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James Swisher.

How I know, or Sixteen years' eventful experience online

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BANCROFT

LIBRARY


THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA




JAMES SWISHER.



HOW I KNOW,



OR



SIXTEEN YEARS' EVENTFUL EXPERIENCE.



AN

AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE,

EMBRACING

A BRIEF RECORD OF SERIOUS AND SEVERE SERVICE ON THE BATTLE-FIELDS
OF THE SOUTH; A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF HAZARDOUS ENTERPRISES,
THRILLING ADVENTURES, NARROW ESCAPES, AND DIRE DISASTERS
ON THE WESTERN FRONTIER AND IN THE WILDS OF THE WEST;
LIFE AMONG THE MORMONS, THE MINERS, AND THE IN-
DIANS; THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE OF
THE GREAT WEST; THE WONDERFUL GRANDEUR
AND BEAUTY OF ITS SCENERY AND ITS LAND- .
SCAPES; ITS GREAT MINERAL AND AGRI-
CULTURAL RESOURCES; A GLANCE AT
THE MORE IMPORTANT EVENTS IN
ITS HISTORY AND DEVELOP-
MENT, ETC., ETC.



BY JAMES S WISHER, I $ <f Cj _



PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR:
CINCINNATI, OHIO.

1880.



COPYRIGHT, 1880, BY JAMES SWISHER.



Comp. and Electrotyped

PRESS OF BY

JONES BROTHERS & Co. CAMPBELL & COMPANY,

CINCINNATI. CINCINNATI, O.



UBRAHt




I HAVE written this book, not because I make any
pretensions as an author or writer, but at the earnest
request of many of my friends in different parts of the
country, who have urged me to prepare and publish an
account of my travels and experiences.

I have thought it unnecessary to speak, except in
the briefest manner possible, of my experiences in the
Civil War. I have said enough on this subject, how-
ever, to vividly recall to the minds of my comrades-
in-arms the thrilling incidents of those dark days, and
to awaken the memory of the keen interest and the
trembling apprehension with which the dire conflict
was viewed from the thousands of homes and firesides,
by mother, wife and sister.

I have been vain enough to hope that my book
may not be entirely devoid of interest to those who
love such grandly magnificent and beautiful works of
Nature as are to be seen in so many places in the
West. Of these I have given such glimpses and de-
scriptions as the limits of the book and my ability as
a writer would allow.

Of the Mormons, Indians, miners, and other classes
of people of which I speak, I say only such things as
I have learned by personal association and observation.



iv PREP A CE.

Although in some cases my account may not be com-
plete and exhaustive, yet I think it will be always in-
teresting and valuable from the fact that it is reliable.

In what I have said of the mining and agricultural
resources and the commercial interests of the West, I
have been guided by an extensive and varied experi-
ence, and a wide opportunity for observation. I have
been laborer, lumberman, explorer, guide, traveler,
prospector, miner, hunter, Indian-fighter, government
surveyor and civil engineer, freighter, herder, stock-
broker, and transient sojourner. In one or another of
these capacities I have visited nearly every portion of
the West, and consequently know whereof I speak.

I do not expect to escape criticism. I am well
aware that I am in great need of it. Still I hope that
those who read this book will belong to that class of
true critics who endeavor, as far as possible, to seek out
that which is commendable and praiseworthy, and to
overlook that which is imperfect and incomplete. I can
but express the hope that each one who reads the book
may derive some little benefit from what I have written.

In conclusion, it is but proper that I should here
express my sincere thanks to Messrs. Jones Brothers
& Co., Cincinnati, for the generous kindness with
which they have afforded me every needed assistance
and facility for the proper printing, binding and illus-
tration of my book. Their friendly favors shall ever be
held in most grateful remembrance.

J. S.

January, 1880.



coNTENTs




fr



CHAPTER I. WITH THE TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS.

Birth-place Joins the Army Sketch of the Twentieth Corps Battles
of Lookout Mountain, Rocky Face Ridge and Resaca Capture of Pine Knob
Kenesaw Mountain Peach Tree Creek Siege of Atlanta The "March to
the Sea" Savannah occupied Devastation of the "Mother of Secession"
Pursuit of Johnston's flying Forces The Surrender at Raleigh Homeward
The grand Review at Washington Home and Friends. . . . 11-25

CHAPTER II. UTAH AND THE MORMONS.

The "Western Fever" In a Utah mining Camp Situation of Utah The

Mormons Mountain Meadow Massacre Bishop S 's " Revelations " A

horrible Outrage Murder of D. P. Smith Another Instance of Mormon
Atrocity Nationality of the Mormons Adobe Houses Practical Polygamy
Scenery in Utah Hot and cold Springs Irrigation Mountains and Des-
erts Grass, Cattle and Timber Mining Early Mining Experiences Sinks
a Shaft, and some Money The Webster Lode General Reflections. . 26-44

CHAPTER III. NEVADA.

Nevada for a Change Carson City Lake Tahoe Mining Fever again
Stock-speculator The Comstock Mines The Narrow Guage Rarlroad The
long Flume Heat and Water in the Mines Ventilation The Sutro Tunnel
Climate of Nevada Stock and Farming Hot Springs Alkali The

brackish Water. 45~53

CHAPTER IV. CALIFORNIA.

From Carson City to San Francisco The Enchanting Scenery Donner
Lake Pulpit Rock Sad Story of the Donner Family Indian Tradition In
the old Mining District Virgin Gold Geological History Theories Placer
Mining Some big Nuggets Northward TheYosemiteValley The "Garden
of the Gods" Nevada Fall The Giant Trees California Vegetables The
Golden City Its Splendor and Magnificence Fertile Valleys and Immense
Crops The Seasons Stock-raising Grape Culture Drawbacks Something
of a Shake Volcanic and Desert Regions The Earthquake of 1872. . 54-74

CHAPTER V. THE CHINESE.

The Chinese Their Appearance Their Dress Their Numbers Most
of Them in Servitude The Six Companies Low Wages Idol Worship A
Law unto Themselves The Chinese Quarter Coolies Legislation General
Review of California Resources Wealth per capita Commercial Enterprises
Agricultural Resources Remarkably Healthy Climate Colonizing Gov-
ernment Lands Area and Population Internal Improvements. . 75~$ 2
CHAPTER VI. OREGON AND WASHINGTON.

Portland The Varied Climate The Fertile Tracts Population The
Columbia River The Cascade Range The Lava Beds Fine Stock Wil-
lamette Valley Agricultural Products of the State Grains and Fruits



vi CONTENTS.

Washington Territory Lumbering The Cold Weather Fish and Game

The Indians The grand Scenery of the North-west. . . . 83-90

CHAPTER VII. MEXICO.

Eleven Months in Mexico The Mexicans The Climate Mexican Char-
acter Mining Primitive Processes Employed The Dwellings General De-
cay A Stranger's Impressions Amusements Gambling Mexican Horse-
manship Corraling Wild Stock Lassoing Riding a Wild Horse Cheap
Horses The Beauty of the Country The Delightful Climate Chihuahua
The Casas Grandes Ruins Explorations Relics of the Inhabitants of the
Ancient Cities Other Ancient Ruins The Moqui Indians of Arizona The
Cliff-dwellers A Legend Character of the Moqui. . . . 91-103

CHAPTER VIII. ARIZONA.

Heat and Sand Other Disagreeable Features Mr. Janin's Great Scheme

Prospector's Outfit Burros Packs and Pack-saddles Perils of Prospect-
ing Ancient Mines The Inhabitants Drinking and Gambling Indians
Cock-fighting Is Civilization a Failure? ..... 104-112

CHAPTER IX. NAVAJOES.

A Long Trip on Horseback Chosen Leader The Outfit Grand and
Beautiful Scenery First Camp A Dreary Night Wet, Worn and Wear}-
Following a Mountain Trail Night in the Forest Indian Signs An Unex-
pected Visitor Sketch of Bennett " Injuns! Injuns!" A Fierce Fight The
Indians Retreat The Killed and Wounded Burying the Dead Forward!
An Indian Ambush But Five Escape Closely Pursued Fishing for Food
Worn out Sad Reflections A Dreadful Night Friends Discovered Names
of Those Killed. .......... 113-132

CHAPTER X. THROUGH THE COLORADO CANONS.

The Colorado Canon A large Prospecting Party The Start No Road

Traveling by Night No Water A Mutiny A Bad Situation Plain Talk

Another Mutiny A Separation Off Again Deserters Return Cornered
by a Grizzly Habits of the Grizzly Hunting the Grizzly The Grizzly
Killed A Lofty Outlook Standing Guard Pleasant Dreams A Gloomy
Ride Creeping down the Mountain Side Meets a Panther A Frightful
Situation The Last Chance A Lucky Shot Safe in the Valley Day-
light The Dead Panther Trout-fishing Dreadful Dreams " Raising the
Color." ............



CHAPTER XI. THROUGH THE COLORADO CANONS. [CONTINUED.]

A Mightv Precipice The Grand Canon Buckskin Mountains "Heads
or Tails " Up the River Rough Traveling Down the Gulch An Im-
pressive Situation The Head of the Canon Ancient Ruins An Oasis A
Dangerous Swim Safely Over Eastern Side of the River Apache Visitors
" Heap Bad Injun "Prospecting An Undesirable Location Callville
John D. Lee Murderous Mormons. .... I 53~ I ^4

CHAPTER XIL MONTANA AND IDAHO.

First Settlers Rich Resources The Gallatin Valley Other Valleys-
Occupations Advantages of the Railroads Staging and Freighting Cor-
rinne Warehouses A Bad Road High Prices" Self-risers," " Pilgrims,"
"Tenderfoots." .......... 165-168

CHAPTER XIII. LAKES AND SPRINGS OF THE FAR WEST.

Waters of the West Great Salt Lake Its Outlet The Lake Rising-
Bathing Lake Tahoe Good Place for Captain Boy ton Crystal Lake Va-
rieties of Waters Hot Springs Phenomena in Connection with Hot Springs



CONTENTS. vii

A Large Spring The Yellowstone A Tide Spring A Mud Spring
The Steamboat Spring Alkaline Streams Causes of Hot Springs, Earth-
quakes, and Volcanoes 169-177

CHAPTER XIV. LA PAZ.

Surveying in Arizona Two Days' Ride in a " Jerkey "Stage-coach Ex-
periences The Factotum Expressman La Paz A Dilapidated Town Rough
Customers The Hotel The Landlord A Bad Lot Street Scenes Riot Let
Loose A Rush for " Hash " The Barroom The Landlord's Stories Greas-
ers A Night in Bedlam Another Lodging-place A Drunken Texan
Pleasant Anticipations Taking a Tumble Complimentary Comments A
Big Dinner Night Scenes Routed by Bed-bugs Another Tumble Family
History Impressions of La Paz Back to Fort McDowell Does " Roughing
It "Pay? 178-192

CHAPTER XV. STOCK-RAISING.

Successful Men Life of a Stock-raiser The Cow-boys Branding Stock
County Inspectors A Stock Range Changing Range's A " Round-up "
Description of the " Cow-boys " Dangers of a Herder's Life Indian
Raids 193-201

CHAPTER XVI. STOCK-BROKER AND FREIGHTER.

San Francisco " Bulls " and " Bears "A Good Run of Luck A Bad
Run Two-thirds of Capital Lost Off for Salt Lake City Meeting Old
Friends Outfit of Wagons Bought Instance of Mormon Atrocity The
Gilson Brothers Buying Oxen at Manti Loading up with Flour Learning
to Drive Oxen Handling the Whip Yoking the Cattle Stuck in the Mud
Doubling Up The Second of March Completely Disgusted The Final
Start from Manti Names of the Party Salina A Herder's Camp Snow
Five Weary Weeks Advice Thirteen Miles in Six Weeks Desolate Coun-
try 202-218

CHAPTER XVII. IN GREEN RIVER VALLEY.

Streams in Castle Valley Description of the Valley Rock Wells Bad
Water Wretched Traveling Green River Valley High Water A Long
Ride for a Boat A Pleasant Camp Trip to the Canon Grand Mountain
View Mountain Sheep Back to Camp Beaver and Otter Snakes A Rat-
tlesnake Den Wolves An Exciting Chase Habits of the Wolves Wait-
ing 219-232

CHAPTER XVIII. VEXATIOUS DELAYS.

The Boat Arrives Ferrying the Wagons and Loads Across Swimming
the Cattle A Wearisome Effort The Virtue of Patience Cattle Stampeded
by a Grizzly Back Across the River Again A Dangerous Situation A
little out of Humor A Strange Discovery A Remarkable Trail What
Could the Cloven-footed " Varmint " Be? No Cattle A Hazardous Under-
taking The Cattle Found Driven Over the River Again The Green
Brothers Murdered Something of their History The " Saints " and their
Principles Persecution of the Gentiles The Green Brothers' Ranch 'Their
Horrible Death Trail of the Murderers A Clue to the Mystery A Warning
to Hasten A Fatiguing Journey Grand River Valley The Paradise of Col-
orado Ancient Ruins Two Miles a Day Serious Reflections. . 233-252

CHAPTER XIX. MORAL AND DESCRIPTIVE.

Colorado as a Health Resort Lack of Society Two Years' Isolation
A Test of Character The Lazy Man The Cheerful Man Wealth and Rank
Worth and Character The Use of Tobacco Lonesomeness Money-mak-



viii CONTENTS.

ing and Mining Duped Carrying Weapons Game on Green River A
Hunter's Requisites Methods of Hunting Mountain Sheep Deer Face of
the Country Mirages Gold^-Scenery A Beautiful Prospect Civilization
Once More Chief Ouray The Ute Indians Their Farming (?) Los Pinos
Agency Selling Out 253-271

CHAPTER XX. SHALL THE YOUNG MAN GO WEST?

A Mining Region Mining Enterprises Great Corporations Their Im
mense Power Prosperity The Real Sovereigns Advisability of Mining
Ventures Chances of the Investor and Prospector The San Juan Region
Disappointment and Dissipation Immigration Leadville Mr. W. H. Ste-
vens Soft Carbonates Bonanzas Roughing It A Mining Excitement
Idlers Unpoetic Poverty Overplus of Population Condition of San Fran-
cisco Let the Young Man Stay at Home The Puzzled Englishman Decep-
tive Appearances "Cloud-bursts.". ...... 272-288

CHAPTER XXI. A SPANISH BULL-FIGHT.

Ojo Calienta The Early Comers A Front Seat at the Corral The
Spectators The Matador e The Bull The First Rush A Prolonged En-
counter The Bull Vanquished Another Bull Brought in The Matadore
Tossed Severely Injured A Panic Scaffolding Gives Way A Firm Reso-
lution 289-295

CHAPTER XXII. THE INDIANS.

Their Wigwams Bedding Hunting and Amusements Trading Dis-
posal of the Dead Instance of Cruelty Medicine Men Exorcising Evil
Spirits Religious Belief. 296-301

CHAPTER XXIII. THE CUSTER MASSACRE.

The Tragedy of June 25, 1876 Sorrow of the Nation Sketch of Custer's
Life Hancock's Campaign Hancock Outwitted Custer's First Indian Fight
" Circling " Massacre of Lieutenant Kidder and Party Horrid Scenes
General Sully's Campaign Custer's Washita Campaign Yellowstone Ex-
pedition Murder of Honzinger and Baliran Arrest of Rain-in-the-Face
He Escapes and Swears Vengeance against Custer Black Hills Expedition
Gold in the Hills Events of 1875 Campaign against Sitting Bull and Crazy
Horse Custer in Disgrace at Headquarters The Miserable Belknap Affair
Three Columns Converge upon the Hostile Camp The Bloody Ending
Close of the Campaign Sitting Bull Goes to Canada, and Crazy Horse to the
Happy Hunting-grounds Perhaps. ...... 302-348

CHAPTER XXIV. WHERE SHALL WE SETTLE?

Go West! Southern Minnesota Iowa Southern Dakota Nebraska
Kansas The Indian Territory No! Texas Don't Believe All You Hear!
The Indian Border California: Land Monopoly Oregon Climate and Soil
" The Great American Desert "Probable Population in 1900 Whither is
the Surplus Population to Go? Good Land Pretty Well Occupied What
will be the Result? Western Wilds will Continue Wild for a Century to

Come 349~3 81

CHAPTER XXV. CONCLUSION.

Homeward Bound Old Memories Aroused A Surprise A Pleasant
Meeting Time's Changes Contrasts Preparing for a Little Trip Detained
Another Surprise -A Happy Birthday Concluding Reflections. 382-384



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE.

Frontispiece.

Abraham Lincoln, 13

Jefferson Davis, . . . . . . . . 16

Gen. W. T. Sherman, . 18

Sherman's March to the Sea, ...... 21

Gen. Robt E. Lee, ..22

Gen. U. S. Grant, 2

Mountain Meadow Massacre, ....... 2

Mormon Persecution, ....... 31

Brigham Young, . ........ 34

Mormon Tabernacle, ....... 37

New Mining Town, ........ 40

View near Lake Tahoe, ....... 46

Blue Canon, Sierra Nevada, ...... 48

Humboldt Palisades, ........ 52

Dormer Lake, ......... 54

Pulpit Rock, Echo Canon, ........ 55

Scene near Eagle Lake, California, ..... 59

The Two Guardsmen, ....... 61

The Yosemite Falls, 63

Bridal Veil Fall, Yosemite Valley, ..... 65

A California Stump, ........ 67

Northern California Scenery, ...... 70

Cape Horn, Central Pacific R. R., . ....... . .72

Chinese Quarter, San Francisco, ..... 79

Rapids of the Upper Columbia, ....'. 84

View in the Modoc Country, . . . . . . 86

View on the Oregon Coast, ....... 88

Border Mexicans, ........ 91

Mexican Border Town, . . . . . .94

Mexican Border Invasion, ..... 97

Arizona Sand Plains, . . . . . . . . 101

A Train of Burros, . . . . . ... . 107

Perils of Prospecting, . . . . . . . . 108

Civilization in Arizona, ....... no

An Arizona Scrimmage, . . . . . . .in

Scene in the Sierra Del Cariso Range, . . . . 114

Following a Mountain Trail, . . . . . .118

Attacked by Navajo Indians, . . . . . . 123

An Indian Ambuscade, 127

The Grand Canon of the Colorado, ..... 134

The Search for Water, ........ 137

Coi'nered by Grizzlies, ....... 141

In the Colorado Canons, . . . . . . .150

Sunset in the Colorado Canons, . . . . . 156

ix



X ILL US TRA TIONS.

PAGE.

Prospecting in the Colorado Canons, ..... 160

Execution of John D. Lee, ...... 163

Great Salt Lake, . . . . . . . . .170

Vernal Falls, California, ....... 173

"Giantess," Big Geyser of the Yellowstone, . . . 17^

A Western Frontiersman, ...... 195

Ready for a Raid, ........ 199

Salt Lake City, 1857, 203

Sevier River, Wasatch Mountains, . . . . .213

Herders' Camping House, ...... 215

Shoshonee Indians in the Sevier Valley, . . . .217

Camp in Green River Valley, ...... 223

Night Scene in Green River Canon, ..... 225

Peak in Green River Valley, ...... 230

Orson Pratt, Mormon Prophet, . . . . . .241

Former Residences of Brigham Young, .... 243

George A. Smith, Mormon Apostle, ..... 243

"The Swift Dashing Water," 248

Lonely Three Thousand Miles from Home, . . .251

"Oh, Solitude, Where are thy Charms?" . . . 254

Scalp-Dance of the Ute Indians, ...... 200

Hunting Buffalo in the Olden Time, .... 265

He Paid a Big Price, . . 276

These Did Not Grow in a Mining Region, . . . 279

An Old '4961' Not Yet Rich, 282

Dead Broke, 284

Mexican Outlaws, ........ 290

Mexican Maiden, Lower Class, ..... 291

Pueblo Cacique, New Mexico, 293

Mexican Indians, ........ 294

Indian Wigwam, ......... 297

Black Hawk, 299

Un Inc 1; o Bravo, Texas, ....... 300

"Go West," 305

"Busted," 307

Ouster's First Indian Fight, ...... 310

Western Scout, Wild Bill, 313

Rude Surgery of the Plains, . . . . . . 3*9

Scene of the Sioux War, 326

Getting the First Shot, 333

Fighting Hand to Hand, ....... 339

Winter in the Minnesota Pineries, 351

Droughty Kansas, ......... 355

Texas and Coahuila in 1830, .... . 359

Skirmish with Indians, ........ 305

Fort Massachusetts, New Mexico, 1855, .... 367

A California Big Tree, . . 371

Nevada Falls, Yosemite Valley, 375



HOW I KNOW.



CHAPTER I.

WITH THE TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS.

THE author of this work was born in Champaign
County, Ohio, in June, 1849, and, at the age of
thirteen years, nine months and twenty- three days,
joined the army. He was assigned to Company E, of
the Fifth Ohio Infantry, twentieth army corps, and sent
to the field. "What fun I shall have," thought he to
himself, as he took his position in the ranks. Little
does a boy know, at that age, about the life of a soldier.
Since every one has read and re-read the history of
the war, I will condense what I saw into a few words,
merely giving a little history of the different battles in
which the twentieth corps took part. No body of
troops in the Northern army made for itself a prouder
history than the twentieth army corps. Its life was
crowded with events not one of which brings dishonor
to its proudest member, although it was formed from the
most daring, cultivated, and resolute men of the North.
"The best fruit trees are clubbed the most," and, in the
army, detraction often follows the exhibition of superior
merit in discipline, appearance, or achievements. From



12 HOW I KNOW.

the rigid tests of Manchester, Port Republic, Antietam,
Dumfries, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, Gen. Hooker
brought his men to the Army of the Cumberland at a
perilous hour.

The troops of Gen. Bragg, full sixty thousand strong,
nerved with an earnest devotion to their cause, and en-
couraged by the doubtful result at Chickamauga, occu-
pied an almost impregnable position near Chattanooga,
while in front of them Rosecrans held an uncertain
footing. His soldiers had seen the hopes of an early
peace quickly 'disappear. They were almost appalled
at the gigantic proportions the rebellion had assumed.
They w r ere disheartened by the absence, without leave,
of thousands of their comrades. Their line of supplies
was in imminent danger, and the country was at that
time enshrouded in such gloom that the growing glory
of President Lincoln could scarcely be discerned. It
was at this crisis that the men whose badges imaged the
lights that rule the night came and kindled a lustre in
Wauhatchie Valley, that rose and spread until it bathed
in matchless splendor old Lookout Mountain's rugged
peak. Rosecrans was saved! Tennessee was saved!
A portion of the corps then hurried away to Knoxville,
with others from the fifteenth corps, and soon broke the
bands in which Longstreet had kept Burnside hampered,
almost to the point of starvation. The remainder of
the corps went into winter quarters.

It was on the 4th of April, 1864, that the twentieth
corps was formed, the beloved Joe Hooker being placed
at its head. The corps retained the star of the twelfth



WITH THE TWENTIETH ARMT CORPS.



13



corps as its insignia. Its real history began with the
campaign that soon opened. On the 8th of May, the
enemy was found occupying a strong position on Rocky
Face Ridge. A severely contested fight followed. It
had been said that if Johnston could not hold that place
he could not hold any in Georgia, and the firmest deter-
mination charac-
terized the con-
test until night-
fall, when both
armies retired;
Johnston to his
works at Resaca,
and our troops
to pass through
Snake Creek Gap
and then attack
them again.

Constant skir-
mishing was kept
up until, on the
1 4th of May, at
Resaca, the Con-
federate forces
advanced under a flag so faded that it was taken for a
flag of truce. In cansequence of this mistake a terrible
^blow was given to our forces. The blow was aimed at
the fourteenth corps, and shook it to the center. But
Gen. Hooker, by throwing out a brigade with that
marvelous dexterity in which none could surpass him.




ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



14 HO W I KNO W.

saved the Fifth Indiana Battery when on the very point
of capture, checked the advance of the enemy, and held
his ground until dark. The next morning the entire
corps moved forward upon the enemy, now firmly in-
trenched in a series of lines so arranged as to make an
attack very difficult. The momentum of the first charge
carried it over the first line, where it gallantly reformed
its somewhat confused ranks, and at once pressed on.
Now came emphatically the tug of war. With strain-
ing sinews and grimmest courage, gray-haired veterans
and proud-eyed youths fought on and on, gaining always
some ground ; but so slowly that evening was at hand
when the weary but still resolute men reached the fourth
and last chain of defenses. Here was displayed as true
grit as was ever known among men. So fierce was the
assault that the rebels could not hold their works, and
so tenacious the defense that the national forces could
not occupy them; and there stood an empty fort and an
idle battery between the lines, which surged and swayed
and clamored around them for hours. But scarcely had
the favoring darkness come, ere the Fifth Ohio boys
crept to the wall, dug through, and hauled out the guns
by hand.

On the 25th of May, while the second division of the
twentieth corps was crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek, a
bridge broke down, completely isolating those who had
crossed; but their very renown shielded them from at-
tack until help arrived. The situation was critical. No
intrenching tools had been taken over the stream, and
orders to recross were expected. But to pass away the



WITH THE TWENTIETH ARMT CORPS. 15

time, and to deceive the enemy, the men went to work
using their bayonets and cooking utensils instead of picks
and shovels, to dig their trenches. But this could not
long deceive the watchful foe, and while the remainder
of the corps was in the act of crossing they made a
most furious attack. Having checked this, the corps
moved directly on the well-formed and well-defended
works in its front. The fighting was desperate. Gen-
erals Sherman and Thomas were there to direct the
movement, and there the fact was impressed on all, as
Gen. Hooker has since said, that a good line of works,
well manned, cannot be taken by infantry alone. Hav-
ing lost two thousand men, the movement was aban-


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Online LibraryJames SwisherHow I know, or Sixteen years' eventful experience → online text (page 1 of 21)