Campaign Through the Carolinas: An Ohio Cavalryman’s Recollections in the National Tribune

This is the fifth and final part of the 1892 account by an unidentified captain of the 10th Ohio Cavalry that appeared in the May 12, 1892 edition of the National Tribune. As pointed out previously, I believe this is a unique account that I doubt has been seen or otherwise used since it was published. I find it insightful and particularly appreciate the common soldier’s viewpoint that marked the excellent soldier contributions that filled the pages of the Tribune. I hope that you have enjoyed it. We will end with the words of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s farewell to his veterans.

By the 28th of April Sherman had completed his arrangements, then issued his orders, and the National column marched northward with flying colors, with band and martial music, full of hope and enthusiasm, to take part in the memorable event, and on the 24th of May Gen. Sherman’s army passed in review before the President of the United States in Washington. This was the last act in the rapid and wonderful drama of its four gallant corps. Gens. Schofield, Terry and Kilpatrick were to remain on duty in the Department of North Carolina, already commanded by Gen. Schofield. The cavalry were then ordered to Greensboro. The 13 regiments composing the Third Division were distributed along the lines of railway as far south as Charlotte and north and east to Salem and Raleigh, Gen. Kilpatrick making his headquarters at Lexington.

AFTER NEARLY THREE MONTHS of inactive soldier life, on the 15th of July,

1865, the various cavalry regiments were again united at Division Headquarters, then at Lexington, there to turn over our horses and their equipments to the Division Quartermaster, taking his receipt for the same and preparing the regimental and company muster-out rolls. When that was done, each regiment, as fast as transportation could be obtained, was sent by rail to Richmond or Washington, thence by boat to Baltimore and by the railway lines home to their old camps, there to turn over their arms, camp and garrison equipage, sign their muster rolls, then to be paid off and receive their final discharge.


Washington, D. C. May 30. 1865.

The General commanding announces to the armies of the Tennessee and Georgia that the time has come for us to part. Our work is done, and armed enemies no longer defy us.

Some of you will go to your homes, and others will be retained in military service till further orders.

And now that we are about to separate, to mingle with the civil world, it becomes a pleasing duty to recall to mind the situation of National Affairs when, but little more than a year ago, we were gathered about the cliffs of Lookout Mountain, and all the future was wrapped in doubt and uncertainty.

Three armies had come together from distant fields, with separate histories, yet bound by one common cause—the union of our country, and the perpetuation of the Government of our inheritance. There is no need to recall to your memories Tunnel Hill, with Rocky Face Mountain and Buzzard Roost Gap, and the ugly forts of Dalton behind.

We were in earnest, and paused not for danger and difficulty, but dashed through Snake Creek Gap and fell on Resaca; then on to the Etowah, to Dallas, Kennesaw, and the heats of summer found us on the banks of the Chattahoochie, far from home, and dependent on a single road for supplies.

Again we were not to be held back by any obstacle, and crossed over and fought four hard battles for the possession of the citadel of Atlanta. That was the crisis of our history. A doubt still clouded our future, but we solved the problem, destroyed Atlanta, struck boldly across the State of Georgia, severed all the main arteries of life to our enemy, and Christmas found us at Savannah.

Waiting there only long enough to fill our wagons, we again began a march which for peril, labor and results will compare with any ever made by an organized army. The floods of the Savannah, the swamps of the Combahee and Edisto, the high hills and rocks of the Santee, the flat quagmires of the Pedee and Cape Fear Rivers were all passed in Midwinter, with its floods and rains, in the face of an accumulating enemy; and after the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville we once more came out of the wilderness to meet our friends at Goldsboro. Even then we only paused long enough to get new clothing, to reload our wagons, and again pushed on to Raleigh and beyond, until we met our enemy suing for peace instead of war, and offering to submit to the injured laws of his and our country.

As long as that enemy was defiant, nor mountains, nor rivers, nor swamp, nor hunger, nor cold, had checked us; but when he, who had fought us hard and persistently, offered submission, your General thought it wrong to pursue him further, and negotiations followed, which resulted, as you all know, in his surrender.

How far the operations of this army contributed to the final overthrow of the Confederacy and the peace which now dawns upon us, must be judged by others, not by us; but that you have done all that men could do has been admitted by those in authority, and we have a right to join in the universal joy that fills our land because the war is over, and our Government stands vindicated before the world by the joint action of the volunteer armies and navy of the United States.

To such as remain in the service, your General need only remind you that success in the past was due to hard work and discipline, and that the same work and discipline are equally important in the future. To such as go home, he will only say that our favored country is so grand, so extensive, so diversified in climate, soil, and productions, that every man may find a home and occupation suited to his taste. None should yield to the natural impatience sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventures abroad; do not yield to the temptation, for it will lend only to death and disappointment.

Your General now bids you farewell, with the full belief that as in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you will make good citizens; and if unfortunately, now wars shall arise in our country, Sherman’s army will be the first to buckle on its armor and come forth to defend and maintain the Government of our inheritance.

By order of Maj.-Gen. W. T. Sherman.

L.M. Dayton, Assistant Adjutant-General.

1 Response to Campaign Through the Carolinas: An Ohio Cavalryman’s Recollections in the National Tribune

  1. A great wrap up to a trooper’s fascinating first person account of the war. Thanks for uncovering it and sharing it. I’m curious how you interpret Sherman’s advice to his soldiers: “None should yield to the natural impatience sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventures abroad; do not yield to the temptation, for it will lend only to death and disappointment.” (2nd to last paragraph.) Do you think he was speaking of mercenary ventures, as I understand happened at the end of and after the war with the Mexican-American war?

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