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The Story of a Cavalryman: The Civil War Memoirs of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry
The Story of a Cavalryman: The Civil War Memoirs of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry
The Story of a Cavalryman: The Civil War Memoirs of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry
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The Story of a Cavalryman: The Civil War Memoirs of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry

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Born in Maine, Edward F. Winslow is a direct descendant of a man who came to America on the first voyage of the Mayflower. Winslow moves to Iowa and is working as a railway contractor when the Civil War starts. Winslow volunteers, mustering in as the Captain of Company F, 4th Iowa Cavalry in October 1861. Winslow spends the next 18 months learning a cavalryman’s responsibilities and is appointed colonel of his regiment on the day Vicksburg falls. Winslow is assigned greater and greater responsibilities as he rises to the rank of brigadier general by the end of the war. His narrative includes analyses on the use of cavalry during the Union campaigns from July 1863 through April 1865 in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Discover how a young man in his twenties, with no military training prior to the war, rises to the rank of brigadier general during the American Civil War.

Release dateJul 1, 2016
The Story of a Cavalryman: The Civil War Memoirs of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry
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    The Story of a Cavalryman - Edward F. Winslow


    Roots, Religion and Resolve

    May 9, 1865

    Atlanta, Georgia

    The young Yankee cavalry commander stood at the window on the second floor of the City Hall in Atlanta, Georgia. He slowly surveyed the chaotic panorama of the early spring morning where the first hints of green had appeared within the twisted remnants of the few trees left standing. A sea of white canvass of the tents in the Federal army encampment on the other side of Peachtree Street stretched eastward toward the rays of the rising sun. The nearly complete devastation of the city under his gaze was interspersed on his left with the blackened silhouettes of burned out specters of business buildings which had overseen the city’s once vibrant economy.

    The youthful general officer marveled at the great destruction which had been smote by the Lord upon the enemy’s land in the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. For the Yankee officer, Deo Vindice, God justifies; ironically, this had also been proclaimed on the Great Seal of the Confederacy.


    City Hall, Atlanta, Georgia (Library of Congress)

    His eyes came to rest upon the rubble of stone walls that marked the remains of the Western and Atlantic Railroad roundhouse and station works. The wrecked rail yard was only a couple hundred yards from where he stood and represented the former prowess of this prostrate community as a transportation hub for the Confederacy’s war effort. In the railway’s destruction the officer saw a challenge and a need which, with youthful confidence, he was certain he could meet. Based on his past performance during the war, his confidence was well merited.


    Ruins of Confederate Engine House, Atlanta, Georgia (National Archives)

    Handsome, with a winning, congenial personality, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Winslow, at the mere age of 27 years, was the Federal military commander of the occupied city of Atlanta, charged with running the city and maintaining law and order among the civilians, refugees, and returning former Confederate soldiers. He was the de facto military mayor of Atlanta.

    That he should be placed in this powerful position of authority at such a young age was a testament to his intelligence, grit, and great executive ability. His six foot frame was ramrod straight; he was sturdy but spare, weighing but 135 pounds. He was a gifted leader of men, a cavalry commander who succeeded because of a burning unvarnished earnestness tempered by a genuine concern for his colleagues, both superiors and subordinates.

    Perhaps because of his own personal modesty, imbued with a core belief in his own abilities, Edward Francis Winslow never did ultimately publish his memoirs, unlike his colleagues in the Federal Army. He knew what he had accomplished, was proud of his effort, and was secure in the knowledge that he had done the work and lived his life in harmony with God’s wishes. For similar reasons, no extended biography of General Winslow has been produced.

    The odyssey of Edward Winslow’s life, which had brought him from Augusta, Maine, to Atlanta, Georgia, by May 1865, was a reflection of the greater transformation that was wrenching and reshaping American culture and society in the nineteenth century.

    His life following his Civil War exploits detailed in these memoirs is in many ways more momentous than his shining military career. He became enmeshed in the very fabric of the Gilded Age and attained great financial success without being tainted by it. Unlike some Federal generals who were often less than successful in non-military life and business endeavors, General Winslow enjoyed overwhelming success. In this respect he is a far more complex and dynamic personality than many of the more celebrated Federal officers.

    Edward Francis Winslow was born on September 28, 1837, in Augusta, Maine, exactly one year following his parents’ marriage. He was the eighth child born to his father, Stephen Winslow, who, at 55 years of age when Edward was born, was more nearly the age of a grandfather. Stephen was in the sixth generation of descendants of Kenselm Winslow, one of three brothers who had founded the Plymouth Colony. Edward was the first born child of his mother Elizabeth Bass Winslow, a native of Boston. She was also mature at 43 years of age when he was born.

    General Winslow was born into a family of builders. So in his formative years as a young boy, Edward received practical firsthand knowledge of construction methods and the coordination of construction work. The period of 1820 to 1840 in Augusta, Maine, was a boom time particularly for construction work of public buildings. Augusta’s selection in 1827 as the state capital prompted a succession of building projects in which the Winslow family would participate.

    Edward was fortunate to be born into a community at a time when public education was valued. As a consequence, Edward’s natural curiosity and intellect were nurtured, and he received a solid education which would serve him well.

    The most significant factors for the formation of Edward’s view of the world were religion and politics. Edward was grounded in a strong abolitionist sentiment among his parents and siblings. As adherents to this religiously based reform movement, the Winslows believed that they were perfecting the world to God’s will through the eradication of the sin of slavery. To stand by idly in the face of this evil was a sin itself.

    As Edward approached adulthood in 1855, the economy of Augusta seemed to have stagnated. His older half-brother Henry lived in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and arranged a job for Edward at one of the town’s banks. Mount Pleasant had a population in 1856 of less than 3,000 but its prospects seemed much brighter than those in Maine. So Edward moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, when he was 18 years old. His relocation halfway across the continent to Iowa enhanced his affiliation with the Republican Party.

    Circumstances appear to have altered Edward’s plans after his arrival in Mount Pleasant. Shortly after his arrival in 1856 Winslow became, as he later described, interested in the study and construction of railroads ... the methods of construction and operation applied to them, as well as their financial affairs, were little understood, even by those in control. The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad had reached Mount Pleasant in July 1856. Equipped with his intelligence and construction experience, Edward began working on the construction of the railroad west of Mount Pleasant in 1857.

    In the spring of 1856 as young Edward left Maine for Iowa, there was little to suggest that he would have a military career and become an effective cavalry commander. His father, Stephen, had served as a private in the War of 1812 but had not seen combat or obtained promotion in rank. His half-brother, Henry, had had no military experience. Edward did not seek to gain entrance to West Point, a not uncommon quest for young men raised near the Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta, Maine.

    Edward’s firm belief that the Confederacy was engaged in the perpetuation of evil and destruction of the Union was his motivation to become a soldier. Edward, as did many of his peers, viewed military service as a noble opportunity; it was a means to an end to accomplish the greater good or, in other words, to engage in a crusade. He later wrote in this memoir: It has been my fortune and duty to have set free many thousands of colored persons but the march was not hindered or the operations embarrassed by having them with the command when in the presence of a vigorous enemy in force.

    In his civilian work he had spent a long time in Wapello County, Iowa, extending the railroad to Ottumwa. It was a ready transition for him to seek to recruit soldiers for a new regiment, the 4th Iowa Cavalry, from the citizens of that county. Winslow’s earnest belief in the cause and his personal charm led to the formation of Company F in that regiment. He was commissioned as the captain of Company F on November 23, 1861.

    He brought to his new role as soldier the same qualities which had marked his railroad work. As he was en route home to Iowa in August 1865, he was described as a man of great energy, great ambition and unlimited self-confidence. All agree that he is a splendid officer. He has both courage and skill to handle troops successfully in the face of enemy. In the fall of 1861, his road to reaching that high acclaim was murky and uncertain.

    As he had become self-educated in the field of railroad construction and operations, he then similarly became absorbed in self-education to become a cavalry officer. The training of Captain Winslow and his green troops fell to Lt. Col. Thomas Drummond, who brought real world experience as a cavalry officer. He made an excellent mentor who set about disciplining and training the regiment with an imperious energy that startled the men, and gave them for the first time the idea that a soldier is a man who obeys another man's orders.

    Captain Winslow and his comrades had the good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. Federal cavalry operations would experience a revolutionary change during the 36 months following the regiment’s muster. During this time Federal cavalry morphed from performing merely scouting and screening functions into an independent offensive weapon. By the end of the Civil War, the Northern cavalry had become one of the most fearsome offensive forces that the world had ever seen.

    The first step in that transformation was the revised cavalry tactics manual issued at the outset of the Civil War by Gen. Philip St. George Cooke. The War Department declined to adopt the Cooke Tactics as official Army doctrine. The old heads viewed it as too reckless. The principal change was the use of a single line formation by company, extending over a broad front and in effect creating a wall of fire. In March 1862, Colonel Drummond had obtained and begun using the new Cooke Tactics for the training of the 4th Iowa Cavalry. Captain Winslow absorbed Cooke’s Tactics and learned with time to implement them successfully.

    By the summer of 1862 the regiment reached Helena, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River, having traveled through great challenges with little of substance to show for it. Captain Winslow no doubt was feeling constrained and in search of an opportunity for greater effectiveness. For an ambitious young man, the encampment at Helena over the next nine months was surely disheartening, with the humdrum tasks of gathering supplies and other routine cavalry tasks. Captain Winslow remained confident, however, and diligent in performing his tasks. He innately manifested the character traits necessary for ultimately attaining good fortune: sound preparation in anticipation of an opportunity whenever it might appear. Through his work as provost and his personal rapport with his command, he was promoted to the rank of Major of the 4th Iowa effective January 3, 1863.

    His great attachment to the men he commanded contributed to his ability to lead them in battle. He later wrote that during this period, he was always with his company, actively occupied in the care and instruction of his men. He had personally recruited many of the men he led, particularly those in Company F. Captain Winslow’s attitude is reflected in a letter he wrote to the father of a private in the company who had taken ill. His sense of responsibility for maintaining morale on the home front as well as the care of his men is evident.

    I look on your son as a brother and will, so far as lies in my power, always do all I can for his health and advancement. You have much cause for pride and joy in such a young man for a son, and I know he will always have friends because of his integrity, modesty, sincerity and honesty of character. I regard him as one of the most promising young men of my command and am always reliant and confident concerning any business which is entrusted to his charge or care. The army is a bad place for the morals of most persons who enter it and the larger half will undoubtedly be wrecked on its shoals and bars of immorality, but your son I regard as one of the safer ones who, by continuance in paths which they have thus far traveled, will come out of the furnace purified.

    By April 1863 Major Winslow received his first break from the rather unpromising circumstances at Helena. Opportunity now arrived as Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant prepared to launch the Vicksburg campaign. Grant lacked cavalry to provide typical functions of reconnaissance and screening of movement. He sent a request for a regiment of cavalry to the commander at Helena. Maj. Edward F. Winslow solicited and won the order dispatching the 4th Iowa Cavalry to Grant’s army. By April 30, 1863, Major Winslow’s regiment had arrived and was assigned to the XV Army Corps under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. The 4th Iowa held the unique role as the only cavalry regiment in the XV Army Corps until Vicksburg was finally besieged and capitulated on July 3, 1863. Because the regiment’s colonel was in poor health, Major Winslow actually performed the duties of regimental commander.

    The major turning point in his military career occurred on May 12, 1863, when Major Winslow and his command became engaged in a fierce fight with the Confederate defenders at Fourteen Mile Creek. In the immediate view of Generals Sherman and Grant, Winslow demonstrated his pluck and courage as his mount was shot from beneath him and one of his men was killed. His tenacity, good judgment, quick action, and bravery deeply impressed Sherman. With his railroad construction expertise, Winslow, to the amazement of the senior Union commanders, skillfully directed his men under fire in the rapid rebuilding of the bridge which the enemy had destroyed. From that point forward, Winslow was highly esteemed by Sherman. The next day, Sherman asked Winslow to accompany and ride with him and his staff.

    Winslow had demonstrated the necessary trait of a successful cavalry commander: reckless attack. On July 4, 1863, Winslow was promoted to colonel, and Sherman began giving Col. Edward F. Winslow more and more responsibilities. At the age of 25, Winslow took advantage of every opportunity to learn his job of cavalry commander over the next two years, rising to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers. That story is told by Winslow in the following memoir.

    Daniel L. Smith, March 2016

    Editor’s Preface

    When I moved to the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, I naturally became interested in the local history regarding the American Civil War. It was a number of years later that I met Daniel L. Smith, chairman of the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund, who is Kansas City’s resident expert on the Battle of Westport. I soon became involved in battlefield restoration efforts and volunteering at the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum. One day while we were chatting about some phase of the battle, Dan mentioned he had come across the unpublished memoirs of Col. Edward F. Winslow, who had commanded a cavalry brigade during the battle. Dan mentioned that Winslow provided some interesting insights about the fighting at Byram’s Ford on October 23, 1864. Of course I was interested and told Dan I would like to read Winslow’s accounts of the events.

    When I began reading Winslow’s story about Byram’s Ford, I thought I would publish to my blog an edited version of his chapters concerning Sterling Price’s 1864 cavalry raid into Missouri. But then it occurred to me, why not publish the whole memoir? Surely Winslow’s memoirs would be interesting to a wider audience than just people interested in Price’s Raid. So I asked Dan Smith to help edit Winslow’s memoirs. I also asked Dan Smith to write the foreword where Dan describes what a fascinating individual Edward Francis Winslow really was: an Iowa farm boy with no military training who volunteered to fight in the Civil War and rose to the rank of brigadier general of volunteer cavalry.

    Once we decided to publish Edward Francis Winslow’s memoirs, there were a number of decisions to make. Our most important decision was to edit the document as though we were able to discuss changes with Winslow to make the document more readable and accessible. In his manuscript, Winslow often used long sentences and his use of punctuation was a bit sparse at times. The long sentences with little punctuation made it more difficult to understand Winslow’s narrative. So during our editing we have broken apart overly long sentences, corrected punctuation where appropriate, and occasionally, changed the word order. But other than that we have attempted to keep Winslow’s narrative style intact. Sources used as guides include The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.

    To preserve Winslow’s voice, we did not change his words but we standardized spelling using the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

    Where possible we have used modern spellings for geographic names, such as towns, streams and rivers. We also changed Winslow’s manuscript to refer to the same locations consistently.

    We made changes to reference numbers, dates, and times consistently, again following The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.

    We followed the US Army Center of Military History Style guide[1] to consistently name soldiers, their ranks and the names of their units. In the initial reference to a person in each chapter (Winslow called them episodes), we have given the full rank, abbreviated, along with the individual’s full name. On subsequent mentions in the chapter, we used the unabbreviated rank and last name, or just the last name without rank.

    Dick Titterington, March 2016


    In the autumn of 1863 General Orders 191 of the US War Department[2] were published respecting the reenlistment of volunteers who had originally enrolled for three years and who had served more than two years. Such soldiers could again enlist for a further period of three years or during the war, and they were to be styled Veteran Volunteers. These volunteers would be entitled to a furlough of 30 days, a bounty of $400, and they could wear the service chevron[3] on their coat sleeves. In case three-fourths of the men eligible in any regiment reenlisted, they would have the right to retain their regimental organization and its name. The men of the regiments forming my brigade availed of this privilege.


    Veteran Volunteer service chevron for the US Cavalry was a yellow stripe bordered with red (Adapted from OR Atlas by Dick Titterington)

    The Union cavalry officers serving in the southwest often marched over a large extent of territory and had opportunities for learning how many able-bodied men were to be found at their homes in the Southern States. Subsequent to the campaign of Vicksburg, such men were seldom seen anywhere in the country traversed by the 4th Iowa Cavalry. The few exceptions were persons who held some official position in the civil service. During the last period of the war there were many men who had served or were conscripted and escaped duty by concealment in the country or by going out of the Confederate lines. Perhaps others were hidden at the approach of the Union commands. As a matter of fact the number of men capable of army service found in the cities, towns, villages, and upon the farms was very small indeed. The infirm, wounded, aged men, and slaves were to do the work at home, while all the others were ordered into the fighting ranks of the armies. The qualified white men of the south became soldiers, while the others and the women remained at home.

    The situation of the Union armies in 1863 was only redeemed by the great victories of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade. There had been many mistakes and misfortunes, and it became necessary to assure the future success in the important campaigns of 1864. No more important step was taken than that which led to the reenlistment of men who had served two years. They had experienced the disabilities and learned of the shortcomings attached to volunteers for the first year of service and had become accustomed to serious campaigning during the second year. They knew what war meant. It was realized that such men as these, men of actual experience in camp, on the march, and in fighting, were now soldiers who knew how to take care of themselves in camp and in action.

    Cavalrymen had found out how to manage, care for, and use their arms and horses. Men in the artillery service knew how to employ the valuable and effective property entrusted to them. The infantry soldier had become hardened, could march, fight, and employ his gun effectively. He knew the relationship of his arm of the service to the conduct and actions of the others. The soldier of two years had also learned the necessity for obedience to orders, to rely upon his officers and his comrades, and he knew the value of the coordination of the various commands. He believed in himself and his officers and he had discovered that war was a scientific as well as a commonsense business. He had made up his mind that this war was one which must end in the recognition of the Union and that he must see it through to that end. His patriotism had become stronger and was the most important thing in life. He was willing to sacrifice his own life in the great cause and, as he now knew the risks, he could think over the situation and calculate the chances.

    When the South was putting forth renewed and strenuous efforts to hold its troops in the ranks and to largely increase their numbers, President Abraham Lincoln turned to the men whose time would soon expire and proposed that they should reenlist for the remainder of the war. He knew these soldiers were now like steel tempered in fire and water. If these men would stand firm, they would become the nucleus around which the new recruits could be rallied. The armies would continue to be veterans in practice, with troops that would manfully enter upon the great campaigns of 1864 and finish the war. President Lincoln trusted the veterans, as he did the patriotism and common sense of the American people, and they promptly responded to his call.

    Within two months more than 146,000[4] men voluntarily reenlisted for the war, long or short. This large body was perhaps one-fourth part of all the fighting men then actually carrying guns in the ranks. Has the world presented in its modern history such a spectacle? The soldiers did not again enroll their names and offer their services because of the promise of a few hundred dollars and a month’s furlough, although this promise and its fulfillment made it possible for them to see and assist their families. They told at home, and to all they met, their experiences and hopes and did much to arouse enthusiasm.

    If we could have questioned these men, we should have learned how earnest they were, how seriously they undertook to continue in the service of their country for the maintenance of the Union, and how little they were moved by the romance and interest in a new career, which had partly influenced them when they first left their firesides to enter upon a life of excitement—when overconfidence had been followed by much unexpected, and often unnecessary, exposure and suffering.

    The moral effect of the reenlistment of these men upon those in power in the South and upon the Confederate armies must have been considerable. It encouraged the North and must have discouraged the South. The visits of the veterans to their homes and the fact of their reenlistment certainly affected favorably the vote for and aided in the reelection of President Lincoln in the autumn of 1864. This greatly encouraged the enlistment of additional men. The 4th Iowa Cavalry received more than 500 recruits from Iowa, one of the states where no draft was necessary and one which furnished 70,000 volunteers during the war.[5]

    General Grant, who had always retained possession of the fields upon which he fought his battles, was now in command of all the Union armies. The President, the army and the people turned to him and his successful lieutenants, believing they would finish the long struggle for the maintenance of the Union. They were not disappointed and these Veteran Volunteers, with their brave comrades in arms, carried the Stars and Stripes to victory and peace after 15 months more of terrible conflicts with men of our own country.

    The following pages give an account of some cavalry operations and personal experiences in the Southwest during the Civil War. Conditions there were in many respects unlike those in the East. This is not an attempt to show how bodies of mounted men should he trained and used. Rather it is a narrative of, and some comments upon, several actual occurrences in which the 4th Iowa Cavalry Veteran Volunteers had an active and sometimes an important part, beginning with the final campaign for the capture of Vicksburg. The narrative is taken from the official records of the war, prepared by me as the colonel of that regiment, and from my personal memoranda.

    If he could choose his field of operations or was able to control his career, a soldier would like to serve in important campaigns and be present during or participate in great battles, but a colonel serving with his regiment should remain with and share its fortunes, and he cannot command or select his field of general operations.

    The movements and actions of the cavalry as hereinafter described extended over a large territory in the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama and they ended in Georgia at Atlanta. They cover in part the service performed during the last two years of the war for maintaining the Union. When acting independently as a brigade or a division, the command was successful in every engagement. This was due to the ability, efficiency, and courage of the officers; to the devotion, endurance and bravery of the men of the several regiments; and to the excellent organization and discipline of the united force. Personally, this writer gratefully acknowledges the kind, respectful, and considerate treatment of the officers under which and with whom he served. They invariably gave him their confidence and support, and the encouragement and inspiration thus conveyed had a great influence in connection with the duties which his command was expected to perform.

    Episode 1: Appointed to Regimental Command

    The campaign of Vicksburg ended by the surrender of the city with its garrison of nearly 30,000 men on July 4, 1863.[6] On that day, the Union army under Maj. Gen. George G. Meade obtained its great victory at Gettysburg. These two important events assured the final result, although nearly two years more of desperate struggle were necessary to secure peace and the future maintenance of the Union in all the states. The Vicksburg Campaign was constantly one of attack, while the great battle in Pennsylvania was one of defense on the part of the Union armies. General Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was given command of all the Union forces but, after the Battle of Chattanooga, Grant made his headquarters with the army commanded by Meade in Virginia. Thus the two men who won the victories in the west and east served in common to the end of the war as comrades in arms. The surrender of Vicksburg carried with it that of Port Hudson, and the Mississippi River was thenceforward open and free throughout its length.


    Regional Map of South Central United States (Adapted from Story of a Cavalry Regiment by Dick Titterington)

    [external link to hi-res map]

    General Grant crossed over that river to Bruinsburg and Grand Gulf with about 45,000 men and, having abandoned his connections[7] after the capture of Port Gibson, marched upon Jackson and then upon Vicksburg with his whole force. The Confederate army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston included that commanded by Lt. Gen. John G. Pemberton, defeated at Champion Hill and Big Black River, and the officer who surrendered the garrison at Vicksburg. The preliminary conflicts ended with the capture on May 14 of Jackson, the capital of the state, and the retreat of the forces under the personal command of Johnston. The Confederate armies under the control of Johnston (including those at Raymond) when General Grant crossed the Mississippi numbered not less than 50,000 men and, of these, about 40,000 were killed, wounded, or captured, including those surrendered by General Pemberton with the city of Vicksburg.

    When the Union army which was destined to take Vicksburg and open the great river from Memphis to New Orleans was in full movement preparatory to crossing the river below Vicksburg, Brig. Gen. Willis A. Gorman[8] was in command of the District of Eastern Arkansas with headquarters at Helena. He was ordered to send one cavalry regiment to join the army under General Grant. I had served on the staff of General Gorman as assistant provost-marshal general of the District, and upon my request, the 4th Iowa Cavalry was selected and sent to Milliken’s Bend in Louisiana, above Vicksburg. This regiment was the only united cavalry force with the army during the campaign to Jackson and Vicksburg, but there were several small companies acting as escorts to general officers, and there was a detachment of about 150 men of the 6th Missouri Cavalry on scouting and picket duty.

    The 4th Iowa Cavalry was placed under the orders of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, who was in command of the XV Army Corps. We marched from Milliken’s Bend to the landing at Grand Gulf where steamboats ferrying the Mississippi transported us across. We did not arrive until after the Battle of Port Gibson had been fought and won on May 1. We joined the XV Army Corps upon its arrival, had our first skirmish at Fourteen Mile Creek on the morning of May 12, and had the advance of the corps to Jackson. While that city was in possession of the Union forces, the 4th Iowa Cavalry was sent to near Brandon (east of Pearl River), following that part of the army of Johnston which retreated in that direction.


    Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, XV Army Corps (Library of Congress)

    On the march, the regiment had bivouacked on May 11 a few miles from Fourteen Mile Creek. Then at dusk I was ordered to make a reconnaissance with the 2d Battalion to and across the creek. No sign of an enemy was found and, having examined and sketched the situation and bridge, I reported in person to General Sherman, who was busily writing in his tent a mile or more in rear of the cavalry. The general decided not to occupy the bridge during the night, upon being told it could be restored in a couple of hours if destroyed.

    Early the next morning the regiment moved in advance of the corps, the 2d Battalion being in front. Upon approaching the bridge, it was discovered to be on fire and we were met by discharges of small arms. I placed the battalion in line on the left of the road which crossed the stream at a right angle and ordered it to open fire upon the enemy, in position on the opposite side. I conducted the 3d Battalion and posted it on the right of the road in an open field. As I was returning to the other battalion, my horse, while jumping across a small brook which ran between the two commands, was shot through both stifles[9] and fell into the mud at the bottom, breaking my saber scabbard into three pieces and injuring my left leg, but not seriously. I was immediately extricated and, running to the right of the 2d Battalion, arrived in time to grasp the bridle and to mount a horse upon which Pvt. Jabez Sibley[10] of Company F had that moment been killed.

    While the cavalry was engaged, an infantry regiment arrived and formed in line facing to the right along the road. I took the liberty of saying to the colonel that the enemy was in line parallel with the creek and at a right angle to that he had taken. He changed his position at once and occupied the line held by the cavalry, which had been ordered to retire. It happened that Generals Grant and Sherman were on the ground during this skirmish and observed what was done. The 2d Battalion was ordered by Sherman to go immediately to the left along the creek and ascertain if the line of the enemy extended far on that flank.

    In a half hour I reported to the general, then sitting with General Grant upon the trunk of a fallen tree several hundred yards from and in rear of the bridge, that there was no enemy in that direction. Meanwhile a battery had opened fire upon the enemy, but the firing had ceased, for the enemy had left the field.[11] While making this report Sherman said to Grant This is the officer whose horse was shot under him and turning to me said You will ride with my staff today. As I was somewhat lame and mounted on a rough riding horse, I requested in the evening to be allowed to return to the regiment. When the firing at the bridge began, it is likely the generals thought

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