Marion Morrison.

A history of the Ninth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry online

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Col. sent orders to the different houses in town, requiring each to sup-
ply a certain number of rations of corn bread. Some demurred, saying
they had nothing of which to make bread. A second order was sent y
that if it was not provided in such a length of time, he would burn their
houses. This brought corn bread in abundance, but not of a very fine
quality. The next night they camped near a good supply of sweet
potatoes, to which they helped themselves. The .following day they
came across a store of Rebel commissaries, and were thus further pro-
vided. They were out four days. Came upon a body of Rebels, of
whom they captured about thirty. When pursuing them, Col. Phillips-
was chasing his man, and made a sabre stroke at -him, cutting him over
the head. About that time, the Col.'s horse fell, and threw him on hig
face on the frozen ground. He captured hig man, however.

On the 25th of January, 1864, Companies-!}, C, D, F, H, I and K>
ttnde*r command of Lieut. Col. Phillips, moved out on a reconnoisance
West. This left but three companies jn camp. Company A was doing
picket duty. Company G was acting as Provost Guard, and stationed
in town. This left Company E in camp alone. News of the weakness
of our' force was immediately carried over the river, and Gen, Roddy
notified of it. Consequently, early on the morning of the 26th of
January, about 4 A. M., our camp was attacked # by Gen. Rtfddy, with
700 men and two pieces of artillery. The pickets on the West of our
camp were fired upon. Company E moved out promptly to support the
pickets, when they met the overwhelming force of the enemy. After
a brief engagement, and finding the strength of the enemy, this company '
fell back into town, to co-operate with Company G. This gave the.
Rebels possession of our camp. They plundered it of all the baggage
and valuables. Our men were pursued into the town, the Rebels
occupying the Southern part of the town, and our boys the Northern
part. The Rebels also placed their artillery in position, and began to
shell the town. After a smart skirmish of about forty minutes, the-
enemy retreated, and returned towards the river. This they did,
although they numbered ten to our one.

The loss of the 9th, in this engagement, was two men wounded, via:
Spring, of Company C, (since dead,) and Holcomb, of Company I. One
man, not a soldier, but an employe of our Surgeon, was shot in the
hospital yard, although entirely unarmed. The enemy admit a loss of
six killed and eighteen wounded. Three of our boys pursued them.,.



80 A HISTORY OP

and fired upon them when a short distance from the river, killing one
and wounding two. They returned to camp safely, except -that they
lost their horses.

The officers lost all their baggage and effects, except such as they
had with them. So with the men.

On the 28th, seven companies, under command of Lieut. Col. Phillips,
moved West on the Florence road. Bivouacked for the night, eight
miles East of Florence.

Early on the 29th, moved into Florence, chasing some Rebel soldiers
from the town. Passed on twelve miles West of Florence, to Pride's
Ferry. Here we had a sight of some Rebels, but they made good their
escape. We destroyed a factory and mill in this region. Captured a
train of about twenty wagons with their teams.

Near this Ferry lives a man named Woods, who is living with a
negro woman as his wife. To this woman he had a large number of
children, whom he was holding as slaves. He was holding about forty
of- his own children as slaves. The Regiment foraged heavily upon
him. About 3 P. M., we started on the return march, and bivouacked
four miles from Florence. In this region, large numbers of negroes
came in, and followed the Regiment on its return march to Athens.

On the morning of the 30th, moved towards Athens, and bivouacked
for the night, West of Elk River. On the 31st, reached camp at

Athens.

v

The Regiment was out, during this expedition, four days. It brought
in about 500 negroes, men, women and children; 150 head of horses
and mules, and 100 head of cattle, besides a train of 20 wagons.

On the 15th of February, the Regiment, under f command of Lieut>
Col. Phillips, moved to the Tennessee River, at Lucas & Brown's Ferry.
The Regiment remained in bivouac during that entire week. Their
Work was patroling the river for ten or fifteen miles above and below
Decatur, capturing flat-boats and ferry-boats, constructing canoes, &c.
The weather was very cold. They had no shelter. Had to work much
about the water, and withal, it was a very hard week's duty. The
Rebels were occupying the other side of the river, and there was almost
constant firing at each other across the river. Lieut. Oats, of Co. K,
was in a flat-boat with fifteen men, when he was fired upon by about
twenty Rebels, at close range. One man of Co. I was severely wounded.
The fire was returned, and it is thought, from the noise, several of the
enemy were killed and wounded. The Lieutenant captured four Rebel
prisoners/

The Regiment returned to camp on the 20th, leaving two companion



THE NINTH REGIMENT. 81

to patrol the river and guard our boats. During the week of boat
capturing, one flat-boat captured above Decatur "ran the blockade"
past the town, with three of our boys in it. They lay down flat, and
let it float. Many incidents of interest occurred during this week, but
I have not room to note them here.

On the 22d of February, the 39th Regiment Ohio Infantry arrived
at Athens, and went into camp. Col. Noyes, of the 39th Ohio, assumed
command of the post, relieving Lieut. Col. Phillips, who again assumed
command of the Regiment.

From the 20th of February, up to the 7th of March, two companies
of the -9th 111. was kept constantly at the Tennessee River, patroling it
for several miles below Decatur. These companies were relieved every
two days, by others. In the meantime several other regiments passed
through Athens, on their way towards Decatur. These were the 63d
Ohio, 27th Ohio, 43d Ohio, and lllth Illinois, with the 4th Michigan
Battery.

The Railroad was completed about the last week of February, and
the cars commenced running through from Nashville. Soon boats to
construct a pontoon bridge at Decatur, commenced passing on the cars.
Gen. Dodge, who commands the department, was below. Active prepa-
rations were being made for occupying Decatur. To do this, the
Tennesse River must be crossed, in the face of an opposing foe. The
enemy was occupying Decatur, and the South bank of the river at the
various ferries below.

The Regiment was paid, by Major Gregory, on the 2d of March,
1864, for the months of November and December. It had been paid
on the 16th of December, 1863, by Major Hinkley, for the m onths of
September and October, 1863.

On the morning of the 7th of March, the 9th 111., together with a
detachment of 60 men of the 18th Mo., and two sections of a U. S.
Battery, stationed at Athens, received marching orders, and moved at
10 A. M., on the Lucas Ferry road. Arriving within two miles of the
river at 2 P. M., they halted and fed, remaining until near dark, when
they moved on to the river under cover of darkness.

It was known that an attempt would be made to cross the Tennessee
River that night or early the next morning, both at Lucas Ferry and
Decatur. The flat-boats, canoes, &c., which the 9th 111. had for the
past two or three weeks been collecting at Lucas Ferry, would now be
brought into use. At Decatur, the boats intended for the construction
of the pontoon bridge, would be used for crossing. Gen. Dodge was
at Decatur superintending the crossing in person. Lieut. Col. Phillips,
[6]



82 A HISTORY OF

of the 9th 111., was in charge of the expedition at Lucas Ferry, whiefr
ia three miles below Decatur.

The Regiment went into bivouac, after dark, about one hundred
yards from the river. The flat-boats and canoes had been moved up
the river one mile, so as to have the advantage of the current. Severa
pontoon boats had been floated down a stream running from the Railroad
to a point within a mile or two of the Ferry. These had to be taken
across on wagons to the river and up -to the point from which the boats
were to start. This occupied a portion of the men during the greater
part of the night.

Details were made, of three men from each company, who could man
a canoe, and Tour men from each company for boatmen. During the
night there was a heavy rain, after which it cleared up, and the stara
shone brightly. Before day, however, a very heavy fog settled over
the water and surrounding country. This was favorable to our crossing,
as a man could not be seen, on the water, only at a very short distance.

About 2 A. M., the artillery was placed in position on the river bank.
The forces were ordered into line. The details for canoe men and
boatmen received their orders. . The advance were to pass over in canoes.
They were placed under the command of Lieut. Rollmann, and were
instructed to proceed directly across, as rapidly as possible. When
they struck the opposite shore, they were to abandon their canoes, and
hold the positions until the boats would get over.

The flat-boats and pontoons were placed under the command of Lieut*
Oats. All were marched up the river to the boats, and at 4:30 A. M. r
the boats and canoes were loaded and started over. When the advance
was within about 30 yards of the shore, the enemy fired a few shots,
and retired rapidly in the direction of Courtland. The entire command
crossed over in one and a half hours, and reported at Decatur. During
the day and night following, the animals and teams were crossed over.
Capt. Lowe, who had the crossing of the animals in charge, was attacked
by a party of Rebels, and one man was taken prisoner.

The Regiment moved East, on the Courtland road, at 9:30 A. M.,
March 9th, and reached Courtland at 4^P. M., without meeting any
body of the enemy. We bivouacked for he night on the Moulton road,
three miles Soutn of Courtland.

On the morning of the 10th of March, we moved into Moulton. The
enemy had left the place three hours before our arrival. They moved
from Moulton at daylight, on the Russelville road. We captured, at
Moulton, several prisoners, one flag, a quantity of ammunition, and hos-
pital and commissary stores. From Moulton, we moved towards De-



T1IE JJINTH REGIMENT. 83

catur, reacliing that place ai, sundown. There the Regiment was
ordered into cainp, to be quartered in houses in town.

On the morning of the llth of March, Adjutant Klock was ordered
to Athens with a squad of men, to have the camp and garrison equip-
age moved to Decatur, which is being done at present writing, March
12th, 1864.

How long we will remain in Decatur, or where we shall go next, or
how we shall be employed during the remaining four months of our
eervice, are all matters in the future, and, in any department of life,
uncertain, but especially in military life.

There are some incidents of interest, which occurred during the
period of this chapter.

The first day after crossing the, Tennessee River, while making for
a place to camp for, the night, where we learned there was forage for
our animals, it began to get dark before we reached the point. The
Col. drew up before a house near the road, to make some inquiry. A
man came to the gate. Inquiry was made as to the distance to the
point we wished to reach. These inquiries were followed by others as
to whether there were any soldiers in the neighborhood* The reply
was that there w*ere.

CoL"Were they Yanks?"
Citizen. "Yes."

Col. "How many was there of them?"

Citizen. " Oh, there was a great many of them. At least 1,000."
Col. "Was that all? I can easily whip twice that number. Bui
I guess, my friend, you must go along and show us the road to their
camping ground."

The poor man, thinking that we were Rebel soldiers, called to one
of the boys to bring him out his horse until he would go with those
men. But when the boy went to the stable to get the horse, it was not
there. Our foraging parties had visited the stable, and relieved him
of his horse. He went into the house to get his coat. There, I think,,
he began to realize that he was sold. Some of our boys had been in
to get " corn bread," and the old lady, I suppose, had noticed the blue
uniform, and reported us as "Yanks." When he came out he did not
eeem near so willing to go along. But he went with us, and when we
got into camp, he waked up to the fact that he was a " prisoner of war."
He had been in the Rebel army, and was detailed as a blacksmith, to
shoe the horses through the country, that they might be ready for
government use. He was taken with us, as a prisoner. I saw him a.
week later, when on our march, still a prisoner.



84 A HISTORY OF

Another. On the next evening, an old negro man was with us when
we bivouacked. He was a preacher, and quite an oracle among the
darkies in that region of country. As we were gathered around our
camp-fire, the old man was called up to be questioned by the Colonel.
After giving all the information he could, he told us of his visions and
spiritual communications. Says he, "I sees all .dis trouble seben
years ago. I sees you alls a comin down from the Norf. I sees dese
two great armies, with dah uniforms on, and all dis fitin and killin one
anocler." On being asked how he saw all this, he replied, "I sees it
spiritually." He was asked i'f he saw which was going to whip, he
said, ; 'Lor, massa, yes; I sees de Norf a whippin."

Still another. During the- march from Corinth to Pulaski, Colonel
Mersy of the 9th, commanding Brigade, being in camp, sleeping near
his camp-fire, which was made of Chfstnut rails, noted for their popping
propensities when burning, the fire flew out and set his clothes or
blankets on fire. The Head Quarters guard seeing it, went and awoke
him, telling him that he was on fire. His reply was, "Adjutant! Ad.
jutant!" But the Adjutant was sound asleep, and did not answer hia
call. The Col,. being; scarcely awake, was soon asleep again. The guard
awoke him a second time, and told him he was on fire. "I tink dat
no my business; you wake de Adjutant." The Col., so full of military
life, and wishing everything to go through its proper military channel,
felt, in his half.sleeping condition, that his Adjutant General must be
honored with the permission of getting up and putting out the fire.

Another one, in which our good Colonel is concerned. During the
march, just before going into camp, Rebel uniforms and other accou-
trements of war, were found' at a house near the road. The soldiers
made a pretty general red up of the establishment. After we were in
camp, the woman of the house came to Col. Mersy, with her complaint.
She represented, among other things, that she had been a widow for
fifteen years. Soon Surgeon Gulick, of the 9th, who was with the Col.,
heard him call, "Doctor! Doctor!" The Doctor having arrived and
awaiting orders, the Col. addressed him: "Now, my dear Surgeon, yon
does tell me if dis widow has been not married dese fifteen year."

Another one, which illustrates something of the habits of Southern
women. They nearly all use tobacco, in some shape f Some of them
in the various forms, of smoking, chewing, and dipping. When the
Regiment was on its march from Pulaski to Athens, the writer was
with a squad of men, who were traveling along the Railroad examining
its condition. Being separated from the column, the boys becoming
hungry, and desiring something to eat, rode up to a house where there






I THE NINTH REGIMENT. 85

were three or four women standing at the door. One of them inquired
if they could get something to eat. The corn bread was produced. He
then asked for some butter, which was also produced. One of the girls,
thinking, I suppose, that one favor deserved another, very smilingly
addressed one of the soldiers, saying, "Could you give me a chew of
tobacco?" " Oh, yes," says he, taking a large plug of tobacco from his
pocket ami handing it to her. She took a chew, and then reached it
back, thanking him. "Oh," says he, "you may just keep that, I can
get more." She thanked him very kindly. I suppose she thought she
. was pretty well paid for her corn bread and butter.

Another.. Capt. Krebs, of Company D, with a squad of 25 men,
was detailed to go with the telegraph repairer along the line between
Huntsville and Decatur. At a ttation between those two points, a
email town, there were two telegraph posts down, the line on each side
being perfect for two or three miles. The Captain and operator rode*
up to some citizens who were on the street, and politely asked them if
they could not have those two posts set by the next day, stating that
it would save them the trouble of bringing their team and men several
miles, and would be a very great accommodation. One old man replied,
<: We can't do it, sir. You have taken all our negroes from us, and we
have nobody to work for us." The Captain insisted that it was but a
small job, and it would save him a great amount of trouble, if they
would do it. The old man persisted that they could not do it. The
Captain then addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, I will be here
to-morrow evening, with fifty men to do that work. You will have
supper provided for that number of men." Then turning to his com-
mand, he gave the order, "Two right, march!" and moved off. When
he had gone a mile or two, a runner came up and handed him. a note,
saying that the citizens would have those jSJsts set by to-morrow morning.
The "supper for fifty men "had been a more powerful argument than
the Captain's pleadings. I suppose it led them to conclude, that if
they had no darkies to do it, they would condescend to do it themselves.

One more. Major Falconet, of the Rebel army, and -who was sta-
tioned at Decatur for some time, it is said, had come to the conclusion
to take, to himself a wife. He had gone to Florence to get married.
While on the floor, having the marriage ceremony performed, Lieut.
Col. Phillips, with the 9th 111., made a dash into Florence. Some one
came into the room and cried out, "The Yanks, are coming!" The
brave Major left his fair companion, broke from the house, and over
the garden fence, tearing down about twenty feet of it, dashed to his
boat and was off, I suppose he did not fancy being captured just then.



S6 A HISTORY OF

How his partly constituted bride felt, at his rapid exit, and whether he
has ever returned for the completion of the ceremony, " deponeni
gaith not."

Still another, showing something of the horrors of Slavery. During
the recent scout to Courtland and Moulton, when in camp near the
former place, the orders of Lieut. Col. Phillips were to be ready to
move by daylight. The guard were instructed to wake them two hours
before day. The orderlies were waked at the proper time. When
Adjutant Klock had gotten up, he was informed by an orderly thai
there was a lady wishing to see the Colonel. The Colonel was called.
In a half-sleeping condition, he told the Adjutant to see what she
wished. The Adjutant went around to see her. He saw there a verj
decently, but plainly dressed lady. He asked her what she wished.
He was perfectly amazed at her reply. She said her master was going
to sell her, and she wished to know if she could not go .with them.
The Adjutant replied, that he would speak to the Colonel about it, and
that he thought they could make arrangements for her to go with us.
The Colonel having dropped asleep in the meantime, the matter was
referred to Major Kuhn. He told her at once that she could go along.
She accordingly came into Decatur with our Regiment. To Northern
men, unaccustomed to the evils of the system of Slavery, such scenes
are revolting. Here was a woman, so nearly white, that she was mis-
taken for a white woman. She was, in all probability, her master's
daughter or sister.



I



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

OF THE

FIELD AND STAFF OFFICERS.



FIELD AND STAFF OFFICERS. 89



BIO GRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

I propose to add to this history of the Regiment, a Biographical
Sketch of the present Field and Staff Officers.

COL. AUGUST MERSY.

^Vas born in Germany. He entered the military service, in 1 8
as Cadet, in Karlsrhue, Grand Duchy of Baden. He graduated in 1840 r
as Lieutenant. He was promoted to the position of 1st Lieutenant, in
1842. In 1844, he was assigned the position of Adjutant and staff
officer. In 1847, he was appointed Regimental Adjutant. A European.
Regiment Consists of from 2,400 to 8,000 men. In this position he
acted until 1849. At the.outbreak of the Revolution, he consequently

M . * *^

acted against that Revolution. In 1849, however, he joined the Revo-
lutionary party, and was promoted to the position of Colonel. After
joining the Revolutionary party, he acted for some time as Provisional
Secretary of War. He soon, however, joined the army, and assumed
command of the Second Brigade. Whether he had the rank of
General, or only acted as such in commanding a Brigade, the writer is
unable to say. He went with his Brigade, through all the battles and
skirmishes of the year 1849. He was under the necessity of crossing-
the Rhine for Switzerland, and concluded to emigrate to America. He
arrived in the United States, in November, 1849. Went West, and
settled in Bellville, St. Clair County, Illinois. He was for some time-
Clerk, and afterwards Cashier, of the "Bank of Bellville." He also
acted as Notary Public.

On the uprising of the rebellion, his war spirit was aroused. I think
he had for some time previous had command of a volunteer military
company. He enlisted, with his company, in the " Three months'"
service. He enlisted as Captain of Company A, 9th Regiment Illinois
Infantry, on the 19th of April, 1861. He was elected Lieutenant
Colonel, April 26th, 1861. This position he held during the "Three
months' " service. He was mustered out of the service, at the end of
the three months, on the 25th of July, 1861, and again immediately
mustered in, for three years, as Lieutenant Colonel of the 9th Illinois
Infantry.

He was promoted to the position of Colonel, and received his com-
mission as such, December 2d, 1861. As Colonel and commander of
the Regiment, he passed through the terrible battles of Fort Donelson



SO FIELD AND STAFF OFFICERS.

ii

and Shiloh, and the "siege of Corinth." He was wounded twice at
the battle of Shiloh; but' notwithstanding his wounds, he persisted in
keeping the command of his Regiment. During the battle of Shiloh,
Col. McArthur, commanding our Brigade, was severely wounded, in
the latter part of the action, and Col. Mersy assumed command of ^the
Brigade.

During the battle of Corinth, he assumed command of the Brigade,
Oeneral Oglesby having been wounded. Since that time, he has had
command of the 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 16th Army Corps. During
the Summer and Fall of 1863, he was stationed with his Brigade
Head Quarters at Pocahontas, Tennessee. Since November 12th, 1863,
his Brigade Head Quarters have been at Pulaski, Tennessee.



LIEUT. COL. JESSE J. PHILLIPS.

Was born in Montgomery County, Illin6is, May 22d, 1837. He
was appointed Route Agent on the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis
Railroad, June 26th, 1856. Resigned in Majr, 1857.

He read law with the Hon. James M. Da-vis., of Hillsboro, Illinois.
He was admitted to the ,bar in the Spring of 1860, and opened an office
in Hillsboro, the county-seat of Montgomery County, Illinois. He was
prosecuting his practice when the first call was made for volunteers to
serve for three months.

In politics, he was a Breckenridge Democrat. Had stumped it, for
Breckenridge, in 1860. He had had a strong desire to engage in a
military life. When the call was made, he at once went to work to
raise a Company. Raised his Company, and was elected Captain, April
17th, 1861. The Company was accepted and ordered to Springfield,
Illinois, on the 23d of April, 1861.

On the organization of the 9th Regiment Volunteer Infantry, for the
three months' service, he was elected as Major of the Regiment. He
acted in the capacity of Major in the Regiment during the three months'
ervice. At the expiration of that service, he was mustered out, and
immediately mustered in again for three years, unless sooner discharged,
retaining still the rank of Major.

He received a commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the 9th Regiment
Illinois Infantry in December, 1861, which position he still occupies.
He had charge of a detachment of the Regiment, which made a suc-
cessful expedition from Paducah to Saratoga, Ky. This was the first
fight in which our boys were engaged. He was with the Regiment as


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