« PreviousContinue »
I 10. Of this number the Lightning Brigade lost 12 killed, 67 wounded, 11 missing—total 90; making the total loss of 20 for the two divis. ions of cavalry that first and 'last took part in the chase. The rebels recrossed the river at Lamb's Ferry, four miles south of Rogersville. We went back near Rogersville and went into cam]). Near Lamb's Ferry a rebel picket post, with 16 prisoners, w as captured by the scouts.
October \otli to November 15///, 1863—Rest and Forage—Meet Major Apple Jack Again—A Lice—entious Story—After Rlwddy—-The March of the Mud Cavalcade—Dead Horses by the Acre—Capture and Escape of Cap/. Kilborn—Capt. Kilborn Captures Gurley and Ids Brother—Chaplain De La Matyr Joins the Regiment—What Gen. Thomas Expects of Col. Miller—/// Camp at Marys; ille— Capture and Destruction of Boats—Arming the Negroes — Two Regiments Enlisted—Their Dancing and Songs — Go I is Marching on. For seven days previous to October 10th we had not been out of the saddle on an average six hours of each 24. Our rations were out; the fatigue of the campaign had been very severe on both man and beast. We were 150 miles from Chattanooga, and neither rations nor forage could be issued. We therefore spent the day foraging and resting. We have failed to note that from the day we struck the rebels at McMinnville we had been constantly picking up loose horses, until at this date each company had from 10 to 50 more horses than men; but we had picked up negroes enough to take care of the horses, and our small brigade had grown until now it seemed as large as a division. Fortunately there was an abundance of forage in the surrounding country for man and beast, and also plenty of that soul-cheering beverage, the life-giving principle of the Southern chivalry, Apple Jack, the elixir of life. We spell his name with capitals, because Apple Jack had the rank of Major in the Southern Confederacy, being the Major drink. He was also a Caput-al drink, flying quickly to the caputs of those who took him, often putting more caput on them than they could carry and stand upon their feet. He kindled their devotions, tickled up their notions, made them merry caput a navcm — —from head to navel—giving them a caput-al time generally. Is it a wonder that some of the boys, after returning from this hard chase after Wheeler, in which every nerve and muscle had been taxed to its fullest capacity, and, meeting with this merry old Major, should turn aside with him for a season of relaxation and hilarity? Not a whit of a wonder. One of the Seventy-Second declares that the following lines of the Bardie Burns to guid old Scotch whisky arc equally applicable to Apple Jack:
() thou, my Musf ! guid auld Scoteh drink.
1 n glorious laem.
To sing thy nam .!
Food fills the waffle, an' keeps us livin';
But, oiled by thee,
Thou clears the head o' doited Lear;
At's weary toil;
For the day the regiment abandoned itself to a jubilee, in which Co. A seemed to lead, and though there were but nine men of them on this raid (the others having lost their hoists in the battle of Chicamauga), their enjoyment appeared to be in the inverse ratio of iheir numbeis, and for several hours they monopolized the business of "raising Cain," till at last eveiy one of them got so limber drunk that he could neither stand nor sit, squeak nor squeal. Lieut. Barnes, in command of the squad, who had never tasted liquor before, and has never been known to taste it since, became as limber as the limberest.
We cannot forbear relating a little incident, as given by Capt. Glaze, in which he, Cipt. Robinson and Adjt. Byrnes, wore the actors. During the battle of Chicamauga a riderless horse came tlashing into our lines from the direction of the enemy, which was fully equipped with saddle, bridle and officer's outfit. The three divided the prize amongst themselves. Adjt. Byrnes took the horse, and Capts. Robinson and Glaze divided between them the contents of the saddle bags, which consisted of two changes of underclothing and a bottle of brandy. Capt. Robinson got the underclothes, and as lie had no other way to carry them, decided to put them all on, and did so. From that time to this date he had no opportunity to wash, and, like old Ten Broeck, he wore four shirts and four pairs of pantaloons, counting each pair of drawers as a pair of tights. He had felt bundled up all the time, and on several occasions felt an
uneasiness when awake, and in his dreams had been run over, stamped into the ground and horned and tossed in the air by ferocious he.ds of cattle, awaking in sweat and scratches of terror. He had grown pale and dejected. So on this day of rest and jollity he determined to bathe his flesh, take off his manifold suits and have some of the underclothes washed and aired. He took off one of his captured shirts and was astonished to find it so lively a garment. This induced him to slip off the twin rebel shirt, which was twice as lively as the first. The third shirt, one of Uncle Sim's veritable hog-hair texture, when taken off, and let go, was as lively as a wild boar of King Egbert's time. When the inner pair of drawers were taken off they raved like a wild wolf. "Creeping alive" was no name for this army of gray-backs that had colonized on Capt. Robinson. He was three times as lousy as any man in the regiment was ever known to be, and that is saying a great deal, for Jim Armstrong has been known to capture 120 at a single sitting. The Captain rec ivered slowly, but he always believed the horse bearing those underclothes was sent into our lines for the same purpose that the wooden horse was sent into Troy, and congratulated himself 011 defeating the project by his discovery of the fact, and by giving the graybacks as complete a defeat as we had just given their prototypes, Wheeler's forces. The Historian gives the foregoing as a specimen, and expresses it as a candid opinion that Capt. Robinson was pretty lice-entious at that time.
For our own part, we cannot call to mind any time in the service when rest and good living were so thoroughly enjoyed as at this time and place. As before mentioned, we were 150 miles from Chattanooga, without orders and with no possible chance of getting supplies from our commissaries.
On the 1 ith of October we marched toward Chattanooga steadily, and without anything worthy of note until the middle of the afternoon, when we went into camp east of Athens, and 20 miles from Rogersville. Our camp was near an old mill, on a beautiful stream of water. Col. Miller took possession of the mill and set it to grinding flour for our brigade, and the flour we got from this mill, together with plenty of pig and sweet potatoes, which abounded in that section, helped wonderfully to make life endurable. This was Sunday, hence we made but a Sabbath day's journey.
On Monday, the 12th, we moved due east through mud a foot deep, and camped at Huntsville.
On the 13th we started for Stevenson, but after going some distance learned that Rhoddy, with a small b ind of guerrillas, was raiding about through the country, and Col. Miller determined to break up the band, and consequently marched in the direction of Athens. On the 14th we moved toward Winchester. On the 15th we marched through Salem to near Winchester, then countermarched and camped near New Market. On the 17th we passed through Maysville to Brovv.nsburg, a depot on the Memphis and Chattanooga Railroad. Failing to come up with Rhoddy at any time, we gave up the chase. The expedition, however, was not void of good results, as it taught Mr. Rhoddy that he must be more careful in conduct and distant in manners. It rained every day of this march.
As before stated, we had picked up a great many more horses on the Wheeler chase than we needed. Our manner was to always ride the best ?nd lead the worst. When we got to Brownsburg the brigade had 1,000 more horses than men, and Col. Miller determined to have them sent to the railroad, at some point, and shipped back to Nashville, where they could be recruited up a little and made almost as good as fresh horses. Hence early 01 the morning of the 15th all the surplus horses in the brigade were mustered and a non-commissioned officer and enough men were detailed from each lompany to lead all the horses turned over by each company, and were sent to Decherd, 50 miles distant, and the nearest point on the railroad. The Seventy Second turned over 350 horses, and each of the other regiments about as many, making a vast cavalcade. The whole expedition was placed under command of Capt>. Thomson, D, and Kilboin, F. This expedition took place while the balance of the brigade went in pursuit of Rh iddy, guerrillas and bushwhackers.
It was the misfortune of the Historian to be on this detail, and as it proved five days of the hardest service we ever saw, we shall go somewhat into particulars. 1st. It had been raining very hard lor several days before we started. 2d. It rained hard every day while we were on the trip. 3d. The soil in this country is as red as a brick, and when wet as sticky as tar. 4th. Each man had to lead three horses, besides guiding the one he was, on. 5th. Fifty horses passing over a given piece of road, or ground, would tramp the ground into mud a foot deep and about as thin as batter for 'flapjacks." Now suppose you start a thousand horses over such roads under such conditions. But you cannot realize the condition of things. You must have seen for yourself before you could possibly imagine the mud—mud—mud!! The mud was under us in rivers; it flew up from under the horses' feet in sheets, pouring up our breeches legs, up our coat sleeves, into our eyes, mouth, nose and hair; it flew high into the air and came down in a pelting sho>ver of mud all the time. Men and horses were mud all over, and the whole long column looked like a lot of men and horses thit had been nude of mud and were running away from the factory before dried and baked. The sight was miserable, the feeling of it horrible. Each of the three horses being led would pull back as hard as it could, stretch out its neck and stick out its nose, and had to be almost pullei along by the leader. Aid whit is meaner, more vexatious work than leading such a horse? Tnis pulling made the horses to march obliquely, and as one file after another moved along in the same track they cut out four ditches side by side, each a foot deep, full of mud just thin enough to fly from the horses' feet 30 to 40 feet high, and just thick enough to stick The only reason that we were not smothered in mud is that a deluge of rain would pour upon us now and then and wash it off. Our cavalcade was full two miles long, and the pulling, whipping, hallooing and swearing, that were done as we dragged it through the mud and rain, would have done credit to a thousand Indiana ox-drivers breaking raw. prairie. "The army swore terribly in Flander.i, but nothing to this!" We made an average of about 20 miles a day by greatest exertions, and terrible wear and tear of body and piety. While marching through the day we had to forage for ourselves and all those horses. It makes us tired to think of, and write about, tint distressing trip.
We were two and a half days getting to Decherd. A terrible spectacle met our eyes when we got there, which we relate to show what untold losses the Government sustained just for the want of a little attention to details. When we left Decherd, August 16th, to go over the mountains, our brigade had 700 convalescent horses which we did not want to take with us: so we hauled rails and fenced in a pasture of 100 acres, turned the horses into it, and left them. We supposed, of course, that they would be sent back to Nashville and cared for. Hut it seems that when we moved the whole army moved, and those horses were left in the pasture, had eaten up every green thing, and had died of starvation. We counted 200 carcasses inside of two acres of ground. We had seen numbers of dead horses at Nashville, Murfreesboro and other places, but nothing like this.
When we reached Decherd, with our mud-bespattered cavalcade, we moved out cast, to our old camp we had left two months before; but the stench was so intolerable that we had to move further out. At this place we first met part of the nth and 12th corps, under Gen. Hooker, who were on their way to the relief of our beseiged army at Chattanooga. They were fresh from the Army of the