Showing posts from June, 2019

“Skinned out for Memphis like Tam O’ Shanter with the devil after him” General Samuel Sturgis, the 72nd Ohio, and the Guntown Disaster

          In the days following the disastrous Sturgis expedition in June 1864, the sight in the Memphis camp of the 72 nd Ohio brought tears to the eyes of Surgeon John B. Rice of the regiment. “It is a sad sight to go into our old camp,” he wrote his wife on June 17, 1864. “So many familiar faces are missing, tents are vacant, and the cheerful aspect of everything as it once was is gone. I have delayed writing you in hopes of being able to give you some more favorable news in regard to the loss of men in the 72 nd , but the truth compels me to say that the first accounts I wrote you were perhaps not at all exaggerated. The loss in Buckland’s old brigade is as heavy as I have stated and that of the 72 nd will be 250 officers and men.” It was an unmitigated disaster. Surgeon John Birchard Rice, 72nd Ohio Infantry For the 72 nd Ohio Infantry, the Sturgis expedition into northern Mississippi in the opening days of June 1864 proved the most trying days of their Civil War expe