||The Preacher Regiment, also often referred to by its alternate title A History of the Seventy-Third Regiment of Illinois Infantry Volunteers : its services and experiences in camp, on the march, on the picket and skirmish lines, and in many battles of the war, l861-65. Embracing an account of the movement from Columbia to Nashville, and the battles of Spring hill and Franklin contains numerous references to Riley and Stuart Hoskinson's service in the 73rd Illinois Infantry, Riley as Commissary Sergeant and Stuart as a foot soldier. Notable entries include:|
- On page 440, Stuart's account of the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee where he is shot, taken to a local church to be treated, and then captured by the Confederate army when the Union army retreated leaving their wounded behind. He remained a Confederate prisoner at the church from Nov 30, 1864 when the Battle of Franklin was fought until the Union Army recaptured the town on Dec 17, 1864.
- On page 442, Riley is told, "Sergeant, your son is killed; he is shot through the lungs and is bleeding from his mouth and nose." His company then leaves Franklin and he is left to erroneously mourn his son until they are reunited on Dec 17, 1864.
- Stuart is recovered alive at Franklin on page 490.
- Pages 582 through 591, recount Riley and Stuart's capture at the Battle of Chickamauga, Tennessee and subsequent escape. The majority of the text is taken directly from Riley's Oct. 27, 1863 letter to his wife Martha in which he recounts the same events.
- Finally pages 647 and 652 note Riley and Stuart living in Port Blakely, WA at the time The Preacher's Regiment was written ca. 1890.
Photos of the relevant pages are provided under the Media tab above, extracted from the digital copies at American Libraries and this link, last viewed 27 Feb 2010. The photos accompanying the text below are taken from various collections of the Library of Congress. A higher resolution copy and detailed source citation for each can be accessed by clicking on the image.
Riley M. Hoskinson
Date of rank or enlistment: Aug. 4, 1862
Date of muster.: Aug. 21, 1862
Remarks.: Mustered out June 12, 1865
From March 6th, Captain Kyger continued to improve, and on the 16th he applied for leave of absence; his application, owing to the peculiar circumstances of his case, was hurried through, his "sick-leave" was granted, and he received it on the 21st, and started from Knoxville early on the 22d of March for Illinois, stopping off, however, at Lenoir's, to make a short visit with the regiment on the way.
"Major" Huffman and Abram Jones, of Company C, and Commissary-Sergeant Hoskinson, having been granted furloughs at about this time, accompanied Kyger a part of the way to Illinois.
Saturday, October 22d. - The 14th Army Corps started early to the front, with cattle and train. We did not move, but had orders to send out foraging parties. The valley abounded in corn, potatoes, and hogs, of which we gathered in a supply. Captain Patten, Sergeant-Major Joseph Garrett, Commissary Sergeant Hoskinson, John Rush, Captains Morgan and Kyger, took a stroll early on Sunday, October 23d, going up on the side of Lookout Mountain to hunt for chestnuts, bringing back only what they had eaten, at two P. M. No relics mentioned in this connection. The main part of our forces, charged with the business of keeping watch on Hood's movements, were reported as being thirteen miles south-west of Alpine, on Little River. We had no reports on this date (23d) respecting the whereabouts or doings of the rebel force.
|Map of the Battle of the Franklin battlefield Nov. 30, 1864 showing|
the location of the Carter House where Stuart Hoskinson
was wounded, shot in the back and shoulder.
Stuart F. Hoskinson, of Company G, 73d Illinois, of Blakely, Washington Territory, who was severely wounded at Franklin, answers a few of the questions asked, and then gives a full account of the battle as he saw it. We condense his statement:
"From Columbia to Spring Hill, we were flankers in front; we reached there after noon of November 29th; we saw no obstructions. In the fight at Spring Hill we were east of the pike; the whole regiment was on picket at night; I was some distance east on a hill. We left Spring Hill by day-break. From Spring Hill to Franklin, we were part of the rear guard; there was some skirmishing on the way. Our position in the line of battle at Franklin, was west of the Columbia pike and south of the Carter house. When we got into Franklin, some time after noon, we were marched some two hundred yards to rear of Carter house, and halted on west side of pike to be held as reserve; were ordered to send after rations; detail was made and started across the river; but before it got over, the battle began. We were ordered to arms, and stood in line until the battle raged up to the works when the brigades out in front came in on the run, with rebel line close behind. This caused those who occupied the works to break, and the whole body of men in our front was coming back as fast as they could get back for fences in the way. Our Major Motherspaw, seeing the rout, gave the order, '73d forward,' before Colonel Opdycke did. I well remember what a badly demoralized mob we met just in the yard at the Carter house; it was a fight, nearly, to get to the front, they wildly struggling to the rear, and we crowding to the front. When we got out of the jam so we could see, our men had left the front line, and the inside line was nearly deserted, and many rebels nearly to second line. We opened fire and just before we got to the rear line of works, we saw a reb. on top of the outer line, with his gun
clubbed ready to strike one of our men who had failed to get out when the others ran; we pulled down on his 'bread-basket,' and saw him throw up his hands and fall backwards. We dropped behind the inside works, and began firing as fast as we could load. Just at our right there was a section of a battery, brass pieces, which gave the enemy canister as long as it held out. I was wounded at about eight o'clock, and during a lull in the firing got behind Carter's house, and lay there until some of the boys, about ten P. M., came, asking if any of the 73d were there. I called out I was, and was carried down town to the Presbyterian Church, where, with about one hundred and twenty others, I was made prisoner at the falling back of our men at midnight or thereabout. I was a prisoner until after the battles of Nashville, and the recapture of Franklin by our men on December 17th. There were only two other members of the regiment, so far as I know, prisoners with me. One was Joseph A. Allison, of Company C, who died December 10th. He lay only the seccond man from me, and gave me his watch and trinkets, to send to his wife, which I did, through some of the boys who came to see me after the recapture. The other man was James D. Branch, of Company D, who was shot through the neck, both collar-bones broken. He got to his railroad station, only seven miles from his home, and died there."
Right here, in connection with the last foregoing statement, we give the testimony of Commissary-Sergeant Riley M. Hoskinson, Father of Stuart F., who was well known, and is now well remembered by all survivors of the 73d:
"As to duty done at Columbia, I saw several of the men go off with spades. We left there near midnight; crossed a bridge; then camped till daylight, when some shells were thrown among us. The men marched at side of the road and some distance from it. We arrived at Spring Hill early in the afternoon; did not see any obstructions. We left Spring Hill for Franklin before daylight. The 73d were what was called rear guard. About three o'clock P. M., I was ordered to cross the Harpeth River, draw rations, and stay by them till ordered away. We left the works about midnight. We reached Nashville at about three o'clock
P. M. next day. Saw but little of the battle. About three o'clock P. M., Major Motherspaw said to me: ' Sergeant Hoskinson, gather all the bummers you can find, and go across the river and draw three days' rations, and stay by them till we come for them.' By the time I had collected some twenty men, the battle had begun, and musket-balls were rattling like hail-stones against the frame houses. By the time I got to the river I had not a man with me; I never knew what became of them. When I came to the bridge, a guard stationed there would not let me cross over for about an hour. Finally they let me go over, and I collected the rations the best I could, and piled the cracker-boxes into a small breastwork, and sat down behind it, where I stayed, listening to the awful combat till about midnight, when Captain Ingersoll and a few others came and carried away a small portion of the rations. Captain Ingersoll said to me: 'Sergeant, your son is killed; he is shot through the lungs and is bleeding from his mouth and nose.' We then started off on a rapid march, I knew not whither. Marched all night and until three o'clock; next day came in sight of Nashville. Having slept scarcely any at Columbia, none at Spring Hill, and none at Franklin, we would fall asleep as we marched along, and knock against each other. Arriving at Nashville, I was ordered to take men and go for beef about half a mile distant. Captain Burroughs told me 'to let it go,' as he would not send the tired men after it. I then drew a few rations at three different points, and some codfish and whisky at another. Then I hastily put up my dog-tent, drank about half a tea-cup of whisky, lay down, and did not awaken until nine A. M. next day,"
About two miles out from Franklin the brigade was halted on an eminence overlooking the town of Franklin, which was then a straggling town of perhaps five to eight hundred inhabitants. It is situated in a sharp bend of the Harpeth River. Just around the suburbs of the town, with the left resting on the river above and the right on the river below, the 23d Corps had hastily constructed a line of breastworks facing south. These temporary works had been thrown up so that a few troops might be sufficient to protect the two bridges while the immense train was slowly passing over them. Everything going towards Nashville had to cross on these two frail bridges, one of which was a pontoon; hence the importance of protecting them. Should Hood succeed in cutting these bridges, all left south of the Harpeth was lost to the Federal cause. Hood realized this readily.
"After remaining on and about the hills south of town for an hour or two, the 1st Brigade moved along the pike into town. The 73d filed to the left of the pike, and stacked arms about one hundred yards to rear and north of the breastworks, just north of the Carter house and outbuildings, gardens, yards, etc. The regiment faced to the north or rear. This shows that no orders were received as to position, or that those who gave the orders had no expectation of an attack. This position was reached about 3 P. M., and permission given to 'cook coffee.' This was the first opportunity of the kind offered since going on picket at Columbia on the morning of the 28th. Very few had any coffee to cook, as the time had already arrived when rations should have been issued. As was the custom with soldiers when tired and hungry, they went through the motions even if they had no coffee. Very soon little smokes were seen rising here and there in rear (south) of the stacks of guns. Some had got their coffee to boil, while others who had no coffee had put in the time calling the commissary sergeant (Hoskinson) pet names, with very emphatic adjectives, and discussing the situation.
"At the battle of Franklin every man in the 73d was a hero. The weeding and sifting process had long since ceased, and every man left was a soldier in the fullest sense of the word, and every one of their names should be emblazoned on tablets of gold, and placed where all might read. These are the men who saved the day at Franklin. The killed and fatally wounded, as reported at the time, were: Major Motherspaw, commanding regiment; Adjutant Wm. R. Wilmer; First Sergeant Dick Scott, of Company B; Gil Harbison, of Company B; Jos. A. Allison, of Company C; J. D. Branch, of Company D; S. Orwig, of Company G; Tom Biddle, of Company H. The full list of wounded is not accessible, but the following were among the wounded: Captain Jones, of D; Lieutenant Kiser, of A; Joe Regan, and Stewart Hoskinson."
We were up early on Sunday, December 18th, and Lieutenant Tilton, and Captain Kyger and others, took an early start, going to Franklin to ascertain about our wounded left at that place November 30th; it having been reported that they were still there, and not paroled. Two of the 73d—Stewart F. Hoskinson, of Company G, and James M. Branch, of Company D— were found at the church, where they had been left November 30th; both were doing fairly well. Corporal Joseph A. Allison, of Company C, died of his wound December 10th. Zenas Fulton, of same company, could not be found, and must have been among the killed or mortally wounded. From 2,500 to 3,000 of the enemy's wounded were likewise found at Franklin, and, of course, became prisoners in our hands.
OUR CAPTURE AND PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPE.
BY RILEY M. HOSKINSON.
The following narrative was written for the special use of my wife and family, and not intended as a public document; the statements therein contained are strictly correct, to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer. It is therefore submitted in
its original form, omitting only some of the conversation and minor items. It is as follows :
Monday, September 13, 1863. - Three o'clock, A. M., roused to draw three days' rations; obeyed. Lay down and slept about an hour; roused again, ordered to march immediately; so we packed up and away, right back to the Lookout Mountains, which we had just crossed. Arrived at the mountain foot about nine A. M.; sat in the broiling sun till nearly sundown, waiting for the narrow road to be cleared so we can get up. Our brigade slowly climbing while I write.
|Map of the Battle of the Chickamauga battlefield, Sept 19 and 20, 1863.|
Riley and Stuart Hoskinson were part of General Sheridan's forces, shown
at the bottom right near Lee & Gordon's Mill. Riley and Stuart were captured
at the Crawfish Spring field hospital, also at the bottom right.
September 14th. - Traveled nearly all night getting up the mountain. Camped a few hours; up and away again. Just at sundown reached our old camp at the mountain-side; staid here over night. Received orders to be ready to march at five o'clock A. M., but did not move till about the middle of the afternoon of the 15th. Routed all of a sudden, and ordered off on the instant. Some of the men had gone foraging, others were asleep; I was issuing rations. In less than twenty minutes our brigade was in line, and ready for march. A moment more, and away we go along the mountain in a north-easterly direction. Country rough and stony, but of pretty good soil, judging by the corn and other products; and if one could live on water alone, there need be no fear of death, as the water here is very abundant, and of the best. We camped for the night in a circular valley. I slept on three rails. Roused in the morning of the 16th at four o'clock, to be ready for march; 3d Brigade gone ahead of us up the mountain. About eight o'clock A. M. we are ordered into line, and our men to assist in getting the wagons and artillery up the steep mountain-side, which is the steepest of any we have ever climbed. It took eight hours of severe work to get our division-teams to the top. The top of the mountain is nearly level, but poor and rocky. Found a few poor families there that had eked out a miserable existence for sixteen to twenty years. Again away we go across the mountain to its eastern side. Here it is almost perpendicular, capped with rock; but the view is sublime. Farm after farm rose into view, until lost in the dim distance, and shut out by a small mountain called "Pigeon." From this onward, we are told, commences the great cotton-growing region of the South. A little beyond this mountain the rebels are intrenched, awaiting our approach. Down we go; road very steep, but quite smooth. Reached the bottom; went into camp for the night.
Morning of the 17th. - For the first time in many months we are left to march in the rear. Just at sunrise, boom! goes a cannon, and our men raise a shout of joy. Orders are given for our men to take forty rounds of ammunition in their cartridge boxes, and twenty more in their pockets, and be ready for action at a moment's warning. Just at noon, ordered to march on the instant; marched about half a mile to an open field, where we piled up in seemingly inextricable confusion; but Generals McCook and Sheridan soon straightened the mass, and each party marched in good order, some here, and others there. Then for a time all was still, and we momentarily awaited the opening roar of battle; but it came not, only from the distant front came the sounds of cannon.
Here we remained till about one o'clock on the morning of the 18th. Up and drew two days' rations; remained quiet till nine A. M. Received orders to march; moved off in a south-easterly direction. Country extremely poor; timber - small scrubby oak and pine. Three o'clock P. M., went into camp; staid till about seven P. M. Ordered to march again; packed up our little budgets, and sat down to await orders to move on. The weather being quite frosty, we made a lot of nice fires out of Secesh rails. This was the site of the skirmishes we had been hearing previously. About eleven P. M. we were ordered to move on. We then piled all the rails we had left on the fires, and had a beautiful illumination. Marched only a few rods and halted again, and again burned more rails to make us light and keep us warm.
Just ahead of us another brigade had fired a large log-house, which was burning furiously as we passed. Slowly and wearily on we go - start a few steps, then stop again. Quite dark, and the road strange, I remarked: "If I could only see the Dipper, I could tell our course." One of the men observed: "They have thrown away the dipper, and substituted a gourd." Thus we made merry the best we could, till, about three A. M. of the 19th, we turned into camp, some fifteen miles south of Chattanooga, in the valley of the Chickamauga, Georgia. I slept in some brush till roused by the bugle-call to up and away. Ate a hasty breakfast, and in a short time were ordered to stay in camp till about noon.
While we wait in camp, the roar of artillery is constantly heard some little distance in front of us, and we expect our turn will soon come to join the deadly fray. About ten A. M. we slowly move forward. About three P. M. we come to the battle-ground of the morning, and still the sound is far in front
|Lee & Gordon's Mill, Chickamauga., GA ca. 1864. Photo|
presumably taken before the Battle of Chickamauga. Riley
and Stuart helped carry wounded from the mill to the field
hospital at Crawfish Spring on Sept 19 and 20, 1863.
of us. We halt at a huge spring, called Crawfish, thirteen miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Here we eat our dinner, consisting of crackers and raw-side bacon ("sowbelly" the men called it). We again form line, and march about a mile, and halt in a skirt of woods. In a few minutes, General Sheridan rode up and ordered our brigade to go double-quick to Lee & Gordon's mill, about a mile east, to hold a ford. I and my son Stuart were ordered back to the field hospital, near the spring, to assist the surgeons. By the time we got there, wounded by scores were being brought in. These were wounded in various parts, many in the legs and arms, several in the head. Stuart and I helped carry them to places of safety, and then made fires to keep them warm, the houses being previously filled with wounded. While all this was being done, others made coffee and distributed among the sufferers; others assisted in binding up wounds; so all were busy. The conflict lasted till about nine P. M. I shall not attempt a description of this; language fails to do it.
Sabbath morning, September 20th. - Just at sunrise the work of death began again. Stuart and I, knowing our regiment to be out of provisions, started in search of them. Found them about three miles distant, on a hillside, covered by a small orchard. None of them had yet taken part in the conflict. The 3d Brigade of our division was in yesterday's fight, and lost heavily. Some rebel prisoners told us this morning that they had come prepared to meet one hundred and fifteen thousand men, and they intended giving us the severest fight of any time heretofore.
About ten A. M. the cannonade becomes terrific, mixed with the incessant crash of musketry. The work of destruction goes fearfully on. Some of our men are asleep, some reading papers, some writing letters, etc., while a general seriousness seems to pervade most of them. Just at half-past ten A. M., orders came for our brigade to rush to the contest. Away they go, on the double quick, down the hill into the woods, and out of sight, which is the last I saw of them - or ever will of many of them - "till heaven's last thunder shakes the world below."
Stuart and I had orders to stay on the hillside and assist the doctors, when any wounded were brought up there. In a few moments more the contest deepened (if possible) into tenfold more terrific proportions. There we stood till about half-past one P. M. The cannon-shots were too frequent to count, and the musketry sounded like throwing handfuls of salt into a hot fire. Add to all
|An example of a Civil War field hospital likely|
similar to the one Riley and Stuart were
supporting when captured Sept 20, 1863.
this the shouts of officers and the screeching of the men, as they charged upon each other, and it combined to make a scene perfectly indescribable. I forgot to be afraid, and wished the whole Southern Confederacy annihilated for causing so much carnage and death. Our doctors came not, and, seeing we were about being surrounded, we moved back quite a distance. About three P. M. the sound of battle somewhat abated.
At this time an officer told us which way to go, and we did as directed, and, following some ambulances that were carrying wounded men, they led the way back to the hospital near the spring. We had only time to unload the wounded men, when the whole premises, six hospitals in number, were surrounded by two brigades of Wheeler's cavalry, and a regiment of infantry, yelling at the top of their voices, as if hell had suddenly emptied itself of all its contents. In a few moments (seeing we made no resistance), a tall, fine-looking Texan rode up, and told us we were all prisoners of war. This event took place about half-past four o'clock, Sabbath afternoon, September 20, 1863.
As we were perfectly powerless, we made the best we could of a bad bargain. The rebs. now came up in squads, and demanded our blankets, canteens, knives, guns, etc. I dropped my knife, pocketbook, and gold pen into my boot-leg, and hid my gum-blanket and canteen while they were robbing others. When they came to me, wanting my knife, I offered them a case-knife I had picked up on the way back to the hospital. This they refused, and afterward let me alone. The officers did not maltreat us in the least, but were nice and polite, asking us numerous questions, and we as many in return. They took away part of our hospital stores, all our ambulances, doctors' horses, our brass band instruments, and all the guns they could find. Several fine rifles had been hidden away, and after the others had been taken, I advised the breaking of these, which was done.
On Tuesday, General Wheeler sent his medical director, who allowed one man to cook for each twenty, and four more to assist the latter. My first duty was the taking of the names of all the wounded, their company, regiment, and rank. I found one hundred and forty-six living, and nineteen others so badly wounded as to die soon after being brought in. I then assisted in the care and treatment of the wounded. We had not time to bury the dead, but stored them in the cellar till we could dig one vast grave, and tumble them in, side by side, seventeen in all.
September 23d. - Calm, cold morning. Stuart and others went to the battle-field, and found some five hundred of our dead still unburied, and about one hundred others still alive, but so badly wounded as to be unable to help themselves, or get away. They collected these together in little groups, and gave them bread and water all we had to give. Our provisions all gave out about this time, and all of us had to live on boiled wheat.
On Thursday, September 24th, a detail of men was sent to the battle-field, to dress the wounds of those still alive. The groans and cries of the wounded, and their varied wants, are indescribable. This day an officer by the name of Reiss came to parole as many as were thought necessary to care for the wounded; theirs and ours both being cared for. I assisted in writing paroles, and, in writing one for myself, spoiled it, and the officer spoiled the one I wrote for my son, so we were both left out. It was now impressed on my mind, "It is the will of God that you should escape, and you ought to do it." In the afternoon I was sent with a squad of men to Lee & Gordon's mill, to put it in order to grind. While thus engaged, two brigades of rebel cavalry came there to water their horses, and rest awhile. These would gather round us, and ask questions. Most of them behaved nicely, while others were very insulting. They would come close up and peer into our eyes, and ask: "What do you think of us now, ha?" "Guess we whipped you good, didn't we, ha?" "Guess we made you run this time, didn't we, ha?" "You came to subjugate the South, did you, ha?" "You came to free our niggers, did you, ha?" "Guess old Rosy couldn't make Longstreet run!" "You folks broke up this mill, and now you want to grind on it. Don't you think, damn you, you ought to starve to death?" etc. Finally got the mill going, ground some wheat, and returned to our hospital prison.
Friday, September 25th. - Built an out-oven of bricks, so they could bake bread. The rebs. came with two wagons, and brought a little meal, some bacon, and rice, then took from the other hospitals as many wounded as they could haul, stating, at the same time, that on the morrow (Saturday) they would take away all the unparoled. I now went to the pine-woods, knelt down, and asked God to direct me how to act. My duty to escape seemed clear, and I resolved to try it.
Meanwhile, Stuart had found a few pieces of crackers in an old camp some distance away; these he brought in his haversack.
I told him it was God's will that we should get away, and I was determined to try it that night, and he then consented to go with me. I now made ready for our departure while he slept. I now asked our chief physician, Dr. McGee, of the 51st Illinois Infantry, for his advice in the matter. He said, "Go," and then gave me a message to his colonel, in case we succeeded in our efforts.
About half-past nine P. M. I roused Stuart, and told him: "Now is our time to be off." He went into the cellar, and got about two pounds of beefsteak, as the men had killed a small animal that day. Now, all being ready, we make the fearful plunge for our escape. We had three separate guards to pass, and the moon shone in its beauty. We did not fear as long as we were near any of the hospital tents, but our hearts beat heavily as we passed into the space beyond. The crashing of the leaves and little twigs seemed to betray our object, and we momentarily expected to hear the word "halt!" or feel ourselves pierced by bullets. But, thanks be to God! none of these happened.
|View of Chickamauga battlefield from atop Lookout Mountain, Feb. 1864. Riley and Stuart|
Hoskinson would have seen something similar as they trekked across the Mountain
on Sept. 25 and 26, 1863 after escaping from the Confederate Army.
After some six miles' travel through fields and woodland, we came to the foot of Lookout Mountain, and felt safe. Here we rested awhile, and then began the steep ascent, reaching the top about half-past two on the morning of the 26th, nearly exhausted from fatigue. Crawled into the top of a fallen hickory, where we staid till daylight. We now tried to kindle a fire, but our matches were spoiled, so we ate a little raw beef, some bread and water. Looked down, and saw some of the outer guards we had passed in the night. We now climbed a high pinnacle of rocks that rose above us some two hundred feet; reached the top of this in safety.
While I was penning notes of our night's march two rebs. came up the same path we had come, and accosted us with, "Who are you?" "Where did you come from?" and "How came you here?" etc. I lied to them, and said: "We belong to a lot of General Hooker's men, who are crossing the mountain at Dry Gap yonder." They then said: "We have guards placed all along this side of them; how did you get past these guards?" I told them we had not seen any guards. I then questioned them as rapidly as I could respecting the lay of the land, and about the late battle, etc. They told us a great battle had been fought, that our men had been defeated, and had fled to Chattanooga, which was just sixteen miles distant, at the end of this mountain; that the mountain lay right up against the city, and if we would
|Photo of two union soldiers at Umbrella Rock atop|
Lookout Mountain, ca 1864. While not a photo of
Riley and Stuart, it is easy to imagine them pausing
here exactly as shown while Riley penned his
"notes of our night's march" on Sept. 26, 1863.
go down to the foot of the mountain on the opposite side from which we came up we would find a good and perfectly safe road to Chattanooga, etc.
I thanked them for this information, wished them well, and started; but as soon as we got behind some rocks I told my son our only safety lay on the top of this mountain, as their words were only a decoy to trap us, which will fully appear further on. Our path was at times fearfully rough; at others small patches of cleared land, with small huts thereon; these we carefully avoided. During the day we suffered from want of water, so we descended the mountain-side, and near its foot found plenty of water; so we concluded to slant up the mountain in the opposite direction from our descent, and when about half-way up we saw some forty or more men on horseback coming up the opposite direction from us. We squatted in the weeds till they got past, and then made all the haste we could to get across this road before any more men should come along. The hillside being of loose, slaty formation rendered it very laborious, and we had only reached about fifty feet above the road, and hid in the opening where a tree had turned out of root, when another detachment of men came in the same direction as the first, and also had several dogs with them. I felt much afraid the dogs would scent us and come up to us, but they did not.
We now went unmolested, till near dark we came to a low place where. was a house and a little cleared land. We were so tired and hungry we concluded we would risk going to the house and get some fire and make coffee. But on nearing it we found where numerous horses had been recently tied and fed, also numerous places where men had lain. We quickly skipped out of this, and had only gone a few rods when we came to the aforementioned "good, safe road," which, had we followed, our captivity was assured. We passed rapidly on, and soon came to the hollow stump of a huge chestnut-tree, one side of which was split off, leaving us room enough to creep in. Here we made our bed for the night; slept soundly, and did not awaken till the sun was up, and the birds singing welcome to a beautiful Sabbath morning. Here I fully realized the force of that Scripture which says: "The heart of man deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. "I was fully satisfied God was guiding our steps, as will appear more fully further on.
The aforesaid road now followed the mountain-top, and we had
|Union army encampment at Chattanooga, TN ca. 1864.|
This is how the city might have looked when Riley and
Stuart arrived Sept. 27, 1863.
considerable trouble keeping out of sight of it, as every little while we could see men on horseback passing along it. After considerable walk, we came to a thick wood of small pines, and sat down to rest. In a few moments we heard voices and loud laughter. We crept away from the sound as fast as we could, and my son stopped and said in a whisper, "See, this mountain falls off all round," which was true. I looked a little ahead and saw horses with saddles on, tied only a few rods in front of us, and a little further on, two men standing with their backs to us, looking off below. This afterwards proved to be Summertown, and the men were standing on Lookout Point, looking down into the city of Chattanooga.
We quickly turned aside, and jumped, fell, and slid down the mountain-side, and were soon where we could look up and see the men far above us. We soon came to a recently deserted rebel camp, rested awhile, and watched the railroad, now in full view, to see if we could find out whose hands we were in. Finally tired of this, and followed along the mountain-side till we came in view of the Tennessee River; sat down again, and soon discovered a lot of our men on the opposite side. We now left our concealment, and hailed them, but they, taking us for rebels, only made sport of us, asking, "Who are you?" "What do you want?" "Don't you want some whisky or some coffee?" etc. I told them who we were, and how we came there, but they did not believe it. So we went a little further down the stream, where it looked shallow enough to wade. Here we constructed a small raft of cedar rails, bound together with small grape-vines, stripped off our clothing and laid them upon the raft, which we thought to push before us as we waded over. We no sooner pushed into the stream than we were beyond our depth; we clung to the raft and kicked our best, and soon found we were making headway, although rapidly drifting down stream. Finally we reached shallow water, where we could wade out. By this time a large number of the 40th Regiment of Ohio Infantry came to meet us, and helped me put on my clothing, as I was so chilled I could not stand.
General Whitaker, with his brigade, was here on picket-duty, and the colonel of the 40th told us his men wanted to shoot us, but he had forbidden it. We were now conducted to General Whitaker, where we told our adventure. He gave us a good supper, and then sent us over the river to Chattanooga, to the presence of General W. S. Rosecrans. Here we each told our story
again, which was committed to writing, and the next day we were sent to our regiment, or rather what was left of it; thence to Colonel Laibold; thence to General P. H. Sheridan, who told us our trip had been of great use, as it told many things not previously known. We then hunted the 51st Regiment Illinois Volunteers, and delivered our message.
I shall only add, General Rosecrans started a lot of ambulances to Chickamauga as soon as it was light, this being the first truce allowed to enter upon the battle-field, and our poor, suffering, wounded men were brought away.
The above constitutes one of the most fearful events of my life, and to God be all the glory!
R. M. HOSKINSON,
Late Com. Sergeant 73d Illinois Volunteers.
The following is a list of names of all members of the 73d, as far as ascertained, who were, for a longer or shorter time, in the hands of the Confederates, viz.:...
Company G.—Riley M. Hoskinson, Stuart F. Hoskinson,...
NAMES AND POST-OFFICES OF SURVIVING COMRADES OF THE SEVENTY-THIRD, AS FAR AS KNOWN OR REPORTED.
Field And Staff.—James F. Jaquess, London, Eng., (January, 1890), Tunica, Miss.; William A. Presson, Yuma, Col.; Wilson Burroughs, Fairmount, 111.; George 0. Pond, Camp Point, 111. ; Robert E. Stephenson, Olathe, Kan.; James W. L. Slavens, Kansas City, Mo.; Richard R. Randall, Lincoln, Neb.; Isaac N. Jaquess, Mt. Carmel, 111.; Henry A. Castle, St. Paul, Minn.; Robert J. Alexander, Mound City, Kan.; Riley M. Hoskinson, Port Blakeley, Washington...
Company G.—Ezekiel J. Ingersoll, Carbondale, III.; John E. Seward, Industry, 111.; Karl Yapp, Industry, 111.; Harris A. Vanorder, Rushville, 111.; Jasper Hooker, Rushville, 111. ; Stillman Stout, Rushville, 111.; Frederick Glossop, Rushville, III.; George W. Vanorder, Rushville, 111.; John H. McGrath, Doddsville, 111.; Stuart F. Hoskinson, Blakeley. Wash...