Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War


Just a Little Bit of History:
Interview with Israel Cross, 6th Ohio Cavalry, USA(a)

Halt!, Who comes there? said the REGISTER man.

Israel Cross, came from the farmer in Quaker Bottom. Advance Mr. Cross, and give me your narrow escape, demanded the REGISTER man.

Oh, s that what you want? said Mr. Cross, I couldn't think who you were or what you wanted. "I am invested with powers extra-ordinary and plenipotentiary to hunt up all the narrow escapes, said the REGISTER man. "It won't hurt, will it? asked Mr. Cross. Oh no. Stop your plow a moment to let your horses rest and tell me that 'narrow escape' of yours, and I will be responsible for all damages.

All right. I was a member of the 6th Ohio Cavalry; Colonel Steadman. On May 5th, (18)64, we started on a raid against Richmond; had several skirmishes with the rebels and on the 9th they charged us on the rear, attacking pack-train, who were badly scared and scattered everywhere. I was on a good horse, and taking the railing off the fence, jumped over into a large open field, where I stood facing the rebels who charged clear passed me, but did not see me, as I suppose. They took several of our boys prisoners and wounded three or four. Then they fell back. I saw my company on a rise, but I stayed in the field under a cedar tree. Colonel Steadman came up to where I was and said, "If I had my regiment here I would cut ----- out of them. The rebs saw him and he lit out on the corduroy road, with hat off and the rebs after him pell-mell. I rode along the fence and emptied my carbine at them, but they paid no attention to me, as they wanted the Colonel. They were all drunk. I saw my company was leaving me and that the rebs would cut me off. In trying to get out of the field, I came across one of our boys tangled in the grapevine. I got down and cut him loose. Just then a Penn. Lieutenant came by and ordered me into line, but I refused, because I knew I would not be taken care of if I should get hurt. He drew his saber and tried to make me, but I had a fresh load in my carbine, which I presented. He didn't insist any further. Shortly after, I found my regiment. As the rebs were charging us, we were ordered to wheel off to the right and left gradually. As I was going to the right I saw a rebel Colonel, with his coat all buttoned up-a very tempting target. I opened up on him and just then a bullet struck me at the butt of the left ear. Instantly all was dark.

From now on I tell you want my comrades told me afterward: Frank Pritchard saw me fall from my horse and strike the ground with my head between my legs. He dismounted and straightened me. Several charges were made, passed by me, both our own troops and the rebs, but as they supposed me dead they paid no attention to me. As I had told our boys when we started on the raid that I had about $350 and some notes on the boys in a belt, Frank Pritchard was crawling along through the grass on his hands and knees to get the money to send to my mother. As he came near me, he saw that I had my right hand under my head and was clutching the grass with my left. He was so overjoyed to find me alive (the bullet had entered behind my left ear and came out behind my right) that he called to some more of the other boys to help him carry me out. As my horse was gone, Tom Hamilton brought his and I was put on that and taken to the hospital at White House Landing, where I stayed till I was well enough for duty.

A very narrow escape, Mr. Cross, said the reporter. Can't you stay for dinner?, asked Mr. Cross. No thanks, I must hunt up Ham Turley. Good bye.


(a) Having been a camp Patriotic Instructor, I know how hard it is to find interesting topics for camp meetings. Over the past year I have compiled 200 stories/bios of Civil War Veterans from Ohio. The first series is from the 1886 Ironton, Ohio REGISTER and is re-printed with the permission of Martha Kounse and Sharon M. Kouns, webowners of website. The REGISTER produced 91 articles under the heading of Narrow Escapes, (one a week for 91 weeks) by interviewing Civil War Veterans from their area. This article appeared June 30, 1887.

Submitted by:
Donald E. Darby
National Patriotic Instructor
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
December 2000

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