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F.ightySixth Regiment. 

I NDI/\IN/\ 




CIVIL WAR OF 1861-1865. 

Written by a Committee consisting of James A. Bar nes, 
James I^. Carnahan and Thomas H. B. McCain. 

The Journal Company, Printers, 



ol'^ THE 







^i.\> \M> ii\n.iiTi:i;s. tiieik wives, sisters and mothers, 









Introductory i 



The Secession of the Southern States — Firing on Sumter — President 
Lincoln's Proclamation— Governor Morton's Call for Six Regi- 
ments—The President's Call for Three Years' Men— The Re- 
sponse of Indiana 3 



The Eighty-sixth Recruited in Response to the Call for 300,000 More 
— The Material Furnished by the Eighth Congressional District 
^Rendezvoused at Camp Tippecanoe — Line, Field and Staff 
Officers 15 



Camp Tippecanoe — Its Fine Location— Hard Beds — Trials for Hoosier 
Stomachs — Edible Blankets — Electing Officers — Physical Exam- 
inations — First Efforts at Drill — Raiding the Sutler 21 



From LaFayette to Indianapolis — Camp Carrington— The Eighty- 
sixth Mustered In— The Blue Uniform Donned— Camp Equipage 
Drawn— The First "Hard Tack'"— Furnished With Arms and 
Equipments — An Irishman on Guai'd — One Month's Pay — Orders 
to March 30 



From Indianapolis to Cincinnati — Breakfast at Fifth Street Market — 
Across the Rivet — Covington — Ludlow — Camp Mitchell — New- 
port—The First Bivouac— Camp Wallace — "Grumble Hill" — 
Company H on Picket — Wallowing in the Ditches 37 




The "Forest Hose" and the " Dunloith"— The Beautiful Scenery- 
How the Hoys W hi led Away the Time— Land at Jefferson viUe— 
Cami) Gilbert-Cross the River to Louisville— A Tedious Night 
March— Arrival of Bueirs Army— The Clamor Against Buell— 
The Eighty-sixth's Assignment— General Nelson Killed 4ij 



A Real March— Its Trials and Its Lessons— Bardstown— The Dusty 
Limestone Pikes of Kentucky— River Water— Parched Corn- 
Raw Goose— Springfield— On to Perryville— The Detour for 
Water— A Forced Night March 53 



The Battle— The Field and the Dead— "The Gilded Puddle Which 
Beasts Would Cough At'"— The Onward March— Bivouac in 
Fodder Houses— On the Skirmish Line All Day— A Reconnois- 
sance-Danville— Stanford— Thundering at the Rebel Rear — 
Crab Orchard— Mt. Vernon— A Broken Country— " Hungry 
Hollow." 62 



A Hough Country— A Toe Shot Off— Buell Denounced — Turned 
Hack — Buell Removed — Rosecrans Assigned to the Command — 
Somerset — A Deep Snowfall — Apple Jack — Columbia — Overcoats 
and Dress Coats Drawn — Stolen Cheese — Glasgow 72 



A Forty Days' March Reviewed — Death of William Rose and Arch- 
ibald Coats— A March to Itural Hill— Skirmish With John Mor- 
gan's Men— In Camp Near Nashville— Detail of Twenty Men for 
the Pioneer Corps— Drill and Picket Duty 83 



The Army of the Cumberland— Its Organization— The Eighty-sixth's 
AKsignnn-nt- Moving Out From Nashville— Its Position— Plan 
of the Hattle-C'olonel Hamilton Relieved— The Movement on 
the Ivcft Suspended— The Regiment Ordered to the Right— In 
the Vortex of Death— List of the Regiment's Killed and Mor- 
tally W«)unded— The Second Day's Fight— Bragg Lost and Rose- 
crans Won 93 




A Trip Through Dixie — From Murfreesboro to Chattanooga — To 
Atlanta and Montgomery — From There to Richmond — In Libby 
Prison — How the Days Were Spent — Released on Parole and 
Finally Exchanged 117 



Six Months at Murfreesboro — Camp Life — How the Time Was Em- 
ployed — The Long Stay An Absolute Necessity — The Eighty- 
sixth Receives Really Its First Military Instruction — Punish- 
ment of a Deserter — A Piece of Somber Romance — Other Inci- 
dents—March to McMinnville 122 



General Rosecrans Moves from Murfreesboro — Bragg is Driven 
from Tullahoma Over the Mountains and Out of Tennessee — A 
Most Skillful and Almost Bloodless Movement— The Eighty- 
sixth Leaves McMinnville — With the Brigade It Makes a Forced 
March — Down the Sequatchie Valley — Crosses the Tennessee — 
Rejoins the Division Near Ringgold — A Series of Confederate 
Blunders — A Narrow Escape for the Union Army — Playing for 
Position 146 



The Opening Ball — The Eighty-sixth in at the Beginning — Dick's 
Brigade in Support of Wilder — Important Points on the Field 
Described — Position of Rosecrans' Troops — Waiting in Suspense 
—The Orders Arrive — The Regiment Goes In — A Vivid Por- 
trayal of the First Day's Contest — The Lines Reformed for the 
Second Day — The Bloody Contest Rages With Unabated Fury — 
The Various Movements of the Regiment, Brigade and Division 
— The Charges at the Kelly and Poe Fields — The Break in the 
Lines — Longstreet in the Charge — On Snodgrass Hill and Har- 
ker Hill — Steedman's Troops Come Up — Confederates Gain Pos- 
session of the LaFayette Road on the Left — Final Repulse of 
Longstreet at Snodgrass Hill — Withdrawal of Union Troops — 
Strength of the Ai^mies and Losses at Chickamauga — Estimates 
of the Battle by Confederate Officers — Indiana at Chickamauga. 170 



The Objective Point of the Campaign Held — Arrival of the Eighty- 
sixth from Chickamauga — lilntei'ed Upon Its Duties to Defend 
the Town — The Scarcity of Supplies — The Sufferings Endured 
by the Men — Starvation Staring Them in the Face — Provisions 
Brought Over the Mountains from Bridgeport — Foraging — Con- 


Bolldatlon of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps— The Fourth 
Corps Kormod— (Jeneriil Koseorans Relieved— General Thomas 
AsMimes Coinmaiid Arrival of General Grant— The Eleventh 
and Twelfth Corps Battle of Wauhatchie— The Army of the 
Tenn.'ssee Arrives -Preparations for the Approaching Battle- 
Did (Jenoral Itosecrans Contemplate at Any Time the Evacua- 
tion of Chuttanootja':' 210 



A Groat Battle With a Picturesque Setting— An Unlocked for Crisi^ 
Pri'»'i|)itates It -Wood Makes a Reconnoissance— Ground Gained, 
Hold, and Fortilied Hooker's Battle on Lookout Mountain — 
Sherman at the North End of Missionary Ridge— Thomas 
Ordered to Take Fii-st Line of Enemy's Works at Foot of Ridge 
and Make a Diversion in Favoi- of Sherman — The Order 
Promptly Obeyed— The Lines Captured in Hurricane Style — The 
Unordered Assault on Missionary Ridge — A Private's Victory — 
A Battle Fought More Successfully Than Planned, But Not as 
IMarniL-d A Victory that Astounded Grant in the Manner of Its 
Coming as Much as It Did Bragg in Its Results — General Cist's 
Account- Fullerton's Version — Bragg and Bate's Statements — 
Captain Reiily's Account of the Assault — Taylor's Brilliant 
Description of the Battle 230 



Aftvr tho Battle the Rescue— Through Mud and Through Stream- 
Over Hill and Down Dale— The Fourth Corps Marched to Suc- 
cor the Army of the Ohio and the Gallant Burnside— An Atten- 
uat4'd Diet Parched Corn and Government Bacon — An Exciting 
Though .\niusing Incident— The Ai-rival at Knoxville— A ''Sick 
Flour " Experience 283 

Blain'H Cross Roa<ls House Mountain— Lye Hominy— Parched Corn 
A Bleak December (iaunt Hunger, Rags and Icy Winter Go 
Hand and Hand- Christmas Thoughts That Cold New Years— 
A .Mail From Honm Strawberry I'lains— To Dandridge and 
Back— A Second \'alley Forge 297 



The nivoua«' in the Snow-Back to Maryville-A Laughable Inci- 
di'nt-(,..ncral Willich in Temporary Command of the Division 
—Again <in the .Mov.. -.Smoky Hollow— At Knoxville-On to 
MorrisU.wn-Biu-k to New Market -Again at Morristown- 
Strawberrv Plains -OjT to Kutledge-Tlu! ('linch Mountains-A 
Scout ngK.>ci>,.diUon-Bo„„a for Chattanooga-The Campaign 
Lndod— At McDonald's Station 313 



General Howard in Command of the Fourth Corjjs — The Eleventh and 
Twelfth Corps Consolidated and Designated the Twentieth — 
Sherman's Preparation for the Atlanta Campaign — The Import- 
ance of the Grand Movement — Tunnel Hill — Rocky Face Ridge — 
Dalton— The Battle of Resaca 329 

Across the Oostanaula — Calhoun — Adairsville — Oothcaloga Valley 
— Kingston — Cassville — A Three Days' Rest — Across the Etowah 
— Where the Diffei'ent Commands Crossed — A Wild Wilderness 
— Burnt Hick .ry — New Hope Church — The Battle of Pickett's 
Mills — The Eighty-sixth's Part in this Engagement — Colonel 
Dick Wounded — The Regiment's Loss 349 

The Eighty-sixth on the Skirmish Line— Constant Fighting— Rainy 
and Hot Weather — A Perfect Hell Hole— Pine Mountain— Lost 
Mountain— Kenesaw Mountain— General Polk Killed on Pine 
Mountain— Captain L. V. Ream Wounded — Luke Cronkhite 
Fatally Wounded— The Assault on June 27 —A Frightful Loss of 
Life— Kenesaw Mountain x\bandoned by the Enemy — A Forward 
Movement 369 


The Fourth of .July— How it Was Celebrated— Smyrna Camp Ground 
— Mclvor's Station— McRae's Hill — Chattahoochee River — 
Pace's Ferry — Powers' Ferry — Across the Chattahoochee —Down 
the River-^Over to Buck Head— The Battle of Peach Tree 
Creek 400 


Closing in On Atlanta— Clear Creek— A Hot Time— The Eighty- 
sixth in Front of the Gate City— The Battle of the 22d of July 
^Skirmishing and Making Demonstrations — The Battle of Ezra 
Church — The Great Move Around Atlanta— Destroying Rail- 
roads-Hood's Flight From Atlanta— His Stores Destroyed and 
Magazines Blown Up— The Battle of J onesboro— The Battle of 
Lovejoy's Station— Sherman Withdraws to Atlanta — The Losses 
of the Campaign— Congratulations From President Lincoln. .. . 420 


In Camp Near Atlanta— Three Weeks of Daily Routine Duties — A 
Bold Movement by Hood— Sherman's Army In Pursuit— The 
Eighty-sixth Again on March — Smyrna Camp Ground — Pine 
Mountain — The Signals Between Sherman and Corse— The Fight 
at Allatoona Pass— Kenesaw Mountain — Cartersville and Kings- 
ton— Calhoun — Rome— Resaca— Snake Creek Gap— Chattooga 


Valley— Frosh Pork and Sweet Potatoes— Summerville -Gayles- 
vlllo. Alaluiinu-The Fourth Corps Bids a Silent Farewell to 
Coneral SluM-nuin-Sherraan's Letter to the Eighty-sixth 445 


IIo«k1 Marchintr North— A Race for the Lead- Wood's Division Gets 
ThtMv Fii-st Klk River and " Tlie Ii-ii^hman's Pontoons"— Hood 
Aftor Sfholiold and Thoinas-Puhiski— Columbia— Duck River 
— Sprin;j Hill, or Running the Gauntlet— The Battle of Franklin 
—Fort (irunger— Thomas' Army Organization and Strength 4(34 


Two Days' Hard Figliting-The Plan of the Battle— Montgomery 
Hill Captured bv the Fourth Corps -The Second Days' Battle— 
Overton's Hill Assaulted — "The Colored Troops Fought Nobly" 
—The Ciallant Second Brigade Repulsed with Heavy Loss — Col- 
onel Post Wounded— The Third Brigade Assaults and Captures 
Overton's Hill— Union Su'eccss— Hood Makes a Hasty Flight— 
Pui>uit of the Enemy- A Frightful ]\Iarch— In Camp at Hunts- 
ville— General Wood's Congratulatory Order 4S6 


In Winter (Quarters at Huntsville, Alabama — A Three Days' Scout — 
l^iving on the Fat of the Land— Trip to Nashville and Return — 
Up tlie Tennessee River— To East Tennessee by Rail — The Last 
Days of the Rebellion — Richmond Evacuated— Lee Surrenders — 
Great .loy at the Sui)i)osed Ajiproach of The White Winged 
Angi'l of Peace— Treason Dies Hard— In the Death Struggle Its 
Infernal Spirit Finds a Willing Tool to Do a Hellish Deed — 
I'resident Lincoln Assassinated— A Gloomy. Joyless Day— The 
Heart of America Wounded — Return to Nashville— Johnston 
Surrenders- The Dawn of Peace— Grand Review— "Mustered 
Out"— Return to Hoosierdom— Dislninded— The Boys Return to 
Their Homes 518 

Georjjo Frederick Dick— A Sketch of His Early Life -Captain of a 
lioy'H Military (^cunpany in Cincinnati— His Fire Company— In 
Hu«in«?s.H— Answers the First Call of the President— A Captain 
in the Twentieth Indiana— His Services in That Regiment— 
.Made Lie\itenant Colonel in the Eighty-sixth— His Career with 
That K4'giment to the Close of the War— Orville S. Hamilton— 
A Brave Man. hut Wanting in Military CJenius-A Bit of Secret 
HiHtory Never Before Told or Written— A Tribute to His Mem- 

"•"y 545 

IloHter of Officers 5-0 

Il«»«t<'r of Enlistod Men r,-^ 

Kitrhty -sixth's Roll of Honor [] 59(5 

Apjwndix mo 


In the presentation of the history of the Eighty-Sixth 
Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, tlie authors seek not their 
own glorification. The work of writing the part taken by 
this regiment is undertaken at the request of the members 
of the regiment who survived the hardships and dangers of 
the years from 1862-1865 in active campaign life. The 
desire of these comrades is to i)i'eserve for their children, 
the history of the service they rendered to the Nation in the 
daj^s of her peril, and that the name and deeds of their reg- 
iment may not be entirely forgotten. 

It is not intended to write a history of the entire war of 
the Rebellion, but in narrating the manner by which this 
regiment was organized, and then formed a part of the 
great Union Army, or Federal Army as it was called 
by the people of the South, and then in chronicling the 
deeds of the men of the Eighty-Sixth, it will be neces- 
sary to write to some extent of the opening year of the war, 
and of the events of the years that folloAved. We must write 
i somewhat of the organization of the entire Army of the 
I Union, and briefly recount the necessity for the formation of 
the Eighty-Sixth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers. 
I After writing of the formation and muster- in of the 
i regiment, it will be necessary to relate something of the gen- 
'. eral history of the campaigns in which it participated, and 
the battles in w^hich it bore an important and conspicuous 
part. The surviving members of this regiment feel a just 
and honorable pride in the military record of this special 
body of troops in which they performed their service, and 


thoy have no loss pride in the ^lorious achievements of 
ovory ro/Ljinient and battery that was mustered into the 
Unil<Hl Stat«'s service, and entering the field bore its part in 
tli»' sujjpression of tlie rebellion and the preservation of the 
American Kcpublic. It is felt that each and all, officers and 
enlisted men. have "a vested right" in the great glory and 
renown that so justly belongs to all. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the wonderful achieve- 
ments of the American citizen soldiery merits the highest 
encomiums from all and for all, yet we as Indiana men will 
certainly be pardoned if we should in this work, claim for 
the liuliuna soldier, and for those particularly who were 
active participants in the campaigns and battles of the war 
through which we passed, as much valor, and as many thor- 
oughly soldierly qualities, included in the terms bravery, 
courage, daring and prowess, on the battle-field, as can be ] 
shown by any other State that took part in that deadly 
struggle from 18(31-1865 inclusive. 

On every battle-field during the entire war for the pres- 
r-rvation of the Union, Indiana regiments and Indiana bat- j 
teries were found, and the banners borne by her sons were | 
ever in the thickest and hottest of the fray. 

The i)ages which follow will be simply a recital of the i 
part which the Eighty-Sixth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, ' 
l)erf<)rme(l in th(; great drama on the theater of the most ' 
l)lo(Kly war of modern times. It will not be claimed thatj 
this regiment did more than any other similar body of menj 
in the field, but the aim is to give a plain, unvarnished story 
of the niarclies. the l)ivouacs, the skirmishes, the battles of , 
this organization, and nvount its hardships, its exposures, 
its i)rivati(Mis and its severe trials,— this and nothing more! 

James A. Barnes, 
James R. Carnahan, 
Thomas H. B. McCain. 



The Secession of the Southern States— Firing on Sumter— President Lincoln's 
Proclamation— Governor Morton's Call for Six Regiments— The President's 
Call for Three Years' Men— The Response of Indiana. 

During the winter of 1860-'61 seven of the Southern 
States undertook to secede from the Union, and destroy the 
National Government. Soon other States in the South 
joined in the movement and attempted to set up an indepen- 
dent government. The arms and treasure of the United 
States were taken possession of, and finally Fort Sumter, 
near Charleston, South Carolina, was fired upon, and the 
garrison, after a stubborn fight, was compelled to surrender. 
This firing upon the United States flag and upon United 
States soil was the open declaration of war against and upon 
the Government, and this was to be met. Abraham Lincoln, 
the President, at once issued his proclamation for volun- 
teers, as follows: 


Whereas, The laws of the United States have been for some time 
past, and now ai-e, opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the 
States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, 
Louisiana and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by 
the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the power vested in 
the marshal by law: 


Now therefore, I, Abraham I^iiicoln, President of the United States, 
In vlrtiu* of the power vested in me by the constitution and the laws, 
havo thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of 
the several States of the Union, to the agj^regate number of seventy-five 
thou»*and, in order to supi)ress said combinations, and to cause the laws 
U» l)o duly executed. The details for this object will be immediately 
eomnainieated to the State authorities through the War Department. 

I api>eal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to 
maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National 
Union and the i)r-osi)ei-ity of i)opular government, and to redress wrongs 
alrcatly long endured. 

I deem it jjropei' to say that the first service assigned to the forces 
hereby called foi-tli will i)robably be to repossess the forts, places and 
projK-rty which have ))een seized from the Union ; and in every event 
the utmost care will Ix; observed, consistently with the objects afore- 
said, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with 
proi)erty, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens, in any part of tin- 
count ry. 

And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations 
aforesaid, to disixirse. and to retire peaceably to their respective abodes 
within twenty days from this date. 

Heiifving that the present condition of public affairs presents an 
extraordinary oeca-sion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power vested in me 
by the constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and 
Ilepresontatives are therefore summoned to be at their respective cham- 
bers, at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, 
then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their 
wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand. 

In Witness Wliereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the 
»eal of the United States to ho affixed. Done at the City of Washing- 
ton, this fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United 
States the eighty-fifth. 

^''••'^•1 Abraham Lincoln. 


liy the I 'resident, 

William II. Seward, Secretary of State. 

Followinn; iinmodiiitely upon tlie call of President 
Lincoln for 75,000 troops for the three months' service. 
(iovernor Morton i.ssued a prochiniation under date of April 
16, 1801. as follows: 

Whkkka.s. An armed rebellion has been organized in certain States 
o this L«,„n. having for its jnirpose the overthrow of the government 
of the Lmted States; 


And Whereas, The authors and movers in this rebellion have 
seized, by violence, various forts and arsenals belonging to the United 
States, and otherwise plundered the Government of large amounts of 
money and valuable property; 

And Whereas, Port Sumter, a fortress belonging to the United 
States, the exclusive possession and jurisdiction over which was vested 
in the General Government by the Constitution of the United States, 
has been besieged by a large army and assaulted by a destructive can- 
nonade and reduced to submission, and the National flag hauled down 
and dishonoi'ed; 

And Whereas, The President of the United States, in the exercise 
of the power vested in him by the Federal Constitution, has called upon 
the several States remaining true to their allegience, to aid him in the 
enforcement of the laws, the recovery of the National jiroperty, and the 
maintenance of the rightful authority of the United States: 

Now, therefore, I, Oliver P. Morton, Governor of the State of Indi- 
ana, call upon the loyal and patriotic men of this State, to the number 
of six regiments, to organize themselves into military companies, and 
forthwith to report the same to the Adjutant General, in order that 
they may be speedily mustered into the service of the United States. 
The details of the organization are set forth in the instructions of 
the Adjutant General, herewith published. 

Oliver P. Morton, Governor. 

Lewis Wallace, Adjutant General. 
Indianapolis, April 16, 1861. 

These two proclamations were each the first by the Chief 
Executive of the United States, and the Chief Executive of 
the State of Indiana, announcing or declaring war, the cause 
thereof, and calling for troops. These first calls by Presi- 
dent Lincoln and Governor Morton in April, 1861, had 
scarcely been flashed over the wires until the State had more 
than filled her quota, and her regiments were hurrying from 
peaceful homes into fields that were to be made far more glor- 
ious by their deeds of valor, than any battle-field of the old 
world where the wars had been waged for conquest or hate, 
at the command of a despot, and by soldiers of fortune or 
force. From North to South, from East to West within her 
borders the sons of Indiana responded to the call. They came 
from the stores and counting rooms, from the colleges and 
country school houses, from village, town -and city, from 
shop and farm, leaving all and every j)rospect of future com- 
fort for the hardships, danger and death that awaited them 


in thoir lu-w lives as soldiers. There was then no thought 
of honor and ^'N>ry. no towering ambition to be gratified, no 
pniniise or 1i()1m\ of great pecuniary reward,— there was 
only the one great moving and impelling cause. Patriotism, 
i\i> pure, as earnest, as high and as noble as ever influenced 
men to act. The life of the Nation was threatened, the 
Ropublic was in peril; it must be saved. This thought, and 
this alon<» brought nuMi from their peaceful homes, and into 
the tent«'(l field. Of all of the States of the Union, Indiana 
had had for a score of years prior to the breaking out of the 
civil war. of the military spirit than any other State of 
the Republic. It was wholly devoted to peaceful pursuits. Its 
mercantile, mechanical and agricultural affairs engrossed 
alnK)sf the entire attention of her people. There was in 
April. 1S()1, not to exceed a half dozen of what might be 
tcrnnHl (>ven fairly respectable military companies in the 
Stat<>; then^ was not even a professed battalion or regimen- 
tal organization anywhere within our borders. Outside of a 
very few men who had seen some little military service in the 
Moxicati war, which had closed some thirteen years prior to 
the rebellion, it is safe to say that we had not three hundred 
men in tlie entire State that had ever stood in military ranks, 
or had ever had a single drill in the manual of arms, and 
certain it was that there were not ten men, who even in the 
.so-called military bodies prior to 1861, who had ever had a 
commission or rank, higher than that of Captain, and none 
who had in any rank commanded a battalion or a regiment. 
The lawyer, the preacher, the business man. the mechanic 
and the farmer entered the new life, as soldiers, with all the 
zeal and mental application the necessities of the day and 
the occasion demanded. With the same haste with which 
the companies were recruited and mustered into the service, 
the companies were assigned to regiments. These were as 
siM^iHliJy eqnip])ed. and without any delay for preparatory 
drill were i)ut on board the cars, not even waiting for pas- 
sonffor coaches, but loaded into box cars and cattle cars, and 
were sent to the front to engage in active campaign life. 
'^'^ " '^^■'^•'^ no oi)portunity to test the qualifications of the 


men who were commissioned as field officers and placed at 
the head of the various regiments, and there was no pretense 
that the company officers were in any respect informed as to 
their duties, but they were commissioned and told that they 
"had it all to learn." Fortunately the men who were com- 
missioned as field officers of each of the six regiments organ- 
ized under the first call, proved by their gallantry and faithful 
service that they had been well chosen. In the calls of 1862, 
we had some of the officers of the first regiments of 1861 
transferred to the new regiments and they brought with them 
such experience as they had gained during a year's service. 
Looking back over the period of the war, and the years that 
"tried men's souls, " the years when under military disci- 
pline, and the storms of battle, in which youths speedily devel- 
oped into strong and thoughtful men under the responsibili- 
ties that were laid upon them, and when we compare the sol- 
diers of other States with those from Indiana, our State and 
our officers and soldiers, lose nothing by that comparison. 
In relation to the efficiency of Indiana officers in the Army, 
Governor Morton late in the war, (1865), in his message to 
the Legislature said : 

" The duty of appointing officers to command our regiments is full 
of responsibility and embarrassment. I have commissioned many whom 
I did not know, and for whose fitness I was compelled to rely entirely 
upon the opinion of others. But it affords me gratification to state that 
the Indiana officers, as a body, have been found equal to those of any 
other State ; that they have, upon every battle-field, sustained the great 
cause, and shed lustre upon the flag under which they fought. Many 
have been appointed to high commands, in which they have acquitted 
themselves with the greatest honor and ability, and very many have 
nobly laid down their lives in battle for their country."' 

At the breaking out of the war. the United States was 
unable to furnish the uniforms and equipments necessary 
for an army of 75,000 soldiers so suddenly called into active 
service. There must needs be arms and ammunition of all 
kinds and for all branches of the service. These were the 
first essentials, and to the manufacture of these the Govern- 
ment was compelled to turn all its force and power to the 
neglect of uniforms and the distinctive badges that indicated 


th.' siM'u'v :iii<l not tho citizen. Under the circumstances, 
tlu'n'f<»n'. it hfcaiiH' necessary for the State to provide uni- 
forms for the troops organized within her borders. Some of 
the regiments were uniformed before they left the State, 
others went into the field without their uniforms, and the 
imiforms were made and sent to them. There were, how- 
ever, no individual measures taken for uniforms— the soldier 
took what was handed him and '-swapped around" until he 
got .something which was calh^l '"a tit" that he could wear. 
Tho writer remembers well the great variety of uniforms 
that were woi'n l)y the first year's troops, each State hav- 
ing a uniform in many respects differing from those worn by 
the trt)ops from other States. 

Ka<'h branch of business pertaining to the army or mili 
tary life was crowded to the utmost. Speaking of the activ 
ity that prevailed in every military department of the State, 
Cleneral Terrell says: "Indeed every dejiartment was taxed 
to the utmost; tlie duties were novel, and the officers assigned 
to di.schai'ge them inexperienced and unskilled; yet better 
sup])lies were not furnished at any subsequent period dur- 
the war, or at so cheap a rate." 

The si)irit ol" ])atriotism then pervaded all classes. It 
was in tlu' man who had goods to sell, and the man who 
mauufactui-ed them, as well as in the men who volunteered 
to <l() military service. The leading, moving and guiding 
spirit iu all uiatters pertaining to the war,in so far astheState 
of Indiaua was concerned, was the then Governor, Oliver P. 
Morton. It was jiis iniiid and genius that directed in the 
organization of the Indiana troops for the first call. It was 
he wiio iiilluenced and directed the legislation that was nec- 
essary to jilace Indiana abreast of the other loyal States in 
tho.s<. matters that were then vital to the best interests of 
the Nation. Wliat is here said of Governor Morton at the 
breaking otit of the war. is equally true of him during all 
the years of war through which the Nation passed until 
IM'ace was again dechinHl and our boys came marching home. 

Nf) work foi- liim was loo arduous, no labor too great for 
him to under! ak<' in the cause of the Union, or for the men 


who had left their homes as members of any body of Indiana 
soldiers. Whether at home discharging the duties as Gov- 
ernor, or absent looking after the financial interests of the 
State— the Indiana soldier and his welfare were ever upper- 
most in his mind. His activity in all matters pertaining to 
the war was most fully illustrated in his recommendations to 
the legislature which he had convened in special session. 
The legislature met in extra session on the 24th of April, 
1861, and the Governor in his message, after reviewing the 
situation in which the General Government was then placed, 
and after recounting what Indiana had already done and was 
trying to do, said: 

"In view of all the facts, it becomes tlie imperative duty of Indiana 
to make suitable preparations for the contest, by providing ample sup- 
plies of men and money to insure the protection of the State and Gen- 
eral Government in the prosecution of the war to a speedy and successful 
termination. I therefore recommend that one million of dollars be 
appropriated for the purchase of arms and munitions of war, and for the 
organization of such portion of the militia as may be deemed necessary 
for the emergency: that a militia system be devised and enacted, look- 
ing chiefly to volunteers, which shall insure the greatest protection to 
the State, and unity and efficiency of the force to be employed." 

The legislature at once authorized a war loan of two mil- 
lions of dollars, and appropriated for general military pur- 
poses one million dollars; for the purchase of arms five hun- 
dred thousand dollars; and for expense of organizing and 
supporting the militia of the State for two years one hun- 
dred thousand dollars. 

So strong a hold did Governor Morton have upon the 
legislature and the people of the State in these first days of 
the great civil war, that men of all political parties accepted 
him as the leader, and the State at once took a higher 
and stronger position with the other loyal States than it 
had ever previously had, and all because of the policy 
that was then adopted concerning the w^ar. 

The "Three Months' Men," as the men were called who 
composed the regiments numbered from six to eleven inclu- 
sive, that had been organized under President Lincoln's call 
of April 15, 1861, had all been sent to the front immediately 


aft-er thoir (n-^anization and were testing the hardships of 
(•aini» ami ticld. It was but just to the men who responded 
to this first call to say, that although there was not so much 
ti^'hting crowded into their term of service as there w^as later 
on in the same jx'riod of time, yet during their service was had 
much of hardship and danger. The term of service of the 
men unih'r this tirst call had not been concluded wdien Pres- 
ident Lincohi issued his second call for troops, the second 
call iK'ing for a three years' term of service. The Presi- 
dent and ids Cabinet and the members of Congress had now 
come to a full realization of the fact that the war would 
"not down." at the bidding, but that it was to be a cam- 
paign tlie end of which was unknown, and that it was to be 
of .some considerable duration, none doubted. 

On May 3, 1861, the President issued another call for 
tr()o})s to servo for three years. This second call was for 
42.0;}4 volunteers, and increased the regular army by the 
addition of eight regiments of infantry, one regiment of cav- 
alry, and one regiment of artillery, making an aggregate < of the regular army of 22,714 officers and enlisted 
men. The navy was also increased by the addition of 18,000 
.se.mien. making a total for volunteer and regular armies 
and the navy of 82,748. 

The six regiments organized under the first call 
returned lionie at the end of their term of service and found 
that during their absence in the field the enlistments had 
been so nipid that the entire quota had been filled under 
the second call. Each of the first six regiments re-enlisted, 
and before another call was issued by the President they 
had all l)een accepted by the War Department, and were 
mustered in. and had again left the State and gone to the 

As each nioiiih pass(>d by. the war assumed greater 
and great.'r i>r()p()rtions. The enlisting in Indiana did 
not stop. On .Inly i, 1801, only two months later, 
anotlier call was made for 500,000 men. Under this call 
Ind iana furnished : Two r(>giinents of Infantry, tw^elve months' 
Hervice; Forty-seven regiments of Infantry, three years' ser- 


vice: Four companies of Infantry, three years' service; Three 
regiments of Cavalry, three years' service; Eighteen batteries 
of iVrtillery, three years' service. On October 2, 1861, 
Governor Morton issued another proclamation, in which 
he called ujDon "all men capable of bearing arms, and 
who can leave their homes, to cast aside their ordinary 
pursuits, and enroll themselves in the ranks of the 
army." He appealed to the citizens with all his fervid elo- 
quence. He said: "Let Indiana set the glorious example 
of doing her whole duty, and show to the world how^ much 
can be accomplished by the brave and loyal people of a sin- 
gle State. ' " He urged the farmer to ' ' leave his plow, the 
merchant his store, the mechanic his workshop, the banker 
his exchange, and the professional man his offtce, and devote 
themselves to their country." Under these calls at the 
close of the year 1861. Indiana had mustered into the ser- 
vice regiments numbered from Six to Fifty-nine inclusive, 
and eleven batteries of light artillery — and still the calls for 
troops from Indiana and the other loyal States continued. 
Other States as well as Indiana were enlisting, mustering-in, 
and sending their troops into the war. 

On January 24, 1862, Governor Morton issued another 
call under a call to him by the General Government, for five 
more regiments, and says: "Let this cal], which I trust is 
the last I shall have to make during the war, be responded 
to with the same zeal and alacrity as the former ones have 
been. " The call was answered and the five regiments were 

Through the year 1861 and into the first part of Janu- 
ary, 1862, however, as they who passed through the subse- 
quent years of the war to its close now see it, there was with 
the exception of a few battles, but little of the severity of 
actual warfare. The summer and autumn of 1861 was 
chiefly spent by both armies in drilling and preparation for 
those severe conflicts and hardships that came later on in 
the service. The winter of 1861-"62 brought with it the 
cold and storms of rain and snow and sleet, and the suffer- 
ings of the men unused to army or out door life were terri- 


blo in llio pxtromo. The battles of Fort Donelson and 
Pittsburg' Laiidin«; in the West, in which so many of our' 
liuiiana troops were engaged, and the severe work of the 
Army of tlie Potomiic, began to make the men who were yet 
at home realize, to some extent, that there was war in this 
country, and that war meant bloodshed, wounds and death. 
For every death, however, there was someone who wished 
to avenge that death, and each death seemed to bring a 
greater realization of the actual value of the Republic, and 
of the imiKH'tance of its presei'vation. 

The early part of 1862 had been marked by victories for 
our army lx)th on the Potomac and Western fields, but the 
severity of the winter and the loss from disease, and from 
wounds and deaths on the battle field, had very largely re- 
duced the effective force of the Union Army, so that when 
the early summer of 1862 came, and it was necessary to push 
the war with more vigor, it w-as discovered that more men 
must be ])ut into the field. This now brings the reader to 
the period at which the Eighty-Sixth Regiment of Indiana 
and other regiments were called into the service of the United 
States. The special cause which brought about the Presi- 
dent's i)roclamation of July 1, 1862, calling for 300,000 troops 
is most fully explained in the petition that was presented to 
him. the President, by the Governors of eighteen of the 
loyal States, of which the following, is an authenticated copy 
from the files in the War Department at Washington. 

.hine. 28. 1«H2.— The undersigned, Govcrnoi-s of States of the Union, 
impressed with the belief that the citizens of the States which they 
resiKTtively represent are of one accord in the hearty desire that the 
recent successes of the Federal arms may be followed uj) by measures 
which must insin-o the speedy restoration of the Union ; and believing 
that, in view of the present state of the important military movements 
now in progress, and the reduced condition of our effective forces in 
the. field, resulting from the usual and unavoidable casualties of the ser- 
vice, that the lime has arrived for prompt and vigorous measures to be 
adopUKl by the people in support of the great interests committed to 
your charge, wo resi)ectfully request, if it meets with your entire ap- 
proval, that you at once call upon the several States for such number of 
men a» may be required to fill up all military organizations now in the 


field, and add to the armies heretofore organized such additional num- 
ber of men as may, in your judgment, be necessary to garrison and hold 
all of the numerous cities and military positions that have been cap- 
tured by our armies, and to speedily crush the rebellion that still exists 
in several of the Southern States, thus practically restoring to the civ- 
ilized world our great and good government. All believe that the 
decisive moment is near at hand, and to that end the people of the 
United States are desirous to aid promptly in furnishing all re-inforce- 
ments that you may deem needful to sustain the government. 

Israel Washburn, jr., Governor of Maine. 
H. S. Berry, Governor of New Hampshire. 
Fred'k Holbrook, Governor of Vermont. 
Wm. a. Buckingham, Governor of Connecticut. 
E. D. Morgan, Governor of New York. 
Chas. S. Olden, Governor of New Jersey. 
A. G. Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania. 
A. W. Bradford, Governor of Mai'yland. 
P. H. Pierpont, Governor of Vii-ginia. 
Austin Blair, Governor of Michigan. 
J. B. Temple, President Military Board of Kentucky. 
Andrew Johnson, Governor of Tennessee. 
H. R. Gamble, Governor of Missouri. 
O. P. Morton, Governor of Indiana. 
David Todd, Governor of Ohio. 
Alex. Ramsey, Governor of Minnesota. 
Richard Yates, Governor of Illinois. 
Edward Salomon, Governor of Wisconsin. 
The President. 

President Lincoln did not need very much urging, nor 
did he deem it necessary for him to tals:e a very great deal 
of time to consider tlie subject matter of tlie petition of these 
Governors, for on tlie third day after the date of the petition, 
he responded thereto as follows: 

Executive Mansion, Washington, July 1, 1862.— Gentlemen— 
Fully concurring in the wisdom of the views expressed to me in so patri- 
otic a manner by you, in the communication of the 28th day of June, I 
have decided to call into the service an additional force of three hun- 
dred thousand men. I suggest and recommend that the troops should 

be chiefly of infantry. The quota of your State would be . I trust 

that they may be enrolled without delay, so as to bring this unnecessary 
and injurious civil war to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. An order 


Hxinp the (juotas of the re&i)ective States will be issued by the War 

IK'partinent tomorrow. 

Abraham Lincoln. 

The COVKRNOltS of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecti- 
ciit, Ni'W York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Michi- 
jfan, Tfnnes.see, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
and the Tresidont of the Militai-y Board of Kentucky. 

Abraham Lincoln. 

In \ho U<!;hi of subsequent events, it seems very strange 
that men \vho were .so prominent in the affairs of State, both 
in tlie National and State governments, after the war had 
been in jn'ogress over a year should not have realized the 
magnitude of tlie struggle, wiiich at the end of nearly four- 
teen mouths, had only really begun. The events that had 
transpired between April. 1861, and the last days of June 
and th«' Istday of July, 1802, wdien these Governors addressed 
thf President, and he penned his response thereto, were but 
tlie prologue to the great drama that was to be enacted on a 
stage that embraced half the States of the Union, and before 
which the people of the whole civilized w^orld with bated 
breath, were the spectators. At the time of which we now 
write no decisive blow liad been struck. True there had 
b«'('n much loss of blood and treasure and life, great, venj 
ynnt, it then seemed to a people that was accustomed only to 
lieaceful pursuits, but the South w^as in arms, their hopes 
w.T«' high in the anticipation and belief that it could and 
would be ablii to set up a government independent of the 
Union. Governors were doubtless sincere when they 
expres.sed the belit^f that the " recent successes of the Fed- 
eral arms" could be followed to "a speedy restoration of the 
Union," and that it might be an easy matter "to speedily 
crush the rebellion that still exists in several of the Southern 

President Lincoln evidently realized more fully the mag- 
nitud.. of tlie work before him, than did these Governors. 
This is made apparent by the fact that he made his call of 
July 1. 1H(32. f.,r ;j()0,000 men. The force to be enrolled 
under this call was to be within itself a great army. Nor in 
the gathering of this great army was the President to be 


disappointed in the wish he expressed in his reply to the 
Governors, when he v/rote, "I trust that there may be en- 
rolled without delay" — although the "satisfactory conclu- 
sion" of the civil war, was long postponed. Before the war 
closed Indiana alone had furnished 208,367 men. Of this 
number there were killed, or died of disease 24,416. 



The Eighty-Sixth Recruited in Response to the Call for 300,000 More— The Mater- 
ial Furnished by the Eighth Congressional District— Rendezvoused at Camp 
Tippecanoe— Line, Field and Staff OfBcers. 

Under the call of the President, July 1, 1862, and the 
orders from the War Department, the quota for the State of 
Indiana was Twenty-one Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty, 
(21,250) to serve three years or during the war. Imme- 
diately after this call Governor Morton took active measures 
looking to the filling of Indiana's quota at the earliest possi- 
ble moment. On July 7, 1862, the following proclamation 
was addressed to the people of the State: 

To the People of Indiana : 

The large number of troops required to garrison and hold the great 
extent of territory which has been wrested from the possession of the 
rebels by the many and distinguished victories that have attended the 
Union arms, enables the rebels to greatly outnumber our forces now in 
the vicinity of Richmond. The greater part of the rebel army has been 
concentrated at Richmond — their last stronghold — for a final and des- 
perate struggle ; and the army of the Union — while fighting with a gal- 
lantry hardly equaled, and never surpassed, in the annals of warfare — 
has, by overwhelming numbers, been compelled to make a short and 
temporary retreat. 

The President, in the exercise of the powers vested in him by the 
Constitution and Laws of the United States, has called for 300,000 men, 


a force dooinL'd entirely atloquate to the crushing out of the rebellion 
and the restoration of i)eaco and tl>e Union of the States. 

Ajfain I call upon the loyal and patriotic men of Indiana to come 
forward and stipjyly the quota due from our State. Up to this hour, 
Indiuiui occupies a most exalted jjosition connected with the war. Her 
trotips have Wen in almost every battle, and have behaved with uniform 
and distin«,'uished gallanti-y. Never before has the State held so proud 
a place in the opinion of the world, and it should be by the prayer and 
effort of evei-y loyal citizen that she may not now falter, and that noth- 
intj may hereafter occur to detract from her well-earned honors. But 
while we are justly proud of the high rank to which Indiana has 
attained, we should never forget that our allegiance and highest duty 
are due to the Nation, of which Indiana is a part ; that in struggling for 
National (lovernment, we are contending for our National existence, 
honor, and all that is dear to freemen, and that in this struggle we must 
auccaeii, at vh ah rcr cotit ; that it is the duty of every State to furnish, 
j)romptly, her full proportion of the military force called for by the 
President, and that in doing so, she has no right to dictate the terms of 
his military policy or prescribe conditions precedent upon which such 
force shall be furnished. To do so, would be to recognize the odious 
doi-trine of State Rights, as it has been taught by rebel politicians for 
many years, and wliicli is but another name for secession and the cause 
of all our woe. 

I, therefore, call upon every man, whatever may be his rank and 
condition in life, to put aside his business and come to the rescue of his 
country. Upon every man, individually, let me urge the solemn truth, 
that whatever may be his condition or business, he has no duty or busi- 
ness half so imjKn-tant to himself and family as the speedy and effectual 
suppression of the rebellion. 

Those who fi-om age and infirmity cannot enter the army, can do 
much to stimulate others ; and I want every man to feel especially called 
upon to exert himself, and by public and i)rivate exhortation, and by 
every legitimate influence, to encourage the immediate filling up of the 
new regiments. And to the women of Indiana, whose hearts are so full of 
love of home and country, and who by their labors and contributions, 
have done so much to relieve the sick and wounded soldiers, let me 
e»i>ecially appeal. Emulate the virtues of the Roman matron— urge your 
8onH,husl)ands, and brothers to the field. Your intluence is all-pervading 
and ix)werful. And to the maiden, let me say, beware of that lover who, 
full of liealth and vigor, lingers at home in inglorious ease when his 
country calls for him to arms. 

* * ******* 

Tents, uniform, arms, artillery, and equipments of every kind, will 
be furnished at the various camps as fast as required. Commanders of 


the camps will be promptly appointed, and every facility afforded 
for recruiting' and providing for the troops. 

The period of enlistment will be for "three years or during the 
war," and the terms and mode of organization will be pointed out in 
order to be issued in a day or two by the Adjutant General. 

Oli\ter p. Morton, Governor of Indiana. 
Executive Department, Indianapolis, July 7, 1862. 

The first regiments organized under this proclamation 
were formed and had gone into the field by the close of the 
month, July, when immediately, the second assignment under 
the call was made, and by the close of the first week of 
August, 1862, the camps in each of the several districts 
were again alive with men, and the work of organization of 
new regiments was being carried on with as much zeal as at 
any previous time since the breaking out of the war. 

Indiana in this call did as she had done in all of the 
previous calls, she voluntarily furnished more than her 
quota. Under the call of July 1, 1862, she furnished: One 
regiment of Infantry, twelve months' service; Thirty regi- 
ments of Infantry, three years' service; Six companies of 
Infantry, three years' service; Two regiments Cavalry, three 
years' service; Nine batteries of Artillery, three years' 
service. Each of these regiments had their full complement 
of men — 1000 each. 

The Eighty-Sixth Regiment was one of the regiments 
called for from the Eighth Congressional District, at that 
time composed of the counties of Tippecanoe, Carroll, 
Clinton, Boone, Montgomery, Fountain and Warren, and 
the camp, or rendezvous; was located on the hills 
just south of and adjoining the city of Lafayette. It 
was an excellent position for a camp and gave to the new 
recruit a very pleasant first experience in soldier life. The 
camp was high and dry — overlooking the Wabash river and 
valley — in plain view of the various railroads, and the 
stir and bustle incident to the arrival of recruits by the rail- 
roads, the activity and novelty of tlie situation all tended to 
keep up the enthusiasm and spirit of the newly made sol- 
diers. The month had not passed away until each of the ten 


companies of the regiment was in "Camp Tippecanoe," for 
so the camp was named. 

Company A was recruited in Boone county with Aaron 
Frazoo as Captain, George W. Smith First Lieutenant, and 
RolxM-t A. Williamson Second Lieutenant. 

Company B was recruited in Carroll county with Francis 
.1. MattU'r as Captain, John S. Armitage First Lieutenant, 
and Jeremiah Haugh Second Lieutenant. 

Com])any C was recruited in Fountain county with Jacob 
C. Dick as Cai)tain, William Burr First Lieutenant, and Oli- 
ver Boord as Second Lieutenant. 

Comi)any D was recruited in Warren county with Lewis 
Stevens as Captain, Jackson Hickson First Lieutenant, and 
Harris J. Gass Second Lieutenant. 

Company E was recruited in Warren county with Philip 
Gcmmer as Cai)tain, George Kitchens First Lieutenant, and 
John R. Moore Second Lieutenant. 

Company F was recruited in Boone county with William 
S. Sims us Captain, Jacob Palmer First Lieutenant, and Rob - 
ci't \V. Coolman Second Lieutenant. 

Company G was recruited in Clinton county with John 
Seager as Cai)tain, Samuel Douglass First Lieutenant, and 
Nel.son R. Smith Second Lieutenant. 

Company H was recruited in Clinton county with Milton 
Bell as Captain, James B. Newton First Lieutenant, and 
Uriah Thomas Second Lieutenant. 

Company 1 was recruited in Tippecanoe, Clinton, Boone, 
and Montgomery counties with William C. Lambert as Cap- 
tain. John CJillilund First Lieutenant, and James T. Doster 
Second Tjiciilvnant. 

Comi)any K was recruited in Montgomery county with 
William M. Southard as Captain, William H. Lynn First 
Li«'iitrMiant, and John M. Yount Second Lieutenant. 

()rvil](;S. Hamilton, of Lebanon, was commissioned as 
the Colonel on September 6, 1862. 

Dixon Fh-ming, of Warren county, was commissioned as 


Lieutenant Colonel September 6, 1862, but declined the com- 
mission October 21, 1862, without having been mustered into 
the service. 

Jasper M. Dresser, of Lafayette, was commissioned as 
Major September 6, 1862. 

Carson P. Rodman, of Lebanon, was commissioned as 
Adjutant on August 18, 1862, prior to the muster-in of the 

Kersey Bateman, of Attica, was commissioned as Quar- 
termaster August 12, 1862, prior to the muster-in of the reg- 

Rev. William S. Harker, of Frankfort, was commissioned 
as Chaplain September 7, 1862. 

James S. Elliott, M. D., of Thorntown, was commis- 
sioned as Surgeon September 6, 1862. 

Joseph Jones, M. D., of Williamsport, was commissioned 
as Assistant Surgeon August 14, 1862, prior to the muster-in 
in of the regiment. 

Allen M. Walton, M. D., of LaFayette, was commis- 
sioned as Assistant Surgeon September 6, 1862. 

Such was the organization of the regiment as to the 
Company officers and as to the Field and Staff officers at the 
time it moved to Indianapolis to be armed and equipped for 
active service. On the first of September the regiment was 
oixlered to Camp Carrington, Indianapolis, and remained 
there for one week. The date of the muster-in of the regi- 
ment as such was September 4, 1862, and the mustering offi- 
cer was Col. J. S. Simonson, of the regular army. The 
change of scene from Camp Tippecanooto Camp Carrington 
was very great to most of the men, and officers as well. 
The majority of the regiment saw here for the first time 
soldiers in full uniform and equipments and the moving of 
troops as they left their camps and inarched out in full cam- 
paign outfit, with bands playing and colors flying starting 
for "the front." The air they breathed was full of martial 
strains, and every breeze bore to their ears the sounds in- 
cident to camp life. Sentries paced their beats, and received 
ttieir instructions in regard to guard duties. 


Tho full luid complete roster of the regiment is pub- 
lisluHl with this history, and contains briefly a record of^all 
c'liau^'cs that wore made of the officers both of the field and 
stairrand of the line, as well as the record of the enlisted 


It may not be amiss in this connection to state that all 
of the Field and Staif, excepting Assistant Surgeon Jones, 
that were mustered in with the original organization retired 
before the hardest part of the service of the regiment was 
reached. Assistant Surgeon Walton was severely wounded 
at C'hickamauga and died from the w^ounds there received. 
Ho was a good and faithful officer, kind and sympathetic in 
his disix)sition, and under all circumstances a gentlemen. 

Of tlie orginal Captains at the organization six resigned, 
two were dismissed by court martial, tw^o were promoted, 
one was mustered out with the regiment with same rank, and 
one, William M. Southard, of Company K, was killed in the 
storming of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863. Of Cap- 
tain Southard it can be truthfully said, no man was ever a 
nioro dovotcnl friend than he, and as an officer he looked 
scrupulously after the interests of his men. His death was 
such as any soldier living might wish for if fate decreed to 
liiin to die. He died in the midst of the charge on Mission- 
ai-y Ividge when the regiment had almost reached the sum- 
mit, and victory was just within its grasp. The shots had come 
thick and fast, the struggle had been a hard one, the troops 
won; pushing through the leaden storm, cheered on by the 
voices of their officers. Captain Southard was doing his full 
duty wiien the .soldier's summons came, and with a cheer to 
his mon, and with a breath of love on his lips to her who 
had borne him, in the midst of that terrible shock of battle, 
as he recoived the death wound and wiiile falling he 
siK)kt> the word "Mother," and his soul went out to the 
(iod of battles, and battles for him were forever ended. 

Of tlu; original First and Second Lieutenants at the 
organ i/cati(in oiglit were promoted; eight resigned; tw^o were 
<li.smiss(Hl; one. Second Lieutenant James T. Doster, of Com- 
pany I. died; and one, First Lieutenant George W. Smith, of 


Company A, was killed in the first day's engagement at 
Stone's River, December 31, 1862. 


Camp Tippecanoe— Its Fine Location—Hard Beds— Trials for Hoosier Stomaclis 
—Edible Blankets— Electing Officers- Physical Examinations— First Efforts 
at Drill— Raiding the Sutler. 

The separation of friends was much the same in all places 
and at all times for the soldier when called to duty in the 
field during our late war. There was always a strong prob- 
ability that this separation was final. This probability of 
never again meeting these friends embittered the parting 
more than one can tell, and whatever the sense of duty of 
offering one's service to his torn, distracted, and bleeding 
country all were loth to separate from those whom they 
held dearest — dearer than life itself— when that separation 
was quite possibly for all time. .• No one feeling the ties of 
kinship, the love for wife and children, for brothers and sis- 
ters, or love and reverence for parents, or that tender emo- 
tion of the lover for his sweet-heart will deny that it was to 
him a most severe and terrible trial, and cost him many a 
pang and prolonged heartache. 

On entering Camp Tippecanoe each man was wide awake 
to take observations concerning his new life. The high roll- 
ing ground and its superior drainage made it a splendid loca- 
tion for a military camp. The sheds used for sleeping pur- 
poses were mere temporary structures, built of undressed 
boards from the saw mill. The camp in general was very 
scantily furnished with the most necessary articles for con- 
venience or comfort. The bunks were not even supplied 
with straw. 


S(niu> of llu> sctMiiiii^' hardsliips which will be here 
r."lat»'(l probably the more staid and dig-iiitied historians 
would scarcudy pause to notice, much less to chronicle, 
but lh<\v arc told that our children may learn and 
know of thcni. They were trivial ones, no doubt, yet life is 
nia<l<' up of little things, and subsistence is one of the indis- 
pensable lhini,''s in existence, and quite as necessary to the 
newly recruited soldier as to any other class, for next to an 
infant the average raw-recruit is among the most helpless of 
beings. It is reasonable to believe that the conditions 
which aiH' here delineated had no little elfect in undermin- 
ing and ruining the health of many who, under more favor- 
al)le cii-onnstances, might have made fairly serviceable sol- 
iliers. Tlie utter repulsion of food caused by these condi- 
tions so far weakened digestion in many a sturdy lad as to sow 
tlie seeds of disease, for the elements of weakness caused 
by the repugnance to food ultunately produced camp- 
diarrhtea, and probably still more frequently caused that 
condition of mind known as nostalgia, or home-sickness, 
wiiicli of all things most completely destroyed the usefulness 
of a man as a soldier while still leaving him in possession of 
a fair portion of his faculties and physical powers. But it 
fre(iuently went much farther than this; it robbed him of 
strengtli and made him a physical wreck, and it often so com- 
pletely unnerved him mentally that he would cry like a 
child at tli(> bare mention of home or friends. This condi- 
tion of iMuly and mind was frequently brought about by the 
great shock to the system of the young men when they had 
to endure unexpected hardships and extremely nauseating 
rations, as at Camp Tippecanoe, where it was expected 
everything in tlie line of eatables to be both clean and palata- 
ble. This statement of the origin of disease and home-sick- 
ness may seem, to the inexperienced, to be a strong one and 
rather far fetched, but having witnessed the deep di.sgust 
and utter loathing of food by, at least, apparently healthy 
young men immediately almost upon arriving in camp, it is 
U.Iieved this statement is not overdrawn. Most of the old 
soldiers who reiul this can bear witness that the picture here 


given is not too highly colored nor stated in too strong 
terms. The trials which are imposed on one changing from 
a civil life to that of a soldier are not, and cannot be appre- 
ciated by any one who has never made the change and who 
never experienced the privations incident thereto. 

Going into camp at LaFayette, so near home and friends, 
surrounded by all things necessary to make one comfortable 
and cheerful many did not consider it as soldiering but 
rather as picnicing. Here all were to have a good time when 
once they got inured to camp life. It was to be a joyous 
prelude to the more arduous duties of the campaigning that 
was to come when they were thoroughly drilled and fitted for 
the field of action. And so it was in many respects, a very 
good time if all could have accepted it as such, although 
there were some bitter doses. Many thought they would 
live fine, drill a little for exercise and that the change would 
be so little that in all essential things it would not be unlike 
home life. 

The realizations of these astounding changes at once 
aroused the perceptive faculties to great activity. It set 
thoughts afoot — a running, as it were, and the boys pondered 
much upon their situation and wondered what would come 
next. They reasoned in regard to future developments that 
if there was such a marked difference between their concep- 
tion of camp-life and camp-life as found here under the most 
favorable circumstances, what bewildering and astounding 
changes in camp-life and campaigning would be presented 
when once ushered into the field of active duties in the 
enemy's country. There where the real rather than the 
imaginary trials are met face to face, where hardships, pri- 
vations, and suffering from the vicissitudes of heat and cold 
are extremely oppressive, where death stalks by his side and 
and that continually there and there only can be witnessed 
the great trials of the soldier, and there only can his heroism 
and the extent of his offering on the altar of his country be 
understood and fully appreciated. These thoughts came 
with great force and suggested the thought: What next? 
True they had volunteered in the service at the call of their 


coniitiv with tho determination to do their fullduty. It was 
howi'vcr. never supposed that it would add to the danger of 
pn>l)al)le doatli by a rebel bullet, the pangs of starvation in 
u country so overflowing with all the necessaries of life as 
in the Northwestern States, and in a country so traversed 
and intorsocled by railroads as- both the North and the South 
furnisliing such ample means for transportation of these 
necessaries. Thoii' minds became greatly excited and the 
more they gave wing to their imagination the more excited 
they became. They could not unravel the mystery of the 
future, or tear aside the veil which hid from view coming 
events. It was well they could not. They had but to do 
their duty and bide their time. 

In referring to the hardships of diet in Camp Tipi^eca- 
noe it is not meant to insinuate that the Commissary of Sub- 
sistence of the camp failed to do his full duty in furnishing 
rations. All certainly had plenty to eat, indeed, much that 
none wanted, and yet ate it — reluctantly it is true, but ate 
it all the same. There was plenty of bread and meat and an 
abundance of good water. The bread was fairly good baker's 
bread. The meat was excellent. Wliat then was the trouble, 
may be asked. But the difliculty of mastication and degluti- 
tion were not directly referable to the quality of the bread 
or meat, or any of the solid foods issued, nor were they 
occasioned by the quality of the drinks pure and simple. 
The malignant imp that presided over the appetite and almost 
defeated tlu; plan of subsistence was not in any of these arti- 
cles originally, but it was oyer and in all of these before they 
were finally and fully prepared for the palate. It ruled in 
camp everywhere— that is in Camp Tippecanoe. To be more 
exj.licit, tlu' dilTcrent companies of the Eighty-sixth upon 
their arrival in camp hax;l issued to them a lot of coarse white 
hairy blankets, the like of which had never been seen before 
or siricc. Tliey could hardly be called woolen, but were com- 
lK)se(l of coarscj stilf hairs which were ever ready upon a 
toucli to desert thcur place in the original fabric and cling 
with wo.i,l<.rfnl tenacity to the place of their adoption as des- 
ignated by the accidental touch. In these blankets the boys 


stood guard at night. They threw them around their should- 
ers in the chill of cool evenings ; they slept in their bunks 
wrapped in them, and consequently they were literally cov- 
ered from head to foot with these foul, unsightly hairs. 
Like the effects of original sin they were ever present. 
Clothing was covered with them ; nose, eyes, mouth, and 
ears were filled with them. An hundred ,Esaus spat and sput- 
tered from morning until night, and from night until morn- 
ing again to free their mouths of these persistent abomina- 
tions, and they came far short of success. There were few or 
no vessels yet provided which could be used for transferring 
the rations from the regimental commissary department to 
the company quarters. Therefore these blankets came read- 
ily into use ; for rations we had to have. Thus at a very 
early date there was a very general and liberal admixture of 
these blanket hairs with all rations drawn to be used by the 
companies. But there was never a hair missed. The crop 
was an unfailing one, and there was always on hand an 
abundant supply. By this double use of the blankets the 
hairs were generously and even copiously distributed every- 
where; no place or person was slighted. The bunks were 
full of them ; the rude tables were festooned with them ; the 
bread was dressed and robed with them ; the meat was duly 
apparaled with the fashionable garb of the day and conse- 
quently was well covered with coarse white hairs. They in- 
vaded the sugar; tin plates were ornamented and embellished 
in various designs by these long, stiff, tickling, unwelcome 
nauseating hairs. Tin coffee-cups were likewise wreathed 
and fringed in fantastic dressings with them. In short, not a 
drinking or cooking utensil or vessel of any kind could be 
found about the company quarters of that camp but what 
was fully decorated with these white robed conquerors. 
With a persistence that seemed born of intelligence they 
were ever present — conquering time and s^Dace and the 
palates of hundreds of sturdy lads and strong men, showing 
no favors to any. Yet they taught a good lesson : they were 
like true soldiers always at the front and every ready toper- 
form their full duty. The boys were at first disgusted, then 


an^M-y. then l)()lli 1 1 is^Misted and angry, then disgusted, angry, 
and sick, lor tlu' gorge of every man did not fail to rise in 
ivbellioM against siicli treatment, as every well-fed, well- 
treated, and cultivated stomach should do. Yet this or a 
similar c.\i)cri('ncc may have in one sense been necessary 
and hcnclicial in i)roving the boys' stomachs and preparing 
tlicin for that wliicli was to come, for although these consti- 
lulcd their last and only ration of edible blankets they suf- 
n-rcd many hardships and sore trials of the stomach and pal- 
ate (hiring their term of service. This was, however, their 
woi-st and most trying experience of the palate while they 
n'inained in camp at LaFayette. 

After their arrival in camp the boys were called up for 
oxaniination and acceptance or rejection by the examining 
surgeons. This was soon completed. Some few were re- 
jected wlio were really very anxious to go to the front and 
.serve their country. The physical defects on account of 
which th(\y were rejected were not in most cases marked ones 
so as to be noticeable by non-professionals, and the rejected 
ones were much crest-fallen because of their rejection, and 
declared that they were better men physically, that they 
were healthier, stronger, and more capable of enduring 
fatigue, exjjosure, and every mai*n(?r of hardships than others 
of their comrades who were accepted. Some few even went 
so far as to make a request of the surgeons to accept them 
and again failed. The surgeons were the autocrats of the 
occasion and their decision was tiiuil. But generally the boys 
of the Eiglity-sixtli were a robust and sturdy lot of Hoosiers 
— compo.sed of young men accustomed to physical exercise 
and U) lalx)r eillier upon the farm or at some trade, mostly of 
tine form and tine fibre and of as good nerve and muscle as 
tlie Western country could produce. Therefore a slight ex- 
amination was sufficient to satisfy the surgeons that they 
w«>re good for iwiy ordinary or reasonable service of camp 
or ti(,'ld witli proper care, training and handling to inure 
and ivccustxjm them to the diet, duties, and habits of a sol- 
dier's life. 

Soon after the men were accei)ted by the examining sur- 


geons they were called out iipou the drill ground to go 
through the form of the election of officers. It was but a 
mere form as the whole thing was set uid, cut and dried, as 
is said in politics. Of course there were some who were disap- 
pointed, but with a commendable spirit of patriotism there 
was but little grumbling. Some of the best men in the dif- 
ferent companies were undoubtedly defrauded of their rights 
and had to receive orders from those who were in every way 
their inferiors as soldiers and as men. But in no particular 
did these defrauded ones show their superior qualities both 
as men and as soldiers more markedly than by their orderly 
conduct and quiet submission, and their prompt obedience to 
all orders and their readiness for every duty. 

After being passed by the surgeons as being physically 
capable and suitable for the service in the army of the 
United States, and the farce of the election of company offiers 
was gone through, the boys were ordered to drill so 
many hours each day. No time was to be lost. There was 
an urgent demand for more troops in the field, and it was 
necessary that they should be given as much drill as they 
could well perform and thus be speedily prepared to go to 
the front. It was then very necessary and everyway desir- 
able that the regiment should be well drilled at the earliest 
possible date. Accordingly daily drill was the order. Here 
again was trouble, not of so serious a character, it is true, as 
to cause the loss of life or directly to destroy health, yet 
quite enough to frequently cause vexations and very trying 
disputes between the men in ranks being drilled and the drill- 
masters. The yoking together of unequal s always causes 
an extra expenditure of force. Here there were many un- 
equals with varying degrees of inequalities of form, strength, 
motion and constitution — the most diversified inequalities of 
both the muscular system and of the brain and nervous sys- 
tem. From these arose multiplied jars and aggravations and 
as a natural consequence a great waste of muscular force 
and a rapid and an immense expenditure of nervous energy. 
These expenditures of the natural forces of the body at such 
a rapid rate, at a time when already greatly over-taxed 


caused ium-vous irritation and "the wear and tear" which 
makes a ^'ood humor impossible. In these drills there was 
tliis yokiu^'. II(U-o was the quick, nervous, rapid mover 
whoso niontal muke-up was of the same nature as his physi- 
cal constitution, and who took in the i)oints of drill as read- 
ily as jrivcu. matched with the slow and even sluggish in body 
and mind —whose physical nature was but the counterpart 
of his UHMital constitution and whom it required weeks and 
months to learn to "catch step." The long gangling youth 
of immense bone, great stride, and deliberate tread was to 
1)(> drilled alongside of theshortof stature, quick of step, and 
short of reach. The rapidity of stride of the one had to be 
checked and his step lengthened, the step of the other had to 
be fiuickened and his reach shortened, things to the uniniti-- 
ated. the untrained, difficult to perform. The various nat- 
ural gaits of a thousand men confirmed by the unrestricted 
habit of years was no easy matter to break uji and change 
to the regular, time-keeping, cadenced tread of the trained 
veteran soldier. It was making a machine of the liberty 
loving son of toil who had known no master and whose 
motions had been free and unrestricted as the air he breathed, 
yet this very breaking up and training to time-keeping tread 
had to l)e done or there was an end to drill, and consequently 
of all hopes of that regularity and precision required in the 
execution of all military evolutions. The importance of 
l\ee))ing step can scarcely be overestimated in an attempt to 
march a regiment in line of battle, or, in fact, any military 
maneuver or evolution requiring regularity of movement 
and ])r(K'ision of action. Its importance is never fully appre- 
ciated by the civilian or new recruit. So it was with the 
Kighty-sixth in Cam]) Tippecanoe. Drill duties were a severe 
trial of ])atience. The short, brief word of command deliv- 
ered in tones of authority by, the drill-master grated harshly 
on the young American ear that had not been accustomed to 
1k' so ordered by man, and who still thought this to be a 
"free country" and themselves "freemen" as many of them 
<'xi)n'ss«>d it. Not unfrequently there would be a brief and 
forcible exi>ostulation uttered in reply to some command em- 


phasized by an explosive adjective in an irritated tone of 
voice and a threat to get even with the drill-master in the 
no distant future. There were many complaints made, de- 
murs were entered, and protests tiled, but all came to naught 
so far as action was concerned. Drill progressed much the 
same as though no complaints had been made. The cry by 
loud voiced sergeants and corporals drilling squads here and 
there could be heard at all times of the day. ' ' Left, left, 
left, left. " "Catch step ;" " Guide right ;" Left, left, left, un- 
til it became monotonous and irksome in the extreme. Still 
the drill had to go on and did go on. But then it is aston- 
ishing how soon a raw recruit will tire of drill. He will 
imagine that he is worn out and broken down with drilling 
before he has learned its first principles. The Eighty-sixth 
were raw recruits ; yes, an awkward squad. 

No events transpired in camp at LaFayette that were of 
particular importance in the military history of the regi- 
ment. In fact the organization here was but the chrysalis of 
what was afterwards the regiment — merely in a state of 
pupilage. However on Sunday night a depredation was 
committed which caused a Hurry of excitement to run through 
camp the following morning. This was very distinctly and 
positively not military. On the morning spoken of it was 
discovered that the sutler's tent was laid low. His tent and 
goods gave the only evidence that a cyclone had struck the 
camp. The whole matter was easily explained. The Hoos- 
iers were getting ready for a campaign and had tried their 
hands on the sutler's tent and goods. The establishment 
gave evidence of their prowess. It was evidently of pillage 
and had been well executed. The man attending to the stock 
of goods had gone to town during the night. Some of the vig- 
ilant, riotous spirits of camp had observed this and soon col- 
lected from the quarters others equally bold and turbulent 
as themselves to complete the work contemplated. Who or- 
ganized the raid or led the raiders is not known positively, 
but certain it is, that the work was artistically done ; for if 
ever a sutler's tent was stretched Hat and his goods strewn 
to the four winds surely here was the time and place. The 


loss must have boon considerable. No special effort was 
iiKuU' to ai)pi-«'lu'nd the perpetrators of this outrage. They 
certainly would not have been hard to find had there been 
any well directed etTort. The Eighty-sixth like most regi- 
ments had a few men who were ever ready for deeds of vio- 
lence, and some of these, at least, were cool and unflinching 
in tlie face of greatest danger, and attested their courage 
and their true soldierly qualities at the head of charging 
columns even with their lives. One of the leading spirits of 
the raid on t he sutler was a member of Company H. He was 
on*' of the bravest men in the regiment and finally gave his 
life on the field of battle. 


Kntm LaFsiyctto to IiHli;ui:ip(ilis— C:imp Carrinston— Tlic Eishty-sixth Mustered 
In -The Hlmr llnifoini Donned— ('ami) Equipage Drawn— The First "Uard 
Tiick"- Furnislied With Arms and Kiiuipnients— An Irishman on Guard— One 
Mont It's I'ay— Orders to March. 

The stay at Camp Tippecanoe was short. The regiment 
was ordered to Indianapolis by rail. The trip was soon made 
and uneventful save an accident happened by which one of 
llie iii(>n was pretty severely injured at Thorntown. The 
train made a bi-i(>f stop here and as it started up the man by 
.some means was hurt, though not seriously. How like light- 
ning from the fi-ont where he was hurt, the word ran along 
d<.wn the train to the rear, and what a flush of excitement it 
(treated until th(> minds of those who had friends and broth- 
ers there were (|uieted l)y learning that it was not one of 
tlieir friends. Tliis man was the first one to receive an in- 
jury of any kind in the regiment. The remaining distance 
wius speedily covered without noteworthy incident. Tlie reg- 
iiui'iit disembarked on the site whicli was then known as 


"Camp Murphy, " and afterwards became famous as "Camp 
Carrington. "* But the change from Camp Tippecanoe 
to Camp Carrington was no improvement, so far as the camp 
was concerned, and those who had a high sense of the pro- 
prieties of life or even a particle of modesty were greatly 
shocked to be so situated. There was no privacy whatever, 
and the younger members of the regiment and the naturally 
sensitive ones found great trials facing them at this place. 
Here new discoveries relative to a soldier's life were made 
daily. The men were placed under new restrictions, the 
samp-guards being under more stringent orders about per- 
mitting persons to go and come. The military rules and 
Drders were gradually tightening their relentless grip and 
bhe free young American was being petrified, as it were, into 
bhe veteran campaigner, and he felt it keenly. Still there 
was little murmuring except by a few tough ones who 
wanted to go on a continuous jamboree. 

At this camp on the 4th day of September, 1862, the 
Eighty-sixth was mustered into the United States service- 
born into actual military service from which there was no re- 
treat. The mustering officer was Colonel J. S. Simonson, of the 
regular army. The Eighty-sixth were now Uncle Sam's 
boys in truth and in fact and it was his duty to provide for 
them. They at once began receiving supplies of all kinds to 
prepare and fit them for service in the field. They donned 
the blue, with blouse, pantaloons, and forage cap. They re- 
3eived tents, haversacks, canteens, cooking utensils, guns 
and accouterments, and all the equipments belonging to the 
fall fledged infantryman. Here they were very quietly made 
acquainted with a noted character of the war — the Union 
soldier's abomination and yet one of his best friends — the 
"hard tack, "or in other words the array cracker. The first 
liard tack received came in barrels and were marked "sea 

*Tliis Ciiriip li;i(l previously l)oon dcsisiiiitcd us "Oiiuip Cliiis Milk-r," but 
upon tlu> arrival of the Ei<?l)ty-sixt.h it was known as "Camp Murphy." It was 
soon aftfrwards chansi'd to "Camp CarriiiRton" vvliich name It rt-taiiu'd until the 
:;lose of the war. To avoid confusion in the minds of the reader it shall be re- 
ferred to as "Camp Carrington." 


l.iscuit. •' Many of Uio boys shouted for joy actually expect- 
iiiir to s.M« nice soda biscuits roll out of the barrel when the 
lu>;uls wcro knoclvod in. Alas! for human expectations and 
liuinaii h()iH\s. Those first hard tack were "as dry as the 
rt'iiiiiiiHlcr l)iscuit alior a voyage" and as hard as a deal 
lK)ar(l. Hut tor, cream and X)ie were no more to be had save 
some oxccrablo dried apple ]iies which "hawkers" occasion- 
ally dispostnl of in camp. Those good things of the jmlate 
wore no more to bo thought of than was a sweet restful 
niglit 's sloop in one of mother's feather beds. 

Tilt" aruis furnish(>(l were the Enfield rifte, a first class 
l)ioco for that day, a roally good serviceable gun, not easily 
got out of order, and one which the regiment retained 
throughout its term of service. As soon as the arms and 
accoutormonts were received at the arsenal and the men 
niarchod back to camp, came the examination of the implements 
of warfare. It was an inspection more extensive, more rigid j 
and thorough than any inspector ever gave them subse- 
(pu'iitly. There arose at once a discussion of the merits of 
the gun which was continued so long as there was one who | 
was not fully satisfied. Nothing thus far had created so | 
much interest in camp as these instruments of death. The « 
motives that had actuated the men and caused their enlist- | 
mont now seemed apparent. With some, these guns were to 
1:m! the agents in their hands to help save the Nation 
from destruction, with others idea of punishment was more 
ju'edominant and thoy wore to be the instruments of terror to 
traitors iind nibols, and with others they were to aid in help- 
ing free the negroes, and to a still fewer in number they 
woro to bo simply appliances of destruction of their fel- 
low man and to <'nablo tluur possessors to plunder and pill- 
ago. Fortunately the latter class was very few in number 
and woro usmUly condomiKnl und somewhat held in check by 
thoir comriulos. 

The various parts of the gun each man carefully exam- 
inod for liimsolf, and thus ho made himself thoroughly ac- 
(juaintod with it in all t-ho d(»ta,ils ofnts ])arts and their work- 
ings. From li)) ol l)ayonot to butt of stock no portion or part 


escaped the closest scrutiny and examination. Perhaps as a 
rule the bayonet came first in the investigation, and from tip 
of blade to bridge of socket no part escaped the examination 
— nothing was missed by the newly fledged soldier. The 
blade, socket, stud-mortise of socket, and clasp were all scan- 
ned closely and fully comprehended before this part of the 
arm was laid aside and another taken up. It is unnecessary 
to relate the details of this searching inspection and exami- 
nation of the arm, but -from muzzle to butt, lock, stock, 
and barrel, band and band-spring, sling and sling- 
swivel, trigger and trigger-guard, ram-rod and its groove 
were all thoroughly examined and their relations and func- 
tions noted. Of the appendages of the gun the wiper, the 
ball-screw, the screw-driver, the spring-vise, and the tom- 
pion, all were sx^eedily passed under the scrutinizing gaze of 
a thousand Hoosier eyes and their fitness for the purpose 
for which they were intended fu^lly discussed, as were the 
cartridge-box and its magazines, its straps and plates, and 
hooks for fastening belt. So the whole paraphernalia of 
the newly fledged soldier was critically examined. 

Again orders for drill had been promulgated and some 
feeble attempts were made in this direction. Now that they 
had their arms the boys felt that they ought to be put 
through the manual of arms, and then company and battalion 
drill as soon as possible. A little drilling was done, but it 
was very little as all were too busy drawing sujjplies and 
getting ready for the front. So the time ran on at Camp 

A little incident occurred at this camp before the men 
had drawn arms. It shows the mettle of the Hoosier boys 
and that they intended to do what they believed to be their 
duty. The camp-guard had been established and strict 
orders given to the guards to allow no one to cross the 
guard-line except at the gates with properly signed passes. 
Of course the raw recrait thought this order meant just 
what it said, and accordingly supposed that no one was to be 
allowed to pass in or out over the line, be he a private or 
Major -General, not knowing that field officers were by mill- 


t:iry rules excepted. Well, General Carrington was riding 
round on a tour of inspection and thought to ride into the 
camp of the Eighty-sixth. He rode up to the guard-line and 
naturally supposed that the guard had been properly 
instructed and knew snfficiontly of military matters to admit 
him. But he had struclc the wrong man. Attempting to 
cross, the guard halted him, but he rode up quite near to the 
guard and informed him who he was, and that on account of 
iiis rank he was entitled to pass— to enter camp at will not- 
withstanding the instructions fi'om the Colonel to allow no 
one to pass in or out. But no, the guard was firm and insist- 
ed he could not pass into camp over his beat. The General 
became impatient and attempted to ride forward into camp 
regardless of the guard's threatening attitude and warnings 
to keep otf. Now, came the fun. The guard quite as deter- 
mined as the General seized the bridle-rein of the General's 
hoi-se, reined him back upon his haunches and struck the 
General himself a heavy blow on the left arm and shoulder 
with a stout cudgel with which the guards were then armed. 
The General now thoroughly aroused spurred his charger 
furiously forward, causing him to break away from the guard 
and so rode into camp. This little episode was witnessed b}^ 
many of the boys who scarcely knew what to make of it. 
The General himself was very much excited, asked the com- 
pany to which the soldier belonged, his name, and sought 
his Captain and then Colonel Hamilton. All expected to 
liear him severely denounced and perhaps ordered a severe 
punishment for his gross blunder. But on the contrary the 
General commended him highly for his great firmness in 
doing that which ho believed to be his duty and recommended 
that he b(' ])romotedto corporal immediately if there was a 
vaeancy, and if not as soon as a vacancy occurred. 

Hen; too after being mustered into Uncle Sam's family 
the men received one month's pay, thirteen dollars, and one- 
fourth of their promised bounty, twenty-five dollars. Most 
of this money was sent home by a majority of the boys for 
the use of their families, their wives and children, or their 
parents and younger brothers and sisters, or to be kept for 



them until they should return home. There were a few 
however, on the other hand who were reckless and not dis- 
posed to look ahead who retained their money and squan- 
dered it in gambling and drink. Others spent it in supposed 
luxuries. They soon had neither money or anything to show 
for it, and by their indulgence had in a measure unfitted 
themselves for the performance of the duties of a soldier in 
the field. Thus the few days at Indianapolis soon wore 
away. Some were preparing themselves to be serviceable 
soldiers, others were laying the foundation for a hospital 
career from the first. A few spasmodic attempts at drill 
were made, but the constant hurry and rush upon the part of 
officers to make out requisitions and to receive and distribute 
necessary supplies prevented anything like systematic in- 
struction. All felt the great need of this training, but there 
was so little time for it, that the instruction they did receive 
was of small practical value. The men greatly needed to be 
made familiar with the manual of arms, the company and 
battalion drill. The latter was not attempted so short had 
been the regiment's stay in camp. Therefore the Eighty - 
sixth practically knew nothing of drill when it was called to 
go to the front. 

Almost daily now trains would go by bearing ' ' the boys 
in blue ' ' from camps in other parts of the State and from 
other States to the front. Cheers from the train for the 
camp would make the welkin ring, and answering cheers from 
the camp would resound again and again. These outbui'sts 
of enthusiasm told how thoroughly the Northern heart was 
aroused. How the grand and true spirit of patriotism had, at 
last, by its fervor welded and made as one mighty brother- 
hood this people and bound them in indissoluble bonds for 
country, home and loved ones. Each succeeding train-load 
of passing blue-coats had a tendency to make the boys grow 
impatient to go forward to meet the enemy. They knew too 
that they should soon follow their comrades gone before. 
There was a demand for more troops for the field. General 
Braxton Bragg had skillfully turned thefiank of Buell's com- 
mand in the vicinity of Bridgeport, Alabama, and was now 


marchin*? rapidly on the most direct route for Louisville, 
K.Mituck-y. with liis main force, while another portion of his 
coniinaiul under the noted General Kirby Smith was advauc- 
infr upon and threatening Covington, Kentucky, and Cincin- 
nati. Oliio. High hopes of the South centered on this raid. 
Bragg intended to carry the war this side the Ohio. The 
Nortlieru States were to be the theater of war instead of the 
Sunny South. There was a perfect furore of excitement in 
and around Cincinnati, and, in fact, all over the Northern 
States. Buell was denounced as a traitor to the cause he pre- 
tend«^d to serve. He was accused of being in league with the 
enemy, and of every conceivable weakness and folly. There 
was certainly no truth in any of these charges beyond possi- 
bly that of extreme caution and indecision similar in degree 
and kind to that of McClellan in the East. But there was a 
truth on the other side which was overlooked by the Union j 
army and the people of the North in general. Bragg was in 
fact a much more able commander than the people of the 
North gave him credit. The truth was Bragg had played 
liis i)art thu.s far with consummate skill i\nd judgment, and 
had in his favor, which greatly promoted success, the friend- 
liness and sympathy of a large majority of the people of the 
country through which his army was passing. These ad- 
vantages permitted Bragg to avoid all engagements, and, no 
doubt, gave rise to the charges against Buell by those who 
were unfriendly towards him. 

Th(^ great excitement in the North, and especially of the 
Northwestern States, caused the people to urge and boldly 
demand that the threatened cities be made secure — that suf- 
ficient troops be at once sent forward to defend and protect 
them from the approaching enemy. The excitement at Cin- 
cinnati was truly at fever heat and great demands were made 
by lier people upon the government for aid, while the citi- 
zens turned out almost enmasse to defend their homes from 
the would-be invaders. General H. G. Wright was in com- 
mand of the department, and General Lew Wallace was in 
command of Cincinnati and Covington, and the troops in the 
trenches defending them. General Heth, of Kirby Smith's i 


command, took position a few miles south of Covington on 
the Gth of September. This increased the excitement in 
tliat locality as a matter of course. But this was the farthest 
point north that any considerable force of that command 

This was the situation in Kentucky when on Saturday, 
September 6, the Eighty-sixth received orders to be ready 
to move at a moment's notice. Soon a second order was re- 
ceived to move on the following day, Sunday, September 7. 
All was excitement now. The crisis of meeting the enemy 
seemed undoubtedly to be at hand. » 


From Tndiauapolis to Cincinnati— Breakfast at Fiftli Street Market^Across the 
River— Covington— Ludlow— Camp Mitchell— Newport— The First Bivouac- 
Camp Wallace—" Grumble Hill"— Company H On Picket— Wallowins in the 

After breakfast Sunday morning, September 7, Sibley 
tents were struck and everything packed, ready at the tap of 
the drum to depart for the front. But the train was not yet 
ready. The day was consumed in waiting until 5 o'clock 
when the train rolled out for Cincinnati over the I., C. and L. 
Railway. It proved to be a very "slow coach, " and many of 
the boys whenever it stopped would jump off and run to ad- 
jacent orchards and lay in a supply of apples. Such boyish 
pranks as these were performed as long as daylight lasted. 
Thus time and train trundled on together until night, when 
the boys became more quiet, for up to this time they had 
been in a hilarious mood, singing, shouting, and having a 
boisterous time generally. Some of the more staid members 
of the regiment tried to sleep after night came, but the at- 
tempt was vain. After a long tedious ride about 4 o'clock 
Monday morning, September 8, the command was landed at 


('iiiciiuiiili. Tiiml)lin,ir out of the cars more than half-asleep 
the boys immediately dropped down upon the platform of 
tlu' doiK)t for "forty winks" of sleep. 

\V«>ai-y with the night's ride the boys slept late, but at 
Ifii.irtii they were aroused and began to move about. They 
w»'iit in s([iKids to tlie river and performed their morning ab- 
hitions and returned to the station. The regiment here in a 
fjreat city was at a loss to know what to do for breakfast. 
Tlu'rc was no fuel provided and many of the men were timid 
and did not know how to look foi- it. Later on the most timid 
man in the regiment would easily have found an abundance. 
So th«>y .stood round the depot not knowing what to do. Fin- 
ally, however, after long waiting the command came, "fall 
in, " " shoulder arms, " " right face, " " forward march, ' ' and 
they began a slow straggling march eastward, filed left up 
Vine street, climbed the hill and finally reached Fifth street 
Market House where the good people of the city had pro- 
vided for them a good meal. After breakfast the regiment 
was marched down the street in the direction of the river to 
a hotel, and were there addressed by Brigadier-General Mah- 
lon D. Manson. who was then a paroled prisoner, having 
been cai)turt'd at Kichmond, Kentucky, August 30. After the 
speaking the regiment continued its march to the rivei-. 
crossed to Covington, Kentucky, on a pontoon bridge and 
proceeded dcnvn the river. Passing through Ludlow, a mile 
or more, it bore off to the left and camped. The day was 
wai-nj and tln^ loads were heavy. The men had been on their 
fi'i'l almost the whole day and were entirely inexperienced in 
marching, and many of them found it exceedingly tiresome, 
in fact, many fell behind the regiment on this, its first march. 
These stragglers were greatly fatigued and much chagrined 
at the thought of not being able to keep up, but they mostly 
came in before dark. The camp here was designated as 
CanipMilrlM'll. The regiment now barely had a taste of 
niardiing, but many, at least, were fully satisfied that when 
it was undertaken in earnest that there was not one bit of 
ainii.siMnent about it— not, at least, for raw troops. The teams 
were .so(M. on haii.l and tents were put up. After supper, the 


events of the day were discussed until "taps," when all re- 
tired hoping for a good night's rest. Not long after lying 
down an alarm was given and the regiment was called out as 
was supposed to give battle. After standing to arms for 
some time, and neither seeing or hearing anything indicat- 
ing the approach of the enemy, the regiment was permitted 
to break ranks and again retire. 

The following morning was quite cool but otherwise 
pleasant. There was a number of the regiment reported sick 
this morning. Marching in the heat of the day, heavily 
loaded, and then lying at night upon the cold, damp ground 
produced internal congestions. The changes in food and 
drink caused many to suffer with camp diarrhoea, accom- 
panied in some cases with considerable fever. 

Orders were received to march before noon. The regi- 
ment was soon on the road, leaving behind the tents and the 
sick. Crossing Licking river the command passed to the 
southeast of Newport, and having marched some six or seven 
miles was halted in an open field, where it remained until the 
following day. The boys were now being initiated into the 
duties and mysteries of marching, camping, camjDaigning, 
and of the bivouac. Tuesday and Tuesday night, September 
9, the Eighty-sixth experienced its first true bivouac with 
nauglit but the sky and stars above. The next morning was 
pleasant and the men lounged around the bivouac fires dis- 
cussing the probability of a battle at this place until about 
10 o'clock, when the regiment recrossed the river back into 
Covington and took position on a high hill just south of the 
town and about a half mile from it. This was designated as 
Camp Wallace. Here the boys were far from being pleased 
with their environment and much grumbling was indulged in 
in the ranks. These complaints became so numerous and 
vigorous that the place came to be known as "Grumble 
Hill. " Again the wagons failed to arrive with the tents and 
the regiment indulged itself with another bivouac. This 
hill was already intrenched, therefore the Eighty-sixth 
formed its line just inside the works and so bivouacked to be 
ready to " fall" into the ditch and defend the hill to the last 


ill case of ;m attack'. Reports were flying still thick and fast 
of tlu' (Mu'iuy's api)roacli with intention of making an attack 
uiK)ii llic place. Nerves were consecpiently on a constant 
strain. On the morning after the regiment's arrival at this 
camp on "Clrumble Hill" it began raining and the trenches 
were very muddy. Notwithstanding the rain and the mud, 
every hour or so an alarm would be given that the enemy 
was apin'oacliiiig and the men would be ordered into the 
ditches, there to wallow in the mud. But Kirby Smith had 
MO intention of au attack, and was even at that time with- 
drawing his forces. The nerves of all were in a state of ex- 
treme tension, and this with the real hardships of loss of 
sleep and waUowing in the mud was extremely wearing on 
the constitutions of the men. Even after nightfall the camp 
would be alarmed by the command "Fall in, Eighty -sixth. " 
Tlu> enemy is almost upon us. " At once the regiment would 
rush into tlie muddy trenches. If men were ever justifiable 
in indulging in profane remarks here was the occasion on 
"Grumble Hill." Some nights they would be allowed 
scarcely any sleep, so busy were they falling in and out of 
the ditch. Tlius the men were nearly worn out with drag- 
ging uj) and down and watching for the iron-hearted enemy 
who was every coming in a "tiger-footed rage" to tear them 
to pieces and devour them bodily. 

Ijook'ing back now at these trials in the light of experi- 
enc<\ all of this constant worry and annoyance was a great 
injury to tlie men of the Eighty -sixth. This no doubt, sent 
many a man to the hospital, not a few of whom secured dis- 
chai-ges and thus weakened the organization in point of num- 
bei-s, and greatly discouraged others that remained, and in 
tluit way did harm to the spirit of the regiment that required 
time to fully overcome. 

On tlie llith inst. the tents came up. Thenceforward 
what little time tliere was for sleep on "Grumble Hill" was 
with a little better protection from wind and rain and the 
<-hill of the night air. The regiment had b'een here at or 
near Covington live nights without tents and this was felt 
to be (luite a hardship. Later on little would have been 


thought of such deprivations. By whose orders the men were 
thus bedeviled no one will probably ever know, but through 
ignorance or spite or some other equally culpable motive the 
regiment was most shamefully managed and mistreated. 
Some time during the 14th it was announced that the regiment 
was under marching orders. A great shout went up from the 
overjoyed Hoosiers who were besides themselves almost at 
the prospect of getting away from ' ' Grumble Hill. 

On the morning of the 16th of September, Company H, 
Captain Milton Bell in command, was detailed to do jjicket 
duty for the regiment. Let the dairy of a member of that 
company tell how that duty was performed and how some of 
the company were employed: "The company (H) received 
orders to go out as pickets. We went out about three miles 
on the pike and stopped for the reserve or company head- 
quarters at a tine house from which an 'old secesh' had been 
taken and left everything that we wanted to use. Our men 
were soon placed upon the line. The Second-Lieutenant, 
Uriah Thomas, took a squad of thirteen men and started on 
a little scout on our own responsibility. The men stripped 
themselves of all necessary luggage that they 'might be in 
the best possible trim for making good time if by chance 
they should come across too strong a squad of the enemy. 
Pressing forward at a good pace we soon covered some four 
miles from our reserve station and came to a suitable place 
to get our dinners. We had a good dinner and all the apples 
and peaches we could eat, as well as all the milk we could 
drink, something we had not had since leaving home. After 
scouting around over the noigliborhood for some time, 
always keeping a sharp lookout for the enemy, we concluded 
to lay in a supply of something nice to eat and then return to 
the post of our duty. So we killed a nice shoat and secured 
a number of chickens and returned to the picket station. 
Up to this time everything had gone along pleasantly enough 
without the appearance of an enemy. About dark we feasted 
on "hard tack," fresh pork and chicken. Soon after this 
our relief went upon the line to do sentinel duty. Reported 
attempts of "bushwhackers" firing upon the sentinels here 


ultor ihirk wtMc iiuulc known to us and all were duly warned 
to keep a sharp lookout for their own personal safety as well 
lus the «,'cMUM-al jrood. It was a wide-awake picket line that 
niglU. Tlio countorsif^n was "Blue Ridge." Some time be- 
fore our "trick" was out one of the sentinels heard, as he 
clainicd, some one snap a cap immediately in his front. 
Taking it for granted tluit it was a "bushwhacker" making 
an atlemitl u\Hm liis life, he tired on him without hesitation. 
Tlio next sentinel being as he supposed somewhat more ex- 
posed tlian tlie one that tired, and more likely to fall a victim 
to the "bushwhacker's" tire, left his post and came down the 
line with speed of a quarter horse, making the brush crack 
as lie came tearing along. Fearing that the other sentinels 
would mistake him for the enemy and so sacrifice him to 
their fears he yelled at every jump "Blue Ridge," "Blue 
Ridge," "Blue Ridge," until the woods rang with his un- 
earthly cry. He made good time to the reserve station, 
where with almost breatlil(>ss haste he related his very nar- 
row escape. It was laughable in the extreme to others, but 
a fearful reality with the frightened sentinel. The sentinel 
who tired stood fast and nothing more was heard. Some of 
the boys were wholly incredulous and did not believe the 
statements of the sentinel who tired — did not believe that he 
had heard any one or anything, and questioned him very 
closely as to the place where he heard the noise. Early next 
morning they sallied forth to prove there had been no one 
there, and that the sentinel had tii-ed for "buncombe." But 
upon going to the spot desigiuited, to their great surprise, 
a gun was found which satisfied all but a few obstinately 
incredulous ones. It was now pretty generally accepted that 
a genuine attempt at "bushwhacking" had actually been 
made, but the prompt tiring of the sentinel had frightened 
th«> would-be assassin and he had left in haste. Now, too, the 
timid comrade who is somewliat given to boasting cannot 
say a word in his braggtKlocio style without being called 
down with 'Blue Ridge,' 'Blue Ridge' much to his discom- 
forture. H(.f()rc the company was relieved another squad of 
the hoys went outside the lines and killed a nice calf and 


brought it to the reserve. Thus the company was for the 
time being pretty well provided with good meat. About 10 
o'clock a. m. on the 17th, we were relieved by another com- 
pany of the Eighty-sixth and H company returned to the 
camp on the hill." It might be said here in closing this ac- 
count that the sentinel who so promptly fired upon the ' ' bush- 
whacker" afterwards became the regiment's most expert 
forager, in fact, it never saw his equal. He was, however, cap- 
tured by the enemy near Rural Hill, Tennessee, paroled and 
never returned to the regiment, and was afterwards reported 
as a deserter. The timid sentinel on the contrary, notwith- 
standing the great trial to his nerves, remained in the service 
and finally fell a victim to the enemy's shot in the fateful 
trenches around Atlanta toward the last of July, 1864. 

The Eighty-sixth now considered itself capable of per- 
forming every duty known to veterans. The boys had 
marched ; they had bivouacked ; they had laid in the trenches 
all night ; they had been on j^icket ; they had performed every 
duty of a soldier except meet the enemy in actual battle and 
they were ready for that. Were they not soldiers? The 
company had scarcely reached camp when the tomfoolery of 
ordering the regiment into the trenches was begun again. 
All now knew there was no armed enemy of any con- 
siderable number within miles, yet the men were com- 
pelled to wallow in the ditches as though the enemy was in 
sight. This treatment of the regiment was certainly a mon- 
umental piece of stupidity, and can only be accounted for on 
that score. It seemed to be a malicious and studied piece of 
cruelty. It was the fate of this regiment for some months 
after its entrance into the field to suifer unnecessarily the 
most outrageous treatment, neglect and exposure. 

On the 19th of September the regiment received march- 
ing orders which caused a ripple of excitement in the ranks. 
To a man all were anxious to leave the camp on the hill 
where the men had been so miserable and "had to drink 
river water." On the following day the orders were more 
specific. They were to have three days' cooked rations in 
their haversacks and be ready to inarch at a moment's notice. 


This was something definite. All went to work with a will, 
some to cook, some to strike tents, and others to packing up 
all baggage that should go on the w^agons. All was hum 
and biistlc^ jest and jollity, at the thought of departing for- 
ever from "Grumble Hill." Everything was in readiness 
for llie trip by noon, and the old hill, destitute of num- 
berless white tents, lay bleak and bare. The men of the 
KiglilV-sixth only waited for the word of command to set 
forward on their journey wherever it might lead. 

The men lounged about the tires chatting without note- 
worthy incident, until late in the afternoon when a sensational 
scene was enacted. A member of Company D, Bartley Scan- 
Ian, who was guarding some baggage had jiartaken of too 
much Kentucky whisky, and it proved to be of the fighting 
icinil. Thereupon he became furious and threatened to shoot 
a number of officers, and did actually snap two caps at them. 
He fixed his bayonet and capered around at a lively rate. 
Taking a defensive position near the baggage he swore by 
all the saints in the calendar that he would prod the first man 
or officer that came within his reach. It was lively, and then 
it was .something entirely new and refreshing in camp and 
very naturally created quite a good deal of excitement. The 
Colonel came up at length and disarmed him and quieted the 
commotion. For his unsoldierJy conduct he was "bucked 
and gagged." This was the first case of "bucking" in the 
regiment. Scanlan afterw^ard made a good soldier except his 
liking for "insanity dro])S. " 

The regiment remained on the hill the entire day until 
tlu'dusk of the evening, when at last came the command, 
"Attention, Battalion. Take arms. Shoulder arms. Right 
■face. Forward march. File left;" and the boys turned their 
})jicks on "Grumble Hill" to see it no more during their term 
of service;. The regiment marched through Covington direct 
to the boat landing and shipped aboard two steamboats, the 
" Forest Rose"' and the " Dunleith" for Louisville, Kentucky, 

"Down till' river, down tlio river, 
Down tjiu Oliio." 


The "Forest Rose" and the " Dunleith "—Tlie Beautiful Scenery— How the Boys 
Whiled Away the Time— Land at JetTersonville- Camp Gilbert— Cross the 
River to Louisville — A Tedious Night March— Arrival of Buell's Army— The 
Clamor Against Buell— The Eighty-Sixth's Assignment— General Nelson 

On the morning of Sunday, September 27, about 6 
o'clock, the "Forest Rose " and the "Dunleith" backed out 
from then- landing-, swung round into the channel and 
steamed out down the river. Two other boats carried an 
Ohio regiment down at the same time, the four boats fre- 
quently being in full view of each other in the stretches of 
the river and making a very beautiful sight to behold. As 
the magnificent boats steamed down stream that beautiful 
September morning, the men were relieved of all thought of 
camp duty and were consequently once more comparatively 
at ease. The atmosphere was delightfully invigorating and 
the sun shone brightly. It was a lovely day. The speed of 
the boat was not great as the river was quite low and care in 
navigating it was necessary. There were multiplied beau- 
ties of nature upon the right and upon the left. The rugged 
hills upon either hand forming the river's bluffs and the 
beautiful stream glided gently and peacefully between on to 
old ocean's briny deep. The hills from foot to rugged crest 
were variegated by the shade of wood and the many colored 
leaves of hickory, beach, oak, and the maple blushing with 
the early autumn tints, added their beauties to the scene. 
The liglit of the open fields varied according to the crops 
which they bore, from the rich green of the unripe corn to 
the golden stubble of harvested wheat, all encircled by ser- 


pent ill*' ItMu-os and llioro in turn draped with trailing vine 
and scouted slirub. Occasionally there was a break in the 
liiM' of hills upon the banks and then the landscape broad- 
cuf'd. showintr a fine stretch of country for the labors of the 
p.-ac't'iil jtursuils of the husbandmen. These glimpses and 
views of |)oi-tious of our grand country that seemed so pros- 
perous and ha])py, and possessed of so many advantages 
ovei- all other countries of soil and climate, as well as in her 
hiws and institutions, were food for reflection which led, no 
(loul)t. to many and diverse thoughts among the thousand 
meu of the Eight-sixth floating down the broad and beauti- 
ful Oliio. The people on the river's banks, especially upon 
th«' Ohio and Indiana bank, waved their God's speed with 
many a glad hearty shout. Upon the Kentucky shore many 
cheered but was not so universal or so uniformly hearty in 
manner as upon the other bank. 

The occuijants themselves of the boats were variously 
employed. As in every other situation in life the idler was 
found "upon deck" here. He .scarcely seemed to note the 
beauties of nature of either land or stream, or to have a 
thought of home, friends, kindred, or the enemy to be met 
in the future. Others were busily engaged writing home to 
friends oi- loved ones to acquaint them of their change of 
location and the prospect of campaigning in other fields and 
the tliousand and one things which soldiers always had to 
tell. Some w(M-e viewing the rainbow in the spray from 
the great stei-n -wheel of the boat as it dashed round and 
round and churned the dark waters of the river into a fine in whicli Hie beautiful bow of lieaven could be plainly 
seen in a ininature form. Others sat upon the bow of the 
l)oat, as it plowed its way through the waters down stream 
looking ahead as if they were eager to press forward and 
mei.t the enemy. Some of the younger members of the reg- 
iment were chatting cheerily together; some of the older 
ones were conversing in a more sober and sedate manner 
l>rohably of weighticn- home matters, the importance of 
which they could not wholly divest their minds. Some 
others were playing cards for amusement, euchre and seven- 


up being the games. Still others were throwing the cards 
for money — gambling. Draw poker was the favorite game, 
although others were indulged in for money. There were 
those who had been in the whirl-pool of the gambling circle 
and whose passion was not quenched but only defeated for a 
time by the loss of all their money. These went about from 
group to group looking so forlorn and disconsolate, so woe- 
begone, that one might easily have supposed that they had 
just returned from the burial of their last and their dearest 
earthly friend. The more lucky were all smiles. They 
went round jingling the money of their disconsolate com- 
rades, grinning and boasting of their luck and superior 
shrewdness. Thus the Sabbath day and the boats sped on. 
A number of times the boats were aground and two or three 
times they were backed off with considerable difficulty. 

Arrriving at Louisville the boats remained at the land- 
ing during the night but swung round about 6 o'clock the 
next morning and crossed the river. Once more the Eighty- 
sixth landed on Hoosier soil. The regiment reached its 
camping place about 9:30 a. m. and at once proceeded to pre- 
pare breakfast. The camp was pitched to the east of Jeffer- 
sonville and was designated Camp Gilbert. Immediately 
after breakfast many, if not all the boys, went down to the 
river and took a bath, removing the last vestige of the hated 
"Grumble Hill.'' The wagons with the tents not arriving 
on the 22nd, the regiment bivouacked that night. On the 
morning of the 23rd the cleaning up business was continued. 
Tents arrived and were put up in the forenoon. Directly 
after dinner the regiment was ordered out for battalion drill. 
It was nothing more than a feeble attempt as yet, but little 
instruction in squad and company drill had been given and 
almost none in the manual of arms. Sometime during the 
evening after returning to camp orders were received to 
march. This created a hum of excitement. New troops 
always become more or less excited on receiving such 
orders. Steps were immediately taken to be in readiness. 
Rations were cooked, "traps " of all kinds were packed up, 
but the orders for the march seemed to hang- lire. Not until 


() «• 

•lock- at nii^^lit was the order given to "fall in." The 
rogiiiMMit llu'ii iiiai'ched to the river and crossed on a ferry- 


'Pile Eighty-sixtli now left Indiana soil to return no more 
until it came back victorious and with banners flying at the 
close of the war. But, alas! many who then crossed the 
river came not back, and "sleep the sleep that knows no 
waking" on the other side. After reaching the Louisville 
side the regiment marched west and south with many 
lialts aiul changes of direction as though it was being led 
by some one who was undecided or did not know where 
t/O go. It was a long tedious night march. The men 
were tdl very tired and exhausted by the loss of sleep and 
marching. The regiment finally halted about 4 o'clock a. 
m. in the southwest suburbs of the city. But the trip down 
the river, the bivouac in 'the cold night air, battalion drill, 
and the night march, had their eifect upon the unseasoned 
men and the regimental surgeons woke up on the morning of 
the L*4th of September to find themselves the proprietors of 
quite an extensive practice. Soon the boys began skirmish- 
ing for extras in the line of eatables. Some few succeeded. 
more met with inditferent success, and a larger number made 
a flat failure, but they all gained experience and strength for 
another occasion. Camp-guard soon had to be established 
in order to hold the regiment together as the boys were rap- 
idly scattering on these foraging expeditions. On the night 
of the Snth of September, John W. Fisher, of Company H. , 
accidcMitally sliot himself through the hand while standing 
(;amp guard. The wound was quite a severe one and neces- 
sitated tlie removal of an entire finger. This was the first 
accidental shooting in the regiment, although later a number 
were wounded this way. Grave doubts existed whether all 
were purely accidental. 

In the forenoon of the 2Gth the regiment received orders 
to march instanter. It marched north, it marched east, it 
marr-liod south, it marched west and came to the place of 
starting. It was now evident to all that somebody did not 
know what was wanted. To make the best of it the Eighty- 


sixth unloaded, intending to stay until it was found 
where it belonged. However, about 4 o'clock p. m. the reg- 
iment was again ordered into line, and at once marched 
down into the city. The marching had all been done in a 
hesitating, undecided manner, with checks and halts and 
consultations as though the Colonel might be lost. This 
childish manner of proceeding had delayed it so much that 
night came on long before the regiment reached Fifth 
street where it bivouacked for the night. Heated by the 
marching the men lay down without supper on the cold 
ground and tried to sleep. They arose in the morning with 
teeth chattering, and chilled to the bone. For the chill the 
sovereign remedy was a good strong cup of hot coffee. As a 
stimulant old government Rio or Java was certainly very 
reliable on such occasions. The coifee was soon made — boil- 
ing hot and breakfast well on the way. Then came the ag- 
gravating command, "Fall in, Eighty-sixth." For the space 
of five minutes the air around that bivouac was blue, and bore 
a strong sulphurous smell, mingled with a faint aroma of good 
strong coffee. No one was chilly now. Hoosier blood was 
hot, and the coffee was still hotter — scalding hot, but none 
could afford to lose that precious beverage. So down it went, 
hissing hot, and there weren't less than five hundred scalded 
throats in the regiment that day. This time the regiment 
made an advance, moving about a half mile due south where 
it was halted. There breakfast was prepared and eaten. 

After breakfast the orders were to lay off camp. The 
tents arrived about 10 o'clock and were pitched in regulation 
order. This was the 27th. Later in the day it set in rain- 
ing, and as it was very dark and gloomy and the constant 
down pouring of water the boys thought themselves quite 
fortunate to have their tents. On this day Buell's veteran 
army arrived. Now for the first time the boys began to 
realize how troops on the march -and actively campaigning 
appeared. The lack of neatness was truly a great surprise. 
They were really an army of unwashed tatterdemalions, but 
it must not be inferred from this that collectively, at least, 
they were unknown to fame. Of all slouchy, slovenly look- 


ing:. inud-be^rim<xl, illy clad humau beings these veteran 
li-ooi)s of Buoll's old command wore unmatched. The Eighty- 
sixth was now about to be initiated into the third degree of 
the mysteries of a soldier's life. How difficult they had 
often found it to secure enough water to boil their little i)ot 
of colYoe, not to think of bathing hands and face or the per- 
son, could not be realized. This knowledge, however, was 
soon to come. The Eighty-sixth had not yet come to appre- 
ciate the full force and inlluonce of a long and trying march, 
wliere the one great object of the general commanding is to 
be on time, and which the private soldier, inspired by that 
essential csjiirt de rorp.s, is made to feel the one object of all 
his endeavors is to be in ranks, ever present, ready for the 
forward march or any duty to which he may be assigned. 
These veterans did not scarcely seem to notice, much less to 
care, for the condition of their clothing, their chief topic of 
conversation, their pride and boast, being the long and rapid 
march they had made — out-footing Bragg 's veterans and 
securing the prize of the march — the city of Louisville. One 
or two of these "unlicked cubs" remarked, "Your clothing 
will not look so bright or be so clean by the time you have 
made a long hard march after the enemy as we have just 
done," and they were quite right. 

It was observed that these veterans had plenty of rations 
— onions, potatoes, and vegetables — which the Eighty-sixth 
did not get. What did this mean? Were the raw troops to be 
starved in order to feed these dirty, greasy veterans of 
Buell's army? Was the Commissary Department discrimi- 
nating in their favor? It certainly looked like it. Well, they 
deserved all the favors they received. But many a member 
of the Eighty-sixth then and there resolved that from that 
day henceforth, if the Commissary Department did not 
furnish him with provisions, he would find a supply for 
himself, if possible, and he generally made a good effort 
to fulfill the I'osolution. It was only under the most unfav- 
orable and dillicult circumstances that any failed, but of 
course they often did fail, for the simple reason there was 
uotliing to forage. Few regiments in The Army of the 


Ohio, or as it was afterwards known The Army of the Cum- 
berland, were better independent foragers than the Eighty- 
sixth Indiana. On the night of the 27th the boys tried their 
hands, when a beef not issued by the Commissary came into 
camp. Where it came from few knew, but it found its way 
inside the guards and no arrests were made. On the morn- 
ing of the 28th reveille was sounded at 3 o'clock, and the 
regiment was called into line and stood to arms until day- 
light. Then came drill until dinner, and in the afternoon 
drill again. So passed the days at Louisville. 

There were many rumors floating through camp in re- 
gard to the movements of the enemy. Sometimes they had 
Bragg advancing in full force upon the city, then again they 
would have him in full retreat — precipitately retiring from 
Buell's overwhelming numbers. The rapidity with which a 
camp rumor will traverse a cordon of camps encircling a city 
is something marvelous, but no more so than the innumer- 
able forms in which it will manifest itself. Equally marvel- 
ous is the facility with which troops and armies are handled, 
and the philosophy of "the grand strategy of war" as ex- 
pounded by the rank and file. These rumors and grape- 
vines" are a source of much annoyance to new troops. But 
the old soldier takes things as they come, not allowing any- 
thing to disturb him or affect the equanimity of his nerves. 
Experience has taught him better, has schooled him for his 
own advantage. It is in the field of active service that real 
soldiers are made. 

At Louisville the clamor against General Buell became 
so formidable that he was removed from the command of 
this army, and General George H. Thomas appointed to suc- 
ceed him. But Thomas declined the promotion, generously 
refusing to displace his friend, and hesitating to assume the 
responsibility of commanding such an army, magnanimously 
requested the reinstatement of General Buell to the com- 
mand, which was accordingly done. The army was hastily 
reorganized and the new troops incorporated with the old. 
The army was organized into three army corps, the First, 
Second, and Third, commanded respectively by General A. 


McD. McCook. General Thomas L. Crittenden, and General 
C. C. CJilbert. (Jen. Henry M. Cist in the History of The 
Army of the Cumberland, (then the Army of the Ohio), de- 
nominates these divisions as army corps. In the official pro- 
j,M-amme of the twentieth annual re-union of The Army of 
the Cumberland they are so called. General Buell himself, 
in his official report of the campaign in pursuit of Bragg, 
speaks of them as army corps. Many historians, however, 
designate them simply as grand divisions. Their designa- 
tion as corps, however, w^as only on the authority of the com - 
maiKl«M- of the army, and not therefore correct, but merely 
used as a matter of convenience, as by an act of Congress, 
approved July 17, 1862, the President alone had the author- 
ity to establish and organize army corps. As General 
Fremont was given command of the First Army Corps in 
the Mountain Department August 12, 1862, it seems plain 
that these divisions of Buell's army were not authoritatively 
designated. The new troops that had been rushed into the 
field for the defense of Cincinnati, Covington, and Louis- 
ville, were now distributed among and incorporated with the 
veterans of Buell's army, a regiment or two in each brigade 
of old troops. Thus the danger of having a command en- 
tirely of raw troops w^as avoided. The Eighty-sixth was 
placed in the Second Corps, w^ith General T. L. Crittenden 
in command; the Fifth Division, with General H. P. Van- 
Cleve in command; and the Fourteenth Brigade, with Col- 
onel P. B. Hawk'ins, of the Eleventh Kentucky, in command. 
On the 29th of September the fatal quarrel between Gen- 
eral William Nelson and General Jeff C. Davis occurred at 
Nei.son's ilcadcpiarters at the Gait House in Louisville. 
Davis was unarmed, but quickly borrowed a pistol and shot 
Nelson through the lungs causing his death in a very short 
time. Nelson was regarded as an able and efficient division 
commander, but over-bearing and tyrannical to subordinates, 
and was very much disliked by the rank and file of the old 
army whore he was well known. General Davis was tried 
by a court martial which wholly exonerated him from all 
blame in the sad transaction. On the 30th of September, an 


advance was made by some detachments of the army, prob- 
ably as a reconnoisance, to learn the position and strength of 
the enemy's forces, and to prepare for the general advance 
soon to be made. 


A Real March— Its Trials and Its Lessons— Bardstown— The. Dusty Limestone 
Pikes of Kentucky — Itiver Water— Parched Corn — Raw Goose— Springfield — 
On to Perry ville— The Detour for Water— A Forced Night March. 

As before stated the grand divisions of the army serv- 
ing in the Department of the Ohio under General Buell were 
never authoritatively designated army corps and given num- 
bers by the President, who alone had the authority to form 
and number corps, but as they were so called in that army 
and in many histories of Buell 's campaign after Bragg, to 
avoid confusion, and as a matter of convenience in designat- 
ing these commands they shall be here spoken of as corps. 
Practically the organizations were the same as army corps, 
and therefore there is no great violence done the military 
history of that army in so calling them. 

At 3 o'clock on the morning of October 1, 1862, the 
drums beat reveille for the Eighty-sixth. The regiment was 
promptly formed on the color line of the camp and there 
stood to arms until daylight. The regiment drilled during 
the forenoon as usual, and did not have the slightest sus- 
picion of having to march that afternoon; in fact, the rank 
and file did not expect to advance with the army at this 
time until the order was received. They did not consider 
themselves sufficiently drilled to go to the front and face the 
enemy. They were not consulted in regard to the matter, 
and in a very short time the regunent was strung out upon 


tlM> Burclstowii pike, and .t,^oing at a good roimd pace with 
knapsacks about as large as "the hump" on an ordinary 
canu'l's back. Thoy were not, however, so well adjusted as 
a camel's hump. Tlioir enormous size and poor adjustment 
made trouble for nuiny a poor fellow. But notwithstanding 
tlie men were raw, awkward, and heavily burdened the hot 
pace was kei)t up. The old soldiers guyed the tenderfoots 
unmercifully and this aroused their ire. They struggled 
manfully to nuiintain the high rate of speed, but it was at a 
fearful cost. Many could not keep the pace and fell behind. 
Every few minutes some one of the thousand men would be- 
come painfully conscious of the faulty adjustment of his 
enormous load and would drop out of ranks, halt by the 
rojulside, unsling his knapsack and begin to rearrange his 
"l)ack. " That the pace was too rapid and the harness was 
too galling was soon quite apparent from the muttered 
curses and the rapid thinning of the regiment by the men fall- 
ing out. Some fell out, unslnng knapsacks and threw out 
such articles as they thought they could best dispense with, 
repacked, and tramped on after the rapidly disappearing col- 
umn, hoping to be able to maintain their place in ranks after 
this sacritice. Others still more determined not to fall be- 
hind the regiment on the first half day's march, even if it 
r('<|uired a greater sacrifice at their hands, unslung their huge 
knapsacks and Hung them with curses, but without other cer- 
emony, to the side of the road, and trudged hurriedly on 
aftoi- tho rogiment. Many old soldiers badgered theboys over 
the loads they were carrying. It was a hard march even for 
the veterans who had raced with Bragg and his legions. 
For the members of the Eighty-sixth and of all new reg- 
iments it was a killing march. Nor was the question 
of baggage the only one which gave the boys trouble. 
Tlioy knew nothing of the manner in which they should 
tako care of their rations while marching, and their great 
and prolonged exertion gave them ravenous appetites, 
and when out a day or two they ate most voraciously, 
and gn>at ly to their own detriment. But another effect soon 
manifested itself— th(>y soon found themselves destitute of 


anything to eat, consequently they were in a short time 
suffering from the other extreme. 

Wlien they halted to bivouac the first evening out from 
Louisville they were terribly tired one and all. Naturally 
enough most of the men sat down to rest before gathering 
their supplies of fuel and water. They were not long in 
discovering that this waiting was a great mistake for more 
reasons than one. Wood for fuel soon became a scarce article 
in their immediate neighborhood on account of the great con- 
sumption of fence rails by the old soldiers. Here was a forc- 
ible illustration of the principle of supply and demand. In 
this vicinity there was a moderate supply of rails, but there 
was an exorbitant demand for immediate use. The hardy 
veterans pushed their demands vigorously. They had plenty, 
the raw recruits had none. Water would be the same if the 
supply was not abundant. A scaracity of the latter article 
often causes intense suffering and it was to be greatly dreaded. 
Then, too, if they waited to rest after a long, hard march be- 
fore laying in the necessary supplies, they found themselves 
so stiff and sore and drawn, that it seemed impossible to pro- 
ceed in search for the needed articles. Every joint, tendon, 
and muscle was inflexible, and the slightest movement sent 
the cold chills alternately up and down their spines and 
caused such excruciating pains it was almost impossible to 
restrain outcries. Most of the men felt like it would be im- 
possible for them to march on the following day. All speed- 
ily learned this lesson: To lay in all needed supplies with the 
utmost alacrity immediately upon arrival in camp. Many 
would get over anxious to be ahead, and thus frequently got 
themselves laughed at arid guyed. On occasions of halts 
made toward evening these over-zealous fellows would drop 
on to a fence corner, pile the rails and guard them while the 
column went tramping on to pastures new to the great dis- 
gust of the rail-guarding comrade. Thus were the wits of 
the raw recruit sharpened daily. Time, circumstances, and 
the old soldiers proved to be good teachers and they taught 
many lessons in rapid succession, and what made the lessons 


moro offective was the dear price paid for most of the in- 

So the days passed. On the night of the 4th of October, 
Crittenden's corps arrived in the vicinity of Bardstown, Van- 
Clovo'sdivision bivouackingin sight of the town. Early on the 
morning of the 5th it was again on the road, passing through 
Bardstown, and pressing on after Bragg's army. The day's 
duties were a mere repetition of those of the preceding day — 
tramp, tramp, tramp, over hills and across hollows, and on 
what seemed an endless stretch of road, a smooth white lime- 
stone pike, from which arose a suffocating dust. - The regi- 
ment and brigade went into bivouac after midnight that 
night on the banks of a branch of Salt River. Here was an 
abundance of water, and the boys were exceedingly glad to 
get the much despised "river water," but they were scarce 
of rations. Some messes in the regiment had nothing but 
parched corn and coffee for breakfast on the morning of the 
6th. Tlie men of the Eighty-sixth had not yet become 
thoroughly broken to the harness nor fully alive to the 
necessity of husbanding their allowance of rations, and they 
now began to realize the exertion and toil, the hunger 
and thirst and actual hardships of inarching. Some in the 
ranks were grumbling at our lack of rations, but it is pre- 
sumed it was more their fault than that of the Commissary 

On the evening of the 6th the brigade bivouacked near 
Springfield. The men of the Eighty-sixth were hungry, 
tired, leg weary and foot-sore, shoulder tired and tender with 
knapsack, gun, and cartridge-box, and not in the best of 
sjiirits or liumor. Just across the road from the bivouac was 
a splendid looking patch of Irish potatoes, a most tempting 
bait for hungry men. The clash and clatter of bayonets 
caused in stacking arms had hardly ceased before the men 
were seen climbing the fence into that patch; for although 
not in very good spirits or in the humor for cheerful and en- 
livening conversation, most of them had sufficient life and 
energy to dig potatoes. They went to digging as though 
their lives depended upon getting the task done before the 


next regiment came along. They were making fine headway 
when Captain Francis B. Mattler, of Company B, took it upon 
himself to cross over to the jDatch and order the diggers out. 
His august presence was not appreciated at this particular 
time and his ofiiciousness came near involving him in a ser- 
ious difticulty. A very tired and hungry man is not usually 
the best natured under the most favorable circumstances. 
There was in this case special reasons for irritation. Many 
of the men had already learned to detest the Captain for his 
extreme ofticiousness and petty, tyrannical conduct on nu- 
merous occasions, and they were therefore ready to settle this 
matter, and with it the old accounts, and pay spot cash for 
all they owed him on the margins of previous deals. So 
when he climbed the fence and ordei'ed them to stop digging 
the potatoes and get out it did not take them long to be 
ready for business, and some of them ' ' proposed to move 
immediately upon his works" if he did not get out himself in 
a greater hurry than he had entered. It seemed j)robable 
that the doughty Captain would have to take ignominously to 
flight to save himself. But further trouble was averted by 
the Colonel ordering -a Captain of another company to quell 
the disturbance, which was done on the part of the detailed 
Captain in a quiet and judicious manner without difficulty, 
although some of the boys, to use camp slang, "cussed a 
streak. ' ' But they were too hungry and determined to yield 
the potatoes they had already secured and so brought them 
safely to camp. The Eighty-sixth was a hungry body of 
men that evening and everybody was on the lookout for 
something to eat. One man tired, sick, and very hungry had 
the good fortune to come into possession of a piece of raw 
goose about half picked, but it was not raw very long. It 
was soon both thoroughly "picked" and well done. Placing 
it on the end of his ram -rod he held it over a 'camp fire and 
thus broiled it slightly and proceeded to devour it. It was a 
tough i^iece of goose and he did not attempt to cut it, but 
tore it with his teeth as a dog tears the meat from a bone. 
The blood was dripping from it and ran down from the cor- 
ners of his mouth and dropped off his chin. In the extremes 


of huii.ixfr man becomes a mere animal. This description of 
hunger may seem to the uninitiated and delicate stomach a 
rather "tough case," yet this piece of more than half raw 
goose was to him a most delicious morsel. No delicacy now 
done in the best style of the most skillful rA(/ could compare 
witli it in savoriness. Doubtless, however, it was not so 
much the quality of the goose as the man's vigorous appe- 
tite tliat gave it its seeming richness of flavor. A slight 
break-fast consisting of coifee, parched corn and in some cases 
a little government bacon, no dinner, and a day's hard march- 
ing is a combination not conducive to amusement, good 
humor, or pleasant memories of the newly enlisted soldier, 
but it is a most wonderful appetizer for all those who have 
sutticient stamina to take the full course. This was the sit- 
uation of the Eighty-sixth on the evening of October 6 at 
Spriugtield, Kentucky. 

Rations were issued to the regiment at this bivouac and 
they came most opportunely. The members of the Eighty- 
sixth were now making rapid progress in the lessons which 
exj)erience alone could teach regarding the life of a soldier, 
and consequently were, in racing parlance, rapidly rounding 
into form. The camping grounds at Sxmngtield were in a 
meadow, and the men thus secured a good rest for their 
weary limbs and sore feet, many of the latter being blistered 
tioni lieel to toe, and greatly needed the time on the soft, 
spi-ingy turf instead of the hard limestone pike to render 
tliein again tit for duty. The most of the regiment were 
greatly refreshed and strengthened by the next day when it 
resumed its line of march, which was about 11 o'clock. It 
was well that the men had had a good rest, and they felt 
somewhat recuperated in feet, limbs, and strength of body, 
for this (lay's march, the 7th, proved to be one of the hard- 
est of all in pursuit of Bragg. 

Buell's command was now advancing u])<)a Bragg at 
Perryville on three different roads. McCook on the left was 
approaching tlie place on the old Maxville road. Gilbert in 
the center, traveling on the direct road from Springfield to 
Pen-yville. had the shortest route and of course arrived in 



the immediate vicinity of the enemy first. Crittenden's corps 
moved on the right iiank and somewhat apart from the cen- 
ter. This corps was accompanied by General George H. 
Thomas, Buell's second in command, and in fact, the corps 
was practically commanded by Thomas while absent from 
the presence of the commanding general. The colnmn 
marched briskly forward, the men feeling much refreshed. 
But a hardship confronted them of a graver nature than any 
they had yet met — the extreme scarcity of water. The col- 
umn proceeded at a good telling pace, wdiile stragglers 
ranged the country along the roadside hunting for water. 
When the place designated as a camp for Crittenden's com- 
mand was reached there w^as still no water to be found. Here 
was a dilemma. The men w^ere already tired and suffering 
with great thirst. The army was concentrating in the face 
of the enemy. One corps, a very important grand division 
of the forces at hand, being ordered to march on a certain 
route and bivouac at a designated x)lace in order that it 
might be able to reach the enemy's front at a specified time, 
was unable to obey orders for the reason of a lack of water. 
Military law is said to be absolute. The concentration of an 
army in the face of an enemy is a military duty which re- 
quires the greatest skill and caution. It also requires care- 
ful and exact obedience of the commanding general by his 
subordinates. It is a military maxim that in the presence of 
an enemy all troops should be kept well in hand, while on the 
march and in easy supporting distance at all times, thus en- 
abling each part of the army to sujiport and sustain the 
other as the exigencies of the occasion may demand. The 
commanding general should know the route of each column, 
its hour of marching, its rate of speed, its bivouac, when 
reached, condition of troops, and should as near as possible 
see the end from the beginning. But here the subordinate 
commander was met by a condition more imperative than 
military law itself. It was a demand on the physical nature 
of the men which could not be denied. Water they must 
have. To obey the order to the letter would be to defeat its 
object. By seeming disobedience alone could the spirit of 


the oiclor be carried out. There was but one right thing to, 
do — a wide detour for water must bo made which would ne- 
cessitate a forced night march under the most trying circum- 
stances, and detach the command from the rest of the army 
varying wide from its intended line of march. The men had 
already marched hard. The sun blazed down with fervent 
heat, and the white hot pike shone back in their faces and 
almost blistered them. It felt like a furnace under their 
feet. The tread of many thousand feet raised from the 
heated and powdered limestone of the pike a fine dust that 
settled upon all exposed surfaces of the person and pene- 
trated the clothing, the nose, ears and mouth and seemed to 
absorb every particle of moisture of the body. The heat 
and the great exertion made the men extremely thirsty, but 
this heated limestone dust trebled and quadrupled the suf- 
fering in this particular. However there was but one solu- 
tion of the problem. General Thomas was equal to the oc- 
casion and ordered the column forward. Night came but 
the men toiled on and on, sleepy, tired, footsore and hungry. 
Far into the night the steady regular tread of the column was 
heard on the pike winding over the hills. Silently for a long 
time they proceeded, bearing up bravely with unabated 
vigor. Then came mutterings and questioning of the need 
of such marching, then lagging, irregular, tottering foot- 
falls. All were tired and some were sleeping. No water had 
been seen since leaving Springfield. Men ranged the hills 
and hollows along the roadside in search of it. They ques- 
tioned the natives where a drink could be procured, only to 
receive an equivocal answer. But the questioning and quest 
were alik'e, vain. Water was not to be had. The men were 
well-nigh famished, in fact they became almost frantic. They 
could scarcely articulate. The topic of conversation was 
without exception of the one thing on all minds water, water, 
water. When and where can water be procured? There was 
but one sufficient reason now to carry the column forward. 
Tho men liad become convinced that the object of their de- 
sires could only be reached by going forward— that some- 
where aliead was water, and that this was the reason for 


this terrible and determined onward push. The march was 
continued until between 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning of 
October 8, when the head of the column reached the bed 
of what had been a running stream of water, but which now 
only held here and there pools of the precious stuff. This 
was known as Rolling Pork of Salt River. A mad rush was 
at once made for the pools and men drank their fill. After 
filling their own canteens they emptied them at one draught, 
refilled them and partially emptied a second time. The army 
canteen held three pints. This is given as a simple illustra- 
tion of the great thirst suffered by the men of Crittenden's 
corps on their forced march on the night of the 7th of Octo- 
ber, 1862. 

The brigade bivouacked on the bluff of the river. It was 
exceedingly rocky and rough, and on this rugged hill they 
made their beds. Not half the regiment came to the bivouac 
with the marching column. Some came in soon after the 
regiment halted, and they kept coming singly, and in squads, 
until after sunrise, when the regiment was again pretty well 
reformed. This night's march and the following day was 
perhaps the Eighty-sixth's greatest trials for the want of 
water during its entire term of service. Gilbert's corps also 
suffered for the same cause, but succeeded in securing pos- 
session of some filthy pools in the bed of a stream near Perry- 
ville on the evening of the 7th, and held them, although the 
enemy made an attempt to drive them off. But bad water 
was greatly to be preferred to no water. The hard march 
and the deprivation of water or its excessive ingestion 
caused a large number of the regiment to be reported on the 
sick list on the morning before the march was resumed. 


Till- H;iltle— Tlio Field :iii(l tlu" Dead- "The Gilded Puddle Which Beasts Would 
Coufih At"— The Onward March— Bivouac io Fodder Houses— On the Skir- 
mish Line All Day— A Keconnoisance- Danville— Stanford — Thundering at 
the Uehel Rear- Crab Orchard— Mt. Vernon— A Broken Country— " Hungry 

The morning of the 8tli o})ened up delightfully pleasant 
so far as the weather was concerned. It was as bright as an 
October morning could be. Yet it was not a cheei'ful pros- 
]>ect. Tht; rocky hill glistened in the golden sunlight, bare 
and ban-en, without a spot of green to enliven and brighten 
its gray slopes and crest. The extreme drought had dried 
up the grasses and all that was to be seen was the gray 
glistening rocks. The men lounged about the place of their 
bivouac for sometime before the bugles and drums began to 
sound the warning notes that they must proceed at once on 
their way. The regiment filed out of camp, crossed the 
river-bed and went forward at a rapid pace.' Everything in- 
dicated an emergency at hand and the greatest haste. Cer- 
tainly ti'oiil)le was expected aliead. Dusty and hot the men 
soon became greatly heated and very thirsty. Scrambling 
and ((iiari-els occurred at every place_ where there was the 
least indication of finding water. Even "the gilded puddle " J 
was fought for with the same vehemence as would have been 
for the tinest spring. Wherever there was a little mud pud- 
dle there was a jostling, contentious throng seeking to till 
canteens and to slalce their thirst. Tlie suffering for water , 
was as great as the previous night. After covering : 
some eight miles the command was halted and ordered to 


pile knapsacks. With the knapsacks of each company a 
guard was left and the regiment hurried forward to take a 
position upon the field. The command pressed on until near 
where the line was forming. Then it was halted and 
formed, and ordered to " forward into line." Soon Hawkins' 
brigade, VanCleve's division, had completed its part of the 
general allignment with Gilbert's and McCook's corps, the 
corps taking position as it had advanced, that is McCook 
upon the left, Gilbert in the center, and -Crittenden on the 
right. Having completed the allignment the command 
awaited the attack of the enemy. But it waited in vain. 
This was just what General Bragg desired. The delay 
caused by closing up the column of General Buell's army 
and form it in battle array and then waiting to be attacked 
served his jDurpose and gave him another twenty-four hours, 
the time needed, to withdraw his wagon train and clear the 
roads and yet have sufftcient time to draw otf his troops from 
Buell's front without being forced to fight a general battle 
which might have proved disastrous. His attempt to sur- 
prise and crush McCook was a partial success as to the sur- 
prise, but wholly a failure as to the annihilation. Bragg 
had no intention or desire to meet the whole army which was 
now in his immediate' front, ready and anxious for battle. 
The long lines of blue coats could be seen far to the left and 
some distance to the right. The lines extended from the 
Lebanon pike on the right to and across the Maxville pike 
on the left. This line was distant on the right from Perry- 
ville some two or three miles, the left and center being 
nearer the town. The center, Gilbert's corps, was lying 
across the Springfield pike, while McCook's extended from 
Gilbert's left some distance across the old Maxville road, ap- 
proaching but not reaching the Chaplin River. This was 
the day on which the battle of Perry ville or Chaplin Hills 
was fought by the left and center of Buell's army, the brunt 
of the battle falling upon the division of Rousseau of 
McCook's corps. 

McCook held his position well, considering the great 
numbers against him. The battle was hotly contested until 


iiii:lit. Tli(> Ei.nlily-sixtli was in line ready for battle about 
1 oCloclc i». 111., and confidently expected to be ordered for- 
ward. Jiut it simply waited in line for the enemy to make 
th*' atlaclc. The iv.i^-imont lay thus in line all day except 
wliile engaged in tlirowing down a fence in its immediate 
front. Batt('i-i»'s came galloping up to the line and wheeled 
into position. Hithei- and you staff officers might be seen 
galloping in hot haste with orders for the different parts of 
the line. "The rumble and roar" of battle on the left could 
be distinctly heard. As the various batteries rushed into 
liiic here and there a man would be injured. What mattered 
ity This was war. What w^as the cracked head or broken 
thigh of one man in comparison to the lives of hundreds per- 
haps that might be saved by the battery being in position on 
time. The business in war is to injure, disable, maim, crip- 
ple, kill. The regiment was now getting a glimpse of the 
dreadful, crushing power of war and how^ it ground individ- 
luils to nothing under its iron wheels. That some such 
thoughts were entering the minds of the men could be plainly 
seen by looking down the line. The firm set jaw, the de- 
termined look of the eye and face of the courageous, and the 
wild, startled look on the face of the more timid, revealed 
their thoughts and full appreciation of the situation as they 
lay there listening to the thunders of the battle and watch- 
ing for a long line of "gray backs" to come charging upon 
them. But the regiment only waited, that w^as all. Had 
Crittenden's and Gilbert's corps been hurled forw^ard upon 
Bragg's forces with the impetuosity that the enemy had at- 
tacked McCook, much might have been accomplished, if not 
])ra('tically destroying Bragg's army as Thomas afterward 
(h'stroycd Hood's at Nashville. Such a movement might, at 
least, have saved our army's losses at Stone's River, for a 
cru.shing defeat here would have so w^eakened Bragg that he 
could not and would not have dared to make a stand at Mur- 

Being the rawest K'ind of campaigners and hearing the 
Ixjoin of tile guns till nightfall on the left the men remained 
in line and laid upon their arms at night. The Eighty-sixth 


having left their knapsacks, they had no blankets and slept 
upon the field with mother earth for their couch, wrapped in 
darkness and slieltered -by the heavens. The night grew 
cool and they were pretty thoroughly chilled by morning's 
dawn. After a hasty breakfast of coffee, fat pork and "hard 
tack' ' they felt warmed and much better. About 6 o 'clock a. 
m. they moved out in line oX battle, marching in this way 
through brush, briars, weed patches, over fences, through 
door-yards, gardens and almost everything else. Holding 
the even tenor of their way they swept on trampling under 
foot everything that came in their path, but no armed foe 
appeared. The regiment covered what seemed about four 
miles, but it was probably two, and came to a fine pasture 
where the command was halted. Here dinner was had and 
the men secured a much needed rest. Their hardships in 
the last few days and nights had been very severe, still they 
were true blue and were ready for any duty. Shortly after 
dinner the command was again set in motion, and marched in 
column through the now historic town of Perryville, Ken- 

A short distance from town the regiment bivouacked in 
a nice pasture near a spring of fine water, the spring being 
in a cave. All enjoyed this good pure water. The men 
soon supplied themselves with rails and straw to add to the 
comfort of their bivouac. Here the members of the regi- 
ment visited almost in a body the battle-field and looked for 
the first time on the shattered and mangled remains of the 
dead. Some few in the regiment had seen service in the 
Mexican war, and a few had seen service in other regiments 
during the present war. To all others the dreadful, shocking 
sights of the battle-field were a new, and to most, a sad ex- 

Bragg had now made good his escape from the immed- 
iate vicinity of Perryville. For allowing him to thus es- 
cape Buell was severely condemned. All the old charges of 
incompetency, traitor, and communicating with the enemy, 
were revived and sounded over the land. Pew knew the 
difficulties under which Buell labored. Historians of to-day 


will (leal more justly with his name and service. The winter 
of ISi).'), thirty -three years later, Congress recognizing his 
ability and patriotism placed him on the retired list of the 
army. The St. Louis Globe- Democrat says of this: "The 
House has done the right thing in placing Don Carlos Buell 
on the retired list of the army as Brigadier-General. Gen- 
eral Buell commanded one of the great armies with decided 
ability for nearly a year, and was relieved through a singular 
bit of luck. A part of his army fought a battle without his 
knowledge and against his instructions. The commander 
was undone by the fault of his subordinates, and the extra- 
ordinary fact that no one rode a few miles to let him know 
that a heavy battle was in progress at Perry ville. ' ' Com- 
menting on the above the Chicago Inter- Ocean says: "The 
battle of Perryville was made the pretext of carrying out a 
decision arrived at weeks before. But after all has been 
said that can be said, all parties to the controversy concede 
that Buell was a good soldier; that he handled the Army of 
the Ohio, afterwards the Army of the Cumberland, admir- 
ably, and that under his command it became one of the best 
disciplined and most efficient military organizations in the 
field. The action of the House is to be commended. " Such, 
however, was not the opinion in Buell's ow^n army at the 
time of, and immediately following, the battle of Perryville. 
Notwithstanding Bragg had escaped here, it seemed to 
be the general opinion of general officers that he w^ould make 
a stand farther on, perhaps in the neighborhood of Danville or 
Harrodsburg. It seemed they could not divest their minds 
of the idea that Bragg was in Kentucky to fight rather than 
to gather up supplies and encourage the Kentuckians to en- 
list in the Southern army. Therefore the following morning 
the whole army i)ressed forward on all available roads, Crit- 
tenden's corps marching out on the road to Danville. It was 
a rough, stony road, and there was scarcely a man in the 
regiment whose feet were not more or less worn out, sore, 
or tJMuler. The command covered some eight or ten miles 
before halting for the night. The bivouac was located in a 
beautiful woods pasture, well cleared of all underbrush, and 


finely set with blue-grass. Although tired and sore, the boys 
went to work immediately to provide necessaries for their 
comfort during the night. The fodder in an adjoining corn 
field could be seen moving in almost every direction — a fair 
share of it finding its way to the Eighty-sixth. Soon the 
entire regiment had provided itself with snug fodder houses 
for protection against rain and storm. A plentiful supply of 
rails was had and all seemed peaceful and quiet, and the 
men really did enjoy a very comfortable night. Next morn- 
ing when breakfast was just ready an alarm was given. 
The pickets had been fired upon and the command was, "Pall 
in. Eighty-sixth." The regiment was instantly formed and 
went forward at once. The prospect for that meal was for- 
ever destroyed. After a few minutes' waiting two companies 
were detailed and sent out as skirmishers. One company was 
deployed upon the line, and advancing some distance was 
ordered to lie dow^n, and there through the entire day these 
skirmishers lay waiting, watching, expecting the enemy to 
attacli:; this too without breakfast, or a mouthful to eat, or 
any relief wdiatever from their position. This would have 
been considered pretty tough service even by veterans, but 
then they would have known how^ to take advantage of the 
situation and helped themselves by sending details back to 
the bivouac for food and drink. A short time after dark the 
regiment and the companies on the line, were relieved and 
returned to the bivouac. Supper and breakfast were eaten, 
both at the same time. The boys were decidedly small in 
the circle of their belts after an eighteen hour fast, and they 
did ample justice to their meager commissary stores. Look- 
ing over the history of that Kentucky campaign after Bragg 
one cannot keep from laughing at the awkwardness and 
feeble manner in w^hich the men took care of themselves, yet 
candor compels it to be said that it was an outrage and a 
shame that they were not better treated and cared for by 
those in command. 

The following morning the drum beat reveille at peep of 
day, and the men arose promptly, not intending to miss an- 
other breakfast if they could possibly avoid it by their own 


t'xortions and al:icrit.y. The meal was speedily prepared and 
as (luirkly dispatched. Shortly after the morning meal 
Hawkins' brigade was ordered out on a reconnoissance to 
(l»'t«M-niine the location of the enemy. After having pro- 
<'»'«'d('(l some three or four miles there were strong indica- 
tions of a considerable force. The brigade was at once 
lialted and formed in line of battle and there waited expect- 
ing an attack. But the enemy failed to put in an appear- 
ance. The regiment bivouacked for the night on the same 
ground. Again the regiment built fodder houses and sup- 
plied itself with rails. The men were in a great bustle get- 
ting supper and in high glee over the prospect for a good 
time that night, when orders came to move at once and re- 
join tlie command. The good humor was soon dispelled and 
something different prevailed. The men thought orders 
were given at the most unreasonable hours. One time they 
would be cheated out of their breakfast, at another of their 
supper. But the exposed position without adequate sup- 
port, and the separation from the division, were good military 
i-easons for tlie brigade's recall. The brigade marched at 
once carrying pumpkins, chickens, and various other sup- 

These daily experiences were making soldiers of some 
very fast, and invalids of others just as rapidly, and actually 
killing many others. The sick list of the regiment was being 
greatly and very rapidly augmented. The regimental sur- 
geons found themselves with more patients than they could 
proiwrly attend to, and the poor fellows suffered much, both 
li-oMi the inability of the surgeons to get round and for the 
want of medical supplies. 

Tlie army was now in the world famous blue-grass re- 
gion of Kentucky where there Avas plenty, and it is hardly 
necessary to say that the boys did not depend solely upon 
the regimental commissary for subsistence, but drew from 
the abundance; of the country in a very liberal manner, sup- 
plying themselves with beef, veal, pork, chickens, turkeys, 
lK)tat()«'.s and all things necessary to refresh and strengthen. 
No one mess had all of these eatables, but the different 


messes of the regiment were provided with some of these 
various articles. When in camp, or whenever a halt was 
called when on the march, some of the best foragers would 
be skirting the column's line of march picking up supplies. 

On the morning of the 13th the march was resumed and 
having covered about six miles, the command arrived at 
Danville. Bivouacking at the edge of town in a fine woods 
pasture belonging to the farm of General Boyle very strict 
orders were received against foraging, even the taking of 
fence-rails. Cord-wood was issued to the Eighty-sixth for 
fuel. The regiment arrived here early in the day and were 
quite comfortably situated and were made exceedingly glad 
by the reception of a large mail from friends in the North. 
Singing and shouting took the place of grumbling and mut- 
terings of discontent. The early halt and bivouac gave all 
who were well a good rest, and an opportunity for the men 
to do many little things for themselves which they could not 
find time to do when marching from early morning until late 
at night, or spending the same long hours on the skirmish 
line. Clothing was repaired, and the straps of the cart- 
ridge-box, knapsacks and haversacks were adjusted. These 
are small things, but they are straws on the camel's 
back and they are essential to the soldier's comfort when 
on the march. ^ 

The regiment was now considerably reduced in numbers. 
Some were behind, foot-sore and worn out, many w^ere sick, 
and a few had deserted. This march had tried the mettle of 
the men as well as their physical stamina. Some still with 
the regiment were injured in health and broken in spirits and 
constitutions, but had managed by great perseverance and 
will i)ower to maintain their places in ranks. It was only the 
strong, muscular ones of iron constitutions and indomitable 
pluck, genuine Saxon grit, tliat had been able to maintain 
their places in ranks at all times and endure the great hard- 
ships up to this point in the march without injury to them- 
selves. From the day they left Louisville there had been a 
terrible strain on the men of the regiment, and it is really 
wonderful that so many came through it all. Raw as the 


men \v«M-o, they kept pace with the veterans of Buell's army, 
inured to all kinds of service and exposure, and as a regi- 
iiHMil W was ever ready for the line of battle, for the skir- 
mish line, or whatever duty it was called upon to jierform, 
allliouirh the men scarcely knew more of drill than to 
'•shoulder arms "or " right face." 

The command, or VanCleve's division at least, had 
almost twenty-four hours rest at Danville and were much 
beuetitted by it. On the morning of the 14th after breakfast- 
ing on some of the best that the blue-grass region afforded, 
the division left Danville continuing the pursuit of Bragg 's 
army. General Wood's division having preceded it during 
the night on the Stanford road. The day was quite warm, 
but the division pushed on to Stanford. Before arriving 
there, however, the boom of cannon could be heard. Gener- 
al Wood's division had run up against the rear of the enemy 
and was pounding away at him in a vigorous manner. To 
judge by the thunderous roar of the artillery there was a 
battle on hand. A strong rear guard had been posted to de- 
lay the advance of Buell's column. They showed a strong 
disposition to maintain the ground and to fight if too closely 
encroached upon, but General Wood finally succeeded in 
])utting them to flight and continued the pursuit. They had 
served their purpose. They delayed the column and gave 
General Bragg more time to get his supplies out of the way. 
As Wood continued right on after the enemy, VanCleve's 
division had nothing to do but to follow to within a few 
miles of Crab Orchard. But it was not to be anight of rest. 
The men of the Eighty-sixth weary, sore, and asleep as 
though dead, were aroused, and ordered to push on. It was 
about 1 1 o'clock at night when the column tramped on in the 
darkness after the fleet-footed foe. Bragg was well away 
now and cared little for his pursuers. The topography of 
llie country had greatly changed. The fine rolMng land 
lik<> that arouiul Danville had disappeared, and instead, it was 
a broU'cn, semi-barren region that furnished but little prov- 
ender for the free-handed .foragers. There were hills and 
hollows, and ravines and gullies, and these constituted the 


country. Forage for the horses and mules was scarce. 
There were fewer chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, hogs 
and sheep, consequently the men had to depend for 
subsistence almost entirely upon the rations issued from 
the commissary department. The pikes had disappeared. 
In one sense this was an advantage, but in other respects 
it was much harder than marching on the pikes. Now 
there were dirt roads, the best of all roads for marching 
when good, and clear of obstructions, and when soft enough 
to be spongy and springy under the feet. But these roads 
were gravelly and rocky. The marching was uphill and 
down hill, up ravines and down hollows, through gorges and 
winding round hillsides. This manner of marching to al- 
ready worn out men was very exhausting. It was only the 
invincible Hoosier pluck that carried nine out of ten 
through. The bad quality of the water here caused many to 
suffer severely with camp diarrhoea and the regimental sur- 
geons were kept busy. 

The wagon trains were left at Stanford, only the ambu- 
lances accompanying the troops. But the column x^ushed 
forward on through Crab Orchard and Mt. Vernon, 
pressed close on the heels of Bragg 's retiring forces, 
thundering at the rear-guard almost continuously. Rations 
were exhausted by the raw troops, but what mattered it so 
the rebels were driven out? A few miles beyond Mt. Ver- 
non a deep ravine or gorge through which the road passed 
was filled with trees felled from the hillsides into the road, 
thus effectually blockading it. The regiment had bivouacked 
the previous night between this point and Mt. Vernon, and 
when it was found that this gorge was blockaded it was 
ordered to return to the bivouac of the i)i"evious night, al- 
though a very undesirable place for a camp. The road passed 
through a deep ravine with steep hills rising on each side. 
There was scarcely a place on all the hillsides where a good 
bed could be made, yet the whole regiment was compelled to 
' ' bunk" here. The scarcity of rations here both nights caused 
the boys to give the place the name of ' ' Hungry Hollow, ' ' 
and it was worthy of the name, as many an old soldier will 


roiiKMiibor it well until his dying day. Rations almost wholly 
<;()n(\ nothing' to forage in this wild, hilly country, bad water 
ami a steep hillside so steep that the men had to sleep astrad- 
d\o of a sapling, doubled round a stump or rock, or lie on 
tho uphill side of a log to keep from rolling or sliding down. 
All those did not have a tendency to endear the place to any, 
although it will ever have a place in memory. No doubt, 
the younger generations may laugh at those things as mat- 
ters of the veterans' perverted imagination, but a few weeks' 
canii)aigning in the mountainous regions of Kentucky will 
satisfy the most skeptical, and they will quickly avow "the 
half has not been told." 


four Grnpos— BucU Doiiduncocl— Turned Back— BueU Removed— Roseorans As- 
sipiu'd to tli(> ('oinniand— S(3nierset— A Det'i) Snowfall— Apple Jack — Columbia 
-Ovcri-oats and Dress Coats Drawn— Stolen Clieese— Glasgow. 

The fuUowing morning the road having been cleared of 
all obstructions, Crittenden's corps pushed on after the rebel 
forces to what was known as the "Wild Cat Hills" in the 
vicinity of Rockcastle river. This was an extremely wild 
and broken country, each section getting rougher than the 
l)i-oceding as the mountains were approached. The hills pre- 
s('ntetl numy strange sights to the Hoosier eyes, accustomed 
to look only upon the flat country of the Wabash Valley. 
Th<> hills rose almost to mountain height. There were wild 
dells and picturesque cliffs, ravines, gorges, abrupt and pre- 
cipitous descents, among all of which the road wound it 
•serpentine way. Here were many immense boulders and 
smaller brolcen and fragmentary rocks in piles as if the 
hiiuniKT of ( i()(l liad smitten mountains of stone and shivered 
and crushed them into loose lying fragments. Porageable 


things, of course, were not to be found in this thinly settled 
section, consequently the stock of provender daily grew more 
and more attenuated. 

Here on these Wild Cat Hills occurred an incident to 
which new regiments are subject, and which sometimes rob 
them of many a good soldier. Elijah Wellman, of Company 
H, carelessly handling his gun shot a toe oif . This gave the 
Surgeon a chance to show his skill in another manner than 
in issuing quinine and Dovers powders. After the amputa- 
tion was completed and the patient came out from the influ- 
ence of the chloroform he became very sick and vomited a 
great deal. This unfortunate accident ended Wellman's ser- 
vice with the regiment. 

There was at this time much discontent and grumbling 
among the troops which was most generally directed at Gen- 
eral Buell. In fact, the feeling here against him grew 
stronger than ever, the fault finders holding him responsible 
for the escape of the rebel army, for the lack of rations, and 
for the hard and laborious march without af)parent success 
in forcing the enemy to give battle after leaving Perryville. 
The rank and file of the army from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois 
and Iowa were particularly bitter and outsjjoken. 

After lounging a day or two among the rocks of the 
Wild Cat Hills while the cavalry pursued the retreating en- 
emy as far as Barboursville and Manchester, the column 
about faced and returned to the neighborhood of Mt. Ver- 
non, From here the sick, and those greatly enfeebled, and 
the wounded, were sent back to hospitals in the rear, while 
the army went toiling across the country toward Nashville. It 
was not a cheerful thought to have in one's mind of another 
long march over a rough broken country, but the army must 
reach the vicinity of Nashville before the enemy's forces 
get in striking distance, and therefore there must be no extra 

On the morning of the 24th of October, by General 
Order No. 168, War Department, General Buell was re- 
moved and Major General W. S. Rosecrans assigned to the 
command. By the same order, the Department of the Cum- 


berliind was re-created. It also designated the troops as the 
Fourteenth Army Corps, which soon afterwards, by general 
and ix>pular consent gave place to the more appropriate 
name of Army of the Cumberland, as originally borne under 
Generals Anderson and Sherman. 

On the 24th, taking the road to Somerset, the regiment 
marched somewhat more leisurely. It covered some eight 
or nine miles and bivouacked near a fine pond of water, and 
was decidedly more comfortable than on the Wild Cat Hills, 
although it was not good ground for a bivouac. The follow- 
ing morning reveille was sounded at 4 o'clock, and all was 
bustle and hurry until breakfast was prepared and eaten. 
But then the hurry was over and VanCleve waited for an- 
other division to take the advance. The troops lounged here 
and there until about 10 o'clock and then filed out upon the 
road, winding over the country, making good time, and reach- 
ing Somerset about 4 o'clock. It was now raining and a 
most unpromising evening. The command passed beyond 
the town about a mile and bivouacked. But for some reason 
the Eighty-sixth had great trouble to find its place. Colonel 
Hamilton lost his temper entirely and threatened to demol- 
ish the veteran regiments who were guying the Eighty-sixth 
atx>ut being "lost in the wilderness" like the children of 
Israel. It was rather too pointed to the Colonel. It jiassed 
here and there through the grounds of the other regiments 
and somewhat disturbed them. Much bad feeling was en- 
gendered, but at length about dark he found the place as- 
signed him. There was not a llattering prospect for much 
needed rest, but the men slept soundly until towards morn- 
ing—about 3 o'clock— when they were wakened by the limbs 
from the trees ilalling all around. There was a continual 
snapping and crashing of limbs. They would break off from 
the trees with snapping and cracking sound, and in a second 
or so would come crashing upon the earth. On looking about 
them they immediately perceived the cause. They discov- 
ered that some five or six inches of snow had fallen in the 
night and being wet and heavy was breaking the limbs from 
the trees. The various bunks of the regiment w^as buried in 


" the beautiful. " Several men in the regiment were more 
or less injured by the falling limbs. It was quite dangerous 
and notwithstanding they were tired, the entire regiment 
now arose and built fires and watched for falling timber not 
daring to lie down. Not a man in the regiment had a tent, 
consequently all were covered with snow and their blankets 
were wringing wet. Rails were carried a good half mile or 
more, fires were built and blankets strung up near them to 
dry. Breakfast was prepared and eaten and every prepara- 
tion was made to be ready to march, but word came that the 
regiment would remain in camp, and then the work of the 
day was commenced in earnest. Axes were procured and 
hundreds of strong men went to work, felling great trees on 
every hand until the forest rang. The crash of the falling 
trees was mingled with the shouts and laughter of the busy 
laborers. Trees were felled and cut into logs. These were 
rolled into great heaps and fired. The brush was cut and 
piled in heaps, and thus the work proceeded in all parts of 
the camp. Here and there were parties of workers chop- 
ping, others rolling and piling the logs together, and still 
others gathering and piling the brush and building fires, un- 
til the camp ground looked like a great clearing up of lands 
in a timbered country more than a military bivouac. Some 
built brush houses, or sheds, to protect themselves from the 
storm, and made fires immediately in front of these primitive 
structures, and were soon reasonably comfortable, even with 
the ground covered with snow. Fortunately the Eighty- 
sixth was bivouacked in a large woods pasture from which 
the under brush had been cleared. This with the felled timber 
made it a very good and comfortable place. During the 
night the regiment had sheltered under the trees, and now 
these same trees cut down furnished the men fuel and 
shelter. The members of the Eighty-sixth were not slow 
by this time to take advantage of any circumstance which 
would contribute to their comfort in camp. But here great 
inclemency of the weather caught them unawares, and the 
severe exposure rapidly increased the number of sick among 
those already greatly exhausted and worn out by the long 


continued marching, and its many privations and extreme 
hardsliips. Accordingly the regimental surgeons established 
a temporary hospital in the town of Somerset, and some fif- 
teen or twenty of the worst cases were conveyed there, that 
they might have better attention and care while the com- 
mand remained here. But this was not long. It remained 
over the i'Oth and 27th of October, recruiting strength 
and waiting for the roads to dry up. On the morning of the 
2Hth a member of Comj)any K, Alexander Jester, died at the 
hospital in Somerset. He was buried by the hospital force. 
The march for Nashville was resumed. The roads were bad 
and but little progress was made. The command bivouacked 
near a stream known as Fishing Creek. Here Laban Lau- 
don. or Company C, died, and was buried by the side of the 
road. Thus were the ranks of our noble regiment being 
thinned. Few comrades remember these patriots who gave 
up their lives for the cause as truly as those who died upon 
the field. They were too much burdened and hurried in the 
onward push to give much heed to a dying comrade. Who 
can locate their graves? No flowers for them on Memorial 
Day, yet who will say that they shall not receive their re- 

From Somerset the column marched to Columbia, reach- 
ing there on the 31st. There was nothing occurred 
on this part of the march out of the usual routine, with 
the single exception that perhaps the supply of "apple- 
jack " was rather more abundant than heretofore, and those 
who wished to lay in a supj^ly had a little more leisure to 
look for it, consequently those disposed to imbibe freely 
were sometime slow about reaching camp and were often in- 
clined to be boisterous when they did reach it. Others were 
"too full for utterance" and navigation, and tarried by the 
way-side until the mighty influence of the "jack" had abated 
its control. Then tliey came to camp soberly and demurely. 
Poor fellows, they looked badly enough, and no doubt they 
felt even worse than they looked. 

The following morning after reaching Columbia, Novem- 
Ix'r 1. clothing was issued to the Eighty-sixth, and the poor 


simpletons, nearly to a man, drew overcoats and dress-coats, 
and many of them other articles of clothing. The men al- 
ready had a sufficient load to carry. These coats and articles 
of clothing greatly increased their burdens. The men had 
perhaps thrown away since leaving Louisville fully one half of 
their baggage, and now were again loaded to the guards — 
fully as heavy as when leaving that city to take their first 
march. But experience is an excellent master. On November 
1 the regiment left Columbia, marching out about 8 o'clock. 
The morning was quite cool and the men generally put on their 
dress -coats and overcoats, thinking that the easiest way to 
carry them. The command was hurried forward at a rapid 
pace. As the day advanced the heat increased until it became 
quite warm. Bundled as the men were they soon felt them- 
selves sweating at every pore, but no time was given to 
change coats or to re-adjust loads. It was certainly very 
hard marching. Many gave out and fell behind the regiment 
before noon, but no halt was called. Still pressing on with 
unabated speed the number in ranks grew less and less. 
Some few straggled to be sure, who were not exhausted, 
but when the regiment was finally halted for the night's 
bivouac, about 3 o'clock, there were only one hundred and 
forty men in ranks to stack arms. At first the Colonel 
looked at the regiment as it "dressed up" in line before 
stacking arms in blank amazement. Then he became angry, 
growing hotter and hotter until he was in a terrible rage. 
He charged on to the company officers, but soon saw that 
was utterly useless. Then he charged back upon the incom- 
ing stragglers, swearing that he would arrest and punish 
every man of the Eighty-sixth that was behind when the halt 
was called. He immediately ordered the arrest of those just 
coming in and placed a guard to halt and arrest all who came 
later. The stragglers were collected under a large tree 
in an oj)en space just to the rear of the regimental line where 
all could see and hear. And here the Colonel continued to 
swear at them and tell them what terrible punishment was 
in store for them, what kind of soldiers they were, and how 
little they deserved the name. It was a perfect volley of 


epithets and abusive terms, and long continued. It was fun 
for the boys wiio came in on time, and for some who were 
in the arrested squad, but judging by appearances it was 
quite a serious matter for others. Some were greatly crest- 
fallen at the thought of being under arrest. Others took it 
quite phiIo.sophically. Most of them knew Colonel Hamilton 
to be a hot-headed but kindly natured man who would relent, 
and practically, at least, take it all back as soon as his anger 
cooled oil. He soon had a good two hundred under and 
around that tree, and would gallop his charger in a furious 
manner almost upon every new arrival. He fumed and fret- 
ted, he chafed and frothed, and swore what terrible things 
he intended to do. One would have supposed he would have 
every man of them shot at sunrise the next morning. At 
length liis anger began to cool and he saw the folly of his 
rage and the utter foolishness of his conduct. He then gave 
\\\) in disgust and ordered the men to go to their respective 
companies, but threatened the direst punishment upon any of 
them if he ever again caught them straggling. The tirade 
of the Colonel against the boys occasioned much merriment 
for those who were calmly watching the circus at a safe dis- 
tance. The affair was known as "the arrest of the persim- 
mon knockers," or the "the organization of the Eighty- 
seventh Regiment by Colonel Hamilton." We believe the 
latter designation was given it by Ike Wetherall, of Com- 
pany K, one of the captured late arrivals and one of the 
noi.sest men in the regiment. This diversion came in good 
time. It was needed, and it somewhat revived the men, al- 
though they were very tired and sore. The march had been 
a hard one and the men had appetites like sharks. Conse- 
quently rations vanished with unexampled rapidity. 

It will not be out of place here to relate an incident of 
the night. One of the boys who had a little money and very 
little rations, went to a sutler near by and bought fifty cents' 
worth of cheese. But being of a provident disposition the 
mess did not eat it that night for supper, intending to save it 
for the morrow when their wants would be still greater, their 
hunger more urgent and imperative. It was packed away 


nicely in a haversack and the haversack placed in a stack of 
guns standing quite near the mess's sleejjing place, in fact, 
their "shake down" being spread against one side bt the 
"stack." But alas ! when the cheese was sought by eager 
and hungry messmates the following morning not a crumb of 
it could be found. It had been spirited away. Its disappear- 
ance was complete. Search was made without success. It 
was a mystery. Who got the cheese was the question. The 
poacher, Packer, was accused of the theft but strenuously de- 
nied it. He swore he would have been glad to have eaten 
it but did not have that pleasure. The search and all 
hope of ever finding the thief were given up. But of 
this, as of almost all things of its class sooner or later the 
old saying "murder will out, " came true. Some eight years 
afterward the man who got the cheese, who was wholly un- 
suspected and might have remained so, took too much "in- 
sanity drops" and straightway divulged his secret of the 
theft. He pleaded destitution of both rations and money, 
extreme hunger and inabilitj'^ to procure anything by begging 
from comrades almost as destitute as himself, in extenuation 
of his pilfering. He was freely forgiven, and all who were 
still living of the mess took a hearty laugh over it and the 
events of the day, November 1, 1862, when Colonel Hamilton 
frightened the "persimmon knockers" so badly. 

On the following morning the stragglers being fully and 
duly restored, they all marched out together about 9 o'clock, 
singing with spirit "John Brown's body lies mouldering in 
in the tomb." They stepped of at a lively rate, making 
good time in much better shape than they had done the pre- 
vious day. They covered some seventeen or eighteen miles 
by dark and bivouacked in the woods alongside the road. 
The next morning they were on the road by 6 o'clock and 
marched steadily, reaching Glasgow, passed through the 
town and bivouacked about 1 o'clock in a beautiful meadow 
or pasture lying in the bottom lands of quite a nice stream 
known as a branch of the Big Barren River. 

Here the boys who had an inclination to forage on their 
own hook had fair opportunities to lay in temporary sup- 


plios. The Ei.£:hty-sixtli on such occasions acted on the 
principle that "opportunities are like e^^gs and must be 
hatched while fresh." The chickens, turkeys, pigs and 
slu'cp came into cam]) in goodly numbers. Camp-kettles were 
in great demand, and when procured were usually well filled 
and kept so almost day and night. Active foraging for eat- 
ables continued while the command remained here. The 
country alTorded an abundance. At this place again a num- 
ber of the regiment had become sick or so completely ex- 
hausted as to require that they be sent back to hospitals to 
recuperate, as the number greatly exceeded the capacity of 
the regimental ambulances to convey them with the column 
as it pushed ahead. They were sent from here mostly to 
Cave City, the nearest railroad point, and from there on 
to Bowling Green and Louisville. 

On the morning of the 5th of November, the column re- 
sumed its march. The men were somewhat refreshed and 
strengthened by the rest and " the fat of the land." It was 
now the Fourteenth Army Corps, Department of the Cumber- 
land, and General Rosecrans was in command. Passing 
through Glasgow the column bore off to the southwest on 
the Scottsville and Gallatin road, and covering some sixteen 
or seventeen miles, bivouacked about 3 o'clock in the woods 
near the road. A little rain fell in the evening, but not 
enough to lay the dust. The foraging was continued while 
on the march, but not with the same effect as wdien in camp. 
The supply of chickens brought to the evening's bivouac 
was limited. On the following morning the orders Avere to 
march at o'clock, but it was near 10 o'clock wdien the regi- 
ment tiled out upon the road. The command covered some 
fourtfien or fifteen miles during the day's march, passing 
through Scottsville and a mile beyond, and bivouacked in a 
pcrft'ct thicket of underbrush. The roads were good except 
Ix'ing very dusty. Again this evening there w^as a light 
sprinkle of rain, after which it turned cooler. The boys 
divided very liberally with the citizens of the country through 
which the army passed, and brought to camp chickens, pigs 
and dried fruit. The enterprising "pot-hound" was a prime 


necessity to raw troops on a long march. The following 
morning was quite cool. This made it disagreeable and the 
men hovered round the bivouac fires. About 10 o'clock the 
tramp was resumed. The weather remained cold and damp, 
snow falling more or less throughout the day. The distance 
made was not great, but it was a very uncomfortable day's 
march. The night was cold and the men felt the full force 
of the disagreeable weather. The following morning reveille 
was sounded about 3 o 'clock. The regiment arose promi^tly , 
breakfasted at 4:30 and resumed its line of march for Gallatin 
about 6:30, where it arrived after a hard march at 3 o'clock 
in the afternoon, having traveled some eighteen or twenty 
miles. It pressed on still farther to within about one mile 
of the Cumberland River. In this day's march it was esti- 
mated by different ones that the command had-marched from 
twenty-two to twenty-five miles. As there was no halt called 
for dinner few, if any of the regiment, had eaten anything during 
the day more than a few bites as they plodded along the road. 
There was therefore great demand for rations and not many 
rations to be had. After a good night's rest the men learned 
that they would not move as there was no bridge on which 
to cross the Cumberland river. A detail was made from the 
Eighty -sixth to aid in its construction. Until this detail re- 
turned there was no probability that the command would 
march. This was a pointer for the free-handed foragers 
and they might have been seen making good time for "green 
fields and pastures new." On every hill-top one or more 
blue-coats could be seen scenting the game, and that, too, at 
an early hour. Nor did they come back empty handed. The 
bridge detail returned about 9 p. m. and reported the bridge 
ready for crossing. The orders for the following morning 
were to march at 6:30 o'clock, but Hawkins' brigade did not 
start until 7 o'clock. The command marched directly to and 
crossed the Cumberland river on the new bridge. After 
crossing the river, the brigade proceeded on the road run- 
ning nearly due south until it readied the Lebanon and Nash- 
ville pike. At this point it turned west toward Nashville 
and marched a few miles and halted for the night in a fine 


pasture near a beautiful stream of water. The command 
niarclied during this day probable twelve or fifteen miles. 
Tlii.s place was known as Silver Springs. 

Tlio men of the regiment were delighted with the 
place as a camping ground, and the prospect of remaining 
liere long enough for a good rest seemed fairly good. 
There was a fine sward, a i)lentiful supply of pure water, 
and an abundance of rails conveniently near for all 
necessary purposes, both for cooking and heating. 
Such a fine place for camping it had not been the men's 
fortune often to see. There were also certain signs 
discovered which denoted that there might be found 
in the immediate vicinity of camp a goodly supply of ducks, 
geese, chickens, pigs, and sheep, and it was almost certain 
that the demand would be quite equal to the supply. Fear- 
ing the supply would soon be exhausted, the Eighty-sixth 
sent out some strong foraging parties the first night. The 
officers of the regiment did not do this, but the men with 
muskets did. They were efiicient and energetic and served 
their respective messes and companies well and faithfully. 
They brought to camp in abundance, turkeys, chickens, pigs, 
cured meat, dried fruits, and sweet potatoes. Even the next 
day the fowls could be heard on all sides in the camp of the 
Eighty-sixth, and -the old soldiers of the brigade began to 
" let up " on guying the boys about their inability to look 
out for themselves in the way of foraging. The 11th of 
November, the next day after arriving at this camp, w^as 
clear, cool and fine. There were no orders to march and 
this was cheering news. The weary, foot-sore men were 
greatly pleased with the prospect of getting additional rest. 


A Forty Days' March Reviewed— Death of William Eose and Archibald Coats— A 
March to Rural Hill— Skirmish With John Morgan's Men— In Uamp Near 
Nashville— Detail of Twenty Men for the Pioneer Corps— Drill and Picket 

The Eighty-sixth had been on the march for forty days, 
and a part of the time day and night. Raw, soft, and un- 
drilled as the men were, they had been placed in a brigade 
and division of veteran troops, hardened campaigners, ac- 
customed to marching and inured to all the duties of the 
field and a soldier's life, and they were expected to, and did, 
perform their full share of duty with these troops. It was 
a terribly rough introduction, but there was no helj) for it, 
and all the Eighty-sixth could do was to perform the duty or 
die. Many indeed had fallen by the way-side — literally 
marched to death. Others had sickened and died, the 
principal factors causing the sickness being exposure, pri- 
vations and the exhausting labor of marching. Still others 
sick and exhausted, unable to keep pace with Buell's column 
as it pushed on after Bragg, were sent to the hospitals in 
the rear, here and there over the country, to regain their 
health for future campaigns. But many of these never again 
"took arms" with their former comrades. They were too 
much broken in health to return to duty in the ranks. Per- 
haps the pursuit of Bragg 's army by that of Buell's, taken as 
a whole, was the hardest and most trying march any Union 
army was forced to endure during the entire war. The army 
was not then supplied with the light and convenient shelter 
tents which it afterwards carried. The bulk and unhandi- 
ness of the Sibleys made them no better than no tents, for 


either the wagons were never up with them, or the men were 
too tired to handle them at night when they reached camp. 
Tiicrofore, they slept constantly without tents, exposed to 
the night air, in good and bad weather, in rain and in snow, 
and felt the full force of all the changes of weather. The 
great exertion during the day heated their bodies and the 
cool nights chilled and stiffened their joints and bound their 
muscles. These things with the inexperience and the ex- 
treme scarcity of water, together with the very bad quality 
of most of it that could be procured, rendered the march a 
continual struggle for existence, an epoch in one's life to be 
remembered. It was a very common, almost daily, occur- 
rence to find 

— " tlie silflt'fl puddle 
Wliicli beasts would cougli at," 

the only supply of water to furnish drink and from which 
to procure enough to make a pot of coffee. Those of deli- 
cate, nervous systems and dainty stomachs, with a thought 
of home, its healthy food and drink, and even delicacies, 
would sicken at the sight of a putrefying mule half sub- 
merged in the pond of water where they were compelled to 
get their supply. The thought of a good, cool drink from 
the pure water of the well at home would cause them to 
turn with unutterable disgust from this festering filth with 
its green scum. Such men were already more than half 
beaten without the suspicion of the smell of gun powder. 
Others, however, of firmer fibre, stauncher mold, and iron 
nerve, and a resolution that would never say "hold, 
enough," parted the thick green scum, filled the canteen, 
shut their eyes and drank deeply of the water as it washed 
l)ack and over the festering animal matter, set in motion as 
it was by the dipping of many canteens. Such material 
makes invincible soldiers, as near, at least, as human beings 
can be called invincible. Of such material was the Army of 
th«' Cumljerland composed. Father Abraham at Washing- 
ton had no better, truer, soldiers than those of this old army 
aftor the chaff was winnowed out of it. All the Eighty- 
sixtli now lacked to complete the test was the baptism of 
fire— the battle's storm and hail to finish in every particular 


its initiation. In looking back over this trip through Ken- 
tucky after Bragg 's army it is with horror that one thinks 
of the abominable character of the drinking water, the 
scant rations and the general treatment the men received. 
It is a wonder that so many endured it and survived. 

Many, who by indomitable pluck and perseverance, came 
through the march in pursuit of Bragg had the seeds of dis- 
ease sown in them which afterwards developed and bore 
fruit, and from the eifects of which they never will be free 
until they shall have paid the last debt of nature and reaped 
the reward of their manliness and patriotism. The extent 
of their sacrifices is little known or appreciated in this life. 

All were greatly rejoiced at the j)rospect of a breathing 
spell and an opportunity to recuperate after the late rough 
service they had undergone. On the night of the 11th of 
November, here at this camp William Rose, of Company 
B, died. He was buried on the 12th. On the 13th, Archi- 
bald Coats, of Company D, died, and was buried the same 
day. The deaths of these two men so soon after our long 
march show how desperately the men sometimes struggled 
to do what they considered their duty. Up to within a very 
few days of their death they had, shoulder to shoulder, 
tramped the weary miles through Kentucky with their com- 
rades, literally wearing their lives away. Yet when a halt 
was called and the relaxation came which follows protracted 
effort, they gave up and passed away to that peaceful land, 
where the clash of steel, and the tread of armed squadrons 
do not disturb. This march had been to the Eighty-sixth an 
expensive one. The deaths and the many sent back sick, 
had reduced the regiment to about one-half its original 

On the 14th of November the Eighty-sixth was ordered to 
prepare for general inspection. Then came the hurry and 
bustle of cleaning arms and equipments, bathing the person 
and washing the clothing. Besides these things the men 
were instructed for some time in company drill. On the morn- 
ing of the 15th they received orders to arrange camp in reg- 
ular system. This greatly cheered the boys. It caused a 


great deal of work, however, to take down and change all 
tlioso heavy Sibley tents, but they they supposed they had a 
very good assurance that they would remain here for some 
time, and all therefore worked willingly. But scarcely was 
the vamp laid off and the tents arranged and put up in regu- 
hition style when orders were received to march. Some 
rather caustic "benedictions" were pronounced in a very en- 
ergetic manner upon the officers for this extra work, and the 
order to march following so close upon it. The order was 
received about 11 o'clock a. m. Tents were struck at once, 
]Kickod and placed in the wagons. AH other "traps" were 
done up and put on the wagons or arranged for the soldier's 
own "pack," and the regiment was in line ready to march 
by noon. 

At this camp at Silver Springs on the night of Novem- 
ber 12, was the first time the regiment slept in tents after 
leaving Louisville, October 1. For more than forty days the 
men had marched and bivouacked — had laid upon the ground 
in fair and in foul weather with naught but their blankets, 
darkness, and the starry heavens to cover them, save occas- 
ionally when sleeping in the friendly cover of some leafy 
bower of the forest. This march was an instructive exper- 
ience. Its lessons were forceful and not to be denied atten- 
tion. They asserted themselves. Here is an example: Often 
in the still hours of the chilly night, one might hear the 
shriek of some youth, as he suddenly awakened from slum- 
ber, to the realization that he was sulfering excruciating tor- 
tures, writhing in pain with numerous extra "kinks" in his 
k«gs forcing him to make these outcries. What does it mean? 
It means that he had overtaxed his strength, his muscles, in 
endeavoring to keep pace with the advancing column. Bur- 
dened beyond his strength and years, with knapsack, haver- 
sack, canteen, and gun and cartridge-box, he had labored 
with every muscle throughout the day to keep his place in 
ranks. He had obeyed the laws and orders of man, but 
broivcii tiie laws of nature, and he was now paying the pen- 
alty. All day long the muscles of his lower limbs unceas- 
ingly had contracted and relaxed alternately. They were 


still keeping up the play, but now the action was of a spas- 
modic character. In short, the overtaxed muscles, of his 
legs were cramping as though they would pull themselves 
loose from their attachments, and in his agony he cries out 
and calls on some comrade to rub him until the attack of 
cramp passes and he can again lie down to sleep. Some 
times this is repeated many times during a single night, and 
no one who has never suifered such attacks can estimate the 
torment of them. Short the attacks may be, but terrible in 
their punishment of the victim who has broken an inexor- 
able law. 

The regiment was drawn up in line ready to march at 
the hour of 12. Hawkins' brigade was the only troops mov- 
ing. There was not therefore a very large force on the 
march. Covering some seven or eight miles the command 
bivouacked in a very pretty place in a fine woods pasture in 
the immediate neighborhood of Rural Hill, Wilson county, 
Tennessee, and supposed to be in the vicinity of the enemy. 
Accordingly the brigade was ordered to sleep on its arms. 
Shortly after "taps" picket firing occurred, and the command 
was immediately called ' ' to arms, ' ' and stood in line for a 
short time. At 5:30 a. m. the command was again called up 
and stood to arms until daylight. 

During the forenoon some prisoners were captured and 
brought into camp. Three rebel cavalrymen were brought 
in by the Eighty-sixth. It was evident that the enemy was 
watching closely and would attack if a favorable opportun- 
ity oifered. Company H was xDut on the picket line with 
orders to keep a sharp watch for the enemy. Lieutenant 
Jeremiah Haugh, of Company B, went outside of the picket 
lines and was doing a little independent scouting when he 
was chased by the enemy's cavalry and had a close call to 
escape. The "Johnnie Rebs" finding that the blue coats 
would not halt at their commands opened fire upon him. A 
running fire is seldom an effective one, yet Haugh received a 
severe wound through the left shoulder, but he wavered not 
in his retreat, running a good race and made his escape sure. 
His wound was severe but not dangerous. The weather was 


dark and jErloomy, raining or misting all day. Besides the 
advJMitiii-o of Lieutenant Haiigh the regiment lost another 
adventurous spirit, company H's champion forager and "pot- 
hound, " John Miller. He went out on one of his p)redatory 
excur.sions and failed to return. He was captured and 
paroled, but he never again returned to the regiment or com- 
pany. He went home and when reported as a deserter and 
il iH'came too hot in Indiana he went still further away. 
Evidently he had seen enough of Morgan's men. Some time 
before he had captm'ed a donkey with which he made his 
foraging trips. Presumably on this occasion the donkey was 
not swift enough when ladened with turkeys and chickens to 
outrun Morgan's cavalry, and he had therefore been cap- 
tured with a donkey load of pillage in his possession. See- 
ing him to be a genuine pilferer, they had doubtless threat- 
ened to take his life if ever again caught, and had so fright - 
enod liim that when released he at once started for home, 
and probably promised to do so, if they would but spare his 

On the morning of the 17th of November, Company E, 
Captain Phillip Gemmer, relieved Company H from picket 
duty, and received the orders to keep the strictest watch for 
the expected enemy. All day the command watched and 
waited. There were some indications of an attack, but none 
was made. On the morning of the 18th, just after daylight, 
while the command was busy prej)aring breakfast, the 
pickets began a brisk firing that indicated an attack. The 
brigade was under arms immediately. The enemy's calvary 
lia<l made a bold dash on the picket line, had broken it and 
r(xle it down and came right on in gallant style for the brig- 
ade camp, doubtless expecting to take it by surprise, stam- 
pede it, and capture the entire command. But "the wisest 
plans o' mice and men gang aftaglee. " It was the unex- 
pected that happened to them and they met a great sur- 

During tlic night of the 17th, the Eighth Kentucky had 
come in with the supply train. This regiment bivouacked 
one hundred or one hundred and fifty yards to the left in a 


little ravine, where there was a spring and every convenience 
for a concealed bivouac. It was out of sight of the ap- 
proaching rebels, and was not seen by them until it opened 
fire on the charging squadrons. This Kentucky regiment 
was armed with Colt's revolving rifles and the men delivered 
their five shots in the face of the enemy before the latter 
was hardly aware of the difficulty that lay in his way. The 
enemy as soon as he saw that he was foiled, wheeled about, 
and galloped back badly demoralized and in far greater 
haste than he came. This handsome repulse by the newly 
arrived regiment saved Hawkins' brigade from a savage at- 
tack in the flank where it was least expected. Five of the 
enemy lay dead in front of the gallant band that had met 
their dash in such a cool determined manner. How many 
were wounded is not known, but it was quite evident that it 
was too hot a place for the rebel cavalrymen to tarry long. 
They did not wait upon the order of their going, but went at 
once, and that very quickly. After this dash by the enemy 
and its signal repulse he opened up with his artillery. One, 
shot, an unexploded shell, struck about thirty paces in front 
of the center of the Eighty-sixth. A number went whiz- 
zing and screaming over it, but did no damage whatever. 
The battery replied to his fire with interest and a fine show 
of artillery practice was made for a time, but the enemy 
soon again found it too hot and limbered to the rear, leaving 
the field to the despised ' ' yanks. ' ' It was said by one of 
the staff officers, who was looking with a field glass, that 
Swallow's battery dismounted one of the enemy's guns and 
this closed the battle. This was the first fire to which the 
Eighty-sixth as a regiment was exposed, and the men showed 
genuine Hoosier grit and staying qualities. In short, it was 
there to stay until ordered away. 

General T. L. Crittenden at 8:30 o'clock on the evening 
of November 18, sent the following report of the Rural 
Hill affair to Colonel J. P. Garesche, Chief of Staff: 

Colonel: The company of cavalry I sent to look after the brigade 
at Rural Hill have returned, and report that the cannonading of which 
I sent you notice in my note of this date, at 8:45 a. m.,\vas at Rural Hill; 


that the brifxade there was attacked by Morgan's cavalry, who dis- 
mounted after their first charge and fought as infantry, with artillery; 
that the light histed about two and one-half hours, but with very slight 
result. Wo had no men killed or wounded, but four of the Thirteenth 
Ohio were taken prisoners. The enemy had four killed that were left 
dead on the field, and the men buried while the cavalry were there ; the 
number wounded unknown. 

No more lighting occurred at tiiis place, although great 
care was exercised not to be caught napping by the wily 
enemy. This was the regiment's introduction to General 
Jolin Morgan, who afterwards became so noted as a cavalry 
commander and a warrior on the side of the Confederacy. 
While he had been kept at bay, and Hawkins' brigade had 
not been shaken in the least, its position was considered 
rather more hazardous than it should be without a better 
prospect of gaining by it some signal advantage over the 
enemy, therefore on the 19th of November the brigade was 
ordered back from its advanced and exposed jiosition. It 
was while at Rural Hill on the 17th that Lieutenant Colonel 
George F. Dick joined the regiment. He had been Major in 
the Twentieth and had already been through twelve battles, 
and his coolness under fire had created a most favorable im- 
pression, and inspired the men with great confidence. 

The morning of the 19th was rainy, w^hich rendered 
marching disagreeable. Bivouacked at night near the 
Nashville and Murfreesboro pike some four or five miles 
out from the former place. On the 20th tents were put up 
and the regiment remained at camp. On the 21st it had 
niarcliing orders, and moved out about 2 o'clock, but did not 
go far until it was ordered back and pitched tents on the 
same ground which it occupied on the previous night. On 
the 2;kl the regiment was inspected. On the 24th a heavy 
detail was sent out with the teams to collect forage. The 
detail was busily employed and collected forage for the men 
as well as the horses and mules. On the 26th the regiment 
marched to within one and a half miles of Nashville and 
camped. The weather was now quite cool. On the 28th the 
regiment moved out toward Murfreesboro and camped in 
one of the worst briar patches in the State of Tennessee not 


very far from the Asylum for the Insane. Lieutenant 
Thomas, of Company H, who had been absent without leave, 
returned to the company on this day. On the 1st of Decem- 
ber the regiment was out for picket, started and were ordered 
back for review. After being reviewed the whole regiment 
went on picket and was not relieved until about 8 o'clock on 
the evening of the 2nd. On the 3d the day was spent in 
company drill in the forenoon, general inspection at 2 o'clock 
and dress parade at 4:30. On the 4th in the evening the reg- 
iment went on picket again. It was now quite cold and win- 
try. It snowed a little in the evening. The next forenoon 
quite a snow fell and the next day it froze quite hard, but 
the regiment was sent out with the teams to collect forage. 
On the 7th it received marching orders. On the 8th the 
whole brigade was sent out on picket. On the 9th returned 
to camp and received orders to get ready to march. The 
10th the command moved back about three miles toward 
Nashville. In the afternoon of the 11th the regiment being 
out on battalion drill an alarm was given. Those in camp 
were formed and marched out until the drill ground was 
reached, when the whole regiment went about four miles and 
finding no enemy or disturbance requiring its attention, re- 
turned to camp. On the 14th the regiment was sent out 
with a forage train. On the 15th it was again on picket 
during a great rain storm. 

On the 17th a detachment of twenty men from the 
Eighty-sixth left the regiment to become a part of the pio- 
neer corps. They formed a part of Company I, Third Bat- 
talion Pioneer Corps, and never again served with the regi- 
ment. There should have been twenty, but owing to sick- 
ness some few" of the detachment never reported. The detail 
included a commissioned ofiicer — a Lieutenant who should 
have a good knowledge of civil engineering. Second Lieu- 
tenant James T. Doster, of Company I, a civil engineer of 
much experience, was the oflicer selected. Lieutenant Doster 
was a gallant, courteous, and accomplished gentleman, and 
as events subsequently proved and at that time were mani- 
fest, he should have been Captain of his company. He first 


enlisted in the Tenth Indiana and was with his regiment in 
the battle of Mills Springs, where he was severely wounded 
in the foot and from which disability he was discharged. 
Recovering from this disability, as he supposed, he enlisted 
in the Eighty-sixth and was made Second Lieutenant of Com- 
pany I. Lieutenant Doster died from the effects of his Mills 
Springs wound December 19. 1868. 

On the morning of December 12 at about 1 o'clock the 
regiment was ordered out and marched perhaps five miles 
east of its encampment. There it was met at the picket 
station by about 1,500 paroled prisoners who had been cap- 
tured by the rebel General Morgan at Hartsville on the 7th. 
It was a most disgraceful surrender on the part of Colonel A. 
B. Moore, of the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois, who had 
command at that post. These men had been taken to Mur- 
freesboro. stripped of their blankets and overcoats, and then 
marched up to the Union lines to be paroled. The Eighty - 
sixth escorted these men to Nashville, arriving there about 
daylight. It then returned to camp, reaching there at 11 
o'clock, having made a march of probably twenty miles. 

In the above villainous manner was the Eighty-sixth 
"cat-hauled'' from place to place in good or bad weather, 
with or without cause, moving frequently to satisfy the 
whim of some red tape upstart, who simply wished to show 
his authority. However the regiment remained in this im- 
mediate neighborhood in various camps and performing the 
several duties of foraging, scouting, picket and drill, 
until the army moved forward to attack Bragg 's army at 
Murfreesboro on the 26th of the month. The weather had 
now become quite cool, and the men who were not warmly 
clad, and few were, suffered from the inclement weather. It 
would i-aiii and snow alternately, and then perhaps be warm 
a day, rendering it still more disagreeable when it again 
turned cold. On the 6th of December the regiment received 
its first supply of ponchos, or rubber blankets, after which time 
the men were somewhat better protected from wind and rain 
when doing guard and picket duty, or milking the farmers' 
cows as they came up and around the picket station. Rubber 


blankets like beans, bacon, and coffee came -to be a prime 
necessity for the private soldier doing duty at the front. 


The Army of the Cumberland— Its Organizatiou— The Eighty-sixth's Assignment 
—Moving Out From Nashville— Its Position— Plan of the Battle— Colonel 
Hamilton Believed— The Movement on the Left Suspended— The Kegiment 
Ordered to the Kight— In the Vortex of Death— List of the Regiment's Killed 
and Mortally Wounded— The Second Day's Fight— Bragg Lost and Rosecrans 

On the 26th of December, 1862, the Army of the Cumber- 
land, General W. S. Rosecrans in command, moved from its 
camp near Nashville against General Braxton Bragg, the 
commander of the Confederate forces, who had taken up a 
strong position on Stone's River, near Murfreesboro, a point 
thirty miles southeast. General Rosecrans had been placed 
in command of this army, then known and designated as the 
Fourteenth Army Corps, Department of the Cumberland, on 
the 24th of October. For the sake of convenience but with- 
out authority from the War Department, as has been stated 
in a previous chapter. General Buell, whom General Rose- 
crans succeeded, had divided the Army of the Ohio into 
three corps and designated them as the First, Second and 
Third. The divisions and brigades were numbered consecu- 
tively without reference to the corps to which they were as- 
signed. The First corps was placed in command of General 
A. McD. McCook, with the Second, Third and Tenth divis- 
ions; the Second corps under General Thomas L. Crittenden, 
with the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth divisions; and the Third 
corps under General C. C. Gilbert with the First, Ninth and 
Eleventh divisions. It was by this rearrangement of the 
army that the Eighty-sixth regiment received its first organ- 
ization assignment. It was placed in the Second corps under 


General Crittenden, in the Fifth division, with General Hora- 
tio P. VanClove in command, and in the Fourteenth brigade 
commanded by Colonel Pierce B. Hawkins, of the Eleventh 
Kentucky regiment. The Fourteenth brigade was composed 
of the Thirteenth Ohio, the Eleventh and Twenty-sixth Ken- 
tucky, and the Forty-fourth and Eighty-sixth Indiana, and 
the Seventh Indiana battery. November 5 the three grand 
divisions of the army, hitherto known as the First, Second 
and Third corps, were by orders designated as the "Right 
Wing," the "Center " and the "Left Wing." On November 
18 the Fifty-ninth Ohio which was in the Eleventh brigade, 
Fifth division, exchanged places with the Eleventh Ken- 
tucky, and Colonel James P. Fyffe, of the Fifty-ninth, suc- 
ceeded Colonel Hawkins in command of the Fourteenth 
brigade. November 22 the Twenty -sixth Kentucky was sent 
to Bowling Green, leaving the Fourteenth brigade with but 
four regiments. General George H. Thomas, who up to 
November 5 had been second in command of the entire army, 
was assigned to command the "Center," General A. McD. 
McCook the "Right Wing," and General Thomas L. Crit- 
tenden the "Left Wing." December 19 a change was made 
in numbering the divisions and brigades. The consecutive 
numbering was di.scontinued. Divisions were numbered, be- 
ginning with the First in each corps or grand division, and 
brigades in the same manner, beginning with the First in 
each division, and numbered from right to left. Flags of 
various designs were used to designate the different head- 

Thus on the 26th of December the Eighty-sixth was 
in the Second brigade, Colonel J. P. Fyffe, command- 
ing, the Third division, General H. P. VanCleve in com- 
mand, and the "Left Wing " of the Fourteenth Army Corps, 
Department of the Cumberland, with General T. L. Critten- 
den in command. The officers in command of the regiments 
com])osing the brigade were Colonel W. C. Williams, of the 
Forty-fourtli Indiana, Colonel O. S. Hamilton, of the Eighty- 
sixth Indiana, Colonel J. G. Hawkins, of the Thirteenth Ohio, 


Lieutenant Colonel William Howard, of the Fifty-ninth Ohio, 
and Captain G. R. Swallow, of the Seventh Indiana Battery. 

On December 24, General Crittenden with Generals 
Thomas and McCook received a circular from General Rose- 
crans directing that ample provisions be made for prompt 
and rapid communication between theirs and his headquar- 
ters. Staff officers were to provide themselves with paper 
and writing materials, and orderlies and couriers should be 
at close distance, not more than a half a mile apart, and 
within sight of each other. This the General considered of 
vital importance to a combined movement. On the 
same day a general order was issued that the army 
should move at daylight on the 25th — Christmas— 
but this was countermanded on account of the 
lack of forage on the "Left Wing. " The order was renewed 
on the 25th for a general movement on the 26th. The quiet 
of Christmas was therefore disturbed by the bustle and con- 
fusion incident to such an important move as all felt this one 
to be. Three days' rations were to be drawn and placed in 
haversacks, while two days' more were to be carried in the 
wagons. Twenty wagons were assigned to each grand di- 
vision loaded with forage and provisions. All ammunition 
wagons, ambulances and hospital stores were to accompany 
the army. The sick were to be sent to the hospitals, and 
the Sibley tents, and all camp equipage and unnecessary 
baggage to be packed and sent back under the guard of of- 
ficers and men unable to march to the front and parked in- 
side the fortifications at Nashville. The boys were all busy, 
in addition to their other duties, in writing letters to friends 
at home. That was a heavy mail that started North the 
next day. 

A pleasant little incident occurred in the Fifty -ninth 
Ohio on Christmas evening which the Eighty -sixth was in- 
vited to witness. The citizens of Clermont, Ohio, had sent 
that regiment new colors. On their folds were inscribed 
"Shiloh, " "Corinth," "Ivy Creek," "Perryville" and 
"Crab Orchard," the battles in which the Fifty-ninth had 
participated. The presentation speech was delivered by 


Colonel Fyffe. Remarks of a patriotic character were made 
by Colonel O. S. Hamilton, Captain C. F. Sheaff, and Cap- 
tain W. C. Lambert. Music was furnished by the Second 
brigade band and patriotic songs were sung by the men. 

The morning of the 26th, so big with fate, dawned 
gloomily. The clouds hung like a pall over the wintry land- 
scape. Great drifts of slowly moving mist lay along the val- 
leys, while the rain came down in torrents, that gathered in 
pools in the roads, or ran in streams along the gullies. The 
reveille, as it rolled from camp to camp from the drums and 
bugles of more than a hundred regiments that covered the 
fields and hillsides, had a muffled sound in the murky atmos- 
phere. Every officer and man was busy. At the appointed 
hour the "assembly" was heard. The Eighty-sixth was 
quickly formed. The bugles sounded "forward," and the 
brigades, and divisions, and corps, with swinging step filed 
out upon the roads. McCook led the right, Thomas the cen- 
ter and Crittenden the left. Although the Second brigade 
started at 8 o'clock, yet it was one of those jerky, exasper- 
ating marches, so that it did not get fairly started until 2 
o'clock. The rain continued to pour, and the men huddled 
down under their ponchos like drenched chickens. The 
enemy was encountered at once and the occasional cannon 
shot or a sputtering dropping of musketry by the skirm- 
ishers of the First and Second divisions, which were in front, 
were evidences that the rebel nests were being stirred. All 
day long the steady columns toiled over the broken country 
and at night bivouacked in the wet fields. Such conveni- 
ences as shelter tents had not then been introduced, and the 
men were placed on their own resources to improvise pro- 
tection from the storm during the night. The Eighty-sixth 
camped in some woods where there was much cedar. Their 
evergreen branches were brought into use both for shelter 
and beds and the night was passed in comparative comfort. 

The next day, Saturday, the 27th, dawned like the one 
lx*fore. The heavy clouds hung low and the rain continued 
to pour all day long. The brigade marched perhaps two 
hundred yards when it came to a halt, started again, and 


again halted, and marched and halted alternately. At night- 
fall the command was but a short distance from where it started 
in the morning. Slowly the columns felt their way on, pre- 
ceded by heavy lines of skirmishers, driving the sullen and 
stubborn enemy before them. The Second brigade of the 
Second division, and the First and Second brigades of Van- 
Cleve's division, were diverged from the main column of the 
corps and sent down the Jefferson pike, a road running 
directly east from the Murfreesboro pike beyond LaVergne. 
Late at night the advance reached Stewart's Creek and 
charged the rear guard of the enemy, thus saving the bridge, 
performing the work it was sent to do. The Eighty-sixtli 
was kept on the move until 2 o'clock in the morning, although 
but six miles had been made, when it bivouacked for the re- 
mainder of the night, utililizing corn blades for beds which 
the boys found in a barn near by. How these blades had 
escaped the eagle eye of the cavalrymen ]of both armies is 
to this day an unsolved mystery. 

Sunday, the 28th, the troops generally rested. The 
Second brigade moved from its camp to the south about a 
half a mile, and formed in line of battle near to and west of 
Smyrna church, where it remained all day. In the evening 
the regiment with the brigade returned to their camping 
ground of the night previous, but the corn blades had turned 
up missing. 

No movement was made by the regiment on Monday, the 
29th, until 1 o'clock, when the three brigades crossed the 
bridge which they had saved, turned south, and rejoined the 
main body of their command on the Murfreesboro pike. 
General Crittenden with his three divisions advanced that 
evening to within three miles of Murfreesboro, and bivou- 
acked in order of battle not more than 700 yards from the 
enemy's entrenchments. The camp of the Eighty-sixth was 
between the railroad and the pike in a cotton field, and on 
ground now used as a National cemetery where more than 
six thousand Union soldiers have "spread their silent tents." 
General Palmer, who commanded the Second division, and 
was in the advance, repox'ted that he was within sight of 


Murfrcesboro, aud that the enemy was in full flight. Gen- 
eral Rosecrans immediately sent an order to General Critten- 
den to move a division into the town. Colonel Harker's 
brigade of Palmer's division, was accordingly sent across 
Stone's River — the stream being almost everywhere fordable 
— and drove a rebel regiment back upon the main body in 
some confusion. Some prisoners were captured who re- 
ported that Breckinridge's entire division was there present. 
General Crittenden wisely took the responsibility of sus- 
pending the order until General Rosecrans could be further 
communicated with. The commanding general was con- 
vinced that a mistake had been made and Barker was with- 
drawn without serious loss. 

That night it rained heavily, drenching the soldiers to 
their skins. The following day, the 30th, was dark, gloomy 
and depressing, and was spent in anxious suspense as the 
men stood shivering in their lines. All day the Eighty-sixth 
waited, the boys securing as best they could their guns from 
the pccasional showers that fell, and many can recall the 
spectacle of their muskets as they stood, butts up, with 
fixed bayonets forced into the soft soil — an ominous crop 
sprang in a single night from fallow-fields, awaiting the 
quick -coming harvest of Death. The orders were to be 
ready at a moment's notice. The lines were forming. Bat- 
teries were being placed in position. Dark columns stood 
noiseless in the rain. Hospitals were established in the 
rear, and the musicians and other non-combatants were de- 
tailed to bear the stretchers and attend the ambulances. 
Medical stores were unpacked and countless rolls of band- 
ages placed at hand for use. Provision trains were brought 
up and rations issued. Bodies of horse galloped over the 
heavy fields. Staff" otticoi- and orderlies from General Rose- 
crans' headquarters, near where the Eighty-sixth stood in 
line, dashed away in different directions. The scattering 
fire of musketry which came up from the cedar woods far 
to the right, now swelling into full volleys, the heavy boom 
of cannon in front, the bearing back of wounded officers and 
men on stretchers, and the certainty of a great battle at 


hand, combined to make all serious and thoughtful. The 
Eighty-sixth remained in its designated position, calmly 
awaiting the storm which was to burst on the following day. 

The army now stood with its left resting on Stone's 
River, and its right stretching off into the country as far as 
the Franklin pike, making a line three miles long. The 
country is undulating, much of it cleared but broken by 
rocky ridges overgrown with close cedar thickets. Besides, 
there were forests of oak and other deciduous trees. Per- 
allel to the Union lines, and distant half a mile, lay Bragg's 
army, its right resting on the east side of the river, while 
the main body was on the west side. The night of the 30th 
set in with a keen, north wind, with heavy, threatening 
clouds. After dark an ammunition wagon was brought up 
and each man was supplied with sixty rounds of cartridges, 
after which such sleep and rest as were j)ossible under the 
circumstances, were taken. The men slejit on their arms. 
Each had his musket beside him ready to leap out at the 
slightest alarm. It was a weary night for the Eighty-sixth. 

Daylight of the 31st found the men standing to arms. 
There was no blast of bugle or clatter of drum for reveille. 
A hasty breakfast of coffee, hardtack and bacon was pre- 
pared and quickly eaten. Their morning service consisted 
in listening to the Adjutant read General Rosecrans' "Grace 
of God " battle order. Prom out the raw mists that for a 
time hung over the field came resonant cheers as the stirring 
words were read to regiment, detachment and battery. The 
General came riding by and in encouraging words said: 
"Boys, stand like men. Pire low, and make every shot 
count. " 

Just here an unpleasant incident occurred, and as it is a 
leaf in the history of the regiment it is proper that it should 
be mentioned. Colonel O. S. Hamilton, who had command 
of the regiment, a courageous- but inexperienced officer, was 
ordered by General VanCleve,* the division commander, to 

*It is the recollection of some of the men that this order was given by Colonel 
Fyffe, the brigade commander; others that it was General VanCleve. 


perform certain evolutions. After several attempts Colonel 
Hamilton signally failed, whereupon he was relieved of his 
sword and his command. The command of the regiment was 
at once turned over to Lieutenat Colonel George F. Dick, a 
skillful, experienced and well trained officer who had served 
both as Cai)tain and as Major in the Twentieth Indiana 
regiment, and came to the Eighty-sixth with his com- 
mission on the 17th of November. The action of Gen- 
eral VanCleve was wholly a surprise to both Hamilton 
and Dick, but a step that met the approval of the 
subordinate officers and the men of the regiment. In 
justice to Colonel Hamilton and to his memory it should 
be stated that this unfortunate episode was entirely 
due to his inexperience, and was no reflection on his courage 
or bravery. As an officer he was heroic, intrepid and fear- 
less, but was entirely without military knowledge either nat- 
ural or acquired. He was bold to recklessness as he exhib- 
ited by his subsequent actions. Mortifying as this must 
have been to a man of his proud spirit he nevertheless asked, 
and was granted, permission to accompany the regiment into 
the approaching engagement in a subordinate capacity. 
Most valiantly did he carry himself throughout. Colonel 
PyfTe, in his report of the battle, generously makes special 
mention of him, and says Colonel Hamilton, although unac- 
quainted with military matters, was present throughout as- 
sisting all in his powers. This affair, however, greatly hum- 
iliated and chagrined him and he soon relinquished command 
of the regiment. He returned to his home at Lebanon where 
he died a few years ago a disappointed and broken-hearted 

It was this ground that General Bragg had deliberately 
chosen whereon to stand and fight. General Rosecrans had 
planned that General McCook, who commanded the "Right 
Wing" .should occupy the most advantageous position possi- 
ble, and fight to hold it. General Thomas was to open with 
skii-iiiishing, and engage the enemy's center. General Crit- 
t(Mulen. of the "Left Wing" was to cross General Van- 
Cleve 's division over the river at a place known as the lower 


ford, covered and supported by the sappers and miners, and 
to advance on Breckinridge who commanded the enemy's 
left, the only rebel division on that side of the river. Gen- 
eral Wood's division was to follow General VanCleve by 
brigade, and cross at the upper ford. Wood was to take posi- 
tion on VanCleve 's right, and the two divisions, supported by 
Palmer, were to fall with overwhelming force in front and 
flank, crush Breckinridge, sweep through Murfreesboro, and 
gain the rear of the enemy's center and left, push him oif his 
natural line of retreat, and thus destroy his entire army. 
The plan was a skillful one, but Bragg, however, had already 
decided to fight his own battle and not the one Rosecrans had 
planned. He had a similar one of his own, by which he 
hoped to double up his adversary's right by a secret concen- 
tration of a heavy force against it. To this end he had 
massed heavily on his left where Hardee was in command, 
with orders to attack McCook at daylight. Bragg struck 
he first blow. 

According to the plans of General Rosecrans, McCook, 
however strongly assailed, was to hold his position 
for three hours, and to recede — if attacked in overwhelming 
force — very slowly, and to fight desperately, which he had 
undertaken to do. Bragg 's order was, that at day -break the 
whole line, beginning at the extreme left, with Hardee's 
corps, and followed by Polk's, should move forward on Mc- 
Cook 's extreme right, and bear it back, crumbling it in the 
retreat, till Rosecrans' army should stand with its rear to the 
river. In double lines, the rebel hosts came on, swift and terri- 
ble as in-rolling billows. General Johnson who commanded 
a division in McCook 's corps on the extreme right, and who 
was wholly unprepared for the sudden onset, was crushed 
with a single blow, the enemy sweeping over his batteries 
with wild hurrahs. Jeff C. Davis's division was next hurled 
back over the field. Like a swift succeeding wave the last 
division of the " Right Wing, " Sheridan's, was struck with 
the same desperation. Sheridan fought with equal persist- 
ence and determination. The slaughter was horrible. Three 
times did the determined enemy advance, and as often was 


compelled to fall back. Finally Sheridan's ammunition gave 
out, and he, too. was compelled to fall back, leaving nine guns, 
which he could not get through the dense cedar thickets, in 
the hands of the rebels. The "Right Wing" was now all 
gone, and the onset that had borne it backward fell with un- 
broken fury on the "Center." General Rousseau, whocom- 
numdod a division of reserves, was ordered up to the sup- 
port of the right "Center " which was then in peril. 

The movement, according to General Rosecrans' original 
plan, had begun on the "Left" by General VanCleve. Colonel 
Sam Beatty's First brigade. Colonel S. W. Price's Third 
brigade, and Captain G. R. Swallow's Seventh Indiana bat- 
tery, had moved across the river and formed in line. Colonel 
J. P. Fyffe's Second brigade had just reached the river, and 
was in the act of crossing, when an order flew to VanCleve 
to suspend the movement, leave one brigade at the river, 
send another with a battery on double quick time to the rear 
to save the wagon train which had been attacked by Wheel- 
er's cavalry, and another to the support of the right. Col- 
onel Price was left at the river. Colonel Beatty was sent on 
double quick to assist General Rousseau, who by this time 
was hotly engaged. Colonel Fyffe's brigade with Captain 
Swallow's battery were sent to the rear in hot haste. Knap- 
sacks, blankets, overcoats and even canteens were scattered 
to the winds on the way. After tramping on a hop, skip and 
jump gait for about a mile in pell mell order the brigade 
came out into an open field, formed in line of battle perpen- 
dicular to the road, on the left. The rebel cavalry had cap- 
tured the train, but the corn field was soft and their progress 
was slow. A few shots from Swallow^ 's battery sent Wheeler 
flying over the fields and the train was recaptured'. At this 
point Colonel Fyffe received an order from General VanCleve 
to join the First brigade which had taken position on the 
right of General Rousseau. Back the brigade started on 
double quick. The fugitives by this time had darkened the 
fields, and the panic stricken trains had blocked the roads. 
On the brigade went through wild confusion and demoral- 
ized stragglers. The cedar thickets were ablaze with musk- 


etry, the earth was black with broken battalions, among 
which artillery wagons were plunging, and the chaos and 
wreck of a seemingly lost battle-field were to be seen in evi- 
dence everywhere. Into that vortex of death the Eighty- 
sixth went. 

The brigade was formed in two lines, the Forty-fourth 
Indiana and the Fifty-ninth Ohio in front, and the Thirteenth 
Ohio and the Eighty-sixth Indiana in support. The four 
regiments advanced through the tangled cedar thicket as 
best they could. There was but little undergrowth, but the 
whole surface was a continuous ledge of outcropping rock 
on which only the hardy cedar could find foothold and sus- 
tenance. In their immediate front there was a lull. They 
emerged from the thicket into an open field of sedge. The 
occasional musket shots which came across that field were 
but the advance messengers of the impending storm. The 
lines advanced, halted and laid down. They advanced again 
and again until the skirt of the wood was reached. The 
front line had advanced some distance in the wood while the 
second was at the fence. Every nerve was at its highest 
tension. The ball opened. Then it was work, desperate 
and furious. The enemy came up in magnificent order, four 
lines deep, and his opening fire was like the opening jaws of 
hell. It had been discovered that the brigade had been sent 
beyond supporting columns. It was a duel to death, but the 
murderous flanking fire was more than human flesh and 
blood could withstand, and the brigade, rent and distorted, 
reeled and fell back. It was a scene appalling in its atrocity 
and was enough to daunt the stoutest heart. The two color 
bearers of the Eighty -sixth were shot down and its colors left 
on the field.* At every step men fell like wheat before the 
sickle. The Eighty-sixth lost more than half its force. The 
enemy had swept everything before him thus far and doubt- 
less felt that with renewed effort the successful issue of the 

* Tlie colors fell into the hands of Sergent John F. Lovin. Company B, Third 
Confederate regiment, which was iu Woods' brigade, of Cleburne's division, Har- 
dee's corps. 


battle was within his grasp. Emerging from the woods with 
yell after yell, tiring as he came, the enemy rushed forward 
in the attempt to cross the open field and drive back a new 
line, of which the remnants of the torn and bleeding Second 
brigade foi-med a part, and which stood in the way to final 

That the brigade was without support on the right was 
a bhiiid(M- for wliich in the confusion and excitement of the 
rapid and varying movements perhaps no one particularly 
should be censured. General VanCleve, in his report says 
that he had information from General Rosecrans that Gen- 
eral Rousseau, on his left was driving the enemy. This in- 
formation was accompanied with an order to press him hard. 
It was in compliance with these orders that the First and 
Second brigades were ordered to advance. Colonel Fyffe, 
in his report, says he had assurances that Colonel Harker, 
wlio commanded a brigade in Wood's division, would support 
his right. Fylfe then says: "The division began advancing 
down the slope of the cedar ridge south of the road, passing 
Colonel Barker's on my right, beyond the foot of the slope. 
After passing his brigade, which did not move, my right 
liank became exposed, with strong indications of a heavy 
force approaching in front, extending beyond my right 
flank. As we continued advancing, I sent three different 
messengers by my aides, calling Colonel Harker's attention 
to my exposed flank, and at length reported in per- 
son to General VanCleve. While doing this the Sixty-fifth 
Ohio, which, it ajipeared, had been lying down at the edge 
of the field, rose to their feet where a force was needed. 
Supposing it would remain there, I passed back to my posi- 
tion, to see the Sixty-fifth march by the right flank back to 
Colonel Harker's left." Major H. N. Whitebeck, of the 
Sixly-tiflh Ohio, * says his regiment marched by the right 

* 'l ">"/ l'« stilted horp Uiiit tlio Sixty-fifth Oliio is the resimentof which Liou- 
tonjMit ( oloiH'l Hinm.-m. liic :mthnr nf tliat most popTiiar and widely read lM)nl<. 
< orpnral M KIcLrtraiid Ills j'ard." wasaiiicmlxT. Colcincl Uiiimaiia;i llial tiiiir 
was a Mfiilciiaiil lii Coiiipaiiy K. and is niciit loiicd liy ("nlotiid liis Ini.'-adc 
.•onmiaiKlcr. for ronspicuous -allanliy on 1 he sUirinisli lim>. In llic o.-caiis <ir 
war iMfraiiirc that liavc llondcd th,. .•ouiiliy since tliosc mcnioiahlc days tlic 
stalcitiYtil is ventured that none eciuals in popidarily t liat liooU of 7(M) padres. It. 
s popjihir I.ecause it so vividly portrays tlie actualities and the every-day life of 
a nulllon volunteers. 


flank to the sujtport of the Sixth Ohio battery. It must have 
been that movement to which Colonel Fyffe refers when he 
saw the Sixty-fifth march away by the right flank. Colonel 
Harker says: "While this movement was being executed, a 
staff officer from the command on my left (Fyffe 's) reported 
a strong force of the enemy in his front. I replied thay my 
right was in danger, and that a strong force and battery 
were in front. " Colonel Fyffe's statement that he appealed 
to Colonel Harker for support is thus confirmed by Harker 
himself, but it seems his own command was in a most pre- 
carious situation. Fyffe's brigade was in advance of Bar- 
ker's a considerable distance, thrown out upon assurances 
and in the belief that it would have sufficient support. When 
Colonel Fyffe discovered that he was not to have the prom- 
ised support, he sent Lieutenant Temple, of his staff, to 
Lieutenant Colonel Dick with orders to wheel the Eighty- 
sixth to the right, and place it in the woods to secure his 
flank. " Before the order reached him, " continues Colonel 
Fyffe, "the enemy appeared coming through the woods." 
The brigade fell back, but in the recession its distance to the 
rear was as much too great as was its distance to the front, 
and in turn Harker's left flank became exposed. With, his 
right threatened, and his left already turned, Harker's brig- 
ade receded. As before stated a new line was formed in the 
cedar thicket, a stand was made and the ground hotly con- 
tested, and the enemy driven back across the field. 

As the sun sank to rest that 31st of December his last 
look fell on a ghastly spectacle. The earth, torn, trampled 
and red, lay piled with thousands — some still and calm, as if 
in sleep, others mangled and blown into fragments, while 
bleeding arms and legs, without owners, lay scattered on 
every side. Dead horses and shattered gun carriages helped 
to swell the frightful wreck, over which darkness, in mercy, 
drew its pall. 

But the cessation of the battle and the coming of night 
did not release the Eighty-sixth and its colleagues of the 
brigade and division from their position. They were no 
longer required to lie prone on the cold, bare ground, but 


were compelled to stand without fire, with a hoar frost falling, 
until the coming of the new year, when they w^ere allowed 
to fall back about a half a mile where fires were built from a 
convenient cedar fence and where they lay till morning. 

Four months before the Eighty-sixth had entered the 
field with a thousand men. Disability, disease and death had 
decimated its ranks until that morning it numbered 368, in- 
chiding oificers. The aggregate loss on that bloody day was 
194, ten more than half. When the roll was called on New 
Year's morning, 1863, but one hundred and seventy -four 
officers and men answered to their names. 

In the list of dead on the field were the following heroic 

Company A. — First Lieutenant George W. Smith, 
" " — Thomas S. Hester, 

" —Robert W. Myers, 
" " — Richard A. Stowers, 

" B. — Lewis Heintz, 
" " — George E. Armor, 

" —Richard C. Crowell, 
" —Anthony M. Saxon, 
C— Edward Blanchfill, 
" —William J. Boord, 
" " — Derrick V. Labaw. 

" —William H. H. Martin, 
" " — Ben j amin Trullinger, 

D.— William Lamb, 
" " — Jackson Jacobs, 

"— Nathan C. Pringle, 
" E. — Abram Fisher, 
" " — James H. Clinton, 

" — William B. Fleming, 
F.— John M. Wilson, 
" —William C. Stogdill, 
" — Robert H. Creamer, 
" —Henry W. Davis, 
" —Edwin P. Stephenson. 
"— James O. Tolin, 


Company F. — James M. Wilkins, 
" G. — James Cambridge, 

" —William T. Whitesell, 
H.— Timothy S. Roush, 
K.— Martin L. Williams— 30. 

The following are the names of those who were mortally 
wounded : 

Company A.-^FloydN. Worrell, 
" " — John A. Feeley, 

B. — John A. Cozad, 
D.— Charles W. B. Gilger, 
" " — J amis Guest, 

" " ■ — John A. Johnson, 

" F. — George Baldwin, 

" —John C. Beard, 
H.— LeviLidy, 
I.— John H. Stook, 
" K. — Bartholomew Green — 12. 

Lieutenant Colonel Dick reported thirty-three enlisted 
men killed. This included those who died of wounds the 
following day. Others died from the same cause after his 
report had been submitted, so that it would make of killed 
and mortally wounded a total of 41. The wounded numbered 
54, many of whom were afterwards discharged. Five officers 
were wounded, though none seriously. Ninety-nine men and 
two officers were captured. 

Lieutenant Colonel Dick, who had command of the regi- 
ment, thus speaks of this part of the battle in his report to 
Colonel James P. Fyffe: 

"My command arrived in front of Murfreesboro at 8 p. m., Decem- 
ber 30, 1862. On the following morning- the regiment numbered 368, 
rank and file. About noon of December 31, with the brigade, wo were 
marched in line of battle across the Nashville turnpike, about one-half 
mile south, across an open field to the skirt of a heavy woods, in which 
the enemy lay concealed in heavy force. My regiment was on the ex- 
treme right of the brigade. We were halted behind a fence at the 
edge of the woods, to await the arrival of troops to come up to support 
us on the right, who failed to come. Our right was totally exposed to 


the enemy, who immediately attacked us in ovei* whelming numbers in 
front, our right flank extending around partially to the rear of our 
right wing. Our regiment fought bravely until their ranks were being 
rapidly cut down and thinned, when we fell back to the turnpike road, 
where a portion of them again rallied with portions of other regiments 
of the brigade, and drove the enemy back. Our loss in this engagement 
was as follows: Commissioned officers killed, 1; wounded, 5; missing, '2,\ 
enlisted men killed, 33; wounded, 54; missing, ?J9. Total number of ofH- 
cers killed, wounded and missing, 8; enlisted men killed, wounded and 
missing, 18H. Aggregate, 194. Both color bearers were shot down and 
the colors left on the field." 

Major Dwiglit Jarvis, who commanded the Thirteenth 
Ohio of tlie Second brigade, in his report to Colonel Fyffe, 

"On Wednesday at 8 a. m., our regiment, under command of Col- 
onel Joseph G. Hawkins, was ordered in from outpost duty, and took our 
place in line. Soon after, we started for the south side of Stone's River, 
but got but a short distance when, by your orders, we countermarched 
at double-quick a distance of about one mile, to a corn-field on the right 
of the Murfreesboro road, to repel an attack of cavalry upon our train. 
Our lines were here formed, my regiment occupying the right of the 
Second brigade. The enemy being driven from the field by our cavalry 
and artillery, my regiment was not engaged, and about 10 o'clock under 
your dii-ections, took a position in the woods south of the corn-field. 
My regiment was now ordered to cover the Fifty-ninth Oliio, which with 
the Forty-foiu"th Indiana, formed the first line of attack, my regiment 
with the Eighty-sixth Indiana on its right, forming the second line. In 
consequence of the unevenness of the ground and the density of the 
thicket, it was difficult to keep our lines properly, but, on emerging 
from the woods (cedar bi-akes) into the open field beyond we advanced 
regularly to the edge of the next woods. The first line having advanced 
some twenty yards into the woods, my regiment was ordered to lie down. 
Now it became evident that the enemy was attempting to outflank us 
upon the right; and this was reported to you, but just at that moment 
our lirst line was attacked, and it was compelled to fall back in some 
disorder and over oui' men, who were lying close to the fence. At this 
moment our gallant Colonel fell, mortally wounded, while encouraging 
the men to keep cool and fire low; and the command devolved upon my- 
self. I held the position until the enemy completely outflanked us, and 
was tlK^n compelled to fall back in disorder to the line of reserves, where 
I rallied my command, and this time drove the enemy back, they being 
now in the open Held, while we had the advantage of the cover of the 
woods. We inflicted considerable loss upon them in killed and wounded, 
besides capturing some thirty prisoners. My loss in the engagement 


was quite severe, Colonel J. G. Hawkins and Second Lieutenant J. C. 
Whittaker being- killed; tog-ether with twenty-seven enlisted men. 
Captain E. M. Mast, Lieutenants John Murphy, John E. Ray, S. C. 
Gould, John Pox (since died), and Thomas J. Stone were wounded, and 
sixty-eight enlisted men, besides thirty-nine missing-."' 

Lieutenant Colonel William Howard, who commanded 
the Fifty-ninth Ohio, in his report to Colonel Fyffe, says: 

"On the morning- of that day (December 31) my command was 
formed at 4 o'clock in accordance with previous orders, and with the 
balance of the brigade, started at 8 o'clock to take position on the left, 
when we received orders to march immediately to defend the wagon train 
against the attack of the enemy, which was done with promptness, and 
they were driven back with loss, and the whole train was saved. We 
then received orders to march back and take position on the right of 
Colonel Beatty's command, in front, as our forces were hard pressed at 
that point, in line of battle, and moved forward to attack the enemy ; 
and after moving across the woods we came into an open field, which we 
moved rapidly across until we reached the woods, and my skirmishers 
soon discovered the enemy in heavy force and in strong position in 
front, and fired upon him and fell back to the line, which I immediately 
ordered forward and made the attack ; and after firing upon them sev- 
ei'al rounds, and holding them in check for some time, we were forced 
back by superior numbers about twenty paces, when, by the prompt as- 
sistance of my officers, we succeeded in rallying the regiment and took 
position behind a fence, and then poured volley after volley into the ad- 
vancing ranks of the enemy, and held them in check until Major 
Frambes, upon the right, informed me that we were being flanked upon 
that wing and that the balance of the brigade was falling back when I 
gave the order to fall back, inclining to the right in a skirt of woods, 
and thereby protecting to a great extent, a flanking fire also. My 
officers again coming- promptly to my assistance, we succeeded in rally- 
ing again, and moved to the right, through the woods in front of the 
enemy, and by a well directed fire checked his onward movement, and 
held him in that position, when we moved forward and drove the enemy 
from the field with great slaughter and in complete disoi-der. * * We 
held our position until darkness closed the controversy of the day." 

Lieutenant Colonel Simon C. Aldrich, who commanded 
the Forty-fourth Indiana, reported to Colonel Fylfe as 
follows : 

" We went into the field on December 31, 1862, with31G men, officers 
included. We took our position, by your oi^der, in brigade on the right, 
and marched in line of battle through an open field south of the pike. 
In passing through this field we discovered the enemy making a flank 


movement on our right, in a wood bordering upon the field. Intelli- 
gence was conveyed to you, and, as I understand, by you to our division 
commander. We made a stand at the edge of the wood in our front, but 
were soon ordered to advance, which we did. After entering the woods 
our skirmishers were ordered in, as the line of the enemy was in sight. 
We still advanced to within, as near as I could judge, one hundred yards 
of their line, and opened fire. They replied and advanced their line; at 
the same time the flanking force opened a galling cross fire upon us. 
We held the position as long as we could do so without sacrificing our 
whole regiment; we then fell back to our battery and formed line of bat- 
tle. We were ordered by General VanCleve to remain here until 
farther orders. We soon had orders from you to join the brigade at the 
right, which we did. Here we formed a new line, and remained until 
some time in the night, when we were ordered to march to the left 
again, where we remained through the night. 1 must here mention 
that at the first rally at the rail fence was the last seen of Colonel Wil- 
liams. I suppose him to be taken prisoner. Our loss as it stands now 
is, 19 killed, 5G wounded, and 25 missing." 

These are the reports of the four regimental commanders. 
The history of one regiment is the history of the four. 
There is no disagreement in the different reports but each 
makes his report from a different point of view. It will be 
seen from the reports of Major Jarvis and Lieutenant Col- 
onel Aldrich that the Forty-fourth Indiana and the Fifty- 
ninth Ohio were in the front line and were supported by the 
Eighty-sixth Indiana and the Thirteenth Ohio when the 
brigade was thrown into that seething cauldron of death. It 
was a blunder, but perhaps unavoidable, due largely to the 
demoralized and panic stricken "Right Wing "which had 
been driven back with frightful loss. The recession of the 
divisions of the right had exposed the flank of the "Center " 
to which VanCleve 's division had gone to support, and with 
the commanders of nearly all grades calling for assistance 
the wonder is that the error was not more grievous and the 
results more disastrous. 

After recounting the movements of the brigade when the 
order was received countermanding the movement across 
Stone's River, and double-quicking to the rear to save the 
train, Colonel James P. Fyffe, who commanded the Second 
brigade, says in his report: 

" At this point an order was received from General VanCleve to re- 


turn to the Third division, and form on the right of the First brigade 
in two lines to support it; that Colonel Harker would support my right. 
The order was immediately complied with; the division began advanc- 
ing down the slojje of the cedar ridge south of the road, passing Colonel 
Harker's on my right, beyond the foot of the slope. After passing his 
brigade, which did not move, my right flank became exposed, with 
strong indications of a heavy force approaching in front, extending be- 
yond my right flank. As we continued advancing, I sent three different 
messengers (messages) by my aides, calling Colonel Harker's attention 
to my exposed flank, and at length reported in person to General Van- 
Cleve. While doing this the Sixty-fifth Ohio, which, it appeared, had 
been lying down at the edge of the field, rose to their feet in the place 
where a force was needed. Supposing it would i^emain there, I passed 
back again to my position, to see the Sixty-fifth march by the right 
flank back to Colonel Harker's left. The firing in front of my first line, 
composed of the Fifty-ninth Ohio and Forty-fourth Indiana, was getting 
to be heavy, and the skirmishers, running in, reported a heavy force 
advancing through the woods, outflanking my right. Lieutenant Tem- 
ple, of my staff, was sent at once to Lieutenant Colonel Dick with orders 
to wheel his regiment to the right, and place it in the woods to secure 
my flank. Before the order reached him the enemy appeared coming 
through the woods." 

At a meeting of the corps commanders at headquarters 
during Wednesday night it was decided to fight the battle 
out on this line. It is said that General Crittenden asked 
permission to cross the river with the "Left Wing" and fight 
the enemy as originally contemplated. All acknowledged 
that the prospect looked gloomy. The enemy held two- 
thirds of the battle-field, and had in his hands one-fifth of 
Rosecrans' artillery. About seven thousand men, one-sixth 
of the whole army, had disappeared from the field, and were 
among the killed, wounded and captured. It was believed 
that the enemy would renew the attack in the morning. 
General Rosecrans, finding that he had ammunition enough, 
made up his mind to fight it on that very spot. It was a clear, 
cold December night, but, after midnight, the heavens be- 
came overcast, and the bitter rain came pitilessly down on 
the weary ranks, and on the dead and wounded that bur- 


dened the field. Having decided to make the stand the com- 
manding general began a disposition of his troops. General 
VanCleve had been wounded, and Colonel Sam Beatty, of the 
First brigcide, assumed command of the Third division. On 
New Year's morning the entire Division crossed the rivei* 
and took position in line of battle according to the original 
plan. The Third brigade. Colonel S. W. Price, held the 
right; the Second brigade. Colonel J. P. Fyffe, the left; the 
First brigade, now commanded by Colonel B. C. Grider, 
stationed in supi)ort of the center. The Forty-fourth Indi- 
ana and the Thirteenth Ohio were placed on the front line, 
and the Fifty-ninth Ohio and the Eighty-sixth Indiana on 
the second. Thus the forces rested during the day with con- 
siderable picket firing in front, and artillery duels at inter- 
vaLs, whereby some casualties occurred, but there was noth- 
ing like a serious attack. The question of rations became a 
serious matter, and as many of the men had had nothing 
since the morning before, they did not hesitate to sample a 
horse or mule steak from the animals which had been killed 
in battle. The more frugal, those who held on to their haver- 
sacks, notwithstanding their store was scant, were not re- 
duced to this extremity. At night the men lay down on 
their arms again, without removing their shoes or even un- 
clasping their cartridge belts, ready to leap out at the slight- 
est alarm. 

Friday morning, January 2, was devoid of special inci- 
dent, save a most tei-rilic artillery duel far to the right. The 
firing on the skirmish line began early and continued lively 
throughout the morning. Shortly after noon it became evi- 
dent that an attack was imminent. Colonel Fyffe then 
ord«M-ed the Eighty-sixth Indiana and the Thirteenth Ohio 
iiilo the front line, deflecting the Eighty-sixth back, and 
Ijhicing it 1m 'hind a fence to be ready to sweep an open field 
in front. At 8 o'clock the skirmishers reported that the 
enemy was thrcnving down fences, as if making ready to 
chai-ge. At 4 o'clock a double line of rebel skirmishes was 
seen to advance from the woods in front of Breckinridge's 
position and move across the fields. Behind them came 


heavy colamns of infantry, and it became evident that the 
rebel right wing was bearing down on the ah'eady decimated 
ranks of tlie Third division. They passed the open cotton 
fields, in three heavy lines of battle, the first column, in 
three ranks, six men deep — the second supporting the first 
— and the reserve column last. Three batteries accom- 
panied this imposing mass, as it came down in splendid 
order. They came on with steady step and even front, and 
then, like a swollen torrent, flung themselves forward against 
Price's brigade. Their strength was overwhelming. In a 
few minutes the brigade gave way, and the reserve consist- 
ing of three regiments of the First brigade, the Nineteenth 
Ohio, and the Ninth and Eleventh Kentucky, were then sent 
up and fought gallantly. But the three regiments were too 
weak and fell back, fighting to the river, Fyffe's brigade, 
to the left, was not attacked directly in front, but the reces- 
sion of the right brigade forced it to yield position. The 
enemy, however, received a heavy flank and oblique fire 
from the Eighty-sixth and Forty-fourth Indiana and the Thir- 
teenth Ohio. But General Rosecrans was prepared for this 
movement. He hastily massed fifty-eight cannon on an emi- 
nence on the west side of the river, where they could enfilade 
the successive columns as they advanced. Their opening 
roar was terrific, and the crash of the iron storm, through 
the thick-set ranks, was overwhelming. It was madness to 
face it, yet the rebel columns closed up and pressed on ; but, 
as they came within close range of musketry, their line 
seemed to shrivel in the fire that met it. They had now got 
so near that the men could be seen to topple over separately, 
before the volleys. A third and last time, they staggered 
forward, the foremost ranks reaching to the water's edge. 
But here they stopped — it was like charging down the red 
mouth of a volcano. Their broken and discomfited columns 
turned back on their path, closely pursued by the Third di- 
vision which had rallied, together with the First and Second 
divisions of Crittenden's corps and the fresh troops from 
the "Right "and "Center." They chased the flying foe 
for a half mile, cheering as they charged. Darkness ended 


the fight, and the Eighty-sixth with its brigade and division 
camped on the field. 

Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. Bailey, of the Ninth Ken- 
tucky, in some recollections of this famous battle printed in 
the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, of January 6, 1889, after 
giving a vivid account of the part taken by the First brig- 
ade, composed of the Ninth and Eleventh Kentucky, the 
Nineteenth Ohio, and the Seventy-ninth Indiana, makes some 
comments which will be read with interest. Colonel Bailey 
at that time was the Adjutant of the Ninth and will be re- 
membered as a most handsome and gallant officer, and as 
courteous as he was brave. He writes: 

" From the beginning of the enemy's advance until his sliattered 
columns regained the cover of the woods from which they had emerged 
covered a period of forty-five minutes — a segment of time crowded with 
all that goes to constitute war in its most terrible aspect. In that brief 
space some three thousand men were killed and wounded, Breckinridge 
losing two thousand and the Union army about half that number. 
There was some criticism at the time of the battle, the spirit of which 
has been somewhat crystalized in history, that VanCleve's division did 
not make the resistance it should against Breckinridge's onslaught. 
While losses are not an infallible indication of the fierceness of a fight 
or the bravery of those engaged, they do show the degree of exposure, 
and judged by this test VanCleve's division at least did not give ground 
before it was vigorously assailed. Its loss in the series of engagements 
aggregated 1,530, an average of a fraction over 117 to each of its regi- 
ments. * * The division was simply run over by an overwhelming 
force specially organized for that object, and the redeeming feature was 
the gallant advance and desperate resistance of the three reserve regi- 
ments, and the fact that they did advance and make the fight they did was 
no inconsiderable factor in the ultimate defeat of the rebel plan. * * In 
many respects the assault of Breckinridge on that day bore a striking 
resemblance to the famous charge of Pickett at Gettysburg, six months 
and one day later, and with the possible exception of numbers engaged 
and the stake at issue, is as much entitled to National recognition as 
the later event. Like Pickett's, the failure of Breckinridge was fatal 
to the assaulting army, witli whom in each case the first day's successes 
had been of a nature to promise great results. Like Lee, Bragg with- 
drew after tliis bloody repulse, and what uj) to that moment had been a 
drawn battle with the odds in favor of the Confederates, by the result of 
this one movement became a Union victory." 

Lieutenant Colonel George F. Dick in his report of the 


movement of the regiment on the 1st and 2d days of Janu- 
ary, says: 

"On the following morning-, (January 1), we wei'e marched some 
mile and a half across Stone's River to the front, and placed in line of 
battle early in the day, where we skirmished with the enemy all day, 
lying on our ai^ms at night. The next day we occupied the same ground, 
skirmishing with the enemy till 3 p. m., when the enemy in vast num- 
bers attacked the right of our line, composed of the First and Third 
brigades of our division, which maintained the ground, fighting obsti- 
nately for some time, when they were forced to yield to superior num- 
bers, and fell back, when our regiment fell back to the high piece of 
ground, near a house on the hill, some hundred rods to the rear, where 
we again made a stand, again rallied with other troops, and drove the 
enemy from the field, retaking and holding our former position." 

The reports of Lieutenant Colonel Aldrich, of the Forty- 
fourth Indiana, of Major Dwight Jarvis, of the Thirteenth 
Ohio, and of Lieutenant Colonel William Howard, of the 
Fifty-ninth Ohio, are substantially the same and concur with 
the report of Lieutenant Colonel Dick. Colonel Fyffe, the 
brigade commander, makes special mention of a number of 
officers and men for their conspicuous commendable conduct 
throughout the trying ordeal of the many days' fighting. 
Among those of the Eighty-sixth were Colonel O. S. Hamil- 
ton, heretofore alluded to, Lieutenant Colonel George F. 
Dick, Major J. M. Dresser, wounded in the first day's en- 
gagement, E. D. Thomas, who was an orderly on his staff, 
and color bearers Benjamin Trullinger and Nathan Coffen- 
berry, who were both shot down, the first killed instantly 
and the latter mortally wounded in the fight of the first day. 

In his report to the War Department General Rosecrans 
says that he fought the battle of Stone's River with the fol- 
lowing forces: Infantry, 37,977; artillery, 2,223; cavalry, 
3,200. Total, 43,400. His losses were as follows: Officers 
killed, 100; enlisted men killed, 1,630; officers wounded, 405; 
enlisted men wounded, 7,397; officers captured, 44; enlisted 
men captured, 3,673. Showing an aggregate loss of 13,- 
249. He thinks the enemy had 15 per cent, advantage in his 
choice of ground and knowledge of the country, and he es- 
timates Bragg's strength at 62,720 men. On the contrary 


General Bragg reported to the Confederate War Department 
that his aggregate effective strength was 37,712, including 
infantry, artillery and cavalry. If this be correct, and there 
is no reason to doubt it, the two opposing armies in point of 
numbers were pretty equally matched. He reports his 
losses as follows: Officers killed, 123; enlisted men killed, 
1,171; officers wounded, 659; enlisted men wounded, 7,286; 
officers captured, 46; enlisted men captured, 981. Showing 
an aggregate loss of 10,266. Bragg estimated Rosecrans' 
strength to be 70,000 men. He also estimates Rosecrans' killed 
at 3,000, his wounded at 16,000 and claimed to have captured 
6,273 prisoners, making a total loss of 25,273. All of which 
goes to show that in a guessing contest it is not safe to rely 
on the estimates of the adversary. Wild as Rosecrans was 
of the strength and losses of Bragg, he is still nearer the 
mark than Bragg was in estimating the strength and losses 
of Rosecrans. It is but fair to say that the Union losses 
were greater than the Confederate losses. Bragg's loss was 
the greater in killed and wounded, while Rosecrans' loss was 
the greater in missing or captured. Rosecrans' army was so 
disabled that it could not make an effective pursuit. But 
this does not change the facts of history that the battle of 
Stone's River, was lost by Bragg and won by Rosecrans. 

By changing his plan of battle from the offensive to the 
defensive Rosecrans held Bragg's at first victorious columns 
in check, and actually turned defeat into victory; and if he 
did not, like Alexander enter Babylon, " the oldest seat of 
earthly empire," he did with the Army of the Cumberland, 
enter Murfreesboro, and what was left of the Eighty-sixth 
Indiana regiment was a part of that victorious army. Who 
among those that participated in the stirring scenes of that 
battle have forgotten the story? Oh, what a story it is! 
There is no orator's tongue that can tell it, no painter's 
iH'ush that can depict it, a story of devotion to country and 
to liberty, to law and to order, that shall go down in history 
side by side with the heroic deeds of ancient and modern 
times. In song and story, and marble tablet, in statues of 
brass and bronze, the story of Stone's River will be told for 


all the ages, for Liberty will not forget her children until 
Liberty herself shall die. 


A Trip Through Dixie— From Murfreesboro to Chattanooga— To Atlanta and 
Montgomery— From There to Richmond— In Libby Prison— How the Days 
Were Spent — Released on Parole and Finally Exchanged. 

As has been stated the Eighty-sixth had ninety-nine 
men captured on the 31st day of December, the first day's 
battle of Stone's River. They were taken in squads of from 
two to a half a dozen while in the effort to rejoin the main 
body of the regiment which had fallen back from that fate- 
ful fence. The well formed columns of the enemy had 
passed over them and they were generally taken in charge 
by stragglers, who no doubt claimed great glory for captur- 
ing prisoners already within their lines. In charge of of- 
ficers and guards the prisoners were marched through the 
battle-field over which the "Right Wing" had been driven. 
And what a field it was! The ploughed and trampled earth, 
the shattered trees, the fields and woods strewn with dead 
horses, broken artillery wagons, and dead and dying men, 
looked as if all the forces of earth and heaven and hell had 
been striving for mastery in the fearful wreck. By the time 
they reached the Franklin pike several hundred had been 
collected, and they were started on double quick in the direc- 
tion of Murfreesboro. When they reached the Stone's 
River crossing they were granted a breathing spell, but were 
soon again on the way, though at a more moderate gait. 
Upon arriving at the city they were placed in the court house 
yard which was then enclosed with a stone fence. Prisoners 
continued to arrive until nightfall, and it was not until the 


excitement of the day began to subside did they realize their 
lonclinoss. That night was spent in the court house yard 
wWh noithor tire nor food, and having been relieved of 
lK)nches, blankets and overcoats by rebel officers who had 
headquarters in the court house, there was much suffering 
both from cold and hunger. 

Morning came and they were transferred to an old mill 
in the southern part of the city, where they remained dur- 
ing the day, which was New Years, 1863. That long cold 
day was one of extreme distress. At sunset, the prisoners 
were marched through town and quartered in an old school 
house lot where for the first time since their capture they 
were permitted to have fire. Several barrels of flour were 
rolled in and divided among the men, each man receiving 
about a pint. Lucky were the men who had cups or vessels 
of any kind to store it. Water was furnished, and a dough 
was made on any kind of a board that could be picked up 
regardless of its cleanliness or uncleanliness. This soft 
mass was wound around sticks and held before the fire to 
bake. It required no appetizer to dispose of that half-baked 
paste, but like Oliver Twist, they wanted more. While the 
fire contributed somewhat to the comfort of the prisoners, 
yet the night spent here was one of sleepless unrest. 

Next morning, January 1, they were placed aboard plat- 
form cars headed in the direction of Chattanooga. The 
weather was cold, and being without blankets or overcoats, 
the ride was anything but pleasant, in fact was one of abso- 
lute discomfort. The train reached Chattanooga about 2 
o'clock in the morning. In the meantime rain had com- 
menced falling which but added to the discomforts of travel- 
ing on a gravel train. The prisoners were marched to the 
banks of the Tennessee river under the shadow of Lookout 
Mountain, afterwards the scene of historic interest. They 
wandered around in the dark and the rain until daylight, when 
axes were furnished, and it was not long until bright fires 
blazed up from the logs cut from trees which stood on the 
ground, around which the men huddled awaiting promised 
and expected rations, during the entire day. Just as the 


chickens were going to roost — there were none there, how- 
ever — wagons, with unsifted corn meal and sugar, drove up, 
and these two articles were distributed. A load of spiders — 
old-fashioned pot metal skillets — were thrown off, and in a 
driving rain the men prepared the corn meal for use. Before 
the baking was done orders were received to march immed- 
iately. Confederate orders, like Federal orders, were not at 
all times promptly executed, so it was not until 3 o'clock in 
the morning when the lines were formed and the prisoners 
under guard started for the Atlanta depot. This time they 
were placed aboard box cars. The cars were of the most 
miserable description, for freight and cattle. The men were 
packed so close that they could neither sit nor stand with 
any comfort. They slept somewhat after the style of sar- 
dines in a box, though not so soundly. With fifty or sixty 
human beings crowded into so small a space, carpeted as the 
cars were, the atmosphere soon became stifling. By the time 
the train reached Atlanta, 138 miles south of Chattanooga, 
which was the evening of the next day, those cars had all 
the appearance of having passed through the cedar thickets 
at Stone's River. At Atlanta the prisoners bivouacked in an 
open lot, and each man received a small loaf of light bread. 
From Atlanta they were taken to West Point, and from 
there to Montgomery, Alabama, 172 miles southwest. With- 
out so much as changing cars the engine was hooked on to 
the rear end of the train and started back. Arriving at At- 
lanta a camp was established two miles from the city. The 
men were divided into companies of ninety, and an orderly 
sergeant -appointed for each company. Surgeons passed 
through the camp looking after the sick, prescribing for 
some and sending others to the hospital. The stay here, 
however, was short, as orders came to march. At nightfall 
the men fell in line and marched to the depot where cattle 
trains were in waiting to take them, they knew not where. 

Daylight on the morning of January 11, found them at 
Dalton, one hundred miles north of Atlanta. At this point 
the road forks, one line leading to Chattanooga and the other 
through East Tennessee to Richmond. Over which the men 


would be sent was the question of the hour. Wlien the train 
pulled out over the East Tennessee and Virginia railroad all 
knew^ that their destination was determined. Sunday, Jan- 
uary 11, was passed in Knoxville. Here as well as all 
along through East Tennessee the loyalty of the people was 
plainly evident, as w^as shown in numerous instances. On 
the lilth the train bearing the prisoners reached the Wau- 
tauga river where the bridge had been burned by Colonel 
Carter a few weeks before. Colonel Carter commanded a force 
of Union cavalry and had made a raid through East Tennes- 
see destroying the bridges over the Wautauga and Holstein 
rivers. This was a part of the plan of General Rosecrans 
to prevent re-enforcements for Bragg from Richmond. At the 
"Wautauga the prisoners disembarked, waded the river and 
marched nine miles, the distance between the two rivers. 
After w^ading the cold waters of the Holstein, nearly up to 
their necks, and waiting perhaps two hours a train pulled in 
to carry the men "on to Richmond. " 

On the morning of January 16, the train arrived at the 
capital of the Confederate States. The prisoners w^ere 
marched across James river, up through the city, amid the 
taunts and jeers of the throngs that lined the sidewalks. 
Finally they stood outside the walls of the well known ware- 
house used in times of peace by Libby & Son, whose sign 
was still suspended above the door, and gave a name to this 
prison which will endure for generations. They were as- 
signed to one of the rooms in this large building w^here w^ere 
confined several thousand, though they had free access to all 
the rooms. The windows were secured by iron bars, such 
as adorn prison cells. The building w^as surrounded by sen- 
tinels, whose beats were on the pavement below. No one 
was allowed to put his head close enough to the bars to look 
down on the street, under penalty of being shot. The 
rations issued to the men consisted of the half of a very 
small loaf of light bread, and a small piece of tainted meat 
from cow or horse or mule, nobody knew which, on one day 
and the broth from this meat, thickened with rice and some 
times with beans, the next day. This, once a day, consti- 


tuted the rations while in Libby prison. What they lacked 
in quantity was made up in strength, the rice and bean bugs 
being abundantly able to sustain life. Here the prisoners 
became intimately acquainted with a friend which stuck 
closer than a brother. Twice or oftener each day he helped 
them by his presence to while away a portion of the long 
dreary hours, and they even took off their clothing to catch 
sight of him. The time was spent day after day in such 
diversions as usually engage soldiers in camp. Many whiled 
the hours in repining, and every day some one or more were 
transferred to the hospital, located elsewhere, many of whom 
died. Old letters from home were read and reread. Scraps 
of newsi^apers and stray leaves from old books were perused 
until worn out. The roll was called twice a day by a ser- 
geant who was attended by a strong guard well armed. And 
thus the days passed. Prayer meetings were held every day, 
and the fervent invocations that were offered doubtless 
proved effectual. At 8 o'clock on the morning of January 
29, all except commissioned officers filed out of Libby prison 
for the Petersburg depot not knowing whither they were 
bound. When the train started in the direction of City 
Point from Petersburg all knew that their prison days were 
numbered. At City Point they were paroled. Flags of truce 
boats were in waiting. They were taken down the James 
and up the Chesapeake to Annapolis where a parole camp 
had been established. They remained at this camp six weeks, 
when they were transferred to Camp Chase, near Columbus, 
Ohio, traveling by boats to Baltimore and thence over the 
Pennsylvania railroad. After a sta*y of two weeks here they 
were sent to Indianapolis and assigned quarters at Camp 
Carrington, Avhere seven months before they had been mus- 
tered in and then known as Camp Murphy. An eight days' 
furlough was granted the men to go to their homes. 

Thus terminated the prison experience of the men who 
were captured at Stone's River, an experience brief and mild 
compared with the months of sufferings endured by those 
who were in captivity afterwards, but an experience fraught 
with extreme hunger, pinching cold and almost unendurable 


hardships. The story of rebel prison pens is one which 
every true lover of his country might well wish were never 
written, but it is a part of human history, and as nearly a 
hundred men of the Eighty-sixth had a slight personal ex- 
perience it is here given. Those who survived and were not 
physically disabled by the cruelties of which they were vic- 
tims were duly exchanged, and by the 30th of May had all 
rejoined their regiment, and shared in its marches and bivou- 
acs, its skirmishes and battles, until its muster-out more than 
two years later. 


six Months at Murfrccsboro— Ciimp Life— How The Time Was Employed— The Long 
Stay An Absolute Necessity— The Eighty-sixth Receives Really Its First 
Military Instruction— Punishment of a Deserter— A Piece of Somber Romance 
—Other Incidents— March to McMinnville. 

On the night of January 3, 1863, General Bragg evacu- 
ated Murfreesboro. He commenced the movement stealthily 
at 11 o'clock, gathering up his men and guns so cautiously 
that it was not known that he was gone until broad day-light 
next morning. He was in Shelby ville, thirty miles away, by 
noon on Sunday, the 4th. The facts are that General Rose- 
crans' army was not in a condition to make an effective pur- 
suit. While the battle resulted in a victory for the Union 
army, it was a victory dearly bought. General Rosecrans 
had lost, in killed and wounded, nearly nine thousand men, 
besides over three thousand prisoners, nearly a third of his 
effective strength. He had lost, in addition, fifty pieces of 
artillery, and over five hundred and fifty artillery horses, so 
that farther pursuit was not only inadvisable but impossible. 
Bragg retired so hastily as to leave 2,600 of his sick and 
wounded with 200 medical and other attendants. In fact, 


General Rosecrans found the town full of wounded soldiers 
of both armies who were greatly suffering for medical atten- 
tion and the necessary comforts. Hosj^ital appliances were 
furnished the Confederate surgeons so that they could prop- 
erly care for their wounded men, while of course his own 
wounded and sick were not neglected. 

The army now settled down into camp life to recuperate 
and prepare for future operations. The Eighty-sixth with 
its brigade were assigned to a position on the Maney place, 
north of the town and east of the Lebanon turnpike. The 
ranks of the regiment had been decimated to such an extent 
that it presented all the appearance of a mere squad. While 
the loss of the entire army had been only about one-third, 
the loss of the Eighty-sixth had been more than one-half, 
thirteen per cent, of which had been killed and mortally 
wounded, fifteen per cent, wounded so seriously as to dis- 
able them for duty, and twenty-seven per cent, had fallen 
into the hands of the enemy, leaving but forty-five per cent, 
of those who had responded at roll call but five days before. 
It was indeed a time for sadness and discouragement. But 
the remnant of the regiment bravely set to work. The 
camp was arranged according to regulations, and men and 
officers entered upon their duties in all their diversified 
forms — building fortifications, scouting, foraging, escorting 
trains, picketing and drilling. 

The life of a soldier in time of war presents two especial 
characteristics, and each of these is an extreme. The 
soldier is either in the midst of change and excitement in 
which every power of mind and body is brought into the 
most active play possible, or his life is one of the most ut- 
terly monotonous. True, during what is termed inactive life 
there is a regular routine of roll calls, guard mounts, and 
drills that serve to prevent complete stagnation, but these 
become devoid of interest or pleasure to the very large 
majority. Camp life becomes a weariness and a burden in a 
very short time. The soldier who has tasted of the excite- 
ment of a campaign, and the pursuit of a foe, where danger 
is present all the time, even though ho may not like the 


severe work of the battle-field, will soon complain of the 
dullness and routine of the every day duties of a regulation 


The Eighty-sixth from the time it left Indianapolis on 
the previous 7th of September, up until its entry into Mur- 
freesboro, the first days in January, 1863, had known nothing 
of the monotonous side of the soldier's life. True, it was in 
camj) a few days at Nashville before starting on the Stone's 
River campaign, but during those few days the time was 
fully occupied in the preparations that were going on most 
energetically for entering upon that important movement. 
The first real and complete experience of camp life that was 
had by the regiment, and in fact the only one that it had 
during its entire service, was the six months in camp at 
Murfreesboro. The time here was, however, well spent, 
and the fruits of the work done were of incalculable benefit 
not only to the Eighty-sixth, but to the entire army. It 
could not have been possible, for any army to have been 
brought together with the same number of men as were then 
in the Army of the Cumberland where there was so little 
knowledge of drill, of guard or picket duty, as then existed 
in that army. 

Beginning with the commanders of regiments and from 
those down to the privates in the ranks, there were but few 
who knew anything of these duties. No one realized the sit- 
uation in this respect more thoroughly than did Major Gen- 
eral Rosecrans. Immediately upon the establishment of the 
camps in and about Murfreesboro, the most stringent orders 
were issued by the general commanding in regard to daily 
duties. After breakfast, which was per force an early one, there 
was the policing of the camp, then guard mount, and after that 
the formation of the picket details, and going on picket. 
Being near the enemy the picket details were heavy and fre- 
quent. After the guards and pickets were disposed of came 
the drill call, in the forenoon, for the company. Each com- 
pany was formed and moved out to the extensive adjacent 
drill ground under command of the company officers. It was 
an animating sight to see each company of the several regi- 


ments of the brigade to which this regiment was attached, 
out for the two hours' drill. The regimental commanders 
were also on the field to see that there was no shirking on 
the part of either the men or their offtcers. The novelty- 
soon wore off, however, and the drills had altogether too 
much method in them to be amusing. Moreover, many of 
The company officers took great delight in the drill, and by 
their enthusiasm brought their men to take an interest and a 
pride in the work. Cold or hot the day, the drills were warm, 
and persistent. 

A rest was had at noon for a soldier's dinner. The 
afternoons of four days of the week were devoted to regi- 
mental drill and two days of the week to brigade drill. In 
connection with these drills for the purpose of making the 
officers more efficient, and at the same time of ridding the 
service of men who had no mental adaptability to the jirac- 
tical work of military tactics, and yet held commissions, 
General Rosecrans established a military commission before 
which officers received a forceful invitation to appear. It 
did not take officers long to realize that they must be pre- 
pared to meet this commission and i:)ass the examination, or 
they would have to retire from the service. Even in this 
matter, however, human nature was brought out very thor- 
oughly. There were men holding commissions not in 
the Eighty-sixth alone, who never seemed to realize the 
honor that properly belonged to the commission in the 
armies of the United States, when that commission was 
worthily and intelligently held. This class of men, with- 
out pride either for themselves or their commands, or too 
lazy to study when ordered before the board, ignominiously 
failed, and the service was soon rid of them. Some there 
were who had pride in their commissions, prized the position, 
and worked, though they could not put the principles laid 
down in the tactics into actual practice. There was one offi- 
cer who was an absolute failure on the drill ground, but 
when ordered before the board, passed a most wonderfully 
satisfactory examination in answering the questions. He had 


absolutely committed his tactics to memory, from beginning 

to end. 

Another order was issued to the infantry regiments con- 
cerning drills. It was this: A detail of ten men, one from 
each company of the infantry regiments, were ordered to re- 
port to some special battery of artillery, for drill in artillery 
tactics, and after the first ten had remained for a certain 
length of time they were returned to their regiments, and 
another detail of the same number was sent. These artillery 
details were continued during the time of the Murfreesboro 
camp, and it proved of immense benefit to the entire army in 
subsequent campaigns. On more than one battle-field when 
the numbers on the guns of a battery were too greatly dimin- 
ished to remain in action, men stepped out of infantry regi- 
ments and manned the guns almost as effectively as if they 
had been originally mustered as artillerymen, and thus bj'- 
their efficiency in that branch of the service, saved, in manj'^ 
instances, the guns and the day. 

Those who got their instructions through General Rose- 
crans orders for picket duty, and put those instructions into 
active practice on the outposts during the cold and stormy 
nights in January, February and March, 1863, have doubt- 
less remembered, and will remember to the day of their 
death, just exactly how that particular portion of a soldier's 
duty should be performed. There was possibly sufficient 
danger surrounding the troops to make them reasonably 
alert, but in addition to this there was no telling when the 
•'Grand Rounds" would touch the line, and then woe be to 
the officer who was not fully awake and alive to his duty, 
and grief to the non-commissioned officer or private who did 
not respond ])roniptly when the call to "fall-in" was given. 
Rosecrans, or some member of his staff", was apt to come on 
the line at any time of the day or night. On such occasions 
officers and men who were conscientiously trying to perform 
their duties, even though they might make mistakes, re- 
ceived nothing but kind treatment, and plain straightforward 
instructions from the General; but the instructions would not 
be given the second time without being preceded or followed 


with a rebuke. The duty of the pickets, and all the minute- 
ness of detail were as completely put into daily and nightly 
practice as they were afterward on the field of Chickamauga, 
or during the siege of Chattanooga or on the Atlanta campaign. 

Murfreesboro was decidedly and emphatically a camp of 
instruction. Sunday there was no company, or battalion, or 
brigade drill, but there was the Sunday morning inspection, 
the guard mountings in the morning, guard duty and the 
dress parade in the evening, as on week days. For those who 
were not on guard duty, Sunday was spent in a general 
cleaning up, a kind of washing and scrubbing day, and when 
that was over, there were letters to write to those who had 
been left at home. 

The monotony of this daily routine of camp was occa- 
sionally broken by the regiment being ordered out on a 
foraging expedition that was always much enjoyed. On 
those foraging expeditions everything that could be eaten 
by man, horse or mule, was brought in. There was not much, 
however, excepting corn, or horse or mule feed, that re- 
mained on the wagons when they were turned over to head- 
quarters on the return. There was, however, always a great 
deal more cooking in camp for a day or two after such an ex- 
pedition than there was immediately preceding it. There 
was on such occasions an odor of fried chicken, and fresh 
pork, and yams, and fresh potatoes, and some of the messes 
could be seen indulging in such delicacies as honey and pre- 
served fruits, which were not furnished on requisition by 
the Quartermaster or Commissary sergeants. By this time, 
however, in the war period, officers had learned to heed the 
advice said to have been given by St. Paul, to "eat what was 
set before you asking no questions," for certain it was the 
men for the most part saw to it that their officers were sup- 
plied as well as themselves. On these forage expeditions 
there was not unfrequently a tilt with the rebel cavalry or 
with a band of guerillas that would furnish enough danger 
and excitement to fully satisfy for the time being, any who 
had a special craving for that kind of excitement. 

The camp at Murfreesboro was a reasonably healthy 


camp and would have been more so had all the officers and 
men realized from the outset the necessity of cleanliness in 
person and clothing and quarters. More than fifty per cent, 
of the sickness at Murfreesboro was caused by disregard of 
sanitary measures in the early part of the encampment. 
These methods for the preservation of health had to be taught 
just as the tactics and guard duty were taught. To the 
credit of the Eighty-sixth regiment, be it said, it did learn, 
though some of the companies were longer in grasxoing the 
situation than others. Human nature is in evidence in the 
army, as well as in civil life. Mankind learns, by and by, 
but often, too often, many lives are lost before the knowl- 
edge is gained. 

This army at the time of entering Murfreesboro had 
not been formed into Army Corps, although it was divided 
into three grand divisions. On January 9, 1863, by virtue of 
General Order, No. 9, War Department, the troops of the 
Army of the Cumberland were organized into Army Corps, 
which were numbered the Fourteenth, Twentieth and Twen- 
ty-first. Major General George H. Thomas was assigned to 
the command of the Fourteenth corps, formerly the "Cen- 
ter;" Major General A. McD. McCook was assigned to the 
Twentieth corps, which had been the "Right Wing;" and 
Major General Thomas L. Crittenden was assigned to the 
command of the Twenty-first corps, previously the "Left 

On going into position about Murfreesboro, General 
Rosecrans placed the Fourteenth corps in the center of the 
army and fixed its lines and camp across and betw^een the 
Woodbury, Bradyville, Manchester and Shelbyville turn- 
pikes; the Twentieth corps its left joining the right of the 
Fourteenth corps at the Shelbyville road and extending 
in a continous lipe across the Salem pike to the right until 
it had reached Stone's River; Crittenden, with the Twenty- 
first corps, joined his right upon the left of the Fourteenth 
corps and extending to the left so as to cover the Liberty 
and Lebanon turnpikes resting his left at Stone's River. 
Thus posted, with the right and left resting at the river 


above and below the town, and extending in a semi-circle, it 
was protected from any attack of Bragg 's forces whether 
from the east, south or west. 

It should be borne in mind that the time was midwinter, 
and that the army had to endure during the months of Jan- 
uary and February such terrible storms of rain and snow 
that it was impossible for a campaign of any extent to be 
made. The roads, too, away from the turnpikes, were im- 
passable, and even the turnpikes over which the supplies 
had to be brought from Nashville, were torn up and broken 
to such an extent by army wagons and the artillery, that it 
was only by the severest effort that light loads of supplies 
could be brought up. Another fact to be recorded here, is 
that the base of supplies for General Rosecrans' army was 
Nashville, and that the only railroad between that city and 
Murfreesboro had been torn up by Bragg 's army on its re- 
treat, the bridges had all been burned, and that, therefore, 
wagons were the only vehicles whereby the army could be 
supplied with subsistence, ammunition or clothing. The sup- 
plies thus brought for such an army, even only the distance 
intervening between these two cities, was meager indeed, 
until later on the general government had caused the rail- 
road to be rebuilt. 

It was therefore a matter of necessity under all these 
circumstances that the army should remain in camp, at least 
a sufficient length of time to rebuild the road, and to estab- 
lish at Murfreesboro a depot of supplies from which to draw 
when an advance should be made. An improved condition 
of the roads, and sufficient supplies for the men and animals, 
as well as ammunition, were vital matters to be considered in 
the decision as to an advance. 

Owing therefore to the enforced stay at Murfreesboro, 
and in order to guard against the contingency of an attack 
in force by Bragg, General Rosecrans began at once to 
strengthen his position against any possibility of disaster. 
He first, as nearly as possible, relieved the army of the care 
of the sick and wounded by sending them back to Nashville 
and northward. Those who were too sick, or too severely 


wounded, to be moved, were placed in hospitals, which he 
had established in unoccupied buildings in the town. The 
work of fortifying his position was also entered upon with- 
out delay and with great vigor. The most thorough and 
complete line of forts were planned and built. Earthworks 
were thrown up covering almost the entire front of the 
army, and all were so thoroughly constructed during the oc- 
cupation of Murfreesboro that it would have been impossible 
for an army to have taken it by a direct assault. Murfrees- 
boro became under tlie direction of Rosecrans, and by the 
Avork of the army, an impr(ignable fortress, which served 
during the remainder of the war as a valuable position. 

In the construction of these works the Eighty- sixth had 
but little to do, save and except in the performance of guard 
and picket duty for those who performed the labor. The 
work that was there done, however, was of much value to all 
the regiments, in that it gave a general idea as to the con- 
struction of earthworks, which they afterwards utilized, es- 
pecially during the siege of Chattanooga and upon the At- 
lanta campaign. The importance of building the fortifica- 
tions M^as made sufficiently apparent to the men by reported 
or rumored advances of the enemy, and by occasional raids 
that were being made around Rosecrans' army by Wheeler's 
and Morgan's Confederate cavalry. Brigades of the Union 
army were sent out from time to time on reconnoissances, and 
each time came in contact with portions of Bragg 's army 
which were sufficiently strong to show that there was great 
confidence in their strength and position. The portion of 
the country in front of the Twenty-first corps, however, ap- 
peared to be free from any Confederate force, except small 
detachments of cavalry which were met on some of the for- 
aging expeditions. 

For more than eight months after the army was formed 
into corps the Eighty-sixth was in the Twenty-first army 
corps, the brigade and division remaining unchanged. The 
corps, division and brigade commanders were the same as 
before, excejjt that Colonel James P. Fyffe, who commanded 
the Second brigade, on account of failing health, obtained a 


leave of absence. The command of the brigade then de- 
volved upon the senior officer, which was Colonel George F. 
Dick, of the Eighty -sixth, who retained it until the army was 
reorganized at Chattanooga during the following November. 

Colonel Dick having been assigned to the command of 
the brigade, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Dresser, who had been 
promoted from Major, should have taken charge of the regi- 
ment, but at the battle on the 31st of December Lieutenant 
Colonel, then Major, Dresser, was wounded in both legs, had 
two ribs fractured and his shoulder dislocated by the fall of 
his horse. This disability rendered him unfit for active ser- 
vice, when on June 2 he resigned his commission. Captain 
J. C. Dick, of Company C, who had been promoted to Major, 
then assumed command of the regiment, and soon thereafter 
received his commission as Lieutenant Colonel. At the same 
time Captain Philip Gemmer, of Company E, received a com- 
mission as Major, but for some cause was not mu.stered until 
the following April. 

Surgeon J. S. Elliott having resigned on September 26, 
Assistant Surgeon Joseph Jones was promoted to the va- 
cancy on November 15. Flavins J. VanVoris, a private of 
Company I, a thoroughly educated and well read young 
physician, was on December 2, commissioned as one of the 
Assistant Surgeons, the medical staff then being Jones, 
Walton and VanVoris. 

Adjutant C. P. Rodman on May 29 was promoted to the 
Captaincy of Company H, and E. D. Thomas, a private in 
Company E, succeeded to the vacancy, and served as such 
until the regiment was mustered out. 

Kersey Bateman served as Quartermaster until Sep- 
tember 2, 1863, when he resigned. Robert Underwood suc- 
ceeded Bateman as Quartermaster. 

The changes in the line officers during the spring, sum- 
mer and fall of 1863 had nearly been as great proportionately 
as among the field and staff. Several of the officers had in- 
curred disabilities from the hardships they had undergone 
and were compelled to resign. In addition to Captain John 
Seager, of Company G, and Lieutenant William H. Lynn, of 


Company K, who had resigned in November and December, 
there occurred during the first two months of the new year 
the resignations of Captain Milton Bell, of Company H, 
First Lieutenant Jacob Palmer, of Company F, and Second 
Lieutenant Oliver Boord, of Company C. In May Chaplain 
W. S. Barker, and First Lieutenant Jackson Hickson, of 
Company D, resigned, the latter on account of wounds re- 
ceived at Stone's River, as did Lieutenant Uriah Thomas, of 
Company B, in June, First Lieutenant Samuel Douglass, 
of Company G, and Second Lieutenant William J. Ness, of 
Company B, in July. These officers all quitted the service 
honorably and with the regrets of their comrades, both of- 
ficers and men. 

During the earlier months of 1863, especially January 
and February, the official mortality throughout the army 
was great. Shoulder straps fell like the leaves of autumn 
after a hoar frost. General Rosecrans made use of every 
means to promote efficiency. Be was lavish of praise to the 
meritorious, and utterly ruthless toward the undeserving. 
By General Orders, No. 30, dated February 24, he dishonor- 
ably dismissed fifty-two officers of all grades from Colonel 
down to Second Lieutenant, for various offenses, such as 
absence without leave, cowardice in the face of the enemy, 
drunkenness, disobedience of orders, gross neglect of duty, 
incompetency and other peccadillos detrimental to military 
discipline, two of whom were from the Eighty-sixth, Colonel 
O. S. Bamilton, and First Lieutenant John S. Armitage, of 
Company B, the former for incompetency, and the latter for 
abandoning his company in the face of the enemy. The 
fault for which Colonel Bamilton was publicly disgraced 
was expiated in the front line at Stone's River, and though 
his own officers and men could not refuse their admiration 
for his heroic conduct, yet General Rosecrans was inexor- 
able. In July Captain Nelson R. Smith, of Company G, was 
cashiered by order of court martial on a charge of drunken- 
ness, while Captain William C. Lambert, of Company I, met 
a like fate by a similar process, on a charge of cowardice. 
First Lieutenant John Gilliland, of Company I, was arrested 


and tried by court martial, charged with being a deserter 
from the Fifty -first Illinois regiment. 

The story of Lieutenant Gilliland has in it all the ele- 
ments of somber romance and is of thrilling interest. He 
was born in the northeastern part of Montgomery county, 
Indiana, where he grew to manhood with absolutely no edu- 
cation. Though he could neither read nor write, yet he was 
a magnificent specimen of the physical man, naturally intel- 
ligent, industrious and of kindly temper. It so happened 
that in 1861 business took him to Illinois, and to the town in 
which the Fifty-first regiment of that State was being organ- 
ized. Being an intensely loyal man he enlisted. The Fifty- 
first went at once to the front, and Gilliland saw active ser- 
vice in the first year of the war, proving himself a brave 
and tru^ soldier. In 1862 he was allowed to come home on a 
furlough. While home the Eighty-sixth was organizing at 
LaFayette. Gilliland went up to that city with the boys 
from his neighborhood, and having some knowledge of drill 
his services were called into requisition. Not knowing the 
enormity of the offense of desertion he made the proposition 
to the members of Company I that if they would elect him 
First Lieutenant he would enlist with them. Ignorant of the 
fact that he was still in the service they accepted his propo- 
sition. As First Lieutenant of Company I he commanded the 
respect of his men and the confidence of his superior officers. 
His ability and bravery were repeatedly demonstrated, and 
but for his illiteracy would have made an officer of marked 
distinction. All went well with him until the battle of Stone 's 
River. Just before this memorable engagement Captain 
Lambert, of the same company, was taken sick quite sud- 
denly and was unable to enter the action. The command of 
the company, therefore, devolved upon Gilliland and he led 
the men through the battle with distinguished bravery. Just 
here Gilliland made a great mistake. After the battle he 
very foolishly preferred charges of cowardice against Lam- 
bert, alleging that he had feigned illness in order to avoid 
the dangers of shot and shell. If Gilliland had not been liv- 
ing in a glass house himself his action might have been rea- 


sonable, but as it was it proved his ruin. Captain Lambert, 
Avlio was cognizant of Gilliland's military record, promptly 
retaliated by preferring charges of desertion against his 
accuser. He was placed in arrest, and tried by court mar- 
tial at Chattanooga during the latter part of 1863. In the 
meantime Gilliland was permitted to march in the rear of the 
regiment nominally under guard. The President of the court 
was Lieutenant Colonel Brown, of the Sixty-fourth Ohio. 
The court arraigned "Private John I. Gilliland, Company E, 
Pifty-lirst Illinois Volunteers, " on two charges, the first of 
which was desertion, and the second was violation of the 22d 
Article of War in that he enlisted and accepted a commission 
in the Eighty-sixth Indiana Infantry, he being at the time a 
deserter from the Fifty-first Illinois Infantry. To the charges 
and specifications Gilliland pleaded " not guilty. " The find- 
ing of the court was in both charges and in all the specifica- 
tions, "guilty." Then followed this aw^ful sentence: "And 
the court does therefore sentence him, Private John I. Gil- 
liland, Company E, Fifty-first Illinois Volunteers, 'to be 
shot to death with musketry at such time and place as the 
Commanding General may direct, two-thirds of the court 
concurring therein. ' ' ' Before the finding of the court martial 
could be promulgated it must necessarily be transmitted to 
the War Department for approval or modification. June 4, 
1864, more than a year after he had been arrested and eight 
months after he had been arraigned, the Secretary of War 
modified the sentence, upon the recommendation of his com- 
manding officer to executive clemency, on account of his 
good conduct in battle, so as to restore him to duty in Com- 
pany E, Fifty-first Illinois Volunteers. Finally, the order 
reached the Eighty -sixth while the army was in Northern 
Georgia. Gilliland did not wait to hear the modification of 
the sentence. There being no strict watch over him he ex- 
perienced little difficulty in escaping from the army that 
very night. From that time on nothing was heard from him 
by his comrades-in-arms or by his family for more than a 
riuarter of a century. One summer evening, along about 
1890, many years after the war had passed into history, 


Tilghman Bailey, of Company I, was standing in front of his 
farm house, a few miles from Clark's Hill, and watching his 
cattle feeding in the adjoining fields. As he rested there 
content with his prosperity, he was approached by an old, 
decrepit, stooping and travel-stained stranger, who was evi- 
dently suffering from consumption. He was poorly clad, 
but when he spoke, addressing to Bailey some common-place 
remark, his voice and something in his manner brought up a 
flood of half -forgotten recollections. Sometime, somewhere 
he had seen this strange man before. Conversation was 
continued on timely topics, and suddenly to Bailey as they 
talked, came the identity of the man, causing him to exclaim 
involuntarily: "Isn't your name John Gilliland?" The old 
man's face lighted up at the recognition. Bailey, of course 
bade him stay and he shared with him the hospitalities of his 
home. Here the story of the wanderer was told. When he 
left the regiment he made for the mountains, away from the 
railroad and from any thoroughfare. Stopping at the house 
of an old mountaineer he told him his true story. The rustic 
of the forest and hills gave him shelter and assured him that 
he should be protected from both armies. And there he re- 
mained for twenty-live years. At last, overtaken by ill 
health and becoming weary of his voluntary exile, and stirred 
by the recollections of his youth and the memories of kindred 
and friends, he ventured a visit to his old home, hoping that 
he would, unmolested, be permitted to die in the land of his 
birth. The fruition of his hopes were realized, for in less 
than a year afterward John Gilliland was "honorably dis- 
charged" by the Great Commander. Verily, truth is some- 
times stranger than fiction. 

Promotions followed these vacancies thus created. In 
Company A, Second Lieutenant R. A. Williamson was made 
First Lieutenant in place of George W. Smith killed at 
Stone's River, and Orderly Sergeant Perry T. Gorham was 
made Second Lieutenant. Second Lieutenant Jeremiah 
Haugh succeeded John S. Armitage as First Lieutenant of 
Company B, and Orderly Sergeant Matthew Mclnerney was 
made Second Lieutenant. James Gregory, a private of 


Company I, was promoted to the Captaincy of Company C. 
and Ser|:reant T. F. Brant was made Second Lieutenant. In 
Company D, Second Lieutenant H. J. Gass was promoted to 
First Lieutenant, and Sergeant J. G. DeTurk to Second 
Lieutenant. Second Lieutenant J. R. Moore was promoted 
to First Lieutenant in Company E, and private Mahlon J. 
Haines to Second Lieutenant. In Company F, Second Lieu- 
tenant R. W. Coolman was promoted to First Lieutenant and 
Sergeant Wilson H. Laymon to Second Lieutenant. Ser- 
geant L. V. Ream was first made Second Lieutenant and 
afterwards Captain of Company G, and Sergeant L. G. 
Cowdrey, First Lieutenant. Orderly Sergeant J. R. Carna- 
han was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company K, and 
advanced to Captain of Company I. Second Lieutenant 
John M. Yount was promoted to First Lieutenant of Com- 
pany K. These are substantially all the changes made in 
the roster of the officers during 1863. Subsequent resigna- 
tions and promotions will be given in their appropriate 

It had been months since a good portion of the army had 
been paid, and General Rosecrans became quite urgent in 
his appeals to Washington requesting that a paymaster be 
sent to each brigade, at least one to each division, to remain 
in the field and attend to preparing the rolls and the pay- 
ment of troops. The correspondence is spicy. In one of 
his letters to Secretary Stanton he wrote: "I have no hesi- 
tation in saying that it is time the public service ceased to 
suffer from such whimsical or worse management. There is 
a screw loose somewhere. My army ought to be paid off 
while the roads are bad." He estimated that it would re- 
quire $1,700,000, and as the money was in Washington he 
could not see why it could not be used. He brought the pay- 
masters and the money, and the troops were paid w^hile the 
army lay at Murfreesboro. 

Governor Morton, ever watchful of the interests of Indi- 
ana soldiers, had devised what is known as the allotment 
system, by which his men could send their money home in 
safety. The plan was in all respects similar to bank drafts 


except that the men signed the allotment rolls which showed 
the name of the soldier, the amount, and the person to whom 
sent, with post office address. The bill giving- the plan legal 
recognition was introduced by Senator Henry S. Lane, but 
by an oversight it carried with it no appropriation to put it 
in operation. The Governor, always equal to the occasion, 
furnished from his military contingent fund the means to 
defray the expenses. Rev. T. A. Goodwin was appointed 
Allotment Commissioner from Indiana, and the Eighty-sixth, 
as well as all other Indiana regiments, availed themselves of 
this plan to send their money to their families. The system 
gradually extended to other States until it was generally 
adopted throughout the army. 

A conspicuous feature of the Second brigade was its 
band. Its music was always inspiring. Morning, noon and 
night it made the camp reverberate with its lofty, patriotic 
and soul-stirring strains, and the encore of cheers which 
followed made the welkin ring. The band had seen 
service until its instruments needed to be rejDlaced with new. 
About the tirst of April a movement was set on foot to raise 
money for this purpose. Captain Sims circulated a sub- 
scription paper through the Eighty-sixth and received a do- 
nation of 5^66.50, the other regiments of the brigade contrib- 
uting their share. The new instruments were procured and 
carried until the band was mustered out. 

Shelter tents supplanted the cumbersome Sibleys dur- 
ing April, the order being issued on the 12th. Wall tents 
were allowed field, staff, quartermaster, hospital and line 
officers, but shelter tents were issued to the men. This tent 
is simply a piece of stout cotton cloth about two yards 
square, with buttons and buttonholes that they could be at- 
tached to each other. Two, three and sometimes four men 
could thus join as bunkmates. The usual number was three, 
as then the third piece was used in closing one end of the 
complete tent. These pieces of cloth, buttoned together, 
were thrown across a x^ole resting on two forks set in upright 
position, and the bottoms fastened by pegs to the ground, 
thus forming a kennel similar in form and size to what print- 


crs would call a small cap A. The boys christened them 
"])up t(Mits. " and it was by this name they were generally 
and popularly known. Each man was required to carry his 
own tent. There was thus no waiting for the wagon that 
never came, and the further assurance that each night he 
could lie down with some protection from either rain or snow 
or wind. The wagon train w^as in this way greatly reduced, 
which is an important consideration in the movement of a 
large army. 

In accordance with the proclamation of the President, 
Thursday, April 30, was observed in the army as a day of 
fasting, humiliation and prayer. At least this was the gen- 
eral orders issued, wiiich General Rosecrans couched in 
language most reverent and appropriate. The Eighty-sixth 
being then without a Chaplain, and the only other ofdcer 
who was a minister being in arrest on a charge of cowardice, 
no religious service was held in the regiment, and the men 
were compelled to rely an the more fortunate commands for 
spiritual instruction and edification. 

On February 22, 1862, the War Department had issued 
an order that there shall be inscribed on the colors of all reg- 
iments the names of the battles in which they had borne a 
meritorious part. In accordance with this order General 
Rosecrans on February 19, 1863, directed that the name 
"Stone's River" should be inscribed on the national colors 
of each regiment that was engaged in the battle in front of 
Murfroesboro. This was the first time that the colors of the 
Eighty-sixth were entitled to such distinction. The regiment 
liaving lost its colors, by the death of their bearer on the 
field while in retreat on that fateful 31st of December, a 
second stand was presented on June 15 by the patriotic citi- 
zens of B'ountain and Warren counties. They were brought 
from Indiana by Joseph Poole, of Attica, and in a neat address 
by him were formally presented. Colonel Dick, in a brief 
and fitting response, accepted the precious gift. These colors 
lx)re the appropriate inscription, and were afterwards car- 
ried through the sanguinary battles of Chickamauga and 
Missionary Ridge. At the latter engagement they were 


riddled with musketry, receiving- no less than eighty-six 
shots through their folds, an emblematic number. They now 
rest secure in the State House at Indianapolis. 

Desertions from the army had grown to alarming pro- 
portions. When caught the deserters were usually given a 
trial, and a light sentence imposed. They were seldom exe- 
cuted, and even when a court martial imposed a sentence of 
death the kind hearted President would interpose with a par- 
don. The most usual sentence was that the deserter should 
return to the army and serve out all of his original time of 
enlistment which had not been served, without pay. In the 
most flagrant cases it was different. An instance of this 
kind occurred in the Ninth Kentucky. A soldier named 
Minnick had deserted for the third time. With each recur- 
rence he was caught and returned to the regiment. The last 
time, he was tried by a court martial and sentenced to be 
shot. This occasion the President declined to interpose. 
The execution of Minnick took place on the 16th of June, 
about a mile north of the encampment of the Eighty-sixth. 
A detail of one man from each company of the Eighty-sixth 
was made to do the shooting. The convicted soldier was 
placed in an ambulance, seated on his coffin, a rough box, 
and taken to the place of execution, accompanied by the en- 
tire Twenty-first corps. When the corps arrived at the 
chosen place it was formed into a hollow square, with the 
fourth side left open, to witness the sad affair. It was used 
on this occasion for an imposing display, and to intimidate 
and prevent other soldiers from committing a like crime. The 
scene was one full of awe, never to be forgotten by those who 
took part. All who witnessed it seemed to feel the solemn 
presence of death. The coffin was placed in the open part of 
the square. Minnick took a seat on the rough casket. The Ad- 
jutant General in a clear but tremulous voice read the find- 
ing of the court martial to the troops. When the Adjutant 
finished reading, the guards, detailed to do the firing, were 
ordered forward, and their muskets, which had been loaded 
by other soldiers, were handed to them. Half of them con- 
tained blank cartridges, so that none of them knew whose 


shot killed the prisoner. The condemned soldier was blind- 
folded, and the final order: " Ready— Aim— Fire! was given 
and the doomed man fell over dead. The troops then formed 
company front and marched in review by the coffin to view 
the body of their late comrade. This w^as the only execution 
that the Eighty-sixth was ever called out to witness. 

The first grand review in which the Eighty-sixth took 
part, and the first that it had ever seen, was held early in 
June while the army lay at Murfreesboro. It was only how- 
ever a review of the Twenty-first corps. There had been 
much preparation for this review by all the troops of that 
corps, and the officers and men of the Eighty -sixth became 
much enthused over the matter, and all, both officers and 
men, put forth every effort to fit themselves to pass a credit- 
able inspection, and to be so thoroughly prepared that no 
mistake should occur when jiassing in review. The regi- 
ment was especially fortunate in having an officer, who by 
reason of his experience with the Army of the Potomac and 
from careful study, was thoroughly competent to instruct as 
to the ceremonies. Colonel Dick after the inspection and 
review were over, seemed to be very well satisfied with the 
manner in which the Eighty-sixth had discharged its duty 
and the manner in which it had deported itself. 

As the Spring months wore away there began a clamor 
from Washington and by politicians at home for an advance of 
Rosecrans' army. General Halleck. who had been placed in 
command of all the Union armies, with his headquarters at 
Washington, also commenced to urge an advance, the objec- 
tive point to be reached being Chattanooga, which was 
deemed the key to the central and southern portion of the 
so called Confederacy. President Lincoln also dispatched 
General Rosecrans urging him ' • if consistent under all the 
circumstances "to push forward. The reason urged for this 
advance, was to prevent Bragg from sending reinforcements 
to General Johnston's army in Mississippi, against which 
General Grant was then moving. To all of these urgent de- 
mands, General Rosecrans replied that he would proceed 
provided they would send him sufficient reinforcements so 


that he could move forward, but at the same time have suf- 
ficient force to protect his lines over which his supplies 
must of necessity be brought. The Confederate cavalry 
greatly outnumbered that of Rosecrans, and cavalry was 
needed to meet the cavalry of the enemy. He then urged 
that he be supplied with saddles and bridles wherewith to 
mount some of his infantry. To all of these requests he re- 
ceived no favorable response. No one outside of the Army 
of the Cumberland seemed to realize the necessity of the 
army, that was being urged to push down into the heart of 
the enemy's country, over mountains and deep rivers, being 
supplied with sufficient force and properly equipped to meet 
the enemy on ground of his own choosing. 

Finally General Rosecrans on June 8, decided to submit 
the case to his generals, and he sent out to them the fol- 
lowing letter through his Assistant Adjutant General, Colo- 
nel C. Goddard, marked "confidential." This letter was 
sent to Generals Brannan, Crittenden, Davis, Granger, John- 
son, McCook, Mitchell, Negley, Palmer, Reynolds, Rousseau, 
Sheridan, Stanley, Thomas, Turchin, VanCleve and Wood: 

General:— In view of our present military position, the General 
commanding desires you to answer, in writing, according to the best of 
your judgment, the following questions, giving your reasons therefor: 

1. From the fullest information in your possession, do you think the 
enemy in front of us has been so materially weakened by detachments to 
Johnston or elsewhere, that this army could advance on him at this time, 
with strong reasonable chances of fighting a great and successful battleV 

2. Do you think an advance of our army at present likely to jjrevent 
additional reinforcements being sent out against General Grant by the 
enemy in our front? 

3. Do you think an immediate advance of our army advisable? 
He desires you to reply to-night. 

To this communication everyone of these generals an- 
swered in substance that he deemed it unwise under the ex- 
isting condition of affairs to begin a forward movement, un- 
less the army could be reinforced and supplied in accordance 
with the requests of General Rosecrans. All stated that 
from the best information they could gather, General Bragg 
was not sending away any of his troops and that his army 


was intact. Major General Thomas, who to-day is believed 
to bo one of the very best of all of the Union generals, ad- 
vised very strongly against it. General James A Garfield, 
then chief of staff, was the only one who advised an ad- 
vance. General Rosecrans, however, on the 23d day of 
June, decided to move. The camps were soon alive with 
the preparations. Everyone almost, outside of the few who 
were fully cognizant of the exact situation of affairs, was re- 
joiced at the prospect of breaking the monotony of camp 
life for the excitement of a campaign. The Fourteenth and 
Twentieth corps, and the First and Second divisions of the 
Twenty-tirst, were at once put under marching orders, while 
General VanCleve, commanding the Third division of the 
Twenty-first Corps, this being the division to which the 
Eighty-sixth was assigned, received the following order, 
signed by Brigadier General J. A. Garfield, Chief of Staff, 
dated June 23, 1863: 

Brigadier General H. P. VanCleve: On the departure of the 
army you will assume command of Fortress Rosecrans and the town of 
Murfreesboro until relieved by Major General Gordon Granger. You 
will .so dispose the troops as to protect the town. You will see that all 
public propei'ty is removed within the fort ; that all wagons belonging 
to the supi)ly and baggage trains ai-e brought inside the fortifications 
and properly parked near Stone's River. You will also assume com- 
mand of the hospitals and convalescent camp, and issue such orders for 
the policing and government of the camp and of the town as the nature 
of the case may require. 

On the same day the foregoing order was issued. Gen- 
eral Gordon Granger, with the cavalry and mounted in- 
fantry, began the movement, followed on the next day by the 
entire army with the exception of General VanCleve 's divis- 
ion. As soon as the army had moved out, General VanCleve 
at once disi)osed his command about the town, in the forti- 
fications and defenses, in the best possible manner to carry 
out the purport and meaning of his orders. 

In this rearrangement of the troops the Eighty-sixth 
Indiana was moved from the camp that it had occupied dur- 
ing all of the time that it had been in Murfreesboro, and was 
posted on the opposite side of river toward Nashville, near 


to the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad. It was a relief 
to move even that short distance, and at once the men began 
to arrange for all the comforts that could be had in a camp. 
Their quiet was, however, very materially disturbed in a short 
time, for although they were not marched out, they soon 
learned of the following order that was received by General 
VanCleve, dated at Beech Grove, June 27, and signed by 
the Chief of Staff, General J. A. Garfield: 

General: The general commanding directs you to put your com- 
mand in readiness to move. Send forward two brigades immediately, 
witli a supply train to follow this column, and hold your remaining brig- 
ade in readiness to follow as soon as it is i-elieved by General Granger. 
The Chief Commissionary and Quartermaster will send orders for mak- 
ing up the train. 

The order showed to tlie men of the Second brigade 
that they could not expect to remain very long. At once 
there was a great demand for writing materials, and the 
mails went out from camp well loaded with letters homeward 
bound detailing as fully as was known the movements of the 
army. This information, however, as is well-known to 
soldiers, was very meager as to exact details, but the imagina- 
tion and the "grape vine" had large drafts made upon 
them. The fact was that when two of the brigades of the 
division moved out, the remaining one would feel very 
lonely, and was very anxious to be relieved that it might 
join the advancing columns, although it was known that each 
day was developing the forces of the enemy and that there 
was "fighting out in front." The final order to move out 
was not received by General VanCleve for some four or five 
days when he received the following order, dated at TuUa- 
homa, July 2, and signed as usual by General Garfield: 

Brigadier General H. P. VanCleve: — Your dispatch of yester- 
day is received. The General commanding directs you to move, with 
your two brigades, upon McMinnville as soon as possible. General Gran- 
ger has been ordered to relieve you of the command of Murfreesboro. 
You are authorized to supply yourself with the necessary train from the 
empty wagons I'eturning to Murfreeslioro, if you cannot get your own. 
Occupy McMinnville, and look out for Morgan. You may be able to cap- 
ture his camp at Sparta. Put the railroad in repair, so that you may 
supply your command from here. 


The departure of VanCleve's division from Murfrees- 
boro was not long drawn out, for on July 5, General Van- 
Cleve reported that his entire division was on the move for 
McMinnville. McMinnville was a little south of east from 
Murfreesboro, and was to be for the operations then in pro- 
gress by the Army of the Cumberland the extreme left of the 
army. The self-invited guests of this small town then on 
their way, were not the first that had visited the place. On 
April L'O, General Joseph J. Reynolds, with a portion of his 
division of the Fourteenth corps, had visited the town with 
four thousand infantry, and twenty-six hundred cavalry. 
This party had destroyed at McMinnville two mills, and cap- 
tured a large amount of supplies that had been gathered 
there, besides one hundred and eighty prisoners, six hun- 
dred horses and mules, and retired to Murfreesboro. 

McMinnville was important to the Confederate army as a 
place for gathering supplies, and it was for the purpose 
of crippling Bragg in this matter, and to protect the ex- 
treme left of General Rosencrans' army that VanCleve's 
division was sent there. 

The march from Murfreesboro was one of the most 
severe of any of the marches ever taken by the Eighty-sixth. 
The sun was intensely hot, the roads were dusty, and water 
was scarce. Finally after reaching McMinnville it proved 
almost a veritable paradise for the brigade. At the time the 
troops reached there, July 6th and 7th, the fields were over- 
run witli most delicious blueberries, very much resembling 
the blackberry, but large and sweet. These berries were in 
great abundance for several days, and they proved of im- 
mense benefit to the men. During the stay at McMinnville 
peaches of very fine quality were brought in for sale by the 
citizens, as well an abundance of fresh vegetables. Sick- 
ness disappeared from the ranks, and the men came into bet- 
health than they had had for months. The duty was light, 
although regular drills were resumed. Soon two of the brig- 
jules were moved away, and the Second brigade, under com- 
mand of Colonel George F. Dick, was left as the sole army 
occupant of McMinnville. 


Thus matters remained with the Eighty-sixth mitil the 
receipt of the following order from headquarters of the 
Third division, dated at Pikeville, Tenn., August 25, 1863, 
addressed to Colonel George F. Dick, commanding at Mc- 
Minnville, and signed by Captain E. A. Otis, Assistant 
Adjutant General: 

Colonel: Your dispatch of the 2^rd is i-eceived. The General 
wishes you to render Captain Stanage all the assistance in your power 
in getting- up supplies. He is much gi-atified at the disposition of your 
forces, and the manner in which you have conducted affairs in McMlnn- 

As soon as you are I'elieved rejoin the division wherever it may be. 
I think a force under General Spears is intended as the permanent gar- 
rison at McMinnville. Colonel Sullivan, of whom you speak, must be 
detained until a military court court can be convened to try him. We 
will make no more details from you, but will send an escort from here 
with each train. Send back by Colonel Wood all convalescents for First 
and Third brigades. 

By this time the Army of the Cumberland had pushed 
its lines southward, driving General Bragg before it, until 
it had reached the Tennessee river, and was crossing over 
and taking up the pursuit south of that stream. On August 
30, General Rosecrans, then at Stevenson, Alabama, 
ordered General VanCleve with his division to close down 
on him at Stevenson. This was the order that started the 
entire Third division of the Twenty-first corps on its way 
to join the main army where it merged into the column that 
moved down and into the Chickamauga campaign, which will 
be the subject of the next chapter. The departure from 
McMinnville September 3, marked the beginning of the 
Chickamauga campaign. 


Geuenil Rosccrans' Moves from Murfreesboro— Brags is Driven from Tullahoma 
Over the Mountains and Out of Tennessee— A Most Skillful and Almost 
Hloodless Movement— Tlie Eighty-sixth Leaves McMinnville— With the Brig- 
ade It Makes a Foreed March— Down the Se(|uatehie Valley— Crosses the 
Tennessee— Rejoins the Division Near Ringgold— A Series of Confederate 
Blunders— A Narrow Escape for the Union Army— Playing for Position. 

Intervening between the battles of Stone's River and 
Chickaraauga in the Department of the Cumberland was 
what was, and is, known as the Tullahoma campaign. In 
this campaign the Eighty-sixth Indiana took no part, save 
and except in guarding the left flank of the army at McMinn- 
ville. To get a proper conception of the Chattanooga cam- 
paign which includes the battle of Chickamauga, it will be 
necessary to briefly write of the Tullahoma campaign. As 
shown in the preceding chapter, General Rosecrans, against 
his own judgment and that of the Generals of the Army of 
the Cumberland, decided in obedience to the demands of 
President Lincoln, and General Halleck, then in command 
of all of the Union armies, to move out of Murfreesboro and 
attack General Bragg. This was in June, 1863. General 
Bragg with his portion of the Confederate army was then 
occupying a strong portion, north of Duck River, in Ten- 
nes.see. His infantry front extended from Shelbyville to 
Wartrace. On his extreme right his cavalry rested at Mc- 
Minnville. His left, with cavalry, was at Spring Hill and 

Chattanooga was his base, while Tullahoma was his 
chief depot of supplies. The front of the Confederate army 
was for the most part well protected with abatis. To add to 


the strength of his position protected by earthworks and the 
abatis, were the natural fortifications provided by the moun- 
tain ranges, and by reason of the fact that he held all of the 
passes through the mountains, which required but a very 
small portion of his effective force, he was able to concen- 
trate the remainder of his army at any desired point, without 
materially affecting his main line. The position of General 
Bragg, as can well be understood, was therefore a remark- 
ably strong one, both by nature and by tlie work of his 
army. To advance througli this country successfully was 
no small task, and it is not to be wondered at, that General 
Rosecrans and his generals hesitated to undertake so arduous 
and dangerous campaign when it is understood that his army 
was even smaller than that of his opponent. Had he, Rose- 
crans, an army in jioint of numbers large enough to safely 
and successfully face General Bragg and hold his entire force 
in place, and then a sufficient force in addition, whereby he 
could flanlv the army of the enemy, and thus compel Bragg 
to abandon his works and either fight in an open field or re- 
treat, the campaign could then have been made with a rea- 
sonable degree of assurance. To undertake the campaign 
as General Rosecrans was compelled to make it, was to 
enter upon an undertaking with all of the chances for defeat. 
To the credit of General Rosecrans and the Army of the 
Cumberland, it can be truthfully said, no other army of the 
United States ever had to contend against so many odds, and 
no other army ever wrought such wonders of prowess and 
success as did this army. 

With General Bragg 's position so well chosen for defense, 
General Rosecrans had a right to believe that he would meet 
with the most stubborn resistance. The Army of the Cum- 
berland moved out from Murf reesboro on June 23, 18G3, to 
enter upon a series of campaigns, which, under the circum- 
stances, proved to be the most wonderful Ivuown in the annals 
of warfare. Only seven miles from Murfreesboro the cav- 
alry of the enemy were encountered, and after driving them 
through Hoover's Gap, a defile through hills three miles in 
length, the infantry was met in strong force. Such was the 


impetuosity of the Union attack that everything was swept 
before it. 

The plan of General Rosecrans, so auspiciously .begun, 
was to avoid as nearly as possible the heavy intrenchments 
of General Bragg, and turn his flank, thus forcing him to 
give battle on open ground, or to abandon that portion of 
Tennessee altogether and retreat, and once upon the retreat 
the advantage would be with the Union army. The attack 
on Hoover's Gap was the first move and the success of the 
Union army made it possible for General Rosecrans to con- 
centrate his whole army against the enemy's left. It re- 
quired two days by the rapid movements of General George 
H. Thomas, aided by the mounted infantry and cavalry, and 
the concentration of the corps of Generals McCook and Crit- 
tenden, to compel General Bragg to abandon his first line of 
entrenchments. Then through rain and mud General Rose- 
crans pushed the enemy back toward the Tennessee River. 
On June 29, General Bragg was at Tullahoma, and the Army 
of the Cumberland was concentrated only two miles distant, 
and expected to attack on the following morning. On the 
morning of June 30, it was learned that Bragg had decided 
to decline a battle and had again fallen back, abandoning 
Tullahoma. The further pursuit of the enemy was delayed 
by swollen streams, the bridges having been destroyed by 
General Bragg in his retreat. Thus ended one of the short- 
est camjiaigns, and one of the greatest up to that time in its 
results, of any of the campaigns of the war. The close of 
the Tullahoma campaign left the Army of the Cumberland 
in complete possession of Middle Tennessee. 

General Bragg in his retreat crossed the Cumberland 
mountains and established his headquarters at Chattanooga. 
Bragg nearly, or quite, a year before had moved around the 
Union armies, had crossed Tennessee and Kentucky, and had 
been again driven back from one line to another yet farther 
in his rear, time after time, until now with the close of the 
Tullahoma campaign was seen the final and decisive failure 
of the Confederate army to hold any of the territory between 
the Tennessee and Ohio rivers. 


Immediately upon the close of the Tullahoma campaign 
began the preparations for the greatest of all the campaigns 
of the Army of the Cumberland, unaided and alone, the Chat- 
tanooga or Chickamauga campaign. The greatest because it 
was entered upon under what seemed almost insurmountable 
difficulties, and with more serious obstacles before it than 
any army of modern days had been called upon to meet and 
overcome; the greatest because at its conclusion in order to 
maintain the territory sought to be acquired and which in 
fact it did acquire, it was forced against great odds, to fight 
one of the most severe and bloody battles of the war, and 
then at the close of the battle and of the campaign, it held 
the gateway to the ^outh and center of the Confederacy. 
The preparation for the Chickamauga campaign included the 
repairing of the wagon roads and railroads, the building of 
bridges over the route by which it had come to Tullahoma 
to bring forward a sufficient amount of supplies for the 
maintenance of the army, and ammunition of all kinds to be 
used in the campaign. Immediately upon the close of the 
Tullahoma campaign, General Halleck again began to press 
General Rosecrans to cross the Tennessee river and push 
the war on the south of that river. He, Halleck, far re- 
moved from the field of operations, never once seemed to 
realize that the railroads had to be repaired, that supplies 
must be procured, and when notified that in addition to these 
very essential matters, troops should be forwarded to rein- 
force his army so that the flanks might be guarded, and that 
the line of communication with the base of supplies could be 
protected, he absolutely ignored the requests of General 
Rosecrans. With General Halleck it was an order to "make 
bricks without straw," or in other words to make a cam- 
paign which necessarily included the fighting of battles 
without adequate supplies of subsistence, ammunition and 
men. He was not willing to listen to statements of General 
Rosecrans, or of the officers of the Army of the Cumberland, 
in regard to the situation which they, being on the ground, 
knew beyond all peradventure, and on August 5, 1863, issued 


poreniptory orders for General Rosecrans to advance, as 

'•The ordcivs for the advance of your anny and that its progress be 
reported daily, are peremptory. H. W. Hallkck." 

It was an absolute imi)ossibility to move until the middle 
of Au.ijust, and at that time General Rosecrans had done all 
ill his power to repair the roads and put his army in condi- 
tion to move, but in so far as sending him any reinforce- 
ments either of cavalry or infantry, not one thing had been 
done by General Hallcck. In the attempt to shield General 
Halleck in thus forcing the army to move without reinforce- 
ment's, it has been urged by some that there were no troops 
that were available and for that reason the request of Gen- 
eral Rosecrans could not be granted. But was this true? A 
brief statement will answer this pretended reason. General 
Grant at Vicksburg on the 4th of July, only a month pre- 
vious to General Halleck's peremptory orders, had with 80,- 
(100 troops under his command captured or destroyed Pem- 
berton's Confederate army. There was then no armed force 
in front of General Grant, nothing required that he should 
hold that immense army at Vicksburg, or in that department, 
if any of his trooi:)S were needed elsewhere. He could easily 
have spared f]0,000 men and the Government could easily 
have made the Chattanooga campaign an assured success 
from its beginning, if immediately after the surrender of 
Vicksburg a sufficient number of those troops had been 
transferred to General Rosecrans. The truth of this state- 
ment was verified two months later when General Grant 
came to the Army of the Cumberland besieged in Chatta- 
nooga and brought with him the Army of the Tennessee 
undoi- Sherman, and in addition thereto had the Eleventh 
and Twelfth corps sent to him from the Army of the Po- 

It is well for the reader to note some difficulties that sur- 
rounded General Rosecrans and his army in making a further 
move lo the south, and it should not be forgotten that each 
one of these difficulties was a positive danger to the Army of 
the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland was now in 


a country that had been for months the forage grounds of 
the Confederate army. There were no supplies of any kind 
left for the men under General Rosecrans. The forage for 
the horses and mules had all been consumed by General 
Bragg 's army and it was as yet too early in the season for 
corn or grain of that year's crop to be ripe enough to use. 
Both men and animals must be fed if the army ad- 
vanced; they could not subsist upon the country. How 
was it to be done? There was but one way, and that 
was to bring the supplies to the army over the 
route by which it had come. To bring supplies by 
the river route to Bridgeport and then furnish the army 
was impossible, both because of the length of time required, 
and at that season of the year the stage of the water would 
not permit the larger boats to pass up the river. The only 
remaining route was a single line of railway. The actual 
base of supplies was at Louisville, although there were sup- 
plies at Nashville as an intermediate base, but the depot at 
Nashville depended upon Louisville for its supply. The ab- 
solute dependence for rations was therefore upon Louisville. 
The distance from Louisville to Nashville is 185 miles, 
and the distance from Nashville to Chattanooga, the objec- 
tive point, is 161 miles, being a total distance of 346 miles. 
The entire line of railway over which rations for the men, 
and grain for the animals must needs be brought was through 
a country friendly to the Confederate army. The road 
crossed many streams spanned by bridges of greater or lesser 
length, or passed through mountain passes where dangers 
lurked both by day and night. As a matter of fact almost 
every mile of the 346 from Louisville to Chattanooga had 
to be guarded from raids by the Confederate cavalry or by 
bands of guerrillas that masqueraded during the daylight as 
inoffensive citizens. Already General Rosecrans had been 
compelled to leave a large portion of his army along this line 
of railway to guard against the burning of bridges, or the 
tearing up of the tracks and destruction of trains in the 
mountain detiles. It was for the purj^ose of relieving this 


large force iliat was tlion oimi-ding- the road that General 
Rosecraiis had asked ior additional troops. 

He hiul asked for cavalry also, that he might prevent the 
Confederate cavalry from passing around to his rear and de- 
stroying the line of communications. Notwithstanding the 
fact that all of these conditions that then surrounded, har- 
rassed and endangered the Army of the Cumberland, were 
fully presented to General Halleck, they were absolutely ig- 
nored, and even the earnest request for equipments with 
which to mount 5,000 infantry in order to destroy or prevent 
the enemy's cavalry from making its raids, were passed by 
in silence, if not contempt. Every day's advance placed the 
Union army in greater peril unless the requests were granted. 

But aside from the question of a failure of supplies as 
stated, there was yet a greater danger that was not at all to 
be forgotten. The Army of the Potomac was lying quiet 
and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was in no imminent 
danger of attack. General Lee and the Confederate War 
Department was in such position that they could transfer 
whatever number of troops might be desired to reinforce Gen- 
eral Bragg and leave him free to send his entire cavalry force 
along the line of the railroad to General Rosecrans' rear, 
and so thoroughly and absolutely destroy the railroad that 
neither supplies nor reinforcements could come forward to 
the Array of the Cumberland. 

If it was "All quiet on the Potomac," the same condi- 
tions prevailed in all of the other departments, and men and 
guns and supplies and assistance of any or all kinds could 
be sent to aid General Bragg in the absolute destruction of 
the army. Subsequent events showed that this was exactly 
the plan that was adopted by the Southern government. 

Under the peremptory orders of August 5, given by 
General Halleck, there was no course left open to General 
Rosecrans, and he was compelled with his army to brave all 
the dangers that surrounded the way. There was only one 
tiling that was left open to the judgment of General Rose- 
crans, and that was the planning of the campaign. "Chat- 
tanooga must be taken," was the order from Washington. 


The place was altogether important to both armies, important 
to the Confederates because it was the key to our advance 
further South, and if for once it should be securely in our hands 
it would deprive them of the rich products of Tennessee, on 
which they had relied for the maintenauce of their army. 
It was important to the general government in that it had 
been made by nature a remarkably strong position from 
which to carry on operations toward every direction in the 
South. To reach Chattanooga the Cumberland range must 
be crossed and every foot of the ground must be con- 
tested if a direct attack was to be made to reach the 
goal. Stubborn fighting with a continuous loss of men 
from start to finish could most assuredly be expected, 
if such a campaign was to be inaugurated. With Gen- 
eral Rosecrans' army about equal in point of numbers 
with that of General Bragg, it was assuming a fearful risk 
to divide his army and undertake a flank movement. The 
danger in dividing tlu; army for a flank movement was, that 
once it was divided for such a system of strategy, then Gen- 
eral Bragg with his army intact might fall upon any one por- 
tion of the Army of the Cumberland and destroy it before 
the remaining portions could come to its support, and so in 
turn destroy each part. This plan of campaign notwith- 
standing the perilous conditions that surrounded it was the 
only possible hope for ultimate success. Having determined 
upon his line of action, on the 16th of August, General Rose- 
crans commenced the movement across the Cumberland 
mountains. Two divisions of the Twenty -first corps march- 
ing by different routes crossed the mountains into the Se- 
quatchie valley. Two brigades of VanCleve's division of the 
Twenty-first corps moved to Pikeville, the other brigade, 
to which the Eighty-sixth Indiana was attached, was yet at 

Hazen's brigade of Palmer's division and Wagner's 
brigade of Wood's division of the Twenty -first corps were 
sent over Walden's Ridge into the valley of the Tennessee, 
and Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry, together with 
Lilly's Eighteenth Indiana battery, joined Hazen and Wagner. 


Whilo tlipse three bi-igades were pushing their way over the 
mountains and into the valley, Minty's Union cavalry 
were driving before them the remnant of the rebel cavalry 
that was yet on the west side of the Tennessee river. Hav- 
ing freed the west side of the river from the enemy, Minty 
and his cavalry created the impression on the minds of the 
Confederates that Rosecrans was receiving larger reinforce- 
ments, as they, Minty's men, rode up and down the river for 
a distance of thirty miles. These demonstrations also pre- 
vented General Bragg from sending troops to ascertain the 
actual situation of affairs. In the meantime the troops of 
Hazen, Wagner and Wilder had reached the valley and could 
be scon by Bragg 's army from its position across the river at 
Chattanooga. Every prominent point and ridge overlook- 
ing Chattanooga was filled with tents, unoccupied 'tis true, 
and at night camp fires were built for miles. At morning 
bugles sounded reveille from every hill toj^, and at night tat- 
too was blown for the imaginary hosts of the Union army 
overlooking Chattanooga. Lilly's battery was multiplied 
into many batteries as it appeared from out the woods, and 
disappeared soon after with its infantry supports to appear 
again in another place. From the movements of what seemed 
such large bodies of men General Bragg was entirely de- 
ceived as to the intentions of General Rosecrans. Believing 
that the attack was to come from above and opposite Chatta- 
nooga, General Bragg did just what General Rosecrans had 
wished for, he, Bragg, withdrew the last infantry brigade 
tliat was watching the river below Chattanooga, and thus 
gave General Rosecrans the opportunity to cross the river 
with his army. The river now being clear, Rosecrans at 
once began his movement southward, and around Bragg's 
right to threaten his communications, and thereby force him 
to abandon his strong position in the mountain country and 
evacuate Chattanoga. 

Let us now brielly examine the topography of the coun- 
try over and through which the Fourteenth corps under Gen- 
oral Thomas, and the Twentieth corps under General Mc- 
Cook, must pass in order to carry out the plans of the cam- 


pai£:n. On the east side of the Tennessee river and parallel 
to it are Sand and Raccoon mountains, with the northern point 
of Sand mountain abutting on the river opposite Walden's 
Ridge. East of these two mountain ranges, rising boldly for 
2.400 feet above the sea level, is the rocky and precipitous 
wall of Lookout Mountain, leaving between its perpendicular 
northern point and the Tennessee river a narrow way cut 
from the solid rock, leaving between that towering wall of 
rock and the water's edge barely space wide enough for the 
railroad trains to find their way around the point of the moun- 
tain and into Chattanooga, about two miles distant. Extend- 
ing southward from the river at this point the Lookout range 
extends for forty-five miles to what is known as Pigeon moun- 
tains. Between these mountains, Lookout and Pigeon, is 
McLemorc's Cove. Prom McLemorc's Cove starts another 
range of lofty hills and mountains north to east, known as 
Missionary Ridge. Beyond the east of all these ranges is 
Chattanooga creek or river, passing through McLemore's 
Cove and so llowing in a deep and murky stream to the 
northward, until having united all its branches, it empties 
itself into the Tennessee about five miles above Chattanooga. 
Between all of these mountain ranges and General Rose- 
crans army flowed the deep waters of the Tennessee river 
which must be crossed before the flank movements could be 
begun. At various crossings of this river it was but reason- 
able to expect to meet some portions of the Confederate 
army. On August 29, General Rosecrans had pushed an ad- 
vance column across the river at a point called Caperton's, 
had captured tlie rebel pickets, put down his pontoons, and 
began the work of sending over the army. Crittenden was 
now concentrating all of his Twenty -first corps, at the Ten- 
nessee river, and by Se})tember 4, had all of his pontoons 
in the river at Shell Mound and his troops were passing over, 
the last to cross being VanClevc's which, with -the ex- 
ception of Dick's brigade, had all crossed by the 7th. 

The Union army was then in the following positions: 
The Twenty -first corps, Crittenden, on the left, advancing by 
way of Whitesides toward Chattanooga to cross the mountain 


ranjres near the river. The Fourteenth corps, Thomas, had 
pushed forward in the center moving southward, and on the 
morning: of September 3 was with his advance over Lookout 
mountain, twenty-six miles south of Chattanooga. The 
Twentieth corps, McCook, was on the right, and had moved 
yet farther south in the vicinity of Alpine and McLemore's 
Cove, forty-six miles south of Chattanooga. The cavalry 
was on the extreme right. Never was an army compelled to 
place itself in so perilous a position as was that into which 
the Army of the Cumberland was forced from the 9th of Sep- 
tember until the morning of the 19th of that month, and as 
subsequent events showed, had the order of General Bragg 
to his cor})s commanders been obeyed, the probabilities are 
that our Union army would have been utterly destroyed, 
corps after corps, while in this scattered position. 

Having seen the disposition of the troops of General 
Rosecrans we will now look to the movements of General 
Bragg and his army. Bragg had found himself being rapidly 
hemmed in at Chattanooga, with a prospect of having all of 
his communications cut off. Wilder 's mounted brigade with 
Spencer repeating rifles, and Lilly's Eighteenth Indiana bat- 
tery, were on the w^est bank of the Tennessee river opposite 
Chattanooga, and were then throwing shells into the town. 
There was nothing left for General Bragg to do but to move 
out, and fall back southward toward Rome and Lafayette, 
Georgia, until he could meet the reinforcements he was daily 
expecting from the Confederate army of Northern Virginia, 
Buckncr's corps from East Tennessee which was then within 
supporting distance and Johnston's army then on its way to 
join him and then to fall upon General Rosecrans' scattered 
army before it could bo united and destroy it piece meal. There- 
fore on the night of September 8, he evacuated Chattanooga. 
On the afternoon of September 9, Wilder 's brigade crossed 
the river and took possession of Chattanooga. Could it have 
been possible at this time for General Rosecrans to have 
united his army at Chattanooga there then would have been 
closed tlic most skillfully planned and most daringly exe- 
cuted campaign of the war. In only about three weeks time 


General Rosecrans had repeated the Tullahoma campaign 
though a campaign by far vaster in its scope and results. It 
was a campaign beset by difficulties and dangers that at the 
outset seemed to be all bat insurmountable, and yet it had been 
accomplished, with Chattanooga in his possession, and lip to 
that point of time could have been termed almost a bloodless 
campaign, for it had been accomplished with the loss of only 
about a hundred men. 

Upon retiring from Chattanooga General Bragg, as was 
afterward learned, sent two of his corps, Polk's and 
Hill's, to LaPayette by way of Lee & Gordon's Mills. 
Two other corps. Walker's and Buckner's, were sent by 
way of Gainesville, near to LaPayette, while his other 
forces moved by way of Ringgold. Cleburne's division, 
one of the strongest and best fighting divisions of his army, 
was thrown forward to try to occupy the gaps in Pigeon 
mountain. General Bragg established his headquarters at 
Lee & Gordon's Mills, with Hindman's division. 

In order to preserve the record of the Eighty-sixth Indi- 
ana, it will be necessary to return to the regiment with its 
brigade at McMinnville. The monotony of camp life for an 
army in the field is broken always to a certain extent by the 
rumors that are set afloat from some indefinable source, in 
regard to what is or is not to be done by the army. These 
rumors often have some foundation in fact and serve to give 
interest and zest to soldier life. Situated as was the regi- 
ment and brigade at McMinnville, on the extreme left of the 
army, it was not possible for anyone, not even the brigade 
commander, to receive any very reliable information, beyond 
the fact that important operations of the entire army were 
contemplated, and such action could be none other than a 
forward movement which meant a battle in the very near 
future. Of one thing all had more or less reliable informa- 
tion, and that was that the Second brigade. Third division, 
Twenty-first corps, would soon be relieved, and would then 
rejoin its division and corps, but when it would be relieved, 
or where it would rejoin its division and corps no one knew. 
This uncertainty and unrest continued through the entire 


montli of August, and the last day of the month had closed 
and no orders had been received for the movement. 

On September 3, the headquarters of the Third division, 
Twenty-first corps, were at Jasper, Tennessee, and on that 
day General VanCleve, by his Adjutant General, Captain E. 
A. Otis, issued the following special orders. No. 202: 

By dii-ection of the General comraantlinaf the Twenty-first Arraj 
Corps, this command will move to and across tlie Tennessee river at Shell 
Mound as soon as the way is open, of which notice will hereafter be 
given. The troops will be supplied with three days' rations in haver- 
sacks, commencing with tomorrow morning. * * * * 

Under this order Colonel Dick's brigade moved out from 
McMinnville to join the division and cross the Tennessee 
river and bear its part in the Chattanooga-Chickamauga 
campaign then fairly opened. That afternoon, September 3, 
at 2 o'clock, the brigade left its comfortable and home-like en- 
campment at McMinnville, marched twelve miles, and 
bivouacked. The next morning, the 4th, it started earl3^ 
during the forenoon ascended the Cumberland mountain, 
and at nightfall encamped on its summit. September 5 the 
brigade moved out at o'clock, descended the mountain dur- 
ing the day, and at night bivouacked near Dunlap in the 
Sequatchie valley. September 6 the brigade started at 4 
o'clock and nuirched down the valley all day, and encamped 
near a big spring. On reaching Jasper, September 7, Col- 
onel Dick received an order from General VanCleve to 
change his line of nuirch, and instead of going to and 
crossing the river at Sliell Mound, as first ordered, that he 
should march to and cross the river at Bridgeport. In 
obedience to this order the route was changed and the 
brigade passed on through Jasper, crossing Battle Creek 
and reached Bridgeport and crossed the Tennessee 
river on the evening of Sei)tember 7, going into bivouac 
on the east side of the river about 9 o'clock, at night, 
having marched during the day twenty-two miles. At 
5 o'clock the next morning the brigade again moved out, 
and marched that day to Whitesides, a distance of fourteen 

Of the advance from Whitesides by the Second brigade, 


Third division, Twenty-first corps, Colonel George P. Dick, 
in his report of the battle of Chickamauga, says: 

"On September 9, a march of sixteen miles on the Trenton road 
brought me within ten miles of Chattanooga. On the 10th, I crossed the 
Lookout Mountain after a considerable delay, occasioned by the difficulty 
of getting a large supply train which was moving in front of my column, 
over the road. At the Widow Gillespie's, I halted until by brigade 
train should come up for the purpose of complying with the order for 
the reduction of baggage. This caused a delay until 4 p. m., when I 
again moved forward, reaching Rossville at sunset. Here a courier 
came in, reporting that about sixty rebel cavalry had attacked General 
Wood's supply train about two miles ahead. I immediately ordered the 
Thirteenth Ohio, Fifty-ninth Ohio, and Forty-fourth Indiana regiments, 
with a section of the Third Wisconsin battery, on the double quick, to 
drive back the raiders, leaving the Eighty-sixth Indiana as a guard to 
my own train. After double quicking a little more than two miles, the 
Fifty-ninth Ohio, being in front, came up to the train, when the enemy 
withdrew. The road being now clear, I moved my column forward, and 
at 11 p. m. I came up to General Wood's encampment on Chickamauga 
creek, where I bivouacked for the night. 

At 5 o'clock next morning I was ordered forward to rejoin the divis- 
ion, which order I complied with, arriving at division headquarters, five 
miles from Ringgold, Georgia, at about 7 a. m., when I reported to 
Brigadier-General VanCleve. At 9 a. m. I moved with the division in 
the direction of Ringgold. Marching with the division, I went vvith it 
into camp on Dogwood creek, two and a half miles south of Ringgold on 
the Dal ton road." 

The march from the time this brigade left McMiunville 
until it rejoined the division near Ringgold, as shown by 
the above itinerary and Colonel Dick's report, was a 
forced march all the way for eight days. The men 
of the regiment were in excellent spirits; they had 
had a rest of two months, during which time they 
had had an opportunity to procure fruit and fresh 
vegetables, and the health of the men had been restored, and 
never in all its history had the regiment been in better con- 
dition physically. The road over which they came was dry 
and dusty, much of the route was through one of the most 
delightful portions of Tennessee, and the sun was hot during 
the day, but it was a " forward movement, " and couriers that 
were met enroute gave most encouraging reports of the ad- 
vance of the main army. Thus was the weariness of the 


march, the boat and the dust, offset by the cheerine: news, 
and no complaints of hardships were heard. When the brig- 
ade crossed the river at Bridgeport on September 7, it was 
believed by all that an engagement was imminent and the 
sound of battle was expected. On the 9th, however, news of 
the evacuation of Chattanooga was received, and it was then 
believed by most of the command that a halt would be made 
at Chattanooga, as it was generally understood that that city 
was the objective point, and that now being in the hands of 
General Rosecrans, therefore the campaign would be ended. 
This delusion was soon dispelled when the orders were re- 
ceived to press on and join the remainder of the command 
then in pursuit of Bragg's army. The march in pursuit of 
Bragg was entered upon with hearty good will, and as the 
Eighty-sixth moved over the railroad around the point of old 
Lookout and caught sight of the stars and stripes floating 
over the captured city of Chattanooga a shout went up from 
the men that was taken up and echoed from Lookout to 
Missionary Ridge. Catching just a glimpse of the city as 
the head of the column crossed the creek at the foot of the 
mountain, the brigade hastened on up Lookout Valley to the 
southward toward Rossville, the men little dreaming of the 
terrible ordeal through which they were destined to pass 
within the following ten days. 

Having now united the Eighty-sixth Indiana and the 
brigade to which it was attached with the division, it is im- 
portant as a matter of history to be preserved by the regi- 
ment and its friends, that the immediate organization of the 
Twenty-first army corps should here be given. This corps, 
because of its magnificent record at Chickamauga, has won a 
place in the hearts of all those who were connected with the 
Army of the Cumberland. Whether fighting as a complete 
corps, or taken by detachments and sent to the support of 
other portions of the army, the officers and men who com- 
posed it showed that gallantry and those soldierly qualities 
that make the American citizen soldier superior to any other 
soldier of the world. The following roster of the Twenty- 
first army corps at Chickamauga will doubtless bring to 


mind many incidents and scenes which have been covered up 
in the minds of the comrades by the dust of years that have 
passed, or been driven from memory, or pushed into the 
background by the press of business and the struggle to 
"get on in the world, " since the soldier of 1861-1865 has be- 
come again the citizen: 

Major Genei-al Thomas L. Crittenden, Commanding. 

First Division. 
Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood, Commanding. 
First Briqadc. 
Colonel George P. Buell, Commanding. 
One Hundreth Illinois. Tliirteenth Michigan. 

Fifty-eighth Indiana. Twenty-sixth Ohio. 

Eighth Indiana Battery. 
Second Brigade. 
Brigadier General George D. Wagner, Commanding. 
Stationed at Chattanooga and not engaged at Chickamauga. 

Tliird Brigade. 

Colonel Charles G. Harker, Commanding. 

Third Kentucky. Sixty-fifth Ohio. 

Sixty-fourth Ohio. One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio. 

Sixth Ohio Battery. 

Second Division. 
Major General John M. Palmer, Commanding. 

First Brigade. 
Brigadier General Charles Cruft, Commanding. 
Thirty-first Indiana. Second Kentucky. 

First Kentucky. Ninetieth Ohio. 

First Ohio Light, Battery B. 
Second Brigade. 
Brigadier Genei^al William B. Hazen, Commanding. 
Ninth Indiana. Forty-first Ohio. 

Sixth Kentucky. One Hundred and Twenty-fourth 

First Ohio Light, Battery F. 
Third Brigade. 
Colonel William Grose, Commanding. 
Eighty-fourth Illinois. Twenty-third Kentucky. 

Thirty-sixth Indiana. Twenty-fourth Ohio. 

Fourth United States Artillery, Battery H. 
Fourth United States Artillery, Battery M. 

162 the eighty-sixth regiment, 

Third Division. 
Bi-igadicr General Horatio P. VanCleve, Commanding. 
First Brigade. 
Brigadier Genei-al Samuel Beatty, Commanding. 
Seventy-ninth Indiana. Seventeenth Kentucky. 

Ninth Kentucky. Nineteenth Ohio. 

Seventh Indiana Battery. 
Second Brigade. 
Colonel George F. Dick, Commanding. 
Forty-fourth Indiana. Thirteenth Ohio. 

Eighty-sixtli Indiana. Fifty-ninth Ohio. 

Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Battery. 
'Third Brigade. 
Colonel Sidney M. Barnes, Commanding. 
Thirth-liftli Indiana. Twenty-first Kentucky. 

Eighth Kentucky. Fifty-first Ohio. 

Ninty-ninth Ohio. Third Wisconsin Battery. 

The entire movements of General Bragg after leaving 
Chattanooga and his designs were shrouded in mystery in so 
far as General Rosecrans was able to discover. Of course it 
was all made manifest later on, and the rebel army was found 
to have been posted as stated in the foregoing portion of this 
chapter. After the division of General VanCleve was united 
then was begun the same tactics that had been pursued by 
the Twenty-first army corps in the valley opposite Chatta- 
nooga before Bragg evacuated the i)lace. It was to be a sys- 
tem of strategy for the purpose of deceiving and misleading 
General Bragg, if possible, as to the situation and condition 
of the Army of the Cumberland. It was now a matter of 
vital importance to General Rosecrans that no general en- 
gagement should be brought on until his army could be again 
united. Although the pursuit of the Confederate army was 
entered upon by the troops of the Twenty-first corps with a 
most commendable degree of enthusiasm, no one, not even the 
commanding general, realized the perilous situation in which 
it was being placed. The true condition of affairs was, how- 
ever, soon made manifest to General Rosecrans and at least 
to all of the general ofticers, whether it was to the rank and 
file or not. 

On September 12, the Twenty -first corps marched from 


Ringgold and bivouacked near to and about Lee & Gordon's 
Mills. On the night of September 9, General Bragg had 
ordered General Hindman, then at Lee & Gordon's Mills, to 
inarch to Davis' cross roads, and there to make a junction 
with General Cleburne's forces, and both were to attack Neg- 
ley's division of General Thomas' corps then advancing from 
Stevens' Gap toward LaFayette, where, it was afterward 
learned, General Bragg had concentrated his army, and where 
he was then receiving large reinforcements from Virginia 
and Mississippi. These orders were not obeyed, but had 
they been executed promptly, Negley's division, isolated as 
it was, would have been, in all probability, utterly destroyed. 
General Hill, who should have had the immediate command 
of the two divisions that were to have attacked General Neg- 
ley, reported to General Bragg that the mountain gaps 
through which he would have to pass were so obstructed 
with felled timber that he could not get through in less 
than twenty-four hours. By the time the twenty -four hours 
had passed. General Baird, commanding the First division 
of Thomas' corps, had joined General Negley, and thus 
Negley was placed on nearer an equal footing with the col- 
umn that was to have made the attack. Again on September 
10, General Bragg issued the order to make the attack, send- 
ing forward tw^o additional divisions of the Confederate army 
as reinforcements. Again there w^as the delay of a day in 
the execution of General Bragg 's orders, and in that time 
the other two divisions of General Thomas' corps had joined 
Negley and Baird, and with them General Thomas in person, 
and the center of our army was secure for the time being. 
These events now bring the reader to the day on which Crit- 
•tenden's corps, falling back from Ringgold, had concentrated 
at Lee & Gordon's Mills. Thomas, with the Fourteenth 
corps, and McCook, with the Twentieth corps, were from 
twenty to forty miles away, with mountain ranges and al- 
most impassable roads separating them from Crittenden's 
! corps. The Twenty-first corps, Crittenden's, was then en- 
tirely isolated from all support and absolutely powerless to 
withstand a combined attack from General Bragg 's army, if 


that officer should determine to concentrate his forces and 
make the attack. And this was exactly the movement that 
was then contemplated by General Bragg. 

On September 12, General Bragg with his headquarters 
at LaPayette, Georgia, at 6 p. m., issued the following order 
to Lieutenant General Polk: 

General: — I enclose you a dispatch from General Pegram. This 
presents you a fine opportunity of striking Crittenden in detail, and I 
hope you will avail yourself of it at daylight to-morrow. This division 
crushed and the others are yours. We can then turn again on the force 
in the Cove. Wheeler's cavalry will move on Wilder so as to cover your 
right. I shall be delighted to hear of your success. 

On that evening, however, after receiving the orders 
General Polk notified General Bragg that additional troops 
should be sent to him. He said: 

" I am clearly of the opinion that you should send me additional 
forces, so as to make failure impossible, and great success here would be 
of incalculable benefit to our cause." 

The entire day passed and General Polk awaited for re- 
inforcements, and at the close of the day the entire corps of 
Crittenden had united. At night, on September 12, General 
Bragg again writes General Polk: 

" Your position seems to be a strong one for defense, but I hope will 
not be held unless the enemy attacks early. We must force him to fight 
at the earliest moment, and before his combination can be carried out. 
****** However, to avoid all danger, I shall put Buckner in mo- 
tion in the morning and run the risk here. You must not delay attack 
for his arrival, or another golden opportunity may be lost by the with- 
drawal of our game. * * * * Action, prompt and decided, is all that 
can save us." 

On the very day that this attack was ordered to be made 
by General Bragg on Crittenden, September 13, General 
Crittenden, after placing his corps in position, ordered Gen-* 
eral VanCleve, with General Beatty's brigade, supported by 
Colonel Dick's brigade, to make a reconnoissance beyond Lee 
& Gordon's Mills on the Lafayette road. At the same time 
Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry, with General Cruft's 
brigade as support, was ordered to reconnoitre to the left 
through Pea Vine valley. The same day the Fourth United 
States cavalry reported to General Crittenden for duty, and 


he ordered them to reconnoitre the road toward McLemore's 

General VanCleve moved out in obedience to his orders, 
crossing Chickamaiiga creek and advancing for three miles 
toward LaFayette. This reconnoissance developed the fact 
the enemy was in front in some considerable force, but from 
General VanCleve 's report it is evident that he went back to 
his position at Lee & Gordon's Mills in blissful ignorance of 
the exact situation in his front that day. In his report to 
General Crittenden after the battle of Chickamauga, in de- 
tailing his movements for each day from the 4th to the 21st 
of September, he says: 

" On the 13th, by your order,I made a reconnoisance with my division 
three miles toward LaFayette. We met the rebel cavalry immediately 
after passing our picket line, and with sharp skirmishing drove them 
back. Two privates of the Nineteenth Ohio were mortally wounded by 
a solid shot. Captain Drury, Chief of Artillery, and Lieutenant Clark, 
Company G, Seventy-ninth Indiana Volunteers, were seriously wounded. 
The loss of the enemy is unknown." 

At the end of the three miles advance General VanCleve 
halted and rested his command, giving the men an o^opor- 
tunity to eat a lunch before he started on the return. Not 
one of the officers or men either of Dick's brigade, or of 
Beatty's brigade, as they ate their hardtack that Sunday 
noon of September 13, 18G3, imagined for one instant that 
only one mile farther on the greater part of Bragg 's army 
were waiting for what they supposed Crittenden's advance 
to fall into their hands. Had General Polk obeyed the 
orders of his chief, which were to fall upon Crittenden that 
morning, he would have caught General VanCleve all un- 
prepared for the discovery of so much force, soon after he, 
VanCleve, had crossed the Chickamauga, and the two brig- 
ades would have been Utterly overrun and annihilated. The 
same condition of affairs confronted Wilder's brigade that 
day. Had Wilder but pushed forward on his reconnoissance 
one mile further than where he halted and turned back, he 
would have struck the solid right wing of Bragg 's army. 
The greater the examination of the history of the battle of 
Chickamauga one makes, the more it is apparent that Chicka- 


mau^a was full of blunders, and failures on the part of the 
Confederate army, and of escapes for the Union army. The 
failure of Hindman and Cleburne to strike Negley, was a 
blunder on their part, and an escape for Thomas' corps. 
The failure of Polk with his overwhelming force to strike 
Crittenden on the morning of September 13 with VanCleve's 
division on the east bank of the Chickamauga, and Wilder 's 
brigade with their breech loading Spencer rifles out of reach 
on the left, with the cavalry towards McLemore's Cove, and 
the remainder of the corps all unconscious of its danger, was 
the greatest blunder and mistake of the Confederates, and 
the crowning escape not only of Crittenden's corjis, but in 
its final results, as we shall see a little further on, the almost 
miraculous escape of the Army of the Cumberland as well. 
General Polk's timidity and the lack of enforcing orders by 
General Bragg on Sunday, September 13, was the pivot on 
which absolute defeat and ruin to General Rosecrans turned 
to an ultimate victory in the holding of Chattanooga. 

Bragg after the failure of Polk on Sunday, resolved upon 
another line of action dift'ei'iug only in the manner of its exe- 
cution, from the one he had mapped out in his orders to Gen- 
eral Polk when he ordered Mm to fall upon Crittenden's 
corps. His new plan was fully developed in his orders 
which were issued to his army a few days later. In this new 
plan he proposed to move down on the east side of the 
Chickamauga and cross the stream between Chattanooga and 
Lee & Gordon's Mills, destroy General Crittenden's corps, 
then to follow up his victory and attack General Thomas and 
destroy or scatter his command in the mountains, thus leav- 
ing General McCook with his corps, utterly powerless, away 
from supplies, away from all hope of assistance and at the 
mercy of the Confederate army, with Chattanooga again in 
his grasp whenever at his leisure he might see fit to take it, 
and with the way once more open for a triumi^hant march 
northward. The plan was an excellent one, and it does 
seem now in the light of all the facts, as if there was no pos- 
sible hindrance to its successful accomplishment. By inter- 
posing his array between Chattanooga and Crittenden's left, 


Bragg would be in no danger of being caught between the 
Twenty-first corps and the Fourteenth and Twentieth cor^^s, 
which might come up before the Twenty-first was disposed 
of. But here again came another blunder of General Bragg. 
He was too slow, and allowed four days to pass before he 
issued his final orders for the advance of his army. Gen- 
eral Rosecrans, in the meantime, had gained information 
that Bragg was in receipt of a large reinforcement, and that 
General Longstreet, with his famous corps of the Army of 
Northern Virginia was enroute also to further strengthen 
General Bragg. General Rosecrans also had received such 
information as led him to believe that General Bragg was 
concentrating towards the Union left. At once he, Rose- 
crans, undertook to concentrate the Army of the Cumber- 
land on Crittenden's corps. General Rosecrans in his re- 
port covering the date of September 12, says: 

"Thus it was ascertained that the enemy was concentrating: all his 
forces, both infantry and cavalry, behind Pigeon Mountain, in the vicin- 
ity of LaFayette, while the corps of this army were at Gordon's Mills, 
Bailey's cross-roads, at the foot of Stevens' Gap, and at Alpine, a dis- 
tance of forty miles from flank to flank, by the nearest practical roads, 
and fifty-seven miles by the route subsequently taken by the Twentieth 
army corps. It had already been ascertained that the main body of 
Johnston's army had joined Bragg, and accumulation of evidence 
showed that the troops from Virginia had reached Atlanta on the first 
of the month, and that reinforcements were expected to arrive soon 
from that quarter. It was now a matter of life and death to effect the 
concentration of the army." 

The plan adopted by General Rosecrans for the concen; 
tration of his army was for General McCook with his corps 
to join General Thomas at McLemore's Cove, then to move 
General Thomas to the left permitting General McCook to 
take the place of General Thomas, and then by forced 
marches to move both of their corps to the rear of and to the 
left of General Crittenden's corps. Thus in the formation 
as was then contemplated and as was afterward carried out 
leaving General Crittenden's corps so that it would become 
the right wing of the army instead of the left. While these 
preparations for consolidating the army were in progress, 
the troops of Crittenden's corjjs were kept busy in making 


reconnoissances, and by moving about were making a show 
of strength. On the night of September 12, at midniglit. 
General McCook received his order to join General Thomas 
at McLemore's Cove, and he at once commenced a move- 
ment which required him five days to execute, reaching his 
position with General Thomas on the 17th. Five long, anx- 
ious and dangerous days for the small body of the army 
along Chickamauga creek. Five days in which at any time 
Bragg might have destroyed Crittenden and have thrown his 
whole force against Thomas and destroyed him before 
McCook could get up. As soon as McCook had joined 
Thomas the movement to the left began and on the night of 
the 17th these two corps had pushed well on toward Crit- 

On the night of the 17th, General Bragg issued his 
orders for the movement of his corps and for the opening of 
the battle, and it was intended that the movements named 
in the order should all be made so that Bragg should open 
the battle by 6 o'clock on the morning of the 18th. The 
orders as issued by General Bragg, dated at Leet's Tan 
Yard, September 18, 1863, read as follows : 

1. Johnson's column, (Hood's), on crossing,at or near Reed's bridge, 
will turn to the left by the most practicable route, and sweep up the 
Chickamauga toward Lee & Gordon's Mills. 

2. Walker, crossing at Alexander bridge, will unite in this move — 
and i)ush vigorously on the enemy's flank and rear in the same direction. 

3. Buckner, crossing at Thedford's ford, will join in the movement 
to the left, and press the enemy up the stream from Polk's front at Lee 
& Goi-don's Mills. 

4. Polk will press his forces to the front of Lee & Gordon's Mills, 
and if met by too much resistance to cross, will bear to the right and 
cross at Dalton's ford, or at Thedford's, as may be necessary, and join in 
the attack wherever the enemy may be. 

5. Hill will cover our left flank fi-om an advance of the enemy from 
the Cove, and by pressing the cavalry in his front, ascertain if the en- 
emy is reinfoi-cing at Leo & Gordon's Mills, in which event he will at- 
tack them in flank. 

(). Wheeler's cavalry will hold the gaps in Pigeon Mountain and 
covei- our rear and left, and bring up stragglers. 

7. All teams, etc., not with troops, shall go toward Ringgold and 


Dalton, beyond Taylor's Ridge. All cooking .shall be done at the trains. 
Rations when cooked will be forwarded to the troops. 

8. The above movements wnl be executed with the utmost prompt- 
ness, vigor and persistence. 

Between General Brao'g and General Crittenden run the 
deep and muddy waters of the Chickamauga, with banks that 
were steep, and the crossings, difficult for artillery and ammu- 
nition trains, were narrow and poor. To make these crossings 
the more difficult, each one was guarded by a strong detach- 
ment from Wilder's mounted infantry and Minty's cavalry, 
each detachment being supported or assisted with artillery. 
This was a force not counted upon by General Hood in his 
calculation. Beside this his command did not get under way 
early in the morning, and it was after noon of that day be- 
fore the advance of the different corps approached their 
points of crossing, and when these were reached they found 
a sufficient force to dispute their passage and the crossing 
was not effected until late in the evening, too late to carry 
out the plans as laid down in General Bragg 's order. Only a 
part of Bragg's army got across that evening and the Union 
troops were constantly on the guard. 


TlioOpcnins ISiill— Tlie EiKlity-si.xth in at tlie BcKinninn;— Dick's Brifjado in Sup- 
portof Wilder— Inipmtant Points on tiie Field Described— Position of Kose- 
craiis' Troops— Wait ins in Suspense— Tlie Orders Arrive— The Regiment goes 
in A Vivid Portrayal of the First Day's Contest^The Lines Reformed for 
the Second Day— The Bloody Contest Rages Witli Unabated Fury— The Va- 
rious ISlovements of the Regiment, Brigade and Division— The Charges at 
the K'(>lly arid Poe Fields— The Break in the Lines— Longstreet in tlie Charge- 
On Snodgrass Hill and Marker Hill— Steadman's Troops Come Up— Confed- 
erates Gain Possession of the LaFayette Road on the Left— Final Repulse of 
Longstreet at Snodgrass Hill— Witlidrawal of Union Troops— Strength of the 
Armies and Losses at Chickamauga— Estimates of the Battle l)y Confederate 
Officers— Indiana at Chickamauga. 

On September 18, Dick's brigade lay durinj? the forenoon 
at Crawfish Springs, two miles west and south, by the wagon 
road, from Lee & Gordon's Mills. The horses stood hitched 
to the artillery for any emergency. The troops had just 
finished their noon meal and were sitting about w^aiting for 
the next move, when from the north came the report of ar- 
tillery announcing the opening of the battle at Alexander's 
bridge and Reed's bridge. The troops w^ere now fully 
aroused as they began to thoroughly realize that the 
battle was opening. For several days it had been expected, 
but no one realized the severity with which the contest was 
to rage for the next two days after these opening shots. The 
brigade did not have long for speculation or conjecture upon 
the opening of the engagement, before there came an order 
to Colonel Dick to push forward his brigade as rapidly as 
possible to the support of General Thomas J. Wood, who 
was then threatened by General Polk's advance at Lee & 
Gordon's Mills. There was no delay in getting off after the 
order was received, and the Eighty-sixth Indiana with the 
other regiments of the brigade, reached the position on the 


left of Wood in time to see the first of the wounded cavahy 
and mounted infantry coining in from Wilder and Minty's 
command. Until the sun went down on the afternoon of the 
18th of September, the fight was between the cavalry and 
mounted infantry of Rosecraus, and the head of the columns 
of Bragg. The day, however, was practically lost to Bragg, 
in so far as the speedy and successful execution of his plans 
were concerned. 

The soldiers who took part in the battle of Chickamauga 
and who have not visited Chickamauga since the battle, may 
have forgotten to a certain extent the roads and locations 
that were prominent in that battle, and the reader of this 
sketch who has not been on the battle-field should know of 
the different positions as they are named as important points 
in the battle. 

The Chattanooga & LaPayette road, spoken of during 
the battle as the LaPayette road, is a wagon road leading a 
little east of south from Chattanooga to Rossville, a distance 
of four miles, where it passes through Missionary Ridge 
by what is known as Rossville Gap. Near Rossville and a 
very little to the north, is the boundary line between Tenn- 
essee and Georgia. The LaPayette road, after passing 
through Rossville Gap runs southeast for near two miles, 
and then runs due south through or near the center of the 
battle-field to Lee & Gordon's Mills, eight miles and a half 
from Rossville and twelve and a half miles from Chattanooga, 
and thirteen miles yet further south of Lee & Gordon's Mills 
is LaPayette. Along the line of this LaPayette road are for 
the most part the important positions where the battle raged 
on September 19th and 20th. As the battle opened our right 
lay at Lee & Gordon's Mills, and to the east side of the LaPay- 
ette road, faced east, and as all of the movements of the bat- 
tle were to our left, or northward, the points will be named 
beginning at Lee & Gordon's Mills and going to our left, 
north toward Chattanooga on this road. Pirst is Viniard's, 
one mile and a half north of the mill, Brotherton's, a mile 
and a small fraction north of Viniard's; Foe's, a quarter of a 
mile north of Brotherton's; Kelly's, three-fourths of a mile 


north of Poe's; McDaniers, four-fifths of a mile north of 
Kelly's; Cloud's, a half mile north of McDaniel's. With these 
l)oints borne in mind it will not be difficult to locate in the 
mind the position to the east or west of the LaFayette road. 
Tlio Widow Glenn's is almost directly west of Viniard's, 
abouth three-quarters of a mile. Dyer's is west of the Broth- 
erton house about a half mile; Snodgrass Hill is northwest of 
the Kelly field about a mile. North of Snodgrass Hill a half 
mile is Harker's Hill, a ridge running in a northeasterly di- 
rection toward the LaFayette road. On the east side of the 
LaFayette road is Jay's mill, about two and an eighth miles 
southeast from McDaniel's; Reed's bridge, two and half 
miles southeast from McDaniel's; Alexander's bridge, a lit- 
tle south of east of Viniard's two and three-quarter miles; 
the Brock field east of Brotherton's a mile. Intermediate be- 
tween the houses named here are the fields and woods belong- 
ing to the parties indicated by the names given. 

As stated, the forces of Wilder held at bay the advance 
of General Walker at Alexander's bridge until about dark 
when Wilder fell back toward the LaFayette road, and halted 
on the east line of the Viniard farm. Here he jjosted his troops 
in the best manner possible to i)revent the rebel force from 
reaching the LaFayette road and cutting off the line between 
Crittenden and Chattanooga. The enemy, however, ad- 
vanced in such force as to endanger Wilder "s position, when 
he called upon General Crittenden for assistance. Colonel 
Dick's brigade being the nearest to Wilder it was ordered 
forward and directed to form on Wilder 's right. This was 
done by placing the Forty-fourth Indiana and the Fifty- 
ninth Ohio regiments on the line, while the Eighty-sixth In- 
diana and the Thirteenth Ohio were held in reserve. Dur- 
ing the night a very determined effort, as it seemed, was 
begun to force back our lines and gain the LaFay- 
ette road, but the resistance was so hot, and the rebels not 
being able to ascertain the length or strength of our lines 
because of the darkness, after some severe firing, relin- 
quished the movement and fell back out of range and thus 
rested for the night. 


Returning now to the movements of the Fourteenth and 
Twentieth corps, we find Thomas and McCook had kept 
quiet during the day of the 18th but as soon as night had 
come these two corps at once started from Pond S luring to 
push through with all possible dispatched to reach Critten- 
den's left and interpose their lines between the right of 
Bragg 's army and the route to Chattanooga. Upon reach- 
ing Crawfish Springs, Negley's division was turned to the 
southeast to Glass' mill to watch the flank and prevent any 
surprise from that direction, and Thomas with the other three 
of his divisions pressed on through the darkness northward 
past the Widow Glenn's, leaving the Lafayette road to his 
right and finally turning east, striking that road at the 
Kelly farm. From that point General Brannan's division 
moved eastward to Jay's mill and at daylight was in line 
ready for the battle that was soon to open. Before the 
dawn had fully come General Thomas had his forces all in 
position on the left of Crittenden, while McCook was at 
Crawfish Springs ready to fall into line wherever he should 
be most needed. The 18th of September had passed and 
with it all prospect for General Bragg to destroy Critten- 
den's corps. With it had gone the victory that he had seen 
within his grasp when he issued his orders on the 17th. By 
his delays and tardiness in moving he had lost all 
chance to pass around the left of the Union army and inter- 
pose between it and Chattanooga. The dawn of the 19th 
was to be a surprise for General Bragg even greater than he 
had anticipated giving to General Crittenden. Prior to this 
time the Army of the Cumberland had shown its prowess in 
fighting as an advancing and aggressive army. It was now 
to fight on the defensive, and it was ready to show, and did 
show, that its courage and staying qualities were even 
greater than any of its former daring and deeds of valor. 

Let us examine the position of the troops of General 
Rosecrans on the morning of September 19th before the 
opening of the battle. Crittenden's corps still occupied the 
left of the line extending from Lee & Gordon's Mills north- 
ward. Wilder 's brigade of mounted infantry and Colonel 


Dick's brigade had just before daylight been withdrawn 
from tho oast side of the Viniard farm, east of the LaFay- 
otto road, and Wilder 's brigade was now formed in line of 
battle on the ridge in the edge of the woods on the 
W(^st side of the Viniard farm, west of the LaPayette 
road. This brigade at that time formed the extreme 
riglit of the army. Thomas, however, was moving into 
])()siti()n on the north, and he soon had his three 
divisions across the LaFayette road extending in a 
northeasterly line to Jay's mill, facing southward. At this 
time there was a gap in our lines between the left of Critten- 
den and the right of Wilder. McCook's corps, the Twentieth, 
was at Crawfish Springs, awaiting orders, yet within easy 
reach of any position that might need his troops. General 
Steadman with his reserve corps was at Rossville. Fortune 
and misfortune were with General Rosecrans' army that 
morning. Fortune, in that our army was altogether, and 
that General Bragg was resting in the full belief that Rose- 
crans' forces were yet in the same position that they were 
on the morning of the 18th, with Crittenden isolated and alone 
at Lee & Gordon's Mills, and Tliomas and Granger many 
miles distant on the right. All of this was fortunate for the 
Union army, but it was unfortunate that Rosecrans did not 
know that the rebel army was that morning well nigh all 
across on the west side of the Chickamauga. Brannan's di- 
vision in position near Jay's mill, on the extreme left of our 
line, met Forest's cavalry about 7:30 a. m., and at once the 
battle of the 1i)tli opened. One after another of the brigades 
extending toward the right took up the battle and the rush 
and i-oar of the contest extended toward the right from Jay's 
mill on past Thomas' corps to Crittenden's, while Negley's 
division ;it Glass' mill, nearly nine miles away from our left, 
was engaged with the enemy. But what of Dick's brigade 
and the Eighty-sixth Indiana? 

As before stated this brigade just before daylight had 
been relieved from duty with Wilder 's brigade and moved to 
the rear a short distance, and toward Lee & Gordon's Mills, 
into an open field there to prepare breakfast, and to get such 


rest as might be possible, until such time as the services of 
the regiment and brigade might be needed. 

The sun had scarcely appeared above the tops of the 
trees until the opening fire of the battle was heard away on 
its left. In a short time another shot, sounding as if one army 
or the other was feeling its way. The distance was too great 
to hear any sounds of musketry, but the artillery shots soon 
provoked answering shots, as if both armies were fully 
set in battle array before the opening gun was fired, for the 
firing seemed to run along the entire front in a very brief 
space of time. Now the firing on the left grows stronger, 
and between the artillery shots one catches the sound of 
musketry. Stronger and stronger grows the contest, and 
nearer, too, for there breaks upon the ear one continuous 
roar of artillery from the left, sweeping onward as the min- 
utes sped, while volley after volley of musketry tells that 
the two armies have come together in the first charges of 
the battle. 

The contest gathers in strength as on it comes sweeping 
down on to the lines in front of where Dick's brigade waited, 
sweeping on to the right until it becomes one commingled 
roar of artillery and rattle of musketry, dying away in the 
dull and sullen thunder of Negley's guns on the farther- 
most right. 

The men of the Eighty-sixth can see none of the lines 
that are engaged, but from the sound of the battle it is be- 
lieved by all that the Union army is holding its position 
against the furious charges that are being made upon it. 

A lull for a few moments comes in the deadly contest, 
and only a few scattering shots are heard along the line. 
Looking now to the front of the Eighty-sixth Indiana through 
an opening in the trees, may be seen, crossing a ridge, the 
inarching columns of the enemy as he moves toward the 
left of our army, massing his forces against the troops of 
Thomas, x3reparatory to the terrible work of that Saturday 
afternoon along the line at Viniard's, at Brotherton's, in the 
Brock field, and at Poe's, in the desiderate struggle to turn 
the left and get between Rosecrans and Chattanooga. The 


lessening of the storm, however, is but brief, for again the 
sound of the contest begins to gather, and grows rapidly in 
strength. It came on like the blasts of a tornado, sounding 
louder and louder, stronger and yet stronger it rages, until it 
bui'sts upon the listener in a great rush and roar of terrible 
sound, before which those who hear and are not a part of it, 
stand in awe, and, looking each the other in the face, dare not 

Ov^er on the right it again broke forth, and with renewed 
strength rolled on down the lines, growing fiercer and fiercer, 
and louder and louder, as additional forces were brought into 
the contest, until it reached the extreme left in a crashing, I 
tumultuous sound, when backward it would sweep to the j 
right, only again to go rolling, and jarring and thundering 
in its fury as backward and forward it swept, that fearful 
storm of war. It was as when broad ocean is lashed to fury 
by the tempest, when great rolling waves come chasing one 
the other in their mighty rage, until they strike with deaf- 
ening roar the solid walls of rock on the shore, only to be 
broken [ind di'iven back upon other incoming waves as strong, , 
or stronger than they had been. So came to the ears of those ' 
waiting troops, the sound of that mighty tempest of war — 
volley after volley of musketry rolling in waves of dreadful 
sound, one upon the other, to which was added the deep 
sounding of the artillery, like heavy thunders peal through 
the rushing roar of the tempest, making the ground under 
foot tremble with the fearful shocks as they came and went, 
each more terrible than the former. It was evident to 
those who listened that the enemy with his mighty and super- 
ior numbers was making most desperate efforts to over- 
whelm and break the Union lines. 

Through that forenoon— and it seemed almost as though 
its hours would never pass — the Eighty-sixth and its brigade 
waited outside that contest, and heard that fearful, that ter- 
rible death dealing tornado as it raged in front and all about 
them, and could see the constantly moving columns of the 
enemy's infantry with tlying flags, and could see battery 
after battery as they moved before them like a great pano- 


[•ama unfolding in the opening on the ridge to which refer- 
ence has been made. 

Dick's brigade had been sent back, as stated, to rest 
ifter a night on duty, but rest there was none. The guns of 
:he infantry stood stacked in line, and the battery of six 
^uns, attached to the bi'igade, stood just in rear of the 
roops, with all the horses hitched to guns and caissons 
I'eady to move at any instant. Now and then a stray shot 
3r shell would fly over the heads of these men and strike in 
]he ground or burst in the air, to their rear. 

The men grew restless, that restlessness that comes to 
nen in that most trying of all times in the life of a soldier, 
vvhen he hears the battle raging with all the might of the 
furies about him, when now and then he can catch the sound 
Df the distant shouts that tell all too plainly that the charge 
s on, and can hear the first shot that begins that rattling, 
iearing, shrieking sound of the volleys of musketry, and of 
:he shot, and shell and canister of the artillery that drowns 
in its fury the shouts and cheers of the charging lines, and 
bhat tells to the experienced soldier that the charge is met 
by determined and heroic troops, and that great gaps are 
jeing torn in the lines — that men and comrades are being 
born and mangled and killed. 

In such moments and under such circumstances as these, 
strong men pale, and the body grows hot and weak, and the 
iieart of the bravest almost ceases to beat; then it is that the 
tiearer realizes to the fullest extent that war is terrible. 

The men are hungry, but they cannot eat; they are tired 
md worn, but they cannot rest, the limbs and feet ache, 
Mid they cannot sit down; they lie prone upon the ground, 
3ut in that position the sound of the battle is intensi- 
fied, and they rise up; speak to them if you will, and they 
mswer you as if in a dream; they laugh, but it is a laugh 
that has no joy in it. The infantry stay close to their gun 
Stacks; the artillerymen, drivers and gunners, stand near to 
their posts of duty, in a terrible, fearful state of unrest. 
That body of men who thus stood almost unnerved on that 
September day were not lacking in true soldierly qualities. 


Their bravery had been tested on other fields. They 
had passed through the ordeal at Donelson, at Shiloh, 
at Perry ville, at Stone's River. There they had met 
the enemy in the hottest and fiercest of the battle with all 
the bravery and firmness of the Roman, and again when the 
time shall come for them under orders to take their place in 
the charging line, or in position with their comrades to re- 
ceive the enemy's assault, they will not be found wanting. 
Thus hour after hour was passed by these waiting troops in 
a dreadful state of anxiety and suspense. There were no 
tidings from the front. They only knew that the^battle was 
fearful, terrible. Noontime came and passed, and still the 
battle raged with undiminished fury, and this brigade still 
waited orders to move. Another hour beyond midday had 
passed, and the second was drawing toward its close, when 
suddenly from out the woods to the front and left of Diclv's 
brigade onto the open field, dashed an officer, his horse urgod 
to its greatest speed toward the expectant troops. The mou 
see him coming, and in an instant a new life has taken pos- 
session of them. "There comes orders, " are the words tliat 
pass from lip to lip along that line. Without commands tlif 
lines are reformed behind the gun stacks, ready for the com- 
mand, " Take arms. " The cannoneers stand at their posts 
ready to mount limber chest and caisson. The drivers ' ' stand 
to horse," and with hand on rein and toe in stirrup, for dc 
tails of the drill are forgotten in the feverish anxiety for the 
command to "mount" and away. How quick, how great the 
change at the prospect of freedom from the suspense of the 
day. The eye has lighted up, the arm has again grown 
strong, and the nerves are once more steady. All is now 
eagerness for the work that must be before them. Every 
head is bent forward to catch, if possible, the first news from 
the front, and to hear the orders that are to be given. All 
are thoroughly aroused ; there will soon be no more suspense. 
It is to be action for Dick's brigade on until the close of the 
battle. Nearer and nearer comes the rider. Now could be 
distinguished his features, and one could see the fearful earn- 
estness that was written on every line of his face. He leaned 


forward as he rode, in such haste he was. The horse he rode 
had caug'ht the spirit of the -rider, and horse and rider 
by their every movement made, told to the experienced 
soldiers to whom they were hastening that there was to be 
work for them, that the urgency was great, and that the 
peril was imminent. 

How much there is of life, of the soldier's life in time of 
war, that cannot be painted on canvas or described in words. 
It is the inexpressible i)art, that something in the face, in 
the eye, in the swaying of the body, the gesture of the hand, 
and the officer, the soldier, reads in those movements and 
appearances the very facts, terrible in detail, that are after- 
wards put into words. No one who has seen the life of the 
iSoldier in actual warfare but has just seen such occasions 
and just such faces. Such was the face, and such the move- 
ment of that staff officer that afternoon of September 19, 1863. 
He had not spoken a word, there had been no uplifting of the 
hand as he rode across that field, but that indescribable ap- 
pearance spoke for him. Every soldier as he saw him, read 
that face and form as though from an open book, yes, and 
read in all its awful, dreadful meaning that his comrades 
were in deepest peril, and that help must be borne quickly, 
or all hope would be gone, and thus reading, every man was 
ready to do his full duty. Not long delayed were -the orders, 
and as he approaches, this officer is met by Colonel Dick, as 
anxious to receive the orders as he is to give them. The 
command comes in quick, sharp words: "The General pre- 
sents his compliments and directs that you move your brig- 
ade at once to the support of General Beatty. Take the road, 
moving by the flank to the right, double quick. I am to 
direct you, ' ' and then he added so those who stood near heard 
the words, "Our men are hard pressed." The last sentence 
was all that was said in words as to the condition of our 
troops, but it was enough, and those who heard knew they 
had read aright before he had spoken. 

Scarce had the orders been received by Colonel Dick, 
when the command, "Take — Arms!" was heard along the 
iline, and the artillery bugle sounded for cannoneers and 


drivers, "Mount." It scarcely took the time required to 
tell it for the brigade to get in motion moving out of the 
field and onto the road. The artillery took the beaten road, 
the infantry alongside. It was a grand scene as the men 
moved quickly into place, closing up the column and waiting 
but a moment for the command to move. 

The guns of the infantry are at right shoulder, and 
all have grown eager for the order, "Forward." The 
bugle sounds the first note of the command. Now look 
along that column; the men are leaning forward for the 
start; the drivers on the artillery teams tighten the rein 
in the left hand, and, with the whip in the uplifted right 
arm, rise in their stirrups; and as the last note of the 
bugle is sounded, the crack of the whips of thirty-six 
drivers over the backs of as many horses, and the 
stroke of the spurs, sends that battery of six guns and its 
caissons rattling and bounding over that road, while the in- 
fantry alongside are straining every nerve as they hasten to 
the relief of the comrades so hard pressed. The spirits of 
the men grow higher and higher with each moment of the 
advance. The rattling of the artillery and the hoof beats of 
the horses add to the excitement of the onward rush, infantry 
and artillery thus side by side vieing each with the other 
which shall best do his part. Now, as they come nearer, the 
storm of the battle seems to grow greater and greater. On 
and yet on they press, until reaching the designated point, 
the artillery is turned off to the left on to a ridge, and go 
into position along its crest, while the lines of the infantry 
are being formed to the right of the road over which they 
have just been hurrying. The brigade lines are scarcely 
formed, and the command to move forward given, when the 
lines which are in the advance are broken by a terrific charge 
of the enemy, and are driven back in confusion onto our 
line — friend and foe so intermingled that a shot cannot be 
fired without inflicting as much injury on our men as upon 
the enemy. 

The artillery, on the crest of the ridge back of the brig- 
ade, have unlimbered and gone into action, and its shells are 


now flying overhead into tlie woods, where the enemy's lines 
had been. Confusion seems to have taken jjossession of our 
lines, and, to add to it, the lines to the right have been 
broken and the enemy is sweeping past our flank. The order 
is given to fall back on line with the artillery. Out of the 
wood, under the fire of the cannon, the men hasten. Now 
on the crest of that ridge, without works of any kind to 
shelter them, the troops are again hastily formed, and none 
too soon. Down the gentle sloop of that ridge, and away to 
the right and left and front stretches an open field, without 
tree or shrub to break the force of the balls. In front, and 
at the edge of the field, two hundred yards away, runs the 
road parallel with our lines; beyond the road the heavy tim- 
ber where the Confederate lines are formed, and well pro- 
tected in their preparations for their charge. Scarce had 
the lines been formed when the sharp crack of the rifles 
along our front, and the whistling of the balls over our 
heads, gave us warning that the advance of the enemy had 
begun, and in an instant the shouts of the skirmishers are 
drowned by the shout that goes up from the charging col- 
umn as it starts down in the woods. The men are ready. 
The Eighty-sixth Indiana is on the left of the brigade, the 
Seventh Indiana battery — six guns — is on the right of the 
regiment; Battery M, Fourth United States artillery, is on 
its left. The gunners and every man of those two batteries 
are at their posts of duty, the tightly drawn lines in their 
faces showing their purpose there to stand for duty or die. 
To the right of the Seventh Indiana battery was the Forty- 
fourth Indiana and beyond this to the right is the remainder 
of the brigade with its battery. Ofticers pass the familiar 
command of caution along the line — "Steady, men, steady." 
The shout of the charging foe comes rapidly on; now they 
burst out of the woods and onto the road. As if touched by 
an electric cord, so quick and so in unison was it, the rifles 
leap to the shoulder along the ridge where wave the stars 
and stripes. Now the enemy is in plain view along the road 
covering the entire front; you can see them, as with cap 
visors drawn well down over their eyes, the gun at the 


charge, with short, shrill shout they come, and the colors of 
Joliiison's division of Longstreet's corps can be seen, fiushod 
■with victory, confronting us. The men on the ridge recog 
nized the gallantry of their charging foe, and their 
pride is touched as well. All this is but the work of 
an instant, when, just as that long line of gray has 
crossed the road, quick and sharp rings out along tho 
line the command " Ready ^ — Fire!" It seems to come to 
infantry and artillery at the same instant, and out from 
the rifles of the men and the mouths of those cannons 
leap the death-dealing bullet and canister; again and again, 
with almost lightning rapidity, they pour in their deadly, 
merciless fire, until along that entire ridge it has become 
almost one continuous volley, one sheet of flame. Now 'that 
corps that had known little of defeat begins to waver; their 
men had fallen thick and fast about them. Again and yet 
again the volleys are poured into them, and the artillery on 
our right and left have not ceased their deadly work. No 
troops can long withstand such fire; their lines waver, 
another volley and they are broken and now fall back in con- 
fusion. The charge was not long in point of time, but was 
terrible in its results to the foe. 

Along the entire line to the right and left the battle 
raged with increased fury. We are now on the defensive; 
and all can judge that the lull in front is only the stillness 
that forebodes the more terrible storm that is to come. A 
few logs and rails are hastily gathered together to form a 
slight breastwork. Soon the scattering shots that began to 
fall about us, like the first heavy drops of the -rain storm, 
gave warning that the foe was again moving to the attack. 
Again we are ready, now lying behind our hastily-pre- 
pared works. Again is heard the shout as on he comes with 
more determination than before; but with even greater cour- 
age do our men determine to hold their lines. The artil- 
lery is double shotted with canister. Again the com- 
mand, "Fire!" and hotter, fiercer than before the battle 
rages along our front. Shout is answered with shout, shot by 
shot tenfold, until again the assailants break before that 


terrible death dealing fire and are again forced back. 
But why repeat further the story of that Saturday 
afternoon. Again and again were those charges repeated 
along that line, only to be hurled back — broken than 
and shattered. It did seem as though our men were more 
human. The artillerymen worked as never before. 
Their guns — double shotted— had scarce delivered their 
charges, when before the gun could complete its recoil, it was 
caught by strong arms, made doubly strong in that fever heat 
of battle, was again in position, again double shotted, and 
again fired into the face of the foe. The arm bared, the 
veins standing out in great strong lines, the hat or cap gone 
from the head, the eyes starting almost from the socket, the 
teeth set, the face beaded with perspiration, balls falling all 
about them, those men of the Seventh Indiana battery and 
Battery M seemed to be supernaturally endowed with 
strength. Their comrades of the infantry vied with them in 
acts of heroism, and daring, and endurance. They shouted de- 
finance at the foe with every shot ; with face and hands be- 
grimed in the smoke and dust and heat of the battle; with com- 
rades falling about them, the survivors thought only of venge- 
ance. All the horses on two of the guns of the Seventh In- 
diana battery were shot down ; another charge is beginning ; 
those two guns might be lost ; they must be gotten back. 
Quick as thought a company of infantry spring to the guns, 
one hand holding the rifle, the other on the cannon, and with 
the shot falling thick and fast in and about them, drag the 
guns over the brow of the ridge and down into the woods, 
just in the rear of our lines, and hasten back again to take 
their places in lines, ready to meet the on-coming charge. 
An artilleryman is shot down; a man from the infantry takes 
his place and obeys orders as best he can. When the charge 
began our men were lying down. Then, in the midst of it, 
so great became the excitement, so intense the anxiety, all 
fear and prudence vanished, and the men leaped to their feet, 
and would fire and load, and fire and load, in the wildest frenzy 
of desperation. They had lost all ideas of danger, or the 
strength of the assailant. It was this absolute desperation of 


the men that held our lines. A soldier or officer was wounded ; 
unless tlie wound was mortal or caused the fracture of a limb, . 
they had the wound tied or bandaged as best they could, 
some tearing up their blouses for bandages, and again took 
tlieir places in the lines beside their more fortunate comrades. 
Each man felt the terrible weight of responsibility that 
rested on him personally for the results that shall be achieved 
that day. It is this disregard of peril in the moment of 
greatest danger, this decision, this j)urpose and grand cour- 
age that comes only to the American citizen soldier, who vol- 
untarily and with unselfish patriotism stands in defense of 
l)riiiciple and country, that make such soldiers as those who 
fought in those ranks that day. On through the afternoon 
until nightfall did that furious storm beat against and rage 
about that line. 

If the storm of battle raged hotly around the position 
occupied by the Eighty-sixth Indiana and Dick's brigade, it 
was none the less tierce along the whole line. The entire 
movements of the army were from right to left. This 
was made necessary on the part of Rosecrans from the 
fact that General Bi'agg's plan of battle was to flank the 
left of the Union army and cut Rosecrans off from Chat- 
tanooga, and that he, Bragg, with his entire army on the 
flank of Rosecrans could drive him with the superior force 
under his command southward into the rough and mountain- 
ous country toward McLemore's Cove, and thus be able to 
absolutely destroy Rosecrans and his army. During the 
afternoon of September 19, while the severe battle was rag- 
ing along the line of Dick's brigade and VanCleve's division, 
further to the right at the Viniard farm, the battle had been 
raging with all the might of the "furies." 

Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry had sent all their 
horses to the rear, and during the entire forenoon this com- 
mand had firmly held its position against the repeated assaults 
of the foe. The noon hour of the 19th found the brigade at 
the same position which it had taken at early dawn after the 
fight of Friday night; they had received repeated charges, 
but each charging line was driven back leaving the field over 


which it had come strewn with the dead and dying. About noon 
of that day, Davis' division of McCook's corps had come 
from Crawfish Springs and reported to General Rosecrans at 
the Widow Glenn's, and were at once ordered eastward to 
the Viuiard farm to aid in making that portion of the line 
more secure, and was formed in line of battle on Wilder 's 
right. Barnes' brigade, of VanCleve division, was moved to 
the left from Lee & Gordon's Mills, and went into position 
on the right of Davis' division. Moving down over the 
Viniard farm they crossed the LaFayette road, moving east- 
ward. They had scarcely crossed the road when they at 
once became heavily engaged with the Confederate left. The 
tide of battle swayed backward and forward over the Viniard 
farm. At first the Union lines forced the enemy back to the 
east and into the woods, and the enemy reforming and securing 
reinforcements in turn drove Union troops back to the west, 
capturing the Eighth Indiana battery, and pushed our troops 
westward beyond the LaFayette road until the high ground 
and the sheltering woods were reached, when the lines were re- 
formed, and a counter charge was made, and the enemy was 
again driven from the field and the guns of the Eighth Indiana 
were recaptured. Thus the storm of battle swayed back and 
forth until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The loss on both sides 
was fearful. There were sufficient forces of the Confederates 
in reserve to refill the ranks, and in each charge they brought 
up their lines in as strong numbers as at first. This was not 
the case with the Union lines. -The three hours of constant 
fighting, and fighting with desperation by both armies, was 
telling with fearful effect upon the men of Rosecrans' right. 
There were no fresh men with which to fill their rapidly 
decreasing numbers, and each charge that was made or 
met, found a less number to push the attack or stem 
the tide of battle. When 4 o'clock came their lines were 
well nigh exhausted by the fearful physical exertion, 
as well as in loss of men. At this hour, however, two brig- 
ades of Wood's division of the Twenty-first corps, came up 
on the double quick from Lee & Gordon's Mills, and placing 
one brigade on the right of Davis' line, and pushing the other 


bohincl the lines it went into action on the left of Wilder "s 
Hue, and again the battle raged more fiercely. A little later 
Sheridan came up with his division, and from the south of 
the Viniard house to and in front of Dick's brigade on to the 
Brotherton house was one continuous line of battle, men 
fighting to the death until the sun went down on the bloody 

The fighting by General Thomas ' corps on the extreme left 
of the Union army, from the opening of the battle in the morn- 
ing at Jay's mill and extending from there until it reached 
the Twenty-first corps, was equally severe with that which 
has been told herein concerning the battle at the Viniard 
farm and on to Brotherton 's. Thomas, with his corps, 
received from General Bragg the strongest blows that 
it was possible to give, in the hope that he might 
break the line and get the left of the Union army 
turned. But at the close of the day from the left of 
the Twenty-first corps to Thomas' right but little had 
been gained by General Bragg, and the Union lines were 
practically in the position of the opening of the battle. For 
awhile after nightfall there was comparative quiet, when 
suddenly from the front of the Brotherton house, in the 
Reed field, once more the din and rattle and roar of the bat- 
tle broke forth. This was an attack in the darkness on 
the x>i»'i*t of the enemy to break through our lines at that 
point, and it was here that the gallant Colonel Bald- 
win was killed. The fighting for an hour was severe, 
but the enemy was finally repulsed. This outbreak having 
ceased quiet once more reigned, and the men wearied 
and worn with the day's work and excitement, lay down on 
the ground to get such rest as they might, not knowing at 
what time the storm might again burst upon them. 

It was a night of pinching cold, and with but little sleep 
from the ill comfort of the situation, the men were illy j^re- 
pared for the renewed tax that was to. be made upon them 
for the day that would soon dawn. The morning of the 20th 
came all too soon, but as it was Sunday the men questioned 
one another as to the probabilities of a battle on that day. 


It was not strange, however, that the question was asked. 
Never m their own homes was their a more quiet Sab- 
bath morning than the Sabbath morning which dawned upon 
the armies that lay upon the bloody battle-field of Chick- 
am auga. If there had been a faint hope that the 
army would rest on its arms throughout that bright Sabbath 
morning and through the hours of the day, it was of short 
duration, for soon the orders came for a forward movement, 
and when the orders were given there were no laggards 
found. Soldiers never obeyed more promptly, nor with more 
ready spirit than were the orders obeyed that were given on 
Sunday morning, Sej)tember 20, 1863, at Chickamauga. 
The soldiers that moved out that morning, and they who stood 
in lines that were not to be changed, realized to the fullest 
extent that when the battle would open that the contest would 
at least equal the bloody work of the previous day. They 
knew the foe that confronted them. They had grappled in the 
deadly struggle on other fields, they had met in the charge 
and counter charge, and each had learned the courage and 
stubbornness of the other. 

While our portion of the army had rested through Sat- 
urday night, this was not true as to other portions of the 
army. There had been busy work going on during the hours 
of the night. Rosecrans had been rearranging his lines, and 
by every means at hand had sought to strengthen the weaker 
portions, and so adjust other parts that they would be the 
better able to withstand the fierce assaults that he well knew 
would certainly be made as soon as General Bragg could 
put his army in motion on Sunday morning. In the battle 
of Saturday, with the exception of two brigades, every avail- 
able man that General Rosecrans had, was engaged. There 
were only these two brigades, and in addition thereto Gen- 
eral Granger's Reserve corps, then back at Rossvillc, that 
could by any possibility be brought in, and it was a doubtful 
I)roposition as to whether these could be brought up. One 
of these brigades, the First of the First division of the 
Twentieth corps, had been left with the trains at Lookout 
Mountain, near Stevens' Gap. This brigade, on Sunday the 


SOtli, reached Crawfish Springs, but was cut off from its 
corjjs and unable to reach the front, and from Crawfish 
Springs under orders moved to Chattanooga. The other 
brigade was that of Brigadier General William H. Lytle, 
First brigade. Third division. Twentieth corps. This brig- 
ado liad been left at Lee & Gordon's Mills on-Saturday, when 
the portion of the-Twenty-first corps that was then there was 
moved to the left to Viniard's. This brigade had been placed 
in ix)sitiou to guard the crossing of the Chickamauga, and 
there remained until Sunday morning, when it was brought 
forward as far as General Rosecrans' headquarters at the 
"Widow Glenn's. The reserve corps of Granger came up 
during the afternoon of Sunday. Thus it ajipears that 
for the battle in the forenoon on Sunday, Rosecrans had only 
one fresh brigade that he could put into the battle to rein- 
force the men who had fought so gallantly during the whole 
of the day before. 

On the other side it is now definitely known that, al- 
though General Bragg had greatly outnumbered General 
Rosecrans on Saturday, yet on Sunday morning had ready to 
to put into the already unequal contest in point of 
numbers, Hindman's, Breckenridge's and Kershaw's di- 
visions, and Grade's, Kelley's and Gist's brigades. These 
reinforcements of fresh troops of Bragg were superior 
in numbers to more than any corps of General Rose- 
crans' army. If the Union army had on Saturday waged 
an unequal warfare, it was much more unequal on Sunday. 
Not only this, although Lieutenant General Longstreet's 
troops got into, the battle on Saturday afternoon, he 
himself did not come up until after the fighting had 
closed on Saturday night, and his presence with his troops 
of the Army of Northern Virginia gave additional power and 
effect to that portion of Bragg 's army, if it did not also 
materially add to the confidence of all the remainder of the 
Confederate forces. Thus having noted the comparative 
numerical strength of the two armies for the renewal of the 
struggle on Sunday, September 20, let us take a glance at 
the position of our lines before the battle again opens. 


The LaPayette road was to be the line of contention on 
this day as well as of Saturday. The forces of General 
Rosecrans were formed on Sunday morning thus: The troops 
at the Viniard farm were moved west to the range of hills 
near the Widow Glenn's, and to these were added Ly tie's 
brigade which had been brought up from Lee & Gordon's 
Mills. The line extended to tiie northeast and joined the 
lines at the rear of the Brotherton field ; from this the line 
continued to the northeast reaching and crossing to the east 
side of the LaFayette road between the Poe house and Kel- 
ly's fields; from this it ran east on a line a little south of the 
Kelly field and then turned north and a little east on 
the east side of the Kelly field and after passing 
the north line of the Kelly field ran westward until it 
reached and covered about half of the distance to the La- 
Fayette road. In the arrangement of his divisions General 
Rosecrans had placed Sheridan's division, of the Twentieth 
corps, on the right and in front of the Widow Glenn's, and 
Wilder 's brigade with two regiments on the right and two 
regiments of Wilder 's and the Thirty -ninth Indiana, also a 
mounted infantry regiment, on the left of Sheridan, on the 
highest ground at Widow Glenn's house, their line extending 
north and south and facing east. Negley's division then 
came next and was in line west of Brotherton 's. Brannan's 
division next along the western side of the Poe field and ex- 
tending to the LaFayette road, while on the east side of the 
Lafayette road were Reynolds', Palmer's, Johnson's and 
Baird's divisions, in the order named. The three divisions 
of Davis, Wood and VauCleve were in the rear of the center 
awaiting orders, and ready to take position wherever the 
exigencies of the occasion might demand. The division of 
Wood was soon placed in the line on the right of Brannon, 
while Davis' division was put into position on the right of 
Wood, and toward 10 o'clock VanCleve was sent to the sup- 
port of Thomas. 

The rebel line overlapped the Union lines both on the 
right and left and was formed as follows: Beginning on his 
right was Forest's cavalry, two divisions, extending beyond 


the Union left and east of it; Breckenridge, Cleburne and 
Stewart with their commands were on the east and south 
lines of the Kelly field, and along the east line of the Poe 
field; Walker with two divisions was supporting Brecken- 
ridge, and Cheatham, with five brigades, was in reserve 
behind Cleburne; General Bushrod Johnson, in line, was 
east of the Brotherton house with the two divisions of Law 
and Kershaw immediately in his rear in column of divisions; 
then on the left of Bushrod Johnson was Hindman and yet 
on his loft w^as Preston on the east and south of the Viniard 
farm. A glance at the forces as thus placed in battle array 
shows the immense superiority of numbers under Bragg 's 
connnand over those of General Rosecrans, and it is to be 
further considered as an advantage in favor of Bragg 's army 
that it had the inner arch of the circle, the shorter line, and 
consequently easier for the handling and disi)Osition of 
troops. Along almost the entire front of Rosecrans it is 
seen they had their divisions in columns, w^hile Rosecrans 
had only a single line. 

Sunday at Chickamauga w^is marked for General Bragg 
with another blunder by somebody, and furnished another 
escape or deliverance for the left of the Union army. Bragg 
had issued his orders for an assault at daylight upon the ex- 
treme left of Rosecrans lines, and this assault was to be f ollow^ed 
successively from his left to right. Bragg had divided his 
army into wings, the right and left. General Polk was as- 
signed to the comnumd of the right wing and General Long- 
street to the command of the left wing. The orders for the 
attack at daylight were to General Polk, and under the orders 
given General Longstreet was to govern his conduct and 
movements by those of Polk. General Bragg at daybreak 
took his position near the center of his army and waited ex- 
pectantly and anxiously for the sound of Polk's guns. Day- 
light came, but tlie battle did not begin. An hour passed and 
yet no sound of battle, another hour and the silence was yet 
unbroken. The patience of General Bragg was by this time 
entirely exhausted and he rode in haste to ascertain the cause 
of the delay, and found to his astonishment that General Polk 


was not even on the field, nor had any preparations been 
made by him for the opening of a battle that had in it so 
much of moment for the cause of the Confederacy. 

General Bragg, in person, then commenced as earnestly 
and as rapidly as possible to push forward the preparations 
for the attack which should have been completed by his 
subordinate before day dawned. While making these prep- 
arations he found that the left of the Union army did not ex- 
tend sufficiently to protect the LaFayette road. Here was 
his opportunity for which he had watched and waited and 
fought for from the opening of the battle, and it did seem as 
if the much coveted possession of that road between Rose- 
crans and Chattanooga was now within his grasp. In this, 
however, he was doomed to disappointment, and many lives 
were to go out before the desired road would be secured, all 
because of the disobedience of orders by General Polk, and 
the failure to attack at daylight. Dm*ing Saturday night 
General Rosecrans had held a council of war with his Gen- 
erals, and the disposition of the forces was fully agreed upon. 
Thomas knew full well that of all things it was important 
that his left should be secure beyond all peradventure. 
Baird's division, then on the extreme left, had thrown up 
barricades and constructed such defenses as were possible dur- 
ing the night, but these unsupported on the left would be of 
little use against a repetition of the fierce assaults of the 
preceding day. General Thomas in his report says: 

"After my retui-n from Department headquarters, about 2 a. m., on 
the 20th, I received a report from General Baii-d that the left of his 
division did not rest on the Reed's bridge road, as I had intended, and 
that lie could not reach it without weakening his line too much. I im- 
mediately addressed a note to the General commanding, requesting that 
General Negley be sent me to take position on Baird's left and rear, and 
thus secure our left from assault." 

General Rosecrans at once notified General Thomas that 
General Negley would be sent in accordance with the re- 
quest. At 7 a. m. on that morning, Negley had not reported, 
and General Thomas sent a staff officer to learn the cause and 
to hasten him forward. General Negle^^ was prevented from 
going to the i^osition on the left because of the massing of 


the enemy in his front, therefore instead of General Negley, 
with his division, General John Beatty, with his brigade, was 
sent, and hurrying with all speed he had just succeeded in 
getting into position when the assault, under General Bragg's 
direction, began. Had General Bragg's orders been obeyed, 
and the attack made at daylight, then our left would have 
been destroyed, Bragg would have secured the road, and the 
result of the Chattanooga campaign would doubtless have 
been different. As it was General John Beatty succeeded in 
holding the position until later, when additional troops ar- 
rived and thus our left escaped destruction and Chattanooga 
was saved. The attack on our left was as indicated in Gen- 
eral Bragg's orders to Polk and Longstreet, the signal for 
the attack to sweep down and along the entire line of Rose- 
crans from flank to flank, and so when the assault was made 
upon Baird's troops on our left the struggle of Saturday was 
renewed along the whole line. The difference in the open- 
ing of the battle on Sunday morning differed from the open- 
ing on Saturday only in the fact that it was fiercer at the 
outset and that it was almost instantaneous along the whole 
line. On Saturday both armies had been compelled in the 
opening hours of the battle to feel their way; they were in 
ignorance of the positions of each other, and both were for 
the first time on that field going into position, but wiien they 
did come together, brigade with brigade, or division with di- 
vision; they came with the fury of the tornado. On Sunday 
morning neither army had to hunt for the other. They had 
been face to face for twenty-four hours, and each knew^ the 
force and resistance of the other. So in the opening of the 
battle on Sunday morning it was at once a tempest, strong 
and fearful, that broke upon our entire line without any 
scattering raindrops of warning. 

When the right of Bragg's army struck Thomas' left 
under Baird and Beatty it became at once a struggle between 
Titans. The charge upon Baird and Beatty was by Breck- 
enridge and Cleburne, and so severe was their punishment 
and fearful was their loss that they were shattered and 
driven back, and although they outnumbered and overlapped 


our left, they were not able to push in behind our troops and 
turn them. The first assault along our entire line on Sun- 
day was a failure, but with the strong reserves of Bragg if 
one line failed and the first charge was repulsed and his 
troops were driven back, the second line at once took it up 
and followed repeating the charge; if the second failed, the 
third line took up the charge, and from right to left Rose- 
crans' men at the outset not only had their courage put to 
the severest test, but their physical endurance was to be 
tried to the utmost. At and about the Kelly field charge 
after charge was made upon our lines and each time was 

If one will go to-day and stand upon the Kelly field and 
will learn tlie situation as it was on Sunday, September 20, 
1H()8, and as an officer or soldier who has passed through 
some of the severe battles of the war, he can appreciate the 
awful and terrible storm of war that raged on the south nnd 
east of that field, it will seem impossible to believe tluit any 
one could have lived a minute after the assault began. And 
yet in that Kelly field and along its south and east line tliat 
terrible storm of destruction and death had most awful sway 
from 9 o'clock of the morning until 5:30 o'clock in the even- 
ing. From front and fianlv over that field was sent the leaden 
and iron hail as fast as men could load and fire, and fire and 
lojid. The minnie ball, and the ball and shot of the musket, 
solid shot and canister, and screaming shell went whistling 
and screaming over, across and through that small ai'ca and 
men lived and fought and fought through the the long, long 
day. While the fight was at its strongest at the Kelly field, 
across the Poe field the battle was raging as strong, and men 
were falling by the hundreds. The line was closed up again 
and the survivors, one and all, in the strength and endur- 
ance displayed, fought as if they might have received the 
strength and courage of their fallen comrades into their 
bodies and souls for the work that was before them, as the 
young prophet received the mantle of the ascending 
prophet. If the line wavered, a cheer from those who were 


stand inc: firm reassured the wavering, and again the line 
grew steadfast. 

In the midst of this fearful storm to which the Eighty- 
sixth Indiana had listened for more than an hour, there came 
tlio order for it with its brigade to move forward to reinforce 
the line north of the Poe house and on the west side of the 
LaPayette road. It was not long until the regiment was 
within the leaden storm. The order was given for a charge, 
and down and through the scattered trees the regiment and 
brigade go to their work. The resistance was stubborn, but 
iin])eluous and determined is the charge, comrade cheering 
comrade as onward they push their way; men are falling 
but on and on rush the lines, until at last the enemy's lines 
are broken and we follow in hot pursuit driving them back 
until a line of reinforcements for the enemy is reached. 
Again the battle rages about us. With redoubled lines a 
counter charge is made and and the very earth shakes from 
the terrible storm of artillery along the entire lines. Shells 
are shrieking in the air and bursting overhead; great limbs 
are torn from the trees and fall with the broken shells all 
about the men engaged. 

Until after 10 o'clock the Union troojis were preserving 
their lines intact notwithstanding the terrible assaults that 
were being made upon them. Longstreet with his famous 
command had made repeated charges drawing upon his 
reserves one line after the other as fast as they could be 
thrown into action. The artillery of both armies were put- 
ting forth almost superhuman efforts, those of the Confed- 
erate army to demoralize and break or weaken the Union 
lines before the charging lines should reach Rosecrans' 
troops, while on the other side the artillery of the Union 
army were giving their fire with shell, and shrapnel and 
canister as rapidly as the guns could be loaded and fired, 
vieing with the infantry in their efforts to repulse the on- 
coming lines of the enemy. All sense of danger seemed to 
be lost, and men and officers alike strove to the utmost 
through the terrible fire and carnage. The men for the 
most part were without works of any kind to protect them 


from the deluge of lead and iron that was being showered 
upon them. A little after 10 o'clock there came a lull on the 
riglit of the Union lines, and General Rosecrans, thinking 
and believing that Bragg was again pursuing the tactics of 
Saturday, massing against Rosecrans' left, undertook to 
change the position of the troops of his right wing 
in order to reinforce and strengthen his left. He ordered 
General McCook to send two brigades of General Sheridan's 
division to General Thomas, with all possible dispatch, and 
to send also the Third brigade as soon as it could be with- 
drawn from the line. He also directed General Crittenden 
to send two brigades of VanCleve to the support of Thomas. 
The sending of the brigades of Sheridan and VanCleve left 
no sufficient force to withstand an assault of the enemy if 
another should be made in force on the Union right. To add 
to the misfortunes that were about to befall the right 
and center of the Union lines. General Thomas J. Wood 
received a peremptory order to "close up on Reynolds 
and support him." As General Brannan was between 
Wood and Reynolds, there was no way to obey the 
order except to withdraw from the line and march 
to the left in rear of Brannan. Wood obeyed and ex- 
ecuted the order as he received it, withdrawing the troops 
from the line. It was just at the time that Longstreet had 
gathered his troops for another onslaught upon our right that 
Wood, in obedience to his orders, had moved out and left a 
wide gap in the lines. Longstreet 's order was given and 
his hosts came pouring through this gap, striking our lines 
in front, rear and flank. Rushing through the wide open 
door in our lines on over the Brotherton field where 
the fight had raged so hotly on Saturday, then turning 
to the northwest through and over the Dyer fields, they 
struck the troops of Sheridan, then on their way to 
reinforce Thomas at Poe and Kelly fields. The battle 
was raging in front, rear and flank on our lines in the 
Poe field. The troops could not stand this very long. The 
charges made there in the woods and in the field were met 
by counter charges, and men fought face to face and hand to 


liand. All to ilio right of General Brannan were swept from 
the Hold. The noon hour had come and the broken lines of 
Rosecrans' rii2:ht, though routed from their jjositions, were 
neither whipped nor dismayed. Longstreet's men, flushed 
with tlieir success, wore pressing northward past the Broth - 
orton liouse and over the Dyer field on toward Snodgrass 
Hill, and Harkor Hill. Men fought as they fell back. Here 
a iionconnnissioncd officer or private would halt, face about 
and comnionco firing, calling on his comrades to rally and 
reform their lines, and from this one man the lines would 
build out almost like magic and a new line would be formed. 
A Captain or Lieutenant would give the commands to men 
gathered from almost every regiment on that portion of the 
field until he would have under his command as many men 
as would ordinarily compose a regiment. Colonel Morton C. 
Hunter, of the Eighty-second Indiana, had received the 
shock of the charge after Longstreet came through the lines, 
hiul rechai'ged and broke the enemy's lines, but could not 
stem the oncoming tide. He then fell back fighting until he 
reached Snodgrass Hill and formed his line and called upon 
the scattered troojis to form on his regiment, and that 
there they would hold the line. At once the fragments of 
the regiments that had been caught in the break caused by 
the moving of Woods' division troops began as quickly as 
possible to form, and form they did. In this line were men 
from every Indiana regiment, along with those from other 
States. It was not long until regiments and brigades were 
brought to tlio liiu; tirst established by Colonel Hunter. The 
line extended westward over Snodgrass Hill into Dry Val- 
ley, and extending to the east of Colonel Hunter for a few 
rods, when it ran northward and eastward of the Snodgrass 
Hill and house to what is now called Barker's Hill. 

Until 3 o'clock the battle raged and surged about Snod- 
grass Hill and on to Barker's hill. The troops of Longstreet 
caino up over the country in solid lines, and hurled 
themselves against these hastily formed lines, and as often 
as t hoy came were they forced back, broken and shattered. 
Again and again, and again they came on with the rush of 


the storm, and as often did they find themselves defeated and 
stricken down. After repeated efforts to break these lines, 
Lougstreet, who had bronght with him as they boasted, ' ' the 
Invincibles," found that his troops had exhausted their 
strength and our lines remained as firm as the hill on which 
they stood. Despairing of success, General Longstreet 
sent a staff officer to ^General Bragg asking for ad- 
ditional troops from his right. To this request General 
Bragg responded that the troops of his right wing "had 
been so badly beaten back" that they could render him no 
service. The men of the Union left were now almost out of 
ammunition, but they could not and w^ould not relinquish 
their position. Orders were given that when the last shot 
was fired then to fix bayonets and use the cold steel. 

General Thomas was now in command of the troops on 
the field. General Rosecrans had started for Chattanooga 
to look after the location of the lines at that point. If there 
was need of reinforcements for Longstreet there was also 
dire need of reinforcements for Thomas as he alone was left 
to direct and save the Union army. These reinforcements 
came in an unexpected moment and their coming saved the 
field to the Union army. General Gordon Granger, on the 
extreme left, at Rossville gap, had heard the constant roar 
of the battle throughout the day, and had waited and waited 
for orders which had not come. He felt that his troops must 
be needed and without orders from any one he placed him- 
self at the liead of his reserve corps and moved out to the 
sound of the battle's roar. He had with him General Stead- 
man's division and Colonel Dan McCook's brigade. Stead- 
man's division had the advance, and w^as composed mostly of 
new troops, but never w^as a body of men more needed than 
were these of Steadman. Longstreet, after failing to secure 
reinforcements, had reformed his lines for another assault. 
Longstreet then had for his new assault three full divisions 
and two brigades, that had been with him all day, and tak- 
ing part in tlie battle. He also had here Preston's Confederate 
division, two brigades of which were fresh and were then 
brought into action for the first time during that day Just 


as Loiiijslroot was iiialciii','' his tiiuil preparations for another 
desperate assault Steadman's troops came up and passing by 
General Tlioinas were directed to form on the right of the 
troops ah-eady on Snodgrass Hill. This they did and had 
just moved into position when Longstreet's charge again 
began. Steadman's men met the charge with a counter 
charge so daring and so terrific in its force that it broke 
Longstreet's left and swept it off the side of the hills and 
V)aclv, and yet further back, brolvcn and scattered, with the 
dead and wounded covering the ground, and yet pursuing 
wrenched from Longstreet's forces the hills where he had 
planted his artillery at Vidito's. 

It was a magnificent charge and the " boys " of Stead- 
man's division "won their spurs" in that charge if ever 
knight of old by gallantry won his spurs. Our lines were 
now reformed and strengthened as best they could be. The 
aunnunition in the cartridge boxes of the men who had fallen 
was gathered up and distributed, Steadman's men dividing 
their ammunition with those who had none. The ammuni- 
tion trains, by some officer's orders, no one knew whose, had 
gone on to Chattanooga. Tlie very fact that a superior 
force was before them and that they had so little ammuni- 
tion, was sufficient of itself to strike dismay to the hearts of 
these Union troops on Snodgrass Hill. But not so. The 
Spartans of old had no more courageous troops than were 
these men, boys rather, who faced the foe in the closing 
hours of Sunday, September 20, 1863, holding the line that 
was to save the Army of the Cumberland, save Chatta- 
nooga, and wring from defeat a victory so grand, so magnifi- 
criit that it shall yet pass into history as even greater than 

Turning for awhile from the magnificent defense of the 
Union right in tlie closing hours of the day, let the reader go 
once more to the left where the battle had opened in the morn- 
ing. Remember that in the first charge at the opening of 
tile battle on Sunday morning that Breckenridge's troops were 
unable Lo break the Union left. Agai n reforming the line they 
moved out for the attack, and notwithstanding the severe re- 


pulse they had received, they rushed forward with eveii more 
daring than in the first, but here again they were met with 
direct musketry in the front and were enfiladed by a battery 
of four guns which poured canister into their ranks, and with 
the musketry increasing, their men went down like grass be- 
fore a reaper. It was a fire in which no troops could live, 
and the remnant recoiled before the fearful storm. Again 
reforming and strengthening the-- lines, the shout of the 
charge was raised and on they came the third time with de- 
termined purpose to break the lineV Nearer and nearer they 
come with shout upon shout, their lines at first closed up 
and unwavering, but the Union troops answered the yells 
with shouts of defiance, and once more broke forth the rain 
of lead and iron like a deluge; great breaches were torn in 
their lines, and officers and men went down before the pitiless 
storm. The men of Baird crowded behind their log breast- 
works until there was space for not another man, and they 
who could not find places loaded the guns and passed them 
to the men in the front line. It seemed one continuous 
stream of fire, one unbroken roar and rattle of artillery and 

Thus it raged and stormed as if all the furies were turned 
loose. This charge, as the other two, failed and the rem- 
nant of the lines of Breckenridge fell back into their former 
position, while the Union line around the Kelly field still 
held its ground. While these charges of Breckenridge had 
failed to break our lines, and although their loss in officers 
and men had been most fearful, yet the charges had covered 
another purpose that was evidently had in contemplation to 
be consummated with the breaking of our lines, and that was 
to sw^eep around our extreme left and get onto the LaPayette 
road. So although they failed to break the line immediately 
in their front, their lines were long enough to sweep far be- 
yond our extreme left, and a part of Helms' and all of Stov- 
all's Confederate brigades fell upon General John Beatty's 
brigade and doubled him back and swept across the La- 
Payette road at the McDaniel house. At the McDaniel 
house and just north of it were the Forty-second and Eighty- 


i-ii^hth liuliaiiH. aud these two regiments withstood the storm 
till they were absolutely crowded off the field west of tlic 
LaFayette road, when the Forty-second Indiana aud the left 
wiu^^ of the Eii^hty-eighth Indiana wliich were taken by 
General Negley to McParland's Gap, while the right winy 
of the Eighty-eiiJ^hth Indiana found their way, following- the 
sound of the guns, to Barker's Hill and from there to Snod 
grass Hill. Thus after so long a struggle, by dint of super- 
ior numbers General Bragg got possession of the LaFayette 
road, but it availed hiin naught. His troops w^ere too broken 
and shattered to follow up the advantage thus gained, and for 
the remainder of the day lay about the Kelly field and dared 
not make another cliarge, and did not venture to move his col- 
iims to the left to yjress a column toward Chattanooga. The 
prize for which he had fought on the Union left and for 
which thousands of lives had been given was now "dead 
sea fruit." 

Turning again to Snodgrass Hill may be seen the last 
desperate and unsuccessful attack of that portion of the 
Confederate army that was so renowned for its fighting 
qualities. Longslreot had been beaten back in his first 
assault on Snodgrass Hill. He had had almost a tri- 
unii»hal march, until he and his troops struck this hill, 
and there instead of finding a broken and demoralized 
body of troops he found a wall of human adamant. He 
determined about 5 p. m. to make another desiderate effort to 
capture or destroy this body of soldiers, for they had proved 
themselves such. It is needless to attempt to describe this 
last fierce charge. The results are given and the reader can 
judge by its slaughter, and the experienced soldier will know 
full well of its terrible and horrible nature. The rebel 
tr(M^])s came on in their charge until they had almost reached 
the summit, but on the sides of that hill and at its foot one 
brigiule that entered upon the charge with 2,003 men, lost GUH 
killed and wounded. Another brigade out of 852 men, lost 
303. Another brigade lost 504, one rebel regiment out of 239 
men, lost 109. Tliese figures form only a part of the loss 
that was sustained. After this charge, it then being after 


dark, there was no general charge but the enemy pushed up 
under cover of darkness near to the brow of the hill. 

At 5:iJ0 p. m. the troojxs in the Kelly field were with- 
drawn and were ordered to McFarland's Gaj), enroute to Chat- 
tanooga. Our troops on Snodgrass Hill held their position 
nntil after 8 p. m., when the tiring having ceased along the 
entire line, General Thomas withdrew from the held and re- 
joined the portion of the army that had started for Chatta- 
nooga. Thus closed a battle that has not its parallel in mod- 
ern warfare when the number of men engaged on both sides 
and the duration of the engagement are considered. We 
have said that our troops were withdrawn from Snodgrass 
Hill about S p. m. This is true as to all of the troops, except- 
ing the Eighty -eighth Indiana remained at Snodgrass Hifl 
until after daylight on Monday morning, September 21, 
when they marched to McFarland's Gap, and then to Ross- 
ville and joined the left wing of the regiment and their brig- 
ade, and went into position on Missonary Kidge, and on 
Monday night were moved to Chattanooga. Captain W. M. 
Thompson, of this regiment, says that when the Eighty -eighth 
Indiana left Snodgrass Hill on Monday morning there was 
not an armed Confederate in sight on the field. 

In the battle of ChickamaugaRosecrans in effective force 
had almost 55,000 men in all branches of the service. The 
force which General Bragg had at his command as shown by 
the best and most reliable Confederate reports was 81,219. 
The battle was fought on ground of General Bragg's own 
choosing. In so far as numbers were concerned, if the dis- 
l)arity in numbers counts for aught, it would seemasif Rose- 
crans was so greatly outnumbered that it would have been 
absolutely suicidal to have attempted to withstand a force so 
greatly superior. It should also be taken into consideration 
that General Bragg had with him the very best fighters of 
the entire Confederate army. With all of these advantages 
in favor of General Bragg: first, selection of the field; second, 
superiority in numbers; third, the fiower of the Confederate 
army; yet with all this for three days, for we should include 
September 18, General Rosecrans' army withstood the 


fiercest assaults that could possibly be made upon troops. 
From the time the battle oi)oiied until its close it was territic 
ill the extreme. Men oii both sides fought with desijeration 
as is shown by the casualties. The losses of the Union army 
at Chickamauga on September 19th and 20th were 16.17'J. 
Tlie loss of the Confederates on the same days was 17,804, a 
total by the two armies of 33,983. The i)er cent of loss iu 
many of the divisions was far higher than that of any other 
battle of modern times. Longstreet's command lost 44 per 
cent, and the greater portion of their loss was on Sunday 
afternoon at Snodgrass Hill. Steadinan's division in the 
charges and countercharges at Snodgrass Hill lost 49 per 
cent, in killed and wounded. Brannan lost 38 per cent, and 
take the whole of Rosecrans' army in this battle the average 
loss is almost 33 per cent. General Boynton, the historian 
for the "Chickamauga National Military Park," has care- 
fully compiled the per centage of losses at Chickamauga, 
and he rejiorts the loss of Confederates as follows: Bushrod 
Johnson's division at 44 per cent, Anderson's brigade of 
Ilindman's division at 30 per cent, Bate's brigade of Stew- 
art's division 52 per cent; Preston's division 33 per cent and 
Gracie's brigade at 35 per cent, and the losses by both of 
these two last were all in only a little more than an hour's 
time at Snodgrass Hill. Over on the left Cheatham's division 
ranged from 35 to 50 per cent in the brigades. The loss in 
Breckenridge's division was 33 per cent. Cleburne's loss 
was 43 per cent. No such charges were made during the war 
of 1861-1865 as were made by the Confederate forces at 
Cliiclvamauga. The celebrated charges in other battles of 
the war consisted of but one charge each, but in the battle of 
Chickamauga they were repeated over and over by the Con- 
federates, not by the same troops each time but by fresh 
troops brought into them with all of the strength and force 
of fresh soldiers. If the charges were made with courage 
and daring, the defense was even more heroic, for it required 
the highest type of bravery to resist the oncoming charge 
of such men as made the assaults at Chickamauga. The 
same troops that made the charges at Chickamauga could not 


stand before the charge at Missionary Ridge made by the 
same trooi)s that successfully met and repulsed the charges 
at Chickamauga. 

Of the fighting qualities of both armies General Hind- 
man of the Confederate army has said: 

"I have never known Federal troops to fight so well. It is just to 
say, also, that I never saw Confederate soldiers fight better." 

Of one of the assaults made by the troops of Longstreet, 
and which was repulsed on Snodgrass Hill, General Ker- 
shaw said: 

"This was one of the heaviest attacks of the war on a single line." 

General Bragg says in his report of the battle: 
"The conduct of our troop-s was excellent throughout the entire 
contest. * * Our loss was in proportion to the prolonged and obstinate 
struggle. Two-fifths of our gallant troops had fallen, and the number of 
general and staff officers stricken down will best show how those troops 
were led." 

Again he says: 

"Our troops were led with the greatest gallantry and exhibited 
great coolness, bravery and heroic devotion. In no instance did they 
fail when called on to rally and return, the charge. But though invari- 
ably di'iving the enemy with slaughter at the points assailed, they wore 
in turn compelled to yield." 

Further he gives as a reason for not pursuing the Army 
of the Cumberland, the following: 

" Any immediate pursuit by our infantry and artillery would have 
been fruitless, as it was not deemed practicable with our weak and ex- 
hausted force to assail the enemy — now more than double our numbers, 
behind entrenchments. Though we had defeated him and driven him 
from the field with heavy loss in men, arms and artillery, it had only 
been done by heavy sacrifices, in repeated, persistent, and most gallant 

General Bragg seems to have estimated the fighting 
qualities of the Army of the Cumberland as its true worth and 
strength, and it is doubtless this quality which makes him say 
that the Union army was "more than double our numbers." 

General D. H. Hill in his report of the assaults made on 

the extreme left of the Union line on Sunday morning says: 

"The whole corps had failed in its attack; Breckenridge had been 

compelled to fall back a short distance, and Cleburne still further after 

a heavy repulse." 

General Bushrod A. Johnson in his report refers to the 


conduct of General Granj^er's corps that reinforced Thomas 
at Snod^^rass Hill: 

"Our lino pressed dctcnniiiudly forward for some time, keeping up 
an incessant volley witii small arms. But the enemy now evidently re- 
ceived reinforcements of fresh troops, which advanced with a shout that 
was heard aion;^ oui- lines, and we were driven back to our f^uns. It 
was subsequently ascertained from prisoners captured that the reinforce- 
ments were a part of General Grangei''s corps which we fought the rest 
of the day. Deas' brigade and the part of Manigault's next to it fell 
back to the foot of the hill. Anderson's fell back to its first position, 
and lltixc iJinv J)n'(f<(d<f<, save two regiments of Manigault's next to John- 
son's brigade, did not aijuin enter the tiijJit. * * * The retreat on lit ii^ hill 
was jurcipitate, and ealled for all the exertions I could command to jyrevent 
many of the troops from abaiuloning it. The officers, however, joined with 
every energy and zeal in the effort to stay the retreat, and by appeals, 
commands, and phi/sical efforts, all save a few who presisted in skulking 
behind trees or lying idly on the ground were brought up to our lines in 
support of the artillery. Tlic eneni)/ were not whipix'd, and the conjUct still 
nujed with, rari/i)^! fortune, liepeatedly our men advanced, and were in turn \ 
forced to i/iehl a portion of the (jromid theif had (jained."' 

The portion here italicised are not italicised by General : 
Johnson, but the words are those of the report. This report 
of General Johnson, who was one of Longstreet's division 
commanders, is worthy of consideration, and speaks most 
strongly of the bravery and fighting qualities of the small 
band of Union troops that so gallantly held Snodgrass Hill 
on Sunday afternoon "against allcomers." It is related, on 
what authority it is not known, that as one of Longstrect s 
Virginia divisions was moving forward it passed through a 
body of Tennessee troops that had been so severely punished 
in one of the charges that it had been moved to the rear 
to gather reinforcements, and Longstreet's men as they 
passed through shouted, "Rise up, Tennesseeans, and sec 
the Virginians go in." They went in, but soon came back 
repulsed, broken, and fleeing before the terrible storm that 
met them as they went "in," and as they came Hying back 
the Tennessee men cried, "Rise up, Tennesseans, and sec 
the VirfjlnianH come out.'" 

The foregoing quotations are sufficient to show the esti- 
mation in which the leading Confederate officers who were I 
at Chickamauga placed upon the battle. The fact that Gen- 


eral Bragg, with all of the superior numbers under his com- 
mand could not, and did not follow the Union army oif the field 
IS one of the highest tributes that it has been j)ossible to 
pay to the gallantry and endurance of the Army of the Cum- 
berland. To those who may visit the battle field of Chicka- 
mauga now years after the memorable 19th and 20th of Sep- 
tember, 1863, and there fully understanding the situation of 
the ground, the position of the contending armies, and the 
actual numbers engaged on each side, the cause for wonder 
and astonishment ■ is not so much that the Union army loft 
the field in the hands of the Confederates, but the greatest 
surprise is that any of the Union army survived. General 
Alexander P. Stewart, who commanded a division of Buck- 
ner's corjis, on Sunday, and witnessing the terrific charges 
that were made on the Kelly field, -stood with the writer look- 
ing over that memorable scene of carnage. The talk was of 
the tempest of war that had raged on that field thirty-one 
years before, when the question was asked : General Stewart, 
when you had the Union troops so nearly surrounded in this 
field why did you suffer one of them to live to get away to 
tell of the fight'? The General replied: "I have asked that 
question of myself many times, and I can answer it but one 
way, that is, the good Lord intended it just as it was." The 
answer of General -Stewart was made with the utmost rever- 
ence, for he is a true Christian gentleman. And so after a 
careful review of the battle of Chickamauga may each one 
say, in the same spirit in which he spoke it, "The good 
Lord intended it as it was. " 

The reports made by General Rosecrans and the Gen- 
erals of his army all bear abundant testimony to the fact of 
the wonderful bravery of the men and officers of the Army 
of the Cumberland at Chickamauga, and it is not necessary 
that their reports should here be reproduced. The reports of 
those who were of the other army, or enemies tlten, bear tes- 
timony not to be controverted. 

What of the troops that held the lines against such great 
odds, and, in the face of all that pointed to complete disaster 
and overthrow, WON? Yes, the Army of the Cumberland 



mm (Did Jichi all that it was ordered to take— Ch ATTAIN OOG A \ 
'I'hc batUo-lield was loft /oyiho hands of the enemy. Yes, 'tis 
true. But it was a battle-tield to be held, if it was held, luifh- 
out a victory bein^ won. They wlio claim to have held the 
iield, were so broken and shaltoi-ed that they could not and 
dared not pursue. Braii^g fou.ij^ht the battle of Chicka- 
mauga, not for Chicle am auc:a, but his purpose, his plan, 
and this battle in which he says he lost 18,000 of the best 
troops of the South was to regain Chattarioo{/a. It was to 
regain Chattanooga that Longstr(;et was brought from tlie 
Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, the army- of Rob- 
ert E. Lee. It w^as for the same purpose that Buckner's 
corps was brought from East Tennessee. It was to wrench 
the "Key to the South," Chattanooga, from the hand of 
Kosecrans that all the troops of Johnston joined Bragg's 
army. Rosecrans fought the battle of Chickamauga not 
for dhiekamavga, but to hold. Chattanooga, and Chatta- 
nooga lie held. Again the question, what of the troops that 
loon? Prom whence came they? 

The roster of Rosecrans' army answers the question, and 
every State represented is worthy of mention. The troops 
of each one did all that troops could do. Read the list: 











Wisconsin ....... 


U. S. Army (Regulars.) 























Against these 188 organizations, the Confederates had 
259 organizations. Indiana, as appears from the foregoing, 


was fully represented in the battle of Chickamauga as she 
was in all of the battles of the war. It is no disparagement 
to the troops of the other States from which came the Union 
army to say that the troops of Indiana did their full share of 
duty at Chickamauga, and that the gallantry of her sons was 
not surpassed by that of any other State there represented, 
regardless of whether the troops were from the North or the 
South, Union or Confederate. Indiana was the first, Avith 
her Seventeenth and Seventy-Second regiments and Eigh- 
teenth battery, to oppose the crossing ofBragg's troops over 
the Chickamauga creek on Friday, September 18. Indiana 
troops, the Tenth and Seventy-fourth regiments, were the 
first troops of Rosecrans' army to open the battle on the 
morning of September 19. In the corps of Granger that 
met the charge of Bushrod R. Johnson, with a counter 
charge, and broke his line and hurled them back was the 
Eighty-fourth Indiana; the last volley fired on Snodgrass 
Hill was fired by the Ninth Indiana regiment, and the last 
Union regiment tO'leave the battle-field was the Eighty-eighth 
regiment, which marched away on Monday morning, Sep- 
tember 20, from Snodgrass Hill. Indiana's ''Roll of Honor" 
was written on the field of Chickamauga, at Reed's Bridge, 
at Viniard's, at Brotherton's, at Poe"s, at Kelly's, at Mc- 
Daniel's, in the Brock field, at Barker's Hill, on Snod- 
grass Hill, everywliere on Chickamauga, where the bat- 
tle raged the fiercest, and the storm was most deadly. 
By Chickamauga's muddy waters, in the glades, under 
the pines, in the open fields, on the highlands, and 
around the fire begirt hills, over three thousand of 
Indiana's sons gave their blood and lives in the de- 
fense of tlie Flag and for the preservation of the Republic. 
Eleven States of the Union and the regular army of the 
United States were represented in the battle of Chicka- 
mauga, and one-fifth of the loss in killed and wounded in 
that battle were from 'Indiana's -regiments and batteries. 
The reports on file at the War Department show that during 
the war of the rebellion, from the opening in April, 1861, to 
the close of the war in 18G5, Indiana lost 24,000 men. If 


til is l)o li-uo, as it doubtless is, then Indiana lost at Chicka- 
inaui^M from noon of Soptomboi' 18 to the going down of 
the sun on Snodgrass Hill, on Sunday, September 20, one- 
eighth of Indiana's entire loss during the entire war. What 
a niagniticHMit record this is for the gallantry of the Indiana 
troops! Their work was well done. They won for Indiana 
an honorable, a glorious name and i)lace for bravery in the 
galaxy of States, and the men of Indiana for all time to 
come may point with ])ride to the gallantry and bravery of 
the Indiana troops at Chickamauga. 

What of the withdrawal of the Union army from Chicka- 
mauga':' By the Confederate reports it was said that the 
army of Rosecrans "was routed," that it went from the 
firld in confusion and utterly demoralized. Look at the 
facts, and let the reader judge. As shown, the left of Rose- 
crans' army was in and about the Kelly field on Sunday and 
until 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon. The Confederate army 
had swept around the extreme left and reached the LaFay- 
ette road at McDaniel's and held that road so that the Union 
army when it moved ofl" from the Kelly field moved west to 
McFarland's Gap. The Confederate forces about the Kelly 
field did not follow them as regiment after regiment marched 

The last of the Union troops to leave the battle-field of 
Chickamauga were those at Snodgrass Hill. The storm that 
had raged about that hill throughout that entire afternoon, 
had sp(uit its force in the vain attempt to destroy those who 
had so gallantly andnheroically made their lodgement there. 
Tho t(>mpest had ceased, the guns were all hushed, when at 
H:;{0 o'clock these troops moved off the hill, down across the 
fields and to and through McParland's Gap. What next is 
secmV When the sun on the morning of the 21st of Septem 
berrose, there on the hills of Missionary Ridge from McPar- 
land's Gap and Rossville northward were found once morc^ 
the same men, who under Thomas had held the lines on Sun- 
day afternoon. The same men who had hurled defiance into 
the faces of the charging columns of Longstreet with his left 
wing of Bragg army at the going down of the sun, awaited 


in line the coming of the same foe when the sun again 
lighted the eastern liorizon in another line within easy 
reach. The remainder of Rosecrans' army marched into 
Chattanooga, established its lines, and awaited the coming of 
the enemy. 

Finally Thomas and his undaunted troops came marching 
in with banners flying and music waking the echoes, and 
pitched their camp in and about Chattanooga. Once more the 
Array of the Cumberland was united in the city for which 
the campaign was begun and ended, and there waited for the 
attack to be renewed by General Bragg. The attack 
was never made. The men of the Army of the Cum- 
berland were never lahipped. They moved off the field of 
Chickamauga with their ranks unbroken, and in their new 
lines were ready for the fray. The attack was not again re- 
ceived from the army of Bi-agg, but after two months of seige 
the same Army of tlie Cumberland that received the attack at 
Chickamauga, made the attack that swept the army of Gen- 
eral Bragg in confusion and dismay from Missionary Ridge, 
&,nd on down beyond Chiclvamauga's battle scarred field, in 
November, 1863. It was the same army that opened the 
battles about Chattanooga, that stormed the heights of 
Missionary Ridge, broke through the lines and opened the 
way for the reinforcements brought by Sherman, which had 
finally been sent to the Army of the Cumberland, so that they 
might maintain their foothold at the north end of Missionary 
Ridge, and establish their colors on the Union left on the 
memorable 25th day of November, 18G3. To the glory of In- 
diana it may said to her sons was the credit given of leading 
the charge that broke the center on Missionary Ridge. To 
the Eighty-sixth regiment of Indiana, and to her associate 
regiment, the Seventy-ninth Indiana, is due the credit of 
leading in that wonderful charge, a charge which had it 
been made by the army of any European power would have 
brought medals of honor to every man of the rank and file, 
and titles and knighting to every General in command. 

Thus has been given the part that this, tlic Eighty-sixth 
Indiana, bore in one of the severest battles of modern war- 


fare, in many respects the severest. The members of the reg- 
iment who yet survive may glory in the part they bore on 
that deadly field. The children of all of the members of the 
regiment, of the members living and of those who are dead, 
will never have cause for feelings other than of honest prido 
that they whose names they bear, were with those who fought 
at Chickamauga. The joy of to-day comes to the survivors in 
that the war in which they participated has passed, and Peace 
shall ever reign within this land. He who shall visit Chick- 
amauga in the future may read in enduring bronze and firm- 
est granite the deeds of valor of the men of the North; and 
the sons of the South, may see the pride and glory of the 
Nation in that now all cause for strife has passed, and that 
only deeds of bravery are remembered where once ran the 
red tide of battle. 

The roar of the battle on the field of Chickamauga is 
hushed and in its stead from the leafy bowers and beside the 
quiet stream is to rise for all future time the anthem of 
peace. The men who died on this field did not shed their 
blood in vain. The cause for which they of the Union army 
fought was triumphant, and Chickamauga was the beginning 
of the end of the years of strife. 


Tlic (Hijcclivo I'oint^of the r:inip;ii.-;ii TTold— Arrival of tliP Eighty-sixth from 
<'liicli;iinn.u.i;:i— Entered Upon its Duties to Defend tlie Town— Tlio Scarcity of 
Siiijpli(!s— Tho yutreiin^'s Endured l)y \\\v. Men— Starvation Starini;; them in 
thc! Face- Trovisions Kroufiht. Over tlie Mountains from RridKcport--Fora.<;- 
iiiK— Consolidation of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps— The Fourth 
Corps Formod— General Rosecrans Relieved— General Tliotuas Assumes Com- 
mand— Arrival of General Grant— The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps— Battle 
of Wauhatcliie— The Army of the Tennessee Arrives— Preparations for the 
Approaching Battle— Did General Rosecrans Contemplate at Any Time the 
Evacuat.ion of Chattanoof^a? 

As shown in the preceding chai)ter, after the battle of 
Chickamauga, the Army of the Cumberland held the objec- 


tive point of the campaign — Chattanooga — and was therefore 
successful and victorious. The resolute men under General 
Rosecrans were determined to hold fast to the prize now in 
their possession. No one questioned the ability of General 
Rosecraus to hold it against a direct assault by any force of 
the enemy. Here the troops which had formed the right 
wing at Chickamauga formed the center and left wing in 
Chattanooga, and would have been found as firm as their 
comrades of the left wing were on the memorable " Snod- 
grass Hill." They proved this later. 

The Second brigade of the Third division, Twenty-first 
army corps. Colonel George P. Dick, of the Eighty-sixth, 
commanding, reached the immediate neighborhood of Chat- 
tanooga from the battle-field of Chickamauga on the 21st of 
September, and did guard duty that evening. On the 22nd 
the Eighty-sixth was placed as a reserve for the skirmish 
line, the line itself being formed by the Fifteenth Indiana, 
the brigade's position being to the northeast of the hill where 
Port Wood was afterward located, and not far from Citico 
creek. Here the Eighty-sixth constructed a temporary line 
of breastworks and prepared to support the line in case it 
was attacked. The regiment was at this juncture under the' 
command of Captain Aaron Prazee, of Company A, Lieuten- 
ant Colonel J. C. Dick having been wounded in the battle of 
Chickamauga. There was more or less skirmishing and some 
artillery firing as the enemy approached the town. At dusk 
a portion of the Eighty-sixth was placed upon the line. The 
men were instructed to keep the closest watch upon the en- 
emy. It was not then known even by those high in com- 
mand how badly the different organizations had been broken 
up at Chickamauga by their repeated desperate attempts to 
win. About 9 o'clock quite a lively fire sprang up on the 
Eighty-sixth's part of the line, and on the brigade line im- 
mediately to its right, on account of a supposed attempt of 
the enemy to steal up by stealth. The nervous tension was 
great, and the men did not wait to see a rebel approaching to 
shoot, but fired. The line held its ground firmly and the fir- 
ing soon died away. The enemy fired a few return shots, 


but tliorc was roally no evidence of an attempt to advance. 
The fact was Bragg, as well as his men, had about all the 
fighting thoy cared to enjoy for some time, and were in no 
liurry to rusli upon their old antagonists. 

The first detail of the Eighty-sixth placed upon the line 
as skirmishers remained from dusk on the 22nd until 3 a. m. 
on the 2;5rd, a long and very trying vigil. The day.had been 
warm, and the approaching enemy had made the situation 
one of gr(\at danger. The night was frosty, making a change 
of many degrees from the heat of the day. The men lay 
upon the ground to escape the enemy's fire and felt the full 
U)V('(i of the frosty atmosphere. The chilly ground rapidly 
conducted the heat from their thinly clad bodies and the 
frosty air chilled them to the bone. It was a night long to 
be remembered. Those upon the line were relieved at 3 a. 
m. and returned to the reserve, but little more comfort was 
to be found there as no lire was permitted, and the men had 
but few blankets. At 9 a. m. they returned to the line and 
had a brisk little brush with the enemy as he pushed his 
lines cautiously up. The Eighty -sixth maintained its ground 
and stood tlie enemy off by a sharp and well directed fire. 
He returned the fire in a sullen, determined manner, as 
though out of liumor. He did not push up with that vim, 
that, aggressive dashing manner so characteristic when con- 
luUmt of winning. So the contest was kept up by the Eighty- 
sixth until 3 o'clock p. m. on the 23rd, when it was relieved 
and marched back inside the intrenched lines which were rap- 
idly assuming foruiidal)le shape. 

The town is situated in a bend of the Tennessee river 
which liere winds its w^ay through the mountains. Coming 
from the north until within a mile, the river changes its course 
and fiows nearly west, curving slightly northward as it passes 
the town. Then the curve increases and it flows a little east 
of south with a high point — Cameron Hill — between it and 
the town. It continues this direction for probably two miles 
and tlien curves to the southwest for the distance of a half 
mile and sti-ikes the rocky base of the mighty Lookout, and 
again changes for another half mile, this time to the north- 


west, and then again nearly clue north until opposite the 
town again turns in a northwest direction and divides into 
two branches to encompass Williams' Island. Opposite 
Lookout Mountain its curves form Moccasin Point. At the 
bend east of the town Citico creek empties its waters from 
the base of Missionary Ridge. At a point nearly due north of 
the palisades on Lookout, Chattanooga creek empties its 
waters from the south part of Chattanooga Valley. Nearly 
a half mile west of the mouth of Citico creek is the head of 
an island known as Chattanooga island. A little more than 
a half mile above the mouth of Chattanooga creek is another 
small island. Starting from a point opposite the lower third 
of the lower island the main intrenchments followed a line, 
curving outward slightly, to a point on the bank of the river 
a little east of the head of Chattanooga island. The Eighty- 
sixth was assigned a camping place on this line a little north 
of the East Tennessee and Virginia railroad some three or 
four hundred yards perhaps from the river, on a slight ele- 
vation where the government cemetery was first placed. 

Now began the siege of the Army of the Cumberland 
cooped up in Chattanooga by the Confederate forces under 
General Bragg. The intrenchments were strengthened day 
by day, forts were constructed and every preparation made 
to hold the town. To complete all these required great 
labor, and with the heavy picket duty, the men were kept 
constantly engaged. The line of the Union pickets covering 
the front of the works extended from the mouth of Citico 
creek on the left to the mouth of Chattanooga creek on the 
right. Within the main line of intrenchments, high points 
of ground were fortified. About two hundred yards to the 
right of the camp of the Eighty -sixth and a little more ad- 
vanced was constructed a strong fort known in history as 
Port Wood, named in honor of Brigadier General T. J. 

Each morning the troops were called before daylight and 
"stood to arms" in the trenches. On account of some picket 
firing the troops, on the left at least, were called into the 
trenches twice during the night of the 24th, and were called 


lip I'or tli«' day on the luornin.n- ol" the L'5Ui at 4 o'clock. On 
tlie follownife' day the cause of the night's skirmishing was 
h'anu'd. During the day of the 24th the skirmish line to the 
right had been advanced. When night came on and shielded 
the enemy from the fire of the Union batteries he advanced 
in some force and drove the Union trooj^s back upon their 
old lines. However, on the morning of the 25th, the artillery 
opciu'd a red-hot fire upon the enemy's outposts. The Union 
skifuiishers were ordered forward and speedily drove him 
buck, and occu})ied their line of the previous evening, which 
was ever afterwards maintained. During the 2^th there was 
much heavy cannonading around the lines, accompanied by 
lively skirmishing. The enemy had not yet settled into lines 
satisfactory, which very naturally caused some irritation. 

All through the first month of the seige the troops were 
called out frequently during the night into the trenches to be 
ready to repel the threatened attacks. These calls at night 
with heavy skirmish duties, fatigue duty, short rations, thinly 
clad, and illy supi)lied with blankets for the cold frosty nights, 
made the service at this time anything but play. The army 
had stored its winter wearing apparel and blankets, and was 
therefore poorly prepared to endure bad weather. Ivatious 
daily grew more scarce and the mules grew weaker, thous- 
ands dying from overwork and starvation. The long trii)S 
over the rough mountain roads compelled them to perform 
extraordinary labors. The army mule should be voted a 
badge of honor for services rendered. 

Day by day the men came to understand the situation 
and to see with a clearer vision the difficulties of their envi- 
ronment. In front was a superior force of an inveterate en- 
emy cijnnnanded by a skillful General. In rear a large river, 
and beyond were rugged mountains and a stretch of country 
over which all supplies must be hauled a distance of sixty 
m i les. Could the end be seen ? It looked black, though there 
were f(>w but were confident that in the final round up the 
Union army would come off victorious. 

On the rel>el skirmish line at the east side of a small field, 
across wliich the Second brigiule skirmish line extended, was 


a log cabin, in which there was daily posted a rebel sharp- 
shooter that made good use of his opportunities. A picket 
detail was his special delight, and many a picket marching 
out to duty was disabled by his unerring rifle. And a soldier 
going outside of the intrenchments for any purpose was a 
fair mark. Next to a picket detail he seemed to delight in 
having a crack at soldiers going out for wood. But wood 
was necessary, even if it took blood. At length the timber 
was all cleared away, much of it having been cut and carried 
to camp on the boys' backs after night. The sharp-shooter 
wounded a number of the Eighty-sixth when going out to 
the skirmish line. To fire at the cabin was useless, and he 
was left undisturbed. Once or twice a gun from Fort Wood 
was turned upon the cabin and a few shots would quiet him 
for a time, but he soon resumed his vocation. On the 30th 
of September, some members of the Eighty-sixth were on 
duty on the skirmish tine. Two or three of them, tired of 
sharp-shooting, crept out along the bank of Citico creek to a 
concealed place and gave him a few shots that annoyed him. 
He at once stopped shooting and began swearing. For a 
time now it was a war of words instead of bullets, and it was 
difficult to decide which side was the more fluent and vicious. 
The Eighty-sixth boys returned to the reserve and the 
heathen rebel rested from his labors. They came off the 
line at 3 a. m., returned to the reserve and tried to sleep. 
They had just got soundly asleep when a heavy shower came 
up suddenly, and when they awoke they were in water up to 
their necks — lying down, of course. This little incident gives 
one some idea of the trials of a soldier's life. It was useless 
of course to try to sleep on the ground in such a deluge of 

On the night of October 1 it continued to rain, accom- 
panied by a wind storm, blowing down tents and scattering 
numerous necessary articles in various directions. Many 
tents blew down a second time. Add this to all other 
things which the men endured at Chattanooga — hunger, 
fatigue, dangers aud trying vigils — x^i'^ved to be an exhaust- 
ing strain upon the whole physical system. Many finally 

jk; the eighty-sixth regiment, 

broke down wlio scvmiiii^iy bore it luii-ly well at the time. 
Is it lo be wondered that the health oi so many soldiers was 
injured while in the service? It is marvelous that so many 
endured it and still live. 

On October 2 a member of Company D was shot throiii?h 
the arm by the cabin sharpshooter as he was going out on 
skirmish line. It was a severe and painful wound, although 
not necessarily dangerous. On this day, too. General Rose- 
crans issued an order to the Army of the Cumberland, of 
which the following is an extract: 

" Ai'iny of the Cuml)erland: Yoii have made a graud and successful 
eanii)ai{in ; you have driven the rebels from Middle Tennessee. You 
crossed a great mountain range, placed yourselves on the banks of a 
broad river, crossed it in the face of a powerful opposing army, and 
crossed two great mountain ranges at the only practicable passes, some 
forty miles between extremes. You concentrated- in the face of superior 
numbers; fought the combined armies of Bragg, which you drove from 
Shelby ville to Tullahoma, of Johnston's army from Mississippi, and the 
tried veterans of Longstreet's cor-ps, and foi' two days held them at bay, 
giving tliem blow for blow with heavy interest. * * * * You have 
accoin]>lisiied the great work of the campaign; you hold the key of East 
Tennessee, of North Georgia, and of the enemy's mines of coal and 

This is only an extract but it relates the fact that the 
Army of the Cumberland in the late contest had much 
more than Bragg "s army with which to contend. In a letter 
written by General Halleck dated at Washington, D. C, Oc- 
tober 20, 1863, to General Grant, that officer says: 

"It is now ascertained that the greater part of the prisoners pa- 
ntlled by you at Vicksburg, and l^anks at Port Hudson, were illegally 
and imi)roperly declared exchanged, and forced into the ranks to swell 
tlie rebel numbers at Chickamauga." 

In short. General Grant had made a very serious mis- 
take in paroling Pemberton's army and the Army of the 
Cumlx'i-land and its great leader had to suffer for Grant's 

On October 3, Dr. A. M. Walton, Assistant Surgeon of 
the Eighty-sixth was sent into Chattanooga from Chicka- 
mauga, having been severely wounded in both feet by the 
a^icideutid discharge of a gun. When our forces fell back 
from that terrible ticld. Dr. Walton courageously and nobly 


volunteered to remain with the wounded and minister to 
their wants. Nobly did he fulfill the task he had assijjcned 
himself, but alas! he too was soon numbered with the suffer- 
t ing patriots and required the attentions of a brother surgeon. 

(The siege dragged on. To relate one-half tlie incidents 
of camp and skirmish line would be impossible. To say the 
least the condition of affairs was pressing and very interest- 
ing. At length the rebel cavalry, under their great leader, 
Wheeler, made things lively in the rear. He captured a 
large supply train in the Sequatchie Valley and almost de- 
stroyed it. The enemy patrolled the river bank for miles 
below Lookout, down to and around ' ' the Suck, ' ' a bend of 
the river around the north end of Raccoon mountain, between 
that mountain on the south and Waldeu's Ridge on the north. 
The best road left open to Rosecrans' trains wound around 
along the north bank of the river, being cut into the terminal 
cliffs of Walden's Ridge as they jutted up close to the bank 
of the river. The enemy's pickets patrolling the river bank 
acted as sharpshooters at "the Suck" where the trains were 
forced near them and killed many mules, drivers, and train 
guards. They maintained constant watch and tire, and ren- 
dered the road so dangerous that it had to be abandoned, the 
trains going over Walden's Ridge further north. This 
necessitated many more miles of travel, and far more difficult 
mountain roads to be used, to convey the hard tack and bacon 
to the famishing soldiers in the beleaguered town. The 
longer trii)S and more difficult roads required greater time, 
when time was an element of much importance. Tlie mules 
on account of their extraordinary exertion and lack of forage 
were daily growing more feeble and less able to work. While 
they were growing weaker aud fewer in number, for they 
died and were killed by the hundreds, their labors were grow- 
ing greater and more urgent. The bad weather set in and 
added deep mud to the rough and execrable mountain 
roads. Daily, rations grew scarcer, until, as the boys jocosely 
renuirked, it was only river water with a very faint suspicion 
of coffee about it. It looked gloomy indeed — disheartening 
in the extreme — but General Rosecrans with i2:reat courage 


fou«?ht the elements and the difficulties of his environment 
with tlio same fortitude that he contended with the rebel 
forces, and tlie iron-hearted Army of the Cumberland was as 
tirni as llu^ palisades of the lofty Lookout, and cheered their 
connnandci- lustily whenever he rode along- the lines. Some 
tinu's unlookod for misfortunes came. After a heavy fall of 
rain the enemy up the river sent down rafts at night to break 
tlu> pontoon bridges at the town. They succeeded in this a 
niunber of times until at length a watch was placed on the 
head of Chattanooga Island, and the river was patrolled. The 
logs were just what General Rosecrans and his Chief Engi- 
neer, General W. F. Smith, wanted to make lumber, with 
which to build more bridges. 

On October 3 one day's rations of hard tack were drawn, 
and on the night of the 4th the enemy succeeded in breaking 
the pontoon bridge with a raft of logs which interfered with 
the much needed supplies. On the 5th details from the Eighty- 
sixth Indiana and the Fifty-ninth Ohio were made for the 
skirmish line for the brigade. Captain C. P. Rodman, of the 
Eighty-sixth, was the officer of the day. 

About 10 o'clock a. m. the enemy opened with his artil- 
lery all around the lines and made it quite uncomfortable. 
The reserves of the First and Second brigades received a full 
share of the enemy's attention. The tire was kept up the 
entire day. It is a day embalmed in the memory of hun- 
driKls, rendered thus memorable by the continued booming 
of batteries all day long. 

On the afternoon of the 7th the Eighty-sixth received 
orders to be ready to start on foraging duty at a moment's 
notice. Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Dick, then in command of 
the regiment, sent word that his command could not go on 
account of not having any rations. The information was 
returned that rations w^ould be provided. The following 
morning at 9 o'clock the Eighty-sixth was ordered to "fall 
in " and it marched through town and across the river where 
rations were issued. The guards of the trains were veterans 
from the ranks of the besieged army. They knew the situa- 
tion. They did not sec anything wrong in famishing men 


supplying themselves. The expedition proved to be forag- 
ing duty beyond a doubt; for if ever a regiment of Hoosiers 
had the stomachs to forage it was on coming out of Chatta- 
nooga after what appeared to be a three weeks' fast. The 
purpose of the expedition was to secure corn and corn-fodder 
as forage for the mules and horses, but it also gave the 
Eighty-sixth, acting as guards, an excellent opportunity to 
turn the occasion to good account for themselves. The 
duties of the trij) were many and various, such as loading 
wagons, catching chickens, ducks and pigs, standing guard 
and doing picket duty when the place of bivouac was reached 
at night. On the afternoon of the 9th, having reached a 
point some thirty or forty miles northeast of Chattanooga 
about thirty of the wagons were loaded with forage. Besides 
securing forage for the animals, the boys caught the 
chickens, geese and turkeys of the mountaineers, killed 
their hogs, cattle and sheep, went into the houses and ate 
the biscuits on the table, carried off their bee-hives, and des- 
troyed quite as much in getting what they may have needed 
as they themselves consumed. Looking back at this time 
upon this conduct one cannot but pronounce it a brutal 
destruction and waste. The ^Dassions of the soldiers had 
been aroused to their highest pitch by their suffering while 
besieged in Chattanooga, and they stopped not to think of 
the suffering they might inflict on innocent non-combatants. 
The foraging was continued during a part of the 10th when the 
train and guards started on their return trip and reached 
camp between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon on the 11th. 
Arriving in camp, the regiment learned of General Rose- 
crans' order consolidating the Twentieth and Twenty -first 
corps into one corps, and designating it the Fourth army 
corps, to be commanded by Major General Gordon Granger. 
This order was issued on the 9th of October, and was in 
compliance with the President Lincoln's order which had been 
promulgated September 28. The actual change of the troops, 
however, did not take place until October 20. The organiza- 
tion was to be as follows: 


Major (Icncral Goi-don Granger, Commanding. 

FiusT Division. 

Major General David S. Stanley, Commanding. Jiriijdde. 

Brigadier Charles Cruft, Commanding. 

Second Brigade. 

Brigadier General W. C. Whittaker, Commanding. 

IMrd Briqadc. 

Colonel William Grose, Commanding. 

Second Division. 
Major General Philip H. Sheridan, Commanding 

Fird Brigade. 

Brigadier General J. B. Steadman, Commanding. 

Second Brigeide. 

Brigadier General George D. Wagner, Commanding. 

Third Brigade. 

Colonel Charles G. Harker, Commanding. 

Third Division. 
Bi'igadier General Thomas J. Wood, Commanding. 

First Brigade. 

Bi'igadier General August Willich, Commanding. 

Second Brigade. 

Brigadier General William B. Hazen, Commanding. 

Third Brigade. 
Brigadier General Samuel Beatty, Commanding. 
Seventy-ninth Indiana. Thirteenth Ohio. 

Eighty-sixth Indiana. Nineteenth Ohio. 

Nintli Kentucky. Fifty-ninth Ohio. 

Suventeenth Kentucky. Forty-fourth Indiana. 

This l)ri<,';ide, accordini<^ to "Victor's History of the 
Relj('llioii," ctimeto bcknownas "Beatty 's Fighting Brigade." 

The Forty-fourth Indiana was, however, soon after this 
<h>tach«^d to do post duty in Chattanooga. It tooli no part in 
tlu! battle of Missionary Ridge, and was never again with the 
brigade. Doubtless this organization was a stronger one 
than to liave the trooi)s divided up in two corps and so many 
divisions and brigades. It gave its corps line of battle more 
coliesion, more solidity and weight, and was therefore safely 
welded into one compact organization to meet the hard knocks 


it was SO soon to endure, yet all were loth to see the old 
corps dispersed, as the mist of the morning, into nothingness. 
But the men soon forgot their regret for the old in their pride 
for the new. 

The Eighty-sixth was glad indeed to welcome its Col- 
onel back to his legitimate command and was proud to obey 
his every order with soldierly promptness. The division 
and brigade commanders were known to be able, soldierly 
leaders. General Wood had drawn condemnation upon him- 
self by his conduct at Chickamauga, but the error, if error it 
was, was not on account of his lack of courage or want of 
ability. General Beatty was brave to a fault and an able 
brigade commander, but was generally credited with being 
overhasty in volunteering his brigade for dangerous duties. 

Rations were drawn on the 12th what purported to be 
for three days. On the 13th the men were eating parched 
corn, so scant was the supply drawn the day before. On the 
13th a heavy detail from the Eighty-sixth worked on the en- 
trenchments in a drenching rain during the forenoon which 
was most disagreeable as it was quite cold. The rain con- 
tinued during the afternoon and the following night. Again 
on the 14th parched corn did duty as bread. The rain con- 
tinued to fall in heavy showers during the night of the 14th 
and the day of the 15th. With such heavy continued rains 
what must have been the condition of the mountain roads 
over which long trains of army wagons continued to pass 
and re-pass between Bridgeport and Chattonooga in their 
superhuman efforts to supply an army of 45,000 men with 
subsistence and the munitions of war? One may imagine, 
but can a person who never saw roads thus traveled compre- 
hend their condition? One historian, W. O. Blake, author 
of the "Great American Rebellion," sj^eaking of the desper- 
ate condition of the beleagued town and army says: "All 
supplies for the army at Chattanooga had to be hauled over 
one line of railroad to Bridgeport, and from there by pack 
mules to Chattanooga." This statement is liable to create 
an erroneous impression as it gives one the idea that rations 
and supplies were conveyed only by pack mules and that no 


supplies were hauled over the mountains. Doubtless Rose- 
crans made use of pack mules as lie used every means in his 
power, but there was scarcely a day when there was not a 
train on the way going from, or coming to, Chattanooga, 
with or for supplies. The fact that he used i^ack mules 
shows his invincible resolution to hold on to the place to the 
last. He made a glorious fight and few could have done 
better. But with all of the exertion made to keep the army 
supplied, the amount of rations received gradually grew 
k'ss. So many mules had been killed by the rebel sharp- 
shooters, so many had died of starvation and over-work, and 
now the roads were cut up so badly it seemed that fate was 
against the Army of the Cumberland. Appearances indi- 
cated that they must, if help did not come soon, yield the 
town or starve. But they held on. 

On the evening of the 19th of October, General Rose- 
crans received by telegram an order relieving him of the 
command of the Army of the Cumberland, and transferring 
it to General Thomas. On the 20th, General Thomas issued 
General Order, No. 243, assuming command. The following 
extract formed one paragraph of these orders: 

" In assuming' the control of this army, so long and so ably com- 
manded ])y Major General Rosecrans, the imdersigned confidently relies 
upon the hearty co-operation of every officer and soldier of the Array of 
tlie Cumbei-land, to enable him to perform the arduous duties devolved 
upon him." 

General Grant reached Chattanooga on the 23d and 
assumed command in person, and to read his "Memoirs" one 
would tliink there was no scarcity of rations, feed, or other 
necessary supi)lies a few days after his arrival. He says: 
"In five days from my arrival in Chattanooga the way was 
oi)en to Bridgeport, and, witli aid of steamers and Hooker's 
teams, in a week the troops were receiving full rations."" 
But this statement is not exactly in harmony with the facts. 
The greatest suiTering of the Eighty-sixth on account of 
scant rations while in Chattanooga occurred from the 20th of 
October to the 9th of November. A member of the regiment 
who kept a dairy has this record for the 20t,h: "The boys 
are all out of rations and swearing about starving." 


In the record for the 25th it is found that he was on 
picket and this note is made: "I only had one cracker 
for dinner." On the 26th he wrote: '"We ate our last cracker 
for dinner. We drew about a tinful, supposed to be a pint, 
of flour for a day's rations of bread-stuff. The boys are all 
grumbling about the scarcity of rations. This is a little the 
shortest rations we have yet drawn. " In the record for the 
27th he made this note: "We had to do without any dinner 
as we could not get anything to eat. The boys are furious 
about the rations, as most of them have had nothing to eat 
since breakfast, all day. Toward evening we drew a little 
beef." After this record was made, somewhat later in the 
evening, other rations came, and this man's journal says: 
"We received three crackers and one pound of flour as a 
ration for two men for one day. We also drew a few grains 
of cofl'ee. " On the 1st of November the regiment was again 
almost destitute of rations, most of the men doing without 
any dinner. Late in the evening one-half of a cracker was 
issued to two men. On November 2 this is the record: 
' ' Brother and I ate a half a cracker and a little bacon for 
breakfast. The boys are grumbling a good deal to-day about 
rations. We drew a little beef this forenoon and had that for 
dinner. Late in the evening we drew, what purported to be, 
one day's rations of hard tack to do us four meals." On 
On November 5: "We drew six small crackers to the man to 
do one day and a half. " These are facts — a correct account 
of the actual rations drawn, noted at the time, by the mem- 
bers of the Eighty-sixth. Nor is it believed that the Eighty- 
sixth sufl'ered for the want of rations more than other regi- 
ments of the Army of the Cumberland. The assertion is here 
made that no regiment within the lines of the beleaguered 
town at any time during the siege ever received full rations 
of even three articles of the ration list. Those who bore the 
hardships, served in the trenches, and were exposed to the 
dangers of the siege, half-starved, were as determined to 
hold the place as was General Grant. 

Of the conduct of the men much might be said to show 
how some suffered much more than others. Some were im- 


])r()vi(loiil, even reckless, in reii:ard to their rations. Some of 
these iini)rovidont soldiers have been known to eat at one 
meal all the hard tack that was issued to do three days, and 
de[)end upon the charity of comrades for the rest of the time. 
Others naturally abstemious and frugal divided the rations 
received so as to have a little left when the time expired, only 
ate so much set apart for a meal. But even the latter class 
would occasionally exhaust their carefully hoarded supply. 

On OctolxM- '20, the troops which had been changed from 
oiK^ command to another, moved their camps to their respec- 
tive new commands. Troops were changing and moving in 
all directions, esi)ecially the troops composing the old Twen- 
tieth and Twenty-tirst army corps. Luckily for the Eighty- 
sixth it (lid not have to move. 

From this time until the battle of Wauhatchie daily there 
was some slcirmish firing, some sharpshootiug from tiie 
cabin front, and more or less artillery firing, but nothing of 
a decided or very destructive nature. Occasionally the guns 
on Lookout would drop a few shell's into the town or camps, 
but, more frequently they went screaming on over the river 
to the north. 

During the 127th, batteries on Moccasin Point maintained 
a brisk fire on Lookout during most of the day, and the rebel 
gunners replied with spirit. The cannonading was contin- 
ued even more fiercely on the 28th than on the preceding day. 
A i)out midnight it again broke out fiercely and aroused the 
cam]). The men turned out to learn where the battle raged. 
There was no doul)t of tliere being a musketry battle also, for 
it could be i)lainly heard. It was a rapid, continuous crack- 
ling fii-e as when lines of battle were engaged. The rebel 
guns fi-om Lookout boomed with unwonted vigor and rapid- 
ity. It was undoubtedly a battle of coijsiderable magnitude 
and hotly waged. Subsequently it was learned that the rebels 
ha<l attacked the troops under Hooker, Geary's division of 
the Twelfth corps, and the Eleventh corps, commanded by 
Howai-d. There were really two battles fought on this 
night., and in both the Union troops were victorious. Long 
street's troops were the attacking forces on the part of the 


rebels. It is known in history as the battle of Wauhatchie. 
The rebels were beaten at all points and Hooker's forces 
gained some advantage in ground during the battle. 

About the 1st of November there was a change made in 
the manner of sending out pickets. Heretofore it had been 
by details. Now it was changed to regiments. On the 
morning of the 5th, at 5 o'clock, the Eighty-sixth went on 
picket immediately in its front. There was nothing of 
especial interest transpired on the skirmish line, but there 
was a great deal of especially active cannonading around the 
lines. On this day, too, the pontoon bridge was broken so 
the men were deprived of their much needed rations. The 
regiment returned to camp from the skirmish line at 5 o'clock 
a. m. on the 3d. During the night of the 2d the regiment 
was ordered into the trenches and kept there a long time, an 
attack being expected. The artillery maintained an occa- 
sional fire throughout the night. 

About the 6th or 7th it was reported in camp that Gen- 
eral Beatty, the brigade commander, had offered to Colonel 
Dick the position of Provost Marshal of Chattanooga, with 
the Eighty -sixth as provost guards. Rather a nice place in 
comparison with field duties; but the Colonel declined with 
thanks, preferring to keep the regiment in the front where 
the more arduous and dangerous duties were to be performed. 
The position was eventually given to the Forty-fourth Indi- 
ana, Lieutenant Colonel Simeon C. Aldrich commanding. 
The Forty-fourth was never afterwards with the brigade. 

On the 8th the regiment was again on duty on the picket 
line. The wind blew a stiif breeze and it was quite cold, 
making it very disagreeable. Rations were brought out to 
the reserve station and distributed. Many of the boys were 
so hungry that they ate the whole day's rations for supper. 
Drew rations on the 9th and received a more liberal allow- 
ance than at any time since the siege began. By this time 
everything within the xoicket line that could be used for fuel 
had been consumed, even to the stumps. All were cleaned 
up to the sentinels on the lines. On the 11th Colonel Dick 
had men begin to build a barge with which to bring wood 


across the river. By the 13th it was completed and put to use. 
On the 15th the regiment was again on picket and the sentinel 
posts were within eighty or one hundred yards of the sentinels 
to the enemy 's line, but they were peaceably inclined. Long- 
street had now gone to attack General Burnside at Knox- 
ville, and even the i^rivates knew their weakness and had no 
desire to stir up a hornet's nest prematurely. It would come 
soon enough. The regiment returned to camp on the morn- 
ing of the IGth and found that some soulless wretch had 
stolen its wood. A heavy detail was made from the regi- 
ment that day for fatigue duty on Fort Beatty. 

Colonel Dick since his return to the regiment had been 
having dress parade each evening when the weather was 
suitable. On -the 18th there was quite a lively time on the 
skirmish line for half or three-quarters of an hour. The 
Union line was advanced. That of course brought on the 
fray. The enemy seemed very much disinclined to allow it 
the privilege of advancing, but after a hot bout he appeared 
reconciled. A number of prisoners were captured from the 
enemy in the skirmish. Of course there was the daily can- 
nonading and skirmishing, but little attention was paid any 
more to the ordinary firing. On the 19th the Eighty-sixth 
was paid off, the men receiving four months' wages. 

On the 20th the regiment was ordered into ranks by com- 
panies and marched out of camp to fire the loads out of the 
guns and put them in good order. Orders were received to 
be ready to move the following morning with two days' 
cooking rations, exclusive of breakfast, and forty rounds of 
ammunition in cartridge boxes and sixty rounds in pocket. 
Such marching orders with an enemy in arms length meant 
tight. An order was also promulgated consolidating, for the 
present, regiments that had been greatly decimated in num- 
bers, presumably to give the lines more cohesion and weight 
in an attack. The Seventy-ninth Indiana and the Eighty - 
sixth were consolidated under this order. The advance was to 
be made on the morning of the 21st, Saturday. But it rained 
the whole night of the 20th, and Sherman was not ready, con- 
sequently the proposed movement was postponed. On the 


evening of the 21st the Eighty-sixth received orders to be 
ready for picket at 5 :30 the next morning, Sunday. 

On the 22d the regiment was on the picket-line promptly 
at the appointed time. Everything was reasonably quiet 
until about 9 o'clock a. m., when the batteries in Fort Wood 
opened fire on Missionary Ridge. Rebel infantry could be 
seen marching down the crest of the ridge to the north, and 
it is presumed it was at this column that the fire of Fort 
Wood was directed. The guns of the enemy did not reply to 
the fire here, but opened with the guns on the point of Look- 
out. Both the Federal and Confederate batteries ceased fir- 
ing about 11:30 a. m. The Eighty -sixth's sentinels were but 
a short distance from the rebel sentinels. A Sergeant in 
Company E, together with one or two comrades, went out be- 
tween the lines and exchanged a paper with a rebel sentinel. 
When Colonel Dick heard of it he was quite indignant, and 
reproved the Sergeant and those with him in most emphatic 

General T. J. Wood, the division commander, came out 
to the reserve station of the picket line and took observa- 
tions of the enemy with his field glass, and made some in- 
quiries of the Colonel relative to indications of a move by the 
enemy. Rebel officers could be seen watching the firing 
from Fort Wood with their glasses, coming quite out to their 
line of sentinels. It seemed evident that things were keyed 
to the point of an explosion and it might be expected at any 

Again orders were received to have two days' cooked 
rations and one hundred rounds of ammunition, and be ready 
to move the next morning. About 8 o'clock p. m. the two 
days' uncooked rations were received at the station. By this 
time everything was quiet except a working party that was 
bridging Citico creek a little to the left of the reserve. They 
were hammering and pounding at a lively rate. Sherman's 
forces were said now to be up and in position, ready to cross 
the Tennessee river just below the mouth of South Chicka- 
mauga creek. 

The night of the 22d was a lovely one, clear and cool, 


but it was not a pleasant duty to perform a midnight vigil. 
During that evening the order for the advance in the morn- 
ing was countermanded on account of General Sherman not 
being ready to effect a crossing. The Eighty-sixth was re- 
lieved on the morning of the 23d by the Nineteenth Ohio, 
Colonel Manderson commanding. The regiment returned at 
once to camp and breakfasted, expecting to enjoy a day of 

Tlie Army of the Cumberland was now on the eve of its 
release from a long siege of two months at Chattanooga. 
Concerning the question as to whether General Rosecrans 
intended at any time before he was relieved from command 
of the army to abandon the position there has been much Without desiring to enter this field the authors 
of this volume believe that General Rosecrans had no such 
intention, neither had his successor, General Thomas. The 
men composing this army had caught the spirit of their 
General, and although the situation was a trying one before 
the means of subsistence were fully provided and relief 
came, yet the men slackened not their grip on the prize j)ur- 
chased with the blood of their comrades and their own suf- 
fermg, nor gave one inch of ground after their position had 
been taken. Neither officers nor men for a moment ever 
wavered in their firm resolve to hold the town. 

It is therefore believed that General Grant was griev- 
ously mistaken when, in speaking of his arrival at Chatta- 
nooga to take command, in an article published in the Century 
for November, 1885, and afterwards in his "Memoirs," says: 
"During the evening most of the general officers called to 
pay their respects and to talk about the condition of affairs. 
Thoy pointed out on the map the line, marked with a red or 
a blue pencil, which Rosecrans had contemplated falling 
back upon. ' ' 

On the contrary Brigadier General Henry M. Cist, Assist- 
ant General on General Rosecrans' staff, and afterwards 
holding the same position on the staff of General Thomas, in 
his "History of the Army of the Cumberland," published in 
1882, three years prior to the appearance of General Grant's 


Century article, says: "However, not for an instant was the 
idea entertained of abandoning the town, to say nothing of 
the extreme hazard of attempting that, in the face of the 
strong force of the enemy on our front. Tlie Army of the 
Cumberland had won Chattanooga and there they proposed 
remaining. " 

Speaking of this statement of General Grant in an article 
in the North American Revieiu for December, 1885, General 
Rosecrans says: "No officer of the Army of the Cumber- 
land ever told him that I contemplated falling back. ' ' Again 
he says: "The next thing after getting Chattanooga was to 
keep it." General Thomas gives support to these state- 
ments in the first paragraph of his rei)ort of the operations 
opening the new and shorter supply line by saying: "In pur- 
suance of the plan of General Rosecrans, the execution of 
which had been deferred until General Hooker's transi)orta- 
tion could be got." This statement of General Thomas' 
shows that instead of Rosecrans' contemplating retreat he 
was planning to hold the town, planning to have the means 
to make his resistance effectual. General Rosecrans gives 
quite fully in his article the plans and preparations by him 
for supplying the army in the beleaguered town, showing 
conclusively that he had no thought of evacuating or yield- 
ing up the place to the enemy, but on the contrary he meant 
to hold it to the last. Besides the proofs found in the records 
which go to show that Rosecrans never intended to give up 
the place, the contemplation of such an imj^ortant movement 
under the then existing circumstances and conditions could 
not have been kept secret, but would have found its way to 
the ranks in a thousand ways, and would have been quite 
freely discussed in the camps. But in this case the reports 
in camp were all against the evacuation. The sentiment of 
the rank and file was against it, and so strong that it would 
have been a difficult matter to have withdrawn the army. 
They might have taken things in their own hands, as they 
did a little later under Grant at Missionary Ridge, and held 
the town even against orders. They had, however, no 
occasion to discuss this phase of the situation, as it was the 


common talk of the camps everyivhere that Rosecrans had 
said, and no soldier of the Army of the Cumberland doubted 
it, tluit he would fight them to the last and hold the town at 
all hazards. 

Much more evidence could be given, but this is sufficient 
to show that General Rosecrans had at no time entertained 
the idea for a moment of abandoning Chattanooga, and that 
he had not lost confidence in the courage or fighting qualities 
of the army which he commanded, nor had the troops lost 
confidence in their General. Had General Rosecrans received 
the support from Washington at Chickamauga that was 
given to General Grant two months later the battles around 
Chattanooga would not have had a j^lace in history. 


A Great Battle With a Picturesque Setting— An Unlooked for Crisis Precipitates 
It — Wood Makes a Reconnoissance— Ground Gained, Held, and Fortified- 
Hooker's Battle on Lookout Mountain— Sherman at the North End of Mis- 
sionary Ridf::e— Tlionias Ordered to Take First Line of Enemy's Works at 
Foot of Uidse and Make a Diversion in Favor of Slierman— The Order Prompt- 
ly Obeyed— The Lines Captured in Hurricane Style— The Unordered Assault 
on Missionary Ridge— A Privates' Victory— A Battle Fouglit More Success- 
fully Than Planned, But Not as Planned— A Victory That Astounded Grant 
in the Manner of its ComiiiK as Much as it Did BrasK i'l its Results— General 
Cist's Account— Fullerton's Version— BraRg and Bate's Statements— Captain 
Reilly's Account of tlie Assault— Taylor's Brilliant Description of tlie Battle. 

The great strategical importance of Chattanooga made 
it "the key to the situation" of all the country lying to the 
southward of it. But the battle was looked forward to with 
the utmost anxiety, not only for its direct effect on the affairs 
in its own department, but on account of the fact that on the 
result of the contest at Chattanooga probably hung the fate 
of Knoxville and the Army of the Ohio under Burnside. Had 
Chattanooga and Knoxville been retaken by the rebels, the 
Union cause must have received a staggering blow, and one 


from which it is exceedingly doubtful if the government 
would have been able to recover. Years have not diminished 
the importance of this battle in the eyes of the student of 
history. The battle of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Moun- 
tain was one of the decisive battles of the War of the Rebel- 

In the striking features of its peculiarly grand and 
picturesque setting it probably excels that of any battle-field 
of the civil war. There are the surrounding mountains in all 
their beauty and rugged grandeur. There stand Lookout's 
tall peak overlooking the neighboring mountains and ridges 
as a guardian watches over his charge. There is Walden's 
Ridge north of the river, and its continuation, Raccoon 
Mountain across the river south. On the east is Missionary 
Ridge, low walling the valley, while in the valley between 
Lookout and Missionary Ridge lies Chattanooga. The 
Tennessee river sweeps grandly on in elegant curves 
through the valley, and on its broad surface is mirrored the 
beauties of hill and valley, of mountain and plain. These 
rock-rimmed mountains with their subordinate hills and the 
valley constitute a mighty amphitheater wonderfully beau- 
tiful and grand, from Nature's own hand. 

The brilliant and daring charge of General Hooker's 
troops on Lookout Mountain, was the successful opening of 
the battle that was to relieve the Union army from the siege 
of the two preceding months, and open the way to the 
further South. Sherman's battle at the north end of Mis- 
sionary Ridge and the assault by the Army of the Cumber- 
land upon the rebel left-center on the Ridge constituted the 
real battle of Chattanooga. General Grant gave his per- 
sonal attention to the attack made upon the Ridge and 
selected his most trusted lieutenants to lead or direct. 

During the night of the 22d of November or early in 
the morning of the 23d some rebel deserters came into the 
Union lines and reported General Bragg withdrawing, or 
about to withdraw, from in front of Chattanooga. If this 
were true it was an unexpected turn of aifairs and developed 
a crisis at once. General Bragg, satisfied now that he could 


not starve the Army of the Cumberland to evacuate Chatta- 
noofra, miirht withdraw from its immediate front and detach 
a sufficient force to completely invest and overwhelm Gen- 
eral Burnside at Knoxville. This crisis, to be met promptly, 
necessitated a change of the plan of the approaching battle 
and forced an immediate advance on the part of the Union 
forces. The safety of Knoxville and Burnside 's army 
required that this should be done. To be deceived now as to 
the purposes and plans of the enemy might be fatal. 

General T. J. Wood was General Officer of the Day and 
at 3:30 a. m. reported to Major Fullerton, Assistant Adjut- 
ant General, the incoming of the deserters and their state- 
ments, as follows: 

Major : I have the honoi* to forward you the following information 
obtained from two deserters who came inside the lines of this division 
after 12 this a. m. These men state the rebel army is retreating. Say 
the troops which passed over the ridge yesterday were going to Chicka- 
niauga Station. They say the rumor in camps was yesterday, that by 
this evening there would be nothing but their pickets loft. Say their 
vfagon trains had been ordered in, (they had been kept to the rear for 
forage purposes.) They fully corroborate the statement of prisoners 
received yesterday morning as to their artillery having all left. I send 
the prisoners to corps provost mai'shal herewith." 

General Grant at once sent the following to General 

General: The truth or falsity of the deserters who came in last 
night, stating that Bragg had fallen l)ack, should be ascertained at 
once. If he is really falling back, Sherman can commence at once lay- 
ing his pontoon trains, and we can save a day. 

Therefore at 11 o'clock a. m. on the 23d of November, 
1863, Major-General Gordon Granger, commanding Fourth 
corps, received the following from General Thomas' Chief 
of Staff, Major-General J. J. Reynolds: » 

The General commanding the department directs that you throw 
one division of the P'ourth corps forward in the direction of Orchard 
Knob, and hold a second division in supporting distance, to disclose the 
position of the enemy, if he still remains in the vicinity of his old camp. 
Howard's and Baird's commands will be ready to co-operate if needed. 

Upon receipt of the above General Granger at 12 m. 
sent to General Wood the following: 

Brigadier-General Wood with his division will, as soon as possible. 


carry out the foregoing instruction, and will be supported by General 
Sheridan's division, to be posted along near the line of railroad, its right 
resting about midway between Moore's road and the Brush Knob in 
front of Lunette Palmer. 

General Sheridan in his report of the part taken by his 
division in front of Chattanooga on the 23d, says: 

"About 12 m. of the 23d, I was notified by Majoi"-General Granger 
that General Wood would make a reconnoissance to an elevated point on 
his (Wood's) front, know^n as Orchard Knob, and I was directed to sup- 
port him with my division and j^revent his right flank being turned by 
an advance of the enemy on Moore's road and from the direction of 

The exact words of these orders and Sheridan's report 
are given in order to show beyond doubt or cavil that Wood's 
division, of which the Eighty-sixth Indiana was a part, ivas 
the one division that made the reconnoissance and actually 
opened the great battle of Chattanooga. 

Prom the above orders of Generals Grant, Thomas and 
Granger it will be seen that the immediate cause which 
brought on the battle of Chattanooga at the time it occurred 
was the rejwrt of the rebel deserters, that General Bragg 
was falling back. These deserters came in through the 
picket line of the Third division, Fourth corps, and it was 
right and eminently proper that this division should verify 
the statements of these deserters, which had been sent to 
headquarters by its commander. Therefore immediately 
after dinner on the 23d came the order "Fall in!" "Fall in!" 
The order, peremptory in tone, was repeated down the line, 
and was f)romptly obeyed by the Eighty-sixth. The regi- 
ment was speedily formed and marched at once with Colonel 
George F. Dick at its head outside of the intrenchments. 
Other regiments soon joined, and ere long Beatty's brigade 
was duly formed and waited for the other brigades. The 
formation and alignment of Willich's and Hazen's brigades 
were soon com^^Ieted, Willich's on the left and Hazen on the 
right. Beatty's brigade was formed to the left rear of Wil: 
lich 's command and was formed ' ' in double column en 
viassc," so it might readily be deployed and face the front or 
to the left and thus protect Willich's left flank. The Eighty- 


sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiana were consolidated for the 
occasion and formed, as one regiment, the front of Beatty's 
brigade. Other regiments of the brigade were consolidated 
in a similar manner. The Eighty-sixth formed the left bat- 
talion and was consequently on the extreme left of Wood's 
division, tlie force making the reconnoissance, and liable to 
attack in flank. 

For two months the army had been besieged in Chatta- 
nooga. The time was now near at hand for raising the siege. 
General Wood, with his division, was to make a reconnois- 
sance to determine whether or not Bragg's army was present 
in full force, or develop the fact if, as reported by the de- 
serters, he was stealthily withdrawing. This reconnoissance 
became really the initiative step of the great battle. As has 
been shown the honor of the advance lies wholly with Wood's 
division, and whatever honor attaches to other divisions in 
tliis day's engagement it is solely that of supporting the Third 

The general plan of attack was as follows: A division 
of Sherman's troops was to be sent to Trenton up Lookout 
valley, to threaten the enemy's left flank. Under cover of 
this movement, Sherman's main body of the Fifteenth corps 
was to march up by Hooker's lines, then in Lookout valley, 
cross the river at the Brown's ferry bridge, mostly at night, 
thence into a concealed camp on the north side of the river, 
opposite South Chickamauga creek. For this movement 
Sherman was to be further strengthened by Davis' division 
of Thomas' army. One division was to go to a stream on the 
north side of the river known as North Chickamauga creek. 
About one hundred and twenty pontoons were to be taken, 
under cover of the hills and woods, and launched into the 
North Chickamauga. These were to be filled with men, and 
floated out into the Tennessee and down the river until oppo- 
site the South Chickamauga, about three miles below, effect 
a landing on the bank of the enemy's side, and throw uj) 
works. The remainder of the command was to cross in the 
same boats. Bridges were to be thrown across the Tennes- 
see and South Chickamauga, then cross the artillery, and 


move at once to seize a foothold on the north end of Mission- 
ary Ridge, taking up a line facing the (memy's right flank, 
near the railroad tunnel. Howard's corps, of Hooker's com- 
mand, was to be held in reserve on the peninsula between 
the bridges of Brown's ferry and Chattanooga, in order to 
act with Sherman or Thomas, as the exigencies of the 
battle might determine. Subsequently he was directed 
to cross into the town, and fill the gap between Hooker's 
proposed position and the main body of the Army 
of the Cumberland. Hooker, with the remainder of his force, 
was to hold his position in Lookout valley and threaten the 
enemy's left. Thomas, with the Army of the Cumberland, 
was to co-operate with Sherman. He was to concentrate his 
troops in Chattanooga valley, on his left flank. As soon as 
possible he was to form a junction with Sherman. 

According to this plan the Army of the Cumberland was 
to be used merely to make a "demonstration, " and was to be 
an idle spectator in the real work of routing Bragg's army. 

This statement of the original plan is supported by 
General Thomas, the heroic commander of the Army of the 
Cumberland, who, in his report of the three days' battle 
around Chattanooga, says: 

"The plan of operations was written out substantially as follows: 
Sherman, with the Fifteenth corps, strengthened with one division from 
my command, was to effect a crossing of the Tennessee river just below 
the mouth of the South Chickamauga, on Saturday, November 21, at 
daylight; his crossing to be protected by artillery planted on the heights 
on the north bank of the river. After crossing his force, he was to 
carry the heights of Missionary Ridge from their northern extremity to 
about the railroad tunnel before the enemy could concentrate a force 
against him. I was to co-opei'ate with Sherman by concentrating my 
troops in Chattanooga valley, on my left Hank, leaving only the neces- 
sary force to defend the fortifications on the right and center, with a 
movable column of one division in readiness to move whenever ordered. 
This division was to show itself as threatening as possible on the most 
practicable line for making an attack up the valley. I was then to effect 
a junction with Sherman, making my advance fvovi the left, loell toioard the 
north end of irissionai-y liidge, and moving as near simultaneously with Sher- 
man as possible. The junction once formed and the Ridge carried, com- 
munications would be at once established between the two armies by 
roads running on the south bank of the river. Further movements to 


depend on those of the enemy. Lookout valley was to be held by 
Geary's division of the Twelfth corps, and the two brigades of the 
Fourth corps ordered to co-operate with him ; the whole under the com- 
iiuiiid of Major General Hooker." 

This socms to be conclusive as to the plan of the battle, 
but General Thomas in the same report says further: 

" It will be perceived from the above report that the original plan 
of operations was somewhat modijkd to meet and take the best advant- 
age of emergencies, which necessitated material modifications of that 
])/<(». It is believed, however, thai the original plan, had it been carried out, 
could not jjossibly have led to more succcssf id results.''^ 

General Granger gives, -in- his report of the battle, sub- 
stantially the same ' ' original plan ' ' as General Thomas. 
Brigadier General T. J. Wood in his report says: 

"The original plan of operations was briefly this: The force of 
Major General Sherman was to cross the Tennessee river at the mouth 
of South Chickamauga creek, ascend the northeastern flank of Mission- 
ary liidge — which here juts against the river — sweep along the Kidge 
and take the enemy's intrenchments, both at its base and on its crest, in 
flank and reserve. 

Two divisions of the Fourth army corps, General Sheridan's and my 
own, were to cross Citico creek near its mouth just above Chattanooga, 
move up the peninsula enclosed between the creek and the Tennessee 
river, form a junction with the right flank of General Sherman's force, 
swing to the right and sweep along the lower slope and the base of Mis- 
sionary Ridge. The remaining force in Chattanooga was to maJie a dem- 
on.siration against the eneyni/s uwJcs directly in front of Chattanooga, while at 
the same time looking out for the safety of the town against a counter- 
attack. The force in Lookout Valley— General Hooker's— was to 
threaten Lookout Mountain. 

It was conceded that a direct front attack of the enemy's works on 
Missionary Ridge could not be made with a reasonable prospect of suc- 
cess; or if such an attack should be successful, it could only be so at a 
great and unnecessary cost of life. 

The original plan of battle now being impressed on the 
mind and thoroughly understood, let the reader turn his 
attention to the different movements and see how well it was 
carried into execution. It will be seen that the battle was 
not fought as originally planned. 

A little after 2 o'clock p. m. the final preparations were 
completed, the order "Forward," was given, and the 
lines moved out. The musketry opened at once, not the 
musketry of lines of battle firing volleys, but the brisk, rapid 


firing of strong skirmish lines earnestly and determinedly at 
work. The Union skirmishers pressed steadily and resolutely 
forward as the lines advanced. The line of battle moving 
quickly forward after the skirmishers, acted as a strong sup- 
port for them, and the enemy gave ground. But all did not 
get back, as quite a number of the picket reserve in front of 
Willich's brigade were captured. After passing the old 
picket line the line of battle encountered many obstructions 
in its forward march, but nevertheless it pressed steadily on 
until Orchard Knob and a low rocky ridge lying to the south 
of the Knob, were approached. These were the objective 
points of the reconnoissance which had been fortified, and 
would have been diflicult of capture if they had been fully 
manned. A dash that Willich's brigade gallantly made, car- 
ried Orchard Knob, and a similar onset by Hazen's brigade, 
made simultaneously with that of Willich, carried the ridge 
to the south of the Knob. Willich and Hazen having per- 
fected their alignment after capturing the enemy's works on 
the Knob and the ridge, the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth 
were deployed into line on the left of Willich's brigade with 
the left of the two regiments shari:)ly refused. The move- 
ment was a complete success. No troops could have done 
better. General Wood, certainly a very competent judge of 
military matters and of the evolutions and movements of 
troops, says of this day's battle: 

"Then at the bugle signal, the magnificent array, in exact lines 
and serried columns, moved forward. It scarcely ever falls to the lot of 
man to witness so grand a military display. Evei'y cii'cumstance that 
could heighten the interest of, or impart dramatic effect to, the scene 
was present. On the ramparts of Fort Wood were gathered officers of 
high rank, covered with honors gathered on other fields. There were 
also officers distinguished for scientific attainments and rare administra- 
tive ability. Troops in line and column checkered the broad plain of 
Chattanooga. In front, plainly to be seen, was the enemy so soon to be 
encountered in deadly conflict. My division seemed to drink in the in- 
spiration of the scene, and when the ' advance' was sounded moved foi'- 
ward in the perfect order of a holiday parade. It has been my good 
fortune to witness on the Champ de Mars and on Longchamps, reviews 
of all arms of the French service, under the eye of the most remarkable 
man of the present generation. I once saw a review, followed by a mock 
battle of the finest troops El Re Galantuomo. The pageant was held on 


tho plains of Milan, the queen city of Lombardy, and the troops in the 
sham conllict were commanded by two of the most distinguished officers 
of the Piodmontese service, Cialdini and another, whose name I cannot 
now recall. In none of these displays did I ever see anything to exceed 
the soldierly bearing and steadiness of my division, exhibited in the ad- 
vance of Monday afternoon, the 2:3d. There was certainly one striking 
difference in the circumstances of these grand displays. The French 
and Italian parados wore peaceful pageants; ours involved the exigencies 
of stern war; certainly an immense difference. 

I should do injustice to the brave men who then moved forward to 
the conflict in such perfect order were I to omit to recoi-d that not one 
straggler lagged behind to sully the magnificence and perfectness of the 
grand battle array." 

General Granger says of the movement: 

" The ti-oops moved into line and position with such regularity and 
precision as to present the appearance of a formation for review or 
parade, and the enemy's pickets, but a few hundred feet off, were ap- 
parently awaiting a display or military pageant when our skirmish line 
advanced and opened fire." 

Later in the evening General Granger reported the suc- 
cess of the movement to General George H. Thomas, the De- 
partment Commander, and explained the position of Gen- 
eral Wood's division. In return he was ordered to hold 
firmly the ground gained and was complimented on the suc- 
cess of the action. 

During the evening there was constant skirmishing, and 
the enemy opened with his batteries from Missionary Ridge, 
but did not do more than make a great noise, cut some limbs 
from the trees overhead and render the position uncomfort- 
able and life insecure. As the Eighty-sixth was on the left 
of the division, and the left was sharply refused, the fire of 
the enemy's batteries on the ridge enfiladed the regimental 
line. At dark the men were ordered to lie down with ac- 
couterments on and guns at hand. About 11 o'clock p. m. 
they were called up, furnished spades, shovels, picks, and 
axes and ordered to fortify the line as speedily as possible. 
General Howard says General Grant gave the orders to fort- 
ify as soon as he saw the movement was a success. General 
Howard says: "On November 23, 18G3, Grant began his at- 
tack against Bragg, by a reconnoissance in force. Bragg's 
men at first thought the operation was one of Grant's re- 


views. Quietly smoking a cigar, Grant watched the advance, 
and did not speak until Bragg 's outpost. Orchard Knob, was 
in our hands, then he said emphatically, "Intrench them, 
and send up support. ' ' The order, however, did not reach 
Beatty's brigade until about 11 o'clock, sometime after the 
men had been asleep. The regiment was divided into divis- 
ions of two companies each, in order to better facilitate the 
work of intrenching. Everybody worked with a hearty good 
will. There were no laggards, and in a little more than two 
hours' time good heavy timbers were cut down and carried 
up and a strong barricade built; a trench was dug behind 
this and the dirt thus i)rocured banked up on the enemy's 
side of the newly erected barricade, thus completing a strong 
line of intrenchments. Again the men were permitted "to 
lie upon their arms" and secure such rest as they could under 
the circumstances. 

At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 24th the entire divis- 
ion was ordered up. The Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth 
stood in line, in the ditch, ready for the enemy should he 
choose to advance. This position, "standing to arms," was 
maintained until after daylight, which for men thinly clad 
and who had worked hard for two hours or more late at 
night with insufticient sleep, was a very trying duty. Picket 
firing began as soon as it was light enough for the opposing 
lines to see each other. About 9:30 a. m. the enemy opened 
a strong fire with his artillery from Missionary Ridge. For 
an hour the cannonading was very severe. Little or no 
damage was done to life or limb, but the location was exceed- 
ingly uncomfortable. Bridge's battery, on Orchard Knob, 
consisting of four 3j inch Rodman guns and two Napoleons, 
as well as the batteries in Port "Wood and at other points 
returned the enemy's fire, but with what effect was not 

During the forenoon the low hung clouds drifted over 
Lookout Mountain into Chattanooga valley until the moun- 
tain could not be distinctly seen, and about 12 m. the rain 
began to fall. Near the hour of noon the sound of battle 
was borne across the valley from the heights of Lookout 


Mountain. The ball was rolling. "Fighting Joe " Hooker 
was in command of the Union forces there and was evidently- 
maintaining his reputation made in the East. By reason of 
the rain and dense mist the mountain on which the battling 
hosts were contending was completely shut out from view, 
but the roar of the artillery and rattle of musketry told of 
the struggle then being waged to those who lay in the valley 
behind tlie works and listened, watched, and waited. Gen- 
eral Grant did not contem])late an advance on Lookout 
Mountain, but merely the holding of Lookout valley. Gen- 
eral Thomas accordingly had ordered Hooker to remain in 
Lookout valley and content himself with making demonstra- 
tions against the enemy then on the mountain. Hooker, 
however, ever ambitious and enterprising, was not content to 
be still and allow others to do all the fighting. In a letter 
to Secretary Chase he said: "Things began to look squally 
for me. I said to Butterfield that it was cut and dried for 
me to be a spectator to the fight, but thought that I would 
have a toe in the stirrup somehow before it was over. ' ' And 
he did. Hooker asked General Thomas that he be permitted 
to engage the enemy, and fortune favoring him, permission 
was granted. By the heavy rains, the Tennessee river had 
risen very high, the bridge at Brown's ferry was broken, and 
Osterhaus' division of the Fifteenth corps — Sherman's — 
could not cross and reach Sherman as had been contem- 
plated. General Thomas in his report concerning the 
attack by General Hooker said: 

"Therefore it was determined that General Hooker should take 
Osterhaus' division, which was still in Lookout valley, and Geary's 
division, Whittaker's and Grose's brigades, of the Fii'st division of the 
l-'ourth corps, under Brigadier General Cruft, and make a strong dem- 
onstration on the western slope of Lookout Mountain, for the purpose of 
attracting the enemy's attention in that direction and thus withdrawing 
liim from Sherman while crossing the river at tlie mouth of South 
Ghickamauga. General Hooker was instructed that in making this 
demonstration, if ho discovered the position and strength of the enemy 
would justify him in attempting to carry the point of the mountain to 

do 80." 

General Hooker therefore having received orders from 
General Thomas, at once found that he would be justified in 


making the attempt to carry Lookout, and so the battle of 
Lookout mountain was fought. The battle of Lookout and 
Missionary Ridge together, constituted the great battle of 

' Chattanooga. 

While the men of Wood's division lay in their trenches 
on the 24t]i of November listening to the boom of Hooker's 
guns and the rattle of his musketry, and the answering guns 
of the enemy, they knew full well that their time would soon 
come, and that they would have an important part in the bat- 
tle which was now fully opened, and they were ready. The 
Army of the Cumberland was determined to take its 'revenge 
on Bragg's army for bloody Chickamauga. Still Hooker kept 
pounding away at the Gibraltar. Numerous and exagger- 

I ated reports of his success traveled round the lines. Wood's 
division could judge that Hooker was gaining ground, as the 
advancing roar of battle indicated as much, but at what cost 

I his advantage was gained was unknown. Orders had been 
given to Wood's division to be ready to move at a moment's 
notice, and yet no order to move came. Therefore, the enemy 
in their front and Hooker's noisy battle alone attracted their 
attention. There seemed to be no movement on the part of 
the enemy toward Lookout, no sign of a disposition to lend 
assistance to the forces on the mountain opposing Hooker. 
During the afternoon of the 24th, the Seventy-ninth and 
Eighty-sixth Indiana were exposed to a very heavy artillery 
fire from the Ridge, and again the batteries from Orchard 
Knob and other points returned the fire with spirit and gave 
the enemy shot for shot twice told. This was the red blast 
of war indeed — the wild mad game of battle once more for 
this army. 

The fighting on Lookout Mountain continued far into 
the night, 

" The waves 
Of the mysterinus fleatli-rivor moiuiorl; 
Tlie trump, tlie shout, tlie fearful thuiider-roiir 
Of red-briNitlied ciinnon, iuid tlie WJiiHiig cry 
Of myriiid victims, filled the air." 

The sound of the battle from time to time would die away 
until nothing could be heard but a desultory skirmish fire, 


Uion suddenly it would burst forth again, a perfect tempest 
of iniiskotry, accompanied by the boom of cannon. This con- 
tinued until near midnight, when silence and the mist reigned 
over all. 

After dark the Eighty-sixth, together with the entire 
division, drew two days' rations of hard-tack, bacon, sugar 
and coffee. 

The night of November 24 was not promising, and it more 
than fulfilled the unfavorable weather signs. As the night 
advanced it grew extremely chilly, and the soldiery unpre- 
pared for cold weather suffered much. Many were forced 
to rise at 1 or 2 o'clock, build fires and thaw out their be- 
numbed extremities. On account of the cold it was a night 
of extreme discomfort and suffering. 

It was now the 2r)th of November, historic day. The 
Eighty-sixth was up betimes. Colonel Dick at no time 
allowed it to be napping when duty called for watchfulness. 
The orders of the previous day, to be ready to move at a 
moment's notice, were again published. 

During the night of November 24, the enemy had with- 
drawn from Lookout Mountain and from Chattanooga valley, 
and on the morning of the 25th was massing his entire force 
on Missionary Ridge. During the night of the 24th Sher- 
man had succeeded in (grossing all of his army over the river, 
had captured the Confederate outposts, and had secured a firm 
footing at the north end of Missionary Ridge near the rail- 
road tunnel. Early in the morning of the 25th, Sherman 
opened the battle and the sounds of the conflict were borne 
to the Army of the Cumberland as it lay awaiting its final 
orders to move. Throughout the hours of the forenoon the 
troops of the Fourth and Fourteenth corps listened to the 
di)i and roar of Sherman's army as the battle grew stronger 
and sti-onger from the addition of new troops to the contest. 
From where Thomas' troops lay the reinforcements that 
were being sent by General Bragg against Sherman could be 
seen as they hurried along the crest of Missionary Ridge to 
the assistance of their Confederate comrades. As the morn- 
ing wore on the impatience and anxiety of the Army of 


the Cumberland grew stronger and stronger. The Army of 
the Cumberland could not move, however, until Hooker could 
bring his troojis across the valley and his line could be joined 
with Thomas' right. The rebels when they moved from 
Lookout had destroyed the bridges across the creek, and 
these had 'to be rebuilt before Hooker could cross. This 
was done as speedily as possible, and by 3 o'clock of the 25th 
Hooker was in position. At this time Sherman was holding 
his position by stubborn fighting, but was unable to make any 
headway, as the enemy had massed too heavily against him, 
and the fighting at the north end of the Ridge was most in- 
tense. The brave Hardee, with Cleburne, Cheatham and 
Stevenson's divisions were on the right of the Confederate 
lines in front of Sherman, and wherever Hardee was, there 
was sure to be a vigorous defense or a fierce attack. Reso- 
lute of purpose, with splendid soldiers, he could be depended 
on to hold his ground to the last. But Sherman, with the 
gallant Fifteenth corps, was equal to the emergency, and 
was holding his ground and fighting stubbornly to hold his 
position. The battle on the Union left — the rebel rights 
grew hotter, fiercer, deadlier. The rattle of mu.sketry was 
unceasing and frightful. 

During all the forenoon and on into the afternoon the 
troops in front of the Army of tlie Cumberland had kept up 
an incessant and terrific fire. The enemy's skirmishers, 
almost equal to a line of battle in strength, had poured out a 
most frightful volume of musketry, while the batteries along 
the summit of Missionary Ridge kept up a vigorous cannon- 
ading. The casualties in this portion of the Union line were, 
however, not very great when considered with relation to 
the amount of firing that was done by the enemy. 

General Howard, with tlie Eleventh corps, now came into 
line on the left of the Fourth corps, but moved off to the 
support of Sherman, and Baird's 'division of the Fourteenth 
corps moved in and took Howard's place. It did not, how- 
ever, remain long; it too moved off to the left to the support 
of Sherman, and the left of the Fourth corps was uncov- 
ered. The shifting of so many troops to the left showed 


that lliat point was Grant's objective, and that he desired to 
carry the nortli end of the Ridge before he made the attack 
upon the rebel left with Hooker's forces. All orders show 
that he desired Sherman to carry the Ridge as far south as 
the tunnel before the combined attack should be made. 

Slierman's battle grew more severe as the afternoon 
drew on. By 12:45 p. m. it had grown so hot that Sherman 
dispatched Grant: "Where is Thomas.''" Thomas himself 
replied from Orchard Knob at 1 o'clock p. m. "I am here; 
my right is closing in from Lookout Mountain toward Mis- 
sionary Ridge. " Now, artillery, cavalry, and infantry could 
all be seen passing on the crest to supx^ort and assist Hardee 
and engage Sherman's forces. These heavy re-enforcements 
for Bragg 's right indicated that he had divined Grant's plan 
of battle, of capturing the north end of the Ridge, and sweep- 
ing down its crest to the south with troops which were to be 
supi)orted upon both flanks. 

Sherman was meeting severer opposition than had been 
anticipated, and the time had now come for earnest work on 
the part of tlie Union right and center in order to relieve 
him and hold what had already been acquired. To do this it 
was necessary to throw forward the center and right so that 
Bragg would not be able to send forward any further re -en- 
forcements, and if possible force him to withdraw some of 
his troops from Sherman's front in order to protect his lines 
on Missionary Ridge. The Fourth corps was selected as the 
first to make "the demonstration on the enemy's works." 
By this demonstration it was intended that the Fourth corps 
should cai^ture the enemy's picket or skirmish line and take 
and occupy Bragg's line of works at the foot of the Ridge. 
To that end the orders were issued to the division com- 
manders to move their troops outside their works, reform 
their lines, and that six guns from Orchard Knob fired in 
quick succession should be the signal for the attack. By 
this order it was not intended or expected to pass beyond 
the first line of the enemy's works, and they were at the foot 
of the Ridge. 

The order was communicated to each of the brigade com- 


manders, and, they at once put their commands in motion, 
crossed their works, reformed their lines, and awaited the 
signal from Orchard Knob. Each brigade was formed in 
two lines. The Third brigade of Wood's division, of which 
the Eighty-sixth Indiana was a part, was formed with the 
Seventy-ninth and Eighty-sixth Indiana in the first, or 
charging line, and the Thirteenth and Fifty-ninth Ohio, the 
Nineteenth Ohio and the Seventeenth Kentucky in the second 
line as supports. The Ninth Kentucky . held the skirmish 
line, but some distance to the left of the brigade front. * 

While awaiting for the signal for the charge it may be 
\vell to look at the situation as it then confronted the front 
or charging line. The line of works at the foot of the Ridge 
was known to be very strong and most favorably situated 
for defense, as a sweeping fire of musketry could cover every 
foot of ground in its immediate front for several hundred 
yards. All along the foot of the Ridge there was open 
ground in wiiich was left no shelter from the fire of the 
batteries on the Ridge, or from the fire of the infantry in the 
strong line of intrenchments at its foot. In fact, at the time 
the order was delivered it looked to be a fair chance for just* 
such a slaughter of the Union troops as w^as afterwards made 
of the Confederates at Franklin. Hooker quotes Grant as 
saying he had nothing to do with the battle of Missionary 
Ridge, and it does seem, when the events are taken into consid- 
eration about to be related, as though he had little to do with 
the formation, shaping and working out of the crowning 
event of the day, his work simply being an act of "touching 
the button" and setting the machinery in motion. The 
troops worked out a victory in ways altogether different 
from that which he had expected. 

* General Be:itty in a letter written U^ the Cinciniiai i Comriu^rclal. Fehruary 4. 
1876, says: " My briiraile was formed as follows: S(>venly-iHutli and iKii^Iity-sixth 
Indlanii. on the riicht; TliiM-eenth and Flfly-nhith Ohio in the center, a'lid the 
Ninth Iventiicky on the left ; the Ninetecnt iToiiio :iiid tlie Sevenleentli Ki'iitucl^y 
in reserv(\ Tlie .Sevenfy-ninth and Eii;hl y-slxl li liidiiina were t lie lirst^ icLclnients 
to sain the crest of the Kldm<." ("olonel iM'i^d K'ncMer in :i. letter tot hesanit^ paper 
Marcli20, 1S7C, says: "Heutty's brigade was formed as follows: Tlie Ninlli Ken- 
tucky held the skirinlsli line, l)nt some dist:inceto the left- of tht> l)riu^-ide front; 
the (irst line was composed of the Sevetit y-iiint li and Kiirhty-slxth Indiana: the 
second line, of tlie Nlnetcentli Ohio and tlie Seventeenth Iveulucky; the third 
line, of the Thirteenth Ohio and Fifty-uiuth Ohio." 


Finally at 3:40 p. m. everything was believed to be j)rop- 
erly arranired and in order, every emergency likely to arise 
carefully provided for. But it is the unexpected that hap- 
pens in battle as elsewhere. All things being in readiness 
and expectation standing as tip-toe, boom! boom! boom! went 
the great guns from the crest of Orchard Knob, and roared 
and thundered out the signal that all might hear. From 
where stood the ranks of the Eighty-sixth could be plainly 
seen the flame and smoke shoot from the mouths of the guns 
as if they would blow with their mighty breaths of flame the 
enemy from the Ridge. "One!" vSpoke an iron throat of 
Bridges' battery, and with the sound each man grasped his 
gun with a firm grasp, and stood with contracted muscles 
and compressed lips. "Two!" "Three!" "Four!" "Five!" 
"Six!" Hardly had the last gun sent its messenger 
of death as a herald of the attack when the troops — Wil- 
lich's — on Orchard Knob leaped up, out and over their works, 
and started for the enemy. They had not yet cleared their 
parapet when in trumpet tones Colonels Knefler and Dick 
gave the command, "B"'or ward, march!" and the men of the 
two regiments, the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiana, 
at the same instant sprang forward with a cheer on that 
charge that ended in the most brilliant victory in the annals 
of war. And now the battle for the Army of the Cumber- 
land was again begun. Now was the time for action — heroic 
action. Once fairly in motion the tremor of the muscles was 
over — was a thing of the past. 

The Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiana had a nar- 
row strip of open woods through which to pass before coming 
to the opening in the immediate front of the enemy's works at 
tiie foot of the Kidgc. Through this strip of standing tim- 
ber the men pressed forward in as good line as was possible. 
However, as they drew near the farther side of this woods, 
which was rather more open, the men formed into a better 
lino, and so the two regiments came out Into the ox)en ground 
in a fairly good line of battle. As they cleared this timber 
they came into a full and perfect view of the enemy's works 
at the foot of the Ridge, as well as those on its crest, and 


about eight or nine hundred yards distant from the former, 
the objective point of the attack. The sight of the enemy in 
his intrenchments seemed to act as an electrifier. The yell 
was given over and over again as away went the two regi- 
ments on the full run for the enemy, determined to have that 
line of works at all hazards. Whether either Colonel Knefler 
or Colonel Dick gave the order to "double-quick," or 
' ' charge bayonet, ' ' on clearing the woods, no one can say, 
but it is presumed they did. At any rate the general shout 
of the line was suflicient to set every man going at his very 
best i^ace. As the Union line cleared the standing timber 
and came out into the open ground the long line of Confed- 
erate batteries on the crest of tiie Ridge opened a terrific 
fire. There were Dent's, Cobb's, Mebane's, and Slocomb's 
batteries, and others, vomiting death and destruction upon the 
valley. The boom of the many guns, the shriek of flying 
shells, the roar of their explosions, the whir of the flying 
fragments were positively appalling. The Union batteries 
on Orchard Knob, Fort Wood, and other points added their 
volcanic roar to the unearthly noise of the rebel batteries. 
The men who cast their eyes to the front, and then to the 
right, and then up the valley along the Union line and over 
the ground where it was advancing, could see in front a bat- 
tery worked with fiery energy, and on the crest to the right 
a long line of rebel batteries with drifting clouds of sulphur- 
ous smoke above them. Here, there, everywhere the burst- 
ings shells and the smoke drifting lazily off could be seen. 
Some few burst on the ground, others five, ten, twenty, 
thirty, fifty, and some few perhaps a hmidred feet or more in 
the air above. Some burst far in front, others overhead far to 
the rear toward the reserve. It was truly a grand and mag- 
nificent sight. It was a scene to be witnessed but once in a life- 
time, and no one cares to look upon its like again under sim- 
ilar circumstances. There in front rose the great Ridge as a 
natural barrier, and on its crest the long row of rebel guns. 
Here below a long thin lino of Union "blue-coats," a line of 
battle to be swallowed up, as it seemed, in the volcanic erup- 
tion, rushing grandly and heroically on in the very face of 


dentil, and above the heads of those heroic men the curling 
smoke from hundreds of exploding- shells, which they ai)i)ar- 
ently did not notice more than the drifting down of thistles 
blown by idle winds of autumn. All this was grand and 
heroic, but this was not the battle. The two regiments 
passed resolutely and fearlessly forward — on toward the 
goal. All along the valley to the right, following the lead of 
these two sui)erb regiments, the blue line swept steadily and 
grandly on, no faltering, no hesitation, but ever forward. 

Colonel Kuefler, in his account of the assault, says "at 
proper distance the line was halted an instant, firing a 
thundering volley, and, upon command to charge, rushed 
forward, defying the hostile fire. " That line halted! When, 
where, by whom? Not a halt was made, not a check to its 
pi-ogress occurred, not a gun was fired by the charging col- 
umn of Beatty's brigade until after the capture of the first 
line of works at the foot of the Ridge. The two regiments 
forming the front of this brigade went true to their orders 
direct for the main line at the foot of the Ridge without halt 
or hesitation. But a glance at this rapidly shifting pano- 
rama of a great and real battle scene was all that one in that 
rushing battle line had time to take, and hurried on to the 
capture of the first line of works at the foot of the Ridge, the 
objective point of the assault. The Eighty-sixth and Seven- 
ty-ninth rushed forward through the .tire and shot, and onto 
and over this line of intrenchments. So strong was this 
rusli upon the enemy that he became panic stricken and 
abandoned them, and all who escaped capture lied pre- 
cipitately uj) the rugged mountain side. The Union cheers 
of victory and exultation added to his fright and hastened 
his llight, as he hurried r^ipidly toward the works on 
the crest of the Ridge. The men of the Union line arrived 
at those works almost oxliausted in the effort made to 
roach the lino in as short time as possible. Those who 
reached this line first, most of them, made a brief halt until 
some otliers began to arrive, for it must be understood 
whore a line of men start out on a run some will be left, and 
consequently the line will become more or less disordered at 


the finish in an advance of eight hundred or nine hundred 
yards at tlie liighest rate of speed that each was capable of 

By this time the rebel gunners, and they were vet- 
erans, had recovered from the frenzy of their first excite- 
ment caused by the sudden discovery of the audacious move- 
ment against their first line of intrenchments directly 
beneath them. The tremor of their muscles had given place 
to steely steadiness and they settled down to soldierly work, 
as their fire now clearly proved. They were carefully de- 
pressing their guns with perfect range and were accurately 
delivering with terrific effect a plunging fire of shot and 
shell which no troops on earth could face and remain 
quiet and inactive in line. It was but as the twinkling of an 
eye until the victors at this line of works saw and realized 
the situation. Even before half their comrades reached the 
works the leaders of the line saw that no safe lodgment for a 
line of battle could be made here. No thought of retreat was 
entertained. It was not so ordered. Every fiery blast of the 
batteries on the Ridge made their old line of intrenchments 
at its foot quake and tremble. The command, "Forward!" 
"Forward!" was given and repeated. The command was 
received by the two regiments with a shout as if victory was 
already won. Granger's message, "Take the Ridge if you 
can!" passed along the bleeding line, but it was already 
advancing. Tlwn began the real battle of Chattanooga, the 
.storniliig and captuve of the heights of Misxlonanj Ridge! At 
once the privates and officers of the Eighty-sixth and 
Seventy-ninth Indiana, inaugurated a movement that was to 
result in a grander victory than Gi'ant had ever dreamed of 
even in his brightest dream of victories. The Army of 
the Cimiberland was to show here its magnificent fighting 
qualities. Even now its advance, the Eighty-sixth and 
Seventy-ninth Indiana, were ahead of Grant's orders and 
expectations. In fact neither Generals Grant nor Thomas 
intended it. 

From this point and upward the two regiments, like 
mountain goats, were advancing up the rugged face of a ridge 


four hundred feet high, exposed to a volcanic fire of the 
enemy iutrenched on its summit. In the movement up 
the Ridge the gallant Colonels Kncller and Dick, quick to 
sec its supreme importance, gave it the imjietus of their com- 
mands and example and encouraged the brave men every 
step of the way up the steep acclivity. Instead of a mere 
"diversion" in favor of Sherman it was to be the culminat- 
ing and deciding event of this great three days' battle. 
Wood's division of the Fourth corps opened the battle on the 
l';{d, and now the victorious assault of Wood's and Sheridan's 
divisions of that corps, with two divisions of the Fourteenth 
corps — the Army of the Cumberland still — decided the 
battle in a marvelously wonderful manner greatly to the sur- 
prise of General Grant. 

This was truly the hurly burly of battle when "fearful 
scouring doth choke the air with dust and laden it with 
death." Onward, and yet onward, and upward, and yet 
higher, pressed that charging line, through the enemy's 
pitiless tire. The two regiments pressed undauntedly up the 
ridge. There was no halting, only to breathe and rest, for 
the climbing was extremely fatiguing. Only the hardiest 
could proceed steadily on even at a slow pace without halt- 
ing to rest. As the two regiments advanced the enemy's 
fire grew hotter, fiercer, deadlier. Shot, shell, shrajinel, and 
as the disordered line drew nearer the crest, grape and canis- 
ter were poured into the ranks of those faithful men at an 
appalling rate. Beatty's brigade, of which these regiments 
formed the front line, had struck the Ridge at a place where 
there was a more prominent elevation — Signal Hill — and 
from where a point i)rojected to the west from the general 
line of the Ridge. This confornuition of the Ridge at the 
l)lace of ascent of the Eighty-sixth Indiana gave the enemy's 
artillery to the right and left, as well as the battery on the 
elevation itself, a better sweep to the approaches to the 
heights, and a cross-fire upon the assaulting forces now com- 
ing uj), which oppoi-tunity they did not fail to improve. As 
th(> two regiments were so far in advance of the lines on the 
right and left they invited the fire of the whole of the enemy's 


line within striking distance. But as this line climbed the 
Ridge, the infantry on the crest ox^ened a hot and malicious 
tire of musketry upon the two Indiana regiments. Now the 
deadly zip, zip, zip, of the minnie balls added their minor but 
more fearful strain to the heavier notes of the batteries, and 
the latter apparently redoubled their fierce activity. The 
men of the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth were now almost 
exhausted, and were creeping slowly up the Ridge turning 
to practical account trees, logs, stumjis, and rocks as cover, 
returned the fire in a most valorous and effective manner, 
constantly encouraged in the advance by the oflicers of both 
regiments. Many were killed on both sides. As the two 
regiments approached nearer the enemy's works the battle 
grew if possible, fiercer. The mettle of both armies were 
here to be thoroughly tested. The enemy was stubborn, and 
tenaciously held his ground — clinging to his works, rallied 
by officers of high rank who exhorted the men to stand firm 
and hold their position. 

As the assaulting line still crept nearer and nearer the 
works on the crest, occasionally the "swish"' of a ram-rod, 
fired by some of the more excitable, added another variation 
to the already tumultuous roar of battle — to the shriek of 
shot and shell, the rattle of grape and canister and the zip of 
the minnie ballon the rough and stony mountain side. The 
two regiments had kept well together as one regiment, and 
were far in advance of the rest of the line. They were now 
full nine-tenths of the way up the Ridge on the breast of 
Signal Hill and laid down there, waited and rested. To push 
on at this stage appeared suicidal for this mere handful of 
men, if they had not already got themselves into a veritable 

The men were out of breath and almost completely ex- 
hausted. Only the strongest had been able to keep pace with 
the colors of the two regiments up the mountain. Some in- 
deed were in advance of the standards, for it was endurance 
that was required to keep to the front, and in a run of nine 
hundred yards at toi^ speed, and then climbing a mountain 
slo]3e four or five hundred yards at an angle of forty-five de- 


grcGs iiccoutercd as an infantry soldier, only the hardiest, 
sound in limb, heart and lun^s can endure to the end. It was 
no child's play to climb the mountain, but to climb it after a 
lonj,' charge and in the face of a courageous . enemy was 

It lias already been said that these two regiments, rank, 
file and Hold, were responsible for the attack made upon the 
Ridge itself, and were far in advance of all other regiments 
on the mountain side. This is a fact which cannot be suc- 
cessfully called in question. General Sheridan in his report 
of what he saw when at the first line of works captured at 
the foot of the Ridge, says: "Looking to the left I saw a 
single regiment far over in Wood's line dash up the hill and 
lay down below the crest. General Hazen's men also com- 
menced the ascent." Now that which General Sheridan 
calls one regiment was really two regiments, the Eighty- 
sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiana consolidated as a single 
regiment, and as his words indicate, we're far ahead of all 
other troops in the assault upon the intrenchments on the 
crest of the Ridge. These regiments were but a handful of 
men to meet the strong line of Bragg 's men behind their in- 
trenchments, but nevertheless they held their ground, clung 
to the brow of Signal Hill, and with their Hags flying defi- 
antly in the breeze. Notwithstanding they were few in 
numbers yet the enemy did not dare to come out of his in- 
trenchments and attack. The lines at the foot of the Ridge 
had looked with wonder and surprise at the two regiments 
toiling toward the summit, until finally they together with 
theii- supports were ordered forward to join that small 
assaulting column which is now immediately vmder the guns 
of the enemy almost at the very summit of the Ridge, ^ut 
all tilings must have an end, and now the line of regiments 
comphHing tlie division's battle line have almost joined these 
two regim(Mits that have so gallantly led the van. Looking 
to the right and down the slope of the Ridge could be seen 
the long line, scattered somewhat and broken in places by 
the enemy's fire, pushing and fighting its way up the Ridge, 


their regimental standards and the stars and stripes held 
aloft and floating in the breeze — 

" The flags of war like storm birds fly. 
The charging trumpets blow." 

As this line of brave "blue-coats," undaunted, unap- 
palled by what they have witnessed, api^roached the brow 
of the Ridge the battle roar increased, and fighting was in- 
tensely furious and desperate along the entire line. Tliis 
2oas the Battle of Chattanooga — the Assault of Missionary Ridge! 

But as the whole battle front of the division approached 
the brow of the Ridge, followed by the supports. Colonels 
Dick and Knefler gathered their men for another desperate 
attack, determined to win the victory which they had striven 
so hard to gain and gave the command, "Fix — bayonets!" 
They w^ere soon ready and when the order, "Charge — bay- 
onets!" was given, the brave men of these two regiments 
went forward with a rush. Oh! It w^as a thrilling sight! 
Shot and shell w^ere doing their murderous work. Nothing 
short of annihilation could stop those noble battalions. 
Higher, and still higher, they crept, until at last, just as the 
sun was sinking in the west, they reached the summit, and 
then as the gathered billow thunders and foams along and 
over the sunken ledges of the sea, they, w^ith one wild shout 
and burst, swejjt over those deadly batteries. The Confeder- 
ates saw and heard the preparation of the two regiments for 
the final dash and when it came they stood their ground, 
fighting desperately and hand to hand, but the assault was 
too grandly ferocious, and they broke and lied down the 
opposite declivity of the mountain, utterly dismayed 
and panic stricken. As these two regiments swept over 
the works and on, they were followed closely by the 
battle line of Willich's brigade, and those fighting to the 
right and left soon had Signal Hill and the Ridge for some 
distant to the right of it, cleared. Thus was a foot-hold on 
the mountain gained. Thus was the Ridge and battle won 
as never battle before was won. The next moment cheer 
after cheer went up all along the smoking crest, and rolled 
down the crimson steep, till to the right and left and far be- 


low, llio air trembled with glad echoes. Missionary Ridge 
was no Coneral's battle. It was the battle of the soldiers 
tliem.selves, who went, like an unchained whirlwind, without 
command, up to the crest, and to what, up to that time, was 
the most complete victory of the war. "It was a glorious 

At 4:30 p. m. Assistant Secretary of War Dana tele- 
graphed Secretary of War Stanton as follows: 

C lory to God. The day is decisively ours. Missionary Ridge has 
just been cai-ried by a magnificent charge of Thomas's troops, and I'ebels 

The point of the Ridge projecting to the west, which was 
mounted by the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-nmth, was one nat- 
urally aPfording a vei-y strong position for the enemy, easily 
defended and ditticult to climb, and therefore the exploit of 
these regiments leading the entire battle line is the more 
notable. On account of its elevation it was used as a signal 
station by the enemy during his occupancy. It was beyond 
all fair question the first point of the ridge carried. 

To the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiaiia, there- 
fore, belongs the honor of being the first regiments on the 
Ridge. What member of the Eighty-sixth regiment was the 
first to go over the enemy's works cannot be told. The honor 
is not so much in being first as in the brave endeavor. When 
all were striving so nobly and where everything was in such 
a turmoil and excitement it is not easy, nay, it is almost impos- 
sible to decide positively who has the honor to be the first. It 
was an honor to have been even the hindmost. Let every 
member of the Eighty-sixth who scaled the mountain that 
afternoon share alike in the honor, and "let them all go to 
glory together." Jefferson McClelland, of Company H, fell 
within a i-od of the enemy's works on the crest of the Ridge — 
shot dead by a musket ball through the chest when charging 
on the line while fully manned. He had led all in the up- 
ward rush for the last line of works as he had done from the 
first start at the line at the foot of the Ridge. He paid the 
penalty of his daring courage with his life. W. W. Barnes 
received a severe contused wound of the thigh by a grape- 


shot or a rock set flying by a plunging shot or shell which 
was not reported. Sergeant Stephen Cronkite, of Company 
E, color-bearer, carried the colors bravely and nobly forward 
until near the summit of the Ridge, when he fell seriously 
wounded. Then the brave Thomas J. Graves, Sergeant of 
Company D, seized the flag and mounted the Ridge and gal- 
lantly marching to the left led the attaciv upon the advanc- 
ing Confederate reinforcements until he, too, was badly 
wounded. It was here that Sergeant Myron H. Belknap, of 
Company I, received an ugly gun shot wound through the 
shoulder. Captain William M. Southard gave up his life 
when near the crest, and not ten feet away that brave little 
soldier, Paris H. Peterson, of Company I, breathed his last 
breath. But the brave deeds of all on that memorable Novem- 
ber afternoon cannot be recorded. Colonel Dick reported five 
enlisted men killed and thirty-eight wounded, one officer 
killed and two wounded, a total of forty-six. The loss of the 
Seventy-ninth was twenty-eight enlisted men wounded. 
The following is a list of the killed: 
Company K. — Captain William M. Southard, 
E. —Henry C. Cronkhite, 
" — Milton Gallimore, 
H.— Jefferson McClelland, 
I. — Paris H. Peterson. 
' ' — Jeptha Custer — 6. 
The following is a list of the mortally wounded: 
Company B. — Frederick Lunenburg, 
" —Charles Waters, 
'' C. — Jacob Cooper, color guard, 

" D. — James Ruloson, 

F.— Eli A. Tipton, 
" —Oliver Wood, 
" I. — Absalom Huffman — 7. 

The following is a list of the severely wounded: 
Company A. — John Harding, 

" • ' — James E. Padgett, 

" C. — James H. Brown, 

" " — Uriah Stevenson, 


Company D.— Thomas J. Graves, 
E.— Harmon M. Billinc^s, 
" " — Stoplion Cronkliite, 

F. — John Kent, 
H.— William W. Barnes, 
" I. — Myron H. Belknai:>, 

" " — Jacob D. Bazzle, 

K.— B. F. Snyder— 12. 
The following is a list of the slightly wounded: 
Lieutenant Colonel Jacob C. Dick, 
Company A. — Wilson DeMoss, 
"— R. W. Stoops, 
" B. — Lieutenant Jerre Haugh, 

" C. — James S. Butcher, 

" D. — Bartley Scanlou, 

" " — John Solomon, 

E.— Samuel Cloyd, 
" '* — Levi A. Cronkhite, 

G.— Jeffrey O. Cutts, 
" "— B. F. Paxton, 

"—George W. Tull, 
*• "—Allen Devoll, 

H.— William F. Adams, 
" —William H. Trulock, 
" I. — Thomas Decker, 

" K. — Tilghman A. Howard, 

* ' " — J ames Harrington, 

" " —Morris Welch, 

«< " — William Sanders, 

" " — James Williams — 21. 

The loss of the Eighty-sixth greatly exceeded that of 
any other regiment of Beatty's brigade, and was nearly 
double that of the Seventy-ninth, its companion regiment. 
The only reasonable explanation of the small loss of these 
two regiments is that they went quickly up the Ridge from 
the first line of works at its foot and thus gained the cover 
and protection from the enemy's terrible fire by the steep- 
ness of the western slope. 


It will thus be seen that the plan of battle, as given in the 
preceding- pages of this chapter, was not carried out as orig- 
inally intended by General Grant. The order given by Gen- 
eral Granger, the commander of the Fourth corps, "Take 
the Ridge if you can, ' ' and sent to Wood and then to Sher- 
idan, was not given until the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth, 
cheered on by their officers, had climbed almost to the very 
top of the Ridge, and as Sheridan said "lay down below the 
crest," and held on by their teeth, nails and eye-lashes. Then 
and then only was the thought of the possibility of captur- 
ing the Ridge by a direct front assault conceived by the gen- 
eral officers. Then were the supports and reserve ordered 
up, and the attack made by the whole line that made the as- 
sault upon the first line of works at the foot of the Ridge. 

General Grant did not order or expect the assault to be 
made upon the Ridge at that time, or in the manner in which 
it was made, but simply an attack upon "the first line of 
works at the foot of the Ridge as a diversion in favor of tSher- 
maii lulio was hard pressed. ' ' 

General Wood's report shows that the intended attack 
upon the Ridge was quite a different thing from the one that 
was actually mj,ide, the one benig a Hank attack, while the 
other was a direct front attack upon the enemy's chosen 
position and fortifications. General Grant says of the troops 
and the assault: "Without awaiting further orders or stop- 
ping to reform, our troops went to the second line of works; 
over that and on for the crest, thus effectually carrying out 
my orders of the 18th for the battle, and of the 24th for this 
charge. " General Grant here refers to an order issued while 
under a mistaken idea of the situation of the armies. In that 
order it is stated that Thomas will either "carry the rilie-pits 
and Ridge, or move to the left as the presence of the enemy 
may require." The order was conditional, and the condi- 
tions wei'e not at all what they were thought to be, for in the 
opening sentence General Grant says: "General Sherman 
carried Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel with only slight 
skirmishing. " This conditional order for attacking the Ridge 
was given under the sup^josition that Sherman's attack had 


been successful and would continue to bo so, mid that in fact 
there would bo little for Thomas' force to do. It is cer- 
tainly plain that there was a diaiujc in the plav. of the battle. 
General Grant did not expect a direct assault by the cen- 
ter. The evidence of this is complete and convincing. Gen- 
eral Henry M. Cist, on this i^oint says: 

Then, when Sherman had been fighting foi- nearly two days, and 
liad failed to make the headway Grant's plan contemplated, the plan 
underwent another modification. On the 25th, Grant ordered Tliomas 
to move out his troops from the center, to make anotlier " demonstration" 
in Sherman's behalf, so he could take the tunnel in accordance with the 
original plan. Thomas was ordered to take the first line of rifle-pits 
and hold his command there, while Bragg was expected to draw olT part 
of his troops from Sherman's front and strengthen his line in front of 
the demonstration. Thomas' ordei's to his corps and division Generals 
were given in accordance with Grant's instructions, and as the orders 
reached the hri(j(«h and regimental commanders, the movement was only 
to be a "demonstration."' When tlic troops reached the rebel line, cap- 
tured it, and then found themselves under the fire from the enemy's lines 
on the hoi gilts above, witlimU orders, and even against orders, the soldiers 
of the Army of the Cumberland pressed up the face of the Kidge under 
the deadly musketry fire that greeted them, with cannon in front of 
them, to the right and left, raking with converging fire, and won for 
General Grant the battle of Missionary Ridge, driving Bragg away fi-om 
Sherman's front, and thus enabling him to take the tunnel as ordered. 
Whenever the victory of Missionary Ridge shall be narrated on his- 
tory's i)age, this gallant charge of the brave men of Wood's and Sher- 
idan's divisions, with those of Baird and Johnson on their left and right, 
will always be a prominent feature of the engagement as told in the 
coming years, and will be the last to lose its glory and renown. 

No wonder that General Grant failed to appreciate this movement 
at the time, not understanding the troops who had it in charge. When 
he found these commands ascending the Ridge to capture it, when he 
ordered a " demonsti-ation" to be made to the foot of the hill and there 
wait, he turned sharply to General Thomas and asked, "By whose orders 
are those troops going up the hill':'" General Thomas taking in the 
situation at once, suggested that it was probably by their own. Gen- 
oral Grant remarked that " it was all right if it turned out all right," 
and added, "if not, someone would suffer." But it turned out "all right," 
and General Grant in his official report compliments the troops for fol- 
lowing closely the retreating enemy without further orders. 

General Cist relates these things from personal knowl- 
edge. As a member of Gonoi-al Thomas' staff he was pres- 
ent on Orchard Knob when the orders were issued, in fact, 


they were issued through him, and being present he heard 
the above quoted remarks of General Grant. General Jo- 
seph S. Pullerton, of General Granger's staif, having 
described the capture of the line of works at the foot of the 
Ridge, says: 

The order of the Commanding General now had been fully and 
most successfully carried out. But it did not go far enough to satify 
these brave men, who thought the time had come to finish the battle 
of Chickamauga. There was a halt of but a few minutes to take breath 
and to re-form lines; then, with a sudden impulse, and without orders, 
all started up the Ridge. Officers, catching their spirit, first followed, 
then led. There was no thought of supports or of protecting flanks, 
though the enemy's line could be seen, stretching on either side. 

As soon as this movement was seen from Orchard Knob, Grant 
quickly turned to Thomas, who stood by his side, and T heard him say 
angrily: " Thomas, who ordered those men up the Ridge?" Thomas re- 
plied, in his usual slow, quiet manner: " I don't know; I did not." Then, 
addressing General Gordon Granger, he said, " Did you order them up, 
(J ranger? " " No," said Granger; " they started up without orders. WJicn 
Ihosr f( U(nns. get started all hell can't stop thcm.'^ General Grant said some- 
thing to the etl'ect that somebody would suffer if it did not turn out well, 
and then, turning, stoically watched the Ridge. He gave no further 

As soon as Granger had replied to Thomas, he turned to me, his 
chief-of-statt', and said: "Ride at once to Wood, and then to Sheridan, 
and ask them, if they ordered their men up the Ridge, and tell them, if 
they can take it to push ahead." As I was mounting, Granger added: 
" It is hot over there, and you may not get through. I shall send Cap- 
tain Avery to Sheridan, and other officers after both of you." As fast as 
luy horse could carry me, I rode first to General Wood, and delivered 
tlie message. " I didn't order them up," said Wood; " they started up on 
their own account, and they are going up, too! Tell Granger, if we ai^e 
supported we will take and hold the Ridge!" 

General O. O. Howard confirms these statements as to 
Grant's remark to Thomas. He says: 

The nearest he came to chiding anybody was when Thomas' sol- 
diers went forward from the base of the Ridge to the bristling crest 
without orders, when he remarked: "Well, somebody will suffer if 
tlvey don't stay there." They did stay there and went beyond the cap- 
tured summit. 

Of all the officers on Orchard Knob, General Gordon 
Granger alone has the honor of ordering, "Take the Ridge 
if you can. ' ' Of course it is understood that the division 


commanders accompanied their troops. Charles A. Dana. 
Assistant Secretary of War was present on Orchard Knob 
durini? llio day, and in his report of the assault to Hon. E. 
M. Stanton, Secretary of War, says: 

Tho storming- of the Ridj^'c by our troops was one of the greatest 
miracles in military history. No man who climbed the ascent by any of 
the roads that wind along: its front can believe that 18,000 men were 
moved up its broken and crumbling' face unless it was his fortune to 
witness the deed. It seems as awful as a visible interposition of (iod. 
Neither Grant nor Thomas intended it. Their orders were to carry the 
rille-pits along the base of the Ridg-e and capture their occupants, but 
when this was accomplished the unaccountable spirit of the troops bore 
them bodily up those impracticable steeps, over the bristling- rifle-pits 
on the crest and thirty cannon enfilading dvery gully. The orders to 
storm appears to have been given simultaneously to Generals Sheridan 
and Wood, because the men were not be held back, dangerous as the 
attempt ai)peai'ed to military prudence. Beside^?, the Generals had 
cauglit the inspiration of the men, and were ready themselves to under- 
take impossibilities. 

This is clear as to Grant's order at the time of the assanlt. 
As to the judgment of the practicability of an assault on 
Missionary Ridge, Dana had dispatched November 8, 1863: 

Reconnoisance of Citico Creek and head of Missionary Ridge made 
yesterday by Thomas, Smith and Brannan, from the heights oi)])osite on 
the north of the Tennessee, pi-oved Smith's plan of attack impractic- 
able. The creek and country are wrongly laid down on our maps, and no 
operation for the seizure of Missionary Ridge can be undertaken with 
tlie force which Thomas can now command for the purpose. 

General Granger in his report says: 

General Sherman was unable to make any progress in moving 
along tho Ridge during the day, as the enemy had massed in his front; 
therefore, in oi-der to i-elieve him, I was ordered to make a demonstra- 
tion upim the works of the enemy directly in my front, at the base of 
Missionary Ridge. 

After describing tho capture of the first line at the base 
of the Ridge, General (J! ranger goes on to say: 

My orders had now been fully and successfully carried out, but not 
enough had been done to satisfy the brave ti-oops who had aecromplished 
so much. Although the batteries on the Ridge, at short range, by 
direct and enfilading fire, were still pouring down upon them a shower 
of iron and the musketry fi-om the hillside was thinning their ranks, 
th.-y dashed over the bi-eastworks, through the i-ille-pits, and started up 
the Ridge. Tlwij slartcd wHkoiU orders. * * Eagerly they rushed forward 


to a danger which the bravest, marching under orders, might tremble. 
Officers caught the enthusiasm of the men, and the men were in turn cheered 
by the otticei-s. * * At several points along the line my troops were 
ascending the hill and gaining positions less exposed to the enemy's 
artillery fire, though more exposed to the fire of his musketry. Seeing 
this, I sent my Assistant Adjutant General to inquire, first of General 
Wood and then of General Sheridan, whctlier the troops had been 
ordered up the Kidge by them, and to instruct them to take the Ilidge 
if possible. In reply to this. General Wood told him that the men had 
started up without orders, and that he could take it if he could be 

It will be observed that orders were sent to Wood first. 
Why was this? Simply because his advance was farther up 
the Ridge. They had started up first and they kejjt ahead. 
According to both Granger and Pullerton the order, "Take 
the Ridge if you can, " was sent first to Wood and then to 
Sheridan. General Wood, stout-hearted Wood, "the iron- 
gray e teran, " says: 

As the day progressed the interest which attracted every eye and 
absorbed every feeling was that involved in the attempt of General 
Sherman's command to effect a lodgment on Missionary Ridge near the 
tunnel. Severer opposition than had been expected was evidently being 
met with. To lessen the opposition General Sherman was encountering, 
it was detei'mined that a movement should be made against the rebel 
center. I was ordered to advance and carry the enemy's intrenctimcnts 
at the base of Missionary Ridge and hold them. * * When the first 
line of intrenchments was carried, the goal for which we had started 
was won. Our orders carried us no farther. We had been instructed to 
carry the line of intrenchments at the base of the Ridge emd there halt. But 
the enthusiasm and impetuosity of the troops wei'e such that those who 
first reached the intrenchments at the base of the Ridge bounded over 
them, and pressed on up the ascent after the flying enemy. Moreover, 
the intrenchments were no protection against the enemy's ai-tillery on 
the Ridge. To remain would be destruction — to return would be both 
expensive in life and disgraceful. Officers and men all seemed impressed 
with this truth. In addition, the examjjle of those who commenced to 
ascend the Ridge so soon as the intrenchments were carried was con- 
tagious. Without waiting for an order the vast mass pressed forward 
in the race for glory, each man anxious to be the first on the summit. 
The enemy's artillery and musketry could not check the impetuous as- 
sault. The troops did not halt to fire. To have done so would have 
been ruinous. Little was left to the commander of the troops than to 
cheer on the foremost — to encourage the weaker of limb, and to sustain 
the very few who seemed to be faint hearted. 


To till' c'toriKil honor of tlic troops, it should bo recorded that the 
hv','-};ards were, indeed, few in num])er. Tlie interval which elapsed be- 
tween the carryinj;^ of the intrenchments at the base of the Kidge and 
the crowning of the summit must luive been one of intense and painful 
anxiety to all wlio wer-o not participants in the assault. The ascent of 
Missionary Ridge was indeed an effort to try the strongest limbs and the 
stoutest hearts. But suspense and anxiety were not of long duration. 
Upward steadily went the standard of the Union — borne onward by 
sti'ong arms, upheld by brave hearts — and soon it was seen flying on the 
crest of Missionary liidge. Loud indeed were the shouts with which this 
spectacle was received. 

This evidence is conclusive and proves beyond cavil that 
General Grant did not intend that the assault should be 
directed a<?ainst the Ridge itself. Dana in a dispatch to Stan- 
ton, sent November 23, 1863, at 8 p. m. says: " Nothing shows 
decisively whether enemy will fight or lly. Grant thinks lat- 
ter; other judicious officers think former." On the 24th at, 
7:30 p. m. in a disi)atch Dana says: "If Bragg does not with- 
draw the remainder of his troops we shall probably have a 
decisive battle." Sherman was now in position and Grant 
exi)ected him to fight the battle if Bragg did not withdraw, 
but with Sherman threatening his line of communications 
Grant evidently expected the rebel forces to be withdrawn 
in accordance with the report of the deserters on the 23d. 
On the 2r)th, at 7:30 a. m. Dana, who was in constant com 
munication with Grant, even when not present with him in 
person, dispatched Stanton: "No firing affront. This makes 
it pretty certain Bragg retreated." At 9 a. m., however, he 
dispatclied again: "Bragg evacuated Lookout Mountain last 
night and our troops occupy it, but he still holds to his ritie- 
pits along base Missionary Ridge." Once again before the 
attack Dana dispatched to Stanton on that memorable 
November day. At 1 p. m. he wired: "In our front here 
rebel riile-pits are fully manned, preventing Thomas gain- 
ing tlio Ridge." These messages show two things: First, 
tluit it was confidently believed and expected by Grant, 
Dana, and others during the 24th, that on the following 
night Bragg would evacuate his position and works on Mis- 
sionary Ridge in front of Chattanooga. In the last message 
it is very plainly hinted that the Ridge was too strong to be 


gained by an assault, and it cannot be reasonably doubted 
that both ideas were based upon expressed judgments of 
Grant. The last one, at least, by a tacit acknowledgement 
that Bragg 's position was too strong to be assaulted. 

M. C. Meigs, Quartermaster General of the army, in a 
dispatch to Secretary Stanton says: "General Grant pro- 
ceeded to the summit, and then only did we know its height, ' ' 
conceding that the difficulties of mounting the Ridge were 
greater than he and other general officers had supposed, al- 
though before the assault was made they were considered to 
be insurmountable. 

The honor of the assault lies clearly with the rank and 
file who conceived the idea under a storm of iron hail, and to 
i the general officers who first observed what their gallant 
men would do and encourage them in their brave endeavors 
: by ordering up their supports and reserves. The honor 
' belongs distinctly to the two divisions of the Fourth corps, 
i Generals Wood and Sheridan. The troops of these two 
i divisions led all others in their magnificently conducted as- 
j sault. Of these two divisions it will be conclusively shown 
• that Wood led Sheridan. Sheridan's remark when at the 
i first line of works at the foot of the Ridge as much as con- 
cedes Wood's claim. That remark was: "Looking to the 
1 left I saw a single regiment far over in Wood's line dash up 
i the hill and lay down below the crest. General Hazen's men 
■ also commenced the ascent." Wagner's brigade, of Shcr- 
I idan's division, had been recalled and his division lay on the 
I foot of the Ridge, while the advance of Beatty's brigade of 
I Wood's division, the Seventy-ninth and Eighty-sixth Indiana, 
I had almost crested the Ridge. Captain Reilley, of the Tenth 
Kentucky, which was in Baird's division of the Fourteenth 
corps, certainly an unbiased witness, supports this claim. 
The claim is further strengthened by the testimony of Con- 
federate officers. They were on the Ridge carefully watch- 
ing the advance and their own line of defense. Generals 
Bate and Bragg, who were present until after their lines 
\ were broken on the north of Bragg's headquarters, both tes- 
tify that their lines were first broken in that part held by Pat- 


toil Aiuleison's division, whereas Sheridan, and those who 
uphold his claim, state that the Confederate lines were tirst 
broken south of Bragg's headquarters, a point far to the 
right— Federal right— of that given by Generals Bate and 
Bragg. General Bate's division, of Breckenridge's corps, of 
Bragg's army, occupied the crest of the Ridge some distance 
north and south of Bragg's headquarters. It would, there- 
fore, be in the line of Bate's duty to have this part of the 
line under the closest observation. He was reputed to be a 
courageous, careful, and skillful division commander. From 
his more favorable position to view the entire field he would be 
tlie better able to know exactly where the Confederate line was 
first broken and the Ridge carried than any Union officer en- 
gaged in the assault. Besides General Bragg agreed with 
the statement of Bate. Sheridan necessarily had his atten- 
tion engaged and probably very closely confined to his divis- 
ion in directing its attack and upward progress. Sheridan 
says it w^as the right of his division that first mounted to the 
crest of the Ridge, and that it was south of Bragg's head- 
quarters. This is probably true of his division, but Bate, 
sui)ported by the testimony of Bragg, says the Confederate 
line was first broken some distance to the north of Bragg's 
headquarters, in the line of Patton Anderson's division, and 
this seems to agree exactly with the statements of Wood, 
Beatty, Reilly and others, and is therefore true. Wood's 
division was on the left — north — of Sheridan's, but Bate's 
line was more extended than Sheridan's and overlapped it 
and covered a part of Wood's front. By this formation 
Wood's brigades attacked, in their assault, the troops of the 
two divisions. Wood's right brigades fought Bate's troops, 
with the possible exception of the left of Willich's brigade 
front, while Beatty's, the left brigade, fought Patton Ander- 
son's left on Signal Hill, "beyond the dein-ession north of 
Bragg's headquarters, where a section of artillery of Dent's 
battery had been firing and was then located." If duo 
notice is taken of General Bate's words it will satisfy any 
reasonable person that the first break was at the point where 
the two regiments, the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth In- 


diana, mounted the Ridge, aud referred to by General Bate. 
Here are General Bate's own words: 

"In a few moments I yaw a Hag- waving at the point in the line of 
General Anderson's division, beyond the depression in the Ridge, where 
a section of artillery of. Dent's battery had been firing and was now 
located. I thought it a Confederate Hag, but on near approach and more 
minute inspection I soon detected the United States colors. The line in 
my front had recoiled a second time, but was rallied and was advancing 
up the hill in such numbers ag to forbid the displacing of any of my com- 
mand. I was ordered by General Bragg to withdraw a portion of my 
command and dislodge him if possible; but upon suggesting that I was 
without reserve, and the danger of withdrawing when so hard pressed 
on the front, which would necessarily cause a gap in my line, he directed 
m6 to take such as could be best spared. I at once took the command 
under Major Weaver, which had come from the ditches and were 
aligned across the Crutchfield road, it being disengaged, and moved it 
at a double-quick some five or six hundred yards to the elevation on the 
right and rear of where the enemy had formed near his Hag. I was un- 
able, notwithstanding the assistance of Major Weaver, to get his com- 
mand farther, and could only form it on the hill at right angles to my 
line, protecting my Hank, and seek to dislodge him by a well-directed 
fire or hold him in check until the repulsed brigade in Anderson's line 
could be rallied and retake their lost ground. Having made this dispo- 
sition and opened fire, I left Lieutenant Blanchard, of my start', to report 
the result and returned to my line, which was being dangerously pressed. 
It was but a few moments until the second and third flags were on the 
Ividge near the same spot, and the enemy in such numbers as to drive 
away the command under Major Weaver. This command, upon the ad- 
vance of the enemy, broke and i-etired in disorder. The enemy turned 
our guns upon us and opened a fire of musketry from our right and rear. 
This advantage gained caused my right to give back. 

In seeking to rally the right I did not see the exact time when the 
Hag went up at the left of General Bragg's headquarters, but refer to 
the reports of Brigadier General Pinley." 

Finley's reports and the rejwrts of others referred to 
could not be found, as they are not given in "The Rebellion 
Records," but presume that they correspond with the re- 
ports of Bate and Bragg. General Bragg says : 

"About 3:30 p. m. the immense force in the front of our left and 
center advanced in three linos, preceded by heavy skirmishers. Our 
battei-ies opened with fine effect, and much confusion was produced 
before they reached musket-range. In a short time the roar of mus- 
ketry became very heavy, and it was soon apparent the enemy had been 
repulsed in my immediate front. While riding along the crest congrat- 


uliitiii^; tlio troops, intelligence reached me that our lino was broken on 
my right, and the enemy had crowned the Ridge. Assistance was 
promptly des])atched to that point under Brigadier Gcnci-al Bate, who 
had so successfully maintained the ground in my front, and I proceeded 
to the rear of the broken line to rally our retiring troojjs and return 
tliem to the crest to di'ivc the enemy back. General Bate found the 
disaster so great that his small force could not repair it. 

About this time I learned that our extreme left had also given way, 
and that my position was almost surrounded. Bate was immediately 
directed to form a second line in the rear, where, by the efforts of my 
staff a nucleus of stragglers had been formed upon which to rally. 
Lieutenant (ieneral Hardee, leaving Major General Cleburne in com- 
mand on the extreme right, moved toward the left when he heard the 
firing in that direction. He reached the right of Anderson's division 
just in time to find it had. nearly all fallen back, commencing on the 
left, where the enemy had first crowned the Ridge. By a prompt and 
judicious movement he threw a portion of Cheatham's division directly 
across the Ridge facing the enemy, who was moving a strong foi"ce im- 
mediately on his loft flank. * * All to the left, however, except a por- 
tion of Bate's division was entirely routed and in rapid liight, nearly 
all the ai-tillery having been shamefully abandoned by its infantry sup- 
port. * * Tlic position was one wlddi ouyht to kave been Jiekl hij a line of 
skinnislurs ayainsl aiii/ assauUiny column.'''' 

Tlii.s is quoted from General Bragg's report of the bat- 
tle, aud is directly to the point as to where his line was./zy.s^ 
brohni. It corroborates Bate's statement on this point. It 
also sliows why General Wood used sound military sense by 
not rushin<^ on over the Ridge into the valley in pursuit of 
the retreating enemy and exposing his left flank to Hardee's 
attack. It also shows the extreme daring courage of the 
rank and tile in presuming to attack, without orders, a strong 
battle line intrenched in a position "which ought to have 
been held by a line of skirmishers against any assaulting 
column. " All this is submitted as evidence that the Eighty- 
sixth and Seventy -ninth Indiana, led by Colonels Fred 
Kneiler and George F. Dick, first mounted to the volcanic 
crest of Missionary Ridge on the L\5th of November, 1863. 

General Willich claimed his brigade was first upon the 
Ridge, but says the flag of the Eighty-sixth was among the 
first of the flags upon the crest. 

C;encral Turchin, of Baird's division, also claimed that 
his brigade was first to mount to the crest of the i-idge. The 


statement of Hugh L(^slie, a member of Company A, Fifty- 
ninth Ohio, of Turchin's brigade, who was in the ranks that 
day and witnessed the magnificent assault of the two lead- 
ing regiments of Beatty's brigade controverts his claim. 
He was not blinded by an ambition that would rob his com- 
rades in arms of their just won honors. Here is his state- 
ment made in a letter written to J. A. Barnes and dated at 
Hillsboro, Ohio, September 12, 1893: 

I belonged to the First brigade, Third division, Fourteentli corps. 
I siiid then g,nd I say now that the first flag tliat I saw at tlie rebel 
works was an Indiana flag, a bright new flag, and according to the de- 
scription that I gave you we concluded that it was your flag. * * It was 
after we had taken the rebel works that we went over to the left to help 
scatter a rebel line that had formed after they wore driven out. We 
had no officers there to give any commands at that time — the boys 
fought that battle on their own account. * * If this was your flag I am 
very glad to testify to the facts for they were brave boys and true, as 
were all the Indiana boys that I had the honor of knowing. * * I have 
stated the plain facts and can testify to them all. 

This letter was not quite clear as to the exact location of 
this flag Comrade Leslie had seen first at the rebel works, 
hence the second one, which is dated at Hillsboro, Ohio, 
October 4, 1893: 

I received your letter of the lJ4th. * * You want me to make a clear 
statement of the case which I can do just as well. The flag that I saw 
was on the immediate right of Turchin's brigade, and I believe now was 
the flag of the Eighty-sixth Indiana. 

Comrade Leslie speaks only of the Eighty-sixth, but, of 
course, it is understood that the two regiments acted together 
as one regiment. 

Some years afterward in a letter to Lieutenant Colonel 
Bailey, of the Ninth Kentucky, Colonel Dick writes: 

We remained on the Ridge all the next day, our guns stacked just 
where we entered "the works. During the day — the 2()th — many staflf 
and General officers came along the Kidge to look over the conquered 
ground, and I will not thought to be claiming anything above any other 
regiment, if I state that they halted at my tlag, and remarked: " Here 
is the nqw flag that went in first." And the place where the rebel line 
was first broken was an object of interest all day. These things I claim 
for Beatty's brigade. The facts are very prominent before my mind 
that our brigade went up in its own front against a big opposition, cap- 
tured troops in front of the brigade on the left, fought hard along the 


Ilidfic to tlie noi-tli until llio butUe emled, and saw no ti-oop.s in our 
front except the enemy lit any time. 

General Beatty speukinj^ of the assault says: 

The advance of my bri^^ade was the Seventy-ninth Indiana, Colonel 
Fred Knellcr, and the Kif-hty-sixth Indiana, Colonel (ioorge F. Dick. 
These regiments advanced with spirit and drove the enemy from his 
rille-pits and works at the foot of the Ridge. 

The fire of the enemy was so hot here, and enfilading us so com- 
pletely, that Colonel Kneller, commanding the two regiments, was not 
ordered to halt, and pushed on up the hill. This rendered it necessary 
to supjiort them with other troops, and, being unable to obtain commun- 
ication with General Wood, I immediately ordered forward the Thir- 
teenth Ohio, Colonel Jarvis, and the Fifty-ninth Ohio, Majoi- Vanosdol, 
to their assistance. Most gallantly did these regiments spring to their 
work, and step by step, exposed to the terrific fire of batteries on the 
right, left, and front, did they ascend the steep liill. 

Hoping to obtain a firm footing on the Ridge, I ordered forwai-d the 
remaining two regiments of my brigade. Seventeenth Kentucky, Colonel 
Stout, and the Nineteenth Ohio, Colonel Charles F. Manderson, to sup- 
port those already sent forward, and soon after received tlie order from 
General Granger to send forward all my troops. 

These two regiments advanced in splendid order. By the time they 
were half way up the Ridge the four regiments in advance had gained 
the crest and occupied the rebel works, having successfully, at the sec- 
ond atteni])t, charged the enemy from them and planted their colors on 
the summit of Missionary Ridge. The colors of four regiments of my 
brigade, vi/,: Seventy-ninth Indiana, Eighty-sixth Indiana, Thirteenth 
Ohio, Fifty-ninth Ohio, were almost simultaneously planted on the 
enemy's woi-ks. At nearly the same time the colors of a regiment of 
General Willich's brigade were established on tlie works by its Colonel. 
General Beatty further says: 

In recounting the operations of my command in the advance of the 
lines on the 2.'5d, and the charging of Missionary Ridge on the 25th, T 
have to compliment Colonel Fred Kneller, Colonel George F. Dick, Col- 
onel Alexander M. Stout, Colonel Dwight Jarvis, Colonel George H. 
Cram, Colonel Charles F. Manderson, and Major Robert J. Vadosdol for 
the discipline and efficiency of their troops, and uppn the gallant style 
with which each vied with others in doing their utmost to secure a 
victory to our arms, llie advance of the Seventy-ninth and Elyhti/sixth Jn- 
diana was stromjly resisted by the enemy, hut led by their gallant coninuuiders, 
and supported by the advance of the Thirteenth and Fifty-ninth Ohio 
regiments in sjjlendid stylo, succeeded in first planting the natio)uU Jlag on 
Oic rebel tvorks on the summit of Missionary liUhje. 

In this last statement General Beatty makes amends to 
the Seventy-ninth and Eighty-sixth for his former statement 


that "the colors of four regiments of my brigade, viz: Sev- 
enty-ninth Indiana, Eighty-sixth Indiana, Thirteenth Ohio, 
Fifty -ninth Ohio, were ahnost simultaneously planted on the 
enemy 's works. ' ' In this last he states that ' ' the Seventy- 
ninth and Eighty -sixth, ' ' supported by the other regiments, 
'^ first succeeded in planting the national flag on the rebel 
works on the summit of Missionary Ridge. ' ' This was 
exactly the situation. 

Colonel Knefler's report is as follows: 

Nothing' occurred Tuesday, the 24th, or Wednesday, the 25th, until 
ahout 3 o'clock in the afternoon, at which time I was ordered hy General 
Beatty to advance with my command hcyond our works and form on the 
left of the front line of General Willich, to advance and take the rifle- 
pits of the rebels in our front. The rebels upon our approach abandoned 
their rifle-pits, which were occupied by our forces. Not having re- 
ceived any order to remain in the rebel works, I ordered my command 
to advance upon the moimtain side in our front. Crossing the open 
space beyond the woi'ks we met a terrific fire, enfilading my command in 
all directions. The fire of the rebels becoming very severe, and their 
infanti-y in front, who were retreating before us, halting occasionally 
and firing upon us, I perceived that the safety of my command required 
it to get the protection of the mountain side to be enabled to take 
shelter among the trees and rocks. I urged a rapid advance, and with 
the hearty co-operation of the officers of both regiments the whole line 
was carried forward in the best order possible, on almost inaccessible 
ground. Here protected by the steepness of the mountain, the men were 
enabled to make good their foot-hold, and reply to the rebel musketry, 
which was very galling, and almost surrounding us. We advanced 
steadily step by step. When near the top ray attention was called by 
C'aptain Howe to the fact that our adrancc upon the mo}intain isolated i(s 
from llie rest of the line with whidi we advanced upon the enemy^s rijle-pits; 
there roas no support on the rkjht or left, and on looking back perceived our 
forces occ%qvjin(j the rebel work below; to retrace our steps would have been 
inevitable destruction to the entire command. The resolve to advance 
and hold every inch of ground until supported was our only safety. The 
line advanced firmly, taking advantage of every obstacle, under a most 
furious fire of artillery and small arms, the enemy rolling lighted shells 
among my men and throwing rocks upon our heads; but the ground was 
held and contested with the utmost determination. The rebels did not 
succeed in forcing us back one stop. We remained in oui- position, our 
flags and the enemy's almost touching, keej^ing up a heavy fire, until 
support came on the right and left, advancing up the mountain. At 
last orders were given to fix bayonets, and to charge them; once 
the effort failed, but advancing again succeeded, and gained the 


cnoiny's works, which were covered with dead and wounded, and 
full of rebels, who made haste to, fling away their guns and to get to our 
rear. As my men swarmed upon the crest the rebels made anoth(M' 
stand, commanded, as ascei'tained, by the rebel General Hardee, but 
their resistanc!e was very feeble; they were quickly broken, and fled in I 
the greatest confusion. Here a battlc-llag was captured; I i-egret to say 
it was torn to shreds by the men in their eagerness to secure mementoes. 
After pursuing the rebels, and the capture of many pieces of artillery 
and numerous prisoners, the command bivouacked upon the crest of 
Missionary Ridge. * * I beg leave to call the attention of the gen- 
eral to the following officers whose conduct deserves special mention: 
Captains Ilanna, Jordan, and Howe, Adjutant Ritter, Lieutenants ' 
Mount and Burns of the Seventy-ninth Indiana Volunteers; Captain 
Sims, Gregoi-y, and Carnahan, Lieutenants Mclnerny andLaymon, of the 
Eighty-sixth Indiana Volunteers. 

I cannot close this without making my acknowledgments and thank- 
ing Colonel George F. Dick, of the Eighty-sixth Indiana Volunteers, for 
the vcrij vdlitnhk ((ssistdnce rendered me in commanding the two regiments 
while consolidated during the battle and from the time we left oui- 

The following is Colonel George F. Dick's report: 
Sir: — I have the honor to submit the following ae a report of my 
regiment in the late engagement near Chattanooga, on the 23d of No- 

According to orders received from headquarters, I moved out my 
regiment, which, according to previous arrangements, had been consol- 
idated with the Seventy-ninth Indiana Volunteei's, Colonel Fred Knefler 
commanding. My regiment formed the left wing of the battalion, and 
we moved in front of Fort Wood, where with the brigade, we formed in 
double column in mass. Wo then moved on the enemy and halted when 
about one mile east of the fort, where we were ordered to deploy in line 
of battle. We lay in this position till dark, nothing occui-ring in our 
front with the exception of picket liring, when we were ordered to 
move to the right a short distance. We bivouacked until about 1 1 p. m., 
when orders were received to dig ritle-pits and construct an abatis in 
fi-ont by felling the dense timber. 

The 24th we lay in the same position awaiting further orders. 
On the 25th, at 3:30 o'clock, we received orders to move forward, 
which we did, and halted outside the abatis, and formed in line with and 
to the left of CJeneral Willich. Orders were given to foi-wardon double- 
quick and charge the enemy's breastworks at the base of Missionary 
Ridge. Wo double-cpiicked about one mile, driving the enemy before 
us in confusion, and took possession of his works, during the whole of 
which time we were under a most deadly fire from his guns on the 
Ridge. It was here that Major Jacob C. Dick and Lieutenant Jen-y 


Hangh, commanding Company B, received wounds which disabled them 
to lead their men farther. The pursuit was continued, and when at the 
foot of the Ridge we had to face volleys of musketry from the enemy. 
We chai-ged the hill through this hail, which was poured into our ranks 
from rifle-pits at the summit of the mountain, which was about 1,200 
feet in height, and the ascent at about an angle of 50 degrees. When 
about two-thirds of the way up, the brave and much loved Captain 
Southard, Company K, was instantly killed while gallantly leading and 
cheering his men. When within about fifty feet of the enemy's works 
our men, being so nearly exhausted, halted behind stumps and trees to 
rest. Again we started, following the colors, which were nobly borne 
aloft by the color-bearer Sergeant Stephen Cronkite, Company E. This 
gallant soldier deserves much honor for his bravery in beai-ing the un- 
furled Stars and Stripes up these steep and rocky heights, and in the 
face of a most bitter fire. When within fifteen feet of the enemy's works 
he fell wounded and was unable to go farthei'. They were taken up by 
Sergeant Thomas J. Graves, Company D, who gallantly carried them 
over the works and pursued the confused and retreating enemy. 

Here might be mentioned that some of the men wei-e in advance of 
the colors. Private John Clawson, Company C, has the proud honor of 
being the first man inside the works in our front on the heights of Mis- 
sionary Ridge. A portion of the regiment continued the pursuit, fol- 
lowing the retreating enemy pouring deadly volleys into his confused 
and scattered ranks. When about a quarter of a mile to the left of the 
point where we reached the summit, the enemy made a stubborn resist- 
ance behind a second line of breastworks. Here Sergeant Thomas J. 
Graves, who was gallantly waving the colors, fell dangerously wounded. 
They were taken up by Captain William S. Sims, who almost at the 
same time captured the Major of the Forty-second Alabama. However, 
we succeeded in driving the enemy. Another portion of the regiment 
charged directly over the Ridge, and with others of the brigade cap- 
tured and brought to the top, by hand, two pieces of artillery. We 
bivouacked on the Ridge for the night. 

On the 26th, we lay on the Ridge awaiting further orders. At 8 p. 
m. orders were I'eceived to return to camp near Chattanooga, which 
were complied with, arriving here about 10 o'clock. 

Of my regiment, I am proud to say, that both officers and men 
behaved well. Much honor and credit is due them. The officers in par- 
ticular displayed that courage and bravery that should characterize 
every true soldier. I might especially mention, as these came under 
my immediate observation, and without any disparagement to others, 
the names of Captains Sims, Gemmer, (Gregory, and C^arnahan, and 
Lieutenants Mclnerny and Laymon, as doing much in leading their men 
to victory. 

Of our companions in arras, the Seventy-ninth Indiana Volunteers, 


T can pay them no hif^her compliment than to say they fought with 
their usual f,'-allanti'y and bravery. 

The colors on whose folds were inscribed, " Presented to the Eighty- 
sixth Indiana Volunteers by the ladies of Boone county," * received 
eighty-eight musket shots and two in the staff, one of which severed it. 

Herewith I send you a rebel battle-flag, captured while ascending 
the hill. 

While it is out of place, and I feel a delicacy in presuming to dictate 
as a junioi- otiicer, yet I must say that Colonel Fred Knefler, Seventy- 
ninth Indiana Volunteers, well deserves and richly merits a commission 
as a])rigadier general, for his gallantry displayed in charging and tak- 
ing Missionary llidge. 

The regiment went into the engagement with two hundred and 
thirty-six men and nineteen officers. Herewith I send you a list of the 

As has been stated before the loss of the Eighty-sixth 
in the assault upon the Ridge was greater than that of any 
other regiment in Beatty's brigade, and nearly double that of 
its coini:)anion regiment, the Seventy-ninth. In fact, accord- 
ing to the records that regiment did not lose a man killed 
and only twenty-eight wounded, but the mention of this 
small loss must not be understood as an attempt to detract 
from that regiment's gallantry. It was occasioned by its 
less exposed position. The other two brigades of Wood's 
division lost more heavily than did Beatty's brigade. There 
were two very plain reasons for this. The brigades were 
larger — had a greater number of men exposed to the enemy's 
fire and they were a longer time getting well up the Ridge, 
and therefore a longer time in securing the protection of its 
steepness. The loss of Hazen's brigade was the greatest of 
any brigade engaged in the battle before Chattanooga or on 
Loolcout Mountain. This must in part, at least, be accounted 
loi- by the withdrawal of Wagner's brigade — the left brigade 
of Sh(M'idan's division — after it began the ascent of the 
Ridge, tlius leaving Hazen's right unprotected and exposed, 
and tlio enemy on his right unengaged and free to attack 
liim. Yet the official tabulated list of casualties is a little 
misleading as to the loss of regiments and brigades in the 

♦ For a history of tlie colors of the Eic:hty-sixtli rt'siiment see Appendix to tliis 
vol u mo. 


assault proper as it includes the losses of three days' fight- 
ing-, viz: the loss of the advance and attack upon Orchard 
Knob, and also the loss by skirmishing on the 23d, 24th and 
25th, as well as that of the assault upon the Ridge. The loss 
of the Eighty-sixth as rei^orted is confined strictly to the 
killed and wounded of the assault proper. To include all 
the loss of the Eighty-sixth of the three days' battle it would 
be fifty, and perhaps more. But as rejiorted the loss was 
nearly twenty per cent, of the number engaged. This loss 
in less than one hour's fighthig indicates hot work and close 
quarters where the work could be made effective. But it 
still remains a marvelous, miraculous affair to all who 
labored up the Ridge through that volcanic down ])Our of 
shot, shell, shrapnel, grape and canister, and musket balls, 
that many, very many more were not killed and maimed for 
life whenever they think of the red current of war that 
swept down the steep declivity, through their ranks and 
over their heads, literally raking the mountain slope from 
crest to foot. As Taylor well says, ' ' The story of the battle 
of Missionary Ridge is struck with immortality." But he 
says, "Let the leader of the Fourth corps bear it company." 
Shall it not rather in justice be said, let the leaders, the 
I Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth Indiana, bear it company, as 
' they were the first to conceive and first to put in execution 
I the thought of trying to capture the Ridge — the real origi- 
nators of that memorable assault. Let history be just even 
though it be towards the men in the ranks and humble 

As material results, and as revealing how thoroughly 
the enemy was beaten and demoralized by the successful as- 
sault on Missionary Ridge, Captain T. G. Baylor, Chief of 
Ordinance of the Department of the Cumberland, gives the 
following summary of the captures of ordinance and ordinance 
stores: Field guns and howitzers, 40; field carriages, 38; 
caissons, 26; battery wagons and forges, 5; rounds of artil- 
lery ammunition, 2,236; stands of small arms, 6,175, besides 
! infantry accouterments without end. General Brannan, 


Chief of Artillery, Army of the Cumberland, in his report 
gives the following credits: 

By General Davis' division, at Chickamauga Station . . 24-pounders 2 
By General (Joary's division on Lookout Mountain . . . field jiieces 2 
By General Osterhaus' division on Missionary Ridge . . . field pieces 1 
By General Wood's division on Missionary liidgo . . . . field i)ieces 12 
By General Sheridan's division on Missionary Ridge . . . field pieces 

By Genei-al Johnson's division at Graysville field i)ieees 4 

By General Baird's division on Missionary Ridge .... field pieces 1 
Claimed by Generals Baird and Wood Missionary Ridge field pieces (J 
Claimed by Genei"als Wood and Sheridan Missionary 

Ridge field pieces 6 

It will be seen from this report that Wood's division is 
far ahead in the number of captured cannon turned into the 
jH'oper authorities. Of Wood's capture, Beatty 's brigade lays 
claim to eight guns, two of which were brought in by the 
Eighty -sixth Indiana. Besides this, Wood's division cap- 
tured seven regimental colors, 2,050 stands of arms, and over 
2,000 prisoners. Among the prisoners were officers of all 
grfides, Captain W. S. Sims, of the Eighty-sixth, capturing 
on top of tlio Ridge, Major W. P. Fergus, of the Forty-sec- 
ond Alabama. As to how this was done Colonel Dick, in a 
letter afterward, says: "The advance troops of our brigade 
turned quickly to the left, with my flag in front in command 
of Captain Sims. They soon came against a redoubt manned 
by the Forty-second Alabama, the commander of which saw 
our flag coming, and told his men to lie still and they would 
sally out and capture it when it came near. Sims told his 
men that they must take that rebel flag. The commander of 
the Alabama regiment called to his men to leap over the 
works after him, but they arose and leaped out on the other 
side, leaving their commander to fall into our hands; and he 
did fall, hurting his face on the rocks, at Sims' feet, who lit- 
erally got on top of him and held him down. He took sup- 
per with us that night and told us all that I have described 
above." Bragg's loss was about 3,100 in killed and wounded, 
and nearly 7,000 prisoners. Of the latter 239 were commis- 
siojiod officers. 

The casualties reported in the Union army, in the series 
of struggles which ended in the victory at Missionary Ridge, 


were 753 killed, 4,722 wounded, and 349 missing, making an 
aggregate of 5,824. Of this total the Army of the Tennessee 
lost 1,695, and the Army of the Cumberland 4,129, of which 
the Fourth corps lost 2,527, the Eleventh corps 330, the 
Twelfth corps 341, and the Fourteenth corps 931. 

The heroic conduct of the Seventy-ninth and Eighty - 
sixth Indiana on Missionary Ridge was witnessed by Cai3- 
tain Reilly, of the Tenth Kentucky. He penned a vivid ac- 
count of what he saw for the Louisville Journal, which ap- 
peared in that paper directly after the battle. It will be re- 
membered that the Tenth Kentucky was in Baird's division, 
and therefore he was not interested in the Seventy-ninth or 
Eighty-sixth. His statements may therefore be accepted as 
unbiased. The following is Captain's Reilly 's letter: 

"The summit of Missionary Ridge is one thousand feet 
above the Tennessee river and towers aloft in grandeur, a 
fitting monument to commemorate the great victory achieved 
by our national arms on the memorable 25th of November. 
On that day the Star Spangled Banner could be discerned 
slowly scaling the steep and rugged ascent, riveting the 
gaze of thousands of anxious spectators in the line of battle 
below. It seemed that the Eighty-sixth and Seventy-ninth 
Indiana had failed to receive orders to halt when it was 
given to the line of battle. Onward they moved as it were 
into the jaws of death. The terrible sus])ense of their brave 
comrades was only equaled by the great Napoleon when he 
stood on the summit of a ridge at Waterloo gazing between 
hope and despair at the last grand charge of his Old Guard 
until they were lost sight of in the clouds of smoke of the 
enemy's cannon. Step by step they ascended until within 
fifty yards of tlie bristling bayonets of the rebel rifles when 
they received the order to lie down. The rebels opened on 
them and volley after volley was poured into their ranks, 
midst the wild and enthusiastic shouts of the rebels, and de- 
fiant waving of the Stars and Bars — said to have been done 
by Bragg in person. Springing to their feet with the energy 
of desperation the glorious Eighty-sixth Indiana leads the 
grand charge to victory or death, followed by the Seventy- 


ninth Indiana, and onward they pushed their columns 
through a shower of bullets that rattled like hail and were 
lost to view in the smoke of battle. A death stillness per- 
vaded the line of battle below for a few moments, when the 
anxious inquiry j)assed along the lines, 'Is our flag still 
there? ' It seemed like hoping against hope to expect that 
the two regiments had mot any other fate than instant anni- 
hilation; every minute seemed a month for half an hour, at 
the end of which time the smoke had disappeared and our 
glorious flag greeted the anxious spectators, floating in 
triumph over the rebel works. It was the war-worn banner 
of the immortal Eighty-sixth Indiana which was held until 
re-iuforccmcnts came and secured the position gained by the 
most daring and terrible charge that history ever recorded. 
The flag of the Eighty-sixth Indiana that sealed this victory 
received in its folds eighty-six shots, emblematic of the regi- 
ment it so gallantly led through the ranks of death to a 
crowning victory. The stafC was broken by a ball, but it 
still waves over one of the most gallant regiments that ever 
entered the field of battle. The answer on that memorable 
night to ten thousand inquiries infused a new spirit in the 
army as it responded along the line, ' Yes, our flag is still 
there.' Forty thousand spectators who witnessed the bril- 
liant scene and asked the question while held in fearful sus- 
pense, will ask it as often as returning memory brings to 
mind the grand charge of the two gallant regiments on Mis- 
sionary Ridge. Who will commemorate this great achieve- 
ment and the thrilling incidents associated with it, in poetry? 
The subject is eminently worthy of our best poets and could 
be embodied in a National anthem that would inspire all 
patriotic hearts with renewed devotion to the glorious flag 
of our country." 

Cai)tain Reilly has one error in his account. He says 
llie flag of the Eighty-sixth received eighty-six balls in its 
folds. There were eighty-eight bullet holes in the flag itself, 
one struck the spear-head above the flag and a grape-shot 
cut tlic staff off below the flag, making in all ninety balls 
that struck the flag and statt". 


Perhaps the finest general description of the assault by 
the Fourth corps on Missionary Ridge was written by B. P. 
Taylor, the poet. He makes the mistake of crediting Gen- 
eral Grant with conceiving the idea of the assault upon the 
Ridge. Dr. L. B. Brockett, in his work, "Camp, Battle- 
field, and Hospital," says, introducing Taylor's descrip- 
tion: "The bold and rapid movement, by which, while 
marshaled, as the enemy supposed, for dress-parade, the 
Army of the Cumberland swept across the plain and captured 
Orchard Knob; that succession of fierce and persistent strug- 
gles in which Sherman wrestled for the capture of Tunnel 
Hill, and by which he drew to that point so large a portion 
of Bragg 's troops; and last and most glorious of all that fiery 
ascent of Missionary Ridge, in wdiich that noble Fourth corps 
marched and climbed for a long hour through a furnace of 
fiame, and after struggling up an ascent so steep that to 
climb it unopposed would take the stoutest energies, swept 
their enemies from its summit, and over all the broad vista 
disclosed from its summit, saw only a flying and utterly 
routed foe. Many writers have attempted to describe, and 
with varying success, this brilliant feat of arms, but none 
have succeeded so admirably as Mr. B. F. Taylor, of the Chi- 
cago Journal, himself an eye-witness of it. We give a portion 
of his description which is as truthful as it is glowing. Mr. 
Taylor writes: 

"The brief November afternoon was half gone; it was yet 
thundering on the left; along the center all was still. At 
that very hour a fierce assault was made upon the enemy's 
left near Rossville four miles down toward the old field of 
Chickamauga. They carried the Ridge; Missionary Ridge 
seems everywhere — they strewed its summit with rebel dead; 
they held it. And thus the tips of the Federal army 's wide- 
spread wings flapped grandly. But had not swooped; the 
gray quarry yet perched upon Missionary Ridge; the rebel 
army was terribly battered at the edges, but there full in 
our front it grimly waited, biding out its time. H the horns 
of the rebel crescent could not be doubled crush ingly to- 
gether, in a shapeless mass, possibly it might be sundered at 


its center, and tumbled in fragments over the other side of 
Missionary Ridge. Sherman was halted upon the left; 
Hooker was hard in Chattanooga valley; the Fourth corps, 
that rounded out our center, grew impatient of restraint; the 
day was waning; but little time remained to complete the 
commanding General's grand design; Gordon Granger's hour 
had come; his work was full before him. 

"And what a work that was to make a weak man falter 
and a brave man think! One and a half miles to traverse, 
with narrow fringes of woods, rough valleys, sweeps of 
open field, rocky acclivities, to the base of the Ridge, and no 
foot in all the breadth withdrawn from rebel sight; no foot 
that could not be XDlayed upon by rebel cannon, like a piano 
keys, under Thalberg's stormy lingers. The base attained, 
what then'? A heavy rebel work. That work carried, and 
what then'? A hill, struggling up out of the valley, four 
hundred feet, rained on by bullets, swept by shot and shell; 
another line of works, and then, up like a Gothic roof rough 
with rocks, a wreck with fallen trees, four hundred more; 
another ring of lire and iron, and then the crest, and then 
the enemy, 

"To dream of such a journey would be madness; to devise 
it a thing incredible; to do it a deed impossible. * * The 
story of the battle of Missionary Ridge is struck with immor- 
tality already; let the leader of the Fourth corjDs bear it com- 

"That the center yet lies along its silent line is still true; 
in live minutes it will be the wildest fiction. Lotus take that 
little bj-ealh of grace for just one glance at the surroundings, 
since we shall have neither heart nor eyes for it again. Did 
ever battle have so vast a cloud of witnesses'? The hive 
shaped hills have swarmed. Clustered like bees, blackening 
the housetops, lining the fortifications, over yonder acr<),sii 
the theater, in the seats with the Catilines, everywhere, are a 
hundred thousand beholders. Their souls are in their eyes. 
Not a murmur can you hear. It is the most solemn congre- 
gation that ever stood up in the presence of the God of bat- 
tles. I think of Bunker Hill as I stand here; of the thousands 


who witnessed the immortal struggle; and fancy there is a 
parallel. I think, too, that the chair of every man of them 
will stand vacant against the wall to-morrow, and that around 
the fireside they must give thanks without him if they can. 

"Generals Grant, Thomas, and Granger conferred, an 
order was given, and in an instant the Knob was cleared 
like a ship's deck for action. At twenty minutes of four, 
Granger stood upon the parapet; the bugle sw^ung idle at the 
bugler's side, the warbling fife and the grumbling drum un- 
heard — there was to be louder talk — six guns, at intervals of 
two seconds, the signal to advance. Strong and steady his 
voice rang out: 'Number one, fire! Number two, fire! Number 
three, fire!' it seemed to me the tolling of the clock of des- 
tiny — and when at 'Number six, fire!' the roar throbbed out 
with a flash, you should have seen the dead line that had 
been lying behind the works all day, all night, all day again, 
come to resurrection in the twinkling of an eye — leap like a 
blade from its scabbard, and sweep with a two mile stroke 
toward the Ridge. 

"From divisions to brigades, from brigades to regi- 
ments, the orders ran. A minute, and the skirmishers 
deploy; a minute, and the first great drops begin to patter 
along the line; a minute, and the musketry is in full play, 
like the crackling whips of a hemlock fire; men go down, 
here and there, before your eyes; the wind lifts the smoke 
and drifts it away over the top of the Ridge; every thing is 
too distinct; it is fairly palpable: you can touch it with your 
hand. The divisions of Wood and Sheridan are wading 
breast deep in the valley of death. 

' ' I never can tell you what it was like. They pushed 
out leaving nothing behind them. There was no reservation 
in that battle. On moves the line of the skirmishers, like a 
heavy frown, and after it, at quick time, the splendid col- 
umns. At right of us, and left of us, and front of us, you 
can see the bayonets glitter in the sun. * * 

"And so through the fringe of w^oods went the line. 
Now, out into the open ground they burst at the double- 
quick. Shall I call it a Sabbath day's journey, or a long one 


and a half mile? To mc, that watched, it seemed as etern- 
ity, and yet they made it in thirty minutes. The tempest 
that now brolve upon their heads was terrible. The enemy's 
tire burst out of the rifle-pits from base to summit of Mis 
sionary Ridge; five rebel batteries of Parrots and Napoleons 
opened along the crest. Grape and canister and shot and 
shell sowed the ground with rugged iron, and garnished it 
with the w^ounded and the dead. But steady and strong, oui- 
columns move on. 

" Hy huiivcus! It was a splendid sijilit to sue. 
For oiw who had no friend, iiobrotlior tliere." 

But to all loyal hearts, alas! and thank God, those men were 
friend and brother, both in one. 

■X- * * -X- -X- -X- -X- «■ * 

"And all the while our lines were moving on; they had 
burned through the woods and swept over the rough and 
rolling ground like a prarie fire. Never halting, never 
faltering, they charged up to the first rifle-pits with a cheer, 
forked out the rebels with their bayonets, and lay there 
panting for breath. If the thunder of guns had been terri- 
ble it was now growing sublime; it was like the footfall of 
God on the ledges of cloud. Our forts and batteries still 
thrust out their mighty arms across the valley; the rebel 
guns that lined the arc of the crest full in our front, opened 
like a fan of Lucifer and converged their fire down upon 
Baird, and Wood, and Sheridan. It was rifles and musketry; 
it was grape and canister, it was shell and shrapnel. Mis- 
sionary Kidge was volcanic; a thousand torrents of red 
poured over its brink and rushed together to its base. And 
our men were there halting for breath! And still the sub- 
lime diapason rolls on, echoes that that never waked before, 
roared out from height to height, and called from the far 
ranges of Walden's Kidgo to Lookout. As for Missionary 
Ridge, it had jarred to such music before; it was the "sound- 
ing board" of Chickamauga; it was behind us then; it 
frowns and flashes in our faces to-day; the old Army 
of the Cumberland was there; it breasted the storm till 
the storm was spent, and left the ground it held; the old 
Ai-niy of the Cumberland is hero! It shall roll up the Ridge 


like a surge to its summit, and sweep triumphaut down the 
oilier side. Believ^e me, that memory and hope may have 
made the heart of many a blue-coat beat like a drum. 
'Beat,' did I say? The feverish heat of hattle beats on; 
fifty eight guns a minute, by the watch, is the rate of its ter- 
rible throbbing. That hill, if you climb it, will appal you. 
Furrowed like a summer-fallow, bullets as if an oak had shed 
them; trees clipped and shorn, leaf and limb, as with the knife 
of some heroic gardener pruning back for richer fruit. How 
you attain the summit weary and breathless, I w^ait to hear; 

how thcij went up in the teeth of the storm no man can tell. 

"But our gallant legions are out in the storm; they have 
carried the works at the base of the Ridge; they have fallen 
like leaves in winter weather. Blow% dumb bugles! Sound 
the recall! 'Take the rifle-pits, ' w^as the order; and it is as 
empty of rebels as the tomb of the prophets. Shall they 
turn their backs to the blastV Shall they sit down under the 
eves of the dripping iron? Or shall they climb to the cloud 
of death above them, and pluck out its lightning as they 
woukl straw^s from a sheaf of wheat? But the order was 
not given. And now the arc of fire on the crest grows fiercer 
and longer. The reconnoissance of Monday had failed to de- 
velop the heavy metal of the enemy. The dull fringe of the 
hill kindles with the flash of great guns. I count the fleeces 
of white smoke that dot the Ridge, as battery after battery 
oi)ens upon our line, until from the ends of the growing arc 
they sweep down upon it in mighty Xs of fire. I count till 
that devil's girdle numbers thirteen batteries, and my heart 
cries out, 'Great God, when shall the end be?' There is a 
poem I learned in childhood, and so did you: it is Campbell's 
'Hohenlinden. ' One line I never knew the meaning of until 
I read it written along that hill! It has lighted up the whole 
poem for me with the glow of battle forever: 

And loudor lluiii the bolts of heaven, 
Far flashed tlie red arlillerv. 

"At this moment, General Granger's aides are dashing 
out with an order; they radiate over the field, to the left, 
right, and front; 'Take the Ridge if you can' — 'Take the 


Ridge if you can" — and so it went along the line. Bnt the 
adrdiirc had alrcddi/ set forth loithout it. Stout-hearted Wood, 
the iron-gray veteran, is rallying on his men. 

"And now you have one of the most startling episodes 
of the war; I cannot remember it in words; dictionaries are 
beggarly things. But I inaij tell you they did not storm that 
mountain as you think. They dash out a little-way, and then 
slacken; they creep up, hand over hand, loading and firing, 
and wavering and halting, from the first line of works to the 
second; they burst into a charge with a cheer, and go over it. 
Sheets of Ihune baptize them; plunging shot tear away com- 
rades on the left and right; it is no longer shoulder to shoul- 
der; it is God for us all! Under tree trunks, among rocks, 
stumbling over the dead, struggling with the living, facing 
the stctuly fire of eight thousand infantry poured down upon 
their heads as if it were the old historic curse from heaven, 
they wrestle with the Ridge. Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes 
go by like a reluctant century. The batteries roll like a 
dream; between the second and last lines of rebel works is 
the torrid zone of the battle; the hill sways u]) like a^wall be- 
fore them at an angle of forty-five degrees, but our brave 
mountaineers are climbing steadily on — up — upward still! 
You may think it strange, but I would not have recalled them 
if I covdd. They would have lifted you, as they did me, in 
full view of the heroic grandeur; they seemed to be simrniug 
the dull earth undei- their feet, and going up to do Homeric 
battle with the greater gods. 

What colors were first upon the mountain battlement I 
dare not try to say; bright honor itself may be proud to bear 
— nay, proud to follow the hindmost. Foot by foot they had 
fought uj) the steep, slippery with much blood; let them 
go U) glory togetlier. But this I can declare: the Seven- 
ty-ninth and Eighty-sixth Indiana, of Wood's division, fairly 
ran over the rifle-pits, and left their whole line in the rear, 
and their breathless color bearers led the way. A minute 
and they were all there, fluttering along the Ridge from left 
to right. The rebel hordes rolled off to the north, rolled off 
to the east, like the clouds of a worn out storm. 


'•These three days' work brought Tennessee to resur- 
rection; set the flag, that fairest blossom in all the flowery 
world, to blooming in its native soil once more. 

"It made that fleeting November afternoon imperish- 
able. Than the assault upon Missionary Kidge, I know of 
nothing more gallant in the annals of the war. Let it rank 
foremost with the storming of Fort Scharnitz and Alma, that 
covered the French arms with undying fame. 

-X- -X- -X- * * -X- * 

Let the struggle be known as the battle of Missionary 
Ridge, and when, in calmer days, men make pilgrimage, and 
women smile again among the mountains of the Cumberland, 
they will need no guide. Rust will have eaten the guns; the 
graves of the heroes will have subsided like waves; weary of 
their troubling, the soldier and his leader will have lain 
down together; but there embossed upon the globe, Mission- 
ary Ridge will stand its litting monument forever. " 


After the Battle the Rescue— Throu^Mi Mud and TlirouRh Stream— Over Hill and 
Down Dale— The Fourth Corps Marched to Succor the Army of the Ohio aud 
the Gallant Burnside— An Attenuated Diet— Parched Corn and Government 
Bacon— An Exciting Though Amusing Incident— The Arrival at Knoxville— 
A "Sick Flour" Experience. 

Immediately after the successful assault on Missionary 
Ridge, the Fourth corps, commanded by Major General Gor- 
don Granger, was ordered by General Grant to march at 
once to the relief of General A. E. Burnside and the 
Army of the Ohio, besieged at Knoxville by Lieutenant 
General James B. Longstreet, then the Confederate's most 
skillful and daring battle chief. Lee had called Longstreet 
his " old war horse, " as Longstreet himself records. After 
a rainy night, on the morning of the 28th of November the 


bugles of the Fourth corps sound cd the reveille at 4 o'clock. 
The rei,nmeiit formed by companies, answered roll-call, pre- 
pared and ate breakfast, and was ready for the march. The 
orders were to march at 6 a. m., but it continued to rain and 
the order to move was not given until 2 p. m. The Eighty - 
sixth was soon ready. The regiment was ordered into line 
and stacked arms, after which the men lounged about the old 
cam]) and discussed the probable course of the march, the 
time it would require to reach Knoxville, the general results 
and the thousand and one things that soldiers are always 
discussing when time and opportunity for discussion are 
given. However, about 4:30 p. m. the word was given to 
"Forward march," and the regiment was enroute for Knox- 
ville and the relief of Burnside. 

Although late in starting, it was not too late. The men 
were heavily laden with rations, ammunition, blankets, 
and tents, and all the paraphernalia of the infantry soldier. 
The roads were execrable and the marching was weari- 
some. It was a forced march, as the object was to suc- 
cor and relieve the besieged army at Knoxville. The first 
evening the command covered four miles and bivouacked 
after dark. The Eighty-sixth, however, did not have the 
})leasurc of sharing the bivouac with the command, it being 
detailed for picket. Performing picket duty while on a 
march is what might be considered doing double duty, but 
then it was one of the "diversions" in the life of soldiers. 
The evening was pleasant but as the night advanced it 
became quite cold and all who were at all exposed were j 
thoroughly chilled. 

Sunday morning, November 2d, the regiment was up by 
4 o'clock, and after a hasty meal was soon ready for another i 
day's tiresome dragging through the mud. Resumed the 
march about daylight, but little progress was made because of 
so many halts. About noon the command halted for dinner. 
Tlie march was resumed at 1 o'clock, and shortly afterward 
crossed the South Chickamauga creek. The pace ,was still 
moderate and continued so until about one hour before sun- 
down, when it was quickened, and the regiment marched rap- 


idly forward. The roads were muddy, b^^t mud was not to 
be considered. Nothin^^ was to be thouecht of only to attain 
the highest rate of speed possible and maintain it. The reg- 
iment went splashing along through the mud like so many 
wild horses, wading streams knee-deep and deeper, stopjiing 
for no obstacle, halting for no rest it pressed forward until 
the sweat ran from every jyove, notwithstanding the night 
was cold. This rate of speed was maintained until 9 o'clock, 
when the command arrived at Harrison, twelve miles from 
Chattanooga, and bivouacked. The men were wet to their 
trunks by plunging into mud holes and wading streams. 
Their bodies were heated and damp with perspiration from 
their great exertion, and these unfavorable conditions caused 
them to suffer intensely from the cold as soon as the halt 
was called. In fact, they were nearly frozen before fires 
could be started to warm and dry their clothing. But finally 
the fires burned brightly and the coffee boiled. After supper 
the fortunate ones sat round the bivouac fires, and parched 
corn and ate it for an hour or so before retiring in order to 
economize their scant supply of rations. 

On the following morning the bugles sounded reveille at 
4 o'clock, and the regiment's bivouac was soon lit up by the 
bright fires, and dark forms could be seen flitting here and 
there preparing the morning meal for the various messes. 
The morning was clear and cold. The column set forward at 
the appointed time. The whole force went forward with all 
the speed possible, and it was maintained until the endur- 
ance of all was taxed to the uttermost. Many fell behind 
their comrades. Excellent time was made. An occasional 
halt was allowed for a brief rest, else the speed could not 
have been so long maintained over such roads. A brief halt 
at noon for dinner revived and refreshed many who would 
otlierwise have been unable to keep their place in the column. 
Bad as the roads were General Wood's division covered 
twenty-four miles during the day. All were tired, stiff, and 
sore when camp was reached. To add to the exhaustion of 
the men, rails for fuel had to be carried a long distance. 
Weary as they were some of tlie boys had the pluck to gather 


in and brinj? to camp some provender found by the wayside. 
It was needed as they journeyed on their pilgrimage. 

On the following morning, December 1, it was expected 
to resume the march early, but having to cross the Hiwassee 
river on a boat, Wood's division, at least Beatty's brigade, 
was delayed. The boys remained about the bivouac fires 
whiling away the time by parching corn. The command at 
this camp drew that which purported to be three days' 
rations of hard bread, sugar and coffee, but the allowance 
was very scant. The rest given by this waiting would have 
been most gratefully accepted had the men not known that 
they would have to pay for it with the most painful and 
weary leg service. The command crossed the Hiwassee on 
a boat called the "Paint Rock" between 6 and 9 o'clock p. m., 
and got to camp at 9:30, bivouacking a mile from the river 
in a thicket of brush. 

On the morning of December 2, the command resumed 
its line of march at daylight, and pressed forward as rapidly 
as the condition of the roads would permit. The roads were 
heavy and the marching extremely slavish. The men became 
greatly exhausted, many falling behind. A half hour halt at 
noon for dinner refreshed tlie men and the column pushed 
ahead, passing through Decatur, the county-seat of Meigs 
county, and bivouacked, having marched seventeen miles. 
The men were aware of the object of the march and the lit- 
tle murmuring indulged was not proportionate to the hard- 
ships endured. 

Reveille was sounded at 4 o'clock the following morning. 
The "thin clear notes" of the last bugle sounded to waken 
the weary soldiery had not ceased their echoing when the 
flames of fires began to leap, fiicker, and play and throw 
backward from them the gloom of night. Fires speedily 
si)rang up, and the moving torches carried to kindle other 
more distant fires revealed the muffled forms of the more 
drowsy comrades, the stacked arms, the cooking utensils, 
and the many wild, strange scenes which are common to the 
bivouac of a campaigning force. A bivouac is bizarre at best, 
but that of a command on a forced march is of the rudest 


and most grotesque form. Such was this morning's bivouac. 
Many of the boys weary and sleepy as only soldiers can get, 
after hurling some fierce denunciation at the "blasted 
bugler, " slept again after reveille. But they had as little 
time for sleeping as others had for noting the beauty, and 
the picturesqueness of their surroundings. The morning 
meal was to be prepared and eaten; cooking utensils were to 
be packed for marching; blankets were to be rolled up; in 
short, all those things which are so necessary to the soldier 
when in camp and so cumbersome to him in ranks, were to 
be arranged that they might least feel the burden. These 
things emphasized themselves on this march as it was not 
one where "the column dragged its slow length along," but 
a rushing one to succor and to save comrades in extremest 
peril. The command was led by the grandest of all raiders, 
the gallant and matchless Sherman, who marched with un- 
approachable celerity, and struck, with unerring aim, blows 
that went home to the heart of the Confederacy. Therefore, 
it was neccessary to start in the morning of every day's 
march in the best possible trim. But the command was soon 
ready, and just at sun-rise the Eighty-sixth filed out from its 
bivouac on to the road. The column set forward at once, 
halting only for brief rests every three or four miles until 
1:30 p. m. when, upon reaching Pond Spring, "thirty min- 
utes for dinner" was announced. The meal consisted of the 
conventional hard tack, of which the supply was almost ex- 
hausted, bacon and coifee. At 2 o'clock the tramp was re- 
sumed at the same rapid gait as before. On that afternoon's 
mai'ch the men were informed by the officers that they would 
not draw any more rations until they reached Knoxville — not 
very encouraging information to a hungry set of men. About 
this time the command turned from its easterly line of inarch 
and bore off nearly due south, crossing a low mountainous 
ridge into a fine open valley. Covering three or four miles 
after crossing the ridge it came to a nice little town called 
Sweetwater, situated in the valley which is known by the 
same name. Wood's division passed beyond the town one 
mile and bivouacked on a slight elevation of gi'ouud in an 


open field with a higher wooded hill to the southeast and 
three hundred yards distant. The regiment and most of the 
brigade stacked arms in line with this rise of ground, and its 
line of battle facing southeast. 

With the alacrity which the necessity of fleeting oppor- 
tunity imposes on the slothful and inspires in the more ener- 
getic, the men quickly had a snug pile of rails and were 
busily engaged in preparing to make themselves as comfort- 
able for the night as a limited "commissary department" 
would permit. It was at this Sweetwater camp thtit a thrill- 
ing and exciting incident occurred which all who were with 
the regiment on that march will remember. The principal 
actors were W. W. Barnes and John D. Packer, of Company 
H. The announcement that no more rations would be issued 
until Knoxville was reached induced these two soldiers to 
sally out of camp on an independent foraging expedition 
before the picket line was established. 

Packer was an original character, the like of which is 
seldom seen actively engaged in the exercise of all of his 
fully developed powers in the respectable walks of civil life. 
In i)erson he was tall and well ])roportioned. He was young, 
active and apparently tireless, generally good humored but 
sometimes irritable, venting his ill-humor on his comrades. 
A natural straggler and forager when on the march, he re- 
fused to be confined to the ranks, always looking for and 
scenting plunder. He w^ould pillage on the left flank in the 
morning and bestow his plunder upon his comrades at the 
noon-halt with unrivaled prodigality. He would renew his 
ravages in the afternoon on the right flank despoiling lar- 
ders, sacking smoke-houses, and devastating barn-yards and 
poultry roosts, bribing messmates to carry the spoils to camp 
by the prospect of a feast, but guarding and hoarding the 
loot when it once reached the bivouac with a miser's care 
and crabbedness, for he had a soldier's stomach and appetite. 
He had fairly earned his various titles of "pot-hound, " " jay- 
hawl\(>r, " " poacher, " and "bummer." As a vigorous uni- 
versal "in gatherer of provender" he would have taken 
rank with General Dan Macauley's famous " pirooter " in his 


palmiest days. A lark in the morning-, a hawk at noon, and 
an owl at night. He could double discount skunk, weasel, 
and fox combined in catching chickens. He would filch 
from the dignified country gentleman, or his old decrepit 
African "mamma" with equal indiiference. In the very 
wantonness of this "pirooting" spirit, he would steathily 
abstract the choicest viands from the table of the most beau- 
tiful and refined lady, who, out of the goodness of her heart 
and in the most gracious manner, had bestowed upon him 
enough of excellent food to satisfy hunger for days all of 
which he would receive with the greatest humility and even 
servility, or he would rob the half naked, poorly fed pick- 
aninny of its coarest corn-dodger and its greasiest "sop" 
with a nonchalance of manner and buffoonery of action 
which both astonished the beholder and forced him to laugh, 
in spite of his better nature, at the ridiculous conduct. Such 
was his indifference that it was often a question whether it 
arose from a heart devoid of sympathy or from a lack of 

In a very few minutes after reaching the place of bivouac 
they were ready. Barnes took nothing but a large butcher 
knife and Packer his gun and a few cartridges in his pocket. 
Not thinking of the hard march they had made, but antici- 
pating the nice piece of fresh Tennessee pork they would 
bring back to camp, they sallied forth in high hopes. Glanc- 
ing up at the sun to calculate the time at their disposal they 
sped away at a rapid pace. Barnes with his quick, strong, 
sweeping stride in the lead, followed by Packer with his gun 
on his shoulder and with a quick, jerking step and his hat 
cocked over his eyes. "You may go ahead now, pardner, 
but I'm chief of this expedition, all the same, and don't you 
forget, " and so he swaggered on. They had passed out into 
a lane that ran along the right of the regiment as it lay in 
bivouac, and were rapidly nearing the woods on the hillside, 
when a shot was heard, and some one remarked: "Why, the 
boys soon found a hog. " Barnes, too, at this time remarked 
to Packer, "We'll have to hurry up, John, some one is ahead 
of us, " and they pressed forward with still greater alacrity. 


Somebody 7vas ahead of them, sure enough, but they were 
not hunting hogs. The boys were now drawing quite near 
the woods and were somewhat startled to hear the challenge 
thundered close to them in rather more than ordinary mili- 
tary sternness, " Halt, you blank Yankee blank of blank," 
and with the word two mounted rebel cavalrymen rode down 
the hill, out of the woods, almost upon the boys, and opened 
a brisk fire upon them from their revolvers and car- 
bines. It looked like certain death for both of the blue-coats 
right in the face of the whole division. Pop, pop, went their 
revolvers, szip, szip, came the balls. Barnes had no gun and 
consequently at that distance had no means of either attack 
or defense, and, of course limbered to the rear at once at a 
more rapid pace than he had gone forward. Pop, pop, went 
the carbines. He came down the lane as he had gone out in 
the advance of the column of two. Pop, pop, went the car- 
bines, szip, szip, came the balls. The boys came flying down 
the lane. Pop, pop, went • the carbines, szip, szip, came the 
the balls in close proximity to their ears, and tired legs could 
not carry them half fast enough. The balls hissed spitefully 
and unpleasantly near the boys as they came rushing down 
the lane. Packer kept Barnes close company for perhaps 
half the distance to the bivouac, then taking shelter in a fence 
corner returned the bushwhackers' fire. Not knowing but 
that these daring fellows were the skirmishers or scouts of a 
strong cavalry force near at hand, Colonel Dick ordered the 
regiment to stand to arms, and at the same time ordered a 
company to be thrown forward and deployed as skirmishers. 
The company at once opened fire on the valorous enemy to 
develop his strength. But it proved to be just two adven- 
turous spirits who saw their chance to have a crack at a 
"Yank." The skirmishers pressing rapidly forward suc- 
ceeded in killing one of their horses, and as a troph3^ brought 
in the saddle; but the men made good their escape by doub- 
ling on the remaining horse. 

The two would-be foragers came safely to the bivouac. 
It was really a close call for both of them, yet it served as 
matter for quite a good deal of good humored raillery among 


the comrades for some days. Soon the report came back 
from the skirmish line that no enemy was in sight and the 
regiment again broke ranks and proceeded with the prepara- 
tions for the night's bivouac. The menu was exceedingly 
scant. There was no savory smell of fresh pork, only a very 
small supply of hard tack, parched corn, and coffee. 

Reveille was sounded next morning, the 4th, at the 
usual hour, 4 o'clock, and the Eighty-sixth filed out upon the 
road in the advance of the brigade at sunrise. The column 
started out on the road to Loudon. Details of foragers were 
made from all the regiments to secure supplies of provisions. 
The Eighty -sixth's foragers having to travel over the same 
ground passed over by the foragers of the two brigades in 
advance had but little success in getting supplies without 
traveling great distances on the flank, which at the rate of 
speed the column was moving they could not easily do. This 
placed them at a great disadvantage and the men were con- 
sequently extremely scarce of anything to eat. Still the 
foragers, detailed and independent, came not to camp en- 
tirely empty handed. A noon halt was made for dinner and 
the march then continued. The brigade bivouacked between 
3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the Eighty-sixth being de- 
tailed for picket. 

Notwithstanding the boys had been notified that they 
would not receive any more rations until they reached Knox- 
ville, on the morning of the 5th an issue was made to the 
command. The allowance was very scant and required more 
care and time to divide and distribute than if the supply had 
been more plentiful. About 7 o'clock a. m. the march was 
resumed. Arriving at the Little Tennessee river there was 
delay on account of the bridge being broken. The command 
remained here until about noon and got dinner before cross- 
ing the river. The crossing was made at Morgantown. The 
column was rushed forward as though it was going all the 
way that afternoon — almost on the run with very few rests. 
The command was strung out upon the road and badly scat- 
tered. This pace was maintained for hours. The men who 
got behind their commands knew it was impossible to catch 


up and therefore took things easy. Many of them beo^an 
foraging, raking in without mercy everything edible. The 
command bivouacked about 10 o'clock p. m. The men who 
had kept their places in the ranks were almost completely 
exhausted. Leg weary and footsore many threw themselves 
down to sleep without awaiting to prepare their usual cup of 
coffee. It was a desperate jjush and the men would hav(^ 
been more than human if they had uttered no protest against 
the unexampled exertions they had been required to make 
on this occasion. It fell with particular force upon the 
Eighty-sixth on account of its vigil while on picket the pre- 
vious night. The distance marched that day was eighteen 

On the following morning reveille was sounded at 4 
(/clock and the regiment breakfasted almost entirely on for- 
age provisions, save good old government coffee. Its place 
could not be supplied by any article which could be foraged, 
though the men were compelled to use it sj)aringly on ac- 
count of its scarcity. The command resumed the route step 
about daylight and speedily covered three miles and arrived 
at Maryville, the county seat of Blount county. Here the 
command rested for a short time. A part of Sherman's 
troops, of the Army of the Tennessee, were here also. After 
leaving Maryville the regiment proceeded at a rapid pace 
and reeled off about five miles without a halt. Passing 
through a small place called Springfield it reached a stream 
known as Little river. Here the men were informed that 
they would remain an hour or two and possibly all night. 

During the afternoon Hour was issued to the regiment — 
about a tablesjioonful and a half to the man. But to encour- 
age the men they were informed that both flour and meat 
would be issued some time during the night. About sun- 
down a few potatoes were issued, and so far as they went, 
were very acceptable. The day had been fine and was quite 
comfortable and agreeable in that respect, but as the men 
coukl not live on fine weather it did not satisfy or compensate 
them for their lack of rations. The command was getting 
farther and farther from its base of supplies, and consequently 


the diflficulty of supplying it with rations greatly increased. 
The single line of railroad to Chattanooga was barely suffi- 
cient to supply the troops there and along the line. Now, if 
the Army of the Ohio and the Fourth corps had to be sup- 
plied from thei'e and depend upon one or two small boats to con- 
vey the supplies up the river to Knox vi lie with what their 
small wagon train could haul over such villainous roads, the 
outlook for the winter was not particularly bright. Conse- 
quently the troops must, under the circumstances and condi- 
tions, often be destitute, or live off the country. The lat- 
ter alternative was far from encouraging, as the rebel army 
had already pretty effectually collected the surplus for its 
subsistence. This rendered the situation more alarming than 
it otherwise would have been. The command bivouacked 
here on the night of the 6th. 

On the morning of the 7th reveille was sounded at 4 
o'clock, and the orders were to march at 7 a. m. , but the Eighty- 
sixth with the Third brigade did not start until 8:30. They 
marched about a mile and came to the place of crossing Lit- 
tle river, and were delayed for some time. The place of 
crossing was at Rockford, a small village ten miles from 
Knoxville. When the brigade was across the stream the col- 
umn marched at a rapid rate, at least, wherever the roads 
would permit a show of speed, but as the roads were muddy 
and the country broken and hilly, great speed was out of the 
question. Dragging through the mud up and down hill was 
very tiresome, and as many were destitute of bread, and no 
halts were called which would enable them to bake, they be- 
came weak and exhausted. The halts were few and brief, 
and there was a very tired and an extremely hungry com- 
mand when the Third brigade of Wood's division bivouacked 
on the evening of the 6th of December^ — about sundown in the 
edge of a strip of timber not far from the Holston river, two 
miles south of the city of Knoxville. The goal was reached. 
The prize was won. The city was saved and the imperiled 
army succored. Gen. Longstreet on hearing of the advance 
of the forces of Sherman assaulted Burnside's works — Fort 
Sanders — attempting to overpower him before the rescuing 


column could get within striking distance. The assault was 
made just at daybreak on the morning of the 29th of Novem- 
ber, and was of the most determined and desperate character, 
but was liandsomely repulsed. Longstreet lingered a few 
days about the city's works and drew away on the 4th of 
December, retiring toward Virginia. 

The steady tramp of Sherman's column was inexorable 
as fate, and Longstreet, cool and daring as he was, knew it 
was worse than useless to face and contend with both Sher- 
and Burnside. He gave up the struggle, but for the Fourth 
corps it was only fairly begun. It was true the forced march 
for the rescue was over. Success had crowned the effort 
after much suffering. But now Sherman was to return to 
his own department, while Wood's and Sheridan's divisions, 
of the Fourth corps, were to remain in the Department of the 
Ohio, and render Burnside 's success secure from future at- 
tacks. The late perilous situation of his army had been too 
great for those in authority to be willing to again expose it 
to the risks of such a siege. Therefore, two divisions of the 
Fourth corps were left as reinforcements for the Army of the 
Ohio upon the request of General Burnside. 

The Fourth corps was to remain in East Tennessee — in 
the Department of the Ohio, and endure the hardships of that 
isolated command. And most of the rank and lile always con- 
tended that Wood's division suffered more than the Army of 
the Ohio; that being only detached troops they did not have 
the favors extended to them from the commissary depart- 
ment which the troops of the department received. Be that 
as it may, it is certain that all suffered great hardships and 
endured the most severe privations. Perhaps the suffering 
of the troops in East Tennessee during the winter of 1863-64 
was the most severe of any general body of troops of the 
Union army during the war, not even excepting the siege of 
Chattanooga. But the men had no thought of these great 
trials in store for them on their arrival at the bivouac on the 
bank of Holston river opposite Knoxville. 

At this camp opposite Knoxville, the Eighty-sixth made 
its first batch of liapjacks out of that abominable stuff known 


in East Tennessee as "sick flour. " It would be futile to at- 
tempt to describe the sensations one experiences from eat- 
ing it. Ipecacuanha, or lobelia, is not more sickening. The 
suffering one endures from it is of the depressing and nau- 
seating character with various extras thrown in. The regi- 
ment had a good supply of rails and only lacked in rations 
to be reasonably comfortable when the first supply of this 
flour was procured. The men were delighted and expected 
to live well so long as the flour lasted. All were soon busily 
engaged baking flapjacks, and there was not a great deal of 
ceremony wasted until they were disposed of, for the time 
being at least, but it did not prove to be the final disposition. 
Soon the fun began, if fun it may be called. First the saliva 
began to flow, then the stomach began to have its misgiv- 
ings, then rebellion and tumult became evident and the poor 
weakened stomacli insisted on throwing off the vile mixture. 
It was soon very evident that these stomachs did not pro- 
pose to be imposed upon in any such a manner. Their func- 
tion was to digest food and this was no food, but a poison. 
In fact, many of the boys imagined that some rebel fiend had 
actually attempted to poison them by poisoning the flour, 
and concluded that in his efforts to poison a whole army he 
had mixed the poison with so much flour that it was so 
divided up until each one only got enough to sicken and dis- 
quiet him instead of enough to kill as was intended. But it 
certainly would have been laughable to a person not inter- 
ested to have watched one who had eaten heartily of these 
flapjacks. First, he would be a little uneasy and restless. 
If sitting by the fire he would change his position frequently, 
probably get up and stand by the fire, turning a few times 
this way or that as if he were undecided as to the position 
he wished to assume for comfort But the decision was soon 
made. He would battle against fate and strive at first to 
control the internal commotion and put the rebellion down. 
That was what he had enlisted for. But the tenacious, 
stringy saliva would soon begin to flow in unmistakable 
ropes from the unwilling mouth. The sufferer would turn 
deathly pale, take a few quick steps away from the camp- 


five — ci sudden upheaval from the stomach, a volcanic erup- 
tion, minus the fire, and the climax was reached. It was a 
topsy-turvy, side splitting effort made to empty the stomach, 
and it was usually quite effectual. It was to the hungry 
soldiery a calamity. They were lanker than hounds and 
there lay their flapjacks on the ground with no other provis- 
ions in sight except this same "sick flour. " 

There were a few men with cast iron stomachs who did 
not at first get sick, and these guyed, in a most unmerciful 
manner, those who complained of this sickening stuff. These 
cast iron fellows accused the sick ones of making gluttons of 
themselves, averring that their sickness was not on account 
of the bad qualities of the flour but owing solely to their ex- 
cessive-indulgence, and it was therefore merely a just punish- 
ment which they richly deserved. However, sooner or 
later even these cast iron fellows had to succumb to its 
overpowering qualities and acknowledge the jDotency of its 
debilitating influence. Sometimes it did not vomit, but sick- 
ened, and caused an obstinate and debilitating diarrhoea that 
had a strong tendency to assume the form of dysentery. It 
produced the severe headache which usually accompanies in- 
digestion and also the general malaise. Of course as one 
might suppose the symptoms of an acute attack of indiges- 
tion were present and even exaggerated. But the men were 
not long in learning the nature of their ailment. Yet when 
they came to know its nature very well, as an old and fa- 
miliar acquaintance, a thing indigenous to this locality, while 
they remained in this department they were often compelled 
to use it, notwithstanding they knew at the time they w^ere 
ingesting pain and sickness, and perhaps untold misery. It 
is probable that this "sick flour" was responsible for the 
loss of more than one life to the Union cause. Frequently, 
however, it w^as Hobson's choice, that or nothing, and sick- 
ness although painful and extremely annoying w^as prefer- 
able to starvation. So the men ate to live, although they 
were sick unto death always after eating it. This was a case 
equal to eating the first army blanket at Camp Tippecanoe. 
"Sick flour " was not only an unsubstantial diet, but a most 


distressing one. There was no way of testing the flour but 
by eating it. It was indeed a sore and heavy trial to weary, 
hungry men. 


Blain's Cross Roads— House Mountain— Lye Hominy— Parched Corn— A Bleak 
December— Gaunt Hunger, Rags and Icy Winter Go Hand and Hand— Clirlst- 
mas Thoughts— That Cold Xew Years— A Mail From Home— Strawberry 
riains— To Dandridge and Back— A Second Valley Forge. 

The Eighty-sixth remained in camp near Knoxville until 
the 16th of December, performing the various duties incident 
to camp-life. The supply of rations continued extremely 
meager. Meat principally consisted of mutton, but occasion- 
ally the boys had a little poor beef. For bread-stuff some- 
times they had a little meal, and it was very little, and oc- 
casionally they had the "sick flour, " The price of all kinds 
of provisions was very high. A very dark and poor quality 
of sorghum molasses was readily sold at 25 cents a pint or 
i|2per gallon. There was no grumbling at prices when any- 
thing to eat could be purchased. The men were frequently 
out of bread, and then they would forage corn, and parched 
and ate it to appease hunger. In fact, parched corn was 
about one-half of the Eighty-sixth's living during the entire 
winter. On the 14th appearances indicated that the regi- 
ment would remain at this camp for some time, and the men, 
therefore, set about to make themselves more comfortable. 
Huts sprang up everywhere, covered with shelter tents. 
From a brick kiln near by bricks were procured to construct 
chimneys, and the camp of the Eighty-sixth at once swarmed 
with carriers of brick, mixers of mortar, and brick-layers. 
The walls and the chimneys grew apace and it soon looked 
like a city springing up as if by magic. Although it was 


hard work, yet all exerted themselves as faithfully as bea- 
vers. The work was continued on the 15th. Hard work and 
scant rations did not harmonize well together. It was on this 
day that Captain C. P. Rodman made glad the hearts of Com- 
pany H by buying a dressed hog of an old Tennessee farmer 
who was taking it to the city for sale, paying at the rate of 
12 cents per pound. The work on the shanties was pushed 
forward with great vigor The toilers were weary and their 
labors were almost completed when orders were received for 
the command to march immediately. The afternoon was at 
least half gone. The regiment was soon ready, fell into line, 
stacked arms and waited further orders. About sun-dowu 
word was received that it would remain in its present camp 
over night. This gave the men one night in their log-houses 
with brick chimneys which they had labored so hard to build. 
It seemed the fate of the private soldiers that if they under- 
took any improvements for their own comforts, just about the 
time they neared completion and the men almost exhausted 
with their toil, the orders would come to march. 

On the following morning, the 16th. reveille was sounded 
at 4 o'clock. The regiment was up promj^tly, breakfasted 
and packed up ready for the tramp. Before marching the 
men drew ammunition to complete sixty rounds. The Eighty- 
sixth tiled out at 6 o'clock a. m. and took its course toward 
the Holston. The command was delayed at the river waiting 
for other troops to cross. After crossing it marched through 
the city, turning eastonits streets, and proceeded up along the 
general course of the Holston river. The march was steadily 
maintained, few stops for rest being made. After noon a 
halt for dinner was called, but the tramp was soon resumed 
and at a rapid pace. Rumors in ranks were current of fight- 
ing at the front farther up the country than the day's march. 
These rumors were various and conflicting, so little depend- 
ence could be placed in them. The Third brigade bivouacked 
about sun-down on a hill somewhere near half-way between 
Strawberry Plains and House Mountain. The day's inarch 
was a hard one, covering, as General Wood said, about 
twenty -one and a half miles, and this, too, over very muddy 


and heavy roads. The camp was in the timber, consequently 
fuel was plenty and the boys soon had good fires. This 
camp was sometimes denominated Camp on Flat Creek, and 
sometimes Camp near Blain's Cross Roads, or near House 
Mountain. It was two or three miles from the mountain, 
and about two miles from the Cross Roads. 

At this camp the regiment remained until the 14th of 
the following January. Life here was one continual round 
of duty and struggle for subsistence, and in procuring fuel 
to make fires to keep from freezing. The first night here 
the men slept without tents and a terrific rainstorm drenched 
everybody from head to foot. It turned cold and all were 
nearly frozen before morning. Thus the changes and vicis- 
situdes of inclement weather were added to the suffering 
from hunger, testing the fortitude of the most resolute. At 
this camp was one of their hardest times for rations of the 
regiment's entire term of service. Directly after its arrival 
the rations were exhausted and the men had nothing but 
parched corn, and not enough of that at times. Lye hominy 
was made by boiling the corn and the ashes together in a 
camp-kettle. After the supply of hominy failed, the men 
had more " sick flour." Then a mixture of flour and meal, a 
half-pound to the man as a daily ration, presumably mixed 
by the commissary with the hope that the meal would pre- 
vent the flour from making them sick. Gradually rations 
grew more scare and the men had in a great measure to de- 
pend upon themselves. Many of the regiment, almost every 
mess, went to the Holston river, obtained boats, crossed the 
stream with ice running dangerously thick, and went miles 
beyond, procured corn and carried it on their backs, re- 
crossed, and returned to camp that they and their comrades 
should not suffer the pangs of starvation. Sometimes a lit- 
tle meat could be foraged, but it was rare. The beef issued 
was of the poorest conceivable quality. General Jacob D. 
Cox in his history of the Atlanta Campaign, speaking of the 
destitution of the army in East Tennessee during the winter 
of 1863-64, says: "The country was stripped bare, and dur- 
ing the month of January the cattle that were turned over to 


the troops for beef were so poor they could hardly stand up. 
It is literally true that it was the custom of the commissa- 
ries to drive the cattle over a little ditch in the field where 
they were corralled, and those only were killed w^hich could 
not get over, their weakness proving that it would not do to 
keep them longer, whilst the others might last for future 
use. Indian corn was ground up, cob and all. for bread. 
Bran and shorts were diligently hunted and used for the 
same purpose. The country was scoured for subsistence 
stores." This statement would show the destitution of the 
army to have been extreme, but the actual condition was 
even worse than this portrayal would indicate. Of the beef 
cattle of the division many w^ere killed that were so poor that 
they had to be lifted up to be knocked down. Strange and 
improbable as this statement may seem to those unaccus- 
tomed to army life, yet it is a fact, and one not hard to ex- 
plain. These cattle had to be driven on foot with the army 
and as the country was almost stripped of all kinds of forage 
for the horses and mules, the cattle ate only that which they 
could pick by grazing and brow^sing, and in the cold and 
storm of an extremely inclement winter, one can easily com- 
prehend how poor and weak they would become. The 
butchers always killed the poorest, as they were no longer 
able to move and keej) pace with the column in case the com- 
mand had to march. The stronger ones were saved, as Gen- 
eral Cox says, for future use. They would probably be suf- 
ficiently strong to move with the troops if not hurried. The 
l)oorest would get down and were unable by their own 
strength to get up. After they had lain there any length of 
time it would be necessary, for obvious reasons, to move 
them before butchering. Consequently the butchers w^ould 
help them up, move them off to a more desirable place, knock 
them down and dress them. How w^ould the fastidious pal 
ate of to-day like such beef? The meat was so poor and 
gluey that had a piece of it been thrown against a brick-w^all 
or a beech tree it certainly would have adhered to it. But 
mark now the destitution of the men. Often would soldiers 
gladly pay one dollar a piece for the head of such a beef. 


Sometimes they would get the head and the melt for one dol- 
lar, but usually only the head. The head would be cleaned, 
the eyes taken out and then the whole head boiled in a camp- 
kettle, and the bones picked clean of every fibre of meat. 
Thus did the Eighty-sixth subsist, suffer and endure, almost 
without a murmur, during this dreadful winter. Sometimes 
indeed the men did not have even the poor beef's head to 
pick, or corn to parch. Once while the men were out of meat 
the Holston river ran so high and full of ice that none 
ventured to cross its angry flood, and corn could not be 
procured on their own side of the river. Once or twice 
while here at this camp the regiment drew some musty, 
worm-eaten hard tack that was almost as villainous as the 
bread made from the "sick flour." The risk of losing the 
bread was too great to attempt to pick the worms out of it 
until broken in the coffee. The worms that were freed from 
the cracker by the softening effect of the hot coffee would 
swim on the top. They were scooped out with spoons and 
then blindly gulped down. 

With scarcity of rations there was another trouble almost 
equally serious during the cold weather; namely, the lack of 
clothing. Many a poor boy could be seen with his pantaloons 
worn out at the knees, and no under-garments, his blouse in 
rags, his gray army shirt in tatters, socks with neither heels 
nor toes, and shoes almost gone. In such weather to which 
the men were exposed and thus wretchedly clad the suffering 
was great. Many slept on the ground with only their ponchos 
to protect them from its dampness and cold, while for cover- 
ing they had but a single woolen blanket. It is extremely 
doubtful if the suftering of the patriotic army of Washing- 
ton at Valley Forge could have exceeded the sufferings of the 
Fourth army corps during the winter spent in East Tennes- 
see! Those desperate trials made things look gloomy. It 
either looked like the government at Washington was poverty 
stricken or was criminally negligent. Yet the men bore up, 
knowing that the cold weather could not last long. Nor did 
they then as now so fully apjDreciate the tremendous respon- 
sibilities resting upon President Lincoln and his cabinet in 


their efforts to crush the great rebellion, nor the almost in- 
surmountable difificulties that had to be met and overcome on 
every side to get supplies, and, at the same time, lay up stores 
at the base and sub-base for the ensuing campaign, the lat- 
ter being almost equally necessary to that of subsistence 
during the winter. But parched corn seldom failed entirely, 
although it frequently ran low, and it general required her- 
culean exertions to procure corn after the little army had re- 
mained here two weeks, and had used the corn in the imme- 
diate vicinity. Picket duty was particularly heavy here, so 
that the men rarely had more than two days' rest off the line 
at a time. Between picketing, foraging, and x^rocuring fuel 
they were kept quite busy. No doubt there would have been 
much more discontent and grumbling among the troops, if 
there had been more idleness. But the morale of the Fourth 
army corps was almost perfect, as was proven on all occa- 
sions during the winter and during the cainj)aign the follow- 
ing summer with Sherman to Atlanta. 

About 2 o'clock p. m., December 24, the Eighty-sixth 
received orders to be ready for picket at 3 o'clock. By 4 
o'clock the men of the regiment were on duty on the picket 
line. Such was their promptness under the most discourag 
ing and trying circumstances. Colonel Dick, the very soul 
of promptness himself, never tolerated any dilly-dallying 
when the time came for the performance of duy, and the reg- 
iment had learned to act without a second command. No dif- 
ference what difficulties confronted it, its every duty was 
performed with promptness and alacrity suited to the occa- 
sion. But once arrived at the picket-station the men had to 
supply themselves with fuel at the station and at the out- 
posts, as the extreme cold made fires an imperative neces- 
sity. The chilly winds of that "bleak December day" went 
to the marrow through their rags. Labor, poorly clad, cold 
and hunger, with the vigils of guard duty, made the situation 
an extremely trying one. This Christmas eve brought no 
gayeties for the men of the Eighty-sixth. How many poor 
fellows on this occasion longed for the pleasures at home, the 
greeting and smiles of loved ones, the tender caresses of 


parents, of brothers and sisters, the kind good nights, each 
face beaming with the anticipated joys of the morrow's glad 
surprises for the dear one gathered round the hearth-stone 
of the far away but ever dear Northern home, where at their 
mother's knee long ago they learned the lessons of love and 
duty, as she plied the nimble needle and made "old clothes 
look maist as weal's the new," to give to each other tokens 
of pure affection on the annual return of this day. But alas I 
the cruel breath of war blew over the land and separation 
from home, kindred, and friends became a duty not to be 
shirked — a call not to be denied, however bitter the anguish 
of the separation. The former joys of the day's annual re- 
turn were not now to be enjoyed, and the thoughts of those 
bygone days and their happiness, brought only pain and dis- 
tress. The brave sentinel, as he paces his lonely beat, may 
think of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of 
Peace, of His goodness and mercy, but this does not wholly 
assuage his grief at the cruel disappointments he is made to 
feel just at this time, w^hen his hard life seems to be crushing 
every particle of joyousuess out of his nature. But the true 
soldier, after thinking over these things, the thought comes 
to him: it is for country, for home and kindred, that I am bat- 
tling. What infinite good may be reaped from the harvest of 
the seed of self-abnegation sown by the fearless hand of a 
true man, and dashing a tear from his young, clear, manly 
eye he straightens himself up and looks the conquei'or that 
he is. He has conquered self — a prime element to a perfect 
soldier. He now paces his beat with the steadiness of tread 
and the martial air of a veteran of years of training. He has 
put all else behind him but the cause he has espoused. He 
has in this solitary manner renewed and reaffirmed his cov- 
enant in his innermost soul to stand by and support his com- 
rades, uphold the "colors," and reaftirmed his allegiance to 
the cause of country, duty and the right. The sacrificial 
offering is now complete. None may know the sacrifices of a 
soldier's life who have not abode for a time upon the tented 
field, and been exposed to the extremes of winter's cold and 
summer's heat, and met the desperate foe upon the ensau- 


guined plain where the embattled hosts have striven in charge 
and counter-charge. Nor is it supposed, that now with so 
many years intervening, that one in a thousand of the vet- 
erans of "62 and '65 can fully recall all the terrible vicissi- 
tudes of those break, chilly days of that cheerless Decem- 
ber time. Much has been forgotten of the anguish suffered 
from the pinching cold, the pangs of semi-starvation and of 
exhausting labors to procure fuel and food. It is only when 
a number of "the boys" congregate and hold communion in 
the spirit of old times that suggestion plays it full part, that 
an approach in imagination to the reality of those dreadful 
times can be made. This was one of the darkest periods of 
the regiment's service — about the holidays — at the close of 
1863 and the incoming of 1864. The gloom that hung over 
the regiment immediately after the battle of Stone's River, 
where it was almost annihilated, may only be allowed to have 
been greater than that at the camp at Blain's Cross Roads. 
But the men bore up better at the latter place. They seemed 
to be actuated by the motive 

" As Clirist died to make men holy 
Let us die to make men free." 

This may not have been the sentiment of every private 
soldier and officer of the Eighty-sixth, but it was what they 
were virtually offering to do by serving in the army at that 
time. Many claimed that they only fought to maintain the 
country's unity and the constitution as it was, but President 
Lincoln has said, with that prescience for which he was so re- 
markable: " This country cannot endure part slave and part 
free." It was for the freedom of the slaves they fought, 
thus making possible the unity of the country ^ — all free. It 
is doubtful if such thoughts entered the minds of many of 
the rank and file of the Eighty-sixth on Christmas morning, 
1863, when first aroused from their slumbers. The condi- 
tions and circumstances of their environment claimed most 
of their thoughts rather than the wider field relative to the 
general purposes and causes of the war. That environment 
was not a joyous one. No glad shouting of merry children, 
no cheerful greetings and the wishing for each other "A 


Merry Christmas." The spiritual barometer was too low 
for this. But the stern command of officers broke the slum- 
bers, for they had slept soandly even if it was Christmas 
morning. Their commands were : ' ' Prepare to go on out- 
post, ' ' and, ' ' Prepare to go on the line immediately. ' ' This 
was the Christmas greetings. And in the gray of the cold 
bleak morning the Eighty -sixth went on the line and gazed 
upon the rugged heights of House Mountain as the darkness 
disappeared. The Christmas dinner of 1863, for the most 
part in the Eighty-sixth, consisted of a small piece of corn 
bread made of unsifted meal, mixed with water and a very 
little salt, and baked or fried in the irrepressive army fry- 
ing-pan, and a small bit of third or fourth grade army bacon. 
It is hardly necessary to say that it was not a banquet or a 
feast. Turkey, cranberry -sauce, or scalloped oysters could 
not be indulged in. 

The regiment was relieved about 4 o'clock, by the Nine- 
teenth Ohio, Colonel Manderson, and at once marched back 
to cami3. But the labors for the day were not ended. The 
Colonel had determined to move the place of camping and 
the only suitable place found was almost an impenetrable 
thicket of brush. It was at no time an inviting place for a 
camp, but at this time just coming off of picket, the boys re- 
garded this change as a particular hardship. Camp was 
tinally arranged and tents put up. Tired and worn out with 
guard vigils and labor, all felt the need of rest and sleep. 
The meager suppers of corn bread and bacon were soon dis- 
patched and immediately after tattoo the cam^D of the Eighty- 
sixth was silent as a city of the dead. The flicker of the 
I camp-tires alone redeemed it from the gloom of night. But 
I alas! for weary mortality. Some picket firing occurred and 
i the regiment was ordered into line of battle, and stood there 
j in the cold for two long hours. Tired, sleepy, and half 
frozen those two hours seemed an eternity. There being no 
[ other indications of an attack the men were at length per- 
mitted to break ranks and lie down. Tliis was Christmas 
I for the Eighty-sixth. 

Never will it be forgotten by the members of the Eighty- 


sixth SO long as life and memory shall last. After being 
permitted to retire to rest the men slept undisturbed for 
some time when one of the tents of Company H caught fire. 
This aroused the inmates who at once raised an alarm which 
awakened others of the company and regiment. The spirit 
of Christmas, of fun and frolic, took hold of all for a sliort 
time, and the camp of the Eighty-sixth became a perfect bed- 
lam beyond all description. Cat-calls, yells and camp slang 
made it an uproarious time for the space of fifteen or twenty 
minutes when nature again asserted herself and all returned 
to bed to secure the much needed rest. 

The men were again out of rations and drew for bread- 
stuff on the 26th a miserable lot of flour. It was alive with 
worms, and it is quite safe to say that the picking of worms out 
of that flour was the business of at least one man in eacli 
mess of the entire regiment until all were tired. The flour 
proved to be not only wormy but "sick " and was an abomi- 
tion to any half civilized stomach. The filthy pools of stag- 
nant, green-scummed and rank water of Kentucky, in which 
decaying mules festered and rotted in the sunshine, were not 
more trying to the stomach than this despicable, maggotty, 
' ' sick flour, ' ' loaded with other nauseating and poisonous qual- 
ities, which every soldier well knew were quite .sufficient to 
make him a fit subject for the hospital. 

After foregoing the pleasure of a mail for nearly a month 
the Eighty-sixth received a large one on the 29th of Decem- 
ber. Many hearts were made glad by the perusal of missives 
from the dear ones at home. "When it was announced that 
the mail had arrived the entire regiment took on a new life. 
How welcome was a letter from home to the soldier, and how 
sad he felt when those at home neglected to write. The dif- 
ferences on the countenances of those who received and those 
who did not were particularly noted on the arrival of this 
mail, so long had it been since one had been received. The 
features of the one lit up with pleasure, as he perused 
the epistle in his hand — doubtless the letter of some dear 
wife or mother, or may be sweetheart — and as he read it, a 
smile of joy illumined his weather-beaten face. This was 


happiness. It was an oasis on the desert of his rough life of 
danger and suffering. With the other the opposite effect 
was observed; as soon as the word "none" had passed the 
lip of the regimental postmaster the look of anxiety faded 
away, and an appearance of extreme sorrow could be seen 
plainly stamped on his features, while a feeling of envy at 
his more fortunate comrades was plainly apparent. This 
was unhappiness. , The song of hope that had illumined his 
heart when he inquired if there was any letter for him had 
died away, and a feeling of loneliness and regret of the neg- 
lect of those at home took possession of him. Happj' were 
they who had homes and loved ones to hear from I 

Next to the scarcity of rations the hardships incident to 
being poorly clad during the extreme cold weather were 
most severely felt. It was often so cold that when attempt- 
ing to write letters or make entries in diaries the ink would 
freeze on the pens. It would often be necessary to heat the 
pen and write as rapidly as possible until it cooled oft". An- 
other plan was to sit near the camp-fire, which was usually 
a veritable log-heap, and roast one 's-self while writing, plac- 
ing the ink bottle in the hot ashes. The men would sit up 
late at night roasting themselves around the fires — roasting 
one side while the other was almost frozen. A few brief 
hours' exposure to cold in civil life is sometimes thought to 
be quite a hardship, but when it comes to suffering from 
morning until night, and from night until morning, day in 
and day out, week in and week out. the suffering is real and 
almost unendurable, and one returns to the child's philosophy 
and wonders "where all the cold comes from." Ljing 
down at night somewhat warmed, at least partially thawed 
out, by the great fires in front of his tent, the soldier would 
sleep soundly for a time. At length the fire would burn low 
and the cold would begin to assert. Then he would awaken 
with benumbed and aching toes, stirring up the fire lie would 
"thaw out" his pedal appendages and return to his couch of 
leaves, straw or the cold ground, curl up "spoon" fashion 
with his buukmate for another brief nap. Thus did the 
soldiers sleep and rest. This is not the histoiy of sieges or 


gory fields of glory, or even important military movements, 
but it was the actual life of the Eighty-sixth while at Blain's 
Cross Roads. 

General Cox in his history of the Atlanta Campaign, 
speaking of the incoming year 1864, says: "The new year 
opened with a furious gale and icy storm, which came as a 
cyclone from the northwest, reducing the temperature sud- 
denly below zero. The half-naked soldiers hovered around 
their camp-fires, some without coats, some without panta- 
loons, some with tattered blankets tied like petticoats about 
their waists. " This is a fair statement so far as it goes as to 
the ill condition of the clothing of the troops, but it is in part 
misleading. The account is only half told. The soldiers 
could not "hover around the camp-fires " until the camji- 
fires were built. Wood had to be chopped and carried up, 
and the chopper and carriers, although half -naked, could not 
hover about the fire. Provisions had to be secured and the 
foragers could not "hover about the fire," nor the lone 
picket far away from the fire on the bare bleak hillside with 
his faithful Enfield ever in hand— he most of all suftered in 
this terrific blizzard. The like was never before known in 
Tennessee. It was indeed a pitiable time -for the men in 
ranks. New Year's day, 1864, is yet known all over the 
Northwest as "the cold New Years. " 

As early as December 14, Dr. W. W. Blair, Medical 
Director of the Third division, Fourth corps, made a per- 
sonal inspection of the men in this command. He reported 
to General Wood that he found them exceedingly destitute 
of clothing. He said that the entire outfit of many soldiers 
consisted of a blouse, worn as a shirt, a pair of pants well 
worn, a pair of shoes, and in some instances not even those, 
an oil or woolen blanket, and a hat or cap. As one of the 
results of this exposure, he found the men attacked with 
rheumatism, with diarrhoea, and with fever of a typhoid char- 
acter. General Wood thereupon addressed a communication 
to General Granger, commanding the Fourth corps, enclos- 
ing Surgeon Blair's report, who referred it to the command- 
ing general of the department with his approval endorsed.. 


General Wood in the course of his communication said: "It is 
very evident from Surgeon Blair's report that, if the com- 
mand be left much longer in its present exposed, unpro- 
tected, and unprovided condition, the ordinary military com- 
manders will be relieved soon of further care of very many 
of the men, as they will have been placed by Generals Rheu- 
matism, Diarrhoea, Pneumonia, and Typhoid Fever beyond 
the reach of further human care. The Second and Third 
divisions have not been supplied with clothing since the 
march from Middle Tennessee in August last. After fight- 
ing a great battle, we were hurried off to the relief of the 
beleaguered garrison at Knoxville. We came cheerfully and 
with alacrity, not only as a matter of duty, but as a work of 
love. But the siege having been raised, and it being appar- 
ent that further active operations in this field for some time 
to come are impossible, w^e ask now that immediate and 
effective measures be taken to supply our wants. " General 
Wood went on to say that the men were not only destitute of 
clothing, but men and officers were suffering for want of suf- 
ficient protection in tents. He thought the only effectual 
remedy was to be permitted to return to Chattanooga where 
the officers and men had left their baggage and shelter. But 
the appeals of Generals Wood and Granger were in vain, 
and the two divisions of the Fourth corps remained in East 
Tennessee during the entire winter. Deplorable as was the 
condition of the command in the middle of December it be- 
came lamentably wretched as the days wore on. 

On January 13, orders were received that the command 
would march on the following morning at 7 o'clock. The 
work of preparation commenced at once. The corn bread 
had to be baked that the men might have bread while on the 
march. In this way they came to more fully appreciate the 
hard tack which was at first so bitterly denounced. It re- 
quired no baking or preparation when other duties required 
their attention, but like the true soldier in ranks it was 
always ready at a moment's notice. The "general call'' 
w^as sounded by the brigade bugler about 6:30 a. m. on the 
morning of the 14th, and the Third brigade filed out upon the 


road to Strawberry Plains at 7 o'clock. It crossed the Hol- 
ston river at the Plains and proceeded in a southeasterly 
direction. The weather was warmer than the first few days 
of the month and the roads had thawed out and were exceed- 
ingly muddy, consequently all who were on foot were very 
much fatigued before the night's bivouac was reached. The 
command covered fourteen or fifteen miles, notwithstanding 
the very bad condition of the roads and the delay caused in 
crossing the river. On the morning of the 15th there was 
but little to eat in the camp of the Eighty-sixth, except mut- 
ton and parched corn. These articles with a little coffee 
made the meal for about one-half of the regiment. Many 
had less, and a few fortunate foragers, perhaps had more. 
The column resumed the march about 7 o'clock, the Eighty - 
sixth having the advance of the brigade. After covering 
eight miles with one brief halt for a rest, the brigade arrived 
within about a mile of the town of Dandridge and bivouacked 
in the woods along side the road. The advance guards had 
driven the enemy out of the town. Dandridge is the county- 
seat of Jefferson county, located on the French Broad river, 
thirty-two miles east of Knoxville. Before the breaking out 
of the war it contained about 1,500 inhabitants. 

Foragers were detailed and sent out immediately to pro- 
cure provisions, as the regiment was almost destitute. The 
foragers brought in fresh pork, chickens, geese, ducks, corn 
and whatever would sustain life. The products of the coun- 
try were not plentiful and some ventursome expeditions were 
made, especially as it was known that the enemy was hover- 
ing near. On the 16th many of the boys had sallied forth in 
every direction to replenish their stores, when cannonading 
opened in the direction of camp which brought them in at a 
lively speed. The progress they made did the command full 
credit, as it was then known as ' ' Wood 's Greyhounds. ' ' Mus- 
ketry became quite lively, and the men fully expected to be 
ordered out upon the battle line. Just after noon the regi- 
ment was ordered into line and held in readiness for attack 
or defense at a moment's notice. The fighting continued 
throughout the afternoon and far into the night, but the 


Eighty-sixth was not needed. Late in the evening a small 
supply of clothing was issued to the most needy. 

On the morning of the 17th the regiment was ordered 
into line of battle very early and held thus for some time as 
a precautionary measure, but as there were no indications of 
an advance by the enemy the men were permitted at length 
to break ranks and get breakfast. Early in the forenoon 
the regiment received orders for picket duty, but in a short 
time this was varied to orders to be ready to march at a 
moment's notice. Everything was packed in short time. 
The men remained at the bivouac, lounged about the camp- 
tires and discussed the situation of affairs here and the prob- 
ability of a battle being fought at this time. No attack was 
made until about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when cannonad- 
ing and musketry fire both opened up in a brisk manner. 
The men momentarily expected to be called upon to go and 
repel the attack, but no call came until about dusk. The 
regiment marched out about a quarter of a mile from camp 
and there held in readiness for two hours, waiting the devel- 
opment of the enemy's plan of operations. It then marched 
back to its bivouac. Orders were given to march. The men 
sat round the camp-tires chatting, a few falling asleep in a 
half-reclining posture against stumps, trees, or xiiles of wood. 
Others threw themselves upon the ground and slept soundly, 
while many did not shut their eyes. About 3 o'clock on the 
morning of the 18th the men were ordered to "fall in." The 
regiment took arms at once and marched slowly out in the 
direction of Strawberry Plains. The night was cold, the 
ground was frozen, and in many places the road was icy. 
Here on the ic}^ road the men would slip and slide and some- 
times fall heavily to the ground, stuggle to their feet and 
tramp on. Soon after starting the men were compelled to 
wade a stream of water half-leg deep with the water at the 
freezing point. This did not add to their comfort or good 
humor, but there was no time then to build bridges and the 
Irishman's pontoons were always at hand. But the column 
pressed on. No stop was made until after daylight, when a 
brief halt was called and the command breakfasted. It was 


a scant meal for most of the rank and file of the Eighty-sixth. 
Some had corn bread and beef, some had corn bread and 
mutton, some had bread and chicken, and others had chicken 
without bread, some had bread but no meat, and still others 
had only a little parched corn. The spirits of the men were 
not the best, yet they were not despondent and they kept up 
well, considering the situation. The rest, the meal, and 
daylight reanimated the command somewhat, and the march 
was resumed in better humor than when the halt was 
ordered. The men were now relieved of the frozen, icy con- 
dition of the road, but the mud and water occasioned by the 
thawing was about as bad as the slippery condition of the 
road when frozen. It soon began to rain which down x^our 
continued nearly all day. The men, therefore, only escaped 
from one evil of the road to find themselves confronted by 
another quite as bad, if not worse. The mud grew deeper 
and deeper, and every step taken was in mud up to shoe- 
mouth. It was utterly useless to try to go round it, or avoid 
it in any way. Therefore the men went ' ' like dumb driven 
cattle " straight forward, turning neither to the right nor to 
the left, for the mud was everywhere. The day's march was 
a desperate one, considering the condition of the roads. The 
command reached Strawberry Plains a little after dark, hav- 
ing covered during the day's mai-ch, as estimated, about 
twenty-six miles, and that, too, over the very worst of roads. 
Having reached their bivouac, the men had to carry rails a 
long distance — a good half mile — procure water, build fires 
and get supper before resting for the night. It is doubtful 
if even those who participated in this march can at this late 
day fully comprehend their extreme fatigue and weariness, 
and the soreness of their muscles, when they had cooled off 
after the march was over. The frugal meal dispatched, the 
men made down their beds for the night. It had again 
turned cold, and it was quite windy and disagreeable and 
threatened a storm. They turned in early "to sleep, per- 
chance to dream ' ' of home and its comforts and its happiness. 



The Bivouac in the Snow— Bade to Blaryville— xV Laugliable Incident— General 
Willich in Temporary Command of the Division— Again on the Move— Smoky 
Hollow— At Knoxville— On to Morristown— Back to New IMarlvet— Again at 
Morristown— Strawberry Plains— Off to Kutledge— The Clinch Mountains— A 
Scouting Expedition —Bound for Chattanooga— The Campaign Ended— At Mc- 
Donald Station. 

The morning of the 19th dawned, but it was a rude 
awakening for the soldier, tired in every limb and muscle, 
stiff in every joint and lank as a fox-hound after a long chase. 
The men had slept soundly, and not a gun or bugle note dis- 
turbed their repose. It was a January morning long to be re- 
membered by the Eighty-sixth. There lay the command on 
open ground and covered with snow five or six inches deep! 
The words of Margaret J. Preston came vividly to mind: 

" Halt- the march is over, 

Day is almost gone; 
Loose the cumbrous knapsack, 

Drop the heavy gun. 
Chilled and wet and weary. 

Wander to and fro. 
Seeking wood to kindle 

Fires amidst the snow. 

" Round the bright blaze gather. 

Heed not sleet or cold ; 
Ye are Spartan soldiers. 

Stout and brave and bold." 

The various bunks lay around over the ground like so 
many logs rolled together and buried in the snow. No 
sign of lif(; revealed itself for some time. First one, and 
then another, would gently lift the blanket covering his 
head and stretch his neck out like a turtle from under his 
shell, take a brief observation of the appearance of things, 


utter some exclamation of surprise, and quickly withdraw his 
astonished countenance from sight. Carefully tucking the 
blanket around his head, to keep the snow^ from tumbling 
about his ears, he meditates. But there w^as work to be done. 
More rails had to be procured for fuel, and it w^as a particu- 
larly unpleasant task for weary soldiers to turn out into the 
snow and trudge a half mile or more. But difficulties never 
vanish by trying to evade them. They must be met and 
overcome. Finally all were up and at work. Here, too, was 
an occasion where work was a benefit to the laborer in and 
of itself, not that he particularly needed the exercise for the 
sake of exercise, but the work was highly beneficial both for 
the physical w^ell-being of the soldier and for the morale of 
of the command. At the first look to the half-rested, half- 
starved, poorly clad, sore-legged soldier it was a gloomy 
morning indeed^ — a disheartening prospect that well-nigh 
overmastered him. Under such depressing conditions and 
circumstances the renewal of work is the great panacea — 
the one great safeguard, the surest cure, and so it proved 
with the Eighty-sixth. When the effort was made to meet 
the difficulties, great as they appeared to be at first, it was 
soon seen that they were not insurmountable, and as the 
blood began to flow more freely from exertions put forth, 
the spiritual barometer began to indicate fair weather, figura- 
tively speaking, and the gloom began to disappear. The 
morning meal over, the next task was to dry the blankets, put 
tents and haversacks in order to be ready to march. Al- 
though the tents were not pitched they were used for a cov- 
ering. Blankets held the more moisture and were the first 
to receive attention. Fires were built and the blankets 
stretched upright on the muskets as near them as possible. 
By the time the men were ordered to "fall in,"' which was 
between 11 and 12 o'clock, they had their blankets and tents 
pretty well dried. The regiment crossed the Holston river 
after .some delay, and marched about four miles from the 
river toward Knoxville and bivouacked. The afternoon was 
cold and windy, being very disagreeable, and the indications 
betokened a stormy and unpleasant night. The men, therefore, 


busied themselves in making preparations for the night. 
Sheds, bowers, lean-tos, and. in fact, all kinds of temporary 
makeshifts for protection from the piercing wind and the 
coming night's cold, were erected. A little flour and meal in 
lieu of bread, and a very scant rations of coffee, sugar, and 
salt were issued at this place. A mail in the evening glad- 
dened the hearts of many. 

On the following day, January 20, the weather moder- 
ated and was quite i^leasant as the day advanced. The troops 
lay round the bivouac all day until about one hour before 
sun -set, when the '"general call" was sounded by the brig- 
age bugler. The command was soon marching "route-step " 
in the direction of Knoxville. The roads were muddy and 
the marching heavy and slavish which made the progress 
slow. The command- covered four or five miles and bivou- 
acked about 8 o'clock in a thick woods alongside of the road. 
Rails were procured for fuel and supper prepared. It was 
both late and light of necessity. On the following morning, 
the 21st. reveille was sounded at 5 o'clock and the men were 
soon busily engaged in baking '• flapjacks " or corn bread 
for the day's rations. These constituted a very poor substi- 
tute for hard tack when on the march. The command 
marched out a little after sunrise in the direction of Knox- 
ville. passed through the city, crossed the Holston river, and 
went about tw^o miles beyond and bivouacked. On the 22d, 
the regiment remained in bivouac. General John G. Foster, 
at this time in command of the Department of the Ohio, 
passed the camp on the 22d, doubtlessly, looking out a loca- 
tion for the brigade and division. Some teams were sent 
foraging during the day, and in the evening orders were 
received to be ready to march at 8 o'clock the next morning. 
It was also " grapevined " through camp that the enemy was 
advancing and was within four or five miles. It was not 

Saturday. Januarj- 23, the bugles sounded reveille at 6 
o'clock. Soon all was bustle and hurry. The march was 
resumed at the hour appointed. The command covered 
about two miles and was halted. A small supply of cloth- 


ing was here issued to the Eighty-sixth. Many were in 
great need, and were very glad to get it, as all had been more 
or less destitute ever since being cooped up in Chattanooga 
by Bragg. The needy were now only partially supplied. 
Many were greatly disappointed in not receiving the much 
needed articles. The march was resumed as soon as the 
clothing was distributed. However, the march was not at a 
rapid rate and the regiment was frequently halted for rests. 
When Little river was reached the command was delayed 
for some time as it had to cross in single file. 

A laughable accident occurred here. The command 
crossed just above a mill-dam on two hewed logs, the ends 
of which were chained together in the middle of the stream. 
Avhile the other ends were safely anchored to the banks. Of 
course the force of the current carried the ends of the logs 
in the stream down with it so there was an angle formed in 
the middle of the stream where the w^ater w^as quite deep, 
the logs lying almost at right angles with one another. Con- 
sequently the distance to be traveled in crossing was 
increased and the progress delayed. Besides the logs lay in 
the water and every step taken gave them more or less 
motion and rendered them not a perfectly sure and stable 
footing to one inclined to be timid. The majority of the 
Eighty-sixth were becoming impatient at the long delay and 
hurried across as rapidly as possible when their turns came 
— most of them at a brisk trot. When Company H"s turn 
came all were in a hurry but one man, Leander W. Friend, 
known the regiment over as "China," on account of his 
being so fat and "chuffy." As a natural consequence of his 
superabundance of adipose tissue he was as clumsy as a 
bear. When his turn came, and he was among the first, he 
passed along very slowly and deliberately, notwithstanding 
the calls of comrades to hurry. His best pace was decidedly 
slow and he was afraid of tumbling into the water and being 
drowned. Just behind him was a comrade of the exact 
opposite i^hysical make. John Worden was one of the quick- 
est, most active, nervous men in all the regiment. Whatever 
he did. he did with all his might and with lightning like 


rapidity. "China" waddled along like a fat pig, "Worden 
dancing along behind him on nettles, as it were, at his delay, 
until they reached the angle made by the logs in the middle 
of the stream. Here Worden's impatience would brook no 
further delay without an extra effort on his part, so he made 
a spring to get ahead of " China" as he turned from one log- 
to the other. But the second log being somewhat broader 
than the first one gave "China" more confidence and he 
quickened his pace and reached the point of Worden's land- 
ing a second too soon for the latter who only succeeded in 
striking his more bulky and weighty comrade and bounding 
back into the water. He went down like a shot up to his 
neck. With knapsack, haversack, gun and cartridge-box he 
was pretty heavily handicapped for a struggle in the water, 
but caught hold of the log quick as a flash and thus saved 
himself until the clumsy ••China" very deliberately stooped 
over and pulled his agile comrade out of his ludicrous pre- 
dicament amid the shouts of laughter of all those who wit- 
nessed it. 

The Eighty-sixth proceeded about two miles beyond the 
river, and bivouacked for the night on the side of a hill near 
one of its old camping places as it marched up to Knoxville 
from Chattanooga. The bivouac was located near a grist 
mill and the traffic between the boys and the miller was 
quick brisk for a time. Many had carried a supply of corn 
all day, others most of the day, in fact, wherever and when- 
ever it could be foraged a supply was laid in, and now the 
supply on hand was traded for meal. Orders were received 
in the evening that the command would march at 7:30 the 
following morning. 

On the morning of the 24th the column resumed the march 
at the appointed hour. The pace was moderate, with fre- 
quent rests, until about 10 o'clock a. m., when the out-skirts 
of Mary ville were reached. Here it halted, closed up in mass, 
and General Willich, then temporarily in command of the 
division, made a short speech in his broken English. He 
said that the Third division. Fourth army cori)s, was here 
alone, and that it would be compelled to depend upon itself. 


He further said that there should not be any foraghig or 
scouting, except when ordered. Free and independent ex- 
cursions for any purpose must not be thought of for fear of 
capture by the enemy's cavalry that was continually scour- 
ing the country and picking off prowlers who ventured away 
from their commands. His blunt, out-spoken manner, and 
the peculiar way he had of putting things created much mer- 
riment and he was greeted with shouts and laughter. This 
speech of the General's greatly amused everybody, and put 
the rank and file in great good humor. His kinds words en- 
deared -him to the men, and then he had shown himself so 
considerate of them in his manner directing and conducting 
the march that all were fully convinced that he would do the 
very best he could for them on all occasions. 

The brigades were assigned their positions by General 
Willich, and the regiments took their respective positions 
according to the order of the day's march. Immediately 
after dinner the Eighty-sixth began work upon quarters to 
make themselves comfortable. All were busy and more or 
less successful, so in a comparatively short time the men 
were comfortably cantoned. Most of the bunks of the regi- 
ment built shanties and covered them with their shelter 
tents, and constructed fire-places of clay and rock with 
"stick and mud" chimneys. This work, however, created 
extra keen appetities, and as rations were decidedly short 
many imagined that it was absolutely necessary that they 
disregard one of General Willich 's positive commands. Cat- 
tle, hogs, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, corn-pone, corn 
and potatoes did not come amiss, but there was not a great 
amount of any these productions in the country. Corn was 
the most plentiful, and with this the men generally supplied 
themselves. This w^as grated into meal and made into 
bread without sifting. The forms of making bread were 
numerous. Hoe-cake baked on a board before the fire, grid- 
dle cake, ash cake, dodger, and corn-pone, were all attempted 
to give variety to the bill-of-fare, and according to the con- 
veniences of the culinary department. Occasionally the men 
would draw a ration of beef "dried on hoof" from the com- 


missary department, but this was rare. Sometimes a pie 
could be bought. The price for an ordinary Tennessee pie 
at this time was thirty cents. 

The regiment's military functions consisted of picket 
duty, which was quite heavy, and details for foraging. When 
not on duty the men employed their time, at first, in fixing 
up and improving the camp, cutting down and leveling up 
the floors of their shanties, ditching them and making their 
temporary homes more comfortable. They made stools, 
bunks, tables, and many other little conveniences, so at the 
end of a couple of weeks they were quite comfortably situ- 
ated. After the camp was established, a ball ground was 
laid off, and daily, when the weather was favorable, those 
not on duty took exercise by playing a few games of ' ' town 
ball." Later on, while here, a violin was procured, and, 
when the evenings were fine, dancing was engaged in. Of 
course, it was a veritable '"stag dance." However, it was 
entered into with great gusto and thoroughly enjoyed. Not- 
withstanding all this, the health of the regiment remained 
reasonably good. Of course some of the weaker ones broke 
down during this time, and others felt the effects of the win- 
ter's hardships later. 

About the last of January the other regiments of the 
brigade went on a scout, and it fell on the Eighty-sixth to do 
the picketing for the entire brigade. This made extra duty 
which kept the men quite busy for some days. But the pick- 
eting was not particularly disagreeable here," excepting in 
bad weather. Yet this duty is always unpleasant in inclem- 
ent weather. About the 4th of February, the non- veterans 
of the Thirteenth Ohio, and those of the Fifty-ninth Ohio, 
came to the Eighty-sixth to remain with it for duty while 
those who re-enlisted went home on their veteran furloughs. 
Those of the Thirteenth had some hard cases among them, 
and occasionally made trouble for the company officers in 
which they were placed. 

Along about this time, too, the rumors of the enemy's 
advance, of cavalry fighting at Seveirville and to the south of 
Maryville, about theChilhowee mountains, began to make the 


rounds of the camp, and the reports were constantly chang- 
ing from the report of light skirmishing to that of severe 
lighting, and from that again back to unimportant skirmish- 
ing. On the 7th of February a cavalry guard conducted a 
small squad of rebel prisoners by the camp of the Eighty - 
sixtli in the direction of Knoxville, which confirmed, to a 
certain extent, the report of some skirmishing, at least. 
About this time, too, orders were given which were a little 
more strict concerning absence from camp and for a closei- 
watch by the pickets. On the 10th orders seemed to point to 
an expected attack. The cavalry videttes, out perhaps five 
miles, were fired upon, and a camp rumor grew in jjropor- 
tion, the "grapevine" worked the more rapidly. On the 
12th the regiment received the stores which they had packed 
and sent back early in the fall. With these goods were the 
overcoats of almost every private in the regiment. While 
near Blain's Cross Roads the men sorely needed their over- 
coats, but their wants did not furnish transportation. As 
badly as the men needed clothing, provisions were equally as 
great a necessity, and the wagon trains had not been able to 
half supply the demand. 

On February 13, a number of disheartened Confederates 
came in and gave themselves up, saying they had enough of 
war and fighting, and wished to abandon the cause of the 
Confederacy. They were taken care of and sent to Knox- 
ville to take the oath. Generals Wood and Willich were 
both now at home on leaves of absence, and the command of 
the division devolved on General Beatty, and that of the 
brigade on Colonel Dick. It had been raining quite hard and 
had made the roads very muddy, when on the night of the 
15th of February the men were aroused by the officers and 
told to rise immediately, as orders had been received to march 
at once. They arose promptly, struck tents, and packed up. 
This was about 11 o'clock at night. At 2 o'clock a. m. on the 
IGth, the regiment filed out upon the road toward Knoxville, 
in mud shoe-mouth deep. The marching was slavish and the 
progress slow. Little river was not crossed until afternoon. 
Pushing ahead rapidly for some time good speed was made. 


The command was then halted to allow the wagon train to 
take the advance. Once more the men plunged into the mud 
and water and forged ahead as rapidly as possible, but it was 
slow work. However, the command did not halt for bivouac 
until within about three-fourths of a mile of the pontoon 
bridge crossing the river ^at Knoxville. The camping place 
was reached about 11 o'clock at night. The regiment biv- 
ouacked in a ravine that ran down to the Holston river. The 
night was cold, only a few limbs could be found, although in 
the woods. This was one of the most uncomfortable 
bivouacs which the regiment had yet occupied. The location 
was .not so bad, so much as the inclement weather rendered 
it disagreeable. On the following morning the men arose 
promptly at reveille, which was sounded at daybreak. It 
was disagreeably cold and the wind whirled in gusts in every 
direction, and yet there was no possible chance to escape 
from its terrors unless the men left the camp and took their 
chances of freezing. The men were hungry, cold, and 
smoked almost blind, and the place in rememberance of their 
misery was denominated "Smoky Hollow." It might have 
been very properly called " Cold- Windy-Starvation-Hollow, " 
to commemorate the trinity of the sufferings which the men 
endured. The regiment remained here from about 11 o'clock 
on the night of the 16th and until about 1 o'clock on the 
afternoon of the 18th of February. There was not a decent 
looking pair of eyes in the entire regiment when it marched 
out. Had there been a requisition made for a regiment of 
mourners the Eighty-sixth should have furnished the detail. 
It could have filled the bill to perfection. 

The command crossed the river, passed through the city 
and about one mile beyond and west of the town, bivouacking 
on the site of an old camp of a part of the Nintli army corps. 
Here it lounged in bivouac for several days without any 
special duty to perform. On the 20th the regiment was 
ordered out for general inspection by Major Comstock, Gen- 
eral Grant's Inspector General. On the 22d it drew two 
months' pay which came very acceptable. On this day, too, 
most of the men of the regiment went to work on their own 


motion to build quarters. They worked hard the 22d and 
23d, and most of them had just finished and moved into very 
comfortable huts on the evening of the 23d, when orders 
were received for fatigue duty which was soon changed to 
march in the morning. On the morning of the 24th the regi- 
ment resumed its wanderings. Passing through the city 
and along up the Holston it made good time and halted for 
the night about one hour before sunset. Remained at this 
bivouac two days and a half and marched up to Strawberry 
Plains, crossed the river and bivouacked within a quarter of 
a mile of the ferry, having crossed the river in boats. 

The next day, February 28, at 12 o'clock noon, the regi- 
ment started for New Market, east on the railroad. After 
marching about two miles it halted for a rest. Here the 
Eighty-sixth first saw the new Department Commander, re- 
cently the Commander of the Army of the United States, Major 
General John M. Schofield. Arriving at New Market and 
passing through town about a quarter of a mile the Third 
brigade bivouacked, and received orders to be ready . to 
resume the march at 5 o'clock the following morning. 

The march was resumed promptly at the hour appointed, 
but the inarching was not so pleasant on account of a heavy 
fall of rain during the night. About 10 o'clock when halted 
alongside the road for a rest, General Schofield and staff 
came riding down the road. The brigade arrived at Morris- 
town about 4 o'clock and the Eighty-sixth had the good for- 
tune to occupy some very good "shanties" built by troops 
belonging to the division of the rebel General Johnson, 
which was learned by inscriptions on the walls. The com- 
mand had covered eighteen miles over muddy roads, and the 
men were tired; they considered themselves fortunate to 
get to shelter in the rebel huts even at the risk of accumu- 
lating a supply of "graybacks. " A soaking rain fell during 
the night, drenching everything that was not under roof. 
Reveille was sounded at 4 o'clock and the regiment was up 
and ready for any emergency. The rain continued to fall 
most of the time during the forenoon and the Eighty-sixth 
remained housed. Rations of hard tack, poor beef, sugar 


and coffee were drawn. In the evening of March 1, orders 
were received that reveille would be sounded at 4 o'clock. 
Strict orders were given against straggling or scouting 
independently. The regiment was astir at reveille and at 5 
a. m. filed out upon the road and took the back track to New 
Market. The march was pretty steadily maintained with 
occasional rests, however, and arrived at camp near New 
Market at 3 o'clock p. m. Here strict orders were received 
to remain in camp, as the command was liable to march at any 
time during the night. The rank and file knew nothing of 
the cause of these moves — this marching and counter-march- 
ing, but it kept them alert. The regiment remained at New 
Market until the 12th, a scarcity of rations existing most of 
the time, many of the boys spending their extra cash in 
town 'for something to eat. It was at this camp that Cap- 
tain James Gregory, of Company C, sent in his resignation 
on account of ill health. George Storms, of Company I, and 
John M. Cast, who had been to Indiana on recruiting ser- 
vice, returned to the regiment while in camp at New Mar- 
ket. While at New Market the regiment had but little duty 
to perform. It had light details for picket, and prepare for 
inspection on Sunday. 

On B^'riday, March 11, orders were received to marcli on 
the following morning at 8 o'clock. The bugles sounded 
reveille at -1 o'clock. The men breakfasted and were ready 
in good time, although the march was resumed at 6:30 a. m. 
instead of 8 o'clock. Passing through New Market the com- 
mand took the road to Morristown again. The march was 
continued until 2 o'clock p. m., when the regiment bivouacked 
in a thick brushy woods near Panther Springs, four miles 
west of Morristown. Orders to march at 5 o'clock the next 
morning. Reveille at 4 o'clock, and the regiment was at 
once awake and busy preparing for the march. But there 
was no rush, and the command lay round the bivouac fires 
until sunrise, marched out for Morristown and arrived there 
between 8 and 9 o'clock. The Eighty -sixth was again so 
fortunate as to be camped in the rebel "shanties." The 
regiment was ordered on picket, and went out about 10 


o'clock a. m. At 2 o'clock p. m. five companies were relieved 
and ordered to return to camp. There were rumors of fight- 
ing, and strict orders were given forbidding the men to leave 
camp under any circumstances. The fire of the skirmishers 
could be plainly heard during the afternoon and evening. 
The weather was raw and cold, a strong wind was blowing 
the entire day, making it very disagreeable, and the rebel 
" shanties" were a great convenience. This was on the 14th 
of March. It was on this day that Lieutenant Yount, of Com- 
pany K, sent in his resignation. In the morning of the 17th, 
orders were received to march at 5:30 a. m.. Vacated the 
huts and marched through town to the southeast a half-mile 
and camped. There the regiment was called upon to furnish 
aheavy detail for picket. On the morning of the 18th orders 
to march again. The picket detail was in charge of Captain 
William S. Sims, of Company F. When the detail reached 
cam 23 the regiment had already set out upon the march, and did 
not succeed in rejoining its command until Mossy Creek was 
reached. No halt, however, was made, the command pressing 
on to New Market, where it arrived at noon. This was a 
tremendous rush for burdened troops — eighteen miles for the 
command in six hours, and about twenty miles for the picket 
detail under Captain Sims in the same length of time. This 
was perhaps the most rapid marching for the time and dis- 
tance the regiment ever made. And there was nothing 
known to the rank and file which seemed to indicate that 
there was the least need of such forced marching. -In fact, 
as the regiment remained here the rest of the day was pretty 
good evidence that no such an effort was at all necessary. 

On the morning of the 19th the bugles sounded reveille 
at 4 o'clock. At 5:30 the march was resumed. Passed 
through New Market to the west, taking the road to Straw- 
berry Plains. The pace this morning was moderate and fre- 
quent rests were made. Crossed the river at the Plains 
about noon, and proceeded about three-quarters of a mile 
farther and bivouacked. Here the men had another half day 
to rest and recuperate, and have a good time discussing their 
probable destination. The next morning they were not dis- 


turbed, and the men of the Eighty-sixth slept quietly until 
daybreak and breakfasted at their leisure on hard tack, 
bacon and coffee. The "general call" was sounded about 9 
o'clock, and marched about noon, that is two brigades, 
Hazen's and Beatty's, passing the old camp at Flat Creek, 
leaving House mountain to the left and then behind, going 
up the valley toward Rutledge, the county-seat of Grainger 
county. Having covered eight or nine miles, the command 
bivouacked this time in an open field. On the 21st reveille 
was sounded at 4 o'clock. With skirmishers in front and 
Hankers on either side of the line of march the two brigades 
proceeded up the valley. Clinch mountains were on the left 
and the Holston river on the right. The pace was not rapid, 
but sufticiently well maintained to make fair progress. The 
command reached Rutledge about the hour of noon. The 
luck of the Eighty-sixth did not desert it, and the regiment 
was sent on picket. All reliefs not on the line were called 
up at 4 o'clock, and after a hasty breakfast the regiment 
stood to arms until daylight, and was then permitted to break 
ranks. The regiment was relieved about 11 o'clock, and 
marched at once to its camp-ground. This was on the 22d 
of March, and during the forenoon quite a snow fell. The 
command only remained here until the 24th, when it marched 
back down the valley opposite a gap in Clinch mountain 
known as Powder Spring Gap. 

From there on the 26th the Eighty-sixth went on a scout- 
ing expedition over the mountain. Marching over hills and 
through hollows the regiment at length reached the foot of 
Ihe mountain and began the ascent. It was toilsome march- 
ing, winding around over the mountainous roads, still ever 
creeping higher, higher, as the gap is comparatively but a 
slight notch out of the great ridge. However, there was 
some compensation for this laborious marching, for^as the 
men went up the mountain they could look back far over a 
magnificent stretch of coulitry. Away to the east and south- 
east lay a country sufficiently broken to show the ridge and 
small valleys, presenting a beautiful landscape. It was a 
grand and inspiring view. Going down the mountain on the 


opposite side a like stretch of country was to be seen to the 
north and northwest, the eye almost reaching to Cumber- 
land Gap. After crossing the mountain a lively pace was 
struck up the valley almost parallel with ridge. Bivouacked 
a little before dark in an open field. Strong pickets were 
put out as the country was reported to be infested with 
"bushwhackers." No attack was made on any of the pick- 
ets, although some of the sentinels seemed to think there 
were prowlers around camp during the night. The march 
was resumed on the morning of the 27th up the valley, fol- 
lowing a road which ran near the foot of Clinch mountain, 
but which at length left the mountain and bore off to the 
north. A "bushwhacker"' was captured before noon by a 
detachment of Union calvalry. As he attempted to shoot 
one of the cavalry officers, after having been taken a pris- 
oner, he was promptly shot down and left lying in the road. 
The climate of the valley, especially in this immediate local- 
ity, was supposed to be very unhealthy for single blue-coats, 
or even small squads absent from their command, therefore 
the ducks, geese, chickens, pigs and lambs were safe. A 
halt was called at noon. After a brief rest the regiment 
started on its return trip. The march was made in the same 
rapid manner as that of the forenoon, and it bivouacked on 
the same ground of the previous night. When the regiment 
started on its return a company was sent up on the movmtain 
to patrol it for bushwhackers. The company captured three 
suspicious characters supposed to belong to that class. 
Mountain "rangers" skulking away from the blue-coats were 
looked upon as dangerous, particularly in this ]-egion where 
it was l^nown so many found hiding places. The regiment 
reached its place of camping about 4:30. A few squads ven- 
tured out a short distance from camp on indei)endent forag- 
ing excursions and gathered in small quantities of corn pone 
and such other articles as were easily collected, but no exten- 
sive trips were attempted as they evidently would have been 
attended with great danger. When almost ready to resume 
the tramp down the valley Company E was detailed to go 
over on the mountain, deploy and scour the mountain from 


this point to the gap. The march was resumed at a moder- 
ate rate in order not to get too far in advance of the company 
on the mountain whose progress was necessarily slow. Oc- 
casionally some one would loosen a huge boulder and it 
would come thundering down the mountain side with the 
force of many cannon balls crushing everything before it. 
Company E rejoined the regiment on the mountain in the 
gap. Marching steadily the regiment reached its camp 
safely at noon on the 28th. Remained here some days 
watching for the enemy in force, and for "bushwhackers" in 
particular, but with no great success. 

On the 3d of April Hazen's Second brigade came in from 
a two or three days' scout. On the evening of the 5th orders 
were received to march at 6 o'clock the following morning. 
The scouting and watching had been done to clear as thor- 
oughly as possible East Tennessee of the enemy, and now 
the veterans were to join Sherman and Thomas, leaving a 
few regiments of veteran infantry and cavalry and the hun- 
dred days" men to look after and protect the country in the 
rear, while the division was to go to the front to try conclu- 
sions with wily Joe Johnston's army. Johnston was perhaps 
the wariest and most skillful and able of all the Confeder- 
acy's generals. He was, too, when occasion demanded a 
daring fighter, a really capable battle-chief. 

On the morning of the 6th of April, the regiment 
marched at 6 o'clock and bivouacked at night near Straw- 
berry Plains. The next day the command covered about 
twenty miles, passing through Knoxville and some distance 
beyond on the road to Loudon. At this bivouac a heavy 
rain fell, and the command lay by for a half-day. Then 
pressing on it passed through Concord and Lenoir's and 
reached the river opposite Loudon about 8 o'clock a. m. on 
the 10th. As the command could not cross it marched back 
about a half mile and bivouacked until the following morn- 
ing when between 9 and 10 o'clock it crossed on a boat, tlie 
"Kingston,"' and remained in camp here untill the lilth. On 
morning of the 13th the tramp was resumed at 5 o'clock. 
Passed through Philadelphia and marching moderately 


reached the town of Sweetwater about noon, and bivouacked 
for the night one mile beyond the town. On the morning of 
the 14th the bugles sounding reveille for the various brig- 
ades and regiments awoke the echoes of the hill and dale at 
4 o'clock, "murdering sleep," and the men arose promptly, 
"bayonetted" their coffee and prepared a soldier's meal 
with a soldier's alacrity. But the hurry was entirely unnec- 
essary as the Eighty-sixth being in the rear did not march 
until 9 o'clock. That day the regiment passed through 
Mouse Creek Station and arrived within one mile of Athens 
and camped in a pine grove. On the 15th reveille was 
sounded at 4 o'clock. Some one writing of the late war and 
speaking of reveille calls it "the morning's repetend " and 
speaks of its "repetitional notes. " It would seem to be true 
to the tired soldier, and when sleepy to the last degree after 
a long and wearisome march were seldom more aggravated 
than when awakened, it seemed immediately after closing 
their eyes in sleep, by these "repetitional notes" of the 
bugle so often sounded under the same circumstances, 
always to awaken them, to disturb their slumbers if they 
were asleep, to call them to renewed labors of toilsome 
marching, was it any wonder that tired humanity sometimes 
swore at the bugler and wished him in Halifax. On the 15th 
the march was resumed at 5:30 a. m. Passing through 
Athens the command took the road to Charleston. After 
passing through Riceville, Calhoun was reached at 1 o'clock, 
crossed the Hiwassee river on pontoons and arrived at 
Charleston before it was late, near which place the regiment 
turned in for the night. On the 16th the regiment was on 
the march at 5:30 a. m. going toward Cleveland, but the gait 
was moderate with frequent rests. The Eighty-sixth reached 
Cleveland at 2 o'clock. At the outskirts of the town the 
regiment was ordered to "fix bayonets." It was thrown 
into columns of divisions and marched through in fine style 
with colors flying and keeping step to the music of the 
Union. The command covered eighteen or nineteen miles on 
this day. On the following morning the men slept undis- 
turbed. The morning's "repetend" had failed to repeat 


and the " repetitional notes " themselves seemed to be sleep- 
in£i\ at hist. It was rcfreshmg, indeed, once more to sleep 
undisturbed. The regiment was now in camp near McDon- 
ald Station, between Chattanooga and Cleveland. 

And now the Eighty-sixth's campaign to Knoxville and 
East Tennessee for the relief of the Army of the Ohio was 
ended. It had returned to the vicinity of Chattanooga and 
rejoined the forces of the old Army of the Cumberland, after 
a long, dark winter of hardships, hunger, and sutfering, such 
as had never been experienced in its own department, not 
even while beleaguered in Chattanooga. 


rrtMu'ial Howard in Command of the Fourth Corps— Tlie Eleventli and Twclftli Corps 
Consolidated and Designated tlio Twentieth— Sherman's Preparation for the 
Atlanta Campaign— Tlie Importance of the Grand Movement— Tunnel Hill— 
Ivoclcy Face Kidge- Dalton— The Hattle of Resacca. 

On the 10th of April General Gordon Granger had been 
relieved of the command of the Fourth army corps, and had 
been succeeded by General O. O. Howard. At the same 
time the Eleventh corps, which up to that time had been 
commanded by General Howard, was consolidated with the 
Twelfth corps, and the designation changed to that of the 
Twentieth, with General Joseph Hooker in command. The 
Army of the Cumberland was now composed of the Fourth, 
Fourteenth, and Twentieth corps. While at McDonald 
Station making preparations for the Atlanta campaign some 
changes were made in the commanders of the Fourth corps 
divisions. General D. S. Stanley was jilaced in command of 
the First division, GeneralJohn Newton of the Second, while 
General T. J. Wood retained the command of the Third. No 
changes were made in the brigade commanders of the Third 
division, of which the Eighty-sixth formed a part. 


CJcneral W. T. Sherman, who had succGeded General 
Grant in the command of the Military Division of the Miss- 
issippi, had concentrated an army of nearly a hundred thou- 
sand men in the vicinity of Chattanooga, having for his 
chief objectives, the destruction of the Confederate army 
under General Joseph E. Johnston, then at Dalton, in north- 
ern Georgia, and the capture of the city of Atlanta. General 
Sherman's forces were composed as follows: Army of the 
Cumberland, General George H. Thomas in command, with 
60,773 men; Army of the Tennessee, General J. B. McPher- 
son in command, with 24.465 men: Army of the Ohio, with 
General J. M. Schofield in command, with 13,559 men; mak- 
ing a grand aggregate of troops of 98,797. and of guns, 254. 
General Johnston's army was composed of about 55,000 men. 
It was arranged in three corps, commanded respectively by 
Generals W. J. Hardee, J. B. Hood, and Leonidas Polk. 

In importance of grand movements, continued skirmish- 
ing and close every day lighting from constant contact with 
the enemy, in numbers of momentous battles fought, and in 
practical lessons in the great school of war for both ofticers 
and privates, the Atlanta Campaign was incomparably the 
greatest of the campaigns in which the Eighty-sixth partici- 
pated. Nor is it in any sense intended to speak disparage- 
ingly of its former campaigns and battles, as the regiment 
was engaged in three of the greatest battles of the war, 
namely. Stone's River, Chickamauga. and the battle of Chat- 
tanooga. But as the Atlanta Campaign was its most remark- 
able campaign, so the regimental experience partook of its 
thrilling nature. It is not putting it too strongly to say that 
it was the greatest campaign of the war. It is true the forces 
of Grant and Lee in the East greatly outnumbered those of 
Johnston and Sherman in the West, but they were not han- 
dled with tlie same masterful skill as were the western forces. 
Nor did Grant's successes of '64 have the same determining 
effect upon the close of the war as did those of Sherman. 
Johnston's masterly retreat, covering every point of his 
route .so completely as he fell back, is universally recognized 
as a remarkable feat in all the world's history of military 


affairs, having few parallels in the history of retreats, and 
probably there has been none more skillfully conducted. A 
competent military critic who took an active part in the cam- 
paign says of it: "General Johnston, however, as he aban- 
doned his entrenched positions, conducted his retreat, in my 
judgment, in a prudent and consummate manner, both in 
strategy and tactics. All positions chosen for making a 
stand were selected with the utmost sagacity and skill, and 
his defenses were thrown up and strengthened with the 
exercise of marvelous ingenuity and judgment. * * In 
fact, it was the cleanest and best conducted retreat, as was 
remarked by every one, which we had seen or read of." 

That General Sherman, acting on the offensive which 
put him at a great disadvantage, was able to overcome John- 
ston's force, skillfully as it was handled, the difficulties of a 
mountainous country, a long line of communications, strongly 
fortified positions on ground easily defensive — naturally 
almost impregnable — all this, too, in the short space of four 
months, must ever place him head and shoulders above all 
of his contemporaries as a master of the science and art of 

To have taken lessons of war in this grand school under 
two such masters as General Johnston and General Sherman, 
assisted by Hardee, Hood, Polk, and Pat Cleburne, on the one 
side, and by Thomas, McPherson, Hooker, Logan, and Sclio- 
field on the other, is no small honor, and the Eighty-sixth 
was in it from start to finish, and with credit to itself and 
the State of Indiana. 

As stated at the close of the previous chapter, Wood's 
division arrived at the camp near McDonald Station on Sat- 
urday, April 16. On Sunday the men were ])ermitted to rest 
undisturbed, except they were required to ap]>ear in line for 
inspection. Lieutenant Kibler, the Brigade Inspector, per- 
functorily passed up and down the lines and the men were 
soon dismissed. On the 19th the regiment marched a short 
distance to a new camp ground, which was found to be ii 
wild woods with a dense growth of underbrush. The ground 
was soon cleared and the tents eroded. Again came the 


details for fatigue and jiicket duty at regular times, and 
after a few days, drill — recruit, company and battalion. The 
buglers were again busy sounding the calls for reveille, sick, 
picket, fatigue, meals, retreat, tattoo and taps, so that the 
time of the men was pretty well occupied. Still the duties 
were not exhausting and the men received a sufficient su])ply 
of good rations, so with few exceptions they were in excel- 
lent health. There were, however, a number in the regiment 
who were so completely worn out and broken down by the 
winter's hardships that they had to be sent to the hospital, 
some of whom died shortly after leaving the regiment. No 
doubt they were literally frozen and starved to death, 
although not dying immediately on experiencing these hard- 
ships. Besides the above mentioned duties the' men were 
ordered to engage at target practice. This led them to think 
that they were likely to have some shooting to do in the near 
future which would mean something, and they entered upon 
the performance of the new duty with great zeal. 

On the 29tli of April the Fourth army corps was reviewed 
by the new Corps Commander, Major General O. O. Howard I 
— the Havelock of the army. He complimented his com- 
mand highly and the mem returned to camp in fine spirits. 
Dress parade was held almost every evening, and the army 
was being put in the best possible condition for the coming 
campaign. On the 1st of May at dress parade a general 
order was read to the regiment, informing the men that the 
army would move soon and directing that all extra baggage 
should be packed and sent to Bridgeport. On the 3d the 
sick who were unable to march were sent to the rear. The 
impedlmeiita were reduced to a minumum and orders were 
received to march at 12 o'clock. 

The command marched out in a southwesterly direction, 
covering about seven miles, and bivouacking in a line pine 
grove. On the 4th it filed out upon the road at 6 a. m., 
reveille having been sounded at 4 o'clock. The roads were 
dry and dusty. The gait was moderate and frequent halts 
were made, probably for the purpose of reconnoitering lest 
the enemy should lie in concealment. The army was now 


ipproaching the outposts of a large force of the enemy and 
t was necessary that every precaution should be taken. The 
Tennessee and Georgia state line was crossed about 9 o'clock. 
I!ontinuing the march until 1 p. m. the division bivouacked 
lear Catoosa Springs, and to complete the programme as on 
'ormer occasions, the Eighty-sixth went on picket. The 
ine of sentinels was soon established. The enemy's pickets 
,vere in plain view. It was soon to be known as a skirmish 
ine, one, too, which with the movable column, was to last 
or months as it advanced further and further into the heart 
)f the Confederacy. 

General Jacob U. Cox, in his history of the campaign, 
peaking of the movements of the army and the concentra- 
ion of troops upon Dalton, or rather upon Rocky Face 
Ridge, says: "On the 4th of May, Scholield, marching out 
)f East Tennessee by way of Cleveland and the old Federal 
Road, had crossed the Georgia line and reached Red Clay, 
massing by a part of the Fourth corps, which immediately 
iook up its march and moved to Catoosa Springs, while the 
est of the Army of the Cumberland advanced to the imme- 
liate neighborhood of Ringgold, and the Army of the Tennes- 
see came close up on their right at Lee & Gordon's Mills. 
Sherman himself, was at the center with Thomas, and the 
whole army was well in hand, the extreme distance from 
McPherson to Schofield being about sixteen miles, in a line 
learly at right angles to the road from Chattanooga to Dal- 
on, Thomas, whose force was nearly equal to Johnston's, 
3eing somewhat advanced beyond the wings. ' ' The Fourth 
3orps was on the left of the Army of the Cumberland and 
lext to the Army of the Ohio, which was on the extreme left 
3f the infantry line of Sherman's grand army. 

On the morning of the 5th of May the Eighty-sixth was 
3n duty on the picket line near Catoosa Springs, Georgia. 
Those members of the regiment who were on the line as sen- 
tinels at the time when the picket relief came, witnessed the 
opening of the campaign on the part of the Fourtli corps. 
The advance of the picket or skirmish line was the first step. 
Hazen's brigade line was first advanced. A few shots were 


fired, -but a slight resistance was offered, the enemy falling 
back quickly on the approach of the line of blue-coats. The 
Eighty-sixth was relieved by the Seventy-ninth Indiana, Col- 
onel Fred Knefler. The men of the Seventy-ninth were no 
sooner distributed upon the line than they, too, were ordered 
forward. The advance was handsomely made, with only a 
show of -disputing the way, from the enemy's skirmishers. , 
Immediately after the advance of the skirmishers the detail 
returned from the line of the reserve station and the regi- 
ment marched back to camp. The regiment remained here! 
the rest of the day and the next day. Many of the boys vis-i 
ited the Springs and drank of the water without asking-leave, 
and looked through the hotel now deserted. 

Reveille was sounded promptly by the buglers of the 
Third brigade at 3:30 on the morning of the 7th of May. 
The two years' field service at the front had taught the men 
that these orders meant business. There were no laggards, 
that morning in the Eighty-sixth. The regiment marched] 
out at 6 a. m., the hour's delay being occasioned by another 
division having the advance. The progress made was slow 
on account of the proximity of the enemy. 

The season's entertainments were now opened. General 
Sherman had invited the boys to "a game of j)unch" with 
"bayonet trimmings" and "flash" accompaniments, and' 
they could not well refuse so polite and cordial an invitationl 
from such an urbane, courteous gentleman. The festival 
was now to begin — the ball was opened, at least the music- 
ians were tuning their instruments to furnish the music. But 
it was the festival of death, the harvest of carnage, on the 
field of battle. The crackling fire of the skirmishers as they 
pressed forward upon the enemy could be plainly heard 
directly after the Eighty-sixth left camp, and grew in vol- 
ume as it advanced. It became quite warm work as the 
forces pressed steadily forward, and as they approached Tun- 
nel Hill it grew hotter and hotter, threatening a battle. The 
lines were formed ready for the contest. Here and there 
were seen a few great red drops spattered on the dry leaves 
of the forest. They were like the few scattering raindrops 


that precede the fast approaching thunder storm of a sum- 
mer afternoon. But this was to be a thunder storm of a dif- 
ferent character — a storm that was- to be as terrific as the 
fiercest of the elemental storms, and it was to continue four 
long months, a storm whose raindrops were blood, whose 
hailstones were minie balls, shot shell and shrajDnel, wliose 
lightnings were flashes from the cannon's throat, whose 
thunders were the roar of batteries contending for the mas- 
tery; yet, into this fierce, pelting, destroying storm of 
human ingenuity, the Eighty -sixth resolutely pushed wiili 
bated breath. 

As Tunnel Hill was approached. Union batteries opened 
upon the enemy from various points, and the skirmishers 
pressed courageously on and soon cleared the town and 
mounted the hill through which the railroad tunnel is made, 
and which gives the name both to the hill and the little town 
situated at the foot of its western slope. The hill itself is a 
low mountainous ridge extending nearly due north and south, 
and lying about one and a half miles to the west of a com- 
panion ridge which, however, is much higher and is known 
as Rocky Pace Ridge. The low valley between these ridges 
was mostly wooded to the north, but opened by farms more 
to the south. The western slope of Rocky Face was heavily 
wooded throughout its length. The valley is almost unbroken 
by hills. Tunnel Hill is low in comparison with Rocky Face 
Ridge, which mounts to the height of eighteen hundred feet 
above sea level, and is crested with precipitous faces of 
quartz rock, making it insurmountable except where a lew 
narrow clefts of the rock can be found. It was, however, 
practically impregnable. This ridge is broken by a deep 
gorge for the passage of Mill creek. Two miles and a half 
south of the tunnel is Tunnel Hill. The mountain south of 
the gorge still maintains its broken nature and rock}^ faces, 
and is called by the various names of Rocky Face Ridge, 
Buzzard Roost mountain, Chattooga and Chattogata moun- 
tains. Mill creek rises by two branches, one in Snake Creek 
Gap between Horn mountain and Buzzard Roost mountain. 
and the other to the west of Horn mountain. These brandies 


unite at a point in the valley nearly west of Dag Gap, four 
miles south of Mill Creek Gap, thence running nearly due 
north until it reaches the gap and winds its devious course 
through the gap and among the hills until it reaches the 
Cooyehullee, a tributary of the Connasauga. The ends of 
these mountains, jutting upon tliis stream and forming the 
gorge, were known as Buzzard Roost, and the gap itself was 
commonly known as Buzzard Roost Gap. The mountain to 
the north of the gap is more rugged and broken than that to 
the south. The rocky palisades are higher and more diffi- 
cult to scale. The mountain south of Mill Creek Gap is 
broken by two slight passes known as Ray's or Mill Gap, 
and Dug Gap, Ray's Gap being directly west of Dalton. 
But they were securely guarded. Upon Rocky Pace Ridge, 
north and south of the gap, were posted the forces of John- 
ston's army. His line of intrenchments only extended about 
two miles on the crest of the ridge north of the gap, then 
turned due east, and crossed Crow Creek Valley, and thus 
securely protected his right liank. Any force which General 
Sherman should detach to turn Johnston's right flank in this 
position would have to make a wide detour to round the 
north end of the mountain. It would be entirely separate, 
from the balance of the army, out of supporting distance, 
and would find itself confronting an almost impregnable line 
of breastworks. Thus Dalton was held securely on the 
north and west; for the ridge was a veritable rocky fortress, 
impregnable in front, and made apparently so on the flanks. 
It did look as though there was little hope of success when 
opposed by such barriers and such forces directed by such 
consummate skill, but General Sherman was alert to every 

The skirmishers having captured Tunnel Hill and 
pressed on across the valley to the foot of Rocky Face 
Ridge the columns of the Fourth corps mounted the hill. 
The Third brigade passed to the left, and the Eighty-sixth 
bivouacked in a dense thicket on the crest in full view of the 
rocky fortress across the valley. In front, and a little to the 
right, a rebel signal station on the crest of Rocky Face was 


busily engaged in sending- orders or reports. The artillery 
to the right sent over a few rounds of shot and shell by way 
of introduction, and to get an exact idea of the distance from 
crest to crest. Troops continued to arrive and take their 
respective positions to right and left, showing that it was 
indeed a grand movement— ^a movement in force which evi- 
dently meant hot work for all. 

As night approached, the magnitude of the assembled 
hosts might be more nearly comprehended. Upon the rocky 
fortress were the mighty battalions of the enemy. But 
Sherman's army had come to stay, the summer, at least. It 
was a night never to be forgotten. The camp-fires were 
blazing for miles to right and to left, here for the blue, there 
for the gray. Along the crest of Tunnel Hill, on the hill- 
tops, in the valley, up the mountain side, everywhere, save 
beyond the enemy's lines, the blue-coats swai'med, and every- 
where their camp-tires flamed and leaped up as with joj^ in 
the clear cool air of the May evening. But high over all 
might be seen the great fires of the rebel host on the oppos- 
ing mountain's top, perhaps two thousand feet high. There 
the fires flamed up and threw a lurid glare around, almost 
dispelling the deepening shades of night. And there, too, 
around these fires loomed up against the dark sky beyond 
the long lank forms of the Southern soldiers as if only giants 
trod the distant mountain's crest. 

The Union army alone numbered nearly one hundred 
thousand men and such a multitude is of itself a grand and 
memorable sight. But here in addition to the vast multi- 
tudes were the grand wagon trains that brought the provis- 
ions and the munitions of war; innumerable ambulances to 
carry away the sick and the wounded, and there were great 
parks of artillery, the bull-dogs of war, ready to tear and 
destroy. Everywhere could be heard the neighing steed, 
the blare of trumpet, the soul stirring drum, and the ear 
piercing fife. In short, "here was all quality, pride, pomp, 
and circumstances of glorious war," added to the grand nat- 
ural scenery of the place. The countless camp-fires gave 
the strong contrast of light to the deepening slnuk\<; of night 


and made it inconceivably grand and striking. It was a 
sight to compare with the grandest in nature in strong 
impressiveness. A falling avalanche, a storm at sea, a full 
flowing Niagara, might awaken kindred emotions to those 
which many experienced on beholding these vast armies 
swarming over hill, valley, and mountain, in the wild wood 
and on open plain, in- the light of their camp-fires ready for 
the grapx)le which was to decide a nation's life or a nation's 

In their mountain fastness, fortified and protected by all 
the arts known to the military scientist, and directed and led 
by their most astute commander, the enemy awaited the 
attack. General Johnston was noted for his skill and cau- 
tion. A veritable Fabius, he never sacrificed a man or a 
position save in the direst necessity. He made no rash 
attacks, but sought to tempt and lure his adversary to make 
the advances and to attack his well chosen positions. Cour- 
ageous and watchful, he was always ready to strike a 
counter-blow. This was the situation on the night of the 
7th of May, 1864, when the two mighty armies lay, one upon 
Tunnel Hill, and the other upon Rocky Face Ridge. 

On the morning of the 8th of May reveille was sounded 
at 3 :30. The regiment was soon astir in its leafy covert, and 
breakfasted at an early hour on a soldier's fare, after which 
everything was speedily made ready for the performance of 
any duty. The day was Sunday, but the tireless leader's 
orders were to press the enemy at all points, presumably 
with the hope that by chance a weak point in his seemingly 
impregnable position might be found. At 9 o'clock a. m. the 
Eighty-sixth with the Third brigade, Third division. Fourth 
corps, filed out from its bivouac in the thicket. Reaching 
open ground, Colonel Dick gave the command, ' ' Double 
column on the center by divisions at half distance — march." 
The command was executed at once. Thus formed the regi- 
ment closed up on the front line of battle to support it. These 
movements, together with those of other troops, were per- 
formed in full view of the enemy on the crest of the ridge, 
on the top of which they seemed to swarm like bees. But 


little time was given those in the ranks for taking observa- 
tions, as the regiment pressed forward, keeping well up in 
the line of battle. The line of battle itself keeping close up 
to a strong skirmish line that pressed resolutely forward. 
The skirmishers were apparently in bad humor and sent 
spiteful messengers from line to line. The rebel line was 
watchful and allowed no chance to escaj)e without annoying 
the blue-coats by its lire. The line of battle was pushed 
ahead and the Eighty-sixth, under the watchful eye of Col- 
onel Dick, kept well up to its support in every move. The 
advance was very slow, but was continued, the line .shifting 
back and forth, a strong effort being made to maintain a cor- 
rect alignment which was extremely difficult. Thus the day 
rattled on and on. About 3 o'clock having worked its way 
well upon the side of the mountain, the line of battle made a 
dash for the enemy. A hot fire was opened at once. The 
Eighty-sixth was ordered to lie down. This had been 
repeated a number of times during the day, but this proved 
to be hotter than those gone before. The batteries in the 
rear kept up almost a continuous fire upon the ridge and 
more especially upon the gap, so the din of battle roared the 
whole day through. Cox, in speaking of this day's contest, 
says: "At the center, Wood's division of the Fourth, Davis' 
of the Fourteenth and Butterfield's of the Twentieth corps, 
pushed back the enemy into the mouth of the gap. " As tlie 
evening drew on, the fire of the contending skirmisli lines 
slackened somewhat and the wearied soldiers reversed their 
bayonets, turning them upon their coffee in tincups, pro- 
cured water and prepared a soldier's meal, and slej^t for the 

On the morning of the 9th, after a hasty niorniug meal, 
the Eighty-sixth was ordered about 6 o'clock to n^lieve the 
regiment on the front line. It was ordered to advance im- 
mediately upon taking the position held by the regiment on 
the line. The Eighty-sixth went forward steadily as could 
be done over the rocky mountain slope, maintaining its bat- 
tle-line fairly well until within a rod or so of the skirmishers 
on the line, where being exposed to a hot fire it was ordered 


to lie down. The enemy's skirmishers showed themselves 
to be excellent marksmen. The accuracy of their aim ren- 
dered it absolutely necessary to move with extreme caution. 
Sometimes the enemy would loosen a huge bowlder from the 
mountain's side near the top and give it a start when it 
would come thundering down with force enough to crush an 
elephant. But the men were on the alert and careful to 
make way for them and allow them an unobstructed descent. 
Although the men graciously gave the bowlders the right- 
of-way, they were none the less anxious to give their senders 
something else. Occasionally a fatally wounded man would 
utter a fearfully startling cry and sink to the ground, a vic- 
tim on the altar of his country. Cox in his account of this 
day, says: "During Monday, the 9th, Thomas and Schofield 
pressed Johnston's front at all points. The divisions of 
Hooker's, Palmer's, and Howard's corps in front of Buzzard 
Roost were engaged, and whilst there was no combined and 
determined assault of the Confederate lines in form, the 
attack was kept up with well supported skirmish lines, and 
Sherman's purpose of keeping his opponent fully occupied 
was well carried out." This is a fair, although brief state- 
ment of the fighting of the Army of the Cumberland on the 
9th. But to make as great impression on the enemy as pos- 
sible, a massing of forces in front of the gap was ordered in 
the afternoon. About 4 o'clock the Eighty-sixth with the 
Third brigade was ordered to move by the right flank down 
upon the gap, or rather to close down upon the forces in its 
immediate front. The movement was executed in a very 
deliberate manner, exposing the brigade to a galling fire 
from the enemy's sharpshooters on the crest of the ridge. 
There was, however, no flinching and the men stood in ranks, 
or closed up the line, fronted, lying down when ordered, as 
deliberately as when in camp, maintaining their positions in 
ranks that they might be ready at any instant to repel an 
assault. Thus the brigade made its way slowly to the left 
front of the gap, the movements, indicating an intention of 
assaulting the gap, and the enemy seemed to be of this 
opinion. Here the fire of the enemy grew hotter and he 


seemed to be determined to kill all of the Yankees in 
sight. The Eighty-sixth was exposed and lost a number 
wounded. With Hoosier stubbornness it held its position 
without returning a shot, until near sundown when the regi- 
ment received orders to return to its former position. After 
supper the Eighty-sixth received orders to go on the skir- 
mish line. In a short time the regiment reached the reserve 
station and the men were promptly placed upon the line. 
The line was a strong one and a brisk fire was kept up. 
During the night the tiring was not so brisk, yet it was suf- 
ficiently so to keep the resxiective lines of skirmishers 
apprised of the jDresence of the other. When daylight came 
again the firing quickened and a sharp outlook was necessary. 
The rocks and trees were fairly hugged, as the enemy's 
skirmishers had such perfect range that it was unsafe to 
show one's head. James Sipes, of Company A, had his 
cheek severely grained by a musket ball, tearing the skin 
sufficiently to make it extremely painful. This enraged 
Sipes and he swore vengeance on the whole "gray back" 
tribe. He allowed no chance of a shot to escape him and 
doubtless made the fellows up the mountain lie low for he 
was furious. The reserve station was but little better than 
the skirmish line, as the bullets rattled on trees and rocks 
around the station continually, and it seemed a miracle that 
so many escaped destruction. Just after dark the Eighty- 
sixtli wa's relieved from the skirmish line by the Seventy- 
ninth Indiana, Colonel Fred Kneller in command. Colonel 
Dick promptly led the regiment to its position with the brig- 
ade near the foot of the ridge where it bivouacked foi- the 

On the morning of the 11th, the fire of the enemy was 
very annoying and exasjieratiug, being animated, well main- 
tained and accurate. A little after 8 o'clock the command 
retired somewhat to the left rear and was less exposed. Tlie 
skirmish lines, however, continued a lively fire throughout 
the day, there being a number wounded. During the after- 
noon the division received orders to retire to Tunnel Hill 
immediately after dark. Sherman was preparing to place 


his arm 3^ in front of Resaca where McPherson had already 
preceded him. At the axipointed hour Wood's division tooli 
position on Tunnel Hill and bivouacked there, feeling safe, 
as it was a good mile from the nearest enemy. 

On the morning of the 12th the regiment was up by day- 
light. During the early morning the men had nothing to do 
but to look at the Twenty -third army corps as it marched to 
the right, the Fourth corps having preceded it to join Mc- 
Pherson before Resaca. Wood's division remained in bivouac 
on Tunnel Hill until 1 o'clock, when it was marched to the 
left into the valley to the support of Newton's division of the 
Fourth corps. The Eighty-sixth occupied a position quite 
near the front line for some time, but at length the whole 
division was again moved, this time to the left rear of New- 
ton's position. Here it was ordered to entrench, which was 
done by piling up rails and digging a trench, throwing the 
dirt to the front of the barricade. Wood's division thus in- 
trenched occupied the extreme left of the infantry line at 
Rocky Face Ridge. But still to Wood's left the cavalry of 
the two armies was doing some sharp fighting and an attack 
was expected, as Wheeler outnumbered the Union cavalry, 
and showed an ugly front. But it was not all fair sailing for 
the enemy. He had all the lighting he cared for, as his 
leader had been out-generaled at all points. By the night of 
the 12th Johnston was glad to let go of Dalton and his strong- 
hold on Rocky Face Ridge and Buzzard Roost (Mill Creek) 
Gap. He therefore abandoned all of his fortifications and 
his impregnable position to save his line of communication 
and retreat, and retired hastily to Resaca to face Sherman 
there. The Fourth corps was after him early on the morn- 
ing of the 13th, the cavalry pressing on at full speed, fol- 
lowed by the infantry. The corps rounded the north end of 
Rocky Face Ridge and passed near the mountain down 
Crow Valley and crossed the enemy 's line of intrenchments, 
which were very strong, and soon came to a general camp. 
Near this camp were seen eighteen or twenty posts and as 
many graves. They were said to have been used to which de- 
serters were tied to be shot. Twenty men were said to have 


been executed here at one time by the order of General Braxton 
Bragg during the winter or spring. In the camp itself were 
many "stocks"' used for punishing more trifling offenses. 
These were the first of the instruments of punishment the 
Eighty-sixth had ever seen, and many had no idea for what 
purposes they were intended to be used. General Willich 
said to a crowd that was examining the ' ' stocks, ' ' ' 'Phoy s, you 
don't know what ees the greatest buuishment to these poor 
devils. Dey can't scratch when de lice bites 'em." This 
was received with a shout of laughter and the General rode 
on. As the regiment left the camp it bore off to the left and 
turned down Crow Valley proper and marched straight for 
Dalton, where Wood's division arrived about noon. 

There was every evidence of haste on the part of the 
absconding enemy. Many had thrown away their knapsacks 
and all extra baggage in their hurry to flee from their pur- 
suers. The command proceeded at a good round pace about 
five miles farther and halted for supper. Shortly after sun- 
down it resumed its line of march, but at a much slower 
speed than before. The enemy's cavalry were now in front 
and showing a bold front, fighting over every inch of ground 
and obstructing the roads. Still General Howard forced his 
column forward several miles to the neighborhood of Tilton, 
six or seven miles distant from Resaca. Here the rebel cav- 
alry made a determined stand, and reinforced by some infant- 
ry under the command of General John C. Brown, showed a 
disposition to bring on an engagement. This was about 
9 o'clock at night. The country, as well as the force 
of the enemy, being unknown to General Howard, he 
deemed itjjrudent to wait until daylight before attempting to 
force his way farther. Therefore, the command slept on its 
arms, but the enemy had enough to do to defend his own 
ground. The command was promjitly astir at daybreak, but 
did not march until about 9 o'clock. After marching four 
or five miles the command was halted, the officers probably 
reconnoitering in the meantime. At length, the rest of the 
division was in position and -the Third brigade was massed 
and held in reserve ready to go wherever needed. The com- 


mand was now before the enemy's works at Resaca, where 
he again stood at bay as though it was "the last ditch " 

Sherman's army was once more concentrated upon the 
enemy, and this time he was less favorably situated, although 
here he was quite strongly posted. The general alignment 
of the Union forces, moving to the attack of Johnston in his 
intrenchments around Resaca, was completed about noon on 
the 14th. The fighting was almost continuous and at times 
the ground was fiercely contested. Johnston evidently felt 
very sore that he had been so easily maneuvered out of Dal- 
ton and the impregnable position in its front, and wished to 
inflict a crippling blow at this point if possible, and Was 
fighting with courage and determination to win the lost 

McPherson was on the right, then Thomas with Pal- 
mer's Fourteenth and Hooker's corps, in the order named, 
from the right, then came Schofield with the Twenty-third 
corps, with Howard's Fourth corps about one mile north of 
Schofield 's left flank. Cox, in his history of the campaign 
giving the account of this day's doings, says: "Newton's 
and Wood's divisions of the Fourth corps inarched to their 
support — Cox's division. The enemy fell back and estab- 
lished a new line several hundred yards further in the rear. 
Wood formed upon Cox's left, and Stanley's division was in 
echelon still beyond Wood's flank. " Victor, in his voluminous 
history of the Southern Rebellion, speaking of the Fourth 
corps, says: "The Fourth corps, under command of Major 
General Howard, the 'one-armed veteran,' as he is styled in 
the corps, played a very conspicuous part in the tragedy of 
war enacted on the 14th. All the corps, with the exception 
of Beatty's fighting brigade, for which room could not be 
found — as the circle was gradually compressed as it advanced 
— was engaged and covered itself with glory. Wood's divis- 
ion was ordered into position on the right of General Stan- 
ley, just before noon, and was soon hotly engaged with 
Hazen and Willich's brigades driving the enemy. For some 
time a destructive infantry and artillery fire w^as kept up, 
and soon his main line advanced in great strength upon the 


enemy which fled, at his approach, to his rifle-pits. The 
energetic Wood soon dislodged him and compelled him to 
seek shelter under cover of their breastworks, from which 
he was driven later in the day. ' ' 

The battle had been waged the whole day with great 
vigor. The red tide of war had ebbed and flowed from point 
around the lines as the struggle raged on. Sometimes the 
Confederates were successful, but usually the strong current 
of blue-coats overwhelmed the chivalry of the Southhmd and 
swept everything clean before them. The resolute North- 
men were not to be denied their demands as they crowded 
forward and enforced them with ball and bayonet. Far into 
the night might be heard the occasional outburst of sharp 
rattling musketry, as the hope of advantage induced one or 
the other side to strike out expecting to secure some strong 
foot-hold, and thus strengthen their side and increase their 
chance of ultimate success. Although the fighting was 
stubborn, and inch by inch over every foot of ground 
wrested from the enemy by the Union forces there seemed 
to be a decided balance in their favor. The troops were in 
correspondingly good spirits, notwithstanding their onerous 
duties and great dangers. Cheers, good and strong, fre- 
quently went the rounds of the Union lines and testified to 
the enemy of the pefect morale of Sherman's forces. 

On the morning of the loth the desultory picket firing 
of the skirmish-line began to quicken between 5 and 6 o'clock. 
This continued to increase in volume and fierceness through- 
out the morning, but nothing more than a determined skir- 
mish battle occurred until near the hour of 10 a. m. The 
brunt of the battle was expected to fall upon the extreme 
left of- the Union forces, and so it proved. Hooker here con- 
fronted the impetuous Hood, who knew only to fight and who 
was a fair match for "fighting Joe" for down-right desperate 
fighting qualities. The attack of Butterfield's division of 
Hooker's corps, on Stevenson's division of Hood's corps, was 
successful, but not completely so. Stevenson was driven 
back and lost a battery that had been run forward into a com- 
manding position, but was so exposed that Hooker's men were 


not able to take possession of it, the guns remaining between 
the battle lines until night. But this attack of Hooker's 
showed Johnston the exposed condition of his right, and 
Hood received orders to retake the lost ground. In the mean- 
time Sherman had withdrawn two divisions of Schofield's 
corps from the line in the center, and ordered them to take 
position on Hooker's left, thus extending his left and so over- 
lap Johnston's right. Johnston had also ordered Polk to 
attack McPherson. Polk moved to the onset, and was beaten 
before Hood's forces arrived, whereupon Johnston counter- 
manded the order to Hood, but this command failed to 
reach Stewart, who was to make the attack, but was received 
by Stevenson who was to act as his support. Consequently, 
Stewart charging upon Hooker's forces without proper sup- 
port was roughly handled and driven back with heavy loss. 
This attack of Stewart's was made about 4 o'clock in the 
afternoon. At this time Beatty's brigade was ordered under 
arms and momentarily expected to be ordered into the battle 
on the left, but was uot needed. Beaten at all points, with 
great loss, the enemy was disheartened and began to feel that 
he was overmatched. On the left he had been driven pell- , 
mell into his works and an advantageous position secured by 
Hooker, while on the right McPherson had been equally suc- 
cessful, and had gained a position on the extreme right near 
the Oostanaula river, from which point his artillery com- 
manded very effectually the railroad and wagon bridges over 
the river. Besides Sherman had crossed Sweeny's division 
of the Sixteenth corps at Turner's or Lay's Perry, while Gar- 
rard's cavalry threatened Johnston's line of communications 
at Calhoun, further south. Johnston at once determined to 
evacuate. Accordingly on the night of the 15th he retired 
south of the river to a point near Calhoun, on the railroad. 
He effectually destroyed both bridges, however, before leav- 
ing the river, and thus delayed Sherman's crossing. He 
left a lot of supplies and a four gun battery in the intrench- 
ments which he was unable to move. 

On the morning of the 16th Sherman's forces were early 
in pursuit and pressed on into the town of Resaca at an 


early hour. The battle-field around Resaca bore evidence of 
the great struggle that had taken place. Thickets of brush, 
even great saplings, were literally mown down by the storm 
of musket balls, shot, shell, grape and canister. The Union 
loss was heavy, but so was the enemy's. He had been badly 
beaten at all points, and had been compelled to give up 
another strong position and abandon supplies which he so 
much needed. This was very discouraging to Johnston's 
forces, while it greatly encouraged the Union troops. The 
Third brigade moved up near the town and bivouacked to 
await the building of a bridge or the putting down of pon- 
toons to cross the river. Quito a large quantity of corn meal 
was captured and the Eighty-sixth got its full share, and 
therefore feasted on corn cakes for dinner, having a better 
relish for them than during the preceding winter in East 
Tennessee. Immediately after noon troops began crossing 
the river on a pontoon bridge just below the burned railroad 
bridge, the Fourth corps leading the advance, the Fourteenth 
corps crossing immediately after the Fourth. It was slow 
work and Hooker was ordered to march out upon the New- 
town road and cross the Oostanaula in the southward bend 
of the river near the junction of the Connasauga and Coosa- 
wattee. Schofield was to cross the Connasauga at Fite's 
Ferry or Echota, then cross the Coosawattee at McClurc's. 
McPherson crossed his command at Lay's or Turner's Ferry, 
where Sweeny had crossed to turn Johnston's flank. Thus once 
more the whole army was abreast ready to meet the enemy. 
The attack ui)on Resaca was simply a couiinuation of the 
attack upon Dalton and Rocky Face Ridge, and had taught 
the Confederate officers a dear lesson in the art of war; for 
while Jeff Davis, Beauregard, and a few others of the South- 
ern leaders and the Southern press were continually llatter- 
tering the troops of the South and disparaging those of the 
North, and sneering at the ability of the Union commanders. 
General Johnston more justly estimated the soldierly qual- 
ities of the rank and file, and judged more correctly of tlie 
transcendant ability of their matchless leader, General Slier- 
man. He had been furnished much new evidence on wliich 


to base his judgment. He, therefore, left no stone unturnod 
that would ward off a blow or "obstruct his opponent's path- 
way and delay his progress. He well knew that it was to be 
a battle to the death, and that with Sherman's matchless 
generalship and fertility "of resources, sustained by the indom - 
itable firmness and fortitude of the soldiers of the North 
west, he was a foeman worthy of the steel of the choicest 
legions of any nation's forces directed by their best military! 
genius. He knew, too, that Sherman and his -lieutenants I 
would push every advantage gained to the last, leaving him i 
no hope of escape, except by the most ceaseless vigilanro 
and untiring and persistent eft'ort. Therefore, Johnston bu i 1 1 
works, fortifying, at every defensible point, and invited t]i(> 
attack of the Union forces, for while acknowledging Shoi' 
man's ability and skill, he also regarded him as "audacious 
and enterprising. " Thus it was that Sherman came to be 
confronted by breastworks upon almost every mile of his 
route to Atlanta. Only in this way was it possible for John- 
ston to place his command upon a footing of equality with 
Sherman's incomparable legions as they marched trium 
phantly and resistlessly onward into the very heart of tln' 
Confederacy. Never, no not even at Vicksburg, had tin' 
enemy been so staggered and beaten. If constantly assaulted 
in works of the strength which his troops built, the equaliza- 
tion of the two armies would soon be brought about when the 
advantage would be wholly upon Johnston's side; for whiln 
his friends and supplies were all round him and ever at hand 
to aid and assist him, Sherman was surrounded by enemies 
ready to injure and betray him, and his friends and supplies 
were far away. It required long and tedious transportation 
to bring them to hand ready for use. But Johnston made 
the most of his opportunities, and though maneuvered out of 
the impregnable position at Dalton, beaten and out-llanked at 
Resaca, and forced to leave the place, he only gave the 
ground he was compelled to yield and hold on to Calhoun aa 
though he meant to give battle to retain its possession. 


Across tlie Oostanaula— Calhoun— Adairsville—Oothcaloga Valley— Kingston— 
Cassville— A Three Days' Rest— Across the Etowah— Where the Different 
Commands Crossed— A Wild Wilderness— Burnt Hickory— New Hope Church 
—The Battle of Pickett's Mills— The Eighty-sixth's Part in this Engagement- 
Colonel Dick Wounded— The Regiment's Loss. 

Wood's division having crossed the Oostanaula river on 
the afternoon of the 16th, pressed on in pursuit of the enemy, 
and having covered three or four miles was halted and 
pickets detailed. But the progress was slow as the army 
was now divided, and it was not deemed prudent to get too 
far from support. The skirmishers in front could be plainly 
heard as they took up their duties when their line came upon 
that of the enemy. It was sharp and determined, Johnston 
no doubt holding this place to gain time. It is now well 
known that Johnston decided to make a stand in the lower 


part of the Oothcaloga Valley near Calhoun, but upon look- 
ing over the ground carefully and more fully considering all 
points, he decided the valley too wide in which for him to give 
battle, and determined to retire farther up the valley where 
he was informed by his engineers that a line quite defensive 
might be found a mile or two north of the town of Adairs- 
Iville. A strong rear guard was left in the vicinity of Cal- 
houn to make a show of giving battle, and thus delay the 
'advance of Sherman's forces, and thereby give more time for 
fortifying and preparing for the expected contest farther 


On the morning of the 17th of May, the Eighty- sixth 
drew rations. Having filled their haversacks full of hard 
itack, bacon, sugar, coffee and salt, the men were ready 


for duty. The regiment resumed the advance. Wood's 
division took the raih'oad as its line of march, with Hazen's 
brigade in front, while Newton's division was on a wagon 
road to the left or east of the railroad. The progress was 
slow oil account of the resistance of the enemy. Still Hazen 
pushed ahead with his characteristic energy. The skirmish- 
ing was lively, although great caution had to be used. About 
9 a. m. the Eighty -sixth passed through Calhoun, a town of 
perhaps 350 or 400 inhabitants, and the county seat of Gor- 
don county. Here Hazen had had a sharp fight with the 
rear guard of the enemy, he having built a strong barricade 
and maintained a bold front for some time, but he pressed 
him so hotly he gave ground, retiring, however, in good 
order. As the Third brigade advanced the skirmishing in 
front and on the Hanks continued at a brisk rate, showing 
the enemy to be in force in its front as well as Newton's on 
the left, and McPherson's on the right. About 2 o'clock Wood 
and Hazen had pushed the column on the railroad so ener- 
getically forward that the division trains, following on the 
wagon road almost parallel with the railroad, were abreast of 
Newton's division skirmishers, which were mistaken for that 
of the enemy and were fired into. This caused considerable 
excitement and some confusion and delay. But Hazen 
pressed on and about 4 o'clocli in the afternoon came up 
against a strong line of the enemy well posted, which mani- 
fested a disposition to give battle. The skirmishers had a 
hot time of it. The shells flew thicli and fast over and about 
the Eighty-sixth as it advanced, but it moved steadily and 
quietly forward and took the position assigned. Tlie furious 
galloping of staff-officers, aides and orderlies, here and there, 
betokened the rapid transit of orders, and the intended 
speedy concentration of troops for the purpose of giving the 
enemy battle should he be so disposed, as his present attitude 

It seems strange that so many errors are made in writ- 
ing the history of this campaign, by those, too, who were 
active participators in its momentous movements and battles. 
General Cox, in speaking of the advance on the 17th, says: 


"Sherman was now with Newton's division in advance, and 
had a narrow escape from shots of the enemy's artillery as 
he was reconnoitering, the grouj) about him having attracted 
their fire. " The statement in regard to the incident of Gen- 
eral Sherman's being exposed to the enemy's fire is no doubt 
true, but it is misleading as one would infer from it that 
Newton had the advance of the corps, and he alone was 
exposed to the enemy's fire, whereas throughout almost the 
entire day Wood's division on the railroad was leading that 
of New^ton on a parallel wagon road in pursuit of the enemy, 
and was constantly skirmishing with him. But even Gen- 
eral Sherman, in his " Memoirs, " lends credibility to the 
statement of Newton's being in advance by the following 
tatement of the same incident: " On the 17th toward even- 
ing, the head of Thomas' column, Newton's division, encoun- 
tered the rear-guard of Johnston's army near Adairsville. I 
was near the head of the column at that time, trying to get a 
view of the position of the enemy from an elevation in an 
3pen field. My party attracted the fire of a battery; a shell 
passed through the group of staff-officers and burst just 
beyond which scattered us promptly. " Notwithstanding the 
seeming contradiction of General Cox and General Sherman, 
General O. O. Howard, himself then commanding the Fourth 
army corps, and an officer who usually knew the order of 
marching of his men, their order and lines in or out of bat- 
tle, in his report, says: "The enemy's custom is when 
[•etreating, to form his rear-guard of cavalry, with a battery 
Dr section of artillery, sometimes strengthened by infantry. 
During this day's march the resistance was unusually great. 
He formed three lines, some half or three-quarters of 
I mile ajjart, and barricaded with rails, seeking the cover of 
:he woods with open fields in his front. As soon as we suc- 
ceeded in driving the first line it passed to the rear of the 
.bird, and in some new and favorable iiosition made another 
ine. However as we moved in two columns, we were 
mabled to make considerable progress. The resistance 
ncreased as we approached Adairsville. General Newton 
jontinued to deploy regiments as skirmishers until he hatl a 



large brigade engaged. General Wood abreast of Mm also 
skirmished Jieavily. About 4 p. m. it was found we had come 
upon the enemy's infantry in considerable force. Prepara- 
tions were made immediately to assault and carry the posi- 
tion, if possible; but it required time to bring up the troops 
and get them in readiness. General Thomas not deeming it 
best, on account of the nearness of nigiit to make a formal 
attack, the movement already set on foot was postponed. 
Yet a real engagement was going on, since both parties con- 
tinued to re-enforce their skirmish lines until they were tan- 
tamount to a line of battle. The enemy opened upon our 
column with artillery, to which our batteries replied witli 
spirit. During tlie niglit the enemy withdrew. ' ' 

Every indication on the evening of the 17th appeared to 
point to the offering of battle by General Johnston on that 
evening or the following day. Therefore, Sherman ordered 
McPherson, who was somewhat extended on the right, to 
close upon Thomas and prepare to give battle, should the 
enemy stand his ground. Sherman was very anxious, at this 
stage of the campaign, to bring on a general engagement in 
this comparatively open country, before Johnston should 
reach the mountains of Allatoona and the rough and broken 
country along the Etowah river. Johnston contemplated 
giving battle, seeking to secure a good position with his 
flanliis protected by high and broken ground, so that Sher- 
man's numbers would be of little advantage, and then stand 
his ground, give battle and cripple Sherman until their 
forces would be equalized. But "finding that the bread tli of 
the Oothcaloga Valley exceeded so much the front of his 
army, properly formed for battle that he could obtain no 
advantage of ground, ordered the troops to march for Cass- 
ville. ' ' So the expected battle between these two grand 
armies was, at least, postponed, although the following day 
and for two or three days, Sherman expected Johnston to 
make a decided stand. 

On the morning of the 18th the Eighty-sixth led tlie col- 
umn of Wood's division, marching as before on the railroad. 
Colonel Dick kept the regiment well up to the skirmishers as 


tliey advanced. Startino- at 6 o'clock a. m. Adairsville was 
soon reached, as Johnston once more had deemed it prudent 
to withdraw. At Adairsville the command was halted. There 
seemed to be a hurrying forward of troops, and frequent con- 
sultations of corps and army commanders, which indicated 
very important movements on hand and a probable engage- 
ment. Generals Logan, McPherson, Thomas, Howard, and 
Sherman were all at Adairsville some time during the day to 
talk over the situation. It turned out afterward the cause of 
all this consultation and worry arose from the doubt existing 
in the minds of these Generals as to the route taken by Gen- 
eral Johnston with his main force. Therefore, great caution 
was necessary not to fall into a trap which might be laid by 
the wily foeman. Reports from the advanced guards, con- 
sultations, and the various means of information used by gen- 
erals of armies to learn the exact situation of the enemy, were 
made, while the' Fourth corps lay here waiting for McPher- 
son to pass his command through to other roads on the right, 
having been called in from the roads upon which they were 
marching when a battle seemed imminent. These roads, too, 
carried him farther aw^ay from the rest of the command. 
Hooker, too, with the Twentieth corps, had been concen- 
trated here in the vicinity of Adairsville. He now passed to 
the left and took the direct road to Cassville. The Fourth 
corps followed the line of the imilroads, marching on a wagon 
road just east of the railroad, this road leading to Kingston. 
The Eighty-sixth resumed the march about 2 o'clock p. m. 
Great caution was now deemed necessary in the advance. 
The regiment kept close to the skirmishers as they contin- 
ued to move. Near sundown the enemy's rear guard was 
struck, well posted and in force. A lively skirmish at once 
ensued. The skirmishing, before going into bivouac, seemed 
a regular evening entertainment — a sun-set festivity wliich 
could not be dispensed with. The Eighty-sixth bivouacked 
on a high hill close to the skirmish line. From this high 
hill a good view of the surrounding country could be secured 
for some miles. Wood was now within about three miles of 
Kingston. Hooker was on his immediate left, with Schotield 


still to the left of Hooker, McPherson with the Army of the 
Tennessee being to the right, all being ready for battle. 

Many historians record the capture of Kingston as tak- 
ing place on the 18th of the month by the Fourth corps, but 
this is evidently a mistake. The Eighty-sixth was in advance 
of Wood's division, which division was on the direct road 
f rom Adairsville to Kingston, and skirmished with the enemy 
in the evening of the 18th, bivouacking as before stated, in 
the face of the enemy two or three miles to the north of 
Kingston, a thing wholly improbable if any part of the corps 
had secured possession of the town. On the morning of the 
19th the column resumed its onward inarch about 6 o'clock, 
feeling its way until it became evident that the enemy had 
continued his retreat farther south. However, there was 
some skirmishing as the town of Kingston was reached. As 
the advance guard drove the enemy the command marched 
forward at a more lively i)ace, and the Eighty-sixth reached 
Kingston, the point of junction of the Rome railroad with 
the main line from Chattanooga to Atlanta, about noon. The 
day was exceedingly hot and the troops felt the effects of 
the great heat and their rapid marching. However, just east 
of the town they were given a good rest and permitted to get 
dinner. Wood's division remained here until about 2 o'clock 
p. m. By this time General Sherman had completed his 
plans, given his orders, and had the various columns in motion 
on their proper routes to concentrate upon Johnston's posi- 
tion. It was understood that the Southern forces were con- 
centrated at Cassville, five miles to the east of Kingston, and 
there awaited to give battle, having reached ' ' the last ditch ' ' 
again. Howard and Wood were equal to any in energy and 
push. Passing to the left, to the southeast of Kingston per- 
haps a mile, the command struck the enemy's skirmishers. 
But they were no raw recruits and they struck back quite 
effectively. They were borne back by weight of numbers. 
They maintained their ground with great stubbornness, only 
yielding when forced to do so. Beatty's brigade, and in fact 
the whole army, was at once formed in the order of battle 
and moved forward as if to the attack. The Eighty-sixth 


closed down upon the skirmish line, and it in turn pressed the 
enemy vigorously, driving him back inch by inch. Now the 
battle between very strong skirmish lines began in dead 
earnest. The enemy was in bad humor and spiteful; the 
Union boys were exultant and determined, and so the battle 
raged. Just as dark came, a determined push was made and 
the enemy crowded back some distance. The enemy fell back 
with such stubbornness that it seemed certain a night battle 
would be fought. The Eighty-sixth, close to the skirmish 
line and fully exposed to the enemy's lire, was ordered to 
lie down, and the order was most cheerfully obeyed. The 
battle was fiercely contested for some time after dark, but at 
length the fire slackened and then died out. The main line 
was not permitted to rest. Without any supper the men 
were ordered to intrench. They were soon busily engaged, 
and ere the morning's dawn lit up the east they had a sub- 
stantial line of breastworks. But it was at a great cost — 
loss of sleep and great exertion after a day's marching and 
the the nerve strain incident to battle. 

A rebel authority speaking of this day's fighting, calls 
the first contest of the day, the "Battle of Kingston," and the 
second one, the "Battle of Cassville. " He says of the first 
skirmishing: Heavy skirmishing between Howard's Federal 
and Hardee's Confederate troops on the southeast side of 
town, Kingston, in the morning. The Confederates retired 
toward Cassville; but before noon a sharp fight occurred 
near an old mill by the railroad, about a cou])le of miles east 
of Kingston, during which was considerable artillery fii-ing 
on the part of the Federals." Of the battle in the evening, 
known as the "Battle of Cassville, " the same writer says: 
"Heavy cannonading from the opposing batteries, and 
obstinate fighting between the lines of the two armies." 
General Sherman says: "Thomas' head of column whicli had 
followed the country roads along side of tlie railroad, was 
about four miles east of Kingston, towards CassviUe, when, 
about noon I got a message from him that he had found the 
enemy, drawn up in line of battle, on some extensive open 
ground about half way between Kingston and Cassville. and 


that appearances indicated a willingness and a preparation 
for battle. Hurriedly sending orders to McPlierson to re- 
sume the march, to hasten forward by roads leading to the 
south of Kingston, so as to leave for Thomas' troops and 
trains the use of the main road, and to come up on his right, 
I rode forward rapidly over some rough gravel hills, and 
about six miles from Kingston found Thomas, with his troops 
deployed; but he reported that the enemy had fallen back in 
echelon of divisions, steadily and in superb order into Cass- 

Johnston had now been beaten back some forty or fifty 
miles, and it was having a bad effect on the morale of his 
troops, and he determined to make a stand. He had done 
this several times, but strong reasons had forced him each 
time to give it up and fall back. But now he intended mak- 
ing a stand just south of Cassville where his troops took a 
strong position which he says, "That I remember as the 
best that I saw occupied during the war. " But once again 
he was doomed to disappointment, for owing to objections 
urged by both Hood and Polk to making a decisive stand at this 
point, Johnston once more decided to withdraw. Conse- 
quently when it was expected that he would give battle on 
the morning of the 20th, he was not to be found. He had 
"hopped the twig" and "gone glimmering to the "misty 
mountain top." The Eighty-sixth was relieved from the 
front line early on the morning of the 20th, but as the enemy 
had again retreated, it made but little difference. On this 
day the Nineteenth Ohio rejoined the brigade, having been 
on detached duty guarding trains since leaving McDonald 

A part of the Twenty-third corps pushed on after the 
retreating enemy and drove the rear guard out of Carters- 
ville. He continued his retreat, crossing the Etowah river 
and burned the railroad and wagon road bridges. Johnston 
had taken up a strong position with his center at Allatoona 
Pass. The mountains to the left and right of the Pass ren- 
dered his position a very strong one, easily defended and 
almost impossible to attack successfully in front. Prepara- 


tions were immediately begun for a movement to the right 
liank to turn the position now occupied by Jolmston's forces. 
On the 21st and 22d tlie Union forces rested from their 
labors. But the excessive heat prevented them from recu- 
perating as much as they would have done under more favor- 
able circumstances. On the 22d the divisions' commissaries 
issued three days' rations to the troops, while they received 
twenty days' rations from the General Commissary of the 
Army. Preparations were completed on this day for the 
next move. 

Many rumors, reports, and "grapevine telegrams" were 
going the rounds of the bivouac of the troops in regard 
to the next move the army w^as to make. It was well-known 
that it would be arduous duty whatever it Avas. Johnston's 
army was the chief object of attention, and it now held an 
impregnable position across the Etowah river. It was 
impossible to cross in his immediate front and attack with 
success, consequently a flank movement was the only hope, 
and had to be made to secure a foot-hold on the far side of 
the river. Sherman says: "I made orders on the 20th to get 
ready for the march to begin on the 23d. The Army of the 
Cumberland was ordered to march for Dallas by Euharlee 
and Stilesboro; Davis' division then in Rome by Van Wert; 
the Army of the Ohio to keep on the left of Thomas, by a 
place called Burnt Hickory; and the Army of the Tennessee 
to march for a position a little to the south, so as to be on the 
right of the general army, when grouped about Dalhis. " 
These orders were issued on the 22d, but they were not fol- 
lowed out strictly as subsequent events proved. On llie 23d 
General Beatty was compelled to relinquish the connnand of 
the brigade on account of serious illness, when the command 
was devolved upon Colonel Fred Knefler, of the Seventy - 
ninth Indiana. 

In the meantime the soldiers were taking their ease. 
resting up, repairing clothing and haversacks, bathing in the 
streams and getting themselves in the best possible shape 
for the coming struggle, which all felt sure was close at 
hand. On the 23d the army was in motion. The Eighty- 


sixth was ready, but had to wait for orders. The Twentieth 
corps passed its bivouac going to the right. Wood's division 
moved out about 1 o'clock p. m., marcliing to the southwest 
and crossed the Etowah river -at Gillem's bridge, together 
with the entire Fourth corps. The Fourteenth corps, except 
the Second division wliich crossed at Rome, crossed at Island 
Ford, a few miles down the river, while the Twentieth corps 
crossed at Milam's bridge, a few miles above, on pontoons, 
the bridge having been burned. The Twenty-third corps 
crossed at the same place, following Hooker's corps. The 
Army of the Tenessee crossed at Wooley's bridge below the 
Fourteenth corps. 

The army was now in a country almost a wilderness 
wild, with but few roads, and those mere wagon ways cut 
through the forest. There was doubtless some uncertainty 
in regard to the route, as the command halted frequently and 
waited long. The march was continued after night, and 
Wood's division lay for some hours in the road near its place 
of bivouac. It was so late at night the command quietly 
lay down without preparing supper, even though the men 
were very hungry. General Sherman says: "The several 
columns followed generally the valley of the Euharlee, a 
tributary coming into the Etowah from the south, and grad- 
ually crossed over a ridge of mountains, parts of which had 
once been worked over for gold, and were consequently full 
of paths and unused wagon roads or tracks." The roads, 
many of them w^ere in fact, mere paths, unused, in a wilder- 
ness of woods, and it became quite bewildering probably to 
follow the intended route. 

On the morning of the 24th the march was resumed 
about 9 o'clock. The pace was at first slow% but was grad- 
ually accelerated. At noon the command came to a still more 
broken section of country, probably the mountains referred 
to by General Sherman, with rougher, poorer roads and more 
tangled and wilder woods, a veritable wilderness. After a 
short halt for dinner about 1 o'clock, the march was contin- 
ued at a slow pace until near sundown. It threatened rain, 
and the night was far from promising, and the men were 


soon busily engaged preparing their evening meal and shel- 
ter from the threatening storm. 

On the morning of the 25th, after a night of rain, the 
men lay around their bivouac until about 10 o'clock, when 
they again resumed the march into the enemy's country. 
The march was slow and halting. It seems that from Burnt 
Hickory the Fourth and Fourteenth corps made a detour to 
the right, having to feel their way over unused country 
roads and mining tracks and trails. It w^as the intention 
that they should strike the VanWert and Dallas road some 
distance out from the latter place. But Hooker's coming in 
contact with the enemy, unexpectedly changed this part of 
the plan; for w^henever Hooker got a chance to strike the 
enemy he struck right out straight from the shoulder and 
followed it up as he did on this occasion, as will be seen 
later. The country through which the corps passed must 
have been the wildest of the wild country in Paulding county, 
Georgia. Only at long distances was the merest semblance 
of a house seen. The tracks followed as roads wound around 
in and out of gulleys, over and around rocky hills, and through 
thickets as dense as the thickets of Chickamauga. The com- 
mand probably had not covered a great many miles from the 
previous night's bivouac, when it was halted and lay in the 
road waiting. It lay here until 3 o'clock p. m. It then re- 
sumed the march through tangled woods and over a perfect 
labyrinth of winding paths and trails and meandering streams. 

When passing one of the few cabins of this wilderness 
one of the Eighty-sixth boys claims to have heard the fol- 
lowing from the woman residing there: She said the "Yan- 
kees" couldn't fool her, she knew Sherman was "flanking" 
again. Upon being pressed to tell how she knew what Sher- 
man was doing, she said they "couldn't fool her," she knew 
he was "flanking'' because she had seen "his flanking 
machines" go by just a few minutes before, referring to a 
battery of artillery that had just passed the cabin. The fact 
of the matter was, that the whole great army was just at this 
time converted into a "great flanking machine," and this 
ignorant Georgia woman was not far wrong in her statement 


that she saw Sherman's "flanking machines" go by. She 
doubtless saw a very essential part of it, and one, too, that 
was to do some very effective work at an early day. 

While still in this dense forest and about 6 o'clock in the 
evening, musketry firing was heard on the left front some 
distance ahead. Hooker had run on to the enemy — Hood's 
corps — and at once attacked him with his usual impetuosity. 
He fought on this occasion as if it was necessary to beat the 
whole rebel army at once before other corps could come up 
and aid him and win part of the glory. The enemy was evi- 
dently in force and on the alert. The sharp rattle of mus- 
ketry was sufficient evidence of a hard battle being fought. 
The command moved forward with more rapidity. About 8 
o'clock it began raining, and the thunders of heaven, joined 
to those of battle, made the wilderness and hills roar again 
and again. The rain made the roads slipj^ery, and up-hill 
and down-hill, marching was very tiresome and slow. How- 
ard had orders to reinforce Hooker, and his corps pressed on, 
stopping at no obstacle, through the darkness over horrible 
roads, drenched to the bone by the deluge of water. Cox 
says: "The night was utterly black in its darkness and 
storm." About 10 o'clock, wading a stream knee deep, the 
regiment came to the point where the real battle began, and 
soon after to the immediate neighborhood of Hooker's corps. 
He had continued his attack after nightfall and had fought 
the enemy valiantly, but he was too strongly intrenched 
to be successfully assaulted. Hooker had driven him some 
distance, but had lost heavily and had failed to drive him 
from his fortified position at New Hope Church, the key to 
the point attacked. As the regiment passed along the road 
over the battle-field the wounded lay in the woods alongside 
the road on the damp ground. Their pale faces could be 
seen by the light of the fires that had been built by camp- 
followers, giving the men a glimpse of the after scenes of 
battle which are even more heartrending than those of the 
battle itself which are usually witnessed under great excite- 
ment and pass almost instantly from view. 

Wood's division wound its way slowly along the tortuous 


road among the wounded to its position to the left of New- 
ton's division, which had arrived early in the evening, and 
formed on Hooker's left. Wood's division, however, did not 
form a line that night with Newton and Hooker, but biv- 
ouacked to the left of the former, somewhat refused. Worn out 
with their long and laborious march and want of sleep, the 
men were almost used up and speedily sank, supperless, 
upon the damp earth to rest and sleep until morning. The 
bivouac was reached about 11 o'clock. A gloomy night with 
the prospect of a red day on the morrow, and foi- many days. 
Of this night a rebel author says: "The night, which came 
on, was very dark, with heavy rains; and there was much 
confusion in both armies, as they were endeavoring to 
assume position, facing each other, among the thickly- 
wooded hills, and each industriously working, though in 
darkness, to strengthen its ground against any sudden 
assault by its enemy. " General Sherman says, of his night's 
rest and preparations for the next day: "I slept on the 
ground without cover, alongside of a log, got a little sleeji, 
resolved at daylight to renew the battle, and to make a lodg- 
ment on the Dallas and Allatoona road if possible, but the 
morning revealed a strong line of intrenchmeuts facing us, 
with a heavy force of infantry and guns. The battle was 
renewed and without success.'' When a general of a great 
army undergoes such hardships, it can be imagined what the 
life of a private soldier was only by those who have partici- 
pated in such a tremendous campaign as this. 

The Eighty-sixth was up early and ready for business, for 
Colonel Dick never permitted it to be beliind. The men lay, 
however, quietly at their bivouac until 8 or U o'clock. They 
were then ordered under arms and moved out close to the 
skirmish line. The lines were formed as though a general 
attack was to be made upon the enemy's position. The 
skirmishing was sharp all along the line, and the spiteful 
hiss of the musket balls was extremely annoying. The mus- 
ketry fire at times assumed the magnitude of a battle, rolling 
as a great wave of sound from one end of the line to the 
other, and back again, as this, or that part of the line 


renewed the struggle. About noon there was a general 
advance of the line of the Fourth corps and the musketry 
fire grew quite severe, and was steadily maintained for some- 
time. The enemy's batteries, too, opened a hot fire, but 
owing to the density of the timber and the heavy growth of 
underbrush they w^ere unable to deliver a very effective tire, 
although it w^as sufficiently accurate to make it very annoy- 
ing. This move of the Fourth corps served the double pur- 
pose of completing the alignment of the forces and of devel- 
oping pretty accurately the position of the enemy, enabling 
the oiticers to locate his line and the position of his batteries. 
Late in the evening Wood's division withdrew from its 
advanced position, drew^ three days' rations to do four, 
and bivouacked for the night. These were "days of danger 
and nights of waking," as frequently the jiicket firing was 
sharp and of such volume as to betoken an attack, which 
caused the division to be called into line and held in readi- 
iness until the firing subsided. 

Save one or two wakings caused by the booming of ex- 
ploding shells near, from the rebel batteries, the Eighty -sixth 
slept soundly on the night of the 26th, and it was well. Good 
rest is conducive to steadiness of nerve and the-Eighty-sixth, 
and all of Wood's division, needed all of its fortitude on the 
27th, as will be seen further on. , 

A rebel author writing of this day's doings, the 27th, 
around the lines, says : ' 'A determined attack by the Federals, 
under cover of a furious artillery fire, upon Clayton's and 
Baker's brigades of Stew^art's division, behind breastworks 
they had thrown up on the battle-field of May 25. The Fed- 
erals were repulsed with considerable loss. The fire of solid 
shot, shell, grape and cannister, from the Federal battery of 
Parrott guns continued all the morning and from 4 p. m. till 
nearly dark with terrific effect. The Confederate works were 
riddled and their loss was severe. They finally practically 
silenced the battery by sharp-shooters detailed for that pur- 
pose by General Baker." This author admits the severe 
treatment of the enemy in the neighborhood of NeAV Hope 
Church. Yet he manages to weave in his admission two or 


three false statements which make the whole very mislead- 
ing. First, he speaks of the rebels as being behind works 
which they had "built on the battle-field of New Hope 
Church," as though they had not had works to fight behind 
on the 25th. "They succeeded in silencing the battery, and 
the Federals were repulsed with considerable loss,'' says 
this writer. Now, the fact is, it was only a strong demon- 
stration, made to attract attention and deceive the Confed- 
erates from the real purpose of the Federals which was to be 
an attack far to the BYxleral left and was intended to be a 
decisive blow. 

On the 27th the Eighty-sixth was astir by the time it 
was light, and was soon ready for the duties of the day. 
About 9 a. m. Colonel Dick gave the order "Fall in." The 
men were in line in an instant. Then came the order, ' ' Take, 
arms," "Shoulder, arms." Moving by the left flank the 
regiment passed to the rear of the Twenty-third army corps. 
After the column was uncovered to the left of the Army of 
the Ohio, and was liable to be attacked, it proceeded very 
slowly and cautiously. The front was covered by a strong 
line of flankers. After passing well to the left of the 
Twenty -third corps, once or twice the command "fronted" 
and advanced in battle array, the flankers acting as skirm- 
ishers, but finding the enemy in front in force and well 
intrenched it would withdraw and continue its march to {ho 
left. As the object was to turn the enemy's right flank the 
command was to work its way to the extreme right of the 
enemy, then attack with vigor. The attack was to be made 
by Wood's division of the Fourth corps, and was to be sup- 
ported by Johnson's division of the Fourteenth corps, on the 
left, and by McLean's brigade of the Second division of the 
Twenty-third corps, on, the right It will readily be seen 
that the object of Newton's and Stanley's attack in the vicin- 
ity of New Hope Church was a mere demonstration to attract 
attention to their front, and create the impression that an 
assault was contemplated in that locality and thus jirevent a 
concentration of large masses of troops against Wood's and 
Johnson's divisions, which were detached from the nuiin army 


and were in danger of being repulsed and overwhelmed 
before assistance could reach them. This tedious process 
was continued until 6 o'clock in the evening, when g. point 
was reached where it was thought the line over-lapped that 
of the enemy, and where the attack was to be made. A rebel 
cavalry picket was captured here, and this perhaps led Gen- 
erals Howard and Wood to suppose there was nothing in their 
immediate front but cavalry. But if so they were sadly mis- 
taken as subsequent events will fully show. As soon after 
the capture of the rebel cavalryman as an alignment of the 
troops could be completed, the assault was ordered. Hazen's 
Second brigade led the charge, then Willich's or Gibson's 
First brigade, then Beatty's Third brigade. 

The Eighty-sixth was placed upon the extreme right of 
the division, and was not in the assaulting column proper. 
But it was advanced close up to the enemy's intrenchments — • 
a narrow open field intervening between its position and the 
enemy's works — in the edge of a woods in plain view of the 
batteries of the enemy. He had full and fair play and it is 
needless to say that he did not idle any time aw^ay, but kept 
his guns in a perfect blaze. The Eighty-sixth was thus 
exposed to a most terrific fire of artillery during the whole 
time the battle raged on the left. As the Eighty-sixth 
threatened the enemy's line and his batteries, by its prox- 
imity, it drew his fire which should otherwise been turned 
against the storming column. Thus it shielded and protected 
the troops that made the assault and saved them from des- 
truction, as they would literally have been cut to pieces. 
As it was they were quite severely handled. The rattle of 
musketry was terrific, but the troops with dauntless courage 
fought their way to within a few feet of the breastworks, and 
came well-nigh being victorious, and probably would have 
won, had not timely reinforcements come to the aid of tlie 
sorely pressed defenders. The lines of attack were subject 
to a terrific cross-fire of musketry and suffered heavily. 
Beaten back they rallied and renewed the assault time and 
again, but it was futile. The enemy was too well intrenched. 
Pat Cleburne, the most daring fighter of Johnston's army, 


was there with the llower of the South, and they fought as 
brave men fight. 

While the battle raged on the left, the Eighty-sixth lay 
under a sharp musketry fire, and the most terrific cannonad- 
ing Avhich the regiment ever experienced, and that, too, 
without lifting a hand in self-defense. A number of batteries 
concentrated their fire upon the regiment. Shells shrieked 
and burst all around, solid shot tore the limbs from trees 
overhead, which fell with a crash threatening to crush the 
men, and added to the horrid din, grape-shot and canister 
rattled like hail about and whipped the underbrush and 
shrubs like a hurricane, but the Eighty-sixth never flinched. 
The men had stood the fire about as long without doing any- 
thing as Hoosier patience cared to do. The cries and groans 
of the wounded added to the unpleasant features of the ter- 
rible situation. In the midst of a particularly fierce blast of 
the enemy's batteries the word ran along the line of the 
regiment that Colonel Dick had been killed. This was veiy 
disheartening to the boys for he was greatly loved and 
trusted as a commander. Fortunately this proved to be a 
mistake, but he was very badly wounded, and had to be 
carried from the field, severely and dangerously wounded by 
an exploding shell, his life probably being saved b}' his 
saber, which broke the force of the stroke of the flying 
fragment. His steel saber-scabbard was shattered by the 
terrible blow. Still the battle raged and it was still un- 
decided, and had General Johnson, with his division, done 
his full duty, success might have crowned the elforts. 

Far into the night it was continued between the lines of 
Ibattle. But at length the order was given to withdraw from 
'the immediate front of the enemy's work. General Willich's, 
or Gibson's, brigade bugler sounded the "recall. " This was 
the signal for the enemy to attack in return, and he swarmed 
over the works and made a fierce onset, expecting to create 
3; panic and stampede the entire command, but not .so. How- 
ard, Wood, Hazen, Beatty, Gibson were all upon th»' gi-ound 
land were men of unflinching courage and nerve, and soon 
had their troops well in hand. The enemy, however, sue- 


ceeded in capturing some wounded and a number of men who 
had taken refuge in a ravine immediately in front of Cle- 
burne's works. Wood soon had his division in good shape, 
and was ready to give the enemy a warm reception if he at- 
tempted to push out beyond the immediate front of his 
works whose protecting cover would not be so easily 
reached. In Cox's account of this battle he says: "When 
the preparations were completed, and the troops had rested 
a few- minutes, the order to advance to the attack was given. 
Hazen led boldly forward, and the enemy's skirmishers were 
quickly driven within the works, which he promptly assaulted. 
His left seemed still to outflank the position and it pushed 
forward confident of success. The movement of Johnston's 
division still farther to the left brought it near to Pickett's 
Mill, on a tributarry of Pumpkin Vine creek, and the leading 
brigade — Scribner's — receiving a fire in flank from across the 
stream, halted and faced in that direction. Through some 
mistake McLean's movement on the right did not result as 
expected, and Wood's column was assailed with a furious 
cross-fire of artillery and musketry in front and on both j 
flanks. Wood was forced to retire, which he did deliberately, 
and halted upon a ridge a little in rear and on the right; 
Johnson connected with him, continuing the line, with the 
left curving backward and making a strong refused flank in 
the direction of the mill and the creek. * * This affair 
was a costly one, for Howard reported a total loss of about fif- 
teen hundred. The ground gained was nevertheless very 
valuable, for it enabled the whole left wing to swing forward 
so far as to cover and conceal the extension of Sherman's line 
toward the Ackworth road, and protect the Alatoona road 
upon which his cavalry were operating. * * Had John- 
son noticed that he was first attacked in flank by cavalry 
only, and pushed Scribner's brigade straight on in support 
of Hazen, whilst he took care of the horsemen and another 
brigade of his division, the determined attack of the Fourth 
corps men would probably have been successful. The ground, 
however, was a dense wood broken into ravines, where noth- 
ing could be seen, and where embarrassments were scarcely 


less than in a night attack. Under the circumstances the won- 
der is, not that the attack failed, it is rather that Howard was 
able to loitlidraw in order, carrying off his ivounded; and that he 
did so proves the magnificent steadiness and courage of his officers 
and )nen.''' So writes General Jacob D. Cox, one among the 
bravest and best division commanders in all Sherman's grand 
army, and it is no mean compliment to the troops of Wood's 

While the Eighty-sixth was not in the assault i)roper, 
perhaps no regiment in the entire division was situated in so 
trying a position. For it is a well known fact to all exper- 
ienced soldiers that to hold troops under a withering and de- 
structive fire, without a return of the fire or any action what- 
ever on their part, is of all the duties of a soldier the most 
trying and difficult, and is at all times the severest test of the 
steadiness and nerve of soldiers. That the Eighty-si.xth 
maintained its ground in this exposed position without a 
quiver is sufficient to stamp it, in rank and file, as one com- 
posed of unflinching soldiers. Much depended upon its 
holding this ground, for had it given way the enemy could 
have turned Wood's right flank and probably cut oft" botli 
Wood and Johnson from the rest of the army, and either 
capture or destroy them before reinforcements could have 
reached them through the tangled woods. 

One rebel account of this battle characterizes it as "a 
bloody struggle between Cleburne's division and Shei-man's 
left, the Fourth corps. " Another and more extended account 
is as follows: "Late in the afternoon of the 27th, a bloody 
struggle ensued between Cleburne's division of Hardee's 
corps, aided by a portion of Wheeler's dismounted cavalry, 
and the Fourth army corps of Federals, under command of 
General Howard, in columns six lines deep, near Pickett's 
Mill and the road leading from Burnt Hickory. The latter 
assailed the Confederates with great courage, and pressed 
forward with fortitude under fire, which will ever be remem- 
bered with admiration by those who met them. The two 
lines were at one time within twenty paces of each other; 
but, at length, the Federals were compelled to give way 


before the terrific storm of bullets; and fled for refuge to a 
ravine near by. About 10 o'clock that night, ascertaining 
that many of the Federals troops were in the ravine before 
them, the Confederates charged and drove them out, taking 
some 232 prisoners. The scene of the struggle was in a 
dense woods, with thick undergrowth, broken by hills and 
ravines, where nothing could be observed at a distance, and 
where neither side could see what was going on, except at 
the immediate point of conflict. The acknowledged loss of 
the Federals in this combat was about 1,500 men." 

General Johnston records the following touching inci- 
dent of the fight: "When the United States troops paused in 
their advance, within fifteen paces of the Texan front rank, 
one of their color-bearers planted his colors eight or ten feet 
in front of his regiment, and was instantly shot dead; a sol- 
dier sprang forward to his place, and fell also, as he grasped 
the color-staff; a second and a third followed successively, 
and each received death as speedily as his predecessors; a 
fourth, however, seized and bore back the object of soldierly 
devotion. " 

These rebel accounts err in this: They state that the 
battle was between Cleburne's division, assisted by a portion 
of Wheeler's cavalry and the B'ourth corps. Now% the fact 
was, the battle on the part of the Union troops was fought 
wholly by Wood's division of the Fourth corps, except a few 
volleys fired by some regiments of Scribner's brigade of 
Johnson's division of the Fourteenth corps, there being but 
these two divisions of Union troops on the battle-field. Had 
Johnson pushed Scribner on and supported Hazen's left, as 
pointed out by Cox, there would have been a fair chance of 
success for the gallant boys of Wood's division that fought 
so nobly. Johnson was severely condemned at the time for 
not doing his duty. Still it was a critical position, and one 
which with strange ground to travel over was liable to 
deceive the most careful, and it was a position, too, which 
if one was taken in flank by a sufficient force, would render 
disastrous defeat certain. Therefore, there is some excuse 
for General Johnson's failure to perform the full measure of j 


his duty promptly as he might have done under other cir- 

This battle was a notable one, and is known as the bat- 
tle of Pickett's Mills, being fought near a mill of that name, 
on a branch of Pumpkin Vine creek. It is sometimes called 
the battle of Burnt Hickory, or Pumpkin Vine Creek. The 
battle-field is in Paulding county, Georgia, about eight miles 
from Ackworth on the Western and Atlantic Railway, nearly 
due west from Kenesaw mountain, and distant about ten 
miles from the latter point. 

About twenty of the Eighty-sixth were seriously 
wounded in this engagement, though none proved mortal. 
Besides the loss in numbers, the regiment felt most keenly 
the absence of Colonel George P. Dick. The men needed 
now his careful attention and long experience to keep the 
regiment in its then excellent condition. The Third brigade 
lost 301 officers and men, and the Third division lost 1,457. 
Of all the hard fighting during this long and eventful cam- 
paign, perhaps no division of the whole army lost so many 
men in so short a time as did Wood's division on this occa- 
sion—the 27th of May, 1864— with the possible exception of 
Newton's Second division of the Fourth army corps on the 
27th of June, in the grand assault upon Kenesaw mountain. 


|The Eighty-sixth on the Skirmish Line— Constant Fijilitlnj,'-- Kainy !in(i Hot 
Weather— A Perfect Hell Hole— Pine Mountain— Lost Mountain— Keucsaw 
Mountain— General Polk Killed on Pine Mountain— Captain L. V. Ream 
Wounded— Luke Cronkhite Fatally Wounded-The Assault on June 27— A 
Frightful Loss of Life- Kenesaw Mountain Abandoned by the Enemy— A 
Forward Movement. 

Wood's division remained in this position until tlie Gth of 
June, varying it slightly by changes in the lines. Constant 
skirmishing was kept up the whole time. On the night of 


the battle of Pickett's Mills, May 27, a heavy detail for the 
skirmish line was made from the Eighty -sixth, under com- 
mand of Lieutenant D. H. Olive, of Company H. On account 
of the darkness of the night and the denseness of the woods, 
the line was most difficult to establish, especially as the 
enemy was in close proximity. A member of Company H 
was posted fifty yards in front of the skirmish line proper. 
The enemy sallied out to the left and drove in the line in his 
front. He then moved to his left, and had not the lone skir- 
misher beat a hasty retreat he would have been captured. 
The withdrawal of Wood's division had misled the enemy. 
He supposed that the Union troops had been comjDletely 
routed and that they would be an easy prey for capture, but 
he was met with a firm resistance and soon retired behind 
his fortified lines. 

The two divisions. Wood's and Johnson's, had now 
thrown up temporary breastworks for their defense and felt 
comparatively secure, although separated by some distance 
from the main army. The skirmish line, however, had no 
such protection, and was constantly under fire and on a great 
nervous strain throughout the night. During the 28th an 
alignment of the troops was completed and works ordered to 
be built. This was done, and the detached left was placed in 
connection with the rest of the army, and the extension of the 
battle line toward the railroad was permanently secured. 
The lines of the intrenchments were generally pushed well up • 
to those of the enemy, so that the skirmishers could not be 
thrown very far forward of the works, in many places not 
being more than a rod or so in advance of the main line of 
breastworks. The proximity of the lines caused a continual 
fire to be kept up between the skirmish lines and enforced a 
pretty general observance of orders to remain near the 
works. Sometimes, in fact, an occasional fire was kept up 
from the two lines of works without intervening lines of 
skirmishers. On the evening of the 28th a hot fire was main- 
tained for sometime by the batteries with Beatty's brigade. 
Colonel Fred Knefler in command, and the skirmish fire grew 
in violence and spitefulness. Its vigor was owing to a des- 


perate charge made by the enemy upon the right wing of the 
army — the brunt of the battle falling upon Logan's command, 
of McPherson's army of the Tennessee. The skirmishing 
all round the long skirmish line of the whole army was brisk 
and intensely earnest as if it were only a prelude to a more 
desperate struggle, and this was kept up until after night- 
fall, in fact, more or less all night. The enemy had been 
beaten on the right and roughly handled, and no doubt feared 
a counter charge, and sought, by showing a bold front, to 
ward off any assault at this time. 

Early on the morning of the 29th, the report ran along 
the brigade line of battle that three companies of the Nine- 
teenth Ohio had been captured by the enemy during the night, 
and that the enemy was expected to show an aggressive spirit 
and probably make an assault. The first part of the report, 
in regard to the capture, proved to be false, but the enemy 
certainly did show a very active animosity throughout the 
day. His skirmishers were industrious, and actively main- 
tained an incessant fire during the forenoon. In the after- 
noon his batteries took up the gauge of battle and right 
valiantly maintained their cause for some hours by raining 
shot and shell upon the Union lines, the good breastworks 
alone saving the men from destruction. Toward evening 
the enemy's belligerent aggressiveness assumed a serious 
character. A line of attack was started for the Union works. 
The storming lines pressed gallantly forward, but met with 
many obstacles in their pathway. The skirmish line made a 
heroic resistance, while the artillery delivered such a territic 
and destructive fire upon them that they failed to reach the 
range of the fire of the line of battle, at least, in the Eighty - 
sixth 's front. About 11 o 'clock at night the enemy made another 
attempt and the whole skirmish line of the Union forces was 
ablaze; batteries on both sides opened up and the roar of bat- 
tle was deafening. It was all of the noise and magnificent 
display of a terrific night battle without its more dreadful 
realities, for the enemy finding Union men everywhere ready 
and willing to receive him, he speedily withdrew. These con- 
stant alarms and frequent attacks necessitated almost con- 


stant vigils on the part of the Union troops, and was very 
wearing and exhausting on them. Perhaps at Dallas, New 
Hope, and Pickett's Mills, there was more spirited fighting 
than at any place defended by Johnston on this great and 
memorable campaign, and there was no point where there 
was not much determined fighting, from Rocky Pace Ridge 
to Atlanta, where the two opposing armies came in contact; 
and the Eighty-sixth was nearly all the time on the front 
line here, "jammed" up against the fighting center of Joe 
Johnston's army. 

The 30th was but a repetition of the 29th — constant 
skirmishing with advances by the rebel lines. About dark 
the Eighty-sixth was ordered into line and stacked arms. 
The men were then permitted to break ranks and rest at will, 
but were ordered to remain near their guns. Evidently the 
officers expected a repetition of the programme on the part 
of the enemy of the two previous nights. On the slightest 
indication of a move by the enemy the firing became brisk, 
so that there was an almost continual rattle of musketry 
until 12 o'clock at night. After a hasty breakfast, on the 
morning of May 31, the regiment was ordered into line. 
Moving promptly it advanced some distance in front of its 
former position. The alignment was completed quickly, 
when the men were ordered to fortify with all possible dis- 
patch. The work was scarcely begun, when the enemy 
threw a strong line forward to reconnoiter. The firing at 
once became furious all round the lines. The enemy made 
several vigorous and determined charges in front and to the 
right. At different points on the line the enemy came well 
up to the main line of breastworks before he was repulsed 
and driven back. On the line of the Third brigade the Sev- 
enteenth Kentucky was at this time doing skirmish duty, and 
there were no better skirmishers in all Sherman's army. 
Here the Seventeenth was in its element, and it maintained 
the contest with greatly superior numbers with Spartan 
courage, and finally compelled the enemy to retire. Still 
he was determined and fought with courage for every possi- 
ble advantage, and would only yield inch by inch when forced 


to do SO. In the afternoon of the 31st, three pieces or artil- 
lery were dragged through the thick woods and placed in 
position on the brigade line and opened fire upon the enemy. 
From this time forward it was quite evident that the enemy 
would take as well as give. 

In the afternoon of June 1, the Eighty -sixth received 
orders to arrange camp in regular order. This, the boys 
knew, was folly, and many of them expressed their opinion 
in regard to the order quite freely. Sherman was working 
to the left as rapidly as possible to reach the railroad, which 
was so necessary to assure him, at all times, a sufficient 
quantity of all needed supplies, and all felt it to be nonsense 
to fix up camp in regulation order. On this day Hooker's 
corps withdrew from its line of intrenchments, being relieved 
by McPherson, and moved to the left of the army. The 
usual, skirmishing was indulged in throughout the day. The 
next day. June 2, was hot, and showery in the afternoon, 
the rain falling in torrents. Heavy cannonading was heard 
to the left, indicating the progress of the left wing as it 
neared the goal of the present struggle. Allatoona Pass and 
the railroad north of Ackworth. In the evening of the i2d, tlie 
Eighty-sixth was sent out upon the skirmish line. The 
usual brisk fire was maintained. The regiment was relieved 
by the Nineteenth Ohio, Colonel Manderson in charge, about 
6 o'clock p. m., June 3. Three-quarter rations of hard tack, 
sugar and coffee, and one-quarter rations of pickled pork 
were issued to the men after they reached camp. 

On Saturday morning, June 4, the command moved early, 
going to the right some distance and relieving General Jeff 
C. Davis' division of the Fourteenth corps. The intrench- 
ments occupied by the Eighty-sixth here were within about 
two hundred yards of the enemy's outer works, and there 
were only about two rods of open timber in front, the rest of 
the distance being an open field. The enemy was in the 
edge of the woods on the farther side of the opening. This 
gave him almost a clear sweep, and the position was a'crit- 
. ical one. The enemy already had the range perfectly, and 
whenever a man showed his head above the works a minie 


ball hissed spitefully and dangerously near. In the after- 
noon the enemy opened upon the Eighty -sixth's position with 
artillery, and as it was at short range, he made the shot and 
shell crash in the timber overhead in an awful manner, and 
finished up by sweeping the deck with a rattling charge of 
grape-shot that tore the underbrush to the rear of the works 
like a cyclone. Scarcely had this fire ceased when a line of 
attack was started for the Avorks, a little to the right of the 
position of the Eighty-sixth. With the rebel yell echoing 
from wood to wood and reverberating from hill to hill, on it 
came, but it was soon met with such a blaze of fire from the 
Union breastworks that the line quickly retreated, and 
sought the shelter of its works. The enemy's loss doubt- 
less was light, as he stood fire so short a time. 
The Eighty-sixth, however, was alert and was not 
to be caught napping. At dark the regiment was 
ordered to strengthen its works. The entire regiment 
worked until midnight, making its parapet shot proof, and 
then the men retired for sleep and rest. When daylight 
dawned, many expected the enemy to be gone, but the sharp 
"ping" of the minie ball warned the men not to be reckless. 
However, about 7 o'clock the enemy fell back quietly, the 
main force doubtless having withdrawn during the night, 
leaving only a strong skirmish line to cover the movement. 
It was not to be supposed that he had gone far. A number 
of the Eighty-sixth visited the enemy's lines of intrench- 
ments and found them very strong. Here on this line for 
about eleven days had been some of the severest attacks dur- 
ing this eventful campaign, particularly those made by 
Hooker on the 25th and Wood on the 27th. General Sher- 
man speaking of these battles says: "This point, 'New 
Hope,' was the accidental intersection of the road leading 
from Allatoona to Dallas with that from Van Wert to Mari- 
etta, and from the bloody fighting there for the next week 
was called by the soldiers 'Hell Hole'; " and this is about as 
good a description in brief as can be given of it. It was hot 
enough for almost anything, both in the way of fighting and 
the weather. Thus another decisive step in the campaign 


had been taken. The progress had been steady and consid- 
ering obstacles, rapid. The enemy had as yet been unable 
to stay Sherman's onward march. Here at New Hope and 
Dallas he had caused the most trouble and delay, but now he 
had been compelled to take another backward step, and the 
Union army, as a matter of course, was rejoicing and ready 
to go forward. 

The Eighty-sixth with the Third brigade remained in 
their position behind their intrenchments until about sunrise 
on the 6th of June, when they marched out toward the rail- 
road in which direction the whole army was gradually mov- 
ing. The day was excessively hot and the air sultry and 
oi^pressive. The command covered five or six miles, and 
bivouacked in the edge of a woods about 2 o'clock jd. m. 
The fire of the skirmish lines could be heard sometime before 
the place of bivouac was reached. It continued steadily, but 
it was by no means brisk. 

At this bivouac a phase of camp-life was presented 
which surprised many not a little. It was a new experience, 
but one which was speedily comprehended. Fresh beef had 
been issued to the troops and notwithstanding the active 
interference of the butchers and others to protect it, scarcely 
was there a piece given out to the members of the Eighty- 
sixth that was not almost covered with "fly blows."' Many 
of the boys swore roundly at this state of affairs, but it could 
not be helped. The meat was thoroughly scraped, washed, 
and hustled into a camp-kettle, covered with water, and 
quickly placed on a fire to cook. Even cooked beef had to 
be carefully watched and protected. 

The Eighty-sixth remained at its bivouac of the (3th 
until the 10th. The front line was skirmishing continually 
with the enemy in a mild sort of way, as though it was done 
just to keep in practice. On the 8th the army was reinforced 
by two divisions of the Seventeenth corps commanded by 
General Frank P. Blair. From the 5th to the 9th of June 
General Sherman was getting his forces well over toward 
the Western and Atlantic railroad, changing base from 
Kingston to Allatoona. In this movement the Twenty-third 


corps, General Schofield commanding, which was on the ex- 
treme left, stood fast while the rest of the army passed to his 
rear and formed on his left. McPherson reached the rail- 
road in advance of Ackworth on the 7th. Schofield had now 
become the extreme right of the army, McPherson the left, 
and Thomas with the Army of the Cumberland, the center. 
The Fourth corps being the center of Thomas' army was 
also the center of Sherman's. On the 9th Sherman gave 
orders to move forward and feel for the enemy and get into 
position, being again ready for more active work. The 
weather had been rainy since the 5th, in fact, there had been 
more or less rain ever since the attack upon the enemy's 
position at New Hope Church began, but now it fell in still 
greater quantities. The Eighty- sixth moved about a half 
mile on the 10th, and about one mile on the 11th. Thus 
gradually working its way to the left to its position in the 
general alignment of the whole great army. On the 12th 
there was a tremendous fall of rain, especially in the after- 
noon it came down in torrents. On this day the Eighty-sixth 
did not move. There was lively skirmishing all day. Some 
members of the Eighty-sixth visited the Fifth Indiana bat- 
tery, and from the position of the battery viewed the enemy's 
works on Pine mountain and the works extending to the 
right. The enemy's position was a strong one, and was well 
fortified, and he evinced a disposition to defend them to the 
last extremity. There was heavy cannonading in the even- 
ing all around the lines, the rebel batteries returning 
the tire of the Union batteries with much spirit, mak- 
ing altogether a magnificent display. During the 12th 
and 13th the Eighty- sixth was almost destitute of rations, 
which was anything but pleasant. The rain descended al- 
most continually, which swelled the streams and rendered 
transportation by means of army wagons almost mi possible, 
as well as delaying the intended movement of the troops. 
There was, however, continual skirmishing of a mild charac- 
ter, warming up at times when the batteries would try con- 
clusions. This took place on the evening of the 13th. Com- 
mencing on the extreme left with McPherson it passed to the 


riofht; the batteries and skirmishers were quite busy for 
some time, but it was sliarpest and longest maintained on the 
left where McPherson was advancing on Brush mountain. 
Sherman now had his forces well up to the enemy's position 
and was in fighting distance, near enough to strike out from 
the shoulder and take his enemy between the eyes, which 
might be said to be located upon Kenesaw and Pine moun- 
tains, from which point Sherman's every move could be ob- 

Johnston's new position was by nature a very strong 
one. and it was skilfully and magnilicently intrenched. His 
main line extended from Brush mountain on his right to 
Lost mountain on the left. The key to this position was the 
double peaked mountain, Kenesaw, standing to the rear of 
the fortilied line, now occupied and looming up high over all 
the surrounding mountains and country, rendering it a verit- 
able Gibralter. In advance of Johnston's main line stood the 
now historic Pine Top, or Pine mountain. This command- 
ing eminence was connected with the main line by strong 
intrenchments, but did not constitute any portion of them, 
and was not intended or expected to be held as a permanent 
l^ositiou. Johnston's line from Brush mountain to Lost 
mountain was perhaps ten miles in length. Lost mountain 
was a little south of west of Brush mountain. Pine Top was 
nearly due west of Brush mountain, while Kenesaw was 
nearly due south of the latter. The four formed almost a 
diamond in shape, while Kenesaw, Pine Top and Lost 
mountain stood so as to form a triangle, the base, from Ken- 
esaw to Lost, mountain, being the largest. The main line 
of intrenchments being about raid-way between Pine Toji and 
Kenesaw. This was a grand position, skilfully taken, and 
held with a masterly hand, and the enemy had be(>n strongly 
reinforced and was conlident. These things greatly improved 
the morale of Johnston's army. 

The Army of the Cumberland was in the center. Its 
corps was distributed from left to right as follows: Palmer's 
Fourteenth corps, Howard's Fourth corps, and Hooker's 
Twentieth corps. On the 14th Sherman directed that the 


enemy should be pushed sharply at all points, without a 
direct assault upon his works, unless under the most favor- 
able circumstances. But the lines closed down upon the 
enemy, tightening their grip, and Union skirmishers gave 
him battle everywhere. Thomas steadily pressed the right 
of the Fourteenth corps, and the left of the Fourth corps 
against the lines of intrenchment in the re-entrant angle 
betAveen Pine Top and the enemy's main line, resulting in 
quite a battle. About noon the bugle at brigade head- 
quarters sounded the "general call, " and almost in an instant 
the Eighty-sixth w^as in line ready for battle. It moved to 
the left about a half or three-quarters of a mile, placing it in 
position on the left front of Pine Top, and its duty was to 
support Willich's brigade, now commanded by Colonel Wil- 
liam H. Gibson. This brigade gallantly passed the enemy 
at all points in its front. The skirmish line was reinforced 
until it was about equal to a line of battle, and its fire was 
fiercely maintained until the hills and valleys once again 
echoed to the music, and the dense woods were wrapped in 
its stifling smoke. 

About 6 o'clock a number of Union batteries opened a 
hot fire upon the enemy. General Sherman himself directing 
the Fifth Indiana battery to open on a group of officers seen 
on the crest of Pine Top, observing the movements of the 
Union troops.* The Fifth was true as steel and efficiently 
served and soon dispersed the group. It proved to be Gen- 
eral Johnston. General Hardee, and General Leonidas Polk. 
The latter was killed by an unexploded shell, and his loss 
was keenly felt by the enemy, as he was greatly loved by the 
whole people of the South. 

The Eighty-sixth kept well up to the First brigade. It 
finally bivouacked about 7 o'clock and the boys ate their sup- 
per of hard tack, salt pork, and coffee, amid the thunderous 
roar of batteries and the finer, keener, crackling fire of the 
skirmish line. It had been a busy and trying afternoon and 
the prospect was for many, many more busy afternoons, and 

* Authorities differ Jis to whether it was Sherman or Thomas who gave this 
direction. Lossing says it was Thomas; others say it was Sherman. 


whole days and weeks to follow, and the prospect was ful- 
filled to the letter. Every man slept soundly on the rocky 

On the moi-ning of the 15th, the bugles sounded reveille 
at daybreak. The skirmishers had been busy the whole 
night through and had no doubt annoyed the enemy greatly 
by their incessant fire, while the Union troops had rested 
well, w^hich rendered them fresh and active. Expectation 
was on tip-toe. All forenoon the cannon boomed and 
growled sullenly at the enemy on the left. The Fourth 
; corps did not advance until between 1 and 2 o'clock. Wood's 
division supporting Stanley's, and ready to take its place 
upon the line if opportunity offered. The lines of battle 
advanced some distance and came upon the intrenchments of 
the enemy. Here the battle opened in earnest and the Union 
forces i)ressing steadily on, captured one or two lines of 
works and secured possession of Pine mountain, and drove 
the enemy back into his main line of works, extending from 
Brush mountain to Lost mountain, the line being perhaps a 
mile in advance of Kenesaw mountain. The battle raged all 
along the line from left to right — from Brush mountain north 
and east of the railroad to Lost mountain on the Union 
right. The enemy was beaten at all points. General M. F. 
Force, on the left, captured the Fortieth Alabama, about 3l'0 
strong. The Fourth corps took many prisoners in squads of 
five to thirty. Many of the prisoners professed to be tired 
of fighting, and of the war, and stated that many more still 
in the ranks were of the same state of mind. The enemy 
was kept closely engaged by the skirmishers even, when no 
line of attack was moving against him. Decided advantage 
had been gained by the Union forces during the day, and the 
men were encouraged accordingly. Schofield, on the extreme 
right, had gained a foot-hold beyond Allatoona creek near 
Lost mountain, but he had perhaps done the least fighting of 
any army corjis during the day. Hooker had fought tlie 
enemy immediately on the right of the Fourth corps witii his 
usual impetuosity, gaining possession of advantageous 
ground. The battle on the extreme left, fought by McPher- 


son's men, is known as the Battle of Noonday's Creek, thai 
of the Fourth corps as the Battle of Phie Mountain, and that 
of Hooker's corj^s as the Battle of Gilgal (or Golgotha) 

The Eighty -sixth bivouacked about 7:30 p. m. on the 
southeastern slope of Pine mountain. The minie balls whiz- 
zed at a lively rate in front and a little to the left, and it 
looked for a time very much as though there might yet be a 
night battle thrown in to make up good measure for the day "s 
duty. As it was the Eighty-sixth ate its supper to the rattle 
of musketry and the roar of batteries, to the "ping" of the 
minie ball, and the shriek of shot and shell. The men were 
tired and were glad to sink anywhere. 

There was no general movement by the Fourth corps on 
the 16th, and the Eighty-sixth remained in bivouac on the 
slope of Pine Top. A number of the regiment went up to 
the top of the mountain where the enemy's evacuated works 
were, to take a look at the surrounding country. Far and 
near the eye ranged over the wondrous country, made still 
more wonderful by the gigantic labors of man now contend- 
ing in a Titanic struggle for its mastery. From the summit 
of the mountain there could be seen a thickly wooded rolling 
country — a veritable panorama of hill and vale, of open field 
and shaded wood, divided by deeply running streams. To 
the left front of Wood's division lie the trim peaks of the 
mighty Kenesaw mountain, around whose base grim-visaged 
war was destined to rage in his wildest and most violent 
moods for days and weeks. Rugged, wood fringed, seamed 
by chasm and broken by rocky battlements, nature's own 
fortresses, it loomed up eighteen hundred feet above sea 
level. It is about three miles from Pine Top to Kenesaw 
mountain. Slightly in advance of, and somewhat farther to 
the right than Kenesaw, to the left, is the solitary peak of Lost 
mountain. Standing solitary and alone it loomed up over the 
surrounding wooded hills, a watchtower for Johnston's ex- 
treme left. Here on the part of the Union forces. General 
Schofield with the Twenty-third corps, kept watch and ward. 
The strong earthworks can be traced in their course from 


jight to left on the high ground which forms the water-shed 
)etween Mud creek and Allatona creek on the right, and Mud 
Jreek and Noyes' creek and Noonday creek on the left, All- 
jtoona creek and Noonday being tributaries of the Etowah 
'iver, while the waters of Mud creek and Noyes' creek find their 
vay to the Chattahoochee river, south of Kenesaw moun- 
ain. These streams play an important part in the great 
!jame of war to be played here. They have determined the 
ocation of Johnston's line of intrenchment. 
' The gallant Fifth Indiana battery shelled the enemy at a 
'urious rate, and delivered its shots with great accuracy. 
\t the feet of the visitors, upon the chips, rocks, and 
:;tumps, is the blood of one of the martyrs of the Southern 
ause. Here fell two days before Lieutenant General Leonidas 
Polk, formerly Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the diocese 
bf Louisiana. He was killed by an unexploded shell from 
bne of the guns of this same Fifth Indiana battery. General 
lohnston and General Hardee narrowly escaped destruction 
"rom the same shell. A thin veil of light blue smoke rose 
i'rom the skirmish line, enabling one to trace it for miles 
through wood as well as open field, and the rattle of mus- 
!.^etry, mingled with the heavy detonations of the artillery, 
ndicated that the struggle was still on. 

There w^as no general attack or advance by tlie Union 
iforces on the 16th. Toward evening, however, a number of 
Onion batteries became engaged with those of the enemy in 
!i fierce artillery duel. The shrieking of shot and the burst- 
ng of shell added to the roar of the guns, and made a verit- 
able pandemonium that was painful to the ear. This contest 
oegan about 5 o'clock p. m. and was maintained for an unusual 
length of time. 

j General Schofield, with the Twenty-third corps, had 
gained a very decided advantage in position on the rigiit 
during the 16th, which enabled him to enfilade a portion of 
the enemy's main line of intrenchments. This rendennl 
Johnston's left untenable. But with his accustomed fore- 
sight that General had provided for this very emergency by 
constructing for hisleft another line of intrenchments. just 


east of Mud creek. This line of works joined the old line a1 
a point on a line between Pine Top and the west end oj 
Kenesaw, not far from east of the head of Mud creek. Tc 
this line Johnston's left withdrew during the night o1 
the 16th. 

General Sherman says: "On the 17th and 18th the rail 
again fell in torrents, making army movements impossible, 
but we devoted the time to strengthening our positions, more 
especially to the left and center, with a view gradually tc 
draw from the left to add to the right; and we had to hole 
our lines on the left extremely strong, to guard against { 
sally from Kenesaw against our depot at Big Shanty. ' 
General Sherman is here probably writing from memory, 
without referring to his notes, as this statement does not 
agree with other writers who were on the ground and made 
notes of every day's contests. General Cox describes in his 
"History of the Atlanta Campaign" at some length tlie move 
ments of the army, and the lighting. A rebel author says: 
" Part of Howard's corps, under cover of a heavy cannonade, 
charged the Confederate outer i-ifle pits, and after a close 
fight succeeded in holding these and forcing the Confederates 
back to their main line. During the night the Confederates 
made two unsuccessful efforts to recapture the lost jDosition." 
This was on June 17. This Confederate's statement agrees 
very closely with the facts. The contest was stubborn, but 
the enemy was repulsed. During the entire day the Eighty- 
sixth was on the skirmish line. The little valley of the 
upper part of Mud creek resounded from morning until night 
with a sharp musketry fire. The firing was brisk, but prob- 
ably not very destructive, as the enemy was well protected 
by rifle pits. Shortly after dark the Eighty-sixth was 
relieved, when it at once returned to the brigade and took its 
position in the front line, in rear of the intrenchments some 
little distance. Soon after the regiment had reached its 
bivouac the enemy charged upon Gibson's brigade immedi- 
ately upon the left. The Third brigade expected and was 
ready to go to the assistance of its comrades of the First 
brigade, but it was not needed. The gallant First was equal 


to the occasion, and repelled the enemy, held all points, took 
a firmer grip, and drove him back into his works and did it 
without assistance. The Fourth corps was in it from early 
morn until dewey eye, and in it every day. The attack was 
renewed later at night, but with no better success than the 
former one. The battle raged during the fore part of the 
night of the 17th, but the Fourth corps' position, defended 
by as sturdy a band of soldiers as ever shouldered a musket, 
was impregnable. 

It rained in torrents during the after part of the night of 
the 17th and during the morning of the 18th, swelling the 
streams until they ran as only mountain streams can run. 
Immediately after reveille the Eighty-sixth was moved out 
to the front line of intrenchments and took position ready 
for battle. The regiment breakfasted in the trenches. Not- 
withstanding the heavy fall of rain and the swollen condition 
of the streams, there was hard fighting around the lines of 
the Fourth corps between skirmish lines almost equal to 
lines of battle. The Fourth corps pressed the enemy at all 
points on its front, and especially on the front of Newton's 
and Wood's divisions. Cox says: ''Howard threw forward 
Wood's and Newton's divisions, whose strongly supported 
line of skirmishers were able by a rush to carry the line of 
i; works in their front, capturing about fifty prisoners. Sev- 
ij eral counter-charges were made in the hope of regaining the 
1 line, but were repulsed. " A rebel author says of the same 
contest: "Wood's and Newton's divisions of Howard's corps 
then made a strong forward movement and, after an obsti- 
nate struggle, by the aid of artillery fire, succeeded in cap- 
turing and holding a portion of the outer works of the Con- 
federate line. " This was a hot and malicious contest and 
tried the mettle of the men of both sides that were engaged. 
The advance threw the Eiglity-sixty considerably forward of 
its former position. As soon as the alignment was com- 
pleted the men intrenched themselves at once. 

After this forward movement on the pari of Ww riiioii 
forces the enemy's advanced lines were wltlulrawn. but he 
held on to his main line of works: but he was evicU'iilly pre- 


paring to retire. Hooker and Schofield were swinging 
round and closing in on the enemy's position. There was 
considerable shifting of the line back and forth as it was 
found the alignment was not satisfactory. Skirmishing and 
fighting continued with brief intervals of rest. The Eighty- 
sixth moved to the left some distance, but did not remain 
there long, moving to the right somewhat farther than 
before, and taking an exposed position on the left bank of a 
stream, probably an unimportant tributary of Mud creek, 
but now it ran full and strong. The Eighty-sixth relieved 
troops here that had already intrenched themselves in this 
position. It was an uncomfortable position. The waters of 
the little stream came up almost to the works on the right 
flank of the regiment. A rod or so in the rear of the line of 
works the ground was low and water was plentiful, in short 
the men were water and mud bound, yet this was no pro- 
tection. The shells were dropping here and there, in 
fact, all around in a murderous manner. It looked 
like the Eighty-sixth was pickled and was now about to 
be put to soak. Some of the incidents of the day were 
ludicrous in the extreme, or would have been if the great 
danger had not given things a more serious cast. A com- 
rade was hungry and thought something for the inner man 
would be beneficial to a man in his situation. The more he 
thought about the matter the sharper grew his appetite. His 
longings for hard tack and old government Java overcame 
his caution and made him brave, and during a moment when 
the enemy's fire slackened he prepared his coffee, procured 
water, righted up a fire in the rear of the works, and placed 
his coffee-pot on to boil. Unfortunate move, luckless mo- 
ment, he had scarcely succeeded in getting his coffee-pot ad- 
justed on the rails, when a shot came screaming and tipped 
the rails and upset the pot in the fire and frightened the 
hungry soldier back to the works where he remained while 
his coffee roasted and the spout was melted off" his coffee-pot. 
Never did a soldier lose a strong and healthy appetite more 
suddenly. Twelve pound shells as a diet did not suit his 
stomach. Another comrade, somewhat cooler-headed under 


most circumstances, concluded he, too, would have something 
to eat, and accordingly proceeded, as his comrade had, to pre- 
pare and place his coffee upon the fire, watching it, ready to 
remove, as soon as it was sufficiently boiled. He, too, was 
greatly -discomfited. The aroma of the coffee was beginning 
to be distilled, when there came a mighty shriek, and there 
was a scattering of rails, coals, and ashes. The soldier! 
where was he? Two feet deep in water in the stream that 
ran at the right rear of the regiment. He was demoralized 
and was only just pulling himself together in the water, when 
another terrific scream and the plunging of a shell into the 
water immediately in his front, fairly immersed him with a 
mighty upheaval of the water. He had snatched his coffee- 
pot from the fire before the shell had struck it, and it was 
his boast as long as he lived that he saved his coffee and 
drank it. Still the shot and shell rained on the men. Dur- 
ing this time a shell had burst just in the rear of the works 
in a hogshead in which rations had been brought to the 
i:)lace, wounding severely in the hand Captain L. V. Ream, 
of Company G, and Thomas Decker, of Company I. Ream 
lost three fingers. About 4 o'clock p. m. the regiment began 
the construction of flank covers, similar in construction to its 
parapet, to protect the men from the flank artillery fire of 
the enemy. When these were just completed the regiment 
was ordered to move by the left flank and relieve the Seven- 
teenth Kentucky. This latter position was still muddier 
than the one which it had just left. It was without exagger- 
tion a veritable mud -hole, and there was nowhere a place 
where one could lie down without almost being buried in the 
mud. All soon began to make preparations for the niglit. to 
gather brush, rails, or poles to keep themselves out of the 
mud, and thus the Eighty-sixth slept and rested on the 
night of the 18th of June, after an arduous day's duty. The 
rebels designated the fighting of the 18tli as tlie Battle of 
Kenesaw mountain of the 18th of June. 

The weather had been very bad, very wet and cliaiiging 
frequently and suddenly. It cannot bedescribed bettei- lliau 
the Irish picket's description to his sweetheart: 


" This southern climate's quare Biddy 

A quare aud beastly thing, 
Wid winter atasint all the year. 

And summer in the spring. 
Ye mind the hot place down below? 

And may ye never fear 
I'd dhraw comparisons— but then 

It's awful warrum here." 

The weather throughout most of June was beastly in 
the extreme. With this extreme heat and with every creek, 
swamp, and lagoon full of water, and the decaying vegetable 
matter washed into swamps and ponds, it is a wonder that 
the Union forces did not all die in a heap. Rations were 
issued to the Eighty-sixth in the mud on the night of the 
18th, but were not distributed to the men until the following 

The Eighty-sixth, almost to a man, was pretty thor- 
oughly saturated with water and bedaubed with Georgia soil 
in the shape of a brick-red mud, when daylight on the morn- 
ing of the 19th revealed the situation. The command moved 
out after the enemy about 8:30 a. m. The enemy was now 
established in his last line, of which Kenesaw mountain was 
the key. The line extended over the crest of the twin peaks 
of the mountain, and then somewhat refused, running nearly 
due south from the western slope of the mountain. He had, 
however, strong outposts thrown well in front to baffle 
Sherman's ai3i3roach, until he was more securely intrenched. 
The country, with the enemy's perfect knowledge of it, fav- 
ored him, and great caution had to be exercised. The 
Eighty-sixth, supjjorting the front line, closed up well on to 
it, and followed as it advanced. Progress was slow, how- 
ever, and the regiment halted about 10:30 and lay until 2:30 
p. m., the rain pouring down in torrents. At the latter hour 
the line resumed the advance, the batteries opening a terrific 
fire upon the enemy. The regiment closed up on the 
advanced line again, and the minie balls sang their familiar 
songs about the ears of the men in a most spiteful way. 
However, but little attention was paid to his fire, but the 
Union forces pressed him with strong lines of skirmishers. 
The enemy made a stubborn resistance, but was steadily 


forced, baclr, until night came on and made farther progress 
impossible. The Eighty -sixth bivouacked about 7 o'clock in 
the evening, and received orders to have reveille at 3 o'clock 
the next morning, and to move at 4 o 'clock. The battle between 
the skirmish lines still continued to rage after nightfall. 
The regiment's bivouac on the night of the 19th was south 
of w^est of the west end of Kenesaw mountain. Reveille was 
sounded at the appointed time. The rapidity of the firing 
increased as day dawned. 

The early morning was clear, but soon a bank of clouds 
drifted above the horizon and threatened rain. The skir- 
mishing was quite active all forenoon, indicating a pressure 
that could not last very long without causing a break of 
some kind. Just before noon the Eighty-sixtli was ordered 
to put up tents, it being stated that it would probably remain 
here throughout the day. Yet the men had scarcely fin- 
ished their pickled pork, hard tack and coffee for dinner, 
when they received orders to be ready to move at 1 o'clock. 

Wood's division had orders to relieve a part of Hooker's 
corps. It moved to the right about one mile and the Eighty- 
sixth was halted in a small field which had been used as a 
slaughter pen. Here the enemy caught sight of it and 
opened with their batteries. He soon secured almost per- 
fect range. The shells and solid shot ploughed up the earth 
and flung the dirt wildly about, sprinkling everybody liber- 
ally. The offal of the cattle was lying plenteously around, 
almost covering the ground, but the proximity of those 
screaming shells indicated tliat life depended upon one get- 
ting close to the ground. In an instant everybody went to 
the earth. A sergeant of Company H, no doubt, mistaking 
a beef paunch for a boulder or nigger-head, sought shelter 
behind it from the enemy's fire, to the great amusement of 
the boys. Everybody found it necessary to seek shelter, 
and a darkey who was with the regiment, hid behind a stump. 
He was peeping out when a musket ball struck him on the 
side of the head and made a painful wound. He was up in a 
second and went galloping around the opening shaking his 
head like a mad bull, until some of the boys pulled liim down 


behind shelter, made an examination and assured him that 
he was not dangerously wounded. He was severely hurt, 
but he was seen no more. 

From this place the Eighty-sixth moved a little farther 
to the fight and relieved a portion of General Geary's line 
of Hooker's corps. It was now once more on the front line 
of intrenchments, facing the foe. Daily rains still occurred 
and the streams ran full, and the waters were muddy and 
mud was plentiful everywhere. Being on the front line, the 
Eighty-sixth now had to furnish skirmishers. The fighting 
had been sharp at points around the lines during the day, 
while the skirmishing" was brisk everywhere. 

A heavy detail from the Eighty-sixth was on the skir- 
mish line the whole night of the 20th, and consequently the 
regiment was not astir early on the morning of the 21st when 
not compelled to do so by orders. All who were in that 
detail can testify to the exhausting character of the extreme 
vigilance and activity required of the skirmishers that 
night. Besides the duties required, it rained the whole 
night. General Sherman wrote to General Halleck, Chief of 
Staff at Washington, on the 21st: "This is the nineteenth day 
of rain and the prospect for fair weather is as far oft" as ever. 
The roads are impassable; the fields and woods become quag- 
mires after a few wagons have crossed over. Yet we are at 
work all the time. ' ' There was no hour, day or night, when 
all parts of the grand army was at rest. Leaving out of 
consideration the skirmishers who slept neither day nor 
night, there were brigades, regiments, or strong detach- 
ments that were at work preparing roads, building bridges, 
or taking and fortifying advanced positions. During the 
forenoon of the 21st Newton's Second division of the Fourth 
corps passed to the rear of Wood's Third division and took 
position on the line to Wood's right. 

The skirmishing was lively during the entire forenoon 
between the Eighty -sixth skirmishers and the enemy. Luke 
Cronkite, of Company E, was quite severely wounded in the 
wrist while on the skirmish line that morning. It was a 
evere and extremely painful wound, and few, if any, ex- 


pected it to prove fatal. But in a few weeks word came to 
the regiment that he died at Louisville on the 9th of August. 
The skirmishing grew in proportions. Resolute courage was 
exhibited everywhere upon the line by both sides, and fight- 
ing grew fiercer as the day advanced. 

Just after noon the firing all along the line increased in 
intensity, and as the volume of musketry increased the thun- 
ders of batteries joined the music of the minor keys. This 
fierce and unchanging music of battle rang and roared its 
fiercest and loudest notes for an hour, drowning the puny 
fire of the skirmish line in sound, but it could not interrupt 
the " zip" of the musket balls that came just as freely as be- 
fore. One had to be careful about exposing a head above 
the head-log of the parapet. 

About 3 o'clock p. m. on the 21st, the Eighty -sixth was 
suddenly ordered to "fall in with gun and cartridge-box."' 
The order was promptly obeyed, and in one minute's time 
the regiment stood in line behind the intrenchments, ready 
for defensive or offensive duty. It proved to be the latter. 
Speedily the order came to "Forward, march," and over the 
works it went and started for the enemy. Having advanced 
some distance it came to a rail fence, where the men were 
ordered to supply themselves with rails with which to make 
a barricade. After securing a supply of rails it was again 
ordered forward. To maintain anything like a respectable 
line of battle was simply impossible, but the command wont 
ahead like a cyclone, rails whirling in the aiv, and occasion- 
ally a soldier would trip and come tumbling to the ground, 
gun and rail falling around him to his utter confusion, or 
thumping an unfortunate comrade, in his downfall. Having 
advanced some six or seven hundred yards in front of its 
former position, the regiment was halted and ordered to in- 
trench. The first thing, however, was to get the regiment 
into line. The men loaded with rails, their guns were not 
easily brought into a perfect alignment, and the Lieutenant 
Colonel, then in command, almost lost his patience. It was 
necessary for the regiment to execute a partial right wheel 
to perfect the alignment. The Lieutenant Colonel could not 


make himself heard sufficiently to secure the attention of the 
whole regiment. So after fruitless efforts to secure atten- 
tion, and failing, he became angry and blurted out, "Come 
round here, left wing, and let the right go to h — 11. " The 
left came round and the right soon found its position, the 
alignment was completed and the work began. The skir- 
mishers in front were having a hot time and the enemy was 
liable to come swarming out of his works and attack at any 
moment. All, therefore, worked like beavers. The entire 
Fourth corps was engaged in this dash and drove the enemy 
out of a strong line of rifle-pits, and came close upon his main 
line of intrenchments. During the advance the, enemy had 
kept up a savage fire, but a strong skirmish line in front 
had kept him well engaged. Trees were felled, and these 
with the rails soon made a respectable shelter for the mus- 
ketry fire. A trench was dug just back of the barricade of 
logs, and a strong embankment of earth was made in its 
front by throwing the dirt from the trench over the barri- 
cade. While J. A. Barnes and Richard Galbreath were at 
work side -by side, a ball struck a heavy "thud" and Gal- 
breath gave a startling scream. The rebel ball had struck 
his cartridge-box, passed through both the upper and lower 
chambers of the tin magazine, welded one of his own balls 
firmly to it and passed out, wounding him severely in the 
groin. The wound was serious but not dangerous. He was 
carried to the rear at once, and the work went on as though 
nothing had happened. Richard Elder, of Company H, was 
hurt accidentally. Everything was excitement equal to the 
hurly burly of battle, and hard work for all of the regiment. 
Each one had a different experience, and few had time to 
note anything except that which happened in his immediate 
presence. One man, exhausted by his great exertion, spread 
his poncho upon the ground and threw himself down to rest. 
After lying there a few minutes he turned over suddenly and 
then got up still more suddenly. The reason for his sudden 
rising was a sharp sting in his right thigh. Springing quickly 
to his feet he procured a stick and began a search in the 
leaves that had blown on his poncho for the intruder. He 


soon found him in the shape of a small, brownish gray scor- 
pion, three or four inches in length. He was quite indig- 
nant, and showed fight whenever disturbed, but was quickly 
dispatched and the ground well looked over for others of his 
kind. The sting was quite painful for a time, but there were 
no other bad results from it and it was soon forgotten. 
Everybody had worked hard and was thoroughly tired, yet 
the success made the men jubilant and rousing cheer after 
cheer went round the Union lines. The right had now swung 
round until it faced almost due east, and was considerably 
south of its mighty citadel, the twin crest of Kenesaw moun- 

This move was briefly described by a rebel author in this 
way: "General Howard's corps, strong massed, made a 
rush through the forest and carried a hill about 700 yards in 
advance of the position gained the evening before. His 
main line was moved up about 500 3^ards, fortifying the posi- 
tion in the midst of a terrible artillery lire between the 
opposing batteries, and seizing an intrenched line abandoned 
by the Confederates. Hooker's troops, who were next to 
How^ard's, assaulted, and, by flank movement, covered by 
artillery fire, occupied a prominent hill, about 500 yards in 
front of his old line, and then connected his left with 
Howard's right." Schofield likewise was pushing his forces 
forward on the extreme right, and giving the enemy great 
annoyance in the neighborhood of the Kulp farm, on the 
banks of Olley's creek. 

By this move General Sherman was enabled to come 
much nearer the enemy on the right, and it also greatly 
shortened his line, allowing him to extend the lines to the 
right, and thus compelled Johnston to thin out his lines to 
keep pace with Sherman's extension toward the Cliattahoo- 
chee river. He dared not, while in this position, allow 
Sherman to secure a crossing of that river or to get upon the 
railroad in his rear. To permit either would have been a 
serious, if not a fatal mistake. 

On the morning of the 22d the Eighty-sixth received 
orders to strengthen its breastworks by making a stronger 


parapet. Therefore, there was more fatigue duty to per- 
form until the parapet was shot-proof. The skirmishing 
was quite animated throughout the day. On this day, the 
22d, Hooker's and Schofield's corps fought the battle of 
Kulp House on the right, defeating the enemy in his attacks, 
and inflicting a heavy loss upon the attacking columns. 
Thus the days before Kenesaw wore away with continual 
skirmishing around the lines, with an occasional attack on 
exposed points, and daily duels between opposing batteries. 

On the morning of the 23d the enemy was decidedly 
aggressive on the Third brigade front and kept up a hot fire 
from his skirmish line. The Fifty-ninth Ohio, which was on 
the skirmish line, lost one man, killed, early in the morning. 
It was relieved by the Seventy-ninth Indiana, which was 
ordered to advance. The advance of the Seventy -ninth was 
resisted with great bravery and spirit, but that regiment 
pressed on undauntedly, and the battle waged hotter and 
hotter. The enemy was forced to fall back, but' he did so 
fighting desperately, and almost at the muzzles of the guns 
of the Seventy -ninth, before he would yield the much coveted 
ground. Before the advance of the regiment began the 
brigade was ordered into the intrenchments to protect the 
troops from the fire. A perfect hail-storm of minie balls 
swept the parapet from one end of the regiment to the other. 
The batteries opened a sharp and well directed fire on the 
enemy just as the Seventy-ninth made its attack upon the 
skirmishers. The Seventy-ninth lost two killed and fifteen 
wounded. During the afternoon there was brisk firing with 
heavy artillery firing on the right. 

Rebel authorities describe " a vigorous attack made upon 
Hardee's corps' position southwest of Kenesaw mountain" 
on the 24th by Stanley's and Newton's divisions of the Fourth 
corps, covered by a terrible artillery fire. In fact there 
were daily contests of safticient magnitude that in the early 
part of the war they would have been heralded all over the 
North as great battles, and the Eighty-sixth, being in the 
front line of intrenchments, felt the effect of every angry 
wave that ran along the lines and started up the fire of 


Bxcited skirmish lines. However, about this time on the line 
of the Third brigade. Third division, Fourth corps, there 
began negotiations between skirmishers for a truce and the 
niusketry fire somewhat slackened. The boys of "the blue 
land the gray" were taking the war on their part in their 
own hands. 

There was nothing of note occurred on the 25th. A hot 
fire was kept up by the skirmishers of the First brigade, of 
Wood's division, some distance to the left. Willich's old reg- 
!iment, the Thirty-second Indiana, was made up principally 
of Germans, and it had secured a very decided advantage 
over the enemy in "position w^hen the line of intrenchments 
was located. The Germans were determined to maintain 
that advantage to the uttermost. This greatly enraged the 
enemy. When meeting between the lines for social and 
commercial purposes with the friendly enemies on the line 
of the Third brigade, when asked what the trouble was just 
to the left, the invariable Confederate answer was: "Oh! the 
d — n dutch haven't any sense. " It amused the Union boys, 
although through policy they assented to their opinions to 
keep on good terms and continue the truce now well estab- 
lished. But at heart the Union boys gloried in the grit of the 
Thirty-second, and more than once cheered them to the echo 
:when an unusal fine display was made. In fact, although 
most of the credit was given to the Thirty-second, it 
'b(>longed to the regiments of the brigade one and all; for 
tliey all kept up the fusilade whenever ui)on the line. 

In the forenoon of the 25th the enemy's batteries on the 
mountain opened a terrific fire on the Union batteries and 
trains, in the valley below. It was renewed again in the 
evening and the roar of batteries on mountain and plain was 
terrible indeed. Sherman alone liad over one hundred guns 
blazing away at the mountain. These with the rebel artil- 
lery, one can easily imagine made an artillery battle of no 
small proportions. 

At this time the corps of the Army of the Cumberland 
were on the line from left to right as follows: Fourth, P'our- 
teenth, and Twentieth. On Sunday. June 1)6. was a quiet 


day for Kenesaw — a Sabbath day, a day of rest to recuperate 
and refresh for the morrow's trial. 

About 8 o'clock on Monday, June 27, the Eighty-sixth 
with the rest of Wood's division, received orders to "Fall in 
with gun and cartridge-box, canteen and haversack " AH 
knew what these orders meant. The ordeal of the battle 
was to be met. Some part of the army was to seek the 
enemy on his own chosen ground, intrenched as he was. 
Either Wood's division was to assault the enemy, or it was to 
support the assaulting column. The latter proved to be the 
case. The command moved to the right some distance, com- 
ing well up to the left of Stanley's position. The assault 
was to be made by Newton's division, of the Fourth corps, 
and Jeff C. Davis' division, of the Fourteenth corps. The 
front of Stanley's position had been chosen as the point from 
which the charge should be made. Newton's lines were to 
assault on the left and Davis' farther to the right. Wood's 
division was Newton's support on the left. The Eighty- 
sixth was in the front line of the supporting forces, and 
occupied the works vacated by troops of New^ton's division. 
The Eighty-sixth was ready at a moment's notice to go for- 
ward and in turn assault the enemy's almost impregnable' 
position if even there was a show of success of the columns 
already designated for that purpose. 

Just to the rear of the left of the regiment, in the second 
line of works, was the Eleventh Indiana battery, consisting 
of six guns, four being 20-pound Parrott guns, and two > 
24-pound brass pieces. The regiment had not been long in 
this loosition when the battery opened a terrible fire on the 
enemy's intrenchmeuts, or as it proved to be, rather upon 
the Eighty -sixth. The ammunition furnished the battery 
was worse than w^orthless in the present situation. Its shells 
exploded almost as soon as they cleared the mouths of the 
guns in their flight. Thus the fragments of the shells were 
thrown in and around the Eighty-sixth in a perfect hail- 
storm of destruction. After one or two rounds had been 
fired and a number of the regiment had been w^ounded, a 
protest was sent to the battery against continuing the fire. 


L change was made in the ammunition and the fire resumed, 
'his was no better and the shells burst within a few rods of 
le muzzles of the guns of the battery. This made the 
iighty-sixth hot, and the men threatened to face about and 
harge the battery in order to silence it, and thus save them- 
elves. The regiment had, on arriving at this position, 
backed arms, and was awaiting further orders when the 
attery opened fii'e. The bursting shells had knocked down 
tacks of guns, and hurled them about the heads of men at a 
Lirious rate. Captain Carnahan, of Company I, ordered 
ergeant Cosby to move to the head of his company while 
hie Captain attended to some matter at another point. They 
ad scarcely changed position and Sergeant Cosby taken 
is place at the head of the company, when anothci- volley 
/as fired by the battery, and a shell exploding to the rear of 
bmpany I, knocked a stack of guns over, breaking several 
nd severely wounding the Sergeant. He was at once taken 
the rear. The regiment, now more angry than ever, sent 
, peremptory order for the battery to cease firing. It was 
)romptly obeyed this time, and it probably saved trouble 
►etween the battery and regiment. 

The assault was now^ on in all its fury. The Eighty- 
ixth took arms and stood ready at a moment's notice to go 
orward into the sulphurous pit. Perhaps few assaults dur- 
Qg the entire war were more terribly destructive, consider- 
ng the front exposed to the enemy's fire; fcAV were more de- 
erminedly maintained and more resolutely met and repulsed 
han this one. General Newton, immediately upon the right, 
vith General Jeft" C. Davis, a few hundred yards farther 
Lway, and General Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, far 
Lway on the right, while McPherson's Army of the Tenues- 
iee, represented by the gallant Fifteenth ^corps. led by the 
)rave Logan, made the assault upon Kenesaw mountain. 
The divisions in the various assaulting columns were all 
jplendid fighters, and all went forward with the steadiness 
md courage that characterize the disciplined soldier. New- 
on's division, of the Fourth corps, perhaps made the most 
iesperate and persevering effort to scale the enemy 's works 

1 i 


of all the lines of assault. But all to no purpose. The rebJ ^^ 
works were practically impregnable, and just no"\v were vei 
itable volcanoes at the various points assaulted, vomitin 
forth fire and smoke and raining leaden hail in the face c 
the Union boys. Hundreds of pieces of artillery roare 
around the lines until the mountain and plain shook with th 
dreadful detonations. But Johnston held his rocky fortres 
securely. itt 

Although the Union arms had failed to carry the positio 
of the enemy, the Confederates w^ere forced to give the a& 
saulting column the credit of exhibiting the most intrepi 
courage. General Johnston himself says in his history: "A 
several points the eharacteristic fortitude of the Northwestern soi 
(tiers held them under a elose and destrnetive fire long after rea 
sonethle hope of sueeess was e/one.'' General Sherman says 
"About a mile to the right, just below the Dallas road' 
Thomas's assaulting column reached the parapet, when 
Brigadier-General Daniel McCook, my old law partner, wa 
desjierately wounded, from the effects of which he after 
ward died."' All did nobly, but the Fourth corps excelled 
In proof of this the loss of the Fourth corps in killed durin{ 
the month of June was nearly double that of the Fourteent] 
corps, although the latter greatly exceeded it in numbers 
This is not said for the purpose of detracting from any, fo 
all showed heroic courage and fortitude. 

"The living are brjive and noble 
But the dead were bravest, of all 

This battle is said to have presented a grand am 
"imposing panorama" to those on Kenesaw mountain, wh( 
could see all the movements until the contestants wer( 
enveloped in the battle's smoke. General French, the Con 
federate commander on the mountain, gives a lengthy de 
scription of it, from which the following is quoted: "We sa 
there, perhajis, an hour, enjoying a bird's eye view of one o 
the most magnificent sights ever allotted to men— to lodH 
down upon an hundred and fifty thousand men arrayed in th( 
strife. of battle, on the plain below. As the infantry closec 
in the blue smoke of the musket marked out our line foi 




les, while over it, rose in cumuli-like clouds the white 
loke of the artillery. Through the rifts of smoke, or, as it 
IS wafted aside by the wind, we could see the assault made 

Cheatham, and there the struggle was hard, and there it 
sted longest. So many guns were trained on those by our 
le, and so incessant was the roar of cannon and the sliarp 
plosion of shells, that naught else could be heard. * * The 
ttle in its entirety, became a pageantry on a grand 
ale, and barren of results, because the attacking columns 
ire too small in numbers, considering the charactei- of the 
)ops they knew they would encounter. ' ' 

The army of the Tennessee fared no better, so far as suc- 
ss was concerned, than the 'Army of the Cumberland, and 

noon the battle was over. The Eighty -sixth returned at 
ce to its position in the trenches. There was a lull after 
e storm, and there was comparatively light skirmishing 
ound the lines during the afternoon and *fevening. On the 
xt day, the 28th, the boys of the Eighty-sixth and tlie 
mfederates formed a "Board of Trade" on a small scale for 
e purpose of disposing of surjilus coffee on the one hand 
d tobacco upon the other. An offer to "dicker" coffee for 
bacco always caught the "Johnnies" and put them in good 
rnior, if there were no officers around. On the other hand 
bacco was in brisk demand in the Union ranks. When 
ere was an official about they would signal not to come, but 

soon as he was gone, traffic would be resumed. They 
emed to be in excellent humor over their great success in 
pelling the assault the previous day. They were quite 
Uling to talk of the campaign, ex])ressing themselves freely 

regard the probable success of it on the Union i)art, and 
lowed they had enough for another killing yet in ranks." 
At one of these meetings an interesting discussion arose 
)tween Wat Baker, of Company H, and a Confederate, 
augly ensconced behind two logs hid from view of the 
sbel line, the discussion began. Baker was an oddity, over 
X feet in height, of a nervous disposition, jerky in manner 
id emphatic in speech. The discussion, as related by Baker 
terwards, ranged over the whole subject of contention 


between the North and the South — slavery pro and con wa| 
argued, secession and coercion, and the probable success c 
the Northern armies finally. For nearly two hours thesi 
men chatted and argued every phase of the contest whic 
suggested itself to their minds. Baker, on his return to thj 
line, shook his head in a most comical manner and declare 
he had almost converted one "Reb" into a "Yank;" that h 
had convinced him of the utter folly of further fighting o 
the part of the South. He admitted all was hopeless an 
declared he intended to abandon the army and the cans 
upon the first opportunity to desert. Baker, with the fei 
vency of speech of a Methodist revivalist, urged that " no^ 
was the accepted time." To this the "Johnnie " demurred 
and pointed out that it would be impossible for him to escap 
on tliis occasion. Such an attempt would only result in hi 
certain destruction on account of the nearness of their skiii 
mish line, which was instructed to shoot down anyon 
attempting to escape to the Union lines. He must therefor 
wait, and he would reach the desired end sooner or later 
He no doubt fulfilled his ])romise as they came over by ten 
and fifties when opportunity favored. 

From this time until the 3d of July the men did littl( 
but skirmish duty, get up at 3 o'clock in the morning am 
stand to arms in the the trenches until daylight. On th(j 
morning of June 30 at 2 o'clock, the Eighty -sixth wa&| 
aroused and ordered into the trenches on account of heavi 
firing on the right. But as everything soon became quiet 
were permitted to lie down, but only to be called up again a 
3 o'clock to stand to arms until daylight. These last days o 
June were excessively hot. The roads were rapidly dryin< 
up and the j^assage of troops and wagon trains could be cal, 
culated with much more certaint3^ This excessively ho' 
weather would certainly have almost prostrated the Unioi 
army if it had not been for the delightfully cool nights whicl 
gave one some hours of the sweetest and most refreshing 
sleep that ever fell to the lot of man to enjoy. But lil« 
everything else in this world it had its drawbacks — there waj 
scarcely enough of it. Tlie short nights did not fully com 


pensate for the long and fiery ordeal of the day. Still the 
health of the Union army was fairly good. The weak had 
been weeded out by former years of service so that there 
were few in the ranks at this time that were not thoroughly 
seasoned to army life. General Sherman now had as fine a 
veteran army as ever trod the North American continent. 

In the evening of the 1st of July, the Eighty-sixth re- 
ceived orders to move, but the order was countermanded. 
General Sherman was not quite ready and the enemy fore- 
stalled his intended stragetic move by evacuation before he 
could be ready. It is now known that lie intended to swing 
free from his base and move against General Johnston's 
communications. But the Southern Pabius was not to be 
caught napping. He saw surely enough his great danger, 
hemmed in as he was with a deep and rapid river at his back, 
and knew well the matchless skill of his opponent, and the 
courage and discipline of his grand army. Sherman was 
daily expecting the evacuation, and Avorked away to be 
ready, if possible, to catch the enemy in the move. But 
Johnston's preparations were completed first. On the morn- 
ing of the M of July, the troops were instructed to get into 
the trench, and when the skirmish line began firing to shout 
with all their power of voice as though they were starting on 
a charge, to assault his works. The Eighty-sixth did its 
best in the shouting business. But the men did not see Ken- 
esaw mountain crumble or the head-logs of their breastworks 
roll down. Kenesaw was not Jericho, nor was Sherman a 
Joshua. The walls of Kenesaw were not cast down by the 
blowing of trumpets of ram's horns. 

Just after dark on the 2d, the Eighty-sixth received 
orders to strike 'tents. Down came the tents, but quietly. 
Everything was soon in readiness to move and the Eiglity- 
sixth filed out, marching for its new position. This was a 
general movement and change of position of nearly the whole 
larmy, and if the enemy should become cognizant of it and 
make a direct attack while the change was in progress the 
Union forces would be taken at a great disadvantage. There- 
fore, everything had to be done with the extremest caution. 


The march was made at a snail's pace, and in profound 
silence. The Eighty-sixth reached its new position about mid- 
night, and as the men were up again at daybreak they did 
not secure much sleep or rest. The morning meal of hard 
tack, pickled pork and coffee, was soon served. Again had j 
the Confederate Fabius been forced to evacuate, and this time 
a very strong position held by an increased force nearer his 
base. Kenesaw mountain was, indeed, a veritable Gibraltar, 
but it was now in Sherman's possession, and "the boys in 
blue" and "the soul of John Brown" went marching on. 
Every man in the Union ranks was greatly elated. To be 
forced to leave such a position and such intrenchments must 
have told every Southern soldier how weak and utterly hope- 
less was the slave-drivers' cause when pitted against the free 
and powerful North. They must "have read His righteous 
sentence" in this evidence of their weakness. 


The Fourth of July— How it Was Celebrated— Smyrna Camp Ground— McTs'or's 
Station— McRae's Hill— Chattahooehee River— Pace's Ferry— Powers' Ferry 
—Across the Chattahoochee— Down the River— Over to Buck Head— Tlie 
Battle of Peach Tree Creek. 

The Eighty-sixth, with its brigade and division, moved 
out after the enemy about 8 o'clock, July 3. Passing to the 
right it jjassed its old camp and works and crossed over to 
the enemy's entrenchments. They were exceedingly strong 
and could be held easily by determined men against vastly 
superior numbers. The timber between the enemy's line of 
works and the Union line was literally cut to pieces by tlie 
shot, shell, grape, canister and musket balls, attesting the 
desperate character of the contest that had been waged here. 
On the Third brigade line, where a truce had been entered 


into, the timber was not so severely cut by the musketry fire. 
The artillery, however, had made no truce, and generally 
around the entire line the witherino- blast of fire and leaden 
hail had rained a destructive storm. 

Pressing- on after the enemy Wood's division went west 
and south of Marietta, and crossed to the east side of the 
railroad, skirmishing- slightly with the enemy's rear guard, 
and bivouacked for the night, not far from Ruif' s Station. 
The boom of cannon to the right and some musketry indi- 
cated rather more than ordinary skirmishing. The army 
was now more than 120 miles from Chattanooga, and the 
enemy's boast that he was merely luring Sherman and his 
army into the interior, in order to destroy them, had not yet 
been made good. On the night of the 3d the men slept undis- 
turbed by the light picket firing, and were up bright and 
early on the morning of "the glorious Fourth of Jul}'." 
They received orders to be ready to march at once — without 
waiting for breakfast. But the order to "forwarch march" 
for some reason was delayed, and no veteran failed to utilize 
the time thus unintentionally given him. The hard tack was 
ready, and to the experienced, the preparation of tlie pickled 
pork and colfee required but a short time. This was the 
eighty -eighth anniversary of the Nation's birth, and now 
the Union army was engag-ed in making good that declara- 
tion, and was even declaring a more radical Independence 
and a larger Liberty. The day was celebrated, not iu the 
old-fashioned orthodox way, however, of picnics, fire- 
crackers, and bonfires, but by booming of shotted cannon 
that sent the shrieking shell, and by the sharp rattle of mus- 
ketry. Thus the Eighty-sixth celebrated the Fourth and 
renewed its allegiance to the basic i)rinciples of the funda- 
mental law — the Constitution — which ouglit to g'wo justice 
to the weak as well as the powerful. 

During the forenoon both the canuoiuiding and inusketry 
were quite brisk at times, and indicated a strained situation 
which was likely to develop into a battle at any time. The 
Eighty-sixth drew three days' rations of hard bread, pick- 
led pork, sugar, coffee, beans and soap. After dinner every- 


thing was in prime order for a forward movement, and the 
men generally were eager to press on. At 2:15 p. m. the regi- 
ment and brigade filed out for a forward move, but the march 
was a short one. In an advance of less than two miles the 
command ran plump up against the enemy behind a strong 
line of intrenchments near Smyrna Camp Ground. As the 
enemy's position was approached the skirmishers of both 
sides seemed determined to bring on an engagement by the 
most rapid and continued firing, and there was some hot 
fighting on various parts of tlie line, but no general engage- 
ment resulted, nor was any direct assault made except on the 
extreme right where Dodge's corps carried some rifle-pits of 
the enemy. Wood's division, and especially Beatty's brig- 
ade, drew up close to the fortified position of the enemy. 
However, the alignment was completed and a good strong 
line of intrenchments constructed. It now seems probable 
that had all parts of the army been equally prompt in closing 
in on the enemy and getting in to a good position for an at- 
tack, the enemy might have been assaulted successfully at 
this point; and certainly to have broken his lines here and 
caused a panic would have ruined Johnston's entire army 
and rendered it wholly incapable of making a stand at At- 
lanta. But as it was the command waited, drew a ration of 
whisky and continued the celebration of the Fourth of July. 
The spirits enlivened camp somewhat, if tipsy men can be 
said ever to enliven anything. Songs were sung and a hilar- 
ious good time experienced by those who indulged in the 
flowing bowl. One commissioned officer of Company H, 
heated by the commissary spirits, grew eloquent and courage- 
ous, mounted a stump and proceeded to deliver a patriotic 
and fiery oration, regardless of the enemy's spiteful humor 
and the sharp fire he maintained. This gallant and patriotic 
speech was cheered by the boys to the echo, which drew 
from the enemy a perfect storm of musketry as though he 
thought a charge was on and a death-struggle at hand, and 
so the glorious Fourth of July, 1864, j^assed for the Eighty- 

All had sobered up by the morning of the 5th — those 


who had immoderately indulged — and many no doubt felt 
the depression very keenly which follows such excesses. 
But there was work to be done, and action was a better stim- 
ulant than any intoxicant. The enemy had again evacuated, 
and soon orders came to forward and to push tlie enemy at 
all points with all possible vigor. 

The Eighty-sixth was on the move by 7 o'clock a. m. 
and was soon close upon the heels of the enemy's rear-guard. 
Johnston's army was now more closely hemmed in. His 
works here, as everywhere on the campaign, were of the 
most formidable kind. The privates of the Confederate 
army were becoming more disheartened day by day, and the 
fall of their late Gibraltar was to them a severe blow. The 
brigade skirmishers pushed ahead with great courage and 
energy and brought in many prisoners. Some of these cer- 
tainly were not averse to being captured, but there were 
others that fought valiantly. Tlie Third brigade liad 
the advance of the division and corps, and the Eighty-sixtli 
had the advance of the column, the Fifty-ninth being on the 
skirmish line. The Eighty-sixth kept well up to the skir- 
mishers to support in case it should be necessary. The 
advance was necessarily slow with constant lighting, but the 
men were busy the whole day through. The command fol- 
lowed the road on the left of the railroad and .soon passed 
Smyrna Station. 

After passing Smyrna a short distance the road bore off 
nearly due east toward the river. The Fifty-ninth gallantly 
pressed on after the enemy, the fighting increasing grad- 
ually in intensity. The Eighty- sixth still kept closed upon 
the Fifty-ninth. After passing Mclvor's and winding 
around the base of McRae's Hill to the east, the fighting 
grew still more furious. On by Vining's Station and the 
wagon road, turning sharply toward the east and the river, 
revealed the situation of the enemy in front. The Ciiatta- 
hooche river was being approached. The troops in front 
were effecting a crossing and this accounted for the enemy's 
determined resistance. His rear-guard had been reinforced 
and the Fifty-ninth was given a red-hot reception. The 


road on which the command was advanchig was a direct one 
to Atlanta, and crossed the Chattahoochee river at Pace's 
Ferry where Johnston's extreme right crossed. 

On the narrow neck of land between McRae's Hill and 
Vining's Station on one side, and the river on the other, the 
enemy made a determined stand, but General Wood's orders 
were to advance and give him battle. The advance was 
slow, as the enemy was in a desperate straight and fought 
like demons. However, step by step, the river and ferry 
were approached. The time had come for still more decisive 
action. The lines were formed and a dash was made with a 
hurrah and every point was carried. The enemy broke and 
fled precipitately across the pontoon bridge, Avhich he had at 
the ferry, but not all succeeded in crossing, and quite a num- 
ber were captured on the bank of the river. The pursuit 
was so hot that the enemy was not permitted to take up his 
pontoons. To save himself he cut its mooring on the west 
bank of the river, Avhen it swung down stream, where it 
remained a bone of contention for the skirmish line. The 
enemy held the east bank at the river, and a withering tire 
was kept up the rest of the day across the river in the neigh- 
borhood of the pontoon boats. Having hustled the enemy 
across the river in front, the command was comparatively at 
ease. General Thomas and other Generals came by, view- 
ing the situation and learning the location of the lines. 

This was another triumph for General Sherman and his 
army. The campaign had not been a walk-over, but triumph 
had followed triumph for the Union soldiers from first to 
last at every point. They were consequently very jubilant 
and the enemy correspondingly discouraged. Cheers, good 
hearty cheers,, would go ringing, time after time, around the 
Union long battle line that summer afternoon, to inform the 
enemy how happy the boys were over their long and success- 
ful campaign. In two months of hard marching, skillful 
maneuvering, and constant skirmishing and fighting, Sher- 
man had beaten him back a hundred miles over mountain and 
plain, through valleys and over rivers — across a stretch of 
country the most defensible at every turn. "Old glory" 


floated to the breeze all along the long battle-line here in the 
heart of Georgia, and it had come to stay, backed as it was 
by as determined a host of free men as ever espoused a cause 
or upheld a banner. 

The Eighty-sixth, with the rest of "Wood's division, 
slept undisturbed the night of the 5th. for the booming of 
cannon broke not the slumbers of the men. The Chattahoo- 
chee river lay between them and the foe, and they felt per- 
fectly secure. The tiring at the ferry was maintained dur- 
ing the night and flashed up at daylight the next morning 
into quite a rattle of musketry, and at times the batteries 
made hill and dale qual>e with the mighty roar of their guns 
as they joined the fusilade of the infantry. Orders were 
given to the Eighty-sixth to remain at the bivouac, as it was 
thought probable that the command would move sometime 
during the day. There was no duty to perform, and there- 
fore the men wrote letters home and lounged about and dis- 
cussed the situation. On the right, in front of Baird's divis- 
ion of the Fourteenth army corps, and, in fact, in front of the 
rest of the army, the enemy had a line of exceedingly strong 
fortifications on the west or north bank of the river, and had 
only fallen back into these works and not across the river as 
they had been forced to do in Wood's immediate front. 

In the evening of the 6th a heavy detail was made from 
the Eighty-sixth for skirmish duty along the bank of the 
river and at the ferry. The detail was under the command 
of Captain James R. Carnahan, of Company I, and relieved the 
reserve station promptly at sundown according to orders, 
and the out-standing skirmishers at dark. The men had been 
on the line but a short time until a conversation arose be- 
tween the lines on opposite sides of the river. This conver- 
sation was maintained for some time and took quite a wide 
range of subjects for discussion. All firing soon stopped in 
the vicinity of the ferry, as everyone wanted to liear what 
was said on both sides. The conversation was ])rinci pally 
carried on by Orderly Sergeant J. M. Cast, of Company H. 
on one side, and by Captain Walker, Ninth Mississippi, of 
Pat Cleburne's division, Hardee's corps, on the other. 


although others on both sides took a part. Many questions 
were asked and answered on both sides in the best of humor. 
After quite a good deal of good humored bantering about 
the campaign and their enforced retreat, the question v/as 
asked: "How far are you going to retreat before you get to 
the last ditch?" The answer came back promptly: "We 
have the pontoons already on which to cross the Gulf," and 
more in that strain. Finally the political issues of the day 
in the Northern States were broached. The Captain seemed 
quite willing to talk, and to the question of his Presidential 
preferences, for Lincoln or McClellan, he gave a ready 
answer. He said McClellan was a good man, the friend of 
the South, and would suit the Southern people in general 
admirably. He intimated that peace could soon be estab- 
lished between the North and South if McClellan were 
elected President by the Northern States. This is not stated 
as a fact, but given as the expressed opinion of Captain 
Walker, of the Ninth Mississippi, at Pace's Ferry on the 
Chattahoochee river the night of the 6th of July, 1864. 
However, he was very politely informed by the Sergeant 
that his choice did not stand a ghost of a chance for election 
in the North, and that he would be doomed to disappoint- 
ment if he were building any hopes on the election of Mc- 
Clellan to the presidency. He was informed that the North 
w^ould stand nobly by Lincoln and Johnson. Gradually the 
conversation ended and comparative quiet reigned during 
the rest of the night. 

Just after noon the whole regiment came out to the 
reserve station and a large detail was placed upon the line, 
extending it some distance to the right. The skirmishing 
was lively, and the enemy no doubt exj^ected an attack. The 
Union artillery maintained a strong fire for quite awhile dur- 
ing the afternoon. The brigade struck tents and moved 
about one mile to the right, closing up and strengthening the 
battle-line in front of the enemy's intrenched line on the 
right bank of the river. 

Immediately after dark a number of Union batteries 
opened fire on the enemy just across the river at Pace's 


Ferry. It was one of the hottest and most terrific cannonad- 
iiigs heard during the entire campaign, and the Eighty-sixth 
was lying under it all, the firing being almost directly over 
the reserve station. The boom of the guns, the shriek of 
the shells, the roar of their explosions and the crashing of 
the falling timber on the farther side of the river rendered 
it terrible indeed. This perfect tornado of shot and shell 
rained upon the trembling enemy for a good long hour. It 
was no doubt intended by this fierce cannonade to create the 
the impression that a crossing at Pace's Ferry would be 
forced, or, at least, would be attempted, while perhaps a 
crossing would be prepared for at another point. 

The Eighty-sixth was relieved from the skirmish line 
about 9 o'clock p. m., the 7th, and marched at once to its old 
place of bivouac. The following morning, tlie 8th, it joined 
the brigade some distance to the right and somewhat more 
advanced toward the enemy's intrenched position. In the 
afternoon the regiment worked hard, fortifying the regi- 
mental line, continuing the work until late in the evening, 
and completing the brigade's line of intrenchmcnts, which 
were quite strong. On the morning of the 'Jth the regi- 
ment stood to arms at daylight, according to orders, to be in 
readiness in case the enemy should attempt to make a -sortie. 
The enemy not appearing the regiment was soon permitted 
to break ranks. The men then breakfasted on the usual fare 
of hard tack, salt pork, and black coffee, and went about tlie 
duties of the day, and attending to personal matters. The 
Third brigade had no very special duty to perform, as there 
was no strong force of the enemy in its immediate front. 
Therefore, the men visited comrades in the various com- 
mands near the Eighty-sixth, washed and mended clothing, 
cleaned their guns and accouterments to be ready for any- 
thing whenever a call was made upon them. Although they 
did not consider themselves in front of the enemy, an occa- 
sional "stray" ball would bring down a man. Some of the 
Eighty-sixth boys while taking observations for themselves, 
some distance in front of the regiment's position, found a 
member of the Nineteenth Ohio, who had been brought down 


by one of these strays, being quite severely wounded in the 
leg. He was carried to his regiment and left in the care of 
his comrades. Such incidents were of daily and almost hourly 
occurrence somewhere on the long battle-line. 

In the afternoon of the 9th a number of comrades went 
back about one mile and climbed the hill known as McRae's 
Hill, and took a view of the surrounding country. The hill 
lies to the west of the railroad, which curves around its base, 
between it and the river. Prom the summit of this hill was 
had a splendid view of the country far and near. In the 
immediate front lay the Union forces behind their intrench- 
ments. drawn well up to those of the enemy. "Men of the 
North and West" were there watching and waiting, ready 
at a moment's notice to pounce upon Johnston's army at the 
least favorable opportunity that gave them any hope of suc- 
cess. A step farther on was the red bank of the rebel 
breastworks, which could be seen drawn from the river just 
above Howell's Perry, a mile up stream from the railroad 
bridge, across the country in front of the railroad crossing 
of the river to Turner's Perry, some three miles distant from 
Bolton, at the railroad. 

The salient of this line of works was a little east of the 
railroad and was probably a little over two miles distant. 
On the extreme left of Johnston's line, his works ran close 
up to Nickajack creek and nearly parallel with its east bank. 
The line was admirably chosen, splendidly fortified, and 
could easily be defended. It was a line hard to approach. 
This was a veritable bulwark in Sherman's pathway for an 
onward march. Just behind the position of the Confederate 
army wound the river in its course to the gulf. P\ill from 
the many heavy rains it ran turbulently between the hills 
and over its rocky bed. But the vision lingers not here on 
the turbulent water course, but darts its way onward to the 
objective point of the campaign, the Gate City of Georgia, 
the fair Atlanta. There the white houses and the glittering 
church spires gleaming in the sunlight could be plainly seen 
at a distance of eight miles. There were the heavy red 
enbankments of earthen forts and their connecting intrench- 


ments and fortifications, whose coimter-scarps are protected 
from approach by abatis here and cJu' there, gave 
warning that the great prize is not to be easily or lightly 
w^on. Brave Southerners will defend it as long as a single 
hope of success remains to them. This fair city is as the 
apple of their eye. It is the home of beauty and refinement, 
where the Southern sentiment is cherished as life itself, and 
the brave never fight so valorously as under the eye of 
beauty. Then the city's manufactories produce that which 
is as the life-blood and sustenance of the Confederacy. The 
vision wanders away eastward to the grayish blue cone of 
Stone mountain, which can be plainly seen some eighteen 
or twenty miles to the southeast. The eye falls back over 
wooded hills and farm openings of the country lying north- 
east and north of the city of Atlanta, and drained by the now 
historic Peach Tree creek, Avhose waters were yet to be dyed 
with the patriotic blood of thousands of the boys in blue. 
Bringing the line of vision back along near Buckhead and 
crossing the river at Pace's Ferry, that locality is scanned. 
Thence northward, the vision wanders on the east bank of 
the river and down again to the ferry; thence nortlnvard on 
the west bank of the river, the hills and valleys of Rotten - 
wood creek, on over Soap creek, by Powers' Ferry and on 
toward Phillips" Ferry and Roswell. It was a clear bright 
day and it w^as a splendid landscape, a glorious panorama of 
nature's varied w^orks, of rivulet, river, mountain and ]ilain. 
When McRae's Hill came into the possession of the 
Union forces, there on its side near its top was found thr 
body of a man suspended by a rope from the limb of a tree. 
He had evidently been dead some days. No one seemed to 
know anything about him. Whether a suspected Union man 
who suffered the vengeance of his neighbors, a spy of our 
army executed, or some hot-headed fire-eater driven to des- 
peration on account of Sherman's conthuunl success and 
approach to his home, and who took this plan of "shutfliug 
off the mortal coil, " none could learn. At any rate the rebels 
had not concerned themselves enough about him \o cut him 
down and bury him. and the Union forces had not treated 


him any better, for now four days after the capture of the 
hill, he was left dangling in the air. From papers found on 
his person it was learned that his name was D. B. Duncan. 
Whether he ever received burial or not, cannot be said. He 
was left as he was found, hanging by the neck on McRae's 

In the evening of the 9th, Union batteries again opened 
on the enemy's position and for sometime maintained a 
strong artillery fire. This was done, no doubt, with the 
intention of feeling the enemy. Cox says: " From this hill 
near Vining's Station, Sherman was able to see, on the 9th 
' a good deal of flutter in the enemy's camps, ' and movement 
of troops to the eastward, which might mean either a con- 
centration to attack the force already over the river, or prep- 
arations for taking a new position. ' ' General Schofield had 
crossed Cox's division on the 8th at the mouth of Soap creek, 
at Phillips' Ferry, and Johnston at once saw that his position 
at Bolton was no longer of importance. 

On the morning of the 10th word came early that the 
enemy "had folded his tents and quietly stole away," and 
again the boisterous cheers of the rugged Northmen went 
ringing round the long intrenched lines for the success that 
had so signally crowned their efforts directed by the match- 
less Sherman. Another stage of the campaign was com- 
pleted and the army was yet in almost perfect shape and 
condition. The regiment was insj^ected by companies, 
received orders to march, and filed out from its camp about 
9 o'clock a. m. It marched to the north, back over McRae's 
Hill and on. The day was exceedingly hot and oppressive 
and the progress of the column was slow. About 3 o'clock 
p. m. it began to rain and came down in torrents. The road 
soon became slippery and the marching slavish. The men 
were thoroughly soaked, but they continued to press on 
until about 6 o'clock, and bivouacked not far from the Chat- 
tahoochee river. 

Wood's division lay here at this bivouac ground during 
the 11th and until about noon of the 12th, when it marched 
out down the river for some distance and crossed on a pon- 


tx3on bridge at Powers' Ferry. The division proceeded about 
one mile farther, bearing off to the right, and bivouacked. 
It had covered five miles from the previous night's bivouac. 

On the morning of the 13th the Eighty-sixth drew three 
days" rations of hard tack, sugar, coffee, pickled pork, and a 
ration of that abomination known as "mixed vegetables." 
A little corn meal was issued for a change. About 8 o'clock 
a. m. orders were received to be ready to move. At 9 o'clock 
the command started and marched to the right front of its 
former position about one mile, and here halted and got 
dinner. After dinner the regiment was ordered to lay oif 
camp in regular order, which was soon done and the pup 
tents put up. After this was completed the camp was forti- 
fied by building a line of intrenchments along the color-line 
of the regiment, connecting with those to the left. The 
works were made good and strong along the brow of the hill 
on which the brigade's alignment was made. On the 14th a 
heavy detail was made from the Eighty-sixth for picket or 
skirmish line. There was no enemy to be seen in front, but 
as there was more or less firing on other parts of the line it 
seemed probable that he was near. The men did not, how- 
ever, relax their vigilant watch. 

By the 15th enough timber had been cut down in front 
to enable the men to get a glimpse of Atlanta. Rumors in- 
numerable went the rounds of camp. The "grapevine tele- 
graph" brought much news of the movements and intended 
movements of troops of the various armies. One of these in 
circulation this day was that a strong reconnoissauce was to 
be made soon, probably the next day, and that the Eighty- 
sixth would be in it. These rumors often had some founda- 
tion in fact, but were frequently distorted and greatly changed 
from the actual moves intended. There was much discussion 
amoni? the rank and file as to Sherman's probable course in 
the advance upon the city. The Eighty-sixth, or the mem- 
bers of it with many others of the grand army, constituted 
for a day or two, a kind of Congress or House of Commons, 
to discuss campaign topics, as they were suggested hour by 
hour by the "grapevine telegraph." The news from other 


portions of the army was quite limited, and the rumors 
served to occupy tlie thoughts in lieu of the genuine article 
of news. 

Here in the neighborhood of this camp there were not 
many farm openings, consequently there was not much for- 
aging. Pickled pork had been substituted early in the cam- 
paign for the old rusty bacon on account of it being so much 
more easily kept. The hot sun of June, July, and August. 
in this climate, would have almost melted the bacon into a 
greasy spot and left the men without meat. Nothwithstand- 
ing the extreme scarcity of forage, occasionally a raid would 
be made and something secured. Apples were the most 
plentiful, and they were by no means abundant, in fact, they 
were about the only accessible foragable article that could 
be secured at this camp. A few of these were brought to ] 
the camp of the Eighty -sixth by a few hardy, resolute for- 

At this camp on the hill, on the afternoon of the 16th 
of July, every heart in the Eighty-sixth was made glad and i 
greatly to rejoice by the return of Colonel George F. Dick', 
who had been absent since receiving his wound on the mem- 
orable night of the 27th of May at the battle-field of Pickett's 
Mills. He was looking quite well. His Avound was healed, 
but it was still very tender and caused him much pain for 
some time after this when on horseback. However, ever 
after his return he was always at the head of the regiment 
throughout the remainder of the campaign and the regiment's 
service. In the evening of the 16th the Eighty-sixth re- 
ceived orders to be ready to march at 4 o'clock the following 

On the morning of the 17th the bugles sounding reveille 
awoke the echoes at 3 o'clock. Some one has said that at 
reveille the bugle said : 

Oh, I can't got 'em up, 

1 can't get 'em up. 

I can't get 'em up in the morning. 

No doubt the Aveary soldiers often felt like not getting 
up after an arduous day's duty performed with but a few 
brief hours of rest and sleep, but in the Eighty -sixth there 


were few laggards that morning. The reghnent was sjDeed- 
ily formed, and faced to the right and marched down the hill 
toward the river. The brigade was all soon in column and 
proceeded down the river. It was at first supposed by the 
rank and file that a reconnoissance was being made, but it 
proved to be something more. It soon became known tliat 
Wood's division was to force its way down along the banks 
of the Chattahoochee river and drive back any force of the 
enemy it might find from Pace's Ferry, and hold its ground 
until & pontoon bridge could be laid and troops crossed at that 
point. After proceeding some distance the division was 
ordered to halt and "load without noise — without the rattle 
of ram-rods. " This was a warning to keep quiet on account 
of the proximity of the enemy. Continuing the march very 
quietly, the Third brigade in advance, the vicinity of the 
ferry was soon reached. Here everything was made ready 
as quietly as possible. The lines were formed, and then a dash 
out from the ferrj^ was made for the enemy who were guard- 
ing the crossing. For a few minutes the sharp rattle of mus- 
ketry might have betokened a battle, but the enemy soon 
hied himself away to greener fields and pastures new. He 
got away with his old time agility, when taken at a disadvant- 
age. It is not meant to insinuate that the Southern soldiers 
are cowards; far from it; never did braver men look foemen 
in the face, but when they did go they went with the fleet ness 
of deers. This surprise was comx^lete. The bluff back from 
the river a short distance on which the enemy was, had con- 
cealed Wood's division entirely from him, while Pahuer's 
men on the opposite side of the river were in plain view and 
could illy conceal their exultation at the manner it had been 
conducted, and how the wary veterans of Johnston's army 
had been caught napping. General Wood congratulated the 
Third brigade on its splendid success, and praised it highly 
for the handsome manner in which it had performed its diffi- 
cult task. After the enemy was driven back some distance, 
he returned to the attack with renewed vigor as though he 
had been strongly reinforced, and doubtless had been. But 
Wood's skirmishers maintained their position. The front line 


of battle built a strong line of intrenchments as a bridge-j 
head, and therefore was r(3ady for an attack if the enemy 
chose to make one. ! 

The pontoniers were at work as soon as they saw Wood's 
division would probably hold its ground and the enemy was 
well out of the way. In one hour and eight minutes aflci 
the work was begun, the bridge began to swing to and fio, 
swayed by the cadenced tread of armed men marching hi 
column. It was the head of the column of General Jeff. C. 
Davis' division of the Fourteenth corps. This bridge build- 
ing was quick work. Johnson's division, of the Pourteenlli 
corps, followed Davis'. Wood's division was relieved about 
4 o'clock, when it marched leisurely back to its old campini^ 
ground up the river, to take its proper place upon the line 
in the advance to be made. 

All the heads of columns of Sherman's grand army h;ul 
now accomplished the difficult task of crossing the river in 
the face of the enemy and was once again ready to give| 
Johnston battle on his own ground. The former maneuver 
ing, skirmishing, and battles, as tine as the one had been, ' 
and as fierce and desperate as the others were in character, 
they were in a sense preliminary and introductory to the 
struggles and maneuvering to take place south of the Chat- 
tahoochee and around the city of Atlanta for its ijossession. 
Every foot of ground was to be stubbornly contested from 
the time the skirmish lines became engaged after the Union 
forces crossed the river until the capture of Jonesboro, south 
of the city. Around Atlanta, indeed many notable contests 
took place where the dauntless courage of the Southern 
soldiers shed new luster upon the red -cross banner, but the 
iron-hearted men of the North and West ever met them with 
unflinching firmness and courage, and day by day gained 
ground and fought them foot by foot into their impregnable 
fortifications. True, sometimes advantages rested first here, 
and then there, but the successes of the hardy, unshrinking 
Northmen greatly jn-edominated over those of their chivalric 
antagonists, both in number and decisiveness. When Wood's 


division returned to its old camp on the evening of the 17th, 
the men knew their stay there would be short. 

On the morning of the 18th of July the regimental bugle 
of the Eighty-sixth sang its "waking notes" with of 
the rest of the brigade at 3 o'clock a. m., and the men turned 
out promptly. The Eighty-sixth struck tents and packed 
everything ready for the onward march. At 9 o'clock it was 
ordered into line and stacked arms. At 10 o'clock the com- 
mand moved out on the road for Atlanta that leads through 
Buckhead. The column's progress was slow. No doubt 
the utmost caution was necessary. The skirmishing was 
sufficient to show that the enemy was alert and watching 
every move. About 11 o'clock the command halted for din- 
ner. The march was continued in the afternoon in the same 
deliberate manner, and the enemy still showed himself occa- 
sionally, firing and then retreating. The command biv- 
ouacked about 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon near Buckhead, 
a cross road, some four or five miles south of east of Pace's 
Ferry, due north of the city of Atlanta, and distant from the 
city limits about five miles. Here the front line threw up a 
strong line of intrenchments. The command slept soundly, 
feeling secure and confident in its ability to hold its part of 
the line against any force. On the following morning, the 
19th, the bugles of the Third brigade broke the stillness at 
3:30 a. m. In a few minutes the camp of the Eighty-sixth 
was in motion, preparing the morning meal and shaping up 
things for a busy day. The brigade moved out about 5:30 
and advanced to the skirmish line, probably a half mile or a 
little more in front of its camping place. Here the Fifty- 
ninth Ohio was deployed upon the line as skirmishers and 
the Eighty-sixth was to act as its supi)ort. As soon as the 
lines were properly formed the order to press forward was 
given and every man stepped promjitly onward. The enemy 
was in plain view, but with a few shots he withdrew grad- 
ually falling back as the Fifty-ninth advanced. The Eighty- 
sixth kept well up in good supporting distance of the Fifty- 
ninth. The enemy retired for about one mile, with but little 
show of resistance. Coming to an opening along a small 


creek he showed a disposition of makiiio' a stand. Division 
commanders had been warned to be ready to give battle any 
moment; for it was now known that the Confederate army 
had changed commanders, that the able and careful Johnston 
had been relieved, and the liery Hood given the command 
with the hope that his desperate fighting qualities might 
turn the tide against the matchless Sherman and his unriv- 
aled army. General Sherman had warned his subordinates 
of what they might expect, and that thej^ must be on the 
alert and be ever ready to meet and beat the impetuous 
Hood. Therefore, in the approach of this stream, Peach 
Tree creek, the utmost caution was used. On the farther 
bank of the stream the enemy had taken a strong position 
and was well fortified at the point where the road crossed 
the creek. At this point the stream was rathei' difficult to 
cross, which added strength to the enemy's position. As 
soon as it was apparent that the enemy was in some force 
and intended making a stand and dispute the crossing, the 
Eighty-sixth's flankers on the right were sw^ung round into 
line with the Fifth-ninth skirmishers, extending the line 
some distance down stream. As soon as this movement was 
completed the Union forces began to get ready for the strug- 
gle. But the enemy was well posted with two pieces of 
artillery which were well served, and he therefore showed a 
strong disposition to stand his ground and fight, at least 
unless a much greater force should come against him. His 
artillery maintained a brisk fire on the Fifty-ninth and 
Eighty-sixth, but nevertheless the men still kept creeping 
upon him and getting into positions to command his works 
and artillery. He showed a bold front, and all the indications 
were for a savage little fight. 

When the flankers upon the right were swung into line 
with the skirmishers it brought them up to a rail fence in 
the edge of the woods, just north of an opening on the north 
bank of the creek, a like opening being on the opposite bank. 
As three members of the Eighty-sixth came up to this fence 
and began taking observations, a solitary Johnnie was in 
sight, a long legged fellow dressed in the Confederate gray 


was walking from west to east across the openin.s' on the 
south bank of the stream. He passed along as leisurely as 
though no enemy was within miles of him. One of the com- 
rades remarked that he would quicken that "grayback's" 
step for him, and tired at him, but there was no visible effect. 
He continued on his way as if nothing had happened. Chaf- 
fing the comrade about his poor marksmanship, John Wilson 
and J. A. Barnes hastily .threw their Enfields to their shoulders 
and fired at the lone wanderer as he was still proceeding 
leisurely on his way. As they fired they requested their 
somewhat chagrined comrade to keep a watch. It was quite 
evident that he had not been hurt. But never did any one 
witness a greater change in the manner of one who was ap- 
parently so leisurely walking out for health or pleasure, as 
took place in this gentleman, dressed in Confederate gray. 
If ever a racer proved his breeding by performance this fel- 
low certainly did. He vanished from sight in the twinkling 
of an eye. He turned neither to the right nor to the left, 
but went straight to his "house of refuge," the woods in his 
front. He had no need to turn from a straightforward course, 
for there was not a blue-coat in all Georgia that could have 
fired another shot at him before he was out of sight. But he 
had scarcely reached shelter, when a white puff of smoke was 
seen and a little later the crack of guns was heard. Wilson 
and Barnes were still standing side by side. The spiteful 
szip of balls was heard all round them, and one passed be- 
tween their heads and shattered a small pine tree about six 
inches in diameter just behind them. They, too, took to cover 
and the fun began, and the boys felt confident that the 
Confederates got their share of the lead. TW apparent 
courtesies of the day, at least, were about even on this pai't 
of the line. 

About noon, or a little later, the fiaukers were relieved 
and joined the regiment at the road. Here Colonel Diclc ami 
the Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifty-ninth had maneuver«>d 
and watched, but as yet had not felt themselves justiticd in 
pushing the head of the column too far in advance and ui)()n 
this fortified position. But they had been gradually 


strengthening their position and gaining ground, inch by- 
inch, until as the afternoon drew on, the enemy's artillery- 
was almost silenced by the sharp shooting of the Fifty-ninth's 
skirmishers, and a few volunteers from the Eighty-sixth. 
Wat Baker, of the Eighty-sixth, was quite a hero on this 
day. Baker had been termed a little "shaky" in a close 
place by his comrades, but to-day no man in the regiment 
showed more steadiness of nerve, or more cool, determined 
courage, He voluntarily went forward to sharp-shoot on 
his own hook, and pressed forward right up to the bank of 
the creek, carried rails and built himself a barricade a little 
to the right of the road and ensconced himself therein. It is 
but due to say that the Fifty-ninth and Eighty-sixth were 
accessories to this act of Baker by keeping a close watch 
upon the enemy. Now, too, the fire of the Fifty-ninth began 
to increase so that a veritable hail-storm of lead swept the 
parapet of its works. About 4 o'clock it was understood 
other columns were about ready to cross and arrangements 
were made to force the crossing here. It was red-hot now 
for a time, but the skirmishers of the gallant Fifty-ninth 
held squarely to the work and kept the enemy closely con- 
fined within his intrenchments. About 5 o'clock the enemy 
once more manned his guns and opened fire. It was at short 
range and the shells burst in the faces of the men and the 
grape and canister-shot rattled around them like hail. But 
the preparation for an assault upon his works faltered not, 
and Colonel Dick was forming the regiment, that had been 
lying down, to make a dash right in the face of the guns for 
their capture, when heavens, what a racket! Was the enemy 
shooting fence rails, or what was the matter? The rebel 
artillerists were broken up and demoralized, and in the excite- 
ment and hurry had fired their rammer — a fatal mistake. 
The unearthly whiz and whirr attracted the attention of the 
Union lines, and when it was discovered what it was, a shout 
went up. No time was taken in getting into line. The 
Colonel shouted, "Forward, Eighty-sixth," and it went 
across that creek with a rush, and the whole kit of Confed- 
eoates took to their heels, or, at least, all who were not too 


badly frightened to run; for about sixty of them remained in 
their works, and were captured with their two pieces of 
artillery, among them being a Lieutenant Colonel, several 
Captains and First and Second Lieutenants. Wishing to 
do full justice to the gallant Fifty -ninth it must be said that 
it was always at the front, as its position demanded, and 
those on the skirmish line in the race, having the start, kept 
it. Both regiments acted in concert and were justly proud 
of their day's achievements. The prisoners gave a doleful 
story of their day's trials. They said actually that they had 
not dared to stick their heads above the works only at the 
extremest peril of their lives, and a number of dead bodies in 
their trenches verified this statement. This was the rea.son 
of their capture. A strong skirmish line with a good sup- 
port pursued them for some distance, and the rest of the 
brigade took a strong position on the hill formerly occupied 
by the enemy and fortified it, facing in the other direction, 
and thus made the crossing of Peach Tree creek secure. 
Sometime after nightfall the regiment was relieved and 
returned to its bivouac ground of the previous night at Buck- 
head, where it arrived about 11 o'clock at night. It had been 
an arduous but a successful day's work. 


Closing in On Atlanta— Clear Creek— A Hot Time— The Eighty-sixth in Front of 
the Gate City— The Battle of the 22d of July— Skirmishing and Making Dem- 
onstrations—The Battle of Ezra Church— The Great Move Around Atlanta- 
Destroying Railroads— Hood's Flight From Atlanta— His Stores Destroyed 
and Magazines Blown Up— The Battle of Jonesboro— The Battle of Lovejoy's 
Station— Sherman Withdraws to Atlanta— The Losses of the Campaign— Con- 
gratulations From President Lincoln. 

Wood's division was again in motion by 5 o'clock on the 
morning of tlie 20th, moving to the left to connect with Stan- 
ley, who had also moved to the left to touch elbows with 
Scholield's command that had closed up McPherson's right, 
the Fifteenth corps. McPherson's command was swinging: 
round from Decatur toward Atlanta for the final struggle. 
About 10 o'clock, having proceeded perhaps four miles with 
great caution. Wood's division was halted at some intrench- [ 
ments which Stanley's division had left when moving to the 
left. It remained here quite a while, and the regiment took 
advantage of the time and prepared dinner, and was soon 
again ready for any duty. Shortly after dinner the march 
was again resumed, but the progress was extremely slow as 
the roads were badly blockaded. The country was almost 
wholly covered with a heavy forest, and an attack might be! 
expected at any time. About 5 o'clock p. m., the skirmish- 
ers of Stanley's division became hotly engaged with those > 
of the enemy to such a degree as to strongly threaten a bat- 
tle. A little later Wood's skirmishers were also engaged 
and the skirmish battle was quite hot. Wood's skirmishers; 
pressed forward in a most determined manner and drove 
those of the enemy some distance from where the battle 
began. The line of battle also pressed forward and confi- 


deutly expected to meet the enemy in force, but did not. Tlie 
alignment being completed the men were ordered to fortify 
as speedily as possible. The command remained here at 
this line for the night. There had been some heavy firing 
to the right during the afternoon, in fact, the great battle of 
Peach Tree Creek had been fought and won by the Union 
forces. Newton's division, of the Fourth corps, about a half 
mile south of where Wood forced the crossing of the creek, 
had been first attacked, and afterwards successively from left 
to right the divisions of the Twentieth corps. This battle 
took place about the same time that Schofield, with the 
Twenty-third corps, and Howard, with Stanley's and Wood's 
divisions, w^ere pressing some distance farther to the left. 
The Eighty-sixth threw out skirmishers and rested quietly 
for the night, feeling sure that the morning would bring 
duties no less arduous than those of the preceedlng days. 
The Eighty-sixth was undisturbed by the skirmishing, 
that was a daily and hourly business. On the morning of the 
21st a detail w^as made from the Eighty-sixth for the skir- 
mish line. The men w^ere scarcely upon the line and the old 
relief gone when the order was given to "Forward." There 
was not a commissioned oflicer upon this part of the line. 
The skirmishers of the Third brigade, commanded by a Ser- 
geant, did not hesitate, and when the order was given to 
advance, these veterans went briskly forward througli woods, 
through thickets, over hills and across hollows. This com- 
mand w^as now in the "breaks" of Clear creek. Crossing a 
small stream the line of skirmishers climbed the hill on the 
rebel side. All this advance had taken less time than it has 
taken to write it. But during the succeeding four hours the 
skirmish fire from both sides was extremely hot. As rapidly 
as the skirmishers could load they would fire. Of course 
they sought protection behind trees and logs, but the manner 
in which the enemy's skirmishers peeled the bark from the 
sheltering trees was a credit to their marksmanship. The 
distance between the Union lines and those of the enemy was 
perhaps one or two hundred yards, and anywhere in the 
neutral ground a man would be doomed to certain death. 


One Eighty-sixth skirmisher heated his gun so hot by rapid 
firing that it actually melted the soldering of the lower sight 
and it came off the barrel. More than one gun was so hot 
that it would burn the hand very quickly 'if placed on the 
lower part of the barrel. Another relief came out about 9 
o'clock a. m., but it was scarcely posted until the enemy 
skipped out, leaving the Union boys in possession of his[ 
evacuated works. This line was only an out-post and not a 
main line. The command was soon ordered into line and 
advanced in battle array, the Eighty-sixth being in the sec- 
ond line. The progress was slow. About 2 o'clock p. m. 
the men had a breathing spell and dined. Later in the after- 
noon, having closed up on the enemy, the Eighty-sixth w^as 
ordered to stack arms and carry rails for the front line to 
assist it building in haste a line of works, as an attack w^as ex- 
pected, and as it was in an exposed position. A heavy 
line of the enemy's skirmishers was only distant about three 
hundred yards and was keeping up a sharp fire, and with con- 
siderable effect. The Eighty-sixth faced the music, but it was 
of a most unpleasant and unhealthy kind. Every man worked 
like a Trojan. Here fell Thomas McCartney, of Company 
D, shot dead by the enemy's skirmishers. There were sev- 
eral wounded -whose names can not now be recalled. The 
work being finally completed, and the first line secure in its 
position, the Eighty-sixth withdrew to its bivouac, and sup- 
pered on hard tack, beans, pickled pork and coffee, and slept 
as though profound peace reigned over all. To put it briefly, 
with skirmishing, marching, and fatigue duty the men were 
almost ' ' done up. ' ' Rest and sleep were absolute neces- 

General McPherson's Army of the Tennesee w^as swing- 
ing round from Decatur and advancing on Atlanta on the 
extreme left — from the east. Hooker and Palmer, on the 
right — the latter on the extreme right — had also advanced 
and the whole army was once more well up to the enemy's 
works. In case he retired, it would probably be to take a 
position within the forts in and around Atlanta and his 
connecting works, and these were presumably stronger than 



any which yet had been confronted. Should the matchless 
Sherman fail to secure Atlanta, his former successes, now 
reckoned the greatest during this great w^ar uj") to this time, 
would be counted as nothing, and his star now shining with 
such splendor would undoubtedly wane. But Sherman was 
not to fail. Aided by Thomas, Howard, Schofield, and 
others, and all these backed by the great and splendid army, 
he could not. It was not so cast. This great army of vet- 
eran soldiers, the equal of Caesar's legions or the Grecian 
phalanx, never ceased to hammer and bang, to batter, break 
and destroy Hood's army — an army of the purest Southern 
mettle — in open field, in camp, on the flank, in the center 
and under cover of the strongest intrench ments. It was to 
the rebel host an ever present, gigantic, sleepless, devastat- 
ing monster, implacable as fate, crushing all before it. or 
going off in a rollicking, wild, tempestuous mood around the 
Confederate army, to smash its railroad connections and 
obliterate its communications. It swallowed with ravenous 
maw all subsistence within reach of its ten thousand ten- 
tacles, and trampled under foot and wallowed upon it with 
utter recklessness in the spirit of destruction that which it 
could not otherwise use. It struck here and there staggering 
blows, until Hood knew not what next to expect or wliich 
Avay to turn; and Jeff Davis, the Confederacy's demi-god, 
was himself dumbfounded and frightened into a state of 
nervous trepidation almost beyond belief, and, in fact, little 
short of actual collapse. It was plain to be seen by all that 
General Sherman and his Western boys were at the throat 
of the Confederacy and that its days were numbered. 

The morning of the 22d of July found the members of 
the Eighty-sixth, but imperfectly rested from the previous 
day's labors. In fact, the labors for several days previous 
had been especially heavy and wearisome. The nights were 
short and the hours allotted for rest were insufficient to fully 
recover from the exhausting labors of the day. The enemy 
had again fallen back from his works of the previous even- 
ing. The command moved out about 7 a. m., advancing in a 
cautious manner. The Third brigade, of Wood's division, 


proceeded about two miles in battle array through woods 
and fields, over hills and across hollows, stopping for noth- 
ing, the Eighty-sixth in the front line. At length, crossing 
a stream — Clear creek or one of its tributaries — the Eighty - 
sixth mounted a wooded hill or ridge and came into plain 
view of the enemy's main line of intrenchments for the de- 
fense of the city of Atlanta, distant about three-quarters of 
a mile, or a little less, with a strong line of skirmish pits less 
than a quarter of a mile away from the Eighty-sixth's regi- 
mental front. Colonel Dick speedily gave orders to perfect 
the regimental alignment. The Colonel's alignment of the 
regiment was not changed, and the men fortified their line as 
they were first placed upon the ridge. The whole regiment 
w^orked hard and it soon had a good strong line of intrench- 
ments. The rebel skirmishers could, however, make it un- 
pleasantly "hot" whenever they chose to do so, nor did they 
seem to be in a very amiable mood while the men were en- 
gaged in constructing their fortifications, but made the mus- 
ket balls fairly whistle and sing. The main line of the 
enemy's intrenchments, which was in plain view, fairly 
swarmed with Confederates who seemed to be working very 
industriously to complete or strengthen their works. By 
11:30 a. m. the men felt pretty securely intrenched, with the 
Twenty-third army corps in position and fortified on the left. 
About noon firing was heard on the extreme left announc- 
ing the attack on Dodge's Sixteenth corps of McPherson's 
Army of the Tennessee. It grew in volume rapidly as troops 
farther to the right became engaged. It is not the intention 
to attempt a description of the great battle of Atlanta fought 
by the gallant Army of the Tennessee, contending almost 
unaided against the rebel hordes, nor how fell the gallant 
McPherson and how the heroic Logan took up the desperate 
chance of battle, and with the courage a Ney and the skill 
of a Napoleon, fought it out to a successful and magnificent fin- 
ish. Nor will it be told how imperturbable and grand the great 
Sherman was wiien word was brought him that his loved 
Lieutenant, McPherson, had fallen. He was simply unap- 
proachably grand in this supreme ordeal. Great in council. 


he was still greater in the field and in action, and the greater 
the occasion and the more severe the trial the higher rose 
and clearer shone the bright sun of Sherman's great military 
genius. As was said of him by one of his ablest subordi- 
nates: "His mind seemed never so clear, his confidence never 
so strong, his spirit never so inspiring, and his temper never 
so amiable as in the crisis of some fierce struggle like that 
of the day when McPherson fell in front of Atlanta. "' 

The Eighty-sixth, with the rest of the Army of the Cum- 
berland, received orders to be ready to move. This meant 
that aid was to be sent to the Army of the Tennessee if nec- 
essary. General Sherman himself says: " I remained near 
the Howard House, receiving reports and sending orders, 
urging Generals Thomas and Schofield to take advantage of 
the absence from their front of so considerable a body as was 
evidently engaged on our left, and, if possible, to make a 
lodgment in Atlanta itself; but they reported that the lines 
to their front, at all accessible points, were strong, by nature 
and by art, and were fully manned. " But the skirmish lines 
made strong demonstrations and threatened an attack, while 
the line of battle stood to arms, but it was not deemed pru- 
dent to make more than a strong demonstration. Still the 
movements evidently led the enemy to believe that an attack 
was contemplated, as he opened a hot fire all along the Hue. 
The roar of all his available artillery made the noise of bat- 
tle scarcely less on this part of the line than that on the line 
of the Army of the Tennessee. The batteries replied giving 
him shot for shot. The tide of battle ebbed and flowed 
almost without ceasing — a red and furious scourge upon both 
armies — until about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when the ene- 
my, being thoroughly beaten, withdrew his shattered legions 
safely within his strong line of intrenchments. Hood had 
again been beaten and quite severely handled by a small \X)r- 
tion of Sherman's great army when he had thought to crush 
it and beat it in detail, but he had been foiled and had lost 
heavily of the flower of his army, among whom was Major 
General William H. T. Walker, killed. In the evening the 
Eighty-sixth received orders to sleep close to its works and 


to be ready to repel an attack. Bat Hood had had enough 
for one day and the men slept in comparative quiet that 
night. On the morning of the 23d the Eighty-sixth awoke 
considerably refreshed from a good all night sleep. 

Sherman's grand army was now facing the immediate 
defenses of the city of Atlanta. Tw^o great battles had been 
fought since crossing the Chattahoochee river and the 
enemy had been sev^erely handled and badly beaten in both 
instances — he being the attacking party. But such desper- 
ate fighting had taught the whole Union army, from Sher- 
man down to j)rivate, what they might expect of Hood w^hen- 
ever he had a hope of gaining ground by attacking in an 
unlooked for direction with a chance of surprising and crip- 
pling his enemy. However, Hood and his generals and pri- 
vates had also learned of the stubborn fighting qualities of 
the men from the West — a lesson which they did not soon 
forget. On account of the general tension felt by both 
armies the Eighty-sixth with the rest of the Union forces 
were up on the morning of the 23d before daylight and 
breakfasted. Soon after sunrise the enemy's batteries 
opened on the position of the Eighty-sixth in a brisk man- 
ner. The shot and shell shrieked and roared in a way quite 
complimentary to the accuracy of the rebel gunners' aim, 
but the men were safely ensconced behind good strong 
breastworks. It was deemed prudent to strengthen the 
works and place some artillery on the regimental line. 
Accordingly during the forenoon of the 23d two pieces of 
the Sixth Ohio battery were placed in position on the line of 
the Eighty-sixth's intrenchments. They were brass pieces, 
Napolean 12-pounders, and splendidly served. Again in the 
afternoon the enemy opened a hot fire on the Eighty-sixth. 
He chose to direct his fire upon it probably because it lay in 
plain view. He sent over shot and shell in abundance and 
made it quite unsafe to be out from under cover of the pro- 
tection of the w^orks. One solid shot struck the regiment's 
line of works and completely shattered it where it struck. 
A piece of timber knocked from the log struck James A. 
Shaw on the hip, wounding him severely so that he died in 


about one week afterward. He was just in the act of tilling,' 
his pipe to take a smoke, or reaching for some tobacco to 
fill it, when he was struck. The same shot struck a gun which 
was laid up against the head -log and knocked it against the 
head of Atkinson Hill, bending it almost at right angles 
upon itself against his head. He was quite severely hurt by 
being bruised, but his wound did not prove dangerous. The 
ball rolled to the foot of the hill back of the works and was 
picked up and brought back up to the trench. The fire was 
maintained some time, but this was about all the damage 
done to the Eighty-sixth that day. On the 24th the skir- 
mishing and artillery firing were repeated at intervals 
throughout the day. Generals Sherman, Thomas, Howard, 
and others rode round the lines viewing and examining the 
situation -of the army. On this day, too, the Fifty-ninth 
Ohio constructed a line of intrenchments and occupied it in 
front of the Eighty-sixth which somewhat relieved it from 
watching for the enemy, but in no sense screened it from his 
fire. On the 25th the Eighty-sixth received an order to 
extend its line of works on the left well up to the banks of a 
small stream — a tributary of Clear creek — which was a few 
rods to left of the regiment's first line. The enemy made it 
extremely hot for the fatigue party during the entire^ time it 
was at work. John Mann, of Company H, and Jacob Hauk, 
of Company B, were slightly wounded. On the 2(3th there 
was the usual skirmishing. On the 27th, the Army of the 
Tennessee was in motion from the left to take i)osition on 
the extreme right under command of General O. O. Howard, 
the Fourth corps' former commander. Upon discovering 
this movement the enemy opened a hot artillery fire all along 
the line, which was well maintained for some time with slioi-t 
intervals. The Sixth Ohio battery, two guns of which were 
on the line of the Eighty -sixth, showed some fine practice, 
making some splendid shots at the enemy's works in n^ply. 
As the evening advanced, however, the fire slackened. 

On the morning of the 28th of July the Eighty -sixth was 
up betimes. The morning was pleasant and not so exces- 
sively hot as it had been for some days previous. The move- 


tnent of the Army of the Tennessee was continued on the 
right. This caused some irritation and the rebel skirmishers 
were in bad humor. In turn the blue coats replied manfully. 
In the afternoon the rebel artillery opened a strong tire. 
Bridges' Illinois battery and the Sixth Ohio battery replied 
with interest. Later in the day it was learned the cause of 
the enemy's irritable mood. Hood had ordered an attack on 
the Army of the Tennessee, which was going into position 
on the right. One that day the skirmishers were ordered to 
advance. Dashing forward in a most impetuous manner 
they captured the enemy's line of pits, taking quite a num- 
ber of prisoners before they could get out of their pits. 
Others took time by the forelock and started a little sooner 
and escaped. These the brave blue coats pursued right uj^ 
to the enemy's main line of intrenchments, when a line of 
battle was seen to come over the works and advance. The 
Union skirmishers fell back in orderly manner, showing 
great coolness and steadiness of nerve in the face of over- 
powering numbers. Falling back some distance the skir- 
mish line took up a good position which was intrenched and 
maintained as long as the command remained here. 

Howard's battle on the right was known as the battle of 
Ezra Church. The brunt of the battle fell upon Logan's 
Fifteenth corps, but the enemy was easily defeated. Great 
loss was inflicted upon the assaulting forces. It is probable 
that the attack of the Union skirmishers was timed to act as 
a diversion in favor of the right. It certainly had the effect 
to create the suspicion in Hood's mind that his right would 
in turn be attacked by the Army of the Cumberland, as late 
in the afternoon he ordered Hardee to leave his corps on the 
right and take command of the attacking forces, while he, 
Hood, would remain where he could watch the right which 
was threatened by Thomas with his army. 

On the 29th, 30th and 31st there was the usual cannonad- 
ing and skirmishing throughout the days and nights, but 
nothing decisive occurred. On the 1st of August the Eighty- 
sixth, with several other regiments of the brigade, received 
orders to be ready to march at 6:30 a. m. They reported at 



division headquarters at 7 o'clock and received instructions. 
They were to march to left rear of the divisions and corps 
some distance and build a line of intrenchments, the extreme 
left to be sharply refused, while the right of the newly con- 
structed line was to connect with the left of the Third divis- 
ion line of intrenchments. This was done preparatory to 
moving Schofield's Twenty-third corps to the right in the 
endeavors of General Sherman to out-flank Hood and reach 
the Montgomery and Atlanta railroad. Schofield's command 
moved on the night of the 1st, leaving the Fourth corps on 
the extreme left of the army, Wood's division being the ex- 
treme left of the infantry line of Sherman's grand army in 
front of Atlanta. This position it held until the final move 
around Atlanta was undertaken. The new line of intrench- 
ments was occupied by cavalry and mounted infantry. On 
the 2d, during the forenoon, there was the usual skirmish- 
ing with some artillery firing. Sherman, however, was 
pushing the right vigorously forward toward the raih'oad. 
In the afternoon the Eighty-sixth, with the rest of the brigade, 
were ordered into the ditch with gun and cartridge-box. 
This command was promptly executed, and in a very few 
minutes the skirmish line was ordered forward. The blue- 
coats went across the open field in their front very leisurely 
and in splendid style until within a couple of hundred yards 
of the enemy's line of rifle-pits, when they received the 
enemy's full fire. Previous to this there had been a few 
scattering shots fired, but now the whole line of the enemy's 
skirmishers gave them a fiery blast. Then the advancing 
line gave the yell and literally ran over the enemy, taking 
the pits by storm and capturing thirty or forty prisoners, the 
others saving themselves by starting early. The gallant 
manner in which the line advanced and took possession of 
the enemy's pits is worthy of all commendation and praise. 
Company I, of the Eighty-sixth, had one man wounded. Tlu' 
line was held twenty or thirty minutes, when a line of battle 
was seen to come over the enemy's works and advance. The 
skirmishers fell back in good order and took up their ijosition 
in the fortified line on the hill. No further attack was made. 


From this time on while in front of the city it 
was one round of slcirmishing and "demonstrating" against 
the enemy with fierce artillery duels thrown in for 
noise. No pen or pencil can describe or paint the scenes of 
those days to one who was not an eye witness of them in a 
manner to be comprehended. The trials undergone and the 
dangers escaped by all who passed through the fearful days 
Before Atlanta can never be told in words. 

On the 5th of August the Eighty-sixth, led by Colonel G. 
F. Dick, made a demonstration. Filing out over the works 
the regiment advanced down the hill in front, passed that of 
the Fifty-ninth Ohio, and on toward the enemy. As it passed 
down the hill in front of Fifty-ninth the enemy literally 
shaved it with a storm of balls, yet the regiment marching 
in open order escaped with a few slightly wounded. One 
comrade had his clothing cut, another some of his accouter- 
ments, while a third had his chin whiskers unceremoniously 
clipped by a musket ball. Having crossed a small stream in 
front of the Fifty-ninth and ascending half way up the hill 
on the other side, the regiment was ordered to halt and lie 
down. Now, that the men were not in motion and compara- 
tively secure from musketry fire, the batteries oi^ened at a 
lively rate, dropping their shells uncomfortably near. After 
marching around for a time the regiment returned to camp. 

On the 6th a heavy detail was made from the Eighty- 
sixth for the skirmish line, and from this time on until the 
close of the seige the boys had a full share of the fun. 

On the 12th the Eighty-sixth was again ordered out to 
make a demonstration against the enemy. The orders were 
promptly obeyed and with the Colonel at its head the regi- 
ment marched over the hills. There were no laggards in 
ranks that afternoon. The ravine was not of itself a dis- 
agreeable place to lounge at ease. Through it ran a pleas- 
ant little brook, pellucid and bright, that babbled merrily 
on its way to the Chattahoochee. But even here the enemy's 
shells rendered it anything but a desirable position to hold. 
As soon as the Eighty-sixth had taken its position in the 
ravine the skirmishers were ordered to advance and had a 


hot, malicious time with the Confederates, trotting them 
out of their pits at a lively rate and annoying them not a 
little. The regiment was out about thirty minutes, but that 
was quite long enough. On the 17th a demonstration was 
made by the Thirteenth Ohio, Seventeenth Kentucky and the 
Eighty-sixth Indiana. As long as there was a man of the 
three regiments in sight passing over the hill the enemy was 
busily engaged in popping away at him. The Thirteenth 
had one man severely wounded. They were out only for a 
short time, when all three regiments returned to their respect- 
ive camps. In a short time, however, the Thirteenth and 
Seventeenth were out again going the rounds of the circuit 
and drawing a sharp fire from the enemy, which fell upon 
the camps as well as the troops in position. 

On the 18th, in the forenoon, the Ninth Kentucky made 
a demonstration, and had two or three men wounded. About 
12:30, the Seventh Kentuck}'" made a demonstration against 
the enemy, returning to its camp in a short time. There 
were a few hours of comparative quiet — until about 3 o'clock 
p. m., when the Eighty-sixth was ordered out. The regi- 
ment marched out promptly led by Colonel Dick over the hill 
toward the enemy to the music of the guns of the rebel 
sharpshooters. In the ravine the regiment filed left and 
made a circuit of the hill out of sight of the enemy, and came 
up from the rear, and again marched out upon the breast of 
the hill, and then marched to left in plain view of the enemy 
to create the impression that our forces were massing upon 
the left. About 2 o'clock a. m. on the morning of the 19th, 
the regiment was called oat and ordered to be ready at 3 
o'clock. The Eighty-sixth was ready at the appointed time 
and moved out to the left. The command moved to the left 
rear some two or three miles and halted, waiting daylight. 
Taking a defensible position, the command breakfasted at 
sunrise. Shortly after a strong detachment was sent out 
on a reconnoissance. This force returned about 10 a. m., 
and reported that it found the enemy in force some distance 
in front and skirmished with him. A few were wounded and 
a Captain in the Ninetieth Ohio was killed. Soon after the 


return of the reconnoitering force the command moved still 
farther to the left. Here the Eighty-sixth drew rations of 
hard tack, coffee and sugar and some sanitary rations of dried 
apples and onions. About 3 p. m. orders were received to 
return to camp, reaching there a little before sun-down, but 
to find the camp stripped. The troops from the other regi- 
ments had come in and carried off bunks, tent-poles and all 
movables, to their own camps for their own comfort. This 
excited the ire of the boys of the Eighty-sixth, but aside 
from an irruption of profanity, nothing was attempted to rec- 
tify the error. Immediately the skirmish line of the Third 
brigade made a spirited demonstration against the enemy, 
attacking the rebel skirmish line. No results of special ad- 
vantage could be obtained by the line of blue-coats and they 
leisurely returned to their position in the pits. Again on the 
20th the Eighty-sixth was called up at 2 a. m., and ordered 
to be ready to move in thirty minutes. Colonel Dick was at 
the head of the regiment in column in good time and marched 
to the position of the previous day. Remained here until 
9:30 a. m., when it was ordered to return to its position in 
the trenches. On the 21st the Eighty-sixth repaired its loss 
of bunks and tent-poles. Many necessaries for camp-life 
had been carried away and it took a great deal of work to 
supply the camp with those things to make the men reason- 
ably comfortable. On this day CaiDtain W. S. Sims, of Com- 
pany P, took leave of the officers and men of the regiment, 
having resigned on account of continued serious illness. 
The Captain was a brave, faithful and efficient officer, and 
he left with the kindly wishes and to the regret of the entire 

It had been the rumor in camp for ten or twelve days 
that General Sherman contemplated placing one corps at the 
Chattahoochee river and with the rest of the army make a 
circuit of desolation around Atlanta, destroying Hood's rail 
way connections, and thus force him to come out and fight 
for the possession of the city or evacuate it. Of this Sher- 
man says: "On the 13th of August, I gave general orders 
for the Twentieth corps to draw back to the railroad bridge 


at the Chattahoochee, to protect our trains, hospitals, spare 
artillery, and the railroad, depot, while the rest of the army 
should move bodily to some point on the Macon railroad 
below East Point. Circumstances, however, prevented this 
[movement being executed at once. " 

On the evening of the 25th of August, after a day of 
rumors and flying reports of all kinds throughout the camps 
and trenches, came the orders for the contemplated move- 
[ment above referred to. The Eighty-sixth with the rest of 
the Fourth corps were ordered that as soon as it was dark, 
|So as not to be seen by the enemy, to strike tents and get 
everything ready. The move was to commence at 8 o'clock 
p. m. The Eighty-sixth was ready, and Colonel Dick only 
awaited orders to set forward. But the regiment did not 
leave its breastworks and old camp until near the hour of 
!midnight, when it moved slowly, silently, but steadily to the 
right rear, halting just before daylight and securing a little 
rest and sleep. The command was well in behind the Twen- 
itieth corps which still held its line of works, while Garrard's 
cavalry occupied the vacated works. At this place the men 
were ordered to fortify and began the work, when they 
ireceived orders to continue the march. The day was excess- 
ively hot and many suffered greatly from the heat. In the 
afternoon a shower of rain fell, rendering the roads slippery 
land made marching very laborious. Many will long remem- 
•ber this day's march and its trials. Near sundown the com- 
mand bivouacked well to the right of the former position of 
|General Sherman's great army. 

[ During the night of the 26t]i, the Twentieth corps drew 
jout of its works and retired to an intrenched line at the 
(Chattahoochee river. On the 27th the command marched a 
few miles in the forenoon, and intrenched its bivouac in the 
afternoon, an attack being apprehended. The enemy's bat- 
teries maintained a brisk fire for sometime, but did no sor- 
jious damage. The position of the Eighty-sixth was on a 
high hill and it had a splendid view of the surrounding 
jcountry, especially in front, which was mostly heavily 
wooded. The location of their skirmish line could be plainly 


seen and farther away was a great cloud of dust evidently- 
caused by a body of marching troops. 

The command remained at this place of bivouac until 
near sundown on the evening of the 28th, when the bugles of 
the brigade sounded the ' ' assembly, ' ' and the regiment soon 
marched out guarding the supply train. In consequence of 
this duty the progress was very slow and the marching 
tedious and irritating. The command guarding the train 
bivouacked about midnight after a most exasperating night 
march. The morning of the 29th was a busy one for the 
Eighty-sixth. The command was aroused early and break- 
fasted soon after sun-up. The brigade was soon on the move 
to rejoin the command and had rations issued while on the 
road, a brief halt being called for that purpose. Soon after 
resuming the march General Thomas' headquarters were 
reached, where baggage was left, and started out on quick 
time to reach the Montgomery and Atlanta railroad, two 
miles distant. Turning to the left the command marched 
about a mile toward East Point, there stacked arms, and pro- 
ceeded to the destruction of the railroad. This was done by 
prying up the ends of the ties and then enough men would 
get hold of the ends of the ties and turn ties, iron rails and 
all over like a great prairie sod from a huge x^low. After 
this the rails were knocked loose from the ties, the ties were 
piled and burned, the rails placed upon the burning ties and 
heated and bent or twisted, until unfit for use until worked 
over. In this manner tlie railroad was completely destroyed. 
The task was completed and the command started on its 
return to bivouac near headquarters about 1 o'clock. There 
the Eighty-sixth furnished a detail for picket. The com- 
mand moved out on the 30th at 6 o'clock on the route of the 
previous day until the railroad was crossed, when it then 
turned to the left and marched in the direction of the Macon 
and Atlanta road. The line of march after crossing the rail- 
road was nearly directly east. Generals Sherman and Thomas 
accompanied this column while on the march. The weather 
was extremely hot, which rendered marching difficult. 
There was some heavy cannonading on the right where Gen- 


eral Howard, with the Army of the Tennessee, was advanc- 
ing. Skirmishing in the immediate front was light, but still 
the command had to feel its way with extreme caution. 
Appearances were quite threatening at one time during the 
afternoon; the column was halted, and the men ordered to 
intrench, but soon received orders to "forward. " It pressed 
on about oue and a half miles and was halted again, where 
another line of intrenchments w^as begun, but quit work for 
supper before very much w^as done. After supper it moved 
forward about a half mile and bivouacked for the night. 

On the morning of the 31st the command was up early 
and breakfasted before sun-up. The boys were now in a 
section of country where they could gobble roasting ears, 
and consequently were living high for campaigners. The 
artillery opened fire on a rebel train during the morning and 
made it pretty hot for it, apparently delivering a very accur- 
ate fire and causing the Confederates to move out at a lively 
rate. The early part of the day was quite cloudy, but warm 
and sultry, which did not conduce to comfort. The command 
moved out about 8 o'clock, but did not go far until an align- 
ment was made, and the troops were ordered to intrench 
themselves. The work had not progressed far when they 
were again ordered forward. The advance was made stead- 
ily, bearing somewhat to the left. The corps soon passed 
through a line of rebel intrenchments, supposed to have been 
recently abandoned, and showing the enemy to be in some 
force in the immediate front. The line of march was nearly 
parallel with the Montgomery railroad. About noon the 
command halted for dinner, still near the railroad. Later it 
advanced about one mile, bearing to the right, anil bivouacked 
for the night, the Eighty-sixth furnishing a heavy detail for 
the picket or skirmish line. There was some firing on tlie 
left in the evening, Schofield's corps having come up witli 
the enemy. The First and Second divisions of the Fourth 
corps being upon the right, the Second connecting with the 
Third division and the First to the right of that. CJeneral 
Jeff C. Davis, with the Fourteenth army corps, was still to 
the right of these two divisions, but moved off early in the 


day to connect with Howard's Army of the Tennessee. So 
the army became divided and extended very much in the face 
of the enemy, who might, if cognizant of the situation, re- 
peat his tactics of July with a better chance of success than 
in his former attack, as the two corps would not constitute a 
force numerically as strong as the force before attacked. 

On the morning of the 1st of September, Wood's division 
moved forward toward the Macon and Atlanta railroad, 
nearly due east, about 8 o'clock. It soon connected with 
Newton's Second division and pressed on steadily, but 
slowly. After a halt of a half hour at noon far dinner the 
march was continued, the Third brigade reaching the rail- 
road about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Stacking arms, the 
men proceeded to wreck the railroad in an eifective manner. 
After that was done the command lay here for some time 
awaiting orders. It then advanced, moving south along the 
railroad. Cannonading and heavy musketry could be heard 
in front and a little to the right of the railroad, the Four- 
teenth corps having attacked the enemy. As the battle-field 
was approached the pace was quickened. The command, 
Wood's division, was ordered to close up and were massed 
by "columns of divisions" well up to the line of battle on 
the left of the railroad, and there awaited further orders. 
The enemy at once opened with their batteries at quite a 
lively rate, although his fire was not very destructive. Just 
as the division arrived the Fourteenth army corps charged 
the enemy's works a little to the right of the railroad, and 
captured the salient angle of the enemy's line at that point. 
Estes' brigade of Baird's division carried the salient, with 
Carlin's division upon his left, and Morgan upon his right. 
These forces closing down upon the forces contending with 
Estes' troops captured General Govan and eight hundred 
and sixty-five men. This was the second assault made here 
by the Fourteenth corps. The enemy fell back, formed a 
new line, and held it securely until nightfall, Hardee show- 
ing good generalship and the splendid fighting qualities of 
his men. The columns of attack suffered severely. The 
enemy also suffered heavily in killed and wounded, besides 


losing a great many prisoners. This was known as the Bat- 
tle of Jonesboro'. Some time after the heavy fighting was 
over Wood's division was moved farther to the left and 
bivouacked about 10 o'clock p. m. 

About 1 o "clock on the morning of September 2, the men 
were aroused from a deep and tired sleep to view the indica- 
tions to the northward. There at a long distance could be 
seen the reflection of a great light against the sky as if a 
huge fire was present. It was in the direction of the city of 
Atlanta, but that was all that was known. It looked encour- 
aging as it was known that all the enemy's lines of railroad 
communication were now in possession of Union troops. But 
tired, as the men were, they soon sought their lowly beds to 
rest and sleep that they might be ready for the morrow's 
duties. About 4 o'clock the men were again aroused. Now 
the light was even greater than before, and to the great 
light was added the sound of heavy cannonading or reports 
of the bursting of innumerable shells. Had Atlanta been 
attacked by the forces remaining behind, or was it being 
evacuated, was the question upon every tongue. "The city 
is on fire!" "The rebels have attacked the Twentieth corps 
at the river!" "The rebels are burning their immovable 
stores and evacuating the city!" and other similar remarks 
according to the ideas of the various speakers, could bo 
heard here and there all over the bivouac. The latter was 
believed to be the state of affairs and the men felt glad at 
heart to think that they were about to be successful in get- 
ting possession of this, the enemy's stronghold. But the 
men were too tired to stay up long and watch even the burn- 
ing of the rebel munitions of war, as they verily believed it 
to be, when it was not a matter of compulsion, and therefore 
all were soon again quietly sleeping. But all were turned 
out and breakfasted shortly after daylight. Some light skir- 
mishing occurred in the early morning with the enemy's 
rear-guard, he having evacuated during the night. 

The command moved back near the railroad where it 
was shelled so lively the previous evening and drew rations 
—three days' to do four— hard tack, bacon, sugar and coffee. 


The command was then marched up to the outskh'ts of the 
town and again halted for a time. The enemy in his extreme 
haste, left many of his dead unburied, and large nmnbers of 
his wounded behind. The march was continued on to the 
southward, still following the retreating enemy. Wood's 
division bore off to the left of the railroad somewhat, but 
continued the march on a country wagon road running 
almost parallel with the railroad. After proceeding some 
five or six miles, three companies of the Eighty-sixth were 
placed out to the left as flankers for the column in its 
advance. The division soon encountered the enemy in an 
intrenched position. A line of battle was formed. Orderlies 
and staff officers dashed here and there, up and down the 
line, bearing orders and giving instructions to the brigade 
commanders and commanders of regiments. Everywhere 
were seen the indications which betokened that an assault 
was to be made upon the enemy's position. The line of 
flankers was ordered to swing round as skirmishers to pro- 
tect the flank of the column of the Third brigade in its 
assault upon the enemy. The line of battle advanced slowly 
until it was believed to be within proper distance, when the 
yell was given and a dash made for the enemy and his works. 
Then came the tug of war. Knefler's brigade, on the 
extreme left, charged and carried the enemy's works, but 
could not maintain its hold, as it was subject to an enfilad- 
ing fire on both flanks. The attack was nobly sustained 
for some time, the Confederates as bravely defending their 
position. The advantage was upon the enemy's side and the 
Union forces were, at length, compelled to give ground and 
retire with considerable loss. General T. J. Wood, the 
division commander, was severely wounded. Colonel Man- 
derson, of the Nineteenth Ohio, was dangerously wounded. 
Captain Oscar O. Miller, Assistant Adjutant General, of 
the Third brigade, a noble officer, was killed. Lieutenant 
Colonel C. D. Bailey, of the Ninth Kentucky, was severely 
wounded. The Eighty-sixth lost a number of men. Eli 
Duchemin, of Company P, was mortally w^ounded. Orderly 
Sergeant J. M. Cast was struck in the bottom, of the foot by 


a musket ball, causing him considerable pain, but only 
inflicting a contused wound, not serious. Thomas B. Parks 
received a severe flesh wound through his shoulder. The 
ball inflcting this wound passed through his folded blanket 
both in front and behind his shoulder, cutting thirty-eight 
holes in his blanket and a notch out of one edge. This is 
known as the Battle of Lovejoy's Station. 

The skirmish fire continued quite sharp throughout the 
evening. The enemy thought for once he had the advantage. 
After a supper of bacon and hard tack, the Eighty-sixth, and 
the whole of the army on the front line, worked hard until 
nearly midnight constructing a line of intrenchments. Gen- 
eral Sherman did not deem it advisable subsequently to press 
the attack, as he was led to believe that Hood had halted to 
cover his retreat, and then it was too late to intercept him. 

On the 3d the artillery was placed in position on the line 
of the division and kept up a hot fire on the enemy. He 
made up for his lack of artillery by the briskness of his skir- 
mish firing which was almost uninterrupted. Quite a num- 
ber of the regiment was wounded here on the 3d, 4th and 
5th. On the 4th James Williams, of Company K, was severely 
wounded in the leg while lying in his pup tent just back of 
the line of works a few paces. 

The command remained here until the night of September 
5. In the afternoon of that day orders were received to 
strike tents at dark. It was of course presumed that it woukl 
return to Atlanta and go into camp for a brief rest at least. 
There was much quiet joy and rejoicing in ranks, as the 
campaign had been one of unremitting toil and dangers, and 
all thought they had well earned a brief period of reixjsc for 

Sergeant Major T. H. B. McCain, who had been a mem- 
ber of Company I, and Hugh Reilly, of Company K. on that 
day received their commissions as First Lieutenant of their 
respective companies. The documents had scarcely reached 
their hands until they w^ere detailed as otficers in charge of 
the skirmish or picket line. On them devolved the duty of 
withdrawing the outposts, which was done about 11 p. m. 


after the command had started toward Atlanta. The night 
march of the 5th was one of the hardest and most difficult 
short marches the Eighty-sixth ever made. It 'had rained 
very hard and the ground was wet and very slippery. Strict 
silence was enjoined on getting ready to leave camp. The 
regiment and column wound their way over steep slippery 
hills and hollows to the rear painfully slow. "Curses, not 
loud but deep," could be occasionally heard as some soldier 
took an extra vicious tumble, rolling down an embankment 
into a pool of water or fell into a wash-out gully. These 
headlong tumbles were innumerable and beyond description. 
The night was extremely dark and the route wholly strange. 
therefore the men were at the mercy of every obstacle. If a 
man took only a half dozen tumbles he did not think himself 
particularly unfortunate. The fountains of profanity flowed 
freely when the men were once out of hearing distance of the 
enemy. But owing to the peculiarly trying conditions it is 
to be hoped that at that hour of the night the recording angel 
was kindly taking a nap, and- that those deviations will not 
be charged up against the boys at the final muster. Wood's 
division arrived at Jonesboro about day-break. Passing 
through town a short distance the command was halted and 
allowed to breakfast. Skirmishing was resumed as soon as 
the enemy could catch up with Sherman's rear guard, which 
was not long after daylight, and continued throughout the 
day. The command moved several times during the day, but 
only a short distance each time. Orders were received on 
the evening of the 6th to be ready to march on the 7th at 
day-light. Resuming the march the following morning the 
command covered about eleven miles, and the Eighty-sixth 
bivouacked in a thick woods with a dense growth of under- 
brush. Ordered to construct a line of intrenchments as a 
precautionary measure. There was no indication of an 
attack but the en