When Shelby attacked Steels rear on his
(Steel's) march to Camden in April 1864, I was ordered to take command
or our skirmish line. It was a running fight all day. At sundown in the
evening, when Steel had gone into camp, and Shelby was going into camp
in sight od the enemies' tents, I saw seven federal infantrymen enter a
pine thicket, which was very dense. I could see only one of my men, I motioned
him to follow me, and made a dash for the opposite side of the thicket,
the Federal tents being in fifty yards, and men gathering wood for camp-fires.
I guessed where to enter thicket to meet the seven infantrymen, met them,
they surrendered to me, I made them lay their arms down and walk back with
their hands up when I dismounted, passed the seven guns to my comrades,
and marched prisoners to Shelby's headquarters. Shelby seeing the prisoners,
looked about to see who was in charge, when he saw it was me remarked,
"Gregg, I will remember you for this day." I was soon after appointed to
the Captaincy of Co. "H" Shanks Regiment. I was ordered on picket that
night, and accidentally killed my horse with a stick, so that I had to
enter the fight next morning on a superannuated pony, too feeble to get
over pine log with me on him. However the fight did not last long the second
day, as Shelby was ordered to repair to Steel's front and join forces with
Price, Eagan and Marmaduke.
Late that evening after we had camped in close proximity to Steel's front, I appealed to Maj. Vivion for a pass to go for a horse, as I was practically a-foot. I can't do it says Maj. Vivion, but, said he, you take Hix and Hi George with you the best I can. While in winter quarters I had seen an elegant sorrel horse at the place of one "Scroggins" so that I went directly to his place. On our arrival Scroggins had his wagons loaded and was in the act of starting for Texas. Riding up to Mr. S. I said I want that sorrel horse. Well, sir, said Scroggins, you can't have him. said I t, Mr. Scroggins, I am a soldier, you see the animal I ride is unfit for the service. I have this old pony and fifteen hundred dollars I will give you for the sorrel. Well sir, you can't have him, and rode away at once, put a negro woman on the sorrel horse, and started her toward texas. Scroggins returned, engaged us in conversation, forgetting that we were watching the negro. We bade him a safe journey to Texas. We followed, overtook, and swapped the old pony "even" for the sorrel charger, telling the negro however, for Mr. Scroggins to come to a farm house not far away, and I would give him the fifteen hundred dollars, but he didn't show up, so it was an even trade. As soon as I has mounted the horse I proclaimed him "Scroggins" and he was ever afterward known by that name, he should trot a mile in three minutes under the saddle. Soon after the repulse of Steel and Banks, Shelby was ordered to northern Arkansas (White River). In September, Shelby was ordered to make a diversion in favor of Price on the Duvall Bluff and Little Rock Rail Road. Coming to the railroad a fort loomed up beside the track on the prairie. Shelby halted the command, rode back to our regiment and ordered us to take that fort on horseback. Lieut. Col. Erwin who was in command of the Regiment, was a brave officer, but wholly without discretion, and with whom I had some differences. Being mounted on Scroggins I was determined that Erwin nor anyone else should go ahead of me in the fight. After trying for some time to ride the fort down, and the horse refusing to go to the breast works, Erwin ordered the men to dismount and take the fort on foot. All this time Scroggins and I had led the attack, twenty feet being as near as I could get to the embankment, and when that close, the enemy would rise and fire at me, when Scroggins would drop to the ground on his "belly" and lay there until the firing ceased when he would rise up again. Wheather this dropping was natural intuition I do not know, I examined him closely for a bullet scalp but could find none. Scroggins never repeated this feat afterwards, and we were in many engagements afterwards. I rode Scroggins through the raid to Missouri, swam him across the Missouri twice. My wife rode Scroggins from Missouri to Texas, on an occasion my wife was telling a friend how the bullets whizzed about her in a fight with the Indians. Why said the friend, weren't to frightened? No, she said, I was on Scroggins and will was with me.
On my return to the army I left Scroggins with my wife because of his good, service, and because my wife admired him so much.