It Was Timber Then

Where the 27th Indiana faced Stewart’s Division in the Rebel flank attempt, timber covered the slope between Colgrove and the Rebel trench. So visitors to the timber-less site might have to use some imagination and check his map as they read the account by Edmund Randolph Brown, the regiment’s historian. He explains:

“By the morning of the 15th the Twentieth Corps had mostly reached the vicinity of its assigned position. After some preliminary moves the Twenty-seventh finally took its place in the line of the brigade, which was formed along a timbered ridge (not a mountain) overlooking a wide ravine, along which the ground was somewhat open. The whole line then moved forward across the ravine and open ground, almost to the crest of the next ridge, which was not as high as the first had been. This advance brought some of the regiments to our left out into the cleared fields, near the log farm- house of one J. F. Scales. This house was some two miles north of Resaca, near the railroad, on its west side.

In this position the Twenty-seventh was on the right of the brigade. The Second Massachusetts joined us on the left, while next to us on the right was the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, of the First Brigade. The enemy’s main entrenched line was one hundred and twenty yards in front of ours. Further to our left his line curved back somewhat, to conform to the ridge upon which it was located, and was, therefore, further away from the Union line. The ground between the two lines varied considerably, but it was all more or less timbered, except just about the Scales house. As has been said, the line of the Twenty-seventh was not quite upon the crest of the ridge, but slightly back from it. After the crest was passed the ground immediately in our front descended gradually, through open timber, for eighty yards. Forty yards further on, upon quite a steep bluff, was the enemy’s line, behind a good breastwork of timber and earth. The fact will be clear to all soldiers that nothing but the trees, which stood between the enemy’s line and our own, and which hid the one from the other, prevented active hostilities from the start. When the writer, and others formerly connected with the Twenty-seventh, visited this field in 1895, the land near the position of the regiment had been cleared. A cotton field extended from the swale, back of where our line was, forward to the base of the bluff occupied by the enemy’s line. A log farmhouse stood near the exact spot where the right of the Twenty-seventh rested against the left of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania. The various positions were identified beyond a doubt and the distances were carefully measured. The ground not having been cleared at that point, the excavation for the enemy’s breastworks.”

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