Isaac Gause.

Four years with five armies: Army of the frontier, Army of the Potomac, Army of the Missouri, Army of the Ohio, Army of the Shenandoah (Volume 1) online

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Isaac Gausk

Serjeant, Co. K, Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalr,\


Four Years with
Five Armies

Army of the Frontier, Army of the Potomac,

Army of the Missouri, Ai^my of the

Ohio, Army of the Shenandoah



Late of Co. E, Second Ohio Cav.

New York and Washington




4 Preface

something for his horse and himself to sub-
sist on, the diary was either abandoned or
lost. So, guided almost entirely by memory,
he can write only a short history of the long
campaigns, privations, and engagements.



I. Observations in a Rural District . 9

II. Camp Life at Cleveland . . . . 17

III. Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 31

IV. My First Picket Duty .... 48
V. My First Skirmish 56

VI. The Indian Expedition .... 75

VII. Provost Duty at Fort Scott . . 102

VIII. In Quarters at Camp Chase . .113

IX. In Kentucky 122

X. On Morgan's Trail 148

XI. The Capture of Morgan . . .160
XII. Events Succeeding A Furlough . .176

XIII. Campaigning in East Tennessee . 183

XIV. More Tennessee Service . . . .199
XV. The End of the Campaigns of '63 .213

XVI. In the Army of the Potomac . .217

XVII. Service in Virginia 232

XVIII. Rough Times in the Old Dominion 247
XIX. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of

War 267

XX. The Wilson Raid 275

XXI. General Kautz in His Element . 286
XXII. Reorganizing and Hustling . . 298

6 Contents


XXIII. Capture of the Eighth South Caro-

lina Infantry 306

XXIV. Battle of Cedar Creek .... 330
XXV. Custer's Raid 343

XXVI. Winter Quarters 348

XXVII. James River Canal Raid .... 352

XXVIII. The Last Battles 366

XXIX. Mustered Out 375

XXX. Political and Military Effect of

Morgan's Raid 381

XXXI. The Army Horse 383


Isaac Gause Frontispiece

Medal of Honor Facing page g

Franklin Ackley " " 22

Charles Grandison Fairchild . " " 54

G. W. Byard " " 86

A. V. Kautz " "108

Mathias M. Springer ... " " 140

William W. Wurts .... " " 172

E. P. Smith " " 204

George A. Wilkins .... " " 242

F. F. Rexford " " 272

Warner Newton " " 302

Four Years with Five Armies



I WAS born in Trumbull County, Ohio,
December 9, 1843, and began going to
school when I was five. When in my
seventh year I moved with my parents
to Mahoning County, and at the age of four-
teen I went to live with my uncle Elijah
Shinn, on a farm in Goshen Township.
About that time my attention was called to the
political condition of the country, because of
the radical change that had recently taken
place in the old parties.

The people in that locality were of many
religious faiths and political opinions, among
whom were many Abolitionists, who refused
to vote because there was a clause in the Con-
stitution which permitted chattel slavery.

When an effort was made to admit the Ter-
ritory of Kansas into the Union the contro-
versy was so bitter that the Abolitionists
showed a disposition to vote provided they
could get some concession from the Whigs,
then under the able leadership of the Hon.
Joshua R. Giddings, who conceived the plan
to form a new party that would admit them.

lo Four Years with Five Armies

and also suit the liberal or free-State Demo-

In i860 Abraham Lincoln was nominated
Presidential candidate by the new party. The
demonstrations in towns and villages fired the
children in the rural districts with a spirit of
patriotism, a spirit to which I was able to con-
tribute by driving to town and purchasing a
flag that we were able to raise on a fifty-foot
pole in front of the schoolhouse. After the
election of Lincoln, secession being threatened,
the probability of war in the near future was
much discussed, but there were only a few
who thought such a calamity would befall the
country. A small per cent., however, thought
that a division of States was assured from the
fact that the Southern men were accustomed
to the use of firearms, and that they were
trained to the code and followed the chase.

During the winter of i860 I was much of
the time in company with two brothers, who
took an interest in the pending question from
the fact that their former schoolmates, the
Copic brothers, were members of John
Brown's company, and were with him on
the noted raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia,
when they took possession of the United States
Arsenal at that place. One of my com-
panions had also been in Kansas during the
border troubles, or '56 war. Consequently I
listened to many stories of encounters that had
taken place between the free-State men of
Kansas and the pro-slavery party in Missouri,

Mkdai, of Honor

This medal contains the followinjf words :

вЦ†' The Congress to Corporal Isaac Gause, Co. K, 2d Ohio Cav. Vols.,
lor Gallantry near Berryville, Va., September 13, 18&I." It was
ifiven to Corporal Gause on the recommendations of Generals Wilson
and Mcintosh.

In " Medals of Honor," a publication issued by the War Depart-
ment, September 19, 1S64, will be found the following in relation to
Mr. Gause: " Corporal, Co. E, 2d Ohio Cavalry ; Action, near Berry-
ville, Va. ; Date, September 13. 1864. Capture of the colors of the 8th
S. C. Infantry while engaged in a reconnoissance along the Berry-
ville and Winchester pike."

Observations in a Rural District ii

the details of which gave me some informa-
tion concerning the strategy that profitably
can be practiced in the enemy's country.

I will relate a story that will serve to show
how one may be compelled to pay the penalty
of another's crime. This 1 give as near as
possible in my friend's language. He said:
'' When I made up my mind to come back
to Ohio," said he, " I was in Wyandotte, Kan.
In order to get to the railroad I must travel
thirty miles in Missouri. It was fatal for a
free-State or Kansas man to be caught in that
part of the country, so I prepared myself ac-
cordingly, and if suspected, I would claim to
be a pro-slavery man. I had a full beard and
long hair, and I put on a white shirt for the
first time in a long while, then buckled on a
belt with revolver and dirk. I crossed the
Missouri in an unfrequented place at night,
and hurried along so as to arrive at Weston
to take the train at nine o'clock in the morn-
ing. About three o'clock, when passing a
plantation, a large dog, of which every planter
kept one or more, jumped out of the gate and
sprang at my throat, but by catching him by
the paw and giving it a sudden wrench I pre-
vented him from getting hold. To prevent
making a noise I drew the knife, and after
a desperate struggle I killed him. I imme-
diately left the road in order to cover my trail,
for if the planter should follow and overtake
me I would meet the fate of my victim. When
I came to a creek about daylight I washed

12 Four Years with Five Armies

the blood ofif, leaving a stain on one cufif of
my shirt. It was about sunrise when I ar-
rived at Weston and sat down in the waiting-
room. Soon after, on looking out, I saw a
party ride toward the depot. It was evident
they were in haste, and thinking they were in
search of a runaway slave I gave the incident
little attention until they dismounted, came on
the platform, and began looking about the
depot. Finally, one of them walked up,
reached out his arm, saying at the same
time, 'Ain't this our man?' Thinking he
wanted to shake hands, I reached out mine,
and so uncovered the stained cuff. Before
there was time to think, they covered me with
two revolvers and dragged me out and ad-
justed the rope for my neck. There was no
time allowed for explanation, as they were
wild with excitement. One of them, however,
more cool than the others, insisted that they
had the wrong man. But the others said,
' Here is the stain on his cufif, and the rascal
has tried to wash it ofif.' ' No,' he said, ' I
know the man that killed Bill.' The last re-
mark explained matters sufficient for me to
catch my breath, inasmuch as I thought they
were going to hang me for killing the dog
during the night. When an explanation about
the stain was given, they apologized for the
rough treatment and rode away."

The many stories, combined with the in-
creasing animosity constantly agitated by the
press, convinced me that nothing short of war

Observations in a Rural District 13

would settle the political differences between
the North and South. At that time it would
have been considered presumptuous to inti-
mate that I could engage in any way in the
struggle, although my mind was made up
from the time Brooks of South Carolina
struck Sumner of Massachusetts in the United
States Senate, that should war be declared I
would bear my part in one capacity or an-
other. It was my secret, however, until the
war was in full progress and the President
had made the second call for troops. As no
opportunity presented itself for me to enlist
in the cavalry, I formed a plan to go away
with a neighbor boy and enlist in the infantry.
But we were both under the care of guardians,
and our plan by some chance became known
and was thwarted by them.

My uncle, having been raised a Quaker and
being of a very mild disposition, had seldom
spoken in a positive manner. I had lived with
him four years, and that was the first time
he had refused to let me have my own way,
although the previous requests had not been
of an important nature.

One evening in August my aunt read an
article from the Mahoning County Register,
stating that Professor Hall was recruiting a
company in Canfield, to join what was to be
known as Wade and Hutchins's cavalry. The
names of the enlisted men were attached to
the article. There were four with whom I
was slightly acquainted, one a former school-

14 Four Years with Five Armies

mate, of whom mention will be made in the
future. My mind was made up at once. I
would go, let come what would. I had al-
ways had one or more horses at my command
from the time I could mount one from a
stump or fence corner, for 1 was fond of a
good horse, and delighted to run races with
my associates whenever meeting them, whether
going or coming from fairs, camp-meetings,
and so on, and I had had many adventures
and some narrow escapes. The next Saturday
there was another article in the paper that my
aunt also read to me. It stated that Captain
Hall's company had nearly its complement of
men and would depart from Canfield to join
their regiment at Camp Wade, Cleveland,
Ohio, on the following Tuesday. That was
short notice for one who had made no arrange-
ments. But, being fully determined, I set
about formulating my plans. There were
many things to be taken into consideration,
many of which had been crudely revolved in
my mind, but with no definite conclusion as
to the result of any of them. My uncle and
aunt were my guardians, and were the same
as father and mother to me. I could not have
loved them better had they been such in fact.
My home was equal to the best of my asso-
ciates', and to break my family ties was no
small concern to me. Besides, I was bound
by a contract between my mother and uncle
to remain with them until I was eighteen, and
I would not be eighteen till the 9th of the

Observations in a Rural District 15

next December. Moreover, by breaking the
contract I would forfeit all the financial bene-
fit that had accrued to me by the last four
years' labor. At the expiration of my time
my uncle was to pay me one hundred dollars,
give me a horse, saddle and bridle, and a new
suit of clothes. As at that time the aggregate
of this was equal to two hundred and twenty-
five dollars, it was considered a very fair start
in life for one at my age. It did not occur
to me there would be another chance to go
into the cavalry, and therefore I thought to
myself, now is the time to go.

The worst of all was to leave without the
consent of uncle and aunt. Weary with my
ponderings, sleep overtook me, and next day
I went to church. As soon as the service was
ended I collected my associates, and we went
to the woods for a council. I told them all
about the cavalry company, and that we
should all go together and enlist, but there
was no response from them. After describing
the difference between the cavalryman and
the infantry, those that must plod through
mud and snow, I gave up the task and started
home. On the way I met some young men
that consented to go with me. The next thing
to do was to notify my uncle. After sitting
down to dinner I told them what my mind
was made up to do. To my surprise and
gratification my uncle said, " If he thinks he
must go I will take him to Canfield to-morrow
and let him enlist." Much gratified to think

1 6 Four Years with Five Armies

there was no opposition from this source my
arrangements were made accordingly.

On Monday morning, when the work had
been done as usual, I made preparation to go,
but it began to rain and my uncle did not want
to take his carriage out. But rain was no ob-
stacle in my way, and I walked over to the
home of my neighbor, who was presumably
to be my future companion, and found him
putting the saddle on his horse. When he saw
the way I was situated, he hitched the horse
to a buggy and drove over to get our other
man. He had made no arrangements to go,
so we drove to Canfield, put the horse in the
stable at the Bostwick House, and here we
met those with whom we were acquainted,
among them George A. Wilkins. With a cor-
dial greeting, he shook hands and asked,
"Well, are you going with us?" " I surely
am," I replied, " if there is room for one
more on the rolls." " Come right in here," he
said, and then addressing the sergeant, he con-
tinued, " Here is another one to add to the
list." "How old are you?" asked the ser-
geant. " Eighteen, of course," Wilkins re-
plied, and down went my name.



WE went to the Meeker House, where
the men were selecting the horses
they were to ride in the service.
Those horses that had been in-
spected and accepted by the government in-
spector stood in stalls in the long stables, and
the many horse-dealers that had horses to sell
occupied the open sheds on an adjoining lot,
each with a bunch that he was anxious to dis-
pose of. After inspecting three or four lots
without finding one to suit me, I passed on to
another, and there found one. The owner
said, " You know a good horse when you see
it, but that one does not come up to the stand-
ard height; it has been inspected and re-
jected on that account. She is the best animal
in the stable and can outrun anything in the
county, but she is nervous and unreliable in
harness. If you can get her accepted, you
will be the best mounted man in the com-
pany." He put the saddle on the mare and
brought her out. She was anxious to go, and
every motion was as quick as a cat, and when
I lit in the saddle she shot out of the stable like
an arrow. After galloping up and down the
street and turning short on the slippery plank


1 8 Four Years with Five Armies

pavement to the delight of the bystanders and
to my own satisfaction, I rode to the stable.
" Now," he said, '^ you tell the inspector that
if he does not accept this mare you will not
go with the company." I carried out his in-
structions, and after much quibbling and hesi-
tation, and by the earnest request of the by-
standers who had witnessed my horsemanship,
the animal was accepted and " U. S." branded
upon her.

After dinner we returned home and made
hasty preparation for my departure. The
next morning I mounted a horse at daybreak
and rode to Damascus, a distance of three
miles, my cousin having gone there to stay all
night with friends, and driven the horse and
carriage that was wanted to take me to Can-
field. As soon as we had breakfast we went
home and found that my uncle had changed
his mind. He wanted to sell a horse and con-
cluded to go on horseback. It was fourteen
miles to Canfield and the company would
leave at ten o'clock, so we hurried away as
soon as possible after taking leave of those I
might not see soon again. When we had rid-
den about three miles we were overtaken by
a horse-buyer who wanted artillery horses. I
galloped the one I was riding up and down
the road to show him ofif to the best advantage.
The trade was soon made by the dealer ad-
vancing my uncle five dollars with instruc-
tions to deliver the horse at Salem the follow-
ing Monday.

Camp Life at Cleveland 19

When within a mile of Canfield my uncle
said he was tired, as he was not used to riding,
and would like to return if I was satisfied to
\yalk. We dismounted, and after an affec-
tionate leave-taking, I walked toward town,
while he rode in the opposite direction. We
were scarcely out of sight of each other when
the cannon began to boom the farewell salute
to the company as it departed for Youngs-
town, where they were to embark by rail. I
soon met one of my neighbor boys who had
ridden over to see the company start. When
I explained to him my dilemma, he rode into
town to make some arrangement by which I
could get to Youngstown. The streets were
deserted and the houses closed, with but a few
people to represent the place. Every avail-
able horse and harness had been put into use
to take the company and its friends to Youngs-
town. But it so happened that one doctor had
one more buggy than horse, which his wife
graciously loaned us. We found an old
breast-strap, and by using ropes for traces,
were enabled to hitch my friend's horse; but
as there were no holdback straps, we had to
get out and hold the buggy back going down
hill. We arrived at our destination just in
time for dinner. The scene was to me a new
and novel one. A vast crowd had gathered
around the hotel where the dinner had been
prepared and placed on a long table for the
company. It was so closely packed that it
w^as almost impossible to gain an entrance.

20 Four Years with Five Armies

My friend interceded for me, and told them
that here was a member of the company who
had been left behind and wanted dinner be-
fore train-time. That was all that was nec-
essary, as everyone was anxious to show
gratitude to the soldier. As word passed
along, " Here is one, let him in," we finally
managed to reach the table. After the dinner
was concluded, the people gathered around
the empty cars by the already overcrowded
platform. These cars were destined to take
us away, and it was announced that it was time
to board the train. I walked around to the
opposite side, where I could gain the step to
the car without coming in contact with the
crowd, and there, with a hearty handshake,
and many thanks for the assistance he had
rendered me, I took leave of my friend, to
meet him again more than a year afterward
on his deathbed.

When I entered the car the scene that met
my eye was heartrending indeed. There were
fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and wives
with tears and sobs, taking, for aught they
knew, their last leave of their dear ones who
were going to combat in what was destined
to be a long and bloody struggle. My atten-
tion was called to one group in particular,
owing to its peculiar variance from the others.
A middle-aged couple, whose attire would
indicate that they were poor people, stood at
one end of the car, and as the woman handed
her husband some small token, she said:

Camp Life at Cleveland 21

" Remember me, wlien this you see,
Though many miles apart we be."

Then, with a fond embrace, and tears rolling
down her face, she boo-hooed, and left the car.

When the train pulled out, its occupants
consisted of the company, and a few of the
most influential men from Canfield and
Youngstown who wanted to see their friends
safely in camp. Now that we were away from
the women, the flask became a frequent visi-
tor. I was in a car whose occupants were
entire strangers to me, but it was not long until
my friends, who had not time to think of me
before, came in search of me, and with hard
persuasion succeeded in getting me to take
the first drink of liquor that ever passed my
lips. The most of them became jolly as the
train moved along, and it was a great contrast
from the hours before. I thought, how easily
and soon they forget!

We arrived at Cleveland about sundown,
and when we were out of the cars the captain
ordered us to fall in line. I had never been
in line, and had seen but one company of
recruits march. We crossed the Cuyahoga
River and marched up a long hill. It was
awkward work for me, but I managed to step
on the heels of the man in front as often as
the man behind me trod on mine. We ar-
rived at the top of the hill, where we found
preparations going on for our reception. By
details from companies the eleven tents had
been stretched, and there was a colored cook

22 Four Years with Five Armies

for each mess. Supper was almost ready.
Our tables consisted of forked sticks about
four feet long set in the ground for legs, with
short poles from fork to fork, on which rested
two boards twelve inches wide and about
twelve feet long. Each cook had a tent called
" the cook-tent " for him to sleep in, and to
store away the rations. After supper the as-
signment to the different messes began, but
most of these had been done by mutual con-
sent before leaving Canfield. There were
four or five of us, however, that were on the
stray list, we either having no acquaintance
with the others or not having had time to
make arrangements. The different messes
went by the name of the town in which the
men lived; as, the Salem mess; Canfield mess;
Youngstown mess, Girard, Nilestown, Board-
man, Jackson. All of my acquaintances were
in the Salem mess, and as they had only ten
men I was invited to join them. They soon
found another young man, Frank Ackley,
about my age and size, to be my " bunky,"
and to complete the required number for the
mess. We each then drew a single blanket,
and I lay down in a tent for the first time in
my life. My bunky, like myself, was igno-
rant of camp life, and had come without any
bedding, therefore we were not so comfort-
ably fixed as some of our comrades who
brought quilts and blankets with them. The
ground seemed very hard, and we turned over
often during that first night. In the morning

Fkankijn Acklev

Corporal, Co. E, Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry


Camp Life at Cleveland 23

we began to look about to learn something of
our surroundings. We learned that our com-
pany was the last of twelve to arrive in camp,
but that some of them did not have their full
quota and therefore could not muster, al-
though they occupied their place in camp.

Professor Hall had opened the rolls for en-
listment on August loth, and recruited the
first man for the regiment. We considered
him captain and accordingly elected him as
such, with Bales Fawcet for first lieutenant,
and Peter L. Rush for second lieutenant.
There was a great deal of fault found with
Captain Hall's conduct and management of
the company, but his selection of non-com-
missioned officers showed his judgment was
good in that respect. It saved a great deal of
trouble in the future, with Warner Newton
for first sergeant, a man with executive ability
to command a brigade; Dan Arnold for
quartermaster sergeant, who had some experi-
ence in that line, having been with Walker's
expedition across the plains some years before.
The other non-commissioned officers were the
best men in the company, though none had
any military knowledge except Corporal
William H. Arnold, and he had been in the
three months' service and was at the battle of
Manassas Junction,

Two days after we arrived in camp our
horses, which had been brought on foot, were
tied to a picket rope on the flats between
Camp Wade and the Cuyahoga River, where

24 Four Years with Five Armies

they were taken care of by a detail termed
" horse guards " until late in the fall. At
Camp Wade there was also camped a battery
of artillery and a small detachment of Ohio
boys enlisted for the noted Jim Lane's com-
mand in Kansas. It was in that detachment
that the first fatality occurred at Camp Wade.
The boys had been furnished with guns and
used them when on camp duty. There were
two brothers who slept together. One of
them, when on camp guard just behind the
tent where his brother then lay, saw a cat cross
the beat on which he was walking. He at-
tempted to kill it, and at the noise of the gun

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