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DEATH OF COL. T. D. WILLIAMS. 361
supervision of skirmishers, I cannot praise too much. His good judgment and skillful handling elicited encomiums of well merited compliments at all times. He was cool, determined and persevering. Capt. W. Taggert, who succeeded to the command of the 25th Illinois regiment, behaved as a soldier should everywhere—efficient and ever ready to execute orders.
"Amid the glorious results of a battle won, it gives me pain to record the names of the gallant men who offered up their lives on the altar of their country. But we must drop the tear of sorrow over their-resting places and offer our heartfelt sympathies to their relatives and friends, trusting that God will care for them and soothe their afflictions. And while we remember the noble dead, let us pay a tribute of respect to the gallant Colonel T. D. Williams, 25th Illinois regiment, who died in the performance of his duty. He fell with his regimental colors in his hands, exclaiming: 'We will plant it here, boys, and rally the old 25th around it, and here we will die?' Such conduct is above all praise and words can paint no eulogiums worthy of the subject."
The 35th Illinois lost two officers wounded, eight privates killed, forty-nine wounded and thirty-two missing. The 25th, one officer killed and three wounded, fourteen privates killed, sixty-nine wounded and thirty-five missing.
The 110th Illinois, Colonel Thomas S. Casey, were under fire in this battle for the first time, but behaved with the utmost gallantry, and in conjunction with the 41st Ohio, by their unflinching determination and bravery foiled the efforts of an overwhelming force of rebels to break the front of General Hazen. Subsequently they occupied the extreme left against which a heavy attack was directed. This position must be held or the left sacrificed. The ammunition of the 110th was exhausted, but they clvbbed their muskets, and coolly as old veterans fought like heroes and held their line unbroken. Later in the fight the 100th Illinois, under command of the gallant and lamented Colonel Bartleson, came up to the support of the 110th and fought side by side with them in generous rivalry.
The 74th Illinois, Colonel Marsh commanding, left Nashville in the advance on the 26th, and came up in the afternoon near Nolinsville, meeting a considerable force of the enemy. The regiment formed in line of battle and advanced, occupying an exposed position. The enemy, however fell back, and the regiment bivouacked for the night. The next day being exceedingly inclement, they marched but five miles and again bivouacked. Resting in camp over the Sabbath, the march was resumed Monday morning, and the next morning the regiment were at their arms at daylight, coming up with the enemy about noon. A slight fire of skirmishers was kept up during the day, but at night a heavy fire opened upon them from a masked battery, making it necessary for the line to fall back. The regiment being within direct and short range of the battery, several casualties occurred. M. O. Felmly and Corporal Cook were killed, and I. B. Caspares, corporal of the same company, was seriously wounded. At four o'clock the next morning the regiment formed in line,, and at day light their skirmishers opened upon an advancing rebel force, emptying many saddles. But the superior numbers of the rebels enabled them to flank, and the regiment fell back in good order. As the rebels came up, the regiment reserved their fire until within short range, when they opened with terrible effect, holding them completely in check until they had delivered ten or fifteen rounds. But the odds were too tremendous, and the regiment had to retreat. At a point about half a mile back they made another stand, where they were joined by three companies of the regiment which had been cut off early in the morning. First Lieutenant Leffingwell came up with the men and helped rally the regiment. After this the regiment had no further share in the fighting of that day, except two companies sent out as skirmishers under command of 1st Lieut. Blakesley, who rendered important service in a skirmish with the rebel cavalry. On Friday the regiment was put in rapid march across Stone River on the left, just after the charge of the 19th Illinois, but the battle had closed by the retreat of the enemy just before their arrival. In the official report of Colonel Marsh, Capt. J. H. Douglass, Major Dutcher and Capt. Nieman were highly commended, and private Charles A. Allen, of Company E, was recommended for promotion for his fearless bravery and enthusiastic zeal. The 73d and 44th Illinois regiments in Lieut.-Col. Liebold's brigade, also distinguished themselves in this battle. A portion of THE FIFTY-FIEST. 363
the 73d supported Hezcock's battery in a gallant manner on the 31st, the balance of the regiment being held in reserve. The 44th Illinois with the 2d Missouri, on the same day made a splendid advance to their position, and, although unsupported, bravely held it until they were attacked on the front and flank at once. The detached battalions of the 73d were attacked several times, but in almost every instance signally repulsed them. Capt. Alsop, of the 73d, and Capt. Hosmer, of the 44th, fell fighting bravely.
The 51st Illinois, Colonel Bradley, was in the thickest of the fight and suffered heavily, but was commended on every hand for its gallant bearing and heroic action.
Although many of the Illinois regiments had to bear the brunt of overwhelming attacks from superior numbers, where success was impossible, there has hardly been a battle in the war where more persistence has been displayed or more heroism evinced. In every part of the field, wherever the fight raged the most fiercely, were the Illinois regiments, and from the overpowering rebel assaults of the first day to the splendid and dashing charge of the 19th Illinois and other regiments which saved the left and the day, there are no w^ords to be used but those of commendation.
Col. Grierson's Raid—Organization Of The Expedition And Its Character—Col. Hatch Leaves The Force—Illinois Alone In The Field—On For Baton Rouge— Daring Expedition Of Capt. Forbes—Three Thousand Rebels Surrender To Thirty-fiye Union Troopers—The Crisis At Pearl Riyer Bridge—Saving The Bridge—A Perilous Moment—Capture Of Hazlehurst—How They Crossed Pearl River—Capture Of Brookhaven—Destroying Railroads And Telegraphs— In The Swamps And In Ambush—Capture Of Stuart's Cavalry—Entering Baton Rouge—Rejoicings And Ovations.
WE now drop the campaign of General Rosecrans for a few chapters, and turn to one of the most thrilling episodes of the war—the raid of General Grierson, which was purely an Illinois operation, conceived and planned by an Illinois officer, and carried out in all its details by Illinois soldiers. Probably no movement in the war so clearly and unmistakably illustrated the dash, courage, hardihood and power of endurance of Illinois soldiers as this raid. Certainly no operation has been more completely carried out or crowned with a greater degree of success. The country traversed by the little force was in many places almost impassable, owing to swamps and bayous, and it swarmed with rebel troops north, south, east and west of them. Not a day passed that they were not in danger of being cut off and annihilated, and oftentimes their fate hung by a single thread. Swinging loose from all communications, destroying every thing behind them, so that return was impossible, scantily provided with food, and riding sometimes fifty miles a day, crossing burning bridges and swollen streams, plunging through swamps and morasses, achieving safety when a minute's delay would have involved destruction, it seemed as if these bold riders and their no less bold and skillful leader bore charmed lives. Poetry and history GEIEliSON'S RAID. 365
in time to come will record Grierson's raid as one of the most chivalrous and gallant exploits of a war marked by brave deeds from its commencement to the present time.
In order to facilitate General Grant's operations around Vicksburg, it had been determined to make a cavalry raid in the rear of the doomed city for the purpose of destroying the enemy's railroad communications and preventing his reinforcement. Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, of the first cavalry brigade, had proposed a raid through Mississippi, without meeting the approval of General Grant until April 1st, when he was instructed to prepare for the expedition. His force was stationed at La Grange, about fifty miles east of Memphis and four miles west of the junction of the Mississippi and Charleston Railroad, and consisted of the 6th Illinois cavalry, Colonel Reuben Loomis; 7th Illinois cavalry, Col. Edward Prince; and the 2d Iowa cavalry, Colonel Edward Hatch. On the 17th of April, feints having previously been made from La Grange, Memphis and Corinth, to divert the attention of the enemy from the real objects of the movement, they moved out on the road towards Ripley, the 6th Illinois leading the advance, and at night fall, after riding thirty miles, camped near Ripley, on a plantation owned by one Dr. Ellis. The 6th having taken the wrong road near La Grange were thrown to the westward and did not arrive until night. The 7th, as they were going into camp, made the first capture during the expedition, in the shape of three rebel prisoners who were surprised while crossing a corn-field near the camp.
On the 18th they broke camp at eight o'clock, dividing their forces, the 2d Iowa advancing on the left flank of the column in a southeasterly direction, while the remainder of the column took the direct road south through Ripley towards New Albany. As they neared the bridge across the Tallahatchie, a rebel force was discovered on the opposite bank trying to destroy the bridge. Shouting their old battle cry, Captain Thomas's battalion dashed over the bridge and into the rebel bridge burners with such impetuosity that they fled like sheep without accomplishing much injury to the bridge. The bridge was soon put in good order and the troopers drove into town, lighting their camp fires on the plantation of a Mr. Sloan, four miles south of New Albany. Colonel Hatch's command in the