William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]


The Fifth Kansas was organized July 1861, under the following officers:

Field and Staff. Colonel, Hampton P. Johnson, Leavenworth; Lieutenant Colonel, John Ritchie, Topeka ; Major, James H. Summers ; Adjutant, Stephen R. Harrington, Washington, D. C.; Quartermaster, James Davis, Leavenworth; Surgeon, E. B. Johnson, Leavenworth; Chaplain Hugh D. Fisher, Lawrence.

Line Officers. Company A, Captain, John Ritchie, Topeka; First Lieutenant, William F. Creitz, Holton; Second Lieutenant, Reuben A. Randlett, Topeka. Company B, Captain, John R Clark; First Lieutenant, John McIntosh; Second Lieutenant, Hadley J. Alley. Company C, Captain, Garret Gibson; First Lieutenant, James H. Summers; Second Lieutenant, Charles G. Bridges, all of Decatur, Iowa. Company D, Captain, Henry C. Scaman; First Lieutenant, Joseph H. Trego; Second Lieutenant, Orlin E. Morse, all of Mound City. Company E, Captain, James S. Hunt; First Lieutenant, John F. Young, Winchester; Second Lieutenant, James M. Heddens, Burlington. Company F, Captain, James M. Williams; First Lieutenant, Henry Moore, Leavenworth; Second Lieutenant, Ansel D. Brown, Burlington. Company G. Captain, Wilton A. Jenkins, Leroy; First Lieutenant, Joseph E. McComas, Kansas City, Mo.; Second Lieutenant, Harrison Kelly, Ottumwa. Company H, Captain, Samuel C. Thomas, Leon; First Lieutenant, William E. Rowe; Second Lieutenant, George R Huston. Company I, Captain, John Lockhart, Lanesfield; First Lieutenant, James B. Harvey; and Second Lieutenant, James L. Stewart, both of Spring Hill. Company K, Captain, Adoniram J. Miller, Ohio City; First Lieutenant, William E. McGinnis; Second Lieutenant, Alexander Rush. Company L, Captain, James R Young, Olathe; First Lieutenant, Tobias J. Hadley, Monticello; Second Lieutenant, William F. Goble, Leavenworth. Company M, Captain, William H. Lindsay; First Lieutenant, Livingston G. Parker; Second Lieutenant, Henry N. Dunlap, all of Leavenworth.

Col. H. P. Johnson assumed command of the Fifth at Fort Scott in August, 1861. Before leaving Kansas, the regiment had a skirmish with a detachment of Gen. Price's army at the crossing of a little stream called Drywood, in which several of the men were wounded. Gen. Price moved northeast to Lexington, and the Fifth followed to Morristown, where, on the 17th of September, an attack was made on a rebel force. Col. Johnson was shot while leading the charge, at the head of his regiment. He was a brave and accomplished officer, beloved by his soldiers, and it was long before the regiment recovered from the effects of the loss of its leader, while yet comparatively undisciplined, and unaccustomed to the reality of war. In the engagement at Morristown, James M. Copeland, of Fort Scott, was killed, and several of the regiment were wounded. The confederates retreated, and the Union force, after taking possession of their horses, camp equipage, etc., moved to West Point, Mo., thence, with the Third and Fourth Kansas, to Osceola, at which point the rear of the rebel force, then occupying Lexington, was attacked, and large quantities of stores destroyed. Gen. Price, making a feint of advancing on Kansas City, before evacuating Lexington for his retreat to the southwest of Missouri, the Fifth was ordered to that city. In October it joined Gen. Fremont's forces at Springfield, Mo., and, on his removal in November, and the dispersal of the Union forces by Gen. Hunter, returned again to Fort Scott. After several expeditions to places in the vicinity, the regiment went into winter quarters at Camp Denver, near Barnesville, Kan.

In the spring of 1862, the Fifth, under the command of Lieut. Col. Powell Clayton, was thoroughly re-organized, drilled and disciplined. From the camp near Fort Scott the regiment moved to Carthage, where a party of rebels were captured by Company A, under Capt. Creitz. From the early part of April until May 25, the Fifth was in camp at Springfield, again subjected to that thorough system of regimental drill, which afterward carried it successfully through encounters with many times its own number of the enemy. From Springfield the regiment moved to Rolla, Mo., from which point it marched to join the Army of the Southwest, leaving the regimental train in charge of a detachment under command of Capt. Creitz. A week later, Capt. Creitz, with Company A, and a portion of Companies D and K (as escort to the train, in all, about one hundred and fifty men), left Houston to join the regiment in Arkansas. At Salem, just over the border of Arkansas, the escort met and routed an Arkansas cavalry regiment, killing seven, and taking several prisoners with no loss of their own. Following up their advantage, the next day a band of guerrillas, consisting of a Captain and seventeen men, were captured, and the booty which they had stolen from the army in advance was retaken. On July 8 (the following day), the trusty little band, while crossing Black River, near Jacksonport, Ark., was attacked by a regiment of Texan Rangers under Col. Smith. For a time it seemed as though the train must be lost; but, after fighting for an hour, the far-famed "Rangers" were completely routed, Capt. Creitz, with his Kansas "boys," driving them several miles, killing eighteen of their men, and capturing valuable supplies. One of the escort was drowned while crossing the river, two were wounded, and two were taken prisoners. After putting the enemy to flight, the detachment pursued its way unmolested, down White River, taking the train safely through a hostile country, and on the 14th of July joined the regiment, fifty miles from Helena.

Through the remainder of the summer, and until mid-winter, the Fifth was stationed in the vicinity of Helena, making such frequent and successful sorties upon the bands of guerrillas that invested the country that the name of the regiment and its determined leaders carried wholesome terror to the hearts of the marauders. During the winter of 1863-64, the regiment was ordered to St. Charles to take part In McClernand's expedition against Little Rock. The floods rendering it impossible for the regiment to strike the river at that point, Col. Clayton proceeded twenty-five miles higher up, to the town of Clarendon.

In order to establish communication with the force at St. Charles, Maj. T. W. Scudder, with two men from Company D, set out at night in a little skiff, and after rowing nine hours -in. a storm of sleet and snow, reached the fleet nearly frozen, only to find the city evacuated and their labor thrown away, the regiment being obliged to return immediately to Helena.

In May, a force consisting of the Fifth Kansas, Fifth Illinois and a regiment of Indiana cavalry, under command of Col. Clayton, left Helena under orders to destroy any supplies that might otherwise fall into rebel hands. Moving out on the Little Rock road, the command moved north until the La Aquille River was reached. Here the force was separated; the Fifth Kansas and Fifth Illinois, under command of Lieut. Col. W. A. Jenkins, crossed the river, while Col. Clayton, with the Indiana cavalry; remained to guard the bridge until their return.

Lieut. Col. Jenkins moved with his command toward the south, hoping to overtake the rebels under Col. Dobbins. He failed in this, and when about twenty eight miles from Col. Clayton, found that Marmaduke was in his rear and between himself and his way of retreat across the La Aquille. The Fifth Illinois had halted five miles back and Col. Jenkins with the Fifth Kansas turned back, hoping to cut his way through the rebel force. Col. Carter, with a brigade of Texas Rangers, was in their path: four regiments numbering 1,600 men with two pieces of artillery. Three times they charged the Kansas regiment, and three times were met and repulsed, the fourth attempt being abandoned before the Union line was reached. Having been driven about half a mile, they reached a strong position, where their artillery could be used to good advantage, and made a stand. Col. Jenkins held his ground, but deemed it fool hardy to assail them. The Fifth Illinois coming up about dark, the two regiments withdrew to the La Aquille, where a bridge was constructed from boards taken from neighboring houses, and the command crossed without accident. The enemy made their appearance on the opposite bank about 9 o'clock in the morning, but withdrew after exchanging a few shots.

On arriving at Helena, it was found that Col. Clayton had also met the rebels, and successfully repulsed them. The loss of the regiment was one killed and several wounded.

After the return of Marmaduke's forces from their unsuccessful raid into Southeastern Missouri, and Coffey's repulse at Pineville, in the southwestern portion of the same State, the rebels concentrating their western forces at Little Rock, sent out bands of guerrillas to scour the country toward the east in the vicinity of Helena, and toward the northwest in Missouri and Kansas. In May, a portion of the Fifth Kansas, under Maj. Walker, was attacked near Helena, by a strong hand of these guerrillas, overpowered and driven back to headquarters with quite a severe loss. The encounter' took place at a point called Polk's Plantation, about seven miles from Helena. When Marmaduke attacked Helena, July 4; 1863, the Fifth, with the First Indiana Battery and a portion of the Dubuque, held the extreme right, from sunrise until 2 o'clock The position was ably and bravely defended, and the enemy driven back, with heavy loss. Four of the regiment were killed, and several wounded, among the latter, Capt. Creitz and Lieut. Jennings.

After the surrender of Vicksburg, Maj. Gen. Steele was sent to Helena, to organize an expedition to move against Little Rock. The Fifth left Helena on the 15th of August, and after leaving the sick of the army at Duvall's Bluff, proceeded west to Brownsville, which place Marmaduke had evacuated on the arrival of Gen. Davidson's forces, retreating to his intrenchments at Bayou Metea on September 4. He was driven from this point by Col. Clayton's cavalry brigade, and a brigade of infantry under command of Gen. Rice, and again retreating over the bayou, burned the bridge behind him, and checked further pursuit. It being found impracticable for the army to pass the bayou, it was decided to gain Little Rock by the Arkansas, and the Fifth with the other troops reached Ashley's Mills, twelve miles below the enemy, on September 8. A portion of the army under Gen. Davidson, crossed the river, and fought their way up on the south bank; the Fifth, with the remainder of the troops, under Gen. Steele, advanced simultaneously on the north bank, occasionally assisting Davidson with their batteries. Gen. Steele, with his command, was opposite the city when it was surrendered, and before night had the pleasure of occupying it, with the United States flag once more floating from its arsenal. On September 14, Col. Jenkins, with a portion of the regiment, was ordered to Pine Bluff, on the south bank of the Arkansas, fifty miles below Little Rock. Soon after, the remainder of the Fifth, with the oilier regiment of the brigade (First Indiana) arrived, and Col. Clayton assumed command of the post. During the early part of October, Col. Clayton, with three hundred men and four pieces of light artillery, marched ninety miles, and gaining the rear of the rebel outpost at Tulip, attacked their camp, routing the entire force of six hundred, and captured their arms, supplies, camp equipage, and one battle flag, without the loss of a man. The charge upon the camp was made by the Fifth, commanded by Col. Jenkins, and supported by the artillery.

The rebels, having been forced to evacuate Pine Bluff, Marmaduke advanced from Princetown, forty-five miles south, determined to retake it. It was now occupied by Col. Clayton, with the Fifth Kansas and First Indiana, six hundred men and nine light guns.

On the morning of the 25th of October, the rebel General, with twelve guns and a force estimated at three thousand, advanced in three columns, and poured shot and shell into the town for five hours, setting fire to the place, and destroying some of its best buildings, but not succeeding in his attempt to retake it. The action commenced at 9 in the morning, and the rebels, utterly beaten, drew off about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, with a loss of one hundred and fifty killed and wounded, and thirty prisoners. The brigade lost thirty-seven, of which twenty-seven was from tie Fifth Kansas. During the winter of 1863-64, the regiment remained at Pine Bluff, making occasional expeditions thence against the rebels when they approached too near. After Gen. Steele moved southward from Little Rock toward Camden, Col. Clayton, with a portion of his force, advanced to the crossing of the Saline River at Mount Elba, for the purpose of driving the rebel Gen. Dockery from the adjacent country. On the morning of the 29th of March, the cavalry crossed the river and, proceeding a few miles, watched the approaches from the north and west, while the infantry, with a portion of the artillery remained at the ford to guard the crossing. The next morning guns were heard from the direction of Mount Elba. Col. Jenkins, with the Fifth, immediately moved back to the Saline, and arrived just as the enemy were driving in the pickets. Col. Jenkins formed his line immediately. The Fifth Kansas (dismounted) in the center, Eighteenth Illinois Infantry, with two guns, on the right, and Twenty-eighth Wisconsin on the left. A detachment of the Fifth, with one gun, supported the right. The force of Gen. Dockery advanced bravely, but were even more bravely met, and after a sharp struggle they broke and fled, pursued by the Fifth, until about ten miles, from the scene of the combat it was joined by Col. Clayton with other additional forces.

The Fifth, under Col. Clayton, then charged the enemy and the rout was complete.

Lieuts. Young of the Fifth Kansas, and Greathouse of the First Indiana, who were detailed the day previous with one hundred men to destroy the Long View Bridge, forty miles down the river, returned successful, having, in addition to the destruction of the bridge, captured Gen. Dockery's wagon train, two hundred and sixty prisoners and two battle flags, with no loss to themselves. The following day, Col. Clayton's force returned to Pine Bluff, taking with it, as trophies of its success, three hundred and eighteen prisoners, three hundred horses and mules, and between one and two hundred wagons. The entire Union loss was two killed, two wounded, and eight taken prisoners.

In April, a supply train of 240 wagons was sent from Pine Bluff to the army of Gen. Steele in Camden. After being unloaded, it was dispatched on its return, guarded by Lieut. Col. Drake, Thirty-sixth Iowa, with several regiments of infantry and cavalry, among the latter a small portion of the Fifth, with one gun, under command of Lieuts. Jennings and McCarty. While making its way through a swamp four miles long, the advance was attacked by Gen. Fagan's rebel division, as it debouched at Marks' Mill, while most of the command were struggling through the swamp with the wagons. The enemy also succeeded in throwing a large force between the advance and the Seventy-seventh Ohio, which guarded the rear, and assailing the several portions of the Union force in turn, forced them each to surrender; but not until the heroic Drake was mortally wounded, and one-quarter of the whole command killed or disabled. Lieuts. Jennings and McCarty, with their commands, were taken prisoners with the rest. The latter succeeded in making his, escape. The prisoners were compelled to march fifty-two miles without food or rest within the next twenty-four hours. They reached their destination, at Tyler, Texas, on the 15th of May, where they were placed in the prison camp, and held until exchanged.

In September the regiment participated in an engagement near Mount Elba, Ark., in which Sergt. Maj. J. W. Denton was, killed, and several severely wounded.

During September, 1864, several companies of the regiment, their term of service having expired, were mustered out at Fort Leavenworth. During the year, members of the remaining companies were mustered out at Leavenworth. Pine Bluff and Little Rock. June 22, 1865. the enlisted veterans of the Fifth Kansas were mustered out at Duvall's Bluff, Ark.


Killed at Morristown, Mo., September 17, 1861: Col. Hampton P. Johnson, Leavenworth; at Mount Elba, Ark., September 11, 1864, Sergt. Maj. Joseph W. Denton.

Company A: Killed at Mount Vernon, Mo., May 11, 1863, Wesley A. Hurd. Holton; at Morristown, Mo., September 17, 1861, James M. Copeland, Fort Scott; in action at Mark's Mills, Ark., April 25, 1864, Thomas L. Lillard. Died of wounds received at Mark's Mills, John Furnish, Topeka, and Miles W. Thompson, Auburn. Killed on picket at Trenton, Ark., January 12, 1863, John Rose, Holton.

Company B: Killed at Pope's Plantation, Ark., May 25, 1863. Corp. James H. Fairley, and Privates Isaac V. Herriford and Columbus Sperry; at Mark's Mills, Greenberry Rose; at Pine Bluff, Ark., October 25, 1863, Abraham Campbell.

Company C: Killed at Pope's Plantation, Ark., Corp. William Campbell, Modina, Mo.; at Brownsville, September 14, 1863, Willis Cox, (Farrier) Leavenworth; at Pine Bluff, Ark., October 25, 1863, George W. Lucas, Modina, Mo. Died of wounds received at Pine Bluff, George W. Smith, Decatur, Iowa.

Company D: Killed at Pine Bluff. Ark., October 25, 1863: George S. Carlrecht, and Vachel Hinton, both of Mound City.

Company E: Killed at Mark's Mills, Ark., April 25, 1864, Corp. Henry W. Creighton; at West Point, Mo., September 24, 1861, Thomas Stanfield.

Company F: Killed at Butler, Mo., July 25, 1861, Sergt. William H. Hill: at Tumback Creek, April 26, 1862, Francis G. Picket; at West Point, Mo., October, 1861, Francis Miller, Fort Scott; at Swan Lake, Ark., April 23, 1864, William King; at Helena, Ark., July 4, 1863, Philip M. Rhoads, Fort Scott; at Pine Bluff, Ark., October 25, 1863, Charles E. Wait, Cold Springs.

Company G: Killed at Helena, Ark., April 3, 1863, Corp. Alexander Moore.

Company H: Died from wounds received at Pope's Plantation: Sergt. Henry J. Richardson; from wounds received at Trenton, Ark., Graves Abbot.

Company I: Killed at Helena, Ark., Sebastian Webber, Black Jack; died of wounds received at Helena, Pleasant Neil, William Swartz and Marion Albert; killed at Black River, Ark., John D. Collins.

Company K: Killed at Mark's Mills, Ark., John Gerth; at Pine Bluff, Ark., Patrick McMahan; at Eminence, Mo., Jacob F. M. Frank, Greeley. Died of wounds received at Mark's Mills, Sergt. George W. Hendrix, Ohio City, and Sergt. James F. Williams.

Company L: Killed at Newtonia, Mo., October 28, 1864, Edward P. Smith.

Company M: Killed, August 1, 1863, James D. Morrison, Leavenworth.

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]