54th Indiana (3 Months) Company B Skirmish

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Taylin

Corporal
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
450
Location
Rolling hills of southern Indiana
August 21st, 1862. Location is either South Western Kentucky or North Western Tennessee at a bridge over the Red River in the Edgfield - Kentucky Railroad Junction area, which is right on the state line basically at Guthrie Kentucky. There's a railroad crossing the Red River both North East of the Junction and South East, in KY/TN respectfully. I'm leaning towards the river bridge at Adams Tennessee.

Unit's involved are the 54th Indiana (3months) and Thomas G Woodward's Kentucky Cavalry Battalion (later 2nd Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Woodward's)

Interesting to note that this is not reported on the NPS Battle Unit Details for the unit.

The 54th Indiana (3 months), Like other short lived Indiana regiments (55th, 76th, 78th) was spread thin across Kentucky with Companies on detached duty guarding towns, railroads and river boats etc etc. While this allowed them to cover a large area it obviously left them in a position to be overpowered by single regiments or even battalions of CSA troops.

That was the case for Captain Goodwin's Company B, comprising 80 men at Red River Bridge his little band was attacked by 400-500 Confederates in a hot skirmish which resulted in the wounding of 7 Union men and what is likely a wild exaggeration - 7 dead and 20-30 wounded Confederates.

From the Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 29th, 1862.

"The Terre Haute Express contains the following letter from Captain Goodwin, of the 54th Indiana. It will be remembered that the report of the fight was to the effect that Captain G's command was "cut to pieces:"
------Bowling Green Bridge, August 24.
Mr Editor: I see by the papers the report of an engagement between my little command of eighty men and from four to five hundred rebels, on the 21st inst, at Red river bridge, is so worded as to create a great excitement and uneasiness in many a family in your city and the country around. I deem it my duty to send you this and request its publication.
------The engagement commenced between 3 and 4 o'clock p. m. The conduct of the boys in my company -- i call them such, as the majority of them are under twenty-three years of age -- was such as to entitle them to be called veterans, and be honored with a public reception. It being the first engagement they were in, I do not think any set of men from any State could have excelled them. The commander of the rebel forces acknowledged that we made the strongest resistance of any force he had met. The list of wounded is as follows:

Andrew Smith, in the right hand, slightly.
Joseph S Smith, in the right arm, slightly.
Samuel Lowe, in the right leg and left ear, slightly.
James Smock, in the left arm, slightly.
Albert Buckingham, in the breast, slightly.
David T Rushworth, in the right leg, slightly.
John Turnbo, of Salem, in the left side, slightly.

Our old fellow townsman, C. T. Noble, surprised us today by making his appearance, and you can rest assured that he was a welcome guest. He came prepared with hospital stores, bandages, &e., but, thank Providence, he was happily disappointing in not finding us cut to pieces.
------We killed seven of the rebels on the spot, and wounded twenty or thirty, from the best information we could get. The blacks are the only source by which we could get information. I could not ask for better material than I have in my company. They are good enough for any commander.
------Respectfully yours, C. A. Goodwin."

Goodwin.jpg
 
Last edited:

Taylin

Corporal
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
450
Location
Rolling hills of southern Indiana
Woodward's Cavalry Battalion appears to have been part of Adam Rankin Johnson's partisan forces, who enjoyed a great deal of success in the summer of 1862. Three days prior to this engagement the Confederates captured Clarksville TN and captured / paroled 200 members of the 71st Ohio. They did this, so far as I can tell, without the loss of a man. So this little skirmish at Red River Bridge could indeed be the "strongest resistance of any force" that the rebels had met so far.
 
Top