Saturday, April 12, 2008

Letter from E. R. Kennedy of the 6th Regiment.

Hospital No 4, Div. 15th A. C.
Nov. 27 1863

Dear Parents:

I have sad news for you; the worst that can come from me.

We have been in another hard fight, and Rebel bullets are no respecter of persons. You have to morn the loss of a son. I a brother. Liberty! Poor fellow, was shot dead in the third charge. He fought bravely, and was shot with his gun cocked, and in the act of shooting. I am sorry to tell you, that I was unable to see him: I was wounded in the same charge, and from what I learn about the same time he was struck. My wound is in the left leg half way below the knee, done with a piece of shell. Liberty was shot through the heart, and died without a groan. Thomas Kirkpatrick helped to bury him. I knew nothing of it until he was buried. He lies at the foot of the hill where we fought. This news is sad, but it is a relief to know that he died at his post; he never faltered; was always ready, and was a soldier in every respect.

Several of the company were wounded.

Capt. Minton took command of the company of the 24th [ult. ?] and in the second charge was wounded in the right arm below the elbow: The Surgeons say it will have to come off. Thomas Barrows wounded in the left ankle, not dangerous. Frederick B. Johnson in left leg close to the body. He has not more than one chance of ten to get well. Elam Ford in the forehead with a piece of shell, slightly. Thomas Carson in the side of the head with a ball, slightly. We are all of the company that are in the hospital. Sever others are slightly wounded that are with the regiment. Charles Wright was hit with a shell. Edward Chambers hit on the little finger. Charles Miler on the knee. Isaac Gregg on the ear. There may be others; as I have not been to the regiment since I received my wound, I have not the full particulars –

They are in pursuit of the rebels. They have captured 15,000 to 20,000 prisoners according to report, and between 50 to 100 pieces of artillery.

I can hear the roar of artillery ten or fifteen miles away, still growing more distant.

The 25th day of Nov. is a day to be long remembered, especially by our regiment. We threw a pontoon across the Tennessee river on the 24th, and took a hill two miles from the river, and fortified it that might. The next morning between seven and eight o’clock we were called out, we formed behind some logs, the rebels had thrown up the night before, for their skirmishers at the food of Mission ridge. We formed 4 columns deep, and charged on their works. Gen. Corse was wounded near their works. We were compelled to fall back and rally again. We rallied behind the logs, again we charged and silenced their battery, and again fell back. For what reason I cannot say. Col. [ ]umis came up on our right, charged and took their works. The rebels then came down on us. We were again ordered to charge. We went at it with a cheer. I did not go more than five rods before I was hit, my gun was knocked from my hands, and I have not seen it since. It was in this charge that Liberty was killed.

We have had a very hard time; we have not had a whole night’s sleep since the 16th. We have been either marching or working. Some of the soldiers were robbed of their clothing and money as they lay corpses on the field of battle. Some were untouched.

Where we will be taken I cannot tell. I will write again in a few days.

E. R. Kennedy.

- Published in The Union Sentinel, Osceola, Iowa, December 12, 1863

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