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CHAPTER VI.

Arrival of the Regiment at Memphis - Assigned to General Sturgis' Expedition - March from Memphis - Battle of Guntown, Miss.

Colonel Humphrey killed Captain Stewart takes command , and is severely wounded - Death of Captain Bush - Command taken by Captain Schellenger - The Regiment fight with desperation - Ammunition giving out - A nce of Commanding Offi.

-Ninety-fifth fall back, after a long conflict against superior odds -- Form second line of battle - Final Retreat on Memphis

- Hardships — Arrival of the Regiment back to Memphis in de. plorable condition — Comments on the Guntown affair.

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THE regiment arrived at Memphis in the latter part of May, 1864, just in time to be assigned to the illfated and disastrous expedition under General Sturgis, which, early in June, set out from that point to meet the rebel General Forrest, who was then operating ex. tensively in Northern Mississippi. The Ninety-fifth was placed in a brigade with the 81st and 113th Illinois Infantry, and the troops left Memphis June 1st, taking the cars on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, to the twenty-sixth mile post, where they camped the same night. The line of march was afterward

through Lafayette, Lamar Station, on the Mississippi Central Railroad, Salem, Miss., and Ripley, where the expedition arrived on the 9th. The weather was excessively hot, and rapid marching beneath such a sun ill prepared the men for a sudden fight. On the 10th, Sturgis' cavalry had advanced several miles ahead of his infantry column, and brought on an engagement before they could be easily supported. Word soon came back to the infantry, then five or six miles distant, to advance on the double-quick and support the cavalry. Colonel Humphrey, knowing that his men were already greatly fatigued, and desiring to bring them into action in as good and efficient condition as possible, would not double-quick his command, but pressed forward on a quick march. The regiment hastened on to the scene of conflict, now raging furiously at the front; numbers of the men, overcome by heat and fatigue, fell out by the roadside, while the large majority of them, though well nigh exhausted, and unfit to perform what, under better circumstances they would have accomplished, even in the unequal contest before them, still held their position in the ranks, and came up bravely to form their first line of battle.

The battle occurred near Guntown, Mississippi, and the position of the Ninety-fifth in the line formed was an important one, and was held obstinately for a long time by the regiment. In the early part of the action, Colonel Humphrey, while leading on his men, fell, mortally wounded, and the command devolved upon Captain Wm. H. Stewart, Company “F,” next in rank present. He had charge but a short time before receiving a severe wound through both thighs, and was carried helpless from the field. Captain E. N. Bush, of Company“G," then assumed command, and shortly he, too, was stricken down and counted among the fallen and killed. Then Captain Schellenger, of Company “K,” was called to the command of the gallant band, and though their brave colonel and other commanders had fallen, one after another, yet the fight was continued with indescribable desperation. Meanwhile the enlisted men, as well as officers, were falling thick and fast from right to left of the regimental line; the ammunition was fast giving out, and none arrived from the rear to replete the empty cartridge boxes. Neither the commanding officer of the troops, nor staff officers, appeared at the front, directing movements or bringing reënforcements to assist and strengthen the faltering Federal lines. They were not there to encourage or to share in the terrible fatalities of that eventful day. The enemy was, meanwhile, being reënforced, and with deadly volleys sorely pressed and harassed the

unsupported and now trembling Union ranks, which for hours had stood boldly facing the leaden shower and fierce artillery. Finally, both flanks of the regiment were turned by overpowering numbers of the enemy, and it was obliged to fall back, or suffer entire capture. Determined, however, not to give up the contest until the last moment, it took position again near some artillery a short distance in the rear, here formed its second line of battle, and withstood for a time the vigorous assaults of the rebels, now advancing rapidly, and flushed with the certainty of victory. Soon afterward a general and hasty retreat was ordered by Sturgis, and his whole army, infantry, cavalry and artillery, fled precipitately in the direction of Memphis; he and a large portion of his cavalry being far in advance of all, leaving the scattered organizations of infantry and artillery to effect their escape in the best way they could.

The enemy, victorious at all points, lost no time in pursuit of the routed and demoralized Union troops, pressing them vigorously on all sides, capturing a large amount of our artillery, and taking many of the disorganized army prisoners. The remnant of the Ninetyfifth was led back to Memphis by Captain Schellenger, but amid the excitement and confusion which prevailed, a return as a regimental organization was im

possible, and each man looked out particularly for himself.' Great credit is due to Captain Schellenger for the able manner in which he conducted the retreat. On the 11th, 12th and 13th days of June, and the nights of those days, the surviving and uncaptured men of the regiment made lengthy and rapid strides toward the city of Memphis, and evaded successfully the vigilance and grasp of the pursuers. When the knapsack became too onerous, the men unslung and abandoned it, and around many a tree did they bend and break their faithful guns, to prevent capture both of themselves and fire arms by the enemy. Finally, on the 13th, the fragment of the regiment, under Captain Schellenger, worn out and nearly famished, succeeded in reaching Memphis. For days afterward, however, a few kept straggling in, all in most deplorable condition.

Colonel Humphrey's body was brought off from the field while the fight was progressing, and Surgeon Green succeeded in bringing it through to Memphis in a buggy obtained at Salem. That of Captain E. N. Bush was not found, and remained on the field, together with the most of those who fell during the engagement. The regiment had never before experienced such disaster as had recently overwhelmed it. Their gallant leader had been taken away, many valu.

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