Winner Airport Daybefore Robert Kennedy murdered

Winner Airport Daybefore Robert Kennedy murdered
John and Freya Simpson, Senator Kennedy at Winner sirport -June 1968 primary

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Great Grandfather, George Riley Knapp, and Sherman's March to the Sea

From time to time, as a break in the story of early lawyers in the old 11th cicruit in West river, South Dakota I will include some other bits of personal history which you might otherwise never encounter.

This is the wartime story of my great grandfather who at 88 would rescue the conscientous objector in Madison, South Dakota from the hands of the "Home Guard" during WW1..

It contains copies of letters written by him to his parents, brother and friend.

Commissary sergeant
George Riley Knapp  Company K 10 Ohio Cavalry
Organized in October, 1862, under Colonel Charles C. Smith, for three years service, it went to the field in the spring of 1863. It performed picket and scout duty with the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee, and participated in the battle of Chickamauga in September. A detachment of the Regiment operated in East Tennessee and captured Governor Vance, of North Carolina, with 100 men. The Regiment lost its horses by starvation in the winter of 1863, and in the spring of 1864 was again re equipped for the field. It was actively engaged in all of Kilpatrick's movements during the Atlanta campaign, charging the Rebels at Resaca, with severe loss. The Tenth Cavalry marched with Sherman to the sea and was actively engaged with the enemy all the way, fighting gallantly near Macon and Griswoldville, and whipping Wheeler at Waynesboro. It moved north through the Carolinas and continued in active service until the close of the war. The Regiment was mustered out July 24, 1865.
From Dyer's Compendium
10th Regiment Cavalry. Organized at Camp Taylor, Cleveland, Ohio, October, 1862. Left State for Nashville, Tenn., February 27, 1863. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, to August, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Cumberland, to November, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Cumberland, to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Kilpatrick's 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, to June, 1865. Dept. of North Carolina to July, 1865.
SERVICE.--Duty at Murfreesboro till June, 1863. Expedition to Auburn, Snow Hill, Liberty, etc., April 2-6. Smith's Ford April 2. Snow Hill, Woodbury, April 3. Scout to Smithville June 4-5. Snow Hill June 4. Smithville June 5. Scout on Salem Pike June 12. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 23-July 7. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21. Operations against Wheeler and Roddy September 30-October 17. McMinnville October 4. Farmington October 7. March to relief of Knoxville November 27-December 8. Near Loudon December 2. Expedition to Murphey, N. C., December 6-11. Near Dandridge December 22-23 (Detachment). Dandridge December 24 (Detachment). Mossy Creek, Talbot Station, December 29. Schulz's Mill, Cosby Creek, January 14, 1864 (Detachment). Near Wilsonville January 22, 1864. Expedition to Quallatown, N. C., January 31-February 7 (Detachment). Quallatown February 5. Scout from Ringgold, Ga., to Lafayette April 24-25. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1 to September 8. Stone Church May 1. Lee's Cross Roads and Ringgold Gap May 2. Demonstrations on Resaca May 8-13. Sugar Valley May 11. Near Resaca May 13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Rome May 17-18. Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Near Stilesboro June 9 (Detachment). Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. On line of the Chattahoochie River July 3-17. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Frogtown August 3. Lovejoy Station August 10. Sandtown and Fairburn August 15. Kilpatrick's Raid around Atlanta July 18-22. Camp Creek August 18. Red Oak and Jonesboro August 19. Lovejoy Station August 20. Claiborne August 24. Flank movement on Jonesborough August 25-30. Fairburn August 27-28. Red Oak August 28. Flint River Station and Jonesborough August 30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Campbellton September 10. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 30-November 3. Camp Creek September 30. Sweetwater and Noyes Creek near Powder Springs October 2-3. Van Wert October 9-10, Dallas October 21. March to the sea November 10-December 15. Bear Creek Station November 16. Walnut Creek and East Macon November 20. Waynesboro November 27-28. Buckhead Creek or Reynolds' Plantation November 28. Louisville November 30. Waynesboro December 4. Ebenezer Creek December 8. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Aiken and Blackville, S.C., February 11. North Edisto River February 12-13. Guenter's Bridge February 14. Phillips' Cross Roads, N. C., March 4. Rockingham March 7-8. Monroe's Cross Roads March 10. Taylor's Hole Creek, Averysboro, March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Raleigh April 12-13. Morrisville April 13. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. Duty in the Dept. of North Carolina till July. Mustered out July 24, 1865. Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 34 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 158 Enlisted men by disease. Total 201.

Civil War letters of George Riley Knapp

Ringgold Georgia
May the 4th 1864

Father and Mother
I am in good health and good spirits We’ve plenty to do the Rebs as thick about this place (?) their pickets are only one and a half ___ from ours we go and drive them back  day before yesterday a small force of us went to try their strength a little they are said to have a heavy force at tunil hill that is ____we had Kilpatrick with us he is our commander now and a gay one too I like his style first rate we started about three o’clock in the morning to their pickets drove them in to their reserve without mutch trouble then came the fireing but they had to fall back they would fight and retreat at the same time blockade the road but we would soon clear the obsticles and go on we drove them so fast that before nine o'clock that moring we was one mile from tunil hill had a fair view of them their lines were long ones their cavalry were drawn  up in two lines one about 80 rods in the rear of the front numbering some two thousand supported by sharpshooters our Co and Co E were drawn up in line on our side Kilpatrick came to us and said I want you to charge  on them and charge ___ They are skart of you-just ready to run we drew sabers and started towards them and they turned to us but they soon changed their corse and went to the rear and we was ordered to halt one man from our Cavalry killed while we stood in line after the order Charge had been countermanded he was  within a few feet on me when the ball hit him in a way that threw his head back
We have been very
(Sentence unreadable)
General Sherman came yesterday there will be a forward movement here tomorrow or next day the officers are ordered to leave everything behind won’t allow them to even take their tents or Co cooks there is going to be lively times for a while I suppose that Atlanty is about a hard a place to take as Richmond we of course have that place to take .
I think if they will let Kilpatrick go in he will make the rebs elinme foe he would charge on the whole southern confederacy with three regiments
No more this time perhaps it will be a long time before I have a chance to write agane
George R. Knapp

“General Grant had instructed Sherman to move against Johnston and head into the interior of Georgia. . . .. At Dalton Johnston was soundly entrenched along a high ridge with only a few gaps. Toward Atlanta  were more barriers , the roads were poor , the country rough. Sherman’s  force of nearly 100,000 men were divided into the Army of of the Cumberlannd under Thomas near Ringgold. . . .. Thomas’ army demonstrated at Tunnel Hill. . . ..” The Civil War Day by Day An Alamnac 1861-1865 E.B. Long with Barbara Long De Capo Press 1971

Camp Crooks Georgia
September the 16th, 1864

Brother Ed as I have not heard from you upwards of two months I thought that I would write agane. My health is good I am a tuff cuss tuff enough for the Johneys and have seen plenty of them lately and have fought them when I couldn’t see them many fights we have had in the night we could tell where they was by the flash of their guns we have had all the fight we bargained for sometimes we were chasing the Johneys sometimes the Johneys were chasing us but take it all around they are chased so badly that there is no fear from them at this place for al while. Their army is badly yoused up but the joke come in on the southern ladys. About the time Sherman made this last grand flank movement he ordered our left wing to fall back. The Rebs thought that we was trying to retreat to Chatanooga. It made the Rebs feel real good the officers had their wives come from Makon Mobeal and Charleston to have a jubilee over the defeat of the yankys but the first they knew we was in their rear had possession of the railroad so the southern ladies couldn’t get home agane. They were left with us  they left all their siege guns but left them spiked their ladys are not they had ought to youse them as well as they do their guns.
The Cavalry command cannot do mutch at the present time for our horses the most of them are plaid out for three weeks they were saddled all the time day and night sometimes we couldn’t get feed pr  water for 24 hours at a time five days of that time the men  did not get anything to eat three days at one time and two days at an other.
But that is nothing any thing to whip them we made it pay this time there was 7 of out boys killed day before yesterday they are out beyond out lines some of Texas Cavalry  the Texas Cavalry hait Kilpatrick’s Cavalry so many of them got their heads split open while we was on the rade they don’t take any of our boys prisoners I think they will get sick of that if they are not already we have prisoners from all of the other commands but Rosses we have fought Ross more than any other command . Ross commands the Texas troops bosted fighting man with cavalry says he can whip the north with equal numbers but Kilpatrick is to shreude for Mr Ross.

George R. Knapp

I will enclose this in a Reb Envelope.

George Riley Knapp was obviously writing about the fighting  his unit did in the taking of Atlanta and facing the 6th Texas Cavalry under  Confederate General Lawrence Sullivan Ross when Kilpatrick made his daring encircling foray with his cavalry before Atlanta was taken. See : Kill Cavalry, The life of Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick by Samuel J, Martin, Stackpole Books, 1996.  pp 186,187,188

Camp Crooks, Georgia
September the 23, 1864

This fine morning I agane attempt to write to you. Although it has been but a short time since last I wrote but as I am rather lonsum and my thoughts are rather wandering in the direction of home wondering if it is pleasant there as it is here and if people at home ever get lonsum like we do have plenty to do do we don’t get lonsum but after the johneys are chased away and we get settled down in camp and no excitement of any kind pass away the lonely hours of camp life then time waives away rather gloomy. I little expect that we will go back to the (front) to (fight) as our horses are  nearly plaid out only 125 in the regiment eleven in our company. Kilpatrick has been ordered to the Potomac agane he has asked permission to take one brigade of his cavalry with him. I hope it will not be granted for If he takes any it will be ours. The second one he likes. The second Brigade he sayes will stick to a skirmish line longer than any Damned cavalry. He even said I think they ought to let us stay here as we have worked our way thus far cut the rebel cavalry up pretty bad and now resting near the gate city as the rebels call it. We are acquainted with the country and with their style of fighting. It would be ny desire to operate here in preference to Virginia but if they can youse you to better advantage on the Potomac I will not complane antthing to whip them. An undivided North will do a mutch towards as the 500,000. So work for Linkon so far new recruits not being fir for the field is all moonshine. All drilling that we ever dun did not amount to a hill of beans , for the fight invariably takes place in the woods, hills, guleys the most rough abrupt places that can be found. It is every man for himself get behind trees. Logs ( ) rocks many lying down in the bush or weeds. If the cavalry chance to ketch them or at a remote place of ground they go for them as fast as the horses can run. Send us the men and stick to Linkon we will soon wind these things up. It sounds to many people like an honorable thing to go to war but if those very men would come into the fields they wouldn’t think they were going to be killed. I remember well how I felt about cavalry saber charges thought it was qa horrible thing it would make me shudder to think of it but now I think entirely different. I has rather fight with the saber than any other way it does a man good to see them light out they have dun it every time that we went for them in that way they don’t like the looks of the critter. Write and tell Schinedd too and frankly it does help to pass the tiredness of camp life to hear from home.

George R. Knapp

Kilpatrick was known as the “cavalry killer”  He ordered more charges and had more cavalry killed than any other cavalry commander. It has been said that if Custer had been assigned to his command  he would not have lived long enough to fight and die at the Little Big Horn.

General Hugh J. Kilpatrick, Federal Army
Thereafter he was transferred to command the 3rd Cavalry       Division assembling in northern Georgia for the campaign against Atlanta. For conspicuous service at the battle of Resaca, where he was again severely wounded, he was brevetted Colonel in the regular army. He joined Sherman's march to the sea while still unable to ride a horse; and in the invasion of the Carolinas which followed, his cavalry division performed valuable service. He was brevetted Brig. General and Maj. General, respectively, for gallant and meritorious services in the capture of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and in the campaign in the Carolinas.

A funny thing happened on the way to the sea

While you may think that George Riley Knapp’s  statement that: “they left all their siege guns but left them spiked their ladys are not they had ought to youse them as well as they do their guns” might be considered braggadocio , listen to what their General was doing.

Kilpatrick was probably in a mellow mood because Marie Boozer had joined his entourage. . . . (described as ) “the most beautiful piece of flesh and blood  I had ever beheld”. The daughter of a Northern sympathizer , she and her mother had fled Columbus when Sherman burned the city, they were headed north when they found refuge with Kilpatrick.”

                Kilpatrick literally took Marie under his wing and under the covers.

                Kilpatrick’s war wounds made it painful for him to ride a horse so  he traveled in Marie’s elegant carriage laying with his head on her lap. This was his position when he rode into North Carolina on 3 March 1865.

While sleeping with the beautiful Marie his headquarters  was surprised by the Southern Cavalry.

Jumping from his bed and leaving Marie, he galloped to safety wearing only his night shirt in what was soon to be called “Kilpatrick’s shirt-tail skedaddle”

                And what about Marie?

She would find her way to Washington , marry a union officer, left him and sailed for Europe  and married a French count, thereafter having many more affairs and legend has it that the became the concubine of a Chinese warlord who cut the tendons in her feet to keep her from running away.
So much for all those southern “innocent” belles you hear so much about.
 See: Kill Cavalry, The life of Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick by Samuel J, Martin, Stackpole Books, 1996

 What about Knapp’s mention of Ross’s Texas Cavalry?

ROSS, Lawrence Sullivan
Born September 27 1838, Bentonsport IA
Died January 3 1898, College Station TX
Pre-War Occupation
Indian fighter, Texas ranger.
Post-War Occupation
 Farmer, sheriff, politician, governor, college president.
War Involvement
General 6th Texas cavalry

Brigadier-General Lawrence Sullivan Ross was born September 27, 1838, at Brentonsport, Iowa, whence, in the following spring, his father, Capt. Shapley P. Ross, moved to Texas. He was educated at the Wesleyan university, at Florence, Ala. While at home on a vacation, he organized his first company, composed of 135 men, and hastened to the support of Gen. Earl Van Dorn, then in command of the Second United States cavalry. Joining forces with that officer, he took part in the battle of Wichita, against the Comanche Indians, where 95 red men were slain and 350 horses captured. It was in this battle that he rescued a white girl, eight years of age, who had been held by these brutal savages since infancy. Her parents never being discovered, she was adopted and educated by General Ross, and named Lizzie Ross. Captain Ross was desperately wounded at the battle of Wichita, and lay for five days on the battlefield, before he could be removed to the nearest United States post, 90 miles distant. Before the dead had been buried and the smoke of battle had cleared away, General Van Dorn and all the officers of the Second cavalry signed a petition to the secretary of war, commending young Ross' brilliant and heroic service, and urging his appointment to the regular army. Gen. Winfield Scott wrote him a complimentary autograph letter, tendering his support and influence. As Ross was not of age, and had not completed his college course, he declined the honor, and, after his recovery, returned to the Wesleyan university, where he graduated with distinction the following summer. Immediately after his return home, he went to the frontier of Texas, under Gen. Sam Houston, and did effective work against the Comanches. In one affair of this campaign, he engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with the chief, Peta Nacona, and after having his horse shot under him, he cut down Nacona with his saber and escaped uninjured. At the organization of Texas troops for the Confederate war, he enlisted as a private, but rapidly rose to rank, and at the age of twenty-four, on May 14, 1862, was commissioned colonel of the Sixth Texas regiment of cavalry. He was immediately assigned, by Major-General Jones, to command of the brigade, but modestly declined that honor, and General Phifer was subsequently assigned. Colonel Ross took part in the battle of Corinth, Miss., October, 1862, and when, on the retreat, Moore's brigade, in advance, was met, beyond the Hatchie bridge by a fresh Federal force, Ross, in command of Phifer's brigade, went into the fight as a forlorn hope, and maintained it against great odds until the army could be withdrawn by another route. The war department at Richmond requested General Maury to give the name of the officer in charge of this brilliant action, which he did. Gen. Jos. E. Johnston, without the knowledge of Ross, wrote to the secretary of war and had him appointed brigadier-general, the commission bearing date December 21, 1863. On different occasions he was commended for gallant conduct by Generals J. E. Johnston, Hardee, Forrest, S. D. Lee, Maury, W. H. Jackson and Van Dorn. He participated in numerous engagements, and had five horses shot under him. At the close of the war he settled in Texas. In 1873 he was sheriff of his county, and in 1875 a member of the constitutional convention. In 1881 he was elected to the State senate, where he served as chairman of the finance committee. He was elected governor of Texas in 1886, and was re-elected in 1888, by a majority of 150,000. As president of the State Agricultural and Mechanical college he rendered valuable service. Ex-Governor Ross died January 4, 1898, at his home at College Station, Tex.
Confederate Military History

(Check the internet for site)
The Tunnel...(See above) The tunnel was completed in 1850, the first railroad tunnel built south of the Mason-Dixon line. It runs through nearby Chetogetta Mountain. The tunnel is 1477 feet in length and took nearly two years to build. On completion, a great celebration was held with
bottles of wine being used to christen the tunnel. Holy water was also poured out at both ends of the tunnel. The first train passed through on May 9, 1850. The tunnel played a role in the "Great Locomotive Chase" that began in Big Shanty, Georgia (now Kennesaw) and ended near
Ringgold, Georgia.
The Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation, Inc., A non-profit organization, sponsors an authentic Civil War re-enactment held annually on the weekend following Labor Day. The host unit is the 35th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, CO. F. The event is held on the grounds of the Clisby Austin House.
Send email to us at:
Steven Cockburn, President(706) 673-6701
 Kenneth Holcomb (706) 673-5152

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