previous next

[194] young lady, in great distress, and weeping with fear and vexation, approached General Rousseau and plead fervently that Colonel Craig should be allowed to remain. The General received her in the kind and urbane manner, which is one of his characteristics. “Are you the Colonel's wife, madame?” he inquired. “No, sir, I am his friend.” The General smiled as he remarked that he presumed it amounted to the same thing, and assured her that her “friend” would not be injured, but would be paroled and allowed to remain. His parole was taken and he was left to enjoy the company of his fair advocate.

About sundown the command reached Loackepoka, and was in possession of the railroad. No force was there, and all was quiet. We had penetrated into the rear of the rebel army, and were now on their most important line of communication. Loackepoka Station is forty-eight miles from Montgomery.

Working parties were at once detailed, and the work of destruction commenced. The character of the superstructure of the road was peculiarly favorable for the purpose. The ties were of pine, and the track was laid of light iron, spiked to pine timbers, set into every fourth tie. These longitudinal stringers were readily raised from their position by means of fence rails used as levers. Twenty or thirty men would raise one hundred feet at a time, on one side, and place the timber and rail on top of the rail on the other side. Fence-rails and other combustible material were then piled on it, and fire started. The result of the operation was the destruction of the timbers, the complete warping of the iron rails from expansion by the intense heat, and the burning of the ties where the track rested upon them, so as to make them utterly unserviceable. On no other road, perhaps, could so thorough a destruction be effected by such simple means. The pine was of a pitchy character, and burned so readily that the ties were completely destroyed without raising them from the road-bed, and the iron was thoroughly drawn out of shape by the heat. The track was not merely torn up, but it was destroyed — ties, iron, and other material being rendered unfit to use again.

The railroad buildings at Loackepoka contained a large quantity of oats, corn, and flour from which the command was supplied. Fifteen saddle trees, two thousand pair of harness, and several hundred muskets were also captured and destroyed.

During the night, the railroad depot, a wooden building, took fire from the burning railroad, and for a time there was danger of the destruction of the hotel and several fine buildings. The flames spread in a direction where a part of the horses were picketed to fences and trees and a stampede was feared. It was a wild and exciting scene. The long lines of fires up and down the track were sending up volumes of dense smoke, and lighting up the heavens with a lurid glare, whilst the flames from the burning buildings shot far upward and reached out as if eager for further destruction. The neighing and rearing of the frightened horses and hurrying to and fro of the men to move them and their equipments away from the fire, added to the excitement of the scene. The buildings burned down rapidly, and the danger of the fire spreading was soon over. General Rousseau, by his personal exertions, assisted in saving the residence of a widow lady, who was astonished at finding assistance rendered from those she had been led to consider only as vandals. Men were detailed to protect the building with wet blankets until the danger was over.

July 18th.--Details working in the night destroyed several miles of the road. In the morning the command was divided into four detachments to continue the work. Colonel Hamilton, of the Ninth Ohio, with his regiment and a part of the Fourth Tennessee, moved toward Atlanta, destroying the track as he went. At Auburn, six miles from Loackepoka, his advance was attacked by the rebels, but after some skirmishing he drove them off and continued the work. He destroyed a quantity of lumber and a large amount of quartermasters' and commissary stores at Auburn. A mile or two above that place a locomotive was met coming down from Opelika. The engineer, on seeing the Yankees, endeavored to back out, but the engine ran off the track. The engineer and two other men were captured and the locomotive destroyed.

Major Baird, with four companies of the Fifth Iowa and four of the Fourth Tennessee, was ordered to march to Chehaw Station, twelve miles toward Montgomery, to destroy a trestle bridge and the station buildings and work back, destroying the road. Colonel Watts, of the Second Kentucky, moved down the railroad from Loackepoka in the same direction, and Colonel Jones, with the Eighth Indiana, started for Notasulga, a station between Loackepoka and Chehaw. The road was destroyed to Notasulga and several miles beyond. About sixty tents, with poles and pins complete, were here destroyed, and a further quantity of commissary stores. A water tank and the railroad buildings were also burned. Two miles beyond Notasulga was a camp for conscripts and convalescents, with barracks for two or three thousand men. Those who were able to do so had made their escape, leaving about one hundred sick in the hospital. The hospital buildings and tents connected with them were spared, and the remainder of the camp destroyed.

The detachment under command of Major Baird met a rebel force just upon arriving in sight of Chehaw Station. The trains were on the track which had brought them up from Montgomery. Major Baird deployed his force on both sides of the railroad and was met by the enemy in much larger force than his own. A brisk fight ensued, but the enemy proved too strong, and our men fell back with a loss of one killed and several wounded. Six companies of

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.
Baird (3)
Rousseau (2)
Watts (1)
C. C. Jones (1)
Frederick Hamilton (1)
D. H. Craig (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.
July 18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: