Showing posts with label Fortifications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fortifications. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2020

Diary of Private Louis Leon: August 30, 1862

Our company went to work to-day throwing up breastworks.

SOURCE: Louis Leon, Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier, p. 10

Diary of Private Louis Leon: August 31, 1862

Still digging dirt.

SOURCE: Louis Leon, Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier, p. 10

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his Daughter, January 24, 1863

St. Simon's Bay, January 24. 

At nine this morning we entered this bay expecting to find the John Adams waiting for us, but she was not to be seen. We dropped anchor and the Colonel and I went on board the gunboat Potomska. There we found a remarkable negro who resides on St. Simon's Island and who informed us that he knew of a quantity of Railroad iron, that was used in the construction of a fort, below, on the shore. So while waiting for the John Adams, the surf boats were manned and men enough taken ashore to secure about two thousand dollars worth of this new iron which is much needed at Hilton Head.

With Lieut. West, I went up to the Hon. Thomas Butler King's estate, and confiscated a nice bath tub and three new windows for my hospital, which has only shutters. At four this afternoon the John Adams steamed down the bay.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 348

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Jonathan Worth: A Resolution.* probably between November 19, 1860 and February 25, 1861

Resolved, That while we recognize the right of the Genl. Government to garrison and defend its forts within our borders, and deem it the duty of the President of the United States to protect and defend said forts against the aggression or adverse occupation of all persons whatsoever; in the present state of affairs we think it highly inexpedient that the general Government exercise such right or make any other military demonstration, tending to civil war.

Resolved, further, That while we earnestly deprecate a military collision between the authorities of the United States and the people or authorities of any State of this Union, we deem it inexpedient to declare, in advance, what part we should take, in the event of such collision, until all the attending circumstances shall be known.

* This resolution is in Jonathan Worth's writing, and was probably prepared by him during the General Assembly of 1860-61.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 129

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: June 2, 1863

Receiving supplies at Chickasaw Bayou for the army around Vicksburg.

We stayed in camp again all day, and I improved the time strolling through the camps, forts and rifle pits, which had been deserted by the Confederates. They seem to have left their quarters rather unceremoniously, for they abandoned siege guns, with tents, wagons, clothing and ammunition scattered about in confusion. I thought, while camped here, they seemed to feel quite secure. They frequently looked towards the Yazoo, and defied our boats to come up. However, when the boats did come, with Sherman in the rear, they beat a hasty retreat to the inside of Vicksburg.

As our duties have been light to-day, the time has been occupied socially, by the boys reciting many little scenes of the past month. We conversed feelingly of those left behind on acount of sickness, or wounds, or death in battle. Only half our company is left now, and after two years more, what will have become of the rest? We shall fight on, perhaps, till the other half is gone. The friendship that now exists among our remnant is very firmly knit. Through our past two years of soldier life such ties of brotherhood have grown up as only companions in arms can know. And I trust before the end of another two years · the old flag will again float secure in every State in the Nation.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 40-1

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 7, 1864

September 7, 1864.

At 7 a. m. moved out on our return, and camped for the night on the left bank of Flint river, six miles south of Eastpoint. The Rebels had fortified to this place, and I don't know how much farther south. As soon as Hood found out that Sherman was attempting to turn his left, he commenced extending his lines down the railroad. He had built six miles of new works when we reached Jonesboro the night of the 30th of August. His line was too long for his troops, so he sent two corps to oppose us, and the 23d and 4th moved into the vacant space in his line right over his works.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 299

Friday, February 14, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 2, 1864

Six miles south of Jonesboro,
September 2, 1864.

At daylight our skirmish line moved forward and found the Rebels gone. When our boys reached the railroad a train of cars was just loading some wounded; the boys made for it, but it outran them. They left a number of their wounded, and when the 14th broke them on the 1st, we captured several hospitals, in one of which were several officers. I saw in a hole by a hospital two legs and three arms. One can't help pitying these Rebel soldiers. They have been whipped here until they have lost all spirit. They don't fight with any spirit when they are attacked and it's more like a butchery than a battle. Our brigade in advance we started after them. The 100th Indiana and 6th Iowa were deployed as skirmishers, and met the Rebel line almost as soon as they started forward. They drove them finely for four miles, when our skirmishers reported that they had run the Rebel army into fortifications.

The country here is quite open, the fields being from half to a mile or more wide, bordered by a narrow strip of wood. The 46th Ohio and our regiment were now deployed to relieve the skirmishers, and take a close look at the enemy's position. They were shooting at us from some rail fences within range, and a mile away, over the fields, we could see them digging; seemed to be constructing a line of pits. We pushed forward under a heavy skirmish fire, and took from a S. C. Brigade the line of pits we saw them making, and went on a little way until we drew a fire from their main works, when we retired to the pits we had taken and prepared to hold them. Found tools in them. This was 3 p. m. About dark the Rebels made three little sorties, but only in light force. We easily repulsed them. Captain Post was wounded in the right breast. Loss in the regiment is seven wounded, raising the loss in the regiment to 178. The 103d and 46th Ohio captured 19 prisoners and killed and wounded at least 25.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 297-8

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

“Red Stick” to Isaac M. Keeler, November 22, 1861

FRIEND KEELER:—As I have a few spare moments I thought I would indite a few lines to you, letting you know that the central division of the American army of the Department of Cumberland is still remaining at this point.  When our large army will move forward it is impossible to tell.  The indications are not very flattering.  I predict that our division of troops will not advance very far from this camp.  It looks as if we would go into winter quarters between this point and Green River.

Our army is large enough for an advance, but it looks as if this was a peaceful war against the rebels.  Our delays are expensive and give the rebels time to fortify.  There is no need of such dilatory action.  Let the war be pushed forward with vigor, for by rapid movements we gain much.  By remaining here, the rebels gain every advantage, and our forces are put to the necessity of reducing strong fortifications.  Our movements could be forward, for if any advantages are to be gained, let our forces gain them.  There is too much red tape governing the action of our army.  We have remained here over five weeks, and winter is upon us, and yet no battle has been fought; no victory tells of the bravery of our men, and no trophies tell of daring exploits, forced marches or hardships endured by our soldiers, for the preservation of the American Union and of Free institutions.  Our army is inactive, but if tried by the Kentucky rebels, they will find us ready and effective.  But it seems as if the army contractors who are plundering from the government treasure are anxious to prolong this war for their own selfish purposes.  But the people are getting tired of such extravagant work.—They demand prompt action and efficient prosecution of this war, until traitors cease to exist and the Banner of the Free waves in triumph over every state in the American Union.

The men around here are secessionists, but to swear the dogs and let them go, seems to be the policy of those in power.  The rebels are constantly getting information from our camp, and reporting our acts to their rebel chieftains.—Here we see the rebel signals very near every night, and our picket guards are within gun shot of the “tarnel red skins,” yet we remain inactive.  But we yield obedience to all orders, however repugnant they may be to our sense of right and justice.  We are government machines set to any tune it may desire to play.

Yesterday our regiment (the 49th) was out on picket guard.  It was a gloomy day, the mud being about knee deep, but it seemed to go well for a change.  Companies A and F were on the extreme right, the farthest from camp and at points where rebel balls have pierced union hearts.  Company A is from Findlay, Ohio; its officers are gentlemen in every sense of the word.  Capt. A. Langworthy is one of God’s noblemen.  He is small in statue [sic], but I don’t think any other little man every had so large a heart.  Lieut. Sam. Gray is considered the best looking man in the regiment and is an able and efficient officer.  Lieut. Davidson was one of the Kansas warriors, and exerted himself to free Kansas from the blighting curse of slavery.  His fame shall live forever.

Lieut. Gray was out last night scouting, and I learn captured a secessionist at a distillery.  The rats get dry, they must come out of their holes.

Yesterday afternoon about dusk, Capt. Bartlett and eight men captured four secessionists, who have been firing upon our picket guards for a long time back without bloodshed.  He went through a defile in the woods to an old forsaken house, where no one would suppose white men would live and found them in the garret asleep.  His entrance around the sleeping villains, but they dare not resist, and surrendered themselves as prisoners.  They were brought into camp this morning amid the hearty plaudits of our volunteers.  They looked hard.

Capt. James Patterson and John, the scout, are now out scouting.  We look for them to-night.  John is a negro and makes a valuable man in the scouting service.

The regiment have received their overcoats.  They are a dark blue.  They boys are satisfied with them, and make a good appearance.

Kentucky’s fairest daughters do not compare with Sandusky county girls.  They are not so large or handsome.  But I find the “school marms” are from the North, hence the people here have some advantages which we enjoy at home.

Our boys have built a bake-oven.  They are great on improvements, and their inventive genius has been let loose.  Daniel Jacobson seems to be ahead so far in that line.  The oven is a perfect success, and better bread cannot be found any where than baked in it.  It is an old fashioned mud oven, and it might be said of it, science directed and Corporal Wilson Executed.

Ours is the Printer Company.  Five printers belong to it, and we will set the type and take impressions when we get to Bowling Green.

Without bragging, our Orderly Sergeant, John Kessler, cannot be beat, search creation over.—He is always ready, ever willing, and always attentive to the wants of the men.  He is respected and loved by all.

Our regimental officers are good.  Col. Wm. H. Gibson is O. K.  The men will fight for Bill until there is nothing left to fight for.  He is familiar with all, but is endowed with Roman firmness, never flinching, and always at his post.  He is the right man in the right place.

Our Lieutenant Colonel is A. M. Blackman, formerly of Fostoria.  He was in the three month’s service, a Captain under Col. Norton in the Ohio 21st regiment.  He left a history in Western Virginia which the rebels will not very soon forget.  He his courageous, able and efficient, and all the proficiency that has been made in drill by the 49th regiment is due to him.

Our Major is Levi Drake, of Putnam county, Ohio.  He was through the Mexican war, is military by practice and inclination, a good officer and a brave man.

Our Chaplain is Rev. E. H. Bush, son of Erastus Bush, of Fremont.  Hi is a gentleman and a scholar, always attentive to the spiritual wants of his men.

Of Adjutant C. N. Norton nothing need be said by me; he is favorably known by all Fremonters.

Col. Crittenden’s 6th Indiana regiment cleaned out Rain’s store and dwelling houses at Nolin.  Rains was connected in burning Bridges.  They took his chimney down, kicked all the siding off of his house and store, and applied his goods to their benefit.  Every thing was thoroughly cleaned out.

Our army is increasing in strength all the time.  Troops are continually pouring in at this point.  Hurry up the 72nd, for we need more men in Kentucky.  Union men of Sandusky county, come to our rescue.  Come and go with us upon the battle-field, and there prove yourselves worthy of your ancestry.  Let it not be said you was unmindful of the deeds of bravery exhibited by George Croghan and his little band of heroes who so nobly defended Fort Stephenson.  Come as the waves come, clearing out every thing in our course.

To-day our Regiment received orders to be ready at a moment’s notice to march.  Where to or when it is not known.

John Tally came here with Col. Gibson and joined Company F.  He used to be a carpenter at Fremont.  He makes a good soldier.

The men in our regiment are in good health, and are always in good condition.  They have been  seriously exposed, but have so far luckily escaped.

Yours truly,

SOURCE: “Army Correspondence,” The Freemont Weekly Journal, Freemont, Ohio, Friday, November 22, 1861, p. 2.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 17, 1864

June 17, 1864.

After erecting some good works at Roswell (the best we have yet built), capable of holding at least 25,000 men, we were provided with three days’ rations and cartridges “ad libitum,” for another of what an Augusta paper calls “Sherman leap-frog-like advance.” Our corps is the extreme left of the army. We moved out this morning, our brigade in advance of our division, and Osterhaus and Smith's Divisions following on the Decatur road. Did I tell you in my last among the “locals,” that these Roswell factories have been turning out 35,000 yards per day of jeans, etc., for the Confederate Army, that there is the greatest abundance of blackberries and whortleberries here, that one of the 48th Illinois was drowned in the Chattahoochie while bathing, and that of several hundred factory girls I have seen, hardly one who is passably handsome? Some fine fat ones, and a few neat feet, but they are not “clipper built,” and lack “get up” and “figure heads.”

We moved six miles without meeting a Rebel, and then only a squadron of cavalry that lacked a devilish sight of being “chivalry,” for they more than ran without just cause. We only went two miles farther and then bivouacked. Our brigade was thrown half a mile in front and across the road. We put up a rail barricade across the road and a temporary rail-work along our front, and then abandoned ourselves to the longings of our breadbaskets, and desisted not until every man was in himself a miniature blackberry patch. The boys brought me pint after pint of great black fellows they had picked in the shade of dense woods or on a steep bank, and I assure you they disappeared without an exception. This road, the last 10 days, has been filled with refugee citizens running from the Yankees. An old gentleman in whose yard the reserve pickets have stacked their arms, told me that all the men of his acquaintance over 45 years old are, and always have been, Unionists, and are to-day ready and willing to give up slavery for our cause. I have been a deluded believer in the hoax of fine “Georgia plantations,” but I assure you I am now thoroughly convalescent. I haven't seen five farm houses equal to Mrs. James ———, and only one that showed evidences of taste. That was where I saw the Rebel General Iverson dead among the flowers. The country is all hilly, and the soil, where there is any, is only fit for turnips. The timber is all scrub oak and pine, and some more viney bushes peculiar to the climate.

I notice some of the white moss hanging from the trees, like that there was so much of at Black river. The 16th Corps is on our right moving on a parallel road, and the 23d joins them. I don't know whether our other corps have crossed yet or not.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 280-1

Friday, July 12, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 10, 1864, a.m.

July 10, 1864, a. m.

The Rebels evacuated last night, and our flags are on their works and our skirmishers at the river. A number of Johnnies were left on this side. I believe they have every time left on Saturday night or Sunday. Their works here are the best I have seen. Three lines and block houses ad libitum.  P. m. — Every Rebel is across the river, and our 23d and 16th Corps are also over, away up to the left. It is intimated though that they will only hold their position a few days. We are expecting orders to join them.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 277

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 159. Report of Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

No. 159.

Report of Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division,
of operations December 15-16, 1864.

Camp near Columbia, December 24, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this division in the late battles before Nashville:

On the morning of the 15th instant, at an early hour, the division was moved outside of the works, and formed in line of battle in the following order: On the right, near the Hardin pike, Colonel Wolfe's brigade, composed of the Fifty-second Indiana, Forty-ninth Illinois, One hundred and seventeenth Illinois, One hundred and seventy-eighth New York, and Battery G, Second Illinois; in the center, Col. D. Moore's brigade, composed of the Twenty-first Missouri, Eighty-ninth Indiana, One hundred and nineteenth Illinois, One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, and the Ninth Indiana Battery; and on the left, Colonel Gilbert's brigade, composed of the Twenty-seventh Iowa, Thirty-second Iowa, Tenth Kansas, Fifty-eighth Illinois, and Third Indiana Battery. My instructions required me to keep closed on the Fourth Corps, on my left, and regulate my advance by the right. A strong line of skirmishers was thrown from the division, as follows: In front of Wolfe, a portion of the One hundred and seventeenth Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Merriam commanding; in front of Moore, a portion of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, Major Chapman commanding; and in front of Gilbert, the Tenth Kansas and Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, Capt. W. C. Jones, Tenth Kansas, commanding. The general movement of the day was a grand wheel to the left, and as the division was in the center of the line it was necessary to use the utmost exertion to preserve its proper relation to the two grand wings. After advancing some distance, the skirmish line clearing away all opposition, the line halted in easy cannon-range of the rebel forts. The skirmish line was well advanced, and the Second Illinois and Ninth Indiana Batteries immediately brought into action, under the direction of Captain Lowell, chief of division artillery. These batteries were much exposed to the enemy's guns from the forts, but they maintained their fire, were used with much skill, and by silencing in a great degree the enemy's guns, contributed largely toward the final capture of the forts. The movement of the division being controlled by that of the line on its right, it was not until McArthur's left brigade, under Hill, advanced, that I ordered the charge which was promptly made on the double-quick. In the front of my center there was an angle in the enemy's works, so that when the Fourth Corps charged the works in their front, and I the forts in my front, our lines crossed. To prevent confusion I directed Moore and Gilbert in reserve, and after the fort in front of Wolfe was carried by him, brought them up in line on Wolfe's right. In the general movement of the day the skirmish line was thrown out of position and to the right. At the time of the charge the skirmish line, which originally was in front of my two right brigades, was in front of McArthur's left.

With a view to a clear understanding of the position at the time of the assault, it would be well to state that the rebels had a continuous line of works facing toward Nashville, and extending from toward the Franklin pike over to the Granny White pike. Near the Granny White pike and east of it there was a small redoubt forming an angle with the continuous line, then there was a series of detached works, extending back toward the hills and in the direction of the Hardin pike. The first of these forts was just west of the Granny White pike, and some 600 to 1,000 yards from the small redoubt at the angle. The Fourth Corps passed over the line of works, its right near the angle; Wolfe passed over the redoubt at the angle; and Hill's brigade, McArthur's division, passed over the fort west of Granny White pike. The skirmishers of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois and One hundred and seventeenth Illinois were in front of Hill, and the One hundred and twenty-second captured the battery flag, but the three guns captured in that fort rightfully belong to Hill's brigade. Wolfe's brigade captured in the redoubt two guns, one disabled, and a third gun some distance in the rear of the redoubt, which the enemy had attempted to carry off.

On the morning of the 16th, at 8 a.m., the division was advanced in line in the direction of the Franklin pike — Gilbert on the right, Moore in the center, and Wolfe on the left. It was soon found necessary to change front forward on the right brigade, in order to face the enemy's line. This was done under heavy artillery fire; and to form connection with McArthur's line, Wolfe was brought up in line in my center and Gilbert moved to the right. A fortified hill in front of my left was carried by the skirmish line and the artillery brought into action. An effective and continuous artillery fire was kept up, and the skirmish line advanced close up to the enemy's works. The Fourth Corps was formed on my left. Noticing, about 4 p.m., a heavy musketry fire on the right of the corps, and believing that the critical point in the battle had arrived, I gave the order for the whole division to charge. This order was most promptly and gallantly obeyed. Gilbert's and Wolfe's brigades moved forward as a unit, and Moore a little retired. The division charged in the face of heavy artillery and musketry fire from the enemy's works, but its advance was so determined and rapid that the enemy was completely routed and driven in confusion from his intrenchments. His works consisted of a strong stone wall capped with earth, having a ditch and abatis in front. The enemy abandoned his artillery. Gilbert passed over and captured 5 guns, with the battery flag; Wolfe, 5; and Moore a battery of 4 guns a little to the left of that portion of the enemy's works carried by his brigade. This battery was captured by the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, by moving off by the left flank after passing over the enemy's works. In addition to the above-enumerated guns, six more were captured by Moore's brigade. They were on a road just behind the first hills and were taken from the enemy as he was endeavoring to run them off. In the hills quite a number of wagons, limbers, and caissons were captured. During the assault all the artillery of the division, under the direction of the chief of artillery, was massed on the hill where my line had been formed, and was served with great rapidity and effect.

I inclose the report of the chief of artillery, that the major-general commanding the corps may be informed more in detail of the valuable service rendered by that arm in the late battle.*

On this day 20 guns and about 850 prisoners were captured, including Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson and other officers. On both days the first thought of myself and officers was to defeat and pursue the enemy, and I have to regret that proper care was not taken to secure receipt for the three guns on the 15th nor the twenty on the 16th, nor even for the prisoners which were captured; many of these were even taken to the provost-marshal in Nashville and left there without stating to what command they belonged. With the exception of the four guns on the extreme left on the 16th, I was an eye-witness to the fact of the different brigades passing over the batteries reported as captured by them; I also saw the battery on the left during the charge, but passed forward and out of sight of it before the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois captured it. The Fourth Corps, on my left, did not advance until I had carried the enemy's works, and I was, on this account, compelled to hold the Twenty-first Missouri in reserve, in rear of my left brigade, to provide against any attack on my flank; this flank, from the course of the enemy's works, was exposed to and in the charge suffered from a cross-fire.

It is with a feeling of just pride and pleasure that I refer to the good conduct and gallant bearing of the division throughout the two days' engagement. Under the many trying circumstances which surround a battlefield, both officers and men yielded a prompt and cheerful obedience to all orders, and in the assaults they displayed a determination and zeal which gained for them a complete and great victory. Among the many who did nobly I would ask the especial notice of the major-general commanding the corps to Col. James I. Gilbert, commanding Second Brigade, and Col. Edward H. Wolfe, commanding Third Brigade. These officers, for their efficiency as brigade commanders, and their soldierly bearing on the battle-field, I would respectfully recommend for promotion to the rank of brigadier-general.

To the officers on the division staff I feel under many obligations for their useful assistance to me. Lieut. James B. Comstock. Twenty-first Missouri, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. William B. Dugger, One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, provost.marshal; Lieut. Richard Rees, Twenty-first Missouri, acting inspector-general, and Lieut. Sargeant McKnight, One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, acting aide-de-camp, were with me during both days, and by the intelligent and soldierly manner in which they discharged their duties, contributed materially toward the success of the division.

For the detailed action of brigades and regiments and special mention of regimental officers I have the honor to refer you to the reports of the brigade commanders herewith inclosed.

My loss, I am pleased to report, is small, only 4 officers and 160 enlisted men killed and wounded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.


* See Lowell’s report, p. 497.

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. 472-5

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 156. Report of Lieut. Col. George Bradley, Seventh Minnesota Infantry, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

No. 156.

Report of Lieut. Col. George Bradley, Seventh Minnesota Infantry,
of operations December 15-16, 1864.

In the Field, December 20, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Seventh Regiment Minnesota Infantry in the engagements of the 15th and 16th instant:

On the morning of the 15th instant the regiment, commanded by Col. William R. Marshall, moved out from camp near Nashville, with the brigade to which it belongs, at 6 a.m. They moved out on the Hardin pike about a mile, when they formed line of battle and halted. During this halt the extreme right of the army appeared to be quite heavily engaged. Company B of my regiment, commanded by Capt. A. H. Stevens, was ordered to advance and deploy as skirmishers in front of the regiment. Soon after the whole line moved forward, crossing the Hardin pike obliquely to the left, until they arrived in front of the enemy's works, about three miles from the camp we had left. Here our line was moved somewhat to the left, which brought my regiment into an open field, where they were ordered to lie down, while the artillery in our line opened upon the enemy. The enemy were posted upon a range of high hills, upon which they had erected strong fortifications, from which it was our business to dislodge them. The regiment lay in the field before referred to until the first of the fortifications on the enemy's left were charged and taken by the brigades of our division upon our right, when our brigade was moved forward to a hill opposite a fortification still occupied by the enemy, conforming our movements to those of the troops upon our right. We were shortly moved forward again to the foot of the hill upon which the fortification last named was situated, from which point we charged the enemy in his works, driving him in confusion. The regiment moved rapidly along the enemy's line to a second fortification, a little distance off, again driving the enemy, and forcing him to abandon three of his guns and caissons. From this point we poured a most galling fire upon the retreating enemy. By the death of the gallant officer commanding our brigade, Colonel Hill, of the Thirty-fifth Iowa Infantry, who was killed just as he reached the top of the hill upon which the fortification was situated, Colonel Marshall was called to the command of the brigade, and the command of the regiment devolved upon me. It was now dark, and the regiment bivouacked in its place in brigade for the night.

In this action the regiment lost seventeen men wounded, whose names appear in my report of casualties herewith furnished. Lieut. A. A. Rice, of Company B, was severely wounded while in the skirmish line. He is a gallant officer, and performed his duties up to the time he was wounded with courage and ability.

In this day's action the regiment captured over fifty prisoners, who were turned over to the provost-marshal-general, and shared with the other regiments of the brigade the capture of three guns.

On the morning of the 16th instant we again moved upon the enemy and took a position on the left of the Twelfth Iowa Infantry, in the front line of the brigade, behind a fence directly in front of a strongly fortified position held by the enemy. The right of the Twelfth Iowa rested on the Granny White pike. The enemy was protected by a high and thick wall of stone, which was strengthened by earth thrown up against its front along a portion of the wall and by large rails planted firmly and slanting from the top of the wall to the ground along the remainder of it. Inside the wall cannon were planted, and deep pits dug for the protection of the men against our guns. Outside the walls, and somewhat advanced, were barricades made of rails piled closely together, with rifle pits behind them, from which the enemy's sharpshooters continually fired upon our line. Here my regiment remained the greater part of the day, the left of the line keeping up a fire upon the enemy the most of the time. We had some men wounded while occupying this line, and two killed in advancing to it. A heavy cannonading upon the enemy was kept up the whole day by the batteries upon our right and in our rear. Toward the close of the day a charge was made upon the enemy's works, commencing upon our right, the brigades of the First Division moving rapidly, one after the other, until the whole line was in motion. My regiment moved forward with the line, in the face of a heavy fire of grape and musketry, passed over the works of the enemy, who were completely routed, capturing their guns and many prisoners. The ground over which the regiment passed was soft; a portion of the way was a corn-field, rendering the rapid movement of the line exceedingly difficult and greatly adding to the hazard of the movement. We advanced as far as a high hill beyond the line of works where we charged the enemy, and bivouacked for the night.

In the charge the regiment captured 4 of the enemy's guns and more than 200 prisoners, making with those taken the day before 250 prisoners taken by them. Major Butt, of my regiment, had charge of the brigade skirmish line during the day, and discharged his duties with his usual skill and fidelity. Our losses in this day's fight were 43, 7 killed and 36 wounded, whose names have been furnished in a previous report. The most of the losses occurred in the charge. Captain McKelvy, of Company I, and Lieutenant Potter, of Company E, were both wounded in this charge, the first slightly, the latter somewhat severely.

In conclusion, I ought not to omit to mention Corporals Sylvester, of Company I, and Dowling, of Company B, who bore the colors of the Regiment in both days' fights. Cool and intrepid, they pushed steadily on through the terrific charges made upon the enemy, unswerved by the “leaden rain and iron hail” which fell thickly around them, mindful only of the honorable duty of bearing the colors erect in the van of the fight. Assistant Surgeon Mattock was constantly with us in the field, fearlessly exposing himself wherever his presence could benefit the wounded, and faithful and untiring in the discharge of all his duties. Doctor Ames was on duty at the hospital during the fight, by order of the division surgeon. Chaplain Edwards was active and zealous in his ministrations to the wounded, constantly and efficiently exerting himself in their behalf. Of the officers of the field, staff, and line of the regiment I can only say that the conduct of all was such that any distinction would be invidious. It is enough to say that all were earnest, zealous, and efficient in the discharge of every duty. Lieutenant Potter, though wounded by a shot through the arm, still pressed on with his company, and did not fall back till the works had been carried. The conduct of the men present in the two days' engagement was unexceptional; they were fearless amid the dangers of the battle, and cheerful and uncomplaining in enduring the hardships and exposures of the bivouac and the march.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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. 466-8

Friday, May 31, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 7, 1864

July 7, 1864.

The shooting still continues in our front, but hear no Rebel artillery. The water here is excellent, and everybody seems to get a few blackberries. We also stew grapes and green apples, and everything that ever was eaten by anti-cannibals. There is so much confounded fighting to be attended to that we can't forage any, and though fresh beef is furnished to the men regularly there is some scurvy. I have seen several black-mouthed, loose-toothed fellows, hankering after pickles. Teamsters and hangers-on who stay in the rear get potatoes, etc., quite regularly. I do not believe the Johnnies intend fighting again very strongly this side of the river. Our scouts say that between the river and Atlanta the works run line after line as thickly as they can be put in. Per contra, two women who came from Atlanta on the 6th say that after we get across the river we will have no fighting, that Johnston is sending his troops to Savannah, Charleston, Mobile and Richmond, except enough to fight us at different river crossings. Our scouts also say that the Rebels are deserting almost by thousands, and going around our flanks to their homes in Tennessee, Kentucky, etc. I have not been in a house in Georgia, but several citizens I have met in camp said they had heard many soldiers say they would never cross the river with Johnston since the charge of the 27th.

Harrow has kept our brigade in reserve, and I think he will continue to do so unless a general battle is fought. We have suffered more heavily than any other two brigades in the army, and when we started we were one of the smallest. I am willing to see some of the others go in a while, though I want to help if Johnston will stand a fair fight in open ground. The chigres are becoming terrific. They are as large as the blunt end of a No. 12 and as red as blood. They will crawl through any cloth and bite worse than a flea, and poison the flesh very badly. They affect some more than others. I get along with them comparatively well, that is, I don't scratch more than half the time. Many of the boys anoint their bodies with bacon rinds, which the chigres can't go. Salt-water bathing also bars chigres, but salt is too scarce to use on human meat. Some of the boys bathing now in a little creek in front of me; look like what I expect “Sut Lovegood's” father did after plowing through that hornet's nest. All done by chigres. I believe I pick off my neck and clothes 30 varieties of measuring worm every day. Our brigade quartermaster yesterday found, under his saddle in his tent, a rattlesnake, with six rattles and a button.

This is the 68th day of the campaign. We hope to end it by August 1st, though if we can end the war by continuing this until January 1st, '65, I am in. Reinforcements are coming in every day, and I don't suppose we are any weaker than when we left Chattanooga. The Rebels undoubtedly are, besides the natural demoralization due to falling back so much must be awful. My health is excellent. Remember me to all the wounded boys of the 103d you see.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 274-6

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 140. Report of Maj. David G. Bowers, Fifth Tennessee infantry, of operations November 22-30, 1864.

No. 140.

Report of Maj. David G. Bowers, Fifth Tennessee infantry,
of operations November 22-30, 1864.

Nashville, Tenn., December 5, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with circular just received, bearing date of the present instant, I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of the Fifth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, viz:

On the 22d of November, at daylight, I received orders to march, and took up the line of march from Pulaski, on the Columbia pike, and arrived at Lynnville at 11 a.m., a distance of twelve miles from Pulaski. At Lynnville we went into camp, and remained quiet until 1 p.m. November 23, at which time I received orders from General Cox to report to Colonel Casement, commanding Second Brigade, Third Division, and at the same time received a verbal order to report immediately with my regiment on the pike leading to Columbia. I fell in at the rear of the brigade, and marched until 7 p.m., and then went into camp, having marched a distance of eleven miles. I received orders to be ready to march at 5 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, and took up the line of march at daylight toward Columbia. We arrived at Columbia at 10 a.m. same day, having gone eight miles, and took position to the south of the town, and received orders to construct works of defense. At 2 p.m. I moved to the right and to the southwest of the town, and took position in line of battle, my right resting near the Mount Pleasant pike, and facing to the south. We there constructed a line of breastworks and sent out skirmishers, who engaged the enemy. We remained in that position until 7 p.m. on the 25th, when we received orders to be ready to move at a moment's notice. About 11 p.m. we moved slowly through the town, and crossed the Duck River; moved up the river half a mile, and rested for the night. Captain Sparks and thirty men were on picket, and did not cross the river until the morning of the 27th. On the 26th one man of Sparks' detail was wounded. On the morning of the 26th we moved in position, and there remained until the 29th. At 7 p.m. on the 29th we were ordered into line, and marched out half a mile on the Franklin pike, and took position behind earthworks to the left of the pike. We remained there half an hour, and then took up the line of march for Franklin. We arrived at Franklin at 5 a.m. on the morning of the 30th, having marched twenty-three miles during the night. Captain Ragle, Company K, and thirty men, brought up the rear of the brigade from Columbia, and arrived at Franklin about 9 a.m., having lost one man, who, from fatigue, was left by the way, and probably fell into the hands of the enemy. On the night of the 29th our wagons were attacked by the enemy, and one of them burned or destroyed, containing regimental baggage Part of our baggage, which was sent to Pulaski, by instructions from Colonel Henderson, for want of transportation, was destroyed on the 23d, including part of the regimental and company books and papers.

I am, sir, very respectfully,
DAVID G. BOWERS,          
Major, Commanding Fifth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. C. D. RHODES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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. 428-9

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 5, 1863

The President has not yet returned, but was inspecting the defenses of Charleston. The Legislature has adjourned without fixing a maximum of prices. Every night troops from Lee's army are passing through the city. Probably they have been ordered to Bragg.

Yesterday flour sold at auction at $100 per barrel; to-day it sells for $120! There are 40,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, taken by the government as tithes, rotting at the depots between Richmond and Wilmington. If the government would wake up, and have them brought hither and sold, the people would be relieved, and flour and meal would decline in price. But a lethargy has seized upon the government, and no one may foretell the consequences of official supineness.

The enemy at Chattanooga have got an advantageous position on Bragg's left, and there is much apprehension that our army will lose the ground gained by the late victory.

The Commissary-General (Northrop) has sent in his estimate for the ensuing year, $210,000,000, of which $50,000,000 is for sugar, exclusively for the hospitals. It no longer forms part of the rations. He estimates for 400,000 men, and takes no account of the tithes, or tax in kind, nor is it apparent that he estimates for the army beyond the Mississippi.

A communication was received to-day from Gen. Meredith, the. Federal Commissioner of Exchange, inclosing a letter from Gov. Todd [sic] and Gen. Mason, as well as copies of letters from some of Morgan's officers, stating that the heads of Morgan and his men are not shaved, and that they are well fed and comfortable.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 89

Monday, February 11, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: March 25, 1865

Ready to march at 6. Took my pockets full of mail to the landing. Dismounted men went by boats. Our regt. in rear of Div. and train. Crossed the Chickahominy on pontoons and reached Harrison's Landing in evening. Fortifications.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 148

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Commandant Samuel F. DuPont to Gustavus V. Fox, November 15, 1861

Wabash, 15, Nov. 61
Port Royal.     
Dear Mr. Fox,

The Atlantic goes to-morrow to return. She takes my detailed official report and correct map of the battle. Instead of our work wearing away with time, the achievement seems more appreciated by visitors to the forts than ever.

We were rejoiced by O. M. Pettit and Ellen coming in yesterday, they are worth their weight in Gold.

I send you a facsimile of the S. C. Ordinance of Secession with the Cartes de visite of the conspirators, for Mr. Welles, taken from Gen. Drayton's headquarters. We have his military map too, with the forts marked on the rivers &c.

Sherman sent a flag of truce yesterday to a place called the ferry, 7 or 8 miles from Beaufort where I sent his messengers by gun boat. They were cooly recd and it was not wise to send the message. It was elicited by some one a Br [sic] subject asking for protection.

Ought Sherman to have issued a proclamation without my knowledge? I like him but I think Stevens a tortuous man and very smart.

If we were to withdraw our naval and physical protection this army would be prisoners of war in 4 weeks. I don't believe a white man who robs a negro of his subsistence will fight.

Missroon came in to-day, (not his ship) and he has gone off again. I was glad to see him and sent for John Rodgers. The Tybee Isl is fortified and requires a 9-ft draft to approach it and they deem it impossible to put the stone there except under very strong covering with many gunboats, no covering with the frigates. We can put the vessels on the outer bar and you can send them here. I will see further tomorrow.

Curlew must go home. It would be throwing away 45000$ to give that for her. Watmough is grieved at losing his command but in character with himself pronounces her unfit. Will you say to Mr. Welles and to yrself that I would esteem it a particular favor if you will give Lt. Watmough a Gunboat and send him out immediately to me?

I look upon him as the first man afloat of his age — he will be very important.

Connecticut in to day—R Island yesterday. I will write an official letter about Beaufort. Waiting for soldiers to go to Fernandina. I doubt if they dare leave. I think I can hold it with the Marines. Very tired. Excuse this hurried letter.

Ever yrs faithfully
S. F. DP.

I asked Sherman to call Fort Walker, Fort Welles. I think he will do it. Davis saw this fort for the first time yesterday and says they ought to have whipped us.

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 71-3

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: June 5, 1864

June 5, 1864.

The Rebels run last night. Everything gone this morning slick and clean. Our regiment was the first in their works. I was over their works to-day and find three lines, two of them very strong. A number of dead men lay beween their lines and ours, which neither side could bury. They were killed during Hooker's fight of May 25th.

Well, I expect another heat like this at the Chattahochie river and when we get them out of there, as we are bound to do, ho! for easy times!

My health continues excellent, and I hope it will until this campaign is over. I am making up for some of my easy times soldiering. The Rebels were awful dirty and the smell in their camps dreadful.

We got some 25 prisoners in front of our division. I think one more big stand will wind the thing up. They made no noise whatever in getting away. I was from 12 to 3 o'clock in the night working within 75 yards of them and did not hear them at all. At one place their works ran through a graveyard, and they had torn down all the palings inclosing graves, to make beds for themselves, and unnecessarily destroyed everything of beauty around. I am sure we would not have done so in our own country, and I would not anywhere. I don't give these Rebels half the credit for humanity or any of the qualities civilized beings should possess, that I used to. I estimate loss of our army here at 7,000 — killed, wounded and missing. It may be more. Heavy reinforcements are arriving though, and the strength of the army is much greater than at any time heretofore. Spirits excellent. I could tell some awful stories of dead men, but forbear. We moved at 9 a. m. about four and one-half miles toward the railroad and have gone into camp for the night.

This is the first day since May 26th that I have been out of the range of Rebel guns, and hardly an hour of that time that the bullets have not been whistling and thumping around. I tell you it is a strain on a man's nerves, but like everything else that hurts, one feels better when he gets over it.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 254-5

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 116. Report of Col. John Mehringer, Ninety-first Indiana Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

No. 116.

Report of Col. John Mehringer, Ninety-first Indiana Infantry, commanding
Third Brigade, of operations December 15-16, 1864.

In the Field, near Columbia, Tenn., December 23, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to most respectfully submit the following report of operations of Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, during the action of which it took part in (15th and 16th of December, 1864):

December 15, 1864, at 7 a.m., left camp (north side of Fort Negley, Nashville, Tenn.), and following Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, moved to the right through works on the Charlotte pike; formed line of battle in rear and advanced in support of Second Brigade. When near Hillsborough pike we moved to right and took position upon extreme right of Second Division, in front of Compton's Hill. Soon after crossing the Hillsborough pike the First and Second Brigades were advancing rapidly on the enemy, charging a hill in their front. I received orders to move by the right flank, which the brigade executed very promptly, forming line of battle in a piece of woods some 400 yards to the right of Second Brigade, under orders not to advance until support would arrive. Soon after and before I was supported the enemy advanced on my front and right flank, coming in short range owing to all elevated piece of ground in our immediate front. I at once advanced the brigade in line of battle to the crest of the hill, and ordered fire, which was very promptly executed, and the enemy repulsed, we losing 19 men and 3 officers. During the engagement the officers and men behaved most gallantly, and particularly I would mention the officers of the One hundred and eighty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, whose men have never had the opportunity to drill; also the shaft officers of my brigade behaved very gallantly. We barricaded and remained in position until 8 p.m., when we were ordered to move and take position on right of First Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, where we built works and threw out skirmishers covering our front. December 16, 1864, still in same position, on right of First Brigade, and remain under fire of the enemy until 3 p.m., when a charge was made by part of Sixteenth Army Corps upon Compton's Hill, carrying the enemy's works, when we moved through the enemy's works and camped near Granny White pike for the night.

Below I have the honor to attach the list of casualties* which occurred in Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and also forward history of operations of regimental commanders in Third Brigade.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieut. S.H. HUBBELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officer and 1 man killed and 2 officers and 18 men wounded.

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. 391-2

Monday, November 12, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 13, 1864

In The Woods. — How does that sound for a location to date from? Yesterday long toward night our train started from its abiding place and rolled slowly toward its destination, wherever that might he. When near Savannah, not more than a mile this side, David Buck jumped off the cars and rolled down the bank. I jumped next and Eli Buck came right after me. Hastily got up and joined one another, and hurried off in an easterly direction through the wet, swampy country. A number of shots were fired at us, but we were surprised and glad to find that none hit us, although my cap was knocked off by a bullet hitting the fore-piece. Eli Buck was also singed by a bullet. It seemed as if a dozen shots were fired. Train did not stop, and we ran until tired out. Knew that we were within a line of forts which encircle Savannah, going all the way around it and only twenty rods or so apart. It was dark when we jumped off, and we soon came in the vicinity of a school house in which was being held a negro prayer meeting. We peeked in at the windows, but dared not stop so near our jumping off place. Worked around until we were near the railroad again and guided by the track going south—the same way we had come. It was very dark. Dave Buck went ahead, Eli next and myself last, going Indian file and very slow. All at once Dave stopped and whispered to us to keep still, which you may be sure we did. Had come within ten feet of a person who was going directly in the opposite direction and also stopped, at the same time we did Dave Buck says: "Who comes there?" A negro woman says “it’s me,” and he walked up close to her and asked where she was going. She says: “Oh! I knows you; yon are Yankees and has jumped off de cars.” By this time we had come up even with Dave and the woman. Owned up to her that such was the case. She said we were her friends, and would not tell of us. Also said that not twenty rods ahead there was a rebel picket, and we were going right into them. I think if I ever wanted to kiss a woman, it was that poor, black, negro wench. She told us to go about thirty rods away and near an old shed, and she would send us her brother; he would know what to do. We went to the place designated and waited there an hour, and then we saw two dusky forms coming through the darkness, and between them a wooden tray of food consisting of boiled turnips, corn bread and smoked bacon. We lay there behind that old shed and ate and and talked, and talked and ate, for a full hour more The negro, “Major,” said he was working on the forts, putting them in order to oppose the coming of the Yankees, and he thought he could get us through the line before morning to a safe hiding place. If we all shook hands once we did fifty times, all around. The negroes were fairly jubilant at being able to help genuine Yankees. Were very smart colored people, knowing more than the ordinary run of their race. Major said that in all the forts was a reserve picket force, and between the forts the picket. He said pretty well south was a dilapidated fort which had not as yet been repaired any, and that was the one to go through or near, as he did not think there was any picket there. “Bress de Lord, for yo’ safety.” says the good woman. We ate all they brought us, and then started under the guidance of Major at somewhere near midnight. Walked slow and by a roundabout way to get to the fort and was a long time about it, going through a large turnip patch and over and through hedges. Major's own safety as much as ours depended upon the trip. Finally came near the fort and discovered there were rebels inside and a picket off but a few rods. Major left us and crawled slowly ahead to reconnoitre; returned in a few minutes and told us to follow. We all climbed over the side of the fort, which was very much out of repair. The reserve picket was asleep around a fire which had nearly gone out. Major piloted us through the fort, actually stepping over the sleeping rebels. After getting on the outside there was a wide ditch which we went through. Ditch was partially full of water. We then went way round near the railroad again, and started south, guided by the darky, who hurried us along at a rapid gait. By near day light we were five or six miles from Savannah, and then stopped for consultation and rest. Finally went a mile further, where we are now laying low in a swamp, pretty well tired out and muddy beyond recognition. Major left us at day light, saying he would find us a guide before night who would show us still further. He had to go back and work on the forts. And so I am again loose, a free man, with the same old feeling I had when in the woods before. We got out of a thickly settled country safely, and again await developments. Heard drums and bugles playing reveille this morning in many directions, and “We are all surrounded.” David Buck is very confident of getting away to our lines. Eli thinks it is so if Dave says so, and I don't know, or care so very much. The main point with me is to stay out in the woods as long as I can. My old legs have had a hard time of it since last night and ache, and are very lame. It's another beautiful and cold day, this 13th of December. Biting frost nights, but warmer in the day time. Our plan is to work our way to the Ogechee River, and wait for the Stars and Stripes to come to us. Major said Sherman was marching right toward us all the time, driving the rebel army with no trouble at all. Told us to keep our ears open and we would hear cannon one of these days, possibly within a week. The excitement of the last twenty-four hours has worn me out, and I couldn't travel to-day if it was necessary. Have a plenty to eat, and for a wonder I ain't hungry for anything except things we haven't got. Dave is happy as an oyster, and wants to yell. Where they are so confident I am satisfied all will be well. As soon as it comes night we are going up to some negro huts less than a mile off, where we hope and expect that Major has posted the inmates in regard to us. The railroad is only a short distance off, and the river only three or four miles. As near as we know, are about twenty miles from the Atlantic coast. Tell the boys it may be necessary for me to stay here for two or three days to get recruited up, but they think three or four miles to-night will do me good. Don't like to burden them and shall try it.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 136-8