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3rd Minnesota Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Third Infantry. — Cols., Henry C. Lester, Chauncey W. Griggs, Christopher C. Andrews, Hans Mattson; Lieut. -Cols., Benjamin F. Smith, Everett W. Foster, James B. Hoit; Majs., John A. Hadley, Benjamin F. Rice, William W. Webster. This regiment was organized during the summer and fall of 1861, and was mustered in Nov. 15. It left the state on the 17th for Louisville, where it went into camp. On Dec. 6 it left for Shepherdsville, where six companies were detailed to guard bridges, the other four being sent to Lebanon Junction for the same purpose. It was assigned to the 16th brigade, Army of the Ohio, went into camp near Nashville March 24, 1862, and on April 27 moved to Murfreesboro, from which place several expeditions were made. It was at Murfreesboro in July, supporting a battery, when Forrest's cavalry charged, and was finally surrendered to Forrest against the protests of most of the men in line. A camp guard of 20 men had repulsed four times that number in two assaults, but was finally overcome in a third charge led by Forrest in person. All the officers who advocated the surrender, including the colonel, were later dismissed from the service. Lieut. -Col. Griggs and Capts. Andrews and Hoit were the only officers present who voted against surrendering. Lieut. Vanstrum offered his ballot, but he arrived after the council was over. The regiment was sent to Madison, Ga., for three months, then to Libby prison, where it was paroled and sent to Nashville. An attempt was made to induce the men to break their parole and they were criticized for surrendering. They resented the injustice, declined to break their parole, and were sent to Benton barracks. Co. C, commanded by Lieut. Grummons was at Shelbyville at the time of the surrender and was sent to Tullahoma. It returned to Murfreesboro, where it joined the 2nd Minn. infantry and was ordered to Fort Snelling in October. There it joined the regiment, which had been exchanged in August, and remained in Minnesota to aid in putting down the Indian raids. The regiment joined Gen. Sibley at Fort Ridgely in September, after a forced march from Fort Snelling, and in the expedition from the fort it was always in the advance. On the 23d a small party left camp to get a load of potatoes from Yellow Medicine agency and it was attacked by a force of several hundred Indians about a mile from camp. The 3d was on the ground in a few minutes and while falling back in order 250 men repulsed 700 Indians, then with reinforcements routed them in a bayonet charge. This came to be known as the battle of Wood Lake. Camp was made at a point known later as Camp Release, and there the regiment remained in the field until Nov. 14, when it reported at Fort Snelling and was furloughed until Dec. 3. About 70 members who were home on sick leave marched on Sept. 11 to the relief of Fort Abercrombie, reached there on the 23d and participated in several skirmishes. They joined the command at Camp Release in October. The regiment was reorganized in December, Lieut. -Col. Griggs being made colonel ; Capt. Andrews, lieutenant-colonel, and promotions were made from the ranks to fill the vacancies. This went far towards restoring the morale of the regiment, which had been affected by the unfortunate action at Murfreesboro. The ranks were soon recruited and on Jan. 23, 1863, the regiment left the state a second time, going to Cairo, Ill., and thence to Columbus, Ky. In March it moved to Fort Heiman and remained there some time to break up Confederate conscription. In May it was ordered to Vicksburg and on June 8, reached Haynes' bluff, where it was made a part of Kimball's provisional division of the 16th corps. It took part in intrenching the place and on the 15th took position at Snyder's bluff, remaining there until the surrender. On July 23 it made part of a force for the campaign in Arkansas, and was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division. It moved to Helena, thence to Brownsville, on to Bayou Fourche, being present at the engagement there in September, and made part of the force that occupied Little Rock during the fall and winter, being selected as one of the two infantry regiments for "its efficiency and discipline." Reenlistment of most of the men under the veteran order followed, and the old members, three companies, were furloughed home in Jan., 1864. On April 1 a detachment of the regiment participated in a sharp conflict at Fitzhugh's woods, repelling a cavalry charge by a counter charge with bayonets. The regiment took part in the inauguration of Isaac Murphy, first free-state governor of Arkansas, and then moved to Pine Bluff for the summer where it suffered much from malarial poison. Six companies were sent home on furlough in August, and in October the regiment quartered at Devall's Bluff for winter, performing picket and scouting duty. It moved to Batesville, May 13, 1865, and on June 1 headquarters were estabHshed at Jacksonport. Cos. D and G were left at Batesville, A and F were sent to Searcy, E and H to Augusta, and later C and I to Powhatan. On June 3 Confederate Gen. Jeff Thompson surrendered his command to Col. Mattson and the regiment was mustered out at Devall's Bluff Sept. 2, 1865. Gov. Isaac Murphy, the only man in the secession convention of Arkansas to vote "no," steadfast in his allegiance to the Union, and the state's first free soil governor, said of the men of the regiment : "They have proved ready for any undertaking and reliable in every emergency. Such men are an honor to the government. Their state may justly be proud of them."

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 4

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