Report of Col. Silas A. Strickland, Fiftieth Ohio Infantry, commanding
Third Brigade, of operations November 24-December 7, 1864.
HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, SECOND DIV., 23D ARMY CORPS,
Nashville, Tenn., December 7, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, since November 24, 1864:
November 24, 1864, in camp at Columbia, Tenn., with two regiments of infantry the Fiftieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Seventy-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the last regiment having been assigned to Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, per order of Brigadier-General Ruger, commanding Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps. November 25, 1864, at 9 p.m., Third Brigade receives orders to cross Duck River, and take position on north side near railroad bridge. November 26, 1864, skirmishing commenced at 6 a.m. and continued during the day on south side of river. Third Brigade remains in position on north side of river. November 27, 1864, remained in position on north side of river until 6 p.m., when we received orders and crossed the river to south side, occupying the works previously built by Twenty-third Army Corps, and sent out skirmishers to cover our front. November 28, 1864, remained in works on south side until Fourth Army Corps crossed the river, which, at 4 a.m., the Third Brigade moved across the river and occupied the same works left November 27, 1864. The One hundred and eighty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry is assigned for duty with Third Brigade, per Special Orders, No. 74, headquarters Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps. November 29, 1864, Third Brigade in same position, and work on fortifications until 12 m. The Forty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry is assigned to Third Brigade, per Special Orders, No. 75, headquarters Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps. At 12 m. Third Brigade moved by the right flank for Spring Hill, Third Brigade in advance of Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps. All quiet until 5 p.m.; light skirmishing until 9 p.m., when part of brigade moved toward Johnson [Thompson's?] Station, leaving the Forty-fourth Missouri and One hundred and eighty-third Ohio Regiments of infantry to follow in rear of all transportation. We reached Johnson [Thompson's?] Station 12 o'clock at night.
November 30, 1864, at 2 a.m., Third Brigade moved from Johnson [Thompson's?] Station, on Franklin road. We reached Franklin, Tenn., at 6.30 a.m., and commenced throwing up works. Works completed at 12 m. The position of Third Brigade, west of Columbia pike, on left of Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and on right of Third Division, Twenty third Army Corps. Skirmishers thrown out to cover our front. The brigade in two lines — Fiftieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Seventy-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry in front line, and One hundred and eighty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Forty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry in rear line. At 3 p.m. heavy skirmishing commenced, the enemy driving in our skirmishers, and at 3.30 p.m. the enemy assaulted the whole line, making an effort to flank us out of front line of works by marching down the Columbia pike in solid column. The nature of the ground gave the enemy the advantage. They succeeded in taking the front line of works, but had the pleasure of holding it but a few moments. The second line rallied to the support of the first line and succeeded in driving the enemy from it. The disorderly manner in which some of the troops of the Fourth Army Corps retreated caused a slight confusion, and, indeed, the enemy made his appearance on the outside of the first line of works almost simultaneous with the retreat of the Fourth Army Corps. I then ordered the reserve regiments to first line in support. The Fiftieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Gillespie commanding, and Seventy-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Stockton commanding, renewed the attack with great vigor and gallantry; while the Forty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Bradshaw commanding, and One hundred and eighty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Hoge commanding, moved up in good order, under a most terrific fire, and took full possession of the first line of works, and in a hand-to-hand encounter the four regiments drove the enemy from the works, which was held with great tenacity, capturing a number of prisoners (not known). In the charge to drive the enemy from their immediate front of the first line and save it from capture by the enemy, Colonel Bradshaw, of the Forty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, while leading his regiment, with colors in hand, and most gallantly, by personal example, encouraging his men, fell mortally wounded,1 also, at the same moment, Lieut. Col. M. Clark, One hundred and eighty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was instantly killed while actively engaged assisting in bringing his regiment up to the first line, while Lieutenant-Colonel Stockton and Major James, of the Seventy-second Illinois Regiment of Infantry, were wounded at the same time.
The tenacity with which the Fiftieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Seventy-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry held the first line, stubbornly refusing to yield their position, in the midst of a most terrible carnage, and the prompt manner in which the Forty-fourth Missouri and the One hundred and eighty-third Ohio Regiments executed the order to move up to the support of the first line, midst a shower of leaden rain, cannot fail to command the highest admiration of our superiors in the engagement and challenge the good opinion of all brave comrades in the battle.
Lieut. Col. H. S. Gillespie, Fiftieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Lieutenant-Colonel Stockton, Seventy-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and Major James, of same regiment; and Capt. J. A. Sexton, Seventy-second Illinois, [who] took command of regiment when both field officers fell; Colonel Hoge, One hundred and eighty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Lieut. Col. A. J. Barr, Forty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry — all are deserving of the highest praise for the marked ability in the management of their men, as well as their noble conduct of true bravery, so handsomely displayed throughout the engagement. To the other officers and men of the entire command I can find no words fitting the occasion sufficiently strong in terms of commendation for the pluck, stubbornness, and genuine heroism exhibited throughout.
I am greatly indebted to the officers of my staff, most especially the three who were present with me during the engagement: First Lieut. John B. McLoe, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. L. A. Burke, acting assistant inspector-general; Second Lieut. C. A. Van Deursen, acting aide-de-camp. Their conduct was such in personal gallantry throughout that entitled them to my deepest gratitude, and as examples worthy of imitation by all good soldiers in so trying an hour of battle. I cannot forget to mention that my two orderlies, John W. Fouts, color-bearer of brigade, and J. Milton Foster, my personal orderly, during the entire fight, exhibited personal bravery in the carrying of orders which does them great credit as good and faithful soldiers.
Although out of ordinary course of reports, I could not make a faithful history of operations without recording the fact that at a very critical moment in rallying to retake the first line, I consider the success of the brigade was mainly owing at this juncture to the immediate personal presence of Brigadier-General Cox, commanding Third Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and the timely assistance he rendered me in so critical a moment in sending to my support the One hundred and twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Bond commanding, who participated in the last two hours of the engagement (the colonel himself being wounded), the regiment rendering that assistance making success complete in holding our works until the order to move was received, which was at 12 o'clock at night, when the brigade withdrew, leaving a heavy skirmish line in the works, and marched across the river over the railroad bridge.
December 1, 1864, at 2 a.m., the skirmishers left in works at Franklin, Tenn., November 30, 1864, joined the brigade on the Nashville and Franklin pike. The brigade was in motion marching toward Nashville, Tenn., where it arrived at 4 p.m., and went into position on north side of Fort Negley, on right of Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and on left of Third Division, Twenty-third Army Corps.
Below please find list of casualties;2 and for further information I will respectfully refer you to reports of regimental commanders; a copy of each accompanies this report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. STRICKLAND,
Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.
Lieut. S. H. HUBBELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
1 Bradshaw survived his wound.
2 Shows 6 officers and 67 men killed, 19 officers and 159 men wounded, and 2 officers and 278 men missing — total 531.
SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 389-91