Ulysses S. Grant: Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant

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Ulysses S. Grant Writing His Memoirs (1885)
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"Man proposes and God disposes."  There are but few important events in
the affairs of men brought about by their own choice.

Although frequently urged by friends to write my memoirs I had
determined never to do so, nor to write anything for publication.  At
the age of nearly sixty-two I received an injury from a fall, which
confined me closely to the house while it did not apparently affect my
general health. This made study a pleasant pastime.  Shortly after, the
rascality of a business partner developed itself by the announcement of
a failure.  This was followed soon after by universal depression of all
securities, which seemed to threaten the extinction of a good part of
the income still retained, and for which I am indebted to the kindly act
of friends.  At this juncture the editor of the Century Magazine asked
me to write a few articles for him. I consented for the money it gave
me; for at that moment I was living upon borrowed money.  The work I
found congenial, and I determined to continue it.  The event is an
important one for me, for good or evil; I hope for the former.

In preparing these volumes for the public, I have entered upon the task
with the sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to any one, whether on
the National or Confederate side, other than the unavoidable injustice
of not making mention often where special mention is due.  There must be
many errors of omission in this work, because the subject is too large
to be treated of in two volumes in such way as to do justice to all the
officers and men engaged.  There were thousands of instances, during the
rebellion, of individual, company, regimental and brigade deeds of
heroism which deserve special mention and are not here alluded to.  The
troops engaged in them will have to look to the detailed reports of
their individual commanders for the full history of those deeds.

The first volume, as well as a portion of the second, was written before
I had reason to suppose I was in a critical condition of health.  Later
I was reduced almost to the point of death, and it became impossible for
me to attend to anything for weeks.  I have, however, somewhat regained
my strength, and am able, often, to devote as many hours a day as a
person should devote to such work.  I would have more hope of satisfying
the expectation of the public if I could have allowed myself more time.
I have used my best efforts, with the aid of my eldest son, F. D. Grant,
assisted by his brothers, to verify from the records every statement of
fact given.  The comments are my own, and show how I saw the matters
treated of whether others saw them in the same light or not.

With these remarks I present these volumes to the public, asking no
favor but hoping they will meet the approval of the reader.












































Volume one begins:



My family is American, and has been for generations, in all its
branches, direct and collateral.

Mathew Grant, the founder of the branch in America, of which I am a
descendant, reached Dorchester, Massachusetts, in May, 1630.  In 1635 he
moved to what is now Windsor, Connecticut, and was the surveyor for that
colony for more than forty years.  He was also, for many years of the
time, town clerk.  He was a married man when he arrived at Dorchester,
but his children were all born in this country.  His eldest son, Samuel,
took lands on the east side of the Connecticut River, opposite Windsor,
which have been held and occupied by descendants of his to this day.

I am of the eighth generation from Mathew Grant, and seventh from
Samuel.  Mathew Grant's first wife died a few years after their
settlement in Windsor, and he soon after married the widow Rockwell,
who, with her first husband, had been fellow-passengers with him and his
first wife, on the ship Mary and John, from Dorchester, England, in
1630.  Mrs. Rockwell had several children by her first marriage, and
others by her second.  By intermarriage, two or three generations later,
I am descended from both the wives of Mathew Grant.

In the fifth descending generation my great grandfather, Noah Grant, and
his younger brother, Solomon, held commissions in the English army, in
1756, in the war against the French and Indians.  Both were killed that

My grandfather, also named Noah, was then but nine years old. At the
breaking out of the war of the Revolution, after the battles of Concord
and Lexington, he went with a Connecticut company to join the
Continental army, and was present at the battle of Bunker Hill.  He
served until the fall of Yorktown, or through the entire Revolutionary
war.  He must, however, have been on furlough part of the time--as I
believe most of the soldiers of that period were--for he married in
Connecticut during the war, had two children, and was a widower at the
close.  Soon after this he emigrated to Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, and settled near the town of Greensburg in that county.
He took with him the younger of his two children, Peter Grant.  The
elder, Solomon, remained with his relatives in Connecticut until old
enough to do for himself, when he emigrated to the British West Indies.

Not long after his settlement in Pennsylvania, my grandfather, Captain
Noah Grant, married a Miss Kelly, and in 1799 he emigrated again, this
time to Ohio, and settled where the town of Deerfield now stands.  He
had now five children, including Peter, a son by his first marriage.  My
father, Jesse R. Grant, was the second child--oldest son, by the second

Peter Grant went early to Maysville, Kentucky, where he was very
prosperous, married, had a family of nine children, and was drowned at
the mouth of the Kanawha River, Virginia, in 1825, being at the time one
of the wealthy men of the West.

My grandmother Grant died in 1805, leaving seven children.  This broke
up the family.  Captain Noah Grant was not thrifty in the way of "laying
up stores on earth," and, after the death of his second wife, he went,
with the two youngest children, to live with his son Peter, in
Maysville.  The rest of the family found homes in the neighborhood of
Deerfield, my father in the family of judge Tod, the father of the late
Governor Tod, of Ohio.  His industry and independence of character were
such, that I imagine his labor compensated fully for the expense of his

There must have been a cordiality in his welcome into the Tod family,
for to the day of his death he looked upon judge Tod and his wife, with
all the reverence he could have felt if they had been parents instead of
benefactors.  I have often heard him speak of Mrs. Tod as the most
admirable woman he had ever known.  He remained with the Tod family only
a few years, until old enough to learn a trade.  He went first, I
believe, with his half-brother, Peter Grant, who, though not a tanner
himself, owned a tannery in Maysville, Kentucky.  Here he learned his
trade, and in a few years returned to Deerfield and worked for, and
lived in the family of a Mr. Brown, the father of John Brown--"whose
body lies mouldering in the grave, while his soul goes marching on."  I
have often heard my father speak of John Brown, particularly since the
events at Harper's Ferry.  Brown was a boy when they lived in the same
house, but he knew him afterwards, and regarded him as a man of great
purity of character, of high moral and physical courage, but a fanatic
and extremist in whatever he advocated.  It was certainly the act of an
insane man to attempt the invasion of the South, and the overthrow of
slavery, with less than twenty men.

My father set up for himself in business, establishing a tannery at
Ravenna, the county seat of Portage County.  In a few years he removed
from Ravenna, and set up the same business at Point Pleasant, Clermont
County, Ohio.

During the minority of my father, the West afforded but poor facilities
for the most opulent of the youth to acquire an education, and the
majority were dependent, almost exclusively, upon their own exertions
for whatever learning they obtained.  I have often heard him say that
his time at school was limited to six months, when he was very young,
too young, indeed, to learn much, or to appreciate the advantages of an
education, and to a "quarter's schooling" afterwards, probably while
living with judge Tod.  But his thirst for education was intense.  He
learned rapidly, and was a constant reader up to the day of his death in
his eightieth year.  Books were scarce in the Western Reserve during his
youth, but he read every book he could borrow in the neighborhood where
he lived.  This scarcity gave him the early habit of studying everything
he read, so that when he got through with a book, he knew everything in
it.  The habit continued through life.  Even after reading the daily
papers--which he never neglected--he could give all the important
information they contained.  He made himself an excellent English
scholar, and before he was twenty years of age was a constant
contributor to Western newspapers, and was also, from that time until he
was fifty years old, an able debater in the societies for this purpose,
which were common in the West at that time.  He always took an active
part in politics, but was never a candidate for office, except, I
believe, that he was the first Mayor of Georgetown.  He supported
Jackson for the Presidency; but he was a Whig, a great admirer of Henry
Clay, and never voted for any other democrat for high office after

My mother's family lived in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for several
generations.  I have little information about her ancestors.  Her family
took no interest in genealogy, so that my grandfather, who died when I
was sixteen years old, knew only back to his grandfather.  On the other
side, my father took a great interest in the subject, and in his
researches, he found that there was an entailed estate in Windsor,
Connecticut, belonging to the family, to which his nephew, Lawson Grant
--still living--was the heir.  He was so much interested in the subject
that he got his nephew to empower him to act in the matter, and in 1832
or 1833, when I was a boy ten or eleven years old, he went to Windsor,
proved the title beyond dispute, and perfected the claim of the owners
for a consideration--three thousand dollars, I think.  I remember the
circumstance well, and remember, too, hearing him say on his return that
he found some widows living on the property, who had little or nothing
beyond their homes.  From these he refused to receive any recompense.

My mother's father, John Simpson, moved from Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania, to Clermont County, Ohio, about the year 1819, taking with
him his four children, three daughters and one son.  My mother, Hannah
Simpson, was the third of these children, and was then over twenty years
of age.  Her oldest sister was at that time married, and had several
children.  She still lives in Clermont County at this writing, October
5th, 1884, and is over ninety ears of age.  Until her memory failed her,
a few years ago, she thought the country ruined beyond recovery when the
Democratic party lost control in 1860.  Her family, which was large,
inherited her views, with the exception of one son who settled in
Kentucky before the war.  He was the only one of the children who
entered the volunteer service to suppress the rebellion.

Her brother, next of age and now past eighty-eight, is also still living
in Clermont County, within a few miles of the old homestead, and is as
active in mind as ever.  He was a supporter of the Government during the
war, and remains a firm believer, that national success by the
Democratic party means irretrievable ruin.

In June, 1821, my father, Jesse R. Grant, married Hannah Simpson.  I was
born on the 27th of April, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont County,
Ohio.  In the fall of 1823 we moved to Georgetown, the county seat of
Brown, the adjoining county east.  This place remained my home, until at
the age of seventeen, in 1839, I went to West Point.

The schools, at the time of which I write, were very indifferent.  There
were no free schools, and none in which the scholars were classified.
They were all supported by subscription, and a single teacher--who was
often a man or a woman incapable of teaching much, even if they imparted
all they knew--would have thirty or forty scholars, male and female,
from the infant learning the A B C's up to the young lady of eighteen
and the boy of twenty, studying the highest branches taught--the three
R's, "Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic."  I never saw an algebra, or other
mathematical work higher than the arithmetic, in Georgetown, until after
I was appointed to West Point.  I then bought a work on algebra in
Cincinnati; but having no teacher it was Greek to me.

My life in Georgetown was uneventful.  From the age of five or six until
seventeen, I attended the subscription schools of the village, except
during the winters of 1836-7 and 1838-9.  The former period was spent in
Maysville, Kentucky, attending the school of Richardson and Rand; the
latter in Ripley, Ohio, at a private school.  I was not studious in
habit, and probably did not make progress enough to compensate for the
outlay for board and tuition.  At all events both winters were spent in
going over the same old arithmetic which I knew every word of before,
and repeating:  "A noun is the name of a thing," which I had also heard
my Georgetown teachers repeat, until I had come to believe it--but I
cast no reflections upon my old teacher, Richardson. He turned out
bright scholars from his school, many of whom have filled conspicuous
places in the service of their States.  Two of my contemporaries there
--who, I believe, never attended any other institution of learning--have
held seats in Congress, and one, if not both, other high offices; these
are Wadsworth and Brewster.

My father was, from my earliest recollection, in comfortable
circumstances, considering the times, his place of residence, and the
community in which he lived.  Mindful of his own lack of facilities for
acquiring an education, his greatest desire in maturer years was for the
education of his children. Consequently, as stated before, I never
missed a quarter from school from the time I was old enough to attend
till the time of leaving home.  This did not exempt me from labor.  In
my early days, every one labored more or less, in the region where my
youth was spent, and more in proportion to their private means.  It was
only the very poor who were exempt.  While my father carried on the
manufacture of leather and worked at the trade himself, he owned and
tilled considerable land.  I detested the trade, preferring almost any
other labor; but I was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in
which horses were used.  We had, among other lands, fifty acres of
forest within a mile of the village.  In the fall of the year choppers
were employed to cut enough wood to last a twelve-month.  When I was
seven or eight years of age, I began hauling all the wood used in the
house and shops.  I could not load it on the wagons, of course, at that
time, but I could drive, and the choppers would load, and some one at
the house unload.  When about eleven years old, I was strong enough to
hold a plough.  From that age until seventeen I did all the work done
with horses, such as breaking up the land, furrowing, ploughing corn and
potatoes, bringing in the crops when harvested, hauling all the wood,
besides tending two or three horses, a cow or two, and sawing wood for
stoves, etc., while still attending school.  For this I was compensated
by the fact that there was never any scolding or punishing by my
parents; no objection to rational enjoyments, such as fishing, going to
the creek a mile away to swim in summer, taking a horse and visiting my
grandparents in the adjoining county, fifteen miles off, skating on the
ice in winter, or taking a horse and sleigh when there was snow on the

While still quite young I had visited Cincinnati, forty-five miles away,
several times, alone; also Maysville, Kentucky, often, and once
Louisville.  The journey to Louisville was a big one for a boy of that
day.  I had also gone once with a two-horse carriage to Chilicothe,
about seventy miles, with a neighbor's family, who were removing to
Toledo, Ohio, and returned alone; and had gone once, in like manner, to
Flat Rock, Kentucky, about seventy miles away.  On this latter occasion
I was fifteen years of age.  While at Flat Rock, at the house of a Mr.
Payne, whom I was visiting with his brother, a neighbor of ours in
Georgetown, I saw a very fine saddle horse, which I rather coveted, and
proposed to Mr. Payne, the owner, to trade him for one of the two I was
driving.  Payne hesitated to trade with a boy, but asking his brother
about it, the latter told him that it would be all right, that I was
allowed to do as I pleased with the horses.  I was seventy miles from
home, with a carriage to take back, and Mr. Payne said he did not know
that his horse had ever had a collar on.  I asked to have him hitched to
a farm wagon and we would soon see whether he would work.  It was soon
evident that the horse had never worn harness before; but he showed no
viciousness, and I expressed a confidence that I could manage him.  A
trade was at once struck, I receiving ten dollars difference.

The next day Mr. Payne, of Georgetown, and I started on our return.  We
got along very well for a few miles, when we encountered a ferocious dog
that frightened the horses and made them run.  The new animal kicked at
every jump he made.  I got the horses stopped, however, before any
damage was done, and without running into anything.  After giving them a
little rest, to quiet their fears, we started again.  That instant the
new horse kicked, and started to run once more.  The road we were on,
struck the turnpike within half a mile of the point where the second
runaway commenced, and there there was an embankment twenty or more feet
deep on the opposite side of the pike.  I got the horses stopped on the
very brink of the precipice.  My new horse was terribly frightened and
trembled like an aspen; but he was not half so badly frightened as my
companion, Mr. Payne, who deserted me after this last experience, and
took passage on a freight wagon for Maysville.  Every time I attempted
to start, my new horse would commence to kick.  I was in quite a dilemma
for a time.  Once in Maysville I could borrow a horse from an uncle who
lived there; but I was more than a day's travel from that point.
Finally I took out my bandanna--the style of handkerchief in universal
use then--and with this blindfolded my horse.  In this way I reached
Maysville safely the next day, no doubt much to the surprise of my
friend.  Here I borrowed a horse from my uncle, and the following day we
proceeded on our journey.

About half my school-days in Georgetown were spent at the school of John
D. White, a North Carolinian, and the father of Chilton White who
represented the district in Congress for one term during the rebellion.
Mr. White was always a Democrat in politics, and Chilton followed his
father.  He had two older brothers--all three being school-mates of mine
at their father's school--who did not go the same way.  The second
brother died before the rebellion began; he was a Whig, and afterwards a
Republican.  His oldest brother was a Republican and brave soldier
during the rebellion.  Chilton is reported as having told of an earlier
horse-trade of mine.  As he told the story, there was a Mr. Ralston
living within a few miles of the village, who owned a colt which I very
much wanted.  My father had offered twenty dollars for it, but Ralston
wanted twenty-five.  I was so anxious to have the colt, that after the
owner left, I begged to be allowed to take him at the price demanded.
My father yielded, but said twenty dollars was all the horse was worth,
and told me to offer that price; if it was not accepted I was to offer
twenty-two and a half, and if that would not get him, to give the
twenty-five.  I at once mounted a horse and went for the colt.  When I
got to Mr. Ralston's house, I said to him:  "Papa says I may offer you
twenty dollars for the colt, but if you won't take that, I am to offer
twenty-two and a half, and if you won't take that, to give you
twenty-five."  It would not require a Connecticut man to guess the price
finally agreed upon.  This story is nearly true.  I certainly showed
very plainly that I had come for the colt and meant to have him.  I
could not have been over eight years old at the time.  This transaction
caused me great heart-burning. The story got out among the boys of the
village, and it was a long time before I heard the last of it.  Boys
enjoy the misery of their companions, at least village boys in that day
did, and in later life I have found that all adults are not free from
the peculiarity.  I kept the horse until he was four years old, when he
went blind, and I sold him for twenty dollars.  When I went to Maysville
to school, in 1836, at the age of fourteen, I recognized my colt as one
of the blind horses working on the tread-wheel of the ferry-boat.

I have describes enough of my early life to give an impression of the
whole.  I did not like to work; but I did as much of it, while young, as
grown men can be hired to do in these days, and attended school at the
same time.  I had as many privileges as any boy in the village, and
probably more than most of them.  I have no recollection of ever having
been punished at home, either by scolding or by the rod.  But at school
the case was different.  The rod was freely used there, and I was not
exempt from its influence.  I can see John D. White--the school teacher
--now, with his long beech switch always in his hand.  It was not always
the same one, either.  Switches were brought in bundles, from a beech
wood near the school house, by the boys for whose benefit they were
intended.  Often a whole bundle would be used up in a single day.  I
never had any hard feelings against my teacher, either while attending
the school, or in later years when reflecting upon my experience.  Mr.
White was a kindhearted man, and was much respected by the community in
which he lived.  He only followed the universal custom of the period,
and that under which he had received his own education.



In the winter of 1838-9 I was attending school at Ripley, only ten miles
distant from Georgetown, but spent the Christmas holidays at home.
During this vacation my father received a letter from the Honorable
Thomas Morris, then United States Senator from Ohio.  When he read it he
said to me, "Ulysses, I believe you are going to receive the
appointment."  "What appointment?"  I inquired.  "To West Point; I have
applied for it."  "But I won't go," I said.  He said he thought I would,
AND I THOUGHT SO TOO, IF HE DID.  I really had no objection to going to
West Point, except that I had a very exalted idea of the acquirements
necessary to get through.  I did not believe I possessed them, and could
not bear the idea of failing.  There had been four boys from our
village, or its immediate neighborhood, who had been graduated from West
Point, and never a failure of any one appointed from Georgetown, except
in the case of the one whose place I was to take.  He was the son of Dr.
Bailey, our nearest and most intimate neighbor.  Young Bailey had been
appointed in 1837.  Finding before the January examination following,
that he could not pass, he resigned and went to a private school, and
remained there until the following year, when he was reappointed.
Before the next examination he was dismissed.  Dr. Bailey was a proud
and sensitive man, and felt the failure of his son so keenly that he
forbade his return home.  There were no telegraphs in those days to
disseminate news rapidly, no railroads west of the Alleghanies, and but
few east; and above all, there were no reporters prying into other
people's private affairs.  Consequently it did not become generally
known that there was a vacancy at West Point from our district until I
was appointed.  I presume Mrs. Bailey confided to my mother the fact
that Bartlett had been dismissed, and that the doctor had forbidden his
son's return home.

The Honorable Thomas L. Hamer, one of the ablest men Ohio ever produced,
was our member of Congress at the time, and had the right of nomination.
He and my father had been members of the same debating society (where
they were generally pitted on opposite sides), and intimate personal
friends from their early manhood up to a few years before.  In politics
they differed. Hamer was a life-long Democrat, while my father was a
Whig. They had a warm discussion, which finally became angry--over some
act of President Jackson, the removal of the deposit of public moneys, I
think--after which they never spoke until after my appointment.  I know
both of them felt badly over this estrangement, and would have been glad
at any time to come to a reconciliation; but neither would make the
advance.  Under these circumstances my father would not write to Hamer
for the appointment, but he wrote to Thomas Morris, United States
Senator from Ohio, informing him that there was a vacancy at West Point
from our district, and that he would be glad if I could be appointed to
fill it.  This letter, I presume, was turned over to Mr. Hamer, and, as
there was no other applicant, he cheerfully appointed me.  This healed
the breach between the two, never after reopened.

Besides the argument used by my father in favor of my going to West
Point--that "he thought I would go"--there was another very strong
inducement.  I had always a great desire to travel.  I was already the
best travelled boy in Georgetown, except the sons of one man, John
Walker, who had emigrated to Texas with his family, and immigrated back
as soon as he could get the means to do so.  In his short stay in Texas
he acquired a very different opinion of the country from what one would
form going there now.

I had been east to Wheeling, Virginia, and north to the Western Reserve,
in Ohio, west to Louisville, and south to Bourbon County, Kentucky,
besides having driven or ridden pretty much over the whole country
within fifty miles of home.  Going to West Point would give me the
opportunity of visiting the two great cities of the continent,
Philadelphia and New York.  This was enough.  When these places were
visited I would have been glad to have had a steamboat or railroad
collision, or any other accident happen, by which I might have received
a temporary injury sufficient to make me ineligible, for a time, to
enter the Academy.  Nothing of the kind occurred, and I had to face the

Georgetown has a remarkable record for a western village.  It is, and
has been from its earliest existence, a democratic town.  There was
probably no time during the rebellion when, if the opportunity could
have been afforded, it would not have voted for Jefferson Davis for
President of the United States, over Mr. Lincoln, or any other
representative of his party; unless it was immediately after some of
John Morgan's men, in his celebrated raid through Ohio, spent a few
hours in the village.  The rebels helped themselves to whatever they
could find, horses, boots and shoes, especially horses, and many ordered
meals to be prepared for them by the families.  This was no doubt a far
pleasanter duty for some families than it would have been to render a
like service for Union soldiers.  The line between the Rebel and Union
element in Georgetown was so marked that it led to divisions even in the
churches.  There were churches in that part of Ohio where treason was
preached regularly, and where, to secure membership, hostility to the
government, to the war and to the liberation of the slaves, was far more
essential than a belief in the authenticity or credibility of the Bible.
There were men in Georgetown who filled all the requirements for
membership in these churches.

Yet this far-off western village, with a population, including old and
young, male and female, of about one thousand--about enough for the
organization of a single regiment if all had been men capable of bearing
arms--furnished the Union army four general officers and one colonel,
West Point graduates, and nine generals and field officers of
Volunteers, that I can think of. Of the graduates from West Point, all
had citizenship elsewhere at the breaking out of the rebellion, except
possibly General A. V. Kautz, who had remained in the army from his
graduation.  Two of the colonels also entered the service from other
localities.  The other seven, General McGroierty, Colonels White, Fyffe,
Loudon and Marshall, Majors King and Bailey, were all residents of
Georgetown when the war broke out, and all of them, who were alive at
the close, returned there.  Major Bailey was the cadet who had preceded
me at West Point.  He was killed in West Virginia, in his first
engagement.  As far as I know, every boy who has entered West Point from
that village since my time has been graduated.

I took passage on a steamer at Ripley, Ohio, for Pittsburg, about the
middle of May, 1839.  Western boats at that day did not make regular
trips at stated times, but would stop anywhere, and for any length of
time, for passengers or freight.  I have myself been detained two or
three days at a place after steam was up, the gang planks, all but one,
drawn in, and after the time advertised for starting had expired.  On
this occasion we had no vexatious delays, and in about three days
Pittsburg was reached.  From Pittsburg I chose passage by the canal to
Harrisburg, rather than by the more expeditious stage.  This gave a
better opportunity of enjoying the fine scenery of Western Pennsylvania,
and I had rather a dread of reaching my destination at all.  At that
time the canal was much patronized by travellers, and, with the
comfortable packets of the period, no mode of conveyance could be more
pleasant, when time was not an object.  From Harrisburg to Philadelphia
there was a railroad, the first I had ever seen, except the one on which
I had just crossed the summit of the Alleghany Mountains, and over which
canal boats were transported.  In travelling by the road from
Harrisburg, I thought the perfection of rapid transit had been reached.
We travelled at least eighteen miles an hour, when at full speed, and
made the whole distance averaging probably as much as twelve miles an
hour.  This seemed like annihilating space.  I stopped five days in
Philadelphia, saw about every street in the city, attended the theatre,
visited Girard College (which was then in course of construction), and
got reprimanded from home afterwards, for dallying by the way so long.
My sojourn in New York was shorter, but long enough to enable me to see
the city very well.  I reported at West Point on the 30th or 31st of
May, and about two weeks later passed my examination for admission,
without difficulty, very much to my surprise.

A military life had no charms for me, and I had not the faintest idea of
staying in the army even if I should be graduated, which I did not
expect.  The encampment which preceded the commencement of academic
studies was very wearisome and uninteresting.  When the 28th of August
came--the date for breaking up camp and going into barracks--I felt as
though I had been at West Point always, and that if I staid to
graduation, I would have to remain always.  I did not take hold of my
studies with avidity, in fact I rarely ever read over a lesson the
second time during my entire cadetship.  I could not sit in my room
doing nothing.  There is a fine library connected with the Academy from
which cadets can get books to read in their quarters.  I devoted more
time to these, than to books relating to the course of studies.  Much of
the time, I am sorry to say, was devoted to novels, but not those of a
trashy sort.  I read all of Bulwer's then published, Cooper's,
Marryat's, Scott's, Washington Irving's works, Lever's, and many others
that I do not now remember.  Mathematics was very easy to me, so that
when January came, I passed the examination, taking a good standing in
that branch.  In French, the only other study at that time in the first
year's course, my standing was very low.  In fact, if the class had been
turned the other end foremost I should have been near head.  I never
succeeded in getting squarely at either end of my class, in any one
study, during the four years.  I came near it in French, artillery,
infantry and cavalry tactics, and conduct.

Early in the session of the Congress which met in December, 1839, a bill
was discussed abolishing the Military Academy.  I saw in this an
honorable way to obtain a discharge, and read the debates with much
interest, but with impatience at the delay in taking action, for I was
selfish enough to favor the bill.  It never passed, and a year later,
although the time hung drearily with me, I would have been sorry to have
seen it succeed.  My idea then was to get through the course, secure a
detail for a few years as assistant professor of mathematics at the
Academy, and afterwards obtain a permanent position as professor in some
respectable college; but circumstances always did shape my course
different from my plans.

At the end of two years the class received the usual furlough, extending
from the close of the June examination to the 28th of August.  This I
enjoyed beyond any other period of my life.  My father had sold out his
business in Georgetown--where my youth had been spent, and to which my
day-dreams carried me back as my future home, if I should ever be able
to retire on a competency.  He had moved to Bethel, only twelve miles
away, in the adjoining county of Clermont, and had bought a young horse
that had never been in harness, for my special use under the saddle
during my furlough.  Most of my time was spent among my old
school-mates--these ten weeks were shorter than one week at West Point.

Persons acquainted with the Academy know that the corps of cadets is
divided into four companies for the purpose of military exercises.
These companies are officered from the cadets, the superintendent and
commandant selecting the officers for their military bearing and
qualifications.  The adjutant, quartermaster, four captains and twelve
lieutenants are taken from the first, or Senior class; the sergeants
from the second, or junior class; and the corporals from the third, or
Sophomore class.  I had not been "called out" as a corporal, but when I
returned from furlough I found myself the last but one--about my
standing in all the tactics--of eighteen sergeants.  The promotion was
too much for me.  That year my standing in the class--as shown by the
number of demerits of the year--was about the same as it was among the
sergeants, and I was dropped, and served the fourth year as a private.

During my first year's encampment General Scott visited West Point, and
reviewed the cadets.  With his commanding figure, his quite colossal
size and showy uniform, I thought him the finest specimen of manhood my
eyes had ever beheld, and the most to be envied.  I could never resemble
him in appearance, but I believe I did have a presentiment for a moment
that some day I should occupy his place on review--although I had no
intention then of remaining in the army.  My experience in a horse-trade
ten years before, and the ridicule it caused me, were too fresh in my
mind for me to communicate this presentiment to even my most intimate
chum.  The next summer Martin Van Buren, then President of the United
States, visited West Point and reviewed the cadets; he did not impress
me with the awe which Scott had inspired.  In fact I regarded General
Scott and Captain C. F. Smith, the Commandant of Cadets, as the two men
most to be envied in the nation.  I retained a high regard for both up
to the day of their death.

The last two years wore away more rapidly than the first two, but they
still seemed about five times as long as Ohio years, to me.  At last all
the examinations were passed, and the members of the class were called
upon to record their choice of arms of service and regiments.  I was
anxious to enter the cavalry, or dragoons as they were then called, but
there was only one regiment of dragoons in the Army at that time, and
attached to that, besides the full complement of officers, there were at
least four brevet second lieutenants.  I recorded therefore my first
choice, dragoons; second, 4th infantry; and got the latter.  Again there
was a furlough--or, more properly speaking, leave of absence for the
class were now commissioned officers--this time to the end of September.
Again I went to Ohio to spend my vacation among my old school-mates; and
again I found a fine saddle horse purchased for my special use, besides
a horse and buggy that I could drive--but I was not in a physical
condition to enjoy myself quite as well as on the former occasion.  For
six months before graduation I had had a desperate cough ("Tyler's grip"
it was called), and I was very much reduced, weighing but one hundred
and seventeen pounds, just my weight at entrance, though I had grown six
inches in stature in the mean time.  There was consumption in my
father's family, two of his brothers having died of that disease, which
made my symptoms more alarming.  The brother and sister next younger
than myself died, during the rebellion, of the same disease, and I
seemed the most promising subject for it of the three in 1843.

Having made alternate choice of two different arms of service with
different uniforms, I could not get a uniform suit until notified of my
assignment.  I left my measurement with a tailor, with directions not to
make the uniform until I notified him whether it was to be for infantry
or dragoons.  Notice did not reach me for several weeks, and then it
took at least a week to get the letter of instructions to the tailor and
two more to make the clothes and have them sent to me.  This was a time
of great suspense.  I was impatient to get on my uniform and see how it
looked, and probably wanted my old school-mates, particularly the girls,
to see me in it.

The conceit was knocked out of me by two little circumstances that
happened soon after the arrival of the clothes, which gave me a distaste
for military uniform that I never recovered from.  Soon after the
arrival of the suit I donned it, and put off for Cincinnati on
horseback.  While I was riding along a street of that city, imagining
that every one was looking at me, with a feeling akin to mine when I
first saw General Scott, a little urchin, bareheaded, footed, with dirty
and ragged pants held up by bare a single gallows--that's what
suspenders were called then--and a shirt that had not seen a wash-tub
for weeks, turned to me and cried:  "Soldier! will you work?  No,
sir--ee; I'll sell my shirt first!!" The horse trade and its dire
consequences were recalled to mind.

The other circumstance occurred at home.  Opposite our house in Bethel
stood the old stage tavern where "man and beast" found accommodation,
The stable-man was rather dissipated, but possessed of some humor.  On
my return I found him parading the streets, and attending in the stable,
barefooted, but in a pair of sky-blue nankeen pantaloons--just the color
of my uniform trousers--with a strip of white cotton sheeting sewed down
the outside seams in imitation of mine.  The joke was a huge one in the
mind of many of the people, and was much enjoyed by them; but I did not
appreciate it so highly.

During the remainder of my leave of absence, my time was spent in
visiting friends in Georgetown and Cincinnati, and occasionally other
towns in that part of the State.



On the 30th of September I reported for duty at Jefferson Barracks, St.
Louis, with the 4th United States infantry.  It was the largest military
post in the country at that time, being garrisoned by sixteen companies
of infantry, eight of the 3d regiment, the remainder of the 4th.
Colonel Steven Kearney, one of the ablest officers of the day, commanded
the post, and under him discipline was kept at a high standard, but
without vexatious rules or regulations.  Every drill and roll-call had
to be attended, but in the intervals officers were permitted to enjoy
themselves, leaving the garrison, and going where they pleased, without
making written application to state where they were going for how long,
etc., so that they were back for their next duty.  It did seem to me, in
my early army days, that too many of the older officers, when they came
to command posts, made it a study to think what orders they could
publish to annoy their subordinates and render them uncomfortable.  I
noticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican war broke out,
that most of this class of officers discovered they were possessed of
disabilities which entirely incapacitated them for active field service.
They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too.  They were right; but
they did not always give their disease the right name.

At West Point I had a class-mate--in the last year of our studies he was
room-mate also--F. T. Dent, whose family resided some five miles west of
Jefferson Barracks.  Two of his unmarried brothers were living at home
at that time, and as I had taken with me from Ohio, my horse, saddle and
bridle, I soon found my way out to White Haven, the name of the Dent
estate.  As I found the family congenial my visits became frequent.
There were at home, besides the young men, two daughters, one a school
miss of fifteen, the other a girl of eight or nine.  There was still an
older daughter of seventeen, who had been spending several years at
boarding-school in St. Louis, but who, though through school, had not
yet returned home.  She was spending the winter in the city with
connections, the family of Colonel John O'Fallon, well known in St.
Louis.  In February she returned to her country home.  After that I do
not know but my visits became more frequent; they certainly did become
more enjoyable.  We would often take walks, or go on horseback to visit
the neighbors, until I became quite well acquainted in that vicinity.
Sometimes one of the brothers would accompany us, sometimes one of the
younger sisters.  If the 4th infantry had remained at Jefferson Barracks
it is possible, even probable, that this life might have continued for
some years without my finding out that there was anything serious the
matter with me; but in the following May a circumstance occurred which
developed my sentiment so palpably that there was no mistaking it.

The annexation of Texas was at this time the subject of violent
discussion in Congress, in the press, and by individuals.  The
administration of President Tyler, then in power, was making the most
strenuous efforts to effect the annexation, which was, indeed, the great
and absorbing question of the day.  During these discussions the greater
part of the single rifle regiment in the army--the 2d dragoons, which
had been dismounted a year or two before, and designated "Dismounted
Rifles"--was stationed at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, some twenty-five miles
east of the Texas line, to observe the frontier.  About the 1st of May
the 3d infantry was ordered from Jefferson Barracks to Louisiana, to go
into camp in the neighborhood of Fort Jessup, and there await further
orders.  The troops were embarked on steamers and were on their way down
the Mississippi within a few days after the receipt of this order.
About the time they started I obtained a leave of absence for twenty
days to go to Ohio to visit my parents.  I was obliged to go to St.
Louis to take a steamer for Louisville or Cincinnati, or the first
steamer going up the Ohio River to any point.  Before I left St. Louis
orders were received at Jefferson Barracks for the 4th infantry to
follow the 3d.  A messenger was sent after me to stop my leaving; but
before he could reach me I was off, totally ignorant of these events.  A
day or two after my arrival at Bethel I received a letter from a
classmate and fellow lieutenant in the 4th, informing me of the
circumstances related above, and advising me not to open any letter post
marked St. Louis or Jefferson Barracks, until the expiration of my
leave, and saying that he would pack up my things and take them along
for me.  His advice was not necessary, for no other letter was sent to
me.  I now discovered that I was exceedingly anxious to get back to
Jefferson Barracks, and I understood the reason without explanation from
any one.  My leave of absence required me to report for duty, at
Jefferson Barracks, at the end of twenty days.  I knew my regiment had
gone up the Red River, but I was not disposed to break the letter of my
leave; besides, if I had proceeded to Louisiana direct, I could not have
reached there until after the expiration of my leave.  Accordingly, at
the end of the twenty days, I reported for duty to Lieutenant Ewell,
commanding at Jefferson Barracks, handing him at the same time my leave
of absence.  After noticing the phraseology of the order--leaves of
absence were generally worded, "at the end of which time he will report
for duty with his proper command"--he said he would give me an order to
join my regiment in Louisiana.  I then asked for a few days' leave
before starting, which he readily granted.  This was the same Ewell who
acquired considerable reputation as a Confederate general during the
rebellion.  He was a man much esteemed, and deservedly so, in the old
army, and proved himself a gallant and efficient officer in two wars
--both in my estimation unholy.

I immediately procured a horse and started for the country, taking no
baggage with me, of course.  There is an insignificant creek--the
Gravois--between Jefferson Barracks and the place to which I was going,
and at that day there was not a bridge over it from its source to its
mouth.  There is not water enough in the creek at ordinary stages to run
a coffee mill, and at low water there is none running whatever.  On this
occasion it had been raining heavily, and, when the creek was reached, I
found the banks full to overflowing, and the current rapid.  I looked at
it a moment to consider what to do.  One of my superstitions had always
been when I started to go any where, or to do anything, not to turn
back, or stop until the thing intended was accomplished.  I have
frequently started to go to places where I had never been and to which I
did not know the way, depending upon making inquiries on the road, and
if I got past the place without knowing it, instead of turning back, I
would go on until a road was found turning in the right direction, take
that, and come in by the other side.  So I struck into the stream, and
in an instant the horse was swimming and I being carried down by the
current.  I headed the horse towards the other bank and soon reached it,
wet through and without other clothes on that side of the stream.  I
went on, however, to my destination and borrowed a dry suit from my
--future--brother-in-law.  We were not of the same size, but the clothes
answered every purpose until I got more of my own.

Before I returned I mustered up courage to make known, in the most
awkward manner imaginable, the discovery I had made on learning that the
4th infantry had been ordered away from Jefferson Barracks.  The young
lady afterwards admitted that she too, although until then she had never
looked upon me other than as a visitor whose company was agreeable to
her, had experienced a depression of spirits she could not account for
when the regiment left.  Before separating it was definitely understood
that at a convenient time we would join our fortunes, and not let the
removal of a regiment trouble us.  This was in May, 1844.  It was the
22d of August, 1848, before the fulfilment of this agreement.  My duties
kept me on the frontier of Louisiana with the Army of Observation during
the pendency of Annexation; and afterwards I was absent through the war
with Mexico, provoked by the action of the army, if not by the
annexation itself. During that time there was a constant correspondence
between Miss Dent and myself, but we only met once in the period of four
years and three months.  In May, 1845, I procured a leave for twenty
days, visited St. Louis, and obtained the consent of the parents for the
union, which had not been asked for before.

As already stated, it was never my intention to remain in the army long,
but to prepare myself for a professorship in some college.  Accordingly,
soon after I was settled at Jefferson Barracks, I wrote a letter to
Professor Church--Professor of Mathematics at West Point--requesting him
to ask my designation as his assistant, when next a detail had to be
made. Assistant professors at West Point are all officers of the army,
supposed to be selected for their special fitness for the particular
branch of study they are assigned to teach.  The answer from Professor
Church was entirely satisfactory, and no doubt I should have been
detailed a year or two later but for the Mexican War coming on.
Accordingly I laid out for myself a course of studies to be pursued in
garrison, with regularity, if not persistency.  I reviewed my West Point
course of mathematics during the seven months at Jefferson Barracks, and
read many valuable historical works, besides an occasional novel.  To
help my memory I kept a book in which I would write up, from time to
time, my recollections of all I had read since last posting it.  When
the regiment was ordered away, I being absent at the time, my effects
were packed up by Lieutenant Haslett, of the 4th infantry, and taken
along.  I never saw my journal after, nor did I ever keep another,
except for a portion of the time while travelling abroad.  Often since a
fear has crossed my mind lest that book might turn up yet, and fall into
the hands of some malicious person who would publish it.  I know its
appearance would cause me as much heart-burning as my youthful
horse-trade, or the later rebuke for wearing uniform clothes.

The 3d infantry had selected camping grounds on the reservation at Fort
Jessup, about midway between the Red River and the Sabine.  Our orders
required us to go into camp in the same neighborhood, and await further
instructions.  Those authorized to do so selected a place in the pine
woods, between the old town of Natchitoches and Grand Ecore, about three
miles from each, and on high ground back from the river.  The place was
given the name of Camp Salubrity, and proved entitled to it. The camp
was on a high, sandy, pine ridge, with spring branches in the valley, in
front and rear.  The springs furnished an abundance of cool, pure water,
and the ridge was above the flight of mosquitoes, which abound in that
region in great multitudes and of great voracity.  In the valley they
swarmed in myriads, but never came to the summit of the ridge.  The
regiment occupied this camp six months before the first death occurred,
and that was caused by an accident.

There was no intimation given that the removal of the 3d and 4th
regiments of infantry to the western border of Louisiana was occasioned
in any way by the prospective annexation of Texas, but it was generally
understood that such was the case. Ostensibly we were intended to
prevent filibustering into Texas, but really as a menace to Mexico in
case she appeared to contemplate war.  Generally the officers of the
army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but
not so all of them.  For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure,
and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most
unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.  It was an
instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies,
in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional
territory.  Texas was originally a state belonging to the republic of
Mexico.  It extended from the Sabine River on the east to the Rio Grande
on the west, and from the Gulf of Mexico on the south and east to the
territory of the United States and New Mexico--another Mexican state at
that time--on the north and west.  An empire in territory, it had but a
very sparse population, until settled by Americans who had received
authority from Mexico to colonize. These colonists paid very little
attention to the supreme government, and introduced slavery into the
state almost from the start, though the constitution of Mexico did not,
nor does it now, sanction that institution.  Soon they set up an
independent government of their own, and war existed, between Texas and
Mexico, in name from that time until 1836, when active hostilities very
nearly ceased upon the capture of Santa Anna, the Mexican President.
Before long, however, the same people--who with permission of Mexico had
colonized Texas, and afterwards set up slavery there, and then seceded
as soon as they felt strong enough to do so--offered themselves and the
State to the United States, and in 1845 their offer was accepted.  The
occupation, separation and annexation were, from the inception of the
movement to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory
out of which slave states might be formed for the American Union.

Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the manner in which
the subsequent war was forced upon Mexico cannot.  The fact is,
annexationists wanted more territory than they could possibly lay any
claim to, as part of the new acquisition. Texas, as an independent
State, never had exercised jurisdiction over the territory between the
Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Mexico had never recognized the
independence of Texas, and maintained that, even if independent, the
State had no claim south of the Nueces.  I am aware that a treaty, made
by the Texans with Santa Anna while he was under duress, ceded all the
territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande--, but he was a prisoner
of war when the treaty was made, and his life was in jeopardy.  He knew,
too, that he deserved execution at the hands of the Texans, if they
should ever capture him.  The Texans, if they had taken his life, would
have only followed the example set by Santa Anna himself a few years
before, when he executed the entire garrison of the Alamo and the
villagers of Goliad.

In taking military possession of Texas after annexation, the army of
occupation, under General Taylor, was directed to occupy the disputed
territory.  The army did not stop at the Nueces and offer to negotiate
for a settlement of the boundary question, but went beyond, apparently
in order to force Mexico to initiate war.  It is to the credit of the
American nation, however, that after conquering Mexico, and while
practically holding the country in our possession, so that we could have
retained the whole of it, or made any terms we chose, we paid a round
sum for the additional territory taken; more than it was worth, or was
likely to be, to Mexico.  To us it was an empire and of incalculable
value; but it might have been obtained by other means.  The Southern
rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war.  Nations, like
individuals, are punished for their transgressions.  We got our
punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.

The 4th infantry went into camp at Salubrity in the month of May, 1844,
with instructions, as I have said, to await further orders.  At first,
officers and men occupied ordinary tents.  As the summer heat increased
these were covered by sheds to break the rays of the sun.  The summer
was whiled away in social enjoyments among the officers, in visiting
those stationed at, and near, Fort Jessup, twenty-five miles away,
visiting the planters on the Red River, and the citizens of Natchitoches
and Grand Ecore.  There was much pleasant intercourse between the
inhabitants and the officers of the army.  I retain very agreeable
recollections of my stay at Camp Salubrity, and of the acquaintances
made there, and no doubt my feeling is shared by the few officers living
who were there at the time.  I can call to mind only two officers of the
4th infantry, besides myself, who were at Camp Salubrity with the
regiment, who are now alive.

With a war in prospect, and belonging to a regiment that had an unusual
number of officers detailed on special duty away from the regiment, my
hopes of being ordered to West Point as instructor vanished.  At the
time of which I now write, officers in the quartermaster's, commissary's
and adjutant--general's departments were appointed from the line of the
army, and did not vacate their regimental commissions until their
regimental and staff commissions were for the same grades.  Generally
lieutenants were appointed to captaincies to fill vacancies in the staff
corps.  If they should reach a captaincy in the line before they arrived
at a majority in the staff, they would elect which commission they would
retain.  In the 4th infantry, in 1844, at least six line officers were
on duty in the staff, and therefore permanently detached from the
regiment.  Under these circumstances I gave up everything like a special
course of reading, and only read thereafter for my own amusement, and
not very much for that, until the war was over.  I kept a horse and
rode, and staid out of doors most of the time by day, and entirely
recovered from the cough which I had carried from West Point, and from
all indications of consumption.  I have often thought that my life was
saved, and my health restored, by exercise and exposure, enforced by an
administrative act, and a war, both of which I disapproved.

As summer wore away, and cool days and colder nights came upon us, the
tents. We were occupying ceased to afford comfortable quarters; and
"further orders" not reaching us, we began to look about to remedy the
hardship.  Men were put to work getting out timber to build huts, and in
a very short time all were comfortably housed--privates as well as
officers.  The outlay by the government in accomplishing this was
nothing, or nearly nothing.  The winter was spent more agreeably than
the summer had been.  There were occasional parties given by the
planters along the "coast"--as the bottom lands on the Red River were
called.  The climate was delightful.

Near the close of the short session of Congress of 1844-5, the bill for
the annexation of Texas to the United States was passed.  It reached
President Tyler on the 1st of March, 1845, and promptly received his
approval.  When the news reached us we began to look again for "further
orders."  They did not arrive promptly, and on the 1st of May following
I asked and obtained a leave of absence for twenty days, for the purpose
of visiting--St. Louis.  The object of this visit has been before

Early in July the long expected orders were received, but they only took
the regiment to New Orleans Barracks.  We reached there before the
middle of the month, and again waited weeks for still further orders.
The yellow fever was raging in New Orleans during the time we remained
there, and the streets of the city had the appearance of a continuous
well-observed Sunday.  I recollect but one occasion when this observance
seemed to be broken by the inhabitants.  One morning about daylight I
happened to be awake, and, hearing the discharge of a rifle not far off,
I looked out to ascertain where the sound came from.  I observed a
couple of clusters of men near by, and learned afterwards that "it was
nothing; only a couple of gentlemen deciding a difference of opinion
with rifles, at twenty paces."  I do not remember if either was killed,
or even hurt, but no doubt the question of difference was settled
satisfactorily, and "honorably," in the estimation of the parties
engaged.  I do not believe I ever would have the courage to fight a
duel.  If any man should wrong me to the extent of my being willing to
kill him, I would not be willing to give him the choice of weapons with
which it should be done, and of the time, place and distance separating
us, when I executed him.  If I should do another such a wrong as to
justify him in killing me, I would make any reasonable atonement within
my power, if convinced of the wrong done.  I place my opposition to
duelling on higher grounds than here stated.  No doubt a majority of the
duels fought have been for want of moral courage on the part of those
engaged to decline.

At Camp Salubrity, and when we went to New Orleans Barracks, the 4th
infantry was commanded by Colonel Vose, then an old gentleman who had
not commanded on drill for a number of years.  He was not a man to
discover infirmity in the presence of danger.  It now appeared that war
was imminent, and he felt that it was his duty to brush up his tactics.
Accordingly, when we got settled down at our new post, he took command
of the regiment at a battalion drill.  Only two or three evolutions had
been gone through when he dismissed the battalion, and, turning to go to
his own quarters, dropped dead.  He had not been complaining of ill
health, but no doubt died of heart disease.  He was a most estimable
man, of exemplary habits, and by no means the author of his own disease.



Early in September the regiment left New Orleans for Corpus Christi, now
in Texas.  Ocean steamers were not then common, and the passage was made
in sailing vessels.  At that time there was not more than three feet of
water in the channel at the outlet of Corpus Christi Bay; the
debarkation, therefore, had to take place by small steamers, and at an
island in the channel called Shell Island, the ships anchoring some
miles out from shore. This made the work slow, and as the army was only
supplied with one or two steamers, it took a number of days to effect
the landing of a single regiment with its stores, camp and garrison
equipage, etc.  There happened to be pleasant weather while this was
going on, but the land-swell was so great that when the ship and steamer
were on opposite sides of the same wave they would be at considerable
distance apart.  The men and baggage were let down to a point higher
than the lower deck of the steamer, and when ship and steamer got into
the trough between the waves, and were close together, the load would be
drawn over the steamer and rapidly run down until it rested on the deck.

After I had gone ashore, and had been on guard several days at Shell
Island, quite six miles from the ship, I had occasion for some reason or
other to return on board.  While on the Suviah--I think that was the
name of our vessel--I heard a tremendous racket at the other end of the
ship, and much and excited sailor language, such as "damn your eyes,"
etc.  In a moment or two the captain, who was an excitable little man,
dying with consumption, and not weighing much over a hundred pounds,
came running out, carrying a sabre nearly as large and as heavy as he
was, and crying, that his men had mutinied.  It was necessary to sustain
the captain without question, and in a few minutes all the sailors
charged with mutiny were in irons.  I rather felt for a time a wish that
I had not gone aboard just then.  As the men charged with mutiny
submitted to being placed in irons without resistance, I always doubted
if they knew that they had mutinied until they were told.

By the time I was ready to leave the ship again I thought I had learned
enough of the working of the double and single pulley, by which
passengers were let down from the upper deck of the ship to the steamer
below, and determined to let myself down without assistance.  Without
saying anything of my intentions to any one, I mounted the railing, and
taking hold of the centre rope, just below the upper block, I put one
foot on the hook below the lower block, and stepped off just as I did so
some one called out "hold on."  It was too late.  I tried to "hold on"
with all my might, but my heels went up, and my head went down so
rapidly that my hold broke, and I plunged head foremost into the water,
some twenty-five feet below, with such velocity that it seemed to me I
never would stop.  When I came to the surface again, being a fair
swimmer, and not having lost my presence of mind, I swam around until a
bucket was let down for me, and I was drawn up without a scratch or
injury. I do not believe there was a man on board who sympathized with
me in the least when they found me uninjured.  I rather enjoyed the joke
myself. The captain of the Suviah died of his disease a few months later,
and I believe before the mutineers were tried.  I hope they got clear,
because, as before stated, I always thought the mutiny was all in the
brain of a very weak and sick man.

After reaching shore, or Shell Island, the labor of getting to Corpus
Christi was slow and tedious.  There was, if my memory serves me, but
one small steamer to transport troops and baggage when the 4th infantry
arrived.  Others were procured later.  The distance from Shell Island to
Corpus Christi was some sixteen or eighteen miles.  The channel to the
bay was so shallow that the steamer, small as it was, had to be dragged
over the bottom when loaded.  Not more than one trip a day could be
effected.  Later this was remedied, by deepening the channel and
increasing the number of vessels suitable to its navigation.

Corpus Christi is near the head of the bay of the same name, formed by
the entrance of the Nueces River into tide-water, and is on the west
bank of that bay.  At the time of its first occupancy by United States
troops there was a small Mexican hamlet there, containing probably less
than one hundred souls. There was, in addition, a small American trading
post, at which goods were sold to Mexican smugglers.  All goods were put
up in compact packages of about one hundred pounds each, suitable for
loading on pack mules.  Two of these packages made a load for an
ordinary Mexican mule, and three for the larger ones.  The bulk of the
trade was in leaf tobacco, and domestic cotton-cloths and calicoes.  The
Mexicans had, before the arrival of the army, but little to offer in
exchange except silver.  The trade in tobacco was enormous, considering
the population to be supplied.  Almost every Mexican above the age of
ten years, and many much younger, smoked the cigarette.  Nearly every
Mexican carried a pouch of leaf tobacco, powdered by rolling in the
hands, and a roll of corn husks to make wrappers.  The cigarettes were
made by the smokers as they used them.

Up to the time of which I write, and for years afterwards--I think until
the administration of President Juarez--the cultivation, manufacture and
sale of tobacco constituted a government monopoly, and paid the bulk of
the revenue collected from internal sources.  The price was enormously
high, and made successful smuggling very profitable.  The difficulty of
obtaining tobacco is probably the reason why everybody, male and female,
used it at that time.  I know from my own experience that when I was at
West Point, the fact that tobacco, in every form, was prohibited, and
the mere possession of the weed severely punished, made the majority of
the cadets, myself included, try to acquire the habit of using it.  I
failed utterly at the time and for many years afterward; but the
majority accomplished the object of their youthful ambition.

Under Spanish rule Mexico was prohibited from producing anything that
the mother-country could supply.  This rule excluded the cultivation of
the grape, olive and many other articles to which the soil and climate
were well adapted.  The country was governed for "revenue only;" and
tobacco, which cannot be raised in Spain, but is indigenous to Mexico,
offered a fine instrumentality for securing this prime object of
government.  The native population had been in the habit of using "the
weed" from a period, back of any recorded history of this continent.
Bad habits--if not restrained by law or public opinion--spread more
rapidly and universally than good ones, and the Spanish colonists
adopted the use of tobacco almost as generally as the natives.  Spain,
therefore, in order to secure the largest revenue from this source,
prohibited the cultivation, except in specified localities--and in these
places farmed out the privilege at a very high price.  The tobacco when
raised could only be sold to the government, and the price to the
consumer was limited only by the avarice of the authorities, and the
capacity of the people to pay.

All laws for the government of the country were enacted in Spain, and
the officers for their execution were appointed by the Crown, and sent
out to the New El Dorado.  The Mexicans had been brought up ignorant of
how to legislate or how to rule. When they gained their independence,
after many years of war, it was the most natural thing in the world that
they should adopt as their own the laws then in existence.  The only
change was, that Mexico became her own executor of the laws and the
recipient of the revenues.  The tobacco tax, yielding so large a revenue
under the law as it stood, was one of the last, if not the very last, of
the obnoxious imposts to be repealed.  Now, the citizens are allowed to
cultivate any crops the soil will yield.  Tobacco is cheap, and every
quality can be produced. Its use is by no means so general as when I
first visited the country.

Gradually the "Army of Occupation" assembled at Corpus Christi.  When it
was all together it consisted of seven companies of the 2d regiment of
dragoons, four companies of light artillery, five regiments of infantry
--the 3d, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th--and one regiment of artillery acting as
infantry--not more than three thousand men in all.  General Zachary
Taylor commanded the whole.  There were troops enough in one body to
establish a drill and discipline sufficient to fit men and officers for
all they were capable of in case of battle.  The rank and file were
composed of men who had enlisted in time of peace, to serve for seven
dollars a month, and were necessarily inferior as material to the
average volunteers enlisted later in the war expressly to fight, and
also to the volunteers in the war for the preservation of the Union.
The men engaged in the Mexican war were brave, and the officers of the
regular army, from highest to lowest, were educated in their profession.
A more efficient army for its number and armament, I do not believe ever
fought a battle than the one commanded by General Taylor in his first
two engagements on Mexican--or Texan soil.

The presence of United States troops on the edge of the disputed
territory furthest from the Mexican settlements, was not sufficient to
provoke hostilities.  We were sent to provoke a fight, but it was
essential that Mexico should commence it.  It was very doubtful whether
Congress would declare war; but if Mexico should attack our troops, the
Executive could announce, "Whereas, war exists by the acts of, etc.,"
and prosecute the contest with vigor.  Once initiated there were but few
public men who would have the courage to oppose it.  Experience proves
that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no
matter whether right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or
history.  Better for him, individually, to advocate "war, pestilence,
and famine," than to act as obstructionist to a war already begun.  The
history of the defeated rebel will be honorable hereafter, compared with
that of the Northern man who aided him by conspiring against his
government while protected by it.  The most favorable posthumous history
the stay-at-home traitor can hope for is--oblivion.

Mexico showing no willingness to come to the Nueces to drive the
invaders from her soil, it became necessary for the "invaders" to
approach to within a convenient distance to be struck. Accordingly,
preparations were begun for moving the army to the Rio Grande, to a
point near Matamoras.  It was desirable to occupy a position near the
largest centre of population possible to reach, without absolutely
invading territory to which we set up no claim whatever.

The distance from Corpus Christi to Matamoras is about one hundred and
fifty miles.  The country does not abound in fresh water, and the length
of the marches had to be regulated by the distance between water
supplies.  Besides the streams, there were occasional pools, filled
during the rainy season, some probably made by the traders, who
travelled constantly between Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande, and some
by the buffalo. There was not at that time a single habitation,
cultivated field, or herd of domestic animals, between Corpus Christi
and Matamoras.  It was necessary, therefore, to have a wagon train
sufficiently large to transport the camp and garrison equipage,
officers' baggage, rations for the army, and part rations of grain for
the artillery horses and all the animals taken from the north, where
they had been accustomed to having their forage furnished them.  The
army was but indifferently supplied with transportation.  Wagons and
harness could easily be supplied from the north but mules and horses
could not so readily be brought.  The American traders and Mexican
smugglers came to the relief.  Contracts were made for mules at from
eight to eleven dollars each.  The smugglers furnished the animals, and
took their pay in goods of the description before mentioned.  I doubt
whether the Mexicans received in value from the traders five dollars per
head for the animals they furnished, and still more, whether they paid
anything but their own time in procuring them.  Such is trade; such is
war.  The government paid in hard cash to the contractor the stipulated

Between the Rio Grande and the Nueces there was at that time a large
band of wild horses feeding; as numerous, probably, as the band of
buffalo roaming further north was before its rapid extermination
commenced.  The Mexicans used to capture these in large numbers and
bring them into the American settlements and sell them.  A picked animal
could be purchased at from eight to twelve dollars, but taken at
wholesale, they could be bought for thirty-six dollars a dozen.  Some of
these were purchased for the army, and answered a most useful purpose.
The horses were generally very strong, formed much like the Norman
horse, and with very heavy manes and tails.  A number of officers
supplied themselves with these, and they generally rendered as useful
service as the northern animal in fact they were much better when
grazing was the only means of supplying forage.

There was no need for haste, and some months were consumed in the
necessary preparations for a move.  In the meantime the army was engaged
in all the duties pertaining to the officer and the soldier.  Twice,
that I remember, small trains were sent from Corpus Christi, with
cavalry escorts, to San Antonio and Austin, with paymasters and funds to
pay off small detachments of troops stationed at those places.  General
Taylor encouraged officers to accompany these expeditions.  I
accompanied one of them in December, 1845.  The distance from Corpus
Christi to San Antonio was then computed at one hundred and fifty miles.
Now that roads exist it is probably less.  From San Antonio to Austin we
computed the distance at one hundred and ten miles, and from the latter
place back to Corpus Christi at over two hundred miles.  I know the
distance now from San Antonio to Austin is but little over eighty miles,
so that our computation was probably too high.

There was not at the time an individual living between Corpus Christi
and San Antonio until within about thirty miles of the latter point,
where there were a few scattering Mexican settlements along the San
Antonio River.  The people in at least one of these hamlets lived
underground for protection against the Indians.  The country abounded in
game, such as deer and antelope, with abundance of wild turkeys along
the streams and where there were nut-bearing woods.  On the Nueces,
about twenty-five miles up from Corpus Christi, were a few log cabins,
the remains of a town called San Patricio, but the inhabitants had all
been massacred by the Indians, or driven away.

San Antonio was about equally divided in population between Americans
and Mexicans.  From there to Austin there was not a single residence
except at New Braunfels, on the Guadalupe River.  At that point was a
settlement of Germans who had only that year come into the State.  At
all events they were living in small huts, about such as soldiers would
hastily construct for temporary occupation.  From Austin to Corpus
Christi there was only a small settlement at Bastrop, with a few farms
along the Colorado River; but after leaving that, there were no
settlements except the home of one man, with one female slave, at the
old town of Goliad.  Some of the houses were still standing.  Goliad had
been quite a village for the period and region, but some years before
there had been a Mexican massacre, in which every inhabitant had been
killed or driven away.  This, with the massacre of the prisoners in the
Alamo, San Antonio, about the same time, more than three hundred men in
all, furnished the strongest justification the Texans had for carrying
on the war with so much cruelty.  In fact, from that time until the
Mexican war, the hostilities between Texans and Mexicans was so great
that neither was safe in the neighborhood of the other who might be in
superior numbers or possessed of superior arms.  The man we found living
there seemed like an old friend; he had come from near Fort Jessup,
Louisiana, where the officers of the 3d and 4th infantry and the 2d
dragoons had known him and his family.  He had emigrated in advance of
his family to build up a home for them.



When our party left Corpus Christi it was quite large, including the
cavalry escort, Paymaster, Major Dix, his clerk and the officers who,
like myself, were simply on leave; but all the officers on leave, except
Lieutenant Benjamin--afterwards killed in the valley of Mexico
--Lieutenant, now General, Augur, and myself, concluded to spend their
allotted time at San Antonio and return from there.  We were all to be
back at Corpus Christi by the end of the month.  The paymaster was
detained in Austin so long that, if we had waited for him, we would have
exceeded our leave.  We concluded, therefore, to start back at once with
the animals we had, and having to rely principally on grass for their
food, it was a good six days' journey.  We had to sleep on the prairie
every night, except at Goliad, and possibly one night on the Colorado,
without shelter and with only such food as we carried with us, and
prepared ourselves.  The journey was hazardous on account of Indians,
and there were white men in Texas whom I would not have cared to meet in
a secluded place. Lieutenant Augur was taken seriously sick before we
reached Goliad and at a distance from any habitation.  To add to the
complication, his horse--a mustang that had probably been captured from
the band of wild horses before alluded to, and of undoubted longevity at
his capture--gave out. It was absolutely necessary to get for ward to
Goliad to find a shelter for our sick companion.  By dint of patience
and exceedingly slow movements, Goliad was at last reached, and a
shelter and bed secured for our patient.  We remained over a day, hoping
that Augur might recover sufficiently to resume his travels.  He did
not, however, and knowing that Major Dix would be along in a few days,
with his wagon-train, now empty, and escort, we arranged with our
Louisiana friend to take the best of care of the sick lieutenant until
thus relieved, and went on.

I had never been a sportsman in my life; had scarcely ever gone in
search of game, and rarely seen any when looking for it.  On this trip
there was no minute of time while travelling between San Patricio and
the settlements on the San Antonio River, from San Antonio to Austin,
and again from the Colorado River back to San Patricio, when deer or
antelope could not be seen in great numbers. Each officer carried a
shot-gun, and every evening, after going into camp, some would go out
and soon return with venison and wild turkeys enough for the entire
camp.  I, however, never went out, and had no occasion to fire my gun;
except, being detained over a day at Goliad, Benjamin and I concluded to
go down to the creek--which was fringed with timber, much of it the
pecan--and bring back a few turkeys.  We had scarcely reached the edge
of the timber when I heard the flutter of wings overhead, and in an
instant I saw two or three turkeys flying away.  These were soon
followed by more, then more, and more, until a flock of twenty or thirty
had left from just over my head.  All this time I stood watching the
turkeys to see where they flew--with my gun on my shoulder, and never
once thought of levelling it at the birds.  When I had time to reflect
upon the matter, I came to the conclusion that as a sportsman I was a
failure, and went back to the house.  Benjamin remained out, and got as
many turkeys as he wanted to carry back.

After the second night at Goliad, Benjamin and I started to make the
remainder of the journey alone.  We reached Corpus Christi just in time
to avoid "absence without leave."  We met no one not even an Indian
--during the remainder of our journey, except at San Patricio.  A new
settlement had been started there in our absence of three weeks, induced
possibly by the fact that there were houses already built, while the
proximity of troops gave protection against the Indians.  On the evening
of the first day out from Goliad we heard the most unearthly howling of
wolves, directly in our front.  The prairie grass was tall and we could
not see the beasts, but the sound indicated that they were near.  To my
ear it appeared that there must have been enough of them to devour our
party, horses and all, at a single meal.  The part of Ohio that I hailed
from was not thickly settled, but wolves had been driven out long before
I left.  Benjamin was from Indiana, still less populated, where the wolf
yet roamed over the prairies.  He understood the nature of the animal
and the capacity of a few to make believe there was an unlimited number
of them.  He kept on towards the noise, unmoved.  I followed in his
trail, lacking moral courage to turn back and join our sick companion.
I have no doubt that if Benjamin had proposed returning to Goliad, I
would not only have "seconded the motion" but have suggested that it
was very hard-hearted in us to leave Augur sick there in the first
place; but Benjamin did not propose turning back.  When he did speak it
was to ask: "Grant, how many wolves do you think there are in that
pack?" Knowing where he was from, and suspecting that he thought I would
over-estimate the number, I determined to show my acquaintance with the
animal by putting the estimate below what possibly could be correct, and
answered:  "Oh, about twenty," very indifferently.  He smiled and rode
on.  In a minute we were close upon them, and before they saw us.  There
were just TWO of them.  Seated upon their haunches, with their mouths
close together, they had made all the noise we had been hearing for the
past ten minutes.  I have often thought of this incident since when I
have heard the noise of a few disappointed politicians who had deserted
their associates.  There are always more of them before they are

A week or two before leaving Corpus Christi on this trip, I had been
promoted from brevet second-lieutenant, 4th infantry, to full
second-lieutenant, 7th infantry.  Frank Gardner,(*1) of the 7th, was
promoted to the 4th in the same orders.  We immediately made application
to be transferred, so as to get back to our old regiments.  On my
return, I found that our application had been approved at Washington.
While in the 7th infantry I was in the company of Captain Holmes,
afterwards a Lieutenant-general in the Confederate army. I never came in
contact with him in the war of the Rebellion, nor did he render any very
conspicuous service in his high rank.  My transfer carried me to the
company of Captain McCall, who resigned from the army after the Mexican
war and settled in Philadelphia.  He was prompt, however, to volunteer
when the rebellion broke out, and soon rose to the rank of major-general
in the Union army.  I was not fortunate enough to meet him after he
resigned. In the old army he was esteemed very highly as a soldier and
gentleman. Our relations were always most pleasant.

The preparations at Corpus Christi for an advance progressed as rapidly
in the absence of some twenty or more lieutenants as if we had been
there.  The principal business consisted in securing mules, and getting
them broken to harness.  The process was slow but amusing.  The animals
sold to the government were all young and unbroken, even to the saddle,
and were quite as wild as the wild horses of the prairie.  Usually a
number would be brought in by a company of Mexicans, partners in the
delivery.  The mules were first driven into a stockade, called a corral,
inclosing an acre or more of ground.  The Mexicans,--who were all
experienced in throwing the lasso,--would go into the corral on
horseback, with their lassos attached to the pommels of their saddles.
Soldiers detailed as teamsters and black smiths would also enter the
corral, the former with ropes to serve as halters, the latter with
branding irons and a fire to keep the irons heated.  A lasso was then
thrown over the neck of a mule, when he would immediately go to the
length of his tether, first one end, then the other in the air.  While
he was thus plunging and gyrating, another lasso would be thrown by
another Mexican, catching the animal by a fore-foot.  This would bring
the mule to the ground, when he was seized and held by the teamsters
while the blacksmith put upon him, with hot irons, the initials "U. S."
Ropes were then put about the neck, with a slipnoose which would tighten
around the throat if pulled.  With a man on each side holding these
ropes, the mule was released from his other bindings and allowed to
rise.  With more or less difficulty he would be conducted to a picket
rope outside and fastened there.  The delivery of that mule was then
complete. This process was gone through with every mule and wild horse
with the army of occupation.

The method of breaking them was less cruel and much more amusing.  It is
a well-known fact that where domestic animals are used for specific
purposes from generation to generation, the descendants are easily, as a
rule, subdued to the same uses.  At that time in Northern Mexico the
mule, or his ancestors, the horse and the ass, was seldom used except
for the saddle or pack.  At all events the Corpus Christi mule resisted
the new use to which he was being put.  The treatment he was subjected
to in order to overcome his prejudices was summary and effective.

The soldiers were principally foreigners who had enlisted in our large
cities, and, with the exception of a chance drayman among them, it is
not probable that any of the men who reported themselves as competent
teamsters had ever driven a mule-team in their lives, or indeed that
many had had any previous experience in driving any animal whatever to
harness.  Numbers together can accomplish what twice their number acting
individually could not perform.  Five mules were allotted to each wagon.
A teamster would select at the picket rope five animals of nearly the
same color and general appearance for his team.  With a full corps of
assistants, other teamsters, he would then proceed to get his mules
together.  In two's the men would approach each animal selected,
avoiding as far as possible its heels.  Two ropes would be put about the
neck of each animal, with a slip noose, so that he could be choked if
too unruly.  They were then led out, harnessed by force and hitched to
the wagon in the position they had to keep ever after.  Two men remained
on either side of the leader, with the lassos about its neck, and one
man retained the same restraining influence over each of the others.
All being ready, the hold would be slackened and the team started. The
first motion was generally five mules in the air at one time, backs
bowed, hind feet extended to the rear.  After repeating this movement a
few times the leaders would start to run.  This would bring the
breeching tight against the mules at the wheels, which these last seemed
to regard as a most unwarrantable attempt at coercion and would resist
by taking a seat, sometimes going so far as to lie down.  In time all
were broken in to do their duty submissively if not cheerfully, but
there never was a time during the war when it was safe to let a Mexican
mule get entirely loose.  Their drivers were all teamsters by the time
they got through.

I recollect one case of a mule that had worked in a team under the
saddle, not only for some time at Corpus Christi, where he was broken,
but all the way to the point opposite Matamoras, then to Camargo, where
he got loose from his fastenings during the night.  He did not run away
at first, but staid in the neighborhood for a day or two, coming up
sometimes to the feed trough even; but on the approach of the teamster
he always got out of the way.  At last, growing tired of the constant
effort to catch him, he disappeared altogether.  Nothing short of a
Mexican with his lasso could have caught him.  Regulations would not
have warranted the expenditure of a dollar in hiring a man with a lasso
to catch that mule; but they did allow the expenditure "of the mule," on
a certificate that he had run away without any fault of the
quartermaster on whose returns he was borne, and also the purchase of
another to take his place.  I am a competent witness, for I was
regimental quartermaster at the time.

While at Corpus Christi all the officers who had a fancy for riding kept
horses.  The animals cost but little in the first instance, and when
picketed they would get their living without any cost.  I had three not
long before the army moved, but a sad accident bereft me of them all at
one time.  A colored boy who gave them all the attention they got
--besides looking after my tent and that of a class-mate and
fellow-lieutenant and cooking for us, all for about eight dollars per
month, was riding one to water and leading the other two.  The led
horses pulled him from his seat and all three ran away.  They never were
heard of afterwards.  Shortly after that some one told Captain Bliss,
General Taylor's Adjutant-General, of my misfortune.  "Yes; I heard
Grant lost five or six dollars' worth of horses the other day," he
replied.  That was a slander; they were broken to the saddle when I got
them and cost nearly twenty dollars.  I never suspected the colored boy
of malicious intent in letting them get away, because, if they had not
escaped, he could have had one of them to ride on the long march then in



At last the preparations were complete and orders were issued for the
advance to begin on the 8th of March.  General Taylor had an army of not
more than three thousand men.  One battery, the siege guns and all the
convalescent troops were sent on by water to Brazos Santiago, at the
mouth of the Rio Grande.  A guard was left back at Corpus Christi to
look after public property and to take care of those who were too sick
to be removed.  The remainder of the army, probably not more than twenty
five hundred men, was divided into three brigades, with the cavalry
independent.  Colonel Twiggs, with seven companies of dragoons and a
battery of light artillery, moved on the 8th.  He was followed by the
three infantry brigades, with a day's interval between the commands.
Thus the rear brigade did not move from Corpus Christi until the 11th of
March.  In view of the immense bodies of men moved on the same day over
narrow roads, through dense forests and across large streams, in our
late war, it seems strange now that a body of less than three thousand
men should have been broken into four columns, separated by a day's

General Taylor was opposed to anything like plundering by the troops,
and in this instance, I doubt not, he looked upon the enemy as the
aggrieved party and was not willing to injure them further than his
instructions from Washington demanded.  His orders to the troops
enjoined scrupulous regard for the rights of all peaceable persons and
the payment of the highest price for all supplies taken for the use of
the army.

All officers of foot regiments who had horses were permitted to ride
them on the march when it did not interfere with their military duties.
As already related, having lost my "five or six dollars' worth of
horses" but a short time before I determined not to get another, but to
make the journey on foot.  My company commander, Captain McCall, had two
good American horses, of considerably more value in that country, where
native horses were cheap, than they were in the States. He used one
himself and wanted the other for his servant.  He was quite anxious to
know whether I did not intend to get me another horse before the march
began.  I told him No; I belonged to a foot regiment.  I did not
understand the object of his solicitude at the time, but, when we were
about to start, he said:  "There, Grant, is a horse for you."  I found
that he could not bear the idea of his servant riding on a long march
while his lieutenant went a-foot.  He had found a mustang, a three-year
old colt only recently captured, which had been purchased by one of the
colored servants with the regiment for the sum of three dollars.  It was
probably the only horse at Corpus Christi that could have been purchased
just then for any reasonable price.  Five dollars, sixty-six and
two-thirds per cent. advance, induced the owner to part with the
mustang.  I was sorry to take him, because I really felt that, belonging
to a foot regiment, it was my duty to march with the men.  But I saw the
Captain's earnestness in the matter, and accepted the horse for the
trip.  The day we started was the first time the horse had ever been
under saddle. I had, however, but little difficulty in breaking him,
though for the first day there were frequent disagreements between us as
to which way we should go, and sometimes whether we should go at all.
At no time during the day could I choose exactly the part of the column
I would march with; but after that, I had as tractable a horse as any
with the army, and there was none that stood the trip better. He never
ate a mouthful of food on the journey except the grass he could pick
within the length of his picket rope.

A few days out from Corpus Christi, the immense herd of wild horses that
ranged at that time between the Nueces and the Rio Grande was seen
directly in advance of the head of the column and but a few miles off.
It was the very band from which the horse I was riding had been captured
but a few weeks before. The column was halted for a rest, and a number
of officers, myself among them, rode out two or three miles to the right
to see the extent of the herd.  The country was a rolling prairie, and,
from the higher ground, the vision was obstructed only by the earth's
curvature.  As far as the eye could reach to our right, the herd
extended.  To the left, it extended equally. There was no estimating the
number of animals in it; I have no idea that they could all have been
corralled in the State of Rhode Island, or Delaware, at one time.  If
they had been, they would have been so thick that the pasturage would
have given out the first day. People who saw the Southern herd of
buffalo, fifteen or twenty years ago, can appreciate the  size of the
Texas band of wild horses in 1846.

At the point where the army struck the Little Colorado River, the stream
was quite wide and of sufficient depth for navigation. The water was
brackish and the banks were fringed with timber. Here the whole army
concentrated before attempting to cross. The army was not accompanied by
a pontoon train, and at that time the troops were not instructed in
bridge building.  To add to the embarrassment of the situation, the army
was here, for the first time, threatened with opposition. Buglers,
concealed from our view by the brush on the opposite side, sounded the
"assembly," and other military calls.  Like the wolves before spoken of,
they gave the impression that there was a large number of them and that,
if the troops were in proportion to the noise, they were sufficient to
devour General Taylor and his army.  There were probably but few troops,
and those engaged principally in watching the movements of the
"invader."  A few of our cavalry dashed in, and forded and swam the
stream, and all opposition was soon dispersed.  I do not remember that a
single shot was fired.

The troops waded the stream, which was up to their necks in the deepest
part.  Teams were crossed by attaching a long rope to the end of the
wagon tongue passing it between the two swing mules and by the side of
the leader, hitching his bridle as well as the bridle of the mules in
rear to it, and carrying the end to men on the opposite shore.  The bank
down to the water was steep on both sides.  A rope long enough to cross
the river, therefore, was attached to the back axle of the wagon, and
men behind would hold the rope to prevent the wagon "beating" the mules
into the water.  This latter rope also served the purpose of bringing
the end of the forward one back, to be used over again.  The water was
deep enough for a short distance to swim the little Mexican mules which
the army was then using, but they, and the wagons, were pulled through
so fast by the men at the end of the rope ahead, that no time was left
them to show their obstinacy.  In this manner the artillery and
transportation of the "army of occupation" crossed the Colorado River.

About the middle of the month of March the advance of the army reached
the Rio Grande and went into camp near the banks of the river, opposite
the city of Matamoras and almost under the guns of a small fort at the
lower end of the town.  There was not at that time a single habitation
from Corpus Christi until the Rio Grande was reached.

The work of fortifying was commenced at once.  The fort was laid out by
the engineers, but the work was done by the soldiers under the
supervision of their officers, the chief engineer retaining general
directions.  The Mexicans now became so incensed at our near approach
that some of their troops crossed the river above us, and made it unsafe
for small bodies of men to go far beyond the limits of camp.  They
captured two companies of dragoons, commanded by Captains Thornton and
Hardee.  The latter figured as a general in the late war, on the
Confederate side, and was author of the tactics first used by both
armies.  Lieutenant Theodric Porter, of the 4th infantry, was killed
while out with a small detachment; and Major Cross, the assistant
quartermaster-general, had also been killed not far from camp.

There was no base of supplies nearer than Point Isabel, on the coast,
north of the mouth of the Rio Grande and twenty-five miles away.  The
enemy, if the Mexicans could be called such at this time when no war had
been declared, hovered about in such numbers that it was not safe to
send a wagon train after supplies with any escort that could be spared.
I have already said that General Taylor's whole command on the Rio
Grande numbered less than three thousand men.  He had, however, a few
more troops at Point Isabel or Brazos Santiago.  The supplies brought
from Corpus Christi in wagons were running short.  Work was therefore
pushed with great vigor on the defences, to enable the minimum number of
troops to hold the fort.  All the men who could be employed, were kept
at work from early dawn until darkness closed the labors of the day.
With all this the fort was not completed until the supplies grew so
short that further delay in obtaining more could not be thought of.  By
the latter part of April the work was in a partially defensible
condition, and the 7th infantry, Major Jacob Brown commanding, was
marched in to garrison it, with some few pieces of artillery.  All the
supplies on hand, with the exception of enough to carry the rest of the
army to Point Isabel, were left with the garrison, and the march was
commenced with the remainder of the command, every wagon being taken
with the army.  Early on the second day after starting the force reached
its destination, without opposition from the Mexicans.  There was some
delay in getting supplies ashore from vessels at anchor in the open



While General Taylor was away with the bulk of his army, the little
garrison up the river was besieged.  As we lay in our tents upon the
sea-shore, the artillery at the fort on the Rio Grande could be
distinctly heard.

The war had begun.

There were no possible means of obtaining news from the garrison, and
information from outside could not be otherwise than unfavorable.  What
General Taylor's feelings were during this suspense I do not know; but
for myself, a young second-lieutenant who had never heard a hostile gun
before, I felt sorry that I had enlisted.  A great many men, when they
smell battle afar off, chafe to get into the fray.  When they say so
themselves they generally fail to convince their hearers that they are
as anxious as they would like to make believe, and as they approach
danger they become more subdued.  This rule is not universal, for I have
known a few men who were always aching for a fight when there was no
enemy near, who were as good as their word when the battle did come.
But the number of such men is small.

On the 7th of May the wagons were all loaded and General Taylor started
on his return, with his army reinforced at Point Isabel, but still less
than three thousand strong, to relieve the garrison on the Rio Grande.
The road from Point Isabel to Matamoras is over an open, rolling,
treeless prairie, until the timber that borders the bank of the Rio
Grande is reached.  This river, like the Mississippi, flows through a
rich alluvial valley in the most meandering manner, running towards all
points of the compass at times within a few miles.  Formerly the river
ran by Resaca de la Palma, some four or five miles east of the present
channel.  The old bed of the river at Resaca had become filled at
places, leaving a succession of little lakes.  The timber that had
formerly grown upon both banks, and for a considerable distance out, was
still standing.  This timber was struck six or eight miles out from the
besieged garrison, at a point known as Palo Alto--"Tall trees" or

Early in the forenoon of the 8th of May as Palo Alto was approached, an
army, certainly outnumbering our little force, was seen, drawn up in
line of battle just in front of the timber.  Their bayonets and
spearheads glistened in the sunlight formidably.  The force was composed
largely of cavalry armed with lances.  Where we were the grass was tall,
reaching nearly to the shoulders of the men, very stiff, and each stock
was pointed at the top, and hard and almost as sharp as a
darning-needle. General Taylor halted his army before the head of column
came in range of the artillery of the Mexicans.  He then formed a line
of battle, facing the enemy.  His artillery, two batteries and two
eighteen-pounder iron guns, drawn by oxen, were placed in position at
intervals along the line.  A battalion was thrown to the rear, commanded
by Lieutenant-Colonel Childs, of the artillery, as reserves.  These
preparations completed, orders were given for a platoon of each company
to stack arms and go to a stream off to the right of the command, to
fill their canteens and also those of the rest of their respective
companies.  When the men were all back in their places in line, the
command to advance was given.  As I looked down that long line of about
three thousand armed men, advancing towards a larger force also armed,
I thought what a fearful responsibility General Taylor must feel,
commanding such a host and so far away from friends.  The Mexicans
immediately opened fire upon us, first with artillery and then with
infantry.  At first their shots did not reach us, and the advance was
continued.  As we got nearer, the cannon balls commenced going through
the ranks.  They hurt no one, however, during this advance, because they
would strike the ground long before they reached our line, and
ricochetted through the tall grass so slowly that the men would see them
and open ranks and let them pass.  When we got to a point where the
artillery could be used with effect, a halt was called, and the battle
opened on both sides.

The infantry under General Taylor was armed with flint-lock muskets, and
paper cartridges charged with powder, buck-shot and ball.  At the
distance of a few hundred yards a man might fire at you all day without
your finding it out.  The artillery was generally six-pounder brass guns
throwing only solid shot; but General Taylor had with him three or four
twelve-pounder howitzers throwing shell, besides his eighteen-pounders
before spoken of, that had a long range.  This made a powerful armament.
The Mexicans were armed about as we were so far as their infantry was
concerned, but their artillery only fired solid shot.  We had greatly
the advantage in this arm.

The artillery was advanced a rod or two in front of the line, and opened
fire.  The infantry stood at order arms as spectators, watching the
effect of our shots upon the enemy, and watching his shots so as to step
out of their way.  It could be seen that the eighteen-pounders and the
howitzers did a great deal of execution.  On our side there was little
or no loss while we occupied this position.  During the battle Major
Ringgold, an accomplished and brave artillery officer, was mortally
wounded, and Lieutenant Luther, also of the artillery, was struck.
During the day several advances were made, and just at dusk it became
evident that the Mexicans were falling back. We again advanced, and
occupied at the close of the battle substantially the ground held by the
enemy at the beginning.  In this last move there was a brisk fire upon
our troops, and some execution was done.  One cannon-ball passed through
our ranks, not far from me.  It took off the head of an enlisted man,
and the under jaw of Captain Page of my regiment, while the splinters
from the musket of the killed soldier, and his brains and bones, knocked
down two or three others, including one officer, Lieutenant Wallen,
--hurting them more or less.  Our casualties for the day were nine killed
and forty-seven wounded.

At the break of day on the 9th, the army under Taylor was ready to renew
the battle; but an advance showed that the enemy had entirely left our
front during the night.  The chaparral before us was impenetrable except
where there were roads or trails, with occasionally clear or bare spots
of small dimensions.  A body of men penetrating it might easily be
ambushed.  It was better to have a few men caught in this way than the
whole army, yet it was necessary that the garrison at the river should
be relieved.  To get to them the chaparral had to be passed.  Thus I
assume General Taylor reasoned.  He halted the army not far in advance
of the ground occupied by the Mexicans the day before, and selected
Captain C. F. Smith, of the artillery, and Captain McCall, of my
company, to take one hundred and fifty picked men each and find where
the enemy had gone.  This left me in command of the company, an honor
and responsibility I thought very great.

Smith and McCall found no obstruction in the way of their advance until
they came up to the succession of ponds, before describes, at Resaca.
The Mexicans had passed them and formed their lines on the opposite
bank.  This position they had strengthened a little by throwing up dead
trees and brush in their front, and by placing artillery to cover the
approaches and open places.  Smith and McCall deployed on each side of
the road as well as they could, and engaged the enemy at long range.
Word was sent back, and the advance of the whole army was at once
commenced.  As we came up we were deployed in like manner.  I was with
the right wing, and led my company through the thicket wherever a
penetrable place could be found, taking advantage of any clear spot that
would carry me towards the enemy.  At last I got pretty close up without
knowing it.  The balls commenced to whistle very thick overhead, cutting
the limbs of the chaparral right and left.  We could not see the enemy,
so I ordered my men to lie down, an order that did not have to be
enforced.  We kept our position until it became evident that the enemy
were not firing at us, and then withdrew to find better ground to
advance upon.

By this time some progress had been made on our left.  A section of
artillery had been captured by the cavalry, and some prisoners had been
taken.  The Mexicans were giving way all along the line, and many of
them had, no doubt, left early.  I at last found a clear space
separating two ponds.  There seemed to be a few men in front and I
charged upon them with my company.

There was no resistance, and we captured a Mexican colonel, who had been
wounded, and a few men.  Just as I was sending them to the rear with a
guard of two or three men, a private came from the front bringing back
one of our officers, who had been badly wounded in advance of where I
was.  The ground had been charged over before.  My exploit was equal to
that of the soldier who boasted that he had cut off the leg of one of
the enemy.  When asked why he did not cut off his head, he replied:
"Some one had done that before."  This left no doubt in my mind but that
the battle of Resaca de la Palma would have been won, just as it was, if
I had not been there.  There was no further resistance. The evening of
the 9th the army was encamped on its old ground near the Fort, and the
garrison was relieved.  The siege had lasted a number of days, but the
casualties were few in number.  Major Jacob Brown, of the 7th infantry,
the commanding officer, had been killed, and in his honor the fort was
named. Since then a town of considerable importance has sprung up on the
ground occupied by the fort and troops, which has also taken his name.

The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma seemed to us engaged, as
pretty important affairs; but we had only a faint conception of their
magnitude until they were fought over in the North by the Press and the
reports came back to us.  At the same time, or about the same time, we
learned that war existed between the United States and Mexico, by the
acts of the latter country.  On learning this fact General Taylor
transferred our camps to the south or west bank of the river, and
Matamoras was occupied.  We then became the "Army of Invasion."

Up to this time Taylor had none but regular troops in his command; but
now that invasion had already taken place, volunteers for one year
commenced arriving.  The army remained at Matamoras until sufficiently
reinforced to warrant a movement into the interior.  General Taylor was
not an officer to trouble the administration much with his demands, but
was inclined to do the best he could with the means given him.  He felt
his responsibility as going no further.  If he had thought that he was
sent to perform an impossibility with the means given him, he would
probably have informed the authorities of his opinion and left them to
determine what should be done.  If the judgment was against him he would
have gone on and done the best he could with the means at hand without
parading his grievance before the public.  No soldier could face either
danger or responsibility more calmly than he.  These are qualities more
rarely found than genius or physical courage.

General Taylor never made any great show or parade, either of uniform or
retinue.  In dress he was possibly too plain, rarely wearing anything in
the field to indicate his rank, or even that he was an officer; but he
was known to every soldier in his army, and was respected by all.  I can
call to mind only one instance when I saw him in uniform, and one other
when I heard of his wearing it, On both occasions he was unfortunate.
The first was at Corpus Christi.  He had concluded to review his army
before starting on the march and gave orders accordingly.  Colonel
Twiggs was then second in rank with the army, and to him was given the
command of the review.  Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General Worth, a
far different soldier from Taylor in the use of the uniform, was next to
Twiggs in rank, and claimed superiority by virtue of his brevet rank
when the accidents of service threw them where one or the other had to
command.  Worth declined to attend the review as subordinate to Twiggs
until the question was settled by the highest authority.  This broke up
the review, and the question was referred to Washington for final

General Taylor was himself only a colonel, in real rank, at that time,
and a brigadier-general by brevet.  He was assigned to duty, however, by
the President, with the rank which his brevet gave him.  Worth was not
so assigned, but by virtue of commanding a division he must, under the
army regulations of that day, have drawn the pay of his brevet rank.
The question was submitted to Washington, and no response was received
until after the army had reached the Rio Grande.  It was decided against
General Worth, who at once tendered his resignation and left the army,
going north, no doubt, by the same vessel that carried it.  This kept
him out of the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.  Either the
resignation was not accepted, or General Worth withdrew it before action
had been taken.  At all events he returned to the army in time to
command his division in the battle of Monterey, and served with it to
the end of the war.

The second occasion on which General Taylor was said to have donned his
uniform, was in order to receive a visit from the Flag Officer of the
naval squadron off the mouth of the Rio Grande.  While the army was on
that river the Flag Officer sent word that he would call on the General
to pay his respects on a certain day.  General Taylor, knowing that
naval officers habitually wore all the uniform the "law allowed" on all
occasions of ceremony, thought it would be only civil to receive his
guest in the same style.  His uniform was therefore got out, brushed up,
and put on, in advance of the visit.  The Flag Officer, knowing General
Taylor's aversion to the wearing of the uniform, and feeling that it
would be regarded as a compliment should he meet him in civilian's
dress, left off his uniform for this occasion.  The meeting was said to
have been embarrassing to both, and the conversation was principally

The time was whiled away pleasantly enough at Matamoras, while we were
waiting for volunteers.  It is probable that all the most important
people of the territory occupied by our army left their homes before we
got there, but with those remaining the best of relations apparently
existed.  It was the policy of the Commanding General to allow no
pillaging, no taking of private property for public or individual use
without satisfactory compensation, so that a better market was afforded
than the people had ever known before.

Among the troops that joined us at Matamoras was an Ohio regiment, of
which Thomas L. Hamer, the Member of Congress who had given me my
appointment to West Point, was major.  He told me then that he could
have had the colonelcy, but that as he knew he was to be appointed a
brigadier-general, he preferred at first to take the lower grade.  I
have said before that Hamer was one of the ablest men Ohio ever
produced.  At that time he was in the prime of life, being less than
fifty years of age, and possessed an admirable physique, promising long
life.  But he was taken sick before Monterey, and died within a few
days.  I have always believed that had his life been spared, he would
have been President of the United States during the term filled by
President Pierce.  Had Hamer filled that office his partiality for me
was such, there is but little doubt I should have been appointed to one
of the staff corps of the army--the Pay Department probably--and would
therefore now be preparing to retire.  Neither of these speculations is
unreasonable, and they are mentioned to show how little men control
their own destiny.

Reinforcements having arrived, in the month of August the movement
commenced from Matamoras to Camargo, the head of navigation on the Rio
Grande.  The line of the Rio Grande was all that was necessary to hold,
unless it was intended to invade Mexico from the North.  In that case
the most natural route to take was the one which General Taylor
selected.  It entered a pass in the Sierra Madre Mountains, at Monterey,
through which the main road runs to the City of Mexico.  Monterey itself
was a good point to hold, even if the line of the Rio Grande covered all
the territory we desired to occupy at that time.  It is built on a plain
two thousand feet above tide water, where the air is bracing and the
situation healthy.

On the 19th of August the army started for Monterey, leaving a small
garrison at Matamoras.  The troops, with the exception of the artillery,
cavalry, and the brigade to which I belonged, were moved up the river to
Camargo on steamers.  As there were but two or three of these, the boats
had to make a number of trips before the last of the troops were
up. Those who marched did so by the south side of the river.
Lieutenant-Colonel Garland, of the 4th infantry, was the brigade
commander, and on this occasion commanded the entire marching force.
One day out convinced him that marching by day in that latitude, in the
month of August, was not a beneficial sanitary measure, particularly for
Northern men.  The order of marching was changed and night marches were
substituted with the best results.

When Camargo was reached, we found a city of tents outside the Mexican
hamlet.  I was detailed to act as quartermaster and commissary to the
regiment.  The teams that had proven abundantly sufficient to transport
all supplies from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande over the level
prairies of Texas, were entirely inadequate to the needs of the
reinforced army in a mountainous country.  To obviate the deficiency,
pack mules were hired, with Mexicans to pack and drive them.  I had
charge of the few wagons allotted to the 4th infantry and of the pack
train to supplement them.  There were not men enough in the army to
manage that train without the help of Mexicans who had learned how.  As
it was the difficulty was great enough.  The troops would take up their
march at an early hour each day.  After they had started, the tents and
cooking utensils had to be made into packages, so that they could be
lashed to the backs of the mules.  Sheet-iron kettles, tent-poles and
mess chests were inconvenient articles to transport in that way.  It
took several hours to get ready to start each morning, and by the time
we were ready some of the mules first loaded would be tired of standing
so long with their loads on their backs. Sometimes one would start to
run, bowing his back and kicking up until he scattered his load; others
would lie down and try to disarrange their loads by attempting to get on
the top of them by rolling on them; others with tent-poles for part of
their loads would manage to run a tent-pole on one side of a sapling
while they would take the other.  I am not aware of ever having used a
profane expletive in my life; but I would have the charity to excuse
those who may have done so, if they were in charge of a train of Mexican
pack mules at the time.



The advance from Camargo was commenced on the 5th of September. The army
was divided into four columns, separated from each other by one day's
march.  The advance reached Cerralvo in four days and halted for the
remainder of the troops to come up.  By the 13th the rear-guard had
arrived, and the same day the advance resumed its march, followed as
before, a day separating the divisions.  The forward division halted
again at Marin, twenty-four miles from Monterey.  Both this place and
Cerralvo were nearly deserted, and men, women and children were seen
running and scattered over the hills as we approached; but when the
people returned they found all their abandoned property safe, which must
have given them a favorable opinion of Los Grengos--"the Yankees."  From
Marin the movement was in mass. On the 19th General Taylor, with is
army, was encamped at Walnut Springs, within three miles of Monterey.

The town is on a small stream coming out of the mountain-pass, and is
backed by a range of hills of moderate elevation.  To the north, between
the city and Walnut Springs, stretches an extensive plain.  On this
plain, and entirely outside of the last houses of the city, stood a
strong fort, enclosed on all sides, to which our army gave the name of
"Black Fort."  Its guns commanded the approaches to the city to the full
extent of their range.  There were two detached spurs of hills or
mountains to the north and northwest of the city, which were also
fortified.  On one of these stood the Bishop's Palace.  The road to
Saltillo leaves the upper or western end of the city under the fire of
the guns from these heights.  The lower or eastern end was defended by
two or three small detached works, armed with artillery and infantry.
To the south was the mountain stream before mentioned, and back of that
the range of foot-hills.  The plaza in the centre of the city was the
citadel, properly speaking.  All the streets leading from it were swept
by artillery, cannon being intrenched behind temporary parapets. The
house-tops near the plaza were converted into infantry fortifications by
the use of sand-bags for parapets.  Such were the defences of Monterey
in September, 1847.  General Ampudia, with a force of certainly ten
thousand men, was in command.

General Taylor's force was about six thousand five hundred strong, in
three divisions, under Generals Butler, Twiggs and Worth.  The troops
went into camp at Walnut Springs, while the engineer officers, under
Major Mansfield--a General in the late war--commenced their
reconnoissance.  Major Mansfield found that it would be practicable to
get troops around, out of range of the Black Fort and the works on the
detached hills to the north-west of the city, to the Saltillo road.
With this road in our possession, the enemy would be cut off from
receiving further supplies, if not from all communication with the
interior. General Worth, with his division somewhat reinforced, was
given the task of gaining possession of the Saltillo road, and of
carrying the detached works outside the city, in that quarter. He
started on his march early in the afternoon of the 20th.  The divisions
under Generals Butler and Twiggs were drawn up to threaten the east and
north sides of the city and the works on those fronts, in support of the
movement under General Worth. Worth's was regarded as the main attack on
Monterey, and all other operations were in support of it.  His march
this day was uninterrupted; but the enemy was seen to reinforce heavily
about the Bishop's Palace and the other outside fortifications on their
left.  General Worth reached a defensible position just out of range of
the enemy's guns on the heights north-west of the city, and bivouacked
for the night.  The engineer officers with him--Captain Sanders and
Lieutenant George G. Meade, afterwards the commander of the victorious
National army at the battle of Gettysburg--made a reconnoissance to the
Saltillo road under cover of night.

During the night of the 20th General Taylor had established a battery,
consisting of two twenty-four-pounder howitzers and a ten inch mortar,
at a point from which they could play upon Black Fort.  A natural
depression in the plain, sufficiently deep to protect men standing in it
from the fire from the fort, was selected and the battery established on
the crest nearest the enemy.  The 4th infantry, then consisting of but
six reduced companies, was ordered to support the artillerists while
they were intrenching themselves and their guns.  I was regimental
quartermaster at the time and was ordered to remain in charge of camp
and the public property at Walnut Springs.  It was supposed that the
regiment would return to its camp in the morning.

The point for establishing the siege battery was reached and the work
performed without attracting the attention of the enemy.  At daylight
the next morning fire was opened on both sides and continued with, what
seemed to me at that day, great fury.  My curiosity got the better of my
judgment, and I mounted a horse and rode to the front to see what was
going on.  I had been there but a short time when an order to charge was
given, and lacking the moral courage to return to camp--where I had been
ordered to stay--I charged with the regiment As soon as the troops were
out of the depression they came under the fire of Black Fort.  As they
advanced they got under fire from batteries guarding the east, or lower,
end of the city, and of musketry. About one-third of the men engaged in
the charge were killed or wounded in the space of a few minutes.  We
retreated to get out of fire, not backward, but eastward and
perpendicular to the direct road running into the city from Walnut
Springs.  I was, I believe, the only person in the 4th infantry in the
charge who was on horseback.  When we got to a lace of safety the
regiment halted and drew itself together--what was left of it.  The
adjutant of the regiment, Lieutenant Hoskins, who was not in robust
health, found himself very much fatigued from running on foot in the
charge and retreat, and, seeing me on horseback, expressed a wish that
he could be mounted also.  I offered him my horse and he accepted the
offer.  A few minutes later I saw a soldier, a quartermaster's man,
mounted, not far away.  I ran to him, took his horse and was back with
the regiment in a few minutes.  In a short time we were off again; and
the next place of safety from the shots of the enemy that I recollect of
being in, was a field of cane or corn to the north-east of the lower
batteries.  The adjutant to whom I had loaned my horse was killed, and I
was designated to act in his place.

This charge was ill-conceived, or badly executed.  We belonged to the
brigade commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Garland, and he had received
orders to charge the lower batteries of the city, and carry them if he
could without too much loss, for the purpose of creating a diversion in
favor of Worth, who was conducting the movement which it was intended
should be decisive.  By a movement by the left flank Garland could have
led his men beyond the range of the fire from Black Fort and advanced
towards the northeast angle of the city, as well covered from fire as
could be expected.  There was no undue loss of life in reaching the
lower end of Monterey, except that sustained by Garland's command.

Meanwhile Quitman's brigade, conducted by an officer of engineers, had
reached the eastern end of the city, and was placed under cover of the
houses without much loss.  Colonel Garland's brigade also arrived at the
suburbs, and, by the assistance of some of our troops that had reached
house-tops from which they could fire into a little battery covering the
approaches to the lower end of the city, the battery was speedily
captured and its guns were turned upon another work of the enemy.  An
entrance into the east end of the city was now secured, and the houses
protected our troops so long as they were inactive.  On the west General
Worth had reached the Saltillo road after some fighting but without
heavy loss.  He turned from his new position and captured the forts on
both heights in that quarter.  This gave him possession of the upper or
west end of Monterey.  Troops from both Twiggs's and Butler's divisions
were in possession of the east end of the town, but the Black Fort to
the north of the town and the plaza in the centre were still in the
possession of the enemy.  Our camps at Walnut Springs, three miles away,
were guarded by a company from each regiment.  A regiment of Kentucky
volunteers guarded the mortars and howitzers engaged against Black Fort.
Practically Monterey was invested.

There was nothing done on the 22d by the United States troops; but the
enemy kept up a harmless fire upon us from Black Fort and the batteries
still in their possession at the east end of the city.  During the night
they evacuated these; so that on the morning of the 23d we held
undisputed possession of the east end of Monterey.

Twiggs's division was at the lower end of the city, and well covered
from the fire of the enemy.  But the streets leading to the plaza--all
Spanish or Spanish-American towns have near their centres a square
called a plaza--were commanded from all directions by artillery.  The
houses were flat-roofed and but one or two stories high, and about the
plaza the roofs were manned with infantry, the troops being protected
from our fire by parapets made of sand-bags.  All advances into the city
were thus attended with much danger.  While moving along streets which
did not lead to the plaza, our men were protected from the fire, and
from the view, of the enemy except at the crossings; but at these a
volley of musketry and a discharge of grape-shot were invariably
encountered.  The 3d and 4th regiments of infantry made an advance
nearly to the plaza in this way and with heavy loss.  The loss of the 3d
infantry in commissioned officers was especially severe.  There were
only five companies of the regiment and not over twelve officers
present, and five of these officers were killed.  When within a square
of the plaza this small command, ten companies in all, was brought to a
halt.  Placing themselves under cover from the shots of the enemy, the
men would watch to detect a head above the sand-bags on the neighboring
houses.  The exposure of a single head would bring a volley from our

We had not occupied this position long when it was discovered that our
ammunition was growing low.  I volunteered to go back (*2) to the point
we had started from, report our position to General Twiggs, and ask for
ammunition to be forwarded.  We were at this time occupying ground off
from the street, in rear of the houses.  My ride back was an exposed
one.  Before starting I adjusted myself on the side of my horse furthest
from the enemy, and with only one foot holding to the cantle of the
saddle, and an arm over the neck of the horse exposed, I started at full
run.  It was only at street crossings that my horse was under fire, but
these I crossed at such a flying rate that generally I was past and
under cover of the next block of houses before the enemy fired.  I got
out safely without a scratch.

At one place on my ride, I saw a sentry walking in front of a house, and
stopped to inquire what he was doing there.  Finding that the house was
full of wounded American officers and soldiers, I dismounted and went
in.  I found there Captain Williams, of the Engineer Corps, wounded in
the head, probably fatally, and Lieutenant Territt, also badly wounded
his bowels protruding from his wound.  There were quite a number of
soldiers also.  Promising them to report their situation, I left,
readjusted myself to my horse, recommenced the run, and was soon with
the troops at the east end.  Before ammunition could be collected, the
two regiments I had been with were seen returning, running the same
gauntlet in getting out that they had passed in going in, but with
comparatively little loss.  The movement was countermanded and the
troops were withdrawn.  The poor wounded officers and men I had found,
fell into the hands of the enemy during the night, and died.

While this was going on at the east, General Worth, with a small
division of troops, was advancing towards the plaza from the opposite
end of the city.  He resorted to a better expedient for getting to the
plaza--the citadel--than we did on the east. Instead of moving by the
open streets, he advanced through the houses, cutting passageways from
one to another.  Without much loss of life, he got so near the plaza
during the night that before morning, Ampudia, the Mexican commander,
made overtures for the surrender of the city and garrison.  This stopped
all further hostilities.  The terms of surrender were soon agreed upon.
The prisoners were paroled and permitted to take their horses and
personal property with them.

My pity was aroused by the sight of the Mexican garrison of Monterey
marching out of town as prisoners, and no doubt the same feeling was
experienced by most of our army who witnessed it.  Many of the prisoners
were cavalry, armed with lances, and mounted on miserable little
half-starved horses that did not look as if they could carry their
riders out of town.  The men looked in but little better condition.  I
thought how little interest the men before me had in the results of the
war, and how little knowledge they had of "what it was all about."

After the surrender of the garrison of Monterey a quiet camp life was
led until midwinter.  As had been the case on the Rio Grande, the people
who remained at their homes fraternized with the "Yankees" in the
pleasantest manner.  In fact, under the humane policy of our commander,
I question whether the great majority of the Mexican people did not
regret our departure as much as they had regretted our coming.  Property
and person were thoroughly protected, and a market was afforded for all
the products of the country such as the people had never enjoyed before.
The educated and wealthy portion of the population here, as elsewhere,
abandoned their homes and remained away from them as long as they were
in the possession of the invaders; but this class formed a very small
percentage of the whole population.



The Mexican war was a political war, and the administration conducting
it desired to make party capital out of it.  General Scott was at the
head of the army, and, being a soldier of acknowledged professional
capacity, his claim to the command of the forces in the field was almost
indisputable and does not seem to have been denied by President Polk, or
Marcy, his Secretary of War.  Scott was a Whig and the administration
was democratic.  General Scott was also known to have political
aspirations, and nothing so popularizes a candidate for high civil
positions as military victories.  It would not do therefore to give him
command of the "army of conquest."  The plans submitted by Scott for a
campaign in Mexico were disapproved by the administration, and he
replied, in a tone possibly a little disrespectful, to the effect that,
if a soldier's plans were not to be supported by the administration,
success could not be expected.  This was on the 27th of May, 1846.  Four
days later General Scott was notified that he need not go to Mexico.
General Gaines was next in rank, but he was too old and feeble to take
the field.  Colonel Zachary Taylor--a brigadier-general by brevet--was
therefore left in command.  He, too, was a Whig, but was not supposed to
entertain any political ambitions; nor did he; but after the fall of
Monterey, his third battle and third complete victory, the Whig papers
at home began to speak of him as the candidate of their party for the
Presidency.  Something had to be done to neutralize his growing
popularity.  He could not be relieved from duty in the field where all
his battles had been victories:  the design would have been too
transparent.  It was finally decided to send General Scott to Mexico in
chief command, and to authorize him to carry out his own original plan:
that is, capture Vera Cruz and march upon the capital of the country.
It was no doubt supposed that Scott's ambition would lead him to
slaughter Taylor or destroy his chances for the Presidency, and yet it
was hoped that he would not make sufficient capital himself to secure
the prize.

The administration had indeed a most embarrassing problem to solve.  It
was engaged in a war of conquest which must be carried to a successful
issue, or the political object would be unattained.  Yet all the capable
officers of the requisite rank belonged to the opposition, and the man
selected for his lack of political ambition had himself become a
prominent candidate for the Presidency.  It was necessary to destroy his
chances promptly.  The problem was to do this without the loss of
conquest and without permitting another general of the same political
party to acquire like popularity.  The fact is, the administration of
Mr. Polk made every preparation to disgrace Scott, or, to speak more
correctly, to drive him to such desperation that he would disgrace

General Scott had opposed conquest by the way of the Rio Grande,
Matamoras and Saltillo from the first.  Now that he was in command of
all the forces in Mexico, he withdrew from Taylor most of his regular
troops and left him only enough volunteers, as he thought, to hold the
line then in possession of the invading army.  Indeed Scott did not deem
it important to hold anything beyond the Rio Grande, and authorized
Taylor to fall back to that line if he chose.  General Taylor protested
against the depletion of his army, and his subsequent movement upon
Buena Vista would indicate that he did not share the views of his chief
in regard to the unimportance of conquest beyond the Rio Grande.

Scott had estimated the men and material that would be required to
capture Vera Cruz and to march on the capital of the country, two
hundred and sixty miles in the interior.  He was promised all he asked
and seemed to have not only the confidence of the President, but his
sincere good wishes.  The promises were all broken.  Only about half the
troops were furnished that had been pledged, other war material was
withheld and Scott had scarcely started for Mexico before the President
undertook to supersede him by the appointment of Senator Thomas H.
Benton as lieutenant-general.  This being refused by Congress, the
President asked legislative authority to place a junior over a senior of
the same grade, with the view of appointing Benton to the rank of
major-general and then placing him in command of the army, but Congress
failed to accede to this proposition as well, and Scott remained in
command: but every general appointed to serve under him was politically
opposed to the chief, and several were personally hostile.

General Scott reached Brazos Santiago or Point Isabel, at the mouth of
the Rio Grande, late in December, 1846, and proceeded at once up the
river to Camargo, where he had written General Taylor to meet him.
Taylor, however, had gone to, or towards Tampico, for the purpose of
establishing a post there.  He had started on this march before he was
aware of General Scott being in the country.  Under these circumstances
Scott had to issue his orders designating the troops to be withdrawn
from Taylor, without the personal consultation he had expected to hold
with his subordinate.

General Taylor's victory at Buena Vista, February 22d, 23d, and 24th,
1847, with an army composed almost entirely of volunteers who had not
been in battle before, and over a vastly superior force numerically,
made his nomination for the Presidency by the Whigs a foregone
conclusion.  He was nominated and elected in 1848.  I believe that he
sincerely regretted this turn in his fortunes, preferring the peace
afforded by a quiet life free from abuse to the honor of filling the
highest office in the gift of any people, the Presidency of the United

When General Scott assumed command of the army of invasion, I was in the
division of General David Twiggs, in Taylor's command; but under the new
orders my regiment was transferred to the division of General William
Worth, in which I served to the close of the war.  The troops withdrawn
from Taylor to form part of the forces to operate against Vera Cruz,
were assembled at the mouth of the Rio Grande preparatory to embarkation
for their destination.  I found General Worth a different man from any I
had before served directly under.  He was nervous, impatient and
restless on the march, or when important or responsible duty confronted
him.  There was not the least reason for haste on the march, for it was
known that it would take weeks to assemble shipping enough at the point
of our embarkation to carry the army, but General Worth moved his
division with a rapidity that would have been commendable had he been
going to the relief of a beleaguered garrison.  The length of the
marches was regulated by the distances between places affording a supply
of water for the troops, and these distances were sometimes long and
sometimes short.  General Worth on one occasion at least, after having
made the full distance intended for the day, and after the troops were
in camp and preparing their food, ordered tents struck and made the
march that night which had been intended for the next day.  Some
commanders can move troops so as to get the maximum distance out of them
without fatigue, while others can wear them out in a few days without
accomplishing so much. General Worth belonged to this latter class.  He
enjoyed, however, a fine reputation for his fighting qualities, and thus
attached his officers and men to him.

The army lay in camp upon the sand-beach in the neighborhood of the
mouth of the Rio Grande for several weeks, awaiting the arrival of
transports to carry it to its new field of operations.  The transports
were all sailing vessels.  The passage was a tedious one, and many of
the troops were on shipboard over thirty days from the embarkation at
the mouth of the Rio Grande to the time of debarkation south of Vera
Cruz. The trip was a comfortless one for officers and men.  The
transports used were built for carrying freight and possessed but
limited accommodations for passengers, and the climate added to the
discomfort of all.

The transports with troops were assembled in the harbor of Anton
Lizardo, some sixteen miles south of Vera Cruz, as they arrived, and
there awaited the remainder of the fleet, bringing artillery, ammunition
and supplies of all kinds from the North.  With the fleet there was a
little steam propeller dispatch-boat--the first vessel of the kind I had
ever seen, and probably the first of its kind ever seen by any one then
with the army.  At that day ocean steamers were rare, and what there
were were sidewheelers.  This little vessel, going through the fleet so
fast, so noiselessly and with its propeller under water out of view,
attracted a great deal of attention.  I recollect that Lieutenant Sidney
Smith, of the 4th infantry, by whom I happened to be standing on the
deck of a vessel when this propeller was passing, exclaimed, "Why, the
thing looks as if it was propelled by the force of circumstances."

Finally on the 7th of March, 1847, the little army of ten or twelve
thousand men, given Scott to invade a country with a population of seven
or eight millions, a mountainous country affording the greatest possible
natural advantages for defence, was all assembled and ready to commence
the perilous task of landing from vessels lying in the open sea.

The debarkation took place inside of the little island of Sacrificios,
some three miles south of Vera Cruz.  The vessels could not get anywhere
near shore, so that everything had to be landed in lighters or
surf-boats; General Scott had provided these before leaving the North.
The breakers were sometimes high, so that the landing was tedious.  The
men were got ashore rapidly, because they could wade when they came to
shallow water; but the camp and garrison equipage, provisions,
ammunition and all stores had to be protected from the salt water, and
therefore their landing took several days.  The Mexicans were very kind
to us, however, and threw no obstacles in the way of our landing except
an occasional shot from their nearest fort.  During the debarkation one
shot took off the head of Major Albertis.  No other, I believe, reached
anywhere near the same distance.  On the 9th of March the troops were
landed and the investment of Vera Cruz, from the Gulf of Mexico south of
the city to the Gulf again on the north, was soon and easily effected.
The landing of stores was continued until everything was got ashore.

Vera Cruz, at the time of which I write and up to 1880, was a walled
city.  The wall extended from the water's edge south of the town to the
water again on the north.  There were fortifications at intervals along
the line and at the angles. In front of the city, and on an island half
a mile out in the Gulf, stands San Juan de Ulloa, an enclosed
fortification of large dimensions and great strength for that period.
Against artillery of the present day the land forts and walls would
prove elements of weakness rather than strength.  After the invading
army had established their camps out of range of the fire from the city,
batteries were established, under cover of night, far to the front of
the line where the troops lay.  These batteries were intrenched and the
approaches sufficiently protected.  If a sortie had been made at any
time by the Mexicans, the men serving the batteries could have been
quickly reinforced without great exposure to the fire from the enemy's
main line.  No serious attempt was made to capture the batteries or to
drive our troops away.

The siege continued with brisk firing on our side till the 27th of
March, by which time a considerable breach had been made in the wall
surrounding the city.  Upon this General Morales, who was Governor of
both the city and of San Juan de Ulloa, commenced a correspondence with
General Scott looking to the surrender of the town, forts and garrison.
On the 29th Vera Cruz and San Juan de Ulloa were occupied by Scott's
army.  About five thousand prisoners and four hundred pieces of
artillery, besides large amounts of small arms and ammunition, fell into
the hands of the victorious force.  The casualties on our side during
the siege amounted to sixty-four officers and men, killed and wounded.



General Scott had less than twelve thousand men at Vera Cruz. He had
been promised by the administration a very much larger force, or claimed
that he had, and he was a man of veracity. Twelve thousand was a very
small army with which to penetrate two hundred and sixty miles into an
enemy's country, and to besiege the capital; a city, at that time, of
largely over one hundred thousand inhabitants.  Then, too, any line of
march that could be selected led through mountain passes easily
defended. In fact, there were at that time but two roads from Vera Cruz
to the City of Mexico that could be taken by an army; one by Jalapa and
Perote, the other by Cordova and Orizaba, the two coming together on the
great plain which extends to the City of Mexico after the range of
mountains is passed.

It was very important to get the army away from Vera Cruz as soon as
possible, in order to avoid the yellow fever, or vomito, which usually
visits that city early in the year, and is very fatal to persons not
acclimated; but transportation, which was expected from the North, was
arriving very slowly.  It was absolutely necessary to have enough to
supply the army to Jalapa, sixty-five miles in the interior and above
the fevers of the coast.  At that point the country is fertile, and an
army of the size of General Scott's could subsist there for an
indefinite period.  Not counting the sick, the weak and the garrisons
for the captured city and fort, the moving column was now less than ten
thousand strong.  This force was composed of three divisions, under
Generals Twiggs, Patterson, and Worth. The importance of escaping the
vomito was so great that as soon as transportation enough could be got
together to move a division the advance was commenced.  On the 8th of
April, Twiggs's division started for Jalapa.  He was followed very soon
by Patterson, with his division.  General Worth was to bring up the rear
with his command as soon as transportation enough was assembled to carry
six days' rations for his troops with the necessary ammunition and camp
and garrison equipage.  It was the 13th of April before this division
left Vera Cruz.

The leading division ran against the enemy at Cerro Gordo, some fifty
miles west, on the road to Jalapa, and went into camp at Plan del Rio,
about three miles from the fortifications. General Patterson reached
Plan del Rio with his division soon after Twiggs arrived.  The two were
then secure against an attack from Santa Anna, who commanded the Mexican
forces.  At all events they confronted the enemy without reinforcements
and without molestation, until the 18th of April.  General Scott had
remained at Vera Cruz to hasten preparations for the field; but on the
12th, learning the situation at the front, he hastened on to take
personal supervision.  He at once commenced his preparations for the
capture of the position held by Santa Anna and of the troops holding it.

Cerro Gordo is one of the higher spurs of the mountains some twelve to
fifteen miles east of Jalapa, and Santa Anna had selected this point as
the easiest to defend against an invading army.  The road, said to have
been built by Cortez, zigzags around the mountain-side and was defended
at every turn by artillery.  On either side were deep chasms or mountain
walls. A direct attack along the road was an impossibility.  A flank
movement seemed equally impossible.  After the arrival of the
commanding-general upon the scene, reconnoissances were sent out to
find, or to make, a road by which the rear of the enemy's works might be
reached without a front attack.  These reconnoissances were made under
the supervision of Captain Robert E. Lee, assisted by Lieutenants P. G.
T. Beauregard, Isaac I. Stevens, Z. B. Tower, G. W. Smith, George B.
McClellan, and J. G. Foster, of the corps of engineers, all officers who
attained rank and fame, on one side or the other, in the great conflict
for the preservation of the unity of the nation.  The reconnoissance was
completed, and the labor of cutting out and making roads by the flank of
the enemy was effected by the 17th of the month.  This was accomplished
without the knowledge of Santa Anna or his army, and over ground where
he supposed it impossible.  On the same day General Scott issued his
order for the attack on the 18th.

The attack was made as ordered, and perhaps there was not a battle of
the Mexican war, or of any other, where orders issued before an
engagement were nearer being a correct report of what afterwards took
place.  Under the supervision of the engineers, roadways had been opened
over chasms to the right where the walls were so steep that men could
barely climb them.  Animals could not.  These had been opened under
cover of night, without attracting the notice of the enemy.  The
engineers, who had directed the opening, led the way and the troops
followed. Artillery was let down the steep slopes by hand, the men
engaged attaching a strong rope to the rear axle and letting the guns
down, a piece at a time, while the men at the ropes kept their ground on
top, paying out gradually, while a few at the front directed the course
of the piece.  In like manner the guns were drawn by hand up the
opposite slopes.  In this way Scott's troops reached their assigned
position in rear of most of the intrenchments of the enemy, unobserved.
The attack was made, the Mexican reserves behind the works beat a hasty
retreat, and those occupying them surrendered.  On the left General
Pillow's command made a formidable demonstration, which doubtless held a
part of the enemy in his front and contributed to the victory. I am not
pretending to give full details of all the battles fought, but of the
portion that I saw.  There were troops engaged on both sides at other
points in which both sustained losses; but the battle was won as here

The surprise of the enemy was complete, the victory overwhelming; some
three thousand prisoners fell into Scott's hands, also a large amount of
ordnance and ordnance stores.  The prisoners were paroled, the artillery
parked and the small arms and ammunition destroyed.  The battle of Buena
Vista was probably very important to the success of General Scott at
Cerro Gordo and in his entire campaign from Vera Cruz to the great
plains reaching to the City of Mexico.  The only army Santa Anna had to
protect his capital and the mountain passes west of Vera Cruz, was the
one he had with him confronting General Taylor. It is not likely that he
would have gone as far north as Monterey to attack the United States
troops when he knew his country was threatened with invasion further
south.  When Taylor moved to Saltillo and then advanced on to Buena
Vista, Santa Anna crossed the desert confronting the invading army,
hoping no doubt to crush it and get back in time to meet General Scott
in the mountain passes west of Vera Cruz.  His attack on Taylor was
disastrous to the Mexican army, but, notwithstanding this, he marched
his army to Cerro Gordo, a distance not much short of one thousand miles
by the line he had to travel, in time to intrench himself well before
Scott got there.  If he had been successful at Buena Vista his troops
would no doubt have made a more stubborn resistance at Cerro Gordo.  Had
the battle of Buena Vista not been fought Santa Anna would have had time
to move leisurely to meet the invader further south and with an army not
demoralized nor depleted by defeat.

After the battle the victorious army moved on to Jalapa, where it was in
a beautiful, productive and healthy country, far above the fevers of the
coast.  Jalapa, however, is still in the mountains, and between there
and the great plain the whole line of the road is easy of defence.  It
was important, therefore, to get possession of the great highway between
the sea-coast and the capital up to the point where it leaves the
mountains, before the enemy could have time to re-organize and fortify
in our front. Worth's division was selected to go forward to secure this
result.  The division marched to Perote on the great plain, not far from
where the road debouches from the mountains.  There is a low, strong
fort on the plain in front of the town, known as the Castle of Perote.
This, however, offered no resistance and fell into our hands, with its

General Scott having now only nine or ten thousand men west of Vera
Cruz, and the time of some four thousand of them being about to expire,
a long delay was the consequence.  The troops were in a healthy climate,
and where they could subsist for an indefinite period even if their line
back to Vera Cruz should be cut off.  It being ascertained that the men
whose time would expire before the City of Mexico could possibly fall
into the hands of the American army, would not remain beyond the term
for which they had volunteered, the commanding-general determined to
discharge them at once, for a delay until the expiration of their time
would have compelled them to pass through Vera Cruz during the season of
the vomito.  This reduced Scott's force in the field to about five
thousand men.

Early in May, Worth, with his division, left Perote and marched on to
Puebla.  The roads were wide and the country open except through one
pass in a spur of mountains coming up from the south, through which the
road runs.  Notwithstanding this the small column was divided into two
bodies, moving a day apart. Nothing occurred on the march of special
note, except that while lying at the town of Amozoque--an easy day's
march east of Puebla--a body of the enemy's cavalry, two or three
thousand strong, was seen to our right, not more than a mile away.  A
battery or two, with two or three infantry regiments, was sent against
them and they soon disappeared.  On the 15th of May we entered the city
of Puebla.

General Worth was in command at Puebla until the latter end of May, when
General Scott arrived.  Here, as well as on the march up, his
restlessness, particularly under responsibilities, showed itself.
During his brief command he had the enemy hovering around near the city,
in vastly superior numbers to his own.  The brigade to which I was
attached changed quarters three different times in about a week,
occupying at first quarters near the plaza, in the heart of the city;
then at the western entrance; then at the extreme east.  On one occasion
General Worth had the troops in line, under arms, all day, with three
days' cooked rations in their haversacks.  He galloped from one command
to another proclaiming the near proximity of Santa Anna with an army
vastly superior to his own.  General Scott arrived upon the scene the
latter part of the month, and nothing more was heard of Santa Anna and
his myriads.  There were, of course, bodies of mounted Mexicans hovering
around to watch our movements and to pick up stragglers, or small bodies
of troops, if they ventured too far out.  These always withdrew on the
approach of any considerable number of our soldiers.  After the arrival
of General Scott I was sent, as quartermaster, with a large train of
wagons, back two days' march at least, to procure forage.  We had less
than a thousand men as escort, and never thought of danger.  We procured
full loads for our entire train at two plantations, which could easily
have furnished as much more.

There had been great delay in obtaining the authority of Congress for
the raising of the troops asked for by the administration.  A bill was
before the National Legislature from early in the session of 1846-7,
authorizing the creation of ten additional regiments for the war to be
attached to the regular army, but it was the middle of February before
it became a law.  Appointments of commissioned officers had then to be
made; men had to be enlisted, the regiments equipped and the whole
transported to Mexico.  It was August before General Scott received
reinforcement sufficient to warrant an advance.  His moving column, not
even now more than ten thousand strong, was in four divisions, commanded
by Generals Twiggs, Worth, Pillow and Quitman.  There was also a cavalry
corps under General Harney, composed of detachments of the 1st, 2d, and
3d dragoons.  The advance commenced on the 7th of August with Twiggs's
division in front.  The remaining three divisions followed, with an
interval of a day between.  The marches were short, to make
concentration easier in case of attack.

I had now been in battle with the two leading commanders conducting
armies in a foreign land.  The contrast between the two was very marked.
General Taylor never wore uniform, but dressed himself entirely for
comfort.  He moved about the field in which he was operating to see
through his own eyes the situation.  Often he would be without staff
officers, and when he was accompanied by them there was no prescribed
order in which they followed.  He was very much given to sit his horse
side-ways--with both feet on one side--particularly on the battlefield.
General Scott was the reverse in all these particulars.  He always wore
all the uniform prescribed or allowed by law when he inspected his
lines; word would be sent to all division and brigade commanders in
advance, notifying them of the hour when the commanding general might be
expected.  This was done so that all the army might be under arms to
salute their chief as he passed.  On these occasions he wore his dress
uniform, cocked hat, aiguillettes, sabre and spurs.  His staff proper,
besides all officers constructively on his staff--engineers, inspectors,
quartermasters, etc., that could be spared--followed, also in uniform
and in prescribed order.  Orders were prepared with great care and
evidently with the view that they should be a history of what followed.

In their modes of expressing thought, these two generals contrasted
quite as strongly as in their other characteristics.  General Scott was
precise in language, cultivated a style peculiarly his own; was proud of
his rhetoric; not averse to speaking of himself, often in the third
person, and he could bestow praise upon the person he was talking about
without the least embarrassment.  Taylor was not a conversationalist,
but on paper he could put his meaning so plainly that there could be no
mistaking it.  He knew how to express what he wanted to say in the
fewest well-chosen words, but would not sacrifice meaning to the
construction of high-sounding sentences.  But with their opposite
characteristics both were great and successful soldiers; both were true,
patriotic and upright in all their dealings.  Both were pleasant to
serve under--Taylor was pleasant to serve with.  Scott saw more through
the eyes of his staff officers than through his own.  His plans were
deliberately prepared, and fully expressed in orders.  Taylor saw for
himself, and gave orders to meet the emergency without reference to how
they would read in history.



The route followed by the army from Puebla to the City of Mexico was
over Rio Frio mountain, the road leading over which, at the highest
point, is about eleven thousand feet above tide water. The pass through
this mountain might have been easily defended, but it was not; and the
advanced division reached the summit in three days after leaving Puebla.
The City of Mexico lies west of Rio Frio mountain, on a plain backed by
another mountain six miles farther west, with others still nearer on the
north and south.  Between the western base of Rio Frio and the City of
Mexico there are three lakes, Chalco and Xochimilco on the left and
Texcoco on the right, extending to the east end of the City of Mexico.
Chalco and Texcoco are divided by a narrow strip of land over which the
direct road to the city runs.  Xochimilco is also to the left of the
road, but at a considerable distance south of it, and is connected with
Lake Chalco by a narrow channel.  There is a high rocky mound, called El
Penon, on the right of the road, springing up from the low flat ground
dividing the lakes.  This mound was strengthened by intrenchments at its
base and summit, and rendered a direct attack impracticable.

Scott's army was rapidly concentrated about Ayotla and other points near
the eastern end of Lake Chalco.  Reconnoissances were made up to within
gun-shot of El Penon, while engineers were seeking a route by the south
side of Lake Chalco to flank the city, and come upon it from the south
and south-west.  A way was found around the lake, and by the 18th of
August troops were in St. Augustin Tlalpam, a town about eleven miles
due south from the plaza of the capital.  Between St. Augustin Tlalpam
and the city lie the hacienda of San Antonio and the village of
Churubusco, and south-west of them is Contreras.  All these points,
except St. Augustin Tlalpam, were intrenched and strongly garrisoned.
Contreras is situated on the side of a mountain, near its base, where
volcanic rocks are piled in great confusion, reaching nearly to San
Antonio.  This made the approach to the city from the south very

The brigade to which I was attached--Garland's, of Worth's division--was
sent to confront San Antonio, two or three miles from St. Augustin
Tlalpam, on the road to Churubusco and the City of Mexico.  The ground
on which San Antonio stands is completely in the valley, and the surface
of the land is only a little above the level of the lakes, and, except
to the south-west, it was cut up by deep ditches filled with water.  To
the south-west is the Pedregal--the volcanic rock before spoken of--over
which cavalry or artillery could not be passed, and infantry would make
but poor progress if confronted by an enemy.  From the position occupied
by Garland's brigade, therefore, no movement could be made against the
defences of San Antonio except to the front, and by a narrow causeway,
over perfectly level ground, every inch of which was commanded by the
enemy's artillery and infantry.  If Contreras, some three miles west and
south, should fall into our hands, troops from there could move to the
right flank of all the positions held by the enemy between us and the
city.  Under these circumstances General Scott directed the holding of
the front of the enemy without making an attack until further orders.

On the 18th of August, the day of reaching San Augustin Tlalpam,
Garland's brigade secured a position within easy range of the advanced
intrenchments of San Antonio, but where his troops were protected by an
artificial embankment that had been thrown up for some other purpose
than defense.  General Scott at once set his engineers reconnoitring the
works about Contreras, and on the 19th movements were commenced to get
troops into positions from which an assault could be made upon the force
occupying that place.  The Pedregal on the north and north-east, and the
mountain on the south, made the passage by either flank of the enemy's
defences difficult, for their work stood exactly between those natural
bulwarks; but a road was completed during the day and night of the 19th,
and troops were got to the north and west of the enemy.

This affair, like that of Cerro Gordo, was an engagement in which the
officers of the engineer corps won special distinction.  In fact, in
both cases, tasks which seemed difficult at first sight were made easier
for the troops that had to execute them than they would have been on an
ordinary field.  The very strength of each of these positions was, by
the skill of the engineers, converted into a defence for the assaulting
parties while securing their positions for final attack.  All the troops
with General Scott in the valley of Mexico, except a part of the
division of General Quitman at San Augustin Tlalpam and the brigade of
Garland (Worth's division) at San Antonio, were engaged at the battle of
Contreras, or were on their way, in obedience to the orders of their
chief, to reinforce those who were engaged.  The assault was made on the
morning of the 20th, and in less than half an hour from the sound of the
advance the position was in our hands, with many prisoners and large
quantities of ordnance and other stores. The brigade commanded by
General Riley was from its position the most conspicuous in the final
assault, but all did well, volunteers and regulars.

From the point occupied by Garland's brigade we could see the progress
made at Contreras and the movement of troops toward the flank and rear
of the enemy opposing us.  The Mexicans all the way back to the city
could see the same thing, and their conduct showed plainly that they did
not enjoy the sight.  We moved out at once, and found them gone from our
immediate front.  Clarke's brigade of Worth's division now moved west
over the point of the Pedregal, and after having passed to the north
sufficiently to clear San Antonio, turned east and got on the causeway
leading to Churubusco and the City of Mexico.  When he approached
Churubusco his left, under Colonel Hoffman, attacked a tete-de-pont at
that place and brought on an engagement.  About an hour after, Garland
was ordered to advance directly along the causeway, and got up in time
to take part in the engagement.  San Antonio was found evacuated, the
evacuation having probably taken place immediately upon the enemy seeing
the stars and stripes waving over Contreras.

The troops that had been engaged at Contreras, and even then on their
way to that battle-field, were moved by a causeway west of, and parallel
to the one by way of San Antonio and Churubusco.  It was expected by the
commanding general that these troops would move north sufficiently far
to flank the enemy out of his position at Churubusco, before turning
east to reach the San Antonio road, but they did not succeed in this,
and Churubusco proved to be about the severest battle fought in the
valley of Mexico.  General Scott coming upon the battle-field about this
juncture, ordered two brigades, under Shields, to move north and turn
the right of the enemy.  This Shields did, but not without hard fighting
and heavy loss.  The enemy finally gave way, leaving in our hands
prisoners, artillery and small arms.  The balance of the causeway held
by the enemy, up to the very gates of the city, fell in like manner.  I
recollect at this place that some of the gunners who had stood their
ground, were deserters from General Taylor's army on the Rio Grande.

Both the strategy and tactics displayed by General Scott in these
various engagements of the 20th of August, 1847, were faultless as I
look upon them now, after the lapse of so many years.  As before stated,
the work of the engineer officers who made the reconnoissances and led
the different commands to their destinations, was so perfect that the
chief was able to give his orders to his various subordinates with all
the precision he could use on an ordinary march.  I mean, up to the
points from which the attack was to commence.  After that point is
reached the enemy often induces a change of orders not before
contemplated.  The enemy outside the city outnumbered our soldiery quite
three to one, but they had become so demoralized by the succession of
defeats this day, that the City of Mexico could have been entered
without much further bloodshed.  In fact, Captain Philip Kearney
--afterwards a general in the war of the rebellion--rode with a squadron
of cavalry to the very gates of the city, and would no doubt have
entered with his little force, only at that point he was badly wounded,
as were several of his officers.  He had not heard the call for a halt.

General Franklin Pierce had joined the army in Mexico, at Puebla, a
short time before the advance upon the capital commenced.  He had
consequently not been in any of the engagements of the war up to the
battle of Contreras.  By an unfortunate fall of his horse on the
afternoon of the 19th he was painfully injured.  The next day, when his
brigade, with the other troops engaged on the same field, was ordered
against the flank and rear of the enemy guarding the different points of
the road from San Augustin Tlalpam to the city, General Pierce attempted
to accompany them.  He was not sufficiently recovered to do so, and
fainted.  This circumstance gave rise to exceedingly unfair and unjust
criticisms of him when he became a candidate for the Presidency.
Whatever General Pierce's qualifications may have been for the
Presidency, he was a gentleman and a man of courage.  I was not a
supporter of him politically, but I knew him more intimately than I did
any other of the volunteer generals.

General Scott abstained from entering the city at this time, because Mr.
Nicholas P. Trist, the commissioner on the part of the United States to
negotiate a treaty of peace with Mexico, was with the army, and either
he or General Scott thought--probably both of them--that a treaty would
be more possible while the Mexican government was in possession of the
capital than if it was scattered and the capital in the hands of an
invader.  Be this as it may, we did not enter at that time. The army
took up positions along the slopes of the mountains south of the city,
as far west as Tacubaya.  Negotiations were at once entered into with
Santa Anna, who was then practically THE GOVERNMENT and the immediate
commander of all the troops engaged in defence of the country.  A truce
was signed which denied to either party the right to strengthen its
position, or to receive reinforcements during the continuance of the
armistices, but authorized General Scott to draw supplies for his army
from the city in the meantime.

Negotiations were commenced at once and were kept up vigorously between
Mr. Trist and the commissioners appointed on the part of Mexico, until
the 2d of September.  At that time Mr. Trist handed in his ultimatum.
Texas was to be given up absolutely by Mexico, and New Mexico and
California ceded to the United States for a stipulated sum to be
afterwards determined.  I do not suppose Mr. Trist had any discretion
whatever in regard to boundaries. The war was one of conquest, in the
interest of an institution, and the probabilities are that private
instructions were for the acquisition of territory out of which new
States might be carved.  At all events the Mexicans felt so outraged at
the terms proposed that they commenced preparations for defence, without
giving notice of the termination of the armistice.  The terms of the
truce had been violated before, when teams had been sent into the city
to bring out supplies for the army.  The first train entering the city
was very severely threatened by a mob. This, however, was apologized for
by the authorities and all responsibility for it denied; and thereafter,
to avoid exciting the Mexican people and soldiery, our teams with their
escorts were sent in at night, when the troops were in barracks and the
citizens in bed.  The circumstance was overlooked and negotiations
continued.  As soon as the news reached General Scott of the second
violation of the armistice, about the 4th of September, he wrote a
vigorous note to President Santa Anna, calling his attention to it, and,
receiving an unsatisfactory reply, declared the armistice at an end.

General Scott, with Worth's division, was now occupying Tacubaya, a
village some four miles south-west of the City of Mexico, and extending
from the base up the mountain-side for the distance of half a mile.
More than a mile west, and also a little above the plain, stands Molino
del Rey.  The mill is a long stone structure, one story high and several
hundred feet in length.  At the period of which I speak General Scott
supposed a portion of the mill to be used as a foundry for the casting
of guns.  This, however, proved to be a mistake.  It was valuable to the
Mexicans because of the quantity of grain it contained. The building is
flat roofed, and a line of sand-bags over the outer walls rendered the
top quite a formidable defence for infantry.  Chapultepec is a mound
springing up from the plain to the height of probably three hundred
feet, and almost in a direct line between Molino del Rey and the western
part of the city.  It was fortified both on the top and on the rocky and
precipitous sides.

The City of Mexico is supplied with water by two aqueducts, resting on
strong stone arches.  One of these aqueducts draws its supply of water
from a mountain stream coming into it at or near Molino del Rey, and
runs north close to the west base of Chapultepec; thence along the
centre of a wide road, until it reaches the road running east into the
city by the Garita San Cosme; from which point the aqueduct and road
both run east to the city.  The second aqueduct starts from the east
base of Chapultepec, where it is fed by a spring, and runs north-east to
the city.  This aqueduct, like the other, runs in the middle of a broad
road-way, thus leaving a space on each side.  The arches supporting the
aqueduct afforded protection for advancing troops as well as to those
engaged defensively.  At points on the San Cosme road parapets were
thrown across, with an embrasure for a single piece of artillery in
each.  At the point where both road and aqueduct turn at right angles
from north to east, there was not only one of these parapets supplied by
one gun and infantry supports, but the houses to the north of the San
Cosme road, facing south and commanding a view of the road back to
Chapultepec, were covered with infantry, protected by parapets made of
sandbags.  The roads leading to garitas (the gates) San Cosme and Belen,
by which these aqueducts enter the city, were strongly intrenched.
Deep, wide ditches, filled with water, lined the sides of both roads.
Such were the defences of the City of Mexico in September, 1847, on the
routes over which General Scott entered.

Prior to the Mexican war General Scott had been very partial to General
Worth--indeed he continued so up to the close of hostilities--but, for
some reason, Worth had become estranged from his chief.  Scott evidently
took this coldness somewhat to heart.  He did not retaliate, however,
but on the contrary showed every disposition to appease his subordinate.
It was understood at the time that he gave Worth authority to plan and
execute the battle of Molino del Rey without dictation or interference
from any one, for the very purpose of restoring their former relations.
The effort failed, and the two generals remained ever after cold and
indifferent towards each other, if not actually hostile.

The battle of Molino del Rey was fought on the 8th of September.  The
night of the 7th, Worth sent for his brigade and regimental commanders,
with their staffs, to come to his quarters to receive instructions for
the morrow.  These orders contemplated a movement up to within striking
distance of the Mills before daylight.  The engineers had reconnoitred
the ground as well as possible, and had acquired all the information
necessary to base proper orders both for approach and attack.

By daylight on the morning of the 8th, the troops to be engaged at
Molino were all at the places designated.  The ground in front of the
Mills, to the south, was commanded by the artillery from the summit of
Chapultepec as well as by the lighter batteries at hand; but a charge
was made, and soon all was over.  Worth's troops entered the Mills by
every door, and the enemy beat a hasty retreat back to Chapultepec.  Had
this victory been followed up promptly, no doubt Americans and Mexicans
would have gone over the defences of Chapultepec so near together that
the place would have fallen into our hands without further loss.  The
defenders of the works could not have fired upon us without endangering
their own men.  This was not done, and five days later more valuable
lives were sacrificed to carry works which had been so nearly in our
possession on the 8th.  I do not criticise the failure to capture
Chapultepec at this time.  The result that followed the first assault
could not possibly have been foreseen, and to profit by the unexpected
advantage, the commanding general must have been on the spot and given
the necessary instructions at the moment, or the troops must have kept
on without orders.  It is always, however, in order to follow a
retreating foe, unless stopped or otherwise directed.  The loss on our
side at Molino del Rey was severe for the numbers engaged.  It was
especially so among commissioned officers.

I was with the earliest of the troops to enter the Mills.  In passing
through to the north side, looking towards Chapultepec, I happened to
notice that there were armed Mexicans still on top of the building, only
a few feet from many of our men.  Not seeing any stairway or ladder
reaching to the top of the building, I took a few soldiers, and had a
cart that happened to be standing near brought up, and, placing the
shafts against the wall and chocking the wheels so that the cart could
not back, used the shafts as a sort of ladder extending to within three
or four feet of the top.  By this I climbed to the roof of the building,
followed by a few men, but found a private soldier had preceded me by
some other way.  There were still quite a number of Mexicans on the
roof, among them a major and five or six officers of lower grades, who
had not succeeded in getting away before our troops occupied the
building.  They still had their arms, while the soldier before mentioned
was walking as sentry, guarding the prisoners he had SURROUNDED, all by
himself.  I halted the sentinel, received the swords from the
commissioned officers, and proceeded, with the assistance of the
soldiers now with me, to disable the muskets by striking them against
the edge of the wall, and throw them to the ground below.

Molino del Rey was now captured, and the troops engaged, with the
exception of an appropriate guard over the captured position and
property, were marched back to their quarters in Tacubaya. The
engagement did not last many minutes, but the killed and wounded were
numerous for the number of troops engaged.

During the night of the 11th batteries were established which could play
upon the fortifications of Chapultepec.  The bombardment commenced early
on the morning of the 12th, but there was no further engagement during
this day than that of the artillery.  General Scott assigned the capture
of Chapultepec to General Pillow, but did not leave the details to his
judgment. Two assaulting columns, two hundred and fifty men each,
composed of volunteers for the occasion, were formed.  They were
commanded by Captains McKinzie and Casey respectively.  The assault was
successful, but bloody.

In later years, if not at the time, the battles of Molino del Rey and
Chapultepec have seemed to me to have been wholly unnecessary.  When the
assaults upon the garitas of San Cosme and Belen were determined upon,
the road running east to the former gate could have been reached easily,
without an engagement, by moving along south of the Mills until west of
them sufficiently far to be out of range, thence north to the road above
mentioned; or, if desirable to keep the two attacking columns nearer
together, the troops could have been turned east so as to come on the
aqueduct road out of range of the guns from Chapultepec.  In like
manner, the troops designated to act against Belen could have kept east
of Chapultepec, out of range, and come on to the aqueduct, also out of
range of Chapultepec. Molino del Rey and Chapultepec would both have
been necessarily evacuated if this course had been pursued, for they
would have been turned.

General Quitman, a volunteer from the State of Mississippi, who stood
well with the army both as a soldier and as a man, commanded the column
acting against Belen.  General Worth commanded the column against San
Cosme.  When Chapultepec fell the advance commenced along the two
aqueduct roads.  I was on the road to San Cosme, and witnessed most that
took place on that route.  When opposition was encountered our troops
sheltered themselves by keeping under the arches supporting the
aqueduct, advancing an arch at a time.  We encountered no serious
obstruction until within gun-shot of the point where the road we were on
intersects that running east to the city, the point where the aqueduct
turns at a right angle.  I have described the defences of this position
before.  There were but three commissioned officers besides myself, that
I can now call to mind, with the advance when the above position was
reached. One of these officers was a Lieutenant Semmes, of the Marine
Corps.  I think Captain Gore, and Lieutenant Judah, of the 4th infantry,
were the others.  Our progress was stopped for the time by the single
piece of artillery at the angle of the roads and the infantry occupying
the house-tops back from it.

West of the road from where we were, stood a house occupying the
south-west angle made by the San Cosme road and the road we were moving
upon. A stone wall ran from the house along each of these roads for a
considerable distance and thence back until it joined, enclosing quite a
yard about the house.  I watched my opportunity and skipped across the
road and behind the south wall.  Proceeding cautiously to the west
corner of the enclosure, I peeped around and seeing nobody, continued,
still cautiously, until the road running east and west was reached.  I
then returned to the troops, and called for volunteers.  All that were
close to me, or that heard me, about a dozen, offered their services.
Commanding them to carry their arms at a trail, I watched our
opportunity and got them across the road and under cover of the wall
beyond, before the enemy had a shot at us. Our men under cover of the
arches kept a close watch on the intrenchments that crossed our path and
the house-tops beyond, and whenever a head showed itself above the
parapets they would fire at it.  Our crossing was thus made practicable
without loss.

When we reached a safe position I instructed my little command again to
carry their arms at a trail, not to fire at the enemy until they were
ordered, and to move very cautiously following me until the San Cosme
road was reached; we would then be on the flank of the men serving the
gun on the road, and with no obstruction between us and them.  When we
reached the south-west corner of the enclosure before described, I saw
some United States troops pushing north through a shallow ditch near by,
who had come up since my reconnaissance.  This was the company of
Captain Horace Brooks, of the artillery, acting as infantry.  I
explained to Brooks briefly what I had discovered and what I was about
to do.  He said, as I knew the ground and he did not, I might go on and
he would follow.  As soon as we got on the road leading to the city the
troops serving the gun on the parapet retreated, and those on the
house-tops near by followed; our men went after them in such close
pursuit--the troops we had left under the arches joining--that a second
line across the road, about half-way between the first and the garita,
was carried. No reinforcements had yet come up except Brooks's company,
and the position we had taken was too advanced to be held by so small a
force.  It was given up, but retaken later in the day, with some loss.

Worth's command gradually advanced to the front now open to it.  Later
in the day in reconnoitring I found a church off to the south of the
road, which looked to me as if the belfry would command the ground back
of the garita San Cosme.  I got an officer of the voltigeurs, with a
mountain howitzer and men to work it, to go with me.  The road being in
possession of the enemy, we had to take the field to the south to reach
the church.  This took us over several ditches breast deep in water and
grown up with water plants.  These ditches, however, were not over eight
or ten feet in width.  The howitzer was taken to pieces and carried by
the men to its destination.  When I knocked for admission a priest came
to the door who, while extremely polite, declined to admit us.  With the
little Spanish then at my command, I explained to him that he might save
property by opening the door, and he certainly would save himself from
becoming a prisoner, for a time at least; and besides, I intended to go
in whether he consented or not.  He began to see his duty in the same
light that I did, and opened the door, though he did not look as if it
gave him special pleasure to do so.  The gun was carried to the belfry
and put together.  We were not more than two or three hundred yards from
San Cosme.  The shots from our little gun dropped in upon the enemy and
created great confusion.  Why they did not send out a small party and
capture us, I do not know.  We had no infantry or other defences besides
our one gun.

The effect of this gun upon the troops about the gate of the city was so
marked that General Worth saw it from his position. (*3) He was so
pleased that he sent a staff officer, Lieutenant Pemberton--later
Lieutenant-General commanding the defences of Vicksburg--to bring me to
him.  He expressed his gratification at the services the howitzer in the
church steeple was doing, saying that every shot was effective, and
ordered a captain of voltigeurs to report to me with another howitzer to
be placed along with the one already rendering so much service.  I could
not tell the General that there was not room enough in the steeple for
another gun, because he probably would have looked upon such a statement
as a contradiction from a second lieutenant.  I took the captain with
me, but did not use his gun.

The night of the 13th of September was spent by the troops under General
Worth in the houses near San Cosme, and in line confronting the general
line of the enemy across to Belen.  The troops that I was with were in
the houses north of the road leading into the city, and were engaged
during the night in cutting passage-ways from one house to another
towards the town.  During the night Santa Anna, with his army--except
the deserters--left the city.  He liberated all the convicts confined in
the town, hoping, no doubt, that they would inflict upon us some injury
before daylight; but several hours after Santa Anna was out of the way,
the city authorities sent a delegation to General Scott to ask--if not
demand--an armistice, respecting church property, the rights of citizens
and the supremacy of the city government in the management of municipal
affairs.  General Scott declined to trammel himself with conditions, but
gave assurances that those who chose to remain within our lines would be
protected so long as they behaved themselves properly.

General Quitman had advanced along his line very successfully on the
13th, so that at night his command occupied nearly the same position at
Belen that Worth's troops did about San Cosme. After the interview above
related between General Scott and the city council, orders were issued
for the cautious entry of both columns in the morning.  The troops under
Worth were to stop at the Alameda, a park near the west end of the city.
Quitman was to go directly to the Plaza, and take possession of the
Palace--a mass of buildings on the east side in which Congress has its
sessions, the national courts are held, the public offices are all
located, the President resides, and much room is left for museums,
receptions, etc.  This is the building generally designated as the
"Halls of the Montezumas."



On entering the city the troops were fired upon by the released
convicts, and possibly by deserters and hostile citizens.  The streets
were deserted, and the place presented the appearance of a "city of the
dead," except for this firing by unseen persons from house-tops,
windows, and around corners.  In this firing the lieutenant-colonel of
my regiment, Garland, was badly wounded, Lieutenant Sidney Smith, of the
4th infantry, was also wounded mortally.  He died a few days after, and
by his death I was promoted to the grade of first lieutenant.(*4)  I had
gone into the battle of Palo Alto in May, 1846, a second lieutenant, and
I entered the city of Mexico sixteen months later with the same rank,
after having been in all the engagements possible for any one man and in
a regiment that lost more officers during the war than it ever had
present at any one engagement.  My regiment lost four commissioned
officers, all senior to me, by steamboat explosions during the Mexican
war.  The Mexicans were not so discriminating.  They sometimes picked
off my juniors.

General Scott soon followed the troops into the city, in state.  I
wonder that he was not fired upon, but I believe he was not; at all
events he was not hurt.  He took quarters at first in the "Halls of the
Montezumas," and from there issued his wise and discreet orders for the
government of a conquered city, and for suppressing the hostile acts of
liberated convicts already spoken of--orders which challenge the respect
of all who study them.  Lawlessness was soon suppressed, and the City of
Mexico settled down into a quiet, law-abiding place.  The people began
to make their appearance upon the streets without fear of the invaders.
Shortly afterwards the bulk of the troops were sent from the city to the
villages at the foot of the mountains, four or five miles to the south
and south-west.

Whether General Scott approved of the Mexican war and the manner in
which it was brought about, I have no means of knowing.  His orders to
troops indicate only a soldierly spirit, with probably a little regard
for the perpetuation of his own fame.  On the other hand, General
Taylor's, I think, indicate that he considered the administration
accountable for the war, and felt no responsibility resting on himself
further than for the faithful performance of his duties.  Both generals
deserve the commendations of their countrymen and to live in the
grateful memory of this people to the latest generation.

Earlier in this narrative I have stated that the plain, reached after
passing the mountains east of Perote, extends to the cities of Puebla
and Mexico.  The route travelled by the army before reaching Puebla,
goes over a pass in a spur of mountain coming up from the south.  This
pass is very susceptible of defence by a smaller against a larger force.
Again, the highest point of the road-bed between Vera Cruz and the City
of Mexico is over Rio Frio mountain, which also might have been
successfully defended by an inferior against a superior force.  But by
moving north of the mountains, and about thirty miles north of Puebla,
both of these passes would have been avoided.  The road from Perote to
the City of Mexico, by this latter route, is as level as the prairies in
our West.  Arriving due north from Puebla, troops could have been
detached to take possession of that place, and then proceeding west with
the rest of the army no mountain would have been encountered before
reaching the City of Mexico.  It is true this road would have brought
troops in by Guadalupe--a town, church and detached spur of mountain
about two miles north of the capital, all bearing the same general name
--and at this point Lake Texcoco comes near to the mountain, which was
fortified both at the base and on the sides:  but troops could have
passed north of the mountain and come in only a few miles to the
north-west, and so flanked the position, as they actually did on the

It has always seemed to me that this northern route to the City of
Mexico, would have been the better one to have taken.  But my later
experience has taught me two lessons:  first, that things are seen
plainer after the events have occurred; second, that the most confident
critics are generally those who know the least about the matter
criticised.  I know just enough about the Mexican war to approve
heartily of most of the generalship, but to differ with a little of it.
It is natural that an important city like Puebla should not have been
passed with contempt; it may be natural that the direct road to it
should have been taken; but it could have been passed, its evacuation
insured and possession acquired without danger of encountering the enemy
in intricate mountain defiles.  In this same way the City of Mexico
could have been approached without any danger of opposition, except in
the open field.

But General Scott's successes are an answer to all criticism. He invaded
a populous country, penetrating two hundred and sixty miles into the
interior, with a force at no time equal to one-half of that opposed to
him; he was without a base; the enemy was always intrenched, always on
the defensive; yet he won every battle, he captured the capital, and
conquered the government.  Credit is due to the troops engaged, it is
true, but the plans and the strategy were the general's.

I had now made marches and been in battle under both General Scott and
General Taylor.  The former divided his force of 10,500 men into four
columns, starting a day apart, in moving from Puebla to the capital of
the nation, when it was known that an army more than twice as large as
his own stood ready to resist his coming.  The road was broad and the
country open except in crossing the Rio Frio mountain.  General Taylor
pursued the same course in marching toward an enemy.  He moved even in
smaller bodies.  I never thought at the time to doubt the infallibility
of these two generals in all matters pertaining to their profession.  I
supposed they moved in small bodies because more men could not be passed
over a single road on the same day with their artillery and necessary
trains.  Later I found the fallacy of this belief.  The rebellion, which
followed as a sequence to the Mexican war, never could have been
suppressed if larger bodies of men could not have been moved at the same
time than was the custom under Scott and Taylor.

The victories in Mexico were, in every instance, over vastly superior
numbers.  There were two reasons for this.  Both General Scott and
General Taylor had such armies as are not often got together.  At the
battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de-la-Palma, General Taylor had a small
army, but it was composed exclusively of regular troops, under the best
of drill and discipline.  Every officer, from the highest to the lowest,
was educated in his profession, not at West Point necessarily, but in
the camp, in garrison, and many of them in Indian wars. The rank and
file were probably inferior, as material out of which to make an army,
to the volunteers that participated in all the later battles of the war;
but they were brave men, and then drill and discipline brought out all
there was in them.  A better army, man for man, probably never faced an
enemy than the one commanded by General Taylor in the earliest two
engagements of the Mexican war.  The volunteers who followed were of
better material, but without drill or discipline at the start.  They
were associated with so many disciplined men and professionally educated
officers, that when they went into engagements it was with a confidence
they would not have felt otherwise.  They became soldiers themselves
almost at once.  All these conditions we would enjoy again in case of

The Mexican army of that day was hardly an organization.  The private
soldier was picked up from the lower class of the inhabitants when
wanted; his consent was not asked; he was poorly clothed, worse fed, and
seldom paid.  He was turned adrift when no longer wanted.  The officers
of the lower grades were but little superior to the men.  With all this
I have seen as brave stands made by some of these men as I have ever
seen made by soldiers.  Now Mexico has a standing army larger than that
of the United States.  They have a military school modelled after West
Point.  Their officers are educated and, no doubt, generally brave.  The
Mexican war of 1846-8 would be an impossibility in this generation.

The Mexicans have shown a patriotism which it would be well if we would
imitate in part, but with more regard to truth.  They celebrate the
anniversaries of Chapultepec and Molino del Rey as of very great
victories.  The anniversaries are recognized as national holidays.  At
these two battles, while the United States troops were victorious, it
was at very great sacrifice of life compared with what the Mexicans
suffered.  The Mexicans, as on many other occasions, stood up as well as
any troops ever did.  The trouble seemed to be the lack of experience
among the officers, which led them after a certain time to simply quit,
without being particularly whipped, but because they had fought enough.
Their authorities of the present day grow enthusiastic over their theme
when telling of these victories, and speak with pride of the large sum
of money they forced us to pay in the end.  With us, now twenty years
after the close of the most stupendous war ever known, we have writers
--who profess devotion to the nation--engaged in trying to prove that the
Union forces were not victorious; practically, they say, we were slashed
around from Donelson to Vicksburg and to Chattanooga; and in the East
from Gettysburg to Appomattox, when the physical rebellion gave out from
sheer exhaustion.  There is no difference in the amount of romance in
the two stories.

I would not have the anniversaries of our victories celebrated, nor
those of our defeats made fast days and spent in humiliation and prayer;
but I would like to see truthful history written. Such history will do
full credit to the courage, endurance and soldierly ability of the
American citizen, no matter what section of the country he hailed from,
or in what ranks he fought.  The justice of the cause which in the end
prevailed, will, I doubt not, come to be acknowledged by every citizen
of the land, in time.  For the present, and so long as there are living
witnesses of the great war of sections, there will be people who will
not be consoled for the loss of a cause which they believed to be holy.
As time passes, people, even of the South, will begin to wonder how it
was possible that their ancestors ever fought for or justified
institutions which acknowledged the right of property in man.

After the fall of the capital and the dispersal of the government of
Mexico, it looked very much as if military occupation of the country for
a long time might be necessary. General Scott at once began the
preparation of orders, regulations and laws in view of this contingency.
He contemplated making the country pay all the expenses of the
occupation, without the army becoming a perceptible burden upon the
people.  His plan was to levy a direct tax upon the separate states, and
collect, at the ports left open to trade, a duty on all imports.  From
the beginning of the war private property had not been taken, either for
the use of the army or of individuals, without full compensation.  This
policy was to be pursued.  There were not troops enough in the valley of
Mexico to occupy many points, but now that there was no organized army
of the enemy of any size, reinforcements could be got from the Rio
Grande, and there were also new volunteers arriving from time to time,
all by way of Vera Cruz.  Military possession was taken of Cuernavaca,
fifty miles south of the City of Mexico; of Toluca, nearly as far west,
and of Pachuca, a mining town of great importance, some sixty miles to
the north-east.  Vera Cruz, Jalapa, Orizaba, and Puebla were already in
our possession.

Meanwhile the Mexican government had departed in the person of Santa
Anna, and it looked doubtful for a time whether the United States
commissioner, Mr. Trist, would find anybody to negotiate with.  A
temporary government, however, was soon established at Queretaro, and
Trist began negotiations for a conclusion of the war.  Before terms were
finally agreed upon he was ordered back to Washington, but General Scott
prevailed upon him to remain, as an arrangement had been so nearly
reached, and the administration must approve his acts if he succeeded in
making such a treaty as had been contemplated in his instructions.  The
treaty was finally signed the 2d of February, 1848, and accepted by the
government at Washington.  It is that known as the "Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo," and secured to the United States the Rio Grande as the
boundary of Texas, and the whole territory then included in New Mexico
and Upper California, for the sum of $15,000,000.

Soon after entering the city of Mexico, the opposition of Generals
Pillow, Worth and Colonel Duncan to General Scott became very marked.
Scott claimed that they had demanded of the President his removal.  I do
not know whether this is so or not, but I do know of their unconcealed
hostility to their chief.  At last he placed them in arrest, and
preferred charges against them of insubordination and disrespect.  This
act brought on a crisis in the career of the general commanding.  He had
asserted from the beginning that the administration was hostile to him;
that it had failed in its promises of men and war material; that the
President himself had shown duplicity if not treachery in the endeavor
to procure the appointment of Benton:  and the administration now gave
open evidence of its enmity.  About the middle of February orders came
convening a court of inquiry, composed of Brevet Brigadier-General
Towson, the paymaster-general of the army, Brigadier-General Cushing and
Colonel Belknap, to inquire into the conduct of the accused and the
accuser, and shortly afterwards orders were received from Washington,
relieving Scott of the command of the army in the field and assigning
Major-General William O. Butler of Kentucky to the place.  This order
also released Pillow, Worth and Duncan from arrest.

If a change was to be made the selection of General Butler was agreeable
to every one concerned, so far as I remember to have heard expressions
on the subject.  There were many who regarded the treatment of General
Scott as harsh and unjust.  It is quite possible that the vanity of the
General had led him to say and do things that afforded a plausible
pretext to the administration for doing just what it did and what it had
wanted to do from the start.  The court tried the accuser quite as much
as the accused.  It was adjourned before completing its labors, to meet
in Frederick, Maryland.  General Scott left the country, and never after
had more than the nominal command of the army until early in 1861.  He
certainly was not sustained in his efforts to maintain discipline in
high places.

The efforts to kill off politically the two successful generals, made
them both candidates for the Presidency.  General Taylor was nominated
in 1848, and was elected.  Four years later General Scott received the
nomination but was badly beaten, and the party nominating him died with
his defeat.(*5)



The treaty of peace between the two countries was signed by the
commissioners of each side early in February, 1848.  It took a
considerable time for it to reach Washington, receive the approval of
the administration, and be finally ratified by the Senate.  It was
naturally supposed by the army that there would be no more fighting, and
officers and men were of course anxious to get home, but knowing there
must be delay they contented themselves as best they could.  Every
Sunday there was a bull fight for the amusement of those who would pay
their fifty cents.  I attended one of them--just one--not wishing to
leave the country without having witnessed the national sport.  The
sight to me was sickening.  I could not see how human beings could enjoy
the sufferings of beasts, and often of men, as they seemed to do on
these occasions.

At these sports there are usually from four to six bulls sacrificed.
The audience occupies seats around the ring in which the exhibition is
given, each seat but the foremost rising higher than the one in front,
so that every one can get a full view of the sport.  When all is ready a
bull is turned into the ring.  Three or four men come in, mounted on the
merest skeletons of horses blind or blind-folded and so weak that they
could not make a sudden turn with their riders without danger of falling
down.  The men are armed with spears having a point as sharp as a
needle.  Other men enter the arena on foot, armed with red flags and
explosives about the size of a musket cartridge.  To each of these
explosives is fastened a barbed needle which serves the purpose of
attaching them to the bull by running the needle into the skin.  Before
the animal is turned loose a lot of these explosives are attached to
him.  The pain from the pricking of the skin by the needles is
exasperating; but when the explosions of the cartridges commence the
animal becomes frantic.  As he makes a lunge towards one horseman,
another runs a spear into him.  He turns towards his last tormentor when
a man on foot holds out a red flag; the bull rushes for this and is
allowed to take it on his horns.  The flag drops and covers the eyes of
the animal so that he is at a loss what to do; it is jerked from him and
the torment is renewed.  When the animal is worked into an
uncontrollable frenzy, the horsemen withdraw, and the matadores
--literally murderers--enter, armed with knives having blades twelve or
eighteen inches long, and sharp.  The trick is to dodge an attack from
the animal and stab him to the heart as he passes. If these efforts fail
the bull is finally lassoed, held fast and killed by driving a knife
blade into the spinal column just back of the horns.  He is then dragged
out by horses or mules, another is let into the ring, and the same
performance is renewed.

On the occasion when I was present one of the bulls was not turned aside
by the attacks in the rear, the presentations of the red flag, etc.,
etc., but kept right on, and placing his horns under the flanks of a
horse threw him and his rider to the ground with great force.  The horse
was killed and the rider lay prostrate as if dead.  The bull was then
lassoed and killed in the manner above described.  Men came in and
carried the dead man off in a litter.  When the slaughtered bull and
horse were dragged out, a fresh bull was turned into the ring.
Conspicuous among the spectators was the man who had been carried out on
a litter but a few minutes before.  He was only dead so far as that
performance went; but the corpse was so lively that it could not forego
the chance of witnessing the discomfiture of some of his brethren who
might not be so fortunate.  There was a feeling of disgust manifested by
the audience to find that he had come to life again.  I confess that I
felt sorry to see the cruelty to the bull and the horse.  I did not stay
for the conclusion of the performance; but while I did stay, there was
not a bull killed in the prescribed way.

Bull fights are now prohibited in the Federal District--embracing a
territory around the City of Mexico, somewhat larger than the District
of Columbia--and they are not an institution in any part of the country.
During one of my recent visits to Mexico, bull fights were got up in my
honor at Puebla and at Pachuca.  I was not notified in advance so as to
be able to decline and thus prevent the performance; but in both cases I
civilly declined to attend.

Another amusement of the people of Mexico of that day, and one which
nearly all indulged in, male and female, old and young, priest and
layman, was Monte playing.  Regular feast weeks were held every year at
what was then known as St. Augustin Tlalpam, eleven miles out of town.
There were dealers to suit every class and condition of people.  In many
of the booths tlackos--the copper coin of the country, four of them
making six and a quarter cents of our money--were piled up in great
quantities, with some silver, to accommodate the people who could not
bet more than a few pennies at a time.  In other booths silver formed
the bulk of the capital of the bank, with a few doubloons to be changed
if there should be a run of luck against the bank.  In some there was no
coin except gold.  Here the rich were said to bet away their entire
estates in a single day.  All this is stopped now.

For myself, I was kept somewhat busy during the winter of 1847-8.  My
regiment was stationed in Tacubaya.  I was regimental quartermaster and
commissary.  General Scott had been unable to get clothing for the
troops from the North.  The men were becoming--well, they needed
clothing.  Material had to be purchased, such as could be obtained, and
people employed to make it up into "Yankee uniforms."  A quartermaster
in the city was designated to attend to this special duty; but clothing
was so much needed that it was seized as fast as made up.  A regiment
was glad to get a dozen suits at a time.  I had to look after this
matter for the 4th infantry.  Then our regimental fund had run down and
some of the musicians in the band had been without their extra pay for a
number of months.

The regimental bands at that day were kept up partly by pay from the
government, and partly by pay from the regimental fund. There was
authority of law for enlisting a certain number of men as musicians.  So
many could receive the pay of non-commissioned officers of the various
grades, and the remainder the pay of privates.  This would not secure a
band leader, nor good players on certain instruments.  In garrison there
are various ways of keeping up a regimental fund sufficient to give
extra pay to musicians, establish libraries and ten-pin alleys,
subscribe to magazines and furnish many extra comforts to the men.  The
best device for supplying the fund is to issue bread to the soldiers
instead of flour.  The ration used to be eighteen ounces per day of
either flour or bread; and one hundred pounds of flour will make one
hundred and forty pounds of bread.  This saving was purchased by the
commissary for the benefit of the fund.  In the emergency the 4th
infantry was laboring under, I rented a bakery in the city, hired
bakers--Mexicans--bought fuel and whatever was necessary, and I also got
a contract from the chief commissary of the army for baking a large
amount of hard bread.  In two months I made more money for the fund than
my pay amounted to during the entire war.  While stationed at Monterey I
had relieved the post fund in the same way.  There, however, was no
profit except in the saving of flour by converting it into bread.

In the spring of 1848 a party of officers obtained leave to visit
Popocatapetl, the highest volcano in America, and to take an escort.  I
went with the party, many of whom afterwards occupied conspicuous
positions before the country.  Of those who "went south," and attained
high rank, there was Lieutenant Richard Anderson, who commanded a corps
at Spottsylvania; Captain Sibley, a major-general, and, after the war,
for a number of years in the employ of the Khedive of Egypt; Captain
George Crittenden, a rebel general; S. B. Buckner, who surrendered Fort
Donelson; and Mansfield Lovell, who commanded at New Orleans before that
city fell into the hands of the National troops.  Of those who remained
on our side there were Captain Andrew Porter, Lieutenant C. P. Stone and
Lieutenant Z. B. Tower.  There were quite a number of other officers,
whose names I cannot recollect.

At a little village (Ozumba) near the base of Popocatapetl, where we
purposed to commence the ascent, we procured guides and two pack mules
with forage for our horses.  High up on the mountain there was a
deserted house of one room, called the Vaqueria, which had been occupied
years before by men in charge of cattle ranging on the mountain.  The
pasturage up there was very fine when we saw it, and there were still
some cattle, descendants of the former domestic herd, which had now
become wild.  It was possible to go on horseback as far as the Vaqueria,
though the road was somewhat hazardous in places. Sometimes it was very
narrow with a yawning precipice on one side, hundreds of feet down to a
roaring mountain torrent below, and almost perpendicular walls on the
other side.  At one of these places one of our mules loaded with two
sacks of barley, one on each side, the two about as big as he was,
struck his load against the mountain-side and was precipitated to the
bottom.  The descent was steep but not perpendicular.  The mule rolled
over and over until the bottom was reached, and we supposed of course
the poor animal was dashed to pieces.  What was our surprise, not long
after we had gone into bivouac, to see the lost mule, cargo and owner
coming up the ascent.  The load had protected the animal from serious
injury; and his owner had gone after him and found a way back to the
path leading up to the hut where we were to stay.

The night at the Vaqueria was one of the most unpleasant I ever knew.
It was very cold and the rain fell in torrents.  A little higher up the
rain ceased and snow began.  The wind blew with great velocity.  The
log-cabin we were in had lost the roof entirely on one side, and on the
other it was hardly better then a sieve.  There was little or no sleep
that night.  As soon as it was light the next morning, we started to
make the ascent to the summit.  The wind continued to blow with violence
and the weather was still cloudy, but there was neither rain nor snow.
The clouds, however, concealed from our view the country below us,
except at times a momentary glimpse could be got through a clear space
between them.  The wind carried the loose snow around the mountain-sides
in such volumes as to make it almost impossible to stand up against it.
We labored on and on, until it became evident that the top could not be
reached before night, if at all in such a storm, and we concluded to
return. The descent was easy and rapid, though dangerous, until we got
below the snow line.  At the cabin we mounted our horses, and by night
were at Ozumba.

The fatigues of the day and the loss of sleep the night before drove us
to bed early.  Our beds consisted of a place on the dirt-floor with a
blanket under us.  Soon all were asleep; but long before morning first
one and then another of our party began to cry out with excruciating
pain in the eyes.  Not one escaped it.  By morning the eyes of half the
party were so swollen that they were entirely closed.  The others
suffered pain equally.  The feeling was about what might be expected
from the prick of a sharp needle at a white heat.  We remained in
quarters until the afternoon bathing our eyes in cold water. This
relieved us very much, and before night the pain had entirely left.  The
swelling, however, continued, and about half the party still had their
eyes entirely closed; but we concluded to make a start back, those who
could see a little leading the horses of those who could not see at all.
We moved back to the village of Ameca Ameca, some six miles, and stopped
again for the night.  The next morning all were entirely well and free
from pain.  The weather was clear and Popocatapetl stood out in all its
beauty, the top looking as if not a mile away, and inviting us to
return.  About half the party were anxious to try the ascent again, and
concluded to do so.  The remainder--I was with the remainder--concluded
that we had got all the pleasure there was to be had out of mountain
climbing, and that we would visit the great caves of Mexico, some ninety
miles from where we then were, on the road to Acapulco.

The party that ascended the mountain the second time succeeded in
reaching the crater at the top, with but little of the labor they
encountered in their first attempt.  Three of them--Anderson, Stone and
Buckner--wrote accounts of their journey, which were published at the
time.  I made no notes of this excursion, and have read nothing about it
since, but it seems to me that I can see the whole of it as vividly as
if it were but yesterday.  I have been back at Ameca Ameca, and the
village beyond, twice in the last five years.  The scene had not changed
materially from my recollection of it.

The party which I was with moved south down the valley to the town of
Cuantla, some forty miles from Ameca Ameca.  The latter stands on the
plain at the foot of Popocatapetl, at an elevation of about eight
thousand feet above tide water.  The slope down is gradual as the
traveller moves south, but one would not judge that, in going to
Cuantla, descent enough had been made to occasion a material change in
the climate and productions of the soil; but such is the case.  In the
morning we left a temperate climate where the cereals and fruits are
those common to the United States, we halted in the evening in a
tropical climate where the orange and banana, the coffee and the
sugar-cane were flourishing.  We had been travelling, apparently,
on a plain all day, but in the direction of the flow of water.

Soon after the capture of the City of Mexico an armistice had been
agreed to, designating the limits beyond which troops of the respective
armies were not to go during its continuance. Our party knew nothing
about these limits.  As we approached Cuantla bugles sounded the
assembly, and soldiers rushed from the guard-house in the edge of the
town towards us.  Our party halted, and I tied a white pocket
handkerchief to a stick and, using it as a flag of truce, proceeded on
to the town.  Captains Sibley and Porter followed a few hundred yards
behind.  I was detained at the guard-house until a messenger could be
dispatched to the quarters of the commanding general, who authorized
that I should be conducted to him.  I had been with the general but a
few minutes when the two officers following announced themselves.  The
Mexican general reminded us that it was a violation of the truce for us
to be there.  However, as we had no special authority from our own
commanding general, and as we knew nothing about the terms of the truce,
we were permitted to occupy a vacant house outside the guard for the
night, with the promise of a guide to put us on the road to Cuernavaca
the next morning.

Cuernavaca is a town west of Guantla.  The country through which we
passed, between these two towns, is tropical in climate and productions
and rich in scenery.  At one point, about half-way between the two
places, the road goes over a low pass in the mountains in which there is
a very quaint old town, the inhabitants of which at that day were nearly
all full-blooded Indians.  Very few of them even spoke Spanish.  The
houses were built of stone and generally only one story high.  The
streets were narrow, and had probably been paved before Cortez visited
the country.  They had not been graded, but the paving had been done on
the natural surface.  We had with us one vehicle, a cart, which was
probably the first wheeled vehicle that had ever passed through that

On a hill overlooking this town stands the tomb of an ancient king; and
it was understood that the inhabitants venerated this tomb very highly,
as well as the memory of the ruler who was supposed to be buried in it.
We ascended the mountain and surveyed the tomb; but it showed no
particular marks of architectural taste, mechanical skill or advanced
civilization.  The next day we went into Cuernavaca.

After a day's rest at Cuernavaca our party set out again on the journey
to the great caves of Mexico.  We had proceeded but a few miles when we
were stopped, as before, by a guard and notified that the terms of the
existing armistice did not permit us to go further in that direction.
Upon convincing the guard that we were a mere party of pleasure seekers
desirous of visiting the great natural curiosities of the country which
we expected soon to leave, we were conducted to a large hacienda near
by, and directed to remain there until the commanding general of that
department could be communicated with and his decision obtained as to
whether we should be permitted to pursue our journey.  The guard
promised to send a messenger at once, and expected a reply by night.  At
night there was no response from the commanding general, but the captain
of the guard was sure he would have a reply by morning.  Again in the
morning there was no reply.  The second evening the same thing happened,
and finally we learned that the guard had sent no message or messenger
to the department commander.  We determined therefore to go on unless
stopped by a force sufficient to compel obedience.

After a few hours' travel we came to a town where a scene similar to the
one at Cuantia occurred.  The commanding officer sent a guide to conduct
our party around the village and to put us upon our road again.  This
was the last interruption:  that night we rested at a large coffee
plantation, some eight miles from the cave we were on the way to visit.
It must have been a Saturday night; the peons had been paid off, and
spent part of the night in gambling away their scanty week's earnings.
Their coin was principally copper, and I do not believe there was a man
among them who had received as much as twenty-five cents in money.  They
were as much excited, however, as if they had been staking thousands.  I
recollect one poor fellow, who had lost his last tlacko, pulled off his
shirt and, in the most excited manner, put that up on the turn of a
card.  Monte was the game played, the place out of doors, near the
window of the room occupied by the officers of our party.

The next morning we were at the mouth of the cave at an early hour,
provided with guides, candles and rockets.  We explored to a distance of
about three miles from the entrance, and found a succession of chambers
of great dimensions and of great beauty when lit up with our rockets.
Stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes were discovered.  Some of the
former were many feet in diameter and extended from ceiling to floor;
some of the latter were but a few feet high from the floor; but the
formation is going on constantly, and many centuries hence these
stalagmites will extend to the ceiling and become complete columns.  The
stalagmites were all a little concave, and the cavities were filled with
water.  The water percolates through the roof, a drop at a time--often
the drops several minutes apart--and more or less charged with mineral
matter.  Evaporation goes on slowly, leaving the mineral behind.  This
in time makes the immense columns, many of them thousands of tons in
weight, which serve to support the roofs over the vast chambers.  I
recollect that at one point in the cave one of these columns is of such
huge proportions that there is only a narrow passage left on either side
of it.  Some of our party became satisfied with their explorations
before we had reached the point to which the guides were accustomed to
take explorers, and started back without guides.  Coming to the large
column spoken of, they followed it entirely around, and commenced
retracing their steps into the bowels of the mountain, without being
aware of the fact.  When the rest of us had completed our explorations,
we started out with our guides, but had not gone far before we saw the
torches of an approaching party.  We could not conceive who these could
be, for all of us had come in together, and there were none but
ourselves at the entrance when we started in. Very soon we found it was
our friends.  It took them some time to conceive how they had got where
they were.  They were sure they had kept straight on for the mouth of
the cave, and had gone about far enough to have reached it.



My experience in the Mexican war was of great advantage to me
afterwards.  Besides the many practical lessons it taught, the war
brought nearly all the officers of the regular army together so as to
make them personally acquainted.  It also brought them in contact with
volunteers, many of whom served in the war of the rebellion afterwards.
Then, in my particular case, I had been at West Point at about the right
time to meet most of the graduates who were of a suitable age at the
breaking out of the rebellion to be trusted with large commands.
Graduating in 1843, I was at the military academy from one to four years
with all cadets who graduated between 1840 and 1846--seven classes.
These classes embraced more than fifty officers who afterwards became
generals on one side or the other in the rebellion, many of them holding
high commands.  All the older officers, who became conspicuous in the
rebellion, I had also served with and known in Mexico:  Lee, J. E.
Johnston, A. S. Johnston, Holmes, Hebert and a number of others on the
Confederate side; McCall, Mansfield, Phil. Kearney and others on the
National side.  The acquaintance thus formed was of immense service to
me in the war of the rebellion--I mean what I learned of the characters
of those to whom I was afterwards opposed.  I do not pretend to say that
all movements, or even many of them, were made with special reference to
the characteristics of the commander against whom they were directed.
But my appreciation of my enemies was certainly affected by this
knowledge.  The natural disposition of most people is to clothe a
commander of a large army whom they do not know, with almost superhuman
abilities.  A large part of the National army, for instance, and most of
the press of the country, clothed General Lee with just such qualities,
but I had known him personally, and knew that he was mortal; and it was
just as well that I felt this.

The treaty of peace was at last ratified, and the evacuation of Mexico
by United States troops was ordered.  Early in June the troops in the
City of Mexico began to move out.  Many of them, including the brigade
to which I belonged, were assembled at Jalapa, above the vomito, to
await the arrival of transports at Vera Cruz:  but with all this
precaution my regiment and others were in camp on the sand beach in a
July sun, for about a week before embarking, while the fever raged with
great virulence in Vera Cruz, not two miles away.  I can call to mind
only one person, an officer, who died of the disease.  My regiment was
sent to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to spend the summer.  As soon as it was
settled in camp I obtained a leave of absence for four months and
proceeded to St. Louis.  On the 22d of August, 1848, I was married to
Miss Julia Dent, the lady of whom I have before spoken.  We visited my
parents and relations in Ohio, and, at the end of my leave, proceeded to
my post at Sackett's Harbor, New York.  In April following I was ordered
to Detroit, Michigan, where two years were spent with but few important

The present constitution of the State of Michigan was ratified during
this time.  By the terms of one of its provisions, all citizens of the
United States residing within the State at the time of the ratification
became citizens of Michigan also. During my stay in Detroit there was an
election for city officers.  Mr. Zachariah Chandler was the candidate of
the Whigs for the office of Mayor, and was elected, although the city
was then reckoned democratic.  All the officers stationed there at the
time who offered their votes were permitted to cast them.  I did not
offer mine, however, as I did not wish to consider myself a citizen of
Michigan.  This was Mr. Chandler's first entry into politics, a career
he followed ever after with great success, and in which he died enjoying
the friendship, esteem and love of his countrymen.

In the spring of 1851 the garrison at Detroit was transferred to
Sackett's Harbor, and in the following spring the entire 4th infantry
was ordered to the Pacific Coast.  It was decided that Mrs. Grant should
visit my parents at first for a few months, and then remain with her own
family at their St. Louis home until an opportunity offered of sending
for her.  In the month of April the regiment was assembled at Governor's
Island, New York Harbor, and on the 5th of July eight companies sailed
for Aspinwall.  We numbered a little over seven hundred persons,
including the families of officers and soldiers.  Passage was secured
for us on the old steamer Ohio, commanded at the time by Captain
Schenck, of the navy.  It had not been determined, until a day or two
before starting, that the 4th infantry should go by the Ohio;
consequently, a complement of passengers had already been secured.  The
addition of over seven hundred to this list crowded the steamer most
uncomfortably, especially for the tropics in July.

In eight days Aspinwall was reached.  At that time the streets of the
town were eight or ten inches under water, and foot passengers passed
from place to place on raised foot-walks. July is at the height of the
wet season, on the Isthmus.  At intervals the rain would pour down in
streams, followed in not many minutes by a blazing, tropical summer's
sun.  These alternate changes, from rain to sunshine, were continuous in
the afternoons.  I wondered how any person could live many months in
Aspinwall, and wondered still more why any one tried.

In the summer of 1852 the Panama railroad was completed only to the
point where it now crosses the Chagres River.  From there passengers
were carried by boats to Gorgona, at which place they took mules for
Panama, some twenty-five miles further.  Those who travelled over the
Isthmus in those days will remember that boats on the Chagres River were
propelled by natives not inconveniently burdened with clothing.  These
boats carried thirty to forty passengers each.  The crews consisted of
six men to a boat, armed with long poles.  There were planks wide enough
for a man to walk on conveniently, running along the sides of each boat
from end to end.  The men would start from the bow, place one end of
their poles against the river bottom, brace their shoulders against the
other end, and then walk to the stern as rapidly as they could.  In this
way from a mile to a mile and a half an hour could be made, against the
current of the river.

I, as regimental quartermaster, had charge of the public property and
had also to look after the transportation.  A contract had been entered
into with the steamship company in New York for the transportation of
the regiment to California, including the Isthmus transit.  A certain
amount of baggage was allowed per man, and saddle animals were to be
furnished to commissioned officers and to all disabled persons.  The
regiment, with the exception of one company left as guards to the public
property--camp and garrison equipage principally--and the soldiers with
families, took boats, propelled as above described, for Gorgona.  From
this place they marched to Panama, and were soon comfortably on the
steamer anchored in the bay, some three or four miles from the town.  I,
with one company of troops and all the soldiers with families, all the
tents, mess chests and camp kettles, was sent to Cruces, a town a few
miles higher up the Chagres River than Gorgona.  There I found an
impecunious American who had taken the contract to furnish
transportation for the regiment at a stipulated price per hundred pounds
for the freight and so much for each saddle animal.  But when we reached
Cruces there was not a mule, either for pack or saddle, in the place.
The contractor promised that the animals should be on hand in the
morning.  In the morning he said that they were on the way from some
imaginary place, and would arrive in the course of the day.  This went
on until I saw that he could not procure the animals at all at the price
he had promised to furnish them for.  The unusual number of passengers
that had come over on the steamer, and the large amount of freight to
pack, had created an unprecedented demand for mules.  Some of the
passengers paid as high as forty dollars for the use of a mule to ride
twenty-five miles, when the mule would not have sold for ten dollars in
that market at other times. Meanwhile the cholera had broken out, and
men were dying every hour.  To diminish the food for the disease, I
permitted the company detailed with me to proceed to Panama.  The
captain and the doctors accompanied the men, and I was left alone with
the sick and the soldiers who had families.  The regiment at Panama was
also affected with the disease; but there were better accommodations for
the well on the steamer, and a hospital, for those taken with the
disease, on an old hulk anchored a mile off.  There were also hospital
tents on shore on the island of Flamingo, which stands in the bay.

I was about a week at Cruces before transportation began to come in.
About one-third of the people with me died, either at Cruces or on the
way to Panama.  There was no agent of the transportation company at
Cruces to consult, or to take the responsibility of procuring
transportation at a price which would secure it.  I therefore myself
dismissed the contractor and made a new contract with a native, at more
than double the original price.  Thus we finally reached Panama.  The
steamer, however, could not proceed until the cholera abated, and the
regiment was detained still longer.  Altogether, on the Isthmus and on
the Pacific side, we were delayed six weeks.  About one-seventh of those
who left New York harbor with the 4th infantry on the 5th of July, now
lie buried on the Isthmus of Panama or on Flamingo island in Panama Bay.

One amusing circumstance occurred while we were lying at anchor in
Panama Bay.  In the regiment there was a Lieutenant Slaughter who was
very liable to sea-sickness.  It almost made him sick to see the wave of
a table-cloth when the servants were spreading it.  Soon after his
graduation, Slaughter was ordered to California and took passage by a
sailing vessel going around Cape Horn.  The vessel was seven months
making the voyage, and Slaughter was sick every moment of the time,
never more so than while lying at anchor after reaching his place of
destination. On landing in California he found orders which had come by
the Isthmus, notifying him of a mistake in his assignment; he should
have been ordered to the northern lakes.  He started back by the Isthmus
route and was sick all the way.  But when he arrived at the East he was
again ordered to California, this time definitely, and at this date was
making his third trip.  He was as sick as ever, and had been so for more
than a month while lying at anchor in the bay.  I remember him well,
seated with his elbows on the table in front of him, his chin between
his hands, and looking the picture of despair.  At last he broke out, "I
wish I had taken my father's advice; he wanted me to go into the navy;
if I had done so, I should not have had to go to sea so much."  Poor
Slaughter! it was his last sea voyage.  He was killed by Indians in

By the last of August the cholera had so abated that it was deemed safe
to start.  The disease did not break out again on the way to California,
and we reached San Francisco early in September.



San Francisco at that day was a lively place.  Gold, or placer digging
as it was called, was at its height.  Steamers plied daily between San
Francisco and both Stockton and Sacramento. Passengers and gold from the
southern mines came by the Stockton boat; from the northern mines by
Sacramento.  In the evening when these boats arrived, Long Wharf--there
was but one wharf in San Francisco in 1852--was alive with people
crowding to meet the miners as they came down to sell their "dust" and
to "have a time."  Of these some were runners for hotels, boarding
houses or restaurants; others belonged to a class of impecunious
adventurers, of good manners and good presence, who were ever on the
alert to make the acquaintance of people with some ready means, in the
hope of being asked to take a meal at a restaurant.  Many were young men
of good family, good education and gentlemanly instincts.  Their parents
had been able to support them during their minority, and to give them
good educations, but not to maintain them afterwards.  From 1849 to 1853
there was a rush of people to the Pacific coast, of the class described.
All thought that fortunes were to be picked up, without effort, in the
gold fields on the Pacific.  Some realized more than their most sanguine
expectations; but for one such there were hundreds disappointed, many of
whom now fill unknown graves; others died wrecks of their former selves,
and many, without a vicious instinct, became criminals and outcasts.
Many of the real scenes in early California life exceed in strangeness
and interest any of the mere products of the brain of the novelist.

Those early days in California brought out character.  It was a long way
off then, and the journey was expensive.  The fortunate could go by Cape
Horn or by the Isthmus of Panama; but the mass of pioneers crossed the
plains with their ox-teams.  This took an entire summer.  They were very
lucky when they got through with a yoke of worn-out cattle.  All other
means were exhausted in procuring the outfit on the Missouri River.  The
immigrant, on arriving, found himself a stranger, in a strange land, far
from friends.  Time pressed, for the little means that could be realized
from the sale of what was left of the outfit would not support a man
long at California prices.  Many became discouraged.  Others would take
off their coats and look for a job, no matter what it might be.  These
succeeded as a rule. There were many young men who had studied
professions before they went to California, and who had never done a
day's manual labor in their lives, who took in the situation at once and
went to work to make a start at anything they could get to do.  Some
supplied carpenters and masons with material--carrying plank, brick, or
mortar, as the case might be; others drove stages, drays, or baggage
wagons, until they could do better.  More became discouraged early and
spent their time looking up people who would "treat," or lounging about
restaurants and gambling houses where free lunches were furnished daily.
They were welcomed at these places because they often brought in miners
who proved good customers.

My regiment spent a few weeks at Benicia barracks, and then was ordered
to Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, then in Oregon Territory.
During the winter of 1852-3 the territory was divided, all north of the
Columbia River being taken from Oregon to make Washington Territory.

Prices for all kinds of supplies were so high on the Pacific coast from
1849 until at least 1853--that it would have been impossible for
officers of the army to exist upon their pay, if it had not been that
authority was given them to purchase from the commissary such supplies
as he kept, at New Orleans wholesale prices.  A cook could not be hired
for the pay of a captain.  The cook could do better.  At Benicia, in
1852, flour was 25 cents per pound; potatoes were 16 cents; beets,
turnips and cabbage, 6 cents; onions, 37 1/2 cents; meat and other
articles in proportion.  In 1853 at Vancouver vegetables were a little
lower.  I with three other officers concluded that we would raise a crop
for ourselves, and by selling the surplus realize something handsome.  I
bought a pair of horses that had crossed the plains that summer and were
very poor.  They recuperated rapidly, however, and proved a good team to
break up the ground with.  I performed all the labor of breaking up the
ground while the other officers planted the potatoes.  Our crop was
enormous.  Luckily for us the Columbia River rose to a great height from
the melting of the snow in the mountains in June, and overflowed and
killed most of our crop.  This saved digging it up, for everybody on the
Pacific coast seemed to have come to the conclusion at the same time
that agriculture would be profitable.  In 1853 more than three-quarters
of the potatoes raised were permitted to rot in the ground, or had to be
thrown away.  The only potatoes we sold were to our own mess.

While I was stationed on the Pacific coast we were free from Indian
wars.  There were quite a number of remnants of tribes in the vicinity
of Portland in Oregon, and of Fort Vancouver in Washington Territory.
They had generally acquired some of the vices of civilization, but none
of the virtues, except in individual cases.  The Hudson's Bay Company
had held the North-west with their trading posts for many years before
the United States was represented on the Pacific coast.  They still
retained posts along the Columbia River and one at Fort Vancouver, when
I was there.  Their treatment of the Indians had brought out the better
qualities of the savages.  Farming had been undertaken by the company to
supply the Indians with bread and vegetables; they raised some cattle
and horses; and they had now taught the Indians to do the labor of the
farm and herd. They always compensated them for their labor, and always
gave them goods of uniform quality and at uniform price.

Before the advent of the American, the medium of exchange between the
Indian and the white man was pelts.  Afterward it was silver coin.  If
an Indian received in the sale of a horse a fifty dollar gold piece, not
an infrequent occurrence, the first thing he did was to exchange it for
American half dollars. These he could count.  He would then commence his
purchases, paying for each article separately, as he got it.  He would
not trust any one to add up the bill and pay it all at once.  At that
day fifty dollar gold pieces, not the issue of the government, were
common on the Pacific coast.  They were called slugs.

The Indians, along the lower Columbia as far as the Cascades and on the
lower Willamette, died off very fast during the year I spent in that
section; for besides acquiring the vices of the white people they had
acquired also their diseases.  The measles and the small-pox were both
amazingly fatal.  In their wild state, before the appearance of the
white man among them, the principal complaints they were subject to were
those produced by long involuntary fasting, violent exercise in pursuit
of game, and over-eating.  Instinct more than reason had taught them a
remedy for these ills.  It was the steam bath.  Something like a
bake-oven was built, large enough to admit a man lying down. Bushes were
stuck in the ground in two rows, about six feet long and some two or
three feet apart; other bushes connected the rows at one end.  The tops
of the bushes were drawn together to interlace, and confined in that
position; the whole was then plastered over with wet clay until every
opening was filled. Just inside the open end of the oven the floor was
scooped out so as to make a hole that would hold a bucket or two of
water. These ovens were always built on the banks of a stream, a big
spring, or pool of water.  When a patient required a bath, a fire was
built near the oven and a pile of stones put upon it. The cavity at the
front was then filled with water.  When the stones were sufficiently
heated, the patient would draw himself into the oven; a blanket would be
thrown over the open end, and hot stones put into the water until the
patient could stand it no longer.  He was then withdrawn from his steam
bath and doused into the cold stream near by.  This treatment may have
answered with the early ailments of the Indians.  With the measles or
small-pox it would kill every time.

During my year on the Columbia River, the small-pox exterminated one
small remnant of a band of Indians entirely, and reduced others
materially.  I do not think there was a case of recovery among them,
until the doctor with the Hudson Bay Company took the matter in hand and
established a hospital.  Nearly every case he treated recovered.  I
never, myself, saw the treatment described in the preceding paragraph,
but have heard it described by persons who have witnessed it.  The
decimation among the Indians I knew of personally, and the hospital,
established for their benefit, was a Hudson's Bay building not a stone's
throw from my own quarters.

The death of Colonel Bliss, of the Adjutant General's department, which
occurred July 5th, 1853, promoted me to the captaincy of a company then
stationed at Humboldt Bay, California.  The notice reached me in
September of the same year, and I very soon started to join my new
command.  There was no way of reaching Humboldt at that time except to
take passage on a San Francisco sailing vessel going after lumber.  Red
wood, a species of cedar, which on the Pacific coast takes the place
filled by white pine in the East, then abounded on the banks of Humboldt
Bay.  There were extensive saw-mills engaged in preparing this lumber
for the San Francisco market, and sailing vessels, used in getting it to
market, furnished the only means of communication between Humboldt and
the balance of the world.

I was obliged to remain in San Francisco for several days before I found
a vessel.  This gave me a good opportunity of comparing the San
Francisco of 1852 with that of 1853.  As before stated, there had been
but one wharf in front of the city in 1852--Long Wharf.  In 1853 the
town had grown out into the bay beyond what was the end of this wharf
when I first saw it.  Streets and houses had been built out on piles
where the year before the largest vessels visiting the port lay at
anchor or tied to the wharf.  There was no filling under the streets or
houses.  San Francisco presented the same general appearance as the year
before; that is, eating, drinking and gambling houses were conspicuous
for their number and publicity.  They were on the first floor, with
doors wide open.  At all hours of the day and night in walking the
streets, the eye was regaled, on every block near the water front, by
the sight of players at faro. Often broken places were found in the
street, large enough to let a man down into the water below.  I have but
little doubt that many of the people who went to the Pacific coast in
the early days of the gold excitement, and have never been heard from
since, or who were heard from for a time and then ceased to write, found
watery graves beneath the houses or streets built over San Francisco

Besides the gambling in cards there was gambling on a larger scale in
city lots.  These were sold "On Change," much as stocks are now sold on
Wall Street.  Cash, at time of purchase, was always paid by the broker;
but the purchaser had only to put up his margin.  He was charged at the
rate of two or three per cent. a month on the difference, besides
commissions.  The sand hills, some of them almost inaccessible to
foot-passengers, were surveyed off and mapped into fifty vara lots--a
vara being a Spanish yard.  These were sold at first at very low prices,
but were sold and resold for higher prices until they went up to many
thousands of dollars.  The brokers did a fine business, and so did many
such purchasers as were sharp enough to quit purchasing before the final
crash came.  As the city grew, the sand hills back of the town furnished
material for filling up the bay under the houses and streets, and still
further out. The temporary houses, first built over the water in the
harbor, soon gave way to more solid structures.  The main business part
of the city now is on solid ground, made where vessels of the largest
class lay at anchor in the early days.  I was in San Francisco again in
1854.  Gambling houses had disappeared from public view.  The city had
become staid and orderly.



My family, all this while, was at the East.  It consisted now of a wife
and two children.  I saw no chance of supporting them on the Pacific
coast out of my pay as an army officer.  I concluded, therefore, to
resign, and in March applied for a leave of absence until the end of the
July following, tendering my resignation to take effect at the end of
that time.  I left the Pacific coast very much attached to it, and with
the full expectation of making it my future home.  That expectation and
that hope remained uppermost in my mind until the Lieutenant-Generalcy
bill was introduced into Congress in the winter of 1863-4.  The passage
of that bill, and my promotion, blasted my last hope of ever becoming a
citizen of the further West.

In the late summer of 1854 I rejoined my family, to find in it a son
whom I had never seen, born while I was on the Isthmus of Panama.  I was
now to commence, at the age of thirty-two, a new struggle for our
support.  My wife had a farm near St. Louis, to which we went, but I had
no means to stock it.  A house had to be built also.  I worked very
hard, never losing a day because of bad weather, and accomplished the
object in a moderate way.  If nothing else could be done I would load a
cord of wood on a wagon and take it to the city for sale.  I managed to
keep along very well until 1858, when I was attacked by fever and ague.
I had suffered very severely and for a long time from this disease,
while a boy in Ohio.  It lasted now over a year, and, while it did not
keep me in the house, it did interfere greatly with the amount of work I
was able to perform.  In the fall of 1858 I sold out my stock, crops and
farming utensils at auction, and gave up farming.

In the winter I established a partnership with Harry Boggs, a cousin of
Mrs.  Grant, in the real estate agency business.  I spent that winter at
St. Louis myself, but did not take my family into town until the spring.
Our business might have become prosperous if I had been able to wait for
it to grow.  As it was, there was no more than one person could attend
to, and not enough to support two families.  While a citizen of St.
Louis and engaged in the real estate agency business, I was a candidate
for the office of county engineer, an office of respectability and
emolument which would have been very acceptable to me at that time.  The
incumbent was appointed by the county court, which consisted of five
members.  My opponent had the advantage of birth over me (he was a
citizen by adoption) and carried off the prize.  I now withdrew from the
co-partnership with Boggs, and, in May, 1860, removed to Galena,
Illinois, and took a clerkship in my father's store.

While a citizen of Missouri, my first opportunity for casting a vote at
a Presidential election occurred.  I had been in the army from before
attaining my majority and had thought but little about politics,
although I was a Whig by education and a great admirer of Mr. Clay.  But
the Whig party had ceased to exist before I had an opportunity of
exercising the privilege of casting a ballot; the Know-Nothing party had
taken its place, but was on the wane; and the Republican party was in a
chaotic state and had not yet received a name.  It had no existence in
the Slave States except at points on the borders next to Free States.
In St. Louis City and County, what afterwards became the Republican
party was known as the Free-Soil Democracy, led by the Honorable Frank
P. Blair.  Most of my neighbors had known me as an officer of the army
with Whig proclivities.  They had been on the same side, and, on the
death of their party, many had become Know-Nothings, or members of the
American party. There was a lodge near my new home, and I was invited to
join it.  I accepted the invitation; was initiated; attended a meeting
just one week later, and never went to another afterwards.

I have no apologies to make for having been one week a member of the
American party; for I still think native-born citizens of the United
States should have as much protection, as many privileges in their
native country, as those who voluntarily select it for a home.  But all
secret, oath-bound political parties are dangerous to any nation, no
matter how pure or how patriotic the motives and principles which first
bring them together.  No political party can or ought to exist when one
of its corner-stones is opposition to freedom of thought and to the
right to worship God "according to the dictate of one's own conscience,"
or according to the creed of any religious denomination whatever.
Nevertheless, if a sect sets up its laws as binding above the State
laws, wherever the two come in conflict this claim must be resisted and
suppressed at whatever cost.

Up to the Mexican war there were a few out and out abolitionists, men
who carried their hostility to slavery into all elections, from those
for a justice of the peace up to the Presidency of the United States.
They were noisy but not numerous.  But the great majority of people at
the North, where slavery did not exist, were opposed to the institution,
and looked upon its existence in any part of the country as unfortunate.
They did not hold the States where slavery existed responsible for it;
and believed that protection should be given to the right of property in
slaves until some satisfactory way could be reached to be rid of the
institution.  Opposition to slavery was not a creed of either political
party.  In some sections more anti-slavery men belonged to the
Democratic party, and in others to the Whigs.  But with the inauguration
of the Mexican war, in fact with the annexation of Texas, "the
inevitable conflict" commenced.

As the time for the Presidential election of 1856--the first at which I
had the opportunity of voting--approached, party feeling began to run
high.  The Republican party was regarded in the South and the border
States not only as opposed to the extension of slavery, but as favoring
the compulsory abolition of the institution without compensation to the
owners.  The most horrible visions seemed to present themselves to the
minds of people who, one would suppose, ought to have known better.
Many educated and, otherwise, sensible persons appeared to believe that
emancipation meant social equality.  Treason to the Government was
openly advocated and was not rebuked.  It was evident to my mind that
the election of a Republican President in 1856 meant the secession of
all the Slave States, and rebellion.  Under these circumstances I
preferred the success of a candidate whose election would prevent or
postpone secession, to seeing the country plunged into a war the end of
which no man could foretell.  With a Democrat elected by the unanimous
vote of the Slave States, there could be no pretext for secession for
four years.  I very much hoped that the passions of the people would
subside in that time, and the catastrophe be averted altogether; if it
was not, I believed the country would be better prepared to receive the
shock and to resist it.  I therefore voted for James Buchanan for
President.  Four years later the Republican party was successful in
electing its candidate to the Presidency.  The civilized world has
learned the consequence.  Four millions of human beings held as chattels
have been liberated; the ballot has been given to them; the free schools
of the country have been opened to their children.  The nation still
lives, and the people are just as free to avoid social intimacy with the
blacks as ever they were, or as they are with white people.

While living in Galena I was nominally only a clerk supporting myself
and family on a stipulated salary.  In reality my position was
different.  My father had never lived in Galena himself, but had
established my two brothers there, the one next younger than myself in
charge of the business, assisted by the youngest.  When I went there it
was my father's intention to give up all connection with the business
himself, and to establish his three sons in it:  but the brother who had
really built up the business was sinking with consumption, and it was
not thought best to make any change while he was in this condition.  He
lived until September, 1861, when he succumbed to that insidious disease
which always flatters its victims into the belief that they are growing
better up to the close of life.  A more honorable man never transacted
business.  In September, 1861, I was engaged in an employment which
required all my attention elsewhere.

During the eleven months that I lived in Galena prior to the first call
for volunteers, I had been strictly attentive to my business, and had
made but few acquaintances other than customers and people engaged in
the same line with myself.  When the election took place in November,
1860, I had not been a resident of Illinois long enough to gain
citizenship and could not, therefore, vote.  I was really glad of this
at the time, for my pledges would have compelled me to vote for Stephen
A. Douglas, who had no possible chance of election.  The contest was
really between Mr. Breckinridge and Mr. Lincoln; between minority rule
and rule by the majority.  I wanted, as between these candidates, to see
Mr. Lincoln elected.  Excitement ran high during the canvass, and
torch-light processions enlivened the scene in the generally quiet
streets of Galena many nights during the campaign.  I did not parade
with either party, but occasionally met with the "wide awakes"
--Republicans--in their rooms, and superintended their drill.  It was
evident, from the time of the Chicago nomination to the close of the
canvass, that the election of the Republican candidate would be the
signal for some of the Southern States to secede.  I still had hopes
that the four years which had elapsed since the first nomination of a
Presidential candidate by a party distinctly opposed to slavery
extension, had given time for the extreme pro-slavery sentiment to cool
down; for the Southerners to think well before they took the awful leap
which they had so vehemently threatened.  But I was mistaken.

The Republican candidate was elected, and solid substantial people of
the North-west, and I presume the same order of people throughout the
entire North, felt very serious, but determined, after this event.  It
was very much discussed whether the South would carry out its threat to
secede and set up a separate government, the corner-stone of which
should be, protection to the "Divine" institution of slavery.  For there
were people who believed in the "divinity" of human slavery, as there
are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the
Most High.  We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid
their practice.  It was generally believed that there would be a flurry;
that some of the extreme Southern States would go so far as to pass
ordinances of secession.  But the common impression was that this step
was so plainly suicidal for the South, that the movement would not
spread over much of the territory and would not last long.

Doubtless the founders of our government, the majority of them at least,
regarded the confederation of the colonies as an experiment.  Each
colony considered itself a separate government; that the confederation
was for mutual protection against a foreign foe, and the prevention of
strife and war among themselves.  If there had been a desire on the part
of any single State to withdraw from the compact at any time while the
number of States was limited to the original thirteen, I do not suppose
there would have been any to contest the right, no matter how much the
determination might have been regretted. The problem changed on the
ratification of the Constitution by all the colonies; it changed still
more when amendments were added; and if the right of any one State to
withdraw continued to exist at all after the ratification of the
Constitution, it certainly ceased on the formation of new States, at
least so far as the new States themselves were concerned.  It was never
possessed at all by Florida or the States west of the Mississippi, all
of which were purchased by the treasury of the entire nation. Texas and
the territory brought into the Union in consequence of annexation, were
purchased with both blood and treasure; and Texas, with a domain greater
than that of any European state except Russia, was permitted to retain
as state property all the public lands within its borders.  It would
have been ingratitude and injustice of the most flagrant sort for this
State to withdraw from the Union after all that had been spent and done
to introduce her; yet, if separation had actually occurred, Texas must
necessarily have gone with the South, both on account of her
institutions and her geographical position. Secession was illogical as
well as impracticable; it was revolution.

Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one.  When people are
oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to
relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either
by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a
government more acceptable.  But any people or part of a people who
resort to this remedy, stake their lives, their property, and every
claim for protection given by citizenship--on the issue.  Victory, or
the conditions imposed by the conqueror--must be the result.

In the case of the war between the States it would have been the exact
truth if the South had said,--"We do not want to live with you Northern
people any longer; we know our institution of slavery is obnoxious to
you, and, as you are growing numerically stronger than we, it may at
some time in the future be endangered.  So long as you permitted us to
control the government, and with the aid of a few friends at the North
to enact laws constituting your section a guard against the escape of
our property, we were willing to live with you.  You have been
submissive to our rule heretofore; but it looks now as if you did not
intend to continue so, and we will remain in the Union no longer."
Instead of this the seceding States cried lustily,--"Let us alone; you
have no constitutional power to interfere with us."  Newspapers and
people at the North reiterated the cry.  Individuals might ignore the
constitution; but the Nation itself must not only obey it, but must
enforce the strictest construction of that instrument; the construction
put upon it by the Southerners themselves.  The fact is the constitution
did not apply to any such contingency as the one existing from 1861 to
1865.  Its framers never dreamed of such a contingency occurring.  If
they had foreseen it, the probabilities are they would have sanctioned
the right of a State or States to withdraw rather than that there should
be war between brothers.

The framers were wise in their generation and wanted to do the very best
possible to secure their own liberty and independence, and that also of
their descendants to the latest days.  It is preposterous to suppose
that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules
of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen
contingencies.  At the time of the framing of our constitution the only
physical forces that had been subdued and made to serve man and do his
labor, were the currents in the streams and in the air we breathe. Rude
machinery, propelled by water power, had been invented; sails to propel
ships upon the waters had been set to catch the passing breeze--but the
application of stream to propel vessels against both wind and current,
and machinery to do all manner of work had not been thought of.  The
instantaneous transmission of messages around the world by means of
electricity would probably at that day have been attributed to
witchcraft or a league with the Devil.  Immaterial circumstances had
changed as greatly as material ones.  We could not and ought not to be
rigidly bound by the rules laid down under circumstances so different
for emergencies so utterly unanticipated.  The fathers themselves would
have been the first to declare that their prerogatives were not
irrevocable.  They would surely have resisted secession could they have
lived to see the shape it assumed.

I travelled through the Northwest considerably during the winter of
1860-1.  We had customers in all the little towns in south-west
Wisconsin, south-east Minnesota and north-east Iowa.  These generally
knew I had been a captain in the regular army and had served through the
Mexican war.  Consequently wherever I stopped at night, some of the
people would come to the public-house where I was, and sit till a late
hour discussing the probabilities of the future.  My own views at that
time were like those officially expressed by Mr. Seward at a later day,
that "the war would be over in ninety days."  I continued to entertain
these views until after the battle of Shiloh.  I believe now that there
would have been no more battles at the West after the capture of Fort
Donelson if all the troops in that region had been under a single
commander who would have followed up that victory.

There is little doubt in my mind now that the prevailing sentiment of
the South would have been opposed to secession in 1860 and 1861, if
there had been a fair and calm expression of opinion, unbiased by
threats, and if the ballot of one legal voter had counted for as much as
that of any other.  But there was no calm discussion of the question.
Demagogues who were too old to enter the army if there should be a war,
others who entertained so high an opinion of their own ability that they
did not believe they could be spared from the direction of the affairs
of state in such an event, declaimed vehemently and unceasingly against
the North; against its aggressions upon the South; its interference with
Southern rights, etc., etc.  They denounced the Northerners as cowards,
poltroons, negro-worshippers; claimed that one Southern man was equal to
five Northern men in battle; that if the South would stand up for its
rights the North would back down.  Mr. Jefferson Davis said in a speech,
delivered at La Grange, Mississippi, before the secession of that State,
that he would agree to drink all the blood spilled south of Mason and
Dixon's line if there should be a war.  The young men who would have the
fighting to do in case of war, believed all these statements, both in
regard to the aggressiveness of the North and its cowardice.  They, too,
cried out for a separation from such people.  The great bulk of the
legal voters of the South were men who owned no slaves; their homes were
generally in the hills and poor country; their facilities for educating
their children, even up to the point of reading and writing, were very
limited; their interest in the contest was very meagre--what there was,
if they had been capable of seeing it, was with the North; they too
needed emancipation.  Under the old regime they were looked down upon by
those who controlled all the affairs in the interest of slave-owners, as
poor white trash who were allowed the ballot so long as they cast it
according to direction.

I am aware that this last statement may be disputed and individual
testimony perhaps adduced to show that in ante-bellum days the ballot
was as untrammelled in the south as in any section of the country; but
in the face of any such contradiction I reassert the statement.  The
shot-gun was not resorted to.  Masked men did not ride over the country
at night intimidating voters; but there was a firm feeling that a class
existed in every State with a sort of divine right to control public
affairs.  If they could not get this control by one means they must by
another.  The end justified the means.  The coercion, if mild, was

There were two political parties, it is true, in all the States, both
strong in numbers and respectability, but both equally loyal to the
institution which stood paramount in Southern eyes to all other
institutions in state or nation.  The slave-owners were the minority,
but governed both parties.  Had politics ever divided the slave-holders
and the non-slave-holders, the majority would have been obliged to
yield, or internecine war would have been the consequence.  I do not
know that the Southern people were to blame for this condition of
affairs. There was a time when slavery was not profitable, and the
discussion of the merits of the institution was confined almost
exclusively to the territory where it existed.  The States of Virginia
and Kentucky came near abolishing slavery by their own acts, one State
defeating the measure by a tie vote and the other only lacking one.  But
when the institution became profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased
where it existed; and naturally, as human nature is constituted,
arguments were adduced in its support.  The cotton-gin probably had much
to do with the justification of slavery.

The winter of 1860-1 will be remembered by middle-aged people of to-day
as one of great excitement.  South Carolina promptly seceded after the
result of the Presidential election was known.  Other Southern States
proposed to follow.  In some of them the Union sentiment was so strong
that it had to be suppressed by force.  Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and
Missouri, all Slave States, failed to pass ordinances of secession; but
they were all represented in the so-called congress of the so-called
Confederate States.  The Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri,
in 1861, Jackson and Reynolds, were both supporters of the rebellion and
took refuge with the enemy.  The governor soon died, and the
lieutenant-governor assumed his office; issued proclamations as governor
of the State; was recognized as such by the Confederate Government, and
continued his pretensions until the collapse of the rebellion. The South
claimed the sovereignty of States, but claimed the right to coerce into
their confederation such States as they wanted, that is, all the States
where slavery existed.  They did not seem to think this course
inconsistent.  The fact is, the Southern slave-owners believed that, in
some way, the ownership of slaves conferred a sort of patent of
nobility--a right to govern independent of the interest or wishes of
those who did not hold such property.  They convinced themselves, first,
of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular
institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but

Meanwhile the Administration of President Buchanan looked helplessly on
and proclaimed that the general government had no power to interfere;
that the Nation had no power to save its own life.  Mr. Buchanan had in
his cabinet two members at least, who were as earnest--to use a mild
term--in the cause of secession as Mr. Davis or any Southern statesman.
One of them, Floyd, the Secretary of War, scattered the army so that
much of it could be captured when hostilities should commence, and
distributed the cannon and small arms from Northern arsenals throughout
the South so as to be on hand when treason wanted them.  The navy was
scattered in like manner.  The President did not prevent his cabinet
preparing for war upon their government, either by destroying its
resources or storing them in the South until a de facto government was
established with Jefferson Davis as its President, and Montgomery,
Alabama, as the Capital.  The secessionists had then to leave the
cabinet.  In their own estimation they were aliens in the country which
had given them birth.  Loyal men were put into their places.  Treason in
the executive branch of the government was estopped.  But the harm had
already been done.  The stable door was locked after the horse had been

During all of the trying winter of 1860-1, when the Southerners were so
defiant that they would not allow within their borders the expression of
a sentiment hostile to their views, it was a brave man indeed who could
stand up and proclaim his loyalty to the Union.  On the other hand men
at the North--prominent men--proclaimed that the government had no power
to coerce the South into submission to the laws of the land; that if the
North undertook to raise armies to go south, these armies would have to
march over the dead bodies of the speakers.  A portion of the press of
the North was constantly proclaiming similar views. When the time
arrived for the President-elect to go to the capital of the Nation to be
sworn into office, it was deemed unsafe for him to travel, not only as a
President-elect, but as any private citizen should be allowed to do.
Instead of going in a special car, receiving the good wishes of his
constituents at all the stations along the road, he was obliged to stop
on the way and to be smuggled into the capital.  He disappeared from
public view on his journey, and the next the country knew, his arrival
was announced at the capital.  There is little doubt that he would have
been assassinated if he had attempted to travel openly throughout his



The 4th of March, 1861, came, and Abraham Lincoln was sworn to maintain
the Union against all its enemies.  The secession of one State after
another followed, until eleven had gone out.  On the 11th of April Fort
Sumter, a National fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, was
fired upon by the Southerners and a few days after was captured.  The
Confederates proclaimed themselves aliens, and thereby debarred
themselves of all right to claim protection under the Constitution of
the United States.  We did not admit the fact that they were aliens, but
all the same, they debarred themselves of the right to expect better
treatment than people of any other foreign state who make war upon an
independent nation.  Upon the firing on Sumter President Lincoln issued
his first call for troops and soon after a proclamation convening
Congress in extra session.  The call was for 75,000 volunteers for
ninety days' service.  If the shot fired at Fort Sumter "was heard
around the world," the call of the President for 75,000 men was heard
throughout the Northern States.  There was not a state in the North of a
million of inhabitants that would not have furnished the entire number
faster than arms could have been supplied to them, if it had been

As soon as the news of the call for volunteers reached Galena, posters
were stuck up calling for a meeting of the citizens at the court-house
in the evening.  Business ceased entirely; all was excitement; for a
time there were no party distinctions; all were Union men, determined to
avenge the insult to the national flag.  In the evening the court-house
was packed.  Although a comparative stranger I was called upon to
preside; the sole reason, possibly, was that I had been in the army and
had seen service.  With much embarrassment and some prompting I made out
to announce the object of the meeting.  Speeches were in order, but it
is doubtful whether it would have been safe just then to make other than
patriotic ones.  There was probably no one in the house, however, who
felt like making any other.  The two principal speeches were by B. B.
Howard, the post-master and a Breckinridge Democrat at the November
election the fall before, and John A. Rawlins, an elector on the Douglas
ticket.  E. B. Washburne, with whom I was not acquainted at that time,
came in after the meeting had been organized, and expressed, I
understood afterwards, a little surprise that Galena could not furnish a
presiding officer for such an occasion without taking a stranger.  He
came forward and was introduced, and made a speech appealing to the
patriotism of the meeting.

After the speaking was over volunteers were called for to form a
company.  The quota of Illinois had been fixed at six regiments; and it
was supposed that one company would be as much as would be accepted from
Galena.  The company was raised and the officers and non-commissioned
officers elected before the meeting adjourned.  I declined the captaincy
before the balloting, but announced that I would aid the company in
every way I could and would be found in the service in some position if
there should be a war.  I never went into our leather store after that
meeting, to put up a package or do other business.

The ladies of Galena were quite as patriotic as the men.  They could not
enlist, but they conceived the idea of sending their first company to
the field uniformed.  They came to me to get a description of the United
States uniform for infantry; subscribed and bought the material;
procured tailors to cut out the garments, and the ladies made them up.
In a few days the company was in uniform and ready to report at the
State capital for assignment.  The men all turned out the morning after
their enlistment, and I took charge, divided them into squads and
superintended their drill.  When they were ready to go to Springfield I
went with them and remained there until they were assigned to a

There were so many more volunteers than had been called for that the
question whom to accept was quite embarrassing to the governor, Richard
Yates.  The legislature was in session at the time, however, and came to
his relief.  A law was enacted authorizing the governor to accept the
services of ten additional regiments, one from each congressional
district, for one month, to be paid by the State, but pledged to go into
the service of the United States if there should be a further call
during their term.  Even with this relief the governor was still very
much embarrassed.  Before the war was over he was like the President
when he was taken with the varioloid:  "at last he had something he
could give to all who wanted it."

In time the Galena company was mustered into the United States service,
forming a part of the 11th Illinois volunteer infantry.  My duties, I
thought, had ended at Springfield, and I was prepared to start home by
the evening train, leaving at nine o'clock.  Up to that time I do not
think I had been introduced to Governor Yates, or had ever spoken to
him.  I knew him by sight, however, because he was living at the same
hotel and I often saw him at table.  The evening I was to quit the
capital I left the supper room before the governor and was standing at
the front door when he came out.  He spoke to me, calling me by my old
army title "Captain," and said he understood that I was about leaving
the city.  I answered that I was.  He said he would be glad if I would
remain over-night and call at the Executive office the next morning.
I complied with his request, and was asked to go into the
Adjutant-General's office and render such assistance as I could, the
governor saying that my army experience would be of great service there.
I accepted the proposition.

My old army experience I found indeed of very great service.  I was no
clerk, nor had I any capacity to become one.  The only place I ever
found in my life to put a paper so as to find it again was either a side
coat-pocket or the hands of a clerk or secretary more careful than
myself.  But I had been quartermaster, commissary and adjutant in the
field.  The army forms were familiar to me and I could direct how they
should be made out.  There was a clerk in the office of the
Adjutant-General who supplied my deficiencies.  The ease with which the
State of Illinois settled its accounts with the government at the close
of the war is evidence of the efficiency of Mr. Loomis as an accountant
on a large scale.  He remained in the office until that time.

As I have stated, the legislature authorized the governor to accept the
services of ten additional regiments.  I had charge of mustering these
regiments into the State service.  They were assembled at the most
convenient railroad centres in their respective congressional districts.
I detailed officers to muster in a portion of them, but mustered three
in the southern part of the State myself.  One of these was to assemble
at Belleville, some eighteen miles south-east of St. Louis.  When I got
there I found that only one or two companies had arrived. There was no
probability of the regiment coming together under five days.  This gave
me a few idle days which I concluded to spend in St. Louis.

There was a considerable force of State militia at Camp Jackson, on the
outskirts of St. Louis, at the time.  There is but little doubt that it
was the design of Governor Claiborn Jackson to have these troops ready
to seize the United States arsenal and the city of St. Louis.  Why they
did not do so I do not know. There was but a small garrison, two
companies I think, under Captain N. Lyon at the arsenal, and but for the
timely services of the Hon. F. P. Blair, I have little doubt that St.
Louis would have gone into rebel hands, and with it the arsenal with all
its arms and ammunition.

Blair was a leader among the Union men of St. Louis in 1861. There was
no State government in Missouri at the time that would sanction the
raising of troops or commissioned officers to protect United States
property, but Blair had probably procured some form of authority from
the President to raise troops in Missouri and to muster them into the
service of the United States.  At all events, he did raise a regiment
and took command himself as Colonel.  With this force he reported to
Captain Lyon and placed himself and regiment under his orders.  It was
whispered that Lyon thus reinforced intended to break up Camp Jackson
and capture the militia.  I went down to the arsenal in the morning to
see the troops start out.  I had known Lyon for two years at West Point
and in the old army afterwards.  Blair I knew very well by sight.  I had
heard him speak in the canvass of 1858, possibly several times, but I
had never spoken to him.  As the troops marched out of the enclosure
around the arsenal, Blair was on his horse outside forming them into
line preparatory to their march.  I introduced myself to him and had a
few moments' conversation and expressed my sympathy with his purpose.
This was my first personal acquaintance with the Honorable--afterwards
Major-General F. P. Blair.  Camp Jackson surrendered without a fight and
the garrison was marched down to the arsenal as prisoners of war.

Up to this time the enemies of the government in St. Louis had been bold
and defiant, while Union men were quiet but determined.  The enemies had
their head-quarters in a central and public position on Pine Street,
near Fifth--from which the rebel flag was flaunted boldly.  The Union
men had a place of meeting somewhere in the city, I did not know where,
and I doubt whether they dared to enrage the enemies of the government
by placing the national flag outside their head-quarters.  As soon as
the news of the capture of Camp Jackson reached the city the condition
of affairs was changed.  Union men became rampant, aggressive, and, if
you will, intolerant.  They proclaimed their sentiments boldly, and were
impatient at anything like disrespect for the Union.  The secessionists
became quiet but were filled with suppressed rage.  They had been
playing the bully.  The Union men ordered the rebel flag taken down from
the building on Pine Street.  The command was given in tones of
authority and it was taken down, never to be raised again in St. Louis.

I witnessed the scene.  I had heard of the surrender of the camp and
that the garrison was on its way to the arsenal.  I had seen the troops
start out in the morning and had wished them success.  I now determined
to go to the arsenal and await their arrival and congratulate them.  I
stepped on a car standing at the corner of 4th and Pine streets, and saw
a crowd of people standing quietly in front of the head-quarters, who
were there for the purpose of hauling down the flag.  There were squads
of other people at intervals down the street.  They too were quiet but
filled with suppressed rage, and muttered their resentment at the insult
to, what they called, "their" flag.  Before the car I was in had
started, a dapper little fellow--he would be called a dude at this day
--stepped in.  He was in a great state of excitement and used adjectives
freely to express his contempt for the Union and for those who had just
perpetrated such an outrage upon the rights of a free people.  There was
only one other passenger in the car besides myself when this young man
entered.  He evidently expected to find nothing but sympathy when he got
away from the "mud sills" engaged in compelling a "free people" to pull
down a flag they adored.  He turned to me saying:  "Things have come to
a ---- pretty pass when a free people can't choose their own flag.
Where I came from if a man dares to say a word in favor of the Union we
hang him to a limb of the first tree we come to."  I replied that "after
all we were not so intolerant in St. Louis as we might be; I had not
seen a single rebel hung yet, nor heard of one; there were plenty of
them who ought to be, however."  The young man subsided.  He was so
crestfallen that I believe if I had ordered him to leave the car he
would have gone quietly out, saying to himself:  "More Yankee

By nightfall the late defenders of Camp Jackson were all within the
walls of the St. Louis arsenal, prisoners of war.  The next day I left
St. Louis for Mattoon, Illinois, where I was to muster in the regiment
from that congressional district.  This was the 21st Illinois infantry,
the regiment of which I subsequently became colonel.  I mustered one
regiment afterwards, when my services for the State were about closed.

Brigadier-General John Pope was stationed at Springfield, as United
States mustering officer, all the time I was in the State service.  He
was a native of Illinois and well acquainted with most of the prominent
men in the State.  I was a carpet-bagger and knew but few of them.
While I was on duty at Springfield the senators, representatives in
Congress, ax-governors and the State legislators were nearly all at the
State capital.  The only acquaintance I made among them was with the
governor, whom I was serving, and, by chance, with Senator S. A.
Douglas.  The only members of Congress I knew were Washburne and Philip
Foulk.  With the former, though he represented my district and we were
citizens of the same town, I only became acquainted at the meeting when
the first company of Galena volunteers was raised.  Foulk I had known in
St. Louis when I was a citizen of that city.  I had been three years at
West Point with Pope and had served with him a short time during the
Mexican war, under General Taylor.  I saw a good deal of him during my
service with the State.  On one occasion he said to me that I ought to
go into the United States service.  I told him I intended to do so if
there was a war.  He spoke of his acquaintance with the public men of
the State, and said he could get them to recommend me for a position and
that he would do all he could for me.  I declined to receive endorsement
for permission to fight for my country.

Going home for a day or two soon after this conversation with General
Pope, I wrote from Galena the following letter to the Adjutant-General
of the Army.

GALENA, ILLINOIS, May 24, 1861.

COL. L. THOMAS Adjt.  Gen.  U. S. A., Washington, D. C.

SIR:--Having served for fifteen years in the regular army, including
four years at West Point, and feeling it the duty of every one who has
been educated at the Government expense to offer their services for the
support of that Government, I have the honor, very respectfully, to
tender my services, until the close of the war, in such capacity as may
be offered.  I would say, in view of my present age and length of
service, I feel myself competent to command a regiment, if the
President, in his judgment, should see fit to intrust one to me.

Since the first call of the President I have been serving on the staff
of the Governor of this State, rendering such aid as I could in the
organization of our State militia, and am still engaged in that
capacity.  A letter addressed to me at Springfield, Illinois, will reach

I am very respectfully, Your obt. svt., U. S. GRANT.

This letter failed to elicit an answer from the Adjutant-General of the
Army.  I presume it was hardly read by him, and certainly it could not
have been submitted to higher authority. Subsequent to the war General
Badeau having heard of this letter applied to the War Department for a
copy of it.  The letter could not be found and no one recollected ever
having seen it.  I took no copy when it was written.  Long after the
application of General Badeau, General Townsend, who had become
Adjutant-General of the Army, while packing up papers preparatory to the
removal of his office, found this letter in some out-of-the-way place.
It had not been destroyed, but it had not been regularly filed away.

I felt some hesitation in suggesting rank as high as the colonelcy of a
regiment, feeling somewhat doubtful whether I would be equal to the
position.  But I had seen nearly every colonel who had been mustered in
from the State of Illinois, and some from Indiana, and felt that if they
could command a regiment properly, and with credit, I could also.

Having but little to do after the muster of the last of the regiments
authorized by the State legislature, I asked and obtained of the
governor leave of absence for a week to visit my parents in Covington,
Kentucky, immediately opposite Cincinnati.  General McClellan had been
made a major-general and had his headquarters at Cincinnati.  In reality
I wanted to see him.  I had known him slightly at West Point, where we
served one year together, and in the Mexican war.  I was in hopes that
when he saw me he would offer me a position on his staff.  I called on
two successive days at his office but failed to see him on either
occasion, and returned to Springfield.



While I was absent from the State capital on this occasion the
President's second call for troops was issued.  This time it was for
300,000 men, for three years or the war.  This brought into the United
States service all the regiments then in the State service.  These had
elected their officers from highest to lowest and were accepted with
their organizations as they were, except in two instances.  A Chicago
regiment, the 19th infantry, had elected a very young man to the
colonelcy.  When it came to taking the field the regiment asked to have
another appointed colonel and the one they had previously chosen made
lieutenant-colonel.  The 21st regiment of infantry, mustered in by me at
Mattoon, refused to go into the service with the colonel of their
selection in any position.  While I was still absent Governor Yates
appointed me colonel of this latter regiment.  A few days after I was in
charge of it and in camp on the fair grounds near Springfield.

My regiment was composed in large part of young men of as good social
position as any in their section of the State.  It embraced the sons of
farmers, lawyers, physicians, politicians, merchants, bankers and
ministers, and some men of maturer years who had filled such positions
themselves.  There were also men in it who could be led astray; and the
colonel, elected by the votes of the regiment, had proved to be fully
capable of developing all there was in his men of recklessness.  It was
said that he even went so far at times as to take the guard from their
posts and go with them to the village near by and make a night of it.
When there came a prospect of battle the regiment wanted to have some
one else to lead them.  I found it very hard work for a few days to
bring all the men into anything like subordination; but the great
majority favored discipline, and by the application of a little regular
army punishment all were reduced to as good discipline as one could ask.

The ten regiments which had volunteered in the State service for thirty
days, it will be remembered, had done so with a pledge to go into the
National service if called upon within that time. When they volunteered
the government had only called for ninety days' enlistments.  Men were
called now for three years or the war.  They felt that this change of
period released them from the obligation of re-volunteering.  When I was
appointed colonel, the 21st regiment was still in the State service.
About the time they were to be mustered into the United States service,
such of them as would go, two members of Congress from the State,
McClernand and Logan, appeared at the capital and I was introduced to
them.  I had never seen either of them before, but I had read a great
deal about them, and particularly about Logan, in the newspapers.  Both
were democratic members of Congress, and Logan had been elected from the
southern district of the State, where he had a majority of eighteen
thousand over his Republican competitor.  His district had been settled
originally by people from the Southern States, and at the breaking out
of secession they sympathized with the South.  At the first outbreak of
war some of them joined the Southern army; many others were preparing to
do so; others rode over the country at night denouncing the Union, and
made it as necessary to guard railroad bridges over which National
troops had to pass in southern Illinois, as it was in Kentucky or any of
the border slave states.  Logan's popularity in this district was
unbounded.  He knew almost enough of the people in it by their Christian
names, to form an ordinary congressional district.  As he went in
politics, so his district was sure to go.  The Republican papers had
been demanding that he should announce where he stood on the questions
which at that time engrossed the whole of public thought.  Some were
very bitter in their denunciations of his silence.  Logan was not a man
to be coerced into an utterance by threats.  He did, however, come out
in a speech before the adjournment of the special session of Congress
which was convened by the President soon after his inauguration, and
announced his undying loyalty and devotion to the Union. But I had not
happened to see that speech, so that when I first met Logan my
impressions were those formed from reading denunciations of him.
McClernand, on the other hand, had early taken strong grounds for the
maintenance of the Union and had been praised accordingly by the
Republican papers.  The gentlemen who presented these two members of
Congress asked me if I would have any objections to their addressing my
regiment.  I hesitated a little before answering.  It was but a few days
before the time set for mustering into the United States service such of
the men as were willing to volunteer for three years or the war.  I had
some doubt as to the effect a speech from Logan might have; but as he
was with McClernand, whose sentiments on the all-absorbing questions of
the day were well known, I gave my consent.  McClernand spoke first; and
Logan followed in a speech which he has hardly equalled since for force
and eloquence.  It breathed a loyalty and devotion to the Union which
inspired my men to such a point that they would have volunteered to
remain in the army as long as an enemy of the country continued to bear
arms against it.  They entered the United States service almost to a

General Logan went to his part of the State and gave his attention to
raising troops.  The very men who at first made it necessary to guard
the roads in southern Illinois became the defenders of the Union.  Logan
entered the service himself as colonel of a regiment and rapidly rose to
the rank of major-general.  His district, which had promised at first to
give much trouble to the government, filled every call made upon it for
troops, without resorting to the draft.  There was no call made when
there were not more volunteers than were asked for. That congressional
district stands credited at the War Department to-day with furnishing
more men for the army than it was called on to supply.

I remained in Springfield with my regiment until the 3d of July, when I
was ordered to Quincy, Illinois.  By that time the regiment was in a
good state of discipline and the officers and men were well up in the
company drill.  There was direct railroad communication between
Springfield and Quincy, but I thought it would be good preparation for
the troops to march there.  We had no transportation for our camp and
garrison equipage, so wagons were hired for the occasion and on the 3d
of July we started.  There was no hurry, but fair marches were made
every day until the Illinois River was crossed.  There I was overtaken
by a dispatch saying that the destination of the regiment had been
changed to Ironton, Missouri, and ordering me to halt where I was and
await the arrival of a steamer which had been dispatched up the Illinois
River to take the regiment to St. Louis.  The boat, when it did come,
grounded on a sand-bar a few miles below where we were in camp.  We
remained there several days waiting to have the boat get off the bar,
but before this occurred news came that an Illinois regiment was
surrounded by rebels at a point on the Hannibal and St. Joe Railroad
some miles west of Palmyra, in Missouri, and I was ordered to proceed
with all dispatch to their relief.  We took the cars and reached Quincy
in a few hours.

When I left Galena for the last time to take command of the 21st
regiment I took with me my oldest son, Frederick D. Grant, then a lad of
eleven years of age.  On receiving the order to take rail for Quincy I
wrote to Mrs. Grant, to relieve what I supposed would be her great
anxiety for one so young going into danger, that I would send Fred home
from Quincy by river.  I received a prompt letter in reply decidedly
disapproving my proposition, and urging that the lad should be allowed
to accompany me.  It came too late.  Fred was already on his way up the
Mississippi bound for Dubuque, Iowa, from which place there was a
railroad to Galena.

My sensations as we approached what I supposed might be "a field of
battle" were anything but agreeable.  I had been in all the engagements
in Mexico that it was possible for one person to be in; but not in
command.  If some one else had been colonel and I had been
lieutenant-colonel I do not think I would have felt any trepidation.
Before we were prepared to cross the Mississippi River at Quincy my
anxiety was relieved; for the men of the besieged regiment came
straggling into town.  I am inclined to think both sides got frightened
and ran away.

I took my regiment to Palmyra and remained there for a few days, until
relieved by the 19th Illinois infantry.  From Palmyra I proceeded to
Salt River, the railroad bridge over which had been destroyed by the
enemy.  Colonel John M. Palmer at that time commanded the 13th Illinois,
which was acting as a guard to workmen who were engaged in rebuilding
this bridge.  Palmer was my senior and commanded the two regiments as
long as we remained together.  The bridge was finished in about two
weeks, and I received orders to move against Colonel Thomas Harris, who
was said to be encamped at the little town of Florida, some twenty-five
miles south of where we then were.

At the time of which I now write we had no transportation and the
country about Salt River was sparsely settled, so that it took some days
to collect teams and drivers enough to move the camp and garrison
equipage of a regiment nearly a thousand strong, together with a week's
supply of provision and some ammunition.  While preparations for the
move were going on I felt quite comfortable; but when we got on the road
and found every house deserted I was anything but easy.  In the
twenty-five miles we had to march we did not see a person, old or young,
male or female, except two horsemen who were on a road that crossed
ours.  As soon as they saw us they decamped as fast as their horses
could carry them.  I kept my men in the ranks and forbade their entering
any of the deserted houses or taking anything from them.  We halted at
night on the road and proceeded the next morning at an early hour.
Harris had been encamped in a creek bottom for the sake of being near
water. The hills on either side of the creek extend to a considerable
height, possibly more than a hundred feet.  As we approached the brow of
the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris' camp, and
possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting
higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat.  I
would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had
not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on.
When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I
halted. The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was
still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly visible,
but the troops were gone.  My heart resumed its place.  It occurred to
me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of
him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it
was one I never forgot afterwards.  From that event to the close of the
war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I
always felt more or less anxiety.  I never forgot that he had as much
reason to fear my forces as I had his.  The lesson was valuable.

Inquiries at the village of Florida divulged the fact that Colonel
Harris, learning of my intended movement, while my transportation was
being collected took time by the forelock and left Florida before I had
started from Salt River.  He had increased the distance between us by
forty miles.  The next day I started back to my old camp at Salt River
bridge.  The citizens living on the line of our march had returned to
their houses after we passed, and finding everything in good order,
nothing carried away, they were at their front doors ready to greet us
now.  They had evidently been led to believe that the National troops
carried death and devastation with them wherever they went.

In a short time after our return to Salt River bridge I was ordered with
my regiment to the town of Mexico.  General Pope was then commanding the
district embracing all of the State of Missouri between the Mississippi
and Missouri rivers, with his headquarters in the village of Mexico.  I
was assigned to the command of a sub-district embracing the troops in
the immediate neighborhood, some three regiments of infantry and a
section of artillery.  There was one regiment encamped by the side of
mine.  I assumed command of the whole and the first night sent the
commander of the other regiment the parole and countersign.  Not wishing
to be outdone in courtesy, he immediately sent me the countersign for
his regiment for the night.  When he was informed that the countersign
sent to him was for use with his regiment as well as mine, it was
difficult to make him understand that this was not an unwarranted
interference of one colonel over another.  No doubt he attributed it for
the time to the presumption of a graduate of West Point over a volunteer
pure and simple.  But the question was soon settled and we had no
further trouble.

My arrival in Mexico had been preceded by that of two or three regiments
in which proper discipline had not been maintained, and the men had been
in the habit of visiting houses without invitation and helping
themselves to food and drink, or demanding them from the occupants.
They carried their muskets while out of camp and made every man they
found take the oath of allegiance to the government.  I at once
published orders prohibiting the soldiers from going into private houses
unless invited by the inhabitants, and from appropriating private
property to their own or to government uses.  The people were no longer
molested or made afraid.  I received the most marked courtesy from the
citizens of Mexico as long as I remained there.

Up to this time my regiment had not been carried in the school of the
soldier beyond the company drill, except that it had received some
training on the march from Springfield to the Illinois River.  There was
now a good opportunity of exercising it in the battalion drill.  While I
was at West Point the tactics used in the army had been Scott's and the
musket the flint lock.  I had never looked at a copy of tactics from the
time of my graduation.  My standing in that branch of studies had been
near the foot of the class.  In the Mexican war in the summer of 1846, I
had been appointed regimental quartermaster and commissary and had not
been at a battalion drill since.  The arms had been changed since then
and Hardee's tactics had been adopted.  I got a copy of tactics and
studied one lesson, intending to confine the exercise of the first day
to the commands I had thus learned.  By pursuing this course from day to
day I thought I would soon get through the volume.

We were encamped just outside of town on the common, among scattering
suburban houses with enclosed gardens, and when I got my regiment in
line and rode to the front I soon saw that if I attempted to follow the
lesson I had studied I would have to clear away some of the houses and
garden fences to make room.  I perceived at once, however, that Hardee's
tactics--a mere translation from the French with Hardee's name attached
--was nothing more than common sense and the progress of the age applied
to Scott's system.  The commands were abbreviated and the movement
expedited.  Under the old tactics almost every change in the order of
march was preceded by a "halt," then came the change, and then the
"forward march."  With the new tactics all these changes could be made
while in motion.  I found no trouble in giving commands that would take
my regiment where I wanted it to go and carry it around all obstacles.
I do not believe that the officers of the regiment ever discovered that
I had never studied the tactics that I used.



I had not been in Mexico many weeks when, reading a St. Louis paper,
I found the President had asked the Illinois delegation in Congress
to recommend some citizens of the State for the position of
brigadier-general, and that they had unanimously recommended me as first
on a list of seven.  I was very much surprised because, as I have said,
my acquaintance with the Congressmen was very limited and I did not know
of anything I had done to inspire such confidence.  The papers of the
next day announced that my name, with three others, had been sent to the
Senate, and a few days after our confirmation was announced.

When appointed brigadier-general I at once thought it proper that one of
my aides should come from the regiment I had been commanding, and so
selected Lieutenant C. B. Lagow.  While living in St. Louis, I had had a
desk in the law office of McClellan, Moody and Hillyer.  Difference in
views between the members of the firm on the questions of the day, and
general hard times in the border cities, had broken up this firm.
Hillyer was quite a young man, then in his twenties, and very brilliant.
I asked him to accept a place on my staff.  I also wanted to take one
man from my new home, Galena.  The canvass in the Presidential campaign
the fall before had brought out a young lawyer by the name of John A.
Rawlins, who proved himself one of the ablest speakers in the State.  He
was also a candidate for elector on the Douglas ticket.  When Sumter was
fired upon and the integrity of the Union threatened, there was no man
more ready to serve his country than he.  I wrote at once asking him to
accept the position of assistant adjutant-general with the rank of
captain, on my staff.  He was about entering the service as major of a
new regiment then organizing in the north-western part of the State; but
he threw this up and accepted my offer.

Neither Hillyer nor Lagow proved to have any particular taste or special
qualifications for the duties of the soldier, and the former resigned
during the Vicksburg campaign; the latter I relieved after the battle of
Chattanooga.  Rawlins remained with me as long as he lived, and rose to
the rank of brigadier general and chief-of-staff to the General of the
Army--an office created for him--before the war closed.  He was an able
man, possessed of great firmness, and could say "no" so emphatically to
a request which he thought should not be granted that the person he was
addressing would understand at once that there was no use of pressing
the matter.  General Rawlins was a very useful officer in other ways
than this.  I became very much attached to him.

Shortly after my promotion I was ordered to Ironton, Missouri, to
command a district in that part of the State, and took the 21st
Illinois, my old regiment, with me.  Several other regiments were
ordered to the same destination about the same time.  Ironton is on the
Iron Mountain railroad, about seventy miles south of St. Louis, and
situated among hills rising almost to the dignity of mountains.  When I
reached there, about the 8th of August, Colonel B. Gratz Brown
--afterwards Governor of Missouri and in 1872 Vice-Presidential candidate
--was in command.  Some of his troops were ninety days' men and their
time had expired some time before.  The men had no clothing but what
they had volunteered in, and much of this was so worn that it would
hardly stay on.  General Hardee--the author of the tactics I did not
study--was at Greenville some twenty-five miles further south, it was
said, with five thousand Confederate troops.  Under these circumstances
Colonel Brown's command was very much demoralized.  A squadron of
cavalry could have ridden into the valley and captured the entire force.
Brown himself was gladder to see me on that occasion than he ever has
been since.  I relieved him and sent all his men home within a day or
two, to be mustered out of service.

Within ten days after reading Ironton I was prepared to take the
offensive against the enemy at Greenville.  I sent a column east out of
the valley we were in, with orders to swing around to the south and west
and come into the Greenville road ten miles south of Ironton.  Another
column marched on the direct road and went into camp at the point
designated for the two columns to meet. I was to ride out the next
morning and take personal command of the movement.  My experience
against Harris, in northern Missouri, had inspired me with confidence.
But when the evening train came in, it brought General B. M. Prentiss
with orders to take command of the district.  His orders did not relieve
me, but I knew that by law I was senior, and at that time even the
President did not have the authority to assign a junior to command a
senior of the same grade.  I therefore gave General Prentiss the
situation of the troops and the general condition of affairs, and
started for St. Louis the same day.  The movement against the rebels at
Greenville went no further.

From St. Louis I was ordered to Jefferson City, the capital of the
State, to take command.  General Sterling Price, of the Confederate
army, was thought to be threatening the capital, Lexington, Chillicothe
and other comparatively large towns in the central part of Missouri.  I
found a good many troops in Jefferson City, but in the greatest
confusion, and no one person knew where they all were.  Colonel
Mulligan, a gallant man, was in command, but he had not been educated as
yet to his new profession and did not know how to maintain discipline.
I found that volunteers had obtained permission from the department
commander, or claimed they had, to raise, some of them, regiments; some
battalions; some companies--the officers to be commissioned according to
the number of men they brought into the service.  There were recruiting
stations all over town, with notices, rudely lettered on boards over the
doors, announcing the arm of service and length of time for which
recruits at that station would be received.  The law required all
volunteers to serve for three years or the war.  But in Jefferson City
in August, 1861, they were recruited for different periods and on
different conditions; some were enlisted for six months, some for a
year, some without any condition as to where they were to serve, others
were not to be sent out of the State.  The recruits were principally men
from regiments stationed there and already in the service, bound for
three years if the war lasted that long.

The city was filled with Union fugitives who had been driven by guerilla
bands to take refuge with the National troops.  They were in a
deplorable condition and must have starved but for the support the
government gave them.  They had generally made their escape with a team
or two, sometimes a yoke of oxen with a mule or a horse in the lead.  A
little bedding besides their clothing and some food had been thrown into
the wagon.  All else of their worldly goods were abandoned and
appropriated by their former neighbors; for the Union man in Missouri
who staid at home during the rebellion, if he was not immediately under
the protection of the National troops, was at perpetual war with his
neighbors.  I stopped the recruiting service, and disposed the troops
about the outskirts of the city so as to guard all approaches.  Order
was soon restored.

I had been at Jefferson City but a few days when I was directed from
department headquarters to fit out an expedition to Lexington,
Booneville and Chillicothe, in order to take from the banks in those
cities all the funds they had and send them to St. Louis.  The western
army had not yet been supplied with transportation.  It became necessary
therefore to press into the service teams belonging to sympathizers with
the rebellion or to hire those of Union men.  This afforded an
opportunity of giving employment to such of the refugees within our
lines as had teams suitable for our purposes.  They accepted the service
with alacrity.  As fast as troops could be got off they were moved west
some twenty miles or more.  In seven or eight days from my assuming
command at Jefferson City, I had all the troops, except a small
garrison, at an advanced position and expected to join them myself the
next day.

But my campaigns had not yet begun, for while seated at my office door,
with nothing further to do until it was time to start for the front, I
saw an officer of rank approaching, who proved to be Colonel Jefferson
C. Davis.  I had never met him before, but he introduced himself by
handing me an order for him to proceed to Jefferson City and relieve me
of the command.  The orders directed that I should report at department
headquarters at St. Louis without delay, to receive important special
instructions.  It was about an hour before the only regular train of the
day would start.  I therefore turned over to Colonel Davis my orders,
and hurriedly stated to him the progress that had been made to carry out
the department instructions already described.  I had at that time but
one staff officer, doing myself all the detail work usually performed by
an adjutant-general.  In an hour after being relieved from the command I
was on my way to St. Louis, leaving my single staff officer(*6) to
follow the next day with our horses and baggage.

The "important special instructions" which I received the next day,
assigned me to the command of the district of south-east Missouri,
embracing all the territory south of St. Louis, in Missouri, as well as
all southern Illinois.  At first I was to take personal command of a
combined expedition that had been ordered for the capture of Colonel
Jeff. Thompson, a sort of independent or partisan commander who was
disputing with us the possession of south-east Missouri.  Troops had
been ordered to move from Ironton to Cape Girardeau, sixty or seventy
miles to the south-east, on the Mississippi River; while the forces at
Cape Girardeau had been ordered to move to Jacksonville, ten miles out
towards Ironton; and troops at Cairo and Bird's Point, at the junction
of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, were to hold themselves in readiness
to go down the Mississippi to Belmont, eighteen miles below, to be moved
west from there when an officer should come to command them.  I was the
officer who had been selected for this purpose.  Cairo was to become my
headquarters when the expedition terminated.

In pursuance of my orders I established my temporary headquarters at
Cape Girardeau and sent instructions to the commanding officer at
Jackson, to inform me of the approach of General Prentiss from Ironton.
Hired wagons were kept moving night and day to take additional rations
to Jackson, to supply the troops when they started from there.  Neither
General Prentiss nor Colonel Marsh, who commanded at Jackson, knew their
destination.  I drew up all the instructions for the contemplated move,
and kept them in my pocket until I should hear of the junction of our
troops at Jackson.  Two or three days after my arrival at Cape
Girardeau, word came that General Prentiss was approaching that place
(Jackson).  I started at once to meet him there and to give him his
orders.  As I turned the first corner of a street after starting, I saw
a column of cavalry passing the next street in front of me.  I turned
and rode around the block the other way, so as to meet the head of the
column.  I found there General Prentiss himself, with a large escort.
He had halted his troops at Jackson for the night, and had come on
himself to Cape Girardeau, leaving orders for his command to follow him
in the morning.  I gave the General his orders--which stopped him at
Jackson--but he was very much aggrieved at being placed under another
brigadier-general, particularly as he believed himself to be the senior.
He had been a brigadier, in command at Cairo, while I was mustering
officer at Springfield without any rank.  But we were nominated at the
same time for the United States service, and both our commissions bore
date May 17th, 1861.  By virtue of my former army rank I was, by law,
the senior.  General Prentiss failed to get orders to his troops to
remain at Jackson, and the next morning early they were reported as
approaching Cape Girardeau.  I then ordered the General very
peremptorily to countermarch his command and take it back to Jackson.
He obeyed the order, but bade his command adieu when he got them to
Jackson, and went to St. Louis and reported himself.  This broke up the
expedition.  But little harm was done, as Jeff. Thompson moved light and
had no fixed place for even nominal headquarters.  He was as much at
home in Arkansas as he was in Missouri and would keep out of the way of
a superior force.  Prentiss was sent to another part of the State.

General Prentiss made a great mistake on the above occasion, one that he
would not have committed later in the war.  When I came to know him
better, I regretted it much.  In consequence of this occurrence he was
off duty in the field when the principal campaign at the West was going
on, and his juniors received promotion while he was where none could be
obtained.  He would have been next to myself in rank in the district of
south-east Missouri, by virtue of his services in the Mexican war.  He
was a brave and very earnest soldier.  No man in the service was more
sincere in his devotion to the cause for which we were battling; none
more ready to make sacrifices or risk life in it.

On the 4th of September I removed my headquarters to Cairo and found
Colonel Richard Oglesby in command of the post.  We had never met, at
least not to my knowledge.  After my promotion I had ordered my
brigadier-general's uniform from New York, but it had not yet arrived,
so that I was in citizen's dress.  The Colonel had his office full of
people, mostly from the neighboring States of Missouri and Kentucky,
making complaints or asking favors.  He evidently did not catch my name
when I was presented, for on my taking a piece of paper from the table
where he was seated and writing the order assuming command of the
district of south-east Missouri, Colonel Richard J. Oglesby to command
the post at Bird's Point, and handing it to him, he put on an expression
of surprise that looked a little as if he would like to have some one
identify me.  But he surrendered the office without question.

The day after I assumed command at Cairo a man came to me who said he
was a scout of General Fremont.  He reported that he had just come from
Columbus, a point on the Mississippi twenty miles below on the Kentucky
side, and that troops had started from there, or were about to start, to
seize Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee.  There was no time for
delay; I reported by telegraph to the department commander the
information I had received, and added that I was taking steps to get off
that night to be in advance of the enemy in securing that important
point.  There was a large number of steamers lying at Cairo and a good
many boatmen were staying in the town.  It was the work of only a few
hours to get the boats manned, with coal aboard and steam up.  Troops
were also designated to go aboard.  The distance from Cairo to Paducah
is about forty-five miles.  I did not wish to get there before daylight
of the 6th, and directed therefore that the boats should lie at anchor
out in the stream until the time to start.  Not having received an
answer to my first dispatch, I again telegraphed to department
headquarters that I should start for Paducah that night unless I
received further orders.  Hearing nothing, we started before midnight
and arrived early the following morning, anticipating the enemy by
probably not over six or eight hours.  It proved very fortunate that the
expedition against Jeff. Thompson had been broken up. Had it not been,
the enemy would have seized Paducah and fortified it, to our very great

When the National troops entered the town the citizens were taken by
surprise.  I never after saw such consternation depicted on the faces of
the people.  Men, women and children came out of their doors looking
pale and frightened at the presence of the invader.  They were expecting
rebel troops that day.  In fact, nearly four thousand men from Columbus
were at that time within ten or fifteen miles of Paducah on their way to
occupy the place.  I had but two regiments and one battery with me, but
the enemy did not know this and returned to Columbus.  I stationed my
troops at the best points to guard the roads leading into the city, left
gunboats to guard the river fronts and by noon was ready to start on my
return to Cairo.  Before leaving, however, I addressed a short printed
proclamation to the citizens of Paducah assuring them of our peaceful
intentions, that we had come among them to protect them against the
enemies of our country, and that all who chose could continue their
usual avocations with assurance of the protection of the government.
This was evidently a relief to them; but the majority would have much
preferred the presence of the other army.  I reinforced Paducah rapidly
from the troops at Cape Girardeau; and a day or two later General C. F.
Smith, a most accomplished soldier, reported at Cairo and was assigned
to the command of the post at the mouth of the Tennessee.  In a short
time it was well fortified and a detachment was sent to occupy
Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland.

The State government of Kentucky at that time was rebel in sentiment,
but wanted to preserve an armed neutrality between the North and the
South, and the governor really seemed to think the State had a perfect
right to maintain a neutral position. The rebels already occupied two
towns in the State, Columbus and Hickman, on the Mississippi; and at the
very moment the National troops were entering Paducah from the Ohio
front, General Lloyd Tilghman--a Confederate--with his staff and a small
detachment of men, were getting out in the other direction, while, as I
have already said, nearly four thousand Confederate troops were on
Kentucky soil on their way to take possession of the town. But, in the
estimation of the governor and of those who thought with him, this did
not justify the National authorities in invading the soil of Kentucky.
I informed the legislature of the State of what I was doing, and my
action was approved by the majority of that body.  On my return to Cairo
I found authority from department headquarters for me to take Paducah
"if I felt strong enough," but very soon after I was reprimanded from
the same quarters for my correspondence with the legislature and warned
against a repetition of the offence.

Soon after I took command at Cairo, General Fremont entered into
arrangements for the exchange of the prisoners captured at Camp Jackson
in the month of May.  I received orders to pass them through my lines to
Columbus as they presented themselves with proper credentials.  Quite a
number of these prisoners I had been personally acquainted with before
the war.  Such of them as I had so known were received at my
headquarters as old acquaintances, and ordinary routine business was not
disturbed by their presence.  On one occasion when several were present
in my office my intention to visit Cape Girardeau the next day, to
inspect the troops at that point, was mentioned.  Something transpired
which postponed my trip; but a steamer employed by the government was
passing a point some twenty or more miles above Cairo, the next day,
when a section of rebel artillery with proper escort brought her to.  A
major, one of those who had been at my headquarters the day before, came
at once aboard and after some search made a direct demand for my
delivery.  It was hard to persuade him that I was not there.  This
officer was Major Barrett, of St. Louis.  I had been acquainted with his
family before the war.



From the occupation of Paducah up to the early part of November nothing
important occurred with the troops under my command.  I was reinforced
from time to time and the men were drilled and disciplined preparatory
for the service which was sure to come.  By the 1st of November I had
not fewer than 20,000 men, most of them under good drill and ready to
meet any equal body of men who, like themselves, had not yet been in an
engagement.  They were growing impatient at lying idle so long, almost
in hearing of the guns of the enemy they had volunteered to fight
against.  I asked on one or two occasions to be allowed to move against
Columbus.  It could have been taken soon after the occupation of
Paducah; but before November it was so strongly fortified that it would
have required a large force and a long siege to capture it.

In the latter part of October General Fremont took the field in person
and moved from Jefferson City against General Sterling Price, who was
then in the State of Missouri with a considerable command.  About the
first of November I was directed from department headquarters to make a
demonstration on both sides of the Mississippi River with the view of
detaining the rebels at Columbus within their lines.  Before my troops
could be got off, I was notified from the same quarter that there were
some 3,000 of the enemy on the St. Francis River about fifty miles west,
or south-west, from Cairo, and was ordered to send another force against
them.  I dispatched Colonel Oglesby at once with troops sufficient to
compete with the reported number of the enemy.  On the 5th word came
from the same source that the rebels were about to detach a large force
from Columbus to be moved by boats down the Mississippi and up the White
River, in Arkansas, in order to reinforce Price, and I was directed to
prevent this movement if possible.  I accordingly sent a regiment from
Bird's Point under Colonel W. H. L. Wallace to overtake and reinforce
Oglesby, with orders to march to New Madrid, a point some distance below
Columbus, on the Missouri side.  At the same time I directed General C.
F. Smith to move all the troops he could spare from Paducah directly
against Columbus, halting them, however, a few miles from the town to
await further orders from me.  Then I gathered up all the troops at
Cairo and Fort Holt, except suitable guards, and moved them down the
river on steamers convoyed by two gunboats, accompanying them myself.
My force consisted of a little over 3,000 men and embraced five
regiments of infantry, two guns and two companies of cavalry.  We
dropped down the river on the 6th to within about six miles of Columbus,
debarked a few men on the Kentucky side and established pickets to
connect with the troops from Paducah.

I had no orders which contemplated an attack by the National troops, nor
did I intend anything of the kind when I started out from Cairo; but
after we started I saw that the officers and men were elated at the
prospect of at last having the opportunity of doing what they had
volunteered to do--fight the enemies of their country.  I did not see
how I could maintain discipline, or retain the confidence of my command,
if we should return to Cairo without an effort to do something.
Columbus, besides being strongly fortified, contained a garrison much
more numerous than the force I had with me.  It would not do, therefore,
to attack that point.  About two o'clock on the morning of the 7th, I
learned that the enemy was crossing troops from Columbus to the west
bank to be dispatched, presumably, after Oglesby.  I knew there was a
small camp of Confederates at Belmont, immediately opposite Columbus,
and I speedily resolved to push down the river, land on the Missouri
side, capture Belmont, break up the camp and return.  Accordingly, the
pickets above Columbus were drawn in at once, and about daylight the
boats moved out from shore.  In an hour we were debarking on the west
bank of the Mississippi, just out of range of the batteries at Columbus.

The ground on the west shore of the river, opposite Columbus, is low and
in places marshy and cut up with sloughs.  The soil is rich and the
timber large and heavy.  There were some small clearings between Belmont
and the point where we landed, but most of the country was covered with
the native forests.  We landed in front of a cornfield.  When the
debarkation commenced, I took a regiment down the river to post it as a
guard against surprise.  At that time I had no staff officer who could
be trusted with that duty.  In the woods, at a short distance below the
clearing, I found a depression, dry at the time, but which at high water
became a slough or bayou.  I placed the men in the hollow, gave them
their instructions and ordered them to remain there until they were
properly relieved.  These troops, with the gunboats, were to protect our

Up to this time the enemy had evidently failed to divine our intentions.
From Columbus they could, of course, see our gunboats and transports
loaded with troops.  But the force from Paducah was threatening them
from the land side, and it was hardly to be expected that if Columbus
was our object we would separate our troops by a wide river.  They
doubtless thought we meant to draw a large force from the east bank,
then embark ourselves, land on the east bank and make a sudden assault
on Columbus before their divided command could be united.

About eight o'clock we started from the point of debarkation, marching
by the flank.  After moving in this way for a mile or a mile and a half,
I halted where there was marshy ground covered with a heavy growth of
timber in our front, and deployed a large part of my force as
skirmishers.  By this time the enemy discovered that we were moving upon
Belmont and sent out troops to meet us.  Soon after we had started in
line, his skirmishers were encountered and fighting commenced.  This
continued, growing fiercer and fiercer, for about four hours, the enemy
being forced back gradually until he was driven into his camp. Early in
this engagement my horse was shot under me, but I got another from one
of my staff and kept well up with the advance until the river was

The officers and men engaged at Belmont were then under fire for the
first time.  Veterans could not have behaved better than they did up to
the moment of reaching the rebel camp.  At this point they became
demoralized from their victory and failed to reap its full reward.  The
enemy had been followed so closely that when he reached the clear ground
on which his camp was pitched he beat a hasty retreat over the river
bank, which protected him from our shots and from view.  This
precipitate retreat at the last moment enabled the National forces to
pick their way without hinderance through the abatis--the only
artificial defence the enemy had.  The moment the camp was reached our
men laid down their arms and commenced rummaging the tents to pick up
trophies.  Some of the higher officers were little better than the
privates.  They galloped about from one cluster of men to another and at
every halt delivered a short eulogy upon the Union cause and the
achievements of the command.

All this time the troops we had been engaged with for four hours, lay
crouched under cover of the river bank, ready to come up and surrender
if summoned to do so; but finding that they were not pursued, they
worked their way up the river and came up on the bank between us and our
transports.  I saw at the same time two steamers coming from the
Columbus side towards the west shore, above us, black--or gray--with
soldiers from boiler-deck to roof.  Some of my men were engaged in
firing from captured guns at empty steamers down the river, out of
range, cheering at every shot.  I tried to get them to turn their guns
upon the loaded steamers above and not so far away.  My efforts were in
vain.  At last I directed my staff officers to set fire to the camps.
This drew the fire of the enemy's guns located on the heights of
Columbus.  They had abstained from firing before, probably because they
were afraid of hitting their own men; or they may have supposed, until
the camp was on fire, that it was still in the possession of their
friends.  About this time, too, the men we had driven over the bank were
seen in line up the river between us and our transports.  The alarm
"surrounded" was given.  The guns of the enemy and the report of being
surrounded, brought officers and men completely under control.  At first
some of the officers seemed to think that to be surrounded was to be
placed in a hopeless position, where there was nothing to do but
surrender.  But when I announced that we had cut our way in and could
cut our way out just as well, it seemed a new revelation to officers and
soldiers.  They formed line rapidly and we started back to our boats,
with the men deployed as skirmishers as they had been on entering camp.
The enemy was soon encountered, but his resistance this time was feeble.
Again the Confederates sought shelter under the river banks.  We could
not stop, however, to pick them up, because the troops we had seen
crossing the river had debarked by this time and were nearer our
transports than we were.  It would be prudent to get them behind us; but
we were not again molested on our way to the boats.

From the beginning of the fighting our wounded had been carried to the
houses at the rear, near the place of debarkation.  I now set the troops
to bringing their wounded to the boats.  After this had gone on for some
little time I rode down the road, without even a staff officer, to visit
the guard I had stationed over the approach to our transports.  I knew
the enemy had crossed over from Columbus in considerable numbers and
might be expected to attack us as we were embarking.  This guard would
be encountered first and, as they were in a natural intrenchment, would
be able to hold the enemy for a considerable time.  My surprise was
great to find there was not a single man in the trench.  Riding back to
the boat I found the officer who had commanded the guard and learned
that he had withdrawn his force when the main body fell back.  At first
I ordered the guard to return, but finding that it would take some time
to get the men together and march them back to their position, I
countermanded the order.  Then fearing that the enemy we had seen
crossing the river below might be coming upon us unawares, I rode out in
the field to our front, still entirely alone, to observe whether the
enemy was passing.  The field was grown up with corn so tall and thick
as to cut off the view of even a person on horseback, except directly
along the rows.  Even in that direction, owing to the overhanging blades
of corn, the view was not extensive. I had not gone more than a few
hundred yards when I saw a body of troops marching past me not fifty
yards away.  I looked at them for a moment and then turned my horse
towards the river and started back, first in a walk, and when I thought
myself concealed from the view of the enemy, as fast as my horse could
carry me.  When at the river bank I still had to ride a few hundred
yards to the point where the nearest transport lay.

The cornfield in front of our transports terminated at the edge of a
dense forest.  Before I got back the enemy had entered this forest and
had opened a brisk fire upon the boats.  Our men, with the exception of
details that had gone to the front after the wounded, were now either
aboard the transports or very near them.  Those who were not aboard soon
got there, and the boats pushed off.  I was the only man of the National
army between the rebels and our transports.  The captain of a boat that
had just pushed out but had not started, recognized me and ordered the
engineer not to start the engine; he then had a plank run out for me.
My horse seemed to take in the situation.  There was no path down the
bank and every one acquainted with the Mississippi River knows that its
banks, in a natural state, do not vary at any great angle from the
perpendicular.  My horse put his fore feet over the bank without
hesitation or urging, and with his hind feet well under him, slid down
the bank and trotted aboard the boat, twelve or fifteen feet away, over
a single gang plank.  I dismounted and went at once to the upper deck.

The Mississippi River was low on the 7th of November, 1861, so that the
banks were higher than the heads of men standing on the upper decks of
the steamers.  The rebels were some distance back from the river, so
that their fire was high and did us but little harm.  Our smoke-stack
was riddled with bullets, but there were only three men wounded on the
boats, two of whom were soldiers.  When I first went on deck I entered
the captain's room adjoining the pilot-house, and threw myself on a
sofa.  I did not keep that position a moment, but rose to go out on the
deck to observe what was going on.  I had scarcely left when a musket
ball entered the room, struck the head of the sofa, passed through it
and lodged in the foot.

When the enemy opened fire on the transports our gunboats returned it
with vigor.  They were well out in the stream and some distance down, so
that they had to give but very little elevation to their guns to clear
the banks of the river.  Their position very nearly enfiladed the line
of the enemy while he was marching through the cornfield.  The execution
was very great, as we could see at the time and as I afterwards learned
more positively.  We were very soon out of range and went peacefully on
our way to Cairo, every man feeling that Belmont was a great victory and
that he had contributed his share to it.

Our loss at Belmont was 485 in killed, wounded and missing. About 125 of
our wounded fell into the hands of the enemy.  We returned with 175
prisoners and two guns, and spiked four other pieces.  The loss of the
enemy, as officially reported, was 642 men, killed, wounded and missing.
We had engaged about 2,500 men, exclusive of the guard left with the
transports.  The enemy had about 7,000; but this includes the troops
brought over from Columbus who were not engaged in the first defence of

The two objects for which the battle of Belmont was fought were fully
accomplished.  The enemy gave up all idea of detaching troops from
Columbus.  His losses were very heavy for that period of the war.
Columbus was beset by people looking for their wounded or dead kin, to
take them home for medical treatment or burial.  I learned later, when I
had moved further south, that Belmont had caused more mourning than
almost any other battle up to that time.  The National troops acquired a
confidence in themselves at Belmont that did not desert them through the

The day after the battle I met some officers from General Polk's
command, arranged for permission to bury our dead at Belmont and also
commenced negotiations for the exchange of prisoners.  When our men went
to bury their dead, before they were allowed to land they were conducted
below the point where the enemy had engaged our transports.  Some of the
officers expressed a desire to see the field; but the request was
refused with the statement that we had no dead there.

While on the truce-boat I mentioned to an officer, whom I had known both
at West Point and in the Mexican war, that I was in the cornfield near
their troops when they passed; that I had been on horseback and had worn
a soldier's overcoat at the time.  This officer was on General Polk's
staff.  He said both he and the general had seen me and that Polk had
said to his men, "There is a Yankee; you may try your marksmanship on
him if you wish," but nobody fired at me.

Belmont was severely criticised in the North as a wholly unnecessary
battle, barren of results, or the possibility of them from the
beginning.  If it had not been fought, Colonel Oglesby would probably
have been captured or destroyed with his three thousand men.  Then I
should have been culpable indeed.



While at Cairo I had frequent opportunities of meeting the rebel
officers of the Columbus garrison.  They seemed to be very fond of
coming up on steamers under flags of truce.  On two or three occasions I
went down in like manner.  When one of their boats was seen coming up
carrying a white flag, a gun would be fired from the lower battery at
Fort Holt, throwing a shot across the bow as a signal to come no
farther.  I would then take a steamer and, with my staff and
occasionally a few other officers, go down to receive the party.  There
were several officers among them whom I had known before, both at West
Point and in Mexico. Seeing these officers who had been educated for the
profession of arms, both at school and in actual war, which is a far
more efficient training, impressed me with the great advantage the South
possessed over the North at the beginning of the rebellion.  They had
from thirty to forty per cent. of the educated soldiers of the Nation.
They had no standing army and, consequently, these trained soldiers had
to find employment with the troops from their own States.  In this way
what there was of military education and training was distributed
throughout their whole army.  The whole loaf was leavened.

The North had a great number of educated and trained soldiers, but the
bulk of them were still in the army and were retained, generally with
their old commands and rank, until the war had lasted many months.  In
the Army of the Potomac there was what was known as the "regular
brigade," in which, from the commanding officer down to the youngest
second lieutenant, every one was educated to his profession.  So, too,
with many of the batteries; all the officers, generally four in number
to each, were men educated for their profession.  Some of these went
into battle at the beginning under division commanders who were entirely
without military training.  This state of affairs gave me an idea which
I expressed while at Cairo; that the government ought to disband the
regular army, with the exception of the staff corps, and notify the
disbanded officers that they would receive no compensation while the war
lasted except as volunteers.  The register should be kept up, but the
names of all officers who were not in the volunteer service at the
close, should be stricken from it.

On the 9th of November, two days after the battle of Belmont,
Major-General H. W. Halleck superseded General Fremont in command of the
Department of the Missouri.  The limits of his command took in Arkansas
and west Kentucky east to the Cumberland River.  From the battle of
Belmont until early in February, 1862, the troops under my command did
little except prepare for the long struggle which proved to be before

The enemy at this time occupied a line running from the Mississippi
River at Columbus to Bowling Green and Mill Springs, Kentucky.  Each of
these positions was strongly fortified, as were also points on the
Tennessee and Cumberland rivers near the Tennessee state line.  The
works on the Tennessee were called Fort Heiman and Fort Henry, and that
on the Cumberland was Fort Donelson.  At these points the two rivers
approached within eleven miles of each other.  The lines of rifle pits
at each place extended back from the water at least two miles, so that
the garrisons were in reality only seven miles apart.  These positions
were of immense importance to the enemy; and of course correspondingly
important for us to possess ourselves of.  With Fort Henry in our hands
we had a navigable stream open to us up to Muscle Shoals, in Alabama.
The Memphis and Charleston Railroad strikes the Tennessee at Eastport,
Mississippi, and follows close to the banks of the river up to the
shoals.  This road, of vast importance to the enemy, would cease to be
of use to them for through traffic the moment Fort Henry became ours.
Fort Donelson was the gate to Nashville--a place of great military and
political importance--and to a rich country extending far east in
Kentucky.  These two points in our possession the enemy would
necessarily be thrown back to the Memphis and Charleston road, or to the
boundary of the cotton states, and, as before stated, that road would be
lost to them for through communication.

The designation of my command had been changed after Halleck's arrival,
from the District of South-east Missouri to the District of Cairo, and
the small district commanded by General C. F. Smith, embracing the
mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, had been added to my
jurisdiction.  Early in January, 1862, I was directed by General
McClellan, through my department commander, to make a reconnoissance in
favor of Brigadier-General Don Carlos Buell, who commanded the
Department of the Ohio, with headquarters at Louisville, and who was
confronting General S. B. Buckner with a larger Confederate force at
Bowling Green.  It was supposed that Buell was about to make some move
against the enemy, and my demonstration was intended to prevent the
sending of troops from Columbus, Fort Henry or Donelson to Buckner.  I
at once ordered General Smith to send a force up the west bank of the
Tennessee to threaten forts Heiman and Henry; McClernand at the same
time with a force of 6,000 men was sent out into west Kentucky,
threatening Columbus with one column and the Tennessee River with
another. I went with McClernand's command.  The weather was very bad;
snow and rain fell; the roads, never good in that section, were
intolerable.  We were out more than a week splashing through the mud,
snow and rain, the men suffering very much.  The object of the
expedition was accomplished.  The enemy did not send reinforcements to
Bowling Green, and General George H. Thomas fought and won the battle of
Mill Springs before we returned.

As a result of this expedition General Smith reported that he thought it
practicable to capture Fort Heiman.  This fort stood on high ground,
completely commanding Fort Henry on the opposite side of the river, and
its possession by us, with the aid of our gunboats, would insure the
capture of Fort Henry.  This report of Smith's confirmed views I had
previously held, that the true line of operations for us was up the
Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.  With us there, the enemy would be
compelled to fall back on the east and west entirely out of the State of
Kentucky.  On the 6th of January, before receiving orders for this
expedition, I had asked permission of the general commanding the
department to go to see him at St. Louis.  My object was to lay this
plan of campaign before him.  Now that my views had been confirmed by so
able a general as Smith, I renewed my request to go to St. Louis on what
I deemed important military business.  The leave was granted, but not
graciously.  I had known General Halleck but very slightly in the old
army, not having met him either at West Point or during the Mexican war.
I was received with so little cordiality that I perhaps stated the
object of my visit with less clearness than I might have done, and I had
not uttered many sentences before I was cut short as if my plan was
preposterous.  I returned to Cairo very much crestfallen.

Flag-officer Foote commanded the little fleet of gunboats then in the
neighborhood of Cairo and, though in another branch of the service, was
subject to the command of General Halleck.  He and I consulted freely
upon military matters and he agreed with me perfectly as to the
feasibility of the campaign up the Tennessee.  Notwithstanding the
rebuff I had received from my immediate chief, I therefore, on the 28th
of January, renewed the suggestion by telegraph that "if permitted, I
could take and hold Fort Henry on the Tennessee."  This time I was
backed by Flag-officer Foote, who sent a similar dispatch.  On the 29th
I wrote fully in support of the proposition.  On the 1st of February I
received full instructions from department headquarters to move upon
Fort Henry.  On the 2d the expedition started.

In February, 1862, there were quite a good many steamers laid up at
Cairo for want of employment, the Mississippi River being closed against
navigation below that point.  There were also many men in the town whose
occupation had been following the river in various capacities, from
captain down to deck hand But there were not enough of either boats or
men to move at one time the 17,000 men I proposed to take with me up the
Tennessee.  I loaded the boats with more than half the force, however,
and sent General McClernand in command.  I followed with one of the
later boats and found McClernand had stopped, very properly, nine miles
below Fort Henry.  Seven gunboats under Flag-officer Foote had
accompanied the advance.  The transports we had with us had to return to
Paducah to bring up a division from there, with General C. F. Smith in

Before sending the boats back I wanted to get the troops as near to the
enemy as I could without coming within range of their guns.  There was a
stream emptying into the Tennessee on the east side, apparently at about
long range distance below the fort.  On account of the narrow water-shed
separating the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers at that point, the stream
must be insignificant at ordinary stages, but when we were there, in
February, it was a torrent.  It would facilitate the investment of Fort
Henry materially if the troops could be landed south of that stream.  To
test whether this could be done I boarded the gunboat Essex and
requested Captain Wm. Porter commanding it, to approach the fort to draw
its fire.  After we had gone some distance past the mouth of the stream
we drew the fire of the fort, which fell much short of us.  In
consequence I had made up my mind to return and bring the troops to the
upper side of the creek, when the enemy opened upon us with a rifled gun
that sent shot far beyond us and beyond the stream.  One shot passed
very near where Captain Porter and I were standing, struck the deck near
the stern, penetrated and passed through the cabin and so out into the
river.  We immediately turned back, and the troops were debarked below
the mouth of the creek.

When the landing was completed I returned with the transports to Paducah
to hasten up the balance of the troops.  I got back on the 5th with the
advance the remainder following as rapidly as the steamers could carry
them.  At ten o'clock at night, on the 5th, the whole command was not
yet up.  Being anxious to commence operations as soon as possible before
the enemy could reinforce heavily, I issued my orders for an advance at
11 A.M. on the 6th.  I felt sure that all the troops would be up by that

Fort Henry occupies a bend in the river which gave the guns in the water
battery a direct fire down the stream.  The camp outside the fort was
intrenched, with rifle pits and outworks two miles back on the road to
Donelson and Dover.  The garrison of the fort and camp was about 2,800,
with strong reinforcements from Donelson halted some miles out.  There
were seventeen heavy guns in the fort.  The river was very high, the
banks being overflowed except where the bluffs come to the water's edge.
A portion of the ground on which Fort Henry stood was two feet deep in
water.  Below, the water extended into the woods several hundred yards
back from the bank on the east side.  On the west bank Fort Heiman stood
on high ground, completely commanding Fort Henry.  The distance from
Fort Henry to Donelson is but eleven miles.  The two positions were so
important to the enemy, AS HE SAW HIS INTEREST, that it was natural to
suppose that reinforcements would come from every quarter from which
they could be got.  Prompt action on our part was imperative.

The plan was for the troops and gunboats to start at the same moment.
The troops were to invest the garrison and the gunboats to attack the
fort at close quarters.  General Smith was to land a brigade of his
division on the west bank during the night of the 5th and get it in rear
of Heiman.

At the hour designated the troops and gunboats started.  General Smith
found Fort Heiman had been evacuated before his men arrived.  The
gunboats soon engaged the water batteries at very close quarters, but
the troops which were to invest Fort Henry were delayed for want of
roads, as well as by the dense forest and the high water in what would
in dry weather have been unimportant beds of streams.  This delay made
no difference in the result.  On our first appearance Tilghman had sent
his entire command, with the exception of about one hundred men left to
man the guns in the fort, to the outworks on the road to Dover and
Donelson, so as to have them out of range of the guns of our navy; and
before any attack on the 6th he had ordered them to retreat on Donelson.
He stated in his subsequent report that the defence was intended solely
to give his troops time to make their escape.

Tilghman was captured with his staff and ninety men, as well as the
armament of the fort, the ammunition and whatever stores were there.
Our cavalry pursued the retreating column towards Donelson and picked up
two guns and a few stragglers; but the enemy had so much the start, that
the pursuing force did not get in sight of any except the stragglers.

All the gunboats engaged were hit many times.  The damage, however,
beyond what could be repaired by a small expenditure of money, was
slight, except to the Essex.  A shell penetrated the boiler of that
vessel and exploded it, killing and wounding forty-eight men, nineteen
of whom were soldiers who had been detailed to act with the navy.  On
several occasions during the war such details were made when the
complement of men with the navy was insufficient for the duty before
them.  After the fall of Fort Henry Captain Phelps, commanding the
iron-clad Carondelet, at my request ascended the Tennessee River and
thoroughly destroyed the bridge of the Memphis and Ohio Railroad.



I informed the department commander of our success at Fort Henry and
that on the 8th I would take Fort Donelson.  But the rain continued to
fall so heavily that the roads became impassable for artillery and wagon
trains.  Then, too, it would not have been prudent to proceed without
the gunboats.  At least it would have been leaving behind a valuable
part of our available force.

On the 7th, the day after the fall of Fort Henry, I took my staff and
the cavalry--a part of one regiment--and made a reconnoissance to within
about a mile of the outer line of works at Donelson.  I had known
General Pillow in Mexico, and judged that with any force, no matter how
small, I could march up to within gunshot of any intrenchments he was
given to hold.  I said this to the officers of my staff at the time.  I
knew that Floyd was in command, but he was no soldier, and I judged that
he would yield to Pillow's pretensions.  I met, as I expected, no
opposition in making the reconnoissance and, besides learning the
topography of the country on the way and around Fort Donelson, found
that there were two roads available for marching; one leading to the
village of Dover, the other to Donelson.

Fort Donelson is two miles north, or down the river, from Dover.  The
fort, as it stood in 1861, embraced about one hundred acres of land.  On
the east it fronted the Cumberland; to the north it faced Hickman's
creek, a small stream which at that time was deep and wide because of
the back-water from the river; on the south was another small stream, or
rather a ravine, opening into the Cumberland.  This also was filled with
back-water from the river.  The fort stood on high ground, some of it as
much as a hundred feet above the Cumberland.  Strong protection to the
heavy guns in the water batteries had been obtained by cutting away
places for them in the bluff.  To the west there was a line of rifle
pits some two miles back from the river at the farthest point.  This
line ran generally along the crest of high ground, but in one place
crossed a ravine which opens into the river between the village and the
fort.  The ground inside and outside of this intrenched line was very
broken and generally wooded.  The trees outside of the rifle-pits had
been cut down for a considerable way out, and had been felled so that
their tops lay outwards from the intrenchments.  The limbs had been
trimmed and pointed, and thus formed an abatis in front of the greater
part of the line. Outside of this intrenched line, and extending about
half the entire length of it, is a ravine running north and south and
opening into Hickman creek at a point north of the fort.  The entire
side of this ravine next to the works was one long abatis.

General Halleck commenced his efforts in all quarters to get
reinforcements to forward to me immediately on my departure from Cairo.
General Hunter sent men freely from Kansas, and a large division under
General Nelson, from Buell's army, was also dispatched.  Orders went out
from the War Department to consolidate fragments of companies that were
being recruited in the Western States so as to make full companies, and
to consolidate companies into regiments.  General Halleck did not
approve or disapprove of my going to Fort Donelson.  He said nothing
whatever to me on the subject.  He informed Buell on the 7th that I
would march against Fort Donelson the next day; but on the 10th he
directed me to fortify Fort Henry strongly, particularly to the land
side, saying that he forwarded me intrenching tools for that purpose.  I
received this dispatch in front of Fort Donelson.

I was very impatient to get to Fort Donelson because I knew the
importance of the place to the enemy and supposed he would reinforce it
rapidly.  I felt that 15,000 men on the 8th would be more effective than
50,000 a month later.  I asked Flag-officer Foote, therefore, to order
his gunboats still about Cairo to proceed up the Cumberland River and
not to wait for those gone to Eastport and  Florence; but the others got
back in time and we started on the 12th.  I had moved McClernand out a
few miles the night before so as to leave the road as free as possible.

Just as we were about to start the first reinforcement reached me on
transports.  It was a brigade composed of six full regiments commanded
by Colonel Thayer, of Nebraska.  As the gunboats were going around to
Donelson by the Tennessee, Ohio and Cumberland rivers, I directed Thayer
to turn about and go under their convoy.

I started from Fort Henry with 15,000 men, including eight batteries and
part of a regiment of cavalry, and, meeting with no obstruction to
detain us, the advance arrived in front of the enemy by noon.  That
afternoon and the next day were spent in taking up ground to make the
investment as complete as possible.  General Smith had been directed to
leave a portion of his division behind to guard forts Henry and Heiman.
He left General Lew. Wallace with 2,500 men.  With the remainder of his
division he occupied our left, extending to Hickman creek. McClernand
was on the right and covered the roads running south and south-west from
Dover.  His right extended to the back-water up the ravine opening into
the Cumberland south of the village. The troops were not intrenched, but
the nature of the ground was such that they were just as well protected
from the fire of the enemy as if rifle-pits had been thrown up.  Our
line was generally along the crest of ridges.  The artillery was
protected by being sunk in the ground.  The men who were not serving the
guns were perfectly covered from fire on taking position a little back
from the crest.  The greatest suffering was from want of shelter.  It
was midwinter and during the siege we had rain and snow, thawing and
freezing alternately.  It would not do to allow camp-fires except far
down the hill out of sight of the enemy, and it would not do to allow
many of the troops to remain there at the same time.  In the march over
from Fort Henry numbers of the men had thrown away their blankets and
overcoats.  There was therefore much discomfort and absolute suffering.

During the 12th and 13th, and until the arrival of Wallace and Thayer on
the 14th, the National forces, composed of but 15,000 men, without
intrenchments, confronted an intrenched army of 21,000, without conflict
further than what was brought on by ourselves.  Only one gunboat had
arrived.  There was a little skirmishing each day, brought on by the
movement of our troops in securing commanding positions; but there was
no actual fighting during this time except once, on the 13th, in front
of McClernand's command.  That general had undertaken to capture a
battery of the enemy which was annoying his men.  Without orders or
authority he sent three regiments to make the assault.  The battery was
in the main line of the enemy, which was defended by his whole army
present.  Of course the assault was a failure, and of course the loss on
our side was great for the number of men engaged.  In this assault
Colonel William Morrison fell badly wounded.  Up to this time the
surgeons with the army had no difficulty in finding room in the houses
near our line for all the sick and wounded; but now hospitals were
overcrowded. Owing, however, to the energy and skill of the surgeons the
suffering was not so great as it might have been.  The hospital
arrangements at Fort Donelson were as complete as it was possible to
make them, considering the inclemency of the weather and the lack of
tents, in a sparsely settled country where the houses were generally of
but one or two rooms.

On the return of Captain Walke to Fort Henry on the 10th, I had
requested him to take the vessels that had accompanied him on his
expedition up the Tennessee, and get possession of the Cumberland as far
up towards Donelson as possible.  He started without delay, taking,
however, only his own gunboat, the Carondelet, towed by the steamer
Alps.  Captain Walke arrived a few miles below Donelson on the 12th, a
little after noon. About the time the advance of troops reached a point
within gunshot of the fort on the land side, he engaged the water
batteries at long range.  On the 13th I informed him of my arrival the
day before and of the establishment of most of our batteries, requesting
him at the same time to attack again that day so that I might take
advantage of any diversion.  The attack was made and many shots fell
within the fort, creating some consternation, as we now know.  The
investment on the land side was made as complete as the number of troops
engaged would admit of.

During the night of the 13th Flag-officer Foote arrived with the
iron-clads St. Louis, Louisville and Pittsburg and the wooden gunboats
Tyler and Conestoga, convoying Thayer's brigade.  On the morning of the
14th Thayer was landed.  Wallace, whom I had ordered over from Fort
Henry, also arrived about the same time.  Up to this time he had been
commanding a brigade belonging to the division of General C. F. Smith.
These troops were now restored to the division they belonged to, and
General Lew. Wallace was assigned to the command of a division composed
of the brigade of Colonel Thayer and other reinforcements that arrived
the same day.  This new division was assigned to the centre, giving the
two flanking divisions an opportunity to close up and form a stronger

The plan was for the troops to hold the enemy within his lines, while
the gunboats should attack the water batteries at close quarters and
silence his guns if possible.  Some of the gunboats were to run the
batteries, get above the fort and above the village of Dover.  I had
ordered a reconnoissance made with the view of getting troops to the
river above Dover in case they should be needed there.  That position
attained by the gunboats it would have been but a question of time--and
a very short time, too--when the garrison would have been compelled to

By three in the afternoon of the 14th Flag-officer Foote was ready, and
advanced upon the water batteries with his entire fleet.  After coming
in range of the batteries of the enemy the advance was slow, but a
constant fire was delivered from every gun that could be brought to bear
upon the fort.  I occupied a position on shore from which I could see
the advancing navy. The leading boat got within a very short distance of
the water battery, not further off I think than two hundred yards, and I
soon saw one and then another of them dropping down the river, visibly
disabled.  Then the whole fleet followed and the engagement closed for
the day.  The gunboat which Flag-officer Foote was on, besides having
been hit about sixty times, several of the shots passing through near
the waterline, had a shot enter the pilot-house which killed the pilot,
carried away the wheel and wounded the flag-officer himself.  The
tiller-ropes of another vessel were carried away and she, too, dropped
helplessly back.  Two others had their pilot-houses so injured that they
scarcely formed a protection to the men at the wheel.

The enemy had evidently been much demoralized by the assault, but they
were jubilant when they saw the disabled vessels dropping down the river
entirely out of the control of the men on board.  Of course I only
witnessed the falling back of our gunboats and felt sad enough at the
time over the repulse. Subsequent reports, now published, show that the
enemy telegraphed a great victory to Richmond.  The sun went down on the
night of the 14th of February, 1862, leaving the army confronting Fort
Donelson anything but comforted over the prospects.  The weather had
turned intensely cold; the men were without tents and could not keep up
fires where most of them had to stay, and, as previously stated, many
had thrown away their overcoats and blankets.  Two of the strongest of
our gunboats had been disabled, presumably beyond the possibility of
rendering any present assistance.  I retired this night not knowing but
that I would have to intrench my position, and bring up tents for the
men or build huts under the cover of the hills.

On the morning of the 15th, before it was yet broad day, a messenger
from Flag-officer Foote handed me a note, expressing a desire to see me
on the flag-ship and saying that he had been injured the day before so
much that he could not come himself to me.  I at once made my
preparations for starting.  I directed my adjutant-general to notify
each of the division commanders of my absence and instruct them to do
nothing to bring on an engagement until they received further orders,
but to hold their positions.  From the heavy rains that had fallen for
days and weeks preceding and from the constant use of the roads between
the troops and the landing four to seven miles below, these roads had
become cut up so as to be hardly passable.  The intense cold of the
night of the 14th-15th had frozen the ground solid.  This made travel on
horseback even slower than through the mud; but I went as fast as the
roads would allow.

When I reached the fleet I found the flag-ship was anchored out in the
stream.  A small boat, however, awaited my arrival and I was soon on
board with the flag-officer.  He explained to me in short the condition
in which he was left by the engagement of the evening before, and
suggested that I should intrench while he returned to Mound City with
his disabled boats, expressing at the time the belief that he could have
the necessary repairs made and be back in ten days.  I saw the absolute
necessity of his gunboats going into hospital and did not know but I
should be forced to the alternative of going through a siege.  But the
enemy relieved me from this necessity.

When I left the National line to visit Flag-officer Foote I had no idea
that there would be any engagement on land unless I brought it on
myself.  The conditions for battle were much more favorable to us than
they had been for the first two days of the investment.  From the 12th
to the 14th we had but 15,000 men of all arms and no gunboats.  Now we
had been reinforced by a fleet of six naval vessels, a large division of
troops under General L. Wallace and 2,500 men brought over from Fort
Henry belonging to the division of C. F. Smith.  The enemy, however, had
taken the initiative.  Just as I landed I met Captain Hillyer of my
staff, white with fear, not for his personal safety, but for the safety
of the National troops.  He said the enemy had come out of his lines in
full force and attacked and scattered McClernand's division, which was
in full retreat.  The roads, as I have said, were unfit for making fast
time, but I got to my command as soon as possible.  The attack had been
made on the National right.  I was some four or five miles north of our
left.  The line was about three miles long.  In reaching the point where
the disaster had occurred I had to pass the divisions of Smith and
Wallace.  I saw no sign of excitement on the portion of the line held by
Smith; Wallace was nearer the scene of conflict and had taken part in
it.  He had, at an opportune time, sent Thayer's brigade to the support
of McClernand and thereby contributed to hold the enemy within his

I saw everything favorable for us along the line of our left and centre.
When I came to the right appearances were different. The enemy had come
out in full force to cut his way out and make his escape.  McClernand's
division had to bear the brunt of the attack from this combined force.
His men had stood up gallantly until the ammunition in their
cartridge-boxes gave out.  There was abundance of ammunition near by
lying on the ground in boxes, but at that stage of the war it was not
all of our commanders of regiments, brigades, or even divisions, who had
been educated up to the point of seeing that their men were constantly
supplied with ammunition during an engagement.  When the men found
themselves without ammunition they could not stand up against troops who
seemed to have plenty of it.  The division broke and a portion fled, but
most of the men, as they were not pursued, only fell back out of range
of the fire of the enemy. It must have been about this time that Thayer
pushed his brigade in between the enemy and those of our troops that
were without ammunition.  At all events the enemy fell back within his
intrenchments and was there when I got on the field.

I saw the men standing in knots talking in the most excited manner.  No
officer seemed to be giving any directions.  The soldiers had their
muskets, but no ammunition, while there were tons of it close at hand.
I heard some of the men say that the enemy had come out with knapsacks,
and haversacks filled with rations.  They seemed to think this indicated
a determination on his part to stay out and fight just as long as the
provisions held out.  I turned to Colonel J. D. Webster, of my staff,
who was with me, and said:  "Some of our men are pretty badly
demoralized, but the enemy must be more so, for he has attempted to
force his way out, but has fallen back:  the one who attacks first now
will be victorious and the enemy will have to be in a hurry if he gets
ahead of me."  I determined to make the assault at once on our left.  It
was clear to my mind that the enemy had started to march out with his
entire force, except a few pickets, and if our attack could be made on
the left before the enemy could redistribute his forces along the line,
we would find but little opposition except from the intervening abatis.
I directed Colonel Webster to ride with me and call out to the men as we
passed:  "Fill your cartridge-boxes, quick, and get into line; the enemy
is trying to escape and he must not be permitted to do so."  This acted
like a charm.  The men only wanted some one to give them a command.  We
rode rapidly to Smith's quarters, when I explained the situation to him
and directed him to charge the enemy's works in his front with his whole
division, saying at the same time that he would find nothing but a very
thin line to contend with.  The general was off in an incredibly short
time, going in advance himself to keep his men from firing while they
were working their way through the abatis intervening between them and
the enemy.  The outer line of rifle-pits was passed, and the night of
the 15th General Smith, with much of his division, bivouacked within the
lines of the enemy.  There was now no doubt but that the Confederates
must surrender or be captured the next day.

There seems from subsequent accounts to have been much consternation,
particularly among the officers of high rank, in Dover during the night
of the 15th.  General Floyd, the commanding officer, who was a man of
talent enough for any civil position, was no soldier and, possibly, did
not possess the elements of one.  He was further unfitted for command,
for the reason that his conscience must have troubled him and made him
afraid.  As Secretary of War he had taken a solemn oath to maintain the
Constitution of the United States and to uphold the same against all its
enemies.  He had betrayed that trust.  As Secretary of War he was
reported through the northern press to have scattered the little army
the country had so that the most of it could be picked up in detail when
secession occurred. About a year before leaving the Cabinet he had
removed arms from northern to southern arsenals.  He continued in the
Cabinet of President Buchanan until about the 1st of January, 1861,
while he was working vigilantly for the establishment of a confederacy
made out of United States territory.  Well may he have been afraid to
fall into the hands of National troops.  He would no doubt have been
tried for misappropriating public property, if not for treason, had he
been captured.  General Pillow, next in command, was conceited, and
prided himself much on his services in the Mexican war.  He telegraphed
to General Johnston, at Nashville, after our men were within the rebel
rifle-pits, and almost on the eve of his making his escape, that the
Southern troops had had great success all day.  Johnston forwarded the
dispatch to Richmond.  While the authorities at the capital were reading
it Floyd and Pillow were fugitives.

A council of war was held by the enemy at which all agreed that it would
be impossible to hold out longer.  General Buckner, who was third in
rank in the garrison but much the most capable soldier, seems to have
regarded it a duty to hold the fort until the general commanding the
department, A. S. Johnston, should get back to his headquarters at
Nashville.  Buckner's report shows, however, that he considered Donelson
lost and that any attempt to hold the place longer would be at the
sacrifice of the command.  Being assured that Johnston was already in
Nashville, Buckner too agreed that surrender was the proper thing.
Floyd turned over the command to Pillow, who declined it.  It then
devolved upon Buckner, who accepted the responsibility of the position.
Floyd and Pillow took possession of all the river transports at Dover
and before morning both were on their way to Nashville, with the brigade
formerly commanded by Floyd and some other troops, in all about 3,000.
Some marched up the east bank of the Cumberland; others went on the
steamers.  During the night Forrest also, with his cavalry and some
other troops about a thousand in all, made their way out, passing
between our right and the river.  They had to ford or swim over the
back-water in the little creek just south of Dover.

Before daylight General Smith brought to me the following letter from
General Buckner:


SIR:--In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present
situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the Commanding
Officer of the Federal forces the appointment of Commissioners to agree
upon terms of capitulation of the forces and fort under my command, and
in that view suggest an armistice until 12 o'clock to-day.

I am, sir, very respectfully, Your ob't se'v't, S. B. BUCKNER, Brig.
Gen. C. S. A.

To Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, Com'ding U. S. Forces, Near Fort

To this I responded as follows:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Camp near Donelson, February 16, 1862.

General S. B. BUCKNER, Confederate Army.

SIR:--Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appointment of
Commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received.  No
terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.
I propose to move immediately upon your works.

I am, sir, very respectfully, Your ob't se'v't, U. S. GRANT, Brig. Gen.

To this I received the following reply:


To Brig. Gen'l U. S. GRANT, U. S. Army.

SIR:--The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an
unexpected change of commanders, and the overwhelming force under your
command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the
Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous
terms which you propose.

I am, sir, Your very ob't se'v't, S. B. BUCKNER, Brig. Gen. C. S. A.

General Buckner, as soon as he had dispatched the first of the above
letters, sent word to his different commanders on the line of
rifle-pits, notifying them that he had made a proposition looking to the
surrender of the garrison, and directing them to notify National troops
in their front so that all fighting might be prevented.  White flags
were stuck at intervals along the line of rifle-pits, but none over the
fort.  As soon as the last letter from Buckner was received I mounted my
horse and rode to Dover.  General Wallace, I found, had preceded me an
hour or more.  I presume that, seeing white flags exposed in his front,
he rode up to see what they meant and, not being fired upon or halted,
he kept on until he found himself at the headquarters of General

I had been at West Point three years with Buckner and afterwards served
with him in the army, so that we were quite well acquainted.  In the
course of our conversation, which was very friendly, he said to me that
if he had been in command I would not have got up to Donelson as easily
as I did.  I told him that if he had been in command I should not have
tried in the way I did:  I had invested their lines with a smaller force
than they had to defend them, and at the same time had sent a brigade
full 5,000 strong, around by water; I had relied very much upon their
commander to allow me to come safely up to the outside of their works.
I asked General Buckner about what force he had to surrender.  He
replied that he could not tell with any degree of accuracy; that all the
sick and weak had been sent to Nashville while we were about Fort Henry;
that Floyd and Pillow had left during the night, taking many men with
them; and that Forrest, and probably others, had also escaped during the
preceding night:  the number of casualties he could not tell; but he
said I would not find fewer than 12,000, nor more than 15,000.

He asked permission to send parties outside of the lines to bury his
dead, who had fallen on the 15th when they tried to get out.  I gave
directions that his permit to pass our limits should be recognized.  I
have no reason to believe that this privilege was abused, but it
familiarized our guards so much with the sight of Confederates passing
to and fro that I have no doubt many got beyond our pickets unobserved
and went on.  The most of the men who went in that way no doubt thought
they had had war enough, and left with the intention of remaining out of
the army.  Some came to me and asked permission to go, saying that they
were tired of the war and would not be caught in the ranks again, and I
bade them go.

The actual number of Confederates at Fort Donelson can never be given
with entire accuracy.  The largest number admitted by any writer on the
Southern side, is by Colonel Preston Johnston.  He gives the number at
17,000.  But this must be an underestimate. The commissary general of
prisoners reported having issued rations to 14,623 Fort Donelson
prisoners at Cairo, as they passed that point.  General Pillow reported
the killed and wounded at 2,000; but he had less opportunity of knowing
the actual numbers than the officers of McClernand's division, for most
of the killed and wounded fell outside their works, in front of that
division, and were buried or cared for by Buckner after the surrender
and when Pillow was a fugitive.  It is known that Floyd and Pillow
escaped during the night of the 15th, taking with them not less than
3,000 men.  Forrest escaped with about 1,000 and others were leaving
singly and in squads all night.  It is probable that the Confederate
force at Donelson, on the 15th of February, 1862, was 21,000 in round

On the day Fort Donelson fell I had 27,000 men to confront the
Confederate lines and guard the road four or five miles to the left,
over which all our supplies had to be drawn on wagons. During the 16th,
after the surrender, additional reinforcements arrived.

During the siege General Sherman had been sent to Smithland, at the
mouth of the Cumberland River, to forward reinforcements and supplies to
me.  At that time he was my senior in rank and there was no authority of
law to assign a junior to command a senior of the same grade.  But every
boat that came up with supplies or reinforcements brought a note of
encouragement from Sherman, asking me to call upon him for any
assistance he could render and saying that if he could be of service at
the front I might send for him and he would waive rank.



The news of the fall of Fort Donelson caused great delight all over the
North.  At the South, particularly in Richmond, the effect was
correspondingly depressing.  I was promptly promoted to the grade of
Major-General of Volunteers, and confirmed by the Senate.  All three of
my division commanders were promoted to the same grade and the colonels
who commanded brigades were made brigadier-generals in the volunteer
service.  My chief, who was in St. Louis, telegraphed his
congratulations to General Hunter in Kansas for the services he had
rendered in securing the fall of Fort Donelson by sending reinforcements
so rapidly.  To Washington he telegraphed that the victory was due to
General C. F. Smith; "promote him," he said, "and the whole country will
applaud."  On the 19th there was published at St. Louis a formal order
thanking Flag-officer Foote and myself, and the forces under our
command, for the victories on the Tennessee and the Cumberland.  I
received no other recognition whatever from General Halleck.  But
General Cullum, his chief of staff, who was at Cairo, wrote me a warm
congratulatory letter on his own behalf.  I approved of General Smith's
promotion highly, as I did all the promotions that were made.

My opinion was and still is that immediately after the fall of Fort
Donelson the way was opened to the National forces all over the
South-west without much resistance.  If one general who would have taken
the responsibility had been in command of all the troops west of the
Alleghanies, he could have marched to Chattanooga, Corinth, Memphis and
Vicksburg with the troops we then had, and as volunteering was going on
rapidly over the North there would soon have been force enough at all
these centres to operate offensively against any body of the enemy that
might be found near them.  Rapid movements and the acquisition of
rebellious territory would have promoted volunteering, so that
reinforcements could have been had as fast as transportation could have
been obtained to carry them to their destination.  On the other hand
there were tens of thousands of strong able-bodied young men still at
their homes in the South-western States, who had not gone into the
Confederate army in February, 1862, and who had no particular desire to
go.  If our lines had been extended to protect their homes, many of them
never would have gone.  Providence ruled differently.  Time was given
the enemy to collect armies and fortify his new positions; and twice
afterwards he came near forcing his north-western front up to the Ohio

I promptly informed the department commander of our success at Fort
Donelson and that the way was open now to Clarksville and Nashville; and
that unless I received orders to the contrary I should take Clarksville
on the 21st and Nashville about the 1st of March.  Both these places are
on the Cumberland River above Fort Donelson.  As I heard nothing from
headquarters on the subject, General C. F. Smith was sent to Clarksville
at the time designated and found the place evacuated.  The capture of
forts Henry and Donelson had broken the line the enemy had taken from
Columbus to Bowling Green, and it was known that he was falling back
from the eastern point of this line and that Buell was following, or at
least advancing.  I should have sent troops to Nashville at the time I
sent to Clarksville, but my transportation was limited and there were
many prisoners to be forwarded north.

None of the reinforcements from Buell's army arrived until the 24th of
February.  Then General Nelson came up, with orders to report to me with
two brigades, he having sent one brigade to Cairo.  I knew General Buell
was advancing on Nashville from the north, and I was advised by scouts
that the rebels were leaving that place, and trying to get out all the
supplies they could. Nashville was, at that time, one of the best
provisioned posts in the South.  I had no use for reinforcements now,
and thinking Buell would like to have his troops again, I ordered Nelson
to proceed to Nashville without debarking at Fort Donelson.  I sent a
gunboat also as a convoy.  The Cumberland River was very high at the
time; the railroad bridge at Nashville had been burned, and all river
craft had been destroyed, or would be before the enemy left.  Nashville
is on the west bank of the Cumberland, and Buell was approaching from
the east.  I thought the steamers carrying Nelson's division would be
useful in ferrying the balance of Buell's forces across.  I ordered
Nelson to put himself in communication with Buell as soon as possible,
and if he found him more than two days off from Nashville to return
below the city and await orders.  Buell, however, had already arrived in
person at Edgefield, opposite Nashville, and Mitchell's division of his
command reached there the same day. Nelson immediately took possession
of the city.

After Nelson had gone and before I had learned of Buell's arrival, I
sent word to department headquarters that I should go to Nashville
myself on the 28th if I received no orders to the contrary.  Hearing
nothing, I went as I had informed my superior officer I would do.  On
arriving at Clarksville I saw a fleet of steamers at the shore--the same
that had taken Nelson's division--and troops going aboard.  I landed and
called on the commanding officer, General C. F. Smith.  As soon as he
saw me he showed an order he had just received from Buell in these

NASHVILLE, February 25, 1862.

GENERAL C. F. SMITH, Commanding U. S. Forces, Clarksville.

GENERAL:--The landing of a portion of our troops, contrary to my
intentions, on the south side of the river has compelled me to hold this
side at every hazard.  If the enemy should assume the offensive, and I
am assured by reliable persons that in view of my position such is his
intention, my force present is altogether inadequate, consisting of only
15,000 men.  I have to request you, therefore, to come forward with all
the available force under your command.  So important do I consider the
occasion that I think it necessary to give this communication all the
force of orders, and I send four boats, the Diana, Woodford, John Rain,
and Autocrat, to bring you up.  In five or six days my force will
probably be sufficient to relieve you.

Very respectfully, your ob't srv't, D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General

P. S.--The steamers will leave here at 12 o'clock to-night.

General Smith said this order was nonsense.  But I told him it was
better to obey it.  The General replied, "of course I must obey," and
said his men were embarking as fast as they could.  I went on up to
Nashville and inspected the position taken by Nelson's troops.  I did
not see Buell during the day, and wrote him a note saying that I had
been in Nashville since early morning and had hoped to meet him.  On my
return to the boat we met.  His troops were still east of the river, and
the steamers that had carried Nelson's division up were mostly at
Clarksville to bring Smith's division.  I said to General Buell my
information was that the enemy was retreating as fast as possible.
General Buell said there was fighting going on then only ten or twelve
miles away.  I said:  "Quite probably; Nashville contained valuable
stores of arms, ammunition and provisions, and the enemy is probably
trying to carry away all he can.  The fighting is doubtless with the
rear-guard who are trying to protect the trains they are getting away
with."  Buell spoke very positively of the danger Nashville was in of an
attack from the enemy.  I said, in the absence of positive information,
I believed my information was correct.  He responded that he "knew."
"Well," I said, "I do not know; but as I came by Clarksville General
Smith's troops were embarking to join you."

Smith's troops were returned the same day.  The enemy were trying to get
away from Nashville and not to return to it.

At this time General Albert Sidney Johnston commanded all the
Confederate troops west of the Alleghany Mountains, with the exception
of those in the extreme south.  On the National side the forces
confronting him were divided into, at first three, then four separate
departments.  Johnston had greatly the advantage in having supreme
command over all troops that could possibly be brought to bear upon one
point, while the forces similarly situated on the National side, divided
into independent commands, could not be brought into harmonious action
except by orders from Washington.

At the beginning of 1862 Johnston's troops east of the Mississippi
occupied a line extending from Columbus, on his left, to Mill Springs,
on his right.  As we have seen, Columbus, both banks of the Tennessee
River, the west bank of the Cumberland and Bowling Green, all were
strongly fortified.  Mill Springs was intrenched.  The National troops
occupied no territory south of the Ohio, except three small garrisons
along its bank and a force thrown out from Louisville to confront that
at Bowling Green.  Johnston's strength was no doubt numerically inferior
to that of the National troops; but this was compensated for by the
advantage of being sole commander of all the Confederate forces at the
West, and of operating in a country where his friends would take care of
his rear without any detail of soldiers.  But when General George H.
Thomas moved upon the enemy at Mill Springs and totally routed him,
inflicting a loss of some 300 killed and wounded, and forts Henry and
Heiman fell into the hands of the National forces, with their armaments
and about 100 prisoners, those losses seemed to dishearten the
Confederate commander so much that he immediately commenced a retreat
from Bowling Green on Nashville.  He reached this latter place on the
14th of February, while Donelson was still besieged.  Buell followed
with a portion of the Army of the Ohio, but he had to march and did not
reach the east bank of the Cumberland opposite Nashville until the 24th
of the month, and then with only one division of his army.

The bridge at Nashville had been destroyed and all boats removed or
disabled, so that a small garrison could have held the place against any
National troops that could have been brought against it within ten days
after the arrival of the force from Bowling Green.  Johnston seemed to
lie quietly at Nashville to await the result at Fort Donelson, on which
he had staked the possession of most of the territory embraced in the
States of Kentucky and Tennessee.  It is true, the two generals senior
in rank at Fort Donelson were sending him encouraging dispatches, even
claiming great Confederate victories up to the night of the 16th when
they must have been preparing for their individual escape. Johnston made
a fatal mistake in intrusting so important a command to Floyd, who he
must have known was no soldier even if he possessed the elements of one.
Pillow's presence as second was also a mistake.  If these officers had
been forced upon him and designated for that particular command, then he
should have left Nashville with a small garrison under a trusty officer,
and with the remainder of his force gone to Donelson himself.  If he had
been captured the result could not have been worse than it was.

Johnston's heart failed him upon the first advance of National troops.
He wrote to Richmond on the 8th of February, "I think the gunboats of
the enemy will probably take Fort Donelson without the necessity of
employing their land force in cooperation."  After the fall of that
place he abandoned Nashville and Chattanooga without an effort to save
either, and fell back into northern Mississippi, where, six weeks later,
he was destined to end his career.

From the time of leaving Cairo I was singularly unfortunate in not
receiving dispatches from General Halleck.  The order of the 10th of
February directing me to fortify Fort Henry strongly, particularly to
the land side, and saying that intrenching tools had been sent for that
purpose, reached me after Donelson was invested.  I received nothing
direct which indicated that the department commander knew we were in
possession of Donelson.  I was reporting regularly to the chief of
staff, who had been sent to Cairo, soon after the troops left there, to
receive all reports from the front and to telegraph the substance to the
St. Louis headquarters.  Cairo was at the southern end of the telegraph
wire.  Another line was started at once from Cairo to Paducah and
Smithland, at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland respectively.
My dispatches were all sent to Cairo by boat, but many of those
addressed to me were sent to the operator at the end of the advancing
wire and he failed to forward them.  This operator afterwards proved to
be a rebel; he deserted his post after a short time and went south
taking his dispatches with him.  A telegram from General McClellan to me
of February 16th, the day of the surrender, directing me to report in
full the situation, was not received at my headquarters until the 3d of

On the 2d of March I received orders dated March 1st to move my command
back to Fort Henry, leaving only a small garrison at Donelson.  From
Fort Henry expeditions were to be sent against Eastport, Mississippi,
and Paris, Tennessee.  We started from Donelson on the 4th, and the same
day I was back on the Tennessee River.  On March 4th I also received the
following dispatch from General Halleck:

MAJ.-GEN. U. S. GRANT, Fort Henry:

You will place Maj.-Gen. C. F. Smith in command of expedition, and
remain yourself at Fort Henry.  Why do you not obey my orders to report
strength and positions of your command?

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

I was surprised.  This was the first intimation I had received that
General Halleck had called for information as to the strength of my
command.  On the 6th he wrote to me again.  "Your going to Nashville
without authority, and when your presence with your troops was of the
utmost importance, was a matter of very serious complaint at Washington,
so much so that I was advised to arrest you on your return."  This was
the first I knew of his objecting to my going to Nashville.  That place
was not beyond the limits of my command, which, it had been expressly
declared in orders, were "not defined."  Nashville is west of the
Cumberland River, and I had sent troops that had reported to me for duty
to occupy the place.  I turned over the command as directed and then
replied to General Halleck courteously, but asked to be relieved from
further duty under him.

Later I learned that General Halleck had been calling lustily for more
troops, promising that he would do something important if he could only
be sufficiently reinforced.  McClellan asked him what force he then had.
Halleck telegraphed me to supply the information so far as my command
was concerned, but I received none of his dispatches.  At last Halleck
reported to Washington that he had repeatedly ordered me to give the
strength of my force, but could get nothing out of me; that I had gone
to Nashville, beyond the limits of my command, without his authority,
and that my army was more demoralized by victory than the army at Bull
Run had been by defeat.  General McClellan, on this information, ordered
that I should be relieved from duty and that an investigation should be
made into any charges against me.  He even authorized my arrest.  Thus
in less than two weeks after the victory at Donelson, the two leading
generals in the army were in correspondence as to what disposition
should be made of me, and in less than three weeks I was virtually in
arrest and without a command.

On the 13th of March I was restored to command, and on the 17th Halleck
sent me a copy of an order from the War Department which stated that
accounts of my misbehavior had reached Washington and directed him to
investigate and report the facts.  He forwarded also a copy of a
detailed dispatch from himself to Washington entirely exonerating me;
but he did not inform me that it was his own reports that had created
all the trouble.  On the contrary, he wrote to me, "Instead of relieving
you, I wish you, as soon as your new army is in the field, to assume
immediate command, and lead it to new victories."  In consequence I felt
very grateful to him, and supposed it was his interposition that had set
me right with the government.  I never knew the truth until General
Badeau unearthed the facts in his researches for his history of my

General Halleck unquestionably deemed General C. F. Smith a much fitter
officer for the command of all the forces in the military district than
I was, and, to render him available for such command, desired his
promotion to antedate mine and those of the other division commanders.
It is probable that the general opinion was that Smith's long services
in the army and distinguished deeds rendered him the more proper person
for such command.  Indeed I was rather inclined to this opinion myself
at that time, and would have served as faithfully under Smith as he had
done under me.  But this did not justify the dispatches which General
Halleck sent to Washington, or his subsequent concealment of them from
me when pretending to explain the action of my superiors.

On receipt of the order restoring me to command I proceeded to Savannah
on the Tennessee, to which point my troops had advanced.  General Smith
was delighted to see me and was unhesitating in his denunciation of the
treatment I had received.  He was on a sick bed at the time, from which
he never came away alive.  His death was a severe loss to our western
army.  His personal courage was unquestioned, his judgment and
professional acquirements were unsurpassed, and he had the confidence
of those he commanded as well as of those over him.



When I reassumed command on the 17th of March I found the army divided,
about half being on the east bank of the Tennessee at Savannah, while
one division was at Crump's landing on the west bank about four miles
higher up, and the remainder at Pittsburg landing, five miles above
Crump's.  The enemy was in force at Corinth, the junction of the two
most important railroads in the Mississippi valley--one connecting
Memphis and the Mississippi River with the East, and the other leading
south to all the cotton states.  Still another railroad connects Corinth
with Jackson, in west Tennessee.  If we obtained possession of Corinth
the enemy would have no railroad for the transportation of armies or
supplies until that running east from Vicksburg was reached.  It was the
great strategic position at the West between the Tennessee and the
Mississippi rivers and between Nashville and Vicksburg.

I at once put all the troops at Savannah in motion for Pittsburg
landing, knowing that the enemy was fortifying at Corinth and collecting
an army there under Johnston.  It was my expectation to march against
that army as soon as Buell, who had been ordered to reinforce me with
the Army of the Ohio, should arrive; and the west bank of the river was
the place to start from.  Pittsburg is only about twenty miles from
Corinth, and Hamburg landing, four miles further up the river, is a mile
or two nearer.  I had not been in command long before I selected Hamburg
as the place to put the Army of the Ohio when it arrived.  The roads
from Pittsburg and Hamburg to Corinth converge some eight miles out.
This disposition of the troops would have given additional roads to
march over when the advance commenced, within supporting distance of
each other.

Before I arrived at Savannah, Sherman, who had joined the Army of the
Tennessee and been placed in command of a division, had made an
expedition on steamers convoyed by gunboats to the neighborhood of
Eastport, thirty miles south, for the purpose of destroying the railroad
east of Corinth.  The rains had been so heavy for some time before that
the low-lands had become impassable swamps.  Sherman debarked his troops
and started out to accomplish the object of the expedition; but the
river was rising so rapidly that the back-water up the small tributaries
threatened to cut off the possibility of getting back to the boats, and
the expedition had to return without reaching the railroad.  The guns
had to be hauled by hand through the water to get back to the boats.

On the 17th of March the army on the Tennessee River consisted of five
divisions, commanded respectively by Generals C. F. Smith, McClernand,
L. Wallace, Hurlbut and Sherman.  General W. H. L. Wallace was
temporarily in command of Smith's division, General Smith, as I have
said, being confined to his bed. Reinforcements were arriving daily and
as they came up they were organized, first into brigades, then into a
division, and the command given to General Prentiss, who had been
ordered to report to me.  General Buell was on his way from Nashville
with 40,000 veterans.  On the 19th of March he was at Columbia,
Tennessee, eighty-five miles from Pittsburg.  When all reinforcements
should have arrived I expected to take the initiative by marching on
Corinth, and had no expectation of needing fortifications, though this
subject was taken into consideration.  McPherson, my only military
engineer, was directed to lay out a line to intrench.  He did so, but
reported that it would have to be made in rear of the line of encampment
as it then ran.  The new line, while it would be nearer the river, was
yet too far away from the Tennessee, or even from the creeks, to be
easily supplied with water, and in case of attack these creeks would be
in the hands of the enemy.  The fact is, I regarded the campaign we were
engaged in as an offensive one and had no idea that the enemy would
leave strong intrenchments to take the initiative when he knew he would
be attacked where he was if he remained.  This view, however, did not
prevent every precaution being taken and every effort made to keep
advised of all movements of the enemy.

Johnston's cavalry meanwhile had been well out towards our front, and
occasional encounters occurred between it and our outposts.  On the 1st
of April this cavalry became bold and approached our lines, showing that
an advance of some kind was contemplated.  On the 2d Johnston left
Corinth in force to attack my army.  On the 4th his cavalry dashed down
and captured a small picket guard of six or seven men, stationed some
five miles out from Pittsburg on the Corinth road.  Colonel Buckland
sent relief to the guard at once and soon followed in person with an
entire regiment, and General Sherman followed Buckland taking the
remainder of a brigade.  The pursuit was kept up for some three miles
beyond the point where the picket guard had been captured, and after
nightfall Sherman returned to camp and reported to me by letter what had

At this time a large body of the enemy was hovering to the west of us,
along the line of the Mobile and Ohio railroad.  My apprehension was
much greater for the safety of Crump's landing than it was for
Pittsburg.  I had no apprehension that the enemy could really capture
either place.  But I feared it was possible that he might make a rapid
dash upon Crump's and destroy our transports and stores, most of which
were kept at that point, and then retreat before Wallace could be
reinforced.  Lew. Wallace's position I regarded as so well chosen that
he was not removed.

At this time I generally spent the day at Pittsburg and returned to
Savannah in the evening.  I was intending to remove my headquarters to
Pittsburg, but Buell was expected daily and would come in at Savannah.
I remained at this point, therefore, a few days longer than I otherwise
should have done, in order to meet him on his arrival.  The skirmishing
in our front, however, had been so continuous from about the 3d of April
that I did not leave Pittsburg each night until an hour when I felt
there would be no further danger before the morning.

On Friday the 4th, the day of Buckland's advance, I was very much
injured by my horse falling with me, and on me, while I was trying to
get to the front where firing had been heard.  The night was one of
impenetrable darkness, with rain pouring down in torrents; nothing was
visible to the eye except as revealed by the frequent flashes of
lightning.  Under these circumstances I had to trust to the horse,
without guidance, to keep the road.  I had not gone far, however, when I
met General W. H. L. Wallace and Colonel (afterwards General) McPherson
coming from the direction of the front.  They said all was quiet so far
as the enemy was concerned.  On the way back to the boat my horse's feet
slipped from under him, and he fell with my leg under his body.  The
extreme softness of the ground, from the excessive rains of the few
preceding days, no doubt saved me from a severe injury and protracted
lameness.  As it was, my ankle was very much injured, so much so that my
boot had to be cut off.  For two or three days after I was unable to
walk except with crutches.

On the 5th General Nelson, with a division of Buell's army, arrived at
Savannah and I ordered him to move up the east bank of the river, to be
in a position where he could be ferried over to Crump's landing or
Pittsburg as occasion required.  I had learned that General Buell
himself would be at Savannah the next day, and desired to meet me on his
arrival.  Affairs at Pittsburg landing had been such for several days
that I did not want to be away during the day.  I determined, therefore,
to take a very early breakfast and ride out to meet Buell, and thus save
time.  He had arrived on the evening of the 5th, but had not advised me
of the fact and I was not aware of it until some time after.  While I
was at breakfast, however, heavy firing was heard in the direction of
Pittsburg landing, and I hastened there, sending a hurried note to Buell
informing him of the reason why I could not meet him at Savannah.  On
the way up the river I directed the dispatch-boat to run in close to
Crump's landing, so that I could communicate with General Lew. Wallace.
I found him waiting on a boat apparently expecting to see me, and I
directed him to get his troops in line ready to execute any orders he
might receive.  He replied that his troops were already under arms and
prepared to move.

Up to that time I had felt by no means certain that Crump's landing
might not be the point of attack.  On reaching the front, however, about
eight A.M., I found that the attack on Pittsburg was unmistakable, and
that nothing more than a small guard, to protect our transports and
stores, was needed at Crump's.  Captain Baxter, a quartermaster on my
staff, was accordingly directed to go back and order General Wallace to
march immediately to Pittsburg by the road nearest the river. Captain
Baxter made a memorandum of this order.  About one P.M., not hearing
from Wallace and being much in need of reinforcements, I sent two more
of my staff, Colonel McPherson and Captain Rowley, to bring him up with
his division.  They reported finding him marching towards Purdy, Bethel,
or some point west from the river, and farther from Pittsburg by several
miles than when he started.  The road from his first position to
Pittsburg landing was direct and near the river.  Between the two points
a bridge had been built across Snake Creek by our troops, at which
Wallace's command had assisted, expressly to enable the troops at the
two places to support each other in case of need.  Wallace did not
arrive in time to take part in the first day's fight.  General Wallace
has since claimed that the order delivered to him by Captain Baxter was
simply to join the right of the army, and that the road over which he
marched would have taken him to the road from Pittsburg to Purdy where
it crosses Owl Creek on the right of Sherman; but this is not where I
had ordered him nor where I wanted him to go.

I never could see and do not now see why any order was necessary further
than to direct him to come to Pittsburg landing, without specifying by
what route.  His was one of three veteran divisions that had been in
battle, and its absence was severely felt.  Later in the war General
Wallace would not have made the mistake that he committed on the 6th of
April, 1862.  I presume his idea was that by taking the route he did he
would be able to come around on the flank or rear of the enemy, and thus
perform an act of heroism that would redound to the credit of his
command, as well as to the benefit of his country.

Some two or three miles from Pittsburg landing was a log meeting-house
called Shiloh.  It stood on the ridge which divides the waters of Snake
and Lick creeks, the former emptying into the Tennessee just north of
Pittsburg landing, and the latter south.  This point was the key to our
position and was held by Sherman.  His division was at that time wholly
raw, no part of it ever having been in an engagement; but I thought this
deficiency was more than made up by the superiority of the commander.
McClernand was on Sherman's left, with troops that had been engaged at
forts Henry and Donelson and were therefore veterans so far as western
troops had become such at that stage of the war.  Next to McClernand
came Prentiss with a raw division, and on the extreme left, Stuart with
one brigade of Sherman's division.  Hurlbut was in rear of Prentiss,
massed, and in reserve at the time of the onset.  The division of
General C. F. Smith was on the right, also in reserve.  General Smith
was still sick in bed at Savannah, but within hearing of our guns.  His
services would no doubt have been of inestimable value had his health
permitted his presence.  The command of his division devolved upon
Brigadier-General W. H. L. Wallace, a most estimable and able officer; a
veteran too, for he had served a year in the Mexican war and had been
with his command at Henry and Donelson.  Wallace was mortally wounded in
the first day's engagement, and with the change of commanders thus
necessarily effected in the heat of battle the efficiency of his
division was much weakened.

The position of our troops made a continuous line from Lick Creek on the
left to Owl Creek, a branch of Snake Creek, on the right, facing nearly
south and possibly a little west.  The water in all these streams was
very high at the time and contributed to protect our flanks.  The enemy
was compelled, therefore, to attack directly in front.  This he did with
great vigor, inflicting heavy losses on the National side, but suffering
much heavier on his own.

The Confederate assaults were made with such a disregard of losses on
their own side that our line of tents soon fell into their hands.  The
ground on which the battle was fought was undulating, heavily timbered
with scattered clearings, the woods giving some protection to the troops
on both sides.  There was also considerable underbrush.  A number of
attempts were made by the enemy to turn our right flank, where Sherman
was posted, but every effort was repulsed with heavy loss.  But the
front attack was kept up so vigorously that, to prevent the success of
these attempts to get on our flanks, the National troops were compelled,
several times, to take positions to the rear nearer Pittsburg landing.
When the firing ceased at night the National line was all of a mile in
rear of the position it had occupied in the morning.

In one of the backward moves, on the 6th, the division commanded by
General Prentiss did not fall back with the others.  This left his
flanks exposed and enabled the enemy to capture him with about 2,200 of
his officers and men.  General Badeau gives four o'clock of the 6th as
about the time this capture took place. He may be right as to the time,
but my recollection is that the hour was later.  General Prentiss
himself gave the hour as half-past five.  I was with him, as I was with
each of the division commanders that day, several times, and my
recollection is that the last time I was with him was about half-past
four, when his division was standing up firmly and the General was as
cool as if expecting victory.  But no matter whether it was four or
later, the story that he and his command were surprised and captured in
their camps is without any foundation whatever.  If it had been true, as
currently reported at the time and yet believed by thousands of people,
that Prentiss and his division had been captured in their beds, there
would not have been an all-day struggle, with the loss of thousands
killed and wounded on the Confederate side.

With the single exception of a few minutes after the capture of
Prentiss, a continuous and unbroken line was maintained all day from
Snake Creek or its tributaries on the right to Lick Creek or the
Tennessee on the left above Pittsburg.

There was no hour during the day when there was not heavy firing and
generally hard fighting at some point on the line, but seldom at all
points at the same time.  It was a case of Southern dash against
Northern pluck and endurance.  Three of the five divisions engaged on
Sunday were entirely raw, and many of the men had only received their
arms on the way from their States to the field.  Many of them had
arrived but a day or two before and were hardly able to load their
muskets according to the manual.  Their officers were equally ignorant
of their duties. Under these circumstances it is not astonishing that
many of the regiments broke at the first fire.  In two cases, as I now
remember, colonels led their regiments from the field on first hearing
the whistle of the enemy's bullets.  In these cases the colonels were
constitutional cowards, unfit for any military position; but not so the
officers and men led out of danger by them.  Better troops never went
upon a battle-field than many of these, officers and men, afterwards
proved themselves to be, who fled panic stricken at the first whistle of
bullets and shell at Shiloh.

During the whole of Sunday I was continuously engaged in passing from
one part of the field to another, giving directions to division
commanders.  In thus moving along the line, however, I never deemed it
important to stay long with Sherman.  Although his troops were then
under fire for the first time, their commander, by his constant presence
with them, inspired a confidence in officers and men that enabled them
to render services on that bloody battle-field worthy of the best of
veterans.  McClernand was next to Sherman, and the hardest fighting was
in front of these two divisions.  McClernand told me on that day, the
6th, that he profited much by having so able a commander supporting him.
A casualty to Sherman that would have taken him from the field that day
would have been a sad one for the troops engaged at Shiloh.  And how
near we came to this! On the 6th Sherman was shot twice, once in the
hand, once in the shoulder, the ball cutting his coat and making a
slight wound, and a third ball passed through his hat.  In addition to
this he had several horses shot during the day.

The nature of this battle was such that cavalry could not be used in
front; I therefore formed ours into line in rear, to stop stragglers--of
whom there were many.  When there would be enough of them to make a
show, and after they had recovered from their fright, they would be sent
to reinforce some part of the line which needed support, without regard
to their companies, regiments or brigades.

On one occasion during the day I rode back as far as the river and met
General Buell, who had just arrived; I do not remember the hour, but at
that time there probably were as many as four or five thousand
stragglers lying under cover of the river bluff, panic-stricken, most of
whom would have been shot where they lay, without resistance, before
they would have taken muskets and marched to the front to protect
themselves.  This meeting between General Buell and myself was on the
dispatch-boat used to run between the landing and Savannah.  It was
brief, and related specially to his getting his troops over the river.
As we left the boat together, Buell's attention was attracted by the men
lying under cover of the river bank.  I saw him berating them and trying
to shame them into joining their regiments.  He even threatened them
with shells from the gunboats near by.  But it was all to no effect.
Most of these men afterward proved themselves as gallant as any of those
who saved the battle from which they had deserted.  I have no doubt that
this sight impressed General Buell with the idea that a line of retreat
would be a good thing just then.  If he had come in by the front instead
of through the stragglers in the rear, he would have thought and felt
differently.  Could he have come through the Confederate rear, he would
have witnessed there a scene similar to that at our own.  The distant
rear of an army engaged in battle is not the best place from which to
judge correctly what is going on in front.  Later in the war, while
occupying the country between the Tennessee and the Mississippi, I
learned that the panic in the Confederate lines had not differed much
from that within our own.  Some of the country people estimated the
stragglers from Johnston's army as high as 20,000.  Of course this was
an exaggeration.

The situation at the close of Sunday was as follows:  along the top of
the bluff just south of the log-house which stood at Pittsburg landing,
Colonel J. D. Webster, of my staff, had arranged twenty or more pieces
of artillery facing south or up the river.  This line of artillery was
on the crest of a hill overlooking a deep ravine opening into the
Tennessee.  Hurlbut with his division intact was on the right of this
artillery, extending west and possibly a little north.  McClernand came
next in the general line, looking more to the west.  His division was
complete in its organization and ready for any duty.  Sherman came next,
his right extending to Snake Creek. His command, like the other two, was
complete in its organization and ready, like its chief, for any service
it might be called upon to render.  All three divisions were, as a
matter of course, more or less shattered and depleted in numbers from
the terrible battle of the day.  The division of W. H. L. Wallace, as
much from the disorder arising from changes of division and brigade
commanders, under heavy fire, as from any other cause, had lost its
organization and did not occupy a place in the line as a division.
Prentiss' command was gone as a division, many of its members having
been killed, wounded or captured, but it had rendered valiant services
before its final dispersal, and had contributed a good share to the
defence of Shiloh.

The right of my line rested near the bank of Snake Creek, a short
distance above the bridge which had been built by the troops for the
purpose of connecting Crump's landing and Pittsburg landing.  Sherman
had posted some troops in a log-house and out-buildings which overlooked
both the bridge over which Wallace was expected and the creek above that
point.  In this last position Sherman was frequently attacked before
night, but held the point until he voluntarily abandoned it to advance
in order to make room for Lew. Wallace, who came up after dark.

There was, as I have said, a deep ravine in front of our left. The
Tennessee River was very high and there was water to a considerable
depth in the ravine.  Here the enemy made a last desperate effort to
turn our flank, but was repelled.  The gunboats Tyler and Lexington,
Gwin and Shirk commanding, with the artillery under Webster, aided the
army and effectually checked their further progress.  Before any of
Buell's troops had reached the west bank of the Tennessee, firing had
almost entirely ceased; anything like an attempt on the part of the
enemy to advance had absolutely ceased.  There was some artillery firing
from an unseen enemy, some of his shells passing beyond us; but I do not
remember that there was the whistle of a single musket-ball heard.  As
his troops arrived in the dusk General Buell marched several of his
regiments part way down the face of the hill where they fired briskly
for some minutes, but I do not think a single man engaged in this firing
received an injury.  The attack had spent its force.

General Lew. Wallace, with 5,000 effective men, arrived after firing had
ceased for the day, and was placed on the right. Thus night came,
Wallace came, and the advance of Nelson's division came; but none
--unless night--in time to be of material service to the gallant men who
saved Shiloh on that first day against large odds.  Buell's loss on the
6th of April was two men killed and one wounded, all members of the 36th
Indiana infantry.  The Army of the Tennessee lost on that day at least
7,000 men.  The presence of two or three regiments of Buell's army on
the west bank before firing ceased had not the slightest effect in
preventing the capture of Pittsburg landing.

So confident was I before firing had ceased on the 6th that the next day
would bring victory to our arms if we could only take the initiative,
that I visited each division commander in person before any
reinforcements had reached the field.  I directed them to throw out
heavy lines of skirmishers in the morning as soon as they could see, and
push them forward until they found the enemy, following with their
entire divisions in supporting distance, and to engage the enemy as soon
as found.  To Sherman I told the story of the assault at Fort Donelson,
and said that the same tactics would win at Shiloh.  Victory was assured
when Wallace arrived, even if there had been no other support.  I was
glad, however, to see the reinforcements of Buell and credit them with
doing all there was for them to do.

During the night of the 6th the remainder of Nelson's division, Buell's
army crossed the river and were ready to advance in the morning, forming
the left wing.  Two other divisions, Crittenden's and McCook's, came up
the river from Savannah in the transports and were on the west bank
early on the 7th. Buell commanded them in person.  My command was thus
nearly doubled in numbers and efficiency.

During the night rain fell in torrents and our troops were exposed to
the storm without shelter.  I made my headquarters under a tree a few
hundred yards back from the river bank.  My ankle was so much swollen
from the fall of my horse the Friday night preceding, and the bruise was
so painful, that I could get no rest.

The drenching rain would have precluded the possibility of sleep without
this additional cause.  Some time after midnight, growing restive under
the storm and the continuous pain, I moved back to the log-house under
the bank.  This had been taken as a hospital, and all night wounded men
were being brought in, their wounds dressed, a leg or an arm amputated
as the case might require, and everything being done to save life or
alleviate suffering.  The sight was more unendurable than encountering
the enemy's fire, and I returned to my tree in the rain.

The advance on the morning of the 7th developed the enemy in the camps
occupied by our troops before the battle began, more than a mile back
from the most advanced position of the Confederates on the day before.
It is known now that they had not yet learned of the arrival of Buell's
command.  Possibly they fell back so far to get the shelter of our tents
during the rain, and also to get away from the shells that were dropped
upon them by the gunboats every fifteen minutes during the night.

The position of the Union troops on the morning of the 7th was as
follows:  General Lew. Wallace on the right; Sherman on his left; then
McClernand and then Hurlbut.  Nelson, of Buell's army, was on our
extreme left, next to the river.

Crittenden was next in line after Nelson and on his right, McCook
followed and formed the extreme right of Buell's command.  My old
command thus formed the right wing, while the troops directly under
Buell constituted the left wing of the army.  These relative positions
were retained during the entire day, or until the enemy was driven from
the field.

In a very short time the battle became general all along the line.  This
day everything was favorable to the Union side.  We had now become the
attacking party.  The enemy was driven back all day, as we had been the
day before, until finally he beat a precipitate retreat.  The last point
held by him was near the road leading from the landing to Corinth, on
the left of Sherman and right of McClernand.  About three o'clock, being
near that point and seeing that the enemy was giving way everywhere
else, I gathered up a couple of regiments, or parts of regiments, from
troops near by, formed them in line of battle and marched them forward,
going in front myself to prevent premature or long-range firing.  At
this point there was a clearing between us and the enemy favorable for
charging, although exposed.  I knew the enemy were ready to break and
only wanted a little encouragement from us to go quickly and join their
friends who had started earlier.  After marching to within musket-range
I stopped and let the troops pass.  The command, CHARGE, was given, and
was executed with loud cheers and with a run; when the last of the enemy
broke. (*7)



During this second day of the battle I had been moving from right to
left and back, to see for myself the progress made.  In the early part
of the afternoon, while riding with Colonel McPherson and Major Hawkins,
then my chief commissary, we got beyond the left of our troops.  We were
moving along the northern edge of a clearing, very leisurely, toward the
river above the landing.  There did not appear to be an enemy to our
right, until suddenly a battery with musketry opened upon us from the
edge of the woods on the other side of the clearing. The shells and
balls whistled about our ears very fast for about a minute.  I do not
think it took us longer than that to get out of range and out of sight.
In the sudden start we made, Major Hawkins lost his hat.  He did not
stop to pick it up.  When we arrived at a perfectly safe position we
halted to take an account of damages.  McPherson's horse was panting as
if ready to drop.  On examination it was found that a ball had struck
him forward of the flank just back of the saddle, and had gone entirely
through.  In a few minutes the poor beast dropped dead; he had given no
sign of injury until we came to a stop.  A ball had struck the metal
scabbard of my sword, just below the hilt, and broken it nearly off;
before the battle was over it had broken off entirely.  There were
three of us:  one had lost a horse, killed; one a hat and one a
sword-scabbard.  All were thankful that it was no worse.

After the rain of the night before and the frequent and heavy rains for
some days previous, the roads were almost impassable.  The enemy
carrying his artillery and supply trains over them in his retreat, made
them still worse for troops following.  I wanted to pursue, but had not
the heart to order the men who had fought desperately for two days,
lying in the mud and rain whenever not fighting, and I did (*8) not feel
disposed to positively order Buell, or any part of his command, to
pursue.  Although the senior in rank at the time I had been so only a
few weeks.  Buell was, and had been for some time past, a department
commander, while I commanded only a district.  I did not meet Buell in
person until too late to get troops ready and pursue with effect; but
had I seen him at the moment of the last charge I should have at least
requested him to follow.

I rode forward several miles the day after the battle, and found that
the enemy had dropped much, if not all, of their provisions, some
ammunition and the extra wheels of their caissons, lightening their
loads to enable them to get off their guns. About five miles out we
found their field hospital abandoned. An immediate pursuit must have
resulted in the capture of a considerable number of prisoners and
probably some guns.

Shiloh was the severest battle fought at the West during the war, and
but few in the East equalled it for hard, determined fighting.  I saw an
open field, in our possession on the second day, over which the
Confederates had made repeated charges the day before, so covered with
dead that it would have been possible to walk across the clearing, in
any direction, stepping on dead bodies, without a foot touching the
ground.  On our side National and Confederate troops were mingled
together in about equal proportions; but on the remainder of the field
nearly all were Confederates.  On one part, which had evidently not been
ploughed for several years, probably because the land was poor, bushes
had grown up, some to the height of eight or ten feet. There was not one
of these left standing unpierced by bullets. The smaller ones were all
cut down.

Contrary to all my experience up to that time, and to the experience of
the army I was then commanding, we were on the defensive.  We were
without intrenchments or defensive advantages of any sort, and more than
half the army engaged the first day was without experience or even drill
as soldiers.  The officers with them, except the division commanders and
possibly two or three of the brigade commanders, were equally
inexperienced in war.  The result was a Union victory that gave the men
who achieved it great confidence in themselves ever after.

The enemy fought bravely, but they had started out to defeat and destroy
an army and capture a position.  They failed in both, with very heavy
loss in killed and wounded, and must have gone back discouraged and
convinced that the "Yankee" was not an enemy to be despised.

After the battle I gave verbal instructions to division commanders to
let the regiments send out parties to bury their own dead, and to detail
parties, under commissioned officers from each division, to bury the
Confederate dead in their respective fronts and to report the numbers so
buried.  The latter part of these instructions was not carried out by
all; but they were by those sent from Sherman's division, and by some of
the parties sent out by McClernand.  The heaviest loss sustained by the
enemy was in front of these two divisions.

The criticism has often been made that the Union troops should have been
intrenched at Shiloh.  Up to that time the pick and spade had been but
little resorted to at the West.  I had, however, taken this subject
under consideration soon after re-assuming command in the field, and, as
already stated, my only military engineer reported unfavorably.  Besides
this, the troops with me, officers and men, needed discipline and drill
more than they did experience with the pick, shovel and axe.
Reinforcements were arriving almost daily, composed of troops that had
been hastily thrown together into companies and regiments--fragments of
incomplete organizations, the men and officers strangers to each other.
Under all these circumstances I concluded that drill and discipline were
worth more to our men than fortifications.

General Buell was a brave, intelligent officer, with as much
professional pride and ambition of a commendable sort as I ever knew.  I
had been two years at West Point with him, and had served with him
afterwards, in garrison and in the Mexican war, several years more.  He
was not given in early life or in mature years to forming intimate
acquaintances.  He was studious by habit, and commanded the confidence
and respect of all who knew him.  He was a strict disciplinarian, and
perhaps did not distinguish sufficiently between the volunteer who
"enlisted for the war" and the soldier who serves in time of peace.  One
system embraced men who risked life for a principle, and often men of
social standing, competence, or wealth and independence of character.
The other includes, as a rule, only men who could not do as well in any
other occupation.  General Buell became an object of harsh criticism
later, some going so far as to challenge his loyalty.  No one who knew
him ever believed him capable of a dishonorable act, and nothing could
be more dishonorable than to accept high rank and command in war and
then betray the trust.  When I came into command of the army in 1864, I
requested the Secretary of War to restore General Buell to duty.

After the war, during the summer of 1865, I travelled considerably
through the North, and was everywhere met by large numbers of people.
Every one had his opinion about the manner in which the war had been
conducted:  who among the generals had failed, how, and why.
Correspondents of the press were ever on hand to hear every word
dropped, and were not always disposed to report correctly what did not
confirm their preconceived notions, either about the conduct of the war
or the individuals concerned in it.  The opportunity frequently occurred
for me to defend General Buell against what I believed to be most unjust
charges.  On one occasion a correspondent put in my mouth the very
charge I had so often refuted--of disloyalty.  This brought from General
Buell a very severe retort, which I saw in the New York World some time
before I received the letter itself.  I could very well understand his
grievance at seeing untrue and disgraceful charges apparently sustained
by an officer who, at the time, was at the head of the army.  I replied
to him, but not through the press.  I kept no copy of my letter, nor did
I ever see it in print; neither did I receive an answer.

General Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded the Confederate forces at
the beginning of the battle, was disabled by a wound on the afternoon of
the first day.  This wound, as I understood afterwards, was not
necessarily fatal, or even dangerous.  But he was a man who would not
abandon what he deemed an important trust in the face of danger and
consequently continued in the saddle, commanding, until so exhausted by
the loss of blood that he had to be taken from his horse, and soon after
died.  The news was not long in reaching our side and I suppose was
quite an encouragement to the National soldiers.

I had known Johnston slightly in the Mexican war and later as an officer
in the regular army.  He was a man of high character and ability.  His
contemporaries at West Point, and officers generally who came to know
him personally later and who remained on our side, expected him to prove
the most formidable man to meet that the Confederacy would produce.

I once wrote that nothing occurred in his brief command of an army to
prove or disprove the high estimate that had been placed upon his
military ability; but after studying the orders and dispatches of
Johnston I am compelled to materially modify my views of that officer's
qualifications as a soldier.  My judgment now is that he was vacillating
and undecided in his actions.

All the disasters in Kentucky and Tennessee were so discouraging to the
authorities in Richmond that Jefferson Davis wrote an unofficial letter
to Johnston expressing his own anxiety and that of the public, and
saying that he had made such defence as was dictated by long friendship,
but that in the absence of a report he needed facts.  The letter was not
a reprimand in direct terms, but it was evidently as much felt as though
it had been one.  General Johnston raised another army as rapidly as he
could, and fortified or strongly intrenched at Corinth.  He knew the
National troops were preparing to attack him in his chosen position.
But he had evidently become so disturbed at the results of his
operations that he resolved to strike out in an offensive campaign which
would restore all that was lost, and if successful accomplish still
more.  We have the authority of his son and biographer for saying that
his plan was to attack the forces at Shiloh and crush them; then to
cross the Tennessee and destroy the army of Buell, and push the war
across the Ohio River.  The design was a bold one; but we have the same
authority for saying that in the execution Johnston showed vacillation
and indecision.  He left Corinth on the 2d of April and was not ready to
attack until the 6th.  The distance his army had to march was less than
twenty miles.  Beauregard, his second in command, was opposed to the
attack for two reasons: first, he thought, if let alone the National
troops would attack the Confederates in their intrenchments; second, we
were in ground of our own choosing and would necessarily be intrenched.
Johnston not only listened to the objection of Beauregard to an attack,
but held a council of war on the subject on the morning of the 5th.  On
the evening of the same day he was in consultation with some of his
generals on the same subject, and still again on the morning of the 6th.
During this last consultation, and before a decision had been reached,
the battle began by the National troops opening fire on the enemy. This
seemed to settle the question as to whether there was to be any battle
of Shiloh.  It also seems to me to settle the question as to whether
there was a surprise.

I do not question the personal courage of General Johnston, or his
ability.  But he did not win the distinction predicted for him by many
of his friends.  He did prove that as a general he was over-estimated.

General Beauregard was next in rank to Johnston and succeeded to the
command, which he retained to the close of the battle and during the
subsequent retreat on Corinth, as well as in the siege of that place.
His tactics have been severely criticised by Confederate writers, but I
do not believe his fallen chief could have done any better under the
circumstances.  Some of these critics claim that Shiloh was won when
Johnston fell, and that if he had not fallen the army under me would
have been annihilated or captured.  IFS defeated the Confederates at
Shiloh.  There is little doubt that we would have been disgracefully
beaten IF all the shells and bullets fired by us had passed harmlessly
over the enemy and IF all of theirs had taken effect.  Commanding
generals are liable to be killed during engagements; and the fact that
when he was shot Johnston was leading a brigade to induce it to make a
charge which had been repeatedly ordered, is evidence that there was
neither the universal demoralization on our side nor the unbounded
confidence on theirs which has been claimed.  There was, in fact, no
hour during the day when I doubted the eventual defeat of the enemy,
although I was disappointed that reinforcements so near at hand did not
arrive at an earlier hour.

The description of the battle of Shiloh given by Colonel Wm. Preston
Johnston is very graphic and well told.  The reader will imagine that he
can see each blow struck, a demoralized and broken mob of Union
soldiers, each blow sending the enemy more demoralized than ever towards
the Tennessee River, which was a little more than two miles away at the
beginning of the onset. If the reader does not stop to inquire why, with
such Confederate success for more than twelve hours of hard fighting,
the National troops were not all killed, captured or driven into the
river, he will regard the pen picture as perfect.  But I witnessed the
fight from the National side from eight o'clock in the morning until
night closed the contest.  I see but little in the description that I
can recognize.  The Confederate troops fought well and deserve
commendation enough for their bravery and endurance on the 6th of April,
without detracting from their antagonists or claiming anything more than
their just dues.

The reports of the enemy show that their condition at the end of the
first day was deplorable; their losses in killed and wounded had been
very heavy, and their stragglers had been quite as numerous as on the
National side, with the difference that those of the enemy left the
field entirely and were not brought back to their respective commands
for many days.  On the Union side but few of the stragglers fell back
further than the landing on the river, and many of these were in line
for duty on the second day.  The admissions of the highest Confederate
officers engaged at Shiloh make the claim of a victory for them absurd.
The victory was not to either party until the battle was over.  It was
then a Union victory, in which the Armies of the Tennessee and the Ohio
both participated.  But the Army of the Tennessee fought the entire
rebel army on the 6th and held it at bay until near night; and night
alone closed the conflict and not the three regiments of Nelson's

The Confederates fought with courage at Shiloh, but the particular skill
claimed I could not and still cannot see; though there is nothing to
criticise except the claims put forward for it since.  But the
Confederate claimants for superiority in strategy, superiority in
generalship and superiority in dash and prowess are not so unjust to the
Union troops engaged at Shiloh as are many Northern writers.  The troops
on both sides were American, and united they need not fear any foreign
foe.  It is possible that the Southern man started in with a little more
dash than his Northern brother; but he was correspondingly less

The endeavor of the enemy on the first day was simply to hurl their men
against ours--first at one point, then at another, sometimes at several
points at once.  This they did with daring and energy, until at night
the rebel troops were worn out.  Our effort during the same time was to
be prepared to resist assaults wherever made.  The object of the
Confederates on the second day was to get away with as much of their
army and material as possible.  Ours then was to drive them from our
front, and to capture or destroy as great a part as possible of their
men and material.  We were successful in driving them back, but not so
successful in captures as if farther pursuit could have been made.  As
it was, we captured or recaptured on the second day about as much
artillery as we lost on the first; and, leaving out the one great
capture of Prentiss, we took more prisoners on Monday than the enemy
gained from us on Sunday.  On the 6th Sherman lost seven pieces of
artillery, McClernand six, Prentiss eight, and Hurlbut two batteries.
On the 7th Sherman captured seven guns, McClernand three and the Army of
the Ohio twenty.

At Shiloh the effective strength of the Union forces on the morning of
the 6th was 33,000 men.  Lew. Wallace brought 5,000 more after
nightfall.  Beauregard reported the enemy's strength at 40,955.
According to the custom of enumeration in the South, this number
probably excluded every man enlisted as musician or detailed as guard or
nurse, and all commissioned officers--everybody who did not carry a
musket or serve a cannon. With us everybody in the field receiving pay
from the government is counted.  Excluding the troops who fled,
panic-stricken, before they had fired a shot, there was not a time
during the 6th when we had more than 25,000 men in line. On the 7th
Buell brought 20,000 more.  Of his remaining two divisions, Thomas's did
not reach the field during the engagement; Wood's arrived before firing
had ceased, but not in time to be of much service.

Our loss in the two days' fight was 1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded and
2,885 missing.  Of these, 2,103 were in the Army of the Ohio.
Beauregard reported a total loss of 10,699, of whom 1,728 were killed,
8,012 wounded and 957 missing.  This estimate must be incorrect.  We
buried, by actual count, more of the enemy's dead in front of the
divisions of McClernand and Sherman alone than here reported, and 4,000
was the estimate of the burial parties of the whole field.  Beauregard
reports the Confederate force on the 6th at over 40,000, and their total
loss during the two days at 10,699; and at the same time declares that
he could put only 20,000 men in battle on the morning of the 7th.

The navy gave a hearty support to the army at Shiloh, as indeed it
always did both before and subsequently when I was in command.  The
nature of the ground was such, however, that on this occasion it could
do nothing in aid of the troops until sundown on the first day.  The
country was broken and heavily timbered, cutting off all view of the
battle from the river, so that friends would be as much in danger from
fire from the gunboats as the foe.  But about sundown, when the National
troops were back in their last position, the right of the enemy was near
the river and exposed to the fire of the two gun-boats, which was
delivered with vigor and effect.  After nightfall, when firing had
entirely ceased on land, the commander of the fleet informed himself,
approximately, of the position of our troops and suggested the idea of
dropping a shell within the lines of the enemy every fifteen minutes
during the night.  This was done with effect, as is proved by the
Confederate reports.

Up to the battle of Shiloh I, as well as thousands of other citizens,
believed that the rebellion against the Government would collapse
suddenly and soon, if a decisive victory could be gained over any of its
armies.  Donelson and Henry were such victories.  An army of more than
21,000 men was captured or destroyed.  Bowling Green, Columbus and
Hickman, Kentucky, fell in consequence, and Clarksville and Nashville,
Tennessee, the last two with an immense amount of stores, also fell into
our hands.  The Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, from their mouths to
the head of navigation, were secured.  But when Confederate armies were
collected which not only attempted to hold a line farther south, from
Memphis to Chattanooga, Knoxville and on to the Atlantic, but assumed
the offensive and made such a gallant effort to regain what had been
lost, then, indeed, I gave up all idea of saving the Union except by
complete conquest.  Up to that time it had been the policy of our army,
certainly of that portion commanded by me, to protect the property of
the citizens whose territory was invaded, without regard to their
sentiments, whether Union or Secession.  After this, however, I regarded
it as humane to both sides to protect the persons of those found at
their homes, but to consume everything that could be used to support or
supply armies.  Protection was still continued over such supplies as
were within lines held by us and which we expected to continue to hold;
but such supplies within the reach of Confederate armies I regarded as
much contraband as arms or ordnance stores.  Their destruction was
accomplished without bloodshed and tended to the same result as the
destruction of armies.  I continued this policy to the close of the war.
Promiscuous pillaging, however, was discouraged and punished.
Instructions were always given to take provisions and forage under the
direction of commissioned officers who should give receipts to owners,
if at home, and turn the property over to officers of the quartermaster
or commissary departments to be issued as if furnished from our Northern
depots.  But much was destroyed without receipts to owners, when it
could not be brought within our lines and would otherwise have gone to
the support of secession and rebellion.

This policy I believe exercised a material influence in hastening the

The battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg landing, has been perhaps less
understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently
misunderstood, than any other engagement between National and
Confederate troops during the entire rebellion. Correct reports of the
battle have been published, notably by Sherman, Badeau and, in a speech
before a meeting of veterans, by General Prentiss; but all of these
appeared long subsequent to the close of the rebellion and after public
opinion had been most erroneously formed.

I myself made no report to General Halleck, further than was contained
in a letter, written immediately after the battle informing him that an
engagement had been fought and announcing the result.  A few days
afterwards General Halleck moved his headquarters to Pittsburg landing
and assumed command of the troops in the field.  Although next to him in
rank, and nominally in command of my old district and army, I was
ignored as much as if I had been at the most distant point of territory
within my jurisdiction; and although I was in command of all the troops
engaged at Shiloh I was not permitted to see one of the reports of
General Buell or his subordinates in that battle, until they were
published by the War Department long after the event.  For this reason I
never made a full official report of this engagement.



General Halleck arrived at Pittsburg landing on the 11th of April and
immediately assumed command in the field.  On the 21st General Pope
arrived with an army 30,000 strong, fresh from the capture of Island
Number Ten in the Mississippi River.  He went into camp at Hamburg
landing five miles above Pittsburg. Halleck had now three armies:  the
Army of the Ohio, Buell commanding; the Army of the Mississippi, Pope
commanding; and the Army of the Tennessee.  His orders divided the
combined force into the right wing, reserve, centre and left wing.
Major-General George H. Thomas, who had been in Buell's army, was
transferred with his division to the Army of the Tennessee and given
command of the right wing, composed of all of that army except
McClernand's and Lew. Wallace's divisions. McClernand was assigned to
the command of the reserve, composed of his own and Lew. Wallace's
divisions.  Buell commanded the centre, the Army of the Ohio; and Pope
the left wing, the Army of the Mississippi.  I was named second in
command of the whole, and was also supposed to be in command of the
right wing and reserve.

Orders were given to all the commanders engaged at Shiloh to send in
their reports without delay to department headquarters.  Those from
officers of the Army of the Tennessee were sent through me; but from the
Army of the Ohio they were sent by General Buell without passing through
my hands.  General Halleck ordered me, verbally, to send in my report,
but I positively declined on the ground that he had received the reports
of a part of the army engaged at Shiloh without their coming through me.
He admitted that my refusal was justifiable under the circumstances, but
explained that he had wanted to get the reports off before moving the
command, and as fast as a report had come to him he had forwarded it to

Preparations were at once made upon the arrival of the new commander for
an advance on Corinth.  Owl Creek, on our right, was bridged, and
expeditions were sent to the north-west and west to ascertain if our
position was being threatened from those quarters; the roads towards
Corinth were corduroyed and new ones made; lateral roads were also
constructed, so that in case of necessity troops marching by different
routes could reinforce each other.  All commanders were cautioned
against bringing on an engagement and informed in so many words that it
would be better to retreat than to fight.  By the 30th of April all
preparations were complete; the country west to the Mobile and Ohio
railroad had been reconnoitred, as well as the road to Corinth as far as
Monterey twelve miles from Pittsburg. Everywhere small bodies of the
enemy had been encountered, but they were observers and not in force to
fight battles.

Corinth, Mississippi, lies in a south-westerly direction from Pittsburg
landing and about nineteen miles away as the bird would fly, but
probably twenty-two by the nearest wagon-road. It is about four miles
south of the line dividing the States of Tennessee and Mississippi, and
at the junction of the Mississippi and Chattanooga railroad with the
Mobile and Ohio road which runs from Columbus to Mobile.  From Pittsburg
to Corinth the land is rolling, but at no point reaching an elevation
that makes high hills to pass over.  In 1862 the greater part of the
country was covered with forest with intervening clearings and houses.
Underbrush was dense in the low grounds along the creeks and ravines,
but generally not so thick on the high land as to prevent men passing
through with ease.  There are two small creeks running from north of the
town and connecting some four miles south, where they form Bridge Creek
which empties into the Tuscumbia River.  Corinth is on the ridge between
these streams and is a naturally strong defensive position.  The creeks
are insignificant in volume of water, but the stream to the east widens
out in front of the town into a swamp impassable in the presence of an
enemy.  On the crest of the west bank of this stream the enemy was
strongly intrenched.

Corinth was a valuable strategic point for the enemy to hold, and
consequently a valuable one for us to possess ourselves of.  We ought to
have seized it immediately after the fall of Donelson and Nashville,
when it could have been taken without a battle, but failing then it
should have been taken, without delay on the concentration of troops at
Pittsburg landing after the battle of Shiloh.  In fact the arrival of
Pope should not have been awaited.  There was no time from the battle of
Shiloh up to the evacuation of Corinth when the enemy would not have
left if pushed.  The demoralization among the Confederates from their
defeats at Henry and Donelson; their long marches from Bowling Green,
Columbus, and Nashville, and their failure at Shiloh; in fact from
having been driven out of Kentucky and Tennessee, was so great that a
stand for the time would have been impossible.  Beauregard made
strenuous efforts to reinforce himself and partially succeeded.  He
appealed to the people of the South-west for new regiments, and received
a few.  A. S. Johnston had made efforts to reinforce in the same
quarter, before the battle of Shiloh, but in a different way.  He had
negroes sent out to him to take the place of teamsters, company cooks
and laborers in every capacity, so as to put all his white men into the
ranks.  The people, while willing to send their sons to the field, were
not willing to part with their negroes.  It is only fair to state that
they probably wanted their blacks to raise supplies for the army and for
the families left at home.

Beauregard, however, was reinforced by Van Dorn immediately after Shiloh
with 17,000 men.  Interior points, less exposed, were also depleted to
add to the strength at Corinth.  With these reinforcements and the new
regiments, Beauregard had, during the month of May, 1862, a large force
on paper, but probably not much over 50,000 effective men.  We estimated
his strength at 70,000.  Our own was, in round numbers, 120,000. The
defensible nature of the ground at Corinth, and the fortifications, made
50,000 then enough to maintain their position against double that number
for an indefinite time but for the demoralization spoken of.

On the 30th of April the grand army commenced its advance from Shiloh
upon Corinth.  The movement was a siege from the start to the close.
The National troops were always behind intrenchments, except of course
the small reconnoitring parties sent to the front to clear the way for
an advance.  Even the commanders of these parties were cautioned, "not
to bring on an engagement." "It is better to retreat than to fight."
The enemy were constantly watching our advance, but as they were simply
observers there were but few engagements that even threatened to become
battles.  All the engagements fought ought to have served to encourage
the enemy.  Roads were again made in our front, and again corduroyed; a
line was intrenched, and the troops were advanced to the new position.
Cross roads were constructed to these new positions to enable the troops
to concentrate in case of attack.  The National armies were thoroughly
intrenched all the way from the Tennessee River to Corinth.

For myself I was little more than an observer.  Orders were sent direct
to the right wing or reserve, ignoring me, and advances were made from
one line of intrenchments to another without notifying me.  My position
was so embarrassing in fact that I made several applications during the
siege to be relieved.

General Halleck kept his headquarters generally, if not all the time,
with the right wing.  Pope being on the extreme left did not see so much
of his chief, and consequently got loose as it were at times.  On the 3d
of May he was at Seven Mile Creek with the main body of his command, but
threw forward a division to Farmington, within four miles of Corinth.
His troops had quite a little engagement at Farmington on that day, but
carried the place with considerable loss to the enemy.  There would then
have been no difficulty in advancing the centre and right so as to form
a new line well up to the enemy, but Pope was ordered back to conform
with the general line.  On the 8th of May he moved again, taking his
whole force to Farmington, and pushed out two divisions close to the
rebel line.  Again he was ordered back.  By the 4th of May the centre
and right wing reached Monterey, twelve miles out.  Their advance was
slow from there, for they intrenched with every forward movement.  The
left wing moved up again on the 25th of May and intrenched itself close
to the enemy.  The creek with the marsh before described, separated the
two lines.  Skirmishers thirty feet apart could have maintained either
line at this point.

Our centre and right were, at this time, extended so that the right of
the right wing was probably five miles from Corinth and four from the
works in their front.  The creek, which was a formidable obstacle for
either side to pass on our left, became a very slight obstacle on our
right.  Here the enemy occupied two positions.  One of them, as much as
two miles out from his main line, was on a commanding elevation and
defended by an intrenched battery with infantry supports.  A heavy wood
intervened between this work and the National forces.  In rear to the
south there was a clearing extending a mile or more, and south of this
clearing a log-house which had been loop-holed and was occupied by
infantry.  Sherman's division carried these two positions with some loss
to himself, but with probably greater to the enemy, on the 28th of May,
and on that day the investment of Corinth was complete, or as complete
as it was ever made. Thomas' right now rested west of the Mobile and
Ohio railroad. Pope's left commanded the Memphis and Charleston railroad
east of Corinth.

Some days before I had suggested to the commanding general that I
thought if he would move the Army of the Mississippi at night, by the
rear of the centre and right, ready to advance at daylight, Pope would
find no natural obstacle in his front and, I believed, no serious
artificial one.  The ground, or works, occupied by our left could be
held by a thin picket line, owing to the stream and swamp in front.  To
the right the troops would have a dry ridge to march over.  I was
silenced so quickly that I felt that possibly I had suggested an
unmilitary movement.

Later, probably on the 28th of May, General Logan, whose command was
then on the Mobile and Ohio railroad, said to me that the enemy had been
evacuating for several days and that if allowed he could go into Corinth
with his brigade.  Trains of cars were heard coming in and going out of
Corinth constantly.  Some of the men who had been engaged in various
capacities on railroads before the war claimed that they could tell, by
putting their ears to the rail, not only which way the trains were
moving but which trains were loaded and which were empty.  They said
loaded trains had been going out for several days and empty ones coming
in.  Subsequent events proved the correctness of their judgment.
Beauregard published his orders for the evacuation of Corinth on the
26th of May and fixed the 29th for the departure of his troops, and on
the 30th of May General Halleck had his whole army drawn up prepared for
battle and announced in orders that there was every indication that our
left was to be attacked that morning.  Corinth had already been
evacuated and the National troops marched on and took possession without
opposition.  Everything had been destroyed or carried away.  The
Confederate commander had instructed his soldiers to cheer on the
arrival of every train to create the impression among the Yankees that
reinforcements were arriving.  There was not a sick or wounded man left
by the Confederates, nor stores of any kind. Some ammunition had been
blown up--not removed--but the trophies of war were a few Quaker guns,
logs of about the diameter of ordinary cannon, mounted on wheels of
wagons and pointed in the most threatening manner towards us.

The possession of Corinth by the National troops was of strategic
importance, but the victory was barren in every other particular.  It
was nearly bloodless.  It is a question whether the MORALE of the
Confederate troops engaged at Corinth was not improved by the immunity
with which they were permitted to remove all public property and then
withdraw themselves.  On our side I know officers and men of the Army of
the Tennessee--and I presume the same is true of those of the other
commands--were disappointed at the result.  They could not see how the
mere occupation of places was to close the war while large and effective
rebel armies existed.  They believed that a well-directed attack would
at least have partially destroyed the army defending Corinth.  For
myself I am satisfied that Corinth could have been captured in a two
days' campaign commenced promptly on the arrival of reinforcements after
the battle of Shiloh.

General Halleck at once commenced erecting fortifications around Corinth
on a scale to indicate that this one point must be held if it took the
whole National army to do it.  All commanding points two or three miles
to the south, south-east and south-west were strongly fortified.  It was
expected in case of necessity to connect these forts by rifle-pits.
They were laid out on a scale that would have required 100,000 men to
fully man them.  It was probably thought that a final battle of the war
would be fought at that point.  These fortifications were never used.
Immediately after the occupation of Corinth by the National troops,
General Pope was sent in pursuit of the retreating garrison and General
Buell soon followed.  Buell was the senior of the two generals and
commanded the entire column.  The pursuit was kept up for some thirty
miles, but did not result in the capture of any material of war or
prisoners, unless a few stragglers who had fallen behind and were
willing captives.  On the 10th of June the pursuing column was all back
at Corinth.  The Army of the Tennessee was not engaged in any of these

The Confederates were now driven out of West Tennessee, and on the 6th
of June, after a well-contested naval battle, the National forces took
possession of Memphis and held the Mississippi river from its source to
that point.  The railroad from Columbus to Corinth was at once put in
good condition and held by us.  We had garrisons at Donelson,
Clarksville and Nashville, on the Cumberland River, and held the
Tennessee River from its mouth to Eastport.  New Orleans and Baton Rouge
had fallen into the possession of the National forces, so that now the
Confederates at the west were narrowed down for all communication with
Richmond to the single line of road running east from Vicksburg.  To
dispossess them of this, therefore, became a matter of the first
importance.  The possession of the Mississippi by us from Memphis to
Baton Rouge was also a most important object.  It would be equal to the
amputation of a limb in its weakening effects upon the enemy.

After the capture of Corinth a movable force of 80,000 men, besides
enough to hold all the territory acquired, could have been set in motion
for the accomplishment of any great campaign for the suppression of the
rebellion.  In addition to this fresh troops were being raised to swell
the effective force.  But the work of depletion commenced.  Buell with
the Army of the Ohio was sent east, following the line of the Memphis
and Charleston railroad.  This he was ordered to repair as he advanced
--only to have it destroyed by small guerilla bands or other troops as
soon as he was out of the way.  If he had been sent directly to
Chattanooga as rapidly as he could march, leaving two or three divisions
along the line of the railroad from Nashville forward, he could have
arrived with but little fighting, and would have saved much of the loss
of life which was afterwards incurred in gaining Chattanooga.  Bragg
would then not have had time to raise an army to contest the possession
of middle and east Tennessee and Kentucky; the battles of Stone River
and Chickamauga would not necessarily have been fought; Burnside would
not have been besieged in Knoxville without the power of helping himself
or escaping; the battle of Chattanooga would not have been fought.
These are the negative advantages, if the term negative is applicable,
which would probably have resulted from prompt movements after Corinth
fell into the possession of the National forces.  The positive results
might have been:  a bloodless advance to Atlanta, to Vicksburg, or to
any other desired point south of Corinth in the interior of Mississippi.



My position at Corinth, with a nominal command and yet no command,
became so unbearable that I asked permission of Halleck to remove my
headquarters to Memphis.  I had repeatedly asked, between the fall of
Donelson and the evacuation of Corinth, to be relieved from duty under
Halleck; but all my applications were refused until the occupation of
the town.  I then obtained permission to leave the department, but
General Sherman happened to call on me as I was about starting and urged
me so strongly not to think of going, that I concluded to remain.  My
application to be permitted to remove my headquarters to Memphis was,
however, approved, and on the 21st of June I started for that point with
my staff and a cavalry escort of only a part of one company.  There was
a detachment of two or three companies going some twenty-five miles west
to be stationed as a guard to the railroad.  I went under cover of this
escort to the end of their march, and the next morning proceeded to La
Grange with no convoy but the few cavalry men I had with me.

From La Grange to Memphis the distance is forty-seven miles. There were
no troops stationed between these two points, except a small force
guarding a working party which was engaged in repairing the railroad.
Not knowing where this party would be found I halted at La Grange.
General Hurlbut was in command there at the time and had his
headquarters tents pitched on the lawn of a very commodious country
house.  The proprietor was at home and, learning of my arrival, he
invited General Hurlbut and me to dine with him.  I accepted the
invitation and spent a very pleasant afternoon with my host, who was a
thorough Southern gentleman fully convinced of the justice of secession.
After dinner, seated in the capacious porch, he entertained me with a
recital of the services he was rendering the cause.  He was too old to
be in the ranks himself--he must have been quite seventy then--but his
means enabled him to be useful in other ways.  In ordinary times the
homestead where he was now living produced the bread and meat to supply
the slaves on his main plantation, in the low-lands of Mississippi.  Now
he raised food and forage on both places, and thought he would have that
year a surplus sufficient to feed three hundred families of poor men who
had gone into the war and left their families dependent upon the
"patriotism" of those better off.  The crops around me looked fine, and
I had at the moment an idea that about the time they were ready to be
gathered the "Yankee" troops would be in the neighborhood and harvest
them for the benefit of those engaged in the suppression of the
rebellion instead of its support.  I felt, however, the greatest respect
for the candor of my host and for his zeal in a cause he thoroughly
believed in, though our views were as wide apart as it is possible to

The 23d of June, 1862, on the road from La Grange to Memphis was very
warm, even for that latitude and season.  With my staff and small escort
I started at an early hour, and before noon we arrived within twenty
miles of Memphis.  At this point I saw a very comfortable-looking
white-haired gentleman seated at the front of his house, a little
distance from the road.  I let my staff and escort ride ahead while I
halted and, for an excuse, asked for a glass of water.  I was invited at
once to dismount and come in.  I found my host very genial and
communicative, and staid longer than I had intended, until the lady of
the house announced dinner and asked me to join them.  The host,
however, was not pressing, so that I declined the invitation and,
mounting my horse, rode on.

About a mile west from where I had been stopping a road comes up from
the southeast, joining that from La Grange to Memphis.  A mile west of
this junction I found my staff and escort halted and enjoying the shade
of forest trees on the lawn of a house located several hundred feet back
from the road, their horses hitched to the fence along the line of the
road.  I, too, stopped and we remained there until the cool of the
afternoon, and then rode into Memphis.

The gentleman with whom I had stopped twenty miles from Memphis was a
Mr. De Loche, a man loyal to the Union.  He had not pressed me to tarry
longer with him because in the early part of my visit a neighbor, a Dr.
Smith, had called and, on being presented to me, backed off the porch as
if something had hit him.  Mr. De Loche knew that the rebel General
Jackson was in that neighborhood with a detachment of cavalry.  His
neighbor was as earnest in the southern cause as was Mr. De Loche in
that of the Union.  The exact location of Jackson was entirely unknown
to Mr. De Loche; but he was sure that his neighbor would know it and
would give information of my presence, and this made my stay unpleasant
to him after the call of Dr. Smith.

I have stated that a detachment of troops was engaged in guarding
workmen who were repairing the railroad east of Memphis.  On the day I
entered Memphis, Jackson captured a small herd of beef cattle which had
been sent east for the troops so engaged.  The drovers were not enlisted
men and he released them.  A day or two after one of these drovers came
to my headquarters and, relating the circumstances of his capture, said
Jackson was very much disappointed that he had not captured me; that he
was six or seven miles south of the Memphis and Charleston railroad when
he learned that I was stopping at the house of Mr. De Loche, and had
ridden with his command to the junction of the road he was on with that
from La Grange and Memphis, where he learned that I had passed
three-quarters of an hour before.  He thought it would be useless to
pursue with jaded horses a well-mounted party with so much of a start.
Had he gone three-quarters of a mile farther he would have found me with
my party quietly resting under the shade of trees and without even arms
in our hands with which to defend ourselves.

General Jackson of course did not communicate his disappointment at not
capturing me to a prisoner, a young drover; but from the talk among the
soldiers the facts related were learned.  A day or two later Mr. De
Loche called on me in Memphis to apologize for his apparent incivility
in not insisting on my staying for dinner.  He said that his wife
accused him of marked discourtesy, but that, after the call of his
neighbor, he had felt restless until I got away.  I never met General
Jackson before the war, nor during it, but have met him since at his
very comfortable summer home at Manitou Springs, Colorado.  I reminded
him of the above incident, and this drew from him the response that he
was thankful now he had not captured me.  I certainly was very thankful

My occupation of Memphis as district headquarters did not last long.
The period, however, was marked by a few incidents which were novel to
me.  Up to that time I had not occupied any place in the South where the
citizens were at home in any great numbers.  Dover was within the
fortifications at Fort Donelson, and, as far as I remember, every
citizen was gone.  There were no people living at Pittsburg landing, and
but very few at Corinth.  Memphis, however, was a populous city, and
there were many of the citizens remaining there who were not only
thoroughly impressed with the justice of their cause, but who thought
that even the "Yankee soldiery" must entertain the same views if they
could only be induced to make an honest confession.  It took hours of my
time every day to listen to complaints and requests.  The latter were
generally reasonable, and if so they were granted; but the complaints
were not always, or even often, well founded.  Two instances will mark
the general character.  First:  the officer who commanded at Memphis
immediately after the city fell into the hands of the National troops
had ordered one of the churches of the city to be opened to the
soldiers.  Army chaplains were authorized to occupy the pulpit.  Second:
at the beginning of the war the Confederate Congress had passed a law
confiscating all property of "alien enemies" at the South, including the
debts of Southerners to Northern men.  In consequence of this law, when
Memphis was occupied the provost-marshal had forcibly collected all the
evidences he could obtain of such debts.

Almost the first complaints made to me were these two outrages.  The
gentleman who made the complaints informed me first of his own high
standing as a lawyer, a citizen and a Christian.  He was a deacon in the
church which had been defiled by the occupation of Union troops, and by
a Union chaplain filling the pulpit.  He did not use the word "defile,"
but he expressed the idea very clearly.  He asked that the church be
restored to the former congregation.  I told him that no order had been
issued prohibiting the congregation attending the church.  He said of
course the congregation could not hear a Northern clergyman who differed
so radically with them on questions of government.  I told him the
troops would continue to occupy that church for the present, and that
they would not be called upon to hear disloyal sentiments proclaimed
from the pulpit.  This closed the argument on the first point.

Then came the second.  The complainant said that he wanted the papers
restored to him which had been surrendered to the provost-marshal under
protest; he was a lawyer, and before the establishment of the
"Confederate States Government" had been the attorney for a number of
large business houses at the North; that "his government" had
confiscated all debts due "alien enemies," and appointed commissioners,
or officers, to collect such debts and pay them over to the
"government":  but in his case, owing to his high standing, he had been
permitted to hold these claims for collection, the responsible officials
knowing that he would account to the "government" for every dollar
received. He said that his "government," when it came in possession of
all its territory, would hold him personally responsible for the claims
he had surrendered to the provost-marshal.  His impudence was so sublime
that I was rather amused than indignant.  I told him, however, that if
he would remain in Memphis I did not believe the Confederate government
would ever molest him.  He left, no doubt, as much amazed at my
assurance as I was at the brazenness of his request.

On the 11th of July General Halleck received telegraphic orders
appointing him to the command of all the armies, with headquarters in
Washington.  His instructions pressed him to proceed to his new field of
duty with as little delay as was consistent with the safety and
interests of his previous command.  I was next in rank, and he
telegraphed me the same day to report at department headquarters at
Corinth.  I was not informed by the dispatch that my chief had been
ordered to a different field and did not know whether to move my
headquarters or not.  I telegraphed asking if I was to take my staff
with me, and received word in reply:  "This place will be your
headquarters.  You can judge for yourself."  I left Memphis for my new
field without delay, and reached Corinth on the 15th of the month.
General Halleck remained until the 17th of July; but he was very
uncommunicative, and gave me no information as to what I had been called
to Corinth for.

When General Halleck left to assume the duties of general-in-chief I
remained in command of the district of West Tennessee.  Practically I
became a department commander, because no one was assigned to that
position over me and I made my reports direct to the general-in-chief;
but I was not assigned to the position of department commander until the
25th of October.  General Halleck while commanding the Department of the
Mississippi had had control as far east as a line drawn from Chattanooga
north.  My district only embraced West Tennessee and Kentucky west of
the Cumberland River.  Buell, with the Army of the Ohio, had, as
previously stated, been ordered east towards Chattanooga, with
instructions to repair the Memphis and Charleston railroad as he
advanced.  Troops had been sent north by Halleck along the line of the
Mobile and Ohio railroad to put it in repair as far as Columbus.  Other
troops were stationed on the railroad from Jackson, Tennessee, to Grand
Junction, and still others on the road west to Memphis.

The remainder of the magnificent army of 120,000 men which entered
Corinth on the 30th of May had now become so scattered that I was put
entirely on the defensive in a territory whose population was hostile to
the Union.  One of the first things I had to do was to construct
fortifications at Corinth better suited to the garrison that could be
spared to man them.  The structures that had been built during the
months of May and June were left as monuments to the skill of the
engineer, and others were constructed in a few days, plainer in design
but suited to the command available to defend them.

I disposed the troops belonging to the district in conformity with the
situation as rapidly as possible.  The forces at Donelson, Clarksville
and Nashville, with those at Corinth and along the railroad eastward, I
regarded as sufficient for protection against any attack from the west.
The Mobile and Ohio railroad was guarded from Rienzi, south of Corinth,
to Columbus; and the Mississippi Central railroad from Jackson,
Tennessee, to Bolivar.  Grand Junction and La Grange on the Memphis
railroad were abandoned.

South of the Army of the Tennessee, and confronting it, was Van Dorn,
with a sufficient force to organize a movable army of thirty-five to
forty thousand men, after being reinforced by Price from Missouri.  This
movable force could be thrown against either Corinth, Bolivar or
Memphis; and the best that could be done in such event would be to
weaken the points not threatened in order to reinforce the one that was.
Nothing could be gained on the National side by attacking elsewhere,
because the territory already occupied was as much as the force present
could guard.  The most anxious period of the war, to me, was during the
time the Army of the Tennessee was guarding the territory acquired by
the fall of Corinth and Memphis and before I was sufficiently reinforced
to take the offensive.  The enemy also had cavalry operating in our
rear, making it necessary to guard every point of the railroad back to
Columbus, on the security of which we were dependent for all our
supplies. Headquarters were connected by telegraph with all points of
the command except Memphis and the Mississippi below Columbus.  With
these points communication was had by the railroad to Columbus, then
down the river by boat.  To reinforce Memphis would take three or four
days, and to get an order there for troops to move elsewhere would have
taken at least two days.  Memphis therefore was practically isolated
from the balance of the command.  But it was in Sherman's hands.  Then
too the troops were well intrenched and the gunboats made a valuable

During the two months after the departure of General Halleck there was
much fighting between small bodies of the contending armies, but these
encounters were dwarfed by the magnitude of the main battles so as to be
now almost forgotten except by those engaged in them.  Some of them,
however, estimated by the losses on both sides in killed and wounded,
were equal in hard fighting to most of the battles of the Mexican war
which attracted so much of the attention of the public when they
occurred.  About the 23d of July Colonel Ross, commanding at Bolivar,
was threatened by a large force of the enemy so that he had to be
reinforced from Jackson and Corinth.  On the 27th there was skirmishing
on the Hatchie River, eight miles from Bolivar. On the 30th I learned
from Colonel P. H. Sheridan, who had been far to the south, that Bragg
in person was at Rome, Georgia, with his troops moving by rail (by way
of Mobile) to Chattanooga and his wagon train marching overland to join
him at Rome.  Price was at this time at Holly Springs, Mississippi, with
a large force, and occupied Grand Junction as an outpost.  I proposed to
the general-in-chief to be permitted to drive him away, but was informed
that, while I had to judge for myself, the best use to make of my troops
WAS NOT TO SCATTER THEM, but hold them ready to reinforce Buell.

The movement of Bragg himself with his wagon trains to Chattanooga
across country, while his troops were transported over a long
round-about road to the same destination, without need of guards except
when in my immediate front, demonstrates the advantage which troops
enjoy while acting in a country where the people are friendly.  Buell
was marching through a hostile region and had to have his communications
thoroughly guarded back to a base of supplies.  More men were required
the farther the National troops penetrated into the enemy's country.  I,
with an army sufficiently powerful to have destroyed Bragg, was purely
on the defensive and accomplishing no more than to hold a force far
inferior to my own.

On the 2d of August I was ordered from Washington to live upon the
country, on the resources of citizens hostile to the government, so far
as practicable.  I was also directed to "handle rebels within our lines
without gloves," to imprison them, or to expel them from their homes and
from our lines.  I do not recollect having arrested and confined a
citizen (not a soldier) during the entire rebellion.  I am aware that a
great many were sent to northern prisons, particularly to Joliet,
Illinois, by some of my subordinates with the statement that it was my
order.  I had all such released the moment I learned of their arrest;
and finally sent a staff officer north to release every prisoner who was
said to be confined by my order.  There were many citizens at home who
deserved punishment because they were soldiers when an opportunity was
afforded to inflict an injury to the National cause.  This class was not
of the kind that were apt to get arrested, and I deemed it better that a
few guilty men should escape than that a great many innocent ones should

On the 14th of August I was ordered to send two more divisions to Buell.
They were sent the same day by way of Decatur.  On the 22d Colonel
Rodney Mason surrendered Clarksville with six companies of his regiment.

Colonel Mason was one of the officers who had led their regiments off
the field at almost the first fire of the rebels at Shiloh.  He was by
nature and education a gentleman, and was terribly mortified at his
action when the battle was over.  He came to me with tears in his eyes
and begged to be allowed to have another trial.  I felt great sympathy
for him and sent him, with his regiment, to garrison Clarksville and
Donelson.  He selected Clarksville for his headquarters, no doubt
because he regarded it as the post of danger, it being nearer the enemy.
But when he was summoned to surrender by a band of guerillas, his
constitutional weakness overcame him.  He inquired the number of men the
enemy had, and receiving a response indicating a force greater than his
own he said if he could be satisfied of that fact he would surrender.
Arrangements were made for him to count the guerillas, and having
satisfied himself that the enemy had the greater force he surrendered
and informed his subordinate at Donelson of the fact, advising him to do
the same.  The guerillas paroled their prisoners and moved upon
Donelson, but the officer in command at that point marched out to meet
them and drove them away.

Among other embarrassments, at the time of which I now write, was the
fact that the government wanted to get out all the cotton possible from
the South and directed me to give every facility toward that end.  Pay
in gold was authorized, and stations on the Mississippi River and on the
railroad in our possession had to be designated where cotton would be
received.  This opened to the enemy not only the means of converting
cotton into money, which had a value all over the world and which they
so much needed, but it afforded them means of obtaining accurate and
intelligent information in regard to our position and strength.  It was
also demoralizing to the troops.  Citizens obtaining permits from the
treasury department had to be protected within our lines and given
facilities to get out cotton by which they realized enormous profits.
Men who had enlisted to fight the battles of their country did not like
to be engaged in protecting a traffic which went to the support of an
enemy they had to fight, and the profits of which went to men who shared
none of their dangers.

On the 30th of August Colonel M. D. Leggett, near Bolivar, with the 20th
and 29th Ohio volunteer infantry, was attacked by a force supposed to be
about 4,000 strong.  The enemy was driven away with a loss of more than
one hundred men.  On the 1st of September the bridge guard at Medon was
attacked by guerillas. The guard held the position until reinforced,
when the enemy were routed leaving about fifty of their number on the
field dead or wounded, our loss being only two killed and fifteen
wounded.  On the same day Colonel Dennis, with a force of less than 500
infantry and two pieces of artillery, met the cavalry of the enemy in
strong force, a few miles west of Medon, and drove them away with great
loss.  Our troops buried 179 of the enemy's dead, left upon the field.
Afterwards it was found that all the houses in the vicinity of the
battlefield were turned into hospitals for the wounded.  Our loss, as
reported at the time, was forty-five killed and wounded.  On the 2d of
September I was ordered to send more reinforcements to Buell.  Jackson
and Bolivar were yet threatened, but I sent the reinforcements.  On the
4th I received direct orders to send Granger's division also to
Louisville, Kentucky.

General Buell had left Corinth about the 10th of June to march upon
Chattanooga; Bragg, who had superseded Beauregard in command, sent one
division from Tupelo on the 27th of June for the same place.  This gave
Buell about seventeen days' start. If he had not been required to repair
the railroad as he advanced, the march could have been made in eighteen
days at the outside, and Chattanooga must have been reached by the
National forces before the rebels could have possibly got there.  The
road between Nashville and Chattanooga could easily have been put in
repair by other troops, so that communication with the North would have
been opened in a short time after the occupation of the place by the
National troops.  If Buell had been permitted to move in the first
instance, with the whole of the Army of the Ohio and that portion of the
Army of the Mississippi afterwards sent to him, he could have thrown
four divisions from his own command along the line of road to repair and
guard it.

Granger's division was promptly sent on the 4th of September.  I was at
the station at Corinth when the troops reached that point, and found
General P. H. Sheridan with them.  I expressed surprise at seeing him
and said that I had not expected him to go.  He showed decided
disappointment at the prospect of being detained.  I felt a little
nettled at his desire to get away and did not detain him.

Sheridan was a first lieutenant in the regiment in which I had served
eleven years, the 4th infantry, and stationed on the Pacific coast when
the war broke out.  He was promoted to a captaincy in May, 1861, and
before the close of the year managed in some way, I do not know how, to
get East.  He went to Missouri.  Halleck had known him as a very
successful young officer in managing campaigns against the Indians on
the Pacific coast, and appointed him acting-quartermaster in south-west
Missouri.  There was no difficulty in getting supplies forward while
Sheridan served in that capacity; but he got into difficulty with his
immediate superiors because of his stringent rules for preventing the
use of public transportation for private purposes.  He asked to be
relieved from further duty in the capacity in which he was engaged and
his request was granted. When General Halleck took the field in April,
1862, Sheridan was assigned to duty on his staff.  During the advance on
Corinth a vacancy occurred in the colonelcy of the 2d Michigan cavalry.
Governor Blair, of Michigan, telegraphed General Halleck asking him to
suggest the name of a professional soldier for the vacancy, saying he
would appoint a good man without reference to his State.  Sheridan was
named; and was so conspicuously efficient that when Corinth was reached
he was assigned to command a cavalry brigade in the Army of the
Mississippi.  He was in command at Booneville on the 1st of July with
two small regiments, when he was attacked by a force full three times
as numerous as his own.  By very skilful manoeuvres and boldness of
attack he completely routed the enemy.  For this he was made a
brigadier-general and became a conspicuous figure in the army about
Corinth.  On this account I was sorry to see him leaving me.  His
departure was probably fortunate, for he rendered distinguished services
in his new field.

Granger and Sheridan reached Louisville before Buell got there, and on
the night of their arrival Sheridan with his command threw up works
around the railroad station for the defence of troops as they came from
the front.



At this time, September 4th, I had two divisions of the Army of the
Mississippi stationed at Corinth, Rienzi, Jacinto and Danville.  There
were at Corinth also Davies' division and two brigades of McArthur's,
besides cavalry and artillery.  This force constituted my left wing, of
which Rosecrans was in command.  General Ord commanded the centre, from
Bethel to Humboldt on the Mobile and Ohio railroad and from Jackson to
Bolivar where the Mississippi Central is crossed by the Hatchie River.
General Sherman commanded on the right at Memphis with two of his
brigades back at Brownsville, at the crossing of the Hatchie River by
the Memphis and Ohio railroad.  This made the most convenient
arrangement I could devise for concentrating all my spare forces upon
any threatened point.  All the troops of the command were within
telegraphic communication of each other, except those under Sherman.  By
bringing a portion of his command to Brownsville, from which point there
was a railroad and telegraph back to Memphis, communication could be had
with that part of my command within a few hours by the use of couriers.
In case it became necessary to reinforce Corinth, by this arrangement
all the troops at Bolivar, except a small guard, could be sent by rail
by the way of Jackson in less than twenty-four hours; while the troops
from Brownsville could march up to Bolivar to take their place.

On the 7th of September I learned of the advance of Van Dorn and Price,
apparently upon Corinth.  One division was brought from Memphis to
Bolivar to meet any emergency that might arise from this move of the
enemy.  I was much concerned because my first duty, after holding the
territory acquired within my command, was to prevent further reinforcing
of Bragg in Middle Tennessee.  Already the Army of Northern Virginia had
defeated the army under General Pope and was invading Maryland.  In the
Centre General Buell was on his way to Louisville and Bragg marching
parallel to him with a large Confederate force for the Ohio River.

I had been constantly called upon to reinforce Buell until at this time
my entire force numbered less than 50,000 men, of all arms.  This
included everything from Cairo south within my jurisdiction.  If I too
should be driven back, the Ohio River would become the line dividing the
belligerents west of the Alleghanies, while at the East the line was
already farther north than when hostilities commenced at the opening of
the war.  It is true Nashville was never given up after its first
capture, but it would have been isolated and the garrison there would
have been obliged to beat a hasty retreat if the troops in West
Tennessee had been compelled to fall back.  To say at the end of the
second year of the war the line dividing the contestants at the East was
pushed north of Maryland, a State that had not seceded, and at the West
beyond Kentucky, another State which had been always loyal, would have
been discouraging indeed.  As it was, many loyal people despaired in the
fall of 1862 of ever saving the Union.  The administration at Washington
was much concerned for the safety of the cause it held so dear. But I
believe there was never a day when the President did not think that, in
some way or other, a cause so just as ours would come out triumphant.

Up to the 11th of September Rosecrans still had troops on the railroad
east of Corinth, but they had all been ordered in.  By the 12th all were
in except a small force under Colonel Murphy of the 8th Wisconsin.  He
had been detained to guard the remainder of the stores which had not yet
been brought in to Corinth.

On the 13th of September General Sterling Price entered Iuka, a town
about twenty miles east of Corinth on the Memphis and Charleston
railroad.  Colonel Murphy with a few men was guarding the place.  He
made no resistance, but evacuated the town on the approach of the enemy.
I was apprehensive lest the object of the rebels might be to get troops
into Tennessee to reinforce Bragg, as it was afterwards ascertained to
be.  The authorities at Washington, including the general-in-chief of
the army, were very anxious, as I have said, about affairs both in East
and Middle Tennessee; and my anxiety was quite as great on their account
as for any danger threatening my command.  I had not force enough at
Corinth to attack Price even by stripping everything; and there was
danger that before troops could be got from other points he might be far
on his way across the Tennessee.  To prevent this all spare forces at
Bolivar and Jackson were ordered to Corinth, and cars were concentrated
at Jackson for their transportation.  Within twenty-four hours from the
transmission of the order the troops were at their destination, although
there had been a delay of four hours resulting from the forward train
getting off the track and stopping all the others.  This gave a
reinforcement of near 8,000 men, General Ord in command.  General
Rosecrans commanded the district of Corinth with a movable force of
about 9,000 independent of the garrison deemed necessary to be left
behind.  It was known that General Van Dorn was about a four days' march
south of us, with a large force.  It might have been part of his plan to
attack at Corinth, Price coming from the east while he came up from the
south.  My desire was to attack Price before Van Dorn could reach
Corinth or go to his relief.

General Rosecrans had previously had his headquarters at Iuka, where his
command was spread out along the Memphis and Charleston railroad
eastward.  While there he had a most excellent map prepared showing all
the roads and streams in the surrounding country.  He was also
personally familiar with the ground, so that I deferred very much to him
in my plans for the approach.  We had cars enough to transport all of
General Ord's command, which was to go by rail to Burnsville, a point on
the road about seven miles west of Iuka.  From there his troops were to
march by the north side of the railroad and attack Price from the
north-west, while Rosecrans was to move eastward from his position south
of Corinth by way of the Jacinto road.  A small force was to hold the
Jacinto road where it turns to the north-east, while the main force
moved on the Fulton road which comes into Iuka further east.  This plan
was suggested by Rosecrans.

Bear Creek, a few miles to the east of the Fulton road, is a formidable
obstacle to the movement of troops in the absence of bridges, all of
which, in September, 1862, had been destroyed in that vicinity.  The
Tennessee, to the north-east, not many miles away, was also a formidable
obstacle for an army followed by a pursuing force.  Ord was on the
north-west, and even if a rebel movement had been possible in that
direction it could have brought only temporary relief, for it would have
carried Price's army to the rear of the National forces and isolated it
from all support.  It looked to me that, if Price would remain in Iuka
until we could get there, his annihilation was inevitable.

On the morning of the 18th of September General Ord moved by rail to
Burnsville, and there left the cars and moved out to perform his part of
the programme.  He was to get as near the enemy as possible during the
day and intrench himself so as to hold his position until the next
morning.  Rosecrans was to be up by the morning of the 19th on the two
roads before described, and the attack was to be from all three quarters
simultaneously.  Troops enough were left at Jacinto and Rienzi to detain
any cavalry that Van Dorn might send out to make a sudden dash into
Corinth until I could be notified.  There was a telegraph wire along the
railroad, so there would be no delay in communication.  I detained cars
and locomotives enough at Burnsville to transport the whole of Ord's
command at once, and if Van Dorn had moved against Corinth instead of
Iuka I could have thrown in reinforcements to the number of 7,000 or
8,000 before he could have arrived.  I remained at Burnsville with a
detachment of about 900 men from Ord's command and communicated with my
two wings by courier.  Ord met the advance of the enemy soon after
leaving Burnsville.  Quite a sharp engagement ensued, but he drove the
rebels back with considerable loss, including one general officer
killed.  He maintained his position and was ready to attack by daylight
the next morning.  I was very much disappointed at receiving a dispatch
from Rosecrans after midnight from Jacinto, twenty-two miles from Iuka,
saying that some of his command had been delayed, and that the rear of
his column was not yet up as far as Jacinto.  He said, however, that he
would still be at Iuka by two o'clock the next day.  I did not believe
this possible because of the distance and the condition of the roads,
which was bad; besides, troops after a forced march of twenty miles are
not in a good condition for fighting the moment they get through.  It
might do in marching to relieve a beleaguered garrison, but not to make
an assault.  I immediately sent Ord a copy of Rosecrans' dispatch and
ordered him to be in readiness to attack the moment he heard the sound
of guns to the south or south-east.  He was instructed to notify his
officers to be on the alert for any indications of battle. During the
19th the wind blew in the wrong direction to transmit sound either
towards the point where Ord was, or to Burnsville where I had remained.

A couple of hours before dark on the 19th Rosecrans arrived with the
head of his column at garnets, the point where the Jacinto road to Iuka
leaves the road going east.  He here turned north without sending any
troops to the Fulton road.  While still moving in column up the Jacinto
road he met a force of the enemy and had his advance badly beaten and
driven back upon the main road.  In this short engagement his loss was
considerable for the number engaged, and one battery was taken from him.
The wind was still blowing hard and in the wrong direction to transmit
sounds towards either Ord or me.  Neither he nor I nor any one in either
command heard a gun that was fired upon the battle-field.  After the
engagement Rosecrans sent me a dispatch announcing the result.  This was
brought by a courier.  There was no road between Burnsville and the
position then occupied by Rosecrans and the country was impassable for a
man on horseback.  The courier bearing the message was compelled to move
west nearly to Jacinto before he found a road leading to Burnsville.
This made it a late hour of the night before I learned of the battle
that had taken place during the afternoon.  I at once notified Ord of
the fact and ordered him to attack early in the morning.  The next
morning Rosecrans himself renewed the attack and went into Iuka with but
little resistance.  Ord also went in according to orders, without
hearing a gun from the south of town but supposing the troops coming
from the south-west must be up by that time.  Rosecrans, however, had
put no troops upon the Fulton road, and the enemy had taken advantage of
this neglect and retreated by that road during the night.  Word was soon
brought to me that our troops were in Iuka.  I immediately rode into
town and found that the enemy was not being pursued even by the cavalry.
I ordered pursuit by the whole of Rosecrans' command and went on with
him a few miles in person.  He followed only a few miles after I left
him and then went into camp, and the pursuit was continued no further.
I was disappointed at the result of the battle of Iuka--but I had so
high an opinion of General Rosecrans that I found no fault at the time.



On the 19th of September General Geo. H. Thomas was ordered east to
reinforce Buell.  This threw the army at my command still more on the
defensive.  The Memphis and Charleston railroad was abandoned, except at
Corinth, and small forces were left at Chewalla and Grand Junction.
Soon afterwards the latter of these two places was given up and Bolivar
became our most advanced position on the Mississippi Central railroad.
Our cavalry was kept well to the front and frequent expeditions were
sent out to watch the movements of the enemy.  We were in a country
where nearly all the people, except the negroes, were hostile to us and
friendly to the cause we were trying to suppress.  It was easy,
therefore, for the enemy to get early information of our every move.
We, on the contrary, had to go after our information in force, and then
often returned without it.

On the 22d Bolivar was threatened by a large force from south of Grand
Junction, supposed to be twenty regiments of infantry with cavalry and
artillery.  I reinforced Bolivar, and went to Jackson in person to
superintend the movement of troops to whatever point the attack might be
made upon.  The troops from Corinth were brought up in time to repel the
threatened movement without a battle.  Our cavalry followed the enemy
south of Davis' mills in Mississippi.

On the 30th I found that Van Dorn was apparently endeavoring to strike
the Mississippi River above Memphis.  At the same time other points
within my command were so threatened that it was impossible to
concentrate a force to drive him away.  There was at this juncture a
large Union force at Helena, Arkansas, which, had it been within my
command, I could have ordered across the river to attack and break up
the Mississippi Central railroad far to the south.  This would not only
have called Van Dorn back, but would have compelled the retention of a
large rebel force far to the south to prevent a repetition of such raids
on the enemy's line of supplies.  Geographical lines between the
commands during the rebellion were not always well chosen, or they were
too rigidly adhered to.

Van Dorn did not attempt to get upon the line above Memphis, as had
apparently been his intention.  He was simply covering a deeper design;
one much more important to his cause.  By the 1st of October it was
fully apparent that Corinth was to be attacked with great force and
determination, and that Van Dorn, Lovell, Price, Villepigue and Rust had
joined their strength for this purpose.  There was some skirmishing
outside of Corinth with the advance of the enemy on the 3d.  The rebels
massed in the north-west angle of the Memphis and Charleston and the
Mobile and Ohio railroads, and were thus between the troops at Corinth
and all possible reinforcements.  Any fresh troops for us must come by a
circuitous route.

On the night of the 3d, accordingly, I ordered General McPherson, who
was at Jackson, to join Rosecrans at Corinth with reinforcements picked
up along the line of the railroad equal to a brigade.  Hurlbut had been
ordered from Bolivar to march for the same destination; and as Van Dorn
was coming upon Corinth from the north-west some of his men fell in with
the advance of Hurlbut's and some skirmishing ensued on the evening of
the 3d.  On the 4th Van Dorn made a dashing attack, hoping, no doubt, to
capture Rosecrans before his reinforcements could come up.  In that case
the enemy himself could have occupied the defences of Corinth and held
at bay all the Union troops that arrived.  In fact he could have taken
the offensive against the reinforcements with three or four times their
number and still left a sufficient garrison in the works about Corinth
to hold them.  He came near success, some of his troops penetrating the
National lines at least once, but the works that were built after
Halleck's departure enabled Rosecrans to hold his position until the
troops of both McPherson and Hurlbut approached towards the rebel front
and rear.  The enemy was finally driven back with great slaughter:  all
their charges, made with great gallantry, were repulsed.  The loss on
our side was heavy, but nothing to compare with Van Dorn's.  McPherson
came up with the train of cars bearing his command as close to the enemy
as was prudent, debarked on the rebel flank and got in to the support of
Rosecrans just after the repulse.  His approach, as well as that of
Hurlbut, was known to the enemy and had a moral effect. General
Rosecrans, however, failed to follow up the victory, although I had
given specific orders in advance of the battle for him to pursue the
moment the enemy was repelled.  He did not do so, and I repeated the
order after the battle.  In the first order he was notified that the
force of 4,000 men which was going to his assistance would be in great
peril if the enemy was not pursued.

General Ord had joined Hurlbut on the 4th and being senior took command
of his troops.  This force encountered the head of Van Dorn's retreating
column just as it was crossing the Hatchie by a bridge some ten miles
out from Corinth.  The bottom land here was swampy and bad for the
operations of troops, making a good place to get an enemy into.  Ord
attacked the troops that had crossed the bridge and drove them back in a
panic.  Many were killed, and others were drowned by being pushed off
the bridge in their hurried retreat.  Ord followed and met the main
force.  He was too weak in numbers to assault, but he held the bridge
and compelled the enemy to resume his retreat by another bridge higher
up the stream.  Ord was wounded in this engagement and the command
devolved on Hurlbut.

Rosecrans did not start in pursuit till the morning of the 5th and then
took the wrong road.  Moving in the enemy's country he travelled with a
wagon train to carry his provisions and munitions of war.  His march was
therefore slower than that of the enemy, who was moving towards his
supplies.  Two or three hours of pursuit on the day of battle, without
anything except what the men carried on their persons, would have been
worth more than any pursuit commenced the next day could have possibly
been.  Even when he did start, if Rosecrans had followed the route taken
by the enemy, he would have come upon Van Dorn in a swamp with a stream
in front and Ord holding the only bridge; but he took the road leading
north and towards Chewalla instead of west, and, after having marched as
far as the enemy had moved to get to the Hatchie, he was as far from
battle as when he started.  Hurlbut had not the numbers to meet any such
force as Van Dorn's if they had been in any mood for fighting, and he
might have been in great peril.

I now regarded the time to accomplish anything by pursuit as past and,
after Rosecrans reached Jonesboro, I ordered him to return.  He kept on
to Ripley, however, and was persistent in wanting to go farther.  I
thereupon ordered him to halt and submitted the matter to the
general-in-chief, who allowed me to exercise my judgment in the matter,
but inquired "why not pursue?"  Upon this I ordered Rosecrans back.  Had
he gone much farther he would have met a greater force than Van Dorn had
at Corinth and behind intrenchments or on chosen ground, and the
probabilities are he would have lost his army.

The battle of Corinth was bloody, our loss being 315 killed, 1,812
wounded and 232 missing.  The enemy lost many more. Rosecrans reported
1,423 dead and 2,225 prisoners.  We fought behind breastworks, which
accounts in some degree for the disparity.  Among the killed on our side
was General Hackelman.  General Oglesby was badly, it was for some time
supposed mortally, wounded.  I received a congratulatory letter from the
President, which expressed also his sorrow for the losses.

This battle was recognized by me as being a decided victory, though not
so complete as I had hoped for, nor nearly so complete as I now think
was within the easy grasp of the commanding officer at Corinth.  Since
the war it is known that the result, as it was, was a crushing blow to
the enemy, and felt by him much more than it was appreciated at the
North.  The battle relieved me from any further anxiety for the safety
of the territory within my jurisdiction, and soon after receiving
reinforcements I suggested to the general-in-chief a forward movement
against Vicksburg.

On the 23d of October I learned of Pemberton's being in command at Holly
Springs and much reinforced by conscripts and troops from Alabama and
Texas.  The same day General Rosecrans was relieved from duty with my
command, and shortly after he succeeded Buell in the command of the army
in Middle Tennessee.  I was delighted at the promotion of General
Rosecrans to a separate command, because I still believed that when
independent of an immediate superior the qualities which I, at that
time, credited him with possessing, would show themselves.  As a
subordinate I found that I could not make him do as I wished, and had
determined to relieve him from duty that very day.

At the close of the operations just described my force, in round
numbers, was 48,500.  Of these 4,800 were in Kentucky and Illinois,
7,000 in Memphis, 19,200 from Mound City south, and 17,500 at Corinth.
General McClernand had been authorized from Washington to go north and
organize troops to be used in opening the Mississippi.  These new levies
with other reinforcements now began to come in.

On the 25th of October I was placed in command of the Department of the
Tennessee.  Reinforcements continued to come from the north and by the
2d of November I was prepared to take the initiative.  This was a great
relief after the two and a half months of continued defence over a large
district of country, and where nearly every citizen was an enemy ready
to give information of our every move.  I have described very
imperfectly a few of the battles and skirmishes that took place during
this time.  To describe all would take more space than I can allot to
the purpose; to make special mention of all the officers and troops who
distinguished themselves, would take a volume. (*9)



Vicksburg was important to the enemy because it occupied the first high
ground coming close to the river below Memphis.  From there a railroad
runs east, connecting with other roads leading to all points of the
Southern States.  A railroad also starts from the opposite side of the
river, extending west as far as Shreveport, Louisiana.  Vicksburg was
the only channel, at the time of the events of which this chapter
treats, connecting the parts of the Confederacy divided by the
Mississippi.  So long as it was held by the enemy, the free navigation
of the river was prevented.  Hence its importance.  Points on the river
between Vicksburg and Port Hudson were held as dependencies; but their
fall was sure to follow the capture of the former place.

The campaign against Vicksburg commenced on the 2d of November as
indicated in a dispatch to the general-in-chief in the following words:
"I have commenced a movement on Grand Junction, with three divisions
from Corinth and two from Bolivar.  Will leave here [Jackson, Tennessee]
to-morrow, and take command in person.  If found practicable, I will go
to Holly Springs, and, may be, Grenada, completing railroad and
telegraph as I go."

At this time my command was holding the Mobile and Ohio railroad from
about twenty-five miles south of Corinth, north to Columbus, Kentucky;
the Mississippi Central from Bolivar north to its junction with the
Mobile and Ohio; the Memphis and Charleston from Corinth east to Bear
Creek, and the Mississippi River from Cairo to Memphis.  My entire
command was no more than was necessary to hold these lines, and hardly
that if kept on the defensive.  By moving against the enemy and into his
unsubdued, or not yet captured, territory, driving their army before us,
these lines would nearly hold themselves; thus affording a large force
for field operations.  My moving force at that time was about 30,000
men, and I estimated the enemy confronting me, under Pemberton, at about
the same number.  General McPherson commanded my left wing and General
C. S. Hamilton the centre, while Sherman was at Memphis with the right
wing.  Pemberton was fortified at the Tallahatchie, but occupied Holly
Springs and Grand Junction on the Mississippi Central railroad.  On the
8th we occupied Grand Junction and La Grange, throwing a considerable
force seven or eight miles south, along the line of the railroad.  The
road from Bolivar forward was repaired and put in running order as the
troops advanced.

Up to this time it had been regarded as an axiom in war that large
bodies of troops must operate from a base of supplies which they always
covered and guarded in all forward movements.  There was delay therefore
in repairing the road back, and in gathering and forwarding supplies to
the front.

By my orders, and in accordance with previous instructions from
Washington, all the forage within reach was collected under the
supervision of the chief quartermaster and the provisions under the
chief commissary, receipts being given when there was any one to take
them; the supplies in any event to be accounted for as government
stores.  The stock was bountiful, but still it gave me no idea of the
possibility of supplying a moving column in an enemy's country from the
country itself.

It was at this point, probably, where the first idea of a "Freedman's
Bureau" took its origin.  Orders of the government prohibited the
expulsion of the negroes from the protection of the army, when they came
in voluntarily.  Humanity forbade allowing them to starve.  With such an
army of them, of all ages and both sexes, as had congregated about Grand
Junction, amounting to many thousands, it was impossible to advance.
There was no special authority for feeding them unless they were
employed as teamsters, cooks and pioneers with the army; but only
able-bodied young men were suitable for such work.  This labor would
support but a very limited percentage of them.  The plantations were all
deserted; the cotton and corn were ripe: men, women and children above
ten years of age could be employed in saving these crops.  To do this
work with contrabands, or to have it done, organization under a
competent chief was necessary.  On inquiring for such a man Chaplain
Eaton, now and for many years the very able United States Commissioner
of Education, was suggested.  He proved as efficient in that field as he
has since done in his present one.  I gave him all the assistants and
guards he called for.  We together fixed the prices to be paid for the
negro labor, whether rendered to the government or to individuals.  The
cotton was to be picked from abandoned plantations, the laborers to
receive the stipulated price (my recollection is twelve and a half cents
per pound for picking and ginning) from the quartermaster, he shipping
the cotton north to be sold for the benefit of the government. Citizens
remaining on their plantations were allowed the privilege of having
their crops saved by freedmen on the same terms.

At once the freedmen became self-sustaining.  The money was not paid to
them directly, but was expended judiciously and for their benefit.  They
gave me no trouble afterwards.

Later the freedmen were engaged in cutting wood along the Mississippi
River to supply the large number of steamers on that stream.  A good
price was paid for chopping wood used for the supply of government
steamers (steamers chartered and which the government had to supply with
fuel).  Those supplying their own fuel paid a much higher price.  In
this way a fund was created not only sufficient to feed and clothe all,
old and young, male and female, but to build them comfortable cabins,
hospitals for the sick, and to supply them with many comforts they had
never known before.

At this stage of the campaign against Vicksburg I was very much
disturbed by newspaper rumors that General McClernand was to have a
separate and independent command within mine, to operate against
Vicksburg by way of the Mississippi River.  Two commanders on the same
field are always one too many, and in this case I did not think the
general selected had either the experience or the qualifications to fit
him for so important a position.  I feared for the safety of the troops
intrusted to him, especially as he was to raise new levies, raw troops,
to execute so important a trust.  But on the 12th I received a dispatch
from General Halleck saying that I had command of all the troops sent to
my department and authorizing me to fight the enemy where I pleased.
The next day my cavalry was in Holly Springs, and the enemy fell back
south of the Tallahatchie.

Holly Springs I selected for my depot of supplies and munitions of war,
all of which at that time came by rail from Columbus, Kentucky, except
the few stores collected about La Grange and Grand Junction.  This was a
long line (increasing in length as we moved south) to maintain in an
enemy's country.  On the 15th of November, while I was still at Holly
Springs, I sent word to Sherman to meet me at Columbus.  We were but
forty-seven miles apart, yet the most expeditious way for us to meet was
for me to take the rail to Columbus and Sherman a steamer for the same
place.  At that meeting, besides talking over my general plans I gave
him his orders to join me with two divisions and to march them down the
Mississippi Central railroad if he could. Sherman, who was always
prompt, was up by the 29th to Cottage Hill, ten miles north of Oxford.
He brought three divisions with him, leaving a garrison of only four
regiments of infantry, a couple of pieces of artillery and a small
detachment of cavalry. Further reinforcements he knew were on their way
from the north to Memphis.  About this time General Halleck ordered
troops from Helena, Arkansas (territory west of the Mississippi was not
under my command then) to cut the road in Pemberton's rear.  The
expedition was under Generals Hovey and C. C. Washburn and was
successful so far as reaching the railroad was concerned, but the damage
done was very slight and was soon repaired.

The Tallahatchie, which confronted me, was very high, the railroad
bridge destroyed and Pemberton strongly fortified on the south side.  A
crossing would have been impossible in the presence of an enemy.  I sent
the cavalry higher up the stream and they secured a crossing.  This
caused the enemy to evacuate their position, which was possibly
accelerated by the expedition of Hovey and Washburn.  The enemy was
followed as far south as Oxford by the main body of troops, and some
seventeen miles farther by McPherson's command.  Here the pursuit was
halted to repair the railroad from the Tallahatchie northward, in order
to bring up supplies.  The piles on which the railroad bridge rested had
been left standing.  The work of constructing a roadway for the troops
was but a short matter, and, later, rails were laid for cars.

During the delay at Oxford in repairing railroads I learned that an
expedition down the Mississippi now was inevitable and, desiring to have
a competent commander in charge, I ordered Sherman on the 8th of
December back to Memphis to take charge. The following were his orders:

Headquarters 13th Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee. OXFORD,
MISSISSIPPI, December 8,1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Right Wing:

You will proceed, with as little delay as possible, to Memphis,
Tennessee, taking with you one division of your present command.  On
your arrival at Memphis you will assume command of all the troops there,
and that portion of General Curtis's forces at present east of the
Mississippi River, and organize them into brigades and divisions in your
own army.  As soon as possible move with them down the river to the
vicinity of Vicksburg, and with the co-operation of the gunboat fleet
under command of Flag-officer Porter proceed to the reduction of that
place in such a manner as circumstances, and your own judgment, may

The amount of rations, forage, land transportation, etc., necessary to
take, will be left entirely with yourself.  The Quartermaster at St.
Louis will be instructed to send you transportation for 30,000 men;
should you still find yourself deficient, your quartermaster will be
authorized to make up the deficiency from such transports as may come
into the port of Memphis.

On arriving in Memphis, put yourself in communication with Admiral
Porter, and arrange with him for his co-operation.

Inform me at the earliest practicable day of the time when you will
embark, and such plans as may then be matured.  I will hold the forces
here in readiness to co-operate with you in such manner as the movements
of the enemy may make necessary.

Leave the District of Memphis in the command of an efficient officer,
and with a garrison of four regiments of infantry, the siege guns, and
whatever cavalry may be there.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

This idea had presented itself to my mind earlier, for on the 3d of
December I asked Halleck if it would not be well to hold the enemy south
of the Yallabusha and move a force from Helena and Memphis on Vicksburg.
On the 5th again I suggested, from Oxford, to Halleck that if the Helena
troops were at my command I though it would be possible to take them and
the Memphis forces south of the mouth of the Yazoo River, and thus
secure Vicksburg and the State of Mississippi.  Halleck on the same day,
the 5th of December, directed me not to attempt to hold the country
south of the Tallahatchie, but to collect 25,000 troops at Memphis by
the 20th for the Vicksburg expedition.  I sent Sherman with two
divisions at once, informed the general-in-chief of the fact, and asked
whether I should command the expedition down the river myself or send
Sherman.  I was authorized to do as I though best for the accomplishment
of the great object in view.  I sent Sherman and so informed General

As stated, my action in sending Sherman back was expedited by a desire
to get him in command of the forces separated from my direct
supervision.  I feared that delay might bring McClernand, who was his
senior and who had authority from the President and Secretary of War to
exercise that particular command,--and independently.  I doubted
McClernand's fitness; and I had good reason to believe that in
forestalling him I was by no means giving offence to those whose
authority to command was above both him and me.

Neither my orders to General Sherman, nor the correspondence between us
or between General Halleck and myself, contemplated at the time my going
further south than the Yallabusha. Pemberton's force in my front was the
main part of the garrison of Vicksburg, as the force with me was the
defence of the territory held by us in West Tennessee and Kentucky.  I
hoped to hold Pemberton in my front while Sherman should get in his rear
and into Vicksburg.  The further north the enemy could be held the

It was understood, however, between General Sherman and myself that our
movements were to be co-operative; if Pemberton could not be held away
from Vicksburg I was to follow him; but at that time it was not expected
to abandon the railroad north of the Yallabusha.  With that point as a
secondary base of supplies, the possibility of moving down the Yazoo
until communications could be opened with the Mississippi was

It was my intention, and so understood by Sherman and his command, that
if the enemy should fall back I would follow him even to the gates of
Vicksburg.  I intended in such an event to hold the road to Grenada on
the Yallabusha and cut loose from there, expecting to establish a new
base of supplies on the Yazoo, or at Vicksburg itself, with Grenada to
fall back upon in case of failure.  It should be remembered that at the
time I speak of it had not been demonstrated that an army could operate
in an enemy's territory depending upon the country for supplies.  A halt
was called at Oxford with the advance seventeen miles south of there, to
bring up the road to the latter point and to bring supplies of food,
forage and munitions to the front.

On the 18th of December I received orders from Washington to divide my
command into four army corps, with General McClernand to command one of
them and to be assigned to that part of the army which was to operate
down the Mississippi.  This interfered with my plans, but probably
resulted in my ultimately taking the command in person.  McClernand was
at that time in Springfield, Illinois.  The order was obeyed without any
delay.  Dispatches were sent to him the same day in conformity.

On the 20th General Van Dorn appeared at Holly Springs, my secondary
base of supplies, captured the garrison of 1,500 men commanded by
Colonel Murphy, of the 8th Wisconsin regiment, and destroyed all our
munitions of war, food and forage.  The capture was a disgraceful one to
the officer commanding but not to the troops under him.  At the same
time Forrest got on our line of railroad between Jackson, Tennessee, and
Columbus, Kentucky, doing much damage to it.  This cut me off from all
communication with the north for more than a week, and it was more than
two weeks before rations or forage could be issued from stores obtained
in the regular way.  This demonstrated the impossibility of maintaining
so long a line of road over which to draw supplies for an army moving in
an enemy's country.  I determined, therefore, to abandon my campaign
into the interior with Columbus as a base, and returned to La Grange and
Grand Junction destroying the road to my front and repairing the road to
Memphis, making the Mississippi river the line over which to draw
supplies.  Pemberton was falling back at the same time.

The moment I received the news of Van Dorn's success I sent the cavalry
at the front back to drive him from the country.  He had start enough to
move north destroying the railroad in many places, and to attack several
small garrisons intrenched as guards to the railroad.  All these he
found warned of his coming and prepared to receive him.  Van Dorn did
not succeed in capturing a single garrison except the one at Holly
Springs, which was larger than all the others attacked by him put
together.  Murphy was also warned of Van Dorn's approach, but made no
preparations to meet him.  He did not even notify his command.

Colonel Murphy was the officer who, two months before, had evacuated
Iuka on the approach of the enemy.  General Rosecrans denounced him for
the act and desired to have him tried and punished.  I sustained the
colonel at the time because his command was a small one compared with
that of the enemy--not one-tenth as large--and I thought he had done
well to get away without falling into their hands.  His leaving large
stores to fall into Price's possession I looked upon as an oversight and
excused it on the ground of inexperience in military matters. He should,
however, have destroyed them.  This last surrender demonstrated to my
mind that Rosecrans' judgment of Murphy's conduct at Iuka was correct.
The surrender of Holly Springs was most reprehensible and showed either
the disloyalty of Colonel Murphy to the cause which he professed to
serve, or gross cowardice.

After the war was over I read from the diary of a lady who accompanied
General Pemberton in his retreat from the Tallahatchie, that the retreat
was almost a panic.  The roads were bad and it was difficult to move the
artillery and trains.  Why there should have been a panic I do not see.
No expedition had yet started down the Mississippi River.  Had I known
the demoralized condition of the enemy, or the fact that central
Mississippi abounded so in all army supplies, I would have been in
pursuit of Pemberton while his cavalry was destroying the roads in my

After sending cavalry to drive Van Dorn away, my next order was to
dispatch all the wagons we had, under proper escort, to collect and
bring in all supplies of forage and food from a region of fifteen miles
east and west of the road from our front back to Grand Junction, leaving
two months' supplies for the families of those whose stores were taken.
I was amazed at the quantity of supplies the country afforded.  It
showed that we could have subsisted off the country for two months
instead of two weeks without going beyond the limits designated.  This
taught me a lesson which was taken advantage of later in the campaign
when our army lived twenty days with the issue of only five days'
rations by the commissary.  Our loss of supplies was great at Holly
Springs, but it was more than compensated for by those taken from the
country and by the lesson taught.

The news of the capture of Holly Springs and the destruction of our
supplies caused much rejoicing among the people remaining in Oxford.
They came with broad smiles on their faces, indicating intense joy, to
ask what I was going to do now without anything for my soldiers to eat.
I told them that I was not disturbed; that I had already sent troops and
wagons to collect all the food and forage they could find for fifteen
miles on each side of the road.  Countenances soon changed, and so did
the inquiry.  The next was, "What are WE to do?"  My response was that
we had endeavored to feed ourselves from our own northern resources
while visiting them; but their friends in gray had been uncivil enough
to destroy what we had brought along, and it could not be expected that
men, with arms in their hands, would starve in the midst of plenty.  I
advised them to emigrate east, or west, fifteen miles and assist in
eating up what we left.



This interruption in my communications north--I was really cut off from
communication with a great part of my own command during this time
--resulted in Sherman's moving from Memphis before McClernand could
arrive, for my dispatch of the 18th did not reach McClernand.  Pemberton
got back to Vicksburg before Sherman got there.  The rebel positions
were on a bluff on the Yazoo River, some miles above its mouth.  The
waters were high so that the bottoms were generally overflowed, leaving
only narrow causeways of dry land between points of debarkation and the
high bluffs.  These were fortified and defended at all points.  The
rebel position was impregnable against any force that could be brought
against its front.  Sherman could not use one-fourth of his force.  His
efforts to capture the city, or the high ground north of it, were
necessarily unavailing.

Sherman's attack was very unfortunate, but I had no opportunity of
communicating with him after the destruction of the road and telegraph
to my rear on the 20th.  He did not know but what I was in the rear of
the enemy and depending on him to open a new base of supplies for the
troops with me.  I had, before he started from Memphis, directed him to
take with him a few small steamers suitable for the navigation of the
Yazoo, not knowing but that I might want them to supply me after cutting
loose from my base at Grenada.

On the 23d I removed my headquarters back to Holly Springs.  The troops
were drawn back gradually, but without haste or confusion, finding
supplies abundant and no enemy following.  The road was not damaged
south of Holly Springs by Van Dorn, at least not to an extent to cause
any delay.  As I had resolved to move headquarters to Memphis, and to
repair the road to that point, I remained at Holly Springs until this
work was completed.

On the 10th of January, the work on the road from Holly Springs to Grand
Junction and thence to Memphis being completed, I moved my headquarters
to the latter place.  During the campaign here described, the losses
(mostly captures) were about equal, crediting the rebels with their
Holly Springs capture, which they could not hold.

When Sherman started on his expedition down the river he had 20,000 men,
taken from Memphis, and was reinforced by 12,000 more at Helena,
Arkansas.  The troops on the west bank of the river had previously been
assigned to my command.  McClernand having received the orders for his
assignment reached the mouth of the Yazoo on the 2d of January, and
immediately assumed command of all the troops with Sherman, being a part
of his own corps, the 13th, and all of Sherman's, the 15th.  Sherman,
and Admiral Porter with the fleet, had withdrawn from the Yazoo. After
consultation they decided that neither the army nor navy could render
service to the cause where they were, and learning that I had withdrawn
from the interior of Mississippi, they determined to return to the
Arkansas River and to attack Arkansas Post, about fifty miles up that
stream and garrisoned by about five or six thousand men.  Sherman had
learned of the existence of this force through a man who had been
captured by the enemy with a steamer loaded with ammunition and other
supplies intended for his command.  The man had made his escape.
McClernand approved this move reluctantly, as Sherman says.  No obstacle
was encountered until the gunboats and transports were within range of
the fort.  After three days' bombardment by the navy an assault was made
by the troops and marines, resulting in the capture of the place, and in
taking 5,000 prisoners and 17 guns.  I was at first disposed to
disapprove of this move as an unnecessary side movement having no
especial bearing upon the work before us; but when the result was
understood I regarded it as very important.  Five thousand Confederate
troops left in the rear might have caused us much trouble and loss of
property while navigating the Mississippi.

Immediately after the reduction of Arkansas Post and the capture of the
garrison, McClernand returned with his entire force to Napoleon, at the
mouth of the Arkansas River.  From here I received messages from both
Sherman and Admiral Porter, urging me to come and take command in
person, and expressing their distrust of McClernand's ability and
fitness for so important and intricate an expedition.

On the 17th I visited McClernand and his command at Napoleon. It was
here made evident to me that both the army and navy were so distrustful
of McClernand's fitness to command that, while they would do all they
could to insure success, this distrust was an element of weakness.  It
would have been criminal to send troops under these circumstances into
such danger.  By this time I had received authority to relieve
McClernand, or to assign any person else to the command of the river
expedition, or to assume command in person.  I felt great embarrassment
about McClernand.  He was the senior major-general after myself within
the department.  It would not do, with his rank and ambition, to assign
a junior over him.  Nothing was left, therefore, but to assume the
command myself.  I would have been glad to put Sherman in command, to
give him an opportunity to accomplish what he had failed in the December
before; but there seemed no other way out of the difficulty, for he was
junior to McClernand.  Sherman's failure needs no apology.

On the 20th I ordered General McClernand with the entire command, to
Young's Point and Milliken's Bend, while I returned to Memphis to make
all the necessary preparation for leaving the territory behind me
secure.  General Hurlbut with the 16th corps was left in command.  The
Memphis and Charleston railroad was held, while the Mississippi Central
was given up.  Columbus was the only point between Cairo and Memphis, on
the river, left with a garrison.  All the troops and guns from the posts
on the abandoned railroad and river were sent to the front.

On the 29th of January I arrived at Young's Point and assumed command
the following day.  General McClernand took exception in a most
characteristic way--for him.  His correspondence with me on the subject
was more in the nature of a reprimand than a protest. It was highly
insubordinate, but I overlooked it, as I believed, for the good of the
service.  General McClernand was a politician of very considerable
prominence in his State; he was a member of Congress when the secession
war broke out; he belonged to that political party which furnished all
the opposition there was to a vigorous prosecution of the war for saving
the Union; there was no delay in his declaring himself for the Union at
all hazards, and there was no uncertain sound in his declaration of
where he stood in the contest before the country.  He also gave up his
seat in Congress to take the field in defence of the principles he had

The real work of the campaign and siege of Vicksburg now began.  The
problem was to secure a footing upon dry ground on the east side of the
river from which the troops could operate against Vicksburg.  The
Mississippi River, from Cairo south, runs through a rich alluvial valley
of many miles in width, bound on the east by land running from eighty up
to two or more hundred feet above the river.  On the west side the
highest land, except in a few places, is but little above the highest
water.  Through this valley the river meanders in the most tortuous way,
varying in direction to all points of the compass.  At places it runs to
the very foot of the bluffs. After leaving Memphis, there are no such
highlands coming to the water's edge on the east shore until Vicksburg
is reached.

The intervening land is cut up by bayous filled from the river in high
water--many of them navigable for steamers.  All of them would be,
except for overhanging trees, narrowness and tortuous course, making it
impossible to turn the bends with vessels of any considerable length.
Marching across this country in the face of an enemy was impossible;
navigating it proved equally impracticable.  The strategical way
according to the rule, therefore, would have been to go back to Memphis;
establish that as a base of supplies; fortify it so that the storehouses
could be held by a small garrison, and move from there along the line of
railroad, repairing as we advanced, to the Yallabusha, or to Jackson,
Mississippi.  At this time the North had become very much discouraged.
Many strong Union men believed that the war must prove a failure.  The
elections of 1862 had gone against the party which was for the
prosecution of the war to save the Union if it took the last man and the
last dollar.  Voluntary enlistments had ceased throughout the greater
part of the North, and the draft had been resorted to to fill up our
ranks.  It was my judgment at the time that to make a backward movement
as long as that from Vicksburg to Memphis, would be interpreted, by many
of those yet full of hope for the preservation of the Union, as a
defeat, and that the draft would be resisted, desertions ensue and the
power to capture and punish deserters lost. There was nothing left to be
done but to go FORWARD TO A DECISIVE VICTORY.  This was in my mind from
the moment I took command in person at Young's Point.

The winter of 1862-3 was a noted one for continuous high water in the
Mississippi and for heavy rains along the lower river. To get dry land,
or rather land above the water, to encamp the troops upon, took many
miles of river front.  We had to occupy the levees and the ground
immediately behind.  This was so limited that one corps, the 17th, under
General McPherson, was at Lake Providence, seventy miles above

It was in January the troops took their position opposite Vicksburg.
The water was very high and the rains were incessant.  There seemed no
possibility of a land movement before the end of March or later, and it
would not do to lie idle all this time.  The effect would be
demoralizing to the troops and injurious to their health.  Friends in
the North would have grown more and more discouraged, and enemies in the
same section more and more insolent in their gibes and denunciation of
the cause and those engaged in it.

I always admired the South, as bad as I thought their cause, for the
boldness with which they silenced all opposition and all croaking, by
press or by individuals, within their control.  War at all times,
whether a civil war between sections of a common country or between
nations, ought to be avoided, if possible with honor.  But, once entered
into, it is too much for human nature to tolerate an enemy within their
ranks to give aid and comfort to the armies of the opposing section or

Vicksburg, as stated before, is on the first high land coming to the
river's edge, below that on which Memphis stands.  The bluff, or high
land, follows the left bank of the Yazoo for some distance and continues
in a southerly direction to the Mississippi River, thence it runs along
the Mississippi to Warrenton, six miles below.  The Yazoo River leaves
the high land a short distance below Haines' Bluff and empties into the
Mississippi nine miles above Vicksburg.  Vicksburg is built on this high
land where the Mississippi washes the base of the hill.  Haines' Bluff,
eleven miles from Vicksburg, on the Yazoo River, was strongly fortified.
The whole distance from there to Vicksburg and thence to Warrenton was
also intrenched, with batteries at suitable distances and rifle-pits
connecting them.

From Young's Point the Mississippi turns in a north-easterly direction
to a point just above the city, when it again turns and runs
south-westerly, leaving vessels, which might attempt to run the blockade,
exposed to the fire of batteries six miles below the city before they
were in range of the upper batteries.  Since then the river has made a
cut-off, leaving what was the peninsula in front of the city, an island.
North of the Yazoo was all a marsh, heavily timbered, cut up with
bayous, and much overflowed.  A front attack was therefore impossible,
and was never contemplated; certainly not by me. The problem then
became, how to secure a landing on high ground east of the Mississippi
without an apparent retreat.  Then commenced a series of experiments to
consume time, and to divert the attention of the enemy, of my troops and
of the public generally.  I, myself, never felt great confidence that
any of the experiments resorted to would prove successful. Nevertheless
I was always prepared to take advantage of them in case they did.

In 1862 General Thomas Williams had come up from New Orleans and cut a
ditch ten or twelve feet wide and about as deep, straight across from
Young's Point to the river below.  The distance across was a little over
a mile.  It was Williams' expectation that when the river rose it would
cut a navigable channel through; but the canal started in an eddy from
both ends, and, of course, it only filled up with water on the rise
without doing any execution in the way of cutting.  Mr. Lincoln had
navigated the Mississippi in his younger days and understood well its
tendency to change its channel, in places, from time to time.  He set
much store accordingly by this canal.  General McClernand had been,
therefore, directed before I went to Young's Point to push the work of
widening and deepening this canal.  After my arrival the work was
diligently pushed with about 4,000 men--as many as could be used to
advantage--until interrupted by a sudden rise in the river that broke a
dam at the upper end, which had been put there to keep the water out
until the excavation was completed.  This was on the 8th of March.

Even if the canal had proven a success, so far as to be navigable for
steamers, it could not have been of much advantage to us.  It runs in a
direction almost perpendicular to the line of bluffs on the opposite
side, or east bank, of the river.  As soon as the enemy discovered what
we were doing he established a battery commanding the canal throughout
its length.  This battery soon drove out our dredges, two in number,
which were doing the work of thousands of men.  Had the canal been
completed it might have proven of some use in running transports
through, under the cover of night, to use below; but they would yet have
to run batteries, though for a much shorter distance.

While this work was progressing we were busy in other directions, trying
to find an available landing on high ground on the east bank of the
river, or to make water-ways to get below the city, avoiding the

On the 30th of January, the day after my arrival at the front, I ordered
General McPherson, stationed with his corps at Lake Providence, to cut
the levee at that point.  If successful in opening a channel for
navigation by this route, it would carry us to the Mississippi River
through the mouth of the Red River, just above Port Hudson and four
hundred miles below Vicksburg by the river.

Lake Providence is a part of the old bed of the Mississippi, about a
mile from the present channel.  It is six miles long and has its outlet
through Bayou Baxter, Bayou Macon, and the Tensas, Washita and Red
Rivers.  The last three are navigable streams at all seasons.  Bayous
Baxter and Macon are narrow and tortuous, and the banks are covered with
dense forests overhanging the channel.  They were also filled with
fallen timber, the accumulation of years.  The land along the
Mississippi River, from Memphis down, is in all instances highest next
to the river, except where the river washes the bluffs which form the
boundary of the valley through which it winds.  Bayou Baxter, as it
reaches lower land, begins to spread out and disappears entirely in a
cypress swamp before it reaches the Macon.  There was about two feet of
water in this swamp at the time.  To get through it, even with vessels
of the lightest draft, it was necessary to clear off a belt of heavy
timber wide enough to make a passage way.  As the trees would have to be
cut close to the bottom--under water--it was an undertaking of great

On the 4th of February I visited General McPherson, and remained with
him several days.  The work had not progressed so far as to admit the
water from the river into the lake, but the troops had succeeded in
drawing a small steamer, of probably not over thirty tons' capacity,
from the river into the lake.  With this we were able to explore the
lake and bayou as far as cleared.  I saw then that there was scarcely a
chance of this ever becoming a practicable route for moving troops
through an enemy's country.  The distance from Lake Providence to the
point where vessels going by that route would enter the Mississippi
again, is about four hundred and seventy miles by the main river.  The
distance would probably be greater by the tortuous bayous through which
this new route would carry us.  The enemy held Port Hudson, below where
the Red River debouches, and all the Mississippi above to Vicksburg.
The Red River, Washita and Tensas were, as has been said, all navigable
streams, on which the enemy could throw small bodies of men to obstruct
our passage and pick off our troops with their sharpshooters.  I let the
work go on, believing employment was better than idleness for the men.
Then, too, it served as a cover for other efforts which gave a better
prospect of success.  This work was abandoned after the canal proved a

Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson of my staff was sent to Helena, Arkansas, to
examine and open a way through Moon Lake and the Yazoo Pass if possible.
Formerly there was a route by way of an inlet from the Mississippi River
into Moon Lake, a mile east of the river, thence east through Yazoo Pass
to Coldwater, along the latter to the Tallahatchie, which joins the
Yallabusha about two hundred and fifty miles below Moon Lake and forms
the Yazoo River.  These were formerly navigated by steamers trading with
the rich plantations along their banks; but the State of Mississippi had
built a strong levee across the inlet some years before, leaving the
only entrance for vessels into this rich region the one by way of the
mouth of the Yazoo several hundreds of miles below.

On the 2d of February this dam, or levee, was cut.  The river being high
the rush of water through the cut was so great that in a very short time
the entire obstruction was washed away. The bayous were soon filled and
much of the country was overflowed. This pass leaves the Mississippi
River but a few miles below Helena. On the 24th General Ross, with his
brigade of about 4,500 men on transports, moved into this new water-way.
The rebels had obstructed the navigation of Yazoo Pass and the Coldwater
by felling trees into them.  Much of the timber in this region being of
greater specific gravity than water, and being of great size, their
removal was a matter of great labor; but it was finally accomplished,
and on the 11th of March Ross found himself, accompanied by two gunboats
under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith, confronting a
fortification at Greenwood, where the Tallahatchie and Yallabusha unite
and the Yazoo begins.  The bends of the rivers are such at this point as
to almost form an island, scarcely above water at that stage of the
river.  This island was fortified and manned.  It was named Fort
Pemberton after the commander at Vicksburg.  No land approach was
accessible.  The troops, therefore, could render no assistance towards
an assault further than to establish a battery on a little piece of
ground which was discovered above water.  The gunboats, however,
attacked on the 11th and again on the 13th of March.  Both efforts were
failures and were not renewed.  One gunboat was disabled and we lost six
men killed and twenty-five wounded. The loss of the enemy was less.

Fort Pemberton was so little above the water that it was thought that a
rise of two feet would drive the enemy out.  In hope of enlisting the
elements on our side, which had been so much against us up to this time,
a second cut was made in the Mississippi levee, this time directly
opposite Helena, or six miles above the former cut.  It did not
accomplish the desired result, and Ross, with his fleet, started back.
On the 22d he met Quinby with a brigade at Yazoo Pass.  Quinby was the
senior of Ross, and assumed command.  He was not satisfied with
returning to his former position without seeing for himself whether
anything could be accomplished.  Accordingly Fort Pemberton was
revisited by our troops; but an inspection was sufficient this time
without an attack.  Quinby, with his command, returned with but little
delay.  In the meantime I was much exercised for the safety of Ross, not
knowing that Quinby had been able to join him.  Reinforcements were of
no use in a country covered with water, as they would have to remain on
board of their transports.  Relief had to come from another quarter.  So
I determined to get into the Yazoo below Fort Pemberton.

Steel's Bayou empties into the Yazoo River between Haines' Bluff and its
mouth.  It is narrow, very tortuous, and fringed with a very heavy
growth of timber, but it is deep.  It approaches to within one mile of
the Mississippi at Eagle Bend, thirty miles above Young's Point.
Steel's Bayou connects with Black Bayou, Black Bayou with Deer Creek,
Deer Creek with Rolling Fork, Rolling Fork with the Big Sunflower River,
and the Big Sunflower with the Yazoo River about ten miles above Haines'
Bluff in a right line but probably twenty or twenty-five miles by the
winding of the river.  All these waterways are of about the same nature
so far as navigation is concerned, until the Sunflower is reached; this
affords free navigation.

Admiral Porter explored this waterway as far as Deer Creek on the 14th
of March, and reported it navigable.  On the next day he started with
five gunboats and four mortar-boats.  I went with him for some distance.
The heavy overhanging timber retarded progress very much, as did also
the short turns in so narrow a stream.  The gunboats, however, ploughed
their way through without other damage than to their appearance.  The
transports did not fare so well although they followed behind. The road
was somewhat cleared for them by the gunboats.  In the evening I
returned to headquarters to hurry up reinforcements. Sherman went in
person on the 16th, taking with him Stuart's division of the 15th corps.
They took large river transports to Eagle Bend on the Mississippi, where
they debarked and marched across to Steel's Bayou, where they
re-embarked on the transports.  The river steamers, with their tall
smokestacks and light guards extending out, were so much impeded that
the gunboats got far ahead.  Porter, with his fleet, got within a few
hundred yards of where the sailing would have been clear and free from
the obstructions caused by felling trees into the water, when he
encountered rebel sharp-shooters, and his progress was delayed by
obstructions in his front.  He could do nothing with gunboats against
sharpshooters.  The rebels, learning his route, had sent in about 4,000
men--many more than there were sailors in the fleet.

Sherman went back, at the request of the admiral, to clear out Black
Bayou and to hurry up reinforcements, which were far behind.  On the
night of the 19th he received notice from the admiral that he had been
attacked by sharp-shooters and was in imminent peril.  Sherman at once
returned through Black Bayou in a canoe, and passed on until he met a
steamer, with the last of the reinforcements he had, coming up.  They
tried to force their way through Black Bayou with their steamer, but,
finding it slow and tedious work, debarked and pushed forward on foot.
It was night when they landed, and intensely dark.  There was but a
narrow strip of land above water, and that was grown up with underbrush
or cane.  The troops lighted their way through this with candles carried
in their hands for a mile and a half, when they came to an open
plantation.  Here the troops rested until morning.  They made twenty-one
miles from this resting-place by noon the next day, and were in time to
rescue the fleet.  Porter had fully made up his mind to blow up the
gunboats rather than have them fall into the hands of the enemy.  More
welcome visitors he probably never met than the "boys in blue" on this
occasion.  The vessels were backed out and returned to their rendezvous
on the Mississippi; and thus ended in failure the fourth attempt to get
in rear of Vicksburg.



The original canal scheme was also abandoned on the 27th of March.  The
effort to make a waterway through Lake Providence and the connecting
bayous was abandoned as wholly impracticable about the same time.

At Milliken's Bend, and also at Young's Point, bayous or channels start,
which connecting with other bayous passing Richmond, Louisiana, enter
the Mississippi at Carthage twenty-five or thirty miles above Grand
Gulf.  The Mississippi levee cuts the supply of water off from these
bayous or channels, but all the rainfall behind the levee, at these
points, is carried through these same channels to the river below.  In
case of a crevasse in this vicinity, the water escaping would find its
outlet through the same channels.  The dredges and laborers from the
canal having been driven out by overflow and the enemy's batteries, I
determined to open these other channels, if possible.  If successful the
effort would afford a route, away from the enemy's batteries, for our
transports.  There was a good road back of the levees, along these
bayous, to carry the troops, artillery and wagon trains over whenever
the water receded a little, and after a few days of dry weather.
Accordingly, with the abandonment of all the other plans for reaching a
base heretofore described, this new one was undertaken.

As early as the 4th of February I had written to Halleck about this
route, stating that I thought it much more practicable than the other
undertaking (the Lake Providence route), and that it would have been
accomplished with much less labor if commenced before the water had got
all over the country.

The upper end of these bayous being cut off from a water supply, further
than the rainfall back of the levees, was grown up with dense timber for
a distance of several miles from their source.  It was necessary,
therefore, to clear this out before letting in the water from the river.
This work was continued until the waters of the river began to recede
and the road to Richmond, Louisiana, emerged from the water.  One small
steamer and some barges were got through this channel, but no further
use could be made of it because of the fall in the river. Beyond this it
was no more successful than the other experiments with which the winter
was whiled away.  All these failures would have been very discouraging
if I had expected much from the efforts; but I had not.  From the first
the most I hoped to accomplish was the passage of transports, to be used
below Vicksburg, without exposure to the long line of batteries
defending that city.

This long, dreary and, for heavy and continuous rains and high water,
unprecedented winter was one of great hardship to all engaged about
Vicksburg.  The river was higher than its natural banks from December,
1862, to the following April.  The war had suspended peaceful pursuits
in the South, further than the production of army supplies, and in
consequence the levees were neglected and broken in many places and the
whole country was covered with water.  Troops could scarcely find dry
ground on which to pitch their tents.  Malarial fevers broke out among
the men.  Measles and small-pox also attacked them.  The hospital
arrangements and medical attendance were so perfect, however, that the
loss of life was much less than might have been expected.  Visitors to
the camps went home with dismal stories to relate; Northern papers came
back to the soldiers with these stories exaggerated.  Because I would
not divulge my ultimate plans to visitors, they pronounced me idle,
incompetent and unfit to command men in an emergency, and clamored for
my removal.  They were not to be satisfied, many of them, with my simple
removal, but named who my successor should be. McClernand, Fremont,
Hunter and McClellan were all mentioned in this connection.  I took no
steps to answer these complaints, but continued to do my duty, as I
understood it, to the best of my ability.  Every one has his
superstitions.  One of mine is that in positions of great responsibility
every one should do his duty to the best of his ability where assigned
by competent authority, without application or the use of influence to
change his position.  While at Cairo I had watched with very great
interest the operations of the Army of the Potomac, looking upon that as
the main field of the war.  I had no idea, myself, of ever having any
large command, nor did I suppose that I was equal to one; but I had the
vanity to think that as a cavalry officer I might succeed very well in
the command of a brigade. On one occasion, in talking about this to my
staff officers, all of whom were civilians without any military
education whatever, I said that I would give anything if I were
commanding a brigade of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac and I
believed I could do some good.  Captain Hillyer spoke up and suggested
that I make application to be transferred there to command the cavalry.
I then told him that I would cut my right arm off first, and mentioned
this superstition.

In time of war the President, being by the Constitution
Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, is responsible for the
selection of commanders.  He should not be embarrassed in making his
selections.  I having been selected, my responsibility ended with my
doing the best I knew how.  If I had sought the place, or obtained it
through personal or political influence, my belief is that I would have
feared to undertake any plan of my own conception, and would probably
have awaited direct orders from my distant superiors.  Persons obtaining
important commands by application or political influence are apt to keep
a written record of complaints and predictions of defeat, which are
shown in case of disaster.  Somebody must be responsible for their

With all the pressure brought to bear upon them, both President Lincoln
and General Halleck stood by me to the end of the campaign.  I had never
met Mr.  Lincoln, but his support was constant.

At last the waters began to recede; the roads crossing the peninsula
behind the levees of the bayous, were emerging from the waters; the
troops were all concentrated from distant points at Milliken's Bend
preparatory to a final move which was to crown the long, tedious and
discouraging labors with success.

I had had in contemplation the whole winter the movement by land to a
point below Vicksburg from which to operate, subject only to the
possible but not expected success of some one of the expedients resorted
to for the purpose of giving us a different base.  This could not be
undertaken until the waters receded.  I did not therefore communicate
this plan, even to an officer of my staff, until it was necessary to
make preparations for the start.  My recollection is that Admiral Porter
was the first one to whom I mentioned it.  The co-operation of the navy
was absolutely essential to the success (even to the contemplation) of
such an enterprise.  I had no more authority to command Porter than he
had to command me.  It was necessary to have part of his fleet below
Vicksburg if the troops went there.  Steamers to use as ferries were
also essential.  The navy was the only escort and protection for these
steamers, all of which in getting below had to run about fourteen miles
of batteries. Porter fell into the plan at once, and suggested that he
had better superintend the preparation of the steamers selected to run
the batteries, as sailors would probably understand the work better than
soldiers.  I was glad to accept his proposition, not only because I
admitted his argument, but because it would enable me to keep from the
enemy a little longer our designs. Porter's fleet was on the east side
of the river above the mouth of the Yazoo, entirely concealed from the
enemy by the dense forests that intervened.  Even spies could not get
near him, on account of the undergrowth and overflowed lands.
Suspicions of some mysterious movements were aroused.  Our river guards
discovered one day a small skiff moving quietly and mysteriously up the
river near the east shore, from the direction of Vicksburg, towards the
fleet.  On overhauling the boat they found a small white flag, not much
larger than a handkerchief, set up in the stern, no doubt intended as a
flag of truce in case of discovery.  The boat, crew and passengers were
brought ashore to me.  The chief personage aboard proved to be Jacob
Thompson, Secretary of the Interior under the administration of
President Buchanan.  After a pleasant conversation of half an hour or
more I allowed the boat and crew, passengers and all, to return to
Vicksburg, without creating a suspicion that there was a doubt in my
mind as to the good faith of Mr. Thompson and his flag.

Admiral Porter proceeded with the preparation of the steamers for their
hazardous passage of the enemy's batteries.  The great essential was to
protect the boilers from the enemy's shot, and to conceal the fires
under the boilers from view.  This he accomplished by loading the
steamers, between the guards and boilers on the boiler deck up to the
deck above, with bales of hay and cotton, and the deck in front of the
boilers in the same way, adding sacks of grain.  The hay and grain would
be wanted below, and could not be transported in sufficient quantity by
the muddy roads over which we expected to march.

Before this I had been collecting, from St. Louis and Chicago, yawls and
barges to be used as ferries when we got below.  By the 16th of April
Porter was ready to start on his perilous trip.  The advance, flagship
Benton, Porter commanding, started at ten o'clock at night, followed at
intervals of a few minutes by the Lafayette with a captured steamer, the
Price, lashed to her side, the Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburgh and
Carondelet--all of these being naval vessels.  Next came the transports
--Forest Queen, Silver Wave and Henry Clay, each towing barges loaded
with coal to be used as fuel by the naval and transport steamers when
below the batteries.  The gunboat Tuscumbia brought up the rear.  Soon
after the start a battery between Vicksburg and Warrenton opened fire
across the intervening peninsula, followed by the upper batteries, and
then by batteries all along the line.  The gunboats ran up close under
the bluffs, delivering their fire in return at short distances, probably
without much effect.  They were under fire for more than two hours and
every vessel was struck many times, but with little damage to the
gunboats.  The transports did not fare so well.  The Henry Clay was
disabled and deserted by her crew. Soon after a shell burst in the
cotton packed about the boilers, set the vessel on fire and burned her
to the water's edge.  The burning mass, however, floated down to
Carthage before grounding, as did also one of the barges in tow.

The enemy were evidently expecting our fleet, for they were ready to
light up the river by means of bonfires on the east side and by firing
houses on the point of land opposite the city on the Louisiana side.
The sight was magnificent, but terrible.  I witnessed it from the deck
of a river transport, run out into the middle of the river and as low
down as it was prudent to go.  My mind was much relieved when I learned
that no one on the transports had been killed and but few, if any,
wounded.  During the running of the batteries men were stationed in the
holds of the transports to partially stop with cotton shot-holes that
might be made in the hulls.  All damage was afterwards soon repaired
under the direction of Admiral Porter.

The experiment of passing batteries had been tried before this, however,
during the war.  Admiral Farragut had run the batteries at Port Hudson
with the flagship Hartford and one iron-clad and visited me from below
Vicksburg.  The 13th of February Admiral Porter had sent the gunboat
Indianola, Lieutenant-Commander George Brown commanding, below.  She met
Colonel Ellet of the Marine brigade below Natchez on a captured steamer.
Two of the Colonel's fleet had previously run the batteries, producing
the greatest consternation among the people along the Mississippi from
Vicksburg (*10) to the Red River.

The Indianola remained about the mouth of the Red River some days, and
then started up the Mississippi.  The Confederates soon raised the Queen
of the West, (*11) and repaired her.  With this vessel and the ram Webb,
which they had had for some time in the Red River, and two other
steamers, they followed the Indianola. The latter was encumbered with
barges of coal in tow, and consequently could make but little speed
against the rapid current of the Mississippi.  The Confederate fleet
overtook her just above Grand Gulf, and attacked her after dark on the
24th of February.  The Indianola was superior to all the others in
armament, and probably would have destroyed them or driven them away,
but for her encumbrance.  As it was she fought them for an hour and a
half, but, in the dark, was struck seven or eight times by the ram and
other vessels, and was finally disabled and reduced to a sinking
condition.  The armament was thrown overboard and the vessel run ashore.
Officers and crew then surrendered.

I had started McClernand with his corps of four divisions on the 29th of
March, by way of Richmond, Louisiana, to New Carthage, hoping that he
might capture Grand Gulf before the balance of the troops could get
there; but the roads were very bad, scarcely above water yet.  Some
miles from New Carthage the levee to Bayou Vidal was broken in several
places, overflowing the roads for the distance of two miles.  Boats were
collected from the surrounding bayous, and some constructed on the spot
from such material as could be collected, to transport the troops across
the overflowed interval.  By the 6th of April McClernand had reached New
Carthage with one division and its artillery, the latter ferried through
the woods by these boats.  On the 17th I visited New Carthage in person,
and saw that the process of getting troops through in the way we were
doing was so tedious that a better method must be devised.  The water
was falling, and in a few days there would not be depth enough to use
boats; nor would the land be dry enough to march over.  McClernand had
already found a new route from Smith's plantation where the crevasse
occurred, to Perkins' plantation, eight to twelve miles below New
Carthage.  This increased the march from Milliken's Bend from
twenty-seven to nearly forty miles.  Four bridges had to be built across
bayous, two of them each over six hundred feet long, making about two
thousand feet of bridging in all.  The river falling made the current in
these bayous very rapid, increasing the difficulty of building and
permanently fastening these bridges; but the ingenuity of the "Yankee
soldier" was equal to any emergency.  The bridges were soon built of
such material as could be found near by, and so substantial were they
that not a single mishap occurred in crossing all the army with
artillery, cavalry and wagon trains, except the loss of one siege gun
(a thirty-two pounder).  This, if my memory serves me correctly, broke
through the only pontoon bridge we had in all our march across the
peninsula. These bridges were all built by McClernand's command, under
the supervision of Lieutenant Hains of the Engineer Corps.

I returned to Milliken's Bend on the 18th or 19th, and on the 20th
issued the following final order for the movement of troops:

April 20, 1863.

Special Orders, No. 110. *         *         *         *         * *
* VIII.  The following orders are published for the information and
guidance of the "Army in the Field," in its present movement to obtain a
foothold on the east bank of the Mississippi River, from which Vicksburg
can be approached by practicable roads.

First.--The Thirteenth army corps, Major-General John A. McClernand
commanding, will constitute the right wing.

Second.--The Fifteenth army corps, Major-General W. T. Sherman
commanding, will constitute the left wing.

Third.--The Seventeenth army corps, Major-General James B. McPherson
commanding, will constitute the centre.

Fourth.--The order of march to New Carthage will be from right to left.

Fifth.--Reserves will be formed by divisions from each army corps; or,
an entire army corps will be held as a reserve, as necessity may
require.  When the reserve is formed by divisions, each division will
remain under the immediate command of its respective corps commander,
unless otherwise specially ordered for a particular emergency.

Sixth.--Troops will be required to bivouac, until proper facilities can
be afforded for the transportation of camp equipage.

Seventh.--In the present movement, one tent will be allowed to each
company for the protection of rations from rain; one wall tent for each
regimental headquarters; one wall tent for each brigade headquarters;
and one wall tent for each division headquarters; corps commanders
having the books and blanks of their respective commands to provide for,
are authorized to take such tents as are absolutely necessary, but not
to exceed the number allowed by General Orders No. 160, A. G. O., series
of 1862.

Eighth.--All the teams of the three army corps, under the immediate
charge of the quartermasters bearing them on their returns, will
constitute a train for carrying supplies and ordnance and the authorized
camp equipage of the army.

Ninth.--As fast as the Thirteenth army corps advances, the Seventeenth
army corps will take its place; and it, in turn, will be followed in
like manner by the Fifteenth army corps.

Tenth.--Two regiments from each army corps will be detailed by corps
commanders, to guard the lines from Richmond to New Carthage.

Eleventh.--General hospitals will be established by the medical director
between Duckport and Milliken's Bend.  All sick and disabled soldiers
will be left in these hospitals.  Surgeons in charge of hospitals will
report convalescents as fast as they become fit for duty.  Each corps
commander will detail an intelligent and good drill officer, to remain
behind and take charge of the convalescents of their respective corps;
officers so detailed will organize the men under their charge into
squads and companies, without regard to the regiments they belong to;
and in the absence of convalescent commissioned officers to command
them, will appoint non-commissioned officers or privates.  The force so
organized will constitute the guard of the line from Duckport to
Milliken's Bend.  They will furnish all the guards and details required
for general hospitals, and with the contrabands that may be about the
camps, will furnish all the details for loading and unloading boats.

Twelfth.--The movement of troops from Milliken's Bend to New Carthage
will be so conducted as to allow the transportation of ten days' supply
of rations, and one-half the allowance of ordnance, required by previous

Thirteenth.--Commanders are authorized and enjoined to collect all the
beef cattle, corn and other necessary supplies on the line of march; but
wanton destruction of property, taking of articles useless for military
purposes, insulting citizens, going into and searching houses without
proper orders from division commanders, are positively prohibited.  All
such irregularities must be summarily punished.

Fourteenth.--Brigadier-General J. C.  Sullivan is appointed to the
command of all the forces detailed for the protection of the line from
here to New Carthage.  His particular attention is called to General
Orders, No. 69, from Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, of date
March 20, 1863.


McClernand was already below on the Mississippi.  Two of McPherson's
divisions were put upon the march immediately.  The third had not yet
arrived from Lake Providence; it was on its way to Milliken's Bend and
was to follow on arrival.

Sherman was to follow McPherson.  Two of his divisions were at Duckport
and Young's Point, and the third under Steele was under orders to return
from Greenville, Mississippi, where it had been sent to expel a rebel
battery that had been annoying our transports.

It had now become evident that the army could not be rationed by a wagon
train over the single narrow and almost impassable road between
Milliken's Bend and Perkins' plantation.  Accordingly six more steamers
were protected as before, to run the batteries, and were loaded with
supplies.  They took twelve barges in tow, loaded also with rations.  On
the night of the 22d of April they ran the batteries, five getting
through more or less disabled while one was sunk.  About half the barges
got through with their needed freight.

When it was first proposed to run the blockade at Vicksburg with river
steamers there were but two captains or masters who were willing to
accompany their vessels, and but one crew. Volunteers were called for
from the army, men who had had experience in any capacity in navigating
the western rivers. Captains, pilots, mates, engineers and deck-hands
enough presented themselves to take five times the number of vessels we
were moving through this dangerous ordeal.  Most of them were from
Logan's division, composed generally of men from the southern part of
Illinois and from Missouri.  All but two of the steamers were commanded
by volunteers from the army, and all but one so manned.  In this
instance, as in all others during the war, I found that volunteers could
be found in the ranks and among the commissioned officers to meet every
call for aid whether mechanical or professional.  Colonel W. S. Oliver
was master of transportation on this occasion by special detail.



On the 24th my headquarters were with the advance at Perkins'
plantation.  Reconnoissances were made in boats to ascertain whether
there was high land on the east shore of the river where we might land
above Grand Gulf.  There was none practicable. Accordingly the troops
were set in motion for Hard Times, twenty-two miles farther down the
river and nearly opposite Grand Gulf.  The loss of two steamers and six
barges reduced our transportation so that only 10,000 men could be moved
by water. Some of the steamers that had got below were injured in their
machinery, so that they were only useful as barges towed by those less
severely injured.  All the troops, therefore, except what could be
transported in one trip, had to march.  The road lay west of Lake St.
Joseph.  Three large bayous had to be crossed.  They were rapidly
bridged in the same manner as those previously encountered. (*12)

On the 27th McClernand's corps was all at Hard Times, and McPherson's
was following closely.  I had determined to make the attempt to effect a
landing on the east side of the river as soon as possible.  Accordingly,
on the morning of the 29th, McClernand was directed to embark all the
troops from his corps that our transports and barges could carry.  About
10,000 men were so embarked.  The plan was to have the navy silence the
guns at Grand Gulf, and to have as many men as possible ready to debark
in the shortest possible time under cover of the fire of the navy and
carry the works by storm.  The following order was issued:



Commence immediately the embarkation of your corps, or so much of it as
there is transportation for.  Have put aboard the artillery and every
article authorized in orders limiting baggage, except the men, and hold
them in readiness, with their places assigned, to be moved at a moment's

All the troops you may have, except those ordered to remain behind, send
to a point nearly opposite Grand Gulf, where you see, by special orders
of this date, General McPherson is ordered to send one division.

The plan of the attack will be for the navy to attack and silence all
the batteries commanding the river.  Your corps will be on the river,
ready to run to and debark on the nearest eligible land below the
promontory first brought to view passing down the river.  Once on shore,
have each commander instructed beforehand to form his men the best the
ground will admit of, and take possession of the most commanding points,
but avoid separating your command so that it cannot support itself.  The
first object is to get a foothold where our troops can maintain
themselves until such time as preparations can be made and troops
collected for a forward movement.

Admiral Porter has proposed to place his boats in the position indicated
to you a few days ago, and to bring over with them such troops as may be
below the city after the guns of the enemy are silenced.

It may be that the enemy will occupy positions back from the city, out
of range of the gunboats, so as to make it desirable to run past Grand
Gulf and land at Rodney.  In case this should prove the plan, a signal
will be arranged and you duly informed, when the transports are to start
with this view.  Or, it may be expedient for the boats to run past, but
not the men.  In this case, then, the transports would have to be
brought back to where the men could land and move by forced marches to
below Grand Gulf, re-embark rapidly and proceed to the latter place.
There will be required, then, three signals; one, to indicate that the
transports can run down and debark the troops at Grand Gulf; one, that
the transports can run by without the troops; and the last, that the
transports can run by with the troops on board.

Should the men have to march, all baggage and artillery will be left to
run the blockade.

If not already directed, require your men to keep three days' rations in
their haversacks, not to be touched until a movement commences.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

At 8 o'clock A.M., 29th, Porter made the attack with his entire strength
present, eight gunboats.  For nearly five and a half hours the attack
was kept up without silencing a single gun of the enemy.  All this time
McClernand's 10,000 men were huddled together on the transports in the
stream ready to attempt a landing if signalled.  I occupied a tug from
which I could see the effect of the battle on both sides, within range
of the enemy's guns; but a small tug, without armament, was not
calculated to attract the fire of batteries while they were being
assailed themselves.  About half-past one the fleet withdrew, seeing
their efforts were entirely unavailing.  The enemy ceased firing as soon
as we withdrew.  I immediately signalled the Admiral and went aboard his
ship.  The navy lost in this engagement eighteen killed and fifty-six
wounded.  A large proportion of these were of the crew of the flagship,
and most of those from a single shell which penetrated the ship's side
and exploded between decks where the men were working their guns.  The
sight of the mangled and dying men which met my eye as I boarded the
ship was sickening.

Grand Gulf is on a high bluff where the river runs at the very foot of
it.  It is as defensible upon its front as Vicksburg and, at that time,
would have been just as impossible to capture by a front attack.  I
therefore requested Porter to run the batteries with his fleet that
night, and to take charge of the transports, all of which would be
wanted below.

There is a long tongue of land from the Louisiana side extending towards
Grand Gulf, made by the river running nearly east from about three miles
above and nearly in the opposite direction from that point for about the
same distance below.  The land was so low and wet that it would not have
been practicable to march an army across but for a levee.  I had had
this explored before, as well as the east bank below to ascertain if
there was a possible point of debarkation north of Rodney.  It was found
that the top of the levee afforded a good road to march upon.

Porter, as was always the case with him, not only acquiesced in the
plan, but volunteered to use his entire fleet as transports.  I had
intended to make this request, but he anticipated me.  At dusk, when
concealed from the view of the enemy at Grand Gulf, McClernand landed
his command on the west bank.  The navy and transports ran the batteries
successfully. The troops marched across the point of land under cover of
night, unobserved.  By the time it was light the enemy saw our whole
fleet, ironclads, gunboats, river steamers and barges, quietly moving
down the river three miles below them, black, or rather blue, with
National troops.

When the troops debarked, the evening of the 29th, it was expected that
we would have to go to Rodney, about nine miles below, to find a
landing; but that night a colored man came in who informed me that a
good landing would be found at Bruinsburg, a few miles above Rodney,
from which point there was a good road leading to Port Gibson some
twelve miles in the interior.  The information was found correct, and
our landing was effected without opposition.

Sherman had not left his position above Vicksburg yet.  On the morning
of the 27th I ordered him to create a diversion by moving his corps up
the Yazoo and threatening an attack on Haines' Bluff.

My object was to compel Pemberton to keep as much force about Vicksburg
as I could, until I could secure a good footing on high land east of the
river.  The move was eminently successful and, as we afterwards learned,
created great confusion about Vicksburg and doubts about our real
design.  Sherman moved the day of our attack on Grand Gulf, the 29th,
with ten regiments of his command and eight gunboats which Porter had
left above Vicksburg.

He debarked his troops and apparently made every preparation to attack
the enemy while the navy bombarded the main forts at Haines' Bluff.
This move was made without a single casualty in either branch of the
service.  On the first of May Sherman received orders from me (sent from
Hard Times the evening of the 29th of April) to withdraw from the front
of Haines' Bluff and follow McPherson with two divisions as fast as he

I had established a depot of supplies at Perkins' plantation. Now that
all our gunboats were below Grand Gulf it was possible that the enemy
might fit out boats in the Big Black with improvised armament and
attempt to destroy these supplies. McPherson was at Hard Times with a
portion of his corps, and the depot was protected by a part of his
command.  The night of the 29th I directed him to arm one of the
transports with artillery and send it up to Perkins' plantation as a
guard; and also to have the siege guns we had brought along moved there
and put in position.

The embarkation below Grand Gulf took place at De Shroon's, Louisiana,
six miles above Bruinsburg, Mississippi.  Early on the morning of 30th
of April McClernand's corps and one division of McPherson's corps were
speedily landed.

When this was effected I felt a degree of relief scarcely ever equalled
since.  Vicksburg was not yet taken it is true, nor were its defenders
demoralized by any of our previous moves.  I was now in the enemy's
country, with a vast river and the stronghold of Vicksburg between me
and my base of supplies.  But I was on dry ground on the same side of
the river with the enemy.  All the campaigns, labors, hardships and
exposures from the month of December previous to this time that had been
made and endured, were for the accomplishment of this one object.

I had with me the 13th corps, General McClernand commanding, and two
brigades of Logan's division of the 17th corps, General McPherson
commanding--in all not more than twenty thousand men to commence the
campaign with.  These were soon reinforced by the remaining brigade of
Logan's division and Crocker's division of the 17th corps.  On the 7th
of May I was further reinforced by Sherman with two divisions of his,
the 15th corps.  My total force was then about thirty-three thousand

The enemy occupied Grand Gulf, Haines' Bluff and Jackson with a force of
nearly sixty thousand men.  Jackson is fifty miles east of Vicksburg and
is connected with it by a railroad.  My first problem was to capture
Grand Gulf to use as a base.

Bruinsburg is two miles from high ground.  The bottom at that point is
higher than most of the low land in the valley of the Mississippi, and a
good road leads to the bluff.  It was natural to expect the garrison
from Grand Gulf to come out to meet us and prevent, if they could, our
reaching this solid base.  Bayou Pierre enters the Mississippi just
above Bruinsburg and, as it is a navigable stream and was high at the
time, in order to intercept us they had to go by Port Gibson, the
nearest point where there was a bridge to cross upon.  This more than
doubled the distance from Grand Gulf to the high land back of
Bruinsburg.  No time was to be lost in securing this foothold. Our
transportation was not sufficient to move all the army across the river
at one trip, or even two; but the landing of the 13th corps and one
division of the 17th was effected during the day, April 30th, and early
evening.  McClernand was advanced as soon as ammunition and two days'
rations (to last five) could be issued to his men.  The bluffs were
reached an hour before sunset and McClernand was pushed on, hoping to
reach Port Gibson and save the bridge spanning the Bayou Pierre before
the enemy could get there; for crossing a stream in the presence of an
enemy is always difficult.  Port Gibson, too, is the starting point of
roads to Grand Gulf, Vicksburg and Jackson.

McClernand's advance met the enemy about five miles west of Port Gibson
at Thompson's plantation.  There was some firing during the night, but
nothing rising to the dignity of a battle until daylight.  The enemy had
taken a strong natural position with most of the Grand Gulf garrison,
numbering about seven or eight thousand men, under General Bowen.  His
hope was to hold me in check until reinforcements under Loring could
reach him from Vicksburg; but Loring did not come in time to render much
assistance south of Port Gibson.  Two brigades of McPherson's corps
followed McClernand as fast as rations and ammunition could be issued,
and were ready to take position upon the battlefield whenever the 13th
corps could be got out of the way.

The country in this part of Mississippi stands on edge, as it were, the
roads running along the ridges except when they occasionally pass from
one ridge to another.  Where there are no clearings the sides of the
hills are covered with a very heavy growth of timber and with
undergrowth, and the ravines are filled with vines and canebrakes,
almost impenetrable.  This makes it easy for an inferior force to delay,
if not defeat, a far superior one.

Near the point selected by Bowen to defend, the road to Port Gibson
divides, taking two ridges which do not diverge more than a mile or two
at the widest point.  These roads unite just outside the town.  This
made it necessary for McClernand to divide his force.  It was not only
divided, but it was separated by a deep ravine of the character above
described.  One flank could not reinforce the other except by marching
back to the junction of the roads.  McClernand put the divisions of
Hovey, Carr and A. J. Smith upon the right-hand branch and Osterhaus on
the left.  I was on the field by ten A.M., and inspected both flanks in
person.  On the right the enemy, if not being pressed back, was at least
not repulsing our advance.  On the left, however, Osterhaus was not
faring so well.  He had been repulsed with some loss.  As soon as the
road could be cleared of McClernand's troops I ordered up McPherson, who
was close upon the rear of the 13th corps, with two brigades of Logan's
division.  This was about noon.  I ordered him to send one brigade
(General John E. Smith's was selected) to support Osterhaus, and to move
to the left and flank the enemy out of his position.  This movement
carried the brigade over a deep ravine to a third ridge and, when
Smith's troops were seen well through the ravine, Osterhaus was directed
to renew his front attack.  It was successful and unattended by heavy
loss.  The enemy was sent in full retreat on their right, and their left
followed before sunset.  While the movement to our left was going on,
McClernand, who was with his right flank, sent me frequent requests for
reinforcements, although the force with him was not being pressed.  I
had been upon the ground and knew it did not admit of his engaging all
the men he had.  We followed up our victory until night overtook us
about two miles from Port Gibson; then the troops went into bivouac for
the night.



We started next morning for Port Gibson as soon as it was light enough
to see the road.  We were soon in the town, and I was delighted to find
that the enemy had not stopped to contest our crossing further at the
bridge, which he had burned.  The troops were set to work at once to
construct a bridge across the South Fork of the Bayou Pierre.  At this
time the water was high and the current rapid.  What might be called a
raft-bridge was soon constructed from material obtained from wooden
buildings, stables, fences, etc., which sufficed for carrying the whole
army over safely.  Colonel J. H. Wilson, a member of my staff, planned
and superintended the construction of this bridge, going into the water
and working as hard as any one engaged.  Officers and men generally
joined in this work.  When it was finished the army crossed and marched
eight miles beyond to the North Fork that day.  One brigade of Logan's
division was sent down the stream to occupy the attention of a rebel
battery, which had been left behind with infantry supports to prevent
our repairing the burnt railroad bridge.  Two of his brigades were sent
up the bayou to find a crossing and reach the North Fork to repair the
bridge there.  The enemy soon left when he found we were building a
bridge elsewhere.  Before leaving Port Gibson we were reinforced by
Crocker's division, McPherson's corps, which had crossed the Mississippi
at Bruinsburg and come up without stopping except to get two days'
rations.  McPherson still had one division west of the Mississippi
River, guarding the road from Milliken's Bend to the river below until
Sherman's command should relieve it.

On leaving Bruinsburg for the front I left my son Frederick, who had
joined me a few weeks before, on board one of the gunboats asleep, and
hoped to get away without him until after Grand Gulf should fall into
our hands; but on waking up he learned that I had gone, and being guided
by the sound of the battle raging at Thompson's Hill--called the Battle
of Port Gibson--found his way to where I was.  He had no horse to ride
at the time, and I had no facilities for even preparing a meal.  He,
therefore, foraged around the best he could until we reached Grand Gulf.
Mr. C. A. Dana, then an officer of the War Department, accompanied me on
the Vicksburg campaign and through a portion of the siege.  He was in
the same situation as Fred so far as transportation and mess
arrangements were concerned.  The first time I call to mind seeing
either of them, after the battle, they were mounted on two enormous
horses, grown white from age, each equipped with dilapidated saddles and

Our trains arrived a few days later, after which we were all perfectly

My son accompanied me throughout the campaign and siege, and caused no
anxiety either to me or to his mother, who was at home.  He looked out
for himself and was in every battle of the campaign.  His age, then not
quite thirteen, enabled him to take in all he saw, and to retain a
recollection of it that would not be possible in more mature years.

When the movement from Bruinsburg commenced we were without a wagon
train.  The train still west of the Mississippi was carried around with
proper escort, by a circuitous route from Milliken's Bend to Hard Times
seventy or more miles below, and did not get up for some days after the
battle of Port Gibson. My own horses, headquarters' transportation,
servants, mess chest, and everything except what I had on, was with this
train. General A. J. Smith happened to have an extra horse at Bruinsburg
which I borrowed, with a saddle-tree without upholstering further than
stirrups.  I had no other for nearly a week.

It was necessary to have transportation for ammunition. Provisions could
be taken from the country; but all the ammunition that can be carried on
the person is soon exhausted when there is much fighting.  I directed,
therefore, immediately on landing that all the vehicles and draft
animals, whether horses, mules, or oxen, in the vicinity should be
collected and loaded to their capacity with ammunition.  Quite a train
was collected during the 30th, and a motley train it was.  In it could
be found fine carriages, loaded nearly to the top with boxes of
cartridges that had been pitched in promiscuously, drawn by mules with
plough, harness, straw collars, rope-lines, etc.; long-coupled wagons,
with racks for carrying cotton bales, drawn by oxen, and everything that
could be found in the way of transportation on a plantation, either for
use or pleasure.  The making out of provision returns was stopped for
the time.  No formalities were to retard our progress until a position
was secured when the time could be spared to observe them.

It was at Port Gibson I first heard through a Southern paper of the
complete success of Colonel Grierson, who was making a raid through
central Mississippi.  He had started from La Grange April 17th with
three regiments of about 1,700 men.  On the 21st he had detached Colonel
Hatch with one regiment to destroy the railroad between Columbus and
Macon and then return to La Grange.  Hatch had a sharp fight with the
enemy at Columbus and retreated along the railroad, destroying it at
Okalona and Tupelo, and arriving in La Grange April 26.  Grierson
continued his movement with about 1,000 men, breaking the Vicksburg and
Meridian railroad and the New Orleans and Jackson railroad, arriving at
Baton Rouge May 2d.  This raid was of great importance, for Grierson had
attracted the attention of the enemy from the main movement against

During the night of the 2d of May the bridge over the North Fork was
repaired, and the troops commenced crossing at five the next morning.
Before the leading brigade was over it was fired upon by the enemy from
a commanding position; but they were soon driven off.  It was evident
that the enemy was covering a retreat from Grand Gulf to Vicksburg.
Every commanding position from this (Grindstone) crossing to Hankinson's
ferry over the Big Black was occupied by the retreating foe to delay our
progress. McPherson, however, reached Hankinson's ferry before night,
seized the ferry boat, and sent a detachment of his command across and
several miles north on the road to Vicksburg.  When the junction of the
road going to Vicksburg with the road from Grand Gulf to Raymond and
Jackson was reached, Logan with his division was turned to the left
towards Grand Gulf.  I went with him a short distance from this
junction.  McPherson had encountered the largest force yet met since the
battle of Port Gibson and had a skirmish nearly approaching a battle;
but the road Logan had taken enabled him to come up on the enemy's right
flank, and they soon gave way.  McPherson was ordered to hold
Hankinson's ferry and the road back to Willow Springs with one division;
McClernand, who was now in the rear, was to join in this as well as to
guard the line back down the bayou.  I did not want to take the chances
of having an enemy lurking in our rear.

On the way from the junction to Grand Gulf, where the road comes into
the one from Vicksburg to the same place six or seven miles out, I
learned that the last of the enemy had retreated past that place on
their way to Vicksburg.  I left Logan to make the proper disposition of
his troops for the night, while I rode into the town with an escort of
about twenty cavalry.  Admiral Porter had already arrived with his
fleet.  The enemy had abandoned his heavy guns and evacuated the place.

When I reached Grand Gulf May 3d I had not been with my baggage since
the 27th of April and consequently had had no change of underclothing,
no meal except such as I could pick up sometimes at other headquarters,
and no tent to cover me.  The first thing I did was to get a bath,
borrow some fresh underclothing from one of the naval officers and
get a good meal on the flag-ship.  Then I wrote letters to the
general-in-chief informing him of our present position, dispatches to be
telegraphed from Cairo, orders to General Sullivan commanding above
Vicksburg, and gave orders to all my corps commanders.  About twelve
o'clock at night I was through my work and started for Hankinson's
ferry, arriving there before daylight.  While at Grand Gulf I heard from
Banks, who was on the Red River, and who said that he could not be at
Port Hudson before the 10th of May and then with only 15,000 men.  Up to
this time my intention had been to secure Grand Gulf, as a base of
supplies, detach McClernand's corps to Banks and co-operate with him in
the reduction of Port Hudson.

The news from Banks forced upon me a different plan of campaign from the
one intended.  To wait for his co-operation would have detained me at
least a month.  The reinforcements would not have reached ten thousand
men after deducting casualties and necessary river guards at all high
points close to the river for over three hundred miles.  The enemy would
have strengthened his position and been reinforced by more men than
Banks could have brought. I therefore determined to move independently
of Banks, cut loose from my base, destroy the rebel force in rear of
Vicksburg and invest or capture the city.

Grand Gulf was accordingly given up as a base and the authorities at
Washington were notified.  I knew well that Halleck's caution would lead
him to disapprove of this course; but it was the only one that gave any
chance of success.  The time it would take to communicate with
Washington and get a reply would be so great that I could not be
interfered with until it was demonstrated whether my plan was
practicable.  Even Sherman, who afterwards ignored bases of supplies
other than what were afforded by the country while marching through four
States of the Confederacy with an army more than twice as large as mine
at this time, wrote me from Hankinson's ferry, advising me of the
impossibility of supplying our army over a single road.  He urged me to
"stop all troops till your army is partially supplied with wagons, and
then act as quick as possible; for this road will be jammed, as sure as
life."  To this I replied:  "I do not calculate upon the possibility of
supplying the army with full rations from Grand Gulf.  I know it will be
impossible without constructing additional roads.  What I do expect is
to get up what rations of hard bread, coffee and salt we can, and make
the country furnish the balance."  We started from Bruinsburg with an
average of about two days' rations, and received no more from our own
supplies for some days; abundance was found in the mean time.  A delay
would give the enemy time to reinforce and fortify.

McClernand's and McPherson's commands were kept substantially as they
were on the night of the 2d, awaiting supplies sufficient to give them
three days' rations in haversacks.  Beef, mutton, poultry and forage
were found in abundance.  Quite a quantity of bacon and molasses was
also secured from the country, but bread and coffee could not be
obtained in quantity sufficient for all the men.  Every plantation,
however, had a run of stone, propelled by mule power, to grind corn for
the owners and their slaves.  All these were kept running while we were
stopping, day and night, and when we were marching, during the night, at
all plantations covered by the troops.  But the product was taken by the
troops nearest by, so that the majority of the command was destined to
go without bread until a new base was established on the Yazoo above

While the troops were awaiting the arrival of rations I ordered
reconnoissances made by McClernand and McPherson, with the view of
leading the enemy to believe that we intended to cross the Big Black and
attack the city at once.

On the 6th Sherman arrived at Grand Gulf and crossed his command that
night and the next day.  Three days' rations had been brought up from
Grand Gulf for the advanced troops and were issued.  Orders were given
for a forward movement the next day.  Sherman was directed to order up
Blair, who had been left behind to guard the road from Milliken's Bend
to Hard Times with two brigades.

The quartermaster at Young's Point was ordered to send two hundred
wagons with Blair, and the commissary was to load them with hard bread,
coffee, sugar, salt and one hundred thousand pounds of salt meat.

On the 3d Hurlbut, who had been left at Memphis, was ordered to send
four regiments from his command to Milliken's Bend to relieve Blair's
division, and on the 5th he was ordered to send Lauman's division in
addition, the latter to join the army in the field.  The four regiments
were to be taken from troops near the river so that there would be no

During the night of the 6th McPherson drew in his troops north of the
Big Black and was off at an early hour on the road to Jackson, via Rocky
Springs, Utica and Raymond.  That night he and McClernand were both at
Rocky Springs ten miles from Hankinson's ferry.  McPherson remained
there during the 8th, while McClernand moved to Big Sandy and Sherman
marched from Grand Gulf to Hankinson's ferry.  The 9th, McPherson moved
to a point within a few miles west of Utica; McClernand and Sherman
remained where they were.  On the 10th McPherson moved to Utica, Sherman
to Big Sandy; McClernand was still at Big Sandy.  The 11th, McClernand
was at Five Mile Creek; Sherman at Auburn; McPherson five miles advanced
from Utica. May 12th, McClernand was at Fourteen Mile Creek; Sherman at
Fourteen Mile Creek; McPherson at Raymond after a battle.

After McPherson crossed the Big Black at Hankinson's ferry Vicksburg
could have been approached and besieged by the south side.  It is not
probable, however, that Pemberton would have permitted a close
besiegement.  The broken nature of the ground would have enabled him to
hold a strong defensible line from the river south of the city to the
Big Black, retaining possession of the railroad back to that point.  It
was my plan, therefore, to get to the railroad east of Vicksburg, and
approach from that direction.  Accordingly, McPherson's troops that had
crossed the Big Black were withdrawn and the movement east to Jackson

As has been stated before, the country is very much broken and the roads
generally confined to the tops of the hills.  The troops were moved one
(sometimes two) corps at a time to reach designated points out parallel
to the railroad and only from six to ten miles from it.  McClernand's
corps was kept with its left flank on the Big Black guarding all the
crossings.  Fourteen Mile Creek, a stream substantially parallel with
the railroad, was reached and crossings effected by McClernand and
Sherman with slight loss.  McPherson was to the right of Sherman,
extending to Raymond.  The cavalry was used in this advance in
reconnoitring to find the roads:  to cover our advances and to find the
most practicable routes from one command to another so they could
support each other in case of an attack.  In making this move I
estimated Pemberton's movable force at Vicksburg at about eighteen
thousand men, with smaller forces at Haines' Bluff and Jackson.  It
would not be possible for Pemberton to attack me with all his troops at
one place, and I determined to throw my army between his and fight him
in detail.  This was done with success, but I found afterwards that I
had entirely under-estimated Pemberton's strength.

Up to this point our movements had been made without serious opposition.
My line was now nearly parallel with the Jackson and Vicksburg railroad
and about seven miles south of it.  The right was at Raymond eighteen
miles from Jackson, McPherson commanding; Sherman in the centre on
Fourteen Mile Creek, his advance thrown across; McClernand to the left,
also on Fourteen Mile Creek, advance across, and his pickets within two
miles of Edward's station, where the enemy had concentrated a
considerable force and where they undoubtedly expected us to attack.
McClernand's left was on the Big Black.  In all our moves, up to this
time, the left had hugged the Big Black closely, and all the ferries had
been guarded to prevent the enemy throwing a force on our rear.

McPherson encountered the enemy, five thousand strong with two batteries
under General Gregg, about two miles out of Raymond. This was about two
P.M.  Logan was in advance with one of his brigades.  He deployed and
moved up to engage the enemy. McPherson ordered the road in rear to be
cleared of wagons, and the balance of Logan's division, and Crocker's,
which was still farther in rear, to come forward with all dispatch.  The
order was obeyed with alacrity.  Logan got his division in position for
assault before Crocker could get up, and attacked with vigor, carrying
the enemy's position easily, sending Gregg flying from the field not to
appear against our front again until we met at Jackson.

In this battle McPherson lost 66 killed, 339 wounded, and 37 missing
--nearly or quite all from Logan's division.  The enemy's loss was 100
killed, 305 wounded, besides 415 taken prisoners.

I regarded Logan and Crocker as being as competent division commanders
as could be found in or out of the army and both equal to a much higher
command.  Crocker, however, was dying of consumption when he
volunteered.  His weak condition never put him on the sick report when
there was a battle in prospect, as long as he could keep on his feet.
He died not long after the close of the rebellion.



When the news reached me of McPherson's victory at Raymond about sundown
my position was with Sherman.  I decided at once to turn the whole
column towards Jackson and capture that place without delay.

Pemberton was now on my left, with, as I supposed, about 18,000 men; in
fact, as I learned afterwards, with nearly 50,000.  A force was also
collecting on my right, at Jackson, the point where all the railroads
communicating with Vicksburg connect. All the enemy's supplies of men
and stores would come by that point.  As I hoped in the end to besiege
Vicksburg I must first destroy all possibility of aid.  I therefore
determined to move swiftly towards Jackson, destroy or drive any force
in that direction and then turn upon Pemberton.  But by moving against
Jackson, I uncovered my own communication.  So I finally decided to have
none--to cut loose altogether from my base and move my whole force
eastward.  I then had no fears for my communications, and if I moved
quickly enough could turn upon Pemberton before he could attack me in
the rear.

Accordingly, all previous orders given during the day for movements on
the 13th were annulled by new ones.  McPherson was ordered at daylight
to move on Clinton, ten miles from Jackson; Sherman was notified of my
determination to capture Jackson and work from there westward.  He was
ordered to start at four in the morning and march to Raymond.
McClernand was ordered to march with three divisions by Dillon's to
Raymond.  One was left to guard the crossing of the Big Black.

On the 10th I had received a letter from Banks, on the Red River, asking
reinforcements.  Porter had gone to his assistance with a part of his
fleet on the 3d, and I now wrote to him describing my position and
declining to send any troops.  I looked upon side movements as long as
the enemy held Port Hudson and Vicksburg as a waste of time and

General Joseph E. Johnston arrived at Jackson in the night of the 13th
from Tennessee, and immediately assumed command of all the Confederate
troops in Mississippi.  I knew he was expecting reinforcements from the
south and east. On the 6th I had written to General Halleck:
"Information from the other side leaves me to believe the enemy are
bringing forces from Tullahoma."

Up to this time my troops had been kept in supporting distances of each
other, as far as the nature of the country would admit.  Reconnoissances
were constantly made from each corps to enable them to acquaint
themselves with the most practicable routes from one to another in case
a union became necessary.

McPherson reached Clinton with the advance early on the 13th and
immediately set to work destroying the railroad.  Sherman's advance
reached Raymond before the last of McPherson's command had got out of
the town.  McClernand withdrew from the front of the enemy, at Edward's
station, with much skill and without loss, and reached his position for
the night in good order.  On the night of the 13th, McPherson was
ordered to march at early dawn upon Jackson, only fifteen miles away.
Sherman was given the same order; but he was to move by the direct road
from Raymond to Jackson, which is south of the road McPherson was on and
does not approach within two miles of it at the point where it crossed
the line of intrenchments which, at that time, defended the city.
McClernand was ordered to move one division of his command to Clinton,
one division a few miles beyond Mississippi Springs following Sherman's
line, and a third to Raymond.  He was also directed to send his siege
guns, four in number with the troops going by Mississippi Springs.
McClernand's position was an advantageous one in any event. With one
division at Clinton he was in position to reinforce McPherson, at
Jackson, rapidly if it became necessary; the division beyond Mississippi
Springs was equally available to reinforce Sherman; the one at Raymond
could take either road. He still had two other divisions farther back
now that Blair had come up, available within a day at Jackson.  If this
last command should not be wanted at Jackson, they were already one
day's march from there on their way to Vicksburg and on three different
roads leading to the latter city.  But the most important consideration
in my mind was to have a force confronting Pemberton if he should come
out to attack my rear. This I expected him to do; as shown further on,
he was directed by Johnston to make this very move.

I notified General Halleck that I should attack the State capital on the
14th.  A courier carried the dispatch to Grand Gulf through an
unprotected country.

Sherman and McPherson communicated with each other during the night and
arranged to reach Jackson at about the same hour.  It rained in torrents
during the night of the 13th and the fore part of the day of the 14th.
The roads were intolerable, and in some places on Sherman's line, where
the land was low, they were covered more than a foot deep with water.
But the troops never murmured.  By nine o'clock Crocker, of McPherson's
corps, who was now in advance, came upon the enemy's pickets and
speedily drove them in upon the main body.  They were outside of the
intrenchments in a strong position, and proved to be the troops that had
been driven out of Raymond.  Johnston had been reinforced; during the
night by Georgia and South Carolina regiments, so that his force
amounted to eleven thousand men, and he was expecting still more.

Sherman also came upon the rebel pickets some distance out from the
town, but speedily drove them in.  He was now on the south and
south-west of Jackson confronting the Confederates behind their
breastworks, while McPherson's right was nearly two miles north,
occupying a line running north and south across the Vicksburg railroad.
Artillery was brought up and reconnoissances made preparatory to an
assault. McPherson brought up Logan's division while he deployed
Crocker's for the assault.  Sherman made similar dispositions on the
right.  By eleven A.M. both were ready to attack.  Crocker moved his
division forward, preceded by a strong skirmish line.  These troops at
once encountered the enemy's advance and drove it back on the main body,
when they returned to their proper regiment and the whole division
charged, routing the enemy completely and driving him into this main
line.  This stand by the enemy was made more than two miles outside of
his main fortifications. McPherson followed up with his command until
within range of the guns of the enemy from their intrenchments, when he
halted to bring his troops into line and reconnoitre to determine the
next move.  It was now about noon.

While this was going on Sherman was confronting a rebel battery which
enfiladed the road on which he was marching--the Mississippi Springs
road--and commanded a bridge spanning a stream over which he had to
pass.  By detaching right and left the stream was forced and the enemy
flanked and speedily driven within the main line.  This brought our
whole line in front of the enemy's line of works, which was continuous
on the north, west and south sides from the Pearl River north of the
city to the same river south.  I was with Sherman.  He was confronted by
a force sufficient to hold us back.  Appearances did not justify an
assault where we were.  I had directed Sherman to send a force to the
right, and to reconnoitre as far as to the Pearl River.  This force,
Tuttle's division, not returning I rode to the right with my staff, and
soon found that the enemy had left that part of the line.  Tuttle's
movement or McPherson's pressure had no doubt led Johnston to order a
retreat, leaving only the men at the guns to retard us while he was
getting away.  Tuttle had seen this and, passing through the lines
without resistance, came up in the rear of the artillerists confronting
Sherman and captured them with ten pieces of artillery.  I rode
immediately to the State House, where I was soon followed by Sherman.
About the same time McPherson discovered that the enemy was leaving his
front, and advanced Crocker, who was so close upon the enemy that they
could not move their guns or destroy them.  He captured seven guns and,
moving on, hoisted the National flag over the rebel capital of
Mississippi.  Stevenson's brigade was sent to cut off the rebel retreat,
but was too late or not expeditious enough.

Our loss in this engagement was:  McPherson, 37 killed, 228 wounded;
Sherman, 4 killed and 21 wounded and missing.  The enemy lost 845
killed, wounded and captured.  Seventeen guns fell into our hands, and
the enemy destroyed by fire their store-houses, containing a large
amount of commissary stores.

On this day Blair reached New Auburn and joined McClernand's 4th
division.  He had with him two hundred wagons loaded with rations, the
only commissary supplies received during the entire campaign.

I slept that night in the room that Johnston was said to have occupied
the night before.

About four in the afternoon I sent for the corps commanders and directed
the dispositions to be made of their troops.  Sherman was to remain in
Jackson until he destroyed that place as a railroad centre, and
manufacturing city of military supplies. He did the work most
effectually.  Sherman and I went together into a manufactory which had
not ceased work on account of the battle nor for the entrance of Yankee
troops.  Our presence did not seem to attract the attention of either
the manager or the operatives, most of whom were girls.  We looked on
for a while to see the tent cloth which they were making roll out of the
looms, with "C. S. A."  woven in each bolt.  There was an immense amount
of cotton, in bales, stacked outside.  Finally I told Sherman I thought
they had done work enough.  The operatives were told they could leave
and take with them what cloth they could carry.  In a few minutes cotton
and factory were in a blaze. The proprietor visited Washington while I
was President to get his pay for this property, claiming that it was
private.  He asked me to give him a statement of the fact that his
property had been destroyed by National troops, so that he might use it
with Congress where he was pressing, or proposed to press, his claim.  I

On the night of the 13th Johnston sent the following dispatch to
Pemberton at Edward's station:  "I have lately arrived, and learn that
Major-General Sherman is between us with four divisions at Clinton.  It
is important to establish communication, that you may be reinforced.  If
practicable, come up in his rear at once.  To beat such a detachment
would be of immense value.  All the troops you can quickly assemble
should be brought.  Time is all-important."  This dispatch was sent in
triplicate, by different messengers.  One of the messengers happened to
be a loyal man who had been expelled from Memphis some months before by
Hurlbut for uttering disloyal and threatening sentiments. There was a
good deal of parade about his expulsion, ostensibly as a warning to
those who entertained the sentiments he expressed; but Hurlbut and the
expelled man understood each other.  He delivered his copy of Johnston's
dispatch to McPherson who forwarded it to me.

Receiving this dispatch on the 14th I ordered McPherson to move promptly
in the morning back to Bolton, the nearest point where Johnston could
reach the road.  Bolton is about twenty miles west of Jackson.  I also
informed McClernand of the capture of Jackson and sent him the following
order:  "It is evidently the design of the enemy to get north of us and
cross the Big Black, and beat us into Vicksburg.  We must not allow them
to do this.  Turn all your forces towards Bolton station, and make all
dispatch in getting there.  Move troops by the most direct road from
wherever they may be on the receipt of this order."

And to Blair I wrote:  "Their design is evidently to cross the Big Black
and pass down the peninsula between the Big Black and Yazoo rivers.  We
must beat them.  Turn your troops immediately to Bolton; take all the
trains with you.  Smith's division, and any other troops now with you,
will go to the same place.  If practicable, take parallel roads, so as
to divide your troops and train."

Johnston stopped on the Canton road only six miles north of Jackson, the
night of the 14th.  He sent from there to Pemberton dispatches
announcing the loss of Jackson, and the following order:

"As soon as the reinforcements are all up, they must be united to the
rest of the army.  I am anxious to see a force assembled that may be
able to inflict a heavy blow upon the enemy.  Can Grant supply himself
from the Mississippi?  Can you not cut him off from it, and above all,
should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him."

The concentration of my troops was easy, considering the character of
the country.  McPherson moved along the road parallel with and near the
railroad.  McClernand's command was, one division (Hovey's) on the road
McPherson had to take, but with a start of four miles.  One (Osterhaus)
was at Raymond, on a converging road that intersected the other near
Champion's Hill; one (Carr's) had to pass over the same road with
Osterhaus, but being back at Mississippi Springs, would not be detained
by it; the fourth (Smith's) with Blair's division, was near Auburn with
a different road to pass over.  McClernand faced about and moved
promptly.  His cavalry from Raymond seized Bolton by half-past nine in
the morning, driving out the enemy's pickets and capturing several men.

The night of the 15th Hovey was at Bolton; Carr and Osterhaus were about
three miles south, but abreast, facing west; Smith was north of Raymond
with Blair in his rear.

McPherson's command, with Logan in front, had marched at seven o'clock,
and by four reached Hovey and went into camp; Crocker bivouacked just in
Hovey's rear on the Clinton road.  Sherman with two divisions, was in
Jackson, completing the destruction of roads, bridges and military
factories.  I rode in person out to Clinton.  On my arrival I ordered
McClernand to move early in the morning on Edward's station, cautioning
him to watch for the enemy and not bring on an engagement unless he felt
very certain of success.

I naturally expected that Pemberton would endeavor to obey the orders of
his superior, which I have shown were to attack us at Clinton.  This,
indeed, I knew he could not do; but I felt sure he would make the
attempt to reach that point.  It turned out, however, that he had
decided his superior's plans were impracticable, and consequently
determined to move south from Edward's station and get between me and my
base.  I, however, had no base, having abandoned it more than a week
before.  On the 15th Pemberton had actually marched south from Edward's
station, but the rains had swollen Baker's Creek, which he had to cross
so much that he could not ford it, and the bridges were washed away.
This brought him back to the Jackson road, on which there was a good
bridge over Baker's Creek.  Some of his troops were marching until
midnight to get there.  Receiving here early on the 16th a repetition of
his order to join Johnston at Clinton, he concluded to obey, and sent a
dispatch to his chief, informing him of the route by which he might be

About five o'clock in the morning (16th) two men, who had been employed
on the Jackson and Vicksburg railroad, were brought to me.  They
reported that they had passed through Pemberton's army in the night, and
that it was still marching east. They reported him to have eighty
regiments of infantry and ten batteries; in all, about twenty-five
thousand men.

I had expected to leave Sherman at Jackson another day in order to
complete his work; but getting the above information I sent him orders
to move with all dispatch to Bolton, and to put one division with an
ammunition train on the road at once, with directions to its commander
to march with all possible speed until he came up to our rear.  Within
an hour after receiving this order Steele's division was on the road.
At the same time I dispatched to Blair, who was near Auburn, to move
with all speed to Edward's station.  McClernand was directed to embrace
Blair in his command for the present.  Blair's division was a part of
the 15th army corps (Sherman's); but as it was on its way to join its
corps, it naturally struck our left first, now that we had faced about
and were moving west. The 15th corps, when it got up, would be on our
extreme right.  McPherson was directed to get his trains out of the way
of the troops, and to follow Hovey's division as closely as possible.
McClernand had two roads about three miles apart, converging at Edward's
station, over which to march his troops.  Hovey's division of his corps
had the advance on a third road (the Clinton) still farther north.
McClernand was directed to move Blair's and A. J. Smith's divisions by
the southernmost of these roads, and Osterhaus and Carr by the middle
road.  Orders were to move cautiously with skirmishers to the front to
feel for the enemy.

Smith's division on the most southern road was the first to encounter
the enemy's pickets, who were speedily driven in. Osterhaus, on the
middle road, hearing the firing, pushed his skirmishers forward, found
the enemy's pickets and forced them back to the main line.  About the
same time Hovey encountered the enemy on the northern or direct wagon
road from Jackson to Vicksburg.  McPherson was hastening up to join
Hovey, but was embarrassed by Hovey's trains occupying the roads.  I was
still back at Clinton.  McPherson sent me word of the situation, and
expressed the wish that I was up.  By half-past seven I was on the road
and proceeded rapidly to the front, ordering all trains that were in
front of troops off the road.  When I arrived Hovey's skirmishing
amounted almost to a battle.

McClernand was in person on the middle road and had a shorter distance
to march to reach the enemy's position than McPherson.  I sent him word
by a staff officer to push forward and attack.  These orders were
repeated several times without apparently expediting McClernand's

Champion's Hill, where Pemberton had chosen his position to receive us,
whether taken by accident or design, was well selected.  It is one of
the highest points in that section, and commanded all the ground in
range.  On the east side of the ridge, which is quite precipitous, is a
ravine running first north, then westerly, terminating at Baker's Creek.
It was grown up thickly with large trees and undergrowth, making it
difficult to penetrate with troops, even when not defended.  The ridge
occupied by the enemy terminated abruptly where the ravine turns
westerly.  The left of the enemy occupied the north end of this ridge.
The Bolton and Edward's station wagon-road turns almost due south at
this point and ascends the ridge, which it follows for about a mile;
then turning west, descends by a gentle declivity to Baker's Creek,
nearly a mile away.  On the west side the slope of the ridge is gradual
and is cultivated from near the summit to the creek.  There was, when we
were there, a narrow belt of timber near the summit west of the road.

From Raymond there is a direct road to Edward's station, some three
miles west of Champion's Hill.  There is one also to Bolton.  From this
latter road there is still another, leaving it about three and a half
miles before reaching Bolton and leads direct to the same station.  It
was along these two roads that three divisions of McClernand's corps,
and Blair of Sherman's, temporarily under McClernand, were moving.
Hovey of McClernand's command was with McPherson, farther north on the
road from Bolton direct to Edward's station.  The middle road comes into
the northern road at the point where the latter turns to the west and
descends to Baker's Creek; the southern road is still several miles
south and does not intersect the others until it reaches Edward's
station.  Pemberton's lines covered all these roads, and faced east.
Hovey's line, when it first drove in the enemy's pickets, was formed
parallel to that of the enemy and confronted his left.

By eleven o'clock the skirmishing had grown into a hard-contested
battle.  Hovey alone, before other troops could be got to assist him,
had captured a battery of the enemy.  But he was not able to hold his
position and had to abandon the artillery.  McPherson brought up his
troops as fast as possible, Logan in front, and posted them on the right
of Hovey and across the flank of the enemy.  Logan reinforced Hovey with
one brigade from his division; with his other two he moved farther west
to make room for Crocker, who was coming up as rapidly as the roads
would admit.  Hovey was still being heavily pressed, and was calling on
me for more reinforcements.  I ordered Crocker, who was now coming up,
to send one brigade from his division. McPherson ordered two batteries
to be stationed where they nearly enfiladed the enemy's line, and they
did good execution.

From Logan's position now a direct forward movement carried him over
open fields, in rear of the enemy and in a line parallel with them.  He
did make exactly this move, attacking, however, the enemy through the
belt of woods covering the west slope of the hill for a short distance.
Up to this time I had kept my position near Hovey where we were the most
heavily pressed; but about noon I moved with a part of my staff by our
right around, until I came up with Logan himself.  I found him near the
road leading down to Baker's Creek.  He was actually in command of the
only road over which the enemy could retreat; Hovey, reinforced by two
brigades from McPherson's command, confronted the enemy's left; Crocker,
with two brigades, covered their left flank; McClernand two hours
before, had been within two miles and a half of their centre with two
divisions, and the two divisions, Blair's and A. J. Smith's, were
confronting the rebel right; Ransom, with a brigade of McArthur's
division of the 17th corps (McPherson's), had crossed the river at Grand
Gulf a few days before, and was coming up on their right flank.  Neither
Logan nor I knew that we had cut off the retreat of the enemy.  Just at
this juncture a messenger came from Hovey, asking for more
reinforcements.  There were none to spare.  I then gave an order to move
McPherson's command by the left flank around to Hovey. This uncovered
the rebel line of retreat, which was soon taken advantage of by the

During all this time, Hovey, reinforced as he was by a brigade from
Logan and another from Crocker, and by Crocker gallantly coming up with
two other brigades on his right, had made several assaults, the last one
about the time the road was opened to the rear.  The enemy fled
precipitately.  This was between three and four o'clock.  I rode
forward, or rather back, to where the middle road intersects the north
road, and found the skirmishers of Carr's division just coming in.
Osterhaus was farther south and soon after came up with skirmishers
advanced in like manner.  Hovey's division, and McPherson's two
divisions with him, had marched and fought from early dawn, and were not
in the best condition to follow the retreating foe.  I sent orders to
Osterhaus to pursue the enemy, and to Carr, whom I saw personally, I
explained the situation and directed him to pursue vigorously as far as
the Big Black, and to cross it if he could; Osterhaus to follow him.
The pursuit was continued until after dark.

The battle of Champion's Hill lasted about four hours, hard fighting,
preceded by two or three hours of skirmishing, some of which almost rose
to the dignity of battle.  Every man of Hovey's division and of
McPherson's two divisions was engaged during the battle.  No other part
of my command was engaged at all, except that as described before.
Osterhaus's and A. J. Smith's divisions had encountered the rebel
advanced pickets as early as half-past seven.  Their positions were
admirable for advancing upon the enemy's line.  McClernand, with two
divisions, was within a few miles of the battle-field long before noon
and in easy hearing.  I sent him repeated orders by staff officers fully
competent to explain to him the situation.  These traversed the wood
separating us, without escort, and directed him to push forward; but he
did not come.  It is true, in front of McClernand there was a small
force of the enemy and posted in a good position behind a ravine
obstructing his advance; but if he had moved to the right by the road my
staff officers had followed the enemy must either have fallen back or
been cut off.  Instead of this he sent orders to Hovey, who belonged to
his corps, to join on to his right flank.  Hovey was bearing the brunt
of the battle at the time.  To obey the order he would have had to pull
out from the front of the enemy and march back as far as McClernand had
to advance to get into battle and substantially over the same ground.
Of course I did not permit Hovey to obey the order of his intermediate

We had in this battle about 15,000 men absolutely engaged.  This
excludes those that did not get up, all of McClernand's command except
Hovey.  Our loss was 410 killed, 1,844 wounded and 187 missing.  Hovey
alone lost 1,200 killed, wounded and missing--more than one-third of his

Had McClernand come up with reasonable promptness, or had I known the
ground as I did afterwards, I cannot see how Pemberton could have
escaped with any organized force.  As it was he lost over three thousand
killed and wounded and about three thousand captured in battle and in
pursuit.  Loring's division, which was the right of Pemberton's line,
was cut off from the retreating army and never got back into Vicksburg.
Pemberton himself fell back that night to the Big Black River.  His
troops did not stop before midnight and many of them left before the
general retreat commenced, and no doubt a good part of them returned to
their homes.  Logan alone captured 1,300 prisoners and eleven guns.
Hovey captured 300 under fire and about 700 in all, exclusive of 500
sick and wounded whom he paroled, thus making 1,200.

McPherson joined in the advance as soon as his men could fill their
cartridge-boxes, leaving one brigade to guard our wounded.  The pursuit
was continued as long as it was light enough to see the road.  The night
of the 16th of May found McPherson's command bivouacked from two to six
miles west of the battlefield, along the line of the road to Vicksburg.
Carr and Osterhaus were at Edward's station, and Blair was about three
miles south-east; Hovey remained on the field where his troops had
fought so bravely and bled so freely.  Much war material abandoned by
the enemy was picked up on the battle-field, among it thirty pieces of
artillery.  I pushed through the advancing column with my staff and kept
in advance until after night. Finding ourselves alone we stopped and
took possession of a vacant house.  As no troops came up we moved back a
mile or more until we met the head of the column just going into bivouac
on the road.  We had no tents, so we occupied the porch of a house which
had been taken for a rebel hospital and which was filled with wounded
and dying who had been brought from the battle-field we had just left.

While a battle is raging one can see his enemy mowed down by the
thousand, or the ten thousand, with great composure; but after the
battle these scenes are distressing, and one is naturally disposed to do
as much to alleviate the suffering of an enemy as a friend.



We were now assured of our position between Johnston and Pemberton,
without a possibility of a junction of their forces.  Pemberton might
have made a night march to the Big Black, crossed the bridge there and,
by moving north on the west side, have eluded us and finally returned to
Johnston.  But this would have given us Vicksburg.  It would have been
his proper move, however, and the one Johnston would have made had he
been in Pemberton's place.  In fact it would have been in conformity
with Johnston's orders to Pemberton.

Sherman left Jackson with the last of his troops about noon on the 16th
and reached Bolton, twenty miles west, before halting.  His rear guard
did not get in until two A.M. the 17th, but renewed their march by
daylight.  He paroled his prisoners at Jackson, and was forced to leave
his own wounded in care of surgeons and attendants.  At Bolton he was
informed of our victory.  He was directed to commence the march early
next day, and to diverge from the road he was on to Bridgeport on the
Big Black River, some eleven miles above the point where we expected to
find the enemy.  Blair was ordered to join him there with the pontoon
train as early as possible.

This movement brought Sherman's corps together, and at a point where I
hoped a crossing of the Big Black might be effected and Sherman's corps
used to flank the enemy out of his position in our front, thus opening a
crossing for the remainder of the army.  I informed him that I would
endeavor to hold the enemy in my front while he crossed the river.

The advance division, Carr's (McClernand's corps), resumed the pursuit
at half-past three A.M. on the 17th, followed closely by Osterhaus,
McPherson bringing up the rear with his corps.  As I expected, the enemy
was found in position on the Big Black.  The point was only six miles
from that where my advance had rested for the night, and was reached at
an early hour.  Here the river makes a turn to the west, and has washed
close up to the high land; the east side is a low bottom, sometimes
overflowed at very high water, but was cleared and in cultivation.  A
bayou runs irregularly across this low land, the bottom of which,
however, is above the surface of the Big Black at ordinary stages.  When
the river is full water runs through it, converting the point of land
into an island.  The bayou was grown up with timber, which the enemy had
felled into the ditch.  At this time there was a foot or two of water in
it. The rebels had constructed a parapet along the inner bank of this
bayou by using cotton bales from the plantation close by and throwing
dirt over them.  The whole was thoroughly commanded from the height west
of the river.  At the upper end of the bayou there was a strip of
uncleared land which afforded a cover for a portion of our men.  Carr's
division was deployed on our right, Lawler's brigade forming his extreme
right and reaching through these woods to the river above.  Osterhaus'
division was deployed to the left of Carr and covered the enemy's entire
front.  McPherson was in column on the road, the head close by, ready to
come in wherever he could be of assistance.

While the troops were standing as here described an officer from Banks'
staff came up and presented me with a letter from General Halleck, dated
the 11th of May.  It had been sent by the way of New Orleans to Banks to
be forwarded to me.  It ordered me to return to Grand Gulf and to
co-operate from there with Banks against Port Hudson, and then to return
with our combined forces to besiege Vicksburg.  I told the officer that
the order came too late, and that Halleck would not give it now if he
knew our position.  The bearer of the dispatch insisted that I ought to
obey the order, and was giving arguments to support his position when I
heard great cheering to the right of our line and, looking in that
direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves leading a charge upon the
enemy.  I immediately mounted my horse and rode in the direction of the
charge, and saw no more of the officer who delivered the dispatch; I
think not even to this day.

The assault was successful.  But little resistance was made. The enemy
fled from the west bank of the river, burning the bridge behind him and
leaving the men and guns on the east side to fall into our hands.  Many
tried to escape by swimming the river. Some succeeded and some were
drowned in the attempt. Eighteen guns were captured and 1,751 prisoners.
Our loss was 39 killed, 237 wounded and 3 missing.  The enemy probably
lost but few men except those captured and drowned.  But for the
successful and complete destruction of the bridge, I have but little
doubt that we should have followed the enemy so closely as to prevent
his occupying his defences around Vicksburg.

As the bridge was destroyed and the river was high, new bridges had to
be built.  It was but little after nine o'clock A.M. when the capture
took place.  As soon as work could be commenced, orders were given for
the construction of three bridges.  One was taken charge of by
Lieutenant Hains, of the Engineer Corps, one by General McPherson
himself and one by General Ransom, a most gallant and intelligent
volunteer officer.  My recollection is that Hains built a raft bridge;
McPherson a pontoon, using cotton bales in large numbers, for pontoons;
and that Ransom felled trees on opposite banks of the river, cutting
only on one side of the tree, so that they would fall with their tops
interlacing in the river, without the trees being entirely severed from
their stumps.  A bridge was then made with these trees to support the
roadway.  Lumber was taken from buildings, cotton gins and wherever
found, for this purpose.  By eight o'clock in the morning of the 18th
all three bridges were complete and the troops were crossing.

Sherman reached Bridgeport about noon of the 17th and found Blair with
the pontoon train already there.  A few of the enemy were intrenched on
the west bank, but they made little resistance and soon surrendered.
Two divisions were crossed that night and the third the following

On the 18th I moved along the Vicksburg road in advance of the troops
and as soon as possible joined Sherman.  My first anxiety was to secure
a base of supplies on the Yazoo River above Vicksburg.  Sherman's line
of march led him to the very point on Walnut Hills occupied by the enemy
the December before when he was repulsed.  Sherman was equally anxious
with myself.  Our impatience led us to move in advance of the column and
well up with the advanced skirmishers.  There were some detached works
along the crest of the hill.  These were still occupied by the enemy, or
else the garrison from Haines' Bluff had not all got past on their way
to Vicksburg.  At all events the bullets of the enemy whistled by thick
and fast for a short time.  In a few minutes Sherman had the pleasure of
looking down from the spot coveted so much by him the December before on
the ground where his command had lain so helpless for offensive action.
He turned to me, saying that up to this minute he had felt no positive
assurance of success.  This, however, he said was the end of one of the
greatest campaigns in history and I ought to make a report of it at
once.  Vicksburg was not yet captured, and there was no telling what
might happen before it was taken; but whether captured or not, this was
a complete and successful campaign.  I do not claim to quote Sherman's
language; but the substance only.  My reason for mentioning this
incident will appear further on.

McPherson, after crossing the Big Black, came into the Jackson and
Vicksburg road which Sherman was on, but to his rear.  He arrived at
night near the lines of the enemy, and went into camp.  McClernand moved
by the direct road near the railroad to Mount Albans, and then turned to
the left and put his troops on the road from Baldwin's ferry to
Vicksburg.  This brought him south of McPherson.  I now had my three
corps up the works built for the defence of Vicksburg, on three roads
--one to the north, one to the east and one to the south-east of the city.
By the morning of the 19th the investment was as complete as my limited
number of troops would allow.  Sherman was on the right, and covered the
high ground from where it overlooked the Yazoo as far south-east as his
troops would extend.  McPherson joined on to his left, and occupied
ground on both sides of the Jackson road.  McClernand took up the ground
to his left and extended as far towards Warrenton as he could, keeping a
continuous line.

On the 19th there was constant skirmishing with the enemy while we were
getting into better position.  The enemy had been much demoralized by
his defeats at Champion's Hill and the Big Black, and I believed he
would not make much effort to hold Vicksburg. Accordingly, at two
o'clock I ordered an assault.  It resulted in securing more advanced
positions for all our troops where they were fully covered from the fire
of the enemy.

The 20th and 21st were spent in strengthening our position and in making
roads in rear of the army, from Yazoo River or Chickasaw Bayou.  Most of
the army had now been for three weeks with only five days' rations
issued by the commissary.  They had an abundance of food, however, but
began to feel the want of bread.  I remember that in passing around to
the left of the line on the 21st, a soldier, recognizing me, said in
rather a low voice, but yet so that I heard him, "Hard tack."  In a
moment the cry was taken up all along the line, "Hard tack! Hard tack!"
I told the men nearest to me that we had been engaged ever since the
arrival of the troops in building a road over which to supply them with
everything they needed.  The cry was instantly changed to cheers.  By
the night of the 21st all the troops had full rations issued to them.
The bread and coffee were highly appreciated.

I now determined on a second assault.  Johnston was in my rear, only
fifty miles away, with an army not much inferior in numbers to the one I
had with me, and I knew he was being reinforced. There was danger of his
coming to the assistance of Pemberton, and after all he might defeat my
anticipations of capturing the garrison if, indeed, he did not prevent
the capture of the city.  The immediate capture of Vicksburg would save
sending me the reinforcements which were so much wanted elsewhere, and
would set free the army under me to drive Johnston from the State.  But
the first consideration of all was--the troops believed they could carry
the works in their front, and would not have worked so patiently in the
trenches if they had not been allowed to try.

The attack was ordered to commence on all parts of the line at ten
o'clock A.M. on the 22d with a furious cannonade from every battery in
position.  All the corps commanders set their time by mine so that all
might open the engagement at the same minute. The attack was gallant,
and portions of each of the three corps succeeded in getting up to the
very parapets of the enemy and in planting their battle flags upon them;
but at no place were we able to enter.  General McClernand reported that
he had gained the enemy's intrenchments at several points, and wanted
reinforcements.  I occupied a position from which I believed I could see
as well as he what took place in his front, and I did not see the
success he reported.  But his request for reinforcements being repeated
I could not ignore it, and sent him Quinby's division of the 17th corps.
Sherman and McPherson were both ordered to renew their assaults as a
diversion in favor of McClernand.  This last attack only served to
increase our casualties without giving any benefit whatever.  As soon as
it was dark our troops that had reached the enemy's line and been
obliged to remain there for security all day, were withdrawn; and thus
ended the last assault upon Vicksburg.



I now determined upon a regular siege--to "out-camp the enemy," as it
were, and to incur no more losses.  The experience of the 22d convinced
officers and men that this was best, and they went to work on the
defences and approaches with a will.  With the navy holding the river,
the investment of Vicksburg was complete.  As long as we could hold our
position the enemy was limited in supplies of food, men and munitions of
war to what they had on hand.  These could not last always.

The crossing of troops at Bruinsburg commenced April 30th.  On the 18th
of May the army was in rear of Vicksburg.  On the 19th, just twenty days
after the crossing, the city was completely invested and an assault had
been made:  five distinct battles (besides continuous skirmishing) had
been fought and won by the Union forces; the capital of the State had
fallen and its arsenals, military manufactories and everything useful
for military purposes had been destroyed; an average of about one
hundred and eighty miles had been marched by the troops engaged; but
five days' rations had been issued, and no forage; over six thousand
prisoners had been captured, and as many more of the enemy had been
killed or wounded; twenty-seven heavy cannon and sixty-one field-pieces
had fallen into our hands; and four hundred miles of the river, from
Vicksburg to Port Hudson, had become ours.  The Union force that had
crossed the Mississippi River up to this time was less than forty-three
thousand men. One division of these, Blair's, only arrived in time to
take part in the battle of Champion's Hill, but was not engaged there;
and one brigade, Ransom's of McPherson's corps, reached the field after
the battle.  The enemy had at Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Jackson, and on the
roads between these places, over sixty thousand men.  They were in their
own country, where no rear guards were necessary.  The country is
admirable for defence, but difficult for the conduct of an offensive
campaign.  All their troops had to be met.  We were fortunate, to say
the least, in meeting them in detail:  at Port Gibson seven or eight
thousand; at Raymond, five thousand; at Jackson, from eight to eleven
thousand; at Champion's Hill, twenty-five thousand; at the Big Black,
four thousand.  A part of those met at Jackson were all that was left of
those encountered at Raymond.  They were beaten in detail by a force
smaller than their own, upon their own ground.  Our loss up to this time

                             KILLED  WOUNDED  MISSING

Port Gibson.....              131     719      25
South Fork Bayou Pierre.....   ..       1      ..
Skirmishes, May 3 .....         1       9      ..
Fourteen Mile Creek.....        6      24      ..
Raymond...............         66     339      39
Jackson.....                   42     251       7
Champion's Hill.....          410   1,844     187
Big Black.....                 39     237       3
Bridgeport.....                ..       1      ..
Total.....                    695   3,425     259

Of the wounded many were but slightly so, and continued on duty.  Not
half of them were disabled for any length of time.

After the unsuccessful assault of the 22d the work of the regular siege
began.  Sherman occupied the right starting from the river above
Vicksburg, McPherson the centre (McArthur's division now with him) and
McClernand the left, holding the road south to Warrenton.  Lauman's
division arrived at this time and was placed on the extreme left of the

In the interval between the assaults of the 19th and 22d, roads had been
completed from the Yazoo River and Chickasaw Bayou, around the rear of
the army, to enable us to bring up supplies of food and ammunition;
ground had been selected and cleared on which the troops were to be
encamped, and tents and cooking utensils were brought up.  The troops
had been without these from the time of crossing the Mississippi up to
this time.  All was now ready for the pick and spade.  Prentiss and
Hurlbut were ordered to send forward every man that could be spared.
Cavalry especially was wanted to watch the fords along the Big Black,
and to observe Johnston.  I knew that Johnston was receiving
reinforcements from Bragg, who was confronting Rosecrans in Tennessee.
Vicksburg was so important to the enemy that I believed he would make
the most strenuous efforts to raise the siege, even at the risk of
losing ground elsewhere.

My line was more than fifteen miles long, extending from Haines' Bluff
to Vicksburg, thence to Warrenton.  The line of the enemy was about
seven.  In addition to this, having an enemy at Canton and Jackson, in
our rear, who was being constantly reinforced, we required a second line
of defence facing the other way.  I had not troops enough under my
command to man these.  General Halleck appreciated the situation and,
without being asked, forwarded reinforcements with all possible

The ground about Vicksburg is admirable for defence.  On the north it is
about two hundred feet above the Mississippi River at the highest point
and very much cut up by the washing rains; the ravines were grown up
with cane and underbrush, while the sides and tops were covered with a
dense forest.  Farther south the ground flattens out somewhat, and was
in cultivation.  But here, too, it was cut up by ravines and small
streams.  The enemy's line of defence followed the crest of a ridge from
the river north of the city eastward, then southerly around to the
Jackson road, full three miles back of the city; thence in a
southwesterly direction to the river.  Deep ravines of the description
given lay in front of these defences.  As there is a succession of
gullies, cut out by rains along the side of the ridge, the line was
necessarily very irregular.  To follow each of these spurs with
intrenchments, so as to command the slopes on either side, would have
lengthened their line very much. Generally therefore, or in many places,
their line would run from near the head of one gully nearly straight to
the head of another, and an outer work triangular in shape, generally
open in the rear, was thrown up on the point; with a few men in this
outer work they commanded the approaches to the main line completely.

The work to be done, to make our position as strong against the enemy as
his was against us, was very great.  The problem was also complicated by
our wanting our line as near that of the enemy as possible.  We had but
four engineer officers with us. Captain Prime, of the Engineer Corps,
was the chief, and the work at the beginning was mainly directed by him.
His health soon gave out, when he was succeeded by Captain Comstock,
also of the Engineer Corps.  To provide assistants on such a long line I
directed that all officers who had graduated at West Point, where they
had necessarily to study military engineering, should in addition to
their other duties assist in the work.

The chief quartermaster and the chief commissary were graduates.  The
chief commissary, now the Commissary-General of the Army, begged off,
however, saying that there was nothing in engineering that he was good
for unless he would do for a sap-roller.  As soldiers require rations
while working in the ditches as well as when marching and fighting, and
as we would be sure to lose him if he was used as a sap-roller, I let
him off.  The general is a large man; weighs two hundred and twenty
pounds, and is not tall.

We had no siege guns except six thirty-two pounders, and there were none
at the West to draw from.  Admiral Porter, however, supplied us with a
battery of navy-guns of large calibre, and with these, and the field
artillery used in the campaign, the siege began.  The first thing to do
was to get the artillery in batteries where they would occupy commanding
positions; then establish the camps, under cover from the fire of the
enemy but as near up as possible; and then construct rifle-pits and
covered ways, to connect the entire command by the shortest route.  The
enemy did not harass us much while we were constructing our batteries.
Probably their artillery ammunition was short; and their infantry was
kept down by our sharpshooters, who were always on the alert and ready
to fire at a head whenever it showed itself above the rebel works.

In no place were our lines more than six hundred yards from the enemy.
It was necessary, therefore, to cover our men by something more than
the ordinary parapet.  To give additional protection sand bags,
bullet-proof, were placed along the tops of the parapets far enough
apart to make loop-holes for musketry.  On top of these, logs were put.
By these means the men were enabled to walk about erect when off duty,
without fear of annoyance from sharpshooters.  The enemy used in their
defence explosive musket-balls, no doubt thinking that, bursting over
our men in the trenches, they would do some execution; but I do not
remember a single case where a man was injured by a piece of one of
these shells. When they were hit and the ball exploded, the wound was
terrible.  In these cases a solid ball would have hit as well.  Their
use is barbarous, because they produce increased suffering without any
corresponding advantage to those using them.

The enemy could not resort to our method to protect their men, because
we had an inexhaustible supply of ammunition to draw upon and used it
freely.  Splinters from the timber would have made havoc among the men

There were no mortars with the besiegers, except what the navy had in
front of the city; but wooden ones were made by taking logs of the
toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six or twelve
pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands.  These answered as
cochorns, and shells were successfully thrown from them into the
trenches of the enemy.

The labor of building the batteries and intrenching was largely done by
the pioneers, assisted by negroes who came within our lines and who were
paid for their work; but details from the troops had often to be made.
The work was pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and when an advanced
position was secured and covered from the fire of the enemy the
batteries were advanced.  By the 30th of June there were two hundred and
twenty guns in position, mostly light field-pieces, besides a battery of
heavy guns belonging to, manned and commanded by the navy.  We were now
as strong for defence against the garrison of Vicksburg as they were
against us; but I knew that Johnston was in our rear, and was receiving
constant reinforcements from the east. He had at this time a larger
force than I had had at any time prior to the battle of Champion's Hill.

As soon as the news of the arrival of the Union army behind Vicksburg
reached the North, floods of visitors began to pour in.  Some came to
gratify curiosity; some to see sons or brothers who had passed through
the terrible ordeal; members of the Christian and Sanitary Associations
came to minister to the wants of the sick and the wounded.  Often those
coming to see a son or brother would bring a dozen or two of poultry.
They did not know how little the gift would be appreciated.  Many of the
soldiers had lived so much on chickens, ducks and turkeys without bread
during the march, that the sight of poultry, if they could get bacon,
almost took away their appetite.  But the intention was good.

Among the earliest arrivals was the Governor of Illinois, with most of
the State officers.  I naturally wanted to show them what there was of
most interest.  In Sherman's front the ground was the most broken and
most wooded, and more was to be seen without exposure.  I therefore took
them to Sherman's headquarters and presented them.  Before starting out
to look at the lines--possibly while Sherman's horse was being saddled
--there were many questions asked about the late campaign, about which
the North had been so imperfectly informed.  There was a little knot
around Sherman and another around me, and I heard Sherman repeating, in
the most animated manner, what he had said to me when we first looked
down from Walnut Hills upon the land below on the 18th of May, adding:
"Grant is entitled to every bit of the credit for the campaign; I
opposed it. I wrote him a letter about it."  But for this speech it is
not likely that Sherman's opposition would have ever been heard of.  His
untiring energy and great efficiency during the campaign entitle him to
a full share of all the credit due for its success.  He could not have
done more if the plan had been his own. (*13)

On the 26th of May I sent Blair's division up the Yazoo to drive out a
force of the enemy supposed to be between the Big Black and the Yazoo.
The country was rich and full of supplies of both food and forage.
Blair was instructed to take all of it.  The cattle were to be driven in
for the use of our army, and the food and forage to be consumed by our
troops or destroyed by fire; all bridges were to be destroyed, and the
roads rendered as nearly impassable as possible.  Blair went forty-five
miles and was gone almost a week.  His work was effectually done.  I
requested Porter at this time to send the marine brigade, a floating
nondescript force which had been assigned to his command and which
proved very useful, up to Haines' Bluff to hold it until reinforcements
could be sent.

On the 26th I also received a letter from Banks, asking me to reinforce
him with ten thousand men at Port Hudson.  Of course I could not comply
with his request, nor did I think he needed them.  He was in no danger
of an attack by the garrison in his front, and there was no army
organizing in his rear to raise the siege.

On the 3d of June a brigade from Hurlbut's command arrived, General
Kimball commanding.  It was sent to Mechanicsburg, some miles north-east
of Haines' Bluff and about midway between the Big Black and the Yazoo.
A brigade of Blair's division and twelve hundred cavalry had already, on
Blair's return from the Yazoo, been sent to the same place with
instructions to watch the crossings of the Big Black River, to destroy
the roads in his (Blair's) front, and to gather or destroy all supplies.

On the 7th of June our little force of colored and white troops across
the Mississippi, at Milliken's Bend, were attacked by about 3,000 men
from Richard Taylor's trans-Mississippi command.  With the aid of the
gunboats they were speedily repelled.  I sent Mower's brigade over with
instructions to drive the enemy beyond the Tensas Bayou; and we had no
further trouble in that quarter during the siege.  This was the first
important engagement of the war in which colored troops were under fire.
These men were very raw, having all been enlisted since the beginning of
the siege, but they behaved well.

On the 8th of June a full division arrived from Hurlbut's command, under
General Sooy Smith.  It was sent immediately to Haines' Bluff, and
General C. C. Washburn was assigned to the general command at that

On the 11th a strong division arrived from the Department of the
Missouri under General Herron, which was placed on our left. This cut
off the last possible chance of communication between Pemberton and
Johnston, as it enabled Lauman to close up on McClernand's left while
Herron intrenched from Lauman to the water's edge.  At this point the
water recedes a few hundred yards from the high land.  Through this
opening no doubt the Confederate commanders had been able to get
messengers under cover of night.

On the 14th General Parke arrived with two divisions of Burnside's
corps, and was immediately dispatched to Haines' Bluff.  These latter
troops--Herron's and Parke's--were the reinforcements already spoken of
sent by Halleck in anticipation of their being needed.  They arrived
none too soon.

I now had about seventy-one thousand men.  More than half were disposed
across the peninsula, between the Yazoo at Haines' Bluff and the Big
Black, with the division of Osterhaus watching the crossings of the
latter river farther south and west from the crossing of the Jackson
road to Baldwin's ferry and below.

There were eight roads leading into Vicksburg, along which and their
immediate sides, our work was specially pushed and batteries advanced;
but no commanding point within range of the enemy was neglected.

On the 17th I received a letter from General Sherman and one on the 18th
from General McPherson, saying that their respective commands had
complained to them of a fulsome, congratulatory order published by
General McClernand to the 13th corps, which did great injustice to the
other troops engaged in the campaign.  This order had been sent North
and published, and now papers containing it had reached our camps.  The
order had not been heard of by me, and certainly not by troops outside
of McClernand's command until brought in this way.  I at once wrote to
McClernand, directing him to send me a copy of this order.  He did so,
and I at once relieved him from the command of the 13th army corps and
ordered him back to Springfield, Illinois.  The publication of his order
in the press was in violation of War Department orders and also of mine.



On the 22d of June positive information was received that Johnston had
crossed the Big Black River for the purpose of attacking our rear, to
raise the siege and release Pemberton. The correspondence between
Johnston and Pemberton shows that all expectation of holding Vicksburg
had by this time passed from Johnston's mind.  I immediately ordered
Sherman to the command of all the forces from Haines' Bluff to the Big
Black River. This amounted now to quite half the troops about Vicksburg.
Besides these, Herron and A. J. Smith's divisions were ordered to hold
themselves in readiness to reinforce Sherman.  Haines' Bluff had been
strongly fortified on the land side, and on all commanding points from
there to the Big Black at the railroad crossing batteries had been
constructed.  The work of connecting by rifle-pits where this was not
already done, was an easy task for the troops that were to defend them.

We were now looking west, besieging Pemberton, while we were also
looking east to defend ourselves against an expected siege by Johnston.
But as against the garrison of Vicksburg we were as substantially
protected as they were against us.  Where we were looking east and north
we were strongly fortified, and on the defensive.  Johnston evidently
took in the situation and wisely, I think, abstained from making an
assault on us because it would simply have inflicted loss on both sides
without accomplishing any result.  We were strong enough to have taken
the offensive against him; but I did not feel disposed to take any risk
of losing our hold upon Pemberton's army, while I would have rejoiced at
the opportunity of defending ourselves against an attack by Johnston.

From the 23d of May the work of fortifying and pushing forward our
position nearer to the enemy had been steadily progressing.  At three
points on the Jackson road, in front of Leggett's brigade, a sap was run
up to the enemy's parapet, and by the 25th of June we had it undermined
and the mine charged. The enemy had countermined, but did not succeed in
reaching our mine.  At this particular point the hill on which the rebel
work stands rises abruptly.  Our sap ran close up to the outside of the
enemy's parapet.  In fact this parapet was also our protection.  The
soldiers of the two sides occasionally conversed pleasantly across this
barrier; sometimes they exchanged the hard bread of the Union soldiers
for the tobacco of the Confederates; at other times the enemy threw over
hand-grenades, and often our men, catching them in their hands, returned

Our mine had been started some distance back down the hill; consequently
when it had extended as far as the parapet it was many feet below it.
This caused the failure of the enemy in his search to find and destroy
it.  On the 25th of June at three o'clock, all being ready, the mine was
exploded.  A heavy artillery fire all along the line had been ordered to
open with the explosion.  The effect was to blow the top of the hill off
and make a crater where it stood.  The breach was not sufficient to
enable us to pass a column of attack through.  In fact, the enemy having
failed to reach our mine had thrown up a line farther back, where most
of the men guarding that point were placed.  There were a few men,
however, left at the advance line, and others working in the
countermine, which was still being pushed to find ours.  All that were
there were thrown into the air, some of them coming down on our side,
still alive.  I remember one colored man, who had been under ground at
work when the explosion took place, who was thrown to our side.  He was
not much hurt, but terribly frightened.  Some one asked him how high he
had gone up.  "Dun no, massa, but t'ink 'bout t'ree mile," was his
reply.  General Logan commanded at this point and took this colored man
to his quarters, where he did service to the end of the siege.

As soon as the explosion took place the crater was seized by two
regiments of our troops who were near by, under cover, where they had
been placed for the express purpose.  The enemy made a desperate effort
to expel them, but failed, and soon retired behind the new line.  From
here, however, they threw hand-grenades, which did some execution.  The
compliment was returned by our men, but not with so much effect.  The
enemy could lay their grenades on the parapet, which alone divided the
contestants, and roll them down upon us; while from our side they had to
be thrown over the parapet, which was at considerable elevation.  During
the night we made efforts to secure our position in the crater against
the missiles of the enemy, so as to run trenches along the outer base of
their parapet, right and left; but the enemy continued throwing their
grenades, and brought boxes of field ammunition (shells), the fuses of
which they would light with portfires, and throw them by hand into our
ranks.  We found it impossible to continue this work.  Another mine was
consequently started which was exploded on the 1st of July, destroying
an entire rebel redan, killing and wounding a considerable number of its
occupants and leaving an immense chasm where it stood.  No attempt to
charge was made this time, the experience of the 25th admonishing us.
Our loss in the first affair was about thirty killed and wounded.  The
enemy must have lost more in the two explosions than we did in the
first.  We lost none in the second.

From this time forward the work of mining and pushing our position
nearer to the enemy was prosecuted with vigor, and I determined to
explode no more mines until we were ready to explode a number at
different points and assault immediately after.  We were up now at three
different points, one in front of each corps, to where only the parapet
of the enemy divided us.

At this time an intercepted dispatch from Johnston to Pemberton informed
me that Johnston intended to make a determined attack upon us in order
to relieve the garrison at Vicksburg.  I knew the garrison would make no
formidable effort to relieve itself.  The picket lines were so close to
each other--where there was space enough between the lines to post
pickets--that the men could converse.  On the 21st of June I was
informed, through this means, that Pemberton was preparing to escape, by
crossing to the Louisiana side under cover of night; that he had
employed workmen in making boats for that purpose; that the men had been
canvassed to ascertain if they would make an assault on the "Yankees" to
cut their way out; that they had refused, and almost mutinied, because
their commander would not surrender and relieve their sufferings, and
had only been pacified by the assurance that boats enough would be
finished in a week to carry them all over.  The rebel pickets also said
that houses in the city had been pulled down to get material to build
these boats with.  Afterwards this story was verified:  on entering the
city we found a large number of very rudely constructed boats.

All necessary steps were at once taken to render such an attempt
abortive.  Our pickets were doubled; Admiral Porter was notified, so
that the river might be more closely watched; material was collected on
the west bank of the river to be set on fire and light up the river if
the attempt was made; and batteries were established along the levee
crossing the peninsula on the Louisiana side.  Had the attempt been made
the garrison of Vicksburg would have been drowned, or made prisoners on
the Louisiana side.  General Richard Taylor was expected on the west
bank to co-operate in this movement, I believe, but he did not come, nor
could he have done so with a force sufficient to be of service.  The
Mississippi was now in our possession from its source to its mouth,
except in the immediate front of Vicksburg and of Port Hudson.  We had
nearly exhausted the country, along a line drawn from Lake Providence to
opposite Bruinsburg.  The roads west were not of a character to draw
supplies over for any considerable force.

By the 1st of July our approaches had reached the enemy's ditch at a
number of places.  At ten points we could move under cover to within
from five to one hundred yards of the enemy.  Orders were given to make
all preparations for assault on the 6th of July.  The debouches were
ordered widened to afford easy egress, while the approaches were also to
be widened to admit the troops to pass through four abreast.  Plank, and
bags filled with cotton packed in tightly, were ordered prepared, to
enable the troops to cross the ditches.

On the night of the 1st of July Johnston was between Brownsville and the
Big Black, and wrote Pemberton from there that about the 7th of the
month an attempt would be made to create a diversion to enable him to
cut his way out.  Pemberton was a prisoner before this message reached

On July 1st Pemberton, seeing no hope of outside relief, addressed the
following letter to each of his four division commanders:

"Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised, or supplies are thrown in, it
will become necessary very shortly to evacuate the place.  I see no
prospect of the former, and there are many great, if not insuperable
obstacles in the way of the latter. You are, therefore, requested to
inform me with as little delay as possible, as to the condition of your
troops and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues
necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation."

Two of his generals suggested surrender, and the other two practically
did the same.  They expressed the opinion that an attempt to evacuate
would fail.  Pemberton had previously got a message to Johnston
suggesting that he should try to negotiate with me for a release of the
garrison with their arms.  Johnston replied that it would be a
confession of weakness for him to do so; but he authorized Pemberton to
use his name in making such an arrangement.

On the 3d about ten o'clock A.M. white flags appeared on a portion of
the rebel works.  Hostilities along that part of the line ceased at
once.  Soon two persons were seen coming towards our lines bearing a
white flag.  They proved to be General Bowen, a division commander, and
Colonel Montgomery, aide-de-camp to Pemberton, bearing the following
letter to me:

"I have the honor to propose an armistice for--hours, with the view to
arranging terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg.  To this end, if
agreeable to you, I will appoint three commissioners, to meet a like
number to be named by yourself at such place and hour to-day as you may
find convenient.  I make this proposition to save the further effusion
of blood, which must otherwise be shed to a frightful extent, feeling
myself fully able to maintain my position for a yet indefinite period.
This communication will be handed you under a flag of truce, by
Major-General John S. Bowen."

It was a glorious sight to officers and soldiers on the line where these
white flags were visible, and the news soon spread to all parts of the
command.  The troops felt that their long and weary marches, hard
fighting, ceaseless watching by night and day, in a hot climate,
exposure to all sorts of weather, to diseases and, worst of all, to the
gibes of many Northern papers that came to them saying all their
suffering was in vain, that Vicksburg would never be taken, were at last
at an end and the Union sure to be saved.

Bowen was received by General A. J. Smith, and asked to see me.  I had
been a neighbor of Bowen's in Missouri, and knew him well and favorably
before the war; but his request was refused.  He then suggested that I
should meet Pemberton.  To this I sent a verbal message saying that, if
Pemberton desired it, I would meet him in front of McPherson's corps at
three o'clock that afternoon.  I also sent the following written reply
to Pemberton's letter:

"Your note of this date is just received, proposing an armistice for
several hours, for the purpose of arranging terms of capitulation
through commissioners, to be appointed, etc.  The useless effusion of
blood you propose stopping by this course can be ended at any time you
may choose, by the unconditional surrender of the city and garrison.
Men who have shown so much endurance and courage as those now in
Vicksburg, will always challenge the respect of an adversary, and I can
assure you will be treated with all the respect due to prisoners of war.
I do not favor the proposition of appointing commissioners to arrange
the terms of capitulation, because I have no terms other than those
indicated above."

At three o'clock Pemberton appeared at the point suggested in my verbal
message, accompanied by the same officers who had borne his letter of
the morning.  Generals Ord, McPherson, Logan and A. J. Smith, and
several officers of my staff, accompanied me. Our place of meeting was
on a hillside within a few hundred feet of the rebel lines.  Near by
stood a stunted oak-tree, which was made historical by the event.  It
was but a short time before the last vestige of its body, root and limb
had disappeared, the fragments taken as trophies.  Since then the same
tree has furnished as many cords of wood, in the shape of trophies, as
"The True Cross."

Pemberton and I had served in the same division during part of the
Mexican War.  I knew him very well therefore, and greeted him as an old
acquaintance.  He soon asked what terms I proposed to give his army if
it surrendered.  My answer was the same as proposed in my reply to his
letter.  Pemberton then said, rather snappishly, "The conference might
as well end," and turned abruptly as if to leave.  I said, "Very well."
General Bowen, I saw, was very anxious that the surrender should be
consummated. His manner and remarks while Pemberton and I were talking,
showed this.  He now proposed that he and one of our generals should
have a conference.  I had no objection to this, as nothing could be made
binding upon me that they might propose. Smith and Bowen accordingly had
a conference, during which Pemberton and I, moving a short distance away
towards the enemy's lines were in conversation.  After a while Bowen
suggested that the Confederate army should be allowed to march out with
the honors of war, carrying their small arms and field artillery.  This
was promptly and unceremoniously rejected.  The interview here ended, I
agreeing, however, to send a letter giving final terms by ten o'clock
that night.

Word was sent to Admiral Porter soon after the correspondence with
Pemberton commenced, so that hostilities might be stopped on the part of
both army and navy.  It was agreed on my paging with Pemberton that they
should not be renewed until our correspondence ceased.

When I returned to my headquarters I sent for all the corps and division
commanders with the army immediately confronting Vicksburg.  Half the
army was from eight to twelve miles off, waiting for Johnston.  I
informed them of the contents of Pemberton's letters, of my reply and
the substance of the interview, and that I was ready to hear any
suggestion; but would hold the power of deciding entirely in my own
hands.  This was the nearest approach to a "council of war" I ever held.
Against the general, and almost unanimous judgment of the council I sent
the following letter:

"In conformity with agreement of this afternoon, I will submit the
following proposition for the surrender of the City of Vicksburg, public
stores, etc.  On your accepting the terms proposed, I will march in one
division as a guard, and take possession at eight A.M. to-morrow.  As
soon as rolls can be made out, and paroles be signed by officers and
men, you will be allowed to march out of our lines, the officers taking
with them their side-arms and clothing, and the field, staff and cavalry
officers one horse each.  The rank and file will be allowed all their
clothing, but no other property.  If these conditions are accepted, any
amount of rations you may deem necessary can be taken from the stores
you now have, and also the necessary cooking utensils for preparing
them.  Thirty wagons also, counting two two-horse or mule teams as one,
will be allowed to transport such articles as cannot be carried along.
The same conditions will be allowed to all sick and wounded officers and
soldiers as fast as they become able to travel.  The paroles for these
latter must be signed, however, whilst officers present are authorized
to sign the roll of prisoners."

By the terms of the cartel then in force, prisoners captured by either
army were required to be forwarded as soon as possible to either Aiken's
landing below Dutch Gap on the James River, or to Vicksburg, there to be
exchanged, or paroled until they could be exchanged.  There was a
Confederate commissioner at Vicksburg, authorized to make the exchange.
I did not propose to take him a prisoner, but to leave him free to
perform the functions of his office.  Had I insisted upon an
unconditional surrender there would have been over thirty thousand men
to transport to Cairo, very much to the inconvenience of the army on the
Mississippi.  Thence the prisoners would have had to be transported by
rail to Washington or Baltimore; thence again by steamer to Aiken's--all
at very great expense.  At Aiken's they would have had to be paroled,
because the Confederates did not have Union prisoners to give in
exchange.  Then again Pemberton's army was largely composed of men whose
homes were in the South-west; I knew many of them were tired of the war
and would get home just as soon as they could.  A large number of them
had voluntarily come into our lines during the siege, and requested to
be sent north where they could get employment until the war was over and
they could go to their homes.

Late at night I received the following reply to my last letter:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of
this date, proposing terms of capitulation for this garrison and post.
In the main your terms are accepted; but, in justice both to the honor
and spirit of my troops manifested in the defence of Vicksburg, I have
to submit the following amendments, which, if acceded to by you, will
perfect the agreement between us.  At ten o'clock A.M. to-morrow, I
propose to evacuate the works in and around Vicksburg, and to surrender
the city and garrison under my command, by marching out with my colors
and arms, stacking them in front of my present lines.  After which you
will take possession.  Officers to retain their side-arms and personal
property, and the rights and property of citizens to be respected."

This was received after midnight.  My reply was as follows:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of 3d
July.  The amendment proposed by you cannot be acceded to in full.  It
will be necessary to furnish every officer and man with a parole signed
by himself, which, with the completion of the roll of prisoners, will
necessarily take some time.  Again, I can make no stipulations with
regard to the treatment of citizens and their private property.  While I
do not propose to cause them any undue annoyance or loss, I cannot
consent to leave myself under any restraint by stipulations. The
property which officers will be allowed to take with them will be as
stated in my proposition of last evening; that is, officers will be
allowed their private baggage and side-arms, and mounted officers one
horse each.  If you mean by your proposition for each brigade to march
to the front of the lines now occupied by it, and stack arms at ten
o'clock A.M., and then return to the inside and there remain as
prisoners until properly paroled, I will make no objection to it.
Should no notification be received of your acceptance of my terms by
nine o'clock A.M. I shall regard them as having been rejected, and shall
act accordingly.  Should these terms be accepted, white flags should be
displayed along your lines to prevent such of my troops as may not have
been notified, from firing upon your men."

Pemberton promptly accepted these terms.

During the siege there had been a good deal of friendly sparring between
the soldiers of the two armies, on picket and where the lines were close
together.  All rebels were known as "Johnnies," all Union troops as
"Yanks."  Often "Johnny" would call:  "Well, Yank, when are you coming
into town?"  The reply was sometimes: "We propose to celebrate the 4th
of July there."  Sometimes it would be:  "We always treat our prisoners
with kindness and do not want to hurt them;" or, "We are holding you as
prisoners of war while you are feeding yourselves."  The garrison, from
the commanding general down, undoubtedly expected an assault on the
fourth.  They knew from the temper of their men it would be successful
when made; and that would be a greater humiliation than to surrender.
Besides it would be attended with severe loss to them.

The Vicksburg paper, which we received regularly through the courtesy of
the rebel pickets, said prior to the fourth, in speaking of the "Yankee"
boast that they would take dinner in Vicksburg that day, that the best
receipt for cooking a rabbit was "First ketch your rabbit."  The paper
at this time and for some time previous was printed on the plain side of
wall paper.  The last number was issued on the fourth and announced that
we had "caught our rabbit."

I have no doubt that Pemberton commenced his correspondence on the third
with a two-fold purpose:  first, to avoid an assault, which he knew
would be successful, and second, to prevent the capture taking place on
the great national holiday, the anniversary of the Declaration of
American Independence. Holding out for better terms as he did he
defeated his aim in the latter particular.

At the appointed hour the garrison of Vicksburg marched out of their
works and formed line in front, stacked arms and marched back in good
order.  Our whole army present witnessed this scene without cheering.
Logan's division, which had approached nearest the rebel works, was the
first to march in; and the flag of one of the regiments of his division
was soon floating over the court-house.  Our soldiers were no sooner
inside the lines than the two armies began to fraternize.  Our men had
had full rations from the time the siege commenced, to the close.  The
enemy had been suffering, particularly towards the last.  I myself saw
our men taking bread from their haversacks and giving it to the enemy
they had so recently been engaged in starving out.  It was accepted with
avidity and with thanks.

Pemberton says in his report:

"If it should be asked why the 4th of July was selected as the day for
surrender, the answer is obvious.  I believed that upon that day I
should obtain better terms.  Well aware of the vanity of our foe, I knew
they would attach vast importance to the entrance on the 4th of July
into the stronghold of the great river, and that, to gratify their
national vanity, they would yield then what could not be extorted from
them at any other time."

This does not support my view of his reasons for selecting the day he
did for surrendering.  But it must be recollected that his first letter
asking terms was received about 10 o'clock A.M., July 3d.  It then could
hardly be expected that it would take twenty-four hours to effect a
surrender.  He knew that Johnston was in our rear for the purpose of
raising the siege, and he naturally would want to hold out as long as he
could.  He knew his men would not resist an assault, and one was
expected on the fourth.  In our interview he told me he had rations
enough to hold out for some time--my recollection is two weeks.  It was
this statement that induced me to insert in the terms that he was to
draw rations for his men from his own supplies.

On the 4th of July General Holmes, with an army of eight or nine
thousand men belonging to the trans-Mississippi department, made an
attack upon Helena, Arkansas.  He was totally defeated by General
Prentiss, who was holding Helena with less than forty-two hundred
soldiers.  Holmes reported his loss at 1,636, of which 173 were killed;
but as Prentiss buried 400, Holmes evidently understated his losses.
The Union loss was 57 killed, 127 wounded, and between 30 and 40
missing.  This was the last effort on the part of the Confederacy to
raise the siege of Vicksburg.

On the third, as soon as negotiations were commenced, I notified Sherman
and directed him to be ready to take the offensive against Johnston,
drive him out of the State and destroy his army if he could.  Steele and
Ord were directed at the same time to be in readiness to join Sherman as
soon as the surrender took place.  Of this Sherman was notified.

I rode into Vicksburg with the troops, and went to the river to exchange
congratulations with the navy upon our joint victory. At that time I
found that many of the citizens had been living under ground.  The
ridges upon which Vicksburg is built, and those back to the Big Black,
are composed of a deep yellow clay of great tenacity.  Where roads and
streets are cut through, perpendicular banks are left and stand as well
as if composed of stone.  The magazines of the enemy were made by
running passage-ways into this clay at places where there were deep
cuts.  Many citizens secured places of safety for their families by
carving out rooms in these embankments.  A door-way in these cases would
be cut in a high bank, starting from the level of the road or street,
and after running in a few feet a room of the size required was carved
out of the clay, the dirt being removed by the door-way.  In some
instances I saw where two rooms were cut out, for a single family, with
a door-way in the clay wall separating them.  Some of these were
carpeted and furnished with considerable elaboration.  In these the
occupants were fully secure from the shells of the navy, which were
dropped into the city night and dav without intermission.

I returned to my old headquarters outside in the afternoon, and did not
move into the town until the sixth.  On the afternoon of the fourth I
sent Captain Wm. M. Dunn of my staff to Cairo, the nearest point where
the telegraph could be reached, with a dispatch to the general-in-chief.
It was as follows:

"The enemy surrendered this morning.  The only terms allowed is their
parole as prisoners of war.  This I regard as a great advantage to us at
this moment.  It saves, probably, several days in the capture, and
leaves troops and transports ready for immediate service.  Sherman, with
a large force, moves immediately on Johnston, to drive him from the
State.  I will send troops to the relief of Banks, and return the 9th
army corps to Burnside."

This news, with the victory at Gettysburg won the same day, lifted a
great load of anxiety from the minds of the President, his Cabinet and
the loyal people all over the North.  The fate of the Confederacy was
sealed when Vicksburg fell.  Much hard fighting was to be done
afterwards and many precious lives were to be sacrificed; but the MORALE
was with the supporters of the Union ever after.

I at the same time wrote to General Banks informing him of the fall and
sending him a copy of the terms; also saying I would send him all the
troops he wanted to insure the capture of the only foothold the enemy
now had on the Mississippi River. General Banks had a number of copies
of this letter printed, or at least a synopsis of it, and very soon a
copy fell into the hands of General Gardner, who was then in command of
Port Hudson.  Gardner at once sent a letter to the commander of the
National forces saying that he had been informed of the surrender of
Vicksburg and telling how the information reached him.  He added that if
this was true, it was useless for him to hold out longer.  General Banks
gave him assurances that Vicksburg had been surrendered, and General
Gardner surrendered unconditionally on the 9th of July.  Port Hudson
with nearly 6,000 prisoners, 51 guns, 5,000 small-arms and other stores
fell into the hands of the Union forces:  from that day to the close of
the rebellion the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth,
remained in the control of the National troops.

Pemberton and his army were kept in Vicksburg until the whole could be
paroled.  The paroles were in duplicate, by organization (one copy for
each, Federals and Confederates), and signed by the commanding officers
of the companies or regiments.  Duplicates were also made for each
soldier and signed by each individually, one to be retained by the
soldier signing and one to be retained by us.  Several hundred refused
to sign their paroles, preferring to be sent to the North as prisoners
to being sent back to fight again.  Others again kept out of the way,
hoping to escape either alternative.

Pemberton appealed to me in person to compel these men to sign their
paroles, but I declined.  It also leaked out that many of the men who
had signed their paroles, intended to desert and go to their homes as
soon as they got out of our lines.  Pemberton hearing this, again
appealed to me to assist him.  He wanted arms for a battalion, to act as
guards in keeping his men together while being marched to a camp of
instruction, where he expected to keep them until exchanged.  This
request was also declined.  It was precisely what I expected and hoped
that they would do.  I told him, however, that I would see that they
marched beyond our lines in good order.  By the eleventh, just one week
after the surrender, the paroles were completed and the Confederate
garrison marched out.  Many deserted, and fewer of them were ever
returned to the ranks to fight again than would have been the case had
the surrender been unconditional and the prisoners sent to the James
River to be paroled.

As soon as our troops took possession of the city guards were
established along the whole line of parapet, from the river above to the
river below.  The prisoners were allowed to occupy their old camps
behind the intrenchments.  No restraint was put upon them, except by
their own commanders.  They were rationed about as our own men, and from
our supplies.  The men of the two armies fraternized as if they had been
fighting for the same cause.  When they passed out of the works they had
so long and so gallantly defended, between lines of their late
antagonists, not a cheer went up, not a remark was made that would give
pain.  Really, I believe there was a feeling of sadness just then in the
breasts of most of the Union soldiers at seeing the dejection of their
late antagonists.

The day before the departure the following order was issued:

"Paroled prisoners will be sent out of here to-morrow.  They will be
authorized to cross at the railroad bridge, and move from there to
Edward's Ferry, (*14) and on by way of Raymond. Instruct the commands to
be orderly and quiet as these prisoners pass, to make no offensive
remarks, and not to harbor any who fall out of ranks after they have



The capture of Vicksburg, with its garrison, ordnance and ordnance
stores, and the successful battles fought in reaching them, gave new
spirit to the loyal people of the North.  New hopes for the final
success of the cause of the Union were inspired.  The victory gained at
Gettysburg, upon the same day, added to their hopes.  Now the
Mississippi River was entirely in the possession of the National troops;
for the fall of Vicksburg gave us Port Hudson at once.  The army of
northern Virginia was driven out of Pennsylvania and forced back to
about the same ground it occupied in 1861.  The Army of the Tennessee
united with the Army of the Gulf, dividing the Confederate States

The first dispatch I received from the government after the fall of
Vicksburg was in these words:

"I fear your paroling the prisoners at Vicksburg, without actual
delivery to a proper agent as required by the seventh article of the
cartel, may be construed into an absolute release, and that the men will
immediately be placed in the ranks of the enemy. Such has been the case
elsewhere.  If these prisoners have not been allowed to depart, you will
detain them until further orders."

Halleck did not know that they had already been delivered into the hands
of Major Watts, Confederate commissioner for the exchange of prisoners.

At Vicksburg 31,600 prisoners were surrendered, together with 172 cannon
about 60,000 muskets and a large amount of ammunition.  The small-arms
of the enemy were far superior to the bulk of ours.  Up to this time our
troops at the West had been limited to the old United States flint-lock
muskets changed into percussion, or the Belgian musket imported early in
the war--almost as dangerous to the person firing it as to the one aimed
at--and a few new and improved arms.  These were of many different
calibers, a fact that caused much trouble in distributing ammunition
during an engagement.  The enemy had generally new arms which had run
the blockade and were of uniform caliber.  After the surrender I
authorized all colonels whose regiments were armed with inferior
muskets, to place them in the stack of captured arms and replace them
with the latter.  A large number of arms turned in to the Ordnance
Department as captured, were thus arms that had really been used by the
Union army in the capture of Vicksburg.

In this narrative I have not made the mention I should like of officers,
dead and alive, whose services entitle them to special mention.  Neither
have I made that mention of the navy which its services deserve.
Suffice it to say, the close of the siege of Vicksburg found us with an
army unsurpassed, in proportion to its numbers, taken as a whole of
officers and men.  A military education was acquired which no other
school could have given. Men who thought a company was quite enough for
them to command properly at the beginning, would have made good
regimental or brigade commanders; most of the brigade commanders were
equal to the command of a division, and one, Ransom, would have been
equal to the command of a corps at least. Logan and Crocker ended the
campaign fitted to command independent armies.

General F. P. Blair joined me at Milliken's Bend a full-fledged general,
without having served in a lower grade.  He commanded a division in the
campaign.  I had known Blair in Missouri, where I had voted against him
in 1858 when he ran for Congress.  I knew him as a frank, positive and
generous man, true to his friends even to a fault, but always a leader.
I dreaded his coming; I knew from experience that it was more difficult
to command two generals desiring to be leaders than it was to command
one army officered intelligently and with subordination.  It affords me
the greatest pleasure to record now my agreeable disappointment in
respect to his character.  There was no man braver than he, nor was
there any who obeyed all orders of his superior in rank with more
unquestioning alacrity.  He was one man as a soldier, another as a

The navy under Porter was all it could be, during the entire campaign.
Without its assistance the campaign could not have been successfully
made with twice the number of men engaged.  It could not have been made
at all, in the way it was, with any number of men without such
assistance.  The most perfect harmony reigned between the two arms of
the service.  There never was a request made, that I am aware of, either
of the flag-officer or any of his subordinates, that was not promptly
complied with.

The campaign of Vicksburg was suggested and developed by circumstances.
The elections of 1862 had gone against the prosecution of the war.
Voluntary enlistments had nearly ceased and the draft had been resorted
to; this was resisted, and a defeat or backward movement would have made
its execution impossible.  A forward movement to a decisive victory was
necessary.  Accordingly I resolved to get below Vicksburg, unite with
Banks against Port Hudson, make New Orleans a base and, with that base
and Grand Gulf as a starting point, move our combined forces against
Vicksburg.  Upon reaching Grand Gulf, after running its batteries and
fighting a battle, I received a letter from Banks informing me that he
could not be at Port Hudson under ten days, and then with only fifteen
thousand men.  The time was worth more than the reinforcements; I
therefore determined to push into the interior of the enemy's country.

With a large river behind us, held above and below by the enemy, rapid
movements were essential to success.  Jackson was captured the day after
a new commander had arrived, and only a few days before large
reinforcements were expected.  A rapid movement west was made; the
garrison of Vicksburg was met in two engagements and badly defeated, and
driven back into its stronghold and there successfully besieged.  It
looks now as though Providence had directed the course of the campaign
while the Army of the Tennessee executed the decree.

Upon the surrender of the garrison of Vicksburg there were three things
that required immediate attention.  The first was to send a force to
drive the enemy from our rear, and out of the State.  The second was to
send reinforcements to Banks near Port Hudson, if necessary, to complete
the triumph of opening the Mississippi from its source to its mouth to
the free navigation of vessels bearing the Stars and Stripes.  The third
was to inform the authorities at Washington and the North of the good
news, to relieve their long suspense and strengthen their confidence in
the ultimate success of the cause they had so much at heart.

Soon after negotiations were opened with General Pemberton for the
surrender of the city, I notified Sherman, whose troops extended from
Haines' Bluff on the left to the crossing of the Vicksburg and Jackson
road over the Big Black on the right, and directed him to hold his
command in readiness to advance and drive the enemy from the State as
soon as Vicksburg surrendered.  Steele and Ord were directed to be in
readiness to join Sherman in his move against General Johnston, and
Sherman was advised of this also.  Sherman moved promptly, crossing the
Big Black at three different points with as many columns, all
concentrating at Bolton, twenty miles west of Jackson.

Johnston heard of the surrender of Vicksburg almost as soon as it
occurred, and immediately fell back on Jackson.  On the 8th of July
Sherman was within ten miles of Jackson and on the 11th was close up to
the defences of the city and shelling the town.  The siege was kept up
until the morning of the 17th, when it was found that the enemy had
evacuated during the night.  The weather was very hot, the roads dusty
and the water bad. Johnston destroyed the roads as he passed and had so
much the start that pursuit was useless; but Sherman sent one division,
Steele's, to Brandon, fourteen miles east of Jackson.

The National loss in the second capture of Jackson was less than one
thousand men, killed, wounded and missing.  The Confederate loss was
probably less, except in captured.  More than this number fell into our
hands as prisoners.

Medicines and food were left for the Confederate wounded and sick who
had to be left behind.  A large amount of rations was issued to the
families that remained in Jackson.  Medicine and food were also sent to
Raymond for the destitute families as well as the sick and wounded, as I
thought it only fair that we should return to these people some of the
articles we had taken while marching through the country.  I wrote to
Sherman: "Impress upon the men the importance of going through the State
in an orderly manner, abstaining from taking anything not absolutely
necessary for their subsistence while travelling. They should try to
create as favorable an impression as possible upon the people."
Provisions and forage, when called for by them, were issued to all the
people, from Bruinsburg to Jackson and back to Vicksburg, whose
resources had been taken for the supply of our army.  Very large
quantities of groceries and provisions were so issued.

Sherman was ordered back to Vicksburg, and his troops took much the same
position they had occupied before--from the Big Black to Haines' Bluff.
Having cleaned up about Vicksburg and captured or routed all regular
Confederate forces for more than a hundred miles in all directions, I
felt that the troops that had done so much should be allowed to do more
before the enemy could recover from the blow he had received, and while
important points might be captured without bloodshed.  I suggested to
the General-in-chief the idea of a campaign against Mobile, starting
from Lake Pontchartrain.  Halleck preferred another course.  The
possession of the trans-Mississippi by the Union forces seemed to
possess more importance in his mind than almost any campaign east of the
Mississippi.  I am well aware that the President was very anxious to
have a foothold in Texas, to stop the clamor of some of the foreign
governments which seemed to be seeking a pretext to interfere in the
war, at least so far as to recognize belligerent rights to the
Confederate States.  This, however, could have been easily done without
wasting troops in western Louisiana and eastern Texas, by sending a
garrison at once to Brownsville on the Rio Grande.

Halleck disapproved of my proposition to go against Mobile, so that I
was obliged to settle down and see myself put again on the defensive as
I had been a year before in west Tennessee.  It would have been an easy
thing to capture Mobile at the time I proposed to go there.  Having that
as a base of operations, troops could have been thrown into the interior
to operate against General Bragg's army.  This would necessarily have
compelled Bragg to detach in order to meet this fire in his rear.  If he
had not done this the troops from Mobile could have inflicted
inestimable damage upon much of the country from which his army and
Lee's were yet receiving their supplies.  I was so much impressed with
this idea that I renewed my request later in July and again about the
1st of August, and proposed sending all the troops necessary, asking
only the assistance of the navy to protect the debarkation of troops at
or near Mobile.  I also asked for a leave of absence to visit New
Orleans, particularly if my suggestion to move against Mobile should be
approved. Both requests were refused.  So far as my experience with
General Halleck went it was very much easier for him to refuse a favor
than to grant one.  But I did not regard this as a favor. It was simply
in line of duty, though out of my department.

The General-in-chief having decided against me, the depletion of an
army, which had won a succession of great victories, commenced, as had
been the case the year before after the fall of Corinth when the army
was sent where it would do the least good.  By orders, I sent to Banks a
force of 4,000 men; returned the 9th corps to Kentucky and, when
transportation had been collected, started a division of 5,000 men to
Schofield in Missouri where Price was raiding the State.  I also
detached a brigade under Ransom to Natchez, to garrison that place
permanently.  This latter move was quite fortunate as to the time when
Ransom arrived there.  The enemy happened to have a large number, about
5,000 head, of beef cattle there on the way from Texas to feed the
Eastern armies, and also a large amount of munitions of war which had
probably come through Texas from the Rio Grande and which were on the
way to Lee's and other armies in the East.

The troops that were left with me around Vicksburg were very busily and
unpleasantly employed in making expeditions against guerilla bands and
small detachments of cavalry which infested the interior, and in
destroying mills, bridges and rolling stock on the railroads.  The
guerillas and cavalry were not there to fight but to annoy, and
therefore disappeared on the first approach of our troops.

The country back of Vicksburg was filled with deserters from Pemberton's
army and, it was reported, many from Johnston's also.  The men
determined not to fight again while the war lasted.  Those who lived
beyond the reach of the Confederate army wanted to get to their homes.
Those who did not, wanted to get North where they could work for their
support till the war was over.  Besides all this there was quite a peace
feeling, for the time being, among the citizens of that part of
Mississippi, but this feeling soon subsided.  It is not probable that
Pemberton got off with over 4,000 of his army to the camp where he
proposed taking them, and these were in a demoralized condition.

On the 7th of August I further depleted my army by sending the 13th
corps, General Ord commanding, to Banks.  Besides this I received orders
to co-operate with the latter general in movements west of the
Mississippi.  Having received this order I went to New Orleans to confer
with Banks about the proposed movement.  All these movements came to

During this visit I reviewed Banks' army a short distance above
Carrollton.  The horse I rode was vicious and but little used, and on my
return to New Orleans ran away and, shying at a locomotive in the
street, fell, probably on me.  I was rendered insensible, and when I
regained consciousness I found myself in a hotel near by with several
doctors attending me.  My leg was swollen from the knee to the thigh,
and the swelling, almost to the point of bursting, extended along the
body up to the arm-pit.  The pain was almost beyond endurance.  I lay at
the hotel something over a week without being able to turn myself in
bed.  I had a steamer stop at the nearest point possible, and was
carried to it on a litter.  I was then taken to Vicksburg, where I
remained unable to move for some time afterwards.

While I was absent General Sherman declined to assume command because,
he said, it would confuse the records; but he let all the orders be made
in my name, and was glad to render any assistance he could.  No orders
were issued by my staff, certainly no important orders, except upon
consultation with and approval of Sherman.

On the 13th of September, while I was still in New Orleans, Halleck
telegraphed to me to send all available forces to Memphis and thence to
Tuscumbia, to co-operate with Rosecrans for the relief of Chattanooga.
On the 15th he telegraphed again for all available forces to go to
Rosecrans.  This was received on the 27th.  I was still confined to my
bed, unable to rise from it without assistance; but I at once ordered
Sherman to send one division to Memphis as fast as transports could be
provided.  The division of McPherson's corps, which had got off and was
on the way to join Steele in Arkansas, was recalled and sent, likewise,
to report to Hurlbut at Memphis.  Hurlbut was directed to forward these
two divisions with two others from his own corps at once, and also to
send any other troops that might be returning there.  Halleck suggested
that some good man, like Sherman or McPherson, should be sent to Memphis
to take charge of the troops going east. On this I sent Sherman, as
being, I thought, the most suitable person for an independent command,
and besides he was entitled to it if it had to be given to any one.  He
was directed to take with him another division of his corps.  This left
one back, but having one of McPherson's divisions he had still the

Before the receipt by me of these orders the battle of Chickamauga had
been fought and Rosecrans forced back into Chattanooga. The
administration as well as the General-in-chief was nearly frantic at the
situation of affairs there.  Mr. Charles A. Dana, an officer of the War
Department, was sent to Rosecrans' headquarters.  I do not know what his
instructions were, but he was still in Chattanooga when I arrived there
at a later period.

It seems that Halleck suggested that I should go to Nashville as soon as
able to move and take general direction of the troops moving from the
west. I received the following dispatch dated October 3d:  "It is the
wish of the Secretary of War that as soon as General Grant is able he
will come to Cairo and report by telegraph."  I was still very lame, but
started without delay.  Arriving at Columbus on the 16th I reported by
telegraph:  "Your dispatch from Cairo of the 3d directing me to report
from Cairo was received at 11.30 on the 10th.  Left the same day with
staff and headquarters and am here en route for Cairo."








































The reply (to my telegram of October 16, 1863, from Cairo, announcing my
arrival at that point) came on the morning of the 17th, directing me to
proceed immediately to the Galt House, Louisville, where I would meet an
officer of the War Department with my instructions.  I left Cairo within
an hour or two after the receipt of this dispatch, going by rail via
Indianapolis. Just as the train I was on was starting out of the depot
at Indianapolis a messenger came running up to stop it, saying the
Secretary of War was coming into the station and wanted to see me.

I had never met Mr. Stanton up to that time, though we had held frequent
conversations over the wires the year before, when I was in Tennessee.
Occasionally at night he would order the wires between the War
Department and my headquarters to be connected, and we would hold a
conversation for an hour or two.  On this occasion the Secretary was
accompanied by Governor Brough of Ohio, whom I had never met, though he
and my father had been old acquaintances.  Mr. Stanton dismissed the
special train that had brought him to Indianapolis, and accompanied me
to Louisville.

Up to this time no hint had been given me of what was wanted after I
left Vicksburg, except the suggestion in one of Halleck's dispatches
that I had better go to Nashville and superintend the operation of
troops sent to relieve Rosecrans. Soon after we started the Secretary
handed me two orders, saying that I might take my choice of them.  The
two were identical in all but one particular.  Both created the
"Military Division of Mississippi," (giving me the command) composed of
the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and all
the territory from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi River north of
Banks's command in the south-west.  One order left the department
commanders as they were, while the other relieved Rosecrans and assigned
Thomas to his place.  I accepted the latter.  We reached Louisville
after night and, if I remember rightly, in a cold, drizzling rain.  The
Secretary of War told me afterwards that he caught a cold on that
occasion from which he never expected to recover.  He never did.

A day was spent in Louisville, the Secretary giving me the military news
at the capital and talking about the disappointment at the results of
some of the campaigns.  By the evening of the day after our arrival all
matters of discussion seemed exhausted, and I left the hotel to spend
the evening away, both Mrs. Grant (who was with me) and myself having
relatives living in Louisville.  In the course of the evening Mr.
Stanton received a dispatch from Mr. C. A. Dana, then in Chattanooga,
informing him that unless prevented Rosecrans would retreat, and
advising peremptory orders against his doing so.

As stated before, after the fall of Vicksburg I urged strongly upon the
government the propriety of a movement against Mobile.  General
Rosecrans had been at Murfreesboro', Tennessee, with a large and
well-equipped army from early in the year 1863, with Bragg confronting
him with a force quite equal to his own at first, considering it was on
the defensive.  But after the investment of Vicksburg Bragg's army was
largely depleted to strengthen Johnston, in Mississippi, who was being
reinforced to raise the siege.  I frequently wrote General Halleck
suggesting that Rosecrans should move against Bragg.  By so doing he
would either detain the latter's troops where they were or lay
Chattanooga open to capture.  General Halleck strongly approved the
suggestion, and finally wrote me that he had repeatedly ordered
Rosecrans to advance, but that the latter had constantly failed to
comply with the order, and at last, after having held a council of war,
had replied in effect that it was a military maxim "not to fight two
decisive battles at the same time."  If true, the maxim was not
applicable in this case.  It would be bad to be defeated in two decisive
battles fought the same day, but it would not be bad to win them.  I,
however, was fighting no battle, and the siege of Vicksburg had drawn
from Rosecrans' front so many of the enemy that his chances of victory
were much greater than they would be if he waited until the siege was
over, when these troops could be returned.  Rosecrans was ordered to
move against the army that was detaching troops to raise the siege.
Finally he did move, on the 24th of June, but ten days afterwards
Vicksburg surrendered, and the troops sent from Bragg were free to

It was at this time that I recommended to the general-in-chief the
movement against Mobile.  I knew the peril the Army of the Cumberland
was in, being depleted continually, not only by ordinary casualties, but
also by having to detach troops to hold its constantly extending line
over which to draw supplies, while the enemy in front was as constantly
being strengthened.  Mobile was important to the enemy, and in the
absence of a threatening force was guarded by little else than
artillery.  If threatened by land and from the water at the same time
the prize would fall easily, or troops would have to be sent to its
defence.  Those troops would necessarily come from Bragg.  My judgment
was overruled, and the troops under my command were dissipated over
other parts of the country where it was thought they could render the
most service.

Soon it was discovered in Washington that Rosecrans was in trouble and
required assistance.  The emergency was now too immediate to allow us to
give this assistance by making an attack in rear of Bragg upon Mobile.
It was therefore necessary to reinforce directly, and troops were sent
from every available point.

Rosecrans had very skilfully manoeuvred Bragg south of the Tennessee
River, and through and beyond Chattanooga. If he had stopped and
intrenched, and made himself strong there, all would have been right and
the mistake of not moving earlier partially compensated.  But he pushed
on, with his forces very much scattered, until Bragg's troops from
Mississippi began to join him.  Then Bragg took the initiative.
Rosecrans had to fall back in turn, and was able to get his army
together at Chickamauga, some miles south-east of Chattanooga, before
the main battle was brought on.  The battle was fought on the 19th and
20th of September, and Rosecrans was badly defeated, with a heavy loss
in artillery and some sixteen thousand men killed, wounded and captured.
The corps under Major-General George H. Thomas stood its ground, while
Rosecrans, with Crittenden and McCook, returned to Chattanooga. Thomas
returned also, but later, and with his troops in good order.  Bragg
followed and took possession of Missionary Ridge, overlooking
Chattanooga. He also occupied Lookout Mountain, west of the town, which
Rosecrans had abandoned, and with it his control of the river and the
river road as far back as Bridgeport.  The National troops were now
strongly intrenched in Chattanooga Valley, with the Tennessee River
behind them and the enemy occupying commanding heights to the east and
west, with a strong line across the valley from mountain to mountain,
and with Chattanooga Creek, for a large part of the way, in front of
their line.

On the 29th Halleck telegraphed me the above results, and directed all
the forces that could be spared from my department to be sent to
Rosecrans.  Long before this dispatch was received Sherman was on his
way, and McPherson was moving east with most of the garrison of

A retreat at that time would have been a terrible disaster.  It would
not only have been the loss of a most important strategic position to
us, but it would have been attended with the loss of all the artillery
still left with the Army of the Cumberland and the annihilation of that
army itself, either by capture or demoralization.

All supplies for Rosecrans had to be brought from Nashville. The
railroad between this base and the army was in possession of the
government up to Bridgeport, the point at which the road crosses to the
south side of the Tennessee River; but Bragg, holding Lookout and
Raccoon mountains west of Chattanooga, commanded the railroad, the river
and the shortest and best wagon-roads, both south and north of the
Tennessee, between Chattanooga and Bridgeport.  The distance between
these two places is but twenty-six miles by rail, but owing to the
position of Bragg, all supplies for Rosecrans had to be hauled by a
circuitous route north of the river and over a mountainous country,
increasing the distance to over sixty miles.

This country afforded but little food for his animals, nearly ten
thousand of which had already starved, and not enough were left to draw
a single piece of artillery or even the ambulances to convey the sick.
The men had been on half rations of hard bread for a considerable time,
with but few other supplies except beef driven from Nashville across the
country.  The region along the road became so exhausted of food for the
cattle that by the time they reached Chattanooga they were much in the
condition of the few animals left alive there--"on the lift." Indeed,
the beef was so poor that the soldiers were in the habit of saying, with
a faint facetiousness, that they were living on "half rations of hard

Nothing could be transported but food, and the troops were without
sufficient shoes or other clothing suitable for the advancing season.
What they had was well worn.  The fuel within the Federal lines was
exhausted, even to the stumps of trees. There were no teams to draw it
from the opposite bank, where it was abundant.  The only way of
supplying fuel, for some time before my arrival, had been to cut trees
on the north bank of the river at a considerable distance up the stream,
form rafts of it and float it down with the current, effecting a landing
on the south side within our lines by the use of paddles or poles. It
would then be carried on the shoulders of the men to their camps.

If a retreat had occurred at this time it is not probable that any of
the army would have reached the railroad as an organized body, if
followed by the enemy.

On the receipt of Mr. Dana's dispatch Mr. Stanton sent for me. Finding
that I was out he became nervous and excited, inquiring of every person
he met, including guests of the house, whether they knew where I was,
and bidding them find me and send me to him at once.  About eleven
o'clock I returned to the hotel, and on my way, when near the house,
every person met was a messenger from the Secretary, apparently
partaking of his impatience to see me.  I hastened to the room of the
Secretary and found him pacing the floor rapidly in his dressing-gown.
Saying that the retreat must be prevented, he showed me the dispatch.  I
immediately wrote an order assuming command of the Military Division of
the Mississippi, and telegraphed it to General Rosecrans.  I then
telegraphed to him the order from Washington assigning Thomas to the
command of the Army of the Cumberland; and to Thomas that he must hold
Chattanooga at all hazards, informing him at the same time that I would
be at the front as soon as possible.  A prompt reply was received from
Thomas, saying, "We will hold the town till we starve."  I appreciated
the force of this dispatch later when I witnessed the condition of
affairs which prompted it.  It looked, indeed, as if but two courses
were open:  one to starve, the other to surrender or be captured.

On the morning of the 20th of October I started, with my staff, and
proceeded as far as Nashville.  At that time it was not prudent to
travel beyond that point by night, so I remained in Nashville until the
next morning.  Here I met for the first time Andrew Johnson, Military
Governor of Tennessee.  He delivered a speech of welcome.  His composure
showed that it was by no means his maiden effort.  It was long, and I
was in torture while he was delivering it, fearing something would be
expected from me in response.  I was relieved, however, the people
assembled having apparently heard enough.  At all events they commenced
a general hand-shaking, which, although trying where there is so much of
it, was a great relief to me in this emergency.

From Nashville I telegraphed to Burnside, who was then at Knoxville,
that important points in his department ought to be fortified, so that
they could be held with the least number of men; to Admiral Porter at
Cairo, that Sherman's advance had passed Eastport, Mississippi, that
rations were probably on their way from St. Louis by boat for supplying
his army, and requesting him to send a gunboat to convoy them; and to
Thomas, suggesting that large parties should be put at work on the
wagon-road then in use back to Bridgeport.

On the morning of the 21st we took the train for the front, reaching
Stevenson Alabama, after dark.  Rosecrans was there on his way north.
He came into my car and we held a brief interview, in which he described
very clearly the situation at Chattanooga, and made some excellent
suggestions as to what should be done.  My only wonder was that he had
not carried them out.  We then proceeded to Bridgeport, where we stopped
for the night.  From here we took horses and made our way by Jasper and
over Waldron's Ridge to Chattanooga. There had been much rain, and the
roads were almost impassable from mud, knee-deep in places, and from
wash-outs on the mountain sides.  I had been on crutches since the time
of my fall in New Orleans, and had to be carried over places where it
was not safe to cross on horseback.  The roads were strewn with the
debris of broken wagons and the carcasses of thousands of starved mules
and horses.  At Jasper, some ten or twelve miles from Bridgeport, there
was a halt.  General O. O. Howard had his headquarters there.  From this
point I telegraphed Burnside to make every effort to secure five hundred
rounds of ammunition for his artillery and small-arms.  We stopped for
the night at a little hamlet some ten or twelve miles farther on.  The
next day we reached Chattanooga a little before dark.  I went directly
to General Thomas's headquarters, and remaining there a few days, until
I could establish my own.

During the evening most of the general officers called in to pay their
respects and to talk about the condition of affairs.  They pointed out
on the map the line, marked with a red or blue pencil, which Rosecrans
had contemplated falling back upon.  If any of them had approved the
move they did not say so to me.  I found General W. F. Smith occupying
the position of chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland.  I had
known Smith as a cadet at West Point, but had no recollection of having
met him after my graduation, in 1843, up to this time.  He explained the
situation of the two armies and the topography of the country so plainly
that I could see it without an inspection.  I found that he had
established a saw-mill on the banks of the river, by utilizing an old
engine found in the neighborhood; and, by rafting logs from the north
side of the river above, had got out the lumber and completed pontoons
and roadway plank for a second bridge, one flying bridge being there
already.  He was also rapidly getting out the materials and constructing
the boats for a third bridge.  In addition to this he had far under way
a steamer for plying between Chattanooga and Bridgeport whenever we
might get possession of the river.  This boat consisted of a scow, made
of the plank sawed out at the mill, housed in, and a stern wheel
attached which was propelled by a second engine taken from some shop or

I telegraphed to Washington this night, notifying General Halleck of my
arrival, and asking to have General Sherman assigned to the command of
the Army of the Tennessee, headquarters in the field.  The request was
at once complied with.



The next day, the 24th, I started out to make a personal inspection,
taking Thomas and Smith with me, besides most of the members of my
personal staff.  We crossed to the north side of the river, and, moving
to the north of detached spurs of hills, reached the Tennessee at
Brown's Ferry, some three miles below Lookout Mountain, unobserved by
the enemy.  Here we left our horses back from the river and approached
the water on foot. There was a picket station of the enemy on the
opposite side, of about twenty men, in full view, and we were within
easy range. They did not fire upon us nor seem to be disturbed by our
presence.  They must have seen that we were all commissioned officers.
But, I suppose, they looked upon the garrison of Chattanooga as
prisoners of war, feeding or starving themselves, and thought it would
be inhuman to kill any of them except in self-defence.

That night I issued orders for opening the route to Bridgeport--a
cracker line, as the soldiers appropriately termed it.  They had been so
long on short rations that my first thought was the establishment of a
line over which food might reach them.

Chattanooga is on the south bank of the Tennessee, where that river runs
nearly due west.  It is at the northern end of a valley five or six
miles in width, through which Chattanooga Creek runs.  To the east of
the valley is Missionary Ridge, rising from five to eight hundred feet
above the creek and terminating somewhat abruptly a half mile or more
before reaching the Tennessee.  On the west of the valley is Lookout
Mountain, twenty-two hundred feet above-tide water.  Just below the town
the Tennessee makes a turn to the south and runs to the base of Lookout
Mountain, leaving no level ground between the mountain and river.  The
Memphis and Charleston Railroad passes this point, where the mountain
stands nearly perpendicular. East of Missionary Ridge flows the South
Chickamauga River; west of Lookout Mountain is Lookout Creek; and west
of that, Raccoon Mountains.  Lookout Mountain, at its northern end,
rises almost perpendicularly for some distance, then breaks off in a
gentle slope of cultivated fields to near the summit, where it ends in a
palisade thirty or more feet in height.  On the gently sloping ground,
between the upper and lower palisades, there is a single farmhouse,
which is reached by a wagon-road from the valley east.

The intrenched line of the enemy commenced on the north end of
Missionary Ridge and extended along the crest for some distance south,
thence across Chattanooga valley to Lookout Mountain. Lookout Mountain
was also fortified and held by the enemy, who also kept troops in
Lookout valley west, and on Raccoon Mountain, with pickets extending
down the river so as to command the road on the north bank and render it
useless to us.  In addition to this there was an intrenched line in
Chattanooga valley extending from the river east of the town to Lookout
Mountain, to make the investment complete.  Besides the fortifications
on Mission Ridge, there was a line at the base of the hill, with
occasional spurs of rifle-pits half-way up the front.  The enemy's
pickets extended out into the valley towards the town, so far that the
pickets of the two armies could converse.  At one point they were
separated only by the narrow creek which gives its name to the valley
and town, and from which both sides drew water.  The Union lines were
shorter than those of the enemy.

Thus the enemy, with a vastly superior force, was strongly fortified to
the east, south, and west, and commanded the river below.  Practically,
the Army of the Cumberland was besieged. The enemy had stopped with his
cavalry north of the river the passing of a train loaded with ammunition
and medical supplies.  The Union army was short of both, not having
ammunition enough for a day's fighting.

General Halleck had, long before my coming into this new field, ordered
parts of the 11th and 12th corps, commanded respectively by Generals
Howard and Slocum, Hooker in command of the whole, from the Army of the
Potomac to reinforce Rosecrans.  It would have been folly to send them
to Chattanooga to help eat up the few rations left there.  They were
consequently left on the railroad, where supplies could be brought to
them.  Before my arrival, Thomas ordered their concentration at

General W. F. Smith had been so instrumental in preparing for the move
which I was now about to make, and so clear in his judgment about the
manner of making it, that I deemed it but just to him that he should
have command of the troops detailed to execute the design, although he
was then acting as a staff officer and was not in command of troops.

On the 24th of October, after my return to Chattanooga, the following
details were made:  General Hooker, who was now at Bridgeport, was
ordered to cross to the south side of the Tennessee and march up by
Whitesides and Wauhatchie to Brown's Ferry.  General Palmer, with a
division of the 14th corps, Army of the Cumberland, was ordered to move
down the river on the north side, by a back road, until opposite
Whitesides, then cross and hold the road in Hooker's rear after he had
passed. Four thousand men were at the same time detailed to act under
General Smith directly from Chattanooga. Eighteen hundred of them, under
General Hazen, were to take sixty pontoon boats, and under cover of
night float by the pickets of the enemy at the north base of Lookout,
down to Brown's Ferry, then land on the south side and capture or drive
away the pickets at that point.  Smith was to march with the remainder
of the detail, also under cover of night, by the north bank of the river
to Brown's Ferry, taking with him all the material for laying the bridge
as soon as the crossing was secured.

On the 26th, Hooker crossed the river at Bridgeport and commenced his
eastward march.  At three o'clock on the morning of the 27th, Hazen
moved into the stream with his sixty pontoons and eighteen hundred brave
and well-equipped men.  Smith started enough in advance to be near the
river when Hazen should arrive.  There are a number of detached spurs of
hills north of the river at Chattanooga, back of which is a good road
parallel to the stream, sheltered from the view from the top of Lookout.
It was over this road Smith marched.  At five o'clock Hazen landed at
Brown's Ferry, surprised the picket guard, and captured most of it.  By
seven o'clock the whole of Smith's force was ferried over and in
possession of a height commanding the ferry.  This was speedily
fortified, while a detail was laying the pontoon bridge.  By ten o'clock
the bridge was laid, and our extreme right, now in Lookout valley, was
fortified and connected with the rest of the army.  The two bridges over
the Tennessee River--a flying one at Chattanooga and the new one at
Brown's Ferry--with the road north of the river, covered from both the
fire and the view of the enemy, made the connection complete.  Hooker
found but slight obstacles in his way, and on the afternoon of the 28th
emerged into Lookout valley at Wauhatchie.  Howard marched on to Brown's
Ferry, while Geary, who commanded a division in the 12th corps, stopped
three miles south.  The pickets of the enemy on the river below were now
cut off, and soon came in and surrendered.

The river was now opened to us from Lookout valley to Bridgeport.
Between Brown's Ferry and Kelly's Ferry the Tennessee runs through a
narrow gorge in the mountains, which contracts the stream so much as to
increase the current beyond the capacity of an ordinary steamer to stem
it.  To get up these rapids, steamers must be cordelled; that is, pulled
up by ropes from the shore.  But there is no difficulty in navigating
the stream from Bridgeport to Kelly's Ferry.  The latter point is only
eight miles from Chattanooga and connected with it by a good wagon-road,
which runs through a low pass in the Raccoon Mountains on the south side
of the river to Brown's Ferry, thence on the north side to the river
opposite Chattanooga. There were several steamers at Bridgeport, and
abundance of forage, clothing and provisions.

On the way to Chattanooga I had telegraphed back to Nashville for a good
supply of vegetables and small rations, which the troops had been so
long deprived of.  Hooker had brought with him from the east a full
supply of land transportation.  His animals had not been subjected to
hard work on bad roads without forage, but were in good condition.  In
five days from my arrival in Chattanooga the way was open to Bridgeport
and, with the aid of steamers and Hooker's teams, in a week the troops
were receiving full rations.  It is hard for any one not an eye-witness
to realize the relief this brought.  The men were soon reclothed and
also well fed, an abundance of ammunition was brought up, and a
cheerfulness prevailed not before enjoyed in many weeks.  Neither
officers nor men looked upon themselves any longer as doomed.  The weak
and languid appearance of the troops, so visible before, disappeared at
once.  I do not know what the effect was on the other side, but assume
it must have been correspondingly depressing.  Mr. Davis had visited
Bragg but a short time before, and must have perceived our condition to
be about as Bragg described it in his subsequent report.  "These
dispositions," he said, "faithfully sustained, insured the enemy's
speedy evacuation of Chattanooga for want of food and forage.  Possessed
of the shortest route to his depot, and the one by which reinforcements
must reach him, we held him at our mercy, and his destruction was only a
question of time."  But the dispositions were not "faithfully
sustained," and I doubt not but thousands of men engaged in trying to
"sustain" them now rejoice that they were not.  There was no time during
the rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South was
more to be benefited by its defeat than the North.  The latter had the
people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and
prosperous nation.  The former was burdened with an institution
abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which
degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class.
With the outside world at war with this institution, they could not have
extended their territory.  The labor of the country was not skilled, nor
allowed to become so.  The whites could not toil without becoming
degraded, and those who did were denominated "poor white trash."  The
system of labor would have soon exhausted the soil and left the people
poor.  The non-slaveholders would have left the country, and the small
slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor.  Soon the
slaves would have outnumbered the masters, and, not being in sympathy
with them, would have risen in their might and exterminated them.  The
war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood
and treasure, but it was worth all it cost.

The enemy was surprised by the movements which secured to us a line of
supplies.  He appreciated its importance, and hastened to try to recover
the line from us.  His strength on Lookout Mountain was not equal to
Hooker's command in the valley below.  From Missionary Ridge he had to
march twice the distance we had from Chattanooga, in order to reach
Lookout Valley; but on the night of the 28th and 29th an attack was made
on Geary at Wauhatchie by Longstreet's corps.  When the battle
commenced, Hooker ordered Howard up from Brown's Ferry.  He had three
miles to march to reach Geary.  On his way he was fired upon by rebel
troops from a foot-hill to the left of the road and from which the road
was commanded.  Howard turned to the left, charged up the hill and
captured it before the enemy had time to intrench, taking many
prisoners.  Leaving sufficient men to hold this height, he pushed on to
reinforce Geary.  Before he got up, Geary had been engaged for about
three hours against a vastly superior force.  The night was so dark that
the men could not distinguish one from another except by the light of
the flashes of their muskets.  In the darkness and uproar Hooker's
teamsters became frightened and deserted their teams.  The mules also
became frightened, and breaking loose from their fastenings stampeded
directly towards the enemy.  The latter, no doubt, took this for a
charge, and stampeded in turn.  By four o'clock in the morning the
battle had entirely ceased, and our "cracker line" was never afterward

In securing possession of Lookout Valley, Smith lost one man killed and
four or five wounded.  The enemy lost most of his pickets at the ferry,
captured.  In the night engagement of the 28th-9th Hooker lost 416
killed and wounded.  I never knew the loss of the enemy, but our troops
buried over one hundred and fifty of his dead and captured more than a

After we had secured the opening of a line over which to bring our
supplies to the army, I made a personal inspection to see the situation
of the pickets of the two armies.  As I have stated, Chattanooga Creek
comes down the centre of the valley to within a mile or such a matter of
the town of Chattanooga, then bears off westerly, then north-westerly,
and enters the Tennessee River at the foot of Lookout Mountain.  This
creek, from its mouth up to where it bears off west, lay between the two
lines of pickets, and the guards of both armies drew their water from
the same stream.  As I would be under short-range fire and in an open
country, I took nobody with me, except, I believe, a bugler, who stayed
some distance to the rear.  I rode from our right around to our left.
When I came to the camp of the picket guard of our side, I heard the
call, "Turn out the guard for the commanding general."  I replied,
"Never mind the guard," and they were dismissed and went back to their
tents. Just back of these, and about equally distant from the creek,
were the guards of the Confederate pickets.  The sentinel on their post
called out in like manner, "Turn out the guard for the commanding
general," and, I believe, added, "General Grant."  Their line in a
moment front-faced to the north, facing me, and gave a salute, which I

The most friendly relations seemed to exist between the pickets of the
two armies.  At one place there was a tree which had fallen across the
stream, and which was used by the soldiers of both armies in drawing
water for their camps.  General Longstreet's corps was stationed there
at the time, and wore blue of a little different shade from our uniform.
Seeing a soldier in blue on this log, I rode up to him, commenced
conversing with him, and asked whose corps he belonged to.  He was very
polite, and, touching his hat to me, said he belonged to General
Longstreet's corps.  I asked him a few questions--but not with a view of
gaining any particular information--all of which he answered, and I rode



Having got the Army of the Cumberland in a comfortable position, I now
began to look after the remainder of my new command. Burnside was in
about as desperate a condition as the Army of the Cumberland had been,
only he was not yet besieged.  He was a hundred miles from the nearest
possible base, Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, and much farther
from any railroad we had possession of.  The roads back were over
mountains, and all supplies along the line had long since been
exhausted.  His animals, too, had been starved, and their carcasses
lined the road from Cumberland Gap, and far back towards Lexington, Ky.
East Tennessee still furnished supplies of beef, bread and forage, but
it did not supply ammunition, clothing, medical supplies, or small
rations, such as coffee, sugar, salt and rice.

Sherman had started from Memphis for Corinth on the 11th of October.
His instructions required him to repair the road in his rear in order to
bring up supplies.  The distance was about three hundred and thirty
miles through a hostile country.  His entire command could not have
maintained the road if it had been completed.  The bridges had all been
destroyed by the enemy, and much other damage done.  A hostile community
lived along the road; guerilla bands infested the country, and more or
less of the cavalry of the enemy was still in the West.  Often Sherman's
work was destroyed as soon as completed, and he only a short distance

The Memphis and Charleston Railroad strikes the Tennessee River at
Eastport, Mississippi.  Knowing the difficulty Sherman would have to
supply himself from Memphis, I had previously ordered supplies sent from
St. Louis on small steamers, to be convoyed by the navy, to meet him at
Eastport.  These he got.  I now ordered him to discontinue his work of
repairing roads and to move on with his whole force to Stevenson,
Alabama, without delay.  This order was borne to Sherman by a messenger,
who paddled down the Tennessee in a canoe and floated over Muscle
Shoals; it was delivered at Iuka on the 27th.  In this Sherman was
notified that the rebels were moving a force towards Cleveland, East
Tennessee, and might be going to Nashville, in which event his troops
were in the best position to beat them there.  Sherman, with his
characteristic promptness, abandoned the work he was engaged upon and
pushed on at once.  On the 1st of November he crossed the Tennessee at
Eastport, and that day was in Florence, Alabama, with the head of
column, while his troops were still crossing at Eastport, with Blair
bringing up the rear.

Sherman's force made an additional army, with cavalry, artillery, and
trains, all to be supplied by the single track road from Nashville.  All
indications pointed also to the probable necessity of supplying
Burnside's command in East Tennessee, twenty-five thousand more, by the
same route.  A single track could not do this.  I gave, therefore, an
order to Sherman to halt General G. M. Dodge's command, of about eight
thousand men, at Athens, and subsequently directed the latter to arrange
his troops along the railroad from Decatur north towards Nashville, and
to rebuild that road.  The road from Nashville to Decatur passes over a
broken country, cut up with innumerable streams, many of them of
considerable width, and with valleys far below the road-bed.  All the
bridges over these had been destroyed, and the rails taken up and
twisted by the enemy.  All the cars and locomotives not carried off had
been destroyed as effectually as they knew how to destroy them.  All
bridges and culverts had been destroyed between Nashville and Decatur,
and thence to Stevenson, where the Memphis and Charleston and the
Nashville and Chattanooga roads unite.  The rebuilding of this road
would give us two roads as far as Stevenson over which to supply the
army.  From Bridgeport, a short distance farther east, the river
supplements the road.

General Dodge, besides being a most capable soldier, was an experienced
railroad builder.  He had no tools to work with except those of the
pioneers--axes, picks, and spades.  With these he was able to intrench
his men and protect them against surprises by small parties of the
enemy.  As he had no base of supplies until the road could be completed
back to Nashville, the first matter to consider after protecting his men
was the getting in of food and forage from the surrounding country.  He
had his men and teams bring in all the grain they could find, or all
they needed, and all the cattle for beef, and such other food as could
be found.  Millers were detailed from the ranks to run the mills along
the line of the army.  When these were not near enough to the troops for
protection they were taken down and moved up to the line of the road.
Blacksmith shops, with all the iron and steel found in them, were moved
up in like manner.  Blacksmiths were detailed and set to work making the
tools necessary in railroad and bridge building.  Axemen were put to
work getting out timber for bridges and cutting fuel for locomotives
when the road should be completed.  Car-builders were set to work
repairing the locomotives and cars.  Thus every branch of railroad
building, making tools to work with, and supplying the workmen with
food, was all going on at once, and without the aid of a mechanic or
laborer except what the command itself furnished.  But rails and cars
the men could not make without material, and there was not enough
rolling stock to keep the road we already had worked to its full
capacity.  There were no rails except those in use.  To supply these
deficiencies I ordered eight of the ten engines General McPherson had at
Vicksburg to be sent to Nashville, and all the cars he had except ten.
I also ordered the troops in West Tennessee to points on the river and
on the Memphis and Charleston road, and ordered the cars, locomotives
and rails from all the railroads except the Memphis and Charleston to
Nashville.  The military manager of railroads also was directed to
furnish more rolling stock and, as far as he could, bridge material.
General Dodge had the work assigned him finished within forty days after
receiving his orders.  The number of bridges to rebuild was one hundred
and eighty-two, many of them over deep and wide chasms; the length of
road repaired was one hundred and two miles.

The enemy's troops, which it was thought were either moving against
Burnside or were going to Nashville, went no farther than Cleveland.
Their presence there, however, alarmed the authorities at Washington,
and, on account of our helpless condition at Chattanooga, caused me much
uneasiness.  Dispatches were constantly coming, urging me to do
something for Burnside's relief; calling attention to the importance of
holding East Tennessee; saying the President was much concerned for the
protection of the loyal people in that section, etc.  We had not at
Chattanooga animals to pull a single piece of artillery, much less a
supply train.  Reinforcements could not help Burnside, because he had
neither supplies nor ammunition sufficient for them; hardly, indeed,
bread and meat for the men he had.  There was no relief possible for him
except by expelling the enemy from Missionary Ridge and about

On the 4th of November Longstreet left our front with about fifteen
thousand troops, besides Wheeler's cavalry, five thousand more, to go
against Burnside.  The situation seemed desperate, and was more
aggravating because nothing could be done until Sherman should get up.
The authorities at Washington were now more than ever anxious for the
safety of Burnside's army, and plied me with dispatches faster than
ever, urging that something should be done for his relief.  On the 7th,
before Longstreet could possibly have reached Knoxville, I ordered
Thomas peremptorily to attack the enemy's right, so as to force the
return of the troops that had gone up the valley.  I directed him to
take mules, officers' horses, or animals wherever he could get them to
move the necessary artillery.  But he persisted in the declaration that
he could not move a single piece of artillery, and could not see how he
could possibly comply with the order.  Nothing was left to be done but
to answer Washington dispatches as best I could; urge Sherman forward,
although he was making every effort to get forward, and encourage
Burnside to hold on, assuring him that in a short time he should be
relieved.  All of Burnside's dispatches showed the greatest confidence
in his ability to hold his position as long as his ammunition held out.
He even suggested the propriety of abandoning the territory he held
south and west of Knoxville, so as to draw the enemy farther from his
base and make it more difficult for him to get back to Chattanooga when
the battle should begin.  Longstreet had a railroad as far as Loudon;
but from there to Knoxville he had to rely on wagon trains. Burnside's
suggestion, therefore, was a good one, and it was adopted.  On the 14th
I telegraphed him:

"Sherman's advance has reached Bridgeport.  His whole force will be
ready to move from there by Tuesday at farthest.  If you can hold
Longstreet in check until he gets up, or by skirmishing and falling back
can avoid serious loss to yourself and gain time, I will be able to
force the enemy back from here and place a force between Longstreet and
Bragg that