Some of What They Said

These examples are shown without the context provided by the continuity and narrative of the book.

Page 32: Answering the call. Private William F. Grunert of Winchester, Illinois on why they enlisted.

Grunert, Co D 129th Ill: President Lincoln had scarcely issued his call for three hundred thousand volunteers in the year 1861 [1862], when the loyal hearts of the inhabitants of Scott County, Illinois, were moved and filled with enthusiasm. Every one that could leave his loved ones hastened to be mustered in, thinking that his country needed his services in the pending danger more than father, mother, wife or children. The love of country caused the farmer to leave his plow, the mechanic to change his implements of peace with implements of war, to take part in the great work of suppressing the rebellion. Many of our friends and acquaintances had set a good example and gone to the field of battle before us and many had already shed their blood in the defence of the country, while others were lying ill in the hospitals. It was the duty of every loyal, upright man to assist in saving the country from ruin, and in consequence of the call of the President for volunteers, a company was raised and organized under the care of the later Col. Henry Case, in Winchester, Scott Co, Ill, in July, 1862.

Page 40: Marching to meet Bragg’s Confederate Army. Their immediate hardening, which left many behind.

Grunert, Co D 129th Ill: On the first day of marching, blankets, overcoats, socks, &c. &c. were thrown away in all directions and the knapsacks lightened. The day for our departure had come at last. On the 3d of October, 1862, we turned our backs to the city of Louisville, after having received sixty cartridges, and after many a “parting bumper” had been taken. The sun was tremendously hot, and as the water in our canteens gave out, no springs or creeks on our way, the knapsacks overloaded and heavy, it may be imagined that this our first day’s “tramp” was anything but pleasant. The sun had long departed and it was dark, and yet we were on our march toward Shelbyville, Ky. Every one that was with us this night, will never forget the scene when by the light of the moon a small spring, half dry, was discovered close by the road. The confusion that followed this discovery is indescribable. Everybody rushed to the water, quenched his thirst and returned to his former place—no company there—the different companies were completely intermingled—from all sides the cry: “Where is my company?” was heard—the officers sought their men and the men their officers. The officers strove in vain to bring some order in this confused mass of human beings, until some of the men, tired and worn out, threw themselves down on the ground to rest and sleep, despite the entreaties and commands of the company officers. The part of the regiment not so tired followed the officers, and when we halted at two o’clock, near a small creek, I counted not more than eight of my company. Although we were hungry, we were too tired and worn out to cook anything, but stretched ourselves on the ground and were soon asleep.

Page 46: Effects.

Cox, William, Co F 129th Ill: October 20th. Dear wife; I am glad that I am able to sit up and write you a few lines’ I have been sick ever since we began our Dreadful march out of Louisville; a great portion of the time I did not know where I was or what I was doing; I have not seen John Thomas for 2 or 3 weeks; he was well and soldier like marching away to the field of battle since our army left us the sick. They have had some experience in the art of fighting.

Albertus Dunham, Co C 129th Ill: Whareever the army goes they strip evry thing. I have seen a mile of fence laid flat in 15 min. and on fire. Where we camped at Crab Orchard thare was a farm of 900 acres well fenced and before we left thare was not a rail fence left on the farm and corn and other things in proportion.

Page 58: Picket duty.

Brown, Co C 27th Indiana: One night during the winter there was an unusually heavy, wet snow; it accumulated upon the trees until it broke down and uprooted a great many, and stripped the limbs off of a still larger number. All night long, there was a continuous snapping and roaring in the forests, followed by the crash of the falling timber, until one might have supposed there was a battle in progress. When relieved the next morning the men on picket could scarcely get to camp, as those who relieved them could scarcely get out from camp.

Another night a picket awoke the echoes, in the stillness of the dark jungle, and had the reserve rush to his aid at break-neck speed, through the tangled undergrowth and over the rough ground, by firing his musket at an old horse, that was grazing outside. Nobody believed him when he said he had mistaken the old horse for a mounted rebel scout. They all knew he was only tired of standing out there alone.

Many nights were so inky dark that no one could see anything. Even those objects near at hand could be discerned quite as well with the eyes closed as open. For the relief to cross the various foot-logs, and get around to the different posts, was a great undertaking. At every foot-log one or more of the men fell into the creek, which at the time was a roaring torrent.

Page 62: Disease and daily routine.

Laforest Dunham, Co C 129th Ill: I take my pen in hand to write you the painful news of the death of dear Albertus. He died Jan. the 7 about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He was out of his head most of the time during his sickness. When he was in his write mind he wanted me to read the Bible to him … The boys in the company got a nice hed board and set out to nice cedar treas, one at the head and one at the foot, and Delos Robinson and myself made a fence around it.

Grunert, Co D 129th Ill: January 11, 1863. The day was very cold and I had the pleasure of doing picket duty.
January 12, 1863. Another cold day—everything was very quiet. We received a very large mail.
January 13, 1863. A negro that had been shot by his master, but not fatally wounded, came to us and offered his services, “to live and die with us,” he said. Several companies had to go to Buck’s Lodge to reinforce the part of the regiment stationed there.
January 14, 1863. I was again doing picket duty. The morning was very rainy, and turned afterwards to snowing and became so cold that I could hardly move a limb.
January 15, 1863. A snow of five inches, accompanied by great cold fell. On arising we found our blankets frozen tight to the ground and covered with sleet. It is hardly necessary to say that we froze very much.
January 16, 1863. Despite the chilling blast and snow I had to stand guard, but as permission had been given to kindle a fire, I liked the day better than the day before in camp. A number of volunteers were demanded to-day to go in search of a gang of guerrillas. They left the camp in the evening.
January 17. The cold weather continued. The road was out of order and no trains passed. A company was ordered to go in search of the volunteers that went on a guerrilla hunt. We had heard nothing from them since they left. Both detachments soon returned, without having seen a trace of the enemy.
January 18. A strong detail was sent out foraging with wagons and returned well loaded before nightfall.
January 19. The unpleasant duty of standing guard in a very heavy rain was my lot to-day, and wet to the skin I returned to camp the next morning.
January 20. Another cold day; all quiet in camp.
January 21. Since standing guard the last time I felt sick and broken down in consequence of getting wet. A friend thought I would have to go to the hospital.
January 22. I felt decidedly better to-day, well enough to go along with a foraging party. The negro mentioned above, shot by his master, was our guide, and led us immediately to the house of his (former) master, where we confiscated everything that we could use. The negro took a couple of blankets along, and under his lead we returned with our well loaded wagons towards evening into camp.
January 23. Although not entirely well, I went on picket duty again. Three men of Morgan’s command surrendered to-day. Fifteen men on horseback, under command of our (then) Colonel Smith scoured the country in order to confiscate all serviceable horses of the rebels. Part of our regiment was to be mounted to clear the surrounding country of rebels.
January 24. We received another mail to-day and the trains are running regular again. We had much fun to-day and spent the time with music and singing until we went to bed.

Page 67: Guarding railroad.

Paine, Brig. Gen: 1863 Feb 1, At dusk last evening an outlaw by the name of Peddicord, with 40 men, tore up four or five rails in the Richland Woods, about 14 miles from here. They were attempting to burn a cattle guard on the road, when 15 men of the One hundred and twenty-ninth Illinois approached. The rebels ran. They were dressed in our overcoats. I have 350 men after them, and I expect to hear that the rebels fell off their horses and broke their necks. Fifty or more citizens collected at the place with the rebels, to look on, aid, and assist. I propose to make an example of some of them. The trains are running.

Page 75: Scouting guerillas.

Laforest Dunham, Co C 129th Ill: April 15. Thar is some 60 mounted men piked out of the Regiment on for scoutting. I hapened to be one of them. We are out some times a weak at a time; we go nite and day. I like it much better than staying in camp all though we run a good deal of risk. We hardly ever go out with out caching a number of prisoners or spying out something new. Day befor yester thare was 57 rebels came with about 12 miles of heare to make a raid on the railroad but we was to sharp for them. We new all about thare moves. They ran in contact with some of our cavelry that are stationed at Franklin, Ky. and they fed them some of uncle sams pils, kild a number of the rebs and took several prisinars. None of our boys wer hurt. we run our horses to about 5 miles to cut off thare retreat but they went another road. We rode all nite after them but did not get any of them. We are haveing splendid wether heare. Thare is a going to be a great deal of fruit heare this seson, peach treas are loded down. That is all this country is fit for just to rais fruit. Know Wonder that this state rebeld. You cant find one in 20 and be safe in saying so thay can read or write. The country is all rocks and mountains.The union ladies of this state and along the line of Ky. gave ous a picknick the other day. we had a fine time, it seamed a good deal like home. I think if nothing happens I will get a furlow to come home about August. I think we will stay heare all summer. General Pain sais that this Regiment has done more good along this road than a briggade had done before. Since we have ben out we have taken some 900 prisinors.

Page 101: Return of General Ward. Benjamin Harrison had commanded the brigade in his absence. A member of another brigade first saw Ward on his return.

Reid, Co A 22nd Wis Coburn 2B 3D 20C: . . . Among the passengers upon the train was Brigadier General Ward of Kentucky who had been ordered by General Granger to take command here … The 11th and 12th Corps were being sent from the Army of the Potomac in Virginia to reinforce Rosecrans …This General Ward deserves more than a passing notice. He is the roughest looking old fellow I ever saw. When he came off the train and during the entire day he wore a blue private’s over coat, dirty and almost ragged, a black hat that looked as if its owner had been in a “free fight” and had received several punches in the head—a common black scabbard sword with gilt belt that had seen so much service that the leather was red in places, and his face and figure corresponded with his attire. In person he was short, stocky, almost corpulent. From beneath his battered hat, long, iron-gray, uncombed locks depended nearly to his chin on one side, while the other side was cut so short as to be scarcely visible under the hat—a string of iron-gray whiskers ran under his chin, seemingly designed to tie his face and hair together, and the face bronzed almost to Indian darkness gave him the appearance of an old Western trapper or California gold digger.

Page 105: A tour of Cumberland Mountain. Jealousy of one Hooker’s division commanders costs many men some sleep. It led to both tragedy and glory for that general, Geary.

Brown, Co C 27th Indiana Ruger 2B 1D 20C: A little later the following entries were made in the diary of a Twenty-seventh soldier: October 23, to Dechard; October 24, to Anderson; October 25, to Dechard; October 26, to Tullahoma. Brief, but true. With more detail, these entries mean that under orders, which had every appearance of being serious, we started to the front. We carried ten days’ rations of bread, five of meat and an extra supply of ammunition. The first day we marched to Dechard, over a good road and through a level country—an easy march of Fifteen miles. The next day we toiled up the rocky side of the main chain of the Cumberland Mountains and descended again on the opposite side. We went over the mountain exactly where the railroad goes partly under it. There had been little or no road there before. The only time it had ever been used, we were told, was while the railroad was being built. With infinite labor we pulled the artillery and baggage wagons up by hand on one side and eased them down again on the other. In places ledges of rock rose from one to three feet, almost perpendicular, and in others the wheels cut down in the soft, black soil squarely to the hubs. That night we camped at Anderson’s depot After crossing the mountain the road follows down the Crow Creek Valley, a very wild and picturesque locality, hemmed in by high mountains. Near where we camped was a spring large enough to run a mill. It issued from a cavern in the side of the mountain into which a man could walk almost upright. Beech nuts were again plentiful.

Next morning there was a delay in starting. When the start was made we took the backtrack; and the march that day and the following one were the exact counterparts of the two previous days, except that the direction was reversed. The fourth night found us back at Tullahoma, upon the precise spot from which we had started. Several thousand men had just had a nice promenade, of some seventy miles, for their health. The explanation of this transaction, current at the time, was to the effect that an order was issued for our division to go to the front and the Second Division to remain in the rear. But General Geary, the commander of the Second Division, objected. He was a large man, with a rugged, if not violent, disposition. When he learned of the arrangement he went to the higher authorities and made a disturbance. He complained that the First Division had too often been preferred over his. It had been given all chances to distinguish itself, while his division had been kept in the back-ground. Whether this report was true or not. our division was ordered back and the other division went forward. Williams’ division guarded the railroad and Geary’s division participated in ” the Battle Above the Clouds.” In the absence of any other, this explanation is given for what it is worth.

Page 136: Nashville. Duty there was a bit easier. During the Battle of Chattanooga, some guarded trains from Nashville to Stevenson, Alabama.

Merrill, 70th Ind: As the last night of the year approached, a cold wave from the North drove the mercury many degrees below zero, and produced indescribable suffering. The exposure on the picket posts was very great, but the distress of the sentinel who could be relieved and could approach the log heap fire once in two hours was mild compared with the agony of the train guard, who rode on top of the box cars to and from Stevenson, Alabama. Some were frozen to death, and many contracted diseases that terminated fatally, or crippled the unfortunates for life.

Page 148: To Wauhatcie. The brigade marched over the Cumberland to Chattanooga in February.

Cram, Co F 105th Ill: We began ascending the mountains and after traveling about five miles our drunken old Genl. found he was on the wrong road, so after retreating about a mile we left the path and struck right across the unbroken mountains. [1] We traveled this way about an hour over huge rocks, down steep hills, across ravines, amid all sorts of laughable casualties. When we came to the right road and began to file into it, the companies and even regiment were so mixed up that we could scarcely find our places. Here I was much amused at one fellow who after looking in vain for his company, stepped up to a soldier just ahead of me and said he, “Soldier, can you tell me what my name is?” Such little incidents occur often and tend much to break the monotony of the march.

Page 164: Preparation at Lookout Mountain. “How little a mock battle is like a real one.”

Cram, Co F 105th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: April 29. Yesterday afternoon we had one of the grandest performances that our regiment ever took part in, namely, a division drill and sham fight. The men all went out with thirty rounds of blank cartridges and aiming at the grounds selected for the battle, they were drawn up as follows. The 105th were thrown forward as skirmishers and formed into a double line. At proper intervals behind was the first line of battle consisting of three regiments deployed, extending the line a little over a mile. Behind this line was the second. This was drawn up in column by division, consisting of four regiments. And still behind this line were two regiments at either flank in close column. The artillery were posted on the flanks, taking positions on two small hills, covering our grand advance. First the skirmishing commenced by our regiment and continued till we had advanced about three miles and taken possession of every point. Then the enemy were supposed to be found in force, and our regiment were withdrawn and formed in line with the first line of battle. Now the fight commenced in earnest, and the quick rapid discharge of musketry soon filled the valley with dense smoke. The artillery firing too was executed beautifully and the booming of the cannon echoed from hill to hill and thence to the grim wall of Lookout. Of course, we drove the enemy and took any amount of prisoners, without any loss whatever on our side. Genls. Thomas, Hooker, Butterfield, Brannan and Whipple were there to witness our movements. Butterfield conducted them.

Austin, 19th Mich Coburn 2B 3D 20C: Cowen Station Tenn April 25th …I suppose if I was at home & no lady to bring water to wash my hands with you would let me go without my dinner. Well I would not go without it long for I would be the best boy you ever see if I only was at home & could have you to cook my dinner again, but we must not talk about this now. I am here & have got to stay till thare is different times with rebble affairs. I hope it wont be long before that time comes. John thinks they can do something at the ballot box to help put down the rebellion. I think the most any one can do thare to help stop the war is to vote for good men that are true to their country & are bound to see the end of this affair & see it come out just as it has been calculated on & not give the rebs a thing but whip them till they are glad to ask for quarters instead of demanding them as they always have done so far. Who would cast their vote to have things put back in the same shape they were 3 years or more ago with so many thousand of our boys whose bones are left in the southern states never more to return to their homes & those that they loved. Who can think of such a thing after such a sacriface of life as has been going on for the last 3 years. I say do all you can to support our soldiers & get as many into the army as as are wanted to to fight these wicked rebs & when they are whiped let us give them what belongs to them & if we are whiped we will take up with what we can get. I dont know but I have writen enough of this so I will close before I make some one mad or the next thing to it.

Page 206: The first day of the Atlanta Campaign. A sobering, foreboding sight.

Cram, Co F 105th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: About one o’clock yesterday we commenced crossing the Chickamauga battle ground and never in my life do I want to see such terrible evidence of human destruction as were there visible. Hundreds of large trees were cut completely into with shot, and hundreds of items of immense size are bored through and through with those iron messengers, while the butts of them were so riddled with bullets that in many of them not a space of a single square inch can be found free from the scar of a bullet.

The battle ground at Stone River I used to think was awful, but compared to this, it seems a mere skirmish. The saddest sight of all, and indeed the most significant, were the little clusters of graves where are buried the fallen heroes.

The distance we marched yesterday is about eighteen miles, very many poor fellows fell out and were left behind. This is our first experience in marching under Butterfield and I must say, we don’t love him much. He gave us scarcely a particle of meat and just stopped long enough at noon for us to hastily swallow a bite and then started on again. If we had marched leisurely and had occasional halts we would have arrived here two hours later without being exhausted and without leaving hundreds of our men behind.

Austin, 19th Mich Coburn 2B 3D 20C: I send you a bunch of wild flowers that I picked within a step of whare one of our soldiers was pretended to be burried. When I looked at the ugly maid grave & then at these beautiful flowers which surrounded it I felt to thank God that he had not forgotten the spot whare the soldier fell fighting the battles of his country. Let us trust in God & hope for the best.

Page 219: Snake Creek Gap. Flanking the Confederate stronghold at Dalton.

Wood, 3B 3D 20C: On Wednesday, the 11th, at 4 a.m. the brigade marched from its position near Woods Store, to which place it had returned after the reconnaissance to Snake Creek Gap and about half way through the gap, arriving at 12 m. a distance of fourteen miles. Here I was ordered to put the brigade into camp, and to widen and put in good condition that part of the road through the gap between where General Williams, of the First Division, was encamped and the camp of my brigade, to make the road of sufficient capacity to allow two wagon trains and a column of infantry to march abreast. I divided the work into as many sections as I had regiments, and as soon as the tools were provided put as many men on the road as could be advantageously employed. By nightfall I had that portion of the road apportioned to my brigade completed as ordered. On the 12th, at 10 a.m. the brigade broke camp and marched through the gap, a distance of four miles, and took up position in a single deployed line in rear of the Fifteenth Army Corps.

Butterfield, 3D 20C: Have put my three brigades in camp along this gap (it is about five miles in length) at proper distances for a vigorous prosecution of the works ordered, one brigade in the center of the gap and one near each end … Three men ordered to each tool to push the work vigorously and carefully enough to do it well. My artillery and trains I have left near General William’s camp at the entrance to the gap. My headquarters are about a mile from the southern end or mouth of the gap.

Page 222: Hooker’s vanity.

Fleharty, 102nd Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: Our Generals are active and it is encouraging to know that Gen. Sherman visits the different parts of the field in person. He passed near our camp a few moments ago. General Thomas is also in this part of the field. Gen. Hooker rode along our lines yesterday. The General is a fine looking man, but exhibits a degree of vanity that does not seem warrantable in any General. Major Gen. Sickles was riding with Hooker’s staff, and when passing the troops, General Hooker invariably motioned him and others to the rear and rode about twenty feet in advance to receive the plaudits of his soldiers.

Page 227: Closing in. Rebels are trying to get to Resaca before Federals.

Grunert, Co D 129th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: May 13. Remained on our camping ground until 3 o’clock P.M. when, after drawing a large quantity of ammunition, we advanced. It was generally believed that to-day we would have a first chance at the enemy. After a short and slow march we halted in a forest of beautiful oak trees, while skirmishing was going on in our immediate front; we could, however, see no enemy. The firing became less audible, a sign that the enemy had to retreat before our cavalry, whereupon we advanced again in the immediate rear of our pickets, not in column, but in line of battle, prepared for any attack the enemy might make. Our advancing was slow and cautious through the woods, in search of the enemy; the country changed with hill and valley. We had not long to search for the enemy; on our arrival at the foot of a tolerably high hill some well aimed rifle shots told us of the presence of the enemy, whose determined refusal to retreat brought on a skirmish. Our pickets and the enemy vied with each other in rapid and well aimed firing, but our continual advance and the sure marksmen in our ranks brought the enemy to retreat at last.

The rebel pickets once on the retreat, could not be brought to a stand, as our pickets advanced as the enemy retreated, and were compelled to return to their principal force, and until evening came on and the darkness prevented a continuation of the murderous play. We were nearer to Resaca now than to Dalton, and when we camped at night on a hill on the opposite site of that occupied by the enemy, and were talking over the events of the day and preparing supper, we were not more than ½ mile distant from the enemy’s main force. The most part of the night we kept awake, the knapsack packed and the gun on hand; but few hours sleep were allowed us.

Page 229: Stampede.

Morhous, Co C 123rd NY Knipe 1B 1D 20C After a few days of skillful manoeuvering bv Gen. Sherman, the enemy found themselves so completely flanked, that a retreat amounting almost to a stampede was the result. Falling back and reorganizing on a new line near Resaca, he ensconced himself behind a heavy line of fortifications, which had been previously prepared. So perfect and formidable were these works that scarcely an acre of ground could be found within ten miles but was protected by direct and enfilading fire from several batteries. The prospect of hurling themselves on these slaughter pens was anything but agreeable to the boys after they in a measure had become aware of their strength. Still Sherman seemed determined to give them battle on their own grounds, calculating that his superiority of numbers and morale would more than overcome their advantage of breastworks.

Page 237: Closing in at Camp Creek.

Thrustin, Co D, 111th Ohio, Harker, 2B3D23C: The night before, fifteen miles to the northward we had seen the mountains lit up with the incessant flashes of musketry and cannon. Now, as the darkness settled upon us, we saw the rebel camp fires in our front. Our march from Loudon southward to Rocky Face had been over a country new to us and therefore interesting, and when the day’s march had become wearisome it needed only a few notes from fife and drum, of “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” to put elasticity into your step, to bring the straggler to his place in ranks, and then while the natives stared with open mouthed wonder, you would break out with

We are coming from the east, we are coming from the west,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
And we’ll drive the rebel crew, from the land we love the best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
The Union for ever, hurrah boys, hurrah,
Down with the traitors, and up with the stars,
While we rally round the flag boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.

When were you too weary to join in that chorus? Now, as you moved up through the dense woods upon the rebel position, the voice of music was hushed, every one talked in an undertone when it was necessary to talk. Every man felt that there was desperate business on hand, and melody would have rasped the nerves like a neuralgia.

Page 243: Awaiting their turn.

Strong, Co B 105th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: Our brigade was ordered to the right flank to support the troops engaged in fighting there. I distinctly remember how plain we could hear the whole business: the roar of the artillery, the crack of musketry, the cheers of the Yankees and the yells of the Johnnies. Through it all, we were lying in a thick wood and could see nothing. When we would hear the Yankees cheer, our hearts would almost stop beating. Then would come the roar of Rebel cannon, and as our boys were beaten back the Rebs would nearly split their throats yelling. We lay there in a fever of impatience until our turn came.

Page 264: Simonson’s battery. The Rebels try a flank on the 14th.

Partridge, 96th Ill Whitaker 2B 1D 4C: The charging column, as it came over the higher ground, struck the Brigade at the right with fearful velocity. These troops were engaged in throwing up a barricade of rails and logs when the charge began. Seizing their muskets they made a brave fight for a few moments, but upon discovering that their flank was passed broke for the rear in wild confusion. The moments were of fearful import to the members of the Ninety-Sixth. Now anxiously they awaited the result of that onset. They could see little, but they could hear everything. It was but a moment and their worst fears were realized, for the firing slackened at the right, while the Rebel yell grew more exultant as the line of blue was rolled back from left to right. In a moment the storm had struck the Regiment. Hardly a shot had been fired at them as yet, and owing to the dense thicket not a Rebel could be seen. But they could be plainly heard as they threw aside the fence in front. The men were generally kneeling or lying prostrate on the ground, every one ready for his work. The voice of Colonel Champion rang out: “Steady, men! Hold your fire until I give the word!“ Then, as the bushes began to weave to and fro, almost in their faces, he gave the command: “Fire!” A terribly destructive volley poured into the oncoming lines, and a great windrow of dead was afterward found at this point. The front line of the charging column was halted and turned back for a regiment’s length. Many of the Regiment began to reload their muskets, having no thought of leaving the line. Those at the right could see at once that the position was untenable, for the Rebels were rushing past their flank in solid ranks. A moment later the left was also flanked and a wicked fire was poured lengthwise of the line. A formal order to retreat was given by Colonel Champion, with directions to rally at the breastworks, but in the confusion and noise could not be heard by all. But the instinct of self preservation was strong enough to tell the experienced soldier what to do, and the movement to the rear was begun almost simultaneously along the entire line. In a moment the retreat had become a rout. The Rebels were past both the flanks, and yelling and firing with all their might. For the first and last time in its experience the Regiment was in utter confusion, and little or no effort was made to preserve order; indeed no effort was practicable from the start. For a time it was a race between the men in blue and those in gray to see which should first gain the open field. Fortunately the Regiment’s course lay through a hollow or depression, and while the pines somewhat retarded the retreat it likewise delayed the Rebels and served an admirable purpose as a covering or screen. A majority of the command followed the natural depression, which took them a little to the left of Simonson’s 5th Indiana Battery, making their way to the breastworks built in the morning, and when the enemy came in view doing admirable service. Others bore to the right, and as they emerged from the timber found themselves in an open field nearly in front of the Battery as it then faced.

Page 274: Saved by Hooker. Robinson’s brigade drove the Rebels back after a fierce artillery fight.

Benton, Band, 150th NY Ruger 2B 1D 20C: “Blow cease firing!” The voice was of Gen. A. S. Williams, “old Pop” Williams, as the boys affectionately referred to him among themselves, and the order was addressed to the brigade bugler, Stevenson, who, as it happened, was a member of our regiment. Stevenson had been as intensely interested as the others in the drama before us, and he afterward told me that it was the only time he was ever ordered to blow “Cease firing.” Now, with the suddenness of the order he could not remember the signal, but he clapped the bugle to his lips and blew something; and the firing ceased. The signal had not been needed, for the men saw that the enemy had retreated from their front, and they stopped firing without regard to that uncertain sound from Stevenson’s instrument.

Page 291: Hooker’s proposal. Sherman took him up on it.

Hooker, 20C: To Sherman: 12:30 am: I reached the left in season to prevent the enemy turning it. … Had any considerable portion of my corps been in position I would have followed up the success. To do it effectually in the morning, in my judgment, the advance should be on two lines, one along the line of railroad, the other along the Dalton and Resaca highway. All the troops should be in position by daylight. My position for to-night is on the high ground in the vicinity of where Morris’ Creek crosses the Dalton road.

Page 294: Our brigade gets its chance. Not everyone was enthusiastic.

Fleharty, 102nd Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: The morning of Sunday, May 15, 1864, dawned luridly upon us. The smoke of innumerable camp fires had enveloped hill and valley in a hazy mantle. At six o’clock we were ordered to move around to the left of the 14th Army Corps. Quietly we marched back over the hill, and through the shadowy forest, almost feeling the death-like stillness of that memorable Sabbath morning. And how like entering the valley of the shadow of death, seemed our march down through the smoky atmosphere into the deep valley, and around to our new position confronting the enemy. Our Division had been selected for the desperate work of charging a rebel battery, which was supported by a strong force of the enemy behind entrenchments. The ulterior object was to break the enemy’s line at that point, and thereby cut the rebel army in twain.

Noble, 19th Mich Coburn 2B 3D 20C: We recd orders last night to fortify our position and we worked by reliefs into daylight—throwing up breastworks. This morning we have orders to be ready to move forward immediately. Again we expect to participate in the fighting of today. I can but say that I have the privilege but had rather keep out—if we are not needed. But if they need us I shall do my duty faithfully and if I fall I feel confident that it will be well with me. I put my trust in God and hope for the best. I think that today’s fighting will decide the battle.

Merrill, 70th Ind Ward 1B 3D 20C: On the morning of May fifteenth the regiment was relieved and marched to the left several miles, and as it was Sunday saw men of other organizations engaged in religious services. As the report gained credence that a charge was to be made on the enemy’s works, some humorous semisolemn remarks were made by men who were not frequent listeners to the Chaplain’s sermons, as to the desirability of halting and spending the day in devotional exercises.

Member of Company A, 141st NY, Knipe 1B 1D 20C: Sunday morning dawned upon a cloudless sky; the sun rose in all its loveliness, the birds sang as sweetly as if no man had ever cursed this once happy country; all nature seemed to put forth its loveliest hues. A person not conversant with the previous few days’ proceedings would hardly have dreamed, from the appearance, that two hostile armies were within forty rods of each other, preparing for a deadly contest.—What a contrast between the proceedings here, on this the Lord’s day, and our own quiet Northern homes, at the same hour. On the one hand they are preparing for Church, or Sabbath School, while on the other we are preparing for battle by replenishing our ammunition boxes, filling haversacks with hard-tack, pork, &c.

Page 305: Getting ready. The wait.

Abrams, Atlanta Intelligencer, with Stewart’s Division, CSA: About twelve o’clock the Yankee skirmishers opened a heavy fire on our pickets, compelling them to fall back behind the entrenchments, and at the same time heavy columns were seen forming on the right of Hindman’s, Stevenson’s and Stuart’s divisions. There were four lines of battle in depth, and appeared to number about eight thousand men, and from the number massed in front of Stevenson’s line it became apparent that his division would have to stand the brunt of the engagement. One hour passed off slowly to the gallant men who were gazing over the works in anxious expectation for the advance of the enemy.

Fleharty, 102nd Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: There was evidently some warm work to be done. At first the real design of the movement was known only to a few, but when the column was formed, the men were ordered to fix bayonets, and as the ominous click ran along the line the nature of the task before us became apparent. Thought was busy then, and all faces seemed a shade paler.

Merrill, 70th Ind Ward 1B 3D 20C: At last there was a halt, and a command to unsling knapsacks and fix bayonets. The Seventieth was formed in line of battle and behind were the other regiments of the First Brigade in similar formation, the whole in a column of battalions, with intervals of forty paces between each regiment. General Hooker, attended by other officers, rode forward and stated that some guns belonging to the enemy on the opposite hill were to be taken.

For a few moments there was a stillness in which we could hear a leaf fall. No wonder, for there were men in that line who were to live but a few moments longer. Alas, not all were ready for the sacrifice! One man said, “Captain, let me fill the canteens at that spring and bring them to the boys.” Canteens nor man were ever seen again. Many a dying soldier cried in vain for water because of this cowardly perfidy. One of those, however, who looked death in the face said, “I can feel the little hands of my babies around my neck, and hear my wife whispering goodbye.” Another, as he threw away a pack of cards, “I don’t want to be killed with these in my pocket.” Another, “If I fall and you survive take what you find in my knapsack to mother.”

The thoughts of the older man who has left a family have a wider range than the younger. The breastworks, the rocks, the trees, the armed men sink out of sight, and the husband and father is in his Indiana home where the little children cling to him, and wife breathes what seems to be an eternal goodbye. It is a heartbreaking moment, but the little fingers are quickly loosened, and again he is in Georgia under bonds to duty. What matters what happens? If this is all there is of life, if love means agony, it is well to have all ended quickly. Or if this be but the threshold of existence, then it were well to storm the ramparts defended by death and burst into the realms of life eternal.

Page 332: Corput’s Battery to be sacrificed. They had been moved in front of the Confederate line.

Anderson, Hood Courier, CSA: Soon after this Lieut. F. H. Wigfall. of Gen. Hood’s Staff, rode up, and ordered me to report to Hood, who was on Gen. Stewart’s line, to the right of the railroad from where we were. When we found Gen. Hood, Capt. Britton, who commanded the escort, was the only one with him. All the couriers and staff were off with orders. It was there that Gen. Hood gave the order for the commander of a battery to stay at his guns until he and all the men were killed; not to leave the guns under any circumstances.

Page 335: A very short summary.

Fleharty, 102nd Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: The distance from the point where the charging column was formed to the enemy’s line, was about six hundred yards. A valley lay between, and their works were upon the crest of a hill beyond. A heavy growth of young pines covered all the hills and completely masked their position. At length about half-past eleven o’clock the command “forward“ ran along the line, and the column quickly moved down the hillside. Simultaneously with the beginning of the movement the rebels opened fire. Then “forward!” was the word shouted and repeated by almost every tongue. And a wild, prolonged battle yell that swelled from all lips, arose distinct and terrific above the roar of battle, as down into the valley and across the open field where death rode on every passing breeze then up the hillside where the twigs and branches of the young pines were clipped by the bullets like corn blades in a hail storm the charging columns moved not in regular lines, but enmasse, disorganized by the inequalities of the ground and the dense growth of pines on to the summit, towards the rebel cannons which belched forth fire, grape-shot and shell to the last instant men dropping dead and wounded on every hand into the earthworks surrounding the guns, and the guns were ours.

Page 337: Another short summary.

Ritter, Rowan’s Battery, Johnson’s Battalion, Hood’s Corps, CSA: In making the charge just described, the right of the enemy’s column passed within three hundred yards of Rowan’s battery, giving the latter the opportunity to open a terrific fire upon them. Many were killed and wounded, as they knew from the number of litters they saw leaving the field.

Page 343: Private Miller reveals the truth. Two brigades moved forward, at right angles to each other!

Miller, 111th PA Ireland 3B 2D 20C: And when we that is our regt got within a half mile of the reb lines we came to the men of the third division [Coburn’s] all broken up and although we were the fifth line when we started the other four ran to the rear passing over and through our line but the stern order to go forward was given by Hooker in person for he was rite behind our regt and complimented us very highly for our steadiness under such circumstances.

Page 345: Friendly fire. Caused by crowding and confusion.

Noble, 19th Mich Coburn 2B 3D 20C: There was several lines of battle in front of our reg’t or Brigade when we got into position but when ordered to advance the front lines with the exception of the one in advance did not move. We were under the fire from the rebel batteries at that time and the Grape & Canister were flying around us at a rate in no wise pleasant or agreeable, and we were all lying flat on the ground. As the front lines did not stir our Brigade was ordered to charge past them and forward we went walking right over them and just as we passed the one next the front those in the rear came up behind us and without seeing a rebel commenced firing right through our lines.

We were on the side of a hill and they were a little above us. This is all that saved us from being shot down by our own men. As it was there was more men in our Corps killed & wounded by this piece of carelessness than by any firing that the rebels done. It was a trying time.

Page 347: Isolated. One regiment got too far on its own and was clobbered.

Mouat, Co G, 29th Penn Ireland 3B 2D 20C: We moved through the woods up a hill we had not gone far when the Rebs opened on us from three sides Killing and wounding about 70 of our Regiment in a very few minutes Our company lost Jim Hunter, John McCaully Dick Powell Killed—Geo Spangler wounded and died in Chattanooga hospital—and Bill Franks wounded and died afterwards—Johnny Griffith Harvey Shellenbarger Jack McKenna John Shuler Jim Bund wounded—Our Lieut Bob Bonner being in command of Company A was also wounded moving on their works I saw a Reb flag on the breast works and I started for it I had not gone far when I heard some one shout “Dave for Gods sake stop” I looked back and saw Sergeant Culbertson of Company A who said “Orders are to fall back as no supports are following us,” we laid down and crawled back as fast as we could and soon joined our Companies, It appeared that the Johnnies had on our right and left some artillery flanked and connected by a trench in the shape of a horse shoe it was a very hot hole for awhile – Dick Powell and Jack McCaully were the first ones Killed, Jack’s brother Aleck and I catching him before he fell.

Rickards, 29th Penn Ireland 3B 2D 20C: On ascertaining that no support was coming, I ordered my men to move back, and took my former position. I then learned for the first time that the order for the charge had been countermanded. The loss of the regiment in this charge was 6 men killed and 53 wounded. [1]

Mouat, Co G, 29th Penn Ireland 3B 2D 20C: As we crawled back I came across a friend in Company D—Billy Denny who was badly wounded I said Hello Billy let me help you off he said No Dave I can’t move I might as well die here tell them at home I died like a soldier and tell my mother to give my money to my brother and sister, I said you are all right take this canteen of water and Keep quiet.

Page 358: Gun #2. A Confederate gunner faces the incoming Yankees.

Wesley Connor, private, Cherokee Artillery, CSA: Between one and two o’clock the Federals brought out a line on said ridge as if preparing for an advance, and we pitched into them with our guns, and were giving them the best we had, when the first thing we knew the pickets came running past our guns with the announcement that the Yankees were right on us—some of them had passed our first gun before I left my gun—(I was gunner of #2, the guns being numbered from right to left) in fact two or three of them were parting the brush in front of my gun, and I shall never forget how they looked as they came through. Each of them seemed to be about ten feet tall and big in proportion. I left my gun double shotted with canister, as two friction primers in succession had failed to do their work. Our supporting infantry, Gen. John C. Brown’s Brigade of Tennesseans, were as much surprised as we were, and barely had time to get into the trenches in time to stop your advance This will explain why our battery overshot you.

Page 360: An opportunity. Some did not want to be Rebels.

Blakeslee, Co G 129th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: At “P” on map [1] as the left of my Company of which I had charge, was swinging into line, a man hatless and coatless jumped over the works and almost into my arms; of course he surrendered. He stated to me he was Captain ————-, I can’t now tell who. His sword was gone; he stated that a shell had knocked it out of his hand. He wore officer’s belt and scabbard. Standing a moment thinking what to do, he says “What are you going to do with me, for God’s sake lets get out of this.” I was glad to get out of that scorcher that was being played on us from our right, and by your riflemen to the rear. Part of the way down the hill turned him over to an enlisted man of a N.Y. regiment, when I hastened back to the crest of the hill.

Page 364: Premonition. Such as these are hard to account for.

Widows, Co D 70th Ind Ward 1B 3D 20C: We were about to charge an intrenched battery at Resaca, Ga. May 15, 1864, and went to fill our canteens. After the canteens were filled Comrade David F. Furcate took from his pockets some trinkets and handed them to a comrade, saying, “I shall be killed in this charge; send these to my sister.”, and he gave her name and address. We tried to laugh him out of his fears, but he was not affected. We made the charge, took the battery and entered the entrenchments. Comrade Furgate with us. He mounted one of the captured caissons and sat on it loading and firing for a few minutes, when a musket ball struck him in the abdomen, inflicting a wound from which he died that night.

Page 368: If they’d only known. Ward’s brigade had captured the fort and broken the line.

Peak, Co F 129th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: General Howard and Butterfield were watching the battle from a high hill in the rear and they said it was a defeat, for it looked like a lot of dare devils, every man for himself. Some times the wisest men can be mistaken as they were for it was a glorious victory for the third division. Although they had lost heavily in killed and wounded, they jumped into the fort and used their bayonets to drive the few rebels that still stayed with their guns

Page 372: Coburn’s brigade came behind Ward’s. Tragedy is about to strike.

Dickinson, Co E 22nd Wis Coburn 2B 3D 20C: On up the hill we rushed, through thickets of bushes and scrubby trees, where the bullets, whistled, snapped, and cracked, till the boys actually thought, the rebels were firing explosive bullets; and, as we neared the Fort, the large trees had been felled, with their tops down hill, the large limbs cut off, and the stubs sharpened, for us to run against. Then they had woven telegraph wire from limb to limb, and from one scrub tree to another, and in among the bushes, until we were shut out, for we couldn’t break the wire, and had nothing to cut that, or the bushes. There we were in plain sight of the rebels, in Fort and rifle pits, and were a fine mark, for them, to practice on. In trying to find an opening through the wire, and brush, I kept working towards the right of our line, until I found a hole and crowded through, and found myself with Company I or at least there was Captain Patton, and three men.

Page 375: The Rebels regroup and return. Ward’s brigade caught between Coburn and Confederates.

Merrill, 70th Ind Ward 1B 3D 20C: At this moment when the center was occupying the lunette, and the right and left wings of the regiment were curving about it, shots from the rear added to the intense excitement. There were thrilling cries of “Stop that firing in the rear! For God’s sake don’t kill your own men!” Then came the rally of the enemy to the breastworks behind the lunette, and the falling to the ground of our men in a semicircle about the fort. An enfilading fire of the enemy’s batteries far to the right and left, mistaken by those who came later on the field as coming from the harmless lunette, and the continuous rifle shots from the concealed infantry twenty yards away, could not drive the regiment from its exposed position, or weaken its determination to see that those guns never again come into the hands of the original owners.

Page 386: No man’s land. The battery was caught between both sides.

“Personne”: In the Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment there is a private named Early, who exhibited a degree of courage unequalled during this war. When the enemy had thrown their men behind the redoubt in which Corbett’s battery was placed, this man stood up in the pits, with his body half exposed and opened a rapid firing on the enemy, almost preventing them from sharpshooting; for no sooner would a Yankee raise his head above the redoubt than a ball would enter his brain, and he would fall dead across the work. In this manner Early had killed six, when I had occasion to go up to the point where he was stationed, and was very much amused at his manner. ‘’Get up there,” he would exclaim to the Yankees, “get up and show your heads; why the d-l don’t you take a shot at me? Now just raise up for a second,” and whenever a Yankee was found bold enough to accept his challenge, a bullet through his head was the reward he received.

Page 402: Fighting on the left. Williams’ division holds the angle at great cost.

Ryder, Co I 33rd Mass, Wood 3B 1D 20C: We returned their fire to the best of our ability, but being so fully exposed our men fell rapidly until four of our color bearers had fallen, 65 of the rank and file and a few officers. We then got orders to lie down on the crest of the hill for a few moments. Soon orders came to rise up and we were told that we were to charge across the valley and take the rifle pits, and for no one to hesitate when the order to charge should be given. So in a few moments the order was given, and I started on the run for the rifle pits. I had gotten about half way across the valley when in looking around I found there were only three men with me. We said, “Where is the regiment?” Evidently no one but us had moved. I don’t think I ever witnessed such a rain of bullets as was falling about us. The leaves and twigs from the bushes were falling all around us. I expected every second to be hit, but we got back to our lines unhurt, and found the regiment lying down just where we had left them. I never knew why that order was disobeyed. It was the first and only time our regiment disobeyed an order. No doubt they acted wisely, because we would all have been annihilated before we could have reached the enemy’s rifle pits. While I was looking for a place to lie down in comparative safety, I found what I thought a good one back of the roots and earth of a large fallen tree. Two of my company were lying there and they made room for me on one side. This is where I had my first presentiment. I had just lain down when I was overwhelmed, as I might call it, by an impression that I was in imminent danger of death. I could see no possible reason for this, but the impression became so strong that I crawled back about two yards, still watching the place I had left, when suddenly two bullets following close to each other passed through the leaves where I had lain, both of which would have passed through my body if I had remained there. Now, what power gave me that notice?

Page 421: Rebels try to flank the north side, again.

Osborn, Co A 55th Ohio Wood 3B 3D 20C: Lieutenant P. C. Lathrop, Co A: “I was in command of Company A (Colonel Gambee’s company), and lying upon the ground some ten or fifteen feet lower down the hill, but immediately behind my company. Just behind me, and to my right, sat Colonel Gambee, behind a pile of rails. Having several times been solicited to do so, I arose and went and sat down beside the Colonel. It was only a few minutes afterwards that the Johnnies made a charge upon our line. We immediately jumped to our feet, and as the Colonel opened his lips to issue a command, a bullet struck him in the breast, and he fell backward into my arms, dead—killed instantly. A glorious death, as I view it now, but his sudden and unexpected fate seemed at the moment to madden me. I laid him down carefully, and, taking his revolver from his belt, I ran forward to rejoin my company. Halting, I tried to shoot the Rebel Colonel, who came within a few feet before he was shot. But I could not make the revolver work. I threw it down in disgust, but afterwards picked it up, and I think it was sent home with the Colonel’s other personal effects. I do not now recall that I saw the Colonel’s body after I laid it down when he was killed.”

Page 423: One regiment exposed. Their brigade was in one line in the woods, except for this regiment, which could not break the position.

Morhous, Co C 123rd NY Knipe 1B 1D 20C: Heavy firing was heard on the right. Regiments of the Brigade to which the 123d belonged were warmly engaged, while away to the left from Gen. Ruger’s Brigade was heard heavy musketry firing, as the Rebels charged upon them and were driven back. From the position of the Regiment the Rebels did not swing around near enough for it to open fire at first, and in obedience to orders held their fire, expecting to get a better chance. It was hard work for the boys to hold still while they were under a galling fire from the enemy. The position of the Regiment was very much exposed, being in an open field on the crest of a hill, and in plain sight of the Rebel works. They saw the Rebels bring up a battery, and planting their pieces throw shot and shell right into their faces.

Page 432: Colonel Colgrove’s trap. Stewart’s Division of Confederates attempt to flank Williams.

Brown, Co C 27th Indiana Ruger 2B 1D 20C: . . . It was very fortunate that Colonel Colgrove had gone forward as he had. He was thus enabled to set a trap for enemy which gave us an easy victory. Hurrying back to the Twenty-seventh he moved it forward almost half-way to the enemy’s breastworks. There he had the men lie down where they were largely screened from view. They were to remain in that position until he gave the word. The company on the skirmish line was to resist as long as possible, then quietly fall into its place in the regiment. At the command the whole line was to rise up, fire a careful, deliberate volley into the ranks of the advancing enemy, then charge them with the bayonet.

These preliminaries had barely been arranged when the rebel line swept forward. No soldier will ever forget the surging emotions started within him by the announcement, “They’re coming, boys!” or, what is still more thrilling, the actual sight of the advancing column! A moment, under such circumstances, seems an age. At this time the men of Company G disputed the ground inch by inch. Then, one by one, they quietly rallied to their places in the ranks. Down the hill, and out into the more level ground moved the men in gray! Unconscious of danger at this point, their steps were firm and their ranks in order. Will Colonel Colgrove never break the silence?

At length, when the rebel force was only thirty-five yards away, the Colonel, speaking in slow, distinct tones, said, “Now, boys. Ready, aim, fire!.” Then he fairly shrieked the one word “Charge!” and all the other officers repeated the word, with deeply surcharged feelings, “Charge!” Poor men of the misguided South! It was all over in one terrible minute of time, and the story is soon told. Thirty-three of those men who, a moment before, were advancing so confidently, lay dead at our feet! Fully as many more were too badly wounded to be able to move without assistance; thirty five others, including the colonel, were in our hands as prisoners; while the balance simply turned and ran so promptly and swiftly that we were not able to get them. Many of them must have thrown down their guns to facilitate their flight, as the ground was covered with them. … Those of the enemy who escaped with arms, on reaching their breastworks and finding that they were not pursued, faced around and opened fire upon us. Though weak at first, others must have soon come to their aid. It was not long until the fire became scathing. Seventy yards with a rest is a dangerous range. Colonel Colgrove gave the order to lie down, and forthwith we hugged the earth passionately, endeavoring meantime to return the fire. But the convexity of the bluff in front of us, while it afforded us some protection, at the same time hindered us in seeing our foes. We were also exposed to a flank fire, so that our situation soon became critical.

At this juncture the Colonel, upon the suggestion of the Major and other officers, gave the order to return to our own incomplete breastworks. The attention of the men was called to the fact that in passing up the slope, there would be extra exposure, and they were instructed to move promptly, without regard to order. The movement was, therefore, made with slight loss.

Following this return to our first position, a second rebel line, consisting apparently of two regiments, advanced from the works rather to our left. This attack fell upon the Second Massachusetts, as well as ourselves. It came with ardor and was maintained with persistence. Still, it did not stand long, under the combined fire of our two regiments. Being repeated a second time, somewhat more to our left, our two regiments swung out in counter-charge. This is the phase of the battle to which Adjutant Bryant refers when he says, “The Twenty-seventh Indiana and Second Massachusetts wheeled to the right (left) and opened fire on the flank of the advancing host, while the other regiments gave them volleys in their front.”

Page 469: The remains. After the retreating Rebels.

Benton, Band, 150th NY Ruger 2B 1D 20C: The turkey buzzards, with their sooty, dishevelled plumage and filthy beaks, were circling lower and lower over the field, but the Pioneer Corps were busy now burying the dead, both of the Blue and the Gray, while the wounded were being got away to the North. So these North American vultures would feast this time only on dead horses. Youth and Hope go hand in hand and will not be depressed, and as we pushed on after the enemy we laughed and joked as before.

Page 479: The dead.

Strong, Co B 105th Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: Our brigade was detailed to bury the dead. Of all disagreeable jobs, that was the worst of any I ever took a hand in. It was our first experience, and to carry men to a hole and dump them in was almost too much for me. Some had been dead for three or four days, and the flesh would not hold together to lift them. So we put them in blankets, or tied the legs of their pants and their coat sleeves together and gently dragged them to their last resting place. We came across a Rebel hospital with a few Rebel surgeons who had been left to care for their wounded. The hospital was simply a shade made of limbs of trees thrown over poles. Near the hospital was a pile of arms, legs, hands, and feet that had been cut from the wounded. These had not been buried, just thrown in a pile, and worms had begun to work on them. On one part of the battlefield the leaves had taken fire, I suppose from shells, and we found a few of the dead who had more or less burned. It is all truly horrible, and if you tell me you don’t want anything more on battle scenes, why all right. But so many things come to mind, some worse than these.

Fleharty, 102nd Ill Ward 1B 3D 20C: The dead of both armies were being buried some singly where they fell, others in a common grave. In a deep trench surrounded by evergreen pines, fifty-one of the slain of the 1st Brigade were buried. The scene at the grave was deeply impressive. An immense crowd of soldiers gathered around to hear the remarks of an aged chaplain, ere the forms of their comrades were forever hidden from sight. “Many in one,” said the venerable minister, “is the motto borne proudly on our nation’s banner. Many in one grave, our fallen brothers rest. And is not the coincidence a fitting one? Will not this common grave be cherished with a sacred pride by all who love our country’s flag?” At the conclusion of his remarks the work of burial was accomplished, tenderly and carefully as the circumstances would permit, by the comrades of the slain. But to the living, sad as the surroundings were, the day after the battle seemed like the beginning of a new life. Peace and repose, how sweet, after the withering tornado of human wrath had swept by!

Page 483: The wounded.

Porter, Sanitary Commission: Never have I passed such a Sabbath as yesterday, and I wish I could believe there never would be such another … The wounded were brought into hospitals, quickly and roughly prepared in the forest, as near the field as safety would permit … What a scene was presented! Precious sons of northern mothers, beloved husbands of northern wives were already here to undergo amputation, to have wounds probed and dressed, or broken limbs and bandaged. Some were writhing under the surgeon’s knife, but bore their suffering bravely and uncomplainingly. There were many whose wounds were considered slight, such as shot through the hand, arm, or leg, which but for the contrast with severer cases, would seem dreadful. Never was the presence of women more joyfully welcomed. It was touching to see those precious boys looking up into our faces with such hope and gladness. It brought to their minds mother and home, as each testified while his wounds were being dressed; “This seems a little like having mother about,” was the reiterated expression of the wounded, as one after another was washed and had his wounds dressed. Mrs. Bickerdyke and myself assisted in the operation. Poor boys! how my heart ached that I could do so little. … We found what we brought in the ambulance was giving untold comfort to our poor exhausted wounded men, whose rough hospital couches were made by pine boughs with the stems cut out. spread upon the ground, over which their blankets were thrown. This forms the bed, and the poor fellows’ blouses, saturated with their own blood. is their only pillow, their knapsacks being left behind when they went into battle … Several wounded men have died during the night.

Page 490: The fight over the battery. Who gets credit?

Banks, Company E, 102nd Illinois, Ward 1B3D20C: Dear Brother I take the opertunity which has bin scares for the fast 20 days we have bin put threw hard thick & thin I supose you know more by the papers what the fiting has bin than eny of the solgers for they can not here eny thing onely what they see we have bin fiting & twards (?) the enemy prety hard I have bin in 2day fite it is just one weake a go Saturday Sunday fites are bigest(?) I wer in. the rebels wer very strongley fortefide we had them nearle surrounded we were closen on them every day taking those brestworks by the point of the bayonet we had very hard fiting our regiment lost hevy 7,16 [76] in kild & wounded here meny in the hole Brigaid I havent asertaind the enemy lost hevy the enemy found that we were determind to fite them at al haserds and they scadadeld for fear we woud suround them & capture there hole forse we woud if they staid thair an other day Sunday nite they left by fireng hevy artillery & fiting to cover there retreat but they did not get away without hevy loss our men shld them all night well Willess fiting is not what it is cracked up to be as for my part I had rather be excused from goin in to one but now I am in I am bebound (?) to go threw if it dose cill (kill) me the bullets whiseld as close to me as I care to have them to we captured 4 peases of artillery brass peases they wer cauld the first Georgen (“The First Georgian”) the bell of Georga (“The Bell of Georgia”) the prisoners say this was the first time they wer repulsed satur day our men charged on it & wer driven back every time the 4 armey corps Old Jose (Old Joe’s ref: General Joseph Johnston) corps tride it Sunday our Regiment and the 70 indian charged on the batery at the first charge we cleard them from there gones (guns) the guners wer all shot ded while in the act of loding one canon had a dobell charge of grape (grapeshot) a canester in it but the poor fllows had not time to put it of at the first charge I took my position under the musell of one of the peases and fired ofer (over) the carig (carriage) of the canon one man wasshot threw the head behind me he fell on me & cride for help Oh ses he help me I sof (?) my gun up against the canon & raised him up he was allso shot threw the body he cride for a drinck of water I gave it to him I told him I coud not do eny more for him I then seased my rifle the bullets fliing as thick as hail but by the kind hand of providence I was not tutch Juss then we wer ordered to fall back we fell back 3 differnt times but the enemy dared not persue these guns wer nobell ones 20 pounders our generall was on the feald with us amonced (amongst) the boys he was wounded threw the left arm Joseph Hoocker ses it was the best and most daring & ferosious charge he ever saw It is a wonder we wer not all cild (kiled) or captured we wer under there cros fires the the enemy had a cros fire on us & threw mestake our one (own) men fired at us taking us fo the enemy in our falling back the bushess wer so thick what was plaid the mifchis(??) I was never so near exausted in my life while making the charge threw the thicket & up hill at that this was plainest and loudest preatching that I ever atended on sonday the poind(?) was tested in every plais & none found defended(?) on the write side the rite is the mite in this ishew the enemy has the advantige in every sens of the word they left here in sutch a haisty retreat they did not get time to taer up the railroad a small town south from here 2 1/2 mi on the rail road is very strongley fortefid by the nam wawsackey (Wauhatchie, GA) [Calhoun] but they did not stop it is astonishing to see what strong fortifide we have bin resting for the last to days we wer nearley run down going day & nite hundreds of our men gave out with heat & fatigue I tel you it is the hardest biseness that I ever done caring (carrying) sutch a hevy & bundelling load I cary over 100 rounds I have my spencer (rifle) & shooter (most likely a Colt 1851 or 1860 Army model revolver) and I am goin to stick to it as long as I can.

Glancy, Co K, 102nd Ill Ward 1 B 3D 20C: There has been a good deal of dissatisfaction here about which Brigade took the four guns at Resaca It was Wards brigade for that can be proven very easily the 79th and 102nd Ills was next I will not undertake to tell you much about it as it takes so much paper and we are scarce We were in the regiment just 10 days when we went in the fight at Resaca It was as hot a place as ever I was in too the bullets whized around pretty thick we were in a cross fire from every direction the 2nd brigade was behind us and fired on us the bullets flew thicker from them than from the enemy.