Showing posts with label skirmishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skirmishes. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 16, 1862


For some time past the pickets of the 17th Massachusetts have been a good deal troubled by being fired on in the night. The enemy's cavalry would come down, a few of them dismount and creeping up would fire on them. They would sometimes have cow bells with them, in order to divert attention and get nearer. But the boys soon learned that dodge, and when, they heard a cow bell, would draw their straightest bead on it and let fly. In this state of affairs it was thought best to make those fellows a call, and if they wanted anything of us to give them an opportunity to take it. So, yesterday morning, we marched out to the Trent road, where we joined the 17th Massachusetts, with five companies of the 3d New York cavalry and a section of a battery, the whole under command of Col. Amory, of the 17th. The cavalry taking the advance, we marched up the road a couple of miles, coming to a deep gully or ravine; crossing this, the advance cavalry guard soon came upon the enemy's pickets, driving them in and beyond their station into a swamp, where they formed an ambuscade, thinking there was only a small cavalry force and that they might capture them. By this time the infantry had come up to their rendezvous, which was a large, nice house, with ample barn room for their horses. Thinking this was too good accommodation for them and too near our line, it was set on fire and burned. We now heard firing ahead and hurried on. They had closed around the advance cavalry guard, and commenced the fight. The other companies being close by soon took a hand in it and were giving them about all they wanted when the infantry came up. When they saw the infantry and artillery they took to their heels towards Trenton, a small village a few miles distant. 

Col. Upton wanted to follow them up and give them some more, but Col. Amory being in command, thought we had accomplished our purpose and had better return. In this skirmish the enemy lost eight killed and two prisoners, one of them wounded. Our cavalry had two wounded. The wounded men were brought out and loaded into an ambulance. When they brought out the wounded rebel they put down the stretcher on which he was lying near where I was standing. He was a smooth-faced, fair-haired boy, and was moaning piteously with pain from a bullet wound in his head, and asking himself what his mother would say when she heard of it. His thoughts turned on his home and of his mother. I pitied the boy, but could not help thinking, as a cavalryman told him, he should have thought of that before being caught here... We arrived back in camp late in the afternoon, tired, hungry and covered with mud. I reckon they will not disturb our pickets any more at present in the way they have done. Creeping up in the dark and firing on a lone picket is mean and cowardly. If they want anything of us let them come in force and get it; that is proper and honorable. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 58-9

Monday, September 21, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 21, 1864

Near Macon, Ga., November 21, 1864.

This makes seven days from Atlanta, 114 miles by the roads we have marched. I think that time for an army like ours, over bad roads, too, for at least four days, is unprecedented.

Our cavalry had a little skirmish at Macon last evening and were driven back. I heard some cannonading, but don't think it amounted to much. There was a little skirmish about the rear of our division at 4 this p. m., but beside racing and maybe capturing some half-dozen of our foragers, it amounted to nothing. Our left occupied Milledgeville. Governor Brown is here at Macon, also Beauregard, and they have scraped together some ten or a dozen things to defend the town with. I don't think from looks at present, that “Pap” is going to try the town, but can't tell. We have thrown up a little rail barricade this evening, which looks as if we were intending to destroy the Macon and Savannah railroad, on which rests the right of our brigade. We are afraid at this writing that Sheaff Herr was captured to-day. He was foraging where that little skirmish took place this p. m., and Rebels were seen after, and within 75 yards of him. It has rained steadily all day and for the last 60 hours, but has turned cold and is now clear.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 322

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 109. Report of Capt. Leander S. McGraw, One hundred and seventh Illinois Infantry, of operations November 23-December 1, 1864.

No. 109.

Report of Capt. Leander S. McGraw, One hundred and seventh Illinois Infantry, of operations November 23-December 1, 1864.

Nashville, Tenn., December 6, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I respectfully submit the following as an official report of the One hundred and seventh Illinois Infantry Volunteers, from the 23d day of November, 1864, to the 1st day of December, 1864:

On the 23d day of November we left Johnsonville, Tenn., on the cars, and arrived at Columbia, Tenn., the day following. In the evening the regiment was ordered into line of battle and threw up works. On the 26th marched across Duck River and erected barricades, and recrossed said river on the evening of the 27th. On the morning of the 28th was ordered to move in the direction of Spring Hill, where we arrived about 10 p.m. of the same day; but not halting, moved on toward Franklin, some four miles, and took position a quarter of a mile east of the pike road, with brigade. About 1 o'clock next p.m. was ordered to hold our position, while the rest of brigade moved onward toward Franklin. At 2.30 o'clock skirmished briskly with the enemy, and at 5.30 took up the line of march for Franklin, where we arrived at 12 m. Threw up works during the afternoon were attacked by the enemy about 5 o'clock in heavy force. He charged the works time and again, but was successfully met at all times. At one time (about dusk) four stand of colors were planted upon our breast-works, across which the enemy charged furiously, but was met by our brave boys and hurled back in utter confusion. In this charge the heroic Lieutenant-Colonel Lowry fell while gallantly cheering his men on to victory, when Leander S. McGraw, captain, took command of the regiment. On the morning of December I was ordered to move in the direction of Nashville, where we arrived at 12 m.

The following is a list of the killed, wounded, and missing.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Commanding Regiment.
Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officer and 3 men killed, 1 officer and 14 men wounded, and 1 man missing.

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. 382-3

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: December 22, 1864

Up at 4. Rain froze as it fell. Awfully cold. At 5:30 “To horse” sounded. Soon a yell went up near the 2nd Brig., then a few shots. We were ordered to mount immediately — did it. A line could be seen on a distant hill. A few men came up within a few rods of camp. We moved to the flank, came front into line, my Batt. 1st in advance. Threw out skirmishers. Firing commenced immediately and we advanced, firing. Rebs run. Captured two and killed two. The command proved to be Rosser's Div. which came in from the back road and from the flank. Charged the 2nd Brig. and drove it. Passed to the rear and captured several ambulance horses. Result was 30 men killed, wounded and missing on our side. 22 men captured from rebs and 10 killed. One of H Co. sabre cut, and one horse killed. Moved back and camped at Woodstock. 2nd on picket. Small force of the enemy followed. Skirmished till dark.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 138

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: May 18, 1864

May 18, 1864.

Our division has had the advance to-day, but no infantry fighting. At noon we get into Adairsville and meet the 4th Army Corps. Saw Generals Howard, Thomas, Sickles and a hundred others. We are camped five miles southwest of town and by the prettiest place I ever saw. The house is excellent, the grounds excel in beauty anything I ever imagined. The occupants have run away. Our cavalry had a sharp fight here this p. m., and on one of the gravel walks in the beautiful garden lies a Rebel colonel, shot in five places. He must have been a noble looking man; looks 50 years old, and has a fine form and features. Think his name is Irwin. I think there must be a hundred varieties of the rose in bloom here and the most splendid specimens of cactus. I do wish you could see it. At Adairsville, night before last, we lost 400 killed and wounded in a skirmish.

Nine a. m. — Rapid artillery firing on our left front. We are waiting for Osterhaus and Morgan L. Smith to get out of the way. Our division has the rear to-day. Our cars got into Adairsville yesterday evening and the last Rebel train left in the morning. Firing on the left very heavy.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 243-4

Friday, June 1, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, September 2, 1864

At daylight fell back. Left the main road. Passed through Kabletown and reached the fortified position 3 miles from C. On picket two miles toward B. Nicely settled down, when ordered to march. Reached B. about midnight. 5th N. Y. had skirmish with pickets.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 129

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: September 7, 1863

About 3 o'clock Thede came and awakened me. I was so glad to see him. Hardly seemed possible, the good boy. Wish he were entirely well. Gave me some letters, wanted more. Walked most of the way — two weeks on way. Drew rations and marched at 6. East of K. near Mossy Creek, and then towards Cumberland Gap. Fed twice. Rode in rear of Co. to keep closed up. Boys did nobly. Can't be beat by any company on the ground. Camped at 9 P. M. near a little stream. Some hills — one awful one. Road along the bed of a little stream, very stony. 2,000 rebs at the Gap and our men each side. A little skirmish yesterday.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 87

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: May 30, 1863

Rained last night. Eleven prisoners came in at 9 A. M. Pickets captured. Soon after 22 others. Kautz went to the forks before halting. Crossed at 2 A. M. and hastened towards Monticello, sending Detachments to the different fords to capture pickets. "E" and "C" covered the retreat. Skirmished a good deal. 20 to 40 rounds. I feel about the same, quite feverish and chilly at times.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 71

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: September 12, 1862

Entered Frederick amidst loud huzzahs and cheering — eight miles. Had a little skirmish getting in; a beautiful scene and a jolly time.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 355

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, April 29, 1863

The atmosphere is thick with rumors of army movements. Hooker is reported to have crossed the river. Not unlikely a portion of his force has done so, and all may. That there may be a battle imminent is not improbable. I shall not be surprised, however, if only smart skirmishes take place.

Admiral Lee writes me that in his opinion there is no such force in Suffolk as Dix and others represent. General Dix, like most of our generals, cries aloud for gunboats and naval protection, but is not inclined to be grateful, or even just to his defenders.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 287

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, August 22, 1864

Am not feeling well; marched nearly all night; arrived at Halltown heights at daylight; went into our old position; am now on picket on the right of our line; enemy followed us up and skirmished with our rear guard “right smart” all day. About 11 o'clock a. m. the First Division was sent out on the pike; rumored it's driven the enemy back; hard thunderstorm from 3 o'clock to 4 o'clock p. m.; quite cool this evening.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 138

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney to Emeline Harris Tenney et al, December 2, 1862

Camp at Ray's Mills, Arkansas, Dec. 1, 1862.
My Dear Friends:

I guess you wonder a little why you don't hear from your soldier boy. Well, I presume you will wonder often if we stay in the field and keep up our scouts and marches. Since last Tuesday, my regular day for writing and the day I intended to write, I haven't had a minute's opportunity for writing until yesterday, and then I was busy till night, when I was too tired to write.

Tomorrow another train leaves for the Fort. Several sick boys return. I should have liked to go back for comfort, but after all as long as there is a man in the Regiment in the field, I want to be there, too, though there must be some suffering and sacrifices.

Today I had an opportunity to go into the Brigade Commissary as clerk and get $12 a month extra. Lt. Shattuck, brother of Nina, is acting Brigade Commissary and wanted me to help him. N. thought I hadn't better go. I don't care much. Should have liked the little spondulics though.

Sunday night when we arrived here I found six letters, three from home, two from Fannie, and one from Will. I guess I was happy that night and as usual dreamed of home. Thede, I thank you very much for your good long letter. You did me proud. Please do so more.

I see by the papers that Col. Ford has received his just deserts. I enjoy all the particulars of the home circle visits, calls and town gossip. It is always my Thanksgiving Day when my letters come. My letters both received and written have been quite irregular of late and I presume will be in future.

During the last week we have been on our horses most of the time. My ague left me just in time. Tuesday and Wednesday our detachment was out on a scout down below here a little. We had the pleasure of overtaking 400 of Quantrell's men Tuesday night and turned their course from the north southward on double quick. The Major had 115 men. I had the pleasure of being in the advance and had two or three little skirmishes with the rear guard. None of us, how I don't know, was hurt. Afterwards some of the 3rd Wis. were sent ahead of us and when a few rods in advance were fired into from the bushes and two of the men wounded.

I suppose you have heard by this time of the fight at Cane Hill and beyond.

Thursday our detachment went in advance of the whole division but Friday we were rear guard and the Brigade was left at Cane Hill as a reserve. It was aggravating to hear the roar of artillery and not partake. There will be some hard fighting if we go over the mountains.

I have no ambition to die immediately or anything of that sort. I guess life, real life, is precious to the most wicked, but I do long to have our armies hasten on to victory or defeat. If Schofield's forces join ours, I believe our success will be sure, though earned by a good deal of sacrifice.

Lt. Shattuck has been acting Adj. but has gone now. So I have enough to do his duties and those of Sergt. Major.

I have just been out doors and I could see the “fire on the mountains” along our line of march over the hills from the North.

Tonight the air is cold and the fire in our little stove is comfortable and cozy enough. We are getting well used to bivouacking in the open air with few blankets and no fires. When out scouting we go without fires so as not to let the enemy know our movements. Sometimes we can't get much sleep, though. Don't you believe I occasionally long to creep into that soft bed at home and to sit down at our little supper table? Oh no, never!

Please excuse another hasty letter. The Independents have come as usual. I presume we will remain here a few days and then go over the mountains. I hope so.

The boys are all talking as loudly as can be and I can't think overmuch straight.

With much love,

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 46-9

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Diary of Sergeant Major Luman Harris Tenney: Tuesday, November 25, 1862

Went over to see secesh but they had gone. Shattuck went on detail as chief of commissary. Capt. Seward said I must make out morning reports after this. Major Purington received orders to proceed at once with his command to Evansville. Blair's Battery practised with artillery — shell. Major and detachment started out on a scout, an odd old genius on a white horse as guide. Went by a byroad. When 4 or 5 miles from Cincinnati, crossed a byroad where 400 or 500 had passed. I had charge of advance. Before going a half mile, saw two “butternuts.” Wheeled and ran like fun. Followed about a mile and learned from a family that 4 or 5 had passed not more than ten minutes before. Reported back. Followed most of the time at a trot. When we had gone two miles, we struck the main road and here the rebels fired at us from the brush. I had 20 men. All wheeled but 3 men. Soon rallied. Moved on a few rods and saw 15 or 20 in line by the bushes ready to fire. They fired and we in line fired in return. Soon Major sent word to reload. While reloading the rebels crossed the byroad to the main road. We followed a few hundred rods and were ordered to halt. Soon some of the 3rd Wis. came up, and passed dismounted. When 5 or 6 rods ahead a volley was poured into them, wounding two. Two days after, we heard that they were 400 of Quantrell's men and that they ran to Cane Hill, also that 4,000 went over the mountains. Also that we killed two men. Bivouacked without fires.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 44-5

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, November 14, 1862

At 2 A. M. moved a mile to the other mill, then lay down by the fire till sunrise. Marched most of the day in the woods, southwest. Found the command encamped at some good springs. I felt very tired and sick, sore throat and chill. Went to bed early. Capt. Seward came in. Had been with 200 men, some 2nd O. to Cane Hill. Had a skirmish with enemy. None hurt.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 43-4

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Friday, March 24, 1865

Fatigue party goes out at 5. a. m. to unload boats, spend A. M. going to the Commissary for grub. and writing. P. M. go with Lt Loughridge to camp of 8th Iowa, while there this Regt rec's orders to be ready to march at daylight tomorrow morning with 4 days rations in their haver sacks. Genl Smiths whole corps rec's the same orders. We see post of the line of breastworks about this camp, which are good & strong & 9 miles in extent, seems as though these things come by magic, they rise so quick. Genl Veachs Div gets in this P. M.; After dark the train comes in, there is a big shout when the train crosses the pontoons. They lost by bushrangers 14 men drivers. & as many mules Lt Loughridge & I were out after Tattoo to learn the cause of the cheering when the train was coming in, & hear some sweet music in another Regt. Word in camp that in a skirmish 3 miles from camp this P. M. several men were wounded. 2 ambulance loads said to have come in.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 579-80

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: April 22, 1864

Officer of the guard. Marched again at 10 a. m. Cavalry skirmished all day. First Louisiana in advance of infantry. Cut a road through a wood. Expected a fight all day. Somehow I did not believe we would have a fight, but my captain, Felton, believed we would, and get badly whipped too. “I will tell you what I will do Captain”, I said: “I will bet you ten cents, and that is the extent of my pile, that the First Louisiana don't fire a gun until we get into Alexandra.” He did not take the bet and I did not believe he had the money to cover it. Money was not very flush with any of us. It had been a good while since we were paid off. One of our men was killed today by a rebel. At six p. m. stacked arms and the men had stripped off their equipments and were preparing for supper when orders came to march immediately at double quick. There was a scramble to get into line and we went on a double quick about half a mile and halted in an open field. Slept on our arms that night. General Dick Taylor did not molest us and I had a good sound sleep.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 99-100

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Diary of Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle: Sunday, July 5, 1863

The night was very bad — thunder and lightning, torrents of rain — the road knee-deep in mud and water, and often blocked up with waggons “come to grief.” I pitied the wretched plight of the unfortunate soldiers who were to follow us. Our progress was naturally very slow indeed, and we took eight hours to go as many miles.

At 8 A.M. we halted a little beyond the village of Fairfield, near the entrance to a mountain-pass. No sooner had we done so and lit a fire, than an alarm was spread that Yankee cavalry were upon us. Several shots flew over our heads, but we never could discover from whence they came. News also arrived of the capture of the whole of Ewell's beautiful wagons.* These reports created a regular stampede amongst the waggoners, and Longstreet's drivers started off as fast as they could go. Our medical trio, however, firmly declined to budge, and came to this wise conclusion partly urged by the pangs of hunger, and partly from the consideration that, if the Yankee cavalry did come, the crowded state of the road in our rear would prevent our escape. Soon afterwards, some Confederate cavalry were pushed to the front, who cleared the pass after a slight skirmish.

At noon, Generals Lee and Longstreet arrived, and halted close to us. Soon afterwards Ewell came up. This is the first time I ever saw him. He is rather a remarkable-looking old soldier, with a bald head, a prominent nose, and rather a haggard, sickly face: having so lately lost his leg above the knee, he is still a complete cripple, and falls off his horse occasionally. Directly he dismounts he has to be put on crutches. He was Stonewall Jackson's coadjutor during the celebrated valley campaigns, and he used to be a great swearer — in fact, he is said to have been the only person who was unable to restrain that propensity before Jackson; but since his late (rather romantic) marriage, he has (to use the American expression) joined the Church. When I saw him he was in a great state of disgust in consequence of the supposed loss of his waggons, and refused to be comforted by General Lee.

I joined Longstreet again, and, mounted on Lawley's venerable horse, started at 3 P.M. to ride through the pass. At 4 P.M. we stopped at a place where the roads fork, one leading to Emmetsburg, and the other to Hagerstown. Major Moses and I entered a farmhouse, in which we found several women, two wounded Yankees, and one dead one, the result of this morning's skirmish. One of the sufferers was frightfully wounded in the head; the other was hit in the knee: the latter told me he was an Irishman, and had served in the Bengal Europeans during the Indian Mutiny. He now belonged to a Michigan cavalry regiment, and had already imbibed American ideas of Ireland's wrongs, and all that sort of trash. He told me that his officers were very bad, and that the idea in the army was that M'Clellan had assumed the chief command.

The women in this house were great Abolitionists. When Major Fairfax rode up, he inquired of one of them whether the corpse was that of a Confederate or Yankee (the body was in the verandah, covered with a white sheet). The woman made a gesture with her foot, and replied,”If it was a rebel, do you think it would be here long?” Fairfax then said, “Is it a woman who speaks in such a manner of a dead body which can do no one any harm?” She thereupon coloured up, and said she wasn't in earnest.

At 6 o'clock we rode on again (by the Hagerstown road) and came up with General Longstreet at 7.30. The road was full of soldiers marching in a particularly lively manner — the wet and mud seemed to have produced no effect whatever on their spirits, which were as boisterous as ever. They had got hold of coloured prints of Mr Lincoln, which they were passing about from company to company with many remarks upon the personal beauty of Uncle Abe. The same old chaff was going on of “Come out of that hat — I know you're in it — I sees your legs a-dangling down,” &c. When we halted for the night, skirmishing was going on in front and rear — Stuart in front and Ewell in rear. Our bivouac being near a large tavern, General Longstreet had ordered some supper there for himself and his Staff; but when we went to devour it, we discovered General M'Laws and his officers rapidly finishing it. We, however, soon got more, the Pennsylvanian proprietors being particularly anxious to propitiate the General, in hopes that he would spare their live stock, which had been condemned to death by the ruthless Moses.

During supper women came rushing in at intervals, saying —“Oh, good heavens, now they're killing our fat hogs. Which is the General? which is the Great Officer? Our milch cows are now going.” To all which expressions Longstreet replied, shaking his head in a melancholy manner — “Yes, madam, it's very sad — very sad; and this sort of thing has been going on in Virginia more than two years — very sad.”

We all slept in the open, and the heavy rain produced no effect upon our slumbers.

I understand it is impossible to cross the lines by flag of truce. I therefore find myself in a dilemma about the expiration of my leave.

* It afterwards turned out that all escaped but thirty-eight.

SOURCE: Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863, p. 283-7

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Diary of 4th Sergeant John S. Morgan: Thursday, December 3, 1863

$150 horses arrive taken by the home-guards in a skirmish near Benton. Large force of rebs reported near.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 7, January 1923, p. 500