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Thomas Sayles

Researchers: Andorra Salaices and Tony Degrazia

          Thomas W. Sayles was born on November 25, 1841. He was born in the Franklin/Norfolk area of Massachusetts. He was 18 when he enlisted in the union army. His mother was Almira Sayles, his father was Oren Sayles and his brother was Smith Sayles. He fought in many battles. Later in his life, Thomas joined the 1st regiment in the Rhode Island Calvary where he was lieutenant. He was part of company A and H. On September 12, 1863, Thomas' cavalry was organized in Providence where they prepared themselves for the war. From December 31st to January 14th, his battalion moved to New Orleans, where they attached to the defenses under Major General Nathaniel. P. Banks. On March 10 to May 22, 1864, the battalion traveled to Louisiana on the Red River expedition. On March 14th-26th they advanced to Alexandria, Louisiana. In Natchitoches Parish, from March 29-30, the battle of Monett's Ferry was fought. The outcome in this battle was a victory for the union army. Here the confederates missed an opportunity to capture Sayle's regiment. On April 4th, Bank's army joined Brig. General Thomas Kilby Smith's Provisional Division who was in need in supplies after fighting a strenuous battle. On April 8th, a battle was fought in the Sabine Crossroads. Bank's army was defeated and was driven back by General Richard Taylor. On April 9th, the Battle of Pleasant Hill was fought and was the last major battle of the Red River Campaign. Although the union won, Bank's retreated and hoped to get his army out of Louisiana before anymore immense battles occurred. On April 20th-22nd, companies E, F and L, joined Bank's army in Alexandria. On April 23, the confederate army missed another opportunity to capture a vast amount of union soldiers at Monett's Ferry or Cane River Crossing. On May 13th-25th, the Union army retreated from Alexandria to Marganza. On May 16, Major General Richard Taylor's confederate forces attempted to slow down or even wipe out union troops. Bank's army held their own and got past confederate forces. On May 18th at Avoyelles Parish, Bank's got word that Major General Richard Taylor's forces were near Yellow Bayou. So he ordered Brig. General AJ Smith to stop them. After a see-saw battle, a fire prevented both sides from fighting which meant the union would escape to fight again. On May 24th, the army entered Morganza. In June 1864, they became part of the 5th brigade cavalry division department of the Gulf. On June 2nd, they reached Fort Banks, which was opposite New Orleans. On June 10th, they joined a regiment at Greenville. On June 22nd, the regiment was dismounted. From here till September, they joined the infantry and the defenses of New Orleans. On September 20th, the regiment remounted. From here till November 1865, they were assigned to duty in the district of Lafourche at Donaldsonville and other points in Louisiana. They were told to scout and patrol to prevent attacks against Guerrillas. On November 1st, confederate forces launched attack at Napoleonville. In January, on the 16th-18th companies B, I and K joined expedition from Basher City to Whiskey Bayou. On January 23rd skirmishes were held on Thompson's Plantation. On January 30, on Richland Plantation another skirmish arose. From here Banks led his army from Thibodeaux to Lake Verret and Bayou Planton where the met up with company H. After a number of little battles, on February 14th -18th an expedition from Donaldsonville to Grand Bayou and Goula was made. From here on out Sayles along with other men of the union army made many expeditions all over Louisiana where in November they settled in the district of Lafourche and the department of the Gulf. On November 29th they eventually congregated out of Louisiana.

          Thomas W. Sayles was lost during service. No one knows whether he died or lived to see the aftermath of the war, but by the time he joined to the time he was lost he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

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