History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO CXXIII.
MOSCOW, TENNESSEE, TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT, June 14, 1863.
We have been having some trouble of late with the secesh around here. Thursday, in the stillness of the night, a band of guerillas near Coliersville, in the direction of Memphis, destroyed a long trestle work, and carried away, it is reported, three miles of telegraph wire. On Friday Colonel Glibert organized a scouting party of thirty or more, and mounted them on mules and horses and went in search of the enemy. When about four miles out, the guerillas, six in number, fired on our rear guard, but missed their aim, and wheeling to run, came in contact with two or three of our boys who were straggling behind the rear guard. Our men, who at the time were effecting a change of saddles, supposing the enemy was approaching in force, beat a hasty retreat for camp. The party proper held on their way to the residence of Colonel A. R. Craddock, of Marshall county, Mississippi.
One object of the expedition was to take this man prisoner, as it was asserted and generally believed that he was harboring and feeding guerillas. They got the old chap and brought him safely to camp. While near his house the guerillas again made their appearance, and were fired at by our guard under command of Lieutenant Peck. Upon the return of the three stragglers to this place, Major Howard ordered out reenforcements under Captain Garber, of company D. The captain hastened away in the direction which the first party had taken and, when out a short distance, met them returning. The expedition was commanded by Colonel Gilbert and was a complete success.
The prisoner, Craddock, was held in custody until the next day, when he was released on grounds satisfactory to all. He was a shrewd old fellow, and a man naturally of very fine feelings for a slaveholder. He fought for the Union until his State was gone, after which he espouted the rebel cause, and is yet confident of the ultimate success of the Confederacy. His son-in-law, a surgeon in the rebel army, now a parolled prisoner, came into our lines next morning to deny the charge of being a guerilla. He was "a confederate soldier but no guerilla." A rank secesh, he early espoused the confederate cause, and to-day believes in its certain triumph. It seems pretty rough to hear these fellows talk as they do; but I respect them much more than I do those of pretended loyalty to the Government, who cower around the provost marshal for the oath of allegiance, which, when obtained, is stowed away in some obscure corner of their pockets, while they go out, having accomplished the object of a spy, to call together their band and make a raid on some weak point.
The whole line of road, from Grand Junction to Corinth, is abandoned. What astonishes me most is, that the telegraphic line from Memphis to Columbus, Kentucky, via Grand Junction and Jackson, is in good order; when but forty out of the three hundred and fifty are guarded. This certainly looks like loyalty on the part of the citizens through whose country the line runs. Brigade headquarters are at LaGrange, but the brigade is badly scattered now along the road. The Twenty-seventh Iowa is at Moscow, except two companies, B and H, at LaGrange.
Lieutenant Colonel Lake's wife went up on the cars yesterday to La Grange, where the colonel is in command of the post. Sutler Handy and wife arrived on the cars yesterday. Adjutant Harrington expects his wife in a few days. The wife of Colonel Gilbert, who arrived at headquarters, Jackson, in company with Mrs. Chaplain Bardwell, about the middle of May, will return north soon.
C. H. L.