Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1, 1863 - Skirmish at Dog Water Creek

   April 1, 1863 -  Skirmish at Dog Water Creek

HDQRS. EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Steamer Continental, March 24, 1863.

To Major R. E. N. Instempaieuxe

Commander, Detachment, 88th Oberlin Volunteer Mounted Infantry:

The object of your expedition is to eliminate the guerrilla forces
that are responsible for depredations committed against loyal
civilians riding the Charleston and Memphis Railroad at a point
between Chewalla and Pocahontas. You will supply your command with 80
rounds per man and 7 days rations. Forage is abundant. You will run up
the river nearly to Savannah aboard the steamer Chookie and from there
make for Chewalla. When there you will proceed westward to the
Pocahontas junction of the railroad. The expedition will then travel
up the Hatchie River until it reaches the estuary of the Hatchie known
locally as Dog Water Creek. There you will establish a temporary base
of operations which will be fortified by temporary earthworks. The
command will follow Dog Water Creek in a northeasterly direction to
the interior, routing and killing all guerrillas in its path.
Afterwards the command shall drop back to Tyler's Landing, above the
mouth of Dog Water Creek there to halt, and send the cavalry to the
railroad, about 7 miles off, to search for guerrillas and bushwhackers
and kill them. o­nce your mission has been accomplished you will
return to Savannah and await further orders. The object is to engage
the enemy in force and eradicate him.

Commanders of brigades will advise the colonels of regiments of this
plan, and see that the men march in silence and order. Muskets should
be loaded, and in case a boat is fired o­n, it should be landed and
the enemy punished.

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj. Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p. 31.

In the field. HDQRS.; Detachment, 88th Oberlin Volunteer Mounted
Infantry Expeditionary Force near Dog Water Creek, April 3. 1863:


We proceeded according to your orders to rout insurgent forces and met
no opposition.  Temporary earthworks were established at the mouth of
Dog Water Creek. o­n April 1 we were suddenly attacked by a company of
guerrillas at our earthworks a the mouth of Dog Water Creek. They
attacked at dawn, from the east, with the sun behind them and in our
eyes. While initially surprised by the assault, my men quickly rallied
and the fight began in earnest. After an hour of skirmishing (they
from behind trees and our boys in rifle pits) the rebels retreated,
leaving 15 dead and 23 wounded. They were part of [R.V.] Richardson's
crew. Our loss was but 2 wounded and o­ne horse killed.

We pursued the enemy but as they had better knowledge of the terrain
we were not able immediately to run them down, but followed until near
dark when we discovered their camp o­n a high ground o­n the opposite
bank of Dog Water Creek, about 200 yards distant. Instead of charging
the foe in the dark, I waited until they were silhouetted against
their fires and ordered sharpshooters Master Sergeant Boyd R. Jones,
and Corporal Gregory M. Pratt, marksmen of arresting ability, to
commence firing. They killed four more rebels -- the remainder, while
firing a volley our way, were thrown into confusion and retreated
wildly into the surrounding woods, leaving horses, saddles, bridles,
two stands of arms, medical supplies and a wagon behind them, all of
which were burned.

While we were certain the enemy had retreated into the surrounding
woodlands, we were surprised about a hour later when their remaining
number, about 45, made a bayonet attack upon our position.  We met
steel with steel and lead, o­nce again forcing the rebellious element
to withdraw, this time for good. Our losses were minimal while 11 more
sesesch were killed by the 88th O.V.M.I.

The mission was a success. Allow me to take the opportunity to
respectfully suggest that our temporary base of operations be further
fortified so as to be made a more permanent base for operations to
combat the guerrilla scourge in this part of the country. The
indication and evidence of scouts in the Dog Water Creek environs show
that the enemy has since our last fight, increased his force o­n the
opposite side of the creek within a day or two past and begun rounding
up loyal Union men as conscripts for the rebel army. Whether or not it
is the General's finding to so address this guerrilla threat, it is
respectfully suggested that the commanders of outposts along the
Hatchie be notified to detachments o­n the railroad to be o­n the
alert and guard against any surprise, and to communicate promptly
anything of importance which may come to their knowledge.

The temporary earthworks have been dubbed "Fort Dog Water" by the men,
an appellation that, while is not euphonious, indicates the
good-natured and unselfish patriotism of the men the 88th O.V.M.I. and
the achievement of their mission.

We will shortly march to Savannah to your await orders.

Respectfully, your most obedient servant,

R.E.N. Instempeauxie, Major, Commanding Detachment 88th Oberlin
Volunteer Mounted Infantry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt II, p. 88.



Memphis, April 8, 1863.

Col. D. F. Fry:

Place Major R.E.N. Instempeauxie in charge of fortifying the so-called
"Fort Dog Water" to the extent that it will serve our forces as a base
for operations against bushwhackers and guerrillas in that area until
further orders. Send a pioneer company to carry out the work. The 88th
OVMI are to be congratulated for their fine work in fighting the
guerrilla scourge. No doubt they will continue to pick quarrels and
win laurels.

Your most obdt. svt.,

N. F. Bedford, Lt. Col., A.A.G.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 89.

[Second indorsement.]

HDQRS., Dept. of the Tennessee, April 8, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Col. W. Hoffman, Third Ohio Volunteer
Infantry with the additional remark that from the report of Maj.
Stempey I am disposed to credit the statements herein made and support
the reinforcing of the fortification named "Fort Dog Water." He also
seems an orderly, quiet, obliging officer.

JOSEPH H. TUCKER, Col. Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol.17, pt. II, p. 90. [Ed. note below]

[Ed. note] This entry is entirely fictitious. April Fools!

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