Western Campaign during the Civil War
By: MSher1234@aol.com (Mel Sherman)
My great-grandfather Stukely Sherman’s participation in the Civil War was somewhat different from the experiences of most Civil War participants. He fought in the Civil War from 1861 through 1865. Stukely’s Sherman line is: Stukely, Stuckely, Steven, Samuel, Steven, Eber, and the Hon. Philip Sherman.
Back row: Hubert, Edwin, Merritt, Frank
Front row: Carrie, Stukely, Earl & Ana Eliza (McMillen) Sherman
"California, being located far away from the more active scenes of the war, was not called upon to furnish troops for immediate service against Confederate soldiers, and no quota was assigned to it. Yet during the war, calls were made upon it for several regiments and battalions, aggregating more than sixteen thousand men, besides five hundred who were enlisted within its borders and became part of the quota of the State of Massachusetts, and eight companies raised for Washington Territory. With the exception of those enlisted for Massachusetts, the California forces took no part in any of the great war battles of the war; yet the service they rendered was of as great importance as that rendered by those from other States. It was as severe, entailing long and fatiguing marches across burning deserts and among almost inaccessible mountains in the southwestern United States territory. They were engaged in hundreds of fights with Indians and small forces of Confederate troops on the frontiers, in Texas and Mexico, and they never knew defeat. By their loyalty they preserved peace in these western States and Territories, and the flag of rebellion was soon driven beyond the Rio Grande."
"The Fifth Regiment Volunteers was a part of the First California Infantry and First Cavalry and several other units of Volunteers who defended the western States and mail routes when many of the Regular units went east to fight in the war. The Fifth Infantry Volunteers consisted of one Medical Officer, three Field Officers, two Staff Officers, nine Captains, eight Subalterns for a total of 23 officers. The enlisted men consisted of four Non-Commissioned Staff, 31 Sergeants, 36 Corporals, 15 Musicians, 553 Privates for a Total Enlisted of 639."
"This regiment was organized at Sacramento, under the President’s second call for troops from the state of California, in September and October, 1861. Its first Colonel was John KELLOGG, an officer of the Third Artillery, regular army. He resigned November 8, 1861. He was succeeded by Colonel George W. Bowie, who commanded the regiment during the balance of the time it was in the service during the war. The regiment, after its organization, joined CARLETON’s command, and became part of the "California Column."
"Company A was enrolled at Yreka, CA., by Captain Joseph SMITH. It was mustered into the United States service at Camp Union, October 2, 1861. It was sent to the southern part of the State in January 1862, arriving at Fort Yuma during the month of February. During the month of March 1862, it started for New Mexico, arriving at Tucson in July, and Fort Fillmore, N.M. in August. It was stationed at Fort Fillmore and Mesilla, six miles above, until January 1863; then at Fort Stanton, N.M., to May, 1864. It then formed part of an expedition to the headwaters of the Gila River, and was stationed at Fort Goodwin, Arizona, until it was ordered to be finally mustered out, which took place at Mesilla, N.M., November 30, 1864. The officers did not keep very complete records of their campaigns, but following are some examples of reports."
Remarks on return of Company D, June 1863.-- -- Captain TUTTLE, with a detachment of twenty men, and a spy party of Mexicans and Indians, preceded in pursuit of a party of Secessionists, through a portion of Sonora and western Arizona, along the borders of Sonora, effectively breaking up and dispersing the party, preventing them from proceeding to Texas to join the Rebel Army, arresting a portion of them, and recovering seven horses. The march was made from Tucson, A.T., on May twenty-eighth. Returned June twenty-third. The Secessionists were apprehended at Altar, Sonora."
Most of the fighting involved Apache Indians -- -- Following is a report involving Stukely’s Company A. "January 29, 1864. -- -- On the twenty-ninth of January the Indians attacked two hunting parties of Company A, Fifth Infantry, California Volunteers, at Pinos Altos Mines, killing private HUSSEY and wounding Sergeant SITTON. The Indians were driven off with a loss twenty killed and fifteen wounded. Sergeant SITTON behave gallantly in this affair."
The campaigns involved traveling in treacherous mountains and over hot deserts. Following is a portion of "General Order No. 10, Headquarters Column from California, Tucson, Ariz. July 17, 1862." "The Column from California will move to the Rio Grande in the following order."
"On the thirty-first, a train of wagons laden for forty days supplies of subsidence for the whole command hereby ordered forward with the following ammunitions, forty thousand rounds for the rifle-musket, thirty thousand rounds for the Sharps’ carbine, and twenty thousand rounds for the navy size Colt’s revolver, together with such other supplies of clothing, tents, tools, spare wagon timbers, leather, wagon grease, horseshoes, mule shoes, horseshoe nails, stationery, etc., as may be required, will leave Tucson for the Rio Grande, escorted by Companies A, Fifth Infantry, and A, First Cavalry, California Volunteers, each furnished with sixty day’s rations. This command will have an ambulance, forge, and water-tank, and such other articles as may be required to render it efficient."
One of the reports reads -- -- "I left Tucson myself on the twenty-third of July, passed Colonel WEST with most of the troops, encamped on the San Pedro on the twenty-fourth, and led the advance of the Column from that point to Las Cruces, New Mexico, with one company of infantry and two of cavalry. From the hostile attitude of the Chi-ri-ca-hui, I found it indispensably necessary to establish a post in what is known as Apache Pass; garrisoned by one hundred rank and file of Company A, First Cavalry, California Volunteers. This post commands the water in that pass. Around this water the Indians have been in the habit of lying in ambush and shooting the troops and travelers as they came to drink. In this way they have killed three of Lieutenant-Colonel EYRE’s command and in attempting to keep Captain ROBERTS’ Company, First Infantry, California Volunteers, away from the spring a fight ensued, in which Captain ROBERTS had two men killed and two wounded. Captain ROBERTS reports that the Indians lost ten killed. In this affair the men of Captain ROBERTS’ company are reported as behaving with great gallantry."
"Two miles beyond Apache Pass I found the remains of nine white men, who had been murdered by the Indians. They were a party traveling from the Pino Alto Mines to California; one of them had been burned at the stake. We saw the charred bones, and the burned ends of the rope by which he had been tied. The remains of seven of these men were buried on that spot. From the Rio de Sauz to Ojo de la Vaca there was a great dearth of water. At the latter place I addressed a letter to General CANBY, giving him all the elements going to make up the Column, the object of its march, and the wishes of General WRIGHT. A copy of that letter is herewith enclosed, marked A. Having been informed that a large number of men, women and children were in a destitute and starving condition at the Pino Alto Mines, forty odd miles northeastward from the Ojo de la Vaca. I directed Colonel WEST to furnish them with some subsistence stores as a gratuity. I arrived on the Rio Grande on the seventh day of August, at a point three miles above Fort Thorn, and immediately communicated with General CANBY by letter. On the ninth of August I passed the Rio Grande, at the San Diego crossing, eighteen miles below Fort Thorn. The river was still very high and very rapid, but the men stripped off their clothes, and dragged the wagons through by main force, the baggage, subsistence stores, ammunition, etc., were crossed in two small leaky boats. At this point we built a larger and better boat for the use of the detachment of the Column still to come up."
Stukely was mustered out at Mesilla, New Mexico, November 30, 1864,
which was the expiration of his term of service. This was also the mustering
out date of the regiment. During this time, six out of 90 enlisted men
in his unit died, two from typhoid fever, three killed by Indians, one
of unknown cause.