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Brackett's Cavalry Battalion
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Brackett's Cavalry Battalion. This battalion was organized in the fall of 1861. It consisted originally of three companies, captained by Henning Von Minden, D. M. West and Alfred B. Brackett, and was known as the "Minnesota Light Cavalry." It was ordered to St. Louis, reached there Dec. 28, 1861, and was assigned to a regiment known as the "Curtis' Horse," named for Maj.-Gen. Curtis, in command of that department. The regiment was comprised of four companies from Iowa, three from Minnesota, three from Nebraska and two from Missouri, Col. W. W. Lowe commanding. The government afterwards changed the name to the 5th Ia. cavalry, Capt. Brackett being made major, and it was ordered to Fort Henry Feb. 8, 1862. It participated in the battle of Fort Donelson, performing cavalry duty as wagon guard, patrolling, etc. It was constantly in the saddle during the year; furnished the bridges, roads and lines necessary for the successful issue of the battle of Shiloh ; was in the siege of Corinth; pursued the enemy for nearly 90 miles; hoisted the Stars and Stripes at Humboldt, and fought at Lockridge mills, where Capt. Von Minden and 28 of his company were taken prisoners and paroled. Being ordered on duty, these men refused until released from parole, and they were discharged in disgrace and turned out of camp because they kept their written word. This expulsion is resented by the survivors of the company to this day. The regiment was in action at Fort Donelson in August, in the Clarksville fight in September, again at Fort Donelson Feb. 5, 1863, and in the Tullahoma campaign was engaged in several severe skirmishes. It completely routed the 6th Tex. cavalry in a saber charge at Wartrace in October and charged and routed two of Forrest's regiments at the Tennessee river. The Minnesota companies reenlisted and while on furlough organized Brackett's battalion, which was detached from the regiment and assigned to frontier duty in the northwest. Subsequently it was strengthened by the addition of Capt. A. Barton and 86 men as a fourth company. The battalion was placed in the command of Gen. Sully and joined the campaign up the Missouri in 1864. In the fight at Tahkahokuty mountain it charged the Indians and drove them, foot-by-foot across a ravine, up the hill, over the crest and down the slope, scattering them far and wide. It was congratulated for gallantry and coolness. The battalion went into Fort Ridgely for the winter and was on patrol duty during 1865, covering over 200 miles of frontier line. It was mustered out in May, 1866.

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

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