At daylight on Nov. 26, 1863, Col. Edward Hatch, commanding the 2d cavalry brigade, left Collierville moving north toward Tipton County. His command was composed of the 2d Iowa and the Illinois 6th, 7th, and 9th regiments (the 7th Illinois did not go on the expedition).
The Federals crossed Wolf River near Germantown. En route, they burned Quinn and Sherrar’s flouring mill on the Loosahatchie River.
One Unionist recalled the command rode to the “vicinity of Covington, all the time picking up horses and mules.” The Yankees arrived at Covington about 10 a.m. on the 28th.
A soldier wrote: “This was a very rich section of the country and had not been devastated by the ravages of war…In this trip the boys fared well in the way of chickens, turkeys, sweet potatoes, fruit, etc., and as the soldiers took only the best, more was wasted than eaten.”
Hatch’s cavalry entered Covington from the south on the Covington-Mason-Somerville road. Dwellings on the east side of the road leading to the courthouse were James Byars, E. J. Mariner, Mrs. Mary Collier, the Presbyterian church (on the northeast corner of Main and Church), and the old R. W. Sanford home (post office lot).
On the west side of South Main street coming into town were the residences of John T. Douglas, John L. Morgan, Dr. William M. Hall and Dr. Lafayette Hill. (The Douglas home and part of the Collier house remain to this day.)
The widow, Mrs. Mary Smith Taylor, was living with the Douglas family. (She was a sister of Mrs. John Douglas.)
Mrs. Taylor saw men of the 2d Iowa who camped two miles away at the Ben Rutherford plantation. John T. Douglas had served as lieutenant in Co. I, 7th Tennessee cavalry, before receiving a medical discharge. He and a servant were engaged in hauling wood from his plantation. A servant drove his wagon of wood pulled by three horses. One of them, a five year-old “large roan horse in good order valued at $200,” belonged to Mrs. Mary S. Taylor. Douglas was not within speaking distance of his servant, but saw a squad of about 30 Yankees ride up to his wagon.
The Yankees unhitched the horses “and led them off in the direction of where they struck camp, about 400 yards distant.”
Douglas went to the camp of Col. Hatch to get Mrs. Taylor’s horse back. Col. Hatch denied Douglas’ request stating he needed the horse… loyal Southerners would be reimbursed at the close of the war, rebels would not.”
The Federals raided other plantations. From Isaac McGregor’s place a mile from Covington, they took corn, fodder and “one fat hog weighing 160 pounds…valued at $16.”
From Edmund Strange, four miles east of Covington, they took a horse valued at $200. Two miles south of Covington, the men of the 2d Iowa camped on the plantation of Mrs. Caroline E. Sanford, consuming or taking the following: 750 bushels corn ($750); two mules ($400); 44 hogs ($850) “they killed them on the place and per H. (Hatch) consumed them then and there.”; five tons of hay ($150); five stacks fodder ($95); 140 bushels sweet potatoes ($140); 80 pounds coffee ($32); 225 pounds sugar ($56.25); 40-pound box of candles ($12); 100 pounds bacon ($30).
A soldier in the 9th Illinois wrote: “Weather very warm, and while at Covington the boys found five barrels of high wines and whisky, and some of the companies did not have enough sober men to take care of their horses for two days.”
The Yankees left Dec. 1, marching through Tabernacle, Charleston and Wesley, camping at Stanton’s Depot, 12 miles north of Somerville. Hatch reached Somerville Dec. 2. During the expedition, Hatch reported, “seeing small squads of Confederates…captured 300 horses and mules and about 15 prisoners.”