This is the first of three parts of the personal account of Captain William Harrison Huls' Civil War service hand written in April of 1917 as part of his request for a pension for his war service. The reader is advised to keep several facts in mind to maintain historical perspective.
First, the matter of the request for the Medal of Honor. At the time, this was the only medal issued by the United States Government. (The Order of the Purple Heart had been discontinued and had not been reinstated.) As it was the only medal issued by the military it had been issued rather liberally by the services during the Civil War.
Second, please keep in mind that this was written by W.H. Huls 53 years after the events described occurred.
Third, bear in mind that a pension of $10 a month would keep a man in bread, butter and steak in 1917.
Fourth, in reading this account please understand W.H. Huls had a good education for his day, he had even been a school teacher before the war, but his opportunities were limited by the times. This is especially important as I have copied his words exactly as he put them down in pencil on a yellow sheet of tablet paper 96 years ago.
Rockbridge, Ohio April 11, 1917
To the Adjutant General United States
I William H. Huls, Of Co. H, 58 Ohio vol, Inf. Do hereby submit for your consideration the following service. While a member of said company and regiment 3 years 3 months & 9 Days
For a Medal of honor and for a pension of ten dollars per month. I wille submit to you the following three different times of Army Service.
First Army Service for Medal of Honor
On the 10 of August 1862. While my regiment was camped in the hills of Helena, Ark. Seventy miles below Memphis, Tenn. We were ordered down the Mississippi River. To free the river from the Rebels, and Rebel transports passing up and down the river. We had skirmishes all along the river, at Millikins Bend, La, Haines Bluff, Greenville, and Bolivar Landing Miss. We were ordered to attack the 31 La (Rebel) regiment camped at Millikins Bend La at daybrake and capture it by surprise; which we did. After they saw us coming on a double quick, many left all they had and fled into the country. We followed them about three miles and returned to our boat with a few prisoners. So to add what we captured in the morning would be quite a number.
We took all their cooking vessels and provisions; and captured a steamboat called "Fairplay" Loaded with army provisions as said to have five thousand stand of arms on Board. We sent the prisoners up the river and went on down the river to the mouth of the Yazoo river four Miles above Vicksburg, Miss. We ascended the Yazoo River about four miles to where the Rebels had begun to fortify the river.
We captured four small guns and destroyed two large guns and set fire to the gun carriages.
Here is the place we attacked them again on Dec 27-28-29, 1862 Called Ft. Morgan, Miss.
The Regiment returned to Helena, Ark and Camped on the old camping ground. There were many regiments in Vicksburg while we were destroying and capturing their guns on the Yazoo River. Had we not taken them by surprise we would surely have been captured.
To be continued...