Report – Henry Bryan, 2 February 1865

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Report of Confederate Major Henry Bryan, staff of General P. G. T. Beauregard, from Montgomery, AL. The report is addressed to Colonel George H. Brent, Assistant Adjutant General. Bryan recently inspected the Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, MI, and found that they were in desperate need of horses. There were enough horses when General Johnston was in command, but the number lessened under General Hood in Atlanta. The march to Tuscumbia and Nashville wearied them due to harsh weather conditions and lack of forage. Bryan describes how the horses were lost during the retreat. The close proximity of Union troops forced a march through the mountains, and many weaker animals were left behind. Major Landis saved several hundred mules and brought them to Clinton, AL where they are to be exchanged in charge of Captain Rumble. Bryan mentions that the quartermasters, Captain B. M. Duffie and Captain McIves, supposedly escaped to Richmond but have not sent a report.


-Page 1-

Montgomery Ala Feby 2d 1865

Col. Geo. H. Brent, A.A.G.

  Colonel

     In my recent rough inspection of Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, Miss., I found the most pressing want to be horses. It was a mooted question whether mules could be successfully used to pull the caissons instead of horses. I presume we shall be forced to depend on them. For mere hauling on the roads, they are better, but when wounded they may run away & smash up everything; at least this has happened so.

     I tried to make an enquiry as to what had become of the horses belonging to this artillery & append to this a statement of what I gathered, not added up, because the reports I asked for were not sent in uniformly or complete. 

It seems that the horses were in good order during Gen. Johnston’s Administration of the Army of Tenn., but deteriorated under Gen. Hood at Atlanta for want of forage, & were wearied by the march to Tuscumbia. They suffered in the advance into Tennessee somewhat, but more at Nashville for want of good forage. On the retreat they got very little to eat & this with bad weather broke down most of them.

     Major A. L. Landis, Inspector of Field Transportation, collected many unserviceable horses & mules at Columbia, Tenn. & sent them across the Tennessee River. At the crossing of this river on the retreat about Dec. 26th Maj. Landis by order of Gen. Hood, thro’ Major Ayer stopped all unauthorized animals & unserviceable artillery horses to be sent to the rear for protection & recruiting. He got there & on the retreat about 150 horses (some 600 animals of all kinds). Many of these horses were lost on the south side by the gross negligence of the guard under Lt. ______of Nixon’s Cavalry Regt., & only 116 could be found on the morning of the 28th Decr. & were started for Clifton, Ala. in charge of Capt. Hays. Between Bainbridge & Leighton, Ala. some Confederate cavalry (command not known) met these horses on the march & took violent possession of quite a number of horses & mules. The enemy

-Page 2-

being in close proximity, a forced march was made to the mountains, during which many of the weaker animals were left. Part of these with a lot of mules 268 in all were saved from the general wreck by the agents of Major Landis & brought to Clinton, Greene Co., Ala., where they are to be exchanged or recruited in charge of Capt. Rumble, agent for Major Ewing. Capt. Rumble is said to be incompetent, or careless in the care of horses.

(The quartermasters, Capt. F. M. Duffie & McIves, in charge of the pontoon train, escaped but did not make any report to the Inspector of Field Transportation, & are supposed to have gone to Richmond; 80 pontoon boats were supposed to have been lost.)

     In the artillery, many officers were riding government horses under an order issued by Genl. Hood at Florence. Many of these officers could not buy horses at the high market rates. They should be authorized to purchase at low rates under certain checks, the use of public horses, by them[now] forbidden.

                   Very respy. yr. obt. svt.

                          Henry Bryan

                        Major & A.I. Genl.

-Page 3-

Approximate Statement of what became of Artillery Animals belonging to the Army of Tennessee during the Retreat from Nashville

BattalionCorpsKilled in actionSaved from battle of Nashville or on hand at NashvilleNow on handDied on RetreatAbandoned, exhausted & captured on RetreatTaken by or turned over to Maj. A. L. Lanais, Insp. Field TransportationTurned over to Q. M. Dept.Turned over to other Batteries
Eldridge’sLee’s7112973043812
Johnson’s (sent to Geo.)142481010222824
Courtney’s17112924012193
Turner’s & Cobb’sCheatham’s1414(114 Horses belonging to these Battlions were either killed, captured, abandoned on Retreat or turned over to Capt. O’Bryan Regt. 2 Q. M. as unservciable)
Hotchkiss; (sent to Georgia), Capt. Bledsoe, Cmdg.211928621611
Storr’sStewart’s5252“a great number”
Truehart’s501227151429
Myrick’s1930710858

-On Verso-

Montgomery Ala/ Feby 2d 1865/ Henry Bryan/ Maj. & A.I.G.

 report on what became of artillery horses, Army of Tenn. on late retreat

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