Recollections of the War Between the States
By Major H. C. Connelly.
As we approached Morgan some of his men started to run. They did not halt and were fired upon. Morgan claimed he had surrendered to a military captain, whom he said had agreed to parole himself and his followers. He insisted this contract should be carried out in good faith. Gen. Shackelford declined to recognize his demand, when Morgan asked to be placed in the field again untrammeled. Gen. Shackelford told him he would be taken to Cincinnati and turned over to Gen. Burnside, who would properly settle the differences of opinion between them. He had about 350 men with him when he was captured. Like the prisoners taken at Buffington Island, they were loaded down with bolts of cloth, velvets, silks and other goods they could carry with them. These articles were securely strapped on their saddles.
Going from the point of capture to Salineville, where the prisoners were placed on cars, Morgan rode in front of the column, with Gen. Shackelford on his right. Col. Wolford and Col. Capron next. We rode directly in the rear and as we crossed a bridge near Salineville, Morgan turned in his saddle and jocularly said to the staff officer by whose side he was riding: "Adjutant, see that bridge is burned, sir!"
On this raid as well as in the east Tennessee campaign under Gen. Burnside, I saw much of Col. Wolford and his First Kentucky cavalry. In admiration of him I yield to no man. He had one trait which few soldiers possess.
73As a rule, when a minnie ball in battle whizzed by a soldier, his head or body would vibrate or sway to the opposite side. I have seen the old hero in a shower of bullets. He sat his horse as solid as a rock. The zip of the minnie ball did not seem to disturb him. A braver man never drew saber.
An incident related by the writer of Wolford's Cavalry, in referring to the Morgan raid, says:
"For 30 days and nights the pursuit continued, and finally the Confederate chieftain was brought to bay and forced to surrender. It is related that Shackelford forgot his station and himself, and became personally abusive of his distinguished prisoner, when Wolford, the inferior in command, rebuked him for speaking harshly to one whose hands were figuratively bound. It was in appreciation of this knightly conduct of his grim old adversary that prompted Morgan to bestow on Wolford as a present his pair of fine solid silver spurs." Gen. Morgan did present Col. Wolford his spurs.
After the raid, in the East Tennessee campaign, I was on official duty at Gen. Shackelford's headquarters. I daily sat at his table and enjoyed the delightful social intercourse accorded to every member of his military family. I saw him under many trying circumstances. He never lost his temper. He was always courteous. He was also a devout man. I shall forever remember him as a kind-hearted, Christian gentleman.
If there was any ill feeling between victor and vanquished it was only temporary. At the time of his capture Morgan was riding a fine blooded chestnut sorrel mare. This he presented to General Shackelford before they separated. Gen. Morgan was not the man to favor one who had insulted him. The incident as related is clearly a mistake. In justice to Shackelford, whom I have always admired and respected as a soldier as well as a cultivated gentleman, I write this.
After the war when Oklahoma was made a territory, Gen. Shackelford was made a territorial judge, which position he filled for some years.
74The main body of Morgan's command pursued a line of march as direct as it was possible for him to take. He threw flanking parties out on both sides. These followed a zig-zag course. This produced much confusion to the Union soldiers who were pursuing, for different citizens would report him at a half dozen points at the same time.
It is related that Morgan had his own soldiers dressed as citizens, who met the Union command and gave them incorrect information to throw his pursuers off the track and enable him to make better and more rapid progress. As Morgan advanced, he picked up all the best horses on his line of march. The Union troops only secured the poor ones that remained.
We were especially authorized to press horses on this raid and receipt for them. Many incidents, dramatic and amusing, occurred when citizens found they were compelled to surrender their horses. For months after the war was over the United States quartermaster at Columbus sent us formal vouchers to execute, accompanying the same with pencil memoranda to which our names were signed. We have no doubt every horse we compelled the owner to give up on that raid was well paid for afterward.
As we were moving from the point of capture to Salineville my attention was attracted to a loud noise in the rear of the column. I fell back, and found a Union soldier and one of Morgan's men having a hot controversy. They poured hot words into each other. I requested the Union soldier to stop, telling him his antagonist was a prisoner of war, and he must not indulge in bitter talk; that it was "barbarous to insult a fallen foe." The controversy at once ceased, and Morgan's men struck up "Dixie Land," singing it charmingly.
When we started after Morgan, I took with me my coal black Morgan and a roan mare, raised in the Kentucky mountains. I rode the horse in the day time and the mare at night. She was sure footed and never made
75a misstep, and had an eye like an eagle. The day before we captured Morgan she became completely exhausted and I had to abandon her. I shipped the horse back to Glasgow and turned him into pasture. There was little left of him but skin and bones. After we started for east Tennessee under Burnside, Morgan made another raid into Kentucky. He took with him my black horse. My affection for this horse almost equalled the affection a father has for his child.
In the final chase after Morgan in person, we pursued him six days and nights. Horses as well as men were exhausted. As we moved along, we slept on our horses, comrades side by side, taking the bridle reins of each to keep in the column and avoid being dropped out. A brief halt would often find nearly every man asleep. The officers would be compelled to pass along the line and wake up the soldiers in order to be able to resume the march.
Gen. Morgan and his officers were confined in the Ohio state prison at Columbus. Morgan escaped afterwards with Captain Hines and one or two others of his officers. Many versions explaining how Morgan escaped have been given out. I think the most sensational one I have seen is here given, as first published in the Columbus Dispatch about March 7, 1895. The Dispatch says:
The Columbus Dispatch sent a reporter to John Radebaugh, on Swan street, to get information about the men who led the horses attached to the funeral car which carried Lincoln's remains through the streets of Columbus enroute from Washington to Springfield, Ill. Radebaugh at that time was chief clerk to the United States assistant quartermaster, the late Colonel Raymond Burr, located in this city. Speaking of various matters about the war, Mr. Radebaugh said he could give the true account of the escape of General John Morgan and his comrades from the Ohio penitentiary. Being urged to do so, Mr. Radebaugh said:
"Stanton ordered their release. Stanton said Morgan was being held in a felon's prison in violation of the rules of war. The Confederates were threatening retaliation. Stanton sent a secret order to Governor Tod to release Morgan. The situation was explained to Tod. There was fear that the public could not be made to understand the circumstances. There was intense feeling against Morgan among the people." Radebaugh said: "Governor Tod called a conference with Colonel Young, his military secretary; Warden Merion, of the penitentiary; Colonel Burr, the quartermaster, and myself. It was decided to allow Morgan to escape. Merion was to manage the escape. We were pledged to secrecy. Morgan and his men understood this. They all walked out the front door.
"I, myself, met John Morgan just outside the prison and went with him to the depot, where he took the train for Cincinnati. This was about 10 o 'clock at night. That is the true story of the escape of Morgan, as I am willing to swear to it. I suppose Governor Tod either destroyed the order from Stanton or concealed it among his personal effects. I am the only person living who took part in the affair." It has always been believed by many persons that Morgan bought his way out and Warden Merion was greatly censured by the public, but an investigation under official authority cleared his skirts. Radebaugh's reason for making the affair public is that he will soon pass away and his belief that blame will not now be attached to the men who set Morgan free.
Captain Hines, as a scout in Kentucky, was bold and daring. He gave us a great deal of trouble in May and June, before Morgan started on his thirty-day raid. He would dash into the state and our forces would pursue him and get all around him, hoping to capture him, but he always evaded us and slipped out. Since the war he has been a Kentucky judge.
Morgan got into east Tennessee after his escape and secured a new command. But few Union troops were near there at that time. One night he took quarters in a house near Greenville, President Johnson's home, his command being camped near him. It was the home of a loyal family, and one of the women quietly slipped through the lines during the night and reported to the Federal commander where Morgan was stopping. A detail of soldiers was sent out, the house surrounded and Morgan was surprised and asked to surrender. This he did not do. As he was about to leap over a fence in trying to escape, a sergeant of a Tennessee regiment shot him. On his arrival at Knoxville the sergeant received a great ovation. For the second time I saw the staff of Morgan and other officers in captivity. Their chief had fought his last battle.
This raid was a disastrous failure on Morgan's part; the damage he did to the country through which he passed was only temporary. He sacrified a splendid body of soldiers without securing an equivalent. His reckless daring and his disobedience of orders gave him some fame, but this was purchased at a fearful sacrifice, and he never regained the confidence of his superiors in the southern army.
The day we captured Morgan I rode from Salineville to Beaver, Pa., on the Ohio river. I had a 30 days' leave of absence and struck out for Bock Island. On the way to Beaver to board a western train I overtook on the road a rampant Vallandigham man. He supposed I was one of Morgan's men trying to escape and offered to aid me. I denounced him for his disloyalty.
At that time a great political campaign was going on in Ohio. A war Democrat, I think, was at the head of the Republican ticket for governor. He was elected by a heavy majority.
Leaving Rock Island and returning to my command by way of Louisville I saw a general with a full staff of officers approaching me, riding up the main street of that city. The general was a splendid specimen of the imperious Kentuckian. His staff was resplendent, elegantly mounted and richly garbed, and equipped as soldiers. I never saw a staff more brilliantly arrayed. I stopped to admire the cavalcade. Another officer who was mounted passed the general and did not salute. The general wheeled his horse and called out: "Why did you not salute me, sir?" "General, I did not salute you because on former occasions you have failed to acknowledge my salute," replied the officer.
That general was shot and killed by Gen. Jeff Davis of the northern army at the Gait house in Louisville afterwards, and Davis was never punished for the offense. The latter made a great war record afterwards. He was as proud as Lucifer and a martinet. The officer was General Nelson.
The pursuit and capture of Gen. John H. Morgan in July, 1863, delayed the organization of the expedition by Gen. Burnside for the purpose of invading, capturing and holding east Tennessee. A large proportion of this locality was loyal to the government. Under the leadership of Andrew Johnson and Editor Brownlow of the Knoxville Whig, who afterward were respectively president of the United States and governor of Tennessee, the citizens remained true to the old flag. This region was in the possession of rebel troops until September, 1863, when Burnside took possession. It was never surrendered to the south after that, but was held with great tenacity during the war.
Besides the regularly organized rebel troops in the country there was a class of men (guerillas) who infested the mountains. They seemed to thrive on blood and pillage. Many a brave son of Tennessee, native and to the
79manor born, was shot down and murdered in cold blood because he preferred the old government to the new southern government. To rescue these people from barbarous treatment, stop the insane persecution they were receiving, and to occupy a fertile and fair land for the old union, Burnside went into east Tennessee.
The troops which had been in pursuit of Morgan were worn out, jaded and scattered, but by the middle of August Gen. Burnside had a finely equipped army of about 15,000 good soldiers -- infantry, artillery and cavalry. It was known as the army of the Ohio. Ours was the Second Brigade, Fourth Division of the 23rd Corps, commanded by Col. John W. Foster, of the 65th Indiana mounted infantry.
When I first met Colonel Foster, as commander of our brigade, I little dreamed of his future developments as a statesman and one of the most successful diplomats our country has ever produced. As secretary of state, foreign minister and all around diplomat but few Americans have a record which surpasses his.
The brigade was composed of the 14th Illinois cavalry, Fifth Indiana cavalry, 65th Indiana mounted infantry, four companies of the Ninth Ohio cavalry, four companies of the Eighth Tennessee cavalry, and Lieut. Colvin's battery -- M, First Illinois light artillery. After the war Lieut. Colvin was mayor of Chicago. The corps was divided into four divisions in crossing the mountains, each pursuing different lines of march, while an additional command moved from Kentucky, hoping to take Cumberland Gap by advancing from the north side.
Our headquarters for six months had been at Glasgow, Ky. From this point we left for east Tennessee. The army centered at Jamestown, on the mountain top, and passed in review before Gen. Burnside, the only time the intrepid soldier had an opportunity to see us all together. With pride he expressed himself at the fine appearance and military bearing of his soldiers.
The main command took the direct road to east Tennessee by way of Kingston.
Under the command of Col. Graham of the Fifth Indiana, who was a good officer, always cool and brave in action, our brigade passed through Winter's Gap, had a skirmish with the enemy, and drove him at every point.
Our brigade entered Knoxville, took possession and held it on the first day of September. The official record says September 3. This was the day Gen. Burnside arrived.
When we entered Knoxville the only human being visible was Consul Jackson standing back of his gate, with the British flag fluttering in the breeze. As we dashed into Knoxville a fight was anticipated, but General Buckner had the discretion to run away before we could catch him.
Our advance guard, learning that Gen. Buckner had several trains, with steam up, loaded with soldiers and all kinds of army supplies he could carry and run off, at the station ready to move out, attempted to capture the trains. Buckner escaped only by the skin of his teeth with his trains and since that moment no rebel train has ever been in or moved out of Knoxville. Knoxville was the home of Parson Brownlow, the famous editor of the Whig. His sufferings and persecutions for his loyalty were as great as some of the apostles of olden times. After we occupied east Tennessee, he filled high places and was one of the conspicuous men of the republic.
His daughter raised a flag over their house and some rebel soldiers entered it one day to take it down. The daughter with a loaded and cocked revolver stood at the foot of the stairway leading to the attic and defied them. She drove them; away and when we passed the house on our way to camp, Sept. 1st, the day of our arrival, the sacred flag was floating in the breeze. Every soldier in our command saluted the flag and cheered the brave and loyal woman. It was a dramatic scene.
The second person I saw on the street was Judge Patterson, son-in-law of President Johnson, who afterward was a United States senator from Tennessee.
Col. DeCourcey, in command of the troops which left Kentucky for that purpose, did not take Cumberland Gap. The cavalry, with Gen. Jas. M. Shackelford in command -- he of Morgan fame -- left Knoxville to assist in capturing the Gap from the south side.
On the 6th of September, at Powell's river, on our way to the Gap, we had a heavy skirmish with the enemy and drove them until they finally took refuge behind their works in the Gap. We had about 2,000 men and two batteries of artillery.
On the 7th, the Gap being invested, the surrender of Gen. Frazer, who commanded the rebel forces, was demanded. A flag of truce was sent in asking unconditional surrender. Gen. Frazer declined.
In the meantime communication was opened with Col. DeCourcey on the north side, Gen. Shackelford giving him some directions to prevent the enemy from escaping. He replied, saying, among other things, in substance, that he had been in the military profession since his 16th year, and thought he knew his business. Besides, he said, he was at the head of an independent command. In the meantime he also sent a flag of truce to Gen. Frazer demanding immediate surrender. Gen. Frazer was kept busy replying to the demands made by both of the Union commanders.
Finally, on the 9th, Gen. Burnside came upon the scene. After a rapid march of 60 miles from Knoxville in five hours with his staff and escort, he cut the correspondence short by demanding an unconditional surrender. This was complied with, and the garrison of over 2,000 men, with all arms and munitions of war, fell into our hands. He relieved Col. DeCourcey from his command.
I was placed in charge of Gen. Shackelford's escort or body guard during the siege of Cumberland Gap. The morning of the surrender a generous breakfast was prepared
82at the house of a citizen for the comfort of all connected with the headquarters of Generals Burnside and Shackelford. I sat near these gentlemen, and was greatly entertained with their conversation. Gen. Frazer sat by the side of Gen. Shackelford. He was in a very bad humor. He had been patronizing the commissary liberally, and was garrulous in his talk. He was discourteous, as I thought, to his captors, who treated him with kindness and generosity.
As a prisoner he was confined at Fort Warren, Boston harbor. From here he promulgated a statement explaining his surrender, and endeavoring to excuse himself for his ill-fated luck; he had been severely censured by his superior officers, among whom was President Davis. He said he made his statement as an act of self-defense to his fair name and to wipe out unjust aspersions cast upon him. He had risked all an officer of honor holds dear in doing what he did. He said Gen. Buckner on Aug. 21 ordered him to hold the Gap, and agreed to protect him. Buckner, on Aug. 30, ordered him to evacuate and report to Gen. Sam Jones at Abingdon, Va. He had 40 days' rations, and supposed this last order was a trick of the enemy. Buckner again requested him, Aug. 31, to hold the Gap and follow the instructions given him on the 21st.
He described his untenable position, and talked of his lack of soldiers, his limited supply of ammunition, and his failure to increase that supply. He looked for an attack only from the north side. A spring on the south side, half a mile from the Gap, supplied him with water. He was only 300 yards in an air line from the spring. He made an effort to carry the water this distance up the mountain on telegraph wires, but failed. He finally stored a limited quantity of water in tanks. In hauling this the oxen broke down for want of forage. Before the investment he had sent to Abingdon the spare horses and artillery he could not use to advantage.
He said his command, in discipline, drill and efficiency, was deplorable. Fog in the forenoon wag dense, and a
83body of men could approach very near without discovery. His defenses were only rifle pits. One of his colonels was absent in North Carolina, advocating reunion; one of his captains was under arrest for disseminating papers among the soldiers hostile to the Confederacy, a major was commanding a regiment who had surrendered some months previous to a gang of Yankee raiders, and who had been paroled; the colonel and lieutenant colonel of the 64th N. C. had left in disgrace for dishonorable conduct; the major assumed command of the regiment, but was suspended for incompetency.
The 55th Ga. rode their colonel on a rail, which he did not resent, but promised his soldiers to behave himself in the future. The troops defending the mill, which furnished the flour for his command, when attacked, ran away, demoralized and panic stricken. They did not know where their officers were, or what had become of them. Only one man was wounded, and he by his comrades. The mill was burned by the Yankees. Anarchy and confusion were supreme, and desertions of daily occurrence.
Lieut. O'Connor, one of Frazer's subordinates, says Col. Slemp's men were ordered to turn over 100 horses for artillery purposes, and, that when drawn up in line for that purpose, half of them were absent without leave. The remainder were mutinous and cursed their officers and the Confederacy.
Another lieutenant (Hunter) said the ammunition at the Gap was removed from a leaky magazine and placed under a shed for six weeks. A storm came, blew the shed down, by which the ammunition was exposed. It was removed into a damp old foundry, where it remained for months before the magazine was repaired. The powder in some boxes was perfect slush, he said. He referred to the fight around the mill, the burning of the mill, and artillery duel, and the quick and rapid advance of our forces in opening a gap in their ranks. The next morning the rebel artillery opened, but this was ordered
84stopped. All expected a fight. The day was spent in sending and receiving flags of truce. Small arms and ammunition were issued, and the men were anxious to fight.
When information was received that Gen. Frazer had surrendered, some broke their guns and others burned their regimental colors. He said great chagrin and disappointment existed, and some of the soldiers actually wept. He insists they were all anxious to go into battle.
Commanding an escort was new work for me. The only one I had ever seen was that of Gen. Burnside. The men had been detailed from the various cavalry regiments. Some were good soldiers, some indifferent and some worthless. I could not rely on the men in an emergency and asked to have my company in the 14th detailed for the work. With good sense Gen. Shackelford declined this proposition. A fine company of soldiers were preserved from demoralization. I had Sergt. Scribner, of my company, detailed, (afterward commissioned regimental commissary) who aided me greatly in keeping the escort under fair discipline. In this capacity I served from Sept 9 until Oct. 22. After making repeated requests, I was finally relieved and returned to my regiment. I have the original order before me as I write. The concluding sentence reads:
"The General commanding takes the opportunity of expressing his gratitude to Lieut. Connelly for the faithful manner in which he has performed his duties whilst attached to headquarters."
Capt. J. E. Hoffman, Assistant Adjutant General, signed this order. Capt. Hoffman was a pleasant, elegant gentleman. Since the day he left east Tennessee for Kentucky, when Gen. Shackelford was relieved, I have neither seen or heard anything from him. I trust he is alive, prosperous and happy.
After the siege of Knoxville, Gen. Carter commanded the post. He had for his escort a fine company from an Ohio cavalry regiment. The horses were gray and presented
85a fine appearance. As a rule when not on the march, an escort has too much leisure time and not enough work. The men are liable to become demoralized and careless.
When Gen. Wheeler came into east Tennessee in the summer of 1864, he had with him 10,000 men. As they approached Knoxville, Gen. Carter's escort was sent out to aid in repelling Wheeler's advance. The escort, officers and men, ran at the first volley from the enemy. The escort was disgraced and ordered to its regiment.
Gen. Shackelford was a kind-hearted genial gentleman. Under all circumstances he was courteous to those with whom he came in contact. One evening a little incident occurred not agreeable for me. We were advancing up through east Tennessee, driving everything before us. Generals Burnside's and Shackelfords' headquarters were close to each other every night. On this day the escort was guarding a train. We did not follow the general in person. I had heard nothing from him during the day, and supposed he would take shelter somewhere in a house.
Late at night he appeared with his staff, and found no preparation for his coming. I soon had the men out putting up tents, and after a few minutes all the camp comforts were in good shape. Gen. Shackelford said to me that George, his black boy, who had the care of his horses, said there was no corn for them, that he would prefer to suffer himself for something to eat than have his horses suffer.
I replied that I had always striven to do my duty since entering the service, and that George would find plenty of corn in the wagon. Other articles had been thrown over the corn, and it was covered up, hence George supposed there was none. Gen. Shackelford had with him in this campaign the superb mare Gen. Morgan was riding when captured in Ohio. She was given to him by Gen. Morgan the morning after the latter was captured. He also rode a very fine black horse. It was stated this horse
86had been given him by Gen. James S. Jackson, of Kentucky, who fell mortally wounded at Perryville. Some years before the war Gen. Jackson had married a lady whose father lived and died in Rock Island. I had met Gen. Jackson in Rock Island.
July 4, 1855, I think it was, he was present at a barbecue given at the Watch Tower. With others my recollection is, he made a short speech. We all had a most delightful time. One of the jolly incidents of the day, I remember which amused every body, was a foot race between Dr. Gregg and Jacob Norris.
Having previously come in contact with both the former owners of Gen. Shackelford's horses, I also felt a special interest in them. Like Gen. Shackelford, rather than have them go without corn I would have gone hungry myself.
After Gen. Burnside's return from the Gap to Knoxville, Gen. Halleck dispatched him to hold the gaps of the North Carolina mountains, the line of the Holston river, and connect with Gen. Rosecrans. This was a distance of 200 miles. Gen. Jones was in the upper Tennessee valley, and Col. Foster's command, in which was the 14th, had done good service in holding him in check. All the cavalry moved up the valley, and part of the infantry.
The loyal people of east Tennessee, as we advanced, were wild at the arrival of our forces.
Nothing was too good for the Yankee soldiers. As we entered Greenville, the home of President Johnson, casting my eye to the left I saw in the hall of a house two aged people, husband and wife, no doubt. Some distance back in the hall the old man was on bended knees with uplifted hands, and his wife stood by his side with her hands raised, both in a supplicating attitude. They no doubt were thanking God for our presence and their deliverance.
John J. Crittenden, the patriot and statesman of Kentucky, the warm friend of Henry Clay, who filled many places of honor as governor. United States senator, member
87of the house, and other positions, had two sons. One of them was a colonel in the Union army and the other was a colonel in the Confederate army. They were both in east Tennessee at the same time and the morning we entered Jonesboro, before sun up, with Gen. Shackelford, his staff and escort, we found Col. Crittenden of the 12th Kentucky cavalry and his staff occupying the court house as quarters for the night. We aroused them from their sleep. Col. Crittenden made a report to Gen. Shackelford. Quietly it was whispered that the two colonels and brothers met during the night under a flag of truce and had a delightful visit with each other, talking about family and other affairs.
We doubt if there are many instances in the history of the world of brothers occupying so high a rank confronting each other and meeting face to face on the field of battles, as "enemies in war, in peace, friends."
On the 13th Gen. Halleck telegraphed Gen. Burnside to move his forces toward Chattanooga and to connect with Rosecrans. On the 14th he said to Burnside, "The enemy will give battle, and you must be there to help." Burnside started all available troops down, and continued himself up the valley above Jonesboro with the cavalry. We were driving the enemy into Virginia. Col. Foster was ordered to get into the enemy's rear at Watauga Bridge. As soon as his presence was discovered the enemy burned the bridge and retreated on the night of the 23d. Gen. Shackelford continued the pursuit, and Gen. Burnside started to aid Rosecrans at Chattanooga.
One evening, after a heavy rain and a hard day's pursuit, Gen. Shackelford and staff stopped at an ordinary looking farm house in Virginia, near the Tennessee line, expecting to secure quarters for the night. The headquarters train was in the rear too far to get up in time. The occupant of the house proved to be an old gentleman by the name of Preston, a member of the distinguished southern family by that name. His eyesight seemed to be poor. All entered, and Capt. Hoffman said:
88"Mr. Preston, this is Gen. Shackelford."
Mr. Preston responded: "Gentlemen, you will please get out of my house."
Capt. Hoffman, supposing he did not understand what he said, again remarked: "Mr. Preston, this is Gen. Shackelford."
The same response came from Mr. Preston: "Gentlemen, you will please get out of my house."
Gen. Shackelford then spoke up: "Certainly, Mr. Preston, we will get out of your house. Good day, sir."
We all left the house, fell back a mile or two, and had quarters at a large brick house for the night -- a very comfortable home.
When we were approaching Bristol, near the Virginia line, we were hotly pursuing the enemy. On a road to our left a warm fight was going on. Gen. Shackelford called for an officer with a good horse to carry a message. Col. Motley, on his beautiful dapple-gray, and myself spurred up to the front at the same time. The colonel said to me he had ridden a good deal that day, and if I wished I could carry the message. Gen. Shackelford suggested that I go to the rear some distance before crossing over on the left. I did not get far enough back, left the road too soon, and plunged into the woods. I was riding with great speed, when suddenly I noticed a battle line in front of me. It was the rebel line moving up a hill, and I was in their rear. Instantly I realized my fix, the enemy seeing me at the same moment. I quickly wheeled my horse, retraced my steps, the rebels at the same time pouring a volley into me. Neither myself nor my noble horse received a scratch.
As soon as I reported to my regiment, after performing escort duty, I was placed with my company in command of a battery of howitzers, four brass 12-pounders with caissons attached. I had no knowledge of artillery tactics, but went to work to master the general details. I drilled the company thoroughly, and was soon prepared for active work in the field. Each gun and each caisson
89was drawn by four horses. The battery was admirable for cavalry service. Its presence always encouraged and stimulated the men. The guns were often placed on the skirmish line.
Soon after I took charge of the battery, General Kautz, chief inspector, inspected the battery and pronounced it in good shape. Afterward he became famous as a cavalry general in the east.
Longstreet was advancing from Chattanooga to east Tennessee with his corps of 20,000 men. Grave doubt was entertained by Gen. Burnside, as well as the Washington officials, as to holding the country against this formidable force. Charles A. Dana, then assistant secretary of war, who was at Knoxville, reported that in the event of east Tennessee being abandoned Burnside did not agree with Gen. Grant to retreat by way of Kingston. This would uncover all gaps in the Cumberland mountains, and leave the trains coming over to easy capture. If compelled, Burnside concluded to retreat by way of Cumberland Gap and hold Morristown and Bean Station. At this date (Nov. 13) he did not have more than four days' supplies in Knoxville.
We had neither forage nor rations. Our sufferings were intolerable. With the battery I made the trip successfully and was on the skirmish line when we met Longstreet's advance, near the ford at London. With a portion of his army he crossed the river before we arrived.
Gen. Hascall, of the 23rd corps and Col. Cameron, of the 65th Illinois infantry, had a warm controversy about something in the presence of Burnside, near Bristol and Capt. Montgomery had a company in the 65th impressed at Charleston, S. C., and with other captains was placed under fire of the U. S. bombarding fleet as retaliation.
On the 16th of November a battle was fought with Longstreet at Campbell's Station. A portion of the cavalry was sent out under command of Gen. Sanders on the Kingston road early on the morning of the 17th and took a position about a mile from the Knoxville line of defense.
90This was for the purpose of holding the enemy in check to give more time for strengthening the fortifications.
The cavalry remained there until noon of the 18th, doing very fine service. About the time an order was received by Gen. Sanders to retire he was mortally wounded. As chief of cavalry on Burnside's staff we had seen a good deal of him, and came to like him very much. The entire army mourned the death of this faithful officer.
"In his casket he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him."
June 14, 1863, with 150 men, he made a successful raid into upper Tennessee, as much for spying out the land before Burnside entered, and ascertaining full knowledge of the enemy in that region as for any other purpose. He destroyed railroad tracks, bridges, and large depots of supplies. This raid gave him great fame.
The defenses of Knoxville were placed under the charge of Gen. O. M. Poe, chief engineer of the army of the Ohio. With energy, and in the face of many discouragements, he commenced fortifying Knoxville. The great success which followed his work has made a record for him as an engineer which will always be bright in military annals.
Fort Sanders, named after the gallant dead general, was the principal point of attack at Knoxville. On the 29th, at 6 A. M., under cover of a dense fog, Longstreet's army assaulted the fort. The attack was repulsed and the assaulting column almost destroyed. In his report Gen. Poe says he knows of no incident in history where a storming party was so nearly annihilated. The slaughter, caused chiefly by our men using hand grenades, was simply fearful and appalling.
Out of the great mass making the assault not 100 men returned to their lines unhurt.
I met Gen. Poe some years ago in Rock Island. We had a brief talk about the east Tennessee campaign, and he related this incident:
91When Gen. Burnside left east Tennessee he was also relieved from duty. On the 14th day of December, between 1 and 2 o'clock P. M., the day the battle of Bean Station was fought, he started north from this point by way of Cumberland Gap. In crossing Clinch mountains he saw in advance of him a squad of men, either rebel soldiers or guerillas. He thought his hour for capture had arrived, but kept moving right along, and passed the group without a word being spoken by either party.
There was but one other person with him. The squad did not know the prize they had within their grasp. They may have been there to capture a greater one.
During the siege the supply question was a great one. The French Broad river and the Sevierville road remained open. These were great avenues for supplying the army. After 19 days, when the siege of Knoxville closed, provisions were on hand for only a few days.
The army was very short of rations during the siege and great suffering existed among the troops as well as citizens. Several regiments of Indiana boys 16 and 17 years old had been organized in Indiana after the Morgan raid, we presume for State protection. Troops were in great demand and these boys were sent to Knoxville.
After arriving in Tennessee, the poor fellows died like flies. They had no powers of endurance and had received no discipline as soldiers. They were starved. I saw the young emaciated soldiers in the streets of Knoxville, watching for the droppings from horses. With a stick they fished out the grains of corn, took them; to camp, rinsed them off and boiled them for food. After frost we had great quantities of persimmons.
The Indiana boys fed on these wherever they could. They were known as the "Persimmon Brigade." My heart bled for the poor unhappy recruits, many of whom, no doubt, left happy homes and parents; they never again saw. It was a cruel wrong to send them into Tennessee.
Col. Graham, of the 5th Indiana, was in command of about 1,000 men on the outside of Knoxville during the
92siege. December 1 our pickets were attacked on the Knoxville road. A strong reinforcement was sent to support the pickets with the howitzers of the 14th. Firing continued all day, both parties holding their ground stubbornly. A cavalry force of the enemy at 9 P. M. tried to surround our command and capture it, but failed. We retreated quietly to Walker's Ford, on the Clinch river. The next morning we were attacked in force. The 14th, under command of Col. Capron, took the road leading to Rutledge, while Col. Graham held the road leading to the ford. Col. Graham had a severe engagement, but stubbornly held his position. Gen. Martin and Col. Debrell of the rebel cavalry, were wounded, and the latter's adjutant general killed. A rebel captain who led a charge in this fight was also killed.
Col. Capron, with the 14th, was on the Maynardsville road when Col. Graham was fighting at Walker's Ford. A portion of the 14th guarded the river crossing, while the 3rd battalion was sent to reinforce our advance column. They took a strong position in a narrow gorge. The rebel cavalry charged with a heavy column, but were repulsed. They moved a portion of their command to the right, and then charged in front and on our right flank, but were again repulsed. They attacked both flanks and charged in front. To avoid being flanked we fell back towards the river. Here firing was continued for some time from both sides. The howitzers took a position on the bank of the river, the 3rd battalion supporting them, the 1st and 2nd battalions continuing the fight. The two latter were finally overpowered by superior numbers and flanked by sharpshooters, but retired in good order. While this was going on the howitzers were shelling the enemy as they advanced. Col. Capron, in his report, says:
"At this moment our position became critical, as their sharpshooters occupied the heights in good range of our position, but were fortunately held in check by our
93howitzers until the fire of the rebels gradually slackened. The whole command fought with coolness and bravery.
I had the howitzers in an open field within easy range of the rebel sharpshooters. The bullets whistled all around us, but did little execution. We think the high elevation from which they shot prevented them from firing accurately. We had seven men wounded and eleven massing. We captured eighteen prisoners. They took with them their dead and wounded."
Longstreet, with his entire corps continued his retreat up the valley. Our cavalry gave him no rest. On December 14 a well arranged plan for our capture was laid; had it succeeded it would have destroyed our entire force. We then numbered about 2,500 men; this was a mere handful to cope with Longstreet's experienced soldiers. In his report he says he issued orders for his command to be in readiness to march on the 14th, with the hope of being able to surprise and capture our cavalry at Bean's Station.
His main column came directly from Rogersville to Bean's Station. Gen. Martin, with four brigades of cavalry, moved on the south side, and Gen. W. E. Jones, with three brigades of cavalry, passed down on the north side. We had a strong picket force in our front guarding well the approaches. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, while we were in camp, suddenly shells commenced bursting in our midst.
Promptly every soldier took his proper place, and we moved to take our position in the line-of-battle as speedily as we could go. It was not long before we had the howitzers in position on the left of the road, the 14th taking a place in the line-of-battle on our left flank. We observed a battle line advancing towards us, covering the width of the plain, probably a mile in extent.
It was a beautiful day, the sun shining warmly and brightly. After a time the second line-of-battle came in view. All the artillery we had -- Colvin's Illinois battery, the two rifled guns of the 5th Ind. and the howitzers --
94were loading and firing with great rapidity. As the shells burst over the heads of the advancing foe instantly the line would drop to the ground, rise, close up and advance in splendid order. It was inspiring to see the enemy advance with solid front. Our weak line-of-battle confronting so large a force, with intrepid daring finally made the advancing enemy hesitate. The rapidity with which they fired their artillery was enough to demoralize our command. They report in this brief battle they shot about 800 solid shot and shell.
After a time all of my ammunition was expended, and I hurriedly went to the train in the rear to secure another supply. We lost no time, but made the trip quickly in the midst of a most fearful cannonade. In passing an old log house my attention was attracted to a solitary horseman sitting on his horse behind the building snug and close. I should have been delighted if I could have properly taken a place by his side until after this furious cannonade was passed, but my place was elsewhere. After securing a new supply of ammunition we returned to the line-of-battle. We were directed at this time to report to Col. Wolford, who was being strongly pressed on our right flank. We placed our guns in position on the crest of a hill and opened the battery. Immediately the sharpshooters directed their attention to us, but we stood our ground until our ammunition was exhausted.
As we fired the last shot we discovered the rebels coming out of the woods and charging to take our battery. We quickly limbered up and got out, and as we were leaving the field a volley was poured into us. A horse ridden by a postillion in the rear gun commenced stumbling, the rider whipping and swearing at him to keep him from falling. We saw the horse was shot, and promptly directed the men to dismount and cut him out, the postillion quickly mounting the off horse. This work was done almost without stopping the gun, and we came off the field with our entire battery. The rider of the horse that was
95shot was Oscar O. Day, who lived and died in Rock Island after the war. He was always plucky and gritty in a fight. Col. Wolford some little time before this lost a battery of howitzers by capture, and we took a good deal of pride in keeping ours out of the clutches of the enemy. Lieut. W. E. Sanford, Co. I of the 14th, was in a position to see what was going on that day. He wrote a description of this fight. We make an extract:
"Our howitzer battery was now removed from its position on the road and hurried to the support of Wolford. We will follow this battery to the right and witness the struggle there, as depicted by Featherton, he being with a provost-guard of 40 men who were sent to reinforce Wolford at this time.
"Lieut. Connelly, after reporting to the brave warrior, planted his little battery and again opened upon the enemy with his spherical-cased field shell with telling effect. At length Col. Wolford rode up and remarked that, his men being out of ammunition, the whole line would be compelled to fall back. The lieutenant remarked:
"‘I have but few shells left, and would like permission to plant them among the enemy.’ This request was granted, but the delay caused by carrying out the suggestion had nearly proved fatal to Wolford's command and the battery. About the time the last shell was fired the rebels emerged from the woods on our right, charging with fiendish fury and overwhelming force. His men having exhausted their ammunition, Wolford's line now fell back in good order, bringing off all the guns successfully.
"While Lieut. Connelly was engaged in expending his last shell, Wolford's brave men, though out of ammunition and thus powerless, remained cooly and defiantly in their position, receiving the fierce fire of the foe, without power to retaliate, while the little battery poured a constant shower of shell into their massed lines with precision,
96which exploded with regularity, scattering fragments of death-dealing iron in their midst.
"The slaughter of their men at this point was terrible, and kept in check their line until Connelly, too, was exhausted of ammunition and the line compelled to fall back as just narrated. In Wolford's command was the 112th Ill. M't'd Inf., as true and noble a band of heroes as ever kept step to the "music of the Union." and commanded by the gallant Colonel (now Brigadier-General by brevet) Thos. J. Henderson.
"Colvin, too, was exhausted of ammunition and compelled to retire. Colvin this day added fresh laurels to his brow, while our little howitzers lost not a mite of their well-earned reputation by the skillful and bold conduct of Lieut. Connelly. As a reward for his gallantry and skill, Lieut. Connelly was this day recommended for promotion from Second Lieutenant to Captain, and received his commission shortly after. The superior officer, Gen. Shackleford, never acquitted himself more nobly or more skillfully. The cool and skillful Graham almost excelled himself in the management of the brigade, while the stubborn Capron, with his handful of the 14th, boldly held in check Longstreet's fierce desperadoes. Cap't. Dent, in charge of advanced skirmishers, displayed his usual coolness, skill, and judgment. Indeed, every officer acquitted himself heroically and skillfully in his command, while, as before stated, the conduct of the men was never excelled."
Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, in his report of this fight, speaks of one of his brigades being exposed to the fire of a Federal battery on the left (our right) of the Knoxville road, and on an elevation on the south side of the valley, while fighting our cavalry. He also speaks, after his batteries had been playing on us, of a battery moving to his left and front to a commanding position, when it opened on a well-formed line of his cavalry. This refers to the howitzers.
In the official records of the rebellion, printed by the government, we find full detailed reports of the confederate officers, Gen. Longstreet and his chief subordinates; Gen. Longstreet saying in his report: "We could not catch the enemy's cavalry."
This was the last battle Gen. Shackleford fought in east Tennessee. With Burnside he went north. We have failed to find in the rebellion records an official report of this fight from any of our commanding officers.
After the battle was over, and we were no longer under fire, we discovered every gun-carriage we had was completely shattered. We had exhausted the ammunition especially prepared for our guns, and had filled our caissons with spherical case 12-pound field shells made for a heavy field battery. The charge of powder was too great, and the concussion splintered the carriages. We went to Knoxville with the guns to have them repaired. We reported to Gen. Tillson, Chief of Artillery, and asked for an order to have the work done. When we informed him how we had damaged the gun carriages he was incredulous. He regarded it as a most wonderful result in artillery firing, and was surprised that the brass pieces were not shattered as badly as the gun carriages. He insisted we should write out a full, detailed report of our work and experience in using the heavy shells, and file it in his office. This is the only report we have made. If he is living and this strikes his eye, I hope it will be satisfactory to him.
All regretted the departure of Gen. Burnside from east Tennessee. He was very popular with his command. He seemed to be a just man, and worked hard to discharge his duty faithfully to his comrades. He left us after making a splendid record. His able defense of Knoxville, under adverse circumstances and against a greatly superior force, will go down in history as one of the great events of the war. He was a kind-hearted man but unrelenting when circumstances warranted. One day
98I was in the telegraph office in Knoxville. He was also there with an operator sending dispatches. A captain and lieutenant of a Tennessee regiment came in. The captain was drunk. He was abusing the lieutenant about some personal affair. He did not notice the General's presence. Burnside listened for a time to the billingsgate which was being poured out by the captain, and then went up to him and asked him his name and regiment, and said to him:
"Sir! You disgrace your uniform! You are unworthy to wear it! You shall not wear it!" And catching hold of one of the captain's shoulder-straps he tore it from his coat and threw it on the floor.
Many refugees from Tennessee and North Carolina poured into Knoxville after our arrival. A sergeant of my regiment, a fine looking intelligent fellow and a native of Connecticut, one day came to me to have me go with him to see Gen. Burnside, and ask him to commission him a lieutenant, in a cavalry regiment 6th Tennessee, then being organized. I said to the young man, "Go and see him yourself. Tell him who you are, that you were reared and educated in Connecticut, and what you want, in a few words." He did so, and received a commission as lieutenant.
In the vicinity of Morristown, Dandridge and other points in east Tennessee in the latter part of December the cavalry was continuously in the saddle and fighting almost every day. Gen. Elliott, commanding a fine division of cavalry from the army of the Cumberland, reinforced us. We gave the enemy no rest, and kept hammering him every day.
On the morning of December 20, Longstreet advanced with most of his cavalry, a division of infantry and two batteries of artillery. We had a general fight along the entire line. Our loss this day was about 100 killed, wounded and missing. The enemy lost from 200 to 400. We buried 20 of their dead. Afterward the citizens reported to us 20 wagons were used in carrying away their
99dead, and that "they were piled in like hogs." In this fight the 1st East Tennessee cavalry, commanded by Lieut. Col. Jim Brownlow, made a saber charge which did honor to this dashing officer and his soldiers. Colonel Jim and Major John, sons of Governor Brownlow, were in a Tennessee cavalry regiment.
When in Washington not long after the war was over, I met Col. Coffin, who had served in a Kentucky cavalry regiment. He held a place in the war department. I went to his office one day and we talked over the east Tennessee campaign, especially the battle of Bean Station. At the close of our talk he said to me, "Do you remember who commanded the Confederate cavalry in this fight on their right?"
I promptly said, "General W. E. Jones." A gentleman sat at the opposite side of the desk but took no part in our conversation. Col. Coffin said to me, "Major Connelly, this is General Jones, whom you confronted at Bean Station." General Jones was filling a comfortable place in the war department.
One night an orderly came to my tent and awoke me about 12 o'clock and asked me to report to Gen. Sturgis. I did so and found him with Col. Palmer of a Pennsylvania regiment, who made a bright record. Gen. Sturgis wished to consult us on some movements he contemplated making the next day, and which were successfully executed. Gen. Palmer made a fortune after the war building railroads in Colorado.
Not many years ago he invited every living member of his regiment to join him at Colorado Springs in a reunion. At an expense of $75,000 he entertained his old comrades, paying for their transportation and everything else. The veteran hero was laid to rest, not very long ago. Comrade, Hail and Farewell!
November 6 Col. Israel Garrard, of the 7th Ohio Cavalry, commanding a brigade, dispatched that he had been totally defeated. He reported that he had lost Phillip's Illinois battery and two-thirds of his command near
100Rogersville. The enemy swooped down upon the 7th Ohio and the 2d Tennessee mounted infantry. After their capture many of both regiments escaped. Col. Garrard was a skillful and accomplished officer.
This was one of those occurrences which at times seem unavoidable. Two rebel brigades were the attacking party. The rebel Gen. Ransom reported the capture of 850 prisoners, four pieces of artillery, 60 wagons and 1,000 animals. He says only 300 animals were brought in, and charges his soldiers with running off the remainder and selling them.
Gen. Sturgis, who succeeded Gen. Shackelford, being in command of the cavalry on the 28th of January, advanced toward the French Broad river on the road leading from Fair Garden to Dandridge. We constantly kept the enemy on the jump. They would make a strong stand, only to be driven back. In the afternoon they were reinforced by three regiments of infantry. They took a strong position in a dense wood, and threw up rail barricades late in the afternoon. Our line of battle was almost within pistol-shot of their barricades. A staff officer of Col. "Wolford requested me to report to him with my battery. "We started quickly, and had gone but a short distance when in passing Gen. Sturgis he asked me where we were going. We told him. He replied:
"Please say to Col. Wolford not to open the battery. If you do you will uncover our position and give the enemy an advantage."
We moved up and reported to Col. Wolford what Gen. Sturgis said. He made no reply, but his adjutant was very anxious to have us open the battery, remarking that it would encourage the men greatly.
While we were discussing the question the rebels made a charge. We found ourselves in a hornet's nest, with bullets flying thick and fast. Col. Wolford was cool and calm. Our forces resisted the charge with splendid courage. Col. LaGrange's men at one time wavered, but with cocked revolver he rode along his line encouraging his men to
101stand firm. He insisted on every one keeping his place, and with great skill and bravery he kept them there. Gen. Tom Henderson's 112th Illinois fought gallantly in this engagement. As long as I shall live and retain my memory I shall not forget the cool daring and great generalship displayed by Cols. Wolford and LaGrange. We fought the enemy until dark, left him behind his barricade, and retreated in good order, not going into camp until late at night.
As we were falling back, Gen. Sturgis rode by my side a long time. He was a good talker and genial. He spoke of the hardships which the cavalry had experienced since they had been in east Tennessee, and said that he was determined to take the troopers to Kentucky, and have them newly and well equipped for the coming Atlanta campaign. He said we would proceed to Kentucky at once.
This was the first whisper I had heard of the cavalry going north, and it was very cheering news. We had been in the open field all winter in east Tennessee, had continually encountered the enemy, had suffered many a day from cold and hunger. We often found ourselves after the siege of Knoxville with nothing but parched corn to eat, or whatever else good fortune might throw in our way.
We went directly the next day to Tuckaleechee Cove. The troopers had never been in this cove, and we found everything in abundance. The whole command was joyous and happy with the prospect of going north. It meant a visit to loved ones at home for many of us.
General John G. Foster, who succeeded Burnside, never took the field in person. Longstreet was driven into Virginia. Only small bands remained in east Tennessee and there was no occasion for General Foster to enter the field.
During the Mossy Creek campaign, Col. Butler of the Fifth Indiana cavalry, was supporting the battery. In front the enemy appeared in large numbers. They did
102not reply to our guns. They were on a high elevation and seemed to be waiting for something to occur. Col. Butler and myself were sitting on our horses facing the south. We expected a surprise of some kind. It finally came. To rake our entire line of battle a rebel battery had been planted on an elevated point to our right, or south of us. The first shot, which seemed to be a piece of railroad iron, whizzed viciously past us. We were greatly exposed, and it was no doubt aimed at us. Remaining there as a target would be suicidal. I directed the battery to limber up and retire.
At Mossy Creek when we were in line of battle, the band of the 112th Illinois mounted infantry (General Henderson's regiment) had taken possession of a large brick seminary, badly wrecked and without windows. Just before the battle, when everything was still as death, the strains of the national airs played by the band could be heard for miles. As the line of battle was about to move off in a charge, the band struck up the "Star Spangled Banner." The inspiration was grand. I will never hear that great national air played again with the same thrilling effect.
The army not only suffered for rations in east Tennessee, but it was poorly clad during intensely cold weather. After the siege of Knoxville, when supplies commenced coming in, one day during the Mossy Creek campaign, boots and shoes were distributed to the men while in line of battle. The old ones were left on the ground where the exchange was made. A charge immediately after was ordered and successfully made. The rebels regained courage and charged our line, driving us back beyond our former position.
After a short time we made the second charge, retaking the ground we had occupied when the boots and shoes were issued. Not an old boot or shoe could be seen anywhere. Longstreet's men had taken every one of them. The poor fellows suffered as much as we did for rations, and their clothing was more tattered and torn than ours.
When we entered east Tennessee, at Strawberry Plains, a few miles from Knoxville, up the valley, a fine bridge spanned the river. It was burned. Our people went to work to rebuild it. It was up, a floor laid down, but no protection on either side. One day our command started to cross on top of the bridge. While we were on it the column was halted. I was riding a spirited horse. After stopping he became nervous and restless. My saber was buckled to the saddle. My overcoat, including the cape, was buttoned up closely. The horse continued to dance around, so I concluded to dismount.
While in this act the saber-hilt caught under the cape. I could not reach the ground and I hung suspended, powerless and unable to aid myself. One of my men hastily dismounted and lifted me up so that I got out of my bad box. The horse was greatly frightened, and at one time got fearfully close to the edge of the bridge. It was very high; nothing but rocks beneath. I shall always feel grateful to the soldier.
When out on a scout one day, coming near a house built in the woods, I heard some one crying most piteously. I rode to the rear of the house and found an old woman bending over a wash tub containing a man's clothes completely saturated with blood. In explanation she said the guerillas had found her son at home, and he was unable to escape from them. They had riddled him with bullets. He was a member of a Tennessee regiment.
At another time I had charge of a scouting party between London and Knoxville. We discovered a troop of cavalry coming toward us, supposing them to be the enemy. Both parties prepared for action, when, on coming nearer to each other, I found it to be a Union force, commanded by my fellow townsman, Col. Henry Curtis, who was an assistant adjutant general on duty at Gen. Schofield's headquarters.
Col. Curtis went out as a lieutenant in the Thirty-seventh Illinois infantry, and when Col. White was made a brigadier after the Pea Ridge battle, in which he distinguished
104himself, he had Lieutenant Curtis appointed adjutant general.
General White with his adjutant went east and was at Harper's Ferry when Col. Miles disgracefully surrendered his command. The prisoners were paroled. The cavalry cut their way out. General "White demanded a court of inquiry which acquitted him and found he had acted with great bravery. I went to Col. Curtis one day at Knoxville, after general orders had been issued cutting off all leaves of absence, with a view of centering everything near Chattanooga for the great Atlanta campaign, and asked him to give me a leave. He said, "You know what our orders are." "Yes," I replied. "But I wish to be made an exception." He took from his desk a blank leave and commenced filling it out, when Gen. Schofield entered the room. As quick as lightning he put it back in his desk. After the general had left the room he completed my leave of absence and I came home. It was always a mystery to the officers of my command how I got that leave. Col. Curtis was always vigilant and faithful in the discharge of his duties. After the war he would often make to me some playful remark about my well trained "bull dogs." For nearly twenty years previous to his death we were in close business relations and friends.
Soon after this we left the road and moved along the river bank to strike another road near a ford. We found two men at their homes who were greatly alarmed when they saw us, supposing we were rebel cavalrymen returning to take them prisoners. Only a few minutes before a rebel scouting party had crossed the river at this point 500 strong. They told the two men they were going to London to burn the bridge. If we had approached the ford on the road leading to it we would have come in contact with them. They did not go to London.
When near Fair Garden one day we moved out early, expecting to have quite a fight. Skirmishers were deployed, and we took position at a strong point with the
105battery. We watched and waited for some time, but failed to discover the exact position of the rebels. On our right there was a high point in advance of our skirmishers. I rode to this point to see if I could locate the enemy's line. I had no sooner arrived at the top of the knoll when a heavy volley was fired at me. On my escape and return to the battery a comrade said to me:
"I have always thought that you would live to get home. I am now certain of it." We both returned safely to our homes, but our comrade many years ago was laid to rest.
Shortly before Gen. Burnside left for the north, he reviewed all the troops in the vicinity of Bean Station. As they passed him in review, he being dismounted, each commander leading his column would give the salute, fall out and take his place beside the general. He talked freely and asked many questions. My men burnished up brightly the howitzers and all equipments and in the bright sunlight they made a fine showing. After getting into camp Col. Capron sent for me and informed me that Gen. Burnside highly commended the appearance of the battery and the fine showing my company made; and that he would like to see all officers keep their commands up to the highest standard.
Gen. Burnside was not popular in the east with his superior officers. They criticised him as being sluggish and slow in his movements and of always being behind time in forming his connections on the battlefield. I never discovered in him a lack of energy or a failure to take advantage of every emergency presented to him. His defense of Knoxville in meeting successfully the heroic soldiers of Longstreet will always live in history as one of the great events of the war.
There is a tradition in Knoxville that Gen. Burnside was relieved because he placed around the moat outside of Fort Sanders barbed wire to obstruct the rebel charges expected to be made on the fort. This is a mistake. Gen. Burnside was relieved at his own request, because he had
106completed the work he was sent into east Tennessee to do. Gen. Poe, chief engineer, constructed and had charge of the Knoxville defenses. He was the man who placed the barbed wire about the fort. For defensive purposes it was effective. We doubt if Gen. Burnside knew it was there until after Longstreet failed to take the fort by his daring and insane charges.
When near Greenville I was required to make an official visit to Knoxville. I rode into the village with my orderly who secured permission to occupy Andrew Johnson's stables for my horses. At that time I had no thought they were eating government rations at the crib of one who was to be president of the United States. I boarded the caboose of the freight train and in it found Mrs. Patterson, a daughter of the coming president, and her niece, going to Knoxville also. Mrs. Patterson later presided at the White House. She was a charming lady and her niece captivating. They invited me to lunch with them. We had a delightful trip on the rickety old train.
The little one-story frame tailor shop of President Johnson stood within a few feet of his modest home on the same lot at that time. He never attended school a day in his life. His wife taught him. She was an invalid and at no time presided at the White House. Her two daughters assumed that responsibility.
When we entered east Tennessee we found the land flowing with milk and honey. The rich valleys were filled with supplies of all kinds needed by the army. We found as fine corn there as was ever raised in Illinois perfectly matured.
The dishonest cavalry quartermasters reveled in their surroundings. When detachments or scouting parties were on the march they fed wherever they happened to strike a cornfield. Sometimes receipts were given and often not given for the supplies. Frequently the owner was not around. We never asked permission to feed. The cavalry quartermasters were entitled each month to forage in proportion to the number of animals on their
107requisition. If they did not distribute full supplies they had a margin. Those authorized to issue vouchers for horses, forage or other supplies, who were dishonest, did not hesitate to do so for the supplies they did not furnish. By an arrangement with a dishonest paymaster they took their vouchers to him and got the cash, always allowing the paymaster a generous discount. After the siege of Knoxville four of these dishonest quartermasters ordered a bird supper from the north, for which each paid $100.
I personally knew two of them. One from dissipation dropped dead in the streets of Springfield, Illinois, after the war. His mother wrote me, asking me to assist her in getting a pension because of "her son's service to his country." I could not aid her. The money he took from the government and squandered in a short time would have kept her in affluence the remainder of her days. The other man before the war was a member of a church, a choir leader and an all-round good citizen. After the war when he would hear of a stranger coming to his home village he would hide. He was continually expecting to be arrested by a government detective for defrauding the government. He died in the gutter, disgraced and dishonored. "The wages of sin is death."
After a long and weary march one day with nothing to eat, I looked in the distance and saw a cow tethered near a small home. I rode up and found a lonely woman, the only occupant. The advancing and retreating of both armies back and forth in east Tennessee had swept the country of everything and left it barren. I asked the occupant of the house if she could let me have something to eat. She replied she could give me only cold corn bread and milk. I wished nothing better. I never enjoyed a meal with greater relish. In a home when I called for a meal I made it a rule to pay a dollar for it. I asked the kind woman which she preferred, greenbacks or Confederate money. "Always Confederate money," she said. I handed her a $5 Confederate bill. She did not wish to take it because she had no change. I said to
108her that I was perfectly satisfied if she was. I had a feast "fit for the gods."
After the Cherokee Indian raid in February, 1864, one evening when it was time to go into camp, we came to a beautiful grove and decided to occupy it for the night. While we were viewing the situation the owner appeared and made a pathetic appeal for us not to occupy the grove, saying a much better place to camp was a mile beyond. We camped in the grove, however, and soon discovered why the owner did not care to have us do so. We found deposited in a pit, covered over carefully, about 100 bushels of wheat, one of the articles or rations at that particular time of which we were greatly in need. The wheat was soon ground into flour in a near-by mill, and our boys greatly enjoyed the flapjacks made from it. We gave a receipt for the wheat. If the owner was a loyal man no doubt the government paid him a good price for it.
At that time the greater portion of our cavalry was in Kentucky. Major Davidson was in command of the brigade, I serving as his adjutant general. Major Quigg commanding the Fourteenth and Lieut. Moore the battery.
The east Tennessee campaign was splendid in its success and in its results. Many of the Union men had left their homes and joined our army. Their families during their absence had been abused, robbed and plundered. Most savage atrocities had been perpetrated upon them. They passed through a furnace of fire. Finally relief came to them.
The departure of Longstreet's demoralizing command, beaten at every point, with petty jealousies between the chief and his subordinate officers, were signals for Union cheering. The flower of the rebel army was powerless to secure a foothold in this loyal region. It retired sullenly under the command of its great chieftain, who was chagrined and disappointed with his work in east Tennessee. As early as Dec. 30 he wrote to Richmond:
109"I regret to say that a combination of circumstances has so operated during the campaign in East Tennessee as to prevent the complete destruction of the enemy's forces in this part of the state. It is fair to infer that the fault is entirely with me, and I desire, therefore, that some other commander be tried."
At Richmond they declined to relieve him. For disobedience of orders Gen. Longstreet wished to court martial Generals Robertson, McLaws and others, but his superiors at Richmond insisted he had no authority to convene the courts, and they declined to encourage him in his charges. He had fought in every great battle in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Tennessee. His great services entitled him to some consideration. He did right in asking to he relieved.
When in New Orleans last winter a gentleman and his family had rooms next to us. He was born there. His father before the war owned several cotton plantations, 700 slaves and other valuable property. He pointed out to me an elegant home his father had built and occupied with his family before the war. The father was financially ruined and died broken hearted. After the war Gen. Grant favored Gen. Longstreet and aided him when he could. New Orleans at this time had only negro police under the command of Gen. Longstreet. They were unpopular with the whites and war developed. Longstreet with his several hundred police took a position behind barricades. The citizens attacked them furiously, killing and wounding a large number.
The day the attack was made, the native mentioned above informed me he aimed deliberately three times at Longstreet and shot at him, but missed him each time. Before that the native supposed he was a dead shot. Negro police have not done duty in New Orleans since this occurrence.
While serving as inspector general, Gen. Ammen was my superior officer. His headquarters were at Knoxville.
In the summer of 1864, Gen. Wheeler with his strong cavalry command, came into east Tennessee to tear up things generally. Our cavalry was in Georgia, busy with the army on its way to Atlanta. Gen. Ammen directed me to improvise a squadron for the purpose of watching Gen. Wheeler. With this view about 100 heavy artillerymen were mounted on horses taken from the quartermaster's corral. Our special point was to keep Wheeler from burning the London bridge, recently rebuilt. We had a number of interesting adventures and escapes. We made full reports to Gen. Ammen, who remained at London. He appreciated fully our work and was afterwards especially kind. In his genial moments he was a delightful companion. Some instances in his military life he talked about with great freedom.
In 1861-62 the Chicago Times was furious in its opposition to the war. An order was issued for its suppression, and Gen. Ammen had charge of its execution. The excitement in Chicago at this time was great, and many of the loyal people were fearful of retaliation and mob rule. At their solicitation President Lincoln revoked the order.
At this Gen. Ammen felt humiliated. He always insisted that the crisis had passed when the order was revoked and that no trouble would have resulted. He had his military force well in hand and had taken the precaution to place it where he could hurl it at the mob if necessary.
The other incident about which he talked was Gen. Buell's arrival at Pittsburg Landing the night of the first day's fight. Gen. Buell had been criticized for being tardy in advancing to Gen. Grant's relief, but Gen. Ammen insisted that the charge did Gen. Buell gross injustice. Gen. Ammen commanded the advance brigade on the march on the 6th of April, 1862. He said if anybody was to blame he was the man. He insisted that Gen. Buell went to Gen. Grant's relief as promptly as was possible, and that being able to participate in the next day's fight on the 7th saved the Union army from an
111inglorious defeat, and that instead of being criticized and censured, Gen. Buell should be applauded by his loyal countrymen.
In his quiet moments Gen. Ammen was as kind and gentle as an amiable woman. When aroused he was a lion in his rage. Around Madisonville at that time hovered a good many disloyal people, who gave the enemy information of our movements. Some of these were arrested, taken to London and imprisoned. The guards conducted them to headquarters for examination. At his request we assisted Gen. Ammen in this work.
Once a judge of high repute in his locality was arrested. In his examination Gen. Ammen and myself were alone with the judge, and after a time I left the room. The general came out and asked me to return and labor with the judge. While talking to the latter the general came in and stretched himself at full length on a lounge, lying on his back, but taking no part in the talk. The judge made a remark that irritated the general. Like a tiger from his lair he sprang from the couch. He poured upon the judge volleys of denunciation; it was a torrent, an avalanche of invective. Gen. Ammen with other things told the judge he would place him at hard labor on the fortifications then being built, attach a ball and chain to him and feed him on bread and water.
The judge wilted. He cried like a child. After his impassioned outburst, and the general had grown calm, we discussed what was best to do with the judge. We advocated kind treatment, with permission to return to his family on his parole of honor. To this the general readily assented. The judge went home, and was never again reported for disloyalty, so far as we know.
Gen. Ammen seemed to be feeble and lacking in physical power. Mentally he was strong and full of resources. He was unassuming, and had many traits of true nobility. He died about fifteen years ago. Peace to the memory of the gallant old soldier and true-hearted citizen. Like Gen. Thomas, he was a Virginian by birth, and loyal to the core.