Please note that Google does not always return accurate search results within our site. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have comments regarding this feature, please contact Google Customer Service
From the Daily Courier of October 15, 1885
THE SOLDIERS’ REUNION.
Third Indiana Cavalry in Force,
Addresses of Mayor Brashear, Samuel J. Gilpin and Lieut. Wilson.
Roster of Survivors Present.
“Dog on my cats if you’ve changed a bit Bill!” “How are you making it, John?” “Blamed if here ain’t old—-” “Well, I’ll be dinged,” etc., were familiar sounds at the Court House this morning as one by one the boys of the gallant Third filed into headquarters at the Sheriff’s office and registered. It was indeed inspiring to see some old veteran eagerly scan the roll and seek out some old comrade whose name he found on the list. The cordial grasp of the hand and the hearty welcome he gave that comrade was sufficient evidence that years of separation does not and cannot blot from his memory the associations of twenty years ago. The frequent repetition of the words hard tack and sow-belly indicated that already the old camp stories were again going the rounds and falling on more attentive ears than did the aforesaid sow-belly on the stomachs of the narrators twenty years before.
A pleasant time was anticipated weeks ago, but when at 10 o’clock over seventy of the old boys had arrived the pleasant time gave rise to a glorious reunion, as each new arrival added increased enthusiasm which only subsided after the said arrival had been converted into an animated pump whose arms did duty for handles. At ten o’clock the drum corps arrived and the boys began jolting down their morning meals in anticipation of the repast at the hall, and as the dinner hour approached the “Women’s Relief Corps” coupled, with complimentary remarks were heard all along the line.
At 12:30 the vets sat down to a sumptuous repast at the Odd Fellows’ Hall prepared by the ladies of the Women’s Relief Corps. If the rapid disappearance of the viands placed before them was any sign that the hungry cavalrymen appreciated the part the ladies had taken in carrying out the program, they certainly needed no other proof. After dinner the few moments intervening before reassembling at headquarters was occupied in friendly conversations.
At 2 o’clock the regiment reassembled at the Court House, when, after being introduced by Captain A.D. Vanosdol, Mayor Brashear tendered the visiting comrades the freedom of the city.
The Mayor was responded to by Comrade Wm. R. Johnston, of Vevay, who expressed his pleasure at being present and meeting so many of his old comrades. He wanted as little formality as possible and much preferred to spend the few remaining hours in shaking hands and having a general good time. At the conclusion of his remarks Captain Vanosdol called upon Mayor Chas. Qualman, of Peoria, Ill., who in a very humorous manner recited some of the experiences of the Third Indiana, and dwelt at some length upon the success of its members at foraging.
Lieutenant Wilson, of F Company, was then introduced and read the company and regimental histories of the Third Indiana Cavalry, giving a synopsis of the doings of the regiment from the time of its muster in until the expiration of its term of service. This embraces a history of the first and second Virginia campaigns, during which time the battles of Middletown, South Mountain, Antietam and Gettysburg were fought, in each of which the cavalry was very actively engaged, besides many lesser engagements; also a history of the Wilderness Struggle, Wilson’s raid in the rear of Petersburg, Stoneman’s raid, Averill’s and Kilpatrick’s raids, the operation in East Tennessee around Atlanta, the breaking up of the Maryland contraband trade, the crossing of the Chickahominy River, previous to the sad and disastrous conflict of the White Oak Swamps, together with many interesting incidents of which we cannot now speak particularly.
From the Daily Courier of Oct. 16
Long before the hour of reassembling at the Court House at night, citizens full of admiration and cavalrymen full of supper crowded into the court room and when Capt. Vanosdol arose and called the association to order the space inside the bar was literally packed. The chairman very appropriately remarked that inasmuch as members of the association had traveled hundreds of miles to participate in the exercise of the day and evening he thought it no more than proper that citizens, with the exception of the ladies should retire to the audience room. Comrade L.C. Wilson, the historian of the association, opened the exercises with an eloquent prayer. Sergeant Samuel J. Gilpin was then introduced and delivered the following masterly and eloquent history of the regiment from its organization:
“Ladies and Gentlemen. Comrades and Friends—All:
As I stand her to day, the war-field of Virginia lies before me in memory, like a great map. I look down upon its forests and plains, its streams and rivers and coast-line, its hills and valleys and mountain ranges, its towns and villages and farm houses, its railway-lines and wagon roads, its fords and passes and swamps and wildernesses, its forts and rifle-pits and barricades; where an army in gray contend. I see again that brave old Potomac Army, with loyal and duteous tread, following the varied and various fortunes of McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, Meade, Grant till the bleached bones of its dead whiten a hundred fields and the blood of its wounded crimson the streams from the Susquehanna to the James; and in its van in pursuit, in its rear in retreat, the Third Indiana Cavalry, in blue blouse and slouched hat, with canteen and haversack, pistol, carbine and saber, mounted, booted and spurred, riding that field with Pleasanton, Stoneman, Wilson and Sheridan; Buford, Farnsworth, Davis and Chapman; Buchanan, Patton and McClure, as it did away back in 1861-65.I see you again at the campfire, cooking your coffee and ration of side-meat; at the line picket post in the night-rain, resolving whether the morning light or the guerrilla’s bullet would be first in coming; sleeping on the snow as at Warrenton in ’63 or under it as at Dumfries, in 62; I see you and your horses, shelterless, rationless, wet, hungry, cold, shivering in the pitiless winter winds and rains, anywhere, everywhere out through Virginia; swimming the swollen Rappahannock. Hazel or Rapidan in the face of the fighting foe; in line, dismounted, resisting the desperate valor of Lee or Longstreet’s veterans, or standing up in your stirrups, with stiffened sinews and saber at front cut, charging a battery, a line of infantry, or with victorious shout dashing in among the naked saber-blades of Hampton’s or Stuart’s or FitzHugh Lee’s cavalry. I see you through all those years of pain and peril. “More in sorrow than in anger,” yet with unswerving hand, writing in bloody lettering, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Beverly Ford, Upperville, Gettysburg, and as the “years chased blood-stained years with wild, red feet,” a half a hundred kindred names across your battle-flag!
I recall a thousand incidents of the camp, the march, the bivouac, the battle, I remember your cheerfulness, your patience, your fortitude, your endurance,, your self-denial, your valor! What material for a speech, a book, a library. How much that calls for praise, for pathos, for pity, for admiration, for eloquent eulogy. But I do not want to make a speech now—another time I would try and do so, but I haven’t met these old comrades in reunion since the war, and my one purpose now is simply to talk—to talk to them, going over the ground in such a way as will best refresh our memories; recall as many incidents as possible in the company of us and these our friends, will be best please be sure, to have us please ourselves
So let us begin with the beginning away back nearly a quarter of a century ago, when we volunteered, some of us because we first volunteered, some of us because we were single men and loved war, and some of us because we were married men and loved peace (July 13, 1861)- and went into camp on the hill-top overlooking this beautiful city, when all of us were as innocent of any knowledge of tactics or war as the horses we rode. We have not forgotten, even at this late day, the kindness to us then of the ladies of Madison, Hanover, Carmel, and all this country round about, of their love which went with us through the war, and which we trust we have never forfeited. A little later (Aug. 24, 1861), having said our good-byes, we were aboard transports, and at sunset, amid the waving of flags, the firing of cannon, and the encouraging shouts of the people, we were off for the war.
You remember the trip up the Ohio, the night on the bar near Blennerhassett’s Island, the noisy loyalty of the people by the way. Our bare-backed ride from Wheeling to Pittsburgh, and how boundlessly good to us the hospitable people were at Claysville, at Washington and Canonsburg, Pa. Our night in the City Hall at Pittsburgh there over the Pennsylvania Central, our aid for rations at Altoona, our delay at Harrisburg where, with other regiments we sang patriotic songs on the depot porch, and where the rumor was abroad that Jeff Davis was dead, which was repeated next morning at Baltimore, on our stay in that city and our arrival at Williamsburg City at 8 o’clock on the morning of September 25th.
I don’t know that we expected Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet to meet us at the depot. We were only boys then and as we stood all day in the down-pouring rain, on New Jersey Avenue, we felt, I think, that a regiment which had come all the way from Indiana to put down the rebellion, and which furnished its own horses, was entitled to more marked consideration.
You recall our five weeks encampment by the old mill to the north of the Capitol, our drills on horse and foot and saber exercise, all the strangeness of our new life and all the wonders of the Capitol City. How the cannonading beyond the river, the parades and reviews and the great encampments of men impressed us and how, as the hazy October days came, and the leaves of the forest trees were turning brown and crimson and gold, we broke camp and were off with Hooker and Sickles to the cedar and chestnut and laurel woods of Prince George County, Maryland.
Off again across the Piscataway and Mattawoman, scattering to Budd Ferry, Nanjemoy, Port Tobacco, Chaptico, Leonardtown, Millstone Landing, picketing the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the lower Potomac and Patunxet, where the good people said “Yes indeed,” “No indeed,” “Indeed do I,” “Indeed don’t I,” where they called their pigs and drove their oxen with a chorus and swore “by the head of the creator,” and where heaven forgive us, we first learned to buy “corn-blades,” pigs, chickens and things on “government terms.”
Co. E’s posts were at the fish-houses, opposite Acquia, with the enemies encampments and the same winter winds which rustled our own “stars and stripes”, hearing their drum-beats and bugle calls. (That was where Sam Rogers learned them.) We never tired of watching their movements, their boats, their sentries, the firing of their batteries at our passing vessels, and when we were awakened by a sound as if Virginia were being uprooted and dashed into the Potomac, then we knew it was Sunday, and we’d get up and watch our gunboats and the Reb batteries fight, and pray for our fellows to lick, which was about the only religious services we had.
Many funny things occurred that winter. I was riding one frosty morning up by the infantry camps and seeing a soldier lying alongside of some dead embers, which going out, had taken with them the tails of his pants. I thought him dead. He was only sleeping. Roused at my call he straightened up on his feet and hands and yelled out: “Well, I’ll be damned if my patriotism ain’t about played out.”
The darkies used to sell us provisions. The guard halted one of them leaving the camp with, “Well, Uncle, have you got the countersign?” “No, indeed, sah, nuffin’ but de basket.”
The boys of my picket will remember little Betty Sanders. One day she said, “I swear.” I reproved her saying: “Why, Betty, you don’t swear?” “Indeed, don’t I? Indeed do I. I cusses—I swear I do.”
Charley Werner was our artist. He was teaching us all to sketch. One of Gilchrist’s boys had been down and returning he said; ‘I was a good skeptic.” Down at Gilpin’s they are pretty much all sketching and he sketched anything.
But the spring came, and for ten days the passing fleets were carrying McClellan’s Grand Army to the James, with flying flags and playing bands and beating drums.
And we were off to Washington again, over Long Bridge to Fairfax, Centerville, Bull Run, Manassas. Joining Geary’s infantry at Thoroughfare Gap, where, when they burned their camps and ran away Scott Carter said: “Won’t fall back if the whole rebel army comes till I’ve looked ‘em in the eye!” If Col. Scott Carter had looked ‘em in the eye as he did us when we asked for passes into the city, and with the same effect, the rebellion would have been crushed right there. It was then that the papers had it that the Third Indiana were all captured.
From there to Aldie, Upperville, Ashby’s Gap, across the Shenandoah after Ashby’s cavalry, where Blenker’s half-buried dead, in their blue overcoats, were lying in the washed-out gullies on the road sides. You remember how it rained as we lay shelterless in the gap, and how, through the night, an artillery bugler in a Sibley tent played “Annie Laurie” and “Home Sweet Home.”
From there to Piedmont, and the rain continuing, we sought shelter for the night at Louis Marshall’s abandoned residence at Oak Hill, where it said on the school room door. “School is going to break!” “England is coming to help us!” When someone of the boys played the piano and others “tripped the light fantastic toe” in the mazy evolutions of the old Virginia reel, with fair partners who wore cavalry spurs on their boots.
Off again to Sulphur Springs on the Rappahannock frightening visitors away and making much over their captured love letters. Westward to the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap, through Little Washington and Sperryville, chasing some cavalry up through a thunder cloud at Thornton Pass, passing over into the Shenandoah Valley, joining Shields and guarding his rear in his retreat down the valley toward Harper’s Ferry. Through the Blue Ridge again at Manassas Gap and away eastward to Bristow Station, when we bathed in the cold waters of Broad Run and one of the officers said if Broad Run hadn’t already been damned at the identical place where we went swimming, that he would have had a squad detailed for that purpose, and southward to Fredericksburg, which for the next month or two was our base of operations, and while McClellan was fighting his great battles about Richmond the “Third” was picketing patrolling, scouting, and skirmishing through all the country to the South of Fredericksburg on McClellan’s right. It was then that pushing out beyond the Mattaponi with infantry and artillery support, you had your first real experience of war in the two days fighting at Mattaponi.
The correspondent with us said the “Third” covered itself all over with glory, and we ought to let it rest with that. As the lawyers say: “We don’t want to disturb the verdict, or make any motion for a new hearing.”
You will recall our pleasant encampment southwest of the city, out by the Mary Washington Monument, you remember how the monument was bullet marked, It was said the Confederate soldiers has used it for a target and the Northern press was full of the vandal desecration. Some one asked a little Confederate about it, he said he didn’t know whether their soldiers used it for a target or not, but he noticed the Federals chipped off all the corners of the marble blocks for relics of Rebel desecration.
It was while we were at Fredericksburg that Dave Smock and Oscar Branham died.
Along in August Burnside was in command at Fredericksburg and Pope, with headquarters in the saddle, pushed out beyond Culpepper and fought and was beaten at Cedar Mountain or Slaughter Mountain as it was called, where you joined him and protected his retreat to Manassas. Then came the second Bull Run when the boys said Lincoln ought to have a praying general pitted against Jackson, or ‘throw up the sponge’.
Back again to Fredericksburg, which Burnside evacuated, burning the bridge and surplus stores and you protected his retreat to Acquia, taking a vessel there for Washington City. Now began the Antietam campaign under McClellan, Pleasanton in command of the cavalry corps and Farnsworth in command of your brigade, composed of 8th Illinois, 8th New York, 8th Pennsylvania, Ist Massachusetts, part of 12th Illinois and 3rd Indiana. Hitherto your regiment had acted independently.
The next day after reaching Washington, you dashed out through Rockville where a pretty little girl waved a silk flag from a high front stoop and distributed pears to the passing troopers, and, I speak of it because I never forget a pretty little girl and because it was the first kindly or loyal act from woman or child which we had seen for many months; and on to Poolesville where that day you found and fought the Reb cavalry, fighting the next three days at Sugar Loaf Mountain, driving the Rebs away and establishing a signal corps on its crest. The next five days a running fight, in pursuit of cavalry and artillery, through Urbanna, Monocacy to Frederick City, Maryland, over the Catoctin mountains in Middletown, where, while the main command was engaged at its farther suburb, E and F companies with a squadron from some other regiment sallied off to the left to capture and recall the barricaded defile beyond Catoctin Creek, where instantly a brigade of Rebel horsemen were upon you in flank and rear, a whirlwind of wicked sabers flashing about your heads and their ugly shot-guns and pistols, filling the air with missiles, where breaking over the obstruction you used it for a barricade, forming your little line and while their advance raised the cry “we’ve run into infantry;” and sought to retreat. The rear of the two columns pressing down and around the hill packed them densely in your front and held them there while you sent your carbine and navy balls into their struggling mass. You held the ground with thirty-seven of their dead and many wounded (E and F lost thirteen). In the first onset Johnny Weilde passed on his little black horse saying, “Sam I’ve caught one.” He was shot through and through, as was Sergeant Sam Cross. Joseph Lewis was killed, and Smyrna Seever, Jap Jones and others of E wounded, besides those of F killed and wounded whose names I do not recall, together with man of the other squadron.
There was a good fellow in F company, who having been on detail duty, hadn’t been in any close fighting up till now. Unfortunately he stuttered. A half a dozen Rebs had him cornered and were slashing at him with their sabers, he warding them off with his carbine, which was hacked its whole length, and in utter amazement at the boisterous roughness of these strangers was crying: “Wh-wh-what in the h-h-hell do you mean!” Sergeant Mount and some others, knowing what they meant, went to his relief.
A big-hearted, big-bodied, full blooded Corporal of F got shot here in the back of the neck, and bleeding profusely, felt sure he was going to die, and began to send farewell messages to his mother and sisters. The next day he was improved rather than otherwise by the bloodletting, and for long afterwards some of his mischievous comrades would twit him on occasion with this query: “Say, Corporal, what do you want me to tell your mother?”
The next day (Sept. 14, 1862) you supported batteries in the center of the field and skirmished, dismounted, up the mountain side in the general battle of South Mountain.
Early next morning you were galloping past the killed and wounded of the day before, up and over the mountain road, and riding in swift pursuit of the fleeing column, through Boonsboro, charging their rear, capturing guns and prisoners, and forcing your way to Keedysville on the road to Sharpsburg.
The next day you continued the fight at Keedysville, and evening found your guns planted on the bluff banks of the Antietam.
The next day (September 17th, 1862) was the day of the great Antietam battle. Drawn up in line on the north bluff of the stream, to the left of the Boonsboro and Sharpsburg road, you watched for a time Burnside contending for a passage further down the stream, and Hooker, already across, in full view to the right. I see him now, his long blue lines of men sweeping across the fields at double quick toward the Hagerstown Pike, charging the rebel lines, as your brigade, under cover of the thirty-pound rifle cannon, dashing down the winding road, along the bluff front, and through the hell of missiles with thirty batteries massed at the center through which your comrades charged, took the bridge, forced a crossing, and through that bloody day held it against all comers.
It is easy to describe the pinging of the minie ball, the shriek of the passing shell, the “get there” sound of solid shot, the swish of grape and canister, the sharp, quick crack of the rifle cannon, the sullen boom of the siege gun, the sudden volley of musketry, the letting off of a whole park of artillery, the crashing and tearing sound through timber of shell and solid shot, the wild cheering of thousands and tens of thousands of excited voices, the rising and falling, the swelling and subsiding, the swaying and shifting, or the continuous roll, rear and rattle of musketry on the battle line. The sounds are well known to old soldiers, readily distinguishable and made intelligible to others, but I know of no language with which to make known the indescribable, unutterable unthinkable aggregate of all these sounds, which we call the noise of battle, as you heard it throughout that day. You were in the very heart of the fight, with the engaged infantry lines on your right and left, and the massed artillery of either army before and behind you.
In the evening you passed to the right, to Hooker’s part of the field, passing the night wandering among the sleeping and waking, the dead and the wounded soldiery in search of an upper ford, recrossing at daybreak and returning to Sharpsburg Road.
It fell to the lot of one of your squadron that morning to reconnoiter the enemy’s lines, and with McClure in command, you rode, with some misgiving, down the winding road again, along the bluff front, across the bridge of the day before, out on the road, across the open plain to the Rebel lines passing first to the left and then to the right without molestation, finding them still in force. This was a new experience for you, and something civilians find hard to understand or believe, but means simply that they did not then want to renew the battle.
The next morning the whole cavalry force galloped down the same road, through Sharpsburg past many wounded and many dead, to the Potomac at Shepherdstown where on the bluff opposite the Gray Coats awaited us and instantly responded to the morning salutations of our twelve pound gun.
For two weeks following we were encamped on the field at Sharpsburg. Dead men and horses, disabled guns, broken gun-carriages and caissons, wagons and ambulances, muskets, carbines, sabers, pistols, knapsacks, cartridge-boxes, Haversacks, canteens, unexploded shells and solid shot, cooking utensils, unused rations barrels, crackers, and ammunition boxes, tents, clothing valises, blankets, letters, bibles, cards, pictures, books, and whatever an army carries with it, strewn about the field.
The ground where a battle has been fought is full of interest. Yonder a woods with its split and battered trunks and hanging tops show the work of the heavier guns, there a post and rail fence riddled like a sieve, with minie balls, show that either side had used it for protection in the swaying back and forth of the battle line. Here a stone wall with all its crevices on the one side filled with flattened musket balls tell that it had long remained the line on that part of the field. Here and there gaps in the wall where broken stone cover the mangled dead, show where the cannon shot and shell had struck it in the final charge, the unused cartridges, laid up in the ledges for ready use, the half eaten roasting ear are the many indications of hasty leavings, tell that the charge was successful.
Here a group of dead artillerymen and horses mark where a battery was stationed, yonder the indication of a cavalry charge; here the dead, shot in the act of fleeing tell of retreat, there they tell of advance. Where the dead lie thickest, there the battle raged most fiercely, and so all the debris of the battle and all its dead, furnishes food for thought. The further followed in detail the more intense the interest. Let me give an instance. Here, out from the lines is an oak, forked from the ground, with stones, carefully laid up between for breastwork, the biding place of some shrewd sharp—shooter. The bullet marks on the opposite side show how persistently he held his post, the scooped out pits around made by the bursting shell, show that his work was effective, that he had picked off gunners and officers until they had turned their batteries on him; his empty canteen and haversack tell that neither hunger nor thirst had driven him to retreat, but the bullet hole in the side of the dead boy lying there, tell that some wary Yankee skirmisher had flanked him. His dress makes known his rank, his appearance indicated character and lineage, possibly a testament, a letter or something on his person, tell his name and family and far away home, where a mother, a wife or a sweetheart read his name among the killed and mayhap mourn him still.
During your stay at Sharpsburg you had two or three days of fighting at Shepherdstown. You will recollect the morning of the 20th when attempting to cross the enemy came charging from ambush with “Another Ball’s Bluff” for their battle cry. Three times you did cross—fighting one day at Martinsburg and one day out on the Baltimore & Ohio Railway. This was about the time of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. On October 3rd, 1862, while you were still at Sharpsburg, President Lincoln and General McClellan reviewed the Cavalry Corps out by the little church and hickory wood on the Hagerstown Pike, the part of the field so often won and lost on the 17th. Some one ought to tell how some of the boys mistaking Mr. Lincoln for an army correspondent shouted after him, “Bod-kir-ne-bod-sedrikin—ke-bod— ke-bod!”
Ten days later (October llth, 1862) you were off after Stuart, who was making his great raid around the Potomac army, to Hagerstown to Cavetown, to Smithburg, up the mountain road (and here at its crest let us stop the chase one moment, as we did there at Setting Sun, and look back over the valleys of the Antietam, the Potomac and Shenandoah, dotted with villages, far houses, fields, orchards and forests, rimmed around with mountains, all gorgeous with October’s golden glory, for lovelier landscape, nestled so sweetly, was never entered by rude feet of war.
On down the mountain side to Mechanicsville where bonfires burned, and that night clattering through Frederick City, down the valley between Catoctin and Sugar Loaf Mountain in swift pursuit, and on Sunday morning at sunrise overtaking and fighting Stuart at the fords of the Potomac, away down by Bamville, making, it was said, ninety five miles in less than twenty-four hours. Four-days later you crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry, and with infantry and artillery support drove the Rebs, beyond Charleston, where John Brown was hung. It had rained all day, you had fought into the night, the hardtack you had then was full of weevil, too bitter to be eaten, unless burned to a coal, you had no fire nor fuel to make one, the continued rain had made your crackers a mass of bitter dough, your horses were too tired for you to remain mounted, you threw your saddles down in the mud, and sat down on them, hungry, cold, wet through, the bitter blasts chilling the very marrow in your bones. You will recall it as one of the worst nights spent in the war.
Two days later you were back in camp below Harper’s Ferry between Knoxville and Petersville, in a valley between Catoctin and South Mountain, the regiment numbering but one hundred and fifty men for duty. Here you remained a week, and on Sunday morning, October 26th, 1862, crossed the Potomac on pontoons at Berlin, out through Loudoun county, Virginia, pushing the Confederate Cavalry down the mountain chain, reaching Philmont, November 1st, where you fought dismounted, in the woods, where they shelled you with grape and canister and forced you back to the hill, where you slept in line on your arms. The next morning, which was Sunday, just as the sun was rising, while the band of the 6th Regulars on the brow of the hill were playing the “Girl I Left Behind Me,” the division went down into that woods, hustled them out and you had lively fighting from there to Uniontown. That was the day one of our shells exploded a Rebel caisson off to the left and in front of your charging column.
The next day you drove them through Upperville to Ashby’s Gap, that was when you leaped a stone wall, charged a battery and took three guns, (I have personal reasons for remembering that day.) The next day you pursued to Piedmont and Marshall farm. The next was the desperate fight at Barbee’s Crossroads. You remember Pleasanton becoming excited as the Rebs came charging the battery you were supporting and whipping his bootleg with the little cowhide he always carried, cried to the gunner: “Give ‘em hell Sergeant, give ‘em hell”’ (Nobody said sheol down in the army). The story was told that some chaplain remonstrated with him, saying if you use such language General, you cannot depend on Divine support and Pleasanton replied: “When the 3rd Indiana is back of my guns, I don’t have to depend on any other support. I can always depend on those Hoosiers!”
The next two days you pursued the enemy to Ammissville, through the first snow storm of the season, where breaking open a room in which tents were stored—the door marked “small-pox,” some one added, ‘thanks for the tents, and your thoughtful solicitude, we’ve all had it.’ The punster of our squad remarked as we cuddled down that night; ‘the cold is not so intense in tents’. The next two days you pursued them through Gaines’ Cross road and Little Washington. The next two days fighting at Hazel River.
In the meantime a very complimentary order was read to you from General McClellan, ‘By closing the Antietam campaign McClellan was being relieved and General Burnside succeeded him in the command of the army of the Potomac. The story of this campaign would be incomplete if I failed to mention the big, black bob-tailed dog that kept our division company and chased the shells in every day’s engagement.
Off again eastward, picketing, scouting, skirmishing till a month later brought you to Burnside’s battle of Fredericksburg. The little city of Fredericksburg lies at the water’s edge on the south side of the Rappahannock at the head of tidewater, backed by semicircles of hills, abutting the stream receding below, leaving a wide stretch of bottomland. Your division, held in reserve, occupied for five days the bluff opposite the city, where Hooker had his headquarters and the balloon of Prof. Lowe made its ascension. From this vantage ground with the entire field in view we looked down upon the battle. The morning of the first day, (Dec. 1lth) the sharpshooters from the houses nearest the stream, killed the men of the pontoon and pioneer corps and prevented the laying of pontoons. So Burnside brought up his artillery to the aid of his siege-guns, and throughout the day shelled and bombarded the city. On the morning of the 12th his pontoons were down, opposite and below the city, and the blue columns of men went winding out of the deep ravines, like great sea serpents, across the pontoons, forming their line within the city and far down the bottom lands to the left. The heaviest fighting of the day was on the left, where Franklin’s Corps had crossed. The 13th was the great day of the battle. All that day Burnside hurled his valorous legions against those murderous heights. Again and again the long lines went up against the rifle-pits and gun- crowned hills, to be repulsed and hurled back bleeding and broken to the plain, only to form again and renew the hopeless assault.Once Franklin’s men turned their flank and gained the crest and swung around to the Bowling Green road, the victory seemed ours. The fight grew fiercer as the day advanced and as the sun went down through the smoke of the battles to the right and behind the field, and night shadowed the contestants, and all that semi-circle of hills belched from iron mouths its fire and shot and shell, and all the rifle-pits flung out their sheets of flame, and all the air was full of deadly missiles and unearthly sounds. No scene more murderously magnificent ever met human eye. I remember writing then in boyish hyperbole, “The Judgment Day seems past, the ‘Depart ye cursed’ pronounced, and Hell is giving welcome to the damned.” The next two days the battle was not severe, and on the night of the 15th our army recrossed the river. After the battle you picketed the fords above for a time, the friendly 1st South Carolina Cavalry of Hampton’s Legion and Georgia boys of Cobb’s Legion opposite, and at Eagle Gold Mines 1, being sergeant of the post, and the only authority there, civil, military or ecclesiastical, took compassion on a pair of lovers, and in a formal document reciting all these facts and many more, granted permission and issued license to one Watson to marry Miss Dulcebella Watts, and Shannon happening at the post and being more clerical than the others, performed the ceremony, and no doubt kissed the bride; not being present at the wedding, however, deponent further saith not.
Shortly you built winter quarters in a pretty pine grove at Belle Plains, where Tom Day was hurt by a falling tree, where a fellow in F used to halloo, “I’ll show you whose horse you are—you’re Murphy’s horse, and Murphy’s sort of a gun from old Fayette,” but which you immediately adopted and passed the balance of the winter, at Col. Talo’s hobble and yard Landing, down on the Northern end of King George county, with the 26th Georgia site, and afterwards in Stafford county and Prince William, up about Dumfries, when the deep snows fell and the men talked of Valley Forge. (The camp where Curt Ritchie died.) You recall how the guerillas would kill the pickets. I can hear poor Pucket, of F Company, groaning yet. Your raids after Stuart and Mosby, and the winter nights would find you and your horses out about Bealton or Warrenton as uncomfortably situated as one could imagine, singing in very desperation, “We’ll be gay and happy still.”
Burnside had resigned in January. Hooker was now in command. By the way, the Third always loved Hooker, even though he did ask, “Whoever saw a dead cavalryman?” And he had a kindly side for you. He used to call you his regiment of Brigadier Generals. The spring was coming, and in April the Cavalry Corps, and indeed the whole army, started on an advance, but the rains setting in, the infantry got stuck in the mud and shortly returned to their camps. Your Division swam the frozen Rappahannock and Hazel, fighting down the south side of the Hazel below the junction of those rivers, and recrossing in the early afternoon of April 15th. Through some mistake two companies, which were skirmishing in the rain a couple of miles below the ford, were not notified of the command’s recrossing; and you will recall what a lively little bit of war you had just there.
Toward evening you got word to fall hastily back. You were scattered along a mile of skirmish line, and before reaching the head of a gully on your way to the ford, a brigade or so of horsemen came pouring out of the woods, cutting some of you entirely off, while the rest formed their little line just across the water and held first one charging column and then another at bay, until a boyish form on a light bay nag came dashing and shouting down the halted columns of men, across the water, into your line, followed by others, till the whole command was upon you, and you a mile from the ford. Reading the river, you were still a quarter or half mile below the crossing, and intercepted every instant by horsemen plunging in on your flank. I often wonder how any of you safely ran that gauntlet, but most of you did, and leaping into the bank full river, swam to the other shore, with plenty of whizzing carbine bullets keeping you company. Once across, you found that Lieut. Shannon, Sergeant John Mathews, Sergeant Jim Graham, Sergeant McClain, Ham Stapp, Dave Cochran, George Lewis, Jack Bruce Glasscock, Mat Glauber, Bob Marshall, Johnny Naughten and George Pearson were missing from E, with eight from L and a good many from the New York regiment sent to hold the ford when your absence was discovered.
On the 29th of April the Cavalry Corps started on the Stoneman raid, crossing at Kelly’s Ford, skirmishing to Culpepper, Slaughter Mountain, and fighting a hard battle at Rapidan Station on the Upper Rapidan on May 1st, where Captain Gresham was wounded.
The next day the Division was ordered to Ely’s Ford, on the Rapidan. On the next (Sunday) morning, while Hooker’s artillery and musketry were making the morning eloquent, your Division rode down the Wilderness road, along the rebel line of works, going into Hooker’s lines at the angle in his fortifications, on his right front, passing through the burning pine thickets, strewn with the dead and dying, and took its part in the three days battle of Chancellorsville.
After which we encamped in the pine and cedar wood on the ridge between Potomac River and Potomac Creek. From there you went with Custer by vessel down the Potomac to the mouth of Wicomico, and raided to Heathville, Lancaster and Urbana.
Leaving that camp in early June you crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly Ford, and with the Cavalry battle of the war, known as the Second Beverly Ford Fight, the Corps losing 500, the regiment 26. Your Brigade had the advance. The 8th New York charged the ford at daybreak, capturing the pickets and passing on to the wood. Your regiment followed and was barely across and forming, and the 8th Illinois crossing, when General Davis, your Brigade Commander, was killed, with most of his staff, and the rebels were charging after the 8th New York, which was coming pell-mell into your half formed lines.
You will recall, too, what a terrific shelling you were subjected to the latter half of that day on the left, and also how nearly you came to losing the battery you were supporting down in the woods about midday. It was just then that Sam Taylor was wounded. I met him on the road in that wood. Sam was in ecstasy. “It’s a daisy,” said he; “I wouldn’t take $500 for it. It’s good for a sixty-day furlough. I’ll go home and see my girl!”
Now came Lee’s march to Pennsylvania. You hung on his flank fighting back to Bull Run. Passing through Throughfare Gap, you fought at Aldie June 17th. At Snicker’s Gap, June 18th. At Goose Creek, June 19th and 20th.
At midnight on the 20th your division was in the saddle and pushing off to the right toward the mountain, your regiment in advance. In the early morning I happened to find myself with two or three of you in the advance of the column, General Buford with us, passing through a woods, tangled with underbrush, when one of the boys, Casaway I think, reported that the stone wall, a few yards in advance was manned with rebels, with a dozen pieces of the artillery on the hill behind. Buford said, wait here a little boys, and rode back toward the head of the column, sending Custer up. In the meantime we had peered about and found the report correct and so informed Custer. He said, “forward boys!” We had gone but a few paces when some one called out, “Whose there?” Custer answered, “It’s us,” The demand came “who are you?” Custer replied, “it’s us, it’s all right,” (and in a whisper) “forward boys!” We were breaking through the last clump of undergrowth within two rods of the wall, with hundreds of carbines leveled at the slouched hat and flowing hair of the reckless cavalryman, when the cry came, “we-re the Light Harris, who are you?” “Third Indiana, all right,” said Custer and they proved to be our own men. It seemed the wedge shaped body of Rebs, which both commands had been fighting had withdrawn across Goose Creek, letting us thus together. We knew Custer well, he was then or had been on the brigade staff and I had no hesitation in asking what he meant by such infernal foolishness. He replied good naturedly, “I meant to demand their surrender.” He could well afford to take my strictures good naturedly, he then, or a few days thereafter had a Brigadier’s commission in his pocket.
The corps then crossed Goose Creek and fought the magnificent cavalry battle of Upperville. The division under Buford had the right, Gregg’s division the left, Kilpatrick the center. Buford had flanked them out of their position on Goose Creek early in the morning. They had fallen back to the high table lands about Upperville and formed their new line. As you came in with Buford from the right, taking your places on the line, Gregg’s division was charging and most gallantly met, Kilpatrick followed and two divisions were fighting hand to hand in the open field: when your division in column – the 8th Illinois in advance – dashed down on their left. You recall how they opened their line and flung out their grape and canister, how they charged the 12th Illinois in flank and the 3rd Indiana went into the flank of their charging column, charging, and counter-charging, until the combatants mingled and the whole field became a hand to hand fight, every man for himself and each fighting as fiercely as a tawny tigress when her youngest cub is captured by the hunters. So full was the day of wild excitement that it seemed but a brief hour from the rising to the setting sun. The Confederates fled into Ashby’s Gap and our victorious men encamped on the field.
Some of you saw that evening a young boy of the 12th Illinois, with his still younger brother dead in his arms, and recall the anguish of his pitiful wail: “Oh God! Why wasn’t it me? Oh, how can I tell mother!” And the rough soldiers in that hour of victory shed pitying ears.
You were fighting the next day on the Snickersville gap road, and the next you were off across the Potomac at Edward’s Ferry through Frederick City, Middletown and Boonsboro, Maryland; still hanging upon Lee’s flank and your division (Buford’s) fighting there June 30th. You recall the glad welcome we received, our night’s encampment on the little stream – Wiloughby Run – between the village and the mountains; the visit of the Gettysburg girls at our camp in the evening the attack upon our pickets in the early morning; the bugle call “to horse,” and as the sun was rising you dashed out toward the mountain, to the support of the pickets already engaged.
How from hill top to hill top they fought the division back to the outskirts of the town, when at eleven o’clock Reynold’s and his infantry came and Reynolds was killed in your immediate front, and how when relieved by the infantry on that part of the line, you supported batteries on the left till evening came and the infantry fell back through Gettysburg and the division was thrown in dismounted behind the stone wall on the Seminary Ridge, while across the plain came the three lines of Confederate infantry, with flying flags and measured steps, seemingly heedless of the shower of balls from your breech-loading carbines and navy revolvers, filling their gaps and moving forward like living walls, their steady pace neither quickened nor retarded until they stood on the other side of your barricade, you had never seen anything grander, you could not withhold admiration for such magnificent courage, so you said, “those damned Rebels are glorious Americans.” Fortunately night came to the rescue ‘ere they reached the heights, enabling our infantry army which was rapidly arriving to form their new line on Cemetery Hill, and along the rocky ledges putting out from Little Round top, where the next day and the next Meade’s army held out against the magnificent valor of Lee and Longstreet’s veterans and won the decisive battle of the war.
We lost Major Lemon, Sergeant Ibill Park, Corporal Story and fifty-eight others of our little regiment there.
Off again in pursuit to Williamsport, where some days later you fought their infantry, captured a wagon-train with numerous prisoners, horses and mules, and for the next eight days, between Boonsboro and the Potomac, to the right of the old Antietam ground you fought their cavalry and infantry with varying success until you again had them across the Potomac. You will remember several of those days as especially severe. Notably the 8th, when we were sent to the woods on the left to prevent the sharpshooters from picking off battery men, where your speaker was blown up by a bursting shell, the 9th when the whole corps was engaged and Buford took a carbine and fought dismounted on the skirmish line, the 10th, when we drove them beyond the Antietam on the left and to Funkstown in the right, and 14th when you went in hot pursuit of Lee’s rear guard capturing so many prisoners.
Later you crossed the Antietam battle ground where nice white boards marked the graves of the boys who fell there the year before, and the middle of July found us encamped in an oak woods, a little way up Pleasant Valley, near Berlin, below Harper’s Ferry, where we were joined by “Bill Mallory’s Corps,” augmenting our numbers greatly.
Two days later you crossed the Potomac on pontoons and for five days driving a cavalry force before you down the mountain chain through Loudoun and Fauquier counties, reaching Chester Gap, through which Lee’s army was passing on its way toward Richmond.
You sat down here on the side of the mountain and for two days annoyed the passing column with your little twelve pounders and carbine balls, till they threw out a column of infantry higher up the pass and came near gathering you all in, the minie balls at short range striking the trees on that hillside – judging from the sound – were as large as brick-bats.
That night we encamped at the foot of Ovenlid Mountain, where Henry Reed and Cox, captured up at Rectortown, came to us with paroles in their pockets. It rained in the night, and in the morning the whole country was enveloped in fog and some of the boys whose love for the beautiful was stronger than their love of ease, clambered to the mountain top and saw the sun come up out of a sea of molten silver, which after a time, partially breaking away revealed green scopes of forest and farming land, until only the valleys were hid, down which the silvery billows rolled in majestic and marvelous beauty.
We were here a day or two, and a little party of us went foraging up into the Gobler Mountains and had a war of our own, capturing a Rebel Major and seventeen horses, besides having a good deal of fun.
Ten days later, August 1st, your division was at Rappahannock Station and fought its way to Culpepper, losing 275 men. Followed by another equally bad fight three days later at Brandy Station.
You had a respite then until the 13th of September, when there was a general advance – Gregg the right, Kilpatrick the left, Buford the center, when you fought from Rappahannock Station to three miles beyond Culpepper, capturing three pieces of artillery and many prisoners, the regiment losing seven men.
The next day you advanced fighting, driving the enemy beyond the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, the Regiment losing six men. For the next six days you were fighting at Raccoon Ford.
Going into camp the next day at Stevensburg, the infantry army having advanced in the meantime and occupying the country between the Rapidan and Rappahannock.
A little later your division, Kilpatrick’s and possibly Gregg’s went out to Madison Court House, where the Third charging down the Gordonville pike met a charging column at the brow of the hill in the wood and began the bloody battle of “Jack Shop,” which resulted in such great loss to the enemy, the command driving them in great confusion across the Rapidan in the late afternoon. You will remember, while there you were dismounted, and lying flat behind the little natural levee of the stream, not daring to show hand or head, when Chapman mounted, rode down across the bottom land to the river bank, and with all the Rebs taking a shot at him, looked up and down the stream to his heart’s content; then pulling on his right rein and giving his gray nag a few digs in the side with his left heel, as was his custom, went sauntering back across the lowlands, (Bob Marshall wounded.)
Returning to camp at Stevensburg the division commander ordered that eleven gallons of whisky be issued to you for gallant conduct. You want to make a minute of that date, so you can tell your friends just how long it has been since you took a drink.
On October 10th the division crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford in the face of the foe, fought up the south side of the river through the day and night, recrossing at Morton’s Ford the next morning and protecting the retreat of our infantry from the Rapidan to the Rappahannock. You will recall that as the hardest day of the war. They drove us from position to position; we whipped their cavalry, their infantry whipped us, till at Brandy station, we must hold them till night or be driven into the Rappahannock. The sun was two hours from the horizon, they were emptying our saddles at a fearful rate – how we longed for night. Whether some Joshua of the Confederate army had commanded, “Sun stand thou still upon Gideon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon,” I know not, but you will bear me witness that, as in the days of the Amorites, “the sun stood still in the midst of the heaven and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”
The next morning you recrossed the Rappahannock and drove the cavalry back to Culpepper (their infantry having passed on to the flank), the killed of the day before lying naked in the fields and road.
For the next six days you protected the right and rear of our army in its retreat to Bull Run.
On October 26th and 27th you had a two days’ fight at Bealton Station. It is not my purpose to make personal mention of individual acts of courage, where all were courageous, but I cannot refer to these battles without recalling the name of your gallant Sergeant Major, Alanson Stephens, now deceased, who here as everywhere was fearless to a fault.
On the 7th of November the army began a general advance, your division crossing the Rappahannock at Sulphur springs, crossing the Hazel River, and on the 8th attacking a corps of intrenched infantry at Major’s House or Muddy Run on the Culpepper road, where we lost so many in killed or wounded, particularly of the 8th Illinois, which led the charge. It was here that a Dutchman in C, who in every fight got hit in the stomach with a spent ball, got hit again, that one of the men was shot through the thigh, that the regimental barber was killed by a shell, and many others of the regiment killed and wounded.
The whole army advanced to the Rapidan, crossed the river, and for five days in the latter part of November fought Lee at Mine run, during which time you were on Meade’s left on the Ely’s Ford road, not actively engaged. Tom Day and Sam Bain, of E Co., were captured while we were there.
During December our army was clustered about Culpepper, between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, and you were in camp between Culpepper and Slaughter Mountain battlefield.
I should love to speak of our stay there, of our lyceum hall, of the raid back to Warrenton after Stuart during the cold January weather of ’64; the raids to Madison Court House and the Upper Fords during February; of the Kilpatrick raid around Richmond in late February and early March; of Gen. Buford’s death; of McClure’s leaving us to take the Colonelcy of the 9th; of Grant’s arrival at Culpepper, and of the preparation for the spring campaign.
Major Patton now commanded the Corps – afterwards Wilson.
On may 3rd an order to advance was read to us, and that night the regiment marched. During the next three weeks I cannot speak for the Regiment, my orders separating me from you.
Grant’s army crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford, and I with it on May 4th, and for the next twenty days my tent was pitched in the shadow of Grant’s headquarters, with exceptional opportunities for seeing the fierce fighting of the Wilderness Battles, its difficult terrain, its pits and forts and barricades, its captured and disabled guns, its gaunt and half clad prisoners, its gathered wounded and unburied dead. Ah! Bloody Wilderness and bloodier Spottsylvania! Never were living men so hurled to pitiless death as were the veterans of those veteran armies by the giants Grant and Lee!
During those twenty days I had occasion twice to ride over the ground fought over before the dead were buried. About the 12th day over I visited the 5th Corps Hospital, which was then the hospital for the entire army, and saw the army of wounded gathered there, and the busy surgeons at work at the amputating tables.
On one of these days I was riding with a party of officers, with nothing to indicate my rank save that I had on a new suit, was well mounted on old “Charley,” and felt sufficiently fine to pass for a Brigadier General at least, when we met a little ten or twelve year old darkey boy at one of the infantry camps, dressed in the cast-off clothes of an infantry Sergeant, with the “sheverins” still in the sleeves. Reigning up, I accosted the little fellow with “Good morning, Sergeant.” He knew I was twitting him. Taking the position of a soldier, and saluting me with all the politeness and precision of an old guard, he said, with proper emphasis and painful irony, “Good morning, Corporal!” – placing me one grade in rank below him, and the roar of laughter which followed took all of the pomposity out of me for that day.
I joined you again on May 25th between the Mattaponi and North Anna Rivers. You in the meantime had been fighting on Grant’s left, the Division losing 200 men on the 5th, the Regiment 13 here bore Sandy Fauglat of E Company. Lindley, Lee, Justice and Velmore Prentise were missing. You had a hard fight again on the 8th at Spottsylvania after which you went on the Sheridan raid around Richmond.
For the next twenty-two days after joining you you were with Grant journeying to the James.
On May 27th you were fighting at Jericho Mills on the North Anna.
On May 30th and 31st and June 1st you were fighting with General Rosser’s command over their own beautiful homesteads about Hanover Court House.
On June 2nd you crossed the Pamunkey.
On June 3rd, while Grant was fighting at Cold Harbor, you were having a brisk fight on foot at Hawe’s Shop and Salem Church, where Colonel Preston, of the 1st Vermont was killed and Maj. Benjamin, of the 8th New York, was wounded and in the afternoon you moved to the left and engaged the infantry fighting into the night.
On June 6th you moved to Bottom’s Bridge, passing from the extreme right to the extreme left of the army.
On the 13th you crossed the Chickahominy on pontoons at Long Bridge, fighting toward White Oak Swamp, the 5th Corps supporting you. In the afternoon you had a hard fight at Riddle’s Shop, with infantry, the Regiment losing 16 in killed and wounded.
That night you went to the James.
On the 15th and 16th you were skirmishing with cavalry at Banks’ Store.
And on June 17th you crossed the James on pontoons at Fort Powhatan, passing out through Prince George Court House to the left of the line at Petersburg.
On June 22nd your Brigade with two others and Kautz’s Division with Wilson in command, started on the Wilson raid, cutting your way through the rebel right at Reams’s Station and fighting your way through Dinwiddie county to South Side Railway.
On the 23rd to Ford’s Station, Burkville Junction, Black & White’s to near Nottaway Court House, where your Brigade being cut off from the main command, had an afternoon and all night’s battle with a loss of 90.
24th through Hungrytown, joining the company at Meherrin Station on the Danville R.R., and southwestward to Keesville.
25th, to Roanoke Creek, fighting, and at night to Stanton River.
26th, to Long Bridge, where you were shelled, southeastward to Christianville, south of Boydkin, along the North Carolina line to Anen’s Creek.
27th to Meherrin river in the night.
28th, through Smoky Ordinary, across the Nottaway at Double Bridge to Stony Creek station on the Weldon R.R. in the rear of the rebel lines, where all that afternoon and night you vainly tried to cut your way through – to the United States, as the boys said – and the morning found your brigade abandoned, cut off, surrounded, left to appease the wrath of the Confederacy, for its loss in destroyed railroads, cars, engines, public buildings, government stores, thousands of Negroes, horses and mules; but some of you came out, by accident took the road which the main command had taken, galloped twelve miles to Ream’s Station to find the command even worse off than ourselves, disorganized, out of ammunition, unable to force a passage through, with six thousand Negroes in a panic, the enemy closing in about us.
Back at best speed to Double Bridge on the Nottaway that afternoon, the Rebs in our rear. All night crossing the Weldon railroad at Jarrett’s Station; all the next day crossing the lower Nottaway at Peters’ Bridge till midnight, reaching the Black Water at Two Bridges to find the bridges burned; improvising a bridge of rails, over by daybreak, across the Jerusalem plank road, reaching Cabin Point, within our lines, at 1 p.m. July 1st.
Some on foot, some mounted on mules and some in vehicles drawn by oxen, they were of both sexes and of every age. They traveled with us for many days alike indifferent to the heat and dust which was killing us. When our march became a race, the little children, the old men and women were necessarily left behind, while those who could pressed on. In this way families became separated. Let me give an instance: On the 25th, away back on the Roanoke, our regiment had the rear. We had handled the pursuing rebels rather roughly, and they were keeping a respectful distance behind. I had thrown myself down on the grass in the shade of a wood at noon-time, at a square angle in the road, watching for the rebel advance to enter the wood, when a cart drawn by two little oxen, in which sat a quadroon women with a little babe and two older children, while two pretty girls of ten and twelve, and a good-looking colored man walking at its side, came in at a wood road. I found him a mechanic and a rather sensible fellow, his wife a house servant and all clean and neatly dressed. I knew they could not reach our lines, but my argument and pleading counsel were nothing to his eager hope for freedom.
On July 1st I saw the man again. His story was pitiful. He had to abandon his cart that evening. One after one his little children gave out and were left on the road behind, till only his wife and babe were left him. A Negro man had given him a donkey on which the mother rode with the young child, he trudging at her side, as Joseph 1800 years before trudged at the side of Mary in his flight to Egypt. Later, some mounted soldier took his beast. In the desperate flight of the night of the 28th, he lost his wife but still pushed on, carrying the child, hoping to find the mother farther on when day would come. He did not find her. The morning brought the rout and panic, and down the dusty road with the hurrying mob, through all the next day he bore his starving child, dying for lack of nourishment he could not give. When evening came he left it in the bushes by the wayside, for he said, “I could not see my little baby die!” this is a single instance. It was said mothers threw their babies away. Certainly, they could not have them after this flight.
After the Wilson raid you encamped on the James, at Light House Point, remaining before Petersburg until the end of your service. How proud you were then to see Chapman wearing his Brigadier’s star. When aboard of the Rebecca Barton you steamed down the James, past Fortress Monroe, out on the Chesapeake, up the Potomac, to Washington, to Indianapolis, and home!
And now, with a thousand things left unsaid – things which I most desired to say, let me in closing express my happiness and gratitude in greeting again the survivors of my old regiment and my other good friends here.
And in this glad reunion, recalling our own lead and the other 300,000 Union soldiers who died that the Union might live and that we all might dwell in safety and in honor, let us thank God for a restored Union. And knowing what a cruel thing war is, that hatred and passion are with its van guard, that pain and peril keep step with its marching columns, that disease and dread encamp with it, that cruelty and bloodshed, danger and death are among its contests, that murder and rapine, arson and savagery are found along its bloody trail, desolation and sorrow and bitterness abide; let us strive for perfect and permanent Union, and “labor for the things which make for peace.”
No one who heard that address will forget the flights of eloquence, the wonderful clearness, the pathos, the anecdotes that characterized it from beginning to end. Although over an hour in length, it seemed but a few brief minutes from the time the speaker mustered the boys into service, carried them through the exciting scenes of war, recalling incidents almost forgotten, until he brought them home in 65. So vividly did he picture the camp, the battle, the march, that his comrades almost involuntarily glance at their boots for the spurs they heard jingling. Any boy who heard the campaign of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry, depicted so eloquently by Mr. Gilpin, knows more of the actual circumstances that accompanied them while they were in service, than he could learn from all the books that historians have ever written of the rebellion. The round after round of applause that followed the speaker’s closing remarks were sufficient evidence that his address had been heard and appreciated.
After “Marching through Georgia” by the quartette, Comrade Hez. Daily recited “Sherman’s Ride.”
Remarks were made by Comrades Spahr, Little, Cotton, Sam J. Rogers, L.D. Daily and J.W. Linck, and a number of amusing anecdotes were told.
The following letters of regret were received and read:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 1884
In reply to your cordial invitation to attend the Reunion of the Third Indiana Cavalry to be held at Madison, Ind., October 15th, 1885, I am sorry to have to say that my duties and engagements are such that it will be impossible for me to be present on the occasion you have named.
Thanking you for your kind remembrance, and wishing you a pleasant reunion, I remain,
P.H. Sheridan, Lieut. General
G.S. Taylor, Sec. &c.
Indianapolis, Oct. 9, 1885
To Adjt. Gam S. Taylor,
Dear Sir. – Coming to you with thanks I am moved to go back three years and more, when in the days of our agony and grief you sent a kind letter of sympathy and words of affection and appreciation of our husband and father, who in life was our dearest earthly joy, and in death is our most blessed memory.
Perhaps I owe you some apology for not before sending you acknowledgement of your letter. If so, it is simply that for two years after that devoted, noble life went out of our home, I had no heart to use my pen, even to communicate with my dearest friends, and when I did take up that, and other social duties, so many obligations rested upon me that I felt it impossible to discharge all of them. I live a very secluded life with my three boys, whom, for their father’s sake, you may be glad to know promise to be worthy of him. I wish to thank you for the kind invitation extended to George, through Mr. Hendricks, to attend the coming reunion of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry. I should be very glad to have him avail himself of this opportunity of seeing his father’s comrades and friends, but he is engrossed in study at the Polytechnic College at Terre Haute, and I think it hardly possible that he could get away even for a day or two. I am happy to send you, what we consider a good likeness of your Colonel, and with it – from his wife and boys – a warm greeting to what remains of the regiment, which was the pride of his heart in his soldiering days. May the reunion, with its pleasant memories, be all that you could wish. If the spirits in heaven can send blessings to earth I am sure you will get one as you are gathered together. Again I thank you,
Mrs. Geo. H. Chapman
Before retiring Capt. A.C. Vanosdol expressed his hearty appreciation of Comrade Gilpin’s address, and termed it one of the most eloquent and masterly addresses he had ever heard, and as an evidence that the boys of the 3rd agreed with him proposed three cheers which made the old house ring. The next reunion will be held at Connersville.
ROSTER OF THE REGIMENT
John S. Casaway, Co.E,Spring Hill,Kas.
Andrew McGregor, Rockford, IL
Chas. Stokes, B, Martinsville, Ind.
H. D. Banta, A, Craig Postoffice, Switzerland County
J. W. Quinn A
J.B. Williams C
Gam. S. Taylor
W.S. McClure E.
A.D. Vanosdol A&I Madison
Wm. N. Seymour, A, Sugar Branch Postoffice
William Middleton, E, Madison
Daniel Lock, L, Bennington, Ind.
John Hoagland, E, Madison
Geo. W. Lee, C, Madison
Robert B. Short, A, Madison
Thos. G. Day, E, Correct, Ripley Co.
Wm. H. Cox
Robert B. Gray
J.W. Rea, E, Madison
George Brinkworth, E, Louisville, Ky.
Geo. W. Spahr, F. Indianapolis
Robert Marshall, E, Madison
David Dickey, E, Columbus, Ind.
Thomas M. Tate, F, Connersville, Ind.
Chas, N. Dawson, F, Quakertown, Ind.
Louis C. Wilson, F., Irvington, Ind.
William P. Reed, E., Vincennes Ind.
Horace Weaver, G., London, Ind.
R.A. Sweetzer, G., Bluff Creek, Johnson Co.
Jonathan Prather, Rossville, Ill.
W. Cotton, F, Connersville, Ind.
B. Rhodes, E, Orange, Fayette Co.
Daniel McMillin, M, Canaan, Ind.
Daniel M. Brown, Wide Awake
Francis N. Brown, M, Hick’s P.O. Ind.
D. Rushton, E, Madison, Ind.
J.K. Reed, A, Brooksburg
John W. Senior, D, Madison
Wm. Hutchinson, E, North Madison
R.M. Lawson, A, Madison
Chas. D. McKay, A, Brooksburg
D.G. McClure, E, Louisville, Ky
Wm. F. Griffith, F, Lawrenceburg
Matt Worstell, C, Moorefield
Cyrus Demaree, B, Lawrenceburg
T.H. Merritt, G, Louisville, Ky.
E. Mathews, A, Milton Township
A.C. Monroe, E, Republican Township
Hugh Daily, F, Indianapolis
O.M. Powers, L, Madison
L.D. Daily, A, Brooksburg
John Woolley, E, Hanover
S.J. Rogers E, Danville, Ill.
John Millican, E, Madison
John Moore, A, Saluda
Isaac Wiggin, F, Moorefield
Will W. Long, C. New Albany
John McMurray, I, Hanover
John P. Matthews, Hanover
John W. Nichols, E, Madison
Sam J. Gilpin, E, Winterset, Ia.
A.C. Weaver, A, Neils Creek
Geo. W. Merrill, G. Louisville
John McNeal, E, Hanover
Isaiah Elston, C, Manville
T.M. Hanna, B, Hanover
Jas, E. English, A, New Washington
William H. H. Ward, B, Saluda
Chas. Qualman, K, Peoria, Ill.
Wm. L. Lee, E., Saluda
David C. Kern, A, Canaan
B.F. Demaree, A, Madison
Jas. C. Long, A, Vevay
Ben. Cole, A, Mt. Sterling, Ind.
W.R. Johnson, A, Vevay
Ennis Ellis, A Dupont, Ind.
Nathan L. Matthews, L, Pleasant
A.L. Shannon, E., Hanover
John E. Reed, L, Marble Corner
Jas. N. Rochal, L, Ripley Co.
Eli Brooks, A, Noblesville
J.H. Lansberry, E. Butlerville
Perrit Newkirk, L, Dupont, Ind.
Chas. Ryker, G. Franklin
Jos. Wagner, G, Indianapolis
Henry K. Dunkil, G, Edinburg
John E. Duepree, Edinburg
Nicholas Wainscott, L, Dupont
General W. McCain, Indianapolis
Joel Williams, G, Whiteland
From the Daily Courier of Oct. 22.
The proceedings at the reunion of the Third Indiana Cavalry have been republished in supplement form from this office. The reunion is pronounced by the veterans to have been the most successful and enjoyable they ever held, while our citizens are unanimous in according the gallant survivors of the Third the honor of averaging up better in manhood and personal appearance than any equal number of old soldiers they have ever seen. The event of the reunion was the address of Hon. Samuel J. Gilpin, of Iowa. In pathos, humor and real eloquence Mr. Gilpin is superb. His descriptions of battle scenes and camp incidents were like photographs, true to nature, but possessed the added warmth and life of reality. The Third Cavalry were indeed fortunate in having amongst them a stripling who was bright and energetic enough to record each day’s doings by the campfire, immediately after their occurrence. Mr. Gilpin’s contribution to the inside history of the war will prove very valuable to posterity, for it is from such journals the most important facts are often derived. It is interesting in this connection to remember that Motley’s History of the Conquest of Mexico is largely drawn from the journal of a private soldier in the army of Cortez.
Our local history-genealogy specialist is
Monday and Wednesday 1-5; Thursday 4-9 and Saturday 9-5. You can ask a question online or by phone at 812-265-2744.
The library wishes to thank the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County for making this website possible!
The History Rescue Project :: © 2008-2009 by the Jefferson County Public Library. 420 W. Main St., Madison, IN 47250. (812) 265-2744.
This site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, or the Safari Browsers