Official Records: Cogshaw (19 MI chaplain) to Hoffman regarding prisoners captured by Forrest at Thompson’s Station

[APRIL 18, 1863?]

Colonel HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D.C.

COLONEL: In obedience to an order of Major-General Grant, a copy of which I herewith forward you, I have the honor to report that a small force of the Nineteenth Michigan Infantry Volunteers stationed as a guard at the bridge on the railroad between Nashville and Franklin, Tenn., was captured by General Forrest, of the rebel army, on the morning of the 25th of March. This force consisted of Company D, of the above regiment of Michigan infantry, numbering about seventy men, and about 160 men who were fragments of the other nine companies of the regiment which were left to us after the battle of the 5th of March at Thompson’s Station, in which 475 of the regiment were killed, wounded or made prisoners. Nearly 100 of the 160 named above were the sick and feeble men of the respective companies. Our total force at the bridge was about 230 men. At about 8 a.m. on the 25th Forrest surrounded this small force with three brigades, Forrest’s, Armstrong’s and Starnes’, in all about 5,000 strong, accompanied by a section of artillery. Having got this into position he demanded our surrender. The officer in command, Capt. E. B. Bassett, judging it inadvisable to attempt to fight so large a force surrendered at once. Everything fell into the hands of the enemy, a large portion of which inclusive of tents, clothing, many overcoats, blankets and knapsacks belonging to those who had been made prisoners at the battle of Thompson’s Station were burned on the spot. We were immediately marched a westerly course. When about four miles from Brentwood, as near as we could judge, our cavalry fell upon the rear guard of our captors producing a general stampede of the rear guard. The prisoners were put to the double-quick and by the personal exertions of Forrest and Armstrong the rout of their forces was stopped. We were, however, marched rapidly forward all day and most of the night, changing our course the next day, but keeping for the most part in the woods and unfrequented roads. We were hurried forward to Columbia, Tenn., which we reached on the evening of the third day. Here we were kept on the 28th, and officers and men except surgeons and chaplains were paroled. On the 29th we were sent to Shelbyville and thence to Tullahoma, which we reached on the 1st day of April. Here by order of General Bragg I was unconditionally released, furnished transportation and ordered out of the Confederacy via Vicksburg. I left Tullahoma on the 2d day of April and arrived at Vicksburg via Chattanooga, Montgomery, Selma and Meridian on the 5th, and on the 7th was sent by flag of truce to the U.S. fleet above Vicksburg. Chaplain C. D. Pillsbury, whose name appears in the order of General Grant, was taken on the same day and released at the [same] time as myself. He will doubtless report for himself. By this capture the regiment to which I belong are all prisoners of war, about 450 having been taken at Thompson’s Station, and the balance except a few in hospitals on the 25th as herein stated. The men are already being received and <ar118_494> sent to Camp Chase. Shall I join them there? I await orders. Until I receive them my address will be Coldwater, Mich.

With great respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Chaplain Nineteenth Michigan Infantry Volunteers


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