The rendezvous of the Tenth Cavalry was at Grand Rapids, and was raised under the direction of Colonel Thaddeus Foote of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry. Its recruitment commenced July 4, 1863, then was mustered into the United States service on the 18th. of November, having on its rolls 912 officers and men.
The Regiment left its rendezvous December 1, 1863, under the command of Colonel Foote, with orders to proceed to the field in Kentucky via Cincinnati to Lexington, where they remained until the 25th. of January, 1864, when they moved to Burnside Point, having engaged the confederates at House Mountain.
The Tenth remained at Burnside Point from the 2nd to the 29th. of February, when they traveled to Knoxville, East Tennessee, thence marched on the 16th., to Strawberry Plains, having met the rebels on the 26th., at Bean's Gap.
Attached to District of North Central Kentucky, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, Dept. of the Ohio, to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865. Cavalry Brigade, District of East Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to November, 1865.
On the 24th. of April, the Regiment moved from that point with orders from General J.D. Cox, commanding 3rd. Division, 23rd. Corp, to destroy a railroad bridge over the Watanga River at Carter's Station. Having skirmished with the confederates at Rheatown on the 24th., at Jonesboro and Johnsonville on the 25th. Reaching Carter's Station on that day, where under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Trowbridge, together with the 3rd. Indiana Cavalry,supported if necessary by Manson's Brigade of Cox's Division, which marched up as far as Jonesboro, twelve miles from Carter's Station, the rebels were discovered in strong force, in a well defended position, and an assault was at once commenced.
The bridge was defended by the confederate General A.E. Jackson, called the "Mudwall Jackson", with a strong redoubt, with extensive and well constructed rifle pits.
The union force had one mountain howitzer, commanded by Lieutenant E.J. Brooks, but owing to a very limited amount of ammunition, he was unable to accomplish much, made some remarkably telling shots. It was soon ascertained that there was no possible way of reaching the bridge without first dislodging the rebels from their strong position, and this had to be accomplished at much risk by passing over perfectly open ground for a distance of 200 yards, swept by a very sharp and hot cross fire from the opposite side of the river. Yet, being the first heavy undertaking by the Regiment, Colonel Trowbridge felt unwilling to retire without accomplishing something, as it would produce an unfavorable effect upon his command. He therefore decided to make an attempt, dismounting about one third of his men. With this small force he ordered an advance upon the opposite position at the double quick, when they gave way in great disorder, leaving their works, and taking shelter in a large mill near at hand. Major Smith being the first to enter the redoubt, with Captain Weatherwax the second. As soon as the redoubt was gained, an attempt was made to drive the confederates from the mill, but the charging force was met with such a terrible and destructive volley, that it was abandoned. In this daring and gallant attempt, Captain Weatherwax lost his life, being shot through the heart.
The fight was a brilliant success, though obtained at a loss of seventeen killed and wounded, and must be recognized as an uncommon victory, considering it was gained by dismounted cavalry, new and undisciplined, over a much superior force of well trained infantry, holding strong defensive works, and having, in addition, to meet a most galling cross fire, thus rendering the success uncommon at that stage of the rebellion, and should be classed among the most gallant minor victories of the war.
The Regiment was engaged at Powder Springs Gap on April 28th., 1864, then at Dandridge on May 19th. On the 28th., a reconnaissance was made from Strawberry Plains by one hundred and sixty men of the Regiment. Next day they reached Bull's Gap, the following at Greenville, where at 2:30 P.M., the confederates were encountered, over one hundred strong. A brisk fight ensued, the rebels loosing 24 killed, 14 wounded.
In June they met the southerners in skirmishes at Morristown on the 2nd., at Bean's Station the 16th., Rodgersville the 17th., Kingsport the 18th., Cany Branch the 20th., New Market the 21st., Moseburg the 23rd., William's Ford the 25th., and then at Dutch Bottom on the 28th.
During the month of July and the early part of August, detachments of the Regiment were constantly engaged in scouting and pursuing small bands of rebels in East Tennessee, meeting them at Seveirville July 5th., at Newport July 8th., Morristown August 5th., then at Greenville on the 4th.
On the 17th. of August, the Tenth was ordered to report for temporary duty to Brigadier General Gilliam, commanding the East Tennessee Expedition, then on the 18th., left Strawberry Plains, 325 strong, three companies "D", "F" and "I", being left at Knoxville. Proceeding on the march, skirmishes with the rebels occurred at Mossy Creek on the 18th., and at Bull's Gap on the 21st.
On the 23rd., Giltner's Brigade was met at Blue Springs, where a sharp fight took place when the confederates being dislodged from a strong position, then pursued for seven miles, in great confusion, through Greenville, the Tenth losing six wounded, two of whom died.
Having moved through Rodgersville, Bean's Station and Bull's Gap, the Regiment returned on the 31st., to Strawberry Plains.
While the Tenth was absent a detachment of the Regiment, numbering about 125 men, was left in garrison at Strawberry Plains, along with 150 men from other commands. They were attacked on August 24th., by a rebel cavalry corp under the command of General Wheeler, numbering about 6000 to 8000 men, with nine pieces of artillery. The union troops made a successful defence against this force, and thus saved the post from capture and the great railroad bridge from destruction.
During this attack, seven men, by hard fighting, held McMillan's Ford, on the Holston River, for three and one half hours, against a brigade of rebel cavalry, killing 40 to 50 of them, but were finally surrounded and captured.
On the same day, Major Smith, of the Tenth, was sent out from Knoxville, with 72 men, all that could be mustered, to scout in the direction of Strawberry Plains and ascertain the position of the confederates. With the spirit of a cavalryman, he ordered his advance guard to charge the first group of rebels they might encounter. They discovered a force about two miles from Flat Creek Bridge, where according to orders, charged them in gallant style. Smith followed up with his command. The rebels proved to be the 8th. Texas Cavalry, 400 strong, Smith routed them completely, capturing their commanding officer, along with 40 men, hotly pursuing them until he came to the Flat Creek Bridge, a long, high and narrow bridge. Over this Smith charged, to find himself confronted by Hume's Division of cavalry, 2000 strong, drawn up in line of battle, scarcely 300 yards from the bridge. Of course he had to get away, which he succeeded in doing without any great loss, though the rebels chased them for seven miles. The boldness of the thing annoyed the rebels, not a little, and they ever after entertained a wholesome fear of the 10th. Michigan.
On the 4th. of November, General Morgan, with a force of 7000 men and 9 pieces of artillery, two regiments of infantry and his entire cavalry force, were encamped along the Greenville Road in East Tennessee. The Tenth Michigan was camped near Bull's Gap, and they are ordered to attack the confederate camp. Marching all night, they dismount at daybreak and charges into Morgan's first camp, driving the rebels in hot haste, leaving their breakfast half cooked, along with their dead and wounded. Reaching the second camp, the rebels are found better prepared. General Gilliam comes up with the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, orders them to charge with sabres, but a sharp fire from the southerners drives the regiment back. The Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry comes up, the rebels driving the Ninth rapidly, with a large force, filling the road from fence to fence. The Tenth Michigan opens fire at half pistol range with their carbines, and soon the road is blocked with dead and wounded, men and horses both. The Confederates confused, hastily falls back, pursued to the woods, but is shelled out and pushes on to Greenville, is again charged on, becomes demoralized, breaks up and flees. Morgan and his staff are discovered under the shelter of a house, a Company of the Thirteenth Tennessee are sent to capture him, he rushes for his horse, but is shot in the attempt by a sergeant of the Company.
During the month the Tenth was constantly engaged in pursuing the forces of Morgan and Wheeler, and skirmished at Sweet Water and Thorn Hill on the 10th., then at Sevierville on the 18th. On the 30th., the Regiment assisted in driving the Confederates from Carter's Station.
In October they were employed on picket duty and scouting, having encountered the rebels at Johnson's Station on the 1st. and 2nd., Chucky Bend the 10th., Newport on the 18th., Irish Bottom the 25th., then Madisonville on the 30th.
The Regiment was stationed at Strawberry Plains on the 1st. of November, 1864, engaged in fortifying that point, also in the usual camp duties, including scouting. On the 16th., General Breckenridge, with a large rebel force, made his appearance in front of the garrison, where on the 17th., commenced a vigorous with artillery fire from the opposite shore of the Hudson River, at the same time threatening the rear with a heavy cavalry force. Constant skirmishing and occasional artillery firing kept up for four days, the rebels finally withdrawing on the 24th.
During the remaining portion of the month, and up to December 6th., the Regiment remained at Strawberry Plains, when they moved to Knoxville, then soon after made an expedition to Saltville, where they destroyed the salt works, being engaged at Kingport the 12th., Bristol, the 14th., then at Saltville on the 20th. Returning to Knoxville, they had a skirmish at Chucky Bend January 10th., 1865. Remaining at Knoxville until March 21st., they marched to Upper East Tennessee, to join General Stoneman's expedition into North Carolina, where they were engaged at Brabson's Mills on the 25th., then at Boonville, N.C. on the 27th. Proceeding via Wilkesboro, thence down to the Yadkin River, in the direction of Salisberry, reaching the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad at Christianburg, April 5th., they assisted in destroying over one hundred miles of that railroad, together with the bridges. This accomplished the Regiment made a rapid march of ninety-five miles to Henry Court House, making the distance in twenty-two hours.
At that point, they became engaged with a superior force of Confederate cavalry and infantry on the 8th., after a brisk fire fight, retired, the Regiment losing many men.
The Regiment had been detached at Salem on the 10th., sent to destroy the bridge over Abbott's Creek, then, if not opposed, to join General Stoneman at Salisberry. The Tenth marched all night, one battalion was sent to High Point to attract the Confederates in that direction, and succeeded in destroying $300,000 worth of southern supplies without loss, Meanwhile the other two battalions, not numbering more that 250 men, were marching in the other direction. It was important to destroy the bridge before daylight, and on being informed that there were no rebels nearby, the Colonel sent forward two companies for that purpose. While the remaining force was moving leisurely along, and as daylight was breaking, they suddenly came upon southern pickets, where it was ascertained that Ferguson's Brigade, of Wheeler's cavalry, numbering about 1200 men, were about a mile ahead. The horses of the command were much worn out, and the force about one sixth that of the rebels, and twenty miles from any support, rendering a contest extremely hazardous and with little hope of success, but as General Stoneman was at work in Salisberry, and needed assistance, it was important to draw off as soon as the two detached companies returned.
While awaiting them, the command was put in a position of defence, determined if attacked, to make the best defence possible. Soon the companies returned, reporting they had destroyed the bridge. The main objective having been accomplished, the command commenced to withdraw by alternate squadrons, leaving one company to hold the southerners in check until the withdrawal was complete. As soon as the movement was detected, the Confederates attacked with great vigor, not only with cavalry, but with a large body of infantry, sending a column on each flank, making an attempt to surround the little band. This fight lasted for six miles, when the rebels, despairing on closing with the handful of brave men and disheartened by their losses, stopped their pursuit, allowing the Union men to retire to the main command.
They were also engaged at High Point on the same day, while the main body captured Salisberry, destroying a large amount of stores.
The Regiment then was employed along the Catawaba River, when news of Johnston's surrender arrived, whereupon they set out on a scout mission for the purpose of preventing the escape of Jefferson Davis, but they were soon ordered to proceed to Tennessee, where they remained, at Memphis until November 11th., when they were mustered out of the service, returned to Michigan, arriving at Jackson on the 15th., to be paid off and disbanded.
During their term of Federal service, they were engaged at:
|Rheatown,Tn||Blue Spring,Tn||Cany Branch,Tn|
|Bull's Gap,Tn||Kingsport,Tn||Strawberry Plains,Tn|
|Flat Creek Bridge,Tn||Rogersville,Tn||Henry Crt House,Va|
|Johnsonville,Tn||Brabson's Mills,Tn||Dutch Bottom,Tn|
|Sweet Water,Tn||Bean's Station,Tn||Abbott Creek,NC|
|Thorn Hill,Tn||Morristown,Tn||High Point,NC|
|Powder Spring Gap,Tn||Saltville,Va||Newport,Tn|
|Johnson Staton,Tn||White Horn,Tn||Statesville,NC|
|Irish Bottoms,Tn||Greenville,Tn||House Mountain,Tn|
|Killed in Action--20|
|Died of Wounds--11|
|Died of Disease--240|
|Total Casualty Rate.....13.2%|