War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0519 PURSUIT AND CAPTURE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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upon the party, wounding three out his seven men. Knowing that we were in the immediate vicinity of the rebels, and having had no intimation of the presence of Union troops in that vicinity (I understood from Colonel Pritchard that he was going into camp at Abbeville, which was over twenty miles in our rear), I immediately prepared to drive them back upon the train and capture the whole command if possible. Advancing with ten men to ascertain the position of the force opposing our farther progress, we were again met with another heavy volley from the same unseen source. I then deployed my small force and advanced rapidly, forcing back the opposing force, when we captured a prisoners, who proved to be a member of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, Colonel Pritchard commanding. All firing immediately ceased, when an explanation showed that after parting with Colonel Pritchard at Abbeville, the colonel selected a portion of his best mounted men, and pushed rapidly forward on the river road, thence by way of House Creek back to Irwinville, arriving there before the train, then came out to where the train was encamped, one mile from the town and about two miles from our encampment. He (Colonel Pritchard) had sent a small force dismounted around to the rear of the train, and, as his force moved upon the train from the Irwinville side, we encountered his dismounted men within a short distance, only a few hundred yards from the rebel camp. While the fight was going on between my command and Colonel Pritchard's, a portion of his force captured the train, Jeff. Davis, and family. The casualties in my command were 3 men severely wounded, several slightly wounded, and 2 horses killed. I regret to learn that the Fourth Michigan had 2 men killed and 1 officer severely wounded. I sincerely regret the unfortunate collision resulting in the death of two brave and noble soldiers and the maining of several more; but, of the degree of culpability which attaches to my conduct in this matter, others must decide. After attending to the wounded as well as possible (transportation having been kindly furnished by Colonel Pritchard in captured ambulances) I returned to macon as rapidly as the consition of my horses would permit, where I arrived in the forenoon of May 13, 1865.

I am, general, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding First Wisconsin Cavalry.

[Brigadier-General CROXTON,

Commanding 1st Div., Cav. Corps, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.]

[First indorsement.]


Macon, Ga., May 14, 1865.

Respectfully forwarded.

From this report it appears that Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden faithfully discharged his duty, and no blame can attach to him in relation to the unfortunate collision between his detachment and Colonel Pritchard's, which he had every reason to believe remained at Abbeville. It is, however, a source of painful regret that the satisfaction experienced in this consummation is clouded by the knowledge that an act having every appearance of unsoldierly selfishnes in appropriating by deception the fruits of another's labor, and thus attaining an unearned success, resulted in unnecessary bloodshed and a sacrifice of lives for which no atonement can be made. What may have been intended merely as an