Saturday, April 18, 2009

From the 19th Ohio

Camp on Battle Field near Murfreesboro,
January 5th, 1863

Messrs. Editors:

I hope that you will be kind enough to insert the following in your paper for the benefit of the friends and relatives of the 19th Regiment and more especially of the members of Company E. I give you a hurried sketch of our loss during [illegible] battles. We arrived here on Monday evening and took our position on right of left wing. It rained nearly all day on Tuesday. Cannonading in our front, right and some firing of musketry. Several charges [made] on the right by our forces. Our Regiment being on the third line, had no firing to do.

Wednesday, Dec. 31 – About 7 A.M. an order was read to us form General Rosecrans, stating that he that day wished to give the rebels on a death blow, and some very encouraging remarks to the officers and soldiers. Our brigade was then moved across Stone River, and had scarcely our lines formed when an order came for us to recross, as the enemy had driven our right. We were brought back to our old ground. Changed front several times and finally marched to the right on the Murfreesboro pike, and just [in time], as General Rosecrans said, to save the [utter annihilation] of the whole right wing of our army. Two brigades came through the woods on a dead run, and the rebels after them, and within 25 or 30 yards of the pike. Our commands were but “Fix bayonets and commence firing.” As soon as our men were out of the way, breaking through our ranks, we poured a deadly fire into them, charged and drove them about one thousand yards – Generals Rosseau, Rosecrans, Vancleve, McCook and Crittenden were present when we made our first charge. We were very highly complimented. Several of the Generals stated that it was the best regiment in the U.S. Army.

We advanced into an open field and again, the rebels charged and drove one brigade in our front back, and broke our ranks to get through. We were then ordered to lay down. The rebels flanked us on our right and we were then ordered to fall back. We formed some four hundred yards back, and waited their arrival at the top of a little rise and again opened on them. Two batteries opened a cross fire at the same time and we piled them up like old shoes and drove them back again. It so happened that Gen. Rosecrans was present at this fire, all alone, his face as bloody as a butcher. His A.A.G. had his head shot off by a solid shot by his side a few minutes before.

We were again moved to the right to strengthen the lines as the rebels moved in that direction. We were again under fire, marching by the right flank. The boys would step out of ranks and fire, saying it was too pretty a chance to miss. We were then ordered to the rear, where we could build fires and rest, but did not move till 12 M. Our boys put in the last of the old year marching; night very cold and rations short.

Jan. 1st – About six o’clock in the morning we again started to cross the river, but were detained by our artillery. In the meantime some demonstrations were made by the enemy to attack our centre, and we were stationed to support a battery on our left. Towards evening we crossed the river, took position right of left wing, second line. Some very heavy artillery and musketry firing on our right. We were called up during the night but nothing occurred more than picket skirmishing.

Jan. 2 – All quiet on our front until near three o’clock, we were in line and broke ranks near 4 P.M. Captain Drury’s Battery (formerly of Zanesville) then in our front, came moving back. Just then musketry firing commenced on our front. We had scarcely time to form when the order was given to advance double quick. The 23rd brigade was falling back in great confusion and disorder, every one on his own hook. We advanced about three hundred yards and fired on the enemy, but they were too strong for us, and we were compelled to fall back. We tried to rally at the foot of the hill, but the enemy pressed us too close. We were driven across the creek and a great many of our men were overtaken and captured, but the rebels were driven back so quick that they had not time to attend to taking prisoners with them. A great many were shot while in the act of crossing the stream and were lost. Men rallied from [all] quarters formed and drove the rebels [illegible] back Our artillery opened on them a most terrible fire. The old 19th colors were the first to recross the creek. Color bearers could be seen going in all directions with flags but no regiments. It is the general supposition that this was the most terrible scene of the war.

We charged on, as I have since learned, Hardee’s and Breckenridge’s divisions, with a battalion of sharpshooters in front. Our regiment held the whole rebel army in check for some five or six minutes until flanked.

After the enemy were driven back we took our position as before. It rained hard all night. We were relieved about 9 A.M. on the 3d [illegible] Marched across the creek to the rear, mud knee deep. During the retreat of the rebels they lost at least four prisoners to our one and four killed to our one. Also the celebrated Washington battery was captured.

January 4 – Very heavy firing on the right commenced about 3 P.M. and lasted 2 hours.

Jan 4 Rebels reported to have evacuated. Our troops advanced this morning. No enemy to be found. Some reserved troops were engaged throwing up fortification on our old ones.

The loss in our company, December 31st. at the first fire was as follows:

John H. Deavers, 2d Corporal, wounded in [left] thigh, slightly, Thomas L. Gilson right thing, died same day, William H. Cooper, private, right arm below elbow, serious, John [P.] Green, hand slight, Isaac Granger, thigh, sever, Thomas Harbaugh, arm below elbow, sever, George W. Little, leg, slight, John J. [Lams], ankle, severe.

Same day, second fire:

Wm. [Cook], 4th Corporal, right leg, below knee, severe. Anthony Bolinger, private, left [illegible] serious.

Jan 2d – Captain U Bean, killed, George Herald, private, killed, Jas. Franks, private, [killed], Geo. J. Swank, 1st Sergeant, wounded in chin, serious. Frederick Pannier, 3d Corporal, wounded in chin, seriously. Geo. Colhouse, private, thigh, slightly. Jennings F. [N___bro], breast, slight, Wm. Ziegler, right arm, below elbow, slight.

Missing – Henry [E__s] and George W. Armstrong, privates.

We are all in fine spirits and well, what is [left of us]. Our loss in the regiment is [210] killed wounded and missing.

I remain your humble servant.

Lt. Company E, 19th Reg’t. O.V.I.

– Published in the Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Ohio, January, 15, 1863

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