Friday, September 17, 2010

William Henry Raynor.

William Henry Raynor.

Birth: Apr. 4, 1834.
Death: Dec. 20, 1912, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio.
Burial: Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio.
Photo provided by Gregory Speciale

Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. He enlisted in the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry right after the Civil War on April 16, 1861, and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant. At the first Battle of Bull Run in July 1861 he was taken prisoner and sent to Libbey Prison in Richmond, Virginia. After seventeen days he escaped and was spotted by a southern soldier who was going to shoot him, but when he saw his Masonic pin he then allowed him to escape. When he reached home he then organized the 56th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was made it's Colonel and commander on April 2, 1863. He was wounded at Snaggy Point Red River Landing near Vicksburg on May 5, 1864. He was then decorated for bravery and was discharged on October 27, 1864. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for "distinguished and gallant services".

Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. Raynor, Fifty-sixth Ohio Infantry.

Helena, Ark., September 3, 1862.

SIR: On the evening of Wednesday, August 27, I was ordered (verbally) by General Curtis to take command of 200 infantry, of the Fifty-sixth Ohio, and two 12-pounder howitzers, of the First Iowa Battery, of the gunboat Pittsburgh, proceed with them down the Mississippi, to a point called Eunice, in Arkansas, and there take possession of a large wharf-boat and tow it up to Helena. Also to annoy the enemy and obtain whatever information concerning them that I could.

The steamers not being ready until Thursday morning, they were embarked and proceeded down the river. At Roberts' Landing a Mrs. Manley was taken on board by orders from General Curtis. At night the pilots were unable to run, and we were compelled to anchor. The first night we reached Carson's Landing. Here a negro came off to us during the night and reported, "solgers ober dar." I ascertained from him that a force of the enemy, numbering from 200 to 300, were encamped between 1 and 2 miles from the river. The next morning, Friday, at daylight, the Pittsburgh shelled the shore. As soon as she commenced firing I landed 175 men and one piece (leaving 25 men and one piece as a guard on the boats), and marched out, near 2 miles, to where the rebels were encamped. They had discovered the fleet on its way down and while at anchor, and, believing they were the object of the expedition (as I afterward learned), made haste during the night to remove their stores and equipage, but remained behind themselves to fight; but our appearance and one volley induced them to believe the locality unhealthy, and they left it in a hurry; nor could we induce them to stop, although the most persuasive messengers, in the shape of Enfield balls, were sent after them. Hats, sabers, pistols, holsters, and saddle-bags were dropped in their rapid flight. Some, to hide the better in the brush, left their horses, 9 of which we captured. If any were killed or wounded, we were unable to find them in the weeds and cane.

A part of my force, consisting of 50 men of Company A, Captain Manning, was sent to stir up a small nest of guerrillas near. They killed 1 man and think they wounded another. We had not a man hurt. Captured 1 prisoner (J. C. Underwood, private, Company H, Twenty-eighth Mississippi Volunteers), 1 tent, 1 tent-fly, about 30 sabers, 10 shot-guns, 3 Mississippi rifles, cart load of meat, 2 mules, case of surgical instruments, 12 saddles, and 9 horses, all of which have been turned over to the proper authorities. A small quantity of cotton was found, which was confiscated and placed in charge of Mr. Eddy, of the quartermaster's department. A soldier of the First (rebel) Missouri Regiment, named Dunaway, gave himself up voluntarily, saying he had deserted from Vicksburg and made his way this far up the river. About noon got all aboard and continued on down the stream.

I had been ordered to look for a battery of two guns at Montgomery's Point. Landed at the point and thoroughly searched the neighborhood, and ascertained that a road had been cut through the woods to Scrub-Grass Bend, but that the cannon (two pieces) were yet at Prairie Landing, on White River, but were soon expected down, to be placed in position in Scrub-Grass Bend.

Wherever we had any reason to except the presence of the enemy I landed and scoured the woods and country, but having no cavalry caused great delay and permitted the guerrillas to escape. After Carson's Landing we could not get nearer than a half mile or see much more than a cloud of dust.

Our progress was so much delayed by the slowness of the gunboat and being compelled to anchor every night that the wharf-boat at Eunice Landing was not reached until Saturday about noon, when the transports took the wharf-boat in two and started on our return. At Eunice I arrested a Mr. Nelson, who, it was reported to me, had been using his influence and money in assisting the rebellion, and had on more than one occasion mounted his horse and rode for days with guerrilla parties. We also brought away the watchman on the wharf-boat, a John McDonald, who claims to be a British subject.

Sunday morning Mrs. Manley was taken aborad, near Bolivar Landing. From her, and also from other sources, I learned that colonel Starke has a brigade from Van Dorn's army now encamped on Bolivar Lake, with four or six pieces of artillery, and was daily expecting re-enforcements, with a 30-pounder gun. This force now on the lake is represented as high as 3,000 and as low as 1,800. It was a part of his command that we met at Carson's Landing.

The wharf-boat being very large and heavy she towed very hard and slow, and the expedition only returned this (Wednesday, September 3) morning, being out six days. Our orders were for four days' rations; consequently the meat captured was partly eaten. The wharf-boat and contents have been turned over to Quartermaster Winslow, the mules and horses to Quartermaster H. B. Hunt, and the prisoners to be provost-marshal.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Commanding Fifty-sixth Ohio Volunteers and Expedition.

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