War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0393 WILSON'S RAID - ALABAMA AND GEORGIA.

Search Civil War Official Records



MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, No. 16. Selma, Ala., April 7, 1865.

The brevet major-general commanding congratulates the officers and men of the Cavalry Corps upon their late signal victory.

After a march of nearly 300 miles over bad roads, through a sterile and mountainous country, passing wide and rapid rivers, you, in twelve days, found yourselves in front of Selma-with its arsenals, foundries, and workshops-the most important city in the Southwest. The enemy attempted to delay your march at Ebenezer Church and paid the penalty of his temerity by leaving 3 guns and 200 prisoners in your hands. Selma lay before you surrounded by two lines of intrenchments, the outer one continuous, flanked by impassable swamps, covered by stockades, and defended by 7,000 troops under the command of Lieutenant-General Forrest. Like an avalanche the intrepid soldiers of the Second Division swept over the defenses on the Summerfield road, while the Fourth Division carried those on the Plantersville road. The enemy, astonished and disheartened, broke from their strong works, and Selma was fairly won. The enemy, under Chalmers, attempted to drive in the Second Division picket-line during the battle, and go to the rescue of the rebel garrison, but their efforts were futile, and they were compelled to retreat rapidly beyond the Cahawba. The First Division in the meantime was making hard marches, harassing in front and rear the bewildered rebels under Jackson. The wagon train had been left behind that your march might not be impeded, but has arrived in safety, its guard having frustrated all attempts of the enemy to delay its progress.

Soldiers, you have been called upon the perform long marches and endure privations, but your general relied upon and believed in your capacity and courage to undergo every task imposed upon you. Trusting in your valor, discipline, and armament, he did not hesitate to attack intrenchments believed by the rebel leaders to be impregnable, and which might well have caused double your numbers of veteran infantry to hesitate. You have fully justified his opinions, and may justly regard yourselves invincible. Your achievements will always be considered among the most remarkable in the annals of cavalry.

The fruits of your victory are numerous and important: Twenty-six field guns and one 30-pounder Parrott captured on the field of battle, and over 70 pieces of heavy ordnance in the arsenal and foundry; 2,000 prisoners, a number of battle-flags, the naval founder and machine-shops, the extensive arsenal, filled with every variety of military munitions, and large quantities of commissary and quartermaster's stores in depot. During your march you have destroyed seven iron-works and foundries, several factories and collieries, many railroad bridges and trestle-works, and large quantities of cotton.

While you exult in the success which has crowned your arms, do not forget the memory of those who died that you might conquer.

By command of Brevet Major-General Wilson:


Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.