THE COLOREDS WILL FIGHT

CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE

Black-SoldiersOn June 7, at the battle of Fremont Farm, General Grenville Dodge led his gallant westerners into the teeth of the rebel defenses. His normally cautious approach was replaced by a fire and brimstone fury. Following a quick advance with only a minor preliminary artillery bombardment, the boys from Illinois and Iowa launched a series of furious charges across the entire front. The North Carolinians were quickly driven from their defenses.

The 1st Kansas colored regiment accounted well for itself, showing all the naysayers who said the coloreds would skedaddle at the first sounds of the guns that they were wrong. Withstanding a harrowing barrage of bullets, the Kansas Freemen pressed on to chase the rebels out of their defenses. Even a furious charge by the Carolinians, screaming their famous Rebel Yell, made no impact on the coloreds, who valiantly held their ground before launching a courageous charge of their own that helped our boys drive the Rebs from the field.

For his inspiring leadership in this action General Dodge was given his third promotion. His veteran forces look up to the task of bringing the war to an end. With the continuing success of all our loyal boys in blue it is now on to Richmond.

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2nd Battle of Fraisier’s Ford

Col A B Valentin reporting

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After weeks of maneuvering the Federals yielded their hold across Muddy Run allowing us to reestablish our previous position at Fraisier’s Ford.  We were able to establish a more solid position by making better use of the terrain and establishing a line of works across the most likely avenues of approach.

The Yankees drove hard against our works and at the peak of their assault managed to carry the works and push strongly into our position.  The Yankee general Wilcox, a noble foe, fell while pushing his men forward.  Our counterattack drove the most advanced Yankee infantry back leaving Wilcox to fall into our hands.  My personal physician attended to him and without doubt preserved his life.  He will be ransomed back as soon as he has recovered some strength but sadly he lost a leg at this battle, covering his daring leadership all the more with the glory it rightly deserves.

The efforts of our men from Louisiana and Alabama and late arrivals of cavalry from North Carolina has staved off the Federal advance in this district for the time being. 

 

Battle on the Big Baptism River

The Clearfield Republican

Major General Sherman, USV (20ep) checked the Rebel General Hieronymus Hollins and his Texas/Alabama brigade in NW Virginia in one of the last fights of 1862. Hollins, arrogantly attempting to force the Union positions on the Big Baptism River, was unable to coordinate his infantry assaults against the main fords that were well entrenched by the 6th Wisconsin and the 63rd New York.

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General Hollins’ Texas/Alabama brigade advances against the fords.

Hollins choose to dismount his considerable cavalry to support the infantry assault across the fords. In hindsight, keeping a mounted threat in play against the more remote fords may have served the Southern cause better.

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The 6th Wisconsin and the 63rd New York hold their rifle pits on the Federal bank of the Big Baptism river.

Sherman, for his part, moved aggressively across the middle ford and through a swamp to support the two regiments holding the main fords. This move proved costly and almost put the Rebels back into the game. But Hollins boys were too hard used at this point and withdrew from the field.

Battle at Wilkins Field

Special to the Chicago Tribune

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The “Old Reliables” Advance

Battle of Wilkins Farm

In a sharp encounter General Caldwell (13ep) bested the brigade of Sterling Price (14ep) when the two forces clashed outside of Nashville Tennessee on the small farm of Thaddeus Wilkins. The Rebs had the best of the terrain, with a wood on their left and a wall fronted by stony ground in their center. Caldwell’s best troops, 6th Pennsylvanian cavalry, 5th New Hampshire and 7th New York, all veterans, were flanked out to the left as a holding force and advanced quickly upon the enemy, deploying into line when within musket range. Caldwell’s artillery deployed in the center and played on the rebel guns and infantry. The main weight of the Union forces marched to the right and pushed towards the Rebel left in the woods.

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The Charge

General Price, warming to the fight and feeling his southern roots, unexpectedly, jumped at the opportunity to attack the Union left while their flanking columns were still in motion. He launched his best infantry, the 2nd Arkansas, the “old Reliables”, over the wall and at the Union center closely supported by massed Rebel cavalry on the right which was fronted by his strong artillery. All the while Price refused his left.

The aggressive ploy almost worked with much slaughter on both sides as the two force closed but just as he was about to mount his crushing charge, Price was knocked to the ground by a shell that killed several of his staff, the order was never sent! The delay allowed the Union right to close on the Rebel left. Coming to his senses again, Price finally launched a series of charges, some pushed back the Union forces on the left but in doing so he opened his own left flank to Caldwell, who quickly closed and broke the Rebels.

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Yankee Guns

Both sides gave a good account of themselves, maybe these Rebs can mount a serious comeback, they surely need to with Union forces deep in Rebel territory after a series of stunning victories.

“Paps” Price Beaten near Fayetteville

The Chicago Tribune

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General Sterling Price, CSV.

Brigadier Sterling Price (10eps) leading the Arkansas brigade, met General McPherson (12eps) at the crossroads outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas in a brisk encounter. With Price flanking the crossroads from the west, the battle began well for the South when the Arkansas cavalry had the best of the Illinois regiments present with McPherson. But in good time the Federal infantry responded to the maneuver and brought its superior guns to bear on the Rebs. The Arkansas brigade fought magnificiently, but had the worst of the encounter by failing to put in with the cold steel at a crucial juncture. “Paps” will not make that mistake again.

By all reports the Southern reverse will only be a temporary one. The Arkansas brigade is in fine fettle and will certainly take the field again before the end of 1862.

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Arkansas cavalry best the 4th Illinois near the Fayetteville crossroads.

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McPherson’s infantry advance against the Arkansas brigade.

Battle on the Telegraph Road

The Chicago Tribune

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General Grenville Dodge, USV.

On Oct 11, 1862, General Grenvile Dodge engaged and defeated a large rebel force outside of Elkhorn Tavern in Arkansas. The battle was fought in the hilly farmland outside of town on the Telegraph Road. General Dodge’s boys from Illinois, moving south from their base in Missouri, encountered a Rebel force believed to be under the command of General William Barksdale moving north.

The battle commenced with the Union boys making a strong advance through the woods and fields against the Rebels who continued advancing along the road. A fusillade of Union rifle and artillery fire opened the battle, followed by a massed charge of veteran and new recruits of both infantry and cavalry who pushed the Rebs back. Repeatedly, General Dodge led the veteran Illinois infantry forward, disregarding personal danger to himself. The Union boys maintained a withering fire, dropping the Rebels like chaffs of wheat until Barksdale’s troops could take no more and ran back down the road to escape the boys in blues fury.

With continued Union victories on all fronts, can the end of the rebellion be far off? This reporter thinks not. God save the Union and President Lincoln.

Mississippi Brigade Checked on the Telegraph Road

The Clearfield Republican

Brigadier Grenville Dodge USV (14ep), marching near Elkhorn Tavern in Arkansas, met Barksdale’s Mississippi brigade near the town on the Telegraph road. After a brisk meeting engagement, the Illinois and Iowa units under Dodge severely thrashed the Mississippians.

Brigadier Barksdale (19ep), despite the sharp defeat, is still the darling of the Southern newspapers. His brigade has again received a large reinforcement of veteran Virginia cavalry and is coming to resemble a cavalry brigade more and more.

A fuller battle account will follow. Below are some wet-plate digital images of the battle.

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Illinois Regiments press the Mississippians astride the Telegraph Road.

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With a courier down from a sniper’s bullet, the Southern attacks breakdown to a stubborn Yankee defense.

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Yankee assaults and firepower shatter the Mississippi units.