Charles Hennrich Letter - Sept. 1, 1864
27th Iowa Top Banner

Transcribed and Submitted by
Teri Button
Great Great Granddaughter of Charles Hennrich, Company D.

Memphis, Tenn.
Sept. 1, 1864

Dear Parents:

Your long awaited letter was received on the 30th of August, and from it I got no good news. As far as I am concerned I am, thank God, well; and I hope that this letter finds you in good health.

Dear parents, we returned to Memphis the 30th of August from an expedition. We left here the 4th of August, going to Holly Springs by train where we arrived in the evening of the same day. We stayed there until the 17th when we started our march afoot to Waterford. The morning of the 18th we left from there for the Tallahatchie River, which we crossed the same day and pushed on four miles to Abbeville on the other side of the river where we went into camp at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Here, the same day, the cavalry had contacted the rear guard of the enemy. The heavy rains brought our advance to a stop for several days, the roads being so bad that our artillery could not get thru. We lay there until the 20th when we advanced to Oxford, a village 20 miles from Abbeville. As we neared Oxford the message came to us that Old Forrest, with 5000 of his cavalrymen, had taken Memphis and had captured 500 soldiers and 150 officers and had released all the Southern prisoners at Memphis and had shot General Washburn. The whole army was halted at this time. You cannot imagine the uproar, one asking the other what Old Smith was going to do. We thought that Forrest had captured all the boys left behind. I thought for sure thatHenry Waterman would have to visit a Southern prison for a time.

We began, in an hour, to retrace our steps, but no one knew for where we were headed. We marched back four miles and halted there for the night. The next day we went further back, arriving at the Tallahatchie River that evening. There we lay over the 24th since the high water had washed the bridge away and a new one had to be built.

The 24th the rebels made an attack on our rear but were driven off after some skirmishing in which many of them were killed and wounded, the cavalry taking many prisoners.

The 25th we proceeded toward Waterford and arrived there the same evening. The heat was so terrific that many of the soldiers gave out and could go no further.

The 26th we went toward Holly Springs and we concluded that we were headed back to Memphis where we arrived the afternoon of the 30th.

Now we received more news of his visit to Memphis. He came into town at 4 o'clock in the morning when everyone was nicely asleep. He did not stay in town long for the 8th Iowa regiment, which takes care of the patrol duties at Memphis, came into a hand-to-hand conflict with the rebels and drove them out of town where a real battle took place which lasted an hour during which the rebels were driven back. They had to leave their dead and wounded on the field since they were pressed so hard that they could not even take their wounded.

He had captured about 150 of our men whom he managed to carry off. He lost more than he made by it. It was a clever plan if it had panned out better. General Washburn had gotten out of the way just in time.

The rest of this letter has not been found.