March 4, 2014

Civil War ~ Union Brigadier General Crocker's Report, September 10, 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 United States Force
District of Natchez, Miss.
September 10, 1863

A.A.G. Seventeenth Army Corps.

COLONEL:  Of the expedition to Harrisonburg I have the honor to report as follows:

The expedition consisted of the following troops:  The Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Col. C. Hall, Fourteenth Illinois Commanding; The Third Brigade, Fourth Division, General W. Q. Gresham, Commanding; Company F, Second Illinois Artillery, and the Fifteenth Ohio Battery, with the Seventeenth Wisconsin Mounted Infantry, commanded by Colonel Malloy.

On the 1st instant, the Seventeenth Wisconsin crossed the river at this place at daylight, with orders to proceed without delay to Trinity; the Third Brigade crossed with the Fifteenth Ohio Battery and moved toward Trinity about 6 miles; the Second Brigade with Company F, Second Illinois Artillery, crossed and encamped on the bank opposite Natchez.

On the 2nd instant, General Gresham moved with his command within 3 1/2 miles of Trinity.  Colonel Hall moved to and crossed Cross Bayou 16 miles from Natchez.  In the meantime, Colonel Malloy had moved to Trinity as directed and after a slight skirmish with the enemy had captured a small steamer, the Rinaldo, but had for reasons best known to himself, burned the boat, and fallen back to General Gresham.  Upon the advance of General Gresham toward Trinity, he again moved toward the town and early on the morning of the 3rd instant he crossed the river with a portion of his regiment in flats and took possession of the place.

The Black River at Trinity was found to be about 800 feet wide; we crossed it by making flats of the pontoons.  First the regiment of mounted infantry, then General Gresham's command, then Colonel Hall's command.

The mounted infantry was then ordered to move to the junction of the Alexandria and Trinity roads; General Gresham to move as near that point as he could.  The day having been entirely consumed in crossing, Colonel Hall encamped about one mile from Trinity.

When I found that it was possible to lay the pontoon at Trinity, I ordered the troops to take two day's rations in haversacks, and the transportation sufficient only to carry the ammunition across, and left two regiments of Colonel Hall's command to guard the crossing and the train left there.

On the morning of the 4th, General Gresham, with part of the regiment of mounted infantry and his brigade, started in the direction of Harrisonburg, but received reports from that portion of the mounted men sent out on the Alexandria road that the enemy was approaching from that direction in large force, the brigade was halted and formed in line of battle, this causing a delay of several hours.

On coming up to the Third Brigade, accompanied by Colonel Hall, after a little time spent in reconnoitering, I ordered the whole command to move to Harrisonburg, where we arrived between 10 and 11 A.M.

Fort Beauregard and the town had been evacuated that morning.  The enemy had burned all his commissary stores and fire was burning in all the casements and over the magazines, and a very large amount of ammunition had been destroyed.  They had left light guns in the works, four 32-pounders and four 6-pounder brass pieces.  The 32-pounder we spiked and disabled as much as possible and left them in the burning casements.

One of the 6-pounder brass guns was in a casement that had been fired and caved in so that it could not be gotten out; another was in a detached works so that it could not be gotten out without great labor, which we had not the tools to perform.  Both these pieces were rendered useless.

The two remaining pieces, Lieutenant Gilman, of Colonel Hall's staff, placed upon a flat and succeeded in boating to Trinity, from which place we brought them safely in.  They had also burned a large quantity of small arms.  We completed the work of destruction on the fort as well as possible, and destroyed a large quantity of ammunition stored in the jail and court house; also some corn and provisions in the town; and at 4 P.. started back toward Trinity, Colonel Hall in advance.

Before leaving, I sent Colonel Malloy out on the Natchitoches road, where he destroyed a grist mill that had been used in grinding meal for the fort, with a quantity of commissar stores that had been moved from the town.  He also burned 57 bales of cotton marked "C.S.A".  On the 5th instant, re-crossed the Mississippi at Natchez, without anything of interest occurring on the march.  

On the expedition, we captured 20 prisoners of war, who are now here confined, besides a number of suspicious persons, the most of them have been released.  I send herewith reports of the brigade commanders; also a sketch of the fort, made by Captain Cadle of my staff.  The conduct of the troops on the march was generally excellent, and they returned in good health and spirits.

Fort Beauregard and the post at Harrisonburg were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Logan, and garrisoned by an irregular force of conscripts--artillery, cavalry and infantry from 150 to 500.

M. M. Crocker
Brigadier General, Commanding


Brigadier General Marcellus Monroe Crocker attended West Point in 1847- 1849 but dropped out to take up the practice of law in Des Moines, Iowa.

When the Civil War began he gave up his law practice and served with his regiment in Missouri before being tapped to command a new regiment. At Shiloh, he was briefly in command of a brigade and immediately afterwards he was given charge of a brigade of Iowa troops with which he was long associated.

This brigade was made up of the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was in command of his brigade until May 1863. It was called Crocker's Brigade and was one of Iowa's most distinguished.

General Crocker fought at Corinth, Mississippi and was a division commander during the Vicksburg Campaign, particularly distinguishing himself at Champion Hill.

From the summer of 1863 to spring of 1864 his division was engaged in operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. During the movements of the Corps to join Sherman's Army in the Atlanta Campaign he was forced to relinquish command due to ill health.

Brigadier General Marcellus Monroe Crocker died in Washington D.C. on August 26, 1865.


  1. I'm enjoying the detailed history of your blog. Nicely done. Cheers,
    Bondy (Pamela Bondurant) Horace-->Leo-->Leo Horace-->Me (granddaughter of Elinor Stigall Bondurant of Sicily Island)

    1. Hi Pamela, Thank you for reading my blog. I recently visited the Natchez City Cemetery and located several of your Bondurant ancestors. Very interesting family! Hoping to do another post on them and the Cammack family as well. Thanks again for reading my blog and taking the time to comment.