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Fletcher Peters Turner

AUGUST 4-7, 1862.-Attack on Union pickets near Woodville, Ala. (4th), and Reconnaissance from Woodville to Guntersvile, Ala. (5th-7th).

Reports of Lieut. Cot. Douglas A. Murray, Third Ohio Cavalry.


Woodville, Ala, August 4, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that between the hours of 3 and 4 our outward pickets on the Guntersville road were fired at from the bushes by a party of 10 guerrillas or bushwackers. One of the men was shot dead-the sergeant, a most worthy, good man, mortally wounded through the head, who died shortly afterward; the two other men were both dangerously wounded, only one of five escaping uninjured, who, being driven by the murderers, was forced to fall back. He describes the scene above as follows:

"The party, consisting of a sergeant and 4 privates, belonging to Company G, Third Ohio Cavalry, who were in the advance of the rest of the company at the outpost of the line of pickets on the road, about a mile and one-fourth distant from the camp, between the hours of 3 and 4 oclock p. m., were fired on by a party of 10 or 12 armed men. The first intimation they had of their approach was a volley of ball and buckshot. He, being the only one of the party who escaped its fatal effects, fired his carbine and revolver upon the party, but being so hardly pressed by the entire number had to retire. All this was so quickly done that the other pickets had not time to come to the assistance of the unfortunate man. The murderers turned into the bushes, which just at that place were thick, the mountain steep and rocky. Lieutenant Heflebower, the officer in charge of the picket, dismounted some of the men and searched all over for them without success."

Hearing the firing in camp from the line of pickets I immediately sent out a squadron to scour the country in the neighborhood of the scene. After much trouble, found the tracks of the murderers up and across the mountain; taking a circuitous route to some houses about 1 1/2 miles front where the firing took place, finding 4 men who could not account for themselves and from their contradictory statements were arrested. Finding any further efforts to make discoveries fruitless the command returned to camp. I brought each of the prisoners separately before the wounded men, then in the regimental hospital, one of whom, N. J. Fletcher, was identified immediately by Private [Lewis H.] Palmer, who is positive that he is the man that fired on him. Private Steckel, the only one of the party uninjured, also identified him, Fletcher, and one other, John Peters, jr., as being two of the men of the party of ten. The other two state that they were in company with Fletcher and Peters all day, and further their statements are both contradictory and changeable, and I have no doubt that each and all of them are guilty of the murders committed.

I had to use, assisted by the other officers of the regiment, the most strenuous efforts to prevent the men from lynching them, their guilt being so palpable. I hear from good authority that three of the ten men that are now in this vicinity bushwhacking are of those I have sent down to headquarters and who have been recently released, and are now boasting of being Union men.

Very respectfully, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel Third Ohio Cavalry, Commanding.

P.S.-Since writing the above Private Steckel has recognized Lewis Turner, another of the prisoners, also John Peters, as being two that were of the party. Private William Smith, Company C, recognizes one of the prisoners, Fletcher, as being one that fired upon him a few days since; Private Smith is now lying in hospital from wounds received, he states, by his hands.

Respectfully, yours,


Lieutenant-Colonel Third Ohio Cavalry, Commanding.

Col. J. B. FRY, Chief of Staff, Army of the Ohio.

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 16, pgs. 836-837

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