By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: War Stories for my Grandchildren
Author: Foster, John Watson
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War Stories for my Grandchildren" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Internet Archive (https://archive.org)

      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See


[Illustration: Major John W. Foster, Mary Parke Foster]




[Illustration: Emblem]

Washington, D.C.
Printed for Private Circulation
The Riverside Press Cambridge

Copyright, 1918, by John Foster Dulles
All Rights Reserved


As they were growing up, I was frequently importuned by my
grandchildren to tell them of my experiences in the Civil War for the
Union; and now as the great-grandchildren are coming on, their parents
are asking that these experiences be put in some permanent form, as
their children may never have the opportunity to hear the narrative
from me. I naturally shrink from giving general publicity to my
personal experiences, especially as the field has been already so fully
covered by comrades in arms; but I have consented to prepare such a
narrative on condition that its circulation be confined to the family

In preparing the narrative I have not thought it wise to trust to
my memory of events which happened more than half a century ago;
and fortunately I have at hand my many letters written to my wife,
giving in detail my experiences during my entire service in the army,
and while they are in some respects too intimate and confidential
for general publicity, they have the merit of freedom from studied
preparation and constitute an account of events as they occurred.

In this preparation I have indulged the hope that through it our
children of this and coming generations may be inspired by a greater
devotion to the American Union, for which their forefathers hazarded
their lives and endured the hardships of war.



     I. INTRODUCTION                       1
    II. THE MISSOURI CAMPAIGN              5
    IV. THE BATTLE OF SHILOH              52
     V. ON TO CORINTH AND MEMPHIS         81
        APPENDIX                         179



After the inauguration of President Lincoln, March 4, 1861, much
discussion followed in Washington and in the North, and plans were
proposed respecting peaceable adjustment of the troubles occasioned
by the secession of the Southern States from the Union. But the first
hostile gun fired at Fort Sumter and the National flag, on April 12,
put an end to all peace proposals, and solidified the North in favor
of restoring and preserving the Union by force of arms. As one of our
statesmen of that day expressed it, yesterday there had been difference
of opinion, to-day there was unity.

When two days afterwards the President's call for seventy-five thousand
volunteers for three months' service was issued, my first impulse was
to respond to that call; but before any movement for enlistments could
be made in our locality the quota of Indiana was filled to overflowing.
I was content for several reasons to await the progress of events.

I cherished no desire for military glory, and distrusted my special
fitness for the life of a soldier. In my college days I had contracted
a horror of war and regarded it as the most terrible and futile of
human follies. Shortly before my graduation I had delivered a public
address for my literary society on peace and war, using as its title
Charles Sumner's well-known oration--"The True Grandeur of Nations." I
regarded myself as a peace man.

I had only recently entered upon the practice of my profession, and was
ambitious to make a reputation as a lawyer. But, most serious of all, I
had just established a modest home with a young wife and our first-born
babe of less than a year old. It would be a terrible strain upon my
affections and hopes to break these dearest of all ties for a life in
the military service.

I, with the great body of the people of the North, entertained the hope
that the seventy-five thousand men, who constituted the army so quickly
formed, would prove sufficient for the reëstablisment of the Federal
Union. But the battle of Bull Run, July 21, dispelled that delusion,
and the President's call for three hundred thousand afterwards
increased to five hundred thousand volunteers for three years' service
indicated that a long and bloody war was in prospect. I resolved no
longer to delay my entrance into that service.

Two days after that battle I wrote my wife as follows:--

"I intended to have written you a long letter last night in reply to
your good one received yesterday afternoon, but I had no heart to
write. The terrible and disastrous calamity to our army has made me
sick. A thousand times rather would I have given my life and left you
a widow and my darling child fatherless than that this defeat should
have happened. I think I shall go to Indianapolis to-morrow to urge my
immediate appointment in our new regiment. I want to help retrieve our
lost fortune. I have no fear of our ultimate triumph."

When the President's second call for volunteers was issued, a movement
was at once set on foot to organize a regiment at Evansville, my home,
and the Governor of the State had intimated his intention to appoint
me major of this new regiment. On August 9 my appointment as major was
made. The next day I sent my wife's brother, Alexander, to Glendale,
near Cincinnati, where she was visiting her mother, to notify her of
the event and give her details of the situation. He bore her a letter
in which I wrote: "Zan [Alexander] will explain the cause of his
coming. I want to be with my wife as much as I can before I go, so you
must hurry home _as fast as you can_.... While you are a loving wife,
remember to be a _brave woman_ and your husband will love you the more."

I had gone to Glendale some time before to talk over with my wife my
intention to enter the army, and she had given her consent; but when
the time came for me to take the final step she seemed to hesitate and
draw back. It was a terrible trial to contemplate, her solitary lot
with her little babe and I away in the army. In answer to her letter
I wrote: "You seem in your last letter to be about to withdraw your
consent to let me go. That was the special reason of my late visit to
Glendale, and I thought it was agreed. I have a very honorable and, to
me, very flattering position, and in some degree removed from danger;
and of course I shall, for the love I bear my wife and child, be as
careful of my life as my duty will permit. The President has called for
four hundred thousand men, and of that number it is my duty to be one.
I regard this as important a war as that of the Revolution, the issue
is the life and maintenance of the Government, and I would be ashamed
of myself, and my children should be ashamed of me in after years, if
I declined so honorable a position as that tendered me. Be of good

In response to my call she came at once to Evansville, and soon entered
into the spirit of my work in organizing and outfitting the regiment,
and, as will be seen later in these pages, she remained to the close of
my service my faithful and devoted supporter.


The organization at Evansville became the Twenty-fifth Indiana
Infantry Regiment of Volunteers. On August 22, thirteen days after its
official staff was appointed, the regiment was ordered to St. Louis,
Missouri. It was a notable farewell the citizens of Evansville and the
surrounding country gave the regiment on its departure. The deportment
of my wife I refer to in one of my first letters to her from St. Louis.
I copy it at some length because it reflects the sentiments of hundreds
of thousands of other soldiers:--

"I felt proud of you as my wife and loved you the more for the manner
in which you acted on the departure of our regiment from Evansville.
While I know that no wife loves her husband more than you do me, yet
you could let me go off, for how long you know not, to brave the
dangers of the battlefield, because I thought it my duty, without a
murmur or reproach or entreaty. And now that I am away, I hope you will
be the true woman still. You know that our separation is not harder
for you to bear, surrounded by home and all its comforts, your darling
child and dear mother, than it is for me deprived of all these. You
must be hopeful and cheerful. I am here because duty prompts me, and
you would be ashamed of me if I were not here.

"I will try to do all I can to preserve my health and so far protect
myself from dangers as my duty and honor will permit. You must remember
that there are tens of thousands of wives who bear the same lot as you
do. It would make me very unhappy to know that you were disheartened
and lamenting my absence and exposure to danger; and, on the contrary,
it would lighten my trials to know that you were bearing it like a
brave, true-hearted woman. I know you are my devoted wife, and I know
you will act your part nobly."

Our regiment was ordered to St. Louis because the State of Missouri
was in a critical condition and in danger of being swept onto the side
of the rebellion. St. Louis had been placed on the side of the Union
by the daring and promptness of Frank P. Blair and General Lyon, the
commander of the arsenal and barracks, in the seizure of the rebel Camp
Jackson, and dispersion of the State Guards stationed in the city.
But before our arrival the Union forces had met with a disastrous
repulse at Wilson Creek, and General Lyon killed, one of the most
promising of the Union generals. Soon after we reached St. Louis, the
Confederate General Price captured Lexington, took the entire Union
force prisoners, and was overrunning the greater portion of the State.
General Frémont had been assigned to the command of the Department, and
troops were being rushed forward to enable him to clear the State of

The Twenty-fifth Indiana remained at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, for
three weeks, while Frémont was organizing his army to drive General
Price and his forces out of the State. How we occupied our time is in
part shown by my letters. James C. Veatch, the colonel of our regiment,
was appointed largely because of the service he had rendered in the
campaign for the election of Lincoln, but it proved a good appointment.
The lieutenant-colonel, William H. Morgan, had seen some service with
the three months' volunteers and as a member of a military company had
acquired some knowledge of drill and tactics. He was the only person in
our regiment of 1047 officers and men who knew anything about military

After being in camp at Benton Barracks a few days, I wrote:--

"Our colonel is doing all he can for the comfort and convenience of
his men. Ever since we arrived, he has been stirring up headquarters
in our behalf. In a day or two he will have us paid off, which will be
decidedly acceptable; and is now bent on having us supplied with good
guns before we leave here, and though good guns are scarce here, he
thinks he will succeed.

"Colonel Morgan is invaluable as a drill and camp officer. He devotes
three hours each day to the instruction of the officers, and two hours
to battalion drill, besides his other duties. He has the officers
recite to him daily from the Book of Tactics. Our regiment is under
excellent discipline and very orderly, and I am satisfied if they will
give us a few weeks to drill and good guns, that we will do honor to
the State and country."

In the same letter to my wife, I wrote of myself:--

"Although the place of major may be one of ease, if an officer desires
he may keep himself busy and be quite useful in regulating the camp,
seeing that the officers and men do their duty, looking after the
wants of the men, assisting in battalion drill, etc. And I am the more
busy, because in addition I devote from two to five hours in study and
recitation of the tactics. I accepted the position in our regiment, not
as a sinecure, but because I thought my country needed my services, and
I have resolved to leave nothing undone that will fit me to discharge
my duties properly, and so prepare myself that if it should ever happen
that the lives of a thousand men should be placed in my keeping, I
might, as Dr. Daily would say, be competent for an emergency. So that
now the time does not hang heavily on my hands. Personally I am getting
along very well in camp."

A few days later I report that the regiment has received its first
payment, and I make a remittance to my wife of $130 in gold.

My father, then in his sixty-second year, was an ardent defender of the
Union, and took great interest in the organization of our regiment, to
which he contributed two of his sons, my brother, next to me in age,
being the quartermaster of our regiment. He had ordered to be made the
flags of the regiment, and as they were not finished before it left
Evansville, they were presented at Benton Barracks, of which I give the
following account to my wife:--

"We had the ceremony of the Flags' Presentation yesterday at dress
parade. Colonel Veatch read father's letter and made some very
appropriate remarks, and the thanks of the regiment were unanimously
tendered to him for his appropriate and valuable gift. The National
flag is very fine, but I think the regimental flag is the best and most
elegant I ever saw. There is no regiment from Indiana and I think none
in the West that has as fine a stand of colors as ours. The men are
very proud of them."

The following extract describes a treat at Benton Barracks, the like
of which we had more than once during the year, as we were on or near
the Mississippi, Cumberland, and Tennessee Rivers within easy reach of

"Your box of good things came on Sunday and was opened immediately.
That evening we had what your Cincinnati cousin would call 'a sumptous
tea.' William, our cook, got out all his dishes and I furnished him
with a new tablecloth and he got up a table in fine style with your
dainties, with the aid of the bouquets and fruits our kind neighbors
here had sent. Not only Aleck and I, but all our _mess_ have enjoyed
your treat very highly."

One of the matters that troubled me about giving up my affairs at
Evansville was the continued maintenance of a large Mission Sunday
School which I had organized and kept up in a flourishing way for some
years. I did not get encouraging news as to its condition, and I wrote
my wife about an efficient superintendent:--

"I hardly know whom you can get in my place. There are very few men who
will take the trouble and have the patience and perseverance to keep
the school up through the hot summer and cold winter successfully as
I have done for four years. But it ought not to go down."

The school was maintained for some time, but it was discontinued long
before the war closed.

Some of the embarrassments attending my new and untried duties are
described in the following letter:--

"I was detailed to-day as field officer of the brigade, and have been
kept busy all day, in the saddle almost continuously from 8 A.M. to
5 P.M., and am tired enough. I went over this morning and reported
myself to the general for duty, and the first thing he said was that
the adjutant-general was away and I would have to mount the brigade
guard. As I had never even mounted a regimental guard, you may be sure
it rather stumped me, but like a soldier I did my best, and in the
presence of the general, the officer of the day, and other officers I
performed the duty and passed the guard in review satisfactorily."

After three weeks of instruction and comfort at Benton Barracks we
received orders to go to the front, and fearing my wife might be
disturbed by the movement, I wrote her a consolatory letter:--

"We have orders to leave to-morrow for Jefferson City. Of course we
are in great hurry and have very little time to write letters, even to
dear and loving ones at home. We left our homes to fight our country's
battles, and naturally we are glad to see a prospect of that kind of
work before us. You must not be unduly solicitous or alarmed. You may
hear reports of the Twenty-fifth being entirely cut to pieces or all
prisoners, even before we are in sight of our enemy. Don't place any
confidence in vague rumors. If anything serious takes place, Aleck or I
will send early word home, or some of our friends will for us, and if
you do not hear, you may be certain we are busy or out of telegraphic
or mail communication, and you need not think we are dead or prisoners.
Be a true, brave woman. Act worthy of a soldier's wife, and put your
trust in God, remembering that He does all things well."

The trip to Jefferson City was one of many railroad rides the regiment
had, all more or less uncomfortable. I wrote, September 16:--

"I have only time to write you a pencil note at the dépôt. We arrived
here safely yesterday at noon, but tired and in bad condition. As
we began our march from Benton Barracks a hard rain set in and so
continued half the day. Reached the dépôt at 3 P.M., but did not get
off till 10 P.M., in crowded cars, little sleep, rain all night, with
leaky cars. It took us fifteen hours to run to this place, one hundred
and twenty-five miles. Just as we reached our camp it commenced to rain
in torrents again and so continued nearly all night. We got the tents
out in the rain. If we get through safely with our first experience in
hardships of soldiering we will do pretty well."

Our regiment had been ordered to Jefferson City to form part of the
grand army with which Frémont was expected to sweep Price and his
forces out of Missouri, and for the next three months and more we were
engaged in marching and counter-marching with hardly any fighting
worth recording. One of the not unusual experiences of camp life, when
the enemy were supposed to be near, I gave my wife while at Jefferson

"The news here to-day is that Lexington is taken by the secessionists.
If that is so we are going to have some warm work in this part of the
country. Night before last several shots were heard in the direction
of our pickets two or three miles out, which caused the alarm to be
sounded and brought out all the regiments of the brigade into line of
battle. Some of them came out with a great deal of noise and confusion.
Ours came in perfect order and to our full satisfaction; a person fifty
yards from our line would not have known that there was any disturbance
at all going on in our camp....

"I get along tolerably well in daytime, as I keep so busy with other
matters I don't have time to get homesick. But last night I had such a
sweet dream about little Alice; and then when I woke and found it only
a dream, how I wanted to be at home just a little while to see you and
her. But let us be of good cheer and hope. I will be with you again."

This is a frequent topic of my letters. A few weeks later I write:--

"The parts of your letters about our Alice were the most interesting to
me. The dear little darling, how I would love to see her walk. Don't
let her forget her papa."

How my dream recalled one of Campbell's war poems with which I was so
familiar in college, "The Soldier's Dream":--

  "The bugles sang truce, for the night cloud had lowered."

In another letter from Jefferson City I write:--

"You say in your letter received to-day that you are so glad we did
not go to Kentucky, because they are going to have fighting there. We
were very much disappointed in not being ordered to that very place,
and just because there was to be fighting there, and we might aid
our brethren in Kentucky. If our Government is worth anything it is
worth defending and to maintain it thousands of our lives would be a
cheap price. We must all look at it in this light, and do our duty

A further extract from the same letter:--

"We have had considerable trouble in having our guards learn their duty
as sentinels. This week one of our sentinels was found asleep on his
post. We sentenced him to be shot, at a court-martial, but recommended
him to clemency; at the same time privately having the colonel
understand it was merely formal to make the soldiers more careful

"So yesterday at dress parade the regiment was thrown into a hollow
square, the prisoner brought out and sentence pronounced with great
gravity, making to all who did not understand it a very solemn scene.
The prisoner was remanded to confinement to await execution. This
morning the members of the companies all cast lots to decide who should
be in the unfortunate squad to shoot him. The ten men who drew the
_black beans_ were brought up before headquarters this morning and
notified that to-morrow morning at daylight they would have a terrible
duty to discharge, without telling them what it was, they readily
imagining it.

"To-day the young man was suffering greatly, but he would not tell
where his father or family are, for fear we should write them about
it. He says his father told him if he died in battle he would be
satisfied, but never to disgrace himself. And he promised that if we
would only release him, he would give a good account of himself on the
battlefield. He will be released in the morning, and we won't have any
sleepy sentinels soon again."

Five days later I write from Georgetown:--

"We left Jefferson City Monday morning and came up to Lamine River,
fifty miles, where we joined the Eighth and Twenty-fourth Indiana,
and Colonel Veatch took command. Tuesday morning we heard there were
seven thousand rebels near here [Georgetown]. The colonels of the
other regiments wanted Veatch to stay at Lamine, but Colonel Morgan
and I urged him on, knowing that we were equal to two to one, or
even three, on the prairie with our long-range guns. It was greatly
through our urging that Colonel Veatch decided to go forward. We were
anxious to have a pure _Hoosier_ fight with the rebels, and were glad
of the prospect. We left at 3 P.M., all of us expecting to meet seven
thousand at night or in the morning. It was a race, we supposed, for
the possession of Georgetown, and by ten o'clock at night we passed
over the seventeen miles with our whole force, and entered the town
peaceably, without disturbing a citizen from sleep, and slept in the
court-house yard. It was our first march on foot and a hard one, but
we made it finely. The last two miles were very trying on the men. The
only way we kept them up was by riding down the lines and telling the
men it was only over the hill to the enemy, and we would have them
certain. But no enemy was near, none nearer than Lexington. I don't
know how I will feel on the battlefield, but as yet I have no fear of
going into a fight.

"We are at last settled after hard marching, rainy weather, and various
hardships. I have been in the saddle nearly all the time for four days.
Yesterday I stationed the picket guards, and it took about forty miles'
riding, but I am standing it well. It is just what I need. I enjoy it
finely, eat largely, and have no dyspepsia [a trouble at home].

"Near to our camp is a neat little cottage all furnished with
everything, nice beds, furniture and carpets, dining-room and kitchen
furniture complete. It is the house of a young lawyer, who was married
this spring, was a secessionist, was taken prisoner, took the oath of
loyalty, violated it, and is now in the rebel army, and subject to be
shot if he is ever caught. His wife has fled to her father's. Colonel
Veatch has established his brigade headquarters in his house, and we
are living in style. I am writing at his desk, using his paper."

While in Georgetown I gave this picture of the country:--

"For the first time we are really in the enemy's country, and are
seeing the effects of secession and some of the terrible results of
war. As we passed through the villages on our march here, the houses
were nearly all deserted, the doors closed, and very few persons to be
found. A sign of dreariness rested on everything. And when we arrived
here at Georgetown, the county seat and numbers about a thousand
people, at least one half of the houses were vacant, the stores closed,
and business suspended.

"Georgetown has seen several reverses since the rebellion broke out,
being several times in possession of both rebel and Federal troops.
When the rebels came in, the Union men fled the country or took to
the woods and slept among the bushes. Many women so exposed on the
cold, damp ground lost their lives by the exposure. I took dinner a
day or two ago with a gentleman, a citizen here, who formerly lived at
Mount Vernon [near Evansville]. He had his store broken open in broad
daylight by a company of the rebel army, and fifteen hundred dollars'
worth of his goods carried away, while he was a refugee in the woods.
Many men have lost their all.

"Such outrages have naturally enough begotten a spirit of revenge
among Union men, and those of them of more violent passions and lesser
principles have retaliated, until one wrong begetting another has
brought on a spirit of bitterness and enmity among the people which is
truly deplorable. I never want to see such a state of society again.
The dregs of the population are uppermost, and the honest and innocent
suffer. Surely it is a holy mission of ours to give peace, and safety,
and law to this country. This part of the State is the most beautiful
farming country I ever saw, and certainly it needs peace. Here truly
'only man is vile.'"

In another letter from Georgetown, I report:--

"As to the enemy I don't know anything that is definite. We have a
report this evening that they are only twenty-six miles away, but we
have had them right on us so often before, that I hardly believe any
reports we hear about them. But we try to keep prepared, our men sleep
on their arms, and we station our pickets out five or ten miles."

As already noticed, the first payment to our regiment was made in gold
coin, but the second one is noticed from Georgetown as follows: "I sent
you by the Paymaster to be expressed from St. Louis $150 in _Treasury
Notes_. I suppose the Treasury Notes are good, but when you can get
them changed into gold I would do it, to lay by for later use."

This suggests that I had early anticipated the coming depreciation of
Government paper currency, and in later remittances I repeated this
injunction, so that when I retired from the army my wife had as her
savings from my pay a considerable sum in gold, which she converted
into "greenbacks" at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents for one
dollar gold.

In her letters more than once my wife writes of the alarm created among
her neighbors for fear the rebel forces would capture Evansville, our
home. In a letter, October 13, I wrote her:--

"You say in some of your letters that the people were packing up to
leave Evansville when the rebels come. I do not believe they will
ever reach there, but if they should come I would not, if I were you,
leave your home or pack up. Your valuables you might put into a place
of security, but they will not injure peaceable and discreet women at

In a letter of October 15, I report a movement of our brigade to

"We have come here to go into Major-General Pope's division of
Frémont's army in Davis's brigade. How long we will remain here is
uncertain, but I guess only a few days, when we shall go south in
search of Price.

"The bad weather has made a large number of our men sick, and two or
three hundred were left behind. General Davis put me in charge of them
with orders to get wagons and bring them forward. The sick department
of our army is the most unpleasant, the most troublesome, and the most
neglected in the whole service. I would rather at any time encounter
the dangers of the battlefield than the hospital and receive the
treatment of privates. It is a shame to humanity and our Government
that it is so much neglected, at least here."

A few days later I wrote:--

"I have no time to write you a letter. I am doing most of the business
of the regiment, both of the colonels being sick. All of our brigade
left this morning in the forward movement except our regiment, which
was left behind for three reasons--the brigade took all our wagons, we
had so large a number of sick, and a regiment was to be left to forward
supplies. We will leave as soon as we get transportation.

"Aleck [my brother, regimental quartermaster] has been promoted to
post quartermaster of General Pope's division, and will be stationed
at Otterville, charged with the duty of drawing from St. Louis and
forwarding supplies to the division, a very responsible position, and
earned by his attention to his duties."

Three days later I wrote:--

"The health of our regiment has been very bad. It is almost unfit for
duty. We could only turn out two hundred for company drill, and could
hardly march five hundred to-morrow. Diarrhoea, chills and fever, and
measles are prevalent. Our officers are almost all laid up. Colonel
Morgan has gone to a private house to recruit for a few days. Aleck and
I have been the only officers at headquarters who have been entirely
fit for duty for several days."

Notwithstanding the condition of the regiment it became necessary for
me to run down to St. Louis by rail to bring forward our supply of
winter clothing, blankets, etc., and my wife met me there for a day. I
am answering her first letter after her return to Evansville, October

"I am sorry to have you write so despondingly, or rather was sorry to
know you felt so lonely (I always want you to write just as you feel).
But it was natural that you should feel badly after our separation,
for I know what my own feelings were. I trust you are more hopeful and
cheerful now. You must remember it is all for the best. I would be with
you in our comfortable home, enjoying all the happiness which you and
my dear and kind friends could bestow upon me, if I could. But it is
impossible. I should be a miserable coward to stay at home in ease and
luxury at such a time of national calamity and need."

I wrote again two days later, showing that I had a clear vision of the
result of Frémont's grand march to destroy Price:--

"I hardly think we can get off before the first of next week, but it
doesn't make much difference to us. We will hardly have a battle at
any rate, and will only march down into the lower part of the State to
winter, or drag our weary way back again. If this expedition is not a
Moscow defeat, I shall be highly gratified. But you must not be alarmed
about me. The officer who has a horse to ride and comfortably equipped
will be well situated, but it is the poor foot soldier who has to

I at last chronicle our departure:--

"I have only a moment to write you that we are just about marching to
the South. I am very busy, both the colonels and quartermaster being
sick. I am colonel, quartermaster, and almost everything else. My
health is very good. I see you are secretary of the Ladies Soldiers'
Aid Society. You can't do too much for the soldiers, but their greatest
need is in the hospitals, good nurses, good cooks, clean shirts,
sheets, and kind treatment. If I am to die in the army, I want it to be
on the battlefield, never in the miserable hospitals."

The following presents not an unusual phase of soldiering, but new to

"About this hour (3 A.M.) more than two months ago [the day the
regiment left Evansville] my good wife was up to give me a good
breakfast and bid me good-bye, and I ought to be able to write her a
short letter at the same hour.

"We left Otterville day before yesterday with all our regiment that
could march, with a train of fifty wagons. We had unbroken, balky
horses, and have had a hard time with the train. Our division is fifty
miles below Warsaw, and about out of provisions, and we have to use
great haste to get them forward. To expedite matters I have taken
personal command of the provision train and have been working hard at
it. Sometimes it takes us two hours to get over one hill, then two
hours to get through one mud-hole. I am not much of a wagoner, as you
know, but I have the authority and the knack of getting a good deal
of work out of the men. I have two good wagon-masters along with me.
I take their advice, and then assume to know all about it with the
drivers. You ought to see me preside over the difficulties of a hill or
a mud-hole. When a wagon gets stalled, I just get off my horse and put
my shoulder to it. The men work twice as hard when I help them. We got
along pretty well to-day and reached our camp long before dark. This
morning we have two heavy hills before us, and are up at three o'clock
to have the horses fed and ready for a move as soon as it is light.
Breakfast is announced and we must be ready to be off soon. If I get
through with the provisions in good time it will be equal to a _small
victory_ for our division of the army. I am well and hearty; this kind
of work makes me fat."

The culmination of this campaign is noted in a letter of November 7:--

"I have only time to write you a note to let you know we are safe in
Springfield, without a fight or loss of life. When we reached Warsaw we
received our orders from General Pope to come to Springfield by forced
marches with all possible rapidity, as the enemy were advancing upon us
in force. So for four days we marched twenty miles every day, which was
something unusual for any army, but our men stood it very well, and are
now much better for the exercise.

"When we arrived here we learned that Price was seventy miles away
from us and that there never was any danger. Officers speak very
disparagingly of Frémont. The indications are that we will march back
again in a few days. 'Up the hill and down again.'"

Sometime before the next letter was written from Warsaw, November 14,
on the march "down the hill," we had heard of the removal of General

"Our Missouri campaign has been a very barren affair. It may suit a
fellow who likes long walks and heavy marching, but there has not been
much of war in it. The only time there was to my mind any prospect of
a fight was at Georgetown. If Price had ever intended to fight, it was
his best chance. We have been chasing him all through the southern
part of the State on long and forced marches, wearing out our troops,
and spending immense sums of money, and Price keeping fifty miles away
from us all the time, and he is now clear over into Arkansas. The
Springfield campaign is over at least, and Frémont's reputation and our
soldiers' feet have been the sufferers. However popular Frémont may be
his military glory is ended.

"Our Colonel Veatch I regard as a man of unusual good judgment and has
been an ardent friend of Frémont, and yet says his removal was just
and needed, and such is almost the unanimous opinion of officers here.
Tell father if he has not become reconciled to the removal, a personal
knowledge of matters at St. Louis and here would satisfy him."

My youngest brother, Willie, was eight years old at this time, and I
make frequent references to him in my letters. From Syracuse I wrote
November 18:--

"We arrived here yesterday from our march of two hundred and fifty
miles. We left Otterville on October 29 and arrived here yesterday the
17th, having had only one day of rest during the whole journey. If I
had time I would write Willie a letter (but you can tell him) of our
march, what a long line our division made, troops and trains of near
three miles, what a time the poor soldiers had with sore feet, how we
sat around big blazing camp-fires, how we got up before daylight and
ate our breakfast on a log, and were marching before the sun was up,
and give him a list of all the towns we passed through so he can find
them on the map I sent him. About these I can give him the details when
I come home. But this is only the least exciting of the soldier's life
stories. We can't come home till I can tell him something about our
experience on the battlefield, which we have not yet had."

A week later I write still from the same place, expressing great
impatience that we are kept in Missouri, and the desire on the part
of myself and the men to be ordered into Kentucky, but I add: "I am
beginning to understand that the army is one vast machine, and the mass
of us need not trouble ourselves about our future, as our generals
will determine that. We have only to do our duty and execute their
commands." But I caution my wife if we are ordered to Kentucky: "You
must not flatter yourself that, if I get nearer home, I will have a
much better opportunity of paying a visit to the dear ones there."

Then I entered upon a topic which seemed to be a familiar one in my
letters, about home:--

"The commanding officers at St. Louis will be very particular about
absence, and when we get into the active field again it will be
worse. And it must be so, if the army is to be kept in any state of
efficiency. How much I would love to come home. No one ever more highly
prized the blessings and comforts of a happy home than I,--a dear,
loving, and noble wife, a sweet, darling little daughter, and so many
kind kindred and friends,--but it must be otherwise. I am called to the
place of duty, away from all these. I would be a craven, a disloyal
citizen, if I did not do what I am doing in this time of peril to our
country. And I rejoice that I have a wife, with a heart so noble, so
patriotic and so brave, as to share this feeling with me, and who
submits to her situation without a murmur. This pleasant home which you
and I both long to enjoy together would be worthless and ruined, if
our once prosperous Government falls to pieces. It is far better that
we endure this separation and that our country suffer this terrible
war for a time now, than that we permit the whole nation to fall to
pieces, and for years and years after to see nothing but civil war and
continued bloodshed between little factious States. We hope and pray
that God will speedily restore the country to its wonted peace, so that
we may all return to our families and friends."

A little later, in acknowledging receipt of one of my wife's letters,
I say: "I am glad you are reading Washington's letters. You will find
he was a good husband and loved his home, but he _went to war for seven

While waiting in suspense at Syracuse, I tell of another

"I was all day yesterday engaged in a court-martial and until late last
night. A lieutenant in the Eighteenth Indiana was arraigned by his
captain for attacking and slandering him in a newspaper in Indiana,
and the lieutenant came to get me to defend him. I tried to beg out
of it, but he insisted so strongly that I had to undertake it. The
court was presided over by the general commanding, and was composed
of the colonels and other field officers of the division, and I was
somewhat abashed in appearing before it, the practice of the court
being altogether different from our civil law courts, and I being
unacquainted with it; but I thought I might as well learn now as at any
other time. I think I got through with it pretty well. If I keep the
lieutenant from being cashiered it will be fortunate for him."

The coming on of winter made the generals, as well as the men, think of
winter quarters. In a letter dated November 24, referring to another
of the reports about a threatened attack on us by Price and the
probability of marching again, I write:--

"In the meantime we are shivering around our camp-fires in this winter
weather, and stuffing our tents full of straw, blankets, and buffalo
robes to keep warm. Last night I managed to sleep comfortably. I made
my bed right down on the ground. It is warmer than to have my cot up on
its legs. These Missouri prairie winds are such winds as Hoosiers don't
know anything about.

"You ought to see some of the expedients we resort to for comfortable
camp-fires. At headquarters of the regiment we have a big roaring log
fire built, and have small logs propped up on the forks of saplings
for seats or benches, and then we barricade ourselves from the wind _a
little_ by tents and stretching wagon covers around the saplings....
But at the best this winter campaigning is not comfortable for officers
or men."

Notwithstanding the cold weather, I note in my letter of December 3,
that we are keeping up the drills:--

"Yesterday and to-day we have been kept quite busy, General Pope
having issued a strict order in reference to regimental and brigade
drills. We are out both morning and afternoon with the regiment,
notwithstanding that the ground has been covered with snow and it is
very cold. It comes a little hard on us, cold fingers and cold feet,
but it is all the better for both officers and men. As for myself I am
in much the best health when I am kept busy, and on the march or move.
This afternoon we had a review of the whole brigade, preparatory to an
anticipated grand review by General Halleck, Department Commander, in
a few days."

It finally seemed settled that the army was to remain in this part
of Missouri, and we were to go into winter quarters. So our brigade
marched down to Lamine River December 7, preparatory to a permanent
encampment. I report:--

"We will have a large city of log huts, probably 15,000 or 20,000
troops. We are commencing operations to-day by clearing off our camp,
preparatory to building our log huts. I shall be in command of the
working forces of our regiment and shall soon know how to build a log
house in the most approved style. So you see I am having a varied
experience in my army life."

I seemed to be quite possessed with the project of building our
huts and getting into winter quarters, as I was planning to extend
hospitality to dear friends. I write my wife:--

"How would you and little Alice like to come out and live with me in
a log hut for a while this winter? If the little darling will learn
to say 'papa' right sweet and right plain, maybe I will have her come
out and see and talk with her 'papa.' That will depend on how long we
will stay here, and how well I shall be fixed up. But you must not be
certain of it, for a soldier's life is a very uncertain one."

And sure enough all our plans and anticipations came to an end, as a
letter from Sedalia, December 21, relates:--

"After more than a week's silence I have only time to drop you a note.
The newspapers will doubtless tell you of our last expedition. We went
out in a hurry and came back in a hurry. We just missed by three hours'
march a rebel supply train with a guard of three thousand: but we
succeeded in capturing an entire regiment, with a full complement of
officers, and Colonel Magoffin, a notorious secessionist, and a lot of
other prisoners, making altogether about one thousand.

"There was no fight of any consequence. The cavalry surrounded them and
they surrendered after a short skirmish. The Twenty-fifth was in the
advance of the infantry and would have been in the fight, if needed.
The only one of our regiment killed was Sergeant Ray, of Company G, who
was acting as a mounted scout. Our regiment was assigned as a guard to
the prisoners, and will have the post of honor in conducting them to
St. Louis. We will leave by train in the morning. I am very tired with
guard duty and marching for two days and nights, and must be up early
in the morning."

This march proved the last of our campaigning in Missouri. Not a
glorious record, but a lot of experience and useful training as
soldiers. The regiment was assigned to quarters at Benton Barracks. I

"It is uncertain how long we shall stay here or what they will do with
us. We may be all winter or possibly only two or three weeks. They
have given the field officers of our regiment a little house just
outside the Barracks, four rooms, a kitchen, cellar, and attic for the
servants, and a stable. If we can arrange things to suit us and it is
agreeable to the other officers, I expect Colonel Veatch and I will be
sending for our wives. What think you of it?"

A few days later I received her reply on which I made the following

"You never wrote a more noble letter. I have read it over and over
again. You could have written in a way which might have been more
likely to have brought you over to visit me, but you could not have in
a way more surely to make me love and admire you. I know how much you
love to be with me and how much I would enjoy your presence. I have
been thinking, ever since we came back to St. Louis [seven hours by
rail from Evansville], about the propriety of having you come over to
spend a few days or weeks with me, and had hardly decided what to do
about it.

"While in many respects it would be pleasant, in others it would not
be. If you took up quarters with me, it would be in a very comfortable
room for a soldier, but not very comfortable or attractive for a
lady--no furniture except stools, plank tables, and bunks with straw
to sleep on, and soldiers' blankets and buffalo robes for covering.
And then it would be in a house filled with officers,--gentlemen, it
is true, but _not at all times_ pleasant companions for a lady. If
you went with me to a hotel, I would have to neglect my duties, which
neither you nor I would desire me to do. And even in my own quarters
I could not pay that attention to you which I would desire without
some, at least apparent, neglect of duty. There are quite a number
of officers' wives here, and I know that they do not in any degree
promote the efficiency of the service. When I decided it to be my duty
to go into the army I anticipated I would have to give up my dear home
comforts and enjoyment, and when you gave your consent to my going you
so regarded it, and though we may both lament the necessity, we should
not complain. I believe under the circumstances you will agree with me
that for the present it is best that you should not come over,--will
you not?"

When we returned to Benton Barracks we found that gallant soldier
General W. T. Sherman in command. I had only a formal acquaintance with
him then, but years after we were near neighbors in Washington and
became intimate friends. When at the Barracks he was under a cloud of
ridicule, and was known throughout the country as "Crazy Sherman." This
appellative was given him because, a few weeks before, while in command
at Louisville, he had told Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, he would
require two hundred thousand soldiers to rid the State of Kentucky of
rebel troops. The sequel proved that more than that number had to be
sent into that State before it was free of Confederate troops. Sherman
was at that period one of the few _sane_ men who realized so early
the magnitude of the task before us. His "Memoirs," published years
after the war, show that at the time he was much distressed at the

Our stay at Benton Barracks was prolonged for nearly six weeks, and was
the usual experience of such soldier life. In a letter of January 14,
1862, I write:--

"It is now between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, and I am writing
you while you are sleeping with our little darling near you,--if she
hasn't waked you up! You may wonder why I am writing you at this late
hour. Well, I'm 'officer of the day' for the Barracks, and a part
of my duty is to make 'the grand rounds' of the guards at least once
_after twelve o'clock at night_. Rather than get a half sleep and be
waked up, I prefer to sit up and write my wife till the time comes.

"We were very agreeably surprised this morning to have _Captain_
Willie [my brother] step in on us, as we were not looking for him. I
am very glad he came. We will try to make it a pleasant visit to him,
and he will be much company for us. As I am 'officer of the day,' I
took him around with me as my 'orderly'! When I visited the different
guard-houses and sentinel-posts, he was very much interested in seeing
the guards 'turn out' and the other military civilities. It has been
very cold to-day, but both the infantry and cavalry were out for the
afternoon drills of battalions and brigades. Willie stood out in the
cold wind to see the maneuvers as long as he could.

"We have had a very pleasant evening at our quarters to-night. At dress
parade Colonel Morgan invited all the officers over to take supper with
us. They came, about thirty of them, about seven o'clock, and at eight
we had supper. We had oysters fried, oysters stewed, oysters raw, and
oyster patties, with their accompaniments, followed by meats, pickled
pig's-feet and salad, and topped off with pound cake and champagne
wine. You would hardly approve of the wine part, but we could scarcely
do less at a soldiers' supper. Very few would have stopped at that.
Then those who smoked devoted themselves to a plentiful supply of

"In our regimental brass band there is a fine string band. I wish you
could hear it, as I know with your love of music you would enjoy it
very much. It gave us music all the evening. The officers got up a
'stag dance' and enjoyed it greatly. Then we had some first-rate songs,
and wound up the evening by the officers presenting Dr. Walker [our
regimental surgeon], in an _appropriate_(!) _speech by the major_, a
beautiful medical staff sword, belt, gold tassel, and green silk sash,
in token of a most faithful discharge of his onerous duties."

About this time I reply to a letter from my wife, regarding some
domestic matters, as follows:--

"I was somewhat affected and a little amused at the account you give of
your household and financial troubles. You must not let a little gas
bill of fourteen dollars worry your life out of you. It is possible it
was a little exorbitant, but none to hurt. I don't want you to worry
yourself about these business matters. Where there are any troubles you
will find your mother and father safe and willing advisers. I know that
you are careful and prudent in your family expenses. I never thought
you spent a cent unnecessarily. I don't want you to be thinking you are
spending too much money; I just want you to get all you want to eat or

"When I left home I got you a good house to live in, and I want you to
live in it in proper style and comfort. If I was at home you know I
would have broiled quails, stewed rabbits, roast turkeys, venison, all
varieties of oysters, and all kinds of good things for the table, and
there is no reason why 'a lone, lorn' wife should starve just because
her husband has gone off to the war. If I was at home I would have two
or three gas burners going to your one, if I wanted the light; and
there is no reason why my wife should grope around in the dark for fear
of a gas bill at the end of the month. I know you are not extravagant
and therefore there is no danger of useless expenditure, and no
occasion for troubling yourself on that account. I have no fear but
that you will save all the money you can conveniently with your family
wants. I am drawing pretty good pay, and therefore can afford to keep
my family in good circumstances."

Frequent reference in my letters is made to the way in which the
Sabbath is spent in camp. In one of my letters I express the hope that
"I will not lose or forget my Christian standing. I want to come home
as good a Christian at least as when I left, though the temptations to
evil and bad habits are very great."

Here is a description of one while at Benton Barracks:--

"Another Sabbath day has nearly passed, but before I go to sleep I must
write you at least a short letter. To-day has been a quiet and rather
profitable Sabbath, at least more so than most of those which I spend
in camp. In the forenoon Willie and I went to the First Presbyterian
Church, expecting to hear Dr. Nelson, but after we were in and well
seated, who should I see going up into the pulpit with Dr. Nelson but
Mr. ----, the Home Missionary agent who preached at Evansville last
year, you will probably remember him. And he gave us the very same
sermon to-day that he did then _verbatim_. The text was the same--'The
Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid,' etc.
Having heard it before, I was not much interested in it, so that my
visit to the city through the mud was not a very pleasant or profitable

"But this afternoon I read the 'Evangelist' [the Presbyterian Church
paper] all through, reading almost every article, and it generally
interests me, occupying most of the afternoon. This evening I read
several chapters in the Bible, the 60th of Isaiah, 1st, 2d, and
3d of John, and my favorite chapters, the 14th, 15th, and 16th of
John, and others. I also read two of the little books you sent us in
the Soldier's Library. So you see the day has not been an entirely
profitless one, but how much more pleasantly I could have spent it at
home with my dear wife and child! But when I come back the Sabbaths
will be the more pleasant and sacred with you, and we shall have an
added pleasure in teaching our little darling holy hymns and holy

I had occasion often in my letters to thank the folks at home for the
useful things and dainties they were frequently sending to camp. The
correspondence shows that I was not bashful in making our wants known,
as, for instance, this extract:--

"You have written me several times asking what I wanted. Well, really,
we don't want much of anything but our wives and families, as we are
living very comfortably; but if you want to send us a present you might
send us a box or two of eatables. Say you bake us one of your good
jelly cakes, and mother try her hand on one of her first-quality fruit
cakes, and Eliza and Cassie [my sister and sister-in-law] see what they
can do on a lady cake or something of that kind. And then, if you have
in any of the various Foster families any extra supply of fruits, or
preserves, or jellies, or tomatoes, or such like, you might send them
by way of ballast."

In one of my last letters from Benton Barracks I gave this account of
the Sunday inspection:--

"This forenoon I was busy at the Barracks. Every Sunday morning when
it is pleasant weather we have a general inspection. The troops turn
out in the best clothes they have, with shoes cleaned and blacked,
knapsacks packed and on their backs, guns brightened up, and looking
as well as they can. They are inspected by companies. Then the
sleeping-quarters, dining-room, and kitchen are visited to see that
they are kept in good order, etc. This inspection is sometimes made by
the general. When not made by him, it is made by the field officers.
Colonel Veatch and I made the inspection this morning, and it kept us
busy till near noon."

Our marching orders came finally as recorded in my last letter written
from St. Louis at the Barracks:--

"We have been anticipating marching orders for several days, but have
at last received them. Orders came out from General Halleck this
evening that 'The Twenty-fifth Indiana would prepare to march to
Cairo.' The exact date of our departure is not definitely known, but it
may be early to-morrow. It is quite cold, but we can stand it as well
as any of this army. We are very willing to leave the Barracks and
get into the field, and especially as we are going down the river and
most likely will be sent to Paducah or Smithland. Barracks life doesn't
agree with me near so well as active work."


Greatly to our relief the Twenty-fifth Indiana was surely out of
Missouri, with the prospect of active campaigning in Kentucky or
Tennessee. Although we had orders to take a steamer for Cairo on January
30, we did not get away from St. Louis till February 2. On the steamer
I wrote my wife in a tone which indicated that I was taking a more
serious view of our future than I had in Missouri:--

"It may be that when we get to Cairo we shall find orders sending us
up to Smithland, but wherever we go you will have abundant rumors
of army movements and great battles fought. I trust you will not be
unnecessarily alarmed or solicitous. I will write you as often as I
can, keeping you as well posted as possible, but I expect I shall only
be able to write you at considerable intervals.... We will both pray
our Heavenly Father to be my guard and protector, and return me safely
to my home and dear family again. Let us have faith, and hope for the

On the 6th of February I write again from Cairo: "We are quartered
here in the barracks, in the muddiest place imaginable. No one who has
not been in Cairo knows what mud is. How long we shall remain here is
altogether uncertain."

My next letter was written the 9th on a steamer going up the Tennessee

"We seem fated to make or commence all our marches on the Sabbath. How
often do I long for the enjoyment of one of our home Sabbaths. We were
ordered to go aboard the steamboat at nine o'clock Saturday morning, so
we had the men up before day to cook two days' rations and were packed
up all ready to leave. But we did not go until noon to-day and we
should be at Fort Henry to-morrow forenoon. We have six hundred barrels
of powder on board, which makes traveling a little dangerous, but shall
be at Paducah in an hour or two, where it will be unloaded. Our orders
are to 'join General Grant,' so I suppose we will be with the army as
it goes forward into Tennessee and South to victory.

"I am just in the locality I have been wanting to be all during the
war, and I have only to do my duty like a soldier and a man. You must
not be unduly solicitous about my welfare, or pay much attention to
the rumors by telegraph, as they are at first always uncertain and
generally erroneous. If our regiment is in an engagement, I will see
that a carrier is sent to the first place to get the news home. So that
if you do not hear you can be satisfied that _all is right_. You will
remember me in your thoughts and prayers always, and have faith that
all will be well."

This was the last letter I was able to write home until after the
battle of Fort Donelson. On the 10th our regiment reached Fort Henry on
the Tennessee River which had been captured by General Grant only four
days before our arrival. On the 12th we marched over to the vicinity of
Fort Donelson with the rest of General Grant's army, eleven miles from
Fort Henry, and situated on the west side of the Cumberland River. We
were a part of the division commanded by General Charles F. Smith, and
which occupied the extreme left of General Grant's army. That army,
when it went into camp on the evening of February 12, covered the
entire front of the Confederate forces. From our encampment the rebel
line of rifle-pits and fortifications could be seen, we occupying one
series of ridges and the enemy those confronting ours.

The fighting began on the morning of the 13th, our picket lines being
pressed toward the enemy's front, mainly to develop their position.
In view of the eagerness of my own account in my letters, I quote the
part of the official report of Colonel Veatch, which relates to the
operations of the Twenty-fifth Indiana on the 13th:--

"At 10 o'clock A.M. we moved forward in line of battle to the top
of the hill which was between us and the enemy's breastworks. Here
I received orders to fix bayonets and charge the rebels, and, if
possible, drive them from their works. The timber was so thick that we
could only see here and there a part of the rebel works, but could form
no idea of their range or extent.... At the foot of the hill the enemy
poured on us a terrible fire of musketry, grape and canister, and a
few shells. The rebel breastworks were now in plain view on the top of
the hill. The heavy timber on the hillside had been felled, proving a
dense mass of brush and logs. Through and over these obstacles our men
advanced against the enemy's fire with perfect coolness and steadiness,
never halting for a moment until they received your order. After a
halt of a few minutes they then advanced within a short distance of the
enemy's breastworks where the fire from a six-pound field-piece and
twelve-pound howitzer on our right was so destructive that it became
necessary to halt and direct the men to lie down to save us from very
heavy loss.

"After remaining under a very heavy fire for two hours and fifteen
minutes, with no opportunity to return the fire to advantage, the enemy
being almost entirely hid, and seeing no movement indicating a further
advance from any part of the line, I asked permission to withdraw
my regiment. In retiring, owing to the nature of the ground and our
exposed position, the men were thrown into slight confusion, but they
rallied promptly at the foot of the hill, and remained in that position
until night, when we moved back, as directed, to the ground we occupied
in the morning. We lost in this action fourteen killed and sixty-one

On the 14th the battle was continued almost entirely by our naval
forces, the army taking no part except the pickets and sharp-shooters.
It was General Grant's hope that the gunboats would be able to silence
the Confederate water batteries and pass up the Cumberland, and thus
cut off reinforcements to the enemy, but in this they failed and were
forced to retire.

In view of this situation it was the intention of Grant to establish
a siege of the fortifications and await reinforcements. But on the
morning of the 15th our right wing under General McClernand was
attacked in force, the enemy coming out of their intrenchments
with the apparent intention of cutting their way through our line
and abandoning the fort. McClernand being hard-pressed, General Lew
Wallace's division went to his assistance, and the battle raged in that
direction with great intensity all the forenoon. We lay upon our arms
in line of battle, ready and impatient to take part in the contest,
listening to the roar of battle in the distance. General Smith, our
division commander, about three o'clock in the afternoon received
orders to advance upon the enemy in our front, and immediately our
attacking force was formed by Lauman's brigade, in column of regiments,
consisting of the Twenty-fifth Indiana, and three Iowa regiments,
General Smith himself leading the attack.

It was a martial sight, this column of regiments advancing down into
the ravine and ascending the hill on which were located the enemy's
fortifications, struggling through the abatis of fallen timber, with
the bullets whistling thick among our ranks. But it was an event of
only a few minutes; our column, never halting, was soon in front of
the intrenchments, when the enemy broke and fled, and the day was
won. Colonel Veatch says in his report that the skirmishers of the
Twenty-fifth Indiana were among the first, if not the very first, to
enter the fortifications.

General Grant, in his account of this charge, says: "The outer line
of rifle-pits was passed, and the night of the 15th General Smith,
with much of his division, bivouacked within the line of the enemy.
_There was now no doubt but that the Confederates must surrender or
be captured the next day._" It was an inspiring sight for us, as we
ascended the hill, the general on his white horse, hat in hand, waving
us forward into the enemy's lines. He was the hero of the battle. On
the 19th General Halleck telegraphed to Washington: "Smith, by his
coolness and bravery at Fort Donelson, when the battle was against us,
turned the tide and carried the enemy's outworks." General Sherman,
in his "Memoirs," has this to say of the capture of Fort Donelson:
"He [General Charles F. Smith] was a very handsome and soldierly man,
of great experience, and at Donelson had acted with so much personal
bravery that to him may be attributed the success of the assault."

Although this charge of our brigade, the last fighting of the battle,
was the decisive event which brought about the surrender, it was
attended with little bloodshed. The charge was so rapid and the enemy's
fire so unsteady, that we entered the intrenchments with little loss of
life. More men were killed and wounded in the fight of the Twenty-fifth
on the first day of the battle, as described in Colonel Veatch's
report, than by the entire brigade in this charge so decisive in its

At dawn on the morning of the 16th white flags were seen along the
whole of the enemy's lines, and the notes of a bugle were heard by us
advancing to the outworks where our brigade had bivouacked during the
night. It announced an officer, who delivered to General Smith a letter
to General Grant from the rebel commander, General Buckner, asking upon
what terms he would receive a surrender. General Grant's famous reply
was: "No terms except an unconditional surrender can be accepted. I
propose to move immediately on your works." The forces engaged as given
by General Grant were twenty-one thousand Confederates and twenty-seven
thousand Federals.

The only extant account of the battle I sent home was written to my
wife on the day after the surrender, dated the 17th:--

"I can write to you to-day with great thankfulness to our Heavenly
Father for the privilege of again addressing my dear wife, and sending
my congratulations to my home. You will have learned before this
reaches you that Fort Donelson has surrendered. I am happy to write
that the Twenty-fifth Indiana bore a worthy part in the conflict and
triumph. We made two charges on the rifle-pits and fortifications,
on the 13th and on the 15th. Yesterday, after the surrender, the
Twenty-fifth Indiana was the second regiment to enter the fort. We are
now occupying huts in the fort lately occupied by the Second (rebel)
Kentucky. This was the regiment which fought us so desperately in the
rifle-pits on the 13th.

"Our charge on the 13th was desperate, over the steep and rugged hills,
covered with felled timber and under a most terrific fire. The fire of
musketry was thick as hail. The cannon raked us on both flanks and in
front, and the storm of shot, shell, grape, and canister was awful. You
can say to our friends that the Twenty-fifth has been tried in most
perilous positions and has acted like veterans. In the thickest of
the fight the officers and most of the men seemed to lose all sense of
personal danger.

"We have a host of prisoners and a large amount of stores. I am very
tired and sore from our four days' labor. Four nights we slept on the
wet or frozen ground, without tents or fires, and both day and night
under arms. When I get a little sleep and rest I will write you fully.
In our regiment the total of killed is 14; wounded, 99."

General Grant's account of the weather, alluded to in this letter,
was: "It was midwinter, and we had rain and snow, thawing and freezing
alternately. It would not do to allow camp-fires except far down the
hill out of sight of the enemy, and it would not do to allow many
of the troops to remain there at the same time. The weather turned
intensely cold on the evening of the 14th."

Immediately after the battle a representative of the "Evansville
Journal" was sent to Fort Donelson to make a report of the battle and
the situation. I extract the following:--

A detailed account of the battle will not be attempted, as you have
already published an excellent one. I will speak more particularly of
our Twenty-fifth, and of the incidents of the battle and the appearance
of the field as seen by us.

The Twenty-fifth covered themselves all over with glory. Everybody
we talked to gave them credit for the utmost bravery. Exposed to a
terrible cross-fire of artillery and musketry, having to charge through
the difficulties I have described right up in the teeth of the rebel
batteries and into their murderous volleys, they passed through the
fiery ordeal like veterans. On their end of the line the rebels first
proposed to surrender, and to them belongs a large part of the glory of
the victory. This honor is conceded to them.

It is hard, and would be invidious, to mention particular cases of
gallantry in the Twenty-fifth, where all did their duty so well.... The
field officers all did their duty nobly. For coolness and determination
Major Foster is the theme of general praise.... Quartermaster Foster
and Chaplain Huring made themselves very useful, and showed great
courage in attending to the dead and wounded on the field.

I have thus given an account of the battle from participants and others
who had seen the field. But there is always another view of every
battle--that to be seen in the faraway homes of the wives and mothers
of the combatants. As representing the thousands who waited at home
through the days of dread anxiety to know the fate of their loved ones,
I give a letter from my wife dated February 20:--

"After four days of painful suspense and anxious waiting, when the
news came last night that you were safe, you may be sure there was
one thankful, grateful heart. Such dreary days and sleepless nights I
hope I may never pass again. The first news of the battle reached here
Saturday noon, and not one word did we hear of you till last night.
Such a relief I never before experienced in my life, to know that you
were safe and well.

"All the accounts say you acted bravely and nobly, and we are all as
proud of you as we can be. Oh, if I could only see you once more, my
own dear husband! No one knows how thankful I am that you were spared,
while exposed to terrible dangers. I began to feel on Tuesday that you
must be safe, or we should have some report of it. I remembered that
you said if I didn't hear, I might know all was right, but I could
not rest until Willie Gwyn dispatched that all was right. I have heard
to-day that on Monday it was reported and believed at first that you
had been mortally wounded, and next that you were killed, but kind
friends did not let those reports reach me.

"A party went down to the fort from here on Tuesday. I then had heard
nothing from you, and I thought I would hear sooner by staying at home.
Then father was away, and I didn't know what to do. Another boat goes
to-day. If we thought there was any prospect at all of seeing you,
father and I would go, but every one regards it as so uncertain about
your still being there that I guess we won't go. It would only be an
aggravation to go and not see you. I hope it will not be long before
I have something from your own dear self. Mr. Schoenfield [regimental
sutler] was very kind. He dispatched and wrote father that you and Alex
were safe and did bravely. The dispatch came last night (Wednesday) and
the letter by packet this morning. He said you wrote a few lines and he
sent it, but fearing it did not reach us, he wrote himself. We have not
received anything from you at all, and are very thankful to him indeed.
Such kindness, I assure you, we appreciate.

"The news of the surrender reached here Monday, causing intense
excitement and wild joy; but I could not rejoice till I heard from my
dear one. And, oh, the dead and wounded, how much suffering and grief
has been brought to many, many hearts! When we think of the suffering
it takes away most of the rejoicing.

"I am proud of you, my dear John. I always knew you would do your duty
nobly, and I thank God your life has been spared. Father and your
mother came back from Cincinnati on Tuesday. I was glad to see father,
for he is so kind to me. Write soon."

Reference is made in this letter to the steamboats making trips to
Fort Donelson after the battle. The cities and States of the Middle
West vied with each other in dispatching steamers, carrying hospital
supplies and in bringing home the wounded and sick. Governor Morton
of Indiana was a visitor, and immediately after the writing of the
foregoing letter my father brought on one of these boats my wife, my
little daughter, and brother Willie. Their stay was only for one day,
but it brought to us all much joy and consolation.

On our first day's fighting I had found one of the lieutenants
skulking, having left the ranks, and he was hiding flat down under the
bank of a little stream. I punched him out with my sword and made him
join his company, much to the delight of the men who saw the act. The
story went home in a very exaggerated shape, and I was credited with
using to the lieutenant some very severe and profane language. Willie,
who had heard the story and who entertained a high admiration for me,
was greatly grieved and shocked. As soon as the boat landed at the
fort, Willie rushed up to me, and throwing his arms about me, said:
"Brother John, you did not curse and swear at the soldier, did you?"

The capture of Fort Donelson was the first important and complete
victory which had been won by the Union armies since the war began,
and it was hailed with great joy throughout the North as the harbinger
of further victories. General Sherman, ten years after the event,
characterized it as "the first real success on our side in the Civil
War. Probably at no time during the war did we feel so heavy a weight
raised from our hearts, or so thankful for a most fruitful series of

In a letter of February 23, I acknowledged the receipt of my wife's
letter above quoted, in these terms:--

"George [my eldest brother] brought me yesterday the letters by you
and father on the 20th, and they were such good ones I could not help
the tears coming to my eyes. When I read your letters I began fully
to realize how great was my deliverance. During all the war I most
probably never will be in so hot a fire and in so much danger as that
through which I passed during the late battles. Truly we have great
reason to thank God for his kind protection over me. Do you remember
the Psalm Mr. McCarer [our pastor] read the last night at our house,
before I left with the regiment, the ninety-first? I got out my Bible
and read it to-day again. I have read it many times since then.

"I am proud of you, my dear Parke, for the manner in which you have
acted ever since I have been in the army, but especially during and
since the attack on the fort. You have learned by the experience of
the late battles to put little reliance in the first reports of an
engagement; they are always exaggerated.

"I was very glad to have a visit from George. I sent home some
_play-things_ for Alice by him. The rebels had fixed them up to shoot
her papa with them. She can make better use of them, some canister and
six-pounder shots. I sent you a letter right after the fight, and sent
father one after the first day's fight. But the mails are so irregular
it may be you did not get them. I would have sent a dispatch, but there
was no telegraph nearer than Cairo.

"We were greatly exposed during the four nights of the siege, and the
officers had the same exposure as the men, at least all those who stood
by their posts, sleeping on the ground with no tents and no fires, two
nights both rain and snow, the others severely cold. By the time we
got into the fort I was nearly tired out, and during all this week I
have been resting. The exposure did not affect me much, except that it
increased a cold already contracted. But I am 'all right' again and
ready to go into active service. How long we shall remain here I do not
know. It may be for some time, it may be only to-day."

Under date of the 24th I wrote:--

"We are still in the fort, living in the rebel huts. I am getting very
tired of our inactive life of the past week, and the worst of it is
I'm afraid we will be left here for some time to come, as we see no
evidence of preparing for our advance. We would like very much to be
sent forward. I suppose you have no special desire to have me get into
another fight soon, but from present appearances there is not much
probability of more fighting in Tennessee.

"This is a very poor country around the fort, and had already been
eaten out by the rebel troops before ours came. There is nothing in the
eating line we can buy for our mess, and we have had poorer fare here
than at any time since we have been in the service. I begin to feel
like I could relish a good dinner at home!"

The following, dated March 1, is a reference to the visit to the fort
of my wife and father already noticed:--

"Only day before yesterday my dear wife and darling babe were with
me here. I need not tell you how pleasant was your visit to me, made
doubly so under the circumstances here, and then that I missed you so
sadly after you were gone. But we cannot have pleasures _unalloyed_. I
was glad you made the trip, aside from the pleasure of seeing you, as
the excursion was a pleasant change for you and Alice.

"I wonder if you will remember to-morrow that it is my birthday,
twenty-six years old. Quite an old man!"

Under date of March 4 record is made of the expected order:--

"We received marching orders yesterday. We are to go from here to
Fort Henry, there to take steamers on the Tennessee River, whether up
or down the river we do not know, but our supposition is that we are
destined for the direction of Florence, Alabama. It may be a movement
on Memphis by the flank. We are all pleased with the prospect of
getting still farther South.

"Our greatest want now in the way of marching is wagons for
transportation, and that is likely to be the want during all the
marches. I, with quite a number of officers, have concluded to send our
trunks home. We field officers are limited by General Grant's orders
to one hundred pounds of baggage, to include clothing, bedclothes,
mess-chest, and everything personal. And as I think as much of a warm
bed and good rations as I do of good clothes, I have put a change of
underclothes into my saddle valise, and with my carpet-sack can get
along. Then Colonel Morgan and I have gone in partnership in an old
trunk, for our dress uniforms, shirts, etc. I send my shabrack [saddle
cover] in the bottom of the trunk. Have it taken out, well brushed,
and hung up in the attic. It is rather too gay to wear out here in the
woods. It will do for musters and parades at home!"


We were much pleased to turn our backs upon Fort Donelson, as the
movement gave promise of an advance still farther into the South. In my
letter dated Fort Henry, March 7, I write:--

"We left Donelson on the 5th. The roads were terribly muddy, and it
took us two days to get here, about twelve miles. Besides, the weather
was quite cold and snowing, being one of the most blustery days of
March, making the march a most uncomfortable one. But we arrived here
in pretty good season yesterday evening, and were fortunate to get into
the same cabins we occupied when here before.

"The troops here are all embarking on steamboats, and it is understood
that we are to go up the Tennessee River, how far we don't know,
but hope through to Florence, Alabama. It is said (_it is said_,
_reported_, _understood_, _they say_, are unofficial terms, you must
understand) that none of the boats will leave till all the regiments
are embarked, and that the whole fleet will move together. The river is
very high, and on account of backwater we can't get nearer than four
hundred yards of the boats.

"The Twenty-fourth Indiana went up the river this morning to find a
convenient place to embark. We may have to go up there also to get
aboard. Just as we were marching through the cold and snow last night
I met Uncle Tom going down to the boat on his way home. He told me he
had resigned, had caught a severe cold and had a bad cough. I think he
has taken the best course, as his health can hardly stand the exposure."

I refer here to my mother's youngest brother, Captain Thomas Johnson,
whose case was that of many other officers in our army. He had been
suffering for some years with tuberculosis, and would not have been
able to pass the physical examination to which the soldiers in the
ranks were subjected, but the examination of the officers was less
strict. He was not fitted for the service and ought not to have entered
it, but his zeal to serve his country in the time of its sore trial
was so great that he could not be persuaded to stay at home. As we
expected, he broke down within a year of his enlistment. We shall
see that he was not content to remain inactive at home after he was
relieved of his attack of cold, and in less than six months he obtained
an appointment in one of the new regiments, only to be again sent home
before another year of campaigning was over.

As anticipated, the regiment was the next day ordered to go six
miles up the river to get a convenient place of embarkation. The day
following was spent in camp:--

"As I listened to our chaplain in his Sunday service to-day, how I
wished I could have enjoyed our own church service at home with my
wife. As I walked out through the woods this pleasant spring evening
with Colonel Morgan, I could not help thinking of the times we enjoyed
together in our many evening walks. I have been reading to-day the
life of General Havelock, that noble Christian soldier. I was very much
interested in the affectionate and touching letters he wrote his wife
and children; they made me think of my absent ones....

"Adjutant ---- has resigned, and as he wants to go home immediately,
before his resignation can go to St. Louis, be accepted, and returned,
he has applied for a leave of absence. If he gets it, I will send this
letter by him. He puts his resignation on the ground of _ill-health_,
but the young man is mistaken. A look at his fat jaws and healthy
appearance will tell a different tale. He is in as good health as I am.
The trouble with him is homesickness from _love_. We are out of the
range of regular mails, and he can't get letters from his lady-love
often. He can't endure the situation. We tried to talk him out of it,
but he insists. He has at the best taken a bad time to resign, just on
the eve of an important expedition against the enemy. I told him last
night that no one wanted to be at home more than I did, and that if I
could get out of the service honorably in view of my duty, I would do
so, but this I could not do. He can draw his own inference. I think the
young man is making a mistake personally. Here he is drawing a good
salary, and at home he can do nothing, even if he wasn't too lazy."

The next letter was written on board a steamboat lying at the town of
Savannah, Tennessee, dated the 12th:--

"Here we are away down on the southern border of Tennessee, only a few
miles from Alabama and Mississippi, 'away down in Dixie.' We went on
board the steamboats day before yesterday, the 10th, four companies
on the _Uncle Sam_, and six companies on the _Conewaga_, the latter
under my command. We have had a very pleasant trip up the river,
being comfortably situated on the boat, and plenty of good eating.
The Tennessee is quite a pretty river, but not very thickly settled
immediately on its banks. At the farmhouses the people were collected
in little groups, with waving handkerchiefs by the women, and frequent
cheers for the Union. It was a new sight to the inhabitants, such an
immense fleet of boats, black with troops, and bristling with cannon
and munitions of war. The boats are all lying up here, most of them
having arrived this morning, the river full of them on both sides.
It is stated by officers who ought to know that we now have seventy
steamers in the fleet, and that ten more are on the way....

"Remember me to Mr. McCarer and family. Tell him I am afraid we are
persecuting our old-school, southside Presbyterian brethren, as they
have called their General Assembly to meet in Memphis in May. I fear we
shall get in the way of some of them, and scare them away.

"There is a set of chessmen on the boat, and I have had several
pleasant games, the first for a long time. How I would like to take a
game with my dear wife, as of old.

"Large numbers of Union men are coming in both to enlist and for refuge
and protection. Some of them came more than a hundred miles and had to
travel at night, fleeing from the persecutions and cruelties of the

Writing on the 16th, I report:--

"We are still lying at Savannah. More steamers with troops have
arrived, so that now we have about ninety boats, and I estimate about
sixty thousand soldiers. We are getting tired of staying on the boat,
but it has been raining most of the time, and therefore our quarters
are better than they would be ashore. The river has again risen and
flooded over the banks."

Two days later I write:--

"We are still lying along the shore on the boats 'awaiting orders'
rather impatiently too, the eighth day aboard. Yesterday we left
Savannah and came a few miles up to a farm where we found a good
landing. We turned our men out on the shore to enjoy the exercise
and fresh air (it was a most beautiful day), while we had the boat
thoroughly cleaned. The men had been kept cooped up on the boats for so
long they enjoyed the day very much.

"We have a rumor of the taking of New Orleans by our forces from the
Gulf, but can hardly credit it. It will be glorious news, if true, and
a rapid step toward the end of the rebellion....

"I have no news; mostly write to let you know I am in the best of
health and in safety."

At last my letter, dated in camp at Pittsburg Landing, gives account of
our having left the boats:--

"We are now in camp about a mile from the river in a pleasant forest.
How long we are to remain here we do not know, but as to-morrow is
Sunday we may get our marching orders then! We are ordered to keep in
readiness to march at one hour's notice. We are also ordered to take
with us in each company wagon seven days' rations of provisions and
five days' rations of grain for horses, besides three days' rations in
each man's haversack, making ten days' rations. As the roads are now,
we won't be able to travel very fast.

"Our force has been increasing every day by the arrival of new
regiments. How large our army is I do not know, but the woods are
perfectly alive with men. Regiments of tents are in every direction
and extending for miles around. We have no doubt of our successful
progress, whether it is to march upon Memphis or farther down South
into the heart of 'Dixie.' You need have no fear for my personal
safety, or for the success of our army. We are only hoping we shall be
sent by rapid marches against Memphis, and when we get there you can
come down and pay me another visit, if I cannot get off home for a few

March 24 I wrote:--

"I have not heard from you for two weeks, but to-day I have three
letters from you and one from Father, and I can assure you your good,
dear letters are most acceptable. I think of you and our dear little
one so much and long for the time speedily to come when I can be with
you again. I trust and believe that God is so ordering events that the
time is not far removed. In the meantime we will hope and pray and be

"You need not be the least troubled about me. I am in perfect health,
and General Buell with more than one hundred thousand men is making a
junction with us; so that our combined army of two hundred thousand has
only to _move_ to sweep every vestige of opposition out of the way, I
don't think the enemy will make a stand before us at all."

The foregoing illustrates how little the subordinate officers know
of an army's strength or its future. It is a common error to make
exaggerated estimates of an army. The figures given above place the
numbers of the joint armies of Grant and Buell at more than double
their actual strength. And so far from sweeping the enemy before them,
within two weeks from the writing of this letter Grant's gallant army
was attacked in its own camp, and barely escaped being swept into the
Tennessee River.

I wrote on the 27th: "I have been detailed by General Hurlbut as judge
advocate of a general court-martial, and am kept very busy with its
duties. That's what I get for being a lawyer."

A letter on March 31 has the following:--

"We had yesterday our monthly regimental inspection and in the
afternoon we had a grand review of the division by General Hurlbut.
In both these exercises it became necessary for me to command the
regiment. The division review was very fine, the finest we have seen
since we have been in the service. There were twelve regiments, with
artillery and cavalry. Our regiment was highly commended by the general.

"It has been a week since I have had a letter from you. Probably you
sent a letter by Schoenfield [the sutler], but if you did it has
not come, neither has Schoenfield. He started up the Tennessee River
with his stores, among which was some whiskey. The troops on the boat
discovered the whiskey, broke it open, and got into a general drunk.
The consequence was he was sent back to Paducah with all his stores.
That's what you get for having your letter in company with whiskey!
It reminds me that if you have a chance I would be very glad if you
would send me a pint bottle of the best quality of pure brandy. The
worst I have to fear in the army is diarrhoea, on account of bad
water, especially in the warm weather. St. Paul was sensible when he
recommended 'a little wine for the stomach's sake.' My little wife
won't fear I am going to be a drunkard."

Some of the minor trials of a soldier's life are recorded in my letter
of the 3d:--

"I have not told you that when we left the boats here, old Bill, our
negro cook, left us. I caught him selling whiskey to the soldiers
contrary to orders, and confiscated his whiskey, with a sharp lecture
which he took so seriously as to quit us without notice. Surgeon Walker
has loaned us his boy Frank, and he has been doing the cooking _under
my superintendence_, and we haven't been living so bad either. Frank
and I get up some first-rate meals. I do the plain cooking, such as
frying potatoes and meat, making hash, cooking rice, beans, hominy,
etc., while Frank makes the pies, biscuits, etc. We are not in danger
of starving while Frank and I have charge of matters! We used up the
last can of fruits to-night for supper of the fine lot you and mother
sent us. I can assure you we relished them greatly; they come in very
good place out here in the woods where our mess can't buy anything,
and have to depend on the commissary supplies for all our eatables.
Schoenfield is coming back to the regiment again, but you home-folks
must not rob yourselves of fruits, preserves, apple-butter, catsup,
etc., on our account!"

On April 2 I write:--

"I see by the newspapers that the great Waterloo is to take place up
here in the vicinity of Corinth. Well, it hasn't taken place yet, and
you can rest yourself in the assurance that it will hardly take place
for some time to come. We are resting quietly in camp, except that we
have our daily drills and parades and an occasional review. To-day
Major-General Grant reviewed our entire division; the troops looked
very well."

In a letter dated the next day, the 3d, I write:--

"The weather is very pleasant now. The trees are coming out in full
bloom. I took a long ride out into the country to-day; went as far as
it was safe to go this side of the rebels. The woods are full of wild
flowers; I got quite a bouquet which I would love to have presented to
my wife, but she was not here to get it; maybe I may enclose you some
of the violets I have among them."

And yet notwithstanding the quietness and confidence prevailing in the
army encamped at Pittsburg Landing, as indicated in these extracts
from my letters, on the 2d of April the entire Confederate army under
General A. S. Johnston had marched from Corinth, and on the 3d, the
day I took my "long ride into the country," it was within striking
distance of our camp, designing to make its united attack on Grant's
army on the 5th. Being unexpectedly delayed one day, the rebel
onslaught broke upon our lines at day-break on Sunday the 6th. Of the
terrible two-days battle which ensued, I was able the night of the
second day to write to my father a pretty full account:--

"_Pittsburg Landing, Tenn._,
"_April 7, 1862_.


"Tired, worn out, almost exhausted, I have just brought the remnant
of the noble Twenty-fifth Indiana back into our old camp from the
front of the hardest-fought, most strongly contested, and bloodiest
battlefield upon the American continent. But I cannot lie down without
first preparing a short account of it, to assure you of my own personal
safety, the gallant conduct of our regiment, and the glorious triumph
of our arms. A terrible conflict of two full days of continuous
fighting has this evening left us in possession of the field which was
at one time almost lost.

"Yesterday (Sunday) morning, about 6.30 o'clock, just after we had
finished breakfast, we were attracted by a continuous roar of musketry,
with occasional discharges of artillery on our extreme left, near the
river. In a few minutes we were in line of battle, and moving forward
to the attack. We had hardly left the camp before we saw the roads
full of our flying men, and all along the route for the two miles we
passed over were strewn guns, knapsacks, and blankets, and we found,
to our dismay, that our front had been completely surprised, one whole
division scattered and retreating in utter confusion, and the enemy in
force already a mile within our camps.

"We were drawn up in line of battle, our brigade, under command of
Colonel Veatch, in a skirt of timber bordering a large field, on the
outer edge of which our troops were engaging the enemy. But the enemy
pressed on in overwhelming force, and just as the troops in front of
us began to waver, we discovered that the enemy had flanked us on the
right and was rapidly advancing (in what force we knew not, but the
woods were perfectly swarming), to attack our brigade on the right and
rear. So it became necessary for us to change our front to the rear to
meet them.

"The Fifteenth Illinois was on the right, the Fourteenth Illinois
in the center, and the Twenty-fifth Indiana on the left, the other
regiment, the Forty-sixth Illinois, by the rapid flanking of the enemy
becoming detached from the brigade, was not with us again during
the whole action. This brought the first fire upon the Fifteenth
Illinois, which stood it nobly, but was soon overpowered; likewise,
the Fourteenth. In the meantime the troops in front and on the left
were completely routed by the enemy and came pell-mell right through
our lines, causing some little confusion, and hardly had they passed
through to the rear before the enemy were upon us, and here the fire of
musketry was most terrible.

"Our men tried to stand up to it, but everything was breaking to
pieces all around us, and it was more than we could do, short of
annihilation. We poured in a few well-directed volleys, and reluctantly
left the field--many of our men firing as they fell back. The loss here
was very heavy. All the field officers of the Twenty-fifth Illinois
were killed instantly, and many commissioned officers; two of our
lieutenants were killed and three wounded, and one of our captains is
either killed or a prisoner. We will make thorough search for him on
the field in the morning.

"We left dead on this field fifteen men killed almost instantly
on the first fire, and a large number wounded. At the first fire
Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan was wounded in the leg (not seriously),
and was immediately carried off the field. From this time I led the
regiment in person. I did all I could to make the men contest the
ground firmly as they fell back, and on the first favorable ground,
about one hundred yards from the first line of battle, I planted the
colors and mounted a fallen tree, and, waving my hat with all my might,
I cheered and called upon the men to rally on the flag--never to desert
their colors.

"All of the left wing responded to my call most nobly, and rallied with
considerable alacrity under a most galling and dangerous fire. I did
not see Colonel Morgan fall, and supposed he had charge of the right
wing; but the various captains collected a large number of their men,
and as soon as I got under cover of the regiments on the left and rear,
they brought their men up and joined me, and I thus had still quite
a battalion, notwithstanding the killed and number wounded, and the
straying or lost ones. The men who came to me at this time had been
'tried in the furnace,' and were true men, and during all the trying
scenes of the rest of the day and of to-day, they never faltered in
obeying my commands, and did most bravely.

"As soon as our brigade was collected, Colonel Veatch moved us over to
the right to support General McClernand's division, which was being
very hard pressed by the enemy, said to be commanded by Beauregard. The
left, so our prisoners report, was commanded by Bragg, and the center
by Johnston. They also report that the column that attacked our brigade
in the morning, of which I have just spoken, numbers twelve thousand,
under Bragg, and that the whole force was near one hundred thousand;
but we do not know, only that it was very large, sufficiently so to
attack the entire line of our extensive camp in heavy force.

"In the afternoon our pickets reported the enemy advancing against us,
on the left of General McClernand. As soon as we had drawn them well
up by our picket skirmish under Captain Rheinlander, the Fourteenth
Illinois flanked them, and was just beginning to pour upon them a heavy
fire, while we were moving up to the assistance of the Fourteenth in
fine style, when the whole mass of our left, which had, for five or
six hours, been steadily and stubbornly contesting the victorious
advance of the enemy in that direction, gave way in all directions,
about half-past three, and came sweeping by us in utter and total
confusion--cavalry, ambulances, artillery, and thousands of infantry,
all in one mass, while the enemy were following closely in pursuit, at
the same time throwing grape, canister, and shells thick and fast among

"It was a time of great excitement and dismay--it appeared that all was
lost; but I was unwilling to throw our regiment into the flying mass,
only to be trampled to pieces and thoroughly disorganized and broken.
So I held them back in the wash on the side of the road until the mass
of the rout had passed, when I put my men in the rear of the retreat,
and by this means fell into a heavy cross-fire of the enemy, but I
preferred that to being crushed to pieces by our own army. Here we lost
a number of our men killed, and many wounded.

"Among those who fell, wounded badly in the leg, was Sergeant-Major
William Jones, who had stood right by me fearlessly through the whole
day. This rout decided that day's work. We were driven back nearly to
the river landing, but the enemy kept pressing us in all the time,
and, if, at this time, they had made a bold and united charge all
along their line, we would have been totally and utterly routed; but
a half-hour's apparent cessation of heavy firing gave our scattered
forces time to rally, while the first two regiments of Buell's
long-expected advance took position on the hill in the rear, and our
forces fell back and formed with them near the landing for a final

"About five o'clock in the evening the enemy made a heavy charge and
attempted to carry this position. The contest was most terrible--the
roar of musketry was one continuous peal for near half an hour. All
that saved us was two heavy siege-pieces on the hill and the firmness
of our men on this last stand. Night closed in on us, with almost
the whole of our extensive camps in the hands of the enemy. It was a
gloomy night for us all, and to add to our discomforts we had a heavy
rain with no shelter. But we had saved enough ground to make a stand
upon, and during the night twenty thousand fresh troops from Buell's
army were transported across the river, and Lew Wallace moved up his
division from below on our right.

"This morning at dawn of day began one of the grandest and most
terrific battles ever fought. Buell moved forward on the left and
center, and Wallace on the right, with their fresh troops, while
Grant's army steadily followed them up and held the ground firmly as
it was gained. From early in the morning until three o'clock in the
afternoon the roar of musketry and artillery was one almost continuous
thunder. It was grand beyond description. I have not time to tell you
of it in this letter, and you will have it fully described in the

"The enemy fought with great desperation and steadiness, but Wallace
continued to press them on the right, driving them to the left, and
Buell pressing them on the left, driving them to the right, until
they were getting completely outflanked, when at three o'clock our
brigade was ordered up to the front and center, and directed to charge
the retreating enemy, but they traveled too fast for us. Nothing but
cavalry could reach them. We remained on the outposts till evening,
and then came in to get a good night's sleep in the tents of our own
camp after the fatigues of a two days' steady fight. The night is
terribly disagreeable--rainy and chilly--and tens of thousands of
troops are sleeping on the bare ground with no covering, just as we did
last night.

"Indiana has borne an honorable part in the great battle. I know
that the Ninth, Eleventh, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-first, Thirty-second,
Forty-fourth, and Fifty-seventh Regiments were engaged, and I think the
Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth, with several others, I have no doubt,
though I have been too busy on the field to know much of it--have not
even had time yet to see Colonel Morgan or our wounded officers and
men. The Forty-second was busy here to-day, but I hardly think it was
in the fight, though it may have been. Thomson's Battery is said to
have done noble work. Aleck [brother of the writer] was busy with the
trains and baggage--the enemy came right up to our tents--the camp was
shelled; he had to move wagons and baggage to the landing. Did his duty
well. But we are back again to-night.

"I tried in this terrible conflict to do my duty well, and I am willing
to leave to my officers and men the judgment.

"I forgot to mention Colonel Veatch. He acted with great coolness and
courage, always with his brigade in the thickest of the fight. He had
two horses shot under him, but escaped unharmed.

"I have written this hurried letter to you for the family, not the
public. My deliverance was almost miraculous and I am grateful for it."

After finishing the foregoing letter, I wrote a short one to my wife:--

"_My own dear Wife_:--

"Your husband is still safe and unharmed, though he has passed through
a most terrible and deathful battle, the bloodiest ever fought on the
continent. While it was terrible, it was grand.

"I have just written a long letter to father, which is for you all.
I would write you at length, but it is now past midnight, and after
two days of hard fighting and one rainy night of gloomy and fearful
watching, I need rest. You will excuse me, will you not?

"My dear Parke, God, our merciful Father, has been my shield and my
protector; let us give Him all the glory.

"Captain Dudley Smith [a relative of my wife] is badly (not mortally)
wounded. His regiment fought next to us, and I shook hands of
encouragement with him not five minutes before he fell. Both his
lieutenants and first sergeant were shot.

"I believe, my dear, that God will continue to preserve my life for you
and my dear child. Live in hope and faith. I will write a long letter

In the letter to my father, given above, I refer in commendation to
my brother Alexander H. Foster, the regimental quartermaster. He
rendered a most valuable service in saving all our camp and personal
baggage. When during the first day's fighting it became evident that
the battle was going against us, he brought up the wagons and loaded
up all the company and headquarters baggage and outfit, and took them
to the rear. The rebels occupied our tents on Sunday night, and would
have plundered everything but for our quartermaster's thoughtfulness.
He also displayed great daring in keeping us supplied with ammunition
during the first day's heavy fighting.

Another incident respecting our tents may be noted. When attending
the Harvard Law School, I had formed a very close friendship with a
classmate from Alabama, Walter Bragg. I corresponded with him for some
time, but lost sight of him when the war began. Years after he came to
Washington to fill an important official position. I learned from him
then that on Sunday night of the Shiloh battle his regiment occupied
the camp of the Twenty-fifth Indiana, and he slept in our headquarters

General Grant in his "Personal Memoirs" says: "The battle of Shiloh was
the severest battle fought at the West during the war, and but few in
the East equaled it for hard, determined fighting." General Sherman, in
his "Memoirs," characterizes it as "one of the most fiercely contested
of the war."

The number of the Confederate forces engaged in the battle, as reported
by Beauregard, was 40,955. Grant reports the Federal forces in the
first day's fighting at 33,000, and that on the second day he was
reinforced by General Lew Wallace with 5000 and from Buell's army
with 20,000. The losses of the Federals were, killed 1754, wounded
8408, missing 2934. The Confederate losses were, killed 1728, wounded
8012, and missing 957. In my official report I placed the loss of the
Twenty-fifth Indiana at 149.

While the battle was recognized as a distinct Union victory, it was
followed in the North by severe criticism of the generalship displayed
on the Federal side. Sherman says that "probably no single battle
of the war gave rise to such wild and damaging reports"; and in his
"Memoirs" Grant writes: "The battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing has
been perhaps less understood, or, to state the case more accurately,
more persistently misunderstood, than any other engagement during the
entire rebellion."

The main criticisms were three in number: first, that no intrenchments
or fortifications of any kind were made to protect the encampment;
second, that our army was surprised; and, third, that the retreating
enemy was not pursued. It is generally conceded that the encampment was
well located for defense, as three sides were protected by the river
and creeks full of water. Sherman, in discussing the first criticism
in later years, said, "The position was naturally strong; ... we could
have rendered this position impregnable in one night." General Force,
in reviewing the battle after the close of the war, wrote: "The army
had many things to learn, and the use of field fortifications was one
of them."

The charge that our camp was surprised was indignantly denied by
both Generals Grant and Sherman, and they produce statements of
fact, not generally understood at the time, which seem to sustain
their contention. But a different impression was generally prevalent
in the camp. One of the most intelligent and daring of the Civil
War correspondents was a young man writing under the _nom-de-plume_
of "Agate," who became afterwards well known throughout the world,
Whitelaw Reid. He was on the battlefield during the two days' fighting
and wrote lengthy reports of the battle. His contention was that it
was a complete surprise. Years afterwards he had a discussion on this
matter with General Sherman, and in the course of it he cited my letter
to my father, above quoted, to sustain his contention.

Doubtless the rebel army would have been much more demoralized and have
sustained great loss in military equipment and supplies, if it had been
vigorously pursued. The greater part of Grant's army was so reduced
and fatigued as not to be able to make an effective pursuit of the
retreating Confederates, but Buell's army was not in that condition.
Publications made after the war by Grant and Buell make it plain that
there was want of harmony, if not an unfriendly spirit, that prevented
the cordial coöperation which might have made the battle much more

For some months previous to the battle of Shiloh General Halleck had
been commanding the Department of the West, with his headquarters at
St. Louis, from which place he was directing the movements of the
armies. Immediately after this battle he came to Pittsburg Landing,
arriving on April 11, and, assuming personal command, he began the
reorganization and reinforcement of the army in the vicinity, for
a march on Corinth, where it was understood the Confederates were
concentrating. This step on his part had the effect of practically
relieving General Grant from command.

The news of the battle and heavy losses suffered by the Union forces
awakened throughout the country great interest and sympathy, and from
all the leading cities of the West located on the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers steamers were chartered and dispatched to the battlefield,
loaded with hospital supplies, volunteer surgeons, and friends of the
soldiers. A boat was sent from Evansville, and among the passengers was
my brother George, bringing letters from home and delicacies for the
wounded soldiers of the Twenty-fifth and our mess. In a letter of the
11th, four days after the battle, I wrote to my wife:--

"I can assure you I was glad to see the _Bowen_ with a load of our kind
friends after the terrible experience of the last week, and to know
that the great patriotic heart of the Nation was going out in sympathy
and in acts of mercy to our suffering wounded, who have been so sadly,
cruelly neglected by our army general medical officers. I thank you and
Eliza and Eleanor [my sisters] and our good friends at home for their
presents. In our hard-fought battle of last Sunday the enemy drove us
back clear behind our camp and rascally carried off or devoured all our
eatables, and your delicacies came just in time to be fully appreciated.

"I haven't seen Captain Smith since he was wounded. I suppose he has
gone down the river in the boats. You remember I wrote you we were on a
court-martial together; I was finally excused from it to take command
of our regiment. I saw Colonel Harlan [afterwards Justice of the United
States Supreme Court; married Miss Shanklin, of Evansville] to-day. He
was in good health. His regiment is lying near us, in the woods without
tents. I meet a large number of acquaintances in the Indiana regiments
of Buell's army.

"I send by George a copy of my official report of the Twenty-fifth.
Tell father I cannot have it published yet, but I thought he and our
home folks would want to read it, but don't circulate it too freely.
As soon as I can get the necessary consent, I will have both Colonel
Veatch's brigade and my regimental reports sent home for publication. I
am anxious that our regiment should have a fair share of the honor, as
it had of the fighting.

"Say to father and our friends that our regiment fought bravely and
did itself and the State credit. I had the entire responsibility of
the command. I believe I did my duty well; all assure me of it in
the highest terms. I know I saved the regiment from disgrace and
annihilation by a little daring exposure and vigorous encouragement of
our men. This I write freely, but privately, to you and father. It is a
great consolation to me as a citizen to know I have done my duty, but
it is a further gratification to know that my friends at home give me
credit for it."

On the 13th I write about the return of the steamer _Bowen_ to

"I was much out of humor because they let the boat be filled up with
slightly wounded of other regiments, and left thirty or forty of our
badly wounded Twenty-fifth in the hospitals at Savannah, to linger and
suffer from neglect and bad treatment, and run the chance of getting
home on the charity of other parts of the State. But I suppose the
committee in charge did what they thought was for the best; still, we
are naturally sensitive and jealous for the comfort of our own men."

In my letter of the 13th I speak of the difficulty of getting my
letters. Officers and men of the regiment were constantly going and
coming from Evansville on furlough or sick-leave, and they were often
availed of to carry mail matter, as the mail was not regular, but I
note one instance in which my letters by private hand did not reach me
for thirty days. I tell my wife:--

"When you can't have opportunities of sending letters to me by private
means, send them by mail; they will get here _afterwhile_, and they are
never old. Your letter of Sunday was seven days in coming. I have just
received your three letters sent by Schoenfield. They were a _little_
behind time, being dated March 14! but they were still very welcome. I
received by him the 'Evangelist' and 'Independent.' I always like to
get them, especially the 'Evangelist,' as it gives a little variety to
my religious reading.

"Colonel Morgan's father arrived in camp to-day, expecting to find the
colonel nearly dead, and found he had gone home only slightly wounded.
These newspaper reporters ought to be severely punished for their
wicked and foolish exaggerations. The idea of reporting twenty thousand
of our troops and forty thousand of the rebels killed and wounded
serves only to fearfully excite the country, and is so very grossly
absurd. It was a terrible fight, but not such as was reported in the
first dispatches. These reporters _see_ but little of the fight, hear
a great deal, and tell all they hear and a great deal more.

"I have nothing new to write, but thought you would love to hear after
this terrible battle. Be cheerful, hopeful and patriotic."

My letter of the 15th was in the most desponding tone since I had
entered the service. It must be confessed it presented a sorry picture
of the 1046 stalwart men who left Evansville eight months before for
the war:--

"I enclose you an extract from a communication addressed to our brigade
commander. You will see from it that our regiment is pretty well used
up, between sickness and the bullets of the enemy, having suffered
more than any other regiment from Indiana in battle. In this condition
of affairs, I feel constrained to ask that the regiment be somewhat

"Aleck has been troubled with camp dysentery, and wants to resign soon
but I have been doing all I can to keep him up and in good spirits, and
to stay with us."

Col. James C. Veatch,
Commanding Second Brigade, Fourth Division.


Permit me to call your attention to the present condition of the
Twenty-fifth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers.

In the late action at Fort Donelson we sustained a loss in killed and
wounded of one hundred and fifteen, and in the late battle of Pittsburg
Landing of one hundred and forty-nine, making a total of _two hundred
and sixty-four_. A number of the wounded have since died; a large
number are entirely disabled for any military duty, and nearly all of
the wounded will be unfit for duty for some time.

There are now absent from the regiment, sick, three hundred and nine
enlisted men, and sick in the regiment one hundred and thirty, making
a total sick of four hundred and thirty-nine.

I am left in sole command of the regiment, the lieutenant-colonel being
wounded and the adjutant having resigned. Three of our most efficient
officers were killed in the late action, and six of them severely
wounded and disabled. Two of our captains absent; one of them badly
wounded at Fort Donelson, the other sick. Three other of our captains
broken down with continuous sickness and hard service, and are asking
that they may be relieved or resign. We now report only three hundred
and eighty-seven men for duty.

Under date of the 18th I write:--

"It is now nearly two weeks since the battle, and our camp is again
resuming its quiet and accustomed ways, as if no terrible conflict had
taken place over these grounds. All our wounded are gone, and are now
in the hospitals at home. I hope they will be well cared for, as I am
sure they will be.

"We don't know how long we will stay here, or what are the intentions
of the generals; but I think we shall remain for at least ten days.
General Halleck will hardly move till he has his army so disposed as
to make victory certain. He says, so it is reported, that enough lives
have been lost here, and that he will accomplish the rest without
much fighting. I suppose you all hope this will be the case. General
Hurlbut says he will not take his division into the next battle, if he
can prevent it, owing to its heavy losses in the late battle. In our
regiment and the brigade every third man was either killed or wounded.

"So you may rest in considerable quiet, as I think the probabilities of
_us_ having much fighting is very remote. But if it becomes necessary
and we are called upon, we will do our duty; you would want us to do
nothing less. I never expect to witness such another battle in my life;
it was most terrible and grand. I could not describe it; it is only to
be seen and heard. I had no conception of what a battle was before. The
Fort Donelson fight was a mere skirmish by the side of it. You will
preserve all things of interest in the papers, especially relating
to our regiment in the battle; but there were so many regiments in
the fight we do not expect to get much notice, especially as we have
no reporters in our employ. I trust, my dear Parke, you will have
confidence in my continued safety and health, wishing for a happy
termination of our troubles and my speedy return, remembering that
I will not expose myself or our regiment more than is essential to
our duty, safety, and honor. I send many kisses to my darling little

My letter of the 20th acknowledges the receipt of the first letter from
my wife after the battle of Shiloh:--

"You cannot know how glad I was to receive your letter of the 12th.
I have read it over many, many times during the last two hours since
I received it. When I read your letter and knew with what feelings
of joy you learned of my safety, I could not keep back the tears.
I have something to live for and something to encourage me to do my
duty bravely, when I am assured of so dear and loving a wife and
such good relatives and friends. I was very anxious to hear from you
after the battle, and this was the first letter. I knew there would
be great anxiety at home both for myself and the regiment, so I sent
full particulars and list of the killed and wounded by the first

I have already given a copy of the letter I wrote my father the night
after the second day's fighting. Although I cautioned him that it was
only for the family, and not for the public, he was so much pleased
with and proud of it that he let the newspaper men take a copy of it.
The "New York Tribune," in publishing it on April 22, headed it with
this comment: "The following account of the great battle, written by
Major John W. Foster, of the Twenty-fifth Indiana, is the most clear
relation we have yet met with." In my letter to my wife of the 20th I
make this comment: "I was very sorry to see my letter to father in the
newspapers. I did not want it published. I so stated to him. I don't
want to blow my own trumpet. If the people at home can't learn of my
exploits in some other way, it is better that they should not hear them
at all. Don't publish any more of my letters unless I give my consent."

But other accounts than mine were published. I make an extract from one
of them written the day after the battle: "The Twenty-fifth has gained
fresh renown, and can point to their thinned ranks as the record of
their part in that dreadful fray. Colonel Veatch had two horses shot
under him while commanding the brigade. Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan was
wounded in the first fierce charge that brought down so many of his
men. Major Foster was everywhere in the thickest of the fight, leading
the charge or directing the backward movement. The men will follow
those officers anywhere and Indiana may justly be proud of them."

In my letter of the 20th, I report a proposed movement of our camp:--

"Our old camp becoming unpleasant after the great slaughter of men
and animals in the battle, we have been ordered to a new camp four
miles nearer the enemy. We made our preparations, but a heavy rain has

"I think when Colonel Morgan rejoins the regiment, after we have
whipped the rebels at Corinth and our men have a prospect of a little
rest, I will have to manage to get sick!--and by this means get a
sick-leave of a month, and come home to see my little daughter to
keep her from growing entirely out of my knowledge, and to enjoy the
long-desired society of my dear wife and friends. But I won't set my
heart upon it, neither must you, for the probabilities are we will have
to finish up this rebellion before any of us can get home. Then I will
come and make a lifelong visit with you; for it will take a very loud
and patriotic call from my country to make me leave my family again."

In my letter of the 21st I note an event which led to an important
change in my military service. My wife had two brothers, younger
than herself, Theodore, a student in the senior class at the State
University, and Alexander, then a clerk in the post-office at
Evansville. When the war broke out Alexander (or "Zan") was very
anxious to enlist, but he was only sixteen years old, and we refused
our consent largely on account of his youth, and besides, as I was
about to enter the service, I wanted him to stay at home to look
after my wife and their mother. But after the successive victories at
Donelson and Shiloh, and he heard from the returned soldiers about me,
he became restless to join our regiment. I refer to him in my letter of
the 25th:--

"I sent Zan a telegram and also wrote him a letter yesterday, saying if
Theodore could take his place in the post-office, I would have him made
a lieutenant and assign him to duty as regimental commissary. But I do
not want you to be left at home without one of the boys with you, while
I am away, and he is not to come without the approval of father and his

"Another reason which has caused me to decide for him to come, on the
above conditions, was that Aleck [my brother] has been a little unwell
for some weeks, is getting tired, insists on going out of the service,
and says he has only stayed on my account. He says if Zan comes he
can act as commissary and he (Aleck) will stay a month until Zan gets
posted in the business; and we can have him appointed regimental
quartermaster. If Aleck goes home, as he seems determined to do, I
would like to have Zan with me, as I don't fancy being here alone."


Evidently General Halleck's efforts to reorganize the army after
the battle of Shiloh were having a salutary effect in the camp, as
indicated in my letter of the 21st of April:--

"We are having greater confidence in the army now. We think Halleck
will manage affairs with much system and skill, and will not cause such
needless slaughter of brave soldiers as we had on the 6th. I am glad
to see the public journals exposing the wretched generalship which
permitted a complete surprise of a large army, and its almost complete
annihilation. But matters will go on much better now. System is
beginning to be apparent in every department, and care and foresight.
If we only had a good, full regiment everything would go well with
me, but we are sadly cut up. Sickness has weakened us very much, and
the two last battles have seriously reduced us. Our officers from
sickness, exposure and other causes are resigning; two of them go home
to-morrow. My own health and spirits are very good, but it is a little
discouraging to see the regiment so weakened."

But I cannot end the extracts without a little glimpse at our home
life, for which I so often express a longing in my letters. The Mr.
Tubbs referred to was the bearer of my wife's letter:--

"Mr. Tubbs said he called on you before he left and heard you play,
and praised your music extravagantly. I hope you do not neglect your
practice, as I want you always to be able to play as well as when we
were married. He spoke of what a pleasant home I had; it made me want
to be there. I was much moved at father's last letter in which he said
I was always in the thoughts of the folks at home; that _the little
ones talked about me every day_. How I wish I could be at home with
them again to enjoy the company of the little ones, of my own Alice and
the rest."

After three weeks of waiting, recuperation, and reinforcement, General
Halleck began the movement of his grand army against Corinth in the
last days of April. General Grant places its number at 120,000. I
reported this movement in my letter of May 3 as having already begun,
and in anticipation of another battle I seek to quiet my wife's fears:

"I wrote you of our change of camp, going four miles away from the
river beyond Shiloh Church toward Corinth; and we are now under orders
to proceed to Monterey, five miles from this camp, so that to-morrow
night we hope to be thirteen or fourteen miles from the river, and five
or six miles from Corinth. But I think we shall not have a great battle
for some days yet, for I think the enemy will wait for us to attack
them in their intrenchments.

"You must not be too solicitous if you hear of a great battle, or be
too credulous of telegraphic reports. I will try to do my duty, and we
will leave the result to our Heavenly Father, who has kindly been my
shield and protector thus far through terrible dangers."

On the 7th of May I write:--

"We are all packed up in camp under marching orders to go two miles
farther to the front, and are quietly waiting for the orders to move,
so while we are waiting I will try to pencil you a little note at

For the first time since I entered the army, with the exception of
temporary colds, I report a slight illness:--

"I have been a little unwell for two or three days past, but we are
having very pleasant weather to-day, and I shall soon be well again. I
cannot afford to be sick at this time; I must wait at least till we get
the enemy out of Corinth or wherever we meet them. I see by the papers
that the reporters have got the enemy out of Corinth. It may be so, but
we don't know it here."

May 8 I note the arrival at the camp of Alexander McFerson:--

"Zan arrived at the river night before last, but did not get out here
till this morning. I sent a recommendation to Governor Morton this
morning for his appointment, and he will go at once to work.

"We are now fourteen miles from Pittsburg Landing, and six miles from
Corinth. We are getting forward gradually; moved one mile to the front

The letter of May 12 says:--

"We have been moving out slowly and by degrees from Pittsburg. We are
now about eighteen miles from the river, and six miles from Corinth.
Our pickets are within three or four miles of Corinth, and can hear
very plainly the locomotives whistle and the drums beat. We have
various rumors of its evacuation, but can tell nothing of their truth.
I think the enemy are still there.

"I have come very near being quite ill for the last few days with
fever, but fortunately have escaped and am nearly well again. We were
called out in line of battle the other day by a false alarm, and I
thought I _must_ go out with my men, though I had a high fever; and
standing out in the hot sun for two hours (and we have hot sun now)
nearly laid me up permanently. It is the nearest I have come to being
real sick since I have been in the service; but I am pretty well over
it now, thanks to my strong resolution and Dr. Walker's good treatment.
Dr. Walker says I have barely escaped typhoid fever. I have taken
medicine quite freely. I cannot afford to be sick now; the enemy must
first be driven out of Corinth."

On the 16th I write:--

"We move up slowly, and as we go we fortify our camps by a continuous
line of breastworks of logs, brush, and earthwork. The newspaper
reporters have kept you unnecessarily alarmed about the battle '_which
could not be delayed a day longer_,' and yet it has been delayed for
a month. When it is to come off I do not know, or whether it is at
all. We have for more than a week past been right in the face of the
enemy's pickets, the men of our regiment fighting them all the time;
and whenever it becomes necessary for us to move our camp forward,
our pickets make a push on them and drive them back the required
distance, rather obstinately however. The pickets are now about a
mile in advance, and almost any time we can hear the rifles crack, and
frequently they go by volleys. If the enemy are going to fight we can't
go much farther.

"Zan is in good health and doing well. He is the most anxious man in
the regiment for a fight."

In a previous letter I noted that Colonel Veatch had received his
commission as brigadier-general, and that Governor Morton was on a
visit to the camps and we might expect our promotions soon. I had
also reported Governor Morton's visit to Fort Donelson after the
battle there. He was one of the most distinguished civilians which
the Civil War brought into public notice, and was especially esteemed
for his services toward the soldiers. Many years after the war one of
our Presidents, in a public address, said: "When history definitely
awards the credit for what was done in the Civil War, she will put the
services of no other civilian, save alone those of Lincoln, ahead of
the services of Governor Morton."

I reported May 19:--

"Governor Morton visited us yesterday and was warmly received by the
boys. He told them he would make Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan colonel and
me lieutenant-colonel for our services in the field, and the captains
have voted for Captain Rheinlander for major. I will get my commission
to-day, and so you can address me as Lieutenant-Colonel Foster
hereafter, and call me _colonel_, not _major_!

"We are called out into line of battle now every morning at daylight,
and some mornings we are out in line by three o'clock; thus, you see,
we are determined not to be surprised again by the enemy, if early
rising is to have anything to do with it. So I am writing my letter to
you before sunrise!"

A short letter on the 22d says:--

"I write you this note to say I will write you a long letter to-morrow,
to assure you of my increasing health and strength, and to let you know
we are still out of a battle. Since Captain Rheinlander has been made
major, I can be relieved of a portion of the outside heavy work, and
have the responsibility of the command divided. If Colonel Morgan was
back again, I could take things comparatively easy."

In the letter of the 23d it is stated that the St. Louis, Chicago, and
Cincinnati papers are now regularly on sale by newsboys, showing that
the communication with the rear was well maintained, but I still want
the Evansville papers, the magazines and the "Evangelist." I go more
into detail in the method of our advances:--

"We are slowly and safely approaching Corinth, making our way secure as
we go. We have a heavy skirmish with the enemy's pickets; if they are
obstinate we get out the artillery, throw a few shells into the woods,
drive them back over a ridge into a hollow a half mile or so, then
leave our camp equipage behind, and march out with guns, knapsacks,
haversacks, spades, axes, and picks in hand and throw up breastworks on
the ridge. When that is done we move up our camp equipage and remain
in camp here for a day or more. Then we shove up the enemy's pickets
again, and make another camp; and thus we are approaching the enemy's
works. Our generals, I believe, are going to consult the lives of the
soldiers in winning the next battle. The most of the people in the
States seem anxious that the fight should come off _in a hurry_. If
they had to do the fighting it might be different.

"If Beauregard will really stand, he will surely be defeated, though it
may cost the lives of many brave soldiers; but the life of any of us
is nothing in comparison with the life and safety of the Nation. If it
were not so I would not risk my life in the contest."

Under date of May 29, I allude to a forward movement of the
Twenty-fifth Indiana, similar to others previously made, but which,
unknown to us at the time, was a general advance of Sherman and
Hurlbut's divisions, and proved to be the last military demonstration
against Corinth, as the enemy was then engaged in the evacuation of the

"We went forward yesterday with our brigade and drove the enemy back
a mile, thus getting room for a new camp. To-morrow we all move up
another mile, getting close neighbors with Corinth.

"We were all glad to welcome Colonel Morgan back to-day, and I have
been busy talking regimental matters with him.

"The paymaster has been with us to-day, and I am sending you six
hundred dollars. I want you to be at perfect liberty in using the
money. Make your house and family comfortable, live well and enjoy
yourself. Consult father about the rent of the house, respecting which
you wrote me. Don't let these business affairs worry you. Take the
world easy."

At last the grand march on the rebel stronghold of Corinth was over. My
letter of June 1 says:--

"I suppose there was at least one anxious heart relieved by the
news which ought to have reached home yesterday that the rebels had
evacuated Corinth, and concluded not to give us battle. So you, and
the thousands of wives and relatives of our soldiers, can rest quiet
for some time. After the long preparations and constant and watchful
readiness we had maintained for battle, it was and is now a great
relief for us to relax and take some comfort. For weeks men have been
sleeping with all their accouterments on and their arms by their sides,
and were ordered out in line of battle sometimes at midnight, or any
other hour; but always at early daylight. It is a great relief to us
all to lie down quietly now and sleep without being disturbed by the
'long roll' or hasty orders from the generals. I have enjoyed the
luxury of the good morning naps, waiting for the rays of the sun to
waken me. Until last night I have slept with all my clothes on and in
utmost readiness for a prompt turnout. I am thankful for good sleep
now, and you are thankful that we had no battle.

"None of our regiment has been killed, but several were wounded on
picket and in the recent skirmishes. I have passed through several
narrow escapes, but then 'a miss is as good as a mile.' In the last
skirmish three days ago, Dr. Walker and I were talking together, on
horseback, discussing the close range the enemy had upon us with their
cannon, while the shot would occasionally rattle through the trees,
when an unwelcome visitor in the shape of a shell came whizzing along,
and went into the ground right between our horses, tearing up the dirt
at a fearful rate. The boys dug it out, and it was found that the
rebels in their hurry had forgot to gouge the fuse, and fortunately it
did not explode.

"I rode into Corinth yesterday. The fearful ravages of war are visible
on all sides, in the charred walls, solitary chimneys, smoking ruins,
and waste all around. The rebels burned all their storehouses full of
supplies, their magazines, armories, etc. In peaceful times the town
was a very attractive place.

"General Hurlbut is said to be anxious to get the position of
commandant of Memphis, and to march our division over immediately and
occupy. It is uncertain whether he will succeed. My health, also Zan's,
is good now."

The escape of the Confederate army from Corinth, and the subsequent
breaking up of Halleck's great army was a disappointment to the people
of the North. Halleck's generalship has been severely criticized by
both Grant and Sherman in their "Memoirs." Grant describes the movement
upon Corinth as "a siege from the start to the close" and says, "I am
satisfied that Corinth could have been captured in a two days' campaign
commenced promptly on the arrival of reinforcements after the battle
of Shiloh." Sherman laments that "the advance on Corinth had occupied
all of the month of May, the most beautiful and valuable month of the
year for campaigning in this latitude"; and he adds that "by the time
we had reached Corinth I believe that army was the best then on this
continent, and could have gone where it pleased."

While Buell's army was sent toward the east, Sherman and Hurlbut were
sent west toward Memphis. Our regiment was destined to have no rest, as
the day after we entered Corinth, June 1:--

"We received orders to support Sherman's division which had gone
forward on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad toward Memphis. In half
an hour we were in line of march, with two days' rations and no tents.
We had a heavy rain that evening. The men marched two hours into the
night, and then lay right down by the roadside on the wet ground and
slept till morning. In the morning we went to work cleaning out and
chopping the fallen timber from the railroad, and then went into camp,
and here we are now, five miles out west from Corinth. Our camp baggage
was not all up for five days.

"We have a very pleasant camp in a shady forest, everything to make
us comfortable in camp but the _wood-ticks_, which are multitudinous,
pestiferous, and unescapable; they have almost worried the life out of
me by their biting. This country abounds in snakes, lizards, and all
kinds of troublesome insects.

"I have taken a few rides out into the neighboring country, and find
it tolerably well settled, but the soil is very poor, the people
likewise and very ignorant. Since we have been in this camp we have
managed to get for our mess fresh milk, young chicken, eggs, green
peas, onions, and lettuce, which are great luxuries with us, who had
had nothing but Government supplies and what we could get from the

"We find very little bitter feeling or hostility exhibited toward us
by the country people, and all willing and longing for peace. But the
men are almost all gone, either in the army or afraid to trust us.
They who did not volunteer have been forced into the rebel service by
the conscription system, until there are hardly enough left to gather
the wheat, which is now ready for harvesting. The farmhouses were full
of women and children. They have no money but Confederate scrip and
'shin-plasters.' How it makes their eyes sparkle to see our soldiers'
silver and gold. But what is more desired by them than silver and gold
is _coffee_. It very often happens that we are utterly unable to get
their consent to sell one of the few remaining chickens on the farm
with silver at high prices, but a pound of coffee will get the last old
hen on the place.

"We don't certainly know what is to be our future destination, but it
is semi-officially stated in camp that W. T. Sherman's and Hurlbut's
divisions are to constitute the branch of the army which is to move on
Memphis. We are anxious to go to that place, but our wish has nothing
to do with it, as we are Government soldiers to be disposed of as our
generals think best. There you see I have filled up the sheet with a
matter-of-fact business-like letter, without assuring you how much I
long to be with you and at home. But I don't allow myself to think too
much of these things or I would get homesick. I long with you for the
war to end, that I may lay aside my emblems of the army, and return to
my dear wife and child, and the comforts and enjoyments of civil life,
but I must be patient."

Some days later an undated letter says:--

"I had thought of writing you a good long letter this morning, but all
human hopes are vain. This morning we have marching orders for the
west, and there is no time for letter-writing. We are not informed as
to our destination, but the general impression among the officers is
that we are bound for Memphis. Will you come down to see me there, or
shall I jump on a boat and come up the Mississippi and Ohio and see

My next letter was written from Grand Junction, a station on the
Memphis and Charleston Railroad, midway from Corinth to Memphis. The
marching orders mentioned in the preceding letter were for Memphis, but
on reaching this station our regiment was diverted from its course, as
will be seen from the letter of June 20:--

"We arrived here five days ago, but our brigade was sent on an
expedition down to Holly Springs, thirty miles south in Mississippi,
to destroy the Mississippi Central Railroad, which took us till last
night: the rest of the army remaining here to support us in case
of danger. We came back all safe. The march was a very rapid, but
pleasant one, through a beautiful country and to one of the prettiest
towns in the South. We hope to leave for Memphis to-morrow."

This was the last letter written by me from the Twenty-fifth Indiana.
On my arrival at Grand Junction I learned that Alexander McFerson, my
wife's brother, was ill at Lagrange, a station on the railroad a short
distance from Grand Junction. I at once hastened to his bedside, and
found him suffering from a severe attack of typhoid fever, which was
prevalent in the camps. Notwithstanding he received the most skillful
medical attendance, the virulence of the disease soon placed him beyond
human aid, and he died on June 27.

I secured a furlough to take his body home. The regiment continued
on its march to Memphis, and I went on my sad journey to Evansville,
bringing the body of the young soldier to his bereaved mother and
sister. The sequel shows that I never returned to the Twenty-fifth
Indiana, with which I had passed through so many dangers and
privations, and with whose men I had formed the deep attachment of
soldier comradeship.

The following editorial in the "Evansville Journal" of July 2, 1862,
reflects the sentiments of all who knew him:--

A telegram last night brought the melancholy news of the death of
Lieutenant Alexander McFerson to his friends in this city. He died at
Lagrange, Tennessee, on the 27th ult. at the age of seventeen.

When he asked permission to join the army he said that he felt it
his duty to go into the service; that neither of his mother's sons
were there, and he would never feel satisfied unless he did his share
in putting down the rebellion. Less than two months ago he left his
friends and home, buoyant in health, and with high hopes of a pleasant
and useful career in the grand army of the Mississippi, having been
appointed commissary to the Twenty-fifth Indiana Volunteers. But how
soon those hopes are blasted, how soon that health is destroyed by a
fatal disease. In early youth, he is cut off. Young McFerson was a
generous, noble youth, warm-hearted, and highly esteemed by the whole
community, who will warmly sympathize with his bereaved friends in this
hour of their affliction.


When I arrived at Evansville in July, 1863, on furlough, I found the
border country on both sides of the Ohio River in Indiana and Kentucky
in a state of feverish excitement. The counties of western Kentucky
were overrun with Confederate soldiers, who had secretly and singly
passed through the military lines, and were engaged actively in the
work of securing recruits for the rebel army, and, after mounting them
on horses taken from loyal citizens, sent them back through the lines
to the South. Guerrilla bands were roaming through these counties,
terrorizing the Union men, and threatening to cross the Ohio. In fact,
about the time of my arrival at home a small guerrilla force had
occupied Newburg, a town nine miles above Evansville, and robbed the
stores, striking terror into the inhabitants.

As no regular forces were available for defense, Governor Morton had
rushed several bodies of Home Guards to Evansville, and was organizing
thirty and sixty days' men for service in various parts of Indiana, to
serve until the Federal Government was able to protect the disturbed
districts by regularly organized and armed troops. General Love, who
had charge of these State forces, with his headquarters at Evansville,
requested me to take command of these irregular levies, and occupy
Henderson, the most important town in that section of Kentucky, ten
miles below Evansville on the Ohio River, as a base for operations
against these marauding rebels. This I consented to do, as a temporary

On the 26th of July, a few days after we had occupied Henderson,
Governor Morton repeated from Indianapolis a telegram from General J.
T. Boyle at Louisville, commanding the United States military forces in
Kentucky as follows: "Give the order to Lieutenant-Colonel Foster in
my name to command at Henderson." As my furlough from the Twenty-fifth
Indiana was about to expire, and neither Governor Morton nor General
Boyle would listen to my intimation that I would have to rejoin my
regiment, estimating highly the value of my military experience in the
absence of other available officers, the Governor secured from General
Grant an order detaching me temporarily from the Twenty-fifth Indiana,
and authorizing me to continue in the service in Kentucky.

I was clothed by General Boyle with the most drastic authority to put
an end to the troubles in western Kentucky. The order above quoted by
which I was placed in command at Henderson contained also the following

Order the officers in my name to kill every armed rebel offering
resistance and all banded as guerrillas. I want none such as prisoners.
Order them to disarm every disloyal man.

Only a few days after I was put in command by General Boyle. August 2,
he sent the following telegram:--

If officers and men do not obey my orders to shoot down the armed
rebels, every bushwhacker, guerrilla, or banded villains, our forces
had better be withdrawn from the field. We can only save the State by
putting them to the sword. I want none of them as prisoners. Take no
oath or bonds. You will shoot down the scoundrels.

These and other orders from him of like character which I quote
will indicate the bitter spirit which prevailed at that time in
Kentucky between the loyal and disloyal citizens. General Boyle was a
native-born citizen of Kentucky.

Immediately after I assumed command at Henderson I set to work to
get the irregular and inexperienced forces collected there into such
organized shape as would enable me to go out into the country to attack
and drive out the rebel bands which were infesting that region. While
engaged in that work, I was embarrassed by a civil duty which I had
to face. A short time before my arrival an election had been held in
Kentucky for city, county, and other officials. General Boyle had
issued an order regulating the election to this effect:--

No person hostile in opinion to the Government will be allowed to
stand for office in Kentucky. The attempt of such a person to stand
for office will be regarded as in itself sufficient evidence of his
treasonable intent to warrant his arrest. In seeking office he becomes
an active traitor, if he does not become one otherwise, and is liable
both in reason and in law to be treated accordingly. All persons of
this description in offering themselves as candidates for office will
be arrested and sent to these Headquarters.

The election at Henderson had resulted in the choice of a mayor and
city council, all of whom were sympathizers with the rebellion. On my
arrival the mayor fled from the city. I telegraphed General Boyle:
"The mayor of this city has left town without leave. Been absent a
week. Strongly suspected of being among the guerrillas. The city
council are secessionists in sympathy. Have you any action to direct?"
He replied: "When mayor returns arrest him. If you deem proper arrest
any of the council, and send all to Camp Morton. The men elected to
office in Hopkins County I wish taken and sent in with others. Leniency
and conciliation do no good. The scoundrels must be subjugated or

It was soon established that the mayor had fled through the lines and
joined the Confederate forces, whereupon I summoned a meeting of the
council and requested them to declare the office of mayor vacant, and
each of them to take the oath of loyalty exacted of suspected citizens.
Rather than take this action all the members of the council resigned.
The city marshal likewise refused to take the oath of loyalty, and
I declared his office vacant. This left the city without any civil

I therefore issued a proclamation as military commander of the post,
assuming control of the civil affairs "until the loyal citizens shall
have filled the offices with loyal men," and ordering an election to
be held on a day designated. Meanwhile a citizen of Henderson was
appointed by me provost marshal and furnished with a military guard
to enforce order. My action in the matter was approved by my superior
commanders. Thenceforth during my command in western Kentucky I had no
trouble with the civil authorities of Henderson.

Having gotten my forces in a fair condition for a campaign against the
guerrilla bands, I was about to make an expedition into the adjoining
counties, when I received a report that the Confederate trooper John
Morgan, with a large force, was just across the line in Tennessee and
learned that one of his subordinates, Adam Johnson, a noted guerrilla
chief, was already in my district. Before moving, I inquired of
General Boyle as to Morgan's whereabouts, and he replied: "Morgan is
near Gallatin. He cannot venture into your section. No danger from
that source. Johnson is a great liar, as all rebels are. You can go
where you please. Act on your own discretion. Shoot down the banded
scoundrels as guerrillas or as recruits for the rebel army."

I had received reliable information that a considerable band of armed
and organized rebels were quartered at Madisonville, the county
seat of Hopkins County, about forty miles from Henderson, actively
recruiting for their army and levying upon the loyal citizens for
horses and supplies. With several companies of infantry and such force
of cavalry as I could get (a mere handful), I embarked at night on a
steamer, going up the Ohio and Green Rivers to within three miles of
Madisonville, where we disembarked early in the morning, and moved
toward the town, hoping to surprise the enemy. But we found them posted
in a forest, heavily wooded and thick with underbrush, in the suburbs
of the town. I ordered forward our skirmishers, who engaged them with
a brisk fire, but before our line of battle could reach them they
fled precipitately, mounting their horses and scattering in every
direction. The result of the skirmish was a few soldiers wounded and a
number of the rebels as prisoners.

We went into camp at Madisonville, and scouting parties were sent out
in various directions. A few prisoners were brought in, but no banded
rebels could be met with, as, being mounted on good horses and aided by
resident sympathizers, they were able to get out of the way. During our
stay some of our soldiers on picket duty were shot down, murdered in
the darkness of the night, by persons claiming to be Southern soldiers,
skulking behind rocks and bushes. We were indignant at such warfare,
and I issued a proclamation which was scattered throughout the county,
denouncing this irregular and barbarous warfare as contrary to the
rules of civilized nations, declaring that the firing upon pickets,
when no enemy was near, was cold-blooded murder, and giving notice that
for every picket thereafter murdered one of the captured guerrillas in
our hands would be put to death as a felon. I never had occasion to put
this threat into execution, and probably never would have done so, but
the proclamation had its desired effect, and the killing of our pickets

The expedition to Madisonville was heralded by the papers of Indiana
as a great victory and magnified into a battle, but to me who had so
recently come from Fort Donelson and Shiloh it seemed a mere skirmish
of slight proportions. I soon returned to the post at Henderson,
leaving a small detachment at Madisonville to protect the loyal
citizens from the depredations of the guerrillas.

On my return I found that a reign of terror existed in the adjoining
county of Union; that the loyal officers recently elected were not
permitted by the secessionists to act; that a returned Union soldier
at home on furlough had been ambushed and murdered; and that unarmed
steamers on the Ohio had been repeatedly fired on from Uniontown.
Reporting these facts to General Boyle, I was authorized to levy on the
secession sympathizers of the locality a fund for the support of the
family of the murdered soldier. As to Uniontown he telegraphed me: "If
the rebels take any town on the river and use it to fire on boats, you
will burn or demolish it. It would be well to burn down Uniontown, if
it is likely to fall into the hands of the rebels."

I made an expedition into Union County with a view to overawe the rebel
sympathizers and place the loyal officers recently elected in the
exercise of their duties. But it proved of no avail. The guerrillas
easily got out of our way and the rebel residents denied all knowledge
of them or of the parties guilty of the soldier's murder. The loyal
officials were unwilling to attempt to assume their duties unless I
would agree to keep a force of soldiers permanently at the county seat,
and this I could not do with my inadequate command.

For the first month or six weeks of my Kentucky service I put forth
as much activity as was possible with the forces I had, to destroy or
drive out of my district the guerrillas and Confederate recruiting men,
and I received the repeated thanks of Governor Morton and my commanding
officer, General Boyle, for what I accomplished. But I encountered
considerable embarrassment in the exercise of my command. I was still
lieutenant-colonel of the Twenty-fifth Indiana, then in General Grant's
army on the Lower Mississippi, and the troops sent into my district
might be, and at times were, commanded by officers of higher rank than
mine, and who according to the Army Regulations would displace me.
It was the desire of both Morton and Boyle that I should continue in
charge of the district, and they recognized that I deserved promotion.

In a letter, dated September 19, Governor Morton wrote me as follows:--

"I desire to say frankly that it would be very gratifying to me to
have you remain in command of the forces at and in the vicinity of
Henderson, if in justice to your own feelings and the interest of
your own regiment, you could do so. The ability, energy, and sagacity
you have thus far displayed is sufficient proof of your fitness for
the command. But should you, on any account, feel embarrassed in your
personal position, I cannot insist that you shall remain; and, as to
this, I beg you will exercise your own discretion.

"It would afford me much pleasure to show my recognition of your
gallant, efficient, and faithful services, by promoting you to a
colonelcy, and I should have done so before this, giving you one of the
new regiments, had not orders from the War Department, a copy of which
is herewith enclosed, prevented me from promoting officers connected
with 'old regiments' to new commands. I regard you as entirely
competent to lead a regiment, and your experience and uniform good
conduct in the field, in my judgment, fairly entitle you to promotion.
The orders alluded to have embarrassed me very much, but the Secretary
of War has announced them as inflexible."

When it became apparent that I would have to rejoin the Twenty-fifth
Indiana unless I was promoted, a way was found (how I do not know)
whereby I was appointed colonel of the Sixty-fifth Indiana Infantry,
a new regiment which had just been organized at Evansville. The
Lieutenant-Colonel of the Sixty-fifth was Thomas Johnson, my uncle, who
six months before had been forced to resign on account of ill-health.
My promotion enabled me to continue in command of the district of
western Kentucky continuously until our forces were transferred to
another field in the following year.

The action on my part, during my command of the district of western
Kentucky, which attracted the most attention and comment, was the
enforcement of a money levy made upon the disloyal residents of Hopkins
County to reimburse the Union citizens for losses sustained at the
hands of the guerrillas. This action on my part was reported in full
at the time to General Boyle and to Major-General Wright, commanding
the department, and was unreservedly approved by them. General Wright,
in endorsing his approval, added: "A few such exhibitions of zeal and
energy would go far toward breaking up the lawless bands, which have
been so long a terror in that quarter, and restoring peace and quiet in
that section of Kentucky." Efforts were made in vain to the military
commanders to have this levy revoked. Finally Hon. L. W. Powell,
one of the Senators from Kentucky and a citizen of Henderson, after
having failed with the War Department, visited President Lincoln in
person, presented to him a list of the names of individuals assessed
by me and the amount, and asked that in the exercise of his power as
Commander-in-Chief of the Army he disapprove of the levy and order the
money returned.

The request of Senator Powell, with his list, was sent by President
Lincoln through the military channels calling for a report from me. I
quote the following from my letter to General Boyle, dated February 16,
1863, in reply:--

"I am in receipt of the letter of President Lincoln, with your
endorsement thereon, instructing me to report on the names contained in
the paper submitted by Senator Powell.

"You will remember that I made a full report of all my action in these
matters at the time, giving in detail the condition of the country,
the causes which led to my action, the amount levied, the manner in
which it was distributed, and the effect which it has had upon the
community. This report has been read by yourself and Major-General
Wright, commanding this department, and in all respects fully approved.
I desire that this report be sent to the President. It was made upon my
honor as an officer, and by it I desire that I may be judged. The money
levied had been appropriated and paid out, as stated in my report, to
the citizens of Hopkins County, who were the sufferers by the action of
these very men and their friends, who ask the President for redress.
The money cannot now be refunded by them. I am the only person who
should be held responsible, for if any wrong was committed it was
through the action taken by me as set forth in my report.

"I know that my action in the matter has had a most salutary effect
upon the people, and Hopkins County is now enjoying a degree of peace
and security which has not heretofore existed since the commencement of
the rebellion. I trust my action may be approved by the President, as
it has so flatteringly been done by yourself and Major-General Wright."

As I relied entirely upon my previous report to General Boyle for my
vindication, I make some extracts from that document:--

"For more than three months previous to this levy, I had been laboring
as earnestly as the force under my command would permit, in efforts to
rid this part of Kentucky of the lawless bands of guerrillas. They had
succeeded in breaking up the civil organization in all the counties
lying between Green and Cumberland Rivers; forcibly preventing the
administration of the laws; stopping the mails; robbing peaceable
citizens on the public highways, causing loyal men to flee from their
families and homes; plundering them of horses, arms, goods, and
anything of value that their comfort required, or fancy demanded;
interrupting the navigation of the rivers by firing into unarmed
steamers; and were engaged in carrying on a warfare, cowardly and
cruel, and entirely unwarranted by the rules of civilized nations.

"These bands of guerrillas were mounted on the best horses in the
country, stolen from the citizens; they were active and wily, and
thoroughly acquainted with the byways and hiding-places; and were
supported by vigilant friends on every side. I found it very difficult
to drive them out. And one great obstacle to this was the fact that
they were supported, encouraged, and harbored by the friends and
sympathizers of the rebellion, who were enjoying the possession of
their property and their homes under the protection of the Government,
while very many loyal citizens were driven from their families, and
their homes plundered by these armed robbers. The guerrillas possessed
not a single tent, and made no arrangements for a commissariat,
yet they never wanted for a friendly roof to shelter them and were
bountifully supplied with cooked rations. Wherever they went they were
encouraged by hearty welcomes and approving smiles. They never could be
surprised in their hiding-places or overtaken in their flight, because
some sympathizers, enjoying the immunities of the Government, would go
before and warn them of our approach. I had exerted myself to drive out
these bands and restore peace to these counties and had only partially
succeeded. I had time and again warned the secession sympathizers that
if they continued to harbor, feed, and encourage these plunderers and
assassins, I would be compelled to hold them responsible; that Union
men, on account of their patriotic faithfulness to the Government in
this time of public distress, should not be driven from their homes,
their property carried away, and their lives endangered, without some
compensation for their losses. They were daily making their complaints
known to me, some loyal farmers having lost their last horse, not one
being left to gather the corn, or till the soil. Others had their
stores or houses plundered. The secessionists were living in the
peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and the undisturbed possession of
their property.

"The county of Hopkins was one of the strongholds of the guerrillas and
their friends; they were numerous, active, and bold. After consulting
with the most prominent Union men of the county as to the proper course
to pursue, I organized the expedition, a partial report of which I
gave you, in which I succeeded in scattering, capturing, or driving
away all the organized bands in that county. Then in order to give
peace in future to the county, I determined to carry out the threat
I had so often made to the aiders and harborers of the guerrillas
by holding them responsible for the depredations committed by their
lawless friends. I accordingly made a money levy upon every prominent
harborer or sympathizer of the guerrillas that I could reach, making
the assessment against each individual in proportion to his property
and support or countenance of the traitors. The amount so levied and
collected has reached the sum of thirteen thousand three hundred and
thirty-five ($13,335) dollars. This fund I have caused to be paid over
to an upright, loyal, and responsible citizen of Henderson, Kentucky. I
have appointed a committee consisting of men of acknowledged probity,
influence, and responsibility of Hopkins County, who are thoroughly
acquainted with the people of the county. I have placed the matter
entirely in the hands of citizens, removing it as far as possible from
the control of the military. I have made it the duty of this committee
to investigate the losses sustained by Union citizens of Hopkins County
through the agency of the guerrilla bands, and to compensate them out
of this fund in proportion to their necessities and losses."

My report was forwarded through the War Department to President Lincoln
and approval of my action was made by the endorsement of the President
in his own handwriting. Nothing further was heard through official
channels of the levy.

The town of Smithland at the mouth of the Cumberland River was in my
district, and as it was an important dépôt for supplies for the forces
operating at and through Nashville, I was required to maintain a force
there, and I was often called there in discharge of my duties. Under
date of November 1, I received a letter from General Boyle enclosing
two orders from Major-General Wright, one placing under arrest and
ordering a court-martial for the major commanding a detachment of a
Wisconsin regiment stationed at Smithland, and the other ordering the
detachment to be sent away to another army. It appears that the major
enforced very little discipline and that the troops were inflicting all
kinds of outrages and terrorism on the residents. I was directed to
take with me one or more companies of Indiana troops for a garrison.
He added: "I think, if practicable, you had better go down in person
to Smithland. The citizens are apprehensive of an outbreak and great
wrongs to them, on finding that the Wisconsin troops are ordered off
and the major placed under arrest. You will take prompt and decisive
steps to prevent anything of the kind, even if you shall be under the
necessity of using the musket or bayonet for the purpose. Exercise
prudence but firmness."

I encountered no difficulty in executing my orders. The major quietly
accepted his arrest, the disorderly troops were sent away, and the
garrison of a portion of my Sixty-fifth Regiment gave the citizens
assurance of order.

Some time after this visit I was again called down to Smithland, but
for a very different reason. The emancipation of the slaves, brought
about by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, was greatly
resented by many of the Union men of Kentucky. Upon the publication by
President Lincoln of the notice of his intended action on September
22, 1862, quite a number of the officers of Kentucky regiments in
the Federal army resigned their commissions and returned home.
Others, while remaining loyal to the Government, deeply regretted the
President's action, and General Boyle was among them. Large numbers of
slaves escaping through the lines from Tennessee sought refuge within
our encampments. In November, I received the following letter from
General Boyle: "Do not allow negro slaves to come into your lines. All
such must be turned out and kept out. Have nothing to do with negroes.
Let them go. You will see that your command attend to this matter.
I am anxious that Indiana troops especially have nothing to do with

I sought to have this order observed by my command, distasteful as it
was to many, and General Boyle commended me for my action, but called
attention to the non-observance of the order, especially at Smithland,
and asked me to give it my personal attention. I wrote my wife under
date of January 25, 1863: "I shall have to go down to Smithland again
to-morrow. Considerable complaint is made about Major Butterfield
on the negro question; Governor Robinson of Kentucky complaining
to General Boyle and the general referring the matter to me. This
eternal negro question is a perfect nightmare to our loyal Kentucky
patriots. We have to humor them amazingly. I try to act prudently, but
I sometimes get vexed and disgusted."

I have already noticed various occupations in which I have been engaged
other than of a strictly military service. While in command of the
district of western Kentucky I was ordered to go with a suitable force
to the Cumberland River, midway between Smithland and Nashville, where
the rebels had obstructed navigation by sinking barges loaded with
stone in the channel. With vessels suited for the purpose, I spent
two weeks in cleaning the channel for navigation. I sent my wife a
Christmas greeting by telegraph from this point, reporting my success,
and also that we had captured thirty guerrillas.

During the greater part of my service in Kentucky I had been much
hampered by the lack of a sufficient force of cavalry to enable me to
pursue and hunt down the guerrillas. After continued efforts in that
direction, I received the following Special Order from General Boyle's
headquarters. "Colonel John W. Foster is hereby authorized to mount the
Sixty-fifth Regiment Indiana Volunteers to be used as mounted infantry.
The Quartermaster's and Ordnance Departments will furnish the necessary
horses and horse equipments upon Colonel Foster's requisition." After
my regiment was mounted and fully equipped, I had little trouble in
clearing the country of guerrillas and giving peace to the Union

I was greatly grieved in January, 1863, to receive a letter from my
wife telling me of my father's failing health. He had always been a
devoted parent to his children, but he had doubly attached me to him at
the opening of the war in patriotically encouraging his boys to enter
the army, with the assurance that he would look after and care for
their families. He wrote me frequent letters, and no day passed without
a visit from him to my house to inquire for the health and needs of my
wife and child. I wrote my wife: "Your letter made me sad when I read
of father's poor health. I wish I was at home to comfort him somewhat
and to aid him in his business. You will do all you can to make his
time pleasant. He thinks much of you. Visit him often, and let Alice go
over to see him whenever he wants her or she wants to go, and teach her
to be affectionate to him. These little acts of kindness will gratify
him in his feeble health and declining years."

My father's ill-health continued after the date of this letter, but I
was afforded the opportunity of visiting him several times and doing
what I could to comfort him in his last days. On April 13, 1863, he
passed away. An account of the manner in which he met death is recorded
in the "Biography of Matthew Watson Foster," pp. 81-83.

Fortunately for the human race, our sorrows and our joys follow
each other, often in quick succession. Two weeks after the death of
my father, while on an expedition into the interior of my district
in pursuit of guerrillas, I received intelligence of the birth of
our second child, Edith. She was our "war baby," but she proved the
harbinger of peace. Blessed with a sweet and even temper from her
birth, she has spread peace and sunshine in her path through life.

Although my field of military service was so near to my home, I did not
cease to long for the time when I might return to my family. Writing to
my wife on a Sabbath day, January 11, I say:--

"Oh, when will this terrible war be over, so that we may spend our
Sabbaths together as we have in the past, so peacefully, so pleasantly,
so profitably? It has always been one of my greatest privations in the
army that I was away from my family and Sabbath Church enjoyments. God
in his own good time will give us peace, and return us to our Christian
privileges and our home blessings. I can't help but wish I was at home,
and wish it every day, and that circumstances were such that I might
come with honor. I trust that time may come soon. But I do not want to
dishonor all I have done by leaving at present. I want first to see
the war looking toward its close."

I wrote the following brief epistle to my wife in a jocose spirit:
"For the love I bear you, I herewith enclose to you the fruits of my
toil, danger, privations, and glory for the past two months, $381.65,
according to the estimate of my services by the paymaster."

I have referred to the embarrassment and trouble which came to me
soon after I assumed command at Henderson by the condition of the
State elections and the rebel civil officials. Another annual election
occurred just before the close of my service in 1863, and I was
required by General Boyle to see that his orders were enforced. In
addition to the order that no one who was not _in all things_ loyal to
the State and Federal Governments should be allowed to be a candidate,
a further order was issued which made it the duty of the judges of
election to allow no one to vote unless he was known to them to be
an undoubtedly loyal citizen or unless he took the "iron-clad" oath
of loyalty prescribed by the State law. It was made the duty of the
military authorities to see that these orders were enforced. I did not
have a sufficient force to station a detachment at every voting-place,
but I scattered the military election proclamation broadcast, and had
a force at a number of the leading voting-places.

In one of the Congressional districts within my command I had a
peculiar condition. The regular or State Union candidate was opposed
by a prominent citizen, who had stood by the Federal Government at the
beginning of the rebellion, had raised a Federal regiment, and had
fought gallantly at Donelson and Shiloh. But after the President's
announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, he resigned from the
army and returned to Kentucky to array himself with the peaceful
opponents of the Administration. He was permitted to make a canvass
of his district without any interference by the military, and at the
election none of my command found it necessary to interpose. But the
fact was that many who would have supported him at the polls abstained
from voting because they were unwilling to take the "iron-clad" oath.
Although the State Union candidate received a decided majority of the
votes, his seat was contested by his opponent on the ground, among
others, of military interference with the election, and my name was
freely used in the debates; but the Union candidate was seated by
Congress. In the course of the debate, the Union candidate, referring
to the attacks upon me, said: "Colonel Foster's services protected all
that region of Kentucky, my home, the contestant's home, from rebel and
guerrilla outrage and depredation. Without those services the courts
could not have been held nor the laws administered in a large district
of country. He afterwards led a brigade with brilliant success in East
Tennessee. And the contestant will not forget that day on the banks
of Green River, when he and I waged a bloodless battle of words about
politics in stone's throw of where Foster and his gallant Hoosiers
stood in battle order, expecting John Morgan and his avalanche of

During my year's service in Kentucky my command was frequently
disturbed and put in battle array by reports from time to time that the
rebel General Forrest or John Morgan was about to enter my district
with a large force of cavalry. These reports were so frequent and
unfounded that we became incredulous, but Morgan finally did come into
Kentucky with quite a formidable force. General Boyle early notified
me of his presence in the State, and that he might seek his way out by
crossing Green River and passing through my district into Tennessee;
and I was ordered to move my entire command to Green River, remove or
destroy all the boats, and give him battle if he came my way.

But Morgan had other schemes on hand. At noon July 9, 1863, General
Boyle telegraphed me that Morgan had crossed the Ohio River into
Indiana some distance below Louisville with a cavalry force of four
thousand men. I was ordered to secure transports and put my command on
board to move up the river. At 9 P.M. the same night I received the
following from Boyle: "Morgan may deflect west and try Evansville. I
think he will move on New Albany. Gather your men, seize boats, and
come up river. Send out scouts on Indiana side to learn of enemy's
movement. Direct your movements accordingly. Attack and fight Morgan
wherever he can be met." About the same time I had telegraphic advices
from Governor Morton of Morgan's presence in Indiana, and that he was
likely to move toward Evansville.

When I received these orders and the information that Morgan had
crossed the Ohio River into Indiana, in accordance with previous
instructions I was with my entire command on Green River awaiting an
expected attack from Morgan in that locality. I at once crossed Green
River on the night of the 10th _en route_ for the Ohio, but did not
reach its banks until the night of the 11th, by which time Morgan was
well on his way toward the State of Ohio. I was therefore not to share
in the pursuit of this noted raider.

I returned with my command to Henderson and redistributed them at
various exposed places in my district. But this proved the end of my
military operations in Kentucky. General Burnside had been ordered
from the East to assume command of the Department of the Ohio, and was
preparing the concentration of his forces for a movement for the relief
of the loyal people of East Tennessee, and I felt sure my regiment
would be included. Hence I was not surprised to receive orders on the
7th of August, 1863, to move the Sixty-fifth Indiana Mounted Infantry
to Glasgow, from which place Burnside's movement was to begin.

I was quite satisfied at this change. As early as February I had made
a visit to Louisville to ask General Boyle if he could not give me a
more active service. The guerrilla warfare which I was carrying on
was of a very unsatisfactory and unprofitable kind. My troubles with
the disloyal citizens and the civil duties as to officials and the
elections were not to my taste. As a soldier I longed to be relieved
from these unwelcome duties, and to bear my share in the real military
campaigns of the war. During my year's service in the district I had
received the warmest exhibitions of friendship from the Union citizens
of Henderson and that region. Being stationed so near to my home, my
wife often visited me, and these kind-hearted citizens always insisted
on making her their guest. I received various testimonials of their
esteem, among others a beautiful jeweled sword, sash, and belt. When
it became known that my regiment was to be ordered away, an earnest
petition was sent to General Boyle asking our retention, signed by all
the Union citizens, headed by ex-Governor and ex-Senator Dixon.

Hon. Thomas E. Bramlette, Governor of the State of Kentucky, wrote
President Lincoln, asking that I might "be retained in western Kentucky
in charge of the defenses of that section. I have recently passed all
through western Kentucky and find from personal observation the immense
good which the vigilant and successful military guardianship of Colonel
Foster has done for that section." General Boyle, in a letter to the
Secretary of War, said: "I beg to say that Colonel J. W. Foster is one
of the most vigilant, active, and useful officers in the volunteer
army. He is a man of the first order of ability, with capacity to fill
almost any place in the service, and no man known to me has done better
service than Colonel Foster."

In an editorial notice of some length the "Evansville Journal," in
noticing the departure of the Sixty-fifth Regiment, said:--

While we are glad the gallant boys of this excellent regiment are about
to be afforded an opportunity to engage in more active service, and to
see some of the excitement of war on its grander scale, yet we cannot
help regretting their departure from our vicinity. For a year past the
people along the border have felt that the Sixty-fifth was a wall of
safety, a mountain of rocks between them and the guerrillas. Colonel
Foster during his administration of affairs in the Green River region,
has won not only the admiration of the friends, but also the respect of
the enemies, of the Government.


No portion of the people of our country had shown more devotion to
the Union or suffered greater hardships on account of their loyalty
during the Civil War than the citizens of East Tennessee. Almost the
entire population of military age had fled over the mountains into
Kentucky and enlisted in the Federal army. And those who remained--the
old men, the women and the children--endured many privations and much
persecution. It had long been the desire of the Federal Government to
occupy East Tennessee with troops and free the loyal people from their
oppression, and President Lincoln in 1863 determined that this relief
should no longer be delayed.

The army under General Burnside numbered approximately twenty thousand
men, a force which it was thought was sufficient for the purpose in
view of the fact that General Rosecrans with a much larger army was
moving from middle Tennessee toward Chattanooga and northern Georgia.
In a letter to my wife from Glasgow, dated the 18th of August, I say:--

"We arrived here yesterday. Found marching orders for this morning to
go to Burksville with our brigade. The brigade left this morning, but I
got permission to stay over to-day to shoe horses and more fully equip
the regiment. The indications are that the cavalry division will go
direct to Knoxville, after a few days' delay at Burksville."

From Ray's Cross Roads, I write on the 20th:--

"We reached here yesterday. How many days we will remain I do not know.
We are anxious to move forward, wanting to get into East Tennessee
as soon as possible. I drilled my regiment to-day, had a good dress
parade, and made a very fine appearance. I think there is no regiment
in the corps that will make a better show. It attracts very general
attention. We are stopped here waiting for the supply trains to come
up. If it were not for the stomachs of men and horses an army could
accomplish wonders. Kiss little Edith for me and tell Alice her papa
thinks of her very often and loves her very much."

A letter the next day from the same place says:--

"We leave at 11 A.M., camp to-night at Marrowbone, to-morrow at
Burksville, thence to Albany and Jamestown, Tennessee. I am well and
in good spirits. Do not be uneasy if you do not hear from me very
soon again, as we shall probably draw in our couriers and close our
line of communication to-morrow. The Twenty-third Army Corps has one
cavalry division of three brigades, each brigade consisting of four
regiments and one battery; also one independent brigade of cavalry. The
second brigade is the one in which is our regiment, and is commanded
by Brigadier-General Hobson. You see we have a very strong force of
cavalry, with which we can overrun the whole of East Tennessee and a
good part of North Carolina, if we can ever get through the gaps and
over the mountains, and can manage to take along with us our supply of
forage and rations.

"General Hobson is absent from the brigade sick. I am the senior
colonel of the brigade, and in the absence of the general, I will be
entitled to command. Before I arrived, Colonel Graham, Fifth Indiana,
was commanding, and as I had even more than I could well attend to, and
as General Hobson was expected soon, I did not ask for the command, and
will not do so unless I learn that General Hobson will not be able to
join us soon. My regiment is the largest (and I think the best) in the
brigade, having eight hundred and fifty fighting men with us."

On August 28, I wrote:--

"We have been here in the vicinity of Jamestown for a few days. We
are out of forage for our horses, and have to get green corn and what
hay, straw, and oats we can find, feeding them also on wheat and rye.
We are up on the top of the mountains, and the soil is very poor, the
farms small, and there is little forage of any kind; consequently, if
we stay here much longer we shall be driven to pretty close straits for
our horses and possibly for rations for ourselves. We are already short
and very little prospect of any soon, but as long as there is green
corn the men will not starve. The route from Glasgow is very hilly and
rugged, and we had great difficulty in getting our wagons over it. We
are now up on the level of the mountains where it is not so hilly. All
the country is very poor, and the only good features about it are that
it is healthy, has good water, and a goodly number of Union people.
I will take command of the brigade to-day, as General Hobson is still
sick at home. When we are so straitened for forage and rations the
responsibility is great and the task not a very desirable one."

My next letter dated September 2, gave an account of our occupation of
Knoxville, the goal of our long march over the mountains:--

"Yesterday was the proudest day of my life. Sunday last Generals
Burnside and Curtis came up and a juncture of the forces was formed at
Montgomery. My brigade arrived at that place on Saturday in advance of
all other. On Sunday afternoon General Burnside sent for me to report,
and I received orders to move my brigade five miles to the front. This
seemed to indicate that I would be permitted to keep the advance and
we were all well pleased. But about daylight the First Cavalry Brigade
marched past us and out to the front on the Kingston road, and we had
no orders to move. At sunrise, the Third Cavalry Brigade (General
Shackelford) passed by and out to the front toward the reported enemy
on the Kingston road. I began to be impatient and somewhat disgusted. I
waited for two hours more very anxiously, but no marching orders came.

"At nine o'clock Generals Burnside and Curtis, with their staffs and
escorts, came up and I thought then we were to go clear to the rear.
But they halted at my headquarters, came in, and after examining the
organization of my brigade, General Burnside held a private interview
with me, in which he told me he wanted me to take my brigade on the
Knoxville road and force Winter's Gap, which would flank the enemy
on the right and compel them to fall back, when, if matters went on
smoothly, he would give me orders to push right on to Knoxville.
Nothing could have suited me better. I would rather then have had
those orders than to have received the commission of a general. So
at 11 o'clock I formed my brigade, and, leaving every one of our
wagons behind, marched to Winter's Gap, arriving there at sundown and
occupied it, finding that the enemy had fled in the morning. I reported
promptly to General Burnside, and about four o'clock yesterday morning
I received orders to push on into Knoxville and occupy the town,
attacking any force of rebels which might be there.

"We were in motion within an hour, and all along the road, as
everywhere heretofore in our march through East Tennessee, we were
received with the warmest expressions and demonstrations of joy. In the
morning I expected that I would not be able to take the town without
a fight, but as my brigade had been assigned the post of honor, I was
satisfied it would do its full duty. A few miles before we reached the
town we ascertained that the rebels had all left, the last of them
that morning. The Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, which was in the advance,
surrounded the town, and about four o'clock yesterday afternoon I
rode into town with the staff and escort, and such an ovation as we
received was never before during this war given to any army. The
demonstration beggars all description. Men, women, and children rushed
to the streets,--no camp-meeting shouting ever exceeding the rejoicing
of the women. They ran out into the streets shouting, 'Glory! Glory!'
'The Lord be praised!' 'Our Savior's come!' and all such exclamations.
The men huzzahed and yelled like madmen, and in their profusion of
greetings I was almost pulled from my horse. Flags long concealed were
brought from their hiding-places. As soon as I could get to a hotel
I was waited upon by the mayor (a true Union man) and a large number
of loyal men, prominent citizens, and they received me with heartiest
congratulations and welcome. All afternoon and into the night until the
provost guard sent all citizens to their homes the streets resounded
with yells, and cheers for the 'Union' and 'Lincoln.' A marked feature
of the loyalty of this section (so different from western Kentucky) is
that the people have no scruples about hurrahing for Lincoln,--they
recognize him as the leader and head of the Government.

"It is stated that last night, after the occupation of the town, the
intelligence was communicated to the people throughout the country
by the firing of guns from place to place and by signal fires on the
mountains. And this morning the streets were crowded with people from
the country far and near, and such rejoicing I never saw before. How
they shouted and stood with uncovered heads beneath the old Stars and
Stripes. With what sincere welcome they met the soldiers. The mayor
of the city brought forth an immense flag, which he had kept, waiting
anxiously for the day when he could unfurl it. This was suspended early
this morning over Main (or Gay) Street, and at the sight of it the
people as they came in from the country yelled with a perfect frenzy
of delight. Early in the day a procession of ladies was formed, and
bearing two American flags, they marched down Main Street and under
the large flag, in order that they might fulfill a vow they made early
in the war that they would in a body march under the first American
flag raised in Knoxville. It does soldiers good to fight for such a
people. It is a labor of love. Every soldier in my brigade has been
paid a hundred times over since we came into East Tennessee for all our
hardships, short rations and exposures, by the hearty welcome of the
people. We can see upon their faces the recognition of the fact that we
have delivered them from a cruel bondage.

"Although the rebels have for five days been removing their property,
we came upon the town so suddenly yesterday that we captured a large
amount of army property, five locomotives, a number of cars, and saved
the mills, foundry, railroad works, hospitals, and other army buildings
from burning.

"_September 3._

"I went yesterday to visit the prison where the rebels kept the Union
men confined. It is a dirty, filthy, jail, hardly fit for the lowest
criminals. I saw the room in which Parson Brownlow was confined. On
the wall of it in large black letters is written,--'_Death to our

"When we came in on Tuesday the gallows was standing near the railroad,
at the edge of the town, where the Union men were dragged from the
jail and, contrary to all law and civilized warfare, hung like felons
for faithfulness to their Government. You will find something of this
in Brownlow's narrative. I rode over to see it as soon as I could on
the morning after we arrived, and to place a guard over it, but some
enraged soldiers and citizens had gone there before me and cut it down
and burnt it. I was sorry, because it was in a prominent place and I
wanted it preserved as a monument of the wickedness and cruelty of the
persecutors of these people.

"We had this morning a fresh outbreak of patriotism. The news of the
Federal occupation of the town had by last night spread into the
adjoining counties, and the people flocked in from every direction.
A large delegation of men and women of all ages formed in long
procession (from Sevier County) and carrying the American flag, paraded
through the town and out to camp, and the town again ran wild with
patriotic joy. Men who had been hiding among the rocks and caves of
the mountains, and who had not seen each other for years or since the
rebellion broke out, stood grasping each other's hands beneath the
folds of the old flag, while tears streamed down their cheeks. I have
read of 'tears of joy,' but never saw so much of it as here.

"But General Burnside and the rest of the army will be in town this
evening and I must get ready to receive them, so good-bye for the

In my letter of the 7th I gave an account of my first expedition out of

"A day or two after his arrival General Burnside sent for me to say
that he had received information which he thought was reliable to the
effect that the rebels had left the railroad up as far as Bristol,
on the Virginia line one hundred and thirty miles, in good condition
and unguarded; that at Bristol there was a round-house and a great
supply of locomotives and cars; and that it was very desirable to get
possession of this rolling-stock, if possible. He proposed that I make
up a train out of the rolling-stock I had captured on my occupation of
Knoxville and go up the railroad as far as I could do so safely, and
reach Bristol if possible.

"It was a new business for me to go a-soldiering on a railroad train,
but I cheerfully undertook the expedition. I had to secure the
engineer and brakemen out of my own command, as there were none others
available. Putting three of the companies of the Sixty-fifth dismounted
on the train, we started out early in the afternoon, hoping to get over
a good part of the road before dark, but within ten miles of Knoxville
we encountered a small bridge burnt, but with the tools we had brought
with us some of our expert railroad men were able to arrange a
temporary crossing for the train. It was nearly dark when we reached
Strawberry Plains, only seventeen miles out, and here we stopped the
train, as I had learned that the President of the railroad lived here,
and he would probably be at home, as he had fled from Knoxville before
our arrival. I took a small guard with me to his house, where I found
him. I explained that our general had sent me on an expedition up
his road toward the Virginia line, and as we had no one on the train
who was familiar with the road, I should esteem it a great favor if
he would accompany us. Seeing the situation with my armed guard, he
accepted the invitation with the best grace possible, but as we moved
off the ladies of the household set up a fearful wailing, beseeching
me not to take him, as they felt sure he was going to his death,
notwithstanding I assured them that no harm should come to him.

"After comfortably seating the President, I took post with the brigade
bugler on top of a pile of wood on the locomotive tender, and the
train moved off at slow speed in the darkness on the strange road,
without a stop until we reached Jonesboro, ninety-eight miles from
Knoxville, after midnight. Here our engineer, not being familiar
with the switches, ran the fore wheels of his locomotive off the
track. While a few of us dismounted to aid in getting on the track
again, I discovered that another train was lying on the track with a
lot of invalid Confederate soldiers, who told us the train had just
arrived that evening from Richmond. About the same time we heard a
great commotion in the town, with loud military commands indicating
the presence of troops. It was very dark and we were strange to the
locality, but I ordered out a platoon of soldiers, who fired a volley
or two in the direction of the noise, which was followed by a great
clatter of horses' hoofs. The next day, as we came back, the citizens
told us that the rebel troopers could be seen in all directions flying
away, some bareback, others without firearms or hats. It proved to be
a detachment of Confederate cavalry stationed in the town.

"At Jonesboro we learned from the station employees that another train
would be due from Richmond about eight o'clock in the morning. Thirteen
miles above that place the railroad crossed the Watauga River, where
there was a rebel blockhouse or fort protected by artillery, and which
we learned was garrisoned. Our only hope of getting to Bristol was
to capture the incoming train and rush our own train unawares into
the fort and take the garrison by surprise. So after leaving a guard
in charge of the train found at Jonesboro, we moved up quietly about
day-break to the first station this side of the fort, surrounded the
town with orders to allow no one to pass out, and we lay quietly in
ambush waiting for the train. Sure enough, it came along on time and
we were greatly elated. But just before it got within gunshot of
our ambush, it whistled down the brakes, stopped, and instantly ran
backwards at full speed and whistling into the fort. Some one had
given them a warning signal, and the fort was at once notified of our
presence. With that our expedition to Bristol came to an end. General
Burnside had been misinformed. The railroad above Knoxville was not
only guarded but was in use from Richmond.

"Our return journey was uneventful except that, as we neared Jonesboro,
some of the soldiers we had scattered had quite dexterously loosened
a rail and slightly displaced one end at a sharp curve in the road
on a down grade, which tumbled our locomotive down an embankment and
disabled it. Several of the soldiers were bruised and the railroad
President got a few slight scratches on his face. Fortunately we had
the captured locomotive, and with it we took all the cars back to
Knoxville. Our return was on Sunday, and as the news of our passing up
in the night had got noised about, the whole country turned out in gala
dress and with flags to welcome us."

My next letter is from Greenville, seventy-four miles above Knoxville
on the railroad, the home of Andrew Johnson, afterwards President of
the United States. It is dated September 12:--

"I have my brigade at this place, as also the One Hundred and Third
Ohio Infantry assigned to my command and stationed here as a provost
guard. Generals Burnside and Hartsuff (corps commander) have been
very pleasant and kind and are disposed to do everything they can
for me. They promise to send me on an expedition by way of Bristol
into Virginia to destroy the Salt Works, probably the most important
movement left in East Tennessee. I am in very good health and spirits."

We were still at Greenville on September 16. My chief trouble seemed
to be with the mails. I had not heard from home for nearly a month. I
write my wife:--

"It has been so long since I have heard from you. How I would
appreciate a letter to-day from my dear wife, telling me about our
family affairs, that she was well, that our dear little children were
well, giving me some of the sayings and doings of my little Alice, to
have some news from Evansville and the families there. If it had not
been that I had so very much to do and such great responsibilities
resting upon me that kept me actively employed, I should have been
lonely, indeed. When I go a-soldiering again I want it along a river or
railroad so I can get some communication with the outer world _and my

"I am glad to assure you that in this long interval of suspense I have
been in good health and I think discharging my duties to the entire
satisfaction of my superior officers. I am very well satisfied at being
ordered away from Henderson and placed in active service. It has given
me a very prominent and choice command, and brought me in close contact
with the commanding generals of the army. During the past three weeks
I have been in close and intimate relationship with Generals Burnside
and Hartsuff, and acting directly under their orders.

"We have been for a week at this place in front of an army of rebels
at Jonesboro twenty miles above here, momentarily expecting an attack.
I think that within a few days we will make a movement that will
completely drive them out of Tennessee. If so you may expect to hear of
the Second Brigade dashing away up onto the sacred soil of Virginia. I
have a very good brigade of near three thousand effective men. For the
present I am holding this position with my brigade and two regiments
of infantry till General Burnside comes up with the army which is on
the way. Several times a day I am called to the telegraph office for
conversations over the wires with General Burnside on the situation at
the front and he freely calls for my views as to movements. He is a
very kind-hearted and pleasant gentleman, and willing to give every
officer his full share of credit. I write thus freely to my wife of
these matters because she will be interested to know them and to her it
will not appear boasting or self-praise.

"I wish I had time to prepare a letter for the friends at home on
the state of affairs in East Tennessee, and give a simple narrative
of facts as to what the Union men have suffered. Such cruelty, such
oppression, and heartless wrong has no parallel at least on this
continent. It may have been equaled by the barbarians of Europe. No
wonder that the people receive us with tears and perfect ecstasy of
rejoicing and unbounded enthusiasm. The rejoicing and demonstrations I
have witnessed will be probably the brightest of my reminiscences of
the war. No wonder these people have wept tears of joy at the sight
of the old flag, for it has brought to them freedom from a tyrannical
oppression. It was the happiest epoch of my life to first carry that
flag into Knoxville, and to bear it in the advance along up this valley
for more than a hundred miles, and receive the welcome of the loyal
people. And I hope in a few days to have the honor to say that we have
driven the enemy entirely beyond the borders of the State.

"At our advance men have come to us all bleached and weak, who have
been hiding in the rocks and caves and in pits away from the light
of day for months. Men have been chased through the mountains for
conscription in the rebel service, and a bounty offered for their
arrest or death. Women have been driven from their homes, and their
houses and their all were burnt before them, because their husbands
were in the Union army. The scaffolds were to be seen where loyal
men were hung for suspicion of bridge-burning without any trial
whatever. The tales of cruelty and wrong which I have heard go to make
up a history of tyranny which will be the blackest record of this
slaveholders' rebellion.

"There is a valley over the line in North Carolina about twenty-five
miles from this place, just under the shadow of the Great Smoky
Mountains, almost shut out from the world. The valley along the
creek is rich and inhabited by a bold but simple race of men. These
men, partaking of the true spirit of the mountains, were true and
unalterably attached to the Government, and no bribes or threats
could induce them to go into the Southern army. There was but a small
community of them and they were unanimous. When the conscripting
officers came to take them into the army by force and the foragers
to carry off their horses and provisions, they met them along the
mountain-sides with their squirrel-rifles and drove them back; it was
almost worth a Confederate officer's life to venture into the valley.
Finally they sent a large force of cavalry and Indians among them and
drove the mountaineers before them. They fled to their hiding-places
and none of the men fit for military duty could be found. The cavalry
gathered up all their horses and cattle. The women and children, old
men and boys, were left at home, thinking them safe from conscription.
The savage traitors drove the families from their houses and burnt
them and everything in them. But this was not all. The old men, the
women, and children were driven out of the valley and made to walk
on foot over the mountains and down to Greenville. Old and prominent
citizens of this place have told me that it was the most pitiable sight
they ever beheld. A stout-hearted and manly citizen in talking to me
about it could not restrain the tears, saying that he never related the
circumstances without tears, because it brought the sight so vividly
before him. Women came carrying children in their arms, with other
little ones barefooted and almost naked clinging to their skirts.
There were women of all ages and children driven like sheep before the
soldiers. There were women in a most delicate situation who were made
to walk with the rest; if the suffering were the greater the punishment
was the more appropriate. They were brought to the railway station
and kept over night, and it was the determination of General (called
'Mudwall' in contradistinction to 'Stonewall') Jackson in command here
to send them over the Cumberland Mountains to Kentucky. Governor Vance
of North Carolina heard of the brutal proceeding in time, and declared
that women and children should not be banished from his State so long
as he was its governor, and they were ordered to be returned.

"Since then these men of the Laurel Valley have been the wild men of
the mountains. Their homes have been in the caves and cliffs of the
rocks, and woe to the rebel soldier who came within range of their
rifles. The most vigorous measures have been taken to ferret them out,
but few of them have ever been caught, their hiding-places and their
daring were a good protection. A company of them twice attempted to
break through and cross the Cumberland Mountains to join the Union army
in Kentucky, but were driven back before they could get out of East
Tennessee. Day before yesterday a company of over fifty of these brave
men came over from the mountains and asked me for help. An old man,
who was the spokesman and the wise man of the valley, said they were a
poor, ignorant, wild set of 'cusses' who didn't know much but devotion
to the flag of their country and how to shoot. He asked me to give them
a little good advice and _some guns_. I could not refuse the latter, at
least. I gave them the arms and sent them home, and a merciful God will
have to protect the savages who have murdered their fathers, plundered
their farms, burnt their houses, and driven their wives and mothers
from their homes, for these men with their muskets will not remember

"This is no fancy sketch or exaggerated story of the war. It is the
plain, unvarnished truth, to be vouched for by hundreds of citizens of
Greenville. Could you have believed that such atrocity could have been
committed in the land of Washington? This same General Jackson is now
in front of us, and I have been asking General Burnside for days to let
my brigade after him, but he withholds for the present. It will not be
many days before I shall try to capture him or drive him out of East
Tennessee, I hope forever."

The expedition from which I had so greatly longed to drive out the
rebel General Jackson, and which General Burnside had promised, did
not come off. General Rosecrans had suffered a severe repulse at
Chickamauga, and Burnside was ordered to give him what support he
could. This brought all of Burnside's plans above Knoxville to a dead
halt. Bragg's rebel cavalry was reported to have crossed the Tennessee
River and was threatening Rosecrans's rear, and all of Burnside's
cavalry was ordered to follow up Bragg's movement. My next letter
was written at Knoxville, October 1, to which place I had come with
my brigade. On arrival here I was still without letters from home. I
had attempted to telegraph, but could get no replies. Apparently my
disconsolate condition had worked upon General Burnside's sympathy,
as he sent a telegram in his own name inquiring about the whereabouts
and health of my wife, which soon brought an answer that she was at
Evansville and "all well." How this news was received is told in the

"You can hardly imagine how gratifying it is to me to know to-night
that my dear wife and children are well, from whom I am so far
separated. I can go to-morrow to execute the orders of the general with
much more alacrity that I now know that you are well and at home.

"Aside from its inaccessibility for the mails, I find East Tennessee
a very pleasant country to be in. The Union people are very kind and
friendly, the climate is very healthy, and the valley of East Tennessee
one of the most beautiful in America. I tell the people here that if
we can get peace again and they will abolish slavery, I would like
very well to come and live with them. I have been very kindly and
considerately treated by them. Being in the advance all the time, I
have been the first to make their acquaintance, and they consequently
know me better than others. I need not live in camp at all while about
Knoxville. I have been here now four days and have had only one meal in
camp. The society of the Union people of Knoxville is very pleasant and
quite cultivated.

"But my visits to Knoxville are only pleasant episodes in my military
life. Cavalry must be active. I am off again. The brigade left
to-night for Loudon, starting at dark in a pitiless rain, and it
has been raining ever since. General Burnside had me wait over here
to-night that he might confer with General Shackelford and me as to
my movements, and he will give me a special train in the morning for
myself and staff. He has invited me to come in the morning and take
breakfast with him, when the matter will be definitely settled and I
will be off. Bragg's cavalry has crossed over to the north side of
Tennessee River, threatening Rosecrans's rear and communications, and
we must do something to checkmate them if possible. I have a good
brigade and the general is disposed to give me work to do. General
Shackelford commands our division now, and is very kind and partial to

My next letter was written from Knoxville October 4:--

"I wrote you three nights ago. Then my brigade had been ordered to
Loudon, and I was only remaining behind to get the last and special
instructions of the general before going myself, expecting to be off
in the morning, but I am still here and my brigade at Loudon. Every few
hours I have been expecting definite orders, and something transpires
to prevent it. During the last few days I have been getting a pretty
good insight into the inner workings of our military affairs. I have
been in General Burnside's private room daily and frequently, in
conference with him and other generals, and know something about the
interference of Washington City.

"The plans were all laid, my guides were selected, the rations were all
issued, my brigade was ready and waiting, and in a short time I was to
be off on a grand raid into Georgia in rear of Bragg's army, tear up
the railroad system of the State, and alarm the rebels generally, when
orders were received from General Halleck that raids into Georgia are
not now contemplated, and all that is stopped. Probably you will thank
General Halleck for that. It may have made me a general. It may have
run me into Libby Prison. But it was a great disappointment to me and
I think to the general.

"I have seen more of General Burnside than any of our generals, and
I regard him as one of the best of men, a pure patriot, a just man,
and, I hope, a Christian. Let me give you an instance. Yesterday
evening everything was ready for a general movement of his whole
army. I telegraphed my brigade at Loudon to be ready to move at two
o'clock this morning; the forces at Cumberland Gap were notified to be
in readiness; it appeared a matter of importance that we should be
off. I went up to his room last night to get my final instructions.
The general said he believed we would wait a day, as he forgot about
to-morrow being Sunday. He said he always felt a disinclination to
commence a movement on Sunday, and he would not do it, unless he should
learn during the night that it was very urgent. So to-day we have a
quiet Sabbath, the only one since we left Kentucky. It is very pleasant
to me and doubtless is to the whole army."

It turned out that Bragg's cavalry was not a severe menace to Rosecrans
and my brigade was recalled from Loudon and we moved up into Virginia
as a part of the general movement just indicated. In a fight near
Bristol the Sixty-fifth Regiment lost four killed and thirteen wounded,
and had another fight at Jonesboro, from which place the letter of
October 18 is written:--

"We have just returned from a fatiguing march into Virginia. We have
succeeded in driving the enemy away from Zollicoffer, having another
fight at Blountsville, and destroying the Virginia Railroad for ten
miles, but I have no time now to write about it. I have stood the last
two weeks' campaign remarkably well and continue in the best of health.
I enjoy the cavalry service very much, only lately we have had a little
too much of a good thing. During the past five weeks we have been
continuously on the march, with a number of sharp fights. But we have
now a prospect of a few days' rest. If I get it I will improve it to
write you a good long letter, but the enemy may interfere with my plans
any day. This is likely to be our outpost station until Rosecrans and
Bragg settle affairs below.

"How often and how much I desire to be at home with the dear ones and
families of relations and friends. As we rode along through the mud and
rain to-day I thought of home and what a pleasure it would be for me
to be with you all at home. But I must content myself, believing I am
in the line of duty and pray that a kind Providence may bring me home
at an early day. I have always believed that God is doing his will and
accomplishing his purposes of right and freedom in this war, and if I
can be one of the instruments in his hands of accomplishing a portion
of this work we should be content. Kisses in abundance to my darling
little children. Does my little Alice talk much about her papa? Tell
her he thinks all the time about her."

Extract from letter of October 25:--

"I wrote you a few days ago, just as I was starting on a reconnoissance
toward Bristol. We found no enemy nor heard of any this side of
Abingdon, Virginia, in any force. We had a very disagreeable march,
raining most of the time, very hard on both men and horses. Our
campaigning has been very hard and tiresome, though I have stood it
myself very well, in fact better than if we had less active duty; but
it has tried the mettle of our brigade. We have run our horses nearly
down, a large number of the men are dismounted, and more than half of
the rest have horses that will not stand a march of any length. The
Sixty-fifth came out with eight hundred and fifty men; there are now in
camp about six hundred. The marching, rain storms, short rations, and
especially the whistling of bullets and ball have driven a number of
our officers out of the service.

"But I fear the worst of our campaigning is yet to come. It is becoming
a serious question how we are to sustain our army in East Tennessee
this winter. There is enough bread and meat, but the men have no winter
clothing, and unless it comes soon it cannot get over the mountains.
Winter will soon be upon us, with muddy roads and swollen rivers. We
have just started a train of wagons from our division over to Kentucky
for clothing and supplies, but I do not expect to see it short of six
weeks, if ever. We had been hoping to get railroad communication open
by way of Chattanooga, but the disaster to Rosecrans has at least
postponed that. Just now I am anxious to get over into North Carolina
with my brigade, but military movements are very uncertain and most
likely I shall be disappointed."

On the 29th of October I wrote again:--

"General Shackelford had a report of the advance on us of an army of
eighteen thousand and out of due precaution ordered us to fall back
eighteen miles, but this morning matters look as if we ran too soon
from an invisible enemy. It will not surprise me if we are ordered back
to our old camp at Jonesboro. It will suit me very well if we are,
for I may then have a chance to make my contemplated raid over the
mountains into North Carolina. I am anxious to get over there to see
the people. The trip would take us through the Blue Ridge."

I quote from a letter of November 1:--

"I wrote in my last how we got down here, how we ran from Sancho
Panza's windmills. We are still here. We had orders to march and were
all ready an hour before daylight yesterday morning, when the orders
came countermanding the marching. We were to go back to Jonesboro. We
are having a delightful day and a very quiet and most welcome Sabbath.
I have been reading 'The Words and Mind of Jesus,' and I got hold of
an 'Independent,' which was quite a treat, as I don't often see any
religious paper here. I went over to the house of Mr. Henderson (the
leading citizen of this place) and found he had quite a good religious
library; plenty of Presbyterian works. I told him he appeared to be
sound religiously, if not politically; he is considerable of a rebel.

"We have been enjoying our rest of late very much, and if we were not
stirred out every little while with reports of large rebel forces right
upon us, we could get more real enjoyment out of it. This evening a
citizen (a _reliable_ one, of course) reports the enemy advancing in
force. To-morrow an equally reliable and _intelligent_ one will know
that there are none this side of the Holston River. If Willie were out
here he would see a great deal more about soldiering than he used to
see at Henderson."

In my letter of November 8 I give an account of a bold dash of the
rebels to Rogersville, which routed a Federal force stationed there,
and captured four hundred and four guns:--

"General Wilcox, who was in command in upper Tennessee, when he got
the report of the fight from the scared fugitives, became alarmed for
fear the enemy would get in our rear, and he caused a general retreat
of the whole army. Our cavalry and all marched all Friday night and
till late in the morning of Saturday, and abandoned the whole country
for eighteen miles below Greenville, thus giving up all we had gained.
And all without reason, for as it turned out while we were marching all
night one way the rebels were retreating with their booty and prisoners
the other! Where we will go next I do not know, but I hope right back
and occupy the country clear up to the Virginia line. We can do it
without difficulty.

"The whole cavalry force of Burnside's army has been formed into a
cavalry corps and placed in command of General Shackelford. The corps
is composed of two divisions. Our brigade is in the Second Division.
It would be commanded by Colonel Carter, if present, but he may be
absent for some weeks, and I have been assigned to the command of this
division. It will be a very nice command and quite complimentary to me."

I may state that I remained in command of this division of cavalry
during the remainder of my service in Tennessee. I extract from my
letter of November 13:--

"Major Brown and nine men of the Sixty-fifth are about leaving for a
recruiting service in Indiana, and I send this letter by him. I told
Major Brown that I did not know that I could say I wished (as he) that
I too was going home, but I could say with emphasis that I wished the
war was over and that I was going home to return no more. This going
home to stay a week or two and then come back, tear away from home and
all its dear attachments, is worse than the first departure. I can't
say that when the campaign is pretty well over I may not apply for a
leave of absence; but when I think of the parting from home again and
the long muddy winter ride across the mountains, I begin to balance the
matter. When I come home I want it to be my last 'leave.' When shall
that be? I am too great a lover of my little wife, my darling children,
and my happy home to make a good soldier, at least a professional
soldier. How sweetly you wrote in your last letter of our little
Alice praying her evening prayer for her absent papa. I believe He
who noticeth the fall of a sparrow will hear and answer the prayer of
innocence and childhood, and bring me home in safety that I may be the
guardian of our dear family."

My letter of November 14 reports an unfavorable change in the situation
in East Tennessee. General Bragg commanding the rebel forces in front
of Chattanooga, feeling that he had Rosecrans's army safely besieged,
dispatched Longstreet, one of the ablest of the Confederate generals,
with his army corps to capture or drive out Burnside. It is to that
situation my letter refers:--

"The intelligence this afternoon from Knoxville was rather ominous of
evil to us. General Wilcox telegraphs me that the enemy have forced
the right bank of the river below Loudon, that General Burnside had
gone down to-day, and that if the enemy were too strong for our forces
there we would have to look out for a retreat to the gaps in the
Cumberland Mountains. Our line of march would be to Cumberland Gap, and
I am notified that I with my division will have the important work of
guarding the approaches to this route, down the valleys of the Holston,
Clinch, and Powell Rivers, and also keeping open the communication
with General Burnside on our right to Knoxville. We will know more
definitely to-night or to-morrow.

"I hope and pray that we may not be driven to that dire necessity.
In proportion as our joy was great in the occupation of this country
would our regrets be deep at being compelled to abandon it. But I have
hope that to-morrow will bring the welcome intelligence that our army
below has driven the enemy back over the river. It would be with a sad
and heavy heart that I turned my back upon the loyal people of East
Tennessee. I have confidence that God does not will it so."

When my next letter November 22 was written from Tazewell, on the
route to Cumberland Gap, Burnside had been besieged for a week by

"We are lying quiet here, just out of hearing of the fighting
that is raging at Knoxville. Our messengers from Knoxville report
Burnside holding out heroically. I have little time to write and less
inclination, even to my dear wife. I am heart-sick and gloomy, though
not discouraged. General Burnside, the best man of the generals I know,
and a gallant army have been beleaguered at Knoxville for a week, and
are still fighting manfully. We are almost powerless to do him any
good, but I have asked General Wilcox to let me take my cavalry and
support me at the fords of Clinch River with his infantry, and I would
make at least one vigorous effort to break the rebel lines and raise
the siege. He is at the Gap. General Burnside ordered him to look out
for his line of retreat and at all events to hold Cumberland Gap. This
he is in a position to do."

I wrote the 26th from Cumberland Gap, where I had come to try to get

"We have no news from General Burnside direct since the 23d, when
he said he could hold out ten days, that his position was a strong
one, and we are hopeful of his success for Grant at Chattanooga will
push vigorously against Bragg. I will be off in the morning to harass
the enemy. I shall make my headquarters at Tazewell, and send my old
brigade over Clinch River toward Knoxville to stir up the enemy a
little, and try to divert them from Burnside. Our cavalry is in such
wretched condition it is almost impossible to do anything, the horses
worn out, without shoes, and with very little forage. I regret it
exceedingly when so much is expected of us and needed. General Wilcox
is ordered to keep his infantry near the Gap and send my cavalry out
toward the enemy to gather information and annoy them."

I wrote again on the 29th when we had just heard of Grant's victory at
Chattanooga, but were without information of the gallant defense of
Fort Stevens and the bloody repulse of the rebels at Knoxville:--

"We have no news except the glorious victory of Grant's army, and
we are hoping to see its effect in the deliverance of Burnside. The
enemy seek to starve him into a surrender. I sent out yesterday my
old brigade to go down toward Knoxville and feel out the enemy. I am
getting a little anxious about them as there was cannonading heard
below and I have had nothing from them since they left. It would be a
serious affair for me to have my old brigade captured.

"We are having rather a hard time to live, subsisting entirely upon the
country. Our cavalry get along better than the infantry; the latter
have been for days without flour or meal. Twenty-five cents have been
refused for a cup full of corn. Parched corn is a luxury. But we are
hoping for better times in a few days. The men bear it manfully."

In my letter of December 4, in acknowledging receipt of a late letter
from my wife, I reply:--

"I wish very much I could be at home to enjoy with you the
entertainments you write about, but I shall have to forego all these
pleasures, and live on corn-bread and pork, cold nights, muddy roads,
and occasional skirmishing. I don't know when I can promise you to
come home, but not while the enemy is before us, as now. I think a few
days hence will see them driven away. I mentioned in my last letter
sending the Second Brigade down to the vicinity of Knoxville. They were
attacked by the whole of Longstreet's cavalry and pressed back. They
gave the enemy a severe fight, killing and wounding a considerable
number of them. Our losses were a few taken prisoners, four killed and
thirty wounded. Our men did bravely. My whole division will try it
again to-morrow. We expect Sherman, who was sent up by Grant after his
victory to relieve Burnside, will reach Knoxville to-morrow, when if
Longstreet has not retreated there must be a severe battle. We want to
be near at hand with our cavalry. I would have been there two or three
days ago with my whole division, but have been constantly held back by
General Wilcox."

Sometime before the siege of Knoxville General Burnside had asked to be
relieved of the command of the department, and General John G. Foster
(of New Hampshire) of the Eastern army had been appointed to succeed
him. He arrived at my headquarters while the siege was in progress.
In this letter writing about a leave to come home, I refer to General

"If matters quiet down here there is a probability that I may come
this winter, but nothing certain; a man in the army can't go when he
pleases. If General Burnside had remained, I think I would have had
no difficulty, but it is uncertain as to General Foster, how strict
he will be. I have been with him here for three or four days, being
frequently consulted by him as to movements, the country, etc., and
have been quite intimate at his headquarters. He is quite a Yankee and
not so agreeable in his manners as Burnside, but withal he may make a
good commander. But there is no man like Burnside for this department
with his soldiers. I especially will regret his leaving."

The day after I wrote my last letter, Longstreet retreated from
Knoxville (December 5) up the valley toward the Virginia line, and the
next day (the 6th) General Sherman reached Knoxville. On December 10 I

"Bean Station, where we are now camped, you will find on most maps of
Tennessee. It is ten miles from Morristown on the road to Cumberland
Gap, just at the foot of the Clinch mountains, forty-two miles from
Knoxville. We have followed the enemy this far up from Knoxville. From
Tazewell I joined the Second Brigade near Knoxville. Colonel Graham
of that brigade reported that an encampment of the enemy was over the
mountain about five miles, so I sent him over, had a skirmish, captured
a captain, several prisoners, and seventy-five horses, and drove them
clear over Clinch Mountain. Since then we have followed the enemy in
their retreat, skirmishing with their rear guard all the way. I doubt
whether we shall push the enemy much farther, as it will be difficult
to get supplies."

The siege of Knoxville was one of the most gallant events on the
Federal side during the Civil War. Burnside with an inferior force
successfully sustained a siege of twenty days, resisting the assaults
of the enemy with comparatively small losses, endured short rations,
and by the heroism of his command saved East Tennessee to the Union.
The result gave great joy to all loyal men, and President Lincoln
issued a proclamation, calling on the people "to render special homage
to Almighty God for this great advancement of the National cause," and
Congress thanked Burnside and his army. General Grant in his "Memoirs"
says: "The safety of Burnside's army and the loyal people of East
Tennessee had been the subject of much anxiety to the President, and he
was telegraphing me daily, almost hourly, to 'remember Burnside,' 'do
something for Burnside,' and other appeals of like tenor." In my letter
of December 10, I say: "Burnside goes out of this Department with the
admiration of the whole army. His defense of Knoxville was glorious,
and his goodness of heart and purity of character endear him to all who
know him." Years after, while Minister to Mexico, I visited Washington
at the time when Burnside was a Senator from his State, and received
from him much social attention in recognition of our army friendship.

From Bean Station I wrote again on December 13:--

"We are still at this place, from which I last wrote you, being
comparatively quiet. We daily send out reconnoissances toward
Rogersville and Morristown. They generally meet the enemy nine and
twelve miles out, have a pretty sharp skirmish, lose a few men killed
and wounded, and then return to camp. The enemy do not appear to be
retreating, or rather appear to have stopped retreating. My health
continues very good, and I am in good spirits, only I get quite
homesick at times. I will get home as soon as I can, but the prospect
for doing so is not very flattering."

In a hurried visit to Knoxville I wrote on the 23d of December:--

"As I got to thinking about home, I said to General Foster that when
my services could be dispensed with, I would like to take a leave of
absence. He says he cannot think of letting me go for ten days or two
weeks, but hopes at the expiration of that time that the exigencies of
the service will permit him to let me go home. That means that I may
probably go home if the enemy will let me. Don't fix your heart on my
coming soon. It will be as soon as I can consistently."

This is my Christmas letter:--

"I can do nothing better to-night than to write you a letter by way of
a Christmas present. We have to-day unexpectedly had a quiet, if not
a Merry Christmas, though it did not appear last night as though it
would be so. About 3 P.M. yesterday I received orders (in camp near
Blain's Cross-Roads) to move over at once and join General Sturgis at
New Market, where the main body of the cavalry are. We got off about
sunset, but did not arrive here till midnight, having to ford the
Holston and travel over a very bad road. How longingly I thought of
what you and the dear ones at home might be doing at that hour as I
marched along in the clear, stinging cold night.

"After the cold and cheerless ride we fortunately got into comfortable
quarters, and have been quiet to-day, enjoying the rest and comfort.
We improvised a pretty good Christmas dinner. Among the delicacies we
don't get often, we had eggs and butter. We are not living in excellent
Epicurean style just now, as the country is pretty well eaten out.

"I cannot see any prospect of our getting into winter quarters, such
as the papers report the Army of the Potomac and of the Cumberland are
enjoying. The climate of East Tennessee is very similar to that of
Indiana, and the men are very scantily supplied with 'dog' or shelter
tents and many have not even these to cover them. My commands since we
came into East Tennessee have been on one continuous campaign without
cessation. Up the country, over the mountains, across the rivers, down
the valley, then up again, driving the enemy before us, then falling
back, to drive the enemy up the valley again--thus we have been for
four months, until we have run down our horses and about half of our
men. But we are enduring it very well, still after the rebels with as
much zest as ever. There is a vast deal of excitement in the cavalry

My last letter to my wife from East Tennessee was written on the last
day of 1863, which I began with a prayer:--

"Let us not forget to thank our dear Heavenly Father for all His
mercies of the past year. Oh, how good He has been to us, even with
all our troubles! How little we have done in our lives to repay that
goodness! May He make us more worthy of His mercies and blessing in the
New Year, and may He preserve our lives that we may together meet and
praise Him. To His watchful care I commit my dear wife and little ones.

"I last wrote you from New Market. I was enjoying a quiet rainy
Sunday there, reading some good book I found at the house where I was
quartered, when about noon I received orders for my division to move
forward and attack the enemy and drive him back from Mossy Creek. It
was an unwelcome order that rainy Sabbath, but we executed it, and
after considerable skirmishing took up a new line two miles beyond
Mossy Creek. Yesterday Colonel Wolford's division and mine were ordered
out at three o'clock in the morning to Dandridge, where it was reported
a division of rebel cavalry was encamped. We went, but found the enemy
had left the night before, and we returned at 4 P.M. just in time
to miss a nice little fight at Mossy Creek. The enemy attacked our
outposts at 11 A.M. and drove our troops back two miles, but ours in
turn drove them back again beyond our lines. It is not often that my
men have the fortune, or misfortune, to miss the fighting, as we did

"We have here our entire force of cavalry, and one brigade of infantry.
The rest of the army is at Strawberry Plains and Blain's Cross-Roads.
Longstreet is reported at Morristown with the main body of his army.
I suppose General Foster intends to drive him away from there, if
possible, how soon I don't care because I want to come home as soon as
the fighting here is over, and take a little rest with my dear wife and
darling little girls."

I may venture, before closing my East Tennessee correspondence, to
give in part the last of these letters, as a specimen of letters to a
soldier's child, written on January 1, 1864:--

"Why should I not write a letter this New Year's Day to my dear little
Alice? I am so far away I can't give you any nice present; all I can do
is to try to write you a good letter....

"What have you and Lillie and the other little children been doing
to-day? And did you have a Christmas tree and a happy time then? Papa
has not had much of a New Year's Day. It has been so cold, oh so very
cold to-day. Was it cold at home? I could tell you a story about the
cold. Would you like papa to tell you a little story in his letter? Do
you still like to hear stories? Well, I can tell you part of it, and
mamma can tell it over to you and _fill it up_.

"Papa, you know, is away off, out in the mountains, so far away from
home, in the army, and you know there are so many poor soldiers in the
army. Yesterday, the last day of the old year, was such a gloomy day,
it was so muddy and wet and rainy. And then last night it blew so hard
and rained so much; it was like a hurricane (get mamma to tell you what
that is). And the poor soldiers have no houses to live in, like little
Alice, with nice warm beds, and they don't have large tents like you
saw out in the woods near home last summer when Uncle Jimmy and the
rest of the boys and men were out soldiering. They have to live in the
fields and woods, and their tents are like grandma's tablecloth, only
smaller, and they stretch that up over a pole and it is open at both
ends, and at night two or three or four of them get down on their hands
and knees and crawl into it and pull their blankets over them when
they go to bed. The soldiers call them 'dog-tents.' Ask Lillie if she
thinks it would be good enough for her 'Trip.' Well, last night, after
many of the soldiers had been marching in the rain, and when most of
them were wet and their blankets wet, they built large fires, but they
wouldn't burn well because it was too wet, and they crawled into the
'dog-tents,' and were trying to get to sleep when the naughty wind
commenced to blow and it began again to rain, and the rain would blow
on their heads and they would draw them further into their tents, and
then it would rain on their feet, and pretty soon there came up such
a hurricane that it blew all their tents clear off of them, and there
they were lying on the muddy ground, and the cold rain pouring down
on them. And they all had to get up out of bed. It had rained so hard
that it put all their fires nearly out so they couldn't get warm. Poor
soldiers, don't you pity them?

"Some of the soldiers were out, away off in the dark woods on that
terrible night on _picket_ (get Willie or Uncle Aleck to tell you what
that is). And they had to sit all night on their poor horses away out
by themselves with their guns in their hands and swords by their sides,
watching to keep the wicked rebels from slipping into camp in the dark
night and killing your poor papa and the rest of the soldiers. After a
while the rain stopped, but the wind kept blowing and whistling through
the trees and over the mountains and making such a terrible noise.
You can hear it whistle around the corner of grandmamma's house, but
it moans and whistles so much louder out here over the mountains, it
might frighten little girls if they did not know what it was. Soon the
wind began to change around toward the north where Jack Frost lives and
from where the white snow comes, and the rain began to freeze, and the
ground got hard, and it was so cold, oh bitter cold. The poor soldiers
could sleep no more that night, their blankets were all frozen stiff
as an icicle, and they had to build great big fires to keep their coats
and pants from freezing on them. It was all they could do to keep from
freezing; they could not keep warm.

"Some of the men, when we went out to drive away the rebels from the
other side of the mountain, were hungry and they stopped behind us at
a farmhouse to get something to eat, and the wicked rebels caught them
and took their overcoats away from them, and took their warm boots off
their feet; and some of the poor fellows got away from them and walked
all the way from the rebel camp over the frozen ground barefooted.
To-day the soldiers have done nothing but build big fires and stand
close up to them and try to keep warm.

"These poor soldiers and your papa have come away from our homes and
left good mammas and dear little daughters to keep the wicked bad
rebels from making this country a poor, unhappy one, and that when
little Alice and the dear children of the other soldiers grow up they
will have a good and a happy country, and won't have to know about wars
and such terrible things. You must remember about the poor soldiers,
and pray God that He will be very kind to them and make the time soon
come when they and your papa can all of them go home to their dear
little daughters and good mammas.

"Kiss mamma and little Sister Edith for me, and tell your little
cousins Gwyn and Foster and Johnny that your papa hopes to come home
soon and that he will then come around with you and see them all."

As intimated in the last letter to my wife, General Foster did make a
forward movement with his entire force, and pushed the enemy toward the
Virginia line, but thereafter there was a lull in army operations for
the rest of the winter on both sides. The time had come for which I
had so long looked when I could without injury to the service ask for
a leave of absence, which General Foster, commanding the Department,
cheerfully granted, and before the last of January, 1864, I was on my
way home, going by way of Chattanooga and Nashville, as the railroad
communication was then well established.

I have noted the death of my father in April, 1863. He had been
actively engaged in extensive mercantile affairs, and while not wealthy
(as the world estimates wealth now), was possessed of considerable
property, both real and personal. By his will he made me the executor
of his estate and guardian of the two minor children. In August, 1863,
after I was well on the march to East Tennessee, I received a letter
from my brother stating that the court at Evansville had required my
presence in the proceedings for the settlement of my father's estate,
but I obtained a stay until I should be able to get released from my
army duties, with the assurance on my part that I would make as little
delay as possible.

When I reached home I found the affairs of my father's estate in such
condition that I could not conclude my duties as executor in the time
fixed for my "leave" from my command. There was the widow, two minor
and four adult heirs claiming attention to my duties as executor.
Under the circumstances I felt it proper to tender my resignation
from the army, especially as I had already determined to do so at the
expiration of my three years' term of service, which would be within
four months.

There was no reason for me to tender my resignation except the
undischarged duty of executor and my earnest desire to be with my
family. During my entire army service I had enjoyed good health and
was pleased with the active life. I had been reasonably successful in
military affairs, and had held large and important commands to the
satisfaction of my superior officers, and there was every prospect of
my early promotion in rank. But I put aside preferment and possible
military distinction for the more immediate call of family duty. The
outlook for the suppression of the rebellion was at that date most
favorable. Grant had been made commander-in-chief, and was organizing
his army for the final march on Richmond; Sherman was preparing for his
advance on Atlanta and his march to the sea; and at no time since the
opening of hostilities had the cause of the Union looked so auspicious.

General Sturgis, in command of the cavalry corps to which I belonged,
in forwarding my resignation to the Department general made the
following endorsement:--

"In approving this resignation, I cannot refrain from expressing my
deep regret in parting with so intelligent, energetic, and brave an
officer. I have for some time been aware of the business and family
interests which I feared would sooner or later deprive the army of
the services of Colonel Foster, yet after so long and faithful service
he should be, I think, relieved under the circumstances. His loss,
however, will be severely felt in this corps and his place hard to

When my resignation became known to the Sixty-fifth Regiment the
officers held a meeting in which a series of resolutions were adopted
declaring "that Colonel Foster, since his connection with the regiment
has been unceasing in his labors in, and untiring in his devotion
to, the cause in which we are engaged, and has spared no means to
render his regiment efficient; that he has commanded the regiment
with distinguished honor to himself and to the regiment; that in his
resignation the regiment and the service have lost an efficient and
valuable officer; and that he bears with him to his home our highest
esteem and our best wishes as a citizen."

An editorial of considerable length appeared in the "Evansville
Journal," from which the following is an extract:--

We regret exceedingly to learn that Colonel John W. Foster has felt it
to be his duty to resign his commission as colonel of the Sixty-fifth
Indiana Regiment, and that his resignation has been accepted. We have
known for some time that circumstances--growing out of his father's
death, occasioned an almost absolute necessity for his personal
attention to the settlement of a vast amount of unfinished business
left by the Judge--were conspiring to force Colonel Foster out of the
service, but we were in hope that matters might be so arranged as to
enable him to remain in the field. It seems, however, that this could
not be done, and our Government loses the services of one of its most
gallant, energetic, and experienced officers. Colonel Foster entered
the service of his country in the summer of 1861, as major of the
Twenty-fifth Regiment Indiana Volunteers. He laid aside the profession
of the law, and took upon himself the profession of arms, from a
conscientious belief that his first service was due to his Government.
Without experience, or even a theoretical knowledge of military life
when he entered the service, so close was his application to study,
that but a short time elapsed before he was a thorough master of all
the duties incumbent upon his position as Major of the regiment, or
for that matter with any position connected with the regiment. Colonel
Foster was a rigid disciplinarian, yet he exacted nothing from his men
that was not essential to the efficiency of his regiment, or that he
was unwilling to perform himself.

After a detailed review of my military service, it adds:--

Colonel Foster has proven his patriotism by his actions and in
retiring to private life he will carry with him the assurance that he
has merited the good wishes of his countrymen and secured the great
satisfaction of an approving conscience.

From an editorial in the "Louisville Journal" the following is

The resignation of Colonel John W. Foster of the Sixty-fifth Indiana
Regiment has been accepted. His retirement from the army is to be
regretted, as he was one of the most experienced, efficient and gallant
officers in the service.

After a sketch of my military career, it says:--

Colonel Foster accompanied the expedition of General Burnside in the
movement on East Tennessee, at times commanding brigades and even
divisions. Just before tendering his resignation he was recommended
for a brigadier-general's commission by Generals Burnside and Grant.
Important business relating to his father's estate demanded immediate
attention, and forced his resignation. The army and the country alike
regret his retirement to private life.


About three months elapsed after my return home from the East Tennessee
campaign when a new appeal was made to me to reënter the military
service. General Sherman was assembling at and near Chattanooga an
army to make his great drive on Atlanta and into the very heart of
the rebellion. To succeed in his decisive movement he had to draw
his supplies from north of the Ohio River over a single long line of
railroad communication, reaching from Louisville through the States
of Kentucky and Tennessee to Chattanooga, and beyond as his army
advanced. This line of supplies was mainly through hostile territory,
and every part of it had to be guarded by armed soldiers. In order
to give Sherman every possible trained soldier to swell his army so
as to make the movement a success, it was determined to send all the
soldiers then guarding this line of railroad to the front, which would
prove a large addition to the fighting force of Sherman's army, and to
replace them as guards with new recruits, who could be effective behind
intrenchments and when on the defensive. Accordingly the Governors of
the States of the Middle West made a call upon their several States for
regiments of volunteers to serve for one hundred days, the estimated
period of Sherman's campaign to Atlanta.

The call upon the State of Indiana was responded to with alacrity,
and within a few days several regiments were formed and in a short
time made ready for service. It was the desire of Governor Morton to
have these raw recruits commanded, as far as possible, as colonels and
other staff officers, by men who had already seen service and were
experienced in actual fighting. One of these regiments, largely made
up from Evansville and the adjoining counties, expressed a strong
desire that I might be appointed to command them, and this action was
followed by a telegram from Governor Morton tendering me a commission
as colonel, and making a strong appeal to me to again give my services
to the country in this great emergency.

I confess the call did not strongly appeal to me from a military
viewpoint, as the contemplated service did not promise any distinction
in warlike operations; but on the other hand, it was a service which
would be just as useful in promoting Sherman's success as if we should
be sent to the front and take part in the actual fighting, for without
this line of communication for supplies being maintained his campaign
must assuredly prove a failure. I recalled the fact in ancient history
that the greatest of Hebrew generals, following the well-recognized
rules of warfare, insisted on giving to those who guarded the camp and
protected the line to the rear the same honor and emoluments as those
who did the fighting. The Scriptural historian has preserved King
David's words: "As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall
his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike." So
important did he deem this principle that the historian records that
"from that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel
unto this day."

I had made much progress in the business of settling my father's
estate, the cause of my previous resignation, and having secured my
wife's consent to my reënlistment, there seemed to be no good reason
for not responding to the call of the Governor and my townsmen and
neighbors, and within three days after tender of my commission I was on
the way to put myself at the head of the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth
Indiana Infantry Volunteers. I have indicated that the character of the
service to which we were to be assigned, the guarding of the railroad,
did not promise any brilliant military exploits, and the extracts
which I shall make from my letters may not be found of much interest,
but they will at least set forth the manner in which we filled up our
Hundred Days' service in the cause of our country.

The One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Indiana was mustered into service May
23, 1864, at Indianapolis, and passed through Louisville. My letter of
the 31st states:--

"We left Louisville on Saturday morning, and I stationed the companies
along the railroad from Shepardsville to Nolin, ten miles below here
(Elizabethtown) on the railroad. I had hardly got the companies
distributed, selected my headquarters here, and got my dinner, before
the train arrived from Nashville bringing an aide to Major-General
Rousseau, who was on the hunt for the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth
Indiana, which should go to his command in Tennessee, but he saw by
the Louisville papers that it had been stopped, and would go along
the railroad. The aide had orders for me to go direct to Nashville at
once, disregarding all orders from all sources but the War Department;
but as General Burbridge had ordered me to come here, and as I was
in his district, and was guarding important bridges which should not
be abandoned, I decided to wait until the generals should get their
conflict in orders adjusted. We have been waiting in doubt as to our
future for two days; meanwhile the generals had been telegraphing with
each other and with me, until last night I received orders to go to
Nashville as soon as transportation was provided. How soon the cars
will be ready to take me down I do not know."

Within two days we arrived in Nashville whence my letter of June 4

"I wrote you a note yesterday that we would go to Murfreesboro. I went
down there yesterday and returned this morning. I will be off for that
place again in an hour with three companies. The rest of the regiment
will follow to-night and in the morning. We shall not be quite so well
situated there as we were at Elizabethtown, nor for that matter as
comfortably situated as _at home_, but I think we can get through the
one hundred days there at least tolerably _safely_, which is the great
point with you, is it not? Uncle Tom arrived here yesterday from the
Sixty-fifth in poor health. I have been hunting for him this morning,
but have not as yet been able to find him."

This last refers to Colonel Johnson, of whom I have made reference
in previous letters. Three times he had been granted furlough on
account of ill-health, but with the grim determination of a martyr, he
persisted in his effort to remain with his command, at that time at the
front with Sherman's army.

In my letter of June 8, I give an account of our camp and surroundings
at Murfreesboro:--

"When we arrived here the general directed me to camp the regiment
in the fortress, a large and very strong series of earthworks and
rifle-pits, built by Rosecrans's army after the battle of Stone River.
The enclosures are large, open spaces, without a particle of shade or
grass, entirely exposed to the sun. The troops already in the fortress
have erected tolerably comfortable barracks, but there was no material
out of which to make any more; and as our men had nothing but shelter
tents, I was afraid if put into such a camp the exposure would bring
on sickness. So I rode all round the vicinity of the town and found
several very good camping-places, and induced the general to let us
camp out of the fortress, in such suitable place as I might select. I
found a very fine camp in a beautiful grove just at the edge of the
town, and adjoining a very fine spring of water, which pleases officers
and men very much. Two companies are stationed below on the railroad,
and we shall have eight companies here, making a very respectable

"How long we will remain here is very uncertain, but we shall be very
well satisfied to stay here during the remainder of our one hundred
days. Since we went into camp I have been putting the regiment through
in drill and duties of soldiers, keeping officers and men quite busy.
Besides these drills, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker drills the officers an
hour, and I have two recitations of officers an hour each in Tactics
and Regulations. In the evenings after supper I give them a lecture
on the Army Regulations, organization, and military customs, which is
quite as profitable to me as to them, as it requires considerable study
and posting on my part. We had our first battalion drill to-day and it
proved quite interesting. At the present rate of daily duties in one
month I shall have the regiment in a condition to compare favorably
with the veteran regiments in drill at least. I want to bring them home
well drilled and thoroughly instructed in the duties of the soldier.
I have the reputation of being a strict disciplinarian, but I think
the officers and the intelligent men appreciate it. The exercises not
only make them better soldiers, but the active service makes them more
healthy than to lie idle in camp.

"Our camping-ground is on the lawn in front of one of the finest houses
in the State. The surroundings were before the ravages of war very
beautiful. The house was the headquarters of the rebel General Bragg,
before he fell back after the battle of Stone River. The owner was
formerly quite wealthy, the possessor of a large plantation here and
one in Mississippi. He is now keeping a store in town for the support
of his family, reaping the reward of the rebellion of himself and

In my letter of June 13 I give another view of camp life:--

"Yesterday was our first real Sabbath in camp, and we spent it very
pleasantly. We had the Sunday morning inspection at eight o'clock,
beginning it with a short religious exercise by the chaplain. The
inspection would have been very creditable to old soldiers. The men
had their arms and accouterments and clothing in fine order and looked
well. These Sunday morning inspections have a fine effect, it causes
the men to clean up themselves and their arms, and makes them feel it
is a real Sabbath, which they are likely to forget in camp.

"After inspection we were quite liberal in allowing the men more passes
for the day, going out in squads in charge of officers. Some went to
church, but many went to stroll over the battlefield of Stone River,
which is about two miles from town. Major Hynes and I went in town
to church, and heard Dr. Gazeton preach. He has just returned from
the South. The Doctor is (or was) a New School Presbyterian of some
reputation in Tennessee before the rebellion. He is a bitter rebel,
but, of course, did not give any manifestation of it in his services.
There was a strong New School Church here before the war, but they were
all rebels; the church building almost ruined by the armies, and its
members very much scattered.

"At five we had preaching by our chaplain, a Baptist brother from
Spencer County, a good man but a very poor preacher, an old farmer and
ignorant; is worse than the chaplains of my other two regiments. I
shall go out of the war, I fear, with a poor opinion of chaplains from
personal experience. Although our chaplain's sermon was a poor affair,
the men were attentive and respectful. Altogether the day was very
creditably passed by the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Indiana. But how
much more pleasantly and profitably it would have been spent by me at
home, with my own family and in our own church."

In a letter of June 15 I refer to the character of the regiment:--

"We are getting along very pleasantly in camp; everything passes off
quietly; the men are making a commendable degree of progress in the
drill, and take to soldiering very readily. Thus far I have had no
difficulty in controlling the men. I never saw a regiment more easily
governed. This comes in part from its personnel. Being called upon
for only one hundred days of service, many business and professional
men, who could not well afford to give up their business entirely, can
arrange to go into the army for so short a time; and as a result the
lower officers and the men are many of them among our best citizens.
Besides, the service is easy. We have none of the hard marches and
exposures described by me in the campaigning of the Twenty-fifth and
Sixty-fifth Indiana. As a private in one of the Evansville companies,
was my younger brother James H., who left the senior class at the
Indiana University before graduating to serve his country."

This letter also relates an event which brings out the terrible
consequences of war in dividing families, especially in the border
State of Kentucky:--

"I wrote you some time since that a brother of Major Hynes (of our One
Hundred and Thirty-sixth) was in the rebel army and had been at home
at Bardstown, Kentucky. Hynes received a letter this evening from his
father telling him that his brother had been killed in trying to get
back through our lines to the Southern army. He was shot in the woods
and lay in the bushes two weeks before his father found the body."

Referring to the rebel cavalry raids which were just then threatening
Washington and Baltimore, I wrote:--

"Even if Washington is burnt the rebels can't hold it, and it would
be the means, I hope, of raising up the North to renewed efforts, and
then there would be a good opportunity to remove the Capital to the
West, where it ought to be. We have not suffered enough in the North
yet to make the people see that there is to be no peace with the rebels
except by their complete overthrow. Otherwise we are disgraced, ruined,
forever destroyed as a nation. We must and will in the end put down
this wicked rebellion. The ways of Providence are inscrutable. 'God
moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform,' but He is a God
of Justice and Right, and we will triumph in the end. Had I been an
infidel or a weak believer in the righteousness of God, long since I
would have been discouraged, but I am not. Let us pray for our country,
for the triumph of right, of truth, of freedom, and that God may in His
wisdom hasten the end of this bloody war and the return of peace; and
that we may together live to enjoy our family and Christian privileges
under it."

On July 16 I report:--

"General Van Cleve has been called temporarily to Tullahoma, which
leaves me in command of the post and brigade here, including Fortress
Rosecrans. The change will probably be only for a few days or a week. I
would much rather be with the regiment, as I am interested in the drill
and instruction of the regiment, and can spend the time pleasantly with

"I am now at headquarters of the post very comfortably situated; have
a room for myself carpeted and well furnished. Captain Otis, General
Van Cleve's adjutant-general, a very competent officer, is left here,
and he has his wife with him. It looks quite homelike to sit down at
a table with a lady to preside, and also to nurse the baby. It was
reported that the rebels were crossing the Tennessee River yesterday
at Claysville, intending to make a raid on the railroad, but I hardly
believe it."

A bright side of the soldier's life is given in my letter of July 21:--

"We have no news of special importance. I don't have very much to do
in my post command, am comfortably situated in quarters, and have
about enough business to keep the time from being dull. Captain Otis
and his wife and I are the only members of our mess, and we have a
very pleasant table. When General Rosecrans was in command here he
established a large hospital garden, worked by the convalescents in the
hospitals. It is now producing large quantities of vegetables, and our
table is very liberally supplied from it with green corn, tomatoes,
beets, cucumbers, potatoes, squashes, etc. We also enjoy plenty of milk
and butter, with ice to cool them. The general left his servant here,
and he has nothing to do but take care of my room, black my boots, and
brush my clothes, etc. There are a number of officers' wives here, and
we have frequent company in our parlor of these and occasionally of
rebel ladies. So you see the hardships of the poor soldier's life at
present being undergone by me are such as I may be able to endure with
safety to my life!"

In my letter of July 30, I report my return to the regiment:--

"General Van Cleve arrived last night and I returned to the command of
the regiment. I think it was needing my attention from appearances.
In the two weeks I have been absent there has been only one battalion
drill. Although this is Saturday afternoon and we are not accustomed
to having drill that afternoon, yet I am going to give them battalion
drill to make up for lost time. I want them to make a fine appearance
when we return to Indiana. We are now drilling in the bayonet exercise,
which interests the men very much."

A week later I write:--

"We are having as usual a quiet Sabbath. My present term of service
is so very different from that which I have heretofore been used to.
Before it was all activity, bustle, battles, pursuits or retreats.
But now it is all the quiet monotony of camp life, broken only by the
routine of drill. Heretofore I seldom had a quiet Sunday. Now I can
read my Bible and religious papers regularly, write to my dear one,
and attend Church services. But with all these privileges there is no
day in which I miss home so much."

Taking advantage of our quiet camp life, I obtained leave to visit
Knoxville, where I had spent so many pleasant days the year before. My
letter of the 13th of August gives some account of that visit:--

"Does it look natural to you to see this letter dated from Knoxville?
I left Murfreesboro day before yesterday, woke up in the morning
and found myself across the Tennessee River and in the midst of the
mountains. The scenery is quite romantic and attractive. I felt at
once that I was in East Tennessee. There is nothing in scenery like
the mountains. In a little while we came in sight of Lookout Mountain,
stretching far away with its range into Georgia, and jutting up with
its bold promontory into the Tennessee River, and far above the mist of
the river rose the spur so celebrated as Hooker's Battle of the Clouds.
Soon we came into Chattanooga, bristling with its many battlements,
and alive with the hurry and bustle of that great army dépôt. It is
astonishing to note what a vast machinery it requires in the rear to
support and keep supplied a large army.

"The run up to Knoxville was quite pleasant, where we arrived at
half-past five in the evening. On my way up to the hotel I met an old
Tennessee acquaintance who acted as a guide for me in my raids last
autumn. He would listen to nothing but that I must be his guest, so I
went around and stopped with him. I came down in town in the evening,
and called on some of my old friends who showed much pleasure in
seeing me again. To-day I have been busy in calling on other old
friends, and took dinner to-day with Mrs. Locke, who was very glad
to have me again at her house. I am to take supper with General
Tillottson, commanding the post. I have found a number of the old
Sixty-fifth and of my staff here on detailed duty.

"They are organizing an expedition for a raid into upper East
Tennessee, in my old route of campaigning, and, to be frank, I have
been very much tempted to go up with them, as they are anxious to
have me. But it would detain me beyond my leave, and I might expect a
scolding from my dear little wife. So I will leave in two or three days
and return direct to Murfreesboro."

As the term of enlistment of our regiment was drawing to a close, a
movement was set on foot to have me continue in the service. The Union
men of western Kentucky were very anxious to have me return to that
district and drive out the guerrillas, who had been very troublesome
after I had left that region. They had been in conference with my
older brother George, who took a great pride in my military career and
was very ambitious for me. The plan was to have me made a brigadier
general, and given a special command of western Kentucky. When this
was made known to me I answered my brother George that if the command
was tendered me without any effort on my part I might take it into
consideration, but only on the express condition that my wife would
consent to it. It is to this plan I refer in some of my letters to her.
In the one of July 31 I say:--

"The expiration of our term of enlistment is drawing near and a strong
effort will be made to get our regiment to reënlist for one, two, or
three years. What do you say,--must I go in for it? They are also
writing me from Kentucky urging me to come back there and clear the
guerrillas out of my old field of operations. I must confess the latter
proposition is something of a temptation to me. I would like to spend
three or four weeks there in chasing out the guerrillas, and then I
really do believe I could come home and stay there in peace."

On August 7 I write my wife:--

"I had been back from the army just long enough with my wife and little
darlings to appreciate how much I had missed during the three years
gone, and I do believe when I get home this time I shall be able to
conclude that I have discharged my duty to my country and done my
share of the fighting, and that I have also a duty to discharge to my
family, which I have sadly neglected for the three years past; and I
hope that for the rest of my life I shall devote myself to them. Major
Hynes was saying to me the other day that you had acted so nobly during
my absence he thought I owed it to you and my children when I was out
of the service this time to stay at home. But I take so much interest
in the war and am so thoroughly satisfied with the correctness of the
principles for which it is being prosecuted, that I must confess I do
not like to leave the army, when all of our experienced officers and
men are so badly needed, but I hope I will be able to see my duty clear
to stay at home. I trust my influence and efforts there will not be
entirely useless."

I wrote fully to my wife of the plans of my Kentucky friends and my
brother, and from my letters it appears they met with her decided
disapproval. On August 20 I wrote: "I was sorry on my return from
Knoxville and read your letters and saw how you felt about my going
into the service again, that I had written George on the subject." And
again I wrote: "I was sorry to know from your letter that my letter
in which I had said something about reëntering the service had given
you any pain or solicitude, as I did not design that it should do so.
I never yet have entered the service or left home except with your
consent or approval, and I will not do it in the future. As I have
written heretofore, I think I have served my country long enough to
serve my family awhile; and I hope nothing will occur to prevent my
early return to my home."

Some fear was entertained that the efforts of the Confederate cavalry
to break up the railroad connections would detain our regiment in
Tennessee beyond the term of enlistment, but no such untoward event
occurred. The One Hundred and Thirty-sixth left Murfreesboro on
August 25 under my command, passed through Louisville the next day,
and the day following took the cars at New Albany for Indianapolis.
The citizens of Bloomington, the seat of Indiana University where the
"Foster boys" had received their education, having notice that the
regiment would pass their town about noon, entertained them with a
hurried but sumptuous dinner. We found a warm supper awaiting us and
were comfortably quartered at Indianapolis in barracks, where we
spent one week waiting to be paid off and mustered out of the service.
During this time we took part in a review by Governor Morton of six
thousand troops gathered at the Capital of the State, and in this and
our regimental parades we were enabled with much pride to exhibit our
accomplishments in soldiery.

In the introduction to the compilation of these letters I described
myself in entering the service as a peace man, as having no desire for
military glory, having no special fitness for the life of a soldier,
and entertaining a horror of war. The reader of these letters must
have noted the gradual development of a taste for or satisfaction
with the service. Even at the outset in Missouri, in describing in
glowing colors the exposure to the climate and the hard marching, I
manifest a certain enthusiasm for my success as a wagon-master, or for
my prospective work of an architect of the log-hut winter quarters.
I early mastered the tactics, army regulations, and camp régime, and
often wrote of my interest in the drill and regimental and brigade
exercises. I refer to the gallant charges of our regiment and brigade
at Donelson, and speak of some parts of the bloody battle of Shiloh as
"grand beyond description." I hardly had words sufficient to describe
the deliverance by our army of the Union citizens of East Tennessee.
My intercourse with my comrades, superior and inferior officers and
men, is noticed as in all respects agreeable. When I entered the army
I was not robust, having too long led a student and office life, but
during my entire service I enjoyed almost uninterrupted good health,
the letters constantly speaking of how the outdoor life and the most
active campaigning best agreed with me. So that it has been seen that
while at the end of three years of army service I was rejoiced to go
back to my home, to my wife and little ones, an offer to reënter the
army was quite a temptation to me.

But my life in the army did not alter the views I had formed in my
college life of the horror and futility of war, but rather strengthened
and confirmed them. I witnessed the sad effects of the conflict in
dividing and embittering brothers of the same blood, the ravages of the
battlefield and the hospital, the valuable lives lost and the widows
and orphans, the enormous expenditure of money, and the great war debt
and pensions to be paid by a coming generation. All these evils might
have been avoided by a peaceful adjustment of the questions which
were settled by the armed conflict. The emancipation of the slaves by
purchase would have been many times less than the cost of the war in
money, without counting the saving of the lives lost, the widows and
orphans, and the bitterness engendered. There is a certain glamour
about warfare which attracts the participant, but it is fictitious and
unchristian. I pray God that our country may be delivered from its
horrors in the future.


Copyright by Bass and Woodworth, Indianapolis


Some years after the close of the Civil War the Legislature of Indiana
determined to erect a monument at Indianapolis, "designed to glorify
the heroic epoch of the Republic and to commemorate the valor and
fortitude of Indiana's Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Rebellion
and other wars."

The corner-stone of this monument was laid in 1887 with appropriate
services, including an oration by President Benjamin Harrison. It was
completed and dedicated in 1902. It stands upon a terrace 110 feet
in diameter, with a foundation of 69 by 53 feet, the height of the
monument from the street level is 284 feet, and is crowned by a Victory
statue of 38 feet. On subordinate pedestals occupying positions in the
four segments are bronze statues of Governor Morton, Governor Whitcomb,
General William Henry Harrison, and General George Rogers Clark. It is
claimed to be the largest and most expensive soldiers' monument in the
United States, and one of the grandest achievements of architectural
and sculptural art in the world.

The dedication services on the completion of the monument were held
on May 15, 1902, attended by military and civic delegations from
all parts of the State, parades, salutes, dedication exercises, and
illuminations, occupying the entire day and evening. The dedication
address follows.


_Mr. Chairman, Governor Durbin, Comrades and Fellow Citizens_:

We are gathered to-day inspired by mingled feelings of joy and sadness,
of pride and sorrow. To the generation who have come upon the stage
of public life since the scenes were enacted which are glorified in
this noble monument, it may well be an occasion of exultation, for
they see only the blessings conferred upon the State and Nation by the
deeds of the heroic dead whose memory we are assembled to honor. But to
those of us who were their comrades in service, there arises the sad
recollection of the carnage of battle and the wasting experience of the
hospital. While the stirring notes of martial music, the booming of
cannon, and the waving of flags awaken the enthusiasm and the patriotic
pride of the people, there are many mothers and widows to whom this
brilliant scene is but the reopening of the fountain not yet dried up
by twoscore years of weeping.

It is for no idle purpose I recall the solemn phase of the pageantry of
these dedication exercises, for it cannot fail to impress more deeply
upon us the debt we owe to the men for whom this magnificent memorial
has been raised.

It commemorates the sacrifice of twenty-five thousand men--Indiana's
contribution to the cause of the Union. A fearful price this Nation
paid for its life. A veritable army is this, larger than any gathered
under Washington or Scott. In those dark days, when our comrades were
pouring out their life's blood on a hundred battlefields, when new
calls were made for more men to fill the depleted ranks, when the
scales hung trembling between success and failure, it seemed sometimes
as if the State could not endure the fearful slaughter. But the triumph
of the right came at last. And time has healed the scars of war. We can
now look back upon the scene as one only of heroic deeds.

It was highly appropriate that on the apex of this shaft there should
be placed the emblem of Victory. Never in the history of human warfare
has there been a triumph more significant of blessing to mankind. The
Goddess of Victory crowns this monument, but it is not in exultation
over a fallen foe. I thank God that in the dedication services to-day
there is no feeling of bitterness toward the men who fought against our
dead comrades. We rejoice to know that they are loyal citizens with us
of a common country. We must not, however, belittle the sacrifice of
our honored dead. Right, humanity, and progress were on the side of
the Union armies, and it was chiefly for this reason we have reared
this noble pile of bronze and marble.

What the victory they gained signifies to this Nation, to this
continent, and to all peoples, has been so often, so exhaustively,
and so eloquently told, that I hesitate to even allude to it. But my
observation in foreign lands has so forcibly impressed on me one of
the inestimable blessings which has been secured to us and to future
generations by the triumph of the Union arms, that I deem this a
fitting occasion to call it to mind.

Scarcely second in importance to the maintenance of republican
government in its purity and vigor and the extirpation of slavery,
are the reign of peace and deliverance from standing armies, which
the unbroken Union guarantees to us and to our children. It requires
no vivid imagination to conceive of some of the results which would
have followed a division of the states--a frontier lined with
fortifications, bristling with cannon and garrisoned by a hostile
soldiery; conscription and taxation such as had never been known
before; constant alarms of war; and political and international
complications which would have put an end to our boasted American
policy and Monroe Doctrine.

One of the things which most attracts the attention of foreigners who
visit our shores is the absence of soldiers about our public buildings,
in our cities, and along the thoroughfares of commerce. And those who
have never seen our country can scarcely realize that it is possible to
carry on a government of order and stability without a constant show of
military force. In all the nations of Europe it has been for so many
generations the continuous practice to maintain standing armies, that
it is considered a necessary and normal part of the system of political
organizations. The existence of rival and neighboring nations,
constantly on the alert to protect themselves from encroachment on
their territory and to maintain their own integrity, and the recent
advances in military science and warlike equipment, have caused a great
increase in the armies, enormously enlarged the expenditures, and
compelled a rigorous enforcement of the most exacting and burdensome
term of service; until to-day, in this high noon of Christian
civilization, Europe is one vast military camp, and, with such tension
in the international relations, that the slightest incident may set its
armies in battle array--the merest spark light the fires of war and
envelop the continent, if not the whole world, in the conflagration.

Germany and France maintain an army on a peace footing of about a
half-million of men each, Russia of three quarters of a million, and
other Continental powers armies of relatively large proportions. The
term of military service required in each is from three to four years.
To support these enormous burdens the nations of Europe have imposed
upon their inhabitants the most oppressive taxation, and, besides, have
multiplied their public debts to the utmost extent of their national
credit. But great as these exactions are, they are as nothing compared
to the heavy demands made for the personal military service of the
people. To take from the best energies of every young man's life from
three to four years, just at the time when he is ready to lay the
foundations of his career and establish his domestic relations, is a
tax which can scarcely be estimated in money value, and is a burden
upon the inhabitants so heavy and so irritating that they stagger under
its weight and would rebel against it, did they dare resist the iron
tyranny of military rule.

Thanks to the soldiers who fought triumphantly for the maintenance of
our Union of States, and that there might continue to be one great and
supreme nation on this continent, we are released from this curse of
a large standing army, we are free from its burdensome taxation and
debt, our young men are permitted to devote the flower of their lives
to useful industry and domestic enjoyment, and our free institutions
are not menaced by military oppression. To conquer a peace such as the
world has not heretofore seen, and to secure a reign of prosperity and
plenty which no other people of the present or the past has enjoyed,
did the men of Indiana fight and die.

We are here to honor the soldier and the sailor; but it is well to
recall that ours is not a warlike people, and I pray God they never may
be. An event which greatly attracted the attention of Europe was that
when our Civil War was over the vast armies of near two millions of
men quietly laid down their arms and, without outlawry or marauding,
retired to their homes to renew their peaceful avocations. They had not
become professional soldiers. They were citizens of a great republic,
and felt their responsibilities as such.

In all, our foreign wars have occupied less than five years in a
period of one hundred and twenty of our independence. Our greatest
achievements as a nation have been in the domain of peace. The one
aggressive war in which we have been engaged was that with Mexico,
and it was the unrighteous cause of slavery which led us to depart
from the line of justice in that instance. It is to be hoped that
no evil influence or ambition will ever again lead us into acts of
unjustifiable aggression. In the Spanish War, I think I speak the
sentiment of the great majority of my countrymen when I say, it was a
feeling of humanity which occasioned that conflict. It brought with
it results which we could not anticipate and which many of our people
lament. It has led to the expulsion of Spain and its bad system of
government from this hemisphere, certainly not an untoward event. If it
was a desire to benefit our fellow men that led us into that contest, I
feel sure the same spirit will control our conduct toward the millions
of people on the other side of the globe whom the fortunes of war have
so unexpectedly brought into our dominion.

We are proud of the record which our country has made in the settlement
of disputes with foreign nations by the peaceful method of arbitration.
It is possible that all matters of difference cannot be adjusted in
that way, but it offers a remedy which commends itself to the lover
of peace and good-will among men, and it is our boast that we have
resorted to it more often than any other nation.

It is not incumbent on me to give any account of this structure,
so perfect in art, so appropriate in design, embracing all arms of
the military service on land and sea. I must, however, as a comrade
of those whose fame it perpetuates, bear cheerful testimony to the
generosity of a grateful people, who have reared this costly column.
It is in keeping also with the munificence of the Federal Government
in all that relates to the memory and the welfare of those who fought
to secure the Union of these States. In the National Capital and
throughout the land, in every city, and in almost every town, there are
monuments to the Union soldiers, and the important battlefields have
been turned into public parks consecrated to the Nation's dead.

And no government has been so liberal in its provisions for the
surviving veterans. Listen to a few eloquent figures. At the close of
the War for the Union our national debt amounted to the stupendous sum
of $2,700,000,000. And yet there has been paid out of the National
Treasury, since that date, for pensions an amount equal to that sum.
Before the Spanish War the pension roll amounted to two fifths of the
entire expenses of the Government, and it is even now, with the large
increase of both the civil and military list, one fourth of the total.
The payments on this account for the last year were about $140,000,000.
There are now on the roll, nearly forty years after the war, 997,735
pensioners. Of the amount paid out, the pensioners from Indiana receive
$10,291,000 every year, and the Indianians on the list number 66,974.
The two great martial nations of Europe are France and Germany, but
their expenditures for military pensions are only one fifth and one
sixth of ours. In addition to these unparalleled disbursements, vast
sums have been expended for the establishment and maintenance of
Soldiers' Homes in various parts of the country. Surely the old soldier
cannot charge his Government with ingratitude.

This day constitutes the culmination of the history of Indiana. This
imposing monument, peerless of its kind among the nations, the gift
of a rich and prosperous Commonwealth, the testimonial of a grateful
people to the men who gave their lives to save the Union and perpetuate
free institutions, stands to-day, with the quaternion of soldiers
and statesmen about it, a memorial of past achievement, an evidence
of present accomplishment in government, society, and industry, an
assurance of future prosperity and happiness. It was a wise discernment
of the memorable epochs in the history of the State which cause to be
associated with this central monument the statues of the two soldiers
and the two statesmen who adorn this artistic Circle.

Of all the soldiers who were famous in the War of the Revolution, few
have rendered more imperishable services to the country than General
George Rogers Clark. I have not the time to dwell upon his military
career. You recall the repeated journeys he made across the mountains
from his Kentucky home to implore the Revolutionary authorities to
furnish him the means to save the great Northwest to the new nation.
The story of his voyage down the Ohio with a mere handful of resolute
patriots, his capture of Kaskaskia, his marvelous march in the dead
of winter to the assault and capture of Vincennes, are among the
most thrilling narratives of that heroic struggle; yet history has
failed to give him due credit for his great achievement. But for his
expedition, it is safe to say that the Northwest would have remained
British territory, and Indiana would to-day be a crown colony or a
Canadian province, rather than a free commonwealth of an independent
people. Had the United States been confined in its territorial extent
to the Atlantic seaboard, as our ally France wished it to be, the young
republic might have survived as a shriveled and sickly nation under
the guardianship of France; but the vast expansion to the Northwest,
across the Mississippi, to the Pacific Coast, and to the Islands of
the Orient never could have taken place. As we look upon that dashing
figure, moulded in bronze, let us not forget the great debt we and all
this Nation owe to the intrepid soldier who conquered the Northwest.

The second period of the history of Indiana is fitly represented
by General William Henry Harrison, the territorial Governor and
the defender of the frontier. He stands for the men who laid the
foundations of our government and society, and freed the territory from
the ruthless savage.

In Governor Whitcomb we have a typical Indianian of the early period
of statehood. A farmer's son, he had his share, as a boy and young
man, of the privations of frontier life, the Herculean labor of
clearing away the forests, and bringing the land under cultivation.
At the same period of time Indiana was nurturing another young man in
like experience and labors of frontier life--that matchless American,
Abraham Lincoln. In this era of abounding prosperity and luxurious
living, we are too apt to forget that they rest upon the toils and
trials of our fathers. Whitcomb showed the stuff of which he was
made by supporting himself at school and college by his own manual
labor. He filled many public offices with usefulness and honor, and
had the distinction of occupying the gubernatorial chair during the
Mexican War, in which Indiana soldiers did their full share toward the
victories which gained for us the wide domain stretching to the Pacific.

For the fourth period of the history of Indiana, which records the
contest for the preservation of the Union, there could be but one man
whose statue should be a companion piece to this superb monument. No
soldier, no citizen, no man high or low, could take rank in point
of heroic service, of tireless labors, of commanding influence, of
exposure to dangers, of courage, self-denial and suffering, with Oliver
P. Morton. He was a man endowed with rare intellectuality, and made a
high place for himself in the Nation as a statesman, but to the people
of Indiana, and especially to the old soldiers, he will be remembered
as the Great War Governor.

It is fitting that the name of another son of Indiana should be
mentioned on this occasion. His statue is not in this Circle, but
will soon adorn another portion of this beautiful capital. When the
corner-stone of this edifice was laid thirteen years ago he took part
in the exercises, and, but for his untimely death, would doubtless
have been called to occupy my place in this day's dedication. Benjamin
Harrison has the distinction of being one of the first to inspire this
great undertaking now so happily consummated. He himself was a gallant
soldier and would have rejoiced to participate in this pageant. In
every department of public and private life he did his work well, and
we are proud to honor him as President and citizen.

It is a pleasing service to thus recall the names of some of our public
men. I heartily believe in State pride. I believe in local attachments.
The associations which cluster about the home are the dearest and the
best. If we as Indianians have not, in times past, been as conspicuous
as some of our neighbors for our State pride, it was not because we
loved Indiana less, but the Union more; and since we have forever
settled the question of State rights, I see no reason why we should
not on all proper occasions and with the vehemence of domestic loyalty
exalt our State, and boast of its resources, its merits, and its
memories. Among these there are none which constitute a nobler heritage
or awaken more enthusiastic pride than the services and attainments of
our public men.

I have not dwelt at any length upon the wonderful prosperity which
our country is now enjoying, as one of the direct results of the
preservation of the Union. We all rejoice in our present high and
honorable position among the nations of the earth, and we may well
look forward to a continuance of this era of peace and prosperity.
But in the day of our exaltation we should remember that no people of
the earth have proved to be indestructible as a nation. Every country
may carry within itself the seeds of its own dissolution. We need not
revert to the history of Rome, Greece, Egypt, or Assyria to learn of
the decay and death of empires. The archæologist tells us that in
the territory covered by the State of Indiana there once existed,
at a period so remote that no legend of them remained among the
aborigines at the discovery by Columbus, a great and powerful people
who built populous cities, were possessed of a high grade of military
science, were advanced in the arts, founded dynasties, had an educated
priesthood, and were of a heroic frame.

I have not time to moralize upon this, but I venture a few practical
suggestions which may appeal to us as citizens of a great nation whose
prosperity and happiness we desire may continue through all time. If
we would realize this expectation we must have an honest government,
Federal, State, and local. I have given the figures which show the
enormous expenditures for pensions. It is common rumor that this sum
has been swelled by perjury and fraud. Every faithful soldier who
receives a pension from the Government justly regards it as a badge of
honor. He should watch with jealous care that no deserter, no skulker,
no unworthy camp-follower, through the cunning of dishonest claim
agents, should have the same badge of honor. So, also, bribery and
corruption in our public and municipal bodies, may soon destroy the
foundations of our national life. All good citizens should denounce
and combine to punish every attempt at corruption.

As we should have an honest government, so we should have a pure
government. I have spoken of State pride. More than once I have been
made to blush when away from home to hear the charge that the elections
in Indiana were sometimes corrupt. I trust I may entertain the hope
that there is exaggeration in this, and that our errors of the past
no longer exist. It is a sure sign of national decay in a republican
government, when the fountain head of power, the ballot, becomes

While we must have an honest and pure government to insure the
perpetuation of our institutions, we should also have an efficient
government. And this I think can best be brought about by the universal
application of the system of competitive civil service. I know that
many an Indiana politician has mocked at it as the dream of the
idealist, but it is the only democratic method of filling the offices
where all applicants stand upon a common level, and the only way of
securing the best results in administration.

I have entered upon a fruitful theme, but must not pursue it
further. I have suggested three points which seem appropriate for
our consideration to-day, when we are gathered to honor the soldiers
who died that our country might live. We owe it to them to so act as
citizens that they shall not have offered up their lives in vain. Let
us cherish their memory, and in our day and generation do what we can
to perpetuate for the people in the ages to come the blessings of free
institutions among men. Should we thus prove true to our trust, this
imposing memorial, so patriotic in design, and so perfect in execution,
will stand in future years as a testimonial, not only to the fallen
heroes of the war, but also to the faithful citizens, who handed down
unimpaired their heritage of republican government to mankind.



  _Lieutenant-Colonel, Twenty-fifth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer
  Infantry, and Colonel, Sixty-fifth and One Hundred and Thirty-sixth
  Regiments, Indiana Volunteer Infantry_

The records show that John W. Foster was mustered into service August
19, 1861, as major, Twenty-fifth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, to serve
three years. He was subsequently commissioned lieutenant-colonel of
the regiment and is recognized by the War Department as having been
in the military service of the United States as of that grade and
organization from April 30, 1862. He was mustered out of service as
lieutenant-colonel to date August 24, 1862, to accept promotion. He
was mustered into service as colonel, Sixty-fifth Indiana Volunteer
Infantry, to date August 24, 1862, to serve three years. He was in
command of the District of Western Kentucky, Department of Ohio, with
headquarters at Henderson, Kentucky, in October and November, 1862, and
in March, April, and May, 1863, but the records do not show either the
date on which he assumed command or the date on which he was relieved
therefrom. From August 21, 1863, to September 5, 1863, and from
September 7, 1863, to October 18, 1863, he was in command of the Second
Brigade, Fourth Division, Twenty-third Army Corps. The designation of
the brigade was changed to the Fourth Brigade, same division, October
18, 1863, Colonel Foster remaining in command to November 3, 1863. This
brigade was assigned to the Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the
Ohio, November 3, 1863, and Colonel Foster commanded the Second Brigade
of that division from November 3 to November --, 1863, and he commanded
the Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio, from November
--, 1863, to January --, 1864, exact dates not shown. He was honorably
discharged March 12, 1864, as colonel, upon tender of resignation.

The records further show that John W. Foster was mustered into service
as colonel, One Hundred Thirty-sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry,
May 23, 1864, to serve one hundred days, and that he was mustered
out of service with the regiment as colonel September 2, 1864, at
Indianapolis, Indiana.

In the operations February 12-16, 1862, resulting in the capture
of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, Major Foster was commended by his
brigade commander for "the fearless and energetic manner" in which
he discharged his duties. His conduct was said to be "worthy of the
highest commendation."

At the battle of Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, April 6-7, 1862, the
command of his regiment devolved upon Major Foster on the first day.
The brigade commander, in his official report of that battle, stated
with reference to Major Foster as follows: "The command devolved on
Major Foster, who proved himself every way worthy of it. He was active,
brave, and energetic, inspiring his men with courage and confidence.
His worthy example was felt by all around him."

Official statement furnished to Hon. John W. Foster, 1323 Eighteenth
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., October 13, 1915.

By authority of the Secretary of War:

_In charge of office_

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritical markings were corrected.

Hyphenation was made consistent.

P. 37: to take steamer for Cairo -> to take a steamer for Cairo.

P. 156: Brunside's cavalry -> Burnside's cavalry.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War Stories for my Grandchildren" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.