, having accomplished, I re-embarked on my
perilous voyage. I kept my bark to the north of the middle bar, and ran
into the Sterling chute, and then landed at Helena, near the foot of
Main street.

The moment my dug-out touched the shore, two guards stood ready to
capture me, and accosted me with:

"Halloo, old fellow! what's the news on the other side of the river?"

"The news is favorable," I replied.

"Well, I reckon we'll have to take you to the Provost-marshal," said one
of the guards.

"Boys, I am a soldier, and I want you to take me to the General in
command of the post."

"Our instructions are to take all such customers as you are to the

"I can't help that I am a Federal soldier, and I want you to take me to
the General."

They then called the corporal of the guard. I knew him; he belonged to
the 25th Indiana Infantry. I had frequently seen him in Memphis, during
my stay there in the winter; but he knew me as my secesh acquaintances
had known me--as a rebel Major. I prevailed on him, however, to send me
to the General, whom I learned from him was General Prentiss.

As soon as we arrived at the General's quarters, the guards explained
how they had captured me, and then returned to their post, leaving me
with the General.

When ready to attend to me, he said: "Well, where do you belong?"

"To General Grant's army."

"What are you doing here?"

"I came in from the other side of the river."

"What do you want here?"

"I want to take a steamboat down the river and report myself to General

"Yes, to General Grant! That would be a nice way to get off! I guess the
best place for you to report is to the Provost-marshal!"

"General, I am a Mississippian, and a soldier sworn into the service of
the United States; and I belong to the Army of the Tennessee, under
General Grant; the 17th Army Corps, General McPherson; the 3d Division,
General Logan; the 2d Brigade, General Leggett; the 20th Ohio Regiment,
Col. M. F. Force, and to company H, Capt. E. C. Downs; and I am detached
as a scout for General Grant."

"Yes, a _Mississippian_! There are a _great many_ Mississippians coming
into our lines nowadays! Have you any papers to show that?"

"No, sir, I have not; but I can tell you all the principal movements of
the Federal army on the east side of the Mississippi River, since the
capture of Fort Donelson, up to the present time."

"Well, what are they?"

I then told him what they were, and where General Grant's forces then
were; and then I added, "I can tell you all about your surrendering at
Shiloh, and what Confederate regiments captured you."

"Well, that's quite likely; I suspected you could do as much. Now tell
me about the movements of the army in Missouri and Arkansas."

"I can't do that, General."

"No, I don't expect that you can. I will now give you the following
limits: You can go from my quarters to the Commercial House, and from
there to the Provost-marshal's office and back; and if you undertake to
get away I'll have you shot."

"General, I left papers in General Denver's possession, at Lagrange,
Tennessee, that will show who I am and what my business is."

"Well, you can have the limits that I have given you, and if you have
got papers to show who you are, the Provost-marshal will write for you
and get them."

From the General's quarters I went to the Provost-marshal, and requested
him to write to General Denver for the order he took from me, when on my
way to Vicksburg and Jackson, Miss. I learned from him that there was an
order, from the commander of the post, requiring all citizens within the
lines to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government by 9
o'clock of the next Day, or be sent outside of the lines toward Little

I went to General Prentiss the next morning, and again assured him that
I was a Federal soldier, and asked him if he required me to take the
oath of allegiance.

He replied, "Yes; and unless you do, you will have to leave the lines
before 9 o'clock this morning." I then went to the Provost-marshal and
took the oath.

I had hoped that in doing so I would be released, and allowed the full
privilege of a citizen; but, for some reason not known to me, I was not
released from the limits assigned to me. I could not make General
Prentiss nor the Provost-marshal believe that I was a soldier. Several
of the soldiers in the 25th Indiana Regiment, on provost duty, had known
me in Memphis, in my assumed character; but I could not make them
believe that I was a Federal soldier. I had very little hopes of getting
the order that General Denver had taken from me; but I felt almost sure
that among the great number of officers that I knew in General Grant's
army, some of them would stop at Helena, either going up or down the
river, and, with their assistance, I thought I could get released. It
seemed to me as if every steamer would have on board some one of my
numerous acquaintances; but one came, and then another, and still
another, and in that way day after day passed by, and no familiar face
was seen. In that way I spent nine days in anxious suspense.

At the levee, within the limits allowed me, lay the steamer Imperial.
She was used for stationary purposes, and on board was kept a saloon and
various refreshments. I was allowed to go on board of her whenever I

On the ninth day after my arrest, I happened to be on board of her, when
the steamer Continental came down the river, and, stopping, made fast
alongside of her. Before the guards made their appearance, I jumped
aboard the Continental and ran up into the cabin, in search of some
person that I knew.

There I found Colonel Marsh, of the 20th Illinois Regiment. He knew me.
I told him how I came to be there, and that I wanted to run away and
report myself to General Grant. He was going on shore at the time. He
handed me the key to his state-room and told me to make myself at home,
and when the boat started he would join me. In the course of an hour we
were under way, and without any molestation from the provost guards.
Whether the Provost-marshal ever received my order from General Denver,
or whether General Prentiss ever found out what became of me, is more
than I know.

I reported to General Grant the result of my trip, and why I had been so
long in getting to him. He said that I had done right in coming back
when I did, but that I should have reported the cavalry movement to
General Hurlbut, at Memphis. He then relieved me from duty for thirty
days, and allowed me to return to my regiment.

I will here say, that I have no doubt that Generals Denver and Prentiss
acted in good faith on their part, and had what seemed to them good and
sufficient reasons for detaining me as they did.

All the conversation that I had with General Prentiss was no more than a
Confederate spy might have had under the same circumstances.

Papers I very seldom carry about me when inside of the enemies lines;
and in the absence of such evidence, it is sometimes very hard to
convince one's own friends of his loyalty, and equally as hard for the
enemy to make him out a spy.


    Return to the regiment--The Henry rifle--The march from
      Milliken's Bend--The tug of war--The army crosses the
      Mississippi--Capture of Port Gibson--Battle of
      Raymond--Amusing Capture--The charge on Jackson--Battle of
      Champion Hills--The rebel courier--Sharp-shooting--The
      gallant charge--The march to Vicksburg--The place besieged.

It was about the middle of the month of April that I returned to my
regiment, which I found encamped at Berry's Landing, five miles above
Lake Providence, La. It was while there that I had an opportunity of
examining one of Henry's volcanic or repeating rifles, which are capable
of discharging seventeen shots without reloading. The one that I saw was
in the possession of the Captain of the steamboat Superior.

From my first enlistment I had possessed a strong desire to have a
first-class rifle of the most modern improvement. The promise of such a
gun was the principal condition on which I enlisted. It was several
months after I enlisted before I received in exchange for my "handspike"
(musket) the Enfield that was promised to me. My company officers,
however, did all they could to furnish me with the promised gun. My long
experience as a bear-hunter in the Western wilderness had made me
expert with the rifle, and my desire to have a piece with which I could
excel at sharp-shooting, if ever an opportunity offered, had become
intense, and the organizing campaign against Vicksburg seemed to promise
the desired opportunity.

I went to General Grant and told him about the gun, and that I wished to
purchase it and carry it. He asked me if I thought I could carry so
valuable a piece without losing it. "I think I can," was my reply.

"You lose mules, don't you?"

"Yes, but I _capture mules_. I am several mules ahead of what the
Government has furnished me now; but I can't capture Henry rifles."

"Very well; tell General McPherson to get you the rifle."

I saw General McPherson about it, and he gave me permission to purchase
and carry it.

It was a most beautiful piece, with steel barrel and chamber. The
Captain who owned it was so much attached to it that he hated to part
with it, but at last he yielded to my importunities, and sold me the
rifle for sixty-five dollars, including what cartridges he had.

My release from duty afforded me a splendid opportunity of practicing
with it. I was perfectly delighted with its execution. Its accuracy and
long range was a marvel compared with the best feats of marksmanship
that I had seen among experienced hunters.

A few days after I purchased the rifle, the grand move of the army
against Vicksburg commenced. Several gun-boats and transports had
already run the blockade of the formidable batteries that commanded the
river. It was on the 25th day of April, 1863, at 6 o'clock, A. M., that
the 2d Brigade of General Logan's Division, to which I belonged, moved
from Milliken's Bend. That night the division bivouacked at Richmond,
and the following night at Smith's plantation.

A heavy rain set in at the commencement of the march, which filled the
ground and water-courses full of water, which made the roads across
those rich alluvial bottoms extremely soft, and easily cut up by the
artillery and supply wagons. From Smith's plantation to Perkins'
plantation, eight miles below New Carthage, was only fifteen miles, but
it took us two days to make the march. That march was really a "_tug of
war_." The horses and mules floundered in the mud. At times, it was with
the greatest difficulty, after doubling the teams, that the artillery
and wagons were extricated from those miry depths. The men, however,
kept up an indomitable good-will and courage, which carried us through.
It was 9 o'clock, P. M., when we halted for the night, and at 12
o'clock, the same night, we started for Hard-Times Landing, situated a
short distance above Grand Gulf, on the opposite side of the river. The
march was made by way of Lake St. Joseph, and it was 4 o'clock, P. M.,
of the 29th, when we reached Hard-Times Landing.

On the 1st of May we crossed the river to Bruinsburg. It was on that day
that General Osterhaus' division and two brigades of General Logan's
division captured Port Gibson. From that time until the 12th of May,
the troops were engaged in following up the enemy and harassing him. Our
general course of march was to the north-east, toward Jackson.

On the 12th, General Logan's division being in the advance, when within
ten miles of Raymond, the enemy, about 5,000 strong, including two
batteries of artillery, under command of General Gregg, was found
advantageously posted, with the artillery so arranged as to sweep the
road and a bridge that it was necessary to pass.

The division was formed in line preparatory to an attack, with the 2d
Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Dennis, on the left, occupying
both sides of the road; the 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General
John E. Smith, in the center, on the right of the 2d Brigade; and the
3rd Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General J. D. Stephenson, on the
right, and the 8th Michigan Battery, commanded by Captain De Golyer, in
the road near the bridge.

As soon as the troops were in position, an advance was commenced, and
the battle opened with great energy. The roar of musketry was
tremendous. On the left of the 1st Brigade and the right of the 2d
Brigade the contest was dreadful. The line had advanced to the ditch in
which ran the little stream crossed by the bridge. On the side of the
ditch next to the enemy was a dense growth of underbrush; behind that
brush, not fifty yards distant, were the enemy. So heavily did the enemy
press the left of the 1st Brigade, composed of the 23d Indiana and the
20th Illinois, that they were compelled to give back, but immediately
rallied, supported by the 81st Illinois. The giving back of the left of
the 1st Brigade enabled the enemy to occupy a portion of the ditch, and
exposed the 20th Ohio, occupying the right of the 2d Brigade, to a most
galling fire in its flank. At one time the regiment was nearly
surrounded, but it gallantly held its ground, in spite of the terrible
fire to which it was exposed, and not a man of the regiment fell back.

The 23d Indiana and 20th Illinois now made a dashing charge, and drove
the enemy from the ground that they had lost. It was while gallantly
leading his men on to victory that the brave Lieutenant-Colonel
Richards, of the 20th Illinois, was killed. An attempt was made by the
enemy to charge and capture the battery, but they were met by such a
terrible fire of grape and canister, that they broke and fled from the
field. Our troops immediately commenced a pursuit, and by 5 o'clock, P.
M., were in possession of Raymond.

The determined obstinacy with which the 20th Ohio, under the gallant
Colonel Force, held its ground, added much to the brilliancy of the
victory. Our loss was 69 killed, 341 wounded, and 30 missing. The
enemy's was 103 killed, and 720 wounded and prisoners, 2 cannon
disabled, besides the loss of a quantity of small arms.

In the morning of the 12th, after the column had commenced its line of
march, General Grant sent me out to the right of the column, to
ascertain whether a rebel force was coming up from below to intercept
our line of march.

After riding out about three miles, I saw, in the distance, a single
horseman approaching. As I neared him, it proved to be a Mississippi
planter, well advanced in years, armed with a Mississippi Yager, or

"Whar be you gwine?" he asked, as we met.

"I'm gwine out to jine our forces and fight the Yankees to-day," I

"So am I. I'm jist gwine to turn up sixteen Yankee moccasins with this
yer piece o' mine."

"If I can kill six o' them thar Lincoln hirelings, I'll be satisfied."

"Well, I'm gwine to kill _sixteen, now, sure_."

"Well, take care that they don't _git you_. Is any of our forces out on
this yer road?"

"No. I've jist come eight miles without seeing any. They left for
Raymond last night, an' they ar jist a gwine to kill the whole Lincoln

"We had better go this way, then," said I, turning back the way I had

"I reckon we had," said the Mississippian.

As we rode along, he kept up his boasting of how many Yanks he was gwine
to turn up, little dreaming whom he was addressing. Fortunately for me,
the road on which the column was moving passed through a piece of
woodland, so as to hide all movements of troops. When we came to it, the
rear-guard of the 17th Corps had passed along out of sight, and the
advance of the corps next in line of march had not come up. As we turned
into the right, where our troops had been passing, I caught sight of
two Federal soldiers, sitting by the roadside, who had fallen back from
their commands. Dropping a little to the rear, I drew my revolver and
motioned to the soldiers to help me. I was a little afraid the old
fellow would give me battle as soon as he discovered his mistake, and I
wanted to make sure of him. The soldiers comprehended my meaning, and
instantly leveled their pieces at him, which, discovering, he halted,
and inquired, "Is them thar our forces?"

"Never mind whose forces they are," said I, presenting my revolver; "you
go right along."

"I thought it was _our_ forces," said the old man, quite crest-fallen at
his discovery.

"Come in there, old fellow! come in!" shouted the two soldiers.

"Ride along, daddy, or those Yanks will bore you in a minute," said I.

He took my advice, and rode up to the soldiers, where I made him turn
his horse over to one of them and his rifle to the other, and then
marched him on, at a rapid pace, to overtake the command.

We came in sight of our lines just as the first firing commenced in
action at Raymond. As the musket reports became frequent, the old man's
courage failed him, and he began to quiver and grow pale; and when the
action became general, and the messengers of death came thick around us,
his limbs could scarce support him, and he exclaimed, "My God! is that a
fight? Won't we all be killed? If I can only get out of this yer scrape,
I'll go home and behave myself! My God, I will!"

I turned the old man in with the first squad of prisoners that came back
to the rear, and then reported to General Grant, who had a hearty laugh
over the capture of the old Mississippian. I presume the old man often
thinks of his attempt to _turn up sixteen Yankee moccasins_!

On the 13th we resumed our march for Jackson, by way of Clinton. On the
14th, about five miles from Jackson, the enemy's pickets were
encountered, and driven back to within two and a half miles of the city.
The enemy was under command of General W. H. T. Walker, and occupied the
top of a gradually ascending rise of ground, with a large open space in
his front. Many of General Walker's troops were South Carolina and
Georgia regiments, and had only arrived there from the east the night

Preparations were now made to give the enemy battle. General Sherman's
corps had arrived at the same time, on another road, to the right.
General Logan's division was placed in reserve. The 7th Division of
McPherson's corps, commanded by Brigadier-General Crocker, and part of
General Sherman's corps, were formed in close column, by division, to
charge upon the enemy. In our having to cross the open field, in full
view, the enemy had a decided advantage over us. When every thing was
ready, the command was given to charge on a double-quick, and the
columns moved forward.

It was a sight that I shall never forget, when those thousands of brave
boys, in perfect order, swept across that field! The rustle of garments,
and the flapping of scabbards, cartridge-boxes, and canteens, to the
tread of double-quick from that large body of soldiers, moving in close
column, was like the roar of the tornado when it sweeps across the

Opposed to them was a long line of Rebellion's choicest troops, pouring
into them volley after volley of leaden hail. Still, on they went,
without a waver! It was a terrible spectacle, and awfully grand! Mingled
with the roar of the enemy's musketry was the crash of artillery from
both sides.

The charge swept on. Still the enemy held his ground, as if determined
to withstand the charge, and a dreadful encounter seemed imminent. A
line of fence in front of the enemy was reached, and it vanished like
chaff in the wind before those solid columns of Western braves. With the
crash of that fence went the enemy's lines, and the pride of South
Carolina fled in dismay, followed by the veterans from Georgia, that had
been stationed as reserves. Then went up such shouts of victory as only
Western lungs can accent. Volley after volley was fired at their
retreating ranks, and pursuit kept up until they were driven beyond the
city. In five hours from the time the action commenced, the stars and
stripes were proudly floating over the capitol of the State of

Our loss was very light compared with that of the enemy--much lighter
than it would have been, if the enemy had not overshot us while crossing
the open field. For the casualties of the battle, the reader is referred
to the official reports of the commanding Generals.

As the troops were going into Jackson, I asked General Grant if I might
steal enough to make up for the field-glasses that the South Carolina
General had taken from me, when I was there as a spy.

"I can't instruct you to steal," said the General, "but I presume you
can find something in Jackson of as much value to you as the

The city had been so completely ransacked by the soldiers before I got
in, that I failed to get pay for my glasses.

On the 15th of May we marched west, toward Vicksburg, and on the 16th
the enemy was found in large force at Champion Hills, under command of
Lieutenant-General Pemberton. He had moved his army out from Vicksburg
to attack us. The position selected by the enemy was a strong one, on
the summit of an elevation, or ridge of ground, with a line something
like a crescent, the right and left of the line further advanced than
the center. The face of the hill, in front of the enemy, was an open
field, thereby exposing our lines to view as we advanced to the attack.
The enemy's lines were in the skirts of a piece of woods that extended
to his rear.

Early in the day, the battle commenced, opening on our left, and
extending gradually along to our right, until the whole line was
engaged, when it raged with intense fury. General Hovey's division, on
our left, from the much stronger position occupied by the enemy in its
front, suffered terribly; but timely support arrived, and the enemy was
driven back. An attempt was then made to crush our center, but made in
vain. Support having arrived to the assistance of the center, a dashing
charge was made and the enemy routed.

It was a desperate and hard-fought battle, with a heavy loss on both
sides, but that of the enemy was much the heaviest. Here, again, I must
refer the reader to the official reports for the casualties. It will not
be amiss, perhaps, to give the reader some of my personal experience in
that battle.

When the action commenced, I was instructed by General Logan to keep to
the right of each brigade of his division, as they successively arrived
in position and became engaged, and to watch closely for any attempt at
flank movement on the part of the enemy. My first position was with the
line of skirmishers of the 2d Brigade. About the time our skirmishing
commenced, a rebel courier was seen dashing along in a line nearly
parallel to the line of skirmishers from the right, and about one
hundred yards in advance of the line. When up with and in front of the
line, he discovered us and wheeled to the right, and was dashing away at
right angles with our line, when six of us brought our pieces to bear on
him and fired. He fell from his horse, with one foot fastened in the
stirrup. At that instant, the horse gave a leap over a log, and the
dangling body struck the log and bounded into the air higher than the
horse's back, and then struck the ground with a "thug" sufficient, to
all appearances, to have crushed every bone in his body.

A few minutes later, I saw a rebel Major leading his regiment forward to
charge upon one of our batteries. When I saw him he was not more than
fifty yards distant. In an instant I brought my "repeater" to my face,
and while I was looking at the prominent point of his right-cheek bone,
a ball took him in the exact spot that I was looking at, and he tumbled
from his horse.

I now discovered that, instead of a regiment, a whole brigade was
coming, and that our skirmishers had fallen back, and that I was in
range between McAlister's Battery and the rebs. I started on a run, and
fairly _flew_ as I went; but before I could get out of range, the
battery opened on the rebs with double charges of grape and canister,
which came howling and tearing the ground all about me. How I escaped
instant death is a wonder to me. I succeeded in getting out of the way
before another round was fired, quite satisfied with my experience

I then moved round much further to the right, and took with me a
corporal of the 20th Ohio, by the name of Wm. Grinnell, whom I found
engaged in sharp-shooting. After reconnoitering a little, we discovered
a rebel battery of eight guns, that kept up a harassing fire upon our
lines. We succeeded in sheltering ourselves from view, in close rifle
range of the guns, behind a large clump of bushes, and then commenced
paying our respects to the gunners. We were doing "bully" execution, and
had fired ten or twelve shots apiece, when the rebs returned our
compliments with a charge of canister that mowed the bushes all about
us. The charge made such a terrible whizzing and howling, and came so
suddenly and unexpectedly, that I involuntarily dropped to the ground.

"Are you hurt, Bunker?" called out the corporal.

"No; are you?"

"No; but if we had stood anywhere else we should both have been killed."

The ground was literally plowed up all about us.

A few minutes later, the 8th Illinois and 32d Ohio made a charge on the
battery to capture it. As the line advanced, there became a strife
between the two regiments which should reach it first and take
possession. The officers and men of the 32d Ohio had been smarting under
the false accusation of "Harper's Ferry cowards," and had longed for an
opportunity of retrieving their reputation.

"Come on, boys; we are 'Harper's Ferry cowards!'" shouted a Captain; and
the words were instantly repeated by the whole regiment, and with a dash
they outstripped their Illinois rivals. As they raised the hill near the
battery, a round of canister was fired at them, but, fortunately, it was
aimed too high to do much injury. The rebs then broke and run, leaving
six of their guns to fall into the hands of the 32d Ohio. Major-General
Logan complimented the regiment highly for its gallantry, and allowed
Company F to retain the guns and serve them. That company was originally
recruited as an artillery company.

On the 17th of May we resumed our march, and on the 18th we crossed
Black River, and on the 19th our lines extended around Vicksburg, from
the river above to the river below, occupying a line of about seven
miles in length.

Major-General Sherman's corps occupied the right, Major-General
McPherson's the center, and Major-General M'Clernand's the left. Then
began the siege of Vicksburg.

Up to the commencement of the siege, the troops had marched over two
hundred miles and taken part in five distinct battles, and accomplished
it in twenty-five days; and a large portion of that time they had been
without rations, except such as they foraged from the country.


    First sharp-shooting at Vicksburg--Silences two guns--The
      rifle-pit--Shoots a Carolinian--The Carolinian's
      comrade--Outshoots a squad of sixteen--The defiant
      rebel--Shoots for General McPherson and General
      Logan--Beats the Parrot rifles--Joke on the
      Adjutant-General--Visit to Admiral Porter--The French
      spy--The disclosures--Capture of a rebel dispatch--The fate
      of the spy.

I shall not attempt to give the reader a detailed history of the siege
of Vicksburg, but shall confine myself to incidents in my own experience
during the siege.

The country lying about the city of Vicksburg is of a very peculiar
formation--very hilly and extremely broken. It consists of threads, or
narrow ridges, with deep ravines between, running in every direction,
with spurs or smaller ridges putting out from them.

The lines occupied by the two contending armies were a succession of
those ridges, with a general course nearly parallel, but at unequal
distances apart, forming an irregular circuit about the city from the
river above to the river below.

The next day after the regiment to which I belong moved into its
position at the rear of Vicksburg, two pieces of the enemy's artillery
opened a very annoying fire upon it with shell. The men were under the
necessity of laying flat on the ground, behind the ridge, for
protection, and even then were in great danger from the explosion of the
shells. I went to Colonel Force and asked him if I might go and try my
hand at silencing the guns with my rifle.

He said, "Yes; but you must be very careful, for the shells are coming
very low."

I started out, and made my way along under cover of the ridge on which
we lay, until I came to one of the spurs mentioned, that approached much
nearer to the enemy's works than did the ridge occupied by the regiment.
From that I succeeded in getting a good view of the guns that were
shelling us. In front of me was a dry oak log, and underneath it I dug
out a hole that enabled me to shoot under it, and the log prevented the
enemy from seeing me.

As soon as I had become fixed in my position, I commenced to pick off
the gunners. I succeeded so well that only two shells were fired after I
took my position. Several ineffectual attempts were made to load the
guns, but the moment a gunner stepped up to fill the place of his fallen
comrade, I picked him off, and, finally, the guns were abandoned, and
the bodies of those that had fallen left where they fell.

My success seemed incredible. To put it beyond a doubt, I concluded to
go back and get some officer to come and see what execution I had done.
I went back to the regiment, where I found Colonel Force. I said to him,
"Colonel, I have silenced those two guns that were shelling us."

"I see they haven't fired much since you left."

"How many did they fire after I went away?"

"Only two or three, I believe."

"Well, now, Colonel, for my credit, please to go over with me where I
have been at work, and see what I have been doing."

"Really, I don't know as I ought to leave here a moment, but I want to
learn the lay of the ground, and I don't care if I go."

He followed along behind me to where I had been at work, and then
commenced looking with his glasses.

"See there! see--see--see that man leading that horse yonder!" "Do you
see him?" said he.


"Well, try him a pull."

"Don't get me excited, Colonel, but watch the man."

"Crack!" went my rifle.

"I declare!" said the Colonel, "that's--that's a valuable piece! Excuse
me, I must go back."

Rifle-trenches were immediately dug on the ridges of ground nearest the
enemy's works, and in them were stationed sharp-shooters, who kept up a
constant fire, night and day, which answered as a cover for our fatigue
parties engaged in digging approaches to his works, and also prevented
him from doing much execution with his artillery. Our artillery was not
idle but kept up a fire from some part of the line at all hours of the
day and night.

A few days after the siege was fairly in operation, General Logan asked
me to go out, at night, to an elevated spot of ground between our
rifle-trenches and the enemy's, on which stood a large stump, and dig
myself a pit behind the stump and see if I could pick off some of the
rebel sharp-shooters.

As soon as it was dark, I took a spade and a canteen of water and went
over. The spot was not more than fifty yards from the enemy's trenches.
During the night, I dug myself a pit large enough so that I could squat
down in it. When daylight came, I found that I had an excellent view of
the enemy's trenches, without being seen myself. I worked out a little
hole underneath one of the roots of the stump, and through that I did my
shooting. Toward the middle of the day the sun shone down excessively
hot, and I had nothing to shade me from its burning rays. My pit was not
large enough for comfort, and, besides, I had neglected to take any
rations with me. My supply of water also gave out, and by noon my
position seemed almost unbearable. To leave it in daylight would be
certain death. I bore my situation as well as I could, and improved it
to the best advantage. During the day I had several fair shots, which I
improved, and did good execution.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, a rebel sharp-shooter (whom, from his
dress, I took to be a Carolinian) undertook to crawl up to the top of
their earth-works, behind a stump that hid him from the view of our
sharp-shooters, that he might be enabled to get a shot at them. He
crawled along, with his gun in his right hand, till near the spot, and
then took off his big-brimmed hat and turned his head up sideways to
look around the side of the stump at our sharp-shooters. My position to
him was such that I could see every movement that he made. He evidently
did not know where I was. While his head was turned up my gun cracked,
and his feet flew straight behind him.

A comrade of his then undertook to crawl up and drag him away. When he
was about ready to grasp the dead man by the legs, my gun again cracked,
and he rolled over on his back near his comrade. Both of them remained
there until dark, without any attempt being made to remove them.

As soon as it was dark I made my way back to my quarters, well satisfied
with my experience in an advanced rifle-pit.

Not many days after the foregoing incident, I was passing along the
intrenchments, when I found a squad of sixteen men, part of them of the
23d Indiana Regiment, and the rest from the 45th Illinois, engaged in
sharp-shooting. They saw me passing with my rifle, and, having heard of
its long range and accuracy, called me, and expressed a desire to have
me try it on a fellow that they had been shooting at for about two
hours, but without success.

The fellow that they had been shooting at was engaged in digging a
rifle-pit in advance of the enemy's intrenchments, and while digging he
was exposed to full view.

I asked the boys what distance they had been shooting, and they informed
me that they had been trying him at a range of nine hundred yards, and
had succeeded in hitting the dirt about him. I raised the sight of my
rifle to nine hundred yards, and then requested the squad to cease
firing for a few minutes, and let the smoke clear away, and then to
watch where my ball struck. As soon as the atmosphere was clear of
smoke, and every thing quiet, I leveled my piece and fired.

"You've hit him! you've hit him!" exclaimed several.

The fellow straightened up, whirled about, as if angry, and flung his
shovel from him as far as he could, and then sat down. In about a minute
after he began gradually to throw up his hands, and then fell over
backward on the ground, evidently dead, where he remained, as he had
fallen, during the rest of the day. The next morning his body had been

On another occasion, two companies of the 20th Ohio were engaged at
digging in the approaches to the rebel Fort Hill, and were subjected to
a very annoying fire from a squad of about fifteen rebel sharp-shooters,
stationed in a ditch, not accessible, at that time, to our artillery.

I was sent for, and requested to bring my rifle and see if I could
silence them. A place had been fixed for me near where the companies
were at work, considerably in advance of any other sharp-shooter. I
worked a long time at them, during which time I hit several. After
awhile there was but one to be seen; the rest had either been disabled
or so badly frightened as to have laid down in the bottom of the ditch
for safety. I kept up a fire at the single individual for some time. My
balls would strike the ground close to him, and then he would swing his
hat in defiance or return my shot. Twice he put his balls within an inch
of my head; once a sliver from the timber under which I shot was knocked
off and struck me on the head, hurting me considerably. Another ball hit
a bayonet that I had placed in the dirt to rest my rifle upon, and,
glancing upward, just missed my head.

A Lieutenant came along, and I told him what I had been doing. He got
upon the earth-works where I was, and, seeing the defiant rebel, asked
me to let him try his hand at him. He fired several shots, but with no
better success than I had had.

By that time it was nearly night, and I had fired at the squad
forty-eight shots, so I concluded to give up the shooting of the defiant
man as a bad job.

The next day the ditch was unoccupied; the experience of the day before
had evidently satisfied them.

On another occasion, while I was engaged in sharp-shooting, General
McPherson and General Logan came into the fortifications, and were
watching a party of ten or twelve rebels engaged in digging a ditch.
They called me, and General McPherson said:

"Bunker, can you shoot into that ditch yonder, where those men are at
work? They have been shooting at them with the Parrot rifles, and
haven't thrown any shot in there yet."

"Yes, I think I can."

"Well, try it."

I raised my sight to one thousand yards, and fired at the ditch.

"There!" said McPherson, looking through his glasses, "you've hit one of

"By G--d! they _are_ carrying out one!" said Logan, looking with his

"Try it again," said McPherson.

I did try. I fired two more shots into the ditch, and the whole squad
ran out and left it.

A few days afterward, I chanced to meet General McPherson, who asked me
how my ammunition held out. I told him that it was nearly all gone.

"Well, Bunker," said he, "come over to my tent day after to-morrow, and
I will try to have some on hand for you. I think that I can keep you

In the morning of the day agreed upon, I went over to General
McPherson's tent. He was absent; but Colonel ----, Assistant
Adjutant-General, was there, who, as soon as I entered, inquired of me
what I wanted.

"I want to see General McPherson."

"What do you want of General McPherson?"

"I want to see him about some ammunition."

"Who are you?"

"I am an Arkansas school-master."

"What kind of ammunition do you want?"

"Cartridges for one of Henry's repeating rifles."

"Well, this a'n't the place to get ammunition. Go to the ordnance
officer, and see if you can't get it of him."

I did as I was directed, but found no cartridges. I returned to the
tent, and said to him, "Colonel, that officer didn't have any

"Are you a soldier?"

"Yes, _sir_, I'm a soldier."

"Well, you had better go to your quarters."

"Oh, yes, I'll go to my quarters! I'd like to see General McPherson
first, though; he told me to come here. Haven't you got some whisky,
that you can give me two or three hundred swallows before I go?"

"Yes, I'll give you some whisky if you'll leave and go to your

"Oh, yes, I'll go to my quarters if you'll give me some whisky!"

He turned me out enough for three drinks, to spite me, I suppose, for my
impudence in asking him for it, and I deliberately drank it all down.
"Thank you!" said I, and went out. Before I had got out of hearing,
General McPherson entered, and I heard some one tell him that there was
a man just in to see him, and that he had stepped out. The General came
out and called me back.

"Well, Bunker," said he, "I haven't got those cartridges yet; but you go
over to General Grant's head-quarters, and tell his Chief-of-Staff that
I sent you over to get some cartridges for your rifle. He has got a
rifle of that kind, and I presume that he has got some cartridges."

"Well, I'll go and see. But it's a pretty warm morning, General, and I
hate to come all the way up here for nothing. I think your
Adjutant-General has got some pretty good whisky in there; can't you
induce him to give me a drink before I go back?"

"Yes! Adjutant, give Bunker two or three hundred swallows of whisky!"

The Adjutant-General looked at me and then at General McPherson, as if
about to say that I had just had some, and then, as if recollecting that
it was military to obey orders without questioning them, turned me out a
_large tumblerful_, which I drank, and then went out.

By the time I had reached my quarters, my physical nature was so much
under the influence of the "spiritual," that I deferred my visit to
General Grant's head-quarters until the next morning.

In the morning, early, I went over to General Grant's head-quarters, and
told him that General McPherson had sent me there to see if I could get
some ammunition for my rifle from his Chief-of-Staff. He told me that
his Chief-of-Staff had gone to St. Louis, and had taken his rifle with

"Do you know of any body that has got any of that kind of cartridges?" I

"I think," said, the General, "that Admiral Porter has got ammunition of
that kind, and I will give you a request to carry to him, and you may go
and see him about it."

He wrote a note for me to hand to Admiral Porter, and commenced to write
me a pass, but was interrupted by some business, so he handed me the
note, and told me to step over to the Provost-marshal and ask him to
write me a pass.

I did so; but, being a stranger to him, he did not know that I was a
soldier, and the pass that I received read as follows:

     "REAR OF VICKSBURG, MISS., JUNE --, 1863.   }

     "Lorain Ruggles, a citizen of the South, has leave to visit
     Admiral Porter's flag-ship and return with a gun.

     "---- ----

I took my rifle and went to Chickasaw Landing, on the Yazoo river, where
I succeeded in getting on board the steamer Diligent, a dispatch-boat,
as she went down to the gun-boats with dispatches. The flag-ship, at
that time, lay in the Mississippi River, a short distance above

I found the Admiral, and handed him the note from General Grant, which
he read; and then, giving me a searching look from head to foot, he

"Well, Mr. Scout, you want some ammunition for your rifle; but I don't
keep any such trifling guns about me, and, consequently, I have got none
of that kind of ammunition."

"Look'e here, Mr. Admiral," said I; "that gun a'n't so _small a trifle_
as you imagine. I can kill a reb. with it at a distance of nine hundred
yards, and I can outshoot the Parrot rifles!"

"Ah, you can't commence with my guns! They are better than that.
Orderly, go down and bring up one of my favorites."

The orderly soon returned with a beautiful Spencer rifle. "There," said
the Admiral, handing me the gun; "how do you like the looks of that?"

I took it and examined it carefully all over. It was a seven-shooter,
with a bayonet, and every part of it most beautifully finished. It
suited me to a charm.

"Well, inasmuch as I have got no cartridges for my gun, how will you
trade guns with me?"

"I can't part with that gun; you might as well try to get my wife as
that gun!"

He then told me that if General Grant wanted I should have one, he would
get one like it for me. I told him that I could not carry two guns, and
that I did not want one unless I could trade him mine. He promised,
however, to make an effort to get me some cartridges. By this time the
dispatch-boat was ready to return, and I went back to Chickasaw Landing.

On my arrival at the landing, I met a little Frenchman, whom I had
frequently seen in Memphis, and at the camps about there, and I had for
some time suspected that he was a Confederate spy.

I first saw him in the camps of the 20th, 78th, and 68th Ohio, and the
23d Indiana regiments, engaged in buying Confederate money of the
soldiers. At that time he wore very long hair, and was dressed like a
citizen; but on this occasion his hair was cut short, and he was dressed
like a clerk about some head-quarters.

I saw him several times at Memphis, while I was under the assumed
character of a rebel Major. He had never seen me in any other dress than
that of a citizen.

I expressed delight at meeting him, shook hands with him, and inquired
about his health, etc.

"Who are you to work for now?" he inquired.

"For General Johnston."

"Are you? So am I!"

"What news have you got?"

"Nothing new. Have you any news?"

"No, not at present. Come, let us go over to the steamer Arago and get
something to drink before we separate. There is an old friend of ours
that is commissary clerk aboard of her. He used to live in Holly
Springs, Miss., and, when we were in Memphis last winter, he was there
engaged in buying mules and smuggling them through the Yankee lines to
sell. Let us go over and see him."

The Frenchman accompanied me on board the steamboat, and there we found
the clerk I had told him about, who took us to the bar and got us
something to drink. He also induced the barkeeper to sell me a canteen
of whisky, as a favor to a special friend.

Having procured the whisky, I prevailed upon the Frenchman to accompany
me, and we went up the bank of the river to a secluded place, where we
sat down to enjoy ourselves.

My companion seemed to relish the whisky much better than I did, and its
effects soon made him very communicative, so that I was enabled to draw
out a great deal of information concerning his business as a spy. He
told me that he was engaged in getting dispatches through the Federal
lines at Vicksburg to Generals Johnston and Pemberton.

During his visits to the Federal camps at Memphis, to purchase
Confederate money, he had noted down the names of the officers in the
different regiments, and the companies to which they belonged.

With that knowledge, whenever he wanted to get from Chickasaw Landing
into our lines, he would go to the Provost-marshal and represent himself
as belonging to Captain such-a-one's company, in such a regiment, on
detached service, and get a pass to visit his regiment, and with it he
could pass our lines.

The dispatches of General Johnston were brought across the country, by
cavalry, to a point on the Yazoo River above Haines' Bluff. There the
spy received them, and crossed over to the opposite side of the river,
and then came down the river opposite to Snyder's Bluff; there he would
manage to cross at night in a canoe, and land inside of our lines,
without being seen. There he would get on board a dispatch-boat and come
down to Chickasaw Landing, and there he would procure a pass, as I have
explained. From there he would go to Mr. Smith's, who lived between the
picket lines at the landing and the troops at the rear of Vicksburg.

He would give the dispatches to Mr. Smith's daughter, and she would give
them to a servant of hers, a smart, intelligent colored boy, rather
small of his age, who would carry them to the river above Vicksburg. He
described to me the route the colored boy would take to get to the

At the river, the colored boy would give them to a fisherman, who staid
there, and was engaged in catching fish and selling them to the
gun-boatmen and the soldiers. The fisherman had lost a hand while in the
rebel army, in the battle of Shiloh, and had been discharged.

He had represented to Admiral Porter that he had belonged to the Federal
army, and had been wounded, as before stated, and discharged, and had
succeeded in getting permission from him to fish in the river and visit
his lines at all hours of the night. He had managed to make himself a
favorite at the picket-post near the river, and his frequent visits to
his lines near the post, at all hours of the day and night, had ceased
to excite any suspicion whatever.

The fisherman would take the dispatches, and at night, while visiting
his lines, pass the pickets, and carry them to the rebel pickets and
then return.

In the same channel, General Pemberton's dispatches went out. How long
communication had been kept up in that way I did not learn.

After having drank the most of the whisky, we returned to the landing
and separated. I went to the Provost-marshal, and told him that there
was one of General Johnston's spies there, and requested him to send
some guards and arrest him.

"Are you a soldier?" he inquired.


"Where did you come from?"

"Admiral Porter's flag-ship."

"Have you got a pass?"


"Let me see it."

I handed it to him, and he commenced reading, "Lorain Ruggles, a citizen
of the South"--"You go to h--l!" he exclaimed. "_You a'n't any better
than the rest of them!_"

I went out and found that the Frenchman was just stepping on board the
dispatch-boat Diligent, and in a moment more the boat was under way for
Snyder's Bluff.

I reported to General Grant the information that I had received, and
then asked him if I might kill the spy wherever I found him. He told me
to do with him just as I thought proper, under the circumstances, and
that the military authorities should not hurt me for it.

In two days after, the colored boy was captured, and a dispatch from
General Johnston found on his person. About the same time the fishing
arrangement at the river was broken up. I can also assure the reader
that the little Frenchman, though never arrested, will never buy any
more Confederate money nor carry any more rebel dispatches.


    Sent for by General Grant--Instructions--Crosses Black
      River--Is captured by rebel cavalry--Sent to General
      DeVieu--The interview--Passes as Johnston's spy--The
      attempt to escape--The pursuit--Fired at by Federal
      pickets--Again fired at by the enemy--The pursuers driven
      back--Again fired at by Federal pickets--The alarm--Reports
      to General Osterhaus--Reports to General Grant.

While the siege was progressing, General Johnston was engaged in
concentrating a large Confederate force, to attack General Grant in the
rear and force him to raise the siege of Vicksburg, and thereby relieve
General Pemberton and his forces.

General Grant, in the mean time, had been considerably reinforced, and
had formed a line of defense from the Black River bridge north-west
along Clear and Bear Creeks, across to the Yazoo River at Haines' Bluff,
and a heavy force was stationed along that line to resist any attempt on
the part of the enemy to raise the siege.

The difficulty of rapidly crossing Black River with a large force below
the bridge, rendered it necessary to keep a force stationed on the line
running from the bridge to the Mississippi River below Vicksburg; for
the enemy, once across, would run a very poor chance of recrossing
without destruction. A constant watch was kept up by our scouts,
however, to see whether the enemy would attempt to cross there.

Some time toward the latter part of June, General Grant sent for me, and
requested me to make a trip across Black River, and find out whether the
enemy was making any attempt or movement indicative of crossing.

I was instructed to cross at the bridge, through General Osterhaus'
lines, and take the road to Fifteen-mile Creek, and, if I met with
nothing to prevent, to go on to the creek and remain there two days, and
at the end of that time return. If I discovered any movement of
importance while on my way, I was to report it immediately.

The General cautioned me not to go inside of the enemy's lines, because
it was a critical time, and if I did I would probably lose my life. He
told me that several scouts had been sent out for the same purpose, and
that none of them agreed in their reports. He told me that he was
extremely anxious to know what the enemy was doing there, and what were
his intentions, and charged me to be very cautious, so that I might

I was handed an order to General Osterhaus, to the effect that I was to
be passed out of his lines, and when I returned I was to be immediately
sent to General Osterhaus, under guard, and whatever I reported to him
was to be immediately telegraphed to General Grant.

I carried the order to General Osterhaus, at Black River, who, when he
had read it, sent me, under guard, to the picket line, with
instructions to the officer in command of the pickets to pass me out.
The picket line was on the east side of the river.

As I left the river, I was very particular to notice minutely the roads
and fences and the features of the ground. About a mile from the bridge,
on the road that leads to Edwards' Station, the Fifteen-mile Creek road
turns off to the right. At the corners of the road the reserve pickets
were stationed. About a quarter of a mile from the reserve, the road
turns square to the left, and, at a distance of about one hundred yards
further on, it turns back again square to the right. At that point the
vedettes were stationed. On the left-hand side of the road, going out
from the reserve to the vedettes, was a hedge fence. From the vedettes,
in a straight line across to the reserve, was an open field, and the
fence had been torn down or removed to allow the cavalry a chance to
charge across it, if necessary.

Before leaving the pickets, I told the Lieutenant in command of the
guards that I should not come back that night, unless I was driven back,
and that if I came back I should come on the run, and that I would have
no gun in my hands, nor any thing else that might be taken for one. I
also requested him to describe to each man in person, as he took his
post as vedette, my dress, so that there could be no mistake about who I
was and no cause for firing into me. The Lieutenant instructed his men
as I requested him; and besides, I found that several of them knew me,
which very much relieved my fears about being fired at. I was on foot
and dressed like a citizen.

Supposing that I had made all the necessary arrangements for my safety
in case I was driven back, I started out. About half a mile from the
vedettes, the road crossed a low piece of ground, and had been filled in
with brush and rails, while wet, to keep wagons from miring, but the dry
weather had dried up the mud and left the rails and brush bare,
rendering it extremely difficult to cross without making a great deal of

I had gone but a short distance after crossing it, when I heard a
cracking of brush behind me, and turned to see what it was. The reader
can judge my surprise when I saw, in the road behind me, fourteen rebel
cavalry. I was ordered to halt, which I did, and they, at the same time,

There I was, captured almost within sight of our own pickets. It was no
time to show timidity, so I resolved upon a bold expedient.

"Who are you?" said one of the cavalry.

"I am a Confederate soldier."

"Have you got a pass?"

"No, sir."

"What are you doing here?"

"Gentlemen, I don't know as this is any of your business. I am a
Confederate soldier, and I have business here, and all that you have to
do is to send me, under guard, to general head-quarters."

One of the men, seemingly commander of the squad--I could not tell
whether an officer or a private--ordered two of the men to take me to
Gen. DeVieu.

They took me on in the same direction that I had been traveling. Not a
word was exchanged between us on the way. I watched narrowly every
feature of the road and the country as we went, determined, if possible,
to make my way back that night.

About five miles from where I was captured, and nearly seven miles from
Black River bridge, we came to General DeVieu's head-quarters. They were
situated near the crossing of the roads, where the road from Baldwin's
Ferry (below Black River bridge) to Edwards' Station crosses the one
that I was on.

When we arrived at General DeVieu's quarters, one of the guards went in,
and I heard him say to the General, "We have got a man out there that we
captured close to the Yankee lines, without a pass, and he says that he
is a Confederate soldier. We could not find out his business, but he
told us to bring him to you, and we have done so."

"Well, have him come in," said the General.

The guard came out, and told me to go in. As I entered, I took off my
hat, and, saluting him, I looked him in the face with as much composure
as though I had been his commanding officer.

"Where have you been?" he inquired.

"I have been inside of the Yankee lines about Vicksburg."

"Where do you belong?"

"I belong to General Price's army."

"What were you doing here?"

"I am now under orders from General Johnston to reconnoiter thoroughly
about the Yankee lines at Vicksburg. I have done so, and I am now on my
way to report to General Johnston."

"Have you got any pass, or any papers to show that?"

"No, sir, I haven't got the scratch of a pen about me; but, General, if
you will go with me to General Johnston's Adjutant-General I can show
you papers in his office that will tell you who I am and what my
business is."

"What is your name?"

"Lorain Ruggles, sir; I am a brother to General Ruggles."

"Ah! A brother of General Ruggles!"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, what is the news about Vicksburg?"

"General, if you insist upon it, I shall have to tell you, because you
are my superior officer, but my instructions from General Johnston were
to reconnoiter thoroughly, and get all the information that I could, and
then to report to him and to _him only_, and I reckon that he'll not
like to have me report to any body else."

"Ah! I beg your pardon, Mr. Ruggles. Excuse me! I don't want you to
violate your instructions. I won't ask you any further questions about
it. Do you wish to go right on to General Johnston's head-quarters?"

"General, I have been considerably exposed, and a little short of
rations for several days, and have traveled about on foot a great deal,
and am very much fatigued; and if it would be agreeable to your good
will and pleasure, I would like to remain in your brigade over night,
and then go out to General Johnston's head-quarters to-morrow."

"Very well, you can stay; any of those orderlies out there will give you
something to eat. I shall send two men out to head-quarters in the
morning, and, if you like, you can go with them."

"Thank you, General; I shall be very glad of company!"

It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon when I arrived there. The
orderlies gave me some dinner and also some supper. I improved my time,
in conversation with the officers and men, in picking up information.

The force stationed there was a brigade of Texas cavalry, about 1,200
strong. Their business was to watch the Baldwin's Ferry road for any
attempt of General Grant's forces to cross and get to the rear of
General Johnston.

The brigade was destitute of tents, except six at head-quarters, and the
men slept at night without shelter.

About 9 o'clock in the evening, I laid down on a pile of corn in the
husk, in company with a lot of soldiers, and feigned to be asleep. I
reflected upon my situation, and of the best means of making my escape.
I was satisfied that it would be dangerous for me to wait till morning
and start with the orderlies for General Johnston's head-quarters. No
suspicion had as yet been excited. The soldiers were all asleep, and the
whole camp was quiet. About midnight I got up, as if to relieve the
necessities of nature, and went to a piece of woods about a hundred
yards distant, and returned. My movements did not seem to have disturbed
any one. The moon shone brightly, and the night was very light. The moon
had not yet reached its meridian, but made a long shadow on the ground.
I again laid down upon the corn-pile, where I lay until 2 o'clock, when
I arose. The moon was then favorable and made but a short shadow, and
every thing was quiet. I again visited the woods.

As I entered, I looked back and all was quiet. As the guards brought me
in, I had noticed that there was but one picket-post in the direction
that I wished to return, and that one was stationed in the road about
half a mile from the rebel camp. I resolved to try an escape at all

I made a detour large enough to insure safety from the pickets, moving
forward as rapidly as possible through the brush, without making any
noise, until I gained the road that I had come out on, and then I sped
along as fast as I could run.

I had on light shoes, and made very little noise as I went, and avoided
stepping upon any thing that would make any disturbance.

When I reached the place in the road filled with rails and brush, near
where I had been captured, I slackened my pace, and walked carefully
across it. I had become tired from running so far; my close proximity to
our own pickets considerably relieved my fears, and I moved along more
leisurely than I had done.

When about two hundred yards from the bad place in the road, I was
startled by the sound of horses crossing it. I looked back, and there
came a squad of twelve or fourteen cavalry, as fast as their horses
could run.

I dashed ahead at the top of my speed, when, within about one hundred
yards of our pickets, "Bang! bang! bang!" went their pieces.

"_For God's sake, don't shoot! It's me!_" I shouted.

"Bang! bang!" went the carbines of my pursuers. The vedettes ran for the
reserve. I fairly flew along, and the rebs after me, gaining rapidly. I
kept straight after the vedettes till I had entered the field past the
hedge fence; then I turned and followed it a few steps, and then plunged
through it and crawled along on my hands and knees some distance in the
weeds and grass by the side of it.

My pursuers dashed on across the field, firing at the vedettes as they
went. The reserve was immediately in saddle, and returned the fire of
the enemy. The chase now turned the other way, and the rebs were pursued
by our pickets.

I kept on making a detour around to the rear of the reserve post before
coming up, lest, from the confusion and excitement, I should again be
fired at. Nearly all the reserve had joined in the chase, and but three
or four men remained on the post.

As I came up to the rear of them, without any challenge to halt, "Bang!
bang!" went their pieces.

"_What in hell and d--nation are you doing?_" I shouted. "You are
determined to shoot me!"

"That's Bunker!" said one.

"No, by G--d, it a'n't!" said another, bringing his piece to a ready.

"_For Christ's sake_," I shouted, "_don't shoot again! Are you
determined to kill me?_"

"Don't shoot! It _is_ Bunker!" said the others. By this time they were
convinced who it was, and allowed me to come up.

The alarm did not stop with the pickets, but extended across the river.
An entire brigade turned out under arms, and orders were dispatched all
along the lines to be in readiness to repel an attack from General

I requested to be immediately sent to General Osterhaus, under guard,
agreeable to General Grant's instructions; but the Lieutenant refused to
let me go until daylight, and then sent me in without guard.

I reported to General Osterhaus, and explained to him where the rebel
force was camped, and also its strength and what it was there for.

"Vare you stshay they are? On the Baldwin's Ferry road?" inquired the

"No; they are on the Fifteen-mile Creek road, near the crossing of the
Edwards' Station and Baldwin's Ferry road."

"Vell, dat ish vot I stshay! On the Baldwin's Ferry road!"

I then marked out the position for him, and explained it, and still he

"Vell, dat ish vot I _stshay!_ On the Baldwin's Ferry Road!"

He then telegraphed to General Grant as he understood it, and received,
in reply, orders for me to return immediately.

I reported in person to General Grant, and told him the difficulty that
I experienced in making General Osterhaus understand me. He replied, "I
thought he did not understand you, so I ordered you back."

After explaining to the General the position, strength, and object of
the enemy, he asked me if I was _sure_ of that fact. I told him that I
was, and that time would show whether I told him the truth or not. He
then said that he would rest satisfied; so I returned to my quarters.
The confidence he placed in my reports amply paid me for the danger that
I had encountered. General Grant always paid his scouts well whenever
they had done any thing deserving of special compensation. To pay me for
this trip, soon after the Vicksburg campaign ended, General Grant gave
me two hundred dollars and a furlough for thirty days.


    Visit to Chickasaw Landing--Surrender of Vicksburg--Visit to
      the city--The paroled Major--The Yankee trick--Returns to
      Vicksburg--Made detective--Is sent to Yazoo City--Attends a
      guerrilla organization--Makes them a speech--Returns to

On the 3d day of July, I again went to General Grant to see if he had
found out where I could get some cartridges for my rifle. He told me
that the Paymaster-General (I have forgotten his name) had a rifle of
the same kind and some cartridges, and that he made his head-quarters on
board the steamer J. D. Perry, at Chickasaw Landing.

The General gave me a line to the Paymaster, and I went over to the
Landing. When I arrived there, the steamers had nearly all gone down to
Young's Point, and with them the J. D. Perry. It was nearly night, and
too late to return to camp, so I remained there all night, with a
Sergeant from my own regiment, who was on detached duty there, in charge
of the camp and garrison equipage belonging to the regiment.

When I arose on the morning of July 4th, I found that _all_ the steamers
had left. A few hours later the dispatch-boat Diligent came up, and
brought the news that Vicksburg had surrendered.

That accounted for the absence of the steamers. A flag of truce had been
sent into our lines on the afternoon of the 3d, before I left, but I had
not heard that it was to arrange for the surrender of the place.

When the dispatch-boat returned, I went on it to Vicksburg. There the
whole fleet of transports and gun-boats, including the Marine Brigade,
was moored, decorated with all their streamers and colors, and from the
Court-house dome proudly floated the glorious emblem of our country. It
was a grand and sublime spectacle. The levee and streets of the city
were thronged with thousands of weather- and war-worn heroes, that had
heroically suffered and fought for the capture of the place.

It was a proud day for them, and their countenances beamed with such
expressions of satisfaction and delight as only heroes can wear.

The magnitude of their victory was proportionate to the day on which it
was achieved, and such a celebration of our national anniversary was
never before had, and probably never will be again.

The sufferings and privations and hardships of long marches, and
exposures and hard-fought battles and a long-continued siege, were all
forgotten in the realization of the most glorious victory that had ever
crowned the arms of an American hero.

Promiscuously mingled with the blue uniforms of the Federal soldiers was
the dirty yellow of the Confederate prisoners, and their filthy
appearance and fear-worn faces were in striking contrast with their
elated victors.

The magnitude of the victory can perhaps be better understood by the
following official report:

_Rebel losses in Major-General Grant's Department since the landing
of the army at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, May 1, 1863._

Loss in men up to May 18th                                   40,000
Prisoners taken at Vicksburg                                 31,000
    Total                                                    71,000

Citizen prisoners, 1,500 of whom were women and children      5,000
Prisoners sick and wounded                                   13,220
Prisoners fit for duty                                       18,000
Tents captured                                                4,000
Mules captured                                                1,500
Horses captured                                               1,000
Freight cars                                                    200
Locomotives                                                       5
Large siege-guns captured                                       188
Field-pieces captured                                           151
Rounds of ammunition                                            300
Stands of small arms                                         35,000
Shot-guns, etc                                               30,000

Value of public property captured, from ten to fifteen million dollars.

  Approved, by order of                      JAMES WILSON,
                      _Lieutenant-Colonel and Provost-marshal._

I found the Paymaster-General at Vicksburg, and succeeded in getting
from him a box of cartridges. Not liking to remain in the place while
the prisoners were there, lest some of them might, at some future time,
recognize me, should I be so unfortunate as to get captured, I told
General Grant how I felt about it, and he sent me to my regiment, then
at Black River, to stay until the prisoners were sent away.

A few days after the surrender, the prisoners were all paroled, and then
marched through our lines at Black River. While they were passing our
camp, I kept out of sight by remaining in my quarters. The second day
after the prisoners commenced to pass an exception occurred.

A rebel Major came along and dismounted, and sat down as if to rest,
holding his horse by the halter. It was soon evident, from his numerous
inquiries, that rest was not so much of an object as contraband
information. His horse was a nice one, and was equipped with a fine
saddle and bridle, and across his saddle was a portmanteau.

A soldier of the 30th Illinois Regiment came to my quarters, and
requested me to go out and see the Major and converse with him. He also
told me that the Major was trying to get information from the soldiers
that he had no business with, and that if I would succeed in holding his
attention, the boys would play some kind of a caper upon him for his
improper inquisitiveness.

I went out, and found him engaged in trying to find out the strength of
General Grant's army. As I came up I squatted right down in front of
him, and commenced to ask him questions about how he liked the siege,
etc.; then, fixing my eyes on his, I gave him a severe rebuke for
participating in such an unjust cause, and tried to show him its utter
hopelessness. I then spoke of the blessings of peace, prosperity, and
happiness, as they had existed under our Government before the war, and
then contrasted that state of affairs with the existing state of affairs
in the rebellious States, and concluded by telling him that any man who
had been guilty of raising his hand against the best Government that
ever existed, ought to be satisfied with the experience that he had had,
and heartily ashamed of himself.

As I began to talk, the soldiers began to gather in a crowd around us. I
suspected that some of them would cut the halter-strap and lead the
horse off into the woods, before the crowd would open sufficiently for
the Major to see which way it went.

Whenever the Major showed any inclination to look behind him, I would
become emphatic in my expressions and gesticulations, and look so
earnestly at him that I kept his attention riveted upon me. While I was
talking, the portmanteau was opened, and a beautiful silver-mounted
ten-shooting revolver taken out and carried off.

When I had finished, the crowd dispersed, and the Major prepared to
leave. In doing so, he discovered that his revolver was gone. He told me
about it and described the revolver, and said that it must have been
taken while I had been talking with him.

He went to Brigadier-General Force, commanding the brigade, and
complained that, while he was resting, somebody stole his revolver.

The General immediately issued an order requiring all the company
commanders in the brigade to search the men of their commands at once
for the revolver, but it was without success.

The Major told the General that one of the men standing by was called by
the name of Bunker; consequently, I was sent for.

"Do you know who got this man's revolver?" inquired the General of me,
as I went in.

"No, sir. I did not see his revolver, and did not know that he had one
until he told me that some one had stolen it."

"Do you know what regiment the man belonged to that took it?"

"No, sir, I do not! But I did think that the Major was asking _very
improper questions_ for a paroled prisoner to ask, and I expected, while
I was talking to him, that the boys would take _horse and all_, and I
think he may feel _thankful_ if he hasn't lost any thing but his

"That will do!" said the General; "you can go to your quarters. Major, I
don't see as I can do anything for you!"

When the prisoners had all crossed Black River, I returned to Vicksburg.
On my return, I chanced to meet Major-General Logan, who wanted I should
engage in the detective business, the same as I had done at Memphis. I
told him that I did not like the business and did not understand it, and
that I did not see any thing brave or daring in it, and that it seemed
like rather a low business. He, however, insisted upon my taking hold of
it, and gave me an order to go on board the steamer Swon to board, so
that I might pass as a citizen without being suspicioned.

I boarded there three days, at the end of which time I was so completely
disgusted with the business that I could not do any thing at it, even if
I had wanted to. I then went to General Grant, and told him what General
Logan had set me at, and that I did not like it, and asked him if he had
a trip that he wanted made into the Confederacy. He replied that he had
none of much importance, but that I might make a trip to Yazoo City, if
I was a mind to, and see if any thing was going on there, and gather
what information I could.

The Federal forces had, since the surrender of Vicksburg, already taken
the place, and captured such public stores as were moveable, and
destroyed the rest and vacated it.

I made the trip on horseback, dressed like a citizen. The route was
rather a lonesome one, and nothing occurred of interest on my way out.
On my arrival at Yazoo City, I found every thing quiet, and the place
unoccupied by troops.

I then crossed the Yazoo River to the west, and visited the neighborhood
of Silver Creek, at a point eighteen miles from Yazoo City. There I
learned that a band of guerrillas, known as the Silver Creek guerrillas,
were to have a meeting the next day, at a log church, about six miles
distant to the south-west, to reorganize their band, so as to make
themselves more efficient. Thinking that I might learn something of them
that might be of service, I determined to attend the meeting.

The next morning I started in the direction of the church alone, but had
gone only a short distance when I was joined by six citizens, on
horseback, going to the same place. We arrived at the church about 10
o'clock, A. M., and found the meeting already commenced. I walked in
with those that had accompanied me and sat down, a listener to their

Remarks were made by several individuals, and I learned by them that the
band had become disorganized and ineffectual by the slackness of the
members in turning out. Many of them had failed to report for duty when
ordered, and some of them had never reported at all. A great deal was
said about what valuable services _might_ be rendered by a
_well-organized_ band, and appeals were made to the patriotism of each
individual present "to stand by the South in the hour of her trial, and
let the world at large know that the people of the South were
_determined_ in their purpose, and would fight for her liberties until
relieved from the thralldom of a Lincoln tyranny."

Each man present was invited to express his views on the matter, and I,
in turn, was called upon. To kill all chances of suspicion that might
occur from my presence, I responded to the invitation. I said to them
that I was a stranger to all of them. I told them that I belonged to
Daniel's guerrillas, at Somerville, Tennessee, and I knew from
experience that a _well-organized band_ could make itself of great
service to the Government, and that I felt it was the duty of _every
individual_ in the Confederacy to put forth his _best efforts_, without
regard to _cost_ or _sacrifice_, to _sustain_ the Government and
_establish_ our liberty. _Our_ band, I told them, intended to live on
the Lincoln army, and we kept close to it, and frequently got inside of
the Yankee lines and got valuable information, and sometimes we captured
prisoners, and horses, and mules; and we calculated not only to do
service to the Government, but to make it _pay us_, and I hoped that
the people of that neighborhood were as patriotic as they were in mine.

The meeting resulted in the reorganization of the band, with eighty

It has often been reported that citizens of the South who had taken the
oath of allegiance to the Federal Government, were subject to abuse and
cruel treatment by guerrillas and soldiers of the Confederate army; but
in that meeting several of the members said that they had taken the
oath, and had done it because compelled to do it, and it was not spoken
of as an offense nor regarded as an obligation.

I had hoped that, in attending the meeting, I would be enabled to learn
of some intended raid or campaign, but none was spoken of and probably
none contemplated by the band at that time.

About 1 o'clock, P. M., the meeting closed, and I resumed my way back.
Two days after, I arrived at Vicksburg, and reported to General Grant.


    Taken sick with the ague--Encounters his Satanic Majesty--The
      Devil afraid of General Grant--Expedition to Bogue Chitto
      Creek--Captures a rebel Colonel--Enlists as a
      veteran--Makes a speech to the soldiers.

From the time that I finished my trip to Yazoo City until the next
November I had but very little to do, and nothing occurred of interest
in my experience as a scout. About this time I was taken with the
three-day ague, which troubled me more or less for a whole year. At
times, when the "shakes" would leave me and the fever come on, I would
have dreams or visions of a delirious character. I usually fancied
myself engaged in some fearful and desperate encounter with the rebels.
My fancies were audibly uttered, and to-day are as distinctly visible to
my mind as though they were realities of yesterday. Indeed, they seemed
like actual experience. In those delirious hours, officers and soldiers
would visit me, to listen to my utterances of what was passing before

On one occasion, I fancied that I died and went to hell. There I found,
in one corner of the infernal regions, an inclosure of several acres,
filled with Federal soldiers. They were suffering intensely for want of
sufficient water. A small rivulet made its way down a little hollow
across the inclosure, but the stream was so small that its supply
aggravated rather than diminished the thirst of the soldiers. Having
placed me in the inclosure, the devil started back to earth after more
soldiers. After a careful examination of the locality, I concluded that
I could relieve very much of the suffering by damming up the stream. I
set to work at once making a dam, and, by the time the devil made his
appearance, I had succeeded in raising the water to a depth of four

"Have you come here to interfere with my arrangements?" inquired the
devil, angry at what I had done.

"No, sir; but I thought I would build a dam here and have as much water
in it as there is in some parts of the Mississippi."

Whereupon the devil picked up a big cannon and punched a hole through
it, which let the water out. Just then a twenty-two inch shell came into
the inclosure, and exploded with a tremendous crash, completely
enveloping us with the smoke. As it cleared away, two persons were seen
coming through the regions of space directly toward the inclosure. The
quick eye of his Satanic Majesty was the first to catch sight of them.

"Who are these?" he inquired. "A'n't one of them General Grant?"

"Yes," I replied; "that man in citizen's clothes is General Grant, and
the man in uniform is General McPherson."

"I believe that _is_ Grant," he said, after a more careful look.

"Yes, that's Grant."

"Then I must light out of this!" and away he went, as fast as possible.

I told my dream to General Grant. "I know," said he, "that I could run
the rebels about, but I did not know that I could run the devil out of
hell." He has asked me several times since if I _had had any more

In the month of November, General McPherson made a demonstration with
14,000 men toward Canton, Miss., to draw the attention of the rebs while
General Sherman, with his command, was moving from Memphis eastward to

At Brownsville we came upon a small force of rebs, who undertook to
check our advance, but we drove them from their position. The next day,
at Bogue Chitto Creek, they made another stand, but were again driven
from their position. General John A. Logan then sent me out to the front
of our right to watch the movements of the enemy, and see which way they
went. I was accompanied by a scout, by the name of James E. Bader. About
a mile out, we left our horses under cover of the woods, and then, by
ourselves, we ascended a rise of ground that enabled us to see the
course the enemy had taken. While we were thus engaged in watching, we
saw a man leave the rebel forces and ride toward a house that stood near
by. As he neared us, we saw that he had on the uniform of a rebel
Colonel. He unsaddled the horse at the house and then led it away to
the stable, and then returned himself to the house. We then went to our
horses, mounted, and rode to the house, dismounted and went in. We found
but one man in the house, who said, "Good morning! You gave the Johnnies
a good fleecing this morning!"

"Yes," said I, "we fleeced the Johnnies. But where is your uniform?"

"I ha'n't got a uniform, boys. I am no secesh. I have always been a good
Union man."

We then searched the house for the saddle and uniform, which we found,
hid under the floor.

"What uniform is this," said I, hauling it up from its hiding-place.

"It belongs to one of the boarders."

"It's my opinion that the boarder's clothes will just fit you. Take off
the clothes you have on and put on these, and do it quick, too."

"I declare, gentlemen, that's not my uniform."

"No matter; you must put it on and see how it fits."

"Jiminy-pult!" said Bader, brandishing his revolver; "put this uniform
on in a hurry, or we'll help you!"

"No more excuses," said I. "It a'n't but a few minutes since we saw you
have it on."

The Colonel reluctantly changed his former dress for the uniform.
"There--your military clothes fit well. Now go with us."

Bader saddled the horse and brought it to the door, when we made him
mount and go back with us to General Logan. I told him the course the
enemy had taken, and how we had captured the Colonel.

"Good morning, Colonel," said Logan. "Have you got any meat?"

"Yes, sir."

"Bunker, you go over and get some for our supper to-night."

I returned, accompanied by my partner, to the Colonel's house, where we
found a nice flock of turkeys. Knowing that officers were fond of
turkeys, I called a dog that was lying in the yard and set him to work.
In a few minutes we captured six nice ones, which we carried to the
General in lieu of meat.

"Here, Colonel," said Logan, showing the turkeys to the prisoner, "you
shall have a nice supper in the Federal fortress. Boys, have you got any
for yourselves?"

"No, sir."

"Here, take these," (handing me two of them.)

They made us an excellent supper; but whether the Colonel relished his
own turkeys, and himself a prisoner, I am not so sure. The next day I
was laid up with the ague, and was not able to scout any more during
that expedition.

In the month of December, 1863, the re-enlisting of soldiers as veterans
commenced in my regiment. I at once re-enlisted, and set about using my
influence to persuade others to do so. This I did, generally by private
conversation. Once, however, Bunker was called upon to make a speech, of
which the following is what he had to say:

"_Fellow-soldiers and comrades in arms_: It is with feelings of pride
that I attempt to address you--pride because it is not often that an
occasion offers for one to address a body of men whose deeds of valor
have called forth such praise and such rejoicings as yours have done.
Aye! I am proud that I have been a comrade in arms with you in such
struggles as Donelson, Shiloh, Champion Hills, and Vicksburg! Such
victories attest that you have done your duty well, and the glory is
yours. Your country appreciates the value of such men, and, because of
it, she now asks that you and I stand by that tattered flag for three
years more. We know how it came by those shreds, and, as we gaze upon
it, our hearts swell big with emotion in the recollection of the scenes
through which we have passed. It is _our blood_ that has spattered it,
and our arms that have borne it and won for it glory. You know, by
experience, the lot of the soldier. Your faces are bronzed in the
service, and many of you bear scars from the battles that you've fought,
mementoes of which your children and children's children will be proud
to speak when you are laid away in the hero's grave.

"Our regiment has already taken part in nine battles and several severe
skirmishes. In addition to my services as a scout and spy, I have taken
part in all of them but one, and that was missed because I was sick and
unable for duty. But, as much privation and hardships as I have
experienced, and as much danger as I have been exposed to, I can not
turn a deaf ear to the call of my country.

"Living and mingling, as I have, with the people of the South, and being
with them at the time the war commenced, I was able to discern, with
approximate correctness, the gigantic proportions of the rebellion. I
well knew the feelings that had impelled them, and the obstinate and
reckless determination with which they would hold out against the
attempt of the Federal Government to bring them into subjection.

"In responding to the call of my country to sustain her noble prestige
and glory, I had well counted the cost of the sacrifice that I was about
to make; and, contrary to the general expectation of a large proportion
of those that volunteered, I had no idea that the rebellion would be put
down in a few months, but expected that _years_ must elapse before our
country would be restored to its former proportions, peace, and

"Two years and a half have already passed since the first shot was fired
at that star-spangled banner by the hands of traitors who had been
reared under its protecting folds.

"During that period, thousands of patriotic hearts, that beat with love
for their country, have ceased their pulsations in the noble effort to
crush the traitorous arm that was raised against the most glorious
structure of human liberty.

"Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and sweethearts have
mourned the loss of the noble fallen.

"Some of the heroes of this war have dragged out a lingering,
distressing existence by disease, breathing the hero's prayer as they
closed their eyes in death. Others have died amid the clash of arms and
the din of battle; others, smitten down by the hand of the foe, have
spent days of horrible agony, without food, water, or shelter, and
then--died, glorious martyrs of liberty, on the field where they fell.

"Still the war continues, and the distant boom of cannon announces that
more martyrs are being sacrificed and other hearts are being broken.

"The page of history will never reveal the anguish and suffering caused
by this unholy rebellion.

"The fond father and mother, who have invoked the blessings of Heaven
upon their heroic son, as he was about to leave them to encounter the
hardships, privations, and sufferings of the warrior, will never know
the sufferings which that loved one has endured; nor will the loved one
know the intense anxiety and the agony of the broken hearts of those
aged parents, until they meet in the blissful bowers of a patriot and

"No pen can ever portray the sighs and anguish of the devoted wife and
tender children, whose husband and father, their solace and support, has
been smitten down by the hand of the foe.

"It has been my lot and pleasure to be a comrade and a sharer with those
that have thus freely suffered and bled to perpetuate the blessings of
liberty; and I can testify that there has been no hardship so great, no
suffering so intense, no death so horrible as to efface the calm smiles
of satisfaction and love from the face of the war-wrinkled hero, as he
closed his eyes in death, with his last lingering look upon the flag of
his country.

"Notwithstanding the many narrow escapes and perilous adventures and
sufferings that I have experienced, from long marches and from sickness,
and from exposure to the weather by sleeping upon the ground,
unsheltered by blanket or cover, during my travels as scout; and,
notwithstanding the dangers I have experienced upon the field of battle,
amid the roar of musketry and the crash of artillery, and the groans of
my mangled comrades, wounded and dying, as they lay weltering in pools
of blood, I prize my country _no less_ than I did two years and a half
ago, and my heart beats with the _same patriotism_ that first prompted
me to raise my arm in defense of the Union.

"So long as an armed traitor shall be found in rebellion against the
Government, I shall continue my career as a soldier. I can not leave the
field until this rebellion is crushed.

"The spirits of my fallen comrades are hovering about me, and beckoning
me on to avenge their sufferings and our insulted flag; and their
moldering bodies would turn over in disgust in the graves that inclose
them, were I to leave the laurels that we have so gallantly won to the
uncertainty of strange hands. Come, then, to the rescue!

"Your fathers and mothers, your wives and sweethearts, and all your
loved ones at home, will cheer you on in the noble cause. Their
thanksgivings and prayers are already encircling the throne of God in
your behalf; and when you return to your homes, their kind hands will
place garlands of flowers upon your heads as crowns of glory that you
have won. Cast your eyes upon the sacred emblem of our country--to the
flag which you have followed to the field of blood, and around which you
have rallied in the din of battle, and beneath which your brave comrades
have fallen, and remember the glorious victories that you have won, and
that a nation's gratitude is yours.

"March bravely on, as you have already done, winning victory after
victory, and but a few months more will elapse till you have planted the
stars and stripes in every nook and corner of the rebellious states.

"Then will peace, happiness and prosperity shed their effulgent rays
over all the land, and you will return to your homes, enshrouded with
glory, to meet the warm embrace of friends, _knowing_ that you have a
country, and that a _free_ country."


    Frightened by a dead Colonel--Burns Confederate corn in face
      of the enemy--Gets into a tight place--A frightened
      Major--Captures information--A headstrong Captain gobbled
      up--Captures a rebel Provost-marshal General--Encounter
      with General Ross' cavalry--A strange adventure--Races with
      a rebel Colonel--A hard-hearted woman.

The next service that I performed was in the month of February, 1864. It
was in that month that General Sherman made what is known as the
"Meridian raid." I accompanied the expedition. The second day out from
Vicksburg, General McPherson sent me to watch the movements of Wirt
Adams, who was hovering about our right flank with a battalion of
cavalry. I found a movement in progress to attack the ordnance and
supply train, which I reported in time to prevent; it was handsomely
effected by the 11th Illinois Cavalry. At night the army halted at
Baker's Creek.

There an incident occurred that I can never forget. I expected to go
home with my regiment on veteran furlough as soon as the campaign that
we were then on was completed. I had felt desirous of procuring a
complete Confederate Colonel's uniform to take home with me as a trophy.
I had already secured every thing except a coat. When I had completed
my day's ride, and secured my horse for the night, it had got to be so
late as 9 o'clock. Passing along the line to find somebody that would
lend me some tobacco--which, by the way, was a scarce article then--I
met a soldier, who said, "Bunker, didn't I hear you say that you wanted
a rebel Colonel's coat?"


"There was a rebel Colonel killed on the skirmish line in front to-day."

"Was there! Where is he?"

"Go up the ditch yonder, to the left, till you come to the end of it;
then take a hollow that leads away to your left. The first body that you
come to is a dead private; the next is that of a Colonel."

The night was very dark, but my desires to obtain the coat were so
strong that they overcame all fear, so I started out. I found the hollow
described with less difficulty than I had expected. Coming to the dead
private, I said, "Good evening, Johnnie! You'll get cold there, won't
you?" A few steps further brought me to another body. "Good evening,
Colonel!" said I. He made no reply. I continued: "You are going down
below, where it is warm, and when we get back from this raid I am going
up north, where it is cold; you have got a good coat and I want it.
Since it is so warm down where you are going that you don't need it,
what objections can you have to my taking it?"

The Colonel made no reply.

"Well, Colonel, they say, when sparking old maids, that silence gives
consent so I guess I'll take it."

He lay on his back, with his feet crossed, and one arm laying across his
breast. His boots were already gone. Taking hold of his arm and raising
it up, I found that it was limber. Said I, "You haven't had your
furlough long, have you, Colonel?" He made no reply. I set the body up,
and got down upon my knees in front of it, and commenced to take off the
coat. A gasp and a convulsive spring forward brought the Colonel's open
mouth suddenly against my face. Unearthly horror seized me; with one
bound I was on my feet, and the next thing that I knew I was in camp. To
say that I was frightened is no description of my feelings. Had a demon
from the infernal regions placed his gnashing jaws against my face, I
could not have been more horrified. I covered myself in my blankets, and
cold tremors crept over me for hours after. Every attempt to court sleep
would force through my mind a vivid recollection of every mean thing
that I had ever done, followed by all the stories of ghosts and
hobgoblins that I had ever heard. I have had no desire since to obtain a
rebel Colonel's coat.

The next morning the march was resumed. Nothing of particular interest
occurred, save the usual skirmishing, foraging, and burning consequent
upon such expeditions, for several days. After we had crossed Pearl
River, I was kept constantly on the flanks, scouting and foraging. I
usually had a squad of men with me. At Jonesboro I was sent out on the
left flank, with a squad of eight men. A few miles out from Jonesboro,
the road leading to Hillsboro forks. The straight and most direct road
leads through seven miles of swamp, and is known as the "lower road."
The right-hand road leads to the south, around the swamp, and is called
the "upper road." The latter was the one taken by the army in its route
to Hillsboro. When I left the troops in the morning, I did not know that
there was more than one road leading to that place. The consequence was,
I kept to the left of the lower road, which carried me entirely too far
from the main force of the army for safety.

After traveling about eight miles, we came to a cross-road. Our course,
thus far, had not been confined to any road, but lay across the fields.
As we came to the cross-road we emerged from a piece of woodland. Half a
mile beyond us was a double log-house and several large rail-pens, which
we had learned were filled with Confederate corn. Three hundred yards to
the left of the corn we discovered a camp of two regiments of rebel
cavalry. These we tried to clear, by filing to the right and keeping
along in the timber to the west of the road. Less than a hundred yards
brought us to a small stream of water, whose banks were lined with a
dense growth of alders. The stream, after crossing the road, made its
way along to within fifty yards of the corn-crib. Taking advantage of
the cover afforded by the alders, one of my party waded down the shallow
stream until opposite the cribs, and then, under cover of the cribs,
made his way to them and set them on fire, and then retraced his steps.

Two miles further south, we came to a planter's house, where I found a
table spread for eighteen persons, and fried sausage figured
extensively in the meal, which was then nearly prepared.

"You've got the table set for some Johnnies, I reckon," said I to the

"No, sir; for none but our own family."

"I reckon you have; I'll go out and stand picket while my men come in
and eat." I went out and sent the men in to eat the sausage. As I was
about to step behind an ash-house that stood in the yard, the old man,
who had followed me out, stepped up to me and begged of me not to go
there. Said he, "If you do, you will surely get shot."

"You want to frighten the men away from that sausage," said I, still
determined to go there.

"No," said he, "I have never seen a man shot, and I don't want to see
you shot in my own yard; you will certainly get shot if you go there. If
you want to stand picket at all, go up into my garret and watch from the

The old man turned so pale and looked so much in earnest, that I
concluded to take his advice. Instead of going into the front door I
went round to the back door; both doors were open. In the front end of
the hall sat the planter's daughter, waving a white handkerchief, and in
the field beyond, not more than three hundred yards distant, I saw a
line of Johnnies coming, hiding their approach as much as they could by
intervening objects. I said to the boys, "Grab the sausage, kick over
the table, and be off, for the rebs are on us." We took to the trees,
when quite a lively skirmish ensued, which lasted for several minutes.
The rebs then took to their horses, evidently bent on intercepting our
retreat on the cross-road. As soon as they were out of sight, we started
across the fields for the "lower Hillsboro" road, which proved to be
about a mile distant. There were eighteen of the rebs, and they had
evidently been watching the "lower road" for forage parties. We had been
coming up in their rear until we stopped to confiscate the sausage. On
reaching the road, I found that the troops had not passed that way, and
consequently must have taken some other. The fact now flashed upon my
mind that we were much further from our command than we had any idea of.

There was a brick church at the corner of the road. I got the boys into
that as quick as possible, and ordered them to knock out the windows.
While they were preparing for defense, I stood in the road and watched.
While the boys were getting ready, a Lieutenant and a private of the
Federal Signal Corps came up, each armed with revolvers, and soon after
several infantry soldiers, that had strayed away from their commands,
came in sight. I hurried them up, and had hardly got them into the
church when a party of rebs made their appearance. We opened on them
lively, and killed two of their number and wounded others, which caused
them to clear out and leave us. I knew it would not do to stay there
long, so we "lit out" to find the army, taking the cross-road to the
south. Being mounted, I rode on ahead, until I came to the upper road.
The 16th Corps had just passed, and the 17th was just coming into sight.
In a few minutes General McPherson and staff came up, and wanted to
know what the firing was about. I reported the situation of affairs.
Just then two of my squad, who had brought up the rear at a distance of
three hundred yards behind the rest, came up on the run, with
information that two regiments of rebel cavalry were coming. The General
ordered a brigade of infantry into position on a double-quick. They were
hardly in line before the rebs commenced firing. A lively engagement
ensued, which lasted about thirty minutes, and resulted in a handsome
defeat of the enemy.

A march of three days more brought us to Decatur, Miss. The 16th Army
Corps passed on beyond the place to encamp for the night. As the rear of
their supply train was passing out of the place it was attacked, and one
man and twenty-six mules were killed. The 17th Corps encamped for the
night at Decatur. The next morning General Leggett sent me out on a road
running south from the place, to ascertain whether there was a rebel
force near. I had only gone half a mile before I discovered, a short
distance ahead of me, a squad of rebs. I returned to report the fact to
General Leggett, and as I was passing the first line of our troops,
Major Fry, of the 20th Ohio, said to me, "Bunker, what is there out

"There are rebs out there."

"How far?"

"Not more than half a mile."

"Pshaw! Bunker, you are mistaken; there can't be rebs that near."

"Perhaps you had better go and see, if you don't believe it."

The Major mounted his black stallion and went out. The road was crooked,
and lined on both sides with a heavy growth of pine underbrush, so that
it was impossible to see far. He hadn't been gone long enough to have
rode half a mile, when he was seen coming back with his horse under full
spur, and at its utmost speed, with hat in hand, shouting at the top of
his voice, "Fall in! Fall in! Fall in!" From the Major's actions, we all
supposed that a large force of rebs were about to attack us. The troops
instantly fell in, when a company was sent out to find the cause of
alarm, and discovered seven men that had given chase to the Major.
Officers sometimes get frightened as well as enlisted men.

General Leggett then gave me a squad of twenty-six men and sent me out
on a road to the south-east of town. Two miles out I saw a citizen
fleeing from his house to the woods, as if alarmed at our approach. I
gave chase and soon caught up with him. Brandishing my revolver, I said
to him, "Daddy, you have got to tell me one thing or I will kill you
right here; now tell me the truth."

"Well, what is it?"

"Where were you going, and what were you going for?"

"There are six hundred State militia down in the woods, about three
quarters of a mile from here; I was afraid of you all, and I was going
down there for protection."

"You belong to them, I suppose?"

"No, sir."

"What are the militia doing there?"

"They are going to attack your supply train."

"That's a fact, is it?"

"Yes, and they are going to do it right quick."

"It was the militia that killed the mules last night, I suppose."

"No, it was the citizens of the town."

"Did you have a hand in it?"

"No, sir; but my brother did. I'll tell you how it was done. Before the
Yankee force came up, the citizens of the town met on the public square,
and joined hands around the Confederate pole, with the Confederate
colors flying, and swore by Almighty God that they would resist the
march of the Yankees through the place, or every man would die in the
attempt. As soon as the Yankee advance made its appearance, they all
fled to the woods. As the rear of the train came up, they rallied and
made the attack; but as soon as they saw other troops coming, they again

I returned to General Leggett, to report the information that I had
gained. I found him still in Decatur, superintending the departure of
troops. The train was already moving out. I told him what was up. Said
he, "They dare not attack it; and if they do, there a'n't enough of them
to wake up one side of it."

"I guess they will try it, General."

At that instant the crack of rifles was heard, which increased in
frequency until the firing was quite lively.

"They are at it, I guess," said the General. "I must see about that." So
out we went to the scene of action. The guards were doing bravely, but
the presence of the General inspired them with new courage, and they
pitched into the militia like so many tigers, and whipped them without
any reinforcements to assist them.

At Meridian, General McPherson sent me out alone to hunt up a grist-mill
that was suitable to grind corn for the army. It was rendered necessary
because of our having advanced into the enemy's country one hundred and
fifty miles from our base of supplies, which compelled us to subsist
upon the products of the country.

Two miles out from Meridian I found a mill, but it needed some repairs.
The man who kept it told me that there was another, six miles further
out, that was in good running order. I went out to find it, but had gone
only about a mile, when I discovered rebel forces of both infantry and
cavalry. From appearances, I judged them to be quite strong. I then
retraced my steps toward camp. On my way, I met a Captain, with a detail
of forty men, going after forage. I advised him to go back. I told him
that if he undertook to go on the rebs would gobble him up. He insisted
upon having his own way, and went on. Two men of company K, of the 17th
Illinois Infantry, who knew me, heard what I said to the Captain, and,
not liking very well to be captured, fell back a short distance to the
rear of the squad, and watched the motion of things. The result was, the
Captain and his men were surprised and all gobbled up without making
any resistance, except the two that fell back, and they made a narrow

After leaving the Captain, I hurried back and reported to General
McPherson, who sent out a force of cavalry as quickly as possible to
support the Captain, or release him if captured. The assistance,
however, was too late. The rebs had departed with their prisoners.

We staid at Meridian two days, which time we spent in gathering supplies
and devastating the country. The object of the raid was to impoverish
the country as much as possible, and it was successfully accomplished.
The destruction of property could not have been more complete. At the
expiration of two days the army retraced its way eighteen miles, and
then made another halt of two days, to rest the teams.

From that place, Colonel Potts, of the 32d Ohio Infantry, (since a
Brevet Major-General,) in command of the Ohio Brigade, was sent with
fifty-six wagons to the north of our line of march after supplies. I
went with him. He ordered me to ride on some distance in advance, and
see what I could find.

Twelve miles out, I came to a plantation that looked as if it belonged
to a man in wealthy circumstances. As I came in sight of the house, I
saw two men go in. The house stood in a yard inclosed by a picket-fence;
behind the house was a small oak grove. Halting in front of the gate, I
shouted. Two men came out, and one of them inquired what I wanted.

"I want you to come out to the gate," I replied.

"Go along to your command," he continued; "you have no business here.
Your command has just passed the corner yonder, out of sight. I don't
want you straggling back and prowling around my premises. I am
Provost-marshal General of this district, and I order you to go on."

"Oh, come out here. I am no straggler. I have got some news to tell you
about the _Yankees, and it's good news, too_."

At that they both came out into the road. As the Marshal closed the
gate, and stepped away from it, I reined my horse between him and the
gate, and, quickly presenting my revolver, told them that they were my
prisoners, and if they made any attempt to get away I'd kill them both
on the spot. I then marched them back till I met Colonel Potts.

"What have you got here?" he inquired.

"The Provost-marshal General."

"Is that your rank, sir?" he inquired of the prisoner.

"Yes, sir."

"What is your name?"

"Davis, sir; Doctor Davis, they call me."

"What is your name?" (addressing the other.)

"My name is Davis; I am a brother of the doctor."

"What is your rank?"

"I am a private in the 35th Mississippi Regiment."

"What are you doing here?"

"I am on furlough. Here it is," said he, pulling it out and handing it
to the Colonel.

I told the Colonel that it was only a few rods to the doctor's house; so
he brought them along to the house, where they were turned over to my
care. I now discovered, for the first time, that there were several
persons chained to the trees in the little grove behind the house.
Leaving my prisoners with a guard, I went to find out who they were. I
found that they had iron collars around their necks, to which the chains
were made fast. They said they were Union people, and lived in the
country about there, and that they had fled from conscription, and
Doctor Davis had hunted them down with bloodhounds, and then chained
them there. I went to the doctor and asked him who he had got chained up
in the grove. He said, "They are Confederate soldiers that have deserted
their regiments. I captured them, and fastened them that way for
safe-keeping, until I could return them to their commands."

I made him give me his keys, and then I unlocked the Union men, and put
one of the iron collars on Doctor Davis' neck, and locked him to the
hind end of one of the wagons. The doctor's brother cried, and said he
would rather see him shot than treated that way, and begged of me to let
him go. I told him that such treatment was no worse for rebs than it was
for good Union men. I had hardly stepped away from the doctor when the
Union men pitched into him, and I guess they would have killed him in a
very few minutes if I had not interfered. I was very sorry afterward
that I didn't let them do him justice.

We loaded the fifty-six wagons with oats, corn, and bacon, from the
doctor's plantation, and then burned every thing that was left. While
the wagons were being loaded, some Indians that lived near by came to
us, and seeing that I had the doctor chained, said: "Bad man; very bad
man. Be glad he's gone."

As soon as I reached camp, I reported to General McPherson who I had
captured. He said, "Doctor Davis is notorious for his cruelty to loyal
people. Bring your prisoner in."

While I was gone for the prisoner, General Sherman and General Logan
came over, and were there when I entered with him. General Sherman asked
him a few questions, and then gave him a most severe upbraiding for his
barbarous cruelty. When the Generals had all given him a piece of their
minds, he was turned over to me to take care of, with permission to kill
him if I wanted to.

The next morning I took him out into the woods alone, to see what I
could do toward scaring him. I chained him to a tree, and then, drawing
my revolver, told him that I was going to kill him. He begged of me to
spare his life.

"Yes," said I, "the ox is yours now; why didn't you think of that when
loyal men begged of you for mercy? You have no time to beg; you had
better go to praying."

He plead and cried, and finally prayed. As much as he deserved death, I
hadn't the heart to kill him; so I returned him to his place behind the
wagon. He was made to travel all the way to Vicksburg with the collar
and chain fast to his neck. Sometimes the driver would stop his team,
and wait till the teams ahead would go three or four hundred yards. Then
he would crack up his team, and make the doctor run to keep up, and,
while running, he would have to hold on to the chain with both hands, to
keep it from dragging him by the neck. At Vicksburg he was tried by
court-martial, and sentenced to confinement on Johnson's Island.

When the army arrived at Jonesboro, on its return, General McPherson
sent me, with a squad of nine men, into the country to hunt up forage.
We were all mounted. When we had gone about eight miles to the
north-west, we came to a small stream that flowed within deep
perpendicular banks, and a few yards beyond the stream we came to a
house, where we dismounted. I went to the stable in search of horses and
mules. On returning to the yard, in front of the house, I found my men
gathered in a circle around a young lady that had come out of the house.
She was dressed extravagantly gay and rich, evidently in expectation of
a visit from somebody. Her gay appearance had had something to do in
gathering the men around her.

"Boys," said I, "don't you know better than to huddle together in that
way for bushwhackers to shoot at? One shot would kill two or three of

"That's so, Bunker," said they, scattering out.

"What are you dressed up so nice for?" said I to the lady. "Who's coming
to see you?"

"I a'n't dressed up; this is my every-day attire."

"You needn't lie to me in that way; there is somebody coming to see
you, and if you don't tell me who it is, I'll burn your house down."

"Perhaps, if you stay here long enough, you will find out who it is."

"Whereabouts is General Ross' command?"

"He is not far from here."

"Well, where is he?"

"Down in the woods yonder."

"Come on, boys, we'll go down and see!"

We mounted and rode down into the woods; there I discovered a great many
fresh horse-tracks. I ordered the boys to dismount and form a skirmish
line. We had hardly got into position, when a Confederate General made
his appearance on a rise of ground in our front, a hundred yards
distant, coming toward us. When he had ascended fairly to the top of the
hill, he halted to look. He was the richest dressed General that I ever
saw. His uniform was heavily trimmed with gold lace, and his saddle,
bridle, and holsters were mounted with gold. The General was straight,
and well proportioned, and made a splendid appearance. I presumed that
it was General Ross, on his way to visit the young lady.

"Jim," said I to the man nearest me, whom I knew to be a good shot, "why
don't you shoot that General?"

Jim fired, but missed him. We gave chase, and fired twelve or fifteen
shots at him, but, in the excitement of the occasion, we all missed him.
We followed about forty rods, then returned to our horses, recrossed the
bridge, tore it up, stationed ourselves behind trees, and waited for
the approach of the enemy, who, I felt sure, would give chase. We had
not waited long until the expected enemy came. We opened fire on them as
they came up, which was kept up by us for several minutes, and returned
with equal vigor by them. Finding they made no impression on us, they
withdrew. Suspecting that they knew of some other place to cross the
stream, I told the boys to "light out." We were hardly in saddle till we
saw the rebels coming from another direction. They had crossed the
creek, intent on our capture. Away we went, and the rebs after us. It
was now nip and tuck who had the fastest horses. Fortunately for us,
during our absence the 16th Corps had moved out on the road that we were
on, and gone into camp, and we had only about three miles to ride before
we ran into our own lines. The rebs kept up the chase until they were
fired into by our pickets. I never learned whether we injured any of the
rebs or not; my own men received no injury.

Two days' further marching brought the army within four miles of Pearl
River Swamp, where it halted to lay a pontoon bridge across Pearl River.
While the army was waiting, I was ordered by General Leggett to get a
detail of eighteen men from the 32d Ohio Infantry, in addition to which
I had a squad of nine that had been on detail with me for several days.
With these I was to go after forage, and be ready to start at daylight
the next morning. I got horses for my men, and had them all ready that
night. In the morning we started for General Leggett's head-quarters
for special instructions. On the way I met a Lieutenant of the 23d
Indiana Infantry, with a detail of ninety men, all mounted. He said to
me, "Bunker, what is your detail for?"

I told him that I was going after forage. He said, "I am ordered to take
command of all forage parties to-day. You and your men fall in with me."
The men, supposing it was all right, fell in, except one. I knew well
enough that he had lied. He wore shoulder-straps and I wore none. I was
vexed. I sat on my horse and watched his movements. He rode on to the
head of his command, with more assuming dignity than a Major-General
with a command of a hundred thousand men. He paid no attention to his
men, and they strung out behind long enough for a good sized regiment. I
told the man that had remained with me to go on, and tell the men of my
detail that I wanted them to run with me, and to drop back behind till I
came up. This they did, without being missed by the Lieutenant. I got
them all back but one man. The Lieutenant filed to the left at the first
left-hand road; I went on to the second left-hand road, and then filed
left. I calculated to let the Lieutenant have the outside track, and I
would forage inside his operations. After turning to the left, we went a
mile, and then took a track that led to the right, down through a field,
and then into a piece of woods, until we came to a creek, with a steep
bank on the side that we were on that was four feet down to the water.
We could only get our animals down the bank by pushing them. In this we
succeeded. The opposite bank we ascended without difficulty. We were
then about five miles from where the Lieutenant and I parted. Going on a
few yards further, I heard the sound of voices, and motioned to the boys
to stop. We listened, and could distinctly hear loud talking, and
occasionally such expressions as "thar," "you all," and "gwine," which
led us to conclude that we were coming upon a party of rebs. I knew that
Carson's cavalry was somewhere not far distant, and readily enough
suspected that the talking we heard was from his men. To retrace our
steps was impossible, owing to the nature of the opposite bank of the
stream. To remain long where we were was dangerous. "Boys," said I, "we
must do one of two things--either fight these rebs or go to
Andersonville. Which will you do?"

"Try 'em a whack, Bunker."

"Well, then, tie your horses, and get into a line of skirmishers, and
I'll ride cautiously forward and see what's there." I went so near that
I saw two Confederate soldiers and a nigger, clad in Confederate
uniform. This confirmed my suspicions that we had run into Carson's
cavalry. I concluded that our only hope lay in the trial of strategy.
From the voices that I heard, the party, whoever they were, greatly
outnumbered mine.

Having placed myself at the rear of my command, I shouted, at the top of
boys went. Then I shouted, "BATTALION--FORWARD--DOUBLE-QUICK--MARCH!" I
was the battalion. I kept on giving commands, as we advanced, as loud as
I could yell, as if I was commanding a full regiment of infantry. The
strategy had its effect. The party did not wait to see who we were, but
very unceremoniously "lit out." We only got sight of three persons; those
were the two Confederate soldiers and nigger that I have mentioned, who
remained behind for us to capture. We now found out that we had stampeded
a party of Federal soldiers. They had left two yoke of oxen and a wagon,
loaded with a barrel of sugar, a sack of flour, and nice hams. On top of
the load was a roll of carpeting. The fleeing party had left along their
line of flight great numbers of nice hams, that they had thrown away in
their efforts to escape. The three persons that we had captured had
hauled the stuff down into the woods that morning, to hide it from the
Yankees. A party of Federal soldiers had discovered the track, and
followed it up, and were in the act of appropriating the best of the
hams to their own use, when we surprised them. We took possession of the
property, and started on, keeping a plantation road that wound its way
round to the main road, on which the army was encamped.

Shortly before coming out on the main road, I halted my party to give
the oxen a chance to rest. While there, the 11th Illinois Cavalry and a
brigade of infantry were seen coming out on the road that we were on,
with battle-flags flying. Coming up to us, they halted. At the head of
the command, with the Colonel of the 11th Illinois Cavalry, was the
Lieutenant of the forage party and a private of the 23d Indiana
Infantry. Said the private to me:

"Bunker, was there a carpet on that wagon?"

"Yes; but we threw it away."

"Was there a barrel of sugar?"


"And a sack of flour?"


Turning to the Lieutenant, "Here is your wagon."

"Do you claim that wagon, Lieutenant?" I inquired.

"I don't know as it is my wagon."

"If it is, just say so; I don't know as one soldier is better than
another. These supplies are for this noble army. If they are yours, just
say so; then I'll tell how I came by them."

"I don't know as I care who has them; only I would like to have had one
of those hams for my dinner."

"Well, why didn't you save one of the hams that you threw away, if you
wanted one so bad?"

"I declare!" said the Colonel, "if this a'n't a pretty flirt! A brigade
of infantry and a battalion of cavalry sent out to attack _Bunker and
his squad_!"

The Colonel then moved with his command back to camp, and I reported
with my forage to General Leggett.

The next day I took out a squad of six men on a road leading to the
north-west. Two miles out I came to a cross-road leading down to Pearl
River. Near the corners stood a dwelling-house, and in the yard lay a
dead horse, which, from appearances, had been killed only a few minutes
before. Riding into the yard, and reining up to the door of the house, I
called the occupants out, who proved to be a widow lady and two
daughters. I inquired how the horse came to be killed in her yard. At
first she refused to tell. By threatening to burn her house, I succeeded
in drawing out the information that a Federal soldier had been there but
a few minutes, when a Confederate Colonel, an Adjutant, and a servant
rode into the yard; the servant was mounted on a mule. The Federal
soldier, seeing them, rushed out of the house and fired his piece at the
Adjutant, and then rushed at the Colonel with his bayonet. The shot
missed the Adjutant and killed his horse. The Colonel shot the soldier
in the right arm and disabled him. The Adjutant left the servant to
shift for himself, mounted the mule, and rode off with the Colonel
toward Pearl River. They hurried their prisoner off as fast as he could
go, without giving him time to tie up his wound. Having learned this, I
said, "Come on, boys! we can outrun a mule, and perhaps we can catch
them." Away we went, under full spur. A chase of a little over two miles
brought us in sight of a dwelling-house, where, by the roadside, was
hitched a horse and a mule, and sitting upon the porch was a Federal

The Colonel and Adjutant had entered the house and called for a snack.
The man of the house replied, "Really, Colonel, I should like to get you
something to eat, but I am afraid the Yankees will be upon you before my
servants can get it ready."


"No they won't; they are afraid of me. The cowardly sons of b----s
dasn't follow me! I've got one of them now; if they come I'll get some

The soldier, seeing us coming, and having heard the conversation, said:
"The Colonel is a brave man, indeed; but, by the looks of things out
here, he is gone up. Hearing that, they made a rush for their animals,
and we fired a volley from our revolvers, which killed the Adjutant
instantly. We emptied our revolvers at the Colonel; but in the
excitement of the occasion every shot missed, and he succeeded in
mounting his horse and starting off toward the river. By the time he was
in his saddle, I was within twenty feet of him. The chase was a
desperate one. The Colonel, at intervals of a few rods, would let drive
a back-handed shot toward me, until he had emptied his piece. My horse
would lay back his ears and open his mouth, and spring forward with all
his force, as if to catch hold of the Colonel's horse with his teeth. A
mile and a half brought us to the river. I had gained at least ten feet.
The Colonel's horse splashed into the water, and mine gave a leap and
came nearly up, and then outswam his, till I came near enough to strike
the Colonel on the back of the head with the butt of my revolver, which
considerably stunned him, and enabled me get his horse by the bridle.

"Surrender," said I, "or I'll kill you!"

"I'm your prisoner," said the Colonel.

"Bring him out," shouted the boys, who, by this time, had come up.

We conducted the prisoner back to the house, where we found the
soldier, still bleeding and very weak from the loss of blood. He
belonged to the 32d Ohio Infantry. He said that he had asked the woman
of the house for a rag with which to tie up his wound, which she refused
to give him, adding, "I hope you will bleed to death." We dressed the
wound as well as we could, and then took care of the woman's rags by
setting fire to the house and out-buildings. We then carried the soldier
to his regiment, and the Colonel to General McPherson's head-quarters.

After crossing Pearl River, very little occurred of interest in my
individual experience during the march back to Vicksburg. A great many
forage parties and straggling soldiers were gobbled up by the enemy
during the raid; but, though I was out with men under my charge nearly
every day, I never lost a man during the entire campaign, which lasted
thirty days. On the march from Canton to Vicksburg the troops were not
allowed to destroy property. The raid was a demonstration of the
feasibility of the plan of campaigning, which was afterward inaugurated
by General Sherman in the state of Georgia.


    Starts home on veteran furlough--Trouble at the table--Bluffs
      the Captain--Suspected of being a rebel spy--Commissioned
      officer serves him at the table--Kind attentions at
      home--Silences an old maid--Returns to the front--Shot at
      twenty-one times--The remedy--A Union lady--The dwarf
      weaver--The weaver beheaded--Goes into Marietta as a
      spy--Confederate side of the lines--Escape from the
      rebs--General McPherson's death--Hard fighting.

Early in March, 1864, my regiment went home from Vicksburg on veteran
furlough, and I accompanied it. Every thing passed off pleasantly on our
homeward trip, save that, now and then, it became difficult for a man
like myself, without shoulder-straps, to get admitted to the table for
meals. We were embarked on board the steamer Continental. She had on
board, besides our own, a New York regiment, going home from New
Orleans. I was a stranger to them, and was frequently halted by them
when they were on guard. This I might have prevented by procuring an
order, or pass, entitling me to the full privilege of the boat; but I
chose to keep my real character disguised, except to such as personally
knew me.

On one occasion, after having imbibed rather freely at the bar--nothing
unusual for some soldiers on veteran furlough to do--I sat down to
dinner without having procured a ticket, and placed a five-dollar bill
by the side of my plate for the clerk of the boat to take his pay from.
The Captain's son came round for tickets, in place of the clerk, and,
seeing my bill lying there, and supposing that I was in too happy a
frame of mind to take notice of so slight a mistake, picked it up and
walked off.

That aroused my anger--or rather my liquor--and I called out, "Stop! you
d--d thieving son of a b--h! Bring back that money." Finding that he was
caught in the act, he came back and gave me the change. While he was
making the change, I gave him a regular cursing. The chaplain of the New
York regiment was sitting at the table opposite to me. The loud talking
brought crowds of officers and others to see what was up, and with them
the boy's father, who took me to task for such disrespect to his boat in
presence of the chaplain.

"Chaplain, h--l!" said I. "Do you think that I would sit here and see
your son steal my money without saying any thing? He deserves something
worse than curses. He ought to have his neck stretched. As for
chaplains, they are no better than other folks. Some will steal, or hire
soldiers to do it for them. We had a chaplain in our regiment, who said
to me once, 'Bunker, can't you bring me in a good horse?' 'Yes, I can
bring you in a good horse.' 'Well, I wish you would. I can't pay you the
full value of the horse, but I'll pay you for your trouble.' 'Oh, never
mind the trouble, chaplain,' said I; 'you preach the boys a good sermon
some Sunday morning, and _I'll steal you a horse_!'"

When I had finished my reply, the Captain disappeared in one direction
and the chaplain in another, in a midst of a roar of laughter from those
gathered around. I heard no more from the Captain about disgracing his
boat in the presence of chaplains.

At Memphis, we changed from the steamer Continental to a Memphis and
Cincinnati packet. General Breman took passage with us as far as Cairo,
Ill., and, being the senior officer in rank on board, was in command of
the troops. It is customary, when troops are on board transports, to
have a guard and an officer of the day, whose duty it is to preserve
order, subject to the instructions of the commanding officer.

The next morning after we left Memphis, Captain Ayres, of the 20th Ohio
Infantry, was the officer of the day. On reporting to General Breman for
instructions, he was informed that there was a "suspicious character" on
board. He pointed me out to the Captain, and told him that I came on
board at Memphis, and that, in all probability, I was either a rebel spy
or an incendiary, watching an opportunity to burn up the boat. He
instructed the Captain to watch me, and if my actions confirmed his
suspicions, to arrest me and place me under guard. The Captain was
personally acquainted with me, but kept the fact to himself. As soon as
an opportunity offered, the Captain told me what the General had said;
so I resolved to see how he would act when he found out who I was.
Walking back to the after-cabin, I found General Force and General
Breman engaged in reading. Said I to the latter, saluting him, "General
Breman, you don't know me, do you?"

"Not that I know of."

"You don't remember of having me arrested in Tennessee as a rebel spy? I
am a 'suspicious character;' you had better watch me."

"That's Mr. Ruggles, General," said General Force; "he's a useful man.
He's a valuable scout."

"Ah!" said Breman, remembering his instructions to the officer of the
day, and coloring slightly, "I didn't know _what_ to make of you. _I did
suspect your loyalty._"

"I'm _loyal_ enough, but I am among the rebs _so much_ that I sometimes
_act_ like one." The officer of the day was saved the necessity of
placing me under arrest.

Before reaching Cincinnati, the boat supplies became so nearly exhausted
that it became necessary to issue an order forbidding any but
commissioned officers and their _attachés_ being furnished with meals by
the boat. There were so many to eat that it generally required the table
to be set three times before all would be supplied. The first time the
table was set after the order was issued, I called at the clerk's office
to buy a ticket for dinner for myself and a friend, and was refused on
the plea that the order forbid furnishing meals to _enlisted men_. My
friend and I then seated ourselves at the table, but were ordered away
by the steward. On our refusing to go, he reported us to the clerk, who
came and ordered us away. I told him that we were _entitled_ to get our
meals there, and if he couldn't furnish us a waiter, I'd get a
commissioned officer to wait on us. I then ordered a waiter to serve us,
but the clerk countermanded it. Just then Captain Bostwick, of the 20th
Ohio Infantry, was passing by us.

"Here, Captain," said I; "these men have got above their business. They
won't wait on us because we ha'n't got on shoulder-straps. Can't you
wait on a poor soldier?"

"Certainly, gentlemen; what will you have, roast beef or boiled ham?"

"Some of the beef, if you please, Captain."

Away went the Captain with our plates. General Force, having heard our
words, now made his appearance. "General," said I, "this man and I fare
rather slim; they won't give us any thing to eat on this boat unless we
have a man with shoulder-straps to wait upon us."

"Clerk," said the General, "let these men have what they want to eat.
That man there (pointing to my friend) is a commissioned officer, and
the other man is a great deal more deserving of his meals than I am."

"I beg your pardon, gentlemen," said the clerk. "Waiter, serve these

"Never mind the waiter, clerk. We don't want any of your _trash_ around
us; we have _commissioned officers to serve us_." The Captain served us
till we had finished our meal, very much to the amusement of those
looking on.

On my arrival in Ohio, I found that my reputation as a scout and spy had
preceded me, and where-ever I went I could scarcely make my appearance
on the street without having a crowd gather around me, eager to hear my
experience in Dixie. I was pressed with invitations to call upon people
whom I had never seen or heard of before. Circumstances, beyond my
control, rendered my position an embarrassing one. We were to have been
paid our bounty, back pay, and veteran bounty at Columbus, O., but, by
the carelessness of the commissary of musters that mustered me, my
veteran papers were lost, so that I drew no pay, and, consequently, my
clothes were ragged and my pocket empty. Embarrassing as this was to me,
it seemed to have very little influence with others, and ladies in silk
would listen with intense interest to the narratives of the ragged

I am proud that I live in a country where patriotism, valor, and
services rendered to the Government, are more highly appreciated than
dress or a lavish expenditure of money. My war-worn clothes did not
diminish the number of my friends and admirers, otherwise my veteran
visit would have been an unhappy one.

In the course of my visiting, I spent an evening at a farm-house, where
was boarding the school-mistress of the district school. She was a lady
aged forty-two years--my age exactly--and would usually be called an
"old maid." Her tongue was as flexible as mine; indeed, I found it hard
to get the start of her. At first, we were shy of each other; she was
afraid of soiling her silk, and I was afraid to show my rags. Our seats
were at opposite sides of the room. Gradually, however, our interest in
each other's stories increased, and our distance apart as gradually
diminished, until, finally, we were sitting side by side, and became the
center of attraction for the evening by our narratives, alternately
told--hers of school-teaching experience and mine of army experience. At
last she said: "Mr. Ruggles, I should like to know how you learned to
practice the art of deception, as you did, among the Southern people.
They are not all fools, are they?"

"No, ma'am, they are not all fools."

"Really, then, I should like to know how you learned it."

"I'll tell you, if you will permit me to do so."

"I _should_ like to know."

"I learned it in paying my respects to _old maids_."

"_There! there! that will do!_" and away she went to the opposite side
of the room, much to the amusement of the company present. For the
remainder of the evening I had to keep at a respectable distance from

Our veteran furloughs having expired, we reported to General Leggett, at
Cairo, Illinois, who sent me to Clifton, Tennessee, to report to General
M. F. Force for duty. He sent me to Pulaski, a distance of sixty-two
miles, with dispatches. A squad of twenty men, under command of a
Lieutenant from a battalion of Tennessee cavalry, was sent with me as an
escort. The entire battalion of cavalry--in all, four hundred men--had
been in the Confederate service. They were captured at the taking of
Fort Donelson, and had been released by the Federal authorities, and had
enlisted in the Federal service. They had been running the courier line
to Pulaski, but had never got through with their dispatches. The men of
the battalion lived in the country lying between Clifton and Pulaski.

Soon after starting out from Clifton, my cavalry escort began to drop
off, one at a time, to visit their homes, and when I arrived at Pulaski
I had but two of my escort with me--one was the Lieutenant and the other
a Sergeant. I went through without being molested, but I came to the
conclusion that "_Confederate-Federal cavalry_" was of but little
service to the Government. _I never could trust a Union-secesh!_ It is
too much like serving God and Mammon. _The Government has placed
entirely too much confidence in that class of men._ I would as soon
trust a dog with my dinner. My life has many times been placed in
jeopardy by such characters, and my convictions are the result of

I returned to Clifton with dispatches alone, and without being molested.
Two days after I was sent back again alone. I always passed over the
most dangerous part of the route in the night. I went through
undisturbed, but on my return I was shot at twenty-one times. At
Lawrenceburg I was fired at from the dwelling-houses, as I passed
through the place, without any challenge to halt. One man was standing
on his porch, with his gun in his hand, evidently watching for me to
come, and fired at me as I passed. Four miles from Lawrenceburg I came
to several cotton-factories; the locality bore the reputation of being
loyal. There I was fired at, both from the factories and
dwelling-houses. I went through both of these places under full spur.
The last shot that was fired at me was by a man standing in the middle
of the road, who challenged me to halt, and at the same time brought his
piece to an aim. Instead of halting, I put spurs to my horse and dashed
by. I was not more than six feet from him when he fired, but, in the
excitement of the moment, his shot missed me, and I passed on unharmed.
I can assure the reader, from actual experience, that it is no very
pleasant thing to be a mark for people to shoot at. I am fully convinced
that it was citizens that fired at me, and that they had found out,
through the cavalry, that I have mentioned, that I was a bearer of
dispatches, and were watching for me.

I delivered my dispatches to General Force, and told him that I was
afraid to run the line alone. He gave me an order for twenty-one men,
with the privilege of selecting men of my choice. Two days after, I
again started to Pulaski, with my escort, who were infantry soldiers,
mounted. Previous to starting, I told the General my plan of operation,
to which he said, "Very well." I called at every house along the entire
route. If the people were in bed, I made them get up, and said to them,
"_I am running a courier line from Clifton to Pulaski, and you good,
loyal people have fired at me twenty-one times. If I am ever fired at
again, whether I am killed or not, every man, woman, and child within
four miles of this road, on either side, shall be shot, and your houses

All of them claimed to be innocent, and said they were quiet,
peaceably-disposed citizens. I went through and back with my escort
without being molested, and for three weeks after, I ran the line alone,
without being disturbed.

The disposition of the Southern people is very much like that of a
butcher's Irish bull-dog. The more you try to coax and pet them, the
more they will try to bite you; but take a fire-brand and run at them,
and they will sneak off as cowardly as can be. The more the Government
coaxed and petted the Southern people, the worse they acted. If a favor
was extended to them, they would snap and snarl at the hand that held
it; but go right at them, with a sword in one hand and a fire-brand in
the other, and they cower down directly. So my barbarous threat proved a
wholesome remedy.

At the expiration of three weeks, General Leggett arrived at Clifton
with the 3d Division of the 17th Army Corps, bringing with his command
twenty-two hundred head of cattle for beef. The troops now prepared to
march across to Georgia, to increase the force operating under General
Sherman for the capture of Atlanta.

Preparatory to the marching of the troops, General Force sent me out on
the road to Florence, to ascertain the locality of Roddy's
cavalry--which was known to be hovering around--to prevent any attempt
it might make to stampede the cattle. I found out that the cavalry,
4,000 strong, was at Florence, and that Bill Johnson commanded 900 of
Roddy's choicest men, and that he--Roddy--had heard of the arrival of
the cattle, and had ordered Johnson to be on the alert for an
opportunity to stampede them. This I learned from citizens who seemed to
be well informed of the intended movements of both forces. Having
satisfied myself that the information was reliable, I did not go into
Florence, but crossed over to the Nashville and Florence military road,
which I came to seven miles from the latter place. I then went toward
Lawrenceburg, on my return to my command. Twelve miles from where I came
into the road, I halted at a dwelling-house, and said to the man of the
house, "Can I get my horse fed, and some supper here?"

"Where do you belong?"

"I belong to Bill Johnson's cavalry, and I'm going down to look up the
Yankee beef-cattle."

"Yes, yes; come in. The servant will feed your horse. I hope you'll
succeed in finding the cattle."

The servants were already engaged in preparing supper for the family.
Just before supper was announced, a daughter of the planter came in. I
should judge that she was about sixteen years old.

"Mother," said she, "what are you doing with that man here?"

"He's one of Johnson's men, and he's going down to hunt up the Yankee
beef-cattle," was the reply.

"Well, you had better watch him, or he'll steal something before he

"Behave yourself, and not insult the man in that way," said the mother.

"I do behave. He ought to be insulted. You are going down to hunt up
the Yankees, are you?" she continued, addressing me. "You are a _pretty_
object to be engaged in hunting up _Yankees_. The sight of _one pair of
blue breeches_ would make _six such spared monuments of God's mercy as
you are get up and leave_."

At the table the impudent thing would watch me, and whenever she could
get my eye, she would make faces at me, which she carried to such an
extreme that her mother slapped her ears to make her be still.

Whether the whole family were loyal, or only the daughter, or whether
the daughter was secesh, and tried only to draw out my true character,
the reader alone must judge; my duties were such that I dare not trust
any of them.

I reached Clifton without being disturbed.

On the arrival of the troops to within two miles of Lawrenceburg, I was
sent ahead to that place, with instructions to go out on the military
road toward Florence, and see if Johnson was coming. I had an escort of
fourteen men from the 11th Illinois Cavalry. When we had gone three
miles on the military road, we came suddenly upon a dwarfish looking
man, mounted on a horse, who was wonderfully frightened at our
unexpected meeting.

"How far have you come on this military road?" I inquired of him.

"I have come from Florence."

"Did you see any of Bill Johnson's cavalry on the road?"

"No, sir; there is no cavalry on the road. Roddy's cavalry is at
Florence; there is none this side of there."

"Look here, you are lying to me," I said, eying him closely. "A'n't
there any cavalry camped at Shoal Creek?"

"No, sir; if there is I did not see them."

"_You are lying to me sure._ Johnson's cavalry is at Shoal Creek, not
more than a mile and a half from here, and you could not pass without
seeing it. You belong to the cavalry, and have been sent out to see if
the Yankees are coming with the cattle."

"No, indeed, I don't belong to them," he persisted; "I am no soldier,
and did not see any soldiers along the road. I am a weaver by trade, and
do not belong to the army."

"Well, go with us; we'll find out whether you are a soldier or not." His
fright now turned into terror. We went about a mile, when we met
Johnson's cavalry coming up, and were obliged to turn back. As we
turned, one of the cavalry, with a single stroke of his saber, severed
the weaver's head from his body, and left him for his comrades to take
care of. I have no doubt whatever but that he was a scout for Johnson,
and that he calculated his being a dwarf would clear all suspicion of
his belonging to the army.

I reported the approach of Johnson to General Leggett, who threw out a
brigade of infantry in line of battle, and prevented an attack upon the

At Huntsville, Alabama, the ague came on me so bad that I was unable for
duty. Leaving my horse with a scout that had run with me considerable, I
went to the hospital. I did not like the looks of things there, so I
got sent on to Chattanooga, where I remained four days, at the end of
which time I felt a little better, and resolved to go back to the front.
Hospital discipline and I could not agree very well. I went to a member
of General McPherson's staff and told him what I wanted, and he gave me
a pass to report to General Sherman, wherever I could find him. I came
up with him just at the opening of the Buzzard's Roost fight, in which I
took a part. From there I was with the advanced guards until we came to
Resaca, at which place I assisted, on the right flank, in fighting
Wheeler's cavalry. I kept along with the advance of the army until we
arrived at Kingston, where General Leggett's command formed a junction
with us. There I found my horse. From there I had nothing of particular
interest to do until the rebs were driven to the Kenesaw Mountain.

At that place General McPherson sent for me, and asked me if I thought I
could go into Marietta and get back again. I told him I could, if
allowed to take my own plans to accomplish it, which he said I might do.
He told me to go in and find out whether the battery that commands the
approach along the railroad is a masked one, and count the guns; see
whether any State militia were there, and whether any part of the line
was held by them, and whether they were mixed in with other troops. I
was to examine the enemy's first line of works, and see how far they
extended; and how deep the ditches were, and whether I thought it
practicable to carry them by assault. He gave me fifty dollars in
greenbacks to defray my expenses, and sent me to Major-General Logan
for a Confederate uniform and some Confederate money. Thus equipped, I
started out the next day on horseback. I passed along our lines to the
extreme left, to General Garrard's head-quarters, where I left my
papers, and procured a pass through the lines. I passed the vedettes
about noon, and proceeded on in an easterly direction until I reached
Canton, sixteen miles from General McPherson's head-quarters. There I
staid all night. In the morning I resumed my journey, on a road leading
south, and halted for the night at a small village on the Chattahoochee
River, called Roswell Factories, twenty-eight miles from Canton. The
next morning a division of South Carolina cavalry came along from the
east, just as I was ready to start out. I fell in and attached myself to
company A, of the 1st South Carolina, and represented myself as
belonging to the 11th Texas Cavalry--which I knew was in our front when
I started out--going to join my command. The explanation proved
satisfactory, and I kept along with them till we reached Marietta, a
distance from Roswell Factories of eighteen miles. Then I left them,
under pretense of going to my own regiment, and went north along the
railroad, until I came to the battery that I was directed to visit. It
contained twelve large guns well masked. I then turned to the right and
rode along the first line of intrenchments. About eighty rods from the
masked battery I found a six-gun battery of small guns, and about eighty
rods further on was another six-gun battery of small guns.

About midway between the two six-gun batteries, I came upon a small
squad of militia that had been digging a spur from the main ditch for a
rifle-pit. One of the party stepped out of a pit that he had just
completed, and for a moment contemplated the result of his labor, and
then said: "Nary a Yankee is gwine to _come_ up thar; _thar_ is whar
I'll _stay_, and _thar_ is whar I'll _die_!" When we came in possession
of the place, however, we found no dead bodies "_thar_."

Down under the hill from the six-gun batteries, toward Marietta, I found
a large force of State militia, who were holding the right of the rebel
lines by themselves. There was nothing military in their appearance.
Their camp was without regularity, and filthy in the extreme. Many of
them had their families with them, and some of them had cows tied to
their wagons. The dog and cat were not left behind. The tongues of their
wagons usually pointed outward, and boards laid across from one
wagon-tongue to another served them as tables. Decrepit old men and
little boys, women and babies, white and black, were there. The various
kinds and calibers of small arms were as numerous and different as the
individuals that carried them. I thought to myself that it would be a
fine place to throw a few big shells. It would have created a panic, at
a trifling expense, that would have eclipsed any thing in the history of
the rebellion.

The ditches of the first line I found to be four feet deep and six feet
wide. A little to the right and front of the militia, I found a brigade
of Texas cavalry, composed, in part, of the 11th and 3d Texas
Regiments; two other Texas regiments made up the brigade. I went to the
Orderly Sergeant of company A, of the 11th Texas, and told him that I
belonged to company A of the 1st South Carolina Cavalry, and that my
regiment had just come in that day, and that I had got separated from my
command, and would like to stay with him over night, and then hunt up my
regiment in the morning. He went to the Colonel and asked permission to
keep me, which was granted. The Colonel of the 11th Texas was in command
of the brigade.

In the morning the brigade prepared to make a demonstration upon General
Wilder's command; so I told the orderly that I would go along and see
the fun. The command moved out a short distance and then halted. Just
then an orderly rode up and handed the Colonel a dispatch, which, when
he had read, he sent the whole command back to camp except the company I
was with; with that he said he would go out and capture a Yankee
vedette. We rode on until we came to a narrow ridge of ground. As we
were rising this, and just as we had reached its summit, we unexpectedly
received five shots from Federal vedettes, which killed the Colonel and
two privates. The command immediately broke to the rear and fled toward
camp. I broke back with them until we reached the foot of the hill, when
I turned to my right, and went up the hollow, I should judge about three
hundred yards, and again ascended the ridge, and crossed to a little
brook that flowed along the base of the hill, and crossed the road
between the vedettes and where the Colonel was killed. A little below
me, in the brook, was a Federal soldier, engaged in washing his face.
His hat and gun were lying upon the bank. He was but a mere boy. Seeing
me approach, he seized his gun, cocked it, and raised it to his face,
when I called to him, "Hold on, my little man, I am a Federal soldier;
don't shoot me!"

"Well, then, come in out of the wet! Don't you try to get away; if you
do I'll _bore_ you!"

The little fellow kept his piece leveled at me until I came up, and then
marched me away to the reserve. He was so elated with his capture that
he forgot his hat, and marched me in without it.

From the reserve I was taken to General Wilder's head-quarters, and then
to Colonel Miller's, where my horse was taken from me. From there I was
taken to the corral of rebel prisoners, near General Garrard's
head-quarters, and turned in. I sat down upon a block of wood, near the
entrance to the inclosure, and leaned my head upon my hands. I had been
there but a moment, when a prisoner, discovering that I was a fresh
arrival, stepped up and said, "To what command do you belong?"

"Clear out, and don't bother me," I replied; "I'm mad now."

The prisoners, seeing that I was not in a talking mood, left me to
myself. Shortly after, the Adjutant-General came out and discovered me
sitting there. I heard him call the sergeant of the guard, who shortly
came to the entrance and said, "Halloa, there, you long-haired fellow!
you are wanted here." He took me into the head-quarters, where I
received the papers that I had left there, and an order for my horse and
a pass to General McPherson's head-quarters, where I arrived after an
absence of three days and a half.

The information that I gathered showed that the enemy's right was the
most advantageous point for us to attack; so much so, that it was
thought by good judges that a single army corps could easily have
entered Marietta. General Sherman, however, was not left to choose his
place of attack, for the next morning the enemy made a furious assault
upon our right, against General Hooker's command. The onslaught was
impetuous and the pressure tremendous, but was heroically resisted. For
a time it seemed as if Hooker's entire command would be swept away by
the masses that were hurled against it. It was enough, however, that
"Fighting Joe" was there to animate his troops by his noble bearing.

The action was sustained in all its fury, and gradually spread from
right to left, until the whole line was engaged, and lasted until,
overpowered by the boys in blue, the enemy broke and fled, resulting in
a complete victory to the Federal arms, with the possession of Kenesaw
Mountain and Marietta.

The next day, at my request, General McPherson and staff, accompanied by
General Leggett, went with me to see the places that I had described in
my report. After we had visited them, General McPherson said that he was
convinced that I had reported correctly. I mention this because it is
not uncommon for spies to go out, and, on their return, report that
which they knew nothing about. It was a satisfaction for me to know that
he was satisfied that I had visited the places that I had described.

General Sherman continued to press the enemy toward Atlanta, and his
victory at Kenesaw Mountain was followed by an advance of his lines to
within two miles of that place, and extending around three sides of it.

The 20th day of July, General Hood's supersedure of General Johnston in
the command of the Confederate army was inaugurated by a furious attack
upon the 4th and 14th Corps, comprising General Sherman's center. Very
much to our satisfaction, General Johnston's slow-retreating process of
campaign was changed to one of rapid evolutions, and bold, desperate
dashes. Our greatest difficulty had been to get the enemy to fight. This
we now had an opportunity of doing. The hardy veterans of the North-west
received the attack with coolness and determination, and, though the
enemy came in massed columns, they stood their ground, dealing out death
and destruction, until Hood was glad to withdraw, leaving his dead and
wounded in our hands.

On the morning of July 22d, General McPherson was informed, by a member
of his staff, that he had heard, during the night, a noise like the
moving of artillery, which he surmised to be the enemy evacuating
Atlanta. General McPherson thought the officer was mistaken about the
evacuation of the place. The noise of moving troops, he thought, was
probably a body of rebel cavalry that had moved out on our left flank,
which lay stretched along on the east side of the place.

To clear up the matter, General McPherson told me to take my horse and
ride out to Decatur, which was four miles distant, and from there out on
the Stone Mountain road, and find out whether the enemy was there. He
instructed me to go as far as I could, and not get captured. If I found
the enemy, I was to drop back toward our lines, and feel along, at
intervals, for the enemy toward our left. This was on the supposition
that the enemy might have a line extending around our left flank and
along its rear.

Three-quarters of a mile out from Decatur, I came upon five rebel
soldiers on picket. They challenged me to halt, but I had no intention
of halting there; so I wheeled about and "lit out." The rebs might have
shot me as well as not. I returned to our lines, and went out on another
road, and had proceeded but about half a mile, when I came upon more
rebel pickets. They did not fire at me. I tried to get out, in all, at
thirteen different places, and every time encountered pickets, none of
whom tried to shoot me. I was well satisfied that the noise of moving
troops, heard in the night, were infantry and artillery moving round to
our rear, intending to surprise us, and for that reason their pickets
were forbidden to fire upon individuals or small parties.

I then hastened back and reported to General McPherson what I had seen.
He wanted to know if I was sure the pickets were infantry, and I told
him that I was. He seemed to doubt the possibility of their being
infantry. He and his staff then rode out to our rear picket-line, on a
road that I had not been out on, and, waiting there, he sent me out to
see if I could find any pickets. I went about sixty rods, when I came to
a dwelling-house, standing in a little opening in the woods that lined
either side of the road. It was then about 11 o'clock, A. M., I had
become very thirsty from constant riding in the hot sun since early in
the morning; so I rode up to the door of the house, and inquired of a
lady there if she would have the kindness to give me a drink of water.
Said she, "I have just drawn a bucket of fresh water at the well, back
there, and you can have some in welcome; but I reckon you are a Federal
soldier, and if you stop to get it, you will get killed, for a Colonel
and two of _our_ soldiers have just this minute stepped away from the
well." Without stopping to drink, I rode back into the road, and there,
about two hundred yards further on, stood the Colonel and two soldiers.
They did not fire at me, but the Colonel, who had his sword in his hand,
gave it a defiant flourish, as if to say, "You'll catch it directly." I
went back to General McPherson, and reported what I had found, who then
rode out with me and saw for himself. He said it was about noon, and he
would go back to dinner and send out a reconnoitering party.

While we were eating our dinner, a firing commenced on the picket-line
to the rear, and in less than five minutes an entire division was
engaged. Brigades of troops had been stationed near the rear pickets as
a reserve. It was these troops that were attacked. The troops known as
the "Iowa Brigade" of the 17th Army Corps, were among the reserves.
Against this brigade were massed such overwhelming numbers, that it was
compelled to give way and fall back. General McPherson immediately rode
to the scene of action, and ordered up a brigade to its support.
Anticipating that when the first shock of the onset was over the enemy
would ease up, and swing round in mass against the rear of his left, he
immediately dispatched his staff with orders to the different commanders
to counteract such a move. He watched the progress of the action until
satisfied that his presence was no longer needed there, and then started
for the left.

The falling back and changing of position of the Iowa brigade had left a
gap in our lines to the rear. Through this a part of the rebel line
advanced. As we were making our way along, we met the rebel
skirmish-line, whose direction of advance had become changed by the
broken character of the country. A volley was fired at us, which
instantly killed General McPherson, the ball passing in at one side and
out at the other, piercing his heart and lungs; another wounding his
horse across the breast, and another wounding his horse across the neck,
and another passed through the lower part of one of the forefeet of my
horse, tearing off a shoe and leaving a groove across the entire foot.
Seizing the General's horse by the bridle, I led him away out of danger.

Two orderlies and a Captain of the Signal Corps were the only persons,
besides myself, that were near the General when he fell. As soon as it
was known that McPherson had fallen, Major-General Logan took command
of the Army of the Tennessee. I turned the horse over to the Captain of
the Signal Corps, to take care of, who despatched an orderly to Colonel
Clark, Assistant Adjutant-General of McPherson's staff, with the
intelligence of his death. My horse was so lamed by his wound that I
could not ride him, so I took him to General Leggett's head-quarters and
left him, took my gun and went to the front.

By this time the action had become general along the Army of the
Tennessee, and raged furiously in front and in rear. Attaching myself to
the first regiment that I came to, the 18th Missouri Infantry, I fought
with my rifle until the action was over.

The contest was a desperate one, and the slaughter on both sides
dreadful. Five times we jumped our works, fighting sometimes to the
front and sometimes to the rear. The action did not extend beyond the
Army of the Tennessee. When the action had ceased, we were ordered to
fall back a short distance and throw up intrenchments. The Colonel of
the regiment I was with now saw me for the first time, and, from my
dress, supposing that I was a reb. trying to evade capture, said to me:
"Look 'e here, mister, where do you belong?"

"I am a member of the 20th Ohio Infantry, but I belong to Gen.
McPherson's head-quarters."

"What are you doing here?"

"I have been in the fight. I had my horse disabled in the beginning of
the action, so I took my gun and went to fighting with your regiment,
and I have been with it for two hours." I then handed him an order that
General McPherson had given me, which said, "Guards, pickets, and
patrols will pass Corporal Lorain Ruggles, of the 20th Ohio Veteran
Volunteer Infantry, who is on special duty, at all places and at all
hours, without the countersign."

When he had read it, he said, "May be General McPherson gave you that
and may be you stole it from the pocket of a dead soldier. You look to
me more like a _reb._ than any thing else."

I then showed him an order that General Leggett had given me to draw
fresh beef for myself and scouts that messed with me. Having read it, he
said, "It may all be right, but I don't want such a looking man in my
regiment; if you have got a hole you had better hunt it."

We won a victory, but at a fearful cost of life, of both officers and
men. Among the fallen heroes of this war, there has been none more
amiable in character, none whose services were of more value to the
Government, and none whose loss was more regretted by the men of his
command than the brave, gallant McPherson. He was loved and highly
esteemed by all that knew him. I can scarcely describe my sorrow at his
loss. My attachment had become intimate, and I felt that I had not only
lost my commanding officer, but my most valued friend. Such feelings of
sorrow and loneliness came over me that I was well-nigh incapacitated
for duty. I had felt lonely when General Grant left the Army of the
Tennessee, but now I scarcely knew what to do.

Shortly after the battle of the 22d of July, General Sherman changed his
position by ordering the Army of the Tennessee to take its position on
the right of the army, leaving the armies of the Ohio and the
Cumberland where they were. This movement enabled General Sherman to
extend his right toward the junction of the railroad to the south of
Atlanta. The movement having been effected, General Logan, on the 28th
of July, ordered the 16th Army Corps to advance its lines, and the 14th
Corps, at the same time, to swing round its left, and the 15th Corps to
swing round its right, so that the 14th and 15th Corps formed converging
lines toward the intrenchments from which the 16th Corps had advanced.
General Hood ordered an attack on the advancing Corps, which, when it
had fairly drawn on the engagement, as had been previously arranged,
fell back as if beaten, until it reached its place of starting behind
its intrenchments, closely followed by the enemy. The 16th Corps then
poured a tremendous fire into Hood's front, and the 14th and 15th Corps
an oblique fire into his flanks. He kept pressing his men up in masses
to the contest, until it seemed as if the entire Confederate army would
be swept away by the terrible cross-fire to which it was exposed. The
action lasted from 9 o'clock, A. M., until 5 o'clock, P. M., when the
enemy withdrew, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. The loss of
the enemy was five thousand killed, besides wounded and prisoners. Our
loss was very light in comparison to that of the enemy. I had no hand in
this fight, but had an excellent opportunity of witnessing it. The next
day I went over the battle-ground. The rebel dead lay so thick upon the
ground that I could not ride along without stepping on them, and was
compelled to leave my horse and proceed on foot. The destruction of life
to the enemy, compared with our own loss, was greater than in any other
action that I have ever witnessed.


    Goes to Ohio to recruit--Raises twenty-one men--Difficulty
      with the Governor--Visits Lieutenant-General Grant--Order
      from the War Department--Again in difficulty--Runs away
      from the Governor--Reports to General Sherman--Georgia
      raid--An amusing coincident--Reports to General Granger, at
      Mobile--Reports to General Grierson, in Texas--Makes a trip
      to the Upper Colorado--Incident at General Grant's
      head-quarters--The war over.

When General Grant left the Western Department to take command of the
armies of the United States, I felt very lonely and depressed in spirit,
on account of being parted from one to whom I had become strongly
attached. I might have accompanied the General to the Army of the
Potomac, but I had no acquaintance with that part of the country, and I
preferred to operate where I had some knowledge of army movements, as
well as of the country and people. The death of General McPherson made
me feel gloomy and discouraged, and in the absence from the department
of my two most valued friends, I determined to seek relief for my
depressed state of mind by attempting to raise an independent command of
my own, for secret service purposes.

I visited Major-General Logan--then in command of the 15th Army
Corps--and told him my state of mind, and that I felt as if I had
rendered service valuable enough to the Government to entitle me to a
command of my own, and if he thought I was worthy of it, I wanted him to
assist me. He immediately drew up and gave me the following letter:

     "BEFORE ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 15, 1864.  }

     "_Captain L. M. Dayton, Aid-de-camp Military Division of the

     "CAPTAIN--The bearer, L. Ruggles, of the 20th Ohio Volunteers,
     has been for two years in the secret service of the Government,
     and has, during that time, made it his study to become
     efficient in all its branches. Now, feeling confident in his
     ability, he wishes to raise a company of scouts, and wants
     authority to do so. I respectfully recommend that necessary
     authority be given him, believing him to be eminently fit to
     direct the movements of such a body of men.

     Under my directions, in the Mississippi campaign, through Holly
     Springs, Miss., and again in the Vicksburg campaign, he
     rendered the most signal service in obtaining information. He
     once entered the city of Vicksburg, during its investment, and
     returned with valuable and reliable information. If such
     authority can be, under any circumstances, granted, I
     respectfully recommend that it be granted him.

     "Very respectfully,
     "_Major-General Volunteers_."

I carried the letter to General Leggett, who placed on it the following

     "BEFORE ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 15, 1864.          }

     "I am well acquainted with said Lorain Ruggles, and have been
     familiar with his career since he entered the secret service,
     and I can fully subscribe to all that is said for him by
     Major-General Logan.

     "During the most of his time he has been in the secret service
     he has been under my direction. He has often had under his
     direction from six to thirty men, as scouts, and has always
     handled them with great skill, collecting valuable information
     and yet saved his men.

     "M. D. LEGGETT,

From head-quarters 17th Army Corps, I received the following

     "NEAR ATLANTA, GA., Aug. 15, 1864.   }

     "Respectfully forwarded. Approved.

     "FRANK P. BLAIR,_Major-General_."

At Department of Army of the Tennessee, it was indorsed as follows:

     "August 15, 1864.                   }

     "Respectfully forwarded.

     "O. O. HOWARD,

The reader will bear in mind that I was a stranger to both Generals
Blair and Howard. I then carried it to General Sherman, who disapproved
it, as follows:

     "IN THE FIELD, NEAR ATLANTA, Aug. 15, 1864.    }

     "Respectfully returned. There is no general law for such
     organization as the within. General officers, when they have
     secret service funds, can employ men for such secret service.

     "States have had authority for raising independent companies of
     any kind that might be converted.

     "By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman.

     "L. M. DAYTON, _Aid-de-camp_."

I was disappointed with General Sherman's decision. I felt confident
that there was some way by which I could get such a command as I wanted.
I went to General Leggett for advice, who, after having read General
Sherman's reasons for disapproval, wrote and handed me the following
letter to Governor Brough:

     "BEFORE ATLANTA, GA., August 17, 1864.  }

     "_To his Excellency John Brough, Governor of Ohio_:

     "GOVERNOR--The bearer of this communication--Corporal
     Ruggles, Co. H., 20th O. V. V. I.--has been in the secret
     service in the Army of the Tennessee for more than two years
     past, and has been eminently successful in that department. He
     has frequently had charge of considerable numbers of men
     employed as scouts and has always managed them with great
     discretion and skill.

     "I would respectfully recommend that authority be obtained, if
     possible, for him to recruit in Ohio from among non-veteran
     soldiers, who have been discharged from service by reason of
     expiration of term of enlistment, an independent company, to be
     armed with Spencer rifles, and used as sharp-shooters, scouts,
     secret service men, etc.

     "It is believed that such a company can be raised of men
     skilled in such service, and that the service will be greatly
     benefitted thereby.

     "Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     "W. D. LEGGETT,

The foregoing letter was indorsed as follows:

     "BEFORE ATLANTA, August 17, 1864.  }

     "Approved and recommended.

     "JOHN A. LOGAN,
     "_Major-General Commanding_."

     "By R. R. TOWNES, _Lieutenant-Colonel and A. A. G._"

     "HEAD-QUARTERS 17TH ARMY CORPS,         }
     "BEFORE ATLANTA, GA., AUGUST 17, 1864.  }

     "Approved and strongly recommended. This man has proved himself
     a trusty scout, and has been of great service.

     "[Signed for Major-General Blair.]

     "A. J. ALEXANDER, _A. A. G._"

     "August 17, 1864.                            }

     "Respectfully forwarded.

     "I could make good use of a _good_ company, skilled as within
     described. I have no personal knowledge of Corporal Ruggles.

     "O. O. HOWARD, _Major-General_."

The foregoing letters and indorsements, and General Grant's
indorsement--which is yet to follow--were furnished me for these pages,
accompanied by the following letter by the War Department:

     "WASHINGTON, August 13, 1866.           }

     "_Mr. Lorain Ruggles, (Care of Major E. C. Downs, late of the 20th
     Ohio Vols., Henrie House,) Cincinnati, Ohio_:

     "SIR--I have respectfully to acknowledge the receipt of your
     letter of the 2d inst., requesting to be furnished with copies
     of letters asking authority for you to raise a command of
     scouts, etc., with the indorsements thereon recommending the
     same, for publication in a work detailing your experience as a

     "In reply, I have to transmit herewith copies of the letters
     referred to, with the indorsements thereon, as requested.

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

     "_Assistant Adjutant-General_."

With the two letters of recommendation and their indorsements, I
proceeded to Ohio, and presented them to Governor Brough, who read them
over very carefully, then returned them to me, and ordered that I be
furnished with the necessary recruiting papers and set to work

Having received the necessary documents, I set to work at once, and in a
very short time had procured twenty-one men. With these, I went to
Columbus, and reported in person to the Adjutant-General. He read over
my order from the Governor, and then said, "Did you raise your men under
that order as scouts?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, there a'n't such an organization known in the United States Army
Regulations as a _company of scouts_. I can't do any thing with such

"I can't help that," I replied; "I have acted under authority of the
Governor of Ohio."

"Well, let us go and see the Governor."

We carried the order to the Governor, and the Adjutant-General explained
to him that there was no such organization known in the Army

"Well, Mr. Ruggles," said the Governor, "you go on and raise the men,
and assign them to a regiment, and then have them detailed out for
scouting purposes."

"That won't do at all, Governor," said I. "I have commanded detailed men
long enough; I want a command of my own."

"Well, put your men into the 197th Ohio Infantry, and I will extend your
time to recruit and give you a commission as Captain."

"I don't want such a commission, Governor. I don't want to be in the
infantry service."

"Very well; I have got to fill that regiment up, because it is needed
immediately at Nashville, and the men will have to go into it."

"Then take them and put them there, and I'll go to Washington," said I,
and walked out.

I still held the letters of recommendation, with their indorsements.
With these I proceeded to Baltimore, where I found Major-General Lewis
Wallace, and obtained a pass from him to General Grant's head-quarters,
at City Point, Va. I showed General Grant my papers, and told him of my
difficulty. He took my papers and addressed them to the War Department,
with the following indorsement:

     "CITY POINT, VA., October 13, 1864.          }

     "I know Private Ruggles well, and the services he rendered in
     Mississippi as a scout. With an independent company of such men
     as himself, he would be worth more in the Shenandoah Valley,
     and over the district of country over which Mosby roams, than a
     regiment of cavalry.

     "I would recommend that he be authorized to raise a battalion
     of men, and be put in the Department of West Virginia.

     "U. S. GRANT, _Lieutenant-General_."

Thus approved, General Grant sent me with them to the Secretary of War;
but, as I was about to leave his quarters, he said, "Perhaps you had
better show these papers to the President." Thus prepared, I bent my way
toward Washington, with a somewhat lighter heart than I left the
Governor's office, at Columbus, Ohio.

Finding several army officers of my acquaintance at Washington, I showed
them my papers, and told them that General Grant advised me to show
them to the President. My friends said that it was not necessary, so I
proceeded at once to the War Department, and handed my papers, in
person, to Secretary Stanton. I felt happy when I entered the office,
and, though I had no conversation with the Secretary, when I came out I
had lowered considerable in my own estimation. The way of doing business
at the War Department seemed to me cold and repulsive. I have since been
sorry that I did not carry my papers to the President. From the
Secretary of War, I went to the Adjutant-General's office, and from
there to the Provost-marshal General's office. There I was told to call
in a week, and my papers would be ready.

Though I was somewhat crest-fallen when I left Secretary Stanton's
office, I am quite sure I was not as much so as many Brigadier-Generals
that I have seen making their egress since. It was so general a thing
for an officer to enter that office spruced up and dignified, with hopes
elated, and then to return chop-fallen and disappointed, that I could
not help laughing at those I saw enter so expectant and return so
downcast. It is an excellent place to cool a man's military ardor.

At the expiration of seven days, I again called at the office of the
Provost-marshal General, and was handed an order of which the following
is a copy:

     "WASHINGTON, D. C., October 21, 1863.        }

     "_To his Excellency the Governor of Ohio_:

     "SIR--Subject to your approval, it is hereby ordered that
     Corporal Lorain Ruggles, Company H, 20th Ohio Veteran
     Volunteer Infantry, has authority to proceed to Ohio and raise
     a company of cavalry, for certain special services, whereas
     ordered by these head-quarters.

     "Should the Corporal's success warrant it, authority will be
     given him to raise three additional companies--not more than
     one company, however, to be under recruitment at one time.

     "As soon as a company is raised, he will report with it at once
     to these head-quarters. The men must be enrolled under the
     present existing regulations, for the period of one, two, or
     three years, as the men may choose to enlist. The company must
     be raised within twenty days from the time the Corporal
     commences to recruit.

     "By order of the Secretary of War.

     "JAMES B. FRY, _Provost-marshal General_."

With this I again reported to the Governor of Ohio. He opened the order
and commenced to read aloud. When he came to the date, which was 1863,
when it should have been 1864, he inquired: "Where have you been for a
year past?"

"You know where I have been, Governor," I replied. "You know that that
paper is dated wrong."

"Well, don't you know that when a military order is dated wrong it is
_all_ wrong."

"Yes; but what shall I do about it?"

"Go back to Washington and get it made right."

"I don't want to spend so much time running about. I would like to raise
a company and get back to the front _before the war closes_." He then
finished reading the order. When he had done, I asked him what he
thought of it.

"Well," said he, "I would advise you not to do any thing with it as it

"That's my mind, exactly. _It a'n't what I wanted at all._ It looks like
making a recruiting officer of me to fill up some fancy regiment. All I
wanted was authority to raise a _company_. I am subject to your orders.
What shall I do--go to recruiting, or go back to the front?"

"I don't know, Corporal, what you had better do."

"Well, if you don't know, I don't; so, I guess I'll leave."

I waited a few days, and then called on him again for orders, and still
he did not know what I had better do. I felt as if I had rendered
service to the Government that was worthy of some notice from the Chief
Executive of my State, and to be treated with such indifference was to
me provoking. He might have done one thing or the other: got my papers
made right and set me to raising a company, or have had me ordered back
to the front; but he did neither.

At length, being disgusted with making any further effort to raise a
company, I went back to the front without orders, and reported to the
commanding officer of my regiment. Finding that I had no order returning
me to duty in the regiment, he refused to have me in his command. I then
reported to Major-General Howard, who said that I was subject to order
from the War Department, and that he had no authority over me. I
remarked, "I guess, then, that I must be out of the service altogether.
I'll go and see what General Sherman can do for me." I went to him and
told him what I had done, and he said to me, "You may remain at my
head-quarters until further orders."

I must say that I felt sadly disappointed and disheartened at my failure
in raising a command of my own. If I had humored the Governor in the
first attempt to raise a company, I would, undoubtedly have been a
Captain, but I was determined to have such a command as I wanted or
none. The reader must judge for himself whether I have merited it or

In about five days after my arrival at the front, General Sherman
started on his grand campaign through Georgia. Not a doubt was
entertained by the troops of their ability to march triumphant across to
the Atlantic coast. Very few there were but who anticipated correctly
the point of destination at the outset of the march, and at the prospect
before them were highly elated. Never were men in better spirits than
when the march commenced.

It was the most decisive and glorious campaign of the war, and yet
fraught with the least of personal adventure of any campaign that I have
taken part in. My duty was one in common with the other scouts, and the
soldiers of the _entire army were all scouts_. My individual experience
was not different from that of the great mass of soldiers.

Our duty was to subsist ourselves and devastate the country as
completely as possible, taking good care not to get captured. This we
accomplished successfully. The army never lived better and the men never
enjoyed better health; and when we reached the Atlantic coast we were in
better condition physically than when we started from Atlanta. The
march occupied a period of seventy-seven days, every day of which we
were on the move.

During our progress, though we were cut off from all communication with
home, we were not altogether ignorant of General Thomas' glorious
victory, and route of the Confederate army under Hood. We learned, by
way of the Southern people, of "Hood's disaster," and could plainly
comprehend the strategy that had drawn him unwittingly to the defenses
at Nashville, and it added not a little to our courage. We plainly saw
that the enemy was utterly powerless to resist our advance.

On our arrival at the coast, near Savannah, we were visited by Mr.
Stanton, Secretary of War. General Leggett gave me an introduction to
him, as "a very efficient and worthy scout and spy," to which he
replied, "Yes, I know him."

"Does the _President_ know you, Mr. Ruggles?" inquired General Leggett,
surprised that the Secretary knew me.

"Yes, I expect so; I know him."

The Secretary asked me if I was acquainted about Mobile and New Orleans.
I told him that I was not much acquainted about Mobile, but had been
there twice, and that I was pretty well acquainted about New Orleans and
Lake Pontchartrain. He asked me if I was willing to make a trip across
the country and report to General Granger, and I answered, "Yes, any

The next morning I received an order from the War Department to proceed
across the country on horseback, and report for special service to
General Granger, at Mobile, Alabama. I was not limited in time to make
the trip.

It was some time in the month of January, 1865, that I set out on my
journey. I traveled very leisurely, and visited every place of any
importance that lay near my route. I had been instructed by the
Secretary of War to gather as much information as I could while passing
through the country. To accomplish this, I made frequent stops to
converse with the people, and I frequently rode many miles, to one side
or the other of my route, to find people that were influential and
leading members of society, so that I might learn the sentiments of
those who wielded a controlling influence. I traveled in the disguise of
a citizen carrying my order from the War Department with me. It was not
often that I ventured to carry such papers with me.

I found that most of the people were willing to give up to the Federal
authorities--not because they had been wrong, but because by the force
of war they had become overpowered and exhausted. While there was a
desire for peace, there was also a hatred of the Federal Government. A
few were satisfied with the old Government as it was, and had
reluctantly been drawn into rebellion by the force of the elements
around them. Such people hailed the overthrow of the Confederate
Government with joy.

"Hood's disaster" and "Sherman's raid" had revealed to the Southern
people their weakness in a more alarming view than they had ever before
seen it. It seemed, in their case, that the last straw had been laid
upon the camel's back, and the overloaded beast was unable to rise.

The most of the way I enjoyed my journey finely. Sometimes I would lay
over several days, on account of rain and bad roads. Wherever I stopped
I found something to interest me. I made it a point to make myself as
interesting and agreeable to the people that entertained me as possible.

I spent three weeks in Florida. There I found the people more
disheartened than anywhere else in my route; in fact, resistance to the
Federal army had been given up. During my stay there I spent several
days with a planter by the name of Fanshaw, who lives near the coast, at
St. Marks. He was formerly from the State of New York. I passed myself
while there by my real name, and as a brother of General Ruggles, and
represented that I was on my way home to Bolivar County, Mississippi,
from Savannah, Georgia, where I had been on business pertaining to the
Confederate Government. I gave him such an account of the general state
of affairs all over the Confederate States that he did not doubt, in the
least, the statements that I made. When I called at his house I had no
intentions of remaining there long, but his hospitality was so strongly
urged upon me that I accepted it to enable my horse to rest.

While staying there I was much amused by reading a story in the Natchez
(Miss.) Courier concerning myself. How the paper had made its way there
I can not tell. Miss Ella, a daughter of Mr. F.'s, handed me the piece
to read, remarking that it was one of the curious incidents of the war.
Little did she think that in presenting it to me she was making it
doubly so.

The story was written by Mr. James Dugan, a friend of mine in the 14th
Illinois Infantry. Sergeant Downs, of the 20th Ohio, had related to Mr.
Dugan several of the incidents in my experience as scout; and from one
of those he wrote a romance, in which I figured as the hero, giving
instead of my full name only the initial letter to my surname, together
with the name of my company and regiment. It was given to the public as
a narrative of facts, and the announcement made that an extended history
of my services would be forthcoming from the able pen of Captain Downs.
It was first published in 1863, in the paper I have before mentioned.

Coming to me as it did, under such peculiar circumstances, it amused me
exceedingly. I took good care, however, that my lady friend did not find
out that I was the hero of the story. My feelings at the time can be
better imagined by perusing it. It ran as follows:

"On board the magnificent steamer 'Imperial,' on her passage from St.
Louis to New Orleans, in the month of October, A. D. 1860, reclining
upon one of those elegantly-furnished sofas in her sumptuous cabin,
might have been seen the hero of our story wrapped in a 'brown study.'

"His form was attractive and commanding; something over a medium size,
and well proportioned. His features were pleasant, and his hair brown
and wavy, extending in a rich profusion of glossy curls down over his
shoulders. His eyes were of a deep blue, and as sharp and piercing as
those of an eagle. His forehead was broad and high, imparting a look of
more than usual intelligence; indeed, he was what might be called a
handsome fellow, and though he has passed the age of five and twenty, he
looked as fair and fresh as though but just of age. Lorain R----s (the
subject of our sketch) was a resident of Ohio, but was then on his way
to New Orleans on business.

"It is said that Lorain once loved a beautiful and accomplished young
lady of an amiable disposition, and, withal, of no inconsiderable
wealth; but upon the very day upon which they were to have been married
he followed her remains to their long home. Three years had passed since
then, and he had found no fair one to fill the heart thus made vacant.

"As he sits reclined upon that sofa, he is meditating upon the strange
vicissitudes of life. Recollections of scenes in his own experience pass
vividly before him, and, as if but yesterday, he strolls for the last
time in the green meadow. Just as the declining sun is shedding his last
lingering rays across the landscape, accompanied by his own angelic
Belinda, and as they are about to pass the gate to her father's house,
they pause for a moment, and with her soft fingers playfully twirling
his glossy curls, she presses her lips to his and whispers, '_My own
dear Lorain!_'

"Since then three summers have passed without obliterating the blank in
his heart caused by the transfer of his fair one to the spirit land, and
he wonders whether, indeed, there was but one heart born whose emotions
of love can soften his. Again and again he recalls the scenes of his
love until his eyes are suffused with tears. Dashing them away, he
starts from his seat and mingles with the gay crowd that are passengers
with him.

"Among those passengers was a young man by the name of Charles Rollins,
who had just finished a course of education at one of our northern
colleges, and was then on his way home. He was a young man of an ardent
temperament, of fine appearance and accomplished manners. His parents
resided at Natchez, Mississippi.

"Lorain sought relief from the recollections that had passed him by
seeking to make the acquaintance of those around him. The fine manly
bearing of Charles attracted his attention, and he at once sought an
interview, which proved to be agreeable. Frequent interviews were had,
and their acquaintance soon ripened into friendship.

"Charles had a sister--an only one--by the name of Annie. She was then
entering upon her twenty-fourth year; and though not in the strict sense
of the word handsome, she was, nevertheless, good looking, and possessed
of what is of more consequence than beauty--all the graces that adorn
the life of a devoted, exemplary Christian. She had early embraced the
Christian religion, and her pure devotion, genial nature, and agreeable
manners won for her the love and respect of all who knew her.

"Annie had received the attentions of several young men of
unexceptionable character and reputation, possessed, withal, of that
worldly competence and business tact that would have placed her, beyond
doubt, above want for means to administer to her worldly comforts; and
yet, strange to say, she saw reason to decline their offers. Why she had
failed to love was known, if at all, only to herself. Her parents would
have been pleased to have seen their daughter united in holy wedlock to
a worthy young man that she loved; nevertheless, they had too much
respect for her judgment to question the propriety of her decisions and
the reasons for them, and the only reason, perhaps, that they could
assign was that old and common one, 'matches are made in heaven.'

"The entire passage from St. Louis passed off agreeably to our new-made
friends, and, sooner than they could have wished it, the signal was
sounded to land at the beautiful town of Natchez. There Lorain was
unable to refuse the pressing invitation from Charles to stop and spend
a few days, or at least a night, with him at his father's house.

"It is not necessary to describe the introduction that followed, nor the
welcome that was extended. Suffice it to say, the journey was not
renewed the next day, nor the next. A week rolled around, and then
another, and another, until three months had passed, and still Lorain
was a welcome guest at the home of the Rollinses. At the end of that
time Lorain and Annie were engaged to be married.

"At last business became so urgent that Lorain was obliged to resume his
journey to New Orleans. The hour came for departure, and he sought a
last interview with Annie, to give her the parting farewell.

"During the winter of 1860 and '61, the country, North and South, had
become agitated with political excitement, which ran so high that the
two sections seemed in imminent danger of becoming involved in a civil
war. The South claimed that the North had encroached upon her rights,
and even went so far as to threaten to withdraw from the Federal compact
and take up the sword in vindication of her rights.

"As Lorain was about to leave, Annie still clung to his hand, and said:
'My dear Lorain, before you leave me, I want you to make me one

"'Well, Annie, what is it?'

"'You know, Lorain, that our nation is being shaken to its center by
political excitement, and it is more than probable that before I shall
see you again the Southern States will secede from the Union, and the
country become involved in war. Promise me that in case the South
becomes engaged in war with the North, you will not take up arms against

"'My dear Annie, as much as I love you, I can not make you that promise.
The North is my birthplace and home. I love and respect the flag under
which I was cradled, and if the country needs my services to preserve
her glorious nationality, I am under sacred obligations to render

"She pressed his hand warmly and drew him closer; her eyes filled with
tears and her bosom heaved with emotion as she said, 'Make me, then, at
least this promise--if the country does become involved in war, with
you upon one side and Charles upon the other, and you should chance to
meet him as your enemy, you will, dearest Lorain, _spare my brother_.'

"'Yes,' he uttered, as he imprinted a farewell kiss upon her nectar

"Time rolled on, and, as had been anticipated, one after another of the
Southern States seceded and took up arms against the North, and involved
the country in a civil war. Charles Rollins, as his sister had feared,
identified himself with the interest of his own State, and enlisted in a
Mississippi regiment of infantry. Lorain R----s, true to his country and
his country's flag, rallied at the first call of the President to save
his country from destruction.

"His devoted patriotism and noble bearing, and his obstinate bravery in
the hour of battle, won for him the confidence of his commanding
officers, who often sent him on missions of danger. General Grant,
having learned of his reliability, address, and daring, frequently sent
him to obtain information of the enemy's movements.

"In November, 1861, preparatory to moving the grand army south into
Mississippi, and while the troops were being concentrated in the
vicinity of Lagrange, Tenn., General Grant sent Mr. R----s out, on
horseback, to find the enemy's advanced pickets. It was in the night,
and extremely dark, which rendered the undertaking a hazardous one. He
felt his way along with utmost caution, and had made a distance of
twenty miles, when, in the midnight darkness, not six feet in advance of
him, he was confronted by a single sentry, standing in the middle of
the road, who challenged him with 'Halt! who comes there?'

"It was a desperate situation, and Mr. R----s determined to make the
best of it. 'Friend, with the countersign,' he answered, drawing his

"'Advance and give the countersign,'" was the reply.

Mr. R----s did advance, and, thrusting his revolver to the breast of the
sentry, fired. The flash of his piece revealed to him the face of
Charles Rollins! '_Oh heavens!_' he cried, and sprang from his horse and
embraced the fallen form. 'Charles! Charles! speak! if but once; for
God's sake, speak!'

"It was too late; the ball had penetrated his heart, and Charles was
dead. The sharp report aroused his sleeping companions, who were lying
by the roadside, a little distance from him, and the noise they made as
they sprang for their guns warned Mr. R----s of his danger, who quickly
sprang to his saddle and dashed away unharmed, but not without being
fired at by the remaining pickets. He made a safe return, and reported
to General Grant, but since that time his acquaintances have noticed
that he has become a changed man."

I arrived at General Granger's head-quarters in Mobile, Alabama, April
9, 1865, the next day after the capture of Blakely. I had traveled in
all, since leaving Savannah, a distance of nine hundred miles, and that
without molestation.

During my journey, two of the most important events of the war had
transpired. General Lee had surrendered his command to General Grant,
and General Johnston had surrendered his command to General Sherman.
Kirby Smith's command, west of the Mississippi, was the only armed force
that had not surrendered.

The returned Confederate soldiers, wherever I met them in my route, had
expressed themselves as satisfied with their attempt to sustain the
Confederacy, and gave it up as a lost cause. Experience is said to be
the "best school-master." The Confederate soldiers evidently thought so.

A few days after my arrival, the intelligence was received that
President Lincoln had been murdered. It was too sad intelligence for the
soldiers to believe, nor would they believe it until officially
confirmed. Then their anger knew no bounds, and it was with the utmost
difficulty that commanding officers restrained their men from committing
retaliatory depredations.

In the midst of a nation's rejoicing, she was called to mourn the death
of the man who had steered the Ship of State clear of the shoals that
threatened her destruction, was to be swept from the helm as the ship
was entering the haven of peace, and within sight of her desired
moorings. While it was hard to deprive him thus of the sweet
anticipations in prospect before him, it was nevertheless necessary, in
the wise directions of a beneficent Providence. The murder of Abraham
Lincoln was necessary as the closing act of the great rebellion. The
picture of the scene, revolting as it had been, was not complete until
the finishing shades of blackness had been added by the hand of an

The war was now virtually closed, and during our stay at Mobile General
Granger had nothing for me to do. In July he moved to New Orleans,
taking most of his troops with him. It was generally supposed that we
were going there to take transports home to our respective States, to be
mustered out; but in this we were disappointed. At that place General
Granger ordered me to report to the Provost-marshal for duty as a
detective. Why I was so often selected for such duty is more than I can
tell. If I had all other necessary qualifications for that business, my
dislike for it was so great as to overcome them. I went to the
Provost-marshal with my order, and told him that I was at his disposal
for duty, but that I had objections to engaging in that kind of
service--not that I was unwilling to obey my superior officers, but
simply because I had a dislike for the business that it was impossible
for me to overcome. I told him that I had twice tried to operate as a
detective and had failed, and the more I tried it the less I liked it.
It was a kind of duty that was not congenial to my nature, and it seemed
to me like low business. I was satisfied that there were those who were
better adapted to such business than I, but if he insisted upon it I
would go to work and do the best that I knew how.

He told me that he had but very little detective business to do, and
that he did not wish to have me engaged in business that was not
agreeable to my feelings. He told me to return to General Granger's
head-quarters, and that if he found occasion to need my services he
would send for me.

I have since had reason to suspect that setting me to work as a
detective was simply a show of something for me to do, on the part of
commanding officers, that I might be retained in the service longer,
lest, in the future, something might turn up that would give them
occasion to need me. At that time there was great clamoring among the
soldiers to be mustered out, and orders had been issued to muster out
all detached men who were not actively engaged.

We remained in New Orleans until the latter part of July, when we
embarked on board the transports and went to Galveston, Texas. At that
place there was as little for me to do as there had been in New Orleans.
Having no use for me, General Granger sent me to Columbus, Texas, a
distance of one hundred and sixty miles inland, to report to General

I made the journey alone and on horseback, dressed as a citizen. For the
last year and a half of my service, I very rarely wore any thing but a
citizen's dress. I occupied five days in making the journey, and got
through to General Grierson's head-quarters without having experienced a
single incident of interest. That kind of scouting was dry business to
me. It is excitement that makes the life of a scout interesting.

I made several trips of from twenty to sixty miles inland for General
Grierson, but none of them was attended with any incident. The fact was,
the war was over, and there was nothing for a scout to do. General Kirby
Smith had before this surrendered his command, and there was no
regularly organized Confederate force to contend with. The only
disturbance was from lawless, evil-disposed persons, who roamed over the
country, robbing both loyal and disloyal alike, their sole object being

In September General Grierson sent me alone to the Upper Colorado, a
distance of four hundred miles, with instructions to see whether the
rebs were concentrating a force or fortifying at any point along the
river. I made the trip on horseback, in my usual citizen's dress. Very
much of the distance was sparsely settled, which rendered my journey at
least a lonesome one. A naturalist, no doubt, would have found in that
route enough to have made a volume interesting, but to me nothing was of
so much interest as the end of my journey. During the entire route it
was the same dull monotony day after day.

On my return, and when within four days' ride of Columbus, I fell in
with a party of outlaws numbering forty men. They wore uniforms exactly
like General Grierson's cavalry, and had United States saddles and
carbines. At first I supposed that they were a detachment of his
command, but fortunately I discovered my mistake before having told who
I was. They plundered indiscriminately, but left the impression,
wherever they went, that they were a detachment of United States troops,
acting under General Grierson's orders. I traveled with them three days.

As soon as I found out what they were I proposed to join their
organization. This I did for my own safety. I represented myself as
having been a planter in Mississippi, and that I had lost all my
property by the war--a part of it by the Confederate army and a part of
it by the Lincoln army; and I also told them that I was determined to
get my property back in some way, and did not care a d--m how nor who I
got it from. My proposition was accepted, and it was arranged that I
should go on to Columbus and transact some business that I had there,
and, if possible, secure by some means, fair or foul, a uniform, saddle,
and carbine, and then return to a certain plantation that they would
show me in our route.

The last day that I was with them, we passed the plantation to which I
was to return when I had completed my business at Columbus. Toward night
they plundered a rich planter who had never been at heart really
disloyal. He had acted with the Confederate Government simply because
compelled to, but at his earliest opportunity had taken the required
oath. As the outlaws were taking his property, he remonstrated, and told
them that he was a Union man, and that General Grierson had promised to
protect him. They told him that he was no Union man, but a d--d lying
secesh. They insulted him shamefully, and then, having secured what
plunder they wanted, made their way off, leaving him to suppose that the
outrage had been committed by Federal cavalry.

During my ride with them I became quite familiar with their
countenances, and also learned where several of them resided. I also
found out that they did not, except when on a plundering expedition,
remain in a body, but separated to their homes, meeting occasionally,
however, to arrange for new expeditions, but never twice in the same
place, lest their haunts might be discovered. Shortly after plundering
the planter that I have mentioned, they turned off on another road and
left me to pursue my journey alone.

After repeating to General Grierson the result of my trip, I mentioned
the incident about the outlaws, and their having plundered the planter,
but did not tell him that I had agreed to return to them. The day
following my report, the planter came in with complaint to General
Grierson that his cavalry had plundered him of his horses and mules, and
other property, and also had shamefully insulted him.

General Grierson was surprised to hear such complaints, and told the man
that he must be mistaken; but he insisted that he knew they were his
men; they had United States uniforms, saddles, and carbines exactly like
his men. The General then called the Adjutant, to know whether he had
sent a detachment out, but none had been sent. The planter still
insisted that it was United States cavalry that committed the outrage.
Recalling to mind what I had reported to him the day before, the General
mistrusted who had done it and sent for me. I at once recognized the
planter as the one whom I had seen plundered by the outlaws.

The next day I accompanied a detachment of cavalry, in disguise, to hunt
up the outlaws. We proceeded at once to the residences of those that I
had learned, and were so fortunate as to find them at home, all of whom
we captured. I took good care to be seen by them as little as possible.
I do not think I was recognized by any of the number that we captured.
Every one of them were loud in their declarations of good behavior, and
expressed astonishment that they should be so treated. The arrest of a
part of the band put a damper upon the rest, and they cleared out, or
ceased their operations. I heard of no more complaints during the time I
remained there.

From what experience I have had in the secret service, I am of the
opinion that the Government has been entirely too lenient with that
class of men. Nothing but the severest penalty of the law will ever stop
them from their depredations. They will continue to give trouble in the
South so long as they are allowed to run at large. They are possessed of
none of the finer feelings of humanity that can be reached by moral
persuasion, and nothing but physical restraint can control them.

Sympathy for those that have erred is a fine and commendable element in
the human heart, but when carried to extremes is productive of
disastrous results. I think the entire secession element of the South
has received, and is now receiving, more favor at the hands of the
Government than is consistent for the safety of our republican
institutions. People who have committed crime should be made to feel
that they have done so by inflicting upon them the proper penalty. Let
rebels prove themselves "prodigal sons" before being embraced in the
arms of our good Uncle Samuel.

On the 2d day of December, 1865, I received an order from General Grant
to proceed to Columbus, Ohio, for discharge. On my arrival there, I
reported to the Provost-marshal, who refused to discharge me, because I
had no copy of the orders under which I had reported from one commanding
officer to another. My business had been such that it was not safe for
me to carry them, and, for the same reason, my orders were generally
given orally. I went to General Leggett and told him my difficulty, who
at once wrote me a statement to Captain Barber, Provost-marshal, setting
forth his knowledge of my services, and why I had not preserved my
orders of detail. General Wiles also gave me a similar statement, of
which the following are copies:

     "ZANESVILLE, O., February 15, 1866.

     "_Captain Barber, Provost-marshal_:

     "DEAR SIR--Corporal Lorain Ruggles, Co. H, 20th O.V.V.I.,
     reports to me that he has difficulty in obtaining a discharge
     from the service. Corporal Ruggles was used, during the whole
     war, as a scout and spy. I first assigned him to that service
     early in the summer of 1862. His great success made him a
     favorite with all general officers having charge of secret
     service. He was, at different times, under the immediate
     direction of Generals Force, Ross, Logan, McPherson, Blair,
     Grant, and others, generally remaining, when not on active
     duty, at my head-quarters. The nature of his services were
     such that he could not carry details, passes, or orders, and,
     details could not be waited for by officers when he was needed,
     and, in fact, were very seldom made in such cases.

     "Corporal Ruggles was regarded as one of the most successful
     and reliable spies in the United States service, and was always
     called upon for desperate service where others would fail, and
     was equal to the undertaking.

     "I hope you will secure him such a discharge as will enable
     him to draw his pay. He has been a most worthy soldier. I
     doubt whether any man of his rank has done more for his

     "Very respectfully,
     "M. D. LEGGETT,
     "_Late Major-General of Volunteers_."

     "ZANESVILLE, O., February 17, 1866.

     "_Captain Barber, Provost-marshal, Columbus, Ohio_:

     "DEAR SIR--I certify that I have long known Corporal Lorain
     Ruggles, of the 20th O.V.V.I. (Said regiment was one of the
     regiments comprising the brigade of which I had the honor
     to command.) I further certify that I have known Corporal
     Ruggles as a scout and spy since about the month of June or
     July, 1862. He was in the secret service, under orders from
     Generals Grant, Sherman, McPherson, Leggett, Force, Ross, and
     others. He was regarded as one of the best and most reliable
     scouts connected with our army, and, in my judgment, has
     performed as much valuable service as any man in it, and I have
     no doubt but he is entitled to an honorable discharge, although
     he may be unable to account for his absence from his regiment
     and company by exhibiting the necessary documents. The most of
     his details were oral, being ordered by one officer to report
     to another officer for special duty. I have used him myself for
     scouting, by permission of the commanding General. It is with
     pleasure that I add this my testimony in favor of a gallant and
     trustworthy soldier.

     "I am, Captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
     "G. F. WILES,
     "_Late Colonel 78th O.V.V.I., Brevet Brig.-Gen._"

Generals Leggett and Wiles have my thanks for the kind interest thus,
and upon all other occasions, manifested in my behalf. With those
letters, I was enabled to get a discharge from the service that I am
proud of, and which I value more than all the gold that I might have
made in dishonest traffic with outlaws. I have never been sorry that I
followed General Grant's advice.

After having received my discharge, I experienced trouble in getting my
pay. I could scarcely get the Paymaster to look at me, let alone paying
me. Finding that I could prevail nothing upon the Paymaster at Columbus,
I reported at once, in person, to Lieutenant-General Grant, at
Washington, D. C, and told him my troubles. He caused my papers to be
fixed so that I not only received all my pay proper, clothing account,
etc., but my special service pay. Here I would express to General Grant
my gratitude for the pains he has taken to instruct me in the class of
duties that I have had to perform, and for his personal interest in my
welfare. I am indebted to all the Generals for whom I have served for
their kindness, and the instructions they have given me, and especially
so to Generals Grant, Logan, McPherson, Leggett, Force, Ross, Potts, and
Wiles. I always found a welcome at their head-quarters.

As I was about to leave General Grant's apartment, the door opened from
the Adjutant-General's office, and in stepped the South Carolina General
who had taken my field-glasses from me at the Confederate House, in
Jackson, Mississippi. I knew him in a moment. "General," said I,
addressing Grant, "that's the son of a b__h that took my field-glasses
from me at Jackson, Miss."

"Tut, tut, tut!" said General Grant. "Remember that the war is over now;
you should not talk so." (Addressing the South Carolina General,) "Do
you know that man?"

"No, sir, I have no recollection of him."

"Don't you remember," said I, addressing him, "of taking a pair of
field-glasses from a citizen at the Confederate House, in Jackson,
Miss., at the time President Davis was there, and saying that 'citizens
have no use for such things and Generals have?'"

"Yes, I remember the circumstances. Are you the gentleman?"

"No, G--d d--m you! _you_ are the _gentleman_."

"Hut, tut, tut! don't talk that way now, Mr. Ruggles," said General
Grant, with a suppressed smile on his countenance.

"I reckon I can pay you for your glasses," said the South Carolinian,
running his hand in his pocket.

"No you can't," said I; "the whole stinking Confederacy would not pay
for them."

If the glasses had been worth thousands of dollars, I would not have
taken a cent for them in the presence of General Grant. A recollection
of the incident, as occurring in the character that I was in, is all the
compensation that I want. Had that character been known at that time and
place, my life would have been of less value than the glasses.


    Ludicrous effect of fear--A Corporal outflanks a Captain--A
      good Union man--A touching appeal--A scene among the
      wounded--An old Secesh discovers his mistake--Suggestions
      from experience--Concluding thoughts.

In looking back over my experience, I can recall to mind many little
incidents not included in the preceding narratives. It is sometimes
amusing to witness the effect of fear upon persons of different habits
and constitutions. I often think of my own ludicrous sensations in my
first engagement--that of Fort Donelson.

Being naturally a hearty eater, and not overly brave, I have a peculiar
regard for all that concerns my appetite, and I fancied that if I was to
be hit at all it would be in my "bread-basket."

When our Colonel had formed us in line of battle and brought us to an
"order arms," he said: "My brave soldiers, I am pleased with the
coolness and courage that I see depicted upon every face. [I was glad he
didn't see mine, for my knees were smiting each other, and I was
pressing my 'bread-basket' with both hands.] We are not going to have a
_skirmish_, nor an _engagement_, nor a _fight_, but a BATTLE! [I was
done for then, sure, and my hands pressed the "bread-basket" harder
than before.] Draw your cartridge-boxes well to the front, [I tell
you, the command suited me, and I got mine round in a hurry!] and act
yourselves like MEN!" I can't say that I acted like a man, but I would
have given considerable to have got my "bread-basket" away from there!
I am happy to add that when the battle was over the "bread-basket" was
all right, and has given me but very little trouble since.

I once came near getting into difficulty by not properly doing my duty
while on picket. It was at Shiloh Church, a few weeks after the battle,
and while the main part of the army was engaged in besieging Corinth.
The entire regiment was more or less troubled with that terrible scourge
of the army, camp diarrhea, and the men were constantly contriving some
way to get through the picket line in search of chickens and fresh

One morning, soon after I had taken my post on picket duty, for the
first time in my life--I was a corporal of the guard--a squad of men
from my own company came down to my post, without passes, and said that
they wanted to go out and get some vegetables, and, if I would pass
them, they would divide with me when they came in, to which I assented.

Toward night they came back to my post, and left, as my share of the
proceeds of the trip, two very fat chickens, and a nice lot of onions,
lettuce, and radishes. It so happened that just after the men left the
post for camp, Captain R----s, of my regiment, who was in command of the
guard, made his appearance to inspect the condition of his men, and,
discovering the party who had just left, mistrusted that I had passed
them in, and, of course, took me to task about it.

"Did those men come through the lines here?" inquired the Captain.

"Yes, sir," I answered.

"Did they have passes?"

"I don't know whether they did or not. I did not ask them."

"Did they go out here this morning?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you allow them to go out without passes?"

"I didn't ask them for passes. I didn't know they needed them. They said
that they were going after vegetables, and I know that they needed them
bad enough, so I supposed it was all right."

"What were you placed here for?"

"To watch the enemy, I suppose. I did not know that I had to watch my

"Well, sir, if you don't know your duty better than that, you are not
fit to be a Corporal. I'll report you to the Colonel, sir, and have you

The Captain then went on and left me to my own reflections. I cared very
little about being an eighth Corporal, and yet I disliked the idea of
becoming disgraced by being reduced. I dressed my chickens nicely, and
laid them away where they would be safe until morning. As soon as the
relief came out, I started across the woods to camp. Taking my nicest
chicken and some of my nicest vegetables in my hands, I repaired to the
Colonel's tent. I knew that he had been unwell, and unable to procure
what vegetables he needed. On entering, I saluted him as politely as I
knew how, and then said: "Colonel, I knew that you was not very well,
and I thought you would relish some chicken and fresh vegetables. Will
you accept them?"

"Thank you, thank you, Corporal," said he, taking them, and looking very
much pleased. "They are just what I wanted exactly. Were you on picket

"Yes, sir, and I expect that I have incurred your displeasure."

"Why so?"

"Well, Colonel, I'll tell you. It's the first time that I was ever on
picket, and I did not know what the duty of a Corporal was. There were
some men from the regiment came down and wanted to go out, and I let
them go without passes, and the Captain says that he is going to report
me for it. I am very sorry, Colonel, that I did it, and if you will
forgive me this time I won't do so again."

"Picket duty, Corporal, is one of the most responsible duties of the
soldier. It should always be faithfully discharged. Since this is the
first offense, I'll overlook it, if you will do better in the future."

"Thank you, Colonel; I will certainly do better the next time."

Just as I came out the Captain entered; so I remained where I could hear
the conversation that followed. After the usual salutation, he said: "I
am sorry, Colonel, that I am under the necessity of reporting to you one
of the Corporals under my command yesterday for a non-performance of

"Was it Corporal Ruggles," inquired the Colonel.

"Yes, sir; he--"

"Never mind, Captain; he reported himself this morning and promised to
do better, and I forgave him this offense."

When the Captain came out, I noticed that he felt considerably worked up
at being outflanked by a Corporal.

While encamped at Shiloh, I became acquainted with an old man, whose age
was nearly three-score and ten, then a refugee from home on account of
his loyalty to the Government. He had spent several weeks secreted in a
swamp, to keep out of the hands of his neighbors, and on the arrival of
the Union army had come into our lines for protection.

The old man was plain and outspoken in his views, and when the subject
of secession was being agitated in that part of Tennessee where he
lived, he boldly declared his determination to adhere to the Union. The
neighbors, unwilling to give the old man up, appointed a secession
meeting on a certain evening, and procured one of their ablest speakers
to discuss the question at issue, and invited him over. The time
appointed came, and with it the speaker. The house was crowded with
anxious listeners, but the old man was not among them. Before proceeding
with the exercises, a delegation was appointed to wait upon the old man
and get him out to the meeting. He at first refused to attend, but at
last yielded to their importunities and went over. A chair was brought
in and a seat given him close by the speaker's stand, and the speaker
commenced. The old man listened very attentively to the entire
harangue, and his friends felt sure that the arguments were having the
desired effect.

When the speaker had finished and sat down, one of the delegates arose
and asked the old man if he had learned any thing new.

"Yes, I think I have," he replied.

"Well, what is it?"

"I have learned that you are a d--d sight bigger fools than I had
thought you were. Your arguments amount to nothing. As for me, I was
_born_ a Union man, I have _lived_ a Union man, and I mean to _die_ a
Union man!"

It was then hinted that he might get hung if he continued to give
utterance to such language. He replied:

"Gentlemen, you may hang and be d--d! I want you to understand that I am
a _Union man_. _Every thing about me is Union._ You may hang me on a
gallows higher than Haman, and then cut me down and make mince-meat of
my body and feed it to the dogs, and the _dogs will be good Union

Having thus pointedly expressed himself, he left the house and returned
home, leaving his neighbors in an angry mood over his obstinacy. Half an
hour later a son-in-law informed him that the meeting had determined
that he should either renounce his sentiments or be hung. A rapid flight
to the swamp saved his life.

Thus you see that treason has neither respect for the silver hairs of
old age nor the strongest ties of blood.

It is oftentimes affecting to witness the heroic manner in which
soldiers endure their sufferings, whether from sickness or wounds.

There was in my company a man by the name of Frank R----d, who, for
several months, had been careless about writing to his mother, who was a
widow. At last the poor widow's heart could stand the suspense no
longer, and she wrote to a daughter, then living in the State of
Indiana, to assist her in her efforts to find out what had become of
Frank. The sister immediately wrote to the Captain of the company to
learn the fate of her brother. The neglect on the part of Frank to write
was not for lack of affection, but simply because of a careless habit.
At last Frank was taken sick with a fever, and rapidly grew worse. The
regiment was preparing to move from Paducah, Ky., up the Tennessee
River, and it became necessary to leave Frank in the hospital. Just a
few moments before he was to be carried off from the boat, his Captain
received the letter from his sister, inquiring what had become of Frank.
The Captain carried the letter to him and read it, and then said,
"Frank, what shall I write to your sister?"

He thought a moment, and then, his eyes filling with tears, he said:
"Oh, for God's sake, Captain, _don't tell sister how sick I am_!"

It was affecting indeed to see the heroism with which that dear boy
suffered, and his affectionate and tender regard for his sister; was
unwilling that she should know the extent of his sufferings lest she
should worry about him.

"Brave boy! he has gone at his country's call."

The first mail after we left him brought the sad intelligence that Frank
was dead.

Wounded soldiers generally manifest a cheerful resignation to their lot
that is astonishing to those who have never witnessed it. Sometimes,
however, exceptions occur. I often think of an incident that I witnessed
in which two extremes met.

After the battle of Matamora, where General Hurlbut's command routed
General Price's army, on its retreat after having been repulsed in its
assault upon Corinth, I assisted in taking care of the wounded as they
were brought in. Among the sufferers on that day was a Captain, with a
flesh wound in the arm, and a private, with a leg dreadfully shattered
below the knee. The Captain--though his wound was not of a serious
nature--gave way to his feelings, and took on dreadfully, and frequently
called upon the doctor to come and dress his wound or he should die. The
private, then on the table, preparatory to an amputation of his limb,
was heroically cool, and scarce a groan escaped his lips. At length his
nerves could no longer stand the ridiculous clamor of the Captain, and
he called out, "Captain, if you don't hush your gab until the doctor
gets my leg off I'll throw it at you."

The soldier endured the operation manfully, and the Captain took the
hint and "dried up" his noise. It is not hard to tell which of the two
was the bravest man.

I was once very much amused by the mistake of a very old man. It
happened in this way. I had been sent out on a scout, and was returning
to camp, when I called at a plantation-house to get breakfast for myself
and squad. Sitting upon the porch in front of the house was a very old
man--a secesh--engaged in twisting up tobacco. He had a large pile of it
before him already twisted. He had never seen any soldiers from either
army. As we came up to the porch he kept on at his work, without being
in the least alarmed at our appearance. We procured what breakfast we
wanted, and was about to leave, when, addressing the old man, I said:
"How do you do, daddy?"

"Speak a little louder," said the old man; "I'm hard of hearing."

"_How do you do, daddy?_" said I again, louder than before.

"Oh, I'm pretty well, I thank you. I'm a little tired now. I've got five
or six little grandsons down in General Villipigue's army, and I heard
that they were out of tobacco, and I thought I'd twist up some and take
down to 'em."

"Boys," said I to the squad, "if you had rather the rebs would have that
tobacco than to have it yourselves, let it alone."

At that the boys made a spring for the tobacco.

"Hut, tut, tut!" said the old man, looking wonderfully surprised; "I
guess I was mistaken. I thought you were _our soldiers_; but I guess,
from your _actions_, you are _Yankees_."

On leaving a service that has been fraught with as much danger as that
of mine has been, it is not improper, perhaps, for me to leave on
record the conclusions suggested by that experience.

Few, if any, of my contemporaries who started in the business as early
as I did are now living. I know of none that are living who operated in
the departments where I did, and who commenced when I did and continued
as late as I did. Of eighteen (including myself) that commenced when I
did, I am the only one that continued through the war. Fifteen of that
number were killed in less than two years, and two were disgraced for
bad conduct.

When I look back upon what I have experienced, it seems a wonder to me
that my life has been spared. Others, whom I thought were my superiors
in all the necessary qualifications, have sacrificed their lives in
their line of duty.

It may be thought by some that a scout is of necessity of that hardened,
reckless character that is insensible to the dangers that surround him;
but that is a mistake. It is true that war is hardening to the finer
sensibilities, but, nevertheless, if a man is unconscious of the danger
of his undertaking, he is not apt to exercise the necessary
precautionary measures to insure his safety, and, consequently, fails in
his mission.

I can now look back and see how I might have done better. I commenced
the business without having had experience, and, consequently, I had all
to learn as I went along. At first I only ventured a short distance out,
and thought I had done extremely well if I reached camp unharmed. I
increased gradually the extent of my expeditions, until I succeeded in
making trips of several hundred miles in length.

An adaptation of means to the end to be accomplished is of as much
importance in scouting and spying, as in any other branch of business.
The very business itself is an evasion of what you really are, or
assuming to be what you are not; consequently, an evasion of the truth
is often necessary to accomplish the purpose. To be successful as a spy,
it is absolutely necessary to be able to act an assumed character.

The disguise of the individual and his plan of operations must be
adapted to the particular time and place, and his success must depend
greatly upon his address. Generals have frequently told me, before going
out, how to address myself to the undertaking; but, as it is impossible
to know beforehand the circumstances under which one will be placed, it
is necessary that a man be of ready address, in order to adapt himself
to any unexpected state of affairs that he might find.

Presence of mind, when suddenly and unexpectedly confronted, is very
essential. When a man in that situation is thrown off his guard, his
condition can rarely be retrieved.

A man should never lose confidence in his own case, nor despair of
escape if captured; if he does, his case becomes hopeless. Never but
once was I in a situation where hope entirely left me, and that was when
I was about to be shot as a spy by a Colonel of Bragg's cavalry; and
even then I did not despair until the deadly weapon was being leveled at
my heart.

A spy should have as little superfluous or unnecessary conversation as
possible. His information should mainly be derived by observation. I
once came across a spy that General Grant had sent out, who was an
inveterate talker. I was alarmed for his safety, and, as soon as an
opportunity occurred, I said to him, "You talk too much. General Grant
pays me for _seeing_, and not for _talking_." The fellow made fun of my
advice. What became of him I do not know; he never returned to our

Scouts sometimes get frightened; I have been. So do commanding officers
and enlisted men. I have known a Major-General to dodge at the whiz of a
bullet, and a whole regiment to become stampeded by a runaway mule! The
best of men are sometimes the victims of fear. It should, however, be
guarded against.

I made a practice of getting all the information that I could, without
exposing myself to a danger of recognition, concerning the different
regiments in the Confederate service. It was often of great service to
me to know where such regiments were raised, and who commanded them, and
also what brigades, divisions, and departments they were in. The names
and residence of prominent individuals were also of great service to me.
A knowledge of the language and habits of the people, anywhere a spy
travels, is of great advantage. I have no idea that I would have
succeeded as I did if I had not lived in the South before the war

I have been very successful in managing scouting and forage parties. I
attribute it to the fact that I always watched for myself and my men. I
have known several officers and their details to get captured because of
depending entirely on the men to do the watching. Men become careless in
such duties, and a surprise is often the consequence.

In my travels in the enemy's country, I was very particular to observe
the features of the country through which I passed--whether wooded,
cultivated, level, or hilly; the condition of the roads--whether hard,
sandy, or wet; the condition of the streams and their location--whether
fordable or not, and the manner of crossing and the nature of their
banks. Also, the location of springs and wells, and the supply of water
that they afford. Such information is of great value to a commanding

There is great responsibility resting upon a scout and spy. If his
reports are reliable, the commanding officer knows how to execute his
movements successfully; but if his reports are false, and the commanding
officer relies upon them as truth, his movements will, as likely as not,
end in disaster, with a sacrifice of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of

It is far better for a scout, if he fails to accomplish his mission, to
report it a failure, for, sooner or later, it will be found out. It is
mortifying to fail in one's mission, but that is of little consequence
compared with jeopardizing a whole army. I have several times failed to
accomplish my missions, but my reporting of such failures has always
tended to increase the confidence of my employers in my reliability.

Having finished my services for the Government, I am once more a
citizen, engaged in the pursuits of civil life. I have "beaten my sword
into a plowshare, and my bayonet into a pruning-hook," and have become a
resident of the "far West;" and though I "became a changed man," and did
not take for a better-half "Miss Annie," nevertheless I am married and
settled in life, and can look back with proud satisfaction upon the
result of my labors.

Now, reader, you have followed me in my humble career from the
commencement of the war to its close, and you are able to judge whether
the part that I have played is of consequence or not. I do not claim
that I have always acted wisely; and if I have erred, remember the
surrounding circumstances, and then judge indulgently. If I have
assisted the return of peace, by bearing faithfully my part in the
burden of the war, I have accomplished the purpose for which I enlisted.

The war is now over. The flag of our country again proudly floats over
the entire domain. Peace, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness have
taken the place of deadly strife. In place of cultivating the art of
war, we are now cultivating commerce and friendly intercourse. In a few
years the blackened track of contending armies will smile with luxuriant

We have the satisfaction of knowing that American liberty still exists;
that the institutions inaugurated by the hardships and sufferings of our
fathers, baptized with their blood, and consecrated by their prayers,
are renewed and perpetuated. The principles that they struggled to
maintain still live.

The fires of patriotism that were kindled in the bosoms and burned in
flames of heroic valor at Lexington, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, and Yorktown
still burn in the bosoms of their children's children, and, have burst
forth in glorious illuminations of valor upon such fields as Donelson,
Vicksburg, Antietam, Atlanta, and Richmond.

The heroes of this war have proved themselves worthy of their ancestry,
and have baptized and consecrated anew their precious inheritance by
giving of their best blood for its maintenance.

Never were prayers more devoutly and fervently uttered, never was blood
more freely spilled, never was treasure more extensively lavished, or
individual sacrifice more cheerfully borne, than in the war from which
we have just emerged.

Our children's children will look back upon our deeds of valor and
sacrifice with the same feelings of respect that we cherish for the
fathers of the Revolution, and the institutions which we have
perpetuated will be doubly dear to them for the second sacrifice that
they have cost.

Let us then watch carefully the treasures of liberty, and so use them as
to invoke the smiles of Almighty God upon our sacred trust. Let us
acknowledge his directing hand, and, by strict integrity and adherence
to the principles of truth, prove ourselves worthy of the trust that we
have received. Then will millions yet unborn rise up and thank the God
of their fathers that by us our country has been saved.

    |             Transcriber's Note:                   |
    |                                                   |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the      |
    | original document have been preserved.            |
    |                                                   |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:       |
    |                                                   |
    | Page  49  sh'an't changed to sha'n't              |
    | Page  50  Havn't changed to Haven't               |
    | Page  87  Hamer changed to Hamers                 |
    | Page  88  Hamer changed to Hamers                 |
    | Page  89  guerillas changed to guerrillas         |
    | Page 107  briade changed to brigade               |
    | Page 107  re-returned changed to returned         |
    | Page 115  reconnoisance changed to reconnoissance |
    | Page 136  do'nt changed to don't                  |
    | Page 143  scounting changed to scouting           |
    | Page 149  Hatchie changed to Hatchee              |
    | Page 165  havn't changed to haven't               |
    | Page 179  time; inserted missing word             |
    | Page 183  Cofferville changed to Coffeeville      |
    | Page 184  Cofferville changed to Coffeeville      |
    | Page 202  blooodshed changed to bloodshed         |
    | Page 202  babarism changed to barbarism           |
    | Page 241  Missippians changed to Mississippians   |
    | Page 247  bivouaced changed to bivouacked         |
    | Page 271  regiiments changed to regiments         |
    | Page 276  Fifteeen changed to Fifteen             |
    | Page 292  visted changed to visited               |
    | Page 338  Lawrence changed to Lawrenceburg        |
    | Page 359  susbcribe changed to subscribe          |
    | Page 380  Grander changed to Granger              |
    | Page 399  cotemporaries changed to contemporaries |

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