Winnebago County, IA
USGenWeb Project

HISTORY
WINNEBAGO COUNTY, IOWA.

CHAPTER XV.1
WINNEBAGO COUNTY IN THE WAR.

SECOND CAVALRY THE GRIERSON RAID HONORED DEAD

 

Looking at Winnebago county as it is to-day, one can scarcely realize that when the mighty engines of war were unloosed in the great Rebellion, arraying more than 1,000,000 of men in arms, and which made the Ship of State reel and stagger as if smitten by thunder-bolts fresh from the hands of Jove, that it had been settled but a half-dozen years—was, as it were, an infant in the cradle of growth; while Iowa as a State was yet in her teens.  But, notwithstanding the fact that its soil was still unsubjugated to man's use, and that its population was exceedingly small, yet all was done that could be to assist in subduing the rebellious States.  The feeling prevailed throughout Iowa that the Union should be preserved, and the sights and sounds that were so noticeable in every city, village and hamlet north of Mason and Dixon's line, was duplicated here.  It will be seen by a glance at the proceedings of the board of supervisors of Winnebago county, that their sympathy for the Union was manifested in a substantial manner, and their actions but mirrored the thoughts and sympathies of the people.

Apppended [sic] is a list of the gallant men who participated in the war:

TWELFTH U. S. REGULAR INFANTRY.
COMPANY C.
 
Privates:

 
Harrison Beadle.
B. F. Denslow
 
William Lackore, Jr.
David Stancliff.
 
John Belt.
J. B. Hill.
 
John Oulman.
Fred Porter.
 
Louis Porter.
John Beadle.

SECOND IOWA INFANTRY
COMPANY C.
 
Privates:

 
David Secor.
Hans Knudtson
C. H. Lackore.

THIRTY-SECOND INFANTRY
COMPANY B.
 
Second Lieutenant:
 
Samuel W. Griffin.
 
Corporals:

 
Chandler W. Scott
Milton P. Goodell.

Privates:

 
Allen T. Cole.
Hiram K. Landru.
 
Eugene B. Oulman.
Samuel Tennis, Jr.
Charles C. Church.

A history of this regiment is given in this volume in connection with the war chapter of Hancock county.

FOURTH CAVALRY.
COMPANY C.
 
Private:
 
John W. Collier.

EIGHTH IOWA VETERAN INFANTRY.
COMPANY P.
 
Privates:

Charles C. Church.
James Lackore.

SECOND CAVALRY.
COMPANY I.
 
Sergeant:
 
Willard A. Burnap.
 
Privates:

 
Sylvester Belcher.
David Lutz.
 
Cornelius A Baker.
Simon Trumbull.

SECOND CAVALRY.

The companies comprising this regiment were made up in different portions of the State, and as its history is one of the most eventful of the war, it will not be inappropriate in this connection.  Company I was made up of volunteers from the counties of Winnebago, Cerro Gordo, Linn, Jones, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette and Mitchell.  In the latter part of the summer of 1861, all the companies of the regiment proceeded to Davenport, where they were formally entered into the United States service early in the month of September.  The aggregate strength of the regiment, when fully organized, was about 1,050.

Desirous of securing an experienced and efficient commander for this troop of horse, Gov. Kirkwood offered the colonelcy to Capt. W. L. Elliott, of the 3d Cavalry, United States Army, and he, receiving the permission of the War Department, accepted the commission.  “He was a strict disciplinarian,” says Sergeant Pierce, in his history of the regiment, “every inch a soldier; and to his untiring efforts as our instructor in the science of war, are we in a great measure indebted for whatever honor we afterwards won as a regiment.” Edward Hatch, who had been captain of company A, was commissioned lieutenant-colonel.  He afterwards became a brevet major-general, and one of the best cavalry officers in the service.  The majors were: W. P. Hepburn, Datus E. Coon and Hiram W. Love; the first a lawyer and politician, who rose one rank; the second an editor, who became a general officer; the third a man of business, who was compelled by ill health to leave the service before promotion.  The adjutant was Charles F. Marden; quartermaster, William B. Blaney; commissary, R. M. C. Kirtland; surgeon, George Reeder; assistant, George H. Noyes ; chaplain, Rev. Charles G. Truesdell.

The regiment remained near Davenport, perfecting itself in the use of the sabre, until December 7, when orders were given to proceed to Benton Barracks, Mo.  Here the troops found things very different from their comfortable camp at Davenport; they were crowded into close quarters, sickness of various kinds crept in among the men, and before the regiment left this unhealthy locality it lost about sixty men by death.  The regiment remained at Benton Barracks about two months, and as many as were not prostrated by disease were drilled in the “school of the trooper mounted.”

February 17 the regiment moved by steamer down the river to Bird's Point, in the country in the rear of which the notorious rebel, Jeff. Thompson, was creating trouble.  Major Love with his battalion marched in pursuit of him, but though Col. Elliott soon moved to reinforce the major, Thompson was not caught, though his command was dispersed by other troops sent out for that purpose.  Major Love's battalion, among other captures, took posession [sic] of a newspaper office at Charleston, and issued one number of the Independent, the work thereon, both editorial and mechanical, being done by men of the command.

But they had not joined the army to engage in newspaper business.  Returning to Bird's Point near the close of the month, the regiment made preparation for the march on New Madrid, of which, indeed, the movement against Thompson was a preparatory reconnoissance [sic].  The march of the cavalry from the time it left Bird's Point was exceedingly difficult.  It drove in the enemy's scouts and light bodies of cavalry, moving all the while over a country almost impracticable, fording streams, and swimming swamps scarcely penetrable.  On one occasion the men marched for nearly half a day through water up to their horses' bellies.  Meanwhile, Gen. Pope had sat down before New Madrid, where our regiment joined him on the 12th of March, 1862, in time to participate in the attack and bombardment of that place.  From the time of the capture of the city to the 6th of April the regiment was continually occupied in guarding trains, in scouting, and on picket duty.  On the fall of Island No. 10, with its immense material, the grand trophy of engineering skill of the whole war, the regiment crossed the Mississippi, and its advance, under Lieut. Gustave Schmitzer, were the first troops to enter the island.  This officer, with eight men and a guide, on nearing the rebel works, discovered that they were evacuated by the enemy, although many stragglers were to be seen on every side.  The advance dashed among these, and supposing the entire army to be upon them, they surrendered to the number of eighty-six before Col. Elliott came up.  The regiment captured about 200 prisoners, and was justly entitled to the credit of being the first to enter the works of Island No. 10.  It pursued the retreating rebels toward Tiptonville, beating the swampy woods for prisoners, and returned to camp at New Madrid after an absence of five days.  The regiment accompanied the expedition down the river, but the attack of Fort Pillow was abandoned, and our regiment landed at Hamburg, Tenn., on the 23d of April, and at once took position on the left of Gen. Halleck's army, then moved on Corinth by gradual approaches.

Gen. Pope chafed not a little under the bit of these slow approaches, and his restive nature found as much exercise as was compatible with Halleck,s [sic] order “not to bring on a general engagement,” in frequent reconnoissances [sic] by his infantry and raids by his cavalry.  The position of the Army of the Mississippi, too, on the left of our lines, whence the enemy's communications by the Memphis & Charleston Railroad were threatened, called for constant vigilance and no little activity on the part of Gen. Pope.  Wherefore, from soon after the time the 2d Iowa Cavalry, an active regiment, joined in what is called the siege of Corinth, until the evacuation, more than a month afterwards, it performed services of great value, and was engaged in skirmishes which were only not battles because fought so near the field of Shiloh [sic]. Thus, to illustrate the active operations of the command, it marched to Monterey on 29th, attacked and destroyed a considerable camp of the enemy, and took eleven prisoners, losing one man killed, and three wounded in the affair.  A few days afterwards it moved southward, and, having destroyed a heavy trestlework on the railroad with much of the track besides, returned safely to camp, bringing in a number of prisoners, wagons and mules.

On the 8th of May, Gen. Pope made a reconnoissance [sic] in force to the town of Farmington, at that time considerably in advance of the main lines of the Union army.  He drove the rebels from the town and took possession thereof, but in the evening retired with his main force, leaving only a picket in the place.  In the operations of this day the 2d Cavalry lost two men killed and six wounded.

On the next day the severe skirmish, which has been called the battle of Farmington, took place.  Gen. Paine, commanding a force of some half dozen regiments, remained after the reconnoissance [sic] of the 8th, in advance of Gen. Pope's camp, and beyond a creek hard by.  The rebels, for the purpose of capturing this advance guard of the Army of the Mississippi, moved from behind their works in heavy force, on the morning of the 9th, Price making a considerable detour to the right, to get in the rear of Paine, and Van Dorn moving for direct attack.  Happily, Price moved too far to the right to accomplish the object, or Van Dorn delivered his attack too soon, so that Paine, after several hours of hard fighting, was able to make good his retreat to the main camp.  But it is next to certain that he would have been cut off, had it not been for the invaluable services of the 2d Cavalry.  A little after 10 o'clock, Lieut.-Col. Hatch, commanding the regiment, received an order from Col. Elliott, commanding brigade, to hasten to the assistance of Paine.  In five minutes, the regiment was mounted and galloping to the aid of their comrades beyond the creek.  Coming upon the field, Paine was discovered in retreat before an overwhelming force of rebels—several thousand infantry and twenty-four pieces of artillery.  The Union forces could retreat only by a single line across the creek, where there was but the merest apology for a bridge.  Paine was in imminent danger of capture.  The rebels were preparing to charge, and could they gain a certain eminence lying between the two forces, with their artillery, they would command the bridge and render passage impossible.  To prevent the rebels from gaining this coveted eminence the 2d Cavalry was ordered to form for a charge.  Drawing their sabers, the men instantly took position, and were soon sweeping over the hill in a mad but resistless charge.  Protected somewhat, by the cloud of dust which the horses raised, the regiment dashed right on the rebel artillery, and actually drove the gunners from their pieces.  But a large army of infantry was in support, and the regiment was repulsed.  Paine, however, had time to effect a crossing of the creek, and when the 2d regiment regained its position the battle was ended.

It saved the day.  The charge only occupied a few minutes' time, but in that short period, fifty of the regiment had been killed and wounded, and as many more unhorsed by the tire of the enemy.  It was a charge of the utmost audacity, the like of which was never made, except by troops of the most daring courage.  Capt. Henry Egbert, Capt. William Lundy, and Lieut. Benjamin Owen were wounded, the last named being also captured.  “The conduct of men and officers,” says the lieutenant colonel commanding, “was in every respect commendatory;” and he specially mentions Majors Coon and Hepburn; Captains Crocker, McConnell, Kendrick, Eaton, Egbert, Lundy, Bishop, Graves, and Freeman; and Lieutenants Moore, Reily (who carried two of the enemy's guns), Foster, Bilden, Owen, Horton, Queal (who daringly cheered his men to the very muzzles of the rebel cannon), Schmitzer, Metcalf and Eystra, as having exhibited gallant and meritorious conduct.

The regiment made good its retreat to camp, but did not have many days of rest before it was again ordered to move.  On the 13th, a part of the command had a skirmish near Farmington, but met with no loss.  Meanwhile the army steadily but slowly approached Corinth, and by the 20th, was strongly entrenched behind works which, at an average distance of about four miles from the town, extended from the Mobile & Ohio Railroad on the north, round to the Memphis & Charleston Railroad on the east.  Now there was much for the army to do.  Siege guns were to be brought up, batteries were to be completed, and a thousand other things done before a bombardment could be fully commenced.

On the 26th, Lieut.-Col. Hatch made a reconnoissance to the south of the main lines, performing a very laborious night's march, now over hills and now through swamps, to the vicinity of Jacinto, returning on the following day with valuable information.

By this time Halleck was about ready to fight, or if he was not his army was.  The enemy's communications on the east were destroyed, another movement of our forces on the right would destroy them on the west, and the destruction of the railroad, south, would leave Beauregard completely isolated at Corinth, before a mighty army impatient for battle and confident of victory.  Col. Elliott, commanding the Second Brigade, Cavalry division, which Brigade consisted of the 2d Iowa and the 2d Michigan, was selected to perform this difficult and dangerous service.  He was ordered to march to Booneville, and destroy the railway there and a large quantity of supplies known to be stored at that place.  He left camp at midnight of the 28th.  The result of the exploit is thus summed up by Gen. Pope in a dispatch to Gen. Halleck:

“It gives me pleasure to report the brilliant success of the expedition sent out on the 28th inst,, under Col. Elliott, with the 2d Iowa Cavalry.  After forced marches, day and night, through a very difficult country and obstructed by the enemy, he finally succeeded in reaching the Mobile & Ohio Railroad at Booneville, at 2 o'clock, a. m., on the 30th.  He destroyed the track in many places south and north of the town, blew up one culvert, destroyed the switch, and burned the depot and locomotive and train of twenty-six cars loaded with supplies of all kinds.  He destroyed 10,000 stand of small arms, three pieces of artillery and a great quantity of clothing and ammunition, and paroled 2,000 prisoners which he could not keep with his cavalry.  The enemy had heard of his movements, and had a train of box cars, with flying artillery and 5,000 infantry running up and down the road to prevent him from reaching it.  The whole road was lined with pickets.  Col. Elliott's command subsisted on meat alone, such as they could find in the country.  For daring and dispatch, this expedition has been distinguished in the highest degree, and entitles Col. Elliott and his command to high distinction.  The result will be embarrassing to the enemy, and contribute greatly to their loss and demoralization.”

After due allowance for Gen. Pope's imaginative turn of mind, it is true that this raid was a brilliant exploit.  Lieut.-Col. Hatch reports substantially the facts of Pope's dispatch, and they are therefore true.

The rebel general, Beauregard, smarting under the lashes of southern public opinion, which were laid on him mercilessly for his evacuation of Corinth, published a letter in the Mobile News, denying the statements, making light of Col. Elliott's achievement, and actually charging him with burning alive four sick rebel soldiers, who were in the depot!  But Brig. Gen. Granger flatly contradicts Beauregard, and fully corroborates Pope.  The sick were all removed, and the captures made as stated.  The loss of the 2d Iowa on the expedition was two men killed, the same number wounded, and a few captured, the whole being less than half a score.  For his success in this affair Col. Elliott was soon afterwards promoted a brigadier-general.  He was succeeded in the colonelcy by Lieut.-Col. Hatch, who was succeeded by Major Hepburn. Capt. Frank A. Kendrick, of company E, was promoted major.  But these promotions were not made till about one month after the affair at Booneville, or the commissions received till some time [sic] after that.

Meantime the regiment performed much active service.  Company E, being a part of Gen. Pope's body-guard, was about the first troop to enter Corinth after its evacuation.  The regiment was soon in camp near by [sic], but did not remain inactive.  After the evacuation of Corinth, the cavalry was posted south of that place, in the vicinity of Booneville, as a cover for the Union army.  During the first half of June, it was constantly engaged in scouts, reconnoissances [sic] and skirmishes.  The 2d Iowa was then relieved from duty at the front, and moved to camp near Farmington, where for a fortnight the command enjoyed rest and blackberries.  It had been almost constantly engaged in active operations in the field for four months.  “We had saddled up,” says Sergeant Pierce, “nearly every morning at 3 o'clock, and much of the time we had slept at night in line of battle, each man holding his horse by the bridle.  Hardly a day during this time had passed without more or less skirmishing by the regiment with the rebels.”

But rest and blackberries were not long enjoyed.  In the latter part of June the bugle again called the command to the saddle, and on the 1st of July it was fighting the battle of Booneville.  This brilliant Union victory, gained by Col. Sheridan, in command of a brigade consisting of the 2d Iowa and 2d Michigan regiments of cavalry, is described by L. D. Ingersoll, in his “History of Iowa in the Rebellion,” in the following language:  "Col. Sheridan in the latter part of June moved to Booneville with his command, for the purpose of covering the main army, twenty miles in rear, and of observing the rebels who were near by [sic] and bent on mischief.  On the 1st of July he was attacked by a rebel force of nine regiments, numbering nearly 5,000 men, under the command of Chalmers.  After skirmishing for some time, Sheridan fell back toward his camp, advantageously situated on the edge of a swamp, where he could not readily be flanked.  Here the 2d Michigan dismounted, and acting as riflemen on the center, the 2d Iowa on the wings harassing and galling the enemy's flanks, he held the rebels at bay for some time.  Finding that they were likely to surround him, Sheridan had recourse to to [sic] that ready strategy and fine audacity which has since placed him among the first captains of modern history.  He sent a detachment of the 2d Cavalry, numbering less than 100 men, around to the rear of the enemy by a detour of several miles, with orders to attack promptly and vigorously at a certain time, while he would make a similtaneous [sic] charge in front.  The plan succeeded admirably.  The detachment gained the enemy's rear, without having been seen till the men were near enough to fire their carbines, and, having emptied these, they dashed with drawn sabres upon the enemy, who, supposing them to be the advance guard of a large force, were thrown into disorder.  Before they had time to recover from their confusion and dismay, Sheridan charged them in front with such fury that they fled from the field in utter rout, leaving many dead and wounded in our hands.  They retreated twenty miles, throwing away arms, knapsacks, coats, and everything which could impede their flight before our pursuing riders.  This brilliant affair made Phil Sheridan a brigadier-general.  He had whipped, and badly whipped, nearly 5,000 men with only about 800, for this was the strength of his command at this time.

“Col. Hatch, for he had been commissioned colonel two days before the fight, here fought splendidly.  It would have been quite impossible for Sheridan to have won the battle without the most hearty and skillful co-operation on the part of Hatch and his command.  The regiment never behaved better.  Col. Hatch speaks in high terms of the conduct of the regiment, and makes special mention of the gallantry of Captains Gilbert and Queal.  The loss of the regiment, considering the character of the engagement, was remarkably small, being only twenty-two killed, wounded and missing.”

After the pursuit of the enemy, the regiment returned to Booneville, and there remained a few days, when it moved to Rienzi, about half way between Booneville and Corinth, arriving on the 9th of July.  Here the regiment camped for nearly two months, during the most of which period it was inactive.  In the latter part of the month Col. Hatch made a reconnoissance [sic] to Ripley, but finding no enemy, returned after marching sixty-five miles.  About one month later the quiet of the camp was suddenly broken by an attack on the part of the rebel Faulkner, with some 2,500 troopers.  The attack was so suddenly made that it came near being a surprise.  Col. Hatch was sitting on court-martial at Rienzi.  Adjourning the court he hastened to the camp, and soon was in pursuit of Faulkner, who was driven off quite as rapidly as he had come up.  Hatch pursued him on the gallop for many miles, overtaking him two or three times, and inflicting much damage, and at last putting him in utter rout, with a loss of a number of prisoners and a large quantity of arms and ammunition.  In the affair the 2d Iowa lost six men wounded and four horses killed.  Four men were also lost from fatigue and heat.

On the 5th of September, the cavalry at Rienzi broke camp and marched southward with the object of observing Price, who was reported moving northward with a heavy column of rebels.  That wily general, however, made good his march to Iuka, having passed by Booneville on the east before the cavalry reached that place.  It returned to Rienzi.  On the day of the battle of Iuka, the cavalry marched far to the right of Gen. Rosecrans' principal column, and at Payton's Mills had a brisk skirmish with Faulkner's troopers, routing them in a few minutes, a number of killed, wounded and prisoners falling into their hands.  Though the 2d Iowa Cavalry this day marched forty-five miles, had a skirmish with the enemy, and captured and destroyed a rebel camp, with much property, upon returning to the field of Iuka, it was ordered to stand to horse all night.  On the 20th it moved to Iuka, and entered that place just as Price's rear guard was leaving.  Hatch took the advance in the pursuit, and compelled the rebels to abandon a part of their train.  But he was ordered to Jacinto in the evening.

With the cavalry, the campaign of Corinth immediately followed the battle of Iuka.  Col. Hatch, now commanding a brigade of troopers, of which the 2d Iowa was a part, was constantly engaged in scouting, reconnoitering, gaining information as to the movements and strength of the enemy.  Gen. Rosecrans called Hatch's cavalry “the eye of the army.”  His troopers were constantly in the saddle, by night as well as by day, so that a crow could scarcely fly over the field of their observations without their knowledge.  They performed services which did much to enable Gen. Rosecrans to win the remarkable victory of Corinth early in October.  The regiment joined in the pursuit which followed the battle, going as far as Ripley, and returning to Corinth the 13th.

The 2d Cavalry was next ordered to join Gen. Grant in the central Mississippi campaign, and moving from Corinth on the 2d of November, arrived at Grand Junction on the 4th.  Here it remained until the 12th.  From this time until the 28th of December, it was almost all the while on the move, Major Coon in command, Col. Hatch in command of the brigade.  An imperfect outline of its history during this period of activity maybe laid down thus:  The 12th moved in reconnoissance [sic] on Holly Springs, skirmishing nearly all day.  Capt. Horton adroitly “gobbling” a rebel patrol in the evening, entered Holly Springs next morning driving the rebels out of town, while Lieut. Foster, this day in command of a company, absolutely whipped a whole regiment.  The 19th, Hatch marched on Ripley, some thirty-five miles southeast of Grand Junction, dashed into town on the morning of the 20th, dispersed a large force of rebels under Faulkner, capturing many prisoners, horses and mules; on the 28th, the cavalry marched southward from the Junction, forming the advance of the main army which started on the move this day; the next day, the troopers drove the enemy from Holly Springs again, and compelled them to seek cover behind their strong works on the Tallahatchie; Grant having flanked them from their works.  Hatch crossed the river on the 2d of December, and joined Col. Lee, commanding cavalry division, at Oxford, skirmishing much on the way, and capturing on this day more than 100 prisoners.  Col. Dickey, 4th Illinois Cavalry, having assumed the command of the division, the battle of Coffeeville was fought on the 5th, wherein the Unionists sustained a severe defeat, and were saved from utter route by Col. Hatch, who, as well as Col. Lee, had demurred to the advance which brought our troopers so near destruction at the hands of a vastly superior force.  The regiment here lost twenty-two killed and wounded, and was filled with chagrin at this unnecessary defeat, the more so, because, before Col Dickey took command, the cavalry had advanced sixty miles without disaster, and had sent 1,500 prisoners to the rear; the command retired to the Yocana river; on the 14th, marched on a raid to the southeast, going to Tupelo and Okalona [sic], and destroying large quantites [sic] of forage and commissary stores; returning by Pontotoc, Col. Hatch there learned that Van Dorn was moving against Holly Springs, and advised that he be harassed and delayed by the troopers, but Col. Dickey not seeing the importance of the advice disregarded it, whereby Van Dorn accomplished the defeat of the whole expedition; Hatch was again in motion on the 21st, but now forming the rear-guard of the army, retiring northward, and destroying the railway to a complete wreck between Coffeeville and the Tallahatchie; on Christmas day the brigade saddled up for a rapid march eastward with the object of intercepting Van Dorn at Okalona [sic]; in this, notwithstanding the swiftness of his march, Col. Hatch failed, and on the 28th returned to camp, when the campaign closed.  The regiment marched to La Grange, Tenn., and went into winter quarters.

The campaigns of the year 1863 were everywhere memorable, and were, in fact, decisive of the contest in favor of the Union arms.  The capture of Vicksburg, the defeat of Lee at Gettysburg, the great victory at Chattanooga, placed the military power of the insurgents in a waning condition, and made their defeat a mere question of time.  These, the three great events of the year, were accompanied by innumerable lesser achievements, which, combined with the others, made patent the fact that the armies of Union volunteers were the most accomplished troops, the most efficient soldiers, the world had ever seen.  Perhaps the Vicksburg campaign was better illustrative of this than any other, and not only because of the bravery, endurance and all soldierly qualities of the troops directly engaged, but of those also who took part in the campaign, indirectly and at a distance, many of whom, indeed, took part therein so indirectly and at a distance, that careless thinkers might not have thought of any connection at all between the auxiliaries and the principal command.

The troops whose cantonments were along our frontier lines in Tennessee and Mississippi, gained by the campaigns of 1862—Henry, Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, in May, and Corinth in October—were Gen. Grant's auxiliaries [sic], and many of these commands, though they never saw Vicksburg, had a good right to inscribe that victory on their banners.  Among the most active of these was the 2d Iowa Cavalry, whose services during the first part of the era under consideration, especially, were not only brilliant, but of great value to the Union arms.

Leaving winter quarters at La Grange the 10th of March, 1863, Col. Hatch, for about one mouth, was actively engaged in operations over a considerable portion of northern Mississippi—preventing the concentration of rebel forces, capturing and destroying property, and in many cases inflicting damage on the insurgents —marching several hundred miles altogether, and performing several exploits of great skill and daring.  These operations over, Col. Hatch, commanding brigade, made preparations for that movement known as

THE GRIERSON RAID.

The orders for this expedition were made known in camp on the afternoon of April 16.  The column, consisting of the 2d Iowa, the 6th Illinois, the 7th Illinois, with five pieces of light artillery, two pounders, was to move early the next morning, with the object of cutting the railroad and telegraph communications with the rebel army at Vicksburg, in the rear of that city, of inflicting damage generally upon the enemy's resources in central Mississippi, having done which, it was to make way by the best route it could find into the Union lines in the Department of the Gulf.  On the night of the 16th, Col. B. H. Grierson, 6th Illinois, arrived at La Grange and assumed command of the expedition, by virtue of seniority of rank.

On the next morning the column started on this wild march, and bivouacked for the night near Ripley.  Here Col. Hatch separated from the principal command, moving at some distance to the left, skirmishing all day of the 18th with Smith's regiment of partisans.  He rejoined the column a few miles south of Pontotoc, and led the advance thence, avoiding Houston, to Clear Spring, about thirteen miles southeast of Houston.  Col. Hatch now had under his command only about 500 men, Major Love having returned to La Grange with a considerable detachment, including, I believe, troopers from all the regiments in the column.  At Clear Spring, Col. Hatch again left the column with his regiment, and took no further direct part in the raid.  Col. Grierson moved on, and, after destroying many miles of railway and telegraph, immense quantities of property, making a successful diversion in favor of Gen. Grant, marching through sunshine and storm, surmounting almost insurmountable difficulties, reached Baton Rouge on the 2d of May.  “This expedition,” says Gen. Grant himself, “was skillfully conducted, and reflects great credit on Col. Grierson and all of his command.  It has been one of the most brilliant cavalry exploits of the war, and will be handed down in history as an example to be imitated.”  Col. Grierson's name at once became the synonym for energy and pluck, and he was most justly promoted for his gallant achievement.

But it is probably true that Col. Hatch insured the success of the expedition, in like manner as Sherman, on a grander scale, insured the success of our arms on Missionary Ridge, himself bearing the heavy brunt of battle and appearing to be defeated, whilst other corps and other generals pressed on to the glorious victory which his immolation was placing within their power.  On the morning of the 21st Col. Grierson pushed on directly southward from Clear Spring, leaving orders with Col. Hatch to proceed to the railroad at West Point, destroy the railroad bridge over the Oka Tibbyhah south of that, place thence move rapidly southward to Macon, and, having there destroyed the railroad and government stores, return northward to La Grange by such route as might be found practicable.  Inasmuch, however, as Col. Hatch was in the first place to attract the attention of the enemy to himself, and to conceal by a stratagem the march of Grierson—which he did so successfully as to give the principal column nearly two days' start of the forces which had concentrated against it—it was very soon discovered that Hatch would have all that it was within the power of man to do to accomplish a retreat for his own command.

Spending some time in obliterating Col. Grierson's trail, Hatch marched in the direction of West Point, but had proceeded only about ten miles, when, at the village of Palo Alto, he was attacked in rear and on both flanks by a force consisting of Smith's regiment of partisan rangers, Bartoe's regiment and Inge's battalion, all under Gen. Gholson, whilst between him and West Point was an Alabama regiment with several pieces of artillery.  Willing to continue the deceit upon the enemy, who supposed they were attacking Griersons's [sic] main column, Hatch made a most gallant fight, using his little two-pounder, his revolving rifles and his carbines to the best advantage, driving the enemy some three miles, capturing arms and horses, and retaking a company which had been cut off on the first attack.  Yet he kept his men so well concealed behind hedges and fences that he suffered no loss, whilst the rebels acknowledged that twenty-five of their number had been killed and wounded.

Correctly judging that the time consumed in the skirmish at Palo Alto had given the rebels opportunity to guard the railroad at and below West Point, Hatch moved on northward.  He was in the face of an enemy who largely outnumbered him, who was entirely familiar with the country, and who had a friend in every citizen.  Nevertheless, Hatch continued his retreat to LaGrange, where he arrived in safety, and without mentionable hiss, on the 26th.  He had attacked Okalona [sic], driving before him the enemy's cavalry and State militia, burning barracks for 5,000 men, and destroying stores and ammunition; he had repulsed Chalmers with loss, near Birmingham and Molino; he had marched by by-ways, and bridle-paths, and through swamps and fields where there were no roads at all; he had crossed one stream in the entirely unique manner of throwing the horses bodily over the bank into the river, driving them in the right direction with long poles, and catching them as they emerged on the other side, the men themselves crossing on a “foot-log,” and carrying their saddles on their backs; he had, besides the damage inflicted on the enemy already noted, captured fifty rebels, and killed and wounded not less than twice as many more, and taken nearly 250 horses and mules, so that when he marched into camp at LaGrange his troops were, upon the whole, better mounted than when they had left there ten days before.

Immediately after his return to La Grange, Col. Hatch took command of a brigade just formed, consisting of his own regiment, the 6th Iowa Infantry, mounted, a regiment of west Tennessee cavalry, and four pieces of artillery.  The command soon moved on a raid southward, going as far as Okalona [sic], and returning the 5th of May, with 300 captured horses and mules, more than a score of prisoners, and a number of negroes.  In a few days it marched in a southwesterly direction to Senatobia, some eighty miles from La Grange, and having captured many horses and mules, returned after an absence of five or six days.  On the countermarch, Hatch was attacked at Wall Hill by Chalmers, but our gallant riders and the little guns soon sent them scampering to the right about.  It is stated that in consideration of his warlike genius, the fair ladies of Senatobia presented him a crinoline petticoat and a corn-cob pipe.

The encampment of the regiment remained at LaGrange till near the last of August, where the labors and tastes of the men made comfortable and agreeable quarters, so that the summer in this healthful and pleasant locality passed happily by.  But not without much activity and adventure away from the encampment.  The principal events of the summer were:  1. A raid to Panola, nearly 100 miles southwest of LaGrange, which resulted in the capture of much property and the laying waste of a wide extent of country in retaliation for guerrilla attacks on steamboats navigating the Mississippi.  2. The march against Forrest, who had entered Tennessee, and the skirmish of Jackson, on the 13th of July, in which the rebels were driven from the town and severely punished, the 2d Iowa losing Lieutenants John K. Humphreys and Frank L Stoddard, wounded, and two men missing.  In this engagement the Union loss was fourteen, that of the rebels more than 175. 3.  The raid on Grenada.  On this expedition Major Coon commanded detachments from the 2d Iowa, 3d Michigan and 11th Illinois, numbering 500 well mounted men.  The raid was most successful, Major Coon, after reaching Grenada through great difficulties from the enemy and from storms, destroying two depots, sixty locomotives, 500 cars of all kinds, machine shops, two large flouring mills, and a large number of army wagons, and returning in safety on the 23d of August, after an absence of eleven days, and an achievement worthy of all admiration.

A few days afterwards the regiment moved to Memphis, and remained there in quiet till the 1st of November.  The regiment, Lieut.-Col. Hepburn commanding, then marched to Colliersville [sic], to the relief of the garrison, threatened by Chalmers with a heavy body of troopers, and came up just in time to have a fight, in which the rebels were most decidedly whipped, losing forty-one slain on the spot, about 200 wounded, and fifty prisoners, among the latter being eight commissioned officers, including one brigadier general.  The battle was followed by a galloping pursuit of the enemy for not less than ten miles, nor did the chase surcease till the rebels had placed themselves beyond the Tallahatchie.  The regiment, returning by LaGrange, went into camp at Colliersville [sic] on the 14th, where it spent a quiet fortnight.

On the 28th, Col. Hatch, commanding a brigade consisting of his own regiment, the 6th and 9th Illinois, and eight pieces of artillery, moved northward for the purpose of luring the rebel general, S. D. Lee, then at Oxford with a considerable force, into a movement in the same direction.  He succeeded.  On December 1, Hatch marched rapidly from the vicinity of Covington, some forty-five miles north of the railroad, for Pocahontas, whither Lee was reported as marching.  Pocahontas is twenty miles westward of Corinth.  Hatch reached Middletown, some miles west of Pocahontas, on the 2d, and learned that Lee was threatening Salisbury, still further west.  There was skirmishing on the 3d, with slight loss on either side.  On the next day, Lee, making a feint attack on LaGrange, delivered real attack against Moscow, ten miles further west, and which was garrisoned by Col. Kendrick, formerly of the 2d Iowa, with a few hundred black soldiers.  Col. Hatch was not deceived by the feint.  He moved swiftly to Moscow, and there fought a considerable battle, which resulted in a decided Union triumph.  Sixty slain rebels were left on the field, and the enemy lost heavily in wounded and prisoners.  Hatch lost eleven killed, thirty wounded, and forty missing.  He was himself dangerously wounded, being shot through the lung with a Minnie [sic] ball.  He kept the field, however, passing from place to place in an ambulance, till the rebels had retreated.  Forrest, meanwhile, moved into Tennessee, with some 3,000 men.  A large force both of infantry and cavalry was sent into the field to oppose him, but it met with ill success.  Forrest got away with a large number of conscripts.  Major Coon, commanding brigade (Capt. Graves being in command of the regiment) made an energetic pursuit, but was ordered to countermarch about the time he came up with the enemy.  This closed the operations of the regiment for the year.  Indeed, the regiment reached the encampment at Colliersville {sic] on the last day thereof.

The 2d of January, 1864, it broke camp there, and on the 4th, pitched tents at Memphis, where it remained about one month, receiving during this period of repose a large number of recruits.  On the 5th of February the regiment moved to Germantown, and there joined the column under Gen. W. Sooy Smith, which marched into Mississippi with the object of aiding and at the proper time joining Gen. Sherman, who was already sweeping like a whirlwind toward Meridian.  Gen. Smith failed.  The history of his failure is well known.  On the retreat from West Point, there was much fighting and in all of it the 2d Iowa bore conspicuous part, at one time fighting and retreating for sixty consecutive hours, and saving the whole column by its bravery and its endurance.  At the battle near West Point, Lieut. Dwire, of company F, was killed, and several men were wounded, and the losses of the regiment in the subsequent engagements were heavy.  On this expedition Lieut.-Col. Hepburn was in command of the brigade, Major Coon having command of the regiment.  It readied camp at Germantown on the 26th.

Thence it moved to Memphis, and a sufficient number having re-enlisted to make the regiment a veteran organization, the 2d Iowa Cavalry, Veteran Volunteers, were there mustered into the service in that capacity on the 28th of March.  At this time the regiment numbered 1,088, of whom 360 were veterans.  There were many recruits, so that there was a large command with a long terra of service ahead.  The 7th of April, the veterans started home on furlough.  As they reached Muscatine, the morning of the 14th, they were greeted, at the home of their old colonel, now Gen. Hatch, with salvos of artillery, and were treated, upon landing, to a repast such as the fair ladies of that hospitable city are noted for preparing.  They were met elsewhere with the heartiest cordiality.

The 15th of the following month the veterans reassembled at Davenport.  Major Coon had been promoted to the colonelcy, whilst the late Captains C. C. Horton, Gustavus Schmitzer and Charles P. Moore, now appeared as majors.  They reached Memphis on the 29th, having halted some days at St. Louis, where they were remounted, and halting some time at the former place were armed with Spencer's seven-shooting carbines.

In the summer of 1864, it took part in Gen. A. J. Smith's campaign into central Mississippi, participating, but with slight loss, in the battle of Tupelo.  It also joined the column which moved as far as Oxford in the same direction, when it was recalled by reason of Forest's raid on Memphis.  On this latter march, Gen. Hatch commanded the division of cavalry, Col. Coon a brigade, Major Horton the regimen, as in the former expedition was the case as to the last two, and in both the 2d Iowa maintained its reputation for bravery and activity, whilst the superiority of its arms rendered it the most dangerous foe which the enemy could meet.  Returning from the Oxford raid our regiment reached White's station, a few miles south of Memphis, the 5th of September, and there going into camp formed an outpost which it garrisoned during the remainder of the month.

The regiment then moved by forced marches into middle Tennessee, where Forrest was doing much damage to country and the smaller garrisons along our lines of occupation.  Rousseau defeated him, before Hatch, by the utmost celerity of movement, could reach him, and the latter remained in the vicinity of Clifton till the close of October.  Then, under orders to join Gen. Sherman in Georgia, he moved to Pulaski, arriving November 1, where the orders were countermanded, and he was required to give his assistance to Gen. Thomas in repelling the invasion now threatened by Hood.

Now it was from this time forth until Hood's grand army was driven in rout and ruin pell-mell from Tennessee, that Gen. Hatch and his whole command of troopers, being the 5th Cavalry Division, gained their brightest and their greatest renown.  There were other regiments of horse from Iowa which during this period of constant vigilance, of almost daily skirmishing, of great, decisive battles, won proud celebrity, as there were also Iowa regiments of foot.  So there were regiments from other States which on the same wide field of operations performed their whole duty as manfully, as soldierly as any troops that ever marched or fought, but among them all the 2d Iowa Cavalry was not surpassed.

Early in November, Hood had a corps at Florence, Ala., on the northern bank of the Tennessee, and here he gathered one of the best Confederate armies which ever fought against the Union.  About ten miles east of Florence a stream called Shoal creek flows from the north into the Tennessee.  Along this stream, Hatch, with his division of cavalry, observed the enemy, again becoming the “eye of the army,” the main part of which was far in the rear.  He remained here for fifteen days, during which he made many reconnoissances, [sic] and had several heavy skirmishes with the enemy, Col. Coon's brigade almost always taking leading part therein, and the 2d Iowa doing a large share of the marching and fighting.  Major Moore at one time, Major Schmitzer at another, and Major Horton at another, with the battalions, were conspicuous.  During this period of activity it was almost constantly raining, and the troops were without tents.  Moreover, the men had to get their own subsistence and forage for their horses from the surrounding country.  On the 20th, Hood advanced northward, Hatch disputing his advance, but falling slowly back before the overwhelming numbers.  There was a fight at Lawrenceburg on the 22d, another at Campbellville [sic] on the 24th, and there was scarcely an hour in which there was not a skirmish.  At midnight of the 24th, the command reached Columbia and for the first time within a month passed within lines of infantry.  By this time the horses of the 2d were nearly all worn out.  But the men were remounted on steeds pressed into the service from the surrounding country.  On the 29th, the Union forces retreated to Franklin, Col. Coon, during most of the day, forming with his brigade the rear guard of the army, his troopers moving in column of squadrons.  In the battle of Franklin which followed, Col. Coon did effective service on our left.

On the 2d of December our regiment reached Nashville, and moving across the the river to Edgefield, there found tents and knapsacks which the men had not seen since leaving White's Station, the last of September.  Here ten days, much of which time was intensely cold, were spent in camp.  On account of the want of wood, there was much suffering.  The 12th the command recrossed the Cumberland, and in the battle of Nashville, fought the 15th and 16th.  Gen. Hatch's division took a most brilliant part, here practically serving as infantry.  The 2d was in the severest of the fight.  It joined, mounted, in the pursuit, and, fighting a considerable battle at Little Harpeth Creek on the 17th, at Rutherford Creek on the 18th, and again near Pulaski on Christmas day, followed the defeated rebels to near Huntsville, Ala., when, wheeling to the right, the command marched to Eastport, Miss., arriving Jan. 11, 1865, and went into winter quarters.

In the battle of Nashville and in the pursuit of Hood, Col. Coon's brigade had done as gallant, meritorious service as any command in the grand army which gained this great victory.  It had captured 1,186 prisoners, among whom were one general, two field and eight line officers, fifteen pieces of artillery, more than 1,300 small arms, about thirty wagons and ambulances, one stand of division colors, and three stands of brigade colors.  In the campaign the 2d Iowa Cavalry had suffered a loss of sixty-one, of whom fourteen were slain outright on the field of battle.

The regiment moved from Eastport to Gravelly Springs, where it spent a fortnight, and then returned to winter quarters, whence, the 19th of February, Major Schmitzer moved to Tuscumbia with a detachment, and thence to Russellville, returning not long afterwards, having made a successful reconnoissance [sic].  With this expedition, the history of the 2d Iowa Cavalry, so far as operations against the enemies of the country were concerned, was brought to a close.  It was disarmed in March, 1865.

Afterwards, during the spring and summer it remained in detachments at different points in northern Alabama, and northern Mississippi, being again armed with new Spencer carbines, mounted on mules and horses, and engaged in performing the dry duty of preserving order over a considerable extent of country.  And in the performance of duties of this kind, valuable to the country, but without incidents of noteworthy interest, the command finished its career.  It was mustered out of service in the autumn, and proceeding to Davenport, Iowa, was there disbanded in the month of October, and thus closed the record of as gallant a body of troopers as ever mounted steed or drew sabre in any age or in any country.

HONORED DEAD.

The names of those who were killed or died in the service are here given.  The list is not long, but these brave men who laid down their lives in the defense of the Union are none the less to be honored.  They offered as a sacrifice on the altar of their country's preservation, their best gifts—their life's blood.  They were willing to fight and bleed, aye, to die, if necessary, to preserve the Union.  Their graves are scattered all over the south, and although all signs of the once new made mound have been obliterated; though the slab that once marked their last resting place may have crumbled and mingled with earth, yet their names will remain green in the hearts of the people, and their brave deeds will be stamped indelibly on historic page.  Language falls far short of the need of praise due these brave lads, who suffered and died that the Union might be perpetuated.  May their suffering, their death and their rude burial upon the hot and dusty battle-fields of the south, all tend to strengthen the land for which they died, and make patriotism's watchword, “‘Tis sweet and honorable to die for one's country.”

B. F. Denslow died in Libby prison, of starvation.

David Stancliff fell in the seven days fight before Richmond, in July, 1862.  He received seven bullets in his body and died within a few hours.

Milton P. Goodell was wounded and captured in the battle of Pleasant Hill, La., April 9, 1864, and died just one month later.

William Lackore, Jr., died shortly after his discharge from service, from the effects of being struck on the chest by a fragment of shell.

Samuel Tennis, Jr., died June 9, 1864, while in the service, of brain fever brought on by exposure.

1History of Kossuth, Hancock and Winnebago Counties, Iowa. Springfield, Illinois: Union Publishing Company, 1884. 836-52.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

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