August 29th, Part I: “There was a sure thing nobody could run.”

On Saturday, August 29, 1863, Colonel Hans Heg’s brigade of the 1st Division, 20th Corps, led the crossing of the Tennessee River at Caperton’s Ferry, near Stevenson Alabama. Private Benson Bobrick of the 25th Illinois Infantry was among the first to cross, describing the experience in a letter to his mother two days later: 

Dear Mother,

“Early Saturday morning we were divided into companies of 25 each & loaded into the pontoons with 100 rounds & our guns loaded, & at the command of the general all the boats pulled for the south shore of the Tennessee where we expected a battle[;] for the rebs were in sight & a few shots were fired. It looked like risky business going out into the river in those boats facing the enemy. There was a sure thing nobody could run. The river is 800 yards wide. It was a beautiful sight to see the boats in line of battle nearly a mile long pulling together regularly. It looked too many for the few rebels on the south shore for they took at once for the bushes. We all landed together. Gen. McCook went over with us making his promise good that he would give us the advance and go with us. . . .McCook complimented us highly for our efficiency in throwing across the pontoon bridge.

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