By Gen. J.H. Baker
[From Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars Vol. I, pp 455-471]
For the purpose of raising the quota of troops to be furnished by the State of Minnesota, under the calls of the president of the United States, made July 2d, for 500,000,, and Aug. 4, 1862, for 300,000, six additional regiments of infantry were called for, from the Sixth to the Eleventh inclusive, five regiments being already in the field. By order of the adjutant general of the state (General Order, No. 25, Aug. 12, 1862), Fort Snelling was designated as the general rendezvous of the new regiments. In the midst of the organization of companies for these new regiments the Sioux Indian War unexpectedly broke out (August 18th) on the western frontier of the state, and threw regular organization into confusion. Some companies, and even squads of men, unassigned and not yet mustered, were ordered to the frontier, thus greatly retarding regimental organization, as was the case with Company I of the Tenth. However, the adjutant general, Oct. 18, 1862, issued an order (General Order, No. 65) assigning and transferring ten several volunteer companies “to compose and constitute the Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteers, and the said captains will take their rank in the order in which they are named, and the said companies be designated as therein indicated, to-wit: Company A, Captain Rufus C. Ambler; Company B, Captain Alonzo J. Edgerton; Company C, Captain Chas. W. Hackett; Company D, Captain W.W. Phelps; Company E, Captain James A. Robson; Company F, Captain George F. White; Company G, Captain Edwin C. Sanders; Company H, Captain M.H. Sullivan; Company I, First Lieut. Jams H. Gorman; Company K, Captain M.J. O’Connor.” Subsequently, Dec. 1, 1862, this order was modified, substituting John W. Heath as captain of Company E, vice James A. Robson, deeasaed, he having been killed near Belle Plaine by the accidental discharge of a pistol which Lieut. McCarty of Company H was in the act of handing to Captain Robson at the latter’s request. The same order (General Order, No. 73) also announced the field and staff officers of the regiment as follows: James H. Baker, colonel, of Blue Earth county; S.P. Jennison, lieutenant colonel, of Goodhue county; Michael Cook, major, of Rice county; J.C. Braden, adjutant, of Houston county George W. Green¸ quartermaster¸ of Steele county; S.B. Sheardown, surgeon, of Winona county; W.W. Clark, first assistant, of Blue Earth county; Alfred M. Burham, second assistant, of Freeborn county. The recruits, for the greater part, were enlisted from the counties of Freeborn, Dodge, Dakota, Waseca, Steele, Sibley, Le Sueur, Olmsted, Wabasha, Goodhue, Ramsey and Hennepin, and were chiefly drawn from those engaged in agricultural pursuits. The Rev. Ezra R. Lathrop, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was appointed chaplain by the governor March 18, 1863. The rule of promotion was early established, being strictly that of seniority, which was promotions among officers by date of muster into service, and among sergeants by date of warrant.
The first order received for military service was one directed to Col. Baker to prepare his regiment to go to New York, and thence, by steamer, to join Gen. Banks at Turk’s Island, near the mouth of the Mississippi, to take part in some contemplated expedition along the Gulf. The Sioux outbreak was followed by the immediate countermanding of this order, and the regiment was directed to report to Gen. H.H. Sibley, commanding against the hostile Sioux. Among the first portion of the Tenth Regiment to engage in the Indian War was a squad of Company I, about eighteen men, under Lieut. M.R. Merrill of Henderson, which voluntarily proceeded to New Ulm to join the company of Capt. Cox August 26th, and reported to Col. Chas. E. Flandrau, commanding in the defense of that place, where they rendered good service. Another squad of the same company, about forty-five men, under Lieut. James H. Gorman, bore a gallant part in the defense of Fort Ridgley and in the battle of Wood Lake. These men, at the time of the Indian outbreak, were on their way to Fort Snelling to enlist in the service of the United States, but patriotically returned with Agent Galbraith to the defense of the imperiled frontier. They served as a body guard to Gen. Sibley in the campaign of 1862, and were highly complimented by that officer for gallant conduct. They lost one killed and several wounded in the stirring events of the fall of 1862.
A part of Company G of LeSueur, known as “The LeSueur Tigers,” was also at the defense of New Ulm, August 24th and 25th, under Capt. Sanders. Capt. Sanders himself was wounded in that battle, and four of his men were killed. Company C, Capt. Hackett, was also in the Indian campaign of 1862, prior to regimental organization. By order of Gen. Pope, Company C was mounted, armed with carbines¸ and ordered to join Gen. Sibley in the field. The company proceeded to the Yellow Medicine Agency, and was employed in guarding the Indian prisoners afterward court martialed. Subsequently Capt. Hackett had charge of all the captured Indians and their families, taking them to the lower agency. Here Company C was joined by Company F, Capt. White, which had also been mounted, and the two companies were engaged in scouting and burying the dead. After performing many important duties connected with the captured Indians, Capt. Hackett was ordered to Fort Ridgely, and Capt. White to the Winnebago Agency, for the winter.
Lieut. Michael Hoy, with a detachment of Company K, also bore a part in the events of 1862. So, also, did Company B, doing duty at the Winnebago Reservation, over-awing that tribe The Indian campaign for that fall was closed before the complete organization of the regiment. When its organization, however, was completed, in the winter of 1862-63, it was ordered to do guard duty along the frontier. Headquarters for the field and staff were established at Le Sueur, with Company G and part of Company I in garrison. The location of the other companies was as follows: Company A, Captain Ambler, Garden City; Company B, Captain Edgerton, Winnebago Agency; Company C, Captain Hackett, Fort Ridgely; Company D, Captain Phelps, Henderson; Company E, Captain Heath, Henderson; Company F, Captain White, Winnebago Agency; Company H, Captain Sullivan, Swan Lake and Vernon Centre; Company K, Captain O’Connor, Norwegian Lake. Company I was still not mustered, by reason of the confusion incident to the Indian campaign during the fall. A part, if not all, of the Renville Rangers held themselves to be state militia, and only enlisted for three months. His difficulty pursued that company till after the arrival of the regiment in St. Louis, when the company organization was completed by the promotion of Private M.J. Severance to be captain, April 4, 1864.
The winter of 1862-63 was spent in doing guard duty along the frontier and building stockades – notably those erected by Company H at Vernon Centre and Company I at New Auburn. A school of instruction was formed at Le Sueur by detail of one commissioned officer and two enlisted men from each company. The detail was changed every thirty days, the first returning to their companies to teach the school of the soldier, while the second was taught and drilled in the school of the company, a third following them for drill in the school of the battalion. This instruction was in charge of Lieut. Col. Jennison, whose study and experience in the Second Minnesota had qualified him for that service. Thus officers and men were gradually and uniformly learning the duties of a soldier’s life. The winter passed without a single event to stir the dullness of post life till February, when Col. Baker received orders from Gen. Sibley to take a portion of the regiment and proceed to Mankato to participate in the great Indian execution which was ordered for the 26th of February 1863.* The several companies were drawn in and marched by way of Kasota on the 24th, and on the 25th of the month reported to Col. Miller, commanding at Makato, and in charge of the execution. The force of the Tenth numbered four hundred and forty-two men, being a greater number than was present from any other command. In the arrangement for the execution, Col. Baker, in command of the Tenth, took position in two lines on the north and east sides of the scaffold, a part of the Seventh completing the square. Lieut. Col. Jennison, in command of one company of the Seventh and one of the Tenth, was assigned position in the yard of the prison pending the execution. Capt. White of Company F, having his company temporarily mounted, acted as patrol guard. Surgeons Sheardown and Clark of the Tenth examined the bodies to see that life was extinct. Companies A, B, F, G, H and K took part in this extraordinary event, while all the field and staff of the regiment were present.
The campaign against the Sioux Indians for the summer of 1863 was under the general direction of Maj. Gen. John Pope, with headquarters at Milwaukee, while the immediate command of the expeditionary forces in the field was intrusted to Gen. H.H. Sibley, in whose command the Tenth Regiment yet remained. In June, 1863, orders were received to join the expeditionary forces at the general rendezvous at Camp Pope, at the mouth of the Red Wood River, about twenty-five miles west of Fort Ridgley. The regiment was presently to participate in a regular campaign. Early in June the several companies were withdrawn from their posts and marched to Camp Pope, where the main body of the regiment arrived June 9th, with the exception of Company I, which had been dispatched up the Missouri River with the Winnebago Indians. The company then returned and was stationed at Mananah, Meeker county, and did scout duty on the frontier. The camp had already been established, April 19th, by a detachment of the Sixth Minnesota, which had brought larger supplies up the Minnesota River by the steamer Favorite. The expedition left Camp Pope for the field June 16th. July 4th we arrived at the first crossing of the Sheyenne River, near where Valley City now is, and there awaited the arrival of Lieut. Col. Averill, who, with a cavalry detachment, brought a train of supplies from Fort Abercrombie. Between the crossings of the Sheyenne we saw the first herd of buffalo. The march was exceedingly monotonous, the heat intense, and many sun-strokes occurred in the regiment; grass was scarce and the water in most of the lake so alkaline as not to be used for drink, or, if so used, was very generally followed with dysenteric results more or less aggravated. We dug many wells by the lakes and sloughs. Every camp was fortified by sod thrown up with shovels. We breakfasted at 3 a.m., and were on the march by sunrise. No event broke the dull uniformity of the days until July 24th, at about 4 p.m., when we struck a large body of Indians at what was called Big Mound, near where Crystal Springs, N.D., now stands. The three infantry regiments alternating in the order of march, brought the Tenth to the front every third day. At Big Mound the Tenth was in the rear. By special detail, Company B, Capt. Edgerton, and later, Companies A, F, C and K, with Lieut. Col. Jennison, participated in that engagement, the remainder of the regiment fortifying and holding the camp upon the lake, which had been placed in command of Col. Baker. The misdelivery on an important order prevented the pursuit by the whole column, the advance all returning to camp so worn and exhausted as to prevent a movement at once, and occasioning the loss of two days. In the action on Sunday, the 26th, at Dead Buffalo Lake, the Tenth Regiment, by its position, did not participate. On Tuesday, July 28th, however, the Tenth being in advance, occurred by far the most important engagement of the expedition. The Indians returned, with every man fit for battle, to resist our further advance. Their purpose was, in one decisive engagement, to settle the contest. The Tenth Regiment being in the front, and by being out and in line some half an hour earlier than ordered, promptly met and repelled the united attack of the largest body of Indians which ever confronted an American army. Nathaniel West, in his “Life and Times of H.H. Sibley,” gives a full account of this memorable action. He says (page 312): “The brunt of the conflict was borne by the Tenth Regiment, Col. Baker in front, where the Indian assault was most gallantly met and broken.” The number of Indians was estimated at that time, by Joseph R. Brown, chief of scouts, at from 4,000 to 5,000 warriors. The Indians advanced in the dawn of the early morning, in semicircular line, and formed a warlike picture as they confronted the line of battle promptly formed by the Tenth. When, at last, we advanced in battle line, they precipitately broke and fled. It was upon that advance (on the 28th) that the young Teton so miraculously evaded a shower of bullets, and was captured and brought into camp without a mark upon his person. Two days more brought the expedition to the Missouri River. In an expedition into the wilderness and to the Missouri River, under Col. Crooks, to dislodge the Indians and destroy their property, Companies B, F and K of the Tenth, under Lieut. Col. Jennison, participated. It is thought best, as a matter of record, to insert here the official report of Col. Baker, as to the part borne by the Tenth in this celebrated Indian campaign:
REPORT OF COLONEL JAMES H. BAKER
“HEADQUARTERS TENTH REGIMENT, MINNESOTA INFANTRY,
“Camp Williston, Aug. 5, 1863.
“Captain R. C. OLIN,
“Assistant Adjutant General;
“I have the honor herewith to submit a report of such part as was borne by my regiment, or any portion of it, in the several actions from July 24th, at Big Mound, to the Missouri River.
“About half-past three o’clock on Friday, the 24th of July¸ while on the march doing escort duty in the centre, I received information from the general commanding that a large force of Indians was immediately in our front, accompanied by an order, communicated by Lieut. Beever, to prepare my regiment for action, which order was immediately executed. Meantime the train was being corralled on the side of the lake, after which I received orders to form my regiment on the color line indicated for it, immediately in front of the corral and fronting outward from the lake, and to throw up intrenchments along this line, which was speedily done. The action of this day began on my right, more immediately in front of the Seventh (which regiment, being in advance during the day’s march, was entitled to the forward position), by the artillery under Captain Jones, when, at 4:30 p.m., I received an order through Captain Olin to deploy a company to support this battery, though fatigued already with an ordinary day’s march, continued with the battery (marching for many miles on the double-quick) during the entire pursuit of the enemy for fifteen miles, and throughout the night till sunrise next morning, when they returned from pursuit to the camp, having made during the day and night the almost unparalleled march of quite fifty miles.
“At about five o’clock I received an order through Captain Pope to send Lieut. Col. Jennison with four companies, to be deployed and to follow in the direction of the retreating enemy, as a support for the cavalry and artillery. Lieut. Col. Jennison moved forward with Companies A, F, C and K five miles, more than half of it on the double-quick, and reported his command to the general commanding. Lieut. Col. Jennison was directed to return with his force to camp, and arrived a little after 9 o’clock p.m. At the same time that the first order above alluded to was given, I was directed to assume command of the camp and make the proper dispositions for its defense, which I did by completing all the intrenchments, and organizing and posting such forces as were yet left in camp, not anticipating the return of our forces that night. The action of the 26th of July took place on the side of the camp opposite from my regiment, and consequently we did not participate in it. We were, however, constantly under arms, ready at any moment for orders or an opportunity.
“On Tuesday, the 28th of July, my regiment being in the advance for the day’s march, we started out of Camp Ambler at three o’clock in the morning. The general commanding, some of the scouts and a few of the headquarters’ wagons had preceded my regiment out of camp, and were ascending the long, sloping hill which gradually rose from Stone Lake. I had just received, directly from the general commanding, orders for the disposition of my regiment during the day’s march, when the scouts came from over the hill on a full run, shouting, ‘They are coming! They are coming!’ when immediately a large body of mounted Indians began to make their appearance over the brow of the hill, and directly in the front of my advancing column. I instantly gave the necessary orders for the deployment of the regiment to the right and left, which, with the assistance of Lieut. Col. Jennison, and the great alacrity of commandants of companies, were executed with the utmost rapidity, though a portion of my line was thrown into momentary confusion by the hasty passage through it of the returning scouts and advance ambulance. At this moment an Indian on the brow of the hill shouted, “We are too late; they are ready for us!’ Another one replied, ‘But remember our children and families; we must not let them get them.’ Immediately the Indians, all well mounted, filed off to the right and left along the hill in my front with the utmost rapidity. My whole regiment, except one company, was deployed, but the Indians covered my entire front, and soon far outflanked me on both sides, appearing in numbers which seemed almost incredible, and most seriously threatening the train to the right and to the left of my widely extended line. The position of the train was at this moment imminently critical It had begun to pass out of the corral, around both ends of the small lake, to mass itself in the rear of my regiment in the usual order of march. The other regiments were not yet in position, as the time to take their respective places in the order of march had not yet arrived. Fortunately, however, Captain Jones had early moved out of camp with one section of artillery, and was in the centre of my left wing, and Lieut. Whipple, with another, near the centre of my right, which was acting under Lieut. Col. Jennison.
“Simultaneously with the deployment of the regiment we began a steady advance of the whole line up the hill upon the foe, trusting to the speedy deployment of the other infantry regiments and the cavalry for the protection of the train so threatened on either flank at the ends of the lake. My whole line was advancing splendidly up the hill, directly upon the enemy, the artillery doing fine work, and the musketry beginning to do execution, when I received a peremptory order to halt the entire line, as a further advance would imperil the train. So ardent were both officers and men for the advance that it was with some considerable difficulty that I could effect a halt. Believing fully that the great engagement of the expedition was now begun, and seeing in my front, and reaching far beyond either flank, more than double the number of Indians that had hitherto made their appearance, I took advantage of the halt to make every preparation for a prolonged and determined action. Meantime, long range firing continued throughout the entire line, and frequently the balls of the enemy would reach to and even pass over my men, though it was evident that the range of the Indian guns bore no comparison to ours. About this time I twice received the order to cause the firing to cease, which order I found difficult to execute, owing to the large extent of my line and the intense eagerness of the men.
“I then received orders that, as the train was closed up, I should form my regiment in order of battle, deployed as skirmishers, holding two companies in reserve, and that, thus advancing, our order of march would be resumed in the face of the enemy. In a few minutes, the disposition being made, all was ready, and in the order of battle indicated we passed the hill and found that the enemy had fled. We saw them but once again for a moment on a distant hill, in great numbers, when they entirely disappeared. My regiment marched in deployed order of battle, in echelon, at the head of the column, for eighteen miles, expecting and ready at any moment to meet the enemy. The number of Indians so suddenly charging upon us was estimated at not less than 1,500 to 2,000. They were well mounted, and moved about with the utmost rapidity, and with their characteristic hideous yells. The artillery, under Captain Jones and Lieut. Whipple, did great execution, as I could well observe, and the fire of my men did effective service, and enabled us to hold the enemy at bay till the train was closed up and the regular positions for its defense made. At least three of the enemy were seen to fall by the fire from my line, three bodies being thrown on ponies and rapidly carried away. The artillery must have killed and wounded a considerable number. Nothing could exceed the eagerness, firmness and gallant bearing of all the officers and men of my command during this unexpected, and by far, numerically, the greatest, effort the Indians had yet made upon the forces of the expedition. In their courage and earnest desire to clear the enemy from the hill by a double quick charge my officers and men were a unit. Nothing but the imminent peril of the train could induce them to cease the advance they had so gallantly begun.
“On the 30th of July, while at Camp Slaughter, on the Missouri, I received an order to send three companies of my regiment, under Lieut. Col. Jennison, to join an expedition under Col. Crooks, the object of which was to skirmish through the timber and heavy underbrush to the river, and destroy the property of the Indians known to be upon its banks. This most laborious task was assigned to Companies B, F and K and a portion of Company C. A report of their operations will, of course, be given you by the officer commanding the expedition I desire, captain, to avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere gratification at the good order, faithful devotion to every duty, most determined perseverance in the long and weary marches, severe guard and trenching labors, and unmurmuring submission to every fatigue which has characterized the officers and men of my regiment during the tedious and arduous marches we have made to the distant shores of the Missouri River. It is with justifiable pride that I here note how nobly they have performed all that has been required at their hands.
“I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully,
“Your obedient servant,
Colonel of the Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Infantry
“Capt. R.C. OLIN,
A.A. General, District Minnesota.”
We reached the Missouri River July 29th at about 12 o’clock PM., having marched from Fort Snelling, a distance of five hundred and eighty-five miles. The precise point on the river was latitude 40 degrees 42 minutes, longitude 100 degrees 35 minutes, near the mouth of Apple Creek, about three miles below where the city of Bismarck now stands. For many reasons we were unable to pursue the rapidly retreating Sioux further than the banks of the Missouri. We had driven the last hostile band out of Minnesota and beyond the Missouri. Long and rapid marches, want of water, days of activity and nights of watching, the almost total absence of forage, and the rapidly diminishing store of provisions, compelled the abandonment of further pursuit. The long and tedious countermarch began on the 20th of August. But little occurred worthy of note on the return march. Sergeant Charles D. Tuthill was shot by a cavalry picket on a dark and stormy night, being mistaken for an Indian. At the crossing of the Sheyenne River the brigade was inspected by Brig. Gen. R.B. Marcy, and the regiment much commended for drill and discipline. Two companies, B and K, were especially complimented in his official report. As Gen. Marcy was inspecting Capt. O’Connor’s company, he said to him: “you have a very fine company here, captain. Where were they raised?” “In Ireland, sir,” said O’Connor. About 10 o’clock A.M. on the 21st of August we crossed the Wild Rice, and at noon arrived at Fort Abercrombie, the first sign of civilization since the departure early in June. After remaining in camp near the fort for several days we started for home, and at Sauk Centre, September 4th, the Tenth Regiment, with a section of artillery and a battalion of cavalry, under Col. Baker, was detached from the main column, and ordered to march through the Kandiyohi country to Fort Ridgley, and thence to Fort Snelling. Here the regiment was furloughed for a short time. At Camp Pope, June 16th, the day of starting, the expeditionary forces numbered 3,674. The Tenth Regiment, the same day, numbered, present and for duty, 676 men and officers, not counting Company H of the Ninth Regiment, which was attached to the Tenth during the entire campaign. On arriving at the Missouri River, the regiment numbered 521 men and officers and 9 of the field and staff. Maj. Cook had been left at Camp Atchison July 18th, near Lake Jessie, with about 300 serviceable men, together with all the invalids and disabled men and animals. With him, also, Surgeon Burnham had been left in charge of all the sick. Surgeon Burnham was subsequently dismissed the service (by Special Order, 475, War Department, A.G.O., Oct. 23, 1863) on the recommendation of Gen. Sibley.
There is no purpose here of offering criticism upon the campaign. If the success was not complete, the hostile Indians were, at least, all driven beyond the Missouri River, and subsequent events showed that their power for mischief was broken. The Tenth Regiment received its whole quota of praise from the general commanding, both for gallantry and duty faithfully performed throughout the campaign.
On the 18th of September orders came directing that the Seventh, Ninth and Tenth regiments report, at the earliest practicable day, to the officer commanding the Department of the Missouri, at St. Louis. He furlough having expired October 5th, most of the companies rendezvoused at Fort Snelling, and on the evening of Wednesday, October 7th, on the steamer Northern Light, they left for Dunleith, opposite Dubuque. By the time the boat reached La Crosse all the companies were on board. Disembarking at Dunleith they proceeded by rail to East St. Louis, where they arrived on Monday morning. Crossing the river they were ordered to Camp Jackson, where they remained but a few hours, when the regiment was sent to Benton Barracks, built by Gen. Fremont, three miles from the city. Here, for a fortnight, company and battalion drill consumed the time.
On the 23d of October, 1863, the following order was received:
“HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI
[Special Order, 290.]
“Col. J.H. Baker, Tenth Minnesota Volunteers, is hereby appointed commanding officer of the post of St. Louis. He will at once relieve Col. Livingston, First Nebraska Volunteers, and enter upon the discharge of his office forthwith.
“By command of Major General Schofield.
“Assistant Adjutant General.”
Also, the same date, Col. Baker was ordered to bring his regiment to the city of St. Louis and place it upon garrison and provost duty, relieving the First Nebraska Cavalry and the Tenth Kansas Infantry. Lieut. Col. Jennison assumed command of the regiment, with headquarters at Schofield Barracks. Part of the regiment found quarters at the old Missouri Hotel, where the regimental hospital was also established. The regiment while remaining at the post of St. Louis was engaged in provost duty, guarding military prisons and quartermaster and commissary stores. St. Louis was at that period so large a military post – embracing the prison at Alton, Ill., Gratiot Street Prison, a straggler’s camp¸ an extended and important provost duty, the charge of five forts around the city, with a multitude of lesser detail – that the work of the Tenth, for both men and officers, was constant and exacting. These duties were largely shared by the officers and men of the Seventh Minnesota. Maj. Cook was in charge of the straggler’s camp; Capt. Edgerton of the post guard; Capt. O’Connor was district inspecting officer; Adjt. J.C. Braden became post adjutant; Lieut. McConnell became regimental adjutant; Lieut. William McMicken became provost marshal of the city of St. Louis There was work for every man and officer of the Tenth,and so well did they perform their military duties at St. Louis that they left behind them a good name which is preserved among the old citizens to this day. Order, discipline¸ good behavior were everywhere maintained, and Minnesota may well feel proud of the record made by all her soldiers in the city of St. Louis. This good conduct affected the military fortunes of the colonel of the regiment, as subsequent developments proved, sparing him finally from his command. A year afterward the mayor of the city stated that so marked was the good order maintained by the regiments from Minnesota, that a committee of the city council was specially appointed to go to Washington and see Secretary Stanton, and procure an order for the retention of the Tenth and Seventh Minnesota as a permanent garrison for St. Louis. This request was denied. As the committee were about to leave for the secretary’s office, the mayor turned and said, “You might at least give us the Minnesota colonel who is now in command.” “Yes,” said the secretary, “I will do that for you,” and then, calling his clerk, issued a War Department order directing Col. Baker to remain in the Department of the Missouri, which order was never revoked, nor was the manner in which it was secured known until after the close of the war. As this terminates Col. Baker’s identification with the regiment, it is proper to note that, July 1, 1864, he was placed in command of the sub-district of St. Louis, embracing the five counties, including and around St. Louis; and that subsequently he was made provost marshal general of the Department of the Missouri, in which position he remained till the close of the war, when he was complimented in orders and made brigadier general by brevet. Adjt. J.C. Braden was assigned to duty with Col. Baker, and so remained till the close of the war. It will be well here to note, during the St. Louis sojourn, some changes and matters affecting the regimental history.
Capt. W.W. Phelps of Company D resigned Nov. 3, 1863. Capt. R.C. Ambler of Company A was dismissed the service Nov. 10, 1863. Capt. A. J. Edgerton of Company B was discharged to accept promotion Feb. —, 1864, and the resignation of Capt. C.W. Hackett of Company C was accepted Feb. —, 1864 In consequence of the foregoing, in Company A, First Lieut. L.F. Babcock became captain, Second Lieut. M.L. Strong became first lieutenant, and First Sergt. S.H. Stowers became second lieutenant; in Company B, First Lieut. Wm. McMicken became captain, Second Lieut. Samuel Burwell became first lieutenant and First Sergt. T.J. Hunt became second lieutenant; in Company C, First Lieut. A.S. Hopson became captain, Second Lieut. John Lathrop became first lieutenant, and First Sergt. W.W. Case became second lieutenant; in Company D, First Lieut. C.L. Davis became captain, Second Lieut. Wm. B. Williams became first lieutenant, and Commissary Sergt. L.S. Meeker became second lieutenant. Second Lieut. O.B. smith of Company G died at Hickory Street Hospital of typhoid fever, Jan. 8, 1864. He was a most worthy man and an efficient officer. He was succeeded by First Sergt. H.A. McConnell of Company D. Louis Proebsting, hospital steward, was promoted assistant surgeon, April 12, 1864, vice Burnham. He subsequently died at Cairo, Oct. 31, 1864. Quartermaster G.W. Green resigned March 23, 1864, and was succeeded by appointment from civil life, at the request of the regiment, of E. N. Leavens of Rice county, a popular and efficient officer. Sergt. Major A.C. Flanders was promoted second lieutenant of Company H, April 21, 1864, in place of McCarthy, resigned. Chas, Eichberg of Company B became sergeant major in place of Flanders, and Warren P. Bissell of Company A succeeded Meeker as commissary sergeant The principal musicians were G.A. Todd of Company D and S.S. Goodrich of Company F. A considerable number of recruits were received for the regiment in March. A sufficient number of these were assigned to Company I by Lieut. Col. Jennison to bring that company to the full minimum, and a commission as captain was asked and received, in accordance with the original and continuing wish of the company, for Private Martin J. Severance. On the request of Gen. John B. Sanborn, commanding in southwestern Missouri, First Lieut. E.H. Kennedy of company F was detailed to duty as aid upon his staff. Lieut. Col. Jennison was appointed provost marshal of north Missouri in March 1864, at the request of Gen. Clinton B. Fisk, commanding that district. He was relieved within a few weeks to take command of the regiment on its departure from St. Louis.
The winter of 1863-64 was very severe, and some suffering in the regiment ensued. The river at St. Louis being frozen over, booths were erected on the ice. In the month of April 1864, the men and officers of the regiment took an active interest in the celebrated Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair, and were conspicuous for good and earnest work. It was at this time, and in this interest, that some of the officers of the regiment ran, during two exhibitions, Robinson’s circus, with great success, clearing several thousand dollars for this fair. During the winter a number of officers and privates went before the examining board for officers for colored regiments, and having passed the requisite examination took commissions in that branch of the service. Notable was Captain Edgerton of Company B, who became colonel of a colored regiment and remained in command of the same till some time after the close of the war. Owing to continued ill health, Chaplain Lathrop resigned Oct. 27, 1864.
Early in April rumors came that the Minnesota regiments in Missouri were speedily to be ordered South, and on the 22d of April 1864, the Tenth Regiment received its orders and left for Columbus, Ky. There they went into camp, occupying the time in company and battalion drill. This was almost the first opportunity which the regiment had enjoyed for such exercises except those that might be used while on the march. No regiment was ever called on for harder drill service than this one, for thirty days, and no regiment, their commander affirms, could have responded more willingly. The monotony was broken by a raid to Maysville, Ky., five days, being an attempt to cut off Gen. Forrest on his return from Paducah, but finding he had passed on the regiment returned to Columbus. During this time, April 27th¸ Companies E and D were sent on detached duty to Island No. 10, remaining there till the regiment was about to leave for Memphis. June 19, 1864, orders came for the regiment to go to Memphis, Tenn. Arriving at that place on the 20th, the city of Memphis became the headquarters of the regiment from June 20th to September 4th of that year. The last of June the regiment was assigned to a place in the Sixteenth Army Corps, left wing, Major General A.J. Smith commanding; in the First Division, Major General Joseph A. Mower commanding; First Brigade, Col. W.L. McMillan of the Ninety-fifth Ohio commanding. In the brigade were the following regiments: Seventy-second Ohio, Lieut. Col. Eaton; Ninety-fifth Ohio, Lieut. Col. Brumbach; One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois, Capt. Johnson; Ninety-third Indiana, Col. Thomas; Tenth Minnesota, Lieut. Col. Jennison. It remained as here assigned till the close of the war.
BATTLE OF TUPELO
During their stay in Memphis the regiment participated in several important expeditions, chief of which was the movement ordered by Gen. Sherman for the purpose of attacking Gen. Forrest, then in Mississippi and on his way to cut Sherman’s line of communication. On the 11th of July Gen. Smith’s forces reached Pontotoc, apparently aiming for Okalona. The cavalry skirmished so heavily with the enemy that the infantry were in part put in line of battle, expecting to meet a considerable force. On the 13th the command changed its course to the east to cut the railroad at Tupelo, and was attacked while on the march, from right and rear, by Forrest, who had about 6,000 Confederates. In a letter dated July 20th, Lieut. Col. Jennison said: “My regiment was in line, placed by Gen. Mower, but did not fire a shot, – except Capt. White’s company (F), who were out as skirmishers, – but were shelled by rebel artillery, though owing to their poor practice and uncertainty of my position, it was without effect.” Forrest having withdrawn, Gen. Smith’s command resumed its march and arrived at Tupelo Hill, about three miles distant, about dark, after a race with Forrest for the position. The regiment bivouacked in line of battle, facing to the north, and confronting Forrest’s opposing line of battle. In the night six infantry regiments from Mobile, under command of Gen. D.F. Lee, came and joined Forrest’s forces, and Lee, as ranking officer, assumed command. At two o’clock in the morning of the 14th, the Tenth, in obedience to orders, stood at arms until about four o’clock, when they were permitted to breakfast. While so engaged the enemy opened an engagement; the regiment, taking their guns, were marched about ten rods to the front, taking position on the right of the Second Iowa battery, and through the remainder of that fight they guarded that battery. At 4:30 P.M. the engagement ceased by the withdrawal of the rebel army.
Casualties at Tupelo
Killed – Company G, Private Thomas King.
Wounded – Major M. Cook, in arm, slight. Company A, Private Dexter Carlton, in shoulder, slight; Private Alpheus Eustman, in arm, slight; Private Marcus Ward, in foot, slight. Company B, Private John Rutledge, in forehead, slight; Sergeant C.F. Bruce, in eye, slight; Private Seth Seranton, in shoulder, severe; Private Clinton Hurlbut, in shoulder, severe; Private Henry Keller, in head, slight. Company C, Private Solomon Young, in arm, severe; Private James Locky, in shoulder, slight. Company D¸ Private John Banks, in arm, slight. Company E, Private Fritz Maxner, in knee, slight; Private James Smith, in thigh, severe. Company F, Private Joseph D. Cox, in breast, severe; Private Henry C. Ballow, in face and neck, slight; Private Mathew Tobias, in arm, severe. Company G, Private Atwood Crosby, in leg, slight. Company I, Private James L. Williams, in spine, severe. Company K, Corporal George Stewart¸ in cheek, slight; Private Elias Y. Pike, accidentally shot in thumb and thigh. Total, 1 killed, 21 wounded.
A letter of the regimental commander says: “The Tenth was in reserve, but fired one volley. We were as much exposed as if we were firing. Balls, shells and bullets whistled lively at times. We had one killed and about twelve wounded, among them Maj. Cook; a painful, but not dangerous, flesh wound through the left arm, half way from elbow to shoulder. * * * That night Gen. Smith sent me, with my regiment, to hold a certain road in the rear where an attack was expected, and where a rebel success would have been fatal to us.” The expected attack was not made on the position held by the Tenth, but to its right, upon the colored troops. It occurred before daylight, and, though very persistent, was unsuccessful. Soon after day Gen. Smith sent for the regiment, and, without returning it to its brigade, himself placed it in position facing a lively uproar of small arms then arising, where the enemy were evidently renewing the attack. “There!” said the general, with the pleasant manner of one doing a favor, “they may not get through; if they do you can give ‘em hell.” The rebels were unsuccessful at that point, and the Tenth was soon returned to Gen. Mower’s command, while the train moved out for Old Town Creek under the protection of the other division. The letter before quoted continues: “At the same time the rebels renewed their attack and we repulsed them again, the Tenth going in as a reserve again, and getting peppered without a chance to return the fire. After fighting them in our position for an hour or two, until the train was well under way, our forces charged them. They ran like cowards, and we marched away some seven miles.” The Tenth Regiment was the last to leave Tupelo Hill, and Gen. Mower remained with it. Just after it had crossed the creek to where the train was already parked, some rebel troops who had rallied began an attack. It recrossed the creek, deployed, and, with other detachments, drove the troublesome enemy away. The next day the whole command began their return to Memphis, where they arrived the last of July.
On the Tupelo raid Lieut. Col. Jennison received an order from the War Department directing him to detail two officers of the rank of captain to report to the commandant at Fort Snelling, Minn., for recruiting service Capt. Davis of Company D and Capt. Sullivan of Company H were at the time unfit for duty, although present with the command. Without notifying anyone of the order, except Surgeon Sheardown, in consultation¸ the commanding officer detailed the captains named, who were thus separated from further service with their regiment. Capt. Sullivan was the ranking captain at the death of Major Cook, but he could not get relieved from detached service and thus lost promotion. At this time Capt. E.H. Kennedy, who, on the resignation of Capt. Heath, had been promoted from Company F to the command of Company E¸ received from the governor of Missouri authority to raise a regiment of cavalry there, for which leave had been asked while Kennedy was serving in southwestern Missouri. Leave of absence was now sought to enable him to go to his recruiting field, but though urged strenuously by Lieut. Col. Jennison, and favored by Col. McMillan and Gen. Mower, it was refused, and thus Kennedy lost promotion. Other changes in officers were the promotion of Second Lieut. Merrill of Company I to be first lieutenant of Company C, vice Lathrop, resigned, and of First Sergt. Eli K. Pickett of Company E to succeed Merrill in Company I. In Company F, Second Lieut. Isaac Hamlin became first lieutenant, vice Kennedy, promoted, and was succeeded by First Sergt. James Flannegan of Company K. Chaplain Lathrop had been sent back to Memphis from the Tupelo raid because of ill health, and it is not remembered that he was ever able to rejoin, although his resignation was not immediately accepted.
About this time Gen. Grant ordered Smith to “hang to Forrest.” Pursuant to this order, Smith’s force, the Tenth Minnesota included, again started in quest of Forrest. At the Tallahatchie River the movement of our command was opposed by three regiments of Forrest’s men under Gen. Chalmers. The rebels were speedily driven away. Going into camp at this point, we had an attack from Forrest’s forces, which struck the Fifth Minnesota Regiment, and the Tenth was ordered out to their relief and pursued the rebel forces about two miles, to Hurricane Creek, the rebels retreating. Resuming the forward march, we went as far as Oxford, Miss. We found Oxford burning, and it was said to have been done by some of our forces for the burning of Chambersburgh, Pa., by the rebels. Hearing that Forrest was in the vicinity of Memphis, we immediately countermarched to that city.
THE RAID AFTER PRICE
After two days’ rest and on the 2d day of September, the First Division (Mower’s) of the Sixteenth Army Corps embarked for Devall’s Bluff, where it arrived on the evening of the 8th. The next day, passing Brownsville and going into camp, the command there remained several days. After this rest the forces marched directly north, the objective point being Pochahontas, where Price and his command were supposed to be. Near that place, information was received that Price had left that place and captured Pilot Knob and was on his way to St. Louis. The command then turned east and struck the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, there taking steamers for St. Louis. There a brief stop was made to procure clothing, and then the regiment, with the brigade battery, upon the steamer War Eagle, proceeded to Jefferson City, Mo., where it arrived October 18th, twenty-four hours later than the rest of the brigade, the overloaded boat having driven a snag through her bottom, and the men of the command having had to disembark eight times to march around sand-bars. From Jefferson City to La Mine Bridge by railroad and thence on foot, the regiment with its division marched in pursuit of Price through Sedalia, Lexington and Independence. As the command came nearer the game its movement was more and more of the nature of forced marches. One night, about eleven o’clock, after a long and trying march, word came that Gen. Smith was advised that Gen. Blunt had Price corralled at the Big Blue, and that Smith promised all who would march at 1 o’clock A.M. a chance at Price before noon the next day.Every one but those whom the surgeon excused set out and made the march, but Gen. Blunt had not been able to hold the enemy until Smith’s arrival. From that time the rebels had no rest. An engagement of even half a day with the Union cavalry would bring the pursuing infantry down upon them. Gen. Price thus endeavoring to make his escape around Gen. Smith’s infantry, while Smith was hastening to intercept him, Gen. Pleasanton’s cavalry were enabled to strike the enemy in flank while in motion, and at one blow they crushed them so completely that the infantry, camping the following night just across the Kansas line, were allowed to set out on their return to St. Louis the next day. Thither the regiment went on foot, through cold and snow, with a practicable railroad upon one side and a navigable river on the other.
The Tenth Regiment saw, on the whole, no harder service than in the raid after Price, and more of the men trace their present disabilities to the exposures of October and November, 1864, then to any other equal period of time. Asst. Surg. Clarke had resigned for disability Sept. 26, 1864, and Asst. Surg. Proebsting died Oct. 31, 1864. For many months Surgeon S.B. Sheardown had been the only medical officer with the regiment. Surgeon Sheardown was eminently skillful both in surgery and medicine; kind-hearted, but not often imposed upon, he performed his duty both to the Government and to the men in his charge thoroughly, but unostentatiously. His professional superiors in rank esteemed him highly, and his surviving comrades hold him in affectionate remembrance. Second Lieut. H.A. McConnell, acting adjutant, returning from the Tallahatchie raid unfit for duty, was left at Memphis, and First Lieut. D. Cavanaugh of Company H was detailed as acting adjutant, and so served till his promotion to captain. Lieut. McConnell, being then again fit for duty, and admirably qualified for the position, was reappointed and served to the end of the war in that capacity.
BATTLE OF NASHVILLE
After the Price pursuit the regiment proceeded directly to Nashville, Tenn., having stopped at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, for several days to refit. The regiment arrived at Nashville the morning of November 30th, and marching two and a half miles south went into camp, where they intrenched in line of battle. Desultory firing kept up to the morning of the 15th of December, when the whole line moved out to assault Hood in his works. The details of the memorable fight are so fully set forth in the official report of the officer commanding the regiment after the battle, Capt. Sanders, that his report is here inserted:
“HEADQUARTERS TENTH MINNESOTA INFANTRY,
“Eastport, Miss., Jan. 15, 1865.
“Brig. Gen. O. MALMROS,
“Adjutant General State of Minnesota,
“GENERAL: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Tenth Minnesota Infantry in the battles of the 15th and 16th before Nashville, Tenn.
“On the morning of the 15th, the regiment, commanded by Lieut. Col. S.P. Jennison, moved from the earthworks near Nashville as centre of the First Brigade, First Division, Detachment of the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Col. W.L. McMillan. It maneuvered until about 2 o’clock P.M., when it took position in front of the left centre of the enemy’s line, and remained in this position a few minutes, when it participated in a successful charge against the enemy, who was strongly intrenched on a commanding eminence, which resulted to him in the loss of four cannon and many prisoners.
“After pausing a few minutes for rest, the regiment, in connection with other regiments of the brigade, moved about a half mile to the right and again charged the enemy, who was surrounded by heavy earthworks upon a high hill, and after a severe struggle had the honor of first planting its colors upon the works and capturing two cannon and over one hundred prisoners.
“It bivouacked for the night upon the ground which was held by the enemy in the morning. On the morning of the 16th it moved about three-fourths of a mile to the left and took position within easy musket range of the enemy’s lines, with its left resting on the right of the Second Brigade of Gen. McArthur’s division, and is right upon the left of the Ninety-third Indiana of the First Brigade. It remained in this position until about two o’clock, when it moved nearly one hundred rods to the right and formed a new line parallel to and in front of the left wing of a division of the Twenty-third Army Corps. It remained here about forty-five minutes, when, in connection with the Ninety-third Indiana and the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois, it charged the salient point in the enemy’s lines, and after a severe and bloody conflict forced him with bayonet from his works, capturing sixteen cannon and 2,000 prisoners, and then joined the pursuit of the scattered and demoralized foe. In all of these sanguinary conflicts the regiment more than realized the expectation of its friends. Every officer and man was at his post and nobly did his duty. Especially did its commander, Lieut. Col. Jennison, display a high order of those qualities requisite in an officer who wins battles over a brave and stubborn foe. His own personal bravery did very much in enabling him to carry, repeatedly, his regiment over the enemy’s defenses. In the charge which decided the fate of the day, the last one made, he fell, severely wounded, in front of his command and within a yard of the enemy’s works. I should hardly do my duty if I failed to mention Sergeant O’Neil, the color-bearer of the regiment. In all of the charges made he distinguished himself, and especially so in the last one, in which case he was the first one over the works, and, with one foot upon an enemy, prostrated by his own hands, raised the regimental banner.
“The loss to the regiment in killed and wounded was severe. In the last charges the companies on the left suffered most, being subject to a cross-fire. For the number disabled the loss in killed was unusually great, owing to the near proximity of the combatants. For the same reason the loss of officers was proportionately much larger than that of enlisted men. Many were slightly injured, but not disabled, whose names do not appear among the wounded. In the death of Major Cook and Capt. White the regiment has lost two of its bravest and best officers, and the state two of its most honored and worthy citizens. Nor could their names be associated with braver soldiers or more disinterested patriots than their comrades in death, a catalogue of whom, together with the names of the wounded, I herewith send you.
“I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“Captain Commanding, Tenth Regiment, Minnesota Infantry.”
In further explanation of the distinguished part taken by the Tenth in this memorable battle, the following is given: There was a steep hill, over the crown of which the enemy’s line extended, and which formed the “key point” to his works in front. Gen. McArthur ordered Col. McMillan’s brigade “to take this hill.” The brigade was then moved by the right flank to a position exactly opposite this hill and formed in two lines. The front line consisted of the following regiments, named in their order from right to left: One hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, Capt. Johnson commanding; Ninety-third Indiana Infantry, Capt. Hubbard commanding; Tenth Minnesota Infantry, Lieut. Col. Jennison commanding. The assault began at 3:30 P.M. by Coggswell’s Independent Battery, and under cover of this fire the brigade advanced. We now quote from Col. McMillan’s report: “Quietly and steadily the brigade moved down one hill and up the other to within a few feet of the enemy’s parapet, when we received a volley, which, on our right, went over our heads, but on the left, punished the Tenth Minnesota Infantry severely. Nothing daunted, this gallant regiment, together with the others composing the front line, cleared the enemy’s works with a bound. My loss * * * mainly fell on the Tenth Minnesota. Two field officers, six line officers, wounded, and some sixty enlisted men, attest the fiery ordeal through which this regiment passed; and the fact that it reached the rebel works in its front as quickly as the regiments on its right, which were less exposed, is ample evidence of the courage and daring of both officers and men. Lieut. Col. Jennison, the commanding officer, was conspicuous for his high daring, and set a noble example to his officers and men. He fell, severely wounded, on the enemy’s works.”
Such is the testimony of the commanding officer of the brigade, bearing date “In the field, Dec. 25, 1864,” to the courage, efficiency and noble services of the Tenth Minnesota in the battle of Nashville. Gen. Thomas himself said, Feb. 8, 1865, of the charge of this brigade, that “It was the handsomest feat of arms I ever saw.” The highest praise was awarded the Tenth for its gallant charge and distinguished conduct throughout the battle. Here fell Major Cook and Capt. White, two as brave and meritorious soldiers as ever served in the Union army. Major Cook fell shot through the lungs, and died in the hospital Dec. 27, 1864. Capt. White was shot through the bowels, and died, Dec. 17, 1864, in the hospital. After Lieut. Col. Jennison fell, Capt. Sanders was the ranking officer. He having been temporarily disabled from the effects of a shell, Capt. Severance was in command for a short time, when Capt. Sanders resumed charge till the arrival at Eastport, when Lieut. Col. Jennison, having been able to leave the hospital, rejoined the regiment Feb. 5, 1865. The regiment mustered three hundred and one muskets in this action.
A roster of the men is impracticable. The officers present were as follows: Lieut. Col. Jennison, Maj. Cook, Acting Adjt. Cavanaugh, Surgeon Sheardown, Asst. Surgeons Milligan and Brooks, and Quartermaster Leavens. Of the field and staff: Capts. White, Sanders, Severance and Kennedy; First Lieuts. Burwell, Merrill, Williams, Kittelson, Hamlin, Stewart and Byrnes, and Second Lieuts. Stowers, Hunt, Meeker, Case, Ash, Flannegan, McConnell, Flanders, Pickett and Hoy.
The official returns do not distinguish the casualties of the first day, or the second day before the charge. The rail fence behind which the regiment lay until the movement to the right was within effective rifle range from the stone wall in front of the rebel line, and some casualties occurred there. Lieuts. Hunt and Hoy and several men were wounded on the skirmish line between the lines. The horses of the acting adjutant and one of the orderlies were shot during this time. When the regiment moved by the flank it was assailed by brisk musketry fire, which struck a few men and killed the horse ridden by Lieut. Col. Jennison. All the officers of the brigade dismounted to make the charge, for which the signal was given by a single bugle in the midst of the battery firing. By Col. McMillan’s order no officer spoke word of command, no soldier uttered shout or cheer, in order that some ground might be covered before the enemy knew that the unexpected movement had begun. The troops had in fact begun the ascent without loss, and the companies of skirmishers in front kept the enemy well down until our men nearly reached a slight crest or ridge in front of the rebel works, and distant therefrom, where nearest, perhaps eight yards, where the left of the regiment received a withering oblique fire from the unassailed enemy beyond their left, which doubly decimated the left division, Companies F and C. On the ridge occurred some few seconds’ pause of the more advanced, as the lieutenant colonel had commanded, until the line was closed up, and there a few shots were fired by the assailants, when the men went to and over the works with a rush. Savage fighting there was for a few moments, but the rebels soon chose flight or surrender. As usual with volunteers in their first engagements, wounds that did not disable the soldier or send him to a surgeon were not deemed worthy of mention in the report. Thus, Capt. Kennedy, felled in the charge by the concussion of a rifle-ball so spent that it lodged in his vest, having passed through his coat and overcoat cape, recovered consciousness in a few seconds, started up in a rather dazed way, cried, “Come on, boys!” to men who had already passed him, and never thought of himself as a wounded man. So with Capt. Sanders and numbers of the enlisted men.
Lieut. Col. Jennison wrote to his wife from hospital, December 19th, the following: “we moved out to attack Hood about 9 or 10 A.M. Everything had been in readiness since about six o’clock, but there was such a fog that we could not start. We marched around till afternoon before we were in the right place; then the brigade formed in column of attack, and we were raked with grape and canister while waiting. One man only much injured in the Tenth; I saved my left leg by having a horse that scared at the noise. Col. Thomas, just behind us, was struck and carried off the field. Some cavalry on foot were going to charge the battery. They started for it first, then we went. My colors were first on parapet. We took four cannon here. My looses were trifling. We had to reform at once and storm a higher hill, which we did. Then we marched off and bivouacked, and the next day commenced to make breastworks – but I have not strength to write about the preliminaries. About 4 P.M. our brigade was ordered to charge and carry a hill which the Twenty-third Corps ought to have carried, but they declined. The Tenth was on the left of the first line, the Ninety-third Indiana on my right; the Seventy-second and Ninety-fifth Ohio in the second line did not extend so as to cover the Tenth Minnesota. The enemy fired at us all the way up; my boys never returned a shot till we were near their works, then they punished a few of them. Just before I reached the parapet I saw a fellow’s gun placed across it, and supposed he would look over to aim. I cocked my pistol and leveled it for him. Presently a head appeared where I had expected it, and I fired and I must have scared it. The men were around me, closing up, getting breath, some loading I called to them to ‘Go for them clear up to the work, and shoot ‘em across it’ “Yes, Colonel,’ they said¸ and in a second we were there. I fired but once more, and was knocked senseless. With my first consciousness I recognized Col. McMillan’s voice demanding a guard detail for his prisoners. That let me know which way victory went. Col. Mc. Was very kind; he sent four men who wanted to carry me to the ambulance, but I only needed support in walking. * * * I am very fortunate. Poor Capt. White was killed; shot through the bowels; died next day. The major was shot through the body; I guess he may recover. Lieuts. Hoy, Hamlin and Case shot in the arm; Lieut Hunt shot in the face. There were 20 to 25 killed of my brave boys, and 60 to 80 wounded. It was a sad loss, but nothing I could do would have lightened it The men are all an officer could wish, and I thank God I was permitted to command them in the charge and to live through it.”
Lieut. Col. Jennison was “knocked senseless” not by an axe, as the newspapers reported, but by the rifle shot of a Confederate, five or six yards distant, who took aim on seeing Jennison fire the “once more,” and fired before the revolver could possibly be used on him. He was so hurried, however, that his ball, aimed at the head, lacked less than an inch of missing it altogether.
On December 10th was mustered as assistant surgeon Dr. F.H. Milligan of Wabasha county, appointed from civil life, but who had formerly served in the Third Minnesota Regiment, in place of Proebsting, deceased, and on the 12th of December Dr. C.A. Brooks of Ramsey county was mustered as assistant surgeon¸ vice Clarke, resigned. A commission had been issued two months before to First Lieut. D. Cavanaugh of Company H, as captain, but was misspent, and though evidence in abundance of the issue of such commission was presented, the mustering officer required the production of the document. So Cavanaugh served as acting adjutant until Jan. 17, 1865, when he became captain of Company C, vice Hopson, resigned. The regimental commander, who did not make the report of the battle, speaks warmly of his ready efficiency as acting adjutant and his cool bravery in action. Upon the death of Captain White, First Lieut. J.M. Gorman of Company I was promoted captain of Company F. the death of Major Cook promoted Capt. Sanders to the majority, First Lieut. G.W. Stewart of Company G to be its captain, and Second Lieut. Eli Ash of Company E to be first lieutenant of Company G.
The casualties of the Tenth at Nashville are given below:
Field and Staff – Lieut. Col. S.P. Jennison, wounded in head, severe; Major M. Cook, wounded in breast, mortally; Sergt. Maj. Chas. Eichler, wounded in arm (amputated). Company A – Private Joseph R. Webster, killed; Private John Morris, wounded in head, slight. Company B – Lieut. T.J. Hunt, wounded in face, severe; Sergt. C.S. Bruce, wounded in shoulder; Sergt. J.G. Miracle, wounded in right arm, flesh wound; Corporal J.A. Cunodell, wounded in left knee, severe; Private T.D. Prentice, wounded in right side, severe; Private Felix Myers, wounded in left arm (amputated); Private James Stewart, wounded in right arm; Private Wm. M. Brosley, wounded in scrotum, severe. Company C – Sergt. C.G. Dawley, killed; Corporal A.D. Carroll, killed; Private J.W. Murphy, killed; Private D.D. Putnam, killed; Private Christ Nelson, killed; Lieut. W.W. Case, wounded in right arm, severe; Corporal F.W. Knapp, wounded in head, severe; Private E. Case, wounded in right arm, severe; Private A.H. Doag, wounded in chest and shoulder; Private Frank Halphan, wounded in foot; Private E. Mullins, wounded in nipple, severe; Private E.H. Mauhews, wounded in knee (contusion); Company D – Private G.L. Lunsden, killed; Private Frank Griffen, killed; Private James Ryan, killed; Sergt. D. Wightman, wounded in leg; Corporal Isaac G. Hasbrook, wounded in face, slight; Private George Reeves, wounded in chest, severe; Private Ole Nelson, wounded in body; Private W.S. Barns, wounded in head, arm and hand. Company E – Private S. Benson, killed; Private F. Chamberlain, killed; Sergt. Rufus Kelly, wounded, slight; Private F.M. Davis, wounded in arm, slight; Private S.E. Bullock, wounded in arm; Private S.H. Pace, wounded in arm. Company F – Captain George T. White, killed; Lieut. Isaac Hamlin, wounded in right arm; Private Theodore Hacker, killed; Private Hanson Oleson, killed; Private Chandler Fleming, killed; Private J.D. Furguson, killed; Sergt. H.A. Mosier, wounded in left arm and side; Sergt. George Woodbury, wounded in back; Corporal David Snider, wounded in left thigh; Private Alex. Harrison, wounded in hand and thigh; Private William Wooden, wounded in head, slight; Private Theodore Estch, wounded in groin; Private Edward Brossard, wounded in shoulder. Company G – Private Hiram Vasterlung, killed; Private J. Capert, killed; Sergt. H. Kinsey, wounded in the right shoulder, severe; Corporal William Smith, wounded in the right shoulder, severe. Company H – Lieut. A.C. Flanders, wounded in left thigh; slight; Sergt. James O’Brien, wounded in side of neck; Corporal Robert Hunt, wounded in groin, severe Private Elzer La Clare, wounded in right leg; Private Patrick J. Smith, wounded in left arm. Company I – Sergt. T. Walsh, wounded in back; Private George Woodward, wounded in right arm (amputated); Private John D. Duff, wounded in finger on right hand and died three days after, of lockjaw, in consequence of the wound. Company K – Lieut. Michael Hoy, wounded in right arm; Private M.L. McMannon, killed; Corporal Daniel Brucken, killed; Corporal M.C. Connolly, wounded in groin; Private E. Neary, wounded in right hand; Private James McCoy, wounded in thigh; Private P. Ronan, wounded in finger; Private P. Cannon, wounded in left shoulder; Private James Nash, wounded in right shoulder; Private E. Seibert, wounded in right arm; Private Matthew Flood, wounded in hip, slight. Recaptiulation: Commissioned officers killed and mortally wounded, 2; commissioned officers wounded, 6; killed and mortally wounded enlisted men, 19; wounded enlisted men, 50; total killed and wounded, 77.
THE CAPTURE OF SPANISH FORT
After the battle the regiment joined in the pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River. It then embarked on boats and ascended the river to Eastport, Miss., where they arrived Jan. 7, 1865. At this place the army went into winter quarters. The regiment built log cabins, and remained in camp without any special incident, except short rations, until February 7th, when they embarked for New Orleans, on the way to attack Mobile. They remained in camp, on Gen. Jackson’s old battlefield, about ten days, when they embarked for Dauphin Island, where they awaited the concentration of the Thirteenth Corps and the reorganized Sixteenth Army Corps, now consisting of three divisions under the command of Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith, the division containing the Minnesota troops being still the First. After two weeks given to rest, camp duties and collecting and eating the fine oysters of the island waters, the command was transported across Mobile Bay to the mouth of Fish River, about thirty miles south of Spanish Fort, one of the defensive works of Mobile, and about nine miles south of the city. After landing the regiment marched thence in line of battle to the immediate neighborhood of Spanish Fort, where a regular siege was begun. The regiment participated in throwing up the extensive earthworks which were undertaken, pushing forward approaches and parallels, and in all the events of the siege. Spanish Fort was a very heavy redoubt, and rested on the east shore of the bay of Mobile. This whole work was generally called Spanish Fort, and the main redoubt rested on the site of an old Spanish fort. On the night of the 7th of April, about 5 o’clock P.M., a bombardment was directed against that part consisting of the redoubt proper. The bombardment was heavy and furious, several hundred guns of all caliber taking part. The bombardment was resumed late in the afternoon on the 8th, and was heavier than that of the preceding day, continuing until long after dark. In that same night, after the bombardment, the works were assaulted on that part of the line near Mobile Bay, including the heavy redoubt, when it was found that the rebels had retreated from the works. In the afternoon of the 9th a successful assault was made to the right, at Blakely, and the works were carried, and several thousand rebel prisoners were captured.
Casualties at Spanish Fort: Company G – Flori Cori, wounded in leg and subsequently died in hospital at New Orleans. Company G – John Rost, wounded in left hand; A. Ayer, wounded in right leg. Company H – Sergt. P. Keating, arm amputated and died; Corporal John Lee, wounded in right thigh, seriously; Patrick Conden, flesh wound. Company K – D. Murphy, wounded in right arm.
Some other casualties occurring at different times and places are here noted: Asa Hind, Company E, was killed, April 25, 1865, by rebels, while on the march, near Montgomery, Ala.; Joseph Cox was wounded at Old Town Creek, Miss., July 15, 1865; Robert Baker and Peter Boyer, Company I, were killed by Indians at Birch Coolie, Sept. 21, 1862; Patrick Burke, Company K, was killed in a melee, by the provost guard, at St. Louis, Nov. 31, 1864. At the National Cemetery at Chalmette, near New Orleans, there lies buried by the Tenth Regiment: Company K, Sergeant Patrick Keating; Company G, E.H. Waterson, Flori Cori; Company H, H. Miles Henry; Company C, Private E.H. Matteson.
The Sixteenth Army Corps¸ including the Tenth Regiment, then marched to Montgomery, Ala. On the march, near Greenville, the regiment received news at the same time of the surrender of both Lee’s and Johnston’s armies. While at Montgomery the regiment also learned of the assassination of President Lincoln. In the month of May, the First Brigade, including the Tenth, marched from Montgomery to Meridian, Miss., where the regiment remained inactive till late in July, when the brigade devoted its attention mainly to blackberries and chronic diarrhea.
Promotions in the regiment were now nearly at an end. The companies were all below the minimum and could not have a third officer mustered. Commissions as first lieutenants were obtained, however, for Quartermaster Sergt. Richard Fewer, for meritorious service, and for Color Sergt. Cornelius O’Neil of Company K, for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battles of Nashville, Dec. 15 and 16, 1864, and they were assigned to duty in their new grades, the former in Company I, vice Gorman, promoted, and the latter in Company A, vice Strong, discharged for disability. Corporal George H. Walsh of Company I, for conspicuous good conduct at the last charge on December 16th, was promoted to quartermaster sergeant, vice Fewer, promoted, and M.R. Prendergast of Company H, who had been long acting commissary sergeant, was promoted to that position on the discharge of Sergt. Bissell for disability. Lieut. Hoy of company K was discharged for the disability resulting from his wound, April 13, 1865. Three officers of the line, Capt. Sullivan of Company H and Capt. O’Connor and First Lieut. Byrnes of Company K, were mustered out in the same grade which they held at the muster-in. First Lieut. Charles Kittelson was in command of Company E from January, 1864, until muster-out. First Lieut. Wm. B. Williams was in continuous command of Company D from July, 1864, until the discharge of the regiment; and Second Lieut. Flanders commanded Company K at the battle of Nashville, where he was wounded, and at the siege of Spanish Fort, where his forage cap was knocked from his head by the fragment of shell which next killed Sergt. Keating, and thereafter to the close of the war. These three lieutenants, neither rash nor timid, neither seeking nor shunning any service, but doing with prompt thoroughness the duty assigned them, were not surpassed in general efficiency by any officers in the regiment. Orders having been received to return to Minnesota for the purpose of being mustered out, the regiment marched to Vicksburg and took steamers to St. Louis, where they remained about three days waiting transportation home; by steamer thence to St. Paul, where they arrived Aug. 7, 1865. They marched to the capitol, where they were banqueted by the city of St. Paul. The same evening they left for Fort Snelling, where the muster rolls were made out, and finally were formally mustered out Aug. 18, 1865.