Washington Gardner.

History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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Battle Creek.

This regiment, known as the Second IVIissouri Cavalry, of which these
three companies constituted a part, had more Calhoun County men in
it than any single regiment that went from our state.

The Michigan battalion of this regiment had a

Total enrollment. 527.

Killed in action, 23.

Died of wounds, 6.

Died of disease, 49.

Discharged for disability, 59.

We take pleasure in inserting at this point the following article pre-
pared by Captain George H. Rowell, of Battle Creek, who was denomin-
ated by a prominent survivor as the "most competent man living to
perform this service."

The Formation of the "Merru^l Horse"

By Captain George E. Rowell

Early in the Civil war several companies were organized in the
State of Michigan, and their services offered to Governor Blair, who,
having no authority, was obliged to decline receiving them; conse-
quently they sought service in other states. Notably among these organ-
izations were two troops of cavalry recruited and organized by Doctor
S. B. Thayer, Jabez B. Rogers and James B. Mason, all of Battle
Creek. Several telegrams were fiashed over the wires between Major
General John C. Fremont, then commanding the territory known as the
Department of the Missouri, and the parties responsible for the organi-
zation of these two companies, finall.y resulting in Fremont's accepting
the services of these two companies or troops, if they would report to
him within ten days ; then commenced some very lively work on the part
of the organizers, resulting in two full troops consisting of eighty-five
men in each troop, being reported to Major General Fremont. Although
eleven days had elapsed when we reported to the General, even this
small contingent was gladly accepted and on the 9th day of September,
1861, the troops were swoim in to the service of the United States, and
was then known as the nucleus to which with other troops, from other
states gathered, and it was soon known that Ohio, Missouri, Indiana and
New York City and Michigan, were all vieing with each other to see which
and who should first announce their organization complete, and in a fit
condition to take the field. The Michigan troops were known and num-
bered as Companies H and I. Captain Lewis Merrill of the regular army
was waiting in St. Louis for the colonelcy of a volunteer regiment, and



HISTORY OP CALHOUN COUNTY 579

these smaller organizations were assigned to liim.^ as good timber from
which to form a regiment. Ohio contributed three companies, C, G and
K. Missouri contributed four companies, B, D, E and F. Michigan con-
tributed two full comi^anies H and I, and in December following, A, a
mixed company, composed mostly of Michigan men commanded bv Cap-
tain Hii-am F. Hale, of Battle Creek, Michigan. And in November,
1862, another full company of Michigan men was added to the regiment,
raised at Battle Creek and commanded by Captain Almon E. Preston.
This company was named Company L, and was the 11th company joined
to the regiment with Colonel Lewis Merrill, of the regular army, as
colonel of the new regiment, fulh' equipped to take the field.

After remaining in drill school in Benton barracks, Missouri, for
about six weeks, the first outside service of the regiment was on what
was known as "Fremont's Springfield Exjicdition," but Ficiuonl did
not remain in command long enough to complete the expedition, being
superseded on the march by Major General Hunter, which at the time
was generally deplored by Fremont's army. After this service was com-
pleted the regiment returned to St. Louis, and soon after was divided
into siib-divisions and sent out into the state to subdue and capture
roving bands of guerrila who were murdering the citizens, and burning
and destroying their property. The regiment was kept employed in
this kind of warfare during the ensuing fall and winter, and did good
execution in ridding the state of many of these bands. The following
summer, 1862, one, Colonel Joseph Porter, a Confederate offii-er, iuvaded
the state with a force of Confederate volunteers, and ran riot through
the state murdering and maltreating the people. General Sehofield,
then in command of that department, ordered Colonel Merrill to con-
centrate his regiment, and if possible drive out and exterminate these
roving bands. During the summer and winter of 1862, the regiment had
several battles with detachments of the rebels, the last at Kirksville, Mis-
souri, August 6th, 1862, variously estimated at from 2,000 to 3,000 men,
while the Federal force augmented by a small force of state militia
numbered something over 1,100 men. Porter was defeated with a loss
of 100 killed, and something over 300 taken prisoners. Porter was
driven from the state, and comparative ^ , ,

Harper, James H. Company H. Enlisted at Emmet, Aug. 3, 1861. Discharged,

Nov. 22, 1862, for disabling wounds received in action.

Harrington, Daniel G. Company H. Enlisted at Battle Creek, Aug. "8 1861
Sergeant, Nov. 1, 1862. First Sergeant, Dec. 1, 1864. Second Lieut., June 1865
Mustered out, Sept. 19, 1865.

Harrison, Alfred P. Company I. EnUsted at Battle Creek, Nov. 5, 1S62. Cor-



Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 71 of 74)