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5th Minnesota Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Fifth Infantry. — Cols., Rudolph von Borgersode, Lucius F. Hubbard; Lieut. -Col., William B. Gere; Majs., Francis Hall, John C. Becht, John P. Houston. This regiment was organized at Fort Snelling during the winter of 1861-62 and was mustered in by detachments, the first on Dec. 19, 1861. It was finally organized March 20, 1862, when Cos. B, C and D were detached for garrison duty at Forts Ridgely, Ripley and Abercrombie, respectively, under command of Lieut. N. K. Culver and Capts. Francis Hall and John Vander Horck. Capt. John S. Marsh joined his company (D) April 16. Lieut. Sheehan of Co. C, with a detachment of 50 men, was ordered to Fort Ridgely and proceeded from there on the 30th, with a reinforcement of 50 men from Co. B, to the Sioux agency on the Yellow Medicine river for the purpose of preserving order during payment of the annuity. He reached the agency July 2 and preserved order during a threatening period, at a time when 779 lodges of Indians were encamped there, nearly all of whom were entitled to annuities, and who were joined on the 24th by 1,200 Sioux on the war path after a band of Chippewas. The annuity was late in arriving and 800 warriors made a demonstration of unusual nature on Aug. 4, only the greatest coolness avoiding a conflict and the stripping of two howitzers, trained on the principal points, proved most salutary. The annuity goods were distributed on the 9th and 10th and the Indians agreed to wait for their money. The troops returned to Fort Ripley and on the 17th Lieut. Sheehan left with his detachment. News reached Fort Ridgely next morning of the massacre inaugurated at the Lower Sioux agency, when Capt. Marsh sent a mounted messenger to recall Sheehan's command and started with an interpreter and 46 men for the scene of trouble, leaving 29 men at the fort under Lieut. Gere. Marsh's command was ambushed at the river about 2 miles from the agency, and a fierce engagement followed, 23 men being killed, 5 wounded, and Marsh drowned while attempting to cross the river. The others reached the fort in detachments. While this was going on the annuity, $71,000, reached the fort. Lieut. Gere on receipt of the news, despatched a messenger to the commander at Fort Snelling. The following morning Lieut. Sheehan reached Fort Ridgely, having made a forced march of 42 miles. Sheehan and his detachment rejoined Co. C at Fort Ripley the latter part of September and shortly after proceeded to Fort Snelling. Co. B, left Fort Ridgely for Fort Snelling Nov. 9, and the two companies joined their regiment near Oxford, Miss., Dec. 12, 1862. Co. D. reached Fort Abercrombie March 29 and Lieut. F. A. Carivean, with a detachment of 30 men, was ordered to Georgetown, 52 miles north. On Aug. 20 news was received of the Indian outbreak, and Carivean was ordered to return with his command. On Sept. 23 a relieving force of nearly 500 arrived and Co. D rejoined its regiment at Germantown, Tenn., Feb. 14, 1863. While not actually engaged that part of Co. C, left at Fort Ripley under Capt. Hall, escaped destruction only by promptly withdrawing its howitzers and field guns from their exposed positions, mounting them at the fort and taking unusual precautions. The remaining seven companies left the state in May, 1862, reached Corinth on the 24th and were assigned to the 2nd brigade, 1st division, Army of the Mississippi. The regiment participated at Farmington, joined in pursuit of enemy, was in camp at Clear creek until August, and then moved to Tuscumbia, Ala., for railroad guard duty. Threatened by large numbers, the brigade joined the movement towards Corinth, the 5th Minn, acting as rear-guard and it participated in the battle of Iuka. On Oct. 3 it held the crossing at Tuscumbia creek near Corinth and was left at night in a dangerous position, but it succeeded in getting away. It closed a gap at Corinth the following day and after the enemy had forced his way into the city's streets the regiment drove him back and retook the captured batteries. Gen. Stanley, commanding the division, said this regiment saved the day at Corinth, and Gen. Rosecrans, in a letter written 27 years later, practically confirmed the statement. The regiment was conspicuous in several campaigns and expeditions through central Mississippi and western Tennessee until Feb. 1, 1863, then rejoined its command near Memphis, and took part in the advance on Vicksburg in the spring. It was deployed as skirmishers and was sharply engaged while approaching Jackson ; was in the assault on Vicksburg May 22, but not in the line of heaviest firing; was sent up the Yazoo in June, being in sharp skirmishes at Satartia, Mechanicsburg and Richmond; was then assigned to guard duty on the river, until the fall of Vicksburg, when it joined in pursuit of Johnston's army. It was in camp at the Big Black river and participated in various expeditions during the fall; was in camp at La Grange from November until late in Jan., 1864, and was then ordered back to the Big Black. The members of the regiment reenlisted almost in a body Feb. 12, and became part of the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 16th corps. The regiment joined the Red River expedition in March ; participated in the assault and capture of Fort De Russy; was in a reconnaissance to Henderson's hill; took part in the engagement at Campti, when the Confederates were routed; acted as the rear-guard for the supply train when Banks was defeated at Sabine cross-roads; formed part of the corps which met Taylor's pursuing columns at Pleasant Hill, and repulsed repeated assaults until Banks' broken lines could be reformed and the tables turned. It was part of the rear-guard in the retrograde movement, when Taylor beset the Federals at almost every step, and it was engaged daily until Alexandria was reached. The regiment was in the engagement at Mansura, and with its corps gave Taylor a sound drubbing at Bayou de Glaize. It reached Vicksburg on May 24 and was in a spirited engagement at Lake Chicot in June. The veterans were sent home on furlough in July and those who had not reenlisted were in the battle of Tupelo. The regiment returned to Holly Springs on Aug. 17 and was in an engagement near Abbeville on the 23d. It was in the Arkansas and Missouri campaign during the fall, and in the battle of Nashville in December its division captured two redoubts with their batteries, gunners and hundreds of prisoners. The following day it took part in the assault, in which it lost 106 of its number, but carried the position, though its colors were shot down four times. It was in winter quarters at Eastport, Miss., from Jan. 10 to Feb. 6, 1865 ; was in the siege of Mobile during the spring, and in the assault on Fort Blakely immediately preceding the surrender. It was at Demopolis, Ala., during the summer and was mustered out at Fort Snelling Sept. 6, 1865. Its total strength during service, including recruits was 1,163. Loss by death, 248, transfer, 28 ; resigned 26 ; discharged 434; captured 6; deserted and missing, 51 ; mustered out 370.

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

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