Thursday, February 14, 2013


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A. W. Hosford was born June 14th, 1839, in Lorain county, Ohio, where he resided until the spring of 1855, when, with a determination to do and dare for himself, he packed his grip and started for the far west, arriving at Dubuque, Iowa, March 17th of that year. At this date no railway had penetrated the northwest as far as the Father of Waters, the terminus of the Illinois Central railroad then being Galena. Illinois. At this place he took stage for Dubuque, Iowa, a lively town of about eight thousand inhabitants. Having been brought up on a farm he sought employment as a farm hand : failing to find immediate employment in this line, he worked in a brick yard for three months, when he engaged with a farmer, receiving a man s wages, twenty dollars per month, though but sixteen years of age. Here he remained, working at whatever he could find to do, until August, 1857, when he concluded that to fight successfully the battle of life required a better education than he had yet received. So. gathering up his effects, which amounted to two hundred and fifty dollars, he returned to Oberlin, Ohio, where his mother then lived entering college at this place, pursuing special studies until the spring of 1859, when with a depleted treasury he returned to Dubuque, Iowa. Here he at once secured a position as teacher in a public school near Reed's Chapel, where he had formerly worked. After teaching this school one term, he was appointed teacher at Rockdale, near Dubuque. which position he held until the breaking out of the rebellion.

The disaster to the Union arms at the battle of Bull Run reimmediately enrolled his name in the cavalry company then forming in Dubuque, which became Company G, First Iowa Cavalry. In this company he served till its final muster out, February 15th, 1866. He was appointed corporal October 1st, 1861 ; promoted sergeant May llth, 1863 ; re-enlisted December 9th, 1863 ; commissioned Second Lieutenant, April 4th, 1864, and placed in command of detachment of Company G composed of nonveterans and recruits. This detachment he commanded until the return of the veterans from their furlough and Missouri campaign, when he was placed in command of the company. Was promoted Captain January 3d, 1865. Served as Provost Marshal on General Thompson s sin the Rockdale flouring mills, which with his partner he continued to operate until the autumn of 1884. The succeeding moved all doubt from his mind as to his duty to the Government he had early been taught to love and reverence. So he two years he improved and operated his farm at Manchester, Iowa.

January 1st, 1887. he opened a real estate, loan and insurance office, where at this writing, September 5th, 1890, he may be found, at the southeast corner of Main and Eighth streets, Dubuque, Iowa. He occupies a pleasant house with his wife and three children, Amanda L.. Richard W. and Ida F., in the suburbs of Dubuque, Iowa. Here he expects taff during the Texas campaign under General Custer.

After his muster out he returned to Dubuque, married Miss Sidonia Nailer, settled down on a farm, followed this avocation till the spring of 1874, when he sold out, and with his family visited Europe, where his youngest surviving child was born. Returning home a year later, he bought an interest to remain till he shall conquer his last enemy and be gathered to his fathers.

A. W Hosford gives statement on General Custer's Cruel treatment of his men, under his command.

I. A. W. Hosford. late Captain Company G, First Iowa Cavalry Vol unteers, would respectfully state on oath, that I was Provost Marshal on the staff of Colonel Wm. Thompson, commanding brigade during the campaign of 1865. from Alexandria, Louisiana, to Austin, Texas, under the command of General Ouster. That in the discharge of my official
duties I became an eye-witness of the operation and effects of the commanding General s heartless and infamous orders, most of which are published in the Adjutant General s report of 1867. For example, one order required the command to march in close columns of fours, and any trooper found out of his place in the column with his horse was dismounted and sent to the rear, and required to complete the campaign on foot, and his horse given to a trooper that had been marching on foot from the start.

In that malarious country many men were afflicted with the old army complaint on this campaign, and the frequent pauses of such kept them running- a great portion of the time to catch up with their horses, that had to be left in the moving column ; and in a num ber of instances have I seen them fall down completely exhausted, and I verily believe were left to die on the roadside, as the greater part of the few ambulances provided were kept with the commanding General  in the advance, for the accommodation of his tired dogs. To fully understand the operation of this order it is necessary to know that, though we had lain in Alexandria a good while, and many cavalry regiments had been mustered out of service, leaving the Government with an abundance of horses, yet fifty or more men from each regiment were started out on this campaign on foot something we had never before during our long service under any other commander been required to do. We had been in the service nearly five years, and now that the war was over, why we should be thus treated was a mystery ruone of us were able to solve.

Though this march was made in the hottest part of the year, August and September, we were required to keep our jackets buttoned, and all our arms, ammunition and rations slung to us, and the dust so thick much of the time we could not see our file leaders. To endure this was all a well man could stand. What must have been the suffering of the sick ones ? Our hardship and suffering would have been endurable had we been provided with enough wholesome food. But our rations
were of the poorest quality and scanty in supply. My recollection is that up to the time of the arrest of Horace C. Cure no rations of beef had been issued to the command, but instead, bacon alive with maggots and hogs 1 jowls with tusks six inches long by actual measurement. With such rations, and abundance of cattle in the country, I heard of no in stance of foraging or any depredations of any kind being committed, except the killing of the little steer by Horace C. Cure and others, for which he was punished so severely and disgracefully, while the value of the steer could not exceed at that time and place five dollars.

As Provost Marshal my duties required my presence in every part of the command, and not a single instance of highway robbery or the maltreatment of any citizen came to my knowledge, but I heard many of them speak of the orderly behavior and good demeanor of the troops comprising this command. Though the commanding General has now
gone to his reward, in justice to the honorable, loyal and brave heroes of his command he so maliciously slandered to vindicate himself. I can say no less than to pronounce him a heartless tyrant, totally unfit to have been trusted with an independent command.

As I read his endorsement by his lackey, James W. Forsyth, my blood fairly boils with indignation toward the man that would thus libel this command of veteran heroes, thus bartering- his honor as an officer and his character as a man for the promise of a promotion in the not distant future.

The fact of the matter is. General Custer was called upon to give anaccount of himself for his cruel and unlawful conduct toward his command, and to clear himself was willing to sacrifice every man in his command, and to give him a good send off his prototype, Forsyth, was willing to go him one better. But I will venture to say that this man Forsyth is the only one in that whole command by whom General Custer could substantiate what he says in his statement of October 26th, 1865, or the only officer that would approve of his arbitrary and cruel treatment of the men of his command.

I will further make affidavit to the truthfulness of Lieutenant Colonel A. G. McQueen's report of the campaign to the Adjutant General of Iowa, with the statement that it is not colored in the least.

(Signed,) A. W. HOSFORD,

Late Capt. Co. G. 1st Iowa Cavalry.

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