Private George W. Gates

Private George W. Gates was born on 1832 in Massachusetts and died October 8, 1862 in St. Louis, MO.

George W. Gates entered the Cavalry on December 2, 1861, in , served during the Civil War era and reached the rank of Private before being discharged on October 8, 1862 in St. Louis, MO.

George W. Gates is buried at Horton Cemetery in Horton, IA, Iowa and can be located at

  • Died in Service: Yes

Armed Forces Grave Registration

Died of disease Oct. 8, 1862 St. Louis, Mo. Iowa Roster Vo. 4 P. 724

Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion

Historical Sketch: Fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

The Fourth Regiment of Iowa Cavalry was organized under the proclamation of President Lincoln, dated July 23, 1861. The original roster of the regiment shows that the twelve companies of which it was composed were ordered into quarters by Governor Kirkwood, on dates ranging from August 26 to November 2, 1861. The place of rendezvous designated in the order was Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where the companies were mustered into the service of the United States by Captain Alexander Chambers, of the United States Army, on dates ranging from November 23, 1861, to January 1, 1862. Most of these companies had perfected their organization and were awaiting assignment when the Governor’s order was issued, but some of them had only an incipient organization at that time, hence the disparity in the dates upon which they were mustered into the service. Upon the date of the muster of the last company, the regiment numbered 1,086 men and officers. The camp was named “Camp Harlan,” in honor of the distinguished Senator from Iowa, whose home was in Mount Pleasant. Barracks were erected for the use of the men and officers, and stables for the horses.

The subjoined roster gives the names of the field, staff and line officers, as well as that of each enlisted man, at the time the organization was completed, and, opposite the name of each, appears his personal record of service, in so far as the same could be found by a careful search of the official records. However, it is more than possible that, in some instances, individual records may be found to be incomplete or incorrect. In such cases the fault must be charged to the official records, and inability to obtain fuller information from the War Department, at Washington, and not to those who made the transcripts. A painstaking effort was made some years ago by William F. Scott, late Adjutant of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, to compile a correct roster and record of the regiment. In his preface to the work, Adjutant Scott says: “The history given is that of the original records, supplemented by papers of my own and of other officers and soldiers, all verified with much care. But the great number of errors and contradictions found and traced to explanation makes it probable that many others remain hidden. I can only say that the work is as nearly correct as it could well be made, and certainly more nearly correct than the official records.”

While this compilation, like that of every other Iowa military organization embraced in this work, is made from the official records, the completed roster has been carefully compared with that to which reference has been made, for the purpose of verification and the clearing up of records which would otherwise have remained more or less obscure and incomplete. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry is more fortunate in this regard than any other Iowa regiment, the history referred to being contained in a large volume of over six hundred pages and describing with great particularity all the movements and operations of the regiment during its long term of service. The compiler of this historical sketch is confronted with the difficult task of condensation, and cannot therefore attempt to include in this brief history anything more than the outlines of the most important events connected with the service of the regiment, but, in the arrangement of the roster which follows, he hopes and believes the chief merits of the work will be found.

Only a few of the officers and men of the regiment had the benefit of previous military training or experience. Colonel A. B. Porter, Major George A. Stone and Adjutant George W. Waldron had been officers in the First Iowa Infantry and had fought in the battle of Wilson’s Creek, as had also a number of the enlisted men of the different companies; but this experience, except in so far as having been under fire was of benefit to them, availed but little, because they had no knowledge of the duties of cavalry soldiers. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Drummond was the notable exception in this regard, he having been a lieutenant in the Fifth United States Cavalry. Upon joining the regiment he became its instructor in tactics and discipline. He was a man of excellent ability, but somewhat imperious in his manner and bearing, and perhaps over zealous in his efforts to bring the regiment up to a state of efficiency in drill and discipline before it was called upon to take the field. The regiment remained at Camp Harlan until the latter part of February, when it was transported by rail to St. Louis and thence to Benton Barracks. Horses of an excellent quality had been supplied before leaving Iowa, but the regiment was otherwise only partially equipped when it reached Benton Barracks. There its equipment was completed, but the quality of arms with which it was at first supplied was poor. It was a long time before a better quality of arms could be furnished.

On the 10th of March, 1862, Colonel Porter received orders to move his regiment by rail to Rolla, Mo. Upon its arrival there a detail of forty men, under command of First Lieutenant John Guylee, of Company A, was sent to guard a party of paymasters going to pay the troops of the Army of the Southwest. The detachment was joined by a larger force of cavalry at Lebanon and successfully performed its duty as escort, reaching the army at Pea Ridge on March 26th, and then countermarched to Springfield, where it awaited the arrival of the regiment. The regiment marched from Rolla to Springfield and went into camp there, where it remained about three weeks. On April 14th the regiment marched south and, on the 16th, joined the army under General Curtis, at Forsyth. On April 19th a scouting detachment of the regiment, under command of Lieutenant William A. Heacock, came into conflict with a party of the enemy at Talbot’s Ferry, Ark., and, in the skirmish which ensued, Lieutenant Heacock was killed—the first man of the regiment to meet death at the hands of the enemy. The army moved eastward to West Plains. There was much sickness in the regiment, and there were a number of deaths, while others became incapacitated for further duty and were subsequently discharged. It was the usual experience of new regiments in the field. The hardships and exposure to which the men were subjected caused more deaths and disabled more men than the conflicts with the enemy. From West Plains the army moved to Batesville, the cavalry scouting the country on the flanks and rear. On June 3d, Company C, under command of Captain Porter, came into contact with a force of rebel cavalry and, in the skirmish, Corporals Butcher and Browning were wounded and, with private Murdock, captured. They were confined at Little Rock until August, when they were exchanged.

FOURTH CAVALRY

On June 24th the army took up the line of march for Helena. Company F, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under command of Captain Winslow, had been detached from the regiment about the middle of May and was acting under the orders of Captain Banning, the Chief Commissary of the army, who was actively employed in gathering provisions from the surrounding country and in guarding the commissary trains and the mills which were grinding grain into flour and meal for the use of the army. Captain Winslow’s company captured a steamboat loaded with sugar and molasses. The company also brought in about one hundred wagons loaded with provisions. Thus far his company had sustained no casualties in making these important captures, but, on the 7th of June, it came into contact with a party of rebels and Corporal John G. Carson was mortally wounded. On the 14th of July, twelve men of Captain Winslow’s company were foraging under command of Sergeant Curtiss. While loading their wagons at Gist’s plantation, twenty miles from Helena, they were attacked by a force of one hundred rebel cavalry. Curtiss lost one man killed and five wounded from his little detachment. The wounded men were captured. Captain Winslow, hearing the firing, galloped with the rest of his company to the rescue, overtook and attacked the rebels and recaptured one of the wounded and all the wagons. The wounded prisoners were subsequently paroled.

The movement of the army was very slow, owing to the intense heat, the necessity for constant foraging to obtain provisions, the large number of sick in wagons and ambulances, and the blocking of the roads by the enemy placing obstructions which it took much time to remove. There was also considerable fighting by the troops which led the advance. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry was assigned to the rear guard. Finally, the long march and the end of the campaign was reached when the army arrived at Helena, July 12, 1862.

The regiment remained in camp at Helena for over eight months. During this period it was engaged in scouting the surrounding country, watching the movements of the enemy and guarding the approaches to that important post, which was many times threatened with attack. The troops composing the defensive force at Helena consisted of three regiments of infantry, one battery, and the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, all under the command of Colonel William Vandever, of the Ninth Iowa Infantry, an able officer who had won distinction at the battle of Pea Ridge. Company F, under command of Captain Winslow, was assigned to special service as provost guards and other duties at headquarters in the town, and did not rejoin the regiment until it left Helena. The camp of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was outside the town, about four miles on the Little Rock road, constituting an outpost for the defensive works and the garrison, hence its duties were of the utmost importance, as it would be the first to meet the enemy in case of an attack in force. The most constant vigilance was therefore necessary, and was maintained. The details for picket duty each day were heavy, and scouting parties were sent out in advance of the picket lines to guard against the possibility of a surprise. Small scouting parties of the enemy were observed from time to time, but no conflict which involved loss to the regiment occurred until September 20th, when a detail of eight men, of Company D, met a superior force of the enemy and, in the fight which ensued, the detachment lost one man killed, one wounded and three captured, the remaining four, escaping, returned to camp, and a detachment was at once sent in pursuit of the rebels, but did not succeed in overtaking them. On September 30th, two men, of Company M. were captured. these men, and those captured on the 20th, were exchanged and returned to the regiment in November, 1862.

About the 1st of October General Vandever and his infantry troops left Helena, and a considerably smaller force was sent to succeed them as a garrison for the post. The camp of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry -was then moved two miles nearer Helena, on the Little Rock road, and two other cavalry regiments—the Ninth Illinois and the Fifth Kansas—were encamped near them, On the morning of the 11th of October a detachment of fifty men of the Fourth Iowa was sent out on a scout, under the command of Major Rector, and proceeded about fifteen miles without meeting the enemy, but late in the afternoon, when marching through a lane, within three miles of camp, it was suddenly attacked from the rear by a superior force of rebels. Although placed at a great disadvantage—his men being thrown into confusion by the sudden and unexpected attack—the gallant Major Rector succeeded in rallying his men and resisted the attack in his front, but a portion of the enemy had made a detour and, coming from the opposite direction, the detachment found itself attacked from all sides and was compelled to cut its way out, which it did after losing twenty-one of its number in killed, wounded and captured. Major Rector was among the captured. Lieutenant George B. Parsons, of Company B, had also been sent on a scout with forty of his company the same morning, and was returning to camp when he heard the firing of the enemy’s and Major Rector’s men, and, moving promptly to the place where the fighting was going on, he boldly charged the enemy, killing and wounding a number of them and capturing twelve prisoners, among whom was Lieutenant Colonel Giddings of the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, who was in command of the rebel force. In this charge Lieutenant Parsons lost two men captured and four wounded, and was himself wounded. The regiment went in pursuit of the rebels, but did not overtake them. The captured men were paroled and returned to the regiment and, a couple of months later, were exchanged and restored to duty. Lieutenant Parsons was very highly commended for his prompt action and the personal gallantry he displayed in the engagement. He was subsequently promoted to Captain of his company.

On the 8th of November, Captain John H. Peters of Company B, with a detachment of 100 men from different companies of the regiment, was leading the advance of a column of 600 cavalry, which was part of a reconnoitering expedition under command of Colonel Vandever, when he received orders to charge a force of rebels who held the road upon which the column was marching. He promptly charged the enemy who fled after but slight resistance. His loss in the charge was 3 men wounded. Later on, the same day, his detachment was suddenly attacked by a larger force of the enemy. Captain Peters promptly charged again, this time losing 19 wounded. Among those wounded in this charge were Captain Peters, Lieutenants Beckwith, Tucker, Fitch and Groesheck, and Corporal Charles W. Sisson, who subsequently died from the effect of his wound. The enemy’s loss in these two engagements was 17 killed, 14 captured and many wounded, the total number not known. Captain Peters and his command were highly commended for their gallantry. Two officers—a Major and a Captain—were among the prisoners captured from the enemy.

On the 18th of November the regiment started from Helena, with the cavalry force under the command of Colonel Bussey of the Third Iowa Cavalry, which was to co-operate with the infantry under General A. P. Hovey, in an expedition having for its object the capture of Arkansas Post—a strong and important rebel fortification on the Arkansas River. The troops suffered very great hardships upon this expedition, which was finally abandoned on account of the impassable condition of the roads, and—on account of low water—the failure of the transports which carried the infantry to proceed to the point where the two forces were to have joined. On the 25th of November the troops reached Helena, on their return from this unfortunate march. On the next day after its return, the regiment was ordered to march with another expeditionary force, under General A. P. Hovey. This force landed at Friars’ Point, Miss., a few miles below Helena, and marched toward Grenada, the cavalry keeping well in advance. Destroying a considerable amount of railroad track near Coffeeville, it moved on to Panola and destroyed the railroad at and near that place, thus inflicting great damage upon the enemy’s line of transportation. Many horses were also captured, and several hundred negro men returned with the expedition and were afterwards enlisted in one of the colored regiments whose organization was authorized about that time. The entire march occupied but seven days. Upon its return to Helena, the camp of the regiment was moved near the river to a low and unhealthy situation, resulting in much sickness, which proved fatal to many. Among those who died there were Major Benjamin Rector and Captain Thomas C. Tullis. The reason for the change in location of camps was the necessity for contracting the lines nearer the post, on account of the smaller garrison then occupying it; but the danger from attack by the enemy was not so great as that incurred from disease, and, after much insistence, the commanding officer of the post permitted the regiment to move its camp to higher ground much farther away from the fortifications. The result of the change was soon apparent in a decreasing sick list. The reduction of the force imposed heavy work upon the cavalry, from whose camps, at some distance from the town, all the advanced picket posts and details for scouting were furnished.

On the 8th of March a detachment of the regiment, under command of Major Spearman, had a skirmish with the enemy at Big Creek, ten miles west of Helena, in which private Benoni F. Kellogg, of Company I., was killed. Early in April a detachment of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under command of Major Winslow, participated in an expedition against a force of rebels encamped at Wittsburg, on the St. Francis River, about one hundred miles northwest from Helena. On the 8th of April the enemy was encountered near Wittsburg and, after a brief but hard fought engagement, was defeated. The loss of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry in this fight was one man killed and seven wounded, all of Company L, which was at the front and charged the enemy, who made the attack from ambush after dark. This was the last fighting in which any of the regiment took part during the remainder of its stay at Helena.

On the 29th of April, 1863, the Fourth Iowa Cavalry—Lieutenant Colonel Swan in command—embarked on steamboats at Helena and, on the next day, landed at Milliken’s Bend. From the 30th day of April to the close of the Vicksburg campaign, on the 16th of July, the regiment performed very active and arduous service. Only a brief description can be given of its most important operations during this remarkable period in the history of the war. During the investment of Vicksburg the movements of the regiment covered the country in the rear of that stronghold, embracing the territory between the Big Black, the Mississippi and the Yazoo Rivers. Its principal encounters with the enemy were as follows: On the morning of May 12th, the Second Battalion, under command of Major Winslow, while leading the advance of Sherman’s column was engaged in a skirmish with the enemy, in which it lost one man killed, three men wounded, and had four horses killed. Major Winslow’s horse was killed, and he barely escaped being killed by being caught under the horse as it fell. It was here that Major Winslow first came under the observation of General Sherman, who had ridden to the front and was a Personal witness of the gallant conduct of the Major and his battalion. The next engagements were on May 13th and 14th, when the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under the personal direction of General Sherman, engaged in successful flanking movements, which caused the enemy to retreat into and through the city of Jackson and resulted in the capture of the city, with a loss to the enemy of 845 killed, wounded and captured, while the loss in General Sherman’s army was 42 killed and 258 wounded.

On the 16th of May the Fourth Iowa Cavalry marched from Jackson in the rear of General Sherman’s army. It was held within sight of the battle of Champion’s Hill, awaiting orders, but did not become engaged. It was sent upon a reconnaissance to Brownsville the next day and had a slight skirmish with the enemy’s cavalry but suffered no casualties, the enemy retreating rapidly through the village. The regiment returned to the rear of the army.

On the 18th of May, Lieutenant Colonel Swan was ordered to move rapidly in the direction of Haynes’ Bluff and reconnoiter that fortified position for the purpose of ascertaining whether it was still occupied by the enemy. Early in the afternoon the advance guard of the regiment came within sight of the works, and continued to advance cautiously; but not encountering opposition, Captain Peters with his company was ordered to move forward for closer observation, and, meeting with no enemy, he rode into the fort and found but twenty of the enemy, who surrendered without resistance. The strongly fortified position had been hastily evacuated. Captain Peters at once got into communication with Admiral Porter, whose fleet of gunboats was lying in the Yazoo River, below, out of range of the guns of the fort, and a detachment of marines was landed, under command of Lieutenant Walker, to whom Captain Peters turned over the fort and prisoners. Captain Peters moved on to the fortifications at Snyder’s Bluff, which he found had also been abandoned by the enemy. That night the regiment bivouacked in the rear of McPherson’s Corps and remained in that temporary camp for several days, sending out scouting and reconnoitering detachments to observe the movements of the enemy. The camp was afterwards moved to a fine location in the rear of General Sherman’s position. The effective force of the regiment was constantly drawn upon for scouting duty, and most of the men and officers were in the saddle during the day and, many times, far into the night. This incessant service told severely upon both men and horses, and the effective strength of the regiment became fearfully reduced as the days wore on, both men and horses breaking down when the limit of physical endurance was reached. In the performance of these duties several conflicts with the enemy occurred.

On the 24th of May, near Mechanicsburg, a large detachment of the regiment, under Major Parkell, joined with detachments of other cavalry, all under command of Lieutenant Colonel Swan, met a similar force of the enemy and, in the skirmish, the Fourth Iowa had one man wounded and one horse killed. On May 29th, near the same place. Major Parkell, in command of all the effective force of the regiment, had quite a serious engagement with the enemy, in which he had one officer and six men wounded. Major Winslow, whose battalion was supporting the artillery, was wounded in the leg by a piece of shell, and, though he continued on duty, suffered from the wound for many months. On the 22d of June, a detachment of the regiment, composed of 30 men each from companies A, F, I and K, 120 men and officers, under command of Major Parkell, was sent to blockade the road near the Bear Creek ford, by felling trees, and thus delay the expected advance of the enemy. While engaged in this work the pickets which had been posted were attacked, and those who were not killed, wounded or captured, were rapidly driven in, and Major Parkell found himself and his small command confronted with an overpowering force of the enemy. He made a most gallant resistance, but his valor and that of his men and officers could not prevail against such tremendous odds, and he was compelled to retreat, with a loss of more than one half of the detachment. The pursuit was not long continued. The commanding officer of the rebel force, naturally expecting that reinforcements would be encountered, soon halted and retreated with his prisoners. The loss of Major Parkell’s detachment was 8 killed, 17 wounded and 36 captured.

The enemy left 15 men dead upon the field, and one officer, a Major, mortally wounded, who was evidently supposed to be killed, as they carried off the rest of their wounded. Their total loss could not, therefore, be ascertained, but it no doubt reached, if it did not exceed, that of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, except in prisoners. Upon learning of the attack, the remainder of the regiment was quickly mounted and hurried to the relief of their comrades, but was not able to overtake the rebels before they had reached the lines of their own army. The division commander was justly criticised for sending so small a force so far in advance of the Union lines, without adequate support being provided, in case of attack. Lieutenant Joshua Gardner and Sergeant William T. Biggs died from the effect of wounds received in this engagement. All of the captured were exchanged and returned to the regiment in October, except Lieutenant William J. McConnelle, who remained in prison a long time and was finally exchanged and discharged without returning to the regiment, and Private James A. Livingston, who was reported as having died of his wounds in prison.

On the 20th of June, 1863, Major Winslow was promoted to Colonel of the regiment, succeeding Colonel Porter, who had resigned on account of ill health. Upon assuming command of the regiment, Colonel Winslow proceeded with great energy to improve its condition in the matter of a more strict enforcement of discipline and in other respects. He had secured the confidence and respect of the men and officers, and his efforts to improve upon the methods of those who had preceded him in command of the regiment were appreciated by all. They were now thoroughly seasoned soldiers and comprehended the absolute necessity for a more strict and impartial enforcement of discipline. Had this feeling been shown at an earlier period, Lieutenant Colonel Drummond would most likely not have resigned on account of the difference of opinion between Colonel Porter and himself as to the proper discharge of the duties of the commander of the regiment. The experience of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was not greatly unlike that of other volunteer organizations. It generally took a long time for the men to discover that implicit obedience to orders constitutes the first duty of a soldier, and also to discover those among their officers who were best fitted not only to command them in time of battle but to best care for them upon the march, in camp and under all conditions of the service. For this reason the early commanders of regiments met with greater difficulties than those who succeeded them, and they were often subjected to unjust criticism—at least this was true with reference to a majority of them.

Immediately after the surrender of Vicksburg, on the 4th of July, 1863, General Sherman’s army moved against the rebel army, commanded by General Johnston. On the morning of July 5th, Sherman’s infantry were upon the march towards Jackson. A cavalry brigade, composed of the Third and Fourth Iowa, Second Wisconsin and Fifth Illinois, under command of Colonel Cyrus Bussey, of the Third Iowa, crossed the Big Black River at Messinger’s Ferry, and at once took the advance of the army on the road to Jackson. From the morning of the 6th to the 11th of July, Colonel Bussey’s command was constantly at the front, had numerous skirmishes with the enemy and rendered valuable assistance to General Sherman in driving the rebel army into its intrenchments at Jackson, and in subsequent operations during the short siege which followed, ending in the evacuation of the works, by Johnston on July 17th, and his retreat across Pearl River. While the siege was in progress, Bussey’s cavalry had been active, and, in obedience to orders from General Sherman, proceeded to destroy a portion of the railroad immediately to the north of Jackson, then marched towards Canton, twenty-five miles farther to the north, and, in conjunction with a force of infantry and artillery, engaged the enemy, driving him into Canton on the night of July 17th. That night the enemy evacuated Canton, and the next morning Colonel Bussey marched into the town with his command, and proceeded to destroy factories and machine shops which had been engaged in the manufacture of equipments for the rebel army, also cars and locomotives which had been used by the rebels in transporting supplies for their army. Immediately after entering Canton, Colonel Bussey had ordered the Fourth Iowa Cavalry to march rapidly to the Big Black River and destroy the long railroad bridge and a mile of trestle work, together with the railroad property at Way’s Bluff. The regiment promptly executed this order, meeting with no resistance from the enemy, and rejoined the command that night. Colonel Bussey then marched from Canton to Messinger’s Ferry and went into camp. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry’s camp was located upon the Flower’s plantation, a beautiful place, surrounded by a luxuriant growth of trees, shrubbery and flowers, where it remained about three months. Notwithstanding the beauty of the location, the semi-tropic climate was unhealthful for these men who had been reared in the north, and there was much sickness in the regiment.

Upon his return from Jackson, General Sherman had established his headquarters about a mile north of the camp of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and an acquaintance was formed between the General and Colonel Winslow, which grew into a warm personal friendship. From the day (May 12, 1863) that General Sherman had been a personal witness of the gallantry and coolness of Winslow under the fire of the enemy, and the skill with which he handled his men, he had kept him in mind as an officer who would deserve promotion. Closer observation had confirmed the General’s first estimate, and he determined to organize an independent Cavalry Brigade and to place Colonel Winslow in command of it. General Sherman had planned an important and hazardous expedition, the successful execution of which would inflict heavy damage upon the enemy, but would require the exercise of great skill and good judgment on the part of the officer who should be selected to command it. General Grant approved the plan, leaving all the details for its execution to be arranged by Sherman. In his letter of instructions to Colonel Winslow, General Sherman states that there was a large amount of rolling stock— 70 locomotives and 500 cars—on the Great Central Railroad, between and at Water Valley and Grenada, to be moved, if possible, to and above Grenada and thence to Memphis. He also states that General Grant had ordered a cavalry force to proceed from Memphis to Grenada and to co-operate with the force under Colonel Winslow in carrying out these instructions. In an expedition of this kind it was of course necessary to invest the commanding officer with authority to act upon his own judgment, but he was to carry out his instructions, in so far as it was possible to do so, and to use his own discretion as circumstances should require. The official report of Colonel Winslow shows that his instructions were strictly complied with, except in the matter of getting the rolling stock into Memphis, which was found to be impossible. The operations of the regiment and brigade during the expedition are fully described, and with that particularity of detail characteristic of all Colonel Winslow’s reports. The compiler regrets that limitation of space will not permit the insertion of the entire report in this sketch. The following extracts will, however, serve to show the indomitable will of the commander, the bravery and good discipline of his officers and men, some of the difficulties encountered and overcome, and the important results achieved:

In accordance with instructions, the forces under my command, consisting of the Third Iowa, Fourth Iowa, and Fifth Illinois Cavalry regiments, eight hundred men, left camp on Big Black River, at 5 o’clock A.M. on the 10th inst. … Reached Yazoo City at 8 o’clock on the morning of the 12th inst. The gunboats, transports and troops had left this place early on the 11th inst. After waiting in bivouac until the morning of the 14th inst., I decided, in opposition to the voices of the officers commanding regiments, to push forward without further delay… We bivouacked at 10 P.M. on Harlan’s Creek, thirty miles from Yazoo City and eight miles from Lexington. Entered Lexington at 8 A.M., where the Third Iowa, Major Noble, with Lieutenant Jones, A. A. C. S., was left to procure rations, while the main force pushed forward to Durant, and captured at noon a train of cars just from Grenada. Captain Peters was immediately placed in charge of the engine, and proceeded five miles below Durant, and burned a bridge on the track. I learned that there was one engine and about ten cars below Durant; also, that the railroad bridge over Big Black River had just been repaired, the captured train being the first one ordered over it. Resting until 6 o’clock P.M., when the Third Iowa came up, the column moved to West Station, going into bivouac at 11 P.M., twenty-four miles by way of Durant, and twenty miles direct, from Lexington. At this point some engines and cars were found, and, with the train from Durant, forwarded to Vaiden—twelve miles—arriving at 11 o’clock, 16th inst., when the cavalry was delayed until 5 P.M. to make up trains. Reaching Winona—twelve miles— at day-break on the 17th, it was found that the enemy, who now appeared in front, had destroyed a small bridge above town. I therefore decided to leave the trains, now comprising thirteen engines and sixty cars, and pushed forward into Grenada, where I heard some force of the enemy was posted. I caused to be burned a bridge below West Station, one below Vaiden, and two below and near Winona, that the trains might not be carried off if we should be forced to abandon them temporarily. Under my instructions, I intended to return to Winona, and run the trains to Grenada. … Upon arriving at Grenada, I found Lieutenant Colonel Phillips, Ninth Illinois mounted infantry, with two brigades—fifteen hundred men.

Upon learning of the approach of Lieutenant Colonel Phillips’ command, the rebel cavalry, stationed at Grenada, had burned two bridges north of that place, thus making it impossible to get the locomotives and cars beyond that point. Those at Grenada were, therefore, destroyed, while those left south of that place were abandoned. Colonel Winslow then assumed command of all the Union forces and proceeded on the march to Memphis, during which he encountered some opposition from the enemy, which he easily overcame, and arrived at Memphis on the 23rd of August, 1863, having marched 265 miles. The total casualties were 11 men, killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy, in killed and wounded, was not definitely ascertained, but 55 of their number were captured and paroled. During this expedition the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was commanded by Major Parkell. General Sherman highly commended Colonel Winslow for his successful management of the expedition, in a personal letter, from which the following extracts are taken:

… You did exactly as you were ordered, and acted perfectly right. I wish now I had ordered you to destroy all cars instead of attempting to save them but my instructions were based on General Grant’s wishes as conveyed to me in person. … I now assure you of my great respect. I esteem you highly as a most promising cavalry officer, and only ask you, in whatever position you may find yourself, to obey orders; and when left to your discretion to do just what your judgment suggests. Only remember that boldness and dash are the characteristics of good cavalry. … I will watch your progress always, and wish you to consider me your friend and to call on me freely when you will.…

Among the notable incidents in the history of the regiment was the capture and escape of Private Charles H. Smith, of Company C, afterwards promoted to Sixth Sergeant and, later, to Second Lieutenant of his company. Smith was captured August 18, 1863, near Grenada, Miss. He escaped in the night by eluding the vigilance of his guards, and, after securing the horse of their captain, rode two hundred miles, mostly by night, and, after many thrilling adventures, in several of which he came very near being recaptured, succeeded in reaching the camp of the Second Iowa Cavalry at La Grange, Tenn., and, a few days later, rode the noble horse, which had carried him through so many perils, into the camp of his own regiment at Memphis.

On the 29th of August, 1863, the regiment with its brigade embarked for Vicksburg, where it arrived on the 31st and again went into camp. On the 26th of September, General Sherman issued a General Order, from which the following paragraphs are quoted:

“1. Colonel Winslow will organize a force of about one thousand men, to move via Brownsville, Vernon and Benton, and to return to Yazoo and Mechanicsburg, to start tomorrow evening, special instructions to be given to the Commander, who will report in person to the Commanding General…
…….
5. Colonel Winslow, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, is announced as Chief of Cavalry, and his orders will be obeyed by all the cavalry forces now attached to this command.”

A detachment of 300 men of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under command of Captain William Pursel, constituted part of the force under Colonel Winslow which moved, as instructed, making a diversion to attract the attention of the enemy from the movement of Sherman’s main army, then marching towards Memphis, its real destination being Chattanooga. The cavalry expedition was entirely successful, net with but slight loss and returned to camp with eight prisoners captured in a skirmish with the enemy. On October 15th, the regiment started on another expedition, under command of Major General McPherson, and, in the five days’ march, encountered the enemy several times, losing two men killed and one captured. On the 4th of December, a detachment of 100 men of the regiment, under command of Major Spearman, accompanied a force of cavalry which moved by transports to Natchez and there co-operated with the command of General Gresham on an important expedition. This detachment returned to Vicksburg December 17th. On the 19th of December, a sufficient number of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry had re-enlisted to entitle the regiment to be designated as a Veteran organization. Recruits began to arrive from Iowa about the same time, and the strength of the regiment was increased to nearly three-fourths of the maximum number. New and improved carbines were supplied and, for the first time in its history, the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was completely armed and equipped.

From the 19th of December, 1863, to the 1st of February, 1864, the regiment remained in camp near Vicksburg. On the latter date it moved in advance of General Sherman’s army at the commencement of the most remarkable experiment that, up to that time, had been undertaken—the great Meridian Expedition. Upon that expedition General Sherman demonstrated the possibility of a large army cutting loose from its base of supplies and penetrating far into the interior of the enemy’s country. Indeed, the success of the Meridian Expedition no doubt led General Sherman to undertake, at a later period, that great and brilliant achievement of his military genius—the march from Atlanta to the sea. As the vanguard of the army, the cavalry brigade, commanded by Colonel Winslow, was kept well to the front. Only the most effective men and horses were sent on this expedition, for the reason that it was expected that both would be subjected to the extreme limit of endurance. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry detachment consisted of 423 picked men and officers, under command of Major Parkell. The leading events in which the Fourth Iowa participated were, first, at Jackson where, on February 5th, the enemy was met in large force and the cavalry made an impetuous charge in which the Fourth Iowa was conspicuous, and in which one piece of artillery and fifty prisoners were captured. The rebels made a brave fight, under the leadership of General Stephen D. Lee, one of their best officers, but were compelled to retreat, the gallant General and several of his officers barely saving themselves from capture by the fleetness of their horses. At Tunnel Hill, near Meridian, the regiment led the advance in another severe encounter with the enemy, the engagement beginning at sundown and lasting until 9 P.M., the rebels being driven for miles over the hills, and suffering much greater loss than they were able to inflict in a running fight. The regiment was engaged in many lesser conflicts during the expedition, in all of which it was victorious. While the infantry was destroying the railroads at Meridian, the cavalry was scouting the surrounding country and inflicting great damage upon the enemy, by burning bridges and destroying supplies which had been accumulated for the use of the rebel army. Returning by a long circuit to the north, the cavalry arrived at Canton in advance of the army; and, upon the arrival of General Sherman at that point, the Fourth Iowa was selected as his escort to Vicksburg, arriving there on the 28th of February, having been absent 26 days. The distance marched was 450 miles. A large number of recruits had arrived during the absence of the detachment, and the aggregate strength of the regiment was increased to 1,300.

Those who had re-enlisted—about 500—with Colonel Winslow, and as many of the officers as could be spared from duty at the camp, marched to Vicksburg on the 4th of March, and there embarked on the good steamboat “Constitution” and proceeded to Keokuk, Iowa, where they arrived on the 14th, and on the next day each man received a furlough for 30 days, at the end of which time he was to report at Davenport, the place designated as the rendezvous, where the veterans were to reassemble. At the appointed time they all reported to Colonel Winslow and, within forty-eight hours, were again on their way to the South. At St. Louis Colonel Winslow received orders to disembark his men and proceed to Benton Barracks, where they were to be remounted and provided with the necessary equipments to enable them to at once enter upon another vigorous campaign. In three days they were again on their way down the river, with orders to disembark at Memphis. In the meantime, the men who had not re-enlisted and the recruits, remaining in camp at Vicksburg, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peters, had been ordered to proceed to Memphis, and there on the 29th of April, 1864, the regiment was again united and assigned to the Second Brigade of the Cavalry division of the Sixteenth Army Corps. General Grierson was in command of the division and Colonel Winslow was assigned to the command of the Second Brigade.

On the 30th of April the regiment, with its brigade and division, marched from Memphis to Bolivar, reaching the latter place on the 4th of May. Finding that the rebel General Forrest had retreated with his forces into Mississippi, General Sturgis, in command of the federal forces, marched in pursuit as far as Ripley, but, failing to overtake the enemy, the expedition was abandoned and the troops returned to Memphis, arriving there on the 12th of May, having marched 250 miles, and suffered great hardship, without accomplishing any important results, which, as will subsequently be shown, was to be the fate of this well-equipped army of 8,000 men while it remained under the command of General Sturgis. On the 29th of May, the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, forming part of a reconnoitering force of 1,500 men, under command of Colonel Winslow, left Memphis at 9 P.M. and proceeded to Hernando, Miss., from whence it returned to Memphis, having been gone 22 hours, and covered a distance of 54 miles, without coming in contact with the enemy.

On June 1st, General Sturgis left Memphis, with his army of 8,000 men and 18 pieces of artillery, and marched south in the direction of Guntown, where the rebel General Forrest had concentrated a strong force, with the intention of moving against Memphis. The strength of this rebel force was variously estimated at between 10,000 to 12,000 effective fighting men, well supplied with artillery, and it was under the command of one of the most daring and skillful officers in the rebel army. Colonel Winslow’s Brigade, consisting of the Third and Fourth Iowa and Tenth Missouri Cavalry regiments, and four pieces of artillery, led the advance and, on the evening of the 7th of June, encountered a scouting party of the enemy. In the skirmish which ensued Colonel Winslow lost four men and the rebels left six dead upon the field. The cavalry continued to advance without again encountering the enemy, until the morning of June 10th, when the rebel army, under General Forrest, was found in position at Brice’s Cross Roads, six miles from Guntown, where the entire strength of both armies became engaged in a hotly contested battle, which resulted in the complete defeat of General Sturgis and the loss of 2,000 of his army, killed, wounded and captured, nearly all his artillery, and 250 wagons of his supply train. During the progress of the terrible conflict, and amid the horrors of the fearful disaster which followed, the Fourth Iowa behaved with the most determined coolness and obstinate bravery. At the beginning of the fight, Colonel Winslow’s Brigade repelled three successive charges of the enemy, and firmly held its ground until twice ordered to retire to make way for the infantry. During the retreat, this brigade maintained its organization fully, and covered the retreat of the army until the enemy abandoned the pursuit, the Third and Fourth Iowa being the extreme rear guard for a great part of the way. The guns of Winslow’s Brigade were the first to open upon the enemy, fired the last shot at his advancing columns, and were the only ones brought safely off from that disastrous field. The men were in the saddle 54 consecutive hours, engaged with the enemy the greater part of the time, without feed for their horses or provisions for themselves. When the regiment reached Memphis, on the 14th of June, the men and horses were in a condition of almost complete exhaustion. They had marched 350 miles and had suffered a loss of 2 men killed, 18 wounded, and 3 captured.

Major A. R. Pierce was in command of the regiment on this ill-fated expedition, and describes in his official report, with particularity of detail, all its movements from the time it left Memphis to its return to that place. He shows how gallantly the regiment withstood the first attack of the enemy, where Lieutenant Dillon and many of his company were wounded; how the bridge was held until the infantry were given time to cross, and how companies D and G, commanded by Captain Abraham and Lieutenant Keck, held the enemy in check at one of the most critical points on the retreat; how the Third and Fourth Iowa Cavalry continued in the rear, covering the retreat until both men and horses had almost reached the limit of endurance. In concluding his report Major Pierce says:

I should be happy to mention in this report the names of all the officers and men who are entitled to special notice, but, in so doing, I would have to name most of my command. The battalion commanders, Captains Wood, Dee and Abraham, deserve much credit for their personal bravery on the field before the retreat, and the prompt manner in which they handled their commands, In guarding the rear after the retreat began; also Lieutenant Woodruff, Acting Adjutant of the regiment, for his promptness in clearing the bridge over Tishomingo Creek, and removing our horses from immediate danger.

The regiment was allowed but ten days’ rest, when it was again upon the march. The army was now under the command of Major General A. J. Smith, a very able and competent officer. The Fourth Iowa was attached to the same brigade with which it had served on the previous expedition, commanded by Colonel Winslow. The army marched south for the purpose of attacking Forrest’s command and retrieving the disaster which had been inflicted upon it in the expedition under Sturgis. After a number of skirmishes with the enemy, the regiment with its brigade arrived at Tupelo, in advance of the army, on the 13th of July, at noon, and immediately began to destroy the railroad and the buildings containing supplies for the rebel army. At 4 P.M. of the same day, the cavalry was ordered to proceed to the rear, to defend the train which was in danger of capture. The enemy was driven off and the train safely conducted to Tupelo, but upon reaching that place, near midnight, the regiment and brigade were again sent to the rear, to meet and check the advance of the enemy. After marching about two miles, the enemy was encountered and his further advance checked, the cavalry force holding its position under the fire of the rebel batteries until morning, when it was ordered to retire within the infantry lines, which was done slowly and all the way under fire. The enemy then attacked the infantry, which stood firm, repelled three succesisive charges, and finally, in turn, charged the rebels along their whole line and drove them from the field. In this battle the rebel forces lost 2,000 men, killed, wounded and prisoners, while the loss to General Smith’s army was about 8OO in killed and wounded.

The next morning Colonel Winslow’s Brigade was again sent to the front to reconnoiter. The enemy was found in strong force, and a movement was made to cut off the brigade from the main body, but, after a severe engagement, it succeeded in again retiring within the infantry lines. A severe general engagement ensued, in which the enemy was again defeated. Later in the day General Smith moved his army northward, the cavalry keeping in the rear, and the Fourth Iowa acting as the extreme rear guard. At Town Creek, five miles from Tupelo, while the column was halted, the enemy in strong force attacked the rear. Colonel Winslow quickly got his brigade in line and successfully resisted the attack until reinforced by the infantry, when the rebel force was driven from the field with heavy loss. This ended the fighting. The enemy had been severely punished and the disasters of the previous expedition had been retrieved. The return march was fraught with much hardship. It was difficult to procure sufficient forage for the horses, and the men were compelled to live upon one-fourth rations; the weather was very warm, but, notwithstanding these unfavorable conditions, the regiment completed the march of 400 miles in very good condition. It reached Memphis on the 23d of July. Its loss on this expedition was three men killed, ten wounded and nine captured.

After a brief rest, the regiment was called upon to engage in another expedition. All the cavalry at Memphis had now been consolidated into a cavalry corps, consisting of two divisions; the corps under the command- of General Grierson; the First Division commanded by Colonel Hatch of the Second Iowa, and the Second Division commanded by Colonel Winslow of the Fourth Iowa. The strength of the two divisions was about 2,500 each. Eleven companies of the Fourth Iowa—about 650 men and officers—were assigned to Colonel Winslow’s Division. The cavalry corps left Memphis on the 3d of August and marched direct to Holly Springs, Miss., from which place it marched south to Tallahatchie River, where it met General Chalmers’ brigade of rebel cavalry, posted on the south side of that stream. They had burned the bridge. To reconstruct the bridge, under the fire of the enemy, seemed impossible, but the artillery was brought forward and opened such a hot fire upon the enemy as to render their position untenable. They were soon driven out of range, and the work of rebuilding the bridge was begun and pushed to completion. On the 9th of August the work was done, and the Fourth Iowa was the first regiment to cross the river. The enemy was at once attacked and, after a spirited resistance, retreated to Hurricane Creek, where he made another stand but was again forced to give way. The rebel General Chalmers, who was in command, now retreated to Oxford, followed closely by General Grierson’s forces, and was soon driven from that place. Further pursuit was prevented by an order to return to Memphis, for the purpose of engaging in an expedition against the rebel General Price, who was proceeding with his army to again invade the State of Missouri.

In the meantime, the rebel General Forrest had executed a brilliant movement, which most likely also had its influence in causing General Smith to change his plans. Forrest, with 2,000 picked men and horses, had made a detour around General Smith’s command and, by a series of forced marches, had succeeded in reaching Memphis, and just before daybreak, on the morning of August 21, 1864, made an impetuous attack upon the troops stationed there, and had reached the heart of the city before the different detachments of Union troops could be rallied for defense. Among these detachments was Company C, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, which had been left upon provost guard duty when the regiment left Memphis. This company, under the command of First Lieutenant L. P. Baker, rendered conspicuous service in repelling Forrest’s attack and driving his force out of the city, after a severe conflict, in which Lieutenant Baker and several of his men were wounded, the Lieutenant’s wound being so severe as to permanently disable him. The regiment reached Memphis on the 30th of August, having marched 350 miles during the expedition.

On the 2d of September, 1864, the men and officers of the Fourth Cavalry who were the most able to endure the hardships of another active campaign, to the number of 525, with the other cavalry regiments composing the command of Colonel Winslow, crossed the river at Memphis, and entered upon the long and arduous march which terminated at Cape Girardeau on the 5th of October. From Cape Girardeau the troops were conveyed by boats to St. Louis, and stopping there only long enough to procure fresh horses and other equipments necessary for the continuation of the campaign, they resumed the march. General Price’s rebel army of 20,000 men had now reached Lexington, Mo., and was preparing to move forward to Jefferson City and thence to St. Louis. Recruits were constantly joining his army and the invasion of the State had indeed reached formidable proportions. To meet this invading army there was a force of about 11,000 infantry, under command of Generals A.J. Smith and Joseph A. Mower, and about 6,500 cavalry, under command of Major General Pleasanton, and another force composed of Kansas militia, and other troops under Generals Curtis and Blunt, making in all an army equal if not superior in numbers to that of the daring and reckless rebel invader. It was evident that much hard fighting must ensue before General Price and his army could again be driven out of the State of Missouri. The official reports give all the details of the movements and operations of the cavalry, from the time the march began at St. Louis to the last engagement, resulting in the overwhelming defeat of the rebel army. Marching 360 miles in twelve clays, the cavalry first encountered the enemy at Independence, on the 22d of October, and, after two hours of hard fighting, in which the Fourth Iowa bore a most conspicuous part, the enemy was driven from the field, the cavalry following in swift pursuit.

On the 23d of October the rebels made another determined stand and the fighting became desperate. The Fourth Brigade, being in advance, opened the fight, dislodged the first line of the enemy and forced him back upon his reserve. The First Brigade was then ordered up to assist the Fourth, both being under command of Colonel Winslow, who at once ordered a charge along the whole line. After a desperate resistance, the rebel line was broken by the charge and retreated in disorder. The Fourth Iowa was at the front and performed its whole duty in this charge. Colonel Winslow was severely wounded in the leg, but continued in the saddle, directing the movements and encouraging his men until the enemy was in full retreat. To cover the retreat of his main army, General Price formed one brigade in line of battle four miles south of Westport, near which place the forces, under Generals Curtis and Blunt, had attacked the enemy at the same time Colonel Winslow’s command had made its charge. The cavalry now charged the rebel brigade—which was endeavoring to cover the retreat—with such vigor that it broke and fled in great confusion, following the retreat of the main rebel army. The cavalry followed in pursuit for four miles, at a gallop, and captured many prisoners. In this charge the Fourth Iowa was so conspicuous that it received the highest commendation from Major Generals Curtis, Pleasanton and Blunt. Price’s flying army was closely pursued to the Osage River, where his rear guard was overtaken on October 25th, and routed by a cavalry charge, in which the Fourth Iowa again bore a conspicuous part.

The conditions which now confronted the rebel General Price and his army were desperate. He was a brave man, but he must have realized the hopelessness of further resistance. Nevertheless he resolved to make one more determined stand. He selected a position twenty miles south of the river on the open prairie, and there formed the remnant of his army—about 10,000 men in full view of the army which was advancing to attack him. The First and Fourth Cavalry Brigades of the Union army were quickly formed for a charge, and moved over the open prairie in full view of the enemy, who stood grimly awaiting the attack. The bugle call for the charge rang out, and the line swept forward. The enemy’s cavalry alone met the charge, but fought with great bravery. His infantry had already taken up the line of retreat. The assault of the strong force of Union cavalry could not long be resisted, and the entire rebel line was soon again in retreat, the victorious troopers following rapidly, crushing the rebel lines, capturing artillery and prisoners, and hastening the retreat of the now completely demoralized rebel army across the Marmiton River, and thence on to the shelter of the Ozark Mountains. In this last charge the Fourth Iowa had the honor of leading and, by its impetuosity, contributed largely to the glorious results. Lieutenant H. W. Curtiss, of Company F, was killed, and Major A. R. Pierce was severely wounded while gallantly charging at the head of the regiment. The result of this victory was a loss to the enemy of 1,000 killed and wounded, 1,000 prisoners (among whom were Generals Marmaduke and Cabel), 8 pieces of artillery, 100 wagons, loaded with provisions and ammunition, and an immense number of small arms. General Price escaped, with a small remnant of his once powerful army. The pursuit was kept up by the cavalry until the enemy had disappeared among the Ozark Mountains. It was impossible to go further in pursuit, as there was no food or forage to be obtained in that desolate country, and the cavalry started on the return march with men and horses nearly worn out. It was now the 8th of November. Snow had fallen, the weather was cold and the men were insufficiently clothed. Intense suffering was endured until November 14th, on which date the column was met by a supply train, which, had been sent to its relief, and the men were no longer hungry, although they still suffered much from fatigue and cold weather. At length, after a march of 400 miles, the regiment reached Rolla on the 27th of November. From that point they were conveyed by rail to St. Louis, and, on the 30th of November, were once more in their old quarters at Benton Barracks.

In his congratulatory order to the cavalry division, Major General Rosecrans states that its loss during the campaign against Price was 346 in killed, wounded and missing. The loss of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was 4 killed and 26 wounded; but its loss was far greater than this in the number of men rendered unfit for further service on account of the exposure and hardships to which they were subjected during the campaign. In writing to the Adjutant General of Iowa, under date of December 1, 1864, Colonel Winslow says:

Lieutenant Hodge, Adjutant, is about to send you an account of the operations of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry for this year. While his history will be, without doubt, a truthful statement of the career of the regiment during this the most memorable year of the war, it cannot do justice to the sacrifices, patience, courage, fidelity and patriotism of those soldiers whom I have had the honor to command. No language can describe their sufferings. . . . Four expeditions against Forrest and one against Price bear testimony to the fatigues endured, the dangers encountered, the defeats shared and the victories won. . . . Unlike infantry commands, whose losses are sustained on certain days or in particular battles, far apart, cavalry regiments seldom meet with heavy losses at any one time, but almost every day records the death, wounding or capture of the trooper, in some of the innumerable skirmishes or scouts in which, as the “eyes of the army,” cavalry are engaged. While the infantry soldier has his seasons of inactivity and rest, the trooper has no day nor hour which he can call his own, but is aroused at all times and at any moment by the sound of the bugle, calling him to mount and move to the front. . . . Very few appreciate what the cavalry soldier endures or accomplishes for his country, hence I have written the above few words in his behalf.

In General Orders No. 6, dated at Fort Scott, Kas., October 26, 1864, General Pleasanton recounts the achievements of his cavalry division, and says this of Winslow’s Brigade:

The gallant action of Phillips’ Brigade of Missouri cavalry, and ‘Winslow’s Brigade, in capturing eight of the enemy’s guns, on the Osage, was so distinguished as to draw praise from the enemy. . . . The night fighting of Colonel Winslow on the Big Blue deserves the highest commendation. The regiments of the Fourth Brigade are authorized to place upon their colurs “Big Blue” and “Osage.”

A few weeks later, when the brigade was about to leave his command, General Pleasanton issued the following order:

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,
WARRENSBURG, MO., November 3, 1864.

GENERAL ORDERS No. 11.

Winslow’s Brigade of cavalry being about to leave for another department, the Major General commanding takes this occasion not only to express his regrets In separating from such glorious troops, but also to recall more especially than was done in General Orders No. 6, from these headquarters, the splendid manner in which the brigade fought at the Osage, capturing five pieces of artillery from the enemy, with a large number of prisoners, and carrying by a daring charge the most important and conspicuous position on that brilliant field.

By command of Major General Pleasanton.

CLIFFORD THOMPSON, A. A. A. G.

From the time it started on the expedition last described to its return to St. Louis, embracing a period of a little less than three months, the regiment had traveled 1,952 miles, had worn out two sets of horses, had suffered the extremes of intense heat and severe cold, had fought in several engagements, in all of which it was successful, had been an important factor in the almost complete destruction of one of the rebel armies, and the virtual crushing out of the rebellion in that part of the enemy’s territory which, thus far, had been the scene of its operations. The original term of service of the regiment had now expired, and those who had not re-enlisted, including also the officers who chose to retire at the close of their three years’ service, were sent to Iowa and given the honorable discharge to which they were entitled. They had served their country well and faithfully for three long years, and no just criticism could be made upon their leaving the service at the end of the term for which they had enlisted. The number of men and officers who were mustered out was about 250, part of whom were sent from St. Louis and part from that portion of the regiment that was still at Memphis.

The number of men and officers of the regiment who had remained at Memphis, when their comrades started upon the campaign in Missouri, had been somewhat increased by men who had been sick in hospitals and had recovered and returned to duty, also by those who had returned from furlough, so there were now about the same number in Memphis as there were in St. Louis. They had not been idle. Nearly every day, from early in September to January, those able for duty were either on the picket line, scouting, or engaged in more extended expeditions. On the 14th of December, 1864 a detail of 46 men from Companies A and B of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under the command of Captain Eldred Huff, of Company A, was sent upon a scouting expedition, and, when near White’s Station, about six miles east of Memphis, was suddenly attacked by a greatly superior force of the enemy’s cavalry. After a severe conflict, in which three of his men were killed and eight wounded, the Captain ordered a retreat, during which twenty of his men and himself were overtaken by the enemy and captured. The remainder of the detachment escaped and rode back to Memphis. A larger detachment wits immediately sent to the scene of the conflict and endeavored to overtake the enemy, but did not succeed in doing so. The killed and wounded who had been left upon the field were removed to Memphis, the wounded cared for in hospital and the dead buried with the honors of war. Some of the unfortunate captives died in prison, and those who survived the inhuman treatment they received in Andersonville remained prisoners until the end of the war.

Another expedition, in which 100 men of the Fourth Iowa—under command of Captain Beckwith—participated, left Memphis early in December and was conveyed by transports to a point on the river near which, it was reported, a large quantity of arms and medical stores, belonging to the rebel army, were stored, awaiting transportation, and guarded by but a small force of rebels, who were waiting the arrival of a larger force with wagons to remove the arms and stores to the interior. The camp of the guards was surrounded just at daybreak and, after a brief resistance, they surrendered. One thousand rifles, ammunition for same, besides a large quantity of revolvers, quinine and other medical stores, were captured and, with the prisoners, taken to Memphis. Such captures were of great importance, as the rebels were sorely in need of such supplies, which, on account of the destruction of so many of their factories and the maintenance of a strict blockade along the coasts, they found it very difficult to procure. It is one of the marvels of history that the soldiers of the rebel army, lacking as they did, in the latter days of the war, so many of the supplies necessary for their maintenance, should have been able and willing to prolong the hopeless struggle. They were brave American soldiers, fighting for a cause they thought was just, and the brave men who finally conquered them can well afford to pay tribute to their valor and endurance.

On the 21st of December, 1864, a force of 3,500 cavalry, under command of General Grierson, left Memphis on an expedition through Mississippi to Vicksburg. No artillery and no transportation train accompanied the expedition. All the available men and officers of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, who had not gone upon the campaign against Price, took part in this expedition, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peters, with Major Woods second in command. Colonel Winslow, who had gone back to Memphis after being wounded at the battle of the “Big Blue,” in October, had now sufficiently recovered from his wound to be able to resume command of the brigade of which this portion of his regiment formed a part. His report of the operations of the troops under his command shows in detail the great damage inflicted upon the enemy, in the destruction of property, capture of prisoners, arms and ammunition. The entire casualties in General Grierson’s command were 120 killed and wounded, and 7 missing, while the enemy’s loss was about 200 killed and wounded, 600 prisoners and 5,000 stand of arms, 4,000 of which were new English carbines, intended for the use of General Forrest’s army of cavalry. About 800 horses and mules and 1,000 negroes were taken into Vicksburg. The property destroyed was many miles of railroad and telegraph lines, many bridges and railway trestles, 14 locomotives, 95 cars, 300 army wagons, 30 warehouses filled with army stores, cloth and shoe factories employing 500 hands, 500 bales of cotton, tanneries, machine shops, and a large quantity of corn and hogs. Of the wagons captured, about 200 had been taken by Forrest when he defeated the army of Sturgis at the battle of Brice’s Cross Roads. The expedition ended at Vicksburg on January 5, 1865, the troops having marched 450 miles, gathering subsistence for themselves and horses in the country through which they passed. The fighting was mainly done by detachments, General Grierson having had his usual good fortune when conducting a raid through the enemy’s country, to evade or mislead the enemy and to avoid coming into conflict with any large force; but the minor engagements were numerous, and, in some of them, the fighting was severe, as demonstrated by the aggregate losses on both sides. The entire command returned from Vicksburg by transports, those conveying the troops of Colonel Winslow’s Brigade going directly to Louisville, Ky., the camp equipage and men, which had been left at Memphis, having previously been sent to St. Louis and, from there, to Louisville with that part of the regiment which had returned from the campaign against Price.

On the 16th of January, 1865, the twelve companies of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry were all in camp together at Louisville. The regiment was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John H. Peters, and formed a part of the same brigade with which it had served so long, the other regiments being the Third Iowa and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, all under command of Colonel E. F. Winslow of the Fourth Iowa. A strong cavalry corps was now being organized for the purpose of sweeping over that portion of the South in which the remaining rebel forces were being concentrated for the final great struggle of the war. The cavalry corps was under the command of Brevet Major General James H. Wilson, one of the most capable officers in the army, in whom General Grant had great confidence. It comprised all the mounted troops of the Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee, and had an aggregate number of about 30,000 but, for the purpose of this campaign, only the best armed and mounted men were chosen, consisting of about 20,000 men and officers, who had seen much service, and who could be depended upon to fully comply with every order given them and to carry to successful completion the plans of their commander. Winslow’s Brigade was one of the best mounted, armed and equipped of any brigade in this great cavalry organization. Just before starting upon this last campaign, the brevet rank of Brigadier General U. S. V. was bestowed upon Colonel Winslow, “for gallantry in the field.” The officers and men of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry were highly gratified at this mark of appreciation of the merits of their Colonel and, as a practical evidence of their regard, presented him with an elegant sword and a fine watch.

Before the end of January, the Fourth Division, commanded by Brevet Major General Emory Upton, and to which Winslow’s Brigade had been assigned, was ordered to move, by transports, up the Tennessee to Eastport, Miss. Landing there, the troops marched to Chickasaw, Ala., from which place they took up their line of march on the 21st day of March, 1865. From that day to the close of hostilities, and the end of the war, the Fourth Iowa Cavalry was engaged in active operations against the enemy, as shown by the official reports of Lieutenant Colonel Peters, Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Winslow, and Generals Upton and Wilson. The regiment fought in the following engagements: Montevallo, March 30th; Montevallo, March 31st; Six .Mile Creek, March 31st; Ebenezer Church, April 1st; Selma, April 2d; Fike’s Ferry, April 8th; Columbus, April 16th; besides numerous minor skirmishes of small detachments. The movements of the brigade, from the time it left Chickasaw, Ala., to its arrival at Macon, Ga., are described in detail in Brevet Brigadier General Winslow’s report, while those of the Fourth Iowa are described by Lieutenant Colonel Peters and, from the latter report, the following brief summary is mainly complied:

On the 21st of March, 1865, the regiment marched from Chickasaw, with 31 officers and 687 enlisted men in the ranks, and 10 officers and 134 enlisted men belonging to the regiment on detached service, making an aggregate of 862. The line of march led over the pine-clad hills of North Alabama. On the 30th of March the advance guard, under command of Major Woods, skirmished with the enemy for several miles before reaching Montevallo, losing one man wounded. On March 31st, on the south of Montevallo and near Six Mile Creek, seven companies of the regiment had an encounter with two regiments of the enemy, the remaining companies being at that time the rear guard of the column. The Third Battalion, Major Dee commanding, moved into line and dismounted to meet the attack, and orders were sent to Captain Abraham, commanding First Battalion, to follow, mounted in column of companies. The attack was repulsed and the enemy driven from the field, leaving five men killed and two captured. The loss of the Fourth Iowa was five men wounded. On the 1st of April the regiment, preceded by the Third Iowa Cavalry, arrived on the battleground of Ebenezer Church, just as the enemy was being driven from the field, and joined in the pursuit, but suffered no loss. On April 2d, Companies I, F and L, under command of Major Woods, led the advance at Selma, and charged the enemy at his outer works and drove him into his inner line of works, which they also charged and captured, together with a large number of prisoners and five pieces of artillery. In this charge Captain Eugene R. Jones, of Company I, was killed. The other companies, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Peters, followed, charging through the works and into the city, with a loss of one man killed and eight wounded. In the pursuit which followed, Captain Abraham and his battalion captured four pieces of artillery, three battle flags and two hundred prisoners. The flags were captured by Nicholas Fanning, Company B, Charles Swan, Company K, and James P. Miller, Company D. The Third Battalion, under command of Major Dee, was placed on duty in the city as provost guard, while the First and Second Battalions, under command of Colonel Peters, was sent upon a reconnoitering expedition between the Alabama and Cahawba Rivers, occupying four days, and marching ninety miles.

On April 7th, a detachment of sixty men of the regiment, under command of Lieutenant J. T. Reynolds, had a skirmish with the enemy at Fike’s Ferry, in which J. T. Mendenhall, of Company L, was severely wounded in the face, from the effect of which he died a few days later. On the 9th of April, the regiment marched with the army to Montgomery. After a brief engagement outside the works, on April 13th, in which the regiment was not called upon to participate, the city was surrendered. On April 14th, a detachment, under Captain F. S. Whiting, while reconnoitering along the banks of the Coosa River, captured three steamboats, laden with cotton and provisions. They were taken to Montgomery and turned over to the Post Commander. On the 16th of April, the regiment, with its brigade and division, arrived opposite Columbus, Ga. After reaching a point on the extreme left of the enemy’s works, and just beyond the range of his artillery, the brigade moved, by a circuitous route, to the front of the enemy’s works on the right, and took a position near the main road leading to the only remaining bridge over the Chattahoochee River, and there awaited orders to charge and gain possession of the bridge. Under orders from General Upton, the First Battalion, under Captain Abraham, and the Second, under Captain Dana, were dismounted; and the Third Battalion, under Major Dee, was ordered to remain mounted and await orders. The dismounted column moved down the road and charged the enemy’s works, clearing the line, then, turning to the right, moved down the line of intrenchments on the double-quick and charged and captured the principal fort with its garrison of 250 men and 6 guns. A few men were left to hold the fort, and the line pushed forward to the bridge. Sharp fighting took place between the fort and the river, but the enemy was driven across the bridge in great confusion. Our men, mingling in the darkness with the flying enemy, rushed over it and captured two guns, commanding the passage from the east end. The Third Battalion now came up, mounted, and, moving over the bridge, charged through the city after the retreating enemy, capturing a large number of prisoners. First Lieutenant S. N. Miller was the first officer over the bridge, followed closely by Lieutenants S. O. Black and L. H. Dillon. Sergeant Joseph Jones was mortally wounded while gallantly fighting for the guns commanding the passage of the bridge. The guns and gunners were captured and the bridge cleared for the unobstructed passage of the troops. Sergeants Henry C. White, Harry Bodkin, Charles H. Smith, Corporal William McCully, and Privates R. Cosgriff, John Kinney, Martin L. Tucker, John Andrews, Henry Trimble and Joseph Winemiller, were among the first to cross the bridge and to engage in the desperate fight for the possession of the guns. Each one of the following named men captured a battle flag in the engagement at Columbus: Corporal Richard Morgan, Company A; Private Edward J. Bebb, Company D; Sergeant Norman F. Bates, Company E; Private John Hayes, Company F; Private Eli Sherman, Company I; Private R. Cosgriff, Company L; Private John Kinney, Company L. Private Robert C. Wood, of Company A, while acting as orderly, was captured early in the engagement and confined in a house near the bridge. He escaped when the charge was being made, and assisted his comrades in capturing the rebels who had, for a short time, held him as a prisoner. Lieutenant Colonel Peters, near the close of his official report, says:

In thus mentioning the names of officers and men who have taken an active part in the late battles, I fear a wrong impression may be made in regard to all not named; and, in this connection, I desire to say that no single officer, non-commissioned officer or private, so far as I have been able to learn, has failed to do his whole duty and to do it well. If any one has been more prominent than another, it has been on account of his good fortune in having been in the right place at the right time. We have lost no man by straggling from the command during the campaign. The men have taken excellent care of their horses, and have uncomplainingly marched on foot a considerable portion of each day’s march, in order to save their horses. They have always exhibited the best of spirits, and have been always eager to meet the enemy. I cannot therefore speak of individual instances of gallantry without feeling that, by implication at least, I am doing injustice to the remainder.

In closing his report, he says:

We marched from Columbus April 18th, and, on the 20th, I was directed to leave the main column at Thomaston, by General Winslow, and proceed to Barnesville and destroy all bridges, culverts, depots, tanks, etc., between Barnesville and Macon. I cut this road at Barnesville and destroyed some distance of track on the evening of the 20th. On the 21st, I reached Forsyth, where I became satisfied that the reported armistice had been actually declared. I thereupon ceased all further destruction of the railroad and marched towards Macon, reaching my present camp about noon of the 22d. Direct line of march of campaign 496 miles. Total number of miles marched 610

In his recapitulation, Lieutenant Colonel Peters gives the names of all the killed and wounded of his regiment during this last campaign of the war.The losses were 3 men killed and 24 wounded. There were 10 horses killed in action and 136 abandoned on the march, and 738 were captured from the enemy. The regiment captured 2,436 prisoners during the campaign, also 21 pieces of artillery and 10 battle flags. In his official report, General Winslow highly commends the conduct of the officers and men of his old regiment, and makes special recommendation that the brevet rank of Major be conferred upon Captains Lot Abraham and A. B. Fitch, and, that of First Lieutenant, upon Second Lieutenant Loyd H. Dillon, for conspicuous gallantry on the battlefield.

Towards the last of April the regiment, with its brigade, was ordered to move to Atlanta and, on the 9th of May, went into camp at that place. The war was over; but the condition of affairs in almost every portion of the South was such as to render the presence of the federal troops a necessity for a considerable length of time. While the headquarters of the regiment were in Atlanta, and Lieutenant Colonel Peters was assigned to the command of the post, many companies and detachments were kept on duty at out-lying points, where they were mainly occupied in preserving order, protecting property and paroling rebel soldiers. Early in August these companies and detachments were all ordered to return to the regimental camp at Atlanta, and there, on the 8th day of August, 1865, the companies and company officers of the Fourth Regiment of Iowa Veteran Volunteer Cavalry were mustered out of the service of the United States; the Field and Staff were mustered out August 10, 1865. A few days previous to that last important event in its history, the regiment was assembled on parade, with every officer and man present for duty, in the ranks, and, with Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Winslow in command, the following farewell order was read:

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,
FOURTH DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS, M.D.M.,
ATLANTA, GA., August 7, 1865.

GENERAL ORDERS
No. 3.

COMRADES: The war is ended. The last order you obey directs your return to your homes. Let your future be as commendable as your past has been glorious. Your career as soldiers is over. You go home as citizens, to reap the reward of your campaigns. Your country will always cherish the memory of her brave defenders.

Seven States have been traversed by your columns. Their soil has been consecrated by the blood of your companions. Your victories will impress their localities on your minds. Though the battles of the war are over, let us recollect that those of our lives continue to the end, that our orders are from Him whose plans are always successful, and that justice is no less a divine attribute than mercy. I shall hear of your behavior in civil life, and believe that you will daily evidence the fact that well disciplined soldiers can become equally good citizens. During the long period in which I have been associated with you. I have had many occasions to be proud of your conduct, and have often rejoiced that I commanded such brave men.

While I regret to separate from such gallant officers and men, I rejoice with you that our country is intact and united, our government stronger than ever, and that the necessity for our armed service no longer exists. Confident that, when again required, you will be as ready to take the carbine and saber as you now are to abandon them, I part from you with many and sincere wishes for your future prosperity and happiness.

E. F. WinsLow
Official                                                                                                               Brevet Brigadier General

W. BECKWITH, Captain and A. A. A. G.

While the regiment had ceased to be a part of the Army of the United States it was not allowed to disband until it reached Davenport, Iowa, to which place it was ordered to proceed by rail. Owing to the large number of troops which were being transported to their respective States at this time, and to the limited railroad facilities, a full week was occupied on the journey. The regiment reached Davenport August 19th, but it was on the 24th day of August 1865, that the last pay roll was signed, the last man received his honorable discharge, the regiment disbanded, and the survivors departed for their homes.

The Commonwealth of Iowa has honored itself in making provision for the perpetuation of the memory of its brave sons who went forth at the call of their country and fought, suffered and–alas, how many—died, that the blessings of a free government might be transmitted to their posterity. Among all the records of faithful, loyal and efficient service, contained in the military archives of the State, none are more full and complete, or reflect greater honor upon its history, than that of the Fourth Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Cavalry.

SUMMARY OF CASUALTIES
Total Enrollment 1,952
Killed 44
Wounded 120
Died of wounds 11
Died of disease 199
Discharged for wounds, disease or other causes 272
Buried in National Cemeteries 97
Captured 94
Transferred 35