Military History | Death of Logan Fontenelle|
The Rebellion | Proclamation|
First Infantry (afterward First Cavalry)|
Second Nebraska Cavalry|
First Battalion Nebraska Veteran Cavalry|
The First Regiment in Nebraska.
The Curtis Horse|
The Curtis Horse (cont.)|
Public Acknowledgment | The Distinguished Soldiers|
Department of the Platte
Mention has been made of two companies of cavalry which were raised at Omaha under Capts. Patrick and Croft. These were soon after joined by Company C, Nebraska City, J. M. Young, Captain, and Company D, which was mustered in at St. Louis, with Harlan Beard as Captain. These four companies were afterward merged into the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, under which name they went through the war. They were also designated by the name of the "Curtis Horse." These troops served their time in the army of the Southwest, where they participated in some of the hardest-fought battles of the war. The general officers of this regiment were as follows: W. W. Lowe, Colonel; M. T. Patrick, Lieutenant Colonel; W. B. George, Adjutant; Enos Lowe, Surgeon; Jerome Spillman, Chaplain. W. W. Lowe was commissioned Brigadier General March 30, 1865.
Owing to the newness of the Territory, the population of Nebraska was in a great measure a "floating" one, and a large number of those who should have been credited to the Territory are not, because of their having been enlisted or mustered into the service in Iowa. The regiment known as the Curtis Horse, from that State, held a liberal quota of Nebraskians, and therefore should be here described. The following history of the First, or Nebraska Battalion of the Curtis Horse, is taken from the history, as compiled by First Lieut. W. T. Hays, according to the following order:
First Lieutenant William T. Hays, Company H, Fifth Iowa Cavalry Volunteers. is hereby detailed, until further orders, to write out and compile a history of the Fifth Regiment of Iowa Cavalry, from date of its organization to the present time, in accordance with instructions of the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, February, 1864, a copy of which instructions is hereby furnished.
By order of MAJ. T. M. YOUNG, Commanding Regiment.
I. Pursuant to special order No. 74, of the Department of the Missouri, to carry out special instructions from the Secretary of War directing the organization of a cavalry regiment to be called the "Curtis Horse," the following detachments and companies are united for that purpose, viz.:
Nebraska Battalion, commanded by Lieut. Col. M. T. Patrick, four companies.
Detachment of Iowa and Minnesota troops, known as the command of Capt. Schaeffer de Boernstein, three companies.
Detachment under same command, twenty-seven men, company of Osage County Mounted Rifles, commanded by Capt. Kidd, one company.
Other detachments and companies may be attached hereafter, not to exceed twelve companies.
II. The following field officers are designated, and will be mustered into service pursuant to order No. 48, War Department, and will be respected and obeyed accordingly. W. W. Lowe, Captain U. S. Army, as Colonel; M. T. Patrick, as Lieutenant Colonel; Carl Schaeffer de Boernstein, as Major. The remaining field officers will be appointed upon the completion of the regimental organization; staff chosen by the field officers and Captains of the command, except when otherwise prescribed by law, or by orders of the War Department, relating to military organizations.
By order of BRIG. GEN. CURTIS, Commanding.
The four companies designated the Nebraska Battalion, commanded by Capts. William Kelsay, J. T. Croft, J. Morris Young and Harlan Beard, were lettered respectively A, B, C and D, and composed the First Battalion.
February 1, 1862, the final appointment of officers was made, completing the organization of the Curtis Horse Cavalry Regiment, as follows: W. W. Lowe, Colonel; M. T. Patrick, Lieutenant Colonel; W. B. McGeorge, Adjutant; Enos Lowe, Surgeon; B. T. Wise, Assistant Surgeon; Jerome Spillman, Chaplain; Joseph Heusman, Chief Bugler; William A. Thayer, Leader of Band; William Campbell, Wagonmaster.
First Battalion--Carl Shaeffer de Boernstein, Major; William Ashton, Adjutant; Jonathan Berlin, Quartermaster; Martin Stowel, Sergeant Major; Rodolph Crandall, Quartermaster Sergeant; Marcellus Pruyn, Commissary Sergeant; C. H. Gibson, Veterinary Sergeon.
Company A--John J. Lowe, Captain; Horace Walter, First Lieutenant.
Company B--John T. Croft, Captain; Milton S. Summers, First Lieutenant; E. G. McNeely, Second Lieutenant.
Company C--J. Morris Young, Captain; Alfred Matthias, First Lieutenant; A. B. Langdon, Second Lieutenant.
Company D--Harlan Beard, Captain; William Curl, First Lieutenant; William C. McBeath, Second Lieutenant.
Company A was recruited at Omaha, N. T., by M. T. Patrick, and was composed of men from Nebraska, some men returning from the plains and some thirty men, with William Kelsay, from Sidney, Iowa. It was mustered into the United States service at Omaha, N. T., September 14, 1861, by Lieut. J. N. H. Patrick, M. T. Patrick, of Omaha, N. T., Captain; William Kelsay, of Sidney, Iowa, First Lieutenant; John J. Lower, of Omaha, N. T., Second Lieutenant.
Company B. was recruited at Omaha, N. T., J. T. Croft, and was composed of men from the Territory, those returning from the plains, and some thirty men with Milton S. Summers, from Mills County, Iowa. It was mustered into the service of the United States at Omaha, N. T., September 21, 1861, by Lieut. J. N. H. Patrick, John T. Croft, of Omaha, N. T., Captain; Milton S. Summers, of Mills County, Iowa, First Lieutenant; J. C. Wilcox, of Omaha, N. T., Second Lieutenant.
Company C was recruited at Nebraska City and in Page County, Iowa, by Capt. J. M. Young and Alfred Matthias, and was mustered into the United States service at Omaha, N. T., September 19, 1861, as a half company, and, October 3, 1861, as a full company, by Lieut. J. N. H. Patrick, J. Morris Young, of Page County, Iowa, Captain; Alfred Matthias, of Nebraska City, N. T., First Lieutenant; Charles A. Langdon, of Page County, Iowa, Second Lieutenant.
Company D commenced recruiting at Omaha, N. T., and was mustered into the service of the United States a half company, with William Curl as First Lieutenant, at St. Louis, Mo., by Lieut. J. N. H. Patrick, October 30, 1861. William Ashton joined the company with a detachment of thirty-five men from the Twentieth Missouri Infantry, which organization had been abandoned. The company, being fully organized, was mustered into the service of the United States at St. Louis, Mo., by Lieut. J. C. Bundy, November 13, 1861, Harlan Beard, of Nebraska Territory, Captain; William Curl, of Nebraska Territory, First Lieutenant; William Ashton, of St. Louis, Mo., Second Lieutenant.
The month of January, 1862, had been employed in organizing, drilling, arming and equipping the Curtis Horse for the field, and, considering the many disadvantages under which the regiment labored in regard to its organization from such heterogeneous material, the work of mounting, arming and equipping was, by the systematic labor of Col. Lowe, consummated in a very short time.
The arms issued to the regiment, although the best that could be procured at the time, were very poor and inefficient. They consisted of Hall's carbines, Remington's revolvers and the old heavy pattern cavalry saber, of poor material. One-half of the men had carbines, the other half revolvers and each man a poor saber. In this condition, the regiment started to the field, to take part in the important operations against Fort Donelson and Corinth.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of January, 1862, were as follows: J. C. Wilcox, Second Lieutenant Company B, appointed Captain Company H, to date from January 4, 1862.
First Sergeant Robert E. Rose, appointed Second Lieutenant Company K, vice Bass, appointed Battalion Adjutant, to date from January 18, 1862.
First Sergt. E. G. McNeely appointed Second Lieutenant Company B. vice Wilcox promoted, to date from January 23, 1863.
Sergt. William C. McBeath, appointed Second Lieutenant Company D, vice Ashton promoted Battalion Adjutant, to date from January 25, 1862.
February 8, 1862, the regiment left Benton Barracks, under orders for Fort Henry, Tenn.; marched down to St. Louis, and, during the day, embarked on the steamers "Continental," "W. Graham" and "Hannibal" and arrived at Fold Henry about 5 o'clock A. M, February 11. During the day, disembarked and went into camp about one-half mile from the fort.
February 14, Maj. Kelsay, with the First Battalion, crossed the Tennessee River, reported to Col. Morgan L. Smith and went into camp at Fort Heiman.
February 15, by order of Gen. Grant, Lieut. Col. Patrick and Capt. West, Von Minden and Haw, with 100 men, marched up the Tennessee River and destroyed the bridge of the Memphis & Ohio Railroad, crossing the Tennessee River, thus preventing reinforcements of rebels coming from Memphis to Fort Donelson. This command returned to camp on the morning of the 16th, having marched seventy miles in twenty-four hours.
During the latter part of the month of February, some scouting was done by the regiment, capturing a few guerrillas and some horses, but no movements of importance took place. Fort Donelson had fallen and the enemy had mostly moved up the Tennessee River, leaving the country around Forts Henry and Heiman comparatively quiet.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of February, 1862, were as follows:
Capt. William Kelsay, Company A, to be Major, to date from February 1, 1862.
First Lieut. John J. Lower appointed Captain Company A, vice Kelsay promoted, to date from February 1, 1862.
Second Lieut. Horace Walters appointed First Lieutenant Company A, vice Lower promoted, to date from February 1, 1862.
J. N. H. Patrick appointed Regimental Quartermaster, to date from February 21, 1862.
Maj. William Kelsay died February 28, of typhoid fever, and was buried at Fort Heiman, Ky., March 1. The death of this generous and efficient officer was deplored by the regiment and especially by the First Battalion, with whom he was more immediately identified.
March 11, Capt. J. T. Croft, commanding First Battalion, in accordance with orders from Gen. Grant (and with a view of dispersing the rebel forces under Clay King, who were enforcing their conscript law in the country around Paris, Tenn.), marched with 250 men out on the Paris road twelve miles, where he was ordered to await the arrival of Lieut. Col. Patrick, with the Second and Third Battalions of the Curtis Horse, and also Capt. Bullis' Battery, from Paris Landing. At 11 o'clock A. M., Capt. Bullis arrived with his battery, and Capt. Croft at once, without waiting for the command of Col. Patrick, moved his command to within two miles of Paris. The rebel pickets, six in number, were surprised and captured The command arrived at Paris at 5 o'clock P. M., and entered the town on a charge. The enemy, to the number of 500, were camped on a ridge half a mile west of town. Two guns were placed in position on a hill opposite the enemy's camp, and commenced a vigorous shelling. After firing a few rounds, Capt. Lower, with Companies A and B, charged toward the enemy's camp, but, encountering fallen timber, behind which the enemy were hid, and receiving a galling fire from superior numbers, they, after about fifteen minutes severe fighting, fell back on the main force. The guns were then all placed in position and fired 250 shots, which completely dispersed the enemy. The whole time occupied was thirty-five minutes.
Our little force then fell back into the town, when it was thought advisable to retreat to Fort Heiman, as the enemy were known to have a large force, and were expecting hourly large reinforcements from Humboldt. The whole force accordingly fell back, and the next day met Lieut. Col. Patrick (who had crossed the river the day before with the Second and Third Battalions) about three miles from Fort Heiman.
In the battle of Paris, the first blood of our regiment was shed for the suppression of the great rebellion. The loss in this affair was Sergeant Geary, killed; Sergeant Davidson, Corporal Thomas, and Privates Warren and Musgrave, wounded [Coporal Thomas died since of wounds]; and P. M. McGuire, taken prisoner--all of Company A. Private Nicholson, of Company B, was killed. Battalion Sergt. Maj. Stonewall was killed, and Capt. Bullis, of Bullis' Battery, died of wounds the next day after the fight. A few days after the affair at Paris, the First Battalion moved up to camp, and the regiment was all together again.
The camp was pleasantly situated three miles from Fort Heiman, on the Paris road, and about the same distance from Paris Landing, on the Tennessee River.
The month of March passed away without anything of importance occurring. From two to four companies of the regiment were kept on the scout all the time, and frequent captures were made of guerrillas and horses.
June 25, 1862, the Curtis Horse was assigned to the State of Iowa, and called the Fifth Iowa Cavalry. The field and staff of the regiment at this date was as follows: W. W. Lowe, Colonel; M. P. Patrick, Lieutenant Colonel; A. B. Bracket, Major; William Ashton, Lieutenant and Adjutant; Enos Lowe, Surgeon; B. T. Wise, Assistant Surgeon; Charles B. Smith, Quartermaster.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of June, 1862, were as follows:
W. B. McGeorge, Regimental Adjutant, resigned June 9, 1862; Horace Walter, First Lieutenant Company A resigned June 1, 1862; Fred Williams, Second Lieutenant Company A, resigned June 9, 1862; Regimental Commissary Sergt. Rodolph Crandall, appointed Second Lieutenant Company L, to date from June 10, 1862.
August 26, the rebel Col. Woodward made an attack on Fort Donelson with a force of 600 men, but was repulsed by the garrison, consisting of three companies of the Seventy-first Ohio, under command of Maj. Hart. Col. Lowe, commanding post of Forts Donelson, Henry and Heiman, was advised of the attack on Fort Donelson, and immediately started to reinforce the garrison with six companies of the Iowa Fifth--A, B, D, E, K and L. The Colonel, with his command, arrived at Fort Donelson at 9 o'clock P. M., at which time the enemy had fallen back up the river.
On the morning of the 27th, at daylight, Col. Lowe started in pursuit, Company B, numbering thirty men, commanded by Lieut. Summers, being in advance. After marching about six miles, and when near the ruins of the "Cumberland Iron Works," the enemy's pickets were discovered. The advance charged them, and soon came in sight of a reserve of rebel infantry, who threw down their arms and fled, the advance following them to within seventy-five yards of their camp, which was discovered to consist of a considerable force, with one piece of artillery. Having learned this much, Sergt. James H. Wing, commanding the advance, wheeled his party about and fell back on the main column, and one-half mile to the rear.
Companies B and D were immediately dismounted and thrown out as skirmishers, and were soon sharply engaged with the enemy, driving them in fine style, A deep and muddy creek stopped the advance of Company D, but Company B crossed on a bridge and pushed forward, turning the enemy's flank, when the piece of artillery opened on them with solid shot, and then with grape and canister. Hearing the cannon, Col. Lowe gave Lieut. Summers an order to mount his men and charge the gun, which was accordingly done with drawn sabers. The gun was supported by three companies of infantry, well protected on the right by the steep bank of the river, and on the left by a strong fence and heavy timber; but, riding down the gunners, the gallant Lieut. Summers dashed into the center of the enemy's line and scattered them like chaff. As soon as the center was broken, the clanks also broke and fled. Flushed with this success, many of the company dashed on in pursuit of the flying enemy, running headlong into the main body of the enemy, four hundred strong, admirably posted in cellars of burned houses and among the ruins of the iron works. Here several of our men were captured, and those who were not were too few in numbers to bring away the gun. The horses attached to it were killed or so badly hurt as to be useless, the ammunition and caissons were destroyed, and the gun dismounted and left. Finding it impossible to dislodge the superior portion of the enemy with the force under his immediate command, which was only 130 men, Col. Lowe returned to Fort Donelson.
Our loss in this affair was: Company B. First Lieut. Summers, mortally wounded, died at a house near the scene of action, August 29; Second Lieut. E. G. McNeely, severely wounded and captured; Privates C. P. Hughes and Louis Disher, killed; Privates H. B. Moncravia and R. B. Nelson Mann, mortally wounded; Sergts. James H. Wing and George McLean, Corp. Jason Lanceford, Privates George H. Traver, Philip McGarry, Samuel Hopkins and Richard Brackensky, wounded.
The loss of Lieut. Summers was severely felt by his regiment. A more gallant officer never drew his sword for his country. Riddled with balls, he fell from his horse near the enemy's cannon, and was surrounded by a crowd of them, who attempted to bayonet him; but, although unable to rise to his feet, he cut at his assailants with his saber, and split one of them from his shoulder to the center of his body, and cut the hand of another nearly off. He fought with his saber until it became so bent as to be useless, and then shot five times with his revolver, when the crowd of rebels, pressing on him from all sides, wrenched his pistol from his grasp and made him a prisoner. When taken, he had seven minie balls in his body and a baronet wound in the thigh.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of August, 1862, were as follows:
First Sergt. M. A. Hinds, appointed Second Lieutenant Company A, to date from August 1, 1862; First Lieut. Milton S. Summers died from wounds received in action, August 29, 1862.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of September were as follows:
Second Lieut. E. G. McNeely appointed First Lieutenant Company B, vice Summers, killed, to date from September 1, 1862; First Sergt. D. H. Stephens appointed Second Lieutenant Company B, vice McNeely, promoted, to date from September 1, 1862.
November 1, the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, under command of Lieut. Col. Patrick, moved from Fort Heiman, Ky., and at Fungo were met by Brig. Gen. Ransom, with a force consisting of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, detachment of the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry, detachment of the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry, one company of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and one section of Floyd's Battery. The whole command moved to La Fayette and encamped. November 5, marched to White River and encamped. November 6, Lieut. Col. Patrick, with the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, and one company Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and two pieces of artillery, marched to Gordon Springs, expecting to find a force of the enemy there, but they had left. Col. Patrick captured some wagons, flour, etc., and returned to Cross Roads, where he was met by Gen. Ransom's command, and went into camp November 7. At daylight, the command left camp.
Lieut. Col. Patrick, with his cavalry and artillery, marched to Garretsburg, where they encountered and captured the enemy's scouts. Here Col. Patrick's rear guard, commanded by Lieut. Gallagher, was attacked, and Lieut. Gallagher and Private Roach, both of Company L, were killed. On arriving at Garretsburg, the enemy were found in line of battle in front of the town; after some skirmishing, Col. Patrick opened on the enemy with his artillery, when they fell back two miles. Gen. Ransom, then coming up, entered the town; and Col. Patrick, with his cavalry, again moved out on the Nous road, where he found the enemy in force. Dismounting his cavalry, he engaged them till Gen. Ransom came up, when they routed the enemy completely, with a loss of seventeen killed, eighty-five wounded and sixty prisoners. The command went into camp near the scene of action.
The Fifth Iowa Cavalry returned to Fort Heiman November 11.
Gen. Ransom, in his official report of this march, gives great praise to Col. Patrick and his cavalry for their services.
The alterations in this battalion for the month of November, 1862, were as follows:
J. Morris Young, Captain Company C, appointed Major, to date from November 1, 1862; Harlan Beard, Captain Company D, appointed Major, to date from November 1, 1862; First Lieut. William Curl, appointed Captain Company D, vice Beard, promoted, to date from November 1, 1862; Second Lieut. William C. McBeath, appointed First Lieutenant Company D, vice Curl, promoted, to date from November 1, 1862; First Sergt. William Buchanan, appointed Second Lieutenant, vice McBeath, promoted, to date from November 1, 1862.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of December, 1862, were as follows:
First Lieut. Alfred Matthias, appointed Captain Company C, vice Young, promoted, to date from December 22, 1862; Second Lieut. Charles A. B. Langdon, appointed First Lieutenant Company C, vice Matthias, promoted, to date from December 22,1862; First Sergeant William Wilhite, appointed Second Lieutenant Company C, vice Langdon, promoted, to date from December 31, 1862.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of January, 1863, were as follows:
John J. Lower, Captain Company A, resigned January 26, 1863; Sergt. Samuel Paul, appointed Captain Company A, to date from January 29, 1863.
The alterations in the battalion for the month of March, 1863, are as follows:
John T. Croft, Captain Company B, resigned, to date from March 5, 1863; First Lieut. Erastus G. McNeely, appointed Captain Company B, vice Croft, resigned, to date from March 6, 1863; First Sergt. James Wing, appointed Second Lieutenant Company B, vice Neely, promoted, to date from March 6, 1863.
The regiment lay in camp at Fort Donelson during the month of May, 1863. Part of the regiment was employed, during the month, in working on the new fort there. May 19, Lieut. Col. Patrick, under orders from Col. Lowe, left Fort Donelson in command of seven companies of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, three companies of the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry, and two companies of the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry; two companies of the Seventy-first Ohio Infantry, and Steinbuck's Battery, and went into camp. From camp three companies of cavalry, with six wagons, went to the head of Yellow Creek, and brought in 16,000 pounds of bacon, four barrels of salt, one keg of powder and some muskets. May 21, most of the command lay in camp, the cavalry scouting and bringing in large supplies of bacon, etc. May 22, the command was ordered to return. May 23, while returning, and on Yellow Creek, Company A, being in the advance, was fired on by guerrillas from a hill. Capt. Paul's horse was killed under him, and he received a slight wound in the chin. The guerrillas were pursued for some distance, but made their escape
Lieut. J. N. H. Patrick, R. Q. M., resigned, to date from May 14, 1863.
June 5, 1863, the regiment left Fort Donelson under orders from Gen. Rosecrans, en route for Murfreesboro, Tenn., where they arrived June 11, and were assigned to the First Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, commanded by Col. Minty.
June 15, the First Brigade moved to Lebanon, where the enemy were reported in force. On the appearance of our forces, they fell back to Alexandria, our forces following and skirmishing with them, developing a heavy force supplied with artillery. Two of the enemy were killed; no loss on our side. The brigade then fell back to Murfreesboro.
From June 18 to 23, the battalion lay in camp at Murfreesboro; June 24, broke camp at daylight, and marched out ten miles on the Woodbury pike; returned to Murfreesboro and marched out eight miles on the Salem pike, and camped.
Gen. Rosecrans had commenced his grand movement against Bragg's army, and the movements of the regiment were from the left of the right flank of our army. June 25, the regiment marched to Shelbyville pike and went into camp at noon. At 2 o'clock P. M., the Fifth Iowa Cavalry was ordered out to make a reconnoissance in the direction of Guy's Gap. Two other regiments had been ordered to make this reconnoissance and failed.
The Fifth Iowa Cavalry drove the enemy over a mile through a dense thicket of cedars, where the ground was so stony it was almost impossible to get a horse over it, developing the enemy's force and position. The enemy opened on our regiment with artillery, when it was ordered to fall back, having fully accomplished the object of the reconnoissance with only two men slightly wounded. Citizens reported the enemy's loss to be thirty killed and wounded. The regiment was highly complimented by Gens. Stanley and Gordon Granger for their promptness and gallantry in this affair.
June 25, the regiment lay in camp near Guy's Gap; June 28, 29 and 30, in camp seven miles from Murfreesboro. The alterations in the battalion for the month of June, 1863, were as follows:
First Sergt. Thomas W. Ritcher, appointed First Lieutenant Company A, to date from June 13, 1863.
July 1, 1863, the regiment moved to Murfreesboro, and went into camp on the Woodbury pike. The duty of the regiment while at Murfreesboro was very heavy, it being the only cavalry regiment there. The regiment picketed ten roads, which each day required two officers and seventy-two men, besides doing heavy scouting duty, guarding trains, etc.
September 6, 1863, the regiment, except Companies I and K, left Murfreesboro en route for McMinnville, Tenn., where it arrived September 8, and went into camp. While here, the regiment did heavy scouting duty, detachments going to Sparta, Woodbury and Tracy City, after guerrillas, who at that time infested the country. In one of these, Lieut. D. H. Stephens, Company B, was wounded.
September 26, 1863, the regiment left McMinnville en route for Bellefonte, Ala., camped at Hillsboro, and arrived at Dechard Station September 27, at noon. Here we found orders waiting the regiment to remain for further orders. September 30, 1863, the regiment went into camp near Winchester.
October 4,1863, Col. Lowe received orders to move in the direction of Murfreesboro, to watch for Wheeler, who had crossed the mountains, and was expected every hour to make his appearance at some point on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. The regiment left camp October 5; broke camp at sunrise, and marched to Elk River bridge and encamped. The bridge across Elk River is one of importance, and it was feared Wheeler would attempt to destroy it. October 6, at daylight, Col. Lowe struck camp and marched to Tullahoma, where he learned the enemy was in force at Wartrace. Col. Lowe at once pushed on with his force to Duck River bridge. Here the Colonel left his wagon train and pushed on in the direction of Wartrace, a brigade of infantry following on the cars. The infantry passed the cavalry, and formed in line of battle about a mile from Wartrace, and near a railroad bridge the enemy had just burned. Here they remained. Col. Lowe pushed his cavalry on a brisk pace, feeling through the woods for the enemy. When within half a mile of' Wartrace, Lieut. Col. Patrick ordered out Company H, and charged with them into Wartrace, finding the enemy in heavy force, in heavy timber, on the left. The whole cavalry force was now ordered up, and, opening on the rebels, drove them in the direction of Shelbyville, following them till dark, when the regiment returned to Duck River bridge and went into camp at 12 o'clock, midnight.
The enemy's force at Wartrace was one entire brigade of cavalry under Wheeler. Our loss in this affair was one man, Henry Perkins, Company K, mortally wounded. He died three days after, in hospital at Tullahoma. The enemy's loss is not known, but reported to be between thirty and forty. Some of their wounded were captured next day in Shelbyville.
October 7, Col. Lowe left Duck River bridge and followed on after Wheeler, passing through Shelbyville, and joined the Second Cavalry Division (Gen. Crook) near Farmington, at 9 o'clock P. M. Col. Lowe was placed in command of the First Brigade, Lieut. Col. Patrick commanding the Fifth Iowa Cavalry. The pursuit of Wheeler, who was rapidly retreating for the Tennessee River, was vigorously pushed. October 9, the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, being in the front, and Company H in advance, the whole column kept up such a brisk skirmish with the enemy's rear that their rear guard, said to be a brigade, were obliged to give battle in order to cover their retreating columns. Accordingly, they formed in line of battle near the south bank of Sugar Creek. The Fifth Iowa Cavalry came and formed in line of battle, under a heavy fire, within two hundred yards of the enemy's line, and charged them with sabers, completely routing the enemy, killing thirty, wounding a large number, and taking ninety-five prisoners. Our loss, one man, E. H. Sloan, Company H, shot in the finger. The charge of the regiment in line across an open field was a brilliant affair, and received high compliment from the General commanding for gallantry and effectiveness.
The pursuit of the enemy was continued to the Tennessee River; but Wheeler had, by marching day and night, and scattering his forces, made good his escape.
From the Tennessee River, the Second Cavalry Division turned in pursuit of Roddy's command. Marching through Athens and Huntsville to Salem, Tenn., from Salem the Second Division turned back in the direction of Huntsville, and went into camp at Marysville, Ala., October 17. Lieut. Col. Patrick left camp October 19, with the Fifth Iowa Cavalry and a detachment of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, in pursuit of Roddy, whose command was said to be at Athens, Tenn.
Col. Patrick marched all night, reaching Athens at sunrise, to find that Roddy had withdrawn his command across the Tennessee River.
Col. Patrick returned with his command to Marysville, having marched seventy miles in twenty-four hours.
November 14, Maj. Young, of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, commanding a select force of 400 men of the Fourth United States Cavalry, Seventeenth and Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry, and Fifth Iowa Cavalry, under orders from Col. Lowe, commanding the Second Cavalry Division (temporarily), moved from Marysville to prevent a flank movement of the enemy across the Tennessee River. Maj. Young, with his command, crossed the mountains in the rear of Huntsville, by way of Belvin's Gap, to avoid the spies of the enemy. At Whitesburg they captured a drove of hogs, and on arriving at the Tennessee River, took possession of the ferry-boat, by which the islands adjacent were secured, and many valuable horses captured that had been secreted by the enemy. Destroying the ferry-boat, the command moved on to Triana, where it was discovered that the enemy had taken the precaution to secure all the boats on the opposite side of the river, under guard, to be sent over only on notice of their friends by preconcerted signals.
As the destruction of these boats was one of the main objects of the expedition, volunteers were called for to cross and secure them.
Sergt. Phelps, Company G, and eleven men from the Fifth Iowa, were selected from those volunteering, and, by means of some bateaux and canoes, and under cover of sharpshooters placed on this side, they dashed across, securing, without loss, two large ferry-boats. With these boats, a party of thirty men started on the river to secure all the boats between there and Decatur, while the command moved down the bank, co-operating on this side of the river. At the mouth of Limestone Creek, the command concentrated, expecting to find the headquarters of the marauding bands that were harassing the country. Closing there from the river and land side, at 1 o'clock, midnight, of the 15th, it was discovered to be only a secret landing place for the boats from the other side sent out by the enemy on their expeditions of plunder and conscription. The boat party reported there with eight large boats, being all there were on the river from Whitesburg to Decatur.
At 2 o'clock A. M., the enemy were seen at Decatur signaling our presence with rockets--red, white and blue. They could also be heard busy with pick and shovel throwing up works. At daybreak, the object of the expedition being accomplished, the boats were hauled up the creek and cut to pieces; and, looking upon the threatening cannon of the enemy, and their infantry still at work fortifying against the threatened attack upon Decatur, our command took their leave on the return march to camp, which they reached November 17.
In this expedition, in which the detachment of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry bore so prominent a part, a rebel captain and eight soldiers were captured; nine large ferry-boats captured and destroyed, eight of them from under the enemy's guns; 200 fine mules and horses captured; one mill in the possession and employ of the enemy destroyed, and contrabands brought in to complete the organization of a regiment then forming at Maysville.
On the receipt of the report of this expedition, Gen. Elliott, Chief of Cavalry, writes: "The success of the scout under command of Maj. J. M. Young, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, shows that he has been energetic, and shows judgment in the management of his command."
On the 14th inst., a communication was received addressed as follows:
Brig. Gen. GEORGE COOK,
Commanding Second Cavalry Division, Marysville, Ala.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the report of Maj. J. M. Young, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, of his expedition through the country situated between the Memphis & Charlestown Railroad and the Tennessee River, between the 14th and 17th inst.
The Major General commanding directs that you tender his thanks to Maj. Young for the brave, energetic and prudent manner in which the expedition was conducted.
Very respectfully. your obedient servant,
November 25, the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, with most of the Second Cavalry Division, moved to Huntsville and went into camp. November 27, the Fifth Iowa Cavalry and seven companies of the Fourth United States Cavalry, Lieut. Col. Patrick in command, moved from Huntsville at dark and marched out toward the Tennessee River four miles and camped. November 28, broke camp at sunrise and marched to the Tennessee River, thence up the river to the town of Vienna, and went into camp at dark. Next morning, November 29, the Paint Rock River having risen from continuous rains so that wagons could not be crossed, Maj. Beard, Fifth Iowa, in command, started with seven companies of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry and five companies of the Fourth United States Cavalry, crossing the river at a ford which was very near swimming the horses; the command reached Claysville, opposite Guntersville, at sunset, and went into camp.
The enemy appeared in considerable force at Guntersville, and a brisk firing was kept up between our pickets and theirs, but without loss to our side. After dark, a detachment under Lieut. Beatty, Fifth Iowa, was sent down to the river, and succeeded in capturing two wagons, three yoke of cattle, and destroying a ferry-boat. November 30, Maj. Beard moved from Claysville at sunrise, leaving the Fourth United States Cavalry to picket the Tennessee River at Deposit and Claysville. The command reached Law's Landing at noon; here Companies C and E were left on picket. The balance of command moved on up the river to Snodgrass Landing, going into camp there at dark. During the night, our pickets captured a drove of hogs and some salt, and some clothing, which were on their way to the rebels across the river.
December 1, the command broke camp at sunrise, leaving Companies G and K on picket. The command moved up the river to McKutchin's Ferry. A strong picket of the enemy were across the river, and also a large number of cattle and hogs and sheep in pens.
The enemy turned all of the stock out of the pens as soon as they discovered our force, and drove them into the woods. After remaining here about two hours, the command moved down the river about six miles, and went into camp at Larkin's Ferry. December 2, at sunrise, Maj. Beard, with Companies A and M, moved up the river to McGwin's Ferry, leaving Company H on picket at Larkin's Ferry. The balance of the command, with Lieut. Col. Patrick, came up from Vienna via Paint Rock bridge, and established the headquarters of the command at Dodsonville.
December 6, the companies on picket duty along the Tennessee River were ordered to report at Dodsonville. On December 7, the command, except four companies, left en route for Huntsville. Companies F, G, H and I, under command of Maj. Bracket, remained in camp at Dodsonville, and patrolled the Tennessee River from Clayville to the mouth of Crow Creek, a distance of forty miles. Lieut. Col. Patrick, with his command, reached Huntsville December 8, and went into camp. The detachment at Dodsonville, during their stay there, performed very heavy picket and patrol duty.
December 19, Maj. Bracket sent Sergts. McGuire and Ireland, and Private Ireland, all of Company H, to Paint Rock, with dispatches and letters. When within four miles of Paint Rock, the party were captured by twenty-one guerrillas and taken to the top of the mountain, where they were stripped of money and clothing. Private Ireland, who had charge of the dispatches, secreted them inside of his drawers, and the enemy failed to find them. Next morning the prisoners were left under guard of two guerrillas, while the balance of the gang went down the mountain to watch for more booty. Our brave boys, watching an opportunity, sprang on their guards, took their guns away from them, and told them to go down the mountain and give no alarm, and their lives should be spared; but, after going about fifty yards, the guards drew their revolvers (which our men, in the excitement, had overlooked) and commenced firing. but without effect. Our men then fired, killing both the guerrillas, and made their escape to camp. The bodies of the guerrillas were found next day where they fell, their companions having decamped in such haste as to leave them unburied. December 20, Maj. Bracket issued a complimentary order relating to the above occurrence, of which the following is an extract:
The Major commanding having sent P. Morgan, McGuire, and Sergeant William Ireland, and private George Ireland as bearers of dispatches from this command to Paint Rock Bridge, and the said men having been captured by the enemy * * * * * * * * merit from the officers and soldiers of this command the highest encomiums; and the Major commanding takes this method of acknowledging his obligations and returning his thanks to private George Ireland for preserving the official dispatches in his possession, and commend all the above-mentioned men to honorable distinction.
January 1, 1864, more than three-fourths of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry having re-enlisted as veteran volunteers, preparation was made to leave the field by turning over horses, arms and equipments, and January 7, at noon, the regiment left Pulaski en route for Nashville; dismounted, marched out ten miles and left; January 8, broke camp at sunrise and marched to Columbia and camped; January 9, broke camp at sunrise and marched six miles to Carter Creek and went into camp. January 10, at 2 o'clock P. M., the regiment embarked o a train of cars and arrived in Nashville at 8 o'clock P. M. and went into barracks.
The work of re-mustering the regiment occupied the time until January 14, from which time the movement of the regiment was delayed waiting for the payment of the veteran bounty until January 29, on which day the veterans were paid; and at 5 o'clock P. M., the regiment embarked on the steamer J. H. Baldwin, en route for Illinois, at which place it arrived January 31, at noon.