Harvey's Scouts History
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

 

Article II

East Mississippi Times, September 15th, 1882
Harvey's Scouts.

From Vol. II, Claiborne's History of Mississippi -Advances Sheets.
Gen. Joseph E. Johnson, a man not addicted to superlatives, speaks very highly of this band of partisans.1 In the Georgia campaign it operated chiefly in the rear, and on the flanks of Sherman, who compares it to "a nest of yellow Jackets continually buzzing about my trains, and stinging severely when I attempted to drive them away." Gen Steven D. Lee, very high authority, writes that, "they were everywhere conspicuous for activity, enterprise, persistence and intrepidity."

These are strong credentials. The command was composed of the best materials, and they went without a murmur, wherever the emergency demanded, and freely shed their blood in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Our own people here at home, knew them best and loved them most. They knew that when Harvey and his men were about, they had little to apprehend from the raids of the enemy, or from those itinerant bands, the curse of all civil wars, that follow on the flanks of both armies to plunder and murder the unprotected and infirm. The jayhawkers pillaged wherever they penetrated, and outraged humanity without regard to age or sex. To protect communities from the scoundrels was a special duty of the scouts. They were familiar with every by path between Vicksburg and Natchez, and from Brandon to Yazoo City, and manifested a ubiquity and promptitude almost miraculous.

The scouts consisted originally of twenty-five men, selected from General Wirt Adams' regiment of cavalry, confided to Captain Harvey for special service. Having soon demonstrated his activity, audacity and aptitude for this particular line of duty, his command was increased to forty men, all carefully picked from Adams' and Ballentine's cavalry, and from the twenty-eighth Mississippi, and with the stipulation that they were to remain permanently under his command. They came from various Southern States, hut were chiefly from Mississippi, from different counties, the majority from Madison, where Captain Harvey resided.

Their battle-flag was of red and bine silk, richly fringed with gold, made and presented by Miss Alice and Miss Ellen Watson, of Claiborne county, of the distinguished family of that name. It witnessed many deeds of gallantly, never one of inhumanity or treachery, and is still preserved in the Harvey family as an invaluable memorial.

A part of the command was constantly on the scout for information. But the Captain made it a rule to keep always on hand, some thirty men, to move together as emergencies occurred. With these, he was generally able, by an unexpected onslaught to "tear down everything before him'' unless where, sometimes, as the boys would say, ''he cut off too large a slice," and then he always made good his retreat, lighting so desperately that they never followed him far. Some of the hardest lighting in the war, some of the most brilliant passages of arms, transpired when this intrepid officer and his handful of hero's were falling back before overwhelming numbers.

They were armed with Spenser rifles, (short guns that repeat eight -times) and two pistols each that carried six charges.

Thus each man had twenty shots, and the Spenser rifles could be reloaded on the run. The sabre was generally discarded, because they were in the way when a soldier dismounted.

Harvey's scouts had four distinct kinds of duty to perform.

1st. Secret service scouting for information. Generally two went together, sometimes only one. The second man was sent to give assistance in case of one being wounded, and likewise, on occasions, to halt in charge of the horses, while the other made his reconnaissance on foot. These men were not expected to light. The order was to get the information speedily and quietly as possible, and report to the Captain, avoiding all collisions.

2nd. Then there was an important and hazardous service in the seizure of the enemies couriers, and courier lines for information, and to interrupt their communications. This was effected by slipping in between commands and capturing or killing the couriers en route for other posts of commands.

3rd. There was a service known as squad scouting, when 10 or 15 men, according to circumstances, were sent out under a lieutenant or some non-commissioned officer who could be relied upon to accomplish the object in view, if possible. With each scout of this kind, there was likewise usually an old, well-tried special scout, perfectly familiar with the ground, and who knew how to extricate the squad if entangled by unexpected outposts or other impediments. The "boys" on these occasions would say that the "officer in command went along to get them in a tight place, and the other went along to get them out of it." And it sometimes happened that when their leader had carried them into a dangerous position to gain important information, he would call on his trusty old scout to extricate them, and then for the emergency pass over to him the command. On such duty as this it was expected that every scouting party we fell in with should be promptly attacked, and our parties had frequent conflicts.

4th. These expeditions however, were merely incidental and collateral, so to speak, to the main service in which Capt. Harvey personally engaged. This demanded generally the entire strength of the command, which he kept well in hand, and always in perfect lighting trim. His programme was to reconnoiter every position and every force moving or operating within range, and never to halt till he struck it. He moved very rapidly, and would often strike a large command front, flank and rear in less than 24 hours, and be able to report to our nearest brigade or division commander the strength of the enemy's cavalry, and infantry, supply wagons, ambulance's, artillery. name of the commanding officer, objective point, &c.

We will now illustrate the several scouting specialties by a few examples. During the Georgia campaign, (1864) Robert Hooks, an expert, was on a scout alone. Striking the main road he found himself confronting a federal trooper scouting, he presumed like himself. Each then saw an enemy between him and his command and it was evident that one must surrender or die. Hooks cried out "surrender!" The other responded ''surrender yourself!" and with pistols leveled, they charged on each other. Hook's pistol missed fire. The other tired as he passed, and Hooks fell with a bullet in his breast. He however soon reported for duty.

On one occasion Lieutenant Lee was under cover near the road watching a passing command of cavalry. After they had all passed as he supposed, he dropped back into the road to return to camp with his report. He had taken the precaution before entering the highway to cock his pistol, and carried it in his right hand concealed by his overcoat. He had not proceeded fifty yards when, on a sudden curve in the road, he found himself within fifty steps of a federal officer. They perceived each other at the same moment, and each saw his precarious condition, an enemy in front and an enemy in the rear. Both were equally cool, and seemed to have adopted the same tactics. They approached each other at a walk, with no demonstrations of hostility or excitement, and a bystander would have thought they were two friends about to have a chat. As they met, the officer instantaneously leveled his pistol and said "surrender!" Lee, for a moment thought his chances had, but a glance showed him that his adversary's pistol was not cocked. He immediately fired, and putting spurs to his horse was soon out of sight. It was ascertained next day that a detachment of the enemy had passed up the road and found the officer severely wounded.

Footnote:
1. Narrative of Campaigns.

Article III.

East Mississippi Times, September 22nd 1882
Harvey's Scouts

From Vol. II, Claiborne's History of Mississippi-Advance Sheets.

In the second branch of scouting, the capture of couriers and courier-lines, the officer had to be wide awake. He had to worm in between commands, break up posts, kill sentinels, and seize couriers. To do this was difficult and dangerous. Several points had first to be mastered.

1st. The position of the enemy had to be exactly located.
2nd. Whether they kept up communications by couriers.
3rd. The different routes these couriers pursued, and whether they traveled by night or day; how often these couriers were sent; whether they were attended by a guard; and if so, what was its usual strength.

These points ascertained, the next point was to strike the courier-line unobserved, seize all they could, and get back to the command with all possible dispatch.

During the Georgia campaign, near Stilesboro, several couriers were captured and very important information obtained. Capt. Harvey, with twenty men, under cover of a dark night, penetrated the enemy's camp, seized the couriers as they passed from one corps to another, and made his way out unobserved. The information proving very valuable, the immediate object was to get it to Head Quarters with dispatch and safety. Some of the captured papers could be read; others were in cipher. All that could be read Capt. Harvey confided to the memory of Williamson, one of his shrewdest scouts, who had often passed between hostile commands on the march when there was only an interval of one hundred yards between them. He was ordered to go, with his verbal information, the dangerous route, that is, the shortest cut, without regard to risk, and report to the next confederate general.

Another man was put in charge of all the captured papers, to report, by a longer and safer route, to the same officers.

When scouting was done by squads or detachments, which generally involved some desperate lighting, often against heavy odds, the peril was greatly increased. It was not the object of a scouting party to fight. The object was information for the commanding general, and it was the policy to avoid a light unless it became inevitable by sudden contact, and retreat impracticable.

When Gen. Hood was swinging around, in rear of Atlanta, just before he turned his face toward Tennessee, Harvey's scouts were on duty day and night, reporting the movements of the enemy! One night the scouts struck Etowah River ten miles above Rome, which was then occupied by the invaders. Capt. Harvey had three objects: First, to introduce an intelligent fellow into Home, to learn what force was there, and whether they were re-enforcing or evacuating. Second, he proposed to tear up the railroad on the north side of the river, and, if possible, capture a train. Third, to cut the telegraph wire, and thus interrupt Sherman's communications between Rome and Atlanta.

Under cover of night Harvey marched to the river at a point where the railroad ran along the bank; he sent off his two special scouts; wrenched up a number of rails, and took convenient cover to seize the train when it arrived. No train came. The enemy had already, by some means, heard of the break in the way. During the night they sent up and secretly posted a strong detachment of infantry.

At daylight Harvey determined to send over a sergeant and four men to cut the telegraph wire, and on their return to withdraw. The party entered a, rough boat, and when within twenty yards of the northern bank, the Federal infantry, concealed in a thicket, opened fire upon them. One man was killed, and the sergeant, who was standing up, was shot through the thigh, and fell into the river. He however contrived to catch the gunwale of the boat, as it was being turned toward the southern shore. The enemy poured in their fire, splintering the boat and twice wounding Corporal Portwood and killing J. Catlett, a brave and gallant man. Meanwhile Capt. Harvey opened on the federal force, and under his fire the party in the boat effected their escape.

When Major Muldrow's squadron of Wirt Adams' cavalry made their gallant charge at Champion Hill, led by the Major in person, it happened that a squad of Harvey's men were reconnoitering the enemy at the point where this charge was made. They at once fell in, and took part in the attack.

During Sherman's raid on Meridian, Thomas Field was alone, on a scout near Hillsboro. Finding that a fight must take place with the advance guard, he pressed his way to the front, distinguished himself by his impetuous valor, and was left dead where he fought.

On another occasion John Morrow was scouting around the enemy, when a Texas Regiment came up and prepared for a charge. He promptly rook position at the front, and while in the act of shooting his adversary, was shot dead. This brave fellow was a mere boy, but a lion in battle.

Article IV

East Mississippi Times, September 29th 1882
Harvey's Scouts

From Vol. II, Claiborne's History of Mississippi, Advance Sheets.

When Gen. Sherman invaded Atlanta, Captain Harvey was operating in his rear. After an exhaustive march of four days, he struck the railroad far in the rear of Atlanta. They reached it, after riding all night, about daybreak. They hitched their horses to a fence that was overrun with vines and briars that concealed those on one side of the fence from those on the other side. This fence struck the railroad at right angles. The horses were tied up. The fence ran some 100 yards from the railroad. The scouts went down the railroad, and concealed themselves behind another fence that ran immediately down the railroad, a portion of which was broken up so as to throw off a passing train. To such dread expedients were the weaker party compelled to resort? Their country invaded by an overwhelming army, their strongest defenses seized, their dwellings and towns burned, their plantations devastated and their defenders slain, their slaves, whom they held under the guarantees of the constitution, forcibly enunciated and armed and officered to make war upon them, is it surprising that, in the agony of despair, they should resort to instrumentalities condemned by the rules of civilized warfare? War, of itself, under any pretext, is in violation of all Christian teaching; yet Christian nations engage in it, and are excused upon the plea of necessity. And thus, and thus only, can be excused these clandestine attacks on trains and steamers, involving the innocent with the guilty.

About 10 A. M. Harvey's men, completely in ambuscade, discovered a detachment of infantry marching down the railroad, under a lieutenant. The Captain desired to secure them without a light, as the nearest federal post was I only one mile off. So he ordered a corporal who was posted nearest the approaching federals, to rise up when I they got opposite him and demand their immediate surrender, no man to fire unless the enemy began it. When the federals reached the proper point, the corporal rose and called out ''Surrender!'' To this the federals answered by preparing for action. Our men being instantaneously prepared, poured in a general volley, and the whole federal command was killed, wounded or captured. The prisoners were sent immediately where our horses were picketed.

Knowing that we would soon be pursued Capt. Harvey gave orders to tear up the railroad, so as to give us time to get away." While we were thus engaged he sang out ''mount!" As we leaped from the break just made, we saw on the other side of the fence', opposite where we had picketed our horses, and some 60 yards from the horses, a line of infantry emerging from a dense thicket and advancing in the order of battle. As we made for our horses, the Captain in the lead, the federals opened a heavy, rolling fire, advancing all the while. We were not permitted to fire; one object was to save our horses that were between the enemy and nearer to him than to us. We pressed forward under fire, mounted and made off for the nearest shelter, without halting to say good bye.

At another time, just before Hood wheeled his army around for the Tennessee campaign, Captain Harvey was ordered, with all possible dispatch, to strike the railroad as near Atlanta as practicable, and ascertain if Sherman was moving his infantry, and to report his movements generally. Much hazard was incurred, but the information wanted was sent to Gen. Hood. Before retiring, Capt. Harvey concluded to cut the railroad if practicable. He soon ascertained, however, that it was guarded by cavalry that far outnumbered his command, and he determined to retreat. The enemy, however, had the curiosity to know who Harvey was, what he was up to, and the strength of his command; so they followed his trail, with a strong column of cavalry, under a very active officer. Capt. Harvey threw out a strong rear guard, under an experienced lieutenant. This guard soon discovered that it would be overpowered, and that the enemy were making arrangements for a charge. Capt. Harvey, with the rest of the command, was a quarter of a mile ahead, the rear guard within about 60 paces of the enemy's front. The sergeant was ordered to report, at full speed, to Captain Harvey, to prepare for a charge. The Captain coolly turned his column off the road, about 20 yards, and formed it parallel with and fronting the road, pistols drawn and cocked. This had hardly been done when the rear guard came dashing along, tiring as they tied, the federals pursuing, and tiring as they advanced. The Captain had given the order not to fire until our whole front was covered by the enemy, and to follow him in the charge. On came the federal cavalry, looking neither to the right nor to the left, thundering after our retreating rear guard, and shouting as they came. Just as they covered our front, when each of our boys could single out his man, Harvey gave the word "Fire!" We poured in a deadly volley. The column staggered, doubled up, scattered and rolled back like a billow that has surged against a rock, showering its spray on all sides and suddenly disappearing. We pursued the broken detachments, shooting light and left, giving no quarter except to those who surrendered. Capt. Harvey then rapidly drew off his command. From these examples, a proper conception may be formed of the character of the Captain and his command, and the dangerous but important services they were expected to render. The Captain would have none but reliable men about him. He had no use for a mean fellow, or a timid and lukewarm soldier. He was not satisfied with the mere mechanical performance of duty; he required vim, enthusiasm, resolution, activity and a conscientious devotion to the cause. And this was the feeling that inspired his corps, daring the war, whether acting in force under his command, in detachments under a lieutenant, or solitary and alone. He was the kindest of friends, with the tenderest heart, but a rigid disciplinarian, exacting in the performance of duty, never forgiving negligence or timidity. If he found a man playing out as a soldier, discouraged, inefficient or sulky, he got rid of him without ceremony. When the sergeant informed any soldier that he might rejoin his regiment, he comprehended that the Captain did not consider him adapted for the scouting service, and quietly withdrew. This, of itself, had a wonderful moral effect. Most of men would have preferred death to such a discipline. In a few instances charges were preferred and court-martial followed. In emergencies, sometimes, more summary measures were adopted. A single case will be noted. In northern Georgia, a long way in the rear of Sherman's army Capt. Harvey the previous evening had moved the command off the road, and ambushed it for the night, as well as he could, in the forest. The men were on their blankets, apparently asleep. A picket had been posted on the road where we had left it, to give notice of any party approaching, and this picket, as usual, was relieved at intervals. At midnight the corporal went to relieve the picket on the road, and found him fast asleep at his post. The corporal disarmed him and marched him to the camp, and reported the fact. He was arraigned before the command. The Captain charged him with his crime, and told him what would have been his doom if sent before a regular court-martial. "I will not," said the Captain, "subject you to this trial, but from this moment I expel you from association with my brave and honorable comrades. You are no longer a member of the scouts. Take what belongs to you, and leave us in ten minutes." The culprit disappeared, and was never again seen by the command.

No account was kept of the enemy killed and captured by the scouts while lighting in Georgia, following Hood in Tennessee, or when pursuing Wilson's command which left Eastport on its famous raid just before the surrender.

The following is very near the mark:

Harvey's charges into Jackson, Mississippi, killing Coronal Cromwell and capturing 28 of his men 29
Killed in the fight at Natchez 40
Killed and captured in Sherman's campaign to Meridian 138
Killed and captured in Sherman's Georgia campaign 1300
Total 1507

For most of these details I am indebted to my friend and kinsman, Wiley N. Nash, Esq., of Starkville, who was the intimate friend of Captain Harvey and a gallant officer of his command.

Article V

Addison Harvey,
Captain of the Scouts, was born in Holmes County, Mississippi, 1837. Graduated at Chapel Hill, North Carolina; afterwards in the law department of the University, Lebanon, Tennessee, 1859, and settled in Canton, Mississippi, to practice his profession. In 1861, when the trouble between North and South became imminent, he volunteered in a company commanded by Joseph R. Davis, then a member of the Canton bar.2 The company was ordered to Pensacola; was on duty there twelve months, and was there mustered out. On his return home, Captain Luckett and himself raised a company of cavalry, of which the former was elected Captain and himself 1st Lieutenant. They joined Cornel. Wirt Adams' regiment, then in the northern part of the State, in 1802. Lieutenant Harvey soon attracted the attention of the commanding officer, and was frequently detached on secret expeditions demanding intelligence, activity and nerve.

His reports were so useful and reliable, that he was soon retired from other duty and permanently detailed with twenty-five picked men from Adams' Brigade, for special service.

Adams' Brigade was soon ordered to the southern section of the State, camped near Port Gibson. Harvey and his men kept close to the enemy, making frequent captures of foraging parties. On one occasion Lieutenant Harvey was informed that the enemy, camped on the northern side of Big Black, were in the habit of watering their horses in the river. He dismounted his men, concealed them under the cliffs and captured several squads. These were, of course, missed at their camp and soon a company of cavalry was sent to reconnoiter; and fell into the same trap. They, however, refused to surrender, and Harvey opened fire, killing a number at the first discharge. He pursued the others into camp, creating quite a panic by the audacity of the charge. Finding he had charged into a brigade, he promptly retreated without pausing to apologize or say good bye.

One day Lieutenant Harvey was riding leisurely along the public road near Big Black, with three or four of his men, going to make a call on Mrs. Montgomery, whose son belonged to the Scouts, when he found himself in front of ten mounted Yankee troopers, who had just crossed the river to "spy out the land." Giving the word to his men he charged right into these Feds, who, doubtless, supposing a regiment was at hand, turned tail and fled. Our men pursued, and only one of the ten escaped. Harvey charged in front, and mounted on a superior horse, overtook and passed several of the fugitives, but he left them for his men and pressed on after those who were ahead. The only one who escaped, as soon as he crossed the river, wheeled and fired a parting shot at the Lieutenant, who had just shot his third man, and seized his horse.

Soon after this the Northern government began to enlist colored troops. The Scouts fell in with n long wagon train from Natchez, guarded by a colored regiment. A desperate light ensued. The Negroes had been taught that we would show them no quarter, and fought like devils. After they were shot down, they would thrust their bayonets into our horses as we passed. We met them in a narrow lane, and their teams becoming frightened, turned round and broke the tongues of the wagons, blocking up the road. Of course there was a terrible slaughter. They finally broke, leaping over fences and hiding in the woods, leaving over forty dead on the field. We had three men wounded; one of them, Alfred Land, a gallant fellow, was shot through the right breast, and bayoneted by a Negro. He placed the muzzle against Land's breast and fired, and then thrust his bayonet into him when he fell. He lingered a long time, but never was able to rejoin the command.

Lieutenant Harvey was also wounded. A Negro, only five paces off, filed at him. The ball took off the point of his nose. Harvey (whose pistols were all empty) seized a musket from a man who had just surrendered, charged on the Negro, and hurled the musket, like a javelin, at him. It struck the ground, quivering, and the Negro fell on his knees and begged for quarter. And got it.

The invaders patrolled the Mississippi River with a brigade of cavalry and artillery under General Elliott. This brigade was transported from point to point by steamers; frequently landed and sent out marauding parties, who plundered indiscriminately and insulted helpless women. On a certain occasion they landed at Grand Gulf, and sent out a regiment of cavalry to capture or annihilate Harvey and his command who had been constantly annoying their foraging parties. Harvey ambushed his men, but left four of them on horseback to decoy the Feds into the trap. Our men kept at a prudent distance, in full view, and were pursued pellmell by the cavalry firing and yelling. The moment they came within easy range of our guns the Scouts poured a volley into the mass, and the road was literally covered with the fallen. Those behind, however, bravely pressed forward and compelled Harvey to mount under fire and retreat. They pursed, however, several miles, and we returned the fire until our guns and pistols were emptied, and our horses much fatigued.

Our leader seeing that the situation was unpromising, and that further retreat would be impracticable from the nature of the ground, ordered a halt on the brow of a hill, and told his men they must put on a bold front, and charge as though we had fallen back on our reserve, and had been strongly reinforced. The RUSE succeeded; and the enemy precipitately retreated to their steamer.

James Renfroe, a trooper, distinguished himself in this affair. He was in charge of the decoy party previously referred to. When Lieutenant Harvey ordered his men to halt and face about, Renfroe led the charge, struck the head of the astounded column, and came back with two prisoners trotting before him. The enemy apparently were so astonished by the audacity of the scout that they forgot to fire on him, and his two prisoners did not seem to know that each of them had a loaded gun in his hand!

This brave fellow afterwards fell in a charge, and Harvey said he felt as though his right arm had been shot away.

During Sherman's raid on Meridian, the Scouts annoyed the flanks of his army, falling in daily with plundering parties. They killed and captured about one hundred and fifty, and came near grabbing the General himself, who only escaped by falling back, at full speed, on a column of infantry.

Lieutenant Harvey gave the first information at Headquarters of the lauding of Grant and his army at Bruinsburg. General Bowen marched out to encounter him, and fought desperately, but fruitlessly, near Port Gibson, in which the gallant General Tracy was killed.

The Scouts retreated with our army, but remained in the vicinity of Jackson to watch the movements of the enemy. While they were in the act of evacuating Jackson, and commands and trains very much mixed up, Lieutenant Harvey, at the head of his party, dashed into Jackson and charged the rear guard commanded by Cornel Cromwell, who seeing his men slaughtered, refused point blank to surrender, and soon fell covered with wounds. His remains were escorted to the Bowman House, and soon thereafter buried by Lieutenant Harvey, the only homage the exigency allowed him to pay to the gallant soldier.

Lieutenant Harvey then ascended to the summit of the Capitol, tore down the Federal flag and hoisted the Confederate banner.

After the fall of Vicksburg, General Jackson's cavalry, (to whom Harvey had been ordered to report) was sent to Georgia, to operate against Sherman on his memorable march to Atlanta. A wider field here opened for the military instincts of Harvey. He was commissioned to organize a command, to act as scouts for the Army of Tennessee, his old company to serve as a nucleus. In a few days he had the required member, consisting of his well-tried troopers and ardent, enthusiastic young men, most of whom thus far had been restrained from entering the army by parental authority. A few veterans got transferred from other companies.

Many of our best men were, of necessity, on detached service scouting for information, and reporting to the nearest officer. Captain Harvey usually kept under his immediate orders some forty or fifty men. He appointed Robert E. Lee, of Texas, 1st Lieutenant; Thos. Land, 2nd Lieutenant;3 Geo. Harvey, Junior 2nd Lieutenant.

The special duty in Georgia was to cut off Sherman's supply trains, and impede, in every practicable mode, his transportation. How effectually this was done nay be inferred from the fact that the circumspect General found it necessary to detail ten thousand men to guard his depots and railroad bridges. Nevertheless, the indefatigable partisan continued to throw off the track and destroy fine trains crammed with supplies, killing and capturing over twelve hundred men during the march from Chattanooga to Atlanta. The hardships they endured, the hair-breath escapes they made, in these desperate enterprises, may be imagined better than described.

Northern Georgia is a mountainous region, sparsely populated, and during the war nurtured a strong Union element. Deserters from the Southern army, and malcontents found there a refuge, and keeping up a constant communication with the invaders, it rendered the mission of the Scouts duly difficult and precarious. They were repeatedly, in consequence of information thus conveyed, surprised in camp when they had taken every precaution for security. In that section they could have; no regular commissaries. Men and horses were often without food for several days, their only dependence being on the trains they could throw off the track.

Captain Harvey having learned that Gen. McCook, with his division of cavalry, was on the war-path, in the rear of our army, ordered Lieutenant Harvey, with six men, to spy out the whereabouts of the Federal general. Lieutenant H. followed his trail to Lovejoy Station, where he ascertained that McCook had been worsted the day before in a fight with our cavalry, and was then making for Macon, and that in the interval a detachment of blue-coats had been linking about Lovejoy. He ordered his men singly to beat up the woods, keeping in pistol-shot of each other, and if either of them saw an enemy to yell and charge. Very soon a terrific war-whoop was sounded, responded to from six different quarters, when the Lieutenant galloping up, cried out to the terrified Captain "stack your arms immediately, I can't restrain my men you will be massacred."

Arms were stacked and the prisoners marched back, and turned over to General Lewis, the nearest officer.

This company had been cut off from the main command in the action the day before, and finding they were within our lines, had picketed their horses, and were endeavoring to rejoin their command through the woods. These horses, fifty-two in number, were seized and carried into camp.

A singular feature of this affair remains to be disclosed. McCook instead of marching for Macon as he at first proposed, suddenly changed his course, and turned towards Newnan, circling around the Confederate army, and passed right through Captain Harvey's camp, burning his wagons and capturing several of his men and most of his horses. While deploying this serious and most unexpected disaster that left them afoot, Lieutenant Harvey rode up with a capital remount and a full supply of the most improved arms. It seemed like a special Providence in behalf of our brave fellows, and the cause they were fighting for, and many a thanksgiving went up from grateful hearts that night.

The Scouts followed the army in the disastrous march to Nashville, and after its retreat took the trail of Wilson on his famous raid through Alabama, to Columbus, Georgia, where the brave Captain Harvey was murdered by a Confederate deserter. The Captain came up with him as he was in the act of stealing one of his horses, and promptly ordered his arrest. He broke out into the most abusive languages and Captain knocked him down with his pistol. Not long afterwards, finding Capt. Harvey alone, he slipped np behind him and shot him through the head. He died instantaneously. Thus perished, by the hand of an assassin, one who had passed unscathed through a hundred combats, a hero and patriot, a man whose military genius seemed like inspiration, and yet never neglected any precaution to ensure success. He was buried at Columbus, Georgia, and his comrades, though yearning for home, and about to set out, felt reluctant to leave the ashes of their beloved leader.

''He had often," says Sergeant Nash, "around our camp-fire, declared that he had no wish to outlive the Confederacy. Strange to say, he was murdered on the very day that Lee surrendered!"

Correction, In the Roll of the Company, the name of L. Simmons should read "L. Simms" and the name of Willie January should appear on the Roll of Privates after the name of W. Jackson.
Note from Col Claiborne, Natchez, Miss., Sept. 6th, 1882

My Dear Friend:

On the 4th, I mailed you the first installment of Harvey's Scouts. I now send the sequel, with the roll of the Company, transcribed for me by a lady relative, who knew Captain Harvey before the war in Canton. a lady whose husband, adjutant of General Lopez, was shot with him and other captured officers on the ramparts of Havana, whose brother perished during the war in a Northern prison, and whose only son, a Captain of Artillery, (my nephew) was killed at Vicksburg while standing up at his gun reconnoitering the enemy. Fit amanuensis for such a record as Harvey's!

Many of the names on your list of gallant fellows are familiar to me. I lived in Madison County when I was nominated for Congress, and for three years thereafter, and previously I had lived two years in Holmes County, and knew intimately the parents and relatives of many of the Scouts.

Yours truly, J. F. H. Claiborne.
To Wiley N. Nash, Esq., Starkville, Mississippi

Footnotes:
2. Afterwards Gen. Davis, one of the most brilliant officers of the army, nephew of President Davis; now a distinguished lawyers at Mississippi.
3. Ho was soon afterwards killed near Rome, Georgia, in a charge on Kilpatrick's cavalry, one of the noblest and bravest men that died for the South. 

 AHGP Tennessee

Source: Harvey's Scouts, Formerly of Jackson's Cavalry Division, Army of Tennessee, by J.F.H. Claiborne, Southern Livestock Journal Print, Starkville, Mississippi, 1885.

 

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