February 25, 2014

Civil War ~ Union Expedition to Harrisonburg, September 9, 1863

The following transcription is from a collection of letters written by Union and Confederate officers during the Civil War.  Catahoula Bank in Harrisonburg and Jonesville provided a complimentary transcription of this collection in 1966.

Headquarters Wisconsin Mounted Infantry
September 9, 1863

Capt. W. H. F. Randall
Asst. Adjt. Gen. Fourth Div.
Seventeenth Army Corps.

CAPTAIN:  I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the late expedition to Harrisonburg, La.

On the morning of the 1st instant, pursuant to orders, I crossed the Mississippi River at this point with my command, and moved forward to Trinity, capturing on the way two of the enemy's outposts.  The prisoners informed me that reinforcement of 2,000 men were advancing to the relief of Harrisonburg.  I arrived at Trinity at 8 P.M., and bivouacked on the east side of Black River.  About 10 o'clock the Confederate Steamer Rinaldo appeared in sight coming down the river and tied up on the Trinity side.  I at once sent three companies, Captain Apker commanding, to intercept the steamer in case she should attempt to escape, and at the same time dispatched a party of 20 men, Captain Crane commanding, 6 miles up Bayou Tensas, to procure a flat boat with which to cross the river.  About 11 P.M. the enemy became aware of our presence through their pickets on this side of the river.  On the alarm being given, the steamer at once loosed from the shore and attempted to escape up the river.  Not observing the orders of Captain Apker to round to he poured into her two well directed volleys, when the Captain ran her ashore on the opposite side, and abandoned her with his crew.  About 12 P.M. Captain Crane and party returned with the flat boat for which they had been dispatched, and at once crossed the river in the face of the enemy's fire, seized the steamer, and drove the enemy, who were for the most part concealed, back through the town.  Captain Crane sustained a loss of 4 men wounded, 1 mortally.  I then had the steamer brought across the river and discovered that her steam pipe had been pierced in a number of places by our balls.  Having been engaged in constant skirmishing during the entire night, expending over 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and not knowing on what road their reinforcements were advancing, I deemed it prudent to open communications with the commanding general.

I therefore burned the steamer and returned to Cross Bayou.  After replenishing my ammunition, I at once moved back to my former bivouac opposite Trinity.  At daylight on the morning of the 3d, I observed a number of people on the opposite side of the river and ordered them to send across a skiff.  They not complying with my command, 2 men of my regiment, Corporal Brunson and Private Thomas Healey of Company F, volunteered to swim the river and procure a skiff.  This they did successfully through fired upon by the concealed enemy, but a few well directed volleys by a company which I had stationed on this side of the river soon cleared the opposite shore.  I then crossed my entire command.  About 2 P.M. by orders of the general commanding, moved forward toward Harrisonburg, soon meeting the enemy and having a running fight with them for 9 miles, with the loss of one man from my command.

Night coming on, I was obliged to desist.  Bivouacked at the junction of the Trinity and Alexandria roads.  At this place, capturing a courier I learned that a force of between 3,000 and 4,000 men, a portion of Walker's Division were advancing on the Alexandria road, 8 miles from my place of bivouac.  Believing the information to be reliable, I immediately sent a dispatch to General Gresham, who arrived with his command.  At 2 A.M. the general ordered me to send three of my companies out on the Alexandria road to reconnoiter and feel the enemy.  The companies were sent out under the command of Major D. D. Scott.  On advancing about 4 miles, they became engaged with the enemy driving them 1 1/2 miles through their main camp, which was known by the large number of fires, amounting to fifty or more.  At this moment I called up the balance of my regiment, and ordered the companies to advance as skirmishers.  After marching 1 mile or more, passing through their deserted camp, and finding no enemy, I recalled the skirmishers and marched toward Harrisonburg, joining the general commanding on his entrance into the town.

At 2 P.M. I received orders to destroy a mill and commissary stores on the Natchitoches road.  Arriving at the place where the stores were supposed to be, I found 8 Confederate soldiers, whom I captured, but no stores.  After destroying the mill and 57 bales of Confederate cotton, I returned to Natchez, arriving here the evening of the 7th.

I feel under special obligations to Major Scott, Captains Apker, Crane, Beaupre, and Lieut. Dela Hunt for their promptness and ready obedience and gallantry in the execution of orders.  I would also mention as deserving of notice, my two guides, Messrs. Dougherty and Norris, for their assistance during the expedition.  I captured in all about 25 prisoners.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. G. Malloy
Colonel Commanding
Seventeenth Wisconsin
Mounted Infantry


Adam G. Malloy - Captain 6th Wisconsin Volunteers, April, 1861. In Washington, D. C., to February, 1862. Lieutenant-Colonel 17th Wisconsin Volunteers, February, 1862. Commanding regiment, and engaged at the siege of Corinth, and battle of Corinth, Miss. Colonel 17th Wisconsin Volunteers, November, 1862, and engaged at the siege of Vicksburg, Miss. Regiment mounted, and engaged in an expedition against Fort Beauregard, La. Commanding brigade, and at Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864. In the Atlanta campaign, and commanding a brigade, and engaged at the battles of Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Ezra Church, Jonesboro, Lovejoy's Station, Ga., Nashville, Tenn., and action of Kinston, N. C. Brevet Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers, for gallant and meritorious services. Second Lieutenant 17th U. S. Infantry, February, 1866. At Hart's Island, New-York Harbor. Transferred to the 35th U. S. Infantry, by the re-organization of the army. First Lieutenant 35th U. S. Infantry, February, 1866. Brevet Captain U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services at the siege of Vicksburg, Miss. Brevet Major U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Ga. Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Atlanta, Ga. Brevet Colonel U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Nashville, Tenn.

1 comment:

  1. Love to read about our history.Thanks for sharing! Dawn