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Title: Notes of a Private
Author: Hubbard, John Milton
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: J. M. HUBBARD.]

                          Notes of a Private


                          JOHN MILTON HUBBARD

                   Company E, 7th Tennessee Regiment
                   Forrest’s Cavalry Corps, C. S. A.

                Nihil scriptum miraculi causa--TACITUS.

            Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit--VIRGIL.

             ST. LOUIS, MO.: NIXON-JONES PRINTING CO. 1911

                   Copyright 1909, By J. M. Hubbard.

     _To those Southern soldiers who, regardless of their sentiments as
     to the abstract right of secession, whether sleeping in known or
     unknown graves, hobbling through life on crutches, or trying to
     meet the demands of the best citizenship, went into the Confederate
     Army, at the behest of an overwhelming majority of the Southern
     people, and who remained in the field to the bitter end, this
     little book is most respectfully inscribed by_

                            _THE AUTHOR._

                                       Gainesville, Ala., May 11, 1865.

Private J. M. Hubbard of Company E, Seventh Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry,
C. S. A., residing in Hardeman County, Tennessee, having been, with the
approval of the proper authorities, paroled, is permitted to return to
his home, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities, so long
as he observes his parole and the laws in force where he may reside.

     By order

                            E. R. S. CANBY,
                        Major-General, U. S. A.

                             E. S. DENNIS,
                    Brig.-Gen. Commanding for U. S.

     I certify on honor that the within-named soldier is the rightful
     owner of one horse.

                             HARDY HARRIS,
                     Lieutenant Commanding Co. E,
                      7th Tenn. Cavalry, C. S. A.



Dedication                                                             3

Parole                                                                 4

Preface--First Edition                                                 7

Preface--Souvenir Edition                                              8

CHAPTER I--Mustering in--“Good-Bye Sweethearts”                        9

CHAPTER II--Service in Five States--The Armstrong Raid                21

CHAPTER III--Davis’ Bridge and Corinth                                36

CHAPTER IV--Van Dorn at Holly Springs                                 46

CHAPTER V--Some Personals and Portraitures                            63

CHAPTER VI--Organization of “Forrest’s Cavalry Corps”--The Sooy
Smith Raid--Fort Pillow                                               86

CHAPTER VII--Brices’ Cross Roads                                     103

CHAPTER VIII--Harrisburg                                             122

CHAPTER IX--The Memphis Raid                                         135

CHAPTER X--Incidents of the Middle Tennessee Raid                    150

CHAPTER XI--Hood’s Expedition--The Wilson Raid to Selma              178

CHAPTER XII--Conclusion                                              194


Forrest’s Farewell Address                                           201

The Forrest Equestrian Statue                                        201

A Kindly Remembrance                                                 206



In writing this book the author has relied almost entirely on his own
memory for such reminiscences, sketches and portraitures of character as
are printed on its pages. He served the entire period of the Civil War
in Company E, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, which regiment was commanded
successively by Colonels W. H. Jackson, J. G. Stocks and W. L.
Duckworth, assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel W. F. Taylor and Major C. C.
Clay. Few private soldiers saw more of the war, or had better
opportunities for observation. His company served in parts of five
States, and traveled thousands of miles under the orders of many
different generals. He believes that a careful perusal of these pages
will afford entertainment to people who admire Southern valor, and
amusement and instruction to girls and boys who will, perhaps, be
stimulated thereby to read more pretentious books concerning the
greatest war of modern times. This belief and a keen desire to preserve
in permanent form some sort of memento for his own and the descendants
of the members of the old company have chiefly prompted him in
undertaking a task which, while a work of love, has required much labor
to accomplish. He trusts that in the form and style of the book and in
the manner of presentation of the varied list of subjects, even the
partiality of friends will find little to excuse.

                     378 South Lauderdale Street,
                   June 1, 1909.      Memphis, Tenn.



On the first day of June, 1909, the first copies of this book were
placed upon the market, and within the first thirty days my personal
sales paid the entire cost of the edition, which was exhausted within a
few months. Its success may be said to have been immediate, and for this
I am greatly indebted to those who bought the book, read it, and gave me
personally many a kindly expression of the pleasure they had derived
from its perusal. Many of the expressions came from capable men and
women, here and elsewhere, whose favorable opinion of a literary
production I would always be willing to take as a flattering compliment
to an author. In truth, the assurances that I have contributed to the
pleasure of so many good people have been far more gratifying to me than
the ready sales of the book.

The comments of scholarly friends, too partial perhaps, which I cover
with the words that _the book is as meritorious as a literary
performance as it is interesting as an authentic history_ will abide
with me.

But why call this a “Souvenir Edition”? Candidly, a mere conceit, an
ephemeral fancy, or the want of a better name. And yet, I shall continue
to hope that all my readers, when looking upon these pages, will have at
least one happy remembrance of him who has here attempted to instruct
and please them.

                               J. M. H.,
                  May 30th, 1911.     Memphis, Tenn.



I am to write here of men with whom I was associated in a great war, and
of things in which I was a participant. To do even and exact justice
shall be my aim, and there shall be no motive other than to give
truthful accounts of men and events as they came under my personal

When we mounted our horses at the Bills Corner, in Bolivar, Tennessee,
and started for the war, there were one hundred and one of us. This
company was composed largely of a jolly, rollicking set of young men
from the farms of Hardeman County, who knew little of restraint and less
of discipline. Like any other hundred and one men, promiscuously
enlisted, some of these in time became fine soldiers, others fairly so,
while still others dropped out of the ranks and abandoned the cause. One
hundred and eighty-nine names were finally carried on the rolls, but
from these a large company could have been taken which added nothing to
the renown acquired by our regiment before the close of the war.
Considering the fierce political contest through which the country had
just passed and the thorough discussion of the questions at issue, the
rapid enlistment of volunteers was surprising. It was evident that the
election of a President by a party entirely sectional, and the open
threats of a radical press in regard to slavery, had aroused an
exuberance of Southern sentiment which the conservative element could
not withstand. There was a strong feeling for preserving the Union in
our community, but on that bright morning in May, 1861, the sentiment
for war seemed to be in the ascendant. There were the usual extravagant
talk and nonsense, but all were patriotic and meant well. I was of the
conservatives who had voted steadily against secession and was prepared
to maintain my mental equilibrium in almost any kind of political
revulsion. Some of the more enthusiastic women threatened to put
petticoats on the young fellows who did not enter the ranks promptly.
These same women worked till their fingers were sore in getting the
soldiers ready for service. We knew nothing about war and had a problem
in deciding just what to carry along. No page in the old school
histories had told us how little a soldier must get along on, and there
was no experienced campaigner present to tell us. Some of us thought
that a white shirt or two would be essential. Razors, combs, brushes
and hand glasses were in our outfits. It bothered us to reduce these
things to a small package that we could handle easily. We had many
details to settle. Saddle-bags? They had all been appropriated by the
“early birds”--the fellows who were afraid the war would be over before
they could get to it. We resorted to the use of the old-fashioned
wallet, an article fashioned after the similitude of a pillow-slip,
closed at both ends and with a slit in the middle. Made of stout
osnaburgs, it proved to be a sufficient receptacle. But the “wallet” was
not tidy enough for the “trim soldier,” and in case of rain the contents
were drenched. All this was remedied afterward by experience in packing,
necessity for economy, and by spoils captured on the field. We, too, got
to using McClellan saddles with large pockets, rubber cloths and
regulation blankets. Indeed, later on, if Grant had met one of us, he
would have pronounced us “correct” from halter to spur, if only he could
have been blinded to the suit of gray or butternut. There came a time
when we had new Yankee guns and were constantly on the lookout for
cartridges of the right caliber. You see, we “paid some attention to
details,” if we did sometimes leave in a hurry.

But we are off for Jackson to be mustered in. At Medon the good people
who had that day given a farewell dinner to their home company had a
bountiful spread for us. As Company E of the Seventh Cavalry we advanced
in line of battle over this very spot at the old brick church on the
“Armstrong raid,” and here we had the first real taste of heavy firing.
Our gallant young Captain Tate here used his favorite word, “Steady,”
which we had heard so often on drill, and reproached us for trying to
dodge the balls.

Our mustering officer was A. W. Campbell, who rose to the rank of
Brigadier-General, and it was another coincidence that Company E was in
his brigade at the surrender. Like Chalmers, he carried his good
breeding into camp, and even in the woods there was an air of refinement
in all his ways. We had six weeks of hot weather and strenuous drill on
the Jackson Fair Grounds. Plentiful rations and boxes from home, but in
these fifty years I haven’t forgotten the Jackson flies. I remember that
a Bolivar girl said they were “the laziest flies she had ever seen.”
This depended upon the point of view. They came on with a rush, but were
a little slow in getting out of the way.

Orders came to march to Randolph by way of Bolivar. We were all happy in
the prospect of spending a few days at home. We were now soldiers sure
enough--in the estimation of our friends. Hadn’t we been in camp six
long, hot weeks? Pleasures incident to such occasions are sufficiently
sweet to last a long time. Alas! they never do.

“Boots and saddles” for Randolph. At the “old factory” on Clear Creek
the people of the Whiteville country prepared a dinner for us that was
simply above criticism, except to say that it was perfect in every
particular. We had our first bivouac at Stanton. Moving under a July sun
and along miles and miles of dusty road, we reached the vicinity of
Randolph tired and hungry. We reverted to the “flesh pots” and dreamed
of Medon and Whiteville, and other good things that we had seen. The
hills and valleys were covered with the tents of the Provisional Army of
Tennessee, under General John L. T. Sneed. We certainly got the
impression here that the war was a fixed fact. Preparations went forward
day and night. It was time for serious reflection. Some of us, though
young men, had been thinking over the grave questions for some time,
particularly during the exciting political canvass of the previous year.
Many who admitted the abstract right of secession but had voted against
it as wrong under the circumstances, if not impracticable, were yet
hoping that a wicked war would somehow be averted. All the elements of
opposition to the Republicans had a popular majority in the election of
1860 of over one million votes, and a majority of eight in the Senate
and twenty-one in the House. They could have contested Republican
measures or even blocked legislation for two more years. Lincoln had
always protested against the policy of interfering with slavery in the
States. Was there not here food for reflection on the part of the
thoughtful soldier, who was about to stake everything, even life itself,
upon the result of a war in which he knew the chances of success were
against him? He could reason that wise and patriotic statesmanship could
change the whole policy of government in less than two years.

But here comes the battle of Bull Run, in which the Federal Army was
scattered to the four winds. Oh, yes, we just knew now that we could
whip three or four to one! How easy it was to conclude that the very
best thing to do was to present a united front and, if not our
independence, we could at least get liberal concessions in regard to
slavery in the territories. But this is merely a reminiscence, and I am
not an Herodotus.

We called the place, assigned us near Randolph, Camp Yellow Jacket.
There was good reason for this, for thousands of yellow jackets were in
the ground on which we proposed to make our beds and stake our horses.
In a day or two we cleared the camp of these pests so that it was
habitable. Two cavalry companies from Memphis were in camp near
us--Logwood’s and White’s. In riding near these one day I met a soldier
speeding a magnificent black horse along a country road as if for
exercise, and the pleasure of being astride of so fine an animal. On
closer inspection I saw it was Bedford Forrest, only a private like
myself, whom I had known ten years before down in Mississippi. I had
occasion afterward to see a good deal of him.

We were to be a part of Pillow’s Army of Occupation, and to that end, we
went aboard the steamer Ohio with orders to debark at New Madrid, Mo.
Soon there came a great victory to McCulloch and Price at Oak Hill, and
some folks said that we would march straight to St. Louis. We reported
to General M. Jeff Thompson of the Missouri State troops, forty miles in
the interior. Though Missouri was a Southern State, we soon began to
feel that we were bordering on the enemy’s country. We had hurriedly
gone forward without our wagon train and were somewhat dependent upon
the Missourians for rations. When our Captain spoke to the General in
regard to our needs, he blurted out these words: “By God, Captain Neely,
my men can soon furnish your men with as much beef as they want and a
pile of bread as high as a tree.” _We got the rations._ Thompson’s men
were armed mostly with shotguns and old-fashioned squirrel rifles.
Trained to the use of firearms and largely destitute of fear, they were
dangerous antagonists. The General, as I remember him, was a wiry little
fellow, active as the traditional cat and a fine horseman. He was
mounted on a milk-white stallion with black spots. He dashed around
among his men like a boy on his first pony, and was invariably followed
by his big Indian orderly, dressed largely in the garb of his tribe.
These men told us much about their little combats with the “home
guards,” and made us feel that we were getting still nearer to real war.
False alarms were frequent and afforded us plenty of material to excite
our risibles when the imaginary danger had passed. Still further out we
encamped on the farm of General Watkins, who was a half brother of Henry
Clay. Rations were not at hand in abundance for a day or two, but the
owner of the farm donated to us a twenty-acre field in the roasting ear.
Some of the boys said that Alf. Coleman ate thirty ears a day while it
lasted--the same he took out for his horse. Green corn, roasted in the
shuck, or baked before a hot fire, is very palatable. I had learned this
“down on the old plantation” in the Pee Dee country. We really enjoyed
camp life here, as it was not so full of dull routine. A lively little
scout or an amusing picket incident made our daily duties a little more
spicy than usual, while scarcely a man escaped being the butt of a
ridiculous joke or a little “white lie.” A funny little story got into
camp which concerned a young man of the company, who had been enjoying a
short furlough at home. The ladies there, ever mindful of the welfare of
the soldiers, had made up a lot of small red flannel aprons, which were
said to be good for warding off disease, if worn next to the person. The
young fellow had been presented with one and instructed as to its
benefit, but not as to the manner of wearing it. He wore it on the
outside and strutted about the town to the great amusement of many good

It was on this expedition that the now famous story was started on R. U.
Brown. It was told by the reserve picket that Private Brown, while on
post at midnight in the great swamp near Sikeston, called Nigger Head,
imagined that a big old owl in the distance was saying “Who, who, who
are you?” Taking it for a human voice, Brown tremblingly replied “R. U.
Brown, sir, a friend of yours.” Dick never heard the last of this story
while the war lasted, and at the Reunion in Memphis many a one of the
“old boys” greeted him with the same old words that rang in his ears
just forty years before. He and Coleman, afterwards sutler of the
regiment, I am happy to know, are still alive in Texas. Like others, who
sickened and died or met death on the firing line, they were gloriously
good fellows to have in camp.

It was during our stay in Missouri that we made an expedition to
Charleston, situated in that vast flat prairie just west of the mouth of
the Ohio, which we always reverted to with the keenest pleasure. The
Federal Cavalry from Bird’s Point had been making almost daily visits to
the town, which was strongly Southern in sentiment. This was thought to
be a fine opportunity to show them “a taste of our quality,” or perhaps
to capture the visiting detachment. But all was quiet in the village, as
the enemy had made their visit and departed. Night was at hand and we
were dirty, tired and hungry. It seemed to me that the whole population
went to cooking for and feeding the soldiers. This was another one of
those “big eating times” that we never did forget. When we were ready
to depart, even the pretty maidens would say to us, “Which will you have
in your canteen, whisky, water or milk?” It was thought best not to take
any risk as to snake bites in the great swamp, which we had to recross,
and I think the command took whisky to a man. The inhabitants must have
enjoyed a freedom from intoxicants for a season, for their town “had
gone dry” by an immense majority. We learned afterwards that there was a
“whisky famine.” We never saw Charleston again, as we very soon received
orders to advance into Kentucky and take post at Columbus. We were among
the first troops to reach that point. The Kentuckians seemed to be
pleased with our coming and recruiting went forward encouragingly. We
pitched our tents out on the Clinton road and near the camp of the
Haywood Rangers, commanded by Captain Haywood of Brownsville. This
company, whose members seemed to have been reared in the saddle, had
been with us from the beginning of our service, and, I may say here,
that it stood by us till the end. The history of Company E is largely
the history of Company D. The men of the two companies were
brothers-in-arms, who could confidently rely upon the valor of each
other, and those now living are loving friends to this day. Through the
long hard winter, or till the evacuation of Columbus, the two companies
guarded the Clinton and Milburn roads. For a while we reported directly
to Albert Sydney Johnston. His noble personality and soldierly bearing
were impressive and stamped him as a man born to command.




The reader will remember that in closing the previous chapter I stated
that Company E had been ordered to leave Missouri and take post at
Columbus, Kentucky. The company was not then designated by letter, as it
belonged to no regiment, but was known as the Hardeman Avengers. In
company with our sturdy friends, the Haywood Rangers, afterwards Company
D of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, we reached Columbus the first day of
September, 1861, being about the first troops to occupy an advanced post
among a people, who were then making a rather unsuccessful effort to
play the role of neutrals. We were now in a “hog and hominy” country,
and the soldiering was of the holiday kind. We made long marches through
the Purchase and saw many evidences of Southern sympathy. Indeed, the
whole population seemed to be friendly to us, as even those with
Northern sympathies prudently kept quiet. Then, as now, I accorded
people the right to think as they pleased, and to act upon their
convictions. Throughout the contest, I zealously held to the principle
that we should not make war upon old men, women and children. In the
light of this principle, I was able to enjoy to the fullest extent a
ridiculous attempt at concealment of real sentiment. For instance,
somewhere in the Mayfield country, the column was one day passing a farm
house upon the veranda of which was sitting a corpulent old gentleman,
whose adipose matter hung sufficiently low to largely cover his femurs,
as he sat with his pedal extremities slightly elevated on the rude
baluster. While he wildly gesticulated he lustily shouted, “_Hurrah for
Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy!_” At another part of the house
a little girl was making strenuous efforts to haul down the stars and
stripes, which doubtless was emblematic of the real sentiments of the
household. The old fellow “got the horse laugh.” In our peregrinations
through the several counties of the Purchase it seemed to me that we
were riding much to little purpose, as the Federals ventured little
beyond their lines at Paducah. I learned afterward that these exercises
made us take on the ways of a soldier, and taught us valuable lessons in
the bivouac. These stood us in good stead when, afterwards, we were
forced to use to the best advantage very scanty resources.

In this month of September, 1861, it was learned that a force of
Federals had occupied an advanced camp on Mayfield creek near
Blandville. The five companies of Tennessee Cavalry having been
organized into what was, for some months, known as Logwood’s Battalion,
were ordered to attack this force. Here we were to hear bullets whistle
for the first time. The command seemed to be eager to enjoy the
sensation of battle. As a private, I was supposed to be in profound
ignorance of the “plan of campaign,” but I could see enough to know that
the maneuvering was for the purpose of surrounding the camp and forcing
a surrender. Our company was drawn up in the woods within gunshot of the
enemy, but we had no clear view of their actions. There was random
firing on both sides, but there was no fixed purpose to press the
fighting. Green as we were, we would have gone into that camp, had we
been so ordered. There were men in that line, who afterwards, as
officers and privates, became famous fighters and, in many cases, went
to death on the firing line. Almost any one of Forrest’s real veterans
would, at a later day, have considered it a light undertaking, with the
backing of five hundred such men, to have “gobbled up the whole
thing”--perhaps without the firing of a gun. And yet nobody seemed to
be blamed for the failure of this expedition, for we were all ignorant
of real war. We had had another lesson in that which would eventually
make us veterans. We had heard the buzz of bullets.

The engagement turned out to be a trifling affair, though there was some
excitement in the ranks, especially about the time Mike McGrath of the
Haywood Rangers had his horse shot under him and had to leave the scene
mounted behind another soldier. It was not so funny then, but the little
things done in the excitement gave occasion for joking when we got back
to our quarters. There was a well known citizen who seemed to be acting
as our guide. They called him Captain Blake. Sixteen years after that,
while making an extensive trip in Texas for a well known newspaper, I
found this Captain Blake holding a prominent office in the town of
Granbury. Our short experience as soldiers together was then a pleasant
reminiscence, but he, too, had become a veteran by coming south with the
Kentucky troops and never returning to his home till after the

About this time we received into the company four Kentuckians, three of
whom cut some figure as private soldiers and helped to make Company E
noted for its steadiness in battle and promptness to act in emergencies.
These were John Duncan, Cad Linthicum, Ranse Billington and an old
fellow whom we all knew as “Old Fulton.” The first three were typical
young men of the Purchase, reared in the hills bordering the Ohio river
bottoms. They were true sportsmen in all that the term implies, but were
never so busy in a game of poker, or so much interested in discussing
the good points of “Forrest’s sorrel” or of “Treadwell’s gray” that they
could not, on a moment’s notice, have mounted their own good steeds and
been off at a rattling pace to an important picket post, or upon an
adventurous scout. The sandy hair, the clear blue eye, the firm set jaw
of Duncan--the rollicking manner, the girl-like cheeks, the merry shout
in battle of Linthicum--the even temper, the great good humor, even when
facing peril, of Billington, and the fine horsemanship of each made them
men of mark among their comrades, while their apparent lack of fear and
love of adventure won the absolute confidence of their superiors.
Linthicum was wounded at Collierville, Tenn., in October, 1863, about
the time that the Thirteenth Regulars with General Sherman and staff
were hastily abandoning their train from Memphis to take refuge within
the Federal works. Duncan was shot through both arms in the fight at
Prairie Mound, Miss., where Jeffrey Forrest was killed. A few months
before the surrender, these three men were transferred to Henderson’s
Scouts, in which they found service exactly suited to their inclination.
Happily, they lived to return to their beloved Kentucky, where, as good
citizens, they spent many years in peaceful pursuits. They have passed
to the great beyond.

Well, as to “Old Fulton.” I should say he had been reared in an
atmosphere of gall, wormwood and vinegar. With a desperate temper and no
sweetness of soul, upon the slightest provocation he would fly into a
towering rage. If asked as to his age, a tart reply, interlarded with
oaths, was the result. His stringy hair and long flowing beard were
evidences of age. His cadaverous appearance, high cheek bones, piercing
gray eyes, alert head set in a long skinny frame, and his fiery passions
would have presented an interesting study to the excursionist into the
fields of anthropology. This old Kentuckian had joined the Tennesseeans
for the purpose, as he said, of soon killing a few Yankees. He never
gratified his supreme desire, for within a few months, having, perhaps,
tired of camp life, he got his discharge and set his face towards
Kentucky. After his departure, we could revert with amusement to “Old
Fulton’s” effort to start a camp fire at Island No. 10, with wet wood.
When the smoke had blinded the old man, and his patience and wind were
exhausted, he leaped upon the pile of fagots and, uttering violent
oaths, kicked them in every direction. This exhibition of temper was
rather amusing.

About the first of October, 1861, Haywood’s and Neely’s companies were
ordered to Camp Beauregard in Graves county to picket and scout for
Bowen’s brigade. This was a charming place for holiday soldiering,
situated near the village of Feliciana. As the cavalry was encamped
outside the infantry lines and there was little fear of attack, the
discipline was sufficiently lax to permit us to draw upon the
surrounding country for luxuries. These consisted of such things as old
hams, chickens and “peach and honey.” The boys did not neglect their
opportunities. But life at Camp Beauregard was soon to be a thing of the
past. The Federals were known to be making a move from Cairo. We reached
Columbus just in time to witness the battle of Belmont across the river.
This was the 7th day of November. Grant’s army was driven back to their
transports. Here we saw Federal prisoners for the first time, and as
many of them were wounded, we seemed to be a little nearer real war.
Going into winter quarters we entered upon the monotonous duty of
picketing the Milburn road. Dreary nights and weary days. Dull camp
routine and nothing to excite interest. But there was to be a change.
The news that Fort Donelson had fallen came in the last days of
February. The excitement meant that we were leaving Kentucky. With our
friends, the Rangers, we were ordered to Island No. 10. Here our
hardships increased, as we were poorly supplied with tents and cold
rains were falling. The gunboats were replying to our heavy guns, but to
little purpose, as the range was poor. They would send an occasional
shot clear into the timber, and there was no telling when one might land
right in our camp. Our nervousness on this account soon wore off, as we
were exposed thus for seventeen days. In the meantime, the river rapidly
rose and there was a rushing current through Reelfoot Lake in our rear.
This put us on an island. I know that our captain wished to be ordered
to the main land. The order came, but there was great fear that it would
be countermanded, as Mackall was just superseding McCown, who had given
the order. There was hot haste to get beyond the reach of orders. After
floundering around for a day in trying to reach a steamer, which it was
said would be available in the back water, we concluded that our only
resource was to reach a dry spot on the lake shore and collect a few old
flatboats and to reach the east side. In making our way to the lake we
found much of the back water up to the saddle skirts. We readily secured
one old rickety boat, which would carry five men with their horses and
accoutrements. As the lake here was five miles wide, and the water still
rising, our crossing would surely be slow and perilous. At this
juncture, Tom Joyner, George Bradford and I rode five miles along shore,
secured a boat, and having led our horses aboard, pulled for the camp.
Everything went well with the ten men and ten horses till we were “half
seas over.” Then an adverse wind struck our boat, while the other boat,
already much in advance seemed to glide over the water. It was
exasperating, but we “hove to” by the side of a friendly raft of logs
and awaited more propitious breezes or a lucky calm. We were fortunate
in reaching land before nightfall and in getting a good supper at a farm
house. But next morning the boats must be carried over that stretch of
water in order to rescue our fellow soldiers from an impending peril.
When we reached the camp only a detail had been left there to inform us
that the rest of the command had gone aboard of a steamer in the back
water, which was on its way to Randolph. One time happy they! Thrice and
four times happy we! We had escaped the perils of the deep waters and
the terrors of a Northern prison. Some of us had had a twenty-mile ride
on Reelfoot, but strenuous effort had been rewarded.

We had a long ride to Bolivar, and reached home just in time to hear the
guns at Shiloh. Four companies of infantry, one of artillery and one of
cavalry, recruited in Hardeman county, were in that battle. Harrowing
rumors of our losses came thick and fast, and little else was discussed.
The death of Johnston and the retreat of the army seemed to us like a
crushing defeat. Stragglers and wounded men from the army began to pass
through the country and spread the news of the disaster. Then came the
news that Island No. 10 had surrendered. It was a time for solemn
thought--for quiet deliberation. The holding of the great river became
now a doubtful proposition. This involved the abandonment of West
Tennessee. A few of our men even now went to their homes to stay. The
faithful set about reorganizing the company, which was to await orders.
We were really making a fresh start for the war under discouraging
circumstances. Our sacred honor and plighted faith to our state were
involved. It was no time for faint hearts. Death before dishonor seemed
to be the prevailing sentiment and when we got on the move, the old time
spirit returned.

We had now seen scarcely a year of service, but had traversed parts of
three states and crossed and recrossed the Mississippi river. At
Trenton, we were to take our place as Company E in what was for many
months known as the First Tennessee Cavalry under Colonel W. H. Jackson.
In numbering by seniority, we took the seventh place, though some of the
companies composing the regiment were among the first to volunteer.
There was the usual jealousy on the part of some because an outsider had
been placed over us as Colonel, but Jackson was a trained soldier, and
constantly grew in favor with officers and men. If Jackson did not
apparently have the dash of some other officers, his impression on
soldiers was of solidity, good sense and firmness. Judging from
incidents of the service, he must have had the implicit confidence of
Van Dorn and Forrest. More could not be said of any soldier.

But we must give up Tennessee--a sad thought. After a clash with some
Federal Cavalry at Lockridge’s Mill, in Weakley county in which there
was more of stampede than of fighting on their part, we retired toward
the state line. We moved out leisurely, as no force was crowding us. We
heard the noise of battle at Memphis on the 6th of June, 1862, and
camped that night at Germantown. We soon heard of the defeat of the
Confederate fleet in front of the city and of the Federal occupation.
Next day found us in camp on Coldwater river, a few miles from Holly
Springs. Then began a series of marches and countermarches in North
Mississippi and trips to the borders of Tennessee. In one of these, a
detachment of our command came near capturing General Grant at the house
of Josiah Deloach. This gave rise to the story, after the war, that for
his timely warning on the occasion Grant made Deloach postmaster of

If I were to attempt to record more than a tithe of the events incident
to our service in Mississippi during our first summer there, or do more
than to touch the high places, as I skim along, these reminiscences
would be too tedious for perusal.

William J. Tate, who had been elected lieutenant at the late regimental
reorganization, was now promoted to the captaincy of Company E. Suffice
it to say here that he had no superior as an officer in the regiment,
and I shall have something more to say of him, when I come to speak of
his death.

But the Armstrong raid. This was an expedition into West Tennessee under
the command of General Frank Armstrong. Advancing by way of Grand
Junction, we encountered a Federal force near Middleburg the 29th of
August. There was some fighting between the Second Missouri Cavalry
under Colonel McCulloch and the Second Illinois under Colonel Hogg, who
was killed. In a combat at close quarters between McCulloch and Hogg,
the latter was killed by Tom Turner, a young Missourian, to save the
life of McCulloch. Captain Champion of the Second Missouri was killed
here. As his body was borne from the field by two of his troopers, I
saw, for the first time, a dead Confederate, who had been slain in
battle. As the purpose of the raid seemed to be the cutting off of the
army at Bolivar by tearing up the railroad, which led to its base of
supplies, we crossed Hatchie river and struck the railroad at Medon. The
Federal garrison here was small, but without artillery we found it
impossible to dislodge them, so well were they protected in and about
the depot with cotton bales and other material. Nothing was accomplished
by the attack and several Confederates were either killed or wounded. It
did so happen that Company E, in the charge on foot at the old brick
church, passed over the same ground where it had been so royally
entertained by the people of that vicinity the day it was mustered into
service. Here Captain Bassett of Company C, Memphis, and Major
Duckworth, afterwards Colonel of the regiment, were severely wounded,
Bassett being permanently disabled. The command drew off to the east and
went into camp at the Casey Savage farm. The Federals having received
re-enforcements presented a bold front next morning when we passed to
the west of the railroad. Here was a fine chance for a fight of which we
did not avail ourselves, though the enemy were in an open field. With
our force, we could have driven them to shelter or effected their
capture. This was the first day of September, 1862, and we were to fight
the battle of Briton’s Lane that day. We were to encounter a force,
consisting of two infantry regiments, a section of artillery and a small
detachment of cavalry. Our army could have enveloped them, and should
have done so. The regiments were fought in detail, some of them scarcely
getting into the engagement at all. The Seventh Tennessee was ordered to
charge on foot through a corn field, from which the fodder had been
stripped, against a heavy line of infantry lying behind a stout worm
fence and in the woods. A galling fire was poured into Company E, but
some of its men reached the fence. Dr. Joe Allen of Whiteville mounted
the fence and fell dead on the enemy’s side of it. John Bradford of
Toone, and Willie Wendel, a school boy of Bolivar, were killed near the
fence. D. E. Durrett of Bolivar received a wound which put him on
crutches to the day of his death, which occurred a few years ago, and
Tom Joyner and John Fortune were severely wounded. How so many men got
out of that field alive is one of those unaccountable things that
sometimes occur in war. The whole command was discouraged by the
operations of this raid, and thought that, if we had gained anything at
all, we had paid dearly for it. The weather was hot and dry. When we
returned to Mississippi the men were thoroughly dispirited and their
horses in bad condition. True soldiers quickly recover from a disaster,
when well treated in camp, and even horses seem to follow the example of
the men. How sweet was the rest just then! But this respite was not for
long. Even then Van Dorn and Price were arranging the details to attack
Rosecrans at Corinth.



When we had somewhat recovered from the fatigue and demoralization
incident to the Armstrong raid, four companies of the Seventh Tennessee
and four of the First Mississippi were ordered to march under Lieutenant
Colonel F. A. Montgomery of the latter regiment in the direction of
Hernando, Miss. Colonel Grierson with his Sixth Illinois Cavalry was
making a scout from Memphis, and the eight companies were to watch his
movements. I remember we passed down through Byhalia and Cockrum and
across Coldwater river on the road towards Hernando. Then turning north
and marching leisurely along we recrossed the Coldwater at Holloway’s
bridge, quite a rude affair, about ten miles southwest of Byhalia. The
men seemed to think that we were only making one of our usual marches
for practice. But when we had reached the foothills on the east side,
there was a commotion in the ranks and we were ordered to countermarch,
while the word passed down the line that Grierson was in our rear. He
had crossed the bridge and was following us. In a few minutes the whole
command was in the greatest excitement. As soon as the immediate
presence of the enemy was discovered, a company of the Seventh Regiment
was thrown front into line, but, unfortunately, very near the enemy, who
had advanced on foot and were well concealed in the heavy timber. There
was brisk firing from the Federal line, which portended certain death to
the men and horses of our front company. There was a bolt to the rear,
and what is known to the participants as the Coldwater stampede was on.
Nothing could surpass it in excitement. The other companies had been
drawn up by company front with Company E next in position to the one so
near the enemy. When the latter had reached our front, it had acquired
about sufficient momentum to dash through on their excited horses, which
seemed to have gotten beyond the control of their riders. The Federals
saw their opportunity and promptly advanced, delivering a galling fire
as they did so. The demoralization was imparted from man to man and the
scare from horse to horse till it became a rout. Some of the men of
Company E spoke encouraging words to one another, when they saw what was
coming, and denounced the retreat as cowardly. In some, this was no
doubt a manifestation of inborn bravery, in others, of self-esteem or
personal pride. From whatever motive, it was a creditable act, for it
was one of those occasions when a man can take his own measure to see
whether or not he is a brave soldier, or is prompted by other impulses.
But however much inclined some were to stand firm, it was only a moment
before all were borne to the rear. Concert of action was impossible, and
those who at first resolved to resist, were very soon getting away with
those who seemed to be making the best time. The command did not exactly
take to the woods, but there was no delay in crossing a stout fence
which put us into a corn field where the fall crop of crabgrass seemed
to be the rankest I had ever seen. We happened to be going in the
direction of the rows or we would have played havoc with the crop. As it
was, we trampled great paths through the crabgrass and spoiled a fine
lot of hay. Everybody seemed willing to halt when we got on the other
side and had an open field between us and the enemy. The command was
reorganized with dispatch, after which there were various expressions as
to the cause of the disaster. Smarting with shame and mortification, a
great majority of the detachment would then and there have put up the
fight of their lives, had they been coolly led into action. Clearly, we
had been outgeneraled by one of the most alert of Federal officers, the
first on his side to gain a reputation as a bold raider.

How vividly I recall my own feelings and those expressed by others, when
we retired from the scene of the affair just related! Everybody had some
incident of the disaster to relate, and the usual funny things were said
about how the boys got over that first fence and through that cornfield,
though it did look like smiling at a funeral.

When the excitement was at its height and Grierson’s men were yelling
like demons turned loose, Sherrill Tisdale’s horse was running madly to
the rear with his rider trying to keep himself in the saddle by holding
desperately to the mane. Tisdale fell to the ground and was captured,
but his fine young horse, afterward ridden by the late Emmett Hughes,
escaped and would have carried his owner to safety.

John Allen, a brother of Dr. Joe Allen, killed only a few days before at
Briton’s Lane, was shot through the foot before our line was broken. He
was riding a splendid mule which carried him out of danger by leaping
two big logs, lying one upon the other. Joe and John Allen with their
brother Thompson, who served in another regiment, were, like their
father, Long John Allen, of Whiteville, noted for their sprightly
intellectuality, physical and moral courage and height. John used to
turn his six feet four inches to an amusing account when he encountered
a citizen with whom he wished to swap horses. Putting his hand to his
right ear he would ask his new acquaintance to talk very loud,
intimating that he was very deaf. “Old Innocent,” usually a man of short
stature as compared with John’s, who had, on the quiet, plenty of
confidence in his own ability as a judge of horseflesh, would tiptoe to
John and raise his voice to a high key. John, like a born actor, would
turn his right eye down on his unsuspecting subject while he winked with
his left to his audience. John Allen’s penchant for horse trading caused
him sometimes to be mounted on a mule.

Company E now knew that there was work to be done in the immediate
future. The Federals had garrisoned many places on the Memphis and
Charleston Railroad, and were making incursions into Mississippi. Steps
were taken to unite the armies of Price and Van Dorn for the purpose of
making an attack on Corinth where General Rosecrans was posted. As
preliminary to this attack, Colonel W. H. Jackson was ordered to take
his own and the First Mississippi Cavalry under Pinson and make a
reconnoisance in the direction of Corinth. At Davis’ bridge on Big
Hatchie river Jackson somewhat unexpectedly came upon Ingersoll’s
Eleventh Illinois Cavalry and some regulars just going into camp. The
vidette, who had just taken post, was taken in and the rest was easy.
Pinson in front charged across the bridge and into the camp of the
enemy, who were largely engaged in gathering corn from a field to the
right of the road, while the Seventh Tennessee brought up the rear and
waked the echoes with the rebel yell. The firing was promiscuous, but
there were few casualties. Pinson was the only Confederate wounded. He
manifested the spirit and courage of the hero, as we bore him to the
Davis residence on a cot secured for the purpose. He had very good
reason to think that the ball had penetrated the intestines, but he,
nevertheless, spoke cheerfully to anxious enquirers as “boys,” and said
that it was only “a small matter” and that he “was all right.” Happily
he was.

The spoils were great, considering the few minutes the battle lasted,
consisting of one hundred and eighty fine Illinois horses with their
accoutrements and arms. We captured only fifty or sixty prisoners, as it
was just at nightfall, and most of the enemy took refuge in the timber.
I always thought that those fine horses and accoutrements should have
been distributed among the boys where most needed and their inferior
articles taken up. This might have been done under a board of survey in
such a way as not only to increase the efficiency of the command, but
also to stimulate it for future enterprises. But we didn’t get a halter.
All went to supply the demands of other commands. There was one
particularly fine horse in the captured lot which had been thoroughly
trained and was evidently something of a pet, as we say, of his former
owner. Jim Weatherly of Somerville, was not long in discovering his fine
points and “smart tricks,” and soon had him “going his way.” The
beautiful brown with two white feet had to be turned in, and Weatherly
was disconsolate. Thereafter, when any legitimate capture fell in the
way of the boys, mum was the word. It was now September, 1862, and Price
and Van Dorn were ready to move on Corinth. This movement was made from
Ripley, Miss., in two divisions commanded by Price and Lovell, with Van
Dorn as chief. The army was well equipped, well fed and in fine spirits.
It had not rained for many weeks, and the dusty roads and scarcity of
water made the marches, which were necessary to effect the concentration
of the two armies, severe ones for all branches of the service. But the
prospect of making a successful assault on the works at Corinth and
capturing Rosecrans and his army buoyed up the spirits of the soldiers.
Ten miles out on the Chiwalla hills the cavalry encountered a small
Federal force which was easily swept back. Company A of the Seventh
Tennessee, was active in this affair as Jackson’s escort and lost the
first man killed on the expedition. I was with a detachment of Company E
that had been ordered forward and deployed as skirmishers. I came upon
the corpse of the soldier, which had, for the moment, been left where he
had fallen. It was the body of John Young of Memphis. This was the first
day of October, 1862. The next day was spent in getting the proper
dispositions made for the assault. On the 3rd, the earth seemed to
tremble with the thunder of artillery and the roar of small arms. It was
a struggle to the death in which both sides lost heavily. The position
had been rendered strong by heavy earthworks and much of the front had
been covered by fallen timber, which made the approach to the main works
difficult. All that day it went well with the Confederates, though the
killed and wounded were numerous. As the cavalry took no part in the
main battle, we could see pretty well what was going on in the rear.
There it was a bloody spectacle as the killed and wounded were borne
back for treatment and burial. That was the first time for me to see our
poor fellows wrapped in their blankets and buried in shallow trenches.
The horror of it! Even on the morning of the fourth, those of us in the
rear thought that all was well in front, for we had heard that Price,
who was fighting on the north of the railroad, had gone over the heavy
works and into the town. And so he had, but the brave men under Lovell
on the right under the terrible fire of the Federals had failed to make
a successful assault. Suddenly there was a calm, which we could not
understand. But it soon flashed upon us that we were beaten, and our
army was in full retreat. During the previous night McPherson’s division
from Jackson had re-enforced Rosecrans and was ready to press the
retreating Confederates. Hurlburt’s division, too, was marching from
Bolivar to intercept the retreating column. There was now likely to be
some lively work for the cavalry. When we reached Davis’ bridge, the
scene of the affair heretofore related, Hurlburt was there to dispute
our passage. With McPherson in our rear we were apparently “in a box.”
Shrewd generalship on the part of the Federals would have captured our
whole army. Van Dorn boldly attacked Hurlburt at the bridge, while his
trains were ordered to take the only road of escape--that up Hatchie
river. The cavalry preceded the trains, and, crossing the river,
attacked Hurlburt in his rear. For several hours there were two Federal
and two Confederate forces engaged and one of each fronting two ways.
Van Dorn drew off at the proper time and followed his trains. The
Federals were not disposed to follow, as good generalship would have
dictated, for our troops, worn out and hungry, could have made but a
feeble resistance. The streams had no water in them and our soldiers
drank the wells dry. When a beef was killed the hungry men were cutting
the flesh from the carcass before the hide was off. In the midst of this
distress, I had my only sight of Sterling Price. He was riding at the
head of a small escort and apparently in deepest thought. He had left
many of the brave men whom he loved dead on the field of Corinth. He was
the idol of his men, a great Missourian and a good man. But the result
at Corinth had made him sad. The disaster brought other troubles in its

The morale of the army was not good, the citizens were discouraged and
many a soldier gave up the fight and went to his home within the Federal
lines. We retired to the vicinity of Holly Springs.



After the battle of Corinth the Confederate army under Van Dorn was
entirely on the defensive. Grant and Sherman advanced from Memphis into
Mississippi with the evident purpose of taking Vicksburg in the rear.
The cavalry had frequent skirmishes with the Federal advance and no
little excitement. There was an encounter with Sherman’s troops near Old
Lamar in Marshall County, Miss. In relating this incident, I feel the
need of a faculty that would enable me to tell three or four things at
the same time and make my readers have a clear conception of a number of
particulars which run through the mind so rapidly that it is difficult
to arrange them in a well connected narrative. As in a dream, we travel
over a vast extent of country and talk with many people in the short
space of a few seconds, so when armed forces unexpectedly clash, we can
see very many things at the same moment, but can speak of only one
incident at a time. In the last days of a very dry October the Seventh
Tennessee Cavalry was marching by fours in a dusty lane with ditches
intervening between the road and the fences. The enemy must have seen
that a fine opportunity was at hand, and advanced rapidly on our flank.
The clouds of dust so obscured the vision that it was impossible to see
just where the enemy were. Having the advantage of an open field they
made good use of it. The Confederates were compelled to fall back or be
enveloped. The command to right about by fours was given. This order
threw about one-half the regiment into a position fronting the other
half, which had, in the confusion, never heard it. The red dirt rose in
clouds as those who were trying to get to the rear struggled to pass by
those who had not heard the command. Horses and riders went into the
ditches in a confused mass.

The time for obeying orders had passed. Amid the shouts of the enemy’s
flanking lines, the neighing of horses and the curses of desperate men,
there seemed to be one thought uppermost, and that was to get out of
this trouble alive, if possible. No doubt there were instances of
individual bravery and unselfish acts of gallantry, quite common
occurrences in the Seventh Regiment, but nobody had anything of this
incident to relate on that score around future campfires. Many had
thrilling stories of how they escaped. Captain W. J. Tate of Company E,
and Captain C. C. Clay went into the ditch together. Tate lost his
saddle, but got hold of Clay’s, which he placed on his own horse,
mounted and rode out of danger. Captain Clay with many others was
captured. This all happened in much less time than it takes to tell it,
but it was a remarkable stampede, the second and last the regiment ever
was in. The fighting was so constant from that time till Christmas,
1862, that the men learned to stand firm on the firing line and to fall
back in good order.

It were a long story to tell of the sullen retreat of the army even now
not fully recovered from the effects of the disastrous Corinth campaign.
Mansfield Lovell’s division and Price’s Trans-Mississippi veterans,
however, were always ready for a fight. The cold, rainy days of winter
were upon us, and nothing seemed quite so sure as a great battle on the
line of the Tallahatchie. That line was abandoned and the enemy made a
fierce attack on our rear guard of cavalry at Oxford. We were expected
to hold them in check till our trains were safe beyond the Yokona. It
was one of those times in which the woods were alive with bluecoats. But
I shall intermit this narrative here and insert a sketch, which is
entirely _apropos_, though printed some time ago. It follows:

Editor Commercial Appeal:

     Whenever I hear the patriotic spirit of the Southern women alluded
     to, I somehow revert to an incident that came under my observation
     on the 2nd day of December, 1862, at Oxford, Miss. Price and Van
     Dorn had been forced to abandon the line of the Tallahatchie and
     were falling back to the line of the Yalobusha. Our cavalry was
     making a stubborn resistance against overwhelming forces of the
     Federals in order to hold them in check long enough to allow our
     trains to get beyond immediate danger. A cold rain was falling and
     there seemed to be no bottom to the roads. The citizens were
     panic-stricken and the army was in no good spirits. It had not
     entirely recovered from the disastrous repulse at Corinth, and the
     terrible weather added to the distress. “Blue ruin” seemed to stare
     us in the face. Colonel Wheeler of the First Tennessee Cavalry was
     temporarily in command of W. H. Jackson’s brigade, which was trying
     to hold the Abbeville road. There was no picket in our front and
     there was a call for somebody to reconnoiter. There was no positive
     order from the Colonel commanding, but as he rode along the front
     of our company he said: “Some of you men with carbines go out there
     and see where they are.” It was one of those times when it was
     nobody’s business in particular, but everybody’s in general. Just
     then I asked Sam Clinton, who recently died at Bolivar, if he would
     go with me. We rode forward, followed by four other men of other
     companies. I remember that Sam and I realized the danger and would
     have preferred to be somewhere else. We stirred up a hornet’s nest,
     for very soon there was one report, and a singing minie passed over
     our heads. Instantly, a heavy skirmish line of Kansas Jayhawkers,
     who knew how to shoot, rose up in the bushes on each side of the
     road. We replied in kind, but retreated at a rapid pace. Only one
     of the six was struck, Private Wilson of Company B, of Covington,
     who had his thigh bone fractured and became a permanent cripple.
     The retreat even was so hot that I hastily concluded to quit the
     road and try the timber. In forcing my horse, “Old Snip,” up an
     embankment the wet and thawing earth gave way, and Snip and I fell
     in such a position, with my left foot under him, that it was
     difficult to rise. I had to think fast. I spurred the poor beast
     with my right foot to force him to an effort to rise so that I
     could recover my left. The next thing was to recover my navy six
     and saddle bags, containing my scant “wardrobe” which had become
     detached and fallen in the mud. Replacing my pistol in the
     holster, throwing my saddle bags on my shoulder and holding on to
     my carbine, I turned my attention to Snip, who had by a supreme
     effort recovered his feet and was ready for any emergency.
     Following my lead, he mounted the embankment and we had the
     protection of the timber. Just then the gallant Joe Wicks of
     Memphis, the adjutant of our regiment, came with orders for the
     squad to fall back. We had already taken orders from the
     Jayhawkers. But poor Joe Wicks, we never saw him more. Dashing into
     the thicket, he said he had other orders to deliver. In a few
     minutes his riderless horse came dashing back to the command. He
     never delivered his orders, but was buried by the good people of

     But I started out to say something about the Confederate women. If
     I have any excuse for this preliminary, it is, that my readers may
     have a faint appreciation of the troubles that come to a poor
     private of a retreating army in midwinter. As for the Confederate
     women, it is always in order, even in the middle of an effective
     paragraph, to say your best about them, but, if I had some happy
     trick of phrase or knack of language, which I just now heartily
     desire, I would write in the language of loftiest eulogy in their
     praise. However, let us think that there never were any others just
     like them.

     But now as to the particular incident. Oxford was a town of tearful
     women and weeping maids. This added to our overflowing cup. On the
     verandah of a cottage, somewhere just south of the courthouse, was
     standing one of the maidens, who did not seem to be weeping, for
     her spirit had risen to the occasion. With dark blue eyes and
     flowing hair, she was animation incarnate. She was most forcibly
     expressing her opinion about our giving over the town to the
     merciless Yankees. Her short skirts and youthful appearance,
     somewhat mollified her impeachment, for, if we had taken her
     opinion as solid truth, and had seen ourselves as she, for the
     moment, saw us, we should have been convinced that we were the most
     cowardly aggregation of “skedaddling” cavalry in the Confederacy.
     In just twenty days, we had ample revenge and surcease from
     humiliation at Holly Springs, where the Federal loss of army
     stores, right in the rear of Grant’s army, went into the millions,
     and was the greatest loss of supplies that occurred on a single
     occasion during the war. Historians have not even done this affair
     under Van Dorn the scantiest justice.

     But who was our little maiden, she of the patriotic impulses?
     Everybody wanted to know, for we hoped to have her think better of
     us. Cad Linthicum, our little Kentuckian, who somehow had a
     penchant for knowing all the girls in divers places, said it was
     Taylor Cook. And so it was Taylor Cook. Then “Taylor Cook” went
     down the line. She had become famous in a twinkling. The Seventh
     Tennessee Cavalry would have willingly adopted her as “The Daughter
     of the Regiment,” if she could have appreciated the honor. She was
     worthy to become the wife of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s only son. And
     she did. When I pause at her grave in beautiful Elmwood, I think of
     that sad day at Oxford.

                                                         J. M. HUBBARD.
                                                Erstwhile of Company E,
                                                 Seventh Tenn. Cavalry.

On the 3rd day of December, 1862, the Seventh Regiment had placed the
Yokona between itself and the enemy. We destroyed the bridges in order
to hold them in check. Here we committed about our first depredation on
a citizen. We burnt his fence rails. Remember it was cold and wet and we
had no axes. The boys spoke of it as an outrage (sic), but felt good as
they dried themselves around the burning rails. We consoled ourselves
with the reflection that, if the owner were as patriotic as he should
have been, he never would utter a word of complaint. Many a time, when
the temperature was low, we had occasion to revert with pleasure to the
generous fires near Springdale, an old antebellum stagestand.

“_Boots and saddles_,” for the Federal cavalry had already gotten
between the Seventh Regiment and Water Valley. There was but one thing
to do. Put on a bold front and run over them or through them. This was
so quickly done by our advance that the rear never came in sight of the
enemy. The road was now clear and we continued to move south. The next
day, just north of Coffeeville, we assisted in forming an ambuscade to
entrap the Federal cavalry. This was attended with sufficient success to
enable our whole army to take post at Grenada.

We were getting well along into the second year of the war, and our
prospects were getting worse on the “Memphis lines.” North Mississippi
was in the hands of the Federals, and nothing seemed more probable or
possible than that we should be driven further toward the Gulf. Van Dorn
had had rather poor success as the commander of an army or the projector
of a campaign, but the Confederate authorities knew he was a born
cavalryman. He appeared to be the very man to lead a bold movement to
the rear of Grant’s army on the Tallahatchie. A corps composed entirely
of cavalry was organized to take the road with Holly Springs as an
objective point. This place had been abundantly supplied with everything
needed by an army of twenty thousand men, encamped south of it, and was
garrisoned by about three thousand of all arms. Most of the storehouses
around the public square were full of provisions, clothing and medical
stores. A large livery stable had been converted into an immense arsenal
for the storage of arms and ammunition. There was a long string of cars
on the tracks, sufficient, perhaps, to make three good trains, which it
was said were loaded with supplies for the army. The sutlers and the
small dealers who follow an army, were fully supplied, as if they
expected to make a permanent stay in the Sunny South. The cotton
speculators were in force, and had hundreds of bales in storage. Van
Dorn did not expect to transport any part of these vast supplies south.
His purpose was to surprise the garrison at daylight, parole the
prisoners and destroy the stores. So after making a march of one day and
two nights, much of which was at a trot, and during which we had, after
starting from Grenada, swept around by way of Benela, Houston, Pontotoc
and New Albany, about 100 miles, we surprised and captured the Federal
outpost and entered the town at a gallop. On that clear, frosty morning
of December 20th, 1862, the Seventh Regiment was marching in the rear of
a column so long and moving so rapidly that we made the last mile or two
at about full speed. When we did reach the town, our horses were hot and
smoking and men greatly excited. Colonel Murphy, the Federal commander
of the post, had already been surprised in his bed and the Confederates
were on every corner. Men, women and children were sounding praises to
the Confederates. We could hardly realize that we were in possession of
the largest booty secured by any army, so far, in the war. Everybody
wanted to carry away something, but it was hard to make a selection.
Here were great inducements to plunder and such a condition of
demoralization existed as might cause the officers to lose control of
their men. Whisky, brandy and wines of the best quality and in unbroken
packages were among the spoils of war, and everybody so disposed could
help himself. And pretty much everybody was disposed. A. S. Coleman, he
of the Missouri roasting ear story and sutler of the regiment, had left
his wagon at Grenada and had donned his fighting clothes for the raid.
He acted as a sort of free lance, who had the assurance to assume
special privileges. He visited some of the richest depots early and
selected such articles as he knew would please the boys. He soon hove in
sight of Company E with a string of hats as long as a plough line wound
about him and his horse. What looked like the effigy of a man, clothed
in blue trousers of large dimensions and cut in twain at the waist and
footless, sat bolt upright on the pommel of Coleman’s saddle. When the
contents of the effigy were displayed, we found we had more good liquor
than we had room for. All were in fine trim now to attack the commissary
stores. As in the case of the fine liquors, the boys did materially
reduce the visible supply of good things. People of all classes, without
regard even to previous condition of servitude, were told to walk up and
help themselves. Children reveled in the pleasures of the occasion, and
grown people declared that it was the grandest day the town had ever
seen. The work of destruction began in the afternoon. The arsenal was
destroyed, all cars with their contents and houses used for the storage
of cotton were burned. Town and country were enveloped in smoke and the
report of explosives was heard when we were many miles from the scene of
destruction. Van Dorn had so completely reaped the fruits of victory
that his praise was on every tongue. The men rode out of Holly Springs
at nightfall in high glee and perfectly willing to incur other dangers
further north. The loss to the Federals has been estimated as high as

I have been at some pains to find out about how many men Van Dorn had at
Holly Springs, but the affair has been so lightly regarded by writers
and the records are so lacking in specific statements, that I am only
able to state that I had the impression at the time his force numbered
about four thousand men. He had no artillery. A statement here as to
strength is immaterial in this case, as one thousand men, or maybe less,
could have accomplished all that was done. For the Federals, it was a
complete surprise and a humiliating disaster. The Confederates could
hardly realize that they had participated in one of the most brilliant
military exploits of the war. They had lost one man killed, John Graves,
of Company A. When our column was on the road next morning, after a
brief rest, it looked very like a Federal column, as thousands of new
blue overcoats had been captured and were utilized on this clear frosty
morning. Van Dorn reached Davis’ Mills, now Michigan City, early in the
morning of the 21st of December. This place is about twenty miles north
of Holly Springs and on Wolf River. The Federal force here was small,
but well protected by a fort, rifle pits and a barricaded millhouse. The
Confederates, on foot, assailed the position furiously as if they
expected to take it by assault. The fire from the little garrison was so
galling from across the river, quite an insignificant stream at that
point, that they sheltered themselves for a time behind an earthen mill
dam constructed along the bank. Here we had a slight loss in killed and
wounded. The retreat to our horses was perilous and the enemy made the
most of it. While lying in the ditch beside the milldam, a hat elevated
above our protection was apt to receive two or three bullet holes.
Lieutenant Statler of Company E had a _Holly Springs_ hat ruined by a
minie ball passing through the band and on through his hair. Poor
fellow, when I found his dead body, the day after the battle of
Harrisburg, July 14th, 1864, I noticed that the ball that killed him had
passed through his hat band.

After the affair at Davis’ Mill we retired to the neighborhood of the
Lane Farm, and rested for part of the night. Our horses had a bountiful
feed and a short rest. What must be done must be done quickly. So we
struck the usual trot. My little blooded stallion seemed to know just
what was wanted. He would lie down like a tired dog when the column
made a short halt, but was all life and animation when it was moving.
Across Wolf river at Moscow in the early morning, we took the road to
Somerville. It was said that we would repeat the Holly Springs business
at Bolivar. The men of Company E knew every road and by-path leading to
the town. Our hopes were high. We were willing to head a surprise party,
or lead an assault. We should be fighting in the presence of our own
people--the home folks. But we passed on to Danceyville, and that did
not look like going to Bolivar. A short halt and a countermarch, and we
were surely on the road to Bolivar.

We had traveled over much of Fayette and Hardeman counties, but
bivouacked on Clear Creek on the night of December 23rd. We had been
bountifully fed right here when on our way to Randolph the year before
and had slept on this ground part of a night on the Armstrong raid. When
I think of this place I think of chicken pie. The rank and file were
confident that we would go into Bolivar, only a few miles distant, the
next morning, and have a jolly Christmas right at home. That was not to
be. Our scouts and spies reported that the Federals in great force were
strongly fortified and were ready for us. They had evidently heard from
Holly Springs. Van Dorn drew off to Middleburg, seven miles southwest of
Bolivar where a small garrison was protected by a brick storehouse with
a hall above, through the walls of which they had made many portholes.
Here we needed some kind of artillery. The Federals stood bravely to
their guns and refused to comply with our demand to surrender. It was a
detachment of the Twelfth Michigan infantry, which the community thought
to be about as devilish a lot as ever came south.

At Middleburg I saw the prettiest line of battle in action that I saw in
the whole war. It was Ross’ Texas brigade advancing on foot with a
firing line of skirmishers several rods in advance. As we stood to the
rear in reserve, I could but take pride in this fine body of Texans, as
Sul Ross, afterward governor of Texas, was my schoolmate. He was a noble
young fellow at college, a gallant Indian fighter before the war, a
successful general in the Confederate army, an incorruptible statesman
after the war and, finally, the most popular man in Texas. I was glad to
call him friend. I have passed Middleburg many times since then, but
always think of Ross’ line of battle. “After life’s fitful fever he
sleeps well.”

Van Dorn retired, without molestation from the Federals, while Grant
hastened to break camp on the Tallahatchie and to fall back to Memphis.
The object of the expedition had been pretty fully accomplished.



When Van Dorn reached Ripley on his way south, Dr. Bob Mayes and I
concluded that we would take a short respite from camp life and make an
expedition of our own into Alabama. While maturing our plans we fully
realized that we had to take the chances of being reported absent
without leave. We reasoned that it was mid-winter and that neither army
would make an offensive move for some time. Then everybody was in good
humor because of our late success, and besides we knew that we were not
serving under martinets in the persons of our high officers--a rather
common conclusion in those days. So at the first favorable opportunity
we two moved by the left flank and took the road to Guntown. This was
the same road along which Sturgis advanced and retreated when Brice’s
Cross Roads became a famous place. We passed the cross roads and the now
noted Dr. Agnew and Brice residences around which the battle was to be
fought. We could not tell when we might come into contact with a Federal
scouting party from Corinth or a squad of bushwhackers. In such an
emergency, we were not to show our weakness to the enemy, but were to
bluff them, if we could, and take to the woods in good order. We had
seven shots apiece and plenty of ammunition. We questioned citizens in
regard to the roads and the prospects of trouble. When we struck the
wild country east of the Tombigbee, we were always on the alert and were
cautious how we let any man approach us. The further we went the wilder
the country appeared. Rough, rocky roads wound along the streams and
down through the valleys, which lay between the lofty hills. Excellent
places to be shot at.

Out through the village of Allsboro, we took the road to the old town of
Frankfort with lighter hearts. We spoke gratefully of the kindness of
the citizens along our route, who had treated us so hospitably, and
concluded that we were never in as much danger as we had thought we
were. We had not seen an armed man on the trip. At Tuscumbia, Mayes took
the road to Courtland, I the one to Florence. I found the bridge over
the Tennessee had been destroyed, and was compelled to take the risk of
crossing on a rather dilapidated oar boat. But I felt at home on the
dear old soil. Little Ernest, my first born, was soon to be in my arms
and loving hands, including the old servants, were to leave nothing
undone to make me feel happy. I was to stand again by the grave of a
bride-mother, the beloved of all Florence, and too those of her father
and two brothers over which the fresh earth still lay. My tired horse is
really climbing the old hill; I see the old Dr. Todd place up to my
left, the antiquated buildings of older Florence, the pillared seat of
justice, built in the long ago. Why, I am right up in town. I turn into
Military street. The old home is in sight. My heart! My heart! Bright
eyes! Bright eyes! The loved ones with the baby.

But I look around and find the place greatly changed. I see more women
than men. Two colleges closed and little or no business doing in the
stores. No courts in session. Many residences closed. Small groups of
anxious men stand on the corners, for Bragg is fighting at Murfreesboro
and many of the Florence soldiers are there. Just such meager reports
were coming in as would create the greatest suspense. The town had been
in the hands of the Federals much of the time since the battle of
Shiloh, and had been greatly harassed by raiders. Clothing and
provisions, even the necessities of life, were hard to get. So the
people talked mostly of the distress and gloom brought on by the war.
Men and women, heretofore prosperous and happy, were bowed down with
grief and, in many cases, in dire want. These good people were subject
to insult and liable to lose the last crust at the hands of a rude
soldiery. In fact, they did undergo, before the war was over, sufferings
more intense and cruelties more severe. The state of affairs described
bore hard upon all, but especially so upon the conservative element made
up largely of old gentlemen, patriotic and true, who believed that a
peaceable settlement could have been effected and war avoided. I was in
sympathy, from the first, with that element in politics, who, while
opposed to secession, yet when war was flagrant, gave up everything and,
in many cases, took up arms in behalf of the South. I mention as typical
of this class William B. Wood, Henry C. Jones and R. M. Patton.

Governor Patton, a gentleman of the old school, served his state well,
and had two sons killed in battle. Judge Billy Wood was Colonel of the
Sixteenth Alabama Infantry. I saw Stratton Jones, son of Judge Jones,
dead on the field at Pulaski. As typical of those who thought
differently on public questions, I mention the names of Richard W.
Walker, Edward A. O’Neal and William H. Price, true as steel and
patriots all. Walker was a famous lawyer and I heard it said then that
he had much to do with the formation of the Confederate Constitution.
O’Neal commanded a regiment in Lee’s army and after the war was
governor. Major Price was killed in the same charge at Perryville in
which his friend, Major Frank Gailor, the father of Bishop Gailor, fell.
I record these things in a reminiscent mood, it is true, but they serve
to illustrate what had taken place all over the South and, moreover, how
people of radically diverse opinions on paramount questions can stand
shoulder to shoulder when they come into the presence of a common
danger. When the majority of the Southern people had spoken, Florence
became a unit on the subject of resistance to Federal aggression. About
all of her eligible men had gone into the army, and at the time of which
I write she was mourning the death of many of her bravest and best. Lee
had retired from Maryland and news came that Bragg was falling back,
showing that Antietam and Murfreesboro were, at most, drawn battles.
Coupled with Bragg’s retreat from Kentucky after the battle of
Perryville they certainly emphasized the success of the Federals in
preventing a Confederate invasion of the North. “Hope springs eternal in
the human breast,” and there were some cheerful faces in Florence. Among
these was that of Colonel Tol Chisholm, the provost marshal, who
generously furnished me with a pass that was supposed to be good from
Florence to Grenada. I thought at the time that this was a wide
territory for the authority of a petty provost to cover, but it was good
at nearby points, and might be available, or at least better than
nothing, further down the country. So having secured a splendid new
mount, I turned my face toward Mississippi. There could be no concert of
action between my fellow soldier, Dr. Mayes, and myself as communication
was poor between Florence and Courtland. We were compelled to act
independently. So, armed with Tol Chisholm’s pass against the
Confederates and a good carbine and a navy six against any hostile
attack that might beset me on my way, I drew rein in three or four days
at Cotton Gin on the Tombigbee. I could now move at my leisure and as my
good steed stepped over the muddy roads as if he scorned them, I arrived
all right in Grenada.

My part of the personal expedition which Mayes and I projected had so
far turned out charmingly, but at Grenada everything was not exactly
lovely. In the disposition of the troops, the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry
had been ordered to take post north of the Yalobusha for rest and
recuperation. The late Senator George, commander of the post, had
orders to permit no one to pass north without permission from
headquarters of the general commanding the army. I approached Colonel
George with nothing to fortify me but a little assurance and Tol
Chisholm’s pass. He was a man of pleasing personality with whose
countenance I was somewhat familiar, as I had seen him at my father’s
house back in the 50’s. I didn’t, however, disclose my identity for the
purpose of working myself into his good graces, but on his refusal of a
permit concluded it best to retire as gracefully as possible, thankful
that he had not placed me under arrest. Across the river or to the guard
house, for I had to have subsistence for self and horse. I rode directly
to the river, where an officer was ferrying some men and horses in a
boat nearly as long as the river was wide. I didn’t even exhibit Tol
Chisholm’s pass, but in the confusion, incident to such occasions, I
rode boldly into the boat and was soon safe on the north side. I had
some occasion for reflection on my adventure and my interview with
Colonel George. Only a few years ago I had charge of the schools of
Grenada, and I never looked at the site of the old Brown Hotel that the
same old reflections did not recur. In a short time I had the pleasure
of congratulating Mayes on the pronounced success of his trip. As I
expect to write even more fully concerning my impressions of some of the
men with whom I served than heretofore, I may say something of Mayes
right here. Wherever the short sketches occur, they may be taken as only
partial portraitures of character, tinged in some instances, perhaps,
with my tributes of praise to men who would do their duty at all
hazards. Well then, Dr. R. M. Mayes was somewhat peculiar in his mental
makeup, but withal a well-bred gentleman, a good soldier and a friend to
rely on in an emergency. He abandoned the practice of dentistry for a
season, after the war, and concluded he could make money in the
cultivation of peanuts. One crop satisfied him. He married a young lady
of estimable character, whom I knew well and who, though reared a blue
stocking Presbyterian, by his own insistence followed him in his
peregrinations through theological troubles. I may well say this, for
Mayes was reared a Baptist but some time after the war was confirmed in
the Episcopal Church. He at last sought satisfaction in the Roman
Catholic Church. The couple reared a family, and I believe are still
living in San Antonio. The thought comes to me now, and I will record it
here, that I have learned about as much in my long life by reading
people as I have by reading books. In this regard, peculiar people have
cut no small figure. Indeed, I can say that, psychologically speaking,
the eccentricities of abnormal people afford a wider range of study than
do the mental activities of people who are always merely at themselves.
Though it may be true that “a fool is born every minute,” all peculiar
people are not fools.

We spent a few weeks at old Pharsalia, on the Yokona river, where we
constructed rude winter quarters, or “shanties,” for timber was
abundant. We had a great snowstorm, and had to keep fires glowing. We
had much pleasure here in receiving and entertaining for a part of a day
Mrs. R. P. Neely, of Bolivar, and her daughter, Miss Kate, the latter of
whom had been banished from her home by Gen. Brayman, the Federal
commander of the post. Mrs. Neely was a splendid type of the true
Southern woman, who, like all her children, stood always ready to make
sacrifices for the Southern soldiers. She was a woman of most charming
personality and gentle refinement, that could have filled almost any
station to which ladies are called. Mrs. Elizabeth Lea Neely lived to a
great age, and retained to the end the profound respect of all the good
people of Bolivar. As for Miss Kate--now Mrs. Collins, of Memphis--she
was, or rather is, a woman of the Grace Darling or Mollie Pitcher type,
who would go to the rescue of those in peril, or take her place at the
guns, if it were to repel the enemies of her country. May her days be
long and happy. Charles R. Neely, the elder brother, killed at Brice’s
Cross Roads, was already a valuable member of Company E, but here comes
young Jimmy, the present capable Superintendent of the Western Hospital,
who wanted to be a soldier. His mother protested that he was too young,
but as an irregular he did honorable service as the war progressed. We
changed our camp by taking post at Mitchell’s Cross Roads, near the
mouth of Coldwater, where forage was plentiful and the service light. We
had here a goodly number of recruits and returning soldiers from
Tennessee. Rations were plentiful, but poor, but “foraging” was good and
the citizens hospitable. It was a calm before a storm; indeed, it burst
upon us rather suddenly one day that the Federals at Memphis were
fitting out an expedition, which, taking advantage of the flooding stage
of the waters, would go through the Yazoo Pass into the Coldwater river,
thence into the Tallahatchie, and, finally, into the Yazoo river, and
thus take Vicksburg in the rear. The projectors of the expedition were
convinced of its feasibility, and the Confederates were proportionately
alarmed. Fort Pemberton was hastily constructed, near the junction of
the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha; heavy guns were mounted and a large
force concentrated at that point. The cavalry was ordered to camp in the
vicinity, and to scout and picket wherever a horse could go. Within a
few days the Federal fleet of gunboats and transports arrived and opened
fire on the fort. General Loring, “Old Blizzard,” was on the alert, and
the resistance so stubborn that the fleet withdrew and made its way, in
a much shattered condition, to Memphis. Glad enough to get out of the
black mud around Greenwood, the Seventh Regiment was ordered to the
hills. We camped about Grenada and Panola, and watched the roads leading
toward Memphis, for the Federals had resumed their old practice of
raiding and plundering. Brigadier-General James R. Chalmers, who had
made some reputation in Bragg’s army, was placed in command of all the
cavalry in North Mississippi. For a month or two we had no clash with
the enemy. As soon as the roads would permit, we went over to the
Mississippi river, the boys said, “_to fight gunboats_.” We struck the
river in the vicinity of Commerce. We soon saw the smoke of an ascending
steamer. Concealed along the shore, we waited with almost breathless
anxiety the approach of the steamer. All was in readiness. Our only
cannon--a four-pounder--was masked on top of the levee. “Bang!” went a
gun. There, now! One of the men in Company E had accidentally shot two
others, but the wounds were slight. The silence was more breathless. On
came the steamer. When she did get abreast of us, the rattle of small
arms was something to remember. The little cannon turned loose her first
shot, but the rebound carried her into the mud back of the levee, where
she sank up to the hubs. There was a wild scramble among the gunners and
others to place the piece in position. There were other shots and other
rebounds, but if those fellows did any harm, it was to the timber over
in Arkansas. I scarcely think, at this distant day, that they could have
“hit a hole in the air,” much less a barndoor at short range. Seeing
that the Alice Dean was unarmed, our men rushed down to the water’s
edge. A lively fusillade was kept up for some minutes, while Colonel
Stocks, in stentorian voice, demanded of the Captain that he bring the
boat to shore. This created some amusement, for it was like “whistling
to the wind,” as the boat hugged the Arkansas shore and puffed away up

It was now “the good old summer time,” and the Federals were on the
move. On the night of the 18th of July, we bivouacked near them at the
Dr. Atkins farm, just below Hernando. Their force consisted of
detachments amounting to 320 men, all cavalry, under Major Henry, of the
Fourth Ohio. Chalmers must have known that his own command was much
stronger than the enemy’s, but they evidently did not. We held the road
to Memphis, and it was reasonable to suppose that, when we attacked in
the early morning, the enemy would, if pressed, move along this road.
The Seventh Regiment was ordered to move through the front grounds of
the Slocum place and to get as nearly as possible in the enemy’s rear.
The plan of battle, as it was afterward developed, seemed to be that the
Seventh should so push the enemy back upon the other regiments, properly
placed, that a surrender of the enemy would be inevitable. As soon as we
caught sight of them, mounted and formed along a lane, the fences of
which they had torn down, our horses were put to their best, but, before
we fired a shot, the enemy broke to the rear. Part of them fell back on
our ambuscade, and were captured, but our charge had been so furious
that the greater part were driven so far beyond the line of the
regiments waiting to receive them that they escaped. The whole command
now joined in the pursuit at a gallop. Federals and Confederates were
commingled in one wild race, as we went over the fences and through the
fields and woods. In the Jack Robertson wheat field, there was a
resolute attempt of a Federal officer to rally his men. He did form a
perfect line of some twenty men in the face of the fierce onslaught, but
for a minute only. Here Adjutant Pope of the Seventh and Captain W. J.
Tate of Company E were wounded, and Private James Moore of Company E was
killed, the only man on our side to fall that day. It was a question of
speed, and those who had the fastest horses met with the most exciting
adventures. Lieutenant J. P. Statler of Company E, being thrown to the
ground, because of a broken saddle girth, was left afoot, while his fine
gray horse, Commodore, escaped with the fleeing enemy. There were
opportunities to secure a mount, as in the excitement of the chase many
of our adversaries had become separated from their horses. Following a
country road along which we knew, by their tracks, a Federal detachment
was escaping, Mat Hornsby and I came to a bridge over a small creek,
which had been broken down, and with a horse fastened in the wreck. As
this blocked our way, we turned down stream to find a crossing. We soon
made a rich haul, for we came upon six good horses, with all their
rigging, floundering about in water up to the saddle skirts. As there
was great danger of their being drowned, in the excitement of the
moment, I waded in to their rescue, and soon had one by the bridle. With
Hornsby’s assistance, I saved the six horses with their accoutrements.
As I was already well mounted, and, mindful of how things turned out at
Davis’ bridge, I suggested to Mat that he select the best horse in the
lot, turn his own “plug” in, and keep mum. He followed my suggestion
implicitly, and selected the big sorrel.

James Madison Hornsby was a tip-top, good fellow. I trust he is with the
angels, for he was a Confederate soldier, and, after the war, a Baptist

But we were to have no peace just then, for the Federals were sending
out a force which could hold its own with Chalmers’ little army. We went
into the “bottom” again and out to the hills, by way of the mouth of
Coldwater. On this retreat, we were compelled to leave Adjutant W. S.
Pope and Captain W. J. Tate, severely wounded, at farmhouses, where they
were tenderly cared for. It happened that Pope’s mother and sister were
in the neighborhood, and hastened to his bedside. Within three or four
days we attacked the works at Collierville, but Chalmers, evidently
concluding that the capture of the position was not worth the sacrifice
that would have to be made, drew off in good order.

As a large and well-equipped force was reported to be moving from
Memphis and other points, for the purpose of making another raid, but on
a larger scale, Chalmers thought it prudent to fall back to the
Yalobusha. As I remember it, the Seventh Tennessee took the Valley road
at Panola, and, crossing the river at old Tuscahoma, turned east to
Grenada. Tarrying only long enough to have our horses shod, Lieutenant
Harris and I hastened to join the command. When we reached the crest of
that noted landmark, Pine Hill, just south of the town, we saw dense
volumes of smoke in the valley. A short distance down the slope, we came
upon a well-known citizen in that country, the late William B. Owens,
who appeared to be in a very excited state of mind. He stated that the
Federals already had possession of the town, and had deprived him of his
horse. I recognized in Mr. Owens an old acquaintance, but it was no time
to recall old friendship. But for him we should probably have ridden
right into the enemy’s lines. Harris and I made a quick movement through
the timber till we reached the Carrollton road. We soon drew up at the
house of a Mr. Patton, where we had an excellent supper and a good feed
for our horses. We here learned that the railroad bridges at Grenada
were burned, and that our whole command had gone east. It was thought
prudent for us to cross certain roads before daylight. I now felt sure
of myself, because in these same glades and hills of the Abituponbouge I
had, when boyhood’s days were glad, chased the bounding deer and lay in
wait for the festive wild turkey. It was in this section that I was
inured to toil on the farm, and acquired a skill in horsemanship that
afterward, and many a time, stood me in good stead in a close place. To
me, the abode of peace had become the seat of war.

Leaving Lieutenant Harris, now safe on the road to the command, I turned
aside to make a short call on the family of my only brother, the late
Dorsey G. Hubbard, a member of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry. Just as I
reached the front gate, and was on the very spot where, in 1850, my
father’s wagons and other vehicles halted, after a six week’s journey
from North Carolina, I was accosted by some soldiers, who were seeking a
man who could guide Whitfield’s Texas Brigade (Ross’) to Lodi. Well,
yes; I could do that, and did so. While riding along in pleasant
conversation with the General and his staff, a gentleman, who was
somewhat disguised by his whiskers and soldier clothes, suddenly
discovered my identity. It was a pleasant meeting and a pleasant
greeting, for it was none other than that accomplished and genial
gentleman, Captain Davis R. Gurley of Waco, the Adjutant-General of the
Brigade, but a schoolmate of mine. Gurley was, at college, the roommate
of the gallant General Dan McCook, of the Federal Army, who was killed
at the head of his brigade at Kennesaw Mountain. Many years ago I had
the pleasure of meeting him in his own city.

The Federals, in the movement alluded to, having seemingly accomplished
all they had set out to do, returned to the line of the Memphis &
Charleston Railroad. The Confederates, under Chalmers, having now no
need of assistance from Whitfield’s Brigade, marched, by way of Grenada,
to Irby’s mill, just west of Como.

We were now in a choice portion of Mississippi, and had more holiday
soldiering and plenty of time to rest. We moved camp from place to
place, as our needs in supplies demanded. Indeed, we had little else to
do than to sit around and discuss such subjects as to when the war would
end, how it would end, and how we should be treated, if finally
defeated. On these subjects there were great variety and contrariety of
opinions. We had the physical facts before us, and it looks, at this
distant day, that there might have been but one opinion as to the final
result. In the Gettysburg campaign, Lee’s army had been defeated and so
greatly depleted that it was beyond the point of ever being made as
strong as it had been. The Federals had unlimited resources in men,
particularly in foreigners. These, though hirelings, knew how to throw
up breastworks, mine and countermine. In surrendering Vicksburg and Port
Hudson, the Confederates had weakened the armies in the West, and lost
control of the Mississippi river. They had gained a victory at
Chickamauga in September, which never could be called great because of
the great loss of men. In November, Bragg was driven back at all points
by Grant, at Missionary Ridge, and retreated, with an army greatly
depleted, to Dalton, Ga. These days were somewhat restful to our
particular command, yet they were gloomy days. We heard of a small
victory here and there for the Confederates, but all the late larger
affairs had resulted in favor of our enemies. Many believed that the
establishment of the independence of the Confederacy was improbable, if
not impossible. With the lights before them, men could not be censured
for having an honest opinion. We could only hope that something would
happen that would turn the tide in our favor. It took moral courage,
and plenty of it, for a man to make himself a target for bullets, when
he had no very reasonable hope that, even by his death, he would save
his country. While some abandoned the cause, it is to the everlasting
credit of the majority of the men of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry that
they stood by those who had the direction of affairs, and, to that
extent, had our destiny in their hands.

No more fighting now for many weeks, during which time both men and
horses were put in fine condition. On October 8th, Company E was in a
sharp contest with Federal cavalry at Salem, east of Lamar, but without
decisive results. Chalmers then moved towards Collierville, at which
place he assailed the works with his whole force, but the Federals,
having the advantage of position in a fort and a barricaded railroad
station, succeeded in withstanding the attack. Both sides fought
desperately for a short time, and many were killed and wounded. It was
related as a veracious story that Col. George, of the Fifth Mississippi,
while leading his regiment in the charge, lost control of his horse, and
was carried over the works and landed among the enemy without a scratch.
Another incident of this battle was that General Sherman, having just
arrived from Memphis, hastily abandoned his car, and, with his staff,
rushed to a place of safety in the station, not being able to reach the
fort. A fine mare, on which Adjutant Pope was killed at Tishomingo, was
taken from the train, which was set on fire. It is safe to say that if
our men had known there was so rich a prize as Sherman and his staff so
near at hand, they would have taken that depot at all hazards. Chalmers
drew off in order, as in the first battle here, but the Federals felt
sufficiently encouraged to follow and fall upon our rear, at Quinn’s
mill, on Coldwater. This little battle was picturesque, as the river
separated the combatants, and it was dark enough to see the flashes of
the guns. Here Adjutant Pope was thrown from his fine captured mare,
which ran out some distance into the country, where she was taken up by
a citizen. She was brought in the next week by John Duncan of Company E,
who had been detailed for that purpose.

At an opportune moment, the Seventh Tennessee drew off from its fighting
position, and followed the command till a late hour, when it went into
bivouac at Ingram’s mill, on Pigeon Roost creek. Here we were attacked
at daylight by the Second Kansas Cavalry, (Jayhawkers), on foot. Company
E, under Lieutenant Statler, held them in check till we could retire in
good order. At Wall Hill their advance came into view, led by an officer
mounted on a very white horse. As we went out of the lane, which led
south from the village, and reached a skirt of timber on an elevation,
we exhausted all our strategy in our efforts to induce the officer on
the white horse to come within range. He capered around on his horse,
something after the manner of General M. Jeff Thompson, whom I have told
you about seeing in Missouri, when mounted on his little spotted
stallion, but never did take the bait which we set for him. Falling back
through Chulahoma, our whole force occupied a strong natural position at
the old town of Wyatt, on the Tallahatchie. Here a heavy force of
dismounted cavalry charged our position, but were driven back with great
loss. Being now evidently reinforced, they returned to the attack with
so much spirit, and the Confederates held their ground with so much
tenacity, that in places the contest became hand to hand. The battle
continued till after nightfall, when the Federals were driven back at
all points of the line, with heavy loss. The Confederates crossed to the
south side on a pontoon improvised for the occasion. In this whole
campaign, the Confederate loss was comparatively light, though it had
fought three battles in four days. Company E had lost only two men
wounded, who were able to ride off the field at Collierville. These were
S. H. Clinton and Cad Linthicum, two of our very best men. One of the
things to remember about Wyatt is that a heavy rainstorm prevailed while
the battle was raging. During the next few weeks we moved from place to
place, chiefly for the purpose of getting subsistence. We had plenty of
time to discuss the conduct of the war and the possibilities and
probabilities of the future. We had men in our regiment who could have
established two or three Confederacies. At least, that is the way they
talked. Company E, being temporarily detached, was posted at Coldwater
to watch the movements of the enemy in the direction of Memphis. All
this, and more, I shall tell you in the next chapter.



When the snow began to fly, Company E was comfortably quartered in the
vacant storehouses at Coldwater, thirty-one miles from Memphis. The men
provided themselves with heavier clothing, some articles of which were
brought through the lines from home, while others were secured through
blockade runners, as those citizens were called who carried cotton to
Memphis and brought out supplies on a Federal permit. The service was
light, with no picket duty, for the winter was so cold and the roads so
bad that a Federal raid could hardly be expected. But the hours must be
whiled away. So, when the boys were not rubbing up their arms and
grooming their horses, they were cutting firewood, playing poker or
dancing. The dancing was a feature. Boots were heavy, but the dancers
were muscular and strong. They could thread the Virginia reel or tread
through the mazes of a quartet, but the eight-couple cotillion, in which
a greater number could participate, thus giving more spirit to the
amusement, was the favorite. In this the most intricate figures were
practiced to give zest to the performances. These included the “grand
cutshort,” which, as I recall it, after nearly half a century, was a
combination of “swing corners,” “ladies’ grand chain” and “set to your
partner.” In the parlance of that day, it was “immense,” for I feel it
in my old bones as I tell you about it. The said figure was learned from
a blue-eyed fiddler of Company H of Weakley County, who, like many
others, after a short experience in 1862, concluded he couldn’t kill
them all anyhow, and would, therefore, engage in more peaceful pursuits
beyond the range of the conscript officers. James H. Grove and I, both
of whom knew how to draw the bow, furnished the music, and the boys
declared, of course, that it was good. Grove was the father of E. W.
Grove, the famous manufacturer of medicines of St. Louis, whose remedies
are sold in every civilized country on the globe. The father and I were
fellow private soldiers in the army. The son and I, for some time after
the war, sustained the relation of teacher and pupil.

One day, while on a short scout to Hernando, I met a body of Federals,
under a flag of truce, who were negotiating an exchange of prisoners,
the details of which were soon arranged with a Confederate officer.
Very soon the Yanks and Johnny Rebs were mingling as if they expected
never to shoot at one another again. I had the unusual experience that
day of dining with the Federal officers at the house of Judge Vance, a
well-known citizen.

On the 4th of December, Company E, leaving all impediments in camp, made
a demonstration along the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, between
Rossville and Moscow. While tearing up some railroad track we heard the
noise of battle at Moscow, where Stephen D. Lee, with Ross’ and
McCulloch’s Brigades, met with a hot resistance and considerable loss,
while trying to destroy the railroad bridge over Wolf river. It was
understood at the time that these demonstrations were made mostly for
the purpose of covering Forrest’s advance north. He crossed the railroad
that day at Saulsbury, and, proceeding north, received a cordial welcome
on the next day at Bolivar. It was known that he came across from Rome,
Ga., to Okolona, Miss., with not more than three hundred men, including
Morton’s Battery, around which small command as a nucleus he was to form
Forrest’s Cavalry Corps. His resources consisted of Ross’, McCulloch’s
and Richardson’s Brigades, all very much depleted, with a few petty
commands scattered here and there over the country. The weather was so
cold and the roads so bad that we thought Company E was safely immune
from an attack on its camp at Coldwater, yet Forrest was making a raid
within the enemy’s lines, where he was to stay twenty-one days, defeat
superior forces in five considerable battles, and day and night display
such energy and military genius as would keep him out of the hands of
the enemy, who were moving from many directions to entrap him. He set
about collecting the absentees and other recruits, many of whom were
without arms and poorly mounted. He acted upon the principle that an
unarmed man was better for the occasion than no man at all, for, if a
recruit had nothing at hand but the “rebel yell,” he could at least help
to intimidate an adversary.

Bad roads and swollen streams had no terrors for our General, who, at
the critical moment, turned his face south with his command greatly
augmented, and with a convoy of wagons laden with supplies, besides
about two hundred beef cattle and three hundred hogs.

The Seventh Tennessee did not participate in this campaign, the history
of which is only slightly sketched here in order to give a clear view of
the military situation at the time Company E was ordered to rejoin the
regiment at Como, Miss. Great attention was now given to organization
and equipment. Very many of the recruits had to be armed, and even
clothed, before they could become effective soldiers. The work had to be
done with dispatch, as we were now having more sunshine, and the roads
were drying up. The enemy might soon be on the move. Forrest, having
been promoted to the rank of Major-General, assumed command of all the
cavalry in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. Within a few days the
organizations were perfected, the Seventh Tennessee being assigned to
the Fourth Brigade, commanded by Colonel Jeffrey Forrest, the youngest
of the Forrest brothers. The entire command was greatly elated by the
success of the recent raid, the addition of so many new men, and the
prospect of serving under a man who knew nothing but success.

Rumors came in thick and fast that the Federals were preparing to
advance both from Memphis and Vicksburg. The Fourth Brigade dropped down
to Grenada, in order to watch and frustrate any movement from the south.
We had frequently camped at Grenada, and the scenes were familiar. As
for myself, I had known the country and many of the people ten years
before--yes, indeed, before old college days. We occupied the very
ground whence we started on the Holly Springs raid, about one year
before. Who could tell but that we should start on one just as
remarkable from the same place?

Strong columns of Federals were reported moving from Memphis. From his
headquarters at Oxford, the Confederate commander made such dispositions
of his four brigades as would most likely defeat the plans of the enemy,
so far as they were developed. During the first days of February, it was
discovered that about seven thousand well-appointed cavalry were on the
road to the rich prairie lands of East Mississippi. Gen. Sooy Smith,
their commander, moved with so much dispatch that Forrest, though moving
with celerity eastward, found it impossible to head him off till the
Federal forces had reached West Point. It was the morning of the 20th of
February, 1864. The Federals, going down through Pontotoc and Okolona,
had marked their advance by burning houses, barns and fences, and
plundering larders and hen roosts. Up to that date, nothing like this
had been seen in our part of the country. Our soldiers were aroused by
the reports brought in. Of course, there was a firm-set resolution not
only to give the ruthless enemy blow for blow, but to avenge the wrongs
done to old men, women and children. It looked as if a great battle was
impending, and the Confederates were never more ready. We did not know
it then, but Forrest was merely trying to hold the enemy in check until
reinforcements, under Stephen D. Lee, could arrive from some point
below. Jeffrey Forrest’s brigade had already come in contact with
Smith’s cavalry between West Point and Aberdeen, and was being pressed
back upon West Point. General Forrest, attacking the enemy with a small
force on their extreme right wing, discovered, to his chagrin, that they
were retreating. There was nothing to do but to press them with energy,
so as to inflict as great a loss as possible upon them. Soon it was a
lively chase, and the men of Company E were, for the first time, to see
Forrest in battle. He was soon right up with the Seventh Regiment, as
the men urged their horses through that black prairie mud. Four miles
north of West Point the enemy made a stubborn resistance, in the edge of
a small woods, but the pursuers, dismounting quickly, drove them away in
confusion. Again it was a rattling pace through the mud till the enemy
made another stand, five miles further on, where they sought to protect
themselves at a rude bridge over a miry little creek, by tearing down
fences and making barricades with the rails. Here the Confederates again
pressed them in front and on the flanks till they gave way. This
running fight, with intervals of resistance, was kept up till nightfall.
It was an all-day fight, and we had many sad things to remember. Our
dead and wounded were behind us, even if victory was in front of us.
Weary and worn, our men and horses were given a few hours of rest.
Fortunately, the men found plenty of subsistence and forage in the camp
abandoned by the Federals, which helped wonderfully in the work to be
done next day.

By 4 o’clock on the morning of the 22d of February, McCulloch’s and
Jeffrey Forrest’s brigades, led by Forrest himself, were moving toward
Okolona, and driving the enemy before them. The distance was fourteen
miles, over a road almost impassable.

When the Confederates arrived at Okolona, they found a strong line of
the enemy drawn up in such a position that they could have made a
stubborn resistance, but Barteau, commanding Bell’s brigade, and
McCulloch with his own, promptly drove them from the position and rushed
them in some confusion along the road towards Pontotoc. The Federals
adopted the tactics of the previous day by forming heavy lines in
favorable positions and resisting stubbornly till attacked front and
flank, in many instances with Forrest in the forefront, they were
compelled to retreat. The last stand made was at Prairie Mound, seven
miles from Okolona and some thirty miles from West Point, where the
fighting began on the morning of the previous day. The Sooy Smith raid
was at an end with heavy loss to the invaders and a proportionate loss
to the victors, for during the two days Forrest fought the 7,000 well
equipped cavalry with a force only about half as large and made up
largely of raw recruits. In one of the last encounters Jeffrey Forrest
was killed at the head of his brigade, and died in the arms of his
famous brother. No more pathetic scene was ever witnessed on any

To look upon the ghastly dead or to hear the groans of the wounded
lessens the sweets of victory and emphasizes the horrors of war.

After so strenuous a campaign, both men and horses needed recuperation,
and so the Seventh Tennessee went into camp in that bountiful section of
country about Mayhew, west of Columbus. It was easy to see that the
military situation, now at the opening of spring, was such that if the
Federals did not come after Forrest, he would certainly go after them.
Therefore, preparations for a campaign were active and men and horses
were put in the best possible condition. On the 15th of March Forrest
with only part of his command was moving north for the purpose of
crossing the railroad at Corinth and marching into Tennessee. By the
23rd we had passed Trenton and were still moving north without any
resistance. We were now satisfied that either Union City or Paducah was
Forrest’s objective point.

On the morning of the 24th Colonel William L. Duckworth of the Seventh
Tennessee, in command of a temporary brigade, consisting of his own
regiment, McDonald’s battalion and Faulkner’s Kentucky regiment, was
ordered to attack the Federal works at Union City, while Forrest with
the main force was hastening towards Paducah. Duckworth with his 500 men
completely invested the Federal fort at Union City in the early morning
and after a brisk firing, participated in by both sides, under a flag of
truce demanded a surrender of the place. Lieutenant Henry J. Livingston
of Brownsville, with a detail of three or four men of which I happened
to be one, had charge of the flag of truce. When the firing ceased we
rode up close to the fort, where an officer met us. Livingston requested
to communicate directly with Colonel Isaac R. Hawkins, the commander of
the post. This was granted and a short parley ensued in which
Livingston, acting under orders of his superior, demanded a surrender.
Hawkins demurred and asked for an interview with Forrest. Colonel
Duckworth, being now called in and acting with an adroitness and finesse
that were altogether creditable, insisted that he was acting under the
direct orders of Forrest, who was near at hand with his artillery (sic)
and who was not in the habit of meeting officers of inferior rank to
himself. That most gentlemanly Federal officer, Colonel Hawkins, who was
now about to surrender to some part of Forrest’s cavalry for the second
time, wishing to avoid the effusion of blood, which might be caused by
Duckworth’s imaginary artillery, concluded to make an unconditional
surrender. When the facts came out and there was slight jeering on the
part of our men, these men of the Seventh Tennessee, Federal, bore up
manfully and turned out to be jolly good fellows, molded much after the
pattern of the men of our own Seventh Tennessee, Confederate. Talking
with many of the officers and men I concluded that their chagrin would
have been amusing, if it had not been pathetic. Four hundred and
seventy-five prisoners with all their supplies and camp equipage and
three hundred horses with accoutrements were surrendered. There was not
at that time an effective Confederate cannon in West Tennessee, and
Forrest was well on his way to Paducah.

When the Confederates reached the objective point led by Forrest in
person, they took possession of the town, but met with a bloody
resistance when they charged the fort in which the Federals had taken
refuge. They drew off with large spoils of war, consisting of horses and
equipments. The whole force now turned south, having accomplished the
object of the expedition. Company E was ordered to Bolivar, where the
men, subject to order, dispersed to their homes to enjoy a furlough. The
good old town “put her best foot foremost” and gave us a quiet but
hearty welcome. Some of the boys “shucked their army duds,” and appeared
in other vestments as beaux, for there was a bevy of pretty girls in
Bolivar. In the round of dances and other social gatherings, there was
many a sweet word spoken upon which, it was hoped, something might be
realized “after the ratification of a treaty of peace,” as the
Confederate bills all said. Doubtless, some of my friends found, when
peace did come to the land, that love, even the platonic kind, which is
sporadic only, is somewhat like Mr. Finnegin’s train, which was “off
agin, on agin, gone agin.” In other words, the grand passion does not
always stick like Spalding’s Prepared Glue or Aunt Jemimy’s Plaster,
which the more you try to take it off, the more it sticks the faster.

But there was a bugle call and all good things must end. The men came
rushing in to report. In the little excitement incident to the occasion,
Sol Phillips, while romping with some of his fellow soldiers, jumped
into what he took to be a large box, which turned out to be an old well.
Sol soon found bottom and set up a yell to which there was a quick
response by his friends, who drew Sol up greatly frightened but only
slightly bruised. He still makes his home in the hills of Hardeman.

At the end of about three weeks, or more precisely on the 2nd of May,
1864, there was hurrying and scurrying among the soldiers. Company E was
present in force for duty and McDonald’s Battalion was on the ground
under Major Crews. General Sturgis, with a large force of cavalry and
artillery, was in such close proximity that he would reach Bolivar late
in the day. Forrest had already been properly informed and had given
orders for our little force to check the Federal advance in order that
everything on wheels moving south might have a better chance to escape.
When the Confederates had been properly placed behind the old Federal
earthworks, west of the town and the battle had begun, General Forrest
with his escort came unexpectedly upon the field at a gallop and took
charge. Knowing that he was fighting at great odds, at an opportune
moment he drew off, but not until several men and horses had been
wounded. Here D. Hill and John McClammer, temporarily attached to
Company E, were wounded so severely that they were left in the hands of
the Federals. Major Strange of Forrest’s staff had his right arm broken,
but rode off the field. The enemy numbering two thousand sustained a
heavy loss, forty or fifty killed and wounded, as they fought at a
disadvantage, the Confederates being fairly protected by the old works
constructed by Grant two years before.

The Confederates necessarily retreated in some confusion, as the
Federals making a flank movement had the advantage when our men started
to leave their partial shelter. Bringing forward their artillery they
threw several shots into the town. One struck the residence of Mrs.
Brooks, another went through the roof of the stable on the Harkins
place, and I saw one cut off the top of a cedar tree in front of the Dr.
Peters place, now the residence of Dr. Hugh Tate. Just think of it. Here
was Company E, being chased through its home town. It threw a damper
over every tender sentiment and all thoughts of love vanished into thin
air, for we were thanking our stars that we had escaped death at the
hands of the Federals. Just as we were procuring forage at the Dave
McKinney place south of Bolivar, I heard the report of the gun in the
hands of Robert Galloway that killed Major Sol Street, a somewhat famous
partisan fighter or guerrilla. On the 44th anniversary of this tragedy I
met Mr. Galloway in Memphis. In reply to my request to give me a
statement in regard to the killing of Street, he said, in substance,
that he killed him because Street had killed his father for the purpose
of robbery. That a younger brother of Galloway’s was with his father at
the time of the murder, and was able to give full particulars. The boy
remembered the exact dying words of his father. Street and his
companions did not secure the elder Galloway’s money as something,
unknown to the boy, caused them to hastily leave the locality. This was
when Robert Galloway was about sixteen years old. When in about two
years he had reached the military age, he joined the army and was in the
fight at Bolivar where Street was pointed out to him by a friend. He
shot Street before they had dismounted at the bivouac, and in the
confusion made his escape, but was arrested by Lieutenant Statler of
Company E. He offered Statler a thousand dollars to release him, but the
offer was declined. Galloway and others state that General Forrest was
in a towering rage when Galloway was brought before him, and said that a
drum-head court-martial would sentence Galloway to be shot at sun up.
He tells me that he knows just how it feels to be condemned to death,
but was not present at the contemplated tragedy, as he made his escape
at daylight, and within a few days was safe within the Federal lines at
Memphis. Mr. Galloway resided in Illinois till after the surrender when
he returned to Hardeman county. He has reared a large family and is an
excellent citizen.

There was much talk when we got quietly settled in camp at Verona,
Miss., about the capture of Fort Pillow, an affair in which the Seventh
Tennessee, being on detached duty near Randolph, did not participate.
Most of this was in regard to what seemed to be the senseless conduct of
the garrison after they must have seen that the place was doomed. After
the officer in command had refused to comply with the demand to
surrender and the whole Confederate force moved on their works, the
entire garrison, having left their flag flying, fell back to a safer
place under the bank of the river. Much has since been said by Northern
writers concerning what they term an unnecessary slaughter. It should be
remembered that this same garrison of both whites and negroes had
committed numerous outrages upon the people of the surrounding country.
These things had come to the ears of the Confederates and many of the
victims had petitioned Forrest to avenge their wrongs by breaking up
what appeared to be a den of thieves and marauders. Howbeit, part of
them were Tennesseeans. Add to all this, that the garrison had been
lavishly stimulated with whisky, as was evident from the fact that a
number of barrels of whisky and beer with tin dippers attached were
found by the Confederates, and it is not hard to see why there was
unnecessary slaughter. The incident could be dismissed by saying that
those within the fort knew that they deserved condign punishment because
of the outrages committed on innocent people, and being somewhat in a
state of intoxication, were incited to resist to the last extremity,
while the Confederates were incited to victory by every instinct that
impels a manly soldier to resent an insult and to protect the innocent.
If General Forrest had no other victory to his credit, his fame would be

Belated soldiers coming down from Tennessee soon brought to us the
information that Sturgis took possession of Bolivar as soon as we had
retreated on the evening of the 2nd of May, and burned the courthouse,
the Baptist church, one of the hotels and several other buildings. Bad
news for Company E.



In the beautiful month of May, and it is a lovely season away down in
Mississippi, the Seventh Tennessee was moved around so much and camped
at so many places, that it is difficult to remember which places came
first. The service was not especially irksome and the weather was fine.
A half dozen men of Company E were sent on a tour of observation up
through Holly Springs and in the direction of Memphis, which I remember
to have greatly enjoyed. The danger of the service was sufficiently
great to make us alert while enjoying the hospitality of the people who
were not only ready, day and night, to give us of their scanty stores,
but to help us with such information as they had in regard to the
movements of the enemy. We rejoined the regiment at Abbeville, feeling
as if we had had a vacation.

About this time the Seventh Tennessee was brigaded with Duff’s Regiment
and A. H. Chalmers’ Battalion, about as good a body of fighting men as
could have been gotten together. This organization was known as Rucker’s
Brigade that won distinction at Brice’s Cross Roads and Harrisburg. We
had only known Rucker as the gallant commander of the upper batteries
at Island No. 10. We had seen men there, carrying ammunition to his
guns, wade in water up to their waists, when it looked from a distance
like the outflow from the river might carry away every man that stood to
his post. At our first sight of him the boys said he had “a sort of
bulldog look.” We soon discovered that tenacity was one of his

It was now about the first of June, 1864, and General Sturgis moving out
from Memphis was north of Ripley with an army reported to be about
10,000 of all arms. Rucker was ordered to cross the Tallahatchie at New
Albany and fall upon the right flank of the enemy, as they advanced
south, in the vicinity of Ripley. After some brisk fighting just south
of Ripley with very little loss to either side Rucker, seeing that the
enemy was in great force, prudently drew off and took post at Baldwyn.
In the meantime, Lee and Forrest were concentrating their forces to
deliver battle somewhere further south.

In the little affair south of Ripley, when ordered with one or two men
to a position on our extreme left until relieved, I saw approaching
along a country pathway a fine ambulance drawn by two splendid mules. A
Federal outfit, perhaps, which would inevitably fall into our hands. It
came up at a sweeping trot. The face of the man in charge was familiar.
It was that of the late William H. Wood of Memphis. Strange position in
which to find so steadfast a Union man--moving rapidly ahead of the
Federal army and seeking refuge within the Confederate lines. This he
would accomplish in a few minutes, but there was no time to ask
questions, for the firing was heavy on the main road. The gentleman must
be on an important mission, at least to him. He was, for at a time, when
thousands of negroes had taken refuge within the Federal lines and the
day for buying and selling this species of property had passed, Mr. Wood
had conceived the idea of running his negroes south, converting them
into cotton, and eventually into gold. This incident is chiefly worth
mentioning, in a reminiscent way, first because it illustrates a thing
that sometimes occurs in real life, but more frequently in fiction,
namely, that acquaintances occasionally come face to face under strange
conditions and peculiar circumstances; and, secondly, because it shows
that there was a singular state of affairs existing when the slaves of
one man, amid all the demoralization, were subject to his will and did
that which seemed like leaving freedom behind. I am not fully informed
as to how the scheme worked, but have always understood that it turned
out profitably to the projector. There was nothing wrong about it, at
least, from a Southern standpoint, but very many good people, even some
descendants of slave-holders, are, at this day, squeamish about what
they are pleased to term “traffick in human flesh.”

It must not be concluded that the negroes spoken of were in that
vicinity, for they were, at that very moment, under a prudent guide,
safe within the Southern lines.

It is not untimely to remark, right here, that the descendants of
slave-holders will, possibly, have some difficulty in justifying them
for consenting to the existence of an institution, which existed in this
country more than two hundred years, but which has been condemned by the
laws of every civilized country on the globe. This difficulty will arise
chiefly from the fact that the true history concerning slavery, its
existence in all the original States, its abolition by some, its
retention by others and, above all, the motives controlling those who
dealt with it, is not now, nor is likely to be, persistently taught in
the family or school. It is one of those questions of which it may be
said the further we get from it, the less we say or know about it.

We went into camp at Baldwyn drenched by the continuous rains and
fatigued by the exigencies of an arduous service. The Federals had moved
steadily southeast from Ripley, and were in close proximity to a part of
our forces. Everything at Baldwyn gave evidence of an impending
struggle. In the midst of the acute feeling in the minds of the
soldiers, it was announced that three men had been tried by
court-martial and condemned to be shot for desertion. This was a phase
of war with which we were not familiar. The poor fellows, confined in a
box car, gave forth the most pitiful wailings. The cries of one of the
condemned, a mere stripling, were particularly distressing. The whole
brigade was mustered to witness the execution. Guilty or not guilty, I
somehow wished that these victims of their own acts would escape the
impending doom. Each man was placed by his grave and coffin. A file of
eight men appeared with bristling guns. The suspense was terrible. Death
on the battlefield was nothing compared to that which we were to
witness. The sentence of the court-martial was read. The boy was
released and, still weeping, left the field. At the firm command of the
officer in charge, the shots rang out and one man fell dead. The same
thing was repeated and another went to his death. Though the justice of
the court-martial was never questioned, there was a profound sensation
among the soldiers, which it took a battle to shake off.

Know ye, that the very next morning, June 10th, 1864, we were galloping
to Brice’s Cross Roads. Acting under the orders of Lee, Forrest was
trying to keep his forces between the Federal vanguard and Tupelo, so as
to finally turn upon them when a more open country was reached. To do
this with dispatch, he must reach the cross roads, by a road leading
southwest, ahead of the Federals, who were moving towards the same point
by a road leading southeast. The Federal cavalry advance, moving
rapidly, passed the point and even went some distance beyond in the
direction of Guntown. When the Confederate advance came up, the enemy
was ready to block their way on the road from Baldwyn and had the
advantage of position. Johnson’s Alabamians in advance fell upon them
furiously while Rucker’s Brigade was coming to the rescue. At this
critical juncture, Forrest seems to have abandoned all intention of
merely holding the enemy in check and deferring a battle to a more
convenient season. He had his own little army well in hand, though it
was having a hard time to reach the desired point promptly on account of
the muddy roads. A man of wonderful military instinct and surpassing
genius for war, he saw at a glance that, although the cavalry of the
Federals, at that moment, held the advantage of position, their main
body was strung along a narrow road, and their general would assuredly
have trouble in protecting his left flank, crossing Tishomingo creek,
and throwing his infantry and artillery into line of battle. It was
indeed the psychological moment and the faith of the general spread to
the men. Rucker was turned to the left and into the woods, where his men
were quickly dismounted and gotten ready for battle. At the word they
sprung over a fence and into a muddy cornfield. Will I ever forget it?
The enemy posted in a dense wood and behind a heavy fence poured a
galling fire into our ranks. It looked like death to go to the fence,
but many of the men reached it. Four of Company E were killed in this
charge. Men could not stay there and live. The Seventh Tennessee with
Chalmers’ Battalion on the left was driven back in confusion. With the
steadiness of veterans, they re-formed for another onset. As I remember
it, this time we went over the fence. Reinforcements were evidently at
hand for the Federals, for on they came like a resistless tide. It was
death not to give back. Another readjustment of lines, and we were at
them again. I cannot now say how many times this was repeated, for men
in the very presence of death take no note of time. The roar of
artillery and the fusillade of small arms were deafening. Sheets of
flame were along both lines while dense clouds of smoke arose above the
heavily wooded field. No language is adequate to paint the verities of
the moment. High tide of battle had come, and one side or the other must
quail very soon. Which side should it be? The answer came when
apparently by common consent both drew back just far enough for the
intervening trees and dense undergrowth to obscure the vision. Our men
still in line of battle lay on the ground for a much needed rest.

Here we had a bountiful supply of water from the rills, which had been
fed by the recent rains. I never tasted better. The cessation of battle
was as grateful as the water, but there was intense anxiety to know the
final result. An order to retire from the field would have brought no
surprise. But Forrest and his brigade commanders were better informed.
Mounted on his big sorrel horse, sabre in hand, sleeves rolled up, his
coat lying on the pommel of his saddle, looking the very God of War, the
General rode down our line as far as we could see him. I remember his
words, which I heard more than once: “Get up, men. I have ordered Bell
to charge on the left. When you hear his guns, and the bugle sounds,
every man must charge, and we will give them hell.” That was enough. We
heard Bell’s guns and the bugle. Advancing over the dead bodies of
Federals and Confederates and regaining the ground lost in the last
repulse, Rucker’s Brigade in one grand last charge moved to the assault
of the enemy’s position. Small bushes, cut off near the ground and
falling in our front, meant that the Federals had been reinforced by
veteran infantry and were firing low. So close were we now to their line
and the fighting so nearly hand to hand that our navy sixes were used
with deadly effect. The Federals bravely withstood our onslaught for a
time, but soon gave way in confusion and broke to the rear. Rucker’s
men, greatly encouraged, moved rapidly to the front and, with no regard
for formation, came out into the open at the Brice residence, which
stands in the angle formed by the Guntown and Pontotoc roads. The men of
the various commands, concentrating upon this point, became intermingled
as they charged up to where all could see the grand scamper of the
Federals running down towards Tishomingo creek. Six pieces of their own
artillery had been turned upon them and these were quickly reinforced by
Morton’s and Rice’s batteries. These, double shotted with canister,
added to the confusion of the entangled mass of infantry, cavalry,
ambulances and wagons. The Federal dead and wounded lay on every hand
about the cross roads, showing the deadly aim of our men in the last
charge, while our loss at this point was inconsiderable, though the rain
of bullets from the Federal line appeared sufficient to destroy the
whole brigade. The negro brigade under Bouton came in for its full share
of the calamity, the deluded creatures, in many instances, having ceased
their war cry of “Remember Fort Pillow,” and throwing away their badges,
took to the woods.

When hundreds of our men had crossed the creek and conditions had become
a little more quiet, they began to realize that they were very tired and
very hungry. No time was lost in helping themselves to the subsistence
in the abandoned wagons where there was an abundance for both man and

A reflection or two. General Forrest, in fighting this battle at his own
discretion, had shown that he very well knew just when a commander,
acting on the defensive-active, should fall upon an invading army. He
had, not for the first time, particularly emphasized the fact that
Southern cavalrymen, dismounted and well handled, could cope with
trained infantry, and even put them to rout when fighting at odds of two
to one against themselves. On this eventful day he had put into
practice his favorite tactics, which had uniformly brought him success,
that of launching his entire command, as soon as he could get it into
action, against his adversary. Forrest’s Cavalry never looked around for
reserves, but confidently expected to do the work themselves and to do
it quickly. Hence, at Brice’s Cross Roads they fought with the
intrepidity of veteran infantry and exhibited the dash of the best type
of Southern cavalry. In other words, they fought when Forrest said so,
and every charge was like the first one in which they expected to break
the lines of the enemy. The man behind the gun was in evidence at
Tishomingo, and it was a glorious victory. May his tribe increase.

A consideration of the comparative forces is interesting. According to
information, which is fairly authentic, Forrest had 3,200 men, including
two four-gun batteries. Federal official report gives them 3,300 cavalry
and 5,400 infantry, or 8,700 men. In addition, they had, according to
the best information, 24 pieces of artillery and men to man them. Notice
the respective losses. Forrest lost about 140 officers and men killed,
and about 500 wounded and none taken prisoners. Sturgis lost, according
to official report, 23 officers and 594 men killed and 52 officers and
1,571 men captured, or a total of 2,240 men. Forrest says he captured
1,571 men and 52 officers, an ordnance train with a large supply of
fixed ammunition, ten days’ rations for the whole Federal army, over two
hundred wagons and parts of their teams, and large quantities of
supplies, thirty ambulances and twenty-one caissons. Clearly then, we
fought them at an odds of nearly three to one in their favor.

Now, a few incidents of the battle. When riding to the battle-field that
morning, and at a place where we were passing over a rough causeway on
which many a horse cast a shoe, Isaac H. Pipkin (Doc.), riding by my
side, remarked that if he should be killed that day, all he asked was to
be put away decently. He was in the first charge, through the muddy
cornfield. Imagine my feelings, when driven back in one of the repulses,
I came upon his body still in death. Doc was a typical rustic, a good
fellow in camp, a true soldier in action, a man you might lean on. The
people of Bolivar have long ago graven his name in marble. Tom Boucher
was a plain and unassuming citizen of the Whiteville neighborhood, who
was always at his post, took life easy and never fretted. He died on the

In the first charge, I noticed William C. Hardy, of Bolivar, handling
his gun as if something was the matter with the lock. I never saw him
again, for he never got to the second fence. Billy was a pupil of mine,
a fiery young fellow and a perfectly reliable soldier.

Another schoolboy of mine who fell in this first charge was Charles R.
Neely of Bolivar. He was a boy of gentle birth and noble instincts. He
was a loving friend, a soldier tried and true, who poured out his young
life’s blood upon the field. Could higher eulogy be spoken?

In connection with young Neely’s death I mention the faithful conduct of
James F. Dunlap, his mess mate and true friend. As soon as practicable
Dunlap placed the corpse of his young friend in their small mess wagon
and carrying it through the country delivered it to his mother in
Bolivar, Tenn. This was an exhibition of fidelity hard to surpass.

Suffering from an old wound, Captain Tate, early in the action turned
over the command of the company to Lieutenant J. P. Satler, with whom I
had already agreed to remain through whatever might come to us that day.
Thank heaven, we both came through unscathed.

Do you remember where I left off the main narrative? It was at
Tishomingo creek where we had halted to partake of the bountiful
refreshments, which the Federals had rather unwillingly left in our
hands. When the horse-holders brought forward our mounts, my little
black seemed as glad to see me as I was to see him. I stripped him for a
rubbing and a rest and gorged him on Federal forage.

Instead of an undisturbed night of repose, as we had fondly hoped for,
the Seventh Tennessee was aroused from its slumbers at 2 o’clock in the
morning with the information that Forrest himself was to lead it in
pursuit of the enemy. With Company E in front I, happening to be in the
front file, could very well see everything that was likely to come up on
this memorable advance. Much of our way was lighted up by wagons and
other abandoned property burning. In one place the forewheel of a gun
carriage had been locked by a tree and this and several other handsome
brass pieces in its rear had been abandoned. Many Federal soldiers, now
thoroughly exhausted, were sleeping by the roadside, while others, armed
and unarmed, willingly surrendered. They were invariably told to go to
the rear. Further along, I counted ninety-five wagons laden with
supplies strung along the narrow road. The wheels of some had been
locked by trees and evidently abandoned in hot haste by those who had
ridden the teams away. I saw much of General Forrest that night, who
was in great good humor in regard to the results of the previous day’s
battle. When approaching Ripley, early in the day, which town is about
twenty miles from the battle-field, we were relieved by other troops
going forward to press the enemy, who were making a stand just north of
the town. Buford and Bell were there, and we knew what that meant.

We rode leisurely through the town and to the outskirts. A battle was
going on, but the enemy was believed to be retreating. The command to
form fours and prepare to charge was given. Company E, in front was soon
going at a lively pace and it soon became a question of speed as to who
should reach the enemy first. My little black horse responded in fine
style. At a flying gallop we went straight up the road and, though
hearing guns on every hand, could see no enemy to charge. Instantly we
saw in the woods to our left a whole regiment of Federal cavalry aiming
to reach the road at an angle and speed that would throw them into it
just ahead of us. Over the hill they went as fast as their horses would
carry them. Tom Nelson of Company L, coming up, he and I found ourselves
in uncomfortable proximity to the enemy, for as we too went over the
hill, there they were with their rear huddled together in the valley,
with something apparently blocking their front. Nelson and I had not
intended to fight a whole regiment, but we shot out everything we had at
them. Pressing towards the front and turning in their saddles, as they
went up the hill, they gave us a few shots from their carbines which, I
remember well, they held in one hand. At a cooler moment, I inquired
with some interest how it was that such a thing as I have related could
happen. No one attempted an explanation. Nelson and I were present in
the flesh and had occasion to remember well all that took place, though
events were passing with lightning celerity. Perhaps, perchance and
maybe, it was a case of horseflesh. It was the Third Iowa Cavalry we
were charging. Colonel C. A. Stanton, not so very long ago a citizen of
Memphis, was an officer in this regiment and has a clear recollection of
the incident. I was somewhat surprised a few years ago when Billy
Elkins, a member of Company E, reminded me of the occasion and rehearsed
what took place about as I remember it myself.

The regiment came up in much less time than it has taken me to tell it,
and advanced to the top of the hill where there was firing by some
Federals posted in an old house and a plum orchard. At this moment,
Captain William J. Tate of Company E, who, sick and suffering was forced
to go to the rear the previous day, came up with the company in
pursuit. Standing for a moment in a protected position, I reminded Tate
that if he forced his horse to mount an embankment by the roadside, he
would be a fair target for bullets, they flying thick about us. He
disregarded my admonition, mounted the embankment and rode forward for a
better view. I quickly changed my position, as many others had come
forward. Very soon I saw Tate supported by two men who were taking him
to a less exposed place. He was asking some one to catch his horse,
which was moving off towards the enemy. At this moment Tommy Elcan, of
Company B, standing by my side, was struck in the head by a minie ball
and fell from his horse dead. The gallant Lieutenant-Colonel A. H.
Chalmers came riding forward and asked about the position of the enemy.
He advanced down the hill at the head of his battalion, but soon
returned afoot. His fine brown mare had been killed. A word more
concerning Captain Tate. It appears that smarting under an absence
enforced by a threatened attack of erysipelas in an old wound, this
gallant gentleman had concluded that he could not forego the pleasure of
seeing the Federal army in full retreat and his own regiment
participating in the pursuit. Mounting Billy Hardy’s white horse he
rode to the front at a gallop. Joining the regiment in time for the
charge, he had his horse almost instantly shot under him. Determined to
go forward he mounted James E. Wood’s horse, which was kindly offered,
and appeared on the firing line, as I have related. He was a young man
of gentle demeanor from the mountains of North Carolina, who shortly
before the war had engaged in farming near Bolivar. He affected few of
the refinements of cultivated society, but was a young countryman of
courage, who made friends and kept them. When we were organizing a
company, he attended the meetings and showed an aptitude for learning
and teaching the cavalry drill. Never did a man more effectually advance
himself in the confidence of a company than he did by perfectly fair
dealing and sheer force of character. Serving as fourth sergeant the
first year, he developed rapidly as a drill master and officer.
Physically, Captain Tate was a man of medium weight and erect and well
knit frame. He was a pronounced blonde with clear blue eyes and very
light hair. Active on foot and tireless when there was stress of work,
he always seemed most at home on horseback. The manner of his death was,
perhaps, such as he would have desired it to be, had he known it was to
come so soon. When I heard that he had succumbed to his wounds, I
hastened to give him decent burial in the cemetery at Ripley, Miss. He
sleeps among the people in whose defense he died.

Forty-four years have come and gone since the scenes of which I write
passed before the vision, but they were so indelibly impressed upon the
tablet of the memory that it is easy to recall them. The slightest
incident often recalls the fiercest battle scene, and for the moment I
live in the past. I am recording events while there are yet living
witnesses to bear me out. As such I mention with pleasure the names of
Lieutenant-Colonel W. F. Taylor, who always bore himself proudly on the
field; A. H. D. Perkins, whom I have seen flaunt the colors of the
regiment in the faces of the enemy, and Captain H. A. Tyler, who with
his squadron of two small companies gallantly bore the brunt of battle
on the extreme left at Tishomingo, and was ready with his Kentuckians to
join in the pursuit of the broken battalions of the enemy.



That the great victory at Brice’s Cross Roads had revived the spirits
and brightened the hopes of Forrest’s men there could be no doubt.
Flushed with victory, they believed that what had been done on the 10th
of June could be done again. In a word, they concluded that Forrest now
knew better how to defeat a superior force than ever before. Their
confidence was so implicit that, even if conditions should not improve
in other parts of the Confederacy, Forrest would continue to defeat
superior forces whenever he went against them. It is well to make a note
of this sentiment, for it served somewhat to explain the seemingly
reckless bravery of the men in the next battle.

When we settled down to camp life at Aberdeen and Verona, I could but
notice the smallness of the companies, and when on the march the
regiment did not string out as it formerly did. This was significant.
Here again was food for thought. Though one man could not do the work of
two, preparations for another battle went forward. We were stirred by
the reports brought in as to the strength of the next army that would
meet us. It was said to be at Ripley and coming toward Pontotoc. Their
objective point was Okolona and points further south, if practicable.
Stephen D. Lee and Forrest occupied a strong natural position south of
Pontotoc, and set about strengthening it. It was thought that General A.
J. Smith, confident of his ability to envelope the Confederates, would
assail the position in force. He had acquired a reputation as a
tactician and fighter on other fields. Finding that the road to Okolona
was blocked he withdrew from the Confederate front, and moving by the
left flank took the road to Tupelo. A tactician thoroughly acquainted
with the topography of the country could not have made a more judicious
move, or taken more proper steps to select his own position for battle,
and thus have his adversary assail him on his own ground, or not at all,
while he was so posted. The quick eye of Forrest having detected, in a
personal reconnoissance, the movement made, he made such disposition of
his own forces that he could attack the enemy in the rear and on their
right flank.

General Smith and General Forrest had approximately and respectively
14,000 and 10,000 men of all arms. Smith kept his army in such compact
column movement and so well protected by guards and flankers that
Forrest had strenuous work in trying to break into it. The Federals were
always ready. This manner of fighting was kept up for about fourteen
miles and under a July sun. Men and horses suffered greatly for want of
water. Each side lost heavily. The Confederates confidently expected
that victory would come to them much as it did in their last great
contest. Therefore they fought desperately. The Federals adhering
strictly to the tactics laid down by their General declined a general
engagement till they could reach a strong natural position. In this
respect, Smith acted just as if he knew exactly where he would find an
advantageous position in which to deliver battle. And this he found at
Harrisburg, a deserted village, which had been absorbed by Tupelo, when
the railroad was built. They literally tore up the town by tearing down
the houses and using the lumber for breast-works. They brought into
requisition every conceivable solid object they could find and, in many
places, threw on dirt. They had ample time during the night to make
proper dispositions of their troops, so as to be ready for an assault.
The Federal line was about a mile and a half in length, and much in the
form of a semi-circle. Their twenty-four pieces of artillery were
advantageously placed and there was a cavalry brigade on each flank.
Their improvised works were garnished with a heavy line of infantry.
Certainly the morale of the whole army must have been perfect because of
its skillful handling and its success in repulsing the Confederates
several times the previous day.

But what of the Southern soldiers, who were to be sent against this
formidable array on this memorable morning of the 14th of July, 1864?
Having bivouacked in the vicinity they were in line at 7 o’clock.
General Forrest, at great risk and with a single individual, that
gallant gentleman, Sam Donelson of his staff, having made a careful
reconnoissance during the night, was advising with General Lee, who was
now in chief command. That these two parties, distinguished in war,
capable in command and trusted by their country, felt a heavy weight of
responsibility is unquestionable. No element of selfishness was involved
in this conference of two men who held in their hands the fate of
thousands. They expected to share that day the dangers on the firing
line, as was their habit, and therefore might very soon be in the
presence of their Maker. Lee generously offered to waive his rank and
tender the command for the day to Forrest. This the latter declined,
giving as his chief reason the condition of his health. Neither was a
man to shirk a responsibility. Lee said that they would move on the
enemy’s lines at once. That Forrest did not acquiesce in this
determination of Lee, though consenting to lead the right wing in the
fight, I am prepared to believe from an incident that occurred the
following day and of which I will write further along. Lee urged in
support of his position the threatening attitude of the Federals at
Mobile, Vicksburg and in North Alabama. Forrest knew that, after
deducting horse-holders and other details incident to a battle, the
effective fighting force of the Confederates did not exceed seven
thousand five hundred men, the casualties of battle and the large number
of men rendered unfit for duty by the excessive heat the previous day
being considered in the estimate. The Confederates must move to the
assault on the right and center through an open space of two hundred
yards or more and on their left for fully a mile through an open old
field. In the formation, Roddy’s Alabamians, led by Forrest, held the
right; Buford’s Kentuckians and Tennesseeans, the center, and Mabry’s
Mississippians the left, with the four batteries of artillery properly
placed. From the moment the signal gun was heard the fighting was fast
and furious, the officers and men struggling to reach the works
notwithstanding the withering fire from the protected Federals. Rucker’s
Brigade of Chalmers’ division, which had been held in reserve only for
a short while, was ordered to the support of Mabry’s Brigade, which,
though fighting to the death, was sorely pressed. This movement was on
foot, through the open field and facing a broiling sun. This proud
little brigade, composed of the Seventh Tennessee, Duff’s Regiment and
A. H. Chalmers’ Battalion, rushed to its work with the rebel yell, and
was soon intermingled with Mabry’s men near the Federal works. Rucker’s
men, as did others, unmindful of their already depleted ranks and
seemingly regardless of the issues of life and death, fought as if they
expected some supreme moment was near when they would repeat the work of
Brice’s Cross Roads. Rucker himself, when within fifty yards of the
works, was wounded twice and carried from the field. Captain Statler, of
Company E and three of his men were killed here and others wounded. The
ground at this point was covered with the dead and wounded while the
living were famished because of the intense heat and the lack of water.
Human endurance had reached a limit. The Confederates, leaving their
dead and wounded on the field, retreated with no attention to order. To
save individual life was now all that could be expected of the living.

The battle had been lost, but not for the lack of courage, devotion to
duty or gallant leadership. Both sides can’t win, but it is interesting,
even at this distant day, especially to old soldiers, to consider the
reasons of our defeat. A careful review of the campaign is fairly
convincing that Forrest with the whole army, perhaps with less, could
have defeated Smith on the hills just south of Pontotoc and, may be,
would have turned the defeat into the usual Federal disaster. A like
result might have been brought about anywhere on the road to Harrisburg,
if Smith had turned upon Forrest for a pitched battle in the open field.
But Smith, as I have heretofore shown, declined all offers of battle
except such little engagements as were essential to protect his rear and
right flank. He moved rapidly and in close order till he reached a
choice natural position.

The great disparity of forces in actual battle, the fortified position
of the enemy, the intense heat in a rapid charge and the long distance
through an open field were all elements in the defeat of the
Confederates. If, as some writers assert, our army was fought too much
in detail, of which I know nothing, that of itself would have
contributed to our defeat. Judging Forrest by his former and subsequent
performances, it is safe to say that, if he had been in chief command
and had concluded to make an assault at all, which is doubtful, he
would have had every available man in the charge and made the work
short, sharp and decisive.

But why assault at all? Here was an army in a strong position for
defense, it is true, but in the best possible position to be held by an
opposing force till starvation threatened. It was over a hundred miles
from Memphis and in an enemy’s country, which had been devastated by two
other raids. It was reasonable to suppose that this army, so far from
its base, was running short of rations. It had expected to live off the
rich country just below, which it never reached. Nothing demoralizes an
army more than a prospect of impending hunger. Then why not wait one day
or two days or a little longer, even in the face of threatening
movements of the Federals at Mobile and other points? It is in the
histories that they did not make any such move just then. Again, our
commissary at Okolona, twenty miles distant, was furnishing us with
supplies by wagon train. Within two days our army would have been in
fine condition to pursue a hungry army in retreat. It is shown in
General Smith’s official report that he had only one day’s rations when
he left Tupelo, just as might have been reasonably expected. He
abandoned his position fifteen hours after the repulse of the
Confederates. He moved on the retreat much as he had on the march from
Pontotoc to Harrisburg. Lee and Forrest having gathered up their
shattered remnants attacked him at Old Town creek, where he made a
stubborn resistance but only till his troops and trains could get well
on the road. Clearly our men were in no condition to make anything more
than a spiritless pursuit.

It is hardly worth while to speculate as to what would have been the
result, if Smith had pressed his advantage, when he had driven the
Confederates from his front. Undoubtedly it would have resulted
disastrously to the Confederates. If he made a tactical error in the
whole campaign, it was in this regard. True, he did not reach his
objective, but neither did Sooy Smith and Sturgis. He saved his army
intact, all of his artillery, and most of his wagons. The comparison is
easily drawn. Having experienced the soothing influences of forty-four
years, we can be just, liberal and fair. Then, A. J. Smith was a capable
commander, and in the Harrisburg campaign did not lessen the prestige
acquired on other fields.

As soon as the Federals abandoned their position and it had been
occupied by the Confederates, I took advantage of the movement and
hastened to the spot occupied by Company E, the previous day. The
ground was literally strewn with the bodies of our precious slain, which
had been lying where they fell for twenty-four hours. It was impossible
to identify them except by their clothing and other articles. Captain J.
P. Statler, William Wood, Jehu Field and David McKinney, another
schoolboy of mine, must have been killed about the same time, as their
bodies lay close together. First Wood, then Statler a few feet in
advance and a still shorter space forward Field and McKinney at the foot
of a post-oak that did not protect them from the enfilading fire of the
enemy. In this group was Colonel Isham Harrison of the Sixth Mississippi
with many of his own dead men about him. It was a most sorrowful sight
to see Statler and his men wrapped in their blankets and buried where
they fell. They appropriately sleep on the field of honor. The earth lay
fresh on the grave of Captain Tate when Captain Statler was killed.
Besides the four named, Robert D. Durrett of Bolivar, and Sam Gibson
were mortally wounded earlier in the action and carried to the rear.
Company E could ill afford to lose the men who fell at Harrisburg.
Statler had shown himself to be a worthy successor to Tate. He was a
faithful friend, a dashing gallant soldier and a fine horseman. I yet
hold dear the friendship knitted closely by our association at Brice’s
Cross Roads and on other fields.

In riding over the field at the time of which I write I heard of the
deaths of others whom I knew. Among these was that of that fine young
soldier, Tom Nelson of Company L, of whom I have had occasion to speak
in connection with an incident at Ripley. Killed on the 13th at Barrow’s

I found the breastworks of the Federals all that I have heretofore
described. That part in front of which Company E fought was built like a
Virginia worm fence, but with heavy house logs and other weighty
objects. Thus their fire was enfilading upon all points of their front.
The few trees standing there afforded little protection to our men. A
grape shot and twenty-one minie balls struck the tree at the foot of
which Field and McKinney lay dead.

I passed over to where the Kentuckians had fought under Crossland. Oh,
the ghastly dead, and so many of them! Lieutenant-Colonel Sherrill of
the Seventh Kentucky, killed near the works, was among them. The officer
in charge of the burial squad quoted the lines:

    Man’s inhumanity to man
        Makes countless thousands mourn.

I agreed with him. This was near the old Harrisburg church. I rode down
the slope with others and stopped by the roadside. Along came General
Forrest, wounded and riding in an open buggy. Just from the battle-field
and suffering with a wound, he was somewhat excited. I remember well the
sentiment he uttered. It was that expressed by the words: “Boys, this is
not my fight, and I take no responsibility for it,” or words tantamount
to these. I knew what he meant.

Now, I had known General Forrest for thirteen years. Why, the first
creosote I ever saw he put into an aching tooth of mine, when on one of
his trading expeditions he was camping in front of my father’s house on
the road from Grenada to Greensboro. He was a man to impress even a
stripling, as I was then. I should have carried his image in my mind to
this day even if there had never been a war. A stalwart, who habitually
went in his shirt sleeves. A man of commanding, but pleasing
personality, with grayish-blue eyes who spoke kindly to children. A
broad felt hat, turned up at the sides and surmounting a shock of black
hair about completes the picture. I contrast this with this same figure,
clothed in the resplendent uniform of a major-general, mounted on King
Philip, at the head of his escort and with hat in hand in recognition
of the plaudits extended, with hearty good will, by the people of
Florence, Ala.

I insert here two extracts from the utterances of Lieutenant-Colonel
David C. Kelley, at once the “Fighting Parson” and the Marshal Ney of
Forrest’s Cavalry, but in peace the eminent citizen and eloquent divine:
“Every individual private was trained to an unbounded belief in
Forrest’s power to succeed.”

“The practical suggestions of the natural warrior were the safeguard of
Hood’s army.”

Forrest’s last words: “_I trust not in what I have done, but in the
Captain of my salvation._”



The rest of the month of July, 1864, was spent by the Confederates in
the rich prairie country below Okolona. About Gunn’s church we found the
fields full of green corn, some in the roasting ear and much of it in
that state of maturity when it is best to make jaded horses thrifty.
Watermelons were cheap and abundant. There was no talk of scant rations.
The farmers had been raising corn and hogs for war times. These
conditions wonderfully revived the spirits of the men. Cornbread now and
no biscuit. Plenty of greasy bacon and some with a streak of lean and a
streak of fat. This held on a sharp stick and over the fire, and with
the gravy dripping on the bread, was something good to look at. Some
managed to always have a little sugar and coffee which they had secured
with other captured spoils. As a rule, Confederate soldiers did not
tolerate rye or other substitutes for coffee. They wanted the “pure
stuff” or nothing. The weather was warm, and sleeping in the open air
was refreshing. Company E had not stretched a tent for more than a year.
Occasionally quartered in unoccupied houses, the men were generally
protected against the elements by rude structures of such materials as
was at hand, but mostly by captured rubber cloths, stretched over a pole
resting in two forks stuck in the ground. If only one was to be
accommodated, a convenient sapling was bent down till it assumed the
shape of a bow and its top secured to the ground. Then the rubber cloth
was stretched over this so that a soldier could crawl under. In both
cases, the shelter was called a “shebang.” A good rest and full stomachs
went far towards getting those of us who had been spared ready for the
next campaign. We left the goodly land where “if you tickle the soil
with a hoe, it will laugh with a harvest.” We went to Oxford to meet our
late antagonist, General A. J. Smith, who was moving south with another
fine army. Forrest with a greatly reduced force was compelled to meet
him. It might be remembered as the wet August, for it rained almost
incessantly. It would require every available man now. We stretched out
our thin line along Hurricane creek, six miles north of Oxford. The
Federals were crossing the Tallahatchie at Abbeville a few miles north
of our position. Skirmishing began at once with the advance of the
superior force of the Federals. By the 10th of August, 1864, Forrest had
all his forces in line except Buford’s division, which was posted at
Pontotoc to watch any movement east by the Federals. Before the main
body of the Confederates arrived Smith had driven Chalmers’ division to
the south side of the Yokona, several miles below Oxford. On the
approach of reinforcements the Federals fell back across Hurricane creek
to their former position. The heavy rains continued to fall and added
greatly to the discomforts of our men. It was impossible to keep even
moderately dry under the best “_shebangs_” that could be constructed,
because the ground was saturated. We continued to strengthen our works
with such poor material as we could get. At best, they would have given
us poor protection in case of attack.

Rucker’s Brigade was now a thing of the past and the Seventh Tennessee
was attached to Richardson’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel J. J. Neely.
At his instance I had been temporarily detailed to attend to some
clerical and other work in the ordnance department. For the time being I
stopped at the quarters of Lieutenant-Colonel White, commanding the
Fourteenth Tennessee, where we spent most of the time in trying to keep
dry. Rations were in plenty, but we could scarcely get dry wood enough
to cook them. Much of our ammunition was ruined and in our skirmishes
many of the cartridges would not explode. All efforts to induce the
Federals to cross to our side of the shallow creek failed, though our
men frequently crossed to their side and, having engaged their advance,
fell back hurriedly with the design of drawing them into a
disadvantageous place. Colonel Neely one day, between showers, concluded
to make an effort to lead the Federal cavalry into a well planned
ambuscade by offering them superior inducements. The Fourteenth Regiment
under White was ordered to cross the creek, dismount and get in a
well-chosen place in the thick bushes and parallel with the road. A
detachment of Neely’s escort, with which I crossed over, was to ride
forward, engage the Federal advance briskly, and retreat in some
confusion. The enemy took the bait and came on at a canter. Luckily for
them, their flankers struck the right of the dismounted regiment and
gave the alarm. However, part of their pursuing force came up to where
the escort was posted. The dense growth of timber on this spot so
obscured the view that the Federal cavalry soon found themselves face to
face with, and in short range of, our reserve, and those who had
rallied. It was a most exciting contest for only a minute or two, and
chiefly with pistols, on our side, but both parties seemed to have lost
the knack of hitting anything, for I saw no dead or wounded, though we
quickly drove the enemy upon their reserve and kept up a spirited
gunplay until it was our time to fall back. Everybody realized the
inability of the Confederates to cope with the greatly superior force of
the Federals, and we were liable to be driven from our position by a
heavy flank movement at any time. A knowledge of this, of course, was
possessed by the rank and file, and the suspense concerning coming
results was great. In the midst of our anxiety, Colonel White received
orders to prepare rations for an expedition. That something radical was
on the tapis was evident. Only picked men and horses were wanted. It got
abroad in camp that we were going to Memphis. That looked radical, but
pleased us. There was a weeding out of sick men, sore back and lame
horses. The camp took on new life. As the duties of my special
assignment were about discharged, I could have asked to be relieved and
to be returned to my own company, which was not under orders, but I
preferred to take part in whatever excitement was in store for us, so I
said nothing and went to Memphis with Colonel White. We left camp on the
night of the 18th of August, 1864, in a downpour and in darkness so
great that we could scarcely see the road. I had hard work that night
with the help of a small detachment in having a quantity of cornbread
baked by the good women along our way, keeping it dry, and promptly
joining the regiment next morning on the road to Panola. At this old
town there was a short delay to get the column well up, and to have
another culling of disabled men and horses, for the night march had been
a severe one on both man and beast. Having crossed the Tallahatchie, we
turned our faces toward Memphis. The sun was now shining, and everybody
was in jolly, good spirits. Our clothing was drying rapidly by
evaporation. Reaching Senatobia, twenty-three miles from Panola, we
rested till next morning. In the meantime, a competent detail was
building a bridge over the Hickahala, a creek just north of the town,
and swollen by the heavy rains. And such a bridge! An old flatboat
placed in midstream for a central pontoon, and strengthened by floats
made of dry cedar telegraph poles, which were bound together by
grapevines, constituted the body of the structure. Other poles were used
as beams to piece out the bridge, and over the whole was laid a floor of
planks brought by hand from the ginhouses in the neighborhood. Finally,
a twisted cable of grapevines was placed on the side down stream, and
lashed to trees on either bank. The men dismounted and led their horses
over in column of twos. The two pieces of artillery with their caissons
were wheeled across by hand. At Coldwater river, seven miles further
north, a longer bridge was required. The men assigned to the work of
building one were not long in completing it, and the command crossed
over as they did over the first bridge. Twice that morning I was
reminded of the aphorism that “necessity is the mother of invention.”

At the Coldwater bridge there was a wagon heavily loaded with corn in
the shuck, which was thought to be too heavy for the bridge. General
Forrest ordered the corn thrown out and the wagon and corn carried over
by hand. He was the first man to carry an armful across. There was
hardly need of his setting the example for the men, for everybody was
for leaving nothing undone that would hasten the expedition to a
glorious conclusion. I never saw a command look more like it was out for
a holiday. At Hernando we were twenty-five miles from our objective.
From there on we had no rain, the road was better, and we moved along at
a pace like that of Van Dorn, when on his way to Holly Springs. We were
fondly expecting to write _ditto_ under his performance, but in much
larger letters, the very next morning. Forrest left Oxford with about
fifteen hundred men, and every one of them thought that, if he “sought
the bubble reputation at the cannon’s mouth,” he would likely draw a
prize package into the bargain. The latter might be in the shape of a
pair of boots or a horse, a suit of clothes or a small quantity of
“store coffee.” A buttermilk and soda biscuit would not be “turned
down,” if we took the town. Hilarity was hilarious and that’s the truth
about it.

To water and to rest the horses a little were imperative. Every man
carried a small quantity of shelled corn. The utmost quiet was now
insisted upon. When within a few miles of the city Forrest had a
consultation with his field officers, and these with their company
officers, who gave quiet and explicit instructions to the men. The most
drastic order was that if any officer or soldier saw one plundering he
should shoot him on the spot. The different regiments were assigned to
particular duties in certain localities in the city. More information
was imparted to subordinate officers and private soldiers than is usual
on such occasions. I think that it was intended that every man in the
command should, as nearly as possible, understand just what his own
regiment was to do in taking the city. Everybody about the head of the
Fourteenth Tennessee understood that Captain Bill Forrest and his
company would surprise and capture the vidette and outpost. While we
believed that General Forrest was acting upon reliable information from
spies and scouts as to the situation of affairs in Memphis, we knew that
there was always a chance for an enemy to be fully informed. In that
case, we did not know but that deadly ambuscades would be set for us. As
we moved at a walk, the report of a single gun was heard. It was likely
that some poor fellow had gone to his death. Day was breaking, but there
was a dense fog. The column, moving by fours, struck a lively pace. The
Fourteenth Regiment, turning into Mississippi avenue at Kerr soon
plunged into a mudhole, which, in the dim light, looked interminable.
Another command ahead of us was struggling to get through it. The men in
the rear crowded upon those retarded in front, and the confusion was
likely to defeat the whole plan of attack, which was to be executed
promptly and rapidly. It added to the excitement that Captain Forrest’s
company, pushing on into the city, had encountered a Federal battery
near Trigg avenue, and we could hear the firing. The delay was
unfortunate, but we soon got upon firmer ground. The men, by this time,
had broken into a shout. As the Fourteenth Regiment was one of those
designated for that purpose, Colonel White quickly dashed into the large
Federal encampment to the right, and in a large grove, a part of which
is yet standing. The tents stood in long white rows, but their
occupants, recovering somewhat from their surprise, had rallied a little
further north, and were delivering a brisk fire in the darkness, caused
by the fog, but to very little purpose. In large, bold letters, I could
see on the tents inscribed the words “One Hundred and Thirty-seventh
Illinois Infantry.” The smoke from the guns of both sides intensified
the foggy darkness. As we pushed through the encampment, I espied a man
lying in one of the bunks with which the tents were supplied. The poor
fellow had been left alone and sick. I advised him to lie still, as I
did not care to see a non-resistant increase his chances of death by
rising up. A splendid pair of army shoes was sitting on a shelf in front
of a tent. Somehow, in the excitement, I reached down for the shoes and
tied them to my saddle. I thought of the strict orders given in regard
to appropriating anything prematurely, but I was practically barefoot.
The shoes were new and a perfect fit. They supplied the place of the
boots secured at Union City, and were good shoes at the surrender. I was
fully repaid for my part in the raid.

Forrest’s movement on Memphis was now a success or a failure, for we
understood that in a surprise orders were to be executed rapidly.

Colonel Neely, with the Fourteenth Tennessee, Second Missouri, and
Chalmers’ Battalion, drove the infantry force in his front rapidly back
to a position about the State Female College, in and around which there
was some stubborn fighting. The Confederate loss here was light.

As we were all anxious to hear what our men in the city had done, I rode
to the intersection of Mississippi avenue and McLemore to seek
information. This was scant, but to the effect that our men were
carrying everything before them; in fact, that Forrest had complete
possession of the city, notwithstanding the Federals had an effective
force of five thousand men of all arms, including that part of it
fighting around the college. The fog had lifted, and we were having a
bright day. By 9 o’clock the object of the raid had been fairly
accomplished, and the Confederates in the city began to come out in
disorganized squads. Two of our men were reported killed on Main street.
A son of Dr. J. S. Robinson, of Whiteville, was killed in the fight
about the college. As the superior Federal force rapidly recovered from
its surprise, it became dangerous for those who had lingered to depart
from the city. At one point, Forrest himself, with the Second Missouri,
attacked an advancing Federal detachment of cavalry, and with his own
hands killed Colonel Starr, a Federal officer. It only remained to
secure the spoils which had been gathered up and a large number of
horses besides about six hundred prisoners. If, as a result of the raid,
a retrograde movement of Smith’s army at Oxford was at hand, it could be
written down as a big success, for that was its main purpose. It is true
that Forrest had planned to capture the three Federal Generals, who
escaped the clutches of the Confederates by the merest chance. In
connection with what our men did really accomplish, I have heard some
interesting stories, but I have always regarded these as largely
fanciful. Many believe to this day that Forrest, booted and spurred,
rode into the Gayoso Hotel, but in his lifetime, he never lent
encouragement to this belief. However, it is authentically stated that
Captain Forrest, with some of his company, did what has been attributed
to his brother, the General. I have it from a reliable witness that the
Captain did kill a Federal officer, who did not promptly realize that he
had fallen into the hands of his enemies. I remark that this account is
not intended to be a history of all things that transpired on that
memorable morning of August 21, 1864, but rather a reminiscence of those
things that fell under my personal observation, or of which I had
authentic information on the spot.

We retired at our leisure to Mississippi, where news soon reached us
that the Federals had driven Chalmers, with his inferior force, to the
south side of the Yokona, and were committing depredations in and around
Oxford. They had burnt the courthouse and many other buildings,
including the fine residence of Jacob Thompson, with its hundred
thousand dollars worth of furnishings. It was said, and it turned out to
be true, that Mrs. Thompson was robbed of such valuable articles as she
could hastily carry out. In giving his men such license, General Edward
Hatch had revealed his true character as a man. He had won renown on the
battle-field, and shown himself to be an able commander and skillful
tactician, but had disgraced himself in the eyes of all advocates of
civilized warfare.

Just as Forrest had anticipated, the Federals began to fall back from
Oxford, as soon as their commander heard the news from Memphis. General
James R. Chalmers was entitled to great praise for the skillful manner
in which he had handled his troops and concealed from the enemy the
absence of Forrest. He held a position that required tact, discretion
and courage, and met the expectations of his chief. I remember him well,
and can recall his character as that of a man who, as occasion
required, could move an audience by his eloquence, charm the fastidious
with his felicity of diction, and gallantly lead his men in battle.
Personally, “Little Bun” was popular with the rank and file, as he was
one of the most approachable of men. Scrupulously uniformed and finely
mounted, he presented an attractive figure on review. A man of literary
taste, he sometimes courted the muses. He was the reputed author of some
words I heard sung in war times to the air of Bonnie Doone. These words
might well be brought to light again and take their place in popular
esteem by the side of “Dixie” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” Perhaps some
one of those who used to be called “the pretty girls of Bolivar,” but
who, alas, are now wearing frosted crowns, could find in her old
portfolios the words which might serve to keep green the memory of a
gallant Confederate.

To rest in shady groves, to sleep by lulling waters, to hear the songs
of birds, the hum of bees, the tinkling bells of lowing kine, bring more
pleasing thoughts to mind than those of war and deadly strife. To things
like these we turned after the Memphis raid, but not for long. The
people praised the deeds of Forrest’s Cavalry, the marvel of horseback
fighting, and the worthy rival of trained infantry, but the soldiers’
paeans of victory always had a minor note of sorrow for our desolate
land, the tears of widows and orphans, and our increasing casualties in
battle. Our poor fellows were falling, and our line becoming shorter, as
the living pressed their shoulders together.

We camped on the Yokona, at Oakland and Grenada, and I returned to
Company E.



An entire reorganization of Forrest’s Cavalry Corps was effected just
after the Memphis raid, by which a new brigade, composed exclusively of
Tennesseeans, was formed for Colonel Rucker, who was absent on account
of a wound received at Harrisburg. The regiments in this were the
Seventh, Twelfth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Forrest’s old regiment,
commanded respectively by Duckworth, Green, Neely, Stewart and Kelly.
The other brigade of Chalmers’ division was that of McCulloch, composed
of men from Missouri, Texas and Mississippi. Rumors were rife, as usual,
that we were on the eve of some important move, but those only in whose
hands the duty of projecting campaigns had been placed knew what that
move would be. Uncertainty brought no suspense to the minds of the men,
as we had become accustomed to go with alacrity to the discharge of any
duty assigned. To one who has studied closely the military situation at
the time, it is plain that the affairs of the Confederacy had reached
the desperate stage, though Forrest had subverted the plans of the
Federals on the Memphis lines. The humblest of us could reflect that the
territory to which we had been assigned was only a small part of the
country, and that our movements on the military chessboard were scarcely
noticed, except when Forrest had gained another brilliant victory. Think
of it. The Confederacy had been cut in twain for more than a year by the
opening of the Mississippi river; Sherman had driven Joe Johnston from
Dalton to Atlanta, and a hundred days of fighting had not barred the way
of the Federals toward the sea. The first trial of arms between Lee and
Grant had been made at the Wilderness, and Lee had failed, even by grand
tactics, to permanently stay the flank movement of the overwhelming
legions of Grant at Spottsylvania, who was now moving steadily on the
bloody road to Richmond. In the light which a knowledge of these
conditions afforded, our immediate part of the war appeared
comparatively insignificant. The reader well might ask how Forrest, or
any other commander, could, under given conditions, keep up the fighting
spirits of his men. We well know that he did this as long as he had
occasion to lead his men in battle, but how he did it, or whence this
power, I leave to the consideration of those philosophers who revel in
the discussion of abstract questions of metaphysics. And I give them a
thousand years to settle it.

During the first days of September we were taking a long ride over to
the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. _Cui bono?_ We reasoned, of course, that as
we had gotten rid of our immediate enemies, who had so long been
troubling us, we should probably be sent to other fields of action. It
finally came to light that affairs at Mobile were thought to be in such
critical condition that Chalmers’ division must be sent to that city at
once. McCulloch’s brigade was actually sent forward, while Rucker’s was
at West Point, ready to take the cars. Before this information reached
the men, the order was countermanded. So we did not go to Mobile, but
our enterprising General was not idle. It was soon openly talked that he
was projecting a raid into Middle Tennessee, where he proposed to so
damage the railroad between Nashville and Stephenson as to cut off
Sherman’s army at Atlanta from its base of supplies, Rucker had not yet
assumed command of his new brigade, but it was thought he would do so
before we started on the projected expedition. The four Colonels of the
brigade and the officer temporarily in command of Forrest’s old
regiment, evidently considering it a reflection on them for an outsider,
and only a Colonel, to take precedence over them, flatly refused to
consent to the new arrangement. There was a great stir in camp at
Sook-a-toncha bridge, near West Point. For a whole day nothing else was
discussed and little else thought of. As might be supposed, there were
two factions in the contest as to who should command the brigade. The
humblest private was in evidence, and had something to say in the
spirited, though friendly, discussion. General Chalmers, with his staff,
rode out to the camp and made an earnest address to officers and
soldiers as to the necessity of obeying orders and disregarding personal
ambition. The character and efficiency of the officers involved were
favorably alluded to, but not an offensive word spoken. While speaking
in rather a persuasive tone, he did not hesitate to make an earnest and
honest declaration of his sentiments. The address made a good
impression, and, so far as I could see, the excitement was much less
intense the following day, and, by the time the movement began, the rank
and file looked upon the whole thing as a closed incident. The officers
refusing to recognize the assignment of Rucker were placed in arrest
upon the charge of insubordination, and sent to a distant post to await
orders. I never heard of any action being taken by a court-martial in
these cases, but I do know that they saw little more of the war, as
they returned to the command only a few days before the surrender. The
whole affair was unpleasant to me because of my friendly attitude toward
two of them--Colonel Duckworth, formerly a Lieutenant in the Haywood
Rangers (Company D), and Colonel Neely, the first Captain of Company E.
I knew the others by their reputations as true men and efficient
commanders. The whole trouble might have been avoided, or at least
deferred, for as it turned out, Colonel Rucker, still suffering with his
wound, did not go on the raid at all, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, the
senior officer present, took charge of the brigade. It could not have
fallen into better hands. No aspersion was cast on the character of
Rucker as a man, or adverse criticism made of his capability as a
commander. A man of great physical force and a fine horseman, he
impressed men with his prowess in battle. Recklessly brave, he did not
mind riding down an enemy, or engaging him in single combat. He helped
to make the reputation of his old brigade as a body of fast and furious

With Lieutenant-Colonel W. F. Taylor in command, the Seventh Tennessee
moved up to Verona, and then to Tupelo. Here final preparations were
made. And here General Forrest, from a platform made for the purpose,
delivered a lively address to our brigade, a part of which was a
scathing criticism of the action of the officers whom he had recently
placed in arrest. He was full of his subject, and had language at hand
to express his thoughts.

September 16th, 1864. On this day 3,542 men reported for duty, to which
number Roddys’ division was to be added, making in all a force of about
4,500 cavalry, artillery and dismounted men. The cavalry was to traverse
the hypotenuse of a right triangle, reaching from Tupelo, Miss., to
Cherokee, Ala., while General Forrest, his escort, dismounted men and
everything on wheels, were to traverse the other two sides by way of
Corinth and over railroads, which had been recently repaired. I never
saw men in better spirits as the several commands took their places in
line. I had good reason to feel glad in anticipation, as will be shown
further along. When the Fourteenth Regiment, passing the Seventh in
line, was moving to its place in column, Colonel Raleigh White, seeing
me lined up in my company, insisted that I go with him on the raid, just
as I had on the Memphis raid. Knowing that I could discharge my full
duty, and that White would grant me any reasonable request when we
reached North Alabama, I joined him as soon as the matter was arranged.
As there was no necessity for rushing, we moved leisurely to Cherokee.
There was need that the command should be in good trim when it should
reach the north side of the Tennessee river. Seeing from the orders that
the command was likely to remain at rest for a day or two, I determined
to reach Florence, if possible, at least one day in advance. But I could
not cross the river without a pass from General Forrest. Nothing
daunted, I went straight to his headquarters, as soon as I could get my
plans mentally arranged, which, I now remember, was done with some
degree of fear and trembling. He was absent. It might be fortunate,
thought I, for I would lay my case before Major Strange, and get his
opinion as to the merits of my plea. My desire to see my child must have
touched a tender chord in his heart, as he said that the General would
return by a certain hour, and that, if I would call again, I would
likely get the pass. I was promptly on hand. Again the General was
absent. My feelings were now intense, for it was growing late in the
day. Seeing this, Major Strange graciously and kindly said that he would
furnish me with a document that would take me across the river and
through all picket lines. I mounted my horse and made for the river,
which I hoped to reach before night. It was seven miles away, and I had
no information as to where I might find a means of crossing. Somewhere
in a long lane I happily met an old school fellow--Charlie Trimble of
Tuscumbia--who could give me the necessary information. When I finished
the last mile, it was growing so dark that the soldiers in charge would
not venture to go on the river in the rickety old boat. The prospect was
now so good that I made myself content. At daylight next morning Little
Black and I were on the bosom of the Tennessee, and nearing the northern
shore. Poor fellow, he could go over with a dry skin now, but within a
few days he must swim the same stream over a hundred miles below, where
it was much larger and at floodtide. Now for the nearest road to
Florence. At Dr. McAlexander’s, just as the family were sitting down to
breakfast. Good coffee and hot biscuits. Lucky hit, thought I. A
thousand thoughts of happy days come trooping in. For the nonce, I have
forgotten the war and scenes of peace pass in review.

    “’Tis sweet to hear the watchdog’s honest bark
      Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;
    ’Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark
      Our coming, and look brighter when we come.
    ’Tis sweet to be awaken’d by the lark,
      Or lull’d by falling waters; sweet the hum
    Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,
      The lisp of children, and their earliest words.”

Was ever picture more divinely drawn? The last line--“the lisp of
children and their earliest words”--arouses the tenderest emotions of
the soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

I stopped at the Smith cottage, a well-known landmark, just across from
the Methodist Church. I gazed up at the old steeple in respectful
silence, and felt glad to stand in its shadow once more. But I am now at
the door of the cottage, which was closed. I step along the veranda to
an open window. Unobserved, I gaze for some moments on the picture
within. To me, at least, “the prettiest and loveliest boy” in all the
land, engaged in childish pranks with his colored nurse. I hesitated to
break the spell, for it seemed to me that happiness had reached its full
fruition. Ernest was a happy little boy in a happy home, for war times,
as his aunt, the late Mrs. Henry W. Sample, was devoted to him as she
had been devoted to his mother. I never could repay her for all her
kindness to me and mine, but I place here in print a sincere tribute to
her memory as that of a noble woman, who was altogether unselfish, whose
religion was a daily affair, who cultivated a charitable spirit, who
reached out her hand to those in trouble, and who went to her grave
with the love and respect of the people among whom she had lived
seventy-two years.

On the 21st of September, 1864, Forrest’s whole command crossed the
Tennessee river. The artillery, wagon train and dismounted men were
taken across in boats at Colbert’s Ferry, while the whole mounted force
passed the river at Ross’ Ford, a short distance below. The latter is
said to have furnished one of the most picturesque scenes of the war.
The river at this point is seldom fordable and always dangerous. A
careful guide led the long column, marching by twos, along the winding
shallows for over two miles, in order to avoid the dangerous places in
the bed of the river, which at this point was scarcely a mile wide.
There were no casualties, but many men lost their hats and other
articles when their horses slipped on the rocks. On the morning of the
22d Florence was all agog to see Forrest and his men, and pretty well
filled up with Confederate soldiers, who, like myself, were making
friendly or family calls. There were many small reunions of old friends,
who never met again, on this seeming holiday in war times. In the early
forenoon of a perfect day, Forrest, mounted on King Philip, and riding
at the head of his escort, came in from the west, turned into Court
street and then into Tennessee street, running east. The streets were
lined with men, women and children, whose shouts were ably supplemented
by the yells of the visiting soldiers. To have stood on Mitchell’s
corner that day, as I did, would mark an event in a life otherwise
filled with adventures.

Conditions at Florence had changed somewhat for the worse since my last
visit, nearly two years before. The country had been occupied
alternately by the Federals and Confederates, and thousands of acres had
gone to waste for the want of labor. There was hardly a worse overrun
country in the South. Clothing and food were hard to get with any kind
of money. Of course, what might be termed Confederate devices were put
into practice, and very plain living was the order of the day.

Tarrying to the limit with loved ones whom I might never see again, I
left Florence late at night to overtake the command the next day before
it reached Athens. As I rode out towards the suburbs, the silence was so
pronounced that Florence seemed to be a town of houses without
inhabitants. I approached the cemetery--to me a sacred spot--where the
waters of the Tennessee, bounding over the rocks of Mussel Shoals, sing
an eternal requiem to our dead. The monuments stood like sentinels at
the graves of many whom I had known. Out on the hillside was one
erected by myself. I paused to ponder. Stillness reigned supreme, for it
was midnight’s solemn hour. No voice of man nor chirp of bird was on the
air. No painful loneliness disturbed my soul, for silent friends were
there. She, a mother for a short month only, about whom I was thinking,
having died at the age of nineteen years, escaped the sorrow, trials and
experiences of a cruel war. Perhaps it were well.

General Forrest invested the Federal works at Athens, about forty miles
from Florence, late in the afternoon of the 23d of September. There was
no concerted attack then, but careful dispositions were made for the
next morning. An assault meant a dreadful slaughter of our men, as the
works were strong, and held by about fourteen hundred well-drilled negro
troops, officered by white men. At 7 o’clock the fire of all the
artillery was concentrated upon the fort, and the cavalry, dismounted,
moved up as if for assault. Forrest ordered his artillery to cease
firing, and sent a flag of truce to the Federal commander, demanding a
surrender. There was a parley and a refusal. Forrest then adopted his
favorite plan of magnifying his own forces and intimidating his
adversary. In a personal interview outside the fort, Forrest proposed to
the Federal commander that he should take a ride around the lines, and
see for himself how well the Confederates were prepared for an assault.
The proposition was accepted, but Forrest so manipulated his troops by
dismounting and remounting and changing the position of his artillery,
that the Federal commander was soon convinced that the Confederates were
sufficiently strong to make a successful assault. While the terms of the
surrender were being arranged, a reinforcement of white troops arrived
from Decatur, and made a determined effort to cut their way through to
the fort. This was met by the Seventh Tennessee and other regiments, and
a bloody battle was fought before the Federals were captured. To
complete the victory, the artillery was brought up to capture two
blockhouses, which were held by about one hundred men. In the fight
along the railroad, Lieutenant V. F. Ruffin of Company E, a promising
young man and a splendid soldier, was killed. He was the only brother of
two orphan sisters. Their loss was grievous. Our loss at Athens was five
killed and twenty-five wounded. We captured two trains, two locomotives,
a large quantity of stores, two pieces of artillery, a number of wagons
and ambulances, and three hundred horses. The Federal loss in killed and
wounded was considerable, including the death of the Colonel commanding
the detachment from the direction of Decatur. Their loss in prisoners
was about 1,900.

As Colonel White had been ordered to tear up portions of the railroad
toward Decatur, I found it impracticable to join him. Falling in with
Captain John Overton, of Rucker’s staff, we rode along our lines to view
the situation. As Forrest was having an interview with the Federals, we
concluded it would be perfectly safe for us to accept an invitation to
breakfast at a nearby house. We had not more than dispatched that
breakfast when firing was heard down the railroad. Overton mounted and
rode rapidly to the position where part of our brigade was engaged.
There he had his fine blooded mare killed under him. Thirty-two years
after that he walked into the station at Tullahoma carrying what he said
was a box of rattlesnakes. Oh, horrors! thought I. As he evidently did
not fully recognize me, and only knew I was someone whom he had seen
before, I said to him: “Captain, don’t you remember something about a
good breakfast you and I had together down in Athens when we were
younger men than we are now?” Brightening up, he replied: “Yes, but
don’t you remember about my losing my fine mare that morning?” John
Overton’s immediate or prospective wealth never puffed him up, or made
any difference with him in his intercourse with all classes of men in
the army. He had none of the graces of horseback riding, and moved about
the camp much after the manner of some plain farmer, when looking after
the crop of crabgrass or considering the advisability of planting his
potatoes in the dark of the moon. He was “a chip off the old block”--his
grand old father, whom we sometimes saw in camp.

Four miles north of Athens, a blockhouse, with thirty-two men was
surrendered. We bivouacked for the night, thinking that we had made a
fine beginning. Eleven miles from Athens, there was a strong fort, which
protected what was known as Sulphur Branch trestle, a structure three
hundred feet long and seventy-two feet high. In order to destroy this,
it was necessary to capture the fort and two large blockhouses. On the
morning of the 25th of September, the Confederate artillery was
concentrated on the fort, in which were several rude cabins covered with
oak boards. At the same time, Forrest ordered a heavy force to advance
on foot against the position. There was severe fighting for only a
little while, as our artillery quickly scattered the lighter timbers and
roofs of the cabins in every direction, and killed many of the garrison.
The Federals ceased firing, but did not display the white flag. Their
commander had already been killed, and there seemed to be great
consternation in the fort. They surrendered as soon as a demand was made
on them. This surrender included the two blockhouses. I saw no more
horrid spectacle during the war than the one which the interior of that
fort presented. If a cyclone had struck the place, the damage could
hardly have been much worse. Here, again, the spoils were great,
including three hundred cavalry horses and their equipments, a large
number of wagons and ambulances, two pieces of artillery, all kinds of
army stores, with nearly a thousand prisoners. Forrest was compelled now
to send south a second installment of prisoners and captured property
under a strong guard, the first having been sent from Athens. Sulphur
Branch trestle being demolished, we moved towards Pulaski. The lame and
disabled horses were now replaced by captured ones, and all the
dismounted men, who had been crowded to the limit to keep up on the
march, were furnished with horses. Some of our men were engaged in
tearing up railroad track, while others were driving the enemy back
towards Pulaski. Within six miles of the town we had heavy fighting, and
again within three miles. At the former place, I saw the dead body of
Stratton Jones, another schoolboy of mine, and the eldest son of Judge
Henry C. Jones of Florence, now, perhaps, the oldest citizen of his
city, and one of less than half a dozen of the surviving members of the
Confederate Congress.

At the Brown farm, still nearer to Pulaski, we captured a corral
containing about 2,000 negroes, who were being supported by the Federal
commissary. They were a dirty and ragged lot, who were content to grasp
at the mere shadow of freedom. Forrest ordered them to remove their
filthy belongings from the miserable hovels, and set about two hundred
of the latter on fire. Here was the richest depot of supplies I had seen
since the capture of Holly Springs by Van Dorn. A bountiful supply of
sugar and coffee was distributed to the men. Our horses were put in fine
condition here by many hours of rest and good feed. Our loss for the day
was about 100 in killed and wounded. That of the Federals was very much

The Federals, under General Rousseau, took lodgment within their works,
which were very strong. Having made a spirited demonstration on the
enemy’s front, Forrest, after nightfall, leaving numerous campfires
burning, just as Washington did the night before the battle of
Princeton, drew off and took the road to Fayetteville. Having bivouacked
a few miles out, we started at daylight for a ride of forty miles,
which put us several miles east of that town. The country was fearfully
rough and rocky, but the men and horses held up well. Some time during
the following day, September 29th, we reached the village of Mulberry.
It was pleasant to see a large school in session and the boys and girls
climbing upon the fence to see the soldiers. It was more like peace than
war. But here was a pause, for Forrest concluded that it was
impracticable to reach the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, because of
the concentration of thousands of Federals along that line, for it was
all-important to them to protect Sherman’s communication with his base
of supplies. The plan now was that Buford should take 1,500 men,
including Rucker’s brigade, under Kelley, and the artillery and wagons,
march to Huntsville, capture the place, if possible, but, by all means,
to push his trains towards some available crossing on the Tennessee
river, while Forrest was to take the rest of the command, swing around
by Lewisburg, strike the railroad above Columbia, do all the damage
possible, and hurry on to Florence.

We kept up the march towards Huntsville till after nightfall, as it was
necessary to make a bold feint, at least, against the position commanded
by General Gordon Granger. I noticed Buford, who was a notaably large
man, making his way that night on a very fine mule. He was one type of
ye jolly Kentuckian, popular with his men, and perfectly reliable in a
fight. Our fifteen hundred men were so placed about the town as to make
as big a show of force as possible. Before this could be done, it was so
dark that a lantern was procured from some citizen, so that the usual
flag of truce and demand for surrender could be sent in. There was the
expected refusal, and a consequent delay till morning. In the meantime,
our trains were moving rapidly towards Florence. After daylight, the
best possible demonstration without too much exposure of our men was
made, and was succeeded by another demand and another refusal to
surrender. As General Granger expected to be attacked by the whole of
Forrest’s command, as had been intimated to him under the last flag of
truce, he ordered women and children to be removed from the city, so as
to avoid a bombardment by all of Forrest’s artillery. There was great
commotion and distress among the non-combatants, who had no means of
finding out that they were really in no danger. The Federal artillery
was sending an occasional shot, perhaps for the purpose of getting the
range of our lines. One of these went straight down the pike leading
west, along which a few people were moving. I saw two ladies and a boy
abandon their carriage and advance rapidly through the open field in
which I was standing, leaving the colored driver to get out of harm’s
way by rapid driving. Riding forward, I noticed that they were greatly
excited and badly frightened. The party turned out to be old friends of
mine, the wife of Professor Mayhew and son and Miss Sue Murphy, who
became, after the war, the plaintiff in an historical lawsuit against
the government for damage and loss of property at Decatur, in which she
sustained her plea, I directed them how to get to the rear, and around
to where their carriage had probably gone. When the command drew off and
took the road to Athens, I came upon this same party, who informed me
that their trunks had been ransacked and their horses taken by some of
our own men. I soon found the horses, and fastened the outrage upon men
whom I knew. I lost no time in reporting the matter to Colonel Kelley,
who ordered the horses to be turned over to a friend of the ladies.

It was found, when we reached Athens, that the fort, which had been
surrendered to us only a few days before, was held by the Federals.
There was some exchange of shots, and we had one man wounded. He caught
in his mouth an ounce ball which had passed through the fleshy part of
his jaw. He kept it as a nice little souvenir of a painful incident.
Our part of Forrest’s command reached Florence on the 3d of October, and
General Buford set about the task of getting to the south side of the
river. The rains had been heavy in the mountains. The river was already
high for the season, and still rising. There were only three ferryboats
with which to do all the work in hand. Reports came in that overwhelming
numbers of the enemy were on the move to encompass the capture or defeat
of Forrest, who arrived on the 5th of October. I knew that the situation
would be critical, if they pressed us before we accomplished the passage
of the river, but I concluded to remain in Florence till the Seventh
Regiment came in, when I could join my own company. It came in on the
7th, closely followed by the enemy. The Seventh, Second and Sixteenth
Regiments stoutly resisted the advance of the Federals at Martin’s
factory, on Cypress creek, just west of town. This was a strong position
from which to resist a front attack, but a Federal brigade, crossing
three miles above, came near taking us in reverse and capturing the
three regiments. Our command had an exciting experience from there to
old Newport, where Forrest, in person, was trying to get as many men and
horses as possible across to an island thickly set with timber and cane.
From the shore to the island was fully two hundred feet. The horses
were made to swim this place. In the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel
Taylor, who was wounded and sick, the regiment was commanded by Captain
H. C. McCutchen of Company H, who received orders from Forrest to save
his men, if possible, in any practicable way. The Federals were then
right on us in great numbers, and still another column was reported to
be advancing east from Waterloo. We did not know but that we were
practically in the clutches of the enemy. The anxiety of the men had
reached a high pitch. There was a determination to ride out of the
situation at almost any risk. I was glad that I knew the country well
enough to guide the six companies present to safety, if immediate danger
could be passed. I moved right off from the river, through woods and
fields, with the command following at a lively gait. My purpose was to
cross the Florence and Waterloo road before the two columns of the enemy
could form a junction, in which case we should have to cut our way out
or surrender. I knew that body of men would ride through or over any
ordinary resistance in our front. When we crossed the Colbert’s Ferry
road, I felt that one danger was passed, but not the main one. Sometimes
we took advantage of country roads leading our way, but our course was
north, regardless of roads. Our horses were smoking when we reached the
desired highway, and we felt relieved when we saw the way clear. We
halted to take a survey of the situation, and to perfect plans for
getting into West Tennessee. It was decided to be best for the regiment
to disperse, and the commander of each company to lead his men out of
danger by whatever means he should think proper to adopt. Company D and
Company E had gone into the service together, and it was natural that
they should stand by each other in trouble. When these two companies got
over into the hills of Wayne County, we hired a guerrilla guide, whom
his followers called “Captain” Miller, to show us a place on the river
where we could cross. His remuneration was a thousand dollars in
Confederate money, which was likely more money of any kind than he had
ever seen in one lump. The people along the route cheerfully furnished
us with supplies. I remember, we went down Trace creek and across the
headwaters of Buffalo, and reached the river at the mouth of Morgan’s
creek, in Decatur County. Here was a booming river about a half mile
wide, and no means of transportation but a large “dugout” some eighteen
or twenty feet in length. We had grown about reckless enough now to try
the impracticable and test the impossible. Three men with their horses
and trappings were to make the first trip, two to bring back the boat,
then three more men with their horses, to go with the two who had
brought the boat back, and so on till all had crossed. Everybody worked.
Two men took their places at the oars, while I sat in the stern, where I
was to hold each horse by the bridle as he was pushed from the bank,
which was four or five feet sheer down to the water. Little Black was
the first to make the plunge. He made one futile effort to touch bottom,
and sank up to his ears. I pulled him up by the reins, and slipped my
right hand up close to the bits, so as to keep his nose above the water.
He floated up on one side and became perfectly quiet. I soon had the
noses of the other two close up to the boat. The men at the oars pulled
for dear life against the booming tide, the swellings of which we could
feel under the boat. Our object was to make an old ferry landing several
hundred yards below. We had no fear for the horses now, for they were
behaving admirably. Though the men at the oars exerted themselves to the
limit, we missed the landing, and were carried some distance below it.
When we did pull into shallow water, I turned the horses loose. My own
horse was the first to mount a steep, slippery bank, where he shook
himself, and, looking back, gave me a friendly nicker. The first trip
was a success, and the men took on fresh courage. The work began at
sunrise, and ended with darkness. It added greatly to our critical
situation that the Federal gunboats were liable to pass up or down at
any moment.

Forrest did not accomplish the chief object of the Middle Tennessee
raid, as heretofore stated, which was the destruction of portions of the
Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, which connected Sherman’s army, at
Atlanta, with its base of supplies. He said afterward that he killed and
captured, upon an average, one man for every man he had in the fights.
He tore up about one hundred miles of railroad, destroyed ten
blockhouses, captured more supplies than his men could carry off and 800
horses, gathered up more than a thousand recruits, and marched five
hundred miles in twenty-three days. He lost about three hundred men in
killed and wounded.

That a little fun can be mixed up with the horrors of war was
illustrated on this trip somewhere over in the hills of Wayne. James E.
Wood’s little chestnut sorrel, the horse which had been tendered by his
owner to Captain Tate, as related in the account of the fight at Ripley,
and from which that gallant officer was shot, struck the frog of one
foot against a stone and was rendered unserviceable. Austin Statler and
Tom Joyner set about the task of helping their fellow-soldier to a
remount. This was difficult to do in a country which had been stripped
of all the good stock. The only animal available appeared to be a
three-year-old, standing in an enclosure near an humble cottage.
Statler, in his blandest manner, explained the situation to the mistress
of the cottage, and alluded in earnest words to the fine points of the
lame horse, which needed only a few days’ rest to restore him to his
former condition of usefulness. No, no; the old lady couldn’t see it in
the light in which it had been so earnestly presented. There were seven
stout daughters standing by ready to assist their mother, who averred
that the animal was “Sal’s colt,” and he couldn’t have it upon any terms
whatever. Statler persisted until high words resulted, and the soldiers
advanced towards “Sal’s colt.” Thoroughly aroused, and reinforced by her
mother and sisters, Sal herself, a buxom lassie, now came to the rescue,
cleared the fence at a bound, and sat astride of the bridleless colt.
Victory now seemed to perch upon the banner of the females, but the
soldiers, who had no idea of seeing their comrade hotfoot it along the
roads of Wayne, moved to the assault, determined to capture the colt,
but anxious to inflict no bruises upon their adversaries, who fought
like wildcats. The contest was fast and furious, but in a class
entirely by itself. There were blood and hair in evidence, but no mortal
casualties. There were pinching and twisting, wrenching and wringing,
clutching and hugging, yes, hugging, till the female side had mostly
lost its wind and Sal, grasping the mane of the colt with the grip of
despair, while she planted her heels in its sides, was gently lifted
from her position by the gallant trio. “It was all over but the
shouting.” The bit was forced and the girth was buckled. “Sal’s colt”
had changed its politics and been mustered into the service of the
Confederacy. The old lady intimated that “men folks” were at hand and
ready to avenge all her wrongs. Statler, as a precautionary measure,
rode out in the direction indicated by her and saw three armed citizens
approaching. With cocked gun and ready pistol he commanded them, with
assumed bravado, to lead the way to the cottage, while he assured them
that he, too, had “a whole gang in reach.” Tableau vivant: An elderly
man “breathing out threatening and slaughter” and declaring that he
would have satisfaction before the sun went down; two lusty young men
with guns and in the poise of interested spectators; six bouncing young
girls well distributed in the ensemble and joining in a chorus of abuse;
an elderly woman standing in the kitchen door and wiping the sweat from
her neck and ears with her checked apron, beaten but not conquered; Sal
perched upon the top rail of the front fence in the attitude of a show
girl about to dance a hornpipe, and gazing at three vanishing cavaliers
just then turning a corner and making time to overtake the command;
lastly, the abandoned warhorse, which had heard the guns at Tishomingo,
stripped of his trappings and “turned out to grass,” was standing meekly
by and looking as if he might be thinking he had no friends at all.



We had not more than gotten the last three men with their horses and
accoutrements across the Tennessee river, as related in the preceding
chapter, than two gunboats and two transports came puffing along. It was
easy to conjecture what would have happened to five men and three
horses, if our little craft with its burden had been met in midstream by
the gunboats. And yet we had been taking the risk of being sunk or
captured all that day. We rode leisurely to Bolivar and the men
dispersed to their homes for a much needed rest.

Just as I was congratulating myself that I would have a few days for
recuperation, several carbuncles developed on my body as a result of
poor food and exposure. This affliction virtually placed me on furlough
from the middle of October till the middle of January. In the meantime,
Forrest’s Cavalry had assembled at Corinth and gone on an expedition to
the Tennessee river, which finally culminated in the movement with Hood
to Nashville. Others have written graphic accounts of how Forrest with a
force of three thousand men, cavalry and artillery, boldly attacked
transports and gunboats and concluded his operations in that quarter by
the total destruction of an immense depot of supplies at Johnsonville.
He said himself that he captured and destroyed in two or three days four
gunboats, fourteen transports, twenty barges, twenty-six pieces of
artillery which, with stores destroyed, amounted to a money value of
over six million dollars. He captured 150 prisoners, while his own loss
was two killed and nine wounded. Altogether this was one of the most
remarkable campaigns of the whole war, and I have always somewhat
regretted that I could not participate in its operations. As for the
expedition to Nashville which followed, I have always considered myself
fortunate in having missed it. The history of it is a pitiful story and
well worth reading, particularly by those who did not hear it from the
lips of hundreds of brave men who gave vivid accounts of personal
experiences. I began to hear these pitiful accounts early in January
from soldiers returning to their homes in an utter state of
demoralization. I began to consider whether or not I could recover my
health and join Company E ere there was a collapse of the Confederacy.
However, as the men of our regiment had been permitted to go to their
homes for a few days, there was time for consideration.

When I reported for duty at Verona, Miss., late in January, 1865,
Colonel Richardson was in command of Rucker’s Brigade, the ranks of
which were filling up surprisingly well, considering the heavy blow we
had received in the disastrous repulse of our army in front of
Nashville. Most of our men had spent some time at home and came in with
new clothes and fresh horses. The rations were good but we had no tents.
We constructed rude shelters with whatever timber was at hand,
principally fence rails, and over this spread our rubber cloths. Then a
good layer of corn stalks was placed for a floor and on this our army
blankets. With a roaring log fire in front, we were measurably
comfortable. We really had little to do for some time. It was in this
camp that it got to the ears of Colonel Richardson that A. S. Coleman,
our sutler, who kept a variety of articles in store, was dealing out to
the boys a poor article of Confederate whisky. Richardson determined to
confiscate the sutler’s whole stock of goods, and sent an officer to
seize them. The members of Company E went to the rescue and, it being
dark, succeeded, while Coleman was parleying with the officer, in
“purloining” all the goods on hand, which they carried out through the
back of the tent and kept concealed till the trouble blew over. Coleman
was soon doing business at the old stand.

In February, 1865, Forrest was raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General
and given the command of about ten thousand cavalry widely dispersed in
Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Joe Johnston had superseded Hood and
had transferred the remnant of our army further east to place it in the
path of Sherman who was marching north from Savannah through South
Carolina. So far as our part of the country was concerned, it seemed to
me then that the Federals would have had little trouble in sending in a
large force and taking possession. With Forrest it was a case of
gathering up the fragments, but man never went about anything more
earnestly. His work had a telling effect. By a complete reorganization
of the cavalry, the troops from each State were thrown into brigades and
divisions of their own. This may have added somewhat to the morale of
the command, but I do not know that it improved the fighting qualities
of the men to any great extent. Certainly there was no better fighting
body of men than Rucker’s Old Brigade, composed of Tennesseeans and
Mississippians. By the new arrangement, the Tennessee Division was
commanded by W. H. Jackson. His two brigade commanders were A. W.
Campbell and T. H. Bell. This division now had fat horses, good clothes
and good rations. But every man there knew that our quasi holiday would
be of short duration. Though the Confederacy seemed tottering to its
fall, Jackson’s Division was ready for a campaign. It did not have long
to wait. Twelve thousand cavalry were assembled in North Alabama under
General James H. Wilson, one of the most capable and enterprising
commanders in the Federal army. Accompanied by an immense supply train
and a commensurate amount of artillery, this best equipped of all
Federal commands set out about the 22nd of March for Selma, Ala., which
was a depot for Confederate stores and the location of large factories
of arms and ammunition. Being provided with a pontoon train it had
little trouble in crossing the swollen streams. It moved rapidly in a
southeasterly direction. It was the task of Forrest to move east from
Columbus, Miss., fall upon Wilson’s right flank, defeat such detachments
as he could cope with, destroy his trains, if possible, and finally beat
him to Selma. Forrest’s plans involved the possibility of throwing his
whole force against that of Wilson in some favorable position east of
Tuskaloosa and to risk the consequences of the greatest cavalry battle
ever fought on the continent. How near we subordinates were to
witnessing a great event impending and yet how ignorant we were of it!
Unforeseen difficulties lay in Forrest’s path while he was apparently
making super-human efforts to concentrate his forces for a great battle
in which his enemy would number fully two to one. It is painful even to
conjecture what the consequences of such a battle might have been. But I
anticipate. Prior to the movement towards Selma I had been detailed for
duty with the provost guard of Campbell’s Brigade, which was agreeable
to me because of the fact that I had not entirely recovered my health,
and would have more privileges on the road, though no less responsible
service. Our chief duty was to move in the rear and to prevent
straggling. It turned out on this expedition to be a position of great

We passed through Columbus, Miss., and took the road to Tuskaloosa. We
moved all day and much of the night over muddy roads, miry swamps and
rugged hills. Our great commander had the details all in his mind, but
we had only a vague idea that we would have to fight at almost any turn
in the road. This was an army of veterans, who had been tried in the
fire. Jackson’s Division was a long way from home, but was ready for a
last desperate struggle in a strange land. It looked like a forlorn
hope, for Lee was falling back upon Appomattox and Johnston was in a
death struggle with Sherman. But the defeat of Wilson’s cavalry would
mean its destruction and the capture of his trains. Such a victory here
might change the face of things within a few hours, as we had no idea
that any one of our armies would so soon surrender. Anyhow, the men were
there to obey orders and to do their whole duty. We were at Sipsey river
and the column was moving slowly through its slashy bottom. A weird
looking place where the foliage of the heavy timber largely shut out the
light of day. A rumor came down the line that two soldiers, at the
instance of a drum-head court-martial, had been shot to death for
desertion. As the provost guard closed up the column it passed the dead
men lying one on each side of the road with their heads against trees.
Their hats had been placed over their faces, but labels written in large
letters told the story: _Shot for Desertion_. It was said at the time
that this was intended as a deterrent to desertion. It may have had the
effect intended. It would be passing over it most kindly to state that
the affair caused a profound sensation. It would be nearer the truth to
say that, with the rank and file, it met with pronounced condemnation.
Only one other writer has touched upon this incident, and he was not on
the ground as I was. Therefore, he could not speak personally concerning
what might be called the popular verdict of the soldiers. He does say,
in substance, that the execution was extremely unfortunate, though
coming within the province of military law, in that the declaration of
the victims that the older was above the military age and the younger
was under it turned out to be true in every particular. It was a matter
of common talk that the men were Kentuckians, who had nothing on their
persons by which they could be identified, and that there was no proof
adduced to show that they belonged to our cavalry. They were possibly
deserters from some arm of the Confederate service, but the prevailing
sentiment, which is a force to be reckoned with in a volunteer army, was
that a drum-head court-martial, instituted on the march and when the
command was practically in the presence of the enemy, could not exercise
that calm consideration and quiet deliberation required in a case where
human life was involved. While, as a general proposition, it were well
not to tear open old wounds, yet it were also well to state exact facts
in history, in order that the mistakes of the past may enable those who
come after us to avoid errors in the future. The power of all
Confederate courts-martial was flitting fast, and the bloody hand, under
all the circumstances in this case, might well have been stayed.
Everybody was glad to change the scene and the subject of thought, for
death has no attractive form. Tuskaloosa was a fine old Southern town,
with palatial homes, wide streets, shaded by three rows of water oaks,
well kept yards, extensive flower gardens, and a large complement of
pretty women. The gates were open and the city was ours for the asking.
They had never seen a Southern army, and more than that, they had never
imagined the like of Forrest’s cavalry as, brimful of fight, it moved
along their lovely streets. Alas! all this, within three days, was to be
in the grasp of men who did not hesitate to apply the torch even to the
State University.

As we entered the extensive piney woods section east of Tuskaloosa, we
were critically near the right flank of the enemy, pushing on towards
Selma. Croxton’s Federal Brigade had been detached to destroy the
Confederate supplies at Tuskaloosa and burn the university. It so
happened that this brigade dropped into the road between the rear of
Jackson’s Cavalry and the front of his artillery and wagon train. If the
Federals had continued to move west, they inevitably would have captured
the trains. They turned east to follow the cavalry, and Jackson being
apprised of this made the proper disposition to fall upon them in camp
in the early morning. In the meantime, Croxton had changed his mind and
had turned again to march, as luck would have it, by another road to
Tuskaloosa, without knowing that he had our trains so nearly within his
grasp. As it was, Jackson ran on his rear company in camp and captured
men, horses, and ambulances. Croxton fled north with his command,
crossed the Warrior forty miles above, turned south and reached
Tuskaloosa, where he carried out his orders. This was the 3rd day of
April, and he was now so far separated from his chief that he did not
join him at Macon, Ga., till the 20th of May. When Jackson turned to
pursue Croxton, unfortunately another detachment under one of the
Fighting McCooks, took possession of the bridge over the Cahawba, where
Forrest, with his escort, had already crossed, and where we were
expected to cross. They boldly came to the west side and put themselves
across our path at the village of Scottsville. That night the woods
seemed to be full of them. Some of our men, getting out to do the usual
little “buttermilk foraging” met some Yanks at a farm house where Johnny
Reb thought he had the exclusive privilege. There was a tacit consent to
a truce while they shared such good things as the farmer had to
contribute. The next morning, April 2nd, Bell’s Brigade of Jackson’s
Division collided with a part of McCook’s men and rapidly pushed them
back to Centerville. They completely blocked our way by burning the
bridge over the Cahawba. It was now impossible for Jackson to join
Forrest on the road from Montevallo to Selma, where with Roddy’s Cavalry
and Crossland’s small brigade of Kentuckians, he and escort were
fighting to the death to hold Wilson in check till the Confederate
divisions could be concentrated and hurled against those of the Federals
in one grand conflict. The Federals, having intercepted certain
dispatches of Forrest and Jackson, knew just how to subvert their plans.
Wilson, seeing that there was now no chance for Jackson to fall upon his
rear, according to the original plan of Forrest, pushed his forces with
all his energy in the direction of Selma. Forrest, being reinforced by
some militia and two hundred picked men of Armstrong’s Brigade of
Chalmers’ Division, on the first day of April, did some of the fiercest
fighting of the war, much of it hand to hand. At Bogler’s creek near
Plantersville, it was at close quarters with two thousand against nine
thousand, but the Confederates had the advantage of position. The
Federal advance was a regiment of veteran cavalry who charged with drawn
sabers. The Confederates received them at first with rifles and closed
in with six-shooters, most of the men having two each. The Confederates
being forced back by a flank movement, there was a bloody running fight
for several miles. From the desperate character of the fighting here, it
might be inferred that the great contest, planned to take place along
these lines, would have been terrific, if Forrest, Jackson, Chalmers and
Roddy could have joined their forces.

If all the forces named had been concentrated, as Forrest had intended,
somewhere between Montevallo and Selma, Ala., would have been fought the
cavalry battle of the ages. Who is not glad the whole plan miscarried?

When the Confederates were crowded into Selma the next day, their lines
were so attenuated that the Federals, with overwhelming numbers,
assailed the works and carried them, though with very heavy loss. Night
was coming on as the contest ended and the streets were filled with
Federals and Confederates in the greatest possible confusion. This
enabled Forrest and Armstrong, with hundreds of their men, to find an
opening through which they rode out and escaped in the darkness. In
doing this, Forrest cut down his thirtieth man in the war, which closed
his fighting career.

I had more than ordinary anxiety in regard to the fighting in front of
Selma, as I had a brother with Armstrong and a brother-in-law with
Roddy. The former escaped with Armstrong, but the latter, Wiley Hawkins
of Florence, a mere youth, the last of four brothers to die during the
war, was killed at Bogler’s creek.

With Forrest’s Cavalry the war was over. His command had fired its last
gun at Selma. At Marion, Greensboro, Eutaw, and finally at Sumterville,
where Jackson’s Division had its last camp, we found the very best type
of Southern people. They had really seen very little of the war, though
sorrow had been brought to many a home by the casualties of battle. Here
was a lovely country in which a war-worn soldier could sit down to
commune with nature, where she was never more beautifully and
bountifully manifested in birds, flowers and fertile fields. It was so
restful to the soul to know that we were done with guns and bloody work.
The present was the present, the future was the future. We were taking
care of the present. We would take care of the future when we got to it.
Whipped or not, we had loved ones at home and were going to them;
whipped or not, we felt assured that we had done our duty to our
prostrate country, which never had more than the shadow of a chance for
the success of a separate existence; whipped or not, we could face those
who had urged us to go to the war, and say that we had fought it to a
finish. It perhaps seems strange to many that there was no weeping or
wailing, at least about where I was, because of the defeat of Southern
hopes. I account for this upon the hypothesis that both officers and
privates had been, for nearly two years, contemplating not only the
possibility but the probability of defeat, and were therefore mentally
prepared for almost anything which fate should decree. Certainly, the
consensus of opinion was, that many mistakes had been made by the civil
and military authorities during the four years of war, but there was no
intense spirit of criticism. Whether a Confederate soldier thought that
everything possible had been done, with the limited resources at hand,
or not, he was very apt to be of the opinion that some means should have
been brought into play to stop the war long before it was. I am of the
opinion that the diligent student of history has come to the same
conclusion. Why so many held on so tenaciously to a cause that had grown
so desperate, I have tried to show on other pages. Duty and honor are
the chief elements in a long story, though this statement of the case
can hardly be so well appreciated by the present generation as by the
active participants in the war.

The following excerpt is taken from _Destruction and Reconstruction_, by
Lieutenant-General Dick Taylor, the only son of the last Whig president,
and a man whose mental acumen was of the sharper kind, and whose varied
learning would have graced any court: “Upon what foundations the civil
authorities of the Confederacy rested their hopes of success, after the
campaign of 1864 fully opened, I am unable to say; but their commanders
in the field, whose rank and position enabled them to estimate the
situation, fought simply to afford statesmanship an opportunity to
mitigate the sorrows of inevitable defeat.”

This comports well with what I heard Confederate States Senator James
Phelan of Mississippi, say, more than forty years ago, to the effect
that the politicians at Richmond consumed most of their time in
discussing abstruse questions of constitutional law and other subjects
that might well have been deferred till the armies in the field could
settle the question of independence. I took it that he thought there was
little use for a constitution in a time of revolution or rebellion, but
the chief concern should have been the perfecting of such measures as
would strengthen our armies and achieve victories. It was well known
that there were jealousies and dissensions among the officers of our
armies from the beginning to the close of the war. What was at first
war gossip became of record as soon after the surrender as some of these
were able to contribute to our current literature. Posterity will be
asking why some of the serious accusations made were not, at the proper
time, brought to the notice of a court-martial.

When the future historian comes to make up the sum total of the causes
which led to the downfall of the Confederacy, he will have only a
written record to draw from, and will possibly be perplexed in his
endeavor to pronounce an honest judgment in regard to men who, though
differing so widely in opinion, were believed to be brave and



When I was a boy in Anson County, North Carolina, where I was born “with
a full suit of hair” about the time “the stars fell,” I had two brothers
living in Sumter County, Alabama, which was said to be six hundred miles
away. That seemed to me then to be about as much as six thousand miles
seem now. It was an inscrutable order of Providence that, after having
lived in four other States, attended two colleges, become the father of
a family, and served four years in a great civil war, I should lay down
my arms in that same Sumter County.

The details of surrender were all arranged without the appearance of a
Federal officer in our camp, the same being conducted in the most
punctilious manner and without any effort to humiliate. We were pleased
to learn that the same terms upon which Lee and Johnston had surrendered
would be accorded to us. The officers retained their arms and horses and
the men their horses. Blank paroles were furnished by the Federals.
Those of Company E were filled out in my handwriting.

The noble address of General Forrest, urging his men to become as good
citizens in peace as they had been soldiers in war, was pronounced
entirely appropriate and a model in sentiment and expression.

The ceremony of tearing up the flag, fashioned from the bridal dress of
an Aberdeen lady, was gone through with and small bits of it distributed
among the soldiers and officers of the Seventh Tennessee Regiment. I did
not think then that this was exactly the thing to do and have regretted
the proceeding since, particularly because of the liberality of the
Federal government in restoring the captured flags of the Southern
States. Ours was a regular confederate flag and made of such material
that it could have been preserved indefinitely.

In our camp it was “pretty well, I thank you; how do you do yourself?”
Billy Yank, Johnny Reb, or anybody else--a pleasant abandon in regard to
environments and no thought of prolonging the war beyond the Mississippi
or helping Maximilian to a throne in Mexico. We were going home. The
direct road to Bolivar, Tenn., over two hundred miles in length, was
uppermost in our minds. At Macon, Miss., we drew our last rations, which
were bountiful, as there was now no need of economy, and we had a long
road before us. The men were entirely without official restraint, but
those of Company E preserved their organization till we reached
Saulsbury, Tenn., where we gave the first friendly salute to Federal
soldiers, and the men went their several ways. I was riding the last few
miles with three of my former pupils. That dear good fellow and gallant
little soldier, James E. Wood, the man who rode “Sal’s Colt,” but has
been more recently a well known editor and a distinguished member of the
Arkansas senate, turned off at Middleburg and left George Bright, now of
Danville, Ky., and Billy Myrick, long since dead, with me to face the
folks at home.

The transition from soldier to citizen was easy. By a dive into my
ancient wardrobe, I secured several articles of wearing apparel, among
them a Prince Albert coat. I was not exactly _a la mode_, or whatever
the French say, but with a new blockade hat I felt “mighty fine,” and
doubtless looked as innocent of war as the Goddess of Peace. “Whatsoever
cometh to your hands to do, do it with all your might.” I acted upon
that. I opened a summer session of the Bolivar Male Academy in the
railway station on the 31st of May, 1865. The Academy building had been
defaced by the Federal army to such an extent that it was untenable, and
we had no cars running for more than three months. So much changed had
conditions become that of the sixty-six pupils in school in May, 1861,
only four, James J. Neely, Jr., George B. Peters, Jr., James Fentress,
Jr., and Charles A. Miller, returned to greet me. Seventeen of the
sixty-six entered the army, fourteen as members of Company E and three
as members of other commands. Four of the fourteen were killed on the
field and all of the others served till the close of the war. Eleven of
the seventeen are dead and six are living.

The station was a pleasant place for a summer session and boys were so
anxious for instruction that I was soon teaching seven hours a day. They
wanted Latin and Greek and mathematics, and we went at them with a will.
The roots of the verbs and the rules of syntax had only lain dormant in
my own mind during the four years and were easily recalled. The work
became so much a part of my life, and the homelike feeling of the
schoolroom returned so readily, that an assurance of my forty-odd years
of like employment would have come as a pleasing announcement. But so it
is, the forty years and more have come and gone, and I am still walking
among my fellows, hardly knowing how to put on the ways of an old man,
but in good humor with all the world. I have concluded to conclude this
book with the following conclusions:

1. That it is an everlasting pity the war was not averted because of
the great mortality of good citizens on both sides, the backset given to
the morals of the whole country, the sectional feeling engendered and
likely to endure for a season, and the loss of wealth and prestige by
the Southern people.

2. That the victors in a civil war pay dearly for their success in the
demoralization of the people at large by having so numerous an element
supported by the government; in the rascally transactions connected with
army contracts; and in the enlargement of that class of pestiferous
statesmen (?) who have been aptly described as being “invisible in war
and invincible in peace.”

3. That the most peaceful of Southern men can be readily converted into
the most warlike soldiers when convinced that they have a proper
grievance; can march further on starvation rations and in all kinds of
weather, and will take less note of disparity of numbers in battle than
will any other soldiers on earth.

4. That the South, in the war period, was essentially a country of
horseback riders, and her young men furnished the material out of which
was formed, when properly handled, regiments of cavalry that were
practically invincible, even when confronting an adversary of twice or
thrice their own strength.

5. That Forrest’s men demonstrated the fact that Southern cavalrymen,
fighting on foot, can meet, with good chances of victory, a superior
number of veteran infantry in the open field.

6. That in cavalry operations, the most essential thing is a bold and
clashing leader, who will strike furiously before the enemy has time to
consider what is coming, and with every available man in action.

7. That Nathan Bedford Forrest, by his deeds in war, became an exemplar
of horseback fighting, whose shining qualities might well become the
measure of other deeds on other fields when war is flagrant.

8. That there is not an instance recorded where so large a body of
defeated soldiers returned so contentedly to their former pursuits,
“beating their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning
hooks;” yes, thousands of them going into the fields to plough and plant
with the same horses they rode in battle.

9. That the unpreparedness of both sides at the beginning of the war
emphasizes the necessity for a thorough preparedness of our united
country for any emergency, that is to say, that while Uncle Sam needs
not to be strutting around “with a chip on his shoulder,” and his hat
cocked up on the side of his head, he should be able to say to “the
other fellow” that he is rich in men and munitions, and, moreover, has
the finest navy that floats.

10. That having taken an humble part in a great war in which I ofttimes
looked upon the pale faces of the dead and heard the groans of the
wounded, having now had fifty years, from its beginning, to reflect upon
its calamities, I am firmly of the opinion that all enlightened nations
will finally come to arbitration in the settlement of international

11. That no true picture of war can be drawn, either in words or on
canvas, because of the elements so numerous and so complex to be
considered. And even if this were possible, it would be a representation
of a horrifying spectacle.

12. That the victorious shouts of men in battle bring small remuneration
and poor consolation to the bereaved widows and orphans of their dead
comrades at home.

13. That Gen. Grant, after a wonderful experience in the bloody work of
war, knew himself thoroughly well when he uttered the memorable words:

                         “LET US HAVE PEACE.”





Fitted to the occasion and apt in expression, the reading of this
address falls upon the ear like that of a classic, while it does not
suffer by comparison with more pretentious compositions of its kind.
Coming from an unlettered man at an eventful period, as did Lincoln’s
Gettysburg address, or Chief Logan’s speech, though written in small
compass, it leaves, like them, little else to be said. In sentiment, it
is lofty and full of patriotic fire. In literary form, though somewhat
rugged, like the character of its author, it exhibits qualities of a
trained writer, especially in that it teems with cogent expressions in
proper connection, which are fully explanatory of the situation. It is a
heart-word of a great commander to his soldiers, an appeal to their
better instincts, a piece of sound advice upon which they were quick to
act. To be its author brings more renown than can equestrian statues or
tablets in bronze.

                                  HEADQUARTERS FORREST’S CAVALRY CORPS,

                                        Gainesville, Ala., May 9, 1865.

Soldiers:--By an agreement between Lieutenant-General Taylor, commanding
the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, and
Major-General Canby, commanding United States forces, the troops of this
Department have been surrendered.

I do not think it proper or necessary, at this time, to refer to the
causes which have reduced us to this extremity; nor is it now a matter
of material consequence to us how such results were brought about. That
we are beaten is a self-evident fact, and any further resistance on our
part would be justly regarded as the very height of folly and rashness.

The armies of General Lee and General Johnston having surrendered, you
are the last of all the troops of the Confederate States Army, east of
the Mississippi river, to lay down your arms.

The cause for which you have so long and so manfully struggled, and for
which you have braved dangers, endured privations and sufferings, and
made so many sacrifices, is today hopeless. The government which we
sought to establish and perpetuate is at an end. Reason dictates and
humanity demands that no more blood be shed. Fully realizing and
feeling that such is the case, it is your duty and mine to lay down our
arms, submit to the powers that be, and aid in restoring peace and
establishing law and order throughout the land.

The terms upon which you were surrendered are favorable, and should be
satisfactory and acceptable to all. They manifest a spirit of
magnanimity and liberality on the part of the Federal authorities, which
should be met, on our part, by a faithful compliance with all the
stipulations and conditions therein expressed. As your Commander, I
sincerely hope that every officer and soldier of my command will
cheerfully obey the orders given, and carry out in good faith all the
terms of the cartel.

Those who neglect the terms and refuse to be paroled may assuredly
expect, when arrested, to be sent North and imprisoned.

Let those who are absent from their commands, from whatever cause,
report at once to this place, or to Jackson, Mississippi; or, if too
remote from either, to the nearest United States post or garrison, for

Civil war, such as you have passed through, naturally engenders feelings
of animosity, hatred and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of
all such feelings; and, as far as in our power to do so, to cultivate
friendly feelings toward those with whom we have so long contended, and
heretofore so widely, but honestly, differed. Neighborhood feuds,
personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out; and
when you return home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will
secure the respect even of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities
may be to government, to society, or to individuals, meet them like men.

The attempt made to establish a separate and independent Confederation
has failed; but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully
and to the end will, in some measure, repay you for the hardships you
have undergone.

In bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry with you my best
wishes for your future welfare and happiness. Without, in any way,
referring to the merits of the cause in which we have been engaged, your
courage and determination, as exhibited on many hard-fought fields, have
elicited the respect and admiration of friend and foe. And I now
cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers
and men of my command, whose zeal, fidelity and unflinching bravery have
been the great source of my success in arms.

I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to
go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself
unwilling to pursue. You _have_ been good soldiers; you _can be_ good
citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government to
which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be, magnanimous.

                                     N. B. FORREST, Lieutenant-General.


After a lapse of forty-six years, the author readily recalls to mind the
names of most of the one hundred and eighty-nine men who were, first and
last, enlisted in Company E, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. As a token,
either of friendship, begotten by association in the hardships of camp
and march, or of gallantry on the field, these names are herewith

Captains J. J. Neely, W. J. Tate, J. P. Statler, Lieutenants T. G.
Patrick, W. W. McCarley, Leonidas Bills, J. Fiske Weaver, T. N.
Crawford, Hardy Harris, W. C. Mashburn, and V. F. Ruffin.

Dr. Joe F. Allen, John Allen, John W. Bradford, Dr. F. N. Brown, R. U.
Brown, E. P. Blaylock, Stanton Blaylock, R. L. Billington, Geo. P.
Bright, Sam Breden, Tom Boucher, J. E. Carraway, N. B. Cross, W. H.
Caruth, George Campbell, A. S. Coleman, S. H. Clinton, W. T. Campbell,
Israel Dougherty, J. B. David, John W. Duncan, D. E. Durrett, R. D.
Durrett, James F. Dunlap, William Elkins, Joe Erwin, James Fentress,
Francis Fentress, John T. Fortune, William Fulghum, J. V. Field, Alex.
Gilchrist, James H. Grove, Sam Gibson, J. W. Gillespie, Thomas
Gillespie, Jesse Gibson, Orris Harris, James Hackney, Morris Hartigan,
J. T. Hundley, C. L. Harrison, Mat Hornsby, N. E. Hughes, W. C. Hardy,
Jerome Hill, J. Tom Joyner, John J. Lambert, Morris Lay, W. C. Lewis, C.
B. Linthicum, William McKinney, David McKinney, P. H. McKinnie, B. F.
Mashburn, J. E. Mashburn, Dr. R. M. Mayes, W. T. Myrick, James Moore, W.
R. Nelson, Dr. J. W. Nelson, Charles R. Neely, R. K. Neel, G. C. Neil,
Sol Phillips, William A. Polk, A. H. D. Perkins, Dock Pipkin, Austin M.
Statler, Tom Turney, P. B. Tatum, R. G. Tatum, Sherrill Tisdale, Eli
Terry, W. A. Taylor, James H. Weatherly, and James E. Wood.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

purpose of surroundng=> purpose of surrounding {pg 23}

riding a spendid mule=> riding a splendid mule {pg 39}

making an atttack=> making an attack {pg 40}

somewhat unexepectedly came upon=> somewhat unexpectedly came upon {pg

In relating his incident=> In relating his incident {pg 46}

apt to reecive=> apt to receive {pg 59}

his escort came unexepectedly=> his escort came unexpectedly {pg 98}

part of them were Tennesseeeans=> part of them were Tennesseeans {pg

Forrest loss about 140 officers=> Forrest lost about 140 officers {pg

Forest had complete possession of the city=> Forrest had complete
possession of the city {pg 145}

langauge at hand to express=> language at hand to express {pg 155}

abtruse questions=> abstruse questions {pg 192}

in the enlargment of=> in the enlargement of {pg 198}

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