Head Quarters Dept. of Kans.
Fort Leavenworth Oct. 10th 1864
Most beautiful weather! To=day we draw from the QuarterMaster at this Post = 25 horses and equip 25 men. Five officers and 25 men are now ready for active duties in the “Signal Corps” of the Army.
Lieut A. Ellis who has been sick and absent=without=leave returned this evening.
The rebel Gen. Sterling Price is now on his way from Jefferson City, Mo. Towards Kansas and may visit this post in force. The “militia” have been ordered out and fortifications are being built rapidly, several Regts. Of militia are at hand, but 3 year soldiers are scarce. We have not 1/2 of a Regt. Of Soldiers altho’ plentiful Generals ——
Major General s. R. Curtis comd’s the Dept. and Brig. Genl. Davies the dist. Of North Kansas.
Oct. 11″ Detailed as Aide=de=Camp to Genl. Curtis and started on a Campaign. Bivouac near the 8 mile house – travel 11 miles.
Oct 12″ left Camp about 7 A.M. and bivouac at Olathe Kansas – travel 27 miles.
Oct 13″ Moved from Olathe about 9 A.M. and bivouaced at Wyandotte, Kans – travel 25 miles.
Oct 14″ Remained at Wyandotte – all day – Genl. Curtis visited Kansas City, Mo – within sight o the place.
Wyandotte is named after a tribe of Indians, now nearly extinct, but many half=breeds live here yet they were at one time the richest Nation on earth, considering the wealth and numbers.
Oct 15″ Genl. Curtis has dubbed his Army of volunteers and Militia the “Army of the Border” the badge is a red patch upon the cap or hat to distinguish the militia from rebels
Accompanied Genl. C_ to Independence, Hickman’s Mills, Kansas City, Mo and returned to Wyandotte. At Hickman’s Mills Mo. The largest number of militia are gathered. A Brass band belonging to the 11″ Kans Vol. Cav. Discourses [sic] its music and after being loudly called for Maj. Genl’s Curtis & Blunt spoke followed by Genl. (or Senator) Jim Lane, Cols. Moonlight, Jennison & others. The Militia have bivouaced inside of Mo lines. Travelled to=day 50 miles.
H”d Qr”s “Army of the Border”
In the field Wyandotte, Kans. Oct 16″ 1864
Getting in late last night, we remain here all day – weather cool.
Field H”d Qr”s, Kansas City, Mo
Oct 17″ 1864
March to Kansas City & bivouac in the vicinity – travel 4 miles
Oct 18″ H”d Qr”s remain in Camp tho’ are harnessed & hitched up to move till 2 P.M. I accompanied Maj. McKinney to Col. Blair’s command and return – travel 11 miles
(field) H”d Qrs Army of the Border
Independence Mo. Oct 19″ 1864
Marched from Kansas City Mo to Independence Mo. Travel 12 miles.
Independence Mo. Oct 20
Remained at this place all day. Very cold – have a little snow storm.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
(in the field) Independence, Mo
Oct 21st Meet the enemy at Little Blue Creek; about 5 miles East of Independence Contested the ground, at every favorable point, and fell back, about 11 or 12 miles to Big Blue Creek – 6 miles West of Independence. Genl. Blunt com’d’d and directed the fighting – losses not easily estimated – probably from 1 to 3 hundred killed, wound’d & missing – very few of the latter – 22 miles.
Oct 22″ H”d Qr”s at Westport, Mo.
Fine weather. Established a station of observation for Lieut M. M. Neely on extreme left of army, and waited in our fortifications for the enemy to appear, but he did not come. Our extreme station to the right reported a column moving that direction – and soon afterward heard firing in that direction. Price was flanking us on the right, so Genl. Curtis fell back to Westport – and the army changed front from the East to the South & S.E.
About 1 1/2 or 2 P.M. I was sent South 10 miles – to Hickman’s Mills – to bring up reenforcements – (1 Regt. Of about 700 Militia & 2 Co’s 15″ K.V.C.). but before getting more than 3 miles from the Mills, discovered the road in our front to be filled with rebels – for 3 or 4 miles. I had no confidence in Militia, and looking towards our left (West) to see if I could cross a creek and come around West of the enemy to report to the Genl. – but in that direction I saw many scattered horsemen so I must either surrender, fight or disgracefully – skedaddle. I could not think of doing the first or last, and made up my mind to help maneuvre the Militia and make them hold the ground.
The position was a very favorable one – being on a high ridge, just before the descent to the crossing of the creek, and the sides (3 of them) were steep and gave us good range. Scarcely had we saw our position when the foremost of the column appeared at the foot of the declivity. The Regt. Was dismounted the 4″ man holding his own & 3 other horses a little in rear of the line=of=battle. A few shots were fired at the advance and they disappeared. Soon they formed in a squad or crowd – and started with a yell, but a volley from us made them give back in this way we held our ground for , perhaps, half an hour every rebel showing himself was in danger of our fire. The evening was getting late – the Militia, upon emptying their muskets, invariably started back, but I kept on my horse, the Col. Also, and drawing our revolvers drove the men back into line, both threatening and encouraging.
So few rebels showed themselves, altho’ the front constantly increasing, the order was given to mount and we cautiously and quietly retreated – bringing our one man killed and our wounded with us, but left the dead man at the nearest house during our firing the 2 Co’s of 15″ K.V. Cav. Came up in our rear, but did not remain – so left us to fight it out they leaving via of little Santa=Fe= afterwards we followed, very cautiously, not knowing who it was that had stirred up such a dust in that direction until arriving at little Santa Fe and inquiring, found out it was the Co’s of the 15″ K.V.C.
We marched 12 or 15 miles before I stopped & from Santa=Fe nearly North – flanking our enemy on the West – My horse being very much fatigued as well as myself, stopped at a Mr. Rathbone’s – (small log house) about 11 1/2 P.M. for the balance of the night. The Militia force, under Brig. Genl (Militia) Grant, had been charged upon – several of them killed, wounded & prisoners, and the balance roaming over the prairies – lost & demoralized – each one telling his own story – of our Army being cut to pieces, and most probably capture of Westport, Mo, also Kansas City, and 3 or 4 parties stopped at the log=cabin inquiring the way & asking for something to eat. I could not sleep more than two hours on account of my disturbed mind – sleeping on a soft (feather) bed, and not knowing, but what I would be captured by rebels before day break. Rode during the day near 60 miles.
Official Report of Lieut. Cyrus M. Roberts, 78th Ohio Infantry, Acting Aide-de-Camp to Maj. Gen. S. R. Curtis, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Headquarters Department of Kansas
Fort Leavenworth, December 15, 1864
Sir: Deeming it my duty, I most respectfully submit the following report:
On the 22nd of October, during the afternoon, when Col. C. R. Jennison’s command was attacked at Byram’s Crossing of the Big Blue, you ordered me at Westport, Mo., to go to Hickman Mills, Mo., and order all the forces that might be there to immediately re-enforce Colonel Jennison. Arriving at the Mills I found Maj. John M. Laing in command of a part of the Fifteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and delivered him your order. His command was feeding. I also saw the Twenty-first Regiment Kansas State Militia, which was just ready to mount. I delivered your order to the colonel (Lowe) commanding, and his regiment moved immediately forward “at a trot.” I again went to Major Laing, as I did not see him preparing to march, and insisted upon his hurrying forward. Upon this he ordered his command to prepare to march, and I left him to follow on. I then rode forward and caught up to Colonel Lowe. When we arrived on the brink of the hill descending to the Big Blue we saw right ahead of us, as far as the eye could reach, clouds of dust along the road, and knew it must be the main column of the enemy advancing. In a very few minutes (perhaps five) the Twenty-first Kansas State Militia had dismounted and formed in line of battle along the brink of the hill, the horses were led a little way to the rear, but before the line was formed the advance of the enemy was coming up the road through a narrow defile at the foot of the hill. Those of the Twenty-first Regiment who could see the enemy commenced firing. Their advance immediately fell back out of sight and formed in a body, but in a few minutes came forward with a yell. The Twenty-first fired a volley into them and they fell back out of sight. While this was going on Major Laing’s command came up where the horses were held, but instead of rendering the militia assistance they turned immediately back, leaving the Twenty-first Kansas State Militia to get out the best way they could. Several of the militia to the rear followed, but Colonel Lowe, Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson and myself, drew our weapons and kept the militia (who were giving way) to the front. The enemy appeared very much demoralized and did not seem to want to give us battle after this. Holding our position for twenty or thirty minutes without another attack 0- the skirmishing was constantly going on – we concluded best to mount and pass around the enemy to the west, and, if possible, join you. It was getting late and darkness came on before we had gone one mile. On our way through Little Santa Fe we inquired and found out that Major Laing and his command passed through en route to Kansas. I have heard that the officers and men with Major Laing did not wish to turn back, but were eager to assist and thought it very strange that he did not help the militia. Believing that the conduct of Maj. John M. Laing should not go unnoticed is my reason for making this statement to you.
I have the honor to state that Colonel Lowe and Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson behaved gallantly, showing much bravery, although not accustomed to such heavy fired. Every suggestion that I made to them was immediately carried out.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Cyrus M. Roberts
[Note: Major Laing subsequently was arrested, but “upon explanations, and in consideration of his gallantry elsewhere” Maj. Gen. Curtis ordered his release.]
H”d Qr”s = Army of the Border
Westport Mo. Oct 23″ 1864
Arose at daybreak – got something to eat & started to report to Genl. Curtis “via” Shawneetown, Kansas City & Westport over 20 miles. Cannonading commenced about 7 A.M. & I hurried on. Reached Genl. Curtis & reported to him about 1 P.M. The enemy had almost besieged Westport, Mo. Upon the South coming within one mile of the place. Our troops were deployed to the best advantage both for display & for service if the rebels ventured to assault the town, but they commenced to give back about 12 M – our forces advancing steadily, as the enemy gave way. About this time cannonading was heard on our extreme left & front and we knew Genl. Rosecrans’ Calvary, under Genl. Pleasanton, had arrived. Genl. Curtis looked around and said “Where is some Staff Officer to go to Pleasanton, at the same time speaking to Capt. Seeley, an A.Q.M. and told him to go, then answered it will not do to send a Quarter Master – when I offered my services, the Genl. Remarked – “it won’t do to send you “Roberts” you have just ran the gauntlet and escaped.” I answered “don’t think of that Genl. – I’ve got another horse now.” He answered “Well I guess you may try it – if you think you can get through.” (the enemy was between us & Pleasanton’s firing). The message was viz: “Give my compliments to Genl. Pleasanton, and tell him I am bearing down on the enemy.”
I soon passed over to Genl. P_n’s column and inquired for him was answered “He’s to the front.” I then rode to the extreme front, but could not see or hear of him, so I kept on towards the left of this column as they swung into line and following the rebels. The prairie was on fire, but the grass was not tall. I rode thro’ it in several places, and in the smoke got too far t the front – looking to my left I saw 3 columns of rebel Cavalry that were slowly marching along and had ceased firing. I looked at them some time and supposed they were about to surrender to Genl. P_n’s forces and said to my orderly (Private Austin of the 3rd Wis. Cav) We’ll ride over there and see that surrender, also most probably find P_n. when within 25 or 30 yards of the enemy, one of them had stopped to let his horse drink from a little puddle and riding to him, inquired where he belonged, as I could not see a red=badge the sign of our Militia, and seeing he was fully armed he inquired where I belonged I replied “to Curtis’ com”d and then ordered my orderly to take charge of him. The orderly rode to him and I started on but a word from him, calling Lieut – I looked around and tho’t something was up – so putting my hand on my revolver rode up when the rebel handed me his Carbine and I ordered him to give his revolver & other arms to the orderly – then started ahead and told my Ord’y to bring him along at the same time I started towards the enemy again, when within 25 or 30 yds of them and on the side abreast of the front Regt. My orderly called “look out Lieut” and looking around saw him coming at a run with one rebel Cavalryman after him and several others starting so I spurred up and looking at the rebel saw him stop his horse and was taking deliberate aim at us when I dodged forward flat on my horse and the bullet went over striking the ground above and in front of us (the ground rising) I gave a yell and swung my cap at him – knowing I was safe – at a gallop and they dare not follow me – as our forces were a little ways in front. I had to leave my prisoner, but brought off the arms. Genl. Curtis has let me keep the carbine, my orderly the revolver – as I could not find Genl. Pleasanton, I saw one of his Brigade com’d’rs Genl. Sanborn who said he would see Genl. Pleasanton or send one of his Staff to deliver the message for me my horse being tired – and our forces had united – so that the position of both Generals could be seen by either – upon the open broad Prairie. – going back to Westport (6 miles) to report to the Genl. Found he had gone forward to Little Santa=Fe – 12 miles. I hunted around to get something to eat – a negro woman gave me 2 corn flitters – the Hotel was used for an Hospital – and I could get nothing there – the Bakers shops were sold out and closed finding a Lager=beer brewery I took 3 glasses of beer and the woman gave me 2 slices of Bread. After this, I started forward to catch up to Genl. Curtis, but did not find his H”d Qr”s till nearly 11 P.M. travelled to=day not less than 45 miles slept in a stock=yard with Lieut Neely under my horse blankets as the wagon train had not arrived. Feel pretty tired – once. 45miles
H”d Qr”s “Army of the Border”
In the field Oct 24th 1864
Move about 7 A.M. towards Fort Scott, Kansas. Travel the State=line road. Continue all day and night – stopping about 1 1/2 hours just after dark for men to make coffee, let the horses pick a little prairie grass, get water & c. As Genl. Blunt’s forces have been in advance since yesterday afternoon, he now stops by Genl. Curtis’ order to let Genl. Pleasanton’s com’d take the advance.
Oct 25th 1864 – Catch up to the enemy this morning about 3 o’clock as the roads are heavy, and night very dark – we halt till daylight; in the mean=time the cold rain pours down. Many of the men drop right down in the mud – and sleep some few rails were found and fires built around which crowds would gather the first one or two ranks would be down – around the fired – or sit down and with rubber blankets or ponchos over them doze as best they can – while the rain beats down at day=light cannonading is commenced tho’ foggy & gloomy – the com’d wet, muddy tired & hungry – the horses fully as much so from a high mound or noll – the rear guard is watched by our advance Signal Officer Lieut Hubbard. After going about 2 miles we pass a place called the “Trading Post” the vicinity of the enmeys bivouac the men have all been conscripted & carried off from this post.
We now cross the Marias=des=Cygnes (“Meridezine”) a large creek under the fire of the rebel rear=guard – but push on. Genl. Curtis sent me to the rear to see that Genl. Blunt’s Division is well closed up and report to him. I did so – but when I reached him, found our army had so pressed the enemy that they attempted to make a stand we formed only two small Brigands of cavalry and charged them – capturing Genl’s Marmaduke & Cabel – also four or five Colonels, and several hundred other prisoners, artillery, and quite a good share of their train – and killed & wounded perhaps from 1 to 2 hundred – I passed over the field hurriedly and caught up to the advance which was marching in two lines of battle – reaching near one mile in length – and on the open prairie it was the grandest sight, of advancing for miles in lines well dressed & colors flying – that I ever saw the enemy tried to make another stand about 1 o’clock P.M. but we soon formed and rapidly advanced the enemy as rapidly retiring. Price had evidently tried to gain time enough to send a part of his forces on to Fort Scott – 18 miles in advance – and on his road – but we gave him no time – here we found many abandoned wagons, iron cooking utensils, and the road strewn with abandoned small arms – in his way – we drove him – and making a new trail across the prairie – left Fr. Scott – 5 miles to his right. The most of our forces bivouac at Ft. Scott. Travel 90 miles without rest.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
In the field – Ft. Scott – Oct 26th 1864
After driving the enemy from 8 to 10 miles beyond this Fort, one Brigade was left to watch them, and the balance of the army bivouaced at this post in order to get forage and rations having run down 3 horses – I get another one here and move out about 10 A.M. The enemy having destroyed a large part of their train still keep in front many wagons are abandoned and horses and mules that have been ridden till the saddles or harness would wear clear to the bone.
We bivouac at Shanghai – go 25 miles
Oct 27th 1864
March from Shanghai to Carthage Mo – the place of Genl. Siegel’s famous fighting on a retreat pass through lead mine regions. Travel all night
Oct 28th 1864
Halt 3 hours at Carthage till daylight, then move on to catch up to the enemy our extreme advance come on him at Newtonia, Mo the advance under Blunt are met by a very superior force and fall back a few hundred yards, but upon Genl. Sanborn’s force of 1 Brigade arriving, the enemy skedaddles after dark, leaving the dead & wounded in our hands. Bivouac at Newtonia after traveling 75 miles.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
In the field Oct 29th 1864
During last night orders arrive from Genl. Rosecrans to his troops – to repair to their respective Districts in Mo. Thereby virtually disbanding the pursuing “Army of the Border” So we march in a home direction or to Neosho – where we can get forage for our almost worn=out horses as we enter the place – inhabitants (women & children) have taken their household goods out, by order of a “band of bushwackers” who were just about to burn the place – we march 12 miles.
Oct 30th 1864
Receive orders during the night by the telegraph from Washington to Ft. Scott from the War Dept. or Lieut. Genl. Grant to follow Price to the Arkansas River upon this messengers are sent to the disbanded army to concentrate at Cassville, Mo. & we march back to Newtonia Mo – the women cry as we leave Neosho – fearing the town will be destroyed by bushwackers – 12 miles
Oct. 31 1864
March towards Cassville Mo, but get on wrong road – and go to Keatsville Have a snow storm during the night. 28 miles
Novr. 1st 1864
Yesterday fulfilled my 3 year term of service to the Government. Bivouac near the Pea=Ridge battle field trees are felled and there are many appearance of a battle=ground. Cold rain continues all A.M. bivouac about 1 P.M. rain ceases & soldiers build large firs and dry out their clothes & blankets preparing to make a sleep if possible to night. 10 miles.
Nov. “2” 1864
Remain here all day in the wet & cold. It rains unceasingly no troops have reported save 1 Brig of about 1300 men commanded by Lieut Col Benteen of 3″ Iowa Cav.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
(in the field) Novr. 3rd 1864
Snow on the ground about 3 in. deep and continues snowing and raining all day leave camp about 7 A.M.
Pass out of Mo. Into Ark. At 9 A.M. also over the “Pea Ridge” battle ground. See the remains of the “Elk” Horn Tavern named so by our forces on account of a pair of elk horns which were placed above the door – and was the only house in the vicinity that afforded good protection to the wounded Country pretty well settled beyond this – also cultivated the houses are generally burned and places vacated and desolate boys get plenty of good apples on the road. Bivouac at Cross Hollows – snow & rain falling – making it very disagreeable – travel 15 miles.
Nov. “4” 1864
Move at daybreak damp, cool and cloudy expect to meet the rebels, but when within three miles of Fayetteville, Ark. We hear that the rebels have raised the siege & left arrive at F-e about noon the 1st Ark Cav. (Col. Harrison’s) are drawn up in line to receive us, and give a Maj. Genl’s salute of 13 guns from Mountain Howitzers.
A rough tho’ pretty strong fort was thrown up and the garrison numbered near 1500 men.
Fayetteville, Ark. Is one of the principal towns of Ark. But does not number over one thousand inhabitants the scenery is delightful – as the town is upon high ground among the Ozark Mts. – and looking either N.W. or South the valleys are mountains, with the far distant reach, are seen – and last only because the atmosphere seems to grow foggy or smoky in the dim distance. Move today 20 miles.
Move about noon towards Fort Smith Ark. On Cane-hill road bivouac at a farm house on battle=field of Prairie=grove – where we got eggs, chickens & c. & c. fine weather travel 11 miles.
H”d Qrs “Army of the Border”
Nov. 6th 1864
Move at daylight fine weather pass over the battle=field of Can Hill bivouac in the Cherokee Nation Indian Terr travel today in good country & well settled saw quite a number of rebel sick & wounded left in the houses on the road we can not take them along – & Genl. Curtis has Maj. McKinney patrol as many as he had time to attend to & not get too far to the rear paroled about seventy=five travel 25 miles
Nov”r. 7th 1864
Move at daylight – along the Salasa Creek. About 11 A.M. we pass a horrid sight viz: – the remains of a man reported by a Pin Indian woman (or squaw) to have been a rebel bushwacker and killed by those Loyal Indians the skeleton was party covered with the cuticle and part of an old pair of pants still clung to him. The flesh had all “scyugled” very few houses along the road are inhabited near here were two women and two half naked children half breeds were seen. One reported her husband a “Loyal Pin” to have been bushwhacked – and a brother of hers was shot while sitting in the door of the house. A week previous, by a rebel Cherokee – her mother an old squaw, was shot in the leg below the knee – at the same time.
Price was reported one day ahead of us the country has been quite prosperous the land good & pretty well cultivated country rather mountainous tho’ most fertile valleys – forage all gone we stop and let our horses make one meal on young=cane. As soon as the moon is up we push on by the light of the moon. Halt about 12- at night, and as the train will not be up before daylight we kindle fires and lie down on the prairie our feet to the fire and go to sleep under an overcoat or horse-blanket March to day near 30 miles
Nov”r. 8th 1864
Move after Price about 8 A.M. follow to the Arkansas River just as his rear=guard had crossed a little skirmishing is heard – about 25 shots are fired from the 1st Colorado Battery in order to be heard at Fort Smith, 20 miles below, and to scare our retreating enemy. A few of our advance ford the river, but soon return, and our chase is ended.
We bivouac two miles from the river and about 25 miles from Ft. Smith in the Cherokee Nation. 10 miles
The prairie is very soft. The weather wet & cool. Nothing but beef for the command to eat & but prairie=grass for the stock.
Nov”r. 9th 1864
Move about 9 A.M. = towards Fort Gibson. The troops now scatter on different routes for Kansas, in order to get forage and eatables the 2″ Cav. Of Colorado – accompany Gen”l Curtis as an escort.
Quite cold & damp. Capt. Meeker & I follow a Mr. McKee to Fort G_n ahead of the command by permission from Gen”l Curtis pass several good looking houses and farms; also a salt works called Macky’s Lick where the salt=water boils up from the bottom of the Illinois river troops are generally stationed here and salt is manufactured for the posts of Ft’s Smith & Gibson we cross the Ozark Mts. Tho’ they do not appear very differently from high hills. Arrive at Gibson and a Mrs. Binneger, niece of Gen”l Blunts’ cooks us up some oysters & c. for supper and Maj. Wright, of the 2nd Indian Regt. (from Columbus O. aged 21 yrs) provides us with his room & bed
The post is out of forage, save hay. And no rations – travel 40 miles.
Nov”r 10th 1864
Maj. Wright & Capt. Bruce entertain us for breakfast. Gen”l Curtis arrived about noon. A dress=parade of an Indian Reg”t is held in the evening remain over night, again with Maj. Wright.
Several large stone buildings are built inside of the Fort = the fortifications are strong – but very rough the town is a collection of log shanties inhabited by Indian families.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
Fort Gibson Nov” 11″ 1864
Move at 9 A.M. cross the Grand River by a ferry boat – the Cavalry ford about 7,000 Indians are living in little huts & c. – on the North Bank – being refugees – are supported by the Government. Bivouac on Flat Rock Creek. Maj. Wright of the 2″ Indian is our guest – Capt. Meeker is put under arrest by order of Gen”l Curtis. I am ordered to take command of the Signal Corps Detchm’t – March 20 miles
Move at 8 A.M. I am ordered to ride near the rear=guard and permit no men to fall back if a horse cannot keep in front of the guard, he is to be turned loose on the prairie. Cap”t Meeker released early in A.M.
Weather beautiful. Wolves surrounded our camp last night and I often awoke at hearing their howling during the day we passed thro’ a strip of timber – where I saw two deer one came within 15 paces of me, and stopped. I snapped a cap from my revolver, but the load did not go off – the deer did – they are very plenty in this region. Travel 25 miles to day.
Indian Territory Oct [sic] 13″ 1864
Move at 8 A.M. Weather beautiful I rec”d permission from Gen”l Curtis to accompany the Forage Master after Cattle running loose upon the prairie. After driving in several small bunches or hers from 5 to 25 each we had got behind the columns 3 or 4 miles so had to hurry & catch up. My orderly & I started ahead as we were not needed in driving. I passed thro’ several belts of timber and creeks fired at ducks several times with my carbine – and my orderly at a wolf which we saw but all got away.
While anxiously looking for deer on Cabin Creek I found an Indian Pony with a tether or lariat dragging behind him. He tried to get away, but I caught the leather as he passed and secured a good riding nag. No one seems to live in this part of the country apparently, tho’ it is not a dangerous locality. A train was attacked and captured in this vicinity a month or two since. The Pony has evidently belonged to some Indian or bushwacker as he is shod all round. His main & tail are full of burrs and he is covered with wood=ticks.
Camp at Duck Spring – 25 miles
Nov” 14″ 1864
Weather cloudy & cool – afraid of rain – as it would raise the Neosho river and we could not cross but it keeps off and we ford it pretty easily – the water just touching the saddle blanket of the horses a few men got quite wet, their horses stumbling – Bivouac on the North side – travel 12 miles
Prairie chickens are very plentiful the men shoot them with revolvers.
H”d Qr”s Army of the Border
(in the field) Neosho River – Nov” 15″ 1864
Just as we are hitched up and ready to move, two ambulances arrive from Fort Scott with 12 boxes of crackers, 5 sacks of corn and 1 of Flour cheering is heard on all sides thro’ camp and men rush for hard tack – this making the eighth day since they have had any bread. The command get one pint of corn for each horse no more as soon as they eat this we move on.
At the next creek – 7 miles we met the train of 10 or 12 wagons loaded with rations, but only 3 sacks of corn the men are very much disappointed as their horses must continue starving for grain we are now 73 miles from Fort Scott, Kans. And Gen Curtis concludes to take some of the fresh mules and go thro’ without bivouacing. – his staff accompany – all riding in ambulances save me, as I have a fresh pony. Stop at dark & rest for 2 1/2 hours until the moon is up in he meantime all hands eat a bite then travel on make about 35 miles to=day
Fort Scott – Nov” 16th 1864
Travelled all last night – came across civilization about day=light when we stop at a farm and purchase forage for our horses & mules rest until nearly 9 o’clock A.M. then make Fort Scott by 12 M. Col. C. W. Blair Comd”g Post rides out to meet the Gen”l and gives us the news of Lincoln’s election also State Officers as we entered the city a Maj. Genl’s salute of 13 guns is fired
The Gen”l started about 3 P.M. in his ambulance for Fort Leavenworth Kans – tho’ the citizens urge him and staff to remain ’till the 17″ as a party and dance will be given this evening. As four of us – viz: – Maj Sam Curtis Capt” Ed T. Meeker, Lieut Hubbard & I can get no ambulance, we remain. A fresh team is promised us for to morrow. The Gen”l says it is not necessary for us to hurry – 45 miles.
Fort Scott, Kansas
Nov”r 17th 1864
Am quite unwell this morning on account of sleeping in a close room all night – with 3 other men. Besides having a huge boil on my neck. Get started about 10 A.M. for Fort Leavenworth. Travel thro’ Mound City, Kans- a small town.
Stop with a Mr. Gad all night on the road to Lawrence – 35 miles
Nov 18″ 1864
Move at 6 1/2 o’clock A.M. snow on the ground and frozen. Travel at a good gait all day. 50 miles
Nov 19″ 1864
Move at daylight, pass tho’ Lawrence City – about 9 A.M. Stop at a Restaurant and get a No 1 Breakfast – oysters eggs & c, & c get newspapers & c. & c.
Lawrence is most beautifully situated on the Kansas (Kaw) river valley, on the prairie – can look in any direction for many miles save across the strip of timber growing along the river.
This city was burned down, and desolated – & it’s men, women & children massacred last year, but now it is rebuilt by some most excellent 2 – 3 – & 4 story business houses.
A very large Hotel has not been rebuilt, but everything seems to have life & enterprise about the City – buildings are going up in all directions.
We pass over a most excellent bridge in crossing the river all the goods transported South from Leavenworth – go “via” this bridge wagons and trains of wagons are constantly passing over the bridge is owned by a firm in New York City I am told
Nothing more transpired of much interest until we reached Fort Leavenworth – where our rooms with good fires burning lights burning – & friends to welcome us back. I never was more glad to get home & rest go to mess house and get an oyster supper at 9 P.M. 53 [?] miles
Fort Leavenworth Nov 20″
Remain quiet all day and rest – my neck troubling me “muchly”
Wrote to the Adjutant General U.S.A. requesting to be relieved from Signal duty and be sent to my Regiment. Detailed as a member of a General Court martial at this Post.
Am very busy answering letters and fixing up my official Business
Nov”r 25 1864
The Detachment of the Signal Corps under Lieut J. R. Fitch arrives also the troops – accompanying us from the Arkansas River.
As a Reg”t arrives they are drawn up in line before the H”d Qr”s of the Gen”l Curtis the Brass Band in attendance & the Gen”l gives them a few words of praise & congratulations when they cheer and march off to their respective quarters.
Nov”r 30th Capt” Ed. J. Meeker issues a Special Order relieving me from duty (at my request) as Instructor I can not attend to this also a Court Martial – properly.
Dec”r 3″ The General Court Martial appointed Nov” 22 is dissolved but a new one appointed immediately – and I a member
Dec”r 5″ Receive the following extract from an official Indorsement on Cap”t Meeker’s Report to Bureau of the Signal Corps U.S.A. “But Cap”t Meeker and his Officers, were very active and useful in the field and very gallant in the face of the enemy. I must especially mention Lieut Roberts who as an Aide, I sent through the enemies lines to carry intelligence to Gen”l Pleasanton before he joined us on the field of battle.”
(signed) S. R. Curtis
Respectfully (signed) Ed J. Meeker
Capt. Chf Sig”l Officer D.K.
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Dec”r 10th 1864
Very cold. Thermometer about 10 degrees below zero early this morning. Too cold for Inspection. Attend Chapel exercises at 10.30 A.M. by Rev. Hiram Stone – Episcopal Minister & Post Chaplain. Missouri riverfrozen over.
Dec 15th Quite pleasant – tho ice on the river is about 8 inches thick some of the officers go over into Missouri hunting Yesterday I tried skating but the skates were too small and I had to give up the pleasure. Crossed the river however and ran around on the Missouri side
Court=Martial meets daily Made report to Gen”l Curtis of Maj John M. Laing’s conduct in running away before the enemy near Hickman’s Mills Oct 22″ 1864 [A copy of this report is appended to the entry for 22 October 1864.] – Forwarded the same to him.
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Dec”r 11th 1864
Not very cold to=day – went out hunting in the afternoon. In the low ground on the Government Reservation is a regularly laid out race course – a one mile circle – in the same field I saw five rabbits, but did not shoot one Lieut Arthur Ellis of the Veteran Reserve Corps was along before returning to my qr”s I found an order relieving me from duty in the Signal Corps – and ordering me to return or report to the com’d’g officer of my Reg”t which is now with Gen”l Sherman on his raid thro’ the South. I will have to join him at Savannah, Ga. I suppose – hurra! Hurra!
Dec 19th Pack up my traps – am too late for the Stage, but Cap”t Meeker agrees to loan me his Ambulance and I start at 3 o’clock P.M. Gen”l Curtis seemed to give me up very reluctantly, said he hoped we would be together again. My old friend Jn”o Hanna was not at his home in Weston Mo. But I stopped with Maj. Price & was much pleased with his lady.
Dec 20th Took the cars at Weston Mo. At 2 P.M. arrived at St. Jo’ Mo. About 7 1/2 P.M. called at the store of Jacob Goodline Jr. saw his Father also sisters – and Mr. Jn”o Bell St. Joseph is becoming quite a city. There are many large firms and large business houses or blocks – also an immense business. Left St. J. for Quincy Ill’s at 10:30 P.M. took a sleeping car
Dec 21″ On the Hannibal & St. Jo R.R. called often the Horrible & St. Jo R.R. and is very appropriate. The weather was very cold as the ice on the Missouri river was a foot thick. Several cars were disabled on the way and one train ran off the track causing us to wait about 8 hours.
Dec 22″ Arrived at Quincy Ill’s by crossing the Miss. River on the ice which was over a foot thick. Quincy is built on a bluff did not see the City beyond the side hill next to the river. Saw some very good business blocks. The Depot was a fine one with good accomodations. Left for Chicago about 3 P.M. and travelled more satisfactorily as we made only 5 miles an hour across Mo.
Dec. 23″ Arrived in Chicago Ill’s about 9 A.M. snow on the ground about 4 inches deep. The edge of shore of Lake Michigan was frozen and the evening decidedly Winterish having met a party of 3 men & 2 young ladies from Colorado Ter. On the 21st ins”t we came here together & all put up at the Tremont House. I had never seen Chicago before and proposed getting a carriage and taking a ride. A sleigh was proposed and about 12 1/2 P.M. 2 men 2 ladies and my self started out and had a fine drive. Came back about 2 1/2 P.M. highly gratified with my ride & acquaintance took dinner at 3 1/2 P.M. At 5 we separated going in different directions.
Dec” 24″ Arrived in Indianapolis about 2 A.M. changed cars for Columbus O. arrived in C. at 2 1/2 P.M. ran up to the State House to examine the Roster of my Reg”t the Clerk noticing that I was the Senior Lieut of my Reg”t remarked there was vacancy of a Captaincy in Co. F and said wait a minute and I will give you a “Christmas present” – so after consulting the A. Adj”t Gen”l came back and filled a Commission for me as Cap”t in my Reg”t
After a little shopping I went to the Depot took a 6 P.M. train and arrived in Zanesville O. about 9 P.M.
Dec”r 25″ An express wagon was leaving for McConnelsville and with Cap”t Andrew Arrick and 2 other passengers I started for home. The roads along the river were almost unpassable. We had to get out many times and hold up the wagon to keep from going over the narrow places into the river. Arrived in M.C- about dark. Went to Malta and met my Sister Mrs. Sprague also a little young, bald, pink gentleman of 2 days old.
Dec 27″ Visited many friends yesterday & today attended a little party at Miss Lib Dye’s last evening – enjoyed myself much. My friend H. H. Adair, a young man – died last evening of Camp fever, having contracted the disease while on a visit to the Army at Nashville Tenn.
Dec 31st Just returned from the country after calling on my friends in Morgan Co. Called on John & Mahlan Pettit. Hiram Roberts also met Cous Lib Pennell. Called at David Butts’, Peter Bankus’, Robert Laughlin, Foster Edwards’ & Resolve Porters’ Met Sam”l Brewster. Nathan Pettit & Jason Roberts at Seth Brewsters’ where we spent the night of the 30th to=day am settling my business for 1864 as I will start for my Reg”t in a few days Cous. Lib Pennell came to town to=day and will remain at Sister Mattie’s till Monday Jan “2” to be near me.
Jan 1st 1865 River frozen over; boats cross at quite a risk. W”m & I went to church in Malta. At night crossed over to Mc”C and attended the Baptist Church to hear Mr. Stone – collecting money for “Home Mission” slept at the Patterson house with Jason Roberts.
Jan 2″ 1865 Started on a sled for Zanesville, O. after paying $3. Fare. Distance 27 miles walked half way to Duncans falls, 18 miles snow gave out also horses – got a farm wagon and proceeded. Had 2 young lady passengers. Arrived in Zanesville about 7 1/2 or 8 P.M. put up at the Zane House. Repacked my baggage. Fixed up a box to send home and took the most needful articles along.
Jan 3″ Left Zanesville for Pittsburg, Pa., had Miss Frank Leland as company to Beaver Pa, where she was going to school. Was an agreeable companion tho’ had very little to say. Arrived at Pittsbg. About 5 P.M. tooksleeping car for Philad”a
Jan 4″ Arrived in Philada about 6 1/2 A.M. Depot in West Philad”a took Street cars & went down Market to 11th then up 11″ to Wallace. Called at 1114 Wallace St. but found my Aunt had gone to her School room. So hurried to see her before school time. Did so & from there visited my other relatives in the City. Took dinner at the Continental with Ed Coxe. Philad”a is without any doubt the finest city I have ever seen one feature that is particularly observed very many of the squares are all connected as one building the same height shape & c, &c. the coal used in the City is of a superior quality – and does not make so much dirt & smoke as any other I have seen. The Streets are laid off at right angles and kept clean.
Jan 5″ 1865 after spending the night with Cous- Ed. T. Coxe & lady, I took another ramble thro’ the city. In the afternoon Cousins Ellen & Lillie Gillingham No 1516 Vine St.,; at 3 P.M. took a car for Wilmington Del. Arrived after dark. Called on my relatives – who like the others were completely surprised – and hardly knew me. Remained all night.
Jan 6″ Took the train for Philad”a at 9.30 A.M. stopping in Philad”a to get my traps. Went on to New York – arriving there about 9 P.M. stopped at the Astor House. Price $4.00 per day
Jan 7th Met Lieut A.W. Stewart of my old Co. just from Savannah Ga. Also other officers from my division. Was very glad to see them and it seemed Mutual. During the P.M. visited Barnum and Performance – was much interested. Procured transportation for Hilton Head, S.C. to go on the 9″ inst at 10 A.M. by Steamship Fulton from Pier 37 North River.
Jan 9tj Attended Trinity Church in A.M. took Street cars for Central Park in P.M. The Park consists of perhaps 50 acres of rough stony ground laid out in walks, ravines, small lakes, or fish ponds, curiously constructed houses or resting places and supposed to be very grand during the summer. Reindeer, elk, deer & c. & c. roam thro’ tho’ now sheltered – some snow is yet to be seen – the lakes are frozen over and thousands of people, young & old male & female are skating. tis quite a scene. The Park is designed to be somewhat Picturesque and many thousands of dollars have been expended in fixing it up.
This City cannot compare with Philad”a in symmetry of buildings either in business or as residences but more especially the latter. Broadway is constantly crowded with people and vehicles – in all kinds of weather.
Jan 9″ When I came to settle my bills at the Astor house the clerk asked me if I belonged to “Sherman’s Army” I replied “I do” he returned the money remarking “We are not charging Sherman’s officers anything this time” I thanked him, pocketed the money, and started for the Steamship “Fulton” – by street car moved out from port about 11 A.M. After moving around the harbor about 2 hours – we took a schooner in tow – loaded with Government stores and made for sea. A good breeze stirring – weather clear.
Jan 10″ Rain most of the time today a heavy wind – and the sailors said ” a very heavy sea” passengers are getting sick and heaving “Jonah” I remained in by bunk the most of the day = in the evening heaved slightly and could not go out to suffer with safety.
Jan 11″ Weather and sea moderating tho’ a pretty good breeze – in the evening saw the trees and lighthouse (just lit up) off Cape Hatteras. Quite a pleasant evening – the passengers feel better and enjoy supper.
Jan 12th 1865 Fine weather to=day The passengers feel well – and spend most of the time on deck. Have 2 Brig. Genl’s on board – Verndervere and Harrow – both seem to be what are called “good fellows”
Jan 13th Most beautiful morning and weather. Arrive at “Hilton Head” S.C. many ships are lying at anchor. The town is built on low flat ground and contains about 2500 Inhabitants – is guarded by colored troops – no soldier is allowed to go on land until furnished with a pass – from an officer just come aboard – A tug is lying close by bound for Beaufort, on Port Royal Island – where my Division of the 17″ Army Corps – is lying – so I jump aboard – & found Maj”r Gen”l F. P. Blair on his way from Savannah to Beaufort. He commands my A.C, (the 17″) Arriving at Beaufort I found my Co. on duty at Gen”l Blair’s H”d Qr”s – and the boys seem glad to see me. Also met several Signal Officers – Capts Taylor & McClintock, Lieuts Sampson & Dunlap. The latter ones, old acquaintances during the Vicksburg campaign of 63. Got into an ambulance and rode about 3 miles. Then put my traps into a wagon and marched about six miles when I caught up to Brigade H”d Qr”s where I stopped for the night – as my Reg”t had been out forward to cross a river during the night & secure the crossing that the Corps might cross to=morrow.
Jan 14″ 1865 Reported to my Reg”t for duty Capt” J. C. Robinson in command. I was assigned to Co” F” as they had no officer and in an hour or two caught up to the rebels – in our front & fortified. Capt” Robinson called together the Co. officers and said it was expected that we would have a battle and we must encourage our late accession (drafted men) and keep them up to the mark. My Brigade was in advance. I was ordered to take command of the first four Co’s and march to the front and de The 20″ Reg”t O.V.I. was sent forward in our place as they were all veterans and the Reg”t small so that in number it was about equal to my 4 Co’s – tho’ in efficiency – excelling the first Brigade having been sent off to the right. Soon flanked the enemy & they had to skedaddle – after some skirmishing on both sides. We marched to=day probably 12 miles – rather unusual business for me lately, but I stood it well. To=day is my birthday am 26 years old.
Jan 15″ 1865 Sunday – Marched about 3 miles and arrived at Pocotaligo, S.C. a station on the R.R. between Savannah and Charleston – 50 miles from the latter place We go into camp here and commenced throwing up a fortification in front of our Reg”t & connecting with others. We threw up a line of works last night and night before also – leaving them at daylight in A.M.
Jan 16″ the 2″ Brigade under Col Wiles went foraging about 3 miles out & back – gathering cattle and sheep for the 3″ Division 17″ A.C.
Jan 18″ Went on Picquet (or Grand guard) had com’d of the Brigade Picket. A foraging party went out and met the enemy. A good deal of skirmishing was going on from 10 to 1 o’clock – about 3 miles in front of me, but my line was not interrupted.
Jan 19″ My Picket (or one post) was visited by 4 rebel Cavalrymen during the night but seeing the camp or post fire skedaddled just as the sentinel had bro’t his gun to a ready – tho’ did not shoot.
Jan 20″ Drilled Co “F” in skirmishing this A.M. rain the remainder of the day.
Jan 21st Rain the most of the day. The country being level, the water settles in puddles and mud is everywhere. About 4 1/2 P.M. we are ordered to march back towards Beaufort and help along a supply train. Arrived at the place just at dark found the train had corraled for the night. Getting out the Corps H”d Qr”s train and finding no wagons belonging to the 3rd (our) Division, we came back thro’ the darkness. It was impossible to keep the Co’s together and everyone seemed be ambitious to get to camp first. The rain was falling and the road being higher than the country on either side – was better to walk in, but here was water & mud for a hundred yds in a place from 6 to 16 inches deep. There were wagon rut holes in which men would sometimes step in and go sprawling their whole length in the mud. The men along would laugh at this the man would sware and go ahead. I did not fall but got into a hole over my high boot top. I think it the muddiest little tramp I ever engaged in. The men came into camp one or two at a time.
Jan 22″ Rain again this morning. At 9 A.M. am detailed as Officer of the Police=guard. Mount guard in the rain – nothing happened worthy of mention. Rained very hard in the evening and continued all night. The men could not lie in their bunks on the ground, but many sat up and took the rain as it came.
Jan 23rd Continues wet & cloudy – very unpleasant. Too wet to drill the Co. remain in the tent occupied by Chaplain Stevenson, Lieut. Ross, & Q.M. Serg”t Charles C. Wiles – all good and intelligent companions.
Jan 23rd [?] Not so wet, but quite cool also cool wind. Took the Co (“F”) out to drill. 4 of the drafted men could not keep step. Formed them into an awkward squad and ordered Corp”l Crane to drill them watched my Serg”ts Wymer & Sturtz drill the Co. tried it a while myself and after getting the men woke up – had a satisfactory drill both A.M. & P.M. held Dress parade at 5 P.M. My Co (“F”) I find very loose – careless and undisciplined, but by taking pains in what I do myself – and in instructed my Non Comiss”d Officers – have got a better state of affairs to going, which I think will make all of them soldiers.
Jan 24″ Clear & cool. Drill A.M. & P.M. Dress parade at 5 P.M.
Jan 25″ My Co (“F”) is all detailed for guard. (Piquet & Police) but I am not the Comd’g Officer of either. The balance of the Reg”t is ordered to move at 7 A.M. to accompany a Forage train of about 30 wagons and if possible without going too far, fill up with corn & forage. Go the Sawkehatchie River – 5 miles – and find plenty of husked corn, fodder & rice=ricks. The enemy are upon the opposite side, but as we are not seeking a battle fill up our wagons in plain sight of them – and start back to camp. Arrive about 2 P.M.
Dress parade in evening at 5 o’clock weather clear & cold. ice about 1/4 inch thick in A.M. Detailed for Picket for the 26″
Jan 26″ Quite cold. report for Picquet at 8 1/2 A.M. & am put in charge of about 50 men. all quiet on the line.
Jan 27th Arrive in Camp from Piquet duty about 9 1/2 A.M. during my absence on duty the Mail arrived and about 20 commissions are received for the 78″ Reg”t. About 8 or 9 of the line Officers, who are, and have been, on detached service at Brigade or Div. H”d Qr”s, as Staff Officers, are entirely left out in the promotions. consequently a great deal of dissatisfaction prevails. All such seem to think Gov. Brough (of Ohio) has made a mistake in the matter. a meeting was called and the officers in receipt of Commissions have agreed to accept them, but not to be mustered until hearing again from Gov. Brough.
About 5 of the 2nd Lieutents are made Captains and many 1st Sergeants are promoted to 1st or 2″ Lieut”n”ts. An officer, a junior Capt” (Robinson) but the Senior Capt” on duty in the Reg”t is promoted to Major. Some of the Staff interested in the promotions start (by order) immediately for Ohio and visit the Governor. If I had not stopped in Columbus, Ohio and showed the order returning me to duty in my Reg”t I would not have rec”d my present commission as Capt”
Lieut A. W. Stewart arrived from N. York City. called at Gen”l Sherman’s H”d Qr”s to deliver a message from Gen. Curtis to him, but he was absent.
Jan 28″ Quite cool & frosty. ice 1/2 inch thick. Called at Gen”l Sherman’s H”d Qr”s and delivered my mess”g. was rec”d very cordially, asked to sit down and talked perhaps two minutes in answering questions in regard to the Dept” of Kansas. seeing he was busy I soon left.
All extra baggage is ordered to be turned over Regt”l H”d Qr”s are not allowed to take anything but a tent=fly for a covering . Officers and men are drawing Shelter=tents. drill in P.M. Dress=parade in the evening.
Jan 29″ Sunder Inspection (Regimental) at 1 1/2 P.M. Church at 3 P.M. sermon remarks by Private Coffman Co “I” 78″ and Chaplain T.M. Stevenson. Dress Parade in the evening. ordered to be ready to March at 7A.M. Jan 30″ 1865.
Jan. 30th The Army of Sherman again commences a Campaign. we move nearly N. West about 5 miles and Bivouac. The roads poor on account of swamps & low ground.
Jan 31st Make out monthly reports of Co “F” frosty morning, but beautiful day. Detailed as Forage Officer for the Reg”t. My party number 25 men. Our business consists of providing meat & bread for the Reg”t – report to Brigade H”d Qr”s
Feb 1st A very pretty day.
Upon reporting at Brig. H”d Qr”s I find I am the Senior Officer of the four forage details from the Brig. & am ordered to take command. there are 3 Lieutents, myself and near 90 men. we move forward about 6 miles, then send the details of 2 Reg”ts to the right of the road & two to the left. I accompanied the left and found the country already cleared of eatables, but secured 16 head of cattle and about 40 head of sheep. The Detchm”t on the right brought in nothing. I divided the meat to the 4 Reg”ts in the Brigade.
Feb”y 2″ Very pleasant weather. Move early. My Brigade has the advance this morning. Soon find a fine lot of bacon on a plantation. also some flour & meal, chickens, turkeys, & geese. during the day we capture 3 horses & 3 mules – also a cart which we fill with bacon, chickens, & c. & c. get up to the Reg”t in the evening in time to hear & see part of a skirmish at Barker’s Mills. The reb’s soon skedaddled. we move forward one mile farther & bivouac at 9 o’clock P.M.
Feb” 3″ Rain all day. Move at 7 1/2 A.M. After moving 2 or 3 miles – saw a plantation off to the right – and started out – riding up on a gallop. discovered three women burying some clothing & other goods in a corn filed close to the house. they were much alarmed swung out a white flag and asked for protection. I informed them we would not injure their persons nor burn their property, but would take their horses, cattle, hogs, bacon and whatever is needed for the use of the army. their best articles were buried in boxes and in the ground covered over with a little earth and old corn stalks piled on top. in these boxes were found some rebel uniforms also some Federal uniform drawers, socks & c. & c. that which belonged to the woman I did not allow touched, tho’ the men’s apparel, ammunition & c., found were appropriated. to=day captured considerable bacon, flour, meal, honey, eggs & c. & c. bivouac on the Salkehatchie River where a skirmish or battle has been progressing all day. The Reg”t was ordered to move four miles and started about 9 P.M. during the rain. myself & foragers remain in camp. One cart full of bacon, flour & c broke down 3 miles from camp & we had to abandon it.
Feb 4″ Start about 8 A.M. – back to Bethel Church where our Cart broke down. when there found the bacon gone – the flour there yet. we put in sacks & returned to camp. About 1 P.M. moved our camp about 2 miles further in the evening receive an order to turn over all my captured animals after furnishing the Reg”t with pack animals I turned over 8. The Provost Marshall permitted me to retain one for my own use while foraging.
Feb 5th Pleasant day. Foraged 1 cart & 1 wagon & filled them with Bacon, Flour, meal, potatoes (sweet), tobacco, molasses, Honey, turkey’s, chickens & c. also several horses & mules. got pretty close to the rebs. bivouac’d in an open filed – 4 miles from River’s Bridge.
Feb 6″ Pleasant weather. As my Reg”t was well supplied with rations, I concluded to forage to=day for horses & mules. went about 3 to 6 miles S.E. of our line of march. captured 12 or 15 horses – and among them a superior Stallion 6 years old – bay – of Canadian blood. was estimated to be worth from 3 to 7 thousand dollars (Confederate money) his owner said he had been offered 3,000 for him but refused. A neighbor said he was worth 7,000. bivoac’d near Salkehatchie creek. crossed a large swamp.
Feb 7″ Wet & very muddy & disagreeable. Let Maj. J. C. Robinson have my Stallion. Upon reporting to Div. H”d Qr”s my horse, going fast, stumbled & fell into a mud puddle in the road. both she & I were covered with mud. Crossed Lemon’s Swamp to=day. had to cord=roy the road before crossing. afterwards captured several horses & mules, a buggy and a cart load of meat & c. burned the house of Brig. Gen”l David Jamison = a great State Rights man and President of the Convention that voted S. Carolina to secede from the Union, thereby causing so much trouble. he is now dead I am informed. his family had left and taken their goods. not a white person was seen on the premises. his cotton and Cotton Gin was also burn’d. went to Midway Station, but found that my Div. had not yet arrived on acc”t of 2 other Div. being in the way and much mud & bad roads. I put my party in a good camp and went back to find my Reg”t.
Feb “8 Moved early – bivouac’d about 11 A.M. at Midway – myself & forage party took a Scout out 11 miles down the river beyond Branchville. returned to Midway bringing 19 cattle for the Reg”t. Turned over about 22 horses & about 5 mules.
Feb 9” Left Midway Station on the Ga. R.R. and marched on a road parallel to the river. The 1st Div. in front. are met by the rebels at the crossing of the Edisto River – at Benniker Bridge – who open upon us with Artillery. at 7 P.M. we have 3 Reg”t’s of Inft” across.
Cloudy & cold day. water freezing all day long. the country cleared of provision by troops passing before. obtained some cattle & sweet potatoes Bivouac’d at 6:00 P.M. but at 9 P.M. the order came to move over the river. so we started but could not cross, & bivoac’d on the bank at 11 1/2 P.M.
Feb 10″ Cool morning. start after forage about 9 A.M. cross the river and go 4 or 5 miles into the country get 2 wagon loads of Flour, meal, bacon, & c., & c. return and find my Brigade on the North side of the river. Capture a negro who has been in the rebel service over 3 years. Get 2 mules and two horses – hire the negro, Thornton, for my servant.
Feb 11″ . . . go about four miles. get one wagon & three cart loads of Bacon, flour & c. enough of the bacon for two days rations. The 17″ A. Corps move to the river – (North Edisto) where my Brigade is halted by the rebels having a battery planted – enfilading the road. we bivouac on the South side & one mile from Orangeburg.
Feb 12″ As Cavalry are seen passing by our Camp I was told we could get across the river. accordingly got my forage party ready and stared, but could not cross – the rebels yet holding the place. I had captured a seven=shooter carbine (Spencer) and was anxious to try it, so hid myself in the bushes and advanced to within 4 or 5 hundred yards of the enemy’s works. and as the men showed themselves at the embrasure I fired 3 different times when the rebel sharp=shooters opened on my situation – and threw two bullets with a few feet of – having nothing but little bushes to protect me from their missiles – & lying on the decayed trunk of a fallen tree – just over a ditch filled with water 3 or 4 feet deep – I concluded to change position. In a little time I heard that my Brigade was trying to cross the swamp & river south of the bridge – by the aid of a pontoon. so I took my party and went to them. A pontoon was soon thrown across & we crossed the river but had to wade the swamp – everyone getting wet at least as high as above the knee – & some fell down. Gen. Sherman crossed in the same manner – got into a place over 3 feet deep – the water quite cold and he called out loudly. some of the boys of the 17″ Wis. carried him the balance of the way. Brig. Gen”l Force – Comd’g my Division pointed to a cord=roy road leading thro’ the swamp. I told him I would take it – he said I wish you would and then send me the report I went thro[ the swamp and up the bank on the other side surrounding and examining a large house & negro quarters. at the same time saw a lot of rebel Cavalry moving up a road some 76 or 8 hundred yards from us. I commenced firing upon them and they soon got out of the way. occasionally we could see some of them behind the houses at the next plantation and would fire. I sent word to Gen”l Force and he sent the 68″ O.V.I. to hold the position. after securing the forage at this house I went forward and captured the next house – and the Rail=road passing by in front of the house. rebels could be seen in several directions, bu7t my Brigade soon came up and commenced tearing up the R. R.
The rebels evacuated Orangeburg a little after I fired on them and our Army took possession of the place. several of the people fired their cotton before leaving and the business part of the place was destroyed – fires were seen all night long and many families of women & children left homeless. Weather clear but cold for S. C.
Feb 13″ Left Orangeburg early – the town formerly numbered, perhaps, 5,000 people =- now nearly empty. travelled to=day about 14 miles. The Army was engaged in tearing up the R.R. all the way. I went off on the right flank & got a large wagon load of meat, meal, crout, molasses & c., & c.
Feb” 14″ Moved out with my detail about 9 1/2 A.M. to the right: many of the forage details from other com’d’s were mounted; consequently went ahead of footman, and secured the forage. I did get but about 1 bbl of flour to=day carried it in sacks on a few mules I had along.
My division is engaged in tearing up the R. R. all day. weather unpleasantly cold to ride – so walked most of the way. bivouac’d near Louisville S.C. on the R. R.
Feb” 15″ Quite a wet cold night. started early this morning with mounted men alone, left the footman to come along with the Reg”t As the road ran parallel with the river and about one mile distant – I took the left flank; travelled about 30 miles to,day was over ten miles from the main column moving on the State Road. the country passed over to=day is very poor & sandy travelled 4 to 5 miles without seeing a house or plantation. foragevery scarce. got but 1 bbl of meal, about 50 lbs. of flour, and some honey & potatoes. Met the foragers from the 14″ & 20″ A.C. as I was within three miles of their column. cannonading & musketry is engaged in to=day at the crossing of Congeree creek – 6 or 8 miles from Columbia, S. C. The four Army Corps; viz: = 14″, 15″, 17″ & 20″ are now within 15 miles of each other and concentrating.
Feb 16″ Leave Camp about 11 A.M. our march is over swamps and sandy hills. on a road parallel with the river (Broad) arrive on the bank opposite the City of Columbia & Capital of South Carolina. cannonading and musketry at long range is engaged in
The City looks beautifully from our bivouac. The State House and churches are quite prominent. get no forage to=day of consequence. The country poor and four Army Corps present & close together.
Feb” 17″ Do not move out early as the 15″ Corps is ahead and a pontoon Bridge is to be laid across the Saluda & Broad rivers before we cross, but the first is soon cross’d the latter we have to be cautious about, however a Brigade of the 15th Corps is crossed in boats drive away the rebels and meet the Mayor of the City in his carriage who surrenders the City to Maj. Gen”l Jn” A. Logan. the pontoon was soon finished and Gens Sherman, Howard & others crossed I followed colosely [sic] with my foragers, and while they were marching thro’ the City, I pounced upon 3 or 4 plantations near the City and obtained 6 loads of meal, flour, molasses, tobacco, bacon & c. & c. beside a rebel battle=flag. the salt=petre manufactory & several mules & horses – then marched into the City. saw several intoxicated men (soldiers) on the streets. My Division does not get in till nearly 11 P.M. at which time the City is on fire. a strong wind prevails and desolation spreads far & wide. I never saw such a sight in my life and hope I may never have to see such again – women & children are clustered in the fields & out of the way places with perhaps two or three bundles of individual clothing – everything else burned. these have been worth from 2 to 3 hundred thousand dollars and how homeless – out in the night air witnessing the burning of their city. such are the consequences of Secession.
Feb 18″ Move out early, thro’ the city and along the Charlotte and South Carolina R.R. as we pass up the main Street every thing we see is smoke from smoldering ruins, brick walls – and here and there perhaps a house left unburned.
To=day I forage South of the R.R. fire 2 or 3 shots at some flying rebels who get away and return to camp with 7 or 8 new mules & 3 or 4 horses.
Feb” 19″ My Division & Corps is engaged in tearing up the R.R. again to=day. Rebel Cavalry dispute our advance and considerable firing is engaged in but few men are hurt.
My party go foraging South of the R.R. Meet several rebels who skedaddle at our approach. at one time however – a rebel column marching within a 1/2 mile of us is discovered retreating before the advance of our Army on the R.R. I deem it prudent to leave the column pass unmolested as I have but 22 men. after the column passed I advanced to a plantation in plain sight of their rear – 6 or 7 hundred yards distant – load my party – feed the mules & horses – stay about 1 1/2 hours and start back to camp unmolested by anything save our advance picquets who can hardly believe we are Federals as we come from the direction of the rebel column. both sides prepare for battle = but I advanced and satisfied both parties. Bivouac the same place as last night & six miles from Columbia, S.C.
Feb 20″ Move ten miles out the R.R. and bivouac near Doko Station – a female Academy is located within 1/2 a mile of this place and the young ladies of this vicinity seem better educated and more refined than usual – as far as seen in S.C.
Foraged on both sides of the R.R. to=day. obtained 1 buggy and one wagon full of rations. my Brig. are tearing up R.R. to=day.
Feb 21″ Move up the R.R. again & pass Ridgeway Station. bivouac within 5 miles of Winnsboro, S.C. I obtained a large wagon load of forage to-day, but my wagon broke down & I was obliged to leave 2 bbls of corn=meal – but packed the most of the Stuff on the backs of my animals. did not get into Camp ’till nearly 11 1/2 P.M.
Feb 22″ Pass thro’ Winnsboro early in A.M. The 20″ Army Corps have occupied the place – the business portion has been burned. bivouac near Poplar Spring Church. The 15″ 17″ & 20″ Army Corps are together to=day – consequently I got no forage. the 20″ A.C. was in front – & the 15″ A.C. next.
Feb 23″ March to the Wateree river & cross. An order has been issued to dismount foragers and other unauthorized mounted persons at the pontoon bridge so I try to get my party of 25 men across without loosing my nags. build a raft but the water is too swift. swim 1 horse across but he mires & is unable to get out on the opposite bank. In the evening I succeed in getting my party across being fully mounted. bivouac on the eastern shore of the Wateree. night wet & muddy. The Reg”t not coming ’till late I took a bed with Serg”t Vernon & Pri. Rodgers under a shelter=tent.
Feb” 24″ The Reg”t did not get over the river & to its camping place until 5 1/2 A.M. then it’s position was in a low, ploughed bottom field – mud shoe top deep and wood scarce. moved out about 8 A.M. My Division is the rear Div. and in charge of the pontoon=train of the 17″ Corps. The roads are almost impassable, yet we travel over 12 miles. I went foraging but got nothing of consequence, save a small issue of corn=meal. rodenearly all=day thro’ the wet & rain & mud. ran into the 15″ & 20″ Corps and their foragers everywhere. Bivouac near the Russell place. during the day pass thro’ a little village called Liberty Hill where have been excellent schools. I stopped at one plantation a little time that my men might get away from the rain & clean & dry out their guns. in the mean time stepped into the house. found the Lady of the house, her Sister & daughter. Her Sister (Miss Patterson) played 3 or 4 pieces on the piano for me & men, which we enjoyed. The house was nearly stripped of furniture. neither carpets or any good furniture being left. The ladies seemed quite talkative, especially relating to their grievances.
Feb 25″ Horrible morning – being cold – windy – muddy & raining. March at 7 A.M. About 4 A.M. the water running under my bed saturated the clothes under me and I could sleep no longer – altho’ I called Thornton (my negro servant) and he ditched the tent with a spade – but it did not dry my bed. I received an order to turn over my horses & mules – so took them to Brigade H”d Qr”s where they selected 5 mules & allowed me to keep the others for the present. Started out foraging, and after going about 3 miles saw a man lying dad in a field near the road. had him carried to a house close by where I had a good fire built in hopes he might come to life. He must have fallen down in a fit – or in poor health & perished by the severe weather. A letter in his pocket was directed to Mr. David Grapes – 16″ Iowa Vol. Inf.
Succeeded in getting rations of bacon & sweet potatoes. came about 12 miles. bivouaced near the Copeland place & 4 or 5 miles from Flat Rock P.O. Kearshaw District (Co) S.C. this makes 3 days the 3″ Division has marched in the rear of the 17″ A. Corps.
Reb 26″ March at 7 A.M. Weather not quite as bad as yesterday tho’ raining almost constantly. Clears up during the day. My forage party get a good start. 15 men mounted. get ahead of the 1st Div. but the 4″ Div. is yet ahead. strike off into the country on the left of the column cross little Leache’s Creek by swimming a few horses. obtain one ox wagon full of bacon, sweet=potatoes & c. also the oxen to pull the cart to camp. As the creek is very high my Brig (being in charge of the pontoon train) does not cross to=day. My foragers do not recross the creek, so we bivouac away from camp to=night alone.
Feb 27″ Leave my forage in charge of a guard My Reg”t to get it when it comes along. Having heard of Citizen train of 3 or 4 wagons hid away in the woods. I go after it. a few foragers are ahead of me, but I get two wagons & their loads of meat. on my way to camp get 7 or 8 bushels of corn meal at a Mill on the way. get into camp early – (3 P.M.) bivouac on Big Leache’s Creek & in Kearshaw Dis.
Feb 28″ Cross Leach’s Creek about daylight. The 3rd Div. having bivouac’d last night with the Corps. to=day takes its place in the centre – & the 4″ Div. in rear. I get about one issue of bacon & sweet potatoes to=day. on the left flank – towards Chester field – in C_d District. the county is a very poor sandy soil – hilly, yet fertile valleys. rain all day.
March 1st The enemy, under Gen”l Hardee are demonstrating in our front & in the direction of Sheraw [Cheraw]. we do not move to=day as a Div., but my foragers go out on our left flank some 10 miles. Heard of a lot of corn meal at McQueen’s Mills and hurried to secure it. rebel soldiers had just passed by and advised the citizens to secure the meal – &* they were doing so, when we arrived. captured a dray & horse loaded at the Mill. took the meal from the citizens and was getting it together when a few rebel soldiers made their appearance. a few shots from us made them skedaddle. we crossed the bridge over the Mill dam & pond set the Mill & house on fire. tore up the bridge to keep the cavalry from following us. Left a vigilant rear=guard and went safely to camp. the cart broke down, but the meal was pack’d in sacks on our animals.
March 2″ Remained in Camp all day. My forage party go out far enough (4 or 5 miles) to get corn & blades for their horses, then return. In the P.M. a rebel prisoner is shot to death in retaliation for one of our foragers having been taken prisoner and murdered on the spot A number of tickets were drawn & the one drawing a certain one was to be shot. the lot fell upon a man perhaps 45 years old & said he had a large family of small children – 5 of them girls. he was a Christian man – engaged in prayer some time, then was blindfolded & stood up against a large tree. 12 men of the 30″ Ill’s Inft” did the shooting. – 6 guns loaded with powder & bullet – & 6 with powder. At the time they fired his arms were raised slightly, his lips moving and evidently engaged in prayer. at the close of the volley he fell down hill. 5 balls entered his breast & one his thigh. in his pockets was money and a Tract entitled “The Universalists’ Daughter” Such are the necessities of War. Gen”l F. P. Blair issued the order – in compliance with an order of Gen”l Sherman’s. The day was dark – showery and cloudy.
March 3rd Morning cool. ordered to report to Brigade H”d Qr”s with my foragers and after doing so was ordered to report to Lieut. Col. Hughes, Com’d 9″ Ill’s M’t’d Inft” – for duty. did so & followed him all day – & doing Cavalry duty – rode 16 miles to the right flank and took possession of Society Hill – a wealthy village. near the Great Pedee river – We tore up the R. R. then secured a little forage – trav3elled 4 miles & bivouac’d.
March 4″ Was released from duty as Cav. when I took my foragers back to Society Hill. visited the residences of Messr’s Pringley, Dr. Smith, Mrs. Williams & others. Got a nice lot of Hams, Flour, meal & c – &c. returned to my Reg”t & Div. in the evening at Cheraw on the Great Pedee river. where the 1st Div. of the 17″ Corps – charged the works of the rebels and took about 27 cannon. the enemy had scattered rosin on the bridge across the river and burned it before we crossed. Cheraw is built on high ground & on the West bank of the Great Pedee river occupies about one sq. mile of ground is sparsely built & well laid out – the streets very wide – with a row of trees on each side walk and a row in the centre of the street – is the termination of a R.R. running south.
March 5″ My Reg”t moved over the river during the night – by means of a pontoon bridge. this morning I took my party across. go foraging within 5 miles of Bennettsville the capital of Marlboro District. bivouac 7 miles from the place with my Reg”t. capture plenty of excellent hams, shoulders, meal & c. also 4 prisoners. several of my men skirmish with the enemy. Everywhere we go we find household goods – clothing & produce – buried in the ground or hid in swamp. we take of such what the army needs & leave the remainder. to=day Capt. Mills got 1 h’h’d of bottled wine hid in a swamp – brot [sic] it into camp and the officers & several men got quite jolly.
March 6″ Move forward & occupy Bennettsville. I foraged between it & the river S. West Met Mrs. Col. L. M. Kitt – whose husband while living & as U.S. Senator was a famous Secessionist. among the articles buried found some of the Col’s clothes – library & c. & c. return to her a set of fine jewelry my men found hid out with other things. got several horses & mules also some forage.
March 7″ Move from Bennetsville at 8 A.M. I moved to the right flank. captured a number of good horses & mules also plenty of forage. fed at a little village called Clio. in P.M. made a dash after 5 rebels seen, but they took he woods & got away. bivouac at Beaver Dam.
March 8th Move at 8 A.M. forage on the right flank again as no troops of ours are passing in that direction tho’ report to Lt Col Hughes in AM to act with the Cavalry – and save the bridge across the Lumber river which we did. then sent foragers to either flank – also crossed the river with four men – capture 9 horses and several mules. bivouac at the College. Rain all day quite hard & almost unceasingly. my feet were very wet, as the water ran off my coat into my boots.
March 9″ move at 8 A.M. on the lower road (plank) to Fayetteville. expect to go 8 miles but get over 12 – altho’ raining all day 3 or 4 of my men found a jug of apple=Brandy and gave me some trouble. The country here is very poor. small plantations & few negroes – get plenty of meat but hardly a barrel of flour was to be seen in a days travel. corn=meal too – is scarce – families not having on hand (generally) but from 1/2 to 1 bus. weuse the negro men to ride our captured animals to camp – or drive in a loaded vehickle – then turn them over to the Pioneer Corps. The Reg”t bivouac’d about 1 mile from the Brigade in order to guard a road.
March 10th Move at 8 A.M. Foragers move to the right – during the P.M. enter a little village called St. Paul – in which is built the Robeson Institute – a flourishing school before the War. Country quite poor. bivouac near “Rock Fish Creek” bridge. Captured several animals to=day. weather damp & cloudy tho clears up in the P.M.
March 11″ Move out about noon. An order comes allowing only one forager for 55 men consequently the detail from my Reg”t numbers only 10 men which I have mounted on grey horses. Move forward and occupyFayetteville N.C. on the Cape Fear river. the enemy were driven out by a large party of foragers – who had quite a skirmish losing 6 men. the enemy skedaddled across the river to the N. East – burning the bridge after them. the town occupies a large area of ground tho’ sparsely built – and a very poor place. the majority of the houses are old unpainted frames. the people look very poor. very many poor women are seen on the streets & begging for a little corn to eat. bivouac 1 1/2 miles West of the town.
March 12″ Remain in camp all day. A Boat (Tug) arrived in A.M. from Wilmington bringing dispatches. goes back at 5 P.M. so have a chance to send a letter home the first chance to mail anything since Jan”y 30th Pleasant Weather
March 13″ Ordered to move at 12 M. cross the Cape Fear river about 1 1/2 miles South of the City by means of a Pontoon bridge. The H”d Q”rs of Gen”l Sherman were made at the arsenal in the city – tho most of the buildings are being battered down by the Engineers Reg”t – altho’ a U.S. building, yet it has been used by the rebels so we must destroy it to prevent further use by them.
March 14″ Go foraging about 9 miles South of Camp. succeed in getting a full ration of bacon – tho’ but little flour or meal.
March 15″ Move to South river. my forage party travel 40 miles to=day & get full rations of meat (bacon) also meal. are too far from Camp to reach it to=night, so bivouc [sic] with a Mr. Simpson within 12 miles of Camp. raining most of the day. forage in the Melvin settlement.
March 16th Reach Camp about 11 A.M. get dinner & move out at 1 P.M. travel 10 or 12 miles. find a mill and grind corn all night. remain all night with a Mr. Owen within 7 miles of Owensville.
March 17th Load up 2 or 3 wagons and several carts with bacon & meal and start for clinton. supposing my Corps would bivouac at that place. reached the town about 1 P.M. and as no other “Yankees” had arrived I was the first one in town. several men came to me saying they surrendered the place to me and handed over the keys to the storehouses containing Confederate Stores corn, oats, rye, bacon, cotton & c. About 2 1/2 P.M. Lieut Phillips of the 20″ O.V.V.I. and I took dinner with Mrs. Col. Brown. her husband being at Mobile in the rebel army. Clinton is quite a pretty place and contains a Male and female Academy. Many well dressed and intelligent young ladies are seen and seemed very much afraid they would be injured by the “Yankees” but I soon pacified their excitement. after getting a wagon load of meal plug tobacco & c. I left the place just as the 9″ Ills Cavalry entered the town – and commenced to arrest the foragers for being in their front. also informed me I was a long way from my Camp (17 miles) so I hurried off and arrived at Gen”l Blair’s H”d Qr”s about 9 P.M. he informed me my Div. (3″) would not be in till very late and I had better bivouac my forage train in rear of his H”d Qr”s. I concluded by taking his advice.
March 18″ Deliver my forage a little after daylight as my Reg”t marched past on the road. go out again and find plenty of fine hams. get into Camp before my Div. at Piney Grove cross roads 2 Co’s of my Div. were detailed to grind corn at a Mill near camp.
March 19″ move at 7 A.M. to Smith’s Chapel My forage party cross the Wilmington & Goldsboro R.R. at Fagen’s Depot then travel South thro’ a very rich neighborhood. capture a mill & about 20 bus corn meal already ground we ran the Mill and ground a little more. get about 3 days full rations of meal & c. to=day. on the way to camp – visit the Widow Miller’s plantation and find out from the negroes that the horses are hid away in the woods or swamp. they do not know exactly where, but I took one black man – offered him a Silver half=dollar if he would help us find the horses. he said he would do the very best he could for me – and led off – followed by my Serg”t Sigman and I. After travelling about 2 mile we came to a thick and large forest swampy the darkey saw a track which he was sure was made by one of the horses. soon after this we scattered about 50 steps apart and searched the woods well to the right of the road. then the same on the left. after while found 2 carts loaded with meat & fresh tracks and after listening a moment heard voices of men as they were crossing a swamp. we double quicked after them – thro’ the mud-vines briars – fallow trees & c. and soon got sight of 3 or 4 horses & men. my Serg”t dismounted and ordered them to halt at the same time hurrying after them. wecaptured 3 horses 1 mule – 1 negro boy & 1 white boy. the remainder of them were across the swamp – & ran off. we soon followed after. some foragers captured a few of the others, but one brave little boy of 13 years old Charley Miller was mounted on a 4 year old Stallion and was not to be taken so easily. his horse jumped a fence into a field – was ordered to halt – and was fired at twice, but he continued across the field – his horse jumping a ditch & a fence and gained the woods to the rear. as it was getting dark I supposed the boy would go toward home, so followed after. in going thro’ a dense woods – we heard a horse “winnow” went to him and found the Stallion. then went to the house and found the little boy – unhurt. invited him to go to camp with me and he went. arrived in camp near 12 P.M. after riding about 45 miles.
March 20th Foragers are ordered to remain with their Reg”ts to=day. march to Mill creek near Bentonville – where more or less fighting has been going on for two days. we take position and fortify.
March 21st Go foraging to the East South East – run across the 24″ & 25″ Army Corps – com’d’d by Gen. Terry. one of his Divisions being negro troops. we do not meet them until coming in on their rear their supply train was behind and guarded – by negroes – my men are partly clothed in citizens clothing & pass well for rebels. so two of my advance, noticing the negroes unwatchful – charged up and demanded them to surrender – which they immediately did. lying down their guns & traps – several others were captured. my boys exchanged rusty muskets for their bright ones and let them go – telling them the truth of the case. Two orderlies (white) of the Medical Director at Gen”l Terry’s H”d Qr”s were straggling behind. my boys captured them – and paroled them. they asked to be taken good care of as they said they had been guarding rebel property – and produced memorandum books in which the young ladies at the house had complimented the boys on their gentlemanly Deportment. One of the negroes said he wanted to get back to live with his Massa in Kentucky – that he was draf’d in the Army and was tired of Yankees. bivouac’d 15 miles from Camp – at a Methodist preachers – firing was going on all day & night at the front.
March 22″ Arrived in camp about noon – & found an order detailing me at 17″ A. Corps H”d Qr”s as Ass”t Com’s’y of Musters. so report in P.M. and move my traps in the evening – all to H”d Qr”s.
March 23rd Move from Camp at Mill Creek – 14 miles toward Goldsboro. I ride with Gen”l F.P. Blair & Staff. Weather windy & unpleasant. fire is running over woods and fields – making the air very full of smoke.
March 24th Move at 8 A.M. cross the Neuse river about 9 A.M. find it narrower, much, than I expected being only about 80 yards wide. Goldsboro is about 4 miles from our crossing where our Pontoon was laid – the other bridges being burned. Gen”l F. P. Blair & Staff rode up to Gen. W.T. Sherman’s H”d Qr”s and halted. quite a number of Genl’s were present and as the troops marched past the Qrs by Column of Companies – Officers would salute. among the Genl’s present were Maj. Gen’s Sherman, Howard, Slocum, Schofield, Logan, Blair, Williams, Davis, Barry, Geary, & Brig. Gen’l’s Greene, Dodd, and others I did not learn the names of.
Seven Army Corps viz: 14″ 15″ 17″ 20″ 23″ 24″ & 25″ are here within perhaps ten miles of each other; five of them encamped around the town Gen”l Schofield took the place and fortified within the first 24 hours strongly enough to defy an assault. When we arrived there was a general meeting of old friends – and much shaking of hands.
March 25th Took H”d Qr”s in the town; taking 2 or 3 rooms in a house. The office of the Commissary of Musters is the parlor of a house owned and occupied by A. M. Knight and family. Our sitting & bed room are in the house of a Mr. Nelson and Wife – each contains a piano – My room mates are Capt. H. S. Nourse, Com’s’y of Musters, Capt. Miller, Ass”t Provo=Marshal, Capt. Smith, Ord. Officer, Mr. Taylor, Artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated paper – (my bed fellow).
March 30″ Capt. Nouse [?] having been mustered out of service – I am appointed – Coms’y of Musters – by Gen”l O.O. Howard and commence my duties as such.
April 10th Having been very very busy in my office I neglected all such things as could be got along without i.e. My Diary & c. Having become pretty well acquainted with Mr. Knight family – often step into their room and have a tune on the piano – as there are 3 young ladies – Miss Laura, Miss Nellie, and Emma, a little girl of 12. Emma and I are very intimate – as she often comes into my office – and has taken quite a fancy for me. We often go out to take a drive in my buggy in the evening.
To=day we break up our Quarters & start on another campaign. travel about 12 miles towards Raleigh and bivouac. Raining nearly all day.
April 11″ Move about 13 miles – and bivouac near Pine Level Station on the R.R. The enemy fall back and destroy R.R. as they go. using Yankee prisoners who have taken the oath of Allegiance to the Confederacy – to do the work. Several of these men fell into our hands we call them Galvanized Yankees – their story is that to keep from starving – they took the oath.
no guns have been placed in their hands but are armed with picks & shovels. those who have reached our lines seem very glad to escape.
April 12th 1865 Travel over a very circuitous route thro’ swampy country. run into the 15″ Corp, but strike off on another road. travel about 12 miles – and bivouac on the ground the rebel Gen”l Johnson has just evacuated. The 3rd & 4″ Divisions do not bivouac with us – not being able to get up.
April 13″ Move at 7 A.M. March about 14 miles on solid roads. the 3″ & 4″ Divisions catch up to us. bivouac 14 miles from Raleigh & on the opposite side of the Neuse river – near Battle Bridge. The Bridge had been burned before we came by the retreating rebels.
April 14th Get to the river at 7 1/4 A.M. some of the Pontoon boats were already in the water. at 9 1/2 A.M. – we commenced crossing our forces. burning the bridge delayed us about 2 hours – in order to lay our Pontoons.
We arrived in Raleigh in the P.M. Marched thro’ the City to the music of our bands. the tho’ tired stepped promptly. I visited the State house – tolerable good building – was on the dome – also in the Senate Chamber & House. good rooms but not at all extra. the building looks old. the grounds around are rather pretty & containing perhaps 3 acres – having forest trees for shade. A statue of Washington is between the gate & the building.
After looking over the City – I like it quite well. the Blind – & Deaf & Dumb Asylum is beautiful – very ornamental and an honor to the State. The Lunatic Asylum – is situated a little out of the City – is a large and very fine building. The State has no Penitentiary as yet – tho’t a Lunatic Asylum of more benefit. We bivouac’d about two miles West of the City. Gen”l Blair remaining in the City over night. Beautiful day.
April 15th A very wet morning. move at six o’clock – West. do not travel more than 4 miles – when the news reaches us that – Gen”l Johnson has sent Gen”l Sherman a letter – requesting him to come no further – and wishes to arrange the preliminaries for surrendering. Orders soon come to halt the column, and we go into camp about 10 1/2 o’clock A.M. Hurrah! Hurrah!
April 16″ Remain in Camp at Page’s Bend – no news – fine weather. Am not well – feel aguish and have a dull Head-ache all the time.
April 17th Hearing that Gen” Sherman was going to meet Gen”l Johnson – on terms of capitulation – mounted my pony rode 25 miles – in 3 hours – and arrived at the meeting of the Generals about 12 1/2 o’clock P.M. on the farm of James Bennett – living 5 miles above Durham’s Station. Gen”l Sherman & Johnson had their consultation inside of the house (a small unpainted 1 1/2 story frame) while Genl’s Kilpatrick & Hampden (Cavalry Genl’s) and the accompanying staff. did their talking outside
About 1 1/2 P.M. we came away – as the meeting did not prove to be the final one. Gen”l Johnson desiring to see Jeff Davis before giving the final answer. so would meet again on the 18″ at the same time & place – and 1/2 way between the Picket lines of either Army or 2 1/2 miles from either – Sherman took 250 Cavalry along for escort.
We rode back to Durham Station Gen”l Kilpatrick’s H”d Qr”s. took dinner and thence home by the R.R. cars. Sherman’s H”d Qr”s remain in Raleigh.
April 18″ The Cars pass our H”d Qr”s about 9 A.M. but do not stop – having been to the gathering or consultation yesterday I remain quietly at home to=day. Pleasant weather. Am aguish again to=day. In the evening a report reaches us that Sherman & Johnson have agreed but will wait the decision of the Authorities at Washington D.C.
April 19″ Our Army concentrates around Raleigh. We take up H”d Qr”s in the City. Sherman issues an order saying in a few days – Peace will be declared to the Rio Grande River – and then he will march his Army home to Muster=out of service. Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah.
Two or three Union papers – dailies are already printed in Raleigh by citizens and we have R.R. communications to Newbern, N.C. on the coast.
April 24th The 17th Army Corps is reviewed to day by Gen”l Sherman. Gen”l Grant having arrived in the morning is present with Gen”l Sherman.
The Review passes off very creditably. The terms of Davis-Johnson & Co, (rebels) are not accepted by the Government. we receive orders to march at 7 A.M. the 25″ The news of the Assassination of our President is a shock – a stunning blow to our Army and Country. black crepe is becoming much worn in honor.
April 25″ March from Raleigh 10 miles West. bivouac at Jones plantation.
April 26″ Gen”ls Sherman – Blair & others pass by our encampment by R.R. on their way to meet Johnson (rebel) and arrange terms of capitulation. An outburst of cheering follows. come back about 7 1/2 P.M. and tell us Johnson has surrendered to Sherman upon the same conditions Lee did to Grant. as soon as the news spreads, bands begin to play – guns fire – rockets sent up – the men are cheering everywhere around Gen”l Blair being called on for a speech – tells the crowd the conditions of the surrender & states that to morrow we will march back to Raleigh – from thence to Richmond, Va. & to Washington & to home as fast as our legs will carry us.
April 27 ’65 March back to Raleigh – and take up the same camp & H”d Qr”s.
April 29″ The troops of the 17″ Corps move out towards Richmond. H”d Qr”s will remain ’till to=morrow.
April 30″ H”d Qr”s 17″ A.C. move 12 miles & across the Neuse river. bivouac with the corp which has remained in camp all day.
May 1st Move to the Tar river & cross. both the Neuse & Tar rivers at our crossings are small and crossed by bridges already erected. The Tar river is called so on account of the blackness of its waters. Stop over night with the Rev. Mr. Riddick who came to camp and insisted on having an officer go and stay at his house – more “I think” for protection to himself & lady & property than anything else.
May 2″ Marched 22 miles & bivouaced at D. Hawkins plantation. within 8 miles of Va. & 17 miles of our crossing of the Roanoke river.
May 3rd Reach within 1 mile of the Roanoke river, but go into camp until the 15th Corps – have crossed –
May 4th Remain in camp all day, or until late when H”d Qr”s cross the river and camp 7 miles North of the crossing.
May 5 March to=day 27 miles – and camp 35 miles from Petersburg – on the Plank road.
May 6″ Arrive within 13 miles of Petersburg, Va. weather warm & roads dusty.
May 7″ arrive and Camp in the vicinity of Petersburg. at the rebel Genl Hill’s old H”d Qr”s. attend Episcopal Church at 5 o’clock P.M. Cap”t Howard of the Signal Corps called on me. The city is a nice one and resembles other southern cities in shade trees & front yards.