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did These steamers were loaded with corn and hard bread
negros were throwing corn off the Rose Douglass and would not
stop until fired on The captured train was nearly useless to us
the wagons were old and worn out and the mules looked as if
they were strangers to corn or any other kind of feed the wagons
were loaded with rebel soldiers baggage When Col Cloud came
back he went on board of the steamers examined their cargos and
ordered them to return to Van Buren he going up on the Rose
Douglass The train was turned over to Capt Cameron who took
it to Van Buren

Cos A & D started back towards Van Buren but before arriving
there heard cannonading in that direction when Co. A went down
to the river bank hailed the steamer and told Col. Cloud of it and
he ordered the boat to land. The firing proved to be the rebels
They had posted a batterry on the river bank opposite Van Buren
and were shelling the town. Our artilerry and infantry had not
yet arrived so the rebels having no resistance shelled the town
for an hour. Aliens batterry was brought up on double quick and
fired a few shots at the rebel batterry and it was taken away One
man belonging to Co H was killed and some ladies living in town
were wounded Several rebel hospitals were in town filled with
sick and wounded rebel soldiers whose lives were in as much danger
as ours.



OSBORNE'S CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES 213

When the rebel batterry was silenced Gen. Blunt came down
got on board the Rose Douglass and ordered it to go up to town.
We now went back into town arriving there about sundown Gen.
Blunts division had arrived and were formed along the levee We
found the regiment camped back away from the river on low
ground near McGees house Col. Cloud took two sections of
Aliens batterry after dark and went down and complimented
the rebel camp which he had discovered while coming up the river
killing several of the enemy The loss of men was small on both
sides although we had skirmished nearly all day we had not got
into any close action The rebel army was all on the south side of
the river excepting the 1st Reg. Texan Partisan Rangers whicft
was camped at Dripping Springs and was the one that we had
skirmished with during the day.

The next morning the reg't saddled and left camp at ten oclock
and went down the river after the rebels and to get all the ser-
vicable horses and mules we could find. We went about fifteen
miles saw some rebels across the river in several places when we
found some negros ferrying some stock across and sent for them
animals which they had taken over but night coming on were
obliged to go back with out them. When we came in sight of
Van Buren we saw the steamers we had captured burning and no
camp fires were to be seen and the place seemed to be evacuated

During the day General Blunt had recieved orders from St. Louis
to fall back across the Boston mountains immediately and the army
had moved out of the town We went back to the same place
where we stayed the previous night but before lying down re-
cieved orders to shell two days rations of corn for our horses and
be ready to march by five oclock the next morning At daylight we
were ready to move but were delayed by negro reffugees who
were going north with us The train we had captured was un-
loaded and mostly given to them A few hogsheads of sugar and
some hard bread was all we retained of our captures the rest was
destroyed As soon as the negros were ready and started we
followed them forming the rear guard going back The night of
the 30th we camped at Olivers store where we drew some rebel
hard bread as our ration had been consumed it was not hardly
fit to eat It tasted as though it was made of beans boiled mashed
and mixed with flour and then baked. The next day went up Cove
Creek and camped at its head near the picket post

New Year day we left Cove Creek and went past Cane Hill to
Rheas Mill where we found our regimental train and camped pitch-



214 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

ing our tents once more. The man who had been detached in
April for a batterry had returned during our absence they had
been in Tennessee nearly all the time while absent. The 2nd the
division moved again with the 2nd Kan. as rear guard as usual in
a retrograde movement at night camped at Willow Springs went
on the next day to Elm Springs where we remained several days.
Gen. Blunt was removed from the command and ordered to
Kansas. Gen. Schofield assumed command of the division and
brigaded it again The 1st brigade consisted of the 6th 9th & llth
Kansas & the 3rd & 9th Wis. and Aliens batterry. Col. Weer in
command the 2nd brigade consisted of the 2nd 10th & 13th Kansas
and Rabbs batterry Col. Cloud in command the 3rd brigade had
all the Indian regiments and Hopkins batterry. The 3rd of Jan
we escorted some officers to Bentonville and returned the 4th The
army was reviewed by Gen. Schofield on the 7th The transporta-
tion was reduced to one wagon to a Co. Cos A & D had drawn
A tents when at Fort Riley, these were returned to the Q. M. and
we drew Sibley tents

[Hospital Duty, January 10-March 25, 1868]

The 10th I was detailed as an attendant in hospital at Fayette-
ville I was p[l]aced on duty in the ward where [Albert L.] Payne
& [Joseph] Ballance were The room was small and had only five
pat[i]ents in it one of whom died the 12th another, Culverson of
the 20th Iowa, died the 20th he was severely wounded in the
thigh had been neglected when first wounded if his leg had
been amputated at first his life could have been saved J[ames]
Hill and Silas Snook of Co. A of the 2nd Kan died of disease the
10th of Jan.

The 8th of Feb. orders were recieved to remove all the sick and
wounded of the 1st division to Fort Scott. The 10th we started
taking eight patients who could not sit up two ambulances only
were furnished in which beds were placed and two men placed in
each The other patients were obliged to ride in transportation
wagons the wagon beds were filled with straw then mattresses
laid on it and four who could not sit up placed in one but patients
who could sit up were placed eight in each wagon Surgeons
[E. L.] Pat[t]ee and [A. J.] Ri[t]chie had charge of the hospital.
We passed Jones mill and Maysville crossed Cow Skin river and
arrived at Neosho on the 15th We drew eight days rations at Col.
[W. A.] Philipps camp on Cow Skin The 16th left Neosho The
18th the rear guard had a skirmish with Livingstons gurillas one



OSBORNE'S CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES 215

Lieut and one private was killed and three privates mortally
wounded Two scouts were captured Denton & McKinney but
pretending to be sutlers were paroled one of them had Dr. Patees
horse and saddle and all the Drs. papers these fell into the hands
of the enemy.

The night of the 19th it rained all night and until four in the
afternoon the 20th when it turned to snow and snowed for several
hours. The patients nearly all got wet making them uncomfort-
able we arrived at Dry Wood at night had some trouble with
the teamsters who would not take the train where the patients
could be taken care of but the master of transportation made them
remove the train to a house where the patients were taken out and
the blankets dried The 22[ncJ] of Feb. we arrived at Fort Scott
and the patients were placed in the Gen. Hospital there While on
the road the patients suffered very much but one died he from
sickness. I was placed on duty in Ward A.

The 19th of March all the patients were removed from the hos-
pital and started for Leavenworth Payne and Ballance had per-
mission to go home and remain until the last of April. March 25th
I was relieved from duty in the hospital, and the 28th left Fort
Scott for Springfield where the regiment was stationed I met the
6th 10th & llth at Dry Wood they were going home on furlough
passed Rouse Point Greenfield and arrived at Springfield on the
31st. The regiment had arrived there about the 15th of January
and were on duty at the post as escorts, pickets, &c.

[Regimental Activities, April-October, 1863]

The 21st of April an escort was detailed out of the regiment to
escort Maj Weed to Fayetteville we were absent six days and
marched 220 miles. [Manuscript torn. About three lines are miss-
ing] . . . and drew Sharpes Carbines the 18th [of May] drew
Colts Army revolvers The 19th [of May] the regiment left Spring-
field for a scout went through Cassville and Kiettsville had a
skirmish near Bentonville the 22nd captured eleven prisoners
then sent a flag of truce to Fayetteville but Lieut Ballard then
turned went back through Neosho Pineville and Carthage had a
skirmish near the latter place the 26th Here the dismounted men
were sent to Fort Scott for horses and the others went back through
Mt. Vernon to Springfield arriving there on the 29th At Mount
Vernon Col. Cloud hearing that Vicksburg had fallen had a
salute fired but on arriving at Springfield news was recieved that
it had not.



216 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

The 18th of June I was detailed to go to Greenfield on duty with
five others we arrived at Greenfield at sun down and returned
the next day. The 28th of June six men were detailed out of the
Co. to go after forage we went through Bolivar and found corn
about twelve miles northwest of the town, loaded our wagons and
came back through Humansville to attend a dance then through
Bolivar and arrived at Springfield the 3rd of July. The next day
had a grand review. The 15th of July Brig Gen. John McNeil
relieved Col. Cloud of the command of the district All of the regi-
ment left . . . [Manuscript torn. Two or three lines are lack-
ing.} for Cassville. The 21st Co. A left for the same place as an
escort for the pay master and on arriving at Cassville were ordered
back by Gen. McNeil, and on the 30th were detailed as an escort
for Gen. McNeil and placed on duty the same day.

The 3rd day of August I was detailed for duty as messenger and
was on duty every other day until the 13th of Oc. Col. Cloud
took the regt and the 1st Arkansas Inft. and two sections of Rabbs
batterry and went into the Indian Nation joined Gen. Blunt pur-
sued the rebels as far as Perryville Choctaw Nation then came
back towards Fort Smith and fought a battle at the Devils Back
Bone routed the enemy and then took possession of Fort Smith
& Van Buren the 1st of Sep 1863.

About the last of Sep Gen. McNeil went to St Louis on business
leaving Col. John Edwards of the 18th Iowa Inft in command of
the district. A few days after a force of rebel cavalry came into
the state from Ark Commanded by Shelby & Coffee 31 They passed
through Neosho, Greenfield, Stockton, Warsaw and Cole Camp
burning all the court houses as they went. They were defeated
near Syracuse and came back. [Manuscript torn. Two or three
lines are missing.]

. . . stationed at Springfield and went out after them, but
was too late to overtake them before they crossed the Osage river
going north so he retired to Buffalo where he remained until the
13th of Oc. when Gen. McNeil arrived from St Louis and assumed
command.

The 14th orders were recieved for all of the Co. that could be
spared from Springfield to go to Buffalo. We started at ten oclock
at night and arrived there a distance of thirty five miles before
daylight. At eleven oclock in the forenoon the command left
Buffalo and marched to Bolivar. Early in the morning of the 16th
we left Bolivar and went through Humansville and camped on

31. Confederate colonels Joseph O. Shelby and John T. Coffee.



OSBORNE'S CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES 217

Sac river at night Maj [E. B.] Eno of the 8th M. S. M. came
up at dark and reported that the enemy had passed through
Humansville in the afternoon on their way south Gen. McNeil
ordered his command to saddle and we moved out to intercept the
enemy at Stockton we marched all night and arrived near Stock-
ton at day light but the rebels had taken another route we did
not meet them. We remained here long enough to get breakfast
and then went on to Greenfield remained there over night and
in the morning went on to Sarcoxie We heard of the enemy
several times and found their trail. They had avoided passing
through any towns after leaving Humansville As they were going
towards Cassville two messengers were sent to that place to
alarm the troops at that place. /The 19th we left Sarcoxie and went
to Cassville. Col. [E. C.] Catherwood of the 6th M. S. M. took
all the troops except the escort and leaving Cassville to the left
went on to Keittsville. We had followed the trail of the enemy
nearly all day they having passed during the night.

We left Cassville early the morning of the 20th [of October]
joined Col Catherwood near Keittsville then went on to Sugar
Creek The next morning we left Sugar Creek on the Fayetteville
road but turned off of it near Cross Hollows went east to the ford
of White river where we camped for the night. The next day we
went on to Huntsville. We met a flag of truce before entering the
town and while the Gen. was talking to the bearer of the flag the
escort charged into the town drove out a Co. of rebels who were
stationed there and captured about a dozen rebels. The 23rd we
left Huntsville and went about twenty miles and camped At night
a messenger arrived from Cassville with orders for Gen. McNeil
to go to Fort Smith and assume command of the district of the
frontier. Capt. [C. G.] Laurant and Lieut French were sent back
to Springfield to finish all business which was left unfinished.

The 24th we marched through Kinston and over a range of the
Buffalo mountains On the decent we discovered the enemy in
the valley below. They were busy preparing their supper evi-
dently thinking that we could not get our artilerry over the moun-
tains and they were not afraid of our cavalry as they had twice as
many men as we had but they were mistaken about the artilerry
it had been brought up and was soon posted on a high point and
commenced shelling their camp and they saddled and went on up
another mountain. We went down into the valley where we found
plenty of fresh beef and pork all ready to cook and plenty of forage.
We remained there till morning and then went on after the rebels



218 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

The mountain was so steep that it took all day for the artilerry
and train to get over the first one and the infantry was left to
guard them the cavalry went on to the head of Big Piney where
we camped for the night. The enemy being all mounted and not
having a wheeled vehecle of any kind got so much the start of us
that we could not overtake them before they crossed the Ark river
but Maj [Thomas J.] Hunt of the 1st Ark. Cav'y skirmished with
their rear guard every day.

The 26th the cavalry moved only four miles and waited for the
artilerry and infantry to come up. The train did not get in until
about dark. The morning of the 27th the mountain Feds as they
were called executed a man who as they said had deserted from
them twice he appeared very indifferent to his fate and was not
pittied any by the soldiers. The same day we arrived at Clarks-
ville and camped there one night Oc. 28th we left Clarksville
on the telegraph road for Fort Smith. Col. Catherwood left us
when near Osark for Springfield taking the detachments of the
1st Ark Cav'y and the 6th & 8th M. S. M. Capt [Henry] Hopkins
and his Co. had a skirmish with the enemy the 29th on Mulberry
creek.

[Regimental Activities, November, 1863-D ecember, 1864]

Oc. 30, Gen. McNeil arrived at Fort Smith with his escort. Col.
Cloud was in command of the District. The posts in the district
were Fort Smith Van Buren Fayetteville and Fort Gibson. The
company arrived from Springfield the 1st of Nov. and the next day
Gen. McNeil assumed command of the District of the Frontier.
Co. A, the escort was given quarters in the garrison and we had
a stable for our horses We remained in quarters until April [1864]
but most of the Co. was absent at times going to Springfield once
and to Fort Scott once Gen McNeil went to St Louis in Jan. leav-
ing Col [William R.] Judson of the 6th Kan in temporary command
of the district and before he could return the state of Ark was set
off into a seperate department and Gen. J. M. Thayer ordered
by Gen Steelle 32 the department commander to assume command
of the district of the Frontier.

Gen. Thayer assumed command in Feb. The Indian Territory
belonged to the Department of Kansas and Gen Blunt was assigned
to the command of it. The town of Fort Smith belonged to one
department and the garrison to the other, and the Generals were
each jealous of the other. Gen. Thayer had nearly all of the troops

32. Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele.



OSBORNE'S CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES 219

and Gen Blunt most of the transportation. The 24th of March
Gen. Thayer moved out with his army, and joined Gen. Steelle
about a hundred miles southwest of Little Rock In the latter part
of March 1864, the troops of the department of Ark. moved out
to assist Gen. [Nathaniel P.] Banks in his expedition on Red River.
Gen Thayer took all the troops that could be spared from Fort
Smith and marched out and joined Gen. Steelle about one hundred
miles southwest of Little Rock. They went as far as Camden and
fought several battles, but Gen. Banks having retreated the whole
rebel army marched on them and they fell back to Little Rock.

The 17th of April Gen. Blunt recieved orders from the war de-
partment at Washington for him to report to Maj Gen. Curtis at
Fort Leavenworth Kansas, and his district was attached to the
Department of Ark. He took about forty of the Co. and went to
Kansas, Col. [William R.] Judson of the 6th Kan. assumed com-
mand of the district. The whole available force at Fort Smith did
not then amount to six hundred men, and many aprehended an
attack from the rebels, but the enemy were too much engaged else-
where to molest us. The 16th of May Gen. Thayer arrived with
his army and assumed command of the district. He had the forts
which had been commenced finished, and had a line of rifle pits
dug from Peteau river to the Ark. Thereby completely encircling
the town.

As warm weather advanced the gurillas spread over the country
attacking any small party of our troops that they could find The
telegraph was cut so often that it was impossible to keep it in re-
pair and it was given up in Aug. Mail parties were fired on and it
became neccessary to abandon the regular mail and send parties
through with it at long intervals without letting any one know when
it would go or when it was expected to return. The 26th of July a
battalion of the 6th Kan which was camped on Mazzard prairie,
eight miles from Fort Smith was attacked by a brigade of rebels
commanded by [Gen. R. M.] Gano and lost 16 men killed and one
hundred men were taken prisoners. The mounted men nearly all
escaped

Several other attacks were made on detachments of the command,
but only one more was successful. That was made on a supply
train on Cabin Creek fifty miles north of Fort Gibson in the Chero-
kee Nation. A train of two hundred and fifty wagons was lost
there all loaded with Commissary and Q. M. stores This was a
severe loss to the army as it was short of rations before, and were
now obliged to subsist on half rations. Forage was even less abun-



220 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

dant than rations and many horses died for want of it. In the
three cavalry regiments not fifty servicable horses were left by the
1st of Dec.

In Dec Maj Gen [E. R. S.] Canby who commanded the Military
Division of West Miss, ordered the posts of Fort Smith and the
ajacent posts to be evacuated. He removed Gen. Steelle from
the command of the department of Ark. and assigned Maj Gen
[Joseph J.] Reynolds to the command of it. Four steamers came
up to Fort Smith loaded with forage and returned loaded with
Q. M. stores About the first of Jan. orders were recieved from
Lieut Gen. Ulysses S. Grant not to evacuate the posts of Fort Smith,
Van Buren and Fayetteville and ordering Gen. Reynolds to for-
ward supplies as soon as possible to those posts. Four steamers
arrived on the 15th with supplies.

[Rebel Attack on the Steamboat Annie Jacobs, January 17, 1865]

On the 16th of January 1865 I was releived from duty as Messen-
ger at District Headquarters Fort Smith, Arkansas, by order of
Brig. General J. M. Thayer commanding officer District of the
Frontier and ordered to report to my Company Commander for
duty The Co. were at Clarksville Ark a post sixty five miles by
land below Fort Smith and four miles from the Arkansas river on
the north side The river was in boating condition and boats were
at Fort Smith ready to start for Little Rock Transportation was
furnished my companions and myself on board the steamer Annie
Jacobs and daylight the morning of the 17th found us on board
of her ready for starting to Clarksville

Before the sun was up we were on our way We passed the Ad.
Hine near Van Buren she was on a sand bar but working hard to
get off Afterwards passed the steamer Chippewa where she was
wooding with dry rails and over took the steamer Lotus wooding
and stopped to wood ourselves near her While wooding the
steamer Chippewa passed us but we were ready to start before
the Lotus We passed two small towns Osark and Roseville with-
out seeing any rebels but just below the latter town a woman
hailed us and told us that the enemy were waiting for us about
three miles below her story was hardly credited but we made
some preperations for an action with them

On ariving in sight of Joy's ford four miles from Roseville we
discovered the Chippewa lying still on the south bank of the
river. Col. [Thomas M.] Bowen of the 13th Kansas now procured
a field glass and looking at her said that he thought that she was



OSBORNE'S CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES 221

wooding at first but soon said that she was on fire soon after
that we could see the flames distinctly with the naked eye The
officers now held a consultation about what was best to do Col.
Bowen said to run through that we had more of an escort than the
Chippewa and were able to run through Lieut Col. B assert did
not like this plan but allowed it to be carried out.

When about a mile from Chippewa we discovered the enemy
on the south bank of [the] river but did not see their artilery until
they fired a shell at us which struck in the water about thirty paces
to the right in the water; now for the first time we found out that
we were in a sad predicament to go ahead we would have to go
within sixty paces of their artilery and we had gone to far to turn
back everything was in confusion no particular officer had com-
mand and all were giving orders Lt. Col. Bassett finally ordered
the boat to run itself aground on the northern bank and the pilot
succeeded in turning her and she soon struck the ground about
ten feet from the waters edge during this time the enemy kept up
an incessant fire both with their artilery and small arms two shells
struck the boat one passed through the pilot house doing but little
injury and one through the cabin neither of them burst untill after
they had passed through the boat

As soon as the boat struck the reffugees with which she was
loaded commenced getting off double quick time By this time our
men had ceased their firing and prepared to leave the boat After
most of the reffugees were of [f] I jumped off and started for the
river bank just before arriving there I was requested to help tie
up [the] boat having done this I started up the steep bank nar-
rowly escaping being hit by a musket ball which passed just over
my shoulder and very close to my neck After getting to the top
of the bank I stepped a few paces back and seeing one of my com-
panions Charles Wells lying down in a hollow to keep clear of the
balls which were flying pretty thick around us asked him how he
liked that he did not make an audible answer but got up and
went father back into the woods

I turned and started back towards the river and had not gone
more than three paces when a shot from their artilery and a
volley of musketry poured into the timber a musket ball struck me
about three inches above the knee. 33 My companions done every-

33. Col. Thomas M. Bowen, reporting the attack on the steamboats, stated: "Private
Vincent B. Osborn, of the Second Kansas Cavalry, had his thigh bone shattered whilst
making the cable of the Jacobs fast on shore. His leg was subsequently amputated and
his life is lost." War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 48, Pt. 1, p. 16.

The colonel was mistaken in predicting Osborne's death from the amputation. It is



Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 25 of 76)