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Report of Capt. William A. Haw, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

camp Lowe, Tenn., April 3, 1862.
Pursuant to verbal orders received I started from Camp Lowe, 76 horses strong (including two guides), at noon on the 31st March, 1862, [80] and proceeded toward Paris, taking the road to Paris Landing, and turning to the southwest. I found a very broken and timbered country, with tolerably good roads, often crossed by small creeks; the timber consisting of small oak trees with but little underwood, so that an infantry force would be able to operate as skirmishers. Cavalry can only fight in the same way. There are but a very few and small places where charges could be made. The whole road is practicable for teams and artillery. About 14 or 15 miles this side of Paris I found a swamp land for the distance of about a mile and a half, where the road forms a dam, at the end of which is a narrow wooden bridge, about 250 feet long, in not a very good condition, but I consider it strong enough to pass light artillery and other trains. This place is able to be held by amost inferior force.

I proceeded farther, until about 43 miles this side of Paris, to an open place, about 1 mile long and 1 mile wide, called “1 orten's farm,” where I passed the night, after sending out pickets at a distance from the camping place. During the night I sent several patrols towards Paris and the south, to scout the country and visit the pickets. Nothing transpired during the night. I have to observe that from the abovementioned bridge to Paris there will be found more open places where cavalry could charge.

In the evening I received a visit from a neighboring farmer and leadins citizen, Major Porter, who seemed a little alarmed about our presence, and asked me the favor of extending my protection toward his widowed sister, Mrs. Dobson. I told him and all the countrymen present that I never would suffer my men to commit any depredation, and that we, the so-called Yankee troops, were in the country not to molest or harm the citizens, but to assist and protect the peaceable and loyal. Upon his special invitation I went with Major Porter to his lady sister, whom I assured in regard to the good conduct of our soldiers.

I cannot complain about any of the people I met with. All showed themselves kind and friendly, but very anxious to hear Northern news. There is no display of feeling favorable to the Union, but a kind of neutrality. We have been asked for papers, to see themselves the difference between Southern and our own statements. Myself and other officers did all in our power to rectify the misstatements of the rebel leaders and editors. It seems to me that the good conduct of our soldiers did very much to give the citizens the opportunity to judge both parties.

I started at about 6 a. m. April 1, 1862, for Paris, and entered town at 7 a. m. in order of battle: occupied the court-house and public square, and passed through the principal streets to show to the citizens the muzzles of our pieces. Then coming back to the court-house, I sent out pickets to avert surprise.

Paris is a small town of about 800 to 1,000 inhabitants, situated upon a little plateau, which is surrounded by steep hollows, of a depth varying on the north and east sides between 20 and 50 feet. On the south and west the plateau is sloping, with steep descents. Against a force not too numerous and without artillery this position, I believe, is tenable for weeks. The Ohio and Memphis Railroad passes the northern limits of the town, and the embankment forms another rampart for the place.

I inquired for the key of the court-house, which was handed to me. I entered it and planted my company flag, the Stars and Stripes of our glorious country, on the top, which was received by my boys with cheers and hurrahs, but by them alone. The citizens (but a small portion of [81] them remain) were gathering in front of their houses viewing the things going on, but their countenances showing that these acts were not indifferent to them.

I had occupied the public square upon which the court-house is erected awaiting the events. By and by people began to gather around the place, then came inside the fence, looking at and admiring our horses, and at last, finding out that the Yankee troops are no “Caribs,” they began to converse, first with the boys, then with myself. They seemed at first to have been afraid of their town being pillaged and destroyed, but were highly pleased in learning from me that we did not come for the purpose of molesting them or for destruction of any kind, but in order to protect them. Here I met with several prominent citizens, who professed, not, it is true, to be Union men but to have had notb ing to do with secession. I told them that I planted our banner over their court-house, and wished those who professed to be peaceable citizens to see that our flag was not torn down; that I expected to see it still floating there on my next visit to Paris, and that they might rest assured of being protected by us as long as they did not molest the flag, but should they disgrace that said flag they would be held responsible for their bad acts.

The information I got was that the Southern party was afraid that the Union men would rise in arms to get up a counter-revolution; that a former Congressman, Etheridge, was to help in that undertaking with a force raised in Kentucky. I heard further that several young men spoke out their intention to resist the drafting operations, just going on for the third time; that the second draft brought only 15 men from the county. The officer commissioned to carry out the draft was designated to me as a Mr. Mitchell, captain of militia, residing in town. I paid a visit to this man with a squad of my men, but Mr. Mitchell had preferred to leave town at our approach. I am thinking that his flying away and our presence will do much good in encouraging the young men to persist in their resistance.

Another man, by the name of Van Dyk, was marked to me as one who took a great, if not the greatest, part in arresting a Union guide, who afterwards is reported to have been sentenced to be hung. I could not ascertain that this sentence has been carried out because of nothing having been heard of him since his transportation to Memphis. Van Dyk was arrested.

A third citizen, Mr. Cummins, an actual member of the rebel Legislature of Tennessee, was reported to me as being concealed in his house, but after a minute investigation he could not be found.

During these proceedings I sent out patrols to scout the vicinity from Paris to Humboldt, about 5 miles in advance, who did not find or see anything; on the contrary, reported the country clear of any armed troops.

Regarding rebel forces, I was informed by several individuals, at different places and different times, that-

1. Clay King, with his force, 500 to 600 strong, has been ordered to Lexington, toward the Mississippi, about 55 miles from Camp Lowe.

2. Two companies of independent cavalry, or mounted men, poorly armed and equipped, were stationed at Humboldt, sending out scout. ing parties toward Paris.

3. The last party of this kind was seen at Paris last Thursday.

4. The troops garrisoned at Memphis were diminishing daily by being ordered toward Corinth. [82]

In my opinion the occupation of Paris by a few companies of cavalry and infantry would do much good to the cause of the Union and strengthen the undecided citizens, amongst whom I found several whom I believe worthy of confidence when they assert themselves to be Union men.

At 3 p. m. I started from Paris, with the prisoner Van Dyk, westward, turning northward to Camp Lowe, scouted the country about 20 miles, to the farm and tan-yard of a Mr. Ray, where we stopped overnight. Mr. Ray, having been reported to me as being a strong Southern man, tried to refuse us shelter, but seeing my force, he gave way to better feelings and received us with seeming kindness. During the conversation in his parlor his family expectorated strong secession opinions. Notwithstanding, we were treated very well and furnished with all the necessaries. Mr. Ray, according to reports made to me by several individuals, had furnished the Southern Confederacy with boots and shoes manufactured by himself at his own expense, he being a very wealthy man. I inquired into the matter, and ascertained from his own negroes that on Saturday, the 29th of March, 1862, he sent off a full wagon load of said articles. (Mr. Ray used to abuse his negroes and they consequently entertain no friendly feelings for him; therefore I would respectfully suggest not to tell him who informed me.) In the morning of April 2, 1862, I put to Mr. Ray the question frankly and plainly whether he did send off any boots or shoes to the Confederacy. He denied it. He denied even to have had any such intercourse with the rebel party. His behavior, while questioned, was such that my suspicions of his guilt advised me to bring him before my superiors to be judged, and so I did.

From there we started at about 8 a. m., directing our course to Camp Lowe, through a small place called Coynesville, situated about 10 miles west of the above-mentioned camp. This village contains about 300 inhabitants, represented as professing no Union feelings. We passed through. Nobody seemed to observe us nor to care about our presence, but one of my officers told me afterward that two or three citizens had told him that they wished for us to put up the Union flag.

The country from Paris to Camp Lowe, on our way back, as above described, is more broken, timbered, and hilly than the first described. The road is bad and not kept in repair. I crossed no swamps and but a few creeks. I would not, if I could do it otherwise, direct a transportation train by this road. In regard to operations for cavalry, I consider it a very poor terrain from Paris to Coynesville. From here to Camp Lowe I found several open places, but no prairies.

About 6 miles from Coynesville we stopped at the farm of a blacksmith named Oliver, reported as a strong Southern man, who had furnished bowie-knives and forwarded them to the Southern Confederacy Army at his own expense, and that he had expressed himself that he never would be brought to take the oath of allegiance. I asked him if such was the case, but he answered in the negative, saying that he only made a few for his sons and their friends. Our guide, being present, told him that there was no use denying it, because he had done what I charged him to be guilty of. Four sons of his being in the Confederate Army, and his family having professed openly theii sympathy for the South in my presence, I thought it my duty to bring him, too, before my superiors.

I feel myself bound to aver that the whole command under my [83] direction did enjoy themselves in doing the duty to be performed and kept up perfect discipline.


W. A. Haw, Captain Company F, Curtis' Horse. Lieut. Col. M. T. Patrick, Commanding Regiment.

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