the efficiency of the cavalry arm of the service, both upon the advance and
retreat of the army, is shown by the foregoing extracts from Colonel Noble's
report, which is also verified by other official reports of cavalry and infantry
commanders upon that expedition. The compiler has given much more space to this
report than he will be able to devote to those which follow, for the reason,
drawn from his own experience and that of others, that it is the severest test
of the bravery and fortitude of soldiers and their commanders to obey orders and
persist in fighting under the demoralizing conditions resulting from the
blunders and incapacity of a General unfit to command an army. It is under such
conditions that men and officers exhibit the nearest approach to total self
abnegation of which human nature is capable, save only that matchless spirit of
self sacrifice shown by the Union soldiers who suffered in the prison pens
of the South. At the close of his report, Colonel Noble says; I refer to the
accompanying tables for a more definite statement of my losses in this most
unfortunate expedition, in which my command labored so hard and fought so well.
My officers and men behaved universally so well that I cannot make much
distinction among them. But, for their aid in getting a new line to face the
enemy at one particular emergency, I deem Captain Curkendall, of Company D, and
Lieutenant McKee, of Company B, worthy of particular notice.
Major Jones was constantly at his post, and did all a good and brave officer
could. If occasion offers, I hope to bring the merits of others of the brave men
more prominently forward than I can do now.
The aggregate number of the regiment engaged upon this expedition was five
hundred forty-five. Its aggregate loss was seventy. The report of Colonel E. F.
Winslow of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, who commanded the brigade, shows an
aggregate loss in his command of one hundred twenty-six. He also reports the
loss of horses on the expedition, as follows: Forty killed, one hundred eighteen
wounded, and two hundred twenty-eight abandoned, of which number the Third Iowa
Cavalry lost nineteen killed forty-one wounded and one hundred abandoned. The
figures show conclusively the hard and persistent fighting done by the cavalry
as the rear guard of that army.
The regiment arrived at Memphis on June 14th, and remained in camp until the
24th, when all the officers and men able for duty started upon another
expedition, this time under the command of that able and energetic officer.
Major General A.J. Smith, who knew how to handle men in battle and care for them
on the march. The regiment was engaged in many skirmishes on this expedition,
participated in the battle of Tupelo, and performed its full share of duty with
the other cavalry regiments associated with it. The enemy was defeated in every
encounter and the disasters of the previous campaign were fully retrieved. In
his official report Colonel Noble gives a detailed account of the operations of
his regiment, and especially commends the valor displayed by his officers and
men in as encounter which occurred on the 13th of July, at Oldtown Creek, in
which the enemy was driven from a very strong position. Special mention is made
of the meritorious conduct on this occasion and at all times during the
expedition of Major Duffield, Captain Crail and Captain Brown, commanders of
battalions, and Captains McCrary and Johnson. The regiment returned to Memphis
on July 13th, having marched nearly four hundred miles while on the expedition,
during which the casualties were as follows: Enlisted men
killed one; wounded seventeen; missing one. Horses, killed, eighteen; wounded
eighteen; worn out and abandoned eleven.
On the 25th of July, 1864, all the cavalry army corps, composed of two
divisions, the first under command of General Hatch (former Colonel of the
Second Iowa), and the second under command of Colonel Winslow, of the Fourth
Iowa, the whole under command of General Grierson. The Second