previous next
[287] while the railroad farther south was being repaired, to such an extent that they were estimated by the enemy as worth at least $4,000,000. The post was in charge of Col. R. C. Murphy, 8th Wisconsin, who had over 1,000 men under his command; while bales of cotton and barrels of flour by thousands proffered the readiest means of barricading its streets and keeping out ten times his force, until it could be reduced by heavy guns and regular approaches, or at least consumed by volleys of shells.

Grant had warned Murphy of his danger the night before, and did not imagine his capture a possibility; but no preparation had been made for resistance, no street barricaded; not even our men posted to resist an assault; when, at daybreak, Van Dorn burst into the town with his wild cavalry, captured the imbecile or traitorous wretch who should have defended it, and burned all but the little plunder his men were able t. carry off, including a largo hospital full of our sick and wounded soldiers, which his Adjutant had promised to spare. Our cavalry (2d Illinois) refused to surrender, and cut their way out by a resolute charge, in which they lost but 7 men, disabling 30 Rebels. Murphy filled up the measure of his infamy by accepting paroles, with his men; so as to prevent their recapture and relieve the enemy of the trouble of guarding them. The Rebels claim1 to have captured and paroled 1,800 men and 150 officers; but this must include the sick and wounded whom they found in the hospital. Two locomotives and 40 or 50 cars were among the property destroyed; the Rebels coming prepared with cans of spirits of turpentine to hasten the conflagration: the burning arsenal blowing up, at 3 P. M., with a concussion which shattered several buildings, while 20 men were wounded by flying balls and shell. The Rebels left at 5, after a stay of ten hours, which they had improved to the utmost: thence proceeding to assail, in rapid succession, Coldwater, Davis's Mill, Middleburg, and Bolivar, farther north; but, though the defenders of each were fewer than Murphy might have rallied to his aid at Holly Springs, each was firmly held, and the raiders easily driven off. Murphy, it need hardly be added, was dismissed from the service in a stinging order2 by Gen. Grant--said order “to take effect from Dec. 20th, the date of his cowardly and disgraceful conduct.”

Grant had seasonably dispatched 4,000 men by rail to the relief of Holly Springs — or rather, to guard against the possibility of its capture, so vital was its importance; but they were stopped midway by some obstruction on the track, and only arrived two hours after the enemy had departed.

Thus, by the baseness of one miscreant, were not only 2,000 men and

1 Richmond Dispatch, Jan. 15, 1863.

The enraptured writer elsewhere says:

The scene was wild, exciting, tumultuous. Yankees running; tents burning; torches flaming; Confederates shouting; guns popping; sabers clanking; Abolitionists begging for mercy; ‘Rebels’ shouting exultingly; women, en dishabille, clapping their hands, frantic with joy, crying, ‘Kill them! kill them!’ --a heterogeneous mass of excited, frantic, frightened human beings — presented and indescribable picture, adapted to the pencil of Hogarth.

And again:

The ladies rushed out from the houses, wild with joy, crying out: ‘There's some at the Fair Grounds: chase them! kill them! for God's sake!’

2 Dated Holly Springs, Jan. 8.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
R. C. Murphy (5)
Ulysses S. Grant (3)
Hogarth (1)
E. Dorn (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 15th, 1863 AD (1)
December 20th (1)
January 8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: