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BRIGADIER GENERAL J. W. DAVIDSON.
Commanding Cavalry Division. Brownsville. Arkansas:
DEAR SIR : In compliance with your special order I took charge of the steamboat Progress at Clarendon. Arkansas, and proceeded down White river, and thence up the Mississippi river, arriving at Helena. Arkansas, at midnight on the 17th inst. I delivered your dispatch to the Adjutant General at post, to be forwarded to General Steele the following morning, he having moved his forces for Clarendon. Arkansas.
The 15th inst. We took coal and proceeded to Memphis, Tennessee, arriving there at eight o clock on the 18th inst., and delivered your letter and presented requisitions for ammunition to Lieutenant Colonel Benmore, A. A. General, Sixteenth Army Corps, District Memphis ; the steamer Progress being much damaged, caused by running into the river banks and breaking its wheel.
The stream, White river, is so narrow and crooked, and the captain and pilot either had determined to sink the boat or were so frightened that they caused the vessel to run at such a- rate of speed that she could not make the bends of the river at many places without striking the bow and then whirling clear around, and being a stern-wheel boat she was much damaged. Captain Sweet required until the 20th inst to repair her. Having ascertained from the Ordnance Department at Helena and Memphis that Lieutenant Hubbard did not procure ammunition for the batteries on account of the informality of the requisitions,I reported to General Hurlburt and informed him of the necessity of your getting the ammunition, and he ordered the Ordnance Department at Memphis to issue ammunition upon my requisitions for batter ies and small arms required by the division.
The steamer being repaired and landed we proceeded down the Mississippi river at three o clock p. m. on the 20th inst. ; arrived at Helena the 21st inst. at six o clock A. M. Quartermaster Noble, of the post, took charge of the steamer and loaded her with convalescent soldiers of the Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers and commissary stores. We proceeded from Helena on the 22dinst. at six o clock A. M.: arrived at the mouth of White river at three o clock p. M. ; and we were ordered by the Admiral in charge of gunboats and convoys to assist the steamer Sallie List in towing two barges of hay up White river, but refused to furnish us with convoy.
We proceeded up White river, and our cargoes being wide and the stream very narrow, and the night very dark, we attempted to anchor, but our anchors being insufficient to hold the cargoes, the hay barges being placed between the steamers, the front barge extending about half its length in front, with some difficulty we steamed up the river until we arrived where the banks of the river were low and marshy. We tied up at the cut-off, about two miles below St. Charles landing, on the night of the 23d inst. and by placing lumber on the shore we were able to put out a picket guard, but were not molested during the night, for it was impossible for an enemy to approach us on account of the marshy ground. At daylight we proceeded, and while passing Crockett s landing about seven o clock A. M..
The enemy fired into our boats several volleys with small arms from the south banks of the river and wounded six of our men on the steamer progress. The Lieutenants in charge of the convalescent soldiers not showing any disposition to command notwithstanding they outranked me. I took command and with the assistance of my ordnance sergeant rallied the convalescent soldiers, and forming protection for the men by placing boxes of hardtack around the outer railing of the boat and placing their knapsacks upon the same, they were caused to kneel down and fire upon the enemy without waiting for further orders. There being two surgeons on the steamer Sallie List, the wounded were taken below and properly cared for and are doing well. Having one section of the Fifth Ohio Battery on board.
I placed the gun on the front of the barge of hay, which extended in front of the boats about half its length,and the sergeant in charge of gun was enabled to shell the timber in which the enemy were concealed. This had the desired effect and dispersed them. I had placed guards over the pilots from the fact that the one piloting the steamer Progress had threatened to turn over our cargo to the enemy before we returned. But it so happened that when we were fired upon Captain Sweet was at the " wheel" and stood unflinchingly at his post, notwithstanding his pilot house was pierced with the enemy s bullets, showing the dangerous position he occupied. The pilot house of the steamer Sallie List was well protected with sheet iron, but the pilot abandoned his post, and the mate of the same had suffered or allowed the boat to be partially cut loose from our boat, so that she was dragging us to shore, evidently planned to land us so that the enemy could board our boats.
But with the assistance of my ordnance Sergeant with revolvers in hand we went aboard of her and demanded that the mate make her fast to our boat, which he did immediately, and with the untiring energy and efficiency of Captain Sweet we steamed up the river ; and under my directions the sergeant in charge of the piece of artillery shelled the banks of the river on the south all the way up to Clarendon wherever the banks of the river were sufficiently high for the enemy to approach the river. A squad of colored people at one time approached the river and made signs for us to land, but I didn't think it prudent.
Our loss was six wounded three severely and three slightly. One was Brown, clerk of the sutler of Merrill s Horse ; the other five were of the Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers.
We arrived at Clarendon. Arkansas, on the 24th inst. and were ordered by the commander of the post to await for convoy. We proceeded from Clarendon, Arkansas, with convoy, at two o clock the 25th inst., and arrived at this place at seven o clock p. M. on the 26th inst. and at the same hour of the day commenced loading on wagon train all the ordnance for the purpose of transporting- the same to your command at Brownsville. Arkansas.
Hoping that the above and foregoing report will be a sufficient explanation for my seeming delay.
I have the honor to be. General.
Your obedient servant,
SAMUEL T. CRAIG,
2d Lieut. Co. H, 1st Iowa Cav. Vol.
LIEUTENANT SAMUEL T. CRAIG COMPANY H.
Samuel T. Craig was born March 22d, 1835, in Corydon, Harrison county, Indiana. His parents, Dr. Thomas and Mary E. Craig, emigrated to Waveland, Montgomery county, Indiana, while he was a mere child, where he received a common school education and learned the carriage making trade with N. Glover. He emigrated with his parents to Albia, Monroe county, Iowa, in the spring of 1855, being in his twentieth year. He manufactured the first buggy made in Monroe county, Iowa.
In the spring of 1858 he and his brother David traveled overland in an open buggy to St. Paul, Minnesota, there being no railroad west of the Mississippi river except a short line from Burlington to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and the city of Minneapolis was but a village.
He was one of the unfortunate gold hunters during the Pike s Peak excitement in 1859-60. He returned home to Albia, Iowa, in the fall of 1860, with a view of returning to the gold fields early in the spring
of 1861. The late war of the rebellion of 61, and the call of President Lincoln for volun.eers to defend the National flag, changed his base of action, and at the fall of Fort Sumter declared his intentions to defend the Government.
He enlisted as private of Company H, First Iowa Cavalry Volunteers, June 13th, 1861. Was promoted after about two years 1 service to orderly sergeant, thence to Second Lieutenant, thence to First Lieutenant all in same company and regiment.
He served on staff of Colonel J. M. Glover, commanding Second Brigade Cavalry Division, for nearly a year. Was first in the city at the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas, and captured several prisoners.
Served on staffs of General Cyrus Bussey, Carr and Davidson, at Little Hock, Arkansas, and on staffs of Generals E. D. Osband and B. S. Roberts, commanding cavalry division at Memphis, Tennessee. Participated in nearly all the engagements with the enemy west of the Mississippi river, including Prairie Grove, Van Buren, Little Rock, Prairie DeAnue, Poison Springs, Camden, near Mark s Mill, Saline River, et al. Was mustered out of service while under the command of General Custer, at
Austin, Texas, February 15th, 1866 having served four years, eight months and three days.
He cast his first vote for John C. Fremont, republican candidate for President ; also voted for Lincoln and Grant twice, Hayes, Garfield. Blaine and Harrison for same office. Was a consistent republican as
well as a prohibitionist. Was elected county auditor on the republican ticket in 1869, 71, 73 and 75, four consecutive terms, serving eight years. He has since been engaged in the mercantile business at Albia, Iowa. Married May 17th, 1870, to Miss Helen B. Higgins, from Chardron, Ohio, and had sons, Samuel T. and Charles H., and daughters, Helen and Laura, and are members of the Christian Church.
Samuel T. Craig, was born March 22, 1835, died March 17, 1902, was buried at Oakview Cemetery, Albia, Monroe County, Iowa.