Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman


By William T. Sherman




Nearly ten years have passed since the close of the civil war in
America, and yet no satisfactory history thereof is accessible to
the public; nor should any be attempted until the Government has
published, and placed within the reach of students, the abundant
materials that are buried in the War Department at Washington.
These are in process of compilation; but, at the rate of progress
for the past ten years, it is probable that a new century will come
before they are published and circulated, with full indexes to
enable the historian to make a judicious selection of materials.

What is now offered is not designed as a history of the war, or
even as a complete account of all the incidents in which the writer
bore a part, but merely his recollection of events, corrected by a
reference to his own memoranda, which may assist the future
historian when he comes to describe the whole, and account for the
motives and reasons which influenced some of the actors in the
grand drama of war.

I trust a perusal of these pages will prove interesting to the
survivors, who have manifested so often their intense love of the
“cause” which moved a nation to vindicate its own authority; and,
equally so, to the rising generation, who therefrom may learn that
a country and government such as ours are worth fighting for, and
dying for, if need be.

If successful in this, I shall feel amply repaid for departing from
the usage of military men, who seldom attempt to publish their own
deeds, but rest content with simply contributing by their acts to
the honor and glory of their country.


St. Louis, Missouri, January 21, 1875.


Another ten years have passed since I ventured to publish my
Memoirs, and, being once more at leisure, I have revised them in
the light of the many criticisms public and private.

My habit has been to note in pencil the suggestions of critics, and
to examine the substance of their differences; for critics must
differ from the author, to manifest their superiority.

Where I have found material error I have corrected; and I have
added two chapters, one at the beginning, another at the end, both
of the most general character, and an appendix.

I wish my friends and enemies to understand that I disclaim the
character of historian, but assume to be a witness on the stand
before the great tribunal of history, to assist some future Napier,
Alison, or Hume to comprehend the feelings and thoughts of the
actors in the grand conflicts of the recent past, and thereby to
lessen his labors in the compilation necessary for the future
benefit of mankind.

In this free country every man is at perfect liberty to publish his
own thoughts and impressions, and any witness who may differ from
me should publish his own version of facts in the truthful
narration of which he is interested. I am publishing my own
memoirs, not theirs, and we all know that no three honest witnesses
of a simple brawl can agree on all the details. How much more
likely will be the difference in a great battle covering a vast
space of broken ground, when each division, brigade, regiment, and
even company, naturally and honestly believes that it was the focus
of the whole affair! Each of them won the battle. None ever lost.
That was the fate of the old man who unhappily commanded.

In this edition I give the best maps which I believe have ever been
prepared, compiled by General O. M. Poe, from personal knowledge
and official surveys, and what I chiefly aim to establish is the
true cause of the results which are already known to the whole
world; and it may be a relief to many to know that I shall publish
no other, but, like the player at cards, will “stand;” not that I
have accomplished perfection, but because I can do no better with
the cards in hand. Of omissions there are plenty, but of wilful
perversion of facts, none.

In the preface to the first edition, in 1875, I used these words:
“Nearly ten years have passed since the close of the civil war in
America, and yet no satisfactory history thereof is accessible to
the public; nor should any be attempted until the Government has
published, and placed within the reach of students, the abundant
materials that are buried in the War Department at Washington.
These are in process of compilation; but, at the rate of progress
for the past ten years, it is probable that a new century will come
before they are published and circulated, with full indexes to
enable the historian to make a judicious selection of materials”

Another decade is past, and I am in possession of all these
publications, my last being Volume XI, Part 3, Series 1, the last
date in which is August 30, 1862. I am afraid that if I assume
again the character of prophet, I must extend the time deep into
the next century, and pray meanwhile that the official records of
the war, Union and Confederate, may approach completion before the
“next war,” or rather that we, as a people, may be spared another
war until the last one is officially recorded. Meantime the rising
generation must be content with memoirs and histories compiled from
the best sources available.

In this sense I offer mine as to the events of which I was an
eye-witness and participant, or for which I was responsible.

General (retired).

St. Louis, Missouri, March 30, 1885.





According to Cothren, in his “History of Ancient Woodbury,
Connecticut,” the Sherman family came from Dedham, Essex County,
England. The first recorded name is of Edmond Sherman, with his
three sons, Edmond, Samuel, and John, who were at Boston before
1636; and farther it is distinctly recorded that Hon. Samuel
Sherman, Rev. John, his brother, and Captain John, his first
cousin, arrived from Dedham, Essex County, England, in 1634.
Samuel afterward married Sarah Mitchell, who had come (in the same
ship) from England, and finally settled at Stratford, Connecticut.
The other two (Johns) located at Watertown, Massachusetts.

From Captain John Sherman are descended Roger Sherman, the signer
of the Declaration of Independence, Hon. William M. Evarts, the
Messrs. Hoar, of Massachusetts, and many others of national fame.
Our own family are descended from the Hon. Samuel Sherman and his
son; the Rev. John, who was born in 1650-’51; then another John,
born in 1687; then Judge Daniel, born in 1721; then Taylor Sherman,
our grandfather, who was born in 1758. Taylor Sherman was a lawyer
and judge in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he resided until his
death, May 4, 1815; leaving a widow, Betsey Stoddard Sherman, and
three children, Charles R. (our father), Daniel, and Betsey.

When the State of Connecticut, in 1786, ceded to the United States
her claim to the western part of her public domain, as defined by
her Royal Charter, she reserved a large district in what is now
northern Ohio, a portion of which (five hundred thousand acres)
composed the “Fire-Land District,” which was set apart to indemnify
the parties who had lost property in Connecticut by the raids of
Generals Arnold, Tryon, and others during the latter part of the
Revolutionary War.

Our grandfather, Judge Taylor Sherman, was one of the commissioners
appointed by the State of Connecticut to quiet the Indian title,
and to survey and subdivide this Fire-Land District, which includes
the present counties of Huron and Erie. In his capacity as
commissioner he made several trips to Ohio in the early part of
this century, and it is supposed that he then contracted the
disease which proved fatal. For his labor and losses he received a
title to two sections of land, which fact was probably the prime
cause of the migration of our family to the West. My father
received a good education, and was admitted to the bar at Norwalk,
Connecticut, where, in 1810, he, at twenty years of age, married
Mary Hoyt, also of Norwalk, and at once migrated to Ohio, leaving
his wife (my mother) for a time. His first purpose was to settle
at Zanesville, Ohio, but he finally chose Lancaster, Fairfield
County, where he at once engaged in the, practice of his
profession. In 1811 he returned to Norwalk, where, meantime, was
born Charles Taylor Sherman, the eldest of the family, who with his
mother was carried to Ohio on horseback.

Judge Taylor Sherman’s family remained in Norwalk till 1815, when
his death led to the emigration of the remainder of the family,
viz., of Uncle Daniel Sherman, who settled at Monroeville, Ohio, as
a farmer, where he lived and died quite recently, leaving children
and grandchildren; and an aunt, Betsey, who married Judge Parker,
of Mansfield, and died in 1851, leaving children and grandchildren;
also Grandmother Elizabeth Stoddard Sherman, who resided with her
daughter, Mrs: Betsey Parker, in Mansfield until her death, August

Thus my father, Charles R. Sherman, became finally established at
Lancaster, Ohio, as a lawyer, with his own family in the year 1811,
and continued there till the time of his death, in 1829. I have no
doubt that he was in the first instance attracted to Lancaster by
the natural beauty of its scenery, and the charms of its already
established society. He continued in the practice of his
profession, which in those days was no sinecure, for the ordinary
circuit was made on horseback, and embraced Marietta, Cincinnati,
and Detroit. Hardly was the family established there when the War
of 1812 caused great alarm and distress in all Ohio. The English
captured Detroit and the shores of Lake Erie down to the Maumee
River; while the Indians still occupied the greater part of the
State. Nearly every man had to be somewhat of a soldier, but I
think my father was only a commissary; still, he seems to have
caught a fancy for the great chief of the Shawnees, “Tecumseh.”

Perry’s victory on Lake Erie was the turning-point of the Western
campaign, and General Harrison’s victory over the British and
Indians at the river Thames in Canada ended the war in the West,
and restored peace and tranquillity to the exposed settlers of
Ohio. My father at once resumed his practice at the bar, and was
soon recognized as an able and successful lawyer. When, in 1816,
my brother James was born, he insisted on engrafting the Indian
name “Tecumseh” on the usual family list. My mother had already
named her first son after her own brother Charles; and insisted on
the second son taking the name of her other brother James, and when
I came along, on the 8th of February, 1820, mother having no more
brothers, my father succeeded in his original purpose, and named me
William Tecumseh.

The family rapidly increased till it embraced six boys and five
girls, all of whom attained maturity and married; of these six are
still living.

In the year 1821 a vacancy occurred in the Supreme Court of Ohio,
and I find this petition:

Somerset, Ohio, July 6, 1821.

May it please your Excellency:

We ask leave to recommend to your Excellency’s favorable notice
Charles R. Sherman, Esq., of Lancaster, as a man possessing in an
eminent degree those qualifications so much to be desired in a
Judge of the Supreme Court.

From a long acquaintance with Mr. Sherman, we are happy to be able
to state to your Excellency that our minds are led to the
conclusion that that gentleman possesses a disposition noble and
generous, a mind discriminating, comprehensive, and combining a
heart pure, benevolent and humane. Manners dignified, mild, and
complaisant, and a firmness not to be shaken and of unquestioned

But Mr. Sherman’s character cannot be unknown to your Excellency,
and on that acquaintance without further comment we might safely
rest his pretensions.

We think we hazard little in assuring your Excellency that his
appointment would give almost universal satisfaction to the
citizens of Perry County.

With great consideration, we have the honor to be

Your Excellency’s most obedient humble servants,

His Excellency ETHAN A. BROWN,
Governor of Ohio, Columbus.

He was soon after appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court, and
served in that capacity to the day of his death.

My memory extends back to about 1827, and I recall him, returning
home on horseback, when all the boys used to run and contend for
the privilege of riding his horse from the front door back to the
stable. On one occasion, I was the first, and being mounted rode
to the stable; but “Old Dick” was impatient because the stable-door
was not opened promptly, so he started for the barn of our neighbor
Mr. King; there, also, no one was in waiting to open the gate, and,
after a reasonable time, “Dick” started back for home somewhat in a
hurry, and threw me among a pile of stones, in front of preacher
Wright’s house, where I was picked up apparently a dead boy; but my
time was not yet, and I recovered, though the scars remain to this

The year 1829 was a sad one to our family. We were then ten
children, my eldest brother Charles absent at the State University,
Athens, Ohio; my next brother, James, in a store at Cincinnati; and
the rest were at home, at school. Father was away on the circuit.
One day Jane Sturgeon came to the school, called us out, and when
we reached home all was lamentation: news had come that father was
ill unto death, at Lebanon, a hundred miles away. Mother started
at once, by coach, but met the news of his death about Washington,
and returned home. He had ridden on horseback from Cincinnati to
Lebanon to hold court, during a hot day in June. On the next day
he took his seat on the bench, opened court in the forenoon, but in
the afternoon, after recess, was seized with a severe chill and had
to adjourn the court. The best medical aid was called in, and for
three days with apparent success, but the fever then assumed a more
dangerous type, and he gradually yielded to it, dying on the sixth
day, viz., June 24, 1829.

My brother James had been summoned from Cincinnati, and was present
at his bedside, as was also Henry Stoddard, Esq., of Dayton, Ohio,
our cousin. Mr. Stoddard once told me that the cause of my
father’s death was cholera; but at that time, 1829, there was no
Asiatic cholera in the United States, and the family, attributed
his death to exposure to the hot sun of June, and a consequent
fever, “typhoid.”

From the resolutions of the bench, bar, and public generally, now
in my possession, his death was universally deplored; more
especially by his neighbors in Lancaster, and by the Society of
Freemasons, of which he was the High-Priest of Arch Chapter No. 11.

His death left the family very poor, but friends rose up with
proffers of generous care and assistance; for all the neighbors
knew that mother could not maintain so large a family without help.
My eldest brother, Charles, had nearly completed his education at
the university at Athens, and concluded to go to his uncle, Judge
Parker, at Mansfield, Ohio, to study law. My, eldest sister,
Elizabeth, soon after married William J. Reese, Esq.; James was
already in a store at Cincinnati; and, with the exception of the
three youngest children, the rest of us were scattered. I fell to
the charge of the Hon. Thomas Ewing, who took me to his family, and
ever after treated me as his own son.

I continued at the Academy in Lancaster, which was the best in the
place; indeed, as good a school as any in Ohio. We studied all the
common branches of knowledge, including Latin, Greek, and French.
At first the school was kept by Mr. Parsons; he was succeeded by
Mr. Brown, and he by two brothers, Samuel and Mark How. These were
all excellent teachers, and we made good progress, first at the old
academy and afterward at a new school-house, built by Samuel How,
in the orchard of Hugh Boyle, Esq.

Time passed with us as with boys generally. Mr. Ewing was in the
United States Senate, and I was notified to prepare for West Point,
of which institution we had little knowledge, except that it was
very strict, and that the army was its natural consequence. In
1834 I was large for my age, and the construction of canals was the
rage in Ohio. A canal was projected to connect with the great Ohio
Canal at Carroll (eight miles above Lancaster), down the valley of
the Hock Hocking to Athens (forty-four miles), and thence to the
Ohio River by slack water.

Preacher Carpenter, of Lancaster, was appointed to make the
preliminary surveys, and selected the necessary working party out
of the boys of the town. From our school were chosen ____Wilson,
Emanuel Geisy, William King, and myself. Geisy and I were the
rod-men. We worked during that fall and next spring, marking two
experimental lines, and for our work we each received a silver
half-dollar for each day’s actual work, the first money any of us
had ever earned.

In June, 1835, one of our school-fellows, William Irvin, was
appointed a cadet to West Point, and, as it required sixteen years
of age for admission, I had to wait another year. During the
autumn of 1835 and spring of 1836 I devoted myself chiefly to
mathematics and French, which were known to be the chief requisites
for admission to West Point.

Some time in the spring of 1836 I received through Mr. Ewing, then
at Washington, from the Secretary of War, Mr. Poinsett, the letter
of appointment as a cadet, with a list of the articles of clothing
necessary to be taken along, all of which were liberally provided
by Mrs. Ewing; and with orders to report to Mr. Ewing, at
Washington, by a certain date, I left Lancaster about the 20th of
May in the stage-coach for Zanesville. There we transferred to the
coaches of the Great National Road, the highway of travel from the
West to the East. The stages generally travelled in gangs of from
one to six coaches, each drawn by four good horses, carrying nine
passengers inside and three or four outside.

In about three days, travelling day and night, we reached
Frederick, Maryland. There we were told that we could take
rail-cars to Baltimore, and thence to Washington; but there was
also a two-horse hack ready to start for Washington direct. Not
having full faith in the novel and dangerous railroad, I stuck to
the coach, and in the night reached Gadsby’s Hotel in Washington

The next morning I hunted up Mr. Ewing, and found him boarding with
a mess of Senators at Mrs. Hill’s, corner of Third and C Streets,
and transferred my trunk to the same place. I spent a week in
Washington, and think I saw more of the place in that time than I
ever have since in the many years of residence there. General
Jackson was President, and was at the zenith of his fame. I recall
looking at him a full hour, one morning, through the wood railing
on Pennsylvania Avenue, as he paced up and down the gravel walk on
the north front of the White House. He wore a cap and an overcoat
so full that his form seemed smaller than I had expected. I also
recall the appearance of Postmaster-General Amos Kendall, of
Vice-President Van Buren, Messrs. Calhoun, Webster, Clay, Cass,
Silas Wright, etc.

In due time I took my departure for West Point with Cadets Belt and
Bronaugh. These were appointed cadets as from Ohio, although
neither had ever seen that State. But in those days there were
fewer applicants from Ohio than now, and near the close of the term
the vacancies unasked for were usually filled from applicants on
the spot. Neither of these parties, however, graduated, so the
State of Ohio lost nothing. We went to Baltimore by rail, there
took a boat up to Havre de Grace, then the rail to Wilmington,
Delaware, and up the Delaware in a boat to Philadelphia. I staid
over in Philadelphia one day at the old Mansion House, to visit the
family of my brother-in-law, Mr. Reese. I found his father a fine
sample of the old merchant gentleman, in a good house in Arch
Street, with his accomplished daughters, who had been to Ohio, and
whom I had seen there. From Philadelphia we took boat to
Bordentown, rail to Amboy, and boat again to New York City,
stopping at the American Hotel. I staid a week in New York City,
visiting my uncle, Charles Hoyt, at his beautiful place on Brooklyn
Heights, and my uncle James, then living in White Street. My
friend William Scott was there, the young husband of my cousin,
Louise Hoyt; a neatly-dressed young fellow, who looked on me as an
untamed animal just caught in the far West–“fit food for
gunpowder,” and good for nothing else.

About June 12th I embarked in the steamer Cornelius Vanderbilt for
West Point; registered in the office of Lieutenant C. F. Smith,
Adjutant of the Military Academy, as a new cadet of the class of
1836, and at once became installed as the “plebe” of my
fellow-townsman, William Irvin, then entering his Third Class.

Colonel R. E. De Russy was Superintendent; Major John Fowle, Sixth
United States Infantry, Commandant. The principal Professors were:
Mahan, Engineering; Bartlett, Natural Philosophy; Bailey,
Chemistry; Church, Mathematics; Weir, Drawing; and Berard, French.

The routine of military training and of instruction was then fully
established, and has remained almost the same ever since. To give
a mere outline would swell this to an inconvenient size, and I
therefore merely state that I went through the regular course of
four years, graduating in June, 1840, number six in a class of
forty-three. These forty-three were all that remained of more than
one hundred which originally constituted the class. At the Academy
I was not considered a good soldier, for at no time was I selected
for any office, but remained a private throughout the whole four
years. Then, as now, neatness in dress and form, with a strict
conformity to the rules, were the qualifications required for
office, and I suppose I was found not to excel in any of these. In
studies I always held a respectable reputation with the professors,
and generally ranked among the best, especially in drawing,
chemistry, mathematics, and natural philosophy. My average
demerits, per annum, were about one hundred and fifty, which.
reduced my final class standing from number four to six.

In June, 1840, after the final examination, the class graduated and
we received our diplomas. Meantime, Major Delafield, United States
Engineers, had become Superintendent; Major C. F. Smith, Commandant
of Cadets; but the corps of professors and assistants remained
almost unchanged during our whole term. We were all granted the
usual furlough of three months, and parted for our homes, there to
await assignment to our respective corps and regiments. In due
season I was appointed and commissioned second-lieutenant, Third
Artillery, and ordered to report at Governor’s Island, New York
Harbor, at the end of September. I spent my furlough mostly at
Lancaster and Mansfield, Ohio; toward the close of September
returned to New York, reported to Major Justin Dimock, commanding
the recruiting rendezvous at Governor’s Island, and was assigned to
command a company of recruits preparing for service in Florida.
Early in October this company was detailed, as one of four, to
embark in a sailing-vessel for Savannah, Georgia, under command of
Captain and Brevet Major Penrose. We embarked and sailed, reaching
Savannah about the middle of October, where we transferred to a
small steamer and proceeded by the inland route to St. Augustine,
Florida. We reached St. Augus
at the same time with the Eighth
Infantry, commanded by Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General William
J. Worth. At that time General Zachary Taylor was in chief command
in Florida, and had his headquarters at Tampa Bay. My regiment,
the Third Artillery, occupied the posts along the Atlantic coast of
Florida, from St. Augustine south to Key Biscayne, and my own
company, A, was at Fort Pierce, Indian River. At St. Augustine I
was detached from the company of recruits, which was designed for
the Second Infantry, and was ordered to join my proper company at
Fort Pierce. Colonel William Gates commanded the regiment, with
Lieutenant William Austine Brown as adjutant of the regiment.
Lieutenant Bragg commanded the post of St. Augustine with his own
company, E, and G (Garner’s), then commanded by Lieutenant Judd.
In, a few days I embarked in the little steamer William Gaston down
the coast, stopping one day at New Smyrna, held by John R. Vinton’s
company (B), with which was serving Lieutenant William H. Shover.

In due season we arrived off the bar of Indian River and anchored. The boat that sustained a journey so turbulent has been reviewed at in case you’re curious. A whale-boat came off with a crew of four men, steered by a
character of some note, known as the Pilot Ashlock. I transferred
self and baggage to this boat, and, with the mails, was carried
through the surf over the bar, into the mouth of Indian River
Inlet. It was then dark; we transferred to a smaller boat, and the
same crew pulled us up through a channel in the middle of Mangrove
Islands, the roosting-place of thousands of pelicans and birds that
rose in clouds and circled above our heads. The water below was
alive with fish, whose course through it could be seen by the
phosphoric wake; and Ashlock told me many a tale of the Indian war
then in progress, and of his adventures in hunting and fishing,
which he described as the best in the world. About two miles from
the bar, we emerged into the lagoon, a broad expanse of shallow
water that lies parallel with the coast, separated from it by a
narrow strip of sand, backed by a continuous series of islands and
promontories, covered with a dense growth of mangrove and
saw-palmetto. Pulling across this lagoon, in about three more
miles we approached the lights of Fort Pierce. Reaching a small
wharf, we landed, and were met by the officers of the post,
Lieutenants George Taylor and Edward J. Steptoe, and
Assistant-Surgeon James Simons. Taking the mail-bag, we walked up
a steep sand-bluff on which the fort was situated, and across the
parade-ground to the officers’ quarters. These were six or seven
log-houses, thatched with palmetto-leaves, built on high posts,
with a porch in front, facing the water. The men’s quarters were
also of logs forming the two sides of a rectangle, open toward the
water; the intervals and flanks were closed with log stockades. I
was assigned to one of these rooms, and at once began service with
my company, A, then commanded by Lieutenant Taylor.

The season was hardly yet come for active operations against the
Indians, so that the officers were naturally attracted to Ashlock,
who was the best fisherman I ever saw. He soon initiated us into
the mysteries of shark-spearing, trolling for red-fish, and taking
the sheep’s-head and mullet. These abounded so that we could at
any time catch an unlimited quantity at pleasure. The companies
also owned nets for catching green turtles. These nets had meshes
about a foot square, were set across channels in the lagoon, the
ends secured to stakes driven into the mad, the lower line sunk
with lead or stone weights and the upper line floated with cork.
We usually visited these nets twice a day, and found from one to
six green turtles entangled in the meshes. Disengaging them, they
were carried to pens, made with stakes stuck in the mud, where they
were fed with mangrove-leaves, and our cooks had at all times an
ample supply of the best of green turtles. They were so cheap and
common that the soldiers regarded it as an imposition when
compelled to eat green turtle steaks, instead of poor Florida beef,
or the usual barrelled mess-pork. I do not recall in my whole
experience a spot on earth where fish, oysters, and green turtles
so abound as at Fort Pierce, Florida.

In November, Major Childs arrived with Lieutenant Van Vliet and a
detachment of recruits to fill our two companies, and preparations
were at once begun for active operations in the field. At that
time the Indians in the Peninsula of Florida were scattered, and
the war consisted in hunting up and securing the small fragments,
to be sent to join the others of their tribe of Seminoles already
established in the Indian Territory west of Arkansas. Our
expeditions were mostly made in boats in the lagoons extending from
the “Haul-over,” near two hundred miles above the fort, down to
Jupiter Inlet, about fifty miles below, and in the many streams
which emptied therein. Many such expeditions were made during that
winter, with more or less success, in which we succeeded in picking
up small parties of men, women, and children. On one occasion,
near the “Haul-over,” when I was not present, the expedition was
more successful. It struck a party of nearly fifty Indians, killed
several warriors, and captured others. In this expedition my
classmate, lieutenant Van Vliet, who was an excellent shot, killed
a warrior who was running at full speed among trees, and one of the
sergeants of our company (Broderick) was said to have dispatched
three warriors, and it was reported that he took the scalp of one
and brought it in to the fort as a trophy. Broderick was so elated
that, on reaching the post, he had to celebrate his victory by a
big drunk.

There was at the time a poor, weakly soldier of our company whose
wife cooked for our mess. She was somewhat of a flirt, and rather
fond of admiration. Sergeant Broderick was attracted to her, and
hung around the mess-house more than the husband fancied; so he
reported the matter to Lieutenant Taylor, who reproved Broderick
for his behavior. A few days afterward the husband again appealed
to his commanding officer (Taylor), who exclaimed: “Haven’t you got
a musket? Can’t you defend your own family?” Very soon after a
shot was heard down by the mess-house, and it transpired that the
husband had actually shot Broderick, inflicting a wound which
proved mortal. The law and army regulations required that the man
should be sent to the nearest civil court, which was at St.
Augustine; accordingly, the prisoner and necessary witnesses were
sent up by the next monthly steamer. Among the latter were
lieutenant Taylor and the pilot Ashlock.

After they had been gone about a month, the sentinel on the roof-
top of our quarters reported the smoke of a steamer approaching the
bar, and, as I was acting quartermaster, I took a boat and pulled
down to get the mail. I reached the log-but in which the pilots
lived, and saw them start with their boat across the bar, board the
steamer, and then return. Aahlock was at his old post at the
steering-oar, with two ladies, who soon came to the landing, having
passed through a very heavy surf, and I was presented to one as
Mrs. Ashlock, and the other as her sister, a very pretty little
Minorcan girl of about fourteen years of age. Mrs. Ashlock herself
was probably eighteen or twenty years old, and a very handsome
woman. I was hurriedly informed that the murder trial was in
progress at St. Augustine; that Ashlock had given his testimony,
and had availed himself of the chance to take a wife to share with
him the solitude of his desolate hut on the beach at Indian River.
He had brought ashore his wife, her sister, and their chests, with
the mail, and had orders to return immediately to the steamer
(Gaston or Harney) to bring ashore some soldiers belonging to
another company, E (Braggs), which had been ordered from St.
Augustine to Fort Pierce. Ashlock left his wife and her sister
standing on the beach near the pilot-hut, and started back with his
whale-boat across the bar. I also took the mail and started up to
the fort, and had hardly reached the wharf when I observed another
boat following me. As soon as this reached the wharf the men
reported that Ashlock and all his crew, with the exception of one
man, had been drowned a few minutes after I had left the beach.
They said his surf-boat had reached the steamer, had taken on board
a load of soldiers, some eight or ten, and had started back through
the surf, when on the bar a heavy breaker upset the boat, and all
were lost except the boy who pulled the bow-oar, who clung to the
rope or painter, hauled himself to the upset boat, held on, drifted
with it outside the breakers, and was finally beached near a mile
down the coast. They reported also that the steamer had got up
anchor, run in as close to the bar as she could, paused awhile, and
then had started down the coast.

I instantly took a fresh crew of soldiers and returned to the bar;
there sat poor Mrs. Ashlock on her chest of clothes, a weeping
widow, who had seen her husband perish amid sharks and waves; she
clung to the hope that the steamer had picked him up, but, strange
to say, he could not swim, although he had been employed on the
water all his life. 

Her sister was more demonstrative, and wailed as one lost to all
hope and life. She appealed to us all to do miracles to save the
struggling men in the waves, though two hours had already passed,
and to have gone out then among those heavy breakers, with an
inexperienced crew, would have been worse than suicide. All I
could do was to reorganize the guard at the beach, take the two
desolate females up to the fort, and give them the use of my own
quarters. Very soon their anguish was quieted, and they began to
look, for the return of their steamer with Ashlock and his rescued
crew. The next day I went again to the beach with Lieutenant Ord,
and we found that one or two bodies had been washed ashore, torn
all to pieces by the sharks, which literally swarmed the inlet at
every new tide. In a few days the weather moderated, and the
steamer returned from the south, but the surf was so high that she
anchored a mile off. I went out myself, in the whale or surf boat,
over that terrible bar with a crew of, soldiers, boarded the
steamer, and learned that none other of Ashlock’s crew except the
one before mentioned had been saved; but, on the contrary, the
captain of the steamer had sent one of his own boats to their
rescue, which was likewise upset in the surf, and, out of the three
men in her, one had drifted back outside the breakers, clinging to
the upturned boat, and was picked up. This sad and fatal
catastrophe made us all afraid of that bar, and in returning to the
shore I adopted the more prudent course of beaching the boat below
the inlet, which insured us a good ducking, but was attended with
less risk to life.

I had to return to the fort and bear to Mrs. Ashlock the absolute
truth, that her husband was lost forever.

Meantime her sister had entirely recovered her equilibrium, and
being the guest of the officers, who were extremely courteous to
her, she did not lament so loudly the calamity that saved them a
long life of banishment on the beach of Indian River. By the first
opportunity they were sent back to St. Augustine, the possessors of
all of Ashlock’s worldly goods and effects, consisting of a good
rifle, several cast-nets, hand-lines, etc., etc., besides some
three hundred dollars in money, which was due him by the
quartermaster for his services as pilot. I afterward saw these
ladies at St. Augustine, and years afterward the younger one came
to Charleston, South Carolina, the wife of the somewhat famous
Captain Thistle, agent for the United States for live-oak in
Florida, who was noted as the first of the troublesome class of
inventors of modern artillery. He was the inventor of a gun that
“did not recoil at all,” or “if anything it recoiled a little

One day, in the summer of 1841, the sentinel on the housetop at
Fort Pierce called out, “Indians! Indians!” Everybody sprang to
his gun, the companies formed promptly on the parade-ground, and
soon were reported as approaching the post, from the pine-woods in
rear, four Indians on horseback. They rode straight up to the
gateway, dismounted, and came in. They were conducted by the
officer of the day to the commanding officer, Major Childs, who sat
on the porch in front of his own room. After the usual pause, one
of them, a black man named Joe, who spoke English, said they had
been sent in by Coacoochee (Wild Cat), one of the most noted of the
Seminole chiefs, to see the big chief of the post. He gradually
unwrapped a piece of paper, which was passed over to Major Childs,
who read it, and it was in the nature of a “Safe Guard” for “Wild
Cat” to come into Fort Pierce to receive provisions and assistance
while collecting his tribe, with the purpose of emigrating to their
reservation west of Arkansas. The paper was signed by General
Worth, who had succeeded General Taylor, at Tampa Bay, in command
of all the troops in Florida. Major Childs inquired, “Where is
Coacoochee?” and was answered, “Close by,” when Joe explained that
he had been sent in by his chief to see if the paper was all right.
Major Childs said it was “all right,” and that Coacoochee ought to
come in himself. Joe offered to go out and bring him in, when
Major Childs ordered me to take eight or ten mounted men and go out
to escort him in. Detailing ten men to saddle up, and taking Joe
and one Indian boy along on their own ponies, I started out under
their guidance.

We continued to ride five or six miles, when I began to suspect
treachery, of which I had heard so much in former years, and had
been specially cautioned against by the older officers; but Joe
always answered, “Only a little way.” At last we approached one
of those close hammocks, so well known in Florida, standing like an
island in the interminable pine-forest, with a pond of water near
it. On its edge I noticed a few Indians loitering, which Joe
pointed out as the place. Apprehensive of treachery, I halted the
guard, gave orders to the sergeant to watch me closely, and rode
forward alone with the two Indian guides. As we neared the
hammock, about a dozen Indian warriors rose up and waited for us.
When in their midst I inquired for the chief, Coacoochee. He
approached my horse and, slapping his breast, said, “Me
Coacoochee.” He was a very handsome young Indian warrior, not more
than twenty-five years old, but in his then dress could hardly be
distinguished from the rest. I then explained to him, through Joe,
that I had been sent by my “chief” to escort him into the fort. He
wanted me to get down and “talk” I told him that I had no “talk” in
me, but that, on his reaching the post, he could talk as much as he
pleased with the “big chief,” Major Childs. They all seemed to be
indifferent, and in no hurry; and I noticed that all their guns
were leaning against a tree. I beckoned to the sergeant, who
advanced rapidly with his escort, and told him to secure the
rifles, which he proceeded to do. Coacoochee pretended to be very
angry, but I explained to him that his warriors were tired and mine
were not, and that the soldiers would carry the guns on their
horses. I told him I would provide him a horse to ride, and the
sooner he was ready the better for all. He then stripped, washed
himself in the pond, and began to dress in all his Indian finery,
which consisted of buckskin leggins, moccasins, and several shirts.
He then began to put on vests, one after another, and one of them
had the marks of a bullet, just above the pocket, with the stain of
blood. In the pocket was a one-dollar Tallahassee Bank note, and
the rascal had the impudence to ask me to give him silver coin for
that dollar. He had evidently killed the wearer, and was
disappointed because the pocket contained a paper dollar instead of
one in silver. In due time he was dressed with turban and
ostrich-feathers, and mounted the horse reserved for him, and thus
we rode back together to Fort Pierce. Major Childs and all the
officers received him on the porch, and there we had a regular
“talk.” Coacoochee “was tired of the war.” “His people were
scattered and it would take a ‘moon’ to collect them for
emigration,” and he “wanted rations for that time,” etc., etc.

All this was agreed to, and a month was allowed for him to get
ready with his whole band (numbering some one hundred and fifty or
one hundred and sixty) to migrate. The “talk” then ceased, and
Coacoochee and his envoys proceeded to get regularly drunk, which
was easily done by the agency of commissary whiskey. They staid at
Fort Pierce daring the night, and the next day departed. Several
times during the month there came into the post two or more of
these same Indians, always to beg for something to eat or drink,
and after a full month Coacoochee and about twenty of his warriors
came in with several ponies, but with none of their women or
children. Major Childs had not from the beginning the least faith
in his sincerity; had made up his mind to seize the whole party and
compel them to emigrate. He arranged for the usual council, and
instructed Lieutenant Taylor to invite Coacoochee and his uncle
(who was held to be a principal chief) to his room to take some
good brandy, instead of the common commissary whiskey. At a signal
agreed on I was to go to the quarters of Company A, to dispatch the
first-sergeant and another man to Lieutenant Taylor’s room, there
to seize the two chiefs and secure them; and with the company I was
to enter Major Childs’s room and secure the remainder of the party.
Meantime Lieutenant Van Vliet was ordered to go to the quarters of
his company, F, and at the same signal to march rapidly to the rear
of the officers’ quarters, so as to catch any who might attempt to
escape by the open windows to the rear.

All resulted exactly as prearranged, and in a few minutes the whole
party was in irons. At first they claimed that we had acted
treacherously, but very soon they admitted that for a month
Coacoochee had been quietly removing his women and children toward
Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades; and that this visit to our post
was to have been their last. It so happened that almost at the
instant of our seizing these Indians a vessel arrived off the bar
with reenforcements from St. Augustine. These were brought up to
Fort Pierce, and we marched that night and next day rapidly, some
fifty miles, to Lake Okeechobee, in hopes to capture the balance of
the tribe, especially the families, but they had taken the alarm
and escaped. Coacoochee and his warriors were sent by Major Childs
in a schooner to New Orleans en route to their reservation, but
General Worth recalled them to Tampa Bay, and by sending out
Coacoochee himself the women and children came in voluntarily, and
then all were shipped to their destination. This was a heavy loss
to the Seminoles, but there still remained in the Peninsula a few
hundred warriors with their families scattered into very small
parcels, who were concealed in the most inaccessible hammocks and
swamps. These had no difficulty in finding plenty of food anywhere
and everywhere. Deer and wild turkey were abundant, and as for
fish there was no end to them. Indeed, Florida was the Indian’s
paradise, was of little value to us, and it was a great pity to
remove the Seminoles at all, for we could have collected there all
the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and Chickasaws, in addition to the
Seminoles. They would have thrived in the Peninsula, whereas they
now occupy lands that are very valuable, which are coveted by their
white neighbors on all sides, while the Peninsula, of Florida still
remains with a population less than should make a good State.

During that and preceding years General W. S. Harney had penetrated
and crossed through the Everglades, capturing and hanging Chekika
and his band, and had brought in many prisoners, who were also
shipped West. We at Fort Pierce made several other excursions to
Jupiter, Lake Worth, Lauderdale, and into the Everglades, picking
up here and there a family, so that it was absurd any longer to
call it a “war.” These excursions, however, possessed to us a
peculiar charm, for the fragrance of the air, the abundance of game
and fish, and just enough of adventure, gave to life a relish. I
had just returned to Lauderdale from one of these scouts with
Lieutenants Rankin, Ord, George H. Thomas, Field, Van Vliet, and
others, when I received notice of my promotion to be first
lieutenant of Company G, which occurred November 30, 1841, and I
was ordered to return to Fort Pierce, turn over the public property
for which I was accountable to Lieutenant H. S. Burton, and then to
join my new company at St. Augustine.

I reached St. Augustine before Christmas, and was assigned to
command a detachment of twenty men stationed at Picolata, on the
St. John’s River, eighteen miles distant. At St. Augustine were
still the headquarters of the regiment, Colonel William Gates, with
Company E, Lieutenant Bragg, and Company G, Lieutenant H. B. Judd.
The only buildings at Picolata were the one occupied by my
detachment, which had been built for a hospital, and the dwelling
of a family named Williams, with whom I boarded. On the other
hand, St. Augustine had many pleasant families, among whom was
prominent that of United States Judge Bronson. I was half my time
in St. Augustine or on the road, and remember the old place with
pleasure. In February we received orders transferring the whole
regiment to the Gulf posts, and our company, G, was ordered to
escort Colonel Gates and his family across to the Suwanee River, en
route for Pensacola. The company, with the colonel and his family,
reached Picolata (where my detachment joined), and we embarked in a
steamboat for Pilatka. Here Lieutenant Judd discovered that he had
forgotten something and had to return to St. Augustine, so that I
commanded the company on the march, having with me Second-
Lieutenant George B. Ayres. Our first march was to Fort Russell,
then Micanopy, Wacahoota, and Wacasassee, all which posts were
garrisoned by the Second or Seventh Infantry. At Wacasassee we met
General Worth and his staff, en route for Pilatka. Lieutenant Judd
overtook us about the Suwanee, where we embarked on a small boat
for Cedar Keys, and there took a larger one for Pensacola, where
the colonel and his family landed, and our company proceeded on in
the same vessel to our post–Fort Morgan, Mobile Point.

This fort had not been occupied by troops for many years, was very
dirty, and we found little or no stores there. Major Ogden, of the
engineers, occupied a house outside the fort. I was quartermaster
and commissary, and, taking advantage of one of the engineer
schooners engaged in bringing materials for the fort, I went up to
Mobile city, and, through the agency of Messrs. Deshon, Taylor,
and Myers, merchants, procured all essentials for the troops, and
returned to the post. In the course of a week or ten days arrived
another company, H, commanded by Lieutenant James Ketchum, with
Lieutenants Rankin and Sewall L. Fish, and an assistant surgeon
(Wells.) Ketchum became the commanding officer, and Lieutenant
Rankin quartermaster. We proceeded to put the post in as good
order as possible; had regular guard-mounting and parades, but
little drill. We found magnificent fishing with the seine on the
outer beach, and sometimes in a single haul we would take ten or
fifteen barrels of the best kind of fish, embracing pompinos,
red-fish, snappers, etc.

We remained there till June, when the regiment was ordered to
exchange from the Gulf posts to those on the Atlantic, extending
from Savannah to North Carolina. The brig Wetumpka was chartered,
and our company (G) embarked and sailed to Pensacola, where we took
on board another company (D) (Burke’s), commanded by Lieutenant H.
S. Burton, with Colonel Gates, the regimental headquarters, and
some families. From Pensacola we sailed for Charleston, South
Carolina. The weather was hot, the winds light, and we made a long
passage but at last reached Charleston Harbor, disembarked, and
took post in Fort Moultrie.

Soon after two other companies arrived, Bragg’s (B) and Keyes’s
(K). The two former companies were already quartered inside of
Fort Moultrie, and these latter were placed in gun-sheds, outside,
which were altered into barracks. We remained at Fort Moultrie
nearly five years, until the Mexican War scattered us forever. Our
life there was of strict garrison duty, with plenty of leisure for
hunting and social entertainments. We soon formed many and most
pleasant acquaintances in the city of Charleston; and it so
happened that many of the families resided at Sullivan’s Island in
the summer season, where we could reciprocate the hospitalities
extended to us in the winter.

During the summer of 1843, having been continuously on duty for
three years, I applied for and received a leave of absence for
three months, which I spent mostly in Ohio. In November I started
to return to my post at Charleston by way of New Orleans; took the
stage to Chillicothe, Ohio, November 16th, having Henry Stanberry,
Esq., and wife, as travelling companions, We continued by stage.
next day to Portsmouth, Ohio.

At Portsmouth Mr. Stanberry took a boat up the river, and I one
down to Cincinnati. There I found my brothers Lampson and Hoyt
employed in the “Gazette” printing-office, and spent much time with
them and Charles Anderson, Esq., visiting his brother Larz, Mr.
Longworth, some of his artist friends, and especially Miss Sallie
Carneal, then quite a belle, and noted for her fine voice,

On the 20th I took passage on the steamboat Manhattan for St.
Louis; reached Louisville, where Dr. Conrad, of the army, joined
me, and in the Manhattan we continued on to St. Louis, with a mixed
crowd. We reached the Mississippi at Cairo the 23d, and St. Louis,
Friday, November 24, 1843. At St. Louis we called on Colonel S. W.
Kearney and Major Cooper, his adjutant-general, and found my
classmate, Lieutenant McNutt, of the ordnance, stationed at the
arsenal; also Mr. Deas, an artist, and Pacificus Ord, who was
studying law. I spent a week at St. Louis, visiting the arsenal,
Jefferson Barracks, and most places of interest, and then became
impressed with its great future. It then contained about forty
thousand people, and my notes describe thirty-six good steamboats
receiving and discharging cargo at the levee.

I took passage December 4th in the steamer John Aull for New
Orleans. As we passed Cairo the snow was falling, and the country
was wintery and devoid of verdure. Gradually, however, as we
proceeded south, the green color came; grass and trees showed the
change of latitude, and when in the course of a week we had reached
New Orleans, the roses were in full bloom, the sugar-cane just
ripe, and a tropical air prevalent. We reached New Orleans
December 11, 1843, where I spent about a week visiting the
barracks, then occupied by the Seventh Infantry; the theatres,
hotels, and all the usual places of interest of that day.

On the 16th of December I continued on to Mobile in the steamer
Fashion by way of Lake Pontchartrain; saw there most of my personal
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bull, Judge Bragg and his brother Dunbar,
Deshon, Taylor, and Myers, etc., and on the 19th of December took
passage in the steamboat Bourbon for Montgomery, Alabama, by way of
the Alabama River. We reached Montgomery at noon, December 23d,
and took cars at 1 p. m. for Franklin, forty miles, which we reached
at 7 p. m., thence stages for Griffin, Georgia, via La Grange and
Greenville. This took the whole night of the 23d and the day of
the 24th. At Griffin we took cars for Macon, and thence to
Savannah, which we reached Christmas-night, finding Lieutenants
Ridgley and Ketchum at tea, where we were soon joined by Rankin and

On the 26th I took the boat for Charleston, reaching my post, and
reported for duty Wednesday morning, December 27, 1843.

I had hardly got back to my post when, on the 21st of January,
1844, I received from Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, at Marietta,
Georgia, an intimation that Colonel Churchill, Inspector-General of
the Army, had applied for me to assist him in taking depositions in
upper Georgia and Alabama; concerning certain losses by volunteers
in Florida of horses and equipments by reason of the failure of the
United States to provide sufficient forage, and for which Congress
had made an appropriation. On the 4th of February the order came
from the Adjutant-General in Washington for me to proceed to
Marietta, Georgia, and report to Inspector-General Churchill. I
was delayed till the 14th of February by reason of being on a
court-martial, when I was duly relieved and started by rail to
Augusta, Georgia, and as far as Madison, where I took the
mail-coach, reaching Marietta on the 17th. There I reported for
duty to Colonel Churchill, who was already engaged on his work,
assisted by Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, Third Artillery, and a
citizen named Stockton. The colonel had his family with him,
consisting of Mrs. Churchill, Mary, now Mrs. Professor Baird, and
Charles Churchill, then a boy of about fifteen years of age.

We all lived in a tavern, and had an office convenient. The duty
consisted in taking individual depositions of the officers and men
who had composed two regiments and a battalion of mounted
volunteers that had served in Florida. An oath was administered to
each man by Colonel Churchill, who then turned the claimant over to
one of us to take down and record his deposition according to
certain forms, which enabled them to be consolidated and tabulated.
We remained in Marietta about six weeks, during which time I
repeatedly rode to Kenesaw Mountain, and over the very ground where
afterward, in 1864, we had some hard battles.

After closing our business at Marietta the colonel ordered us to
transfer our operations to Bellefonte, Alabama. As he proposed to
take his family and party by the stage, Hammond lent me his
riding-horse, which I rode to Allatoona and the Etowah River.
Hearing of certain large Indian mounds near the way, I turned to
one side to visit them, stopping a couple of days with Colonel
Lewis Tumlin, on whose plantation these mounds were. We struck up
such an acquaintance that we corresponded for some years, and as I
passed his plantation during the war, in 1864, I inquired for him,
but he was not at home. From Tumlin’s I rode to Rome, and by way
of Wills Valley over Sand Mountain and the Raccoon Range to the
Tennessee River at Bellefonte, Alabama. We all assembled there in
March, and continued our work for nearly two months, when, having
completed the business, Colonel Churchill, with his family, went
North by way of Nashville; Hammond, Stockton, and I returning South
on horseback, by Rome, Allatoona, Marietta, Atlanta, and Madison,
Georgia. Stockton stopped at Marietta, where he resided. Hammond
took the cars at Madison, and I rode alone to Augusta, Georgia,
where I left the horse and returned to Charleston and Fort Moultrie
by rail.

Thus by a mere accident I was enabled to traverse on horseback the
very ground where in after-years I had to conduct vast armies and
fight great battles. That the knowledge thus acquired was of
infinite use to me, and consequently to the Government, I have
always felt and stated.

During the autumn of 1844, a difficulty arose among the officers of
Company B, Third Artillery (John R. Yinton’s), garrisoning Augusta
Arsenal, and I was sent up from Fort Moultrie as a sort of
peace-maker. After staying there some months, certain transfers of
officers were made, which reconciled the difficulty, and I returned
to my post, Fort Moultrie. During that winter, 1844-’45, I was
visiting at the plantation of Mr. Poyas, on the east branch of the
Cooper, about fifty miles from Fort Moultrie, hunting deer with his
son James, and Lieutenant John F. Reynolds, Third Artillery. We
had taken our stands, and a deer came out of the swamp near that of
Mr. James Poyas, who fired, broke the leg of the deer, which turned
back into the swamp and came out again above mine. I could follow
his course by the cry of the hounds, which were in close pursuit.
Hastily mounting my horse, I struck across the pine-woods to head
the deer off, and when at full career my horse leaped a fallen log
and his fore-foot caught one of those hard, unyielding pineknots
that brought him with violence to the ground. I got up as quick as
possible, and found my right arm out of place at the shoulder,
caused by the weight of the double-barrelled gun.

Seeing Reynolds at some distance, I called out lustily and brought
him to me. He soon mended the bridle and saddle, which had been
broken by the fall, helped me on my horse, and we followed the
coarse of the hounds. At first my arm did not pain me much, but it
soon began to ache so that it was almost unendurable. In about
three miles we came to a negro hut, where I got off and rested till
Reynolds could overtake Poyas and bring him back. They came at
last, but by that time the arm was so swollen and painful that I
could not ride. They rigged up an old gig belonging to the negro,
in which I was carried six miles to the plantation of Mr. Poyas,
Sr. A neighboring physician was sent for, who tried the usual
methods of setting the arm, but without success; each time making
the operation more painful. At last he sent off, got a set of
double pulleys and cords, with which he succeeded in extending the
muscles and in getting the bone into place. I then returned to
Fort Moultrie, but being disabled, applied for a short leave and
went North.

I started January 25,1845; went to Washington, Baltimore, and
Lancaster, Ohio, whence I went to Mansfield, and thence back by
Newark to Wheeling, Cumberland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New
York, whence I sailed back for Charleston on the ship Sullivan,
reaching Fort Moultrie March 9, 1845.

About that time (March 1, 1845) Congress had, by a joint
resolution, provided for the annexation of Texas, then an
independent Republic, subject to certain conditions requiring the
acceptance of the Republic of Texas to be final and conclusive. We
all expected war as a matter of course. At that time General
Zachary Taylor had assembled a couple of regiments of infantry and
one of dragoons at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, and had orders to extend
military protection to Texas against the Indians, or a “foreign
enemy,” the moment the terms of annexation were accepted. He
received notice of such acceptance July 7th, and forthwith
proceeded to remove his troops to Corpus Christi, Texas, where,
during the summer and fall of 1845, was assembled that force with
which, in the spring of 1846, was begun the Mexican War.

Some time during that summer came to Fort Moultrie orders for
sending Company E, Third Artillery, Lieutenant Bragg, to New
Orleans, there to receive a battery of field-guns, and thence to
the camp of General Taylor at Corpus Christi. This was the first
company of our regiment sent to the seat of war, and it embarked on
the brig Hayne. This was the only company that left Fort Moultrie
till after I was detached for recruiting service on the 1st of May,

Inasmuch as Charleston afterward became famous, as the spot where
began our civil war, a general description of it, as it was in
1846, will not be out of place.

The city lies on a long peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper
Rivers–a low, level peninsula, of sand. Meeting Street is its
Broadway, with King Street, next west and parallel, the street of
shops and small stores. These streets are crossed at right angles
by many others, of which Broad Street was the principal; and the
insersection of Meeting and Broad was the heart of the city, marked
by the Guard-House and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. The
Custom-House, Post-Office, etc., were at the foot of Broad Street,
near the wharves of the Cooper River front. At the extremity of
the peninsula was a drive, open to the bay, and faced by some of
the handsomest houses of the city, called the “Battery.” Looking
down the bay on the right, was James Island, an irregular triangle
of about seven miles, the whole island in cultivation with
sea-island cotton. At the lower end was Fort Johnson, then simply
the station of Captain Bowman, United States Engineers, engaged in
building Fort Sumter. This fort (Sumter) was erected on an
artificial island nearly in mid-channel, made by dumping rocks,
mostly brought as ballast in cotton-ships from the North. As the
rock reached the surface it was levelled, and made the foundation
of Fort Sumter. In 1846 this fort was barely above the water.
Still farther out beyond James Island, and separated from it by a
wide space of salt marsh with crooked channels, was Morris Island,
composed of the sand-dunes thrown up by the wind and the sea,
backed with the salt marsh. On this was the lighthouse, but no

On the left, looking down the bay from the Battery of Charleston,
was, first, Castle Pinckney, a round brick fort, of two tiers of
guns, one in embrasure, the other in barbette, built on a marsh
island, which was not garrisoned. Farther down the bay a point of
the mainland reached the bay, where there was a group of houses,
called Mount Pleasant; and at the extremity of the bay, distant six
miles, was Sullivan’s Island, presenting a smooth sand-beach to the
sea, with the line of sand-hills or dunes thrown up by the waves
and winds, and the usual backing of marsh and crooked salt-water

At the shoulder of this island was Fort Moultrie, an irregular
fort, without ditch or counterscarp, with a brick scarp wall about
twelve feet high, which could be scaled anywhere, and this was
surmounted by an earth parapet capable of mounting about forty
twenty-four and thirty-two pounder smooth-bore iron guns. Inside
the fort were three two-story brick barracks, sufficient to quarter
the officers and men of two companies of artillery.

At sea was the usual “bar,” changing slightly from year to year,
but generally the main ship-channel came from the south, parallel
to Morris Island, till it was well up to Fort Moultrie, where it
curved, passing close to Fort Sumter and up to the wharves of the
city, which were built mostly along the Cooper River front.

Charleston was then a proud, aristocratic city, and assumed a
leadership in the public opinion of the South far out of proportion
to her population, wealth, or commerce. On more than one occasion
previously, the inhabitants had almost inaugurated civil war, by
their assertion and professed belief that each State had, in the
original compact of government, reserved to itself the right to
withdraw from the Union at its own option, whenever the people
supposed they had sufficient cause. We used to discuss these
things at our own mess-tables, vehemently and sometimes quite
angrily; but I am sure that I never feared it would go further than
it had already gone in the winter of 1832-’33, when the attempt at
“nullification” was promptly suppressed by President Jackson’s
famous declaration, “The Union must and shall be preserved!” and by
the judicious management of General Scott.

Still, civil war was to be; and, now that it has come and gone, we
can rest secure in the knowledge that as the chief cause, slavery,
has been eradicated forever, it is not likely to come again.




In the spring of 1846 I was a first lieutenant of Company C,1,
Third Artillery, stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. The
company was commanded by Captain Robert Anderson; Henry B. Judd was
the senior first-lieutenant, and I was the junior first-lieutenant,
and George B. Ayres the second-lieutenant. Colonel William Gates
commanded the post and regiment, with First-Lieutenant William
Austine as his adjutant. Two other companies were at the post,
viz., Martin Burke’s and E. D. Keyes’s, and among the officers were
T. W. Sherman, Morris Miller, H. B. Field, William Churchill,
Joseph Stewart, and Surgeon McLaren.

The country now known as Texas had been recently acquired, and war
with Mexico was threatening. One of our companies (Bragg’s), with
George H. Thomas, John F. Reynolds, and Frank Thomas, had gone the
year previous and was at that time with General Taylor’s army at
Corpus Christi, Texas.

In that year (1846) I received the regular detail for recruiting
service, with orders to report to the general superintendent at
Governor’s Island, New York; and accordingly left Fort Moultrie in
the latter part of April, and reported to the superintendent,
Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons, at New York, on the 1st day of
May. I was assigned to the Pittsburg rendezvous, whither I
proceeded and relieved Lieutenant Scott. Early in May I took up my
quarters at the St. Charles Hotel, and entered upon the discharge
of my duties. There was a regular recruiting-station already
established, with a sergeant, corporal, and two or three men, with
a citizen physician, Dr. McDowell, to examine the recruits. The
threatening war with Mexico made a demand for recruits, and I
received authority to open another sub-rendezvous at Zanesville,
Ohio, whither I took the sergeant and established him. This was
very handy to me, as my home was at Lancaster, Ohio, only
thirty-six miles off, so that I was thus enabled to visit my
friends there quite often.

In the latter part of May, when at Wheeling, Virginia, on my way
back from Zanesville to Pittsburg, I heard the first news of the
battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, which occurred on the
8th and 9th of May, and, in common with everybody else, felt
intensely excited. That I should be on recruiting service, when my
comrades were actually fighting, was intolerable, and I hurried on
to my post, Pittsburg. At that time the railroad did not extend
west of the Alleghanies, and all journeys were made by
stage-coaches. In this instance I traveled from Zanesville to
Wheeling, thence to Washington (Pennsylvania), and thence to
Pittsburg by stage-coach. On reaching Pittsburg I found many
private letters; one from Ord, then a first-lieutenant in Company
F, Third Artillery, at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, saying that his
company had just received orders for California, and asking me to
apply for it. Without committing myself to that project, I wrote
to the Adjutant-General, R. Jones, at Washington, D. C., asking him
to consider me as an applicant for any active service, and saying
that I would willingly forego the recruiting detail, which I well
knew plenty of others would jump at. Impatient to approach the
scene of active operations, without authority (and I suppose
wrongfully), I left my corporal in charge of the rendezvous, and
took all the recruits I had made, about twenty-five, in a steamboat
to Cincinnati, and turned them over to Major N. C. McCrea,
commanding at Newport Barracks. I then reported in Cincinnati, to
the superintendent of the Western recruiting service, Colonel
Fanning, an old officer with one arm, who inquired by what
authority I had come away from my post. I argued that I took it
for granted he wanted all the recruits he could get to forward to
the army at Brownsville, Texas; and did not know but that he might
want me to go along. Instead of appreciating my volunteer zeal, he
cursed and swore at me for leaving my post without orders, and told
me to go back to Pittsburg. I then asked for an order that would
entitle me to transportation back, which at first he emphatically
refused, but at last he gave the order, and I returned to
Pittsburg, all the way by stage, stopping again at Lancaster, where
I attended the wedding of my schoolmate Mike Effinger, and also
visited my sub-rendezvous at Zanesville. R. S. Ewell, of my class,
arrived to open a cavalry rendezvous, but, finding my depot there,
he went on to Columbus, Ohio. Tom Jordan afterward was ordered to
Zanesville, to take charge of that rendezvous, under the general
War Department orders increasing the number of recruiting-
stations. I reached Pittsburg late in June, and found the order
relieving me from recruiting service, and detailing my classmate H.
B. Field to my place. I was assigned to Company F, then under
orders for California. By private letters from Lieutenant Ord, I
heard that the company had already started from Fort McHenry for
Governor’s Island, New York Harbor, to take passage for California
in a naval transport. I worked all that night, made up my accounts
current, and turned over the balance of cash to the citizen
physician, Dr. McDowell; and also closed my clothing and property
returns, leaving blank receipts with the same gentleman for Field’s
signature, when he should get there, to be forwarded to the
Department at Washington, and the duplicates to me. These I did
not receive for more than a year. I remember that I got my orders
about 8 p. m. one night, and took passage in the boat for
Brownsville, the next morning traveled by stage from Brownsville to
Cumberland, Maryland, and thence by cars to Baltimore,
Philadelphia, and New York, in a great hurry lest the ship might
sail without me. I found Company F at Governor’s Island, Captain
C. Q. Tompkins in command, Lieutenant E. O. C. Ord senior
first-lieutenant, myself junior first-lieutenant, Lucien Loeser and
Charles Minor the second-lieutenants.

The company had been filled up to one hundred privates, twelve
non-commissioned officers, and one ordnance sergeant (Layton),
making one hundred and thirteen enlisted men and five officers.
Dr. James L. Ord had been employed as acting assistant surgeon to
accompany the expedition, and Lieutenant H. W. Halleck, of the
engineers, was also to go along. The United States store-ship
Lexington was then preparing at the Navy-Yard, Brooklyn, to carry
us around Cape Horn to California. She was receiving on board the
necessary stores for the long voyage, and for service after our
arrival there. Lieutenant-Commander Theodorus Bailey was in
command of the vessel, Lieutenant William H. Macomb executive
officer, and Passed-Midshipmen Muse, Spotts, and J. W. A.
Nicholson, were the watch-officers; Wilson purser, and Abernethy
surgeon. The latter was caterer of the mess, and we all made an
advance of cash for him to lay in the necessary mess-stores. To
enable us to prepare for so long a voyage and for an indefinite
sojourn in that far-off country, the War Department had authorized
us to draw six months’ pay in advance, which sum of money we
invested in surplus clothing and such other things as seemed to us
necessary. At last the ship was ready, and was towed down abreast
of Fort Columbus, where we were conveyed on board, and on the 14th
of July, 1846, we were towed to sea by a steam-tug, and cast off:
Colonel R. B. Mason, still superintendent of the general recruiting
service, accompanied us down the bay and out to sea, returning with
the tug. A few other friends were of the party, but at last they
left us, and we were alone upon the sea, and the sailors were busy
with the sails and ropes. The Lexington was an old ship, changed
from a sloop-of-war to a store-ship, with an aftercabin, a
“ward-room,” and “between-decks.” In the cabin were Captains
Bailey and Tompkins, with whom messed the purser, Wilson. In the
ward-room were all the other officers, two in each state-room; and
Minor, being an extra lieutenant, had to sleep in a hammock slung
in the ward-room. Ord and I roomed together; Halleck and Loeser
and the others were scattered about. The men were arranged in
bunks “between-decks,” one set along the sides of the ship, and
another, double tier, amidships. The crew were slung in hammocks
well forward. Of these there were about fifty. We at once
subdivided the company into four squads, under the four lieutenants
of the company, and arranged with the naval officers that our men
should serve on deck by squads, after the manner of their watches;
that the sailors should do all the work aloft, and the soldiers on

On fair days we drilled our men at the manual, and generally kept
them employed as much as possible, giving great attention to the
police and cleanliness of their dress and bunks; and so successful
were we in this, that, though the voyage lasted nearly two hundred
days, every man was able to leave the ship and march up the hill to
the fort at Monterey, California, carrying his own knapsack and

The voyage from New York to Rio Janeiro was without accident or any
thing to vary the usual monotony. We soon settled down to the
humdrum of a long voyage, reading some, not much; playing games,
but never gambling; and chiefly engaged in eating our meals
regularly. In crossing the equator we had the usual visit of
Neptune and his wife, who, with a large razor and a bucket of
soapsuds, came over the sides and shaved some of the greenhorns;
but naval etiquette exempted the officers, and Neptune was not
permitted to come aft of the mizzen-mast. At last, after sixty
days of absolute monotony, the island of Raza, off Rio Janeiro, was
descried, and we slowly entered the harbor, passing a fort on our
right hand, from which came a hail, in the Portuguese language,
from a huge speaking-trumpet, and our officer of the deck answered
back in gibberish, according to a well-understood custom of the
place. Sugar-loaf Mountain, on the south of the entrance, is very
remarkable and well named; is almost conical, with a slight lean.
The man-of-war anchorage is about five miles inside the heads,
directly in front of the city of Rio Janeiro. Words will not
describe the beauty of this perfect harbor, nor the delightful
feeling after a long voyage of its fragrant airs, and the entire
contrast between all things there and what we had left in New York.

We found the United Staten frigate Columbia anchored there, and
after the Lexington was properly moored, nearly all the officers
went on shore for sight-seeing and enjoyment. We landed at a wharf
opposite which was a famous French restaurant, Farroux, and after
ordering supper we all proceeded to the Rua da Ouvador, where most
of the shops were, especially those for making feather flowers, as
much to see the pretty girls as the flowers which they so
skillfully made; thence we went to the theatre, where, besides some
opera, we witnessed the audience and saw the Emperor Dom Pedro, and
his Empress, the daughter of the King of Sicily. After the
theatre, we went back to the restaurant, where we had an excellent
supper, with fruits of every variety and excellence, such as we had
never seen before, or even knew the names of. Supper being over,
we called for the bill, and it was rendered in French, with
Brazilian currency. It footed up some twenty-six thousand reis.
The figures alarmed us, so we all put on the waiters’ plate various
coins in gold, which he took to the counter and returned the
change, making the total about sixteen dollars. The millreis is
about a dollar, but being a paper-money was at a discount, so as
only to be worth about fifty-six cents in coin.

The Lexington remained in Rio about a week, during which we visited
the Palace, a few miles in the country, also the Botanic Gardens, a
place of infinite interest, with its specimens of tropical fruits,
spices; etc., etc., and indeed every place of note. The thing I
best recall is a visit Halleck and I made to the Corcovado, a high
mountain whence the water is conveyed for the supply of the city.
We started to take a walk, and passed along the aqueduct, which
approaches the city by a aeries of arches; thence up the point of
the hill to a place known as the Madre, or fountain, to which all
the water that drips from the leaves is conducted by tile gutters,
and is carried to the city by an open stone aqueduct.

Here we found Mr. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, the United States
minister to Brazil, and a Dr. Garnett, United States Navy, his
intended son-in-law. We had a very interesting conversation, in
which Mr. Wise enlarged on the fact that Rio was supplied from the
“dews of heaven,” for in the dry season the water comes from the
mists and fogs which hang around the Corcovado, drips from the
leaves of the trees, and is conducted to the Madre fountain by
miles of tile gutters. Halleck and I continued our ascent of the
mountain, catching from points of the way magnificent views of the
scenery round about Rio Janeiro. We reached near the summit what
was called the emperor’s coffee-plantation, where we saw
coffee-berries in their various stages, and the scaffolds on which
the berries were dried before being cleaned. The coffee-tree
reminded me of the red haw-tree of Ohio, and the berries were
somewhat like those of the same tree, two grains of coffee being
inclosed in one berry. These were dried and cleaned of the husk by
hand or by machinery. A short, steep ascent from this place
carried us to the summit, from which is beheld one of the most
picturesque views on earth. The Organ Mountains to the west and
north, the ocean to the east, the city of Rio with its red-tiled
houses at our feet, and the entire harbor like a map spread out,
with innumerable bright valleys, make up a landscape that cannot be
described by mere words. This spot is universally visited by
strangers, and has often been described. After enjoying it
immeasurably, we returned to the city by another route, tired but
amply repaid by our long walk.

In due time all had been done that was requisite, and the Lexington
put to sea and resumed her voyage. In October we approached Cape
Horn, the first land descried was Staten Island, white with snow,
and the ship seemed to be aiming for the channel to its west,
straits of Le Maire, but her course was changed and we passed
around to the east. In time we saw Cape Horn; an island rounded
like an oven, after which it takes its name (Ornos) oven. Here we
experienced very rough weather, buffeting about under storm
stay-sails, and spending nearly a month before the wind favored our
passage and enabled the course of the ship to be changed for
Valparaiso. One day we sailed parallel with a French sloop-of-war,
and it was sublime to watch the two ships rising and falling in
those long deep swells of the ocean. All the time we were followed
by the usual large flocks of Cape-pigeons and albatrosses of every
color. The former resembled the common barn-pigeon exactly, but
are in fact gulls of beautiful and varied colors, mostly
dove-color. We caught many with fishing-lines baited with pork.
We also took in the same way many albatrosses. The white ones are
very large, and their down is equal to that of the swan. At last
Cape Horn and its swelling seas were left behind, and we reached
Valparaiso in about sixty days from Rio. We anchored in the open
roadstead, and spent there about ten days, visiting all the usual
places of interest, its foretop, main-top, mizzen-top, etc.
Halleck and Ord went up to Santiago, the capital of Chili, some
sixty miles inland, but I did not go. Valparaiso did not impress
me favorably at all. Seen from the sea, it looked like a long
string of houses along the narrow beach, surmounted with red banks
of earth, with little verdure, and no trees at all. Northward the
space widened out somewhat, and gave room for a plaza, but the mass
of houses in that quarter were poor. We were there in November,
corresponding to our early spring, and we enjoyed the large
strawberries which abounded. The Independence frigate, Commodore
Shubrick, came in while we were there, having overtaken us, bound
also for California. We met there also the sloop-of-war levant,
from California, and from the officers heard of many of the events
that had transpired about the time the navy, under Commodore Sloat,
had taken possession of the country.

All the necessary supplies being renewed in Valparaiso, the voyage
was resumed. For nearly forty days we had uninterrupted favorable
winds, being in the “trades,” and, having settled down to sailor
habits, time passed without notice. We had brought with us all the
books we could find in New York about California, and had read them
over and over again: Wilkes’s “Exploring Expedition;” Dana’s “Two
Years before the Mast;” and Forbes’s “Account of the Missions.” It
was generally understood we were bound for Monterey, then the
capital of Upper California. We knew, of course, that General
Kearney was enroute for the same country overland; that Fremont was
therewith his exploring party; that the navy had already taken
possession, and that a regiment of volunteers, Stevenson’s, was
to follow us from New York; but nevertheless we were impatient to
reach our destination. About the middle of January the ship began
to approach the California coast, of which the captain was duly
cautious, because the English and Spanish charts differed some
fifteen miles in the longitude, and on all the charts a current of
two miles an hour was indicated northward along the coast. At last
land was made one morning, and here occurred one of those accidents
so provoking after a long and tedious voyage. Macomb, the master
and regular navigator, had made the correct observations, but
Nicholson during the night, by an observation on the north star,
put the ship some twenty miles farther south than was the case by
the regular reckoning, so that Captain Bailey gave directions to
alter the course of the ship more to the north, and to follow the
coast up, and to keep a good lookout for Point Pinos that marks the
location of Monterey Bay. The usual north wind slackened, so that
when noon allowed Macomb to get a good observation, it was found
that we were north of Ano Nuevo, the northern headland of Monterey
Bay. The ship was put about, but little by little arose one of
those southeast storms so common on the coast in winter, and we
buffeted about for several days, cursing that unfortunate
observation on the north star, for, on first sighting the coast,
had we turned for Monterey, instead of away to the north, we would
have been snugly anchored before the storm. But the southeaster
abated, and the usual northwest wind came out again, and we sailed
steadily down into the roadstead of Monterey Bay. This is shaped
somewhat like a fish hook, the barb being the harbor, the point
being Point Pinos, the southern headland. Slowly the land came out
of the water, the high mountains about Santa Cruz, the low beach of
the Saunas, and the strongly-marked ridge terminating in the sea in
a point of dark pine-trees. Then the line of whitewashed houses of
adobe, backed by the groves of dark oaks, resembling old
apple-trees; and then we saw two vessels anchored close to the
town. One was a small merchant-brig and another a large ship
apparently dismasted. At last we saw a boat coming out to meet us,
and when it came alongside, we were surprised to find Lieutenant
Henry Wise, master of the Independence frigate, that we had left at
Valparaiso. Wise had come off to pilot us to our anchorage. While
giving orders to the man at the wheel, he, in his peculiar fluent
style, told to us, gathered about him, that the Independence had
sailed from Valparaiso a week after us and had been in Monterey a
week; that the Californians had broken out into an insurrection;
that the naval fleet under Commodore Stockton was all down the
coast about San Diego; that General Kearney had reached the
country, but had had a severe battle at San Pascual, and had been
worsted, losing several officers and men, himself and others
wounded; that war was then going on at Los Angeles; that the whole
country was full of guerrillas, and that recently at Yerba Buena
the alcalde, Lieutenant Bartlett, United States Navy, while out
after cattle, had been lassoed, etc., etc. Indeed, in the short
space of time that Wise was piloting our ship in, he told us more
news than we could have learned on shore in a week, and, being
unfamiliar with the great distances, we imagined that we should
have to debark and begin fighting at once. Swords were brought
out, guns oiled and made ready, and every thing was in a bustle
when the old Lexington dropped her anchor on January 26, 1847, in
Monterey Bay, after a voyage of one hundred and ninety-eight days
from New York. Every thing on shore looked bright and beautiful,
the hills covered with grass and flowers, the live-oaks so serene
and homelike, and the low adobe houses, with red-tiled roofs and
whitened walls, contrasted well with the dark pine-trees behind,
making a decidedly good impression upon us who had come so far to
spy out the land. Nothing could be more peaceful in its looks than
Monterey in January, 1847. We had already made the acquaintance of
Commodore Shubrick and the officers of the Independence in
Valparaiso, so that we again met as old friends. Immediate
preparations were made for landing, and, as I was quartermaster and
commissary, I had plenty to do. There was a small wharf and an
adobe custom-house in possession of the navy; also a barrack of two
stories, occupied by some marines, commanded by Lieutenant Maddox;
and on a hill to the west of the town had been built a two-story
block-house of hewed logs occupied by a guard of sailors under
command of Lieutenant Baldwin, United States Navy. Not a single
modern wagon or cart was to be had in Monterey, nothing but the old
Mexican cart with wooden wheels, drawn by two or three pairs of
oxen, yoked by the horns. A man named Tom Cole had two or more of
these, and he came into immediate requisition. The United States
consul, and most prominent man there at the time, was Thomas O.
Larkin, who had a store and a pretty good two-story house occupied
by his family. It was soon determined that our company was to land
and encamp on the hill at the block-house, and we were also to have
possession of the warehouse, or custom-house, for storage. The
company was landed on the wharf, and we all marched in full dress
with knapsacks and arms, to the hill and relieved the guard under
Lieutenant Baldwin. Tents and camp-equipage were hauled up, and
soon the camp was established. I remained in a room at the
customhouse, where I could superintend the landing of the stores
and their proper distribution. I had brought out from New York
twenty thousand dollars commissary funds, and eight thousand
dollars quartermaster funds, and as the ship contained about six
months’ supply of provisions, also a saw-mill, grist-mill, and
almost every thing needed, we were soon established comfortably.
We found the people of Monterey a mixed set of Americans, native
Mexicans, and Indians, about one thousand all told. They were kind
and pleasant, and seemed to have nothing to do, except such as
owned ranches in the country for the rearing of horses and cattle.
Horses could be bought at any price from four dollars up to
sixteen, but no horse was ever valued above a doubloon or Mexican
ounce (sixteen dollars). Cattle cost eight dollars fifty cents for
the best, and this made beef net about two cents a pound, but at
that time nobody bought beef by the pound, but by the carcass.

Game of all kinds–elk, deer, wild geese, and ducks–was abundant;
but coffee, sugar, and small stores, were rare and costly.

There were some half-dozen shops or stores, but their shelves were
empty. The people were very fond of riding, dancing, and of shows
of any kind. The young fellows took great delight in showing off
their horsemanship, and would dash along, picking up a half-dollar
from the ground, stop their horses in full career and turn about on
the space of a bullock’s hide, and their skill with the lasso was
certainly wonderful. At full speed they could cast their lasso
about the horns of a bull, or so throw it as to catch any
particular foot. These fellows would work all day on horseback in
driving cattle or catching wildhorses for a mere nothing, but all
the money offered would not have hired one of them to walk a mile.
The girls were very fond of dancing, and they did dance gracefully
and well. Every Sunday, regularly, we had a baile, or dance, and
sometimes interspersed through the week.

I remember very well, soon after our arrival, that we were all
invited to witness a play called “Adam and Eve.” Eve was
personated by a pretty young girl known as Dolores Gomez, who,
however, was dressed very unlike Eve, for she was covered with a
petticoat and spangles. Adam was personated by her brother–the
same who has since become somewhat famous as the person on whom is
founded the McGarrahan claim. God Almighty was personated, and
heaven’s occupants seemed very human. Yet the play was pretty,
interesting, and elicited universal applause. All the month of
February we were by day preparing for our long stay in the country,
and at night making the most of the balls and parties of the most
primitive kind, picking up a smattering of Spanish, and extending
our acquaintance with the people and the costumbrea del pais. I
can well recall that Ord and I, impatient to look inland, got
permission and started for the Mission of San Juan Bautista.
Mounted on horses, and with our carbines, we took the road by El
Toro, quite a prominent hill, around which passes the road to the
south, following the Saunas or Monterey River. After about twenty
miles over a sandy country covered with oak-bushes and scrub, we
entered quite a pretty valley in which there was a ranch at the
foot of the Toro. Resting there a while and getting some
information, we again started in the direction of a mountain to the
north of the Saunas, called the Gavillano. It was quite dark when
we reached the Saunas River, which we attempted to pass at several
points, but found it full of water, and the quicksands were bad.
Hearing the bark of a dog, we changed our course in that direction,
and, on hailing, were answered by voices which directed us where to
cross. Our knowledge of the language was limited, but we managed
to understand, and to founder through the sand and water, and
reached a small adobe-house on the banks of the Salinas, where we
spent the night: The house was a single room, without floor or
glass; only a rude door, and window with bars. Not a particle of
food but meat, yet the man and woman entertained us with the
language of lords put themselves, their house, and every thing, at
our “disposition,” and made little barefoot children dance for our
entertainment. We made our supper of beef, and slept on a
bullock’s hide on the dirt-floor. In the morning we crossed the
Salinas Plain, about fifteen miles of level ground, taking a shot
occasionally at wild-geese, which abounded there, and entering the
well-wooded valley that comes out from the foot of the Gavillano.
We had cruised about all day, and it was almost dark when we
reached the house of a Senor Gomez, father of those who at Monterey
had performed the parts of Adam and Eve. His house was a two-story
adobe, and had a fence in front. It was situated well up among the
foot-hills of the Gavillano, and could not be seen until within a
few yards. We hitched our horses to the fence and went in just as
Gomez was about to sit down to a tempting supper of stewed hare and
tortillas. We were officers and caballeros and could not be
ignored. After turning our horses to grass, at his invitation we
joined him at supper. The allowance, though ample for one, was
rather short for three, and I thought the Spanish grandiloquent
politeness of Gomez, who was fat and old, was not over-cordial.
However, down we sat, and I was helped to a dish of rabbit, with
what I thought to be an abundant sauce of tomato. Taking a good
mouthful, I felt as though I had taken liquid fire; the tomato was
chile colorado, or red pepper, of the purest kind. It nearly
killed me, and I saw Gomez’s eyes twinkle, for he saw that his
share of supper was increased.–I contented myself with bits of
the meat, and an abundant supply of tortillas. Ord was better
case-hardened, and stood it better. We staid at Gomez’s that
night, sleeping, as all did, on the ground, and the next morning we
crossed the hill by the bridle-path to the old Mission of San Juan
Bautista. The Mission was in a beautiful valley, very level, and
bounded on all sides by hills. The plain was covered with
wild-grasses and mustard, and had abundant water. Cattle and
horses were seen in all directions, and it was manifest that the
priests who first occupied the country were good judges of land.
It was Sunday, and all the people, about, a hundred, had come to
church from the country round about. Ord was somewhat of a
Catholic, and entered the church with his clanking spars and
kneeled down, attracting the attention of all, for he had on the
uniform of an American officer. As soon as church was out, all
rushed to the various sports. I saw the priest, with his gray
robes tucked up, playing at billiards, others were cock fighting,
and some at horse-racing. My horse had become lame, and I resolved
to buy another. As soon as it was known that I wanted a horse,
several came for me, and displayed their horses by dashing past and
hauling them up short. There was a fine black stallion that
attracted my notice, and, after trying him myself, I concluded a
purchase. I left with the seller my own lame horse, which he was
to bring to me at Monterey, when I was to pay him ten dollars for
the other. The Mission of San Juan bore the marks of high
prosperity at a former period, and had a good pear-orchard just
under the plateau where stood the church. After spending the day,
Ord and I returned to Monterey, about thirty-five miles, by a
shorter route, Thus passed the month of February, and, though there
were no mails or regular expresses, we heard occasionally from
Yerba Buena and Sutter’s Fort to the north, and from the army and
navy about Los Angeles at the south. We also knew that a quarrel
had grown up at Los Angeles, between General Kearney, Colonel
Fremont, and Commodore Stockton, as to the right to control affairs
in California. Kearney had with him only the fragments of the two
companies of dragoons, which had come across from New Mexico with
him, and had been handled very roughly by Don Andreas Pico, at San
Pascual, in which engagement Captains Moore and Johnson, and
Lieutenant Hammond, were killed, and Kearney himself wounded.
There remained with him Colonel Swords, quartermaster; Captain H.
S. Turner, First Dragoons; Captains Emory and Warner, Topographical
Engineers; Assistant Surgeon Griffin, and Lieutenant J. W.
Davidson. Fremont had marched down from the north with a battalion
of volunteers; Commodore Stockton had marched up from San Diego to
Los Angeles, with General Kearney, his dragoons, and a battalion of
sailors and marines, and was soon joined there by Fremont, and they
jointly received the surrender of the insurgents under Andreas
Pico. We also knew that General R. B. Mason had been ordered to
California; that Colonel John D. Stevenson was coming out to
California with a regiment of New York Volunteers; that Commodore
Shubrick had orders also from the Navy Department to control
matters afloat; that General Kearney, by virtue of his rank, had
the right to control all the land-forces in the service of the
United States; and that Fremont claimed the same right by virtue of
a letter he had received from Colonel Benton, then a Senator, and a
man of great influence with Polk’s Administration. So that among
the younger officers the query was very natural, “Who the devil is
Governor of California?” One day I was on board the Independence
frigate, dining with the ward-room officers, when a war-vessel was
reported in the offing, which in due time was made out to be the
Cyane, Captain DuPont. After dinner, we were all on deck, to watch
the new arrival, the ships meanwhile exchanging signals, which were
interpreted that General Kearney was on board. As the Cyane
approached, a boat was sent to meet her, with Commodore Shubrick’s
flag-officer, Lieutenant Lewis, to carry the usual messages, and to
invite General Kearney to come on board the Independence as the
guest of Commodore Shubrick. Quite a number of officers were on
deck, among them Lieutenants Wise, Montgomery Lewis, William
Chapman, and others, noted wits and wags of the navy. In due time
the Cyane anchored close by, and our boat was seen returning with a
stranger in the stern-sheets, clothed in army blue. As the boat
came nearer, we saw that it was General Kearney with an old dragoon
coat on, and an army-cap, to which the general had added the broad
vizor, cut from a full-dress hat, to shade his face and eyes
against the glaring sun of the Gila region. Chapman exclaimed:
“Fellows, the problem is solved; there is the grand-vizier (visor)
by G-d! He is Governor of California.”

All hands received the general with great heartiness, and he soon
passed out of our sight into the commodore’s cabin. Between
Commodore Shubrick and General Kearney existed from that time
forward the greatest harmony and good feeling, and no further
trouble existed as to the controlling power on the Pacific coast.
General Kearney had dispatched from San Diego his quartermaster,
Colonel Swords, to the Sandwich Islands, to purchase clothing and
stores for his men, and had come up to Monterey, bringing with him
Turner and Warner, leaving Emory and the company of dragoons below.
He was delighted to find a full strong company of artillery,
subject to his orders, well supplied with clothing and money in all
respects, and, much to the disgust of our Captain Tompkins, he took
half of his company clothing and part of the money held by me for
the relief of his worn-out and almost naked dragoons left behind at
Los Angeles. In a few days he moved on shore, took up his quarters
at Larkin’s house, and established his headquarters, with Captain
Turner as his adjutant general. One day Turner and Warner were at
my tent, and, seeing a store-bag full of socks, drawers, and calico
shirts, of which I had laid in a three years’ supply, and of which
they had none, made known to me their wants, and I told them to
help themselves, which Turner and Warner did. The latter, however,
insisted on paying me the cost, and from that date to this Turner
and I have been close friends. Warner, poor fellow, was afterward
killed by Indians. Things gradually came into shape, a semi-
monthly courier line was established from Yerba Buena to San Diego,
and we were thus enabled to keep pace with events throughout the
country. In March Stevenson’s regiment arrived. Colonel Mason
also arrived by sea from Callao in the store-ship Erie, and P. St.
George Cooke’s battalion of Mormons reached San Luis Rey. A. J.
Smith and George Stoneman were with him, and were assigned to the
company of dragoons at Los Angeles. All these troops and the navy
regarded General Kearney as the rightful commander, though Fremont
still remained at Los Angeles, styling himself as Governor, issuing
orders and holding his battalion of California Volunteers in
apparent defiance of General Kearney. Colonel Mason and Major
Turner were sent down by sea with a paymaster, with muster-rolls
and orders to muster this battalion into the service of the United
States, to pay and then to muster them out; but on their reaching
Los Angeles Fremont would not consent to it, and the controversy
became so angry that a challenge was believed to have passed
between Mason and Fremont, but the duel never came about. Turner
rode up by land in four or five days, and Fremont, becoming
alarmed, followed him, as we supposed, to overtake him, but he did
not succeed. On Fremont’s arrival at Monterey, he camped in a tent
about a mile out of town and called on General Kearney, and it was
reported that the latter threatened him very severely and ordered
him back to Los Angeles immediately, to disband his volunteers, and
to cease the exercise of authority of any kind in the country.
Feeling a natural curiosity to see Fremont, who was then quite
famous by reason of his recent explorations and the still more
recent conflicts with Kearney and Mason, I rode out to his camp,
and found him in a conical tent with one Captain Owens, who was a
mountaineer, trapper, etc., but originally from Zanesville, Ohio.
I spent an hour or so with Fremont in his tent, took some tea with
him, and left, without being much impressed with him. In due time
Colonel Swords returned from the Sandwich Islands and relieved me
as quartermaster. Captain William G. Marcy, son of the Secretary
of War, had also come out in one of Stevenson’s ships as an
assistant commissary of subsistence, and was stationed at Monterey
and relieved me as commissary, so that I reverted to the condition
of a company-officer. While acting as a staff officer I had lived
at the custom-house in Monterey, but when relieved I took a tent
in line with the other company-officers on the hill, where we had a

Stevenson’a regiment reached San Francisco Bay early in March,
1847. Three companies were stationed at the Presidio under Major
James A. Hardier one company (Brackett’s) at Sonoma; three, under
Colonel Stevenson, at Monterey; and three, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Burton, at Santa Barbara. One day I was down at the headquarters
at Larkin’s horse, when General Kearney remarked to me that he was
going down to Los Angeles in the ship Lexington, and wanted me to
go along as his aide. Of course this was most agreeable to me.
Two of Stevenson’s companies, with the headquarters and the
colonel, were to go also. They embarked, and early in May we
sailed for San Pedro. Before embarking, the United States
line-of-battle-ship Columbus had reached the coast from China with
Commodore Biddle, whose rank gave him the supreme command of the
navy on the coast. He was busy in calling in–“lassooing “–from
the land-service the various naval officers who under Stockton had
been doing all sorts of military and civil service on shore.
Knowing that I was to go down the coast with General Kearney, he
sent for me and handed me two unsealed parcels addressed to
Lieutenant Wilson, United States Navy, and Major Gillespie, United
States Marines, at Los Angeles. These were written orders pretty
much in these words: “On receipt of this order you will repair at
once on board the United States ship Lexington at San Pedro, and on
reaching Monterey you will report to the undersigned.-JAMES
BIDDLE.” Of course, I executed my part to the letter, and these
officers were duly “lassooed.” We sailed down the coast with a
fair wind, and anchored inside the kelp, abreast of Johnson’s
house. Messages were forthwith dispatched up to Los Angeles,
twenty miles off, and preparations for horses made for us to ride
up. We landed, and, as Kearney held to my arm in ascending the
steep path up the bluff, he remarked to himself, rather than to me,
that it was strange that Fremont did not want to return north by
the Lexington on account of sea-sickness, but preferred to go by
land over five hundred miles. The younger officers had been
discussing what the general would do with Fremont, who was supposed
to be in a state of mutiny. Some, thought he would be tried and
shot, some that he would be carried back in irons; and all agreed
that if any one else than Fremont had put on such airs, and had
acted as he had done, Kearney would have shown him no mercy, for he
was regarded as the strictest sort of a disciplinarian. We had a
pleasant ride across the plain which lies between the seashore and
Los Angeles, which we reached in about three hours, the infantry
following on foot. We found Colonel P. St. George Cooke living at
the house of a Mr. Pryor, and the company of dragoons, with A. J.
Smith, Davidson, Stoneman, and Dr. Griffin, quartered in an
adobe-house close by. Fremont held his court in the only two-story
frame-house in the place. After sometime spent at Pryor’s house,
General Kearney ordered me to call on Fremont to notify him of his
arrival, and that he desired to see him. I walked round to the
house which had been pointed out to me as his, inquired of a man at
the door if the colonel was in, was answered “Yea,” and was
conducted to a large room on the second floor, where very soon
Fremont came in, and I delivered my message. As I was on the point
of leaving, he inquired where I was going to, and I answered that I
was going back to Pryor’s house, where the general was, when he
remarked that if I would wait a moment he would go along. Of
course I waited, and he soon joined me, dressed much as a
Californian, with the peculiar high, broad-brimmed hat, with a
fancy cord, and we walked together back to Pryor’s, where I left
him with General Kearney. We spent several days very pleasantly at
Los Angeles, then, as now, the chief pueblo of the south, famous
for its grapes, fruits, and wines. There was a hill close to the
town, from which we had a perfect view of the place. The
surrounding country is level, utterly devoid of trees, except the
willows and cotton-woods that line the Los Angeles Creek and the
acequias, or ditches, which lead from it. The space of ground
cultivated in vineyards seemed about five miles by one, embracing
the town. Every house had its inclosure of vineyard, which
resembled a miniature orchard, the vines being very old, ranged in
rows, trimmed very close, with irrigating ditches so arranged that
a stream of water could be diverted between each row of vines. The
Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers are fed by melting snows from a
range of mountains to the east, and the quantity of cultivated land
depends upon the amount of water. This did not seem to be very
large; but the San Gabriel River, close by, was represented to
contain a larger volume of water, affording the means of greatly
enlarging the space for cultivation. The climate was so moderate
that oranges, figs, pomegranates, etc…. were generally to be
found in every yard or inclosure.

At the time of our visit, General Kearney was making his
preparations to return overland to the United States, and he
arranged to secure a volunteer escort out of the battalion of
Mormons that was then stationed at San Luis Rey, under Colonel
Cooke and a Major Hunt. This battalion was only enlisted for one
year, and the time for their discharge was approaching, and it was
generally understood that the majority of the men wanted to be
discharged so as to join the Mormons who had halted at Salt Lake,
but a lieutenant and about forty men volunteered to return to
Missouri as the escort of General Kearney. These were mounted on
mules and horses, and I was appointed to conduct them to Monterey
by land. Leaving the party at Los Angeles to follow by sea in the
Lexington, I started with the Mormon detachment and traveled by
land. We averaged about thirty miles a day, stopped one day at
Santa Barbara, where I saw Colonel Burton, and so on by the usually
traveled road to Monterey, reaching it in about fifteen days,
arriving some days in advance of the Lexington. This gave me the
best kind of an opportunity for seeing the country, which was very
sparsely populated indeed, except by a few families at the various
Missions. We had no wheeled vehicles, but packed our food and
clothing on mules driven ahead, and we slept on the ground in the
open air, the rainy season having passed. Fremont followed me by
land in a few days, and, by the end of May, General Kearney was all
ready at Monterey to take his departure, leaving to succeed him in
command Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons. Our Captain
(Tompkins), too, had become discontented at his separation from his
family, tendered his resignation to General Kearney, and availed
himself of a sailing-vessel bound for Callao to reach the East.
Colonel Mason selected me as his adjutant-general; and on the very
last day of May General Kearney, with his Mormon escort, with
Colonel Cooke, Colonel Swords (quartermaster), Captain Turner, and
a naval officer, Captain Radford, took his departure for the East
overland, leaving us in full possession of California and its fate.
Fremont also left California with General Kearney, and with him
departed all cause of confusion and disorder in the country. From
that time forth no one could dispute the authority of Colonel Mason
as in command of all the United States forces on shore, while the
senior naval officer had a like control afloat. This was Commodore
James Biddle, who had reached the station from China in the
Columbus, and he in turn was succeeded by Commodore T. Ap Catesby
Jones in the line-of-battle-ship Ohio. At that time Monterey was
our headquarters, and the naval commander for a time remained
there, but subsequently San Francisco Bay became the chief naval

Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons, was an officer of great
experience, of stern character, deemed by some harsh and severe,
but in all my intercourse with him he was kind and agreeable. He
had a large fund of good sense, and, during our long period of
service together, I enjoyed his unlimited confidence. He had been
in his day a splendid shot and hunter, and often entertained me
with characteristic anecdotes of Taylor, Twiggs, Worth, Harvey,
Martin Scott, etc., etc, who were then in Mexico, gaining a
national fame. California had settled down to a condition of
absolute repose, and we naturally repined at our fate in being so
remote from the war in Mexico, where our comrades were reaping
large honors. Mason dwelt in a house not far from the Custom-
House, with Captain Lanman, United States Navy; I had a small
adobe-house back of Larkin’s. Halleck and Dr. Murray had a small
log-house not far off. The company of artillery was still on the
hill, under the command of Lieutenant Ord, engaged in building a
fort whereon to mount the guns we had brought out in the Lexington,
and also in constructing quarters out of hewn pine-logs for the
men. Lieutenant Minor, a very clever young officer, had taken
violently sick and died about the time I got back from Los Angeles,
leaving Lieutenants Ord and Loeser alone with the company, with
Assistant-Surgeon Robert Murray. Captain William G. Marcy was the
quartermaster and commissary. Naglee’s company of Stevenson’s
regiment had been mounted and was sent out against the Indians in
the San Joaquin Valley, and Shannon’s company occupied the
barracks. Shortly after General Kearney had gone East, we found an
order of his on record, removing one Mr. Nash, the Alcalde of
Sonoma, and appointing to his place ex-Governor L. W. Boggs. A
letter came to Colonel and Governor Mason from Boggs, whom he had
personally known in Missouri, complaining that, though he had been
appointed alcalde, the then incumbent (Nash) utterly denied
Kearney’s right to remove him, because he had been elected by the
people under the proclamation of Commodore Sloat, and refused to
surrender his office or to account for his acts as alcalde. Such a
proclamation had been made by Commodore Sloat shortly after the
first occupation of California, announcing that the people were
free and enlightened American citizens, entitled to all the rights
and privileges as such, and among them the right to elect their own
officers, etc. The people of Sonoma town and valley, some forty or
fifty immigrants from the United States, and very few native
Californians, had elected Mr. Nash, and, as stated, he refused to
recognize the right of a mere military commander to eject him and
to appoint another to his place. Neither General Kearney nor Mason
had much respect for this land of “buncombe,” but assumed the true
doctrine that California was yet a Mexican province, held by right
of conquest, that the military commander was held responsible to
the country, and that the province should be held in statu quo
until a treaty of peace. This letter of Boggs was therefore
referred to Captain Brackett, whose company was stationed at
Sonoma, with orders to notify Nash that Boggs was the rightful
alcalde; that he must quietly surrender his office, with the books
and records thereof, and that he must account for any moneys
received from the sale of town-lots, etc., etc.; and in the event
of refusal he (Captain Brackett) must compel him by the use of
force. In due time we got Brackett’s answer, saying that the
little community of Sonoma was in a dangerous state of
effervescence caused by his orders; that Nash was backed by most of
the Americans there who had come across from Missouri with American
ideas; that as he (Brackett) was a volunteer officer, likely to be
soon discharged, and as he designed to settle there, he asked in
consequence to be excused from the execution of this (to him)
unpleasant duty. Such a request, coming to an old soldier like
Colonel Mason, aroused his wrath, and he would have proceeded
rough-shod against Brackett, who, by-the-way, was a West Point
graduate, and ought to have known better; but I suggested to the
colonel that, the case being a test one, he had better send me up
to Sonoma, and I would settle it quick enough. He then gave me an
order to go to Sonoma to carry out the instructions already given
to Brackett.

I took one soldier with me, Private Barnes, with four horses, two
of which we rode, and the other two we drove ahead. The first day
we reached Gilroy’s and camped by a stream near three or four
adobe-huts known as Gilroy’s ranch. The next day we passed
Murphy’s, San Jose, and Santa Clara Mission, camping some four
miles beyond, where a kind of hole had been dug in the ground for
water. The whole of this distance, now so beautifully improved and
settled, was then scarcely occupied, except by poor ranches
producing horses and cattle. The pueblo of San Jose was a string
of low adobe-houses festooned with red peppers and garlic; and the
Mission of Santa Clara was a dilapidated concern, with its church
and orchard. The long line of poplar-trees lining the road from
San Jose to Santa Clara bespoke a former period when the priests
had ruled the land. Just about dark I was lying on the ground near
the well, and my soldier Barnes had watered our horses and picketed
them to grass, when we heard a horse crushing his way through the
high mustard-bushes which filled the plain, and soon a man came to
us to inquire if we had seen a saddle-horse pass up the road. We
explained to him what we had heard, and he went off in pursuit of
his horse. Before dark he came back unsuccessful, and gave his
name as Bidwell, the same gentleman who has since been a member of
Congress, who is married to Miss Kennedy, of Washington City, and
now lives in princely style at Chico, California.

He explained that he was a surveyor, and had been in the lower
country engaged in surveying land; that the horse had escaped him
with his saddle-bags containing all his notes and papers, and some
six hundred dollars in money, all the money he had earned. He
spent the night with us on the ground, and the next morning we left
him there to continue the search for his horse, and I afterward
heard that he had found his saddle-bags all right, but never
recovered the horse. The next day toward night we approached the
Mission of San Francisco, and the village of Yerba Buena, tired and
weary–the wind as usual blowing a perfect hurricane, and a more
desolate region it was impossible to conceive of. Leaving Barnes
to work his way into the town as best he could with the tired
animals, I took the freshest horse and rode forward. I fell in
with Lieutenant Fabius Stanley, United States Navy, and we rode
into Yerba Buena together about an hour before sundown, there being
nothing but a path from the Mission into the town, deep and heavy
with drift-sand. My horse could hardly drag one foot after the
other when we reached the old Hudson Bay Company’s house, which was
then the store of Howard and Mellus. There I learned where Captain
Folsom, the quartermaster, was to be found. He was staying with a
family of the name of Grimes, who had a small horse back of
Howard’s store, which must have been near where Sacramento Street
now crosses Kearney. Folsom was a classmate of mine, had come out
with Stevenson’s regiment as quartermaster, and was at the time the
chief-quartermaster of the department. His office was in the old
custom-horse standing at the northwest corner of the Plaza. He had
hired two warehouses, the only ones there at the time, of one
Liedsdorff, the principal man of Yerba Buena, who also owned the
only public-house, or tavern, called the City Hotel, on Kearney
Street, at the southeast corner of the Plaza. I stopped with
Folsom at Mrs. Grimes’s, and he sent my horse, as also the other
three when Barnes had got in after dark, to a coral where he had a
little barley, but no hay. At that time nobody fed a horse, but he
was usually turned out to pick such scanty grass as he could find
on the side-hills. The few government horses used in town were
usually sent out to the Presidio, where the grass was somewhat
better. At that time (July, 1847), what is now called San
Francisco was called Yerba Buena. A naval officer, Lieutenant
Washington A. Bartlett, its first alcalde, had caused it to be
surveyed and laid out into blocks and lots, which were being sold
at sixteen dollars a lot of fifty vuras square; the understanding
being that no single person could purchase of the alcalde more than
one in-lot of fifty varas, and one out-lot of a hundred varas.
Folsom, however, had got his clerks, orderlies, etc., to buy lots,
and they, for a small consideration, conveyed them to him, so that
he was nominally the owner of a good many lots. Lieutenant Halleck
had bought one of each kind, and so had Warner. Many naval
officers had also invested, and Captain Folsom advised me to buy
some, but I felt actually insulted that he should think me such a
fool as to pay money for property in such a horrid place as Yerba
Buena, especially ridiculing his quarter of the city, then called
Happy Valley. At that day Montgomery Street was, as now, the
business street, extending from Jackson to Sacramento, the water of
the bay leaving barely room for a few houses on its east side, and
the public warehouses were on a sandy beach about where the Bank of
California now stands, viz., near the intersection of Sansome and
California, Streets. Along Montgomery Street were the stores of
Howard & Mellus, Frank Ward, Sherman & Ruckel, Ross & Co., and it
may be one or two others. Around the Plaza were a few houses,
among them the City Hotel and the Custom-House, single-story adobes
with tiled roofs, and they were by far the most substantial and
best houses in the place. The population was estimated at about
four hundred, of whom Kanakas (natives of the Sandwich Islands)
formed the bulk.

At the foot of Clay Street was a small wharf which small boats
could reach at high tide; but the principal landing-place was where
some stones had fallen into the water, about where Broadway now
intersects Battery Street. On the steep bluff above had been
excavated, by the navy, during the year before, a bench, wherein
were mounted a couple of navy-guns, styled the battery, which, I
suppose, gave name to the street. I explained to Folsom the object
of my visit, and learned from him that he had no boat in which to
send me to Sonoma, and that the only, chance to get there was to
borrow a boat from the navy. The line-of-battle-ship Columbus was
then lying at anchor off the town, and he said if I would get up
early the next morning I could go off to her in one of the

Accordingly, I was up bright and early, down at the wharf, found a
boat, and went off to the Columbus to see Commodore Biddle. On
reaching the ship and stating to the officer of the deck my
business, I was shown into the commodore’s cabin, and soon made
known to him my object. Biddle was a small-sized man, but
vivacious in the extreme. He had a perfect contempt for all
humbug, and at once entered into the business with extreme
alacrity. I was somewhat amused at the importance he attached to
the step. He had a chaplain, and a private secretary, in a small
room latticed off from his cabin, and he first called on them to go
out, and, when we were alone, he enlarged on the folly of Sloat’s
proclamation, giving the people the right to elect their own
officers, and commended Kearney and Mason for nipping that idea in
the bud, and keeping the power in their own hands. He then sent
for the first lieutenant (Drayton), and inquired if there were
among the officers on board any who had ever been in the Upper Bay,
and learning that there was a midshipman (Whittaker) he was sent
for. It so happened that this midshipman had been on a frolic on
shore a few nights before, and was accordingly much frightened when
summoned into the commodore’s presence, but as soon as he was
questioned as to his knowledge of the bay, he was sensibly
relieved, and professed to know every thing about it.

Accordingly, the long boat was ordered with this midshipman and
eight sailors, prepared with water and provisions for several days
absence. Biddle then asked me if I knew any of his own officers,
and which one of them I would prefer to accompany me. I knew most
of them, and we settled down on Louis McLane. He was sent for, and
it was settled that McLane and I were to conduct this important
mission, and the commodore enjoined on us complete secrecy, so as
to insure success, and he especially cautioned us against being
pumped by his ward-room officers, Chapman, Lewis, Wise, etc., while
on board his ship. With this injunction I was dismissed to the
wardroom, where I found Chapman, Lewis, and Wise, dreadfully
exercised at our profound secrecy. The fact that McLane and I had
been closeted with the commodore for an hour, that orders for the
boat and stores had been made, that the chaplain and clerk had been
sent out of the cabin, etc., etc., all excited their curiosity; but
McLane and I kept our secret well. The general impression was,
that we had some knowledge about the fate of Captain Montgomery’s
two sons and the crew that had been lost the year before. In 1846
Captain Montgomery commanded at Yerba Buena, on board the St. Mary
sloop-of-war, and he had a detachment of men stationed up at
Sonoma. Occasionally a boat was sent up with provisions or
intelligence to them. Montgomery had two sons on board his ship,
one a midshipman, the other his secretary. Having occasion to send
some money up to Sonoma, he sent his two sons with a good boat and
crew. The boat started with a strong breeze and a very large sail,
was watched from the deck until she was out of sight, and has never
been heard of since. There was, of coarse, much speculation as to
their fate, some contending that the boat must have been capsized
in San Pablo Bay, and that all were lost; others contending that
the crew had murdered the officers for the money, and then escaped;
but, so far as I know, not a man of that crew has ever been seen or
heard of since. When at last the boat was ready for us, we
started, leaving all hands, save the commodore, impressed with the
belief that we were going on some errand connected with the loss of
the missing boat and crew of the St. Mary. We sailed directly
north, up the bay and across San Pablo, reached the month of Sonoma
Creek about dark, and during the night worked up the creek some
twelve miles by means of the tide, to a landing called the
Embarcadero. To maintain the secrecy which the commodore had
enjoined on us, McLane and I agreed to keep up the delusion by
pretending to be on a marketing expedition to pick up chickens,
pigs, etc., for the mess of the Columbus, soon to depart for home.

Leaving the midshipman and four sailors to guard the boat, we
started on foot with the other four for Sonoma Town, which we soon
reached. It was a simple open square, around which were some
adobe-houses, that of General Vallejo occupying one side. On
another was an unfinished two-story adobe building, occupied as a
barrack by Bracken’s company. We soon found Captain Brackett, and
I told him that I intended to take Nash a prisoner and convey him
back to Monterey to answer for his mutinous behavior. I got an old
sergeant of his company, whom I had known in the Third Artillery,
quietly to ascertain the whereabouts of Nash, who was a bachelor,
stopping with the family of a lawyer named Green. The sergeant
soon returned, saying that Nash had gone over to Napa, but would be
back that evening; so McLane and I went up to a farm of some
pretensions, occupied by one Andreas Hoepner, with a pretty Sitka
wife, who lived a couple of miles above Sonoma, and we bought of
him some chickens, pigs, etc. We then visited Governor Boggs’s
family and that of General Vallejo, who was then, as now, one of
the most prominent and influential natives of California. About
dark I learned that Nash had come back, and then, giving Brackett
orders to have a cart ready at the corner of the plaza, McLane and
I went to the house of Green. Posting an armed sailor on each side
of the house, we knocked at the door and walked in. We found
Green, Nash, and two women, at supper. I inquired if Nash were in,
and was first answered “No,” but one of the women soon pointed to
him, and he rose. We were armed with pistols, and the family was
evidently alarmed. I walked up to him and took his arm, and told
him to come along with me. He asked me, “Where?” and I said,
“Monterey.” “Why?” I would explain that more at leisure. Green
put himself between me and the door, and demanded, in theatrical
style, why I dared arrest a peaceable citizen in his house. I
simply pointed to my pistol, and told him to get out of the way,
which he did. Nash asked to get some clothing, but I told him he
should want for nothing. We passed out, Green following us with
loud words, which brought the four sailors to the front-door, when
I told him to hush up or I would take him prisoner also. About
that time one of the sailors, handling his pistol carelessly,
discharged it, and Green disappeared very suddenly. We took Nash
to the cart, put him in, and proceeded back to our boat. The next
morning we were gone.

Nash being out of the way, Boggs entered on his office, and the
right to appoint or remove from civil office was never again
questioned in California during the military regime. Nash was an
old man, and was very much alarmed for his personal safety. He had
come across the Plains, and had never yet seen the sea. While on
our way down the bay, I explained fully to him the state of things
in California, and he admitted he had never looked on it in that
light before, and professed a willingness to surrender his office;
but, having gone so far, I thought it best to take him to Monterey.
On our way down the bay the wind was so strong, as we approached
the Columbus, that we had to take refuge behind Yerba Buena Island,
then called Goat Island, where we landed, and I killed a gray seal.
The next morning, the wind being comparatively light, we got out
and worked our way up to the Columbus, where I left my prisoner on
board, and went on shore to find Commodore Biddle, who had gone to
dine with Frank Ward. I found him there, and committed Nash to his
charge, with the request that he would send him down to Monterey,
which he did in the sloop-of-war Dale, Captain Selfridge
commanding. I then returned to Monterey by land, and, when the
Dale arrived, Colonel Mason and I went on board, found poor old Mr.
Nash half dead with sea-sickness and fear, lest Colonel Mason would
treat him with extreme military rigor. But, on the contrary, the
colonel spoke to him kindly, released him as a prisoner on his
promise to go back to Sonoma. surrender his office to Boggs, and
account to him for his acts while in office. He afterward came on
shore, was provided with clothing and a horse, returned to Sonoma,
and I never have seen him since.

Matters and things settled down in Upper California, and all moved
along with peace and harmony. The war still continued in Mexico,
and the navy authorities resolved to employ their time with the
capture of Mazatlan and Guaymas. Lower California had already been
occupied by two companies of Stevenson’s regiment, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Burton, who had taken post at La Paz, and a
small party of sailors was on shore at San Josef, near Cape San
Lucas, detached from the Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Bailey.
The orders for this occupation were made by General Kearney before
he left, in pursuance of instructions from the War Department,
merely to subserve a political end, for there were few or no people
in Lower California, which is a miserable, wretched, dried-up
peninsula. I remember the proclamation made by Burton and Captain
Bailey, in taking possession, which was in the usual florid style.
Bailey signed his name as the senior naval officer at the station,
but, as it was necessary to put it into Spanish to reach the
inhabitants of the newly-acquired country, it was interpreted, “El
mas antiguo de todos los oficiales de la marina,” etc., which,
literally, is “the most ancient of all the naval officers,” etc.,
a translation at which we made some fun.

The expedition to Mazatlan was, however, for a different purpose,
viz., to get possession of the ports of Mazatlan and Guaymas, as a
part of the war against Mexico, and not for permanent conquest.

Commodore Shubrick commanded this expedition, and took Halleck
along as his engineer-officer. They captured Mazatlan and Guaymas,
and then called on Colonel Mason to send soldiers down to hold
possession, but he had none to spare, and it was found impossible
to raise other volunteers either in California or Oregon, and the
navy held these places by detachments of sailors and marines till
the end of the war. Burton also called for reenforcements, and
Naglee’a company was sent to him from Monterey, and these three
companies occupied Lower California at the end of the Mexican War.
Major Hardie still commanded at San Francisco and above; Company F,
Third Artillery, and Shannon’s company of volunteers, were at
Monterey; Lippett’s company at Santa Barbara; Colonel Stevenson,
with one company of his regiment, and the company of the First
Dragoons, was at Los Angeles; and a company of Mormons, reenlisted
out of the Mormon Battalion, garrisoned San Diego–and thus matters
went along throughout 1847 into 1848. I had occasion to make
several trips to Yerba Buena and back, and in the spring of 1848
Colonel Mason and I went down to Santa Barbara in the sloop-of-war

I spent much time in hunting deer and bear in the mountains back of
the Carmel Mission, and ducks and geese in the plains of the
Salinas. As soon as the fall rains set in, the young oats would
sprout up, and myriads of ducks, brant, and geese, made their
appearance. In a single day, or rather in the evening of one day
and the morning of the next, I could load a pack-mule with geese
and ducks. They had grown somewhat wild from the increased number
of hunters, yet, by marking well the place where a flock lighted, I
could, by taking advantage of gullies or the shape of the ground,,
creep up within range; and, giving one barrel on the ground, and
the other as they rose, I have secured as many as nine at one
discharge. Colonel Mason on one occasion killed eleven geese by
one discharge of small shot. The seasons in California are well
marked. About October and November the rains begin, and the whole
country, plains and mountains, becomes covered with a bright-green
grass, with endless flowers. The intervals between the rains give
the finest weather possible. These rains are less frequent in
March, and cease altogether in April and May, when gradually the
grass dies and the whole aspect of things changes, first to yellow,
then to brown, and by midsummer all is burnt up and dry as an

When General Kearney first departed we took his office at Larkin’s;
but shortly afterward we had a broad stairway constructed to lead
from the outside to the upper front porch of the barracks. By
cutting a large door through the adobe-wall, we made the upper room
in the centre our office; and another side-room, connected with it
by a door, was Colonel Mason’s private office.

I had a single clerk, a soldier named Baden; and William E. P.
Hartnell, citizen, also had a table in the same room. He was the
government interpreter, and had charge of the civil archives.
After Halleck’s return from Mazatlan, he was, by Colonel Mason,
made Secretary of State; and he then had charge of the civil
archives, including the land-titles, of which Fremont first had
possession, but which had reverted to us when he left the country.

I remember one day, in the spring of 1848, that two men, Americans,
came into the office and inquired for the Governor. I asked their
business, and one answered that they had just come down from
Captain Sutter on special business, and they wanted to see Governor
Mason in person. I took them in to the colonel, and left them
together. After some time the colonel came to his door and called
to me. I went in, and my attention was directed to a series of
papers unfolded on his table, in which lay about half an ounce of
placer gold. Mason said to me, “What is that?” I touched it and
examined one or two of the larger pieces, and asked, “Is it gold?”
Mason asked me if I had ever seen native gold. I answered that, in
1844, I was in Upper Georgia, and there saw some native gold, but
it was much finer than this, and that it was in phials, or in
transparent quills; but I said that, if this were gold, it could be
easily tested, first, by its malleability, and next by acids. I
took a piece in my teeth, and the metallic lustre was perfect. I
then called to the clerk, Baden, to bring an axe and hatchet from
the backyard. When these were brought, I took the largest piece
and beat it out flat, and beyond doubt it was metal, and a pure
metal. Still, we attached little importance to the fact, for gold
was known to exist at San Fernando, at the south, and yet was not
considered of much value. Colonel Mason then handed me a letter
from Captain Sutter, addressed to him, stating that he (Sutter) was
engaged in erecting a saw-mill at Coloma, about forty miles up the
American Fork, above his fort at New Helvetia, for the general
benefit of the settlers in that vicinity; that he had incurred
considerable expense, and wanted a “preemption” to the quarter-
section of land on which the mill was located, embracing the
tail-race in which this particular gold had been found. Mason
instructed me to prepare a letter, in answer, for his signature. I
wrote off a letter, reciting that California was yet a Mexican
province, simply held by us as a conquest; that no laws of the
United States yet applied to it, much less the land laws or
preemption laws, which could only apply after a public survey.
Therefore it was impossible for the Governor to promise him
(Sutter) a title to the land; yet, as there were no settlements
within forty miles, he was not likely to be disturbed by
trespassers. Colonel Mason signed the letter, handed it to one of
the gentlemen who had brought the sample of gold, and they
departed. That gold was the first discovered in the Sierra Nevada,
which soon revolutionized the whole country, and actually moved the
whole civilized world. About this time (May and June, 1848), far
more importance was attached to quicksilver. One mine, the New
Almaden, twelve miles south of San Jose, was well known, and was in
possession of the agent of a Scotch gentleman named Forties, who
at the time was British consul at Tepic, Mexico. Mr. Forties came
up from San Blas in a small brig, which proved to be a Mexican
vessel; the vessel was seized, condemned, and actually sold, but
Forties was wealthy, and bought her in. His title to the
quicksilver-mine was, however, never disputed, as he had bought it
regularly, before our conquest of the country, from another British
subject, also named Forties, a resident of Santa Clara Mission, who
had purchased it of the discoverer, a priest; but the boundaries of
the land attached to the mine were even then in dispute. Other men
were in search of quicksilver; and the whole range of mountains
near the New Almaden mine was stained with the brilliant red of the
snlphuret of mercury (cinnabar). A company composed of T. O.
Larkin, J. R. Snyder, and others, among them one John Ricord (who
was quite a character), also claimed a valuable mine near by.
Ricord was a lawyer from about Buffalo, and by some means had got
to the Sandwich Islands, where he became a great favorite of the
king, Kamehameha; was his attorney-general, and got into a
difficulty with the Rev. Mr. Judd, who was a kind of prime-minister
to his majesty. One or the other had to go, and Ricord left for
San Francisco, where he arrived while Colonel Mason and I were
there on some business connected with the customs. Ricord at once
made a dead set at Mason with flattery, and all sorts of spurious
arguments, to convince him that our military government was too
simple in its forms for the new state of facts, and that he was the
man to remodel it. I had heard a good deal to his prejudice, and
did all I could to prevent Mason taking him, into his confidence.
We then started back for Monterey. Ricord was along, and night and
day he was harping on his scheme; but he disgusted Colonel Mason
with his flattery, and, on reaching Monterey, he opened what he
called a law-office, but there were neither courts nor clients, so
necessity forced him to turn his thoughts to something else, and
quicksilver became his hobby. In the spring of 1848 an appeal came
to our office from San Jose, which compelled the Governor to go up
in person. Lieutenant Loeser and I, with a couple of soldiers,
went along. At San Jose the Governor held some kind of a court, in
which Ricord and the alcalde had a warm dispute about a certain
mine which Ricord, as a member of the Larkin Company, had opened
within the limits claimed by the New Almaden Company. On our way
up we had visited the ground, and were therefore better prepared to
understand the controversy. We had found at New Almaden Mr.
Walkinshaw, a fine Scotch gentleman, the resident agent of Mr.
Forbes. He had built in the valley, near a small stream, a few
board-houses, and some four or five furnaces for the distillation
of the mercury. These were very simple in their structure, being
composed of whalers’ kettles, set in masonry. These kettles were
filled with broken ore about the size of McAdam-stone, mingled with
lime. Another kettle, reversed, formed the lid, and the seam was
luted with clay. On applying heat, the mercury was volatilized and
carried into a chimney-stack, where it condensed and flowed back
into a reservoir, and then was led in pipes into another kettle
outside. After witnessing this process, we visited the mine
itself, which outcropped near the apex of the hill, about a
thousand feet above the furnaces. We found wagons hauling the
mineral down the hill and returning empty, and in the mines quite a
number of Sonora miners were blasting and driving for the beautiful
ore (cinnabar). It was then, and is now, a most valuable mine.
The adit of the mine was at the apex of the hill, which drooped off
to the north. We rode along this hill, and saw where many openings
had been begun, but these, proving of little or no value, had been
abandoned. Three miles beyond, on the west face of the bill, we
came to the opening of the “Larkin Company.” There was evidence of
a good deal of work, but the mine itself was filled up by what
seemed a land-slide. The question involved in the lawsuit before
the alcalde at San Jose was, first, whether the mine was or was not
on the land belonging to the New Almaden property; and, next,
whether the company had complied with all the conditions of the
mite laws of Mexico, which were construed to be still in force in

These laws required that any one who discovered a valuable mine on
private land should first file with the alcalde, or judge of the
district, a notice and claim for the benefits of such discovery;
then the mine was to be opened and followed for a distance of at
least one hundred feet within a specified time, and the claimants
must take out samples of the mineral and deposit the same with the
alcalde, who was then required to inspect personally the mine, to
see that it fulfilled all. the conditions of the law, before he
could give a written title. In this case the alcalde had been to
the mine and had possession of samples of the ore; but, as the
mouth of the mine was closed up, as alleged, from the act of God,
by a land-slide, it was contended by Ricord and his associates that
it was competent to prove by good witnesses that the mine had been
opened into the hill one hundred feet, and that, by no negligence
of theirs, it had caved in. It was generally understood that
Robert J. Walker, United States Secretary of the Treasury, was then
a partner in this mining company; and a vessel, the bark Gray
Eagle, was ready at San Francisco to sail for New York with the
title-papers on which to base a joint-stock company for speculative
uses. I think the alcalde was satisfied that the law had been
complied with, that he had given the necessary papers, and, as at
that time there was nothing developed to show fraud, the Governor
(Mason) did not interfere. At that date there was no public house
or tavern in San Jose where we could stop, so we started toward
Santa Cruz and encamped about ten miles out, to the west of the
town, where we fell in with another party of explorers, of whom
Ruckel, of San Francisco, was the head; and after supper, as we sat
around the camp-fire, the conversation turned on quicksilver in
general, and the result of the contest in San Jose in particular.
Mason was relating to Ruckel the points and the arguments of
Ricord, that the company should not suffer from an act of God,
viz., the caving in of the mouth of the mine, when a man named
Cash, a fellow who had once been in the quartermaster’s employ as a
teamster, spoke up: “Governor Mason, did Judge Ricord say that?”
“Yes,” said the Governor; and then Cash related how he and another
man, whose name he gave, had been employed by Ricord to undermine a
heavy rock that rested above the mouth of the mine, so that it
tumbled down, carrying with it a large quantity of earth, and
completely filled it up, as we had seen; “and,” said Cash, “it took
us three days of the hardest kind of work.” This was the act of
God, and on the papers procured from the alcalde at that time, I
understand, was built a huge speculation, by which thousands of
dollars changed hands in the United States and were lost. This
happened long before the celebrated McGarrahan claim, which has
produced so much noise, and which still is being prosecuted in the
courts and in Congress.

On the next day we crossed over the Santa Cruz Mountains, from
which we had sublime views of the scenery, first looking east
toward the lower Bay of San Francisco, with the bright plains of
Santa Clara and San Jose, and then to the west upon the ocean, the
town of Monterey being visible sixty miles off. If my memory is
correct, we beheld from that mountain the firing of a salute from
the battery at Monterey, and counted the number of guns from the
white puffs of smoke, but could not hear the sound. That night we
slept on piles of wheat in a mill at Soquel, near Santa Cruz, and,
our supplies being short, I advised that we should make an early
start next morning, so as to reach the ranch of Don Juan Antonio
Vallejo, a particular friend, who had a large and valuable
cattle-ranch on the Pajaro River, about twenty miles on our way to
Monterey. Accordingly, we were off by the first light of day, and
by nine o’clock we had reached the ranch. It was on a high point
of the plateau, overlooking the plain of the Pajaro, on which were
grazing numbers of horses and cattle. The house was of adobe, with
a long range of adobe-huts occupied by the semi-civilized Indians,
who at that time did all the labor of a ranch, the herding and
marking of cattle, breaking of horses, and cultivating the little
patches of wheat and vegetables which constituted all the farming
of that day. Every thing about the house looked deserted, and,
seeing a small Indian boy leaning up against a post, I approached
him and asked him in Spanish, “Where is the master?” “Gone to the
Presidio” (Monterey). “Is anybody in the house?” “No.” “Is it
locked up?” “Yes.” “Is no one about who can get in?” “No.”
“Have you any meat?” “No.” “Any flour or grain?” “No.” “Any
chickens?” “No.” “Any eggs?” “No.” “What do you live on?”
“Nada” (nothing). The utter indifference of this boy, and the
tone of his answer “Nada,” attracted the attention of Colonel
Mason, who had been listening to our conversation, and who
knew enough of Spanish to catch the meaning, and he exclaimed
with some feeling, “So we get nada for our breakfast.” I felt
mortified, for I had held out the prospect of a splendid
breakfast of meat and tortillas with rice, chickens, eggs, etc., at
the ranch of my friend Josh Antonio, as a justification for
taking the Governor, a man of sixty years of age, more than
twenty miles at a full canter for his breakfast. But there was
no help for it, and we accordingly went a short distance to a
pond, where we unpacked our mules and made a slim breakfast; on
some scraps of hard bread and a bone of pork that remained in our
alforjas. This was no uncommon thing in those days, when many a
ranchero with his eleven leagues of land, his hundreds of horses
and thousands of cattle, would receive us with all the
grandiloquence of a Spanish lord, and confess that he had nothing
in his house to eat except the carcass of a beef hung up, from
which the stranger might cut and cook, without money or price, what
he needed. That night we slept on Salinas Plain, and the next
morning reached Monterey. All the missions and houses at that
period were alive with fleas, which the natives looked on as
pleasant titillators, but they so tortured me that I always gave
them a wide berth, and slept on a saddle-blanket, with the saddle
for a pillow and the serape, or blanket, for a cover. We never
feared rain except in winter. As the spring and summer of 1848
advanced, the reports came faster and faster from the gold-mines at
Sutter’s saw-mill. Stories reached us of fabulous discoveries, and
spread throughout the land. Everybody was talking of “Gold!
gold!” until it assumed the character of a fever. Some of our
soldiers began to desert; citizens were fitting out trains of
wagons and packmules to go to the mines. We heard of men earning
fifty, five hundred, and thousands of dollars per day, and for a
time it seemed as though somebody would reach solid gold. Some of
this gold began to come to Yerba Buena in trade, and to disturb the
value of merchandise, particularly of mules, horses, tin pans, and
articles used in mining: I of course could not escape the
infection, and at last convinced Colonel Mason that it was our duty
to go up and see with our own eyes, that we might report the truth
to our Government. As yet we had no regular mail to any part of
the United States, but mails had come to us at long intervals,
around Cape Horn, and one or two overland. I well remember the
first overland mail. It was brought by Kit Carson in saddle-bags
from Taos in New Mexico. We heard of his arrival at Los Angeles,
and waited patiently for his arrival at headquarters. His fame
then was at its height, from the publication of Fremont’s books,
and I was very anxious to see a man who had achieved such feats of
daring among the wild animals of the Rocky Mountains, and still
wilder Indians of the Plains. At last his arrival was reported at
the tavern at Monterey, and I hurried to hunt him up. I cannot
express my surprise at beholding a small, stoop-shouldered man,
with reddish hair, freckled face, soft blue eyes, and nothing to
indicate extraordinary courage or daring. He spoke but little, and
answered questions in monosyllables. I asked for his mail, and he
picked up his light saddle-bags containing the great overland mail,
and we walked together to headquarters, where he delivered his
parcel into Colonel Mason’s own hands. He spent some days in
Monterey, during which time we extracted with difficulty some items
of his personal history. He was then by commission a lieutenant in
the regiment of Mounted Rifles serving in Mexico under Colonel
Sumner, and, as he could not reach his regiment from California,
Colonel Mason ordered that for a time he should be assigned to duty
with A. J. Smith’s company, First Dragoons, at Los Angeles. He
remained at Los Angeles some months, and was then sent back to the
United Staten with dispatches, traveling two thousand miles almost
alone, in preference to being encumbered by a large party.

Toward the close of June, 1848, the gold-fever being at its height,
by Colonel Mason’s orders I made preparations for his trip to the
newly-discovered gold-mines at Sutter’s Fort. I selected four good
soldiers, with Aaron, Colonel Mason’s black servant, and a good
outfit of horses and pack-mules, we started by the usually traveled
route for Yerba Buena. There Captain Fulsom and two citizens
joined our party. The first difficulty was to cross the bay to
Saucelito. Folsom, as quartermaster, had a sort of scow with a
large sail, with which to discharge the cargoes of ships, that
could not come within a mile of the shore. It took nearly the
whole day to get the old scow up to the only wharf there, and then
the water was so shallow that the scow, with its load of horses,
would not float at the first high tide, but by infinite labor on
the next tide she was got off and safely crossed over to Saucelito.
We followed in a more comfortable schooner. Having safely landed
our horses and mules, we picked up and rode to San Rafael Mission,
stopping with Don Timoteo Murphy. The next day’s journey took us
to Bodega, where lived a man named Stephen Smith, who had the only
steam saw-mill in California. He had a Peruvian wife, and employed
a number of absolutely naked Indians in making adobes. We spent a
day very pleasantly with him, and learned that he had come to
California some years before, at the personal advice of Daniel
Webster, who had informed him that sooner or later the United
States would be in possession of California, and that in
consequence it would become a great country. From Bodega we
traveled to Sonoma, by way of Petaluma, and spent a day with
General Vallejo. I had been there before, as related, in the
business of the alcalde Nash. From Sonoma we crossed over by way
of Napa, Suisun, and Vaca’s ranch, to the Puta. In the rainy
season, the plain between the Puta and Sacramento Rivers is
impassable, but in July the waters dry up; and we passed without
trouble, by the trail for Sutter’s Embarcadero. We reached the
Sacramento River, then full of water, with a deep, clear current.
The only means of crossing over was by an Indian dugout canoe. We
began by carrying across our packs and saddles, and then our
people. When all things were ready, the horses were driven into
the water, one being guided ahead by a man in the canoe. Of
course, the horses and mules at first refused to take to the water,
and it was nearly a day’s work to get them across, and even then
some of our animals after crossing escaped into the woods and
undergrowth that lined the river, but we secured enough of them to
reach Sutter’s Fort, three miles back from the embcarcadero, where
we encamped at the old slough, or pond, near the fort. On
application, Captain Butter sent some Indians back into the bushes,
who recovered and brought in all our animals. At that time there
was not the sign of a habitation there or thereabouts, except the
fort, and an old adobe-house, east of the fort, known as the
hospital. The fort itself was one of adobe-walls, about twenty
feet high, rectangular in form, with two-story block houses at
diagonal corners. The entrance was by a large gate, open by day
and closed at night, with two iron ship’s guns near at hand.
Inside there was a large house, with a good shingle-roof, used as a
storehouse, and all round the walls were ranged rooms, the fort
wall being the outer wall of the house. The inner wall also was of
adobe. These rooms were used by Captain Sutter himself and by his
people. He had a blacksmith’s shop, carpenter’s shop, etc., and
other rooms where the women made blankets. Sutter was monarch of
all he surveyed, and had authority to inflict punishment even unto
death, a power he did not fail to use. He had horses, cattle, and
sheep, and of these he gave liberally and without price to all in
need. He caused to be driven into our camp a beef and some sheep,
which were slaughtered for our use. Already the goldmines were
beginning to be felt. Many people were then encamped, some going
and some coming, all full of gold-stories, and each surpassing the
other. We found preparations in progress for celebrating the
Fourth of July, then close at hand, and we agreed to remain over to
assist on the occasion; of course, being the high officials, we
were the honored guests. People came from a great distance to
attend this celebration of the Fourth of July, and the tables were
laid in the large room inside the storehouse of the fort. A man of
some note, named Sinclair, presided, and after a substantial meal
and a reasonable supply of aguardiente we began the toasts. All
that I remember is that Folsom and I spoke for our party; others,
Captain Sutter included, made speeches, and before the celebration
was over Sutter was enthusiastic, and many others showed the
effects of the aguardiente. The next day (namely, July 5, 1848) we
resumed our journey toward the mines, and, in twenty-five miles of
as hot and dusty a ride as possible, we reached Mormon Island. I
have heretofore stated that the gold was first found in the
tail-race of the stew-mill at Coloma, forty miles above Sutter’s
Fort, or fifteen above Mormon Island, in the bed of the American
Fork of the Sacramento River. It seems that Sutter had employed an
American named Marshall, a sort of millwright, to do this work for
him, but Marshall afterward claimed that in the matter of the
saw-mill they were copartners. At all events, Marshall and the
family of Mr. Wimmer were living at Coloma, where the pine-trees
afforded the best material for lumber. He had under him four white
men, Mormons, who had been discharged from Cooke’s battalion, and
some Indians. These were engaged in hewing logs, building a
mill-dam, and putting up a saw-mill. Marshall, as the architect,
had made the “tub-wheel,” and had set it in motion, and had also
furnished some of the rude parts of machinery necessary for an
ordinary up-and-down saw-mill.

Labor was very scarce, expensive, and had to be economized. The
mill was built over a dry channel of the river which was calculated
to be the tail-race. After arranging his head-race, dam and
tub-wheel, he let on the water to test the goodness of his
machinery. It worked very well until it was found that the
tail-race did not carry off the water fast enough, so he put his
men to work in a rude way to clear out the tail-race. They
scratched a kind of ditch down the middle of the dry channel,
throwing the coarser stones to one side; then, letting on the water
again, it would run with velocity down the channel, washing away
the dirt, thus saving labor. This course of action was repeated
several times, acting exactly like the long Tom afterward resorted
to by the miners. As Marshall himself was working in this ditch,
he observed particles of yellow metal which he gathered up in his
hand, when it seemed to have suddenly flashed across his mind that
it was gold. After picking up about an ounce, he hurried down to
the fort to report to Captain Sutter his discovery. Captain Sutter
himself related to me Marshall’s account, saying that, as he sat in
his room at the fort one day in February or March, 1848, a knock
was heard at his door, and he called out, “Come in.” In walked
Marshall, who was a half-crazy man at best, but then looked
strangely wild. “What is the matter, Marshall!” Marshall
inquired if any one was within hearing, and began to peer about the
room, and look under the bed, when Sutter, fearing that some
calamity had befallen the party up at the saw-mill, and that
Marshall was really crazy, began to make his way to the door,
demanding of Marshall to explain what was the matter. At last he
revealed his discovery, and laid before Captain Sutter the
pellicles of gold he had picked up in the ditch. At first, Sutter
attached little or no importance to the discovery, and told
Marshall to go back to the mill, and say nothing of what he had
seen to Mr. Wimmer, or any one else. Yet, as it might add value to
the location, he dispatched to our headquarters at Monterey, as I
have already related, the two men with a written application for a
preemption to the quarter-section of land at Coloma. Marshall
returned to the mill, but could not keep out of his wonderful
ditch, and by some means the other men employed there learned his
secret. They then wanted to gather the gold, and Marshall
threatened to shoot them if they attempted it; but these men had
sense enough to know that if “placer”-gold existed at Coloma, it
would also be found farther down-stream, and they gradually
“prospected” until they reached Mormon Island, fifteen miles below,
where they discovered one of the richest placers on earth. These
men revealed the fact to some other Mormons who were employed by
Captain Sutter at a grist-mill he was building still lower down the
American Fork, and six miles above his fort. All of them struck
for higher wages, to which Sutter yielded, until they asked ten
dollars a day, which he refused, and the two mills on which he had
spent so much money were never built, and fell into decay.

In my opinion, when the Mormons were driven from Nauvoo, Illinois,
in 1844, they cast about for a land where they would not be
disturbed again, and fixed on California. In the year 1845 a ship,
the Brooklyn, sailed from New York for California, with a colony of
Mormons, of which Sam Brannan was the leader, and we found them
there on our arrival in Jannary, 1847. When General Kearney, at
Fort Leavenworth, was collecting volunteers early in 1846, for the
Mexican War, he, through the instrumentality of Captain James
Allen, brother to our quartermaster, General Robert Allen, raised
the battalion of Mormons at Kanesville, Iowa, now Council Bluffs,
on the express understanding that it would facilitate their
migration to California. But when the Mormons reached Salt Lake,
in 1846, they learned that they had been forestalled by the United
States forces in California, and they then determined to settle
down where they were. Therefore, when this battalion of five
companies of Mormons (raised by Allen, who died on the way, and was
succeeded by Cooke) was discharged at Los Angeles, California, in
the early summer of 1847, most of the men went to their people at
Salt Lake, with all the money received, as pay from the United
States, invested in cattle and breeding-horses; one company
reenlisted for another year, and the remainder sought work in the
country. As soon as the fame of the gold discovery spread through
California, the Mormons naturally turned to Mormon Island, so that
in July, 1848, we found about three hundred of them there at work.
Sam Brannan was on hand as the high-priest, collecting the tithes.
Clark, of Clark’s Point, an early pioneer, was there also, and
nearly all the Mormons who had come out in the Brooklyn, or who had
staid in California after the discharge of their battalion, had
collected there. I recall the scene as perfectly to-day as though
it were yesterday. In the midst of a broken country, all parched
and dried by the hot sun of July, sparsely wooded with live-oaks
and straggling pines, lay the valley of the American River, with
its bold mountain-stream coming out of the Snowy Mountains to the
east. In this valley is a fiat, or gravel-bed, which in high water
is an island, or is overflown, but at the time of our visit was
simply a level gravel-bed of the river. On its edges men were
digging, and filling buckets with the finer earth and gravel, which
was carried to a machine made like a baby’s cradle, open at the
foot, and at the head a plate of sheet-iron or zinc, punctured full
of holes. On this metallic plate was emptied the earth, and water
was then poured on it from buckets, while one man shook the cradle
with violent rocking by a handle. On the bottom were nailed cleats
of wood. With this rude machine four men could earn from forty to
one hundred dollars a day, averaging sixteen dollars, or a gold
ounce, per man per day. While the’ sun blazed down on the heads of
the miners with tropical heat, the water was bitter cold, and all
hands were either standing in the water or had their clothes wet
all the time; yet there were no complaints of rheumatism or cold.
We made our camp on a small knoll, a little below the island, and
from it could overlook the busy scene. A few bush-huts near by
served as stores, boardinghouses, and for sleeping; but all hands
slept on the ground, with pine-leaves and blankets for bedding. As
soon as the news spread that the Governor was there, persons came
to see us, and volunteered all kinds of information, illustrating
it by samples of the gold, which was of a uniform kind, “scale-
gold,” bright and beautiful. A large variety, of every conceivable
shape and form, was found in the smaller gulches round about, but
the gold in the river-bed was uniformly “scale-gold.” I remember
that Mr. Clark was in camp, talking to Colonel Mason about matters
and things generally, when he inquired, “Governor, what business
has Sam Brannan to collect the tithes here?” Clark admitted that
Brannan was the head of the Mormon church in California, and he was
simply questioning as to Brannan’s right, as high-priest, to compel
the Mormons to pay him the regular tithes. Colonel Mason answered,
“Brannan has a perfect right to collect the tax, if you Mormons are
fools enough to pay it.” “Then,” said Clark, “I for one won’t pay
it any longer.” Colonel Mason added: “This is public land, and the
gold is the property of the United States; all of you here are
trespassers, but, as the Government is benefited by your getting
out the gold, I do not intend to interfere.” I understood,
afterward, that from that time the payment of the tithes ceased,
but Brannan had already collected enough money wherewith to hire
Sutter’s hospital, and to open a store there, in which he made more
money than any merchant in California, during that summer and fall.
The understanding was, that the money collected by him as tithes
was the foundation of his fortune, which is still very large in San
Francisco. That evening we all mingled freely with the miners, and
witnessed the process of cleaning up and “panning” out, which is
the last process for separating the pure gold from the fine dirt
and black sand.

The next day we continued our journey up the valley of the American
Fork, stopping at various camps, where mining was in progress; and
about noon we reached Coloma, the place where gold had been first
discovered. The hills were higher, and the timber of better
quality. The river was narrower and bolder, and but few miners
were at work there, by reason of Marshall’s and Sutter’s claim to
the site. There stood the sawmill unfinished, the dam and
tail-race just as they were left when the Mormons ceased work.
Marshall and Wimmer’s family of wife and half a dozen children were
there, guarding their supposed treasure; living in a house made of
clapboards. Here also we were shown many specimens of gold, of a
coarser grain than that found at Mormon Island. The next day we
crossed the American River to its north side, and visited many
small camps of men, in what were called the “dry diggings.” Little
pools of water stood in the beds of the streams, and these were
used to wash the dirt; and there the gold was in every conceivable
shape and size, some of the specimens weighing several ounces.
Some of these “diggings” were extremely rich, but as a whole they
were more precarious in results than at the river. Sometimes a
lucky fellow would hit on a “pocket,” and collect several thousand
dollars in a few days, and then again he would be shifting about
from place to place, “prospecting,” and spending all he had made.
Little stores were being opened at every point, where flour, bacon,
etc., were sold; every thing being a dollar a pound, and a meal
usually costing three dollars. Nobody paid for a bed, for he slept
on the ground, without fear of cold or rain. We spent nearly a
week in that region, and were quite bewildered by the fabulous
tales of recent discoveries, which at the time were confined to the
several forks of the American and Yuba Rivers.’ All this time our
horses had nothing to eat but the sparse grass in that region, and
we were forced to work our way down toward the Sacramento Valley,
or to see our animals perish. Still we contemplated a visit to the
Yuba and Feather Rivers, from which we had heard of more wonderful
“diggings;” but met a courier, who announced the arrival of a ship
at Monterey, with dispatches of great importance from Mazatlan. We
accordingly turned our horses back to Sutter’s Fort. Crossing the
Sacramento again by swimming our horses, and ferrying their loads
in that solitary canoe, we took our back track as far as the Napa,
and then turned to Benicia, on Carquinez Straits. We found there a
solitary adobe-house, occupied by Mr. Hastings and his family,
embracing Dr. Semple, the proprietor of the ferry. This ferry was
a ship’s-boat, with a latteen-sail, which could carry across at one
time six or eight horses.

It took us several days to cross over, and during that time we got
well acquainted with the doctor, who was quite a character. He had
come to California from Illinois, and was brother to Senator
Semple. He was about seven feet high, and very intelligent. When
we first reached Monterey, he had a printing-press, which belonged
to the United States, having been captured at the custom-house, and
had been used to print custom-house blanks. With this Dr. Semple,
as editor, published the Californian, a small sheet of news, once a
week; and it was a curiosity in its line, using two v’s for a w,
and other combinations of letters, made necessary by want of type.
After some time he removed to Yerba Buena with his paper, and it
grew up to be the Alta California of today. Foreseeing, as he
thought, the growth of a great city somewhere on the Bay of San
Francisco, he selected Carquinez Straits as its location, and
obtained from General Vallejo a title to a league of land, on
condition of building up a city thereon to bear the name of
Vallejo’s wife. This was Francisca Benicia; accordingly, the new
city was named “Francisca.” At this time, the town near the mouth
of the bay was known universally as Yerba Buena; but that name was
not known abroad, although San Francisco was familiar to the whole
civilized world. Now, some of the chief men of Yerba Buena,
Folsom, Howard, Leidesdorf, and others, knowing the importance of a
name, saw their danger, and, by some action of the ayuntamiento, or
town council, changed the name of Yerba Buena to “San Francisco.”
Dr. Semple was outraged at their changing the name to one so like
his of Francisca, and he in turn changed his town to the other name
of Mrs. Vallejo, viz., “Benicia;” and Benicia it has remained to
this day. I am convinced that this little circumstance was big
with consequences. That Benicia has the best natural site for a
commercial city, I am, satisfied; and had half the money and half
the labor since bestowed upon San Francisco been expended at
Benicia, we should have at this day a city of palaces on the
Carquinez Straits. The name of “San Francisco,” however, fixed the
city where it now is; for every ship in 1848-’49, which cleared
from any part of the world, knew the name of San Francisco, but not
Yerba Buena or Benicia; and, accordingly, ships consigned to
California came pouring in with their contents, and were anchored
in front of Yerba Buena, the first town. Captains and crews
deserted for the gold-mines, and now half the city in front of
Montgomery Street is built over the hulks thus abandoned. But Dr.
Semple, at that time, was all there was of Benicia; he was captain
and crew of his ferry boat, and managed to pass our party to the
south side of Carquinez Straits in about two days.

Thence we proceeded up Amador Valley to Alameda Creek, and so on to
the old mission of San Jose; thence to the pueblo of San Jose,
where Folsom and those belonging in Yerba Buena went in that
direction, and we continued on to Monterey, our party all the way
giving official sanction to the news from the gold-mines, and
adding new force to the “fever.”

On reaching Monterey, we found dispatches from Commodore Shubrick,
at Mazatlan, which gave almost positive assurance that the war with
Mexico was over; that hostilities had ceased, and commissioners
were arranging the terms of peace at Guadalupe Hidalgo. It was
well that this news reached California at that critical time; for
so contagious had become the “gold-fever “that everybody was bound
to go and try his fortune, and the volunteer regiment of
Stevenson’s would have deserted en masse, had the men not been
assured that they would very soon be entitled to an honorable

Many of our regulars did desert, among them the very men who had
escorted us faithfully to the mines and back. Our servants also
left us, and nothing less than three hundred dollars a month would
hire a man in California; Colonel Mason’s black boy, Aaron, alone
of all our then servants proving faithful. We were forced to
resort to all manner of shifts to live. First, we had a mess with
a black fellow we called Bustamente as cook; but he got the fever,
and had to go. We next took a soldier, but he deserted, and
carried off my double-barreled shot-gun, which I prized very
highly. To meet this condition of facts, Colonel Mason ordered
that liberal furloughs should be given to the soldiers, and
promises to all in turn, and he allowed all the officers to draw
their rations in kind. As the actual valve of the ration was very
large, this enabled us to live. Halleck, Murray, Ord, and I,
boarded with Dona Augustias, and turned in our rations as pay for
our board.

Some time in September, 1848, the official news of the treaty of
peace reached us, and the Mexican War was over. This treaty was
signed in May, and came to us all the way by land by a courier from
Lower California, sent from La Paz by Lieutenant-Colonel Burton.
On its receipt, orders were at once made for the muster-out of all
of Stevenson’s regiment, and our military forces were thus reduced
to the single company of dragoons at Los Angeles, and the one
company of artillery at Monterey. Nearly all business had ceased,
except that connected with gold; and, during that fall, Colonel
Mason, Captain Warner, and I, made another trip up to Sutter’s
Fort, going also to the newly-discovered mines on the Stanislaus,
called “Sonora,” named from the miners of Sonora, Mexico, who had
first discovered them. We found there pretty much the same state
of facts as before existed at Mormon Island and Coloma, and we
daily received intelligence of the opening of still other mines
north and south.

But I have passed over a very interesting fact. As soon as we had
returned from our first visit to the gold-mines, it became
important to send home positive knowledge of this valuable
discovery. The means of communication with the United States were
very precarious, and I suggested to Colonel Mason that a special
courier ought to be sent; that Second-Lieutenant Loeser had been
promoted to first-lieutenant, and was entitled to go home. He was
accordingly detailed to carry the news. I prepared with great care
the letter to the adjutant-general of August 17, 1848, which
Colonel Mason modified in a few Particulars; and, as it was
important to send not only the specimens which had been presented
to us along our route of travel, I advised the colonel to allow
Captain Folsom to purchase and send to Washington a large sample of
the commercial gold in general use, and to pay for the same out of
the money in his hands known as the “civil fund,” arising from
duties collected at the several ports in California. He consented
to this, and Captain Folsom bought an oyster-can full at ten
dollars the ounce, which was the rate of value at which it was then
received at the custom house. Folsom was instructed further to
contract with some vessel to carry the messenger to South America,
where he could take the English steamers as far east as Jamaica,
with a conditional charter giving increased payment if the vessel
could catch the October steamer. Folsom chartered the bark La
Lambayecana, owned and navigated by Henry D. Cooke, who has since
been the Governor of the District of Columbia. In due time this
vessel reached Monterey, and Lieutenant Loeser, with his report and
specimens of gold, embarked and sailed. He reached the South
American Continent at Payta, Peru, in time; took the English
steamer of October to Panama, and thence went on to Kingston,
Jamaica, where he found a sailing vessel bound for New Orleans. On
reaching New Orleans, he telegraphed to the War Department his
arrival; but so many delays had occurred that he did not reach
Washington in time to have the matter embraced in the President’s
regular message of 1848, as we had calculated. Still, the
President made it the subject of a special message, and thus became
“official” what had before only reached the world in a very
indefinite shape. Then began that wonderful development, and the
great emigration to California, by land and by sea, of 1849 and

As before narrated, Mason, Warner, and I, made a second visit to
the mines in September and October, 1848. As the winter season
approached, Colonel Mason returned to Monterey, and I remained for
a time at Sutter’s Fort. In order to share somewhat in the riches
of the land, we formed a partnership in a store at Coloma, in
charge of Norman S. Bestor, who had been Warner’s clerk. We
supplied the necessary money, fifteen hundred dollars (five hundred
dollars each), and Bestor carried on the store at Coloma for his
share. Out of this investment, each of us realized a profit of
about fifteen hundred dollars. Warner also got a regular leave of
absence, and contracted with Captain Sutter for surveying and
locating the town of Sacramento. He received for this sixteen
dollars per day for his services as surveyor; and Sutter paid all
the hands engaged in the work. The town was laid off mostly up
about the fort, but a few streets were staked off along the river
bank, and one or two leading to it. Captain Sutter always
contended, however, that no town could possibly exist on the
immediate bank of the river, because the spring freshets rose over
the bank, and frequently it was necessary to swim a horse to reach
the boat-landing. Nevertheless, from the very beginning the town
began to be built on the very river-bank, viz., First, Second, and
Third Streets, with J and K Streets leading back. Among the
principal merchants and traders of that winter, at Sacramento, were
Sam Brannan and Hensley, Reading & Co. For several years the site
was annually flooded; but the people have persevered in building
the levees, and afterward in raising all the streets, so that
Sacramento is now a fine city, the capital of the State, and stands
where, in 1848, was nothing but a dense mass of bushes, vines, and
submerged land. The old fort has disappeared altogether.

During the fall of 1848, Warner, Ord, and I, camped on the bank of
the American River, abreast of the fort, at what was known as the
“Old Tan-Yard.” I was cook, Ord cleaned up the dishes, and Warner
looked after the horses; but Ord was deposed as scullion because he
would only wipe the tin plates with a tuft of grass, according to
the custom of the country, whereas Warner insisted on having them
washed after each meal with hot water. Warner was in consequence
promoted to scullion, and Ord became the hostler. We drew our
rations in kind from the commissary at San Francisco, who sent them
up to us by a boat; and we were thus enabled to dispense a generous
hospitality to many a poor devil who otherwise would have had
nothing to eat.

The winter of 1848 ’49 was a period of intense activity throughout
California. The rainy season was unfavorable to the operations of
gold-mining, and was very hard upon the thousands of houseless men
and women who dwelt in the mountains, and even in the towns. Most
of the natives and old inhabitants had returned to their ranches
and houses; yet there were not roofs enough in the country to
shelter the thousands who had arrived by sea and by land. The news
had gone forth to the whole civilized world that gold in fabulous
quantities was to be had for the mere digging, and adventurers came
pouring in blindly to seek their fortunes, without a thought of
house or food. Yerba Buena had been converted into San Francisco.
Sacramento City had been laid out, lots were being rapidly sold,
and the town was being built up as an entrepot to the mines.
Stockton also had been chosen as a convenient point for trading
with the lower or southern mines. Captain Sutter was the sole
proprietor of the former, and Captain Charles Weber was the owner
of the site of Stockton, which was as yet known as “French Camp.”




The department headquarters still remained at Monterey, but, with
the few soldiers, we had next to nothing to do. In midwinter we
heard of the approach of a battalion of the Second Dragoons, under
Major Lawrence Pike Graham, with Captains Rucker, Coutts, Campbell,
and others, along. So exhausted were they by their long march from
Upper Mexico that we had to send relief to meet them as they
approached. When this command reached Los Angeles, it was left
there as the garrison, and Captain A. J. Smith’s company of the
First Dragoons was brought up to San Francisco. We were also
advised that the Second Infantry, Colonel B. Riley, would be sent
out around Cape Horn in sailing-ships; that the Mounted Rifles,
under Lieutenant-Colonel Loring, would march overland to Oregon;
and that Brigadier-General Persifer F. Smith would come out in
chief command on the Pacific coast. It was also known that a
contract had been entered into with parties in New York and New
Orleans for a monthly line of steamers from those cities to
California, via Panama. Lieutenant-Colonel Burton had come up from
Lower California, and, as captain of the Third Artillery, he was
assigned to command Company F, Third Artillery, at Monterey.
Captain Warner remained at Sacramento, surveying; and Halleck,
Murray, Ord, and I, boarded with Dona Augustias. The season was
unusually rainy and severe, but we passed the time with the usual
round of dances and parties. The time fixed for the arrival of the
mail-steamer was understood to be about January 1, 1849, but the
day came and went without any tidings of her. Orders were given to
Captain Burton to announce her arrival by firing a national
salute, and each morning we listened for the guns from the fort.
The month of January passed, and the greater part of February, too.
As was usual, the army officers celebrated the 22d of February with
a grand ball, given in the new stone school-house, which Alcalde
Walter Colton had built. It was the largest and best hall then in
California. The ball was really a handsome affair, and we kept it
up nearly all night. The next morning we were at breakfast:
present, Dona Augustias, and Manuelita, Halleck, Murray, and
myself. We were dull and stupid enough until a gun from the fort
aroused us, then another and another. “The steamer” exclaimed all,
and, without waiting for hats or any thing, off we dashed. I
reached the wharf hatless, but the dona sent my cap after me by a
servant. The white puffs of smoke hung around the fort, mingled
with the dense fog, which hid all the water of the bay, and well
out to sea could be seen the black spars of some unknown vessel.
At the wharf I found a group of soldiers and a small row-boat,
which belonged to a brig at anchor in the bay. Hastily ordering a
couple of willing soldiers to get in and take the oars, and Mr.
Larkin and Mr. Hartnell asking to go along, we jumped in and pushed
off. Steering our boat toward the spars, which loomed up above the
fog clear and distinct, in about a mile we came to the black hull
of the strange monster, the long-expected and most welcome steamer
California. Her wheels were barely moving, for her pilot could not
see the shore-line distinctly, though the hills and Point of Pines
could be clearly made out over the fog, and occasionally a glimpse
of some white walls showed where the town lay. A “Jacob’s ladder”
was lowered for us from the steamer, and in a minute I scrambled up
on deck, followed by Larkin and Hartnell, and we found ourselves in
the midst of many old friends. There was Canby, the adjutant-
general, who was to take my place; Charley Hoyt, my cousin; General
Persifer F. Smith and wife; Gibbs, his aide-de-camp; Major Ogden,
of the Engineers, and wife; and, indeed, many old Californians,
among them Alfred Robinson, and Frank Ward with his pretty bride.
By the time the ship was fairly at anchor we had answered a million
of questions about gold and the state of the country; and, learning
that the ship was out of fuel, had informed the captain (Marshall)
that there was abundance of pine-wood, but no willing hands to cut
it; that no man could be hired at less than an ounce of gold a day,
unless the soldiers would volunteer to do it for some agreed-upon
price. As for coal, there was not a pound in Monterey, or anywhere
else in California. Vessels with coal were known to be en route
around Cape Horn, but none had yet reached California.

The arrival of this steamer was the beginning of a new epoch on the
Pacific coast; yet there she lay, helpless, without coal or fuel.
The native Californians, who had never seen a steamship, stood for
days on the beach looking at her, with the universal exclamation,
“Tan feo!”–how ugly!–and she was truly ugly when compared with
the clean, well-sparred frigates and sloops-of-war that had
hitherto been seen on the North Pacific coast. It was first
supposed it would take ten days to get wood enough to prosecute her
voyage, and therefore all the passengers who could took up their
quarters on shore. Major Canby relieved me, and took the place I
had held so long as adjutant-general of the Department of
California. The time seemed most opportune for me to leave the
service, as I had several splendid offers of employment and of
partnership, and, accordingly, I made my written resignation; but
General Smith put his veto upon it, saying that he was to command
the Division of the Pacific, while General Riley was to have the
Department of California, and Colonel Loring that of Oregon. He
wanted me as his adjutant-general, because of my familiarity with
the country, and knowledge of its then condition: At the time, he
had on his staff Gibbs as aide-de-camp, and Fitzgerald as
quartermaster. He also had along with him quite a retinue of
servants, hired with a clear contract to serve him for a whole year
after reaching California, every one of whom deserted, except a
young black fellow named Isaac. Mrs. Smith, a pleasant but
delicate Louisiana lady, had a white maid-servant, in whose
fidelity she had unbounded confidence; but this girl was married to
a perfect stranger, and off before she had even landed in San
Francisco. It was, therefore, finally arranged that, on the
California, I was to accompany General Smith to San Francisco as
his adjutant-general. I accordingly sold some of my horses, and
arranged for others to go up by land; and from that time I became
fairly enlisted in the military family of General Persifer F.

I parted with my old commander, Colonel Mason, with sincere regret.
To me he had ever been kind and considerate, and, while stern,
honest to a fault, he was the very embodiment of the principle of
fidelity to the interests of the General Government. He possessed
a native strong intellect, and far more knowledge of the principles
of civil government and law than he got credit for. In private and
public expenditures he was extremely economical, but not penurious.
In cases where the officers had to contribute money for parties and
entertainments, he always gave a double share, because of his
allowance of double rations. During our frequent journeys, I was
always caterer, and paid all the bills. In settling with him he
required a written statement of the items of account, but never
disputed one of them. During our time, California was, as now,
full of a bold, enterprising, and speculative set of men, who were
engaged in every sort of game to make money. I know that Colonel-
Mason was beset by them to use his position to make a fortune for
himself and his friends; but he never bought land or town-lots,
because, he said, it was his place to hold the public estate for
the Government as free and unencumbered by claims as possible; and
when I wanted him to stop the public-land sales in San Francisco,
San Jose, etc., he would not; for, although he did not believe the
titles given by the alcaldes worth a cent, yet they aided to settle
the towns and public lands, and he thought, on the whole, the
Government would be benefited thereby. The same thing occurred as
to the gold-mines. He never took a title to a town lot, unless it
was one, of no real value, from Alcalde Colton, in Monterey, of
which I have never heard since. He did take a share in the store
which Warner, Beator, and I, opened at Coloma, paid his share of
the capital, five hundred dollars, and received his share of the
profits, fifteen hundred dollars. I think also he took a share in
a venture to China with Larkin and others; but, on leaving
California, he was glad to sell out without profit or loss. In the
stern discharge of his duty he made some bitter enemies, among them
Henry M. Naglee, who, in the newspapers of the day, endeavored to
damage his fair name. But, knowing him intimately, I am certain
that he is entitled to all praise for having so controlled the
affairs of the country that, when his successor arrived, all things
were so disposed that a civil form of government was an easy matter
of adjustment. Colonel Mason was relieved by General Riley some
time in April, and left California in the steamer of the 1st May
for Washington and St. Louis, where he died of cholera in the
summer of 1850, and his body is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery.
His widow afterward married Major (since General) Don Carlos Buell,
and is now living in Kentucky.

In overhauling the hold of the steamer California, as she lay at
anchor in Monterey Bay, a considerable amount of coal was found
under some heavy duplicate machinery. With this, and such wood as
had been gathered, she was able to renew her voyage. The usual
signal was made, and we all went on board. About the 1st of March
we entered the Heads, and anchored off San Francisco, near the
United States line-of-battle-ship Ohio, Commodore T. Catesby Jones.
As was the universal custom of the day, the crew of the California
deserted her; and she lay for months unable to make a trip back to
Panama, as was expected of her. As soon as we reached San
Francisco, the first thing was to secure an office and a house to
live in. The weather was rainy and stormy, and snow even lay on
the hills back of the Mission. Captain Folsom, the quartermaster,
agreed to surrender for our office the old adobe custom house, on
the upper corner of the plaza, as soon as he could remove his
papers and effects down to one of his warehouses on the beach; and
he also rented for us as quarters the old Hudson Bay Company house
on Montgomery Street, which had been used by Howard & Mellua as a
store, and at that very time they were moving their goods into a
larger brick building just completed for them. As these changes
would take some time, General Smith and Colonel Ogden, with their
wives, accepted the hospitality offered by Commodore Jones on board
the Ohio. I opened the office at the custom house, and Gibbs,
Fitzgerald, and some others of us, slept in the loft of the Hudson
Bay Company house until the lower part was cleared of Howard’s
store, after which General Smith and the ladies moved in. There we
had a general mess, and the efforts at house-keeping were simply
ludicrous. One servant after another, whom General Smith had
brought from New Orleans, with a solemn promise to stand by him for
one whole year, deserted without a word of notice or explanation,
and in a few days none remained but little Isaac. The ladies had
no maid or attendants; and the general, commanding all the mighty
forces of the United States on the Pacific coast, had to scratch to
get one good meal a day for his family! He was a gentleman of fine
social qualities, genial and gentle, and joked at every thing.
Poor Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Ogden did not bear it so philosophically.
Gibbs, Fitzgerald, and I, could cruise around and find a meal,
which cost three dollars, at some of the many restaurants which had
sprung up out of red-wood boards and cotton lining; but the general
and ladies could not go out, for ladies were rara aves at that day
in California. Isaac was cook, chamber-maid, and everything,
thoughtless of himself, and struggling, out of the slimmest means,
to compound a breakfast for a large and hungry family. Breakfast
would be announced any time between ten and twelve, and dinner
according to circumstances. Many a time have I seen General Smith,
with a can of preserved meat in his hands, going toward the house,
take off his hat on meeting a negro, and, on being asked the reason
of his politeness, he would answer that they were the only real
gentlemen in California. I confess that the fidelity of Colonel
Mason’s boy “Aaron,” and of General Smith’s boy “Isaac,” at a time
when every white man laughed at promises as something made to be
broken, has given me a kindly feeling of respect for the negroes,
and makes me hope that they will find an honorable “status” in the
jumble of affairs in which we now live.

That was a dull hard winter in San Francisco; the rains were heavy,
and the mud fearful. I have seen mules stumble in the street, and
drown in the liquid mud! Montgomery Street had been filled up with
brush and clay, and I always dreaded to ride on horseback along it,
because the mud was so deep that a horse’s legs would become
entangled in the bushes below, and the rider was likely to be
thrown and drowned in the mud. The only sidewalks were made of
stepping-stones of empty boxes, and here and there a few planks
with barrel-staves nailed on. All the town lay along Montgomery
Street, from Sacramento to Jackson, and about the plaza. Gambling
was the chief occupation of the people. While they were waiting
for the cessation of the rainy season, and for the beginning of
spring, all sorts of houses were being put up, but of the most
flimsy kind, and all were stores, restaurants, or gambling
-saloons. Any room twenty by sixty feet would rent for a thousand
dollars a month. I had, as my pay, seventy dollars a month, and no
one would even try to hire a servant under three hundred dollars.
Had it not been for the fifteen hundred dollars I had made in the
store at Coloma, I could not have lived through the winter. About
the 1st of April arrived the steamer Oregon; but her captain
(Pearson) knew what was the state of affairs on shore, and ran his
steamer alongside the line-of-battle-ship Ohio at Saucelito, and
obtained the privilege of leaving his crew on board as “prisoners”
until he was ready to return to sea. Then, discharging his
passengers and getting coal out of some of the ships which had
arrived, he retook his crew out of limbo and carried the first
regular mail back to Panama early in April. In regular order
arrived the third steamer, the Panama; and, as the vessels were
arriving with coal, The California was enabled to hire a crew and
get off. From that time forward these three ships constituted the
regular line of mail-steamers, which has been kept up ever since.
By the steamer Oregon arrived out Major R. P. Hammond, J. M.
Williams, James Blair, and others; also the gentlemen who, with
Major Ogden, were to compose a joint commission to select the sites
for the permanent forts and navyyard of California. This
commission was composed of Majors Ogden, Smith, and Leadbetter, of,
the army, and Captains Goldsborough, Van Brunt, and Blunt, of the
navy. These officers, after a most careful study of the whole
subject, selected Mare Island for the navy-yard, and “Benicia” for
the storehouses and arsenals of the army. The Pacific Mail
Steamship Company also selected Benicia as their depot. Thus was
again revived the old struggle for supremacy of these two points
as the site of the future city of the Pacific. Meantime, however,
San Francisco had secured the name. About six hundred ships were
anchored there without crews, and could not get away; and there the
city was, and had to be.

Nevertheless, General Smith, being disinterested and unprejudiced,
decided on Benicia as the point where the city ought to be, and
where the army headquarters should be. By the Oregon there arrived
at San Francisco a man who deserves mention here–Baron
Steinberger. He had been a great cattle-dealer in the United
States, and boasted that he had helped to break the United States
Bank, by being indebted to it five million dollars! At all events,
he was a splendid looking fellow, and brought with him from
Washington a letter to General Smith and another for Commodore
Jones, to the effect that he was a man of enlarged experience in
beef; that the authorities in Washington knew that there existed in
California large herds of cattle, which were only valuable for
their hides and tallow; that it was of great importance to the
Government that this beef should be cured and salted so as to be of
use to the army and navy, obviating the necessity of shipping salt-
beef around Cape Horn. I know he had such a letter from the
Secretary of War, Marcy, to General Smith, for it passed into my
custody, and I happened to be in Commodore Jones’s cabin when the
baron presented the one for him from the Secretary of the Navy.
The baron was anxious to pitch in at once, and said that all he
needed to start with were salt and barrels. After some inquiries
of his purser, the commodore promised to let him have the barrels
with their salt, as fast as they were emptied by the crew. Then
the baron explained that he could get a nice lot of cattle from Don
Timoteo Murphy, at the Mission of San Rafael, on the north aide of
the bay, but he could not get a boat and crew to handle them.
Under the authority from the Secretary of the Navy, the commodore
then promised him the use of a boat and crew, until he (the baron)
could find and purchase a suitable one for himself. Then the baron
opened the first regular butcher-shop in San Francisco, on the
wharf about the foot of Broadway or Pacific Street, where we could
buy at twenty-five or fifty cents a pound the best roasts, steaks,
and cuts of beef, which had cost him nothing, for he never paid
anybody if he could help it, and he soon cleaned poor Don Timoteo
out. At first, every boat of his, in coming down from the San
Rafael, touched at the Ohio, and left the best beefsteaks and
roasts for the commodore, but soon the baron had enough money to
dispense with the borrowed boat, and set up for himself, and from
this small beginning, step by step, he rose in a few months to be
one of the richest and most influential men in San Francisco; but
in his wild speculations he was at last caught, and became
helplessly bankrupt. He followed General Fremont to St. Louis in
1861, where I saw him, but soon afterward he died a pauper in one
of the hospitals. When General Smith had his headquarters in San
Francisco, in the spring of 1849, Steinberger gave dinners worthy
any baron of old; and when, in after-years, I was a banker there,
he used to borrow of me small sums of money in repayment for my
share of these feasts; and somewhere among my old packages I hold
one of his confidential notes for two hundred dollars, but on the
whole I got off easily. I have no doubt that, if this man’s
history could be written out, it would present phases as wonderful
as any of romance; but in my judgment he was a dangerous man,
without any true-sense of honor or honesty.

Little by little the rains of that season grew less and less, and
the hills once more became green and covered with flowers. It
became perfectly evident that no family could live in San Francisco
on such a salary as Uncle Sam allowed his most favored officials;
so General Smith and Major Ogden concluded to send their families
back to the United States, and afterward we men-folks could take to
camp and live on our rations. The Second Infantry had arrived, and
had been distributed, four companies to Monterey, and the rest
somewhat as Stevenson’s regiment had been. A. J. Smith’s company
of dragoons was sent up to Sonoma, whither General Smith had
resolved to move our headquarters. On the steamer which sailed
about May 1st (I think the California), we embarked, the ladies for
home and we for Monterey. At Monterey we went on shore, and
Colonel Mason, who meantime had been relieved by General Riley,
went on board, and the steamer departed for Panama. Of all that
party I alone am alive.

General Riley had, with his family, taken the house which Colonel
Mason had formerly used, and Major Canby and wife had secured rooms
at Alvarado’s. Captain Bane was quartermaster, and had his family
in the house of a man named Garner, near the redoubt. Burton and
Company F were still at the fort; the four companies of the Second
Infantry were quartered in the barracks, the same building in which
we had had our headquarters; and the company officers were
quartered in hired buildings near by. General Smith and his aide,
Captain Gibbs, went to Larkin’s house, and I was at my old rooms at
Dona Augustias. As we intended to go back to San Francisco by land
and afterward to travel a good deal, General Smith gave me the
necessary authority to fit out the party. There happened to be
several trains of horses and mules in town, so I purchased about a
dozen horses and mules at two hundred dollars a head, on account of
the Quartermaster’s Department, and we had them kept under guard in
the quartermaster’s corral.

I remember one night being in the quarters of Lieutenant Alfred
Sully, where nearly all the officers of the garrison were
assembled, listening to Sully’s stories. Lieutenant Derby,
“Squibob,” was one of the number, as also Fred Steele, “Neighbor”
Jones, and others, when, just after “tattoo,” the orderly-sergeants
came to report the result of “tattoo” roll-call; one reported five
men absent, another eight, and so on, until it became certain that
twenty-eight men had deserted; and they were so bold and open in
their behavior that it amounted to defiance. They had deliberately
slung their knapsacks and started for the gold-mines. Dr. Murray
and I were the only ones present who were familiar with the
country, and I explained how easy they could all be taken by a
party going out at once to Salinas Plain, where the country was so
open and level that a rabbit could not cross without being seen;
that the deserters could not go to the mines without crossing that
plain, and could not reach it before daylight. All agreed that the
whole regiment would desert if these men were not brought back.
Several officers volunteered on the spot to go after them; and, as
the soldiers could not be trusted, it was useless to send any but
officers in pursuit. Some one went to report the affair to the
adjutant-general, Canby, and he to General Riley. I waited some
time, and, as the thing grew cold, I thought it was given up, and
went to my room and to bed.

About midnight I was called up and informed that there were seven
officers willing to go, but the difficulty was to get horses and
saddles. I went down to Larkin’s house and got General Smith to
consent that we might take the horses I had bought for our trip.
It was nearly three o’clock a.m. before we were all mounted and
ready. I had a musket which I used for hunting. With this I led
off at a canter, followed by the others. About six miles out, by
the faint moon, I saw ahead of us in the sandy road some blue
coats, and, fearing lest they might resist or escape into the dense
bushes which lined the road, I halted and found with me Paymaster
Hill, Captain N. H. Davis, and Lieutenant John Hamilton. We waited
some time for the others, viz., Canby, Murray, Gibbs, and Sully, to
come up, but as they were not in sight we made a dash up the road
and captured six of the deserters, who were Germans, with heavy
knapsacks on, trudging along the deep, sandy road. They had not
expected pursuit, had not heard our horses, and were accordingly
easily taken. Finding myself the senior officer present, I ordered
Lieutenant Hamilton to search the men and then to march them back
to Monterey, suspecting, as was the fact, that the rest of our
party had taken a road that branched off a couple of miles back.
Daylight broke as we reached the Saunas River, twelve miles out,
and there the trail was broad and fresh leading directly out on the
Saunas Plain. This plain is about five miles wide, and then the
ground becomes somewhat broken. The trail continued very plain,
and I rode on at a gallop to where there was an old adobe-ranch on
the left of the road, with the head of a lagoon, or pond, close by.
I saw one or two of the soldiers getting water at the pond, and
others up near the house. I had the best horse and was
considerably ahead, but on looking back could see Hill and Davis
coming up behind at a gallop. I motioned to them to hurry forward,
and turned my horse across the head of the pond, knowing the ground
well, as it was a favorite place for shooting geese and ducks.
Approaching the house, I ordered the men who were outside to go in.
They did not know me personally, and exchanged glances, but I had
my musket cocked, and, as the two had seen Davis and Hill coming up
pretty fast, they obeyed. Dismounting, I found the house full of
deserters, and there was no escape for them. They naturally
supposed that I had a strong party with me, and when I ordered them
to “fall in” they obeyed from habit. By the time Hill and Davis
came up I had them formed in two ranks, the front rank facing
about, and I was taking away their bayonets, pistols, etc. We
disarmed them, destroying a musket and several pistols, and, on
counting them, we found that we three had taken eighteen, which,
added to the six first captured, made twenty-four. We made them
sling their knapsacks and begin their homeward march. It was near
night when we got back, so that these deserters had traveled nearly
forty miles since “tattoo” of the night before. The other party
had captured three, so that only one man had escaped. I doubt not
this prevented the desertion of the bulk of the Second Infantry
that spring, for at that time so demoralizing was the effect of the
gold-mines that everybody not in the military service justified
desertion, because a soldier, if free, could earn more money in a
day than he received per month. Not only did soldiers and sailors
desert, but captains and masters of ships actually abandoned their
vessels and cargoes to try their luck at the mines. Preachers and
professors forgot their creeds and took to trade, and even to
keeping gambling-houses. I remember that one of our regular
soldiers, named Reese, in deserting stole a favorite double-
barreled gun of mine, and when the orderly-sergeant of the company,
Carson, was going on furlough, I asked him when he came across
Reese to try and get my gun back. When he returned he told me that
he had found Reese and offered him a hundred dollars for my gun,
but Reese sent me word that he liked the gun, and would not take a
hundred dollars for it. Soldiers or sailors who could reach the
mines were universally shielded by the miners, so that it was next
to useless to attempt their recapture. In due season General
Persifer Smith, Gibbs, and I, with some hired packers, started back
for San Francisco, and soon after we transferred our headquarters
to Sonoma. About this time Major Joseph Hooker arrived from the
East–the regular adjutant-general of the division–relieved me,
and I became thereafter one of General Smith’s regular

As there was very little to do, General Smith encouraged us to go
into any business that would enable us to make money. R. P.
Hammond, James Blair, and I, made a contract to survey for Colonel
J. D. Stevenson his newly-projected city of “New York of the
Pacific,” situated at the month of the San Joaquin River. The
contract embraced, also, the making of soundings and the marking
out of a channel through Suisun Bay. We hired, in San Francisco, a
small metallic boat, with a sail, laid in some stores, and
proceeded to the United States ship Ohio, anchored at Saucelito,
where we borrowed a sailor-boy and lead-lines with which to sound
the channel. We sailed up to Benicia, and, at General Smith’s
request, we surveyed and marked the line dividing the city of
Benicia from the government reserve. We then sounded the bay back
and forth, and staked out the best channel up Suisun Bay, from
which Blair made out sailing directions. We then made the
preliminary surveys of the city of “New York of the Pacific,” all
of which were duly plotted; and for this work we each received from
Stevenson five hundred dollars and ten or fifteen lots. I sold
enough lots to make up another five hundred dollars, and let the
balance go; for the city of “New York of the Pacific” never came to
any thing. Indeed, cities at the time were being projected by
speculators all round the bay and all over the country.

While we were surveying at “New York of the Pacific,” occurred one
of those little events that showed the force of the gold-fever. We
had a sailor-boy with us, about seventeen years old, who cooked our
meals and helped work the boat. Onshore, we had the sail spread so
as to shelter us against the wind and dew. One morning I awoke
about daylight, and looked out to see if our sailor-boy was at work
getting breakfast; but he was not at the fire at all. Getting up,
I discovered that he had converted a tule-bolsa into a sail boat,
and was sailing for the gold-mines. He was astride this bolsa,
with a small parcel of bread and meat done up in a piece of cloth;
another piece of cloth, such as we used for making our signal-
stations, he had fixed into a sail; and with a paddle he was
directing his precarious craft right out into the broad bay, to
follow the general direction of the schooners and boats that he
knew were ascending the Sacramento River. He was about a hundred
yards from the shore. I jerked up my gun, and hailed him to come
back. After a moment’s hesitation, he let go his sheet and began
to paddle back. This bolsa was nothing but a bundle of tule, or
bullrush, bound together with grass-ropes in the shape of a cigar,
about ten feet long and about two feet through the butt. With
these the California Indiana cross streams of considerable size.
When he came ashore, I gave him a good overhauling for attempting
to desert, and put him to work getting breakfast. In due time we
returned him to his ship, the Ohio. Subsequently, I made a bargain
with Mr. Hartnell to survey his ranch at Cosnmnes River, Sacramento
Valley. Ord and a young citizen, named Seton, were associated with
me in this. I bought of Rodman M. Price a surveyor’s compass,
chain, etc., and, in San Francisco, a small wagon and harness.
Availing ourselves of a schooner, chartered to carry Major Miller
and two companies of the Second Infantry from San Francisco to
Stockton, we got up to our destination at little cost. I recall an
occurrence that happened when the schooner was anchored in
Carquinez Straits, opposite the soldiers’ camp on shore. We were
waiting for daylight and a fair wind; the schooner lay anchored at
an ebb-tide, and about daylight Ord and I had gone ashore for
something. Just as we were pulling off from shore, we heard the
loud shouts of the men, and saw them all running down toward the
water. Our attention thus drawn, we saw something swimming in the
water, and pulled toward it, thinking it a coyote; but we soon
recognized a large grizzly bear, swimming directly across the
channel. Not having any weapon, we hurriedly pulled for the
schooner, calling out, as we neared it, “A bear! a bear!” It so
happened that Major Miller was on deck, washing his face and hands.
He ran rapidly to the bow of the vessel, took the musket from the
hands of the sentinel, and fired at the bear, as he passed but a
short distance ahead of the schooner. The bear rose, made a growl
or howl, but continued his course. As we scrambled up the
port-aide to get our guns, the mate, with a crew, happened to have
a boat on the starboard-aide, and, armed only with a hatchet, they
pulled up alongside the bear, and the mate struck him in the head
with the hatchet. The bear turned, tried to get into the boat, but
the mate struck his claws with repeated blows, and made him let go.
After several passes with him, the mate actually killed the bear,
got a rope round him, and towed him alongside the schooner, where
he was hoisted on deck. The carcass weighed over six hundred
pounds. It was found that Major Miller’s shot had struck the bear
in the lower jaw, and thus disabled him. Had it not been for this,
the bear would certainly have upset the boat and drowned all in it.
As it was, however, his meat served us a good turn in our trip up
to Stockton. At Stockton we disembarked our wagon, provisions, and
instruments. There I bought two fine mules at three hundred
dollars each, and we hitched up and started for the Coaumnes River.
About twelve miles off was the Mokelumne, a wide, bold stream, with
a canoe as a ferry-boat. We took our wagon to pieces, and ferried
it and its contents across, and then drove our mules into the
water. In crossing, one mule became entangled in the rope of the
other, and for a time we thought he was a gone mule; but at last he
revived and we hitched up. The mules were both pack-animals;
neither had ever before seen a wagon. Young Seton also was about
as green, and had never handled a mule. We put on the harness, and
began to hitch them in, when one of the mules turned his head, saw
the wagon, and started. We held on tight, but the beast did not
stop until he had shivered the tongue-pole into a dozen fragments.
The fact was, that Seton had hitched the traces before he had put
on the blind-bridle. There was considerable swearing done, but
that would not mend the pole. There was no place nearer than
Sutter’s Fort to repair damages, so we were put to our wits’ end.
We first sent back a mile or so, and bought a raw-hide. Gathering
up the fragments of the pole and cutting the hide into strips, we
finished it in the rudest manner. As long as the hide was green, the
pole was very shaky; but gradually the sun dried the hide,
tightened it, and the pole actually held for about a month. This
cost us nearly a day of delay; but, when damages were repaired, we
harnessed up again, and reached the crossing of the Cosumnes, where
our survey was to begin. The expediente, or title-papers, of the
ranch described it as containing nine or eleven leagues on the
Cosumnes, south side, and between the San Joaquin River and Sierra
Nevada Mountains. We began at the place where the road crosses the
Cosumnes, and laid down a line four miles south, perpendicular to
the general direction of the stream; then, surveying up the stream,
we marked each mile so as to admit of a subdivision of one mile by
four. The land was dry and very poor, with the exception of here
and there some small pieces of bottom land, the great bulk of the
bottom-land occurring on the north side of the stream. We
continued the survey up some twenty miles into the hills above the
mill of Dailor and Sheldon. It took about a month to make this
survey, which, when finished, was duly plotted; and for it we
received one-tenth of the land, or two subdivisions. Ord and I
took the land, and we paid Seton for his labor in cash. By the
sale of my share of the land, subsequently, I realized three
thousand dollars. After finishing Hartnell’s survey, we crossed
over to Dailor’s, and did some work for him at five hundred dollars
a day for the party. Having finished our work on the Cosumnes, we
proceeded to Sacramento, where Captain Sutter employed us to
connect the survey of Sacramento City, made by Lieutenant Warner,
and that of Sutterville, three miles below, which was then being
surveyed by Lieutenant J. W. Davidson, of the First Dragoons. At
Sutterville, the plateau of the Sacramento approached quite near
the river, and it would have made a better site for a town than the
low, submerged land where the city now stands; but it seems to be a
law of growth that all natural advantages are disregarded wherever
once business chooses a location. Old Sutter’s embarcadero became
Sacramento City, simply because it was the first point used for
unloading boats for Sutter’s Fort, just as the site for San
Francisco was fixed by the use of Yerba Buena as the hide-landing
for the Mission of “San Francisco de Asis.”

I invested my earnings in this survey in three lots in Sacramento
City, on which I made a fair profit by a sale to one McNulty, of
Mansfield, Ohio. I only had a two months’ leave of absence, during
which General Smith, his staff, and a retinue of civil friends,
were making a tour of the gold-mines, and hearing that he was en
route back to his headquarters at Sonoma, I knocked off my work,
sold my instruments, and left my wagon and mules with my cousin
Charley Hoyt, who had a store in Sacramento, and was on the point
of moving up to a ranch, for which he had bargained, on Bear Creek,
on which was afterward established Camp “Far West.” He afterward
sold the mules, wagon, etc., for me, and on the whole I think I
cleared, by those two months’ work, about six thousand dollars. I
then returned to headquarters at Sonoma, in time to attend my
fellow aide-de-camp Gibbs through a long and dangerous sickness,
during which he was on board a store-ship, guarded by Captain
George Johnson, who now resides in San Francisco. General Smith
had agreed that on the first good opportunity he would send me to
the United States as a bearer of dispatches, but this he could not
do until he had made the examination of Oregon, which was also in
his command. During the summer of 1849 there continued to pour
into California a perfect stream of people. Steamers came, and a
line was established from San Francisco to Sacramento, of which the
Senator was the pioneer, charging sixteen dollars a passage, and
actually coining money. Other boats were built, out of materials
which had either come around Cape Horn or were brought from the
Sandwich Islands. Wharves were built, houses were. springing up
as if by magic, and the Bay of San Francisco presented as busy a
scene of life as any part of the world. Major Allen, of the
Quartermaster’s Department, who had come out as chief-quartermaster
of the division, was building a large warehouse at Benicia, with a
row of quarters, out of lumber at one hundred dollars per thousand
feet, and the work was done by men at sixteen dollars a day. I
have seen a detailed soldier, who got only his monthly pay of eight
dollars a month, and twenty cents a day for extra duty, nailing on
weather-boards and shingles, alongside a citizen who was paid
sixteen dollars a day. This was a real injustice, made the
soldiers discontented, and it was hardly to be wondered at that so
many deserted.

While the mass of people were busy at gold and in mammoth
speculations, a set of busy politicians were at work to secure the
prizes of civil government. Gwin and Fremont were there, and T.
Butler King, of Georgia, had come out from the East, scheming for
office. He staid with us at Sonoma, and was generally regarded as
the Government candidate for United States Senator. General Riley
as Governor, and Captain Halleck as Secretary of State, had issued
a proclamation for the election of a convention to frame a State
constitution. In due time the elections were held, and the
convention was assembled at Monterey. Dr. Semple was elected
president; and Gwin, Sutter, Halleck, Butler King, Sherwood,
Gilbert, Shannon, and others, were members. General Smith took no
part in this convention, but sent me down to watch the proceedings,
and report to him. The only subject of interest was the slavery
question. There were no slaves then in California, save a few who
had come out as servants, but the Southern people at that time
claimed their share of territory, out of that acquired by the
common labors of all sections of the Union in the war with Mexico.
Still, in California there was little feeling on the subject. I
never heard General Smith, who was a Louisianian, express any
opinion about it. Nor did Butler King, of Georgia, ever manifest
any particular interest in the matter. A committee was named to
draft a constitution, which in due time was reported, with the
usual clause, then known as the Wilmot Proviso, excluding slavery;
and during the debate which ensued very little opposition was made
to this clause, which was finally adopted by a large majority,
although the convention was made up in large part of men from our
Southern States. This matter of California being a free State,
afterward, in the national Congress, gave rise to angry debates,
which at one time threatened civil war. The result of the
convention was the election of State officers, and of the
Legislature which sat in San Jose in October and November, 1849,
and which elected Fremont and Gwin as the first United States
Senators in Congress from the Pacific coast.

Shortly after returning from Monterey, I was sent by General Smith
up to Sacramento City to instruct Lieutenants Warner and
Williamson, of the Engineers, to push their surveys of the Sierra
Nevada Mountains, for the purpose of ascertaining the possibility
of passing that range by a railroad, a subject that then elicited
universal interest. It was generally assumed that such a road
could not be made along any of the immigrant roads then in use, and
Warner’s orders were to look farther north up the Feather River, or
some one of its tributaries. Warner was engaged in this survey
during the summer and fall of 1849, and had explored, to the very
end of Goose Lake, the source of Feather River. Then, leaving
Williamson with the baggage and part of the men, he took about ten
men and a first-rate guide, crossed the summit to the east, and had
turned south, having the range of mountains on his right hand, with
the intention of regaining his camp by another pass in the
mountain. The party was strung out, single file, with wide spaces
between, Warner ahead. He had just crossed a small valley and
ascended one of the spurs covered with sage-brush and rocks, when a
band of Indians rose up and poured in a shower of arrows. The mule
turned and ran back to the valley, where Warner fell off dead,
punctured by five arrows. The mule also died. The guide, who was
near to Warner, was mortally wounded; and one or two men had arrows
in their bodies, but recovered. The party gathered about Warner’s
body, in sight of the Indians, who whooped and yelled, but did not
venture away from their cover of rocks. This party of men remained
there all day without burying the bodies, and at night, by a wide
circuit, passed the mountain, and reached Williamson’s camp. The
news of Warner’s death cast a gloom over all the old Californians,
who knew him well. He was a careful, prudent, and honest officer,
well qualified for his business, and extremely accurate in all his
work. He and I had been intimately associated during our four
years together in California, and I felt his loss deeply. The
season was then too far advanced to attempt to avenge his death,
and it was not until the next spring that a party was sent out to
gather up and bury his scattered bones.

As winter approached, the immigrants overland came pouring into
California, dusty and worn with their two thousand miles of weary
travel across the plains and mountains. Those who arrived in
October and November reported thousands still behind them, with
oxen perishing, and short of food. Appeals were made for help, and
General Smith resolved to attempt relief. Major Rucker, who had
come across with Pike. Graham’s Battalion of Dragoons, had
exchanged with Major Fitzgerald, of the Quartermaster’s Department,
and was detailed to conduct this relief. General Smith ordered him
to be supplied with one hundred thousand dollars out of the civil
fund, subject to his control, and with this to purchase at
Sacramento flour, bacon, etc., and to hire men and mules to send
out and meet the immigrants. Major Rucker fulfilled this duty
perfectly, sending out pack-trains loaded with food by the many
routes by which the immigrants were known to be approaching, went
out himself with one of these trains, and remained in the mountains
until the last immigrant had got in. No doubt this expedition
saved many a life which has since been most useful to the country.
I remained at Sacramento a good part of the fall of 1849,
recognizing among the immigrants many of my old personal friends–
John C. Fall, William King, Sam Stambaugh, Hugh Ewing, Hampton
Denman, etc. I got Rucker to give these last two employment along
with the train for the relief of the immigrants. They had proposed
to begin a ranch on my land on the Cosumnes, but afterward changed
their minds, and went out with Rucker.

While I was at Sacramento General Smith had gone on his
contemplated trip to Oregon, and promised that he would be back in
December, when he would send me home with dispatches. Accordingly,
as the winter and rainy season was at hand, I went to San
Francisco, and spent some time at the Presidio, waiting patiently
for General Smith’s return. About Christmas a vessel arrived from
Oregon with the dispatches, and an order for me to deliver them in
person to General Winfield Scott, in New York City. General Smith
had sent them down, remaining in Oregon for a time. Of course I
was all ready, and others of our set were going home by the same
conveyance, viz., Rucker, Ord, A. J. Smith–some under orders, and
the others on leave. Wanting to see my old friends in Monterey, I
arranged for my passage in the steamer of January 1, 1850, paying
six hundred dollars for passage to New York, and went down to
Monterey by land, Rucker accompanying me. The weather was
unusually rainy, and all the plain about Santa Clara was under
water; but we reached Monterey in time. I again was welcomed by my
friends, Dona Augustias, Manuelita, and the family, and it was
resolved that I should take two of the boys home with me and put
them at Georgetown College for education, viz., Antonio and
Porfirio, thirteen and eleven years old. The dona gave me a bag of
gold-dust to pay for their passage and to deposit at the college.
On the 2d day of January punctually appeared the steamer Oregon.

We were all soon on board and off for home. At that time the
steamers touched at San Diego, Acapulco, and Panama. Our
passage down the coast was unusually pleasant. Arrived at
Panama, we hired mules and rode across to Gorgona, on the
Cruces River, where we hired a boat and paddled down to the
mouth of the river, off which lay the steamer Crescent City. It
usually took four days to cross the isthmus, every passenger taking
care of himself, and it was really funny to watch the efforts of
women and men unaccustomed to mules. It was an old song to us, and
the trip across was easy and interesting. In due time we were rowed
off to the Crescent City, rolling back and forth in the swell, and
we scrambled aboard by a “Jacob’s ladder” from the stern. Some of
the women had to be hoisted aboard by lowering a tub from the end
of a boom; fun to us who looked on, but awkward enough to the poor
women, especially to a very fat one, who attracted much notice.
General Fremont, wife and child (Lillie) were passengers with us
down from San Francisco; but Mrs. Fremont not being well, they
remained over one trip at Panama.

Senator Gwin was one of our passengers, and went through to New
York. We reached New York about the close of January, after a safe
and pleasant trip. Our party, composed of Ord, A. J. Smith, and
Rucker, with the two boys, Antonio and Porfirio, put up at
Delmonico’s, on Bowling Green; and, as soon as we had cleaned up
somewhat, I took a carriage, went to General Scott’s office in
Ninth Street, delivered my dispatches, was ordered to dine with him
next day, and then went forth to hunt up my old friends and
relations, the Scotts, Hoyts, etc., etc.

On reaching New York, most of us had rough soldier’s clothing, but
we soon got a new outfit, and I dined with General Scott’s family,
Mrs. Scott being present, and also their son-in-law and daughter
(Colonel and Mrs. H. L. Scott). The general questioned me pretty
closely in regard to things on the Pacific coast, especially the
politics, and startled me with the assertion that “our country was
on the eve of a terrible civil war.” He interested me by anecdotes
of my old army comrades in his recent battles around the city of
Mexico, and I felt deeply the fact that our country had passed
through a foreign war, that my comrades had fought great battles,
and yet I had not heard a hostile shot. Of course, I thought it
the last and only chance in my day, and that my career as a soldier
was at an end. After some four or five days spent in New York, I
was, by an order of General Scott, sent to Washington, to lay
before the Secretary of War (Crawford, of Georgia) the dispatches
which I had brought from California. On reaching Washington, I
found that Mr. Ewing was Secretary of the Interior, and I at once
became a member of his family. The family occupied the house of
Mr. Blair, on Pennsylvania Avenue, directly in front of the War
Department. I immediately repaired to the War Department, and
placed my dispatches in the hands of Mr. Crawford, who questioned
me somewhat about California, but seemed little interested in the
subject, except so far as it related to slavery and the routes
through Texas. I then went to call on the President at the White
House. I found Major Bliss, who had been my teacher in mathematics
at West Point, and was then General Taylor’s son-in-law and private
secretary. He took me into the room, now used by the President’s
private secretaries, where President Taylor was. I had never seen
him before, though I had served under him in Florida in 1840-’41,
and was most agreeably surprised at his fine personal appearance,
and his pleasant, easy manners. He received me with great
kindness, told me that Colonel Mason had mentioned my name with
praise, and that he would be pleased to do me any act of favor. We
were with him nearly an hour, talking about California generally,
and of his personal friends, Persifer Smith, Riley, Canby, and
others: Although General Scott was generally regarded by the army
as the most accomplished soldier of the Mexican War, yet General
Taylor had that blunt, honest, and stern character, that endeared
him to the masses of the people, and made him President. Bliss,
too, had gained a large fame by his marked skill and intelligence
as an adjutant-general and military adviser. His manner was very
unmilitary, and in his talk he stammered and hesitated, so as to
make an unfavorable impression on a stranger; but he was
wonderfully accurate and skillful with his pen, and his orders and
letters form a model of military precision and clearness.




Having returned from California in January, 1850, with dispatches
for the War Department, and having delivered them in person first
to General Scott in New York City, and afterward to the Secretary
of War (Crawford) in Washington City, I applied for and received a
leave of absence for six months. I first visited my mother, then
living at Mansfield, Ohio, and returned to Washington, where, on
the 1st day of May, 1850, I was married to Miss Ellen Boyle Ewing,
daughter of the Hon. Thomas Ewing, Secretary of the Interior. The
marriage ceremony was attended by a large and distinguished
company, embracing Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, T. H. Benton,
President Taylor, and all his cabinet. This occurred at the house
of Mr. Ewing, the same now owned and occupied by Mr. F. P. Blair,
senior, on Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite the War Department. We
made a wedding tour to Baltimore, New York, Niagara, and Ohio, and
returned to Washington by the 1st of July. General Taylor
participated in the celebration of the Fourth of July, a very hot
day, by hearing a long speech from the Hon. Henry S. Foote, at the
base of the Washington Monument. Returning from the celebration
much heated and fatigued, he partook too freely of his favorite
iced milk with cherries, and during that night was seized with a
severe colic, which by morning had quite prostrated him. It was
said that he sent for his son-in-law, Surgeon Wood, United States
Army, stationed in Baltimore, and declined medical assistance from
anybody else. Mr. Ewing visited him several times, and was
manifestly uneasy and anxious, as was also his son-in-law, Major
Bliss, then of the army, and his confidential secretary. He
rapidly grew worse, and died in about four days.

At that time there was a high state of political feeling pervading
the country, on account of the questions growing out of the new
Territories just acquired from Mexico by the war. Congress was in
session, and General Taylor’s sudden death evidently created great
alarm. I was present in the Senate-gallery, and saw the oath of
office administered to the Vice-President, Mr. Fillmore, a man of
splendid physical proportions and commanding appearance; but on the
faces of Senators and people could easily be read the feelings of
doubt and uncertainty that prevailed. All knew that a change in
the cabinet and general policy was likely to result, but at the
time it was supposed that Mr. Fillmore, whose home was in Buffalo,
would be less liberal than General Taylor to the politicians of the
South, who feared, or pretended to fear, a crusade against slavery;
or, as was the political cry of the day, that slavery would be
prohibited in the Territories and in the places exclusively under
the jurisdiction of the United States. Events, however, proved the

I attended General Taylor’s funeral as a sort of aide-decamp, at
the request of the Adjutant-General of the army, Roger Jones, whose
brother, a militia-general, commanded the escort, composed of
militia and some regulars. Among the regulars I recall the names
of Captains John Sedgwick and W. F. Barry.

Hardly was General Taylor decently buried in the Congressional
Cemetery when the political struggle recommenced, and it became
manifest that Mr. Fillmore favored the general compromise then
known as Henry Clay’s “Omnibus Bill,” and that a general change of
cabinet would at once occur: Webster was to succeed Mr. Clayton as
Secretary of State, Corwin to succeed Mr. Meredith as Secretary of
the Treasury, and A. H. H. Stuart to succeed Mr. Ewing as Secretary
of the Interior. Mr. Ewing, however, was immediately appointed by
the Governor of the State to succeed Corwin in the Senate. These
changes made it necessary for Mr. Ewing to discontinue house-
keeping, and Mr. Corwin took his home and furniture off his hands.
I escorted the family out to their home in Lancaster, Ohio; but,
before this had occurred, some most interesting debates took place
in the Senate, which I regularly attended, and heard Clay, Benton,
Foots, King of Alabama, Dayton, and the many real orators of that
day. Mr. Calhoun was in his seat, but he was evidently approaching
his end, for he was pale and feeble in the extreme. I heard Mr.
Webster’s last speech on the floor of the Senate, under
circumstances that warrant a description. It was publicly known
that he was to leave the Senate, and enter the new cabinet of Mr.
Fillmore, as his Secretary of State, and that prior to leaving he
was to make a great speech on the “Omnibus Bill.” Resolved to hear
it, I went up to the Capitol on the day named, an hour or so
earlier than usual. The speech was to be delivered in the old
Senate-chamber, now used by the Supreme Court. The galleries were
much smaller than at present, and I found them full to overflowing,
with a dense crowd about the door, struggling to reach the stairs.
I could not get near, and then tried the reporters’ gallery, but
found it equally crowded; so I feared I should lose the only
possible opportunity to hear Mr. Webster.

I had only a limited personal acquaintance with any of the
Senators, but had met Mr. Corwin quite often at Mr. Ewing’s house,
and I also knew that he had been extremely friendly to my father in
his lifetime; so I ventured to send in to him my card, “W. T. S.,
First-Lieutenant, Third Artillery.” He came to the door promptly,
when I said, “Mr. Corwin, I believe Mr. Webster is to speak
to-day.” His answer was, “Yes, he has the floor at one o’clock.”
I then added that I was extremely anxious to hear him. “Well,”
said he, “why don’t you go into the gallery?” I explained that it
was full, and I had tried every access, but found all jammed with
people. “Well,” said he, “what do you want of me?” I explained
that I would like him to take me on the floor of the Senate; that I
had often seen from the gallery persons on the floor, no better
entitled to it than I. He then asked in his quizzical way, “Are
you a foreign embassador?” “No.” “Are you the Governor of a
State?” “No.” “Are you a member of the other House?” “Certainly
not” “Have you ever had a vote of thanks by name?” “No!” “Well,
these are the only privileged members.” I then told him he knew
well enough who I was, and that if he chose he could take me in.
He then said, “Have you any impudence?” I told him, “A reasonable
amount if occasion called for it.” “Do you think you could become
so interested in my conversation as not to notice the door-keeper?”
(pointing to him). I told him that there was not the least doubt
of it, if he would tell me one of his funny stories. He then took
my arm, and led me a turn in the vestibule, talking about some
indifferent matter, but all the time directing my looks to his left
hand, toward which he was gesticulating with his right; and thus we
approached the door-keeper, who began asking me, “Foreign
ambassador? Governor of a State? Member of Congress?” etc.; but I
caught Corwin’s eye, which said plainly, “Don’t mind him, pay
attention to me,” and in this way we entered the Senate-chamber by
a side-door. Once in, Corwin said, “Now you can take care of
yourself,” and I thanked him cordially.

I found a seat close behind Mr. Webster, and near General Scott,
and heard the whole of the speech. It was heavy in the extreme,
and I confess that I was disappointed and tired long before it was
finished. No doubt the speech was full of fact and argument, but
it had none of the fire of oratory, or intensity of feeling, that
marked all of Mr. Clay’s efforts.

Toward the end of July, as before stated, all the family went home
to Lancaster. Congress was still in session, and the bill adding
four captains to the Commissary Department had not passed, but was
reasonably certain to, and I was equally sure of being one of them.
At that time my name was on the muster-roll of (Light) Company C,
Third Artillery (Bragg’s), stationed at Jefferson Barracks, near
St. Louis. But, as there was cholera at St. Louis, on application,
I was permitted to delay joining my company until September. Early
in that month, I proceeded to Cincinnati, and thence by steamboat
to St. Louis, and then to Jefferson Barracks, where I reported
for duty to Captain and Brevet-Colonel Braxton Bragg, commanding
(Light) Company C, Third Artillery. The other officers of the
company were First-Lieutenant James A. Hardie, and afterward
Haekaliah Brown. New horses had just been purchased for the
battery, and we were preparing for work, when the mail brought the
orders announcing the passage of the bill increasing the Commissary
Department by four captains, to which were promoted Captains
Shiras, Blair, Sherman, and Bowen. I was ordered to take post at
St. Louis, and to relieve Captain A. J. Smith, First Dragoons, who
had been acting in that capacity for some months. My commission
bore date September 27,1850. I proceeded forthwith to the city,
relieved Captain Smith, and entered on the discharge of the duties
of the office.

Colonel N. S. Clarke, Sixth Infantry, commanded the department;
Major D. C. Buell was adjutant-general, and Captain W. S. Hancock
was regimental quartermaster; Colonel Thomas Swords was the depot
quartermaster, and we had our offices in the same building, on the
corner of Washington Avenue and Second. Subsequently Major S. Van
Vliet relieved Colonel Swords. I remained at the Planters’ House
until my family arrived, when we occupied a house on Chouteau
Avenue, near Twelfth.

During the spring and summer of 1851, Mr. Ewing and Mr. Henry
Stoddard, of Dayton, Ohio, a cousin of my father, were much in St.
Louis, on business connected with the estate of Major Amos
Stoddard, who was of the old army, as early as the beginning of
this century. He was stationed at the village of St. Louis at the
time of the Louisiana purchase, and when Lewis and Clarke made
their famous expedition across the continent to the Columbia River.
Major Stoddard at that early day had purchased a small farm back of
the village, of some Spaniard or Frenchman, but, as he was a
bachelor, and was killed at Fort Meigs, Ohio, during the War of
1812, the title was for many years lost sight of, and the farm was
covered over by other claims and by occupants. As St. Louis began
to grow, his brothers and sisters, and their descendants, concluded
to look up the property. After much and fruitless litigation, they
at last retained Mr. Stoddard, of Dayton, who in turn employed Mr.
Ewing, and these, after many years of labor, established the title,
and in the summer of 1851 they were put in possession by the United
States marshal. The ground was laid off, the city survey extended
over it, and the whole was sold in partition. I made some
purchases, and acquired an interest, which I have retained more or
less ever since.

We continued to reside in St. Louis throughout the year 1851, and
in the spring of 1852 I had occasion to visit Fort Leavenworth on
duty, partly to inspect a lot of cattle which a Mr. Gordon, of Cass
County, had contracted to deliver in New Mexico, to enable Colonel
Sumner to attempt his scheme of making the soldiers in New Mexico
self-supporting, by raising their own meat, and in a measure their
own vegetables. I found Fort Leavenworth then, as now, a most
beautiful spot, but in the midst of a wild Indian country. There
were no whites settled in what is now the State of Kansas. Weston,
in Missouri, was the great town, and speculation in town-lots there
and thereabout burnt the fingers of some of the army-officers, who
wanted to plant their scanty dollars in a fruitful soil. I rode on
horseback over to Gordon’s farm, saw the cattle, concluded the
bargain, and returned by way of Independence, Missouri. At
Independence I found F. X. Aubrey, a noted man of that day, who had
just made a celebrated ride of six hundred miles in six days. That
spring the United States quartermaster, Major L. C. Easton, at Fort
Union, New Mexico, had occasion to send some message east by a
certain date, and contracted with Aubrey to carry it to the nearest
post-office (then Independence, Missouri), making his compensation
conditional on the time consumed. He was supplied with a good
horse, and an order on the outgoing trains for an exchange. Though
the whole route was infested with hostile Indians, and not a house
on it, Aubrey started alone with his rifle. He was fortunate in
meeting several outward-bound trains, and there, by made frequent
changes of horses, some four or five, and reached Independence in
six days, having hardly rested or slept the whole way. Of course,
he was extremely fatigued, and said there was an opinion among the
wild Indians that if a man “sleeps out his sleep,” after such
extreme exhaustion, he will never awake; and, accordingly, he
instructed his landlord to wake him up after eight hours of sleep.
When aroused at last, he saw by the clock that he had been asleep
twenty hours, and he was dreadfully angry, threatened to murder his
landlord, who protested he had tried in every way to get him up,
but found it impossible, and had let him “sleep it out” Aubrey, in
describing his sensations to me, said he took it for granted he was
a dead man; but in fact he sustained no ill effects, and was off
again in a few days. I met him afterward often in California, and
always esteemed him one of the best samples of that bold race of
men who had grown up on the Plains, along with the Indians, in the
service of the fur companies. He was afterward, in 1856, killed by
R. C. Weightman, in a bar-room row, at Santa Fe, New Mexico, where
he had just arrived from California.

In going from Independence to Fort Leavenworth, I had to swim Milk
Creek, and sleep all night in a Shawnee camp. The next day I
crossed the Kaw or Kansas River in a ferry boat, maintained by the
blacksmith of the tribe, and reached the fort in the evening. At
that day the whole region was unsettled, where now exist many rich
counties, highly cultivated, embracing several cities of from ten
to forty thousand inhabitants. From Fort Leavenworth I returned by
steamboat to St. Louis.

In the summer of 1852, my family went to Lancaster, Ohio; but I
remained at my post. Late in the season, it was rumored that I was
to be transferred to New Orleans, and in due time I learned the
cause. During a part of the Mexican War, Major Seawell, of the
Seventh Infantry, had been acting commissary of subsistence at New
Orleans, then the great depot of supplies for the troops in Texas,
and of those operating beyond the Rio Grande. Commissaries at that
time were allowed to purchase in open market, and were not
restricted to advertising and awarding contracts to the lowest
bidders. It was reported that Major Seawell had purchased largely
of the house of Perry Seawell & Co., Mr. Seawell being a relative
of his. When he was relieved in his duties by Major Waggman, of
the regular Commissary Department, the latter found Perry Seawell &
Co. so prompt and satisfactory that he continued the patronage;
for which there was a good reason, because stores for the use of
the troops at remote posts had to be packed in a particular way, to
bear transportation in wagons, or even on pack-mules; and this firm
had made extraordinary preparations for this exclusive purpose.
Some time about 1849, a brother of Major Waggaman, who had been
clerk to Captain Casey, commissary of subsistence, at Tampa Bay,
Florida, was thrown out of office by the death of the captain, and
he naturally applied to his brother in New Orleans for employment;
and he, in turn, referred him to his friends, Messrs. Perry
Seawell & Co. These first employed him as a clerk, and afterward
admitted him as a partner. Thus it resulted, in fact, that Major
Waggaman was dealing largely, if not exclusively, with a firm of
which his brother was a partner.

One day, as General Twiggs was coming across Lake Pontchartrain, he
fell in with one of his old cronies, who was an extensive grocer.
This gentleman gradually led the conversation to the downward
tendency of the times since he and Twiggs were young, saying that,
in former years, all the merchants of New Orleans had a chance at
government patronage; but now, in order to sell to the army
commissary, one had to take a brother in as a partner. General
Twiggs resented this, but the merchant again affirmed it, and gave
names. As soon as General Twiggs reached his office, he instructed
his adjutant-general, Colonel Bliss–who told me this–to address a
categorical note of inquiry to Major Waggaman. The major very
frankly stated the facts as they had arisen, and insisted that the
firm of Perry Seawell & Co. had enjoyed a large patronage, but
deserved it richly by reason of their promptness, fairness, and
fidelity. The correspondence was sent to Washington, and the
result was, that Major Waggaman was ordered to St. Louis, and I was
ordered to New Orleans.

I went down to New Orleans in a steamboat in the month of
September, 1852, taking with me a clerk, and, on arrival, assumed
the office, in a bank-building facing Lafayette Square, in which
were the offices of all the army departments. General D. Twiggs
was in command of the department, with Colonel W. W. S. Bliss
(son-in-law of General Taylor) as his adjutant-general. Colonel A.
C. Myers was quartermaster, Captain John F. Reynolds aide-de-camp,
and Colonel A. J. Coffee paymaster. I took rooms at the St. Louis
Hotel, kept by a most excellent gentleman, Colonel Mudge.

Mr. Perry Seawell came to me in person, soliciting a continuance of
the custom which he had theretofore enjoyed; but I told him frankly
that a change was necessary, and I never saw or heard of him
afterward. I simply purchased in open market, arranged for the
proper packing of the stores, and had not the least difficulty in
supplying the troops and satisfying the head of the department in

About Christmas, I had notice that my family, consisting of Mrs.
Sherman, two children, and nurse, with my sister Fanny (now Mrs.
Moulton, of Cincinnati, Ohio), were en route for New Orleans by
steam-packet; so I hired a house on Magazine Street, and furnished
it. Almost at the moment of their arrival, also came from St.
Louis my personal friend Major Turner, with a parcel of documents,
which, on examination, proved to be articles of copartnership for a
bank in California under the title of “Lucas, Turner & Co.,” in
which my name was embraced as a partner. Major Turner was, at the
time, actually en route for New York, to embark for San Francisco,
to inaugurate the bank, in the nature of a branch of the firm
already existing at St. Louis under the name of “Lucas & Symonds.”
We discussed the matter very fully, and he left with me the papers
for reflection, and went on to New York and California.

Shortly after arrived James H. Lucas, Esq., the principal of the
banking-firm in St. Louis, a most honorable and wealthy gentleman.
He further explained the full programme of the branch in
California; that my name had been included at the insistance of
Major Turner, who was a man of family and property in St. Louis,
unwilling to remain long in San Francisco, and who wanted me to
succeed him there. He offered me a very tempting income, with an
interest that would accumulate and grow. He also disclosed to me
that, in establishing a branch in California, he was influenced by
the apparent prosperity of Page, Bacon & Co., and further that he
had received the principal data, on which he had founded the
scheme, from B. R. Nisbet, who was then a teller in the firm of
Page, Bacon & Co., of San Francisco; that he also was to be taken
in as a partner, and was fully competent to manage all the details
of the business; but, as Nisbet was comparatively young, Mr. Lucas
wanted me to reside in San Francisco permanently, as the head of
the firm. All these matters were fully discussed, and I agreed to
apply for a six months’ leave of absence, go to San Francisco, see
for myself, and be governed by appearances there. I accordingly,
with General Twiggs’s approval, applied to the adjutant-general for
a six months’ leave, which was granted; and Captain John F.
Reynolds was named to perform my duties during my absence.

During the stay of my family in New Orleans, we enjoyed the society
of the families of General Twiggs, Colonel Myers, and Colonel
Bliss, as also of many citizens, among whom was the wife of Mr.
Day, sister to my brother-in-law, Judge Bartley. General Twiggs
was then one of the oldest officers of the army. His history
extended back to the War of 1812, and he had served in early days
with General Jackson in Florida and in the Creek campaigns. He had
fine powers of description, and often entertained us, at his
office, with accounts of his experiences in the earlier settlements
of the Southwest. Colonel Bliss had been General Taylor’s adjutant
in the Mexican War, and was universally regarded as one of the most
finished and accomplished scholars in the army, and his wife was a
most agreeable and accomplished lady.

Late in February, I dispatched my family up to Ohio in the
steamboat Tecumseh (Captain Pearce); disposed of my house and
furniture; turned over to Major Reynolds the funds, property, and
records of the office; and took passage in a small steamer for
Nicaragua,, en route for California. We embarked early in March,
and in seven days reached Greytown, where we united with the
passengers from New York, and proceeded, by the Nicaragua River and
Lake, for the Pacific Ocean. The river was low, and the little
steam canal-boats, four in number, grounded often, so that the
passengers had to get into the water, to help them over the bare.
In all there were about six hundred passengers, of whom about sixty
were women and children. In four days we reached Castillo, where
there is a decided fall, passed by a short railway, and above this
fall we were transferred to a larger boat, which carried us up the
rest of the river, and across the beautiful lake Nicaragua, studded
with volcanic islands. Landing at Virgin Bay, we rode on mules
across to San Juan del Sur, where lay at anchor the propeller S. S.
Lewis (Captain Partridge, I think). Passengers were carried
through the surf by natives to small boats, and rowed off to the
Lewis. The weather was very hot, and quite a scramble followed for
state-rooms, especially for those on deck. I succeeded in reaching
the purser’s office, got my ticket for a berth in one of the best
state-rooms on deck, and, just as I was turning from the window, a
lady who was a fellow-passenger from New Orleans, a Mrs. D-, called
to me to secure her and her lady friend berths on deck, saying that
those below were unendurable. I spoke to the purser, who, at the
moment perplexed by the crowd and clamor, answered: “I must put
their names down for the other two berths of your state-room; but,
as soon as the confusion is over, I will make some change whereby
you shall not suffer.” As soon as these two women were assigned to
a state-room, they took possession, and I was left out. Their
names were recorded as “Captain Sherman and ladies.” As soon as
things were quieted down I remonstrated with the purser, who at
last gave me a lower berth in another and larger state-room on
deck, with five others, so that my two ladies had the state-room
all to themselves. At every meal the steward would come to me, and
say, “Captain Sherman, will you bring your ladies to the table?”
and we had the best seats in the ship.

This continued throughout the voyage, and I assert that “my ladies”
were of the most modest and best-behaved in the ship; but some time
after we had reached San Francisco one of our fellow-passengers
came to me and inquired if I personally knew Mrs. D—, with flaxen
tresses, who sang so sweetly for us, and who had come out under my
especial escort. I replied I did not, more than the chance
acquaintance of the voyage, and what she herself had told me, viz.,
that she expected to meet her husband, who lived about Mokelumne
Hill. He then informed me that she was a woman of the town.
Society in California was then decidedly mixed. In due season the
steamship Lewis got under weigh. She was a wooden ship, long and
narrow, bark-rigged, and a propeller; very slow, moving not over
eight miles an hour. We stopped at Acapulco, and, in eighteen
days, passed in sight of Point Pinoa at Monterey, and at the speed
we were traveling expected to reach San Francisco at 4 A. M. the
next day. The cabin passengers, as was usual, bought of the
steward some champagne and cigars, and we had a sort of ovation for
the captain, purser, and surgeon of the ship, who were all very
clever fellows, though they had a slow and poor ship. Late at
night all the passengers went to bed, expecting to enter the port
at daylight. I did not undress, as I thought the captain could and
would run in at night, and I lay down with my clothes on. About 4
A. M. I was awakened by a bump and sort of grating of the vessel,
which I thought was our arrival at the wharf in San Francisco; but
instantly the ship struck heavily; the engines stopped, and the
running to and fro on deck showed that something was wrong. In a
moment I was out of my state-room, at the bulwark, holding fast to
a stanchion, and looking over the side at the white and seething
water caused by her sudden and violent stoppage. The sea was
comparatively smooth, the night pitch-dark, and the fog deep and
impenetrable; the ship would rise with the swell, and come down
with a bump and quiver that was decidedly unpleasant. Soon the
passengers were out of their rooms, undressed, calling for help,
and praying as though the ship were going to sink immediately. Of
course she could not sink, being already on the bottom, and the
only question was as to the strengh of hull to stand the bumping
and straining. Great confusion for a time prevailed, but soon I
realized that the captain had taken all proper precautions to
secure his boats, of which there were six at the davits. These are
the first things that steerage-passengers make for in case of
shipwreck, and right over my head I heard the captain’s voice say
in a low tone, but quite decided: “Let go that falls, or, damn you,
I’ll blow your head off!” This seemingly harsh language gave me
great comfort at the time, and on saying so to the captain
afterward, he explained that it was addressed to a passenger who
attempted to lower one of the boats. Guards, composed of the crew,
were soon posted to prevent any interference with the boats, and
the officers circulated among the passengers the report that there
was no immediate danger; that, fortunately, the sea was smooth;
that we were simply aground, and must quietly await daylight.

They advised the passengers to keep quiet, and the ladies and
children to dress and sit at the doors of their state-rooms, there
to await the advice and action of the officers of the ship, who
were perfectly cool and self-possessed. Meantime the ship was
working over a reef-for a time I feared she would break in two;
but, as the water gradually rose inside to a level with the sea
outside, the ship swung broadside to the swell, and all her keel
seemed to rest on the rock or sand. At no time did the sea break
over the deck–but the water below drove all the people up to the
main-deck and to the promenade-deck, and thus we remained for about
three hours, when daylight came; but there was a fog so thick that
nothing but water could be seen. The captain caused a boat to be
carefully lowered, put in her a trustworthy officer with a
boat-compass, and we saw her depart into the fog. During her
absence the ship’s bell was kept tolling. Then the fires were all
out, the ship full of water, and gradually breaking up, wriggling
with every swell like a willow basket–the sea all round us full of
the floating fragments of her sheeting, twisted and torn into a
spongy condition. In less than an hour the boat returned, saying
that the beach was quite near, not more than a mile away, and had a
good place for landing. All the boats were then carefully lowered,
and manned by crews belonging to the ship; a piece of the gangway,
on the leeward side, was cut away, and all the women, and a few of
the worst-scared men, were lowered into the boats, which pulled for
shore. In a comparatively short time the boats returned, took new
loads, and the debarkation was afterward carried on quietly and
systematically. No baggage was allowed to go on shore except bags
or parcels carried in the hands of passengers. At times the fog
lifted so that we could see from the wreck the tops of the hills,
and the outline of the shore; and I remember sitting on, the upper
or hurricane deck with the captain, who had his maps and compass
before him, and was trying to make out where the ship was. I
thought I recognized the outline of the hills below the mission of
Dolores, and so stated to him; but he called my attention to the
fact that the general line of hills bore northwest, whereas the
coast south of San Francisco bears due north and south. He
therefore concluded that the ship had overrun her reckoning, and
was then to the north of San Francisco. He also explained that,
the passage up being longer than usual, viz., eighteen days, the
coal was short; that at the time the firemen were using some cut-up
spars along with the slack of coal, and that this fuel had made
more than usual steam, so that the ship must have glided along
faster than reckoned. This proved to be the actual case, for, in
fact, the steamship Lewis was wrecked April 9, 1853, on “Duckworth
Reef,” Baulinas Bay, about eighteen miles above the entrance to San

The captain had sent ashore. the purser in the first boat, with
orders to work his way to the city as soon as possible, to report
the loss of his vessel, and to bring back help. I remained on the
wreck till among the last of the passengers, managing to get a can
of crackers and some sardines out of the submerged pantry, a thing
the rest of the passengers did not have, and then I went quietly
ashore in one of the boats. The passengers were all on the beach,
under a steep bluff; had built fires to dry their clothes, but had
seen no human being, and had no idea where they were. Taking along
with me a fellow-passenger, a young chap about eighteen years old,
I scrambled up the bluff, and walked back toward the hills, in
hopes to get a good view of some known object. It was then the
month of April, and the hills were covered with the beautiful
grasses and flowers of that season of the year. We soon found
horse paths and tracks, and following them we came upon a drove of
horses grazing at large, some of which had saddle-marks. At about
two miles from the beach we found a corral; and thence, following
one of the strongest-marked paths, in about a mile more we
descended into a valley, and, on turning a sharp point, reached a
board shanty, with a horse picketed near by. Four men were inside
eating a meal. I inquired if any of the Lewis’s people had been
there; they did not seem to understand what I meant when I
explained to them that about three miles from them, and beyond the
old corral, the steamer Lewis was wrecked, and her passengers were
on the beach. I inquired where we were, and they answered, “At
Baulinas Creek;” that they were employed at a saw-mill just above,
and were engaged in shipping lumber to San Francisco; that a
schooner loaded with lumber was then about two miles down the
creek, waiting for the tide to get out, and doubtless if we would
walk down they would take us on board.

I wrote a few words back to the captain, telling him where he was,
and that I would hurry to the city to send him help. My companion
and I their went on down the creek, and soon descried the schooner
anchored out in the stream. On being hailed, a small boat came in
and took us on board. The “captain” willingly agreed for a small
sum to carry us down to San Francisco; and, as his whole crew
consisted of a small boy about twelve years old, we helped him to
get up his anchor and pole the schooner down the creek and out over
the bar on a high tide. This must have been about 2 P.M. Once over
the bar, the sails were hoisted, and we glided along rapidly with a
strong, fair, northwest wind. The fog had lifted, so we could see
the shores plainly, and the entrance to the bay. In a couple of
hours we were entering the bay, and running “wing-and-wing.”
Outside the wind was simply the usual strong breeze; but, as it
passes through the head of the Golden Gate, it increases, and
there, too, we met a strong ebb-tide.

The schooner was loaded with lumber, much of which was on deck,
lashed down to ring bolts with raw-hide thongs. The captain was
steering, and I was reclining on the lumber, looking at the
familiar shore, as we approached Fort Point, when I heard a sort of
cry, and felt the schooner going over. As we got into the throat
of the “Heads,” the force of the wind, meeting a strong ebb-tide,
drove the nose of the schooner under water; she dove like a duck,
went over on her side, and began, to drift out with the tide. I
found myself in the water, mixed up with pieces of plank and ropes;
struck out, swam round to the stern, got on the keel, and clambered
up on the side. Satisfied that she could not sink, by reason of
her cargo, I was not in the least alarmed, but thought two
shipwrecks in one day not a good beginning for a new, peaceful
career. Nobody was drowned, however; the captain and crew were
busy in securing such articles as were liable to float off, and I
looked out for some passing boat or vessel to pick us up. We were
drifting steadily out to sea, while I was signaling to a boat about
three miles off, toward Saucelito, and saw her tack and stand
toward us. I was busy watching this sail-boat, when I heard a
Yankee’s voice, close behind, saying, “This is a nice mess you’ve
got yourselves into,” and looking about I saw a man in a small
boat, who had seen us upset, and had rowed out to us from a
schooner anchored close under the fort. Some explanations were
made, and when the sail-boat coming from Saucelito was near enough
to be spoken to, and the captain had engaged her to help his
schooner, we bade him good by, and got the man in the small boat-to
carry us ashore, and land us at the foot of the bluff, just below
the fort. Once there, I was at home, and we footed it up to the
Presidio. Of the sentinel I inquired who was in command of the
post, and was answered, “Major Merchant.” He was not then in, but
his adjutant, Lieutenant Gardner, was. I sent my card to him; he
came out, and was much surprised to find me covered with sand, and
dripping with water, a good specimen of a shipwrecked mariner. A
few words of explanation sufficed; horses were provided, and we
rode hastily into the city, reaching the office of the Nicaragua
Steamship Company (C. K. Garrison, agent) about dark, just as the
purser had arrived; by a totally different route. It was too late
to send relief that night, but by daylight next morning two
steamers were en route for and reached the place of wreck in time
to relieve the passengers and bring them, and most of the baggage.
I lost my carpet-bag, but saved my trunk. The Lewis went to pieces
the night after we got off, and, had there been an average sea
during the night of our shipwreck, none of us probably would have
escaped. That evening in San Francisco I hunted up Major Turner,
whom I found boarding, in company with General E. A. Hitchcock, at
a Mrs. Ross’s, on Clay Street, near Powell. I took quarters with
them, and began to make my studies, with a view to a decision
whether it was best to undertake this new and untried scheme of
banking, or to return to New Orleans and hold on to what I then
had, a good army commission.

At the time of my arrival, San Francisco was an the top wave of
speculation and prosperity. Major Turner had rented at six hundred
dollars a month the office formerly used and then owned by Adams &
Co., on the east side of Montgomery Street, between Sacramento and
California Streets. B. R. Nisbet was the active partner, and James
Reilly the teller. Already the bank of Lucas, Turner & Co. was
established, and was engaged in selling bills of exchange,
receiving deposits, and loaning money at three per cent. a month.

Page, Bacon & Co., and Adams & Co., were in full blast across the
street, in Parrott’s new granite building, and other bankers were
doing seemingly a prosperous business, among them Wells, Fargo &
Co.; Drexel, Sather & Church; Burgoyne & Co.; James King of Win.;
Sanders & Brenham; Davidson & Co.; Palmer, Cook & Co., and others.
Turner and I had rooms at Mrs. Ross’s, and took our meals at
restaurants down-town, mostly at a Frenchman’s named Martin, on the
southwest corner of Montgomery and California Streets. General
Hitchcock, of the army, commanding the Department of California,
usually messed with us; also a Captain Mason, and Lieutenant
Whiting, of the Engineer Corps. We soon secured a small share of
business, and became satisfied there was room for profit.
Everybody seemed to be making money fast; the city was being
rapidly extended and improved; people paid their three per cent. a
month interest without fail, and without deeming it excessive.
Turner, Nisbet, and I, daily discussed the prospects, and gradually
settled down to the conviction that with two hundred thousand
dollars capital, and a credit of fifty thousand dollars in New
York, we could build up a business that would help the St. Louis
house, and at the same time pay expenses in California, with a
reasonable profit. Of course, Turner never designed to remain long
in California, and I consented to go back to St. Louis, confer with
Mr. Lucas and Captain Simonds, agree upon further details, and then
return permanently.

I have no memoranda by me now by which to determine the fact, but
think I returned to New York in July, 1853, by the Nicaragua route,
and thence to St. Louis by way of Lancaster, Ohio, where my family
still was. Mr. Lucas promptly agreed to the terms proposed, and
further consented, on the expiration of the lease of the Adams &
Co. office, to erect a new banking-house in San Francisco, to cost
fifty thousand dollars. I then returned to Lancaster, explained to
Mr. Ewing and Mrs. Sherman all the details of our agreement, and,
meeting their approval, I sent to the Adjutant-General of the army
my letter of resignation, to take effect at the end of the six
months’ leave, and the resignation was accepted, to take effect
September 6, 1853. Being then a citizen, I engaged a passage out
to California by the Nicaragua route, in the steamer leaving New
York September 20th, for myself and family, and accordingly
proceeded to New York, where I had a conference with Mr. Meigs,
cashier of the American Exchange Bank, and with Messrs. Wadsworth
& Sheldon, bankers, who were our New York correspondents; and on
the 20th embarked for San Juan del Norte, with the family, composed
of Mrs. Sherman, Lizzie, then less than a year old, and her nurse,
Mary Lynch. Our passage down was uneventful, and, on the boats up
the Nicaragua River, pretty much the same as before. On reaching
Virgin Bay, I engaged a native with three mules to carry us across
to the Pacific, and as usual the trip partook of the ludicrous–
Mrs. Sherman mounted on a donkey about as large as a Newfoundland
dog; Mary Lynch on another, trying to carry Lizzie on a pillow
before her, but her mule had a fashion of lying down, which scared
her, till I exchanged mules, and my California spurs kept that mule
on his legs. I carried Lizzie some time till she was fast asleep,
when I got our native man to carry her awhile. The child woke up,
and, finding herself in the hands of a dark-visaged man, she yelled
most lustily till I got her away. At the summit of the pass, there
was a clear-running brook, where we rested an hour, and bathed
Lizzie in its sweet waters. We then continued to the end of our
journey, and, without going to the tavern at San Juan del Sur, we
passed directly to the vessel, then at anchor about two miles out.
To reach her we engaged a native boat, which had to be kept outside
the surf. Mrs. Sherman was first taken in the arms of two stout
natives; Mary Lynch, carrying Lizzie, was carried by two others;
and I followed, mounted on the back of a strapping fellow, while
fifty or a hundred others were running to and fro, cackling like

Mary Lynch got scared at the surf, and began screaming like a fool,
when Lizzie became convulsed with fear, and one of the natives
rushed to her, caught her out of Mary’s arms, and carried her
swiftly to Mrs. Sherman, who, by that time, was in the boat, but
Lizzie had fainted with fear, and for a long time sobbed as though
permanently injured. For years she showed symptoms that made us
believe she had never entirely recovered from the effects of the
scare. In due time we reached the steamer Sierra Nevada, and got a
good state-room. Our passage up the coast was pleasant enough; we
reached San Francisco; on the 15th of October, and took quarters at
an hotel on Stockton Street, near Broadway.

Major Turner remained till some time in November, when he also
departed for the East, leaving me and Nisbet to manage the bank. I
endeavored to make myself familiar with the business, but of course
Nisbet kept the books, and gave his personal attention to the
loans, discounts, and drafts, which yielded the profits. I soon
saw, however, that the three per cent. charged as premium on bills
of exchange was not all profit, but out of this had to come one and
a fourth to one and a half for freight, one and a third for
insurance, with some indefinite promise of a return premium; then,
the, cost of blanks, boxing of the bullion, etc., etc. Indeed, I
saw no margin for profit at all. Nisbet, however, who had long
been familiar with the business, insisted there was a profit, in
the fact that the gold-dust or bullion shipped was more valuable
than its cost to us. We, of course, had to remit bullion to meet
our bills on New York, and bought crude gold-dust, or bars refined
by Kellogg & Humbert or E. Justh & Co., for at that time the United
States Mint was not in operation. But, as the reports of our
shipments came back from New York, I discovered that I was right,
and Nisbet was wrong; and, although we could not help selling our
checks on New York and St. Louis at the same price as other
bankers, I discovered that, at all events, the exchange business in
San Francisco was rather a losing business than profitable. The
same as to loans. We could loan, at three per cent. a month, all
our own money, say two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and a
part of our deposit account. This latter account in California was
decidedly uncertain. The balance due depositors would run down to
a mere nominal sum on steamer-days, which were the 1st and 15th of
each month, and then would increase till the next steamer-day, so
that we could not make use of any reasonable part of this balance
for loans beyond the next steamer-day; or, in other words, we had
an expensive bank, with expensive clerks, and all the machinery for
taking care of other people’s money for their benefit, without
corresponding profit. I also saw that loans were attended with
risk commensurate with the rate; nevertheless, I could not attempt
to reform the rules and customs established by others before me,
and had to drift along with the rest toward that Niagara that none
foresaw at the time.

Shortly after arriving out in 1853, we looked around for a site for
the new bank, and the only place then available on Montgomery
Street, the Wall Street of San Francisco, was a lot at the corner
of Jackson Street, facing Montgomery, with an alley on the north,
belonging to James Lick. The ground was sixty by sixty-two feet,
and I had to pay for it thirty-two thousand dollars. I then made a
contract with the builders, Keyser, & Brown, to erect a three-story
brick building, with finished basement, for about fifty thousand
dollars. This made eighty-two thousand instead of fifty thousand
dollars, but I thought Mr. Lucas could stand it and would approve,
which he did, though it resulted in loss to him. After the civil
war, he told me he had sold the building for forty thousand
dollars, about half its cost, but luckily gold was then at 250, so
that he could use the forty thousand dollars gold as the equivalent
of one hundred thousand dollars currency. The building was
erected; I gave it my personal supervision, and it was strongly and
thoroughly built, for I saw it two years ago, when several
earthquakes had made no impression on it; still, the choice of site
was unfortunate, for the city drifted in the opposite direction,
viz., toward Market Street. I then thought that all the heavy
business would remain toward the foot of Broadway and Jackson
Street, because there were the deepest water and best wharves, but
in this I made a mistake. Nevertheless, in the spring of 1854, the
new bank was finished, and we removed to it, paying rents
thereafter to our Mr. Lucas instead of to Adams & Co. A man named
Wright, during the same season, built a still finer building just
across the street from us; Pioche, Bayerque & Co. were already
established on another corner of Jackson Street, and the new
Metropolitan Theatre was in progress diagonally opposite us.
During the whole of 1854 our business steadily grew, our average
deposits going up to half a million, and our sales of exchange and
consequent shipment of bullion averaging two hundred thousand
dollars per steamer. I signed all bills of exchange, and insisted
on Nisbet consulting me on loans and discounts. Spite of every
caution, however, we lost occasionally by bad loans, and worse by
the steady depreciation of real estate. The city of San Francisco
was then extending her streets, sewering them, and planking them,
with three-inch lumber. In payment for the lumber and the work of
contractors, the city authorities paid scrip in even sums of one
hundred, five hundred, one thousand, and five thousand dollars.
These formed a favorite collateral for loans at from fifty to sixty
cents on the dollar, and no one doubted their ultimate value,
either by redemption or by being converted into city bonds. The
notes also of H. Meiggs, Neeley Thompson & Co., etc., lumber-
dealers, were favorite notes, for they paid their interest
promptly, and lodged large margins of these street-improvement
warrants as collateral. At that time, Meiggs was a prominent man,
lived in style in a large house on Broadway, was a member of the
City Council, and owned large saw-mills up the coast about
Mendocino. In him Nisbet had unbounded faith, but, for some
reason, I feared or mistrusted him, and remember that I cautioned
Nisbet not to extend his credit, but to gradually contract his
loans. On looking over our bills receivable, then about six
hundred thousand dollars, I found Meiggs, as principal or indorser,
owed us about eighty thousand dollars–all, however, secured by
city warrants; still, he kept bank accounts elsewhere, and was
generally a borrower. I instructed Nisbet to insist on his
reducing his line as the notes matured, and, as he found it
indelicate to speak to Meiggs, I instructed him to refer him to me;
accordingly, when, on the next steamer-day, Meiggs appealed at the
counter for a draft on Philadelphia, of about twenty thousand
dollars, for which he offered his note and collateral, he was
referred to me, and I explained to him that our draft was the same
as money; that he could have it for cash, but that we were already
in advance to him some seventy-five or eighty thousand dollars, and
that instead of increasing the amount I must insist on its
reduction. He inquired if I mistrusted his ability, etc. I
explained, certainly not, but that our duty was to assist those who
did all their business with us, and, as our means were necessarily
limited, I must restrict him to some reasonable sum, say, twenty-
five thousand dollars. Meiggs invited me to go with him to a rich
mercantile house on Clay Street, whose partners belonged in
Hamburg, and there, in the presence of the principals of the house,
he demonstrated, as clearly as a proposition in mathematics, that
his business at Mendocino was based on calculations that could not
fail. The bill of exchange which he wanted, he said would make the
last payment on a propeller already built in Philadelphia, which
would be sent to San Francisco, to tow into and out of port the
schooners and brigs that were bringing his lumber down the coast.
I admitted all he said, but renewed my determination to limit his
credit to twenty-five thousand dollars. The Hamburg firm then
agreed to accept for him the payment of all his debt to us, except
the twenty-five thousand dollars, payable in equal parts for the
next three steamer-days. Accordingly, Meiggs went back with me to
our bank, wrote his note for twenty-five thousand dollars, and
secured it by mortgage on real estate and city warrants, and
substituted the three acceptances of the Hamburg firm for the
overplus. I surrendered to him all his former notes, except one
for which he was indorser. The three acceptances duly matured and
were paid; one morning Meiggs and family were missing, and it was
discovered they had embarked in a sailing-vessel for South America.
This was the beginning of a series of failures in San Francisco,
that extended through the next two years. As soon as it was known
that Meiggs had fled, the town was full of rumors, and everybody
was running to and fro to secure his money. His debts amounted to
nearly a million dollars. The Hamburg house which, had been
humbugged, were heavy losers and failed, I think. I took
possession of Meiggs’s dwelling-house and other property for which
I held his mortgage, and in the city warrants thought I had an
overplus; but it transpired that Meiggs, being in the City Council,
had issued various quantities of street scrip, which was adjudged a
forgery, though, beyond doubt, most of it, if not all, was properly
signed, but fraudulently issued. On this city scrip our bank must
have lost about ten thousand dollars. Meiggs subsequently turned
up in Chili, where again he rose to wealth and has paid much of his
San Francisco debts, but none to us. He is now in Peru, living
like a prince. With Meiggs fell all the lumber-dealers, and many
persons dealing in city scrip. Compared with others, our loss was
a trifle. In a short time things in San Francisco resumed their
wonted course, and we generally laughed at the escapade of Meiggs,
and the cursing of his deluded creditors.

Shortly after our arrival in San Francisco, I rented of a Mr.
Marryat, son of the English Captain Marryat, the author, a small
frame-house on Stockton Street, near Green, buying of him his
furniture, and we removed to it about December 1,1853. Close by,
around on Green Street, a man named Dickey was building two small
brick-houses, on ground which he had leased of Nicholson. I bought
one of these houses, subject to the ground-rent, and moved into it
as soon as finished. Lieutenant T. H. Stevens, of the United
States Navy, with his family, rented the other; we lived in this
house throughout the year 1854, and up to April 17, 1855.




During the winter of 1854-’55, I received frequent intimations in
my letters from the St. Louis house, that the bank of Page, Bacon &
Co. was in trouble, growing out of their relations to the Ohio &
Mississippi Railroad, to the contractors for building which they
had made large advances, to secure which they had been compelled to
take, as it were, an assignment of the contract itself, and finally
to assume all the liabilities of the contractors. Then they had to
borrow money in New York, and raise other money from time to time,
in the purchase of iron and materials for the road, and to pay the
hands. The firm in St. Louis and that in San Francisco were
different, having different partners, and the St. Louis house
naturally pressed the San Francisco firm to ship largely of
“gold-dust,” which gave them a great name; also to keep as large a
balance as possible in New York to sustain their credit. Mr. Page
was a very wealthy man, but his wealth consisted mostly of land and
property in St. Louis. He was an old man, and a good one; had been
a baker, and knew little of banking as a business. This part of
his general business was managed exclusively by his son-in-law,
Henry D. Bacon, who was young, handsome, and generally popular.
How he was drawn into that affair of the Ohio & Mississippi road I
have no means of knowing, except by hearsay. Their business in New
York was done through the American Exchange Bank, and through
Duncan, Sherman & Co. As we were rival houses, the St. Louis
partners removed our account from the American Exchange Bank to the
Metropolitan Bank; and, as Wadsworth & Sheldon had failed, I was
instructed to deal in time bills, and in European exchange, with
Schnchardt & Gebhard, bankers in Nassau Street.

In California the house of Page, Bacon & Co. was composed of the
same partners as in St. Louis, with the addition of Henry Haight,
Judge Chambers, and young Frank Page. The latter had charge of the
“branch” in Sacramento. Haight was the real head-man, but he was
too fond of lager-beer to be in trusted with so large a business.
Beyond all comparison, Page, Bacon & Co. were the most prominent
bankers in California in 1853-’55. Though I had notice of danger
in that quarter, from our partners in St. Louis, nobody in
California doubted their wealth and stability. They must have had,
during that winter, an average deposit account of nearly two
million dollars, of which seven hundred thousand dollars was in
“certificates of deposit,” the most stable of all accounts in a
bank. Thousands of miners invested their earnings in such
certificates, which they converted into drafts on New York, when
they were ready to go home or wanted to send their “pile” to their
families. Adams & Co. were next in order, because of their
numerous offices scattered throughout the mining country. A
gentleman named Haskell had been in charge of Adams & Co. in San
Francisco, but in the winter of 1854-’55 some changes were made,
and the banking department had been transferred to a magnificent
office in Halleck’s new Metropolitan Block. James King of Wm. had
discontinued business on his own account, and been employed by
Adams & Co. as their cashier and banker, and Isaiah C. Wood had
succeeded Haskell in chief control of the express department.
Wells, Fargo & Co. were also bankers as well as expressmen, and
William J. Pardee was the resident partner.

As the mail-steamer came in on February 17, 1855, according to her
custom, she ran close to the Long Wharf (Meiggs’s) on North Beach,
to throw ashore the express-parcels of news for speedy delivery.
Some passenger on deck called to a man of his acquaintance standing
on the wharf, that Page & Bacon had failed in New York. The news
spread like wild-fire, but soon it was met by the newspaper
accounts to the effect that some particular acceptances of Page &
Bacon, of St. Louis, in the hands of Duncan, Sherman & Co., in New
York, had gone to protest. All who had balances at Page, Bacon &
Co.’s, or held certificates of deposit, were more or less alarmed,
wanted to secure their money, and a general excitement pervaded the
whole community. Word was soon passed round that the matter
admitted of explanation, viz., that the two houses were distinct
and separate concerns, that every draft of the California house had
been paid in New York, and would continue to be paid. It was
expected that this assertion would quiet the fears of the
California creditors, but for the next three days there was a
steady “run” on that bank. Page, Bacon & Co. stood the first day’s
run very well, and, as I afterward learned, paid out about six
hundred thousand dollars in gold coin. On the 20th of February
Henry Height came to our bank, to see what help we were willing to
give him; but I was out, and Nisbet could not answer positively for
the firm. Our condition was then very strong. The deposit account
was about six hundred thousand dollars, and we had in our vault
about five hundred thousand dollars in coin and bullion, besides an
equal amount of good bills receivable. Still I did not like to
weaken ourselves to help others; but in a most friendly spirit,
that night after bank-hours, I went down to Page, Bacon & Co., and
entered their office from the rear. I found in the cashier’s room
Folsom, Parrott, Dewey and Payne, Captain Ritchie, Donohue, and
others, citizens and friends of the house, who had been called in
for consultation. Passing into the main office, where all the
book-keepers, tellers, etc., with gas-lights, were busy writing up
the day’s work, I found Mr. Page, Henry Height, and Judge Chambers.
I spoke to Height, saying that I was sorry I had been out when he
called at our bank, and had now come to see him in the most
friendly spirit. Height had evidently been drinking, and said
abruptly that “all the banks would break,” that “no bank could
instantly pay all its obligations,” etc. I answered he could speak
for himself, but not for me; that I had come to offer to buy with
cash a fair proportion of his bullion, notes, and bills; but, if
they were going to fail, I would not be drawn in. Height’s manner
was extremely offensive, but Mr. Page tried to smooth it over,
saying they had had a bad day’s run, and could not answer for the
result till their books were written up.

I passed back again into the room where the before-named gentlemen
were discussing some paper which lay before them, and was going to
pass out, when Captain Folsom, who was an officer of the army, a
class-mate and intimate friend of mine, handed me the paper the
contents of which they were discussing. It was very short, and in
Henry Haight’s handwriting, pretty much in these terms: “We, the
undersigned property-holders of San Francisco, having personally
examined the books, papers, etc., of Page, Bacon & Co., do hereby
certify that the house is solvent and able to pay all its debts,”
etc. Height had drawn up and asked them to sign this paper, with
the intention to publish it in the next morning’s papers, for
effect. While I was talking with Captain Folsom, Height came into
the room to listen. I admitted that the effect of such a
publication would surely be good, and would probably stave off
immediate demand till their assets could be in part converted or
realized; but I naturally inquired of Folsom, “Have you personally
examined the accounts, as herein recited, and the assets, enough to
warrant your signature to this paper?” for, “thereby you in effect
become indorsers.” Folsom said they had not, when Height turned
on me rudely and said, “Do you think the affairs of such a house as
Page, Bacon & Co. can be critically examined in an hour?” I
answered: “These gentlemen can do what they please, but they have
twelve hours before the bank will open on the morrow, and if the
ledger is written up” (as I believed it was or could be by
midnight), “they can (by counting the coin, bullion on hand, and
notes or stocks of immediate realization) approximate near enough
for them to indorse for the remainder.” But Height pooh-poohed me,
and I left. Folsom followed me out, told me he could not afford to
imperil all he had, and asked my advice. I explained to him that
my partner Nisbet had been educated and trained in that very house
of Page, Bacon & Co.; that we kept our books exactly as they did;
that every day the ledger was written up, so that from it one could
see exactly how much actual money was due the depositors and
certificates; and then by counting the money in the vault,
estimating the bullion on hand, which, though not actual money,
could easily be converted into coin, and supplementing these
amounts by “bills receivable,” they ought to arrive at an
approximate-result. After Folsom had left me, John Parrott also
stopped and talked with me to the same effect. Next morning I
looked out for the notice, but no such notice appeared in the
morning papers, and I afterward learned that, on Parrott and Folsom
demanding an actual count of the money in the vault, Haight angrily
refused unless they would accept his word for it, when one after
the other declined to sign his paper.

The run on Page, Bacon & Co. therefore continued throughout the
21st, and I expected all day to get an invitation to close our bank
for the next day, February 22, which we could have made a holiday
by concerted action; but each banker waited for Page, Bacon & Co.
to ask for it, and, no such circular coming, in the then state of
feeling no other banker was willing to take the initiative. On the
morning of February 22, 1855, everybody was startled by receiving a
small slip of paper, delivered at all the houses, on which was
printed a short notice that, for “want of coin,” Page, Bacon & Co.
found it necessary to close their bank for a short time. Of
course, we all knew the consequences, and that every other bank in
San Francisco would be tried. During the 22d we all kept open, and
watched our depositors closely; but the day was generally observed
by the people as a holiday, and the firemen paraded the streets of
San Francisco in unusual strength. But, on writing up our books
that night, we found that our deposit account had diminished about
sixty-five thousand dollars. Still, there was no run on us, or any
other of the banks, that day; yet, observing little knots of men on
the street, discussing the state of the banks generally, and
overhearing Haight’s expression quoted, that, in case of the
failure of Page, Bacon & Co., “all the other banks would break,” I
deemed it prudent to make ready. For some days we had refused all
loans and renewals, and we tried, without, success, some of our
call-loans; but, like Hotspur’s spirits, they would not come.

Our financial condition on that day (February 22, 1855) was: Due
depositors and demand certificates, five hundred and twenty
thousand dollars; to meet which, we had in the vault: coin, three
hundred and eighty thousand dollars; bullion, seventy-five thousand
dollars; and bills receivable, about six hundred thousand dollars.
Of these, at least one hundred thousand dollars were on demand,
with stock collaterals. Therefore, for the extent of our business,
we were stronger than the Bank of England, or any bank in New York

Before daylight next morning, our door-bell was rung, and I was
called down-stairs by E. Casserly, Esq. (an eminent lawyer of the
day, since United States Senator), who informed me he had just come
up from the office of Adams & Co., to tell me that their affairs
were in such condition that they would not open that morning at
all; and that this, added to the suspension of Page, Bacon & Co.,
announced the day before, would surely cause a general run on all
the banks. I informed him that I expected as much, and was
prepared for it.

In going down to the bank that morning, I found Montgomery Street
full; but, punctually to the minute, the bank opened, and in rushed
the crowd. As usual, the most noisy and clamorous were men and
women who held small certificates; still, others with larger
accounts were in the crowd, pushing forward for their balances.
All were promptly met and paid. Several gentlemen of my personal
acquaintance merely asked my word of honor that their money was
safe, and went away; others, who had large balances, and no
immediate use for coin, gladly accepted gold-bars, whereby we paid
out the seventy-five thousand dollars of bullion, relieving the
coin to that amount.

Meantime, rumors from the street came pouring in that Wright & Co.
had failed; then Wells, Fargo & Co.; then Palmer, Cook & Co., and
indeed all, or nearly all, the banks of the city; and I was told
that parties on the street were betting high, first, that we would
close our doors at eleven o’clock; then twelve, and so on; but we
did not, till the usual hour that night. We had paid every demand,
and still had a respectable amount left.

This run on the bank (the only one I ever experienced) presented
all the features, serious and comical, usual to such occasions. At
our counter happened that identical case, narrated of others, of
the Frenchman, who was nearly squeezed to death in getting to the
counter, and, when he received his money, did not know what to do
with it. “If you got the money, I no want him; but if you no got
him, I want it like the devil!”

Toward the close of the day, some of our customers deposited,
rather ostentatiously, small amounts, not aggregating more than
eight or ten thousand dollars. Book-keepers and tellers were kept
at work to write up the books; and these showed:

Due depositors and certificates, about one hundred and twenty
thousand dollars, for which remained of coin about fifty thousand
dollars. I resolved not to sleep until I had collected from those
owing the bank a part of their debts; for I was angry with them
that they had stood back and allowed the panic to fall on the banks
alone. Among these were Captain Folsom, who owed us twenty-five
thousand dollars, secured by a mortgage on the American Theatre and
Tehama Hotel; James Smiley, contractor for building the Custom-
House, who owed us two notes of twenty thousand and sixteen
thousand dollars, for which we held, as collateral, two acceptances
of the collector of the port, Major R. P. Hammond, for twenty
thousand dollars each; besides other private parties that I need
not name. The acceptances given to Smiley were for work done on
the Custom-House, but could not be paid until the work was actually
laid in the walls, and certified by Major Tower, United States
Engineers; but Smiley had an immense amount of granite, brick,
iron, etc., on the ground, in advance of construction, and these
acceptances were given him expressly that he might raise money
thereon for the payment of such materials.

Therefore, as soon as I got my dinner, I took my saddle-horse, and
rode to Captain Folsom’s house, where I found him in great pain and
distress, mental and physical. He was sitting in a chair, and
bathing his head with a sponge. I explained to him the object of
my visit, and he said he had expected it, and had already sent his
agent, Van Winkle, down-town, with instructions to raise what money
he could at any cost; but he did not succeed in raising a cent. So
great was the shock to public confidence, that men slept on their
money, and would not loan it for ten per cent. a week, on any
security whatever–even on mint certificates, which were as good as
gold, and only required about ten days to be paid in coin by the
United States Mint. I then rode up to Hammond’s house, on Rincon
Hill, and found him there. I explained to him exactly Smiley’s
affairs, and only asked him to pay one of his acceptances. He
inquired, “Why not both?” I answered that was so much the better;
it would put me under still greater obligations. He then agreed to
meet me at our bank at 10 P.M. I sent word to others that I
demanded them to pay what they could on their paper, and then
returned to the bank, to meet Hammond. In due time, he came down
with Palmer (of Palmer, Cook & Co.), and there he met Smiley, who
was, of course, very anxious to retire his notes. We there
discussed the matter fully, when Hammond said, “Sherman, give me up
my two acceptances, and I will substitute therefor my check of
forty thousand dollars,” with “the distinct understanding that, if
the money is not needed by you, it shall be returned to me, and the
transaction then to remain statu quo.” To this there was a general
assent. Nisbet handed him his two acceptances, and he handed me
his check, signed as collector of the port, on Major J. R. Snyder,
United States Treasurer, for forty thousand dollars. I afterward
rode out, that night, to Major Snyder’s house on North Beach, saw
him, and he agreed to meet me at 8 a.m. next day, at the United
States Mint, and to pay the check, so that I could have the money
before the bank opened. The next morning, as agreed on, we met,
and he paid me the check in two sealed bags of gold-coin, each
marked twenty thousand dollars, which I had carried to the bank,
but never opened them, or even broke the seals.

That morning our bank opened as usual, but there was no appearance
of a continuation of the “run;” on the contrary, money began to
come back on deposit, so that by night we had a considerable
increase, and this went on from day to day, till nearly the old
condition of things returned. After about three days, finding I
had no use for the money obtained on Hammond’s check, I took the
identical two bags back to the cashier of the Custom-House, and
recovered the two acceptances which had been surrendered as
described; and Smiley’s two notes were afterward paid in their due
course, out of the cash received on those identical acceptances.
But, years afterward, on settling with Hammond for the Custom-House
contract when completed, there was a difference, and Smiley sued
Lucas, Turner & Co. for money had and received for his benefit,
being the identical forty thousand dollars herein explained, but he
lost his case. Hammond, too, was afterward removed from office,
and indicted in part for this transaction. He was tried before the
United States Circuit Court, Judge McAlister presiding, for a
violation of the sub-Treasury Act, but was acquitted. Our bank,
having thus passed so well through the crisis, took at once a first
rank; but these bank failures had caused so many mercantile losses,
and had led to such an utter downfall in the value of real estate,
that everybody lost more or less money by bad debts, by
depreciation of stocks and collaterals, that became unsalable, if
not worthless.

About this time (viz., February, 1855) I had exchanged my house on
Green, street, with Mr. Sloat, for the half of a fifty-vara lot on
Harrison Street, between Fremont and First, on which there was a
small cottage, and I had contracted for the building of a new
frame-house thereon, at six thousand dollars. This house was
finished on the 9th of April, and my family moved into it at once.

For some time Mrs. Sherman had been anxious to go home to
Lancaster, Ohio, where we had left our daughter Minnie, with her
grandparents, and we arranged that S. M. Bowman, Esq., and wife,
should move into our new house and board us, viz., Lizzie, Willie
with the nurse Biddy, and myself, for a fair consideration. It so
happened that two of my personal friends, Messrs. Winters and
Cunningham of Marysville, and a young fellow named Eagan, now a
captain in the Commissary Department, were going East in the
steamer of the middle of April, and that Mr.. William H.
Aspinwall, of New York, and Mr. Chauncey, of Philadelphia, were
also going back; and they all offered to look to the personal
comfort of Mrs. Sherman on the voyage. They took passage in the
steamer Golden Age (Commodore Watkins), which sailed on April 17,
1855. Their passage down the coast was very pleasant till within a
day’s distance of Panama, when one bright moonlit night, April
29th, the ship, running at full speed, between the Islands Quibo
and Quicara, struck on a sunken reef, tore out a streak in her
bottom, and at once began to fill with water. Fortunately she did
not sink fast, but swung off into deep water, and Commodore Watkins
happening to be on deck at the moment, walking with Mr. Aspinwall,
learning that the water was rushing in with great rapidity, gave
orders for a full head of steam, and turned the vessel’s bow
straight for the Island Quicara. The water rose rapidly in the
hold, the passengers were all assembled, fearful of going down, the
fires were out, and the last revolution of the wheels made, when
her bow touched gently on the beach, and the vessel’s stern sank in
deep water. Lines were got out, and the ship held in an upright
position, so that the passengers were safe, and but little
incommoded. I have often heard Mrs. Sherman tell of the boy Eagan,
then about fourteen years old, coming to her state-room, and
telling to her not to be afraid, as he was a good swimmer; but on
coming out into the cabin, partially dressed, she felt more
confidence in the cool manner, bearing, and greater strength of Mr.
Winters. There must have been nearly a thousand souls on board at
the time, few of whom could have been saved had the steamer gone
down in mid-channel, which surely would have resulted, had not
Commodore Watkins been on deck, or had he been less prompt in his
determination to beach his ship. A sailboat was dispatched toward
Panama, which luckily met the steamer John T. Stephens, just coming
out of the bay, loaded with about a thousand passengers bound for
San Francisco, and she at once proceeded to the relief of the
Golden Age. Her passengers were transferred in small boats to the
Stephens, which vessel, with her two thousand people crowded
together with hardly standing-room, returned to Panama, whence the
passengers for the East proceeded to their destination without
further delay. Luckily for Mrs. Sherman, Purser Goddard, an old
Ohio friend of ours, was on the Stephens, and most kindly gave up
his own room to her, and such lady friends as she included in her
party. The Golden Age was afterward partially repaired at Quicara,
pumped out, and steamed to Panama, when, after further repairs, she
resumed her place in the line. I think she is still in existence,
but Commodore Watkins afterward lost his life in China, by falling
down a hatchway.

Mrs. Sherman returned in the latter part of November of the same
year, when Mr. and Mrs. Bowman, who meantime had bought a lot next
to us and erected a house thereon, removed to it, and we thus
continued close neighbors and friends until we left the country for
good in 1857.

During the summer of 1856, in San Francisco, occurred one of those
unhappy events, too common to new countries, in which I became
involved in spite of myself.

William Neely Johnson was Governor of California, and resided at
Sacramento City; General John E. Wool commanded the Department of
California, having succeeded General Hitchcock, and had his
headquarters at Benicia; and a Mr. Van Ness was mayor of the city.
Politics had become a regular and profitable business, and
politicians were more than suspected of being corrupt. It was
reported and currently believed that the sheriff (Scannell) had
been required to pay the Democratic Central Committee a hundred
thousand dollars for his nomination, which was equivalent to an
election, for an office of the nominal salary of twelve thousand
dollars a year for four years. In the election all sorts of
dishonesty were charged and believed, especially of “ballot-box
stuffing,” and too generally the better classes avoided the
elections and dodged jury-duty, so that the affairs of the city
government necessarily passed into the hands of a low set of
professional politicians. Among them was a man named James Casey,
who edited a small paper, the printing office of which was in a
room on the third floor of our banking office. I hardly knew him
by sight, and rarely if ever saw his paper; but one day Mr. Sather,
of the excellent banking firm of Drexel, Sather & Church, came to
me, and called my attention to an article in Casey’s paper so full
of falsehood and malice, that we construed it as an effort to
black-mail the banks generally. At that time we were all laboring
to restore confidence, which had been so rudely shaken by the
panic, and I went up-stairs, found Casey, and pointed out to him
the objectionable nature of his article, told him plainly that I
could not tolerate his attempt to print and circulate slanders in
our building, and, if he repeated it, I would cause him and his
press to be thrown out of the windows. He took the hint and moved
to more friendly quarters. I mention this fact, to show my
estimate of the man, who became a figure in the drama I am about to
describe. James King of Wm., as before explained, was in 1853 a
banker on his own account, but some time in 1854 he had closed out
his business, and engaged with Adams & Co. as cashier. When this
firm failed, he, in common with all the employees, was thrown out
of employment, and had to look around for something else. He
settled down to the publication of an evening paper, called the
Bulletin, and, being a man of fine manners and address, he at once
constituted himself the champion of society against the public and
private characters whom he saw fit to arraign.

As might have been expected, this soon brought him into the usual
newspaper war with other editors, and especially with Casey, and
epithets a la “Eatanswill” were soon bandying back and forth
between them. One evening of May, 1856, King published, in the
Bulletin, copies of papers procured from New York, to show that
Casey had once been sentenced to the State penitentiary at Sing
Sing. Casey took mortal offense, and called at the Bulletin
office, on the corner of Montgomery and Merchant Streets, where he
found King, and violent words passed between them, resulting in
Casey giving King notice that he would shoot him on sight. King
remained in his office till about 5 or 6 p.m., when he started
toward his home on Stockton Street, and, as he neared the corner of
Washington, Casey approached him from the opposite direction,
called to him, and began firing. King had on a short cloak, and in
his breast-pocket a small pistol, which he did not use. One of
Casey’s shots struck him high up in the breast, from which he
reeled, was caught by some passing friend, and carried into the
express-office on the corner, where he was laid on the counter; and
a surgeon sent for. Casey escaped up Washington Street, went to
the City Hall, and delivered himself to the sheriff (Scannell), who
conveyed him to jail and locked him in a cell. Meantime, the news
spread like wildfire, and all the city was in commotion, for grog
was very popular. Nisbet, who boarded with us on Harrison Street,
had been delayed at the bank later than usual, so that he happened
to be near at the time, and, when he came out to dinner, he brought
me the news of this affair, and said that there was every
appearance of a riot down-town that night. This occurred toward
the evening of May 14, 1856.

It so happened that, on the urgent solicitation of Van Winkle and
of Governor Johnson; I had only a few days before agreed to accept
the commission of major-general of the Second Division of Militia,
embracing San Francisco. I had received the commission, but had
not as yet formally accepted it, or even put myself in
communication with the volunteer companies of the city. Of these,
at that moment of time, there was a company of artillery with four
guns, commanded by a Captain Johns, formerly of the army, and two
or three uniformed companies of infantry. After dinner I went down
town to see what was going on; found that King had been removed to
a room in the Metropolitan Block; that his life was in great peril;
that Casey was safe in jail, and the sheriff had called to his
assistance a posse of the city police, some citizens, and one of
the militia companies. The people were gathered in groups on the
streets, and the words “Vigilance Committee” were freely spoken,
but I saw no signs of immediate violence. The next morning, I
again went to the jail, and found all things quiet, but the militia
had withdrawn. I then went to the City Hall, saw the mayor, Van
Ness, and some of the city officials, agreed to do what I could to
maintain order with such militia as were on hand, and then formally
accepted the commission, and took the “oath.”

In 1851 (when I was not in California) there had been a Vigilance
Committee, and it was understood that its organization still
existed. All the newspapers took ground in favor of the Vigilance
Committee, except the Herald (John Nugent, editor), and nearly all
the best people favored that means of redress. I could see they
were organizing, hiring rendezvous, collecting arms, etc., without
concealment. It was soon manifest that the companies of volunteers
would go with the “committee,” and that the public authorities
could not rely on them for aid or defense. Still, there were a
good many citizens who contended that, if the civil authorities
were properly sustained by the people at large, they could and
would execute the law. But the papers inflamed the public mind,
and the controversy spread to the country. About the third day
after the shooting of King, Governor Johnson telegraphed me that he
would be down in the evening boat, and asked me to meet him on
arrival for consultation. I got C. H. Garrison to go with me, and
we met the Governor and his brother on the wharf, and walked up to
the International Hotel on Jackson Street, above Montgomery. We
discussed the state of affairs fully; and Johnson, on learning that
his particular friend, William T. Coleman, was the president of the
Vigilance Committee, proposed to go and see him. En route we
stopped at King’s room, ascertained that he was slowly sinking, and
could not live long; and then near midnight we walked to the
Turnverein Hall, where the committee was known to be sitting in
consultation. This hall was on Bush Street, at about the
intersection of Stockton. It was all lighted up within, but the
door was locked. The Governor knocked at the door, and on inquiry
from inside “Who’s there?”–gave his name. After some delay we
were admitted into a sort of vestibule, beyond which was a large
hall, and we could hear the suppressed voices of a multitude. We
were shown into a bar-room to the right, when the Governor asked to
see Coleman. The man left us, went into the main hall, and soon
returned with Coleman, who was pale and agitated. After shaking
hands all round, the Governor said, “Coleman, what the devil is the
matter here?” Coleman said, “Governor, it is time this shooting on
our streets should stop.” The Governor replied, “I agree with you
perfectly, and have come down, from Sacramento to assist.” Coleman
rejoined that “the people were tired of it, and had no faith in the
officers of the law.” A general conversation then followed, in
which it was admitted that King would die, and that Casey must be
executed; but the manner of execution was the thing to be settled,
Coleman contending that the people would do it without trusting the
courts or the sheriff. It so happened that at that time Judge
Norton was on the bench of the court having jurisdiction, and he
was universally recognized as an able and upright man, whom no one
could or did mistrust; and it also happened that a grand-jury was
then in session. Johnson argued that the time had passed in
California for mobs and vigilance committees, and said if Coleman
and associates would use their influence to support the law, he
(the Governor) would undertake that, as soon as King died, the
grand-jury should indict, that Judge Norton would try the murderer,
and the whole proceeding should be as speedy as decency would
allow. Then Coleman said “the people had no confidence in
Scannell, the sheriff,” who was, he said, in collusion with the
rowdy element of San Francisco. Johnson then offered to be
personally responsible that Casey should be safely guarded, and
should be forthcoming for trial and execution at the proper time.
I remember very well Johnson’s assertion that he had no right to
make these stipulations, and maybe no power to fulfill them; but he
did it to save the city and state from the disgrace of a mob.
Coleman disclaimed that the vigilance organization was a “mob,”
admitted that the proposition of the Governor was fair, and all he
or any one should ask; and added, if we would wait awhile, he would
submit it to the council, and bring back an answer.

We waited nearly an hour, and could hear the hum of voices
in the hall, but no words, when Coleman came back, accompanied by a
committee, of which I think the two brothers Arrington, Thomas
Smiley the auctioneer, Seymour, Truett, and others, were members.
The whole conversation was gone over again, and the Governor’s
proposition was positively agreed to, with this further condition,
that the Vigilance Committee should send into the jail a small
force of their own men, to make certain that Casey should not be
carried off or allowed to escape.

The Governor, his brother William, Garrison, and I, then went up to
the jail, where we found the sheriff and his posse comitatus of
police and citizens. These were styled the “Law-and-Order party,”
and some of them took offense that the Governor should have held
communication with the “damned rebels,” and several of them left
the jail; but the sheriff seemed to agree with the Governor that
what he had done was right and best; and, while we were there, some
eight or ten armed men arrived from the Vigilance Committee, and
were received by the sheriff (Scannell) as a part of his regular

The Governor then, near daylight, went to his hotel, and I to my
house for a short sleep. Next day I was at the bank, as usual,
when, about noon the Governor called, and asked me to walk with him
down-street He said he had just received a message from the
Vigilance Committee to the effect that they were not bound by
Coleman’s promise not to do any thing till the regular trial by
jury should be had, etc. He was with reason furious, and asked me
to go with him to Truett’s store, over which the Executive
Committee was said to be in session. We were admitted to a
front-room up-stairs, and heard voices in the back-room. The
Governor inquired for Coleman, but he was not forthcoming. Another
of the committee, Seymour, met us, denied in toto the promise of
the night before, and the Governor openly accused him of treachery
and falsehood.

The quarrel became public, and the newspapers took it up, both
parties turning on the Governor; one, the Vigilantes, denying the
promise made by Coleman, their president; and the other, the
“Law-and-Order party,” refusing any farther assistance, because
Johnson had stooped to make terms with rebels. At all events, he
was powerless, and had to let matters drift to a conclusion.

King died about Friday, May 20th, and the funeral was appointed for
the next Sunday. Early on that day the Governor sent for me at my
house. I found him on the roof of the International, from which we
looked down on the whole city, and more especially the face of
Telegraph Hill, which was already covered with a crowd of people,
while others were moving toward the jail on Broadway. Parties of
armed men, in good order, were marching by platoons in the same
direction; and formed in line along Broadway, facing the jail-door.
Soon a small party was seen to advance to this door, and knock; a
parley ensued, the doors were opened, and Casey was led out. In a
few minutes another prisoner was brought out, who, proved to be
Cora, a man who had once been tried for killing Richardson, the
United States Marshal, when the jury disagreed, and he was awaiting
a new trial. These prisoners were placed in carriages, and
escorted by the armed force down to the rooms of the Vigilance
Committee, through the principal streets of the city. The day was
exceedingly beautiful, and the whole proceeding was orderly in the
extreme. I was under the impression that Casey and Cora were
hanged that same Sunday, but was probably in error; but in a very
few days they were hanged by the neck–dead–suspended from beams
projecting from the windows of the committee’s rooms, without other
trial than could be given in secret, and by night.

We all thought the matter had ended there, and accordingly the
Governor returned to Sacramento in disgust, and I went about my
business. But it soon became manifest that the Vigilance Committee
had no intention to surrender the power thus usurped. They took a
building on Clay Street, near Front, fortified it, employed guards
and armed sentinels, sat in midnight council, issued writs of
arrest and banishment, and utterly ignored all authority but their
own. A good many men were banished and forced to leave the
country, but they were of that class we could well spare. Yankee
Sullivan, a prisoner in their custody, committed suicide, and a
feeling of general insecurity pervaded the city. Business was
deranged; and the Bulletin, then under control of Tom King, a
brother of James, poured out its abuse on some of our best men, as
well as the worst. Governor Johnson, being again appealed to,
concluded to go to work regularly, and telegraphed me about the 1st
of June to meet him at General Wool’s headquarters at Benicia that
night. I went up, and we met at the hotel where General Wool was
boarding. Johnson had with him his Secretary of State. We
discussed the state of the country generally, and I had agreed that
if Wool would give us arms and ammunition out of the United States
Arsenal at Benicia, and if Commodore Farragat, of the navy,
commanding the navy-yard on Mare Island, would give us a ship, I
would call out volunteers, and, when a sufficient number had
responded, I would have the arms come down from Benicia in the
ship, arm my men, take possession of a thirty-two-pound-gun battery
at the Marine Hospital on Rincon Point, thence command a dispersion
of the unlawfully-armed force of the Vigilance Committee, and
arrest some of the leaders.

We played cards that night, carrying on a conversation, in which
Wool insisted on a proclamation commanding the Vigilance Committee
to disperse, etc., and he told us how he had on some occasion, as
far back as 1814, suppressed a mutiny on the Northern frontier. I
did not understand him to make any distinct promise of assistance
that night, but he invited us to accompany him on an inspection of
the arsenal the next day, which we did. On handling some rifled
muskets in the arsenal storehouse he asked me how they would answer
our purpose. I said they were the very things, and that we did not
want cartridge boxes or belts, but that I would have the cartridges
carried in the breeches-pockets, and the caps in the vestpockets.
I knew that there were stored in that arsenal four thousand
muskets, for I recognized the boxes which we had carried out in the
Lexington around Cape Horn in 1846. Afterward we all met at the
quarters of Captain D. R. Jones of the army, and I saw the
Secretary of State, D. F. Douglass, Esq., walk out with General
Wool in earnest conversation, and this Secretary of State afterward
asserted that Wool there and then promised us the arms and
ammunition, provided the Governor would make his proclamation for
the committee to disperse, and that I should afterward call out the
militia, etc. On the way back to the hotel at Benicia, General
Wool, Captain Callendar of the arsenal, and I, were walking side by
side, and I was telling him (General Wool) that I would also need
some ammunition for the thirty-two-pound guns then in position at
Rineon Point, when Wool turned to Callendar and inquired, “Did I
not order those guns to be brought away?” Callendar said “Yes,
general. I made a requisition on the quartermaster for
transportation, but his schooner has been so busy that the guns are
still there.” Then said Wool: “Let them remain; we may have use for
them.” I therefrom inferred, of course, that it was all agreed to
so far as he was concerned.

Soon after we had reached the hotel, we ordered a buggy, and
Governor Johnson and I drove to Vallejo, six miles, crossed over to
Mare Island, and walked up to the commandant’s house, where we
found Commodore Farragut and his family. We stated our business
fairly, but the commodore answered very frankly that he had no
authority, without orders from his department, to take any part in
civil broils; he doubted the wisdom of the attempt; said he had no
ship available except the John Adams, Captain Boutwell, and that
she needed repairs. But he assented at last, to the proposition to
let the sloop John Adams drop down abreast of the city after
certain repairs, to lie off there for moral effect, which afterward
actually occurred.

We then returned to Benicia, and Wool’s first question was, “What
luck?” We answered, “Not much,” and explained what Commodore
Farragut could and would do, and that, instead of having a naval
vessel, we would seize and use one of the Pacific Mail Company’s
steamers, lying at their dock in Benicia, to carry down to San
Francisco the arms and munitions when the time came.

As the time was then near at hand for the arrival of the evening
boats, we all walked down to the wharf together, where I told
Johnson that he could not be too careful; that I had not heard
General Wool make a positive promise of assistance.

Upon this, Johnson called General Wool to one side, and we three
drew together. Johnson said: “General Wool, General Sherman is
very particular, and wants to know exactly what you propose to do.”
Wool answered: “I understand, Governor, that in the first place a
writ of Habeas corpus will be issued commanding the jailers of the
Vigilance Committee to produce the body of some one of the
prisoners held by them (which, of course, will be refused); that
you then issue your proclamation commanding them to disperse, and,
failing this, you will call out the militia, and command General
Sherman with it to suppress the Vigilance Committee as an unlawful
body;” to which the Governor responded, “Yes.” “Then,” said Wool,
“on General Sherman’s making his requisition, approved by you, I
will order the issue of the necessary arms and ammunition.” I
remember well that I said, emphatically: “That is all I want.–
Now, Governor, you may go ahead.” We soon parted; Johnson and
Douglas taking the boat to Sacramento, and I to San Francisco.

The Chief-Justice, Terry, came to San Francisco the next day,
issued a writ of habeas corpus for the body of one Maloney, which
writ was resisted, as we expected. The Governor then issued his
proclamation, and I published my orders, dated June 4, 1855. The
Quartermaster-General of the State, General Kibbe, also came to San
Francisco, took an office in the City Hall, engaged several rooms
for armories, and soon the men began to enroll into companies. In
my general orders calling out the militia, I used the expression,
“When a sufficient number of men are enrolled, arms and ammunition
will be supplied.” Some of the best men of the “Vigilantes” came
to me and remonstrated, saying that collision would surely result;
that it would be terrible, etc. All I could say in reply was, that
it was for them to get out of the way.” Remove your fort; cease
your midnight councils; and prevent your armed bodies from
patrolling the streets.” They inquired where I was to get arms,
and I answered that I had them certain. But personally I went
right along with my business at the bank, conscious that at any
moment we might have trouble. Another committee of citizens, a
conciliatory body, was formed to prevent collision if possible, and
the newspapers boiled over with vehement vituperation. This second
committee was composed of such men as Crockett, Ritchie, Thornton,
Bailey Peyton, Foote, Donohue, Kelly, and others, a class of the
most intelligent and wealthy men of the city, who earnestly and
honestly desired to prevent bloodshed. They also came to me, and I
told them that our men were enrolling very fast, and that, when I
deemed the right moment had come, the Vigilance Committee must
disperse, else bloodshed and destruction of property would
inevitably follow. They also had discovered that the better men of
the Vigilance Committee itself were getting tired of the business,
and thought that in the execution of Casey and Cora, and the
banishment of a dozen or more rowdies, they had done enough, and
were then willing to stop. It was suggested that, if our
Law-and-Order party would not arm, by a certain day near at hand
the committee would disperse, and some of their leaders would
submit to an indictment and trial by a jury of citizens, which they
knew would acquit them of crime. One day in the bank a man called
me to the counter and said, “If you expect to get arms of General
Wool, you will be mistaken, for I was at Benicia yesterday, and
heard him say he would not give them.” This person was known to me
to be a man of truth, and I immediately wrote to General Wool a
letter telling him what I had heard, and how any hesitation on his
part would compromise me as a man of truth and honor; adding that I
did not believe we should ever need the arms, but only the promise
of them, for “the committee was letting down, and would soon
disperse and submit to the law,” etc. I further asked him to
answer me categorically that very night, by the Stockton boat,
which would pass Benicia on its way down about midnight, and I
would sit up and wait for his answer. I did wait for his letter,
but it did not come, and the next day I got a telegraphic dispatch
from Governor Johnson, who, at Sacramento, had also heard of
General Wool’s “back-down,” asking me to meet him again at Benicia
that night.

I went up in the evening boat, and found General Wool’s aide-de-
camp, Captain Arnold, of the army, on the wharf, with a letter in
his hand, which he said was for me. I asked for it, but he said he
knew its importance, and preferred we should go to General Wool’s
room together, and the general could hand it to me in person. We
did go right up to General Wool’s, who took the sealed parcel and
laid it aside, saying that it was literally a copy of one he had
sent to Governor Johnson, who would doubtless give me a copy; but I
insisted that I had made a written communication, and was entitled
to a written answer.

At that moment several gentlemen of the “Conciliation party,” who
had come up in the same steamer with me, asked for admission and
came in. I recall the names of Crockett, Foote, Bailey Peyton,
Judge Thornton, Donohue, etc., and the conversation became general,
Wool trying to explain away the effect of our misunderstanding,
taking good pains not to deny his promise made to me personally on
the wharf. I renewed my application for the letter addressed to
me, then lying on his table. On my statement of the case, Bailey
Peyton said, “General Wool, I think General Sherman has a right to
a written answer from you, for he is surely compromised.” Upon
this Wool handed me the letter. I opened and read it, and it
denied any promise of arms, but otherwise was extremely evasive and
non-committal. I had heard of the arrival at the wharf of the
Governor and party, and was expecting them at Wool’s room, but,
instead of stopping at the hotel where we were, they passed to
another hotel on the block above. I went up and found there, in a
room on the second floor over the bar-room, Governor Johnson,
Chief-Justice Terry, Jones, of Palmer, Cooke & Co., E. D. Baker,
Volney E. Howard, and one or two others. All were talking
furiously against Wool, denouncing him as a d—d liar, and not
sparing the severest terms. I showed the Governor General Wool’s
letter to me, which he said was in effect the same as the one
addressed to and received by him at Sacramento. He was so offended
that he would not even call on General Wool, and said he would
never again recognize him as an officer or gentleman. We discussed
matters generally, and Judge Terry said that the Vigilance
Committee were a set of d—d pork-merchants; that they were
getting scared, and that General Wool was in collusion with them to
bring the State into contempt, etc. I explained that there were no
arms in the State except what General Wool had, or what were in the
hands of the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco, and that the
part of wisdom for us was to be patient and cautious. About that
time Crockett and his associates sent up their cards, but Terry and
the more violent of the Governor’s followers denounced them as no
better than “Vigilantes,” and wanted the Governor to refuse even to
receive them. I explained that they were not “Vigilantes,” that
Judge Thornton was a “Law-and-Order” man, was one of the first to
respond to the call of the sheriff, and that he went actually to
the jail with his one arm the night we expected the first attempt
at rescue, etc. Johnson then sent word for them to reduce their
business to writing. They simply sent in a written request for an
audience, and they were then promptly admitted. After some general
conversation, the Governor said he was prepared to hear them, when
Mr. Crockett rose and made a prepared speech embracing a clear and
fair statement of the condition of things in San Francisco,
concluding with the assertion of the willingness of the committee
to disband and submit to trial after a certain date not very
remote. All the time Crockett was speaking, Terry sat with his hat
on, drawn over his eyes, and with his feet on a table. As soon as
Crockett was through, they were dismissed, and Johnson began to
prepare a written answer. This was scratched, altered, and
amended, to suit the notions of his counselors, and at last was
copied and sent. This answer amounted to little or nothing.
Seeing that we were powerless for good, and that violent counsels
would prevail under the influence of Terry and others, I sat down
at the table, and wrote my resignation, which Johnson accepted in a
complimentary note on the spot, and at the same time he appointed
to my place General Volney E. Howard, then present, a lawyer who
had once been a member of Congress from Texas, and who was expected
to drive the d—d pork-merchants into the bay at short notice. I
went soon after to General Wool’s room, where I found Crockett and
the rest of his party; told them that I was out of the fight,
having resigned my commission; that I had neglected business that
had been intrusted to me by my St. Louis partners; and that I would
thenceforward mind my own business, and leave public affairs
severely alone. We all returned to San Francisco that night by the
Stockton boat, and I never after-ward had any thing to do with
politics in California, perfectly satisfied with that short
experience. Johnson and Wool fought out their quarrel of veracity
in the newspapers and on paper. But, in my opinion, there is not a
shadow of doubt that General Wool did deliberately deceive us; that
he had authority to issue arms, and that, had he adhered to his
promise, we could have checked the committee before it became a
fixed institution, and a part of the common law of California.
Major-General Volney E. Howard came to San Francisco soon after;
continued the organization of militia which I had begun; succeeded
in getting a few arms from the country; but one day the Vigilance
Committee sallied from their armories, captured the arms of the
“Law-and-Order party,” put some of their men into prison, while
General Howard, with others, escaped to the country; after which
the Vigilance Committee had it all their own way. Subsequently, in
July, 1856, they arrested Chief-Justice Terry, and tried him for
stabbing one of their constables, but he managed to escape at
night, and took refuge on the John Adams. In August, they hanged
Hetherington and Brace in broad daylight, without any jury-trial;
and, soon after, they quietly disbanded. As they controlled the
press, they wrote their own history, and the world generally gives
them the credit of having purged San Francisco of rowdies and
roughs; but their success has given great stimulus to a dangerous
principle, that would at any time justify the mob in seizing all
the power of government; and who is to say that the Vigilance
Committee may not be composed of the worst, instead of the best,
elements of a community? Indeed, in San Francisco, as soon as it
was demonstrated that the real power had passed from the City Hall
to the committee room, the same set of bailiffs, constables, and
rowdies that had infested the City Hall were found in the
employment of the “Vigilantes;” and, after three months
experience, the better class of people became tired of the midnight
sessions and left the business and power of the committee in the
hands of a court, of which a Sydney man was reported to be the head
or chief-justice.

During the winter of 1855-’56, and indeed throughout the year 1856,
all kinds of business became unsettled in California. The mines
continued to yield about fifty millions of gold a year; but little
attention was paid to agriculture or to any business other than
that of “mining,” and, as the placer-gold was becoming worked out,
the miners were restless and uneasy, and were shifting about from
place to place, impelled by rumors put afloat for speculative
purposes. A great many extensive enterprises by joint-stock
companies had been begun, in the way of water-ditches, to bring
water from the head of the mountain-streams down to the richer
alluvial deposits, and nearly all of these companies became
embarrassed or bankrupt. Foreign capital, also, which had been
attracted to California by reason of the high rates of interest,
was being withdrawn, or was tied up in property which could not be
sold; and, although our bank’s having withstood the panic gave us
great credit, still the community itself was shaken, and loans of
money were risky in the extreme. A great many merchants, of the
highest name, availed themselves of the extremely liberal bankrupt
law to get discharged of their old debts, without sacrificing much,
if any, of their stocks of goods on hand, except a lawyer’s fee;
thus realizing Martin Burke’s saying that “many a clever fellow had
been ruined by paying his debts.” The merchants and business-men
of San Francisco did not intend to be ruined by such a course. I
raised the rate of exchange from three to three and a half, while
others kept on at the old rate; and I labored hard to collect old
debts, and strove, in making new loans, to be on the safe side.
The State and city both denied much of their public debt; in fact,
repudiated it; and real estate, which the year before had been
first-class security, became utterly unsalable.

The office labor and confinement, and the anxiety attending the
business, aggravated my asthma to such an extent that at times it
deprived me of sleep, and threatened to become chronic and serious;
and I was also conscious that the first and original cause which
had induced Mr. Lucas to establish the bank in California had
ceased. I so reported to him, and that I really believed that he
could use his money more safely and to better advantage in St.
Louis. This met his prompt approval, and he instructed me
gradually to draw out, preparatory to a removal to New York City.
Accordingly, early in April, 1857, I published an advertisement in
the San Francisco papers, notifying our customers that, on the 1st
day of May, we would discontinue business and remove East,
requiring all to withdraw their accounts, and declaring that,
if any remained on that day of May, their balances would be
transferred to the banking-house of Parrott & Co. Punctually to the
day, this was done, and the business of Lucas, Turner & Co., of San
Francisco, was discontinued, except the more difficult and
disagreeable part of collecting their own moneys and selling the
real estate, to which the firm had succeeded by purchase or
foreclosure. One of the partners, B. R. Nisbet, assisted by our
attorney, S. M. Bowman, Esq., remained behind to close up the
business of the bank.




Having closed the bank at San Francisco on the 1st day of May,
1857, accompanied by my family I embarked in the steamer Sonora for
Panama, crossed the isthmus, and sailed to New York, whence we
proceeded to Lancaster, Ohio, where Mrs. Sherman and the family
stopped, and I went on to St. Louis. I found there that some
changes had been made in the parent, house, that Mr. Lucas had
bought out his partner, Captain Symonds, and that the firm’s name
had been changed to that of James H. Lucas & Co.

It had also been arranged that an office or branch was to be
established in New York City, of which I was to have charge, on
pretty much the same terms and conditions as in the previous San
Francisco firm.

Mr. Lucas, Major Turner, and I, agreed to meet in New York, soon
after the 4th of July. We met accordingly at the Metropolitan
Hotel, selected an office, No. 12 Pall Street, purchased the
necessary furniture, and engaged a teller, bookkeeper, and porter.
The new firm was to bear the same title of Lucas, Turner & Co.,
with about the same partners in interest, but the nature of the
business was totally different. We opened our office on the 21st
of July, 1857, and at once began to receive accounts from the West
and from California, but our chief business was as the resident
agents of the St. Louis firm of James H. Lucas & Co. Personally I
took rooms at No. 100 Prince Street, in which house were also
quartered Major J. G. Barnard, and Lieutenant J. B. McPherson,
United States Engineers, both of whom afterward attained great fame
in the civil war.

My business relations in New York were with the Metropolitan Bank
and Bank of America; and with the very wealthy and most respectable
firm of Schuchhardt & Gebhard, of Nassau Street. Every thing went
along swimmingly till the 21st of August, when all Wall Street was
thrown into a spasm by the failure of the Ohio Life and Trust
Company, and the panic so resembled that in San Francisco, that,
having nothing seemingly at stake, I felt amused. But it soon
became a serious matter even to me. Western stocks and securities
tumbled to such a figure, that all Western banks that held such
securities, and had procured advances thereon, were compelled to
pay up or substitute increased collaterals. Our own house was not
a borrower in New York at all, but many of our Western
correspondents were, and it taxed my tune to watch their interests.
In September, the panic extended so as to threaten the safety of
even some of the New York banks not connected with the West; and
the alarm became general, and at last universal.

In the very midst of this panic came the news that the steamer
Central America, formerly the George Law, with six hundred
passengers and about sixteen hundred thousand dollars of treasure,
coming from Aspinwall, had foundered at sea, off the coast of
Georgia, and that about sixty of the passengers had been
providentially picked up by a Swedish bark, and brought into
Savannah. The absolute loss of this treasure went to swell the
confusion and panic of the day.

A few days after, I was standing in the vestibule of the
Metropolitan Hotel, and heard the captain of the Swedish bark tell
his singular story of the rescue of these passengers. He was a
short, sailor-like-looking man, with a strong German or Swedish
accent. He said that he was sailing from some port in Honduras for
Sweden, running down the Gulf Stream off Savannah. The weather had
been heavy for some days, and, about nightfall, as he paced his
deck, he observed a man-of-war hawk circle about his vessel,
gradually lowering, until the bird was as it were aiming at him.
He jerked out a belaying-pin, struck at the bird, missed it, when
the hawk again rose high in the air, and a second time began to
descend, contract his circle, and make at him again. The second
time he hit the bird, and struck it to the deck…. This strange
fact made him uneasy, and he thought it betokened danger; he went
to the binnacle, saw the course he was steering, and without any
particular reason he ordered the steersman to alter the course one
point to the east.

After this it became quite dark, and he continued to promenade the
deck, and had settled into a drowsy state, when as in a dream he
thought he heard voices all round his ship. Waking up, he ran to
the side of the ship, saw something struggling in the water, and
heard clearly cries for help. Instantly heaving his ship to, and
lowering all his boats, he managed to pick up sixty or more persons
who were floating about on skylights, doors, spare, and whatever
fragments remained of the Central America. Had he not changed the
course of his vessel by reason of the mysterious conduct of that
man-of-war hawk, not a soul would probably have survived the night.
It was stated by the rescued passengers, among whom was Billy
Birch, that the Central America had sailed from Aspinwall with the
passengers and freight which left San Francisco on the 1st of
September, and encountered the gale in the Gulf Stream somewhere
off Savannah, in which she sprung a leak, filled rapidly, and went
down. The passengers who were saved had clung to doors, skylights,
and such floating objects as they could reach, and were thus
rescued; all the rest, some five hundred in number, had gone down
with the ship.

The panic grew worse and worse, and about the end of September
there was a general suspension of the banks of New York, and a
money crisis extended all over the country. In New York, Lucas,
Turner & Co. had nothing at risk. We had large cash balances in
the Metropolitan Bank and in the Bank of America, all safe, and we
held, for the account of the St. Louis house, at least two hundred
thousand dollars, of St. Louis city and county bonds, and of
acceptances falling due right along, none extending beyond ninety
days. I was advised from St. Louis that money matters were
extremely tight; but I did not dream of any danger in that quarter.
I knew well that Mr. Lucas was worth two or three million dollars
in the best real estate, and inferred from the large balances to
their credit with me that no mere panic could shake his credit;
but, early on the morning of October 7th, my cousin, James M. Hoyt,
came to me in bed, and read me a paragraph in the morning paper, to
the effect that James H. Lucas & Co., of St. Louis, had suspended.
I was, of course, surprised, but not sorry; for I had always
contended that a man of so much visible wealth as Mr. Lucas should
not be engaged in a business subject to such vicissitudes. I
hurried down to the office, where I received the same information
officially, by telegraph, with instructions to make proper
disposition of the affairs of the bank, and to come out to St.
Louis, with such assets as would be available there. I transferred
the funds belonging to all our correspondents, with lists of
outstanding checks, to one or other of our bankers, and with the
cash balance of the St. Louis house and their available assets
started for St. Louis. I may say with confidence that no man lost
a cent by either of the banking firms of Lucas, Turner & Co., of
San Francisco or New York; but, as usual, those who owed us were
not always as just. I reached St. Louis October 17th, and found
the partners engaged in liquidating the balances due depositors as
fast as collections could be forced; and, as the panic began to
subside, this process became quite rapid, and Mr. Lucas, by making
a loan in Philadelphia, was enabled to close out all accounts
without having made any serious sacrifices, Of course, no person
ever lost a cent by him: he has recently died, leaving an estate of
eight million dollars. During his lifetime, I had opportunities to
know him well, and take much pleasure in bearing testimony to his
great worth and personal kindness. On the failure of his bank, he
assumed personally all the liabilities, released his partners of
all responsibility, and offered to assist me to engage in business,
which he supposed was due to me because I had resigned my army
commission. I remained in St. Louis till the 17th of December,
1857, assisting in collecting for the bank, and in controlling all
matters which came from the New York and San Francisco branches.
B. R. Nisbet was still in San Francisco, but had married a Miss
Thornton, and was coming home. There still remained in California
a good deal of real estate, and notes, valued at about two hundred
thousand dollars in the aggregate; so that, at Mr. Lucas’s request,
I agreed to go out again, to bring matters, if possible, nearer a
final settlement. I accordingly left St. Louis, reached Lancaster,
where my family was, on the 10th, staid there till after Christmas,
and then went to New York, where I remained till January 5th, when
I embarked on the steamer Moles Taylor (Captain McGowan) for
Aspinwall; caught the Golden Gate (Captain Whiting) at Panama,
January 15, 1858; and reached San Francisco on the 28th of January.
I found that Nisbet and wife had gone to St. Louis, and that we had
passed each other at sea. He had carried the ledger and books to
St. Louis, but left a schedule, notes, etc., in the hands of S. M.
Bowman, Esq., who passed them over to me.

On the 30th of January I published a notice of the dissolution of
the partnership, and called on all who were still indebted to the
firm of Lucas, Turner & Co. to pay up, or the notes would be sold
at auction. I also advertised that all the real property, was for

Business had somewhat changed since 1857. Parrott & Co.; Garrison,
Fritz & Ralston; Wells, Fargo & Co.; Drexel, Sather & Church, and
Tallant & Wilde, were the principal bankers. Property continued
almost unsalable, and prices were less than a half of what they
had been in 1853-’54. William Blending, Esq., had rented my house
on Harrison Street; so I occupied a room in the bank, No. 11, and
boarded at the Meiggs House, corner of Broadway and Montgomery,
which we owned. Having reduced expenses to a minimum, I proceeded,
with all possible dispatch, to collect outstanding debts, in some
instances making sacrifices and compromises. I made some few
sales, and generally aimed to put matters in such a shape that time
would bring the best result. Some of our heaviest creditors were
John M. Rhodes & Co., of Sacramento and Shasta; Langton & Co., of
Downieville; and E. M. Stranger of Murphy’s. In trying to put
these debts in course of settlement, I made some arrangement in
Downieville with the law-firm of Spears & Thornton, to collect, by
suit, a certain note of Green & Purdy for twelve thousand dollars.
Early in April, I learned that Spears had collected three thousand
seven hundred dollars in money, had appropriated it to his own use,
and had pledged another good note taken in part payment of three
thousand and fifty-three dollars. He pretended to be insane. I
had to make two visits to Downieville on this business, and there,
made the acquaintance of Mr. Stewart, now a Senator from Nevada.
He was married to a daughter of Governor Foote; was living in a
small framehouse on the bar just below the town; and his little
daughter was playing about the door in the sand. Stewart was then
a lawyer in Downieville, in good practice; afterward, by some lucky
stroke, became part owner of a valuable silver-mine in Nevada, and
is now accounted a millionaire. I managed to save something out of
Spears, and more out of his partner Thornton. This affair of
Spears ruined him, because his insanity was manifestly feigned.

I remained in San Francisco till July 3d, when, having collected
and remitted every cent that I could raise, and got all the
property in the best shape possible, hearing from St. Louis that
business had revived, and that there was no need of further
sacrifice; I put all the papers, with a full letter of
instructions, and power of attorney, in the hands of William
Blending, Esq., and took passage on the good steamer Golden Gate,
Captain Whiting, for Panama and home. I reached Lancaster on July
28, 1858, and found all the family well. I was then perfectly
unhampered, but the serious and greater question remained, what was
I to do to support my family, consisting of a wife and four
children, all accustomed to more than the average comforts of life?

I remained at Lancaster all of August, 1858, during which time I
was discussing with Mr. Ewing and others what to do next. Major
Turner and Mr. Lucas, in St. Louis, were willing to do any thing to
aid me, but I thought best to keep independent. Mr. Ewing had
property at Chauncey, consisting of salt-wells and coal-mines, but
for that part of Ohio I had no fancy. Two of his sons, Hugh and T.
E., Jr., had established themselves at Leavenworth, Kansas, where
they and their father had bought a good deal of land, some near the
town, and some back in the country. Mr. Ewing offered to confide
to me the general management of his share of interest, and Hugh and
T. E., Jr., offered me an equal copartnership in their law-firm.

Accordingly, about the 1st of September, I started for Kansas,
stopping a couple of weeks in St. Louis, and reached Leavenworth.
I found about two miles below the fort, on the river-bank, where in
1851 was a tangled thicket, quite a handsome and thriving city,
growing rapidly in rivalry with Kansas City, and St. Joseph,
Missouri. After looking about and consulting with friends, among
them my classmate Major Stewart Van Vliet, quartermaster at the
fort, I concluded to accept the proposition of Mr. Ewing, and
accordingly the firm of Sherman & Ewing was duly announced, and our
services to the public offered as attorneys-at-law. We had an
office on Main Street, between Shawnee and Delaware, on the second
floor, over the office of Hampton Denman, Esq., mayor of the city.
This building was a mere shell, and our office was reached by a
stairway on the outside. Although in the course of my military
reading I had studied a few of the ordinary law-books, such as
Blackstone, Kent, Starkie, etc., I did not presume to be a lawyer;
but our agreement was that Thomas Ewing, Jr., a good and thorough
lawyer, should manage all business in the courts, while I gave
attention to collections, agencies for houses and lands, and such
business as my experience in banking had qualified me for. Yet, as
my name was embraced in a law-firm, it seemed to me proper to take
out a license. Accordingly, one day when United States Judge
Lecompte was in our office, I mentioned the matter to him; he told
me to go down to the clerk of his court, and he would give me the
license. I inquired what examination I would have to submit to,
and he replied, “None at all;” he would admit me on the ground of
general intelligence.

During that summer we got our share of the business of the
profession, then represented by several eminent law-firms,
embracing names that have since flourished in the Senate, and in
the higher courts of the country. But the most lucrative single
case was given me by my friend Major Van Vliet, who employed me to
go to Fort Riley, one hundred and thirty-six miles west of Fort
Leavenworth, to superintend the repairs to the military road. For
this purpose he supplied me with a four-mule ambulance and driver.
The country was then sparsely settled, and quite as many Indians
were along the road as white people; still there were embryo towns
all along the route, and a few farms sprinkled over the beautiful
prairies. On reaching Indianola, near Topeka, I found everybody
down with the chills and fever. My own driver became so shaky that
I had to act as driver and cook. But in due season I reconnoitred
the road, and made contracts for repairing some bridges, and for
cutting such parts of the road as needed it. I then returned to
Fort Leavenworth, and reported, receiving a fair compensation. On
my way up I met Colonel Sumner’s column, returning from their
summer scout on the plains, and spent the night with the officers,
among whom were Captains Sackett, Sturgis, etc. Also at Fort Riley
I was cordially received and entertained by some old army-friends,
among them Major Sedgwick, Captains Totted, Eli Long, etc.

Mrs. Sherman and children arrived out in November, and we spent the
winter very comfortably in the house of Thomas Ewing, Jr., on the
corner of Third and Pottawottamie Streets. On the 1st of January,
1859, Daniel McCook, Esq., was admitted to membership in our firm,
which became Sherman, Ewing & McCook. Our business continued to
grow, but, as the income hardly sufficed for three such expensive
personages, I continued to look about for something more certain
and profitable, and during that spring undertook for the Hon.
Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, to open a farm on a large tract of land he
owned on Indian Creek, forty miles west of Leavenworth, for the
benefit of his grand-nephew, Henry Clark, and his grand-niece, Mrs.
Walker. These arrived out in the spring, by which time I had
caused to be erected a small frame dwelling-house, a barn, and
fencing for a hundred acres. This helped to pass away time, but
afforded little profit; and on the 11th of June, 1859, I wrote to
Major D. C. Buel, assistant adjutant-general, on duty in the War
Department with Secretary of War Floyd, inquiring if there was a
vacancy among the army paymasters, or any thing in his line that I
could obtain. He replied promptly, and sent me the printed
programme for a military college about to be organized in
Louisiana, and advised me to apply for the superintendent’s place,
saying that General G. Mason Graham, the half-brother of my old
commanding-general, R. B. Mason, was very influential in this
matter, and would doubtless befriend me on account of the relations
that had existed between General Mason and myself in California.
Accordingly, I addressed a letter of application to the Hon. R. C.
Wickliffe, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, asking the answer to be sent to
me at Lancaster, Ohio, where I proposed to leave my family. But,
before leaving this branch of the subject, I must explain a little
matter of which I have seen an account in print, complimentary or
otherwise of the firm of Sherman, Ewing & McCook, more especially
of the senior partner.

One day, as I sat in our office, an Irishman came in and said he
had a case and wanted a lawyer. I asked him to sit down and give
me the points of his case, all the other members of the firm being
out. Our client stated that he had rented a lot of an Irish
landlord for five dollars a month; that he had erected thereon a
small frame shanty, which was occupied by his family; that he had,
paid his rent regularly up to a recent period, but to his house he
had appended a shed which extended over a part of an adjoining
vacant lot belonging to the same landlord, for which he was charged
two and a half dollars a month, which he refused to pay. The
consequence was, that his landlord had for a few months declined
even his five dollars monthly rent until the arrears amounted to
about seventeen dollars, for which he was sued. I told him we
would undertake his case, of which I took notes, and a fee of five
dollars in advance, and in due order I placed the notes in the
hands of McCook, and thought no more of it.

A month or so after, our client rushed into the office and said his
case had been called at Judge Gardner’s (I think), and he wanted
his lawyer right away. I sent him up to the Circuit Court, Judge
Pettit’s, for McCook, but he soon returned, saying he could not
find McCook, and accordingly I hurried with him up to Judge
Gardner’s office, intending to ask a continuance, but I found our
antagonist there, with his lawyer and witnesses, and Judge Gardner
would not grant a continuance, so of necessity I had to act, hoping
that at every minute McCook would come. But the trial proceeded
regularly to its end; we were beaten, and judgment was entered
against our client for the amount claimed, and costs. As soon as
the matter was explained to McCook, he said “execution” could not
be taken for ten days, and, as our client was poor, and had nothing
on which the landlord could levy but his house, McCook advised him
to get his neighbors together, to pick up the house, and carry it
on to another vacant lot, belonging to a non-resident, so that even
the house could not be taken in execution. Thus the grasping
landlord, though successful in his judgment, failed in the
execution, and our client was abundantly satisfied.

In due time I closed up my business at Leavenworth, and went to
Lancaster, Ohio, where, in July, 1859, I received notice from
Governor Wickliffe that I had been elected superintendent of the
proposed college, and inviting me to come down to Louisiana as
early as possible, because they were anxious to put the college
into operation by the 1st of January following. For this honorable
position I was indebted to Major D. C. Buell and General G. Mason
Graham, to whom I have made full and due acknowledgment. During
the civil war, it was reported and charged that I owed my position
to the personal friendship of Generals Bragg and Beauregard, and
that, in taking up arms against the South, I had been guilty of a
breach of hospitality and friendship. I was not indebted to
General Bragg, because he himself told me that he was not even
aware that I was an applicant, and had favored the selection of
Major Jenkins, another West Point graduate. General Beauregard had
nothing whatever to do with the matter.




In the autumn of 1859, having made arrangements for my family to
remain in Lancaster, I proceeded, via Columbus, Cincinnati, and
Louisville, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I reported for duty to
Governor Wickliffe, who, by virtue of his office, was the president
of the Board of Supervisors of the new institution over which I was
called to preside. He explained to me the act of the Legislature
under which the institution was founded; told me that the building
was situated near Alexandria, in the parish of Rapides, and was
substantially finished; that the future management would rest with
a Board of Supervisors, mostly citizens of Rapides Parish, where
also resided the Governor-elect, T. O. Moore, who would soon
succeed him in his office as Governor and president ex officio; and
advised me to go at once to Alexandria, and put myself in
communication with Moore and the supervisors. Accordingly I took a
boat at Baton Rouge, for the mouth of Red River.

The river being low, and its navigation precarious, I there took
the regular mail-coach, as the more certain conveyance, and
continued on toward Alexandria. I found, as a fellow-passenger in
the coach, Judge Henry Boyce, of the United States District Court,
with whom I had made acquaintance years before, at St. Louis, and,
as we neared Alexandria, he proposed that we should stop at
Governor Moore’s and spend the night. Moore’s house and plantation
were on Bayou Robert, about eight miles from Alexandria. We found
him at home, with his wife and a married daughter, and spent the
night there. He sent us forward to Alexandria the next morning, in
his own carriage. On arriving at Alexandria, I put up at an inn,
or boarding-house, and almost immediately thereafter went about ten
miles farther up Bayou Rapides, to the plantation and house of
General G. Mason Graham, to whom I looked as the principal man with
whom I had to deal. He was a high-toned gentleman, and his whole
heart was in the enterprise. He at once put me at ease. We acted
together most cordially from that time forth, and it was at his
house that all the details of the seminary were arranged. We first
visited the college-building together. It was located on an old
country place of four hundred acres of pineland, with numerous
springs, and the building was very large and handsome. A
carpenter, named James, resided there, and had the general charge
of the property; but, as there was not a table, chair, black-board,
or any thing on hand, necessary for a beginning, I concluded to
quarter myself in one of the rooms of the seminary, and board with
an old black woman who cooked for James, so that I might personally
push forward the necessary preparations. There was an old
rail-fence about the place, and a large pile of boards in front. I
immediately engaged four carpenters, and set them at work to make
out of these boards mess-tables, benches, black-boards, etc. I
also opened a correspondence with the professors-elect, and with
all parties of influence in the State, who were interested in our
work: At the meeting of the Board of Supervisors, held at
Alexandria, August 2, 1859, five professors had been elected:
1. W. T. Sherman, Superintendent, and Professor of Engineering, etc.;
2. Anthony Vallas, Professor of Mathematics, Philosophy, etc.;
3. Francis W. Smith, Professor of Chemistry, etc.;
4. David F. Boyd, Professor of Languages, English and Ancient;
5. E. Berti St. Ange, Professor of French and Modern Languages.

These constituted the Academic Board, while the general supervision
remained in the Board of Supervisors, composed of the Governor of
the State, the Superintendent of Public Education, and twelve
members, nominated by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate.
The institution was bound to educate sixteen beneficiary students,
free of any charge for tuition. These had only to pay for their
clothing and books, while all others had to pay their entire
expenses, including tuition.

Early in November, Profs. Smith, Yallas, St. Ange, and I, met a
committee of the Board of Supervisors, composed of T. C. Manning,
G. Mason Graham, and W. W. Whittington, at General Graham’s house,
and resolved to open the institution to pupils on the 1st day of
January, 1860. We adopted a series of bylaws for the government of
the institution, which was styled the “Louisiana Seminary of
Learning and Military Academy.” This title grew out of the
original grant, by the Congress of the United States, of a certain
township of public land, to be sold by the State, and dedicated to
the use of a “seminary of learning.” I do not suppose that
Congress designed thereby to fix the name or title; but the subject
had so long been debated in Louisiana that the name, though
awkward, had become familiar. We appended to it “Military
Academy,” as explanatory of its general design.

On the 17th of November, 1859, the Governor of the State,
Wickliffe, issued officially a general circular, prepared by us,
giving public notice that the “Seminary of Learning” would open on
the 1st day of January, 1860; containing a description of the
locality, and the general regulations for the proposed institution;
and authorizing parties to apply for further information to the
“Superintendent,” at Alexandria, Louisiana.

The Legislature had appropriated for the sixteen beneficiaries at
the rate of two hundred and eighty-three dollars per annum, to
which we added sixty dollars as tuition for pay cadets; and, though
the price was low, we undertook to manage for the first year on
that basis.

Promptly to the day, we opened, with about sixty cadets present.
Major Smith was the commandant of cadets, and I the superintendent.
I had been to New Orleans, where I had bought a supply of
mattresses, books, and every thing requisite, and we started very
much on the basis of West Point and of the Virginia Military
Institute, but without uniforms or muskets; yet with roll-calls,
sections, and recitations, we kept as near the standard of West
Point as possible. I kept all the money accounts, and gave general
directions to the steward, professors, and cadets. The other
professors had their regular classes and recitations. We all lived
in rooms in the college building, except Vallas, who had a family,
and rented a house near by. A Creole gentleman, B. Jarrean, Esq.,
had been elected steward, and he also had his family in a house not
far off. The other professors had a mess in a room adjoining the
mess-hall. A few more cadets joined in the course of the winter,
so that we had in all, during the first term, seventy-three cadets,
of whom fifty-nine passed the examination on the 30th of July,
1860. During our first term many defects in the original act of
the Legislature were demonstrated, and, by the advice of the Board
of Supervisors, I went down to Baton Rouge during the session of
the Legislature, to advocate and urge the passage of a new bill,
putting the institution on a better footing. Thomas O. Moors was
then Governor, Bragg was a member of the Board of Public Works, and
Richard Taylor was a Senator. I got well acquainted with all of
these, and with some of the leading men of the State, and was
always treated with the greatest courtesy and kindness. In
conjunction with the proper committee of the Legislature, we
prepared a new bill, which was passed and approved on the 7th of
March, 1860, by which we were to have a beneficiary cadet for each
parish, in all fifty-six, and fifteen thousand dollars annually for
their maintenance; also twenty thousand dollars for the general use
of the college. During that session we got an appropriation of
fifteen thousand dollars for building two professors’ houses, for
the purchase of philosophical and chemical apparatus, and for the
beginning of a college library. The seminary was made a State
Arsenal, under the title of State Central Arsenal, and I was
allowed five hundred dollars a year as its superintendent. These
matters took me several times to Baton Rouge that winter, and I
recall an event of some interest, which most have happened in
February. At that time my brother, John Sherman, was a candidate,
in the national House of Representatives, for Speaker, against
Bocock, of Virginia. In the South he was regarded as an
“abolitionist,” the most horrible of all monsters; and many people
of Louisiana looked at me with suspicion, as the brother of the
abolitionist, John Sherman, and doubted the propriety of having me
at the head of an important State institution. By this time I was
pretty well acquainted with many of their prominent men, was
generally esteemed by all in authority, and by the people of
Rapides Parish especially, who saw that I was devoted to my
particular business, and that I gave no heed to the political
excitement of the day. But the members of the State Senate and
House did not know me so well, and it was natural that they should
be suspicions of a Northern man, and the brother of him who was the
“abolition” candidate for Speaker of the House.

One evening, at a large dinner-party at Governor Moore’s, at which
were present several members of the Louisiana Legislature, Taylor,
Bragg, and the Attorney-General Hyams, after the ladies had left
the table, I noticed at Governor Moore’s end quite a lively
discussion going on, in which my name was frequently used; at
length the Governor called to me, saying: “Colonel Sherman, you can
readily understand that, with your brother the abolitionist
candidate for Speaker, some of our people wonder that you should be
here at the head of an important State institution. Now, you are
at my table, and I assure you of my confidence. Won’t you speak
your mind freely on this question of slavery, that so agitates the
land? You are under my roof, and, whatever you say, you have my

I answered: “Governor Moors, you mistake in calling my brother,
John Sherman, an abolitionist. We have been separated since
childhood–I in the army, and he pursuing his profession of law in
Northern Ohio; and it is possible we may differ in general
sentiment, but I deny that he is considered at home an
abolitionist; and, although he prefers the free institutions under
which he lives to those of slavery which prevail here, he would not
of himself take from you by law or force any property whatever,
even slaves.”

Then said Moore: “Give us your own views of slavery as you see it
here and throughout the South.”

I answered in effect that “the people of Louisiana were hardly
responsible for slavery, as they had inherited it; that I found two
distinct conditions of slavery, domestic and field hands. The
domestic slaves, employed by the families, were probably better
treated than any slaves on earth; but the condition of the
field-hands was different, depending more on the temper and
disposition of their masters and overseers than were those employed
about the house;” and I went on to say that, “were I a citizen of
Louisiana, and a member of the Legislature, I would deem it wise to
bring the legal condition of the slaves more near the status of
human beings under all Christian and civilized governments. In the
first place, I argued that, in sales of slaves made by the State, I
would forbid the separation of families, letting the father,
mother, and children, be sold together to one person, instead of
each to the highest bidder. And, again, I would advise the repeal
of the statute which enacted a severe penalty for even the owner to
teach his slave to read and write, because that actually qualified
property and took away a part of its value; illustrating the
assertion by the case of Henry Sampson, who had been the slave of
Colonel Chambers, of Rapides Parish, who had gone to California as
the servant of an officer of the army, and who was afterward
employed by me in the bank at San Francisco. At first he could not
write or read, and I could only afford to pay him one hundred
dollars a month; but he was taught to read and write by Reilley,
our bank-teller, when his services became worth two hundred and
fifty dollars a month, which enabled him to buy his own freedom and
that of his brother and his family.”

What I said was listened to by all with the most profound
attention; and, when I was through, some one (I think it was Mr.
Hyams) struck the table with his fist, making the glasses jingle,
and said, “By God, he is right!” and at once he took up the debate,
which went on, for an hour or more, on both sides with ability and
fairness. Of course, I was glad to be thus relieved, because at
the time all men in Louisiana were dreadfully excited on questions
affecting their slaves, who constituted the bulk of their wealth,
and without whom they honestly believed that sugar, cotton, and
rice, could not possibly be cultivated.

On the 30th and 31st of July, 1860, we had an examination at the
seminary, winding up with a ball, and as much publicity as possible
to attract general notice; and immediately thereafter we all
scattered–the cadets to their homes, and the professors wherever
they pleased–all to meet again on the 1st day of the next
November. Major Smith and I agreed to meet in New York on a
certain day in August, to purchase books, models, etc. I went
directly to my family in Lancaster, and after a few days proceeded
to Washington, to endeavor to procure from the General Government
the necessary muskets and equipments for our cadets by the
beginning of the next term. I was in Washington on the 17th day of
August, and hunted up my friend Major Buell, of the Adjutant-
General’s Department, who was on duty with the Secretary of War,
Floyd. I had with me a letter of Governor Moore’s, authorizing me
to act in his name. Major Buell took me into Floyd’s room at the
War Department, to whom I explained my business, and I was
agreeably surprised to meet with such easy success. Although the
State of Louisiana had already drawn her full quota of arms, Floyd
promptly promised to order my requisition to be filled, and I
procured the necessary blanks at the Ordnance-Office, filled them
with two hundred cadet muskets, and all equipments complete, and
was assured that all these articles would be shipped to Louisiana
in season for our use that fall. These assurances were faithfully
carried out.

I then went on to New York, there met Major Smith according to
appointment, and together we selected and purchased a good supply
of uniforms, clothing, and text books, as well as a fair number of
books of history and fiction, to commence a library.

When this business was completed, I returned to Lancaster, and
remained with my family till the time approached for me to return
to Louisiana. I again left my family at Lancaster, until assured
of the completion of the two buildings designed for the married
professors for which I had contracted that spring with Mr. Mills,
of Alexandria, and which were well under progress when I left in
August. One of these was designed for me and the other for Vallas.
Mr. Ewing presented me with a horse, which I took down the river
with me, and en route I ordered from Grimsley & Co. a full
equipment of saddle, bridle, etc., the same that I used in the war,
and which I lost with my horse, shot under me at Shiloh.

Reaching Alexandria early in October, I pushed forward the
construction of the two buildings, some fences, gates, and all
other work, with the object of a more perfect start at the opening
of the regular term November 1, 1860.

About this time Dr. Powhatan Clark was elected Assistant Professor
of Chemistry, etc., and acted as secretary of the Board of
Supervisors, but no other changes were made in our small circle of

November came, and with it nearly if not quite all our first set of
cadets, and others, to the number of about one hundred and thirty.
We divided them into two companies, issued arms and clothing, and
began a regular system of drills and instruction, as well as the
regular recitations. I had moved into my new house, but prudently
had not sent for my family, nominally on the ground of waiting
until the season was further advanced, but really because of the
storm that was lowering heavy on the political horizon. The
presidential election was to occur in November, and the nominations
had already been made in stormy debates by the usual conventions.
Lincoln and Hamlin (to the South utterly unknown) were the nominees
of the Republican party, and for the first time both these
candidates were from Northern States. The Democratic party
divided–one set nominating a ticket at Charleston, and the other
at Baltimore. Breckenridge and Lane were the nominees of the
Southern or Democratic party; and Bell and Everett, a kind of
compromise, mostly in favor in Louisiana. Political excitement was
at its very height, and it was constantly asserted that Mr.
Lincoln’s election would imperil the Union. I purposely kept aloof
from politics, would take no part, and remember that on the day of
the election in November I was notified that it would be advisable
for me to vote for Bell and Everett, but I openly said I would not,
and I did not. The election of Mr. Lincoln fell upon us all like a
clap of thunder. People saw and felt that the South had threatened
so long that, if she quietly submitted, the question of slavery in
the Territories was at an end forever. I mingled freely with the
members of the Board of Supervisors, and with the people of Rapides
Parish generally, keeping aloof from all cliques and parties, and I
certainly hoped that the threatened storm would blow over, as had
so often occurred before, after similar threats. At our seminary
the order of exercises went along with the regularity of the
seasons. Once a week, I had the older cadets to practise reading,
reciting, and elocution, and noticed that their selections were
from Calhoun, Yancey, and other Southern speakers, all treating of
the defense of their slaves and their home institutions as the very
highest duty of the patriot. Among boys this was to be expected;
and among the members of our board, though most of them declaimed
against politicians generally, and especially abolitionists, as
pests, yet there was a growing feeling that danger was in the wind.
I recall the visit of a young gentleman who had been sent from
Jackson, by the Governor of Mississippi, to confer with Governor
Moore, then on his plantation at Bayou Robert, and who had come
over to see our college. He spoke to me openly of secession as a
fixed fact, and that its details were only left open for
discussion. I also recall the visit of some man who was said to be
a high officer in the order of “Knights of the Golden Circle,” of
the existence of which order I was even ignorant, until explained
to me by Major Smith and Dr. Clark. But in November, 1860, no man
ever approached me offensively, to ascertain my views, or my
proposed course of action in case of secession, and no man in or
out of authority ever tried to induce me to take part in steps
designed to lead toward disunion. I think my general opinions were
well known and understood, viz., that “secession was treason, was
war;” and that in no event would the North and West permit the
Mississippi River to pass out of their control. But some men at
the South actually supposed at the time that the Northwestern
States, in case of a disruption of the General Government, would be
drawn in self-interest to an alliance with the South. What I now
write I do not offer as any thing like a history of the important
events of that time, but rather as my memory of them, the effect
they had on me personally, and to what extent they influenced my
personal conduct.

South Carolina seceded December 20, 1860, and Mississippi soon
after. Emissaries came to Louisiana to influence the Governor,
Legislature, and people, and it was the common assertion that, if
all the Cotton States would follow the lead of South Carolina, it
would diminish the chances of civil war, because a bold and
determined front would deter the General Government from any
measures of coercion. About this time also, viz., early in
December, we received Mr. Buchanan’s annual message to Congress, in
which he publicly announced that the General Government had no
constitutional power to “coerce a State.” I confess this staggered
me, and I feared that the prophecies and assertions of Alison and
other European commentators on our form of government were right,
and that our Constitution was a mere rope of sand, that would break
with the first pressure.

The Legislature of Louisiana met on the 10th of December, and
passed an act calling a convention of delegates from the people, to
meet at Baton Rouge, on the 8th of January, to take into
consideration the state of the Union; and, although it was
universally admitted that a large majority of the voters of the
State were opposed to secession, disunion, and all the steps of the
South Carolinians, yet we saw that they were powerless, and that
the politicians would sweep them along rapidly to the end,
prearranged by their leaders in Washington. Before the ordinance
of secession was passed, or the convention had assembled, on the
faith of a telegraphic dispatch sent by the two Senators, Benjamin
and Slidell, from their seats in the United States Senate at
Washington, Governor Moore ordered the seizure of all the United
States forts at the mouth of the Mississippi and Lake
Pontchartrain, and of the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge.
The forts had no garrisons, but the arsenal was held by a small
company of artillery, commanded by Major Haskins, a most worthy and
excellent officer, who had lost an arm in Mexico. I remember well
that I was strongly and bitterly impressed by the seizure of the
arsenal, which occurred on January 10, 1861.

When I went first to Baton Rouge, in 1859, en route to Alexandria,
I found Captain Rickett’s company of artillery stationed in the
arsenal, but soon after there was somewhat of a clamor on the Texas
frontier about Brownsville, which induced the War Department to
order Rickett’s company to that frontier. I remember that Governor
Moore remonstrated with the Secretary of War because so much
dangerous property, composed of muskets, powder, etc., had been
left by the United States unguarded, in a parish where the slave
population was as five or six to one of whites; and it was on his
official demand that the United States Government ordered Haskinss
company to replace Rickett’s. This company did not number forty
men. In the night of January 9th, about five hundred New Orleans
militia, under command of a Colonel Wheat, went up from New Orleans
by boat, landed, surrounded the arsenal, and demanded its
surrender. Haskins was of course unprepared for such a step, yet
he at first resolved to defend the post as he best could with his
small force. But Bragg, who was an old army acquaintance of his,
had a parley with him, exhibited to him the vastly superior force
of his assailants, embracing two field-batteries, and offered to
procure for him honorable terms, to march out with drums and
colors, and to take unmolested passage in a boat up to St. Louis;
alleging, further, that the old Union was at an end, and that a
just settlement would be made between the two new fragments for all
the property stored in the arsenal. Of course it was Haskins’s
duty to have defended his post to the death; but up to that time
the national authorities in Washington had shown such
pusillanimity, that the officers of the army knew not what to do.
The result, anyhow, was that Haskins surrendered his post, and at
once embarked for St. Louis. The arms and munitions stored in the
arsenal were scattered–some to Mississippi, some to New Orleans,
some to Shreveport; and to me, at the Central Arsenal, were
consigned two thousand muskets, three hundred Jager rifles, and a
large amount of cartridges and ammunition. The invoices were
signed by the former ordnance-sergeant, Olodowski, as a captain of
ordnance, and I think he continued such on General Bragg’s staff
through the whole of the subsequent civil war. These arms, etc.,
came up to me at Alexandria, with orders from Governor Moore to
receipt for and account for them. Thus I was made the receiver of
stolen goods, and these goods the property of the United States.
This grated hard on my feelings as an ex-army-officer, and on
counting the arms I noticed that they were packed in the old
familiar boxes, with the “U. S.” simply scratched off. General G.
Mason Graham had resigned as the chairman of the Executive
Committee, and Dr. S. A. Smith, of Alexandria, then a member of the
State Senate, had succeeded him as chairman, and acted as head of
the Board of Supervisors. At the time I was in most intimate
correspondence with all of these parties, and our letters must have
been full of politics, but I have only retained copies of a few of
the letters, which I will embody in this connection, as they will
show, better than by any thing I can now recall, the feelings of
parties at that critical period. The seizure of the arsenal at
Baton Rouge occurred January 10, 1861, and the secession ordinance
was not passed until about the 25th or 26th of the same month. At
all events, after the seizure of the arsenal, and before the
passage of the ordinance of secession, viz., on the 18th of
January, I wrote as follows:

Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy
January 18, 1861

Governor THOMAS O. MOORE, Baton, Rouge, Louisiana.

Sir: As I occupy a quasi-military position under the laws of the
State, I deem it proper to acquaint you that I accepted such
position when Louisiana was a State in the Union, and when the
motto of this seminary was inserted in marble over the main door:
“By the liberality of the General Government of the United States.
The Union–esto perpetua.”

Recent events foreshadow a great change, and it becomes all men to
choose. If Louisiana withdraw from the Federal Union, I prefer to
maintain my allegiance to the Constitution as long as a fragment of
it survives; and my longer stay here would be wrong in every sense
of the word.

In that event, I beg you will send or appoint some authorized agent
to take charge of the arms and munitions of war belonging to the
State, or advise me what disposition to make of them.

And furthermore, as president of the Board of Supervisors, I beg
you to take immediate steps to relieve me as superintendent, the
moment the State determines to secede, for on no earthly account
will I do any act or think any thought hostile to or in defiance of
the old Government of the United States.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Superintendent.


January 18, 1861.

To Governor Moore:

My Dear Sir: I take it for granted that you have been expecting for
some days the accompanying paper from me (the above official
letter). I have repeatedly and again made known to General Graham
and Dr. Smith that, in the event of a severance of the relations
hitherto existing between the Confederated States of this Union, I
would be forced to choose the old Union. It is barely possible all
the States may secede, South and North, that new combinations may
result, but this process will be one of time and uncertainty, and I
cannot with my opinions await the subsequent development.

I have never been a politician, and therefore undervalue the
excited feelings and opinions of present rulers, but I do think, if
this people cannot execute a form of government like the present,
that a worse one will result.

I will keep the cadets as quiet as possible. They are nervous, but
I think the interest of the State requires them here, guarding this
property, and acquiring a knowledge which will be useful to your
State in after-times.

When I leave, which I now regard as certain, the present professors
can manage well enough, to afford you leisure time to find a
suitable successor to me. You might order Major Smith to receipt
for the arms, and to exercise military command, while the academic
exercises could go on under the board. In time, some gentleman
will turn up, better qualified than I am, to carry on the seminary
to its ultimate point of success. I entertain the kindest feelings
toward all, and would leave the State with much regret; only in
great events we must choose, one way or the other.

Truly, your friend,


January 19, 1881–Saturday.

Dr. S. A. Smith, President Board of Supervisors, Baton Rouge,

Dear Sir: I have just finished my quarterly reports to the parents
of all the cadets here, or who have been here. All my books of
account are written up to date. All bills for the houses, fences,
etc., are settled, and nothing now remains but the daily tontine of
recitations and drills. I have written officially and unofficially
to Governor Moore, that with my opinions of the claimed right of
accession, of the seizure of public forts, arsenals, etc., and the
ignominious capture of a United States garrison, stationed in your
midst, as a guard to the arsenal and for the protection of your own
people, it would be highly improper for me longer to remain. No
great inconvenience can result to the seminary. I will be the
chief loser. I came down two months before my pay commenced. I
made sacrifices in Kansas to enable me thus to obey the call of
Governor Wickliffe, and you know that last winter I declined a most
advantageous offer of employment abroad; and thus far I have
received nothing as superintendent of the arsenal, though I went to
Washington and New York (at my own expense) on the faith of the
five hundred dollars salary promised.

These are all small matters in comparison with those involved in
the present state of the country, which will cause sacrifices by
millions, instead of by hundreds. The more I think of it, the more
I think I should be away, the sooner the better; and therefore I
hope you will join with Governor Moors in authorizing me to turn
over to Major Smith the military command here, and to the academic
board the control of the daily exercises and recitations.

There will be no necessity of your coming up. You can let Major
Smith receive the few hundreds of cash I have on hand, and I can
meet you on a day certain in New Orleans, when we can settle the
bank account. Before I leave, I can pay the steward Jarrean his
account for the month, and there would be no necessity for other
payments till about the close of March, by which time the board can
meet, and elect a treasurer and superintendent also.

At present I have no class, and there will be none ready till about
the month of May, when there will be a class in “surveying.” Even
if you do not elect a superintendent in the mean time, Major Smith
could easily teach this class, as he is very familiar with the
subject-matter: Indeed, I think you will do well to leave the
subject of a new superintendent until one perfectly satisfactory
turns up.

There is only one favor I would ask. The seminary has plenty of
money in bank. The Legislature will surely appropriate for my
salary as superintendent of this arsenal. Would you not let me
make my drafts on the State Treasury, send them to you, let the
Treasurer note them for payment when the appropriation is made, and
then pay them out of the seminary fund? The drafts will be paid in
March, and the seminary will lose nothing. This would be just to
me; for I actually spent two hundred dollars and more in going to
Washington and New York, thereby securing from the United States,
in advance, three thousand dollars’ worth of the very best arms;
and clothing and books, at a clear profit to the seminary of over
eight hundred dollars. I may be some time in finding new
employment, and will stand in need of this money (five hundred
dollars); otherwise I would abandon it.

I will not ask you to put the Board of Supervisors to the trouble
of meeting, unless you can get a quorum at Baton Rouge.

With great respect, your friend,


By course of mail, I received the following answer from Governor
Moore, the original of which I still possess. It is all in General
Braggs handwriting, with which I am familiar

Executive Office,

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, January 23, 1861

MY DEAR SIR: It is with the deepest regret I acknowledge receipt of
your communication of the 18th inst. In the pressure of official
business, I can now only request you to transfer to Prof. Smith the
arms, munitions, and funds in your hands, whenever you conclude to
withdraw from the position you have filled with so much
distinction. You cannot regret more than I do the necessity which
deprives us of your services, and you will bear with you the
respect, confidence, and admiration, of all who have been
associated with you. Very truly, your friend,

Thomas O. Moore.

Colonel W. T. SHERMAN, Superintendent Military Academy, Alexandria.

I must have received several letters from Bragg, about this time,
which have not been preserved; for I find that, on the 1st of
February, 1861, I wrote him thus:

Seminary of Learning
Alexandria, LOUISIANA, February 1, 1881.

Colonel Braxton BRAGG, Baton, Rouge, Louisiana.

Dear Sir: Yours of January 23d and 27th are received. I thank you
most kindly, and Governor Moors through you, for the kind manner in
which you have met my wishes.

Now that I cannot be compromised by political events, I will so
shape my course as best to serve the institution, which has a
strong hold on my affections and respect.

The Board of Supervisors will be called for the 9th instant, and I
will cooperate with them in their measures to place matters here on
a safe and secure basis. I expect to be here two weeks, and will
make you full returns of money and property belonging to the State
Central Arsenal. All the arms and ammunition are safely stored
here. Then I will write you more at length. With sincere respect,
your friend,


Major Smith’s receipt to me, for the arms and property belonging
both to the seminary and to the arsenal, is dated February 19,
1861. I subjoin also, in this connection, copies of one or two
papers that may prove of interest

BATON ROUGE, January 28, 1881.
To Major SHERMAN, Superintendent, Alexandria.

My DEAR SIR: Your letter was duly receive, and would have been
answered ere this time could I have arranged sooner the matter of
the five hundred dollars. I shall go from here to New Orleans
to-day or tomorrow, and will remain there till Saturday after next,
perhaps. I shall expect to meet you there, as indicated in your
note to me.

I need not tell you that it is with no ordinary regret that I view
your determination to leave us, for really I believe that the
success of our institution, now almost assured, is jeopardized
thereby. I am sore that we will never have a superintendent with
whom I shall have more pleasant relations than those which have
existed between yourself and me.

I fully appreciate the motives which have induced you to give up a
position presenting so many advantages to yourself, and sincerely
hope that you may, in any future enterprise, enjoy the success
which your character and ability merit and deserve.

Should you come down on the Rapides (steamer), please look after my
wife, who will, I hope, accompany you on said boat, or some other
good one.

Colonel Bragg informs me that the necessary orders have been given
for the transfer and receipt by Major Smith of the public property.

I herewith transmit a request to the secretary to convene the Board
of Supervisors, that they may act as seems best to them in the

In the mean time, Major Smith will command by seniority the cadets,
and the Academic Board will be able to conduct the scientific
exercises of the institution until the Board of Supervisors can
have time to act. Hoping to meet you soon at the St. Charles, I

Most truly, your friend and servant, S. A. Smith

P. S. Governor Moors desires me to express his profound regret that
the State is about to lose one who we all fondly hoped had cast his
destinies for weal or for woe among us; and that he is sensible
that we lose thereby an officer whom it will be difficult, if not
impossible, to replace.

S. A. S.

BATON ROUGE, February 11, 1881.
To Major Sherman, Alexandria.

Dear Sir: I have been in New Orleans for ten days, and on returning
here find two letters from you, also your prompt answer to the
resolution of the House of Representatives, for which I am much

The resolution passed the last day before adjournment. I was
purposing to respond, when your welcome reports came to hand. I
have arranged to pay you your five hundred dollars.

I will say nothing of general politics, except to give my opinion
that there is not to be any war.

In that event, would it not be possible for you to become a citizen
of our State? Everyone deplores your determination to leave us. At
the same time, your friends feel that you are abandoning a position
that might become an object of desire to any one.

I will try to meet you in New Orleans at any time you may indicate;
but it would be best for you to stop here, when, if possible, I
will accompany you. Should you do so, you will find me just above
the State-House, and facing it.

Bring with you a few copies of the “Rules of the Seminary.”

Yours truly,

S. A. Smith

Colonel W. T. SHERMAN.

Sir: I am instructed by the Board of Supervisors of this
institution to present a copy of the resolutions adopted by them at
their last meeting

“Resolved, That the thanks of the Board of Supervisors are due, and
are hereby tendered, to Colonel William T. Sherman for the able and
efficient manner in which he has conducted the affairs of the
seminary during the time the institution has been under his
control–a period attended with unusual difficulties, requiring on
the part of the superintendent to successfully overcome them a high
order of administrative talent. And the board further bear willing
testimony to the valuable services that Colonel Sherman has
rendered them in their efforts to establish an institution of
learning in accordance with the beneficent design of the State and
Federal Governments; evincing at all times a readiness to adapt
himself to the ever-varying requirements of an institution of
learning in its infancy, struggling to attain a position of honor
and usefulness.

“Resolved, further, That, in accepting the resignation of Colonel
Sherman as Superintendent of the State Seminary of Learning and
Military Academy, we tender to him assurances of our high personal
regard, and our sincere regret at the occurrence of causes that
render it necessary to part with so esteemed and valued a friend,
as well as co-laborer in the cause of education.”

Powhatan Clarke, Secretary of the Board.

A copy of the resolution of the Academic Board, passed at their
session of April 1,1861:

“Resolved, That in the resignation of the late superintendent,
Colonel W. T. Sherman, the Academic Board deem it not improper to
express their deep conviction of the loss the institution has
sustained in being thus deprived of an able head. They cannot fail
to appreciate the manliness of character which has always marked
the actions of Colonel Sherman. While he is personally endeared to
many of them as a friend, they consider it their high pleasure to
tender to him in this resolution their regret on his separation,
and their sincere wish for his future welfare.”

I have given the above at some length, because, during the civil
war, it was in Southern circles asserted that I was guilty of a
breach of hospitality in taking up arms against the South. They
were manifestly the aggressors, and we could only defend our own by
assailing them. Yet, without any knowledge of what the future had
in store for me, I took unusual precautions that the institution
should not be damaged by my withdrawal. About the 20th of
February, having turned over all property, records, and money, on
hand, to Major Smith, and taking with me the necessary documents to
make the final settlement with Dr. S. A. Smith, at the bank in New
Orleans, where the funds of the institution were deposited to my
credit, I took passage from Alexandria for that city, and arrived
there, I think, on the 23d. Dr. Smith met me, and we went to the
bank, where I turned over to him the balance, got him to audit all
my accounts, certify that they were correct and just, and that
there remained not one cent of balance in my hands. I charged in
my account current for my salary up to the end of February, at the
rate of four thousand dollars a year, and for the five hundred
dollars due me as superintendent of the Central Arsenal, all of
which was due and had been fairly earned, and then I stood free and
discharged of any and every obligation, honorary or business, that
was due by me to the State of Louisiana, or to any corporation or
individual in that State.

This business occupied two or three days, during which I staid at
the St. Louis Hotel. I usually sat at table with Colonel and Mrs.
Bragg, and an officer who wore the uniform of the State of
Louisiana, and was addressed as captain. Bragg wore a colonel’s
uniform, and explained to me that he was a colonel in the State
service, a colonel of artillery, and that some companies of his
regiment garrisoned Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and the arsenal
at Baton Rouge.

Beauregard at the time had two sons at the Seminary of Learning. I
had given them some of my personal care at the father’s request,
and, wanting to tell him of their condition and progress, I went to
his usual office in the Custom-House Building, and found him in the
act of starting for Montgomery, Alabama. Bragg said afterward that
Beauregard had been sent for by Jefferson Davis, and that it was
rumored that he had been made a brigadier-general, of which fact he
seemed jealous, because in the old army Bragg was the senior.

Davis and Stephens had been inaugurated President and
Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, February 18,
1860, at Montgomery, and those States only embraced the seven
cotton States. I recall a conversation at the tea-table, one
evening, at the St. Louis Hotel. When Bragg was speaking of
Beauregard’s promotion, Mrs. Bragg, turning to me, said, “You know
that my husband is not a favorite with the new President.” My mind
was resting on Mr. Lincoln as the new President, and I said I did
not know that Bragg had ever met Mr. Lincoln, when Mrs. Bragg said,
quite pointedly, “I didn’t mean your President, but our President.”
I knew that Bragg hated Davis bitterly, and that he had resigned
from the army in 1855, or 1856, because Davis, as Secretary of War,
had ordered him, with his battery, from Jefferson Barracks,
Missouri, to Fort Smith or Fort Washita, in the Indian country, as
Bragg expressed it, “to chase Indians with six-pounders.”

I visited the quartermaster, Colonel A. C. Myers, who had resigned
from the army, January 28, 1861, and had accepted service under the
new regime. His office was in the same old room in the Lafayette
Square building, which he had in 1853, when I was there a
commissary, with the same pictures on the wall, and the letters “U.
S.” on every thing, including his desk, papers, etc. I asked him
if he did not feel funny. “No, not at all. The thing was
inevitable, secession was a complete success; there would be no
war, but the two Governments would settle all matters of business
in a friendly spirit, and each would go on in its allotted sphere,
without further confusion.” About this date, February 16th,
General Twiggs, Myers’s father-in-law, had surrendered his entire
command, in the Department of Texas, to some State troops, with all
the Government property, thus consummating the first serious step
in the drama of the conspiracy, which was to form a confederacy of
the cotton States, before working upon the other slave or border
States, and before the 4th of March, the day for the inauguration
of President Lincoln.

I walked the streets of New Orleans, and found business going along
as usual. Ships were strung for miles along the lower levee, and
steamboats above, all discharging or receiving cargo. The Pelican
flag of Louisiana was flying over the Custom House, Mint, City
Hall, and everywhere. At the levee ships carried every flag on
earth except that of the United States, and I was told that during
a procession on the 22d of February, celebrating their emancipation
from the despotism of the United States Government, only one
national flag was shown from a house, and that the houses of
Cuthbert Bullitt, on Lafayette Square. He was commanded to take it
down, but he refused, and defended it with his pistol.

The only officer of the army that I can recall, as being there at
the time, who was faithful, was Colonel C. L. Kilburn, of the
Commissary Department, and he was preparing to escape North.

Everybody regarded the change of Government as final; that
Louisiana, by a mere declaration, was a free and independent State,
and could enter into any new alliance or combination she chose.

Men were being enlisted and armed, to defend the State, and there
was not the least evidence that the national Administration
designed to make any effort, by force, to vindicate the national
authority. I therefore bade adieu to all my friends, and about the
25th of February took my departure by railroad, for Lancaster, via
Cairo and Cincinnati.

Before leaving this subject, I will simply record the fate of some
of my associates. The seminary was dispersed by the war, and all
the professors and cadets took service in the Confederacy, except
Yallas, St. Ange, and Cadet Taliaferro. The latter joined a Union
regiment, as a lieutenant, after New Orleans was retaken by the
United States fleet under Farragut. I think that both Yallas and
St. Ange have died in poverty since the war. Major Smith joined
the rebel army in Virginia, and was killed in April, 1865, as he
was withdrawing his garrison, by night, from the batteries at
Drury’s Bluff, at the time General Lee began his final retreat from
Richmond. Boyd became a captain of engineers on the staff of
General Richard Taylor, was captured, and was in jail at Natchez,
Mississippi, when I was on my Meridian expedition. He succeeded in
getting a letter to me on my arrival at Vicksburg, and, on my way
down to New Orleans, I stopped at Natchez, took him along, and
enabled him to effect an exchange through General Banks. As soon
as the war was over, he returned to Alexandria, and reorganized the
old institution, where I visited him in 1867; but, the next winter,
the building took fire end burned to the ground. The students,
library, apparatus, etc., were transferred to Baton Rouge, where
the same institution now is, under the title of the Louisiana
University. I have been able to do them many acts of kindness, and
am still in correspondence, with Colonel Boyd, its president.

General G. Mason Graham is still living on his plantation, on Bayou
Rapides, old and much respected.

Dr. S. A. Smith became a surgeon in the rebel army, and at the
close of the war was medical director of the trans-Mississippi
Department, with General Kirby Smith. I have seen him since the
war, at New Orleans, where he died about a year ago.

Dr. Clark was in Washington recently, applying for a place as
United States consul abroad. I assisted him, but with no success,
and he is now at Baltimore, Maryland.

After the battle of Shiloh, I found among the prisoners Cadet
Barrow, fitted him out with some clean clothing, of which he was in
need, and from him learned that Cadet Workman was killed in that

Governor Moore’s plantation was devastated by General Banks’s
troops. After the war he appealed to me, and through the
Attorney-General, Henry Stanbery, I aided in having his
land restored to him, and I think he is now living there.

Bragg, Beauregard, and Taylor, enacted high parts in the succeeding
war, and now reside in Louisiana or Texas




During the time of these events in Louisiana, I was in constant
correspondence with my brother, John Sherman, at Washington; Mr.
Ewing, at Lancaster, Ohio; and Major H. S. Turner, at St. Louis. I
had managed to maintain my family comfortably at Lancaster, but was
extremely anxious about the future. It looked like the end of my
career, for I did not suppose that “civil war” could give me an
employment that would provide for the family. I thought, and may
have said, that the national crisis had been brought about by the
politicians, and, as it was upon us, they “might fight it out”
Therefore, when I turned North from New Orleans, I felt more
disposed to look to St. Louis for a home, and to Major. Turner to
find me employment, than to the public service.

I left New Orleans about the 1st of March, 1861, by rail to Jackson
and Clinton, Mississippi, Jackson, Tennessee, and Columbus,
Kentucky, where we took a boat to Cairo, and thence, by rail, to
Cincinnati and Lancaster. All the way, I heard, in the cars and
boats, warm discussions about polities; to the effect that, if Mr.
Lincoln should attempt coercion of the seceded States, the other
slave or border States would make common cause, when, it was
believed, it would be madness to attempt to reduce them to
subjection. In the South, the people were earnest, fierce and
angry, and were evidently organizing for action; whereas, in
Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, I saw not the least sign of
preparation. It certainly looked to me as though the people of the
North would tamely submit to a disruption of the Union, and the
orators of the South used, openly and constantly, the expressions
that there would be no war, and that a lady’s thimble would hold
all the blood to be shed. On reaching Lancaster, I found letters
from my brother John, inviting me to come to Washington, as he
wanted to see me; and from Major Tamer, at St. Louis, that he was
trying to secure for me the office of president of the Fifth Street
Railroad, with a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars; that Mr.
Lucas and D. A. January held a controlling interest of stock, would
vote for me, and the election would occur in March. This suited me
exactly, and I answered Turner that I would accept, with thanks.
But I also thought it right and proper that I should first go to
Washington, to talk with my brother, Senator Sherman.

Mr. Lincoln had just been installed, and the newspapers were filled
with rumors of every kind indicative of war; the chief act of
interest was that Major Robert Anderson had taken by night into
Fort Sumter all the troops garrisoning Charleston Harbor, and that
he was determined to defend it against the demands of the State of
South Carolina and of the Confederate States. I must have reached
Washington about the 10th of March. I found my brother there, just
appointed Senator, in place of Mr. Chase, who was in the cabinet,
and I have no doubt my opinions, thoughts, and feelings, wrought up
by the events in Louisiana; seemed to him gloomy and extravagant.
About Washington I saw but few signs of preparation, though the
Southern Senators and Representatives were daily sounding their
threats on the floors of Congress, and were publicly withdrawing to
join the Confederate Congress at Montgomery. Even in the War
Department and about the public offices there was open, unconcealed
talk, amounting to high-treason.

One day, John Sherman took me with him to see Mr. Lincoln. He
walked into the room where the secretary to the President now sits,
we found the room full of people, and Mr. Lincoln sat at the end of
the table, talking with three or four gentlemen, who soon left.
John walked up, shook hands, and took a chair near him, holding in
his hand some papers referring to, minor appointments in the State
of Ohio, which formed the subject of conversation. Mr. Lincoln
took the papers, said he would refer them to the proper heads of
departments, and would be glad to make the appointments asked for,
if not already promised. John then turned to me, and said, “Mr.
President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just up from
Louisiana, he may give you some information you want.” “Ah!” said
Mr. Lincoln, “how are they getting along down there?” I said, “They
think they are getting along swimmingly–they are preparing for
war.” “Oh, well!” said he, “I guess we’ll manage to keep house.”
I was silenced, said no more to him, and we soon left. I was sadly
disappointed, and remember that I broke out on John, d–ning the
politicians generally, saying, “You have got things in a hell of a
fig, and you may get them out as you best can,” adding that the
country was sleeping on a volcano that might burst forth at any
minute, but that I was going to St. Louis to take care of my
family, and would have no more to do with it. John begged me to be
more patient, but I said I would not; that I had no time to wait,
that I was off for St. Louis; and off I went. At Lancaster I found
letters from Major Turner, inviting me to St. Louis, as the place
in the Fifth Street Railroad was a sure thing, and that Mr. Lucas
would rent me a good house on Locust Street, suitable for my
family, for six hundred dollars a year.

Mrs. Sherman and I gathered our family and effects together,
started for St. Louis March 27th, where we rented of Mr. Lucas the
house on Locust Street, between Tenth and Eleventh, and occupied it
on the 1st of April. Charles Ewing and John Hunter had formed a
law-partnership in St. Louis, and agreed to board with us, taking
rooms on the third floor In the latter part of March, I was duly
elected president of the Fifth Street Railroad, and entered on the
discharge of my duties April 1, 1861. We had a central office on
the corner of Fifth and Locust, and also another up at the stables
in Bremen. The road was well stocked and in full operation, and
all I had to do was to watch the economical administration of
existing affairs, which I endeavored to do with fidelity and zeal.
But the whole air was full of wars and rumors of wars. The
struggle was going on politically for the border States. Even in
Missouri, which was a slave State, it was manifest that the
Governor of the State, Claiborne Jackson, and all the leading
politicians, were for the South in case of a war. The house on the
northwest corner of Fifth and Pine was the rebel headquarters,
where the rebel flag was hung publicly, and the crowds about the
Planters’ House were all more or less rebel. There was also a camp
in Lindell’s Grove, at the end of Olive, Street, under command of
General D. M. Frost, a Northern man, a graduate of West Point, in
open sympathy with the Southern leaders. This camp was nominally a
State camp of instruction, but, beyond doubt, was in the interest
of the Southern cause, designed to be used against the national
authority in the event of the General Government’s attempting to
coerce the Southern Confederacy. General William S. Harvey was in
command of the Department of Missouri, and resided in his own
house, on Fourth Street, below Market; and there were five or six
companies of United States troops in the arsenal, commanded by
Captain N. Lyon; throughout the city, there had been organized,
almost exclusively out of the German part of the population, four
or five regiments of “Home Guards,” with which movement Frank
Blair, B. Gratz Brown, John M. Schofield, Clinton B. Fisk, and
others, were most active on the part of the national authorities.
Frank Blair’s brother Montgomery was in the cabinet of Mr. Lincoln
at Washington, and to him seemed committed the general management
of affairs in Missouri.

The newspapers fanned the public excitement to the highest pitch,
and threats of attacking the arsenal on the one hand, and the mob
of d–d rebels in Camp Jackson on the other, were bandied about. I
tried my best to keep out of the current, and only talked freely
with a few men; among them Colonel John O’Fallon, a wealthy
gentleman who resided above St. Louis. He daily came down to my
office in Bremen, and we walked up and down the pavement by the
hour, deploring the sad condition of our country, and the seeming
drift toward dissolution and anarchy. I used also to go down to
the arsenal occasionally to see Lyon, Totten, and other of my army
acquaintance, and was glad to see them making preparations to
defend their post, if not to assume the offensive.

The bombardment of Fort Sumter, which was announced by telegraph,
began April 12th, and ended on the 14th. We then knew that the war
was actually begun, and though the South was openly, manifestly the
aggressor, yet her friends and apologists insisted that she was
simply acting on a justifiable defensive, and that in the forcible
seizure of, the public forts within her limits the people were
acting with reasonable prudence and foresight. Yet neither party
seemed willing to invade, or cross the border. Davis, who ordered
the bombardment of Sumter, knew the temper of his people well, and
foresaw that it would precipitate the action of the border States;
for almost immediately Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and
Tennessee, followed the lead of the cotton States, and conventions
were deliberating in Kentucky and Missouri.

On the night of Saturday, April 6th, I received the following,

Washington, April 6,1861.

Major W. T. Sherman:

Will you accept the chief clerkship of the War Department? We will
make you assistant Secretary of War when Congress meets.

M. Blair, Postmaster-General.

To which I replied by telegraph, Monday morning; “I cannot accept;”
and by mail as follows:

Monday, Apil 8, 1861.
Office of the St. Louis Railroad Company

Hon. M. Blair, Washington, D. C.

I received, about nine o’clock Saturday night, your telegraph
dispatch, which I have this moment answered, “I cannot accept.”

I have quite a large family, and when I resigned my place in
Louisiana, on account of secession, I had no time to lose; and,
therefore, after my hasty visit to Washington, where I saw no
chance of employment, I came to St. Louis, have accepted a place in
this company, have rented a house, and incurred other obligations,
so that I am not at liberty to change.

I thank you for the compliment contained in your offer, and assure
you that I wish the Administration all success in its almost
impossible task of governing this distracted and anarchical people.

Yours truly,


I was afterward told that this letter gave offense, and that some
of Mr. Lincoln’s cabinet concluded that I too would prove false to
the country.

Later in that month, after the capture of Fort Sumter by the
Confederate authorities, a Dr. Cornyn came to our house on Locust
Street, one night after I had gone to bed, and told me he had been
sent by Frank Blair, who was not well, and wanted to see me that
night at his house. I dressed and walked over to his house on
Washington Avenue, near Fourteenth, and found there, in the
front-room, several gentlemen, among whom I recall Henry T. Blow.
Blair was in the back-room, closeted with some gentleman, who soon
left, and I was called in. He there told me that the Government
was mistrustful of General Harvey, that a change in the command of
the department was to be made; that he held it in his power to
appoint a brigadier-general, and put him in command of the
department, and he offered me the place. I told him I had once
offered my services, and they were declined; that I had made
business engagements in St. Louis, which I could not throw off at
pleasure; that I had long deliberated on my course of action, and
must decline his offer, however tempting and complimentary. He
reasoned with me, but I persisted. He told me, in that event, he
should appoint Lyon, and he did so.

Finding that even my best friends were uneasy as to my political
status, on the 8th of May I addressed the following official letter
to the Secretary of War:

Office of the St. Louis Railroad Company,
May 8,1881.

Hon. S. Cameron, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir: I hold myself now, as always, prepared to serve my
country in the capacity for which I was trained. I did not and
will not volunteer for three months, because I cannot throw my
family on the cold charity of the world. But for the three-years
call, made by the President, an officer can prepare his command and
do good service.

I will not volunteer as a soldier, because rightfully or wrongfully
I feel unwilling to take a mere private’s place, and, having for
many years lived in California and Louisiana, the men are not well
enough acquainted with me to elect me to my appropriate place.

Should my services be needed, the records of the War Department
will enable you to designate the station in which I can render most

Yours truly, W. T. SHERMAN.

To this I do not think I received a direct answer; but, on the 10th
of the same month, I was appointed colonel of the Thirteenth
Regular Infantry.

I remember going to the arsenal on the 9th of May, taking my
children with me in the street-cars. Within the arsenal wall were
drawn up in parallel lines four regiments of the “Home Guards,” and
I saw men distributing cartridges to the boxes. I also saw General
Lyon running about with his hair in the wind, his pockets full of
papers, wild and irregular, but I knew him to be a man of vehement
purpose and of determined action. I saw of course that it meant
business, but whether for defense or offense I did not know. The
next morning I went up to the railroad-office in Bremen, as usual,
and heard at every corner of the streets that the “Dutch” were
moving on Camp Jackson. People were barricading their houses, and
men were running in that direction. I hurried through my business
as quickly as I could, and got back to my house on Locust Street by
twelve o’clock. Charles Ewing and Hunter were there, and insisted
on going out to the camp to see “the fun.” I tried to dissuade
them, saying that in case of conflict the bystanders were more
likely to be killed than the men engaged, but they would go. I
felt as much interest as anybody else, but staid at home, took my
little son Willie, who was about seven years old, and walked up and
down the pavement in front of our house, listening for the sound of
musketry or cannon in the direction of Camp Jackson. While so
engaged Miss Eliza Dean, who lived opposite us, called me across
the street, told me that her brother-in-law, Dr. Scott, was a
surgeon in Frost’s camp, and she was dreadfully afraid he would be
killed. I reasoned with her that General Lyon was a regular
officer; that if he had gone out, as reported, to Camp Jackson, he
would take with him such a force as would make resistance
impossible; but she would not be comforted, saying that the camp
was made up of the young men from the first and best families of
St. Louis, and that they were proud, and would fight. I explained
that young men of the best families did not like to be killed
better than ordinary people. Edging gradually up the street, I was
in Olive Street just about Twelfth, when I saw a man running from
the direction of Camp Jackson at full speed, calling, as he went,
“They’ve surrendered, they’ve surrendered!” So I turned back and
rang the bell at Mrs. Dean’s. Eliza came to the door, and I
explained what I had heard; but she angrily slammed the door in my
face! Evidently she was disappointed to find she was mistaken in
her estimate of the rash courage of the best families.

I again turned in the direction of Camp Jackson, my boy Willie with
me still. At the head of Olive Street, abreast of Lindell’s Grove,
I found Frank Blair’s regiment in the street, with ranks opened,
and the Camp Jackson prisoners inside. A crowd of people was
gathered around, calling to the prisoners by name, some hurrahing
for Jeff Davis, and others encouraging the troops. Men, women, and
children, were in the crowd. I passed along till I found myself
inside the grove, where I met Charles Ewing and John Hunter, and we
stood looking at the troops on the road, heading toward the city.
A band of music was playing at the head, and the column made one or
two ineffectual starts, but for some reason was halted. The
battalion of regulars was abreast of me, of which Major Rufus
Saxton was in command, and I gave him an evening paper, which I had
bought of the newsboy on my way out. He was reading from it some
piece of news, sitting on his horse, when the column again began to
move forward, and he resumed his place at the head of his command.
At that part of the road, or street, was an embankment about eight
feet high, and a drunken fellow tried to pass over it to the people

One of the regular sergeant file-closers ordered him back, but he
attempted to pass through the ranks, when the sergeant barred his
progress with his musket “a-port.” The drunken man seized his
musket, when the sergeant threw him off with violence, and he
rolled over and over down the bank. By the time this man had
picked himself up and got his hat, which had fallen off, and had
again mounted the embankment, the regulars had passed, and the head
of Osterhaus’s regiment of Home Guards had come up. The man had in
his hand a small pistol, which he fired off, and I heard that the
ball had struck the leg of one of Osterhaus’s staff; the regiment
stopped; there was a moment of confusion, when the soldiers of that
regiment began to fire over our heads in the grove. I heard the
balls cutting the leaves above our heads, and saw several men and
women running in all directions, some of whom were wounded. Of
course there was a general stampede. Charles Ewing threw Willie on
the ground and covered him with his body. Hunter ran behind the
hill, and I also threw myself on the ground. The fire ran back
from the head of the regiment toward its rear, and as I saw the men
reloading their pieces, I jerked Willie up, ran back with him into
a gully which covered us, lay there until I saw that the fire had
ceased, and that the column was again moving on, when I took up
Willie and started back for home round by way of Market Street. A
woman and child were killed outright; two or three men were also
killed, and several others were wounded. The great mass of the
people on that occasion were simply curious spectators, though men
were sprinkled through the crowd calling out, “Hurrah for Jeff
Davis!” and others were particularly abusive of the “damned Dutch”
Lyon posted a guard in charge of the vacant camp, and marched his
prisoners down to the arsenal; some were paroled, and others held,
till afterward they were regularly exchanged.

A very few days after this event, May 14th, I received a dispatch
from my brother Charles in Washington, telling me to come on at
once; that I had been appointed a colonel of the Thirteenth Regular
Infantry, and that I was wanted at Washington immediately.

Of course I could no longer defer action. I saw Mr. Lucas, Major
Turner, and other friends and parties connected with the road, who
agreed that I should go on. I left my family, because I was under
the impression that I would be allowed to enlist my own regiment,
which would take some time, and I expected to raise the regiment
and organize it at Jefferson Barracks. I repaired to Washington,
and there found that the Government was trying to rise to a level
with the occasion. Mr. Lincoln had, without the sanction of law,
authorized the raising of ten new regiments of regulars, each
infantry regiment to be composed of three battalions of eight
companies each; and had called for seventy-five thousand State
volunteers. Even this call seemed to me utterly inadequate; still
it was none of my business. I took the oath of office, and was
furnished with a list of officers, appointed to my regiment, which
was still, incomplete. I reported in person to General Scott, at
his office on Seventeenth Street, opposite the War Department, and
applied for authority to return West, and raise my regiment at
Jefferson Barracks, but the general said my lieutenant-colonel,
Burbank, was fully qualified to superintend the enlistment, and
that he wanted me there; and he at once dictated an order for me to
report to him in person for inspection duty.

Satisfied that I would not be permitted to return to St. Louis, I
instructed Mrs. Sherman to pack up, return to Lancaster, and trust
to the fate of war.

I also resigned my place as president of the Fifth Street Railroad,
to take effect at the end of May, so that in fact I received pay
from that road for only two months’ service, and then began my new
army career.




And now that, in these notes, I have fairly reached the period of
the civil war, which ravaged our country from 1861 to 1865–an
event involving a conflict of passion, of prejudice, and of arms,
that has developed results which, for better or worse, have left
their mark on the world’s history–I feel that I tread on delicate

I have again and again been invited to write a history of the war,
or to record for publication my personal recollections of it, with
large offers of money therefor; all of which I have heretofore
declined, because the truth is not always palatable, and should not
always be told. Many of the actors in the grand drama still live,
and they and their friends are quick to controversy, which should
be avoided. The great end of peace has been attained, with little
or no change in our form of government, and the duty of all good
men is to allow the passions of that period to subside, that we may
direct our physical and mental labor to repair the waste of war,
and to engage in the greater task of continuing our hitherto
wonderful national development.

What I now propose to do is merely to group some of my personal
recollections about the historic persons and events of the day,
prepared not with any view to their publication, but rather for
preservation till I am gone; and then to be allowed to follow into
oblivion the cords of similar papers, or to be used by some
historian who may need them by way of illustration.

I have heretofore recorded how I again came into the military
service of the United States as a colonel of the Thirteenth Regular
Infantry, a regiment that had no existence at the time, and that,
instead of being allowed to enlist the men and instruct them, as
expected, I was assigned in Washington City, by an order of
Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott, to inspection duty near him on
the 20th of June, 1861.

At that time Lieutenant-General Scott commanded the army in chief,
with Colonel E. D. Townsend as his adjutant-general,

Major G. W. Cullum, United States Engineers, and Major Schuyler
Hamilton, as aides.-de-camp. The general had an office up stairs
on Seventeenth Street, opposite the War Department, and resided in
a house close by, on Pennsylvania Avenue. All fears for the
immediate safety of the capital had ceased, and quite a large force
of regulars and volunteers had been collected in and about
Washington. Brigadier-General J. K. Mansfield commanded in the
city, and Brigadier-General Irvin McDowell on the other side of the
Potomac, with his headquarters at Arlington House. His troops
extended in a semicircle from Alexandria to above Georgetown.
Several forts and redoubts were either built or in progress, and
the people were already clamorous for a general forward movement.
Another considerable army had also been collected in Pennsylvania
under General Patterson, and, at the time I speak of, had moved
forward to Hagerstown and Williamsport, on the Potomac River. My
brother, John Sherman, was a volunteer aide-de-camp to General
Patterson, and, toward the end of June, I went up to Hagerstown to
see him. I found that army in the very act of moving, and we rode
down to Williamsport in a buggy, and were present when the leading
division crossed the Potomac River by fording it waist-deep. My
friend and classmate, George H. Thomas, was there, in command of a
brigade in the leading division. I talked with him a good deal,
also with General Cadwalader, and with the staff-officers of
General Patterson, viz., Fitz-John Porter, Belger, Beckwith, and
others, all of whom seemed encouraged to think that the war was to
be short and decisive, and that, as soon as it was demonstrated
that the General Government meant in earnest to defend its rights
and property, some general compromise would result.

Patterson’s army crossed the Potomac River on the 1st or 2d of
July, and, as John Sherman was to take his seat as a Senator in the
called session of Congress, to meet July 4th, he resigned his place
as aide-de-camp, presented me his two horses and equipment, and we
returned to Washington together.

The Congress assembled punctually on the 4th of July, and the
message of Mr. Lincoln was strong and good: it recognized the fact
that civil war was upon us, that compromise of any kind was at an
end; and he asked for four hundred thousand men, and four hundred
million dollars, wherewith to vindicate the national authority, and
to regain possession of the captured forts and other property of
the United States.

It was also immediately demonstrated that the tone and temper of
Congress had changed since the Southern Senators and members had
withdrawn, and that we, the military, could now go to work with
some definite plans and ideas.

The appearance of the troops about Washington was good, but it was
manifest they were far from being soldiers. Their uniforms were as
various as the States and cities from which they came; their arms
were also of every pattern and calibre; and they were so loaded
down with overcoats, haversacks, knapsacks, tents, and baggage,
that it took from twenty-five to fifty wagons to move the camp of a
regiment from one place to another, and some of the camps had
bakeries and cooking establishments that would have done credit to

While I was on duty with General Scott, viz., from June 20th to
about June 30th, the general frequently communicated to those about
him his opinions and proposed plans. He seemed vexed with the
clamors of the press for immediate action, and the continued
interference in details by the President, Secretary of War, and
Congress. He spoke of organizing a grand army of invasion, of
which the regulars were to constitute the “iron column,” and seemed
to intimate that he himself would take the field in person, though
he was at the time very old, very heavy, and very unwieldy. His
age must have been about seventy-five years.

At that date, July 4, 1861, the rebels had two armies in front of
Washington; the one at Manassas Junction, commanded by General
Beauregard, with his advance guard at Fairfax Court House, and
indeed almost in sight of Washington. The other, commanded by
General Joe Johnston, was at Winchester, with its advance at
Martinsburg and Harper’s Ferry; but the advance had fallen back
before Patterson, who then occupied Martinsburg and the line of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The temper of Congress and the people would not permit the slow and
methodical preparation desired by General Scott; and the cry of “On
to Richmond!” which was shared by the volunteers, most of whom had
only engaged for ninety days, forced General Scott to hasten his
preparations, and to order a general advance about the middle of
July. McDowell was to move from the defenses of Washington, and
Patterson from Martinsburg. In the organization of McDowell’s army
into divisions and brigades, Colonel David Hunter was assigned to
command the Second Division, and I was ordered to take command of
his former brigade, which was composed of five regiments in
position in and about Fort Corcoran, and on the ground opposite
Georgetown. I assumed command on the 30th of June, and proceeded
at once to prepare it for the general advance. My command
constituted the Third Brigade of the First Division, which division
was commanded by Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler, a graduate of West
Point, but who had seen little or no actual service. I applied to
General McDowell for home staff-officers, and he gave me, as
adjutant-general, Lieutenant Piper, of the Third Artillery, and, as
aide-de-camp, Lieutenant McQuesten, a fine young cavalry-officer,
fresh from West Point.

I selected for the field the Thirteenth New York, Colonel Quinby;
the Sixty-ninth New York, Colonel Corcoran; the Seventy-ninth New
York, Colonel Cameron; and the Second Wisconsin, Lieutenant–
Colonel Peck. These were all good, strong, volunteer regiments,
pretty well commanded; and I had reason to believe that I had one
of the best brigades in the whole army. Captain Ayres’s battery of
the Third Regular Artillery was also attached to my brigade. The
other regiment, the Twenty-ninth New York, Colonel Bennett, was
destined to be left behind in charge of the forts and camps during
our absence, which was expected to be short. Soon after I had
assumed the command, a difficulty arose in the Sixty-ninth, an
Irish regiment. This regiment had volunteered in New York, early
in April, for ninety days; but, by reason of the difficulty of
passing through Baltimore, they had come via Annapolis, had been
held for duty on the railroad as a guard for nearly a month before
they actually reached Washington, and were then mustered in about a
month after enrollment. Some of the men claimed that they were
entitled to their discharge in ninety days from the time of
enrollment, whereas the muster-roll read ninety days from the date
of muster-in. One day, Colonel Corcoran explained this matter to
me. I advised him to reduce the facts to writing, and that I would
submit it to the War Department for an authoritative decision. He
did so, and the War Department decided that the muster-roll was the
only contract of service, that it would be construed literally; and
that the regiment would be held till the expiration of three months
from the date of muster-in, viz., to about August 1, 1861. General
Scott at the same time wrote one of his characteristic letters to
Corcoran, telling him that we were about to engage in battle, and
he knew his Irish friends would not leave him in such a crisis.
Corcoran and the officers generally wanted to go to the expected
battle, but a good many of the men were not so anxious. In the
Second Wisconsin, also, was developed a personal difficulty. The
actual colonel was S. P. Coon, a good-hearted gentleman, who knew
no more of the military art than a child; whereas his lieutenant-
colonel, Peck, had been to West Point, and knew the drill.
Preferring that the latter should remain in command of the
regiment, I put Colonel Coon on my personal staff, which reconciled
the difficulty.

In due season, about July 15th, our division moved forward
leaving our camps standing; Keyes’s brigade in the lead, then
Schenck’s, then mine, and Richardson’s last. We marched via
Vienna, Germantown, and Centreville, where all the army, composed
of five divisions, seemed to converge. The march demonstrated
little save the general laxity of discipline; for with all my
personal efforts I could not prevent the men from straggling for
water, blackberries, or any thing on the way they fancied.

At Centreville, on the 18th, Richardson’s brigade was sent by
General Tyler to reconnoitre Blackburn’s Ford across Bull Run, and
he found it strongly guarded. From our camp, at Centreville, we
heard the cannonading, and then a sharp musketry-fire. I received
orders from General Tyler to send forward Ayres’s battery, and very
soon after another order came for me to advance with my whole
brigade. We marched the three miles at the double-quick, arrived
in time to relieve Richardson’s brigade, which was just drawing
back from the ford, worsted, and stood for half an hour or so under
a fire of artillery, which killed four or five of my men. General
Tyler was there in person, giving directions, and soon after he
ordered us all back to our camp in Centreville. This
reconnoissance had developed a strong force, and had been made
without the orders of General McDowell; however, it satisfied us
that the enemy was in force on the other side of Bull Run, and had
no intention to leave without a serious battle. We lay in camp at
Centreville all of the 19th and 20th, and during that night began
the movement which resulted in the battle of Bull Run, on July
21st. Of this so much has been written that more would be
superfluous; and the reports of the opposing commanders, McDowell
and Johnston, are fair and correct. It is now generally admitted
that it was one of the best-planned battles of the war, but one of
the worst-fought. Our men had been told so often at home that all
they had to do was to make a bold appearance, and the rebels would
run; and nearly all of us for the first time then heard the sound
of cannon and muskets in anger, and saw the bloody scenes common to
all battles, with which we were soon to be familiar. We had good
organization, good men, but no cohesion, no real discipline, no
respect for authority, no real knowledge of war. Both armies were
fairly defeated, and, whichever had stood fast, the other would
have run. Though the North was overwhelmed with mortification and
shame, the South really had not much to boast of, for in the three
or four hours of fighting their organization was so broken up that
they did not and could not follow our army, when it was known to be
in a state of disgraceful and causeless flight. It is easy to
criticise a battle after it is over, but all now admit that none
others, equally raw in war, could have done better than we did at
Bull Run; and the lesson of that battle should not be lost on a
people like ours.

I insert my official report, as a condensed statement of my share
in the battle:

FORT CORCORAN, July 25, 1861

To Captain A. BAIRD, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division
(General Tyler’s).

Sir: I have the honor to submit this my report of the operations of
my brigade during the action of the 21st instant. The brigade is
composed of the Thirteenth New York Volunteers, Colonel Quinby’s
Sixty-ninth New York, Colonel Corcoran; Seventy-ninth New York,
Colonel Cameron; Second Wisconsin, Lieutenant-Colonel Peck; and
Company E, Third Artillery, under command of Captain R. B. Ayres,
Fifth Artillery.

We left our camp near Centreville, pursuant to orders, at half-past
2 A. M., taking place in your column, next to the brigade of
General Schenck, and proceeded as far as the halt, before the
enemy’s position, near the stone bridge across Bull Run. Here the
brigade was deployed in line along the skirt of timber to the right
of the Warrenton road, and remained quietly in position till after
10 a.m. The enemy remained very quiet, but about that time we saw
a rebel regiment leave its cover in our front, and proceed in
double-quick time on the road toward Sudley Springs, by which we
knew the columns of Colonels Hunter and Heintzelman were
approaching. About the same time we observed in motion a large
mass of the enemy, below and on the other side of the stone bridge.
I directed Captain Ayres to take position with his battery near our
right, and to open fire on this mass; but you had previously
detached the two rifle-guns belonging to this battery, and, finding
that the smooth-bore guns did not reach the enemy’s position, we
ceased firing, and I sent a request that you would send to me the
thirty-pounder rifle-gun attached to Captain Carlisle’s battery.
At the same time I shifted the New York Sixty-ninth to the extreme
right of the brigade. Thus we remained till we heard the musketry-
fire across Ball Run, showing that the head of Colonel Hunter’s
column was engaged. This firing was brisk, and showed that Hunter
was driving before him the enemy, till about noon, when it became
certain the enemy had come to a stand, and that our forces on the
other side of Ball Run were all engaged, artillery and infantry.

Here you sent me the order to cross over with the whole brigade, to
the assistance of Colonel Hunter. Early in the day, when
reconnoitring the ground, I had seen a horseman descend from a
bluff in our front, cross the stream, and show himself in the open
field on this aide; and, inferring that we could cross over at the
same point, I sent forward a company as skirmishers, and followed
with the whole brigade, the New York Sixty-ninth leading.

We found no difficulty in crossing over, and met with no opposition
in ascending the steep bluff opposite with our infantry, but it was
impassable to the artillery, and I sent word back to Captain Ayres
to follow if possible, otherwise to use his discretion. Captain
Ayres did not cross Bull Run, but remained on that side, with the
rest of your division. His report herewith describes his
operations during the remainder of the day. Advancing slowly and
cautiously with the head of the column, to give time for the
regiments in succession to close up their ranks, we first
encountered a party of the enemy retreating along a cluster of
pines; Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, of the Sixty-ninth, without
orders, rode out alone, and endeavored to intercept their retreat.
One of the enemy, in full view, at short range, shot Haggerty, and
he fell dead from his horse. The Sixty-ninth opened fire on this
party, which was returned; but, determined to effect our junction
with Hunter’s division, I ordered this fire to cease, and we
proceeded with caution toward the field where we then plainly saw
our forces engaged. Displaying our colors conspicuously at the
head of our column, we succeeded in attracting the attention of our
friends, and soon formed the brigade in rear of Colonel Porter’s.
Here I learned that Colonel Hunter was disabled by a severe wound,
and that General McDowell was on the field. I sought him out, and
received his orders to join in pursuit of the enemy, who was
falling back to the left of the road by which the army had
approached from Sndley Springs. Placing Colonel Quinby’s regiment
of rifles in front, in column, by division, I directed the other
regiments to follow in line of battle, in the order of the
Wisconsin Second, New York Seventy-ninth, and New York Sixty-ninth.
Quinby’s regiment advanced steadily down the hill and up the ridge,
from which he opened fire upon the enemy, who had made another
stand on ground very favorable to him, and the regiment continued
advancing as the enemy gave way, till the head of the column
reached the point near which Rickett’s battery was so severely cut
up. The other regiments descended the hill in line of battle,
under a severe cannonade; and, the ground affording comparative
shelter from the enemy’s artillery, they changed direction, by the
right flank, and followed the road before mentioned. At the point
where this road crosses the ridge to our left front, the ground was
swept by a most severe fire of artillery, rifles, and musketry, and
we saw, in succession, several regiments driven from it; among them
the Zouaves and battalion of marines. Before reaching the crest of
this hill, the roadway was worn deep enough to afford shelter, and
I kept the several regiments in it as long as possible; but when
the Wisconsin Second was abreast of the enemy, by order of Major
Wadsworth, of General McDowell’s staff, I ordered it to leave the
roadway, by the left flank, and to attack the enemy.

This regiment ascended to the brow of the hill steadily, received
the severe fire of the enemy, returned it with spirit, and
advanced, delivering its fire. This regiment is uniformed in gray
cloth, almost identical with that of the great bulk of the
secession army; and, when the regiment fell into confusion and
retreated toward the road, there was a universal cry that they were
being fired on by our own men. The regiment rallied again, passed
the brow of the hill a second time, but was again repulsed in
disorder. By this time the New York Seventy-ninth had closed up,
and in like manner it was ordered to cross the brow of, the hill,
and drive the enemy from cover. It was impossible to get a good
view of this ground. In it there was one battery of artillery,
which poured an incessant fire upon our advancing column, and the
ground was very irregular with small clusters of pines, affording
shelter, of which the enemy took good advantage. The fire of
rifles and musketry was very severe. The Seventy-ninth, headed by
its colonel, Cameron, charged across the hill, and for a short time
the contest was severe; they rallied several times under fire, but
finally broke, and gained the cover of the hill.

This left the field open to the New York Sixty-ninth, Colonel
Corcoran, who, in his turn, led his regiment over the crest; and
had in full, open view the ground so severely contested; the fire
was very severe, and the roar of cannon, musketry, and rifles,
incessant; it was manifest the enemy was here in great force, far
superior to us at that point. The Sixty-ninth held the ground for
some time, but finally fell back in disorder.

All this time Quinby’s regiment occupied another ridge, to our
left, overlooking the same field of action, and similarly engaged.
Here, about half-past 3 p.m., began the scene of confusion and
disorder that characterized the remainder of the day. Up to that
time, all had kept their places, and seemed perfectly cool, and
used to the shell and shot that fell, comparatively harmless, all
around us; but the short exposure to an intense fire of small-arms,
at close range, had killed many, wounded more, and had produced
disorder in all of the battalions that had attempted to encounter
it. Men fell away from their ranks, talking, and in great
confusion. Colonel Cameron had been mortally wounded, was carried
to an ambulance, and reported dying. Many other officers were
reported dead or missing, and many of the wounded were making their
way, with more or less assistance, to the buildings used as
hospitals, on the ridge to the west. We succeeded in partially
reforming the regiments, but it was manifest that they would not
stand, and I directed Colonel Corcoran to move along the ridge to
the rear, near the position where we had first formed the brigade.
General McDowell was there in person, and need all possible efforts
to reassure the men. By the active exertions of Colonel Corcoran,
we formed an irregular square against the cavalry which were then
seen to issue from the position from which we had been driven, and
we began our retreat toward the same ford of Bull Run by which we
had approached the field of battle. There was no positive order to
retreat, although for an hour it had been going on by the operation
of the men themselves. The ranks were thin and irregular, and we
found a stream of people strung from the hospital across Bull Run,
and far toward Centreville. After putting in motion the irregular
square in person, I pushed forward to find Captain Ayres’s battery
at the crossing of Bull Run. I sought it at its last position,
before the brigade had crossed over, but it was not there; then
passing through the woods, where, in the morning, we had first
formed line, we approached the blacksmith’s shop, but there found a
detachment of the secession cavalry and thence made a circuit,
avoiding Cub Run Bridge, into Centreville, where I found General
McDowell, and from him understood that it was his purpose to rally
the forces, and make a stand at Centreville.

But, about nine o’clock at night, I received from General Tyler, in
person, the order to continue the retreat to the Potomac. This
retreat was by night, and disorderly in the extreme. The men of
different regiments mingled together, and some reached the river at
Arlington, some at Long Bridge, and the greater part returned to
their former camp, at or near Fort Corcoran. I reached this point
at noon the next day, and found a miscellaneous crowd crossing over
the aqueduct and ferries.. Conceiving this to be demoralizing, I
at once commanded the guard to be increased, and all persons
attempting to pass over to be stopped. This soon produced its
effect; men sought their proper companies and regiments.
Comparative order was restored, and all were posted to the best

I herewith inclose the official report of Captain Belly, commanding
officer of the New York Sixty-ninth; also, fall lists of the
killed, wounded, and missing.

Our loss was heavy, and occurred chiefly at the point near where
Rickett’s battery was destroyed. Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty was
killed about noon, before we had effected a junction with Colonel
Hunter’s division. Colonel Cameron was mortally wounded leading
his regiment in the charge, and Colonel Corcoran has been missing
since the cavalry-charge near the building used as a hospital.

For names, rank, etc., of the above, I refer to the lists herewith.

Lieutenants Piper and McQuesten, of my personal staff, were under
fire all day, and carried orders to and fro with as much coolness
as on parade. Lieutenant Bagley, of the New York Sixty-ninth, a
volunteer aide, asked leave to serve with his company, during the
action, and is among those reported missing. I have intelligence
that he is a prisoner, and slightly wounded.

Colonel Coon, of Wisconsin, a volunteer aide, also rendered good
service during the day.

W. T. SHERMAN, Colonel commanding Brigade.

This report, which I had not read probably since its date till now,
recalls to me vividly the whole scene of the affair at Blackburn’s
Ford, when for the first time in my life I saw cannonballs strike
men and crash through the trees and saplings above and around us,
and realized the always sickening confusion as one approaches a
fight from the rear; then the night-march from Centreville, on the
Warrenton road, standing for hours wondering what was meant; the
deployment along the edge of the field that sloped down to
Bull-Run, and waiting for Hunter’s approach on the other aide from
the direction of Sudley Springs, away off to our right; the
terrible scare of a poor negro who was caught between our lines;
the crossing of Bull Run, and the fear lest we should be fired on
by our own men; the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, which
occurred in plain sight; and the first scenes of a field strewed
with dead men and horses. Yet, at that period of the battle, we
were the victors and felt jubilant. At that moment, also, my
brigade passed Hunter’s division; but Heintzelman’a was still ahead
of us, and we followed its lead along the road toward Manassas
Junction, crossing a small stream and ascending a long hill, at the
summit of which the battle was going on. Here my regiments came
into action well, but successively, and were driven back, each in
its turn. For two hours we continued to dash at the woods on our
left front, which were full of rebels; but I was convinced their
organization was broken, and that they had simply halted there and
taken advantage of these woods as a cover, to reach which we had to
pass over the intervening fields about the Henry House, which were
clear, open, and gave them a decided advantage. After I had put in
each of my regiments, and had them driven back to the cover of the
road, I had no idea that we were beaten, but reformed the regiments
in line in their proper order, and only wanted a little rest, when
I found that my brigade was almost alone, except Syke’s regulars,
who had formed square against cavalry and were coming back. I then
realized that the whole army was “in retreat,” and that my own men
were individually making back for the stone bridge. Corcoran and I
formed the brigade into an irregular square, but it fell to pieces;
and, along with a crowd, disorganized but not much scared, the
brigade got back to Centreville to our former camps. Corcoran was
captured, and held a prisoner for some time; but I got safe to
Centreville. I saw General McDowell in Centreville, and understood
that several of his divisions had not been engaged at all, that he
would reorganize them at Centreville, and there await the enemy. I
got my four regiments in parallel lines in a field, the same in
which we had camped before the battle, and had lain down to sleep
under a tree, when I heard some one asking for me. I called out
where I was, when General Tyler in person gave me orders to march
back to our camps at Fort Corcoran. I aroused my aides, gave them
orders to call up the sleeping men, have each regiment to leave the
field by a flank and to take the same road back by which we had
come. It was near midnight, and the road was full of troops,
wagons, and batteries. We tried to keep our regiments separate,
but all became inextricably mixed. Toward morning we reached
Vienna, where I slept some hours, and the next day, about noon, we
reached Fort Corcoran.

A slow, mizzling rain had set in, and probably a more gloomy day
never presented itself. All organization seemed to be at an end;
but I and my staff labored hard to collect our men into their
proper companies and into their former camps, and, on the 23d of
July, I moved the Second Wisconsin and Seventy-ninth New York
closer in to Fort Corcoran, and got things in better order than I
had expected. Of course, we took it for granted that the rebels
would be on our heels, and we accordingly prepared to defend our
posts. By the 25th I had collected all the materials, made my
report, and had my brigade about as well governed as any in that
army; although most of the ninety-day men, especially the
Sixty-ninth, had become extremely tired of the war, and wanted to
go home. Some of them were so mutinous, at one time, that I had
the battery to unlimber, threatening, if they dared to leave camp
without orders, I would open fire on them. Drills and the daily
exercises were resumed, and I ordered that at the three principal
roll-calls the men should form ranks with belts and muskets, and
that they should keep their ranks until I in person had received
the reports and had dismissed them. The Sixty-ninth still occupied
Fort Corcoran, and one morning, after reveille, when I had just
received the report, had dismissed the regiment, and was leaving, I
found myself in a crowd of men crossing the drawbridge on their way
to a barn close by, where they had their sinks; among them was an
officer, who said: “Colonel, I am going to New York today. What
can I do for you?” I answered: “How can you go to New York? I do
not remember to have signed a leave for you.” He said, “No; he did
not want a leave. He had engaged to serve three months, and had
already served more than that time. If the Government did not
intend to pay him, he could afford to lose the money; that he was a
lawyer, and had neglected his business long enough, and was then
going home.” I noticed that a good many of the soldiers had paused
about us to listen, and knew that, if this officer could defy me,
they also would. So I turned on him sharp, and said: “Captain,
this question of your term of service has been submitted to the
rightful authority, and the decision has been published in orders.
You are a soldier, and must submit to orders till you are properly
discharged. If you attempt to leave without orders, it will be
mutiny, and I will shoot you like a dog! Go back into the fort
now, instantly, and don’t dare to leave without my consent.” I had
on an overcoat, and may have had my hand about the breast, for he
looked at me hard, paused a moment, and then turned back into the
fort. The men scattered, and I returned to the house where I was
quartered, close by.

That same day, which must have been about July 26th, I was near the
river-bank, looking at a block-house which had been built for the
defense of the aqueduct, when I saw a carriage coming by the road
that crossed the Potomac River at Georgetown by a ferry. I thought
I recognized in the carriage the person of President Lincoln. I
hurried across a bend, so as to stand by the road-side as the
carriage passed. I was in uniform, with a sword on, and was
recognized by Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward, who rode side by side in
an open hack. I inquired if they were going to my camps, and Mr.
Lincoln said: “Yes; we heard that you had got over the big scare,
and we thought we would come over and see the ‘boys.'” The roads
had been much changed and were rough. I asked if I might give
directions to his coachman, he promptly invited me to jump in and
to tell the coachman which way to drive. Intending to begin on the
right and follow round to the left, I turned the driver into a
side-road which led up a very steep hill, and, seeing a soldier,
called to him and sent him up hurriedly to announce to the colonel
(Bennett, I think) that the President was coming: As we slowly
ascended the hill, I discovered that Mr. Lincoln was full of
feeling, and wanted to encourage our men. I asked if he intended
to speak to them, and he said he would like to. I asked him then
to please discourage all cheering, noise, or any sort of confusion;
that we had had enough of it before Bull Run to ruin any set of
men, and that what we needed were cool, thoughtful, hard-fighting
soldiers–no more hurrahing, no more humbug. He took my remarks in
the most perfect good-nature. Before we had reached the first
camp, I heard the drum beating the “assembly,” saw the men running
for their tents, and in a few minutes the regiment was in line,
arms presented, and then brought to an order and “parade rest!”

Mr. Lincoln stood up in the carriage, and made one of the neatest,
best, and most feeling addresses I ever listened to, referring to
our late disaster at Bull Run, the high duties that still devolved
on us, and the brighter days yet to come. At one or two points the
soldiers began to cheer, but he promptly checked them, saying:
“Don’t cheer, boys. I confess I rather like it myself, but Colonel
Sherman here says it is not military; and I guess we had better
defer to his opinion.” In winding up, he explained that, as
President, he was commander-in-chief; that he was resolved that the
soldiers should have every thing that the law allowed; and he
called on one and all to appeal to him personally in case they were
wronged. The effect of this speech was excellent.

We passed along in the same manner to all the camps of my brigade;
and Mr. Lincoln complimented me highly for the order, cleanliness,
and discipline, that he observed. Indeed, he and Mr. Seward both
assured me that it was the first bright moment they had experienced
since the battle.

At last we reached Fort Corcoran. The carriage could not enter, so
I ordered the regiment, without arms, to come outside, and gather
about Mr. Lincoln, who would speak to them. He made to them the
same feeling address, with more personal allusions, because of
their special gallantry in the battle under Corcoran, who was still
a prisoner in the hands of the enemy; and he concluded with the
same general offer of redress in case of grievances. In the crowd I
saw the officer with whom I had had the passage at reveille that
morning. His face was pale, and lips compressed. I foresaw a
scene, but sat on the front seat of the carriage as quiet as a
lamb. This officer forced his way through the crowd to the
carriage, and said: “Mr. President, I have a cause of grievance.
This morning I went to speak to Colonel Sherman, and he threatened
to shoot me.” Mr. Lincoln, who was still standing, said,
“Threatened to shoot you?” “Yes, sir, he threatened to shoot me.”
Mr. Lincoln looked at him, then at me, and stooping his tall, spare
form toward the officer, said to him in a loud stage-whisper,
easily heard for some yards around: “Well, if I were you, and he
threatened to shoot, I would not trust him, for I believe he would
do it.” The officer turned about and disappeared, and the men
laughed at him. Soon the carriage drove on, and, as we descended
the hill, I explained the facts to the President, who answered, “Of
course I didn’t know any thing about it, but I thought you knew
your own business best.” I thanked him for his confidence, and
assured him that what he had done would go far to enable me to
maintain good discipline, and it did.

By this time the day was well spent. I asked to take my leave, and
the President and Mr. Seward drove back to Washington. This spirit
of mutiny was common to the whole army, and was not subdued till
several regiments or parts of regiments had been ordered to Fort
Jefferson, Florida, as punishment.

General McDowell had resumed his headquarters at the Arlington
House, and was busily engaged in restoring order to his army,
sending off the ninety-days men, and replacing them by regiments
which had come under the three-years call. We were all trembling
lest we should be held personally accountable for the disastrous
result of the battle. General McClellan had been summoned from the
West to Washington, and changes in the subordinate commands were
announced almost daily. I remember, as a group of officers were
talking in the large room of the Arlington House, used as the
adjutant-general’s office, one evening, some young officer came in
with a list of the new brigadiers just announced at the War
Department, which-embraced the names of Heintzehvan, Keyes,
Franklin, Andrew Porter, W. T. Sherman, and others, who had been
colonels in the battle, and all of whom had shared the common
stampede. Of course, we discredited the truth of the list; and
Heintzehvan broke out in his nasal voice, “Boys, it’s all a lie!
every mother’s son of you will be cashiered.” We all felt he was
right, but, nevertheless, it was true; and we were all announced in
general orders as brigadier-generals of volunteers.

General McClellan arrived, and, on assuming command, confirmed
McDowell’s organization. Instead of coming over the river, as we
expected, he took a house in Washington, and only came over from
time to time to have a review or inspection.

I had received several new regiments, and had begun two new forts
on the hill or plateau, above and farther out than Fort Corcoran;
and I organized a system of drills, embracing the evolutions of the
line, all of which was new to me, and I had to learn the tactics
from books; but I was convinced that we had a long, hard war before
us, and made up my mind to begin at the very beginning to prepare
for it.

August was passing, and troops were pouring in from all quarters;
General McClellan told me he intended to organize an army of a
hundred thousand men, with one hundred field-batteries, and I still
hoped he would come on our side of the Potomac, pitch his tent, and
prepare for real hard work, but his headquarters still remained in
a house in Washington City. I then thought, and still think, that
was a fatal mistake. His choice as general-in-chief at the time
was fully justified by his high reputation in the army and country,
and, if he then had any political views or ambition, I surely did
not suspect it.

About the middle of August I got a note from Brigadier-General
Robert Anderson, asking me to come and see him at his room at
Willard’s Hotel. I rode over and found him in conversation with
several gentlemen, and he explained to me that events in Kentucky
were approaching a crisis; that the Legislature was in session, and
ready, as soon as properly backed by the General Government, to
take open sides for the Union cause; that he was offered the
command of the Department of the Cumberland, to embrace Kentucky,
Tennessee, etc., and that he wanted help, and that the President
had offered to allow him to select out of the new brigadiers four
of his own choice. I had been a lieutenant in Captain Anderson’s
company, at Fort Moultrie, from 1843 to 1846, and he explained that
he wanted me as his right hand. He also indicated George H.
Thomas, D. C. Buell, and Burnside, as the other three. Of course,
I always wanted to go West, and was perfectly willing to go with
Anderson, especially in a subordinate capacity: We agreed to call
on the President on a subsequent day, to talk with him about it,
and we did. It hardly seems probable that Mr. Lincoln should have
come to Willard’s Hotel to meet us, but my impression is that he
did, and that General Anderson had some difficulty in prevailing on
him to appoint George H. Thomas, a native of Virginia, to be
brigadier-general, because so many Southern officers, had already
played false; but I was still more emphatic in my indorsement of
him by reason of my talk with him at the time he crossed the
Potomac with Patterson’s army, when Mr. Lincoln promised to appoint
him and to assign him to duty with General Anderson. In this
interview with Mr. Lincoln, I also explained to him my extreme
desire to serve in a subordinate capacity, and in no event to be
left in a superior command. He promised me this with promptness,
making the jocular remark that his chief trouble was to find places
for the too many generals who wanted to be at the head of affairs,
to command armies, etc.

The official order is dated:

[Special Order No. 114.] HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY
Washington, August 24, 1881.

The following assignment is made of the general officers of the
volunteer service, whose appointment was announced in General
Orders No. 82, from the War Department

To the Department of the Cumberland, Brigadier-General Robert
Anderson commanding:

Brigadier-General W. T. Sherman,
Brigadier-General George H. Thomas.

By command of Lieutenant-General Scott:
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant adjutant-General.

After some days, I was relieved in command of my brigade and post
by Brigadier General Fitz-John Porter, and at once took my
departure for Cincinnati, Ohio, via Cresson, Pennsylvania, where
General Anderson was with his family; and he, Thomas, and I, met by
appointment at the house of his brother, Larz Anderson, Esq., in
Cincinnati. We were there on the 1st and 2d of September, when
several prominent gentlemen of Kentucky met us, to discuss the
situation, among whom were Jackson, Harlan, Speed, and others. At
that time, William Nelson, an officer of the navy, had been
commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers, and had his camp at
Dick Robinson, a few miles beyond the Kentucky River, south of
Nicholasville; and Brigadier-General L. H. Rousseau had another
camp at Jeffersonville, opposite Louisville. The State Legislature
was in session at Frankfort, and was ready to take definite action
as soon as General Anderson was prepared, for the State was
threatened with invasion from Tennessee, by two forces: one from
the direction of Nashville, commanded by Generals Albert Sidney
Johnston and Buckner; and the other from the direction of
Cumberland Gap, commanded by Generals Crittenden and Zollicoffer.
General Anderson saw that he had not force enough to resist these
two columns, and concluded to send me in person for help to
Indianapolis and Springfield, to confer with the Governors of
Indiana, and Illinois, and to General Fremont, who commanded in St.

McClellan and Fremont were the two men toward whom the country
looked as the great Union leaders, and toward them were streaming
the newly-raised regiments of infantry and cavalry, and batteries
of artillery; nobody seeming to think of the intervening link
covered by Kentucky. While I was to make this tour, Generals
Anderson and Thomas were to go to Louisville and initiate the
department. None of us had a staff, or any of the machinery for
organizing an army, and, indeed, we had no army to organize.
Anderson was empowered to raise regiments in Kentucky, and to
commission a few brigadier-generals.

At Indianapolis I found Governor Morton and all the State officials
busy in equipping and providing for the new regiments, and my
object was to divert some of them toward Kentucky; but they were
called for as fast as they were mustered in, either for the army of
McClellan or Fremont. At Springfield also I found the same general
activity and zeal, Governor Yates busy in providing for his men;
but these men also had been promised to Fremont. I then went on to
St. Louis, where all was seeming activity, bustle, and preparation.
Meeting R. M. Renick at the Planters’ House (where I stopped), I
inquired where I could find General Fremont. Renick said, “What do
you want with General Fremont?” I said I had come to see him on
business; and he added, “You don’t suppose that he will see such as
you?” and went on to retail all the scandal of the day: that Fremont
was a great potentate, surrounded by sentries and guards; that he
had a more showy court than any real king; that he kept senators,
governors, and the first citizens, dancing attendance for days and
weeks before granting an audience, etc.; that if I expected to see
him on business, I would have to make my application in writing,
and submit to a close scrutiny by his chief of staff and by his
civil surroundings. Of course I laughed at all this, and renewed
my simple inquiry as to where was his office, and was informed that
he resided and had his office at Major Brant’s new house on
Chouteau Avenue. It was then late in the afternoon, and I
concluded to wait till the next morning; but that night I received
a dispatch from General Anderson in Louisville to hurry back, as
events were pressing, and he needed me.

Accordingly, I rose early next morning before daybreak, got
breakfast with the early railroad-passengers, and about sunrise was
at the gate of General Fremont’s headquarters. A sentinel with
drawn sabre paraded up and down in front of the house. I had on my
undress uniform indicating my rank, and inquired of the sentinel,
“Is General Fremont up?” He answered, “I don’t know.” Seeing that
he was a soldier by his bearing, I spoke in a sharp, emphatic
voice, “Then find out.” He called for the corporal of the guard,
and soon a fine-looking German sergeant came, to whom I addressed
the same inquiry. He in turn did not know, and I bade him find
out, as I had immediate and important business with the general.
The sergeant entered the house by the front-basement door, and
after ten or fifteen minutes the main front-door above was slowly
opened from the inside, and who should appear but my old San
Francisco acquaintance Isaiah C. Woods, whom I had not seen or
heard of since his flight to Australia, at the time of the failure
of Adams & Co. in 1851! He ushered me in hastily, closed the door,
and conducted me into the office on the right of the hall. We were
glad to meet, after so long and eventful an interval, and mutually
inquired after our respective families and special acquaintances.
I found that he was a commissioned officer, a major on duty with
Fremont, and Major Eaton, now of the paymaster’s Department, was in
the same office with him. I explained to them that I had come from
General Anderson, and wanted to confer with General Fremont in
person. Woods left me, but soon returned, said the general would
see me in a very few minutes, and within ten minutes I was shown
across the hall into the large parlor, where General Fremont
received me very politely. We had met before, as early as 1847, in
California, and I had also seen him several times when he was
senator. I then in a rapid manner ran over all the points of
interest in General Anderson’s new sphere of action, hoped he would
spare us from the new levies what troops he could, and generally
act in concert with us. He told me that his first business would
be to drive the rebel General Price and his army out of Missouri,
when he would turn his attention down the Mississippi. He asked my
opinion about the various kinds of field-artillery which
manufacturers were thrusting on him, especially the then newly-
invented James gun, and afterward our conversation took a wide turn
about the character of the principal citizens of St. Louis, with
whom I was well acquainted.

Telling General Fremont that I had been summoned to Louisville and
that I should leave in the first train, viz., at 3 p.m., I took my
leave of him. Returning to Wood’s office, I found there two more
Californians, viz., Messrs. Palmer and Haskell, so I felt that,
while Fremont might be suspicious of others, he allowed free
ingress to his old California acquaintances.

Returning to the Planters’ House, I heard of Beard, another
Californian, a Mormon, who had the contract for the line of
redoubts which Fremont had ordered to be constructed around the
city, before he would take his departure for the interior of the
State; and while I stood near the office-counter, I saw old Baron
Steinberger, a prince among our early California adventurers, come
in and look over the register. I avoided him on purpose, but his
presence in St. Louis recalled the maxim, “Where the vultures are,
there is a carcass close by;” and I suspected that the profitable
contracts of the quartermaster, McKinstry, had drawn to St. Louis
some of the most enterprising men of California. I suspect they
can account for the fact that, in a very short time, Fremont fell
from his high estate in Missouri, by reason of frauds, or supposed
frauds, in the administration of the affairs of his command.

I left St. Louis that afternoon and reached Louisville the next
morning. I found General Anderson quartered at the Louisville
Hotel, and he had taken a dwelling homes on _____ Street as an
office. Captain O. D. Greens was his adjutant-general, Lieutenant
Throckmorton his aide, and Captain Prime, of the Engineer Corps,
was on duty with him. General George H. Thomas had been dispatched
to camp Dick Robinson, to relieve Nelson.

The city was full of all sorts of rumors. The Legislature, moved
by considerations purely of a political nature, had taken the step,
whatever it was, that amounted to an adherence to the Union,
instead of joining the already-seceded States. This was
universally known to be the signal for action. For it we were
utterly unprepared, whereas the rebels were fully prepared.
General Sidney Johnston immediately crossed into Kentucky, and
advanced as far as Bowling Green, which he began to fortify, and
thence dispatched General Buckner with a division forward toward
Louisville; General Zollicoffer, in like manner, entered the State
and advanced as far as Somerset. On the day I reached Louisville
the excitement ran high. It was known that Columbus, Kentucky, had
been occupied, September 7th, by a strong rebel force, under
Generals Pillow and Polk, and that General Grant had moved from
Cairo and occupied Paducah in force on the 6th. Many of the rebel
families expected Buckner to reach Louisville at any moment. That
night, General Anderson sent for me, and I found with him Mr.
Guthrie, president of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, who had
in his hands a dispatch to the effect that the bridge across the
Rolling Fork of Salt Creek, less than thirty miles out, had been
burned, and that Buckner’s force, en route for Louisville, had been
detained beyond Green River by a train thrown from the track. We
learned afterward that a man named Bird had displaced a rail on
purpose to throw the train off the track, and thereby give us time.

Mr. Guthrie explained that in the ravine just beyond Salt Creek
were several high and important trestles which, if destroyed, would
take months to replace, and General Anderson thought it well.
worth the effort to save them. Also, on Muldraugh’s Hill beyond,
was a strong position, which had in former years been used as the
site for the State “Camp of Instruction,” and we all supposed that
General Buckner, who was familiar with the ground, was aiming for a
position there, from which to operate on Louisville.

All the troops we had to counteract Buckner were Rousseau’s Legion,
and a few Home Guards in Louisville. The former were still
encamped across the river at Jeffersonville; so General Anderson
ordered me to go over, and with them, and such Home Guards as we
could collect, make the effort to secure possession of Muldraugh’s
Hill before Buckner could reach it. I took Captain Prime with me;
and crossed over to Rousseau’s camp. The long-roll was beaten, and
within an hour the men, to the number of about one thousand, were
marching for the ferry-boat and for the Nashville depot. Meantime
General Anderson had sent to collect some Home Guards, and Mr.
Guthrie to get the trains ready. It was after midnight before we
began to move. The trains proceeded slowly, and it was daybreak
when we reached Lebanon Junction, twenty-six miles out, where we
disembarked, and marched to the bridge over Salt River, which we
found had been burnt; whether to prevent Buckner coming into
Louisville, or us from going out, was not clear. Rousseau’s Legion
forded the stream and marched up to the State Camp of Instruction,
finding the high trestles all secure. The railroad hands went to
work at once to rebuild the bridge. I remained a couple of days at
Lebanon Junction, during which General Anderson forwarded two
regiments of volunteers that had come to him. Before the bridge
was done we advanced the whole camp to the summit of Muldraugh’s
Hill, just back of Elizabethtown. There I learned definitely that
General Buckner had not crossed Green River at all, that General
Sidney Johnston was fortifying Bowling Green, and preparing for a
systematic advance into Kentucky, of which he was a native, and
with whose people and geography he must have been familiar. As
fast as fresh troops reached Louisville, they were sent out to me
at Muldraugh’s Hill, where I was endeavoring to put them into shape
for service, and by the 1st of October I had the equivalent of a
division of two brigades preparing to move forward toward Green
River. The daily correspondence between General Anderson and
myself satisfied me that the worry and harassment at Louisville
were exhausting his strength and health, and that he would soon
leave. On a telegraphic summons from him, about the 5th of
October, I went down to Louisville, when General Anderson said he
could not stand the mental torture of his command any longer, and
that he must go away, or it would kill him. On the 8th of October
he actually published an order relinquishing the command, and, by
reason of my seniority, I had no alternative but to assume command,
though much against the grain, and in direct violation of Mr.
Lincoln’s promise to me. I am certain that, in my earliest
communication to the War Department, I renewed the expression of my
wish to remain in a subordinate position, and that I received the
assurance that Brigadier-General Buell would soon arrive from
California, and would be sent to relieve me. By that time I had
become pretty familiar with the geography and the general resources
of Kentucky. We had parties all over the State raising regiments
and companies; but it was manifest that the young men were
generally inclined to the cause of the South, while the older men
of property wanted to be let alone–i.e., to remain neutral. As to
a forward movement that fall, it was simply impracticable; for we
were forced to use divergent lines, leading our columns farther and
farther apart; and all I could attempt was to go on and collect
force and material at the two points already chosen, viz., Dick
Robinson and Elizabethtown. General George H. Thomas still
continued to command the former, and on the 12th of October I
dispatched Brigadier-General A. McD. McCook to command the latter,
which had been moved forward to Nolin Creek, fifty-two miles out of
Louisville, toward Bowling Green. Staff-officers began to arrive
to relieve us of the constant drudgery which, up to that time, had
been forced on General Anderson and myself; and these were all good
men. Colonel Thomas Swords, quartermaster, arrived on the 13th;
Paymaster Larned on the 14th; and Lieutenant Smyzer, Fifth
Artillery, acting ordnance-officer, on the 20th; Captain Symonds
was already on duty as the commissary of subsistence; Captain O.
D. Greene was the adjutant-general, and completed a good working

The everlasting worry of citizens complaining of every petty
delinquency of a soldier, and forcing themselves forward to discuss
politics, made the position of a commanding general no sinecure. I
continued to strengthen the two corps forward and their routes of
supply; all the time expecting that Sidney Johnston, who was a real
general, and who had as correct information of our situation as I
had, would unite his force with Zollicoffer, and fall on Thomas at
Dick Robinson, or McCook at Nolin: Had he done so in October, 1861,
he could have walked into Louisville, and the vital part of the
population would have hailed him as a deliverer. Why he did not,
was to me a mystery then and is now; for I know that he saw the
move; and had his wagons loaded up at one time for a start toward
Frankfort, passing between our two camps. Conscious of our
weakness, I was unnecessarily unhappy, and doubtless exhibited it
too much to those near me; but it did seem to me that the
Government at Washington, intent on the larger preparations of
Fremont in Missouri and McClellan in Washington, actually ignored
us in Kentucky.

About this time, say the middle of October, I received notice, by
telegraph, that the Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron (then in St.
Louis), would visit me at Louisville, on his way back to
Washington. I was delighted to have an opportunity to properly
represent the actual state of affairs, and got Mr. Guthrie to go
with me across to Jeffersonville, to meet the Secretary of War and
escort him to Louisville. The train was behind time, but Mr.
Guthrie and I waited till it actually arrived. Mr. Cameron was
attended by Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas, and six or seven
gentlemen who turned out to be newspaper reporters. Mr. Cameron’s
first inquiry was, when he could start for Cincinnati, saying that,
as he had been detained at St. Louis so long, it was important he
should hurry on to Washington. I explained that the regular
mail-boat would leave very soon–viz., at 12 M.–but I begged him
to come over to Louisville; that I wanted to see him on business as
important as any in Washington, and hoped he would come and spend
at least a day with us. He asked if every thing was not well with
us, and I told him far from it; that things were actually bad, as
bad as bad could be. This seemed to surprise him, and Mr. Guthrie
added his persuasion to mine; when Mr. Cameron, learning that he
could leave Louisville by rail via Frankfort next morning early,
and make the same connections at Cincinnati, consented to go with
us to Louisville, with the distinct understanding that he must
leave early the next morning for Washington.

We accordingly all took hacks, crossed the river by the ferry, and
drove to the Galt House, where I was then staying. Brigadier-
General T. J. Wood had come down from Indianapolis by the same
train, and was one of the party. We all proceeded to my room on
the first floor of the Galt House, where our excellent landlord,
Silas Miller, Esq., sent us a good lunch and something to drink.
Mr. Cameron was not well, and lay on my bed, but joined in the
general conversation. He and his party seemed to be full of the
particulars of the developments in St. Louis of some of Fremont’s
extravagant contracts and expenses, which were the occasion of
Cameron’s trip to St. Louis, and which finally resulted in
Fremont’s being relieved, first by General Hunter, and after by
General H. W. Halleck.

After some general conversation, Mr. Cameron called to me, “Now,
General Sherman, tell us of your troubles.” I said I preferred not
to discuss business with so many strangers present. He said,
“They are all friends, all members of my family, and you may speak
your mind freely and without restraint.” I am sure I stepped to
the door, locked it to prevent intrusion, and then fully and fairly
represented the state of affairs in Kentucky, especially the
situation and numbers of my troops. I complained that the new
levies of Ohio and Indiana were diverted East and West, and we got
scarcely any thing; that our forces at Nolin and Dick Robinson were
powerless for invasion, and only tempting to a general such as we
believed Sidney Johnston to be; that, if Johnston chose, he could
march to Louisville any day. Cameron exclaimed: “You astonish me!
Our informants, the Kentucky Senators and members of Congress,
claim that they have in Kentucky plenty of men, and all they want
are arms and money.” I then said it was not true; for the young
men were arming and going out openly in broad daylight to the rebel
camps, provided with good horses and guns by their fathers, who
were at best “neutral;” and as to arms, he had, in Washington,
promised General Anderson forty thousand of the best Springfield
muskets, instead of which we had received only about twelve
thousand Belgian muskets, which the Governor of Pennsylvania had
refused, as had also the Governor of Ohio, but which had been
adjudged good enough for Kentucky. I asserted that volunteer
colonels raising regiments in various parts of the State had come
to Louisville for arms, and when they saw what I had to offer had
scorned to receive them–to confirm the truth of which I appealed
to Mr. Guthrie, who said that every word I had spoken was true, and
he repeated what I had often heard him say, that no man who owned a
slave or a mule in Kentucky could be trusted.

Mr. Cameron appeared alarmed at what was said, and turned to
Adjutant-General L. Thomas, to inquire if he knew of any troops
available, that had not been already assigned. He mentioned
Negley’s Pennsylvania Brigade, at Pittsburg, and a couple of other
regiments that were then en route for St. Louis. Mr. Cameron
ordered him to divert these to Louisville, and Thomas made the
telegraphic orders on the spot. He further promised, on reaching
Washington, to give us more of his time and assistance.

In the general conversation which followed, I remember taking a
large map of the United States, and assuming the people of the
whole South to be in rebellion, that our task was to subdue them,
showed that McClellan was on the left, having a frontage of less
than a hundred miles, and Fremont the right, about the same;
whereas I, the centre, had from the Big Sandy to Paducah, over
three hundred miles of frontier; that McClellan had a hundred
thousand men, Fremont sixty thousand, whereas to me had only been
allotted about eighteen thousand. I argued that, for the purpose
of defense we should have sixty thousand men at once, and for
offense, would need two hundred thousand, before we were done. Mr.
Cameron, who still lay on the bed, threw up his hands and
exclaimed, “Great God! where are they to come from?” I asserted
that there were plenty of men at the North, ready and willing to
come, if he would only accept their services; for it was notorious
that regiments had been formed in all the Northwestern States,
whose services had been refused by the War Department, on the
ground that they would not be needed. We discussed all these
matters fully, in the most friendly spirit, and I thought I had
aroused Mr. Cameron to a realization of the great war that was
before us, and was in fact upon us. I heard him tell General
Thomas to make a note of our conversation, that he might attend to
my requests on reaching Washington. We all spent the evening
together agreeably in conversation, many Union citizens calling to
pay their respects, and the next morning early we took the train
for Frankfort; Mr. Cameron and party going on to Cincinnati and
Washington, and I to Camp Dick Robinson to see General Thomas and
the troops there.

I found General Thomas in a tavern, with most of his regiments
camped about him. He had sent a small force some miles in advance
toward Cumberland Gap, under Brigadier-General Schoepf. Remaining
there a couple of days, I returned to Louisville; on the 22d of
October, General Negley’s brigade arrived in boats from Pittsburg,
was sent out to Camp Nolin; and the Thirty-seventh Indiana.,
Colonel Hazzard, and Second Minnesota, Colonel Van Cleve, also
reached Louisville by rail, and were posted at Elizabethtown and
Lebanon Junction. These were the same troops which had been
ordered by Mr. Cameron when at Louisville, and they were all that I
received thereafter, prior to my leaving Kentucky. On reaching
Washington, Mr. Cameron called on General Thomas, as he himself
afterward told me, to submit his memorandum of events during his
absence, and in that memorandum was mentioned my insane request for
two hundred thousand men. By some newspaper man this was seen and
published, and, before I had the least conception of it, I was
universally published throughout the country as “insane, crazy,”
etc. Without any knowledge, however, of this fact, I had
previously addressed to the Adjutant-General of the army at
Washington this letter:

October 22, 1881.

To General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

Sir: On my arrival at Camp Dick Robinson, I found General Thomas
had stationed a Kentucky regiment at Rock Castle Hill, beyond a
river of the same name, and had sent an Ohio and an Indiana
regiment forward in support. He was embarrassed for
transportation, and I authorized him to hire teams, and to move his
whole force nearer to his advance-guard, so as to support it, as he
had information of the approach of Zollicoffer toward London. I
have just heard from him, that he had sent forward General Schoepf
with Colonel Wolford’s cavalry, Colonel Steadman’s Ohio regiment,
and a battery of artillery, followed on a succeeding day by a
Tennessee brigade. He had still two Kentucky regiments, the
Thirty-eighth Ohio and another battery of artillery, with which he
was to follow yesterday. This force, if concentrated, should be
strong enough for the purpose; at all events, it is all he had or I
could give him.

I explained to you fully, when here, the supposed position of our
adversaries, among which was a force in the valley of Big Sandy,
supposed to be advancing on Paris, Kentucky. General Nelson at
Maysville was instructed to collect all the men he could, and
Colonel Gill’s regiment of Ohio Volnnteers. Colonel Harris was
already in position at Olympian Springs, and a regiment lay at
Lexington, which I ordered to his support. This leaves the line of
Thomas’s operations exposed, but I cannot help it. I explained so
fully to yourself and the Secretary of War the condition of things,
that I can add nothing new until further developements, You know my
views that this great centre of our field is too weak, far too
weak, and I have begged and implored till I dare not say more.

Buckner still is beyond Green River. He sent a detachment of his
men, variously estimated at from two to four thousand toward
Greensburg. General Ward, with about one thousand men, retreated
to Campbellsburg, where he called to his assistance some
partially-formed regiments to the number of about two thousand.
The enemy did not advance, and General Ward was at last dates at
Campbellsburg. The officers charged with raising regiments must of
necessity be near their homes to collect men, and for this reason
are out of position; but at or near Greensburg and Lebanon, I
desire to assemble as large a force of the Kentucky Volunteers as
possible. This organization is necessarily irregular, but the
necessity is so great that I must have them, and therefore have
issued to them arms and clothing during the process of formation.
This has facilitated their enlistment; but inasmuch as the
Legislature has provided money for organizing the Kentucky
Volunteers, and intrusted its disbursement to a board of loyal
gentlemen, I have endeavored to cooperate with them to hasten the
formation of these corps.

The great difficulty is, and has been, that as volunteers offer, we
have not arms and clothing to give them. The arms sent us are, as
you already know, European muskets of uncouth pattern, which the
volunteers will not touch.

General McCook has now three brigades–Johnson’s, Wood’s, and
Rousseau’s. Negley’s brigade arrived to-day, and will be sent out
at once. The Minnesota regiment has also arrived, and will be sent
forward. Hazzard’s regiment of Indiana troops I have ordered to
the month of Salt Creek, an important point on the turnpike-road
leading to Elizabethtown.

I again repeat that our force here is out of all proportion to the
importance of the position. Our defeat would be disastrous to the
nation; and to expect of new men, who never bore arms, to do
miracles, is not right.

I am, with much respect, yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding.

About this time my attention was drawn to the publication in all
the Eastern papers, which of course was copied at the West, of the
report that I was “crazy, insane, and mad,” that “I had demanded
two hundred thousand men for the defense of Kentucky;” and the
authority given for this report was stated to be the Secretary of
War himself, Mr. Cameron, who never, to my knowledge, took pains to
affirm or deny it. My position was therefore simply unbearable,
and it is probable I resented the cruel insult with language of
intense feeling. Still I received no orders, no reenforcements,
not a word of encouragement or relief. About November 1st, General
McClellan was appointed commander-in-chief of all the armies in the
field, and by telegraph called for a report from me. It is
herewith given:

Kentucky, November 4, 1861

General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

Sir: In compliance with the telegraphic orders of General
McClellan, received late last night, I submit this report of the
forces in Kentucky, and of their condition.

The tabular statement shows the position of the several regiments.
The camp at Nolin is at the present extremity of the Nashville
Railroad. This force was thrown forward to meet the advance of
Buckner’s army, which then fell back to Green River, twenty-three
miles beyond. These regiments were substantially without means of
transportation, other than the railroad, which is guarded at all
dangerous points, yet is liable to interruption at any moment, by
the tearing up of a rail by the disaffected inhabitants or a hired
enemy. These regiments are composed of good materials, but devoid
of company officers of experience, and have been put under thorough
drill since being in camp. They are generally well clad, and
provided for. Beyond Green River, the enemy has masked his forces,
and it is very difficult to ascertain even the approximate numbers.
No pains have been spared to ascertain them, but without success,
and it is well known that they far outnumber us. Depending,
however, on the railroads to their rear for transportation, they
have not thus far advanced this side of Green River, except in
marauding parties. This is the proper line of advance, but will
require a very large force, certainly fifty thousand men, as their
railroad facilities south enable them to concentrate at
Munfordsville the entire strength of the South. General McCook’s
command is divided into four brigades, under Generals Wood, R. W.
Johnson, Rousseau, and Negley.

General Thomas’s line of operations is from Lexington, toward
Cumberland Gap and Ford, which are occupied by a force of rebel
Tennesseeans, under the command of Zollicoffer. Thomas occupies
the position at London, in front of two roads which lead to the
fertile part of Kentucky, the one by Richmond, and the other by
Crab Orchard, with his reserve at Camp Dick Robinson, eight miles
south of the Kentucky River. His provisions and stores go by
railroad from Cincinnati to Nicholasville, and thence in wagons to
his several regiments. He is forced to hire transportation.

Brigadier-General Nelson is operating by the line from Olympian
Springs, east of Paris, on the Covington & Lexington Railroad,
toward Prestonburg, in the valley of the Big Sandy where is
assembled a force of from twenty-five to thirty-five hundred rebel
Kentuckians waiting reenforcements from Virginia. My last report
from him was to October 28th, at which time he had Colonel Harris’s
Ohio Second, nine hundred strong; Colonel Norton’s Twenty-first
Ohio, one thousand; and Colonel Sill’s Thirty-third Ohio, seven
hundred and fifty strong; with two irregular Kentucky regiments,
Colonels Marshall and Metcalf. These troops were on the road near
Hazel Green and West Liberty, advancing toward Prestonburg.

Upon an inspection of the map, you will observe these are all
divergent lines, but rendered necessary, from the fact that our
enemies choose them as places of refuge from pursuit, where they
can receive assistance from neighboring States. Our lines are all
too weak, probably with the exception of that to Prestonburg. To
strengthen these, I am thrown on the raw levies of Ohio and
Indiana, who arrive in detachments, perfectly fresh from the
country, and loaded down with baggage, also upon the Kentuckians,
who are slowly forming regiments all over the State, at points
remote from danger, and whom it will be almost impossible to
assemble together. The organization of this latter force is, by
the laws of Kentucky, under the control of a military board of
citizens, at the capital, Frankfort, and they think they will be
enabled to have fifteen regiments toward the middle of this month,
but I doubt it, and deem it unsafe to rely on them: There are four
regiments forming in the neighborhood of Owensboro, near the mouth
of Green River, who are doing good service, also in the
neighborhood of Campbellsville, but it is unsafe to rely on troops
so suddenly armed and equipped. They are not yet clothed or
uniformed. I know well you will think our force too widely
distributed, but we are forced to it by the attitude of our
enemies, whose force and numbers the country never has and probably
never will comprehend.

I am told that my estimate of troops needed for this line, viz.,
two hundred thousand, has been construed to my prejudice, and
therefore leave it for the future. This is the great centre on
which our enemies can concentrate whatever force is not employed
elsewhere. Detailed statement of present force inclosed with this.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding.


First Brigade (General ROUSSEAU).-Third Kentucky, Colonel Bulkley;
Fourth Kentucky, Colonel Whittaker; First Cavalry, Colonel Board;
Stone’s battery; two companies Nineteenth United States Infantry,
and two companies Fifteenth United States Infantry, Captain Gilman.

Second Brigade (General T. J. WOOD).-Thirty-eighth Indiana, Colonel
Scribner; Thirty-ninth Indiana, Colonel Harrison; Thirtieth
Indiana, Colonel Bass; Twenty-ninth Indiana, Colonel Miller.

Third Brigade (General JOHNSON).-Forty-ninth Ohio, Colonel Gibson;
Fifteenth Ohio, Colonel Dickey; Thirty-fourth Illinois, Colonel
King; Thirty-second Indiana, Colonel Willach.

Fourth Brigade (General NEGLEY).-Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania,
Colonel Hambright; Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania, Colonel Sinnell;
Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania, Colonel Stambaugh; Battery, Captain

Camp Dick Robinson (General G. H. THOMAS).—Kentucky, Colonel
Bramlette;–Kentucky, Colonel Fry;–Kentucky Cavalry, Colonel
Woolford; Fourteenth Ohio, Colonel Steadman; First Artillery,
Colonel Barnett; Third Ohio, Colonel Carter;–East Tennessee,
Colonel Byrd.

Bardstown, Kentucky.-Tenth Indiana, Colonel Manson.

Crab Orchard.-Thirty-third Indiana, Colonel Coburn.

Jeffersonville, Indiana.-Thirty-fourth Indiana, Colonel Steele;
Thirty-sixth Indiana, Colonel Gross; First Wisconsin, Colonel

Mouth of Salt River.-Ninth Michigan, Colonel Duffield; Thirty-
seventh Indiana, Colonel Hazzard.

Lebanon Junction..-Second Minnesota, Colonel Van Cleve.

Olympian Springs.-Second Ohio, Colonel Harris.

Cynthiana, Kentucky.-Thirty-fifth Ohio, Colonel Vandever.

Nicholasville, Kentucky.-Twenty-first Ohio, Colonel Norton; Thirty-
eighth Ohio, Colonel Bradley.

Big Hill.-Seventeenth Ohio, Colonel Connell.

Colesburg.-Twenty-fourth Illinois, Colonel Hecker.

Elizabethtown, Kentucky.-Nineteenth Illinois, Colonel Turchin.

Owensboro’ or Henderson.-Thirty-first Indiana, Colonel Cruft;
Colonel Edwards, forming Rock Castle; Colonel Boyle, Harrodsburg;
Colonel Barney, Irvine; Colonel Hazzard, Burksville; Colonel
Haskins, Somerset.

And, in order to conclude this subject, I also add copies of two
telegraphic dispatches, sent for General McClellan’s use about the
same time, which are all the official letters received at his
headquarters, as certified by the Adjutant-General, L. Thomas, in a
letter of February 1, 1862; in answer to an application of my
brother, Senator John Sherman, and on which I was adjudged insane:

Louisville, November 3, 10 p.m.

To General McLELLAN, Washington, D. C.:

Dispatch just received. We are forced to operate on three lines,
all dependent on railroads of doubtful safety, requiring strong
guards. From Paris to Prestonbnrg, three Ohio regiments and some
militia–enemy variously reported from thirty-five hundred to seven
thousand. From Lexington toward Cumberland Gap, Brigadier-General
Thomas, one Indiana and five Ohio regiments, two Kentucky and two
Tennessee; hired wagons and badly clad. Zollicoffer, at Cumberland
Ford, about seven thousand. Lee reported on the way with Virginia
reenforcements. In front of Louisville, fifty-two miles, McCook,
with four brigades of about thirteen thousand, with four regiments
to guard the railroad, at all times in danger. Enemy along the
railroad from Green River to Bowling Green, Nashville, and
Clarksville. Buckner, Hardee, Sidney Johnston, Folk, and Pillow,
the two former in immediate command, the force as large as they
want or can subsist, from twenty-five to thirty thousand. Bowling
Green strongly fortified. Our forces too small to do good, and too
large to sacrifice.

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General.

Kentucky, November 6, 1861

General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.

Sir: General McClellan telegraphs me to report to him daily the
situation of affairs here. The country is so large that it is
impossible to give clear and definite views. Our enemies have a
terrible advantage in the fact that in our midst, in our camps, and
along our avenues of travel, they have active partisans, farmers
and business-men, who seemingly pursue their usual calling, but are
in fact spies. They report all our movements and strength, while
we can procure information only by circuitous and unreliable means.
I inclose you the copy of an intercepted letter, which is but the
type of others. Many men from every part of the State are now
enrolled under Buckner–have gone to him–while ours have to be
raised in neighborhoods, and cannot be called together except at
long notice. These volunteers are being organized under the laws
of the State, and the 10th of November is fixed for the time of
consolidating them into companies and regiments. Many of them are
armed by the United States as home guards, and many by General
Anderson and myself, because of the necessity of being armed to
guard their camps against internal enemies. Should we be
overwhelmed, they would scatter, and their arms and clothing will
go to the enemy, furnishing the very material they so much need.
We should have here a very large force, sufficient to give
confidence to the Union men of the ability to do what should be
done–possess ourselves of all the State. But all see and feel we
are brought to a stand-still, and this produces doubt and alarm.
With our present force it would be simple madness to cross Green
River, and yet hesitation may be as fatal. In like manner the
other columns are in peril, not so much in front as rear, the
railroads over which our stores must pass being much exposed. I
have the Nashville Railroad guarded by three regiments, yet it is
far from being safe; and, the moment actual hostilities commence,
these roads will be interrupted, and we will be in a dilemma. To
meet this in part I have put a cargo of provisions at the mouth of
Salt River, guarded by two regiments. All these detachments weaken
the main force, and endanger the whole. Do not conclude, as
before, that I exaggerate the facts. They are as stated, and the
future looks as dark as possible. It would be better if some man
of sanguine mind were here, for I am forced to order according to
my convictions.

Yours truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding.

After the war was over, General Thomas J. Wood, then in command of
the district of Vicksburg, prepared a statement addressed to the
public, describing the interview with the Secretary of War, which
he calls a “Council of War.” I did not then deem it necessary to
renew a matter which had been swept into oblivion by the war
itself; but, as it is evidence by an eyewitness, it is worthy of
insertion here.


On the 11th of October, 1861, the writer, who had been personally
on mustering duty in Indiana, was appointed a brigadier-general of
volunteers, and ordered to report to General Sherman, then in
command of the Department of the Cumberland, with his headquarters
at Louisville, having succeeded General Robert Anderson. When the
writer was about leaving Indianapolis to proceed to Louisville, Mr.
Cameron, returning from his famous visit of inspection to General
Fremont’s department, at St. Louis, Missouri, arrived at
Indianapolis, and announced his intention to visit General Sherman.

The writer was invited to accompany the party to Louisville.
Taking the early morning train from Indianapolis to Louisville on
the 16th of October, 1861, the party arrived in Jeffersonville
shortly after mid-day. General Sherman met the party in
Jeffersonville, and accompanied it to the Galt House, in
Louisville, the hotel at which he was stopping.

During the afternoon General Sherman informed the writer that a
council of war was to be held immediately in his private room in
the hotel, and desired him to be present at the council. General
Sherman and the writer proceeded directly to the room. The writer
entered the room first, and observed in it Mr. Cameron, Adjutant-
General L. Thomas, and some other persons, all of whose names he
did not know, but whom he recognized as being of Mr. Cameron’s
party. The name of one of the party the writer had learned, which
he remembers as Wilkinson, or Wilkerson, and who he understood was
a writer for the New York Tribune newspaper. The Hon. James
Guthrie was also in the room, having been invited, on account of
his eminent position as a citizen of Kentucky, his high civic
reputation, and his well-known devotion to the Union, to meet the
Secretary of War in the council. When General Sherman entered the
room he closed the door, and turned the key in the lock.

Before entering on the business of the meeting, General Sherman
remarked substantially: “Mr. Cameron, we have met here to discuss
matters and interchange views which should be known only by persons
high in the confidence of the Government. There are persons
present whom I do not know, and I desire to know, before opening
the business of the council, whether they are persons who may be
properly allowed to hear the views which I have to submit to you.”
Mr. Cameron replied, with some little testiness of manner, that the
persons referred to belonged to his party, and there was no
objection to their knowing whatever might be communicated to him.

Certainly the legitimate and natural conclusion from this remark of
Mr. Cameron’s was that whatever views might be submitted by General
Sherman would be considered under the protection of the seal of
secrecy, and would not be divulged to the public till all
apprehension of injurious consequences from such disclosure had
passed. And it may be remarked, further, that justice to General
Sherman required that if, at any future time, his conclusions as to
the amount of force necessary to conduct the operations committed
to his charge should be made public, the grounds on which his
conclusions were based should be made public at the same time.

Mr. Cameron then asked General Sherman what his plans were. To
this General Sherman replied that he had no plans; that no
sufficient force had been placed at his disposition with which to
devise any plan of operations; that, before a commanding general
could project a plan of campaign, he must know what amount of force
he would have to operate with.

The general added that he had views which he would be happy to
submit for the consideration of the Secretary. Mr. Cameron desired
to hear General Sherman’s views.

General Sherman began by giving his opinion of the people of
Kentucky, and the then condition of the State. He remarked that he
believed a very large majority of the people of Kentucky were
thoroughly devoted to the Union, and loyal to the Government, and
that the Unionists embraced almost all the older and more
substantial men in the State; but, unfortunately, there was no
organization nor arms among the Union men; that the rebel minority,
thoroughly vindictive in its sentiments, was organized and armed
(this having been done in advance by their leaders), and, beyond
the reach of the Federal forces, overawed and prevented the Union
men from organizing; that, in his opinion, if Federal protection
were extended throughout the State to the Union men, a large force
could be raised for the service of the Government.

General Sherman next presented a resume of the information in his
possession as to the number of the rebel troops in Kentucky.
Commencing with the force at Columbus, Kentucky, the reports
varied, giving the strength from ten to twenty thousand. It was
commanded by Lieutenant-General Polk. General Sherman fixed it at
the lowest estimate; say, ten thousand. The force at Bowling
Green, commanded by General. A. S. Johnston, supported by Hardee,
Buckner, and others, was variously estimated at from eighteen to
thirty thousand. General Sherman estimated this force at the
lowest figures given to it by his information–eighteen thousand.

He explained that, for purposes of defense, these two forces ought,
owing to the facility with which troops might be transported from
one to the other, by the net-work of railroads in Middle and West
Tennessee, to be considered almost as one. General Sherman
remarked, also, on the facility with which reinforcements could be
transported by railroad to Bowling Green, from the other rebellions

The third organized body of rebel troops was in Eastern Kentucky,
under General Zollicoffer, estimated, according to the most
reliable information, at six thousand men. This force threatened a
descent, if unrestrained, on the blue-grass region of Kentucky,
including the cities of Lexington, and Frankfort, the capital of
the State; and if successful in its primary movements, as it would
gather head as it advanced, might endanger the safety of

General Sherman said that the information in his possession
indicated an intention, on the part of the rebels, of a general and
grand advance toward the Ohio River. He further expressed the
opinion that, if such advance should be made, and not checked, the
rebel force would be swollen by at least twenty thousand recruits
from the disloyalists in Kentucky. His low computation of the
organized rebel soldiers then in Kentucky fixed the strength at
about thirty-five thousand. Add twenty thousand for reenforcements
gained in Kentucky, to say nothing of troops drawn from other rebel
States, and the effective rebel force in the State, at a low
estimate, would be fifty-five thousand men.

General Sherman explained forcibly how largely the difficulties of
suppressing the rebellion would be enhanced, if the rebels should
be allowed to plant themselves firmly, with strong fortifications,
at commanding points on the Ohio River. It would be facile for
them to carry the war thence into the loyal States north of the

To resist an advance of the rebels, General Sherman stated that he
did not have at that time in Kentucky more than some twelve to
fourteen thousand effective men. The bulk of this force was posted
at camp Nolin, on the Louisville & Nashville Railway, fifty miles
south of Louisville. A part of it was in Eastern Kentucky, under
General George H. Thomas, and a very small force was in the lower
valley of Green River.

This disposition of the force had been made for the double purpose
of watching and checking the rebels, and protecting the raising and
organization of troops among the Union men of Kentucky.

Having explained the situation from the defensive point of view,
General Sherman proceeded to consider it from the offensive
stand-point. The Government had undertaken to suppress the
rebellion; the onus faciendi, therefore, rested on the Government.
The rebellion could never be put down, the authority of the
paramount Government asserted, and the union of the States declared
perpetual, by force of arms, by maintaining the defensive; to
accomplish these grand desiderata, it was absolutely necessary the
Government should adopt, and maintain until the rebellion was
crushed, the offensive.

For the purpose of expelling the rebels from Kentucky, General
Sherman said that at least sixty thousand soldiers were necessary.
Considering that the means of accomplishment must always be
proportioned to the end to be achieved, and bearing in mind the
array of rebel force then in Kentucky, every sensible man must
admit that the estimate of the force given by General Sherman, for
driving the rebels out of the State, and reestablishing and
maintaining the authority of the Government, was a very low one.
The truth is that, before the rebels were driven from Kentucky,
many more than sixty thousand soldiers were sent into the State.

Ascending from the consideration of the narrow question of the
political and military situation in Kentucky, and the extent of
force necessary to redeem the State from rebel thraldom,
forecasting in his sagacious intellect the grand and daring
operations which, three years afterward, he realized in a campaign,
taken in its entirety, without a parallel in modern times, General
Sherman expressed the opinion that, to carry the war to the Gulf of
Mexico, and destroy all armed opposition to the Goverment, in the
entire Mississippi Valley, at least two hundred thousand troops
were absolutely requisite.

So soon as General Sherman had concluded the expression of his
views, Mr. Cameron asked, with much warmth and apparent irritation,
“Where do you suppose, General Sherman, all this force is to come
from.” General Sherman replied that he did not know; that it was
not his duty to raise, organize, and put the necessary military
force into the field; that duty pertained to the War Department.
His duty was to organize campaigns and command the troops after
they had been put into the field.

At this point of the proceedings, General Sherman suggested that it
might be agreeable to the Secretary to hear the views of Mr.
Guthrie. Thus appealed to, Mr. Guthrie said he did not consider
himself, being a civilian, competent to give an opinion as to the
extent of force necessary to parry the war to the Gulf of Mexico;
but, being well informed of the condition of things in Kentucky, he
indorsed fully General Sherman’e opinion of the force required to
drive the rebels out of the State.

The foregoing is a circumstantial account of the deliberations of
the council that were of any importance.

A good deal of desultory conversation followed, on immaterial
matters; and some orders were issued by telegraph, by the Secretary
of War, for some small reenforcements to be sent to Kentucky
immediately, from Pennsylvania and Indiana.

A short time after the council was held–the exact time is not now
remembered by the writer–an imperfect narrative of it appeared in
the New York Tribune. This account announced to the public the
conclusions uttered by General Sherman in the council, without
giving the reasons on which his conclusions were based. The
unfairness of this course to General Sherman needs no comment. All
military men were shocked by the gross breach of faith which had
been committed

TH. J. WOOD, Major-General Volunteeers

Vicksburg, Mississippi, August 24, 1886.

Brigadier-General Don Carlos Buell arrived at Louisville about the
middle of November, with orders to relieve me, and I was
transferred for duty to the Department of the Missouri, and ordered
to report in person to Major-General H. W. Halleck at St. Louis. I
accompanied General Buell to the camp at Nolin, where he reviewed
and inspected the camp and troops under the command of General A.
McD. McCook, and on our way back General Buell inspected the
regiment of Hazzard at Elizabethtown. I then turned over my
command to him, and took my departure for St. Louis.

At the time I was so relieved I thought, of course, it was done in
fulfillment of Mr. Lincoln’s promise to me, and as a necessary
result of my repeated demand for the fulfillment of that promise;
but I saw and felt, and was of course deeply moved to observe, the
manifest belief that there was more or less of truth in the rumor
that the cares, perplexities, and anxiety of the situation had
unbalanced my judgment and mind. It was, doubtless, an incident
common to all civil wars, to which I could only submit with the
best grace possible, trusting to the future for an opportunity to
redeem my fortune and good name. Of course I could not deny the
fact, and had to submit to all its painful consequences for months;
and, moreover, I could not hide from myself that many of the
officers and soldiers subsequently placed under my command looked
at me askance and with suspicion. Indeed, it was not until the
following April that the battle of Shiloh gave me personally the
chance to redeem my good name.

On reaching St. Louis and reporting to General Halleck, I was
received kindly, and was shortly afterward (viz., November 23d)
sent up to Sedalia to inspect the camp there, and the troops
located along the road back to Jefferson City, and I was ordered to
assume command in a certain contingency. I found General Steels at
Sedalia with his regiments scattered about loosely; and General
Pope at Otterville, twenty miles back, with no concert between
them. The rebel general, Sterling Price, had his forces down about
Osceola and Warsaw. I advised General Halleck to collect the whole
of his men into one camp on the La Mine River, near Georgetown, to
put them into brigades and divisions, so as to be ready to be
handled, and I gave some preliminary orders looking to that end.
But the newspapers kept harping on my insanity and paralyzed my
efforts. In spite of myself, they tortured from me some words and
acts of imprudence. General Halleck telegraphed me on November
26th: “Unless telegraph-lines are interrupted, make no movement of
troops without orders;” and on November 29th: “No forward movement
of troops on Osceola will be made; only strong
reconnoitring-parties will be sent out in the supposed direction of
the enemy; the bulk of the troops being held in position till more
reliable information is obtained.”

About the same time I received the following dispatch:

November 28, 1881. Brigadier

General SHERMAN, Sedalia:

Mrs. Sherman is here. General Halleck is satisfied, from reports
of scouts received here, that no attack on Sedalia is intended.
You will therefore return to this city, and report your
observations on the condition of the troops you have examined.
Please telegraph when you will leave.

SCHUYLER HAMILTON, Brigadier-General and Aide-de-Camp.

I accordingly returned to St. Louis, where I found Mrs. Sherman,
naturally and properly distressed at the continued and reiterated
reports of the newspapers of my insanity, and she had come from
Lancaster to see me. This recall from Sedalia simply swelled the
cry. It was alleged that I was recalled by reason of something
foolish I had done at Sedalia, though in fact I had done absolutely
nothing, except to recommend what was done immediately thereafter
on the advice of Colonel McPherson, on a subsequent inspection.
Seeing and realizing that my efforts were useless, I concluded to
ask for a twenty days’ leave of absence, to accompany Mrs. Sherman
to our home in Lancaster, and to allow the storm to blow over
somewhat. It also happened to be mid-winter, when, nothing was
doing; so Mrs. Sherman and I returned to Lancaster, where I was
born, and where I supposed I was better known and appreciated.

The newspapers kept up their game as though instigated by malice,
and chief among them was the Cincinnati Comercial, whose editor,
Halsted, was generally believed to be an honorable man. P. B.
Ewing, Esq., being in Cincinnati, saw him and asked him why he, who
certainly knew better, would reiterate such a damaging slander. He
answered, quite cavalierly, that it was one of the news-items of
the day, and he had to keep up with the time; but he would be most
happy to publish any correction I might make, as though I could
deny such a malicious piece of scandal affecting myself. On the
12th of November I had occasion to write to General Halleck, and I
have a copy of his letter in answer:

ST. Louis, December 18, 1881.
Brigadier-General W. T. SHERMAN, Lancaster, Ohio.

My DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 12th was received a day or two ago,
but was mislaid for the moment among private papers, or I should
have answered it sooner. The newspaper attacks are certainly
shameless and scandalous, but I cannot agree with you, that they
have us in their power “to destroy us as they please.” I certainly
get my share of abuse, but it will not disturb me.

Your movement of the troops was not countermanded by me because I
thought it an unwise one in itself, but because I was not then
ready for it. I had better information of Price’s movements than
you had, and I had no apprehension of an attack. I intended to
concentrate the forces on that line, but I wished the movement
delayed until I could determine on a better position.

After receiving Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson’s report, I made
precisely the location you had ordered. I was desirous at the time
not to prevent the advance of Price by any movement on our part,
hoping that he would move on Lexington; but finding that he had
determined to remain at Osceola for some time at least, I made the
movement you proposed. As you could not know my plans, you and
others may have misconstrued the reason of my countermanding your

I hope to see you well enough for duty soon. Our organization goes
on slowly, but we will effect it in time. Yours truly,


And subsequently, in a letter to Hon. Thomas Ewing, in answer to
some inquiries involving the same general subject, General Halleck
wrote as follows:

Hon. THOMAS EWING, Lancaster, Ohio.

DEAR SIR: Your note of the 13th, and one of this date, from Mr.
Sherman, in relation to Brigadier-General Sherman’s having being
relieved from command in Sedalia, in November last, are just
received. General Sherman was not put in command at Sedalia; he
was authorized to assume it, and did so for a day or two. He did
not know my plans, and his movement of troops did not accord with
them. I therefore directed him to leave them as they were, and
report here the result of his inspection, for which purpose be had
been ordered there.

No telegram or dispatch of any kind was sent by me, or by any one
with my knowledge or authority, in relation to it. After his
return here, I gave him a leave of absence of twenty days, for the
benefit of his health. As I was then pressing General McClellan
for more officers, I deemed it necessary to explain why I did so.
I used these words: “I am satisfied that General Sherman’s physical
and mental system is so completely broken by labor and care as to
render him, for the present, unfit for duty; perhaps a few weeks’
rest may restore him.” This was the only communication I made on
the subject. On no occasion have I ever expressed an opinion that
his mind was affected otherwise than by over-exertion; to have said
so would have done him the greatest injustice.

After General Sherman returned from his short leave, I found that
his health was nearly restored, and I placed him temporarily in
command of the camp of instruction, numbering over fifteen thousand
men. I then wrote to General McClellan that he would soon be able
to again take the field. I gave General Sherman a copy of my
letter. This is the total of my correspondence on the subject. As
evidence that I have every confidence in General Sherman, I have
placed him in command of Western Kentucky–a command only second in
importance in this department. As soon as divisions and columns
can be organized, I propose to send him into the field where he can
render most efficient service. I have seen newspaper squibs,
charging him with being “crazy,” etc. This is the grossest
injustice; I do not, however, consider such attacks worthy of
notice. The best answer is General Sherman’s present position, and
the valuable services he is rendering to the country. I have the
fullest confidence in him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

On returning to St. Louis, on the expiration of my leave of
absence, I found that General Halleck was beginning to move his
troops: one part, under General U. S. Grant, up the Tennessee
River; and another part, under General S. R. Curtis, in the
direction of Springfield, Missouri. General Grant was then at
Paducah, and General Curtis was under orders for Rolls. I was
ordered to take Curtis’s place in command of the camp of
instruction, at Benton Barracks, on the ground back of North St.
Louis, now used as the Fair Grounds, by the following order:

[Special Order No. 87].

St. Louis, December 23, 1861


Brigadier-General W. T. Sherman, United States Volunteers, is
hereby assigned to the command of the camp of instruction and post
of Benton Barracks. He will have every armed regiment and company
in his command ready for service at a moment’s warning, and will
notify all concerned that, when marching orders are received, it is
expected that they will be instantly obeyed; no excuses for delay
will be admitted. General Sherman will immediately report to these
headquarters what regiments and companies, at Benton Barracks, are
ready for the field.

By order of Major-General Halleck,

J. C. KELTEN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

I immediately assumed command, and found, in the building
constructed for the commanding officer, Brigadier-General Strong,
and the family of a captain of Iowa cavalry, with whom we boarded.
Major Curtis, son of General Curtis, was the adjutant-general, but
was soon relieved by Captain J. H. Hammond, who was appointed
assistant adjutant-general, and assigned to duty with me.

Brigadier-General Hurlbut was also there, and about a dozen
regiments of infantry and cavalry. I at once gave all matters
pertaining to the post my personal attention, got the regiments in
as good order as possible, kept up communication with General
Halleck’s headquarters by telegraph, and, when orders came for the
movement of any regiment or detachment, it moved instantly. The
winter was very wet, and the ground badly drained. The quarters
had been erected by General Fremont, under contract; they were mere
shells, but well arranged for a camp, embracing the Fair Grounds,
and some forty acres of flat ground west of it. I instituted
drills, and was specially ordered by General Halleck to watch
Generals Hurlbut and Strong, and report as to their fitness for
their commissions as brigadier-generals. I had known Hurlbut as a
young lawyer, in Charleston, South Carolina, before the Mexican
War, at which time he took a special interest in military matters,
and I found him far above the average in the knowledge of
regimental and brigade drill, and so reported. General Strong had
been a merchant, and he told me that he never professed to be a
soldier, but had been urged on the Secretary of War for the
commission of a brigadier-general, with the expectation of be
coming quartermaster or commissary-general. He was a good,
kind-hearted gentleman, boiling over with patriotism and zeal. I
advised him what to read and study, was considerably amused at his
receiving instruction from a young lieutenant who knew the company
and battalion drill, and could hear him practise in his room the
words of command, and tone of voice, “Break from the right, to
march to the left!” “Battalion, halt!” “Forward into line!” etc.
Of course I made a favorable report in his case. Among the
infantry and cavalry colonels were some who afterward rose to
distinction–David Stuart, Gordon Granger, Bussey, etc., etc.

Though it was mid-winter, General Halleck was pushing his
preparations most vigorously, and surely he brought order out of
chaos in St. Louis with commendable energy. I remember, one night,
sitting in his room, on the second floor of the Planters’ House,
with him and General Cullum, his chief of staff, talking
of things generally, and the subject then was of the much-talked-of
“advance,” as soon as the season would permit. Most people urged
the movement down the Mississippi River; but Generals Polk and
Pillow had a large rebel force, with heavy guns in a very strong
position, at Columbus, Kentucky, about eighteen miles below Cairo.
Commodore Foote had his gunboat fleet at Cairo; and General U. S.
Grant, who commanded the district, was collecting a large force at
Paducah, Cairo, and Bird’s Point. General Halleck had a map on his
table, with a large pencil in his hand, and asked, “where is the
rebel line?” Cullum drew the pencil through Bowling Green, Forts
Donelson and Henry, and Columbus, Kentucky. “That is their line,”
said Halleck. “Now, where is the proper place to break it?” And
either Cullum or I said, “Naturally the centre.” Halleck drew a
line perpendicular to the other, near its middle, and it coincided
nearly with the general course of the Tennessee River; and he said,
“That’s the true line of operations.” This occurred more than a
month before General Grant began the movement, and, as he was
subject to General Halleck’s orders, I have always given Halleck
the full credit for that movement, which was skillful, successful,
and extremely rich in military results; indeed, it was the first
real success on our side in the civil war. The movement up the
Tennessee began about the 1st of February, and Fort Henry was
captured by the joint action of the navy under Commodore Foote, and
the land forces under General Grant, on the 6th of February, 1862.
About the same time, General S. R. Curtis had moved forward from
Rolls, and, on the 8th of March, defeated the rebels under
McCulloch, Van Dom, and Price, at Pea Ridge.

As soon as Fort Henry fell, General Grant marched straight across
to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, invested the place, and,
as soon as the gunboats had come round from the Tennessee, and had
bombarded the water-front, he assaulted; whereupon Buckner
surrendered the garrison of twelve thousand men; Pillow and
ex-Secretary of War General Floyd having personally escaped across
the river at night, occasioning a good deal of fun and criticism at
their expense.

Before the fall of Donelson, but after that of Henry, I received,
at Benton Barracks, the following orders:

St. Louis, February,13, 1862

Brigadier-General SHERMAN, Benton Barracks:

You will immediately repair to Paducah, Kentucky, and assume
command of that post. Brigadier-General Hurlbut will accompany
you. The command of Benton Barracks will be turned over to General

H. W. HALECK, Major-General.

I started for Paducah the same day, and think that General Cullum
went with me to Cairo; General Halleck’s purpose being to push
forward the operations up the Tennessee River with unusual vigor.
On reaching Paducah, I found this dispatch:

St. Louis, February 15, 1862

Brigadier-General SHERMAN, Paducah, Kentucky:

Send General Grant every thing you can spare from Paducah and Smith
and also General Hurlbut.

Bowling Green has been evacuated entirely.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

The next day brought us news of the surrender of Buckner, and
probably at no time during the war did we all feel so heavy a
weight raised from our breasts, or so thankful for a most fruitful
series of victories. They at once gave Generals Halleck, Grant,
and C. F. Smith, great fame. Of course, the rebels let go their
whole line, and fell back on Nashville and Island No. Ten, and to
the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Everybody was anxious to help.
Boats passed up and down constantly, and very soon arrived the
rebel prisoners from Donelson. I saw General Buckner on the boat,
he seemed self-sufficient, and thought their loss was not really so
serious to their cause as we did.

About this time another force of twenty or twenty-five thousand men
was collected on the west bank of the Mississippi, above Cairo,
under the command of Major-General John Pope, designed to become
the “Army of the Mississippi,” and to operate, in conjunction with
the navy, down the river against the enemy’s left flank, which had
held the strong post of Columbus, Kentucky, but which, on the fall
of Fort Donelson, had fallen back to New Madrid and Island No. 10.




By the end of February, 1862, Major-General Halleck commanded all
the armies in the valley of the Mississippi, from his headquarters
in St: Louis. These were, the Army of the Ohio, Major-General
Buell, in Kentucky; the Army of the Tennessee, Major-General Grant,
at Forts Henry and Donelson; the Army of the Mississippi,
Major-General Pope; and that of General S. R. Curtis, in Southwest
Missouri. He posted his chief of staff, General Cullum, at Cairo,
and me at Paducah, chiefly to expedite and facilitate the important
operations then in progress up the Tennessee, and Cumberland

Fort Donelson had surrendered to General Grant on the 16th of
February, and there must have been a good deal of confusion
resulting from the necessary care of the wounded, and disposition
of prisoners, common to all such occasions, and there was a real
difficulty in communicating between St. Louis and Fort Donelson.

General Buell had also followed up the rebel army, which had
retreated hastily from Bowling Green to and through Nashville, a
city of so much importance to the South, that it was at one time
proposed as its capital. Both Generals Grant and Buell looked to
its capture as an event of great importance. On the 21st General
Grant sent General Smith with his division to Clarksville, fifty
miles above Donelson, toward Nashville, and on the 27th went
himself to Nashville to meet and confer with General Buell, but
returned to Donelson the next day.

Meantime, General Halleek at St. Louis must have felt that his
armies were getting away from him, and began to send dispatches to
me at Paducah, to be forwarded by boat, or by a rickety
telegraph-line up to Fort Henry, which lay entirely in a hostile
country, and was consequently always out of repair. On the 1st of
March I received the following dispatch, and forwarded it to
General Grant, both by the telegraph and boat:

To General GRANT, Fort Henry

Transports will be sent you as soon as possible, to move your
column up the Tennessee River. The main object of this expedition
will be to destroy the railroad-bridge over Bear Creek, near
Eastport, Mississippi; and also the railroad connections at
Corinth, Jackson, and Humboldt. It is thought best that these
objects be attempted in the order named. Strong detachments of
cavalry and light artillery, supported by infantry, may by rapid
movements reach these points from the river, without any serious

Avoid any general engagements with strong forces. It will be
better to retreat than to risk a general battle. This should be
strongly impressed on the officers sent with expeditions from the
river. General C. F. Smith or some very discreet officer should be
selected for such commands. Having accomplished these objects, or
such of them as may be practicable, you will return to Danville,
and move on Paris.

Perhaps the troops sent to Jackson and Humbolt can reach Paris by
land as easily as to return to the transports. This must depend on
the character of the roads and the position of the enemy. All
telegraphic lines which can be reached must be cut. The gunboats
will accompany the transports for their protection. Any loyal
Tenneaseeans who desire it, may be enlisted and supplied with arms.
Competent officers should be left to command Forts Henry and
Donelson in your absence. I have indicated in general terms the
object of this.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

Again on the 2d:

Cairo, March 1, 1862

To General GRANT:

General Halleck, February 25th, telegraphs me: “General Grant will
send no more forces to Clarksville. General Smith’s division will
come to Fort Henry, or a point higher up on the Tennessee River;
transports will also be collected at Paducah. Two gunboats in
Tennessee River with Grant. General Grant will immediately have
small garrisons detailed for Forts Henry and Donelson, and all
other forces made ready for the field”

From your letter of the 28th, I learn you were at Fort Donelson,
and General Smith at Nashville, from which I infer you could not
have received orders. Halleck’s telegram of last night says: “Who
sent Smith’s division to Nashville? I ordered it across to the
Tennessee, where they are wanted immediately. Order them back.
Send all spare transports up Tennessee to General Grant.”
Evidently the general supposes you to be on the Tennessee. I am
sending all the transports I can find for you, reporting to General
Sherman for orders to go up the Cumberland for you, or, if you
march accross to Fort Henry, then to send them up the Tennessee.

G. W. CULLUM, Brigadier-General.

On the 4th came this dispatch:

To Major-General U. S. GRANT

You will place Major-General 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.

Halleck was evidently working himself into a passion, but he was
too far from the seat of war to make due allowance for the actual
state of facts. General Grant had done so much, that General
Halleck should have been patient. Meantime, at Paducah, I was busy
sending boats in every direction–some under the orders of General
Halleck, others of General Cullum; others for General Grant, and
still others for General Buell at Nashville; and at the same time I
was organizing out of the new troops that were arriving at Paducah
a division for myself when allowed to take the field, which I had
been promised by General Halleck. His purpose was evidently to
operate up the Tennessee River, to break up Bear Creek Bridge and
the railroad communications between the Mississippi and Tennessee
Rivers, and no doubt he was provoked that Generals Grant and Smith
had turned aside to Nashville. In the mean time several of the
gunboats, under Captain Phelps, United States Navy, had gone up the
Tennessee as far as Florence, and on their return had reported a
strong Union feeling among the people along the river. On the 10th
of March, having received the necessary orders from General
Halleck, I embarked my division at Paducah. It was composed of
four brigades. The First, commanded by Colonel S. G. Hicks, was
composed of the Fortieth Illinois, Forty-sixth Ohio, and Morton’s
Indiana Battery, on the boats Sallie List, Golden Gate, J. B.
Adams, and Lancaster.

The Second Brigade, Colonel D. Stuart, was composed of the
Fifty-fifth Illinois, Seventy-first Ohio, and Fifty-fourth Ohio;
embarked on the Hannibal, Universe, Hazel Dell, Cheeseman, and
Prairie Rose.

The Third Brigade, Colonel Hildebrand, was composed of the
Seventy-seventh Ohio, Fifty-seventh Ohio, and Fifty-third Ohio;
embarked on the Poland, Anglo-Saxon, Ohio No. Three, and

The Fourth Brigade, Colonel Buckland, was composed of the
Seventy-second Ohio, Forty-eighth Ohio, and Seventieth Ohio;
embarked on the Empress, Baltic, Shenango, and Marrengo.

We steamed up to Fort Henry, the river being high and in splendid
order. There I reported in person to General C. F. Smith, and by
him was ordered a few miles above, to the remains of the burned
railroad bridge, to await the rendezvous of the rest of his army.
I had my headquarters on the Continental.

Among my colonels I had a strange character–Thomas Worthington,
colonel of the Forty-sixth Ohio. He was a graduate of West Point,
of the class of 1827; was, therefore, older than General Halleck,
General Grant, or myself, and claimed to know more of war than all
of us put together. In ascending the river he did not keep his
place in the column, but pushed on and reached Savannah a day
before the rest of my division. When I reached that place, I found
that Worthington had landed his regiment, and was flying about
giving orders, as though he were commander-in-chief. I made him
get back to his boat, and gave him to understand that he must
thereafter keep his place. General C. F. Smith arrived about the
13th of March, with a large fleet of boats, containing Hurlbut’s
division, Lew. Wallace’s division, and that of himself, then
commanded by Brigadier-General W. H. L. Wallace.

General Smith sent for me to meet him on his boat, and ordered me
to push on under escort of the two gunboats, Lexington and Tyler,
commanded by Captains Gwin and Shirk, United States Navy. I was to
land at some point below Eastport, and make a break of the Memphis
& Charleston Railroad, between Tuscumbia and Corinth. General
Smith was quite unwell, and was suffering from his leg, which was
swollen and very sore, from a mere abrasion in stepping
into a small boat. This actually mortified, and resulted in his
death about a month after, viz., April 25, 1862. He was ad-
jutant of the Military Academy during the early part of my
career there, and afterward commandant of cadets. He was a very
handsome and soldierly man, of great experience, and at Donelson
had acted with so much personal bravery that to him many attributed
the success of the assault.

I immediately steamed up the Tennessee River, following the two
gunboats, and, in passing Pittsburg Landing, was told by Captain
Gwin that, on his former trip up the river, he had found a rebel
regiment of cavalry posted there, and that it was the usual
landing-place for the people about Corinth, distant thirty miles.
I sent word back to General Smith that, if we were detained up the
river, he ought to post some troops at Pittsburg Landing. We went
on up the river cautiously, till we saw Eastport and Chickasaw,
both of which were occupied by rebel batteries and a small rebel
force of infantry.

We then dropped back quietly to the mouth of Yellow River, a few
miles below, whence led a road to Burnsville, a place on the
Memphis & Charleston road, where were the company’s repair-shops.
We at once commenced disembarking the command: first the cavalry,
which started at once for Burnsville, with orders to tear up the
railroad-track, and burn the depots, shops, etc; and I followed
with the infantry and artillery as fast as they were disembarked.
It was raining very hard at the time. Daylight found us about six
miles out, where we met the cavalry returning. They had made
numerous attempts to cross the streams, which had become so swollen
that mere brooks covered the whole bottom; and my aide-de-camp,
Sanger, whom I had dispatched with the cavalry, reported the loss,
by drowning, of several of the men. The rain was pouring in
torrents, and reports from the rear came that the river was rising
very fast, and that, unless we got back to our boats soon, the
bottom would be simply impassable. There was no alternative but to
regain our boats; and even this was so difficult, that we had to
unharness the artillery-horses, and drag the guns under water
through the bayous, to reach the bank of the river. Once more
embarked, I concluded to drop down to Pittsburg Landing, and to
make the attempt from there. During the night of the 14th, we
dropped down to Pittsburg Landing, where I found Hurlbut’s division
in boats. Leaving my command there, I steamed down to Savannah,
and reported to General Smith in person, who saw in the flooded
Tennessee the full truth of my report; and he then instructed me to
disembark my own division, and that of General Hurlbut, at
Pittsburg Landing; to take positions well back, and to leave room
for his whole army; telling me that he would soon come up in
person, and move out in force to make the lodgment on the railroad,
contemplated by General Halleck’s orders.

Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, of General C. F. Smith’s, or rather
General Halleck’s, staff, returned with me, and on the 16th of
March we disembarked and marched out about ten miles toward
Corinth, to a place called Monterey or Pea Ridge, where the rebels
had a cavalry regiment, which of course decamped on our approach,
but from the people we learned that trains were bringing large
masses of men from every direction into Corinth. McPherson and I
reconnoitred the ground well, and then returned to our boats. On
the 18th, Hurlbut disembarked his division and took post about a
mile and a half out, near where the roads branched, one leading to
Corinth and the other toward Hamburg. On the 19th I disembarked my
division, and took post about three miles back, three of the
brigades covering the roads to Purdy and Corinth, and the other
brigade (Stuart’s) temporarily at a place on the Hamburg Road, near
Lick Creek Ford, where the Bark Road came into the Hamburg Road.
Within a few days, Prentiss’s division arrived and camped on my
left, and afterward McClernand’s and W. H. L. Wallace’s divisions,
which formed a line to our rear. Lew Wallace’s division remained
on the north side of Snake Creek, on a road leading from Savannah
or Cramp’s Landing to Purdy.

General C. F. Smith remained back at Savannah, in chief command,
and I was only responsible for my own division. I kept pickets
well out on the roads, and made myself familiar with all the ground
inside and outside my lines. My personal staff was composed of
Captain J. H. Hammond, assistant adjutant-general; Surgeons
Hartshorn and L’Hommedieu; Lieutenant Colonels Hascall and Sanger,
inspector-generals; Lieutenants McCoy and John Taylor,
aides-de-camp. We were all conscious that the enemy was collecting
at Corinth, but in what force we could not know, nor did we know
what was going on behind us. On the 17th of March, General U. S.
Grant was restored to the command of all the troops up the
Tennessee River, by reason of General Smith’s extreme illness, and
because he had explained to General Halleck satisfactorily his
conduct after Donelson; and he too made his headquarters at
Savannah, but frequently visited our camps. I always acted on the
supposition that we were an invading army; that our purpose was to
move forward in force, make a lodgment on the Memphis & Charleston
road, and thus repeat the grand tactics of Fort Donelson, by
separating the rebels in the interior from those at Memphis and on
the Mississippi River. We did not fortify our camps against an
attack, because we had no orders to do so, and because such a
course would have made our raw men timid. The position was
naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold
stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front; and Lick
Creek, with a similar confluent, on our left, thus narrowing the
space over which we could be attacked to about a mile and a half or
two miles.

At a later period of the war, we could have rendered this position
impregnable in one night, but at this time we did not do it, and it
may be it is well we did not. From about the 1st of April we were
conscious that the rebel cavalry in our front was getting bolder
and more saucy; and on Friday, the 4th of April, it dashed down and
carried off one of our picket-guards, composed of an officer and
seven men, posted a couple of miles out on the Corinth road.
Colonel Buckland sent a company to its relief, then followed
himself with a regiment, and, fearing lest he might be worsted, I
called out his whole brigade and followed some four or five miles,
when the cavalry in advance encountered artillery. I then, after
dark, drew back to our lines, and reported the fact by letter to
General Grant, at Savannah; but thus far we had not positively
detected the presence of infantry, for cavalry regiments generally
had a couple of guns along, and I supposed the guns that opened on
the on the evening of Friday, April 4th, belonged to the cavalry
that was hovering along our whole front.

Saturday passed in our camps without any unusual event, the weather
being wet and mild, and the roads back to the steamboat landing
being heavy with mud; but on Sunday morning, the 6th, early, there
was a good deal of picket-firing, and I got breakfast, rode out
along my lines, and, about four hundred yards to the front of
Appler’s regiment, received from some bushes in a ravine to the
left front a volley which killed my orderly, Holliday. About the
same time I saw the rebel lines of battle in front coming down on
us as far as the eye could reach. All my troops were in line of
battle, ready, and the ground was favorable to us. I gave the
necessary orders to the battery (Waterhouse’s) attached to
Hildebrand’s brigade, and cautioned the men to reserve their fire
till the rebels had crossed the ravine of Owl Creek, and had begun
the ascent; also, sent staff-officers to notify Generals McClernand
and Prentiss of the coming blow. Indeed, McClernand had already
sent three regiments to the support of my left flank, and they were
in position when the onset came.

In a few minutes the battle of “Shiloh” began with extreme fury,
and lasted two days. Its history has been well given, and it has
been made the subject of a great deal of controversy. Hildebrand’s
brigade was soon knocked to pieces, but Buckland’s and McDowell’s
kept their organization throughout. Stuart’s was driven back to
the river, and did not join me in person till the second day of the
battle. I think my several reports of that battle are condensed
and good, made on the spot, when all the names and facts were fresh
in my memory, and are herewith given entire:


Captain Wm. McMICHAEL, Assistant Adjutant-General to General C. F
SMITH, Savannah, Tennessee.

SIR: Last night I dispatched a party of cavalry, at 6 p.m., under
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, for a
strong reconnoissance, if possible, to be converted into an attack
upon the Memphis road. The command got off punctually, followed at
twelve o’clock at night by the First Brigade of my division,
commanded by Colonel McDowell, the other brigades to follow in

About one at night the cavalry returned, reporting the road
occupied in force by the enemy, with whose advance-guard they
skirmished, driving them back–about a mile, taking two prisoners,
and having their chief guide, Thomas Maxwell, Esq., and three men
of the Fourth Illinois wounded.

Inclosed please find the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath; also a
copy of his instructions, and tile order of march. As soon as the
cavalry returned, I saw that an attempt on the road was frustrated,
and accordingly have placed McDowell’s brigade to our right front,
guarding the pass of Snake Creek; Stuart’s brigade to the left
front, to watch the pass of Lick Creek; and I shall this morning
move directly out on the Corinth road, about eight miles to or
toward Pea Ridge, which is a key-point to the southwest.

General Hurlbut’s division will be landed to-day, and the artillery
and infantry disposed so as to defend Pittsburg, leaving my
division entire for any movement by land or water.

As near as I can learn, there are five regiments of rebel infantry
at Purdy; at Corinth, and distributed along the railroad to Inca,
are probably thirty thousand men; but my information from prisoners
is very indistinct. Every road and path is occupied by the enemy’s
cavalry, whose, orders seem to be, to fire a volley, retire, again
fire and retire. The force on the Purdy road attacked and driven
by Major Bowman yesterday, was about sixty strong. That
encountered last night on the Corinth road was about five companies
of Tennessee cavalry, sent from Purdy about 2 p.m. yesterday.

I hear there is a force of two regiments on Pea Ridge, at the point
where the Purdy and Corinth roads come together.

I am satisfied we cannot reach the Memphis & Charleston road
without a considerable engagement, which is prohibited by General
Halleck’s instructions, so that I will be governed by your orders
of yesterday, to occupy Pittsburg strongly, extend the pickets so
as to include a semicircle of three miles, and push a strong
reconnoissance as far out as Lick Creek and Pea Ridge.

I will send down a good many boats to-day, to be employed as you
may direct; and would be obliged if you would send a couple of
thousand sacks of corn, as much hay as you can possibly spare, and,
if possible, a barge of coal.

I will send a steamboat under care of the gunboat, to collect corn
from cribs on the river-bank

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, commanding First Division.

Pittsburg, March 18, 1882.

Captain RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: The division surgeon having placed some one hundred or more
sick on board the Fanny Bullitt, I have permitted her to take them
to Savannah. There is neither house nor building of any kind that
can be used for a hospital here.

I hope to receive an order to establish floating hospitals, but in
the mean time, by the advise of the surgeon, allow these sick men
to leave. Let me hope that it will meet your approbation.

The order for debarkation came while General Sherman was absent
with three brigades, and no men are left to move the effects of
these brigades.

The landing, too, is small, with scarcely any chance to increase
it; therefore there is a great accumulation of boats. Colonel
McArthur has arrived, and is now cutting a landing for himself.

General Sherman will return this evening. I am obliged to
transgress, and write myself in the mean time,

Respectfully your obedient servant,

J. H. HAMMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S–4 p.m.–Just back; have been half-way to Corinth and to
Purdy. All right. Have just read this letter, and approve all but
floating hospitals; regimental surgeons can take care of all sick,
except chronic cases, which can always be sent down to Paducah.

Magnificent plain for camping and drilling, and a military point of
great strength. The enemy has felt us twice, at great loss and
demoralization; will report at length this evening; am now much
worn out.

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General.

Pittsburg Landing, March 19, 1862.

Captain RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT, Savannah, Tennessee.

SIR: I have just returned from an extensive reconnoissance toward
Corinth and Purdy, and am strongly impressed with the importance of
this position, both for its land advantages and its strategic
position. The ground itself admits of easy defense by a small
command, and yet affords admirable camping-ground for a hundred
thousand men. I will as soon as possible make or cause to be made
a topographical sketch of the position. The only drawback is that,
at this stage of water, the space for landing is contracted too
much for the immense fleet now here discharging.

I will push the loading and unloading of boats, but suggest that
you send at once (Captain Dodd, if possible) the best quartermaster
you can, that he may control and organize this whole matter. I
have a good commissary, and will keep as few provisions afloat as
possible. Yours, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding.

Camp Shiloh, near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, April 2, 1862

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: In obedience to General Grant’s instructions of March 31st,
with one section of Captain Muench’s Minnesota Battery, two
twelve-pound howitzers, a detachment of Fifth Ohio Cavalry of one
hundred and fifty men, under Major Ricker, and two battalions of
infantry from the Fifty-seventh and Seventy-seventh Ohio, under the
command of Colonels Hildebrand and Mungen, I marched to the river,
and embarked on the steamers Empress and Tecumseh. The gunboat
Cairo did not arrive at Pittsburg, until after midnight, and at 6
p.m. Captain Bryant, commanding the gunboat, notified me that he
was ready to proceed up the river. I followed, keeping the
transports within about three hundred yards of the gunboat. About
1 p.m., the Cairo commenced shelling the battery above the mouth of
Indian Creek, but elicited no reply. She proceeded up the river
steadily and cautiously, followed close by the Tyler and Lexington,
all throwing shells at the points where, on former visits of the
gunboats, enemy’s batteries were found. In this order all
followed, till it was demonstrated that all the enemy’s batteries,
including that at Chickasaw, were abandoned.

I ordered the battalion of infantry under Colonel Hildebrand to
disembark at Eastport, and with the other battalion proceeded to
Chickasaw and landed. The battery at this point had evidently been
abandoned some time, and consisted of the remains of an old Indian
mound, partly washed away by the river, which had been fashioned
into a two-gun battery, with a small magazine. The ground to its
rear had evidently been overflowed during the late freshet, and led
to the removal of the guns to Eastport, where the batteries were on
high, elevated ground, accessible at all seasons from the country
to the rear.

Upon personal inspection, I attach little importance to Chickasaw
as a military position. The people, who had fled during the
approach of the gunboats, returned to the village, and said the
place had been occupied by one Tennessee regiment and a battery of
artillery from Pensacola. After remaining. at Chickasaw some
hours, all the boats dropped back to Eastport, not more than a mile
below, and landed there. Eastport Landing during the late freshet
must have been about twelve feet under water, but at the present
stage the landing is the best I have seen on the Tennessee River.

The levee is clear of trees or snags, and a hundred boats could
land there without confusion.

The soil is of sand and gravel, and very firm. The road back is
hard, and at a distance of about four hundred yards from the water
begin the gravel hills of the country. The infantry scouts sent
out by Colonel Hildebrand found the enemy’s cavalry mounted, and
watching the Inca road, about two miles back of Eastport. The
distance to Inca is only eight miles, and Inca is the nearest point
and has the best road by which the Charleston & Memphis Railroad
can be reached. I could obtain no certain information as to the
strength of the enemy there, but am satisfied that it would have
been folly to have attempted it with my command. Our object being
to dislodge the enemy from the batteries recently erected near
Eastport, and this being attained, I have returned, and report the
river to be clear to and beyond Chickasaw.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Division.

CAMP SHILOH, April 5, 1862.

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General, District of
Western Tennessee.

SIR: I have the honor to report that yesterday, about 3 p.m., the
lieutenant commanding and seven men of the advance pickets
imprudently advanced from their posts and were captured. I ordered
Major Ricker, of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, to proceed rapidly to the
picket-station, ascertain the truth, and act according to
circumstances. He reached the station, found the pickets had been
captured as reported, and that a company of infantry sent by the
brigade commander had gone forward in pursuit of some cavalry. He
rapidly advanced some two miles, and found them engaged, charged
the enemy, and drove them along the Ridge road, till he
met and received three discharges of artillery, when he very
properly wheeled under cover, and returned till he met me.

As soon as I heard artillery, I advanced with two regiments of
infantry, and took position, and remained until the scattered
companies of infantry and cavalry had returned. This was after

I infer that the enemy is in some considerable force at Pea Ridge,
that yesterday morning they crossed a brigade of two regiments of
infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and one battery of
field-artillery, to the ridge on which the Corinth road lies. They
halted the infantry and artillery at a point abort five miles in my
front, sent a detachment to the lane of General Meeks, on the north
of Owl Creek, and the cavalry down toward our camp. This cavalry
captured a part of our advance pickets, and afterward engaged the
two companies of Colonel Buckland’s regiment, as described by him
in his report herewith inclosed. Our cavalry drove them back upon
their artillery and Infantry, killing many, and bringing off ten
prisoners, all of the First Alabama Cavalry, whom I send to you.

We lost of the pickets one first-lieutenant and seven men of the
Ohio Seventieth Infantry (list inclosed); one major, one
lieutenant, and one private of the Seventy-second Ohio, taken
prisoners; eight privates wounded (names in full, embraced in
report of Colonel Buckland, inclosed herewith).

We took ten prisoners, and left two rebels wounded and many killed
on the field.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, commanding Division.

Camp Shiloh, April 10, 1862.

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: I had the honor to report that, on Friday the 4th inst., the
enemy’s cavalry drove in our pickets, posted about a mile and a
half in advance of my centre, on the main Corinth road, capturing
one first-lieutenant and seven men;, that I caused a pursuit by the
cavalry of my division, driving them back about five miles, and
killing many. On Saturday the enemy’s cavalry was again very bold,
coming well down to our front; yet I did not believe they designed
any thing but a strong demonstration. On Sunday morning early, the
6th inst., the enemy drove our advance-guard back on the main body,
when I ordered under arms all my division, and sent word to General
McClernand, asking him to support my left; to General Prentiss,
giving him notice that the enemy was in our front in force, and to
General Hurlbut, asking him to support General Prentiss. At that
time–7 a.m.–my division was arranged as follows:

First Brigade, composed of the Sixth Iowa, Colonel J. A. McDowell;

Fortieth Illinois, Colonel Hicks; Forty-sixth Ohio, Colonel
Worthington; and the Morton battery, Captain Behr, on the extreme
right, guarding the bridge on the Purdy road over Owl Creek.

Second Brigade, composed of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, Colonel D.
Stuart; the Fifty-fourth Ohio, Colonel T. Kilby Smith; and the
Seventy-first Ohio, Colonel Mason, on the extreme left, guarding
the ford over Lick Creek.

Third Brigade, composed of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, Colonel
Hildebrand; the Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel Appler; and the
Fifty-seventh Ohio, Colonel Mungen, on the left of the Corinth
road, its right resting on Shiloh meeting-house.

Fourth Brigade, composed of the Seventy-second Ohio, Colonel
Buckland; the Forty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Sullivan; and the
Seventieth Ohio, Colonel Cookerill, on the right of the Corinth
road, its left resting on Shiloh meeting-house.

Two batteries of artillery–Taylor’s and Waterhouse’s–were posted,
the former at Shiloh, and the latter on a ridge to the left, with a
front-fire over open ground between Mungen’s and Appler’s
regiments. The cavalry, eight companies of the Fourth Illinois,
under Colonel Dickey, were posted in a large open field to the left
and rear of Shiloh meeting-house, which I regarded as the centre of
my position.

Shortly after 7 a.m., with my entire staff, I rode along a portion
of our front, and when in the open field before Appler’s regiment,
the enemy’s pickets opened a brisk fire upon my party, killing my
orderly, Thomas D. Holliday, of Company H, Second Illinois Cavalry.
The fire came from the bushes which line a small stream that rises
in the field in front of Appler’s camp, and flows to the north
along my whole front.

This valley afforded the enemy partial cover; but our men were so
posted as to have a good fire at them as they crossed the valley
and ascended the rising ground on our side.

About 8 a.m. I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of
infantry to our left front in the woods beyond the small stream
alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy
designed a determined attack on our whole camp.

All the regiments of my division were then in line of battle at
their proper posts. I rode to Colonel Appler, and ordered him to
hold his ground at all hazards, as he held the left flank of our
first line of battle, and I informed him that he had a good battery
on his right, and strong support to his rear. General McClernand
had promptly and energetically responded to my request, and had
sent me three regiments which were posted to protect Waterhouse’s
battery and the left flank of my line.

The battle opened by the enemy’s battery, in the woods to our
front, throwing shells into our camp. Taylor’s and Waterhouse’s
batteries promptly responded, and I then observed heavy battalions
of infantry passing obliquely to the left, across the open field in
Appler’s front; also, other columns advancing directly upon my
division. Our infantry and artillery opened along the whole line,
and the battle became general. Other heavy masses of the enemy’s
forces kept passing across the field to our left, and directing
their course on General Prentiss. I saw at once that the enemy
designed to pass my left flank, and fall upon Generals McClernand
and Prentiss, whose line of camps was almost parallel with the
Tennessee River, and about two miles back from it. Very soon the
sound of artillery and musketry announced that General Prentiss was
engaged; and about 9 A. M. I judged that he was falling back.
About this time Appler’s regiment broke in disorder, followed by
Mungen’s regiment, and the enemy pressed forward on Waterhouse’s
battery thereby exposed.

The three Illinois regiments in immediate support of this battery
stood for some time; but the enemy’s advance was so vigorous, and
the fire so severe, that when Colonel Raith, of the Forty-third
Illinois, received a severe wound and fell from his horse, his
regiment and the others manifested disorder, and the enemy got
possession of three guns of this (Waterhouse’s) battery. Although
our left was thus turned, and the enemy was pressing our whole
line, I deemed Shiloh so important, that I remained by it and
renewed my orders to Colonels McDowell and Buckland to hold their
ground; and we did hold these positions until about 10 a.m., when
the enemy had got his artillery to the rear of our left flank and
some change became absolutely necessary. Two regiments of
Hildebrand’s brigade–Appler’s and Mungen’s–had already
disappeared to the rear, and Hildebrand’s own regiment was in
disorder. I therefore gave orders for Taylor’s battery–still at
Shiloh–to fall back as far as the Purdy and Hamburg road, and for
McDowell and Buckland to adopt that road as their new line. I rode
across the angle and met Behr’s battery at the cross-roads, and
ordered it immediately to come into battery, action right. Captain
Behr gave the order, but he was almost immediately shot from his
horse, when drivers and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the
caissons, and abandoning five out of six guns, without firing a
shot. The enemy pressed on, gaining this battery, and we were
again forced to choose a new line of defense. Hildebrand’s brigade
had substantially disappeared from the field, though he himself
bravely remained. McDowell’s and Buckland’s brigades maintained
their organizations, and were conducted by my aides, so as to join
on General McClernand’s right, thus abandoning my original camps
and line. This was about 10 1/2 a.m., at which time the enemy had
made a furious attack on General McClernand’s whole front. He
straggled most determinedly, but, finding him pressed, I moved
McDowell’s brigade directly against the left flank of the enemy,
forced him back some distance, and then directed the men to avail
themselves of every cover-trees, fallen timber, and a wooded valley
to our right. We held this position for four long hours, sometimes
gaining and at others losing ground; General McClernand and myself
acting in perfect concert, and struggling to maintain this line.
While we were so hard pressed, two Iowa regiments approached from
the rear, but could not be brought up to the severe fire that was
raging in our front, and General Grant, who visited us on that
ground, will remember our situation about 3 p.m.; but about 4 p.m.
it was evident that Hurlbut’s line had been driven back to the
river; and knowing that General Lew Wallace was coming with
reinforcements from Cramp’s Landing, General McClernand and I, on
consultation, selected a new line of defense, with its right
covering a bridge by which General Wallace had to approach. We
fell back as well as we could, gathering in addition to our own
such scattered forces as we could find, and formed the new line.

During this change the enemy’s cavalry charged us, but were
handsomely repulsed by the Twenty-ninth Illinois Regiment. The
Fifth Ohio Battery, which had come up, rendered good service in
holding the enemy in check for some time, and Major Taylor also
came up with another battery and got into position, just in time to
get a good flank-fire upon the enemy’s column, as he pressed on
General McClernand’s right, checking his advance; when General
McClernand’s division made a fine charge on the enemy and drove him
back into the ravines to our front and right. I had a clear field,
about two hundred yards wide, in my immediate front, and contented
myself with keeping the enemy’s infantry at that distance during
the rest of the day. In this position we rested for the night.

My command had become decidedly of a mixed character. Buckland’s
brigade was the only one that retained its organization. Colonel
Hildebrand was personally there, but his brigade was not. Colonel
McDowell had been severely injured by a fall off his horse, and had
gone to the river, and the three regiments of his brigade were not
in line. The Thirteenth Missouri, Colonel Crafts J. Wright, had
reported to me on the field, and fought well, retaining its
regimental organization; and it formed a part of my line during
Sunday night and all Monday. Other fragments of regiments and
companies had also fallen into my division, and acted with it
during the remainder of the battle. General Grant and Buell
visited me in our bivouac that evening, and from them I learned the
situation of affairs on other parts of the field. General Wallace
arrived from Crump’s Landing shortly after dark, and formed his
line to my right rear. It rained hard during the night, but our
men were in good spirits, lay on their arms, being satisfied with
such bread and meat as could be gathered at the neighboring camps,
and determined to redeem on Monday the losses of Sunday.

At daylight of Monday I received General Grant’s orders to advance
and recapture our original camps. I dispatched several members of
my staff to bring up all the men they could find, especially the
brigade of Colonel Stuart, which had been separated from the
division all the day before; and at the appointed time the
division, or rather what remained of it, with the Thirteenth
Missouri and other fragments, moved forward and reoccupied the
ground on the extreme right of General McClernand’s camp, where we
attracted the fire of a battery located near Colonel McDowell’s
former headquarters. Here I remained, patiently waiting for the
sound of General Buell’s advance upon the main Corinth road. About
10 a.m. the heavy firing in that direction, and its steady
approach, satisfied me; and General Wallace being on our right
flank with his well-conducted division, I led the head of my column
to General McClernand’s right, formed line of battle, facing south,
with Backland’a brigade directly across the ridge, and Stuart’s
brigade on its right in the woods; and thus advanced, steadily and
slowly, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery. Taylor had
just got to me from the rear, where he had gone for ammunition, and
brought up three guns, which I ordered into position, to advance by
hand firing. These guns belonged to Company A, Chicago Light
Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant P. P. Wood, and did most
excellent service. Under cover of their fire, we advanced till we
reached the point where the Corinth road crosses the line of
McClernand’s camp, and here I saw for the first time the
well-ordered and compact columns of General Buell’s Kentucky
forces, whose soldierly movements at once gave confidence to our
newer and less disciplined men. Here I saw Willich’s regiment
advance upon a point of water-oaks and thicket, behind which I knew
the enemy was in great strength, and enter it in beautiful style.
Then arose the severest musketry-fire I ever heard, and lasted some
twenty minutes, when this splendid regiment had to fall back. This
green point of timber is about five hundred yards east of Shiloh
meeting-home, and it was evident here was to be the struggle. The
enemy could also be seen forming his lines to the south. General
McClernand sending to me for artillery, I detached to him the three
guns of Wood’s battery, with which he speedily drove them back,
and, seeing some others to the rear, I sent one of my staff to
bring them forward, when, by almost providential decree, they
proved to be two twenty-four pound howitzers belonging to
McAlister’s battery, and served as well as guns ever could be.

This was about 2 p.m. The enemy had one battery close by Shiloh,
and another near the Hamburg road, both pouring grape and canister
upon any column of troops that advanced upon the green point of
water-oaks. Willich’s regiment had been repulsed, but a whole
brigade of McCook’s division advanced beautifully, deployed, and
entered this dreaded wood. I ordered my second brigade (then
commanded by Colonel T. Kilby Smith, Colonel Smart being wounded)
to form on its right, and my fourth brigade, Colonel Bnekland, on
its right; all to advance abreast with this Kentucky brigade before
mentioned, which I afterward found to be Rousseau’s brigade of
McCook’s division. I gave personal direction to the twenty-four
pounder guns, whose well-directed fire first silenced the enemy’s
guns to the left, and afterward at the Shiloh meeting-house.

Rousseau’s brigade moved in splendid order steadily to the front,
sweeping every thing before it, and at 4 p.m. we stood upon the
ground of our original front line; and the enemy was in full
retreat. I directed my several brigades to resume at once their
original camps.

Several times during the battle, cartridges gave out; but General
Grant had thoughtfully kept a supply coming from the rear. When I
appealed to regiments to stand fast, although out of cartridges, I
did so because, to retire a regiment for any cause, has a bad
effect on others. I commend the Fortieth Illinois and Thirteenth
Missouri for thus holding their ground under heavy fire, although
their cartridge-boxes were empty.

I am ordered by General Grant to give personal credit where I think
it is due, and censure where I think it merited. I concede that
General McCook’s splendid division from Kentucky drove back the
enemy along the Corinth road, which was the great centre of this
field of battle, where Beauregard commanded in person, supported by
Bragg’s, Polk’s, and Breckenridge’s divisions. I think Johnston
was killed by exposing himself in front of his troops, at the time
of their attack on Buckland’s brigade on Sunday morning; although
in this I may be mistaken.

My division was made up of regiments perfectly new, nearly all
having received their muskets for the first time at Paducah. None
of them had ever been under fire or beheld heavy columns of an
enemy bearing down on them as they did on last Sunday.

To expect of them the coolness and steadiness of older troops would
be wrong. They knew not the value of combination and organization.
When individual fears seized them, the first impulse was to get
away. My third brigade did break much too soon, and I am not yet
advised where they were during Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Colonel Hildebrand, its commander, was as cool as any man I ever
saw, and no one could have made stronger efforts to hold his men to
their places than he did. He kept his own regiment with individual
exceptions in hand, an hour after Appler’s and Mungen’s regiments
had left their proper field of action. Colonel Buckland managed
his brigade well. I commend him to your notice as a cool,
intelligent, and judicious gentleman, needing only confidence and
experience, to make a good commander. His subordinates, Colonels
Sullivan and Cockerill, behaved with great gallantry; the former
receiving a severe wound on Sunday, and yet commanding and holding
his regiment well in hand all day, and on Monday, until his right
arm was broken by a shot. Colonel Cookerill held a larger
proportion of his men than any colonel in my division, and was with
me from first to last.

Colonel J. A. McDowell, commanding the first brigade, held his
ground on Sunday, till I ordered him to fall back, which he did in
line of battle; and when ordered, he conducted the attack on the
enemy’s left in good style. In falling back to the next position,
he was thrown from his horse and injured, and his brigade was not
in position on Monday morning. His subordinates, Colonels Hicks
and Worthington, displayed great personal courage. Colonel Hicks
led his regiment in the attack on Sunday, and received a wound,
which it is feared may prove mortal. He is a brave and gallant
gentleman, and deserves well of his country. Lieutenant-Colonel
Walcutt, of the Ohio Forty-sixth, was severely wounded on Sunday,
and has been disabled ever since. My second brigade, Colonel
Stuart, was detached nearly two miles from my headquarters. He had
to fight his own battle on Sunday, against superior numbers, as the
enemy interposed between him and General Prentiss early in the day.
Colonel Stuart was wounded severely, and yet reported for duty on
Monday morning, but was compelled to leave during the day, when the
command devolved on Colonel T. Kilby Smith, who was always in the
thickest of the, fight, and led the brigade handsomely.

I have not yet received Colonel Stuart’s report of the operations
of his brigade during the time he was detached, and must therefore
forbear to mention names. Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle, of the
Seventy-first, was mortally wounded on Sunday, but the regiment
itself I did not see, as only a small fragment of it was with the
brigade when it joined the division on Monday morning. Great
credit is due the fragments of men of the disordered regiments who
kept in the advance. I observed and noticed them, but until the
brigadiers and colonels make their reports, I cannot venture to
name individuals, but will in due season notice all who kept in our
front line, as well as those who preferred to keep back near the
steamboat-landing. I will also send a full list of the killed,
wounded, and missing, by name, rank, company, and regiment. At
present I submit the result in figures:

[Summary of General Sherman’s detailed table:] Killed …………………… 318
Wounded ………………….. 1275
Missing ………………….. 441
Aggregate loss in the division: 2034

The enemy captured seven of our guns on Sunday, but on Monday we
recovered seven; not the identical guns we had lost, but enough in
number to balance the account. At the time of recovering our camps
our men were so fatigued that we could not follow the retreating
masses of the enemy; but on the following day I followed up with
Buckland’s and Hildebrand’s brigade for six miles, the result of
which I have already reported.

Of my personal staff, I can only speak with praise and thanks. I
think they smelled as much gunpowder and heard as many cannon-balls
and bullets as must satisfy their ambition. Captain Hammond, my
chief of staff, though in feeble health, was very active in
rallying broken troops, encouraging the steadfast and aiding to
form the lines of defense and attack. I recommend him to your
notice. Major Sanger’s intelligence, quick perception, and rapid
execution, were of very great value to me, especially in bringing
into line the batteries that cooperated so efficiently in our
movements. Captains McCoy and Dayton, aides-de-camp, were with me
all the time, carrying orders, and acting with coolness, spirit,
and courage. To Surgeon Hartshorne and Dr. L’Hommedieu hundreds of
wounded men are indebted for the kind and excellent treatment
received on the field of battle and in the various temporary
hospitals created along the line of our operations. They worked
day and night, and did not rest till all the wounded of our own
troops as well as of the enemy were in safe and comfortable
shelter. To Major Taylor, chief of artillery, I feel under deep
obligations, for his good sense and judgment in managing the
batteries, on which so much depended. I inclose his report and
indorse his recommendations. The cavalry of my command kept to the
rear, and took little part in the action; but it would have been
madness to have exposed horses to the musketry-fire under which we
were compelled to remain from Sunday at 8 a.m. till Monday at
4 p.m. Captain Kossack, of the engineers, was with me all the time,
and was of great assistance. I inclose his sketch of the battle-
field, which is the best I have seen, and which will enable you to
see the various positions occupied by my division, as well as of
the others that participated in the battle. I will also send in,
during the day, the detailed reports of my brigadiers and colonels,
and will indorse them with such remarks as I deem proper.

I am, with much respect, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Fifth Division.

Tuesday, April 8,1862

Sir: With the cavalry placed at my command and two brigades of my
fatigued troops, I went this morning out on the Corinth road. One
after another of the abandoned camps of the enemy lined the roads,
with hospital flags for their protection; at all we found more or
less wounded and dead men. At the forks of the road I found the
head of General T. J. Wood’s division of Buell’s Army. I ordered
cavalry to examine both roads leading toward Corinth, and found the
enemy on both. Colonel Dickey, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry,
asking for reenforcements, I ordered General Wood to advance the
head of his column cautiously on the left-hand road, while I
conducted the head of the third brigade of my division up the
right-hand road. About half a mile from the forks was a clear
field, through which the road passed, and, immediately beyond, a
space of some two hundred yards of fallen timber, and beyond that
an extensive rebel camp. The enemy’s cavalry could be seen in this
camp; after reconnoiesance, I ordered the two advance companies of
the Ohio Seventy-seventh, Colonel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as
skirmishers, and the regiment itself forward into line, with an
interval of one hundred yards. In this order we advanced
cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged. Taking it for
granted this disposition would clear the camp, I held Colonel
Dickey’s Fourth Illinois Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy’s
cavalry came down boldly at a charge, led by General Forrest in
person, breaking through our line of skirmishers; when the regiment
of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets, and
fled. The ground was admirably adapted for a defense of infantry
against cavalry, being miry and covered with fallen timber.

As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey’s Cavalry began to
discharge their carbines, and fell into disorder. I instantly sent
orders to the rear for the brigade to form line of battle, which
was promptly executed. The broken infantry and cavalry rallied on
this line, and, as the enemy’s cavalry came to it, our cavalry in
turn charged and drove them from the field. I advanced the entire
brigade over the same ground and sent Colonel Dickey’s cavalry a
mile farther on the road. On examining the ground which had been
occupied by the Seventy-seventh Ohio, we found fifteen of our men
dead and about twenty-five wounded. I sent for wagons and had all
the wounded carried back to camp, and caused the dead to be buried,
also the whole rebel camp to be destroyed.

Here we found much ammunition for field-pieces, which was
destroyed; also two caissons, and a general hospital, with about
two hundred and eighty Confederate wounded, and about fifty of our
own wounded men. Not having the means of bringing them off,
Colonel Dickey, by my orders, took a surrender, signed by the
medical director (Lyle) and by all the attending surgeons, and a
pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war; also a
pledge that our wounded should be carefully attended to, and
surrendered to us to-morrow as soon as ambulances could go out. I
inclose this written document, and request that you cause wagons or
ambulances for our wounded to be sent to-morrow, and that wagons’
be sent to bring in the many tents belonging to us which are
pitched along the road for four miles out. I did not destroy them,
because I knew the enemy could not move them. The roads are very
bad, and are strewed with abandoned wagons, ambulances, and
limber-boxes. The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns,
but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind limber-boxes
of at least twenty caissons. I am satisfied the enemy’s infantry
and artillery passed Lick Creek this morning, traveling all of last
night, and that he left to his rear all his cavalry, which has
protected his retreat; but signs of confusion and disorder mark the
whole road. The check sustained by us at the fallen timber delayed
our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were
provided for and the dead buried, and our troops being fagged out
by three days’ hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered
them back to their camps, where they now are.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Division.

General Grant did not make an official report of the battle of
Shiloh, but all its incidents and events were covered by the
reports of division commanders and Subordinates. Probably no
single battle of the war gave rise to such wild and damaging
reports. It was publicly asserted at the North that our army was
taken completely by surprise; that the rebels caught us in our
tents; bayoneted the men in their beds; that General Grant was
drunk; that Buell’s opportune arrival saved the Army of the
Tennessee from utter annihilation, etc. These reports were in a
measure sustained by the published opinions of Generals Buell,
Nelson, and others, who had reached the steamboat-landing from the
east, just before nightfall of the 6th, when there was a large
crowd of frightened, stampeded men, who clamored and declared that
our army was all destroyed and beaten. Personally I saw General
Grant, who with his staff visited me about 10 a.m. of the 6th,
when we were desperately engaged. But we had checked the headlong
assault of our enemy, and then held our ground. This gave him
great satisfaction, and he told me that things did not look as well
over on the left. He also told me that on his way up from Savannah
that morning he had stopped at Crump’s Landing, and had ordered Lew
Wallace’s division to cross over Snake Creek, so as to come up on
my right, telling me to look out for him. He came again just
before dark, and described the last assault made by the rebels at
the ravine, near the steamboat-landing, which he had repelled by a
heavy battery collected under Colonel J. D. Webster and other
officers, and he was convinced that the battle was over for that
day. He ordered me to be ready to assume the offensive in the
morning, saying that, as he had observed at Fort Donelson at the
crisis of the battle, both sides seemed defeated, and whoever
assumed the offensive was sure to win. General Grant also
explained to me that General Buell had reached the bank of the
Tennessee River opposite Pittsburg Landing, and was in the act of
ferrying his troops across at the time he was speaking to me.

About half an hour afterward General Buell himself rode up to where
I was, accompanied by Colonels Fry, Michler, and others of his
staff. I was dismounted at the time, and General Buell made of me
a good many significant inquiries about matters and things
generally. By the aid of a manuscript map made by myself, I
pointed out to him our positions as they had been in the morning,
and our then positions; I also explained that my right then covered
the bridge over Snake Creek by which we had all day been expecting
Lew Wallace; that McClernand was on my left, Hurlbut on his left,
and so on. But Buell said he had come up from the landing, and had
not seen our men, of whose existence in fact he seemed to doubt. I
insisted that I had five thousand good men still left in line, and
thought that McClernand had as many more, and that with what was
left of Hurlbut’s, W. H. L. Wallace’s, and Prentiss’s divisions, we
ought to have eighteen thousand men fit for battle. I reckoned
that ten thousand of our men were dead, wounded, or prisoners, and
that the enemy’s loss could not be much less. Buell said that
Nelson’s, McCook’s, and Crittendens divisions of his army,
containing eighteen thousand men, had arrived and could cross over
in the night, and be ready for the next day’s battle. I argued
that with these reenforcements we could sweep the field. Buell
seemed to mistrust us, and repeatedly said that he did not like the
looks of things, especially about the boat-landing,–and I really
feared he would not cross over his army that night, lest he should
become involved in our general disaster. He did not, of course,
understand the shape of the ground, and asked me for the use of my
map, which I lent him on the promise that he would return it. He
handed it to Major Michler to have it copied, and the original
returned to me, which Michler did two or three days after the
battle. Buell did cross over that night, and the next day we
assumed the offensive and swept the field, thus gaining the battle
decisively. Nevertheless, the controversy was started and kept up,
mostly to the personal prejudice of General Grant, who as usual
maintained an imperturbable silence.

After the battle, a constant stream of civilian surgeons, and
sanitary commission agents, men and women, came up the Tennessee to
bring relief to the thousands of maimed and wounded soldiers for
whom we had imperfect means of shelter and care. These people
caught up the camp-stories, which on their return home they
retailed through their local papers, usually elevating their own
neighbors into heroes, but decrying all others: Among them was
Lieutenant-Governor Stanton, of Ohio, who published in Belfontaine,
Ohio, a most abusive article about General Grant and his
subordinate generals. As General Grant did not and would not take
up the cudgels, I did so. My letter in reply to Stanton, dated
June 10, 1862, was published in the Cincinnati Commercial soon
after its date. To this Lieutenant-Governor Stanton replied, and I
further rejoined in a letter dated July 12, 1862. These letters
are too personal to be revived. By this time the good people of
the North had begun to have their eyes opened, and to give us in
the field more faith and support. Stanton was never again elected
to any public office, and was commonly spoken of as “the late Mr.
Stanton.” He is now dead, and I doubt not in life he often
regretted his mistake in attempting to gain popular fame by abusing
the army-leaders, then as now an easy and favorite mode of gaining
notoriety, if not popularity. Of course, subsequent events gave
General Grant and most of the other actors in that battle their
appropriate place in history, but the danger of sudden popular
clamors is well illustrated by this case.

Tho battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, was one of the most
fiercely contested of the war. On the morning of April 6, 1862,
the five divisions of McClernand, Prentiss, Hurlbut, W. H. L.
Wallace, and Sherman, aggregated about thirty-two thousand men. We
had no intrenchments of any sort, on the theory that as soon as
Buell arrived we would march to Corinth to attack the enemy. The
rebel army, commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston, was,
according to their own reports and admissions, forty-five thousand
strong, had the momentum of attack, and beyond all question fought
skillfully from early morning till about 2 a.m., when their
commander-in-chief was killed by a Mini-ball in the calf of his
leg, which penetrated the boot and severed the main artery. There
was then a perceptible lull for a couple of hours, when the attack
was renewed, but with much less vehemence, and continued up to
dark. Early at night the division of Lew Wallace arrived from the
other side of Snake Creek, not having fired a shot. A very small
part of General Buell’s army was on our side of the Tennessee River
that evening, and their loss was trivial.

During that night, the three divisions of McCook, Nelson, and
Crittenden, were ferried across the Tennessee, and fought with us
the next day (7th). During that night, also, the two wooden
gunboats, Tyler, commanded by Lieutenant Groin, and Lexington,
Lieutenant Shirk, both of the regular navy, caused shells to be
thrown toward that part of the field of battle known to be occupied
by the enemy. Beauregard afterward reported his entire loss as ten
thousand six hundred and ninety-nine. Our aggregate loss, made up
from official statements, shows seventeen hundred killed, seven
thousand four hundred and ninety-five wounded, and three thousand
and twenty-two prisoners; aggregate, twelve thousand two hundred
and seventeen, of which twenty-one hundred and sixty-seven were in
Buell’s army, leaving for that of Grant ten thousand and fifty.
This result is a fair measure of the amount of fighting done by
each army.




While, the “Army of the Tennessee,” under Generals Grant and C. F.
Smith, was operating up the Tennessee River, another force, styled
the “Army of the Mississippi,” commanded by Major-General John
Pope, was moving directly down the Mississippi River, against that
portion of the rebel line which, under Generals Polk and Pillow,
had fallen back from Columbus, Kentucky, to Island Number Ten and
New Madrid. This army had the full cooperation of the gunboat
fleet, commanded by Admiral Foote, and was assisted by the high
flood of that season, which enabled General Pope, by great skill
and industry, to open a canal from a point above Island Number Ten
to New Madrid below, by which he interposed between the rebel army
and its available line of supply and retreat. At the very time
that we were fighting the bloody battle on the Tennessee River,
General Pope and Admiral Foote were bombarding the batteries on
Island Number Ten, and the Kentucky shore abreast of it; and
General Pope having crossed over by steamers a part of his army to
the east bank, captured a large part of this rebel army, at and
near Tiptonville.

General Halleck still remained at St. Louis, whence he gave general
directions to the armies of General Curtis, Generals Grant, Buell,
and Pope; and instead of following up his most important and
brilliant successes directly down the Mississippi, he concluded to
bring General Pope’s army around to the Tennessee, and to come in
person to command there. The gunboat fleet pushed on down the
Mississippi, but was brought up again all standing by the heavy
batteries at Fort Pillow, about fifty miles above Memphis. About
this time Admiral Farragut, with another large sea-going fleet, and
with the cooperating army of General Butler, was entering the
Mississippi River by the Passes, and preparing to reduce Forts
Jackson and St, Philip in order to reach New Orleans; so that all
minds were turned to the conquest of the Mississippi River, and
surely adequate means were provided for the undertaking.

The battle of Shiloh had been fought, as described, on the 6th and
7th of April; and when the movement of the 8th had revealed that
our enemy was gone, in full retreat, leaving killed, wounded, and
much property by the way, we all experienced a feeling of relief.
The struggle had been so long, so desperate and bloody, that the
survivors seemed exhausted and nerveless; we appreciated the value
of the victory, but realized also its great cost of life. The
close of the battle had left the Army of the Tennessee on the
right, and the Army of the Ohio on the left; but I believe neither
General Grant nor Buell exercised command, the one over the other;
each of them having his hands full in repairing damages. All the
division, brigade, and regimental commanders were busy in
collecting stragglers, regaining lost property, in burying dead men
and horses, and in providing for their wounded. Some few new
regiments came forward, and some changes of organization became
necessary. Then, or very soon after, I consolidated my font
brigades into three, which were commanded: First, Brigadier-General
Morgan L: Smith; Second, Colonel John A. McDowell; Third,
Brigadier-General J. W. Denver. About the same time I was promoted
to major-general volunteers.

The Seventy-first Ohio was detached to Clarksville, Tennessee, and
the Sixth and Eighth Missouri were transferred to my division.

In a few days after the battle, General Halleck arrived by
steamboat from St. Louis, pitched his camp near the steamboat-
landing, and assumed personal command of all the armies. He was
attended by his staff, composed of General G. W. Cullum, U. S.
Engineers, as his chief of staff; Colonel George Thom, U. S.
Engineers; and Colonels Kelton and Kemper, adjutants-general. It
soon became manifest that his mind had been prejudiced by the
rumors which had gone forth to the detriment of General Grant; for
in a few days he issued an order, reorganizing and rearranging the
whole army. General Buell’s Army of the Ohio constituted the
centre; General Pope’s army, then arriving at Hamburg Landing, was
the left; the right was made up of mine and Hurlbut’s divisions,
belonging to the old Army of the Tennessee, and two new ones, made
up from the fragments of the divisions of Prentiss and C. F. Smith,
and of troops transferred thereto, commanded by Generals T. W.
Sherman and Davies. General George H. Thomas was taken from Buell,
to command the right. McClernand’s and Lew Wallace’s divisions
were styled the reserve, to be commanded by McClernand. General
Grant was substantially left out, and was named “second in
command,” according to some French notion, with no clear,
well-defined command or authority. He still retained his old
staff, composed of Rawlins, adjutant-general; Riggin, Lagow, and
Hilyer, aides; and he had a small company of the Fourth Illinois
Cavalry as an escort. For more than a month he thus remained,
without any apparent authority, frequently visiting me and others,
and rarely complaining; but I could see that he felt deeply the
indignity, if not insult, heaped upon him.

General Thomas at once assumed command of the right wing, and,
until we reached Corinth, I served immediately under his command.
We were classmates, intimately acquainted, had served together
before in the old army, and in Kentucky, and it made to us little
difference who commanded the other, provided the good cause

Corinth was about thirty miles distant, and we all knew that we
should find there the same army with which we had so fiercely
grappled at Shiloh, reorganized, reenforced, and commanded in chief
by General Beauregard in place of Johnston, who had fallen at
Shiloh. But we were also reenforced by Buell’s and Pope’s armies;
so that before the end of April our army extended from Snake Creek
on the right to the Tennessee River, at Hamburg, on the left, and
must have numbered nearly one hundred thousand men.

Ample supplies of all kinds reached us by the Tennessee River,
which had a good stage of water; but our wagon transportation was
limited, and much confusion occurred in hauling supplies to the
several camps. By the end of Aril, the several armies seemed to be
ready, and the general forward movement on Corinth began. My
division was on the extreme right of the right wing, and marched
out by the “White House,” leaving Monterey or Pea Ridge to the
south. Crossing Lick Creek, we came into the main road about a
mile south of Monterey, where we turned square to the right, and
came into the Purdy road, near “Elams.” Thence we followed the
Purdy road to Corinth, my skirmishers reaching at all times the
Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Of course our marches were governed by the
main centre, which followed the direct road from Pittsburg Landing
to Corinth; and this movement was provokingly slow. We fortified
almost every camp at night, though we had encountered no serious
opposition, except from cavalry, which gave ground easily as we
advanced. The opposition increased as we neared Corinth, and at a
place called Russell’s we had a sharp affair of one brigade, under
the. immediate direction of Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith,
assisted by the brigade of General Denver. This affair occurred on
the 19th of May, and our line was then within about two miles of
the northern intrenchments of Corinth.

On the 27th I received orders from General Halleck “to send a force
the next day to drive the rebels from the house in our front, on
the Corinth road, to drive in their pickets as far as possible, and
to make a strong demonstration on Corinth itself;” authorizing me
to call on any adjacent division for assistance.

I reconnoitred the ground carefully, and found that the main road
led forward along the fence of a large cotton-field to our right
front, and ascended a wooded hill, occupied in some force by the
enemy, on which was the farm-house referred to in General Halleck’s
orders. At the farther end of the field was a double log-house,
whose chinking had been removed; so that
it formed a good block house from which the enemy could fire
on any person approaching from our quarter.

General Hurlbut’s division was on my immediate left, and General
McClernand’s reserve on our right rear. I asked of each the
assistance of a brigade. The former sent General Veatch’s, and the
latter General John A. Logan’s brigade. I asked the former to
support our left flank, and the latter our right flank. The next
morning early, Morgan L. Smith’s brigade was deployed under cover
on the left, and Denver’s on the right, ready to move forward
rapidly at a signal. I had a battery of four twenty-pound Parrott
guns, commanded by Captain Silversparre. Colonel Ezra Taylor,
chief of artillery, had two of these guns moved up silently by hand
behind a small knoll, from the crest of which the enemy’s
block-house and position could be distinctly seen; when all were
ready, these guns were moved to the crest, and several quick rounds
were fired at the house, followed after an interval by a single
gum. This was the signal agreed on, and the troops responded
beautifully, crossed the field in line of battle, preceded by their
skirmishers who carried the position in good style, and pursued the
enemy for half a mile beyond.

The main line halted on the crest of the ridge, from which we could
look over the parapets of the rebel works at Corinth, and hear
their drum and bugle calls. The rebel brigade had evidently been
taken by surprise in our attack; it soon rallied and came back on
us with the usual yell, driving in our skirmishers, but was quickly
checked when it came within range of our guns and line of battle.
Generals Grant and Thomas happened to be with me during this
affair, and were well pleased at the handsome manner in which the
troops behaved. That night we began the usual entrenchments, and
the next day brought forward the artillery and the rest of the
division, which then extended from the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, at
Bowie Hill Out, to the Corinth & Purdy road, there connecting with
Hurlbut’s division. That night, viz., May 29th, we heard unusual
sounds in Corinth, the constant whistling of locomotives, and soon
after daylight occurred a series of explosions followed by a dense
smoke rising high over the town. There was a telegraph line
connecting my headquarters with those of General Halleck, about
four miles off, on the Hamburg road. I inquired if he knew the
cause of the explosions and of the smoke, and he answered to
“advance with my division and feel the enemy if still in my front”
I immediately dispatched two regiments from each of my three
brigades to feel the immediate front, and in a very short time
advanced with the whole division. Each brigade found the rebel
parapets abandoned, and pushed straight for the town, which lies in
the northeast angle of intersection of the Mobile & Ohio and
Memphis & Charleston Railroads. Many buildings had been burned by
the enemy on evacuation, which had begun the night before at 6
p.m., and continued through the night, the rear-guard burning their
magazine at the time of withdrawing, about daybreak. Morgan L.
Smith’s brigade followed the retreating rear-guard some four miles
to the Tuacumbia Bridge, which was found burned. I halted the
other brigades at the college, about a mile to the southwest of the
town, where I was overtaken by General Thomas in person.

The heads of all the columns had entered the rebel lines about the
same time, and there was some rather foolish clamor for the first
honors, but in fact there was no honor in the event. Beauregard
had made a clean retreat to the south, and was only seriously
pursued by cavalry from General Pope’s flank. But he reached
Tupelo, where he halted for reorganization; and there is no doubt
that at the moment there was much disorganization in his ranks, for
the woods were full of deserters whom we did not even take
prisoners, but advised them to make their way home and stay there.
We spent the day at and near the college, when General Thomas, who
applied for orders at Halleck’s headquarters, directed me to
conduct my division back to the camp of the night before, where we
had left our trains The advance on Corinth had occupied all of the
month of May, the most beautiful and valuable month of the year for
campaigning in this latitude. There had been little fighting, save
on General Pope’s left flank about Farmington; and on our right. I
esteemed it a magnificent drill, as it served for the instruction
of our men in guard and picket duty, and in habituating them to
out-door life; and by the time we had reached Corinth I believe
that army was the best then on this continent, and could have gone
where it pleased. The four subdivisions were well commanded, as
were the divisions and brigades of the whole army. General Halleck
was a man of great capacity, of large acquirements, and at the time
possessed the confidence of the country, and of most of the army.
I held him in high estimation, and gave him credit for the
combinations which had resulted in placing this magnificent army of
a hundred thousand men, well equipped and provided, with a good
base, at Corinth, from which he could move in any direction.

Had he held his force as a unit, he could have gone to Mobile, or
Vicksburg, or anywhere in that region, which would by one move have
solved the whole Mississippi problem; and, from what he then told
me, I believe he intended such a campaign, but was overruled from
Washington. Be that as it may, the army had no sooner settled down
at Corinth before it was scattered: General Pope was called to the
East, and his army distributed among the others; General Thomas was
relieved from the command of the right wing, and reassigned to his
division in the Army of the Ohio; and that whole army under General
Buell was turned east along the Memphis & Charleston road, to march
for Chattanooga. McClernand’s “reserve” was turned west to Bolivar
and Memphis. General Halleck took post himself at Corinth,
assigned Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson to take charge of the
railroads, with instructions to repair them as far as Columbus,
Kentucky, and to collect cars and locomotives to operate them to
Corinth and Grand Junction. I was soon dispatched with my own and
Hurlbut’s divisions northwest fourteen miles to Chewalla, to save
what could be of any value out of six trains of cars belonging to
the rebels which had been wrecked and partially burned at the time
of the evacuation of Corinth.

A short time before leaving Corinth I rode from my camp to General
Halleck’s headquarters, then in tents just outside of the town,
where we sat and gossiped for some time, when he mentioned to me
casually that General Grant was going away the next morning. I
inquired the cause, and he said that he did not know, but that
Grant had applied for a thirty days’ leave, which had been given
him. Of course we all knew that he was chafing under the slights
of his anomalous position, and I determined to see him on my way
back. His camp was a short distance off the Monterey road, in the
woods, and consisted of four or five tents, with a sapling railing
around the front. As I rode up, Majors Rawlins, Lagow, and Hilyer,
were in front of the camp, and piled up near them were the usual
office and camp chests, all ready for a start in the morning. I
inquired for the general, and was shown to his tent, where I found
him seated on a camp-stool, with papers on a rude camp-table; he
seemed to be employed in assorting letters, and tying them up with
red tape into convenient bundles. After passing the usual
compliments, I inquired if it were true that he was going away. He
said, “Yes.” I then inquired the reason, and he said “Sherman, you
know. You know that I am in the way here. I have stood it as long
as I can, and can endure it no longer.” I inquired where he was
going to, and he said, “St. Louis.” I then asked if he had any
business there, and he said, “Not a bit.” I then begged him to
stay, illustrating his case by my own.

Before the battle of Shiloh, I had been cast down by a mere
newspaper assertion of “crazy;” but that single battle had given me
new life, and now I was in high feather; and I argued with him
that, if he went away, events would go right along, and he would be
left out; whereas, if he remained, some happy accident might
restore him to favor and his true place. He certainly appreciated
my friendly advice, and promised to wait awhile; at all events, not
to go without seeing me again, or communicating with me. Very soon
after this, I was ordered to Chewalla, where, on the 6th of June, I
received a note from him, saying that he had reconsidered his
intention, and would remain. I cannot find the note, but my answer
I have kept:

Chewalla, Jane 6, 1862.

Major-General GRANT.

My DEAR SIR: I have just received your note, and am rejoiced at
your conclusion to remain; for you could not be quiet at home for a
week when armies were moving, and rest could not relieve your mind
of the gnawing sensation that injustice had been done you.

My orders at Chewalla were to rescue the wrecked trains there, to
reconnoitre westward and estimate the amount of damage to the
railroad as far as Grand Junction, about fifty miles. We camped
our troops on high, healthy ground to the south of Chewalla, and
after I had personally reconnoitred the country, details of men
were made and volunteer locomotive engineers obtained to
superintend the repairs. I found six locomotives and about sixty
cars, thrown from the track, parts of the machinery detached and
hidden in the surrounding swamp, and all damaged as much by fire as
possible. It seems that these trains were inside of Corinth during
the night of evacuation, loading up with all sorts of commissary
stores, etc., and about daylight were started west; but the
cavalry-picket stationed at the Tuscumbia bridge had, by mistake or
panic, burned the bridge before the trains got to them. The
trains, therefore, were caught, and the engineers and guards
hastily scattered the stores into the swamp, and disabled the
trains as far as they could, before our cavalry had discovered
their critical situation. The weather was hot, and the swamp
fairly stunk with the putrid flour and fermenting sugar and
molasses; I was so much exposed there in the hot sun, pushing
forward the work, that I got a touch of malarial fever, which hung
on me for a month, and forced me to ride two days in an ambulance,
the only time I ever did such a thing during the whole war. By the
7th I reported to General Halleck that the amount of work necessary
to reestablish the railroad between Corinth and Grand Junction was
so great, that he concluded not to attempt its repair, but to rely
on the road back to Jackson (Tennessee), and forward to Grand
Junction; and I was ordered to move to Grand Junction, to take up
the repairs from there toward Memphis.

The evacuation of Corinth by Beauregard, and the movements of
General McClernand’s force toward Memphis, had necessitated the
evacuation of Fort Pillow, which occurred about June 1st; soon
followed by the further withdrawal of the Confederate army from
Memphis, by reason of the destruction of the rebel gunboats in the
bold and dashing attack by our gun-boats under command of Admiral
Davis, who had succeeded Foote. This occurred June 7th. Admiral
Farragut had also captured New Orleans after the terrible passage
of Forts Jackson and St. Philip on May 24th, and had ascended the
river as high as Vicksburg; so that it seemed as though, before the
end of June, we should surely have full possession of the whole
river. But it is now known that the progress of our Western armies
had aroused the rebel government to the exercise of the most
stupendous energy. Every man capable of bearing arms at the South
was declared to be a soldier, and forced to act as such. All their
armies were greatly reenforced, and the most despotic power was
granted to enforce discipline and supplies. Beauregard was
replaced by Bragg, a man of more ability–of greater powers of
organization, of action, and discipline–but naturally exacting and
severe, and not possessing the qualities to attract the love of his
officers and men. He had a hard task to bring into order and
discipline that mass of men to whose command he succeeded at
Tupelo, with which he afterward fairly outmanoeuvred General Buell,
and forced him back from Chattanooga to Louisville. It was a fatal
mistake, however, that halted General Halleck at Corinth, and led
him to disperse and scatter the best materials for a fighting army
that, up to that date, had been assembled in the West.

During the latter part of June and first half of July, I had my own
and Hurlbut’s divisions about Grand Junction, Lagrange, Moscow, and
Lafayette, building railroad-trestles and bridges, fighting off
cavalry detachments coming from the south, and waging an
everlasting quarrel with planters about their negroes and fences–
they trying, in the midst of moving armies, to raise a crop of
corn. On the 17th of June I sent a detachment of two brigades,
under General M. L. Smith, to Holly Springs, in the belief that I
could better protect the railroad from some point in front than by
scattering our men along it; and, on the 23d, I was at Lafayette
Station, when General Grant, with his staff and a very
insignificant escort, arrived from Corinth en route for Memphis, to
take command of that place and of the District of West Tennessee.
He came very near falling into the hands of the enemy, who infested
the whole country with small but bold detachments of cavalry. Up
to that time I had received my orders direct from General Halleck
at Corinth, but soon after I fell under the immediate command of
General Grant and so continued to the end of the war; but, on the
29th, General Halleck notified me that “a division of troops under
General C. S. Hamilton of ‘Rosecrans’s army corps,’ had passed the
Hatchie from Corinth,” and was destined for Holly Springs, ordering
me to “cooperate as far as advisable,” but “not to neglect the
protection of the road.” I ordered General Hurlbut to leave
detachments at Grand Junction and Lagrange, and to march for Holly
Springs. I left detachments at Moscow and Lafayette, and, with
about four thousand men, marched for the same point. Hurlbut and I
met at Hudsonville, and thence marched to the Coldwater, within
four miles of Holly Springs. We encountered only small detachments
of rebel cavalry under Colonels Jackson and Pierson, and drove them
into and through Holly Springs; but they hung about, and I kept an
infantry brigade in Holly Springs to keep them out. I heard
nothing from General Hamilton till the 5th of July, when I received
a letter from him dated Rienzi, saying that he had been within
nineteen miles of Holly Springs and had turned back for Corinth;
and on the next day, July 6th, I got a telegraph order from General
Halleck, of July 2d, sent me by courier from Moscow, “not to
attempt to hold Holly Springs, but to fall back and protect the
railroad.” We accordingly marched back twenty-five miles–Hurlbut
to Lagrange, and I to Moscow. The enemy had no infantry nearer
than the Tallahatchee bridge, but their cavalry was saucy and
active, superior to ours, and I despaired of ever protecting a
railroad, preventing a broad front of one hundred miles, from their

About this time, we were taunted by the Confederate soldiers and
citizens with the assertion that Lee had defeated McClellan at
Richmond; that he would soon be in Washington; and that our turn
would come next. The extreme caution of General Halleck also
indicated that something had gone wrong, and, on the 16th of July,
at Moscow, I received a dispatch from him, announcing that he had
been summoned to Washington, which he seemed to regret, and which
at that moment I most deeply deplored. He announced that his
command would devolve on General Grant, who had been summoned
around from Memphis to Corinth by way of Columbus, Kentucky, and
that I was to go into Memphis to take command of the District of
West Tennessee, vacated by General Grant. By this time, also, I
was made aware that the great, army that had assembled at Corinth
at the end of May had been scattered and dissipated, and that
terrible disasters had befallen our other armies in Virginia and
the East.

I soon received orders to move to Memphis, taking Hurlbut’s
division along. We reached Memphis on the 21st, and on the 22d I
posted my three brigades mostly in and near Fort Dickering, and
Hurlbut’s division next below on the river-bank by reason of the
scarcity of water, except in the Mississippi River itself. The
weather was intensely hot. The same order that took us to Memphis
required me to send the division of General Lew Wallace (then
commanded by Brigadier-General A. P. Hovey) to Helena, Arkansas, to
report to General Curtis, which was easily accomplished by
steamboat. I made my own camp in a vacant lot, near Mr. Moon’s
house, and gave my chief attention to the construction of Fort
Pickering, then in charge of Major Prime, United States Engineers;
to perfecting the drill and discipline of the two divisions under
my command; and to the administration of civil affairs.

At the time when General Halleck was summoned from Corinth to
Washington, to succeed McClellan as commander-in-chief, I surely
expected of him immediate and important results. The Army of the
Ohio was at the time marching toward Chattanooga, and was strung
from Eastport by Huntsville to Bridgeport, under the command of
General Buell. In like manner, the Army of the Tennessee was
strung along the same general line, from Memphis to Tuscumbia, and
was commanded by General Grant, with no common commander for both
these forces: so that the great army which General Halleck had so
well assembled at Corinth, was put on the defensive, with a
frontage of three hundred miles. Soon thereafter the rebels
displayed peculiar energy and military skill. General Bragg had
reorganized the army of Beauregard at Tupelo, carried it rapidly
and skillfully toward Chattanooga, whence he boldly assumed the
offensive, moving straight for Nashville and Louisville, and
compelling General Buell to fall back to the Ohio River at

The army of Van Dorn and Price had been brought from the
trans-Mississippi Department to the east of the river, and was
collected at and about Holly Springs, where, reenforced by
Armstrong’s and Forrests cavalry, it amounted to about forty
thousand brave and hardy soldiers. These were General Grant’s
immediate antagonists, and so many and large detachments had been
drawn from him, that for a time he was put on the defensive. In
person he had his headquarters at Corinth, with the three divisions
of Hamilton, Davies, and McKean, under the immediate orders of
General Rosecrans. General Ord had succeeded to the division of
McClernand (who had also gone to Washington), and held Bolivar and
Grand Junction. I had in Memphis my own and Hurlbut’s divisions,
and other smaller detachments were strung along the Memphis &
Charleston road. But the enemy’s detachments could strike this
road at so many points, that no use could be made of it, and
General Grant had to employ the railroads, from Columbus, Kentucky,
to Corinth and Grand Junction, by way of Jackson, Tennessee, a
point common to both roads, and held in some force.

In the early part of September the enemy in our front manifested
great activity, feeling with cavalry at all points, and on the 13th
General Van Dorn threatened Corinth, while General Price seized the
town of Iuka, which was promptly abandoned by a small garrison
under Colonel Murphy. Price’s force was about eight thousand men,
and the general impression was that he was en route for Eastport,
with the purpose to cross the Tennessee River in the direction of
Nashville, in aid of General Bragg, then in full career for
Kentucky. General Grant determined to attack him in force,
prepared to regain Corinth before Van Dorn could reach it. He had
drawn Ord to Corinth, and moved him, by Burnsville, on Iuka, by the
main road, twenty-six miles. General Grant accompanied this column
as far as Burnsville. At the same time he had dispatched Rosecrans
by roads to the south, via Jacinto, with orders to approach Iuka by
the two main roads, coming into Iuka from the south, viz., they
Jacinto and Fulton roads.

On the 18th General Ord encountered the enemy about four miles out
of Iuka. His orders contemplated that he should not make a serious
attack, until Rosecrans had gained his position on the south; but,
as usual, Rosecrans had encountered difficulties in the confusion
of roads, his head of column did not reach the vicinity of Iuka
till 4 p.m. of the 19th, and then his troops were long drawn out
on the single Jacinto road, leaving the Fulton road clear for
Price’s use. Price perceived his advantage, and attacked with
vehemence the head of Rosecrans’s column, Hamilton’s division,
beating it back, capturing a battery, and killing and disabling
seven hundred and thirty-six men, so that when night closed in
Rosecrans was driven to the defensive, and Price, perceiving his
danger, deliberately withdrew by the Fulton road, and the next
morning was gone. Although General Ord must have been within four
or six miles of this battle, he did not hear a sound; and he or
General Grant did not know of it till advised the next morning by a
courier who had made a wide circuit to reach them. General Grant
was much offended with General Rosecrans because of this affair,
but in my experience these concerted movements generally fail,
unless with the very best kind of troops, and then in a country on
whose roads some reliance can be placed, which is not the case in
Northern Mississippi. If Price was aiming for Tennessee; he
failed, and was therefore beaten. He made a wide circuit by the
south, and again joined Van Dorn.

On the 6th of September, at Memphis, I received an order from
General Grant dated the 2d, to send Hurlbut’s division to
Brownsville, in the direction of Bolivar, thence to report by
letter to him at Jackson. The division started the same day, and,
as our men and officers had been together side by side from the
first landing at Shiloh, we felt the parting like the breaking up
of a family. But General Grant was forced to use every man, for he
knew well that Van Dorn could attack him at pleasure, at any point
of his long line. To be the better prepared, on the 23d of
September he took post himself at Jackson, Tennessee, with a small
reserve force, and gave Rosecrans command of Corinth, with his
three divisions and some detachments, aggregating about twenty
thousand men. He posted General Ord with his own and Hurlbut’a
divisions at Bolivar, with outposts toward Grand Junction and
Lagrange. These amounted to nine or ten thousand men, and I held
Memphis with my own division, amounting to about six thousand men.
The whole of General Grant’s men at that time may have aggregated
fifty thousand, but he had to defend a frontage of a hundred and
fifty miles, guard some two hundred miles of railway, and as much
river. Van Dom had forty thousand men, united, at perfect liberty
to move in any direction, and to choose his own point of attack,
under cover of woods, and a superior body of cavalry, familiar with
every foot of the ground. Therefore General Grant had good reason
for telegraphing to General Halleck, on the 1st of October, that
his position was precarious, “but I hope to get out of it all
right.” In Memphis my business was to hold fast that important
flank, and by that date Fort Dickering had been made very strong,
and capable of perfect defense by a single brigade. I therefore
endeavored by excursions to threaten Van Dorn’s detachments to the
southeast and east. I repeatedly sent out strong detachments
toward Holly Springs, which was his main depot of supply; and
General Grierson, with his Sixth Illinois, the only cavalry I had,
made some bold and successful dashes at the Coldwater, compelling
Van Dorn to cover it by Armstrong’s whole division of cavalry.
Still, by the 1st of October, General Grant was satisfied that the
enemy was meditating an attack in force on Bolivar or Corinth; and
on the 2d Van Dorn made his appearance near Corinth, with his
entire army. On the 3d he moved down on that place from the north
and northwest, General Roseerana went out some four miles to meet
him, but was worsted and compelled to fall back within the line of
his forts. These had been began under General Halleck, but were
much strengthened by General Grant, and consisted of several
detached redoubts, bearing on each other, and inclosing the town
and the depots of stores at the intersection of the two railroads.
Van Dorn closed down on the forts by the evening of the 3d, and on
the morning of the 4th assaulted with great vehemence. Our men,
covered by good parapets, fought gallantly, and defended their
posts well, inflicting terrible losses on the enemy, so that by
noon the rebels were repulsed at all points, and drew off, leaving
their dead and wounded in our hands. Their losses, were variously
estimated, but the whole truth will probably never be known, for in
that army reports and returns were not the fashion. General
Rosecrans admitted his own loss to be three hundred and fifteen
killed, eighteen hundred and twelve wounded, and two hundred and
thirty-two missing or prisoners, and claimed on the part of the
rebels fourteen hundred and twenty-three dead, two thousand and
twenty-five prisoners and wounded. Of course, most of the wounded
must have gone off or been carried off, so that, beyond doubt, the
rebel army lost at Corinth fully six thousand men.

Meantime, General Grant, at Jackson, had dispatched Brigadier-
General McPherson, with a brigade, directly for Corinth, which
reached General Rosecrans after the battle; and, in anticipation of
his victory, had ordered him to pursue instantly, notifying him
that he had ordered Ord’s and Hurlbut’s divisions rapidly across to
Pocahontas, so as to strike the rebels in flank. On the morning of
the 5th, General Ord reached the Hatchie River, at Davies bridge,
with four thousand men; crossed over and encountered the retreating
army, captured a battery and several hundred prisoners, dispersing
the rebel advance, and forcing the main column to make a wide
circuit by the south in order to cross the Hatchie River. Had
General Rosecrans pursued promptly, and been on the heels of this
mass of confused and routed men, Van Dorn’s army would surely have
been utterly ruined; as it was, Van Dom regained Holly Springs
somewhat demoralized.

General Rosecrans did not begin his pursuit till the next morning,
the 5th, and it was then too late. General Grant was again
displeased with him, and never became fully reconciled. General
Rosecrans was soon after relieved, and transferred to the Army of
the Cumberland, in Tennessee, of which he afterward obtained the
command, in place of General Buell, who was removed.

The effect of the battle of Corinth was very great. It was,
indeed, a decisive blow to the Confederate cause in our quarter,
and changed the whole aspect of affairs in West Tennessee. From
the timid defensive we were at once enabled to assume the bold
offensive. In Memphis I could see its effects upon the citizens,
and they openly admitted that their cause had sustained a
death-blow. But the rebel government was then at its maximum
strength; Van Dorn was reenforced, and very soon Lieutenant-General
J. C. Pemberton arrived and assumed the command, adopting for his
line the Tallahatchie River, with an advance-guard along the
Coldwater, and smaller detachments forward at Grand Junction and
Hernando. General Grant, in like manner, was reenforced by new

Out of those which were assigned to Memphis, I organized two new
brigades, and placed them under officers who had gained skill and
experience during the previous campaign.



JULY, 1882 TO JANUARY, 1883

When we first entered Memphis, July 21,1862, I found the place
dead; no business doing, the stores closed, churches, schools, and
every thing shut up. The people were all more or less in sympathy
with our enemies, and there was a strong prospect that the whole
civil population would become a dead weight on our hands. Inasmuch
as the Mississippi River was then in our possession northward, and
steamboats were freely plying with passengers and freight, I caused
all the stores to be opened, churches, schools, theatres, and
places of amusement, to be reestablished, and very soon Memphis
resumed its appearance of an active, busy, prosperous place. I
also restored the mayor (whose name was Parks) and the city
government to the performance of their public functions, and
required them to maintain a good civil police.

Up to that date neither Congress nor the President had made any
clear, well-defined rules touching the negro slaves, and the
different generals had issued orders according to their own
political sentiments. Both Generals Halleck and Grant regarded the
slave as still a slave, only that the labor of the slave belonged
to his owner, if faithful to the Union, or to the United States, if
the master had taken up arms against the Government, or adhered to
the fortunes of the rebellion. Therefore, in Memphis, we received
all fugitives, put them to work on the fortifications, supplied
them with food and clothing, and reserved the question of payment
of wages for future decision. No force was allowed to be used to
restore a fugitive slave to his master in any event; but if the
master proved his loyalty, he was usually permitted to see his
slave, and, if he could persuade him to return home, it was
permitted. Cotton, also, was a fruitful subject of controversy.
The Secretary of the Treasury; Mr. Chase, was extremely anxious at
that particular time to promote the purchase of cotton, because
each bale was worth, in gold, about three hundred dollars, and
answered the purpose of coin in our foreign exchanges. He
therefore encouraged the trade, so that hundreds of greedy
speculators flocked down the Mississippi, and resorted to all sorts
of measures to obtain cotton from the interior, often purchasing it
from negroes who did not own it, but who knew where it was
concealed. This whole business was taken from the jurisdiction of
the military, and committed to Treasury agents appointed by Mr.

Other questions absorbed the attention of military commanders; and
by way of illustration I here insert a few letters from my
“letter-book,” which contains hundreds on similar subjects:

Memphis, Tennessee, August 11, 1862

Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.

Sir: Your letter of August 2d, just received, invites my discussion
of the cotton question.

I will write plainly and slowly, because I know you have no time to
listen to trifles. This is no trifle; when one nation is at war
with another, all the people of the one are enemies of the other:
then the rules are plain and easy of understanding. Most
unfortunately, the war in which we are now engaged has been
complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other
are not enemies. It would have been better if, at the outset, this
mistake had not been made, and it is wrong longer to be misled by
it. The Government of the United States may now safely proceed on
the proper rule that all in the South are enemies of all in the
North; and not only are they unfriendly, but all who can procure
arms now bear them as organized regiments, or as guerrillas. There
is not a garrison in Tennessee where a man can go beyond the sight
of the flag-staff without being shot or captured. It so happened
that these people had cotton, and, whenever they apprehended our
large armies would move, they destroyed the cotton in the belief
that, of course, we world seize it, and convert it to our use.
They did not and could not dream that we would pay money for it.
It had been condemned to destruction by their own acknowledged
government, and was therefore lost to their people; and could have
been, without injustice, taken by us, and sent away, either as
absolute prize of war, or for future compensation. But the
commercial enterprise of the Jews soon discovered that ten cents
would buy a pound of cotton behind our army; that four cents would
take it to Boston, where they could receive thirty cents in gold.
The bait was too tempting, and it spread like fire, when here they
discovered that salt, bacon, powder, fire-arms, percussion-caps,
etc., etc., were worth as much as gold; and, strange to say, this
traffic was not only permitted, but encouraged. Before we in the
interior could know it, hundreds, yea thousands of barrels of salt
and millions of dollars had been disbursed; and I have no doubt
that Bragg’s army at Tupelo, and Van Dorn’s at Vicksburg, received
enough salt to make bacon, without which they could not have moved
their armies in mass; and that from ten to twenty thousand fresh
arms, and a due supply of cartridges, have also been got, I am
equally satisfied. As soon as I got to Memphis, having seen the
effect in the interior, I ordered (only as to my own command) that
gold, silver, and Treasury notes, were contraband of war, and
should not go into the interior, where all were hostile. It is
idle to talk about Union men here: many want peace, and fear war
and its results; but all prefer a Southern, independent government,
and are fighting or working for it. Every gold dollar that was
spent for cotton, was sent to the seaboard, to be exchanged for
bank-notes and Confederate scrip, which will buy goods here, and
are taken in ordinary transactions. I therefore required cotton to
be paid for in such notes, by an obligation to pay at the end of
the war, or by a deposit of the price in the hands of a trustee,
viz., the United States Quartermaster. Under these rules cotton is
being obtained about as fast as by any other process, and yet the
enemy receives no “aid or comfort.” Under the “gold” rule, the
country people who had concealed their cotton from the burners, and
who openly scorned our greenbacks, were willing enough to take
Tennessee money, which will buy their groceries; but now that the
trade is to be encouraged, and gold paid out, I admit that cotton
will be sent in by our open enemies, who can make better use of
gold than they can of their hidden bales of cotton.

I may not appreciate the foreign aspect of the question, but my
views on this may be ventured. If England ever threatens war
because we don’t furnish her cotton, tell her plainly if she can’t
employ and feed her own people, to send them here, where they
cannot only earn an honest living, but soon secure independence by
moderate labor. We are not bound to furnish her cotton. She has
more reason to fight the South for burning that cotton, than us for
not shipping it. To aid the South on this ground would be
hypocrisy which the world would detect at once. Let her make her
ultimatum, and there are enough generous minds in Europe that will
counteract her in the balance. Of course her motive is to cripple
a power that rivals her in commerce and manufactures, that
threatenes even to usurp her history. In twenty more years of
prosperity, it will require a close calculation to determine
whether England, her laws and history, claim for a home the
Continent of America or the Isle of Britain. Therefore, finding us
in a death-struggle for existence, she seems to seek a quarrel to
destroy both parts in detail.

Southern people know this full well, and will only accept the
alliance of England in order to get arms and manufactures in
exchange for their cotton. The Southern Confederacy will accept no
other mediation, because she knows full well that in Old England
her slaves and slavery will receive no more encouragement than in
New England.

France certainly does not need our cotton enough to disturb her
equilibrium, and her mediation would be entitled to a more respect
consideration than on the part of her present ally. But I feel
assured the French will not encourage rebellion and secession
anywhere as a political doctrine. Certainly all the German states
must be our ardent friends; and, in case of European intervention;
they could not be kept down.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

23, 1862

Dr. E. S. PLUMMER and others, Physician in Memphis, Signers to a

GENTLEMEN: I have this moment received your communication, and
assure you that it grieves my heart thus to be the instrument of
adding to the seeming cruelty and hardship of this unnatural war.

On my arrival here, I found my predecessor (General Hovey) had
issued an order permitting the departure south of all persons
subject to the conscript law of the Southern Confederacy. Many
applications have been made to me to modify this order, but I
regarded it as a condition precedent by which I was bound in honor,
and therefore I have made no changes or modifications; nor shall I
determine what action I shall adopt in relation to persons
unfriendly to our cause who remain after the time limited by
General Hovey’s order had expired. It is now sunset, and all who
have not availed themselves of General Hovey’s authority, and who
remain in Memphis, are supposed to be loyal and true men.

I will only say that I cannot allow the personal convenience of
even a large class of ladies to influence me in my determination to
make Memphis a safe place of operations for an army, and all people
who are unfriendly should forthwith prepare to depart in such
direction as I may hereafter indicate.

Surgeons are not liable to be made prisoners of war, but they
should not reside within the lines of an army which they regard as
hostile. The situation would be too delicate.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.


SAMUEL SAWYER, Esq., Editor Union Appeal, Memphis.

DEAR SIR: It is well I should come to an understanding at once
with the press as well as the people of Memphis, which I am ordered
to command; which means, to control for the interest, welfare; and
glory of the whole Government of the United States.

Personalities in a newspaper are wrong and criminal. Thus, though
you meant to be complimentary in your sketch of my career, you make
more than a dozen mistakes of fact, which I need not correct, as I
don’t desire my biography to be written till I am dead. It is
enough for the world to know that I live and am a soldier, bound to
obey the orders of my superiors, the laws of my country, and to
venerate its Constitution; and that, when discretion is given me, I
shall exercise it wisely and account to my superiors.

I regard your article headed “City Council–General Sherman and
Colonel Slack,” as highly indiscreet. Of course, no person who can
jeopardize the safety of Memphis can remain here, much less
exercise public authority; but I must take time, and be satisfied
that injustice be not done.

If the parties named be the men you describe, the fact should not
be published, to put them on their guard and thus to encourage
their escape. The evidence should be carefully collected,
authenticated, and then placed in my hands. But your statement of
facts is entirely qualified; in my mind, and loses its force by
your negligence of the very simple facts within your reach as to
myself: I had been in the army six years in 1846; am not related by
blood to any member of Lucas, Turner & Co.; was associated with
them in business six years (instead of two); am not colonel of the
Fifteenth Infantry, but of the Thirteenth. Your correction, this
morning, of the acknowledged error as to General Denver and others,
is still erroneous. General Morgan L. Smith did not belong to my
command at the battle of Shiloh at all, but he was transferred to
my division just before reaching Corinth. I mention these facts in
kindness, to show you how wrong it is to speak of persons.

I will attend to the judge, mayor, Boards of Aldermen, and
policemen, all in good time.

Use your influence to reestablish system, order, government. You
may rest easy that no military commander is going to neglect
internal safety, or to guard against external danger; but to do
right requires time, and more patience than I usually possess. If
I find the press of Memphis actuated by high principle and a sole
devotion to their country, I will be their best friend; but, if I
find them personal, abusive, dealing in innuendoes and hints at a
blind venture, and looking to their own selfish aggrandizement and
fame, then they had better look out; for I regard such persons as
greater enemies to their country and to mankind than the men who,
from a mistaken sense of State pride, have taken up muskets, and
fight us about as hard as we care about. In haste, but in
kindness, yours, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, July 27, 1882.

JOHN PARK, Mayor of Memphis, present.

Sir: Yours of July 24th is before me, and has received, as all
similar papers ever will, my careful and most respectful
consideration. I have the most unbounded respect for the civil
law, courts, and authorities, and shall do all in my power to
restore them to their proper use, viz., the protection of life,
liberty, and property.

Unfortunately, at this time, civil war prevails in the land, and
necessarily the military, for the time being, must be superior to
the civil authority, but it does not therefore destroy it. Civil
courts and executive officers should still exist and perform
duties, without which civil or municipal bodies would soon pass
into disrespect–an end to be avoided. I am glad to find in
Memphis a mayor and municipal authorities not only in existence,
but in the co-exercise of important functions, and I shall endeavor
to restore one or more civil tribunals for the arbitration of
contracts and punishment of crimes, which the military have neither
time nor inclination to interfere with. Among these, first in
importance is the maintenance of order, peace, and quiet, within
the jurisdiction of Memphis. To insure this, I will keep a strong
provost guard in the city, but will limit their duty to guarding
public property held or claimed by the United States, and for the
arrest and confinement of State prisoners and soldiers who are
disorderly or improperly away from their regiments. This guard
ought not to arrest citizens for disorder or minor crimes. This
should be done by the city police. I understand that the city
police is too weak in numbers to accomplish this perfectly, and I
therefore recommend that the City Council at once take steps to
increase this force to a number which, in their judgment, day and
night can enforce your ordinances as to peace, quiet, and order; so
that any change in our military dispositions will not have a
tendency to leave your people unguarded. I am willing to instruct
the provost guard to assist the police force when any combination
is made too strong for them to overcome; but the city police should
be strong enough for any probable contingency. The cost of
maintaining this police force must necessarily fall upon all
citizens equitably. I am not willing, nor do I think it good
policy, for the city authorities to collect the taxes belonging to
the State and County, as you recommend; for these would have to be
refunded. Better meet the expenses at once by a new tax on all
interested. Therefore, if you, on consultation with the proper
municipal body, will frame a good bill for the increase of your
police force, and for raising the necessary means for their support
and maintenance, I will approve it and aid you in the collection of
the tax. Of course, I cannot suggest how this tax should be laid,
but I think that it should be made uniform on all interests, real
estate, and personal property, including money, and merchandise.

All who are protected should share the expenses in proportion to
the interests involved. I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

MEMPHIS, August 7, 1862.

Captain FITCH, Assistant Quartermaster, Memphis, Tennessee.

SIR: The duties devolving on the quartermaster of this post, in
addition to his legitimate functions, are very important and
onerous, and I am fully aware that the task is more than should
devolve on one man. I will endeavor to get you help in the person
of some commissioned officer, and, if possible, one under bond, as
he must handle large amounts of money in trust; but, for the
present, we most execute the duties falling to our share as well as
possible. On the subject of vacant houses, General Grant’s orders
are: “Take possession of all vacant stores and houses in the city,
and have them rented at reasonable rates; rent to be paid monthly
in advance. These buildings, with their tenants, can be turned
over to proprietors on proof of loyalty; also take charge of such
as have been leased out by disloyal owners.”

I understand that General Grant takes the rents and profits of this
class of real property under the rules and laws of war, and not
under the confiscation act of Congress; therefore the question of
title is not involved simply the possession, and the rents and
profits of houses belonging to our enemies, which are not vacant,
we hold in trust for them or the Government, according to the
future decisions of the proper tribunals.

Mr. McDonald, your chief agent in renting and managing this
business, called on me last evening and left with me written
questions, which it would take a volume to answer and a Webster to
elucidate; but as we can only attempt plain, substantial justice, I
will answer these questions as well as I can, briefly and to the

First. When ground is owned by parties who have gone south, and
have leased the ground to parties now in the city who own the
improvements on the ground?

Answer. The United States takes the rents due the owner of the
land; does not disturb the owner of the improvements.

Second. When parties owning houses have gone south, and the tenant
has given his notes for the rent in advance?

Answer. Notes are mere evidence of the debt due landlord. The
tenant pays the rent to the quartermaster, who gives a bond of
indemnity against the notes representing the debt for the
particular rent.

Third. When the tenant has expended several months’ rent in
repairs on the house?

Answer. Of course, allow all such credits on reasonable proof and

Fourth. When the owner has gone south, and parties here hold liens
on the property and are collecting the rents to satisfy their

Answer. The rent of a house can only be mortgaged to a person in
possession. If a loyal tenant be in possession and claim the rent
from himself as due to himself on some other debt, allow it; but,
if not in actual possession of the property, rents are not good
liens for a debt, but must be paid to the quartermaster.

Fifth. Of parties claiming foreign protection?

Answer. Many claim foreign protection who are not entitled to it.
If they are foreign subjects residing for business in this,
country, they are entitled to consideration and protection so long
as they obey the laws of the country. If they occupy houses
belonging to absent rebels, they must pay rent to the quarter-
master. If they own property, they must occupy it by themselves,
tenants, or servants.

Eighth. When houses are occupied and the owner has gone south,
leaving an agent to collect rent for his benefit?

Answer. Rent must be paid to the quartermaster. No agent can
collect and remit money south without subjecting himself to arrest
and trial for aiding and abetting the public enemy.

Ninth.. When houses are owned by loyal citizens, but are

Answer. Such should not be disturbed, but it would be well to
advise them to have some servant at the house to occupy it.

Tenth. When parties who occupy the house are creditors of the
owner, who has gone south? Answer. You only look to collection of
rents. Any person who transmits money south is liable to arrest
and trial for aiding and abetting the enemy; but I do not think it
our business to collect debts other than rents.

Eleventh. When the parties who own the property have left the city
under General Hovey’s Order No. 1, but are in the immediate
neighborhood, on their plantations?

Answer. It makes no difference where they are, so they are absent.

Twelfth. When movable property is found in stores that are closed?

Answer. The goods are security for the rent. If the owner of the
goods prefers to remove the goods to paying rent, he can do so.

Thirteenth. When the owner lives in town, and refuses to take the
oath of allegiance?

Answer. If the house be occupied, it does not fall under the
order. If the house be vacant, it does. The owner can recover his
property by taking the oath.

All persons in Memphis residing within our military lines are
presumed to be loyal, good citizens, and may at any moment be
called to serve on juries, posses comitatua, or other civil service
required by the Constitution and laws of our country. Should they
be called upon to do such duty, which would require them to
acknowledge their allegiance and subordination to the Constitution
of the United States, it would then be too late to refuse. So long
as they remain quiet and conform to these laws, they are entitled
to protection in their property and lives.

We have nothing to do with confiscation. We only deal with
possession, and therefore the necessity of a strict accountability,
because the United States assumes the place of trustee, and must
account to the rightful owner for his property, rents, and profits.
In due season courts will be established to execute the laws, the
confiscation act included, when we will be relieved of this duty
and trust. Until that time, every opportunity should be given to
the wavering and disloyal to return to their allegiance to the
Constitution of their birth or adoption. I am, etc.,


Major-General commanding.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, August 26,1862

Major-General GRANT, Corinth, Mississippi.

Sir: In pursuance of your request that I should keep you advised of
matters of interest here, in addition to the purely official
matters, I now write.

I dispatched promptly the thirteen companies of cavalry, nine of
Fourth Illinois, and four of Eleventh Illinois, to their respective
destinations, punctually on the 23d instant, although the order was
only received on the 22d. I received at the same time, from
Colonel Dickey, the notice that the bridge over Hatchie was burned,
and therefore I prescribed their order of march via Bolivar. They
started at 12 m. of the 23d, and I have no news of them since.
None of the cavalry ordered to me is yet heard from.

The guerrillas have destroyed several bridges over Wolf Creek; one
at Raleigh, on the road by which I had prescribed trade and travel
to and from the city. I have a strong guard at the lower bridge
over Wolf River, by which we can reach the country to the north of
that stream; but, as the Confederates have burned their own
bridges, I will hold them to my order, and allow no trade over any
other road than the one prescribed, using the lower or Randolph
road for our own convenience. I am still satisfied there is no
large force of rebels anywhere in the neighborhood. All the navy
gunboats are below except the St. Louis, which lies off the city.
When Commodore Davis passes down from Cairo, I will try to see him,
and get him to exchange the St. Louis for a fleeter boat not
iron-clad; one that can move up and down the river, to break up
ferry-boats and canoes, and to prevent all passing across the
river. Of course, in spite of all our efforts, smuggling is
carried on. We occasionally make hauls of clothing, gold-lace,
buttons, etc., but I am satisfied that salt and arms are got to the
interior somehow. I have addressed the Board of Trade a letter on
this point, which will enable us to control it better.

You may have been troubled at hearing reports of drunkenness here.
There was some after pay-day, but generally all is as quiet and
orderly as possible. I traverse the city every day and night, and
assert that Memphis is and has been as orderly a city as St. Louis,
Cincinnati, or New York.

Before the city authorities undertook to license saloons, there was
as much whiskey here as now, and it would take all my command as
customhouse inspectors, to break open all the parcels and packages
containing liquor. I can destroy all groggeries and shops where
soldiers get liquor just as we would in St. Louis.

The newspapers are accusing me of cruelty to the sick; as base a
charge as was ever made. I would not let the Sanitary Committee
carry off a boat-load of sick, because I have no right to. We have
good hospitals here, and plenty of them. Our regimental hospitals
are in the camps of the men, and the sick do much better there than
in the general hospitals; so say my division surgeon and the
regimental surgeons. The civilian doctors would, if permitted,
take away our entire command. General Curtis sends his sick up
here, but usually no nurses; and it is not right that nurses should
be taken from my command for his sick. I think that, when we are
endeavoring to raise soldiers and to instruct them, it is bad
policy to keep them at hospitals as attendants and nurses.

I send you Dr. Derby’s acknowledgment that he gave the leave of
absence of which he was charged. I have placed him in arrest, in
obedience to General Halleck’s orders, but he remains in charge of
the Overton Hospital, which is not full of patients.

The State Hospital also is not full, and I cannot imagine what Dr.
Derby wants with the Female Academy on Vance Street. I will see
him again, and now that he is the chief at Overton Hospital, I
think he will not want the academy. Still, if he does, under your
orders I will cause it to be vacated by the children and Sisters of
Mercy. They have just advertised for more scholars, and will be
sadly disappointed. If, however, this building or any other be
needed for a hospital, it must be taken; but really, in my heart, I
do not see what possible chance there is, under present
circumstances, of filling with patients the two large hospitals now
in use, besides the one asked for. I may, however, be mistaken in
the particular building asked for by Dr. Derby, and will go myself
to see.

The fort is progressing well, Captain Jenney having arrived.
Sixteen heavy guns are received, with a large amount of shot and
shell, but the platforms are not yet ready; still, if occasion
should arise for dispatch, I can put a larger force to work.
Captain Prime, when here, advised that the work should proceed
regularly under the proper engineer officers and laborers.
I am, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, September 4, 1862

Colonel J. C, KELTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of
the army, Washington, D. C.

DEAR COLONEL: Please acknowledge to the major-general commanding
the receipt by me of his letter, and convey to him my assurances
that I have promptly modified my first instructions about cotton,
so as to conform to his orders. Trade in cotton is now free, but
in all else I endeavor so to control it that the enemy shall
receive no contraband goods, or any aid or comfort; still I feel
sure that the officers of steamboats are sadly tempted by high
prices to land salt and other prohibited articles at waypoints
along the river. This, too, in time will be checked. All seems
well here and hereabout; no large body of the enemy within striking
distance. A force of about two thousand, cavalry passed through
Grand Junction north last Friday, and fell on a detachment of the
Bolivar army at Middleburg, the result of which is doubtless
reported to you. As soon as I heard of the movement, I dispatched
a force to the southeast by way of diversion, and am satisfied that
the enemy’s infantry and artillery fell back in consequence behind
the Tallahatchie. The weather is very hot, country very dry, and
dust as bad as possible. I hold my two divisions ready, with their
original complement of transportation, for field service. Of
course all things most now depend on events in front of Washington
and in Kentucky. The gunboat Eastport and four transports loaded
with prisoners of war destined for Vicksburg have been lying before
Memphis for two days, but are now steaming up to resume their
voyage. Our fort progresses well, but our guns are not yet
mounted. The engineers are now shaping the banquette to receive
platforms. I expect Captain Prime from Corinth in two or three

I am, with great respect, yours,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, September 21, 1862

Editor Bulletin.

SIR: Your comments on the recent orders of Generals Halleck and
McClellan afford the occasion appropriate for me to make public the
fact that there is a law of Congress, as old as our Government
itself, but reenacted on the 10th of April, 1806, and in force ever
since. That law reads:

“All officers and soldiers are to behave themselves orderly in
quarters and on the march; and whoever shall commit any waste or
spoil, either in walks of trees, parks, warrens, fish-ponds, houses
and gardens, cornfields, inclosures or meadows, or shall
maliciously destroy any property whatever belonging to the
inhabitants of the United States, unless by order of the
commander-in-chief of the armies of said United States, shall
(besides such penalties as they are liable to by law) be punished
according to the nature and degree of the offense, by the judgment
of a general or regimental court-martial.”

Such is the law of Congress; and the orders of the commander-in-
chief are, that officers or soldiers convicted of straggling and
pillaging shall be punished with death. These orders have not come
to me officially, but I have seen them in newspapers, and am
satisfied that they express the determination of the commander-in-
chief. Straggling and pillaging have ever been great military
crimes; and every officer and soldier in my command knows what
stress I have laid upon them, and that, so far as in my power lies,
I will punish them to the full extent of the law and orders.

The law is one thing, the execution of the law another. God
himself has commanded: “Thou shalt not kill,” “thou shalt not
steal,” “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods,” etc. Will
any one say these things are not done now as well as before these
laws were announced at Sinai. I admit the law to be that “no officer
or soldier of the United States shall commit waste or destruction
of cornfields, orchards, potato-patches, or any kind of pillage on
the property of friend or foe near Memphis,” and that I stand
prepared to execute the law as far as possible.

No officer or soldier should enter the house or premises of any
peaceable citizen, no matter what his politics, unless on business;
and no such officer or soldier can force an entrance unless he have
a written order from a commanding officer or provost-marshal, which
written authority must be exhibited if demanded. When property
such as forage, building or other materials are needed by the
United States, a receipt will be given by the officer taking them,
which receipt should be presented to the quartermaster, who will
substitute therefor a regular voucher, to be paid-according to the
circumstances of the case. If the officer refuse to give such
receipt, the citizen may fairly infer that the property is
wrongfully taken, and he should, for his own protection, ascertain
the name, rank, and regiment of the officer, and report him in
writing. If any soldier commits waste or destruction, the person
whose property is thus wasted must find out the name, company, and
regiment of the actual transgressor. In order to punish there must
be a trial, and there must be testimony. It is not sufficient that
a general accusation be made, that soldiers are doing this or that.
I cannot punish my whole command, or a whole battalion, because one
or two bad soldiers do wrong. The punishment must reach the
perpetrators, and no one can identify them as well as the party who
is interested. The State of Tennessee does not hold itself
responsible for acts of larceny committed by her citizens, nor does
the United Staten or any other nation. These are individual acts
of wrong, and punishment can only be inflicted on the wrong-doer.
I know the difficulty of identifying particular soldiers, but
difficulties do not alter the importance of principles of justice.
They should stimulate the parties to increase their efforts to find
out the actual perpetrators of the crime.

Colonels of regiments and commanders of corps are liable to severe
punishment for permitting their men to leave their camps to commit
waste or destruction; but I know full well that many of the acts
attributed to soldiers are committed by citizens and negroes, and
are charged to soldiers because of a desire to find fault with
them; but this only reacts upon the community and increases the
mischief. While every officer would willingly follow up an
accusation against any one or more of his men whose names or
description were given immediately after the discovery of the act,
he would naturally resent any general charge against his good men,
for the criminal conduct of a few bad ones.

I have examined into many of the cases of complaint made in this
general way, and have felt mortified that our soldiers should do
acts which are nothing more or less than stealing, but I was
powerless without some clew whereby to reach the rightful party. I
know that the great mass of our soldiers would scorn to steal or
commit crime, and I will not therefore entertain vague and general
complaints, but stand, prepared always to follow up any reasonable
complaint when the charge is definite and the names of witnesses

I know, moreover, in some instances when our soldiers are
complained of, that they have been insulted by sneering remarks
about “Yankees,” “Northern barbarians,” “Lincoln’s hirelings,”
etc. People who use such language must seek redress through some
one else, for I will not tolerate insults to our country or cause.
When people forget their obligations to a Government that made them
respected among the nations of the earth, and speak contemptuously
of the flag which is the silent emblem of that country, I will not
go out of my way to protect them or their property. I will punish
the soldiers for trespass or waste if adjudged by a court-martial,
because they disobey orders; but soldiers are men and citizens as
well as soldiers, and should promptly resent any insult to their
country, come from what quarter it may. I mention this phase
because it is too common. Insult to a soldier does not justify
pillage, but it takes from the officer the disposition he would
otherwise feel to follow up the inquiry and punish the wrong-doers.

Again, armies in motion or stationary must commit some waste.
Flankers must let down fences and cross fields; and, when an attack
is contemplated or apprehended, a command will naturally clear the
ground of houses, fences, and trees. This is waste, but is the
natural consequence of war, chargeable on those who caused the war.
So in fortifying a place, dwelling-houses must be taken, materials
used, even wasted, and great damage done, which in the end may
prove useless. This, too, is an expense not chargeable to us, but
to those who made the war; and generally war is destruction and
nothing else.

We must bear this in mind, that however peaceful things look, we
are really at war; and much that looks like waste or destruction is
only the removal of objects that obstruct our fire, or would afford
cover to an enemy.

This class of waste must be distinguished from the wanton waste
committed by army-stragglers, which is wrong, and can be punished
by the death-penalty if proper testimony can be produced.

Yours, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

Satisfied that, in the progress of the war, Memphis would become an
important depot, I pushed forward the construction of Fort
Pickering, kept most of the troops in camps back of the city, and
my own headquarters remained in tents on the edge of the city, near
Mr. Moon’s house, until, on the approach of winter, Mrs. Sherman
came down with the children to visit me, when I took a house nearer
the fort.

All this time battalion and brigade drills were enforced, so that,
when the season approached for active operations farther south, I
had my division in the best possible order, and about the 1st of
November it was composed as follows

First Brigade, Brigadier-General M. L. SMITH–Eighth Missouri,
Colonel G. A. Smith; Sixth Missouri, Colonel Peter E. Bland; One
Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois, Colonel George B. Hoge;
Fifty-fourth Ohio, Colonel T. Kilby Smith; One Hundred and
Twentieth Illinois, Colonel G. W. McKeaig.

Second Brigade, Colonel JOHN ADAIR McDOWELL.–Sixth Iowa,
Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Corse; Fortieth Illinois, Colonel J. W.
Booth; Forty-sixth Ohio, Colonel O. C. Walcutt; Thirteenth United
States Infantry, First Battalion, Major D. Chase.

Third Brigade, Brigadier-General J. W. DENVER.–Forty-eighth Ohio,
Colonel P. J. Sullivan; Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel W. S. Jones;
Seventieth Ohio, Colonel J. R. Cockerill.

Fourth Brigade, Colonel DAVID STUART.–Fifty-fifth Illinois,
Colonel O. Malmburg; Fifty-seventh Ohio, Colonel W. Mungen;
Eighty-third Indiana, Colonel B. Spooner; One Hundred and Sixteenth
Illinois, Colonel Tupper; One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois,
Lieutenant-Colonel Eldridge.

Fifth Brigade, Colonel R. P. BUCKLAND.–Seventy-second Ohio,
Lieutenant-Colonel D. W. C. Loudon; Thirty-second Wisconsin,
Colonel J. W. Howe; Ninety-third Indiana, Colonel Thomas;
Ninety-third Illinois, Major J. M. Fisher.

Subsequently, Brigadier-General J. G. Lauman arrived at Memphis,
and I made up a sixth brigade, and organized these six brigades
into three divisions, under Brigadier-Generals M. L. Smith, J. W.
Denver, and J. G. Lauman.

About the 17th of November I received an order from General Grant,

LAGRANGE, November 16, 1862.

Meet me at Columbus, Kentucky, on Thursday next. If you have a
good map of the country south of you, take it up with you.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

I started forthwith by boat, and met General Grant, who had reached
Columbus by the railroad from Jackson, Tennessee. He explained to
me that he proposed to move against Pemberton, then intrenched on a
line behind the Tallahatchie River below Holly Springs; that he
would move on Holly Springs and Abberville, from Grand Junction;
that McPherson, with the troops at Corinth, would aim to make
junction with him at Holly Springs; and that he wanted me to leave
in Memphis a proper garrison, and to aim for the Tallahatchie, so
as to come up on his right by a certain date. He further said that
his ultimate object was to capture Vicksburg, to open the
navigation of the Mississippi River, and that General Halleck had
authorized him to call on the troops in the Department of Arkansas,
then commanded by General S. R. Curtis, for cooperation. I
suggested to him that if he would request General Curtis to send an
expedition from some point on the Mississippi, near Helena, then
held in force, toward Grenada, to the rear of Pemberton, it would
alarm him for the safety of his communications, and would assist us
materially in the proposed attack on his front. He authorized me
to send to the commanding officer at Helena a request to that
effect, and, as soon as I reached Memphis, I dispatched my aide,
Major McCoy, to Helena, who returned, bringing me a letter from
General Frederick Steele, who had just reached Helena with
Osterhaus’s division, and who was temporarily in command, General
Curtis having gone to St. Louis. This letter contained the
assurance that he “would send from Friar’s Point a large force
under Brigadier-General A. P. Hovey in the direction of Grenada,
aiming to reach the Tallahatchie at Charleston, on the next Monday,
Tuesday, or Wednesday (December 1st) at furthest.” My command was
appointed to start on Wednesday, November 24th, and meantime
MajorGeneral S. A. Hurlbut, having reported for duty, was assigned
to the command of Memphis, with four regiments of infantry one
battery of artillery, two companies of Thielman’s cavalry and the
certain prospect of soon receiving a number of new regiments, known
to be en route.

I marched out of Memphis punctually with three small divisions,
taking different roads till we approached the Tallahatchie, when we
converged on Wyatt to cross the river, there a bold, deep stream,
with a newly-constructed fort behind. I had Grierson’s Sixth
Illinois Cavalry with me, and with it opened communication with
General Grant when we were abreast of Holly Springs. We reached
Wyatt on the 2d day of December without the least opposition, and
there learned that Pemberton’s whole army had fallen back to the
Yalabusha near Grenada, in a great measure by reason of the
exaggerated reports concerning the Helena force, which had reached
Charleston; and some of General Hovey’s cavalry, under General
Washburn, having struck the railroad in the neighborhood of
Coffeeville, naturally alarmed General Pemberton for the safety of
his communications, and made him let go his Tallahatchie line with
all the forts which he had built at great cost in labor. We had to
build a bridge at Wyatt, which consumed a couple of days, and on
the 5th of December my whole command was at College Hill, ten miles
from Oxford, whence I reported to General Grant in Oxford.

On the 8th I received the following letter:

OXFORD MISSISSIPPI, December 8, 1862–Morning

General SHERMAN, College Hill.

DEAR GENERAL: The following is a copy of dispatch just received
from Washington:

WASHINGTON, December 7, 1862–12M

General GRANT:

The capture of Grenada may change our plans in regard to Vicksburg.
You will move your troops as you may deem best to accomplish the
great object in view. You will retain, till further orders, all
troops of General Curtis now in your department. Telegraph to
General Allen in St. Louis for all steamboats you may require. Ask
Porter to cooperate. Telegraph what are your present plans.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in.-Chief.

I wish you would come over this evening and stay to-night, or come
in the morning. I would like to talk with you about this matter.
My notion is to send two divisions back to Memphis, and fix upon a
day when they should effect a landing, and press from here with
this command at the proper time to cooperate. If I do not do this
I will move our present force to Grenada, including Steele’s,
repairing road as we proceed, and establish a depot of provisions
there. When a good ready is had, to move immediately on Jackson,
Mississippi, cutting loose from the road. Of the two plans I look
most favorably on the former.

Come over and we will talk this matter over.
Yours truly,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

I repaired at once to Oxford, and found General Grant in a large
house with all his staff, and we discussed every possible chance.
He explained to me that large reenforcements had been promised,
which would reach Memphis very soon, if not already there; that the
entire gunboat fleet, then under the command of Admiral D. D.
Porter, would cooperate; that we could count on a full division
from the troops at Helena; and he believed that, by a prompt
movement, I could make a lodgment up the Yazoo and capture
Vicksburg from the rear; that its garrison was small, and he, at
Oxford, would so handle his troops as to hold Pemberton away from
Vicksburg. I also understood that, if Pemberton should retreat
south, he would follow him up, and would expect to find me at the
Yazoo River, if not inside of Vicksburg. I confess, at that moment
I did not dream that General McClernand, or anybody else, was
scheming for the mere honor of capturing Vicksburg. We knew at the
time that General Butler had been reenforced by General Banks at
New Orleans, and the latter was supposed to be working his way
up-stream from New Orleans, while we were working down. That day
General Grant dispatched to General Halleck, in Washington, as

OXFORD, December 8, 1862.

Major-General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

General Sherman will command the expedition down the Mississippi.
He will have a force of about forty thousand men; will land above
Vicksburg (up the Yazoo, if practicable), and out the Mississippi
Central road and the road running east from Vicksburg, where they
cross Black River. I will cooperate from here, my movements
depending on those of the enemy. With the large cavalry force now
at my command, I will be able to have them show themselves at
different points on the Tallahatchie and Yalabusha; and, when an
opportunity occurs, make a real attack. After cutting the two
roads, General Sherman’s movements to secure the end desired will
necessarily be left to his judgment.

I will occupy this road to Coffeeville.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

I was shown this dispatch before it was sent, and afterward the
general drew up for me the following letter of instructions in his
own handwriting, which I now possess:

OXFORD, Mississippi, December 8, 1862.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Right Wing Army In the
Field, present.

GENERAL: You will proceed with as little delay as practicable 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 way.

As soon as possible move with them down the river to the vicinity
of Vicksburg, and, with the cooperation of the gunboat fleet under
command of Flag-Officer Porter, proceed to the reduction of that
place in such manner as circumstances and your own judgment may

The amount of rations, forage, land transportation, etc., necessary
to take, will be left entirely to yourself.

The quartermaster in St. Louis will be instructed to send you
transportation for thirty thousand 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

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

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 cooperate 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 what ever cavalry force may be there.

One regiment of infantry and at least a section of artillery will
also be left at Friar’s Point or Delta, to protect the stores of
the cavalry post that will be left there. Yours truly,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

I also insert here another letter, dated the 14th instant, sent
afterward to me at Memphis, which completes all instructions
received by me governing the first movement against Vicksburg:

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, December 14, 1862

Major-General SHERMAN, commanding, etc.,
Memphis, Tennessee

I have not had one word from Grierson since he left, and am getting
uneasy about him. I hope General Gorman will give you no
difficulty about retaining the troops on this side the river, and
Steele to command them. The twenty-one thousand men you have, with
the twelve thousand from Helena, will make a good force. The enemy
are as yet on the Yalabusha. I am pushing down on them slowly, but
so as to keep up the impression of a continuous move. I feel
particularly anxious to have the Helena cavalry on this side of the
river; if not now, at least after you start. If Gorman will send
them, instruct them where to go and how to communicate with me. My
headquarters will probably be in Coffeeville one week hence…. In
the mean time I will order transportation, etc…. It would be well
if you could have two or three small boats suitable for navigating
the Yazoo. It may become necessary for me to look to that base for
supplies before we get through….

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

When we rode to Oxford from College Hill, there happened a little
circumstance which seems worthy of record. While General Van Dorn
had his headquarters in Holly Springs, viz., in October, 1862, he
was very short of the comforts and luxuries of life, and resorted
to every possible device to draw from the abundant supplies in
Memphis. He had no difficulty whatever in getting spies into the
town for information, but he had trouble in getting bulky supplies
out through our guards, though sometimes I connived at his supplies
of cigars, liquors, boots, gloves, etc., for his individual use;
but medicines and large supplies of all kinds were confiscated, if
attempted to be passed out. As we rode that morning toward Oxford,
I observed in a farmer’s barn-yard a wagon that looked like a city
furniture-wagon with springs. We were always short of wagons, so I
called the attention of the quartermaster, Colonel J. Condit Smith,
saying, “There is a good wagon; go for it.” He dropped out of the
retinue with an orderly, and after we had ridden a mile or so he
overtook us, and I asked him, “What luck?” He answered, “All
right; I have secured that wagon, and I also got another,” and
explained that he had gone to the farmer’s house to inquire about
the furniture-wagon, when the farmer said it did not belong to him,
but to some party in Memphis, adding that in his barn was another
belonging to the same party. They went to the barn, and there
found a handsome city hearse, with pall and plumes. The farmer
said they had had a big funeral out of Memphis, but when it reached
his house, the coffin was found to contain a fine assortment of
medicines for the use of Van Dorn’s army. Thus under the pretense
of a first-class funeral, they had carried through our guards the
very things we had tried to prevent. It was a good trick, but
diminished our respect for such pageants afterward.

As soon as I was in possession of General Grant’s instructions of
December 8th, with a further request that I should dispatch Colonel
Grierson, with his cavalry, across by land to Helena, to notify
General Steele of the general plan, I returned to College Hill,
selected the division of Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith to
return with me to Memphis; started Grierson on his errand to
Helena, and ordered Generals Denver and Lauman to report to General
Grant for further orders. We started back by the most direct
route, reached Memphis by noon of December 12th, and began
immediately the preparations for the Vicksburg movement. There I
found two irregular divisions which had arrived at Memphis in my
absence, commanded respectively by Brigadier-General A. J. Smith
and Brigadier-General George W. Morgan. These were designated the
First and Third Divisions, leaving the Second Division of Morgan Z.
Smith to retain its original name and number.

I also sent orders, in the name of General Grant, to General
Gorman, who meantime had replaced General Steele in command of
Helena, in lieu of the troops which had been east of the
Mississippi and had returned, to make up a strong division to
report to me on my way down. This division was accordingly
organized, and was commanded by Brigadier-General Frederick Steele,
constituting my Fourth Division.

Meantime a large fleet of steamboats was assembling from St. Louis
and Cairo, and Admiral Porter dropped down to Memphis with his
whole gunboat fleet, ready to cooperate in the movement. The
preparations were necessarily hasty in the extreme, but this was
the essence of the whole plan, viz., to reach Vicksburg as it were
by surprise, while General Grant held in check Pemberton’s army
about Grenada, leaving me to contend only with the smaller garrison
of Vicksburg and its well-known strong batteries and defenses. On
the 19th the Memphis troops were embarked, and steamed down to
Helena, where on the 21st General Steele’s division was also
embarked; and on the 22d we were all rendezvoused at Friar’s Point,
in the following order, viz.:

Steamer Forest Queen, general headquarters, and battalion
Thirteenth United States Infantry.

First Division, Brigadier-General A. J. SMITH.–Steamers Des Arc,
division headquarters and escort; Metropolitan, Sixth Indiana; J.
H. Dickey, Twenty-third Wisconsin; J. C. Snow, Sixteenth Indiana;
Hiawatha, Ninety-sixth Ohio; J. S. Pringle, Sixty-seventh Indiana;
J. W. Cheeseman, Ninth Kentucky; R. Campbell, Ninety-seventh
Indiana; Duke of Argyle, Seventy-seventh Illinois; City of Alton,
One Hundred and Eighth and Forty-eighth Ohio; City of Louisiana,
Mercantile Battery; Ohio Belle, Seventeenth Ohio Battery; Citizen,
Eighty-third Ohio; Champion, commissary-boat; General Anderson,

Second Division,, Brigadier-General M. L. SMITH.–Steamers
Chancellor, headquarters, and Thielman’s cavalry; Planet, One
Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois; City of Memphis, Batteries A and B
(Missouri Artillery), Eighth Missouri, and section of Parrott guns;
Omaha, Fifty-seventh Ohio; Sioux City, Eighty-third Indiana; Spread
Eagle, One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois; Ed. Walsh, One
Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois; Westmoreland, Fifty-fifth
Illinois, headquarters Fourth Brigade; Sunny South, Fifty-fourth
Ohio; Universe, Sixth Missouri; Robert Allen, commissary-boat.

Third Division, Brigadier-General G. W. MORGAN.–Steamers Empress,
division headquarters; Key West, One Hundred and Eighteenth
Illinois; Sam Gaty, Sixty-ninth Indiana; Northerner, One Hundred
and Twentieth Ohio; Belle Peoria, headquarters Second Brigade, two
companies Forty-ninth Ohio, and pontoons; Die Vernon, Third
Kentucky; War Eagle, Forty-ninth Indiana (eight companies), and
Foster’s battery; Henry von Phul, headquarters Third Brigade, and
eight companies Sixteenth Ohio; Fanny Bullitt, One Hundred and
Fourteenth Ohio, and Lamphere’s battery; Crescent City,
Twenty-second Kentucky and Fifty-fourth Indiana; Des Moines,
Forty-second Ohio; Pembina, Lamphere’s and Stone’s batteries; Lady
Jackson, commissary-boat.

Fourth Division, Brigadier-General FREDERICK STEELE–Steamers
Continental, headquarters, escort and battery; John J. Roe, Fourth
and Ninth Iowa; Nebraska, Thirty-first Iowa; Key West, First Iowa
Artillery; John Warner, Thirteenth Illinois; Tecumseh, Twenty-sixth
Iowa; Decatur, Twenty-eighth Iowa; Quitman, Thirty-fourth Iowa;
Kennett, Twenty ninth Missouri; Gladiator, Thirtieth Missouri;
Isabella, Thirty-first Missouri; D. G. Taylor, quartermaster’s
stores and horses; Sucker State, Thirty-second Missouri; Dakota,
Third Missouri; Tutt, Twelfth Missouri Emma, Seventeenth Missouri;
Adriatic, First Missouri; Meteor, Seventy-sixth Ohio; Polar Star,
Fifty-eighth Ohio.

At the same time were communicated the following instructions:

FOREST QUEEN, December 23, 1882.

To Commanders of Divisions, Generals F. STEELE, GEORGE W. MORGAN,

With this I hand to each of you a copy of a map, compiled from the
best sources, and which in the main is correct. It is the same
used by Admiral Porter and myself. Complete military success can
only be accomplished by united action on some general plan,
embracing usually a large district of country. In the present
instance, our object is to secure the navigation of the Mississippi
River and its main branches, and to hold them as military channels
of communication and for commercial purposes. The river, above
Vicksburg, has been gained by conquering the country to its rear,
rendering its possession by our enemy useless and unsafe to him,
and of great value to us. But the enemy still holds the river from
Vicksburg to Baton Rouge, navigating it with his boats, and the
possession of it enables him to connect his communications and
routes of supply, east and west. To deprive him of this will be a
severe blow, and, if done effectually, will be of great advantage
to us, and probably, the most decisive act of the war. To
accomplish this important result we are to act our part–an
important one of the great whole. General Banks, with a large
force, has reinforced General Butler in Louisiana, and from that
quarter an expedition, by water and land, is coming northward.
General Grant, with the Thirteenth Army Corps, of which we compose
the right wing, is moving southward. The naval squadron (Admiral
Porter) is operating with his gunboat fleet by water, each in
perfect harmony with the other.

General Grant’s left and centre were at last accounts approaching
the Yalabusha, near Grenada, and the railroad to his rear, by which
he drew his supplies, was reported to be seriously damaged. This
may disconcert him somewhat, but only makes more important our line
of operations. At the Yalabusha General Grant may encounter the
army of General Pemberton, the same which refused him battle on the
line of the Tallahatchie, which was strongly fortified; but, as he
will not have time to fortify it, he will hardly stand there; and,
in that event, General Grant will immediately advance down the high
ridge between the Big Black and Yazoo, and will expect to meet us
on the Yazoo and receive from us the supplies which he needs, and
which he knows we carry along. Parts of this general plan are to
cooperate with the naval squadron in the reduction of Vicksburg; to
secure possession of the land lying between the Yazoo and Big
Black; and to act in concert with General Grant against Pemberton’s
forces, supposed to have Jackson, Mississippi, as a point of
concentration. Vicksburg is doubtless very strongly fortified,
both against the river and land approaches. Already the gunboats
have secured the Yazoo up for twenty-three miles, to a fort on the
Yazoo at Haines’s Bluff, giving us a choice for a landing-place at
some point up the Yazoo below this fort, or on the island which
lies between Vicksburg and the present mouth of the Yazoo. (See
map [b, c, d], Johnson’s plantation.)

But, before any actual collision with the enemy, I purpose,
after our whole land force is rendezvoused at Gaines’s Landing,
Arkansas, to proceed in order to Milliken’s Bend (a), and there
dispatch a brigade, without wagons or any incumbrances whatever, to
the Vicksburg & Shreveport Railroad (at h and k), to destroy that
effectually, and to cut off that fruitful avenue of supply; then to
proceed to the mouth of the Yazoo, and, after possessing ourselves
of the latest and most authentic information from naval officers
now there, to land our whole force on the Mississippi side, and
then to reach the point where the Vicksburg & Jackson Railroad
crosses the Big Black (f); after which to attack Vicksburg by land,
while the gun-boats assail it by water. It may be necessary
(looking to Grant’s approach), before attacking Vicksburg, to
reduce the battery at Haine’s Bluff first, so as to enable some of
the lighter gunboats and transports to ascend the Yazoo and
communicate with General Grant. The detailed manner of
accomplishing all these results will be communicated in due season,
and these general points are only made known at this time, that
commanders may study the maps, and also that in the event of
non-receipt of orders all may act in perfect concert by following
the general movement, unless specially detached.

You all now have the same map, so that no mistakes or confusion
need result from different names of localities. All possible
preparations as to wagons, provisions, axes, and intrenching-tools,
should be made in advance, so that when we do land there will be no
want of them. When we begin to act on shore, we must do the work
quickly and effectually. The gunboats under Admiral Porter will do
their full share, and I feel every assurance that the army will not
fall short in its work.

Division commanders may read this to regimental commanders, and
furnish brigade commanders a copy. They should also cause as many
copies of the map to be made on the same scale as possible, being
very careful in copying the names.

The points marked e and g (Allan’s and Mount Albans) are evidently
strategical points that will figure in our future operations, and
these positions should be well studied.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

The Mississippi boats were admirably calculated for handling
troops, horses, guns, stores, etc., easy of embarkation and
disembarkation, and supplies of all kinds were abundant, except
fuel. For this we had to rely on wood, but most of the wood-yards,
so common on the river before the war, had been exhausted, so that
we had to use fence-rails, old dead timber, the logs of houses,
etc. Having abundance of men and plenty of axes, each boat could
daily procure a supply.

In proceeding down the river, one or more of Admiral Porter’s
gunboats took the lead; others were distributed throughout the
column, and some brought up the rear. We manoeuvred by divisions
and brigades when in motion, and it was a magnificent sight as we
thus steamed down the river. What few inhabitants remained at the
plantations on the river-bank were unfriendly, except the slaves;
some few guerrilla-parties infested the banks, but did not dare to
molest so, strong a force as I then commanded.

We reached Milliken’s Bend on Christmas-day, when I detached one
brigade (Burbridge’s), of A. J. Smith’s division, to the southwest,
to break up the railroad leading from Vicksburg toward Shreveport,
Louisiana. Leaving A. J. Smith’s division there to await the
return of Burbridge, the remaining three divisions proceeded, on
the 26th, to the mouth of the Yazoo,. and up that river to
Johnson’s plantation, thirteen miles, and there disembarked
Steele’s division above the mouth of Chickasaw Bayou, Morgans
division near the house of Johnson (which had been burned by the
gunboats on a former occasion), and M. L. Smith’s just below. A.
J. Smith’s division arrived the next night, and disembarked below
that of M. L. Smith. The place of our disembarkation was in fact
an island, separated from the high bluff known as Walnut Hills, on
which the town of Vicksburg stands, by a broad and shallow
bayou-evidently an old channel of the Yazoo. On our right was
another wide bayou, known as Old River; and on the left still
another, much narrower, but too deep to be forded, known as
Chickasaw Bayou. All the island was densely wooded, except
Johnson’s plantation, immediately on the bank of the Yazoo, and a
series of old cotton-fields along Chickasaw Bayou. There was a
road from Johnson’s plantation directly to Vicksburg, but it
crossed numerous bayous and deep swamps by bridges, which had been
destroyed; and this road debouched on level ground at the foot of
the Vicksburg bluff, opposite strong forts, well prepared and
defended by heavy artillery. On this road I directed General A. J.
Smith’s division, not so much by way of a direct attack as a
diversion and threat.

Morgan was to move to his left, to reach Chickasaw Bayou, and to
follow it toward the bluff, about four miles above A. J. Smith.
Steele was on Morgan’s left, across Chickasaw Bayou, and M. L.
Smith on Morgan’s right. We met light resistance at all points,
but skirmished, on the 27th, up to the main bayou, that separated
our position from the bluffs of Vicksburg, which were found to be
strong by nature and by art, and seemingly well defended. On
reconnoitring the front in person, during the 27th and 28th, I
became satisfied that General A. J. Smith could not cross the
intervening obstacles under the heavy fire of the forts immediately
in his front, and that the main bayou was impassable, except at two
points–one near the head of Chickasaw Bayou, in front of Morgan,
and the other about a mile lower down, in front of M. L. Smith’s

During the general reconnoissance of the 28th General Morgan L.
Smith received a severe and dangerous wound in his hip, which
completely disabled him and compelled him to go to his steamboat,
leaving the command of his division to Brigadier General D.
Stuart; but I drew a part of General A. J. Smith’s division, and
that general himself, to the point selected for passing the bayou,
and committed that special task to his management.

General Steele reported that it was physically impossible to reach
the bluffs from his position, so I ordered him to leave but a show
of force there, and to return to the west side of Chickasaw Bayou
in support of General Morgan’s left. He had to countermarch and
use the steamboats in the Yazoo to get on the firm ground on our
side of the Chickasaw.

On the morning of December 29th all the troops were ready and in
position. The first step was to make a lodgment on the foot-hills
and bluffs abreast of our position, while diversions were made by
the navy toward Haines’s Bluff, and by the first division directly
toward Vicksburg. I estimated the enemy’s forces, then strung from
Vicksburg to Haines’s Bluff, at fifteen thousand men, commanded by
the rebel Generals Martin Luther Smith and Stephen D. Lee. Aiming
to reach firm ground beyond this bayou, and to leave as little time
for our enemy to reenforce as possible, I determined to make a show
of attack along the whole front, but to break across the bayou at
the two points named, and gave general orders accordingly. I
pointed out to General Morgan the place where he could pass the
bayou, and he answered, “General, in ten minutes after you give the
signal I’ll be on those hills.” He was to lead his division in
person, and was to be supported by Steele’s division. The front
was very narrow, and immediately opposite, at the base of the hills
about three hundred yards from the bayou, was a rebel battery,
supported by an infantry force posted on the spurs of the hill
behind. To draw attention from this, the real point of attack, I
gave instructions to commence the attack at the flanks.

I went in person about a mile to the right rear of Morgan’s
position, at a place convenient to receive reports from all other
parts of the line; and about noon of December 29th gave the orders
and signal for the main attack. A heavy artillery-fire opened
along our whole line, and was replied to by the rebel batteries,
and soon the infantry-fire opened heavily, especially on A. J.
Smith’s front, and in front of General George W. Morgan. One
brigade (DeCourcey’s) of Morgan’s troops crossed the bayou safely,
but took to cover behind the bank, and could not be moved forward.
Frank Blairs brigade, of Steele’s division, in support, also
crossed the bayou, passed over the space of level ground to the
foot of the hills; but, being unsupported by Morgan, and meeting a
very severe cross-fire of artillery, was staggered and gradually
fell back, leaving about five hundred men behind, wounded and
prisoners; among them Colonel Thomas Fletcher, afterward Governor
of Missouri. Part of Thayer’s brigade took a wrong direction, and
did not cross the bayou at all; nor did General Morgan cross in
person. This attack failed; and I have always felt that it was due
to the failure of General G. W. Morgan to obey his orders, or to
fulfill his promise made in person. Had he used with skill and
boldness one of his brigades, in addition to that of Blair’s, he
could have made a lodgment on the bluff, which would have opened
the door for our whole force to follow. Meantime the Sixth
Missouri Infantry, at heavy loss, had also crossed the bayou at the
narrow passage lower down, but could not ascend the steep bank;
right over their heads was a rebel battery, whose fire was in a
measure kept down by our sharp-shooters (Thirteenth United States
Infantry) posted behind logs, stumps, and trees, on our side of the

The men of the Sixth Missouri actually scooped out with their hands
caves in the bank, which sheltered them against the fire of the
enemy, who, right over their heads, held their muskets outside the
parapet vertically, and fired down So critical was the position,
that we could not recall the men till after dark, and then one at a
time. Our loss had been pretty heavy, and we had accomplished
nothing, and had inflicted little loss on our enemy. At first I
intended to renew the assault, but soon became satisfied that, the
enemy’s attention having been drawn to the only two practicable
points, it would prove too costly, and accordingly resolved to look
elsewhere for a point below Haines’s Bluff, or Blake’s plantation.
That night I conferred with Admiral Porter, who undertook to cover
the landing; and the next day (December 30th) the boats were all
selected, but so alarmed were the captains and pilots, that we had
to place sentinels with loaded muskets to insure their remaining at
their posts. Under cover of night, Steele’s division, and one
brigade of Stuart’s, were drawn out of line, and quietly embarked
on steamboats in the Yazoo River. The night of December 30th was
appointed for this force, under the command of General Fred Steele,
to proceed up the Yazoo just below Haines’s Bluff, there to
disembark about daylight, and make a dash for the hills. Meantime
we had strengthened our positions near Chickasaw Bayou, had all our
guns in good position with parapets, and had every thing ready to
renew our attack as soon as we heard the sound of battle above.

At midnight I left Admiral Porter on his gunboat; he had his fleet
ready and the night was propitious. I rode back to camp and gave
orders for all to be ready by daybreak; but when daylight came I
received a note from General Steele reporting that, before his
boats had got up steam, the fog had settled down on the river so
thick and impenetrable, that it was simply impossible to move; so
the attempt had to be abandoned. The rain, too, began to fall, and
the trees bore water-marks ten feet above our heads, so that I
became convinced that the part of wisdom was to withdraw. I
ordered the stores which had been landed to be reembarked on the
boats, and preparations made for all the troops to regain their
proper boats during the night of the 1st of January, 1863. From
our camps at Chickasaw we could hear, the whistles of the trains
arriving in Vicksburg, could see battalions of men marching up
toward Haines’s Bluff, and taking post at all points in our front.
I was more than convinced that heavy reenforcements were coming to
Vicksburg; whether from Pemberton at Grenada, Bragg in Tennessee,
or from other sources, I could not tell; but at no point did the
enemy assume the offensive; and when we drew off our rear-guard, on
the morning of the 2d, they simply followed up the movement,
timidly. Up to that moment I had not heard a word from General
Grant since leaving Memphis; and most assuredly I had listened for
days for the sound of his guns in the direction of Yazoo City. On
the morning of January 2d, all my command were again afloat in
their proper steamboats, when Admiral Porter told me that General
McClernand had arrived at the mouth of the Yazoo in the steamboat
Tigress, and that it was rumored he had come down to supersede me.
Leaving my whole force where it was, I ran down to the month of the
Yazoo in a small tug boat, and there found General McClernand, with
orders from the War Department to command the expeditionary force
on the Mississippi River. I explained what had been done, and what
was the actual state of facts; that the heavy reenforcements
pouring into Vicksburg must be Pemberton’s army, and that General
Grant must be near at hand. He informed me that General Grant was
not coming at all; that his depot at Holly Springs had been
captured by Van Dorn, and that he had drawn back from Coffeeville
and Oxford to Holly Springs and Lagrange; and, further, that
Quinby’s division of Grant’s army was actually at Memphis for
stores when he passed down. This, then, fully explained how
Vicksburg was being reenforced. I saw that any attempt on the
place from the Yazoo was hopeless; and, with General McClernand’s
full approval, we all came out of the Yazoo, and on the 3d of
January rendezvoused at Milliken’s Bend, about ten miles above.
On the 4th General McClernand issued his General Order No. 1,
assuming command of the Army of the Mississippi, divided into two
corps; the first to be commanded by General Morgan, composed of his
own and A. J. Smith’s divisions; and the second, composed of
Steele’s and Stuart’s divisions, to be commanded by me. Up to that
time the army had been styled the right wing of (General Grant’s)
Thirteenth Army Corps, and numbered about thirty thousand men. The
aggregate loss during the time of any command, mostly on the 29th
of December, was one hundred and seventy-five killed, nine hundred
and thirty wounded, and seven hundred and forty-three prisoners.
According to Badeau, the rebels lost sixty-three killed, one
hundred and thirty-four wounded, and ten prisoners. It afterward
transpired that Van Dorn had captured Holly Springs on the 20th of
December, and that General Grant fell back very soon after.
General Pemberton, who had telegraphic and railroad communication
with Vicksburg, was therefore at perfect liberty to reenforce the
place with a garrison equal, if not superior, to my command. The
rebels held high, commanding ground, and could see every movement
of our men and boats, so that the only possible hope of success
consisted in celerity and surprise, and in General Grant’s holding
all of Pemberton’s army hard pressed meantime. General Grant was
perfectly aware of this, and had sent me word of the change, but it
did not reach me in time; indeed, I was not aware of it until after
my assault of December 29th, and until the news was brought me by
General McClernand as related. General McClernand was appointed to
this command by President Lincoln in person, who had no knowledge
of what was then going on down the river. Still, my relief, on the
heels of a failure, raised the usual cry, at the North, of
“repulse, failure, and bungling.” There was no bungling on my
part, for I never worked harder or with more intensity of purpose
in my life; and General Grant, long after, in his report of the
operations of the siege of Vicksburg, gave us all full credit for
the skill of the movement, and described the almost impregnable
nature of the ground; and, although in all official reports I
assumed the whole responsibility, I have ever felt that had General
Morgan promptly and skillfully sustained the lead of Frank Blair’s
brigade on that day, we should have broken the rebel line, and
effected a lodgment on the hills behind Vicksburg. General Frank
Blair was outspoken and indignant against Generals Morgan and De
Courcey at the time, and always abused me for assuming the whole
blame. But, had we succeeded, we might have found ourselves in a
worse trap, when General Pemberton was at full liberty to turn his
whole force against us. While I was engaged at Chickasaw Bayou,
Admiral Porter was equally busy in the Yazoo River, threatening the
enemy’s batteries at Haines’s and Snyder’s Bluffs above. In a
sharp engagement he lost one of his best officers, in the person of
Captain Gwin, United States Navy, who, though on board an ironclad,
insisted on keeping his post on deck, where he was struck in the
breast by a round shot, which carried away the muscle, and
contused the lung within, from which he died a few days after. We
of the army deplored his loss quite as much as his fellows of the
navy, for he had been intimately associated with us in our previous
operations on the Tennessee River, at Shiloh and above, and we had
come to regard him as one of us.

On the 4th of January, 1863, our fleet of transports was collected
at Milliken’s Bend, about ten miles above the mouth of the Yazoo,
Admiral Porter remaining with his gunboats at the Yazoo. General
John A. McClernand was in chief command, General George W. Morgan
commanded the First Corps and I the Second Corps of the Army of the

I had learned that a small steamboat, the Blue Wing, with a mail,
towing coal-barges and loaded with ammunition, had left Memphis for
the Yazoo, about the 20th of December, had been captured by a rebel
boat which had come out of the Arkansas River, and had been carried
up that river to Fort Hind

We had reports from this fort, usually called the “Post of
Arkansas,” about forty miles above the mouth, that it was held by
about five thousand rebels, was an inclosed work, commanding the
passage of the river, but supposed to be easy of capture from the
rear. At that time I don’t think General McClernand had any
definite views or plays of action. If so, he did not impart them
to me. He spoke, in general terms of opening the navigation of the
Mississippi, “cutting his way to the sea,” etc., etc., but the
modus operandi was not so clear. Knowing full well that we could
not carry on operations against Vicksburg as long as the rebels
held the Post of Arkansas, whence to attack our boats coming and
going without convoy, I visited him on his boat, the Tigress, took
with me a boy who had been on the Blue Wing, and had escaped, and
asked leave to go up the Arkansas, to clear out the Post. He made
various objections, but consented to go with me to see Admiral
Porter about it. We got up steam in the Forest Queen, during the
night of January 4th, stopped at the Tigress, took General
McClernand on board, and proceeded down the river by night to the
admiral’s boat, the Black Hawk, lying in the mouth of the Yazoo.
It must have been near midnight, and Admiral Porter was in
deshabille. We were seated in his cabin and I explained my views
about Arkansas Post, and asked his cooperation. He said that he
was short of coal, and could not use wood in his iron-clad boats.
Of these I asked for two, to be commanded by Captain Shirk or
Phelps, or some officer of my acquaintance. At that moment, poor
Gwin lay on his bed, in a state-room close by, dying from the
effect of the cannon shot received at Haines’s Bluff, as before
described. Porter’s manner to McClernand was so curt that I
invited him out into a forward-cabin where he had his charts, and
asked him what he meant by it. He said that “he did not like him;”
that in Washington, before coming West, he had been introduced to
him by President Lincoln, and he had taken a strong prejudice
against him. I begged him, for the sake of harmony, to waive that,
which he promised to do. Returning to the cabin, the conversation
was resumed, and, on our offering to tow his gunboats up the river
to save coal, and on renewing the request for Shirk to command the
detachment, Porter said, “Suppose I go along myself?” I answered,
if he would do so, it would insure the success of the enterprise.
At that time I supposed General McClernand would send me on this
business, but he concluded to go himself, and to take his whole
force. Orders were at once issued for the troops not to disembark
at Milliken’s Bend, but to remain as they were on board the
transports. My two divisions were commanded–the First, by
Brigadier-General Frederick Steele, with three brigades, commanded
by Brigadier-Generals F. P. Blair, C. E. Hooey, and J. M. Thayer;
the Second, by Brigadier-General D. Stuart, with two brigades,
commanded by Colonels G. A. Smith and T. Kilby Smith.

The whole army, embarked on steamboats convoyed by the gunboats, of
which three were iron-clads, proceeded up the Mississippi River to
the mouth of White River, which we reached January 8th. On the
next day we continued up White River to the “Cut-off;” through this
to the Arkansas, and up the Arkansas to Notrib’s farm, just below
Fort Hindman. Early the next morning we disembarked. Stuart’s
division, moving up the river along the bank, soon encountered a
force of the enemy intrenched behind a line of earthworks,
extending from the river across to the swamp. I took Steele’s
division, marching by the flank by a road through the swamp to the
firm ground behind, and was moving up to get to the rear of Fort
Hindman, when General McClernand overtook me, with the report that
the rebels had abandoned their first position, and had fallen back
into the fort. By his orders, we counter-marched, recrossed the
swamp, and hurried forward to overtake Stuart, marching for Fort
Hindman. The first line of the rebels was about four miles below
Fort Hindman, and the intervening space was densely, wooded and
obscure, with the exception of some old fields back of and close to
the fort. During the night, which was a bright moonlight one, we
reconnoitred close up, and found a large number of huts which had
been abandoned, and the whole rebel force had fallen back into and
about the fort. Personally I crept up to a stump so close that I
could hear the enemy hard at work, pulling down houses, cutting
with axes, and building intrenchments. I could almost hear their
words, and I was thus listening when, about 4 A. M. the bugler in
the rebel camp sounded as pretty a reveille as I ever listened to.

When daylight broke it revealed to us a new line of parapet
straight across the peninsula, connecting Fort Hindman, on the
Arkansas River bank, with the impassable swamp about a mile to its
left or rear. This peninsula was divided into two nearly equal
parts by a road. My command had the ground to the right of the
road, and Morgan’s corps that to the left. McClernand had his
quarters still on the Tigress, back at Notrib’s farm, but moved
forward that morning (January 11th) to a place in the woods to our
rear, where he had a man up a tree, to observe and report the

There was a general understanding with Admiral Porter that he was
to attack the fort with his three ironclad gunboats directly by its
water-front, while we assaulted by land in the rear. About 10 a.m.
I got a message from General McClernand, telling me where he could
be found, and asking me what we were waiting for. I answered that
we were then in close contact with the enemy, viz., about five or
six hundred yards off; that the next movement must be a direct
assault; that this should be simultaneous along the whole line; and
that I was waiting to hear from the gunboats; asking him to notify
Admiral Porter that we were all ready. In about half an hour I
heard the clear ring of the navy-guns; the fire gradually
increasing in rapidity and advancing toward the fort. I had
distributed our field-guns, and, when I judged the time had come, I
gave the orders to begin. The intervening ground between us and
the enemy was a dead level, with the exception of one or two small
gullies, and our men had no cover but the few standing trees and
some logs on the ground. The troops advanced well under a heavy
fire, once or twice falling to the ground for a sort of rest or
pause. Every tree had its group of men, and behind each log was a
crowd of sharp-shooters, who kept up so hot a fire that the rebel
troops fired wild. The fire of the fort proper was kept busy by
the gunboats and Morgan’s corps, so that all my corps had to
encounter was the direct fire from the newly-built parapet across
the peninsula. This line had three sections of field-guns, that
kept things pretty lively, and several round-shot came so near me
that I realized that they were aimed at my staff; so I dismounted,
and made them scatter.

As the gunboats got closer up I saw their flags actually over the
parapet of Fort Hindman, and the rebel gunners scamper out of the
embrasures and run down into the ditch behind. About the same time
a man jumped up on the rebel parapet just where the road entered,
waving a large white flag, and numerous smaller white rags appeared
above the parapet along the whole line. I immediately ordered,
“Cease firing!” and sent the same word down the line to General
Steele, who had made similar progress on the right, following the
border of he swamp. I ordered my aide, Colonel Dayton, to jump on
his horse and ride straight up to the large white flag, and when
his horse was on the parapet I followed with the rest of my staff.
All firing had ceased, except an occasional shot away to the right,
and one of the captains (Smith) of the Thirteenth Regulars was
wounded after the display of the white flag. On entering the line,
I saw that our muskets and guns had done good execution; for there
was a horse-battery, and every horse lay dead in the traces. The
fresh-made parapet had been knocked down in many places, and dead
men lay around very thick. I inquired who commanded at that point,
and a Colonel Garland stepped up and said that he commanded that
brigade. I ordered him to form his brigade, stack arms, hang the
belts on the muskets, and stand waiting for orders. Stuart’s
division had been halted outside the parapet. I then sent Major
Hammond down the rebel line to the right, with orders to stop
Steele’s division outside, and to have the other rebel brigade
stack its arms in like manner, and to await further orders. I
inquired of Colonel Garland who commanded in chief, and he said
that General Churchill did, and that he was inside the fort. I
then rode into the fort, which was well built, with good parapets,
drawbridge, and ditch, and was an inclosed work of four bastions.
I found it full of soldiers and sailors, its parapets toward the
river well battered in, and Porter’s gunboats in the river, close
against the fort, with their bows on shore. I soon found General
Churchill, in conversation with Admiral Porter and General A. J.
Smith, and about this time my adjutant-general, Major J. H.
Hammond, came and reported that General Deshler, who commanded the
rebel brigade facing and opposed to Steele, had refused to stack
arms and surrender, on the ground that he had received no orders
from his commanding general; that nothing separated this brigade
from Steele’s men except the light parapet, and that there might be
trouble there at any moment. I advised General Churchill to send
orders at once, because a single shot might bring the whole of
Steele’s division on Deshler’s brigade, and I would not be
responsible for the consequences; soon afterward, we both concluded
to go in person. General Churchill had the horses of himself and
staff in the ditch; they were brought in, and we rode together to
where Garland was standing, and Churchill spoke to him in an angry
tone, “Why did you display the white flag!” Garland replied, “I
received orders to do so from one of your staff.” Churchill denied
giving such an order, and angry words passed between them. I
stopped them, saying that it made little difference then, as they
were in our power. We continued to ride down the line to its
extreme point, where we found Deshler in person, and his troops
were still standing to the parapet with their muskets in hand.
Steele’e men were on the outside. I asked Deshler: “What does this
mean? You are a regular officer, and ought to know better.” He
answered, snappishly, that “he had received no orders to
surrender;” when General Churchill said: “You see, sir, that we are
in their power, and you may surrender.” Deshler turned to his
staff-officers and ordered them to repeat the command to “stack
arms,” etc., to the colonels of his brigade. I was on my horse,
and he was on foot. Wishing to soften the blow of defeat, I spoke
to him kindly, saying that I knew a family of Deshlers in Columbus,
Ohio, and inquired if they were relations of his. He disclaimed
any relation with people living north of the Ohio, in an offensive
tone, and I think I gave him a piece of my mind that he did not
relish. He was a West Point graduate, small but very handsome, and
was afterward killed in battle. I never met him again.

Returning to the position where I had first entered the rebel line,
I received orders from General McClernand, by one of his staff, to
leave General A. J. Smith in charge of the fort and prisoners, and
with my troops to remain outside. The officer explained that the
general was then on the Tigress, which had moved up from below, to
a point in the river just above the fort; and not understanding his
orders, I concluded to go and see him in person. My troops were
then in possession of two of the three brigades which composed the
army opposed to us; and my troops were also in possession of all
the ground of the peninsula outside the “fort-proper” (Hindman). I
found General McClernand on the Tigress, in high spirits. He said
repeatedly: “Glorious! glorious! my star is ever in the ascendant!”
He spoke complimentarily of the troops, but was extremely jealous
of the navy. He said: “I’ll make a splendid report;” “I had a man
up a tree;” etc. I was very hungry and tired, and fear I did not
appreciate the honors in reserve for us, and asked for something to
eat and drink. He very kindly ordered something to be brought, and
explained to me that by his “orders” he did not wish to interfere
with the actual state of facts; that General A. J. Smith would
occupy “Fort Hindman,” which his troops had first entered, and I
could hold the lines outside, and go on securing the prisoners and
stores as I had begun. I returned to the position of Garland’s
brigade and gave the necessary orders for marching all the
prisoners, disarmed, to a pocket formed by the river and two deep
gullies just above the fort, by which time it had become quite
dark. After dark another rebel regiment arrived from Pine Bluff,
marched right in, and was also made prisoners. There seemed to be
a good deal of feeling among the rebel officers against Garland,
who asked leave to stay with me that night, to which I of course
consented. Just outside the rebel parapet was a house which had
been used for a hospital. I had a room cleaned out, and occupied
it that night. A cavalry-soldier lent me his battered coffee-pot
with some coffee and scraps of hard bread out of his nose-bag;
Garland and I made some coffee, ate our bread together, and talked
politics by the fire till quite late at night, when we lay down on
straw that was saturated with the blood of dead or wounded men.
The next day the prisoners were all collected on their boats, lists
were made out, and orders given for their transportation to St.
Louis, in charge of my aide, Major Sanger. We then proceeded to
dismantle and level the forts, destroy or remove the stores, and we
found in the magazine the very ammunition which had been sent for
us in the Blue Wing, which was secured and afterward used in our
twenty-pound Parrott guns.

On the 13th we reembarked; the whole expedition returned out of the
river by the direct route down the Arkansas during a heavy
snow-storm, and rendezvoused in the Mississippi, at Napoleon, at
the mouth of the Arkansas. Here General McClernand told me he had
received a letter from General Grant at Memphis, who disapproved of
our movement up the Arkansas; but that communication was made
before he had learned of our complete success. When informed of
this, and of the promptness with which it had been executed, he
could not but approve. We were then ordered back to Milliken’s
Bend, to await General Grant’s arrival in person. We reached
Milliken’s Bend January 21st.

McClernand’s report of the capture of Fort Hindman almost ignored
the action of Porter’s fleet altogether. This was unfair, for I
know that the admiral led his fleet in person in the river-attack,
and that his guns silenced those of Fort Hindman, and drove the
gunners into the ditch.

The aggregate loss in my corps at Arkansas Post was five hundred
and nineteen, viz., four officers and seventy-five men killed,
thirty-four officers and four hundred and six men wounded. I never
knew the losses in the gunboat fleet, or in Morgan’s corps; but
they must have been less than in mine, which was more exposed. The
number of rebel dead must have been nearly one hundred and fifty;
of prisoners, by actual count, we secured four thousand seven
hundred and ninety-one, and sent them north to St. Louis.




The campaign of 1863, resulting, in the capture of Vicksburg, was
so important, that its history has been well studied and well
described in all the books treating of the civil war, more
especially by Dr. Draper, in his “History of the Civil War in
America,” and in Badeau’s “Military History of General Grant.” In
the latter it is more fully and accurately given than in any other,
and is well illustrated by maps and original documents. I now need
only attempt to further illustrate Badeau’s account by some
additional details. When our expedition came out of the Arkansas
River, January, 18,1863, and rendezvoused at the river-bank, in
front of the town of Napoleon, Arkansas, we were visited by General
Grant in person, who had come down from Memphis in a steamboat.
Although at this time Major-General J. A. McClernand was in command
of the Army of the Mississippi, by virtue of a confidential order
of the War Department, dated October 21, 1862, which order bore the
indorsement of President Lincoln, General Grant still exercised a
command over him, by reason of his general command of the
Department of the Tennessee. By an order (No. 210) of December 18,
1862, from the War Department, received at Arkansas Post, the
Western armies had been grouped into five corps d’armee, viz.: the
Thirteenth, Major-General McClernand; the Fourteenth, Major-General
George H. Thomas, in Middle Tennessee; the Fifteenth, Major-General
W. T. Sherman; the Sixteenth, Major-General Hurlbut, then at or
near Memphis; and the Seventeenth, Major-General McPherson, also at
and back of Memphis. General Grant when at Napoleon, on the 18th
of January, ordered McClernand with his own and my corps to return
to Vicksburg, to disembark on the west bank, and to resume work on
a canal across the peninsula, which had been begun by General
Thomas Williams the summer before, the object being to turn the
Mississippi River at that point, or at least to make a passage for
our fleet of gunboats and transports across the peninsula, opposite
Vicksburg. General Grant then returned to Memphis, ordered to Lake
Providence, about sixty miles above us, McPherson’s corps, the
Seventeenth, and then came down again to give his personal
supervison to the whole movement.

The Mississippi River was very high and rising, and we began that
system of canals on which we expended so much hard work
fruitlessly: first, the canal at Young’s plantation, opposite
Vicksburg; second, that at Lake Providence; and third, at the Yazoo
Pass, leading into the head-waters of the Yazoo River. Early in
February the gunboats Indianola and Queen of the West ran the
batteries of Vicksburg. The latter was afterward crippled in Red
River, and was captured by the rebels; and the Indianola was butted
and sunk about forty miles below Vicksburg. We heard the booming
of the guns, but did not know of her loss till some days after.
During the months of January and February, we were digging the
canal and fighting off the water of the Mississippi, which
continued to rise and threatened to drown us. We had no sure place
of refuge except the narrow levee, and such steamboats as remained
abreast of our camps. My two divisions furnished alternately a
detail of five hundred men a day, to work on the canal. So high
was the water in the beginning of March, that McClernand’s corps
was moved to higher ground, at Milliken’s Bend, but I remained at
Young’s plantation, laid off a due proportion of the levee for each
subdivision of my command, and assigned other parts to such
steamboats as lay at the levee. My own headquarters were in Mrs.
Grove’s house, which had the water all around it, and could only be
reached by a plank-walk from the levee, built on posts. General
Frederick Steele commanded the first division, and General D. Smart
the second; this latter division had been reenforced by General
Hugh Ewing’s brigade, which had arrived from West Virginia.

At the time of its date I received the following note from General

MILLIKEN’S BEND, March 16, 1863

General SHERMAN.

DEAR SIR: I have just returned from a reconnoissance up Steele’s
Bayou, with the admiral (Porter), and five of his gunboats. With
some labor in cutting tree-tops out of the way, it will be
navigable for any class of steamers.

I want you to have your pioneer corps, or one regiment of good men
for such work, detailed, and at the landing as soon as possible.

The party will want to take with them their rations, arms, and
sufficient camp and garrison equipage for a few days. I will have
a boat at any place you may designate, as early as the men can be
there. The Eighth Missouri (being many of them boatmen) would be
excellent men for this purpose.

As soon as you give directions for these men to be in readiness,
come up and see me, and I will explain fully. The tug that takes
this is instructed to wait for you. A full supply of axes will be

Very respectfully,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

This letter was instantly (8 a.m.) sent to Colonel Giles A. Smith,
commanding the Eighth Missouri, with orders to prepare immediately.
He returned it at 9.15, with an answer that the regiment was all
ready. I went up to Milliken’s Bend in the tug, and had a
conference with the general, resulting in these orders:

BEFORE VICKSBURG, March 16, 1863

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.

GENERAL: You will proceed as early as practicable up Steele’s
Bayou, and through Black Bayou to Deer Creek, and thence with the
gunboats now there by any route they may take to get into the Yazoo
River, for the purpose of determining the feasibility of getting an
army through that route to the east bank of that river, and at a
point from which they can act advantageously against Vicksburg.

Make such details from your army corps as may be required to clear
out the channel of the various bayous through which transports
would have to ran, and to hold such points as in your judgment
should be occupied.

I place at your disposal to-day the steamers Diligent and Silver
Wave, the only two suitable for the present navigation of this
route. Others will be supplied you as fast as required, and they
can be got.

I have given directions (and you may repeat them) that the party
going on board the steamer Diligent push on until they reach Black
Bayou, only stopping sufficiently long at any point before reaching
there to remove such obstructions as prevent their own progress.
Captain Kossak, of the Engineers, will go with this party. The
other boat-load will commence their work in Steele’s Bayou, and
make the navigation as free as possible all the way through.

There is but little work to be done in Steele’s Bayou, except for
about five miles abort midway of the bayou. In this portion many
overhanging trees will have to be removed, and should be dragged
out of the channel.

Very respectfully,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

On returning to my camp at Young’s Point, I started these two boats
up the Yazoo and Steele’s Bayou, with the Eighth Missouri and some
pioneers, with axes, saws, and all the tools necessary. I gave
orders for a part of Stuart’s division to proceed in the large
boats up the Mississippi River to a point at Gwin’s plantation,
where a bend of Steele’s Bayou neared the main river; and the next
day, with one or two stag-officers and orderlies, got a navy-tug,
and hurried up to overtake Admiral Porter. About sixty miles up
Steele’s Bayou we came to the gunboat Price, Lieutenant Woodworth,
United States Navy; commanding, and then turned into Black Bayou, a
narrow, crooked channel, obstructed by overhanging oaks, and filled
with cypress and cotton-wood trees. The gunboats had forced their
way through, pushing aside trees a foot in diameter. In about four
miles we overtook the gunboat fleet just as it was emerging into
Deer Creek. Along Deer Creek the alluvium was higher, and there
was a large cotton-plantation belonging to a Mr. Hill, who was
absent, and the negroes were in charge of the place. Here I
overtook Admiral Porter, and accompanied him a couple of miles up
Deer Creek, which was much wider and more free of trees, with
plantations on both sides at intervals. Admiral Porter thought he
had passed the worst, and that he would be able to reach the
Rolling Fork and Sunflower. He requested me to return and use all
possible means to clear out Black Bayou. I returned to Hill’s
plantation, which was soon reached by Major Coleman, with a part of
the Eighth Missouri; the bulk of the regiment and the pioneers had
been distributed along the bayous, and set to work under the
general supervision of Captain Kosaak. The Diligent and Silver
Wave then returned to twin’s plantation and brought up
Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith, with the Sixth Missouri, and part
of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois. Admiral Porter was then
working up Deer Creek with his iron-clads, but he had left me a tug,
which enabled me to reconnoitre the country, which was all under
water except the narrow strip along Deer Creek. During the 19th I
heard the heavy navy-guns booming more frequently than seemed
consistent with mere guerrilla operations; and that night I got a
message from Porter, written on tissue-paper, brought me through
the swamp by a negro, who had it concealed in a piece of tobacco.

The admiral stated that he had met a force of infantry and
artillery which gave him great trouble by killing the men who had
to expose themselves outside the iron armor to shove off the bows
of the boats, which had so little headway that they would not
steer. He begged me to come to his rescue as quickly as possible.
Giles A. Smith had only about eight hundred men with him, but I
ordered him to start up Deer Creek at once, crossing to the east
side by an old bridge at Hill’s plantation, which we had repaired
for the purpose; to work his way up to the gunboat, fleet, and to
report to the admiral that I would come, up with every man I could
raise as soon as possible. I was almost alone at Hill’s, but took
a canoe, paddled down Black Bayou to the gunboat Price, and there,
luckily, found the Silver wave with a load of men just arrived from
twin’s plantation. Taking some of the parties who were at work
along the bayou into an empty coal-barge, we tugged it up by a
navy-tug, followed by the Silver Wave, crashing through the trees,
carrying away pilot-house, smoke-stacks, and every thing
above-deck; but the captain (McMillan, of Pittsburg) was a brave
fellow, and realized the necessity. The night was absolutely
black, and we could only make two and a half of the four miles. We
then disembarked, and marched through the canebrake, carrying
lighted candles in our hands, till we got into the open
cotton-fields at Hill’s plantation, where we lay down for a few
hours’ rest. These men were a part of Giles A. Smith’s brigade,
and part belonged to the brigade of T. Bilby Smith, the senior
officer present being Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, Fifty-fourth Ohio,
an excellent young officer. We had no horses.

On Sunday morning, March 21st, as soon as daylight appeared, we
started, following the same route which Giles A. Smith had taken
the day before; the battalion of the Thirteenth United States
Regulars, Major Chase, in the lead. We could hear Porter’s guns,
and knew that moments were precious. Being on foot myself, no man
could complain, and we generally went at the double-quick, with
occasional rests. The road lay along Deer Creek, passing several
plantations; and occasionally, at the bends, it crossed the swamp,
where the water came above my hips. The smaller drummer-boys had
to carry their drums on their heads, and most of the men slang
their cartridge-boxes around their necks. The soldiers generally
were glad to have their general and field officers afoot, but we
gave them a fair specimen of marching, accomplishing about
twenty-one miles by noon. Of course, our speed was accelerated by
the sounds of the navy-guns, which became more and more. distinct,
though we could see nothing. At a plantation near some Indian
mounds we met a detachment of the Eighth Missouri, that had been up
to the fleet, and had been sent down as a picket to prevent any
obstructions below. This picket reported that Admiral Porter had
found Deer Creek badly obstructed, had turned back; that there was
a rebel force beyond the fleet, with some six-pounders, and nothing
between us and the fleet. So I sat down on the door-sill of a
cabin to rest, but had not been seated ten minutes when, in the
wood just ahead, not three hundred yards off, I heard quick and
rapid firing of musketry. Jumping up, I ran up the road, and found
Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, who said the head of his column had struck
a small force of rebels with a working gang of negroes, provided
with axes, who on the first fire had broken and run back into the
swamp. I ordered Rice to deploy his brigade, his left on the road,
and extending as far into the swamp as the ground would permit, and
then to sweep forward until he uncovered the gunboats. The
movement was rapid and well executed, and we soon came to some
large cotton-fields and could see our gunboats in Deer Creek,
occasionally firing a heavy eight-inch gun across the cotton field
into the swamp behind. About that time Major Kirby, of the Eighth
Missouri, galloped down the road on a horse he had picked up the
night before, and met me. He explained the situation of affairs,
and offered me his horse. I got on bareback, and rode up the
levee, the sailors coming out of their iron-clads and cheering most
vociferously as I rode by, and as our men swept forward across the
cotton-field in full view. I soon found Admiral Porter, who was on
the deck of one of his iron-clads, with a shield made of the
section of a smoke-stack, and I doubt if he was ever more glad to
meet a friend than he was to see me. He explained that he had
almost reached the Rolling Fork, when the woods became full of
sharp-shooters, who, taking advantage of trees, stumps, and the
levee, would shoot down every man that poked his nose outside the
protection of their armor; so that he could not handle his clumsy
boats in the narrow channel. The rebels had evidently dispatched a
force from Haines’s Bluff up the Sunflower to the Rolling Fork, had
anticipated the movement of Admiral Porter’s fleet, and had
completely obstructed the channel of the upper part of Deer Creek
by felling trees into it, so that further progress in that
direction was simply impossible. It also happened that, at the
instant of my arrival, a party of about four hundred rebels, armed
and supplied with axes, had passed around the fleet and had got
below it, intending in like manner to block up the channel by the
felling of trees, so as to cut off retreat. This was the force we
had struck so opportunely at the time before described. I inquired
of Admiral Porter what he proposed to do, and he said he wanted to
get out of that scrape as quickly as possible. He was actually
working back when I met him, and, as we then had a sufficient force
to cover his movement completely, he continued to back down Deer
Creek. He informed me at one time things looked so critical that
he had made up his mind to blow up the gunboats, and to escape with
his men through the swamp to the Mississippi River. There being no
longer any sharp-shooters to bother the sailors, they made good
progress; still, it took three full days for the fleet to back out
of Deer Creek into Black Bayou, at Hill’s plantation, whence
Admiral Porter proceeded to his post at the month of the Yazoo,
leaving Captain Owen in command of the fleet. I reported the facts
to General Grant, who was sadly disappointed at the failure of the
fleet to get through to the Yazoo above Haines’s Bluff, and ordered
us all to resume our camps at Young’s Point. We accordingly
steamed down, and regained our camps on the 27th. As this
expedition up Deer Creek was but one of many efforts to secure a
footing from which to operate against Vicksburg, I add the report
of Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith, who was the first to reach the

March 28, 1863

Captain L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the movements of the First
Brigade in the expedition up Steele’s Bayou, Black Bayou, and Deer
Creek. The Sixth Missouri and One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois
regiments embarked at the month of Muddy Bayou on the evening of
Thursday, the 18th of March, and proceeded up Steele’s Bayou to the
month of Black; thence up Black Bayou to Hill’s plantation, at its
junction with Deer Creek, where we arrived on Friday at four
o’clock p.m., and joined the Eighth Missouri, Lieutenant-Colonel
Coleman commanding, which had arrived at that point two days
before. General Sherman had also established his headquarters
there, having preceded the Eighth Missouri in a tug, with no other
escort than two or three of his staff, reconnoitring all the
different bayous and branches, thereby greatly facilitating the
movements of the troops, but at the same time exposing himself
beyond precedent in a commanding general. At three o’clock of
Saturday morning, the 20th instant, General Sherman having received
a communication from Admiral Porter at the mouth of Rolling Fork,
asking for a speedy cooperation of the land forces with his fleet,
I was ordered by General Sherman to be ready, with all the
available force at that point, to accompany him to his relief; but
before starting it was arranged that I should proceed with the
force at hand (eight hundred men), while he remained, again
entirely unprotected, to hurry up the troops expected to arrive
that night, consisting of the Thirteenth Infantry and One Hundred
and Thirteenth Illinois Volunteers, completing my brigade, and the
Second Brigade, Colonel T. Kilby Smith commanding.

This, as the sequel showed; proved a very wise measure, and
resulted in the safety of the whole fleet. At daybreak we were in
motion, with a regular guide. We had proceeded but about six
miles, when we found the enemy had been very busy felling trees to
obstruct the creek.

All the negroes along the route had been notified to be ready at
night fall to continue the work. To prevent this as much as
possible, I ordered all able-bodied negroes to be taken along, and
warned some of the principal inhabitants that they would be held
responsible for any more obstructions being placed across the
creek. We reached the admiral about four o’clock p.m., with no
opposition save my advance-guard (Company A, Sixth Missouri) being
fired into from the opposite side of the creek, killing one man,
and slightly wounding another; having no way of crossing, we had to
content ourselves with driving them beyond musket-range.
Proceeding with as little loss of time as possible, I found the
fleet obstructed in front by fallen trees, in rear by a sunken
coal-barge, and surrounded, by a large force of rebels with an
abundant supply of artillery, but wisely keeping their main force
out of range of the admiral’s guns. Every tree and stump covered a
sharp-shooter, ready to pick off any luckless marine who showed his
head above-decks, and entirely preventing the working-parties from
removing obstructions.

In pursuance of orders from General Sherman, I reported to Admiral
Porter for orders, who turned over to me all the land-forces in his
fleet (about one hundred and fifty men), together with two
howitzers, and I was instructed by him to retain a sufficient force
to clear out the sharp-shooters, and to distribute the remainder
along the creek for six or seven miles below, to prevent any more
obstructions being placed in it during the night. This was
speedily arranged, our skirmishers capturing three prisoners.
Immediate steps were now taken to remove the coal-barge, which was
accomplished about daylight on Sunday morning, when the fleet moved
back toward Black Bayou. By three o’clock p.m. we had only made
about six miles, owing to the large number of trees to be removed;
at this point, where our progress was very slow, we discovered a
long line of the enemy filing along the edge of the woods, and
taking position on the creek below us, and about one mile ahead of
our advance. Shortly after, they opened fire on the gunboats from
batteries behind the cavalry and infantry. The boats not only
replied to the batteries, which they soon silenced, but poured a
destructive fire into their lines. Heavy skirmishing was also
heard in our front, supposed to be by three companies from the
Sixth and Eighth Missouri, whose position, taken the previous night
to guard the creek, was beyond the point reached by the enemy, and
consequently liable to be cut off or captured. Captain Owen, of
the Louisville, the leading boat, made every effort to go through
the obstructions and aid in the rescuing of the men. I ordered
Major Kirby, with four companies of the Sixth Missouri, forward,
with two companies deployed. He soon met General Sherman, with the
Thirteenth Infantry and One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois,
driving the enemy before them, and opening communication along the
creek with the gunboats. Instead of our three companies referred
to as engaging the enemy, General Sherman had arrived at a very
opportune moment with the two regiments mentioned above, and the
Second Brigade. The enemy, not expecting an attack from that
quarter, after some hot skirmishing, retreated. General Sherman
immediately ordered the Thirteenth Infantry and One Hundred and
Thirteenth Illinois to pursue; but, after following their trace for
about two miles, they were recalled.

We continued our march for about two miles, when we bivouacked for
the night. Early on Monday morning (March 22d) we continued our
march, but owing to the slow progress of the gunboats did not reach
Hill’s plantation until Tuesday, the 23d instant, where we remained
until the 25th; we then reembarked, and arrived at Young’s Point on
Friday, the 27th instant.

Below you will find a list of casualties. Very respectfully,

Giles A. SMITH,
Colonel Eighth Missouri, commanding First Brigade.

P. S.-I forgot to state above that the Thirteenth Infantry and One
Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois being under the immediate command
of General Sherman, he can mention them as their conduct deserves.

On the 3d of April, a division of troops, commanded by Brigadier-
General J. M. Tuttle, was assigned to my corps, and was designated
the Third Division; and, on the 4th of April, Brigadier-General D.
Stuart was relieved from the command of the Second Division, to
which Major-General Frank P. Blair was appointed by an order from
General Grant’s headquarters. Stuart had been with me from the
time we were at Benton Barracks, in command of the Fifty-fifth
Illinois, then of a brigade, and finally of a division; but he had
failed in seeking a confirmation by the Senate to his nomination as
brigadier-general, by reason of some old affair at Chicago, and,
having resigned his commission as colonel, he was out of service.
I esteemed him very highly, and was actually mortified that the
service should thus be deprived of so excellent and gallant an
officer. He afterward settled in New Orleans as a lawyer, and died
about 1867 or 1868.

On the 6th of April, my command, the Fifteenth Corps, was composed
of three divisions:

The First Division, commanded by Major-General Fred Steele; and his
three brigades by Colonel Manter, Colonel Charles R. Wood, and
Brigadier-General John M. Thayer.

The Second Division, commanded by Major-General Frank P. Blair; and
his three brigades by Colonel Giles A. Smith, Colonel Thomas gilby
Smith, and Brigadier-General Hugh Ewing.

The Third Division, commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Tuttle;
and his three brigades by Brigadier-General R. P. Buckland, Colonel
J. A. Mower, and Brigadier-General John E. Smith.

My own staff then embraced: Dayton, McCoy, and Hill, aides; J. H.
Hammond, assistant adjutant-general; Sanger, inspector-general;
McFeeley, commissary; J. Condit Smith, quartermaster; Charles
McMillan, medical director; Ezra Taylor, chief of artillery;
Jno. C. Neely, ordnance-officer; Jenney and Pitzman, engineers.

By this time it had become thoroughly demonstrated that we could
not divert the main river Mississippi, or get practicable access to
the east bank of the Yazoo, in the rear of Vicksburg, by any of the
passes; and we were all in the habit of discussing the various
chances of the future. General Grant’s headquarters were at
Milliken’s Bend, in tents, and his army was strung along the river
all the way from Young’s Point up to Lake Providence, at least
sixty miles. I had always contended that the best way to take
Vicksburg was to resume the movement which had been so well begun
the previous November, viz., for the main army to march by land
down the country inland of the Mississippi River; while the
gunboat-fleet and a minor land-force should threaten Vicksburg on
its river-front.

I reasoned that, with the large force then subject to General
Grant’s orders-viz., four army corps–he could easily resume the
movement from Memphis, by way of Oxford and Grenada, to Jackson,
Mississippi, or down the ridge between the Yazoo and Big Black; but
General Grant would not, for reasons other than military, take any
course which looked like, a step backward; and he himself concluded
on the river movement below Vicksburg, so as to appear like
connecting with General Banks, who at the same time was besieging
Port Hudson from the direction of New Orleans.

Preliminary orders had already been given, looking to the digging
of a canal, to connect the river at Duckport with Willow Bayou,
back of Milliken’s Bend, so as to form a channel for the conveyance
of supplies, by way of Richmond, to New Carthage; and several steam
dredge-boats had come from the upper rivers to assist in the work.
One day early in April, I was up at General Grant’s headquarters,
and we talked over all these things with absolute freedom. Charles
A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, was there, and Wilson,
Rawlins, Frank Blair, McPherson, etc. We all knew, what was
notorious, that General McClernand was still intriguing against
General Grant, in hopes to regain the command of the whole
expedition, and that others were raising a clamor against General
Grant in the news papers at the North. Even Mr. Lincoln and
General Halleck seemed to be shaken; but at no instant of time did
we (his personal friends) slacken in our loyalty to him. One
night, after such a discussion, and believing that General
McClernand had no real plan of action shaped in his mind, I wrote
my letter of April 8, 1863, to Colonel Rawlins, which letter is
embraced in full at page 616 of Badeau’s book, and which I now
reproduce here:


Colonel J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General to General GRANT.

SIR: I would most respectfully suggest (for reasons which I will
not name) that General Grant call on his corps commanders for their
opinions, concise and positive, on the best general plan of a
campaign. Unless this be done, there are men who will, in any
result falling below the popular standard, claim that their advice
was unheeded, and that fatal consequence resulted therefrom. My
own opinions are:

First. That the Army of the Tennessee is now far in advance of the
other grand armies of the United States.

Second. That a corps from Missouri should forthwith be moved from
St. Louis to the vicinity of Little Rock, Arkansas; supplies
collected there while the river is full, and land communication
with Memphis opened via Des Arc on the White, and Madison on the
St. Francis River.

Third. That as much of the Yazoo Pass, Coldwater, and Tallahatchie
Rivers, as can be gained and fortified, be held, and the main army
be transported thither by land and water; that the road back to
Memphis be secured and reopened, and, as soon as the waters
subside, Grenada be attacked, and the swamp-road across to Helena
be patrolled by cavalry.

Fourth. That the line of the Yalabusha be the base from which to
operate against the points where the Mississippi Central crosses
Big Black, above Canton; and, lastly, where the Vicksburg & Jackson
Railroad crosses the same river (Big Black). The capture of
Vicksburg would result.

Fifth. That a minor force be left in this vicinity, not to exceed
ten thousand men, with only enough steamboats to float and
transport them to any desired point; this force to be held always
near enough to act with the gunboats when the main army is known to
be near Vicksburg–Haines’s Bluff or Yazoo City.

Sixth. I do doubt the capacity of Willow Bayou (which I estimate
to be fifty miles long and very tortuous) as a military channel, to
supply an army large enough to operate against Jackson,
Mississippi, or the Black River Bridge; and such a channel will be
very vulnerable to a force coming from the west, which we must
expect. Yet this canal will be most useful as the way to convey
coals and supplies to a fleet that should navigate the lower reach
of the Mississippi between Vicksburg and the Red River.

Seventh. The chief reason for operating solely by water was the
season of the year and high water in the Tallahatchie and Yalabusha
Rivers. The spring is now here, and soon these streams will be no
serious obstacle, save in the ambuscades of the forest, and
whatever works the enemy may have erected at or near Grenada.
North Mississippi is too valuable for us to allow the enemy to hold
it and make crops this year.

I make these suggestions, with the request that General Grant will
read them and give them, as I know he will, a share of his
thoughts. I would prefer that he should not answer this letter,
but merely give it as much or as little weight as it deserves.
Whatever plan of action he may adopt will receive from me the same
zealous cooperation and energetic support as though conceived by
myself. I do not believe General Banks will make any serious
attack on Port Hudson this spring. I am, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

This is the letter which some critics have styled a “protest.” We
never had a council of war at any time during the Vicksburg
campaign. We often met casually, regardless of rank or power, and
talked and gossiped of things in general, as officers do and
should. But my letter speaks for itself–it shows my opinions
clearly at that stage of the game, and was meant partially to
induce General Grant to call on General McClernand for a similar
expression of opinion, but, so far as I know, he did not. He went
on quietly to work out his own designs; and he has told me, since
the war, that had we possessed in December, 1862, the experience of
marching and maintaining armies without a regular base, which we
afterward acquired, he would have gone on from Oxford as first
contemplated, and would not have turned back because of the
destruction of his depot at Holly Springs by Van Dorn. The
distance from Oxford to the rear of Vicksburg is little greater
than by the circuitous route we afterward followed, from Bruinsburg
to Jackson and Vicksburg, during which we had neither depot nor
train of supplies. I have never criticised General Grant’s
strategy on this or any other occasion, but I thought then that he
had lost an opportunity, which cost him and us six months’ extra-
hard work, for we might have captured Vicksburg from the direction
of Oxford in January, quite as easily as was afterward done in
July, 1863.

General Grant’s orders for the general movement past Vicksburg, by
Richmond and Carthage, were dated April 20, 1863. McClernand was
to lead off with his corps, McPherson next, and my corps (the
Fifteenth) to bring up the rear. Preliminary thereto, on the night
of April 16th, seven iron-clads led by Admiral Porter in person, in
the Benton, with three transports, and ten barges in tow, ran the
Vicksburg batteries by night. Anticipating a scene, I had four
yawl-boats hauled across the swamp, to the reach of the river below
Vicksburg, and manned them with soldiers, ready to pick up any of
the disabled wrecks as they floated by. I was out in the stream
when the fleet passed Vicksburg, and the scene was truly sublime.
As soon as the rebel gunners detected the Benton, which was in the
lead, they opened on her, and on the others in succession, with
shot and shell; houses on the Vicksburg side and on the opposite
shore were set on fire, which lighted up the whole river; and the
roar of cannon, the bursting of shells, and finally the burning of
the Henry Clay, drifting with the current, made up a picture of the
terrible not often seen. Each gunboat returned the fire as she
passed the town, while the transports hugged the opposite shore.
When the Benton had got abreast of us, I pulled off to her,
boarded, had a few words with Admiral Porter, and as she was
drifting rapidly toward the lower batteries at Warrenton, I left,
and pulled back toward the shore, meeting the gunboat Tuscumbia
towing the transport Forest Queen into the bank out of the range of
fire. The Forest Queen, Captain Conway, had been my flag-boat up
the Arkansas, and for some time after, and I was very friendly with
her officers. This was the only transport whose captain would not
receive volunteers as a crew, but her own officers and crew stuck
to their boat, and carried her safely below the Vicksburg
batteries, and afterward rendered splendid service in ferrying
troops across the river at Grand Gulf and Bruinsburg. In passing
Vicksburg, she was damaged in the hull and had a steam-pipe cut
away, but this was soon repaired. The Henry Clay was set on fire
by bursting shells, and burned up; one of my yawls picked up her
pilot floating on a piece of wreck, and the bulk of her crew
escaped in their own yawl-boat to the shore above. The Silver
Wave, Captain McMillan, the same that was with us up Steele’s
Bayou, passed safely, and she also rendered good service afterward.

Subsequently, on the night of April 26th, six other transports with
numerous barges loaded with hay, corn, freight, and provisions,
were drifted past Vicksburg; of these the Tigress was hit, and sunk
just as she reached the river-bank below, on our side: I was there
with my yawls, and saw Colonel Lagow, of General Grant’s staff, who
had passed the batteries in the Tigress, and I think he was
satisfied never to attempt such a thing again. Thus General
Grant’s army had below Vicksburg an abundance of stores, and boats
with which to cross the river. The road by which the troops
marched was very bad, and it was not until the 1st of May that it
was clear for my corps. While waiting my turn to march, I received
a letter from General Grant, written at Carthage, saying that he
proposed to cross over and attack Grand Gulf, about the end of
April, and he thought I could put in my time usefully by making a
“feint” on Haines’s Bluff, but he did not like to order me to do
it, because it might be reported at the North that I had again been
“repulsed, etc.” Thus we had to fight a senseless clamor at the
North, as well as a determined foe and the obstacles of Nature. Of
course, I answered him that I would make the “feint,” regardless of
public clamor at a distance, and I did make it most effectually;
using all the old boats I could get about Milliken’s Bend and the
mouth of the Yazoo, but taking only ten small regiments, selected
out of Blair’s division, to make a show of force. We afterward
learned that General Pemberton in Vicksburg had previously
dispatched a large force to the assistance of General Bowers, at
Grand Gulf and Port Gibson, which force had proceeded as far as
Hankinson’s Ferry, when he discovered our ostentatious movement up
the Yazoo, recalled his men, and sent them up to Haines’s Bluff to
meet us. This detachment of rebel troops must have marched nearly
sixty miles without rest, for afterward, on reaching Vicksburg, I
heard that the men were perfectly exhausted, and lay along the road
in groups, completely fagged out. This diversion, made with so
much pomp and display, therefore completely fulfilled its purpose,
by leaving General Grant to contend with a minor force, on landing
at Bruinsburg, and afterward at Port Gibson and Grand Gulf.

In May the waters of the Mississippi had so far subsided that all
our canals were useless, and the roads had become practicable.
After McPherson’s corps had passed Richmond, I took up the route of
march, with Steele’s and Tuttle’s divisions. Blair’s division
remained at Milliken’s Bend to protect our depots there, till
relieved by troops from Memphis, and then he was ordered to follow
us. Our route lay by Richmond and Roundabout Bayou; then,
following Bayou Vidal we struck the Mississippi at Perkins’s
plantation. Thence the route followed Lake St. Joseph to a
plantation called Hard Times, about five miles above Grand Gulf.
The road was more or less occupied by wagons and detachments
belonging to McPherson’s corps; still we marched rapidly and
reached Hard Times on the 6th of May. Along the Bayou or Lake St.
Joseph were many very fine cotton plantations, and I recall that of
a Mr. Bowie, brother-in-law of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, of
Baltimore. The house was very handsome, with a fine, extensive
grass-plot in front. We entered the yard, and, leaving our horses
with the headquarters escort, walked to the house. On the
front-porch I found a magnificent grand-piano, with several
satin-covered arm-chairs, in one of which sat a Union soldier (one
of McPherson’s men), with his feet on the keys of the piano, and
his musket and knapsack lying on the porch. I asked him what he
was doing there, and he answered that he was “taking a rest;” this
was manifest and I started him in a hurry, to overtake his command.
The house was tenantless, and had been completely ransacked;
articles of dress and books were strewed about, and a handsome
boudoir with mirror front had been cast down, striking a French
bedstead, shivering the glass. The library was extensive, with a
fine collection of books; and hanging on the wall were two
full-length portraits of Reverdy Johnson and his wife, one of the
most beautiful ladies of our country, with whom I had been
acquainted in Washington at the time of General Taylor’s
administration. Behind the mansion was the usual double row of
cabins called the “quarters.” There I found an old negro (a family
servant) with several women, whom I sent to the house to put things
in order; telling the old man that other troops would follow, and
he must stand on the porch to tell any officers who came along that
the property belonged to Mr. Bowie, who was the brother-in-law of
our friend Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Baltimore, asking them to see
that no further harm was done. Soon after we left the house I saw
some negroes carrying away furniture which manifestly belonged to
the house, and compelled them to carry it back; and after reaching
camp that night, at Hard Times, I sent a wagon back to Bowie’s
plantation, to bring up to Dr. Hollingsworth’s house the two
portraits for safe keeping; but before the wagon had reached
Bowie’s the house was burned, whether by some of our men or by
negroes I have never learned.

At the river there was a good deal of scrambling to get across,
because the means of ferriage were inadequate; but by the aid of
the Forest Queen and several gunboats I got my command across
during the 7th of May, and marched out to Hankiuson’s Ferry
(eighteen miles), relieving General Crocker’s division of
McPherson’s corps. McClernand’s corps and McPherson’s were still
ahead, and had fought the battle of Port Gibson, on the 11th. I
overtook General Grant in person at Auburn, and he accompanied my
corps all the way into Jackson, which we reached May 14th.
McClernand’s corps had been left in observation toward Edwards’s
Ferry. McPherson had fought at Raymond, and taken the left-hand
road toward Jackson, via Clinton, while my troops were ordered by
General Grant in person to take the right-hand road leading through
Mississippi Springs. We reached Jackson at the same time;
McPherson fighting on the Clinton road, and my troops fighting just
outside the town, on the Raymond road, where we captured three
entire field-batteries, and about two hundred prisoners of war.
The rebels, under General Joe Johnston, had retreated through the
town northward on the Canton road. Generals Grant, McPherson, and
I, met in the large hotel facing the State-House, where the former
explained to us that he had intercepted dispatches from Pemberton
to Johnston, which made it important for us to work smart to
prevent a junction of their respective forces. McPherson was
ordered to march back early the next day on the Clinton road to
make junction with McClernand, and I was ordered to remain one day
to break up railroads, to destroy the arsenal, a foundery, the
cotton-factory of the Messrs. Green, etc., etc., and then to
follow McPherson.

McPherson left Jackson early on the 15th, and General Grant during
the same day. I kept my troops busy in tearing up railroad-tracks,
etc., but early on the morning of the 16th received notice from
General Grant that a battle was imminent near Edwards’s Depot; that
he wanted me to dispatch one of my divisions immediately, and to
follow with the other as soon as I had completed the work of
destruction. Steele’s division started immediately, and later in
the day I followed with the other division (Tuttle’s). Just as I
was leaving Jackson, a very fat man came to see me, to inquire if
his hotel, a large, frame building near the depot, were doomed to
be burned. I told him we had no intention to burn it, or any other
house, except the machine-shops, and such buildings as could easily
be converted to hostile uses. He professed to be a law-abiding
Union man, and I remember to have said that this fact was manifest
from the sign of his hotel, which was the “Confederate Hotel;” the
sign “United States” being faintly painted out, and “Confederate”
painted over it! I remembered that hotel, as it was the
supper-station for the New Orleans trains when I used to travel the
road before the war. I had not the least purpose, however, of
burning it, but, just as we were leaving the town, it burst out in
flames and was burned to the ground. I never found out exactly who
set it on fire, but was told that in one of our batteries were some
officers and men who had been made prisoners at Shiloh, with
Prentiss’s division, and had been carried past Jackson in a
railroad-train; they had been permitted by the guard to go to this
very hotel for supper, and had nothing to pay but greenbacks, which
were refused, with insult, by this same law-abiding landlord.
These men, it was said, had quietly and stealthily applied the fire
underneath the hotel just as we were leaving the town.

About dark we met General Grant’s staff-officer near Bolton
Station, who turned us to the right, with orders to push on to
Vicksburg by what was known as the upper Jackson Road, which
crossed the Big Black at Bridgeport. During that day (May 16th)
the battle of Champion Hills had been fought and won by
McClernand’s and McPherson’s corps, aided by one division of mine
(Blairs), under the immediate command of General Grant; and
McPherson was then following the mass of Pemberton’s army,
disordered and retreating toward Vicksburg by the Edwards’s Ferry
road. General Blair’s division had come up from the rear, was
temporarily attached to McClernand’s corps, taking part with it in
the battle of Champion Hills, but on the 17th it was ordered by
General Grant across to Bridgeport, to join me there.

Just beyond Bolton there was a small hewn-log house, standing back
in a yard, in which was a well; at this some of our soldiers were
drawing water. I rode in to get a drink, and, seeing a book on the
ground, asked some soldier to hand it to me. It was a volume of
the Constitution of the United States, and on the title-page was
written the name of Jefferson Davis. On inquiry of a negro, I
learned that the place belonged to the then President of the
Southern Confederation. His brother Joe Davis’s plantation was not
far off; one of my staff-officers went there, with a few soldiers,
and took a pair of carriage-horses, without my knowledge at the
time. He found Joe Davis at home, an old man, attended by a young
and affectionate niece; but they were overwhelmed with grief to see
their country overran and swarming with Federal troops.

We pushed on, and reached the Big Black early, Blair’s
troops having preceded us by an hour or so. I found General
Blair in person, and he reported that there was no bridge across
the Big Black; that it was swimming-deep; and that there was
a rebel force on the opposite side, intrenched. He had ordered
a detachment of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, under
Captain Charles Ewing, to strip some artillery-horses, mount the
men, and swim the river above the ferry, to attack and drive
away the party on the opposite bank. I did not approve of this
risky attempt, but crept down close to the brink of the river-
bank, behind a corn-crib belonging to a plantation house near by,
and saw the parapet on the opposite bank. Ordering a section of
guns to be brought forward by hand behind this corn-crib, a few
well-directed shells brought out of their holes the little party
that was covering the crossing, viz., a lieutenant and ten men,
who came down to the river-bank and surrendered. Blair’s pon-
toon-train was brought up, consisting of India-rubber boats, one
of which was inflated, used as a boat, and brought over the
prisoners. A pontoon-bridge was at once begun, finished by night,
and the troops began the passage. After dark, the whole scene was
lit up with fires of pitch-pine. General Grant joined me there,
and we sat on a log, looking at the passage of the troops by the
light of those fires; the bridge swayed to and fro under the
passing feet, and made a fine war-picture. At daybreak we moved
on, ascending the ridge, and by 10 a.m. the head of my column, long
drawn out, reached the Benton road, and gave us command of the
peninsula between the Yazoo and Big Black. I dispatched Colonel
Swan, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, to Haines’s Bluff, to capture
that battery from the rear, and he afterward reported that he found
it abandoned, its garrison having hastily retreated into Vicksburg,
leaving their guns partially disabled, a magazine full of
ammunition, and a hospital full of wounded and sick men. Colonel
Swan saw one of our gunboats lying about two miles below in the
Yazoo, to which he signaled. She steamed up, and to its commander
the cavalry turned over the battery at Haines’s Bluff, and rejoined
me in front of Vicksburg. Allowing a couple of hours for rest and
to close up the column, I resumed the march straight on Vicksburg.
About two miles before reaching the forts, the road forked; the
left was the main Jackson road, and the right was the “graveyard”
road, which entered Vicksburg near a large cemetery. General Grant
in person directed me to take the right-hand road, but, as
McPherson had not yet got up from the direction of the
railroad-bridge at Big Black, I sent the Eighth Missouri on the
main Jackson road, to push the rebel skirmishers into town, and to
remain until relieved by McPherson’s advance, which happened late
that evening, May 18th. The battalion of the Thirteenth United
States Regulars, commanded by Captain Washington, was at the head
of the column on the right-hand road, and pushed the rebels close
behind their parapets; one of my staff, Captain Pitzman, receiving
a dangerous wound in the hip, which apparently disabled him for
life. By night Blair’s whole division had closed up against the
defenses of Vicksburg, which were found to be strong and well
manned; and, on General Steele’s head of column arriving, I turned
it still more to the right, with orders to work its way down the
bluff, so as to make connection with our fleet in the Mississippi
River. There was a good deal of desultory fighting that evening,
and a man was killed by the aide of General Grant and myself, as we
sat by the road-side looking at Steele’s division passing to the
right. General Steele’s men reached the road which led from
Vicksburg up to Haines’s Bluff, which road lay at the foot of the
hills, and intercepted some prisoners and wagons which were coming
down from Haines’s Bluff.

All that night McPherson’s troops were arriving by the main Jackson
road, and McClernand’a by another near the railroad, deploying
forward as fast as they struck the rebel works. My corps (the
Fifteenth) had the right of the line of investment; McPherson’s
(the Seventeenth) the centre; and McClernand’s (the Thirteenth) the
left, reaching from the river above to the railroad below. Our
lines connected, and invested about three-quarters of the
land-front of the fortifications of Vicksburg. On the supposition
that the garrison of Vicksburg was demoralized by the defeats at
Champion Hills and at the railroad crossing of the Big Black,
General Grant ordered an assault at our respective fronts on the
19th. My troops reached the top of the parapet, but could not
cross over. The rebel parapets were strongly manned, and the enemy
fought hard and well. My loss was pretty heavy, falling chiefly on
the Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain
Washington, was killed, and several other regiments were pretty
badly cut up. We, however, held the ground up to the ditch till
night, and then drew back only a short distance, and began to
counter-trench. On the graveyard road, our parapet was within less
than fifty yards of the rebel ditch.

On the 20th of May, General Grant called the three corps commanders
together, viz., McClernand, McPherson, and Sherman. We compared
notes, and agreed that the assault of the day before had failed, by
reason of the natural strength of the position, and because we were
forced by the nature of the ground to limit our attacks to the
strongest parts of the enemy’s line, viz., where the three
principal roads entered the city.

It was not a council of war, but a mere consultation, resulting in
orders from General Grant for us to make all possible preparations
for a renewed assault on the 22d, simultaneously, at 10 a.m. I
reconnoitred my front thoroughly in person, from right to left, and
concluded to make my real attack at the right flank of the bastion,
where the graveyard road entered the enemy’s intrenchments, and at
another point in the curtain about a hundred yards to its right
(our left); also to make a strong demonstration by Steele’s
division, about a mile to our right, toward the river. All our
field batteries were put in position, and were covered by good
epaulements; the troops were brought forward, in easy support,
concealed by the shape of the ground; and to the: minute, viz.,
10 a.m. of May 22d, the troops sprang to the assault. A small
party, that might be called a forlorn hope, provided with plank to
cross the ditch, advanced at a run, up to the very ditch; the lines
of infantry sprang from cover, and advanced rapidly in line of
battle. I took a position within two hundred yards of the rebel
parapet, on the off slope of a spur of ground, where by advancing
two or three steps I could see every thing. The rebel line,
concealed by the parapet, showed no sign of unusual activity, but
as our troops came in fair view, the enemy rose behind their
parapet and poured a furious fire upon our lines; and, for about
two hours, we had a severe and bloody battle, but at every point we
were repulsed. In the very midst of this, when shell and shot fell
furious and fast, occurred that little episode which has been
celebrated in song and story, of the boy Orion P. Howe, badly
wounded, bearing me a message for cartridges, calibre 54,
described in my letter to the Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
This boy was afterward appointed a cadet to the United States Naval
Academy, at Annapolis, but he could not graduate, and I do not now
know what has become of him.

After our men had been fairly beaten back from off the parapet, and
had got cover behind the spurs of ground close up to the rebel
works, General Grant came to where I was, on foot, having left his
horse some distance to the rear. I pointed out to him the rebel
works, admitted that my assault had failed, and he said the result
with McPherson and McClernand was about the same. While he was
with me, an orderly or staff-officer came and handed him a piece of
paper, which he read and handed to me. I think the writing was in
pencil, on a loose piece of paper, and was in General McClernand’s
handwriting, to the effect that “his troops had captured the rebel
parapet in his front,” that, “the flag of the Union waved over the
stronghold of Vicksburg,” and asking him (General Grant) to give
renewed orders to McPherson and Sherman to press their attacks on
their respective fronts, lest the enemy should concentrate on him
(McClernand). General Grant said, “I don’t believe a word of it;”
but I reasoned with him, that this note was official, and must be
credited, and I offered to renew the assault at once with new
troops. He said he would instantly ride down the line to
McClernand’s front, and if I did not receive orders to the
contrary, by 3 o’clock p.m., I might try it again. Mower’s fresh
brigade was brought up under cover, and some changes were made in
Giles Smith’s brigade; and, punctually at 3 p.m., hearing heavy
firing down along the line to my left, I ordered the second
assault. It was a repetition of the first, equally unsuccessful
and bloody. It also transpired that the same thing had occurred
with General McPherson, who lost in this second assault some most
valuable officers and men, without adequate result; and that
General McClernand, instead of having taken any single point of the
rebel main parapet, had only taken one or two small outlying
lunettes open to the rear, where his men were at the mercy of the
rebels behind their main parapet, and most of them were actually
thus captured. This affair caused great feeling with us, and
severe criticisms on General McClernand, which led finally to his
removal from the command of the Thirteenth Corps, to which General
Ord succeeded. The immediate cause, however, of General
McClernand’s removal was the publication of a sort of
congratulatory order addressed to his troops, first published in
St. Louis, in which he claimed that he had actually succeeded in
making a lodgment in Vicksburg, but had lost it, owing to the fact
that McPherson and Sherman did not fulfill their parts of the
general plan of attack. This was simply untrue. The two several
assaults made May 22d, on the lines of Vicksburg, had failed, by
reason of the great strength of the position and the determined
fighting of its garrison. I have since seen the position at
Sevastopol, and without hesitation I declare that at Vicksburg to
have been the more difficult of the two.

Thereafter our proceedings were all in the nature of a siege.
General Grant drew more troops from Memphis, to prolong our general
line to the left, so as completely to invest the place on its
land-side, while the navy held the river both above and below.
General Mower’s brigade of Tuttle’s division was also sent across
the river to the peninsula, so that by May 31st Vicksburg was
completely beleaguered. Good roads were constructed from our camps
to the several landing-places on the Yazoo River, to which points
our boats brought us ample supplies; so that we were in a splendid
condition for a siege, while our enemy was shut up in a close fort,
with a large civil population of men, women, and children to feed,
in addition to his combatant force. If we could prevent sallies,
or relief from the outside, the fate of the garrison of Vicksburg
was merely a question of time.

I had my headquarters camp close up to the works, near the centre
of my corps, and General Grant had his bivouac behind a ravine to
my rear. We estimated Pemberton’s whole force in Vicksburg at
thirty thousand men, and it was well known that the rebel General
Joseph E. Johnston was engaged in collecting another strong force
near the Big Black, with the intention to attack our rear, and thus
to afford Pemberton an opportunity to escape with his men. Even
then the ability of General Johnston was recognized, and General
Grant told me that he was about the only general on that side whom
he feared. Each corps kept strong pickets well to the rear; but,
as the rumors of Johnston’s accumulating force reached us, General
Grant concluded to take stronger measures. He had received from
the North General J. G. Parker’s corps (Ninth), which had been
posted at Haines’s Bluff; then, detailing one division from each of
the three corps d’armee investing Vicksburg, he ordered me to go
out, take a general command of all, and to counteract any movement
on the part of General Johnston to relieve Vicksburg. I
reconnoitred the whole country, from Haines’s Bluff to the railroad
bridge, and posted the troops thus:

Parke’s two divisions from Haines’s Bluff out to the Benton or
ridge road; Tuttle’s division, of my corps, joining on and
extending to a plantation called Young’s, overlooking Bear Creek
valley, which empties into the Big Black above Messinger’s Ferry;
then McArthurs division, of McPherson’s corps, took up the line,
and reached to Osterhaus’s division of McClernand’s corps, which
held a strong fortified position at the railroad-crossing of the
Big Black River. I was of opinion that, if Johnston should cross
the Big Black, he could by the favorable nature of the country be
held in check till a concentration could be effected by us at the
point threatened. From the best information we could gather,
General Johnston had about thirty or forty thousand men. I took
post near a plantation of one Trible, near Markham’s, and
frequently reconnoitred the whole line, and could see the enemy
engaged in like manner, on the east aide of Big Black; but he never
attempted actually to cross over, except with some cavalry, just
above Bear Creek, which was easily driven back. I was there from
June 20th to the 4th of July. In a small log-house near Markham’s
was the family of Mr. Klein, whose wife was the daughter of Mrs.
Day, of New Orleans, who in turn was the sister of Judge T. W.
Bartley, my brother-in-law. I used frequently to drop in and take
a meal with them, and Mrs. Klein was generally known as the
general’s cousin, which doubtless saved her and her family from
molestation, too common on the part of our men.

One day, as I was riding the line near a farm known as Parson
Fog’s, I heard that the family of a Mr. Wilkinson, of New Orleans,
was “refugeeing” at a house near by. I rode up, inquired, and
found two young girls of that name, who said they were the children
of General Wilkinson, of Louisiana, and that their brother had been
at the Military School at Alexandria. Inquiring for their mother,
I was told she was spending the day at Parson Fox’s. As this house
was on my route, I rode there, went through a large gate into the
yard, followed by my staff and escort, and found quite a number of
ladies sitting on the porch. I rode up and inquired if that were
Parson Fox’s. The parson, a fine-looking, venerable old man, rose,
and said that he was Parson Fox. I then inquired for Mrs.
Wilkinson, when an elderly lady answered that she was the person.
I asked her if she were from Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana, and she
said she was. I then inquired if she had a son who had been a
cadet at Alexandria when General Sherman was superintendent, and
she answered yes. I then announced myself, inquired after the boy,
and she said he was inside of Vicksburg, an artillery lieutenant.
I then asked about her husband, whom I had known, when she burst
into tears, and cried out in agony, “You killed him at Bull Run,
where he was fighting for his country!” I disclaimed killing
anybody at Bull Run; but all the women present (nearly a dozen)
burst into loud lamentations, which made it most uncomfortable for
me, and I rode away. On the 3d of July, as I sat at my bivouac by
the road-side near Trible’s, I saw a poor, miserable horse,
carrying a lady, and led by a little negro boy, coming across a
cotton-field toward me; as they approached I recognized poor Mrs.
Wilkinson, and helped her to dismount. I inquired what had brought
her to me in that style, and she answered that she knew Vicksburg,
was going to surrender, and she wanted to go right away to see her
boy. I had a telegraph-wire to General Grant’s headquarters, and
had heard that there were symptoms of surrender, but as yet nothing
definite. I tried to console and dissuade her, but she was
resolved, and I could not help giving her a letter to General
Grant, explaining to him who she was, and asking him to give her
the earliest opportunity to see her son. The distance was fully
twenty miles, but off she started, and I afterward learned that my
letter had enabled her to see her son, who had escaped unharmed.
Later in the day I got by telegraph General Grant’s notice of the
negotiations for surrender; and, by his directions, gave general
orders to my troops to be ready at a moment’s notice to cross the
Big Black, and go for Joe Johnston.

The next day (July 4, 1863) Vicksburg surrendered, and orders were
given for at once attacking General Johnston. The Thirteenth Corps
(General Ord) was ordered to march rapidly, and cross the Big Black
at the railroad-bridge; the Fifteenth by Mesainger’s, and the Ninth
(General Parker) by Birdsong’s Ferry-all to converge on Bolton. My
corps crossed the Big Black during the 5th and 6th of July, and
marched for Bolton, where we came in with General Ord’s troops; but
the Ninth Corps was delayed in crossing at Birdsong’s. Johnston
had received timely notice of Pemberton’s surrender, and was in
full retreat for Jackson. On the 8th all our troops reached the
neighborhood of Clinton, the weather fearfully hot, and water
scarce. Johnston had marched rapidly, and in retreating had caused
cattle, hogs, and sheep, to be driven into the ponds of water, and
there shot down; so that we had to haul their dead and stinking
carcasses out to use the water. On the l0th of July we had driven
the rebel army into Jackson, where it turned at bay behind the
intrenchments, which had been enlarged and strengthened since our
former visit in May. We closed our lines about Jackson; my corps
(Fifteenth) held the centre, extending from the Clinton to the
Raymond road; Ord’s (Thirteenth) on the right, reaching Pearl River
below the town; and Parker’s (Ninth) the left, above the town.

On the 11th we pressed close in, and shelled the town from every
direction. One of Ords brigades (Lauman’s) got too close, and was
very roughly handled and driven back in disorder. General Ord
accused the commander (General Lauman) of having disregarded his
orders, and attributed to him personally the disaster and heavy
loss of men. He requested his relief, which I granted, and General
Lauman went to the rear, and never regained his division. He died
after the war, in Iowa, much respected, as before that time he had
been universally esteemed a most gallant and excellent officer.
The weather was fearfully hot, but we continued to press the siege
day and night, using our artillery pretty freely; and on the
morning of July 17th the place was found evacuated. General
Steele’s division was sent in pursuit as far as Brandon (fourteen
miles), but General Johnston had carried his army safely off, and
pursuit in that hot weather would have been fatal to my command.

Reporting the fact to General Grant, he ordered me to return, to
send General Parkes’s corps to Haines’s Bluff, General Ord’s back
to Vicksburg, and he consented that I should encamp my whole corps
near the Big Black, pretty much on the same ground we had occupied
before the movement, and with the prospect of a period of rest for
the remainder of the summer. We reached our camps on the 27th of

Meantime, a division of troops, commanded by Brigadier-General W.
Sooy Smith, had been added to my corps. General Smith applied for
and received a sick-leave on the 20th of July; Brigadier-General
Hugh Ewing was assigned to its command; and from that time it
constituted the Fourth Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps.

Port Hudson had surrendered to General Banks on the 8th of July (a
necessary consequence of the fall of Vicksburg), and thus
terminated probably the most important enterprise of the civil war-
-the recovery of the complete control of the Mississippi River,
from its source to its mouth–or, in the language of Mr. Lincoln,
the Mississippi went “unvexed to the sea.”

I put my four divisions into handsome, clean camps, looking to
health and comfort alone, and had my headquarters in a beautiful
grove near the house of that same Parson Fox where I had found the
crowd of weeping rebel women waiting for the fate of their friends
in Vicksburg.

The loss sustained by the Fifteenth Corps in the assault of May
19th, at Vicksburg, was mostly confined to the battalion of the
Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain Washington,
was mortally wounded, and afterward died in the hands of the enemy,
which battalion lost seventy-seven men out of the two hundred and
fifty engaged; the Eighty-third Indiana (Colonel Spooner), and the
One Hundred and Twenty seventh Illinois (Lieutenant-Colonel
Eldridge), the aggregate being about two hundred.

In the assaults of the 22d, the loss in the Fifteenth Corps was
about six hundred.

In the attack on Jackson, Mississippi, during the 11th-16th of
July, General Ord reported the loss in the Thirteenth Army Corps
seven hundred and sixty-two, of which five hundred and thirty-three
were confined to Lauman’s division; General Parkes reported, in the
Ninth Corps, thirty-seven killed, two hundred and fifty-eight
wounded, and thirty-three missing: total, three hundred and
twenty-eight. In the Fifteenth Corps the loss was less; so that,
in the aggregate, the loss as reported by me at the time was less
than a thousand men, while we took that number alone of prisoners.

In General Grant’s entire army before Vicksburg, composed of the
Ninth, part of the Sixteenth, and the whole of the Thirteenth;
Fifteenth, and Seventeenth Corps, the aggregate loss, as stated by
Badeau, was:

Killed: ………………….. 1243
Wounded:………………….. 7095
Missing: …………………. 535

Total: …………………… 8873

Whereas the Confederate loss, as stated by the same author,

Surrendered at Vicksburg ………….. 32000
Captured at Champion Hills…………. 3000
Captured at Big Black Bridge ………. 2000
Captured at Port Gibson……………. 2000
Captured with Loring ……………… 4000
Killed and wounded ……………….. 10000
Stragglers……………………….. 3000

Total……………………………. 56000

Besides which, “a large amount of public property, consisting of
railroads, locomotives, cars, steamers, cotton, guns, muskets,
ammunition, etc., etc., was captured in Vicksburg.”

The value of the capture of Vicksburg, however, was not measured by
the list of prisoners, guns, and small-arms, but by the fact that
its possession secured the navigation of the great central river of
the continent, bisected fatally the Southern Confederacy, and set
the armies which had been used in its conquest free for other
purposes; and it so happened that the event coincided as to time
with another great victory which crowned our arms far away, at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That was a defensive battle, whereas
ours was offensive in the highest acceptation of the term, and the
two, occurring at the same moment of time, should have ended the
war; but the rebel leaders were mad, and seemed determined that
their people should drink of the very lowest dregs of the cup of
war, which they themselves had prepared.

The campaign of Vicksburg, in its conception and execution,
belonged exclusively to General Grant, not only in the great whole,
but in the thousands of its details. I still retain many of his
letters and notes, all in his own handwriting, prescribing the
routes of march for divisions and detachments, specifying even the
amount of food and tools to be carried along. Many persons gave
his adjutant general, Rawlins, the credit for these things, but
they were in error; for no commanding general of an army ever gave
more of his personal attention to details, or wrote so many of his
own orders, reports, and letters, as General Grant. His success at
Vicksburg justly gave him great fame at home and abroad. The
President conferred on him the rank of major-general in the regular
army, the highest grade then existing by law; and General McPherson
and I shared in his success by receiving similar commissions as
brigadier-generals in the regular army.

But our success at Vicksburg produced other results not so
favorable to our cause–a general relaxation of effort, and desire
to escape the hard drudgery of camp: officers sought leaves of
absence to visit their homes, and soldiers obtained furloughs and
discharges on the most slender pretexts; even the General
Government seemed to relax in its efforts to replenish our ranks
with new men, or to enforce the draft, and the politicians were
pressing their schemes to reorganize or patch up some form of civil
government, as fast as the armies gained partial possession of the

In order to illustrate this peculiar phase of our civil war, I give
at this place copies of certain letters which have not heretofore
been published:


WASHINGTON, Augustt 29, 1868.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Vicksburg, Mississippi

My DEAR GENERAL: The question of reconstruction in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, will soon come up for decision of the
Government, and not only the length of the war, but our ultimate
and complete success, will depend upon its decision. It is a
difficult matter, but I believe it can be successfully solved, if
the President will consult opinions of cool and discreet men, who
are capable of looking at it in all its bearings and effects. I
think he is disposed to receive the advice of our generals who have
been in these States, and know much more of their condition than
gassy politicians in Congress. General Banks has written pretty
fully, on the subject. I wrote to General Grant, immediately,
after the fall of Vicksburg, for his views in regard to
Mississippi, but he has not yet answered.

I wish you would consult with Grant, McPherson, and others of cool,
good judgment, and write me your views fully, as I may wish to use
them with the President. You had better write me unofficially, and
then your letter will not be put on file, and cannot hereafter be
used against you. You have been in Washington enough to know how
every thing a man writes or says is picked up by his enemies and
misconstrued. With kind wishes for your further success,

I am yours truly,


[Private and Confidential.]

H. W. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter of August 29th, and with
pleasure confide to you fully my thoughts on the important matters
you suggest, with absolute confidence that you will use what is
valuable, and reject the useless or superfluous.

That part of the continent of North America known as Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, is in my judgment the key to the whole
interior. The valley of the Mississippi is America, and, although
railroads have changed the economy of intercommunication, yet the
water-channels still mark the lines of fertile land, and afford
cheap carriage to the heavy products of it.

The inhabitants of the country on the Monongahela, the Illinois,
the Minnesota, the Yellowstone, and Osage, are as directly
concerned in the security of the Lower Mississippi as are those who
dwell on its very banks in Louisiana; and now that the nation has
recovered its possession, this generation of men will make a
fearful mistake if they again commit its charge to a people liable
to misuse their position, and assert, as was recently done, that,
because they dwelt on the banks of this mighty stream, they had a
right to control its navigation.

I would deem it very unwise at this time, or for years to come, to
revive the State governments of Louisiana, etc., or to institute in
this quarter any civil government in which the local people have
much to say. They had a government so mild and paternal that they
gradually forgot they had any at all, save what they themselves
controlled; they asserted an absolute right to seize public moneys,
forts, arms, and even to shut up the natural avenues of travel and
commerce. They chose war–they ignored and denied all the
obligations of the solemn contract of government and appealed to

We accepted the issue, and now they begin to realize that war is a
two-edged sword, and it may be that many of the inhabitants cry for
peace. I know them well, and the very impulses of their nature;
and to deal with the inhabitants of that part of the South which
borders on the great river, we must recognize the classes into
which they have divided themselves

First. The large planters, owning lands, slaves, and all kinds of
personal property. These are, on the whole, the ruling class.
They are educated, wealthy, and easily approached. In some
districts they are bitter as gall, and have given up slaves,
plantations, and all, serving in the armies of the Confederacy;
whereas, in others, they are conservative. None dare admit a
friendship for us, though they say freely that they were at the
outset opposed to war and disunion. I know we can manage this
class, but only by action. Argument is exhausted, and words have
lost their usual meaning. Nothing but the logic of events touches
their understanding; but, of late, this has worked a wonderful
change. If our country were like Europe, crowded with people, I
would say it would be easier to replace this class than to
reconstruct it, subordinate to the policy of the nation; but, as
this is not the case, it is better to allow the planters, with
individual exceptions, gradually to recover their plantations, to
hire any species of labor, and to adapt themselves to the new order
of things. Still, their friendship and assistance to reconstruct
order out of the present ruin cannot be depended on. They watch
the operations of our armies, and hope still for a Southern
Confederacy that will restore to them the slaves and privileges
which they feel are otherwise lost forever. In my judgment, we
have two more battles to win before we should even bother our minds
with the idea of restoring civil order–viz., one near Meridian, in
November, and one near Shreveport, in February and March next, when
Red River is navigable by our gunboats. When these are done, then,
and not until then, will the planters of Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Mississippi, submit. Slavery is already gone, and, to cultivate
the land, negro or other labor must be hired. This, of itself, is
a vast revolution, and time must be afforded to allow men to adjust
their minds and habits to this new order of things. A civil
government of the representative type would suit this class far
less than a pure military role, readily adapting itself to actual
occurrences, and able to enforce its laws and orders promptly and

Second. The smaller farmers, mechanics, merchants, and laborers.
This class will probably number three-quarters of the whole; have,
in fact, no real interest in the establishment of a Southern
Confederacy, and have been led or driven into war on the false
theory that they were to be benefited somehow–they knew not how.
They are essentially tired of the war, and would slink back home if
they could. These are the real tiers etat of the South, and are
hardly worthy a thought; for they swerve to and fro according to
events which they do not comprehend or attempt to shape. When the
time for reconstruction comes, they will want the old political
system of caucuses, Legislatures, etc., to amuse them and make them
believe they are real sovereigns; but in all things they will
follow blindly the lead of the planters. The Southern politicians,
who understand this class, use them as the French do their masses–
seemingly consult their prejudices, while they make their orders
and enforce them. We should do the same.

Third. The Union men of the South. I must confess I have little
respect for this class. They allowed a clamorous set of demagogues
to muzzle and drive them as a pack of curs. Afraid of shadows,
they submit tamely to squads of dragoons, and permit them, without
a murmur, to burn their cotton, take their horses, corn, and every
thing; and, when we reach them, they are full of complaints if our
men take a few fence-rails for fire, or corn to feed our horses.
They give us no assistance or information, and are loudest in their
complaints at the smallest excesses of our soldiers. Their sons,
horses, arms, and every thing useful, are in the army against us,
and they stay at home, claiming all the exemptions of peaceful
citizens. I account them as nothing in this great game of war.

Fourth. The young bloods of the South: sons of planters, lawyers
about towns, good billiard-players and sportsmen, men who never did
work and never will. War suits them, and the rascals are brave,
fine riders, bold to rashness, and dangerous subjects in every
sense. They care not a sou for niggers, land, or any thing. They
hate Yankees per se, and don’t bother their brains about the past,
present, or future. As long as they have good horses, plenty of
forage, and an open country, they are happy. This is a larger
class than most men suppose, and they are the most dangerous set of
men that this war has turned loose upon the world. They are
splendid riders, first-rate shots, and utterly reckless. Stewart,
John Morgan, Forrest, and Jackson, are the types and leaders of
this class. These men must all be killed or employed by us before
we can hope for peace. They have no property or future, and
therefore cannot be influenced by any thing, except personal
considerations. I have two brigades of these fellows in my front,
commanded by Cosby, of the old army, and Whitfield, of Texas.
Stephen D. Lee is in command of the whole. I have frequent
interviews with their officers, a good understanding with them, and
am inclined to think, when the resources of their country are
exhausted, we must employ them. They are the best cavalry in the
world, but it will tax Mr. Chase’s genius for finance to supply
them with horses. At present horses cost them nothing; for they
take where they find, and don’t bother their brains as to who is to
pay for them; the same may be said of the cornfields, which have,
as they believe, been cultivated by a good-natured people for their
special benefit. We propose to share with them the free use of
these cornfields, planted by willing hands, that will never gather
the crops.

Now that I have sketched the people who inhabit the district of
country under consideration, I will proceed to discuss the future.

A civil government now, for any part of it, would be simply
ridiculous. The people would not regard it, and even the military
commanders of the antagonistic parties would treat it lightly.
Governors would be simply petitioners for military assistance, to
protect supposed friendly interests, and military commanders would
refuse to disperse and weaken their armies for military reasons.
Jealousies would arise between the two conflicting powers, and,
instead of contributing to the end of the war, would actually defer
it. Therefore, I contend that the interests of the United States,
and of the real parties concerned, demand the continuance of the
simple military role, till after all the organized armies of the
South are dispersed, conquered, and subjugated.

The people of all this region are represented in the Army of
Virginia, at Charleston, Mobile, and Chattanooga. They have sons
and relations in each of the rebel armies, and naturally are
interested in their fate. Though we hold military possession of
the key-points of their country, still they contend, and naturally,
that should Lee succeed in Virginia, or Bragg at Chattanooga, a
change will occur here also. We cannot for this reason attempt to
reconstruct parts of the South as we conquer it, till all idea of
the establishment of a Southern Confederacy is abandoned. We
should avail ourselves of the present lull to secure the
strategical points that will give us an advantage in the future
military movements, and we should treat the idea of civil
government as one in which we as a nation have a minor or
subordinate interest. The opportunity is good to impress on the
population the truth that they are more interested in civil
government than we are; and that, to enjoy the protection of laws,
they most not be passive observers of events, but must aid and
sustain the constituted authorities in enforcing the laws; they
must not only submit themselves, but should pay their share of
taxes, and render personal services when called on.

It seems to me, in contemplating the history of the past two years,
that all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West,
have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning
lessons which might have been acquired from the experience of other
people; but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we
would only learn by actual experience of our own. The people even
of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had
reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were
superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our
territorial nation rebelled, on a doctrine of secession that they
themselves now scout; and a real numerical majority actually
believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that
it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present
war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the
experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

Another great and important natural truth is still in contest, and
can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote have been
our great arbiter. Heretofore all men have cheerfully submitted to
it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not
necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically
inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of
numbers, and therefore by natural law they contend that they are
not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my
judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide
it, and it is the only question now left for us as a people to
decide. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority
has both the natural and constitutional right to govern them. If
we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select
their own government, and they have the argument. Our armies must
prevail over theirs; our officers, marshals, and courts, must
penetrate into the innermost recesses of their land, before we have
the natural right to demand their submission.

I would banish all minor questions, assert the broad doctrine that
as a nation the United States has the right, and also the physical
power, to penetrate to every part of our national domain, and that
we will do it–that we will do it in our own time and in our own
way; that it makes no difference whether it be in one year, or two,
or ten, or twenty; that we will remove and destroy every obstacle,
if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of
property, every thing that to us seems proper; that we will not
cease till the end is attained; that all who do not aid us are
enemies, and that we will not account to them for our acts. If the
people of the South oppose, they do so at their peril; and if they
stand by, mere lookers-on in this domestic tragedy, they have no
right to immunity, protection, or share in the final results.

I even believe and contend further that, in the North, every member
of the nation is bound by both natural and constitutional law to
“maintain and defend the Government against all its enemies and
opposers whomsoever.” If they fail to do it they are derelict, and
can be punished, or deprived of all advantages arising from the
labors of those who do. If any man, North or South, withholds his
share of taxes, or his physical assistance in this, the crisis of
our history, he should be deprived of all voice in the future
elections of this country, and might be banished, or reduced to the
condition of a mere denizen of the land.

War is upon us, none can deny it. It is not the choice of the
Government of the United States, but of a faction; the Government
was forced to accept the issue, or to submit to a degradation fatal
and disgraceful to all the inhabitants. In accepting war, it
should be “pure and simple” as applied to the belligerents. I
would keep it so, till all traces of the war are effaced; till
those who appealed to it are sick and tired of it, and come to the
emblem of our nation, and sue for peace. I would not coax them, or
even meet them half-way, but make them so sick of war that
generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.

I know what I say when I repeat that the insurgents of the South
sneer at all overtures looking to their interests. They scorn the
alliance with the Copperheads; they tell me to my face that they
respect Grant, McPherson, and our brave associates who fight
manfully and well for a principle, but despise the Copperheads and
sneaks at the North, who profess friendship for the South and
opposition to the war, as mere covers for their knavery and

God knows that I deplore this fratricidal war as much as any man
living, but it is upon us, a physical fact; and there is only one
honorable issue from it. We must fight it out, army against army,
and man against man; and I know, and you know, and civilians begin
to realize the fact, that reconciliation and reconstruction will be
easier through and by means of strong, well-equipped, and organized
armies than through any species of conventions that can be framed.
The issues are made, and all discussion is out of place and
ridiculous. The section of thirty-pounder Parrott rifles now
drilling before my tent is a more convincing argument than the
largest Democratic meeting the State of New York can possibly
assemble at Albany; and a simple order of the War Department to
draft enough men to fill our skeleton regiments would be more
convincing as to our national perpetuity than an humble pardon to
Jeff. Davis and all his misled host.

The only government needed or deserved by the States of Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Mississippi, now exists in Grant’s army. This needs,
simply, enough privates to fill its ranks; all else will follow in
due season. This army has its well-defined code of laws and
practice, and can adapt itself to the wants and necessities of a
city, the country, the rivers, the sea, indeed to all parts of this
land. It better subserves the interest and policy of the General
Government, and the people here prefer it to any weak or servile
combination that would at once, from force of habit, revive sad
perpetuate local prejudices and passions. The people of this
country have forfeited all right to a voice in the councils of the
nation. They know it and feel it, and in after-years they will be
the better citizens from the dear bought experience of the present
crisis. Let them learn now, and learn it well, that good citizens
must obey as well as command. Obedience to law, absolute–yea,
even abject–is the lesson that this war, under Providence, will
teach the free and enlightened American citizen. As a nation, we
shall be the better for it.

I never have apprehended foreign interference in our family
quarrel. Of coarse, governments founded on a different and it may
be an antagonistic principle with ours naturally feel a pleasure at
our complications, and, it may be, wish our downfall; but in the
end England and France will join with us in jubilation at the
triumph of constitutional government over faction. Even now the
English manifest this. I do not profess to understand Napoleon’s
design in Mexico, and I do not, see that his taking military
possession of Mexico concerns us. We have as much territory now as
we want. The Mexicans have failed in self-government, and it was a
question as to what nation she should fall a prey. That is now
solved, and I don’t see that we are damaged. We have the finest
part of the North American Continent, all we can people and can
take care of; and, if we can suppress rebellion in our own land,
and compose the strife generated by it, we shall have enough
people, resources, and wealth, if well combined, to defy
interference from any and every quarter.

I therefore hope the Government of the United States will continue,
as heretofore, to collect, in well-organized armies, the physical
strength of the nation; applying it, as heretofore, in asserting
the national authority; and in persevering, without relaxation, to
the end. This, whether near or far off, is not for us to say; but,
fortunately, we have no choice. We must succeed–no other choice
is left us except degradation. The South must be ruled by us, or
she will rule us. We must conquer them, or ourselves be conquered.
There is no middle course. They ask, and will have, nothing else,
and talk of compromise is bosh; for we know they would even scorn
the offer.

I wish the war could have been deferred for twenty years, till the
superabundant population of the North could flow in and replace the
losses sustained by war; but this could not be, and we are forced
to take things as they are.

All therefore I can now venture to advise is to raise the draft to
its maximum, fill the present regiments to as large a standard as
possible, and push the war, pure and simple. Great attention
should be paid to the discipline of our armies, for on them may be
founded the future stability of the Government.

The cost of the war is, of course, to be considered, but finances
will adjust themselves to the actual state of affairs; and, even if
we would, we could not change the cost. Indeed, the larger the
cost now, the less will it be in the end; for the end must be
attained somehow, regardless of loss of life and treasure, and is
merely a question of time.

Excuse so long a letter. With great respect, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

General Halleck, on receipt of this letter, telegraphed me that Mr.
Lincoln had read it carefully, and had instructed him to obtain my
consent to have it published. At the time, I preferred not to be
drawn into any newspaper controversy, and so wrote to General
Halleck; and the above letter has never been, to my knowledge,
published; though Mr. Lincoln more than once referred to it with
marks of approval.

CAMP ON BIG BLACK, September 17, 1863

Brigadier-General J. A. RAWLINS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Vicksburg.

DEAR GENERAL: I inclose for your perusal, and for you to read to
General Grant such parts as you deem interesting, letters received
by me from Prof. Mahan and General Halleck, with my answers. After
you have read my answer to General Halleck, I beg you to inclose it
to its address, and return me the others.

I think Prof. Mahan’s very marked encomium upon the campaign of
Vicksburg is so flattering to General Grant, that you may offer to
let him keep the letter, if he values such a testimonial. I have
never written a word to General Halleck since my report of last
December, after the affair at Chickasaw, except a short letter a
few days ago, thanking him for the kind manner of his transmitting
to me the appointment of brigadier-general. I know that in
Washington I am incomprehensible, because at the outset of the war
I would not go it blind and rush headlong into a war unprepared and
with an utter ignorance of its extent and purpose. I was then
construed unsound; and now that I insist on war pure and simple,
with no admixture of civil compromises, I am supposed vindictive.
You remember what Polonius said to his son Laertes: “Beware of
entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear it, that the opposed may
beware of thee.” What is true of the single man, is equally true
of a nation. Our leaders seemed at first to thirst for the
quarrel, willing, even anxious, to array against us all possible
elements of opposition; and now, being in, they would hasten to
quit long before the “opposed” has received that lesson which he
needs. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no
symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy; indeed, I know,
and you know, that the end would be reached quicker by such a
course than by any seeming yielding on our part. I don’t want our
Government to be bothered by patching up local governments, or by
trying to reconcile any class of men. The South has done her
worst, and now is the time for us to pile on our blows thick and

Instead of postponing the draft till after the elections, we ought
now to have our ranks full of drafted men; and, at best, if they
come at all, they will reach us when we should be in motion.

I think General Halleck would like to have the honest, candid
opinions of all of us, viz., Grant, McPherson, and Sherman. I have
given mine, and would prefer, of course, that it should coincide
with the others. Still, no matter what my opinion may be, I can
easily adapt my conduct to the plane of others, and am only too
happy when I find theirs better, than mine.

If no trouble, please show Halleck’s letter to McPherson, and ask
him to write also. I know his regiments are like mine (mere
squads), and need filling up. Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.




After the fall of Vicksburg, and its corollary, Port Hudson, the
Mississippi River was wholly in the possession of the Union forces,
and formed a perfect line of separation in the territories of our
opponents. Thenceforth, they could not cross it save by stealth,
and the military affairs on its west bank became unimportant.
Grant’s army had seemingly completed its share of the work of war,
and lay, as it were, idle for a time. In person General Grant went
to New Orleans to confer with General Banks, and his victorious
army was somewhat dispersed. Parke’s corps (Ninth) returned to
Kentucky, and afterward formed part of the Army of the Ohio, under
General Burnside; Ord’s corps (Thirteenth) was sent down to
Natchez, and gradually drifted to New Orleans and Texas; McPhersons
(Seventeenth) remained in and near Vicksburg; Hurlbut’s (Sixteenth)
was at Memphis; and mine (Fifteenth) was encamped along the Big
Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburg. This corps was
composed of four divisions: Steele’s (the First) was posted at and
near the railroad-bridge; Blair’s (the Second), next in order, near
Parson Fox’s; the Third Division (Tuttle’s) was on the ridge about
the head of Bear Creek; and the Fourth (Ewing’s) was at Messinger’s
Ford. My own headquarters were in tents in a fine grove of old
oaks near Parson Fox’s house, and the battalion of the Thirteenth
Regulars was the headquarters guard.

All the camps were arranged for health, comfort, rest, and drill.
It being midsummer, we did not expect any change till the autumn
months, and accordingly made ourselves as comfortable as possible.
There was a short railroad in operation from Vicksburg to the
bridge across the Big Black, whence supplies in abundance were
hauled to our respective camps. With a knowledge of this fact Mrs.
Sherman came down from Ohio with Minnie, Lizzie, Willie, and Tom,
to pay us a visit in our camp at Parson Fog’s. Willie was then
nine years old, was well advanced for his years, and took the most
intense interest in the affairs of the army. He was a great
favorite with the soldiers, and used to ride with me on horseback
in the numerous drills and reviews of the time. He then had the
promise of as long a life as any of my children, and displayed more
interest in the war than any of them. He was called a “sergeant”
in the regular battalion, learned the manual of arms, and regularly
attended the parade and guard-mounting of the Thirteenth, back of
my camp. We made frequent visits to Vicksburg, and always stopped
with General McPherson, who had a large house, and boarded with a
family (Mrs. Edwards’s) in which were several interesting young
ladies. General Grant occupied another house (Mrs. Lum’s) in
Vicksburg during that summer, and also had his family with him.
The time passed very agreeably, diversified only by little events
of not much significance, among which I will recount only one.

While, we occupied the west bank of the Big Black, the east bank
was watched by a rebel cavalry-division, commanded by General
Armstrong. He had four brigades, commanded by Generals Whitfield,
Stark, Cosby, and Wirt Adams. Quite frequently they communicated
with us by flags of truce on trivial matters, and we reciprocated;
merely to observe them. One day a flag of truce, borne by a
Captain B…., of Louisville, Kentucky, escorted by about
twenty-five men, was reported at Messinger’s Ferry, and I sent
orders to let them come right into my tent. This brought them
through the camps of the Fourth Division, and part of the Second;
and as they drew up in front of my tent, I invited Captain B….
and another officer with him (a major from Mobile) to dismount, to
enter my tent, and to make themselves at home. Their escort was
sent to join mine, with orders to furnish them forage and every
thing they wanted. B…. had brought a sealed letter for General
Grant at Vicksburg, which was dispatched to him. In the evening we
had a good supper, with wine and cigars, and, as we sat talking,
B…. spoke of his father and mother, in Louisville, got leave to
write them a long letter without its being read by any one, and
then we talked about the war. He said: “What is the use of your
persevering? It is simply impossible to subdue eight millions of
people;” asserting that “the feeling in the South had become so
embittered that a reconciliation was impossible.” I answered that,
“sitting as we then were, we appeared very comfortable, and surely
there was no trouble in our becoming friends.” “Yes,” said he,
“that is very true of us, but we are gentlemen of education, and
can easily adapt ourselves to any condition of things; but this
would not apply equally well to the common people, or to the common
soldiers.” I took him out to the camp-fires behind the tent, and
there were the men of his escort and mine mingled together,
drinking their coffee, and happy as soldiers always seem. I asked
B…. what he thought of that, and he admitted that I had the best
of the argument. Before I dismissed this flag of truce, his
companion consulted me confidentially as to what disposition he
ought to make of his family, then in Mobile, and I frankly gave him
the best advice I could.

While we were thus lying idle in camp on the big Black, the Army of
the Cumberland, under General Rosecrans, was moving against Bragg
at Chattanooga; and the Army of the Ohio, General Burnside, was
marching toward East Tennessee. General Rosecrans was so confident
of success that he somewhat scattered his command, seemingly to
surround and capture Bragg in Chattanooga; but the latter,
reenforced from Virginia, drew out of Chattanooga, concentrated his
army at Lafayette, and at Chickamauga fell on Rosecrans, defeated
him, and drove him into Chattanooga. The whole country seemed
paralyzed by this unhappy event; and the authorities in Washington
were thoroughly stampeded. From the East the Eleventh Corps
(Slocum), and the Twelfth Corps (Howard), were sent by rail to
Nashville, and forward under command of General Hooker; orders were
also sent to General Grant, by Halleck, to send what reenforcements
he could spare immediately toward Chattanooga.

Bragg had completely driven Rosecrans’s army into Chattanooga; the
latter was in actual danger of starvation, and the railroad to his
rear seemed inadequate to his supply. The first intimation which I
got of this disaster was on the 22d of September, by an order from
General Grant to dispatch one of my divisions immediately into
Vicksburg, to go toward Chattanooga, and I designated the First,
General Osterhaus–Steele meantime having been appointed to the
command of the Department of Arkansas, and had gone to Little Rock.
General Osterhaus marched the same day, and on the 23d I was
summoned to Vicksburg in person, where General Grant showed me the
alarming dispatches from General Halleck, which had been sent from
Memphis by General Hurlbut, and said, on further thought, that he
would send me and my whole corps. But, inasmuch as one division of
McPherson’s corps (John E. Smith’s) had already started, he
instructed me to leave one of my divisions on the Big Black, and to
get the other two ready to follow at once. I designated the
Second, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith, and the
Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Corse.

On the 25th I returned to my camp on Big Black, gave all the
necessary orders for these divisions to move, and for the Third
(Tittle’s) to remain, and went into Vicksburg with my family. The
last of my corps designed for this expedition started from camp on
the 27th, reached Vicksburg the 28th, and were embarked on boats
provided for them. General Halleck’s dispatches dwelt upon the
fact that General Rosecrans’s routes of supply were overtaxed, and
that we should move from Memphis eastward, repairing railroads as
we progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, whence I was to report to
General Rosecrans, at Chattanooga, by letter.

I took passage for myself and family in the steamer Atlantic,
Captain Henry McDougall. When the boat was ready to start, Willie
was missing. Mrs. Sherman supposed him to have been with me,
whereas I supposed he was with her. An officer of the Thirteenth
went up to General McPherson’s house for him, and soon returned,
with Captain Clift leading him, carrying in his hands a small
double-barreled shot gun; and I joked him about carrying away
captured property. In a short time we got off. As we all stood on
the guards to look at our old camps at Young’s Point, I remarked
that Willie was not well, and he admitted that he was sick. His
mother put him to bed, and consulted Dr. Roler, of the Fifty-fifth
Illinois, who found symptoms of typhoid fever. The river was low;
we made slow progress till above Helena; and, as we approached
Memphis, Dr. Roler told me that Willie’s life was in danger, and he
was extremely anxious to reach Memphis for certain medicines and
for consultation. We arrived at Memphis on the 2d of October,
carried Willie up to the Gayoso Hotel, and got the most experienced
physician there, who acted with Dr. Roler, but he sank rapidly, and
died the evening of the 3d of October. The blow was a terrible one
to us all, so sudden and so unexpected, that I could not help
reproaching myself for having consented to his visit in that sickly
region in the summer-time. Of all my children, he seemed the most
precious. Born in San Francisco, I had watched with intense
interest his development, and he seemed more than any of the
children to take an interest in my special profession. Mrs.
Sherman, Minnie, Lizzie, and Tom, were with him at the time, and we
all, helpless and overwhelmed, saw him die. Being in the very
midst of an important military enterprise, I had hardly time to
pause and think of my personal loss. We procured a metallic
casket, and had a military funeral, the battalion of the Thirteenth
United States Regulars acting as escort from the Gayoso Hotel to
the steamboat Grey Eagle, which conveyed him and my family up to
Cairo, whence they proceeded to our home at Lancaster, Ohio, where
he was buried. I here give my letter to Captain C. C. Smith, who
commanded the battalion at the time, as exhibiting our intense

October 4, 1863, Midnight

Captain C. C. SMITH, commanding Battalion Thirteenth United States

MY DEAR FRIEND: I cannot sleep to-night till I record an expression
of the deep feelings of my heart to you, and to the officers and
soldiers of the battalion, for their kind behavior to my poor
child. I realize that you all feel for my family the attachment of
kindred, and I assure you of full reciprocity. Consistent with a
sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my
post, and sent for the family to come to me in that fatal climate,
and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result! The
child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more
confidence than I did in my own plan of life, now floats a mere
corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother,
brother, and sisters, clustered about him. For myself, I ask no
sympathy. On, on I must go, to meet a soldier’s fate, or live to
see our country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is
adored and respected by ourselves and by all the powers of the

But Willie was, or thought he was, a sergeant in the Thirteenth. I
have seen his eye brighten, his heart beat, as he beheld the
battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers.
Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth,
honor, and love of country, which should animate all soldiers.

God only knows why he should die thus young. He is dead, but will
not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him
to that same mysterious end.

Please convey to the battalion my heart-felt thanks, and assure
each and all that if in after-years they call on me or mine, and
mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars when Willie was a
sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that
will open all it has; that we will share with them our last
blanket, our last crust! Your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-general.

Long afterward, in the spring of 1867, we had his body disinterred
and brought to St. Louis, where he is now buried in a beautiful
spot, in Calvary Cemetery, by the side of another child, “Charles,”
who was born at Lancaster, in the summer of 1864, died early, and
was buried at Notre Dame, Indiana. His body was transferred at the
same time to the same spot. Over Willie’s grave is erected a
beautiful marble monument, designed and executed by the officers
and soldiers, of that battalion which claimed him as a sergeant and

During the summer and fall of 1863 Major-General S. A. Hurlbut was
in command at Memphis. He supplied me copies of all dispatches
from Washington, and all the information he possessed of the events
about Chattanooga. Two of these dispatches cover all essential

WASHINGTON CITY, September 15, 1863–5 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis:

All the troops that can possibly be spared in West Tennessee and on
the Mississippi River should be sent without delay to assist
General Rosecrans on the Tennessee River.

Urge Sherman to act with all possible promptness.

If you have boats, send them down to bring up his troops.

Information just received indicates that a part of Lee’s army has
been sent to reenforce Bragg.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

Washington, September 19, 1868–4 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis, Tennessee:

Give me definite information of the number of troops sent toward
Decatur, and where they are. Also, what other troops are to
follow, and when.

Has any thing been heard from the troops ordered from Vicksburg?

No efforts must be spared to support Rosecrans’s right, and to
guard the crossings of the Tennessee River.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

My special orders were to repair the Memphis & Charleston Railroad
eastward as I progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, to draw
supplies by that route, so that, on reaching Athens, we should not
be dependent on the roads back to Nashville, already overtaxed by
the demand of Rosecrans’s army.

On reaching Memphis, October 2d, I found that Osterhaus’s division
had already gone by rail as far as Corinth, and than John E.
Smith’s division was in the act of starting by cars. The Second
Division, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith,
reached Memphis at the same time with me; and the Fourth Division,
commanded by Brigadier-General John M. Corse, arrived a day or two
after. The railroad was in fair condition as far as Corinth,
ninety-six miles, but the road was badly stocked with locomotives
and cars, so that it took until the 9th to get off the Second
Division, when I gave orders for the Fourth Division and
wagon-trains to march by the common road.

On Sunday morning, October 11th, with a special train loaded with
our orderlies and clerks, the horses of our staff, the battalion of
the Thirteenth United States Regulars, and a few officers going
forward to join their commands, among them Brigadier-General Hugh
Ewing, I started for Corinth.

At Germantown, eight miles, we passed Corse’s division (Fourth) on
the march, and about noon the train ran by the depot at
Colliersville, twenty-six miles out. I was in the rear car with my
staff, dozing, but observed the train slacking speed and stopping
about half a mile beyond the depot. I noticed some soldiers
running to and fro, got out at the end of the car, and soon Colonel
Anthony (Silty-sixth Indiana), who commanded the post, rode up and
said that his pickets had just been driven in, and there was an
appearance of an attack by a large force of cavalry coming from the
southeast. I ordered the men to get off the train, to form on the
knoll near the railroad-cut, and soon observed a rebel officer
riding toward us with a white flag. Colonel Anthony and Colonel
Dayton (one of my aides) were sent to meet him, and to keep him in
conversation as long as possible. They soon returned, saying it
was the adjutant of the rebel general Chalmers, who demanded the
surrender of the place. I instructed them to return and give a
negative answer, but to delay him as much as possible, so as to
give us time for preparation. I saw Anthony, Dayton, and the rebel
bearer of the flag, in conversation, and the latter turn his horse
to ride back, when I ordered Colonel McCoy to run to the station,
and get a message over the wires as quick as possible to Memphis
and Germantown, to hurry forward Corse’s division. I then ordered
the train to back to the depot, and drew back the battalion of
regulars to the small earth redoubt near it. The depot-building
was of brick, and had been punctured with loop-holes. To its east,
about two hundred yards, was a small square earthwork or fort, into
which were put a part of the regulars along with the company of the
Sixty-sixth Indiana already there. The rest of the men were
distributed into the railroad-cut, and in some shallow rifle-
trenches near the depot. We had hardly made these preparations
when the enemy was seen forming in a long line on the ridge to the
south, about four hundred yards off, and soon after two parties of
cavalry passed the railroad on both sides of us, cutting the wires
and tearing up some rails. Soon they opened on us with artillery
(of which we had none), and their men were dismounting and
preparing to assault. To the south of us was an extensive
cornfield, with the corn still standing, and on the other side was
the town of Colliersville. All the houses near, that could give
shelter to the enemy, were ordered to be set on fire, and the men
were instructed to keep well under cover and to reserve their fire
for the assault, which seemed inevitable. A long line of rebel
skirmishers came down through the cornfield, and two other parties
approached us along the railroad on both sides. In the fort was a
small magazine containing some cartridges. Lieutenant James, a
fine, gallant fellow, who was ordnance-officer on my staff, asked
leave to arm the orderlies and clerks with some muskets which he
had found in the depot, to which I consented; he marched them into
the magazine, issued cartridges, and marched back to the depot to
assist in its defense. Afterward he came to me, said a party of
the enemy had got into the woods near the depot, and was annoying
him, and he wanted to charge and drive it away. I advised him to
be extremely cautious, as our enemy vastly outnumbered us, and had
every advantage in position and artillery; but instructed him, if
they got too near, he might make a sally. Soon after, I heard a
rapid fire in that quarter, and Lieutenant. James was brought in
on a stretcher, with a ball through his breast, which I supposed to
be fatal.

[After the fight we sent him back to Memphis, where his mother and
father came from their home on the North River to nurse him. Young
James was recovering from his wound, but was afterward killed by a
fall from his borse, near his home, when riding with the daughters
of Mr. Hamilton Fish, now Secretary of State.]

The enemy closed down on us several times, and got possession of
the rear of our train, from which they succeeded in getting five of
our horses, among them my favorite mare Dolly; but our men were
cool and practised shots (with great experience acquired at
Vicksburg), and drove them back. With their artillery they knocked
to pieces our locomotive and several of the cars, and set fire to
the train; but we managed to get possession again, and extinguished
the fire. Colonel Audenreid, aide-de-camp, was provoked to find
that his valise of nice shirts had been used to kindle the fire. ‘
The fighting continued all round us for three or four hours, when
we observed signs of drawing off, which I attributed to the
rightful cause, the rapid approach of Corse’s division, which
arrived about dark, having marched the whole distance from Memphis,
twenty-six miles, on the double-quick. The next day we repaired
damages to the railroad and locomotive, and went on to Corinth.

At Corinth, on the 16th, I received the following important

MEMPHIS, October 14, 1863–11 a.m.

Arrived this morning. Will be off in a few hours. My orders are
only to go to Cairo, and report from there by telegraph. McPherson
will be in Canton to-day. He will remain there until Sunday or
Monday next, and reconnoitre as far eastward as possible with
cavalry, in the mean time.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

WASHINGTON, October 14, 1863–1 p.m.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Corinth

Yours of the 10th is received. The important matter to be attended
to is that of supplies. When Eastport can be reached by boats, the
use of the railroad can be dispensed with; but until that time it
must be guarded as far as need. The Kentucky Railroad can barely
supply General Rosecrans. All these matters must be left to your
judgment as circumstances may arise. Should the enemy be so strong
as to prevent your going to Athena, or connecting with General
Rosecrans, you will nevertheless have assisted him greatly by
drawing away a part of the enemy’s forces.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

On the 18th, with my staff and a small escort, I rode forward to
Burnsville, and on the 19th to Iuka, where, on the next day, I was
most agreeably surprised to hear of the arrival at Eastport (only
ten miles off) of two gunboats, under the command of Captain
Phelps, which had been sent up the Tennessee River by Admiral
Porter, to help us.

Satisfied that, to reach Athens and to communicate with General
Rosecrans, we should have to take the route north of the Tennessee
River, on the 24th I ordered the Fourth Division to cross at
Eastport with the aid of the gunboats, and to move to Florence.
About the same time, I received the general orders assigning
General Grant to command the Military Division of the Mississippi,
authorizing him, on reaching Chattanooga, to supersede General
Rosecrans by General George H. Thomas, with other and complete
authority, as set, forth in the following letters of General
Halleck, which were sent to me by General Grant; and the same
orders devolved on me the command of the Department and Army of the

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 1863

Major-General U. S. GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: You will receive herewith the orders of the President of
the United States, placing you in command of the Departments of the
Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee. The organization of these
departments will be changed as you may deem most practicable. You
will immediately proceed to Chattanooga, and relieve General
Rosecrans. You can communicate with Generals Burnside and Sherman
by telegraph. A summary of the orders sent to these officers will
be sent to you immediately. It is left optional with you to
supersede General Rosecrans by General G. H. Thomas or not. Any
other changes will be made on your request by telegram.

One of the first objects requiring your attention is the supply of
your armies. Another is the security of the passes in the Georgia
mountains, to shut out the enemy from Tennessee and Kentucky. You
will consult with General Meigs and Colonel Scott in regard to
transportation and supplies.

Should circumstances permit, I will visit you personally in a few
days for consultation.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 20, 1868.

Major-General GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: In compliance with my promise, I now proceed to give you
a brief statement of the objects aimed at by General Rosecrans and
General Burnside’s movement into East Tennessee, and of the
measures directed to be taken to attain these objects.

It has been the constant desire of the government, from the
beginning of the war, to rescue the loyal inhabitants of East
Tennessee from the hands of the rebels, who fully appreciated the
importance of continuing their hold upon that country. In addition
to the large amount of agricultural products drawn from the upper
valley of the Tennessee, they also obtained iron and other
materials from the vicinity of Chattanooga. The possession of East
Tennessee would cut off one of their most important railroad
communications, and threaten their manufactories at Rome, Atlanta,

When General Buell was ordered into East Tennessee in the summer of
1882, Chattanooga was comparatively unprotected; but Bragg reached
there before Buell, and, by threatening his communications, forced
him to retreat on Nashville and Louisville. Again, after the
battle of Perryville, General Buell was urged to pursue Bragg’s
defeated army, and drive it from East Tennessee. The same was
urged upon his successor, but the lateness of the season or other
causes prevented further operations after the battle of Stone

Last spring, when your movements on the Mississippi River had drawn
out of Tennessee a large force of the enemy, I again urged General
Rosecrans to take advantage of that opportunity to carry out his
projected plan of campaign, General Burnside being ready to
cooperate, with a diminished but still efficient force. But he
could not be persuaded to act in time, preferring to lie still till
your campaign should be terminated. I represented to him, but
without avail, that by this delay Johnston might be able to
reenforce Bragg with the troops then operating against you.

When General Rosecrans finally determined to advance, he was
allowed to select his own lines and plans for carrying out the
objects of the expedition. He was directed, however, to report his
movements daily, till he crossed the Tennessee, and to connect his
left, so far as possible, with General Burnside’s right. General
Burnside was directed to move simultaneously, connecting his right,
as far as possible, with General Roaecrans’s left so that, if the
enemy concentrated upon either army, the other could move to its
assistance. When General Burnside reached Kingston and Knoxville,
and found no considerable number of the enemy in East Tennessee, he
was instructed to move down the river and cooperate with General

These instructions were repeated some fifteen times, but were not
carried out, General Burnside alleging as an excuse that he
believed that Bragg was in retreat, and that General Rosecrans
needed no reenforcements. When the latter had gained possession of
Chattanooga he was directed not to move on Rome as he proposed, but
simply to hold the mountain-passes, so as to prevent the ingress of
the rebels into East Tennessee. That object accomplished, I
considered the campaign as ended, at least for the present. Future
operations would depend upon the ascertained strength and;
movements of the enemy. In other words, the main objects of the
campaign were the restoration of East Tennessee to the Union, and
by holding the two extremities of the valley to secure it from
rebel invasion.

The moment I received reliable information of the departure of
Longstreet’s corps from the Army of the Potomac, I ordered forward
to General Rosecrans every available man in the Department of the
Ohio, and again urged General Burnside to move to his assistance.
I also telegraphed to Generals Hurlbut, Sherman, and yourself, to
send forward all available troops in your department. If these
forces had been sent to General Roseerans by Nashville, they could
not have been supplied; I therefore directed them to move by
Corinth and the Tennessee River. The necessity of this has been
proved by the fact that the reinforcements sent to him from the
Army of the Potomac have not been able, for the want of railroad
transportation, to reach General Rosecrans’s army in the field.

In regard to the relative strength of the opposing armies, it is
believed that General Rosecrans when he first moved against Bragg
had double, if not treble, his force. General Burnside, also, had
more than double the force of Buckner; and, even when Bragg and
Buckner united, Rosecrans’s army was very greatly superior in
number. Even the eighteen thousand men sent from Virginia, under
Longstreet, would not have given the enemy the superiority. It is
now ascertained that the greater part of the prisoners parolled by
you at Vicksburg, and General Banks at Port Hudson, were illegally
and improperly declared exchanged, and forced into the ranks to
swell the rebel numbers at Chickamauga. This outrageous act, in
violation of the laws of war, of the cartel entered into by the
rebel authorities, and of all sense of honor, gives us a useful
lesson in regard to the character of the enemy with whom we are
contending. He neither regards the rules of civilized warfare, nor
even his most solemn engagements. You may, therefore, expect to
meet in arms thousands of unexchanged prisoners released by you and
others on parole, not to serve again till duly exchanged.

Although the enemy by this disgraceful means has been able to
concentrate in Georgia and Alabama a much larger force than we
anticipated, your armies will be abundantly able to defeat him.
Your difficulty will not be in the want of men, but in the means of
supplying them at this season of the year. A single-track railroad
can supply an army of sixty or seventy thousand men, with the usual
number of cavalry and artillery; but beyond that number, or with a
large mounted force, the difficulty of supply is very great.

I do not know the present condition of the road from Nashville to
Decatur, but, if practicable to repair it, the use of that triangle
will be of great assistance to you. I hope, also, that the recent
rise of water in the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers will enable
you to employ water transportation to Nashville, Eastport, or

If you reoccupy the passes of Lookout Mountain, which should never
have been given up, you will be able to use the railroad and river
from Bridgeport to Chattanooga. This seems to me a matter of vital
importance, and should receive your early attention.

I submit this summary in the hope that it will assist you in fully
understanding the objects of the campaign, and the means of
attaining these objects. Probably the Secretary of War, in his
interviews with you at Louisville, has gone over the same ground.
Whatever measures you may deem proper to adopt under existing
circumstances, you will receive all possible assistance from the
authorities at Washington. You have never, heretofore, complained
that such assistance has not been afforded you in your operations,
and I think you will have no cause of complaint in your present
campaign. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief

General Frank P. Blair, who was then ahead with the two divisions
of Osterhaus and John E. Smith, was temporarily assigned to the
command of the Fifteenth Corps. General Hurlbut remained at
Memphis in command of the Sixteenth Corps, and General McPherson at
Vicksburg with the Seventeenth. These three corps made up the Army
of the Tennessee. I was still busy in pushing forward the repairs
to the rail roadbridge at Bear Creek, and in patching up the many
breaks between it and Tuscumbia, when on the 27th of October, as I
sat on the porch of a house, I was approached by a dirty, black-
haired individual with mixed dress and strange demeanor, who
inquired for me, and, on being assured that I was in fact the man,
he handed me a letter from General Blair at Tuscumbia, and another
short one, which was a telegraph-message from General Grant at
Chattanooga, addressed to me through General George Crook,
commanding at Huntsville, Alabama, to this effect:

Drop all work on Memphis & Charleston Railroad, cross the Tennessee
and hurry eastward with all possible dispatch toward Bridgeport,
till you meet further orders from me.


The bearer of this message was Corporal Pike, who described to me,
in his peculiar way, that General Crook had sent him in a canoe;
that he had paddled down the Tennessee River, over Muscle Shoals,
was fired at all the way by guerrillas, but on reaching Tuscumbia
he had providentially found it in possession of our troops. He had
reported to General Blair, who sent him on to me at Iuka. This
Pike proved to be a singular character; his manner attracted my
notice at once, and I got him a horse, and had him travel with us
eastward to about Elkton, whence I sent him back to General Crook
at Huntsville; but told him, if I could ever do him a personal
service, he might apply to me. The next spring when I was in
Chattanooga, preparing for the Atlanta campaign, Corporal Pike made
his appearance and asked a fulfillment of my promise. I inquired
what he wanted, and he said he wanted to do something bold,
something that would make him a hero. I explained to him, that we
were getting ready to go for Joe Johnston at Dalton, that I
expected to be in the neighborhood of Atlanta about the 4th of
July, and wanted the bridge across the Savannah River at Augusta,
Georgia, to be burnt about that time, to produce alarm and
confusion behind the rebel army. I explained to Pike that the
chances were three to one that he would be caught and hanged; but
the greater the danger the greater seemed to be his desire to
attempt it. I told him to select a companion, to disguise himself
as an East Tennessee refugee, work his way over the mountains into
North Carolina, and at the time appointed to float down the
Savannah River and burn that bridge. In a few days he had made his
preparations and took his departure. The bridge was not burnt, and
I supposed that Pike had been caught and hanged.

When we reached Columbia, South Carolina, in February, 1865, just
as we were leaving the town, in passing near the asylum, I heard my
name called, and saw a very dirty fellow followed by a file of men
running toward me, and as they got near I recognized Pike. He
called to me to identify him as one of my men; he was then a
prisoner under guard, and I instructed the guard to bring him that
night to my camp some fifteen miles up the road, which was done.
Pike gave me a graphic narrative of his adventures, which would
have filled a volume; told me how he had made two attempts to burn
the bridge, and failed; and said that at the time of our entering
Columbia he was a prisoner in the hands of the rebels, under trial
for his life, but in the confusion of their retreat he made his
escape and got into our lines, where he was again made a prisoner
by our troops because of his looks. Pike got some clothes, cleaned
up, and I used him afterward to communicate with Wilmington, North
Carolina. Some time after the war, he was appointed a lieutenant
of the Regular, Cavalry, and was killed in Oregon, by the
accidental discharge of a pistol. Just before his death he wrote
me, saying that he was tired of the monotony of garrison-life, and
wanted to turn Indian, join the Cheyennes on the Plains, who were
then giving us great trouble, and, after he had gained their
confidence, he would betray them into our hands. Of course I wrote
him that he must try and settle down and become a gentleman as well
as an officer, apply himself to his duties, and forget the wild
desires of his nature, which were well enough in time of war, but
not suited to his new condition as an officer; but, poor fellow I
he was killed by an accident, which probably saved him from a
slower but harder fate.

At Iuka I issued all the orders to McPherson and Hurlbut necessary
for the Department of the Tennessee during my absence, and,
further, ordered the collection of a force out of the Sixteenth
Corps, of about eight thousand men, to be commanded by General G.
M. Dodge, with orders to follow as far east as Athens, Tennessee,
there to await instructions. We instantly discontinued all
attempts to repair the Charleston Railroad; and the remaining three
divisions of the Fifteenth Corps marched to Eastport, crossed the
Tennessee River by the aid of the gunboats, a ferry-boat, and a
couple of transports which had come up, and hurried eastward.

In person I crossed on the 1st of November, and rode forward to
Florence, where I overtook Ewing’s division. The other divisions
followed rapidly. On the road to Florence I was accompanied by my
staff, some clerks, and mounted orderlies. Major Ezra Taylor was
chief of artillery, and one of his sons was a clerk at head-
quarters. The latter seems to have dropped out of the column, and
gone to a farm house near the road. There was no organized force
of the rebel army north of the Tennessee River, but the country was
full of guerrillas. A party of these pounced down on the farm,
caught young Taylor and another of the clerks, and after reaching
Florence, Major Taylor heard of the capture of his son, and learned
that when last seen he was stripped of his hat and coat, was tied
to the tail-board of a wagon, and driven rapidly to the north of
the road we had traveled. The major appealed to me to do something
for his rescue. I had no cavalry to send in pursuit, but knowing
that there was always an understanding between these guerrillas and
their friends who staid at home, I sent for three or four of the
principal men of Florence (among them a Mr. Foster, who had once
been a Senator in Congress), explained to them the capture of young
Taylor and his comrade, and demanded their immediate restoration.
They, of course, remonstrated, denied all knowledge of the acts of
these guerrillas, and claimed to be peaceful citizens of Alabama,
residing at home. I insisted that these guerrillas were their own
sons and neighbors; that they knew their haunts, and could reach
them if they wanted, and they could effect the restoration to us of
these men; and I said, moreover, they must do it within twenty-four
hours, or I would take them, strip them of their hats and coats,
and tie them to the tail-boards of our wagons till they were
produced. They sent off messengers at once, and young Taylor and
his comrade were brought back the next day.

Resuming our march eastward by the large road, we soon reached Elk
River, which was wide and deep, and could only be crossed by a
ferry, a process entirely too slow for the occasion; so I changed
the route more by the north, to Elkton, Winchester, and Deckerd.
At this point we came in communication with the Army of the
Cumberland, and by telegraph with General Grant, who was at
Chattanooga. He reiterated his orders for me and my command to
hurry forward with all possible dispatch, and in person I reached
Bridgeport during the night of November 13th, my troops following
behind by several roads. At Bridgeport I found a garrison guarding
the railroad-bridge and pontoon bridge there, and staid with the
quartermaster, Colonel William G. Le Due (who was my school-mate at
How’s School in 1836). There I received a dispatch from General
Grant, at Chattanooga, to come up in person, leaving my troops to
follow as fast as possible. At that time there were two or three
small steamboats on the river, engaged in carrying stores up as far
as Kelly’s Ferry. In one of these I took passage, and on reaching
Kelly’s Ferry found orderlies, with one of General Grant’s private
horses, waiting for me, on which I rode into Chattanooga, November
14th. Of course, I was heartily welcomed by Generals Grant,
Thomas, and all, who realized the extraordinary efforts we had made
to come to their relief. The next morning we walked out to Fort
Wood, a prominent salient of the defenses of the place, and from
its parapet we had a magnificent view of the panorama. Lookout
Mountain, with its rebel flags and batteries, stood out boldly, and
an occasional shot fired toward Wauhatchee or Moccasin Point gave
life to the scene. These shots could barely reach Chattanooga, and
I was told that one or more shot had struck a hospital inside the
lines. All along Missionary Ridge were the tents of the rebel
beleaguering force; the lines of trench from Lookout up toward the
Chickamauga were plainly visible; and rebel sentinels, in a
continuous chain, were walking their posts in plain view, not a
thousand yards off. “Why,” said I, “General Grant, you are
besieged;” and he said, “It is too true.” Up to that moment I had
no idea that things were so bad. The rebel lines actually extended
from the river, below the town, to the river above, and the Army of
the Cumberland was closely held to the town and its immediate
defenses. General Grant pointed out to me a house on Missionary
Ridge, where General Bragg’s headquarters were known to be. He
also explained the situation of affairs generally; that the mules
and horses of Thomas’s army were so starved that they could not
haul his guns; that forage, corn, and provisions, were so scarce
that the men in hunger stole the few grains of corn that were given
to favorite horses; that the men of Thomas’s army had been so
demoralized by the battle of Chickamauga that he feared they could
not be got out of their trenches to assume the offensive; that
Bragg had detached Longstreet with a considerable force up into
East Tennessee, to defeat and capture Burnside; that Burnside was
in danger, etc.; and that he (Grant) was extremely anxious to
attack Bragg in position, to defeat him, or at least to force him
to recall Longstreet. The Army of the Cumberland had so long been
in the trenches that he wanted my troops to hurry up, to take the
offensive first; after which, he had no doubt the Cumberland army
would fight well. Meantime the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under
General Hooker, had been advanced from Bridgeport along the
railroad to Wauhatchee, but could not as yet pass Lookout Mountain.
A pontoon-bridge had been thrown across the Tennessee River at
Brown’s Ferry, by which supplies were hauled into Chattanooga from
Kelly’s and Wauhatchee..

Another bridge was in course of construction at Chattanooga, under
the immediate direction of Quartermaster-General Meigs, but at the
time all wagons, etc., had to be ferried across by a flying-bridge.
Men were busy and hard at work everywhere inside our lines, and
boats for another pontoon-bridge were being rapidly constructed
under Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, familiarly known as “Baldy
Smith,” and this bridge was destined to be used by my troops, at a
point of the river about four miles above Chattanooga, just below
the mouth of the Chickamauga River. General Grant explained to me
that he had reconnoitred the rebel line from Lookout Mountain up to
Chickamauga, and he believed that the northern portion of
Missionary Ridge was not fortified at all; and he wanted me, as
soon as my troops got up, to lay the new pontoon-bridge by night,
cross over, and attack Bragg’s right flank on that part of the
ridge abutting on Chickamauga Creek, near the tunnel; and he
proposed that we should go at once to look at the ground. In
company with Generals Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, we
crossed by the flying-bridge, rode back of the hills some four
miles, left our horses, and got on a hill overlooking the whole
ground about the mouth of the Chickamauga River, and across to the
Missionary Hills near the tunnel. Smith and I crept down behind a
fringe of trees that lined the river-bank, to the very point
selected for the new bridge, where we sat for some time, seeing the
rebel pickets on the opposite bank, and almost hearing their words.

Having seen enough, we returned to Chattanooga; and in order to
hurry up my command, on which so much depended, I started back to
Kelly’s in hopes to catch the steamboat that same evening; but on
my arrival the boat had gone. I applied to the commanding officer,
got a rough boat manned by four soldiers, and started down the
river by night. I occasionally took a turn at the oars to relieve
some tired man, and about midnight we reached Shell Mound, where
General Whittaker, of Kentucky, furnished us a new and good crew,
with which we reached Bridgeport by daylight. I started Ewings
division in advance, with orders to turn aside toward Trenton, to
make the enemy believe we were going to turn Braggs left by pretty
much the same road Rosecrans had followed; but with the other three
divisions I followed the main road, via the Big Trestle at
Whitesides, and reached General Hooker’s headquarters, just above
Wauhatchee, on the 20th; my troops strung all the way back to
Bridgeport. It was on this occasion that the Fifteenth Corps
gained its peculiar badge: as the men were trudging along the
deeply-cut, muddy road, of a cold, drizzly day, one of our Western
soldiers left his ranks and joined a party of the Twelfth Corps at
their camp-fire. They got into conversation, the Twelfth-Corps men
asking what troops we were, etc., etc. In turn, our fellow (who
had never seen a corps-badge, and noticed that every thing was
marked with a star) asked if they were all brigadier-generals. Of
course they were not, but the star was their corps-badge, and every
wagon, tent, hat, etc., had its star. Then the Twelfth-Corps men
inquired what corps he belonged to, and he answered, “The Fifteenth
Corps.” “What is your badge?” “Why,” said he (and he was an
Irishman), suiting the action to the word, “forty rounds in the
cartridge-box, and twenty in the pocket.” At that time Blair
commanded the corps; but Logan succeeded soon after, and, hearing
the story, adopted the cartridge-box and forty rounds as the corps-

The condition of the roads was such, and the bridge at Brown’s so
frail, that it was not until the 23d that we got three of my
divisions behind the hills near the point indicated above
Chattanooga for crossing the river. It was determined to begin the
battle with these three divisions, aided by a division of Thomas’s
army, commanded by General Jeff. C. Davis, that was already near
that point. All the details of the battle of Chattanooga, so far
as I was a witness, are so fully given in my official report
herewith, that I need add nothing to it. It was a magnificent
battle in its conception, in its execution, and in its glorious
results; hastened somewhat by the supposed danger of Burnside, at
Knoxville, yet so completely successful, that nothing is left for
cavil or fault-finding. The first day was lowering and overcast,
favoring us greatly, because we wanted to be concealed from Bragg,
whose position on the mountain-tops completely overlooked us and
our movements. The second day was beautifully clear, and many a
time, in the midst of its carnage and noise, I could not help
stopping to look across that vast field of battle, to admire its

The object of General Hooker’s and my attacks on the extreme flanks
of Bragg’s position was, to disturb him to such an extent, that
he would naturally detach from his centre as against us, so that
Thomas’s army could break through his centre. The whole plan
succeeded admirably; but it was not until after dark that I learned
the complete success at the centre, and received General Grant’s
orders to pursue on the north side of Chickamauga Creek:

TENNESSEE, Nov. 25, 1863

Major-General SHERMAN.

GENERAL: No doubt you witnessed the handsome manner in which
Thomas’s troops carried Missionary Ridge this afternoon, and can
feel a just pride, too, in the part taken by the forces under your
command in taking first so much of the same range of hills, and
then in attracting the attention of so many of the enemy as to make
Thomas’s part certain of success. The neat thing now will be to
relieve Burnside. I have heard from him to the evening of the 23d.
At that time he had from ten to twelve days’ supplies, and spoke
hopefully of being able to hold out that length of time.

My plan is to move your forces out gradually until they reach the
railroad between Cleveland and Dalton. Granger will move up the
south side of the Tennessee with a column of twenty thousand men,
taking no wagons, or but few, with him. His men will carry four
days’ rations, and the steamer Chattanooga, loaded with rations,
will accompany the expedition.

I take it for granted that Bragg’s entire force has left. If not,
of course, the first thing is to dispose of him. If he has gone,
the only thing necessary to do to-morrow will be to send out a
reconnoissance to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy. Yours

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

P. S.-On reflection, I think we will push Bragg with all our
strength to-morrow, and try if we cannot out off a good portion of
his rear troops and trains. His men have manifested a strong
disposition to desert for some time past, and we will now give them
a chance. I will instruct Thomas accordingly. Move the advance
force early, on the most easterly road taken by the enemy.
U. S. G.

This compelled me to reverse our column, so as to use the bridge
across the Chickamauga at its mouth. The next day we struck the
rebel rear at Chickamauga Station, and again near Graysville.
There we came in contact with Hooker’s and Palmer’s troops, who had
reached Ringgold. There I detached Howard to cross Taylor’s Ridge,
and strike the railroad which comes from the north by Cleveland to
Dalton. Hooker’s troops were roughly handled at Ringgold, and the
pursuit was checked. Receiving a note from General Hooker, asking
help, I rode forward to Ringgold to explain the movement of Howard;
where I met General Grant, and learned that the rebels had again
retreated toward Dalton. He gave orders to discontinue the
pursuit, as he meant to turn his attention to General Burnside,
supposed to be in great danger at Knoxville, about one hundred and
thirty miles northeast. General Grant returned and spent part of
the night with me, at Graysville. We talked over matters
generally, and he explained that he had ordered General Gordon
Granger, with the Fourth Corps, to move forward rapidly to
Burnsides help, and that he must return to Chattanooga to push him.
By reason of the scarcity of food, especially of forage, he
consented that, instead of going back, I might keep out in the
country; for in motion I could pick up some forage and food,
especially on the Hiawassee River, whereas none remained in

Accordingly, on the 29th of November, my several columns marched to
Cleveland, and the next day we reached the Hiawassee at Charleston,
where the Chattanooga & Knoxville Railroad crosses it. The
railroad-bridge was partially damaged by the enemy in retreating,
but we found some abandoned stores. There and thereabouts I
expected some rest for my weary troops and horses; but, as I rode
into town, I met Colonel J. H. Wilson and C. A. Dana (Assistant
Secretary of War), who had ridden out from Chattanooga to find me,
with the following letter from General Grant, and copies of several
dispatches from General Burnside, the last which had been received
from him by way of Cumberland Gap:

TENNESSEE, Nov. 29, 1863

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN

News are received from Knoxville to the morning of the 27th. At
that time the place was still invested, but the attack on it was
not vigorous. Longstreet evidently determined to starve the
garrison out. Granger is on the way to Burnside’s relief, but I
have lost all faith in his energy or capacity to manage an
expedition of the importance of this one. I am inclined to think,
therefore, I shall have to send you. Push as rapidly as you can to
the Hiawassee, and determine for yourself what force to take with
you from that point. Granger has his corps with him, from which
you will select in conjunction with the force now with you. In
plain words, you will assume command of all the forces now moving
up the Tennessee, including the garrison at Kingston, and from that
force, organize what you deem proper to relieve Burnside. The
balance send back to Chattanooga. Granger has a boat loaded with
provisions, which you can issue, and return the boat. I will have
another loaded, to follow you. Use, of course, as sparingly as
possible from the rations taken with you, and subsist off the
country all you can.

It is expected that Foster is moving, by this time, from Cumberland
Gap on Knoxville. I do not know what force he will have with him,
but presume it will range from three thousand five hundred to five
thousand I leave this matter to you, knowing that you will do
better acting upon your discretion than you could trammeled with
instructions. I will only add, that the last advices from Burnside
himself indicated his ability to hold out with rations only to
about the 3d of December. Very respectfully,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General commanding,

This showed that, on the 27th of November, General Burnside was in
Knoxville, closely besieged by the rebel General Longstreet; that
his provisions were short, and that, unless relieved by December
3d, he might have to surrender. General Grant further wrote that
General Granger, instead of moving with great rapidity as ordered,
seemed to move “slowly, and with reluctance;” and, although he
(General Grant) hated to call on me and on my tired troops, there
was no alternative. He wanted me to take command of every thing
within reach, and to hurry forward to Knoxville.

All the details of our march to Knoxville are also given in my
official report. By extraordinary efforts Long’s small brigade of
cavalry reached Knoxville during the night of the 3d, purposely to
let Burnside know that I was rapidly approaching with an adequate
force to raise the siege.

With the head of my infantry column I reached Marysville, about
fifteen miles short of Knoxville, on the 5th of December; when I
received official notice from Burnside that Longstreet had raised
the siege, and had started in retreat up the valley toward
Virginia. Halting all the army, except Granger’s two divisions, on
the morning of the 6th, with General Granger and some of my staff I
rode into Knoxville. Approaching from the south and west, we
crossed the Holston on a pontoon bridge, and in a large pen on the
Knoxville side I saw a fine lot of cattle, which did not look much
like starvation. I found General Burnside and staff domiciled in a
large, fine mansion, looking very comfortable, and in, a few words
he described to me the leading events, of the previous few days,
and said he had already given orders looking to the pursuit of
Longstreet. I offered to join in the pursuit, though in fact my
men were worn out, and suffering in that cold season and climate.

Indeed, on our way up I personally was almost frozen, and had to
beg leave to sleep in the house of a family at Athens.

Burnside explained to me that, reenforced by Granger’s two
divisions of ten thousand men, he would be able to push Longstreet
out of East Tennessee, and he hoped to capture much of his
artillery and trains. Granger was present at our conversation, and
most unreasonably, I thought, remonstrated against being left;
complaining bitterly of what he thought was hard treatment to his
men and himself. I know that his language and manner at that time
produced on my mind a bad impression, and it was one of the causes
which led me to relieve him as a corps commander in the campaign of
the next spring. I asked General Burnside to reduce his wishes to
writing, which he did in the letter of December 7th, embodied in my
official report. General Burnside and I then walked along his
lines and examined the salient, known as Fort Sanders, where, some
days before, Longstreet had made his assault, and had sustained a
bloody repulse.

Returning to Burnside’s quarters, we all sat down to a good dinner,
embracing roast-turkey. There was a regular dining table, with
clean tablecloth, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, etc., etc. I had
seen nothing of this kind in my field experience, and could not
help exclaiming that I thought “they were starving,” etc.; but
Burnside explained that Longstreet had at no time completely
invested the place, and that he had kept open communication with
the country on the south side of the river Holston, more especially
with the French Broad settlements, from whose Union inhabitants he
had received a good supply of beef, bacon, and corn meal. Had I
known of this, I should not have hurried my men so fast; but until
I reached Knoxville I thought his troops there were actually in
danger of starvation. Having supplied General Burnside all the
help he wanted, we began our leisurely return to Chattanooga, which
we reached on the 16th; when General Grant in person ordered me to
restore to General Thomas the divisions of Howard and Davis, which
belonged to his army, and to conduct my own corps (the Fifteenth)
to North Alabama for winter-quarters.

ALABAMA December 19, 1863

Brigadier-General John A. RAWLINS, Chief of Staff to General GRANT,

GENERAL: For the first time, I am now at leisure to make an
official record of events with which the troops under my command
have been connected daring the eventful campaign which has just
closed. Dating the month of September last, the Fifteenth Army
Corps, which I had the honor to command, lay in camps along the Big
Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It
consisted of four divisions:

The First, commanded by Brigadier-General P. J. Osterhaus, was
composed of two brigades, led by Brigadier-General C. R. Woods and
Colonel J. A. Williamson (of the Fourth Iowa).

The Second, commanded by Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith, was
composed of two brigades, led by Brigadier-Generals Giles A. Smith
and J. A. J. Lightburn.

The Third, commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Tuttle, was
composed of three brigades, led by Brigadier-Generals J. A. Mower
and R. P. Buckland, and Colonel J. J. Wood (of the Twelfth Iowa).

The Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Hugh Ewing, was composed
of three brigades, led by Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, Colonel
Loomis (Twenty-sixth Illinois), and Colonel J. R. Cockerill (of the
Seventieth Ohio).

On the 22d day of September I received a telegraphic dispatch from
General Grant, then at Vicksburg, commanding the Department of the
Tennessee, requiring me to detach one of my divisions to march to
Vicksburg, there to embark for Memphis, where it was to form a part
of an army to be sent to Chattanooga, to resnforce General
Rosecrans. I designated the First Division, and at 4 a. m. the
same day it marched for Vicksburg, and embarked the neat day.

On the 23d of September I was summoned to Vicksburg by the general
commanding, who showed me several dispatches from the general-in-
chief, which led him to suppose he would have to send me and my
whole corps to Memphis and eastward, and I was instructed to
prepare for such orders. It was explained to me that, in
consequence of the low stage of water in the Mississippi, boats had
arrived irregularly, and had brought dispatches that seemed to
conflict in their meaning, and that General John E. Smith’s
division (of General McPherson’s corps) had been ordered up to
Memphis, and that I should take that division and leave one of my
own in its stead, to hold the line of the Big Black. I detailed my
third division (General Tuttle) to remain and report to Major-
General McPherson, commanding the Seventeenth Corps, at Vicksburg;
and that of General John E. Smith, already started for Memphis, was
styled the Third Division, Fifteenth Corps, though it still
belongs to the Seventeenth Army Corps. This division is also
composed of three brigades, commanded by General Matthias, Colonel
J. B. Raum (of the Fifty-sixth Illinois), and Colonel J. I.
Alexander (of the Fifty-ninth Indiana).

The Second and Fourth Divisions were started for Vicksburg the
moment I was notified that boats were in readiness, and on the 27th
of September I embarked in person in the steamer Atlantic, for
Memphis, followed by a fleet of boats conveying these two
divisions. Our progress was slow, on account of the
unprecedentedly low water in the Mississippi, and the scarcity of
coal and wood. We were compelled at places to gather fence-rails,
and to land wagons and haul wood from the interior to the boats;
but I reached Memphis during the night of the 2d of October, and
the other boats came in on the 3d and 4th.

On arrival at Memphis I saw General Hurlbut, and read all the
dispatches and letters of instruction of General Halleck, and
therein derived my instructions, which I construed to be as

To conduct the Fifteenth Army Corps, and all other troops which
could be spared from the line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad,
to Athens, Alabama, and thence report by letter for orders to
General Rosecrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at
Chattanooga; to follow substantially the railroad eastward,
repairing it as I moved; to look to my own line for supplies; and
in no event to depend on General Rosecrans for supplies, as the
roads to his rear were already overtaxed to supply his present

I learned from General Hurlbut that General Osterhaus’s division
was already out in front of Corinth, and that General John E. Smith
was still at Memphis, moving his troops and material by railroad as
fast as its limited stock would carry them. General J. D. Webster
was superintendent of the railroad, and was enjoined to work night
and day, and to expedite the movement as rapidly as possible; but
the capacity of the road was so small, that I soon saw that I could
move horses, mules, and wagons faster by land, and therefore I
dispatched the artillery and wagons by the road under escort, and
finally moved the entire Fourth Division by land.

The enemy seems to have had early notice of this movement, and he
endeavored to thwart us from the start. A considerable force
assembled in a threatening attitude at Salem, south of Salisbury
Station; and General Carr, who commanded at Corinth, felt compelled
to turn back and use a part of my troops, that had already reached
Corinth, to resist the threatened attack.

On Sunday, October 11th, having put in motion my whole force, I
started myself for Corinth, in a special train, with the battalion
of the Thirteenth United States Regulars as escort. We reached
Collierville Station about noon, just in time to take part in the
defense made of that station by Colonel D. C. Anthony, of the
Sixty-sixth Indiana, against an attack made by General Chalmers
with a force of about three thousand cavalry, with eight pieces of
artillery. He was beaten off, the damage to the road repaired, and
we resumed our journey the next day, reaching Corinth at night.

I immediately ordered General Blair forward to Iuka, with the First
Division, and, as fast as I got troops up, pushed them forward of
Bear Creek, the bridge of which was completely destroyed, and an
engineer regiment, under command of Colonel Flag, was engaged in
its repairs.

Quite a considerable force of the enemy was assembled in our front,
near Tuscumbia, to resist our advance. It was commanded by General
Stephen D. Lee, and composed of Roddy’s and Ferguson’s brigades,
with irregular cavalry, amounting in the aggregate to about five

In person I moved from Corinth to Burnsville on the 18th, and to
Iuka on the 19th of October.

Osterhaus’s division was in the advance, constantly skirmishing
with the enemy; he was supported by General Morgan L. Smith’s, both
divisions under the general command of Major-General Blair.
General John E. Smith’s division covered the working-party engaged
in rebuilding the railroad.

Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennessee River, I had
written to Admiral Porter, at Cairo, asking him to watch the
Tennessee and send up some gunboats the moment the stage of water
admitted; and had also requested General Allen, quartermaster at
St. Louis, to dispatch to Eastport a steam ferry-boat.

The admiral, ever prompt and ready to assist us, had two fine
gunboats at Eastport, under Captain Phelps, the very day after my
arrival at Iuka; and Captain Phelps had a coal-barge decked over,
with which to cross our horses and wagons before the arrival of the

Still following literally the instructions of General Halleck, I
pushed forward the repairs of the railroad, and ordered General
Blair, with the two leading divisions, to drive the enemy beyond
Tuscumbia. This he did successfully, after a pretty severe fight
at Cane Creek, occupying Tuscumbia on the 27th of October.

In the meantime many important changes in command had occurred,
which I must note here, to a proper understanding of the case.

General Grant had been called from Vicksburg, and sent to
Chattanooga to command the military division of the Mississippi,
composed of the three Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, and
Tennessee; and the Department of the Tennessee had been devolved on
me, with instructions, however, to retain command of the army in
the field. At Iuka I made what appeared to me the best disposition
of matters relating to the department, giving General McPherson
full powers in Mississippi and General Hurlbut in West Tennessee,
and assigned General Blair to the command of the Fifteenth Army
Corps; and summoned General Hurlbut from Memphis, and General Dodge
from Corinth, and selected out of the Sixteenth Corps a force of
about eight thousand men, which I directed General Dodge to
organize with all expedition, and with it to follow me eastward.

On the 27th of October, when General Blair, with two divisions, was
at Tuscumbia, I ordered General Ewing, with the Fourth Division, to
cross the Tennessee (by means of the gunboats and scow) as rapidly
as possible at Eastport, and push forward to Florence, which he
did; and the same day a messenger from General Grant floated down
the Tennessee over Muscle Shoals, landed at Tuscumbia, and was sent
to me at Iuka. He bore a short message from the general to this
effect: “Drop all work on the railroad east of Bear Creek; push
your command toward Bridgeport till you meet orders;” etc.
Instantly the order was executed; the order of march was reversed,
and all the columns were directed to Eastport, the only place where
we could cross the Tennessee. At first we only had the gunboats
and coal-barge; but the ferry-boat and two transports arrived on
the 31st of October, and the work of crossing was pushed with all
the vigor possible. In person I crossed, and passed to the head of
the column at Florence on the 1st of November, leaving the rear
divisions to be conducted by General Blair, and marched to
Rogersville and Elk River. This was found impassable. To ferry
would have consumed to much time, and to build a bridge still more;
so there was no alternative but to turn up Elk River by way of
Gilbertsboro, Elkton, etc., to the stone bridge at Fayetteville,
where we crossed the Elk, and proceeded to Winchester and Deckerd.

At Fayetteville I received orders from General Grant to come to
Bridgeport with the Fifteenth Army Corps, and to leave General
Dodge’s command at Pulaski, and along the railroad from Columbia to
Decatur. I instructed General Blair to follow with the Second and
First Divisions by way of New Market, Larkinsville, and Bellefonte,
while I conducted the other two divisions by way of Deckerd; the
Fourth Division crossing the mountain to Stevenson, and the Third
by University Place and Sweden’s Cove.

In person I proceeded by Sweden’s Cove and Battle Creek, reaching
Bridgeport on the night of November 13th. I immediately
telegraphed to the commanding general my arrival, and the positions
of my several divisions, and was summoned to Chattanooga. I took
the first steamboat daring the night of the 14th for Belly’s Ferry,
and rode into Chattanooga on the 16th. I then learned the part
assigned me in the coming drama, was supplied with the necessary
maps and information, and rode, during the 18th, in company with
Generals Grant, Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, to the
positions occupied on the west bank of the Tennessee, from which
could be seen the camps of the enemy, compassing Chattanooga and
the line of Missionary Hills, with its terminus on Chickamauga
Creek, the point that I was expected to take, hold, and fortify.
Pontoons, with a full supply of balks and chesses, had been
prepared for the bridge over the Tennessee, and all things had been
prearranged with a foresight that elicited my admiration. From the
hills we looked down on the amphitheatre of Chattanooga as on a
map, and nothing remained but for me to put my troops in the
desired position. The plan contemplated that, in addition to
crossing the Tennessee River and making a lodgment on the terminus
of Missionary Ridge, I should demonstrate against Lookout Mountain,
near Trenton, with a part of my command.

All in Chattanooga were impatient for action, rendered almost acute
by the natural apprehensions felt for the safety of General
Burnside in East Tennessee.

My command had marched from Memphis, three hundred and thirty
miles, and I had pushed them as fast as the roads and distance
would admit, but I saw enough of the condition of men and animals
in Chattanooga to inspire me with renewed energy. I immediately
ordered my leading division (General Ewing’s) to march via
Shellmound to Trenton, demonstrating against Lookout Ridge, but to
be prepared to turn quickly and follow me to Chattanooga and in
person I returned to Bridgeport, rowing a boat down the Tennessee
from Belly’s Ferry, and immediately on arrival put in motion my
divisions in the order in which they had arrived. The bridge of
boats at Bridgeport was frail, and, though used day and night, our
passage was slow; and the road thence to Chattanooga was dreadfully
cut up and encumbered with the wagons of the other troops stationed
along the road. I reached General Hooker’s headquarters during a
rain, in the afternoon of the 20th, and met General Grant’s orders
for the general attack on the next day. It was simply impossible
for me to fulfill my part in time; only one division (General John
E. Smith’s) was in position. General Ewing was still at Trenton,
and the other two were toiling along the terrible road from
Shellmound to Chattanooga. No troops ever were or could be in
better condition than mine, or who labored harder to fulfill their
part. On a proper representation, General Grant postponed the
attack. On the 21st I got the Second Division over Brown’s-Ferry
Bridge, and General Ewing got up; but the bridge broke repeatedly,
and delays occurred which no human sagacity could prevent. All
labored night and day, and General Ewing got over on the 23d; but
my rear division was cut off by the broken bridge at Brown’s Ferry,
and could not join me. I offered to go into action with my three
divisions, sup