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ILLlffi 



LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 



973.74 

1461 

96 

US HISTORICAL 




JJ 



. 







BATTLE FLAGS OF THE REGIMENT. 



(See Page 988.) 



HISTORY 



NINETY-SIXTH REGIMENT 



ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, 



PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE 



Historical Society of UK Begin* cut ; 

CHARLES W. EARLE. HENRY H. GAGE. 

CHARLES A. PARTRIDGE. EDWIN DRURY. 

EDWARD A. BLODGETT. M. UMBDENSTOCK, JR. 



EDITED BY 



CHARLES A. PARTRIDGE. 



CHICAGO: 

1887. 



737 



UROWN, PETTIBONE & Co. 

PRINTERS, 

Sfos. 80 & 82 ADAMS STREET, 
CHICAGO, ILL., U. S. A. 



; ' 



HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S NOTICE. 



^te. TWENTY years had passed since its disbandment, and yet no history 
10 of the NINETY-SIXTH ILLINOIS had been written. The only plan ever 
formed which promised any definite result was at the reunion of the 
Regiment, held in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, in September. 1S75, 
and that had failed. No one person or persons had yet come to the front 
and expressed the willingness to assume the financial burden. All were 
disappointed, and many were inquiring, as they met at Fairs and County 
Reunions, or wherever chance threw a number of them together, if some- 
thing could not yet be done to put in connected form the more important 
events in which the command participated. It was in response to these 
requests and to give definite shape to the half-defined plans of those who 
had talked the matter over that "The Historical Society of the NINETY- 
SIXTH Regiment Illinois Volunteers 1 ' was organized under the laws of 
the State, the incorporators being Lieutenant Charles W. Earle, Adjutant 
E. A. Blodgett, Sergeant Major Charles A. Partridge, Corporal Henry H. 
Gage, Edwin Drury, and M. Umbdenstock, Jr. In the organization of 
this company abundant capital for the enterprise was assured and the 
details for the work at once commenced. Charles A. Partridge, our 
former Sergeant Major, and for fifteen years the able editor of the 
Waukegan Gazette, was secured as Editor. A historian, selected because 
of his known literary ability, was appointed for each Company, different 
comrades engaged to furnish chapters upon various special topics not 
strictly a part of the general history of the command, and a thousand 
and one other things set in motion by which was insured a full, complete 
and truthful history of the Regiment. 

We proposed to write a history of the NINETY-SIXTH Regiment 
Illinois Volunteers and not the personal achievements or altiloquence of 
any one or two men. 

Only about one-half of the Company historians carried out the work 
allotted to them, and, as a consequence, much additional labor fell upon 
editor. If omissions in regard to Company organizations or per- 
~ soual sketches are noticed the blame cannot justly be placed on the 
j^editor, for that which appears has in many instances only been secured 
* by oft-repeated solicitations. 

It was early decided that the work should be written, in part at least, 
-r-in the form of a diary, this plan seeming to promise the best results in 
^ giving a complete and connected history of the Regiment. It was 
\p also determined that there should be a brief sketch of each Company, in 
- which should be stated the main facts relating to the manner of its 
organization and a narrative of any detached service performed by it, to 
o be concluded by a brief personal biography of every man in the Com- 
i. pany. A blank, forwarded to every member of the Regiment whose 



1520SP, 



iv HlSTORTT OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

address could be ascertained, in many instances failed to elicit a reply. 
Such must not complain if they find their personal sketches deficient, 
although the Editor has searched the reports in the Adjutant General's 
office to complete them. 

The maps and battle scenes have been made expressly for this work, 
at considerable expense, and we believe will be satisfactory to the com- 
rades familiar with the scenes portrayed. We are gratified at being able 
to present the portraits of a large number of the officers and men of the 
command. These have been prepared at the expense of the comrades 
whose faces appear, or by some of their personal friends. Many are 
from old and faded photographs and daguerreotypes, and could be but 
imperfectly reproduced, but nearly all are true to life. Although they 
have cost the Historical Society much labor, and a considerable sum in 
excess of the amounts charged, we have no regret that this feature of the 
work was undertaken. These photo prints have been made by M. 
Umbdenstock, to whom we are under many obligations. In this con- 
nection, it should be mentioned that the utmost harmony and hearty 
cooperation has prevailed among those who assumed the task, and in 
addition to the work performed by the editor and portrayer, it would be 
unjust to omit an acknowledgement of the valuable assistance of Mr. 
Edwin Drury in many of the details, and Messrs. Blodgett and Gage for 
financial advances while the enterprise has been developed. 

While the magnitude of the undertaking was in no measure compre- 
hended by us at the outset, and more time and money has been required 
for its completion than was anticipated, yet we trust that the volume will 
be satisfactory to those for whom it was written our comrades in arms 
and those who loved them. We promised a work of five hundred pages ; 
we give, instead, a volume of nearly twice that size. We believe that 
in other respects we have exceeded the promises made in the prospectus. 
We had no expectation of pecuniary gain, and with the entire edition 
sold, the copy retained by each member of the Historical Society will be 
the most expensive. For this we care nothing. If our comrades, after a 
careful perusal of the book, shall give it their approval as a careful, 
truthful and well- written history, we shall feel that we have been fully 
compensated for our work and all our sacrifices. 

Cherishing the memory of every comrade, whether living or dead ; 
proud of the fact that it was our privilege to be associated with them in 
the days when they were making a record of which any soldier might be 
justly proud, and rejoicing that we have been able to be the means of 
putting in a more connected and enduring form than had hitherto been 
attempted some record of their achievements ; and, finally, with a silent 
tear for those and with those whose wounds will be opened afresh by 
the perusal of these pages because of the "vacant chair," we submit this 
History, earnestly hoping that it may meet the approval of our sur- 
viving comrades and their friends. 

In behalf of and for the Historical Society of the NINETY-SIXTH 
Regiment Illinois Volunteers. 

CHAS. WARRINGTON EARLE, 

CHICAGO, July 1, 1887. Chairman. 



PRKFACK. 



To me was assigned, by the Historical Society, the work of editing 
a history of the gallant Regiment with which it was my lot to be asso- 
ciated during the War of the Rebellion. The trust was accepted with 
extreme reluctance, and with many misgivings, for I knew the work 
would be at once delicate and difficult. After discussing various plans 
with the members of the Historical Society, and agreeing upon a general 
outline, I entered upon the work assigned me. and the pages which follow 
are the result. As the work has progressed I have not unfrequently found 
my memory in conflict with the letters and diaries of myself and com- 
rades, written at the time the events here narrated were occurring. In 
all such cases I have given credence to the written record, believing it to 
be more reliable than mere recollection. I ask every comrade whose 
memory contradicts what is here given, in any material respect, to refrain 
from criticism until he has carefully read again his own or his comrades' 
letters and diaries, penned when these events were fresh. If, upon a 
perusal of these records, material errors are found I shall be glad to have 
them stated. It was impossible that all should have seen events from 
the same stand-point, or that any one should have known of all the 
interesting experiences of the various members of the entire command. 
It is too much to expect of any one person, after a lapse of twenty years 
in which no thought was entertained of undertaking such a work, to 
recall from memory, or to gather from the hastily written letters or the 
brief pencilings in a boy's diary, a tithe of the interesting personal 
reminiscences that might have been written had their narration been 
contemplated when the events were occurring. 

The chapters written by myself have been made impersonal ; no 
statement has been made that is not believed to be strictly truthful ; no 
event has been too highly colored ; no fact has been so strongly stated 
that it will not bear the closest scrutiny and investigation. 

In my work I have been fortunate in having the cordial encourage- 
ment and support of my comrades generally. No committee could 
have been more kindly critical, or more considerate and cordial toward 
an editor than has the Historical Society been toward myself. No com- 
rades could have responded more zealously than have a majority of those 
to whom I have applied for information or for access to their written 



vi HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

matter. While I cannot mention all who have been helpful I should do 
violence to my own sense of justice did I not name some whose assist- 
ance has been most frequently given. In addition to the members of the 
Historical Society, Gen. J. C. Smith, Col. Geo. Hicks and Surgeon F. W. 
Byers, of the Field and Staff ; Capt. Wm. Vincent and Sergt. C. H. Berg, 
of Company A ; Captain G. H. Burnett and Lieutenant George Wait, of 
Company B ; Captain John K. Pollock and Captain W. M. Loughlin, of 
Company C ; Captain A. Z. Blodgett, Lieutenant J. H. Linklater, A. R. 
Thain and R. S. Thain, of Company D ; Captain W. F. Taylor and Ser- 
geant P. Fleming, of Company E ; J. Q. Robinson, William S. Nash 
and the late Sergeant John C. Lee, of Company F ; Captain B. G. 
Blowney, of Company G ; Captain J. L Pierce, of Company H ; 
William M. Perry, William W. McDonald and Moses Rees, of Company 
I, and Lieutenant George W. Pepoon, of Company K, have each con- 
tributed materially in assisting to gather necessary data. The material 
for the closing chapter was mainly collected and compiled by Edwin 
Drurj r , of the Historical Society, and was the result of much diligent 
research. 

As I have lived over again the days when the history was made of 
which I have so feebly written, my feelings have been of mingled sad- 
ness and pleasure. Forms and faces almost lost to memory have seemed 
to come again, and events almost forgotten have returned with a vivid- 
ness that had seemed impossible. 

Although this volume has grown to be almost double the size at first 
contemplated, it is entirely too meagre to tell of more than a fraction of 
the heroic deeds of the brave men who marched and fought beneath the 
banner on which was inscribed the magic figures, " 96." Words cannot 
fittingly portray the lofty heroism which inspired the gallant soldiers 
whose valorous deeds are here so feebly told. With a fidelity that I trust 
all will concede, and with such ability as I could command, the work 
has been pursued until the three years' service of the Regiment has been, 
in some measure, covered. Of the reader I ask that what is written be 
accepted in a spirit as charitable as he would have asked in his own 
behalf if unexpectedly called to the duty of writing a similar work. 

CHARLES A. PARTRIDGE. 
Waukegan, 111, July, 1887. 



NCINNATI 

H I O 



1M A P 
SHOWING THE LINES OF MARCH 

(SOUTH OF 1 II K OHIO RIVER) 

NINETY-SIXTH* REGIMENT 

ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. 




Roads over which the Regiment marched one or more times. 
Routes traveled by Rail or Steamboat. 
Location of Hattles in which the Regiment participated. 
Location of Skirmishes in which the Regiment participated. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Events Leading to the War The Slavery (Question The Missouri Compromise 
Fugitive Slave Law? Enacted The Difficulty of Enforcing Them A Supreme 
Court Decision Anti-Slavery Literature Lincoln's Election a Pretext for Re- 
bellion Preparations for War at the South The Great Conspiracy Secession 
Ordinances Passed The Guns of Sumter Kcho Through the Land The Response 
at the North Alternate Victories and Defeats Advantages Gained A Crisis 
Reached in the Summer of 1862 A. Second Grand Uprising at the North A Half 
Million Enlistments in Two Months 17-26 

CHAPTER II. 

How and Why Lake and Jo Daviess Counties Joined Hands In Camp at Rpckford 
A Lesson in Obedience to Orders The Formal Muster-in Other Regiments in 
Camp Early Experiences The Field and Stuff The Companies Lettered- 
Drawing Arms and Uniforms Battalion Drill and Dress Parade On Escort 
Duty Visits from Home Friends Major Brown and the "Obstacle" Move- 
mentThe Sutlers Made Unhappy Incidents of the Last Days at Camp 
Fuller 27-40 

CHAPTER III. 

OfE for "The Front" A Rain-Storm En Route The Trip to Cincinnati A Tedious 
Night March Happenings at Camp Champion The Tents Erected Episode of 
the Tall Men A Skirmish with Mules Detachments Sent to the Forts More 
Presentations A Night Alarm Fresh PorK that Had to be Paid for Unfortu- 
nate Explosion of a Shell Five Companies Sent to Falmouth and Five to Cov- 
ington An October Snow-StormVisits From the Father and Son of General 
Grant 41-51 

CHAPTER IV. 

Five Companies Start Southward Hard Pikes vs. Tender Feet Marching and Tent- 
ing in the Snow A Muddy Cut-OffLoyal Whites and Enthusiastic Blacks 
Five Companies Sent via Williamsburg and Georgetown to Lexington Slaves 
and Slave-HuntersMilling for the Military A Night's Foraging The Regi- 
ment Reunited Experiences at Lexington Visit to Henry Clay's Monument 
The First Death in Camp . '..;. .52-04 

CHAPTER V. 

Southward to Harrodsburg Kentucky River Scenery A Halt at Shakertown The 
Stay at Camp Clarke Visits to Perryville Battle Ground Recovering Federal 
Property Issuing a Newspaper Marching to Danville In Winter Quarters at 
Camp Baird Occasional Alarms at Night The First Sergeants Lectured 
Breaking Camp by Fire-Light The Lebanon March A Terrible Rain Storm 
The Night at "Camp Wet" The Return to Danville Frequent Deaths Among 
the Soldiers A Scouting Expedition Close of the Year 1862 65-81 

CHAPTER VI. 

The Negro Question Waiting for News from Stone's River Drilling Resumed 
Visitors in Camp Pay-day Arrives Eleven Deaths in a Single Month A Heavy 
Winter Storm Changes' Among the Officers An Eighty-five Mile March to 
Louisville Aboard the Transports The Arrival at Fort Donelson The Second 
Battle at that Historic Point Up the Cumberland to Nashville 82-97 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Irrepressible Conflict with Greybacks A Half Dozen Promotions Policing 
the Camp Grounds A Brigade Dress Parade Resolutions Adopted by the Regi- 
mentThe Sound of Cannon The Movement to Franklin Disaster to Coburn's 
Brigade The Duck River Campaign Frequent Alarms, and Fighting Near at 
Hand Ten Days at Brentwood Heavy Fatigue and Guard Duty A Man in Com- 

Siny F Killed on the Picket Line The Paymaster in Camp Shelter Tents 
eceived How the Month of May Passed The Nine Months' Fever 98-125 



viii HISTORY OF THE 96xH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

CHAPTER vm. 

The Summer of 1863 The March to Triune Lightening the Knapsacks Partial 
Reorganization of the Corps The Paymaster and the Enemy Arrive Simul- 
taneouslyAgain Under Fire, but at Long Range Skedaddle, of the Sutler's 
Clerks Punishment of Sleepy Sentinels The Tullahoma Campaign A Succes- 
sion of Rainy Days Again Under Fire Guarding Prisoners to the Rear The 
Advance to Shelbyville The March to Wartrace Close of the Brief Campaign- 
Good News from Vicksburgand Gettysburg A Day of Thanksgiving 126-148 

CHAPTER IX. 

Tha Chattanooga Campaign The Difficulties and Delays Attending itg Inaugura- 
tion Conditions Named but not Complied with Gen. Bragg Outwitted and Out- 
flanked The " Gateway of the South" Opened with Unexpected Ease The 
Part Taken by the Reserve Corps in the Campaign The March to Estill Springs 
Scouting Experiences An Anniversary Celebrated by a Portion of the Com- 
mandForward Climbing the Cumberland Mountains A Brief Halt at Bridge- 
portA Forced March over Lookout Mountain to Rossville The Conflict at 
Hand Preparing for the Sacrifice 149-160 

CHAPTER X. 

Chickamauga Preparations for the Impending Battle Collecting the Scattered 
Forces The Enemy not in Retreat Bragg' s Lost Opportunity The Lines 
Forming Along Chickamauga Creek A Reconnoissance from Rossville Under 
Fire with Unloaded Guns Cold Nights in Line of Battle Saturday's Battle 
The Fighting Renewed on Sunday The Reserves to the Rescue The March to 
the Right Three Desperate Charges Repulsing the Enemy Desperate Fight- 
ing and Terrific Losses Both Armies Baffled Again at Rossville The Long 
Casualty List Companies C and H Captured Arrival at Moccasin Point Official 
Reports The New York Tribune Letter 161-221 

CHAPTER XL 

Personal Recollections of Chickamauga. By Geo. Hicks, Captain Company A, 
NINETY-SIXTH Illinois Volunteers. Extracts from an Address Delivered in 
Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies 222-248 

CHAPTER XII. 

The Situation after the Battle of Chickamauga In Camp on Moccasin Point Artil- 
lery and Skirmish Fire Bragg's Starvation Policy Wheeler's Cavalry Raid 
Short Rations for Men and Mules Corn The "Wusscr" Arrival of Gen. 
Hooker Gen. Grant Placed in Command Bridging the River at Brown's Ferry 
Supporting Hooker in Lookout Valley Corn and Shells The March to Shell 
Mound NickajackCove Building Winter Quarters Strange Architecture ..249-261 

CHAPTER XIII. 

The March to Lookout Mountain Before the Battle The Colonel's Speech 
Nature of the Battle Field The Forces Engaged in the Battle Crossing Look- 
out Creek Climbing the Mountain Rough Nature of the Ground Our Ad- 
vanceSkirmishingArtillery Fire The Charge The Rebels Fall Back The 
Battle in the Clouds A Modern Sinai Doubling Point Lookout Cheer* of Vic- 
tory Steep Charge over the " Nose "Writing on the Wall Last Stand of the 
Enemy Was it a Battle ? Facts Say Yes Rebel Loss Our Loss Our Captures 
The Bivouac on Lookout Planting the Flag on Point Lookout Cheering the 
Flag The NINETY-SIXTH on the Summit Description of the Scenery Battle of 
Missionary Ridge Return to Nickajack Cove The Winter 262-283 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Good-by to Nickajack A Leisurely March over Historic Ground The Camps at 
Tyner and Ooltewah Building Houses for a Day Blue Springs Reached Fre- 
quent Scouting Expeditions Engagement Near Dal ton Sergeant Harrimn 
Killed More Wounds and Captures Taunts from the Skirmish Line Ten 
Hours under Fire One Hundred Miles in Six Days An Accidental Shot A 
Ready-Made Camp Frequent Furloughs Captain Rowan and Lieutenant Earle 
Return from Prison Drilling Renewed Reading Clubs Formed Vaccinating 
the Regiment Scurvy and the "Potato Squad" Deserters Drummed Around 
the Lines The Army Concentrating Waiting for the Order Forward ! 284-301 

CHAPTER XV. 

The Army Concentrating The Atlanta Campaign Inaugurated From Blue Springs 
to Catooga Springs Obstructions in the Highway Two Partial Sunstrokes Ad- 
vance on Tunnel Hill The Strong Fortifications Found Empty Looking Acrogg 
the Valley Early Reveille Brass Guns vt. Brass Bands The Demonstration 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. ix 

Against Rocky Face Ridye The NINETY-SIXTH Unslings Knapsacks and Takes 
the Skirmish Line Moving Against the Palisades To the Right and into Buz- 
zard Roost Gap A Gallant Advance The Enemy Mistakes the Regiment for an 
Army Almost out of Ammunition A Bloody Sunset Night Permits Ketreat 
and Rest Nearly a Half Hundred Casualties Deserved ComplimtntB Shelled 
out of Camp The Rebels Evacuate the Dalton Line 302-314 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Approaching Resaca Passing the Cavalry Another Line of Breastworks Built 
Closing in upon the Enemy Gallant Advance of the Skirmishers Fix Bayo- 
nets! A Charge Proposed, but Never Made The Enemy Massing on the Left 
Their Lines Advance Outflanked, the Regiment Retreats Routed ! Fighting 
in Retreat At the Battery Hooker's Troops to the Rescue Terrible Slaughter 
of the Enemy Counting up the Losses Hooker's Troops Charge Partial Suc- 
ceis of their Assaults Two Memorable Days Successful Flanking Movements 
The Enemy in Retreat The Casualty List 315-330 

CHAPTER XVII. 

After the Battle Resaca Abandoned "Drawing Sherman On "Looking for Mis- 
sing Comrades Forward Again A Trio of Wounded Crossing the Oostenaula 
Pressing the Enemy Daily under Fire Calhoun and Adairsville Passed 
From Kingston to Cassville Many Miles upon the Skirmish Line The Enemy 
Pressed Backward An Army in Full Sight More Breastworks A Battle Im- 
pendingArtillery Duel Corporal Gage's Capture Again they Retreat 
Wearied SoldiersThree Days of Rest Odd Fellows Outfit Preserved Visit to 
the Seminary The Boys and the Books Sunday's Experience at Caesville. . .331-342 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

A Bold Flank Movement Across the Etowah Gen. Johnston anticipates Gen. 
Sherman's Plans Pumpkin Vine Creek Late Marches In Reserve Moving to 
the Front Under Fire Strong Breastworks Terr, fie Artillery Fire New Hope 
Church Ten Days in the Trenches Sleeping and Eating to the Music of MUSK- 
etry Casualties Almost Daily Miserably Monotonous The Skirmishers Better 
Natured Trading Between the Lines Short Rations The Enemy Again Out- 
flankedThe Union Forces reach the Railroad In Camp at Ackworth The Boon 
of a Three Day's Rest The Railroad Repaired Rations and Mails brought up 
Getting Rid of the Grey backs Ready for Kenesaw Mountain 343-353 

CHAPTER XIX. 

'The Advance from Ackworth The Country Full of Breastworks How the Army 
was Fed Opposite Pine Mountain Killed by a Falling Tree Bishop Polk's 
Death Frequent Rain Storms Losses by Capture Approaching Little Kene- 
saw A Gallant Charge What Civil War Means Terrific Night Fight Heavy 
Losses of Officers and Men A Trying Position In Close Quarters A Multitude 
of Engagements Moving to the Right Disastrous Change of Tactics A Flag 
of Truce Skirmishers' Experiences The Flanking Movement Resumed Ken- 
esaw Mountain in Union Hands 354-378 

CHAPTER XX. 

.Across the Chattahoochie The Rest on the Ridge Peach Tree Creek The General 
Forward Movement Within Two Miles of Atlanta The Battle on the Left A 
Visit Interrupted Killed in Camp Four Men Captured Colonel Opdyke's 
Reconnoissance Regimental Politics Strong Breastworks, and How They were 
Built Promotions Among the Officers Frequent Demonstrations, One of Them 
Attended by Heavy Losses An Ominous Quiet Mysterious Movements on Foot 
What will General Sherman Do 'Casualties about Atlanta 379-392 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Preparations for a Grand Movement A Night March Building Breastworks Again 
Destroying the Railroad Fairly in the Rear of the "Gate City "Guarding a 
Wagon Train Hurried to the Front The Battle of Jonesboro The Fight at 
Lovejoy's Station Four Fatalities Anniversary of the Regiment's Muster-in 
" Atlanta is Ours, and Fairly Won "Withdrawal of the Forces Burning Cotton 
In Camp Near the City 393-399 

CHAPTER XXII. 

'The Gains and the Losses of the Campaign Plans for the Future A Skirmish near 
Stone Mountain Deaths by Disease Gen. Hood takes the Initiative A Race 
to the Rear Passing Familiar Ground In Sight of the Rebel Army Allatoona 
The March to Rome Delays for want of a Little Bridge Calhoun, Resaca and 
Dalton On the Flank of the Enemy Alternate Brief Rests and Heavy Marches 
Southward to Gaylesville A Week in Camp with Abundant Rations Last Days 
with Gen. Sherman 400-408 



x HISTORY OF THE 96'rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Parting with Gen. Sherman Abundance of Forage A Rapid March Northward 
Crossing the Chickamauga Battle Field At liossville and Chattanooga West- 
ward by Cars The Trip to Athens Anxiety as to the Situation The Rebels 
Near Fording Elk River The March to Pulaski Ragged but Resolute En- 
trenching Again Paid Off 409-414 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

The Rebels Advance Pulaski Evacuated A Short Sleep Refugees on the Road A 
Trying Night March A Sombre Thanksgiving Columbia Reached Again Out- 
flanked Spring Hill Close Proximity to the Enemy A Halt on the Ridge The 
Battle of rranklin Another Night March Arrival at Nashville Two Nights 
on the Front Line The Army Reinforced Waiting for the Battle 415-434 

CHAPTER XXV. 

The Siege of Nashville Reinforcements Arrive Recruits Received Citizens 
Building Breastworks The Country Anxious Reason of Delay An Ice Storm 
The Weather Grows Milder The Battle Begins First Day's Work Important 
Gain? Night on the Battle-field The Second Day's Battle A Charge on the 
Skirmieh Line Long Hours Under Fire A Gallant Charge Four Guns and 
Many Prisoners Taken A Glorious Victory Incidents of the Battle The Gains 
and the Losses The Casualty List 435-44& 1 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

The Pursuit of Hood The Pontoon Train Missent A Halt at Franklin Condition 
of Affairs in the Village A Stern Chase Delays at Rutherford's Creek and 
Duck River Lust Volley at the Enemy Floundering in the Muri How Christ- 
mas passed Waiting for Rations Forward Again The Enemy Escapes Across 
the Tennessee Results Achieved in the Campaign Gen. Thomas' Congratula- 
tory Order 450-456 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

New Year's Day Celebrated The March to Huntsville Going into Winter Quarters 
The Army Dispersed Incidents of the Stay at Hunteville How Brick and Lum- 
ber were Obtained Drill and Dress Parades Resumed Changes and Promotions 
Bollenbach's Capture and Escape Music in Camp A Sermon that was not 
Enjoyed Winter Amusements The Division Reviewed Rumors of a Move- 
ment 457-461 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Leaving Winter Quarters By Rail to East Tennessee A Glimpse of Parson Brown- 
low Arrival at Strawberry Plains Russellville Visiting .--chool Dancing 
Parties Scouting Experiences Captain Sizemore and His Methods Glad News 
from the East Richmond is Taken Lee and his Army Surrender How the 
News was Received The Celebration at Shields' Mills A Hush on the Camp 
The Appalling News of Lincoln's Assassination Its Effect on the Soldiers . 462-469 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

Again at Russellville Ordered to Nashville Camp Harker Beside the Cumber- 
landCamp Rumors The Good News Continues Changes and Promotions 
Grand Review of the Corps Torch Light Parade Preparing for Muster-Out 
Gen. Kimball's Congratulatory Order The Recruits Transferred Good Bye to 
Tennessee The March to New Albany Cattle Cars or Passenger Coaches 1 
Colonel Smith vs. the Railroad Authorities Arrival in Chicago 470-480 

CHAPTER XXX. 

Chicago's Welcome What the Newspapers Said Reception at the Sanitary Fair 
George C. Bates' Address Colonel Hicks' Response Gen. Sherman Speaks 
What Hon. John Wentworth and Judge Bradwell Said Cheers for the So.diers 
Cheers for the Ladies Cheers by and for Everybody 481-490 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

At Camp Douglas Two Deaths When Almost Home Settling Up Paid Off and 
Disbanded The Last Good Byes The Receptions At Waukegan At Warren 
At Galena 491-507 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

Prisoners of War Two Men Captured at Franklin Two Captured from Hospital 
Captain Rowan Attempts to Escape Capture of the Wounded at Chickamauga 
Companies C and H Surrender on Mission Ridge Fate of the Prisoners Per- 
onal Narratives of Survivors. . . 508-540' 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. xi 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Captured at Buzzard Roost Narrative of Harrison Memaemer The Captures at 
Resaca Narratives of Myron J. Brown, Corporal William B. Lewin, First Ser- 
geant Thomas J. Smith, Richard Spencer, Lewis Miller Captured at Keuesaw 
Mountain and Atlanta Albert Barney's Narrative Captured at Franklin... 541-585 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Companies C and H on Picket Withdrawal of Army Anxious Moments No Relief 
Preparations for Defense More Fighting The Capture March to Dalton 
Trip to Richmond Separation of Officers and Men Libby Prison First Day in 
Prison Who were There The Early Morning Roll Call Old Ben Rations- 
Boxes from Home Occupation and Amusements Traitors in our Midst A 
Night in Prison Attempts at Escape Gen. Morgan in Libby The Conception 
of the Successful Tunnel The Working Parties Discovery by the Writer 
The Passage Through the Tunnel In the Streets of Richmond In Company 
with Rebel Soldiers Experience of Successive Nights Assistance from 
Negroes Passage of the Chickahominy In Our Lines Reception Home and 
Regiment 586-452* 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

The Pioneer BattalionCauses Leading to Its Organization Nature of the Service 
Required A Building Blown Up Building Bridges and Forte A Reconnois- 
sance How Swan Pond was Crossed The Cumberland Pontoon A Valuable 
Invention Building Block Houses Formally Transferred The Roster 624-63* 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

Notes from an Old Diary A Middle Tennessee Scouting Expedition How the 
Scouts were Fooled by a Rebel Jeff Davis' Feat Discounted A Very Tired 
Man and a Bad Government Mule An Incident at Moccasin Point Corn Doled 
out in Spoonsful Color Corporal Robison How He Lost an Arm His Hospital 
Experience The Ambulance Corps Wounded Men, and Who Carried Them 
Fidelity and Courage of the Stretcher Bearers Poem by A. R. Thain 634-64* 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Letters from Home How the Mail Reached the Army The Mail Carrier's Welcome 
Dangerous Trips Past the Skirmish Line A Target for Rebel Pickets- 
Personal Experiences 650-655- 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

The Covington "Can-Can" The Adjutant's Bag A Bugler's Bad Break A Horse 
Down Cellar Early Potatoes An Unexpected Meeting Corporal Malone's 
Salute Here, Ring ! The Cleveland Girl 656-C67 

CHAPTER XL. 

The Field and Staff Personal Sketches The Officers and Non-Commissioned 
Officers Who They were ai-d What They Did Whereabouts and Occupations of 
the Survivors Shoulder Straps and Chevrons 668-678- 

CHAPTER XLI. 

COMPANY A The First Company Nearly Filled in July Officers Elected Swords 
Presented The First to Reach Camp Fuller Early Experiences Again in 
Galena Good-by Again Final Move to Rockford The Letter "A" Detached 
at Harrodsburg -On the Skirmish Line at Triune The First Anniversary The 
Battle Casualties A Long List of Killed and Wounded Present Whereabouts 
of the Survivors Sketches of the Officers and Men 679-703 

CHAPTER XLII. 

COMPANY B How it was Recruited The Organization at Hainesville Three Times 
Sworn In Incidents in the Early Days Man Afraid of His Knapsack Fort 
Mitchell Promotions Ante-Battle Losses Casualties at Chickamauga Subse- 
quent Losses "Gus" Bollenback's Capture and Esc.-ipc Company Statistics 
A Proud Record The Complete Roster 704-?28- 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

COMPANY C Can Lake County Fill Another Company ? The Affirmative Answer- 
Officers Chosen Temporary Rendezvous at Waukegan Sword Presentations 
Off for Rockford Chosen as Color Company A Promise to be Prompt Sent to 
Fort Shaler Recruits from Rebeldom Quartered in a Church School-day Ex- 
periences Revived Terrible Losses at Chickamauga Almost Blotted Out 
' Subsequent Casualties Some Statistics 729-752; 



xii HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

-COMPANY D How and Where it was Recruited Headquarters in Waukegan The 
Millburn Ladies' Supper Officers and Soldiers Beechwood Battery A Trip to 
Camp Chase Deaths and Promotions Eight Men Killed The Wounded The 
Recruits Company Statistics Biographical 753-773 

CHAPTER XLV. 

-COMPANY E The Apple River Company How it was Recruited and Organized 
Officers and Non-Commissioned OfficerH Eleeted A Sword to the Colonel On 
Provost Duty at Harrodsburg The Terrible Death-Roil at Chickamauga Almost 
Unparalleled Losses Twelve Men Killed or Mortally Wounded in One Engage- 
ment Other Losses Moccasin Point Duties Detached on Lookout Mountain 
Subsequent Casualties Some Statistics Personal Sketches 774-791 

CHAPTER XL VI. 

COMPANY F Rapid Recruiting Where the Men were from Their Age and Nation- 
ality Officers Chosen Captain Green aspires to the Colonelcy Mustered In 
The First Man Killed Battle Losses Two Men Die in Prison Ten Deaths in 
Hospital Forty-five Recruits reach the Company Changes among the Officers 
Company Statistics The Roster 7952-809 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

-COMPANY G Two Companies where One was Expected The Election of Officers 
Sworn into the Service "Bully for the Boy with the Glass Eye" In Tents at 
Rockford Appointment of Non-Commissioned Officers The Captain is Made 
Lieutenant Colonel An Outsider Chosen to Fill the Vacancy Sword Presenta- 
tionsA Case of Assault and Battery Thanksgiving Dinner at Harrodsburg 
Subsequent Changes Among the Officers The Company's Long Casualty List 
Seven Times Wounded Facts and Figures Answers to the Roll-Call 810-841 

CHAPTER XL VIII. 

COMPANY H Eastern Jo Daviess County's Response Ninety-one Men in Six Days 
Voting for Officers Parting with Friends Rockford Rations Trading Men 
with the 92d A Sword for the Captain First Blood for Company H The Chick- 
amanga Record A Remnant Escape and are Captured Thirty-two Never Again 
in Ranks The Atlanta Campaign Losses along the Line Nashville Recruits 
Arrive A Former Lieutenant Returns as a Private Reinforcing Russellville 
A Worthy Tribute borne Company Statistics 842-868 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

-COMPANY I Ten Days' Recruiting A Change of Plans Full to Overflowing 
Officers Chosen Elizabeth Leads the Van In Camp at Galena Non-Commis- 
sioned Officers Appointed Age and Nativity of the Men Their Occupations 
The Captain made Major Rockford Reached At John's Hill Battery Other 
Detached Service Losses in Battle The Company Recruited Changes and 
Promotions The Number at Muster-out Record of the Members 869-887 

CHAPTER L. 

-COMPANY K The Eastern Part of Jo Daviess County Raises Two Companies 
Warren, Rush and Nora Fill One to Overflowing Officers Chosen Warren the 
Headquarters Fla Presentations Sent to Rockford The Captain Chosen 
Colonel A Private Elected Captain "K"' is the Letter Drawn Occupying Fort 
Shaler First Experience with a Rebel Shell Chickamauga Losses Other 
Casualties 888-911 

CHAPTER LI. 

The Unaseigned Recruits A Few Errors Noted Boys Who Never Reached the 
Regiment A Roster that must Remain Incomplete Statistical 912-913 

CHAPTER LIT. 

'The National Cemeteries How the Graves of the Dead are Cared for Identifying 
the Remains Extracts from Official Reports Brfef Description of the Grounds 
A List of the " Known " Dead, with Place of Interment Losses Sustained by 
Illinois Regiments Errata 914-923 



INDKX TO MAPS, KTC. 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 

Battle Flags of the Regiment. . . . Frontispiece 

On the way to the Right at Chickamauga 17ft 

Escaped Prisoners of War Crossing the Diascon River 608 

Libby Prison 592 

Lookout Mountain, Battle of 272 

Nashville, Battle of 464 

Rocky Face Ridge, Battle of 304 

Ross House 160 

MAPS. 

Chickamauga Battle Field 192 

Frankl in Battle Field 432 

Nashville Battle Field 448 

Marches of the Regiment vi 

PORTRAITS. 

Bangs, Ambrose A 720 Byers, Frederick W 672 

Bangs, George A 368 ,. , 

oen Cadwell, Loyal 416 

Bater, Henrv 352 . ' , 

~ - Carver, Frank 848 

Barnes, George F 848 ^ ., A ,, -, a nnn 

nKn Castle, Alfred 8 720 

Barney, Albert 752 ~ . -_ 

\tnnt a coo Champion, Myron B 848 

Bean, William S 688 _.. . mi ; -r. 

ri , T i ,,. . AA Champion, Thomas E xvi 

Beck. John K 400 ~. , T 

r> n-io Clarke, Isaac L 32 

Benson, Daniel 912 _. . ' . 

-D m. * u TT Clark, Hiram 496 

Berg, Christopher H. 688 ~, 

T , 'L. nKn Clark, James H 884 

Besley. John W 352 _. ,_ 

, , _ Clark, John M 768 

Biddlecom, Charles 816 ., .' 

Clark, Samuel 352 

Black, James E 896 _., .' _, , ., 

00 - Clarkson, Theodore F 256 

Blackler, John 832 

, oon Cleveland, Manor H 720 

Blackler, Thomas 832 ~. J _ . 

. . , _- Cole, James 784 

Blodgett, Asiel Z 752 _. . 

,.' , Cole, Perrm P 912 

Blodgett, Edward A 96 _, ... T , TT ne . n 

Collier, John H 752 

Blodgett, Jared 416 _ . .. _ ., 

TJ, TJ o Conkhn, Jeremiah 912 

Blowney, Benjamin G 816 . _ A . 

D 11 u i ^i Cook, Arthur 704 

Bollenback, Gustavus 720 ' T , 

,, ... Corbm, John A ooo 

Bray, Thomas B 640 ' , . . , 

,, Cowen, Christopher C 896 

Brown, Myron J 816 

-r, Cruver, John H 920 

Bryant, Lewis H 496 ' . , 

Buck,OttoJ 688 Culen, Richard C 848 

Burge, Albert A 912 Cutler, Henry H 496 

Burnett, Alexander 848 Darby, Joseph 656 

Burnett, George H 368 Davison, Peter 848 



XIV 



HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 



Davis, Thomas 336 

Dean, Harmon S 896 

Demmon, Leroy 336 

Devlin, Michael 752 

Dimmick, Daniel W 784 

Dittmar, Adam 848 

Doolittle, Leonard S 496 

Dombski, Henry 704 

Donahue, James 416 

Douglas, Isaac M 252 

Douglas, Robert J 256 

Drew, Walter '. 816 

Drury, Edwin 384, 560 

Drury, Walter E 912 

Dwyer, Thomas W 656 

Earle, Charles W 512, 608 

Efinger, Martin 4U6 

Ellis, Charles 768 

Evans, Mo.es 672 

Farnsworth, George M 400 

Farnsworth, Hiram W 400 

Ferguson, George G 768, 864 

Finley, Timothy 736 

Fleming, Peter... 784 

Gage, Henry H , . . .-384, 544 

Garrett, Richard 784 

Gillmore, Evangelist J 368 

Gillmore, Myron 368 

<31eason, Henry 912 

Gleason, Isbon S 640 

Gove, Joel 720 

Grabham, John 784 

Graham, Edward 896 

Granger, Dighton 704 

Gray, Elihu D 920 

Harriman, Henry J 896 

Hastings, Henry F 864 

Hastings, Walter W 752 

Havens, James 384 

Hickcox, James 400 

Hicks, George 80 

Holden, John H 288 

Hooker, Gen. Joseph 240 

Howard, Gen. O. 240 



Irwin, William. 



800 



James, David 336 

James. James Edward 688 

Jeffers, Stephen 672 

Johnson, Andrew 864 

Kimball, Gen. Nathan 240 

Knopf, Christian 656 

Ladd, John 832 

Lamb, Nahum 384 

Lee, John C 640 

Lehmann, George 832 

Lewjn, William B 352 

Liuklater, Jerry H 256 

Lott, Austin E 752, 768 

Loughlin, William M 624 

McClellan, William 480 

McCredie, James G 736 

McDonald, William W 880 

McMillen, Malcolm 720 

Madden, Loughlin 480 

Malone, Edward 656 

Markley, Watson 480 

Marshall, George 880 

Martin, Charles 672 

Mason, Judson A 400 

Miller, Charles J 832 

Miller, Lewis 336 

Miller, Reuben 416 

Montgomery, Caleb 768 

Montgomery, Henry R 368 

Moore, George W 672 

Moore, Thomas E 880 

Morley, William G 640 

Mowers, Peter 416 

Murray, Edward 480 

Murrie, James 480 

O'Hara, Berzelus 768 

O'Herrin, James 816 

Palmer, George 816 

Palmer, Joseph 400 

Partridge, Addison B 64 

Partridge, Charles A 528 

Payne, Henry C 480 



INDEX TO MAPS, ETC. 



xv 



Payne, Samuel B 480 

Penwell, Marcellus J 864 

Pepoon, George W 144 

Perry, William M 880 

Phillips, Charles 640 

Phillips, George N 656 

Pierce, Byron G 672 

Pierce, Joseph L 128 

Pocklington, Thomas 832 

Pollock, John K 736 

Pomeroy, Cyrus W 112, 120 

Pooley, John H 784 

Powers, Warren E 704 



Quinn, Francis P. 



880 



Rector, Oscar 736 

Hees, Chester J 864 

Richardson, Halsey H 784 

Rider, William F 352 

Rivenburg, Lovett S 784 

Rix, Edward 7(58 

Robinson, John Quincy 800 

Rose, Deloss 384 

Howan, Charles E 800 

Sallee, James M 864 

Sammons, Charles F 736 

Savage, Joseph 496 

Saulsbury, David 920 

Scace, William B 320 

Schaef er, John G 208 

Scott, Aaron 384 

Scott, William H 800 

Serviss, Beri 896 

Sheffield, Daniel A 672 

Shepard, Benjamin F 816 

.Sherman, Gen. W. T 240 

Shupe, Dennis 336 

Shupe, Levi 912 

Simms, Nelson R 800 

Simpson, Edward 688 

Smith, George E., Jr 256 

Smith, John C 48 

Smith, Mrs. J. C 56 

Smith, Thomas J 880 

Smith, Willard V 752 



Sprague, William E 784 

Stahl, John 800 

Stanley, Gen. D. S 240 

Steedinan, Gen. J. B 240 

Stewart, George L 352 

Swanbrough, John W 416 

Swindells, John 752 

Tarpley, John P 880 

Tate Ebenezer 688 

Taylor, James M 736 

Taylor, John Y 736 

Taylor, William F 224 

Thain, Alexander R 256 

Thain, Richard S 256 

Thomas, Gen. Geo. H 240 

Thrasher, John G 656 

Townsend, Edward E 896 

Triggs, John 832 

Traut, Wallace V 920 

Trumbull, Rollin H 368 

Umbdenstock, Michael, Jr.. . 576 

Van Dervort, H. S 848 

Vincent, John 688 

Vincent, William 688 

Vose, Samuel F 416 

Wait, George 704 

Ward, Norman P 864 

Webb, Chase E 736 

Wells, Thomas E 720 

Wetherly. Hiram 920 

Whaples, William H 336 

Wheeler, William H 656 

Whitaker, Gen. Walter C 240 

Whitcomb, Oscar E 704 

Whitmore, William D 368 

Whitney, Allen B 920 

Whitney, Hamilton C 704 

Whitney, Joseph C 352 

Winfield, George W 920 

Woolsey, Whi ting C 880 

Wright, Josiah H 400 



Young, Orson V. 



256 





THOMAS E. CHAMPION. 



COLONEL AND BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL. 



, *** 



CHAPTER I. 



Events Leading to the War The Slavery Question The Missouri Com- 
promise Fugitive Slave Laws Enacted The Difficulty of Enforcing 
Them A Supreme Court Decision Anti- Slavery Literature 
Lincoln's Election a Pretext for Rebellion Preparations for War at 
the South The Great Conspiracy Secession Ordinances Passed 
The Guns of Sumter Echo Through the Land The Response at the 
North Alternate Victories and Defeats Advantages Gained A 
Crisis Reached in the Summer of 1862 A Second Grand Uprising at 
the North A Half Million Enlistments in Two Months. 

To THE general historian must be committed the task of 
relating, in detail, the events which preceded and culminated 
in the War of the Rebellion. And yet. in a work of this 
character, there seems to be an appropriateness in outlining 
these events, and also in narrating, briefly, the work under- 
taken by the armies of the Union during the year and more 
that intervened between the firing upon Fort Sumter and the 
organization of the gallant Regiment whose history these pages 
are intended to set forth. Hence this opening chapter. 

There had grown up in the Nation two civilizations. Be- 
ginning with the introduction of negro slaves into the Virginia 
colonies the people of the North and South had grown apart. 
At the North there was a general adherence to the principles 
laid down in that clause of the Declaration of Independence, 
which recites that "All men are created free and equal." In 
the South the black man was regarded, not merely as a con- 
venience, but as a necessity as well, and was looked upon as 
belonging to an inferior race whose province it was to serve. 
In that section custom came to sanction this idea, and the 
great majority of the people acquiesced in the laws which were 
enacted for the protection of Slavery, and which bound more 
tightly, year by year, the fetters of the black man. True, 
there was even at the South an undertone of disapproval, many 
quietly expressing regret that the institution had gained a foot- 
2 (17) 



18 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

hold upon the then new world, but few were bold enough to- 
ad vocate either an immediate or gradual emancipation of the 
unfortunate chattels. Indeed there was but little toleration of 
sentiments of this character, and, for many years, neither the 
press nor the pulpit in any of the Slave States dared express- 
other feelings than those of approval of the system. Visitors 
from the North were not allowed to advocate their anti- 
slavery principles publicly, and abolition newspapers found 
little countenance or patronage in any community where there 
were slaves. 

In Congress there was ceaseless discussion of the vexing 
problems growing out of this troublesome question. In 1820, 
there was great excitement over the admission of Missouri as 
a slave State. Slavery already existed there, being pro- 
tected under the terms of the treaty ceding to the United 
States the Louisiana territory, from which Missouri had been 
carved, and Congress refused to prohibit or abolish it, quiet- 
ing, in a measure, the consciences of enough of those who had 
a voice in the matter to secure a majority in Congress for the 
bill by attaching to it a clause which declared that there should 
be no extension of slavery into any of the territorial posses- 
sions of the United States north of latitude 36 30', which was 
the southern boundary of Missouri. This was known as the- 
" Missouri Compromise," and timid politicians hoped that it 
would forever set at rest the slavery question. But such was 
not to be its effect. Slaves were continually escaping from 
their masters, and being aided on their way toward Canada by 
the liberty loving people of the North. Slave-owners com- 
plained at this, and demanded the enactment of laws for the- 
protection of their slave "property." Their demands were 
complied with, and in 1850 the Fugitive Slave Laws were 
enacted. The enforcement of these laws was a difficult matter, 
however, as public sentiment at the North did not sustain 
them, and the Supreme Courts of some of the States gave 
decisions in favor of persons who were sought to be prosecuted 
for their violation. These enactments were the theme of 
almost constant discussion in the halls of Congress, and in the 
newspapers of the day. In 1854 Kansas and Nebraska were 



THE DRED SCOTT DECISION. 19 

organized as territories, and, notwithstanding the terms of the 
Missouri Compromise, the bill by which they were created 
declared that they might be admitted as States, with or without 
slavery, as the people should determine. Immediately the 
slave-holders attempted to colonize this western region. A 
counter movement was undertaken, hundreds of men going 
West from New England, resolved to rescue these territories 
from the grasp of the devotees of Slavery. The excitement 
was intense, and numerous personal encounters resulted. In 
the home of every man sent to Kansas from the East there was 
understood to be a Bible and a Sharpe's rifle, provided at the 
expense of a Massachusetts society organized for the purpose, 
it was said. At length freedom won, the people of Kansas 
voting, by a large majority, that the State should be "free." 
But so strong was the opposition of the slave-holders, that it 
was several years before Congress would permit it to become 
a full-fledged State. 

The Dred Scott decision, which came, a few weeks follow- 
ing the exciting Presidential campaign of 1856, heaped ready 
fuel upon the political fires. Dred Scott was a slave who had 
been taken to Illinois and Minnesota and held in bondage for 
two years in each State. He had married a free woman of 
color, and two children had been born to them. At the sug- 
gestion of his anti-slavery acquaintances, Scott brought suit 
for his own freedom. Judge Taney, of Maryland, then Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court, rendered a decision in which he 
enunciated the doctrine that the negro "had no rights which 
the white man was bound to respect," and declared him still 
a slave, notwithstanding his involuntary residence in a free 
State for a period of four years or more. Not only this : he 
declared that the right of property in human beings was dis- 
tinctly affirmed in the Constitution of the United States, and 
that there was no authority whatever by which slavery could 
be prohibited in the territories. He went even further, and 
declared that Scott had been lawfully held as a slave in the free 
States, and would have been so held had his master gone there 
with the intention of taking up a permanent, instead of a tem- 
porary, residence. No decision from the Supreme Bench ever 



20 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

before caused such intense excitement throughout the country 
or led to such universal discussion. The people of the South 
saw in it an opportunity to make slavery National, and were 
highly elated. Throughout the North it was very severely 
criticised, and quite generally condemned. James Buchanan 
had just been elected President, and both branches of Con- 
gress were overwhelmingly Democratic. But public sentiment 
at the North was being roused to an extent not anticipated by 
the upholders of slavery. In the newspapers, in the debating 
societies, in church conferences, everywhere, this remarkable 
decision was made the theme of discussion. 

Meantime, " Uncle Tom's Cabin " and other works of kin- 
dred character, in which the horrors of human slavery were 
painted, had been gaining wide circulation at the North, and 
the anti-slavery sentiment was growing stronger and stronger 
day by day. In 1858 occurred the memorable contest between 
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, who were candi- 
dates for the office of Senator of the United States from 
Illinois. The former argued, not for immediate emancipation, 
but for curtailing the slave power by forbidding the extension 
of slavery into the territories. The latter claimed that the 
people of the territories should decide for themselves whether 
or not they would have slaves, and argued that the Dred Scott 
decision was well grounded and should be sustained. Joint 
debates between these rival statesmen were had at many 
points in Illinois, and great crowds gathered to hear the all- 
absorbing questions of the day discussed. The speeches of 
these able debaters were published and sent broadcast through- 
out the land, attracting wide attention. At the election in 
November of that year a Democratic Legislature was chosen 
in Illinois, and Mr. Douglas secured the Senatorship. But 
the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and other anti-slavery ora- 
tors were having their effect. At the same time the Southern 
leaders became more confident, nay more, defiant, and 
seemed to think that they had obtained a hold upon the 
Nation that could not be thrown off. Viewing it from the 
standpoint of these later years, however, it would seem that 
they were merely acting a part in a great conspiracy, for in 



EVENTS FOLLOWING LINCOLN'S ELECTION. 21 

1860 they not only permitted, but actually planned, a divi- 
sion of the Democratic party, going into the canvass with 
two candidates for the Presidency Stephen A. Douglas, of 
Illinois, and John C. Brecken ridge, of Kentucky. The nomi- 
nee of the Republicans was Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois. 
The contest was a most exciting one, and resulted in the elec- 
tion of the Republican candidate. 

The Southern leaders, or a majority of them, made the 
election of Abraham Lincoln the pretext for rebellion, not 
even waiting for his inauguration or attempting to ascertain 
what his policy would be. Militia companies took forcible 
possession of arms and ammunition in the Government 
arsenals in several of the slave States. Cabinet officers and 
Congressmen vacated the seats to which they had been chosen, 
returning to their homes and making violent disunion speeches. 
Even before the close of the month in which the election 
occurred both of the United States Senators from South Caro- 
lina resigned, and a call was issued for a convention, at 
Charleston, to consider the question of seceding from the Union. 
The Virginia and Louisiana Legislatures were speedily con- 
vened to discuss the same question. The Georgia Legislature 
appropriated a million dollars to arm the militia of that State. 
In December, South Carolina passed the Ordinance of Seces- 
sion, and demanded the removal of the United States troops 
from the forts in Charleston harbor. This demand was not 
acceded to, but President Buchanan went so far as to send a 
formal- message to the Secession Convention, promising that 
no reinforcements should be sent. 

On the 26th of December Fort Moultrie was abandoned, 
Major Anderson taking the 111 men under his command to 
Fort Sumter, and two days later South Carolina troops took 
possession of the abandoned fortress. Early in January, 
1861, numerous other forts on the southern and southeastern 
coast were taken possession of, and on the ninth of the month 
the steamer " Star of the West" was fired on by the South 
Carolina forces while approaching Fort Sumter with provisions 
for Major Anderson's little band, and forced to return without 
accomplishing its mission. Before the month closed Jefferson 



22 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Davis resigned his seat, as a United States Senator, and 
numerous other Senators, as well as Representatives in 
Congress and members of the Cabinet, did the same. Mis- 
sissippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas 
followed the example set by South Carolina, and they in turn 
were patterned after by other slave States. 

February was fruitful of exciting events. In every South- 
ern State the militia was carefully organized and systematically 
drilled. From every Southern city came notice that debts due 
to Northern creditors were being repudiated. Ships, forts, 
arsenals, navy yards, mints and custom houses were seized, 
and their contents turned over to the authorities of the so- 
called Confederacy, which had been formally organized at 
Montgomery, Ala., February 4, with Jefferson Davis as its 
recognized head. The South was terribly in earnest, and all 
through that memorable winter went forward with the most 
stupendous preparations for war. 

At length Inauguration Day arrived, and Abraham Lincoln 
became President of the United States. But even the pacific 
utterances which his inaugural address contained had little 
effect in stilling the tempest rising all about him. There was 
treason in the Army and in the Navy, in the Departments and 
in Congress, at the Capital and throughout almost one-half of 
the States. The North, slow to believe that the extreme 
threats of Southern orators would be carried out, waited and 
wondered, hoping, almost confidently, that war would be 
averted. 

But it was not so to be. The authorities at Charleston, 
South Carolina, claiming to act for the Confederate authorities, 
refused to allow the Federal troops stationed at Fort Sumter 
to be reinforced or provisioned, and demanded that they 
evacuate the works. The commander of the fort declined to 
leave his post, whereupon its bombardment was ordered by 
the Southerners, and begun on Friday, April 12, 1861. A 
gallant defense was made, but in vain, for in a few hours the 
position of the Federal troops became untenable, and on Sunday 
capitulation followed. This event aroused the nation. Public 
meetings were held in every city and village of the North, and 



EARLY ENGAGEMENTS OF THE WAR. 23 

the patriotic sentiments uttered gave President Lincoln assur- 
ance that the people of the free States would stand by him in 
sustaining all attempts at enforcing the laws and preserv- 
ing the Union. A call was issued for 75,000 troops for 
three months' service. There was an immediate response, 
and within forty-eight hours many more had tendered their 
services than could be accepted. Neither the General Gov- 
ernment nor any of the Northern States had any considerable 
number of arms, and there was much difficulty in procuring a 
supply. It was speedily evident that additional troops would 
be needed, and as soon as they could be equipped 300,000 men 
were called into the field for three years, the quotas of the 
several States being filled with little difficulty or delay. 

The early engagements of the war were rather disastrous 
than otherwise. Bull Run was a crushing defeat, the Union 
troops falling back upon the National Capital in sore disconr 
iiture. At Wilson's Creek, Mo., the army was obliged to 
retreat, after the loss of their gallant leader, General Lyon, 
and many men. The advantages gained at points in Missouri 
and in West Virginia were not decisive. The battle of Bel- 
mont, Mo., fought in November, 1861, served to give the 
Western troops confidence in themselves, although the results 
achieved were not of great magnitude. The late Winter and 
the early Spring witnessed some striking victories in the West, 
and were greatly encouraging. At Mill Spring, Ky., the 
Union forces achieved a handsome victory, the rebels being 
driven southward with the loss of their commander, Gen. 
Zollicoffer, and many men. They were also driven from 
Missouri and defeated at Pea Ridge, Ark. Fort Donelson 
was captured with 15,000 prisoners and an immense number 
of cannon. Pittsburg Landing, fought in April, 1862, was a 
pronounced victory, though dearly won, and Corinth was occu- 
pied by the National forces in the early summer. Missouri, 
Kentucky and Tennessee were now reclaimed. New Orleans 
had been occupied by the National forces. On the Atlantic 
coast important points had been captured. 

But with the Summer of 1862 came reverses. The Western 
armies, decimated by frequent and severe engagements, and 



24: HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

i 

weakened by the enervating influences of climatic and other 
diseases, and the severe strain in maintaining their long lines of 
communication, were barely holding their own. The Eastern 
armies, which had been expected to capture the Confederate 
Capital, had come to a halt, and were being rapidly thinned 
by disease in the Chickahominy swamps. Their gallantly 
fought battles had been but half victories at best, and it became 
apparent that retreat was possible, if not probable. Evidently 
a crisis had been reached, and it was a question whether the 
Union armies were not to be forced backward, the scenes of 
strife transferred to the States north of the Potomac and Ohio 
rivers, and free soil watered with the blood of the heroes who 
should fall in battle. 

In this emergency, a letter, breathing the highest patriot- 
ism, and pledging the most earnest support to the Government 
in all efforts to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union, 
was drawn up and signed by the Governors of all the loyal 
States. This letter was dated July 1, 1862. Upon its receipt, 
President Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 additional troops, 
to be mostly infantry. The people seemed to appreciate the 
situation fully, but there was some delay in assigning quotas 
and providing quarters, so that but little recruiting was 
attempted until July had nearly closed. It should be remem- 
bered that because of the heavy enlistments which had 
occurred but a few months previously there was an actual 
scarcity of men to do the work in the large shops and manu- 
factories and upon the farms. The haying was not com- 
pleted, and a golden harvest was just maturing. How could 
the men be spared ? But by the time the recruiting machinery 
was in readiness volunteers were responding in large num- 
bers. The closing week of July and the early days of August 
witnessed large enlistments. On the 4th of August the Presi- 
dent issued another call for 300,000 men in addition to the 
300,000 called out in July, and directed an immediate draft. 
The second call stimulated enlistments to such an extent that 
the draft was temporarily postponed, and in Illinois and some 
other States the quotas under both calls made up by volunteers. 
A bounty of one hundred dollars was offered by the General. 



THE RESPONSE TO THE CALL FOR TROOPS. 25 

Government to eacli recruit, but on the condition that only 
twenty-five dollars should be paid in advance and the remainder 
at the close of service of the soldier, providing the period of 
service should be not less than two years. In addition to this 
from forty to sixty dollars county bounty was given recruits 
from most of the counties in Illinois. These bounties, although 
meager as compared with the amounts subsequently given, 
encouraged some men with families to enlist, as they were 
thus assured of a small fund of ready money to leave with 
their dependent ones. However, a great majority of the vol- 
unteers of that year would have enlisted without one dollar of 
bounty. 

The State authorities authorized recruiting officers to say 
that men enlisted in Northern Illinois would be allowed to 
remain at home until toward the close of the month, in order 
that the harvest might be secured. That month of August. 
1862, was one that will be long remembered by those who 
shared in its exciting events. Recruiting went forward 
with great rapidity. Meetings were held almost nightly, not 
alone in every city and village, but in every township and in 
almost every school district, churches and school-houses as 
well as public halls and court-rooms being used for these 
gatherings. Men of every profession and occupation took the 
stump, and plead with those of military age to respond to the 
call of their country in its hour of need. And the response 
was a wonderful one, recruits thronging from the shops and 
the farms, from the offices and from the business houses, all 
through the North. Business of every ordinary kind was 
almost wholly suspended, men and women gathering to wit- 
ness the drilling of the newly organized commands at their 
places of temporary rendezvous, and to bid good-bye to loved 
ones who had placed their names upon the muster-rolls, and 
were preparing to leave for the larger camps of instruction. 
To the casual observer the cities and villages might have been 
said to wear a pleasant aspect, as the great throngs moved up 
and down the streets ; but the firm, set lips of the younger 
men, the undertone in conversation, the dewy eyes of maids 
and matrons, the severe, determined look of men of maturer 



26 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

years, and the great pain tugging away at the heart-strings of 
all, of either sex and every age, as the hour of parting drew 
near, told plainly that these were by no means holidays. The 
people of the North were fully resolved that the Nation should 
lack neither men nor means in its efforts to suppress the great 
Rebellion and uphold the National authority, and their young 
men, to the number of more than half a million, responded to 
the call of their country within the brief period of two months, 
and the closing weeks of August and the early days of Sep- 
tember, 1862, saw them hurrying forward to the aid of the 
Union army whose depleted ranks they were to reinforce. 



WHAT WAR MEANS. 27 



CHAPTER II. 



How and Why Lake and Jo Daviess Counties Joined Hands In Camp 
at Rockford A Lesson in Obedience to Orders The Formal 
Muster-in Other Regiments in Camp Early Experiences The 
Field and Staff The Companies Lettered Drawing Arms and 
Uniforms Battalion Drill and Dress Parade On Escort Duty 
Visits from Home Friends Major Brown and the "Obstacle" 
Movement The Sutlers Made Unhappy Incidents of the Last Days 
at Camp Fuller. 

AMID the stirring events to which the closing paragraphs 
of the preceding chapter allude THE NINETY-SIXTH HEGIMENT 
ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY had its birth. Recruited at a 
:gloomy period of the war and when a high grade of patriotism 
was required to nerve men to enlist, composed of excellent 
material, carefully organized and admirably commanded, it 
was given opportunity to bear a conspicuous part in the great 
drama of war, and its record, forged in the white heat of con- 
flict and under the heavy hammers of oft-recurring battles, is 
one to which its members have ever been able to refer with 
pride. To the recital of some of these events and to the nar- 
rative of the doings and whereabouts of the command from 
day to day during its three years in camp and field the follow- 
ing chapters are devoted. 

Without instituting comparisons with "our brothers gone 
before," this much may at least be said : The novelty had 
passed away. The pomp and circumstance of glorious war 
had now but few attractions. All knew that war meant, not 
only wounds and death, but hunger and hardship and priva- 
tion ; that it meant a surrender of personal liberty, on the part 
of the enlisted men at least, that was a sacrifice to the son 
of America, in whom the spirit of independence was strong, 
and who was entirely unused to the restraints which military 
life imposed. 



28 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

But the men who composed this organization had con- 
sidered all of these matters and resolved to make the sacrifice. 
Not in response to a passing impulse had they written their 
names upon the muster rolls, but deliberately and from a deep 
sense of personal duty. They would help their brothers at the 
front who had gone out to battle in the months gone by. They 
would aid in turning back the tide of treason and rebellion that 
was threatening to engulf their homes. They would be among 
those to stand as a living wall between the Nation and its 
enemies, and bear honorable part in bringing to a close the 
conflict that was to determine whether or not the Union of the 
States was a rope of sand, and, as all knew, although at that 
period not all were free to admit as much, to determine 
whether, in a land of boasted freedom, there should be a race 
enslaved. 

In subsequent chapters will be found somewhat detailed 
statements as to the enlistment and organization of the several 
companies which entered the service with the command. In 
making up the several regiments recruited in Northern Illinois 
many questions arose as to which companies should be put 
together. In nearly every county there were men ambitious 
to become field officers, and they were generally ready to form 
combinations or make alliances that would further their per- 
sonal interests. Neither the four Companies from Lake 
county nor the six Companies from Jo Daviess county were 
able to make up with Companies in counties immediately 
adjoining them without conceding to these other counties the 
major part of the Field and Staff. It happened that Hon. 
E. B. Washburne, of Galena, then a Representative in Con- 
gress, and Hon. H. W. Blodgett, of Waukegan, then a State 
Senator, were warm personal and political friends, and through 
their interposition the Companies from the two counties in 
which they resided, and which, although one was the extreme 
northeast and the other the extreme northwest county in the 
State, were then in the same Congressional District, were 
brought together. As some one facetiously remarked : It was 
the marriage of Miss Issippi and L. Michigan, Esq., a union- 
that proved congenial to those most directly interested, and, it 



THE RENDEZVOUS AT CAMP FULLER. 29 

may be truthfully said, fortunate for the cause in which they 
were engaged. 

Before this result was brought about several conferences 
were had, prominent men in each county visiting the other to 
arrange the details of the organization and secure the consent 
of the State authorities to the proposed union. 

On Wednesday, September 3, 1862, the six Companies 
from Jo Daviess county went by train to Rockford, Winne- 
bago county, 111., and marched out one and one-half miles to 
Camp Fuller, where quarters in barracks, which had been 
recently erected in a grove near the banks of Rock river, 
were assigned them. On Friday, September 5, at 2 o'clock 
p. M.. the four Companies from Lake county arrived by train, 
and joined them in this camp. Heavy rains had occurred 
during the week previous, and the entire camp ground was 
very muddy, water standing in many places. Indeed, the 
building assigned to what afterward became Company G was 
almost entirely surrounded by water, which even came into 
and partially covered the lower bunks. The members of the 
Company were entirely disgusted with the outlook, and their 
commander, on reporting to Headquarters the condition of 
affairs, was given a half dozen Sibley tents, and the barracks 
^assigned to them were left unoccupied. Next day, however, 
drains were dug, and the condition of affairs considerably 
improved, although the grounds remained very muddy. 

There were in Camp Fuller at this time three other regi- 
ments, the 74th, 92d and 95th Illinois, all of whom were 
formally mustered in September 4, although the 74th and some 
companies of the other regiments had been in camp for a fort- 
night or more. The rendezvous had been named in honor of 
the Adjutant General of the State, whose home was at 
Belvidere in an adjoining county. 

On their arrival in camp, the Lake county boys were given 
an immediate lesson in prompt obedience to orders, and made 
to know that an officer's wish outranked a soldier's appetite. 
It was long past the dinner hour, and they were thoroughly 
hungry, but as the aroma of boiling coffee and the odor of fry- 
ing meat were just giving evidence that the meal was nearly 



30 HISTORY OF THE 96'rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

ready there came the noise of the rattling drum and the rather 
unwelcome order to fall in. And so, because the mustering 
officer wished to finish his day's work, the hungry men were 
marched out a half mile or so to join their Jo Daviess county 
comrades and be mustered in. 

It was a memorable meeting as that body of nearly one 
thousand gallant men gathered for the first time and became 
a Regiment. With little delay a hollow square was formed 
and an inspection held, a few men being rejected, in nearly 
every instance because of being under eighteen years of age. 
The inspection completed, the process of muster-in was pro- 
ceeded with. 

As these stalwart men stood there, and, with hands upraised 
to Heaven, swore to serve their country for "three years 
unless sooner discharged," it was indeed an impressive spec- 
tacle, and one that will never be wholly forgotten by the 
participants who still survive. Hon. Allen C. Fuller, of 
Belvidere, then Adjutant General of the State, acted as chief 
mustering officer, and, as he put it, introduced the giants of 
Jo Daviess county to the sturdy farmer boys of Lake. Spec- 
tators and participants alike agreed that the "material" of the 
Regiment was admirable, that officers and men averaged high 
as regarded intelligence and avoirdupois, and that the organ- 
ization was one that gave promise of excellent work whenever 
opportunity offered. The unusual proportion of very tall men 
and of large men was the cause of considerable comment. 
Officers and men from the two counties eyed each other 
closely, but each seemed pleased, and from that moment it is 
doubtful if there was ever a regret expressed or felt that the 
combination of Lake with Jo Daviess had been formed. 

The inspection and muster-in occupied considerable time, 
and it was nearly six o'clock when the men were marched to 
camp, the Lake county boys at least being exceedingly hungry, 
not having had any food since early morning except a few 
nick-nacks purchased on the train. It was to them a foretaste 
of after fasts amid more stirring scenes. 

After a hearty meal the boys began the work of preparing 
for the night. Their quarters were fairly comfortable. The 



SELECTION OF THE FIELD AND STAFF. 31 

barracks were partitioned off so that each Company had one- 
large room in which were about fifty bunks, and the line 
officers of each Company a smaller room designed to be used 
as an office and sleeping room. Nearly all of the men had 
provided themselves with blankets before leaving home, and 
with very little trouble the officers were able to find covering 
for those who had come without. The bunks were built in 
two tiers, and where men could not readily agree as to which, 
should have the upper and which the lower berth "cuts " were 
drawn. Each bunk was designed for two persons, and it 
was necessary that the soldiers should pair off. There were a 
few who seemed to have no mates, and for a night or two 
there being a few absentees in each Company, so that there 
were extra bunks these odd ones slept alone. As a rule, 
however, each soldier had some one companion nearer to him 
than any other, and the matings made those first nights in 
camp continued for months, and in many instances until the 
close of the war. 

In the evening the officers met to complete the organiza- 
tion of the .Regiment. It had been conceded from the first 
that to Jo Daviess county should be given the positions of 
Colonel and Major, and the men composing the Companies- 
from that county had decided, by ballot, whom they would 
have. Thomas E. Champion, of Warren, who had recruited 
Company K, was chosen as Colonel ; and John C. Smith, who- 
had recruited Company I, as Major. No election was held by 
the members of the Lake county Companies, but to Isaac L. 
Clarke, who had recruited Company G, was conceded, by 
common consent, the position of Lieutenant Colonel. These 
selections were ratified at this evening meeting. Some progress 
was also made in the selection of Staff Officers, but the list was 
not completed for some days. The following is the list, a& 
finally made up, of 

THE FIELD AND STAFF : 

Colonel : THOMAS E. CHAMPION, of Warren, Jo Daviess County. 
Lieutenant Colonel : ISAAC L. CLARKE, of Waukegan, Lake 
County. 

Major : JOHN C. SMITH, of Galena, Jo Daviess County. 



32 ' HISTORY OF THE 96'ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Adjutant : EDWARD A. BLODGETT, of Downer's Grove, Du Page 
County. 

Quarter- Master : STEPHEN JEPPERS, of Hanover, Jo Daviess 
County. 

Surgeon : CHARLES MARTIN, of Warren, Jo Daviess County. 

First Assistant Surgeon : MOSES EVANS, of Waukegan, Lake 
County. 

Second Assistant Surgeon : DANIEL A. SHEFFIELD, of Court- 
land, Jo Daviess County. 

Chaplain: JONATHAN M. CLENDENNING, of Warren, Jo Daviess 
County. 

NON-COMMISSIONED STAFF. 

Sergeant Major : FRANCIS P. QUINN, of Company I. 
Quarter- Master Sergeant : WILLIAM S. BEAN, of Company A. 
Commissary Sergeant : MORRIS S. HILL, of Company B. 
Hospital Steward : HARVILLAH CooLEY, of Company C. 
Principal Musician : NILES CARVER, of Companj- H. 

After some discussion, it was decided that the letters A, 
B, C, etc., should be written on slips of paper, these slips to 
be placed in a hat and each Captain be permitted to draw one 
of the slips from the hat, his Company to be assigned in 
accordance with the letter drawn by him. Before this plan 
was adopted, there was a suggestion that Captain Hicks' Com- 
pany, being the first recruited and organized and having pre- 
viously been in camp at Rockford for quite a period, was by 
right entitled to be considered Company A. The reasons 
given were deemed sufficient, and the suggestion was adopted 
without dissent. The letters of the other Companies were 
designated in the manner mentioned. 

When the line was first formed the Company letters, run- 
ning from right to left, were as follows : A, F, D. I, C, H, 
E, K, G, B, Company A thas becoming the right Company, 
Bthe left Company, C the center Company, D the right center 
Company and E the left center Company, so that when column 
was formed by Division each of the five ranking Captains had 
command of two Companies. This formation was continued 
throughout the service. 

The first night in camp was a somewhat trying one. The 




ISAAC L. CLARKE, 

LIEUTENANT COLONEL. 



NJ** 



EARLY EXPERIENCES IN THE CAMP. 33 

boards upon which the soldiers slept, covered by a single 
blanket, were not as soft and comfortable as the mattresses 
and feather beds to which they had been accustomed. The 
surroundings were all new. The boards creaked as the sol- 
diers turned from one side to the other, and as they turned 
pretty often and there were somewhere near one hundred men 
in each room, this creaking was almost continuous. As a 
rule, each Company had one or two men who were persistent 
snorers, and between the creaking and the snoring, and the 
noises of the camp and the heavy rainfall which prevailed 
throughout the night, the sleep of all was more or less dis- 
turbed. Those first nights in camp were not always restful, 
although the men soon became accustomed to their surround- 
ings and slept comparatively well. 

Saturday, September 6, dawned gloomy enough, the 
weather being lowery and the camp almost flooded. At an 
early hour the drums beat reveille, and there was roll-call by 
Companies. Immediately thereafter the men, actuated by a 
common impulse, started for the river, and, being provided 
with soap and towels, in a few moments the river bank was 
thronged with men engaged in the laudable undertaking of. 
washing their hands and faces. Tin cups were used, one com- 
rade pouring water upon the hands of another in school-boy 
fashion. Pocket combs and pocket mirrors were brought into 
requisition, and the men soon completed their toilets and 
returned to their barracks. This experience was repeated 
morning, noon and evening during the stay at Rockford, and, 
for that matter, during the entire period of service. The 
breakfast that morning was rather an informal one. Coffee 
had been made in the big, sheet-iron camp kettles, and was 
served out to the men in tin cups. There was an ample sup- 
ply of genuine hard-tack and both salt and fresh meat. The 
meal ove'r, the men set about making tables and seats, to be 
used when future meals were served. The forenoon was 
largely occcupied in procuring Quarter-Master's stores, and in 
distributing cooking and eating utensils. In the afternoon 
there was Company drill, lasting for an hour and a half. At 
3 



34 HlSTOEY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

this time only the officers were in uniform, the enlisted men 
being in citizens' clothing, except that here and there a mili- 
tary cap appeared. 

Sunday, September 7, was quite unlike the usual Sunday 
at home. A large portion of the men were permitted to go 
to the city and attend church, and in a few Company quarters 
sermons were read in the afternoon and prayer meetings held 
in the evening ; but still there was more or less necessary 
work, for rations had to be issued and wood provided, and in 
the afternoon each Company was marched to Headquarters 
and $13 paid to each member by Lieutenant Tibbitts, of the 
Regular Army. It had been agreed that the men should each 
receive a month's pay in advance, and this payment was a 
carrying out of the promise. 

Monday, September 8, there was the usual routine of camp 
duty, and a detail was made from each Company for fatigue 
duty, the men thoroughly policing, or sweeping, the grounds 
about the barracks. Muster rolls for bounty and premium 
were made out. Company and squad drill occupied a con- 
siderable part of the day. In the evening the officers had a, 
" School, " where they undertook the task of mastering the 
intricacies of military text-books. Few of them had had pre- 
vious military experience, and Major Brown, a resident of 
Rockford, was employed to instruct them. This evening 
school for officers was continued with considerable regularity 
for two or three weeks. 

Tuesday, September 9, the Regiment was called upon for 
its first detail for guard duty, five men being asked for from 
each Company ; during the day two hundred gray army 
blankets were issued to the Regiment, and given to the men 
most needing them. In the early evening the Regiment had 
its first dress parade. The Adjutant and Sergeant Major, 
having had previous military experience, readily formed the 
line, and the parade was gone through with quite creditably, 
albeit somewhat awkwardly. 

Wednesday, September 10, there were many visitors to the 
camp, and on Thursday a picnic was had which was sadly 
interrupted by an almost continuous rain. A few of the 



ARMED WITH ENFIELD RIFLED MUSKETS. 35 

visitors thought it would be a nice thing to share the experi- 
ences of the soldiers, and so remained in camp for the night. 
But it was noticeable that very few cared to repeat the experi- 
ence, most of them preferring hotel fare and hotel beds to 
hard-tack and the soft side of an unplaned pine board. 

Friday, September 12, and weekly thereafter, quite a num- 
ber of the officers and men were given furloughs for five days> 
and permitted to return to their homes. In the afternoon 
occurred the first battalion drill, which, by the aid of the 
Adjutant, Major Brown, Lieutenant Johnston, a former 
officer of the 51st Illinois, and others, was gone through 
with quite creditably. Saturday, September 13, was full of 
hard work, there being squad drill, company drill, battalion 
drill and dress parade. 

Sunday, September 14, was spent rather quietly. There 
was Company inspection at ten o'clock, and in the afternoon 
there was preaching in the grove by the Chaplain of the 74th 
Illinois, nearly the entire encampment attending. In the early 
evening there was considerable excitement all through the 
camp with regard to the Sutlers. It was alleged that these 
Sutlers had issued checks which they refused to redeem, and 
also that they had passed counterfeit money in making change. 
Not a few of the soldiers were disposed to take the law into 
their own hands, but wiser counsels prevailed and quiet was 
restored. The excitement was renewed and increased next 
day and evening, and there was danger that the Sutlers' tents 
would be demolished. As a result, the men were ordered to 
quarters at eight o'clock, and all found outside after that hour 
were taken into custody by the patrol guards. 

Arms and accoutrements were received by the Regiment 
on the 16th, and issued to the Companies the following day. 
The arms were the Enfield rifled muskets, and were as good 
a weapon as was then in general use. Many Regiments at 
that time had to put up with old Austrian or Belgian muskets, 
and the NINETY-SIXTH was regarded as fortunate in securing 
new Enfields. Some of the guns needed to have their sights 
filed down and their locks adjusted. Fortunately there was a 
practical gunsmith in the command, in the person of Sergeant 



30 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

Geo. H. Burnett, of Company B, and he was detailed for this 
work, so that in a few weeks all were in admirable condition. 
About this time it came to the knowledge of the officers that 
there was more or less gambling in camp. Very strict orders 
were issued prohibiting all games of chance, and in some of 
the Companies even card playing was forbidden in the bar- 
racks. On the 16th Colonel Champion for the first time took 
sole charge of the Regiment during Battalion drill, conducting 
it admirably considering that this was his first attempt. On 
the 18th the Regiment had its first drill and dress parade 
with arms. 

On the 19th some of the men were given permission to 
attend the agricultural fair, then in progress at Rockford. 
During this and succeeding days drill was kept up according 
to the following order : Officers' drill from eight to nine, and 
guard mount at the same hour ; Company drill from nine to 
eleven ; Battalion drill from two to four ; Dress parade at half 
past five ; Officers and non-commissioned officers' drill and 
recitations in the evening. 

On the 20th, clothing, received direct from the Assistant 
U. S. Quarter-Master at Philadelphia, was issued, each soldier 
receiving a dark-blue dress coat, sky blue pants, woolen shirts 
and socks, cotton drawers and felt hats ; such as had not been 
previously supplied were provided with blankets, and all who 
wished drew shoes. The clothing was of good quality, except 
the pants, which were shoddy enough. With the hats were 
sent brass bugles, eagles, tassels, letters, numbers and feathers. 
Some of the experiences with the new uniforms were ludicrous 
enough. Often tall men found themselves the possessors of 
very short pairs of pants ; large men had coats with sleeves 
reaching but little below the elbows, and small men were pro- 
vided with coats the sleeves of which reached far below the 
finger tips. But by dint of considerable swapping the majority 
found themselves fairly fitted. In nearly every Company was 
someone who had worked at tailoring. These men, being 
excused from other duty, set about with needle and scissors 
making the clothing fit, and in a day or two, all made a very 
presentable appearance. The guns and equipments were 



THE PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION. 37 

bright and clean, and the clothing new, so that the transforma- 
tion in the appearance of the Battalion was complete. 

September 21st brought with it the usual Sunday morning 
inspection, and in the evening there was dress parade. Large 
numbers of men visited the churches in the city, and others 
attended the religious services held on the grounds. 

On Monday, the 22d, light blue overcoats were issued. 
They were of regulation pattern, with capes, and a great com- 
fort in cold weather, in the afternoon the Regiment was 
drilled for the first time in the manual of loading, Major 
Brown acting as drill-master. 

Tuesday, the 23d, the Regiment marched to town and 
escorted a large picnic party to camp. Most of the visitors 
were from Jo Daviess county, but there were quite a number 
from Lake county as well. Next day The Rockford Register 
published the following very complimentary notice : 

THE NINETY-SIXTH REGIMENT. This fine Regiment have received 
their uniforms, and were down town on Tuesday on parade under corn 
mand of Major Brown, and presented a splendid appearance. With the 
Major as drill-master, who has seen service, the Regiment has made 
rapid proficiency in its drill, doing credit to themselves and Major B., 
who has shown himself an excellent officer. It is composed of a splendid 
looking set of men, of whom Jo Daviess and Lake counties may well be 
proud. We acknowledge the compliment of a military salute while pass- 
ing the office. 

The newspapers of the 23d contained the Proclamation of 
President Lincoln, in which he gave warning to the rebels that 
unless hostilities ceased within one hundred days he should 
declare the slaves free. This proclamation provoked much 
discussion, and, strange as it may seem at this day, not a little 
criticism, a few men in every Regiment declaring that they 
would not light in what they termed a " nigger war." As a 
rule, however, the action of the President was most heartily 
endorsed, and officers and men alike " thanked God and took 
courage." 

The 24th and 25th were passed without incident of especial 
note. Major Brown continued to assist at the Regimental 
drills each afternoon. Like many other men, the Major had a 
hobby; his was what he termed the "obstacle movement." 



38 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

The Regiment would be marching in line of battle when he 
would call out : "Fourth Company, obstacle ! By the right 
flank to the rear into column, march ! " At this command the 
Fourth Company, or whatever Company had been designated, 
would break files to the rear, leaving a gap in the line, and 
when the imaginary obstacle had been passed would double 
quick back to its place. So far as can be remembered this 
movement was never executed after Major Brown left ; but 
this much can at least be said, that long before leaving Camp 
Fuller every Company in the Regiment had been through the 
movement and knew how to pass around an obstacle. 

On the 26th, knapsacks were issued to the men, and the 
little keepsakes which had occupied the corners of the bunks, 
or been carried about in pockets, were safely stowed away in 
these receptacles. 

Sunday, the 28th, the Regiment escorted the 74th Illinois 
to town, the latter Regiment embarking for Louisville. In 
the afternoon there were religious services in the camp, con- 
ducted by Rev. J. M. Clendenning, who had enlisted as a 
Private in Company K, but had been appointed Chaplain of 
the Regiment. 

" Monday, the 29th, there was a large party of visitors in 
the camp from Lake county. The Regiment received haver- 
sacks and canteens, which completed its outfit. 

Tuesday, September 30, there was a formal sword pres- 
entation to Lieutenant Colonel Isaac L. Clarke, the sword 
being the gift of the members of Company G. A large bay 
saddle horse had been purchased by his Lake county friends, 
and was received about the same time. The Lake county 
boys received one-half of the $40 county bounty which had 
been voted them in cash, and a county order for the remainder 
which was soon redeemed. The Jo Daviess county soldiers 
had been paid $60 each before leaving their county. It being 
the last day in the month, the First Serge ants of the several 
Companies were called upon for their monthly reports. 

Up to this time a few furloughs had been granted to mem- 
bers of each Company every week, but on the 1st of October 
the commander of the Regiment, having been notified to hold 



THE LAST DAYS AT ROCKFORD. 39 

his command in readiness to proceed to the front, sent tele- 
grams to the local papers in Lake and Jo Daviess counties, 
notifying absentees to return immediately to camp. The 
early days of October were very busy ones, both Regimental 
and Company commanders seeming determined to put their 
men in the best possible condition for field service. The 
officers were already gaining confidence in themselves, and 
the men were becoming quite proficient in their drill. 

Sunday, October 5, there was a careful inspection of the 
barracks and grounds with a view to promoting the utmost 
cleanliness, and the following day Major Smith, Captain Hicks 
and Lieutenant Loughlin made a very careful examination of 
the clothing of the men, the shoddy pants being declared an 
imposition on the soldiers. 

Tuesday, October 7, the Paymaster again came to camp, 
and each man was given $25, that being the amount of Gov- 
ernment bounty allowed them. The same day marching 
orders were received, the Regiment being notified that they 
were to leave for Louisville, as it was then understood. The 
following day the destination was changed to Cincinnati. 
During the evening some difficulty arose between members of 
the NINETY-SIXTH and 92d Illinois, in attendance upon a party 
in the city of Rockford, which resulted in a personal encounter 
between several enlisted men and a bitterness of feeling which 
caused a renewal of the difficulty on two occasions after the 
Regiments had reached Kentucky. Subsequently these diffi- 
culties were explained, and the Regiments became the best 
of friends. 

On the whole, the stay at Camp Fuller brings up few but 
pleasant memories. The Regiment made rapid progress in 
drill and obedience to orders, and when it left for the front, 
after nearly five weeks in its camp of instruction, it was much 
better fitted for field service than the average regiment which 
had been in camp for so short a period. Nearly all had suf- 
fered to some extent from colds, the result of sleeping in the 
damp barracks, and the entire change of diet had affected 
many unfavorably. However, but very few had been sent to 
the large brick building outside the camp grounds, over which 



40 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

waved the yellow hospital flag, and but two or three from a 
Company were left behind because of sickness when the com- 
mand started for the front. 

There were many sad leave-takings on the grounds during 
the last day or two at the camp. All knew that the war was 
to be fought in earnest from that time forward ; that it was 
no holiday affair upon which they were entering, and that 
only stern duty awaited them. How well they bore their part 
in the years succeeding that October day when they took up 
their line of march for the South, the following chapters will 
attempt to tell. 



OFF FOE THE FRONT. 



CHAPTER III. 



Off for "The Front" A Rain-Storm En Route The Trip to Cincinnati 
A Tedious Night March Happenings at Camp Champion The Tents- 
Erected Episode of the Tall Men A Skirmish with Mules Detach- 
ments Sent to the Forts More Presentations A Night Alarm 
Fresh Pork that Had to be Paid For Unfortunate Explosion of a 
Shell Five Companies Sent to Falmouth and Five to Covington 
An October Snow-Storm Visits From the Father and Son of 
General Grant. 

AT about nine o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, 
October 8, 1862, THE NINETY-SIXTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOL- 
UNTEER INFANTRY bade adieu to Camp Fuller and marched to- 
the depot of the Chicago & North- Western Railway. The- 
morning was not a pleasant one, and on the march a drench- 
ing rain set in which dampened the persons but not the ardor 
of the troops. The people of Rockford were thoroughly 
patriotic, and, notwithstanding the rain, flags were waving 
everywhere, while men, women and children came out to cheer 
the soldiers and add their " God bless you, boys, 1 " to their 
good-byes. At the depot there was some delay, so that it was- 
eleven o'clock or a little later when the two trains required to 
convey the Regiment finally started. The trip was not a 
rapid one, and it was about five o'clock when Chicago was 
reached. Many friends of members of the Regiment had 
been advised of their coming, so that on arriving at the depot 
in that city the soldiers were accorded quite a reception. 
Numerous packages containing dainty lunches were brought 
to the cars by the visitors, and these gifts were highly prized. 
Officers and men availed themselves of the brief stay in the 
city to purchase such articles as were needed to complete their 
outfits, or to write hurried letters to loved ones at home. The 
two trains wece finally consolidated, three engines attached, 
and at half-past nine o'clock in the evening a start made for 
Cincinnati. There were eighteen passenger coaches and four 



42 HISTORY or THE 96-m REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

or five baggage cars, the latter filled with mess chests, officers' 
horses and other necessaries. With so heavy a train the run 
was a slow one. The trip was without incident or accident of 
especial note. Lafayette, Indiana, was reached at about eight 
o'clock next morning, and Indianapolis at noon. At the latter 
city there was a large camp, embracing infantry, cavalry and 
artillery. As this rendezvous was passed lusty cheers were 
given by those in camp and responded to by the Regiment. 
At every station where the train stopped the citizens came out 
and watched the soldiers with much interest, and often there 
was a waving of flags and a cheer from the patriotic people. 
At eleven o'clock on Thursday night, October 9, Cincinnati 
was reached. The men were thoroughly tired with their long 
ride in the crowded cars and glad of the order to "fall in," 
for they were at least sure of a change, if not of a rest. Few 
had slept at all the previous night, as there were two in every 
seat, and not all were disposed to be entirely quiet. Some had 
lain down in the aisles and dozed for an hour or two, but 
there had been little restful sleep since leaving Camp Fuller. 
The arrival at Cincinnati was apparently unannounced, for 
there was no one at the train to receive the Regiment or give 
orders what to do or where to go. The men marched out 
upon the street, and as soon as the column halted stretched 
themselves upon the sidewalks, where many slept a little, 
although the autumn air was cool and there was no protection. 
At last the officers' horses were unloaded, and a start made 
for headquarters. There another delay occurred, and then, 
definite orders having been received and a guide provided by 
Gen. Granger, then in command at that point, the march was 
resumed. The guide proved to be no other than the father 
of Major J. C. Smith of this Regiment, who was at that time 
a member of the Second Kentucky and on duty at Gen. 
Granger's headquarters. He piloted the Regiment to carnp, 
.and remained with it for some hours. 

Going down the bank to the long, pontoon bridge that 
spanned the Ohio river orders were given to break step, so as 
not to strain the frail, floating structure, as might be done 
should all continue to step together. The river was wide, and 



FIRST EXPERIENCES IN DIXIE. 43 

this bridge, being the first one of the kind ever seen by a great 
'majority of the command, attracted close attention, and it 
would not be untrue to say that a few, at least, were slightly 
timid as they stepped upon it, and felt relieved when solid 
ground was again reached. 

As the column passed up the southern bank of the river the 
soldiers assumed that, notwithstanding Kentucky's alleged 
.neutrality, they were in Dixie, and despite the lateness of the 
hour and the severe fatigue to which they had been subjected 
they made the night air ring with shouts for the Union and 
the old flag beneath whose folds they marched. Passing 
through a portion of Covington they crossed Licking river to 
Newport, and, with an occasional brief halt for rest, made 
their way to the Two-Mile House, an ancient tavern whose 
.name indicates its distance from Newport. The entire march 
did not exceed five miles, but as the roads were very hilly and 
terribly dusty, and the men not only greatly fatigued but gen- 
erally pretty heavily loaded, it seemed much longer, and all 
were heartily glad when the head of the column filed to the 
.right into an open field, and word was passed along the line 
that this was to be their camming ground. 

One incident of this night march may be of interest. 
Adjutant Blodgett, who had already served for nearly a year 
with the 37th Illinois, halted beside the road, and in reply to 
some remark made by a tired soldier as the column passed, 
said: "Boys, you are only just beginning to die for your 
country." There were many longer marches made by the 
Regiment, and often over worse roads than this Kentucky 
turnpike, but for many months there were none more fatiguing 
than this night trip. A few fell out by the way and did not 
come up until long after the main body of the Regiment had 
halted. 

It was four o'clock, and the gray of morning was almost 
upon them, when the camp was reached. The lines were 
speedily formed, guns were stacked and ranks broken. Officers 
.and men quickly threw aside their equipments, and, without 
.tents or other protection than their light blankets, sought 
.repose. It was their first experience in Dixie, their first night 



44 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

beneath the stars. And they slept soundly, as only tired 
soldiers can, upon the Southern sod, dreaming, perchance, of 
homes and friends from whom they had so recently parted, or 
of the future and the more stirring events upon which they 
were just entering. 

The rest was not a long one, for in two hours the rattling 
drums aroused the camp and orders were given to "fall in for 
roll-call," after which preparations were made for breakfast. 
The meal was prepared under difficulties. The company- 
cooks scrubbed from the big camp-kettles a portion of the dust 
that had accumulated on the march, found water at the well, 
in the tavern yard, and " foraged " for wood in the neighbor- 
hood. Coffee, hard-tack and bacon constituted the bill of fare. 
To the epicure this would not have been a dainty repast, but 
to the soldier who had for two days lived principally upon this 
diet, minus the coffee, and who had slept but little for two 
nights, this was a meal over which thanks might be returned, 
and one which was certainly partaken of with keen relish. 

The main incidents of the day were the drawing of the- 
tents and the naming of the camp. What were known as 
44 wedge tents" were provided for the enlisted men. They 
were small and not so numerous but that all were crowded, 
six men being placed in each. Two wall tents of comfortable 
size were issued to the officers of each Company, one to each 
of the field officers and three to the commissioned and non- 
commissioned staff and musicians. The tents provided for the 
enlisted men were not what were expected, but, while disap- 
pointed in their size and quality, there was little complaint, 
and all seemed determined to make the best of them. The 
work of putting them up, although promptly begun, was not 
very quickly accomplished, for very few were experienced in, 
this branch of soldiering. Men laughed at each other's 
awkwardness, but upon responding to the suggestion to "try 
it yourselves, then," were quickly entangled, and found the 
task one not as easy as it looked. Many a good laugh w as- 
had, but progress was made, and in time all were up. Some- 
were askew or out of line and had to be reset, but it was a 
lesson not soon forgotten, and the experiences of that day were- 



THK DANGER THREATENING CINCINNATI. 45 

often alluded to in after months when the putting up of tenth 
had come to be so much of a science that in ten minutes from 
the time the wagons containing them arrived in camp all would 
foe in place. 

" Camp Champion " was the name given to this temporary 
rendezvous, the intention being to thus honor the Colonel, who 
was even then winning the high regard of his men. This 
camp was a gently sloping but dusty field, and fairly well 
adapted for all of the purposes of a camp, and a drill and a 
parade ground. There were numerous and rugged hills all 
about it, many of them seamed with rifle-pits or surmounted 
with huge forts or heavy earth-works, in which were cannon 
of varying sizes. Most of these earth-works and forts were 
occupied by detachments from the 13th Regulars, which, as it 
transpired, THE NINETY-SIXTH was to relieve. There was 
much to interest the men who had come from the prairies of 
Northern Illinois, for the hills were more steep and. numerous 
than many of them had ever seen before. The vineyards 
.along the hill-sides, the heavy forests prostrate in front of the 
forts, having been cut to give the artillery a wider range 
when it was believed that the Confederates had Cincinnati for 
their destination, only a few weeks before, the heavy thirty 
#nd sixty-pound guns, all were novelties to the newly arrived 
soldiers. It should be remembered that this was a trying time 
in this section. The Confederates were making a desperate 
effort to force the National troops north of the Ohio river. 
But three weeks before had occurred the disastrous battle 
and surrender at Mumfordsville, Ky., and on the very day 
the Regiment left Rockford the battle of Perryville was 
fought, but about one hundred miles away. Kirby Smith, with 
a large force of rebels, had recently approached within a few 
miles of this very point, and it was even then feared by many 
that his troops, united with those of Gen. Bragg, would 
defeat or, possibly, pass the flank of Gen. Buell and make a 
.rush for Cincinnati. The expense incurred in the construction 
of these earth-works was enormous, Beechwood Battery alone 
ihaving cost about $200,000, it was said. 

An incident which occurred the morning after the arrival 



4:6 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

of the command at Camp Champion is worthy of narration- 
here. As has been stated before, there were an unusual num- 
ber of tall men in the Regiment. On the morning in question, 
before the tents arrived, and while the men were in the open 
field, some discussion arose as to the comparative height of 
two or more of them, and a wager was made. Considerable 
talk resulted, and finally about all of the tall men in the com- 
mand were brought together. The wager settled, such of the 
crowd as were convivially inclined marched over to the 
tavern, arriving there just as a sleepy bar-tender, who barely 
knew that a new regiment had arrived during the night, was 
preparing for his day's work. As the crowd entered the bar- 
room, the taller ones ducking their heads as they passed 
through the low door-way, the bar-tender eyed them, first with 
astonishment, then with trembling, but managed to gasp out : 
"Where did you-uns all come from?" Being told that they 
were all from Northern Illinois, he asked: "Be the whole 
regiment as tall as you uus?" He was solemnly assured that 
this was only a fair sample of the command, and also informed 
that the Minnesota and Wisconsin troops were even taller. A 
further suggestion was added that if he sympathized with the 
Confederacy he might do it a service by sending word to Jeff 
Davis of what the rebels might expect when these regiments 
of giants got into the field. The bar-tender was awe-stricken, 
arid tremblingly set out the drinks, even forgetting, it is said, 
to collect his pay. 

During the day many visited the forts and batteries, 
strolled among the large vineyards in the neighborhood, or 
visited the cemetery and entertained themselves by reading 
the quaint inscriptions on the tombstones. After the first day 
a camp-guard was established, the line closely encircling the 
grounds. The sentinels were each given a beat, and required 
to walk back and forth upon it after the style of the Regular 
Army. None of the enlisted men were allowed to go in or 
out without passes, signed by the Colonel, unless accompanied 
by a commissioned officer. Troops farther toward the front 
did the picket duty. The sentinels were required to call out 
the hour after taps, and so, at regular intervals all through 



DRAWING Six-MuLE TEAMS. 47 

the night, the cry would be taken up : "Post No. 1, twelve- 
o'clock, and all is well ; Post No. 2, twelve o'clock and all is 
well," and so on, taking up the different hours as they came. 
This was all very well in theory, but the practice was aban- 
doned when more active duties came. 

The Regiment was assigned to the Second Brigade, Third 
Division, Army of Kentucky, Col. P. T. Swayne, of the 99th 
Ohio, being placed in command of the Brigade. The other 
Regiments of the Brigade were the 92d Illinois, 115th Illinois- 
and 14th Kentucky. 

On Saturday, October 11, a large detail of men was sent to 
Cincinnati for mules and wagons. Their experiences were 
novel, and, at times, exciting. The mules were in a large 
corral. Many of them were but three years old and entirely- 
unbroken. They had to be lassooed and drawn up to a post 
or tree by main force, and were harnessed with much diffi- 
cult}' 'and not a little danger. Hitching six of them to a large 
army wagon was not an easy task. The animals were afraid 
of the wagons, of the harnesses, of the men and of each other. 
Usually two or three that bore harness marks or gave other 
evidence of being at least partially broken, were selected- and 
put into each team ; but it was with great trouble that a start 
was made. When a team had been hitched up the wagon 
wheels were locked and a man stationed at the head of each 
mule. Then the driver, armed with a rawhide whip, mounted 
the near wheel mule, and grasped the single line leading to- 
the bit of the near leader. With most of the men this was an 
entirely new way of driving, and some of the teamsters were 
scarcely less awkward than their mules. By dint of some 
daring and considerable swearing the train was made ready, 
and the procession started. There were some thrilling adven- 
tures on the way, and a few incipient runaways, but no serious 
accidents. The crossing of the river was accomplished with 
much difficulty, the timid mules being induced to step upon 
the pontoon bridge only by considerable persuasion. But the 
trip was finally made, and some time after dark the motley 
procession reached the camp. The teams were unhitched and 
unharnessed with only a little less difficulty than had attended 



48 HISTORY OF THE 96 r ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

the hitching up. The mules were then tied to the wagons and 
fed, and the detail dismissed. The men comprising that 
detail were a tired lot, and some of them declared that they 
would prefer to charge a battery rather than to repeat the day's 
experiences. The mules were a wiry set, and for many days 
thereafter those who wanted a little genuine excitement could 
.find it by visiting the wagon train and assisting in harnessing 
and hooking up the long-eared but exceedingly useful animals. 
One team was allowed to each Company, and seven teams in 
addition for the use of the Regimental officers, and the trans- 
portation of ammunition and rations. Besides these there 
were two ambulances, with a pair of horses to each. 

Companies D, I and K were detached from the Regiment 
on the llth and sent to guard forts in the vicinity, all of these 
detachments being under the command of Major Smith. 
Oompany D was sent to Beechwood Battery, Company I to 
John's Hill Battery, and Company K to Fort Shaler. A few 
days later fifty men of Company B were sent to Fort Mitchell. 
Several of the Companies had their first experience in target 
shooting on the llth. 

Sunday, October 12, was spent rather quietly. There 
was Company inspection in the forenoon, and in the evening 
one or more prayer meetings in the vicinity of the camp. An 
elegant sword was presented to Colonel Champion by the 
members of Company E, Captain Black making the presenta- 
tion address. 

October 13 the Companies took up their regular drill, and 
one or more of them began the skirmish drill. On the 14th 
there was a sword presentation to Sergeant Major Quinn, and 
a saddle presentation to Colonel Champion. On the 15th 
there was an inspection by Major Flint, and, while the Regi- 
ment was on dress parade in the early evening, Brig. Gen. 
Absalom Baird, who was commanding the Division to which 
the Regiment was attached, rode up and watched the proceed- 
ing, complimenting both officers and men upon their soldierly 
bearing, and expressing surprise on being told that the Regi- 
ment had been in the service less than six weeks. Forty 




J. C. SMITH. 

LIEUTENANT COLONEL AND BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL. 



Hi* 



THE FIRST LONG ROLL. 49 

rounds of ammunition were issued to each man, and the First 
Sergeants had a light sword added to their outfit. 

News came at this time of the death, from typhoid fever, 
of Henry W. Ostrander, of Company G. He was taken sick 
at Camp Fuller, and went to his home at Rockland, in Lake 
County, and died October J2. This was the first death in the 
Regiment. 

The principal incident of the 16th was an alarm at night. 
The "long roll " beat at about eleven o'clock. The Companies 
were hastily formed, and the command proceeded to the parade 
ground. There was some excitement and not a little mixing 
up of boots, hats and equipments in the haste to fall in, but 
the line was formed in a surprisingly short time and with as 
little confusion as was to be expected. The alleged cause was 
the tiring upon an outpost in front of Fort Shaler. It was not 
so accepted by the citizens and civil authorities at Covington 
and Cincinnati, however, for they believed it to be a mere 
ruse on the part of the Colonel to test the promptness and 
coolness of the officers and men of his Regiment. It hap- 
pened that the alarm was taken up by other camps in the 
neighborhood, reaching the city and causing intense excite- 
ment there. Few knew it at the time, but it afterward leaked 
out that this little episode came near costing the Regiment its 
commander, and losing to the army the splendid services 
afterward performed by the gallant Colonel Champion. The 
civil authorities were so exercised that they demanded the 
head of the officer who started the alarm, and were pacified 
with the utmost difficulty. The Regiment was kept in line for 
about an hour, and then sent to camp. On the whole it was a 
good lesson, for the men afterward made it a rule to know 
where their boots and hats were when they retired for the 
night. 

About this time some of the troops that had been forced 
to retreat from Cumberland Gap arrived and went into camp 
in the neighborhood. They were a tired, ragged and foot- 
sore lot of men, having made a long and rapid march. 

An event that will be remembered by the line officers of 
Company C happened on one of the days while at Camp 
4 



50 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Champion. A fine hog was missed by a loyal farmer, and" 
the presence of bristles and the odor of fresh pork was deemed 
sufficient to warrant a strong suspicion that certain members 
of the Color Company had sought to vary the monotony of 
army rations. The hog was estimated to be worth $30, an 
amount that the officers quietly paid ; but the affair leaked out, 
and for a time the boys of Company C were the butt of 
numerous jokes. They learned one important lesson, how- 
ever, which was that when it was impracticable to burn or 
bury hogs' bristles, they should at least take them into the street 
of some other Company. 

On one occasion a detail was sent out to cut wood, going 
several miles from camp. A roadside booth attracted them, 
and finding that botli beer and cider could be bought, some of 
the men indulged in a glass or two of their favorite beverage. 
That night two of the men were terribly sick, with every 
symptom of having been poisoned, and their lives were saved 
only by the most strenuous exertions of the Surgeon of the 
Regiment. Investigation revealed the fact that these two men 
were the only ones who had drank cider, and it was confi- 
dently believed that some Rebel, too cowardly to fight, had 
sought their lives. A scouting party visited the locality at 
daylight, but the man who sold the cider could not be found, 
although the booth was watched for several days and nights. 
He had probably gone South, or concealed himself in Cincin- 
nati to await the removal of the Regiment. 

On Sunday, October 19, a few members of Company K were 
sent out in front of Fort Shaler on a reconnoissance. Finding 
a percussion shell, but supposing it to be an ordinary cannon 
ball, they were examining it, when, being carelessly dropped, 
it exploded with terrible effect, wounding five of the Com- 
pany, some of them quite seriously, and fatally injuring a 
citizen who stood by. The wife of the citizen was also seri 
ously injured. A more circumstantial account of this accident 
may be found in the sketch of the Company in another part 
of this work. 

The same day five Companies of the Regiment were- 
ordered to guard a wagon train about starting for Falmouth. 



THE COMMAND DIVIDED THE GRANTS' VISITS. 51 

Ky. They were Companies A, , F, G and H, and were 
under command of Lieutenant Colonel Clarke. These Com- 
panies marched to Covington, but, as the train was not ready, 
returned to Camp Champion for the night, and on the follow- 
ing day, Monday, October 20, made a final start, having in 
charge one hundred or more wagons loaded with supplies for 
troops in that region. The same day Company K returned 
to camp from Fort Shaler, Company C taking its place. 

Wednesday, October 22, Companies JB, C, D, I and K 
marched to Covington, and on reporting at headquarters were 
directed to commodious barracks just vacated by the 33d 
Indiana, remaining until the 29th. Detachments were left at 
several forts, but joined the command during the week. On 
the 24th occurred a rain to partially relieve the terrible drouth 
that had prevailed for two months or more, and on the night 
of the 25th there was a snow-storm which was quite heavy, con- 
sidering the latitude and the time of year, some three or four 
inches remaining on the ground at daylight, but all disappear- 
ing within a few hours. There was some brisk snow-balling 
while it lasted, the men enjoying the sport with keen zest. 

During the stay at Covington Barracks, Jesse Grant, Esq., 
of Cincinnati, and Master Fred Grant, of Galena, the father 
and the son of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, called once or twice, 
spending some hours with their Jo Daviess county acquaint- 
ances. Fred's first visit was made alone. A boy, mounted 
on a pony, came riding up to the gateway leading to the 
grounds surrounding the barracks. The entrance was guarded, 
and the soldier on duty asked the visitor for his pass. The 
boy replied that he had none, whereupon the Sergeant of the 
Guard was called. This officer chanced to be Sergeant 
Thomas J. Smith, of Galena. As he came to the gate he 
recognized the visitor, and remarked : " Why. that is a son of 
Gen. Grant, and doesn't need a pass. Let him in." The boy 
was rather quiet and modest than otherwise, although quite 
a hero in the eyes of the soldiers owing to the distinguished 
achievements of his illustrious sire. 



52 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Five Companies Start Southward Hard Pikes vs. Tender Feet March- 
ing and Tenting in the Snow A Muddy Cut-Off Loyal Whites and 
Enthusiastic Blacks Five Companies Sent via Williamsburg and 
Georgetown to Lexington Slaves and Slave-Hunters Milling for 
the Military A Night's Foraging The Regiment Reunited 
Experiences at Lexington Visits to Henry Clay's Monument 
The First Death in Camp. 

MONDAY, October 20, Companies A, E, F, G and H again 
took up the line of march, with Falmouth as their supposed 
destination. They were under command of Lieutenant Colonel 
Isaac L. Clarke. Lieutenant Samuel H. Bayne, ol Company 
H, was assigned as acting Adjutant, and Lieutenant William 
Vincent, of Company A, as acting Quarter-Master. First 
Assistant Surgeon Moses Evans accompanied the battalion and 
cared for the health of the men. This was not to be a march 
in the cars or on boats, but on foot, the men carrying well- 
filled knapsacks, haversacks containing from one to three days' 
rations, canteens of water, forty rounds of ammunition, 
bayonets, accoutrements and heavy muskets. Many of the 
officers had taken trunks with them to Kentucky, but strict 
orders were issued that they must not be put in the wagons, 
and, as there was no other method of transportation, they were 
sent back to Cincinnati and stored, most of them being subse- 
quently returned by express to Illinois, although a few were 
again in camp in Central Kentucky. Doubtless some of them 
are still in Cincinnati. 

A start was made about eight o'clock A. M., Companies 
A and F taking the lead of the train as an advance guard. 
Company H was placed near the center of the train and Com- 
panies E and Gr in the rear. The distance traveled that day 
was about eleven miles over the Alexandria turnpike. This 
macadamized road was excellent so far as the wagons were 



MARCHING TOWARD CENTRAL KENTUCKY. 53 

concerned, but decidedly hard on the feet of the men, and, as 
a result, many were very sore and lame when the final halt 
was made. The camp that night was in the fair grounds at 
Alexandria. The men were made very comfortable, although 
the water at this place was not agreeable to the taste, being 
taken from a huge cistern. However, it was an improvement 
on the water taken from ponds at other points, and the camp 
was pleasantly remembered. 

Tuesday, October 21, an early start was made, the order 
of march being the same as on the previous day, except that 
the position of the Companies was changed. The distance 
traveled was fifteen miles. As there were a few empty wagons 
in the train the knapsacks of the men were carried, thus reliev- 
ing them greatly. A part of the way the column marched 
upon the dirt road, which was much easier for the sore and 
tired feet than the pike had been. About four o'clock in the 
afternoon there was a riffle of excitement growing out of the 
report sent to the commander of the detachment by the 
advance guard that several horses were tied in a ravine a little 
off from the pike, indicating the presence of rebel cavalry in 
the vicinity. Captain Clark and about a dozen men of Com- 
pany G volunteered to reconnoitre. Once away from the 
column and finding that there was no truth in the report, the 
Captain concluded to indulge his inclination to roam over the 
country, and so led off' on a long detour. After a tramp of 
four or five miles the party returned to the column without 
having found either horses or soldiers. Their trip was a hard 
one, and they were pretty /well fagged out when they returned 
to the train. Many of the farmers along the route through 
that part of the State treated the soldiers quite liberally with 
apples, and often provided meals for those who left the 
column. The camp that night was on Flour Creek, and was 
a very comfortable one. 

Wednesday, October 22, the column started at about nine 
o'clock, passing over a very hilly and stony road and reaching 
Falmouth about noon, camping near a branch of the Licking 
river where was an abundance of good water. On the march 
quite a percentage of the men were employed in chaining the 



54 HISTORY OF THE 96xH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

wheels of the wagons, so that the train might safely proceed 
down the long and steep hills. 

At Falmouth the wagons were unloaded, and the men gen- 
erally supposed that they would remain in camp for several 
days. Such proved not to be the case, however, for on 
Thursday at about noon, to the surprise of all, the wagons 
were again started out and the battalion ordered to accompany 
them. They made about sixteen miles, camping at Robin- 
son's Station near the railroad. The roads were quite hilly, 
requiring considerable chaining of wagon wheels, and this 
afternoon's march proved a very severe one. 

Friday, October 24, was a day of rest, the soldiers improv- 
ing it by washing their clothing and cleaning up generally. 
Notwithstanding that strict orders had been issued to the con- 
trary, there was considerable foraging ; but, as a rule, only 
known secessionists suffered. About 100 men were at work 
rebuilding the trestle bridge burned by the rebel Gen. Morgan 
a few weeks before. During the day the wagons were again 
loaded, and on Saturday, October 25, the command marched 
to Cynthiana, where several other regiments were camped. 
The day was an unpleasant one, some rain falling, and after 
going into camp a corn-field was visited and a large amount 
of fodder appropriated, the men spreading it on the bottoms 
of their tents to keep them oif the wet ground. In the even- 
ing it began to grow cold, and by bedtime snow was falling. 
In the morning the ground was covered to the depth of nearly 
six inches, but the snow had piled up around the bottom of the 
tents, keeping out the wind, and the men slept more comfort- 
ably than on any previous night. The snow rendered the 
work of preparing for the march quite slow, and it was ten 
o'clock when the column started out on Sunday morning. On 
the pike arms were presented to the 19th Michigan and 115th 
Illinois as they passed to take the advance, the battalion then 
falling in the rear of the line. Passing through Cynthiana 
the column had proceeded about ten miles when Gen. Baird 
ordered this detachment and the 92d Illinois to take the dirt 
road to Paris, as it would save some two or three miles in 
distance. It was a great mistake, for the snow had wet 



CAMPING IN THE SNOW. 55 

up the clay to the depth of two or three inches, making it ter- 
ribly sticky and unpleasant. Not unfrequently the men lifted 
their feet from their shoes, and in some instances were 
-obliged to march barefoot or go back to the wagons and ride. 
A soldier wrote : "Every time we lifted our feet from the clay 
it awaked.an echo not unlike the sound of a pop-gun." The 
-entire distance traveled that day was sixteen miles, one-third 
of which had been over this clay road. The day was cold and 
unpleasant, the march a very severe one, and the stragglers 
from the ranks, owing to the great fatigue caused by the 
muddy roads, were more numerous than on any previous day. 
Arrived in camp somewhat late, the men had a most disagree- 
able task before them. The snow still lay deep upon the 
ground, and they were obliged to clear it away and pitch their 
tents. They did not then know as well as they learned after- 
ward how to make themselves comfortable, and to many the 
night was a most cheerless one. However, they set about 
imost diligently to fix up their temporary quarters and prepare 
for supper. Huge fires were built in front of the tents to dry 
the ground ; straw was procured from neighboring planta- 
tions for beds, and at least a portion of the command passed 
the evening and night quite pleasantly. 

Monday, October 27, a start was made at nine o'clock, the 
expectation being that the evening would find the detachment 
in Lexington, but the column only marched about four miles, 
going into camp before noon. At Paris, which was passed 
early in the day, there was a profuse display of flags, indi- 
cating a strong Union sentiment. 

Tuesday morning, October 28, the command started at 
seven o'clock, passing through a beautiful country. The 
column halted for quite a time in the city of Lexington while 
waiting to be assigned to camp. The citizens, and especially 
the colored people, watched them with much interest, coming 
to talk with the men, and, in some instances, bringing "hoe 
cake " and other edibles, and also pails of water, with gourd 
dippers, which they passed along the lines. 

Moving to the outskirts of the city the female seminary was 
passed, and the young lady students came out, waved their 



56 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

handkerchiefs and hurrahed for the Union. It was interest- 
ing to note the instant change that came over the soldiers as- 
the ladies made their appearance. The martial band struck 
up a lively air. The scattered column immediately closed to 
the center of the highway, elbows were touched, the step was 
taken, the limping gait of those whose feet had been blistered 
by the long march over the hard pike disappeared, the shoul- 
ders that had been stooping through the wear} 7 miles were 
quickly straightened, heads were thrown back, the carelessly 
carried muskets were brought to a "right shoulder shift," and. 
everj'thing in the army regulations strictly obeyed, unless it 
be that all eyes were not directly toward the front. There was 
an inspiration in the presence and approval of the loyal beauties- 
that caused all to forget their weariness and nerved every man 
to do his best. Could the battles of the war have been fought 
with such surroundings, instead of in gloomy forests or amid 
tangled swamps, it is easy to believe that there would have 
been no cowards ; indeed, it is probable that absolute extinc- 
tion of one side or the other would have resulted. The column, 
kept well closed up until a halt was made and a camp ground 
selected at a point where the guide-board read: "George- 
town 10 Milles." 

Wednesday, October 29, the camp ground was changed to a 
point about one and a half miles from Lexington. The location, 
was a fine one, water being abundant and of good quality, and 
only about a quarter of a mile distant from camp. The colored 
people in the neighborhood showed great joy at the arrival of 
Union troops. An old "aunty" standing by the roadside 
cried out, "O Lor bless me, I wish I had some thing to gib 
em ;" and an aged colored man was repeating, as rapidly as 
he could speak it, ' ' Hurrah for de Union ! Hurrah for de 
Union ! " and once in a while sandwiching the remark, " The- 
Unioners is come." There was a large camp in the neighbor- 
hood, not less than 20,000 troops being stationed near by. 
The men assumed that they were to make this a permanent 
camp, and proceeded to construct fire-places in their tents by 
digging holes in the ground about one foot square and eight 
inches deep, with a flue leading to the outside for the smoke- 



-,.J* fiM 





NICKAMCK, 1863-4. 

ROBERT A. SMITH, ' SAMUEL H. SMITH, 



RIGHT GENERAL GUIDE. 



LEFT GENERAL GUIDE. 




MRS. J. C. SMITH. 



** 



THE CAMP AT LEXINGTON. 5T 

to pass off. A few sheet-iron stoves were procured, and a 
number of brick or stone fire-places were built. The regular 
rations were supplemented with corn-meal, bought by the 
soldiers at the rate of fifty cents per bushel, flour at three 
cents a pound and molasses at $1.40 per gallon. There was 
often a surplus of coffee and rice, which was sold to citizens 
or exchanged for the articles mentioned. Near the camp was- 
a large grist mill and jeans factory. From these the rebels 
had taken some $80,000 worth of goods, only a few weeks 
before, compelling the owners to accept Confederate scrip in 
payment. The factory was not only a thing of interest to the- 
troops, but a great convenience, for the soldiers were permitted 
to take warm water from the pipes for the purpose of washing 
their clothing, a privilege which they availed themselves of 
with alacrity. 

The remaining days, until the arrival of the detachment 
under Colonel Champion, were passed without incident of 
especial note. The camp regulations were strict, and drilling 
was vigorously begun. Colonel Clarke was a strict discipli- 
narian and disposed to see that all orders issued for the gov- 
ernment of troops were literally obeyed. He had been a 
school-master through all the early years of his manhood, and 
some of the men thought him too strict. This criticism came 
to his knowledge, and he was frank to talk with his offi- 
cers and such of his men as he knew best personally about 
the matter, so that a pretty good understanding was reached. 
Later on, officers and men came to know each other better, 
and the soldiers learned that it was absolutely necessary in 
order to discipline that the soldier should subject himself to 
the officer. This much can certainly be said, that long before 
his death those who had been disposed to criticise him came 
to see that his orders were, after all, best for the men. They 
learned that he was a man of high character and fixed princi- 
ples, and that he meant to do just what was right and honorable 
by those under his command, and by the citizens near the 
camp or on the line of march. 

It is now necessary to turn back and see what the other 
five Companies of the .Regiment, under Colonel Champion* 



-58 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

had been doing since Colonel Clarke's command left Camp 
Champion. 

On Wednesday, October 29, at a little before nine o'clock, 
Companies B, C, D, I and K, under the command of Colonel 
Champion, left their comfortable quarters in Covington Bar- 
racks, where a week had been so pleasantly spent, and started 
-on the trip to Lexington. Already the radical change of diet 
and mode of life was beginning to tell on the men, and each 
Company left a half dozen or more of their number in the 
various hospitals in the neighborhood. Marching to head- 
quarters, definite orders were received, and the column passed 
out through Covington and near Fort Mitchell, where a rest 
of half an hour was taken. Two miles further on there was 
a stop for dinner, after which the command marched to the 
fair grounds near Florence, halting about half-past three 
o'clock in the afternoon and occupying the amphitheatre. The 
distance made was about ten miles, and the trip a rather leis- 
urely one. There was plenty of wood and water, and the 
Battalion had a delightful camping place. 

Thursday, October 30, the column started about 7 A. M., 
and made sixteen miles, passing through Walton and camping 
near Crittenden at a little after 5 P. M., in an open field. 
Wood and water were scarce and had to be carried about a 
mile. The march was through a beautiful country a part of 
the way, there being many fine plantations. Many of the 
people showed their loyalty by coming out and waving flags or 
cheering. At other places they stood sullenly and silently, 
their looks indicating a displeasure they dared not voice. It 
was amusing to witness the actions of the negroes at these 
latter places. Keeping partly in the rear of the buildings so 
as to be out of sight of their masters, they would swing their 
hats and dance or otherwise manifest their joy, but without 
daring to shout. This second day's march was quite severe 
on the men, and many were lame and foot-sore when camp 
was reached. 

Friday, October 31, the column started at 8 A. M., and 
passed through Crittenden, Dry Ridge and other hamlets, and 
camped near Williamsburg, making about twelve miles. At 



ARMY RATIONS SUPPLEMENTED BY FORAGING. 59 

this latter place a beautiful young lady, dressed in a costume 
made up of the stars and stripes, came out to cheer the 
soldiers on their way. It was a pretty tableau, and heartily 
was the beautiful and loyal lady cheered in return. There 
were but few springs along the route, and most of the wells 
were deep but dry. At some points details were sent ahead 
and teams impressed to draw to the roadside barrels of. water 
taken from springs or ponds. Some of the men quietly 
left the ranks and "drew" sweet potatoes from the fields or 
gardens along the route. There was a suggestion at many 
points of the poet's dream of heaven, when he said : 

" Of the women there seemed an innumerable throng, 
But the men you could count as they passed along." 

.For while there were from six to ten women at about every 
house there was hardly a white man to be seen. Just at night 
two men, believed to be Confederate soldiers or bushwhackers 
belonging to Morgan's command, were captured and sent 
under guard to the Provost Marshal at Williamsburg. The 
regular army rations were somewhat low, but there was a good 
variety of fresh meat in camp next morning, and a few 
"secesh" rails were burned to cook it with. Water was not 
-only very scarce but very muddy, being drawn from cattle 
ponds. The men came into camp in much better condition 
than on the previous day. 

Saturday, November 1, the command started at 7 A. M., 
and marched seventeen miles, camping near Jones' Tavern. 
The day was quite warm, and the men pretty well used up 
when a final halt was made. An incident of the evening was 
the enlistment of the two deserters from the rebel army men- 
tioned in the sketch of Company C. Many criticised the 
action, but the officers concluded to take the risk, and after 
events fully vindicated them. 

Sunday, Novembers, the Battalion broke camp at 7 A. M., 
and marched six miles, camping on Eagle Creek. As but five 
days' supplies had been taken, the regular rations were about 
exhausted. The Quarter-Master purchased beef, corn and 
wheat in the neighborhood, and a mill near camp was set in 
motion by some of the men in charge of Sergeant Schooley, 



60 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

an experienced miller, Corporal John Lee acting as engineer, 
and by evening four hundred pounds of flour and a like amount 
of corn meal had been ground out and issued. The steam 
whistle at the mill was sounded repeatedly, and soon all of the 
colored people of the neighborhood and of Georgetown vil- 
lage seemed to be approaching the camp, apparently thinking 
that the whistle proceeded from a fleet of Lincoln gunboats 
that must be coming up the diminutive creek. Many of the 
young colored men desired to accompany the command, and, 
as a natural result, more or less trouble ensued. Most of the 
Generals in the department at that time were in partial sym- 
pathy with the "peculiar institution," and strict orders had 
been given requiring officers to surrender any negroes who 
might be found in the camp whenever their alleged owners 
demanded them. The fugitive slave laws were at least nomi- 
nally in force, and commanders of regiments who refused to 
obey these laws not unfrequently found themselves the princi- 
pals in vexatious law suits. Some of these suits were not 
concluded until long years after the war was over, occasioning 
considerable personal expense and trouble to those involved. 
But with the NINETY-SIXTH Regiment officers there was never 
litigation, Colonel Champion being too good a lawyer to 
allow himself or his officers to be involved in law suits. 
Nearly all were radically opposed to slavery, and the negro 
who sought refuge in the camp was protected, but in such a 
manner as not to involve any one in a legal way. Usually a 
camp guard was established whenever the Regiment went into 
bivouac, often, as it seemed, more for the purpose of excluding 
citizens from the camp than to prevent the soldiers from going 
outside. Not unfrequently citizens would come to the guard 
line and ask, or even demand, to be admitted to headquarters, 
but whenever it was suspected that they were negro hunting 
they were excluded and compelled to return to their homes 
without taking the negroes who had sought their liberty. A 
few negroes followed the command from Eagle Creek, most 
of them being employed as cooks for the officers. 

On the second, learning that the plantation of a Confederate 
Major was but two miles distant, about forty men, in charge of 



ADMINISTERING THE OATH OF AXLEGIANCE. 61 

Lieutenant Montgomery, of Company D, set out in the early 
-evening on a foraging expedition. Arrived at the house, the 
soldiers quietly deployed about the buildings, while the Lieu- 
tenant and a half dozen men who had brought their muskets 
with them rapped at the front door. Some ladies came to the 
door, and, in response to the officer's inquiry, asserted that 
there were no men in the house. Unfortunately for the truth 
of this assertion, a man appeared at the head of the stairway 
just at that moment and demanded to know what was wanted. 
The Lieutenant asked him to come to the door, which he did 
with manifest reluctance. They told him that they were 
a detachment from the command encamped on Eagle Creek, 
and that, being short of rations, they had come for a few 
bushels of potatoes, at the same time saying that if he was a 
loyal citizen a receipt would be given so that he could collect 
pay. He pretended that there were no potatoes on the planta- 
tion. It happened, however, that a negro who had previously 
been interviewed, and who accompanied the expedition as its 
pilot, had assured them that in a field adjoining the buildings 
were numerous "pits" of potatoes. The Lieutenant asked 
the man to remove his hat, raise his right hand and .repeat 
after him the oath of allegiance, which he did. The oath was 
a very lengthy one, the Lieutenant injecting numerous excerpts 
from the Declaration of Independence, Webster's orations and 
such other literature as he could call to mind, in apparent good 
faith, but really to gain time for the boys who were reconnoit- 
ering. Before he was half through there was a loud outcry 
from the poultry, and the citizen was becoming very anxious. 
As soon as the extended oath was concluded he appealed for 
protection, and begged the officer not to allow the men to take 
his poultry. The officer, leaving the man under guard, ran to 
the outbuildings, and in loud tones demanded that the forag- 
ing should stop, saying that they had come for potatoes, not 
for poultry ; but, seizing a grain bag, called in an undertone 
to the men to hand him some chickens and turkeys, which he 
crammed into the sack. As soon as the noise ceased he turned 
his game bag over to some of the men, returned to the citizen 
and told him that he had better go in the house for the night, 



62 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

but that, having taken the oath of allegiance, he could come 
to the camp next morning, bring two or three reputable citi- 
zens of known loyalty to establish his identity and character, 
and get pay for his potatoes. The citizen quickly made his 
way to the house, but never came to camp for his pay, and 
inquiry revealed the truthfulness of the first information that 
the entire family were notorious secessionists. Meanwhile 
the potato field had been visited and the men were on their 
way to camp. A soldier, in writing of the affair, said : "The 
men from Company C brought in thirty chickens, ten turkeys, 
a lot of ducks, four bushels of potatoes, a churn full of syrup 
and twenty quarts of honey, which, considering that it was the 
only Company in the Regiment that ever laid claim to being 
especially 'good,' must be considered a pretty fair showing." 
As the other four Companies each had an equal number of men 
in the expedition, it can be judged that the affair was a pretty 
successful one. 

It may be mentioned here that the colored man who acted 
as pilot was James Joyce, who remained with the Regiment 
until Nashville was reached, and then went North with Lieu- 
tenant A. B. Partridge, living in Lake county until his death,, 
which occurred about 1875. 

Monday, November 3, the Battalion was called in line 
early, fired off their guns by volley, and marched fourteen 
miles, camping at two o'clock p. M. on Elkhorn Creek, near 
the residence of ex-Gov. Robinson. The village of George- 
town was reached early in the day, and the country passed 
through was the most beautiful portion of the Blue Grass 
Region. Several negroes were following the Regiment, and 
at Georgetown citizens undertook to stop them, but failed in 
their efforts. 

Tuesday, November 4, reveille sounded at half-past four, 
the column filing out of camp at six A. M., and marching to 
Lexington, ten miles, arriving about eleven o'clock A. M. The 
other five Companies came out to meet Colonel Champion's 
command, and escort it to camp. 

It was a very pleasant meeting when the two battalions 
came together at Lexington, and the Regiment was again con- 



TROUBLE IN THE REGIMENTAL KITCHEN. 6 

solidated. For many days the boys compared experiences, 
and related to each other the incidents that had happened 
during their two weeks' separation. There had been consid- 
erable irregularity about the mails up to this time, but here 
the accumulated letters were received, and an immense mail 
distributed. 

The Regiment remained at Lexington until November 13. 
It was not a time of leisure, but rather of hard work, for drill- 
ing was pushed with great vigor, the men being out for many 
hours every day when the weather would permit, either in 
squads, companies or as a regiment, and perhaps at no other 
point was more rapid progress made in acquiring military 
knowledge. The weather was cold much of the time, and one 
or two light snow-storms occurred, but this did not interfere 
very materially with the every day drill. At dress parade the 
men were required to wear overcoats. Rations were abun- 
dant, and of very good quality, but there was much trouble 
concerning the matter of cooking them. Up to this time the 
plan had been for each Company to keep its coffee, beans, 
rice and some other articles together, and men were detailed 
to serve as Company cooks. There were usually two for each 
Company. Many of these cooks were not experts in their 
line, and much of the cooking was simply execrable. Three 
times out of four the beans or rice would be burned. The big 
black kettles had to be used for cooking both meat and coffee, 
and often there was a film of grease upon the top of the kettle 
of coffee, the sight of which was not well calculated to serve as 
an appetizer. The matter was discussed by officers and men, 
and finally permission was given to break up each Company 
into messes, the men to take turns in cooking. This arrange- 
ment proved more satisfactory, although too many cooks 
spoiled many a broth. However, a few developed into excel- 
lent cooks in every Company, and when the Regiment was 
in camp as a rule it fared pretty well. During the stay at 
Lexington there were frequent reviews of the Brigade and 
Division, and dress parades were held almost every evening, 
large numbers of people coining out from the city to witness 
the evolutions of the battalions. 



<t> HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

There were few in the Regiment, and probably but few in 
the army then encamped in the neighborhood, who did not 
visit the tomb and monument of the great statesman, Henry 
Clay, and no doubt hundreds of soldiers copied the inscription 
upon the coffin, which reads: "I can, with unshaken con- 
fidence, appeal to the Divine Arbiter for the truth of the 
declaration that I have been influenced by no impure purpose ; 
no personal motive ; have sought no personal aggrandizement, 
but that in all my public actions I have had a sole and single 
eye, and a warm, devoted heart directed and dedicated to what, 
in my best judgment, I believed to be the true interest of my 
country." This monument is 55 feet square at the base and 
considerably more than 100 feet in height, and is surmounted 
by a statue of the man whose memory it is intended to 
perpetuate. 

The first death in the camp, and the second among the 
members of the Regiment, occurred at Lexington, George 
Bryan, aged ] 9 years, and a member of Company H, dying 
from typhoid fever. 




ADDISON B. PARTRIDGE. 



FIRST LIEUTENANT COMPANY C. 



FROM LEXINGTON TO HARRODSBURG. 65 



CHAPTKR V. 



Southward to Harrodsburg Kentucky River Scenery A Halt at Shaker- 
town The Stay at Camp Clarke Visits to Perryville Battle Ground 
Recovering Federal Property Issuing a Newspaper Marching to 
Danville In Winter Quarters at Camp Baird Occasional Alarms at 
Night The First Sergeants Lectured Breaking Camp by Fire-Light 
The Lebanon March A Terrible Rain Storm The Night at "Camp 
Wet" The Return to Danville Frequent Deaths Among the Sol- 
diers A Scouting Expedition Close of the Year 1862. 

Thursday, November 13, the Regiment struck its tents, 
packed its knapsacks, loaded its wagons, left its fire-places 
and straw beds, and again started out upon the march, breaking 
camp at seven o'clock or a little later, and taking position at 
the rear of the column. It was a beautiful day, and the road 
lay through an attractive and highly cultivated region. The 
distance traveled was fourteen or fifteen miles, and the camp 
for the night near Nicholasville. A large number of men had 
to be left at Lexington, owing to sickness, and others were 
really too unwell for so long a march, although, with com- 
mendable pluck, they persisted in remaining with the Regi- 
ment. As a consequence the ambulances were crowded before 
the day's march was ended. Field and staff officers walked a 
considerable part of the time, allowing those who were foot- 
sore or unwell to ride their horses. Some of these officers 
carried one or two muskets for tired members of the command, 
a favor that was fully appreciated. The camp that night was 
in a pretty grove near a spring, and as there was an abund- 
ance of straw in the neighborhood the men made themselves 
very comfortable. Next morning the column passed through 
Nicholasville. making their start at eight o'clock. Toward 
noon, on nearing the Kentucky river, the country became more 
broken. The pike lay along a deep gorge or ravine, descend- 
ing for a mile or more until the river bottom was reached. 
On one side of the roadway, at a point where the column 
5 



66 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

halted, the rocks rose precipitately to a great height, and on 
the other side was a deep chasm, down which the waters dashed 
themselves into a spray and disappeared beneath the over- 
hanging boulders. Even those who had visited the Rocky 
Mountains grew enthusiastic at the unexpected scene, and 
admitted that the view was one of true grandeur. Great 
layers of rock surmounted each other to the height of hun- 
dreds of feet, and here and there little white cedars, so beau- 
tifully green, cropped out from the crevices in the rocks, while 
all about icicles were pendant from the vines, greatly enhanc- 
ing the beauty of the surroundings. Fifty feet above the 
road a horse was drinking from a spring, and it was a question 
with many as to how he reached the place or in what way he 
was to leave the spot without falling. 

The river was reached at noon, and the command went 
into bivouac until its turn came to be ferried across the stream. 
There were two boats, each of which would accommodate 
about one company, and in these the crossing was made with- 
out mishap, except that once a boat ran aground, causing a 
little excitement and some delay. The distance traveled that 
day was about eight miles, and the camp for the night was 
made at Brooklyn, on the river. The scene from the camp 
was a most beautiful one, and will not pass from the minds of 
those who witnessed it until memory fails. Looking across 
the river the tall cliffs rose precipitately for hundreds of feet, 
giving the impression, as night came on, of a vast thunder 
cloud rising up against the sky. 

Saturda} T , November 15, the command marched ten or 
twelve miles, halting at Harrodsburg. The first few miles 
lay through a broken country, emerging from which Shaker- 
town was reached. This village, inhabited by the sect whose 
name it bears, was a novelty. The houses were not especially 
numerous, but all were large and substantial, and some of 
them bore dates, 1811, 1814 and later years, indicating con- 
siderable antiquity. The apparel of both men and women 
was drab or gray material, made up in the plainest manner 
possible. The women all wore shaker bonnets. It was notice- 
able that nearly all the inhabitants were either 'quite old or 



VISITS TO THE PERRYVILLE BATTLE-FIELD. 67 

quite young. The column halted for a time in the village 
streets, and the soldiers talked with the citizens, the latter 
answering all questions freely, it was learned that no mar- 
riages were allowed among the people, and that the population 
of the village was kept up by the adoption and education of 
orphan children from all parts of the country. Upon arriving 
at mature years these wards were given permission to go else- 
where and adopt a different mode of life if they saw fit, a 
privilege of which nearly all availed themselves, scarcely live 
per cent, consenting to remain and take upon themselves the 
vows of celibacy. These people took no part in the stormy 
scenes attending the rebellion, being opposed to war on prin- 
ciple, but it was a well established fact that all of them were 
opposed to the institution of slavery, and in hearty sympathy 
with the North. A few weeks before, the Rebel forces had 
levied heavy tribute upon them, taking considerable live stock, 
some goods, and, it was even said, more or less money. 

The command arrived at Harrodsburg about one o'clock, 
and camped a few rods from a large hospital filled with Rebels, 
wounded at the battle of Perryville. This being the first lot 
of uniformed Rebels with which the Regiment had come in 
contact, there was much curiosity on the part of the men to 
see and converse with them. Many of the prisoners were 
quite defiant and saucy, and as quick to enter into an argu- 
ment on behalf of "Southern rights" as were their Yankee 
visitors. There were about 1,500 Confederates in town, most 
of them being quartered in buildings or barracks. 

Perryville was about ten or eleven miles from Harrods- 
burg, and not only many public buildings, but numerous pri-- 
vate residences were filled with the sick and wounded of both 
armies, left there immediately following the battle of the 
8th of October. Before the command had been there many 
hours, men starting out from the camps found muskets, tents, 
saddles and other articles quite numerous among the citizens, 
some of them being secreted and others openly displayed as 
relics. This coming to the knowledge of the officers, detach- 
ments were sent out, in some instances remaining for a day or 
two, and gathering up large quantities of camp and garrison 



68 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

equipage, several wagon loads of muskets, many horses and 
mules and a few tents being the more valuable articles recov- 
ered. On these expeditions many got their first glimpse of 
the horrors of the battle-field. In some instances the dead 
remained unburied, and at many places the rain had washed 
the dirt from the bodies of those buried in the shallow 
graves, leaving feet, arms and heads exposed to view. There 
were many dead horses here and there through the woods, 
and the stench arising from their decaying carcasses was terri- 
bly sickening. The enemy had occupied a portion of the battle 
ground for the night, and had made an attempt at burying 
their dead, but the work was not very thoroughly done. 
Nearly all the Union dead had been carefully buried, and their 
graves plainly marked with wooden head-boards. 

On one of the trips to Perryville the soldiers encountered 
a somewhat unusual experience. When five miles from camp 
they learned of a shooting affair that had just taken place, 
and, on going to a house pointed out by a guide, found a 
woman greatly excited because of threats made against her 
life. It transpired that the woman had shot a citizen, and the 
neighbors were threatening revenge. The facts, as developed, 
were, that her husband, who was a Union man, had been 
engaged to run a grist-mill. The proprietor of the mill was a 
Secessionist. Some controversy had previously arisen, and was 
not settled at once. On this occasion the owner of the mill 
had ridden to the house on horseback, and inquired for the 
miller. Something in his language or actions convinced the 
woman that his mission was not a friendly one, and, seizing a 
gun, she ran toward the mill to warn her husband. The man 
spurred his horse, and was apparently attempting to ride over 
lier, when she pluckily turned and shot him dead. The case 
was investigated sufficiently to convince the officer that the 
statements of the woman were true, and the couple were given 
a guard to accompany them to a place of safety. This was 
but one of very many tragedies among citizens growing out of 
those troublous times, and but for the timely arrival of the 
soldiers it is probable that a half dozen lives might have been 
required to settle the existing feud. 



INCIDENTS OF THE STAY AT HABRODSBUKG. 69 

The Regiment, with the exception of Companies C and I, 
remained at Harrodsburg about a fortnight. Sunday, the first 
day in this camp, there was inspection in the forenoon and 
dress parade in the evening. During the afternoon religious 
services were held in an old church, Chaplain Clendenning 
preaching to the large congregation, composed mainly of sol- 
diers. It was said that nearly all the members of the congre- 
gation who formerly worshipped there were in actual sympathy 
with the rebellion. The church had been cleared of its pulpit 
and a portion of the seats, so that it could be used as a store- 
room by the army quartermaster. The pulpit, therefore, had 
to be improvised, and it was somewhat suggestive when the 
men piled up boxes of ammunition upon which the Chaplain 
could lay his Bible and unroll his manuscript. 

The drought, which had been very severe all through this 
region, having been interrupted by only one or two light 
showers and two or three snow-storms, was now thoroughly 
broken. A rain-storm set in on the seventeenth, which pre- 
vailed for many hours, and was supplemented by frequent 
heavy showers during succeeding days. The camp became a 
sea of mud, and the surroundings were most gloomy. - On 
one occasion a citizen came into camp, and on his invitation 
SL member of Company H accompanied him to the village and 
drank a glass of wine. Soon after returning to camp the 
soldier became alarmingly ill, and it was believed that he 
had been poisoned. The surgeons succeeded with much diffi- 
culty in saving his life. One day a couple of men having in 
charge about twenty horses passed through the town, going 
southward. The officers became suspicious afterward that the 
horsemen might be Rebels, and the Colonel, with five men, 
started in pursuit, bringing them back to camp. They pro- 
tested their loyalty and were allowed to go for witnesses, but 
never came back, and their horses were turned over to the 
Government Quartermaster. There was occasional firing on 
the picket lines at night, but no casualties occurred, unless it 
may have been to stray porkers or poultry. 

On the eighteenth Colonel Swayne was relieved from the 
command of the Brigade. He was an admirable soldier, 



70 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

and did excellent service, but was not at this time very popu- 
lar among the officers of the command, probably more because 
of the fact that his own regiment was not in the Brigade than 
for any other reason. He was succeeded by Col. Cochran, of 
the Fourteenth Kentucky. 

Thursday, November 20, Colonel Champion was directed 
to send two Companies to Danville, ten miles distant. Com- 
panies C and I were chosen, and on reaching their destination 
were assigned to quarters in the Baptist Church. During the 
following week or more they were given pretty heavy duty, 
large details for provost guard and funeral escorts being 
required daily. There were many sick and wounded of both 
armies in the city, and to preserve order among the convales- 
cents, prevent escapes of Rebels who had so far recovered as- 
to be able to travel, and furnish escorts for from two to six 
funerals daily, would have kept them busy ; but in addition 
to these duties they were obliged to scout and picket outside 
the city, and more than once were called out, expecting an 
attack from Rebel cavalry hovering in the vicinity. 

The main body of the Regiment was kept busy at Harrods- 
burg, scouting, doing guard duty and drilling. The Confed- 
erate prisoners were accustomed to watch the drill, and mani- 
fested much interest, heartily applauding any especially well 
executed movement, and laughing at the occasional errors of 
commanders or their men. One night there was some excite- 
ment because of the firing of two shots from the Rebel hos- 
pitals, the bullets whistling past some of the camp guards. 
An investigation was made, but no arms could be found in the 
hospitals. 

The camp at Harrodsburg was known as Camp Clarke,, 
being named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Isaac L. Clarke. 
Captain J. P. Black, of Company E, was assigned to duty as 
Provost Marshal of the post, remaining on duty in that capac- 
ity for several weeks. 

On the 24th the resignation of Captain Thomas A. Green, 
of Company F, was accepted, and he returned home. First 
Lieutenant Charles E. Rowan succeeded to the Captaincy of 
the Company, Second Lieutenant Nelson R. Simms was pro- 



THE REGIMENT PUBLISHES A NEWSPAPER. 71 

moted to First Lieutenant, and Sergeant William Dawson to 
Second Lieutenant. This was the first change among the com- 
missioned officers after the organization of the Regiment, 

On the 25th occurred the death, in hospital, of Hiram 
Hollister, of Company B ; and on the 30th, at the residence 
of J. W. Card well, Esq., Frank Fool, of Company E, died 
from pneumonia. The latter was a brother of Lieutenant 
Pool, of Company A. 

During the stay at Harrodsburg some of the members of 
the Regiment took possession of the office of The Kentucky 
Press, and set themselves at work to publish a newspaper, 
issuing The Soldier's Letter. It was a five-column paper, and 
2,500 copies were issued. Captain George Hicks, of Com- 
pany A, had editorial charge of the publication. His assist- 
ants were Corporals Christopher H. Berg, of Company A, 
Edmund S. Stevens, of Company 1), and John A. Boothby, 
of Company H, and Privates John W. Connor, James Ed- 
ward James and Anderson S. Allison, all of Company A. 
These men were all practical printers. The paper contained a 
complete Roster of the Regiment, a sketch of the organiza- 
tion, camp experiences and marches of the command up to 
that time ; also brief biographies of the field oificers, a sketch 
of Colonel Daviess, for whom Jo Daviess County was named, 
a description of Harrodsburg, several patriotic poems, some 
humorous communications, several illustrations, including 
the Williamsburg lady with the flag wrapped about her, 
more or less local news, and an apology because the paper 
was not larger so that other articles, ready for the press, might 
be given to the world through its columns. The issue was 
speedily exhausted, the boys purchasing the paper -at five 
cents a copy to send to their friends at home. In Ib85 several 
members of the Regiment living in the vicinity of Galena, 
111., issued a duplicate edition, and numerous copies of the 
original and the duplicate are to be found among the posses- 
sions of the soldiers of the Regiment. 

Thursday, November 27, the Regiment was ordered to 
Danville, but in view of the fact that it was Thanksgiving Day 
permission was given to defer the move until Friday. Quite 



72 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

liberal preparations were made for Thanksgiving, and nearly 
all fared sumptuously. The Ninety-second Illinois were not 
as fortunate, being compelled to inarch, instead of celebrating 
the day in camp. 

At eight o'clock on the morning of Friday, November 28, 
the main body of the Regiment took its leave of Harrodsburg 
and marched to Danville, ten miles, in two and one-half hours. 
Companies A and E were left on duty at the former place for 
a short time, Captain Hicks being in command of the post, 
and Captain Black continuing to act as Provost Marshal. The 
next day Companies C and I, which had been quartered in a 
church at Danville, joined the Regiment in camp, a half mile 
from the village. About fifty men were left in the hospital at 
Harrodsburg, quite a percentage of them having measles. 
Most of the men rejoined the Regiment within a few weeks. 
Danville was really a very pretty city at that time, having 
numerous large business blocks, churches and seminaries, and 
was a stronghold of Union sentiment. 

From the 28th of November until the 26th of December 
the Regiment made no general movement, but lay in what 
was named "Camp Baird," in honor of the General command- 
ing the division. Company and battalion drill was kept up 
with as much regularity as the weather would permit, and 
inspections and dress parades were frequent. There was a 
snow storm early in December, and some of the officers impro- 
vised a sleigh, found some sleigh-bells in town, and enjoyed 
a ride about the camp and in the city. Enlisted men con- 
tented themselves with snow-balling. A few days after the 
arrival at Danville, Colonel Champion called the men together 
and stated his wish to make the guard details lighter, closing 
a short address by saying that if they would promise not to 
leave the camp without permission he would reduce the camp 
guard from 64 to 27. The boys quickly agreed to it, and gave 
three rousing cheers for the Colonel. 

The shoddy pants before alluded to had not been replaced 
up to this time, except in a few cases where the wearers were 
exposing too much of their anatomy, but on the eleventh all 
who needed trousers were supplied. There was much atten- 



THE WINTER QUARTERS AT DANVILLE. 73 

tion given to the personal appearance of the command all 
through the winter, perhaps all the more because of the fact 
that a number of ladies, wives and mothers of the soldiers. 
visited Camp Baird, some of them remaining several weeks. 

There was keen disappointment when news came of the 
disaster to the Union forces under Gen. Burnside at Freder- 
icksburg, on the Rappahannock, and the want of success on 
the part of the expedition under Gen. Sherman, sent against 
Yicksburg. Up to this time hopes had been entertained that 
the war might be brought to an honorable close within a few 
months after the calling out of the 600,000, but these reverses 
convinced all, or nearly all, that the war was to be prolonged. 
All eyes were now turned toward the Army of the Cumber- 
land, then mainly in the vicinity of Nashville, and under the 
command of Gen. Rosecrans. It was understood that they 
-would soon make a forward movement, and there were strong 
hopes that with them it would be victory and not defeat. 

The little wedge tents were used up to the 18th of Decem- 
ber, at which time Bell tents were drawn, five or six being 
allowed to each Company. Prior to this, Company K had 
obtained some large Sibley tents, found near the battle-field 
of Perry ville. The men had by this time learned to make 
themselves quite comfortable in camp. Walls of various ma- 
terials, such as boards, rails, stone and brick, were built to 
the height of from two to four feet, and good fire-places 
with chimneys were constructed in nearly all of the tents. 
A few sheet-iron stoves were used. Sometimes excavations 
two or three feet in depth were made, the dirt thrown out 
being used to bank up the tents. This latter arrangement 
was deemed unhealthy, however, and was discouraged by the 
officers and surgeons. 

The large tents proved very pleasant and convenient. 
In the evening each one was a most cheerful place. Bright 
fires blazed in the improvised fire-places, and bayonets, stuck 
in the ground, were used as candlesticks. From the center- 
poles hung the accoutrements, and on racks built for the pur- 
pose lay the shining Enfield muskets. The men, lounging on 
their blankets spread upon the clean straw, told stories, pro- 



74 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

pounded conundrums, read, sang, or played cards, checkers, 
or chess, as their humor dictated, until tattoo and taps sent 
them to bed. Thousands of letters were written and received, 
and the arrival of the mail each day was the signal for a gen- 
eral turnout of the command. Many daily papers were taken, 
and the soldiers, during that winter at least, knew what was 
going on throughout the country almost as well as their friends 
at home. In the evening the camp, as viewed from a little 
distance, was a pretty scene. The tents, standing in regular 
rows, and each lit up from within, were a pleasant study. 

Early in the month Lieutenant C. A. Montgomery, of 
Company D, was detailed on the staff of Col. Cochran, as 
Brigade Commissary, and Lieutenant George W. Pepoon, of 
Company K, as Aide de Camp. 

Almost daily details were sent into the country, often for 
five or six miles, to cut wood, which was hauled to camp in 
army wagons. This duty was quite severe, as the choppers 
were required to walk one way, and sometimes both ways. 
A heavy picket line was established all about the camp, but as 
there was no large force of Rebels in the neighborhood the 
reserve posts were allowed to keep up good fires, although 
heavy screens of evergreen were placed in front of them so 
that they should not be too plainly visible from points outside 
the lines. On a few occasions, when an attack was appre- 
hended, these fires were extinguished, to the great discomfort 
of the men, the long winter nights passing most drearily. 

On the night of December 10 a rumor reached camp that 
a portion of Morgan's command was in the near vicinity, and 
Company C was hastily sent down town to guard a building 
where ammunition was stored. The picket lines were doubled 
and every preparation made to give the noted cavalryman a 
warm reception should he see fit to pay the camp a visit ; but 
he did not come, and next day all was quiet. There was 
frequent firing on the picket lines at night, cattle and horses 
wandering near the outposts being frequently mistaken for 
cavalrymen by the zealous guards, and sometimes even trees 
and stumps being tortured into imaginary enemies. Undoubt- 
edly more or less of this shooting was purely wanton, the 



THE KOUTINE OF DAILY DUTIES. 75 

men firing their guns as much for their own amusement as 
because they thought a real enemy was approaching. It 
should be remembered, however, that many of the soldiers 
were mere boys, from sixteen to eighteen years of age, and as 
it was known that there were numerous bands of cavalry in 
the neighborhood, it is hardly to be wondered at that in the 
long and weary watches they became a little over-anxious and 
imagined any object they might see outside the lines a scout 
or spy attempting to reach the camp. As a rule, one-third of 
each guard detail was kept on outpost, one-third kept awake 
and under arms at the reserve post, and one-third allowed to 
sleep beside the fires. 

All through the winter the camp regulations were very 
strict, no one being allowed to pass the limits of the camp 
without written permission. Reveille sounded every morning 
at half-past five o'clock. Roll-call followed immediately,, 
every man being required to take his place in line in the Com- 
pany street, those failing to respond being placed on extra 
duty. Then followed preparations for breakfast, after which 
the grounds were thoroughly policed. At half-past eight 
came guard-mount, a part of the detail being assigned for 
picket duty, a part for camp guard, and a part for provost 
duty in the city. These latter men were required to arrest all 
citizens and soldiers found without written passes in the day- 
time or the countersign at night. At half-past nine Company 
drill was begun, continuing from one to two hours. In the 
early afternoon there was Battalion drill, and at half-past four 
came Dress parade. At half-past seven occurred the final 
roll-call, and at eight o'clock came taps, which was the signal 
for all lights to be out. After a time the First Sergeants be- 
came a little careless as to the manner in which the evening 
roll-call was responded to. It was not that they meant to be 
willfully negligent, but rather because of their real kindness 
of heart. At first those who had been on guard the night 
before were excused from coming out arid forming in line ; then 
some soldier answered to the name of another ; a stormy 
night came, and the Sergeants made the usual noise in the 
streets, while the men answered from the tents ; next night 



76 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

the same form was gone through with, although there was no 
storm. A week passed in this way, but one evening the First 
Sergeants were summoned to Regimental Headquarters. 
When all had arrived Colonel Champion made a little speech, 
which ran about as follows: "I understand that there has 
'' been some deviation from the prescribed rule in the matter 
4 'of the evening roll-call. I have only this to say: If the 
*' present First Sergeants are unable or unwilling to obey the 
" orders heretofore made, I have no doubt that I shall be able 
"to find men in each Company who can and will. Good 
"evening, gentlemen." 

The abrupt termination of the Colonel's address fairly 
dazed his auditors, but it was not many seconds until all had 
filed out of the tent into the darkness, each feeling very much 
as if he would like to find a very small hole somewhere into 
which he could crawl. The rolls were called in due form 
from that time until active campaigning and thinned ranks 
rendered it unnecessary. 

Christmas was spent quite pleasantly in the camp, with 
ample rations, and was indeed with many quite a merry day. 
Just after the evening dress parade, orders were received to 
march at daylight next morning. The men who were thought 
to be unable to march were sent to the hospitals in town, 
extra rations were issued, and everything put in order for the 
start. Between three and four o'clock next morning reveille 
was sounded. Then followed breakfast, after which the tent 
stakes were all drawn, except barely enough to hold the can- 
vas houses in position, and at a given signal every tent went 
to the ground and was rolled up and placed in the wagons. 
It was a weird sight as that canvas village disappeared. All 
about were blazing camp-fires, which served to make the out- 
side darkness more intense. The huge army wagons standing 
here and there, the men moving around in the uncertain light, 
the braying of the mules, the shouting of the drivers, the 
sounding of the bugles, the rattling of the drums, the merry 
faces of the eager soldiers, as they piled the boxes and tables 
and heaped the floors of the tents high on the blazing fires, 
destroying all the little camp conveniences not caring to 



THE MARCH TO LEBANON AND RETURN. 7T 

leave them for the enemy, and not dreaming that they would 
again occupy the same ground within thirty-six hours formed 
a strange spectacle, and one not easily described. 

At a quarter before six o'clock, and while it was yet quite- 
dark, knapsacks were slung and the men filed into line by 
Companies and marched to the parade grounds. There was a 
little delay, but at half-past six the column moved forward. 
All were eager to know the destination of the Division, but 
those who could tell would not. The column, embracing 
nearly the entire Division, moved out toward Lebanon, over 
a good macadamized road. The weather was mild, and in the 
early morning not unpleasant. About nine o'clock, however, 
a drenching rain set in, increasing in violence and making the 
march a most severe one. General Granger and his staff 
were riding at the head of the column. They had good, fresh 
horses, and were no doubt in a hurry to get to the end of the 
march, it seemed then as if they had little regard for the 
comfort of the men, for through that drenching rain, when 
every moment made overcoats and knapsacks heavier, they 
plodded on at a fast walk, for miles together, without giving 
them an opportunity for rest. Rumor had it that Morgan 
was in the front, and that this body of troops was to reinforce 
the garrison at Murnfordsville. Plainly there was great 
haste, for rarely have men been so o verm arched. It was as 
if infantry was trying to keep up with cavalry. Through 
long miles the men cheered and sang to keep up their spirits, 
but as their loads grew heavier, their limbs tired, their feet 
sore, and their judgment confirmed their impression that they 
were being imposed upon, many of them became moody and 
marched in silence. The General at last took the hint, and 
made several stops. At half-past two or three o'clock, the 
rain, which had been coming in torrents, began to abate 
somewhat, and when, at four o'clock, after traveling fifteen or 
sixteen miles, the column filed to the right into a muddy 
cornfield, and ft was announced that this was to be the camp, 
it had entirely ceased for the time being. That was a camp 
to be remembered. At every step the men sank into the 
ground to their shoe-tops. Strict orders were issued by Gen. 



78 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Granger against taking the rails composing the fence for fuel, 
but the officers commanding the Regiment very properly told 
the men to take the top rails and that they would be responsi- 
ble. Fuel was actually essential to the comfort of the troops 
after such a march and in such a camp-ground. Gen. Granger 
ordered details to be sent out to chop wood, and a score or 
more of tired soldiers followed the wagons to the timber and 
cut and loaded wood to be brought to camp. They worked 
hard and returned late with their green fuel, that was not to 
be burned, for the "top rails" had been used long before the 
wagons arrived. The General used some "cuss" words in 
his discussion of the Volunteer officers, but evidently con- 
cluded that discretion was the better part of valor, and re- 
frained from having any prolonged contest over the little 
matter of a few fence rails. A stack of hay, a pile of straw, a 
large quantity of cornstalks, and, these failing, a stack of oats, 
were carried into the tents of the soldiers, all disappearing 
within twenty minutes. In this way the men kept themselves 
out of the mud, and it was really surprising to see how com- 
fortable they had made themselves within an hour after their 
tents were up. Hardly was the camp established before the 
rain again began to fall in torrents, continuing for some hours. 
At ten o'clock in the evening two regiments and a battery 
were ordered forward to Lebanon without baggage and in 
great haste, but before they had started the order was coun- 
termanded, and they returned to their tents. 

In the morning the weather was colder. There was an 
early reveille and breakfast. Plainly the commanding officers 
were uncertain what to do, for there was much marching and 
countermarching, but within an hour or two the column was 
headed for Danville and made the march over the ground 
passed by them the day before, camping at four o'clock in 
the afternoon on the identical grounds they had vacated so 
recently. How the boys wished then that they had not burned 
their boxes and gun-racks and tables and tent* floors ! How- 
ever, they made the best of the situation, and fitted up their 
tents in good order. This trip was very severe upon the men, 
and following it many were sjck. For a time it was supposed 



Two COMPANIES SENT TO HICKMAN BRIDGE. 7J> 

tluit the movement was intended as a diversion to hold the 
Rebel force in Kentucky, and prevent their reinforcing Gen. 
Bragg, then contending with the Army of the Cumberland at 
Stone's River. It afterward became known that the Rebel 
Gen. Morgan had tapped the telegraph wires and sent bogus 
dispatches to Gen. Granger, hurrying him forward to Lebanon, 
himself marching off' toward Kentucky River at his leisure, 
picking up more or less horses and gathering in a few recruits. 
A day or two later two Regiments of the Division repeated 
this march to Lebanon and return. 

Tuesday, December 30, Companies B and I were sent out 
on a scout to the Kentucky River, a battery of artillery accom- 
panying them. There were also several infantry companies 
from other regiments, their destination being Hickman 
Bridge, about fifteen miles away. They had a most disagree- 
able march in the cold rain storm. They were absent from 
the Regiment for some days, but did not find any organized 
enemy. On the night of December 31, there was a rumor of 
trouble on the picket lines, and the men were required to 
sleep under arms all night. Next day the teams were kept 
harnessed and the men under orders to be ready to fall in at 
a moment's notice, but still no trouble came. 

On the thirtieth Captain James H. Clark, of Company 
G, resigned and returned home, whereupon First Lieutenant 
David L. James was made Captain, and Second Lieutenant 
Benj. G. Blowney was promoted to First Lieutenant. An 
election was held for Second Lieutenant, First Sergeant Hiram 
W. Farns worth and Sergeant James O. Havens being the 
principal rivals. The latter received the most votes and en- 
tered upon the duties of the position ; but within a few days, 
and before a commission had been issued, a contest occurred 
in Company B which resulted in a tie vote, whereupon the 
vote in each Company was disregarded, and, upon the recom- 
mendation of the Colonel, the Governor of the State issued 
commissions to the next in rank, and First Sergeant Farns- 
worth became Second Lieutenant, Sergeant Havens being 
-appointed First Sergeant. 

Following these severe winter expeditions many were 



80 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

prostrated by sickness. From the very organization of the 
Regiment there had been frequent cases of measles, men being 
left sick with this disease at almost every stopping place. 
Mumps, pneumonia and typhoid fever were also common, and 
deaths were very frequent. 

Those dying during the month were, Henry H. Swan, of 
Company C, December 3 ; John Chope, of Company D, De- 
cember 8 ; Richard Wilton, of Company D, December 19 ;. 
Robert Pollard, of Company K, December 19 ; Terhan 
Shaffer, of Company E, December 29 ; the latter at Harrods- 
burg ; all of the others at Danville. In several instances the 
parents and near friends of sick soldiers came to attend them, 
but in two or three cases arrived too late to find their loved 
ones living. In most cases the remains were taken North for 
burial. It was an invariable custom to provide a military 
escort to the grave in case of local burial, and to the express 
office when the bodies were sent home. Religious services 
were held, and a quartet or choir always furnished music- 
The selection most frequently sung was : 

OB, WRAP THE FLAG AROUND ME, BOYS. 

Oh, wrap the flag around me, boys, 

To die were far more sweet 
With Freedom's starry emblem, boys, 

To be my winding sheet. 
In life I loved to see it wave 

And follow where it led, 
And now my eyes grow dim, my hands 

Would clasp its last bright shred. 

CHORUS. Then wrap the flag around me, boys, 

To die were far more sweet 
With Freedom's starry emblem, boys, 
To be my winding sheet. 

Oh, I had thought to greet you, boys, 

On many a well-won field, 
When to our starry banner, boys, 

The trait'rous foe should yield. 
But now, alas ! I am denied 

My dearest earthly prayer ; 
You'll follow and you'll meet the foe, 

But I shall not be there. 




GEORGE HICKS. 



MAJOR AND BREVET COLONEL. 



r,' 



1 'On, WRAP THE FLAG AROUND ME, BOYS." 81 

But though my body moulder, boys, 

My spirit will be free. 
And every comrade's honor, boys, 

Will still be dear to me. 
There, in the thick and bloody fight, 

Ne'er let your ardor lag, 
For I'll be there, still hov'ring near, 

Above the dear old flag ! 



82 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 



CHAPTER VI. 



The Negro Question Waiting for News from Stone's River Drilling 
Resumed Visitors in Camp Pay-day Arrives Eleven Deaths in 
a Single Month A Heavy Winter Storm Changes Among the 
Officers An Eighty-five Mile March to Louisville Aboard the 
Transports The Arrival at Fort Donelson The Second Battle at 
that Historic Point Up the Cumberland to Nashville. 

UP to the close of the year 1862 the slavery question con- 
tinued to be a fruitful theme of discussion ; indeed, for some 
time following that date the subject was the occasion of 
numerous orders by both the civil and the military author- 
ities, and a fruitful source of argument with both citizens and 
soldiers. On one or more occasions at Danville there was a 
public sale of negroes, which was quite largely attended by 
soldiers. Not all of the spectators were impressed alike by 
the strange spectacle of a human being on the auction block, 
although to the majority there came a feeling of indignation 
that was not attempted to be concealed. But the time was at 
hand when the Emancipation Proclamation was to settle some 
of the problems of the war, and to destroy the value of the 
negro as "property." Meanwhile there were more or less 
incidents occurring that served to show the terrible spirit of 
the hateful institution. On one occasion, at Danville, Ky., 
Captain Rewan and Sergeant Lee, of Company F, went to the 
hotel to take dinner. The Captain's waiter, or servant, a col- 
ored man whom he had hired, accompanied them, for the pur- 
pose of carrying some supplies back to camp, and waited out- 
side while they ate dinner. On returning to the office at the 
close of the meal the Captain looked in vain for the colored 
man. The office, or bar-room, was filled with citizens, who 
seemed rather amused than otherwise at the Captain's in- 
quiries as to the whereabouts of the missing "contraband." 
After some delay the Captain drew a revolver and suggested 



How CAPT. ROWAN RESCUED A COLORED MAN. 83 

that he proposed to secure the information requested without 
delay. Seeing that the officer meant what he said, some of the 
bystanders vouchsafed the information that a "nigger" had 
been seen there, but as he did not seem to have any owner, 
and, moreover, as that office was intended for ' ' gentlemen " 
and not for "niggers," the intruder had been treated precisely 
as a stray animal would be at the North, and was in the 
"pound." Rowan was a resolute fellow, and demanded that 
the "gentleman" who had caused the servant's imprisonment 
should immediately take steps looking to his return to the 
hotel. Very little attention was given to this demand, al- 
though it was evident that the visitors were somewhat troubled 
over the situation. There was a moment of painful silence, 
which was broken by the sound of a scuffle in the hall leading 
from the dining room. The guests had not noticed that Ser- 
geant Lee, a powerfully built man, several inches over six feet 
in height, and as strong and resolute as he was large, had 
disappeared from the scene, until the Captain bade them a 
pleasant "good day," and passed into the hall and out 
through the front door. In a moment the crowd followed. 
Arriving on the street they were somewhat taken back to see 
Lee and the Captain walking toward camp with the head- 
waiter of the hotel safely in their clutches, the white apron 
fluttering in the wind, and the bare-headed servant making a 
feeble show of resistance. Instantly the hotel man started in 
pursuit, remonstrating against their taking his most valuable 
"nigger." "Bring back my servant and you can have yours," 
was Captain Rowan's reply. It did not take long for the 
boniface to make up his mind that he could not trifle with his 
Yankee guests, and an exchange was speedily arranged and 
quickly carried out. This was but one of several incidents 
that had amusing features in them. 

In a certain temporary camp in Kentucky, in the autumn 
of 1862, a couple of citizens approached two soldiers of the 
Regiment, and, after some parleying, made an offer of $100 
if the soldiers would deliver two colored men who were in the 
camp into their custody. The proposition was, that at a given 
hour the negroes should be brought to a designated spot in the 



84 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

woods not far from a certain spring. The soldiers agreed to- 
consider the matter and let them know. Once away from their 
tempters the boys began to reason concerning the matter. 
The inducement was certainly a strong one. One of the boys 
suggested that, as pay-day had been long deferred, it would be 
very handy just then to be able to send $100 to his mother, 
who really needed the money, and remarked that the negroes- 
would have no trouble in running away again if they cared 
much for their freedom. Still they were a little loth to sur- 
render these escaped slaves into bondage, and had some com- 
punctions of conscience. But they reflected that it was not 
much worse for them to force the citizens into a contract that 
might be advantageous to the soldiers than it had been for the 
citizens to force the negroes to labor through long years with- 
out compensation. As the result of their deliberations they 
concluded to demand $200 of the citizens, and at the same 
time secure the liberty of the escaped slaves. In accordance 
with the plan formed, they took two comrades into the secret, 
told the negroes of what they proposed to do, and notified the 
citizens that for $200 they would surrender the fugitives. 
This proposition was accepted and the plan carried out. After 
the $200 had been received by the soldiers the citizens started 
off with their slaves, the latter apparently feeling greatly dis- 
tressed. They had gone but a short distance when the soldiers 
who had been taken into the secret suddenly sprung out from a 
clump of bushes, confronted the citizens with a pair of revolv- 
ers, demanded that they raise their hands and stand perfectly 
still, and called to the colored men to run for camp. All of 
the orders were obeyed, and the negroes, in accordance with 
previously arranged plans, left that part of the country in the 
early evening, and were not seen again until the Regiment took 
up its line of march the next morning and had proceeded for 
some miles. 

The writer does not seek to justify this action, but, as a 
faithful historian, can hardly omit to mention the circum- 
stance. 

New Year's Day, 1863, was bright and pleasant, and there 
was considerable jollity in camp. Col. Atkins, of the 92d 



PAY-DAY AND THE PAYMASTER. 85 

Illinois, was serenaded and responded with a pleasant speech, 
which was listened to by a large portion of his own command 
and the NINETY-SIXTH Regiment. At this time there were a 
number of visitors to the camp from both Lake and Jo Daviess 
counties, several ladies among the number, most of the latter 
being the wives of officers. On the third, Companies I and 
B came in from their Kentucky River scout. From that time 
until January 26 there was no move on the part of the Regi- 
ment. There was considerable drilling, the men taking up 
the bayonet exercise. 

It was the understanding that pay-day in the army should 
come once in two months. However this may have been 
the paymaster did not come as frequently as that. He had 
been long expected and once had arrived in camp, but as it 
was just at the time of the Lebanon expedition he did not 
remain to pay off the troops, going to another camp, and 
returning to Danville January 15. Pay-day had been so long 
deferred that it was hoped and expected that he would pay 
the men up to December 31. The Government had been 
very heavily taxed, however, and, being short of funds, 
instructed the paymasters to settle up all accounts to October 
31, 1862. Most of the men had overdrawn their clothing 
accounts, so that the amount received by the privates was 
generally about twenty dollars, a very small sum for men 
with families at home dependent in any considerable measure 
upon their wages for support. 

There 'was quite a heavy storm prevailing throughout a 
considerable part of the 15th and 16th of January, a severe 
rain being succeeded by sleet and snow. The trees were 
coated with ice for several days, and the ground thickly cov- 
ered with snow. As a consequence the camp was left in bad 
condition, and there was but little drilling during the remain- 
der of the stay at Danville. 

The unfavorable news from the Army of the Potomac, in 
December, when the Union forces were obliged to retire from 
Fredericksburg and the Rappahannock, after sustaining a loss 
not compensated for in direct results, had been a great disap- 
pointment to all, for it was confidently hoped that with the 



86 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

heavy reinforcements that had been sent to Gen. Burnside 
from the troops enlisted during the summer and autumn, that 
oft-baffled army would be able to overcome all obstacles and 
make its way to Richmond. The disappointment over, all 
eyes were turned toward Gen. Rosecrans and the Army of the 
Cumberland, who were reported to have moved out from 
Nashville in search of the enemy, determined to drive him 
to a less threatening position than that which he had occu- 
pied for some months. But the news was slow in coming y 
while anxiety deepened as the days went by. At last word 
came that the advance had been entirely successful, and that 
the advantages gained had been very decided. About the 
same time the report gained currency that the armies under 
Gens. Grant and Sherman had captured Vicksburg, and there 
was great rejoicing, but the latter report proved untrue. 

The First Sergeants again became a little lax in their 
duties, and for a night or two some of the Companies turned 
out for evening roll-call without arms. The eyes of the 
officers at Regimental Headquarters were open, however, and 
the Orderlies were summoned to the Adjutant's tent, and that 
official gave those who had violated the rule of the camp a 
little time for reflection, placing them under arrest, but sub- 
sequently releasing them without punishment. Another time 
they were given a lecture upon the subject of reporting their 
Companies on dress parade as "all present or accounted for," 
when, as a matter of fact, more or less of those who should 
have been present were not in line. However, the relations 
between the Adjutant and the First Sergeants were never 
strained or unpleasant, but the latter learned that they must 
not trifle with their superior officers or neglect their full duties 
in matters of this kind. 

A part of the time flour was issued to the men in lieu of 
bread, but the results were not entirely satisfactory. Some of 
the Companies effected an exchange with a local bakery, and 
were fairly pleased, while others detailed men to do the 
baking. Later on these men became experts, and many a 
brick oven was constructed, excellent ' ' soft bread " being made 
by the Company cooks. 



FREQUENT DEATHS. RESIGNATIONS AND PROMOTIONS. 87 

Toward the close of the stay at Camp JBaird the weather 
was so cold and disagreeable, and the camp ground became 
so wet and muddy, that the camp guard was dispensed with 
for a night or two. The men were obliged to remain inside 
their tents and keep up rousing fires in order to have any 
comfort. Fortunately the mails, which had been missent to 
Cairo and Memphis for some weeks, were returned about this 
time, and as a result almost every man had a handful of 
letters and a bundle of papers with which to while away the 
otherwise tedious hours. Cards were also used a great deal, 
and an occasional game of "chuck-luck" was indulged in, 
particularly during the week following the visit of the pay- 
master. 

Sickness continued to weaken the Regiment all through 
the month, and deaths among members of the command were 
very frequent. Not all died at Danville, for a few had been 
sent to hospital elsewhere, or had been left at points where the 
Regiment had previously camped. James M. Beall, of Com- 
pany A ; James Brown, Alfred Collins and George Rix, of 
Company B ; Corporal Edwin A. Bartles and Samuel Clem- 
ents, of Company C ; William Hubbard and Brainard E. 
Strong, of Company E ; Leroy Demmon and Freeman James, 
of Company G, and James D. Lester, of Company K, all died 
in January, or during the early days of February. The 
remains of nearly all were taken North for burial, but a few 
were interred in the public cemetery at Danville. 

Chaplain Jonathan M. Clendenning resigned on the twen- 
ty-third, and his place was not filled for several weeks. 
Owing to the protracted illness of Surgeon Charles Martin 
and Second Assistant Surgeon Daniel A. Sheffield, Captain 
David Salisbury, of Company B, who was a physician, was 
detailed to assist First Assistant Surgeon Evans in the care of 
the sick. First Lieutenant Rollin H. Trumbull, of Company 
B, resigned, and Second Lieutenant Allen B. Whitney suc- 
ceeded to the place thus made vacant. An election was ordered 
for Second Lieutenant, which resulted in a tie between Cor- 
porals Wait and Folsom, whereupon the Colonel recommended 
to Governor Yates that First Sergeant Evangelist J. Gilmore 



88 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

be commissioned, which was done. Colonel Champion was 
quite ill for a time, and took up quarters in town, leaving the 
Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Clarke. 
A number of the line officers were also sick, and took up quar- 
ters at private houses. 

Sunday, January 25, marching orders were received, the 
destination being Louisville, Ky. All soldiers not able to 
march were sent to the hospitals in the city, and the usual 
preparations made for breaking camp. Six days' rations were 
issued, a considerable part of the provisions being loaded 
upon the wagons. Many were the regrets at leaving Danville, 
for during the two months in which the Regiment had been 
camped there most of the officers and a few of the enlisted 
men had formed pleasant acquaintances among the loyal 
people of the town. 

Monday, Januarj^ 26, reveille sounded at half-past three 
o'clock in the morning, and the camp speedily became full of 
activity. A start was made at half-past six, the column pass- 
ing out through Danville and Harrodsburg, the latter place 
being passed about noon. As the Division was to march 
toward, and not away from, its base of supplies, there was an 
abundance of transportation for all baggage, and the knap- 
sacks of the men were loaded upon the wagons belonging to 
the Brigade supply train. This was a great relief to the men, 
and enabled them to march more comfortably and more rapidly 
than they otherwise could have done. It was understood that 
Louisville must be reached by Saturday night, and as the dis- 
tance was about eighty-five miles, this would make the daily 
average a little more than fourteen miles. The time was 
shortened, however ; the first day's march being about seven- 
teen miles, the column going into camp at a little after two 
o'clock, near Salvisa. The day was thoroughly disagreeable, 
a rain-storm prevailing much of the time, and lasting through- 
out the night, turning into snow next day. The pikes were 
in good condition, so that the mud was not deep, but the road 
was wet and slippery, and covered to the depth of an inch or 
two with a limestone paste about the consistency of thin mor- 
tar. The camp ground for the night seemed to have been 



THE MARCH TO LOUISVILLE. 89 

strangely selected, for, in a region full of meadows, and where 
the ground was broken so as to admit of abundant drainage, 
the Regiment was halted in a plowed field so badly drained 
that water was standing on many parts of the ground. For- 
tunately there were some oat stacks near at hand, which 
were speedily taken into the tents, and the men were able to 
make themselves comfortable beds. 

Tuesday, January 27, found the camp early astir, and at 
seven o'clock a start was made. The teams had a trying time 
in getting from the camp ground to the pike, and large details 
of men were required to lift upon the wheels, or unload the 
wagons that were hopelessly stalled in the mud. This occa- 
sioned some delay, but once fairly started the march was 
rapid, and by three o'clock seventeen miles had been reeled 
off. The day being cold and snowy a ration of whisky was 
issued about noon. This was the first occurrence of this kind 
in the Regiment's experience. That night there was consider- 
able forage in camp, the men ascertaining from negroes who 
of the residents in the vicinity were disloyal, and then levying 
contributions from the poultry houses and sweet potato bins. 

Wednesday, January 28, the Second Brigade had the 
advance, the 14th Kentucky leading, and the NINETY-SIXTH 
being next. The Kentuckians were veterans, and had made 
many long marches. As they left camp in the morning they 
declared their intention of leaving their Illinois comrades 
long before night. Taking a long, swinging gait that well 
befitted the immediate posterity of Daniel Boone, they counted 
oft the miles so rapidly that it soon began to tell upon their 
own number, for the stragglers were quite as numerous from 
the leading regiment as from the one immediately following. 
The grit of the NINETY-SIXTH was up, and they crowded hard 
upon the heels of their leaders, ever and anon calling to them 
to go faster. But such work was senseless, and, after a time, 
the officers used their authority to check the speed somewhat, 
but by two o'clock, at which time the head of the column went 
into camp, a distance of eighteen miles had been traveled. 
The men were thoroughly tired and heartily glad when camp 
was reached. The principal towns passed during the day were 



90 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Hardinsville and Clayville. During the march whisky was 
again issued. The snow had fallen to a depth of three or 
four inches, and it was necessary to scrape it from the ground 
before the tents could be made comfortable. To those who 
were strong and well marching in the mud and camping in the 
snow was hard and tiresome enough, although many were in 
excellent spirits and made the camp merry with song and 
shout ; but in each Company were a few who were weak and 
ill, and for such these experiences were very trying. 

Thursday, January 29, the Second Brigade was at the rear 
of the column, the NINETY-SIXTH leading the Brigade. There 
was no foolish racing, but a leisurely march of seventeen 
miles, camp being reached at four o'clock. The villages 
passed were Shelbyville and Boston, the former the reputed 
home of the hero of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." 

Friday, January 30, the NINETY-SIXTH had the rear of the 
entire column, and did not leave camp until eight o'clock. 
The day was pleasant, and for the first time since leaving 
Danville the command had the sunshine in which to march. 
Middletown was passed early in the day, and the outskirts of 
Louisville reached at three o'clock, where a halt was made for 
the night, the command having made about fifteen miles. 
The entire trip was made in a day less than had been antici- 
pated. The artillery did not halt, but went immediately to 
the boats. The 14th Kentucky was here detached from 
the Brigade, Col. Cochran being assigned to an independent 
command in his own State. This necessitated a change of 
Brigade Commanders, and Col. Smith D. Atkins, of the 92d 
Illinois, being next in rank, assumed command. Colonel 
Champion, who had come from Danville by stage and rail, 
here rejoined the Regiment. Word was received of the death, 
at Danville, of Lieutenant Montgomery, of Company D, who 
had been left ill, but who had not been regarded as in a criti- 
cal condition until two days before the Regiment started. The 
announcement caused universal sorrow, for he had from the 
first been one of the most popular officers in the line. In his 
last hours he was attended by his wife, who on the first intel- 
ligence of his illness .had started for the South. The vacancy 



THE REGIMENT EMBARKS FOR NASHVILLE. 91 

occasioned by the death of Lieutenant Montgomery was filled 
by the promotion of Lieutenant Hastings; First Sergeant 
Theodore F. Clarkson being commissioned Second Lieutenant. 
Saturday, January 31, the command marched some three or 
four miles to the landing and halted. After some consultation 
the Regiment was divided, the right wing Companies A, F, 
D, I and C going upon the steamer "R. B. Hamilton;" and 
the left wing Companies H, E, K, G and B going upon 
the steamer "Nashville." Colonel Champion and Adjutant 
Blodgett accompanied the right wing, and Lieutenant Colonel 
Clarke and Major Smith the left wing. Then began the work 
of loading the camp equipage. There were large details to take 
the wagons to pieces and stow them away, together with the 
tents, mess-chests, extra ammunition and rations, in the holds 
and upon the decks of the vessels. The mules and horses 
were placed upon the lower decks, and the soldiers, packed 
as thickly as they could well be, occupied such space as 
was not filled with baggage. The work of loading required 
nearly the entire day. Fires were built on shore, and the cooks 
spent the time in boiling the rations of meat, it being under- 
stood that there would be little or no opportunity to cook any- 
thing but coffee on the trip. How tired the men became of 
"cooked rations." Everything was "boiled," usually until 
overdone or scorched, and the rations became terribly dis- 
tasteful, especially to men who were half sick or homesick, 
and there were many of either kind. The homesickness 
seemed to have increased as the troops neared "God's coun- 
try, " as the soldiers were ever wont to call the region north 
of the Ohio River. Those who were seriously unwell were 
taken to hospitals ; others were allowed in the cabin, such 
staterooms as were not required by the officers being assigned 
to those regarded by the Surgeons as least able to endure the 
rigors of the deck passage. So great was the discontent, that 
in every regiment in the Division there were a few desertions. 
When the rolls were made out, February 1, the NINETY-SIXTH. 
was ten men short, that number having left between Danville 
and Louisville, or while passing Smithland ; several others 
leaving on the trip a few days later, at or near Fort Donelson. 



92 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Strict orders had been given that no negroes be taken 
aboard the boats, but the officers assumed that they had a 
right to take their hired employes, regardless of color, and set 
them at work to help in carrying the baggage aboard. Once 
on the boat, few of the negroes left, and those who did were 
not compelled to, but acted as they chose in the matter. 
Other regiments had a great deal more trouble with the 
negro than the NINETY-SIXTH, but it is doubtful if many regi- 
ments aided more slaves in escaping from bondage. 

During Saturday and Sunday all the troops in the Divis- 
ion were loaded on the large fleet of transports. The steam- 
ers took on coal, filled up any unoccupied space in their holds 
with government stores, and during the night dropped down 
the Ohio River about ten miles, and tied up on the Indiana 
shore until morning, when a large amount of baled hay was 
taken aboard, the bales being set up on end to protect the 
boilers in case of an attack from the shore. The pilot houses 
were protected by boiler iron. During Monday more coal 
was taken on, at Cannelton, Ind. The weather at this time 
was thoroughly disagreeable, rain and snow alternating, and 
the wind blowing fiercely. Those who had been assigned 
to quarters upon the upper decks found their positions well 
nigh unendurable ; indeed, most of them gave up trying to 
keep warm there, and sought refuge in the holds of the 
steamers, where they could at least be out of the wind. 

On Tuesday Evansville and Shawneetown were passed, 
.and early in the afternoon the mouth of the Cumberland 
River was reached. Up to the time of leaving Louisville 
there had been much speculation as to the destination of the 
-command, some thinking that the Division was to be sent to 
reinforce Gen. Grant or Gen. Sherman, then operating on the 
Mississippi, and others firm in the opinion that Nashville and 
the Army of the Cumberland were to receive this substantial 
reinforcement. But at Smithland all doubt was set aside. It 
had been announced that the boats would tie up for the night 
at the last-named point ; but the sullen sound of distant can- 
non could be heard, and they kept on through the night up 
the Cumberland, for word had been received that the enemy, 



INCIDENTS OF THE TRIP UP THE CUMBERLAND. 93 

in large force, was in the vicinity of Fort Donelson. Only 
meager particulars could be learned, for the wires were cut 
almost as soon as they had begun their report, and refused 
to give up the story of the unequal contest. All through the 
long night the fleet kept on its way up the river. The tiring had 
ceased, but there was considerable apprehension as to the fate 
of the Union troops. At the first dawning of the morning 
there were many on deck, watching the precipitous bluffs that 
formed the river bank. The wind was still cold and bleak, 
but at many points these bluffs were so high and the river so 
narrow that there was some protection from the chilling blasts. 
Those so fortunate as to have money treated themselves to a 
good "square "meal in the cabin at occasional intervals on 
the trip, but the great majority were obliged to content them- 
selves with cold boiled meat, hard bread and coffee. On -the 
morning of the third, James Shay, of Company E, was mis- 
sing. As there had been a number of desertions, he was 
supposed to have left the boat voluntarily, but those who 
knew him best felt certain that he was not a man who would 
desert, and there can be little doubt that, unobserved, he fell 
overboard during the night and met death by drowning. 

Wednesday, February 4, as the boats steamed up the river 
many bales of hay were noticed floating about. A mule 
jumped overboard from one of the boats and swam to the 
shore, his struggles in the water being watched with keen 
interest. The soldiers concluded that he must be a " deserter. " 
The men were kept ready for a fight, standing at arms ail 
day. It was expected that the boats would be fired on from 
the shore, as it was known that Wheeler's Cavalry had started 
out with the intention of cutting off the fleet and preventing 
its passage to Nashville, if possible. The landing at Dover, 
a little above Fort Donelson, was made at about four o'clock 
in the afternoon. Before this point was reached there was 
considerable anxiety as to the outcome of the engagement of 
the day before. The cannon had been heard plainly at Smith- 
land, and as it was known that Wheeler had a heavy force, 
while there was but a single regiment at Fort Donelson, it 
was feared that this point might be found in possession of the 



"94 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

enemy. Proper caution was observed, however, a portion of 
the 92d Illinois being landed from one of the advance boats, 
and moved forward until a house was reached and reliable 
information obtained to the effect that Gen. Wheeler had been 
badly defeated, and that Fort Donelson was still in possession 
of the Federals. This fact ascertained, the fleet moved on, 
and tied up at the landing near which, just a year before, the 
first substantial victory of the war had been achieved by the 
Union forces. The soldiers scrambled from the boats as soon 
as the gang planks were lowered, to learn the news and ascer- 
tain how the troops had fared in the battle of Tuesday. The 
particulars of that second battle of Fort Donelson are matters 
of history. Nine Companies of the 83d Illinois, numbering 
about 650 men, under the admirable leadership of Col. 
Harding, and assisted by a single battery of artillery and a 
32-pound rifled siege gun, successfully held in check 8,000 
cavalry and mounted infantry under Gens. Wheeler and 
Forrest. Going out for quite a distance they harrassed them 
with a deadly skirmish fire all the afternoon and until half-past 
eight o'clock in the evening, falling back from time to time as 
necessity compelled. The ground all about Dover was strewn 
with the dead, and all of the houses were filled with the 
wounded. It is a fact that the Federals killed and wounded 
more of the enemy than it carried muskets, about 200 dead 
being buried by them, and several hundred wounded falling 
into their hands. The loss of the 83d Illinois was 13 killed 
and 51 wounded. The 13th Wisconsin, which had been 
stationed at Fort Henry, twelve miles distant, had marched 
over to Fort Donelson, and many of them were gathered near 
the landing to watch the boats as they arrived. Of a sudden 
there was a glad cry of joy from one of the boats, and Franc 
Milheiser, of Company C, was seen rushing to the shore, 
where he seized a sturdy soldier from the 13th, hugging him 
and manifesting every feeling of delight. Nor did the soldier 
seem averse to this unusual treatment, for, while less demon- 
strative, he was none the less pleased, and when Franc began 
the work of introducing him to the officers and his particular 
friends as "mein boy," all felt to rejoice with them at the 



THE SECOND BATTLE AT FOKT DONELSON. 95 

pleasure afforded by this entirely unexpected meeting of father 
and son. 

Large details were at work gathering fc up the dead and 
wounded, or digging long trenches in which to bury the brave 
but misguided men who yielded up their lives in the hard- 
fought battle. During the night following the engagement 
the air was bitter cold, and snow fell to quite a depth, so that 
the wounded left upon the field suffered greatly. Many of the 
dead were found frozen to the ground. Dead or disabled 
horses, in large numbers, were found all through the woods, 
and it was evident that the enemy had been severely punished. 
Especially brilliant does this feat of the Union arms appear 
when it is remembered how great was the disparity in num- 
bers, the attacking force outnumbering those .assailed at least 
ten to one, and the battle being fought almost wholly outside 
the intrenchments. Just at the last, one or more gunboats 
came up and aided the defenders, but even before their arri- 
val the enemy had been well whipped and were in retreat. 

The last of the fleet did not arrive at the Fort until Friday. 
This gave those curiously disposed an opportunity to visit the 
scene of Grant's memorable battle of February, 1862 ; it 
being announced that the enemy had retreated, so that it was 
entirely safe to do so, many took long walks over the entire 
field, bringing back to the boats numerous mementoes of the 
"battle. There were still many marks of the terrible contest, 
arms, accoutrements, haversacks and other articles, rendered 
useless in the conflict or thrown off by wounded men, lying 
here and there all about the large area over which the waves 
of battle had swept, with fragments of tents and blankets, 
and an occasional bit of faded blue, where some desperately 
wounded Union soldier had torn off a portion of his clothing 
that the blood might be staunched. 

Friday, February 6, at a little before noon, the boats 
sounded the call for all to come on board, and by the middle 
of the afternoon all were steaming up the river in the direc- 
tion of Nashville. The boats were lashed, two and two, those 
on which were the two wings of the NINETY-SIXTH being side 
by side. There were seven gunboats and more than thirty 



96 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

transports in the fleet. The gunboats were distributed through 
the fleet, two being in the lead, two in the rear, and the others 
near the center. Occasionally they shelled the timber along 
the shore to drive out any force that might attempt to inter- 
cept them ; but there was no response to their noisy saluta- 
tions, and the long line passed on in safety and in triumph. 

There were a few exciting episodes, as when the "Hamil- 
ton," crowded suddenly forward by her consort, struck the 
flagship "Prioress," on which was Gen. Baird and staff', with 
such force as to cause some damage to either craft. Not all 
of these captains had volunteered their services or the use of 
their vessels for this trip, and not all were loyal to the Gov- 
ernment. Among those known' to be positively disloyal was 
the Captain of the ' ' Nashville, " and it was believed that this 
collision was not only intentional on his part, but far less seri- 
ous than he had meant to have it. On the earty part of the 
trip it came to the knowledge of Colonel Clarke that there 
was serious discontent on the part of the men of his com- 
mand, and an effort making to induce a large number of them 
to desert when the boat should touch some point on the Illi- 
nois shore. Satisfied that the captain of the boat was aiding 
in the work of fomenting the discord, he quietly stationed 
some armed men near the pilot house, giving them positive 
orders to shoot the pilot and the captain should they see any- 
thing to indicate an attempt to land the boat except where 
others in the fleet were stopping, or should they fail to follow 
closely the lead of the vessel in its front. After this collision 
with the "Prioress" the guard was renewed, and the captain 
given to understand that his life was not held in high estima- 
tion by the military authorities. It would seem that he should 
have been held to an account for his actions, but it is doubtful 
if a case could have been made against him. 

It was a splendid sight as that magnificent fleet of steam- 
ers, like some triumphal procession, moved steadily forward 
up the winding Cumberland. Regimental colors were un- 
furled, and when the weather was not too cold the decks were 
fairly blue with officers and soldiers. All through the night 
of the sixth, and until five o'clock on the afternoon of the 





E. A. BLODGETT, 



ADJUTANT. 



1863] THE ARRIVAL AT NASHVILLE. 97 

seventh, the stately, floating column proceeded on its way, 
finally reaching Nashville at the hour named, the troops hav- 
ing traveled nearly 550 miles upon the steamers. 

The forenoon of Sunday, February 8, was occupied in 
unloading the boats and putting the wagons together. In the 
afternoon the NINETY-SIXTH marched out past Fort Negley, 
and went into camp near what was called Fort Jackson, some 
three or four miles from Nashville, at the left of the railroad 
and the Franklin Pike, but a short distance from where, 
almost two years later, they were to make one of the most 
brilliant and successful charges of the war. 



98 HlSTOKY OF THE 96TH E-EGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 



CHAPTER VII. 



The Irrepressible Conflict with Greybacks A Half Dozen Promotions 
Policing the Camp Grounds A Brigade Dress Parade Resolutions 
Adopted by the Regiment The Sound of Cannon The Movement 
to Franklin Disaster to Coburn's Brigade The Duck River Cam- 
paign Frequent Alarms, and Fighting Near at Hand Ten Days at 
Brentwood Heavy Fatigue and Guard Duty A Man in Company 
F Killed on the Picket Line The Paymaster in Camp Shelter Tents 
Received How the Month of May Passed The Nine Months' Fever. 

AT Nashville began the fight with that pestiferous little 
insect known among military men as the "greyback." True, 
a few had made his acquaintance before, but his presence had 
not been general until the Regiment left the boats and reached 
the old camp grounds near the city. From that time forward, 
whatever else the command may have been short of, there 
was seldom a time when it was not abundantly supplied with 
this very numerous and exceedingly industrious camp fol- 
lower. It was one of the serious annoyances of army life, 
and no amount of care on the part of the soldier could long 
rid him of the pest. The very ground seemed to be alive with 
them, particularly if it was a region that had been previously 
occupied by either army, and the boiling of the clothing and 
the most diligent and unwearied " skirmishing " on the part of 
the soldier served at best only to keep them in check, without 
exterminating them ; for two or three nights and days of active 
service, in which the clothing could not be removed, gave 
ample assurance that the pest was still there. Nor were the 
officers exempt from the attentions of this unwearied worker, 
for they, too, shared the annoyance of the bite and the pleas- 
ure that came from scratching, and were also subjected to the 
necessity of an occasional "skirmish," as the work of hunt- 
ing through the seams of the soldier's nether garments was 
called. 



1863] ANSWERING THE SICK CALL. 99 

The long trip upon the river had served to cause more or 
less sickness, cases of jaundice being especially frequent. 
Not a few were compelled to go to the hospitals direct from 
the boats, and others within a few days after the march to 
camp. The cold, disagreeable weather which had prevailed 
throughout the trip gave way to a few warm, pleasant days, 
not unlike what might have been expected two months later. 
Advantage was taken of this to put the camp in prime condi- 
tion, a large area being policed. It was interesting to watch 
the process of cleaning up a camp ground. The men were 
sent to the woods for brush with which to make their brooms, 
these being constructed by tying bushes together. Then a 
long line of soldiers would sweep off the ground in their front, 
clearing up the entire camp from the line of the cooks' fires 
to the color-line, and often for a considerable distance beyond. 
The NINETY-SIXTH had by this time learned to take pride in 
having its grounds neat, and although a few always grumbled, 
most of the men did their work cheerfully and well. 

Drilling was at once resumed, and the camp presented an 
animated scene whenever the weather would permit of the 
maneuvering of troops with comfort to officers and men. 
About this time occurred several changes among the officers. 
Surgeon Charles Martin and Second Assistant Surgeon Daniel 
A. Sheffield, who had been absent from the Regiment for a 
few weeks because of ill health, both resigned, leaving the 
service February 6. Their places were not filled for some 
time, the work of caring for the sick falling almost wholly 
upon First Assistant Surgeon Moses Evans. His duties for 
some weeks were very arduous, for the daily sick call was 
responded to by a large number of men, variously afflicted. 
It was a pitiable sight to see a half dozen or more from each 
Company dragging themselves up to the Surgeon's tent each 
morning, many of them thin and haggard, some suffering 
from dysentery, others coughing violently, and still others yel- 
low from malaria. Perhaps at no other time in the history of 
the command, excepting at the time of or immediately follow- 
ing a battle, was there so much required of the Surgeon. 



100 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

The changes among the line officers in February were 
three. Second Lieutenant Reuben L. Root, of Company H, 
resigned on the sixth, and was succeeded by First Sergeant 
Joseph L. Pierce. First Lieutenant Addison B. Partridge, of 
Company C, resigned on the sixteenth, and was succeeded by 
Second Lieutenant William M. Loughlin, First Sergeant Chas. 
W. Earle being promoted to Second Lieutenant. Captain 
David Salisbury, of Company B, resigned on the seventeenth. 
First Lieutenant Allen B. Whitney was made Captain, Second 
Lieutenant Evangelist J. Gilmore was promoted to First 
Lieutenant, and First Sergeant George H. Burnett to Second 
Lieutenant. All of these newly promoted officers entered 
upon their duties at once, although none of them were mus- 
tered until April 4. 

The 14th Kentucky having been left in Louisville, the 84th 
Indiana and the 40th Ohio were assigned to the Brigade, Col. 
Atkins still remaining the senior Colonel and retaining com- 
mand. On the seventeenth the Brigade was ordered to move 
to Franklin, but before the hour of starting the order was 
countermanded. A few days later Col. Coburn's Brigade 
made the march. February 25 the camp was moved about a 
half mile toward Nashville, and three days later it was again 
moved a short distance, to a beautiful piece of ground owned 
by Mrs. Governor Aaron Y. Brown. A mass meeting was 
held in Nashville on the twenty-third, speeches of the most 
enthusiastically loyal character being made by Parson Brown- 
low and others. Many from the Regiment attended, and 
returned greatly pleased with the stirring addresses to which 
they had listened. This meeting was intended as a celebra- 
tion of Washington's Birthday, having been postponed for a 
day because of the fact that the twenty-second came on Sun- 
day. The artillery about Nashville did not wait for Monday, 
but tired a salute on Sunday in honor of "The Father of his 
Country." 

Sunday, March 1, there was a grand dress parade, the five 
Regiments composing the Brigade participating, and Col. 
Atkins, the Brigade commander, receiving the salutes and 



1863] PATRIOTIC RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED. 101 

afterward making a patriotic speech. The NINETY-SIXTH occu- 
pied the left of the line. 

Monday, March 2, was in some respects a memorable day. 
As before stated, the Emancipation Proclamation, issued two 
months before, had been the cause of much discussion among 
the officers and men. In many of the Regiments, and parti- 
cularly in those from the State of Kentucky, there had been 
great dissatisfaction, and desertions were quite frequent. 
Those who were opposed to the Proclamation were often loud 
in their denunciation of the President, and active in their 
attempts to produce and extend dissatisfaction among such of 
their comrades as they could influence. There was danger 
that this continuous agitation and these expressions of dis- 
content would, in time, have an unfavorable influence upon 
the men, and that, even though they did not induce still 
further desertions, they would at all events discourage and dis- 
hearten those who had not well-founded opinions upon the 
question of slavery. To meet this growing discontent a meet- 
ing of the Field, Staff and Line Officers of the Brigade was 
held at Brigade Headquarters at nine o'clock A. M., Col. Smith 
D. Atkins, of the 92d Illinois, being called to the chair, and 
Adjt. I. C. Lawver acting as Secretary. After some discussion 
a committee was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of 
the sentiments of those present. The committee retired, and, 
after considering the subject carefully, presented the follow- 
ing preamble and resolutions : 

WHEREAS, We, the officers and soldiers of this command, have, in 
common with our comrades in arms, cheerfully periled our lives and every 
earthly interest, to save to ourselves and to our posterity a country and 
a government, the same which, in historic times, were bought with blood, 
and established by that quality of wisdom which, though human, seems 
divine ; and, 

WHEREAS, A number of intriguing demagogues at home have 
recently, by word and act, sought to create disaffection among us, block 
the wheels of wise legislation, excite discontent in the public mind, and, 
in every way, to baffle all earnest efforts to conquer the rebels ; therefore, 

Resolved, That we hold in utter detestation that clique of miscreants 
in the loyal States, who, under the garb of assumed loyalty, use the 
stolen revenue of arch treason to excite petty treason in their own com- 
munities ; who have no censures save for the officers of our government ; 
no complaints, save that energetic measures are employed to crush the 



102 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

rebellion ; no aspirations, save to embarrass our Executive and Legisla- 
tive Departments, and engender mutinies in our armies ; and no hopes, 
save for an ignoble peace and the substantial triumphs of the rebels ; 
that we regard them as enemies of our country and mankind, who, to 
accomplish their hellish purposes, would not hesitate to blot forever from 
the hopes of man the cherished thought of self-government ; and that 
they merit the scorn of all loyal citizens and true-hearted soldiers, com- 
bining, as they do, the deep guilt of the traitor with the essential mean- 
ness of the coward. 

Resolved, That, despite the frenzied efforts of our foes before us, and 
the despicable intrigues of our other foes behind us, we will abate not 
one jot of faith or hope ; but, believing the maintenance of our govern- 
ment is worth all the cost expended in its establishment, we emphatically 
assure all traitors at home, that not until we have undergone a seven 
years' struggle (if need be) will we cease this contest, and not until we 
have experienced such sufferings as were bravely endured at Valley 
Forge will we begin to murmur. By all the sacrifices already made and 
hardships endured by us ; by all the sufferings of our comrades in hospi- 
tal and camp ; by all the precious blood which has encrimsoned our east- 
ern and western waters ; by all the hearths made desolate, and heart-strings 
rent asunder, because of this wicked rebellion, we do solemnly pledge 
our honor as Americans and soldiers to see this contest through to a suc- 
cessful issue, or yield up our lives a willing sacrifice to our country's weal. 

Resolved, That we are utterly opposed to any armistice or cessation 
of hostilities until our glorious flag of thirty-four stars waves triumph- 
antly from the dome of every capitol in our land. 

Resolved, That we fully and unequivocally indorse the policy of our 
civil rulers, in using all necessary means to strike decisive blows at the 
unholy rebellion, and to bring the war to a speedy, sure and glorious ter- 
mination, so that traitors in the South may meet with deserved punish- 
ment, and damnable traitors in the North may be brought to a terrible 
justice, " that hemp be not created in vain." 

Resolved, That to the loyal millions who encourage us in our efforts, 
who sympathize with us in our hardships, and who rejoice with us in the 
success of our armies, we tender such heartfelt gratitude as soldiers, 
facing a hostile foe, only can feel. 

Resolved, That to Governor Todd, of Ohio ; Governor Morton, of 
Indiana ; and Governor Yates, of Illinois, we extend our hearty thanks 
for their ceaseless labors in behalf of the soldiers from their respective 
States. 

That evening, at dress parade, the NINETY-SIXTH was 
formed in a hollow square, and the resolutions were presented 
by Captain Hicks, of Company A. The captain was a good elo- 
cutionist, and read them admirably, awakening intense enthu- 
siasm in the ranks. As soon as the reading was concluded, 
Colonel Champion delivered a brief but earnest address, and 



1863] THE SOUND OF CANNON. 103 

then called out: "As many of the soldiers of the NINETY- 
SIXTH ILLINOIS as indorse the resolutions just read, will mani- 
fest it by saying ' aye.' ' The ayes were numerous and enthu- 
siastic, but, strange to say, not universal. In an instant the 
Colonel commanded: "Sergeants, take your Companies to 
quarters." The officers were kept together for a few moments 
and then went to their tents. That night, in every tent, there 
was a long discussion of the resolutions. In the light of after 
events it is difficult to comprehend how it was that any Union 
soldier should think for a moment of opposing them, but the 
fact remains that there was most strenuous objections on the 
part of a few, quite a percentage, even of the members of the 
Illinois Regiments, not favoring the absolute emancipation of 
the slaves. Colonel Champion caused to be forwarded to the 
Chicago papers, and also to the papers in Lake and Jo Daviess 
Counties, copies of the resolutions, and stated that they were 
adopted by the NINETY-SIXTH Regiment " without a dissenting 
voice." This was literally true, but the Colonel afterward 
declared that he dared not put the negative for fear the nays 
would be so numerous as not to look well for a Regiment 
from the State which was President Lincoln's home. All of 
the Regiments in the Brigade adopted the resolutions, but not 
all "without a dissenting voice." 

Tuesday, March 3, the command was notified to be ready 
to march at a moment's notice, as the Brigade under Col. 
Coburn had moved out from Franklin, and was likely to have 
a fight. There was Company and Battalion drill, but the men 
were kept close at hand and ready to move if called upon. 

Next day there was a wild report in camp to the effect that 
Gen. Grant and Gen. Sherman had just been terribly beaten 
in the vicinity of Vicksburg, with a loss of 20,000 men. 
Fortunately this report proved entirely untrue. 

Thursday, March 5, the south wind wafted to the camp 
the sound of distant cannon. The troops were busy at their 
drill, but the ominous sounds sent them back to camp, where 
they awaited orders. Their conversation was in a little lower 
tones than usual, and there was somewhat less of levity in 
the camp than was the custom. About two o'clock in the 



104 HISTORY OF THE 96 r ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

afternoon Col. Atkins galloped over to the camp, exchanged 
a few words with Colonel Champion, and then rode away. 
Soon after his brief call orders were given to prepare to move 
to Franklin immediately. Tents were struck and loaded upon 
the wagons, the sick sent to the city, and the column marched 
to the railroad in front of the camp. 

In a little while a train arrived and took on board the 84th 
Indiana, and the 92d and 115th Illinois Regiments. The 
NINETY-SIXTH remained in bivouac until about ten o'clock in 
the evening, and then, together with the 40th Ohio, clambered 
into the freight cars. The men were crowded as thickly 
together as possible, all being obliged to stand. As a conse- 
quence they could get little rest during the four or five hours 
required to make the eighteen miles. A few took "deck 
passage," riding on top of the cars. The road was none of 
the best, the train was heavily loaded and the locomotive 
was so worn-out that it was frequently stalled, hardly mak- 
ing a single grade in the run without stopping, backing 
down and having a long wait for steam. A heavy rain-storm 
set in early in the night, and when, between two and three 
o'clock in the morning, a final stop was made, and the tired 
troops alighted from the cars in a cornfield, the ground was 
thoroughly soaked, although the storm had abated somewhat. 
The tents and all of the camp equipage had been left at Nash- 
ville, so that the men had no protection. Some threw them- 
selves upon the ground, wrapping their blankets about them, 
and getting such sleep as was induced by sheer exhaustion. 
Others stood around the camp fires, waiting for the morning 
and wondering what it would bring. All agreed that the 
probabilities pointed to an early engagement. Up to this 
time there had been only surmises as to how the battle of the 
day before had gone, but in the morning the worst fears of all 
were realized, for it was learned from the men remaining at 
Franklin that nearly the entire Brigade sent out on the recon- 
noissance toward Spring Hill had been made prisoners by the 
enemy. The advance made by this Brigade -had been ordered 
by Gen. Rosecrans, through Gen. Gilbert the latter being in 
command at Franklin, the intention being that they should 



1863] AN UNFORTUNATE ADVANCE. 105 

march direct to Spring Hill, and then move to the left to meet 
a force that had been sent out from Murfreesboro. It had 
been supposed that Spring Hill was occupied merely as a 
picket post, and that the main body of Rebels was at Colum- 
bia. Col. Coburn's surprise was therefore great when, 
about three miles out, he met a large force of the enemy 
inarching toward Franklin. Deploying his troops he moved 
forward, the cavalry falling back in his front. He soon 
became satisfied that his force was greatly outnumbered, 
and so informed Gen. Gilbert. Receiving orders to continue 
the forward movement he advanced for some distance, and 
then went into camp for the night, at the same time sending 
word that he believed his position a critical one, and urging 
that reinforcements be sent him. He was peremptorily 
ordered to advance, however, and did move forward next 
morning, only to find a large force upon his front and flanks. 
Again he sent word to Gen. Gilbert that it was sheer despera- 
tion to assume the offensive with his single Brigade ; but 
the order to advance was repeated, with the intimation that 
to do otherwise would be to show that he was a coward. 
Cut to the quick by the taunt, Col. Coburn moved forward to 
Thompson's Station, and made a gallant fight, but was soon 
hemmed in on every side, and, after some ineffectual attempts 
to cut his way out, concluded that it was inhuman to further 
sacrifice the brave men under his charge, and surrendered, 
first exhausting his limited supply of ammunition. His cav- 
alry, a battery of artillery, and his train and train guards 
retreated in time, and reached Franklin in safety ; but about 
two-thirds of the 22d Wisconsin, eight companies of the 19th 
Michigan, and all of the 33d and 85th Indiana, 1,800 or 2,000 
in all, were captured. After events fully confirmed Col. 
Coburn's belief that there were 15,000 rebels in the army with 
which he had been contending with his force of perhaps 2,500 
men. The prisoners were sent to Richmond and paroled, 
returning to Tennessee in June following. 

At the time of the arrival of the Brigade to which the 
NINETY-SIXTH belonged there were in Franklin only Gen. Gil- 
bert's Division, a few cavalry, one battery, a small number of 



106 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

stragglers, some sick and wounded men, and a remnant of the 
22d Wisconsin, which had effected their escape from the enemy 
just before the surrender by Col. Coburn. The tents, con- 
taining much of the baggage of the captured Regiments, were 
still standing and looked lonesome and deserted enough. 

The NINETY-SIXTH, with the other Regiments of the Bri- 
gade, stood about in the mud and rain during all of Friday ; 
but just at dusk the wagons arrived from Nashville, tents were 
pitched, and the night was passed in a semi-comfortable way. 
The camp was located near the railroad track, on the north 
side of the river, and a half mile distant from the village. 
The surroundings were pleasant, and as this region figures 
quite extensively in the Regiment's history, it should be briefly 
described. To the rear, looking in the direction of Nashville, 
the country was broken, high points being numerous. The 
most conspicuous of these was Roper's Knob, a bold peak 
used as a station by the Federal Signal Corps. This was a 
half mile or more from camp. Just to the left of camp the 
railroad wound through a deep cut, emerging from this depres- 
sion a short distance below. The pike leading to Nashville 
was a short distance to the right. To the front and left, on 
the north bank of the river, was the beginning of what after- 
ward became a formidable earthwork, known as Fort Granger. 
On the south bank of the river was clustered the pleasant 
village of Franklin. From the village, roads or pikes led in 
various directions, and from the height on which the camp was 
located a fair view of the open fields beyond the village could 
be had. Near the camp were a few large houses, mostly of 
brick. There were heavy bodies of timber in all directions, 
but generally at quite a distance from the camp. On the open 
fields, stretching to the southward from the village and in 
plain view from this camp, was to be fought, long months 
afterward, one of the most desperate battles of the war, and 
in that battle the Regiment was to have a part ; but this was 
not to be until it had marched and fought, again and again, 
far to the southward. 

Saturday, March 7, it was confidently expected that an 
advance would be made, and throughout the forenoon the 



1863] Two MEN MADE PRISONERS. 107 

troops held themselves in readiness to leave camp at a 
moment's notice. The wind blew a gale all day. Extra 
.ammunition was issued, and the arms of the men were in- 
spected to make sure that all were in fighting trim. During 
the afternoon, it having become apparent that there would be 
no forward movement that day, several members of the Regi- 
ment asked and obtained permission to visit Roper's Knob. 
Two of them, James Pimley and Patrick Conway, both of 
Company F, went from the Knob to a house near by to 
procure some butter, and were captured by a squad of the 
enemy's cavalry that chanced to be scouting in the neighbor- 
hood. They were the first members of the Regiment cap- 
tured. Both were exchanged, and returned in time to take 
part in the battle of Chickamauga, where Pimley was killed 
and Conway seriously wounded. For a more circumstantial 
account of their experiences reference is made to the chapter 
on "Prisons and Prisoners of War," in another part of this 
volume. During Sunday the troops sent out from Murfrees- 
boro, under the command of Gen. Sheridan, and which it had 
been expected Col. Co burn's Brigade would meet at or near 
Rally Hill, made a detour and reached Franklin. Other forces 
arrived from Nashville, and by Sunday night some 15,000 
troops, including quite a force of cavalry, had been concen- 
trated. Every day the cavalry reconnoitered in various direc- 
tions, making sure that the enemy had not again moved to- 
ward or past Franklin. 

Monday, March 9, the little army moved southward, the 
main body upon the Columbia pike. Every man had three 
days' rations in his haversack, and twenty rounds of ammu- 
nition in his pockets in addition to the forty rounds in his 
cartridge-box. Tents were struck and loaded upon the wagons, 
but the wagons did not follow. The cavalry led the column, 
and maneuvered on the flanks. The enemy's cavalry was 
encountered a few miles out, but fell back without serious 
resistance, although at times the skirmishing was lively, and 
-occasionally the artillery was called into use. It was a strange 
spectacle to watch the movements of the advance troops. 
Deployed in line of battle on either side of the pike, they 



108 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y.I. 

stretched away across the fields. As fences were approached! 
one man in four would dismount, run forward and throw back 
the rails from every other corner, so that the horses could 
pass without breaking the line for more than a few seconds. 
The work of throwing down a fence required but a moment, 
often a mile or more being made ready for the passage of the 
line of battle in as little time as would be required to throw 
open an ordinary gate. When a stone wall was encountered 
there was a little longer delay, and the gaps would be less 
frequent, but in a very few moments the wall would be made 
easy of passage, and the labor of the wall-layers for long 
months would be undone. 

Near Thompson's Station and Spring Hill there were many 
marks of the disastrous battle of the fourth. Most of the 
white men had apparently followed the army southward, for, 
except in rare instances, only women and negroes occupied 
the houses along the line of march. Gen. Sheridan's Division 
led the advance of the infantry forces the greater part of the 
day, but toward night Gen. Granger's command moved to the 
front, passing Sheridan's troops in bivouac. That night the 
Regiment, with other troops, camped in an open field in front 
of a large farm house, having marched a dozen miles. Upon 
the arrival of the command there was a board fence upon one- 
side of the pike and a rail fence upon the other, but in half 
an hour not a vestige of these remained, except here and there 
a fence post that had been set so deep that it could not easily 
,be pulled out. The troops being without tents, the fencing 
was used to provide shelter and fuel for the night. All felt 
that they were in an enemy's country, and that there should 
no longer be any restraint in the confiscation of property when 
the comfort and well-being of the soldiers was under consid- 
eration. The region was rich in supplies, and the troops 
fared sumptuously, fresh pork, bacon, potatoes, poultry,, 
tobacco and honey being secured in liberal amounts. The 
day had been pleasant, but before midnight a drenching rain 
set in, making it most uncomfortable for the soldiers. 

Tuesday, March 10, the cavalry again took the lead, 
beginning to skirmish with the enemy almost as soon as 



18C3] IN SIGHT OF REBEL CAMP FIRES. 109 

they left camp. A few shells came over from the front, 
bursting near the Regiment, the first that had ever been 
fired at the command. The advance was cautions, the infan- 
try moving forward well to the front, advancing two or three 
times and then halting, as if there was an expectation that 
the enemy would resist the attack, and perhaps assume the 
offensive. After a time the cavalry moved more rapidly, and 
the firing receded. About noon the order "forward "was 
given to the infantry, and a very rapid march of six or eight 
miles was made, the column occasionally breaking into a 
double quick. Then came a brief halt, and later a further 
advance of a half mile was ordered. All day the artillery, 
which accompanied the cavalry, shelled the woods in front, 
and a lively skirmish fire was kept up, but with few casualties. 
At six o'clock the troops went into bivouac in the woods, in 
close proximity to the enemy, the pickets exchanging shots 
and the camp fires of either army being plainly visible to the 
other. It was the nearest approach to the enemy that the 
Regiment had yet made, and all felt that a battle was immi- 
nent. The rain, which had been falling moderately through- 
out the day, increased as night came on, but ceased at ten 
o'clock, the weather turning severely cold. The troops hav- 
ing been subjected to so much exposure and fatigue, and the 
night being so unpleasant, the usual detail for picket was 
omitted and an entire Company sent out for four hours, when 
a fresh Company was called up and sent to relieve them. It 
is to be feared that had army regulations been strictly en- 
forced, and every man found asleep on his post that night 
been given the full sentence of the law, there would have 
been several executions during the days immediately succeed- 
ing, for certain it is that there were some who could not, or 
did not, keep awake. This is not to be wondered at when it 
is remembered that the command had been given little oppor- 
tunity to sleep the previous night, and that many had slept but 
little since leaving Nashville, five days before. 

Wednesday, March 11, the cavalry and artillery engaged 
the enemy, and quite a lively skirmish took place at one of 
the crossings of Duck River and at Rutherford Creek. The 



110 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

water was so high that the formidable streams could not be 
crossed, and as it was not practicable to bridge them, no 
further advance was attempted. A few prisoners were taken 
and a few of the cavalry were killed or wounded. Exagger- 
ated reports as to the losses and gains came from the troopers 
at the front, but the day passed without any general move- 
ment of the infantry forces. 

Thursday, March 12, the entire command marched back 
to Franklin, Gen. Sheridan's Division taking the lead. While 
there was plainly no cause for hurrying, yet Sheridan's vet- 
erans led off at a rapid pace, evidently undertaking to show 
Granger's troops how to march. The entire distance of about 
twenty or twenty-two miles was traveled in seven and one- 
half hours, the camp ground at Franklin being reached at four 
o'clock in the afternoon. It was a very severe and unneces- 
sarily rapid march, many of the men falling out from sheer 
exhaustion, those from Sheridan's Division being quite as 
numerous as in the command that followed them. Subse- 
quently the report was current that two Division commanders 
had made a wager of a basket of champagne as to the ability 
of their commands to march ; if so, it was a most heartless 
undertaking, for quite a number of the men were entirely 
used up by this experience. Next day Gen. Sheridan's Divis- 
ion resumed their march, making a leisurely trip to Murfrees- 
boro. Thus ended what has gone into history as the Duck 
River campaign. 

March 13 and 14 were given to resting, and clearing up 
the camp grounds, although on the latter day there was an 
inspection of all the troops by Gen. Granger, Gens. Gilbert, 
Baird and Smith being with him. The men were ordered to 
keep three days' cooked rations in their haversacks, and to be 
ready to move at a moment's notice, it apparently being 
expected that the enemy would make an attack on Franklin 
and attempt to drive our forces back to Nashville. 

Sunday, March 15, eighty men were detailed from the 
NINETY-SIXTH to work on the fort, and on the twentieth one 
hundred men were called for. On the twenty-second the 
entire Regiment was on picket duty across the river, going 



1863] A NIGHT MARCH TO BRENTWOOD. Ill 

out at daylight and remaining for twenty-four hours, the line 
of the Regiment entirely surrounding the village, and both 
flanks resting on the river. There was some excitement 
through the night, and a little picket tiring. Only a night or 
two before a Captain from one of the other Regiments was 
killed by a Rebel scout, and the knowledge of this served to 
keep the soldiers unusually vigilant. Matters remained quiet 
until the twenty-fifth, at which time there was a report of 
trouble in the rear, and skirmishing was going on all around 
the lines, the Rebel cavalry approaching so near as to ex- 
change shots with the pickets, and threatening to attack the 
post. It soon transpired that the remnant of the 22d Wis- 
consin and two Companies of the 19th Michigan, which had 
been guarding a bridge at Brentwood, about midway between 
Nashville and Franklin and which were the real objects of 
attack had found themselves surrounded by a large infantry 
force at daylight in the morning, and were compelled to sur- 
render. The NINETY-SIXTH, as well as the other troops in 
camp at Franklin, were kept in line until nine o'clock in the 
evening, but the commander did not attempt to make any 
aggressive movement. 

On the twenty-seventh the NINETY-SIXTH, with the 92d 
Illinois Infantry, 6th Kentucky Cavalry and 9th Ohio Battery 
left Franklin at five o'clock in the afternoon and marched 
back to Brentwood in a pouring rain storm. The distance 
traveled was about nine miles, a halt being made at half-past 
ten. The night was terribly dark, the roads muddy, and the 
men pretty thoroughly tired with their long walk. A deep 
and rapid stream had to be forded on the way. When the 
wagons finally came up and were unloaded there was much 
trouble experienced in erecting the tents, as the camp ground 
was on a stony hillside, and the rain was pouring down in 
torrents. The underlying rocks prevented the driving of 
tent stakes, but all were put up after a fashion, and, a few 
rails being secured, most of the men spent the balance of the 
night in an upright position, the rails being laid down and 
the knapsacks placed upon them and thus kept out of the wet. 
Sometimes the soldiers, sitting upon their knapsacks, would 



1 12 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

sleep so soundly as to lose all consciousness, and fall over 
into the mud and water. Often streams of water poured 
through the tents, and the night was a thoroughly disagreeable 
one. The next morning the soldiers spent an hour or two in 
looking over the partially burned camps of the captured 
troops, reading their letters, looking at photographs, and 
speculating as to how the ''accident" happened. During the 
forenoon the entire command went into camp near the rail- 
road bridge, the infantry beginning the work of fortifying its 
position, while the cavalry reconnoitered the surrounding 
country. Major J. C. Smith, of the NINETY-SIXTH, laid out a 
line of earthworks capable of accommodating the two regi- 
ments of infantry. The trench was in a zig-zag shape, about 
six feet wide, and so deep that the men would be protected 
while loading. There was a bench on either side for them to 
stand upon while firing, the works having the advantage of 
facing either way. The timber and orchards in the immediate 
front were cut, and heavy timbers, rolled upon skids, served 
as head-logs, under which the men could place their muskets if 
called upon to fire from their position. In front of the works 
an abatis was constructed from the limbs of the trees. The 
branches were sharpened, and hooked stakes driven into the 
ground to hold down the limbs. These earthworks ran along 
the crest of a hill and commanded the country for quite a dis- 
tance in every direction. The men worked zealously in con- 
structing them, and a few negroes in the neighborhood were 
compelled to assist. There was at least one white citizen called 
upon to do a couple of days' work in the trenches. He was 
a resident physician, who had the audacity to ask for a pass to 
go in and out of the lines, by day or night, but who declined 
to take the iron-clad oath to give no information to the enemy 
under penalty of death, or to swear that he was and would 
remain a loyal citizen. The Doctor did not really enjoy 
working side b} r side with his own negroes at hard, manual 
labor, and at the end of two days was so thoroughly used up 
that Major Smith relieved him. Although a little careful, 
owing to the disaster that had happened to Coburn's troops, 
the men made more or less excursions into the country, and 



' ' 



1863] PIECING OUT ARMY RATIONS. 113 

more than one citizen was doubtless surprised on attempting 
to niilk his cows in the morning to find that he had been 
anticipated by the Yankees. There was considerable foraging 
in the neighborhood, and the boys were quick to possess them- 
selves of anything that came in their way, provided only that 
there was no safeguard about the place, being certain that the 
military authorities had sifted out the truly loyal people and 
given them ample protection. A mill in the neighborhood 
was set in operation, and quite an amount of meal ground out 
and issued to the men, thus adding to the variety of their 
rations. There was more or less suffering from scurvy, owing 
to a lack of vegetables, which was partially relieved through 
the efforts of the officers, who made an urgent request for 
potatoes, cabbage, and other edibles in this line. Here, as at 
many other points during the early part of the Regiment's 
service, and while the command was in easy communication 
with the North, many boxes, filled at the homes of the 
soldiers with butter, fruit and other things not on the list of 
army rations, came by express, bringing good cheer and add- 
ing to the happiness and health of all. The picket duty of 
the command was very heavy at Brentwood, two or three 
Companies being called for every twenty-four hours, besides 
daily details for camp guard. On one occasion, when an 
attack was apprehended, all of the camp kettles and mess- 
pans were filled with water and taken to the rifle-pits, so that 
the troops should not suffer from thirst in the event of a siege 
of a day or two, 

An incident of the stay at Brentwood was the dressing 
up of an ancient donkey that had wandered through the 
camp. The boys arrayed the animal in military clothing, 
using cast-off garments, tied on his head a hat decorated with 
an ample amount of brass and feathers, and put on either 
shoulder a large shoulder-strap. Thus arrayed, the animal 
went here and there about the camp, braying out his protesta- 
tions against this unusual treatment. The officers and men 
enjoyed the sport, the former assuming that at all events it 
must be some one higher in authority than themselves whom 
the soldiers were trying to "take off." 
8 



114 HISTORY OF THE 96'fH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

On Sunday, April 5, the new Chaplain of the Regiment,, 
Rev. Horace G. Woodworth, who had been mustered in 
March 22, and had just reached the command, preached an 
able sermon. He was a man of fine ability, and was very 
entertaining. His sermons were of a character to inspire 
the men to patriotic action and honorable living. About the 
same time Dr. Byron G. Pierce came to the Regiment and 
entered upon his duties as Surgeon, to which position he had 
been commissioned. There was considerable excitement in 
camp on the fifth, as an attack was expected, the Rebel cav- 
alry being in the neighborhood. They evidently found the 
force too wide awake, and concluded to retire without even 
attempting to take the command prisoners. 

Here twenty men from the Regiment were detached, under 
Lieutenant William M. Loughlin, of Company C, and entered 
an organization known as the Pioneer Corps, being subse- 
quently transferred to the 1st Regiment of United States Vet- 
eran Yolunteer Engineers. In a subsequent chapter will be 
found a detailed statement as to their organization and work. 

On the 8th of April a Division of Infantry, under Gen. 
Morgan, arrived from Nashville, and the NINETY-SIXTH, with 
the other portions of Baird's Division, marched back to 
Franklin, leaving Brentwood at five o'clock and reaching 
Franklin at eight p. M. The ninth was spent in fixing up the 
very dirty camp-ground, nearly the entire day being con- 
sumed. The Regiment was usually called at four o'clock in 
the morning, as were all the troops at Franklin, then num- 
bering about 5,000 infantry and 2, TOO cavalry, and stood to- 
arms until after daylight. Indeed, throughout the entire stay 
at Franklin this was the rule, the men being obliged to stand 
in line, or engage in drilling if they preferred, for at least an 
hour before daylight every morning, and occasionally reveille 
sounded as early as three o'clock. The weather was often damp 
and the mornings almost always foggy, so that this duty was 
very severe. There was a great deal of complaint about it 
at the time, although there is little doubt that those morning 
drills at Franklin added materially to the efficiency of the 
command in after months. 



1863] A FIGHT AT FRANKLIN. 115 

Friday, April 10, at about noon, firing was heard on the 
picket lines in front of town, and in an instant all was excite- 
ment at the camp. With hardly a moment's delay the line 
was formed, and the Regiment ready for service whenever 
needed. Artillery at the fort began throwing shells to a point 
far beyond the picket line, quickly getting range and doing 
considerable execution. This was responded to for a time, 
the flashing of the rebel guns being distinctly visible from camp, 
and a few of their shot striking just outside of the fort. The 
Rebels, under Gen. Van Dorn, charged directly upon the 
picket lines, most of their forces being upon the Lewisburg 
pike, just south of the village. The 40th Ohio was on picket 
that day, and gave the saucy troopers a hot salute as they 
came up, checking their advance, but only for a few moments, 
for soon the cavalry charged again, this time riding past the 
picket line and directly into town. Some of the more reck- 
less riders made their way almost to the pontoon bridge, and 
one or two were shot close to the river and only a few rods 
from the fort. The main force halted in the village, where 
they were harrassed by the 40th boys and the patrol guards, 
who took shelter in houses and kept up a continuous firing 
upon the disorganized raiders. Soon Gen. Van Dorn seemed 
to become convinced that the force upon the north side of the 
river was one with which he did not care to cope, and accord- 
ingly he ordered the recall sounded, his forces galloping 
southward as rapidly as they had entered town, the Union 
pickets giving them a parting salute as they rode away, which 
brought a number of them to the ground. The advance had 
been made with a large force, and apparently with a good 
deal of determination, and as the force at Franklin was not 
large, it is difficult to understand why the attack was so readily 
abandoned. At this very time Gen. Stanley, with a large force 
of cavajry, was moving from Murfreesboro toward Spring Hill, 
and it may have been that Gen. Van Dorn thought to make a 
dash upon Franklin for the purpose of capturing the regiment on 
outpost duty, and diverting the Union forces from their south- 
ward trip. It seemed a useless sacrifice of life to go so far 
with a movement and then abandon it. Just what the Rebel 



116 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

loss was cannot be told, but nineteen of their dead and quite a 
number of their wounded were left in and around the village, 
and it was known that several wagons or ambulances were 
driven close up to the outposts and filled with those who had 
been disabled. The 40th made a gallant fight, and lost six 
killed or mortally wounded, a few injured and ten captured. 

The fighting lasted until two o'clock. Col. Atkins' Bri- 
gade, the NINETY-SIXTH leading, marched out across the river 
at four o'clock, following the retreating forces some four or 
five miles. Men and horses lay where they had fallen as the 
column filed out through town and past the picket lines. A 
short distance out an advance guard was thrown forward, and 
a little later four Companies of the Regiment were deployed 
as skirmishers, but the enemy did not resist the advance, 
although there was some skirmish firing on the part of the 
troops directly at the left of the Regiment. Just at dusk the 
Brigade halted, in line of battle, along a stone wall, only a 
short distance from where a heavy force of the enemy had 
made a stand upon a line of hills that lay at right angles to 
the pike, remaining in that position until about ten o'clock 
p. M., when they returned to Franklin, reaching camp about 
midnight. 

On the eleventh the cavalry moved out to the front and 
engaged the enemy, the sound of firearms being heard in 
camp a considerable part of the day. Their expedition was 
fairly successful, quite a number of prisoners being taken 
without serious loss to the Union forces. 

Sunday, April 12, Chaplain Woodworth again preached. 
Everything was quiet at the front, and the usual dress parade 
was had in the evening. All of the time during the stay at 
Franklin heavy guard details were required to picket the rear 
of the little army, but south of the river the picketing was 
done by regiments and not by details. 

Tuesday, April 14, the Regiment was on picket on the 
south side of the river, having its headquarters at the cotton 
press, which afterward became historic ; the line being formed 
at the very point where, a year and a half later, Hood's forces 
charged with such dash and courage against the lines of the 



1863] A MAN KILLED ION PICKET. 117 

4th and 23d Corps, only to be beaten back so terribly defeated 
as to be of little further service to the Confederacy. It was 
anything but agreeable weather, as rain fell much of the time 
throughout the day and night. During the day everything 
was quiet on .the line, but at night there was more or less 
firing, and James M. Scott, of Company F, was killed. The 
advance line, under the order of their commanding officer, 
fell back a short distance, and the relief post was aroused, 
but no further trouble occurred during the night. Next night 
a rebel was shot, close to the spot where Scott fell, by a mem- 
ber of the .Regiment that relieved the NINETY-SIXTH on the 
morning of the sixteenth. He was crawling up to the lines, 
probably intending to kill another Yankee. 

"Wednesday, April 15, the Regiment returned to camp 
and spent the day in resting and cleaning up. On the six- 
teenth the remains of Scott were buried with military honors. 
He was but twenty, and had always been a favorite in the 
Regiment. The funeral was an impressive one, the entire 
command attending the services. In the afternoon there was 
battalion drill. 

Friday, April 17, Maj. Terrell visited the camp and gave 
the men four months' pay each. His visit was most welcome, 
for the officers and soldiers had long been short of funds. 
The first questions with most of the men after receiving their 
pay, were, "What shall I do with it ? How shall I send it 
home ? How much of it can I spare ? As a rule, $40 or 
more of the $52 received by the privates was sent home 
through the State Agent, an officer appointed by the Governor 
to look after the Illinois troops. At that time the express 
companies would make no guaranty of safe delivery, as on a 
portion of the route northward they considered the risk too 
great. Many had sutlers' bills to pay, and a few retained a 
little change to invest in chuck-luck and draw-poker. During 
the day there were rumors of an attack by the Rebels, but 
quiet was maintained. 

The next week was spent rather quietly, although almost 
every day heavy details were made for work on the fortifica- 
tions. Friday, April 24, the Regiment was again on picket 



118 HISTORY OF THE 9$TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

across the river, having a quiet time. On the twenty-sixth 
Captain J. P. Black, of Company E, resigned. First Lieutenant 
William F. Taylor was promoted to Captain, Second Lieutenant 
Halsey H. Richardson to First Lieutenant, and First Sergeant 
Sidney B. Funk to Second Lieutenant. Two days later First 
Lieutenant Samuel H. Bayne, of Company H, resigned, and 
was succeeded by Second Lieutenant Joseph L. Pierce ; First 
Sergeant George F. Barnes being promoted to Second Lieu- 
tenant. 

Monday, April 27, the Regiment was detailed for wood- 
chopping and started for Brigade Headquarters, when there 
was an alarm, and the order was given to countermarch and 
prepare for a fight. They immediately marched to town, 
crossing the river on the pontoon bridge, but were at once 
directed to countermarch and again started for camp. On 
the way they were a second time ordered to the front, this 
time crossing the river on the railroad bridge and taking up 
position near the depot, where they remained in line for an 
hour or more. Meanwhile the cavalry, under Col. Watkins, 
which had been out on a surprise visit to some Rebel camps, 
sent word that all was going well, and the NINETY-SIXTH was 
ordered to return to camp and proceed with its woodchopping. 
Later in the day the cavalry returned with 123 prisoners, 300 
horses and mules, eight wagons, and a complete camp outfit 
for quite a force, the expedition having been remarkably 
successful. 

The experience of the Regiment in the woods that day 
was an interesting one. The column, when it left its position 
near the depot, passed out near its camp and up over the side 
of Roper's Knob, halting on the plantation of a man whose 
family was living quietly under the protection of the old Flag 
while he was serving as an officer in Bragg's army at the 
front. On the plantation was a beautiful forest or park of 
some forty or fifty acres, embracing a great variety of timber, 
including oak, elm, ash, hickory, cottonwood, maple, beech, 
and probably other kinds. The trees had been nicely trimmed, 
there being hardly a branch lower than twenty feet from the 
ground ; but the Rebel forces had been threatening to make 



1863] SHELTER TENTS RECEIVED. 119 

a dash upon the camp from the direction of this timber, and 
the commander had determined to make that plantation im- 
passable for cavalry. The Regiment, probably numbering 
600 men, received about one-half that number of axes, and 
were accordingly counted off in two reliefs. Then began the 
work of destruction, 300 axemen raining heavy blows upon 
these beautiful trees. Usually two men worked on the same 
tree, and it was a musical chorus as the sharp and heavy 
axes rained their rapid blows upon the doomed forest. In 
ten minutes there was a crash ; then another and another, until 
they came in such rapidity that the sound of falling timber 
was almost continuous. This was kept up all through the 
forenoon and until the middle of the afternoon, special pains 
being taken to fell the trees in such a way that their tops 
should interlace and cross each other. When one relief had 
worked an hour the other relief would be called up and go to 
take its place. It really seemed almost too bad to destroy 
this beautiful park, but the fact that its owner was a Rebel, 
and that cutting the timber would protect one side of the 
camp from attack, entirely reconciled a great majority of the 
men to the destruction of the beautiful forest. By four or 
five o'clock in the afternoon there were hardly a dozen trees 
standing, the few remaining being in a position where they 
could not be readily reached, owing to the fact that the tops 
of other trees had fallen all around them. Not an accident 
occurred that was at all serious, although there were some 
narrow escapes from falling trees. 

Wednesday, April 29, the Regiment received shelter tents, 
and turned over to the Quartermaster the large Bell tents 
drawn at Danville. There was much feeling among the men 
regarding the matter, as they were strongly prejudiced against 
the shelter tents, or, as they were then called, the "dog 
tents" or "pup tents"; but the order had been received, 
and most of the other regiments about Franklin had already 
made the change. Orders were given to strike the Bell tents, 
but no sooner were they down than a tremendous rain storm 
set in. There had been little preparation for the change, and 
as a result the men were obliged to pack up their things. 



120 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Most of them put on their ponchos and endeavored to pro- 
tect their earthly effects until such time as the rain should 
cease, and they be permitted to go to the timber, some dis- 
tance from the camp, and secure tent poles. Showers were 
frequent all day, but in the intervals between them the tents 
were erected, and the men made themselves at home. During 
the afternoon Gen. Granger came riding along near the color 
line. In an instant the men began to disappear, much as prairie 
dogs on the western plains dive into their holes when a trav- 
eler approaches, while all along the line there came the great- 
est possible variety of barking, whining and yelping that can 
be imagined. The probable intention, so far as there was any 
plan in it, was to impress the General with the fact that they 
knew that these were ' ' dog tents. " The General looked indig- 
nant but said nothing. In a very short time, however, the men 
were more than reconciled to the change, and at no time in 
their after experience would they have voluntarily given up 
these shelter tents for any others ever made. Perhaps" these 
tents should be described at this point. To each man was 
given a piece of cotton cloth, five feet six inches square. The 
edges were made double, by a strip three or four inches wide 
being sewed across them. At each of the two lower corners 
a loop of rope was fastened so that stakes might be driven 
through them into the ground. At the upper edge there was a 
row of buttons and button holes. Two men would button their 
pieces of tent together, drive a pair of stakes four and a half 
feet in length into the ground, lay a pole six feet long across 
the top of the stakes, and over these place their tent, fasten- 
ing the lower corners to the ground with tent pins. There 
being no protection at the ends they were certainly very 
thoroughly ventilated, but they were easily put up, and at the 
end of a march there was no waiting for the wagons to come 
up before the men could be provided with shelter. In case of a 
storm they were easily shifted so that the rain could not sift in 
on the sides, or, if it was impracticable to change the position 
of the tents, then a poncho could be fastened on the windward 
side. Usually, where there was a probability of remaining in 
camp for more than a day, four men would join together and 








C. W. POMEROY, 

COMPANY K. 

(Copied from a war-time photograph.) 



1863] SURPLUS TEAMS SENT TO NASHVILLE. 121 

put up their tents so that they would lap each other. As the 
days grew longer and the weather became hotter the men 
erected shades above these tents. Crotches were set in the 
ground and poles laid across them, evergreens or the limbs of 
other trees being cut and placed over them. In this way the 
camp was protected from the direct rays of the sun, and the 
quarters made not only very comfortable but really very pleas- 
ant to look upon. 

Thursday, April 30, was a day set apart by President Lincoln 
for fasting and prayer throughout the nation. The command- 
ing General issued an order directing that the day should be 
observed ; as a consequence there was no formal drill, but, in 
the forenoon, it being the last day of the month, there was 
muster and inspection. In the afternoon the Chaplain 
preached an excellent sermon. Toward evening the other 
Division was called in line, and started out toward the front, 
the cavalry, under Col. Campbell, accompanying them. There 
was expectation of the capture of a rebel camp, but next day 
the troops returned without having accomplished all that was 
intended, although they had taken part in a lively engagement 
and routed the enemy, capturing a few prisoners. Rumor had 
it that a citizen had notified the camp that the Yankees were 
coming, just in time to prevent a surprise and capture. 

As the men were to carry their own tents from this time 
forward, there was no longer need of so many Regimental 
wagons. Accordingly orders were issued to turn over to the 
Quartermaster at Nashville all surplus teams, leaving four to 
each Regiment. Friday, May 1, the extra teams and wagons 
of all the troops at Franklin were given in charge of Lieu- 
tenant Burnett, of Company B, who, with a large detail of 
guards, escorted them to the rear. As they neared Brentwood 
the enemy's cavalry were seen hovering on the flank, watch- 
ing an opportunity to rush in and capture or destroy the train. 
The troops at Brentwood were notified and came to the rescue, 
so that no trouble resulted, although for a time the danger 
was imminent. They went into park at Brentwood, and next 
day proceeded to Nashville, where a delay of some days 



122 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

occurred before the receipt of the busy Quartermaster could 
be obtained. The detail then returned to Franklin by rail. 

Monday, May 4, the Regiment was again on picket. 
During the day the artillerymen were practicing with their 
.guns from the fort, firing directly over the picket line. One 
shell burst close to the line, the fuse probably having been cut 
too short, but no harm was done. All was quiet through the 
night and until toward morning, when there was a little firing 
by the cavalry videttes in front. 

There had been considerable scurvy in the Regiment from 
the time of leaving Danville, but potatoes and other vegeta- 
bles had been issued, and the command was now in much 
better health. There was but little drilling except before day- 
light in the morning, but almost every day there were heavy 
details at work upon the fort or at Roper's Knob, or in cut- 
ting timber in the neighborhood, so that the men received 
sufficient exercise, and were really in good health. 

Newspapers could be had at ten cents each. Those from 
Nashville were usually received the day on which they were 
published ; those from Louisville the day after their issue from 
the press ; while those from Cincinnati and Chicago were from 
two to four days old. As both money and time were plenty 
these papers found ready sale, particularly during the early 
days of the month, when all eyes were turned toward the 
army of the Potomac, as it again essayed to take Richmond. 
Great was the disappointment when news came that Fighting 
Joe Hooker had met with disaster at Chancellorsville, and his 
army had again been withdrawn toward "Washington. 

On the sixth the Regiment was detailed for wood chop- 
ping, and cut down a large amount of timber in rear of Roper's 
Knob. The day was rainy and unpleasant, and the work any- 
thing but agreeable. The season had now so far advanced that 
the trees were almost in full foliage, and small grain was 
approaching maturity. The river was so near to camp that 
the men could bathe with little trouble, and for an hour just 
at dusk daily there was a lively scene not far from camp, many 
taking their first lessons in swimming, and enjoying the sport 
with keen zest. 



1863] How TO MAKE "SLAP-JACKS." 123 

Rations were fairly abundant, and there was a great improve- 
ment in the methods of cooking them. A brick oven was 
constructed by every Company, and much of the beef issued 
was nicely roasted, instead of being boiled. Flour was issued 
and "soft bread" baked, the cooks using peach leaves in 
place of hops, and finding them a very good substitute. Bis 
cuit, pancakes and even cookies were indulged in. The fol- 
lowing recipe for making pancakes or "slapjacks," as they 
were called is copied from an old letter of one of the Publi- 
cation Committee of this work : "To one quart of water add 
one teaspoouful of salaratus (bought from the sutler at 35 
cents a pound), three tablespoonsful of vinegar, and stir to a 
thick paste with flour ; then salt to taste. It makes them bet- 
ter to let them stand over night before cooking." The rations 
issued consisted of salt pork, bacon, fresh beef, hardtack, flour, 
beans, dried peas, coifee, sugar, candles, vinegar, rice, salt, 
pepper, and sometimes black tea, molasses and potatoes. On 
the march or in active campaigning many of these articles 
were omitted, but the hardtack, salt meat and coffee could 
generally be expected once in three days, that being the usual 
period for which rations were issued. 

During the month Dr. Frederick W. Byers, who had been 
commissioned Second Assistant Surgeon, joined the Regi- 
ment, thus making full the medical staff of the command. 
Second Lieutenant Hiram W. Farnsworth, of Company G, 
resigned, and was succeeded by First Sergeant James O. 
Havens. 

On the twenty-seventh the resignation of Captain Alexan- 
der Burnett, of Company H, was accepted, First Lieutenant 
Joseph L. Pierce being promoted to the place made vacant ; 
Second Lieutenant George F. Barnes being commissioned 
First Lieutenant, and First Sergeant Charles H. Yates being 
promoted to Second Lieutenant. This made an entire change 
of the commissioned officers in that Company within a period 
of less than four months. 

On the eighth Colonel Champion returned from an absence 
of some weeks, having been home on sick leave. During 
the tenth the Chaplain did double duty, preaching two ser- 



124 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

mons, a somewhat unusual undertaking for an army Chaplain. 
On the eleventh there was an inspection and grand review of 
the troops. On the twelfth the Regiment was wood chopping, 
and a large amount of work was done. On the fifteenth 
drill was taken up with a little more regularity. On the six- 
teenth the Regiment was on picket again across the river, but 
all was quiet. On the nineteenth occurred the first full- 
fledged Brigade drill, the troops having to march about two 
miles to find a piece of level ground on which they could 
maneuver, and all be in sight of their commander. On the 
twentieth there was a very strict inspection of the camp and 
of the arms of the men, and the same day three regiments,, 
including the NINETY-SIXTH, had target practice. On the 
twenty-first there was a Division drill, under Gen. Baird y 
which occupied the greater part of the afternoon. 

Sunday, May 24, the usual religious services were held in 
camp, and in the evening there was a Brigade dress parade. 
On the twenty-sixth the Regiment was again on picket on the 
south side of the river, and had a quiet time. On the follow- 
ing night there was some excitement on the line, and the 
Regiment was called at three o'clock, expecting an attack 
which did not materialize. The weather for the last half of 
the month was dry and pleasant, although quite warm at times, 
the camp becoming very dusty. On the twenty-ninth occurred 
a heavy rain, which laid the dust and purified the air some- 
what. Sunday, May 31, there were religious services, and 
following this quite an excitement because of a report that the 
Regiment was to move. 

About the time the command first moved to Tennessee 
occurred what came to be known as the "nine months fever."" 
In calling out the troops the year before, President Lincoln 
had stated that 300,000, or one-half of all asked for, would be 
accepted for nine months, and several of the Eastern States 
filled their quotas with men recruited for that period. It was 
held by many that it would be entirely unfair to require Illinois 
to continue men in service for a longer period than did the 
Eastern States. Of course every man in the Regiment was 
enlisted with the distinct understanding that he should remain 



1863] THE NINE MONTHS FEVER. 125 

for three years should his services be required for that period, 
but with each obligation was coupled the phrase "unless 
sooner discharged," and many saw in those three words the 
loop hole by which they were to be permitted to return home 
simultaneously with the nine months' troops at the East. Not 
a few came to believe that they were really to be sent home. 
There were mischievous men in every Company who would 
assume that such was the case, and argue it by the hour, 
knowing all the time that their arguments had no real foun- 
dation. Some of these men would report, with apparent can- 
dor, that when on guard at Brigade Headquarters, and while 
near Col. Atkins' tent, they had heard some discussion of the 
subject, and were sure the officers believed that they were 
going home. Next day they would report that Colonel Cham- 
pion had been overheard to say that there was good reason to 
believe in the nine months' theory. On the whole the discus- 
sion was most unfortunate, for many a man grew homesick as 
he heard the oft-told tale, and conceived the idea that the 
authorities were doing him an injustice in retaining him in 
the service beyond nine months. Not until the nine months 
had fully passed did the last ray of hope depart from a few in 
almost every Illinois Regiment organized under the calls of 
1862. 

During the period covered by this chapter Death was still 
busy in the ranks, taking off one and another of the command. 
A majority of the deaths occurred in the hospitals in and about 
Nashville, but some at Danville and others at points further 
north. Those dying were : Robert Neal and Josiah Beall, 
of Company A ; John J. Price, of Company B ; Caleb E. 
Colgrove and Henry Schnell, of Company C ; Corporal John 
Sluman and Miles Jones, of Company D ; Joseph E. Fletcher, 
James Gunn, Thomas Keyes, John Sage and Albert Demure, 
of Company E ; Daniel Goble, W. Irving Edgerton, William 
Sturges, Corporal Chauncey Wakefield and Corporal Henry 
Trefz, of Company F ; Asel Hawkins, of Company G ; J. P. 
Davis and William Conley, of Company H ; John Ben- 
nett, John Williams, Humphrey Leslie and Corporal G. W. 
Roberts, of Company I. 



126 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 



VIII. 



The Summer of 1863 The March to Triune Lightening the Knapsacks 
Partial Reorganization of the Corps The Paymaster and the Enemy 
Arrive Simultaneously Again Under Fire but at Long Range 
Skedaddle of the Sutler's Clerks Punishment of Sleepy Sentinels 
The Tullahoma Campaign A Succession of Rainy Days Again 
Under Fire Guarding Prisoners to the Rear The Advance to Shelby- 
ville The March to Wartrace Close of the Brief Campaign Good 
News from Vicksburg and Gettysburg A Day of Thanksgiving. 

THE spring of 1863 had passed, summer had come, and 
quiet still reigned along the lines in Middle Tennessee. True, 
there were almost daily engagements at some point, but they 
were on the part of small forces, and their results had little 
significance. The main body of the army had made no gene- 
ral movement for a period of nearly five months. Apparently 
Gen. Rosecrans and Gen. Bragg were each waiting for the 
other to take the offensive. The Confederate forces were 
mainly north of Duck River, their infantry being at Shelby- 
ville and Wartrace, covering Tullahoma, which had been 
heavily fortified, and was their headquarters and main base of 
supplies. Their cavalry was on either flank, with headquarters 
at McMinnville on their right, and Spring Hill and Columbia 
on their left. The main body of Gen. Rosecrans' army was. 
at Murfreesboro, but there were considerable forces of both 
infantry and cavalry at Franklin and Triune, and a large 
body of cavalry at the left of Murfreesboro. 

The authorities at Washington, growing impatient as the 
weeks went by, began to demand that an advance be made, 
and that the war be carried into Alabama and Georgia. Gen. 
Rosecrans insisted that his force was entirely too small ; that 
he was especially deficient in cavalry, and that the roads were 
likely to be so bad that supplies could not be drawn by wagons- 
to a point much in advance of that then occupied by his army. 
The controversy was mainly between Gen. Halleck and Gen.. 



1863] THE MARCH TO TRIUNE. 127 

Rosecrans, and became very acrimonious. Some additional 
cavalry was provided, and a forward movement ordered on 
the one hand and promised on the other. The work of con- 
centrating the army began on the first of June. 

Tuesday, June 2, the NINETY-SIXTH, with most of the other 
troops comprising Gen. Granger's command, in accordance 
with orders received the night before, was called in line at 
about three o'clock in the morning, standing to arms until 
daylight, when ranks were broken and preparations made for 
the march. The men were in high spirits at the prospect of a. 
forward movement. The weather having become so warm 
that it was desirable to be rid of all surplus clothing and 
baggage, overcoats were rolled up, and, with all other 
articles not regarded as absolutely necessary to comfort in 
a hot weather campaign, packed in boxes and barrels and 
shipped by the soldiers to their Illinois homes. By sunrise 
tents were down, knapsacks were packed and the men ready 
to move. A long wait occurred, however, as Gen. Granger 
and his staff were not ready, and it was seven or eight o'clock 
before the column finally moved out across the fields, intend- 
ing to' take the wagon road leading to Triune. 

Thus the cool morning hours were idled away, and the 
command compelled to make its march in the heat of the day. 
Whether for the purpose of deceiving the enemy or because the 
guide made a mistake in the road is not quite certain, but the 
column was led out of its way several miles. The weather 
was sultry, and the roads extremely muddy, so that the march 
was one of great severity, and many were the stragglers from 
the ranks as the day wore on. As already stated, the men 
had previously packed up and sent away all of the clothing 
that they deemed superfluous. Long before noon, however, 
many of them concluded that they still had clothing to 
spare, and as the column halted for a brief rest knapsacks were 
thrown open, and out came extra shirts, letters, books and 
many other articles, to lighten the heavy loads. A few had 
undertaken to carry two blankets, but it is doubtful if there 
was a man in the Regiment who had more than one when he 
reached camp at night, while many had thrown away the only 



128 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

woolen blanket with which they started. The distance trav- 
eled was nearly twenty miles, and the final halt made only a 
short distance from Triune at about five o'clock in the after- 
noon. One of the other Brigades, which started about the 
same time as the Second Brigade, and took the direct road, 
reached Triune at noon, having traveled but about twelve 
miles. The country passed was rather pleasant, the trees 
being in full leaf, the crops thriving and the occasional fields 
of wheat nicely headed out. All day there was some 
firing in the rear, and it afterward transpired that the enemy 
had made a reconnoissance of the position upon the moving 
out of Gen. Granger's command, for the evident purpose of 
ascertaining how large a force was left at Franklin. 

On the third all was quiet, the men taking a much needed 
rest, and discussing the rumor which spread through camp to 
the effect that the command was to move to the front the fol- 
lowing day. The commonly accepted theory was that Gen. 
Bragg, commanding the enemy in their immediate front, had 
been weakening his army for the purpose of reenforcing Gen. 
Pemberton, then at Yicksburg, and that Gen. Rosecrans was 
about to assume the offensive. 

Here there was a partial reorganization of the Corps, the 
Brigade of which the NINETY-SIXTH was a part becoming the 
First Brigade of the First Division of the Reserve Corps, but 
still retaining the same Commanders. 

There was a large force at Triune, but just how large few 
except the commander knew until Thursday, June 4, when, 
there having been a critical inspection of cartridge boxes and 
knapsacks in the forenoon, the entire command was called out 
for a grand review, by Gen. Granger, in the afternoon. In 
this review, between twenty and thirty Regiments of infantry 
and a half dozen or more batteries of artillery participated. 
It was much the largest and most imposing review in which 
the Regiment had taken part, but quite as tedious as it was 
interesting. 

The same afternoon the Rebels made a very vigorous 
reconnoissance in the neighborhood of Franklin, attacking 
the force there with the evident intention of capturing Fort 




JOSEPH L. PIERCE, 



CAPTAIN, COMPANY H. 



'^T I 7.'**TV v 



1863] A FIRE NEAR CAMP. J29 

Granger and giving the army serious trouble on its right. 
The cavalry at Triune was hurried off across the country in 
the direction of the heavy firing, but their services were not 
needed, as the force at Franklin proved sufficient to hold the 
place and severely punish their unwelcome visitors. The 
firing continued into the night and was renewed next morn- 
ing, being kept up until nearly noon, when the enemy retired. 

Friday, June 5, the Regiment moved a short distance and 
went into camp in a field on the left of the Shelbyville pike. 
The spot chosen was very pleasant, with an abundance of 
good water in the near vicinity. It seemed as if there was a 
fatality hanging over the Regiment, for here, as on most 
previous occasions, the changing of the camp ground was 
attended by a severe rain storm, which prevailed a greater 
part of the night following. 

Saturday, June 6, battalion drill was resumed, and every- 
thing indicated that the command would remain in camp for 
some time. Rifle pits were thrown up in the neighborhood, 
and a force of cavalry was sent out to reconnoiter the front. 
In the evening a large barn connected with the beautiful resi- 
dence in front of the camp, and which was the property of a 
noted secessionist, was discovered to be on fire. The house 
near by was said to have cost $50,000, and the barn corre 
sponded well with the residence. There was no fire apparatus 
handy, and, strange as it may seem, the men, knowing the 
character of the owner of the property, manifested but little 
sorrow while the flames were lighting up the camp. Whether 
true or not, it was believed at the time that a few nights before 
the owner of this property had shot and killed a Union picket 
on duty in the garden adjoining the buildings. The day the 
army moved forward the residence was destroyed by fire. 

Sunday, June 7, there was more or less skirmishing on the 
part of the cavalry a short distance in the front, but no infantry 
firing. There were some very nice gardens in the neighbor- 
hood of the little village of Triune, and some of the soldiers 
discovered that new potatoes were large enough to cook. Un- 
fortunately, however, there were not enough to go around, 
9 



130 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

and those who could not secure new potatoes had to content 
themselves with digging up and cooking some seed potatoes 
that had just been planted and had not yet sprouted. 

Monday was passed quietly with the usual drill. Tuesday, 
June 9, just as the Regiment was preparing for battalion drill, 
there was a sound of skirmishing in the front, and orders 
were given to remain in camp, prepared to move at a moment's 
notice. There was no serious fighting, however, and that 
afternoon and the next day all was quiet. 

Thursday, June 11, Maj. Terrill began the work of paying 
off the Regiment. Companies A and B had already received 
their money, and Captain Pollock, of Company C, had called 
his men in line and had just got his pay, but before any of 
his men had been called to the Paymaster's table brisk skir- 
mishing again began, and the Regiment was ordered into line. 
Musketry firing was quite brisk, and distant only about half a 
mile. The Paymaster left rather abruptly, and the Regiment 
fell in almost instantly, Company A being sent to the front 
as skirmishers. The line had but just been formed when 
shells from the enemy's batteries came whistling overhead. 
The men were directed to strike tents, and their knapsacks 
were sent to the rear of a line of breastworks a short distance 
from camp. A section of Miller's Chicago Battery took posi- 
tion at the front and right of the Regiment, on a little emi- 
nence just in the edge of a grove. There was an open field 
about a quarter of a mile wide at the front, on the opposite 
side of which was another stretch of timber. The Rebels 
planted two guns on the pike, just at the edge of this timber, 
and a brisk artillery duel began. The first shots from the 
front seemed to be directed at Col. Atkins and staff, who were 
in plain view upon their horses. The Brigade commander 
and his escort very wisely retired a short distance, where they 
could not be so distinctly seen. The Third Brigade of the 
First Division occupied a position just to the right of the 
pike. A rebel shell passed over the tent of the regimental 
sutler, Mr. E. H. Mason, so frightening the clerks in charge 
that they left for safer quarters, whereupon some of the sol- 
diers concluded to invoice the goods. Mr. Mason was absent 



1863] THE SKIRMISH AT TRIUNE. 131 

at the time, having gone North for supplies. Whatever the 
stock on hand was in the morning, that evening the amount 
was very trifling, most of it having been appropriated by the 
soldiers. As the clerks ran to the rear they kept directly in 
range of the battery, and the shells struck very close to them 
more than once. Indeed, they were in much greater danger 
than they would have been had they remained at their posts. 
Both of them were thoroughly ashamed of their conduct, and 
shortly afterward left for Illinois, concluding that if non-com- 
batants were to be the targets for rebel batteries they would 
leave the front. The money drawer of the sutler was undis- 
turbed, but the eatables were disposed of in very short order. 
One of the rebel shells struck a loaded wagon immediately 
in the rear of the line, and another tore up the ground just 
in front of the infantry, on the right of the pike, but without 
inflicting any casualties. This firing became so annoying that 
another section of Miller's battery was brought up and soon 
succeeded in silencing the enemy's guns. Meanwhile the 
skirmishers were making a stubborn fight, and the sound of 
their firing became almost continuous. At one time there 
were indications that the enemy was intending to make a 
general charge, but whatever the plans of Gen. Forrest may 
have been, he wisely concluded to withdraw without an assault. 
Had he charged across the open field he would have encoun- 
tered a deep gully, impassable for horses, and his losses 
would certainly have been heavy. After several hours of 
vigorous skirmishing the enemy retired. Although the 
NINETY-SIXTH was in line for six hours and under fire a con- 
siderable part of the time, it sustained no loss. Those who 
had been on the skirmish line, and so fortunate as to have the 
opportunity to exchange shots with the enemy, were looked 
upon by their less exposed comrades with a feeling almost 
approaching envy. The shells passed close to the line, arid 
the position through the long hours had been anything but a 
pleasant one. With rare exceptions the men were cool, and 
acted in a becoming manner. One man foolishly ran to the 
rear a short distance and clambered into a sink that had been 
newly dug, and commenced to pray in a loud tone ; but the 



132 HISTORY OF THE 96'ra KEGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

\ 

taunts of his companions soon brought him to the front 
again. The newspapers reported the loss of the Rebels 
at about one hundred, while the Union loss was one 
Lieutenant and two or three men killed and a few slightly 
wounded. About one hundred head of horses and mules, 
grazing in an open field near the skirmish line, were stam- 
peded, and most of them deserted to the enemy. The Union 
cavalry moved out to the front and engaged the enemy, fol- 
lowing them as they retreated southward for a distance of five 
miles, returning in the evening with a few prisoners. This 
was even nearer to a battle than the Franklin experience, and 
the boys began to feel quite like veterans. 

Friday, June 12, the Paymaster "resumed operations at 
the old stand," and the boys were each given two months' 
pay. On Saturday a Brigade of infantry and quite a heavy 
force of cavalry under Gen. Steedman marched southward 
toward Shelby ville. The same afternoon, while Col. Atkins' 
command was out for Brigade drill in a large clover field 
in front of the line, brisk firing was heard at the front, and 
the troops were ordered to the support of Gen. Steedman, 
marching very rapidly for nearly four miles, when the recon- 
noiteriug party was found retiring leisurely, the Rebels skir- 
mishing with its rear guard. The column then moved back 
to camp, reaching there at dusk. At about eleven o'clock the 
same evening they were again called out, with the order to 
put two days' rations in their haversacks, fill their canteens, 
roll up their blankets, and be ready to march at a moment's 
notice, it being reported that the Rebels had followed the 
troops back to camp and were preparing for a night attack. 
There was no further disturbance, although the men were 
kept in waiting until daylight next morning. The night was 
cool, and the unprotected troops had little or no sleep. 

Sunday, June 14, there was morning inspection, and in 
the ^orenoon religious services were held, three Regiments 
joi "d having an interesting time. In the afternoon 

there arge prayer meeting. The troops were ordered 

to keep constantly on hand two days' cooked rations, and 
every soldier was required to have twenty rounds of ammu- 



1863] CHAPLAIN WOODWORTH RESIGNS. 133 

nition in his pockets besides the forty rounds in his cartridge 
box. Cooked rations meant cold rations, and not unfrequently 
spoiled rations, for the weather was hot and the meat would 
not keep. The men were at considerable inconvenience in 
this regard for a week or two. There was a very heavy rain 
storm in the evening. 

Monday, June 15, the Regiment made a general business 
of putting up nice shades, or awnings, over their shelter 
tents, occupying most of the time when not on drill. Up to 
this time nearly all had worn the heavy dress coats first 
provided, but the weather being very warm, light blouses, 
made from dark blue flannel, were issued. The dress coats 
were retained, however, and used on dress parade for a few 
days ; but when the first march occurred most of them were 
left in camp, to be gathered up and worn by the negroes of 
the neighborhood, or were thrown out beside the road after 
carrying them a few miles, and until the shoulders of the 
soldiers began to be tired and demanded the lightening of 
their loads. A rebel lieutenant and private came to -the 
lines one day and gave themselves up, being tired of the war. 
They represented the Confederates as so discouraged that 
they were about ready to give up the contest, and claimed 
that the majority of the members of the companies to which 
they belonged desired to desert. About this time Chaplain 
Woodworth resigned his commission and returned home, 
much to the regret of the majority of the command, for he 
had always been quite popular among the men. He was sub- 
sequently recommissioned, at the earnest request of many of 
the command, but did not again come to the Regiment. The 
remainder of the week was without notable incident. The 
weather was excessively hot much of the time during every 
day, and occasional showers and an exceptionally heavy rain 
storm visited the camp in the afternoon of the eighteenth. 
Col. Atkins had his command out for Brigade drill quite fre- 
quently, and the various movements were admirably i" 1 .ade. 
There was more or less trouble in some of the Re$r , ; nts 
about men being found asleep upon their posts, and in' one of 
the Regiments of the Brigade several of the men were tried 



134 HISTOKY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

and sentenced. In some instances their pay was declared 
forfeited and they were sent to military prison to be confined 
at hard labor ; in other cases they were compelled to stand 
upon a barrel for two hours in the forenoon and the same 
length of time each afternoon for ten days ; while still others 
were compelled to drag a ball and chain or a heavy fence rail 
up and down in front of the tent of their commander for a 
couple of hours daily. Be it said to the credit of the men 
and officers, there was never any trouble in the NINETY-SIXTH 
about sleeping on post. Undoubtedly it sometimes happened 
that some soldier, fatigued with an unusual march, the great 
amount of night service demanded, or the arduous duties 
required of him in camp, may have dozed upon the picket 
post ; but such cases were rare, and when discovered the officer 
in charge usually deemed his own reprimand and warning a 
sufficient punishment, and never reported the facts to higher 
authority. 

Tuesday, June 23, the Regiment had been called out at 
the usual very early hour, and was standing in line, when an 
Aide rode up and notified the Colonel to have his command 
ready to march at seven o'clbck. Everything was in readi- 
ness at the hour named, but the wagon trains were in the 
way and the column made but little progress until the fore- 
noon was well advanced. The direction taken was toward 
Murfreesboro, and the camp, which was made about ten 
o'clock at night, was within five miles of that city, near a 
small place called Salem. The distance traveled was about 
fourteen miles, and the march a very tedious one, a portion 
of the route being through a dense cedar forest. A dozen or 
more of the wagons broke down, and a small guard of men 
was left to watch them. Next morning a body of rebel cav- 
alry discovered the wagons and made a dash, as if intending 
to take them, but as soon as they saw the infantry, wheeled 
their horses about and "skedaddled," followed by a few bul- 
lets fired at long range. 

Gen. Rosecrans' plans were now complete, and his army 
was well consolidated, Murfreesboro and Salem being near 
together, and the main body of troops being at and between 



1863] THE TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN. 135 

these points. Knowing how strong were the entrenchments 
of the enemy he determined to attempt to flank Shelbyville 
on the east and force the enemy to the alternative of a battle 
away from his earthworks or a retreat from his established 
lines. To the Reserve Corps and Mitchell's Division of 
cavalry was assigned the work of making a vigorous push 
toward Shelbyville, and deceiving the enemy into the belief 
that the main army was on that road, intending to attempt to 
take the place by direct assault. The movement was success- 
ful, the forces keeping up a vigorous and noisy demonstration 
as far to the right as Unionville, and concealing the real plan, 
until the main body of the infantry, under Gen. Rosecrans' 
personal supervision, had made considerable advance toward 
Manchester. It was the intention to force a battle, if possible, 
north of the Cumberland Mountains, but the terrible rain- 
storms which prevailed almost continuously from the very 
inception of the campaign prevented rapid movements, and 
allowed Gen. Bragg to make his choice between a fight and a 
retreat, and he withdrew to the Tennessee River. 

The general movement of the Union army began on the 
morning of Wednesday, June 24. The camps were aroused 
at an early hour, and the men stood to arms until their hasty 
breakfasts were prepared, and partook of the meal with 
accoutrements strapped about them. In the camp of the 
NINETY-SIXTH, as soon as breakfast was over, the tents were 
taken down, and the men set about the camp ground on their 
knapsacks or on old logs awaiting orders. At seven o'clock 
it began to rain. It was not one of your gentle semi-pleasant 
showers, that is rather enjoyable than otherwise, but a fierce 
and prolonged deluge. The very flood-gates of heaven seemed 
to be opened, and the torrents poured down upon the devoted 
heads of the thousands of soldiers in the Army of the Cum- 
berland who had just started upon their active campaign. It 
was nearly noon when the column on the right finally moved. 
The direction taken was not toward Murfreesboro, but at first 
directly south along the pike leading to Middleton, and thence 
easterly, across the fields, to the Murfreesboro and Shelbyville 
pike. All through that dreary afternoon the men plodded 



136 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

slowly onward through the mud, the sound of cannon at the 
front, in the vicinity of Middleton, giving them the idea that 
they would shortly be engaged with the enemy, although the 
firing receded as they advanced. Stone River was forded, 
but the water was not so deep as to give serious trouble, 
although all got their feet wet. It was one o'clock at night 
when the Regiment bivouacked near Walnut Church, on the 
Shelby ville .pike. There it was learned that Willich's Brigade 
had taken Liberty Gap, and that Wilder's Brigade had 
taken Hoover's Gap. The distance traveled by the Regi- 
ment was only about seven miles, although the column had 
been on the road for fully twelve hours. The skirmishing at 
the front, and the delay caused by the miring or breaking 
down of the heavy army wagons made the trip a very tedious 
one. The rain had ceased falling during the evening, and 
most of the men lay down without putting up their tents. 
Before daylight it was again raining, but a large part of them 
were so tired as to sleep soundly, and when they woke 
in the morning many found themselves laying in an inch or 
two of water. 

Thursday, June 25, the column started out early, but only 
marched a mile or two, taking a position near the pike, and 
waiting the result of the contest at the front. The roar of 
artillery was continuous a greater part of the day. Orders 
came that all knapsacks should be loaded into such of the 
wagons as had been previously emptied by the distribution of 
rations, and sent back to Murfreesboro. Most of the men 
retained their woolen blankets, but a few kept only their 
ponchos. It was thought that there would be a battle right 
away, and the soldiers were generally glad to avail themselves 
of the opportunity to lighten their loads. The NINETY-SIXTH 
stood in line for an hour or two on the pike, and then relieved 
the 115th Illinois on the picket line, but did not have any 
skirmishing with the enemy, as the Union cavalry, still fur- 
ther at the front, kept them at a safe distance. Picket duty 
was continued all the next day, the other Regiments of the 
Brigade moving to the front. The headquarters of the Regi- 
ment was at the very house where Vallandigham, the. notori- 



1863J A CHURCH FOR A KITCHEN. 137 

ous southern sympathizer from Ohio, had been, by order of 
the President and the War Department, turned over to the 
tender mercies of his Southern brothers, only a few days, 
before. The occupant of the house said that Yallandigham 
declared his belief that he would be elected as the next Gov- 
ernor of his State, notwithstanding his enforced absence ; a 
prediction that did not come true, as he was beaten by more 
than one hundred thousand majority. There were in the 
neighborhood a large number of long, lank, lean hogs running 
about the woods, and, being out of pork, the boys made sad 
havoc among them. One sentinel said that fifty dead hogs 
passed the post where he was standing in a single day. Black- 
berries were quite plenty in the neighborhood, so that the 
living of the men was quite good. It may have seemed like 
sacrilege, but the church was turned into a grand cooking 
house, and the incense of frying pork filled the atmosphere. 

On Friday the right of the army kept substantially the 
same position, the Regiment still doing picket duty, and 
listening to the reports of cannon and small arms a few 
miles southward. 

Saturday, June 27, there was a forward movement toward 
Shelby ville, but the NINETY-SIXTH, together with the 5th Iowa 
cavalry, was left to guard a wagon train. A very heavy 
column of troops passed the position occupied by the Regi- 
ment, requiring between three and four hours to file by. 
It was said that there were seventeen regiments of cavalry, 
seven of infantry and two batteries of artillery. After they 
had filed past, the Regiment moved back a mile to a point 
where the wagon train was in park. Companies B, G and K 
were on picket that night. At about ten o'clock in the even- 
ing a courier brought word that Gen. Wheeler, with a large 
force of Rebel cavalry, was hovering in the near vicinity and 
contemplating a night attack upon the supply train. The Regi- 
ment was called out and remained in line for about two hours 
and a half. There was a little firing on the skirmish line, but 
nothing serious occurred. It was afterward learned that the 
position of the Regiment was critical at that time, as the 
enemy were about to attempt the capture of the train when 



138 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

they were called off to assume defensive operations at another 
point. 

Saturday, June 28, the train remained in the same position, 
and the Regiment was held in readiness to march at any 
moment, but it was not until three o'clock in the afternoon 
that any movement occurred. At that hour, the other Regi- 
ments of the Brigade came marching back from Shelbyville, 
distant some eight miles, having in charge 4-89 prisoners, 
taken at that place the day before by the Union cavalry. 
They represented a half dozen different regiments. The 
charge upon the Confederate force had been led by the 3d 
Tennessee cavalry, many of whom had their homes in the 
neighborhood. Much of the fighting took place right in the 
village. Shelbyville was quite a strong Union centre, and 
the citizens, who still loved the old flag, and who had suffered 
through the long months the persecutions of their enemies 
and the enemies of their country, came out to greet the Federal 
troopers as they dashed through the town, often bringing flags 
with them that they had kept securely through the months 
when the Rebel forces were among them. The charge was a 
most gallant one, and sabres were freely used. Perhaps at 
no other time during the war did the Regiment see so many 
men who had been cut with sabres in a cavalry charge as on 
this occasion. Besides the prisoners taken, a large number of 
the enemy were killed in the charge or drowned in attempting 
to swim Duck River, the number thus losing their lives 
approximating two hundred. Quite an amount of artillery 
was also captured- 

The Rebel prisoners were halted near the wagon train, 
and rations issued to them, Capt. Espy, of the 115th Illinois, 
who was then the acting Commissary on the Staff of the Brigade 
Commander, even prepared hot coffee for them, and gave them 
an abundance of hard bread and bacon. There were among 
the prisoners a Colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel, a Major, an 
Adjutant and about thirty-five line officers. At four o'clock 
p. M. the NINETY-SIXTH took the prisoners in charge, and 
escorted them back to Murfreesboro. The prisoners seemed 
quite happy and jolly, and were apparently familiar with the 



1863] ESCORTING PRISONERS TO MURFREESBORO. 139 

ground over which they were passing. At one place a lady 
came out and shook hands with some of them, one of the 
prisoners remarking: "I have stood guard here many a 
time, and while I would go into the house and eat, on the 
invitation of the lady, she would come out and stand guard for 
me until my meal was finished." At another place a matron 
with two or three blooming daughters came out to the road 
side and threw kisses to the prisoners, expressing the hope 
that they wouldn't be gone long. The old lady expressed the 
wish that all the negroes might be killed, and that all the white 
boys, north and south, might be saved. The trip was a very 
tedious one. The prisoners were all cavalrymen, unused to 
marching, and many of them became very foot-sore. There 
were several ambulances in the rear of the column, and those 
who gave out were permitted to ride. The members of the 
NINETY-SIXTH marched, with guns loaded and bayonets fixed, 
along the edge of the pike, the prisoners traveling in the cen- 
tre. The distance traveled was not more than ten miles, but 
Murfreesboro was not reached until after ten o'clock, and 
both the guards and their prisoners were thoroughly tired. 
The prisoners were turned over to Gen. Yan Cleve, and 
at a little before midnight the Regiment bivouacked in an 
open field or yard, hoping to have a quiet night's sleep. 
Hardly had they got comfortably settled and fairly asleep 
before the rain came pouring down in torrents. There was a 
scramble on the part of the majority, and under the lead of 
Major Smith, who had been reconnoitreing the locality, those 
who were first roused made their way to a large warehouse. 
This building consisted principally of a roof, and was piled 
full of boxes of hard bread. The men crawled to the top of 
the vast pile of boxes and slept close under the roof. Many 
of the Regiment were so worn out, however, with their long 
nights on picket and the hard marching in the rain and mud 
that they were not awakened by the storm, although it was 
raining hard, until the water was standing all about them, and 
they were thoroughly soaked. A few even slept through until 
morning, but before daylight nearly all were in the ware- 
house. 



140 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Sunday, June 29, the Regiment moved to the baggage 
train and drew rations, and at ten o'clock set out from Mur- 
freesboro for the front again, first strapping on their knap- 
sacks, parted with four days before. About a mile out a 
Company of Federals were met, having in charge thirty or 
forty prisoners, and about five miles out another Company 
with about an equal number. Following this latter squad 
were three pieces of captured artillery and a lot of captured 
horses. Arrived at the camp from which the Regiment had 
started the day before, it was hoped and expected that a halt 
would be made and the troops given an opportunity of secur- 
ing some much needed rest, but it was found that orders were 
awaiting the arrival of the NINETY-SIXTH for the Brigade to 
immediately march on, which it did, finally camping at eight 
o'clock in the evening eighteen miles south of Murfreesboro 
and about nine miles from Shelbyville. This was about the 
first night since leaving Triune that it did not rain, and the 
Regiment enjoyed a good night's sleep. It should be stated, 
however, that there had been heavy showers during the pre- 
ceding afternoon. The members of the Regiment appreciated 
this season of quiet, for all were greatly fatigued with their 
long march, and worn out by the severe night duty imposed 
on them. 

Monday, June 30, the Brigade started at seven o'clock in 
the morning and marched about seven miles. On the road 
Guy's Gap was passed. There was a strong line of fortifica- 
tions, and the trees and fences bore marks of the sharp fight- 
ing on the part of the cavalry. Shelbyville was reached, 
and a camp made on the ground which but two or three days 
before had been occupied by a large force of the enemy. 

On Tuesday, July 1, word having been passed through the 
line that the Brigade was to remain at Shelbyville, the men 
set about fixing up the camp in good, comfortable shape. 
After an hour or two of hard work the assembly was sounded 
and they were called in line, marched to the other side of 
the town and camped near Duck River. The distance trav- 
eled was not more than a mile or two, but the weather was of 
that peculiar, sultry character, occasionally encountered in 



18C3] FROM SHELBY VILLE TO WARTRACE. 141 

warm latitudes, which is thoroughly enervating and depressing, 
and the men suffered greatly before they had completed the 
march and the erection of their tents. 

Wednesday, July 2, the Kegiinent was permitted to lie 
idle and enjoyed a good rest. They explored the town and 
examined the fortifications, finding numerous forts and a very 
heavy line of breastworks extending partially around the 
pleasant village, either flank being protected by the river. 
Many refugees came into town, most of them being men who 
were known to sympathize with the Union, and who had been 
forced to leave their homes during the period when that 
region was occupied by the Confederates. Many and hearty 
were the greetings as families came together for the first time 
in long months. Quite a number of the Tennessee cavalry 
had enlisted from Shelbyville, and when they charged the 
Rebels on the Friday previous, one of them shot a man as he 
was riding past his own house. Some of the men left the 
ranks for a moment and rode up to their homes, kissed their 
wives or parents, or children, as the case might be, and then 
rode off again into the battle. Fortunately the casualties were 
not very numerous, and most of these men were permitted to 
remain at their homes for a day or two. 

Major J. C. Smith was here assigned to duty as Provost 
Marshal, on the staff of General Baird, with headquarters at 
Wartrace, which were subsequently transferred to Shelbyville, 
.and then to Murfreesboro, where he remained until the for- 
ward movement of the Division, in September. 

Thursday, July 3, the Regiment marched to Wartrace, a 
distance of about eight miles. Rain fell in torrents at times, 
and every little creek and stream was swollen to unwonted 
size. As a consequence the soldiers were often compelled to 
wade in water two or three feet deep, and once at least they 
forded a stream waist deep, being obliged to take off their 
accoutrements and carry them on their bayonets. When it 
rained the hardest the troops seemed the happiest, shouting 
.and singing and making merry, even though the surroundings 
were hardly such as to make it easy to account for such hilar- 
ity. However, all were in high spirits at the news of the 



142 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

capture of Tullahoma, and rejoiced at the substantial progress 
made by the army. Strange as it may seem, most of them 
regarded the rain as rather favorable to campaigning, as it 
served to cool the air, which otherwise would have been intol- 
erably hot. At times, on this short march from Shelbyville, 
the sun came out and the weather was oppressive in its sultri- 
ness. Wartrace was a little station on the Nashville & Chat- 
tanooga Railroad, and not an important point except that 
there were two or three railroad bridges to be guarded in the 
neighborhood. Camp was reached early in the afternoon, 
and all set at work to make themselves comfortable. The 
ground selected was a little to the east of the village, and had 
formerly been occupied as a camping ground by the enemy. 
It was filthy in the extreme, and much labor was required to- 
put it in order. 

This campaign of less than a fortnight had been a remark- 
ably successful one. The enemy had been forced to abandon 
its strong line of fortifications and retire to the mountains, 
yielding a country of vast size, much of which abounded in 
supplies useful to the troops that occupied it. The strategy 
of Gen. Rosecrans had been of a high order. With a loss of 
less than six hundred men, and in a country naturally rich in 
defense, he had outflanked and forced backward from their 
chosen lines an enemy almost, if not quite, equal to his own, 
and would have gained still further advantages had not the 
streams been so swollen as to make rapid pursuit impossible. 
Tullahoma was occupied by the Union forces June 30. Some 
of the troops were at once pushed out toward the moun- 
tains, and the cavalry penetrated to the Tennessee River, 
behind which Bragg' s main army retreated. The two armies 
at this time occupied almost the same relative positions and 
the identical territory held by them exactly a year before, 
when the Confederate invasion of Kentucky was planned and 
the race for the Ohio River began between the forces led 
respectively by Gens. Buell and Bragg. During the month 
that followed the main body of the infantry of the Army of 
the Cumberland was comparatively idle, camping in the neigh- 
borhood of Dechard and Winchester. The cavalry was active, 



1863] FOURTH OF JULY IN CAMP. 

however, and kept the line of the Tennessee River patrolled. 
Work was also begun on the railroad, so that the supplies- 
should not have to be brought through on wagons. 

The NINETY-SIXTH now came to know that being in the 
Reserve Corps meant that they were to be stationed at various 
points along the railroad guarding bridges, wagon trains and 
prisoners. The Reserve Corps was widely scattered from the 
neighborhood of Fort Donelson to Duck River, a Brigade, 
a Regiment or a Company in a place, according as its import- 
ance demanded. For the time being the First Brigade of the 
First Division, to which the NINETY-SIXTH belonged, remained 
at Wartrace. 

Saturday, July 4 a memorable day at Vicksburg and 
Gettysburg the Regiment lay idly in camp. Tired with, 
their long march in the mud and rain, most of them slept a 
considerable part of the day, and there was no attempt at 
anything like a celebration except that Capt. Hicks and Col. 
Atkins, with a few invited guests, had a banquet, with after- 
dinner speeches. There were very heavy guard details from 
the Regiment, a line of pickets extending around the camp, 
and quite a distance out, in all directions. Blackberries were 
abundant, and the men feasted on this luscious fruit. 

Sunday, July 5, there was preaching in the camp. The 
blackberry crop inside the picket line being about exhausted, 
permits were given to a few men in every Company to go out- 
side the lines in search of fruit. New potatoes and apples- 
were found in the neighborhood and supplemented the army 
rations. The men had learned the art of soldiering pretty 
well, and as soon as they arrived in camp, if there was a, 
prospect of remaining longer than for a single day, would set 
about constructing bunks, raising them above ground by 
means of posts or crotchets. For the construction of these 
bunks, barns, abandoned houses or board fences were used, 
and if the supply gave out small poles would be substituted. 
On these would be laid a few bundles of corn blades, or some 
cedar boughs, straw or leaves. Sometimes the officers inter- 
fered, in the endeavor to prevent the destruction of buildings, 
but in such cases the first dark night the building was pretty 



144 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

sure to disappear. In this way the men made themselves 
comfortable, and the beds were dry and well ventilated. 

Monday, July 6, there were heavy details from the Regi- 
ment for the purpose of chopping wood. Now, chopping 
wood at any time is not especially easy work, but take it in 
Middle Tennessee, on a hot July day, and the average Ameri- 
can soldier rather rebels against this class of labor, and 
regards it as almost drudgery. It was explained, however, 
that it was absolutely necessary to procure fuel for the loco- 
motives to be used on the railroads. At this announcement 
there was an entire change of sentiment, and the work was 
cheerfully performed. The amount of wood cut by any one 
man was not large, but in a few days there was a goodly pile 
at every station. For the first time in months the men were 
allowed to remain in bed until sunrise, a privilege that they 
appreciated after the long period of three and four o'clock 
reveilles. 

At this time the 92d Illinois was sent to a point on Duck 
River, about seven miles toward the front, to build a wagon 
bridge. Col. Wilder's Brigade of mounted infantry, then 
camped at Wartrace, furnished an escort, the Colonel himself 
accompanying the expedition. Col. Atkins, of the 92d, had 
been commander of the Brigade for about six months, and it 
was well understood that there was anything but a cordial 
feeling existing between him and Gen. Granger, the com- 
mander of the Reserve Corps. On the return of that Regi- 
ment, toward the close of the week, announcement was made 
that the 92d and NINETY-SIXTH, which had been together 
almost constantly from their organization, must part company, 
the former having been assigned to Col. Wilder's Brigade. 
Word passed through the camp immediately, and within an 
hour every Regiment in the Brigade was clamoring for horses 
and a transfer. Not that the dissatisfaction regarding Gen. 
Granger was so universal, but the men of a sudden seemed 
to be seized with the idea that it would be a fine thing to march 
on horseback and go to the front, rather than to tramp around 
on foot, chop wood for the railroad, and be on picket about 
every second or third night. 




GEORGE W. PEPOON, 

FIRST LIEUTENANT, COMPANY K. 



f V-' 



1863] GOOD NEWS RECEIVED. 145 

The "nine months' fever" had, of course, been dropped, 
but for some weeks there was an almost equal rage in the camp, 
the new disease being the "cavalry fever." Only the 92d 
received the coveted transfer, however, and it was with great 
difficulty that they succeeded in procuring horses and saddles. 

Tuesday, July 7, there was great excitement throughout 
the day, dispatches having been received from the Secretary 
of War, Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, announcing that Vicksburg 
had surrendered to the army under Gen. Grant, and that the 
Union forces under Gen. Meade had won a great victory at 
Gettysburg. The successful advance of the Army of the 
Cumberland had made them all hopeful, and now that such 
good news was received from other departments there was the 
wildest joy. These dispatches were read to each Regiment, 
and the remainder of the day was spent in a grand informal 
celebration. 

Wednesday, July 8, the officers concluded that, as the 
men were feeling so elated over the recent victories, they 
would not object to resuming the routine of camp duties, 
which had been in a measure omitted since leaving Triune. 
Accordingly there was a dress parade in the early evening, and 
orders for a resumption of drill next day. The bridges between 
Murfreesboro and Tullahoma having been repaired or rebuilt, 
a locomotive, with a baggage car or caboose attached, passed 
southward through Wartrace, and was the signal for hearty 
cheering. Next day it returned with about three hundred 
prisoners, captured by Gen. Rosecrans' command a few days 
before. Additional dispatches were received confirming the 
good news of Tuesday. It was stated in the dispatches 
that Gen. Meade had captured 35,000 prisoners; that Gen. 
Lee's army was hemmed in along the Potomac, his pontoons 
being swept away by the high water, and that his capture was 
inevitable. Word was also received that Gen. Prentiss had 
captured a large number of prisoners at Helena. These dis- 
patches were read to the Regiments, and were the signal for 
the most vociferous cheering, but unfortunately their state- 
ments were not fully verified by the facts. 
10 



14:6 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Frida} 7 , July 10, the first passenger train from the North 
passed through the camp, bringing a large letter mail and the 
Nashville daily papers. As there had been great irregularity 
about the mails for nearly a month, all were eager for papers, 
and the newsboys were able to sell, at almost any price they 
chose to ask, all that they could carry. Fifteen cents was the 
price usually obtained. 

The diary for the following month would be rather monot- 
onous than otherwise. The weather continued warm, with 
frequent rains, and guard duty was very heavy. On the 
fifteenth there was a visit from the Brigade Inspector, and 
the same day a large amount of clothing was issued to the 
Regiment. From the arrival at Wartrace there had been a 
great amount of sickness in the camp, the cases puzzling 
the surgeons of the Regiment, as they were unable to define 
the cause. At times almost one-half of the command was 
unfit for duty, nearly all suffering from dysentery. It hap- 
pened about this time that a physician, who was a resident 
of the neighborhood, but who had long been a refugee be- 
cause of his Union sentiments, returned from his wander- 
ings. Coming to the camp he reported to the officers that the 
spring from which they were obtaining water was regarded by 
the inhabitants as a poisoned spring, and he stated that not 
less than 400 Rebels had died from the effects of using it. 
Whether the report was strictly true or not, it was deemed 
best to move the camp about one-fourth of a mile to a field 
near which was another spring. The first camp was behind a 
range of hills where the sun did not reach until nine o'clock 
or later, and was consequently somewhat damp. Certain it is 
that the health of the men very materially improved as soon 
as its location was changed. 

Word reached the Regiment about this time that Corporal 
Worthy S. Taylor, of Company D, had been killed in action 
near Camp Denison, Ohio, July 14. He had been sick in 
hospital for some time, but having partially recovered was 
called out, with other convalescents, to repel the Rebel raiders 
then sweeping through Southern Ohio under the lead of the 
notorious Gen. John H. Morgan, and met his death at the 



1863] A CHANGE OF COMMANDERS. 147 

hands of the enemy, far away from the comrades with whom 
he had enlisted. 

July 21, the Regiment received two months' pay, Maj. 
Williams being the Paymaster. This closed all accounts to 
the first of the month, and made money very plenty in camp, 
although large amounts were sent home. The same day Col- 
onel Champion took command of the Brigade, Col. Atkins 
having gone to the front with Col. Wilder. In a few days 
Gen. Walter C. Whittaker relieved Colonel Champion, the 
latter returning to the command of the Regiment. About the 
same time Gen. James B. Steedman succeeded to the com- 
mand of the Division, relieving Gen. Baird, who went home 
on sick leave, subsequently returning and taking a command 
at the front. 

On the twenty-seventh there was a grand review of the 
Brigade by Gen. Whittaker, who expressed himself as de- 
lighted with his new command, and was especially profuse in 
praise of the NINETY -SIXTH. 

On the twenty-sixth Jacob Harwick, of Company F, died 
in hospital at Nashville. On the twenty-eighth Hamden 
Huntington, of Company C, died in the regimental hospital. 
Huntingtou was a mere lad, but seventeen years of age, but 
of quiet yet happy demeanor, and had greatly endeared him- 
self to his comrades. At the earnest request of his brother, 
Sergeant Huntington, his remains were enclosed in a metallic 
casket and taken home to Lake County for interment. On 
the thirtieth William D. Sells, of Company D, died in the 
same hospital. He left a family at home to enter the service. 
A pretty spot near the camp was chosen for his grave. 

Captain Black, who formerly commanded Company E, but 
who had resigned some months before, visited the Regiment. 
During all this long stay at Wartrace there was more or less 
excitement regarding threatened raids on the part of the 
enemy, and heavy guard details were kept at each of the rail- 
road bridges along the line. Occasionally a scouting or forag- 
ing party would go out, and once or twice they encountered 
Rebels, but no serious collisions occurred. 

August 3, Gen. Rosecrans and staff spent part of the day at 



148 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. "V. I. 

Wartrace, inspecting the troops and looking over the ground, 
and in the afternoon having a grand review. As the General 
rode along the line he made many remarks that were quite 
amusing. Referring to Lieutenant Colonel Clarke, who was 
quite portly, he remarked : ' ' There is a Colonel who doesn't 
live on salt pork altogether." Pointing to a very short Cor- 
poral in Company E, he said: "That Corporal ought to be 
fed on soup a while to see if he wouldn't grow." To others 
he made similar remarks, keeping the line in excellent humor. 
He declared that he could tell, by the looks of the men, what 
kind of cooks they had. On the whole his visit created a very 
favorable impression. A conspicuous figure on his staff was 
Brig. Gen. James A. Garfield, then his Chief of Staff, and 
afterward President of the United States. Gen. Garfield's 
reception by the 40th Ohio, of the First Brigade, which had 
been in his command in Eastern Kentucky in 1862, was espe- 
cially cordial. For a time there had been but little drilling, 
but now strict orders were issued to resume battalion drill. 
The weather was hot, and the drilling was consequently done 
early in the morning, being kept up for a week or more. 

Thursday, August 6, occurred a special Thanksgiving day, 
under a proclamation from President Lincoln, the recent vic- 
tories of the Union army being deemed such as to call for 
especial thanksgiving on the part of the people, both citizens 
and soldiers. The day was observed by abstinence from drill, 
and also by formal religious services, which were participated 
in by large delegations from each of the Regiments encamped 
at Wartrace. 



1863] A NEW CAMPAIGN INAUGURATED. 149 



CHAPTER IX. 



The Chattanooga Campaign The Difficulties and Delays Attending its 
Inauguration Conditions Named but not Complied with Gen. 
Bragg Outwitted and Outflanked The "Gateway of the South" 
Opened with Unexpected Ease The Part Taken by the Reserve 
Corps in the Campaign The March to Estill Springs Scouting 
Experiences An Anniversary Celebrated by a Portion of the Com- 
mand Forward Climbing the Cumberland Mountains A Brief 
Halt at Bridgeport A Forced March over Lookout Mountain to 
Rossville The Conflict at Hand Preparing for the Sacrifice. 

THE student of military science will find few more interest- 
ing chapters in all the world's history than those which give 
the particulars of the brilliant movement by which Gen. Bragg 
was forced to abandon the line of the Tennessee River. Be- 
hind this line he had retired at the close of the brief but 
spirited campaign which ended in the abandonment of Tulla- 
homa by the Confederates and its occupancy by Gen. Rose- 
crans' command. That movement was begun in August, and 
in less than one month the stars and stripes were waving over 
Chattanooga. Prior to its inception there was a spirited and 
almost bitter correspondence between Gen. Halleck and the 
commander of the Army of the Cumberland. Gen. Rosecrans 
insisted that he must have a larger cavalry force ; that he 
must wait for the ripening of the corn, unless larger provision 
should be made for a supply of forage than there had been up 
to that time ; that he must wait for the completion of the rail- 
road to the Tennessee River, and that a movement must be 
made by other forces on his right and left Hanks, in order that a 
diversion might be created in his favor, and even though troops 
might not be drawn from his front, at least that the enemy in 
East Tennessee and Northern Mississippi might be kept 
diverted and occupied so that they could not go to the support 
and assistance of Gen. Bragg. A portion only of these 
demands were complied with. Before the close of July the 



150 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

railroad was rebuilt and trains were running to Bridgeport, 
Alabama. Meanwhile the corn was approaching maturity, 
and some gains were made in accumulating provisions at Nash- 
ville, Murfreesboro and points nearer the front. On the fifth 
of August imperative orders were given from Washington for 
the army to advance. Gen. Rosecrans, claiming that he was 
the better judge as to when a movement should be made, 
delayed the advance for some days. Despairing of the asked 
for diversion on the part of other commands he sent a portion 
of his cavalry to Huntsville, on the right, with instructions to 
move along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, protecting 
it so far as possible, and guarding the line of the Tennessee 
River from Whitesburg to Bridgeport. After a time Gen. 
Burnside moved into East Tennessee, but succeeded in hold- 
ing only a small force of the enemy in that region. 

These preliminaries attended to, an active and brilliant 
campaign was inaugurated. August 16, the Army of the 
Cumberland was on the move, the main body which had 
been in camp in the vicinity of Winchester and Dechard 
climbed the Cumberland Mountains, and was soon feeling for 
the enemy, whose main force was at Chattanooga. With 
numerous ranges of mountains and the mighty Tennessee to 
protect his rear and flanks, Gen. Bragg deemed himself secure, 
and fancied it impossible that Gen. Rosecrans should ever 
drive him from his seemingly impregnable position. Indeed, 
he had promised the Confederate authorities that, if given 
certain reinforcements, he would soon take the offensive and 
drive the Federal forces from Tennessee. At this time began 
the brilliant strategy which was to disconcert the over-confi- 
dent Confederate leader and compel him to quit his strong- 
hold without a battle. Moving a considerable force of cavalry 
and infantry into the Sequatchie valley, Gen. Rosecrans made 
a bold push, as if intending to force a crossing of the river in 
the near vicinity of Chattanooga and attempt to take the city 
by direct assault. So bold and aggressive were the troops, 
and so skillfully were they maneuvered, that Gen. Bragg seems 
to have believed that the entire Federal army was concentrated 
in that immediate vicinity. Meanwhile the greater part of it 



1863] FORWARD TO ESTILL SPRINGS. 151 

had moved, by various routes, to Stevenson and Bridgeport, 
where the long pontoon trains were gathering behind the hills, 
and on the fourth of September had laid bridges and was cross- 
ing, undisturbed, and making its way toward the railroads 
in rear of Chattanooga. The demonstrations against the 
doomed city were continued, and it was at least a day or two 
after the main army was south of the river before Gen. Bragg 
became fully aware that it was not Chattanooga, but the com- 
munications leading to it, that were in danger. The Federal 
army was now moving in three columns from the neighbor- 
hood of Stevenson and Bridgeport ; one, under Gen. Critten- 
den, going directly toward Chattanooga, as if intending to 
cross the point of Lookout Mountain ; a second, under Gen. 
Thomas, moving over the mountain to the right and penetrat- 
ing nearly to La Fayette ; while the third, under Gen. McCook, 
bearing still further to the right, marched to Valley Head, a 
portion of the force even reaching Alpine. The cavalry 
pushed still farther, raiding the country to the Coosa and 
Oostenaula Rivers. Early on the morning of the eighth the 
enemy evacuated Chattanooga and retreated southward. Gen. 
Rosecrans seems to have been convinced that Gen. Bragg 
would continue his march southward, and make a stand only 
when another strong defensive line was reached. He there- 
fore directed that a vigorous pursuit be made with the view of 
striking Bragg in flank, and, if possible, battering his army to 
pieces outside of any fortifications. But this was not to be 
accomplished. The advancing columns soon found their way 
opposed by a defiant enemy, and Gen. Rosecrans learned, 
almost too late, that the army of Gen. Bragg had been largely 
reinforced and was turning at bay, not only, prepared to defend 
itself but also to assume the offensive. 

While these movements were being planned and carried 
forward, the NINETY-SIXTH had been bearing a less conspicu- 
ous, but no less essential part. It was at first continued in 
the work of guarding the long and slender line of communi- 
cations, over which must come the provisions of the large 
army operating at the front. Even before the campaign was 
inaugurated the Regiment was ordered forward from War- 



152 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

trace. The movements of the main army having been thus 
briefly outlined, it is now in order to take up the narrative of 
the doings of the command of which this work is a history. 

Wednesday, August 12, without previous warning, the 
Regiment was ordered to strike tents and be ready to march. 
Soon afterward the 113th Ohio and the 98th Ohio, which had 
been stationed at Shelbyville, marched into camp, and at 
three o'clock the same afternoon the NINETY-SIXTH started 
southward, marching five miles and going into bivouac. 

Thursday, August 13, reveille sounded very early, and at 
daylight the Regiment was on the move. The road lay through 
a deep ravine, or creek bottom, and the unbridged stream was 
crossed a dozen times or more before Tullahoma was reached. 
A halt was made at this place about 10 o'clock A. M., a dis- 
tance of nine miles having been traveled. At two o'clock 
in the afternoon the march was resumed, the column traveling 
through a more level country, making about eight or nine 
miles, and camping on the bank of Elk River, near Estill 
Springs, in the early evening. The 40th Ohio was left on 
duty at Tullahoma. From August 13 until September 7, the 
Regiment remained at Estill Springs. Life there was too 
monotonous to call for a daily diary. The First Division of 
the Reserve Corps was now strung along the railroad from 
Murfreesboro to Elk River, the NINETY-SIXTH being the 
nearest to the front. At this point the 1st Michigan Engineer 
Regiment was at work getting out timber for railroad bridges. 
A negro regiment was being organized on the south bank of 
the river, recruits coming from the neighboring plantations. 

August 16 the 115th Illinois was sent back to some station 
in the rear, and a few days later the 84th Indiana followed. 
About one -third of the Regiment were on picket duty all the 
time. The weather being hot and the flies very abundant, 
there was but little opportunity for sleep in the daytime, so 
that the men were kept pretty well tired out. Heavy details for 
various duties were called for every few days. Once a large 
number of men were sent to Tullahoma to guard a wagon 
train, and later a still larger force was sent to Stevenson for 
a like purpose. The men composing these details had severe 



18G3J SCOUTING EXPERIENCES. 153 

duties to perform, the marches being long and disagreeable. 
Almost daily a considerable number of prisoners were seen to 
pass toward the rear on the cars, giving assurance that matters 
were going well at the front. Toward the close of the month 
the weather, which up to this time had been very sultry, 
became quite cool, the nights almost cold. Camp was 
moved a short distance on the twenty-third, the new grounds 
being admirably located near the bank of the river. 

August 26, pursuant to orders received before leaving 
Wartrace, a number of non-commissioned officers went to 
Stevenson, Alabama, by train, for. the purpose of being ex- 
amined with reference to their fitness to receive commissions 
in negro regiments, then forming in that Department, and a 
few weeks afterward four or five commissions came to the 
Regiment for those who had passed the most satisfactory 
examinations. 

August 28 a scouting party of between thirty and forty 
men went out some twenty miles, under command of Captain 
Taylor, of Company E. They were all mounted, their horses 
having been picked up in the vicinity of camp. At about one 
o'clock A. M., while passing through some timber, they sur- 
prised and captured two prisoners and three horses. One of 
the prisoners proved to be a noted bushwhacker named 
Weaver, and the other a man less famous but not less infam- 
ous. Further on three additional prisoners were taken, but 
all of them claimed to be, and probably were, deserters from 
the Confederate army, trying to get to their homes in the rear 
of the Federal lines. Ail were sent to Nashville under guard. 

Two days later another scouting party was sent out to 
investigate rumors that a Rebel regiment was being organized 
in an adjoining county. Their investigation did not confirm 
the truth of the rumors. The officer in charge was consider- 
ably chagrined, a few days later, to learn that a noted rebel 
had escaped his clutches by the very means subsequently 
adopted by his notorious leader, Jeff Davis. While the 
scouting party were at a house, where were a number of 
women, an elderly person, dressed in female attire, including 
a huge sunbonnet, and carrying a young child, said that she 



15-i HISTORY or THE 96-rn REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

must go home. The Lieutenant was as polite as he was 
brave, and called a soldier to hold the horse and assist the 
supposed woman to mount, while he held the baby, passing 
up his charge when she was safely in the saddle. A day or 
two later it was learned that it was not a woman, but a man, 
whom Lieutenant Richardson had so gallantly assisted, and 
his explanation that the night was dark and the light in the 
house extremely dim, did not save him from considerable 
chaffing on the part of his brother officers. Two or three 
times it was reported that Forrest was in the near vicinity 
with a large force of cavalry, and that the bridge at Estill 
Springs was to be burned by him if he could possibly gain 
access to it. As a consequence the pickets were kept con- 
stantly anxious and vigilant, and there was no sleeping on the 
outposts. 

Saturday, September 5, was the first anniversary of the 
muster-in of the Regiment. Company A celebrated the event 
by a grand dinner, provided by their officers, and had an 
exceedingly jolly time. Other Companies observed the day 
with less formality, but the cash receipts of the sutler were 
considerably larger than on ordinary days. 

Sunday, September 6, there were again rumors of a move, 
and all the men unable to march were sent back to Tullahoma 
by train. There were a large number from each Company, 
for the hot weather and the almost constant guard duty, sup- 
plemented by green peaches, unripe vegetables and bad cook- 
ing had put many men on the sick list, and there had been 
several deaths in the command. Charles Jennings, of Com- 
pany K, died August 20 ; John Yaughn, of Company G, 
August 22 ; James Bottom, of Company B, August 23 ; Isaac 
Addudle, of Company H, August 31 ; and John Baker, of 
Company G, September 6. All of these deaths occurred at 
Estill Springs, in camp or at the regimental hospital, and 
the effect upon the survivors was by no means favorable. In 
addition to these Corporal James O'Connell, of Company B, 
died at Nashville, August 24, and a little later Wm. Trudgian, 
of Company F, died at Tullahoma. 

Monday, September 7 the day before the Union advance 



1863] CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS. 155 

occupied Chattanooga orders were received for the Regiment 
to proceed to the front. For the first time in some weeks drill 
had been resumed, but while the companies were out the 
order came, the assembly sounded, and by half past eleven 
o'clock the Regiment had broken camp and was filing out 
toward the south. Not far in advance were the low ranges of 
the Cumberland Mountains, and the men knew that their road 
was to be a hard one, for it lay directly over these ranges. 
The distance traveled that day was about ten miles ; Dechard 
was passed on the way and the camp being made about dark, 
at Cowan Station. The weather, was exceedingly warm. 
Several other Regiments joined the column on the march, 
coming up from the rear. 

Tuesday, September 8, reveille sounded at half past two 
o'clock. By four o'clock the column was on the road, and 
immediately commenced the ascent of the mountain, crossing 
over the tunnel and past Tantallon, camping near Ander- 
son. The distance traveled was said to be fifteen miles, 
but the men declared that this must have been measured by 
the railroad, and that the wagon road was not much, if any, 
less than twenty miles. The climb was a very severe one, and 
all were greatly fatigued with the long, hard day's journey. 

Wednesday, September 9, reveille was heard sounding at 
half past two o'clock, and again at four o'clock the column 
filed out upon the wagon road and pushed rapidly southward. 
Anderson was passed early in the morning, and the camp was 
made soon after noon at a point about a mile distant from 
Stevenson. The weather was hot and the road terribly 
dusty so dusty in fact that it was almost impossible to recog- 
nize the men or the officers. Through the narrow, wooded 
roads the column filed mile after mile, the stifling dust, created 
by the numerous trains that for a fortnight had been pushing 
back and forth over the wagon roads, rising in such clouds 
that at times it was impossible to see more than a few rods. 
The men were fairly choked, and as they toiled on, their sweaty 
faces became as black as the negroes at the occasional houses 
by the roadside. On portions of the route water was very 
scarce. At one time, after a very long interval, a magnificent 



156 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

spring gushed out from the mountain side, and the thirsty 
men gathered about it as eagerly as ever cattle rushed to a 
watering place, hundreds crowding around and almost pushing 
their associates into the water in their haste to procure the 
precious fluid. 

To many of the command this was a first experience in the 
mountains, and the ever changing panorama as the column 
passed along the tortuous roadway was most pleasing. The 
year had grown prematurely old, and the forests were taking 
on their autumnal hues. As the clouds of dust were wafted 
to one side so that the outlines of the wooded mountains could 
be seen, there were few so weary that they did not share in the 
enjoyment afforded by the magnificent view. 

Thursday, September 10, the Brigade marched from 
Stevenson, starting at six o'clock in the morning and camping 
near Bridgeport about one o'clock in the afternoon. All were 
thoroughly tired out with their four days' march through the 
dust and over the mountains, and many of them extremely 
foot sore. In the distance, less than half a mile from camp, 
could be seen the waters of the Tennessee River. Hardly 
had guns been stacked and knapsacks unslung when the entire 
command, embracing almost every man in every Regiment in 
the column, started for the river. All seemed to forget their 
blistered feet in their eagerness to wash off the dust and dirt 
accumulated on the march. It was a spectacle to be remem- 
bered, when that two or three thousand men, hurriedly strip- 
ping off their clothing, sprung into the waters of the Tennessee. 
It must be left to the imagination to picture the scene, for 
words cannot describe it. A half hour later, refreshed and 
revived by their plunge in the water, they made their way 
back to camp, near the ruins of the bridge, and prepared their 
dinner, after which they rested for the day. 

Friday, September 1 1, was spent quietly in camp. Some 
strong earthworks were observed in the neighborhood, and 
the point was deemed an important one by the military authori- 
ties. There was an island in the river on which the piers of 
the large railroad bridge were still standing, although the 
bridge itself had been burned when the Rebels retreated south- 



1863] SOUTH OF THE TENNESSEE. 157 

ward a few days before. The command was again moving to 
the front, and an occasional artillery salute could be heard, 
indicating that active operations were going on not far from 
Chattanooga. 

Saturday, September 12, the Kegirnent marched at seven 
o'clock in the morning, moving directly across the river, and 
going into camp upon the southern bank. The men were 
directed to fix up the camp nicely and given some assurance 
that they would remain at that point for a time. Accordingly 
the grounds were carefully policed, and large quantities of 
straight pine poles, with which the region abounded, were cut 
for the construction of bunks. After some hours had been 
spent in hard work of this character, they were notified c 
send back all their extra baggage, as they would be required 
to go directly to the front. The camp and garrison equipage, 
including tents, knapsacks, blankets and mess-chests, were 
packed up and sent to Stevenson, Captain Pollock, of Com- 
pany C, being detailed to accompany and take charge of them. 
Quite a number of men, who were unfit for the long march, 
were sent back with him. A few came up from the rear to 
take their places, keeping the number of the Regiment up to 
nearly 500 men. 

Sunday morning, September 13, between six and seven 
o'clock, the column filed out in the direction of Chattanooga. 
The Regiment was near the rear of the column, and as there 
were several hundred wagons ahead of them loaded with 
twelve days' rations and a large amount of ammunition for 
the command, progress was very slow. Shellmound was 
passed early in the day, the column halting for a time near 
the entrance to the famous Nick-a-Jack Cave, from whose 
rocky depths a mammoth spring poured out its cooling waters. 
Some extensive saltpetre works, from which the Rebels had 
obtained large quantities of material for gunpowder, were near 
by and attracted much attention. A large squad of prisoners, 
on their way to Bridgeport under guard, were met during the 
afternoon. 

All day the scenery along the line of march increased in 
grandeur, and as night approached was truly magnificent. 



158 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Sand and Lookout Mountains were bold peaks, and loomed 
up as if near at hand. Whiteside was reached just at dark 
and the tired troops went into bivouac, having marched about 
fifteen miles. But their rest was not to be a long one, for at 
eleven o'clock the sleepers were aroused and ordered to 
resume the march. That night trip, over the rugged moun- 
tain road, was one to be remembered. Great boulders lay in 
the roadway, and frequent ledges of rock cropped out to make 
the path uneven. Through the long hours the column toiled 
wearily onward, up and down, over the hills and through the 
narrow valleys, hindered by the artillery and wagon trains 
in front, and yet not allowed to tarry more than a few 
moments at any point for rest. Men fell asleep as they 
marched along, and, stumbling over the rocks and ledges, 
partially fell, while ever and anon a musket would drop from 
the unconscious hands and go rattling down the stony ravines. 
Some sank down from exhaustion and declared they could 
not go another step. Others, chafed and blistered, fell to the 
rear of the column, but still kept on. Shoes wore through, 
and many were the feet whose every step left on the rocks a 
trace of blood. Through the uncertain light the outline of 
Lookout could be dimly traced against the sky. The linea 
were shortened as the hours, wore away, for many could not 
bear the strain of continuous marching over the rugged roads 
and fell to the rear. At last the gray of morning came, but 
still the silent, sullen column, like a huge serpent, wound its 
way along. Then came daylight, and as sleepiness disap- 
peared with the darkness, the men grew more cheerful and 
ventured to talk again. At sunrise the wearied column halted, 
and the soldiers set about preparing coffee and toasting meat 
over the quickly kindled bivouac fires. They were rather 
jolly than otherwise, for their spirits rose as they partook of the 
exhilarating coffee and the satisfying hard-tack. The pluckier 
stragglers came up in goodly numbers and resumed their 
places, but the lines were by no means full when the bugle 
sounded the order to move on. 

The halt had been made at the base of Lookout, and the 
long climb over the nose of the mountain was at once begun. 



1863] IN SIGHT or CHATTANOOGA. 159* 

Stiffened and sore, the troops made slow progress, and the 
forenoon was well advanced when the highest point of the 
wagon road was reached. The scene which there opened out 
was one of beauty. Chattanooga was in the distance. The- 
broad Tennessee seemed like a silver ribbon winding in and 
out among the timbered hills which lined its banks. Missionary 
Ridge lay at the front, and seemed hardly more than a rifle- 
shot away. Beyond this were the fields and forests where 
the main bodies of the two armies were soon to be engaged 
in the first mighty struggle which was to make that region 
famous, and in which so many of the tired feet then toiling 
across the mountain should halt forever at the bugle call 
of death. To the left, and near at hand, were alternately 
deep, ragged chasms and huge ledges, and just beyond, where 
a glance would say a boy might throw a stone, was Moccasin 
Point, where a remnant of the Regiment were to shortly watcli 
for showers of iron from the mountain sides. To the right, 
across acres where the crops had been naught but rocks, and 
these ungathered through all the centuries of the past, loomed 
up the palisades, crowned by the crest of that soon to be his- 
toric mountain. None knew it then, but over these rocks, 
and up against those palisades, the Regiment, in a brief two 
months, was to make its way, in the flame and smoke of 
battle. 

The halt on Lookout's side was not a long one, for soon- 
the bugles sounded again and the column wound down into 
Lookout Valley, and across the intervening plain to Mission- 
ary Ridge. It had been supposed that the march would be 
directed toward Chattanooga, but instead the line passed on to 
the southeast, leaving the city to the left, and camping a little 
before noon at Rossville Gap, four miles away. All through 
the afternoon and until the evening was well advanced, the 
tired stragglers came limping in. The trip had been an 
exceedingly tedious one, not alone because of the natural 
difficulties of the route, but also because of the annoying delays 
occasioned by the heavy wagon train accompanying the com- 
mand, and in whose rear the Regiment, with other portions of 
the command, had been obliged to travel. 



160 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I f 

There were now at Rossville three batteries of artillery 
and fourteen regiments of infantry. Most of these were 
troops that had never been under fire, except at long 
range. As for the NINETY-SIXTH, it had been gathering 
strength through all the months for the mighty conflict of 
arms that was now so near. It had listened to distant artillery 
in Kentucky ; it had seen a nearer view of war at the second 
Fort Donelson ; it had been in the outer margin of the fray at 
Franklin ; it had been closer to the front at Triune, where for 
many hours it lay under an annoying artillery fire, and where 
the bullets pattered along its line ; it had heard the roar of 
shot and shell at Guy's Gap and Shelbyville ; it had taken 
part in frequent scouting expeditions and picket forays where 
there was enough of danger to try the nerves of its members, 
but it had never been in heavy battle. During the year excel- 
lent discipline had been maintained, and the men had been 
getting ready. Now it was to know and that right speedily 
of what material it was composed, and whether it should do 
honor to the hopes of those who had sent it forth to battle. 
Chickamauga was less than a week distant. 




SW^^A, 



._ PwafcR,,;. 

^b- .-^-:, ^ 



ROSS HOUSE. 



Heaili|uarters of the Brigade, at Rossville, Oa., just prior to and on the morning following 
the Hattle of Chickamaiiga. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 161 



CHAPTER X. 



Chickamauga Preparations for the Impending Battle Collecting the 
Scattered Forces The Enemy not in Retreat Bragg's Lost Oppor- 
tunity The Lines Forming Along Chickamauga Creek A Recon- 
noissance f rom Rossville Under Fire with Unloaded Guns Cold 
Nights in Line of Battle Saturday's Battle The Fighting Renewed 
on Sunday The Reserves to the Rescue The March to the Right 
Three Desperate Charges Repulsing the Enemy Desperate Fight- 
ing and Terrific Losses Both Armies Baffled Again at Rossville 
The Long Casualty List Companies C and H Captured Arrival at 
Moccasin Point Official Reports The New York Tribune Letter. 

CHICKAMAUGA ! Though long years have passed since that 
name was hurled into history from the smoking throats of a 
hundred cannon and a hundred thousand muskets, yet the 
hand trembles and the pen falters as the word is written. It 
is a theme too vast to be fully discussed in a work like this. 
It was a battle of tremendous proportions and fraught with 
mighty import. It extended over miles of territory, through 
fields and woods embracing thousands of acres. It occupied 
two full days, beside the preliminary skirmishes attending 
it. The nature of the ground occupied by the opposing 
armies was such that often but little could be seen by the 
General officers, and much less by line officers or enlisted 
men, except of their immediate surroundings. Divisions, 
brigades, even regiments, at times became detached and had 
engagements that seemed wholly their own, for the heavy 
timber on many parts of the battle-field so covered and con- 
cealed them that movements could neither be seen nor antici- 
pated ; and they fought, independently and alone, giving and 
taking terrific blows, often without support, and until exhausted 
and out of ammunition. Commanders have discussed and 
grown angry over it, disagreeing widely as to their locations 
and the work accomplished by their commands. They all 
agree, however, that it was a desperate battle, and the soldiers 
11 



162 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

of the Army of the Cumberland, whenever they meet to talk 
over their experiences, as old soldiers will, almost invaria- 
bly end up with Chickamauga. 

The movements of the main armies, in the campaign by 
which Gen. Rosecrans wrested Chattanooga from the enemy, 
have been briefly outlined in the preceding chapter, the 
events there alluded to occupying until about September 10, 
Before taking up the narrative of the NINETY-SIXTH, in con- 
nection with the battle, it will be proper to describe, briefly, 
the movements of the three main columns of the Federal 
army, and also of Gen. Bragg' s forces, during the week that 
intervened between the date named and the opening of the 
mighty struggle. 

Drawing his forces back twenty-five or thirty miles, to 
the neighborhood of La Fayette, Gen. Bragg repeated the 
appeals for reinforcements, made to the Confederate author- 
ities when he first discovered Gen. Rosecrans' strategy, 
promising, if certain troops were sent to him, to retake Chat- 
tanooga, and drive the Federals northward into or across the 
Tennessee River. The troops were sent, two divisions from 
Mississippi, Gen. Buckner's command from East Tennessee, 
Gen, Longstreet's Corps from Virginia, and several thousand 
of the Georgia Militia ; and thus was concentrated, before the- 
opening of the battle, a force much superior in point of num- 
bers to that commanded by Gen. Rosecrans. 

Hardly had the Federal commander formulated his plans 
for pursuit when evidences began to multiply that the enemy, 
instead of being in retreat toward Rome, as had been sup- 
posed, was concentrating between La Fayette and Lee & 
Gordon's Mills. This fact was not definitely ascertained until 
dispositions for pursuit had been made and the advance had 
been well begun. Crittenden's Corps, after crossing Lookout 
Mountain into Chattanooga, had moved on Ringgold, driving 
the enemy from that place and pushing southward, the cavalry 
going beyond Tunnel Hill, and a portion of the infantry 
nearly to that point. Those farthest to the left soon became 
aware that they were actually in the rear of the right wing of 
the main body of the Confederates, and in great danger. As 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 163 

soon as practicable they were withdrawn, returning to the 
neighborhood of Kinggold, and then, two Brigades having 
been previously sent to cover the roads leading into Chatta- 
nooga from the southward, moving more directly toward La 
Fayette. In this latter movement they encountered unex- 
pected opposition, and were obliged to move by the right 
flank, finally joining the two Brigades mentioned near Lee 
& Gordon's Mills. From this point reconnoitreing parties 
were sent in various directions,, the one going toward La 
Fayette encountering two corps of the enemy, under Gen. Polk, 
moving to the attack of Crittenden's position. This recon- 
noitreing party made a vigorous and noisy resistance, which 
so disconcerted the enemy that they abandoned their advance 
movement and assumed the defensive, supposing that they 
had been mistaken in believing Gen. Rosecrans' army still 
divided. Within a day or two, a portion of the Reserve 
Corps having reached Rossville and being within supporting 
distance, a part of Gen. Crittenden's force was sent to the 
right to cover the road leading to Chattanooga through the 
valley to the east of Lookout. 

While the movements just described were in progress, 
Gen. Thomas, in command of the centre column, attempted 
to pass through Dug Gap, but, finding it occupied by a large 
force of the enemy, withdrew his lines, and by a dextrous 
movement avoided a general engagement and reached a posi- 
tion more suitable for defense. He had a lively skirmish at 
McLemore's Cove, however, but was not so involved but that 
he was able to fall back without a battle. Owing to the dis- 
tance to be traveled and the rugged and tortuous roads in the 
rear of the Union forces, much difficulty was experienced in 
communicating with Gen. McCook, who, from his position at 
Alpine, had also found that the enemy was preparing for 
battle. On the thirteenth, pursuant to orders received the 
night before, Gen. McCook began the movement to his left 
which was to concentrate the Union forces. The march was 
a most toilsome one, the column being encumbered with 
considerable artillery and heavy wagon trains, which were 
moved with difficulty, owing to the mountainous roads. 



164 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

The enemy controlled the direct roads, and the troops and 
trains had to cross and recross the mountain before effect- 
ing a junction with Gen. Thomas. The march was made 
almost continuous, fires being kindled at night to light up the 
road at the more difficult points and allow the teams to con- 
tinue on their course. On the seventeenth the three Corps 
were within supporting distance of each other. For nearly a 
week the situation had been critical in the extreme. Gen. 
Bragg had it in his power during all of that time to strike 
any one of the three Corps with his entire army without fear 
that either of the others would reach the column attacked 
until a battle could be fought. It is matter of history that he 
more than once gave positive orders to his subordinates to 
make the attack ; but some unexpected move of the Federal 
forces, or some division of counsels on the part of his corps 
or division commanders, cost the Confederates their opportu- 
nity, and delayed a battle that was to be desperate enough, 
even after the Union forces were united. 

Having failed to take advantage of the opportunities offered 
during this long period in which the Federal forces had been 
separated, General Bragg changed his plans, and decided that 
the battle must be nearer Chattanooga. General Rosecrans' 
army was mainly to the right and rear of Lee & Gordon's 
Mills, and not yet well in hand. The Confederate leader 
now began moving his forces by the right flank, in order to 
make easy connection with such of his reinforcements as had 
not yet arrived and must make the march from the railroad, 
intending to strike the left flank of General Rosecrans' com- 
mand, and interpose his own army between them and Chatta- 
nooga. But here again divided counsels, a slight delay in the 
arrival of Longstreet's Corps, and the positive timidity on the 
part of his immediate subordinates conspired to cost Bragg 
another golden opportunity ; for the attack, positively ordered 
on Thursday evening to be made the following morning, was 
deferred until Saturday, the nineteenth. The dust, which had 
so stifled the Union troops in their long marches, now came 
to their assistance, for it rose in great clouds off to the east, 
betraving the movements of the Confederates, and thus en- 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 165 

abling the Army of the Cumberland to meet this unexpected 
change of plan. The Union forces were moved to the left as 
rapidly as possible, but as the enemy was pressing in the 
vicinity of Crawfish Springs, the utmost caution had to be 
observed, and the movements were made at some disadvan- 
tage. Then, too, the distance was considerable, and the route 
lay through tangles of forest and along narrow and difficult 
roads, so that the close of Friday found the Union lines but 
partially formed, while many of the troops were still some 
miles from the position chosen for defense, and must march 
long hours in the darkness before they could be assigned to 
positions and given opportunity to catch a little sleep before 
the battle of the morrow. Indeed, large portions of the army 
were in motion throughout the entire night, while others were 
thrown into bivouac because of the impracticability of moving 
them over the fields in the darkness, and resumed the march 
at daylight of Saturday morning ; those farthest to the right 
not closing up on the main army until the afternoon was well 
advanced, and then, after a double-quick of some miles, going 
immediately into action. The lines of the main army, as 
formed during Friday and the early part of Saturday, were on 
the west bank of Chickamauga Creek, and extended from 
Lee & Gordon's Mills to Reed's Bridge, a distance of about 
five miles. A portion of McCook's Corps was still farther to 
the right, occupying a position near Crawfish Springs, so that 
the extreme right and left wings were almost twelve miles 
apart. The several bridges and fords along the stream 
were guarded by cavalry, with infantry in support. Three or 
four miles in rear of the line was Missionary Ridge, an irregu- 
lar range of hills, parallel with the general line of battle, and 
so steep and high that it would almost pass for a range of 
mountains in a country less rough than Northern Georgia. 
Through this Ridge were but two roads over which wagons or 
artillery could pass. One led through Rossville Gap on the 
left of the main army ; the other through McFarland's Gap, 
nearly in rear of the left centre. 

Having described how the main armies were ranged on 



166 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

either bank of Chickamauga Creek, it will be in order to again 
take up the narrative of the NINETY-SIXTH. 

The previous chapter left the Regiment at Rossville, four 
miles distant from Chattanooga, and nearly eight miles from 
Lee & Gordon's Mills. There were with Gen. Gordon 
Granger, at Rossville, the First Brigade of the First Division 
of the Reserve Corps, to 'which Brigade the NINETY-SIXTH 
belonged, under the command of Gen. Walter C. Whit- 
taker ; the Second Brigade of the same Division, under 
the command of Col. J. G. Mitchell, and which had marched 
from the neighborhood of Wartrace and Shelbyville ; the 
Second Brigade of the Second Division of the same Corps, 
commanded by Col. Daniel McCook, which had marched from 
the neighborhood of Columbia ; the 89th Ohio, of the Four- 
teenth Corps, which had marched from Tracy City ; and the 
22d Michigan, of the Second Division of the Rserve Corps, 
which, having been on provost duty at Nashville, had been 
brought to Bridgeport by rail and marched from there with 
the rest of the command. Few who were on that march will 
fail to remember the appearance of this last named Regiment. 
Their ranks were full, their clothing new and tidy, and many 
of them wore white shirts and paper collars. There was some 
good-natured chaffing on the part of the troops that had been 
in more active field duty, but these men showed themselves 
admirable soldiers, and those who survived the battle were 
ever afterward held as worthy to be called brothers by their 
veteran comrades. Although the Corps Commander was 
present, it is understood that all of the orders sent to 
to the command were addressed to Gen. J. B. Steedman, who 
was the commander of the First Division, and to whom the 
Brigade of Col. McCook and the two detached Regiments had 
been assigned. This was all of the troops that could be spared 
from the rear to assist the main army at the front. It was a 
paltry number, a beggarly reinforcement compared with the 
scores of regiments that had been sent at the call of the Rebel 
Commander, but enough, thank God, to save the day. They 
did not know their peril perhaps it was better that they did 
not. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 167 

From the fourteenth to the seventeenth these troops lay 
idly in their camps, resting from the long march. Rossville 
Gap was well picketed, and a lighter line of guards was put 
out along the valley and toward Chattanooga. Gen. Gordon 
Granger, the commander of the Corps, exercised his authority 
by causing a number of foragers, who had been outside the 
picket lines, to be arrested by his guards and tied up by the 
thumbs near his headquarters. Instantly there was "music" 
in the camp. Captain Hicks and other officers from the 
NINETY-SIXTH walked deliberately to the line and demanded 
the release of their men. A crowd of soldiers gathered near 
by, and officers from other regiments imitated the example 
set by Captain Hicks and his associates. Gen. Granger was 
profane, and made terrible threats, but the murmur that ran 
through the crowd indicated that he could not misuse intelli- 
gent volunteers in an active campaign, and he slunk away into 
his tent, damning everybody. Shortly afterward, upon the 
demand of Gen. Steedman, the Commander of the Division, 
all were released and quiet restored. It was better so, for the 
feeling among the soldiers was so intense that nightfall would 
have seen a raid upon headquarters and the release of the 
foragers, even though it might have inaugurated a tragedy. 

Thursday, September 17, the Second Brigade and the 22d 
Michigan and 89th Ohio, all under Gen. Steedman, leaving 
Rossville at three o'clock A. M., went out on the Ringgold road 
some twelve or fourteen miles, driving a light force for the 
last half mile or so. From the high ground overlooking the 
village of Ringgold they could plainly see large forces of the 
enemy, on the march and in bivouac. The temptation to give 
them a surprise was too strong to be resisted, and a section of 
the battery was taken to the ridge and begun a vigorous shell- 
ing of the camps. This was soon responded to ; but the pur- 
pose of the expedition was to reconnoitre and not to fight, and 
as the clouds of dust indicated that the enemy was moving to 
the right and left of their little force, as though intending 
to surround and capture it, they withdrew, the rear guard 
skirmishing as they fell back. At nightfall they formed their 
lines on either side of the road, not far from Greysville, 



168 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

and went into bivouac. At eleven o'clock the enemy opened 
upon them with a gun which had been placed in position near 
their picket lines. Ordering the men to maintain silence and 
extinguish their fires, Gen. Steedman awaited an attack, but 
the enemy soon ceased firing and withdrew. 

Next morning they resumed the march, retiring leisurely 
to Rossville, and going into their former camp at a little past 
noon. Gen. Steedman at once communicated with Gen. 
Rosecrans, giving the latter the startling information that 
Longstreet's Corps had arrived to reinforce the Rebel army, 
as learned from prisoners taken on the reconnoissance. He 
also gave assurance that the Rebels were concentrating near 
the left of the main Union force. These facts, coupled with 
others gleaned from citizens and scouts, determined Gen. 
Rosecrans to move his army still farther to the left. He also 
ordered Gen. Steedman to move a portion of his troops to the 
front. At four o'clock that (Friday) afternoon Gen. Whittaker's 
and Col.McCook's Brigades were called in line, the understand- 
ing being that they were to go out on a reconnoissance similar 
to that made by other portions of the Division the day before. 
There was little to do by way of preparation, as the baggage 
had been parted with at Bridgeport some days before, and the 
column soon filed out through the Gap. A few of the sick, 
those who had been worn out by the march, and some who 
had worn out their shoes in crossing the mountains, and were 
consequently barefoot, were left in camp. A detail from the 
NINETY-SIXTH, consisting of about thirty men, had been sent 
to guard a wagon train that morning, and were not relieved, 
but remained on duty for three days, joining the Regiment 
only after the succeeding battle had been fought. Company 
A was on picket duty on the side of Missionary Ridge, &nd 
did not go out with the command. 

The NINETY-SIXTH was given the head of the column, 
Gen. Whittaker and Staff riding just in front. Contrary to 
custom no advance guard was thrown forward. Strict orders- 
had been issued that all guns should be kept unloaded in camp, 
and, as no instructions had been given to load, every musket 
was empty. The column filed out through Rossville Gap> 



18C3] CHICKAMAUGA. 16J 

taking the right hand, or La Fayette, road for a mile or more, 
and halted. There was a brief consultation at the front, and 
then the Regiment was countermarched and crossed over to 
the Ringgold Road, by which Gen. Steedman had returned 
from his expedition four hours earlier. Col. McCook's Bri- 
gade kept on by the direct road, however, going nearly to 
Reed's Bridge. 

The First Brigade marched forward at a good, swinging 
gait, not apprehending any danger, and chatting merrily as 
they passed along. Two or three miles out a soldier ran to the 
door of a house near the road, and conversed for a few 
moments with a woman, whom he found greatly agitated. 
She repeated, over and over : " There's going to be a battle ;"" 
"there's going to be a battle," and stated that a "critter- 
back company " followed the Yankees as they retired to Ross- 
ville, and turned back near her house. The soldier reported 
what he had heard, and word was sent to Gen. Whittaker, but 
no attention was paid to the matter, and the somewhat rapid 
march continued. 

It is understood that the original intention was that Whit- 
taker's Brigade should march out five miles to Red House 
Bridge, on the Ringgold Road, and McCook's Brigade to Reed'& 
Bridge ; but events transpired which prevented either destina- 
tion being reached. Whittaker's Brigade had lost some time 
in the march and counter-march upon the La Fayette Road, 
and it was after five o'clock when they filed past McAifee's 
Church and entered the heavy timber which lined either side 
of the roadway. Here a little stream best known as the 
Little Chickamauga, but down on the maps as Spring Creek - 
was encountered. It was, perhaps, twenty or thirty feet wide 
in the highway and unbridged, except that a fallen tree just at 
the right of the road, in some bushes, served the purpose of 
a foot bridge. Gen. Whittaker, followed by his Staff, rode 
into the stream and gave his horse the reins that the animal 
might drink ; the men broke to the right in some disorder, 
looking for points where they might cross without wetting 
their feet. The right Company had just commenced crossing: 
on the log, when, like lightning from a clear sky, the sharp- 



170 HISTORY OF THE 96ra: REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

crack of a rifle rang out, and a bullet whizzed past the General's 
head, 'apparently barely missing its mark. A second bullet 
came an instant later, striking the rolled up blanket and pon- 
cho of a drummer boy Thomas Reynolds with such force 
as to penetrate it and throw him backward into the arms of a 
comrade, but fortunately giving him no greater injury than a 
severe bruise on the breast and shoulder. Instantly the men 
on the log dropped back to the shelter of the bushes, and 
those who had scattered to the right fell into line. A glance 
at the front revealed a little column of smoke in the bushes 
just at the left of the road, and it was evident that a Rebel 
sentinel, stationed to give warning of the approach of any 
forces, had been cooking his coffee, unaware of the nearness 
of his opponents until the splashing of the water attracted his 
attention. It was the work of but a moment for him to seize 
his carbine and fire the shots that had startled the command. 
Instantly Gen. Whittaker shouted out his commands to deploy 
a Company as skirmishers, and Colonel Champion called, 
"Attention ! " and gave the command to load at will. Another 
shot or two was heard, but the bullets did no harm. There 
was a moment's delay, owing to the absence of Company A 
which would most naturally have been sent to the skirmish 
line and then Companies D and F were deployed, the latter 
going to the right. Upon the order of Captain Blodgett, 
commanding Company D, his men faced to the left and began 
to deploy. The first man to start to cross the road was Cor- 
poral Elisha Haggart, but the moment he emerged from the 
bushes he fell, his brain pierced by a bullet. Five minutes 
later Captain Blodgett had caught a bullet in his shoulder, but 
did not at once go back, although the wound was painful. 
The 40th Ohio moved to the left of the road, and in line with 
the NINETY-SIXTH, also throwing out two companies of skir- 
mishers. The fire of the enemy was quickly replied to, the 
skirmishers moving gallantly forward for a half mile or more, 
the main body of the two regiments following closely in line 
of battle. The bullets cut wickedly through and over the 
line, and Robert C. Allison, of Company E, received a wound 
from which he died a few days later. The 18th Ohio Battery, 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 171 

which was with the Brigade, took position in rear and began 
firing, bringing a speedy response from a Rebel battery posted 
in the timber just beyond an open field, to the edge of which 
the skirmishers had advanced. Pickets were thrown on the 
fianks, and as night was now closing in the lines halted, 
although the firing continued for a time. The men lay in 
line all through that chilly night, without removing their 
accoutrements, every one clutching his rifle and thinking of 
the morrow. Few had any but rubber blankets ; no fires could 
be built ; even the solace of a cup of hot coffee was denied 
them. How the teeth chattered as the long hours rolled slowly 
by ! It seems almost incredible in that latitude, and at that 
time of year, but old letters and diaries assert that there was a 
heavy frost on that and the following night. Certain it is that 
the cold was sufficient to cause intense suffering, and forbid 
sleep to the unprotected soldiers. At intervals of an hour or 
two the men on the skirmish line were visited by the officers 
in charge, and one of the latter declares that he found some 
of them holding their bayonets in their mouths to prevent 
their teeth chattering together so loudly as to attract the atten- 
tion of the enemy. Every sound from the front was listened 
to with the closest attention, but no movement was discovered, 
and it is probable that the Rebels were shivering with the cold 
much as were the Yankees in their front. 

Col. McCook's Brigade, which had gone toward Reed's 
Bridge, had an experience similar to that of Gen. Whittaker's 
command, encountering the enemy and having a lively skir- 
mish. Most writers assert that McCook reached and burned 
the bridge, but such was not the case. The cavalry had 
undertaken to destroy the bridge an hour or two before, but 
only succeeded in tearing up a few planks when they were 
driven off, and the enemy had crossed in large force before 
the infantry reached the vicinity. Next morning McCook 
withdrew, under orders from his superiors, and covered the 
roads leading toward Rossville, remaining within supporting 
distance of Whittaker on his left and Brannan on his right. 

The morning of Saturday, September 19, was at hand, 
but 'ere its first glimmer had lightened up the east, word was 



172 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

passed from man to man to move to the road. Silent! y y 
hardly a bayonet or a cup rattling to give the slightest sound, 
the crouching soldiers passed through the forest to the road- 
way, and marched back a mile or more, to a field near Mc- 
Affee's Church. The march had stirred the blood and aroused 
the troops so that they were more like themselves. Fires 
were kindled, and hot coffee, added to the relief afforded by 
the removal from the close proximity to the enemy, made 
all quite jolly again. Breakfast over, the line shifted position 
once or twice, and was then moved slightly to the front, the 
Regiment being placed upon a ridge at the left of the road, a 
position which it occupied for the following twenty-four hours. 
During the day the Rebels advanced upon the new line, but. 
at the right of the road, and while there was heavy skirmish- 
ing on the part of the other Regiments of the Brigade, and 
numerous casualties, the tide of battle did not cross the road. 
Two or three times the enemy sought to drive the forces from 
this position, but in vain. The Rebel artillery fired over the- 
hill held by the Regiment occasionally, and overshot bullets 
hummed across the field. A heavy skirmish line was main- 
tained on the front and flank all day and throughout the 
night. Early in the day Company A came up from Rossville, 
and took its place in line. The Second Brigade and the two 
detached Regiments also came up and took position near by. 
Gen. Granger and Gen. Steedman spent a great part of the 
day in the immediate vicinity. During the afternoon Captain 
Charles E. Rowan, of Company F, who was at the time serv- 
ing on the staff of Gen. Whittaker, was sent with orders to- 
one of the Regiments near the right of the Brigade. He had 
left them but a few moments before, but during his absence 
they had retired to a more favorable position, and the Rebels- 
having advanced, he galloped directly into the enemy's lines, 
when, being confronted by half a hundred muskets, from all. 
directions, he surrendered. This was the only loss to the 
NINETY-SIXTH on Saturday. 

While the day had been by no means uneventful at the- 
extreme left of the army, farther to the right a terrible con- 
flict had been raging, the noise of which soon reached the- 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 173 

Reserve Corps and added to their anxiety, and the nightfall 
shutting in was most welcome to them, as well as to the tired 
troops of the main army. From those who had come up to 
the Regiment from Rossville only meagre particulars could 
be gathered, but it was reported that large numbers of wounded 
had passed that point all through the afternoon on their way 
toward Chattanooga, and that the valley was filled with wagon 
trains, sent back from the front. 

The history of that eventful Saturday can be but briefly 
described. Gen. Rosecrans, in forming his line of battle on 
the west bank of Chickamauga Creek, had expected that the 
stream would serve an admirable purpose for defensive opera- 
tions. With this expectation he had ordered that every bridge 
and ford should be securely guarded by cavalry, with infantry 
in support, and that the strongest possible resistance should 
be offered to the passage of the enemy. But it transpired, 
early on Saturday, that the stream was not a formidable 
barrier. Indeed, on Friday evening, While Col. McCook's* 
Brigade of the Reserve Corps was marching to Reed's Bridge, 
the cavalry posted there had been driven back, and a large 
force of the enemy had crossed before dark. Col. McCook 
believed it to be but a single Brigade, and so reported ; but 
when, at about ten o'clock Saturday morning, Gen. Brannan 
attempted to move his Division to the bridge and capture it, 
he found himself confronted by a force greatly outnumber- 
ing his own. Simultaneously with his advance the enemy 
were moving to the assault, and the two forces met and began 
.a terrible struggle for the mastery. Speedily the roar of battle 
ran to the southward, as division after division of the Rebel 
army took up the charge. The order of Gen. Bragg had been 
for a series of charges, beginning on his extreme right, each 
Division to move as rapidly as it should appear that the Union 
lines withstood the contest at their right, until some weak 
point should be found and penetrated. Such a point was 
found, but farther to the southward and later in the day. As the 

* The reader should not confuse Col. Daniel McCook with Gen. A. McD. McCook. 
The former commanded a Brigade In the Reserve Corps, and the latter was the com- 
mander of the Twenty-first Army Corps. 



174 HISTORY OF THE 96'ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

terrible roar of musketry gave evidence that the contest was to- 
be a full-fledged battle, and that the plan of the Rebel leader 
was to break back the Union left if possible, troops were 
hurried from the right centre and thrown into the maelstrom 
where Brannan's Division, and subsequently Baird's and 
Johnson's Divisions, were striving, with desperate courage, 
to withstand the terrific efforts of the enemy. Some ground 
was lost, and a half dozen pieces of artillery had to be aban- 
doned ; but the left was by no means routed, and the losses of 
the brave battalions in gray that had opened the battle were- 
such as to render them cautious in their subsequent advances. 
Gen. Rosecrans soon ordered that portion of Gen. McCook's 
Corps that had been left in the neighborhood of Crawfish 
Springs to move toward the left, closing up on the forces at 
Lee & Gordon's Mills. This movement was not begun until, 
afternoon, and when the tide of battle had swung far toward 
the Union right. The assaulting columns found more than one 
weak place in the Union lines before the right had been reached, 
but the Brigades and Divisions in reserve had been able to- 
move into the breaks in the lines, and but little ground was lost 
along the centre. Near the Mills the Union forces were driven, 
backward, before the arrival of the troops from Crawfish 
Springs, and these latter, after a long double-quick, and under 
the order, ' ' On the right, by files, into line ! " went at once 
into action ; in a few cases the right of a regiment being act- 
ively firing and moving to the front before the left had come 
into line. Some disorder resulted, but a gallant defense was 
made, and the right wing, although borne backward some- 
what, met no serious disaster. Night closed with no great 
advantage gained by the Confederates and no serious loss, so 
far as position was concerned, to the Union forces.* True, 
the losses had been heavy, and both the right and left were 
forced to yield ground, but the lines had been fairly main- 
tained, and the situation at dark was not critical. Nearly 

* Gen. Hood, who commanded the right of the Rebel army on Saturday, in his work 
entitled " Advance and Retreat," says that a majority of the Confederate corps com- 
manders, at their council that evening, were rather dispirited than otherwise at the 
result of Saturday's battle, and by no means a unit in favor of renewing the contest 
on Sunday. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 175 

every Regiment of the Fourteenth, Twentieth and Twenty- 
first Corps had been engaged, and most of them had sustained 
heavy losses, but all had maintained their organizations, and 
were ready for the conflict that all knew must be renewed on 
the morrow. 

The soldiers of the NINETY-SIXTH, occupying the extreme 
left of the infantry forces of that great army, shared in the 
general anxiety as to the result of the contest, and it is but 
the truth to say it were almost disappointed that they had 
borne so inconspicuous a part in the battle. They did not 
know as well as did the troops at the right, that the conflict 
was only well begun. There was an expression, common 
enough in those days, but which, in the lapse of years, may 
have in a measure lost its significance, that to the old soldier 
who reads these pages will exactly describe their condition : 
They were "spoiling for a fight." Half in hopes that they 
might be spared the dangers of the battle, and half in fear 
lest they might not share in its honors, they saw darkness 
settle down upon the fields and forests. Then they sought 
such comfort as might be secured. They were still blanket- 
less, but they had been provided with hot coffee and were in 
much better condition for securing rest than on the previous 
night. Large details were upon the picket lines, and were 
compelled to remain in position, unrelieved, all through the 
chilly hours, for it was deemed imprudent to attempt to change 
guards in the face of an active and vigilant enemy. To these 
sentinels the night was one of much suffering. On the main 
line, however, the soldiers gathered up the leaves, or picked 
pine boughs from the young timber covering the ridge, and 
"made up their beds." A dozen would lay down close 
together with the command "by the right flank spoon ! " and 
three or four ponchos covered the squad. For a time every- 
thing was all right, but after a little the outside ones began to 
freeze out, and by midnight all were up. Small fires were 
kindled in a ravine in rear of the line, and there they sat 
through the lonely hours and tried to keep warm. Before 
daylight breakfast was eaten, and the men were ready for 
their work. A few had been made ill by the two nights' 



176 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y.I. 

exposure and were sent back to Rossville, while a few others 
came up, so that 419 men and officers were in line. Early in 
the day Gen. Steedman, accompanied by Major Smith of his 
Staff, and followed by a few orderlies, rode out upon the open 
ground near the skirmish line to look over the situation, 
and soon drew the fire of the enemy's pickets. The shots 
were at widely separated points, and experience and soldierly 
instinct told the commander that the force in front must be a 
light one, merely held there as a party of observation, or to 
detain the force in their front and keep up a show of battle. 
Riding leisurely back to the high ground near the main line, 
Gen. Steedman expressed this belief to Major Smith. Pres- 
ently Gen. Granger and a portion of his Staff rode up. The 
usual morning salutations were passed, and other conversa- 
tion followed. As the morning wore away, the sounds of 
battle at the southward were wafted to them, indicating a 
renewal of the conflict of the main armies. The roar deepened, 
and both musketry and artillery could be plainly heard. They 
listened for a time and then Gen. Granger said: "Steed- 
man, they are pushing our forces ; we are needed badly over 
there, and are not needed here. I can't order you to go ; 
you are ordered here by the General commanding the army." 
Gen. Steedman replied : "I know we are needed over there, 
and if satisfied there is no considerable force in our front I'll 
take the responsibility and go." A little later clouds of dust 
off to the southeast indicated that the enemy had left the 
Ringgold road and were pushing down toward the main army, 
when Gen. Granger again spoke: "Do you see that cloud 
of dust? That shows where they are." "Yes," said Gen. 
Steedman, "they are going where the fight is thickest, and 
I'll go too. " Gen. Granger interposed : ' ' It's a fearful 
thing, General, to disregard orders and abandon a position in 
the face of an enemy." "I know it is," said Gen. Steedman, 
"but everything is changed since we were ordered here. I'll 
take the responsibility and go." Meanwhile staff officers 
and orderlies had been sent to the right to ask that the com- 
mand be relieved from the irksome duty of guarding a wagon 
road on which there was no enemy. One of these orderlies 



; it 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 177 

was William M. Perry, of Company I, and his experience 
was a thrilling one. With a comrade he galloped along, only 
to find, at a sudden turn, that the road was full of Rebel 
infantry. Putting spurs to their horses they galloped through 
the crowd, Perry escaping, although his horse was wounded, 
but his companion falling, doubtless killed. The survivor 
reached the main army, but the General to whom he reported 
would not ask him to return. It is probable that still others 
were captured or killed in the attempt to reach Gen. Rose- 
crans, as none came back to the left. 

Meanwhile a reconnoissance in force had been ordered by 
Gen. Steedman, and the lines were advanced for a half mile 
or more, but without developing any considerable force of the 
enemy. It was a splendid sight as those battalions moved 
across the fields in line of battle on that beautiful Sabbath 
morning, their colors kissed by the breezes and their muskets 
gleaming in the bright September sun. The troops, having 
been in reserve, were under strict discipline, exceptionally 
well drilled, and their swords and muskets all as bright and 
clean as though they were moving out for an inspection instead 
of for a battle. Moving back to the lines, they still waited 
while the battle sounds came, wafted from the southward. 
Would the orders to move never come ? Was the battle to be 
fought to its close, and the Reserve Corps to have in it no part 
save the insignificant one already played ? 

It was at this time that the final conversation between 
Gen. Granger and Gen. Steedman, alluded to above, occurred, 
and staff officers rode along the line with orders to move. 
Col. McCook's Brigade was ordered to remain on the line, 
while Gen. Whittaker's and Col. Mitchell's Brigades, at a 
little past eleven o'clock, filed out from the position at 
McAffee's Church, and, with the sound of battle for a guide, 
moved southward. The 22d Michigan and the 89th Ohio had 
been assigned to Gen. Whittaker's Brigade, so that the column 
comprised ten regiments of infantry and two batteries of 
artillery. Again the NINETY-SIXTH was given the lead, the 
three right Companies, alternately, taking the front and left 
flank in line as skirmishers. There were frequent corn fields 
12 



178 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

and occasional open meadows, but the greater part of the 
country was heavily timbered. The march was a rapid one. 
A wooded road was followed for a time, and then the fields 
were taken, until the La Fayette road was reached. This 
highway was followed for quite a distance, and until the 
enemy's cavalry was seen in front, when the fields were again 
resorted to, and the troops moved in a more compact mass, in 
order that they might the better resist a cavalry attack. The 
din of battle was growing louder. Cartridge boxes, muskets, 
knapsacks and other abandoned articles were seen. An occa- 
sional straggler or wounded man was encountered, who told 
pitiful stories, and claimed to be about the only survivors of 
their respective commands. Deflecting to the right to avoid the 
cavalry now appearing in force, they found themselves still 
with the enemy between them and the Union line of battle. 
The commanding officer now sent a staff officer with orders to 
Col. McCook to move his Brigade from the Ringgold road to- 
the La Fayette road, and cover and protect this line of retreat 
to Rossville. Then a hollow square was formed, and in this way, 
with .Rebel cavalry hanging on front and flank, the two Bri- 
gades moved on. But valuable time was being consumed, and 
when the enemy sought the cover of the woods the formation 
was changed. Soon the hospital, near a spring, and which 
had been used by the left wing of the Union forces, wa& 
reached. It had fallen into Rebel hands two or three hours- 
before, and a number of Rebel soldiers were guarding it. 
These were surprised and captured, and such as were under 
arms were sent to the right and rear, across Missionary Ridge, 
under charge of Sergeant Berg, of Company A, three or four 
guards accompanying him. Through the trees near the hos- 
pital the soldiers caught glimpses of a long row of Union 
dead, and thus had additional evidence of the bloody work 
going on near by. Passing to the right of this hospital they 
hurried along, and, making their way through a terrible snarl 
of tangled vines, emerged into an open field, across which they 
passed on the double-quick. A Rebel battery galloped into- 
the field at the left and unlimbered its guns, not more than 
three or four hundred yards away. The soldiers saw the puffs 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 179 

of smoke and heard the hiss of the shells, like the sound of 
a rocket as it leaves the pyrotechnic stand, a hundred times 
intensified. Section after section unlimbered and joined in 
the terrible work, until the air seemed full of iron and the 
ground was seamed and furrowed. It was a fitting introduc- 
tion to the still more terrible scenes through which the com- 
mand was soon to pass. Strange to say, only a few were 
hurt. A shell burst above Company D, and Lieutenant Theo- 
dore F. Clarkson fell, terribly wounded in the head, John 
Swindells had a hand shattered, Alza M. Stewart was badly 
wounded in the leg, Edmund S. Stevens was seriously 
bruised on the leg, and Corporal O. V. Young had a heel con- 
siderably cut. The two last mentioned remained with the 
command, but the others were taken to the right and rear. 
Some not mentioned were struck by flying fragments of the 
shell, but none seriously hurt. 

The regiments following also sustained some loss. But 
through it all the troops kept straight forward, never furling 
their banners nor deflecting from their course. The command- 
ers knew that here was not the place where they were most 
needed, and hurried forward. The air was full of smoke, the 
fences and fields burning in many places and adding to the 
more sulphurous smoke from the burning powder. Wounded 
men were frequently met, and dead bodies lay here and there, 
giving evidence that the ground over which the columns were 
passing had been the scene of a hot contest. After crossing 
this field, they bore still farther to the west, and succeeded 
in passing the Rebel right without encountering serious oppo- 
sition. 

They had traveled almost continuously for two hours, 
fully one-half of the time at a double-quick. The distance, 
if measured in a direct line, would not have exceeded five 
miles, possibly it was not more than four, but they had 
resisted the several times repeated attempts of the enemy to 
engage them, although suffering themselves to be somewhat 
delayed. At last they had reached and passed Gen. Thomas' 
lines. Halting near the burning out-buildings, of the Snod- 
grass farm, where Gen. Thomas had his headquarters, they 



180 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

rested for a moment. Near by were two or three other Gen- 
eral officers with their Staffs, and the field seemed full of 
couriers, stragglers and wounded men. 

The arrival was most timely. Until eleven o'clock the 
principal fighting had been on Thomas' left, not far from the 
ground over which the Reserves had passed, and the enemy 
had again and again assaulted the lines with the view of 
turning the Union left, and thus cutting off retreat from 
the gaps through Missionary Ridge. They had not fully 
accomplished their purpose, but had gained repeated slight 
advantages. Gen. Rosecrans had fully appreciated the situa- 
tion of affairs, and, anticipating exactly the movement that 
Gen. Bragg would make, had shortened his lines somewhat, 
during Saturday night, retiring both his flanks and arranging 
to have supports thrown from his right to his left, as needed. 
The Corps had not been formed in regular order, and the con- 
tinuous shifting of troops to the left during Saturday had 
seemingly disarranged the army ; the order of formation Sun- 
day morning being Baird's Division of Thomas' Corps on the 
left, then Johnson's Division of McCook's Corps, Palmer's 
Division of Crittenden's Corps, and Reynolds' and Brannan's 
Divisions of Thomas' Corps, in succession. Still farther to 
the right were Sheridan's and Davis' Divisions of McCook's 
Corps, and to their rear, in support, Wood's and Van Cleve's 
Divisions of Crittenden's Corps. Some of the cavalry and 
mounted infantry regiments were sandwiched between the 
Divisions near the right. Gen. Negley's Division was in 
reserve, with orders to move to the extreme left, at the time 
the battle opened. Light breastworks covered a portion of 
the lines, but none were as formidable as would have been 
constructed a year later. 

Gen. Bragg, having reorganized his lines and received 
numerous reinforcements, ordered Gen. Polk, commanding 
his right wing, to attack heavily at daylight. Fortunately 
for the Union cause, delays occurred, the enemy making no 
general assault until after nine o'clock. But even at that 
hour Gen. Negley had not reached Baird's left, and when the 
charge was made the line of gray overlapped the Federals, 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 181 

and Beatty's Brigade of Van Cleve's Division, which had 
been hastily thrown out to meet the movement, was swept 
backward in disorder. It was on the grounds passed over by 
the Reserves on their way to Thomas, that this opening engage- 
ment of the morning had occurred. The advantages gained 
by the Rebel forces at this point were not important, and they 
withdrew, having been repulsed in Baird's front, after 
sustaining heavy losses. A second assault resulted as did the 
first. Following these sanguinary struggles, and deceived by 
the quiet on his right into the belief that Gen. Bragg was 
massing his troops for a still further effort to turn the left, 
Gen. Rosecrans had ordered a large body of troops from his 
right centre to go to Thomas' support, the others to close up 
the gaps thus made. Just at this critical moment, the enemy, 
apparently despairing of turning the Union left, were moving 
forward, under cover of the hills and woods, to assault the 
Federal right. Coming in large force and catching the right 
wing in the midst of these movements, they had forced the 
greater part of Sheridan's and Davis' Divisions of McCook's 
Corps, Yan Cleve's and a portion of Wood's Division of 
Crittenden's Corps, and the cavalry and some artillery and 
trains to the rear and right in much disorder, and with heavy 
losses in artillery and prisoners. Gen. Rosecrans and two of 
his Corps Commanders McCook and Crittenden had been 
caught in the confusion which ensued, and made their way 
across Missionary Ridge to the Crawfish Spring Road, going 
thence by way of Rossville to Chattanooga. There is a con- 
flict of testimony as to the hour at which this disastrous break 
occurred, but it was probably not long after eleven o'clock, or 
almost at the moment that the Reserves left McAffee's Church. 
Nor is it entirely clear as to who was responsible for the 
irregular movement by which the gap was opened and the 
opportunity given for the Rebel columns to pierce the right 
centre. The rapid driving of a battery of artillery that had 
been forced to retreat from an advanced position, and which 
struck a division as it was marching to the left, breaking the 
column, throwing it into disorder and injuring many men, 
doubtless played an important part. At all events the army was 



182 HISTORY OF THE 96ra KEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

cut in twain, and Gen. Brannan's Division occupied the right 
of that portion of the line which still remained firm. Owing 
to intervening hills and woods, Gen. Thomas, who was now 
the only Corps commander on the field, was not aware of 
the extent of the disaster on his right. He did not know 
that his Commander had left the field and that the Rebels had 
gained, with but little fighting, on his right, what they had 
failed to accomplish, with heavy slaughter, on his left. Gen. 
Brannan soon became aware that he was flanked, and drew 
back his right to a position favorable for defense, and threw 
up a light barricade. 

Gen. Longstreet, after his exultant troops had pierced the 
Union lines, pushed his advantage for a time, but dared not 
wholly pass the new Union right without reorganizing his 
forces. He therefore halted and formed his troops in a suc- 
cession of strong lines of battle, meanwhile consulting with 
Gen. Bragg and caring for his prisoners and the numerous can- 
non that had fallen into his hands. He then determined 
to again strike the Union right a terrific blow and seek to 
shatter it by force of numbers. But the Rebel assaults were 
repulsed, and other tactics made necessary. A show of fight- 
ing was kept up along the ridges where the Federals were 
posted, while the main portion of Longstreet's force was 
pushed northward, confidently expecting to reach and pass 
the rear of Gen. Thomas, and surround and capture the well- 
nigh exhausted forces still remaining on the field. Almost 
two hours had passed since the disaster on the right. It had 
been improved by the Confederates, and they were now ready 
for the movement which was to encircle the broken bat- 
talions still fighting under the Old Flag. The situation was 
growing critical. The Federal forces occupied an irregular 
half circle, either flank being a little west of the Lafayette 
and Rossville road. There were portions of seven Divisions, 
but all had been heavily engaged and sustained severe losses. 
They were irregularly grouped, and the commanders were 
disconcerted by the movement of Rebels to their right and 
rear, from which direction, if at all, reinforcements rather than 
an enemy had been expected. To add to the anxiety the 



1863] CHICK AMAUGA. 183 

cartridge boxes of Thomas' men were well-nigh empty, and the 
ammunition train had disappeared, some unauthorized person 
having ordered it to Kossville, as was afterward learned. 

Gen. Longstreet was now moving his heavy lines of 
infantry to some ridges, from which he could compel the Fede- 
ral forces to form a final "square" where they must exhaust 
themselves with defensive operations or cut their way out at a 
frightful cost of life. At one o'clock his methodical move- 
ments were well advanced. With his forces well in hand, 
he was preparing to swing in his Division, like a ponderous 
.gate, and completely envelope Gen. Thomas' army. A half 
hour more and the movement would be complete. 

It was just at this critical juncture that help arrived. Gen. 
Thomas had observed a cloud of dust off to the left, and was 
alternating 'twixt hope and fear, thinking, until a staff officer, 
sent for the purpose, brought him other word, that the chances 
were that it was Rebel and not Union reinforcements. It 
was just at this supreme moment in the battle, and while the 
enemy was preparing to take advantage of the favorable posi- 
tions they hard obtained with unexpected ease, that the 
Reserves arrived, hot, dusty and fatigued with the long march 
at double-quick. There was a hurried consultation between 
the Generals and their Staff Officers, a brief inquiry as to the 
number and condition of the reinforcements, and then the 
First Brigade was faced toward the right centre of the semi- 
circle with orders to move to the support of Gen. Wood and 
fill a gap in the lines. Before the proposed forward move- 
ment had begun the heavy masses of the enemy on the right 
became visible, and the commander knew what he had 
but guessed before that his right was gone, and that a great 
danger was confronting him from an unexpected direction. 
Instantly the order to move to Wood's support was counter- 
manded. The battalions were faced and filed to the right, 
moved across an open field into the woods and halted. 
The NINETY-SIXTH still had the lead, and a company of skir- 
mishers preceded it. On the way the Division Commander 
and his Staff, who realized something of the work before them, 
were discussing the situation, when Capt. Moe, then A. A. G. 



184 HISTORY OF THE 96'rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

to Gen. Steedman, said, in substance: "There are often 
disputes as to the time when important military events occur, 
and as this is likely to be an important event, gentlemen, just 
remember that it is now ten minutes past one o'clock." 

After a short march the column was commanded to halt 
and come to a front. The NINETY-SIXTH thus formed the 
extreme right of the line. Directly at its left and separated 
from it by a brief interval was the 115th Illinois, and at their 
left the 22d Michigan. A second line was formed, the 40th 
Ohio being directly in rear of the NINETY-SIXTH, and the 84th 
Indiana and 89th Ohio at the left of the 40th. On a ridge at 
the front several Rebel skirmishers were seen, who fired a few 
shots and then ran back. But they had fired to some purpose r 
for there was a dull thud as a bullet struck a man in the Regi- 
ment just in rear of the NINETY-SIXTH, and a sickening sensa- 
tion came over those who heard it. "There is a 'Reb' on> 
the hill," said one of the skirmishers just in front. "Why 
don't you shoot him, then ? " calmly replied Colonel Champion, 
and the man responded with a rifle shot. In a moment the- 
skirmishers had been sent to the right, guns were hastily 
inspected, the men were counted, and the double line moved 
forward. There were fallen trees, which served to break up 
the lines somewhat, but the movement was, in the main, 
admirably executed. A series of little ravines were passed, 
and the soldiers broke into a double quick. Ascending at 
longer ridge, there came the pattering of shots, like the first 
drops of a shower ; then the ragged, tearing report of an irreg- 
ular skirmish volley ; then the constant, deafening roar, as 
regiment after regiment took up the deadly work. The first 
line of Rebels gave way, and the lines of blue pressed on 
down the long slope, with a wild cheer, bounding over logs 
and stones, through the hollow and up to the crest of another 
ridge. The noise was deafening. The enemy was but from six 
to ten rods distant, but through the smoke and bushes they 
could hardly be seen, although the guns belched forth a ter- 
rible fire seemingly right in their faces. Halting there, from, 
ten to twenty shots were fired by each of those not disabled. 
Scores of brave men had been shot, and were either lying silent 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 185- 

in death, or making their way to the rear in such manner as 
their wounds would permit. Every moment thinned the ranks. 
A half dozen cannon in front of the right centre of the Regi- 
ment poured a destructive fire diagonally across the line and 
into the left of the 40th Ohio and the right of the 84th Indiana. 
The hot breath from their terrible throats seemed like a blast 
from the infernal regions, and the dense smoke hung like a 
pall above. "Fire at the battery ! " was the order, and pres- 
ently most of the guns were silenced. But there were other 
batteries and a cloud of infantry coming, line after line, and 
all above those trodden acres the air screamed with merciless 
bullets. Lieutenant Colonel Clarke sat calmly on his horse 
near the left of the Regiment, speaking words of cheer to the 
men as they met the terrible fire. A moment later a bullet 
struck him, inflicting a mortal wound. He was assisted from 
his horse and carried to the rear upon a blanket. Colonel 
Champion's horse was twice wounded, but its rider stood 
unscathed behind the centre of the line. 

At times the number of wounded going to the rear was 
such as to create the impression that the line was giving way, 
but for a time there was no break. There came a lessening of 
the terrible roar. A regiment at the left was giving ground. 
The regiments comprising the second line, although they 
had halted some distance in the rear, were unable to endure 
the terrific storm, and fell back. Then came the indescribable 
" Rebel yell," as fresh battalions of the enemy came through 
the opening at the left. Men looked into each other's faces 
as if to read their thoughts. Officers blanched as they took 
in the situation. The left was gone. The troops in rear had 
gone. There was as yet no support or protection on the right. 
The incessant fire from the front was being supplemented by 
enfilading shots from left and right as the lapping lines passed 
both the flanks. Mingled with the roar of musketry rose the 
hated yell of the exultant enemy as they swarmed after the 
retreating battalions. To remain longer meant the absolute 
destruction of the entire Regiment ; to give ground was the only 
alternative, as there were no indications of support, and the 
NINETY-SIXTH retired ; slowly at first, some of the officers back- 



186 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

ing down and the men loading and firing in retreat ; but as 
the waves of Rebel gray swept after them, they ran back in some 
confusion, through the hollow, up the long slope, while shot 
and shell screamed and hissed and exploded all about them. 
But the Rebels had been so terribly punished that they did not 
follow far. The ridge passed, the Regiment again formed, 
most of the men rallying on the colors. But Oh, the lines 
were terribly shortened. Lieutenant Colonel Clarke, to whose 
fatherly care and strict discipline the Regiment owed so much 
of its effectiveness in that supreme hour of its history, was being 
borne to the rear. Captain Blodgett had been struck down 
and badly injured by a heavy treetop torn from its place by a 
Rebel shell, and was, to all intents and purposes, a prisoner, 
being held by the limbs while the Rebel lines passed over or 
around him and then retired, and only being released from 
his position when the Union lines advanced in a second 
charge, some of the men then helping to remove the tree 
and get him up. Lieutenant Blowney had a shot across his 
head, from which the blood was flowing freely over his face, 
but he was bravely rallying his command, and doing gallant 
service. Captain Taylor had been wounded, but remained 
with his command. Captain Pierce and Sergeant -Major 
Quiun were among those hit, the latter being so severely 
injured as to cause his capture. Lieutenants Simms and 
Barnes were being assisted to the rear, each with a mortal 
wound. A hundred officers and men must have fallen in that 
first half hour. Other regiments had suffered scarcely less. 
Gen. Whittaker being slightly wounded, Colonel Champion 
took temporary command of the Brigade, and as Major Smith 
was on Gen. Steedman's staff, the command of the Regiment 
devolved upon Captain Hicks, of Company A, as gallant 
and brave a man as ever wielded a sword. Most of the men 
responded promptly to the call to reform the lines. Stepping 
to the front, Captain Hicks spoke as follows: "Comrades, 
you have made one charge a gallant charge. On yonder 
hillside lie the bodies of your fallen comrades. Forward to 
avenge their deaths ! " The men responded with a cheer and 
again moved to the front, bearing somewhat to the right, to cover 



18C3] CHICKAMAUGA. 187 

the extended Rebel lines and support a section of artillery that 
had been moved to that part of the field. In the brief interval 
while the lines were forming some of the wounded had been 
carried to the rear, but those who fell at the extreme front 
could not be reached. In all of the succeeding movements of 
the afternoon the Union lines did not penetrate so far, and 
these men lay between the fire of the two armies much of the 
time, although occasionally the Rebels advanced a few rods 
past them. 

As the lines moved forward there was again a swift charge 
and a wild cheer, and again the leaden messengers sped across 
the field. Both lines were charging, but this time it was 
the Confederates who first hesitated, halted and fell back, 
while Union shots momentarily lessened their number. But 
again there were other Rebel lines and other batteries, and 
the Brigade, whose line, working still to the right, had grown 
to be scarcely more than a skirmish line, was compelled to halt. 
Officers sheathed their swords and took up muskets. The color 
guard of nine were all gone but two or three. Sergeant Bruner, 
who carried the Stars and Stripes, was terribly wounded. 
Corporal Swanbrough, who had already had the staff of the 
Regimental flag shot oft* twice in his hands, caught the Na- 
tional colors as they fell, and gallantly bore both flags aloft. 
Later, he, too, was struck down by a falling limb, stunned for 
a moment, and recovered his senses barely in time to save 
the flags from capture, after the Regiment supposed them 
lost. But who can describe those terrific charges and counter 
charges, as the Rebels again and again sought to drive back 
the Reserves and gain possession of the roads leading through 
McFarland's Gap. The fighting, in each of the advances, 
was severe, intensely so, and yet there was not the noise 
or the impetuosity that attended the first grand onset. 
But if the men did not keep the perfect lines observed on 
grand reviews, they at all events took good aim and did 
remarkably effective work. There were those whose boldness 
and enthusiasm led them to the front, and others whose 
timidity kept them a little in the rear. But all the time that 
dreadful afternoon they hardly once sought cover, rarely even 



188 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL, V. 1. 

going behind a tree, but stood out, manfully, as if courting 
death, while the dread storm of shot and shell raged over the 
timbered ridges, and the hills and valleys reverberated with 
the roar of battle. 

So the battle raged, with occasional intervals, from before 
two o'clock until dusk, the men advancing and driving the- 
Rebels, only to be in turn driven back over substantially the 
same ground. Sometimes there were two lines, but by some 
strange fate, the NINETY-SIXTH was always in the front one. 
Always there seemed a cloud of Rebels, far outnumbering 
the Union troops, and rarely, if ever, did the enemy charge with 
less than two lines and often with three or four. Once the 
NINETY-SIXTH advanced so far as to receive an enfilading fire 
from the other regiments of the Brigade, and Colonel Cham- 
pion declared his belief that with five hundred fresh troops* he 
could have driven the entire left wing of the Confederate army 
from the field. The ground seemed almost fairly covered; 
with the bodies of the killed or desperately wounded of the- 
enemy over acres across which the Regiment advanced. 
Gen. Hindman, commanding one of the Rebel Divisions- 
with which the Reserves fought, in his report says of the 
engagement on that part of the field, that he had never 
before seen Confederates fight better or Federals fight so 
well. In some of the advance movements a few Rebels 
were captured, and from them it was learned that the troops 
were not Bragg's men, but Longstreet's veterans from the 
Potomac, who had rarely known defeat, and who boasted, as- 
they came upon the battle field, that they had been sent to 
show Bragg's army how to fight. 

The left of the line moved less than the right ; in fact, the- 
left of the Brigade seemed to be the pivot on which the- 
Reserves swung, like a great pendulum, for four terrible hours. 
In the retreats there was a deliberateness and stubbornness 
seldom equalled. Colonel Champion was as cool and cour- 
ageous as man could be, and his bravery, seconded by that of 
the line officers, acted like an inspiration. 

Two Regiments of the Brigade the 89th Ohio and 22d! 
Michigan being out of ammunition, met a charge of the- 






1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 189 

enemy with their bayonets, but were overpowered and sur- 
rounded, most of them being made prisoners. This was near 
the close of the fighting and after most of the troops at the 
left had moved to the rear. It was a terrible sacrifice, for 
they had made a gallant fight, but probably necessary in order 
to the protection of the retreating column. 

At a little before night-fall the enemy, baffled and dis- 
-couraged, drew back their lines a little, and the fighting ceased 
except that an irregular skirmish fire was continued for a time. 
And it was well that it was so, for the Union forces were well- 
nigh exhausted and almost out of ammunition, except as they 
took it from the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded. 
At one time a few boxes were brought upon the field. Were 
gold thrown out in handfuls among a crowd of Chicago news- 
boys it could not be more eagerly seized than were the coveted 
cartridges on that afternoon. Gen. Thomas was not slow to 
take advantage of the lull in the terrific storm, and at sundown 
or a little before he ordered his men to move quietly but 
quickly back through McFarland's Gap and out toward Ross- 
ville. But the right of the line was the last to be with- 
drawn, and the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois and 121st Ohio still 
kept up a desultory musketry until the fire grew red and 
the short southern twilight had almost deepened into night. 
Then they drew back, a little band of resolute men, the last 
organized body to leave the field. The four or five miles to 
Rossville was made in sullen silence. Between eight and 
nine o'clock the camp was reached, and the men threw them- 
selves down on the "bunks" they had left less than three 
days before. Oh, how weary they were. For two nights 
they had hardly slept at all. Since before daylight of that 
morning they had eaten nothing except an occasional bite of 
hard-tack from their haversacks. For hours many had had no 
water. They were dusty, powder-grimmed, so hoarse that 
they could hardly speak above a whisper ; so tired that they 
could hardly rise after they had lain down. But darkness and 
distance had relieved them from the terrible strain induced by 
the deadly peril of the battle, and no wonder that one soldier, 
-as he seized a cup of hot coffee and threw himself down beside 



190 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

a camp-fire, exclaimed: "Boys, this is heaven." And he- 
felt it, so great was the relief experienced. 

As they gathered around the camp-fires the unhurt and 
some of the wounded who had been able to get back and dis- 
cussed the incidents of the day in undertones, the groups were 
sad, for so many were gone. All of the dead and many of 
the severely wounded were lying unprotected and uncared for 
on the battle-field. Each Company had its list of heroes. 
Almost every man had narrowly escaped some imminent peril, 
and fully one-half of the survivors had bullets through their 
clothing or equipments. Colonel Champion, who had proved 
a very lion in the fight, was unharmed, although he rode his 
third horse, two having been shot under him. 

The Brigade had lost forty-four per cent, of its entire num- 
ber ; the Regiment almost fifty per cent. But the Reserves 
had saved the right ; and in saving the right had saved the 
army ; and in saving the army had, perhaps, made final victory 
possible, and thus saved the Union of the States. 

In withdrawing from the field there had been some break- 
ing up of commands, and daylight of Monday, September 21, 
found the army in much disorder. Col. McCook's Brigade 
had been drawn back toward Rossville, and picketed the Gap 
through the night. Shortly after sunrise Sheridan's Division 
of McCook's Corps moved out on the Crawfish Spring road, 
along the west side of Missionary Ridge. Other commands 
soon formed and were sent into the Gap and upon the Ridge 
at its right and left. The troops of Steedman's Division were 
moved a little toward Chattanooga, shifting position here and 
there for a time, and then marching to the top of the Ridge 
at the left of the Gap, and near the extreme left of the main 
army. Throughout the day it was expected that the enemy 
would move forward and attack this position, but their losses 
had been so heavy that they were not anxious to renew the 
battle, and they contented themselves with a reconnoissance 
along the new line. During the skirmishing the only casualty in 
the NINETY-SIXTH was the wounding of C. W. Graham, of Com- 
pany H, and one or two others. The troops did not fortify their 
position until toward evening, when a light barricade was con- 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 191 

structed of rocks and logs. There was no despondency among 
the troops, but on the contrary a feeling of confidence and a 
belief that they could resist any direct attack the Rebels could 
make. 

The position of the army, although admirable for defens- 
ive operations, providing that the enemy were to make a 
direct assault, was such that a force might pass its right and 
cut it off from Chattanooga. It was therefore determined to 
move back to the city soon after nightfall. Meanwhile engi- 
neers laid out a line of works, either flank of which rested on 
the Tennessee River, and to this line, commencing at nine 
p. M., Division after Division was withdrawn. At eleven 
o'clock Steedman's Division was in motion, the main body, 
after a slow and tedious night march, reaching Chattanooga, 
where the First Brigade, including the NINETY-SIXTH, was 
detached and sent across the river, and thence to Moccasin 
Point, confronting Lookout Mountain. 

But in this movement a serious disaster befel the Regi- 
ment. Company H, under Lieutenant Yates, had been posted 
in front upon the skirmish line, during the day. In the early 
evening, it being reported that the line was too weak, Com- 
pany C, under Lieutenant Earle, was sent to reinforce them. 
When the main line was drawn back into Chattanooga these 
Companies were not relieved or ordered back, and with sev- 
eral other Companies found themselves surrounded, and were 
captured about ten o'clock on Tuesday morning, after making 
a brief resistance, in which James Forsyth, of Company H, was 
killed, and two or three from other commands were wounded. 
Thus the Regiment lost two gallant officers and thirty-four 
brave men, more than one-half of whom were to perish in the 
foul prison-pens to which they were committed. For a more 
circumstantial account of the experiences of the men captured 
at this time, the reader is referred to the chapter on "Prisons 
and Prisoners of War," in another part of this work. 

It was not until Moccasin Point was reached that an oppor- 
tunity was given to attempt to fully measure the losses of the 
Regiment in the terrific experiences of Chickamauga, or to 
estimate the services it had performed. From all sources 



192 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

came unstinted praise for the heroic action of the Reserve 
Corps on Sunday afternoon. It had fought more than three 
times its own numbers. Three times it had hurled itself 
against the solid lines of the enemy when attack seemed 
hopeless, and each time it had broken and driven back their 
front lines. Repeatedly it had withstood the assaults of the 
doubled and quadrupled lines of gray, fighting, at fearful 
odds, until the night had come and given Gen. Thomas oppor- 
tunity to withdraw his forces. And in all this dreadful fight- 
ing the NINETY-SIXTH had been in the front line and at the 
right, where the work was most severe and the danger most 
intense. It had charged the most frequently, penetrated far- 
thest to the front, held its advanced positions longest, and 
was always slowest in falling back. Its losses in killed and 
wounded had been the heaviest of any Regiment in the Re- 
.serve Corps, and, considering the number of hours it was 
engaged, the heaviest of any Regiment in the Arm} 7 . Of 419 
who went into the fight 200 were killed or wounded, while 
the total loss, including those captured on Missionary Ridge, 
was 234, or fifty-eight per cent, of all who took part in the 
battle, a percentage rarely reached by any command in a 
.single battle. The following is 

THE CASUALTY LIST. . 

Field and Staff. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WQUNDED. Lieutenant Colonel Isaac L. 
-Clarke; Quarter-MasIer.JVilliam S. Bean. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant Major Francis P. Quinn,* shot through lungs. 

* Captured. 

Company A. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. First Sergeant John G. Schaefer, 
Corporal William Price, Color Corporal David Isbell, Christian Kaufman, 
John H. Witman. 

WOUNDED. First Lieutenant William Vincent, leg ; Sergeant Frank 
A. Weir, arm ; Corporal Jason B. Isbell, shoulder ; Gottlieb Beck, face; 
John W. Connor,* side ; John Einsweiler, thigh ; Milton Glover, head ; 
Edward Reubeno, finger shot off ; Edward Simpson, head ; Joseph D. 
Young, leg ; Josephus Metcalf,* head. 

* Captured. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 193 

Company B. 

KILLED. Emery Dart, Charles Fox, William Kimball, Thomas 
Potter. 

WOUNDED. First Sergeant A. A. Bangs,* head ; Sergeant William 

D. Whitmore, shoulder; Color Corporal Hamilton Whitney,* t side; Cor- 
poral Caleb Whitney, foot ; Henry Annis, leg ; John H. Cruver.f arm ; 
John Cashman.f foot ; W. W. Tower, leg ; Charles McCusker, shoulder. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 

Company C. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Corporal John Y. Taylor, William 
Bonner, John H. Ehlers, John Fidler, Acting Color Corporal Squire 
Ininan.* | 

WOUNDED. Second Lieutenant Charles W. Earle, arm and wrist ; 
Sergeant Edward Murray,* f shoulder, hip and arm ; Sergeant Charles A. 
Partridge, hip ; Corporal George C. Dodge,* f ankle ; Corporal William 
B. Lewin, shoulder; Corporal Lewis H. Bryant, both legs ; Corporal John 
McGill, right arm ; Henry P. Barnum, face ; John W. Bailey, arm ; Henry 
Bater, shoulder ; Henry H. Cutler, arm ; Ira Cribb, shoulder; Leonard S. 
Doolittle,*f right leg; William Diver, arm: William H. Ehlers, arm; 
Norris Hamilton, face ; Orrin Howe,*f leg; James McCredie, leg; Oscar 
Rector, right shoulder and lung ; Michael Umbdenstock, right arm. 

CAPTURED SEPTEMBER 22, 1863. Second Lieutenant Charles W. 
Earle ; Sergeant Harrison Huntington ;\ Privates John Bensinger.t Henry 
H. Cutler, Henry C. Green, James Kearney, William McClellan.t Wil- 
liam McCreadie.J Laughlin Madden,^ Henry C. Payne,}: Hugo Roden- 
berger,J Joseph Schweri, Joseph Savage, Charles Sturm,}: Christian 
Weistoff. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 
J Died while a prisoner of war. 

Company D. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Sergeant William W. McKey ; 
Sergeant Isaac Quigley; Corporal Elisha Haggart ; Elias Holey, James 
Rich. 

WOUNDED Captain A. Z. Blodgett, shoulder and back ; Second 
Lieutenant Theodore F. Clarkson, head ; First Sergeant John H. Collier, 
thigh ; Corporal Charles Ellis, leg ; Corporal Orson V. Young, foot ; 
Waiter Grapfr, -arms Edward Rix, head; Joseph A. Roth, left hand ; 
H. G. Levagood.f arm; Edmund S. Stevens,*! leg and body; John 
Swindells,! hand ; William Sabin,f left thigh ; Alza Stewart, hip ; Robert 

E. Stanley, face ; John C. Thompson, knee ; Jacob Van Patten, knee 
and breast ; Eli Thayer,*}: head; James T. Guppy, head. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 
t Died while a prisoner of war. 

13 



194 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 



Company E. 

OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Corporal Henry Cashman, Cor- 
poral Edgar Warner, Robert C. Allinson, Alfred Elderkin, William Edge,. 
James A. Thomas, Joseph Tinkler, Daniel Harrington, Stephen F. Black- 
stone,* Thomas B. Martin,* Henry Mack,* Dennis O'Leary.* 

WOUNDED. Captain Wm. F. Taylor, ear ; First Lieutenant Halsey 
H. Richardson, thigh ; Second Lieutenant Sidney B. Funk,f face and 
shoulder ; Sergeant Wm. H. Robbing,*! arm and lung ; Sergeant Royal J. 
Cooper, foot ; Color Corporal Wm. F. DeGraff, leg ; Corporal William 
Hill,f leg ; John A. Bush, leg and side ;* Solomon Bixby, arm ; Jamea 
Cole,f arm and body; George W. Dimick,*^ head and hip; John H. 
Pooley,f thigh ; George Teal, arm ; Andrew King, wrist and side ;. 
Thomas Scott, knee ; Charles F. Hayth,*f ankle. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 

i Died while a prisoner of war. 



Company F. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. First Lieutenant Nelson R. 
Simms ; Corporal John R. Oatey, Color Corporal Walton Reed, Corporali 
Augustus Annbruster, Hiram L. Bostwick, James Pimley, Frederick W. 
Miller. 

WOUNDED. Corporal John A. Robinson, f lost right arm ; James 
Brown, back ; William Calvert, leg ; Patrick Conway, hip ; Joseph Gam- 
mon, f chest and leg ; Thomas Graham, face ; John Hocking;*Sthigh ;. 
Bennett Holtkamp,*| Edward Wearne, \ thigh; John Kneebone, leg;. 
Hugh Williams, hand. 

CAPTURED. Captain Charles E. Rowan. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 
t Died while a prisoner of war. 

Company G. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Thomas Davis,* William H. 
Wheeler, William H. Whaples. 

WOUNDED. First Lieutenant Benjamin G. Blowuey, head ; First 
Sergeant Aaron Scott, hand ; Sergeant B. F. Shepard, thigh ; Corporal; 
Walter Drew, side ; Corporal James Hickox, side and leg ; Corporal H. 
H. Gage, hand; Daniel Benson,* thigh ; George Butler,f foot ; Jared O. 
Blodgett, Myron J. Brown, groin; John A. Corbin, thigh; Joseph Darby, *f 
left arm ; Daniel H. Gail, leg ; William Joyce, foot ; John Ladd, thigh ;. 
Lewis Miller, hip. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 195 

Company H. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. First Lieutenant George F. 
Barnes ; Color Corporal Ward L. Morton, Corporal Henry Simons, Cor- 
poral Thomas Morris,* James J. Curry,* Albert Farley, James Forsyth, 
Thomas K. Johnson.* 

WOUNDED. Captain J. L. Pierce, right arm and side ; First Sergeant 
J. A. Francisco, f leg and side ; Sergeant Michael Hileman, Color Sergeant 
M. M. Bruner.f arm and breast; Sergeant H. S. Vandervoort, leg ; Ser- 
geant Charles P. Howard,! ann 5 Corporal Charles L. Mettz, hand ; Cor- 
poral H. F. Hastings, arm ; Edward McGinniss.f wrist ; James Rees.f 
arm ; Patrick Farrell, 1st, leg ; Patrick Farrell, 3d, arm ; Hiram W. 
Nelson.f shoulder ; Geo. W. Andrews, foot ; John H. Foster, face ; Nor- 
man P. Ward.ffthigh ; James McCaflerty, face and neck; Charles W. 
Graham,f hand ; Charles D. Bunce,* Henson Moore, arm ; Samuel Wil- 
cox, arm. 

CAPTURED SEPTEMBER 22, 1863. Second Lieutenant Charles H. 
Yates, Sergeant Michael Hileman, Corporals John A. Boothby.t Patrick 
Flannery:}: and Alphonzo Marshall,^ and Privates George W. Andrews,}: 
Richard Cullen, Daniel W. Dowd, John H. Foster, Peter Hawkes, William 
Ingersoll.t Andrew Johnson, John Kurby,}: Nathaniel McWain, George 
H. Stanchfield.J James M. Sallee, Edwin Van Dyke, Adam Vrowman,t 
Alberto Wheelock.J John V. Wilkerson. 

* Captured. 

t Disabled for further field service. 

J Died while a prisoner of war. 

Company I. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. John Adams, Truman F. Bennett, 
Henry Bonitell, John Bowman, Gains W. Young. 

WOUNDED. John Fablinger, shoulder ; James Hutchinson, side ; 
Francis S. Koontz, breast ; Frank M. Pogue.f leg ; August Stemlie, 
shoulder; Hugh Williams, side ; Benjamin B.Wilson, shoulder; Thomas 
Reynolds, shoulder ; Daniel Malone, scalp. 

t Disabled for further field service. 

Company K. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Corporal Thomas Porter, Anson 
Brinkerhoff, Joseph Bowker, Mathew Dunbar, Michael Fox, Darius W. 
Kenney. 

WOUNDED. First Sergeant C. C. Cowen.f right shoulder; Sergeant 
Garrett W. Luke, scalp wound ; Sergeant Charles N. Elston, right leg ; 
Corporal Wm. E. Tilton, side ; James E. Black, arm ; Acting Color Cor- 
poral Thomas A. Conlee, shoulder ; James F. Champlin,* Thomas C. 
Graves,* foot ; Edward Graham, arm and thigh ; Hiram H. Hamilton,* 
left leg; Cyrus Pomeroy,f leg; Curl Richardson, leg; Henry Schultz,* 
left breast and arm ; Charles Smith, left leg hurt by the fall of a horse. 

Captnred. 

t Disabled for further field service. 



196 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

The casualties among the troops in Gen. Steedman's com- 
mand in this memorable battle were as follows : 

Second Brigade, Second Division, Reserve Corps, Col. Daniel McCook 

commanding : 

Killed. Wounded. Captured. Total. 

52dOhio 2 . 3 5 

85th Illinois 1 6 7 

86th Illinois.... 1 ,517 

125th Illinois. .. 1 247 

Total........ 3 15 8 26 

First Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps, Gen. Walter C. Whit- 
taker commanding : 

Killed. Wounded. Captured. Total. 

96th Illinois 45 130 40 215* 

115th Illinois 24 137 6 167 

40th Ohio 18 94 11 123 

84th Indiana 20 87 11 118 

18th Ohio Battery. 0909 

T9tal 107 457 68 632 

Col. Heber Le Favour's Demi-Brigade, attached to and fighting with 

Gen. Whittaker's Brigade : 

Killed. Wounded. Captured. Total. 

22d Michigan 36 89 247 372 

89th Ohio 23 64 140 227 

Total 59 153 387 599 

Second Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps, Col. John G. Mitchell 

commanding : 

Killed. Wounded. Captured. Total. 

78th Illinois 17 74 55 146 

98th Ohio 7 38 18 63 

113th Ohio 26 90 40 156 

121stOhio 12 73 7 92 

Battery M, 1st Illinois Artillery. .. 2 11 13 

Total 64 286 120 470 

The total casualties were 1,727 out of a command not exceeding 4,000 
men, excepting Col. McCook's Brigade, which was not with Gen. Steed- 
man on the right. 

The detail of men who had been guarding a wagon train 
during the battle numbering about thirty those who had 

* This total of 215 was exclusive of the slightly wounded who remained .on duty 
with the command. 






1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 197 

been left at Rossville sick, a few detached men and several of 
the slightly wounded joined the command on Monday and 
Tuesday, so that there were, including musicians and the 
medical staff, about two hundred and forty men with the Regi- 
ment on the arrival at Moccasin Point. But the thinned ranks 
closed up, and all resolved to do their duty and retain, to the 
last, the bright name won on the field of Chickamauga. 

Military writers vary widely in estimating the results of 
the battle of Chickamauga. The campaign had for its object 
the possession of Chattanooga, and that was still occupied by 
the Federal forces. Nor had the battle itself been a complete 
victory for the Confederates, for their army had about spent 
its strength before the fighting closed, and at the very mo- 
ment Gen. Thomas was drawing back through McFarland's 
Gap they were moving to a defensive position. Even when 
they discovered that the Union forces had fallen back they 
made no attempt to follow, and did not occupy that portion of 
the battle field where the two Brigades of the Reserve Corps 
fought until the forenoon of Monday was well advanced. This 
statement is made upon the testimony of the severely wounded 
of the Regiment left upon the battle field, and also upon the 
fact that at least two James Guppy, of Company D, and 
William Joyce, of Company G remained upon the battle 
field all night and left it some time after sunrise next morn- 
ing, without seeing any organized force of Rebels. In his 
official report of the action Gen. Bragg admitted a loss of 
two-fifths of his army. Gen. Longstreet, who commanded the 
left wing of the Rebel army, reported 1,080 killed, 6,506 
wounded and 270 captured, on Sunday. It is known that ten 
Brigades were directly in front of Whittaker's and Mitchell's 
Brigades and the right Brigade of Brannan's Division, and 
several of them were very full when the engagement opened. 
The Rebel right wing suffered hardly less. The enemy was 
confident of victory, and fought most desperately, but without 
achieving the result promised by their chieftain. The best 
authorities place their total strength at 70,000, while the Fede- 
ral force was but 56,000, and it is doubtless true that the 
entire Federal force on the battle field during Sunday after- 



198 HISTORY OF THE 96TH KEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

noon was not more than one-half the number of the Confede- 
rates. The troops under Gen. Thomas embraced portions of 
every Corps in the army, the emergencies of the battle widely 
separating Brigades and Divisions, and breaking up commands 
to an extent hardly equalled in any other great battle of the 
war. As a victory to the Confederates it was most barren. 
The total loss to the Union arms was reported at 16,336, 
of whom more than two thousand were killed. Fifty-one 
cannon, 15,000 muskets and a large number of wagons and 
ambulances fell into the enemy's hands. 

The campaign had ended, and on the morning of Tuesday, 
September 22, the Union forces occupied an entrenched line 
about the city of Chattanooga, while Missionary Ridge, Look- 
out Mountain* and the intervening valleys swarmed with the 
men in gray, who calmly waited for the Federal forces to be 
starved out of a position that seemed well nigh untenable. 

The following is Colonel Champion's 

OFFICIAL REPORT.* 

On Friday, the 18th instant, the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois Regiment 
left camp at Rossville, with the balance of the Brigade, about three 
o'clock P. M., and went out on a reconnoissance about three miles on the 
Ringgold road. As the head of the column (the NINETY-SIXTH being in 
the advance) arrived at the Little Chickamauga, and was about crossing 
the stream, we were fired upon by the enemy. Pour companies were 
immediately thrown forward and deployed as skirmishers. The NINETY- 
SIXTH then crossed the stream, and formed in line of battle on both sides 
of the road and advanced to meet the enemy. A sharp skirmish ensued, 
lasting about forty-five minutes, during which time we drove the enemy 
about three-fourths of a mile. We lost one killed E. Haggart and 
three wounded. The Regiment lay on their arms during the night, and 
at daylight on the 19th, in obedience to orders, took up a position on the 
ridge, north of McAffee's Church, where it lay in line of battle until 
about noon of the 20th, when orders were given to move, with the balance 
of the Brigade, in a southwest direction, toward Missionary Ridge. 
Going to the assistance of Gen. Thomas, we arrived on the field of battle 
about two o'clock P. M., and immediately went into action. The NINETY- 
SIXTH occupied the extreme right of our front line. We charged the 
enemy's left in the face of a murderous fire of infantry and artillery, at 

* Colonel Champion's first report was of much greater length, and made numerous 
personal mentions, but being warned that it must be brief he condensed it as herewith 
given. The original report is not now obtainable, a fact to be regretted, as it was a very 
full and interesting document. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 199 

short range, and maintained our position until every regiment on our left 
nd in our rear had given way. We then fell back about five or six hun- 
dred yards and re-formed. In the meantime a section of our artillery had 
been planted about six hundred yards to the right of our previous posi- 
tion, and we were ordered up to repel the charge of the enemy. We 
repulsed the enemy after about twenty minutes' desperate fighting. We 
then moved to the left of the battery and again charged the enemy, driv- 
ing him down the ridge running nearly parallel with our first line, nearly 
lialf a mile, until we received an enfilading fire from the 84th Indiana and 
115th Illinois, and were compelled to retire. Our officers seem sanguine 
that with five hundred more men we could have driven the enemy com- 
pletely from the field. We then fell back and re-formed, with the rem- 
nant of the regiment on the right of the first line of the Brigade, and as 
the left of the line successively gave way, we fell back with it until night 
ended the contest. Officers and men behaved with great gallantry, and 
where all did so well discrimination would serve to be invidious. Among 
the most conspicuous in rallying and encouraging the men during the 
entire conflict were Captain Geo. Hicks, Company^ A, and Lieutenant 
Charles W. Earle, Company C. Our loss was heavy in both officers and 
men, including Lieutenant Colonel Isaac L. Clarke, killed on the field. 
He behaved with great gallantry. 

The Regiment went into action on Sunday with four hundred and 
nineteen men, including the field, line and staff officers. 

The losses of the NINETY-SIXTH (exclusive of captures and slightly 
wounded) at last reports stood as follows : 

Killed 42 

Wounded 121 

Missing 11 

Total 174 

The following is an extract from the official report of 
Major- General Gordon Granger, Commander of the Reserve 
Corps : 

* * * The position of my forces on the morning of the twentieth, 
and up to the hour of battle, was as follows : Col. McCook's Brigade 
was moved to a point near the McAfee Church, and was placed in such a 
position as to cover the Ringgold road ; Gen. Whittaker's Brigade, 
together with Col. Mitchell's, retained the same position that they had 
the evening before, and Col. Minty, who reported to me at daylight on 
the morning of the twentieth with a brigade of cavalry, was posted at 
Missionary Mills, which positions completely covered our extreme left 
flank. 

The enemy did not make his appearance in our immediate front 
during the morning, but large clouds of dust could be seen beyond our 
position arising from the Lafayette and Harrison roads, moving in the 



200 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

direction of the sound of battle. At 10.30 A. M. I heard very heavy 
firing, which was momentarily increasing in volume and intensity, on 
our right, in the direction of Gen. Thomas' position. Soon afterward, 
being convinced, judging from the sound of battle, that the enemy were 
pushing him hard, and fearing that he would not be able to resist their 
combined attack, I determined to go to his assistance at once. It was 
now about eleven o'clock A. M. I started with Gen. Whittaker's and 
Col. Mitchell's Brigades, under the immediate command of Gen. Steed- 
man, and left Col. McCook's Brigade at the McAfee Church, in position 
to cover the Ringgold road. Gen. Thomas was at this time engaging the 
enemy at a point between the La Fayette and Dry Valley roads, in the 

vicinity of house, about three and a half miles from our place of 

starting. We had not proceeded more than two miles when the enemy 
made his appearance in the woods to the left of our advancing column, 
about three- fourths of a mile from the road. They opened upon us quite 
briskly with their skirmishers and a section of artillery. I then made a 
short halt to feel them, and becoming convinced that they constituted 
only a party of observation, I again rapidly pushed forward my troops. 
At this juncture I sent back and ordered up Col. McCook's Brigade to 
watch the movements of the enemy at this point, to keep open the La 
Fayette road, and cover the open field on the right of the road, and those 
that intervened between this point and the position held by Gen. Thomas. 
As rapidly as possible, Col. McCook brought up his Brigade, took the 
position assigned to him, and held it until he marched to Rossville from 
the field of battle, at ten o'clock P. M. At six o'clock the enemy opened 
an artillery fire upon Col. McCook, but he soon silenced their battery,, 
which had done little or no damage to his troops. 

At about one o'clock p. M. I reported to Gen. Thomas. His forces 
were at that time stationed upon the brow of and holding a "horse-shoe 
ridge." The enemy were pressing him hard in front, and endeavoring to 
turn both of his flanks. To the right of this position was a ridge running 
east and west, and nearly at right angles therewith. Upon this the 
enemy were just forming. They also had possession of a gorge in the 
same through which they were rapidly moving in large masses, with the 
design of falling upon the right flank and rear of the forces upon the 
"horse-shoe ridge." 

Gen. Thomas had not the troops to oppose this movement of the 
enemy, and in fifteen minutes from the time we appeared on the field, 
had it not been for our fortunate arrival, his forces would have been 
terribly cut up and captured. As rapidly as possible I formed Gen. 
Whittaker's and Col. Mitchell's Brigades, to hurl them against this threat- 
ening force of the enemy which afterward proved to be Gen. Hindman's- 
Division. The gallant Steedman, seizing the colors of a Regiment, led 
his men to the attack. With loud cheers they rushed upon the enemy, 
and after a terrific conflict, lasting but twenty minutes, drove them from 
their ground, and occupied the ridge and gorge. The slaughter of both 
friend and foe was frightful. Gen. Whittaker, while rushing forward at 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 201 

the head of his Brigade, was knocked from his horse by a musket-ball, 
and was, for a short time, rendered unfit for duty; while two of his staff 
officers were killed, and two mortally wounded. Gen. Steedman's horse 
was killed, and he was severely bruised, yet he was able to remain on 
duty during the day. This attack was made by our troops, very few of 
whom had ever been in an action before, against a Division of old 
soldiers who largely outnumbered them. Yet with resolution and energy 
they drove the enemy from this position, occupied it themselves, and 
afterward held the ground they had gained with such terrible losses. 
The victory was dearly won, but to this army it was a priceless one. 

There was now a lull in the battle; it was of short duration, however, 
for within thirty minutes after we had gained possession of the ridge we 
were vigorously attacked by two Divisions of Longstreet's veterans. 
Again the enemy was driven back, and from this time until dark the 
battle between these two opposing' forces raged furiously. 

Our whole line was continually enveloped in smoke and fire. The 
assaults of the enemy were now made with that energy which was 
inspired by the bright prospect of a speedy victory, and by a conscious- 
ness that it was only necessary to carry this position and crush our forces 
to enable them to overthrow our army, and drive it across the Tennessee 
River. Their forces were massed and hurled upon us for the purpose of 
terminating at once this great and bloody battle. But the stout hearts of 
the handful of men who stood before them quailed not. They under- 
stood our perilous position, and held their ground, determined to perish 
rather than yield it. Never had a commander such just cause for con- 
gratulation over the action of his troops. 

The ammunition which was brought in our train to this part of the 
field was divided with Gens. Brannan's and Wood's Divisions early in the 
afternoon, and we soon exhausted the remainder. All that we could 
then procure was taken from the cartridge boxes of our own and the 
enemy's dead and wounded. Even this supply was exhausted before the 
battle was over, and while the enemy was still in our front, hurling fresh 
troops against us. It was almost dark; the enemy had been driven back, 
but we had not a round of ammunition left. All now seemed to be lost 
if he should return to the contest. Anticipating another attack, I ordered 
the command to be given to the men to stand firm, and to use the cold 
steel. After an ominous silence of a few minutes the enemy came rush- 
ing upon us again. With fixed bayonets our troops gallantly charged 
them and drove them back in confusion. Twice more were these charges 
repeated, and the enemy driven back, before darkness brought an end to 
the battle. Night came and the enemy fell back, whipped and discom- 
fitted. At three o'clock p. M. Gen. Garfield, Chief of Staff, appeared 
upon that part of the field where my troops were then hotly engaged 
with the enemy. He remained with me until dark, animating and cheer- 
ing both officers and men. * * * At seven o'clock p. M. I receivt d 
orders from Major-General Thomas to withdraw my troops from the 
position they held at dark, to march back to Rossville, and to cover the 



202 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

rear of the forces falling back upon that place with McCook's Brigade. 
These instructions were promptly carried out, and I went into camp that 
night in accordance therewith. 

My two Brigades numbered 216 commissioned officers and 3,697 men 
when they went into the action. Between the hours of one P. M. and 
dark there were killed, wounded and missing 109 commissioned officers 
and 1,623 men a total of 1,732. These losses are subdivided as follows : 
Killed, 234 ; wounded, 936 ; missing all of whom, with the exception of 
a very small fraction were taken prisoners 461. 

* * * It is with pleasure that I call the attention of the Command- 
ing General to the bravery and gallantry displayed during the battle by 
Brigadier-General James B. Steedman. He fearlessly rushed into the 
midst of danger, and was ever present with his troops, handling them 
with ease and confidence, rallying and encouraging them, and establish- 
ing order and confidence. Gen. Whittaker and Col. Mitchell, command- 
ing Brigades, were also conspicuous for their bravery and activity. They 
managed their troops well, and contributed much to our success during 
the day. Col. Daniel McCook, commanding the Second Brigade, Second 
Division, properly and promptly carried out all orders and instructions 
I gave him. Although his Brigade was not engaged in the battle, it held 
a very important position, protecting the rear of those who were 
fighting.* 

Shortly following the battle, Lieutenant Wm. M. Loughlin, 
then on detached service with the Pioneers, wrote a letter to 
Colonel Champion, congratulating him upon the good name 
won for himself and the Regiment, and received the following 
reply : 

HEADQUARTERS NINETY-SIXTH REGT. ILL. VOL. INF'T., 
' CAMP OPPOSITE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, NEAR 

CHATTANOOGA, October 10, 1863. 
LIEUTENANT WM. M. LOUGHLIN : 

Dear Lieutenant, I received your very welcome and kind letter of 
the 3d instant. So far as it relates to myself personally I am inclined to 
think the encomiums are, perhaps, hastily bestowed. But so far as the 
NINETY-SIXTH Regiment is concerned it is deserving of all praise. Its 
record on the terrible and bloody field of Chickamauga entitles it to rank 
as one of the truest and bravest of any in the field, or that ever defended 
the Old Flag. When it is remembered that the NINETY-SIXTH Regiment 
went into the fight at two o'clock p. M. of Sunday with 415 officers and 
men, and before sundown had lost 42 men, killed on the field, 121 wounded 
and 11 missing, and that of the missing all thus far heard from were either 
killed or wounded, making our loss in killed and wounded 174, and that 
of the wounded so many have since died that our total loss in killed will 

* A long list of officers conspicuous for their bravery is published in Gen. Granger's 
report, included with which appear all of the field officers of the NINETY-SIXTH ; also, 
Captain Hicks, of Company A. 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 203 

be 55 or 60, you may rest assured that the NINETY-SIXTH did not fail to 
do its whole duty. Three several times we charged upon and drove the 
enemy, once laying down on the crest of a hill, and for half an hour 
pouring a heavy fire into the enemy so near his guns that every discharge 
from them, the hot air was literally blown into our faces, holding our 
position until every Regiment in our rear and on our left had given way. 
We occupied the extreme right of our lines, and for some reason or other, 
-when there was any hard work to do we were called upon to do it. 

I have not time to write you at length. Suffice it to say that other 
Regiments were in that fight for two whole days and did not lose, com- 
paratively nor actually, what we did in the two hours fighting. 

My regards to all. 

Very respectfully yours. THOS. E. CHAMPION. 

The following letter, written by Major George Hicks to 
the New York Tribune, is a graphic account of the part borne 
in the battle by Gen. Steedman's Division : 

THE BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. 
GEN. STEEDMAN'S DIVISION THE RECORD IT MADE ON THE TWENTIETH. 

[Prom our Special Correspondent, in the field, opposite Chattanooga, September 

30, 1863.] 

Among the many Divisions of the Army of the Cumberland which 
acquitted themselves nobly in the battles of the nineteenth and twentieth 
the First Division of the Reserve Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. James 
-B. Steedman, deserves some mention. 

On the eighteenth the First Brigade of the Division, commanded by 
Brig. Gen. W. C. Whittaker, was sent from Rossville to the Little Chicka- 
mauga, on the road to Ringgold. Here, after sundown, a brief skirmish 
was had with the enemy, in which neither party suffered any considerable 
Joss. 

On the afternoon of the nineteenth the tide of battle, which had been 
running heavily on our right during the day, reached this Brigade, and 
.an engagement of some fierceness was had with the enemy. The position 
Jheld by the Brigade was on the extreme left of our lines, and the key to 
Rosecrans' line of retreat. The position was much coveted by the enemy, 
and they made repeated assaults to obtain it, but were handsomely 
repulsed, and suffered quite severely, especially from our artillery. 

During the night of the nineteenth the Second Brigade, commanded 
by Col. J. M. Mitchell, of the 113th Ohio, was sent to the aid of Whitta- 
ker ; also, Col. Dan. McCook's Brigade, of the Second Division of the 
Reserve, and the 22d Michigan and 89th Ohio, which two Regiments were 
-attached to Whittaker's command. 

During the forenoon of the twentieth these forces, under the com- 
mand of Gen. Steedman, held their position at that point, in line of bat- 
tle, awaiting a more formidable effort, which it was supposed the enemy 



HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

would make to turn our left. But no assault was made, for the enemy 
had withdrawn his troops from that point to mass them against Thomas. 
While waiting there pursuant to orders from Gen. Rosecrans, the troops 
listened with anxious impatience to the heavy cannonading and sharp 
musketry which resounded along the line on the right, and which, 
approaching nearer and nearer, begat fearful suspicions that it was not 
Rosecrans but the enemy who were driving the opposing forces. Our 
suspense was broken, and our fears confirmed when, about noon, urgent 
orders were received to hasten to the relief of Thomas, who was in great 
danger. 

The troops did not then know in how critical a condition the Army 
of the Cumberland was compelled to meet, unassisted, the flower of three 
large armies which the Rebels had assembled, intending to overwhelm it. 
They did not then know that while they were hastening to turn the tide 
of battle, if possible, portions of Crittenden's and McCook's Corps were 
retiring from the field. But they did know the time had come when 
the Reserve must be tested, and the question determined whether or not 
it were worthy of its honorable position in the great Army of the Cum- 
berland. 

Steedman's Division, followed by McCook's Brigade, was speedily 
put in motion, and the columns moved forward at a rapid pace, some- 
times breaking into a double-quick. The sun shone hot, and the dust in 
the narrow road rose in dense, suffocating clouds ; but all thought of 
heat, and dust, and fatigue was lost in the eager anxiety to relieve our 
brave comrades who were in peril. After thus marching some three 
miles, the head of the column reached a portion of the battle field from 
which our forces had retired, and which the enemy occupied with hi& 
mounted infantry. Formed hastily in line-of-battle, "Whittaker's Brigade 
advanced upon them. They did not await our approach, but gave up 
the ground, retreating in a direction which, had we followed, would have 
diverted us from the main purpose. In passing over this portion of the 
field the dead and dying of both armies were seen in considerable num- 
bers, and some Rebels, separated from their commands, were encountered 
on the right and taken prisoners by the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois. 

Soon a point was reached directly opposite to and about three-fourths 
of a mile distant from Gen. Thomas, and the whole Division turned 
square to the right. Here they formed in close columns by regiments, 
with division front ; and, with a line of skirmishers thrown forward and 
along the left flank, the Division resumed its march. It was through an 
extensive stretch of meadow land, overgrown with weeds almost breast 
high, that our course lay. Heavy batteries of the enemy's artillery were 
posted in the woods on our left, and as we advanced through the meadow 
to form a junction with Thomas they opened upon us a fearful fire. But 
few troops in the Division had ever seen more of war than is encountered 
in brisk skirmishing, and none had ever been under such a fire. But 
Whittaker, with his staff, and Col. Mitchell and staff, rode steadily in front 
of their Brigades, and their troops, although the shells and shot fell fast 



18C3] CHICKAMAUGA. , 205 

and thick around and among them, wavered not in their march, but kept 
right on, leaving many of their comrades dead and wounded on the field. 
At that moment the spectacle, to one not inured to all the pageantry of 
war, was intensely grand. The brigade and regimental colors floated 
gaily in the light of the midday sun. The far-stretching columns of 
troops, with glistening weapons, moved forward with uniform motion, 
presenting, at a distance, the appearance of one compact mass. On the 
left dense masses of sulphurous smoke hung just above the trees, and in 
front and along the lines the shells were bursting in the air, while the solid 
shot, seemingly imbued with infernal energy, plowed the ground, bound- 
ing and plunging over the fields, leaving all over the meadow little clouds 
of dust to mark their course. That march, through that storm of shell 
and shot, was a fit introduction to the scenes upon which that Division 
was about to enter. But little time was occupied in reaching Thomas, 
where Gen. Granger, commanding the Reserve, and Gen. Steedman were 
already holding consultation with him. As we approached, Gen. Whit 
taker, whose Brigade was in the advance, was told that it was absolutely 
necessary that he should drive the enemy from the ridge on our right, 
where heavy forces had been massed, as if for the purpose of flanking 
Thomas. Indeed, the occupation of that ridge was so threatening that 
if the enemy continued to hold it Thomas must have retired. Whittaker 
aid he would take the ridge, and he did it. 

This is the way it was done : The six Regiments of the First Brigade 
were formed in two lines the first comprising the NINETY- SIXTH Illinois, 
Colonel Thomas E. Champion, on the right ; 115th Illinois, Col. J. fl. 
Moore, in the centre, and the 22d Michigan, Col. Le Favour, on the left. 
Then came the order to advance. With a yell the first line bounded for- 
ward on the double-quick. Up and down the little hills and through the 
narrow valleys which intervened they pressed hastily forward until they 
<;ame within short range of the Rebel musketry, which opened upon 
them furiously, while the grape and cannister from the battery on the 
ridge swept cruelly through their ranks. 

Almost exhausted with their hurried march and their long continued 
double-quick, the troops recoiled for a moment under that withering fire, 
but ere the most timid could think of retreating, Colonel Champion 
promptly gave the command to halt, lie down, and fire, which was obeyed 
on the instant. There the line lay for five minutes, responding resolutely 
to the fire of the enemy. That five minutes was a terrible ordeal for ouv 
soldiers, for during that short period their ranks were more than deci- 
mated. Then came the order to fix bayonets and charge upon the enemy. 
The ardor of the men overcame their fatigue, and, tired as they were, 
they resumed the double-quick march as they advanced up the ridge, right 
in the face of a galling fire. If a man fell and many did he was left 
to enrich the soil of Georgia with his life's blood, or, if able, to creep, 
alone and unassisted, to the rear ; for none who were able, to march left 
the ranks, which were kept well closed up, and the line was firmly main 1 
tained. 



206 HISTORY OF THE 96iH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

By this time the 78th Illinois and 121st Ohio, of the Second Brigade 
had come up and were advancing on the right of the first, and a little to 
the rear. Never was support more opportune, for while Whittaker's men 
were charging up the ridge, the enemy received a well-directed fire from 
Col. Mitchell's forces, and, when the crest of the ridge was gained, the 
enemy was discovered retreating in confusion, and their battery had dis- 
appeared. With a loud huzza we followed them, but not far. Fresh 
troops were sent against us, and the fire became as scathing as ever. We 
halted in our advanced position, and held it, while the contending mus- 
ketry, sharp and incessant, almost stunned the ear. The enemy con- 
stantly strengthened his lines, and their fire became hotter and quicker. 
The first line was ordered to fall back. The second line took its place 
and held the position a short time, when the forces were ordered to retire 
to the crest of the ridge from which the enemy had been driven. 

That was the way the fight, on the part of Steedman's Division, 
opened on that day. It had gained a great advantage, but it was not to 
maintain it without a severe struggle. Bragg's Reserves the flower of 
the Potomac Army were sent to dislodge us from our newly gained 
position. But it availed them not. Battery M, 1st Illinois Artillery, was- 
planted far to the right, in a commanding position, and such was the con- 
formation of the ground that, as the Rebel lines advanced to the assault, 
they came under the sure and effective range of our guns. Their battery- 
had been planted in a new position, bearing upon ours, and the continued 
roar of artillery soon was mingled wjth the sound of musketry. 

Our lines were extended to the right so as to reach and support our 
battery, which the Rebels were threatening to attack. A general assault 
was soon made upon our lines, but it proved disastrous to the Rebels. 
Our grape and cannister made great havoc in their ranks, while our 
soldiers took careful aim before pulling the triggers of their Enfield mus- 
kets. The Rebels were badly repulsed, and as they retreated we followed, 
pursuing them a considerable distance. But while this move exposed us 
to the fire of their artillery, they were much less in danger from our bat- 
tery. Other troops, in heavier force, took the place of those whom we 
had driven, and the battle waged fiercely again until we were ordered to 
retire. 

Let the simple truth be told. That retreat, in fact, that whole battle 
in which our Division was engaged, was not conducted with precisely 
the same order observed on a dress parade. I have read of such things ;. 
I have heard of troops acting with arctic coolness and impassability under 
the most galling fire, minutely observing every direction of the tactics. 
It maj r be so, but it was not so with our Division on that day. When the 
men were ordered to advance they kept their line pretty well, but there 
were many whose eagerness carried them ahead of it, and some whose 
timidity kept them in rear of it. In retreating, the men paid but little 
attention to keeping their lines well dressed, and had the appearance of 
a mass rather than a line. Nay more ; some of the troops on the left 
actually broke, and were thrown into some disorder. But it is also- 






1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 207 

true that when the desired point was gained the troops were readily 
halted and rallied with but little difficulty. Once, the 115th Illinois 
which did exceedingly well that day seemed unable to rally ; but Gen. 
Steedman was near at hand, and, seizing the colors from the standard 
bearer, advanced toward the enemy, saying to the men: "Boys, I'll 
carry your flag if you'll defend it!" They rallied around him and did 
noble deeds. There was not one instance of failure to rally the troops, 
though the leaden hail fell so thick and fast among them that nothing but 
their native heroism and the animating courage of their officers could 
have kept them up to the work. Let it not be forgotten that on thai 
afternoon there was but little fighting, except upon Thomas' lines, whose 
right Steedman held, and on the right the fiercest fighting apparently w;is- 
done. There was nothing to prevent the enemy from sending almost 
overwhelming forces against us, and we learn from prisoners, and we 
judge from the incidents and character of the contest, that they were 
fighting Steedman with the odds of at least three to one in their favor. 
Thomas was holding their whole army in check, saving from irretrievable 
disaster the Army of the Cumberland ; and there was nothing akin to a 
holiday parade in the terrible momentum of their assaults to break 
through that bulwark, or the heroic endurance with which our soldiers 
met and repulsed them. More depended upon the individuality of the 
soldier than upon the harmonious movements of regiments and brigades. 
This was felt by our officers and soldiers. There was little maneuvering, 
but there was a great deal of fighting. There was no waiting for com- 
mands in detail no firing of volleys by platoons and companies. When 
we had gained a position in advance, and the line was halted in view of 
the enemy, the men fired at will, each intent only on doing his own duty 
well. After that repulse another assault was made, and with the same 
result. The Rebels advanced, were checked ; we drove and followed 
them until fresh troops were arrayed against us, and we in turn were 
forced to retire. But this time we drove them further, and kept them at 
bay longer than before. One of our regiments, the NINETY-SIXTH 
Illinois, pursued them nearly half a mile, and held that advanced positioa 
until it began to receive an enfilading fire from some of our own troops. 
Thus the contest continued until dark, and all the time we held the 
ridge. Sometimes a regiment or more would fall back beyond the ridge, 
but enough always remained to hold it. At last Gen. Thomas.gave the 
order to retire, but it failed to reach a portion of the NINETY-SIXTH 
Illinois and a remnant of the 121st Ohio, who at the time occupied a 
position on the right, somewhat advanced beyond the line, and there, for 
a considerable time, they continued to fight with unabated vigor. The 
order to retire was at last given to this devoted band, who reluctantly left 
their position. That closed the fighting for the day. We retired from 
the field, not knowing that the enemy was at the same time also retreat- 
ing, baffled and discouraged, in fact, beaten. So the bloody field was left 
unoccupied that night. No, not wholly unoccupied, for James T. Guppy, 
a private of Company D, NINETY-SIXTH Illinois, not knowing that our 



208 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

troops had fallen back, slept upon the battle field, and, next morning, as 
he awoke, found a Rebel surgeon near him looking for Rebel dead, and 
who advised him, if he ever wished to see his Regiment again, to hurry 
on to Chattanooga. The fight was over, and while the Union army was 
sad the Rebels were not exultant. The fight was over, and Steedman's 
Division had made its record. It had done more than that. Said Gen. 
Thomas to Gen. Steedmaa : " You have saved my Corps." 

That was a deed worthy to be proud of, for, from what disaster did 
not that Corps save our army and our cause ! 

But there was little feeling of pride that night among the troops of 
the First Division of the Reserves. We were busy reckoning up our 
losses, and they were appalling 3 The long list of killed and wounded is 
a sad proof of the trial by fire to which, that afternoon, our Division 
was subjected. 

Was ever such havoc made with a staff as that which Gen. Whitta- 
ker's suffered .? There were eight of them, including the General. Three 
were killed, three wounded, one captured or killed, and only one escaped. 
How often has it happened that a Regiment, in one afternoon's engage- 
ment, has endured a greater loss in killed and wounded than the NINETY- 
SIXTH Illinois? It took into battle 415 men. It lost 42 killed and 121 
wounded considerably more than one-third. Of its 23 field, staff and 
line officers engaged, 11 were killed and wounded. It happened that that 
Regiment, during the fight, was always in the front line, and was greatly 
exposed to the enemy's artillery, but, under the cool and able leadership 
of Colonel Champion, it maintained its place, and, with the 121st Ohio, 
was the last to leave the field. 

Whittaker's Brigade of six Regiments lost nearly one thousand men, 
killed and wounded, and Col. Mitchell's Brigade of four Regiments lost 
nearly four hundred. 

There were many noble men who fell on that hard-fought field 
many who deserve special mention. I know but few of the many, yet 
let me speak of two or three. 

Capt. S. B. Espy, Assistant Commissary on Gen. Whittaker's staff, 
was a very lion that day. He was advised to remain with his trains ; but, 
too noble spirited for that, he remained on the field, fearless of danger, 
doing wonders in cheering and rallying the men under the destructive 
fire of the enemy, He was one of Illinois' noble sons, and his loss is 
severely felt. 

And there was a Quarter-Master Sergeant, William S. Bean, who, like 
Capt. Espy, chose the field of danger rather than the post of safety. He 
might have remained in the rear, and the breath of censure couia not 
have touched him; but he was right where the bullets flew thickest and 
fastest, and did the work almost of a General in encouraging the bold and 
animating the timid. He was a genuine hero. 

Capt. Wells, of the 113th Ohio, and Lieut. Col. Kinman, of the 115th 
Illinois, were two of the best men and bravest soldiers who yielded up 
aheir lives on the twentieth on their country's altar. 







JOHN G. SCHAEFER, 



FIRST SERGEANT, COMPANY A. 






fist 



1863] CHICKAMATJGA. 209 

And the scores of privates, corporals and sergeants, men of families, 
who had left all wife, children, home for their country, from a pure 
sense of duty ; young men, who left college walls and the merchant's 
desk, and the plow, and the anvil, all because their country called them, 
to face death on a battle field ; darling sons, the hope and stay of widowed 
mothers, whose early death will break more than one sorrowing heart 
what of these ? Alas ! too many such there are as brave, as heroic, as 
truly martyrs as ever died in the cause of humanity to mention here by 
name. Would you know them ? Read the list of the killed ! 

We will not, in our sorrow for the heroes dead, forget the surviving 
brave. These, thanks to a merciful Providence, are even more numerous 
than the dead. Among the many who did well, Gen. Steedman, and 
Major Smith, and Capt. Moe, of his Staff, merit special praise. And Gen. 
Whittaker and Col. Mitchell, and their Staff Officers, and the Regimental 
Commanders, are most highly honored by the soldiers, for they were 
brave and unflinching leaders. 

Let me refer to two men in humbler positions. One is Lieutenant C. 
W. Earle, commanding the Color Company of the NINETY-SIXTH. He 
stood by the colors throughout the fight, and, though all but two of the 
Color Guard were killed and wounded, and the colors were cut to pieces 
by the bullets and grape and cannister that pierced its folds, he faltered 
not one instant. He is a Second Lieutenant, and but a boy, yet few full- 
grown men, in much more exalted positions, excelled him in cool, cheer- 
ful courage. 

The other is Capt. Clason, of the 121st Ohio, who, with the little 
remnant of the Regiment, fought so stubbornly and unyieldingly to the 
very last, preserving their colors and keeping them afloat proudly in the 
face of the enemy, until the last shot was fired. 

And Col. Le Favour, who led his 22d Michigan on a bayonet charge, 
after they had expended all their ammunition, should not be forgotten 
when the roll of honor is made out. But time and space would fail to 
name every man who flinched not from his duty on that memorable day. 
The 84th Indiana, the 40th, 98th and 89th Ohio, and the 78th Illinois all 
of Steedman's Division has each its list of heroes. 

Enough that, at that critical hour, the Reserve failed not. And it 
could have done more had it been necessary, for Col. McCook's Brigade 
was not engaged. As to our Division, it has confidence in its officers, 
while they are proud of their men ; and it is now ready to test its mettle 
again with a Rebel foe. It is with not a little of pride that I can write 
of such a Division, and its fight on the twentieth, parva pars fui* 

MILES, f 
* Of which I was a small part. t A soldier. 



14 



210 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 



INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE. 

NOTE. To write fully of the experiences of each of the members of the Regiment 
who participated in the battle of Chickamauga is impracticable, if not impossible, for 
it would require a volume to record what would be of interest. And yet, it does not 
seem best to omit these personal incidents altogether, even though but a few can be 
rescued from the oblivion into which the years are rapidly passing them. Naturally 
those which are the best known to the writer are such as occurred in the Company of 
which he was at the time a member, or to individuals whom he knew most intimately or 
has met most frequently in the years that have intervened. These, if any, must be 
recorded. It is hoped that no one will attribute the mentions to favoritism or the omis- 
sions to a want of appreciation on the writer's part of the genuine merit of those whose 
names do not appear. It was simply impossible that any one man should know more 
than a minor portion of the incidents that would be of interest while a battle was raging, 
or that, entertaining no thought at the time of writing of them, he should cherish any 
considerable portion for a score of years, or gather more than a fraction of them in the 
limited time now at the command of THE EDITOR. 

Early in the engagement the horse ridden by Gen. J. B. 
Steedman was shot. As the animal fell the General was 
thrown violently forward, and badly bruised on the head and 
face, the injuries being such as to cause the blood to flow freely 
and give the commander the appearance of having been badly 
wounded. Gen. W. C. Whittaker, commander of the Brigade, 
was struck in the abdomen, his injury being painful but not 
so serious as to take him from the field for more than a half 
hour or so. He thought himself mortally wounded for the 
moment, and his words, which he supposed were his last on 
earth, were of good cheer to his command, and an encour- 
agement to them to do their duty. Rarely has a Staff fared 
so roughly as did that of Gen. Whittaker. Capt. S. B. Espy, 
of the 115th Illinois, Acting Brigade Commissary, and Lieut. 
Mason, of the 84th Indiana, who was serving as an Aide, 
were killed outright. Capt. James Allen, of the 40th Ohio, 
who was in the English army at the siege of Lucknow, and who 
had been decorated by the Queen for bravery, was severely 
wounded through the arm. Lieut. John M. Moore, of the 
84th Indiana, and at the time A. A. A. General of the Bri- 
gade, was shot through the thigh and crippled for life. Lieu- 
tenant G. W. Pepoon, of the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois, then an 
Aide, and who, although continually riding the lines, was the 
only one who escaped unharmed, left the field at dark in 
charge of Lieut. Moore, walking or riding beside him, and 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 211 

helping to hold him on his horse until Rossville was reached. 
Captain Charles E. Rowan, of the NINETY-SIXTH, was captured 
on Saturday afternoon, and Lieut. Jesse Hannon, of the 115th 
Illinois, was captured just before the battle closed on Sunday. 

In the Regiment no mounted officer escaped except the 
Colonel, and he was twice dismounted. The gray horse 
which he took from Illinois, but which had been disposed of 
some time previously, was finally brought and bore him safely 
from the field. Toward the close of the fight, and when the 
line had been reduced to a mere skirmish line, the Colonel 
took a musket and used it for a time, the soldiers loading it 
for him. Always his presence was an inspiration, and his 
position so conspicuous that it was marvelous how he escaped. 
Major J . C. Smith, on staff duty, had many thrilling experi- 
ences and narrow escapes, but rode safely through the storm. 
Sergeant-Major Quinn rode into the battle a horse from which 
a Rebel Major had been shot at Franklin. Early in the fight 
Quinn was wounded, a bullet passing through his shoulder and 
lungs, and so disabling him that when the lines retired he was 
left in the enemy's hands. He was subsequently paroled and 
furloughed home, meeting death by drowning a few months 
later. Quarter-Master Sergeant Bean was shot from his horse 
while bravely riding the lines, and instantly killed. 

The experiences of the Color Guard were almost without 
precedent. Nine men moved forward under the flags in the 
first charge on Sunday afternoon, and a tenth subsequently 
joined them. Only one retired that evening, all of the others 
having been killed or wounded. Color Sergeant M. M. Bruner, 
of Company H, was disabled by a raking shot across his breast 
and through one arm. Corporal David Isbell, of Company 
A, had an arm shattered. Turning to leave the field he was 
again struck and doubtless killed, as he was not afterward 
heard from. Corporal Hamilton Whitney, of Company B, 
escaped until almost night, but was then shot through, and left 
for dead upon the field, but fortunately survived, being paroled 
and sent to Chattanooga ten days later. Acting Color Corpo- 
ral Squire Inman, of Company C, was badly wounded in the 
leg, and left on the field, where he died within a week. Cor- 



212 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

poral William F. De Graff, of Company E, was severely 
wounded in the leg, but survived, only to be mortally wounded 
in a subsequent battle. Corporal Walton Heed, of Company 
F, was killed. Corporal John A. Robison, of Company F, 
lost his good right arm. Corporal J. W. Swanbrough, of 
Company G, carried the regimental flag into the fight, and 
bore both flags from the field, being uninjured, except from 
the bruises occasioned by the falling branch of a tree, although 
the flags were literally riddled and the flag-staffs splintered in 
his hands. Corporal Ward L. Morton, of Company H, who 
was sent to act with the Color Guard after the disabling of Ser- 
geant Bruner, was killed. Acting Color Corporal Thomas 
A. Conlee, of Company K, was wounded in the shoulder. It 
must ever remain a mystery how Corporal Swanbrough escaped 
that day. In every advance the colors waved at the very front, 
and whenever the line became in any way scattered the flag was 
the rallying point. Once, after the line had been forced back- 
ward, there seemed a disposition not to halt just where 
ordered, but to form a line a little to the rear. ''John," said 
the Colonel, addressing Corporal Swanbrough, "can you 
carry the colors a little farther up the ridge ? " and the reso- 
lute color bearer started forward, while the men quickly gath- 
ered around him and formed the line even farther to the front 
than had first been planned. His example, and the fact that 
the line was moving, gave them courage, and they made ready 
response. 

Lieutenant Vincent, of Company A, was severely wounded 
in the leg while using a musket. Josephus Metcalf, of Com- 
pany A ; Eli Thayer, of Company D, and George W. Dimick, 
of Company E, were each struck on the head and stunned, 
regaining consciousness only to find themselves prisoners. 
Each endured a long confinement, and the two last named 
died without ever rejoining the Regiment. 

In Company B, Charles Fox fell while calling encourag- 
ingly to his comrades to go forward. Near him fell Thomas 
Potter and William Kimball all fatally shot in the first 
charge. Emery Dart was among the bravest, but suddenly 
disappeared, and was doubtless killed outright, although no 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 213 

one noticed him as he fell. John H. Cruver had an arm shat- 
tered at the elbow early in the afternoon, which disabled him 
for farther service. W. W. Tower was severely wounded in 
the leg, and long disabled, but returned to receive a fatal 
wound a few months later. Sergeant Bangs tarried too long 
when the Regiment fell back, and, in the momentary confu- 
sion, missed his command and found himself with the 22d 
Michigan. Taking part with them in a charge, he became a 
prisoner with a large portion of that regiment. Sergeant 
Whitmore was badly wounded in the shoulder, but returned 
in a few months, and was subsequently killed. 

Lieutenant Earle, commanding Company 0, was wounded 
in the arm, but did not leave his command. On Tuesday morn- 
ing, before the surrender of the skirmish line on Missionary 
Ridge, he was again hit, this time on the wrist, but not dis- 
abled. John Fidler, of Company C, was wounded in the hand or 
arm, and turning to leave the line was again hit and instantly 
killed. Sergeant Murray was struck in the shoulder near 
the spine, and so badly paralyzed as to render him entirely 
helpless. He lay between the lines all through the afternoon, 
and in this trying position was subsequently twice wounded. 
His great fear was that, in his helpless condition, he would 
be burned to death from the tires catching in the woods, and 
at his earnest request a Rebel soldier scraped away the leaves 
and drew him upon the bare ground. Corporal Lewis H. 
Bryant was at one time of the opinion that the lines were 
retreating too far, and thrusting the butt end of his musket 
against the ground, began reloading, muttering between his 
teeth that he wasn't going back another step. In a few mo- 
ments a bullet passed through both his legs, and he was com- 
pelled to go to the rear. Henry P. Barnum was terribly shot 
through the face, and for a few moments was inside the Rebel 
lines. He was bleeding profuseiy, and terribly thirsty, when 
a soldier in gray, at his request, gave him a drink from a can- 
teen. Fearing that he would bleed to death, and remember- 
ing that some one had told him that if ever severely wounded 
he must cord the injured member, he tried to devise some 
way by which he might tie a handkerchief or canteen strap 



214 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

about his neck and stop the hemorrhage, but before his experi- 
ment had proceeded far the Union lines again advanced, and 
he was sent to the rear, but received very little attention for 
some days. Leonard S. Doolittle was very severely wounded 
through the leg, below the knee, in the last advance move- 
ment. George Farnsworth, of Company G, assisted him to 
his feet and fairly carried him until he had fainted from pain 
and loss of blood. The Rebels were close upon them, and 
reluctantly the brave soldier laid down his unconscious bur- 
den. Doolittle was a prisoner for about ten days. William 
Bonner was shot through the body in the first charge, and 
subsequently carried a short distance to the rear, where he 
doubtless died. Corporal Lewin had a long, raking shot on 
the shoulder and back, but rejoined the Regiment next day, 
and after the capture on Missionary Ridge was the sole rep- 
resentative of the Company with the command. 

In Company D, Sergeant McKey was instantly killed. Ser- 
geant Quigley, who had previously served for many years in 
the Regular Army, was fatally shot", doubtless dying in a 
few hours. Elias Hosiey was shot through the body. That 
night some of his comrades assisted him to the rear a long 
distance, and until he begged them to desist, saying that he 
could not endure the pain. Making him as comfortable as 
they could, they left him, with other wounded, at a house, 
where he died a few hours later. Edmund Stevens, who had 
been hurt by the shell that disabled Lieutenant Clarkson, 
fought on until shot through the body. He was left for dead 
upon the field, but subsequently revived ; was exchanged in a 
few days, and eventually recovered, although never again 
able to take his place in the field. Corporal Orson V. Young, 
whose heel was severely bruised by the fragment of a shell, 
limped around all of the afternoon, fighting bravely to the 
last, although his injury was such that he would have been 
fully justified in going to the rear. Lieutenant Clarkson, 
whose face and jaw had been terribly cut, and whose wound 
was thought at the time to be fatal, was carried to the ridge 
and placed in an ambulance. He recovered in time, but bore 
serious scars to the day of his death. John C. Thompson's 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 215 

injury was not of the regulation pattern, he having his knee- 
cap knocked out of position by a fall from a fence which the 
command was crossing while on the way to the right. After 
Captain Blodgett was obliged to leave the field, First Ser- 
geant Collier took command of the Company. Soon he was 
shot through the thigh, and the command devolved upon 
Sergeant Linklater. 

In Company E, a large proportion of the casualties resulted 
from a single charge of grape shot, which cut out almost 
every man for several files near the centre. No less than 
twelve were killed or mortally wounded during the battle, 
the largest number of fatalities in any one Company. Several 
of those most severely injured fell into the enemy's hands. 
Charles F. Hayth, whose wound was not serious, remained 
at a house near the battle-field to care for the wounded, and 
was taken prisoner the next day, enduring a long confinement. 
Lieutenant Funk was struck in the face, his jaw being frac- 
tured, and the missile passing downward into his shoulder. 
He was disabled for further field service. 

In Company F, Lieutenant Simms, who had served safely 
through the Mexican War, was desperately wounded in the 
hip, and died at Nashville shortly afterward. William Bu- 
chanan and William S. Nash bore him from the field and 
literally carried him to Rossville, part of the time supporting 
him between them, and part of the time taking him singly on 
their backs. James Pimley, who had but just returned from 
imprisonment, having been captured at Franklin, was one 
of the many killed outright. Thomas Shannon captured a 
.Rebel Major, and was proudly conducting him to the rear, 
when an officer from some other command sought to relieve 
him of his charge and ordered him to the front. Shannon 
objected, and triumphantly walked away, with the remark 
that there were plenty more at the front, and suggested that if 
the officer wanted any he should go up where the fighting was 
and get one. 

In Company G, the first man hit was William Joyce, a 
musket ball cutting his foot. In a very tempest of bullets he 
deliberately removed his shoe, examined the wound, and 



216 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

then, as if disgusted with himself at having spent so much 
time with so trivial a matter, replaced the shoe and resumed 
firing. A moment later Daniel Benson and Thomas Davis 
fell, each shot in such a way as to be disabled. Both were 
assisted to the rear for quite a distance, but not so far but that 
they were captured next day, and held by the enemy about 
ten days. Davis died soon after being paroled. William H. 
Whaples was killed early in the fight. William H. Wheeler 
was also among those hit in the first charge. It was rumored 
ten days later that he was alive and had been paroled, but 
the report could not be verified, and it is probable that he was 
killed outright or died in a few hours. Corporal Ilickox was 
twice quite severely wounded in the second charge, and Daniel 
Gail, received a bullet wound in the leg. George Butler 
was disabled near the close of the fight, and has never fully 
recovered. First Sergeant Aaron Scott lost a finger during 
the afternoon, his musket being shattered by the same bullet. 
He was in a kneeling posture, and in the act of capping the 
piece. Turning to Lieutenant Blowney, he coolly remarked 
that he could be of no farther service, bade him good-by and 
left the field. Corporal Walter Drew, although quite seri- 
ously hurt, refused to leave the field, and fought bravely to 
the last. John Corbin, when shot through the leg, insisted 
that he should stay and continue to fight ; but the persuasions 
of his comrades and the loss of blood soon induced him to 
accept the opportunity offered of riding back on a caisson. 
Sergeant Shepard was severely injured in the thigh, and got 
back to the rear with great difficulty, being disabled for many 
months. 

In Company H the losses, exclusive of the captures of 
the following Tuesday morning, were very severe. Lieu- 
tenant Barnes was hit early in the engagement, receiving a 
mortal wound. Lieutenant Yates was one of the most con- 
spicuous line officers in the Regiment, doing gallant service. 
Being captured two days later, he endured a long imprison- 
ment, returning to the Regiment in the spring of 1865. First 
Sergeant Francisco was three times hit, the first bullet clip- 
ping his leg, the second his side, and the third his ankle. 



18C3] CHICKAMAUGA. 217 

When the second bullet struck him he fell to the ground, and 
supposed himself mortally wounded. Springing up, he started 
to run, but quickly fell for want of breath ; at the same time 
he thought he could feel the blood running from his side 
upon his hand. Turning to look, as he got breath again, he 
discovered that it was not blood, but the water from his can- 
teen that was running out through a pair of holes, and that 
the bullet had struck his waist-belt but had not penetrated hi& 
side, although for a time he was badly " winded." However, 
he resumed his place, and fought on until hit a third time, 
when he received a wound that disabled him for further ser- 
vice. Corporal Simons was kneeling when shot, being just 
in the act of firing. Turning to a comrade he said, as cheer- 
fully as it is possible to conceive, " 'Tis sweet to die for one's 
country," and closed his eyes. The two Patrick Farrells did 
not forget their native politeness, but each saluted their com- 
mander when hit, and asked permission to retire. 

Company I did excellent service, notwithstanding the de- 
moralization of its Captain, and had five men killed or mor- 
tally wounded. Among the most severely wounded who 
survived was James Hutchinsou, who at the time was believed 
to be fatally hurt. Sergeant Thomas J. Smith was sent to 
the rear with Colonel Clarke after the latter was wounded, 
remaining with him until his death, which occurred Tuesday 
afternoon while crossing the Tennessee River in an ambu- 
lance. He escorted the body to Bridgeport, and attended 
its shipment to friends at the North. 

In Company K, Sergeant Elston found himself confronted 
by a soldier in gray, near the close of the fight. They were 
but a few yards apart, but Elston demanded the surrender of 
his opponent with an air of authority that the .Rebel was com- 
pelled to recognize. It happened that Elston's musket was 
empty at the time, but as the man who stood in front of it 
was not aware of that fact, it was just as well. A moment 
later the plucky Sergeant was badly wounded, and demanded 
of his prisoner assistance to the rear, which was readily given 
until a wounded artillery horse came along, when the Ser- 



218 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

geant turned his prisoner over to some retreating troops, and 
rode back to camp. 

Following the battle Jacob Elberth, of Company F, who 
had been detailed at the camp and taken no part in the 
engagement, on learning of some of the strange and terrible 
experiences of his comrades, uttered a cry of surprise and 
fell to the ground, dying instantly, of heart disease it was 
supposed. 

Often the gun barrels became so hot that they could hardly 
be handled, and so foul that it was difficult to load them. 
There were a dozen instances at least in which muskets 
were shattered in the hands of the soldiers. Henry C. Payne, 
of Company C, had two guns ruined and used his third. 
Two days later he was captured, and subsequently died in 
prison. "W. V. Trout, of Company B, was also among those 
who had a gun shattered. Trout assisted in carrying Colonel 
Clarke to the rear a short distance, and then resumed his 
place in the ranks. 

There was no organized force of stretcher-bearers in the 
Reserve Corps, and as a consequence those who were disabled 
by wounds had to be left where they fell, unless helped from 
the field by comrades. As a consequence the ranks were 
at times somewhat thinned by the going to the rear of those 
who assisted their friends to a place of safety, although in 
some Companies not a man left from first to last, those who 
fell at the extreme advanced positions passing into the hands 
of the enemy. The bodies of all of those of the Regiment 
killed on Sunday were left upon the battle field unburied. 
But, still worse, more than thirty of the severely wounded 
were also left to endure the sufferings from their wounds, 
with the attendant thirst, and from the chilly night air. It 
was impossible to remove them, as nearly all had fallen in the 
very front of the battle, when the situation was so desperate 
that men could not be spared, and where the positions taken 
could not be maintained until the injured could be carried to 
the rear. . To them the night seemed like an age, and the sur- 
vivors still recall it as a hideous nightmare. Most of those 
who were able to travel at all made their way to Rossville. 






1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 219 

The few ambulances at hand were crowded to their utmost, 
but could accommodate only a mere fraction of the severely 
wounded. Wounded horses were compelled to carry one or 
two persons, as their strength would permit. A few ammu- 
nition wagons were halted and filled with human wrecks. 
Artillery caissons were taken possession of by wounded men. 
Many walked, fatigued and faint, back through the weary 
miles. Some, exhausted from the terrible strain, halted at a 
wayside house to rest, and, becoming too sore to resume the 
march, were made prisoners next day. There were many 
touching scenes along the way, and no one can fittingly de- 
scribe the devotion manifested by comrades for their wounded 
friends. In some instances men were carried in blankets for 
miles ; in other cases they were borne upon the back, or two 
comrades would support a third between them, toiling on 
wearily through the hours, and along the road that was 
at once so strange and so long. None had ever been over the 
road before, and they only knew in a half-certain way that it 
led to Rossville and rest. And many of these were not 
strong, robust men, but boys, tired, hungry, campaign-worn, 
slender in stature, though mighty in courage and devotion to 
duty. They had been lions while the battle lasted, but now 
that the night had come and the fighting was over, tenderly 
hunted up their fallen comrades and, at fearful cost of nerve 
and strength, aided them back along the road to safety. A 
score of men lost their haversacks or canteens, bullets having 
cut the straps that held them ; others had bullet holes through 
their accoutrements, or found their cartridge boxes shattered, 
while a majority could point to bullet holes through their hats 
or clothing. Nearly every one had shared the narrow escapes 
of the battle, and the killed and wounded by no means em- 
braced all of the real heroes of that eventful day. 

Of the 419 who went into the fight more than 130 never 
again marched with the Regiment ; for, in addition to those 
killed, many were permanently disabled, or died in Rebel 
prisons. Toward night on Sunday the flag of an Alabama 
Regiment was passed over by the troops of the Brigade, and 
it is claimed that its capture is entirely due to the NINETY- 



220 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

SIXTH, but so eager were the soldiers in pursuing the Rebels 
that it was not cared for at once, and fell into the hands of 
other troops or of some officer who never officially accounted 
for it. The work of the Surgeons was most trying. Some- 
times a half hundred wounded would be clustered about them, 
each needing attention. There were but few ambulances, and 
when the battle closed and the troops fell back to Rossville, 
some of the severely wounded could not be carried. Warned 
by the officers to do so, Surgeons Pearce and Evans went back 
to Rossville, where they resumed their" work, spending most 
of the long night in extracting bullets and binding up the 
lacerations of the scores of victims of their own and other 
.Regiments. Next day they went to Chattanooga and thence 
across the river. Their work was most trying, but patiently 
and tenderly, for days together, they plied their humane task, 
sleeping little until all were made as comfortable as the unt%- 
ward circumstances would permit. 

The experience of the wounded after the battle was 
often trying. During Monday the buildings in Chattanooga 
were crowded to their utmost capacity, but word was sent 
that all who could walk or ride should be taken to the north 
side of the river, and by Tuesday only a few of the seriously 
wounded remained. On Monday night hundreds of the 
maimed lay in the grove just above the river bank without 
other shelter than their blankets. Next morning an ambu- 
lance train was ordered to Bridgeport, and a wagon train fol- 
lowed, each vehicle being loaded with wounded. But many 
were still left. Some made their way back on foot to the 
hospital tents, stationed from one to three miles in the rear, 
and a day or two later those thought to be able to make the 
trip were taken by teams to the railroad. The first teams 
were able to go by the river road, a distance of about thirty 
miles, but within a few hours the Rebels held the opposite 
bank, and made this route impracticable. As a consequence, 
the trains were obliged to make a circuitous route, traveling 
more than sixty miles. The road was exceedingly rough, and 
the trip usually occupied the greater part of three days, two 
nights being spent in camp. Thousands of wounded soldiers- 



1863] CHICK AMAUGA. 221 

were jolted over this long, stony road, and at nightfall, when 
a, halt was made, or next morning, before the train started, 
shallow graves were dug in which to bury those who had died 
#n route. From Bridgeport rude hospital cars were provided, 
most of the wounded being sent to Nashville, but a few to 
points farther north. The sufferings on the long trip and in 
the hospitals were severe, but, as a rule, they were borne with 
a, cheerful fortitude, as remarkable as had been the bravery of 
the heroes in the battle. 

The Regiment had fought its first and greatest battle. In 
the supreme moment it had been found able and willing to 
meet the demands made upon it. Its long casualty list could 
be pointed to as an evidence of its valor. Its survivors were 
battle-tried, and worthy of the high name accorded the com- 
mand. It was now ready for the hard service still before it, 
and resolutely it again set its face to the enemy, resolved to 
defend as gallantly, in the future battles, its tattered battle 
flag and the cause of which that flag was the emblem, as it 
had at CHICKAMAUGA. 



222 HISTORY OF THE 96TH KEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 



CHAPTER XI. 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF CHICKAMAUGA. BY GEO. HICKS, CAPTAIN 
COMPANY A, NINETY-SIXTH ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. EXTRACTS FBOM 
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED IN KINGSTON, JAMAICA, WEST INDIES. 

Prefatory Note to the Editor. 

KINGSTON, ISLAND OF JAMAICA, January 12, 1886. 
DEAR COMRADE : 

It would give me great pleasure to prepare, for the forthcoming History of our 
Regiment, as requested, a full and complete account of the important part the Regiment 
bore in the great battle of Chickamauga ; but it will be quite impracticable to do so in a 
manner at all adequate and satisfactory. I should need to refer to many general and 
special reports, to which I have not access, and, especially, I should wish to go over the 
incidents of the engagement with representatives of each Company, which is utterly 
out of the question. 

Instead, therefore, of attempting what, at the best, would be very defective, I beg 
to send you, as a contribution, simply, toward an account of the action of our Regiment 
in that battle, some extracts (revised) from an address delivered here twelve years ago, 
in which I gave my personal recollections of Chickamauga. 

You will notice how much is omitted that should enter into a full statement of 
what was done and what was suffered by the Regiment in that battle ; for I have made 
no attempt to describe in detail what was meritorious and worthy of special note in each 
Company. Of necessity, my recollections deal specially with the soldiers of the Com- 
pany of which I was then the commander ; and you and all of our comrades will under- 
stand that when I make particular mention of any of these it is because they com& 
vividly within the scope of my recollections, and not because I wish them to be con- 
sidered more eminently worthy of mention than soldiers in other Companies. In fact,, 
in all that is commendable they are to be regarded as types of forth to be found in every 
Company. 

I have endeavored to be so faithful in what I have set forth that I trust those who 
read my recollections of the battle will feel that there is no occasion to make any abate- 
ment from such words of praise as my heart and judgment have prompted me to utter. 

I am, yours sincerely, GEO. HICKS. 

C. A. PARTRIDGE, Esq., Waukegan, 111. 

PRELIMINARY. 

******* 

SHALL I tell you what sort of men were the Volunteers 
who enlisted with me ? Some were farmers, owning and cul- 
tivating their own homesteads ; many were stalwart sons of 
farmers ; a number were clerks in public offices and in mer- 
cantile houses ; others were mechanics ; several were school 
teachers ; some were studying for a profession ; a few were 
day laborers. Some were heads of families, leaving wife and 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 223 

children at home ; but the majority were young men from 
eighteen to twenty-five years of age. Nearly all were men of 
intelligence and character. Doubtless some, partaking of the 
general excitement and moved by the popular impulse, enlisted 
without seriously counting the cost ; but by far the greater 
number volunteered from an imperative sense of duty to their 
country and to the cause of humanity, both of which they felt 
to be imperiled. What noble hearts they were ! How worthy 
of highest eulogium ! 

Of the many, let fare speak especially of two, with whom I 
had become intimately acquainted prior to the war. These 
young men were bosom friends, heart companions much 
alike in their outward circumstances of life, as well as in their 
principles, sympathies and tastes, and closely associated in 
Christian labors. Both were educated, intelligent, cultured ; 
and their presence would have graced any drawing-room in 
the land. Each was the eldest son in a large family, with 
brothers and sisters looking up to him for guidance, and each 
was the stay and staff of a widowed mother. It was not 
without serious thought, and many an anxious prayer, and the 
most solemn conviction of duty, that those widowed mothers 
could give up their first-born, and those young men could 
break away from such home ties, and abandon the bright 
prospects of life opening before them, to venture all upon the 
field of battle. The Governor of the State and the President 
of the Republic were pleased, in the course of the war, to 
honor me with military rank ; but the highest honor I received 
was when such mothers entrusted their sons to my charge and 
such sons chose me to be their Captain in the war. One of 
these young men was made my First Sergeant* and the other 

was chosen to be Quarter-Master Sergeant of the Regiment, f 

******* 

Ten such Companies as mine constituted a Regiment, ours 
being the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois Infantry. As a rule, from 
three to six Regiments constituted a Brigade, three Brigades 
a Division, three Divisions a Corps, and three Corps an Army. 
The Army of the Cumberland, in addition to its three Corps,. 

*John G. Schaefer. t William S. Bean. 



HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

comprised a Reserve Corps .of three Divisions, and to this 
Heserve Corps our Regiment was attached. 

For nearly a year we were soldiers without seeing a battle. 
"We had enough of marching over the hard pike roads of Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee ; we had plenty of drilling ; plenty of 
rough campaigning ; now and then a little skirmishing ; but 
no hard fighting. Our turn came at last, and after that it 
3ame often and continuously. Our turn came at the battle of 
Chickamauga a battle which the soldiers of the NINETY-SIXTH 
Illinois will remember as long as they remember anything. 

If we judge by the number of killed and wounded, the 
battle of Chickamauga was the severest battle in the West, 
and, next to Gettysburg, the severest battle of the war. For 
us of the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois it was, beyond all comparison, 
our great battle. 

I shall try to tell you something about that battle to 
describe that which is well-nigh indescribable. What I saw 
of the great battle was confined to a limited part, for the bat- 
tle was fought in the woods, and no one actively engaged with 
his Company or Regiment could see much beyond his own 
Regiment or Brigade. For one, during the battle, I found I 
had very little leisure for any observation beyond the range 
of my own immediate duties. Therefore, if I attempt to 
describe what I saw of the battle, I must speak chiefly of my 
own Company and Regiment ; and if I venture to speak of a 
^soldier's feelings in entering into and going through a battle, 
I must of course rely chiefly upon recollections of my own 
personal experiences. So I must beg that, for the time being, 
you will kindly allow me to forget that I am a stranger in a 
strange land, and permit me to speak as freely and with as 
little reserve as if I were addressing a private circle of indul- 
gent and intimate friends. 

MARCHING TO THE FRONT. 

Gen. Bragg, with his Confederate Army, had retreated 
from Tennessee into Georgia, where he occupied the strong- 
hold of Chattanooga. Gen. Rosecrans, commanding the Army 
of the Cumberland, followed with three Corps under Gens. 







WILLIAM F. TAYLOR. 



CAPTAIN COMPANY E 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 225 

Thomas, McCook and Crittenden, while the Regiments of 
the Reserve were stationed at various distances in the rear, 
guarding railway lines. By dividing his forces and executing a 
flank movement, threatening the enemy's communications, 
Rosecrans compelled Bragg to retreat from Chattanooga. 
While the enemy was retreating, followed by Rosecrans, rein- 
forcements from the East and South were hurried forward to 
strengthen Bragg, who soon was able to turn at bay and 
assume the offensive. Rosecrans, falling back toward Chatta- 
nooga, endeavored to bring together again the three Corps, 
which were widely separated, and urgent orders were sent to 
the Reserve to hasten to the front. 

As soon as the orders were known we were all on the 
alert, and speedily put ourselves in marching order. We 
made forced marches over the Cumberland mountains and 
down into the Tennessee Valley. I well remember how weary 
at one time were the soldiers, plodding on from early dawn 
until long after dusk ; then, after a hurriedly prepared supper, 
lying down upon the ground to snatch two or three hours of 
sleep ; then, aroused by the bugle, cheerfully resuming the 
march, push^iffsteadily on through the hours of the night and 
into the new cray. So we hastened to the front, eager to bear 
our part in the conflict and share in the anticipated victory. 
SkirJfifckia^ along the slope of Lookout Mountain, leaving 
Chattanooga a little to one side, we passed on a few miles 
further to Rossville, at the foot of Mission Ridge, about mid- 
way between Chattanooga and Chickamauga Creek. We had 
reached an important point, for Rossville Gap was one of the 
two available avenues of approach to Chattanooga from our 
front. Here we halted and rested for a day or two, while the 
three Corps to the front were endeavoring to form a junction 
and establish a line of battle on the bank of Chickamauga 
Creek, where they might withstand the confident onslaught of 
Bragg's largely reinforced army. 

On Friday, the 18th of September, 1863, the distant can- 
nonading indicated that the expected battle had begun. Dur- 
ing the day our Regiment was ordered to prepare for action ; 
the sick and those disabled by the long march were left at 

15 



226 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Rossville, with the tents and luggage ; our musicians also left 
drums and fifes, that they might be free to assist the wounded ; 
the soldiers took three days' rations in their haversacks, and 
forty rounds of ammunition in their cartridge boxes, and 
marched out to feel for the enemy. My Company being on 
picket duty, and not relieved until next day, did not partici- 
pate in this movement. The Regiment encountered a small 
force of the enemy's cavalry, and suffered some loss in the 
brief skirmish which took place. The Regiment lay in close 
proximity to the enemy that night. 

On Saturday my Company rejoined the Regiment. The 
Brigade was deployed in line-of-battle, taking up a defensive 
position to repel any assault that might be made with a view 
to obtain possession of Rossville Gap. Some of the Regi- 
ments had, for a brief time, a sharp encounter with a force of 
the enemy, but the attack was successfully repulsed, and was 
not repeated. During the day we were under the spasmodic 
fire of artillery, which inflicted no loss upon us. We remained 
in line of-battle, prepared to resist any attack, and the hours 
of Saturday wore on, uneventful to the Regiment ; but the 
distant cannonading, heavy and continuous throughout the 
day, gave evidence that the battle elsewhere was severe. 

WAITING FOR ORDERS. 

We lay upon our arms through the chilly hours of that 
night, out under the open sky of heaven, without tent or 
blanket. Long before sunrise the men were ordered to be in 
readiness to form line-of-battle at a moment's notice. 

Our breakfast was speedily despatched. Every soldier 
had his oyster can, or tin can of some sort, in which he 
roughly pulverized his coffee grains with the butt end of his 
bayonet ; then filling the can with water, and holding it upon 
a stick over the bivouac fire, a good draught of coffee was 
soon ready for him. A piece of bacon, fastened upon a forked 
stick, held over the fire, was broiled in a few minutes, the 
drippings being carefully caught upon his hard biscuit. Then, 
with his biscuit and bacon and cofiee he made as good a 
breakfast as heart of soldier could wish. Next, the Entield 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 227 

muskets were carefully cleaned, extra ammunition was dealt 
out, and we formed line-of-battle and rested and waited. 

While we waited we began to hear the distant rumbling of 
artillery. A little later the cannonading had greatly increased 
in violence was multiplied at many points grew more con- 
tinuous. Evidently a great battle was in progress, and as the 
morning hours drew on we made sure that we should have a 
part in it ; for the tide of battle was surging toward us, the 
noise of battle was becoming louder, the sound of the artil- 
lery was drawing nearer. But the battle was not in our 
immediate front. We shifted our position now and again, 
sometimes moving a little distance forward in line-of-battle, 
sometimes moving in column to the right, and again to the 
left, but most of the time simply resting and waiting until it 
should become known where we were needed. 

Perhaps I should tell you that when a Regiment is formed 
in line-of-battle the men are in two ranks. Those of the 
front rank stand side by side, close enough to touch each 
other's elbows. The men in the rear rank form a similar line, 
standing just behind the men of the front rank. In the rear 
of the second rank are the Sergeants and the Officers. In the 
centre of the front rank are the Colors and the Color Guard 
a guard composed of a chosen Corporal from each Company of 
the Regiment. The skirmish line consists of one rank of 
men, not close together, but from five to ten feet apart. When 
moving by the front, in line-of-battle, the soldiers form a con- 
tinuous line, marching side by side in the two ranks. In 
moving by the right flank, or the left flank, they march in 
column, following one another, four abreast. 

The morning was wearing slowly away, and, as the can- 
nonading grew continuously fiercer and more vehement, the 
nerves were drawn to a sharper tension and the pulse began 
to throb with a quicker beat, and we still rested and waited 
for orders. 

In was a beautiful, cloudless Sabbath day, one of the 
famous battle Sundays of the war. While we rested, the 
Sabbath hours were variously employed. The two sergeants 
I have mentioned had been accustomed to meet on Sunday 



228 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

for united study of the Bible, and I noticed that on this day 
they were seated together on a fallen tree, with their muskets 
beside them, reading from the New Testament, as was their 
wont. One the Quarter-Master Sergeant might have re- 
mained idle and safe in the rear with the wagon train ; but he 
enlisted to be a soldier, and his heart would not permit him 
to shrink from the toil and danger which fell to the lot of his 
comrades. So he never gave up his musket, and often man- 
aged to find time from his duties to take part in the Company 
drill ; and now he was with us, to share in the duties and the 
dangers of the battle-field. Like them, many other soldiers 
also had their Testaments open, and were reading in them, 
reclining upon the ground, waiting for orders to enter into the 
battle. Others were conversing in low tones, and a few bois- 
terously ; but the tone of bravado was rare, and was not long 
maintained. Others simply waited listened and waited in 
silent expectation. There was an intense earnestness, a sober- 
ness, a thoughtfulness expressed on the countenances of the 
men which I had not seen before. I noticed that some, who 
had been accustomed to relieve the tedium of camp life with 
games at cards, had strewn their cards upon the ground, pre- 
ferring not to take them into battle. 

I spoke of the impending battle to our Lieutenant Colonel 
Clarke. I remember that some one has said : "I am afraid 
of nothing but fear," and I believe it was some such feeling 
as that which I expressed to him. I said to him that I was 
extremely solicitous that my Company and myself should 
acquit ourselves well ; that, while I felt great pride in their 
acquirements in drill and their discipline and soldierly bear- 
ing, all this would count for nothing, would be absolutely 
worthless, if now, at the supreme moment, in the hour and 
the test of battle, we should fail. Colonel Clarke said : "I 
have no fear for our men. They will do their duty, every 
man of them. And I have no fear for myself. I shall go 
into this fight, and go through it, and come out of it all right." 
Alas ! that for himself, and for so many, the result was other- 
wise. I spoke to my men, wishing to gauge their temper. 
As the ominous boom ! boom ! boom ! of scores and hundreds 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 229 

of cannon near and far distant burst continuously upon the 
ear, I said : " Well, boys, that sounds as if there would be 
some work for us to do to-day." "Yes, Captain." "Well, 
I hope Company A will do well whatever it has to do." 
*' We'll try, Captain." " One thing, boys we must all try to 
keep together." "We'll stick by you, Captain, as long as 
you stick by us. " 

Still, we waited ; and the sun got up high in the heavens 
and poured down its rays straight and hot upon our heads, 
and the pealing thunder of the guns was incessant. 

The battle was going against us. As we afterward learned, 
the day was already lost and the army was in a very perilous 
situation. Gen. Rosecrans had left the field and was making 
his way into Chattanooga, had left the field, and the Reserves 
had received no orders. Portions of Crittenden's Corps were 
retiring from the field. McCook's Corps had been driven 
back and was in retreat, and, excepting Sheridan's Division, 
was retreating in much confusion and disorder. Thomas only 
was left to bear the whole brunt of the battle and prevent 
what was already defeat from becoming irretrievable disaster. 

We waited for orders, but no orders came. Staff officers 
and orderlies had been sent during the forenoon to find Rose- 
crans or Thomas to report the position of the Reserves and 
to ask for orders. Some were taken prisoners on the way ; 
some found their way blocked, and they returned ; and if any 
finally reached Thomas they could not find their way back to 
us. At last Gen. Steedman, commanding our Division, fully 
satisfied that the Brigade of the other Division which was 
with us was sufficient to guard the point where the Reserves 
were stationed, determined to move, without orders, to where 
the main army was evidently fighting a desperate if not a 
losing battle. 

MARCHING INTO BATTLE. 

Before the movement began, Company A was sent some 
distance to the left to extend our skirmish line and ascertain 
if any force of the enemy was concealed there in the woods. 
I had barely succeeded in placing my men in position when 



230 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

word came that the Division was in motion and that my Com- 
pany must rejoin the Regiment with all possible speed. All 
the troops were moving rapidly, and we exerted ourselves to 
the utmost to rejoin our comrades. We found the main road 
thronged with artillery and ammunition wagons, all hurrying 
on, while the hot dust, inches deep, rolled up in volumes. 
Leaving the road we pushed our way through the fields, pass- 
ing Regiment after Regiment, until, hot and weary, we 
reached the NINETY-SIXTH, which was at the head of the 
column. Just as we arrived, the column was halted, for the 
enemy's cavalry were threatening to dispute our progress. 
Company A was again thrown forward on the skirmish line ; 
but the cavalry retreated, and the march was resumed at 
almost double-quick time. We found ourselves in a field over 
which a wave of battle had already passed, leaving, as traces 
of its progress, abandoned muskets and knapsacks, 'here and 
there dead and wounded soldiers, a straggler or two in 
blue, and a few soldiers in gray or butternut, whom we sent 
as prisoners to the rear. Once more we halted, and pre- 
pared to encounter an opposing force of cavalry, but the 
cavalry speedily retired, and again we were in motion, hasten- 
ing forward in the direction of the heaviest fighting. We 
passed near a large farm house, which had been converted 
into a hospital, filled with the wounded, while scores of 
wounded soldiers lay stretched on the sward near by. Hurry- 
ing on through the wooded fields we emerged into a large 
open plain of meadow land and stubble field, with an extensive 
field of corn to the right and woods to the left. 

We were nearing the conflict, and the sharp crack of mus- 
ketry began to be heard amid the din of the batteries. We 
halted on the edge of the open field until the troops could 
come up and be properly formed for the march forward. The 
Regiments of the First Brigade were massed in column 
doubled on the centre to march abreast, each Regiment pre- 
senting a front of two Companies, the intervals between the 
several Regiments being sufficient to permit the Brigade to 
be deployed into a continuous line with the least possible 
delay. The Second Brigade was formed in like manner in 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 231 

rear of the First. At the head of their respective commands 
were the General and Staff Officers, and Regimental Field 
Officers. In front of all, advanced to some little distance, 
was a line of skirmishers, consisting of one Company from 
each Regiment of the leading Brigade, my Company being 
on the skirmish line in front of the NINETY-SIXTH, occupying 
the extreme right of this line, which extended some rods into 
the field of standing corn. 

At the word of command the troops moved forward in 
this order, afterwards changing, while still in motion, into 
columns by fours. We had but fairly begun the march over 
the open field when we heard a sudden screaming, shrieking 
sound in the air, a sudden boom above our heads, and 
there was a cloud of white smoke where a shell had burst, and 
rising up from the field near our feet a dozen little cloudlets of 
dust, where fragments of the shell had struck the ground. 
And then came another and another and another a host 
of them, hot and quick ; for over there on the left, just in the 
edge of the woods, a battery had been moved into position to 
break our ranks and stop our march. The heavy, constant 
booming of the cannon to our left, the sharper boom of the 
bursting shells all about us, the thud of the solid shot as it 
struck the ground and ricochetted over our heads, plunging 
on and far away through the corn field, all this was fearfully 
exciting. How the shells did fly toward us and about us ! 
And with what a Satanic vim, with what an infernal energy, 
they seemed to come, with an indescribable scream, and a 
shriek and a rushing whizz, as if each shell were a malignant 
demon, with a will of its own, determined to tear us to pieces ! 
It was exciting and fearful, a fitting prelude to what was 
before us. But, looking back from the skirmish line upon the 
massed columns of our Brigade, while the air was filled with 
little clouds of sulphurous smoke, and innumerable clouds of 
dust were springing up all over the field, it was a magnificent 
spectacle to see those thousands of soldiers, with flags proudly 
flying, marching steadily through that storm of shot and shell 
and never a break in the ranks ! Or, if there was a moment 
of confusion, as when a shell burst in the rnidst of the NINETY- 



232 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

SIXTH, disabling some of our men, the broken ranks were at 
once closed, and the march was not interrupted. 

As we approached the farther end of the open field the 
continuous piercing clang and racket of musketry sounding 
in front gave sure token that the battle was raging fiercely not 
far from us. On a distant knoll we observed a group of offi- 
cers watching our advance. It was Thomas and his Staff. A 
very anxious group it had been when the movement of our 
troops in the distance was first noticed ; for, whether friend 
or foe, it was impossible to tell. "If that is the enemy," 
said Thomas, " we're lost ; if the Reserve, the army is saved." 

IN THE BATTLE. 

Gen. Steedman had galloped forward and reported himself 
to Thomas. As we approached nearer the troops were halted, 
the skirmishers were called in, and the Brigade was deployed 
in line, the NINETY-SIXTH holding the right, my Company 
having the extreme right of the line. We had halted barely 
long enough to recover our breath, and wipe the perspiration 
from our faces, and wash the dust out of our throats with water 
from our canteens, when word came that the enemy was mov- 
ing in large force to turn the right of Thomas' line, and that 
the Reserve must hasten into position to protect the flank. 
Our Brigade moved quickly to the right for a considerable 
distance, and then faced to the front. Company A was again 
deployed as skirmishers, and began to advance, when imme- 
diately was heard, here and there, the sharp crack of the rifle. 
The men advanced, returning the fire, but were met with a 
rattling volley. "Ah, this is no skirmish work !" I thought, 
and I shouted to the men to rally together as quickly as pos- 
sible. By the time the Company could be formed, the Regi- 
ment, with the Brigade, was abreast of us, and we resumed 
our place at the right. 

Facing the fire, the line pressed forward on the full run, 
keeping the ranks tolerably well closing up the ranks as men 
and officers fell dead or wounded upon the field driving the 
enemy before us over the rise of ground, over the slight de- 
pression, and up toward the top of the ridge still driving the 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 233 

nemy and gaining the top of the ridge encountering a 
withering tire halting and lying down firing a few rounds r 
then forward once more, running, and yelling, and again driv- 
ing the enemy on and over a little valley on and on and 
up to the summit of another rise of ground when our ad- 
vance was suddenly checked. "Lie down!" ran along the 
line, and instantaneously the men prostrated themselves upon 
the ground. For we were right in the teeth of a battery that 
opened upon us a fearful storm of canister and grape, and the 
showers of Minie balls from the doubled or trebled lines of 
infantry that now confronted us made the fire terrific horri- 
ble murderous ! By lying close to the ground the men were 
somewhat protected, most of the balls and shot flying over 
them. And our men were not idle ! They made good use of 
their Enfields firing turning upon their backs and reload- 
ing while still lying down then turning and firing again. 
So they kept up the dreadful fight, while with clenched teeth 
and bated breath and stiffened sinews, and nerves strung to 
the highest tension, they received and endured and returned 
the terrible fire of the enemy. How appalling the din of 
battle ! How fiend-like the screech of the iron missiles, rush- 
ing forth with deafening roar from the savage throats of the 
artillery ! How furious the rattling clangor of musketry, 
without stop, without a moment's pause, without any let 
up or respite, persistent, incessant, unremitting ! How 
unceasing the whistling of the bullets tzip ! tzip ! tzip ! 
speeding with continuous whizz through the branches of the 
low oak shrubs that thinly covered the ridge, denuding them 
of their leaves, which fell dissevered in flakes of green con- 
stantly dropping, dropping, upon the jackets of blue lying 
beneath ! Ever and anon would be faintly heard the soldier's 
muttered cry, "Oh !" or "I'm hit!" And some would leave 
the ranks to seek a surgeon or hospital in the rear, and some, 
wounded in leg or foot, but not in arm, would resolutely con- 
tinue to reload and fire their muskets until, weak and ex- 
hausted, they would crawl away to find shelter behind any 
friendly tree, and some would remain helpless where they 
lay, bravely suppressing every groan, and some would lie 



234 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

still and stiff and motionless ! And, without cessation, the 
missiles of death still flowed in two deadly streams from us 
and toward us, and the thought would force itself upon me, 
"Oh, my God! is any cause so righteous and holy as to 
justify such work as this !" 

Clouds of powder smoke began to gather over us and to 
envelop us. We breathed nothing but powder ! Clouds of 
powder smoke hung heavily, like a dark curtain, between the 
two armies, hiding them from each other's sight ; but through 
the smoke the streams of bullets still made their way. Then 
the enemy's fire slackened a little. Probably a portion of the 
line opposed to us was yielding under our fire, and the battery 
was being removed to a less exposed position. Masses of 
fresh troops, however, were hurried forward to strengthen the 
enemy's line, and another battery was brought into action. 
When the fire slackened, it seemed to us that the enemy was 
giving way, and our men instinctively began to get upon their 
feet, and, with a rousing cheer, were about to dash forward 
in another charge, when they were met by a fire fiercer and 
hotter than ever. "Lie down !" was the word. On the right 
of the Brigade it was promptly obeyed ; but on the left the 
line recoiled from the fire of the new battery and the redou- 
bled fire of the infantry, and gave way. The word was 
passed along the line that our men were retreating. Some 
one called out, "Fall back!" Then we heard the voice of 
Colonel Champion " Don't move, men ! Who is it that says, 
'Fall back?' Keep where you are! Hold your position !"" 
But the Regiments on the left were falling back, and it was 
useless, as it probably would have been unwise, to attempt to- 
hold our position isolated from the rest. "Fall back, then, 
but keep in line. Keep to your colors ! Don't scatter I 
Keep to your colors ! Keep your line !" The line, however, 
was not kept. The Brigade line was already badly broken, 
and we could not keep the Regimental line intact. Some ot 
our men retreated on the run ; others less rapidly ; still others 
more slowly, keeping more with the colors and our Colonel. 
Soon, instead of a well-preserved line, marching with regular 
uniformity, one saw an irregular mass, moving back in not a 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 235 

little disorder. The retreat was checked as soon as we had 
repassed the ridge from which we had driven the enemy at 
the first charge. Here our men were halted, and our officers 
began to form them into line again. 

The supporting line, which, upon our advance, was placed 
in position a little to our rear, had partially given way even 
before our line in front ; but Gen. Steedman, with some of 
the Brigade and Division Staff Officers, promptly rallied it, 
and it now moved forward in gallant style and took position 
on the summit of the ridge which we had just passed, and 
kept up a brisk fire, but not at such close quarters as had 
made the conflict so destructive to us destructive also to the 
enemy. Our battery, too, had come up, and was sent for- 
ward toward the right, and began to take an active and effect- 
ive part in the fierce contest. 

While the forces now in front were keeping up the battle 
strenuously, we were recovering from our disorder. But, 
first of all, before anything else, we sought to quench the 
intolerable thirst incident to the battle field. Our throats 
were parched, and the canteens of our men were soon emptied. 
I sent back one of my men with a dozen empty canteens slung 
over his shoulder, with orders to find water somewhere any- 
where and rejoin us as soon as possible. It was late in the 
afternoon before he could again find the Company. I sent 
two others back to the ammunition wagon for a supply of car- 
tridges. Not a few of the men had expended every cartridge 
they had taken into battle. Some had obtained a new supply 
by cutting off cartridge boxes from dead comrades, and others 
had picked up cartridge boxes which the wounded had thrown 
away. Those who had cartridges shared with those who had 
none, and when our men returned, as they did speedily, with 
the box of ammunition, each man was fully provided with a 
double supply. 

While I was thus absorbed in looking after my Company 
and getting it into fighting trim again, giving little heed to 
what was going on with the rest of the Regiment, a Staff 
Officer came up hurriedly, with arms outstretched, a sword in 
one hand and a revolver in the other (he had been rallying 



236 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

stragglers), his manner and tone indicating intense excite- 
ment. Doubtless 1 was equally excited ; probably we all 
were. ' ' Captain ! why in thunder don't you form this Regi- 
ment ? " "I am forming my Company, sir. "Where's Colonel 
Champion ? " " He's taken command of the Brigade ; Whit- 
taker's wounded. " ' ' Well, where's Colonel Clarke ? " " Why, 
don't you know ? Clarke was killed at the first fire ! " As 
our remaining field officer, Major Smith, was with Gen. Steed- 
man, on staff duty, I at once assumed command of the 
Regiment. "Attention, NINETY-SIXTH ! On the colors, right 
and left, dress ! " That is the command prescribed in the 
Tactics, and I gave it ; and then followed others not found in 
the drill book. "Officers, get your men into line! What 
are you men about ? Why don't you dress up there, on the 
colors ? Oh, you men, get into line ! Hello, Sergeant, where 
is your Captain? " "We havn't seen anything of our Cap- 
tain." "Where's your Lieutenant? Isn't there any officer 
with this Company ? " " He is wounded or killed ; I don't 
loiow which. " ' ' Well, Sergeant, take command of the Com- 
pany and do the best you can with it. * * * You Cor- 
poral, back there! Where are you running to?" "I'm 
looking for my Regiment." "Here it is. Come up here. 
Bring those men with you." I noticed that the Color Guard 
was greatly reduced in number. Yery few officers were with 
our shattered Regiment ; but those who were present were 
doing splendidly. One officer had tied his handkerchief 
around his head, bandaging his ear, which had been pierced 
"by a Minie ball. Another had wrapped his handkerchief 
around his hand, from which the flesh had been partly torn. 
Having roughly dressed their wounds they were busily pre- 
paring their men for further action. The officers spoke to the 
men in cheery tones, and the Sergeants were nobly filling the 
place of officers left dead or wounded on the field, and the 
men in the ranks were active and eager, providing themselves 
with a new supply of cartridges, wiping out the barrels of their 
muskets, fouled by repeated discharges, and forming the line 
to renew the contest. 

We were getting to look like a Regiment again, and officers 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 237 

and men were encouraging one another and pledging faith to- 
each other, with determination intensified tenfold because of 
the great gaps in our ranks, when a Staif Oificer came riding 
up at full gallop. "Who commands this Regiment?" "I 
do." " Move to the right as quick as you can ; the devils are 
outflanking us ! " " Battalion ! Right face ! Forward 
double-quick march ! " Other Regiments of our Brigade 
followed. When we had gone so far to the right that no part 
of the column was covered by the line already engaged in 
action we turned to the front, forming an extended line of 
battle. Again it was a charge a running and yelling and 
rapid discharge of musketry. Ere long we again encountered 
a heavy fire halted lay down and returned the fire. It was 
almost the same thing over again that we had had at the for- 
mer charge, only the enemy had not now a battery close upon 
us pouring its shot into our ranks. A few men seemed inclined 
to fall back at once, but a word or two from the officers and 
sergeants kept the line unbroken. The battle raged fiercely, 
a very tempest of tire ; nor was it less fiercely tempestuous on 
our left, at the point where we had made our first charge. 
The strength of the Division had been brought up to hold that 
ridge, and so vigorous and unflagging and well directed was 
the fire of our infantry and artillery that the repeated furious 
assaults of fresh forces of the enemy failed to break the line. 
After a while the enemy's very severe fire in our front and to 
the left slackened. For the time the extreme fury of the 
tempest was abated. The foe had been repulsed. In vain 
had Bragg hurled against us the reinforcements of confident 
veterans who had come to him flushed with victories gained 
in the East. The effort to drive us back had failed ; we held 
the ground and the right flank was still secure. Here our 
hearts were cheered by our Major Smith, who, having tra- 
versed the line to our left, brought us glorious tidings of the 
battle ; how victoriously the Division had withstood the des- 
perate onslaught, and the whole line remained intact. Soon 
a Staff Officer came along the line, urging us for heaven's 
sake to maintain our position, telling us that Burnside had just 
arrived with his Corps and was only halting behind some hills 



238 HISTOEY OF THE 96'fH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

until he could form his men into line, and then he would 
be up to support us. We had heard rumors that Burnside 
was to join Rosecrans, and this report of his arrival was 
very cheering. 

The enemy made one more and final effort to turn the 
right of our line. Additional troops had been brought up to 
extend his lines and overlap us on our right flank. Our 
Second Brigade was put in motion to check this new move- 
ment, and had orders to form line-of-battle on the right of the 
NINETY-SIXTH. But the danger was imminent ; there was not 
a moment to lose ; and once more the NINETY-SIXTH was 
moved by the right flank at the double-quick. I observed that 
our Colonel was now with us, near the left of the Regiment, 
but I supposed he was there as Brigade Commander, not 
knowing that Whittaker's wound had proved to be slight, and 
that he had resumed his command. As we marched, our 
direction was changed so as to move obliquely to the front, 
gaining ground to the right and to the front at the same time. 
The Second Brigade, moving rapidly, was up with us, when 
the order was given to change direction and move direct to 
the front, the intention being that that Brigade should pass us 
and form its line on our right. Colonel Champion, with a 
portion of the Regiment on the left, heard the order and 
changed direction accordingly ; the rest of the Regiment 
failed to hear the command, and continued the oblique march. 
This left a gap, and the foremost troops of the Second Brigade 
pushed into it. Then J began to hear, "Give way to the 
right ! Give way to the right ! " And I gave way to the 
right ; and kept on giving way to the right, until the Brigade 
had formed its line, sandwiched between the severed parts of 
our Regiment. I had discovered that the Regiment was 
broken ; but it was utterly out of the question to leave the 
front to hunt for any missing Companies. So a portion of the 
Regiment still continued to occupy the extreme right of the 
whole line, a position which during that Sunday afternoon 
had been the critical point of danger. When the line of the 
Second Brigade was fully formed it charged forward gallantly, 
and we joined in the charge and ran as fast and as far, and 



1863] . CHICKAMATJGA. 239 

yelled as loud and fired as rapidly as any. This was a very 
successful charge, and was continued half a mile or more, the 
enemy not making such strenuous fight as in the earlier part 
of the afternoon, and we took a number of prisoners. Then 
the line fell back to a more advantageous position, where we 
could more easily repel an assault. My Regiment occupied a 
little hill, heavily timbered. Here the men were allowed to 
scatter themselves as if upon the skirmish line, taking posi- 
tion behind trees about as they pleased, and keeping up a 
slow, irregular fire upon the enemy, all being cautioned not 
to run themselves out of ammunition. 

It was now not quite an hour to sunset. Never did I long 
for sunset as on that Sunday at Chickamauga. With us it was 
not "Night, or Blucher," but "Night, or Burnside ! " But 
no Burnside came, and our single line was left to hold its 
own without support. The firing now was not very severe, 
and gradually grew weaker, sensibly slackening all along the 
line. At length it grew so still on our left 1 went out of the 
woods to see what was going on. One of my Sergeants 
called out, "Captain, you're not leaving us?" "Oh, no; 
I'll be back in a moment." I discovered that the whole line 
was in motion, retiring leisurely, and it was already at some 
distance to the rear. I gave the word to call in our men and 
fall back with the rest. I found that I had now but a very 
few men with me ; and I should have thought that I had 
wholly strayed from my Regiment were it not that I had with 
me the colors of the Regiment, together with the commander 
of the Color Company the intrepid boy-lieutenant, lion- 
hearted, fearless, unflinching Charlie Earle, whose name 
must be inscribed high among the highest on the roll of 
Chickamauga heroes. 

The line fell back half a mile or more, and halted. Most 
of our Division had already retired still further to the rear. 
Soon after halting we saw our Colonel coming up, looking for 
us. He, with the portion of the Regiment separated from us, 
had joined in the last forward advance of our own Brigade, 
once more encountering the foe, and successfully holding the 
advanced line until ordered to retire. When he discovered 



240 HISTORY or THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

his lost command, he exclaimed, "Oh, Captain ! there you 
are!" "Yes, Colonel, here we are !" "I feared you were 
lost," said the Colonel ; "how many men have you got with 
you ?" " About fifty or sixty." "Well, I've got twenty-five 
or thirty. Let's get them together." So we tried to bring 
the men into Regimental line again. " Where's Company 
E?" said one of the men, seeking to find his Company. 
"Here it is I'm Company E," replied another. It seemed 
that the reply was not far out of the way so few of the 
Company could be found. "Never mind your Companies, 
boys," said the Colonel. "Let us get into line, somehow 
what there is left of us ! Get into line anywhere ! Dress up 
on the colors !" There didn't appear to be much left of us to- 
get into line, and certainly there was but little left of the 
colors to align ourselves upon. Of the ten picked men form- 
ing the Color Guard, nine had been killed or wounded. One 
flag-staff had been quite shot away, and the other was cut 
and badly splintered. The two flags were riddled with Minie 
balls and grape shot, but what remained of our Color Guard 
had gallantly clung to them. Our Color-Bearer had tied 
the fluttering shreds about the splintered staff, which he now 
held aloft as a guide for us in forming our line. Here our 
troops formed their last line-of-battle to resist any attack that 
might be made. Our foes had also retired a little and formed 
their last line. Neither side molested the other. Both had 
had enough of fighting for that day ! 

RETURNING FROM BATTLE. 

So that long, long Sunday afternoon at last came to an 
end, the sun slowly disappeared, night closed down upon us, 
and we breathed more freely, with a sense of infinite relief. 
Not long afterward we received orders to retire from the field. 
We soon reached the main body of our Division, and here we 
began to gather up our missing men of the NINETY-SIXTH. 
Some who had courageously borne their part in the heaviest 
fighting of the day had followed other Regiments of the 
Brigade as they fell back, thinking the NINETY-SIXTH was also 
retreating. Some had been sent back to help the wounded 




Gen. \V. T. SHEU.MAN. 




Gen. L. 5. GKANT. 




Gen. GKO. H. THOMAS. 




Gen. O. O. HOWARD. 




I 




W. ('. WniTAKEK. 





Gen. Jos. HOOKER. 



Gen. NATHAN KIMBALL. 



*" iat 






1863] CHICK AMAUGA. 241 

off the field. Others had been sent back for water or for 
ammunition, and when about to return had heard that it was 
useless to go forward again, that our whole line was in full 
retreat, and that there was nothing left of the Regiment ! 
We learned that most of our wounded had been conveyed to 
the rear, on their way to Chattanooga. Others of the wounded 
were placed on the caissons of the artillery, or on the ammu- 
nition wagons, or on horses for the ambulances were 
crowded and we got them along somehow, as best we could, 
as we moved back toward our camp at Rossville. The ambu- 
lances and the artillery and the wagons clogged the road, and 
it was too dark to move across the fields ; so we plodded along 
slowly and wearily, and with frequent tiresome interruptions. 
When we had gone two or three miles we came upon acres of 
troops in bivouac, gathered about myriad fires, cooking their 
supper. "Ah! there's Burnside's men!" we said. "What 
Corps?" we asked. "McCook's." No Burnside there; he 
must be farther on. After awhile we came upon other acres 
of troops in bivouac. " "What Corps?" "Crittenden's." 
Nothing of Burnside ! It was all a myth about Burnside. 
Burnside, with his Corps, was at Knoxville, a hundred miles 
away ! There was really no foundation for the camp rumor 
that Burnside was on his way to reinforce us ; and the extended 
cloud of dust which had been seen rising at a distance, and 
which was supposed to be caused by the tread of Burnside's 
approaching columns, was in fact occasioned by a force of 
cavalry charging to protect a wagon train. 

It was nearly ten o'clock that night when we reached our 
camp. The wounded were cared for as best we could. At 
our Company tents we found the small squad of men which 
had been sent to the rear in charge of prisoners. " Hurrah ! 
Here's our Captain ! He isn't killed, after all ! Why, we 
heard there wasn't a man left of Company A!" "Some of 
us are left, boys. But do get us some coffee as soon as you 
can." The coffee, which was soon prepared, and some hard 
biscuit, furnished a supper most welcome after the day's long 
fast. Then, with the sensibilities of the mind and the heart 
stunned by the dreadful work of that afternoon, and with 
16 



242 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

physical powers almost utterly exhausted, we were glad to 
throw ourselves down upon our blankets and obtain rest and 
sleep. There was but one break to the night's rest. At mid- 
night the officers of each Company were aroused by our Quarter- 
Master, who told us that a Brigade of the Second Division 
was wholly destitute of rations, the Brigade wagon train hav- 
ing been captured by the enemy's cavalry, and he asked if we 
would divide our rations with them. We kept awake long 
enough to say " Yes," and fell asleep again. 

OUR LOSS IN BATTLE. 

At reveille next morning we assembled for roll-call. Those 
who had become separated from the Regiment came in during 
the night, and we could now count up our loss. 

The Regiment went into battle a few more than four hun- 
dred strong. When we left Illinois we numbered 1,000 men, 
but a year of marching and drilling and roughing it in camp 
had sifted out a great many. Some had died ; some had been 
discharged ; many were in hospital. Many, also the less 
robust had been sent from the Regiment, detailed to gar- 
rison forts, to guard baggage wagons and provision trains, to 
protect railway trains, to aid in building bridges and in repair- 
ing roads. Our 400 with us on the morning of Chickamauga 
were nearly all young men, who had endured the severe strain 
of active military life much better than the middle-aged. The 
battles of the war were fought chiefly by the young men. 
The nation was saved by the boys ! 

We went into the battle of Chickamauga with 400 men ; 
we came out with a loss of about two hundred killed and 
wounded. We could well spare half our rations ! Our loss 
was extraordinarily large. When the reports of the battle 
were all in from Rosecrans' entire army I carefully examined 
the tabular statements of the numbers engaged and the losses, 
and it appeared that, in proportion to numbers, no Regiment 
had suffered so heavily in killed and wounded as the NINETY- 
SIXTH Illinois. We afterwards bore our part in Sherman's 
Atlanta campaign of a hundred and twenty days, and nearly 
every other day were engaged in skirmish or battle, and every 



1863] CHICK AMAUGA. 243 

-day, with hardly an exception, were under fire ; but in all 
that long campaign our entire loss did not exceed the loss we 
suffered during those few fateful hours on the field of Chick- 
amauga ! 

1 had looked forward to the test of battle with not a little 
solicitude, lest our men should fail fully to meet the stern de- 
mands of duty when the supreme hour of trial came ; but 
how nobly they bore themselves throughout the fearful ordeal 
of that Sunday afternoon, enduring a test such as rarely falls 
to the lot of any Regiment in its first battle ! How many of 
the men the boys in the ranks proved themselves to be true- 
born heroes that day ! And the officers shared with the men 
alike the danger and the loss. Of the twenty-three field and 
line officers of the Regiment on duty that day eleven were 
killed or wounded. Were all equally undaunted ? Was there 
no exception ? The terrible storm of plunging shot and ex- 
ploding shells, bursting suddenly upon us as we marched over 
the open meadow field to enter into battle, seemed to unnerve 
and quite bewilder one of our Captains, who, in our subse- 
quent rapid movements, lost his Regiment, and was not again 
;seen that day by his soldiers. His Company was worthily 
led in the battle by a Lieutenant, who, a few days afterward, 
was promoted to fill the vacancy caused by the Captain's 
resignation. 

The morning roll call disclosed how heavy had been our 
loss ; yet we dare not indulge ourselves in any tender, relaxing 
emotions of grief. The heart must remain still firmly braced 
to meet the peril of another day. The danger to our army 
-with the cause of our country closely linked to that army's 
fate was still imminent ; for we were in the presence of a 
foe who was marshaling against us greatly preponderating 
numbers. We were yet on the battle field, as it were, and 
must steel our hearts to bear, if need be, still further loss. 
And the loss was not delayed, for our picket guard sent out 
that night did not return to us ; only a few of them, long 
afterward, were seen again, when they rejoined the Regiment 
as returned prisoners of war. We were yet on the battle field, 
and on the battle field there is no room for emotions of grief. 



244 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

In battle there is an exaltation of feeling which lifts one quite 
above the plane of all ordinary sentiments and feelings. I 
recall an incident : During the few moments when my Com- 
pany was rallying from the skirmish line, just as the battle 
opened upon us, my leading Corporal* the man who always 
marched so proudly at the head of the Regiment generously 
shared with me the scanty store of water in his canteen ; the 
next minute, as we were advancing, he fell lifeless before me, 
and I pressed forward with the men with but half a glance at 
his prostrate form, without being conscious of the slightest 
feeling of pity, or sympathy, or any gentle, kindly emotion. 
The supreme duty of the moment overwhelmed all else ! Nor 
did our wounded soldiers yield to any feelings of self-pity. 
We heard little groaning from their lips. When my Color 
Corporal f was struck in the arm he came to me and said, in 
quite his ordinary tone of voice : "Captain, I'm hit; this 
arm is useless." " Go to the rear, Corporal ; take your mus- 
ket with you if you can ; if not, drop it." I remember what 
a noble type of manhood he was tall, upright, square-built, 
broad-shouldered, keen-sighted, clear-toned, always manly in 
bearing, trustworthy to the core, and every inch a soldier. 
Alas ! I never saw him nor could hear of him again ! 

In connection with that memorable battle the soldiers of 
the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois had, in the person of some of its 
members, nearly every experience of hardship that can fall to 
the lot of a soldier. We all shared in the forced march by 
day and night, and in the skirmish, and the shock of battle. 
Some met instantaneous death. Others, less fortunate, lay 
upon the field, fatally wounded, uncared for, suffering untold 
agonies, until death came to their relief. Some, wounded and 
retiring from the field, were struck a second time, and fatally. 
Some of our wounded fell into the hands of the enemy. 
Others lay for many miserable hours upon the field before 
they were brought into our hospitals. Many died while in 
hospital. Some others sent to a hospital over the mountains 
because our hospitals could not receive them died on the 
way. Some of our men, taken prisoners, endured all that 

* William Price. t David Isbel. 






1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 245 

could be endured, and cannot be described, of the miseries 
and horrors of Libby and Andersonville. How many of the 
wounded, how many of the prisoners, were never in line 
again with the Regiment ! 

When we had fortified Chattanooga, and lay within its 
besieged lines, waiting for the coming of Grant and Sherman, 
we then had leisure to estimate how great had been our loss 
at Chickamauga. It seemed to us nor was it all illusion 
that we had lost our best and bravest. The Regiment mourned 
the death of its Lieutenant-Colonel staunch and true, a firm 
commander in camp, a brave leader in battle. Each Company 
had its list of heroes, beloved by their comrades and worthy 
of all honor, the memory of whose patriotic devotion, even 
to the sacrifice of their lives, shall never, never fade. For 
myself, I mourn a host of true-hearted soldiers, my comrades 
of the NINETY-SIXTH, who upon the field of Chickamauga gave 
to their country a soldier's last and supremest offering. Among 
them are numbered the two Sergeants of whom I have spoken, 
who rest upon that battle field, somewhere, in unknown graves. 
Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives, and in their death 
they were not divided. My First Sergeant, valiantly engaging 
in the battle with his chosen rifle, was really entitled (unknown 
to all) to exchange the rifle for a sword ; for his commission 
as Captain, granted to him because of his superb soldierly 
acquirements, had been duly signed and was on its way to 
him, while his life blood was ebbing away, enriching the soil 
of Georgia. The other Sergeant was prominent in the battle, 
performing notable deeds now joining in the onset where the 
peril was the greatest, and now rallying the men along the 
line of the Brigade wherever there appeared signs of faltering ; 
but before the close of the battle he had shared the fate of his 
bosom friend. Both had fought with a magnificent heroism 
beyond all praise. Never was battle field consecrated to 
humanity by the sacrifice of worthier soldiers. 



246 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

THE SACRIFICE AND THE GAIN. 

The vast armies of the Union, gathered from every town 
and village and neighborhood throughout the East and the 
West, comprised patriots and heroes innumerable. During 
the protracted years of that great war, waged on a scale stu- 
pendous and destructive beyond all precedent, it happened 
time and again that at some critical juncture occurring in a 
battle of almost decisive consequences, the gallant work of 
some Regiment, some Brigade, some Division, saved an army, 
and went far to save the cause. Honoring all heroic souls in 
the armies East and West, rejoicing in all that was gloriously 
achieved by other soldiers, by other Regiments and armies in 
many great battles now listed among the famous battles of 
mankind, the soldiers of the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois feel that 
at Chickamauga they earned the right to claim kinship with all 
soldiers who braved much and accomplished much for their 
country. All honor to Thomas, the " Rock of Chickamauga ! " 
All honor to Thomas and his Corps, grandly holding the whole 
opposing army at bay ! But there came an hour when Thomas 
was reaching the utmost limit of his power of resistance. 
Unless speedily aided he would have been unable to withstand 
the accumulating forces, which, overwhelming him, would 
have brought immeasurable disaster upon the army, would 
have made incalculably more difficult the subsequent task of 
Grant and Sherman, and would have had a far-reaching effect, 
which one shrinks from estimating, upon the issue of the war. 
At that hour, at that critical juncture, our Division reached 
the field and gave that aid which was imperatively needed; 
Our Brigade was the leading Brigade, and being first on the 
field the severest task fell to its share. Our Regiment, leading 
the Brigade and the Division, was placed at once in the front 
line ; and while other Regiments during the battle alternated 
their position between the front and the supporting lines, the 
exigencies of the battle kept the NINETY-SIXTH, with the briefest 
intermission, continuously in front. It happened, therefore,, 
that at the most critical juncture of the battle of Chickamauga, 
the NINETY-SIXTH Illinois had a most important part to play- 



1863] CHICKAMAUGA. 247 

The simple record is, that it did not fail ; and it can justly 
claim its share of that high praise bestowed upon our Division, 
when Thomas, at the close of the battle, said to our General, 
" Steedman, your Division has saved the army ! " 

In that battle we paid a heavy price ; but how inestimable 
the value of what we purchased. If we consider as we 
reasonably may that our few tragical hours at Chickamauga 
constituted one of those critical periods of the war when a 
different result might have long delayed, if not quite changed, 
the final issue of the years of contest, we cannot murmur at 
the sacrifice required of us. We are to think of the new 
nation, of the South and the North, redeemed, disenthralled, 
united, marching forth buoyantly among the nations, erect as 
never before, entering upon a career transcending all former 
possibilities and conceptions, in the blessings of whose onward 
progress universal humanity shall share, inspiring the people 
of Europe with higher aspirations for freedom and loftier ideals 
of the worth of simple manhood, and touching the remote 
peoples of Africa and Asia and the neighboring peoples of 
the western hemisphere with influences whose beneficent 
effects, multiplied with the years, only the ages to come can 
fully disclose ; and then, if it be asked, "Was it worth the 
while ? Was the cause so righteous and holy as to justify such 
sacrifice of life ? " we would seek the answer from the lips of 
those who, in their desolated homes and sorrow-burdened 
hearts, have most painfully realized the full measure of that 
sacrifice. Shall we ask the widowed mothers, whose first- 
born sons now lie mouldering somewhere on that deadly field 
of Chickamauga, whether, if they had the power, they would 
cause the wheels of Time to roll back over the intervening 
years, that they might have restored to them their sons as 
they were in the full flush of their young manhood, leaving 
undone all that was dared and endured and suffered and 
accomplished by them and their comrades that fatal Sunday 
afternoon ? What is their reply ? " We rejoice more in our 
dead sons lying there in unknown graves, than we could in all 
the living sons of Christendom who at such an hour would 
shrink from like peril and sacrifice in such a cause. " 



248 HISTORY OF THE 96'rn KEGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Time does its own work ceaselessly and silently, without 
beat of drum or blare of bugle, and each succeeding year is 
carrying over to "the great majority " survivors of the battle 
field. Meantime, those who remain are wont to meet at inter- 
vals in reunion with each other ; and at each latest reunion 
the magnitude of what was attempted and the vastness of 
what was achieved are seen more and more clearly ; and the 
heart swells with increasing pride in beholding the growing 
strength and benignant greatness of the beloved country at 
whose call they went forth, in her hour of need, to do battle 
for her and for humanity. 

" Be proud ! for she is saved, and all have helped to save her ! 
She that lifts up the manhood of the poor, 
She of the open soul and open door, 
With room about her hearth for all mankind ! 
Oh, Beautiful ! my Country ! ours once more, 
What words divine of lover or of poet 
Could tell our love and make thee know it, 
Among the Nations bright beyond compare ? 
What were our lives without thee ? 
What all our lives to save thee ? 
We reck not what we gave thee ; 
We will not dare to doubt thpe, 
But ask whatever else, and we will dare ! " 



1863] ON MOCCASIN POINT. 249 



CHAPTER XII. 



BY A. R. THAIN, OF COMPANY D. 



The Situation after the Battle of Chickamauga In Camp on Moccasin 
Point Artillery and Skirmish Fire Bragg* s Starvation Policy- 
Wheeler's Cavalry Raid Short Rations for Men and Mules Corn 
The "Wusser" Arrival of Gen. Hooker Gen. Grant Placed in 
Command Bridging the River at Brown's Ferry Supporting 
Hooker in Lookout Valley Corn and Shells The March to Shell 
Mound Nicajack Cove Building Winter Quarters Strange Archi- 
tecture. 

AFTER the battle of Chickamauga, Gen. Rosecrans with- 
drew his army to the immediate neighborhood of Chattanooga, 
and threw up a strong line of earthworks to protect his posi- 
tion. He had a large bend of the Tennessee river behind him, 
in the hollow of which the city lies, and on his front a line of 
works crescent in form, the flanks resting on the river above 
and below the city. The objective point of the campaign had 
been Chattanooga, and that was in our hands ; and we now 
prepared stubbornly to hold the prize which had been so gal- 
lantly gained, and at so fearful a cost. 

Lookout Mountain was abandoned to the enemy, and with 
it the railroad and our direct wagon road to Bridgeport ; a 
measure which nothing save the plea of military necessity 
could justify, for it subjected us to constant annoyances, and 
compelled us to transport supplies over Wallen's Ridge* by 
a long and difficult road, open to attacks from the enemy's 
cavalry. 

Our Brigade withdrew from Missionary Ridge on the night 
of September 21, and on the 22d we marched through Chatta- 
nooga, crossed to the north bank of the river, and encamped 
on Moccasin Point. This memorable piece of ground lies 
within a loop of the Tennessee at the northern extremity of 

This is variously called Waldon's, Waldron's and Wallen's Ridge, but there seems 
to be the best authority for the last. 



250 HISTORY OF THE 96ra KEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Lookout Mountain, its shape bearing some resemblance to an 
Indian moccasin, the toe being thrust between Lookout and 
Chattanooga, and the heel lying down toward Brown's Ferry.. 
Judging from the size of the foot, and the length of stride 
which must have gone with it, the next impression of that 
gigantic moccasin must be searched for in some loop of the 
Chattahoochee many miles toward the south. The side of the 
point which lies next to the mountain is low and fertile, and 
prior to our occupancy had been covered with a fine crop of 
corn and beans which, fortunately for us, had been some- 
what carelessly harvested. Our camp was situated several 
hundred yards from the river, nearly opposite the northern 
base of the mountain, and a little distance behind the camp 
rose a considerable ridge the instep of the moccasined foot 
on which was posted the 18th Ohio Battery. This loud- 
mouthed neighbor occasioned us a good deal of anxiety during 
our stay on the point. As soon as it was securely sheltered 
by strong works it began to talk to the mountain in a very 
emphatic way, and Lookout wrinkled his rocky brows and 
began to talk back. These occasional dialogues would not 
have troubled us in the least if the principal parties had kept 
the conversation exclusively to themselves, but the Boanerges 
who held forth from behind Pulpit Rock on the crest of Look- 
out had an inconvenient way at times of talking at large to 
the whole camp. At such times he had many listeners, who 
paid very close attention to his remarks, but who fervently 
wished that he would bring his fire-and-brim stone preaching 
to a speedy close. The northeast side of a tree was the 
favorite point for listening, and a puff of smoke on the point 
of the mountain was the signal that a monosyllabic remark, 
in the shape of a shell, would, in a few seconds, utter itself 
somewhere on the point, and the question was where! The 
9th Ohio and 10th Indiana Batteries were sent to assist the 
18th Ohio, and all were bomb-proofed by the infantry, the 
NINETY-SIXTH on one occasion working an entire night with 
picks and shovels. But the artillery on Lookout, beyond its 
disquieting effect, did us very little injury. The distance was 
considerable, the elevation of the guns above the river was 



1863] FREQUENT ARTILLERY DUELS. 251 

great, the marksmanship was not good, and to this should be 
added not only the saving fact that owing to poverty the 
Rebels were sparing in their use of ammunition, except in 
hours of close conflict, but the farther fact that our artillery 
was superior to theirs and responded very promptly to each 
salutation. Indeed, the second shot from the point took 
down their signal flag, and the admirable practice occasionally 
indulged in by our artillerists was doubtless the means of 
putting the enemy on their good behavior. After showing 
us a few times that they could throw shells into our camp, 
the battery on Lookout let us alone, and, with the exception 
of the skirmish fire along the river, our camp was as peaceful 
as though there had been no enemy in our vicinity. We 
maintained a strong skirmish line along the bank of the river, 
and at first many sharp shots were exchanged with the rebel 
skirmishers, sheltered by rocks on the side of the mountain ; 
but as the river is several hundred yards wide, their fire did 
us little bodily harm, and served only to develop watchfulness 
and caution. After a few days these two lines fell into the 
regular routine of picket duty ; and, by that mutual under- 
standing which soon arises between opposing pickets, they 
seldom exchanged shots except when an unusually tempting 
opportunity offered itself. Occasionally, however, the severe 
artillery duels were renewed, and more than once the soldiers 
sought their bomb-proofs and the officers vacated the log 
building occupied as a Regimental headquarters. Once a 
bullet passed between the logs of the building where the 
chinking was out and spoiled an inkstand upon the Adjutant's 
desk. In riding between the camp and Brigade headquarters 
one day, the Adjutant found himself the target for Rebel 
sharpshooters, but escaped injury, although the horse ridden 
by him was disabled by a bullet. 

Gen. Bragg had decided to force Gen. Rosecrans out of 
Chattanooga by the gradual process of cutting off his supplies, 
maintaining in the meantime as close a siege as possible, with 
the expectation that we must soon abandon the place to avoid 
starvation. ' Gen. Longstreet favored a flank movement, as 
bolder, speedier and more likely to lead to success ; but the 



252 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Southern army had suffered so severely in the battle of Chicka- 
mauga that his more cautious chief preferred the slower but 
less hazardous methods of a siege. 

The pretense of a siege was little more than a farce ; but 
the question of how to obtain a sufficiency of supplies in the 
face of a watchful enemy who held our direct line of commu- 
nication, soon became serious enough. Our base of supplies 
was at Bridgeport and Stevenson, close at hand by rail, and 
easily reached by steamer ; but the possession of Lookout and 
Raccoon Mountains gave the enemy full control of this short 
and easy line, leaving us only the route over Wallen's Ridge 
on the north side of the river, over a road so bad that trans- 
portation was extremely difficult, and so long that it could not 
be effectually guarded against cavalry raids. The difficulty 
of supplying our army over this route was soon demonstrated. 
On October first, Gen. Wheeler, with a large force of cavalry, 
started on a raid toward our rear, with the intention of inter- 
rupting, and, if possible, of destroying our communications. 
On the second he captured a large wagon train in Sequatchie 
Valley, coming from Bridgeport, laden with supplies. Being 
closely pressed by Gen. Crook, with a force of cavalry, and 
threatened by an infantry command under Gen. McCook, he 
burned several hundred wagons, with their contents, and took 
with him a large number of mules. Our cavalry gained some 
advantages over him, recapturing eight hundred mules ; but 
he carried his raid as far north as Murfreesboro, doing an 
immense amount of damage before he recrossed the Tennessee, 
in a badly demoralized condition, on the eighth. The effect 
of this raid and other efforts of a similar nature soon began 
to appear in our camps. The animals showed the effects first. 
It is calculated that ten thousand horses and mules died of 
starvation and of hard usage on the terrible roads. Forage 
in the neighborhood of Chattanooga was soon exhausted, and 
the watchful Rebel cavalry were ever lurking on our flanks, 
seeking to capture or destroy trains sent to a distance to obtain 
corn or fodder. So many draft animals died that the task of 
supplying the army became more and more difficult. 

Hon. H. W. Blodgett, of Lake county, on learning that 



1863] THE CAVALRY KAIDS THE BEAR. 253 

the Regiment had suffered very heavily in the recent battle, 
started at once for the front, and, on arriving at Bridgeport, 
took a horse and followed after the wagon train which was 
burned by Gen. Wheeler, overtaking it and being near its 
head when the Rebel cavalry made their attack. He had an 
exciting experience, but escaped, as did most of the train 
guard. Mr. Blodgett reached the Regiment in safety, and 
spent several days in the camp and hospitals. On the occa- 
sion of one of these cavalry raids, Hamilton D. Crane, of 
Company K, while driving a team, was fatally shot, being 
taken to McMinnville, where he died from his wounds October 
10. At one time a number of men from the Brigade were cap- 
tured, but all were paroled within an hour or two, being first 
stripped of everything possessed by them which their captors 
either needed or fancied. 

During the early part of this period trains passed along 
the river road, but at great peril, several men being wounded 
and the mules killed, so that a blockade was created. On 
one occasion First Assistant Surgeon Moses Evans, of the 
NINETY-SIXTH, accompanied an ambulance train of wounded. 
"While passing "The Narrows," he was wounded by a bullet, 
which cut his ankle, but was not seriously injured. 

The daily ration issued to the men was reduced, not to the 
point of starvation, but to such a degree that we hung on the 
edge of hunger for a number of weeks, and sometimes we 
dropped over the edge, and found great difficulty in climbing 
back again. The field of corn on the point delayed this 
result in our camp for a time, a large ear of corn being about 
equal to the daily ration then issued to us ; but soon the vast 
hunger of the mules stripped the fields so bare that one might 
search for hours and be rewarded with only a few poor " nub- 
bins." Corn near the bank of the river was worth its weight 
in Rebel lead. One man of Company D can testify that he 
drew the Rebel picket fire four times one forenoon while 
gleaning a few handfuls of corn. 

The members of the Regiment usually alluded to this 
camp as "Starvation Point "in after months. At no other 
time during our entire period of service were the rations as 



25-i HlSTOKY OF THE 96lH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

low as here. On one occasion soap, candles, pepper and 
vinegar comprised the bill of fare. The comments made 
upon this occasion would be entertaining could they be repro- 
duced. Later, corn alone was issued on a few occasions, and 
the men would ask the officer issuing it, in a semi-serious way, 
how they could be expected to eat corn without any soap or 
candles, or if they would not prefer to keep the corn and give 
them some pepper and vinegar. But notwithstanding the 
short rations, the lack of blankets and clothing, the continuous 
exposure, the constant danger, and the anxiety, felt if not 
expressed, lest retreat should become necessary, and disaster 
to the army and the cause result, the men were cheerful and 
uttered few complaints. They were by no means discouraged, 
but each had an abiding faith that help would come from 
some source, and that the army would succeed in driving from 
the strongholds in their front the then exultant enemy. 

When the hungry quadrupeds were fed, the teamsters had 
to mount guard over the feed-troughs ; for if they did not, 
hungry bipeds clad in blue, who were ever on the watch for 
ways and means to eke out their scanty rations, would filch 
corn from the very mouths of the mules, regardless of the 
silent glances of reproach cast after them by those much- 
abused partners in adversity. 

The corn, when obtained either by fair means or foul, was 
first parched, then ground in a coffee-mill, or grated upon 
the perforated sides of a tin canteen, and when made into 
mush and fried in pork fat it was a dish fit for a king, that 
is a very hungry king. 

The following episode took place at the hungriest point of 
the quarter-ration period. Two members of Company D were 
on guard in the woods some distance north of our camp. 
They were very hungry, and had not between them so much 
as a grain of parched corn. Inspired by hunger, their imag- 
inations made out endless bills of fare, and their memories 
recalled the many appetizing things which they had eaten 
before leaving home. When by these mental exercises they 
had whetted their appetites to a keenness which was almost 
unbearable, they saw, to their great joy, a quadruped ap- 



IS 63] A PORCINE PRIZE. 255 

preaching through the bushes. It was one of those long, 
lean, hound-like Southern hogs, which were known among the 
soldiers as "wussers." It looked like the genius of starva- 
tion, wearing a swine-like form. Indeed, if it had been the 
sole survivor of that Gadarene herd into which the devils 
entered, and had eaten nothing during the intervening centu- 
ries, it could not have been much leaner. A whole herd of 
such swine could hardly have cast one respectable shadow. 

It is probable, however, that this particular "wusser" had 
been born and bred on Moccasin Point, and had been eaten 
out of house and home by Uncle Sam's men and mules. In 
the struggle for existence then going on around Chattanooga, 
his fitness to survive had been for some time a constantly 
decreasing quantity, and it had almost reached the vanishing 
point. But he still lived ; and hunger being uncritical, he 
seemed to those two soldiers a prize worthy of a vigorous 
campaign. 

But how to secure such shadowy game was a difficult 
question. As well attempt to catch a grayhound by direct 
chase ; and a bullet, though aimed with the greatest skill, 
might easily miss an object which was so thin that you had to 
look twice before you could see it, except the head, which, 
owing to its bony structure, stood out distinctly in all the 
unlovely angularity of its osseous outlines. But something 
must be done, and done quickly ; and so one of the soldiers 
shot at the shadow and hit it, in the head of course, for it 
was nearly all head, at the junction of the jaws, for it was 
mostly jaw ; and then began a chase which, for vigor and 
speed and the urgent nature of the interests involved, has 
rarely been equaled. The lower jaw of the pig dropped 
square down, but otherwise it held its forces well together ; 
and with a continuous squeal issuing from its throat, it started 
through the bushes at a high rate of speed, followed by the 
comrades in hard pursuit. An epic poem might be written 
on the chase, if a bard could be found worthy of the theme. 
It might be entitled, " Hunger in Pursuit of Famine's Master- 
piece." 

" Long time in even scale the contest hung ; " 



256 HISTORY or THE 96 f ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

but at last one of the pursuers seized a large iron bolt which 
had fortunately been dropped by some passing wagon, and 
threw it with such strength and skill that the porcine prize 
soon lay at their feet. 

Panting and triumphant, they bore it to the picket post ; 
skinned it, roasted it bit by bit at their fire, and ate it all at 
one meal. But then they were very hungry, and it was very 
lean. If the proverb, "The nearer the bone the sweeter the 
meat" is true, that was the sweetest meat, as it averaged, ever 
eaten by man. 

But soon after this gastronomic episode reached such a 
happy termination, our direct line of communication was 
opened up, and the reign of hunger came to a close. The 
way in which this was done deserves special mention, not 
merely because the NINETY-SIXTH helped to bring it about, 
but also because it was executed with a skill and boldness 
which took the enemy by surprise, and at once put an end to 
the fiction that Chattanooga was in a state of siege. 

Early in October Gen. Hooker, from the Army of the 
Potomac, arrived in Nashville, bringing with him the Eleventh 
and Twelfth Corps. He did not at once march to our relief, 
for, having come the entire distance by rail, he had no wagon 
train ; but he effectually protected our line of communication, 
from Nashville to Bridgeport, and we lived in daily hope that 
some bold movement would soon enable us once more to 
assume aggressive operations. 

Following Chickamauga there was a reorganization of the 
army in and around Chattanooga. In this reorganization 
the troops of the old Reserve Corps were scattered through 
the various commands. Of the Brigades which had fought at 
Chickamauga, Col. Mitchell's became the Second, and Col. 
McCook's the Third Brigade of the Second Division of the 
Fourteenth Corps. Gen. Whittaker's Brigade, to which the 
NINETY-SIXTH was still attached, became the Second Brigade 
of the First Division of the Fourth Corps. Besides the 
NINETY-SIXTH, there was the 115th Illinois, 40th Ohio, and 
84th Indiana, these Regiments having comprised the old 
Brigade, and the 51st Ohio, 99th Ohio, 35th Indiana, and 




'orp'l ALEXANDER R. THAIN. 
erg't ORSON V. YOUNG. 






GEORGE E. SMITH, JR. 

Capt. THEODORE F. CLARION. 

First Lieut. J. H. LINKLATER. 



RICHARD 8. THAIN. 
ROBERT J. DOUGLAS. 



,,...... 









1863] GENERAL GRANT ARRIVES. 257 

8th Kentucky, these last Regiments having been formerly the 
Third Brigade of the Third Division of the Twenty-first Corps. 
All of these Regiments had lost heavily at Chickamauga, and 
the eight had for duty but about two thousand men. The 
Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps were for the time being 
discontinued, the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps absorbing all 
of the troops that had been actively engaged in the battle. 

October 18, by an order of President Lincoln, the Military 
Division of the Mississippi was created, and Gen. Grant was 
placed in command. Pending the arrival of Gen. Grant, 
Gen. Thomas assumed command of the army at Chattanooga ; 
and Gen. Rosecrans withdrew from his position as leader so 
quietly, that for some days it was not generally known that he 
had been relieved from command. He was favorably re- 
garded by his men ; but the smoke of Chickamauga had 
clouded his reputation as a commanding General, and, justly 
or unjustly, he went to the rear. 

Gen. Grant arrived at Chattanooga October 23, and with 
characteristic promptitude and vigor he addressed himself to 
the task of changing the military situation. But with justice 
to others, it should be said that before his arrival a bold and 
promising measure for our relief was nearly ready for execu- 
tion. For some time Gen. Smith had been building pontoon 
boats, with a view of establishing a bridge at Brown's Ferry, 
a few miles north of our camp at Moccasin Point, thus open- 
ing a way into Lookout Valley, preparatory to the advance 
of Gen. Hooker on the direct road from Bridgeport. 

On the morning of the 27th, at three o'clock, a fleet of 
pontoon boats left Chattanooga, loaded with a force of 1,300 
picked men under command of Gen. Hazen. Their intention 
was to float down the river under cover of the darkness, glide 
past the enemy's pickets unseen, capture their post at Brown's 
Ferry, and transform the fleet of boats into a bridge before 
the enemy could rally a force strong enough to resist the 
movement. 

The distance from Chattanooga to Brown's Ferry by the 
river is nine miles, but across the neck of the point it is only 
four miles. For some distance below the city the force on 
17 



258 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

the pontoons had nothing to fear, for both banks of the river 
lay within our lines ; but where the river turns northward 
along the base of the mountain, they knew that a line of 
Rebel pickets extended along the left bank of the stream for 
miles, and past these they must glide unseen and unheard. 
Closely hugging the right bank of the river, and under the 
shelter of a friendly fog, the movement was executed so suc- 
cessfully that the first boat reached the appointed place at 
dawn, captured or dispersed the Rebel force stationed at the 
Ferry, and by ten o'clock the bridge was stretched from bank 
to bank. 

This brilliant movement was not accomplished without 
opposition. Our guns on Moccasin Point and the Rebel guns 
on Lookout had a violent quarrel about the new bridge. The 
guns on Lookout sent their protests down the river in the 
shape of shells ; but a line of boats miles away, and rising 
only a foot or two above the water, is hard to hit, so Lookout 
protested in vain. 

On the twenty-seventh we left our camp and passed the 
night near the eastern end of the bridge, and on the twenty- 
eighth we crossed over to form a junction with Hooker's 
column, which was advancing toward Lookout Valley from 
the west. The enemy resisted Hooker's advance with great 
vigor at first. A heavy fire from Lookout assailed the head 
of the column as it pressed into the valley on the twenty- 
eighth, and at one o'clock A. M. on the twenty-ninth a fierce 
assault was made on Geary's Division of the Twelfth Corps, 
at Wauhatchie. This desperate night attack seemed to call 
for our presence on the scene of action, and at sunrise we 
began to advance toward the western base of Lookout ; but 
it soon became evident that " Fighting Jo, " as Hooker was 
popularly termed, would be able to take care of himself, and 
our reinforcing column sought shelter behind a range of hills 
from the annoying artillery fire which from the crest of Look- 
out had disputed our advance. 

At this point occurred the only disaster of the day in our 
entire command. A shell exploded near a tree behind which 
a number of men were standing, mortally wounding a member 



1863] OPENING THE CRACKER LINE. 259 

of the 101st Illinois, severely wounding George Shaw, of Com- 
pany D, NINETY-SIXTH Illinois, and inflicting slight wounds 
on Henry J. Ring, Walter Crapo, and D. G. Stewart, of the 
same Company. That unlucky shell spoiled George Shaw's 
marching step, and has ornamented him with an honorable 
limp ever since. 

On the thirtieth we recrossed the river and returned to our 
camp on Moccasin Point. 

This dash into Lookout Valley will be remembered by our 
men, personally, as being remarkable chiefly for two things 
corn and shells. To our hungry men it seemed almost like 
an entrance into paradise to find corn ; not poor, occasional 
ears such as we had lately gleaned after long search or at the 
risk of our lives, but large, golden ears, stored away in cribs. 
We began to draw rations of corn with a celerity which soon 
emptied the cribs and filled our haversacks. Corn was King 
all along the line. Ears were passed from hand to hand as 
gifts worthy of being tests of true comradeship. Corn was 
eaten from the cob with apparent satisfaction, and parched 
corn was regarded as a luxury. 

But with an over-generosity which we did not at the time 
appreciate, the Rebel artillerists on Lookout offered to shell 
our corn ; at any rate they shelled us with great vigor, and 
much to our discomfort. A fragment of a shell actually made 
its way into Henry Ring's haversack, in search of corn, a 
kindness which called forth anything but thanks from the 
Antioch soldier. 

But this movement, crowned with such entire success, 
brought speedy relief to our entire army. With the exception 
of a short detour to avoid the guns on Lookout our direct 
line to Bridgeport was once more open ; and abundant supplies 
came to us by wagon train, and up the river by steamboat, 
demonstrating the fact that Bragg's attempt to reduce Chatta- 
nooga by siege was a failure. But the reign of plenty did 
not come to us on Moccasin Point. On October 31st, at an 
early hour, we bade good by to that memorable camp, and 
moved in the direction of Bridgeport. We did not, as was 
usual when starting on a march, draw three days' rations, but 



260 HISTOKY OF THE 96xH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

each man received three small squares of hardtack. The 
' ' cracker line " was open, but very little had come over it as 
yet. But we began the march with hearts as light as our 
haversacks ; for he is a poor soldier who cannot provide for 
the partial supply of his wants when on the march, and hunger 
had taught us that there is much virtue in an ear of corn. 
Corn continued to be King until we arrived at Shell Mound, on 
the afternoon of the second day, but there he was ignomini- 
ously dethroned, for again we drew full rations for the first 
time in many a day. 

The principal natural curiosities at Shell Mound are a large 
mound of shells on the bank of the Tennessee, and Kickajack 
Cave, which furnished nitre for a powder factory until the 
advance of our army put a stop to operations. This cave has 
a splendid entrance hall, some three hundred feet wide, four 
or five hundred feet long, and thirty or forty feet high.. 
Beyond this noble hall the cave turns to the left, becomes 
narrower, and extends into the mountain for a great distance. 

According to an Indian tradition, one of their braves made 
a wager that he would ride through the cave on his pony, and 
find an exit at a distant point. He entered the cave full of 
bravery and bad whisky, and after a considerable length of 
time he and his pony came out on the other side of Raccoon 
Mountain, sixteen miles away. It may be ; but that pony 
must have been web footed, for a stream runs through the 
cave, and, in exploring it, much of the distance has to be 
made by water. 

To the left of this cave Nickajack Cove cleaves its way 
into the mountains in a southerly direction. It is of consid- 
erable width at its entrance, but narrows as it advances, and 
ends abruptly against the side of a mountain about three miles 
from the entrance. 

About half way up this sheltering cove, on an easy slope 
of the left hand mountain, we went into winter quarters, with 
wood and water right at our doors. Only the NINETY-SIXTH 
and the 40th Ohio occupied this cove, the other Regiments of 
the Brigade being camped near Shell Mound. For a week or 
more after the camp was laid out, an epidemic of architecture 



1863] AN EPIDEMIC OF ARCHITECTURE. 261 

raged in the cove, with most astonishing results. If the four 
winds of the earth had brought strange structures from all quar- 
ters and had set them down on the hill side, there might have 
been greater variety in materials, but hardly greater variety in 
styles. No particular order of architecture was followed, for 
the reason that each man was an original architect and did 
not wish to cramp his individual genius by conforming 
slavishly to conventional styles. So each man did what was 
well pleasing in his own eyes ; and the result was a picturesque 
combination of all known orders of architecture, with a strong 
dash of dis-order. 

A description of one Company D mansion will give a 
faint idea of one structure, which was like nothing else on the 
whole mountain side, and the same might be said of every 
other structure in the camp. 

It was about twelve feet square, built of three-inch planks 
split from the heart of straight-grained trees, notched together 
at the corners, with one opening for a door and another for a 
window. The roof had a single slope from front to back, and 
was covered with "shakes." At one end was a large fire- 
place and chimney, built of mud and stones at the bottom, 
and mud and sticks at the top. A description of the interior 
might demoralize the dictionary, and so will not be attempted ; 
but at night, when a large fire burned in the fireplace, and the 
boys sat around it on bunks and benches, that cabin contained 
a vast amount of comfort. 



262 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. .Y. I. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



BY A. R. THAIN, OF COMPANY D. 



The March to Lookout Mountain Before the Battle The Colonel's 
Speech Nature of the Battle Field The Forces Engaged in the 
Battle Crossing Lookout Creek Climbing the Mountain Rough 
Nature of the Ground Our Advance Skirmishing Artillery Fire 
The Charge The Rebels Fall Back The Battle in the Clouds A 
Modern Sinai Doubling Point Lookout Cheers of Victory Steep ^ 
Charge over the "Nose" Writing on the Wall Last Stand of the 
Enemy Was it a Battle ? Facts Say Yes Rebel Loss Our Loss 
Our Captures The Bivouac on Lookout Planting the Flag on Point 
Lookout Cheering the Flag The NINETY-SIXTH on the Summit 
Description of the Scenery Battle of Missionary Ridge Return to 
Nickajack Cove The Winter. 

BUT it was decreed by the military powers that we should 
not settle down to the full enjoyment of our shanty city until 
we had taken part in stirring scenes at the front. On Novem- 
ber 19 we drew six days' rations, and were ordered to hold 
ourselves in readiness to march. Sherman's troops were 
passing by the Cove on the way to Chattanooga, and every- 
thing indicated that Gen. Grant was preparing for an aggres- 
sive movement on a grand scale. 

The column that tiled out from our camp was not a long 
one, for notwithstanding the return of a number of those 
slightly wounded, the hardships had been such as to break 
down many men, and there were less than two hundred and 
fifty for duty. Colonel Champion was in command. There 
had been several changes among the officers since Chicka- 
mauga. The vacancy caused by the death of the lamented 
Lieutenant Colonel Clarke had been filled by the promotion 
of Major J. C. Smith, but the latter was still on staff duty. 
Captain George Hicks, of Company A, had been promoted 
to Major and was with the command. First Lieutenant 
William Yincent, who was still absent nursing wounds, had 



1863] THE MARCH TO LOOKOUT. 263 

been promoted to Captain, and Second Lieutenant Pool to 
First Lieutenant. Second Lieutenant William Dawson had 
been commissioned First Lieutenant in Company F, to succeed 
Lieutenant Simms, who had died from his wounds. A com- 
mission as First Lieutenant had also been issued to Second 
Lieutenant Charles H. Yates, of Company H, the intention 
being that he should fill the vacancy caused by the death of 
Lieutenant Barnes, but as Yates was a prisoner of war he 
could not be reached, and the commission was subsequently 
recalled. In Company I Captain John Barker had resigned, 
and Lieutenants Tarpley and Moore had each received pro- 
motion. No Second Lieutenants were commissioned at this 
time, as the Companies were all below the minimum number. 
As the column started out for a renewal of the campaign there 
was but one Captain along the line Captain Taylor, of 
Company E and but a dozen line officers in all. 

We marched from the Cove on the twenty-third, leaving 
everything standing,, with the expectation of returning to 
pass the winter there. We arrived at Wauhatchie late in the 
evening, and bivouacked for the night. 

The morning of the twenty-fourth was misty and disagree- 
able. The elements seemed to frown on us as we lay in the 
valley, but the elemental frown which lay between us and the 
summit of Lookout in reality turned a friendly side to us and 
a frowning side to the enemy. That foul day was the fairest 
day of all the year for the execution of the purpose which our 
leaders had in view. 

The mist which had clung closely to the contour of the 
valley had lifted somewhat when we fell into line after a hasty 
breakfast. While we stood in regimental line facing the 
mountain, Colonel Champion took station on our front, seated 
on horseback, as if for a parade. Each man seemed to divine 
that something unusually serious was before us, and silence 
fell along the line. From the back of his horse the Colonel 
made a speech, the shortest, perhaps, that he ever made on a 
public occasion, but it is doubtful if he ever made one which 
produced a deeper impression. He said: "Boys, I have a 
few words to say to you. Before night I expect we will have 



264 HlSTOKY OF THE 96TH EEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

to climb the side of yonder mountain. You all know that at 
Chickamauga the NINETY-SIXTH covered itself with glory, and 
I hope that to-day we shall do nothing that will lessen the fair 
fame of the Regiment. I expect every man to do his duty ; 
I shall try and do mine." That speech gave us the first inti- 
mation of the arduous task which lay before us. For a few 
moments not a word was spoken, but we thought volumes. 
All eyes were lifted toward Lookout, and the rugged giant 
seemed to be answering the Colonel's speech. Standing on 
his bema of rock, with his cloudy toga wrapped about him, 
he seemed to say to his audience of five States and to the two 
armies at his feet, that human valor could not avail against 
his natural strength. 

We knew something about the difficulties of the proposed 
battle ground. From our former camp on Moccasin Point we 
had become familiar with the rocky outlines of the mountain, 
and knew something as to the position and strength of the 
Rebel works ; and that morning, through occasional breaks in 
the clouds, we caught glimpses of Point Lookout, with its 
crowning battery ; we could see the sheer descent of the 
palisades, declaring, with cold, stony logic, that the crest of 
the mountain could not be carried by direct assault, and lower 
down we knew that there were steep ravines, rock-strewn 
slopes, terrible tangles of felled timber, and strong lines of 
works filled with watchful foes. We were willing to face 
men, but were we not asked to do that and to fight with the 
elemental forces of nature at the same time ? Yery little time 
was left us, however, to debate the chances of success or 
failure. The time for action had come, and at once we set 
out to make, if possible, a secret side entrance on the lofty 
stage of that splendid theatre of war. 

The troops commanded by Gen. Hooker in the battle of 
Lookout Mountain were, Gen. Geary's Division of the Twelfth 
Corps, Gen. Osterhaus' Division of the Fifteenth Corps, and 
Gens. Whittaker's and Grose's Brigades of the Fourth Corps. 
The Reserve Corps, to which we had belonged until within a 
few weeks of this time, had been incorporated into various 
commands, and we now belonged to the Second Brigade, First 



1863] CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN. 265 

Division, Fourth Army Corps, our Corps commander being 
Gen. Granger, with Gen. Charles Cruft as Division com- 
mander for the time being, and Gen. Whittaker as Brigade 
commander. 

The general plan of the battle was that while Gen. Hooker 
was making a direct attack on the mountain in the face of the 
Rebel works, a flanking force under cover of this attack and 
concealed by the fog, should cross Lookout Creek, scale the 
side of the mountain, advance in line-of -battle along the side 
of the mountain, with their right resting on the palisades, and 
strike the enemy on the flank and rear. 

Gen. Geary's Division and our Brigade formed this flank- 
ing force ; Gen. Grose's Brigade of our Division being left 
in the valley to seize the road bridge just below the railroad 
crossing, repair the bridge, cross over and form a junction 
with our line when we should have advanced that far. 

From Wauhatchie we marched up Lookout Valley under 
cover of the fog, and before crossing Lookout Creek to make 
the direct ascent of the mountain we laid aside our knapsacks 
and all the dead weight that we could possibly spare. In our 
coming struggle with altitude and gravitation we must carry 
no needless burdens. The man, his musket, and something 
to put in it, was about all that such ground permitted. Even 
the horses of the field and staff were left behind. Lookout 
Creek was so high from recent rains that it was not easily 
crossed. Our Regiment clambered across on an old dam 
which was in part overflowed, reaching the right bank at about 
8 A. M. The direct ascent of the slope was effected with no 
opposition save that offered by the difficulty of the ground. 
When the right of our column neared the palisades we formed 
in line-of-battle, our right resting near the perpendicular 
rocks which rose grimly above us, our line stretching far down 
the slope toward the creek, and then we advanced toward the 
Rebel works, sweeping the entire side of the mountain. Much 
of the ground over which we advanced was rough beyond 
conception. It was covered with an untouched forest growth, 
seamed with deep ravines, and obstructed with rocks of all 
sizes which had fallen from the frowning wall on our right. 






266 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

The ground passed over by our left was not quite so rough ;; 
but, taking the entire stretch of mountain side traversed by 
our force in driving the enemy around Point Lookout, it was 
undoubtedly the roughest battle field of the war. 

At first our Regiment was in the second line, but soon 
we were ordered to take the right of the first line, as close 
under the palisades as possible, which position we retained 
during the day. This necessarily required us to face the 
steepest and roughest ground along the whole line, and 
brought us nearest the sharpshooters, who were posted along 
the crest of the ridge; but that which seemed to threaten 
our destruction was, in fact, our safety, for the guns of the 
upper battery could not touch us, even when their depressed 
muzzles almost kissed the rocks ; and though the steep, raking 
shots of the sharpshooters, fired from the edge of the cliff, 
had a very wicked sound as they went whizzing down the 
regimental line, most of them were too high to do any injury. 

But our advance at first was unopposed and seemingly 
unnoticed. The attention of the enemy was centered on 
Osterhaus, who was engaged in forcing a crossing directly 
on his front. The silence was almost painful for a time. 
Every moment we expected to hear it broken by sharp shots 
from the rocks overhead, or by a rattling volley from behind 
the innumerable boulders in front of our advancing line. But 
nothing was heard save the tramping of many feet, and the 
hard breathing of men unused to mountain climbing. 

But soon heavy skirmishing began on our left toward the 
base of the mountain. Grose was forcing his way across 
Lookout Creek and preparing to bring his right into alignment 
with Geary's left, and farther down the creek Wood was rang- 
ing his battle front, with the intention of climbing into the 
clouds over the rebel works. 

At 11 A. M. our left connected with Osterhaus' right, and 
the line-of-battle was complete from the palisades to the- 
mountain's base, thence curving away toward the northern end. 
of Lookout ; a sickle of Mars, whose blue blade and fire-tipped 
edge was that day to sweep around its point as a pivot, and. 
reap a glorious harvest. 



1863] SWEEPING ABOUND LOOKOUT. 2CT 

The upper slopes and northern end of the mountain were 
now assailed by a fierce artillery fire from batteries in Look- 
out Valley and on Moccasin Point. A number of command- 
ing hills in the valley took a strong interest in the topography 
of Lookout, and began to drop shells in advance of our line 
in places where they were likely to do the most good for us 
and over the shoulder of the mountain we could hear Bran- 
nan's guns on Moccasin Point, defying their old antagonist 
with a fury which boded ill for all who lay within the range 
of that upsoaring tempest of iron. 

And the batteries of the enemy were prodigal of powder, 
now that the hour of conflict had come. The guns on the side 
of the mountain swept the slope, along and up which our 
troops were making their toilsome advance, and the high- 
perched battery on the crest of the mountain threw iron gages 
at the feet of its circle of antagonists in both valleys, chal- 
lenges which were promptly accepted and gallantly answered, 
1 The auricular effect of this artillery fire on us, who were 
close under the palisades, was grand and startling beyond 
description. The rocky sounding board rising on our right 
tossed back the reports of our own guns, and multiplied them 
into a continuous roar, and when the guns above our heads- 
made answer it seemed as though the entire vault of the sky 
had exploded with each report. A little later in the day, when 
this battery was thundering out of the clouds which densel}- 
shrouded the crest of the mountain, it would have required 
but little stretch of the imagination to have supposed that 
"cloud-compelling Jove" had appeared as champion of the 
Confederacy, and, from a new Olympus, was hurling thunder- 
bolts of modern make with more than his old-time vigor. 
But alas for the cause which no champion could save ! for the 
blue-coated Titans needed no Ossa on Pelion to aid them ia 
their upward climb, and in a few hours they would pluck the 
thunderbolts from the cloud. This artillery fire quickened 
our advance along the side of the mountain, and opposition 
was soon developed on our immediate front. It was a skir- 
mish fire at first, but it became more and more spirited as we 
advanced. A Rebel soldier came running toward us with 



268 HISTORY OF THE 96 r ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

uplifted hands, in token of surrender, and taking this as an 
earnest of victory, our men clambered over the rocks with 
cheers, driving the advance line of the enemy before them. 
Soon we came in sight of their works, but to our joy we saw 
that they had been constructed to resist a direct attack from 
below, and that from our position we could rake them with an 
enfilading fire, or even pass around their refused flank and 
attack them in rear. 

No doubt our leaders ordered a charge, but with such 
advantages in plain sight, to charge and capture the works 
hardly called for a formal command. Soldierly instinct was 
enough ; or, if anything more had been necessary, the yet 
fresh memories of that bloody field, lying eight or nine miles 
on the other side of Lookout, would have made us irresistible 
had the opposition been twice as great. 

Col. "W. F. Dowd, of the 24th Mississippi, who commanded 
this part of the Rebel line, says, in a description of the battle 
published in the Southern Bivouac, that his orders were "to 
hold his post till hell froze over ; " and, thinking at this junc- 
ture that the ice was about five feet thick, he ordered his men 
to fall back. 

But the gallant Colonel does not seem to have been well 
informed as to the temperature of the infernal regions at that 
particular time, for the resistance which he opposed to our 
advance was such as a thin skin of ice would oppose to a 
Cunarder when under full headway. Our charge on the 
entrenchments was like the rush of an avalanche. The enemy 
forsook their works and retreated along the side of the moun- 
tain toward the Craven House, leaving many prisoners in our 
hands. 

No regular line-of-battle confronted us after this until we 
reached the eastern side of the mountain ; but the broken 
Rebel line maintained an active skirmish fire, and the rough 
nature of the ground afforded them such ample cover, and at 
the same time made our advance so difficult a task, that our 
progress, though steady, was not rapid. 

The cloud, which had not been very dense when we charged 
on the enemy's works, now settled very densely along the side 



1863] THE BATTLE IN THE CLOUDS. 

of the mountain, and was at once a source of perplexity and 
a great protection. Wrapped in a seamless mantle of vapor r 
we became confused as to locality, direction and distance. 
Some of our men became entangled in the felled timber,' 
which, at this point, obstructed the slope, and were separated 
from their command. But the cloud effectually concealed us 
from our unassailable foes on the upper part of the mountain, 
who could have inflicted severe loss on us had the day been 
clear. 

This battle has been poetically termed "The Battle above 
the Clouds," but literally it was a battle in the clouds. It 
seemed like a war waged by the elements rather than a battle 
fought by men. The viewless artillery of the skies seemed to 
bellow above our heads and beneath our feet, and the bursting 
shells were dread thunderbolts. To some minds it seemed 
like cloud and fire capped Sinai, when God came down on it& 
dread top to give the law. From the veiled summit burst 
thunderings and lightnings, and the mountain quaked a& 
though the feet of Jehovah were treading its high places ; and, 
as of old, a vast concourse of spectators in the valley below 
were anxiously waiting to see what results would come forth 
from the clouds. And did not God, by the results of that 
day and the day following, say to the States which lie around 
that commanding summit, ' ' Let the oppressed go free ? " The 
original Emancipation Proclamation was written by the God 
of Battles with fire and steel, and President Lincoln some- 
what tardily copied it with pen and ink. 

At 12 o'clock our line was swinging around Point Lookout, 
the right of our Regiment being the pivot, and the left of the 
line sweeping around toward Chattanooga. Is it too much to 
say that the clock of history struck high noon when that mighty 
index finger pointed due north on that rocky dial face? Cer- 
tainly the afternoon of the Southern Confederacy began to 
decline from that hour. 

The cloud now began to lift, and spectators in Chattanooga 
Valley could dimly see our advancing line. They needed no 
courier from the mountain side to tell them that those advanc- 
ing flags meant victory ; and as we had little breath for cheer- 



270 HISTOKY OF THE 96'rH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

ing, they cheered for us with all their might. The Brigade 
Bands in the valley began to play, and we wrote the score 
which inspired them. 

Before 2 P. M. we had reached the eastern side of the 
mountain, and were driving the enemy toward the Summer- 
town Road. Members of the NINETY-SIXTH will never forget 
the headlong charge over the "nose " of Lookout to the relief 
of the 40th Ohio, when in the eagerness of their advance they 
were actually in the rear of part of the Rebel line, and were 
in danger of being crushed by superior numbers. The descent 
between us and the enemy was almost as steep as a Gothic 
roof, and down this declivity we slipped and rolled rather 
than charged on the astonished foe. Bullets and shells they 
had expected, and had become somewhat accustomed to, but 
when we threw a whole Regiment of men at them they 
promptly retired. This movement on our part was a most 
timely and telling one, for the position of the 40th was peril- 
ous. Colonel Champion grasped the situation in an instant, 
and, with the instinct of the true soldier, gave orders for a 
left wheel. The Regiment executed his orders unhesitatingly, 
and, gaining a position along a rude fence, poured a destruc- 
tive fire into the ranks of the startled enemy. Instantly the 
40th saw the movement, and not only ceased to retreat, but 
instantly rushed forward across the opening and charged 
the foe, capturing a section of artillery and a large number of 
prisoners. As soon as their relief was assured the NINETY- 
SIXTH swung to its former position, still occupying the extreme 
right of the army and again advancing. 

Our lines were now plainly visible to the Army of the 
Cumberland in Chattanooga Valley, and as they saw the flash 
of guns and the gleaming of steel brought out distinctly by 
the dark background of rock above us, it required no Daniel 
to interpret the meaning of that stern writing on the wall. 
It said of Bragg, whose headquarters lay directly over against 
us on the crest of Missionary Ridge, "Thou art weighed in 
the balances and found wanting." One libration of the scales 
the day before had shown his weakness before Chattanooga ; 
and now Lookout, which was expected to weigh heavily 



1863] THE MOUNTAIN EVACUATED. 271 

against us in the hour of conflict, was being lifted lightly in 
air by the ascending beam of another victory, its vast bulk 
and great natural strength being outweighed by the courage 
and audacity of our attack ; and on the morrow the sharp 
crest of Missionary Ridge being the pivot of the beam the 
broken fragments of Bragg's army "weighed and found 
-wanting " would be tumbled out of war's dread scale in the 
confusion of utter defeat. 

There was no severe fighting on the mountain after 2 P. M. 
'The Rebel line, reinforced by Gen. Jackson's Division from 
the upper part of the mountain, occupied a very strong posi- 
tion some distance south of the Craven House, and there they 
made a determined stand to retain possession of the Summer- 
town Road, the only road by means of which they could 
speedily withdraw their forces and artillery from the moun- 
tain. By this time our ammunition was almost expended, 
and exhausted as we were by our hard climb up and around 
the mountain, we were in no condition to drive the enemy 
from their last position by dint of bravery and bayonets. 
Later in the day reinforcements came to us from the Chatta- 
nooga side of Lookout, bringing such supplies of ammunition 
&s they could carry on their persons, but the battle was not 
renewed. A skirmish fire was maintained until late into the 
night, varied by a considerable demonstration made by the 
enemy between nine and ten to cover their intended retreat. 
They withdrew during the night so cautiously and silently that 
the mountain was in our possession for some time before we 
became aware of it. 

There has been some dispute among military critics as to 
whether that rough-and-tumble fight over the shoulder of 
Lookout was a battle or not. Some say that though it was 
striking in spectacular effect, affording abundant materials for 
the use of the artist and poet, yet from a military stand-point 
it hardly deserves to be called a battle. But if these adverse 
critics had viewed the battle from the front rank of the force 
which fought it, they might have been converted to the con- 
trary opinion. This strange misconception arises in part from 
the smallness of our loss -on that eventful day, and in part 



272 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

from the dwarfing effect of the grand movement which rolled 
the Rebel lines from the crest of Missionary Ridge on the 
day following. But the smallness of our loss was due to 
favorable natural conditions, and Missionary Ridge has glory 
enough of its own without reaching across the valley to rob 
Lookout of its laurels. 

Had the day been clear our loss would have been very 
heavy. So great were the natural advantages possessed by 
the enemy, that, could they have overlooked the move- 
ments of our forces, they would not have been driven from 
their natural fortress except by an engagement which would 
have reddened the rocks of Lookout with the blood of many 
brave men. A captured Colonel declared that if it had not 
been for the cloud their sharpshooters would have riddled our 
advance like pigeons, and would speedily have left our com- 
mand without leaders. The men who took part in that 
engagement know that it was a formidable undertaking, and 
let no one attempt to take their glory from them. It is true 
that General Fog commanded on the side of the mountain, 
while Gen. Hooker commanded in the valley, and the former 
covered our advance so effectually with his cloudy battalions 
that our loss was comparatively slight ; but even with this 
advantage in our favor we earned our battle laurels by hard 
climbing and gallant fighting. The glory of a battle should 
not be measured by its mortality list, but by the courage of 
the men engaged in it, and by the measure of their success. 

And the battle was by no means a bloodless one on either 
side, as may easily be gathered from the loss suffered by one 
Rebel Regiment, the 24th Mississippi. According to the 
report of their Colonel they had three hundred and fifty-six 
men and officers present for duty in the morning, of whom 
one hundred and ninety-nine were killed or wounded! during 
the day. The -iOth Ohio, of our Brigade, suffered a consider- 
able loss, both in killed and wounded, including Maj. Acton, 
who was killed. The loss in our Regiment was small, because 
we were so close to danger that much harm passed harmlessly 
over us. 

The following is the 



: -.^*r\J- 

,.*.** or- ^ 






1863] THE LOSSES. 273 

LIST OF CASUALTIES. 

KILLED. Esau Rich, of Company B. 

WOUNDED. Adjutant E. A. Blodgett, hand ; First Lieutenant Robert 
Pool, Company A, head ; Sergeant John Vincent, Company A, ball en- 
tered just below right eye and passed out back of left ear, but he recov- 
ered ; Harry Menzemer, Company A, slightly ; Nicholas Wearmouth, 
Company A, left side ; Harlow D. Ragan, Company A, hand ; Second 
Lieutenant George H. Burnett, Company B, scalp wound ; James Lit- 
wiler, Company B, face ; W. V. Trout, Company B, foot and leg ; Cor- 
poral Henry A. Webb, Company D, head ; R. 8. Thain, Company D, leg ; 
Sergeant R. J. Cooper, Company E, hip ; James Junken, Company E, 
side ; William S. Nash, Company F, chin and left shoulder ; Corporal 
John W. Swanbrough, Company G, foot ; Joseph K. Clark, William 
Joyce and John King, all of Company G, were each wounded in the 
head ; First Lieutenant George W. Moore, Company I, leg ; Harrison 
Gage, Company I, arm ; Daniel Malone, Company I, leg ; First Lieu- 
tenant E. E. Townsend, Company K, foot ; Corporal Henry W. Goding, 
Company K, head ; Thomas Carleton, Company K, leg ; Oscar W. 
Cowen, Company K, body. 

Some of these wounds were slight, and did not disable the 
recipients. A few, however, proved severe. When Sergeant 
Vincent was shot, all thought that his wound was necessarily 
fatal, and supposed they would never see him again ; but he 
was so full of courage and manly strength that he soon recov- 
ered, and, notwithstanding the loss of an eye, returned to the 
Regiment, doing gallant service and carrying the colors in 
several engagements. Corporal Swanbrough's wound was 
received while carrying the colors. He had been the only 
one of the Color Guard to escape at Chickamauga, and was 
now among the first hit. His wound disabled him for only a 
few weeks. Lieutenants Moore and Townsend were each dis- 
abled for a time, but not permanently. Indeed, not one of 
the entire list of wounded was absent from the command for 
more than a few months. 

Our Brigade captured two pieces of artillery and a large 
number of prisoners ; and when we reached the top of the 
mountain the next day, we found in the abandoned camp of 
the enemy a great variety of stores and supplies which they 
had left behind in their precipitate retreat. 
18 



274 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

That night bivouac on the "nose " of Lookout will never 
be forgotten by the men who tried to court sleep amid a chaos 
of rocks, swept by a keen northwest wind. We longed for 
our knapsacks, but they were miles away and a thousand 
feet below us in Lookout Valley. Camp fires seemed indis- 
pensable, but they were a dangerous luxury, for certain sharp- 
shooters on the rocks above us, like the "King of Shadows," 
loved " a shining mark," and more than one camp-fire group, 
while cooking their much-needed supper, were disturbed by 
officious offers of the enemy to settle their coffee with lead. 
But shots in the dark are uncertain ; and, in spite of Rebel pro- 
tests, we speedily promoted old Lookout, putting shining stars 
on his shoulders and decorating his rugged breast with a slop- 
ing sash of camp fires, very comforting to us, and a blazon of 
victory to our comrades in the valley. 

But when we sought sleep that night we were made to 
realize that rubber blankets form a poor protection against 
cold ; that rocks are uncomfortable pillows, and that though 
a slightly sloping bed may be favorable to slumber, yet when 
it rises fifteen or twenty degrees above the horizontal line, 
sleep will be in inverse ratio to the steepness of the slope. 
But so great had been the fatigues of the day that though our 
pillows were no softer than those pressed by the head of Jacob 
of old, and our bivouac was rougher than the ancient Bethel, 
yet we snatched sleep enough for a soldier from the jaws of 
difficulty, and were ready in the morning for whatever might 
lie before us. 

The morning of the 25th dawned clear and beautiful. 
Boreas had wielded his windy besom so diligently during the 
night that not a wisp of fog or cloud clung to the crest of 
the mountain, nor cobwebbed a corner of the rocky ravines. 
But fog had served us so well the day before that we were 
almost in love with it, and we began to wish that the vapory 
army which had departed during the night might return again 
to assist us. All illusions as to distance and danger were now 
dispelled. From where we lay the crest of the mountain was 
startlingly near, and the unassailable strength of the position 
was only too evident. Point Lookout and the palisades on 






1863] THE FLAG ON THE MOUNTAIN. 275 

either side frowned above us, and so close at hand that to all 
appearance an army of schoolboys might have stoned us out 
of our position. As the light increased we watched anxiously 
for some evidence of hostile presence on the rocks above us, 
but as we saw neither nutter of flag nor flash of steel, nor 
glimpse of moving gray, and heard not so much as the snap- 
ping of a twig on that summit which had been the especial 
seat of battle thunder the day before, we began to suspect 
that the eagles of war had forsaken their eyrie, and that by a 
bold climb we might gain the deserted nest. 

The NINETY-SIXTH might properly have claimed the honor 
of making that climb, for they had hugged the base of the 
precipice during the battle. But time and the elements, sup- 
plemented by the tornado of shot and shell at Chickamauga, 
had so riddled the regimental colors that they could hardly be 
distinguished from the flag of the enemy ; and as there was 
at hand a regiment with a stand of colors new and bright, our 
Brigadier, who was a Kentuckian, with pardonable partiality, 
gave the honor to his native State. General Whittaker asked 
for volunteers from the 8th Kentucky to plant the Union flag 
on the mountain by climbing a narrow rocky stairway which 
leads up to the point through clefts in the rocks. Fifteen 
men at once volunteered, and began the ascent. Looking 
back on events we now know that there was no danger in the 
enterprise ; but looking up at the little band of brave men as 
they reached the base of the upright rocks that morning and 
began to climb that stony stair, we feared that they might be 
devoting themselves to captivity or death. 

But our suspense was short. Our eyes were soon glad- 
dened by seeing our flag waving from Point Lookout. Never 
did it seem so grand as when the sun kissed its silken folds 
on the apex of that ragged cliff, and never was our national 
banner greeted with such cheers as then stormed the moun- 
tain from all sides to hail our victorious flag. All the breath 
which we had spent the day before in climbing the mountain 
seemed to come back to us, and we poured it out in cheer 
after cheer, which surged around the crest of Lookout, and 
rolled down into the valley in cataracts of sound. 



276 HlSTOBY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

But the men who had fought the battle had many comrades 
who united with them in cheering over the victory. The 
multitudinous shout of a great army came up to us from below. 
Fifty thousand throats hailed Lookout under his proper flag, 
and the mountain monarch seemed proud of his new honors, 
and nodded to all the hills around to prolong the shout and 
multiply it with echoes. The shout ran up the Tennessee to 
our extreme left, and told Sherman, who was then preparing 
to attack the northern end of Missionary Ridge, that another 
victory had been gained. 

To our Regiment and the 8th Kentucky was assigned the 
honor of holding the mountain, while the rest of our Brigade 
went with Gen. Hooker toward Rossville Gap to assist in 
storming Missionary Ridge. In a short time we were com- 
fortably reposing on the upper part of Lookout, near its north- 
ern end, taking in the magnificent view which it commands. 

At your feet lie parts of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, 
while in the blue distance far to the east dim summits loom 
up, whose rocky roots strike under the soil of the two Caro- 
linas. Here, on your left, is Lookout Valley, out of which we 
climbed yesterday. Over against you is Sand Mountain, 
standing on a line with Lookout, the two mountains looking 
like mated monsters, who, if properly yoked, might draw a 
whole State after them. Yonder, toward the north and west, 
is Raccoon Range ; and here, beneath you, a great loop of the 
Tennessee incloses Moccasin Point with bead work of silver, 
and within that loop lies our former camp ground, so close at 
hand that we wonder the Rebels did not shell us out of it. 

To the right of the Point the river sweeps northward in a 
semi-circle as graceful as Ulysses' bow of shining horn ; and 
Chattanooga, the fair Penelope who has been so rudely wooed 
of late by Southern suitors, grasps the bow near its centre, 
and stands waiting for deliverance. She will not have long 
to wait, for Ulysses is here, and before night that inverted 
bow will flame from tip to tip with bolts more terrible by far 
than those which sped from the twanging bowstring of the 
ancient hero, and at sunset our Ulysses will stand in this moun- 
tain hall without a rival. 



1863] THE BATTLE OF MISSION RIDGE. 277 

Off toward the east stretches Missionary Ridge, frowning 
like the wrinkled front of Mars. It is a false and schismatic 
gospel which is now preached from that ridge, but before day- 
light shall fade, the feet of them that bring good tidings shall 
climb its smoking sides, and their evangel, though turbulent 
and fierce in its utterance, will yet bring liberty to the 
oppressed and peace to our land. 

Chattanooga Valley, which lies between us and the Ridge, 
seems calm and level, as viewed from this elevation ; but go 
down into it and it breaks into a ground swell of hills and 
ravines, a battle field which carpet knights would not care to 
tread. 

Two-thirds of the distance across the valley from where 
we stand rises Orchard Knob, a fortified hill somewhat higher 
than its fellows, and on it Gen. Grant now stands to direct 
the battle which has already begun. Gen. Sherman, having 
crossed the river on a pontoon bridge near the mouth of North 
Chickamauga Creek, is now assailing the northern end of 
Missionary Ridge. The distance is so great, and the obstruc- 
tions to vision are so many that we cannot see the movements 
of the troops ; but Lookout is busy catching battle sounds in 
his rocky palms, and tossing them back across the valley ; 
and we know that in the midst of that tumult men are climb- 
ing the outlying hills at the northern end of the ridge, with a 
storm of iron and lead beating in their faces. 

It is noon, and with occasional pauses the storm of battle 
on our left still rages. It is three o'clock, and our centre 
begins to stir a little, as though impatient of so long a delay. 
Gen. Hooker has been toiling across Chattanooga Valley all 
day, repairing burned bridges and overcoming various obstruc- 
tions ; and now he is ready to strike the ridge at Rossville 
Gap, and roll the Rebel line back toward Sherman. 

It is half-past three, and the centre has not yet moved; 
but the air over Orchard Knob seems tense with suppressed 
thunders, and they must soon utter their voices. 

It is twenty minutes to four and hark ! Bridge's Battery 
over yonder is speaking in a very significant way. Six guns, 



278 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

fired in regular order, like the tolling of a mighty clock, say 
to listening ears, " The time has come" 

The valley below us gives birth to an army. Arising from 
the entrenchments, where they have been lying for hours, our 
men, with cheers, begin a charge, which, if successful, will 
carry them over a mile and a half of uneven ground, exposed 
at every step to a terrible artillery fire, and then up a ridge 
eight hundred feet high, seamed with three lines of works filled 
with resolute foes. 

For a little distance a screen of timber conceals our advanc- 
ing line, but now it appears in the open valley, stretching in a 
magnificent line from Rossville Gap ofi ? toward the Tennes- 
see. And now Missionary Ridge becomes volcanic along its 
entire crest. Seventy pieces of artillery are playing on our 
line, and the air over their heads is dotted with white, circular 
clouds, born from the fiery hearts of bursting shells ; making 
that "the valley of the shadow of death" to many who will 
not climb the ridge with victorious feet. Brave boys ! it was 
in their hearts to do it ; and we will crown them as victors 
though they fall in the early stages of that glorious race. 

But our artillery is not silent. Orchard Knob, which gave 
the signal for the battle to begin, confronts its huge antagonist 
with miraculous audacity, and slings shells as though it were 
little David standing in the valley of Elah, and yonder wrath- 
ful ridge were the forehead of Goliath. Forts Wood and 
Negley fire their guns so fast that they seem bent on empty- 
ing their magazines along the enemy's line before sundown ; 
and Moccasin Point, though almost out of the fight on accouut 
of distance, sends its compliments over the heads of our 
troops, done up in hard packages, to be distributed by "free 
delivery" when they reach their proper destination. Fort 
King speaks with a royal voice ; Fort Palmer shouts like a 
giant, and every gun along our line hurls iron defiance at 
those flaming batteries, which pay no attention to anything 
save that line of Blue which is steadily sweeping towards the 
base of Missionary Ridge. 

Well might the heroes of all time covet the privilege of 
standing here to view the grand spectacle. Here is all the 



1863] A MAGNIFICENT SPECTACLE. 279 

pomp and magnificence of a great battle within easy view, and 
yet so far removed that all the horrors of wounds and death 
are eliminated from the scene. Here is a panorama of war 
four miles in length, a panorama where the guns paint their 
own smoke as it rolls in sulphurous clouds from their hot 
mouths ; where the fire is not streaks of pigment on canvas, 
but leaps and flashes like the live lightnings of heaven ; where 
lines of men move forward, and battle flags flutter, and the 
sound of the battle ah, who can paint that! filling the valley 
with unceasing roar, and enlisting every echo lurking in sur- 
rounding hill or mountain to add its voice to the astounding 
tumult. If we could forget that our comrades are marching 
under those sulphurous clouds which are now flecking the 
whole valley and raining jagged fragments of iron out of their 
deadly bosoms on the defenceless heads of our brave men, we 
could enjoy to the fiill the scenic grandeur of the spectacle. 
But with the close sympathy of comradeship we join in the 
charge ; the hot breath of the batteries blows into our faces ; 
the iron hail of battle smites against the rocks of Lookout ; 
and Missionary Ridge is not four miles away, but close at 
hand, daring us to climb its embattled sides. 

Look at that line now ! for we cannot join it except by 
sympathy. It moves forward as though the guns in front of 
it were firing blank cartridges, and it were taking part in a 
harmless sham battle. There is no straggling, and the line 
is nearly continuous from right to left. No doubt conflicting 
emotions agitate thousands of panting breasts along that line ; 
but to us it moves forward as though not a man of them all 
could feel fear, and nothing could stop them save the hand of 
God. 

Now they near the base of the ridge, and with a trium- 
phant dash they capture the first line of works. If their 
endurance were equal to their courage they would climb the 
ridge at once, but even heroes must take breath, and they 
pause for a time before putting their lives in jeopardy on the 
high places of the field. 

Sense of time is lost at such hours, and seemingly before 
the heart can beat sixty strokes they are on their feet again, 



280 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

and have begun the perilous ascent. And now there comes 
across the valley the quick, sharp rattle of musketry, which 
soon deepens into a continuous roll, more dreadful to experi- 
enced ears than the loudest cannonade. It tells us that the 
tug of war has come at last ; that foemen are looking into 
each others' faces ; that angry eyes are glancing over deadly 
tubes and selecting individuals out of the struggling mass to 
aim at ; that every man who faces that slope will have to pass 
a score of bullets on his way to the crest, and that many of 
them will never reach the crest through that downrushing 
tempest of lead. The marvel is that any of them dared to 
face it and lived through it ; for twenty-eight balls were 
counted in one small tree after the battle. 

But to us who view the battle from Lookout, that grand 
line moves slowly but steadily up the ridge, takes the second 
line of works, and, as though that were not worth a pause, 
presses resolutely up towards the third and last line. That 
line is not at all like the trim lines-of-battle often seen in 
pictures, but irregular, scattering, bent upward here and down- 
ward there ; a very crooked line drawn across a very rough 
page, dotted with flags at the points of highest elevation an 
altogether unmilitary line except that it will go forward. 

The sun is now balancing level rays across the back of Look- 
out, and what our men do to win the day they must do quickly. 
Yes, and they are doing it ! The grand old Army of the 
Cumberland are bent on taking a look over towards Chicka- 
rnauga from the crest of Missionary Ridge before the sun 
goes down, and though Bragg himself is putting men into the 
entrenchments above them they will not be denied. 

Yonder is a flag within a few rods of the works ! It flut- 
ters and disappears! Another Color Sergeant is added to 
the honorable roll of the many who have fallen to-day carry- 
ing the flag. Now it is up again in new hands and forward 
it goes it is at the works on them and part of our line 
goes surging over the crest of Missionary Ridge. But not at 
that point alone, for the whole line gains the crest at nearly 
the same time, and when all have done so well it would be 
invidious to make comparisons. 



1863] THE RETURN TO NICKAJACK. 281 

As our Regiment did not take part in this engagement 
except by viewing the picture which has been faintly outlined 
-on these pages, a general description of the battle is not neces- 
sary. Suffice it to say that it completely delivered Chatta- 
nooga from the presence of the enemy, and shattered their 
strength to such a degree that we enjoyed nearly two months 
of almost unbroken quiet. 

We remained on Lookout Mountain for a full week after 
the battle. For summer weather ours was an ideal camp ; 
but winter was now at hand, and when strong winds played 
leap-frog over the back of the mountain, and cold clouds 
trailed their gray hair through the trees which sheltered our 
-camp, we began to think longingly of our comfortable cabins 
in Nickajack Cove. There were plenty of tents and blankets, 
as the camp equipage of two Rebel Brigades had fallen into 
our possession, but the position was too exposed to permit of 
comfort. During a severe wind storm one night a tree was 
blown over, falling across one of the tents and fracturing a leg 
for Lieutenant Pool, of Company A, and disabling him for 
several months. Corporal W. H. Richards, and one or two 
other members of the Company were also considerably 
bruised. 

We soon took up our line of march for that sheltered nook 
among the mountains, going down the west side of Lookout, 
and early in December we were back in our shanty city and 
snugly established in winter quarters. 

The winter was unusually severe, both North and South ; 
ibut we had abundance of wood close at hand, we were well 
.housed, and as we had direct railroad communication with the 
North, our men fairly reveled in boxes from home filled with 
a bewildering variety of articles. 

Shortly following the battle of Chickamauga, the mails 
brought a Captain's commission to one of the many whose 
lives had passed away, First Sergeant John G. Schaefer, of 
Company A, one of those who had successfully passed the 
examination of the Board designated to choose officers for the 
Regiments of colored troops then forming in that department. 
During the autumn and winter, Sergeant Wallace Tear, of 



282 HISTOKY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Company K, who, after the battle, had been acting as Sergeant 
Major of the Regiment ; First Sergeant Richard Garrett, of 
Company E ; First Sergeant John H. Collier, of Company D ; 
First Sergeant J. M. Woodruff, of Company I, and Lovett S. 
Rivenburg, of Company E, were each accorded promotions a& 
Lieutenants in Colored Regiments. Quartermaster Jeffers 
was also assigned to duty at Chattanooga, and subsequently, 
on the recommendation of Gen. Grant, appointed an Assistant 
Quartermaster in the Regular Army. A little later Captain 
Allen B. Whitney, of Company B, resigned, and First Lieu- 
tenant E. J. Gilmore was promoted to Captain, and Second 
Lieutenant George H. Burnett to First Lieutenant. 

During the early part of September, Mrs. J. C. Smith, 
wife of Major Smith, went south, intending to visit her hus- 
band, then on duty at Murfreesboro, but as the army was 
advancing she remained in Nashville for some weeks. Accom- 
panying her were their three little boys. Following Chicka- 
mauga she spent much time in the hospitals, rendering such 
service as a thoughtful, patriotic woman could to the many 
sick and wounded in that city. She was startled, in October, 
to find that her own children were prostrate with the dread 
disease of small-pox. Her experience was a most trying one, 
and one of the boys little Freddie Parker Smith died No- 
vember 4. The father could not leave the front, and alone 
she consigned her loved one to the ground. Late in Decem- 
ber she took the two remaining boys with her to Nickajack, 
spending about a month at the headquarters of the Regiment. 

Among the incidents of the camp at Nickajack were the 
wounding of Captain Taylor, of Company E, and J. E. Clark- 
son, of Company D. A negro, found outside of the lines, 
was arrested and taken to camp. At headquarters he was 
searched and a revolver taken from him. T,he gun was of a 
peculiar make, and as Lieutenant Colonel Smith took it out it 
was discharged, the bullet striking Captain Taylor, passing 
through one leg and into the other, lodging in such a way that 
it could not be removed. The Captain was disabled for quite 
a time, and still feels some ill effects from the wound. The 
injury to Clarkson, which was of a similar nature, but less 
serious in its effect, was received while cleaning a revolver. 



1864] A NEW STAND OF COLORS. 283 

Colonel Champion obtained a leave of absence early in the 
winter, and spent some weeks at his Illinois home. Several 
line officers and enlisted men also obtained furloughs, usually 
for thirty days, and visited their families or attended to busi- 
ness matters at their homes. 

During the period covered by this and the preceding chap- 
ter, the losses to the Regiment were not wholly incurred in 
battle, or as the result of wounds. George J. Cooper, of 
Company B, died of disease at Louisville, Ky., November 18 ; 
Mason C. Beecher, of Company D, died at Nashville, Tenn., 
September 27 ; Arnold Willett, of Company D, died at Nash- 
ville, Tenn., October 28; Andrew Farrier, of Company D, 
died at Murfreesboro, Tenn., December 2 ; Samuel Fenn, of 
Company E, died at Stephenson, Ala., October 10 ; John 
Harding, of Company E, died at Evansville, Ind., December 
24 ; William Mathew, of Company E, died at Chattanooga, 
Tenn., October 14; George Sidner, of Company F, died at 
Nashville, Tenn., November 12 ; John G. Thrasher, of Com- 
pany G, died at Shellmound, Tenn., December 11 ; L. C. 
Crowell, of Company H, died at Chattanooga, Tenn., Novem- 
ber 3 ; William J. Forbes, of Company I, died at Pleasant 
Valley, 111., November 20 ; Butler Newton, of Company K, 
died at Nashville, Tenn., November 7. 

January 1, 1864, a pair of new flags from Lake and Jo 
Daviess Counties were presented to us by a committee consist- 
ing of Judge J. D. Platt, L. P. Woodworth and Edgar Scace, 
of Jo Daviess, who received in return our tattered battle flags r 
which were separated and taken one to each county. It was 
a matter of regret that, owing to some disarrangement of 
plans, the Lake County members of the committee were not 
present. The new flags were very beautiful, with their gilded 
lettering shining on their unsullied silken folds ; but the old 
flags, though torn and soiled, had a beauty which the new did 
not possess, for had they not passed through Chickamauga, 
and had they not led us over Lookout ? We parted with the 
rolls of glorious rags with regret, and resolved to make our 
new flags famous when we should enter on another campaign. 



284 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



Good-by to Nickajack A Leisurely March over Historic Ground The 
Camps at Tyner and Ooltewah Building Houses for a Day Blue 
Springs Reached Frequent Scouting Expeditions Engagement 
Near Dalton Sergeant Harriman Killed More Wounds and Captures 
Taunts from the Skirmish Line Ten Hours under Fire One Hun- 
dred Miles in Six Days An Accidental Shot A Ready-Made Camp 
Frequent Furloughs Captain Rowan and Lieutenant Earle Return 
from Prison Drilling Renewed Reading Clubs Formed Vaccinat- 
ing the Regiment Scurvy and the "Potato Squad" Deserters 
Drummed Around the Lines The Army Concentrating Waiting 
for the Order Forward ! 

TOWABD the end of January the weather became mild and 
pleasant, and on the twenty-fifth the Regiment was not greatly 
surprised by an order to be ready to march next day, the 
reported destination being Cleveland, Tenn. The health of 
the Regiment had been excellent, and many even of the 
severely wounded from the recent battles were again with the 
command. The prospective excitement of a new campaign 
helped in some degree to overcome the regret at leaving that 
<;amp in the mountains, but as the column marched out of the 
cove at nine o'clock of Tuesday, January 26, many a linger- 
ing look behind was cast at that strangely built city on the 
hillside. The other Regiments of the Brigade being at Shell- 
mound, the NINETY-SIXTH and the 40th Ohio marched only 
about four miles and camped on the banks of the Tennessee. 
Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Smith was still in command of the 
Regiment. Col. Jesse H. Moore, of the 115th Illinois, was 
temporarily in command of the Brigade, Gen. Whittaker 
liaving gone to Kentucky to take his seat in the Legislature of 
that State. Gen. D. S. Stanley was in command of the Division. 
It is, perhaps, worthy of note that the Regiment left Nickajack 
just one year from the day they marched from Danville, Ky. 

"Wednesday, January 27, the march was not resumed until 
about noon, a delay being made to allow the wagon trains to 
pass through that purgatory of transportation known as "The 






1864] THE MARCH THROUGH CHATTANOOGA. 285 

Narrows." The road through this portion of the route, which 
is bad enough at best, was worse than usual, and so trying 
upon both teams and wagons that but a half dozen miles were 
traversed by the infantry in rear, the camp for the night being 
near the high trestle bridge at Whiteside or Falling Waters. 
On the twenty-eighth the inarch was a leisurely one, the camp 
for the night, which was reached at three p. M., being at the 
base of Lookout Mountain. Lookout greeted the command 
with the familiarity of an old acquaintance, and seemed to 
promise the soldiers a gracious reception if they would honor 
him with another visit. 

The invitation was accepted at seven o'clock on the morn- 
ing of the twenty-ninth. The gay and easy march over the 
"nose " of Lookout was in striking contrast with the toilsome 
climb over the same "nose," several hundred feet nearer the 
rocky eyebrows, two months before, for the engineers and 
pioneers had built a fine macadamized road of easy zig-zag 
slopes and ample width, and though not at that time entirely 
completed it was an Appian Way compared with the former 
road, and made the march over the mountain seem like a 
triumphal procession. The march through Chattanooga was 
with drums beating and the new colors unfurled. Passing 
Orchard Knob a halt was made for the night at the foot of 
Missionary Eidge. There were visible many traces of the 
November battle, bullets being picked up here and there, 
while fragments of shell were so frequent as to indicate that 
there had been a somewhat lavish use of iron on the part of 
the Union batteries in Chattanooga, both during the siege and 
in the battle. Those of the men not too weary with the march 
wandered along the slopes, halting at intervals to count the 
bullet holes in trees or stumps, or picking up relics of the 
sanguinary contest, until nightfall shut out the view, and the 
bugle warned them back to evening roll call. 

Saturday, January 30, the command crossed the historic 
ridge, halting to rest upon its summit, and when the extreme 
strength of the Rebel position was seen, all admired, more 
than ever before, the valor which had driven a determined 
enemy from such a natural stronghold. At noon it began to 



286 HISTORY OF THE 96'ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

rain, making the roads very disagreeable ; but the march was 
not a long one, for before night the column halted and went 
into camp at Tyner Station, nine miles from Chattanooga, on 
the Knoxville railroad. A good camp was fixed up, and 
although Sunday brought a severe rain storm the men made 
themselves comfortable. Several Rebel deserters came to 
this camp, each telling a pitiful tale of short rations and gene- 
ral dissatisfaction in the Southern army, reports that subse- 
quent events did not confirm. These deserters were sent 
under guard to Chattanooga and thence to Nashville or farther 
north. The railroad was being rapidly repaired toward Cleve- 
land, and on Monday the first train passed Tyner. Mrs. B. 
G. Pierce, wife of Surgeon Pierce, came to the Regiment, 
remaining for some weeks. 

Wednesday, February 3, the Regiment again broke camp, 
marching six or eight miles, and halting at Ooltewah. It was 
given out that this was to be a permanent camp, and much 
pains was taken in the erection of cabins, small, straight pine 
poles being used for the walls, and the canvas tents being 
spread over them for roofs. Inside were bunks, and fireplaces 
were improvised beside the doorways. Boards were not 
abundant, but cracker boxes made a partial supply of material 
for doors, and, where other material could not be obtained, 
blankets or pieces of tent were used to shut out the wind or 
rain. Guard duty was quite heavy, as Rebel cavalry hovered 
in the neighborhood and threatened the camps of the scattered 
troops. But the camp, which Thursday had seen so carefully 
erected, was abandoned on Friday, the Regiment marching 
eight miles, going in the direction of Cleveland. Colonel 
Champion, who had just returned from leave of absence, 
assumed command of the Brigade, and Adjutant Blodgett 
acted as Assistant Adjutant General. 

Saturday, February 6, the command marched four miles 
in a rainstorm, camping at Blue Springs, not far from the 
railroad which runs from Cleveland to Dalton, connecting the 
Chattanooga and Knoxville with the Chattanooga and Atlanta 
railroad. The next day was spent in fixing up a camp in the 
grubs upon a side hill. There was not a little apprehension 



1864] FORMATION OF THE VETERAN CORPS. 287 

at this time for the safety of this part of the line. Quite a 
large proportion of the members of many of the regiments 
organized in 1861, and who had served more than two years, 
had "veteranized," as the act of reenlisting was called, and 
were absent on furlough, so that the army was, for the time 
being, greatly weakened, and it was thought that the Rebels 
might take advantage of this fact and seek to break the lines 
in the vicinity of Cleveland. Several recent demonstrations 
on the part of their cavalry had tended to confirm this belief, 
and the troops at Blue Springs were kept well in hand and 
ready for any emergency that might arise. Reveille sounded 
early each morning, but the old practice of standing in line 
through the damp and chilly morning hours was not revived, 
although the men kept on their accoutrements and were in- 
structed to have their canteens and haversacks filled, so that 
they could march at a moment's notice. 

There were few measures during the war that gave evi- 
dence of greater wisdom and forethought than the originating 
and adopting of the act under which the reenlistment of the 
volunteers of 1861 was secured. Nor was there any event 
that gave more eloquent testimony to the devotion and cour- 
age of the American volunteer soldier. The men who reen- 
listed in Tennessee had experienced all the hardships inci- 
dent to severe campaigning, and all the dangers of repeated 
and terrible battles. They had, during the autumn and early 
winter, fought three desperate engagements. For weeks they 
had been on short rations. Even at that time they were, at 
many points, subsisting on such provisions as could be obtained 
in the war-worn and not over-populous region about Knoxville 
and Loudon. The weather was desperately cold. Indeed, 
many of them were enduring hardships and severities such as 
were hardly equalled at Valley Forge. But in the face of 
these hardships, with the certainty that it meant more toilsome 
marches and terrible battles, these brave men, at the call of 
the President, responded, in some Regiments almost unani- 
mously, and reenlisted for another three years. As promised, 
these veterans were given a thirty days' furlough to their 
homes, and at the time now written of only the non-veterans, 



288 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

as those who did not re-enlist were called, and the troops that 
could not "go in again," not having yet served two years, 
were at the front. Hence it was necessary that the utmost 
watchfulness should be observed. Consequently the country 
between Cleveland and Dalton was tramped over almost daily 
by reconnoitering parties. 

Monday, February 8, the NINETY-SIXTH was ordered out 
to scout the country toward Dalton, and left their camp at 
Blue Springs about four o'clock p. M., marching eight miles 
and going into bivouac. Next morning the march was 
resumed, the command going four miles farther, and to within 
two miles of the Rebel lines, and then returning to camp. 
No organized force of Rebels was encountered, but there were 
evidences that they were not far away. It was remarked by 
soldiers that most of the citizens along the route were loyal, 
and at one point the ladies came out and sang patriotic songs. 
The weather was pleasant, and while the march was rapid 
and fatiguing, the men seemed to enjoy it rather than other- 
wise. On their return the camp at Blue Springs was nicely 
policed, and many cabins were erected during Wednesday 
and Thursday . 

On Friday, February 12, the NINETY-SIXTH, the 84th 
Indiana and a Battery were again out on a scout, going to 
Red Clay, on the Georgia line, and halting for dinner on the 
very spot where the Rebels had breakfasted. That afternoon 
they returned to Blue Springs, and on the following Sunday 
Companies A, F, D, E and K were again out, going over 
nearly the same ground. The weather was rainy and their 
trip an unpleasant one. The troops now threw up some 
entrenchments at Blue Springs. 

Tuesday, February 16, the Paymaster came to camp, and 
each of the men received a small handful of crisp greenbacks. 
A rain storm prevailed for a day or two, and was succeeded by 
severe cold weather. 

On Saturday Companies B, C, G, H and I went out on a 
scout, .under command of Captain James, marching about 
thirteen miles and returning the same night. The resignation 




JOHN H. HOLDEN. 



COMPANY A. 



1864] THE DALTON RECONNOISSANCE. 289 

of Lieutenant Funk, of Company E, who had been disabled 
at Chickamauga, was accepted on the twentieth. 

Sunday, February 21, there was a heavy snow squall, and 
the weather was very disagreeable, making the order to 
march the following morning a most unwelcome one. Three 
days' rations were issued, with orders next day to have them 
last four days. On Monday the camps were early astir, and 
the First Division, which was encamped about Blue Springs 
and Cleveland, took the roads leading southward, camping 
for the night near Ked Clay Station. The NINETY-SIXTH did 
not leave camp until about nine o'clock A. M., and halted at 
three o'clock. The march was not directly to the destination 
mentioned, but in a roundabout way ; the purpose being to 
scour the country and prevent any force of the enemy from 
getting in the rear of the marching column. The Regiment 
was on picket at night. Simultaneously with this forward 
movement of the First Division of the Fourth Corps, the 
Fourteenth Corps moved forward farther to the right, going 
by way of Ringgold. At this time Gen. Sherman was on his 
famous Meridian expedition, and this movement on the part 
of these four Divisions from the Army of the Cumberland 
was intended as a diversion in his favor. It had been reported 
by deserters and captured Rebels that Gen. Johnston, who 
had relieved Gen. Bragg in command of the forces in North- 
ern Georgia, had dispatched two Divisions from Dalton to 
reinforce Gen. Polk, at or near Meridian, and it was the pur- 
pose of Gen. Thomas to either capture Dalton or compel Gen. 
Johnston to recall these forces. 

Tuesday, February 23, the command began fixing up a 
camp, but were shortly ordered forward, and at two o'clock 
p. M. again took the road, marching until nine o'clock in the 
evening and making nearly fifteen miles. The cavalry had 
some brisk skirmishing at the front, and the Fourteenth Corps 
met with some resistance farther to the right. The Union 
citizens were quite demonstrative, some of them even bring- 
ing out Hags, which had doubtless been hidden for at least 
three years. Women swung their bonnets and men hurrahed 
for the Yankees and the Union, manifesting great delight. 
19 



290 HISTORY OF THE 96'rn REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

One man, who claimed to be ninety-eight years old and to 
have been a Captain in the war of 1812, was almost frantic in 
his ejaculations when the Old Flag came in sight. 

Wednesday, February 24, rumors were abundant, and 
every one seemed anxious, for it was reported that the enemy 
was in heavy force near at hand, and partially in their 
rear, while the Union forces were apparently scattered. The 
Brigade, under command of Colonel Champion, retraced its 
steps, leaving their advanced position at ten o'clock A. M., 
marching three miles and halting near Lee's Cross-roads for a 
short time, and then, with other portions of the Division, 
pressing off toward Tunnel Hill, nearly four miles. Heavy 
skirmishing on the part of the Fourteenth Corps was heard, 
but when the column arrived in sight of the fortifications the 
.Rebels fled. During the afternoon the Brigade counter- 
marched to Lee's, and went into camp at dusk, having marched 
about twelve miles. 

Thursday, February 25, reveille sounded at two o'clock 
A. M., and at four o'clock the troops were on the road. Cross- 
ing a long ridge the column turned southward, marching 
toward Dalton, at first in column, and then in line-of-battle. 
The Division of Gen. Baird and other Union troops were 
passed, and as soon as the formation was complete the entire 
army pressed forward. The lines began to move about nine 
o'clock A. M., the NINETY-SIXTH at first having position on the 
left of the second line of the Brigade. The advance was very 
rapid for a mile or more, the ground passed over being a series 
of low hills, most of them heavily timbered. The Rebels 
were soon encountered, but the skirmishers pushed them back 
in an admirable manner, keeping up a rapid fire and hardly 
halting at all. While the lines were thus advancing, Josiah 
Moulton, of Company G, was wounded in the face. Francis 
T. Robinson, of Company A, was wounded in the foot. 
Henson Moore, of Company H, was wounded in the hand. 
It became apparent that the Rebel main line was nearly 
reached, and the troops halted at the crest of a wooded 
ridge, the skirmishers keeping up a rapid fire. This position 
was occupied throughout the entire day, and at no time for 



1864] CASUALTIES OF THE CAMPAIGN. 291 

ten hours did the firing cease. The Kebel skirmishers at 
intervals would tauntingly call from their pits: "Chicka- 
mauga!" or "Here's your Dalton! Come and take it!" 
The Union skirmishers would shout in reply : "Here's your 
Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge." From behind 
trees and logs they continued to send their leaden compliments 
back and forth. The soldiers in the main line lay upon the 
ground, just enough at the rear of the ridge to be protected. 
It is all very pleasant to lie upon the grass in the shade for an 
hour or two if the surroundings are agreeable and the weather 
pleasant, but when the ground is bare and damp, the weather 
chilly, the danger considerable and the time prolongs itself 
into many hours, a prostrate position becomes monotonous ; 
and so it proved on this occasion, for the day seemed intermi- 
nable. 

While Lieutenant Pepoon, of the Brigade Staff, was recon- 
noitering directly in front of the Regiment he drew the fire 
of the Rebel skirmishers, but escaped injury. One of the 
bullets, however, sped past its mark, striking Sergeant Henry 
J. Harriman, of Company K, in the head and causing his 
instant death. The Sergeant was a gallant soldier and worthy 
to command a Company or even a Regiment, and his death 
caused great sadness in the command. Toward night light 
lines of breastworks were thrown up, the men using fence 
rails, stones and logs. These works were not to be used, how- 
ever, for at eleven o'clock that night, it was determined that 
Dalton should not be attacked with the force then under Gen. 
Thomas. The army marched back ten miles, bivouacking 
at four o'clock near Lee's house, after a continuous march of 
about twenty-four hours, nearly one-half of the time under 
fire. The distance traveled during the time had been about 
twenty miles. When the line left its position at Dalton, 
Charles C. and Harry Menzimer, of Company A, were asleep 
behind a log a little in the rear of the pickets, and were not 
missed until daylight. Neither happening to hear the column 
move they slept on, unconscious of danger, until daylight, 
when they were awakened by the Rebel cavalry and made 



292 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

prisoners. Charles subsequently died in prison, and Harry 
escaped after enduring many terrible experiences. 

Friday, February 26, camp was broken at about noon, the 
Brigade to which the NINETY-SIXTH was attached marching in 
the direction of Tunnel Hill, and forming line where the halt 
was made on Wednesday. This position was maintained until 
nine o'clock p. M., when a retreat was again ordered. Fires 
were kindled along the road, by direction of the officers, to. 
deceive the Rebels into the belief that the troops were going 
into camp. The march was a rapid one, the final halt being 
made on Chickamauga Creek about one o'clock A. M. The 
distance traveled was about eight miles. 

Saturday, February 27, the troops remained in camp until 
afternoon, when they again moved, marching to within two 
miles of Ooltewah. The distance traveled was about ten 
miles, and the column did not halt until after dark. The 
Rebels followed closely, and near the Ringgold road consider- 
able skirmishing could be seen and heard on the left across 
Chickamauga Creek. An attempt was made to decoy the 
enemy into an open field by sending a wagon train toward 
them, but without avail. A sad accident occurred during the 
afternoon, Lieutenant Havens, of Company G, being very 
seriously wounded by the accidental discharge of a musket in 
the hands of a soldier in Company B. The bullet passed 
through his shoulder, and it was at first feared that the wound 
would prove fatal. All regretted the occurrence, but none 
more sincerely than the non-commissioned officer who chanced 
to have the gun in his hands. The Lieutenant recovered, but 
was disabled for several months, and still suffers from the 
effect of the injury. 

Sunday, February 28, the column marched to Blue Springs, 
reaching there at noon and occupying the old camp ground. 
The Rebels did not follow. The distance traveled was about 
twelve miles. The Regiment had now been out for a full 
week, and its service had been very trying. The marching, 
which had been rapid at times, had aggregated one hundred 
miles, and as there had been an unusual amount of night 






1864] AGAIN IN WINTER QUARTERS. 293 

work, the men were glad to be in camp again and given a 
little opportunity for rest. 

Monday, February 29, a severe rain set in, and the day 
was a very disagreeable one, but most of the men were per- 
mitted to remain in camp and made themselves as comfortable 
AS circumstances would permit. Quite a number of men, 
most of them having honorable scars, were arriving daily from 
the various hospitals. A leave of absence had arrived for 
Major Hicks just before the reconnoisance, but he pocketed it 
until the campaign closed, starting for home on the return to 
Blue Springs. 

Tuesday, March 1, the NINETY-SIXTH left Blue Springs at 
nine o'clock A. M., and marched to Cleveland, a distance of 
about four miles, going into camp a little outside the village 
on a side hill close by the railroad track. For almost the first 
time in its experience the Regiment made a very fortunate 
move as regards a camp ground, finding the winter quarters 
recently vacated by the 84th Illinois in excellent condition. 
They had but to put their shelter tents on these buildings for 
roofs and clean up a little litter, and they were in excellent 
condition for living. If the 84th Illinois boys knew how 
thoroughly their comrades of the NINETY-SIXTH appreciated 
this unusual state of things, they must certainly have felt com- 
pensated for any loss of pleasure they might have enjoyed 
had they pursued the usual custom, and upon being ordered 
to leave camp burned up their lumber. The day was rainy 
and cold, and the men regarded themselves as extremely for- 
tunate. From that time until the 23d of April the Kegiment 
-continued to occupy this camp. Every few days the heart of 
some one was made happy by the receipt of a twenty days' 
furlough. Generally these favored ones were men having 
families at home, but occasionally the rule was varied and 
single men were given leaves of absence. A heavy line of 
ritie pits were dug around camp, details of men being at work 
almost daily strengthening it. A number of recruits came to 
the Regiment from Lake and Jo Daviess Counties about this 
time. 

On the 8th of March the members of the command were 



294 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

made to rejoice by the receipt of the intelligence that Captain 
Rowan, of Company F, and Lieutenant Earle, of Company 
C, both of whom had been prisoners of war since the battle 
of Chickamauga, had escaped from prison and reached the 
Union lines. Both of these officers were very popular in the 
Regiment, and the news of their escape was enthusiastically 
received. 

Gen. Whittaker having returned from Kentucky and 
assumed command of the Brigade, Colonel Champion took 
command of the Post, with headquarters at Cleveland. Adju- 
tant Blodgett was assigned to duty as Post Adjutant. For 
some time before his injury, Lieutenant Havens had acted as- 
Adjutant of the Regiment. He was succeeded by Lieutenant 
Dawson, and Lieutenant Earle took the position on returning, 
serving until the return of the Colonel and Adjutant. 

The position of Post Commander at Cleveland was by no- 
means an ornamental one. Many of the citizens in the vicinity 
were intensely loyal. The armies had taken all of their live 
stock and provisions, and in many instances left them abso- 
lutely destitute. If they remained outside the lines they were 
continually subjected to unpleasant experiences, as scouting- 
parties from either army were raiding the country. As a con- 
sequence they flocked to the town and were assigned to the 
houses of absent Rebels. Upon the Post Commander 
devolved the delicate task of selecting the loyal and worthy 
and provisioning them. The disloyal were temporarily cared 
for, under guard, and either sent to Chattanooga, where they 
could be more carefully watched, or placed outside the lines 
where they could go to their Rebel friends. Almost the entire 
population of the three or four counties contiguous to Cleveland 
and Chattanooga were fed at Uncle Sam's expense for a num- 
ber of months. Many were sick and had to be treated by the 
Post Surgeons. An aged citizen, who had been a soldier in 
the Black Hawk war, died at Cleveland in March, and wa& 
buried with military honors, Corporal Gage, of Company G, 
having charge of the funeral escort. 

On the llth of March the Regiment had its first dress- 
parade for several months. Drill was resumed with consider- 



1864] RETURN FROM LIBBY PRISON. 

able vigor, the Companies or the entire Battalion being out 
whenever the weather would permit. A general order from 
Division Headquarters required all of the troops to drill not 
less than three and one-half hours every day. The Regiment 
still retained the old habit of getting up before daylight, form- 
ing line, stacking arms and wearing accoutrements until seven 
o'clock. 

On the 18th of March the Regiment marched through 
town and back. Gen. Whittaker being temporarily absent in 
Kentucky, Col. Price, of the 21st Kentucky, assumed com- 
mand of the Brigade, and on the 20th had a grand review in 
the afternoon. 

The 22d is memorable for a very severe snow storm, 
prevailing throughout the day and covering the ground to the 
depth of nearly a foot. Commands that chanced to be on the 
move at that time or that were merely in bivouac suffered 
greatly, but fortunately the NINETY-SIXTH was in comfortable 
quarters and not required to do very heavy guard duty, so 
that it enjoyed the storm rather than otherwise. The men 
indulged in some very vigorous snow-balling, and some of the 
officers improvised a sleigh and had a genuine sleigh ride. 

About this time several reading clubs were made up, the 
men contributing a small sum each to a fund with which to 
pay the subscriptions to a large number of magazines and news- 
papers, and as a consequence reading matter was very abun- 
dant in camp. The leading dailies from New York, Chicago 
and Cincinnati were on the list, and as a result all were kept 
fully "informed of the general news of the day. During the 
stay at Cleveland there was abundant time and opportunity 
for reading, but when the campaign which followed was fully 
begun, the papers were so irregular in reaching their destina- 
tion and the time of the men so occupied, as to render the 
periodicals of less service ; consequently most of the subscrip- 
tions were dropped at the end of three or six months. Cap- 
tain Timothy D. Rose, of Company K, resigned March 21. 
First Lieutenant E. E. Townsend was promoted to Captain, 
and Second Lieutenant George W. Pepoon to First Lieutenant. 

March 23d, Lieutenant Earle arrived in camp and was 



296 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

given quite an ovation, and for many days he was compelled 
to tell over and over the story of his escape from Libby Prison. 
Captain Rowan rejoined the Regiment a week later and was 
most cordially greeted. An elegant banquet was given at 
Post Headquarters in honor of their return. 

There had been more or less small pox in the army for 
some weeks, and as a precautionary measure every man in the 
Regiment who could not exhibit a satisfactory scar to the 
Surgeon was vaccinated. 

On the eleventh of April the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps 
were consolidated as the Twentieth Corps under command of 
Major-General Joseph Hooker. Gen. Gordon Granger was 
relieved from the command of the Fourth Corps and succeeded 
by Major-General Howard. On the whole the change was well 
received by officers and men, for Gen. Granger had not been 
wholly popular, many feeling that his punishment of soldiers 
for trivial offences was unnecessarily severe. There was at 
first a little prejudice against Gen. Howard, but this was speed- 
ily overcome, and he was afterward extremely popular with 
the officers and men of the entire Corps. His first order was 
to stop Sunday inspections and reviews, and direct that camp 
duties on the Sabbath should be as light as was consistent 
with safety and cleanliness. 

Wednesday, April 13, Sergeant Frank Wier, who had 
been acting Sergeant-Major for about five months, was pro- 
moted to First Sergeant of Company A, and Sergeant C. A. 
Partridge of Company C was detailed as acting Sergeant- 
Major, and subsequently appointed to the position which had 
been made vacant by the death of Sergeant-Major Quinn. The 
same day the Regiment marched to the railroad track and 
presented arms in honor of their late commander, Gen. 
Granger, as he passed on the train bound for Nashville. 
Gen. Howard visited the Regiment in the evening, making 
personal inspection of the camp. 

Although there was little known of the matter in the Reg- 
iment, quite a spirited contest was going on to determine who 
should be appointed to the position made vacant by the pro- 
motion of the Quarter-Master, Stephen Jeffers, to be a Quar- 






WHO SHALL BE QUARTER-MASTER ? 297 

ter-Master in the regular army. A majority of the line officers 
signed a petition to Governor Yates asking that Lieutenant 
Blowney, of Company G, be given the place. Colonel Cham- 
pion requested that his brother, Myron B. Champion, who 
had recently enlisted in Company K, be appointed. Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Smith, then in command of the Kegiment, asked 
that Lieutenant Moore, of Company I, who was temporarily 
filling the position, be regularly commissioned. Influential 
friends in Illinois asked that Hospital Steward Ferguson be 
promoted. Numerous papers endorsing the several aspirants 
were filed with the Governor, and after some delay the com- 
mission was issued to Hospital Steward Ferguson. Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Smith appealed the case, and the Department 
Commander, Gen. George H. Thomas, decided that the com- 
mander of a regiment had the right to name his staff officers, 
and accordingly declared Lieutenant Moore to be the Quarter- 
Master of the .Regiment. At the same time he recommended 
that Hospital Steward Ferguson be assigned to duty, with the 
rank of First Lieutenant, in any existing vacancy. The only 
vacancy existing when the decision came was in Company H, 
and to this Company he was assigned. So much time was 
consumed by the correspondence that Lieutenant Ferguson was 
not mustered until the following October, although his com- 
mission dated from the death of Lieutenant Barnes, October 
2, 1863. Lieutenant Moore's appointment as Quarter-Master 
was dated April 16, 1864. Quarter-Master Sergeant George 
Jeifers, who had been appointed to the position upon the 
death of the gallant Bean at Chickamauga, voluntarily relin- 
quished the position to accept a detail with his father, the 
late Quarter-Master. He was succeeded by Sergeant B. F. 
Shepard, of Company G, who, although still suffering from 
wounds received at Chickamauga, had recently rejoined the 
command. Corporal Swanbrough, who had so gallantly car- 
ried the Regimental colors at Chickamauga and Lookout 
Mountain, was made a Sergeant to fill the vacancy caused by 
Shepard's promotion. 

There had been more or less scurvy among the men all 
through the late winter months, there being not less than 






298 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

fifty well defined cases in the Regiment at one time toward 
the close of April. But by united efforts on the part of the 
officers, enough vegetables were secured, as a part of the 
rations of the men, to relieve this trouble somewhat ; but still 
there was considerable sickness, and one or two men from 
every Company had to be sent to the hospital, while others 
were hardly fit for active service. The vegetables received 
were generally potatoes and sour-kraut. The limbs of the 
men were swollen and became very sore, their gums would be 
swollen, their teeth loose, and they would suffer from general 
languor and depression. The Surgeons had what was known 
as a "potato squad," composed of men who were kept almost 
exclusively on a vegetable diet. 

During the stay at Cleveland there was quite a religious 
interest in the Regiment, and also in the 40th Ohio, whose 
camp was near that of the NINETY-SIXTH. Preaching was 
held almost nightly in the camp of the 40th. These meetings 
were continued until the advance of the army, and were 
renewed whenever opportunity permitted all through the 
memorable battle summer that followed. 

About this time a petition, asking the Governor of Illinois 
to again commission Rev. Horace G. Woodworth as Chaplain 
of the Regiment, was endorsed by nearly all of the officers of 
the command ; but through some delay or misunderstanding 
the appointment was not announced until May 20, by which 
time he had made other engagements and could not accept 
the place. 

Saturday, April 23, in obedience to orders from Gen. 
Whittaker, the NINETY-SIXTH joined the Brigade at Blue 
Springs. Just before this move, Lieut. -Col. Smith was called 
to Chattanooga to serve upon a Board to examine the claims 
of citizens against the Government for property destroyed by 
the army. The command of the Regiment devolved upon 
Major Hicks for a few days and until Colonel Champion was 
relieved from duty as Post Commander, which occurred April 
28. Colonel Smith remained on this duty only about a fort- 
night and rejoined the Regiment as it neared Resaca. 

The camp at Blue Springs was in a plat of heavy timber 



1864] PREPARING FOR A NEW CAMPAIGN. 299 

where there was but little material for building, and the camp 
was quite in contrast with the recently vacated quarters at 
Cleveland. The men knew, however, that it was but for a 
little while that they were to be in camp. For some time 
past applications for furloughs had come back disapproved, 
and the entire Fourth Corps had been concentrating about 
Cleveland. The Regiments that had been home on veteran 
furlough were coming to the front again, many of them 
recruited to the maximum number, the 35th Indiana of the 
Second Brigade having returned with about 1100 men. The 
Fourth Corps occupied the left center of the grand army now 
concentrating for the forward movement. Up to this time it 
had been undecided as to the campaign, it being expected that 
Gen. Johnston, who was in command of the Confederate 
forces about Dal ton, would take advantage of the absence of 
the Regiments on furlough, and of the widely scattered con- 
dition of the Union army, and assume the offensive. Cleve- 
land was known to be the weak point in the Union line, and it 
was thought by the Generals in authority that an attack might 
be made at that point at any time. But now this danger was 
passed ; the army was reunited and strengthened until there 
were within supporting distance almost 100,000 men. It was 
stripping for its grand advance. All baggage that could 
possibly be dispensed with was ordered to the rear. Even 
the Company desks, which had always hitherto been kept 
within reach so that whenever a camp was made they could 
be brought up, were ordered stored, the officers being directed 
to carry blanks with them sufficient for all needs for some 
weeks to come. Four wagons were allowed to each Regi- 
ment for a time, but even these wagons were frequently 
unloaded, their contents being piled some where in the woods, 
and they sent to the rear for Quartermaster's stores for the 
supply of the army. On their return the teamsters would be 
sent to hunt up their original baggage, load it again and take 
it as near to the front as possible. The Soldiers knew that 
the enemy had an immense army in their front and were now 
certain that they were to be the attacking party, instead of 
being called upon to occupy the defensive, as had been 



300 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

.thought would be the case a month before. Drilling was 
kept up daily and camp regulations were very strict during 
the stay at Blue Springs. 

Sunday, May 1, the Brigade was called out and formed in 
a hollow square. In the center of the square was a little 
group of men, two of whom were evidently prisoners. They 
were not Confederate prisoners, however, but men who had 
deserted from the Union army. One of these men was mounted 
on a box in view of the entire Brigade, when a soldier, detailed 
for the purpose, stepped up to him and shaved his head. The 
sentence of the other deserter was read, after which they were 
both marched around the lines bare headed and with cards 
pinned on their backs marked "deserter," the band accom- 
panying them and playing the "Rogue's March." There 
could have been little fear at that time of desertions from 
among the veterans of the army, for the men who had fought 
at Stone's River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Mission 
Ridge were not likely to desert at this time. But there were 
in many of the Federal Regiments a large number of newly 
enlisted men, of whom a small percentage had been influenced 
.as much by the generous bounties, then offered for recruits, 
as by patriotic motives, and this episode was intended to serve 
.as a warning for all who might want to leave the ranks and 
return home, to first obtain permission. One of the men who 
was obliged to submit to the indignity of being drummed around 
the lines was a member of the 40th Ohio. He fully redeemed 
himself in the estimation of his comrades by his bravery in 
subsequent battles, and lost his life at Kenesaw Mountain. 

Up to this time there had been no organized detail of 
stretcher bearers, but before entering upon the campaign men 
were selected from each Regiment to act with what was known 
as the "Ambulance Corps," being provided with canvas 
stretchers, and instructed how to care for and remove wounded 
men from the battlefield. 

Michael Meres, of Company I, died at Bridgeport, Ala., 
Feb. 15, and Louis C. G. Goatiea, of Company A, died at 
Cleveland, April 12. John Baker, a recruit who had enlisted 
February 24, died at Camp Butler, Chicago, 111., March 20, 



1864] WATCHING ACKOSS THE GEORGIA LINE. 301 

1864 ; and Wesley D. Manlon, also a recruit, who enlisted about 
the same time, died at Camp Yates, Springfield, 111., March 2. 
The Armies of the Union, East and West, were now mar- 
shaling for a grand advance. Gen. Grant had taken personal 
command of the troops in Virginia, and had assigned Gen. 
W. T. Sherman to the command of the Military Division of 
the Mississippi. The latter had, near the northern line of 
Georgia, the Army of the Cumberland, comprising the Fourth, 
Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, under the immediate com- 
mand of Gen. George H. Thomas, and numbering about 
60, 000 men. The Army of the Tennessee, comprising portions 
of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps, under 
Gen. J. B. McPherson, and numbering 24,000, was approach- 
ing from the West ; and the Army of the Ohio, comprising 
the Twenty-third Corps, under Gen. John M. Schofield, and. 
numbering about 13, 500 men, was marching from the vicinity 
of Knoxville. Guards were disposed to protect the long lines 
of communication in the rear against the depredations of local 
guerillas and bushwhackers or the raids of the enemy's cavalry. 
Gen. Sherman had been so fortunate as to obtain the plans 
and specifications of the railroad bridges between Chattanooga 
and Atlanta, and pioneers and engineers had about completed 
duplicates of every piece of timber in every structure. These 
were piled beside the track, ready to be loaded upon the trains 
and run to any point as soon as an advance was made and a 
bridge found to be destroyed. Immense supplies of food and 
ammunition were being piled up in the rudely constructed 
constructed warehouses at Chattanooga. The preparations 
were stupendous. The vast army was possessed of a quiet 
confidence in the leaders whose master minds had planned the 
preliminaries so wisely and on so grand a scale, and calmly 
waited the order to advance. 



302 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 



CHAPTER XV. 



The Army Concentrating The Atlanta Campaign Inaugurated From 
Blue Springs to Catoosa Springs Obstructions in the Highway 
Two Partial Sunstrokes Advance on Tunnel Hill The Strong 
Fortifications Found Empty Looking Across the Valley Early 
Reveille Brass Guns vs. Brass Bands The Demonstration Against 
Rocky Face Ridge The NINETY-SIXTH Unslings Knapsacks and 
Takes the Skirmish Line Moving Against the Palisades To the 
Right and into Buzzard Roost Gap A Gallant Advance The Enemy 
Mistakes the Regiment for an Army Almost out of Ammunition 
A Bloody Sunset Night Permits Retreat and Rest Nearly a Half 
Hundred Casualties Deserved Compliments Shelled out of Camp 
The Rebels Evacuate the Dalton Line. 

MAY 5 had been fixed upon as the day for the inaugura- 
tion of the active summer campaign of 1864, for the armies, 
both East and West. Gen. Grant had assumed command of 
all the military forces of the United States, but chose to per- 
sonally operate with the larger army, then between Washing- 
ton and Richmond. Gen. W. T. Sherman, by personal con- 
sultation and through correspondence with his chief, had 
discussed and formulated plans for the forward movement 
from Chattanooga, agreeing to keep the enemy in his imme- 
diate front so occupied as to prevent the sending of Rebel 
reinforcements from Georgia to Virginia. On the other hand, 
Gen. Grant had given assurance that the army under Gen. 
Lee should be given ample occupation in Virginia, so that 
they should have no troops to spare for the use of Gen. 
Johnston. 

As the plans neared completion for what has gone into 
history as the Atlanta Campaign, and the day approached for 
its inception, all was activity along the line of the Tennessee 
River. That portion of the Army of the Tennessee which 
had been in the vicinity of Huntsville, Ala., moved, partly 
by rail and partly by marching, to Chattanooga, and thence, 
via Rossville, to Lee & Gordon's Mills, or a little farther south, 



1864] ARRIVAL AT CATOOSA SPRINGS. 303 

arriving in position as the right wing of Gen. Sherman's 
command during the early days of the month. The Army of 
the Ohio marched from the neighborhood of Knoxville, by 
way of Cleveland, to Red Clay, and became the left wing of 
the vast army simultaneously with the movement of Gen. 
McPherson's forces. At the same time the three large Corps 
comprising the Army of the Cumberland moved out to their 
assigned position as the centre of the mighty force. 

On the part of the NINETY-SIXTH the movement began at 
noon of Tuesday, May 3, when, with other troops, it left its 
camp at Blue Springs and marched over the ground made 
so familiar by the numerous scouting expeditions of the pre- 
vious February, halting for the night a mile south of Red 
Clay, on the Georgia line. The Regiment numbered a little 
more than four hundred men as it set out upon this memora- 
ble campaign. The route taken was the one known to the 
command as the "long" road, and the distance marched 
during the afternoon was twelve miles. 

Wednesday May 4. the march was resumed shortly after 
sunrise, but the command being in the rear of an immense 
wagon train and the road obstructed by timber that had been 
felled by the Rebels, progress was slow, only ten miles being 
traveled, although nearly the entire day was consumed. The 
weather was excessively warm, and two of the soldiers 
George A. Bangs, of Company B, and William S. Nash, of 
Company F were partially sunstruck, but fortunately neither 
of them were so prostrated as to be disabled for more than a 
week or two. Throughout the day skirmishers or flankers were 
kept out, but there was no fighting, although Rebels were seen 
in the distance. That night the Regiment took its place in the 
long line-of-battle, its position being near Catoosa Springs. 
The next day there was no movement of the centre save a 
slight shifting of position along the general line occupied on 
AVednesday evening. Rebels were seen hovering at the front, 
and a few harmless shots were exchanged by the pickets. 
Toward night the enemy made a vigorous demonstration, 
forcing back the advanced line on the left. A barricade of 
.rails was constructed, behind which the troops lay in line. 



304: HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Each Company was required to have a roll call every hour or 
so, but despite this fact many of the curiously inclined ven- 
tured to make brief visits to the hotels and other buildings of 
the famous watering place a half mile distant from the posi- 
tion of the Regiment. 

Friday, May 6, the NINETY-SIXTH was detailed as a picket 
reserve. The day passed without especial incident of note,, 
although the enemy were several times in plain view. By 
night all of the forces were in line, and the grand army of 
Gen. Sherman ready to move toward Dalton and Gen. John- 
ston's veteran army. All knew that an advance meant a bat- 
tle. True, the Union army largely outnumbered the Rebel 
forces, but the position at Dalton was an exceedingly strong 
one for defense ; and, in a country where almost every citizen 
was an active scout or spy, and with the enemy's shorter lines 
of communication, the advantage of preponderating numbers 
was not so great as it would have been in a more level and 
less hostile country. 

Saturday, May 7, the army moved forward in force. 
Reveille sounded at half past three o'clock, and before sun- 
rise the troops were on the march. Yery soon skirmishing 
began, the first gun being fired just as the sun was climbing 
over the eastern hills. The Rebels fell back and their fires 
were still burning as the Union forces passed their camps of 
the night before. Innumerable trees had been felled across 
the road, but men with axes and levers and teams cleared the 
way with a rapidity that was surprising. Company A was on 
the skirmish line, and expended considerable ammunition in 
forcing the Rebel rear guard back. At a little past nine 
o'clock line-of-battle was formed, the troops moving in this 
order to the top of a ridge, where a brief halt was made. The 
NINETY-SIXTH, which had been in the second line, now took 
the front line on the right of the Brigade, and again advanced. 
The formidable works of the enemy were soon in view, and 
the stubbornness of their skirmishers a little before created the 
impression that a stand would be made. It was therefore 
with some trepidation that the command left the timber and 
marched across the open field toward a line of heavy rifle pits 



r* . i * *. 



1864] THE TAKING OF TUNNEL HILL. 305 

that all knew might be full of armed men merely awaiting the 
signal to pour a destructive volley, at short range, from behind 
their heavy intrench ments. But the suspense was not long, 
for as the skirmishers neared the works it became apparent 
that the enemy had fallen back toward Dalton. General and 
Staff Officers rode to the front, the line-of-battle following and 
occupying the abandoned works at eleven o'clock, the NINETY- 
SIXTH being the first to cross the parapet. A line of breast- 
works facing southward was at once begun, the men work- 
ing industriously notwithstanding that the weather was exces- 
sively warm. Heavy timber was cut and the works became 
very formidable as the day wore away. The line was occu- 
pied throughout the afternoon and the succeeding night. 
Skirmishers covered the front, but were not seriously engaged, 
although musketry and artillery firing could be heard in the 
distance. The flags of the Signal Corps of either army were 
fluttering from the hill tops, and to right and left extended the 
long lines of blue, in plain view until nightfall, and easily 
traced by the gleaming camp fires as darkness closed in. 

Sunday, May 8, had not dawned until the army was awake 
and standing to arms, for at three o'clock the reveille sounded. 
At eight o'clock the troops were marching toward the valley 
that lay between Tunnel Hill and Rocky Face Ridge, the 
latter being a long range of hills or mountains, whose name 
indicates the character of the side which faced toward the 
veteran Army of the Cumberland. Near the railroad the 
line halted, the Division to which the Regiment belonged 
remaining idle most of the day. Looking along the stony 
ridge, and to the right, a gorge could be discerned, through 
which the railroad wound its way and back of which was 
Dalton, where were Gen. Johnston's headquarters. The ridge 
itself was fortified, and along its crest and through the gorge 
lay the Rebel line-of-battle. The skirmishers of the enemy 
and several batteries of artillery were thrown out in advance 
of this narrow pass, known as Buzzard Roost Gap, and a 
lively skirmish fire, with frequent salutes from the Rebel 
artillery, gave evidence that it would be no easy task to drive 
the occupants of this strong line from their position by direct 
20 



306 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

assault. There was some maneuvering but no general for- 
ward movement on that part of the line until the afternoon 
was well advanced. At four o'clock Gen. Howard, com- 
manding the Fourth Corps, rode along to view the position of 
his forces, and shortly afterward ordered a band to come 
out from the timber in the rear and play a few selections. The 
opening of this musical programme was "The Bonnie Blue 
Flag, " which was followed by ' ' Dixie, " selections claimed 
at the time as the exclusive property of the alleged Confeder- 
acy, but rendered national when, with numerous other trophies, 
they fell into Union hands at Appomattox a year later. The 
men in gray, as if to manifest their appreciation of the open- 
ing numbers, swarmed from the groves that dotted the valley 
and from the heavy timber along the base of the ridge, and 
gave a vigorous vocal response. Then followed k ' Hail Colum- 
bia" and "Yankee Doodle," to which the lines of blue made 
answer with a cheer that ran for miles to left and right. The 
latter tune was repeated in double time, which proved to be 
Gen. Howard's signal for a vigorous shelling from the bat- 
teries, continued for some moments. Then the infantry 
advanced down the valley, in magnificent order, the long 
lines sweeping forward toward the enemy. The occasional 
shots of the skirmishers grew into an almost constant clangor, 
and the Rebels were pressed back along the entire front for a 
mile or more. The artillery firing was by no means all upon 
one side, for shot and shell came plunging through the groves 
and along the fields with fearful sounds, but fortunately with 
little damage to the men toward whom they were hurled. 
For a time the band seemed to be the target, but the concert 
ended very abruptly when "the diapason of the cannonade" 
was so forcibly interjected, -and the musicians betook them- 
selves to the timber before the range had been secured by the 
artillerists from Dixie. But the forward movement was 
intended merely as a reconnoisance and not as an attack, and 
as the position of the troops was most uncomfortable, owing 
to the continuous and close firing of the Rebel artillery, a halt 
was soon ordered, and at dusk the main line drew back nearly 
to the works left in the morning. Throughout the night an 



1864] 'KocKY FACE KIDGE. 307 

incessant skirmish fire was kept up, and there was little sleep- 
ing at the reserve posts. 

Monday, May 9, was a most trying one to the NINETY- 
SIXTH. At three o'clock the men were again in line. Shortly 
after daylight the Division moved into the valley, sweeping 
forward to the position reached the night before. There was 
some moving to right and left, but at about eight o'clock the 
Regiment was taken from the line and ordered to pile its knap- 
sacks. Companies A and B were deployed as skirmishers, 
and the others moved near them as a skirmish reserve. Soon 
Companies G and K were deployed, and moved to their assist- 
ance. From their elevated position the Rebels could plainly 
see every movement and they resolutely resisted this advance. 
But there was no wavering, the skirmishers going at a run to 
the timber at the foot of the ridge. A rail fence was encount- 
ered, the reserves throwing it to the ground ; this passed, the 
timber offered some protection. Up the steep slope, running 
from tree to tree, halting a moment behind rocks and then 
pressing on, the skirmish line made its way until quite near 
the rocky palisades, which were readily seen to be wholly 
inaccessible. The main line kept near them, adyancing as 
ordered, sometimes boldly and in line, and again crawling up 
the steep incline or moving to right or left a few rods to avoid 
the more exposed positions. From their sheltered position 
the Rebels could take deliberate aim at the men in blue below 
them, and the exposure of a head or foot from behind a tree 
or rock was the signal for a volley. But resolutely the line 
held its exposed place, giving shot for shot. Fred Brainerd, 
of Company B, and James Vaughn, of Company K, were 
killed in their places. Beri Serviss, of Company K, had a 
limb shattered, necessitating amputation. Every few moments 
some one was hit, but there was no faltering, and the Regi- 
ment did all and more than it had been ordered to do. Be- 
tween four and five o'clock in the afternoon orders came to 
move by the right flank. The march was promptly begun, 
the right bearing down the hill, as Buzzard Roost Gap was 
neared. When they had advanced so far that the left was 
fairly past the southern end of the northern ridge the line 




308 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

halted and came to a front. Company K, being out of ammu- 
nition, was recalled and took place beside the colors. Other 
Companies were deployed and an advance ordered. Into 
the gap they pressed, additional men being sent out until only 
the single Company mentioned was in reserve. The line of 
the Regiment extended from near the foot of the ridge on the 
right almost to the upright crags upon the left. From the 
moment the advance was ordered the firing became rapid. 
Major Hicks had immediate command of the advanced line, 
with orders to make a strong demonstration, pressing the 
enemy back into their main line and ascertaining the character 
of their works. The effort was to deceive the Rebels into the 
belief that an assault was to be made at this point, while the 
main army, moving rapidly by the right flank, should force its 
way through Snake Creek Gap, a dozen miles to the south- 
ward, and secure, if possible, a foothold upon the railroad 
between Dalton and Resaca. Hence this movement on the 
part of the Regiment was a most important one. Nor could 
it have been entrusted to better hands. With rare nerve and 
skill the line forced its way to the front. Along the corru- 
gated sides of that wooded ridge they resolutely moved for- 
ward, taking such shelter as they could, until the fresh clay of 
the Rebel breastworks was so near that there could be no 
farther movement except at a charge. How spitefully the 
muskets spoke from the front ! With what vicious speed the 
bullets sped across the rugged battle-field ! The works in 
front seemed to be crowded with men. The deadly fire was 
incessant from either side. Exposing themselves as little as 
possible the men of the Regiment fired from behind trees and 
rocks or over the natural embankments along the line. The 
air grew thick with smoke as the rapid and repeated discharges 
of the muskets sounded through the gorge. At the right and 
across the gorge the Rebels could be plainly seen, and a por- 
tion of the line turned their fire in that direction, compelling 
a precipitate retreat. For the time being the enemy seemed 
disconcerted. A stream through the narrow gorge had been 
dammed by them, so filling the ravine with water as to pre- 
vent a passage on lower ground. This labor proved to have 



1864] BUZZARD ROOST GAP. 309 

been expended in vain, for now the Rebels were being threat- 
ened from an unexpected point. At that very hour Gen, 
McPherson was threatening Resaca with a considerable force. 
Thus far Gen. Sherman's plans were being admirably carried 
out, but unfortunately the advance at the right was not pushed 
and the opportunity for a decisive battle was lost. 

The afternoon was wearing away, and there was no cessa- 
tion in the firing. Casualties became frequent. Sergeant 
Taylor, of Company C, was assisted to the rear with his good 
right arm so shattered that it could not be saved. Sergeant 
De Graff, of Company E, who, as one of the Color Guard, 
had been seriously wounded at Chickamauga, was taken back, 
mortally hurt. Sergeant Fowler, of Company F, was also 
mortally wounded. Corporal Powers, of Company B, had an 
arm useless. William B. Scace, of Company E, was likewise 
shot in the arm and permanently disabled. Companies E 
and F suffered most severely, among those wounded in the 
latter command being Joseph Shannon, the tallest man in the 
Regiment, who had a hand badly crippled. 

Gen. Stanley, the Division commander, who had come up 
to the position occupied by the reserve, a few rods in rear of 
the skirmishers, sent word to the line that the 84th Illinois 
would be ordered at once to the assistance of the NINETY- 
SIXTH. But there was a long delay. The firing was kept up 
for a time, but soon the ammunition run low. To add to 
their anxiety for the men knew that their position was one 
of extreme peril there soon came enfilading shots to indicate 
that the Rebels were pushing out to see what this semblance 
of an attack could mean. On either flank they pressed. The 
men glanced over their shoulders at the sun. It had never 
seemed to move so lazily since that dread Sunday at Chicka- 
mauga ; but it was now just going out of sight. ' ' We are almost 
out 6f ammunition," was the word repeatedly sent back from 
the skirmish line. "Maintain your fire as long as possible, 
but keep one charge, to be used in case of an assault," was Gen. 
Stanley's reply, sent from the color line. This order was com- 
plied with, but of necessity the firing was greatly slackened 
toward the last. As the twilight was deepening into night 



310 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

the Regiment ordered from the rear made its way along the 
slope near the reserves. The skirmishers quickly fell back 
through their lines and halted in support, forming upon the 
colors. Soon the Rebels sallied out and made some demon- 
stration at the front. "Fix Bayonets!" was the order of 
Colonel Champion, as he prepared to aid the troops that had 
just taken position. But the enemy contented themselves 
with a slight advance, and soon the musketry slackened to a 
desultory skirmish fire. Then the NINETY-SIXTH marched to 
the valley and slung the knapsacks left when the advance was 
begun, moved a short distance to the right and rear, and 
bivouacked for the remnant of a night. 

The men were well nigh exhausted. From before daylight 
until nine o'clock at night they had been clutching their mus- 
kets, with no opportunity to eat except as they munched a 
hard tack on the skirmish line. Even water was obtained 
with the utmost difficulty, and when secured it soon became 
so warm in the canteens as to be unpalatable. Nearly every 
man had fired from forty to one hundred rounds of ammuni- 
tion. Their faces were powder-grimed and their clothing 
stained with the soil where they had hugged the hillside 
throughout the weary, weary day. And back in the field 
hospital a score or more were lying, while attendants bathed 
the pale faces and bound up the ragged wounds. In the camp 
almost an equal number resolutely cared for slighter wounds 
some of them severe enough to have fully justified their 
recipients in going to the rear bravely retaining their places 
in the ranks. 

There was little fighting done by the First Division of the 
Fourth Corps on the ninth of May, save that of the NINETY- 
SIXTH. Farther to the left Harker's Brigade of the Second 
Division made a strong demonstration directly along the nar- 
row crest of Rocky Face, meeting with considerable loss, and 
to the southward a portion of the Second Division of the 
Twentieth Corps made an attack upon a gap, but could do no 
more than keep the enemy occupied. The work accomplished 
by these demonstrations was important, for so completely 
were the Rebels deceived into the belief that the attacks were 



1864] THE CASUALTY LIST. 311 

preliminary to intended assaults, and not mere feints, that 
they made no move to protect their rear. Meanwhile Gen. 
McPherson had moved his command far to the right, through 
Snake Creek Gap, and was gaining a position close to the 
railroad running southward, at a point not far from Resaca. 
<ren. Stanley was profuse in his praise of the NINETY-SIXTH 
for the resolute manner in which they had made the advance 
against the frowning sides of Rocky Face and subsequently 
into the strongly defended position at Buzzard Roost Gap, and 
all who knew the difficult nature of the ground passed over 
and the nearness to the Rebel main line of the position main- 
tained for an hour and a half before sundown, fully concurred 
in the opinion that the praise of the intrepid and experienced 
Division Commander was fairly earned and fittingly bestowed. 
The following were the Regiment's 

CASUALTIES : 

Company A. 

WOUNDED. Joseph E. Consolus, face ; Sergeant C. H. Berg, left 
leg ; Sergeant Jason B. Isbell, right hand. 

Company B. 

^KILLED. Fred Brainerd. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Warren E. Powers, right arm ; Erastus T. 
'Cleveland, left ankle. 

Company C. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant James M. Taylor, right arm shattered, necessi- 
tating amputation ; Corporal Martin Eflnger, hip ; Franc Millheiser, arm. 

Company D. 
WOUNDED. Frank Rahling, knee. 

Company E. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant Wm. F. De Graff, mortally, dying five days 
later ; William B. Scace, right arm, permanently disabling him ; Geo. W. 
Jennings, right arm ; George Teal, right leg ; Joshua B. Going, left foot, 
losing a toe ; Solomon Bixby, left hand ; Sergeant George C. Bennett, 
slight wound ; W. W. Jellison, temple, knocked down but not long dis- 
abled. 

Company F. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant Robert J. Fowler, mortally, dying two days 
Jater ; Corporal John Kneebone, back ; Corporal Thomas Trevarthan, 
iip ; Joseph Shannon; hand ; Erhard Dittmar, left side ; Andrew Hind- 






312 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

man, right leg; John Miller, breast ; James Stewart, right hand; JohB 
Stahl, shoulder and head ; Anton Shap, right leg. 

Company G. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant Charles J. Miller, right shoulder ; William 
Joyce, face. 

Company H. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant Chester J. Rees, right arm ; Wallace Andrews,, 
right arm ; Oscar Bobbins, breast. 

Company I. 
WOUNDED. George Topping, face. 

Company K. 

KILLED. James Vaughn. 
WOUNDED. Beri Serviss, left leg amputated ; Edward Graham. 

Tuesday, May 10, although the other troops were early 
called in line the commanders were so considerate as to allow 
the NINETY-SIXTH to lay quietly, the word passing around as 
the bugle sounded to lay down and sleep a little longer, a 
favor that was fully appreciated, although it was by no means 
late when the last soldier was up. The position was in the 
valley and greatly exposed, as was soon learned, for when the 
Rebel artillery began to play upon the line, during the early 
afternoon, an orderly but somewhat hurried movement to the 
timber a little farther to the rear was found necessary, the 
entire Brigade participating. The new line was partially forti- 
fied and the men at once set about strengthening the works. 
The skirmishers kept up a constant firing throughout the 
night, but the Regiment was not disturbed. The night was- 
rainy and uncomfortable, but the soldiers in reserve slept 
quietly. A detail of about eighty men, embracing three or 
four from each Regiment in the Division, was sent out 
late in the evening to build some works and set a battery as- 
near as possible to the Gap. A torrent of rain was falling, 
and in the storm and darkness the trip was undertaken. A 
creek, swollen to unusual proportions, had to be crossed, and 
many of the men turned back. in fact, when the single officer 
in charge of them reached the point where the work was to 
begin, but sixteen remained. One of those whose fidelity to 
duty kept him in place was Dighton Granger, of Company Bv 



1864] D ALTON EVACUATED. 313 

The work was not only dangerous but laborious, especially on 
such a night ; but the little band worked like heroes and suc- 
ceeded in putting up a strong fortification, leaving the works 
after daylight next morning, at great peril from the fire of the 
enemy. Many of the horses of the battery had been shot 
and the guns were finally drawn into position by the men, 
long ropes being attached so that they could pull them while 
partially protected by the works. 

Wednesday, May 11, a severe rainstorm prevailed, and 
the weather was unseasonably cold. The Regiment retained 
its position nearly opposite the gap until eight o'clock in the 
evening, when, under cover of the gathering darkness, they 
moved to the right and front. In this movement it seemed 
as if the guide was uncertain as to the route or intended desti- 
nation, for there was much marching and countermarching, 
with protracted halts in which all were thoroughly chilled. 
After a long tramp, in which but two or three miles were 
accomplished, the Brigade halted, relieving portions of the 
Fourteenth Corps, the latter troops moving to the southward. 
Heavy details were sent to the picket lines, where they shiv 
ered until morning. It was midnight when the reserves finally 
settled down for a brief rest. 

Thursday, May 12, heavy details were kept at the front, 
the main line building breastworks nearly the entire day. 
There was considerable skirmishing and artillery was fre- 
quently brought into use. The advance line constructed 
heavy skirmish pits, and thus avoided casualties. During the 
period from the ninth to the twelfth all of the infantry forces 
except the Fourth Corps had been concentrating on the right. 
It subsequently became known that Gen. Sherman was greatly 
disappointed that a vigorous attack was not made at that point 
as early as the tenth or twelfth, with the view of destroying 
the railroad and compelling Gen. Johnston to abandon the 
line of the road and march eastward or come out and fight in 
the open field. Military writers unanimously agree that a like 
favorable opportunity did not again present itself to the Union 
forces during the campaign. The movement, however, com- 
pelled the enemy to abandon his strong position at Dalton. 



HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

At midnight of the twelfth lights were seen moving about 
upon the ridge where the batteries had been posted, and 
shortly afterward it became evident that the force had gone. 
Friday, May 13, the Union skirmishers moved forward at 
daylight and occupied the abandoned works. Soon afterward 
the main part of the Fourth Corps was moving through Buz- 
zard Roost Gap. The Rebel works were seen to be of great 
strength, and the wonder was that even a small force was not 
left to defend them. Still Gen. Sherman's flanking proclivi- 
ties were well known, and the only safety for the Rebels was 
in concentration. At Dalton a brief halt was made, during 
which the men visited numerous stores, whose owners had fled 
without taking their stocks of goods. There was little of use 
to the soldiers, however, for the eatables had generally been 
removed, and few cared to add to their loads by taking with 
them articles of dry goods. Newspapers of the day before 
were found, in which were extravagant accounts of the battles 
of the ninth ; the claim being that Gen. Sherman's forces had 
made five desperate assaults, in each of which they had been 
repulsed, with frightful loss. The statements were not war- 
ranted by the facts, but in this and many other instances the 
attempt was evidently made to bolster up the hopes of the 
people of the South by exaggerating Rebel successes and 
belittling Union victories. The march was soon resumed, 
with skirmishers in front, and continued until dusk, the halt 
ior the night being near an old mill eight miles south of 
Dalton, and not far from Tilton. There was some skirmish- 
ing just at dusk, a few bullets flying harmlessly over the 
heads of the men as they took position, when the final halt 
was ordered. Immediately a line of breastworks was begun, 
rails being piled and shovels brought into use, so that a strong 
fortification was well advanced by nine o'clock. There was 
more or less picket firing all through the night, but no casual- 
ties resulted. The Rebels were concentrating at Resaca, and 
the morrow was to see another eventful day in the Regiment's 
history. 



1864] RESACA. 315 



CHAPTER XVI. 






Approaching Resaca Passing the Cavalry Another Line of Breast- 
works Built Closing in Upon the Enemy Gallant Advance of the 
Skirmishers Fix Bayonets! A Charge Proposed; but Never 
Made The Enemy Massing on the Left Their Lines Advance 
Outflanked, the Regiment Retreats Routed ! Fighting in Retreat 
At the Battery Hooker's Troops to the Rescue Terrible 
Slaughter of the Enemy Counting up the Losses Hooker's Troops 
Charge Partial Success of Their Assaults Two Memorable Days 
Successful Flanking Movements The Enemy in Retreat The 
Casualty List. 

FIVE days following the -bloody encounters at Rocky Face 
Ridge and Buzzard Roost Gap, the NINETY-SIXTH was again 
in the furnace of battle, Saturday, May 14r, being the opening 
day, so far as the Fourth Corps was concerned, of the engage- 
ment at Resaca. The preceding chapter narrates the doings 
of the Regiment up to the evening of the thirteenth. Next 
morning the forces were in motion at six o'clock, Stoneman's 
cavalry being on the left of the infantry and McCook's troop- 
ers on the right. Even before the hour named the cavalry 
had reconnoitered the front and developed the fact that the 
Rebels were in force not far away, and heavy skirmishing 
began almost as soon as the camps were left. This skirmish- 
ing was at first wholly on the part of Gen. Stoneman's forces, 
the infantry, each Division in column, moving slowly forward 
in support. Halts were frequent, and after one of a little 
more length than usual the bugle sounded for the infantry to 
advance. A brief but rapid march brought them to where 
the cavalry horses stood in line or in groups. Every fourth 
man of the cavalry was holding the horses of his file, while 
his comrades were in advance on foot. The infantry soon 
reached a ridge along which the dismounted cavalry were 
deployed. The column broke to right and left, forming in the 
order of battle on either side of the highway. The officers of 
the different commands consulted as to the positions of their 



316 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

respective forces and of the enemy, and two or three men 
from each Company ran to a creek or spring near by to fill 
their own and their comrades' canteens. Belts were buckled 
a little tighter, and the men peered forward to see what 
awaited them. The cracking of the carbines had nearly 
ceased, and the occasional bullets from the front had the 
peculiar humming sound which indicated that they had come 
a long distance. At this discovery there was some good- 
natured chaffing between the two arms of the service, the 
infantry ridiculing the cavalry for firing at such long range. 
This was soon terminated, for the troopers were ordered back 
to their horses and sent to watch the left flank. The NINETY- 
SIXTH, with other forces in the front line, advanced for a short 
distance and halted near the edge of an open field, a quarter 
of a mile in width. Skirmishers were thrown out into this 
field, and the main line immediately began to fortify its posi- 
tion. The Fourth Corps was on the extreme left of the gen- 
eral army, the First Division, to which the NINETY-SIXTH was 
attached, was the left of the Corps, and for the time being 
Whittaker's was the left Brigade of the Division. It required 
most of the forenoon to move the Corps into place and connect 
the lines with those of the Twenty-third Corps, on the right. 
During this period comparative quiet reigned upon the extreme 
left, but farther to the right, where the troops were swinging 
forward to develop the enemy's position, there was a volume 
of firing whose magnitude indicated that a battle was in 
progress. 

At a little after two o'clock the left was ordered forward. 
Promptly the line moved out, Companies A and B deployed 
as skirmishers. Beyond the open field mentioned was a 
wooded ridge, from which came shots to indicate that it was 
held by the enemy. The advance to this ridge was resisted, 
but not with such force as to compel a charge. As the skir- 
mishers neared its top they were greeted with a hot fire, indi- 
cating that the enemy were in heavy force a little farther on. 
As it proved the advancing line was not parallel to the enemy's 
works, the left of Company B being much nearer than the 
right of Company A. This fact was not at once appreciated, 



1864] RESACA. 317 

arid Captain Vincent, the ranking officer and hence the com- 
manding officer of the line, repeatedly called out, as the men 
halted, "Forward on the left!" "Forward on the left!" 
Captain Gilmore repeated the order to his men, and most 
gallantly they responded, going at a charge, driving the 
enemy's skirmishers from their positions and halting only 
when the main works of the Rebels were in plain view and a 
volley warned them that to go farther would be extremely 
perilous. In this advance Herman Hoogstraat, of Company 
B, was killed by one of the Rebel skirmishers, the latter 
quickly paying the penalty, for before the smoke from his 
musket had cleared away, "Mack" McMillen's trusty rifle 
rang out its response, and when the line advanced the Rebel 
was found dead where he had fallen. John Bininger, of 
Company A, was the target of the Rebels for a time, they 
getting range of the old stump behind which he had taken 
shelter and tilling it full of holes. A bad bruise to his shoul- 
der, a severely scratched face and a considerable amount of 
bark and dirt in his eyes constituted his inventory of physical 
damages. It being demonstrated that the left was as far 
advanced as was practicable, the right was swung around to 
conform and the reserves moved up until they stood confront- 
ing a field, a half mile in width. This field was broken with 
hills and seamed with gullies, with a timbered ridge at the 
left. Its farther side was fringed with timber, against which 
the fresh clay of a heavy line of breastworks could be plainly 
seen. The works were full of men, except at one point where 
a fort projected, which was readily guessed to be occupied by 
a battery of artillery. Instantly the Brigade Commander 
coveted that battery, and began to make plans for its capture. 
The NINETY-SIXTH, with two other regiments, were ordered to 
pile knapsacks and fix bayonets, preparatory to a charge. 
Officers and men looked at each other in amazement, and won- 
dered if it was possible that this little force was to be asked 
to make an assault across such a field and against such for- 
midable entrenchments with no support at hand? Colonel 
Champion, who was always careful of criticising his superiors, 
quietly spoke his disapproval to those immediately about him, 



318 HlSTOBY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

but added that if the order was made there should be no falter- 
ing. O'Connor, of Company K, peering from behind the 
thin screen of bushes that sheltered the Regiment, remarked : 
a lf Gen. Whittaker will wait until next pay-day I will chip 
in a part of me wages and buy him a better battery than the 
one ferninst him on the hill." 

The General seemed in high glee over the anticipated 
victory, his expressions being in marked contrast with the feel- 
ings of the officers and men assigned to the task laid out by 
him, as afterward ascertained, although at the time but little 
was said. Preparations were nearly completed, and in a few 
moments the order would have been given had not the 
Division Commander come from the right just at this time. 
A look to right and left, and he fully comprehended the situ- 
ation. Masked batteries on either flank, silent as yet, but so 
posted as to be able to throw a converging fire upon every 
acre of that barren field, were detected by his eagle eye. He 
quickly decided that the charge would be unwise. The men 
fully concurred in the judgment of the senior officer as to the 
unwisdom of a charge on the part of three small regiments, 
with no supports in sight, against strong earthworks, with the 
certainty of a flanking fire from the moment an advance begun. 
At Chickamauga they had obeyed Gen. Whittaker's order and 
hurled themselves against a mass of Rebels outnumbering 
them three to one, and achieved success. At Lookout Moun- 
tain they had climbed into the very clouds, and won a victory 
where defeat seemed almost certain. At Rocky Face, five 
days before the date here written of, they had moved although 
but a mere skirmish line against an army and accomplished 
all that they were asked to do. So now, had the order been 
given, they would have gone against that frowning line, and, 
if possible, wrested a victory from the very jaws of defeat. 
But it is not too much to say that as the men stood in line 
that afternoon, and, peering from behind their thin screen of 
bushes, measured their chances in the proposed charge across 
that rugged field, the feeling was all but universal that before 
them lay the most difficult and desperate undertaking that had 
ever been assigned to them. It was therefore with a feeling 



1864] RESACA. 319 

of infinite relief that the order was received to unfix bayonets. 
A hurried consultation of officers followed. A Brigade wa 
moved into the woods at the left, and shortly afterward the 
NINETY-SIXTH, with two other regiments, moved quietly but 
quickly to the rear, and then, by diverging columns, across an 
obscure road and along a depression between two irregular 
ridges or hills, to the left of where the Brigade mentioned 
was going into position. Company B was sent in detachments 
on the left fiank and to the front, with instructions to report 
any movement of the enemy that might be discovered. Com- 
pany G was deployed to skirmish along the immediate front 
of the Regiment. The movement was through a tangle of 
underbrush for a hundred rods or more. When a halt was 
made the Regiment was in line almost at right angles to its 
former position, and practically isolated from any other troops, 
a gap several rods in extent separating it from the Brigade 
which had hastily moved on its right and slightly to the front, 
while a like opening lay between its left and the 51st Ohio. 
The 99th Ohio was halted some distance in the rear, and not 
far from the road. None in the ranks, and but few even 
among the field officers, knew the need that had called for this 
movement, the anxiety with which Gen. Stanley watched as 
they entered the jungle into which his order had sent them,, 
or with what urgency he was asking Gen. Thomas for rein- 
forcements for his left wing. His scouts had brought him 
word that the enemy was massing a Division or more for one 
of those desperate charges upon the flank for which the Con- 
federates were noted. 

The skirmishers upon the immediate front of the NINETY- 
SIXTH soon became aware of the purpose of the enemy, for as 
they halted at a low rail fence at the edge of the thicket and 
looked across an old field with its girdled trees, a sight in one 
sense grand came full upon their gaze. Stevenson's Division 
was just emerging from the timber and forming its lines in 
plain view, preparatory to a desperate assault. The enemy 
were in two lines, and formed in admirable order, their flags 
floating gaily, many of their officers mounted, and a light line 
of cavalry riding in rear and upon either flank. At a given 



I 
320 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

command two or three men stepped out from each Company 
and took position as skirmishers. The long lines extended 
far to right and left, and it was evident that the movement 
was one of no mean proportions. Captain James promptly 
reported from the skirmish line what had been seen, and was 
ordered to call in his men and form them with the main line. 
This proved a difficult task, for they were busily engaged in 
tiring- into the now advancing Rebels, and could hear the com- 
mand with difficulty ; indeed many of them did not hear the 
order, running back on their own judgment when they saw 
that to remain longer meant capture. A few did not leave 
the line at all, being so absorbed in their work of loading and 
iiring as to fail to take thought for their own safety until too 
late, and when they were fairly run over by the cloud of skir- 
mishers that covered the front of the moving lines. 

The charging column, as it came over the higher ground, 
struck the Brigade at the right with fearful velocity. These 
troops were engaged in throwing up a barricade of rails and 
logs when the charge began. Seizing their muskets they made 
a brave fight for a few moments, but upon discovering that 
their flank was passed broke for the rear in wild confusion. 
The moments were of fearful import to the members of the 
NINETY-SIXTH. Bow anxiously they awaited the result of 
that onset. They could see little, but they could hear every- 
thing. It was but a moment and their worst fears were 
realized, for the firing slackened at the right, while the Rebel 
yell grew more exultant as the line of blue was rolled back 
from left to right. In a moment the storm had struck the 
Regiment. Hardly a shot had been fired at them as yet, and 
owing to the dense thicket not a Rebel could be seen. But 
they could be plainly heard as they threw aside the fence in 
front. The men were generally kneeling or lying prostrate 
on the ground, every one ready for his work. The voice of 
Colonel Champion rang out: "Steady, men! Hold your 
fire until I give the word ! " Then, as the bushes began to 
weave to and fro, almost in their faces, he gave the command : 
"Fire!" A terribly destructive volley poured into the on- 
coming lines, and a great winrow of dead was afterward 










WILLIAM 15. SCACK. 
Company K. 



sp*.*^ 

f & 






1864] RESACA. 321 

found at this point. The front line of the charging column 
was halted and turned back for a regiment's length. Many of 
the Regiment began to reload their muskets, having no thought 
of leaving the line. Those at the right could see at once that 
the position was untenable, for the Rebels were rushing past 
their flank in solid ranks. A moment later the left was also 
flanked and a wicked fire was poured lengthwise of the line. 
A formal order to retreat was given by Colonel Champion, 
with directions to rally at the breastworks, but in the confu- 
sion and noise could not be heard by all. But the instinct of 
self preservation was strong enough to tell the experienced 
soldier what to do, and the movement to the rear was begun 
almost simultaneously along the entire line. In a moment 
the retreat had become a rout. The Rebels were past both 
the flanks, and yelling and firing with all their might. For 
the first and last time in its experience the Regiment was in 
utter confusion, and little or no effort was made to preserve 
order ; indeed no effort was practicable from the start. For 
a time it was a race between the men in blue and those in 
gray to see which should first gain the open field. Fortu- 
tunately the Regiment's course lay through a hollow or depres- 
sion, and while the pines somewhat retarded the retreat it 
likewise delayed the Rebels and served an admirable purpose 
as a covering or screen. A majority of the command followed 
the natural depression, which took them a little to the left of 
Simonson's 5th Indiana Battery, making their way to the 
breastworks built in the morning, and when the enemy came 
in view doing admirable service. Others bore to the right, 
and as they emerged from the timber found themselves in an 
open field nearly in front of the Battery as it then faced. As 
soon as the infantry had moved to right and left, so that the 
cannon could be fired without endangering the. lives of their 
friends, Capt. Simonson gave the word, and his six pieces of 
artillery began to play upon the timber. The Rebels had 
evidently slackened their pace somewhat, probably to reform 
that portion of their line shattered by the volleys from the 
NINETY-SIXTH and other Regiments, and to change .direction 
so as to swing a little farther to the Union rear. On either 

21 



322 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

side of the Battery the most strenuous efforts were making to- 
organize the men who had been borne backward in the terrific 
storm. Officers of every rank were shouting out their orders, 
and men of a dozen regiments were trying to form some 
semblance of a line, regardless of what flag they fought 
beneath so that it was the stars and stripes. Others, timid 
and uncertain as to duty, were hunting for their own com- 
mands. An irregular line was formed on either flank of the 
cannon, and the men stood there awaiting the coming of the 
Rebels and resolved to check and send them back if the valor 
of a few could avail. But all at that point felt that the result 
was doubtful, for what could two or three hundred do against 
the vast host soon to emerge from the cover of the timber ? 

It was marvelous to witness the rapidity with which the 
artillery was fired as the danger of capture became apparent 
to the cannoneers. Perhaps never were six guns made to do 
more rapid or destructive work. They were filled again and 
again, almost to the muzzle, and fired so rapidly that Rebel 
prisoners captured soon after refused to believe that but a 
single battery had played upon them. 

It was said that five wagon loads of ammunition were 
expended within a half hour or less, and that 268 dead Rebels 
were buried from the front of the battery. A staff officer came 
riding down to where the scattered infantrymen were resolutely 
reforming, and begged them to hold the line for five minutes 
more, assuring them that a Division of the Twentieth Corps 
was close at hand, coming to the rescue at double quick. The 
promise was reassuring, although many did not need it, having 
determined to fight to the death beside the Battery. The 
Rebels had now emerged from the woods, and under orders 
not to shout or fire, but to keep their advance concealed if 
possible, were moving for the coveted artillery, hoping to 
gain it by stealth. So silent was their movement that some 
of the Federal forces almost believed them friends, and hesi- 
tated about firing upon them. ' ' Why don't you return our 
fire ?" was shouted towards them. "We don't care anything 
about you ^ we are after that Battery ! " was shouted back. 
"If you want the Battery come and get it I " was answered in 







1864] RESACA. 323 

chorus, and the firing grew more fierce and deadly, the mus- 
kets playing upon them and the cannon emptying grape and 
canister into their ranks. They were but a few rods away 
when a Brigade of Hooker's Corps, moving at double-quick, 
came up from the right and took place beside the guns. At 
the same time a portion of the NINETY-SIXTH was firing upon 
them at short range from the breastworks. The movements 
of the reinforcing column were admirably made, and they 
swept forward across the field, driving the Rebels back into 
the shelter of the forest. And with them, forming wherever 
they could, in the front line, moved many of the NINETY-SIXTH, 
halting only when the enemy had disappeared in rapid flight, 
and darkness had begun to settle over the terrible scene. The 
discomfiture of the Rebels was complete, their ranks being 
shattered and their rout even more marked than had been 
that of the most exposed Union forces. Numerous prisoners 
were captured, and the ground was strewn with arms and 
equipments. All of their dead and many of their wounded 
were left upon the field, and it only needed a few moments 
more of daylight to have made probable the capture of 
nearly the entire force. But even before the reinforcements 
had arrived darkness had begun to shut out the view, and the 
CTnion forces halted soon after entering the woods. Mean- 
while word had passed along the line for the members of the 
NINETY-SIXTH, who were with Gen. Hooker's command, to 
return to the Battery and go from there to the breastworks, 
where the Field Officers, the colors and many of the men were 
awaiting them. At this gathering there was many a hearty 
hand-shake as comrades greeted those whom they feared had 
been killed or captured, and many an anxious inquiry for 
those not yet in line. The Regiment then moved to a position 
in the main line-of- battle, behind some heavy breastworks, 
and bivouacked, long after dark. At intervals throughout 
the night the missing ones arrived, and tired men from other 
commands were anxiously inquiring as they passed along the 
line, " What regiment ? " 

There were many exciting incidents during the retreat. 
Soon after leaving the line Sergeant Swanbrough found his 



324 HlSTOKY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

task of carrying the flag a most difficult one, for it would 
catch on the bushes and delay him. Once he fell down, and 
as the cord and tassels wound around a sapling was compelled 
to stop and untwist them. Those who were near him as he fell 
thought certainly that the Sergeant was killed or wounded, 
and the flag captured. Happily this proved incorrect, for he 
was unharmed, and by taking the colors in his hands and 
dragging the staff after him he managed to escape. The 
stretcher bearers had a hard task in carrying back Aralzeman 
Stanley, of Company D, who had been disabled by a wound, 
but succeeded, although narrowly escaping. Simeon Spencer, 
of Company F, remained with his brother Richard, when the 
latter was wounded, as long as he could safely, and then 
reluctantly left him to become a prisoner, knowing that if he 
remained they would be quickly separated. Richard was 
recaptured two days later. Lewis Miller, of Company G, 
might have escaped had he been willing to run with a loaded 
gun, but stopping to cap and fire his piece, was himself shot 
and became a prisoner. His right leg was shattered, render- 
ing amputation necessary. When the Rebel surgeons exam- 
ined him he asked if the leg could be saved. Receiving a 
negative reply he quickly said: "Cut it off then." The 
operation was skillfully performed. Two days afterward he 
was recaptured, and for a time seemed to be doing admirably, 
but later some complication set in and he died in thirteen 
days from the time of receiving his wound. First Sergeant 
Thomas J. Smith, of Company I, a brother of the Lieutenant 
Colonel, was shot through both legs, and, with Spencer and 
Miller, fell into the enemy's hands. At his earnest solicita- 
tion the Rebel surgeons consented that the three be left at a 
private house when the army fell back. A little later a letter 
came to his address bearing his commission as First Lieutenant 
of his Company, to succeed Lieutenant Moore, who had been 
assigned to duty as Quarter-Master, but it was too late, as 
his death occurred June 9. Three men in Company K, 
Sergeant Leland, Charles Courter and John J. Vrowman, 
fell dead near together in the thicket. First Sergeant Joseph 
B. Leekley, of Company F, and Corporal "William B. Lewin 



1864] RESACA. 325 

and Orange M. Ayers, of Company C, took a slightly wrong 
direction in the retreat, and emerging upon a road found 
themselves prisoners. Leekley and Ayers afterward died in 
prison, and Lewin reached home only at the close of the war. 
Those on the skirmish line had a most trying experience. 
Many of them, not hearing the command to fall back to the 
main line, remained near the fence until the enemy were 
within a few feet of them, and some of them were between 
the fire of both friend and foe. The fate of Edward Darby, 
of Company G, was never fully known. As his body was 
not found when the lines again advanced over the ground 
where he was last seen, it was believed that he was a pris- 
oner, but no tidings ever came of him. It is probable that 
he was either killed, or, being mortally wounded, was taken 
to the rear, dying and being buried in an unknown grave. 
Corporal Hose and Myron J. Brown, of Company G, re- 
mained too long and were captured. Rose died in prison, 
and Brown, when he finally escaped, was too badly emaciated 
to permit of his return to the Regiment. William Flagler, of 
Company G, was sometimes laughed at for carrying a big 
knapsack, but on this occasion it served him a good purpose. 
A Rebel bullet, fired at short range, struck it fairly in the 
centre, passed through and cut numerous holes in his surplus 
clothing, and spoiled a quantity of letter paper and stamped 
envelopes, but came to a stop just before reaching his person. 
He was knocked down and his comrades thought him killed, 
but he quickly gathered and made good time to the rear. 
Lieutenant Hastings was so severely wounded in the foot as 
to make his escape most difficult, but with the assistance of 
some of the members of his Company he succeeded in getting 
safely back. James Litwiler, of Company B, was instantly 
killed in this retrograde movement. Lieutenant Colonel 
Smith, who had been on detached service at Chattanooga for 
two or three weeks, came on the field just in time to be caught 
in the panic, being in search of the Regiment when it was 
swept backward, and joining it that evening. In the advance 
S. F. Vose, of Company G, threw his arm out of joint, but 
as the same accident had happened before, it did not pain him 






326 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

severely. Stripping off all of his clothing but his pants, the 
surgeon had just succeeded in pulling the dislocated arm in 
place when the stampede begun. Yose ran back "without 
many clothes on," an object at once pitiable and laughable, 
as he made his way to the rear. Adjutant Blodgett picked 
up a set of accoutrements that had been discarded by some 
wounded man, but when a bullet spatted against the car- 
tridge box concluded to drop them. James Beck, of Com- 
pany B, had a bullet through both trouser legs, and his mus- 
ket was struck by a ball as he was capping it, but he escaped 
wounds. Henry Montgomery, of Company B, had a bullet 
through his coat ; George Bowman, of Company A, had a 
bullet through his knapsack and another through his boot 
heel. Nicholas Wearmouth, of Company A, had a bullet 
through the rim of his hat. Many others had bullets through 
their clothing or equipments, and the marvel is that the actual 
casualties were so few. A large number of knapsacks, haver- 
sacks and hats were lost in the retreat, the bushes catching 
and tearing them off, and not all caring to risk their lives by 
stopping to pick them up with the yelling pursuers so close 
at hand. A very few possibly a half dozen became so 
demoralized as to drop their guns. 

While retreat, as a rule, is supposed to reflect discredit 
upon a command, the retrograde movement at Resaca was 
wisely made, for to have stood longer must have resulted in 
the capture of the command. As it was, the Regiment was 
able to render an important service at the Battery and in the 
breastworks in checking the Rebel advance, and also in giving 
direction and encouragement to the reinforcing column. 

Sunday, May 15, found the two armies still confronting each 
other along the rugged hills and narrow valleys about Resaca. 
General Sherman continued the work of pushing his right 
wing down the Oostenaula River, begun the day before, and 
succeeded in laying two pontoon bridges not far from Cal- 
houn, and in such a position as to again threaten Johnston's 
rear. On the left there was some shifting of position, but no 
general movement on the part of the Fourth Corps. Skirmish 
firing, which had been kept up through the night, increased in 



1864] RESACA. 327 

volume, and the artillery played upon the lines from either 
side. During the forenoon the three Divisions of the Twen- 
tieth Corps were moved to a position in the rear of the Fourth 
Corps, and it was whispered that they were to assault the 
works in front. The NINUTY-SIXTH left its works and moved 
to the front, halting in line-of-battle at the right of the Dalton 
and Resaca road. Just in rear of this position two Brigades 
of General Butterfield's Division of the Twentieth Corps were 
massed, and a number of dispatches, detailing the advantages 
gained by the Army of the Potomac in their campaign, were 
read at the head of the lines. The good news was received 
with hearty cheering, it soon transpired that one purpose 
in having these dispatches read was to encourage the troops in 
the difficult work before them, for at a little after one o'clock 
they were ordered forward for an attack. One Brigade, 
commanded by Gen. Ward, moved diagonally across the 
wagon road, passing directly through, or over, the NINETY- 
SIXTH. Another Brigade advanced farther at the left. The 
NINETY-SIXTH soon found its position in support a most un- 
comfortable one. From the moment it occupied the line a 
heavy artillery fire had been showered down the road, and 
when the charging column began its advance the musketry 
firing instantly increased. For a time this force could be 
plainly seen climbing the ridge on the left, but soon the 
foliage of the trees and bushes hid it from view. A cheer 
burst from the lines ; then a volley was given by them and 
returned by the enemy. A moment more and the musketry 
had become continuous, its roar deepening as it was echoed 
from hill to hill. Musket balls came pattering down to the 
Regiment's position in great numbers, pelting the ground, 
striking logs and trees, or cutting off the leaves overhead. 
Wounded men began to limp or stagger past ; then groups 
of stragglers, the latter being halted and turned back or sent 
to where some officers were stationed to take charge of them. 
The stretcher bearers, who had gone to the front close behind 
the lines, soon returned with their ghastly loads ; the canvas, 
so clean and white as they advanced, now crimsoned with 
the life-blood of those who had fallen. And still the dread 



328 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

work went on. The troops in reserve had little to do except 
to stop the stragglers, but with the left of the NINETY-SIXTH 
this duty was not altogether light. But even doing nothing 
was trying work at such a time, for the pitiless shots struck 
all around and kept the men anxious for their own safety.. 
The volume of sound lessened for an instant and then the- 
Rebel yell broke out anew. The charge had only partially 
succeeded. The men fell back at many points, but rallied a> 
little at the left of the road and again went forward. Farther 
over the ridge a terrible blunder occurred. Changing direc- 
tion slightly, one column moved so as to partly come in rear 
of another. The woods were full of smoke so that they could 
not see what was before them, and as the bullets were coming, 
from the front they fired into their friends. The effect was 
to disorganize both Brigades to some extent and make com- 
plete success impossible. Only a partial volley was fired,, 
but not a few fell before it. Some of the officers knew the- 
situation and soon made the men aware of their mistake. A 
portion of one Brigade made their way up to the Rebel 
works, and lay down outside, clubbing muskets with the foe. 
The bayonet was used in a few cases, and the enemy forced 
to abandon four pieces of artillery. These guns could not be 
drawn out until nightfall, but through that long afternoon the 
brave men lay at the embrasures and prevented the foe from 
getting any use of them. The results of the charges were 
not all that had been hoped, for the Rebels still held a con- 
tinuous line about Resaca, but there were substantial gains 
in position, and it was expected that should the enemy remain 
until morning their main line would be forced. The firing 
was heavy and continuous until evening. The NINETY-SIXTH 
held its position beside the road for several hours. At one 
time Gen. Hooker, with his Staff and a bevy of orderlies, rode 
to the centre of the Regiment, and from their horses watched 
a charge. Bullets flew all about them, and two or three of 
the party were wounded, but the veteran Commander never- 
moved a muscle to indicate that he had the slightest fear. A 
straggler came rushing back near their position. The Gen- 
eral said, reproachfully perhaps, but with no trace of passion :: 



1864] KESACA. 

"Young man, isn't it a little cowardly to leave your com- 
rades fighting at the front while you go to the rear ? Go 
back to your command and show that you are willing to 
do your part." The soldier turned about, almost before the 
General had ceased speaking, and, deliberately facing the 
storm, went back into the battle. The effect of Gen. Hooker's 
coolness upon the men lying in reserve was excellent. His 
reputation was that of a fiery, impulsive, passionate man ; 
but here, under most trying circumstances, he was as cool 
as though the surroundings were of the most common-place 
character. During the afternoon Gen. Ward, commanding 
one of Gen. Butterfield's Brigades, who had ridden through 
the Regiment on his way to the front, was brought back 
wounded. Gen. Knipe, another Brigade commander, was 
also severely wounded ; and the total of casualties in these 
afternoon charges was not less than two thousand. Four 
pieces of artillery and two battle flags were among the tro- 
phies. 

The NINETY-SIXTH, notwithstanding the heavy firing all 
about it, had but two men wounded. Andrew Hindman, of 
Company F, had a wound in the shoulder, and Nahum Lamb, 
of Company G, in the right hand, disabling him for further 
service. Several others were hit by spent balls or had bullets 
through their clothing, but were not disabled. 

At three o'clock in the afternoon a detail from the Regi- 
ment, under Lieutenant Earle, was sent to the right to con- 
struct some breastworks on a high ridge. At dusk the Regi- 
ment moved to these works and formed line under an annoy- 
ing artillery fire. Soon afterward all was quiet for a time, the 
armies, as if by mutual consent, discontinuing their firing ; 
but when some members of the Regiment built a fire just 
behind the works bullets began to zip uncomfortably close, 
and even a battery threw a shot which, passing close to the 
fire, went back into the timber in rear. Thus warned, all 
fires were extinguished and grim darkness reigned over the 
scene. The men soon settled down to such sleep as could be 
obtained, but were once routed out and fell in line, some 
unusual noise at the front indicating a move on the part of 






330 HISTORY or THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

the enemy that might mean a night assault. It proved to be 
a false alarm, however, for instead of making an assault the 
Rebels were retreating under cover of the darkness, and by 
morning all were gone. During the two days the Regiment 
sustained the following 

CASUALTIES : 

Company A. 
WOUNDED. John Binninger, face ; Gottlieb Weber, face. 

Company B. 
KILLED. Herman Hoogstraat, James Litwiler. 

Company G. 

CAPTURED. Corporal William B. Lewin ; Orange M. Avers, the 
latter dying in prison. 

Company D. 

WOUNDED. First Lieutenant Walter W. Hastings, foot, disabling 
him for further field service ; Corporal Charles Peppard, left hand ; 
William Fleming, breast ; Aralzeman Stanley, right thigh, disabling him 
for further active service. 

Company F. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Thomas Trevarthan, face ; Hugh Williams, 
left hand, losing a finger ; Andrew HindmajL. shoulder, wounded awl 

t.iirpri ; Richard Spencer, shot in breasw^Sisablea'ior further service. 

CAPTURED. First Sergeant Joseph B^Leekley, who subsequently 
<lied in prison. 

Company G. 

KILLED. Edward Darby. 

WOUNDED AND CAPTURED. Lewis Miller, right leg shattered above 
the knee, necessitating amputation and causing his death two weeks 
afterward. 

CAPTURED. Corporal Delos Rose ; Myron J. Brown. Rose dying 
in prison. 

WOUNDED. Nahum Lamb, right hand, necessitating amputation of 
second finger, and disabling him for further service. 

Company I. 

WOUNDED AND CAPTURED. First Sergeant Thomas J. Smith, shot 
through both legs, causing his death June 9. 

Company K. 
KILLED. Sergeant Thomas Leland ; Charles Courier ; John J. Vrow- 



1864] RESACA. 331 



CHAPTER XVII. 



After the Battle Resaca Abandoned "Drawing Sherman On " Look- 
ing for Missing Comrades Forward Again A trio of Wounded 
Crossing the Oostenaula Pressing the Enemy Daily under Fire 
Calhoun and Adairsville Passed From Kingston to Cassville Many 
Miles upon the Skirmish Line The Enemy Pressed backward An 
Army in Full Sight More Breastworks A Battle Impending Artil- 
lery Duel Corporal Gage's Capture Again they Retreat Wearied 
Soldiers Three Days of Rest Odd Fellows Outfit Preserved Visit 
to the Seminary The Boys and the Books Sunday's Experience at 
Cassville. 

THE dawn of Monday, May 16, found the Rebel breast- 
works at Resaca deserted. The gain in position made by 
the Union forces during the two days of fighting and maneu- 
vering, coupled with the fact that part of Gen. McPherson's 
army had succeeded in laying pontoon bridges some distance 
below, and thereby gained a foothold upon the south bank of 
the river, from which a considerable force of the enemy had 
tried in vain to dislodge them, had decided Gen. Johnston 
that his only safety lay in immediate retreat. He took hope 
in the thought that Gen. Sherman's army was dependent 
upon a single line of railroad for the immense supplies upon 
which it must subsist, and that while his own army was 
gaining in numbers as it fell back by the gathering in of con- 
scripts and the addition of the detachments heretofore re- 
quired to garrison the posts past which he retreated, the 
Union forces suffered a corresponding loss as Regiments or 
Brigades were dropped out by the way to guard towns and 
bridges. Then, too, he was well aware of the fact that the 
time of the non-veterans from many of the Regiments 
recruited in 1861 would soon expire, and that with their re- 
tirement the Union army would suffer serious loss. Doubt- 
less it was with regret that he abandoned the strong positions 
-at Dalton and Resaca ; but hope was strong that when the 
forces of Gen. Sherman had been drawn far from their base 



332 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

of supplies and become weakened by losses from sickness 
and the other causes mentioned, he would be able, by a bold 
flank movement, or a cavalry raid which should successfully 
cut the railroad toward Chattanooga, to compel the army con- 
fronting him to abandon offensive operations and fall back 
to the line of the Tennessee river for their own protection. 
The rank and file of the Rebel army were made to believe that 
Gen. Johnston was merely drawing Gen. Sherman on, and 
that when he "got him where he wanted him" he would 
drive off, in dire confusion, such of his army as he did not 
capture or destroy. But in this hope they were doomed to 
bitter disappointment, as their bold movement, which waa 
only to be made after Atlanta had fallen, and under another 
leader than Gen. Johnston, was to be as disastrous as it 
was brilliant. 

On the morning named the troops were ' ' bugled " out at 
an early hour, and speedily learned from the pickets that 
there had been no response to their occasional firing for some 
hours. Many of the Regiment at once started out to recon- 
noitre the immediate vicinity, especially desiring to go 
through the thicket where they had met the enemy on Satur- 
day evening, and from which they had been forced to beat so 
hasty a retreat, their main purpose being to obtain some trace 
of missing comrades. The bodies of a portion of the dead 
were found, and from a few Rebels who had been left on 
picket or who had overslept and were made prisoners by 
these adventurous men, it was definitely ascertained that 
Rose, Lewin and Ayers had been captured unharmed. Cor- 
poral Rose was at the time wearing a light blue jacket, made 
from an overcoat, and his chevrons were of a darker material. 
This peculiarity of dress, together with his heavy, sandy 
moustache, made his identification complete, while that of 
the others mentioned was hardly less so. There were others 
captured, they said, but they could not describe them so as to 
make it certain that they were from the Regiment. 

The Regimental Pioneers, under Lieutenant Burnett, of 
Company B, were detailed to bury the dead left upon the 
battle-field, and spent the greater part of two days at this- 



1864] RESACA. 333 

sad labor. Details from other commands assisted in the 
work. 

At eight o'clock the dispositions for pursuit were com- 
pleted and the command moved out. The route of the Reg- 
iment lay near the ground over which the charges of the day 
before had been made, and revealed many interesting scenes. 
The Rebel earthworks were found to be of great strength, 
and two or more lines deep, so that should one be lost the 
troops would have to fall back but a few rods before they 
could again have protection. The trees and bushes were 
barked and slivered in a manner to indicate that the Federal 
fire had been terrific, especially at the point where the four 
pieces of artillery had been captured. 

In the forward movement the Fourth Corps led the way 
to the little hamlet of Resaca, nearly three miles from the 
left of the main battle-field. The Fourteenth Corps, except 
one Division which had been sent toward Rome in support of 
Garrard's cavalry, followed. The Twentieth and Twenty- 
third Corps crossed the river at the left, and Gen. McPher- 
son's forces at Lay's Ferry, at the right. Arrived at Resaca, 
some hours were occupied in repairing the partially destroyed 
bridge, those of the troops not actively engaged in this work 
resting in the shade of the timber beside the road. "While 
in this position a scout rode along and, enquiring for the 
NINETY-SIXTH, reported that three of their men, all wounded, 
were in a building a short distance away. An ambulance 
was secured, and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, accompanied by 
a few men, went in the direction indicated and soon returned 
with First Sergeant Thomas J. Smith, of Company I ; Richard 
Spencer, of Company F ; and Lewis Miller, of Company G ; 
.all of whom were wounded and captured two days before. 
They were halted at the Regiment for a little time, and then 
taken to the village and placed in hospitals that were just 
being established. Smith and Miller did not long survive, 
but Spencer recovered after some months. Their captors had 
taken their watches and blankets, but they reported having 
received every possible kindness from the ladies at whose 



334 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

house they had been left, notwithstanding the fact that their 
sympathies were wholly with the South. 

In the haste of leaving, the Rebels abandoned a large 
amount of meal, a quantity of muskets and other material. 
It may be said, however, that the retreat was well managed, 
for the trophies were not numerous considering the amount 
of material that had to be removed. A few prisoners were cap- 
tured at the crossings of the river, but no more than are to 
be found in rear of any hurriedly moved army where retreat 
is made at night. 

Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon the Fourth 
Corps crossed the Oostenaula and marched southward on 
roads nearly parallel to the railroad, camping for the night 
not far from Calhoun. The 115th Illinois, which had been 
brigaded with the NINETY-SIXTH almost from its organization, 
was temporarily detached and left to guard Resaca and other 
points near by, and did not again join the Brigade until Octo- 
ber. 

Tuesday, May 17, the bugles sounded reveille at three 
o'clock A. M., and as soon as breakfasts were dispatched the 
advance begun. Calhoun was passed early in the forenoon, 
the troops of the First Division marching in column of com- 
panies, with drums beating and flags waving. The Second 
Division had the advance. The skirmishing, which had been 
lively all day, grew in volume as the afternoon wore away. 
The First Division moved up to the support of the Second 
under a heavy artillery fire, and became engaged just as night 
came on. The Regiment found a strong line of entrench- 
ments in its immediate front, filled with resolute foes, but no 
move was made looking to their dislodgement that night. 
Notwithstanding the heavy firing and the frequent casualties 
all along the line, the Regiment was so fortunate as to suffer 
no loss. A heavy line of works was built, the command 
working far into the night in making its position secure 
against assault. Some houses in front of the line, which had 
afforded protection to the sharp-shooters of the enemy, were 
set on fire and burned to the ground, the flames lighting up 
the camps during the early evening. The Rebel position was 



1864] ^d#~^gr,&!rAtt> 335 

a strong one, but as Gen. McPherson was pressing on their 
left flank, and Gen. Schofield on their right, they again re- 
treated under cover of the darkness. 

"Wednesday, May 18, there was the usual early reveille 
and the orders were renewed to "press the enemy." The 
officers of the command were in trouble about the matter of 
rations for themselves, but the enlisted men had a supply and 
offered to divide. The troops moved forward in column, 
with skirmishers in front, the enemy harassing them to the 
utmost of their ability. The First Division being in rear 
made a slow march until toward night, passing Adairsville 
during the afternoon, and was then hurried past the other 
troops of the Corps to the extreme front, going into bivouac 
in the immediate vicinity of the enemy at eight o'clock, with 
a strong picket line in advance. There was some skirmishing 
as the position was reached but nothing serious resulted. 
Southern newspapers were found at some of the houses in the 
vicinity, in which were violent criticisms of Gen. Johnston 
for his course in falling back, and also strong arguments in 
favor of his plans. It was asserted that there would be a 
decisive battle near Cassville, toward which Gen. Sherman 
was moving, and leading officers on either side confidently 
expected, as they lay down to rest that night, that the next 
day would see the engagement inaugurated. 

Thursday, May 19, found the army in motion at sunrise, 
Gen. Sherman directing that the enemy be pushed at all 
points, and forced to give battle north of the Etowah River 
if possible. The Second Brigade had the lead, and the 
NINETY-SIXTH was in the advance of the column which had 
marched most directly along the railroad. In less than half 
an hour after the start was made the Rebels were encountered. 
One company after another was sent upon the skirmish line 
until a considerable part of the command was deployed. At 
Kingston the junction of the Rome branch with the main 
line of railroad from Chattanooga the Rebels opened on the 
advance, with a battery, but the skirmishers, after strongly 
pushing at the front, pressed past it on the flank, compelling 
it to withdraw. The skirmishing was so severe as to approach 






336 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

the dignity of a battle. The order being to follow near the 
railroad, the line swung to the left and pressed rapidly for- 
ward. The Rebels halted at every ridge and road, making 
strong resistance and compelling the Regiment to keep up a 
heavy fire. The bullets cut wickedly through the line, but 
the men responded gallantly to every call to advance, some- 
times charging at a run and driving the enemy from their 
hiding places behind the trees and fences, and again moving 
through hollows or ravines and flanking them out. The day 
was an exceedingly hot one, and all suffered greatly ; William 
Marble, of Company B, sustained a partial sunstroke. Mile 
after mile the chase continued. With a stubbornness that 
betokened heavy work ahead, the men in gray took their 
places behind every obstacle that afforded protection, only to 
be compelled to retire by the ever pressing line of blue. At 
last, heated almost to the melting point, and so thoroughly 
exhausted that all felt that they could not much longer keep 
up the severe work demanded of them, the Regiment emerged 
from the timber upon an eminence overlooking a beautiful, 
open field. The enemy's skirmishers had mainly made then- 
way to right and left through the timber, and for an instant 
the impression prevailed that there was no obstruction in front 
save a few badly demoralized skirmishers who were running 
as rapidly as possible across the field, their speed accelerated 
by the bullets sent after them by their weary followers. But 
no ! A second glance confirmed every man in the belief that 
the predicted decisive battle was at hand. Away off across 
the comparatively level field stretched long lines of moving 
men. The first thought was that it might be Gen. Schofield 
or Gen. Hooker, as they were known to have been nearer 
that point the day before than Gen. Howard. Officers raised 
their field glasses and looked at the mighty host and announced 
that the men were dressed in gray. It was the Rebel army, 
and at least a full Corps were in plain sight, marching directly 
toward the Union lines. A cloud of skirmishers covered their 
front, and batteries of artillery distributed along the line 
indicated the termination of each brigade. Mounted officers 
rode in front of each battalion, and groups of horsemen desig- 



COMPANY C. 




THOMAS DAVIS. 
LEWIS MILLER. 



DENNIS SHUPE. 
Ca.pt. DAVID JAMES. 



JOHN A. CORBIN. 
WILLIAM H. WHAPLES. 



1864] CASSVILLE. 337 

nated the positions of the Generals and their Staffs. Regi- 
mental colors could be dimly seen, and the lines seemed as 
perfectly formed and as evenly marched as though they were 
out for a holiday parade. Never, except when they stood 
upon Lookout Mountain on that clear November day in 1863, 
and watched the battle of Missionary Ridge, had the men of 
the NINETY-SIXTH seen a panorama so magnificent ; and even 
then the distance was so great as to make objects much less 
distinct than at this time. Indeed, it is doubtful if anywhere 
during the war except when Pickett's Division made their 
brilliant but fatal charge at Gettysburg, or when Gen. Hood 
moved across the level plain at Franklin, were there so many 
of the Rebel army so magnificently marshalled in plain view 
of their opponents as in what military writers denominate 
"The Affair at Cassville." 

The men of the NINETY-SIXTH, with others along the line, 
stood for a moment as if entranced. True the advancing lines 
were a long distance off probably a mile and a half but the 
space could be quickly passed by fresh men in the desperate 
energy of a charge ; and that was what the movement seemed 
to mean. 

It was not long that the men of the Regiment stood and 
watched the maneuvering of the foe. Gen. Stanley coming 
upon the scene, looked through his field-glass for a moment, 
and then the members of his Staff' went galloping back to 
report the situation and to form the Division in line. The 
skirmishers were ordered forward to a fence, some rods out 
in the field, and the reserves were directed to begin a line of 
works, using rails and logs. Notwithstanding the excessive 
heat and the great fatigue to which they had been subjected, 
the men plied themselves to the utmost to make some slight 
protection for the expected assault. But when about a mile 
distant, the Rebels also halted, and were soon equally busy 
in erecting a barricade of rails. Gen. Stanley and a few 
officers and orderlies were standing just at the verge of the 
timber, in plain view, when a Rebel battery limbered to 
the rear and began to throw their iron missiles toward them. 
For prudential reasons these horsemen soon withdrew to the 
22 



338 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

shelter of the timber. A Union battery answered its oppo- 
nent and quickly sent it to the rear. The skirmishers were 
directed to raise their sights and fire at the line, but the dis- 
tance was too great for marked results. The entire Fourth 
Corps was soon in line and several batteries of artillery opened 
upon the Rebels, the shots striking the field and tearing up the 
sod and dust, and occasionally seeming to pass through their 
ranks. It was not long before their front line moved back, 
in some confusion, halting in rear of what had been their 
second line. The skirmishers from the Regiment were at one 
time ordered to advance, and upon climbing the fence from 
behind which they had been firing, were a little startled by a 
volley from some Rebels who had been lying in the field a 
short distance in front, a light barricade with some clover 
spread over it completely hiding them from view. Their fire 
was returned, and for a short distance there was a lively chase. 
By the time that the lines of the several Corps of Gen, 
Sherman's army had been so joined that a safe forward move- 
ment could be made, the Rebels retreated, disappearing in the 
timber. At four o'clock the Fourth Corps pushed out in the 
centre, the Twentieth Corps at the left, and the Fourteenth 
Corps at the right. Farther in rear, on right and left, were 
Gen. McPherson's and Gen. Schofield's forces. There was 
heavy firing at intervals until nightfall, by which time the 
Union lines had reached Cassville. 

In the day's advance the skirmishers did much execution, 
of which there was abundant evidence all along the way. An 
amusing incident occurred as they reached the vicinity of a 
large white house near the outskirts of the village, which 
proved to be the residence of Rev. Mr. Best. The Rebels 
had been very stubborn at this point, and when the skirmish- 
ers finally charged and routed them, it was with such gallantry 
that all could not escape, and a few prisoners were taken. 
Still pressing on, through a garden, Corporal Gage spied the 
crown of an ancient hat rising just above a large rock beyond 
the paling. Supposing it to be a Rebel, and willing to give 
him an even chance, Gage sprang behind a tree and demanded 
that he "come in out of the wet ;" when up jumped an old 



1864] . CASSVILLE. 339 

colored man, trembling in every nerve, and implored him ; 
"For de lub of de Lawd, don't shoot. I aint got nuffin agin 
you'uns ! " The Corporal didn't shoot the colored man, but 
several times afterward he felt very much like shooting some 
of his comrades when they asked him, as they did occasionally, 
if he had made any captures since the one at Cassville. The 
house mentioned was unoccupied, and from the colored man 
it was learned that its owner had two sons in the Rebel army, 
one of them being a Colonel, who had left the house that 
forenoon. As soon as the lines halted, a few of the skirmish- 
ers returned to the abandoned house and helped themselves 
to numerous articles of diet not provided by the army quarter- 
master. Rations had been short for a time and the articles 
issued were of the plainest character ; but on this occasion 
these men had cake, jelly, honey and maple sugar. In 
addition to these sweets, meat, tobacco, meal and flour were 
found and used. 

About one mile southeast of Cassville, on a high ridge, 
was the main line of works, to which Gen. Johnston's army 
had retired. They were carefully laid out and strongly built, 
but on their right, from some hills, the Federal cannon played 
upon them so heavily as to make their occupants very uneasy. 
And yet the position was a strong one. Gen. Johnston had 
just received a considerable reinforcement from Mississippi, 
while Gen. Sherman's army had been greatly weakened ; a 
Division being sent to Rome, smaller forces left at various 
bridges and stations passed, and thousands giving out because 
of sickness and fatigue. On the whole the conditions for a 
battle were rather favorable to the Rebels, and they undoubt- 
edly expected to tight at that point. But Generals Johnston, 
Hood and Polk seem to have had some difference of opinion 
as to the merits of the line of works laid out and fortified by 
them ; and so, while the Union forces were busy fortifying 
their front and preparing for the expected battle, Gen. John- 
ston issued orders for his forces to again fall back, and at 
midnight they were retreating to the Allatoona hills, south of 
the Eto wah River. The casualties .upon the nineteenth were, 



340 HISTORY OF THE 96in REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Francis J. Robinson, of Company A, wounded in the neck ; 
and John E. Evans, of Company I, wounded in the foot. 

Friday, May 20, the army of Gen. Sherman was early in 
line, but the "Johnnies" were gone. Gen. Sherman at once 
decided upon a three days' halt. The troops had been actively 
campaigning for two weeks, during which there had been 
but little opportunity for rest. With frequent night move- 
ments, with reveille at three o'clock on such of the mornings 
as that hour did not find the troops already on the move, with 
a line of breastworks to build as often as each alternate night, 
with bridges and roads to repair, with heavy guard duty 
nightly, and marching or fighting daily, the troops were so 
worn as to greatly need rest. It is not to be supposed that 
the enemy had suffered equally from fatigue, for while most 
of their retreats had been at night, they had marched by 
direct roads and occupied lines of breastworks built for their 
use by plantation hands, the main part of their force having a 
long rest, at least in the early part of each day following a 
night retreat, while their pursuers were moving up to con- 
front the new lines. At all events the three days of rest 
given the Federals at Cassville were most welcome, and the 
men made good use of their opportunity. The first thing 
with most of them was a bath : the next a thorough washing 
of their clothing. This done, when they had slept all they 
cared to they wandered through the pretty, deserted village. 
On going to the town one day Lieutenant-Colonel fcjmith. 
discovered some soldiers arrayed in Odd Fellows' regalia. 
In a moment he called the soldiers to him and quietly but 
firmly demanded the return of their trophies. Summoning 
some brothers of the craft he repaired to the lodge room, 
restored order and secured the return of all or nearly all of 
the regalia of the organization. 

Near the camp of the NINETY-SIXTH was a Seminary in 
which was a large library. True the librarian was absent, 
but as a large proportion of the command was of a literary 
turn of mind, all formality was waived and each of those who 
wished read books. It was a strange spectacle to see hun- 
dreds of men in uniform sitting at the desks in the college, 



1864] CASSVILLE. 341 

each absorbed in some scientific book or in some work of 
fiction, or to go outside and see men similarly engaged, 
sitting with their backs against the mammoth shade trees, 
for hours together. They were hungry for just such an oppor- 
tunity as was here offered, and thoroughly did they improve 
it. There was also much visiting between the men of the 
various regiments in that vicinity, many of the Jo Daviess 
County boys taking a long tramp to Kingston to call upon 
acquaintances in the 12th Illinois. 

Friday, Saturday and Sunday sped rapidly by. The rail- 
road was repaired by Saturday, and trains brought forward 
large amounts of rations. On Sunday four days rations were 
issued to each man, and twenty days rations for the army 
loaded upon the wagons. The soldiers knew that this meant 
a long march away from the railroad, and were curious as to 
the plans of their commander, but content and confident. 

Religious services were held in many of the camps both 
afternoon and evening. It was a spectacle upon which no 
thinking man, however skeptical, could look unmoved, to see 
the soldiers gather around the place designated for religious 
meetings. The attendance was often large, and embraced a 
few commissioned officers. Nor was it alone or mainly timid 
soldiers who were present, but often the most devout were 
those whose presence in the charge or upon the skirmish line 
was an inspiration. A soldier would lead in some stirring 
hymn, and soon a hundred voices, blending beautifully, would 
make the leafy tabernacle ring with their grand music. 
Prayer would be offered, sometimes in a loud tone, and again 
with subdued voice : some with crude imagery and weird 
petition for the overthrow of the enemies of the country and 
of righteousness : others eloquent in their very simplicity, 
breathing a request that the great " Father of us all" would 
lead the way through all the darkness of the present to the 
day when peace should brood above the land, and war and 
turmoil cease when soldiers should be permitted to forget 
the camp and battle and yet remember that they were soldiers 
in the army of the great Immanuel, whose victories were 
bloodless and whose captives were the prisoners of hope. 



342 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Scripture would be read or repeated by the leader ; a brief 
discourse would follow : experiences would be related, and 
then, as the flickering camp fires burned low and the distant 
bugles warned the worshipers back to camp, the grand melody 
of Old Hundred would go up like incense to the stars, the 
soldiers would separate and in a few moments quiet brood 
above the sleeping hosts. Who shall say they were not 
strengthened by these services, crudely arranged and con- 
ducted though they often were, or that the God of Battles did 
not watch above them and frame the answer to their varied 
petitions while they prayed, leading them, as individuals, and 
the Nation beneath whose banner they assembled, into a 
larger liberty than that of which they then conceived ? Cer- 
tain it must be that many a weary, home-sick, heart-sick boy, 
took courage in such gatherings as these and went thence to 
the battle nerved for deeds more daring than the past had 
seen, and felt himself sustained by the hope and faith not 
elsewhere so certainly obtained. Not a few date their first 
strong religious convictions from those gatherings in the for- 
ests of Georgia, and many still cling to the Faith that sus- 
tained them there, where they learned to sing : 

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ; 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored ; 
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword ; 

His truth is marching on. 

"I have seen Him in the watch-fires of an hundred circling camps, 
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps, 
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps, 

His day is marching on. 

"I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel ; 
' As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal ; ' 
Let the Hero born of woman crush the serpent with his heel, 

Since God is marching on. 

" He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat ; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat ; 
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him ! be jubilant, my feet ! 

Our God is marching on. 

" In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me ; 
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, 
While God is marching on." 



1864] ACROSS THE ETOWAH. 343 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

A Bold Flank Movement Across the Etowah Gen. Johnston anticipates 
Gen. Sherman's Plans Pumpkin Vine Creek Late Marches In 
Reserve Moving to the Front Line Under Fire Strong Breast- 
works Terrific Artillery Fire New Hope Church Ten Days in the 
Trenches Sleeping and Eating to the Music of Musketry Casual- 
ties Almost Daily Miserably Monotonous The Skirmishers Better 
Natured Trading Between the Lines Short Rations The Enemy 
again Outflanked The Union Forces reach the Railroad In Camp 
at Ackworth The Boon of a Three Day's Rest The Railroad Re- 
paired Rations and Mails brought up Getting Rid of the Grey- 
backs Ready for Kenesaw Mountain. 

TWENTY years before the events here narrated, and while 
bearing the rank of Lieutenant, Gen. Sherman had accom- 
panied an Inspector-General in the army to Marietta, Ga., on 
an official tour, and going thence on horseback to the Etowah 
River, had become somewhat familiar with the region of 
Kenesaw Mountain and Allatoona. He now remembered 
them as well adapted for defensive operations, and concluded 
not to risk a direct movement against Allatoona. Fortunately, 
by a rapid movement made as soon as Cassville was reached, 
the cavalry had succeeded in gaining possession of some 
wagon bridges across the Etowah, and Gen. Sherman resolved 
to move his army across these and push out toward Marietta 
and the Chattahoochie river. His hope was that this movement 
might be well advanced before the enemy should discover his 
plans. Gen. Johnston was on the watch, however, and antic- 
ipating the very movement that would be made, interposed his 
army between the Union forces and Marietta, ultimately aban- 
doning the strong position at Allatoona but preventing the 
immediate flanking of Kenesaw Mountain. 

Monday, May 23, the Union army moved by the right 
flank, crossing the Etowah River by the bridges that had been 
wrested from the enemy and by others that had been impro- 
vised. As the Fourth Corps had been directed to move partly 
in rear of other troops, the Regiment spent the forenoon in 



344 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

camp. A general order was issued requiring every soldier to- 
wear shoes, and in all cases where those then in use were not in 
good repair to draw new ones. Many of the men, particularly 
those who had been home on furlough during the winter and 
spring, had boots but partially worn, and the order to throw 
them away was not received with the utmost good nature. 
However, they had long since learned that there was no 
appeal from General Orders and all complied, though not 
without availing themselves of the soldiers inalienable right 
to grumble, the one right they always declared they did not 
sign away when they enlisted. 

At noon the Regiment filed out of camp, going in a south- 
westerly direction and crossing the Etowah River at Gillem's 
bridge, near a little place which took its name from the 
stream. The bridge gave evidence of an attempt to destroy 
it, for the planks were charred in one or two places, but the 
cavalry had moved too rapidly to allow the work of destruc- 
tion to gain much headway, and but trifling repairs were 
necessary. The march was at a good pace, the weather 
extremely hot, and water suitable for drinking purposes unusu- 
ally scarce, so that when the column finally went into camp 
at ten o'clock at night, in a large wheat field a little south of 
Euharlie, the men were thoroughly tired. The cavalry, which 
had led in the advance, encountered the enemy at Stilesboro 
and a prolonged skirmish ensued, but the infantry forces were 
not seriously involved. Meanwhile Gen. Schofield had effected 
a crossing farther to the left and nearer Allatoona, while Gen. 
McPherson had moved directly south from Kingston, on the 
right of Gen. Thomas, the several columns moving by nearly 
parallel roads. 

Tuesday, May 24, the Regiment was called out at three 
o'clock and resumed the march at six o'clock, crossing Euhar- 
lie Creek and making slow progress, as the troops in front 
were compelled to move cautiously to avoid being ambushed. 
The country passed in the early part of the day was attractive 
and well cultivated, but toward night a hilly region was 
reached. A final halt was made late in the evening on a spur 
of the Allatoona Ridge, not far from Burnt Hickory. A 



1864] PUMPKIN VINE CKEEK. 345 1 - 

terrific thunder storm was raging at the time, thereby pre- 
venting any great degree of comfort, although the men put 
up their shelter tents, wrapped their blankets about them and 
were speedily asleep. The storm lasted a considerable part 
of the night, but at daylight next morning the sky was clear. 

Wednesday, May 25, the Regiment started at ten o'clock, 
marching the rest of the day, most of the time by obscure 
roads. The Twentieth Corps, which was at the left of the 
Fourth, encountering the enemy in heavy force, pushed 
forward with the purpose of reaching the main wagon road 
leading from Dallas to Allatoona, at a point near New Hope 
Church. A severe engagement ensued and reinforcements 
being called for ; a part of the Fourth Corps which had been 
marching directly toward Dallas, was ordered to the assistance 
of the Twentieth, and at four o'clock was hurried forward past 
the trains. At a little after five o'clock the NINETY-SIXTH 
crossed Pumpkin Yine Creek where the battle had begun, and 
advanced rapidly until dark, meeting large numbers of 
wounded returning from the battle field. At sundown it 
began to rain, thus increasing the difficulty of marching. The 
Regiment was shifted around from place to place and kept on 
the move until after nine o'clock when, weary and footsore, 
the men lay down to rest, first building a partial line of 
breastworks. The losses in Hooker's command were heavy, 
but owing to the difficulty of moving troops through the 
forest and over the hills, the Fourth Corps was so late in 
arriving that it had no opportunity to return the severe fire to 
which it was exposed in the battle of Pumpkin Yine Creek. 

Thursday, May 26, there was heavy cannonading and 
much musketry throughout the entire day. The First Division 
of the Fourth Corps was held in reserve and the Regiment 
stood to arms most of the time, being repeatedly moved to 
right or left, with other troops, and at one time quite a distance 
toward the front, but was kept in a rear line nearly a half 
mile from where the more active work was going on. Night 
brought orders to still remain under arms and the men lay 
down with their accoutrements on but with their waist belts 



346 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

unbuckled. There was more or less firing all night, but the 
Regiment was not called out. 

Friday, May 27, orders came for the First Division to move 
to the left and relieve Gen. Wood's Division, and the Regi- 
ment took its place in the front line at an early hour. The 
troops thus relieved moved still farther to the left and at- 
tempted to get upon the right flank of the enemy. A heavy 
engagement followed, in which the Union losses were heavy. 
On the way, in passing the crest of a ridge, the Rebel skir- 
mishers apparently caught sight of the moving column and 
sent a volley toward the NINETY-SIXTH, the bullets whistling 
all about, but without injuring any one. The Union lines 
now extended from the village of Dallas northeasterly for 
some miles and the position to which the Regiment was 
assigned was near the left centre. The men were gratified to 
find a partial line of breastworks constructed for their use, 
and reached their station without any casualties, by stooping 
low and partially crawling to their places. A detail from the 
Regiment relieved the skirmish line in front, under a trying 
fire, and found themselves in close proximity to the Rebel 
lines. The men relieved had built snug, crescent-shaped 
skirmish pits, most of which were provided with head-logs. 
From these pits an almost constant racket was kept up, the 
order being to fire at every moving object, near, or remote. 
Extra ammunition had to be sent to the skirmishers, although 
each man carried sixty rounds or more with him. Strange 
to say there were but two casualties on the line that day, 
Corporal James Murrie, of Company C, being shot in the foot 
and losing a toe, and Oscar Rector, of the same Company, 
being slightly wounded in the arm. During much of the day 
the men in the main line steadily used the few shovels at 
hand. The inside of the works was built up with heavy logs 
and on the outside was an embankment from two to four feet 
broad. Much of the dirt comprising this bank was thrown 
from the inside, a broad ditch being excavated, its depth soon 
becoming such that the men could stand upright if called upon 
to fire. Heavy head-logs surmounted these works. Later an 
.abatis was constructed in front, most of the work being done 



1864] ON THE DALLAS LINE. 347 

at night. This was composed mainly of small trees cut for the 
purpose and staked to the ground, their limbs being sharpened 
and interwoven so as to make a pretty serious obstruction. 
Before the campaign closed the men became experts in this 
work and these obstructions were often as novel in material 
and construction as can well be imagined. 

The position of the Regiment on this Dallas line was on 
the brow of a hill where a sharp angle in the works was found 
necessary, in order that the troops might control the ground 
in their front. The main lines of the two armies were a half 
mile or a little more from each other, but the skirmish lines 
were much nearer. Toward evening on the twenty-seventh 
the Rebels opened with musketry and artillery, enfilading the 
works to some extent. The batteries devoted themselves to 
the exposed position occupied by the NINETY-SIXTH and sent 
shot and shell with great rapidity across the fields which sepa- 
rated the armies. For an hour or more this terrible tempest 
of iron was continued, shells exploding all about that little 
elevation. Dirt was thrown from the side-hill in the faces of 
the men, and showers of leaves and limbs dropped from the 
trees above. Pieces of jagged iron were thrown in all direc- 
tions. Solid shot tore through the tree-tops or, striking in 
the hill-side, ricochetted across the works, going with fearful 
energy and frightful sound back through the timber. The 
exploding of shells at times was almost constant, so rapidly 
did they come, but fortunately none burst at the exact point 
to do great harm and none struck with full force upon the as 
yet light embankments. Still the range was close and the 
ordeal a most trying one. Meanwhile the Union batteries had 
opened upon the Rebel lines and the air reverberated with the 
constant roar as piece after piece of artillery sent forth its 
deadly messenger. The men clutched their muskets and 
crouched close beside the earthworks, confidently believing 
that such a fearful cannonading was but the prelude to an 
infantry charge. Every nerve was strained and each man 
seemed resolved to do his full duty to repel the expected 
assault. But no charge came, at least none came to that 
portion of the line, and at dusk the firing lessened. As soon 



348 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

as the artillery ceased to fire, a portion of the men were again 
set at work to strengthen the embankment. Additional shovels 
were procured and the bank was soon from six to ten feet 
across, the ditch inside being widened and much earth being 
thrown from the outside. Heavy trasverses were constructed 
from logs and earth at frequent intervals to protect the com- 
mand from enfilading shots. So the work went on far into 
the night. The artillery on either side continued to send oc- 
casional noisy salutations to and fro, and the skirmishers fired 
almost constantly. To such music as this the men laid down 
upon the bank just back of the works and slept, in reliefs, one 
third standing to arms all through the darkness ; and those 
who had opportunity did not fail to sleep. Two or three 
times during the night the picket firing increased in volume 
to such an extent that the entire main line was aroused, the 
men being kept up for a half hour or so ; then, when it be- 
came evident that the alarms were false, they would again 
resume their places on the bank, and fall asleep in a moment. 

Saturday, May 28, was another most trying day. Early 
in the forenoon the Rebels again opened with artillery upon 
the angle where the Regiment lay in line ; and again for an 
hour or two their iron missiles struck all about, but with little 
damage. At night there was but little sleep. The skirmish- 
ers were required to advance their line slightly, and construct 
new skirmish pits, and the main line was kept awake much of 
the night in order to be ready to assist them should the Rebels 
discover what was going on. Francis Johnson, of Company 
A, was wounded in the foot. A heavy column of Rebel in- 
fantry and artillery had been seen marching toward Dallas 
during the day, and this fact added to the anxiety, as a night 
attack was deemed probable. 

Sunday, May 9, was a beautiful day overhead, but about 
Dallas and New Hope Church it brought no rest. The two 
armies still confronted each other at close range, and mus- 
ketry and artillery firing were the only music. Toward night 
this deepened into an almost continuous roar all along the 
line, but at dark lulled into an almost ominous quiet. At ten 
o'clock it was revived, and grew into a terrific night fight far- 



1864] RESACA. 34-9 

ther toward the right, where the Rebels assaulted Gen. New- 
ton's Division and Gen. McPherson's forces, but were beaten 
back with heavy slaughter. Again the weary men were kept 
in line much of the night. During the day Edgar C. Lang- 
don, of Company 1, was severely wounded in the hand. 

Monday, May 30, brought little change, except that the 
Rebels opened two batteries upon the " angle" from new posi- 
tions, and kept up a tire even hotter than usual all through 
the day. The members of the Regiment in the main line 
hugged the ground closely, and felt pretty secure in their 
strong line of works. The skirmishers had little rest, but kept 
up a heavy fire all day. Albert E. Benton, of Company K, 
was killed upon the skirmish line. 

Tuesday, May 31, brought little change except the addition 
of another battery on the Rebel side. In the morning three 
batteries opened simultaneously upon the devoted "angle," 
but in vain, though the firing was very close ; and once a por- 
tion of Companies A and F were almost buried in earth 
thrown from their own breastworks by a Rebel shell. The 
artillery firing was renewed toward evening, and a solid shot 
penetrated the embankment in front of Company A, striking 
a log and breaking it, severely jarring Sergeant Berg, Andrew 
Disch, and George Bowman, who were sitting with their 
backs against it. Berg and Disch were struck on the head 
and considerably bruised. On the skirmish line there was hot 
work much of the day. First Sergeant'Scott, of Company G, 
was wounded in the face, receiving a hard blow from a bullet 
whose force had been mainly spent against a head-log. Cor- 
poral Henry H. Gage, of the same Company, was slightly 
wounded in the face, the bullet passing through his hat-rim. 
William Noble, also of Company G, was severely wounded 
in the head, and taken to hospital at Nashville, where he died 
from his injuries, July 21. 

When Sergeant Scott was struck he was rendered partially 
insensible for a moment. The blood started from the wound, 
and in his confused condition he first put up a hand to feel the 
cut and remarked, "Here is where the ball went in ;" and 
then raising the other to the back of his head, asked, "Now, 



350 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

where did it come out ?" His companions in the skirmish pit 
were greatly amused, and in a moment he was laughing heart- 
ily with the rest at the ridiculousness of the inquiry, knowing 
full well that if the bullet had gone through he would hardly 
have been left in condition to make inquiries about it. The 
bullet struck a hard, glancing blow, but did not penetrate, and 
he did not leave the command, although his face was very 
sore for a time. 

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, June 1, 2 and 3, were 
but repetitions of the days immediately preceding. The posi- 
tion of the Regiment was unchanged ; the firing was perhaps 
less constant and severe, and the skirmishers a little better 
natured, venturing to talk to each other back and forth at 
night, and even going out between the lines and exchanging 
newspapers, " swapping" coffee for tobacco, and trading jack- 
knives. The weather was rainy and disagreeable, and the 
clothing of the men, from constant contact with the red clay 
soil, came to bear a close resemblance to the uniform of their 
opponents. Rations became scarce three days' rations hav- 
ing to do for four or five days and many of the men actually 
suffered from hunger. There was no opportunity to forage, 
for every man was kept right at the works or in the skirmish 
pits. On the third, Sergeant Franklin Pierce, of Company 
F, received a wound in the right shoulder, but was not long 
disabled. The skirmishers kept up a heavy fire much of the 
day. At one time Gten. Stanley ordered them to fall back to 
the main line, hoping to give the Rebels the impression that 
the army was falling back, and thus induce them to come out 
from their works ; but the Rebels failed to fall into the trap 
set for them. 

While the NINETY-SIXTH, with other troops near the origi- 
nal left-centre of the line, had been hugging their works so 
closely, and keeping up so constant a clangor with musket 
and cannon, other portions of the army had been on the move. 
Gen. Sherman, upon finding that Gen. Johnston had antici- 
pated his movement and thrown the Rebel army between him 
and Marietta, began moving troops from right to left, at first 
attempting to pass the Rebel right and break it back, which,. 



1864] NEW HOPE CHUKCH. 351 

movement was not successful, and then reaching out toward 
the railroad in the neighborhood of Ackworth. Severe en- 
gagements resulted on either flank, with heavy loss to the 
Divisions engaged. In moving to this line and iii the shifting 
of positions, the engagements were so frequent and so near 
together, that it is difficult to say where one battle left oif and 
another began ; and the historian finds it impossible to separate 
Burnt Hickory, Pumpkin Vine Creek, New Hope Church, 
Pickett's Mills and Dallas. The action participated in by the 
First and Second Divisions of the Fourth Corps, is generally 
known as the battle of New Hope Church. 

Saturday, June 4, at three o'clock A. M., the movement to 
the left had so far progressed that the NINETY-SIXTH was or- 
dered to leave its works. Marching about a half mile to the 
left a halt was made, and the men told that they could put up 
their tents, a privilege of which they gladly availed themselves. 
During the day there was considerable skirmishing near by, 
and the Regiment was held in readiness for an anticipated 
assault from the Rebels, who, it was believed, would attempt 
to break back the Union right, but nothing serious resulted. 

Sunday, June 5, the Regiment was in line at three A. M., 
and shortly afterward learned, to their great joy, that the 
Rebel breastworks were empty, the enemy having moved to 
the rear and right during the night. The skirmish line was 
immediately advanced, and soon came in contact with a light 
line of Rebels, indicating that they were still near enough to 
compel vigilance. They were not pressed, but the Regiment, 
with other troops, remained in the trenches, this making the 
tenth day in which they had been constantly under arms. 
The weather was rainy and unpleasant. The wounded who 
had occupied tents just in rear of the army were placed in am- 
bulances and taken to Ackworth ; a most difficult matter, as 
many of them were terribly lacerated, and the trip occupied 
an entire day and a portion of a night. 

Monday, June 6, an early reveille sounded, the Regiment 
drew three days' rations, with the order that it must last four 
days, and at sunrise was marching toward the left. A halt 
was made at one o'clock p. M. The weather was sultry, and 



"352 HISTORY or THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

the men so worn out with their long vigil and the rather rapid 
march, that many gave out. Arrived at Ackworth, orders 
were given to clean up the camps and take a brief rest. There 
was considerable produce in the neighborhood, and owing to 
the fact that rations were short, the men foraged to some ex- 
tent, but those caught at it were made to carry a rail at head- 
quarters. In view of the hard service of the past month, and 
the fact that this was most decidedly an enemy's country, it is 
difficult to conceive why men were punished for piecing out 
their rations in that region, and at that time in the war ; but 
such was the case. The men felt outraged, and made threats 
to take revenge, unless their comrades were speedily released, 
threats which availed, it may be noted here. 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 7, 8 and 9, were 
in the main days of rest. And the rest was greatly needed, 
for the month's campaign had been a most trying one. The 
casualties in the Regiment since leaving Blue Springs had 
numbered nearly 80, of which thirteen had been fatal, and 
fifty so severe as to take the men to hospitals. In addition, 
fully one hundred more had been prostrated by sickness and 
over exertion, and had been sent to hospital, so that the Reg- 
iment now numbered but a few more than two hundred pres- 
ent for duty. True many other portions of the army had suf- 
fered less in action, and had been less constantly in the 
trenches and under fire, but Gen. Sherman had lost many 
more men by the campaign than he had gained by the arrival 
of two Divisions from the West ; while Gen. Johnston's 
army had received large reinforcements, and had lost fewer in 
proportion from sickness, as his troops were thoroughly accli- 
mated, built fewer breastworks, as they had negroes at their 
call, and marched on shorter lines, thereby wearing out fewer 
men with fatigue. The railroad bridge across the Etowah 
was speedily repaired, and by the ninth some train loads of 
rations and ammunition were unloaded at Ackworth, and most 
of the sick and wounded taken back to Chattanooga or farther 
north. 

To insure the presence of the soldiers and keep the army 
well in hand, dress parades were indulged in twice daily. 



COMPANY C. 




JOHN W BESLEY. 
JOSEPH ('. WHITNEY. 



Corp'l SAMUKL CLARK. 

Corp'l WILLIAM B. LEWIN. 

HENRY BATER. 



Corp'l GEORGE L. STEWART. 
WILLIAM F. KIDER. 



v 



1864] THE REST AT ACKWOKTH. 353 

The men cleaned up their clothing as far as opportunity 
offered, killed off the vermin by boiling their shirts, or by the 
old plan of " skirmishing," and prepared for a renewal of the 
campaign. Thousands of letters were received and answered, 
the newspapers brought by the mails were read until literally 
worn out, the progress made by the army at the East was 
commented on, and the question as to who was to be elected 
President discussed with as much interest and animation as 
though the Illinois soldiers in the field were not disfranchised. 
In the engagements on the Dallas line the following were 

THE CASUALTIES. 

KILLED OK MORTALLY WOUNDED. William Noble, Company G ; 
Albert E. Benton, Company K. 

WOUNDED. Francis Johnson, Company A, foot; Corporal James 
Murrie, Company C, foot ; Oscar Rector, Company C, arm ; William 
Faith, Company E, neck and head ; Sergeant Franklin Pierce, Company 
F, shoulder ; First Sergeant Aaron Scott, Company G, face ; Corporal 
Henry H. Gage, Company G, face ; Edgar C. Langdon, Company I, hand ; 
Edward Graham, Company K, leg ; Sergeant Daniel Sullivan, Company 
K, hip. 

23 



354 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



The Advance from Ackworth The Country Full of Breastworks How 
the Army was Fed Opposite Pine Mountain Killed by a Falling 
Tree Bishop Folk's Death Frequent Rain Storms Losses by Cap- 
ture Approaching Little Kenesaw A Gallant Charge What Civil 
War Means Terrific Night Fight Heavy Losses of Officers and 
Men A Trying Position In Close Quarters A Multitude of En- 
gagements Moving to the Right Disastrous Change of Tactics A 
Flag of Truce Skirmishers' Experiences The Flanking Movement 
Resumed Kenesaw Mountain in Union Hands. 

THE troops having become partially rested after the severe 
experience at New Hope Church and Dallas, Gen. Sherman 
ordered another forward movement. The railroad bridge at 
Etowah was nearty completed, and as the march was to be 
directly to the front and along the line of the road, the arrival 
of the railway trains was not waited for. Bread, coffee, salt, 
and salt meats had been brought forward in wagons, and beef 
cattle were driven up to the camp nightly, men being detailed 
from the ranks to keep them bunched, drive them when the 
army moved, and give them opportunities for feeding. There 
was little grass in that region, but grain fields were sufficiently 
numerous so that the stock fared tolerably well ; but the wea- 
ther was hot and rainy, and the flies so troublesome, that 
many of the animals became poor before their turn for slaugh- 
ter. Soldiers detailed for the purpose slaughtered and cut up 
the meat, which was issued to the men every second or third 
day. All through the summer months there was but an occa- 
sional and meagre ration of beans, rice, or other articles in 
the vegetable line, and as the men were marching much of the 
time, and subjected to an unusual amount of night work, they 
were continually hungry. Many times rations were issued for 
three days, with orders for them to last four, and, on a few 
occasions, five days. When this occurred two or three times 
in succession, as it did in May and June, there was some 
actual suffering. 



1864] TINE MOUNTAIN. 355 

The Rebel cavalry were active,, and on several occa- 
sions tore up the railroad and destroyed small bridges, thus 
delaying trains and making the work of supplying the im- 
mense army a task of great magnitude. Some of the .men 
grumbled a little, but most of them took the rations good- 
naturedly, fully satisfied to bear hunger as well as danger and 
fatigue, if only progress was made in crushing the Rebellion. 
There was the utmost frugality on the part of nearly all. 
Even the tails of the slaughtered cattle were skinned and 
every piece of bone was carefully saved, soups being made 
from them. Occasionally, as at Ackworth, some foraging 
was done, but as a rule the Rebel army had so thoroughly 
used up the supplies that but little could be obtained, espe- 
cially by the troops in the centre, where the Fourth Corps 
usually marched in each advance. 

Friday, June 10, the general forward movement from Ack- 
worth began, Gen. McPherson being on the left, Gen. Thomas 
in the centre, and Gen. Schofield on the right. The Fourth 
Corps went pretty directly toward Fine Mountain, keeping to 
the right of Big Shanty and the railroad. The day was rainy, 
the roads obscure, and the country broken and timbered ; as 
a consequence the march was a slow one. The NINETY-SIXTH 
furnished flankers or skirmishers, but encountered no seri- 
ous resistance, although the firing was lively most of the 
day. When a final halt was made the Rebel tents and breast- 
works were in plain view, at a distance of about two miles. 
Their lines were found to be heavily fortified, and extended 
from Brush Mountains, across Pine Mountain, and past Gilgal 
Church to Lost Mountain, a distance of nearly ten miles. 
The weather continued rainy, and the moving of troops was 
a most difficult matter. Batteries of artillery, wagons and 
ambulances were mired everywhere, and details of men were 
made from the infantry to help them out of the mud, cut new 
roads through the timber, and corduroy the low ground. 

For several days the Regiment occupied substantially the 
position taken on the tenth. Heavy works were constructed, 
although the enemy's lines were at a greater distance than at 
New Hope Church, and the firing at longer range and much 



356 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

less trying. On Saturday a portion of the Regiment was sent 
to reconnoitre the front, and advanced a long distance, having 
a severe skirmish but sustaining no casualties. 

Throughout Sunday, June 12, there was heavy firing at 
the left, and an attack was expected. The men slept with 
shoes and accoutrements on, but had their shelter tents up to 
protect them from the severe storm. Monday, the batteries 
all along the line kept up a heavy firing, and the skirmishers 
indulged in more or less musketry. During a violent rain 
storm a large, girdled tree, which stood upon the skirmish 
line, was loosened, the ground about its roots having become 
so saturated as to no longer support it, and without warning it 
toppled over and fell across a log where some of the skirmish- 
ers were sitting beneath their dripping ponchos. One of their 
number was Carlisle Druse, of Company B. The ponderous 
tree fell partially upon him, and his bayonet was driven 
through his body, causing almost instant death ; and thus 
while watching for the enemy, and under their fire, he was 
killed by an accident. He was a young man, a favorite in 
the Regiment, and his sudden taking off seemed doubly sad 
because of the unusual circumstances attending it. 

Tuesday morning dawned clear, but disagreeably cold, and 
the men were much surprised at such a severe change in the 
"Sunny South." The first sound to greet the ear was the 
muttering of cannon, but it proved to be mainly Union guns 
playing upon the Rebel lines. The day must have been an 
exceedingly unpleasant one for the enemy, as a heavy fire was 
maintained by the Union artillerists. General Sherman rode 
along the lines on a tour of observation and halting near the 
Regiment directed Captain Simon son's 5th Indiana Battery 
to open fire upon Pine Mountain. A group of Rebel officers 
were reconnoitering the lines at the time, in plain view but at 
quite a distance. A well directed shot created a commotion 
among them and caused them to scatter. In a few moments it 
was known by the Signal officers, who had learned to interpret 
the Rebel signals, that a no less distinguished personage than 
Bishop Polk, then a Lieutenant-General in the Confederate 
army, had been struck by an unexploded shell and instantly 



1864] FINE MOUNTAIN. 357 

killed. There was heavy fighting at many points on the line 
during the day, and once the Regiment, with other troops, 
moved some distance to the left to take part in a charge that it 
was proposed to make upon the Rebel works. There was a 
vigorous reconnoissance, but the Rebel lines were found to be 
so strongly fortified that an assault was deemed unwise and the 
troops returned to their former position. The lines of the 
Twentieth Corps, as well as those of Gen. McPherson, were 
crowded forward, and some gains made in position. The 
whistle of the locomotive at Big Shanty gave evidence that 
the Etowah had been bridged, and promised more abundant 
rations. When it sounded a cheer ran along the lines for 
many a mile. 

Wednesday, June 15, a general advance was ordered to 
take place at daylight, with the intention of "going in" at 
any weak point that might be discovered, but it was found 
that the enemy had again retreated. The Regiment moved 
forward, passing over the Rebel works and gaining about two 
miles of difficult ground. Toward night the greater part of 
the Fourth Corps was massed at the left of Pine Mountain, 
and the men anticipated an assault. An advance was made, 
the Second Division leading and capturing the enemy's front 
line of works. There was also severe skirmishing and some 
heavy fighting on either flank. Later in the day the Corps 
was partially deployed. 

Thursday, June 16, the Regiment lay near the enemy and 
was severely shelled. During a heavy artillery duel Capt. 
Simonson, of the 5th Indiana Battery, and Chief of Artillery 
for the Division, was killed. Toward evening heavy breast- 
works were again built, it being evident that the Rebels were 
strongly entrenched in front. Sergeant John B. Reynolds, of 
.Company I, was severely wounded in the breast and shoulder. 

Friday, June 17, there was another advance in the centre, 
across the entrenched lines abandoned by the enemy. The 
cannonading was unusually severe, and heavy musketry was 
heard, not alone in the distance, but near at hand, the Rebels 
stubbornly resisting the advance. At dark they withdrew 
across Mud Creek, and the army again fortified in their front. 



358 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

After dark the Regiment moved to the front line, relieving 
the 3d Wisconsin. The heavy rains were again resumed, to 
the great discomfort of the men, as the lines were so close 
that no fires could be built, no tents erected and no clothing 
or accoutrements removed. 

Saturday, June 18, the enemy having again fallen back, 
the advance was renewed, the Regiment being on the move 
in one direction or another most of the day. The First 
Division was in reserve until evening, when it moved to the 
front line. The NINETY-SIXTH was ordered to take the skir- 
mish line just after dark, which it did under a heavy fire. 
William Bell, of Company I, was wounded in the left hand. 
There was much uncertainty as to the situation, and as the 
troops to be relieved had moved out before the new line 
reached them, the Regiment was in doubt as to its position. 
The firing having slackened, Sergeant Michael Devlin and 
Albert Barney, of Company D, set out to reconnoitre the 
front. Hearing voices and seeing the outline of an earthwork 
a few rods ahead, they went up to it, but to their surprise 
and consternation found themselves covered by a dozen mus- 
kets, and were told, in a low tone, to surrender. There was 
no alternative, save almost certain death, and reluctantly 
they laid down their muskets and consented to be taken to the 
Rebel rear. Both endured a long imprisonment, some details 
of which will be found elsewhere in this volume. But while 
their capture had been made with unusual quiet, some of the 
men in the line heard enough to know what had happened, and 
whispered the facts to the officers. Without immediately 
advancing farther, skirmishers were deployed, and steps taken 
to prevent further losses. A deep, sluggish stream was near 
at hand, and as one of the men undertook to cross it on a log 
he fell, with a loud splash, into the water, whence he was 
rescued by his comrades. His musket went to the bottom and 
was not recovered. Strange to say, for a time neither line 
ventured to fire, although but a few yards apart. The nigiit 
was a most anxious one, the troops getting little or no sleep. 
Gen. Thomas ordered that an assault should be made in the 
morning, should the enemy still hold this line. 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 359 

Sunday, June 19, found the Rebels again on the retreat, 
the skirmishers of the NINETY-SIXTH occupying their vacated 
lines before the day had fairly dawned, and capturing a few 
prisoners. These skirmishers were soon recalled, and in a 
dreary rain storm the Division moved to the left and front, 
going in the direction of Marietta, the 21st Kentucky having 
the skirmish line. The enemy was encountered near Wallace's 
house, and the skirmishing became very spirited in front. The 
main line was in some timber, confronting an open field, which 
the skirmishers attempted to cross, but in vain, as the enemy 
was in strong force in the woods just beyond, where they were 
attempting to tear up a corduroy road or bridge across a slug- 
gish stream or swamp known as Nose's Creek. Word being 
sent to the reserves, the NINETY-SIXTH was ordered forward 
and rapidly crossed the field, the enemy leaving their work 
and retreating into the timber. The Regiment hastily crossed 
the stream, some of them wading knee deep in the mud and 
water, and formed a semi-circle just beyond. A detail of two 
men from each Company, under command of Lieutenant Daw- 
son, of Company F, was immediately deployed and ordered to 
advance. The line was now confronting one of the foot-hills 
adjacent to the eminence known as Little Kenesaw. The sides 
of this hill were densely wooded, and the skirmishers could see 
but little of what was in their front. At the command they 
moved forward for several rods. It was dusk, and in the tim- 
ber but little could be seen. William H. Ehlers, of Company 
C, passed near some bushes when a big Rebel suddenly sprang 
up and demanded that he throw down his gun, which he very 
promptly did. Peter Mowers, who was but a few yards dis- 
tant, shot the Rebel through the leg and called to Ehlers to 
run, but the latter saw a dozen men spring up, each with his 
musket aimed, and knowing that escape was impossible, ran 
quickly to the Rebel rear and remained a prisoner for many 
months. Sergeant Berg, of Company A, S. F. Vose, of Com- 
pany G, and others on the line, were ordered to surrender, but 
declined, although made the target of many guns fired at short 
range. The line fell back a few rods, each man covering him- 
self as best he conld, and in a few moments darkness closed 



360 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

the scene. Reuben Smith, of Company G, was mortally 
wounded, being shot through the left shoulder and dying July 
13. Orskine Ferrand, of Company B, was wounded in the 
left hand, and Corporal Harrison Gage, of Company I, was 
severely injured by a spent ball which struck him in the back. 
The position was precarious at best, and as the bullets were 
cutting wickedly through the bushes, a line of rifle pits was 
constructed, work continuing throughout the night. There 
was but little sleep, and all expected that at daylight the Rebels 
would attempt to drive them back across the swamp. 

Monday, June 20, was a memorable day in the Regiment's 
history. There had been little opportunity for sleep for two 
nights, and the early dawn found the men in line and ready 
to repel an expected assault. But the Rebels did not come, 
although keeping up a most annoying fire. The skirmish line 
was ordered forward with Company D, Lieutenant Earle com- 
manding, in support. It was hoped that they might be able 
to take and hold the higher ground in front, but the fire proved 
too heavy and they were recalled, Company D taking the front 
line. The contest raged at the right and left throughout the 
day. Gen. Stanley, the Division commander, and Gen. Whit- 
taker, the Brigade commander, reconnoitered the position, 
going on foot along the line of works behind which the Regi- 
ment was lying and looking through the woods to learn the 
nature of the ground in front. A reconnoissance was deter- 
mined on, and the skirmishers pushed forward until within a 
few rods of the Rebel skirmish pits, which were seen to be 
very near together and full of men. The position learned, the 
line fell back to its old place. This reconnoissance was a 
costly one to Company D, for two of their number Louis 
Brochon and Philip R. Clawson were killed, and four were 
wounded, Abner L. Chandler being shot in the abdomen, and 
Corporal A. R. Thain, P. P. Melindy and James McCann, 
each in the leg. Chandler's wound was at first thought to be 
fatal, but fortunately the bullet did not penetrate far, and in a 
few weeks he was at his post again. 

The skirmish officer reported the position of the enemy, 
and a charge was planned at Brigade headquarters. The 21st 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 361 

Kentucky was ordered to pile knapsacks, take position in front 
of the NINETY-SIXTH and lay down until the signal for the 
charge. The 51st Ohio, which was to move in support, was 
directed to lie down in rear of the NINETY-SIXTH. Meanwhile, 
similar preparations were made in front of Bald Knob, an ele- 
vation at the right, opposite the position held by the First 
Brigade, commanded by Col. Kirby. Col. Price, command- 
ing the 21st Kentucky, called for the skirmish officer, and just 
as the preparations were complete was making inquiry as to 
the direction to be taken to keep his line parallel with the 
Rebel skirmish line. The bugle sounding for the advance, he 
gave the necessary commands, Lieutenant Earle volunteering 
to guide his right. Hardly had the advance begun when the 
Colonel fell, severely wounded. But there was no faltering, 
and at a run the gallant Kentuckians dashed up to and over 
the .Rebel skirmishers, capturing many of them. The 51st 
Ohio moved immediately to the captured line, and shortly 
afterward other troops were ordered to their support. In 
their enthusiasm a part of the 2 1st Kentucky ran beyond 
the skirmish pits and attempted to charge across a ravine 
and to the ridge beyond, where was the enemy's main 
line, but the movement was not contemplated by the com- 
mander and proved disastrous to the brave men who under- 
took it, for a number were killed and wounded, their losses 
being more than in the charge upon the skirmish line. They 
were speedily recalled, and in accordance with a promise made 
by Gen. Whittaker, were marched back to their knapsacks 
and given a comparatively safe position in a rear line during 
the remainder of the time the Brigade confronted Little Kene- 
saw. Meanwhile, some sixty or eighty Rebels were brought 
back under guard. Most of them were from the 7th Kentucky, 
and as they crossed the works of the NINETY-SIXTH, they were 
chatting earnestly with their captors and asking numerous 
questions as to mutual acquaintances. One of the Regiment 
remarked to a guard : "You seem to know some of these fel- 
lows." " Know them ? " was the reply. " Yes, every one of 
them. I used to play foot-ball with them in Lexington. Got 
my own brother here." "You didn't get me until Igave you 



362 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

200 rounds of cartridges to-day, anyhow ! " was the reply of 
the captured brother. Thus they talked as they passed to the 
rear. And this was civil war neighbor fighting against 
neighbor, brother against brother. 

The troops in front speedily began the construction of 
a line of works, using the material in the captured skirmish 
pits. A few small trees were felled and rolled into position, 
and the line was attaining a height that would give some pro- 
tection, when the skirmishers, who had been deployed a few 
rods in front, shouted to the main line that the Rebels were 
coming. Instantly the men dropped their axes and shovels, 
seized their muskets, and formed in line behind their hastily 
constructed works. With a yell the enemy dashed against 
them, but not in such numbers or with such velocity as to 
make their charge successful, and the brave soldiers soon 
had the satisfaction of seeing them hurled back across the 
ravine. As soon as it became known that the Rebels were to 
make a charge, Colonel Champion, whose orders were to sup- 
port the front line, ordered the NINETY-SIXTH forward, and 
they arrived in time to assist in repelling the assault. The 
35th Indiana was moved upon the left. The regiments 
partially overlapped each other, and, the NINETY-SIXTH com- 
ing up behind them, made a double line at the point of 
assault, and for a short distance three lines of men lay in posi- 
tion. Presently the Rebels charged again, with a determina- 
tion that did credit to their bravery. The guns of the men in 
rear were loaded and passed to those in front, and a most 
withering fire was poured upon the advancing hosts. The 
dense underbrush in front was swept down by bullets as though 
a scythe had been used. The Rebels came across the ravine 
and up the slope almost to the works, but their ranks were 
so thinned and broken that again they retreated. It was now 
growing so dark as to make it difficult to discern between 
friend and foe, except by the direction of the flash of the 
muskets. Soon there was a third advance, but with the inten- 
tion of deceiving their opponents the Rebels marched backward 
up the hill, firing blank cartridges toward their own works, 
and calling to the Federals not to shoot their friends. A re- 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 363 

connoitering party had been sent out when the enemy retired 
after their second charge, but had passed to the right and 
returned to the line. Many did not know of their return, and, 
supposing the advancing line to be these men, not a few at 
first refused to fire, believing that it was friends and not foes 
approaching. All were undeceived, however, and again the 
Rebels were driven back with fearful slaughter. But the posi- 
tion gained was deemed an important one, and the Rebels 
determined to re-take it at whatever cost. The fact that Bald 
Knob, which was carried by Col. Kirby, had been re-taken by 
the forces at their left, stimulated the Rebels in front of the 
NINETY-SIXTH to an almost frantic effort. A fourth time they 
came against that bloody hill, but a constant stream of fire 
poured from the breastworks and beat them back. Mean- 
while, casualties had been frequent along the line, among 
those disabled being Colonel Champion, who was severely 
wounded in the face. The wound was exceedingly painful, and 
he was compelled to go immediately to the rear. Sergeant 
Weir, of Company A, accompanied him to the field hospital, 
returning within an hour or two. 

After the fourth repulse the Rebels maintained quiet 
for a time. Lieutenant Colonel Smith, who had assumed 
command of the line when Colonel Champion was wounded, 
fearing that his flank might be turned, moved the NINETY- 
SIXTH to the right of the 51st Ohio, extending his men so 
as to cover the ground between that regiment and Nose's 
Creek. The bullets were flying through the bushes, and 
as soon as the position was gained Colonel Smith began 
to reconnoitre his front in person. A moment later a bullet 
tore through his shoulder, and he was carried to the rear, 
dangerously wounded. Major Hicks being temporarily absent 
because of sickness, Captain Pollock, of Company C, took 
command of the Regiment, and immediately associated with 
him Captain Rowan, of Company F. The two looked along 
the line, and determining where breastworks should be built, 
sent for the regimental pioneers. But the Rebels were not 
yet satisfied, and were preparing for their fifth charge. This 
time they struck the Union line a little farther to their right. 



364 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

Moving silently until near the breastworks, they made a rush 
upon the 35th Indiana, killing its commander Maj. Dufficy 
and shooting and bayoneting many of the men before they 
could make any organized resistance. The 35th abandoned 
their works, some of the men being captured and others run- 
ning back into the timber. Major D. W. Marshall, of the 51st 
Ohio, immediately called for the NINETY-SIXTH to go and re- 
take the works, but upon consultation it was agreed that their 
position was too important to be abandoned. Captain Pollock 
accordingly sent the three left Companies B, G and K 
under Captain Rowan. These Companies moved in rear of 
the main line, and before they were aware that they had 
reached the spot, were fired upon by the Rebels just across the 
breastworks. Several fell at the first volley, others ran back 
for shelter, but many remained, loading and firing as rapidly 
as possible, a few using the bayonet. At this critical juncture 
the 40th Ohio came up in line and re-took the works, sustain- 
ing and inflicting considerable loss. Lieut. -Col. Watson, of 
the 40th, who was Brigade Officer of the Day, in reconnoiter- 
ing the position a few moments before, was captured, a Rebel 
reaching over and fairly dragging him across the earthwork. 
In the movement of the three Companies to the left, the 
loss sustained was terrific. Captain G-ilmore, of Company B, 
was mortally wounded,' being struck three times. One shot 
penetrated his skull, another his body, and a third passed 
through his thigh. He never regained consciousness, and died 
five days later. Sergeant Whitmore, of the same Company, 
was almost instantly killed ; David Wells was shot in the hand 
and arm and permanently disabled, never again joining the 
command. Erastus T. Cleveland lost a part of his hand, and 
was disabled. In Company G, Captain James was shot through 
the shoulder, and died a month later. Dennis Shupe was 
struck two or three times and killed almost instantly. Chris- 
topher Booetcher was mortally wounded, being hit seven times 
and dying on the twenty-third. Sergeant Walter Drew had 
his left arm shattered and suffered amputation, and Christian 
Knopf was permanently disabled by a shot through the foot. 
In Company K, Corporal Wallace W. Hoover was severely 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 365 

wounded through the left shoulder, and James Hicks had a 
serious wound in the right hand. 

The other casualties of the day were : Corporal Henry P. 
Barnum, of Company C, who was permanently disabled, a 
bullet striking his left cheek, passing directly through and 
coming out of his right cheek close beside the deep scar of his 
Chickamanga wound ; Corporal John H. Pooley, of Company 
E, who was shot through the left thigh, and permanently dis- 
abled, his wound being a close mate to one in his right thigh 
received at Chickamauga ; James L. Knox, of Company G, 
who was shot in the left arm and side, and died nine days 
later ; Corporal Marcus J. Penwell, of Company H, shot in 
the left hand ; Edward Hancock, of Company F, and George 
E. Smith, of Company D, both stretcher bearers, and each 
shot in the ankle. Hancock was disabled for five weeks, but 
Smith was able to remain on duty. 

After the re-taking of the works the three Companies re- 
turned to the Regiment. The firing was continuous all night, 
but there were no further assaults. By morning, a good line 
of breastworks was well advanced, but the men were entirely 
worn out by their long and constant vigil. It was said that 
seventy thousand rounds of ammunition were expended by 
Gen. Whittaker's Brigade alone on the twentieth. The Regi- 
ment had added to its laurels, but at heavy cost* 

Tuesday, June 21, brought little respite. Daylight re- 
vealed the fact that the Rebel main line was frightfully near. 
The Regiment was upon a hillside sloping toward the enemy, 
and almost at the verge of the timber. In its front was a 
straggling cornfield, dotted with girdled trees. Its works 
were partially enfiladed from Bald Hill. So close was the 
enemy that a hat or a hand raised above the head logs was 
sure to bring a volley of musket balls. Skirmishers were 
posted in hastily constructed rifle pits, or behind trees, but 

*The Historian of the 40th Ohio declares the night fight of June 20, at Kenesaw, the 
severest, next to Chickamauga, in the experience of that Regiment. With the NIMKTT- 
SIXTH there were fewer slight wounds than in several other engagements, but more 
fatalities than in any other one day's experience, except at Chickamauga, and, consid- 
ering the emallness of the Regiment, the number of casualties was very large. Eight 
were killed or mortally wounded. A singular fact is that all of these were from the- 
Lake County Companies. A number of those wounded were permanently disabled. 



366 HlSTOKY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

thirty or forty yards in advance. To add to the discomfort, 
the day was rainy, and as the men were obliged to lay in the 
muddy trenches their situation was most disagreeable.* Coffee 
could not be made on the line, nor brought from the rear, 
except at night. Hard tack and raw salt meat was the only 
diet. Major Hicks, who had been worn out in the campaign, 
and sent to the field hospital to recuperate a day or two 
before, came up early in the day, and took command of the 
Regiment. The musketry was spirited all day, and casualties 
numerous on either side. About ten o'clock two batteries 
opened upon the Regiment with fearful energy, and for an 
hour it seemed as if the position must be vacated. The dis- 
tance was so short, and the range so close, that destruction to 
the entire command seemed inevitable. Shells screeched and 
screamed and exploded in the treetops, and upon the ground. 
Girdled trees were struck, and their dried branches broken off 
by the shock and hurled backward toward the line. At times 
it seemed as if retreat must inevitably result. After a time 
the men concluded to change their tactics, and opened tire 
upon the batteries with musketry from the main line. The 
effect was soon manifest, for one after another the cannon 
ceased firing, the showers of Minie balls driving the artillerists 
from their positions. Toward noon the First Brigade charged 
the hill at the right of the NINETY-SIXTH, which they had 
taken and lost the night before. The Union batteries played 
upon this hill for a half hour before the advance. The 
Rebels had a line of works, but so gallant was the assault that 
it proved irresistible. The charge was in plain view, and so 
near at hand that the members of the Regiment were able to 
give material assistance by firing obliquely toward the Rebels, 
both before they left their works and after they began their 
retreat. This movement partially stopped the enfilading fire, 
which had been so severe, especially upon the skirmishers of 
the NINETY-SIXTH, during the early part of the day. The 
casualties, which were mainly sustained by the skirmishers, 

* Gen. Sherman telegraphed Washington on the 21st : "This is the nineteenth day 
of rain, and the prospect of clear weather is as far off as ever. The roads are impas- 
sable, and fields and woods become quagmires after a few wagons have crossed, yet we 
are at work all of the time." 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 367 

were as follows : First Sergeant F. A. "Weir, face ; Sergeant 
C. H. Berg, right arm ; F. J. Robinson, left leg, by three 
bullets; Theodore Hopp, left hand, all of the foregoing in 
Company A, Sergeant Samuel B. Payne, Company C, shot 
through, and died a month later ; Henry Sneesby, Company 
C, face ; Charles Spaulding, Company D, thigh ; Dominick 
Burke, Company D, face ; Wm. R. Buchanan, Company F, 
mortally ; Sergeant George Dawson, Company I, head ; 
Peter Damphouse, Company I, arm ; Wm. W. Hughes, Com- 
pany K, hip. 

Wednesday, June 22, the positions were unchanged. The 
Rebels again gave the Regiment a terrific shelling, but could 
not drive it out. The main works and the skirmish line had 
both been strengthened, and as the men kept out of sight, 
tiring under their head logs, and exposing themselves but 
little, the casualties were less numerous. Orlando Phippin, of 
Company E, was wounded in the head ; Corporal James 
Junken, of Company E, was wounded in the neck, and died 
next day ; William Joyce, of Company G, was wounded in 
the head. After dark the Regiment, with the rest of the 
Brigade, was relieved and moved to the rear and right, march- 
ing nearly the entire night, and relieving portions of the 
Twentieth Corps, on Culp's Farm, early on the morning of 
Thursday, June 23. A heavy engagement had taken place 
on this ground the previous day. The enemy's fire was severe 
throughout the day, but at longer range than that to which 
the Regiment had been so recently exposed. Toward night, 
after a terrific artillery fire of an hour's duration, a charge 
was made by the Brigade, and the Rebel skirmishers were 
driven in, about one hundred of them being captured, many 
of them by the NINETY-SIXTH. The 84th Indiana captured an 
eminence somewhat in advance of the rest of the Brigade, but 
soon exhausted its ammunition, and was withdrawn. The 
advance on the part of the NINETY-SIXTH was most gallantly 
made. Frank Redfem^ of Company E ; Robert Burbridge, 
of Company H ; and Ross P. Rayne, of Company K, were 
mortally wounded, all dying within a few hours. James 
Donehue, of Company G, on duty at Brigade Headquarters, 



368 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

as an Orderly, was wounded in the leg. The main lines were- 
now about one-third of a mile apart. 

Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Regiment did not move. 
Heavy firing occurred at intervals, but only the skirmishers 
were engaged upon that part of the line. The men shielded 
themselves as best they could, and, as the weather had im- 
proved, and the ground become partially dry, they were far 
more comfortable than on the line occupied earlier in the 
week. Occasionally during the early part of the night the 
skirmishers of the two armies talked back and forth across 
the brief space separating them-, or met midway between the 
lines. One evening, after the Rebels had assaulted at a point 
where some Union regiments which they supposed were made 
up largely of recruits, were located, and had been driven 
back with severe loss, a big Confederate called out : "Oh, 
Yank ! what troops were those that repulsed us ? " " Do you 
really want to know ? " was answered back. ' ' Yes, of course. " 
came in reply. "Well, it was a brigade of niggers," called 
out the Yankee. The Rebels were angry, and fired a volley 
to show their indignation, following the volley with a torrent 
of oaths. Quiet was soon restored, when a Yankee called 
out : ' ' Oh, Johnny ! I forgot to say that the niggers were 
supported by hundred-day men." In came more bullets 
and profanity, and then another period of quiet, which was 
broken by another call from the Yankee : "Honest, boys, it 
was the Invalid Corps that you charged." There was no more 
talking that night, but lots of ammunition was wasted. In 
these occasional conversations a favorite question was to ask 
the Rebels how far it was to Atlanta, and the replies were as 
varied as can well be imagined. The General Officers in 
either army frowned upon these interviews, but could not 
wholly prevent them, as the soldiers in the ranks felt that it 
was their war rather than a contest between high officials. 
The fatigue of laying in the skirmish pits for twelve or twenty- 
four hours was terrible, and either side was usually willing to 
declare a truce for a few hours during the night, especially if 
the lines had been confronting each other for a succession of 
days, with no prospect of an immediate movement. Usually 



COMPANY B. 





First Lieut. HOI.I.IN H. Tut >u;n.i.. 
GKORGK A BANGS. 



Capt. GEOBOB H. BURNETT. 

Capt. EVANGELIST J. GILMOKE. 

HBNRY II. MONTGOMERY. 



MYRON GILMOUE. 
WILLIAM D. WHIT.MORE. 



_^__ >- 

* ' 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 369 

one side or the other would call out: "Oh, say! Stop 
firing a little while ! " If the proposition was favorably 
received the musketry would soon cease for quite a distance 
along the line, and the men would crawl out from their pits 
and sit upon the grass or on the head logs of their little forti- 
fications. At times there would be little or no talking. When 
the officer or non-comrnissioned officer in charge thought the 
truce had lasted a sufficient time he would so indicate to his 
men, and some one would call out: "Oh, Johnny! hunt 
your holes, now ; we're going to shoot ! " and in two minutes 
the desultory firing would be renewed. These affairs were 
honorably conducted, and seldom was a shot fired until warn- 
ing had been given. In trading between the lines the men 
went unarmed. The Rebels were always anxious to get coffee, 
but it is to be feared that they sometimes found the quality 
poor, as the Yankees not unfrequently boiled their coffee whole, 
extracting what strength they could without grinding, arid then 
drying it for trading purposes. Tobacco was much sought 
after by the Yankees. In exchanging newspapers it was the 
custom to part with those of the most remote date possible. 

The men almost insisted that these amnesties were a neces- 
sity, so severe had become the physical strain, and as the 
officers of lower rank were as much in need of the respite as 
were their men these truces were repeated nightly until the 
twenty-seventh. 

Gen. Sherman at last tired of his tactics, and resolved to 
make a change of plans. Keeping up a show of moving to 
the right, he concentrated a portion of the army near the 
centre, and prepared to assault the enemy's fortifications. 
Preliminary to the charge, on the morning of Monday, June 
27, the NINETY-SIXTH, with the other troops of the Brigade, 
moved three-quarters of a mile to the left and formed in 
column just in rear of the Union works, with orders to support 
the Second Division. The experience was a trying one. 
Almost before the reserves were in position, the bugle sounded 
for the charging columns to advance. The response was 
prompt and gallant, two Brigades of Gen. Newton's Division 
rushing forward from the immediate front of the NINETY- 
24 



370 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

SIXTH, and attempting to push through the tangled abatis 
which covered the Rebel front ; but in vain, for the barriers 
were so formidable that they could not be passed. The Rebels, 
standing behind their strong earth-works, and peering under- 
neath their head logs, gloated over their victims, mowing them 
down by hundreds as they came up to .the line where the 
tangled bushes were so interwoven as to absolutely fence out 
the storming party. Again and again the veteran troops 
attempted to go forward, and for nearly two hours the 
musketry and artillery gave forth a continuous roar. Farther 
to the right Gen. Davis' Division made a similar attempt, 
starting from the works where the NINETY- SIXTH had lain for 
three days, but they, too, were driven back. At length Gen. 
Sherman became satisfied that success could not result, and 
ordered the troops to return. Many could not leave their 
advanced position, but lay there until nightfall, while some 
who attempted to run back were shot before reaching the 
works. The losses were frightful, and the gains of little 
moment. It was calculated that fully 2,500 were killed and 
wounded, among the former being Gen. Charles Harker and 
Col. Daniel McCook, the officers in command of the Brigades 
which led one of the assaults. 

The part taken by the Regiment in the day's fight was not 
conspicuous. It lay in reserve all through the charge, mov- 
ing to front or rear, or to right or left, under a pitiless fire, as 
ordered, prepared to rush forward at the signal to be given 
when the advance had broken the Rebel lines a signal that 
was not to be made. Men fell all about ; artillery horses, 
standing near at hand, were wounded, and, mad with pain, 
dashed toward the lines ; but strangely enough not a man of 
the Regiment was disabled. During the afternoon the Regi- 
ment was moved a short distance to the rear, and allowed to 
rest where there was but little danger, an experience so rare at 
that time as to be most welcome. 

Tuesday, June 28, the Regiment remained in the woods 
until dusk, when it moved to the scene of the terrible fighting 
of the day before. For some reason difficult of comprehen- 
sion, the troops were ordered to retain a position across the 



1804] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 371 

depression between the two lines of works, so close to the 
enemy as to be exceedingly dangerous. To this exposed line 
the Regiment inarched, under cover of the darkness. The 
orders were given in a whisper, and every man was charged 
to maintain silence. The night was comparatively quiet, but 
there was no talking or trafficking between the lines. Many of 
the dead still lay along the hillside, but the wounded had been 
gathered in by daring men during the previous night. Skir- 
mish pits were constructed, a greater part of the Regiment 
working all night. 

Wednesday, June 29, the early hours were full of the noise 
of musketry, but ere long there came a hush, for near at hand 
a white flag fluttered in the breeze. It soon became known 
that Gen. Sherman had asked a truce, and that permission be 
granted him to bear oft and bury the dead from Monday's 
fight. The flag was received, and four hours' time granted 
for this humane work. It becoming apparent that the task 
could not be completed within the period named, an exten- 
sion was granted and the truce continued until five o'clock. 
During this time the men of either army flocked between the 
lines by hundreds, but neither side ventured, or was allowed, 
to pass a designated point. The enlisted men talked freely 
with each other, exchanged newspapers and other commodities, 
and at parting shook hands, wishing personal good luck, but 
pronouncing anathemas against the cause to which they were 
respectively opposed. Many distinguished officers from either 
side met on the neutral ground, several of them renewing 
acquaintances formed at West Point. 

At five o'clock the details whose duty it had been to gather 
and bear away the bodies of those who fell in the disastrous 
charge announced that their task was completed, the men in 
grey retired beyond their heavy fortifications, the men in blue 
withdrew to their works, each side called to the other the 
ominous words, "Are you ready ? " and the duel of the morn- 
ing was resumed. At dark the NINETY-SIXTH was relieved, 
and marched back to the timber in rear of the main line, and 
bivouacked. During the night a terrific musketry broke out 
almost immediately in front, and bullets flew around the camp, 



372 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

but without injury to any one in the command. All sprang 
to arms, but in a few moments the firing lessened and all was 
usually quiet. 

Thursday and Friday passed without any especial event 
on that part of the line. Gen. Sherman continued to shift his 
forces from left to right, and was preparing to cut loose from 
the railroad and swing to the rear of the Rebels, closing down 
to the Chattahoochie, and striking them on the move if pos- 
sible. But his movements were divined by the wary Johnston, 
and the expected opportunity for an open field fight was never 
given. 

During the evening of Friday, July 1, the NINETY-SIXTH 
again took the extreme front line, relieving the 45th Ohio, and 
occupying the position held during the previous Wednesday. 
The night was uneventful, but next day, to cover his move- 
ment to the right, Gen. Sherman directed that an incessant 
skirmish fire be kept up, and all through the hours the roar 
of musketry resounded in front and to right and left of the 
position. The enemy was compelled to keep out of sight, and 
but few shots were returned. At dark the Regiment was 
marched to the left, relieving other troops in their trenches. 
Many had lame arms and shoulders from firing their 
muskets so constantly, and all felt that important events 
were at hand. Gen. Whittaker, who had been relieved from 
the command of the Brigade, was succeeded by Col. Taylor, 
of the 40th Ohio. The two men were strikingly different in, 
their characteristics. The General was fiery, impulsive, 
passionate, fond of display, scrupulously neat in his attire, and 
accustomed to maintain a headquarters superior in its furnish- 
ings to most of the Division and Corps commanders. Col. 
Taylor was quiet in language and demeanor, simple in his 
habits, familiar with his men, careless of dress and satisfied 
with a shelter tent if no better could be conveniently provided. 
He was not disposed to trust the details of his camp or picket 
lines to subordinates, but attended to everything possible in 
person. Often he would walk along the lines, dressed in a 
soldier's uniform and leading his old gray mare, while his- 
staff officers and orderlies, mounted in superb style, would 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 373 

follow behind, their faces betraying their feelings, which were 
clearly that they were a useless appendage. But the Colonel's 
bravery and coolness were well known, and the men had entire 
confidence in his judgment. He issued few orders, and usually 
saw, in person, that they were obeyed. The Brigade was 
well handled by him, but it is understood that he never 
enjoyed his promotion or learned how to make his staff officers 
&s useful as the average brigade commander. Certain it is 
that he has never ceased to have the best wishes of the men 
of the old "Iron Brigade." 

Sunday, July 3, found Kenesaw Mountain and the long 
line of Rebel entrenchments abandoned. There was great 
rejoicing, for the three weeks, from Ackworth to this point, 
had been full of hard and dangerous work. The Regiment 
numbered less than two hundred effective men, although a 
few others were present as pioneers, musicians, etc. But 
little clothing had been issued, and nearly all were ragged. 
The men had grown thin and haggard, and very many then 
on duty were in reality fit subjects for the hospital. But it 
was necessary that all who could should keep in place, for the 
casualties in Gen. Sherman's command during the two months 
preceding had aggregated, by the conservative figures of army 
reports, 7,530, while at least an equal number had been sent 
to hospitals because of sickness. The NINETY-SIXTH had 
shrunk almost one-half, indicating that its casualties exceeded 
that of the average regiment, and confirming the belief that 
the figures given for the army were entirely too low. 

Pursuit of the Rebel army began at once, even though the 
day was the Sabbath, the heat excessive, and the army in great 
need of rest. TJie Regiment, with other troops, pushed out 
across the heavy breastworks, marching through the outskirts 
of the pretty village of Marietta, and following the railroad. 
The day's march was about six miles, and the camp for the 
night in a corn field. 

Monday, July 4. the pursuit continued, the army hammer- 
ing away at the heels of the retreating foe, and pressing them 
to a line of works at Smyrna Camp Ground. The Brigade to 
which the NINETY-SIXTH was attached led in a charge upon 



374 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

these works, and drove the enemy in considerable confusion, 
capturing a few prisoners. The losses in the Division aggre- 
gated fully one hundred. The day had been a genuine Fourth 
of July in its noise, but the tiring was of shotted cannon, and 
in place of the harmless cracker, had been the hurtling Minie 
ball. At night the Regiment took a front line, under fire, 
the men working like beavers until morning, in constructing 
fortifications, only to find that the enemy had again retreated 
to another line of works. Gen. Sherman, in his Memoirs, 
confesses that he was greatly surprised to find the Rebels- 
again entrenched north of the Chattahoochie, and says of their 
line, it "proved to^be one of the strongest pieces of field 
fortification I ever saw." A thousand slaves had been at 
work a month or more on these lines, the inner one of which 
was about five or six miles in length. 

Tuesday, July 5, the Regiment again pushed forward,, 
reaching the Chattahoochie river, where a pontoon bridge, 
some wagons and a few prisoners were captured. The posi- 
tion occupied was out of the reach of musketry, and the men 
enjoyed the opportunity of washing their clothing and putting 
up tents, which was possible on Wednesday. 

The remainder of the week was spent in camp. At inter- 
vals the batteries played upon the Rebel lines, with great 
vigor, their fire being responded to with corresponding earnest- 
ness. Friday evening a terrific artillery duel was indulged in. 
During Saturday night the last of the enemy crossed to the 
south side of the river. Many of the men visited the signal 
hill at Yining's Station, and took their first look at Atlanta, 
nine miles distant. It seemed quite near, but two long 
months were to elapse before the Union Flag should float 
from its spires. 

The operations about Kenesaw Mountain had been at- 
tended by the following 

CASUALTIES. 
Field and Staff. 

WOUNDED. Colonel Thos. E. Champion, face ; Lieutenant Colonel 
John C. Smith, shoulder ; both being practically disabled for further 
field service. 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 375 

Company A. 

WOUNDED. First Sergeant F. A. Weir, face ; Sergeant C. H. Berg, 
right arm ; Francis J. Robinson, left leg ; Theodore Hopp, left hand. 

Company B. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Captain E. J. Gillmore ; Sergeant 
William D. Whitmore. 

WOUNDED. Erastus T. Cleveland, left hand ; Orskine L. Ferrand, 
left hand ; David Wells, left hand. 

Company C. 

MORTALLY WOUNDED. Sergeant Samuel B. Payne. 
WOUNDED. Corporal Henry P. Barnum, face, disabled for further 
service ; Henry Sneesby, face. 

CAPTURED. William H. Ehlers. 

Company D. 

KILLED. Louis Brochon, Philip R. Clawson. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Alex. R. Thain, leg ; Abner L. Chandler, abdo- 
men ; P. P. Melindy, leg ; James McCann, leg ; Dominick Burke, face ; 
Charles Spaulding, right thigh. 

CAPTURED. Sergeant Michael Devlin, Albert Barney. 

Company E. 

MORTALLY WOUNDED. Corporal James Junken, Frank Redfe 
WOUNDED. Corporal John H. Pooley, left leg ; Orlando Phippin, 
head ; Wm. G. Oberlin, face and eye. 

Company F. 

MORTALLY WOUNDED. Wm. R. Buchanan. 
WOUNDED. Edward Hancock, ankle. 

Company G. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Captain David L. James, Chris- 
topher Booetcher, James L. Knox, Dennis Shupe, Reuben Smith. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Walter Drew, left arm, amputated ; Christian 
Knopf, right foot, disabled for further service ; William Joyce, head ; 

James Donohue, leg. 

Company H. 

KILLED. Robert Burb ridge. 

WOUNDED. Corporal M. J. Penwell, left hand. 

Company I. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant John B. Reynolds, neck; Sergeant George 
Dawson, head ; Corporal Harrison Gage, back ; William Bell, left hand ; 
Peter Damphouse, right arm. 

Company K, 

MORTALLY WOUNDED. Ross P. Rayne. 

WOUNDED. Corporal W. W. Hoover, left shoulder ; James Hicks, 
right baud ; W. W. Hughes, right hip ; Wm. J. Edwards, left leg; Har- 
mon Dean, head ; George C. Morse, head. 



376 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 



INCIDENTS ABOUT KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 

The casualties in the 46th Georgia, one of the regiments 
that charged the position held by the NINETY-SIXTH and other 
troops in Whittaker's Brigade during the tight of June 20, 
must have been very numerous, as many bodies were left 
between the lines. Indeed, nearly a month afterward, Cor- 
poral Henry Gage, of Company G, visited that region to call 
upon friends in the 15th and 45th Illinois, and wrote home 
that from thirty to fifty bodies were still unburied. The stench 
from that part of the battle-field was terrible during the two 
weeks in which the armies confronted each other, but the lines 
were too close to permit of any work being done by burial 
parties except under a flag of truce, which was never sent out 
at that point. 

Several men used the bayonet during the night fight of 
June 20, more, probably, than at any other engagement in 
which the Regiment participated. 

Old letters report but nine or ten men able to carry mus- 
kets in some of the Companies of the NINETY-SIXTH, about 
the time the line was abandoned by the enemy. Indeed, the 
entire Regiment, counting only effective men, was then but 
little larger than a full Company at muster-in. Every man 
was a soldier, however, and the command was equal to any 
emergency likely to arise. 

Dighton Granger, of Company B, who had recently been 
detailed as teamster, drove a wagon load of artillery ammu- 
nition up to a battery on the front line during an artillery duel 
and held his team in place for some time when the officers 
considered it too dangerous to permit their men to unload the 
wagon, but fortunately the outfit escaped damage. 

George Barth had a bullet through his coat, Fred Worth 
one through his blanket, Joseph Roth one through his pants 
and poncho, Edward Rix had his clothing cut, Frank Rahling 
had his hat shot through, Corporal W. H. Richards had one 
bullet strike his knapsack and another spoil the lock of his 
gun, George Bowman had a ball through his cartridge box and 



1864] KENESAW MOUNTAIN. 377 

Milton Glover one through his haversack. Samuel Buser, 
-on duty at Brigade headquarters, stepped out of his tent just 
in time to avoid a cannon ball which destroyed the frail edifice. 

Charles Spaulding and Dominick Burke, of Company D, 
were each wounded while asleep. Worn out with several 
nights and days of hard work, with little opportunity for rest, 
they crawled out of the trenches and tried to make themselves 
a little more comfortable upon the bank, and were sleeping 
soundly, although there was continuous firing all about them, 
when an over-shot bullet wounded both of them. 

The field hospital was not so far away from the line, but 
that it was under fire, shot or shell passing over it frequently, 
and occasionally dropping among the tents, in a few instances 
with fatal results. Most of the wounded were placed upon the 
cars and taken to Chattanooga, or points farther north. As 
fast as they recovered they were again sent to the front, many 
being detailed to drive cattle from Chattanooga, and in some 
instances having stirring adventures with Rebel cavalry. 
' On the night of June 20 a Rebel officer was shot just over 
the breastworks in front of Compan}^ B. William Joyce 
immediately jumped over the works and, taking off the officer's 
sword and belt returned safely with the trophies, although 
repeatedly fired at by the Rebels. 

Lieutenant Blowney was sick in the field hospital for a few 
days, but when Captain James was brought back wounded, 
immediately made his way to the front line and took com- 
mand of his Company, although so weak as to hardly be able 
to walk. 

John Greenwald, who had been discharged for disability 
from Company A, and reenlisted in Company F, 12th Illinois, 
was wounded no less than seven times in one of the engage- 
ments about Kenesaw. 

While carrying a box of ammunition to the front line John 
Golden, one of the band, was severely injured by a fall. 

Thomas J . Moore, of Company E, had his cap box exploded 
by a bullet. 

A not unusual occurrence was for a man to lose his voice, 
.as a result of sickness. One of those thus afflicted was 



378 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

William R. Buchanan, of Company F, who had not spoken 
aloud for many months until struck by a bullet while on the 
skirmish line, June 21, when, the cords being loosened by the 
shock, he turned to Sergeant Campbell and spoke in a loud 
tone, saying, "Andy, I'm shot." He lived but a few hours, 
but was able to converse until the last. 

An old letter, written on this line, says : "I hardly know 
whether to say that the boys now with the Regiment are well 
or not. There are not a great many sick, but there seems to 
be some disease with which almost everyone is afflicted. 
Some call it "hives," others scurvy. It is doubtless caused 
by heat, body lice, going day after day and night after night 
without an opportunity to change or even take off clothing, 
dirt and want of vegetable diet." 

During the fight of June 20, Colonel Smith was watching 
the Rebels from a small aperture in the hastily built works, 
but being unable to see as clearly as he desired stepped upon 
the works. As he did so an officer in the 51st Ohio took the- 
place the Colonel had vacated, but had no sooner placed his 
eye to the opening than a bullet struck him in the head,, 
killing him instantly. 



1864] THE MARCH TO POWERS' FERRY. 379 



CHAPTER XX. 



Across the Chattahoochie The Rest on the Ridge Peach Tree Creek 
The General Forward Movement Within Two Miles of Atlanta 
The Battle on the Left A Visit Interrupted Killed in Camp Four 
Men Captured Colonel Opdyke's Reconnoissance Regimental Pol- 
itics Strong Breastworks and How They were Built Promotions 
Among the Officers Frequent Demonstrations, One of Them Attend- 
ed by Heavy Losses An Ominous Quiet Mysterious Movements on 
Foot What will Gen. Sherman do ? Casualties about Atlanta. 

GEN. SHERMAN'S great ability as a strategist was well dis- 
played along the line of the Chattahoochie. Feigning to the 
right he deceived the enemy, and soon had control of several 
fords and ferries at the left, with his army in good positions 
for crossing. Some infantry forces, with Garrard's Division 
of Cavalry, pushed northeastward to Roswell, where were 
numerous and extensive cotton, wool and paper mills, turning 
out goods for the Southern armies. These were destroyed. 
As early as July 8, a portion of the Twenty-Third Corps effected 
a crossing, by means of pontoon boats, near the mouth of Soap 
Creek, and having laid their bridge were soon strongly 
intrenched. Gen. Johnston withdrew his army from the 
north bank of the river on the night of July 9. Gen. Sher- 
man, still feigning to the right as if intending to move to the 
rear of Atlanta from the westward, ordered Gen. McPherson's 
and Gen. Schofield's forces far to the left, and then wheeled 
them toward Atlanta from the neighborhood of Decatur. 

Sunday, July 10, the NINETY-SIXTH, with other troops, was 
enjoying the unusual quiet and idling away the time in any 
manner that suited the individual taste. The day was an 
excessively hot one. At noon a detail of men was sent to 
draw rations and bring them to the camp. This work was 
about completed and the Commissary Sergeant was dividing 
the rations of hard-tack, coffee and sugar, according to the 
size of the Companies, when suddenly the " general " call was 



380 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

sounded by the Brigade bugler. A moment later the assembly 
sounded and then the forward. The men who were awaiting 
the division of the rations gathered up the four corners of the 
blankets upon which the supplies had been laid and ran with 
-all speed to their comrades, who were buckling on their accou- 
trements. Soldiers ran to meet them, each eager to at least 
secure some crackers, which they crammed into their haver- 
sacks. To say the least the division was neither uniform nor 
formal, but nearly all obtained something. Instantly the 
straggling column began to move at a rapid walk. The 
Companies were scarcely half formed and the tardy ones came 
up at double quick. The direction was up the river, the desti- 
nation being Power's Ferry, where the enemy was making a 
demonstration as if intending to attack the troops already 
arrived. The march was one of the most severe ever partici- 
pated in by the command, and the Brigade was but a small 
battalion in size when a final halt was made. At one time 
but about thirty men were with the colors of the NINETY-SIXTH, 
and an old letter states that but a single commissioned officer 
was present. A half dozen or more sustained partial sun- 
strokes, among the number being Adjutant Blodgett, who was 
so disabled as to be compelled to go to the hospital and 
remain for several weeks. He had but partially recovered 
from an illness of a fortnight's duration and was not in condi- 
tion to endure the terrific heat of that tropical Sunday after- 
noon. A little before the destination was reached, it being 
ascertained that the danger which threatened the troops at 
the Ferry had passed, a halt was made and the more resolute 
and robust of those who had fallen out came up so that about 
seventy muskets were stacked at camp. Others continued to 
come up, and by night nearly all were present. Several fatal 
sunstrokes were said to have occurred in the Brigade. Shortly 
after the destination was reached, and before any considerable 
number of the exhausted men had put up their shelter tents, a 
sudden and terrific thunder storm broke upon the camp. The 
lightning played most vividly and several trees were struck 
in the immediate vicinity, a number of men being killed in 
another regiment. The storm, which was not of long duration, 



1864] ACROSS THE CHATTAHOOCHIE. 381 

cleared the air to some extent, but the troops were badly used 
up and glad of the opportunity of a quiet night's rest. 

Monday, July 11, was given to rest. Tuesday morning 
the Regiment took up its line of march at daylight, crossing 
the Chattahoochie on a pontoon bridge and taking its place in 
line on the right of the Twenty-third Corps, along a ridge 
near the river, and establishing a good camp. The remainder 
of the week was spent at this Dlace, the men greatly enjoying 
the rest afforded. The river presented an animated appear- 
ance at times, from the great number who went in bathing. 
Some desks and blanks were brought to camp, and officers 
and non-commissioned officers were kept busy in making out 
reports, so long neglected during the campaign. Thursday 
night brought a terrific storm, with high wind and sharp 
lightning. All were wet, the shelter tents not blown down 
affording but little protection. 

At this time a special effort was made to fill up the thinned 
ranks of the army before its concerted move toward Atlanta. 
Convalescents, teamsters, clerks, detached men, all who could 
be spared from other duties, were sent forward ; and in this 
way every Regiment received a very substantial reinforce- 
ment, the NINETY-SIXTH being increased to nearly three hun- 
dred effective men. 

Sunday, July 17, brought Company inspection, and at two 
o'clock P. M. orders to fall in and change position, the new 
line being the one vacated by Gen. Wood's Division. There 
was considerable firing at the front and on either flank, indicat- 
ing that the brief respite was at an end and the grand forward 
movement toward Atlanta begun. 

Monday, July 18, brought the old-time three o'clock reveille, 
and at six o'clock the Regiment was moving toward the city, 
the cannon knocking for admission at its gateways. There 
was some skirmishing by the advance and but slow progress 
was made. After moving to the left and front about five or 
six miles the lines halted, the Regiment being near Buck 
Head. 

Tuesday, July 19, the Third Division took the front line r 
and the NINETY-SIXTH lay in camp until four o'clock p. M. r 



382 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

when it moved to the left and front, crossing the north fork 
of Peach Tree Creek, taking position under fire and construct- 
ing a heavy line of works. John Hay, of Company K, was 
severely wounded, having his right thigh fractured. He was 
taken to Chattanooga, where he died a fortnight later. 

Wednesday, July 20, occurred the battle of Peach Tree 
Creek. There was now a new commander of the Confederate 
forces about Atlanta. Gen. Johnston was succeeded by Gen. 
Hood, the recommendation of the latter being that he was a 
great fighter. The Confederate cause was indeed growing 
desperate, and a change of tactics was demanded. That change 
was inaugurated on the day above mentioned. It was known 
in the Union lines almost as soon as among the Confederates 
that there had been a change of commanders, and all were 
warned that an attack might be expected. Gen. Sherman had 
separated his forces somewhat. Gen. McPherson was on the 
left, Gen. Schofield next, and Gen. Thomas on the right, with 
a gap between the forces of the last named commanders. 
These forces were all feeling their way cautiously toward the 
front, while the First Division of the Fourth Corps was also 
bearing to the left in order to connect with and support the 
Twenty-third Corps. Some delay occurred at the crossing of 
the south fork of Peach Tree Creek, as it became necessary 
to build a bridge to take the place of one destroyed by the 
enemy. Skirmishing was heavy all along the front, and at 
the right a heavy battle raged during the later hours of the 
afternoon. At one time the Regiment was halted near some 
farm buildings on a sloping highway commanded by Rebel 
artillery. Cannon balls struck the ground in front and rico- 
cheted across the lines. One shot struck a fence on which 
some men were sitting, carrying away the rails and dropping 
the soldiers, somewhat frightened but entirely unharmed. 
Another tore its way corner- wise through a building around 
which a few were standing. It was not always a pleasure at 
such times to hear the bugle sound the "forward," but on this 
occasion all were rejoiced to be speedily sent at double quick 
across the hollow and upon the front line, even though the 
skirmishing was brisk and continuous, and bullets came pat- 



1864] PEACH TREE CREEK. 383 

tering through the ranks. Filing to the left, line-of-battle was 
formed under the brow of the hill, and soon the Kegiment 
moved forward to the ridge. A line of works was constructed 
and a charge was looked for, but the main Rebel column did not 
extend so far to the Union left as to lap the command, although 
their skirmish line pushed close up to the Regiment. During 
the engagement Thomas Kimmons, of Company F, was 
wounded in the leg ; Peter Davidson, of Company H, in the 
right wrist ; and George Deedrich, of Company D, in the leg. 
At night the Regiment had the skirmish line and kept up a 
continuous firing. The battle was a victory for the Union 
forces, the assaults of the Rebels being repulsed with heavy 
loss. The fighting was mainly on the part of the Fourth and 
Twentieth Corps. The NINETY-SIXTH fired about ten thousand 
rounds of ammunition during the twentieth and the night suc- 
ceeding. 

Thursday, July 21, the Regiment was relieved on the 
skirmish line by the 84rth Indiana, and occupied a position 
behind the breastworks. The general movement was a right 
wheel of the army, and as the advance was slow little change 
of position was made on the right. The Regiment was under 
fire from both infantry and artillery, but sustained no losses. 

Friday, July 22, found the works in front of the right 
evacuated, and most of Gen. Thomas' command was able to 
advance to within a mile and a half of the city. This move- 
ment was made at daylight, the troops marching in column 
until the skirmishers found the enemy, when the columns 
deployed and pressed forward to the neighborhood of the 
White House. At the final halt the NINETY-SIXTH was the 
extreme left Regiment of the Corps. Adjoining was a Brigade 
of the Twenty-third Corps, in which was the 65th Illinois, con- 
taining a company from Lake County. Captain James S. 
Putnam, of Company F, of that command, being on staff 
duty, arranged to have the 65th transferred to the right of his 
Brigade, and the Lake County men of the two regiments were 
enjoying themselves in a general visit, when with little warning 
a portion of the Twenty-third Corps was hurried off to the left. 
As the 65th was included in the order the visit terminated 



384 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

very suddenly. It transpired that Gen. Hood had sent a 
portion of his army far out to his right and over-lapped the 
Union left, making repeated assaults, and for a time discon- 
certing the Army of the Tennessee, whose commander, Gen. 
McPherson, had fallen early in the battle. The NINETY-SIXTH 
had no active part in this heavy engagement, but lay in line 
anxiously awaiting the outcome of the terrible struggle, the 
sounds of which indicated that the fighting was approaching so 
near as to make it probable that all of the troops would soon be 
involved. The skirmishers, under Captain Rowan, advanced 
nearly to the city, and sent word that there was so light a line in 
front that the main works at the north of Atlanta could be read- 
ily taken. However, those higher in authority, being apprehen- 
sive of disaster at the left, refused to make a forward move- 
ment, and the opportunity to take Atlanta passed with the 
coming of night. During the day a heavy line of earthworks 
was constructed about one and one-half miles out from th& 
city. During Saturday, Sunday and Monday the Regiment 
did not change position, but Monday night the Army of the 
Tennessee was moved by Gen. Sherman from left to right in 
the endeavor to reach Atlanta from the southwest. There was 
heavy artillery tiring on either side, the Union batteries being 
able to throw shot and shell into the city. 

Tuesday, July 26, the Regiment moved a short distance 
to the left and rear, and occupied some abandoned Rebel 
works. There was considerable shifting of position and but 
little opportunity for sleep. Wednesday the troops closed to 
the right, thinning the line somewhat and protecting the front 
by constructing a heavy abatis. This line was occupied for 
several days. Thursday, orders were read announcing that 
Gen. O. O. Howard had been relieved from the command of 
the Fourth Corps and assigned to the command of the Army 
of the Tennessee ; that Gen. D. S. Stanley had succeeded Gen. 
Howard ; and that Colonel Gross had succeeded Gen. Stanley 
in the command of the Division. Gen. Howard had steadily 
grown in the affections of the men, and there was general 
regret at his loss, although all in the First Division knew that 
in Gen. Stanley they had an able and worthy Corps com- 



COMPANY C. 











First Lieut. JAMES O. HAVENS. 
EDWIN D KIT BY 



Corp'l HENRY H. GAGE. 

First Serg't AARON SCOTT. 
Corp'l DELOSS ROSE. 



dipt. JA.MKS II. CLAKK. 
NAIIUM LAMB. 



1864] ATLANTA. 385 

mander. A heavy fight took place on the right but did not 
seriously involve the Fourth Corps, although there was contin- 
uous skirmishing and heavy artillery firing, not on that day 
alone but every day. The engagement was the third one 
precipitated by Gen. Hood, and proved of decided advantage 
to the Union cause. The enemy occasionally sent sixty-four 
pound shells from their large siege guns, but none did serious 
damage. 

Sunday, July 31, hostilities were almost entirely suspended 
for several hours, as if by mutual consent, but about noon the 
huge shells came from the Rebel lines at frequent intervals. 
One of these monsters exploded in camp but did no damage. 
The Union batteries responded, and in the evening the sky 
above the city was illumined by the bright blaze from build- 
ings set on fire by exploding shells. 

Monday, August 1, the Brigade extended its lines to cover 
the ground previously occupied by the First Brigade, and at 
night moved again, this time to the position of the Twenty- 
Third Corps, the Army of t&;0h"ior being sent to the extreme 
right. The Regiment was oii^Chej, move until about ten o'clock. 
Captain A. Z. Blodge'tky <3f' Company 'D^ who had been able 
to do but little duty for some months, owing to injuries re- 
ceived at Chickamauga, resigned. First Lieutenant Hastings 
succeeded him as Captain, and Second Lieutenant Clarkson 
was promoted to First Lieutenant. 

Tuesday, August 2, tents were put up, and the men pre- 
pared to make their stay comfortable. The enemy was at 
such a distance that all in the main line felt comparatively 
safe, although the skirmishers kept up a desultory fire. Occa- 
sionally bullets reached the camp, and one of them with fatal 
effect, First Sergeant Aaron Scott, of Company G, being 
struck in the body and mortally wounded. He had assisted 
in building a bunk, and when struck was lying upon it engaged 
in reading his bible. He suffered greatly for a few moments. 
An officer standing near offered him some stimulants, which he 
declined, remarking that he at all events wished to die sober. 
The end soon came, and he died as he had lived, an exem- 
plary Christian soldier, expressing, with his latest breath, his 
25 



386 HISTORY OF THE 96'rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

gratitude at having been able to do something for his country. 
A hush fell upon the camp, and strong men were moved to 
tears when they saw the manly courage of their gallant com- 
rade as he gave his last messages to those about him. 

The same day four members of the Regiment, who had 
gone to the rear with a forage train, were captured by Rebel 
cavalry. They were : Henry M. Williams, of Company D ; 
Hugh Williams, of Company I ; and William W. Jellison and 
Wallace W. Montgomery, of Company E. Hugh Williams 
died at Florence, S. C. 

Wednesday, August 3, the skirmishers of the Regiment 
made a vigorous demonstration against the Rebel lines, in 
which Myron Gillmore, of Company "B, was severely wounded 
in the left leg. He had but recently returned to the Regi- 
ment after a trip to his home in Lake County, where he had 
accompanied the remains of his brother, Captain E. J. Gill- 
more, who had died from wounds received at Kenesaw Moun- 
tain. Myron was disabled for farther service, and was dis- 
charged the following January. During the day the camp 
was subjected to a severe shelling. 

Thursday and Friday passed without any change of posi- 
tion. Saturday brought orders for another strong demonstra- 
tion on -the part of the skirmishers, which were obeyed with- 
out loss to the Regiment. These demonstrations were re- 
peated on Sunday and Monday, the enemy being found in 
force each time. Some of the officers' valises coming up there 
were many official reports made out and forwarded to head- 
quarters. 

Friday, August 12, the NINETY-SIXTH, with the 38th and 
74th Illinois, made a reconnoissance under Col. Opdyke, 
going out on the left beyond the Augusta Rail road, and encoun- 
tering a strong force of the enemy, who undertook to ambush 
the advance, at the same time moving a column with the 
design of reaching the Union rear and cutting off the retreat 
of the three regiments. The Union commander was too wary 
to be thus entrapped, and, after driving the Rebel skirmishers 
into their main line, he withdrew his forces. The movement 
was over the ground where the severe fighting of July 22 



1864] ATLANTA. 387 

occurred. The same day a strong reconnoissance was made 
on the right of the Union lines. In fact, every day brought 
movements and demonstrations on some part of the line, Gen. 
Sherman seeking to find some weak point for an assault, while 
still clinging to the hope that he would be able to so far 
envelope the city as to cut the Macon Railroad at the south. 
Rations were more abundant than on the Dallas line or at 
Kenesaw Mountain, and the weather was less trying, although 
showers were frequent. The lines, too, were more widely 
.separated, but the danger was constant, as bullets and shell 
passed through or over the camp at all hours, and more than 
once men were wounded while asleep in their bunks, close 
beside the breastworks. The skirmishers were considerably 
exposed, but long ere this had learned how to protect them- 
selves, and casualties were not very numerous. About one- 
third of the command was daily detailed for picket duty, and 
from three thousand to five thousand rounds of ammunition 
were used up by the Regiment every twenty-four hours. 

About this time there was great interest at the North over 
the approaching Presidential election. The soldiers shared in 
the anxiety as to the political situation, and in many com- 
mands there was a formal canvass to know their preferences. 
In the NINETY-SIXTH the Sergeant Major and Sergeant Cooper, 
of Company E, made a canvass, with the following result : 
Gen. Fremont, 1; Gen. Butler, 1; Gen. McClellan, 2; 
Abraham Lincoln, 288 ; not voting, 20. 

"Practice makes perfect," and the Regiment had by this 
time acquired great proficiency in building breastworks. Those 
built on the Atlanta line were greatly superior to the earth- 
works constructed in the early part of the campaign.* 

* A letter written from the Atlanta line, says : " Let me tell you how our works are 
built : We fell trees and put the logs up two or three high, digging a ditch inside, and 
throwing the dirt outside against the logs. A ditch is also dug on the outside. We have 
to throw about ten or twelve feet of earth against the logs to make the works so that 
they will be proof against heavy artillery. Then we put what is called a head log on top 
of the works, raising it up three or four inches, so that the men can fire without expos- 
ing their heads a great deal. The headlog rests on skids, so that if struck by a shot or 
shell it will roll off without falling upon the men in the works. When building the works 
we sharpen long stakes and place them six inches apart, throwing the earth around them. 
A few feet in front of the works is another row of sharp sticks, four or five feet long, 
and three or four inches apart, set at an angle of ninety degrees. These are held in place 



388 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Monday, August 15, Corporal Peter Mowers, of Company 
G, was slightly wounded while on the skirmish line. 

Tuesday, August 16, the 84th Indiana, which had been- 
with the NINETY-SIXTH for about a year and a half, was trans- 
ferred to the Third Brigade. Gen. Nathan Kimball was 
assigned to the command of the Division, relieving Colonel 
Gross. 

First Lieutenant Wm. M. Loughlin, of Company C, who- 
had been on detached duty for sixteen months, was transferred 
to the First U. S. V. V. Engineer Regiment, and Second 
Lieutenant Charles W. Earle was promoted to fill the vacancy. 
Prior to this date First Lieutenant George H. Burnett was 
promoted to the Captaincy of Company B, vice Gillmore, 
killed, and a commission as First Lieutenant awaited the 
return of First Sergeant Ambrose A. Bangs, then a prisoner 
of war. First Lieutenant B. G. Blowney, of Company G, 
was promoted to Captain, vice James, died of wounds, and 
Second Lieutenant James O. Havens was commissioned First 
Lieutenant. 

Wednesday, August 17, at a little past midnight the Regi- 
ment moved a short distance to the right, where it built good 
shades over the tents. At night a detail of ten men was sent 
out from each regiment to build fires in rear and on the left, 
and in the morning some regiments and a battery marched 
several times around a hill in rear of camp. All of this work 
was with the intention of deceiving the Rebels into the belief 
that the Union Army was massing on the left, but seems to 
have been in vain, as no important advantages resulted. 

Thursday, August 18, the sick were sent to the rear and 
the troops ordered to be in constant readiness to march. No 
move was made, however, but heav} r firing took place on 
various parts of the line on that and the following day. 

by logs, dirt being thrown in the spaces. Outside of these is a tier of heavy limbs, or 
tree tops, sharpened and turned outward, which are piled thick and staked down. If 
there be timber in front and there is generally timber everywhere at the South we fell 
it, also lopping over the underbrush. So you can guess that it is no easy thing to charge 
and take breastworks. It would take a line-of-battle several minutes to climb over or 
crawl through an abatis, by which time most of them would be hit. You may think 
that it takes a good deal of time to build such works, but many hands make light work, 
and if tol8 and timber are plenty it does not take many hours to fortify a position." 



1864] ATLANTA. 389 

Saturday, August 20, the Regiment made a strong demon- 
stration in front of the Second Brigade. The command was 
moved to the skirmish line at four o'clock, leaving camp in a 
shower, and passing along a ravine that served to conceal 
it from observation. Six companies were detailed from the 
left and deployed as skirmishers, the four right Companies, 
A, F, D, and I, being left in reserve. The regular skir- 
mish detail, embracing men from every regiment in the 
(Brigade, was ordered to advance with the six left companies, 
all under command of Major Hicks. The orders were to con- 
form the movement to that of the troops of the Brigade on the 
Tight, advancing with them and charging the Rebel skirmish 
pits. The line moved out across an opening and to the timber 
beyond, in which was the line to be charged. At first the 
Rebels seemed to be off their guard, probably owing to the 
rain which was falling when the movement was inaugurated, 
and the timber was gained without loss. The troops at the 
right were noisy in their movement, cheering as they ran and 
drawing a heavy fire. Midway in their course was a rail 
fence, where they halted, and bej-ond which only a few of the 
more daring ventured. Their officers urged them forward, 
but in vain, and there they remained until ordered back to the 
works from which they had started. 

Meanwhile the NINETY-SIXTH, in heavy skirmish order, 
had penetrated much farther than the line on which they were 
to guide, and were ready to make the final rush upon the 
enemy whenever the others should come forward. A terrific 
'fire now raged along the line, the men lying behind trees or 
logs, and giving shot for shot to the enemy behind their strong 
rifle pits. Major Hicks was in a quandary what to do. The 
orders received by him had been explicit enough, but events 
had not occurred as contemplated. To add to the anxiety, a 
portion of the line had misunderstood his command to "guide 
right," and had borne to the left, thus opening a gap near his 
centre. Word was sent to those on the left to correct the 
error, and after a time the line was united. At length, it 
being evident that the troops on the right would not come 
forward, and the casualties in the Regiment becoming numer- 



HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

ous, the Major determined to withdraw his brave men before 
the enemy could move to his rear and subject him to the added 
danger of capture. The retreat was a most difficult one, for 
the men were within a few rods of the enemy's skirmish pits, 
and no movement could be made without drawing the fire of 
the skirmishers. There were wounded men to be assisted to 
the rear, and the muskets of the killed and wounded to be 
cared for. Orders for the retreat were issued, and the men 
crawled or ran, as their positions permitted, to the reserve 
line. By some means, however, a portion of the right of the 
line, including the color guard, failed to hear the order, and 
as the underbrush was so thick as to partially conceal the 
movement, did not see their comrades leave. It was not long, 
however, before they discovered their peril, and made their 
way to the rear, just as a volunteer party was being organized 
to go to their rescue. At dusk the Kegiment moved to the 
main line, and the demonstration was at an end. The results 
seemed of little moment, although the losses had been severe. 
The men of the Regiment understood what was expected of 
them, and would most surely have carried the skirmish pits 
in their front had the troops on the right moved forward as 
expected. As it was they made no attempt to charge the 
works. 

In this demonstration William A. Lewis, of Company A, 
who happened to be on picket duty for the day, and was there- 
fore with the skirmishers, instead of with his Company in 
reserve, was killed ; also Fred Blackmail, of Company K. 
Those wounded were First Sergeant F. A. Weir, of Company 
A, right arm ; Ebenezer Tate, Company A, head ; Wm. W. 
Tower, of Company B, who was wounded in the neck, and 
died six days later ; John McGill, Company C, slightly, in 
neck ; Corporal Frank Peppard, of Company D, hand ; Ser- 
geant R. J. Cooper. Company E, shoulder ; Corporal Edward 
Malone, Company G, leg ; William Joyce, Company G, arm 
and leg, disabling him for further service ; Corporal Robert 
D. Tarpley, Company I, arm ; Corporal Charles Shaw, Com- 
pany I, side. 

Sunday, August 21, the command moved to the support of 



1864] ATLANTA. 391 

the Third Brigade, which made a feint upon the enemy's 
lines, and was subjected to some annoying artillery and infantry 
fire. Returning to their works the Regiment enjoyed com- 
parative quiet for a few days, although a glancing ball on 
Wednesday seriously wounded John McGill, of Company C, 
in the shoulder, disabling him for further service. It was 
now apparent that a change of plans was to be made by Gen. 
Sherman, but what the movement contemplated could be no 
one seemed to know. The sick and those not able to make a 
hard march were sent to the rear, and an air of mystery seemed 
to envelope all in authority. All efforts to take Atlanta, or to 
reach and cut the Macon Railroad, had failed, and soldiers 
and officers wondered if the effort was to be abandoned. The 
Rebel cavalry had cut the railroad toward Chattanooga, and 
many feared that the army was to retire to the line of the 
Chattahoochie, and act on the defensive ; others, with implicit 
confidence in their able and gallant commander, insisted that 
the movement was to be an aggressive one, and so it proved. 
In the operations along the Chattahoochie and about 
Atlanta the Regiment had sustained the following 

CASUALTIES. 

Company A. 

KILLED. William A. Lewis. 

WOUNDED. First Sergeant F. A. Weir, arm ; Joseph D. Young, left 
leg ; Ebenezer Tale, head. 

Company B. 

WOUNDED. Myron Gillmore, left leg ; W. W. Tower, mortally. 

Company C. 
WOUNDED. John McGill, neck and shoulder. 

Company D. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Frank Peppard, hand ; George Deedrick, leg. 
CAPTURED. Henry M. Williams. 

Company E. 

WOUNDED. Sergeant R. J. Cooper, shoulder. 
CAPTURED. Wm. W. Jellison, Wallace W. Montgomery. 

Company F. 
WOUNDED. Thomas Kimmons. 



392 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

Company G. 

KILLED. First Sergeant Aaron Scott. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Edward Malone, leg ; William Joyce, arm and 
thigh ; Corporal Peter Mowers. 

Company H. 

WOUNDED. Peter Davidson, right wrist. 
Company I. 

WOUNDED. Corporal Robert D. Tarpley, arm ; Corporal Charles 
Shaw, side. 

CAPTUKED. Hugh Williams, died while prisoner of war. 

Company K. 
KILLED OK MORTALLY WOUNDED. John Hay, Fred Blackman. 



1864] ATLANTA. 393 



CHAPTER XXI. 



Preparations for a Grand Movement A Night March Building Breast- 
works again Destroying the Railroad Fairly in Rear of the " Gate 
City " Guarding a Wagon Train Hurried to the Front The Battle 
of Jonesboro The Fight at Lovejoy's Station Four Fatalities 
Anniversary of the Regiment's Muster-in "Atlanta is Ours, and 
Fairly Won " Withdrawal of the Forces Burning Cotton In Camp 
near the City. 

THURSDAY evening, August 25, saw the grand movement 
to the rear of Atlanta inaugurated. The pickets or skirmishers 
detailed the previous morning had been instructed to take 
their tents and blankets with them, and everything indicated 
an important movement. The men amused themselves by writ- 
ing letters to the Rebels, which they tacked to trees or tucked 
in the breastworks. If these letters could be reproduced they 
would be most interesting reading ; but this is impossible. 
Some were poetical, some defiant. Advice of all kinds was 
offered, and exaggerations generously indulged in. A dozen 
outlines of the coming campaign were written, the soldiers 
drawing upon their imaginations, and no two suggesting the 
same destination. The Rebels who were so fortunate as to 
gather up the missives left by the NINETY-SIXTH must have 
been highly entertained, for this freak of letter writing seem- 
ingly took hold upon a majority of the members of every Com- 
pany. 

At dusk the troops moved out upon the left and marched 
westward until two o'clock in the morning, bivouacking in rear 
of the Twentieth Corps. A part of the march was extremely 
disagreeable, being along a road newly cut out through heavy 
young timber, the stumps of which caused much stumbling 
and barked many shins. The Twentieth Corps moved directly 
to the rear and occupied works covering the crossing of the 
Chattahoochie, remaining until Atlanta was evacuated. 

Daylight of Friday, August 26, found the Fourth Corps 
closely massed on a hill near Utoy Creek. At eight or nine 



394 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

o'clock the march was resumed. The Brigade was directed to- 
guard the wagon train. The Rebels shelled the hill from 
Atlanta, but the morning was foggy and the artillery did but 
little damage. The march was not rapid, which was fortunate, 
as the day was hot and rainy. The Regiment halted at five 
o'clock and formed its camp for the night between Utoy and 
Sandtown. During the day the Fourth Corps had passed a 
portion of the Fourteenth Corps, and had learned that only the 
Twenty-third Corps held its former position confronting 
Atlanta. 

Saturday, August 27, the march was continued to Mount 
Gilead Church, near which occurred some heavy skirmishing. 
A line of works was built by the Regiment in a surprisingly 
short time, but the enemy soon retired and a further advance 
was made to Camp Creek. The skirmishing continued until 
after dark and was renewed in the morning. The Army of 
the Tennessee had moved still farther to the right, and the 
entire movement of Gen. Sherman's command took the form 
of a grand left-wheel. 

Sunday, August 28, there were orders for an early start, 
but the Fourteenth Corps occupied the roads, and the Regi- 
ment was idle until late in the afternoon, when it marched four 
or five miles and halted for the night near Red Oak. The 
Atlanta and West Point Railroad being reached other troops 
spent the night in destroying the rails and ties, and blowing 
up the masonry. 

Monday, August 29, the Fourth Corps again advanced 
and took its turn in the work of destroying the railroad. The 
work was thoroughly done. A regiment would halt and stack 
arms beside the road, and with a few iron bars and wooden 
levers loosen the ties, when all would lift the track, turning 
it upside down for a long distance. The ties were then 
loosened and piLed up, the rails laid across them and fires kin- 
dled. In a short time the rails would be red hot in the centre, 
and the men would twist them about trees or stumps, completely 
ruining them. In this way many miles of road were destroyed 
during the movement. There was some skirmishing but no 
heavy force was encountered. 



1864] JONESBOKO. 395 

Tuesday, August 30, the command pushed forward to the 
Fayetteville road. The skirmishing continued and at the right 
there were indications of a battle. The march was a leisurely 
one, the start being late and the halt at dusk. Some forage 
was secured, including green corn and sweet potatoes. 

Wednesday, August 31, the advance was resumed, the 
enemy, with both infantry and cavalry, resisting and forcing 
the Regiment to do considerable skirmishing. Three times 
the resistance was so vigorous that halts were made and breast- 
works begun. The enemy had good earthworks, but were 
driven out. After resting a while on the Rebel works the 
Regiment moved to the Atlanta and Macon Railroad and 
halted, the pioneers cutting the telegraph wires and destroy- 
ing the track, working the entire night. 

Thursday, September 1, the Regiment was detailed to- 
guard a wagon train and marched southward close beside the 
railroad track, which was being torn up by other troops. The 
air was full of smoke from the fires, and the skirmishing in- 
creased as the day wore on. Toward night the wagons halted, 
and the NINETY-SIXTH, relieved from its duty as train guard, 
was hurried forward toward Jonesboro, passing close up to- 
the skirmishers before swinging into line-of-battle, beside the 
railroad track. This exposed position was reached under a 
galling fire just before night, and about the time of the assault 
on the part of the Fourteenth Corps on the right of the rail- 
road. That assault was perhaps the most successful one of the 
Atlanta campaign, for the Union forces swept entirely over 
the Rebel earthworks, capturing a thousand prisoners and sev- 
eral cannon and stands of colors. The NINETY-SIXTH was 
probably the first regiment of Gen. Stanley's command in posi- 
tion ; and before other troops of the Fourth Corps were able to 
swing around upon the left and join in a general assault, night 
closed in and the lines halted. The Regiment had occupied 
an exposed position, close to the enemy's entrenchments, and 
been under a heavy fire, but sustained no casualties. The 
troops slept on their arms, and were startled during the night 
by what appeared to be terrific artillery firing in the direction 
of Atlanta. They supposed that there had been a night assault 



396 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

by the Twentieth Corps, but learned next day that the sounds 
had proceeded from the explosion of ammunition which the 
Rebels wished to destroy before evacuating the city. The 
Twentieth Corps moved forward at daylight, occupying the 
city and taking in charge the few stores not destroyed. Before 
retreating the Rebels had set fire to many supplies and had 
wrecked or burned a number of locomotives and many cars. 
A few prisoners were captured. The captures at Jonesboro 
numbered nearly two thousand, about one-half of them being 
wounded. Three hundred Rebel dead were buried by the 
Union forces. The losses on the part of the Federal forces 
engaged were about one thousand, mostly in the Fourteenth 
Oorps. The NINETY-SIXTH was separated from the rest of the 
Brigade in the movement against Jonesboro, having no time 
to go to its regular command after being relieved from the 
care of the wagon train, but being pushed forward to support 
the charge in which the 17th New York played so conspicuous 
a part, and halted not far from where the bright uniforms of 
the gallant Zouaves dotted the ground so thickly when the 
battle closed. 

Friday, September 2, found the army jubilant over the 
news which reached them early in the day that Atlanta was 
-occupied by Union troops, and there was lusty cheering all 
along the lines. The Rebels had retreated from Jonesboro, 
and the soldiers from all commands flocked to see the captured 
cannon and the scene of the successful assaults of Thursday 
night. Early in the day another advance was made, the 
Rebels being overtaken and crowded rapidly southward. The 
NINETY-SIXTH was near the left in the general advance and 
skirmished briskly, covering the front of the Brigade, and 
advancing vigorously two or three miles, when they came in 
-sight of a long line of Rebel entrenchments. One Company 
after another was thrown upon the skirmish line, until nearly 
the entire Regiment was deployed. By a bold charge the 
skirmish pits near Lovejoy's Station were captured by the Reg- 
iment and a position gained close up to the enemy's main line. 
This advance, which was made under the personal direction 
of Major Hicks, was a most gallant one, the men evincing .an 



1864] LOVEJOY'S STATION. 39T 

enthusiasm which called forth high encomiums from the Brigade 
and Division Commander. It was attended by four fatalities, 
Andrew Disch, of Company A, and Patrick Hewitt, of Com- 
pany T, being killed and William Calvert and Andrew Jelly, 
of Company F, mortally wounded. Calvert died two days 
later and Jelly was conveyed to Chattanooga, where he died 
September 10. John Lister, of Company F, lost a finger, and 
Charles Hawkins, of Company D, was wounded in the hand. 
The firing was very heavy until long after nightfall and so close 
was the range that the men on either side were compelled to- 
hug the ground closely to prevent heavy loss. As soon as it 
was dark, a line of works was constructed, a heavy line of 
skirmishers firing incessantly to keep the enemy down and 
allow the work to proceed. So hot was this fire that the 
Rebels actually abandoned their front line before daylight, 
their forces moving a hundred yards or more to a second line 
of works. 

Saturday, September 3, brought no forward movement, but 
a continuous firing was maintained by both infantry and artil- 
lery on either side. Large supplies of ammunition were 
required, and the men cheered loudly at frequent intervals,, 
at times shouting questions and answers toward the still defiant 
but evidently disconcerted men in grey. The day passed 
without serious casualties. 

Sunday, September 4, was a repetition of the previous day. 
Corporal Peter Fleming, of Company E, was wounded in the 
left shoulder. At night a band came out in the rear of the 
Union lines and played several patriotic airs, but their music 
came to a sudden termination when a Rebel battery let off a 
half dozen shells i quick succession. 

Monday, September 5, the second anniversary of the organ- 
ization of the Regiment, found the command still under a 
heavy fire, and the men still responding, resolutely and enthu- 
siastically, to the shots of the enemy they had so long con- 
fronted. From the first it had been evident that the entire 
Rebel army had successful!} 7 eluded Gen. Sherman in their 
retreat from Atlanta, and that all were gathered at Lovejoy's 
Station. But ten days rations had been taken when the move- 



398 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

meiit began, August 25, and these were about exhausted. 
The weather was rain}', the roads bad, and the thirty miles 
which separated the Army from the city precluded the possi- 
bility of an immediate supply by wagon trains. For four long 
months the men had been actively at work, and were now 
in much need of rest. Gen. Sherman therefore determined 
to bring the long campaign to a close, and on the evening of 
September 5, began the movement back to the city of Atlanta, 
which had been one of the objectives of the campaign. The 
night was dark and rainy and the troops tired, but there was 
no murmuring and few if any left the ranks. Jonesboro, 
which was passed about one o'clock in the morning, presented 
a weird sight, for hundreds of bales of captured cotton were 
burning in the streets, details of soldiers being made to see 
that it was destroyed, and thus prevent it from failing into 
the hands of the enemy. A halt was made at two o'clock in 
the morning, the Regiment, with other troops, laying in 
bivouac all of Tuesday and Tuesday night, and until other 
portions of the army had passed on toward the city. 

Wednesday, September 8, the Regiment marched back to 
Rough and Ready, and on Thursday, September 9, to Atlanta, 
going into camp some two or three miles from the city, near 
the Augusta railroad, and pitching its tents near the graves 
of the brave men who fell with the gallant McPherson, July 
22. The Army of the Cumberland encamped in and about 
the city, the Army of the Tennessee at East Point, and the 
Army of the Ohio at Decatur. 

The Atlanta campaign had ended ; a campaign destined to 
live in history as one of the most remarkable of any clime or 
time. And well had the NINETY-SIXTH borne its part, and 
sustained the record for heroism and gallantry won at Chicka- 
mauga and indorsed at Lookout Mountain. The army hailed 
the needed rest with pleasure. The President, Congress, the 
press and the loyal people of the land showered encomiums 
upon Gen. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers who 
had forced their way over mountains and across rivers from 
Chattanooga to the "Gate City," and saw in the successes of 
the four months a hope arising that the long and bloody strug- 



1864] CLOSE OF THE CAMPAIGN. 399 

gle would soon terminate in a victory that should be final and 
complete. But there were to be other arduous campaigns and 
bloody battles, and in them the NINETY-SIXTH was to have a 
conspicuous part. 



400 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL,. Y. I. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



The Gains and the Losses of the Campaign Plans for the Future A, 
Skirmish near Stone Mountain Deaths by Disease Gen. Hood 
takes the Initiative A Race to the Rear Passing Familiar Ground 
In Sight of the Rebel Army Allatoona The March to Rome- 
Delays for want of a Little Bridge Calhoun, Resaca and Dalton 
On the Flank of the Enemy Alternate Brief Rests and Heavy 
Marches Southward to Gaylesville A week in Camp with Abundant 
Rations Last Days with Gen. Sherman. 

THE stay at Atlanta continued for nearly a month, and was 
comparatively uneventful to the NINETY-SIXTH. A few men 
were daily permitted to visit the city, and in time all who 
cared to do so had made the circuit of the breastworks, and 
gone over the numerous and now historic battlefields about the 
town. The official reports brought out the fact that in the 
campaign more than three thousand officers and soldiers in 
the Federal army had been killed, about sixteen thousand 
wounded, and two thousand seven hundred captured. Four 
cannon had been captured at Resaca, ten at Rome, twenty at 
Atlanta and eight at Jonesboro. The Federal army had 
expended 86,611 rounds of artillery ammunition and 11,815,299 
rounds of infantry ammunition. More than 8,000 prisoners 
had been taken, and 2, 1 62 deserters had come within the lines. 
But the Rebel army was not destroyed, and while Gen. Sher- 
man was planning for a new and aggressive campaign Gen. 
Hood was also arranging to assume the offensive, and startle 
the world by a campaign bold in its conception, but destined to 
be disastrous to the brave men in his command. 

Meanwhile a spirited correspondence sprung up between 
the two commanders, growing out of the question as to what 
should become of the citizens in Atlanta, and resulting in the 
sending of nearly all non-combatants north or south, which- 
ever way they chose to go. A heavy inner line of works was 
constructed, so that a small force might hold the city against 
assault. The terms of many of the troops enlisted in 1861 



COMPANY C. 




GEOROE M. FABNSWOBTH. 
Corp 1 ! JUDSON A. MASON. 



Corp'l JAMES HICKCOX. 

Second Lieut. HIRAM W. FABNSWORTH. 

.IIISIAII H. WRIGHT. 



JOSEI-H PALMEU. 
JOHN K. BECK. 



own 



1864] RESTING AT ATLANTA. 401 

were expiring, and these men were sent north by rail. Gen. 
Thomas was sent to the rear to look after the defence of the 
long line of communications, and to gather troops to resist 
the raids of the enemy. Gen. Sherman and Gen. Grant were 
in constant communication, and before the close of Septem- 
ber the march to the sea had been proposed. It was expected 
that Gen. Hood would follow, or march upon parallel lines, 
seeking to harass or annoy the Union forces, but instead he 
assumed the initiative and threw his entire army northward, 
crossing the Chattahoochie a few miles west of Atlanta. 
Early in October the enemy began the work of destroying the 
long lines of railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga, thus 
attempting to do to Gen. Sherman's army precisely what the 
latter was purposing to do to Gen. Hood's. 

During the month of September the health of the Regi- 
ment was good, and its numbers were increased by the return 
of many of those who had dropped out because of sickness or 
wounds during the campaign. ^Lieutenant Earle, who had 
been acting as Adjutant of the^'Begimfent for a few weeks, was 
detailed as Aide-de-Cafet^ jm I^a^^g^^ff^and entered upon 
his duties September 23, serving as Aide and Inspector until 
the close of the war. Hospital Steward Ferguson was mus- 
tered as First Lieutenant of Company H. Colonel Cham- 
pion returned to the Regiment, and toward the close of the 
month was assigned to the command of the Brigade. His 
wound had healed but his health was poor, and he looked 
many years older than when he left the front in June. 

The number of deaths from disease, aside from those occur- 
ring among prisoners of war, was much smaller than during the 
previous summer. A. C. Tarpley, of Company I, a brother 
of Capt. Tarpley, died at Bridgeport May 1-1. John R. Dun- 
more, a recruit to Company D, died at Chattanooga July 1. 
Thomas Kinreid, of Company G, died at Nashville June 27. 
William H. Bevard, of Company I, died at Nashville, August 6. 
Corporal John Hill, of Company I, died at Atlanta Septem- 
ber 23. 

On the eleventh the Regiment went out about thirteen 
miles with a forage train, loading the wagons south of Deca- 
26 



402 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

tur. The start was at daylight and the return at dark, mak- 
ing a hard day's march. 

Monday, September 26, the Brigade went out with a forage 
train, leaving carnp about noon and going into bivouac at sun- 
down in an orchard near Stone Mountain. Next day the 
march was continued for two or three miles, when a halt was 
made. While the wagons were being loaded Kebel cavalry 
made their appearance, and a lively skirmish ensued in which 
the 21st Kentucky had several men wounded. The enemy 
were driven into the timber and then, the train being loaded, 
the return march was safely made, camp being reached a little 
before sundown. 

Dress parades were held daily for a fortnight, and on Fri- 
day, September 30, there was a Division review and conse- 
quently a day of hard work. A few officers and men in each 
regiment received twenty or twenty-five-day furloughs. Gen. 
Whittaker returned and was for a few weeks in command of 
the Division. There had been rumors of a raid in the rear 
for two or three days, and on Sunday, October 2, it was 
learned that the entire Rebel army had crossed the Chatta- 
hoochie. Orders were issued by Gen. Sherman to move at 
midnight, the Twentieth Corps to remain and garrison Atlanta. 
A heavy rain storm prevailed during the night, and the start 
on the part of the command, to which the NINETY-SIXTH was 
attached, was delayed until daylight of Monday, October 3. 
The column passed through Atlanta and out on Marietta street, 
marching all day in the rain and mud, crossing the Ohatta- 
hoochie and camping for the night, behind the breastworks 
which the Regiment had confronted three months before at 
Smyrna Camp Ground. The distance traveled was about 
twenty miles. 

Tuesday, October 4, the command remained in camp until 
noon, and then marched about nine miles northward past Mari- 
etta, camping behind the Rebel breastworks west of Kenesaw 
Mountain, almost directly opposite the point where the Regi- 
ment had its night fight June 20. It was there learned that 
the Rebels had possession of the railroad from near Kenesaw 
to Allatoona and had captured the garrisons at Big Shanty 



1864] FOLLOWING HOOD'S ARMY. 403 

and Ackworth, among the prisoners being Jared Blodgett, of 
Company G, who had taken advantage of a brief furlough to 
visit a brother in the 15th Illinois, then on duty at Ackworth, 
and who remained a prisoner until near the close of the war. 

Wednesday, October 5, the Regiment moved northward 
about eight o'clock, passing through the breastworks it had 
defended from June 20 to June 23. It was evident that there 
was trouble ahead, for the march was a slow and cautious one 
and the troops were kept well in hand. The column finally 
halted and the lines were formed, the NINETY-SIXTH camp- 
ing on the east slope of Pine Mountain, behind the old 
Rebel works. Gen. Sherman was near at hand, watching 
with anxiety the outcome of the engagement in progress at 
Allatoona Pass, and from a position near the Regiment, it is 
understood, caused to be signalled to Gen. Corse the historic 
message: "Hold the Fort for lam coming! " The smoke from 
camp fires and from the burning of railroad ties and fences, 
and the more distant smoke from the battle raging about Alla- 
toona from ten o'clock A. M. until nearly two o'clock p. M., 
gave evidence, were any wanting, that the entire Rebel army 
was in front. Gen. Sherman directed the Twenty-third Corps 
to advance on the left, hoping to cut off the retreat of the 
enemy, meanwhile holding the other troops in readiness to 
move in such direction as circumstances might require. 

The battle at Allatoona resulted disastrously to the enemy, 
the garrison repulsing every attack and compelling them to 
retreat. Eventually they took up their line of march and 
moved northwesterly, going toward Rome. They had done 
their work upon the railroad well, for 35,000 new ties and six 
miles of iron were required to put it in repair ; but ten thou- 
sand men were set at work, and in one week the break was 
closed. About this time four companies of the 40th Ohio 
were mustered out, their term of service having expired. 

Thursday and Friday the main army still waited. Satur- 
day, October 8, late in the afternoon, the bugles sounded the 
order to move forward, and the columns marched out, camp- 
ing late in the evening near Ackworth. Gen. Whittaker was 
on Kenesaw Mountain when the movement began, and for a 



4:04 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

time Colonel Champion commanded the Division. The night 
was unseasonably cold and the troops had a foretaste of winter. 

Sunday, October 9, there was but a short march, and it 
being given out that the command would perhaps remain some 
time, a good camp was laid out and fixed up during that after- 
noon and the next day. Monday, at half past three, the order 
was given to march immediately, and before night the Regi- 
ment had passed Ackworth and Allatoona, going over the 
bloody battle field of five days before. There was still abund- 
ant evidence of the fierceness of the struggle. Many of the 
Regiment met and talked with acquaintances from the 12th 
Illinois, who had shared in the engagement, and from them 
learned some particulars of the fight. Gen. George C. Rogers, 
then Colonel of the loth Illinois, who had many acquaint- 
ances among the Lake County boys, stood by the roadside 
near the huge buildings where were stored a million rations, 
and to capture which the Rebels had made the desperate and 
repeated assaults. As soon as he recognized his former neigh- 
bors and friends he ordered a barrel of whisky from the Post 
Commissary, had the head knocked in, and gave every one 
from Lake County an invitation to join in celebrating the vic- 
tory and the unexpected meeting. The men halted for but 
a moment, but somehow the word spread backward along the 
column, and it is understood that every officer and soldier who 
passed Allatoona that night, and there were two or three 
entire Corps, claimed to hail from Lake County and to have 
a personal acquaintance with the General. 

The Regiment crossed the Etowah river on the railroad 
bridge about dusk, and some time after dark camped near 
Cartersville, having marched thirteen miles. Rations were 
issued a little after midnight, and but little opportunity given 
the ; ' government people" for sleep. 

Tuesday, October 11, the command started at daylight, 
passing near Cassville, halting at Kingston at noon, and in the 
afternoon marching through town and out a short distance on 
the road toward Rome. Colonel Champion was here so 
unwell that he could no longer continue with his command, 
but went north by train ; Lieutenant Colonel Evans, of the 21st 



1864] FOLLOWING HOOD'S ARMY. 405 

Kentucky, taking command of the Brigade. An immense 
mail was distributed, the first for a fortnight, and the camp 
rang with cheers. 

Wednesday, October 12, brought one of the longest con- 
tinuous marches in the Regiment's experience. The column 
moved at seven o'clock, but was greatly delayed by the 
wagon trains which crowded the road. After most of the 
wagons had passed, the infantry was ordered to the front, 
and through thickets and over rocks and hills at the roadside 
made their way past the teams, marching rapidly for some 
time. Then came one of those annoying experiences so 
common when large bodies of troops were marching on a 
single road. As it transpired, a broad, unbridged creek 
made its way across the road. The advance, instead of 
bridging the stream, broke into single file and crossed on a 
log. This interrupted the march, the troops in rear halting 
& moment and then moving forward a rod or two, only to be 
halted again, and again moved forward. This was continued 
for hours, and the NINETY-SIXTH, being near the rear of the 
column, was thoroughly tired out with this annoying 
method of marching when they neared the stream. The 
disgust of the men when they found what a trivial thing had 
caused so provoking a delay, found expression in language 
.not entirely elegant. The command was marching left in 
front, as the enemy was supposed to be on the right of the 
road, and when the stream was reached, Company B never 
broke ranks, but waded through in solid column. The 
other companies followed, and the Regiment was the first to 
keep closed up in passing the watery obstacle. Those ahead 
were either running or walking rapidly to close up the long 
column, which had strung out for miles. Everyone was 
angry, and the NINETY-SIXTH, by a common impulse and 
without orders, resolved to keep in ranks. It was nearly 
sundown when the stream was crossed, and the heavy firing 
in the direction of Rome, toward which the column was 
inarching, indicated heavy work ahead. At a rapid walk, 
occasionally breaking into a double quick, the resolute men 
pressed on, passing many stragglers, and subsequently the 



406 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

remnants of several regiments, until from being the rear it 
was the front of the Brigade. For some miles the fences on 
one side of the road were on fire, and tired men were resting- 
and warming themselves, the night being cool. At nine 
o'clock the broad field of light in front indicated that the 
troops in advance had gone into camp. The rapid march 
had continued up to this time, although the firing in front had 
ceased as darkness came on. Gen. Stanley, commanding 
the Corps, stood at the roadside as the command neared its 
designated camping ground two miles from Rome, and asked :: 
" What brigade is this ? " " This is no brigade ; this is only 
a regiment," was answered by one of the men. " What regi- 
ment, then ? " he asked ; and on being told, he remarked :: 
" Well, that NINETY-SIXTH must be a good one, for it numbers- 
more men present than any Brigade that has come in to- 
night." With scarcely a halt, except the brief and annoying 
ones occasioned by the wagon train and the unbridged stream, 
the Regiment had made twenty-eight miles, and almost every 
man was in his place. They were a tired lot, however, and 
glad of an opportunity to rest. 

The Rebels had made a strong demonstration toward 
Rome, while their main army moved to Resaca, as was after- 
ward learned, and at two P. M. of Thursday, October 13, 
the Federals moved eastward, retracing their steps for a 
few -miles and then turning northward and marching until 
midnight, making about thirteen miles, and camping south of 
Calhoun. 

Friday, October 14, the Regiment marched seventeen 
miles, passing Calhoun and Resaca, and camping for the 
night at the breastworks it had constructed at the opening of 
the battle of May 14, exactly five months before. The 
Rebels had demanded the surrender of the garrison at 
Resaca, and, upon its being refused, had destroyed such of 
the railroad as they could reach, and then moved around the 
village, going northward and occupying Snake Creek Gap. 
At the same time a force was sent against Dalton, where were 
some large hospitals. Some slight defense was attempted, 
but eventually the garrison surrendered, about one thousand 



1864] FOLLOWING HOOD'S ARMY. 407 

prisoners being taken. Among the number was Edwin 
Drury, of Company G, who had been in hospital for several 
weeks. He remained at Dalton, the Rebels not even requiring 
a parole. 

Saturday, October 15, an important mission was assigned 
to the NINETY-SIXTH and the other Regiments comprising the 
Corps of which it was a part. Moving to the right, it 
inarched rapidly up the railroad to the vicinity of Tilton, 
where occurred a halt of two or three hours, while a reconnois- 
sance was made. Then the troops turned sharply to the left 
and crossed Rocky Face and another ridge, gaining the flank 
of the Rebels in Snake Creek Gap about sundown. As the 
Regiment reached the top of the second ridge the sight 
was one to stir them with peculiar emotion. In the valley 
below were long columns of the enemy, marching rapidly 
northward, thousands of men being almost in rifle range. 
The Regiment, with other troops, raised a shout and dashed 
part way down the hill, but the officers in command, fearing 
the small force might be captured if they ventured too far, 
checked the advance. Twilight was rapidly deepening, and 
the rear of the Rebel column soon passed and disappeared in 
the darkness. The Regiment then descended into the valley 
and made its camp for the night beside the rocky creek. 
The distance traveled was about twelve miles. 

Sunday, October 16, the Regiment marched six or eight 
miles, overtaking the Rebel rear guard, capturing a few pris- 
oners and camping near Ship's Gap, about one mile from 
Villanow. The command lay in camp all of the next day, 
other portions of the army making reconnoissances. Orders 
were issued for all men and animals not fit for severe service 
to be sent to Chattanooga. Forage was abundant, and every- 
one had fresh meat and sweet potatoes. 

Tuesday, October ]8, the Regiment marched twenty-four 
miles between daylight and dark, crossing Taylor's Ridge and 
camping near Summerville. The men stood the long march 
remarkably well, and there were but few stragglers. 

Wednesday, October 19, the command remained in camp 



408 HISTORY OF THE 96ra EEGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

until late and then marched five or six miles, passing Sum- 
merville. 

Thursday, October 20, twenty miles was accomplished, 
and the camp of the Regiment was made at four o'clock, two 
miles from Gaylesville, Alabama. Here the Army rested for 
nearly a week. Three days' rations of bread, meat and coffee 
were issued, with orders that they must last five. This was 
no hardship, however, as forage was abundant in the rich 
valleys of that pleasant region. Details of from twenty to 
twenty-five men, under competent officers, were sent out from 
each regiment to procure supplies, and returned with an 
abundance of sweet potatoes, meat, molasses and honey. 
Strict orders were issued prohibiting the pillaging of houses 
or the wanton destruction of property not of value to the 
armies. The guard duty was light, as the troops were well 
massed, and all who spent that delightful October week at 
Gaylesville will ever cherish pleasant memories of the last 
days in which the Fourth Corps was under the immediate 
command of General Sherman. 



1864] LAST DAYS WITH SHERMAN. 409 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



Parting with Gen. Sherman Abundance of Forage A Rapid March 
Northward Crossing the Chickamauga Battle Field At Rossville 
and Chattanooga Westward by Cars The Trip to Athens Anxiety 
as to the Situation The Rebels Near Fording Elk River The 
March to Pulaski Ragged but Resolute Entrenching Again Paid 
Off. 

ALTHOUGH the stay at Gaylesville was one of comparative 
rest to the rank and file of the army, to their commander, 
Gen. Sherman, it was a period of great activity, for he was 
completing plans for his March to the Sea. His purpose was 
to leave only the Fourth Corps, with such detachments as were 
at Chattanooga or points farther north and west, for the 
defense of Tennessee. He fully believed that Gen. Hood 
would be compelled to turn southward and follow him 
through Georgia. 

In pursuance of his plans Gen. Sherman caused the railroad 
to be repaired from Atlanta to Chattanooga, and ordered all 
sick and wounded soldiers to be sent back. Surplus artillery, 
wagons and animals were also hurried to Chattanooga, and 
the army was put in light marching order. The wagons 
retained at the front contained little except ammunition and 
the more necessary rations, the latter not in large supply, as 
it was determined that the soldiers should live mainly upon 
such provisions as it was known must be abundant in the coun- 
try to be passed. The main body of his forces left Gayles- 
ville toward the last of October, the Fourth Corps going 
northward, the others via Rome toward Atlanta. The Second 
Division of the Fourth Corps, which had been sent by rail to 
Chattanooga shortly after the fall of Atlanta, was marched 
southward to Alpine and then, meeting the other Divisions of 
the Corps, retraced its steps. Meanwhile the Army was liv- 
ing better than ever before, for the country was full of pro- 
duce, and all were instructed to "forage liberally." Certain 



410 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

it is that the NINETY-SIXTH never lived so well as during the 
stay about Gaylesville, and the Surgeons declared that the 
complete change of diet had done more for the health of the 
Regiment than they had deemed possible. 

After Gen. Sherman had started southward it became cer- 
tain that Gen. Hood was still determined upon an aggressive 
campaign into Tennessee and was not likely to follow the Fed- 
eral forces through Georgia. Upon arriving at Rome, at the 
earnest solicitation of Gen. Thomas, who had been sent to 
Nashville to look after the defenses of that region, the Twenty- 
third Corps was diverted from the main column, marched to 
the neighborhood of Resaca and Dalton, and taken thence by 
rail to Nashville and out toward Columbia and Pulaski. 

At Atlanta Gen. Sherman reorganized his Corps to some 
extent, burned everything in the city that could make it valu- 
able to the enemy as a military point, destroyed the railroad 
to Chattanooga, and, November 16, set out on his march to 
Savannah. It was a brilliant movement, and one destined to 
live in song and story to the end of time. But the troops left 
in rear, to battle with Gen. Hood, were fated to endure harder 
marching, shorter rations and more severe fighting during the 
two months immediately succeeding the separation at Gayles- 
ville than were the soldiers under the immediate command of 
Gen. Sherman. Indeed the two Corps, with a comparatively 
slight reinforcement, were to meet, in two desperate engage- 
ments, almost the identical forces that for four long months 
had resisted Gen. Sherman, with seven Corps, in his move- 
ment upon Atlanta. Not only were they to race with them 
upon the march and meet them in battle, but they were to 
overthrow and send them, routed and hopeless, to the far 
South. 

But to return to the Regiment. Thursday, October 27,. 
the NINETY-SIXTH, with the other troops comprising the Fourth 
Corps, left camp at Gaylesville about 8 o'clock A. M., and 
marched to a point a little south of Alpine, a distance of fif- 
teen miles. The night preceding was rainy and the roads 
were consequently in bad condition. Capt. Burnett, of Com- 
pany B, who with fifty men had been guarding a bridge seven. 



1864] THE MARCH TO LA FAYETTE. 411 

miles from camp, joined the main column that night, after a* 
hard march across the unfamiliar country. Fortunately their 
orders and directions were so explicit that they had no trouble 
in finding the way. Capt. Rowan, of Company F, who had 
been out for a day or two with a foraging party, and whoso 
absence had been so prolonged as to cause some apprehension 
lest he and his associates had fallen into Rebel hands, came- 
into camp, late at night, with an immense amount of forage, 
including nearly a barrel of honey. His men being over- 
loaded, a pair of oxen had been impressed, and the wagon to- 
which they were attached was loaded down with bacon, sweet 
potatoes and other palatable articles. 

Friday, October 28, the Corps made a march of twenty- 
four miles, passing through and across several rich valleys and 
camping near La Fayette. 

Saturday, October 29, the command marched at daylight 
and made twenty-three miles, passing along the La Fayette 
road across the Chickamanga battle field, and camping at 
Rossville. It was familiar and historic ground, but the march 
was so rapid and the men so fatigued that but few ventured to 
leave the ranks and go over that portion of the field where the 
NINETY-SIXTH met its bloody baptism a little more than a year 
before, and where so many of its members were sleeping their 
last long sleep in unknown graves. 

There were many marks of the terrific struggle all along 
the way from the crossing of Chickamauga Creek, at Lee & 
Gordon's Mills, nearly to Rossville. The shattered trees, the 
prostrate or burned fences, the mounds where were interred 
the bodies of the Blue and the Gray, the skeletons of horses, 
the broken muskets, the disabled gun carriages, were much as 
when the armies had left the field, except that a year and 
more had brought decay and partially dimmed the ghastliness 
of the scene. Strange and exciting memories were revived as- 
the column hurried on. But the soldiers were too practical 
to lapse into sentiment while hurrying toward new dangers 
that seemed imminent, for while all was uncertainty as to- 
what the present movement meant, somehow every one seemed. 



412 HlSTOKY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

to feel that they were to be sent from Chattanooga on some 
perilous mission. 

Sunday, October 30, the command left its camp at Rossville 
and marched to Chattanooga, halted for a time, and then 
bivouacked near the base of Lookout Mountain. A few 
recruits joined the Regiment at this point. Capt. Stephen 
Jeffers, the former Quarter-Master, who was then stationed in 
the city, bestowed numerous favors upon the Regiment. The 
Third Division was ordered to take the train going west, and 
reached Pulaski November 1. 

Monday, October 31, the train having returned, the 
NINETY-SIXTH, with other troops, was loaded upon the cars 
about noon and rode through Bridgeport and Stevenson to 
a point near Paint Rock without incident worthy of note. It 
had been reported that there was heavy fighting near Flor- 
ence and Decatur, and that the entire Rebel Army was 
attempting to cross the Tennessee River. This made the 
trainmen somewhat timid, and upon the first indication that 
the cavalry had been upon the railroad track the train came 
to a standstill. The officers consulted briefly and then ordered 
a Company out to reconnoitre the front. A partially 
destroyed culvert indicated that the enemy had been fright- 
ened off without completing their work. The skirmishers 
were ordered forward at a rapid walk, sometimes breaking 
into a double-quick, and the train followed them. Soon 
another halt was made and a fresh detachment sent out, the 
tired men coming back to the train. In this way a few miles 
were made. The danger being passed, the skirmishers were 
called in and the train proceeded to the junction, and thence 
northward to Athens, which point was reached about seven 
o'clock A. M. of Tuesday, November 1. There was no one 
to receive the troops or give directions what to do or where 
to go, for the small detachment of Union forces had evacu- 
ated the town the day before. Pickets were posted and the 
arrival of other regiments awaited. There was much anx- 
iety lest the Rebels should arrive first, but fortunately they did 
not come. Tuesday night was cold and rainy. 

Wednesday, November 2, the column marched at six 



1864] PULASKI. 

o'clock through the rain and mud to Elkton, making twenty 
miles. The last act in the day's drama was to ford Elk River r 
a rapid stream, so swollen by the rains as to bring the water 
nearly to the armpits of the shorter men. Most of the com- 
mand stripped off their clothing, and all carried their ammu- 
nition and watches in their hands. There was much dis- 
comfort, not unmixed with merriment, in the crossing. A col- 
ored man, who, being a cook for some of the officers, waa 
loaded down with camp-kettles and other commodities, was 
tripped up near the middle of the stream and so badly fright- 
ened that some of the boys declared that he actually turned 
white. The night was an exceedingly stormy one. 

Thursday, November 3, camp was broken in a terrific 
rainstorm, and the blankets and shelter-tents were so satu- 
rated with water, notwithstanding the persistent wringing 
given them, as to be exceedingly heavy. The road was 
muddy, and when the command reached Pulaski, seventy-five 
miles south of Nashville, in the middle of the afternoon, all 
were thoroughly tired out. The column passed the town on 
the right and wearily made its way to a long range of hills 
north of the village. Here the NINETY-SIXTH remained until 
the 23d. But little clothing had been issued for nearly six 
months and the men were absolutely ragged. Very many 
were barefoot, and comparatively few had clothing at all suit- 
able for picket duty in the severe cold, rainy weather that 
ensued. Cabins were put up and they could get along fairly 
well in camp. This was not enough, however, for the officers 
were auprehensive of an attack, and, as a consequence, heavy 
picket lines were maintained. Eighty-four men were actually 
excused from duty at one time because of having insufficient 
clot hing to properly fit them for the exposure insepara- 
ble from the picket line. This was in a measure overcome 
in a few days. Heavy lines of breastworks were built, and 
for two or three days the right and left wings alternated, 
working continuously in the trenches night and day. The 
baggage which had been stored at Bridgeport came up on the 
14th and the officers busied themselves with their long-neg- 
lected ordnance reports and other blanks. The paymaster, 



414 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

who had not been seen for about six months, came to camp 
and paid off the several regiments. 

Friday, November 18, the NINETY-SIXTH, together with the 
45th Ohio, went out with fifty wagons after forage, returning 
without accident or adventure. 

During the stay at Pulaski there was much speculation as 
to Gen. Hood's intentions. Bad weather and want of trans- 
portation and supplies had detained him, but about the 20th 
it became apparent that he was to push northward into Ten- 
nessee. The main body of the Twenty-third Corps had 
reached Pulaski by this time, but the entire force then num- 
bered but about twenty-five thousand men, while the rebels in 
their front numbered more than fifty thousand. Gen. Thomas 
was receiving considerable reinforcements at Nashville, many 
of them, however, being new recruits, and toward that city 
lie ordered Gen. Schofield, then in command at Pulaski, to 
retreat if it became necessary in order to avoid a battle. 



1864] PULASKI EVACUATED. 415 



CHAPTER XXIV- 



'The Rebels Advance Pulaski Evacuated A Short Sleep Refugees 
on the Road A Trying Night March A Sombre Thanksgiving 
Columbia Reached Again Outflanked Spring Hill Close Prox- 
imity of the Enemy A Halt on the Ridge The Battle of Frank- 
lin Another Night March Arrival at Nashville Two Nights on 
the Front Line The Army Reinforced Waiting for the Battle. 

THE situation of affairs in Tennessee and Georgia was now 
a most peculiar one. Gen. Sherman had hardly more than 
fairly started from Atlanta when Gen. Hood left the line of 
the Tennessee River, and the strange spectacle was presented 
of two armies that had long confronted each other, and often 
met in battle, marching in opposite directions, each intent 
upon invasion. Opposed to Gen. Sherman were a few cav- 
alrymen and state troops. Gen. Hood was confronted by 
two Corps of Infantry, a small force of cavalry and a few 
detached regiments that had been doing garrison duty at 
various points between Nashville and Decatur. 

By November 20 the Rebel infantry had crossed the Ten- 
nessee River and were pushing rapidly northward, aiming to 
go by way of Lawrenceburg and interpose themselves between 
Pulaski and Columbia, in the neighborhood of Lynnville. 
The Union cavalry was active and vigilant, and reported to 
Gen. Schofield, then in command at Pulaski, and arrange- 
ments were speedily made for a retreat. Tuesday, Novem- 
ber 22, a part of the Twenty-third Corps and the Second 
Division of the Fourth Corps marched to Lynnville, thus pre- 
venting the Rebel forces from reaching that point. Gen. 
Hood then directed his columns toward Columbia, going by 
way of Mount Pleasant, whereupon the Union forces at 
Lynnville resumed their march on the morning of the 23d. 
The weather, which had been rainy much of the time for a 
fortnight, turned bitter cold, the ground freezing and ice 
.forming upon the smaller streams. 



416 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

While the campaign had been thus inaugurated, a portion 
of the Fourth Corps still remained in Pulaski. Wednesday, 
November 23, the Regiment was busily engaged in strength- 
ening its already strong intrenchments when orders were 
received to march in an hour. At noon the column filed out 
and marched to the pike, where the entire Division remained 
until nearly dark, the road being thronged with wagons, 
troops and refugees, hurrying northward. All of the refugees 
were colored people, most of whom had been quartered on 
some abandoned plantations not far from Huntsville, the Gov- 
ernment having encouraged them to remain there and raise a 
crop. The advance of the Rebel Army had alarmed them, 
and, gathering up such effects in the way of clothing and bed- 
ding as they could carry, they sought to escape from a return 
to slavery, which they imagined would surely follow if they 
allowed the Confederates to overtake them. 

Pulaski was evacuated early in the evening, considerable 
amounts of clothing and provisions being burned to prevent 
their falling into the hands of the enemy. A few buildings 
were destroyed. The. teams and artilery, which had come 
from Chattanooga by way of Dechard and Fayetteville, were 
loaded to their utmost capacity, but the transportation was 
inadequate to meet the emergency then arising, and an im- 
mense bonfire was made necessary. A little before dark the 
NINETY-SIXTH was on the road and marched back to Lynnville, 
being delayed by the troops and trains that had preceded. 
There was more or less firing on the left, not a great distance 
from the pike. At a late hour the Division halted and went 
into camp. Hardly had the tired men fallen asleep when the 
bugle sounded and they were again hurried out upon the pike. 
It was reported that the Rebels had not halted, but were mak- 
ing a night march, hoping to reach Columbia before Gen. 
Schofield could get his troops into position, and all understood 
that it was a race between the two armies. The Regiment 
hurried along the road, until the rear of the main column was 
overtaken, when the march was slower. The poor refugees 
were overtaken and passed. They were most pitiable objects, 
having marched for many hours with little to eat and without 



COMPANY C. 




* 




Corp 1 ! PBTER MOWERS. 
JAMES DONAHUE. 



Corp'l JAREU O. BLODGETT. 

Second Lieut. JOHN W. SWANBROUGH. 

LOYAL CADWELL. 



REUBEN MILLER. 
SAMUEL P. VOSE. 



1864] COLUMBIA. 417 

daring to stop for rest. There were hundreds of women and 
children, the latter crying piteously from hunger and cold. 
But the soldiers could give them no assistance, and they were 
compelled to halt beside the road and let the column pass. 
Fires were kindled in the fence corners, and many of them 
gave up the march in despair, although others kept on to 
Nashville. The troops were given to understand that an 
attack might be expected any moment, and none were allowed 
to straggle. 

The dawn of Thursday, November 24, found the long 
columns still toiling on, the one in grey hoping to reach 
Columbia while their opponents were far away, the one in blue 
resolute in its purpose to head off their wary rivals, if hard 
and continuous marching could effect so desirable a result. It 
was the National Thanksgiving Day, and throughout the loyal 
States the people were returning grateful thanks to the Provi- 
dence that had smiled upon tl\e JJni.pjfi armies, East and 
West, and were hopeful th^peap.e. ; 0rn(^tin.a,l.yJQfcory were near. 
But to the soldiers of the lifct%"aYmy* under Gen. Schofield the 
day was filled with forebodings, for they were retreating over 
ground reclaimed more than a year before, and the haste of 
the movement, the evident anxiety of their commanders, and 
the occasional sounds of cannon and musketry that came from 
the flank, where the cavalry was watching the enemy, made 
them feel apprehensive that all was not going well. At noon 
the tired troops ahead left the pike and moved into a large 
field for a brief rest, and the members of the NINETY-SIXTH 
were discussing the expected Thanksgiving dinner and making 
up impossible bills-of-fare as they neared the halting place. 
Considering their questionable surroundings they were cer- 
tainly a very jolly lot. But as they were about to halt, a staff 
officer rode up and ordered Major Hicks to march the Regi- 
ment to a high ridge on the flank, nearly a half mile from the 
pike, and keep a sharp lookout for Rebels, returning when the 
column began to move. The order was by no means a wel- 
come one after being on the move so long, but, knowing that 
it was their turn for duty, the men cheerfully complied. It 
was a long, hard climb. Just as the head of the Regiment 
27 



418 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

was uearing the summit some shots were heard, and a moment 
later a little squad of cavalry dashed out of the woods, many 
of them hatless and all greatly excited. Reaching the infant- 
ry they reported that they had been ambushed and had lost 
several men, killed or captured by a large body of the enemy 
near at hand. This information set the men on their mettle 
and a sharp lookout was maintained. In a few minutes the 
teams had passed on toward Columbia, and the troops in the 
valley had finished their hurried dinners. The NINETY -SIXTH 
soon took up the line of march, at the rear of the column. 
The march was kept up till almost night, the firing increasing 
toward Columbia, on the Mount Pleasant road. At length the 
village was reached and the race for that day was at an end. 
The heads of the opposing armies had reached the outskirts of 
the town almost simultaneously, but the small force then acting 
as a garrison to the town met and delayed the Rebel advance, 
thus giving the Union forces time to partially deploy their 
lines. A portion of the Twenty-third Corps reached the town 
about noon. There was a sharp contest, resulting in a few 
casualties on either side ; but Gen. Hood found himself check- 
mated, and night shutting down the two armies moved into 
position and halted. The NINETY-SIXTH was sent to a position 
in the front line, and at once threw up breastworks, the men 
working diligently, in reliefs, all night, notwithstanding their 
fatigue. They had marched about thirty miles, with many 
halts and interruptions, but with little rest, and only the neces- 
sity of the hour inclined them to the hard labor of entrenching. 
Columbia was situated on high ground in a deep bend of 
Duck River, and here Gen. Thomas, who still remained at 
Nashville, hoped his army would make a final stand and fight 
a decisive battle with Gen. Hood. He was expecting three 
Divisions of the Sixteenth Corps, under Gen. A. J. Smith, 
from the Mississippi, and also other reinforcements, but unex- 
pected delays occurred. Two or three regiments and a goodly 
number of recruits came to the department and were hurried 
forward by rail. But Gen. Hood remembered his experiences 
at Atlanta and Allatoona, and decided to postpone any charges 
upon the Yankee breastworks. Instead, while keeping up a 



1864] A CRITICAL DAY. 419 

feint of assaulting the lines at Columbia, he rested his army 
for a day or two, and then, moving by the right flank, made a 
bold push for the Union rear, determined to interpose his 
Army between Gen. Schofield and Franklin. The movement 
was admirably conceived and well-nigh successful. 

Meanwhile the Union forces had been disposed for defen- 
sive operations. The cavalry was watching the fords of Duck 
River and attempting to hold the Rebels in check. A part of 
the Fourth Corps moved slightly to the rear Friday evening, 
and occupied a shorter and stronger line than the one so hastily 
formed on Thursday. Saturday brought heavy skirmishing, 
but no casualties occurred in the Regiment. At dark the 
troops were ready to move, but after a delay of some hours it 
was learned that the pontoon bridge had broken, a portion of 
the troops having crossed. The lines were thinned out so as 
to occupy the works vacated by that portion of the army 
which had crossed ; a work of great difficulty, as the night 
was intensely dark and the rain pouring down in torrents. 

Sunday, November 27, was spent in the lines about the 
little city, but when darkness came, the troops, except a 
small force which remained until daylight to cover the retreat, 
silently moved to the rear, waded through the rnud to the 
pontoon bridge, and then halted and fortified, the NINETY- 
SIXTH marching eastward up the river two or three miles. 
The men were on the move almost the entire night, and when 
they halted, near daylight, were called upon to fortify their 
position. Captain Pollock was sent out with a small force to 
reconnoitre the front, and meeting a detachment of cavalry 
falling back before the Rebel advance, had a lively skirmish. 
During all of Monday the Brigade lay near Duck River, and 
Monday night moved to Rutherford's Creek, partially fortify- 
ing another line, where it remained for nearly twenty-four 
hours, guarding the crossing while troops and trains passed 
to the rear. 

Tuesday, November 29, was a critical day with the army. 
General Kimball having come up and assumed command of 
the Division, General Whittaker took command of the 
Brigade. There was ample evidence that Rebel infantry was 



420 HISTORY or THE 69ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

marching past the position held by the NINETY-SIXTH and 
other portions of the Division, for the pickets were constantly 
reporting moving troops in sight, and were frequently fired 
upon. The wagon trains had been ordered to Franklin under 
escort of the Second Division of the Fourth Corps, the 
infantry taking the lead. Their march was begun about eight 
o'clock A. M. Twelve miles north of Columbia was Spring 
Hill, a small village, where was stationed a company or two 
of cavalry. As the infantry approached the village firing 
was heard, indicating that the Rebels had outmarched them 
and were fighting for the possession of the village and pike. 
It proved to be only a cavalry fight, at first, and when the- 
head of the Second Division reached the scene the enemy 
retired. A brisk skirmish followed, for the Rebel infantry 
was close at hand and made a vigorous attempt to gain a 
position on the highway and cut off the troops that had not 
yet arrived from Columbia. The Second Division was re- 
peatedly attacked, and on the right and a little south of the 
village was forced to retreat for some distance. Most of the 
artillery was at hand and aided in repelling the charges. For- 
tunately the Rebels lacked the nerve to take advantage of the 
situation, and the day closed without serious losses. Most 
of the teams closed up at a run when the skirmishing began r 
and were parked at the village. A few went forward and 
were captured and burned by the cavalry near Thompson'^ 
Station. Gen. Hood seems to have realized his opportunity 
and to have made an earnest effort to take advantage of it, 
but Gen. Cheatham, in command of his advance, with a corps 
at hand and another rapidly approaching, delayed, through 
fear that he was outnumbered, the amount of artillery and the 
vigor with which General Stanley resisted disconcerting him 
and rendering him timid. The Union loss was about two- 
hundred ; the Rebel loss fully five hundred. 

Meanwhile the NINETY-SIXTH, with the other troops of the 
Brigade, had been comparatively idle at Rutherford's Creek, 
but just before night took up the line of march. The Regi- 
ment had the lead and marched left in front. An advance 
guard was put out, and after a time flankers were sent upon 



1864] AN ANXIOUS NIGHT. 421 

the right, marching through the fields parallel with the main 
column. The utmost silence prevailed, and all commands 
were given in low tones. There were frequent halts, and 
more than once men were seen or heard leaving the pike. A 
light barricade was found at one point, the enemy disappearing 
in the darkness. Nearing Spring Hill some horsemen were 
met, and a brief parley ensued, each party being afraid the 
others were Rebels. Everything was soon explained, how- 
ever, for some one soon recognized Gen. Whittaker's pecu- 
liar voice and made known the fact that fears had been 
entertained that the command had been cut off and pos- 
sibly dispersed or captured. The march was then continued 
to Spring Hill, where the NINETY-SIXTH was moved into a 
cornfield on the north side of the pike and directed to build a 
line of works. All were cautioned to maintain silence, and 
hardly a cornstalk rustled, so careful were the men. The 
Rebel camp fires were but a hundred rods distant, and the 
men could be plainly seen standing or walking around them. 
Orders were given not to fire a gun unless the enemy should 
be seen advancing in force directly toward the pike. It was 
stated as a fact that some members of the Regiment, going 
for rails, a short distance in front, found the Rebels taking 
rails from the same fence, and Sergeant Murrie and Corporal 
Swazey, of Company C, going out to reconnoitre, actually 
passed between the pickets of the enemy, going nearly to the 
camp-fires and returning without being fired upon. For hours 
the flankers of the two armies were within a few yards of each 
other, but each apparently under orders not to bring on an 
engagement. It was probably eleven o'clock or after when 
the Regiment was halted in the cornfield. A light barricade 
was soon completed, and then the men stood or laid in line, 
chilled to the marrow, and anxiously awaiting orders to leave 
the perilous position. 

Toward morning, the last wagon having got in line, the 
Regiment moved to the road and pushed northward, being 
almost the rear of the army. With the first glimmer of day- 
light the firing, which had been confined to an occasional 
shot, increased somewhat, and before sunrise was quite lively. 



422 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

The NINETY-SIXTH marched in the fields much of the way. 
Apparently there was great confusion, for detached regiments 
from several brigades, groups of men who had tired out and 
left their commands, a few ambulances, a part of a battery, and 
a group of citizens and railroad men were all crowding for the 
pike at the same time. By good management on the part of 
Gen. Stanley, and because of timidity on the part of the 
Rebels, only a few of the eight hundred wagons in the train 
were lost, and before daylight Gen. Schofield's advance was 
crossing the Harpeth River at Franklin. His rear, however, 
had still about eight miles to march. 

That night had been one of extremest peril, and it was a 
relief to the rear-guard when, at a little after sunrise, it became 
apparent that the Rebel infantry had not marched during the 
night, and that its advance was barely abreast with the Union 
rear guard. 

The skirmishing grew lively as the hours wore on, but 
the danger of attack in flank was over. The Twenty-third 
Corps had reached Franklin before daylight, and a portion 
of the Fourth Corps soon followed, forming a line about the 
village, the flanks resting on the river. The wagons were 
parked on the north side of the river, Gen. Wood's Division 
forming as a guard near the ground where the NINETY-SIXTH 
had encamped for several weeks in the spring of 1863. The 
crossing of the river was a difficult matter, but enough planks 
were found to convert the railroad bridge into a wagon bridge, 
and also to construct a crossing above. 

But the troops in rear were still toiling on, with the Rebel 
rear-guard closely following. Once at least, a little north of 
Thompson's Station, they pressed so hard that the NINETY- 
SIXTH formed in line, faced to the rear, and showed so bold a 
front as to compel them to halt and deploy their lines, thus 
saving valuable time to the retreating forces. The soldiers of 
either army shouted in defiant tones and were repeatedly so 
near as to be readily understood. 

Not far from eleven o'clock in the forenoon of Monday, 
November 30, the Regiment halted beside the pike, two 
miles south of the village, and prepared a hasty breakfast from 



1864] FRANKLIN. 423 

the well nigh empty haversacks. Before all had succeeded in 
boiling coffee, an order came to move to a high knob some 
distance west of the road, and prepare to resist the enemy. 
In a moment the column moved for its position, where a 
grand panorama spread out before them. Approaching a 
stone wall at the foot of the ridge were the skirmishers of 
the enemy, in so close range that a musket ball fired by one 
of them buried itself in the shoulder of Sergeant Effinger, of 
Company 0, inflicting a painful and dangerous wound. Far- 
ther out to right and left the long columns of infantry were 
rapidly deploying, y with squadrons of cavalry on either liank, 
and all advancing steadily toward the ridge. Beyond, the 
covered wagons were going into park in a meadow close beside 
the road. Ambulances and artillery followed the infantry, and 
everything indicated that a battle was near at hand. How- 
ever severely historians may criticise Gen. Hood, no one who 
witnessed the marshalling of that vast army outside of Frank- 
lin can fail to give him high praise for the skill and rapidity 
with which he formed his lines on that eventful day. 

The Regiment hastily threw up a light barricade of rails 
and rocks along the summit of the ridge, the skirmishers 
responding to the fire of the enemy. As soon as the lines in 
the rear, just at the outskirts of the town, were well formed, 
the Regiment was ordered to retire and was speedily marching 
at a swinging gait along the old familiar pike, past its picket 
and reserve posts of 1863, and through the village to the right 
of the line, being probably the last command to pass the breast 
works on the Columbia pike.* 

* Most writers give to Col. Opdyke's Brigade the credit of being the rear guard from 
Spring Hill to Franklin, and the last troops to reach the village. The editor finds some 
conflict of testimony among the records at command, but while not claiming for the 
NINETY-SIXTH that it acted as rear-guard the entire distance, is certain that it did a part 
of the time. It was left in its position in the cornfield east of Spring Hill until all of the 
wagons were in line, and passed the range of hills east of Thompson's Station after day- 
light. The battalion of the 40th Ohio, embracing its non-veterans and those whose terms 
of service had not expired, and also the 45th Ohio, having been on the skirmish line at 
Rutherford's Creek, were brought back by Lieutenant Earle, Brigade Inspector, and were 
among the last troops to reach Spring Hill, remaining with the NINETY-SIXTH for a time. 
On the ridge, outside of Franklin, the NINETY-SIXTH had the right of the line facing 
south, and from there in was certainly the rear-guard. There is little doubt that the Reg- 
iment was the last organized command to pass the breastworks near the Carter 
residence. The brigades of Lane and Conrad were constructing the works from 



424 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

In leaving the ridge, Albert Paddock, of Company D, who, 
tired out with the long march, had thrown himself down 
beside a log and gone to sleep where the Regiment halted to 
make coffee, was not missed, but slept on until rudely awak- 
ened by the Rebels to find himself a prisoner of war. 

Arrived at the right, after passing through the village, the 
Regiment found itself crowded out of the front line, and bivou- 
acked on a little hill near the cemetery close beside the river, 
and not far from the ford. Here the men rested, most of 
them cooking, a few sleeping, and others speculating as to what 
the coming hours would bring. 

For some hours before the Regiment arrived, the troops 
of the Twenty-third Corps occupied the main line from 
the river on the left, two-thirds of the distance around 
the town, crossing the Lewisburg and Columbia pikes. The 
First Division of the .Fourth Corps was at their right, com- 
pleting the line to the river above, and nearly all on ground 
favorable for defense. 

These troops had lost no time in rendering their position 
defensible by the construction of breastworks, and the semi- 
circle, a mile and a half in length, was speedily so strong as 
to afford protection from bullets. In the construction of these 
works, there being but little timber accessible, fences of every 
description were utilized and a few barns and abandoned 
houses were torn down, the boards being used as a barricade 
to hold the earth in place, while the sills served an admirable 
purpose as head logs. Near the Columbia pike an old cotton 
press was torn down and made to do service. A locust grove 
was partially cut and used as an abatis at the right of the road, 
and in the vicinity of the Lewisburg pike an osage orange 

which they were subsequently driven when the NINETY-SIXTH passed. A brigade, 
which the editor believes to have been Col. Opdyke's, was bivouacked near the 
roadside in some vacant lots a short distance in rear of the works. Before its 
arrival in Franklin, the lines were formed and the works were well advanced, most of 
the Division having been there several hours. The battle began within a few moments 
from a half hoar to an hour after the Regiment reached the right. Sergeant Effinger 
declares it to have been two o'clock when he was wounded, two miles outside of Frank- 
lin, but letters and diaries say: "About noon." Sergeant Berg's diary, written at the 
time, says: "We arrived at Franklin about 2 p. M. Sergeant Effinger, of Company C, 
was wounded severely at noon. Our Division covered the retreat of the Army all day." 



1864] FRANKLIN. 425 

hedge was lopped and converted into an effectual protection 
against the charging columns. 

On the right and in the immediate front of the posi- 
tion held by the First Division of the Fourth Corps were 
a few houses, with lawns and gardens enclosed, and farms 
stretching out beyond. In rear and near the extreme right of 
the line was a deep ford, through which many citizens made 
their way as the day wore on. In rear of the extreme left of 
the line, upon the north bank of the Harpeth, stood Fort 
Granger, on which the men of the NINETY-SIXTH had spent so 
many days of hard labor in the spring of 1863. It was now 
well filled with artillery, and commanded the open plain 
between the Lewisburg and Columbia pikes. Gen. Sehofield 
was in the fort awaiting the movements of the enemy. The 
rank and file of the Army expected a battle, but the Com- 
mander and many of his subordinates apparently thought that 
there would be a repetition of the tactics pursued at other 
points, the enemy, after a strong demonstration in front, 
seeking to gain the rear of the line by fording the river 
east of town and making a race for Nashville. With this 
expectation Gen. Wilson's cavalry was sent to the north 
side of the Harpeth and pushed well to the front, the teams 
were massed to await the coming of night and the Third Divi- 
sion of the Fourth Corps was held near Fort Granger, in read- 
iness to move to support the cavalry and protect the train. 
The troops were ordered to be ready to march at six o'clock. 

It proved that the men in the ranks were right, and that a 
bloody battle was impending. For a little time there was 
quiet along the lines, and the air seemed humid with the great 
agony and sorrow now so near. During the early afternoon 
the enemy swarmed across the hills from which the NINETY- 
SIXTH had retired after the inner lines had been formed, and at 
four o'clock attained the position from which a most desperate 
assault was to be made. 

It was a splendid spectacle as their lines of infantry, a mile 
In length, came out from the timber which had partially con- 
cealed them, and swept across the open plain in full view of 
the Union forces. More than twenty thousand of the enemy 



426 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

could be seen at one time by the troops upon the higher 
ground. Slowly at first, and then more rapidly, they swept 
forward, at length breaking into a run and rushing toward the 
Union lines in a broad torrent that it seemed could not prove 
otherwise than irresistible. 

By some strangely interpreted order two Brigades of the 
Second Division of the Fourth Corps had been left outside 
the continuous line about the village, across the field from the 
Carter residence, one at the right, the other at the left of the 
Columbia pike. They had built a light breastwork but both 
flanks were in air. As the long line came sweeping toward 
them they poured a volley into the troops in their front, check- 
ing them for a moment. But the enemy was passing them on 
either flank and their only safety lay in flight. Several hun- 
dred surrendered at this point. The others ran to the rear, 
those not killed or wounded in the movement falling breath- 
less on the outside of the works or, leaping over the line, 
turning and joining in the attempt to hold in check the oncom- 
ing foe. In this wild race the Blue and the Grey were so 
mingled that for a time the troops in the main line feared to- 
fire lest they should kill or wound their friends. At the pike 
the advance of the enemy reached and crossed the works sim- 
ultaneously with the fugitives, and the line was borne back- 
ward, the breastworks falling into the hands of the enemy for 
a distance of three hundred yards. But if the leaving 
of Lane's and Conrad's Brigades in front had been a great 
misfortune, it happened that Col. Opdyke's Brigade of the 
same Division had been most fortunately placed in some 
vacant lots a hundred yards in rear of the works, and were 
quickly hurried to the front under the personal leadership of 
Col. Opdyke and of the Corps Commander, General Stanley, 
who remained with them even after being severely wounded 
in the neck and shoulder. These troops charged gallantly for- 
ward and retook a portion of the works, battering the edge of 
the entering wedge that had come so near hopelessly severing 
the Union line, and holding in check the Rebel columns as- 
they sought, again and again, to take advantage of the slight 
break and compel the Union forces to retreat. 



1864] FRANKLIN. 427 

The main body of Rebels retired after a vain struggle to 
maintain their advantage, but a few still clung to the breast- 
works at the right of the pike with a tenacity that bespoke 
their desperate valor. Soon the columns formed again and 
moved in another charge upon tlfe works. There were a few 
pattering shots, and the artillery upon the line and in Fort 
Granger opened upon the level plain. A volley was heard, 
and then the deafening and continuous roar as thousands of 
muskets belched forth their deadly fire. The moments length- 
ened, and the smoke hung suspended in the quivering Autumn 
air as if to shut out the dreadful carnage. Rebel officers rode 
to the very breastworks, seeking to inspire their men with the 
idea expressed by Gen. Hood before the charge began: 
"Break that line and there is nothing between you and the 
Ohio river." But even such reckless valor could not avail. 
The leaders went down until twelve Generals had been killed 
or wounded, and one, who rode straight across the works, had 
been captured. One of the officers mortally wounded was 
Brigadier General Carter, whose father owned the brick house 
just in rear of the works. He fell close to the works, and upon 
the very farm where he had spent the early years of his life. 
Gen. Clebourne was killed near the cotton press and almost 
upon the Union works. The firing slackened and a cheer 
arose, which was taken up and carried around the lines. 
Darkness was now settling down upon the scene, but the enemy 
still pressed upon the Union lines, seeking to penetrate with 
hundreds where thousands had failed. Acres of the level 
field, at the right and left of the Columbia pike, were almost 
covered with the dead and dying. The muskets, so fouled 
that it was almost impossible to load them, belched out their 
red fire long after darkness came. A hundred wagon loads 
of ammunition were expended during that single afternoon 
and evening. 

The position of the NINETY-SIXTH, at the opening of the 
battle, has already been described. A few moments pre- 
viously a staff officer had called for a detail to take the skirmish 
line. Thirty men were furnished, and reporting near the right 
of the line were counted off and deployed. Thomas Craig, of 



428 HISTORY or THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. 1. 

Company I, was among the number, and chancing to be in 
the file with some men from another regiment, went forward 
through a door-yard and past a group of cedars where were 
clustered a few of the enemy's dismounted cavalry. He had 
not been absent from the line five minutes before he was told 
to lay down his gun, and finding himself completely at the 
mercy of the Rebels he, with a few others, surrendered and 
was hurried off across the field. Craig had been with the 
Regiment but a month, having come to it as a recruit at Chat- 
tanooga, after a three years' service with the 19th Illinois. 

Edwin Potter, of Company B, shot a Rebel from his horse 
in front of the skirmish line. The horse kept right on and 
was secured by the Union forces. After dark the skirmishers 
were repeatedly fired on by the pickets of the Third Division, 
from across the river. 

Simultaneously with the opening of the battle on the left 
a vigorous demonstration was made upon the right, in front 
of the First Division, by a body of dismounted cavalry. The 
NusjETY-SiXTH instantly fell in and moved through a depres- 
sion, and up to the spot toward which the attack was appar- 
ently to be directed. The bullets flew thick and fast, and 
John H. Holden, of Company A, was wounded in the head, 
quite seriously but not so badly but that he insisted on remain- 
ing with the command. The Regiment was halted in reserve, 
just back of the main line, near the left of the Brigade, until 
about twelve o'clock, being called up once or twice with the 
expectation of going to the left, the movement never becom- 
ing necessary, however. The fire of the Rebel left was annoy- 
ing at times, but did not prove especially severe. Occasion- 
ally overshot bullets from the neighborhood of the Carter 
residence, nearly a mile distant, and others from near the 
Carter's Creek pike, struck uncomfortably near, and it was a 
continual wonder that casualties were not more numerous. 

When the first charge occurred the view from the elevated 
position of the cemetery was a grand one. Looking across the 
village the field was in plain sight and the long lines of Rebels 
could be distinctly seen as they emerged from the woods and 
pressed back the brigades occupying the advanced position. A 



1864] FRANKLIN. 429 

volley came, bul before the sounds reached the ear the smoke 
obscured the view. Then the cloud lifted and the lines could 
be seen, partially disorganized but rapidly pressing forward 
with a wild yell. Other volleys followed, and then the con- 
stant, deafening roar, increasing in volume until it reached 
proportions such as are seldom attained in any battle. The 
smoke now totally obscured the scene, and for a time it was 
doubtful which side had won, but soon there arose the unmis- 
takable Union cheer which, sweeping around the lines, wa& 
caught up by brigade after brigade until every man seemed 
to be participating. 

A crowd of fugitives, mainly citizens, white and black, 
ran back from the town when the battle opened, many cross- 
ing the ford near the cemetery. Among the number were two 
gentlemen, in a buggy, with a little girl between them. They 
had reached the middle of the stream when a dull, sick- 
ening thud was heard and the innocent child sunk down, 
doubtless killed outright. Apparently the bullet which struck 
her came from where the main charge was taking place, al- 
most a mile away. Other casualties occurred momentarily, 
but none seemed so terrible as the one by which that little 
child was struck down. 

The charges made after dark were with less vigor than 
those which at first proved so nearly fatal to the Union forces, 
and by nine o'clock there was comparative quiet along the 
line, although the firing was continued at intervals until 
eleven o'clock. Most of the wounded Federals were placed 
in ambulances or in the empty ammunition wagons, but a few 
had to be left, some in houses, and others where they had 
fallen. 

The scene in front of the works, where the main fighting 
occurred, beggars description. Wounded men begged for 
water or assistance, and in many instances their wants were 
supplied, brave men, at great peril, going between the lines 
with canteens of the fluid always so precious at such times. 

Shortly after nine o'clock, orders were issued to leave the 
lines at midnight. Long before this the trains had been 
started for Nashville. The flanks were first retired, and after 



430 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

that the centre. A building was set on fire and threatened 
to so light up the town as to make the movement visible to 
the watchful enemy, but an old fire engine was found and the 
flames were soon extinguished. Both of the bridges were 
piled with kindling early in the evening and made ready for 
burning. Little time was occupied in the movement to the 
north side of the river, the skirmishers in front retiring 
to the breastworks as soon as they were vacated, and in a few 
moments moving silently across the bridges. The NINETY 
SIXTH, with the other troops comprising the First Division, 
crossed by the wagon bridge. Most of the Twenty-third 
Corps passed over on the railroad bridge. Even before 
the last of the skirmishers were across, the bridges were set 
on fire. The Rebels were not long in discovering the move- 
ment, and hurr\ed through the town, but attained no advant- 
age, as the Third Division still defended the crossings and 
gave them a noisy reception. Two hundred Federal wounded 
were left in the village. 

The retreat from Franklin to Nashville, a distance of 
eighteen miles, was a most tedious march. It should be 
remembered that for a full week the troops had been almost 
constantly on the road, or building breastworks and fight- 
ing. For a night or two at Columbia there was some brief 
opportunity for sleeping, but very little afterward. All were 
thoroughly tired out and greatly in need of rest. But there 
was no alternative, and wearily the long column moved for- 
ward along the only pike leading northward. The usual vex- 
atious delays occurred, an unbridged stream being the prin- 
cipal cause. This was some distance out, and as every team 
had to be whipped into it, the column was continually stop- 
ping and starting. Knowing that if an attack was made it 
would be from the east, the battalions marched left in front. 
These annoying delays occurred frequently for two or three 
hours, and so exhausted were the men that at each brief halt 
nearly all would drop down in the road and instantly fall 
asleep. A whispered, " Fall in, boys ! " would as quickly 
rouse them, and, more asleep than awake, they staggered 
rather than marched forward. Indeed, many of them slept 



1864] THE RETREAT FROM FRANKLIN. 431 

soundly as they walked along, and at each halt would bunt 
against the man next ahead of them. Field and staff officers 
slept for miles in their saddles, and even the horses staggered 
as they walked along. 

Stragglers were numerous, many being so tired and lame 
that they could not walk. Some of them lay in the fence cor- 
ners, sound asleep. On one occasion, toward morning, 
occurred a halt somewhat longer than usual and several of 
these sleepers were awakened, partly for sport. One of them 
could not be aroused, so soundly was he sleeping, and mem- 
bers of the NINETY-SIXTH actually picked him up, lifted him 
over the fence and placed him on the ground again without 
awakening him. The rear-guard must have had many trying 
experiences in forcing the multitude of worn out men to fall 
in and move forward. Captains Pollock and Blowney became 
so exhausted that they determined to sit still for a five-min- 
utes' rest after the column moved on, and speedily fell asleep, 
to be awakened only when the rear guard shook them and 
ordered them to move on. 

Daylight came at last and a little later all halted at Brent- 
wood, when the inevitable coffee pot was brought out and 
breakfast prepared. Then the troops again took the road, 
marching leisurely and reaching the outskirts of the city 
about noon. 

It was a thoroughly tired out lot of men that reached Nash- 
ville that Thursday. But it was a relief to know that the 
Rebels had not followed closely, having so many dead to bury 
and so many wounded to care for that the day was consumed 
at Franklin. Most of the NINETY-SIXTH busied themselves 
with cooking, some rested and slept and others cared for their 
lacerated feet. Major Hicks and Adjutant Blodgett rode to 
town and all were hoping for a good night's rest when a staff 
officer rode up and announced that the Regiment must go 
upon the skirmish line and picket the front of the Brigade. 
Captain Pollock took command and marched the tired men 
out a few hundred yards, established as few picket posts as 
was deemed safe, and began to fortify a line on either side of 
the pike. The Major and Adjutant soon returned and joined 



4:32 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

the command. That night on picket was a trying one and 
only by constant vigilance on the part of a few could the men 
be kept awake. Relief guards were sent out with more than 
ordinary frequency and would even then find the pickets 
sleeping. 

The forenoon of Friday, December 2, passed, and no relief 
having been offered, the Major sent word that his men must 
be taken from the line and given an opportunity for rest. 
The message served its purpose, and the Regiment soon 
marched back to the main line, where the men threw them- 
selves down and in a moment were asleep. The afternoon 
was wearing away, when of a sudden firing began directly 
in the front. There was an immediate commotion all along 
the line, for it was evident that the Rebels had moved up from 
Franklin. Officers and men questioned whether Gen. Hood 
would repeat his tactics of two days before and assault the 
line of works which the Union army had thrown up about the 
city. 

"Where's the NINETY-SIXTH?" shouted Gen. Whittaker, 
as he dashed along the line a moment later. " Here it is ! " 
responded Major Hicks, as, hatless and coatless, he raised up 
and threw off the blanket under which he had been sleeping. 
"Fall in your Regiment and move to the skirmish line 
immediately ! " was the order. " But," protested the Major, 
" we have just come from the skirmish line and my men need 
sleep!" "There will be no sleep for anyone to-night," 
shouted the General. "Take your men out there at once t 
The whole Rebel army is there, and i must send the best 
Regiment in the Brigade ! " The Major knew that further 
protest was useless, and accepting the implied compliment, 
prepared as speedily as possible, and moved the men over 
the breastworks and out to the front, taking position at the 
right of the pike, about in line with the skirmish reserves. 
A new line of works was at once constructed, the Rebels 
meantime keeping up a skirmish fire, and pressing forward 
until seemingly satisfied that the Yankees would not retreat far- 
ther unless compelled to do so. . Their lines were soon formed, 
extending far around to right and left, but they made no 



MAJP OF THEI 

Battlefield of Franklin, Tenn, 



NOVEMBER 30th, 1864. 






Sarriian *Z 



1864] ARRIVAL AT NASHVILLE. 433 

charge. The Regiment lay behind its barricade that night, 
every man with his musket clutched, but all sleeping soundly, 
except that a single guard was stationed, hourly, to wake the 
officers should there be an alarm from the pickets. 

The night passed quietly, however, and the next day the 
Regiment was relieved and sent to the main line. The works 
having been filled while the command was absent, there 
seemed to be no place for it, and Gen. Whittaker directed, as 
a special favor, that it be camped in the beautiful grounds of 
the Acklin place, partially out of range of the picket firing, 
and, in view of its arduous services and its two nights on out- 
post duty, that no pickets should be called for from its ranks 
until further orders. Here, on the night of December 2, for 
the first time in nine successive days, the men felt at liberty 
to remove their accoutrements, build good camp fires, and take 
oft such of their clothing as December weather and an out- 
door camp would permit. 

The battle of Franklin was of decided advantage to the 
Union forces. Gen. Hoo^WMktT ftjfo^^t $]$& than three- 
fourths of his entire army into action, and after assaults as 
desperate and determined as any of the war, had been re- 
pulsed with frightful loss. A thousand prisoners and the few 
flags captured from Lane's and Conrad's Brigades were 
meager compensation for the loss of thirteen general officers, 
thirty stands of colors, 1,750 men killed, 4,000 wounded and 
700 captured. The Union losses, mainly in the Second Divis- 
ion of the Fourth Corps, were reported at 189 killed, 1,033 
wounded and 1,104 missing. The Union Army had gained 
confidence, while the Confederates, appalled at their unex- 
pected repulse and their almost unprecedented losses, were 
much dispirited, and approached Nashville with far less con- 
fidence than that felt as they n eared Franklin. 

Perhaps this chapter cannot be better closed than by the 
following extract from the official report of Gen. Stanley. In 
speaking of the breaking of the Union line on the Columbia 
pike, and the gallant charge of Col. Opdyke's Brigade, by 
which they were restored, he says : " The moment was critical 
beyond any I have known in any battle." 
38 



434 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

In describing the march from Franklin to Nashville, he 
says : 

"Our men were more exhausted, physically, than I have ever seen 
on any other occasion. From November 23, when we left Pulaski, until 
arriving at Nashville, we had been constantly in the immediate presence 
of an enemy we knew to be vastly superior to us in numbers, closely 
watching to attack us at disadvantage. With us, both mind and body 
were kept at full stretch, and it was only by night marches and the con- 
stant use of intrenchments that we could hope to save ourselves. Many 
of our men were overtaxed and broke down, unable to travel any longer. 
They fell into the hands of the enemy. On two occasions the enemy 
was very near attaining the advantage he sought of us. The first was 
when Cox drove back his advance, just about entering Columbia. The 
second and greatest escape for us was at Spring Hill, when, with a whole 
corps in line of battle, the left of the line within six hundred yards of 
the road, they allowed all our army, except Wagner's Division, which 
had fought them during the day, to pass them with impunity during the 
night." 



1864] NASHVILLE. 435 



CHAPTER XXV. 



The Siege of Nashville Reinforcements Arrive Recruits Received 
Citizens Building Breastworks The Country Anxious Reason of 
the Delay An Ice Storm The Weather Grows Milder The Bat- 
tle Begins First Day's Work Important Gains Night on the 
Battlefield The Second Day's Battle A Charge on the Skirmish 
Line Long Hours Under Fire A Gallant Charge Four Guns and 
Many Prisoners Taken A Glorious Victory Incidents of the Bat- 
tle The Gains and the Losses The Casualty List. 

THE position of the NINETY-SIXTH during the siege of 
Nashville if siege it could be called was a fairly comfort- 
able one. The camp was pleasant, the guard duty light, 
and the position but little exposed to the enemy's fire. 
Rations were ample, and included many sanitary supplies sent 
from the North. Clothing was issued in abundance, and a 
few passes were given out daily, so that in time all who cared 
to do so were permitted to visit the city. 

Gen. Thomas, having assumed the immediate command 
of the army, Gen. Schofield returned to the Twenty-third 
Corps. Gen. Stanley relinquished the command of the Fourth 
Corps, owing to the wound received at Franklin, and was suc- 
ceeded by Gen. Wood, commander of the Third Division. 
The 115th Illinois, which had been doing garrison duty at 
Resaca and points near by, from the time of the battle at that 
place, rejoined the Brigade. The remaining six companies of 
the 40th Ohio, having completed their term of enlistment, 
were mustered out and left for home, their veterans and 
recruits being assigned to the 51st Ohio. A few other regi- 
ments whose terms of service had expired were sent north- 
ward, but there was not a large number of such, and, on the 
whole, the army at Nashville was very largely reinforced. 
Simultaneously with the arrival of the Fourth and Twenty- 
third Corps from the front, Gen. A. J. Smith came by river 
from the rear with three divisions of the Sixteenth Corps, 
and other detached troops. A considerable number of cav- 



436 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

airy regiments also arrived, not all of them being moimted r 
however. Men from almost every regiment then with Gen- 
Sherman were sent from the various camps and hospitals, and 
with the recruits and detailed men, organized into a "Provis- 
ional Division," which was placed under command of Gen. 
J. B. Steedman. Sergeants were given command of the 
improvised companies, and line officers of the battalions thus 
formed. Several colored regiments also came up and took 
their place in the line. By December 10 the army under 
Gen. Thomas comprised about fifty-five thousand effective 
men of all arms. 

Eighty-six recruits joined the NINETY-SIXTH on the 10th, 
most of them coming from Jo Daviess county, and being en- 
listed for one year. There was great anxiety in Galena and 
vicinity for a few days, owing to a report that all of these 
newly enlisted men had been captured between Louisville and 
Nashville, a report that happily proved untrue. The recruits 
were an excellent body of men, most of them being young, 
and all of them taking hold of their army duties with enthu- 
siasm. Almost one third of them had brothers in the com- 
mand, and nearly all acquaintances or near friends. A num- 
ber of men who had been in hospital or on detached service 
came up, and the Regiment had four hundred men present 
for duty when the advance from Nashville finally took place,. 
a larger number than at any time for seven months. 
Among the recruits were Allen B. Whitney, formerly Cap- 
tain of Company B ; and Reuben L. Root, formerly Second 
Lieutenant of Company H ; both of whom were now enlisted 
as privates. 

A large ."number of recruits for the 45th Illinois came to 
the camp of the NINETY-SIXTH, their regiment being with 
Gen. Sherman. Having many acquaintances, they obtained 
permission to remain with the Regiment for two or three 
days, but were then attached to Gen. Steedman's command. 

Gen. Hood completed the formation of his lines Decem- 
ber 3, and made occasional demonstrations on the front, but 
almost immediately sent a portion of his cavalry with a few 
regiments of infantry to operate against Murfreesboro and 



1864] NASHVILLE. 437 

points in that vicinity. These detached Kebel forces met with 
heavy losses without achieving any marked results. 

Many citizens from Nashville came out to visit the army 
and look over the lines, but none cared to repeat the visit, as 
all were put at work in the intrenchments ; the officers argu- 
ing that of all persons in the world those resident in Nashville 
were interested in its defense, and ought to be willing to at 
least use so harmless an implement as a shovel. Some took 
the order good naturedly, while others complained, but there 
was no appeal, and all had to work for at least a few hours. 

The weather, which was rainy during the early days of 
the month, turned extremely cold on the 8th, causing much 
discomfort. The men were fairly provided for in the way of 
blankets, and took what comfort they could out of the thought 
that the Rebels were not as well protected as they. Fuel 
soon became scarce in the camp, and rigid economy was 
necessary in its use. On one of the coldest days a loud cheer 
was heard in the Rebel lines, and the men sprang up in 
anticipation of an assault. A moment later a dog, with a tin 
pan attached to his tail, was seen coming with great speed 
toward the Federal lines, and then the Yankees cheered, 
while the frightened animal leaped the works and sped on 
toward Nashville. 

Thursday, December 8, the Regiment was called in line 
and prepared to move to the front, the enemy having driven 
in the pickets on the left, but the skirmish pits were speedily 
retaken without any assistance from this command. Once or 
twice afterward there were 'alarms, which kept the men in 
line for a time. Colonel Smith, Captain Hastings, Captain 
Taylor, and other wounded officers, visited the camp repeat- 
edly, and were warmly greeted. Captain Burnett was so for- 
tunate as to secure leave of absence and went home for his 
first visit. Captain Blowney was taken seriously ill, and 
went to hospital, where, after a partial recovery, he also 
obtained a leave of absence. The three left companies, B, 
<or and K, were commanded by Sergeants Wait, Swanbrough 
and Luke. 

During the two weeks in which he confronted Nashville, 



438 HISTORY OF THE 96TH EEGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

Gen. Hood was sparing of artillery ammunition. This was r 
no doubt, partially due to the fact that he had to bring it so- 
far, and that his transportation was limited, for although he 
had repaired the railroad from Pulaski to Franklin, he had 
but two locomotives and a very few cars at his command, 
most of these having been captured at Spring Hill. 

The country became exceedingly anxious over matters in 
Tennessee, even before the retreat from Franklin ; and now, 
although the railroad was kept open from Louisville and boats- 
were arriving frequently, coming up the Cumberland, the 
public generally seemed to regard Nashville as in a state of 
siege, and to anticipate that Gen. Hood would flank the 
forces out, and compel Gen. Thomas to make a race with him 
for the Ohio river. Gen. Grant shared in this anxiety, and 
telegraphed for a forward movement on the sixth ; and as his 
orders were not obeyed, intimated that he should direct Gen. 
Schofield to take command. Subsequently he ordered Gen. 
Logan to proceed to Nashville and take charge of affairs in 
the Department, and that officer had proceeded as far as 
Louisville, when word come that an advance had been made. 
While Gen. Logan was on the road, Gen. Grant even left the 
Army of the Potomac, then confronting Petersburg, and had 
reached Washington, with the avowed purpose of going to- 
Nashville and taking charge in person, when a telegram an- 
nounced the exceedingly satisfactory result of the first day's 
battle. 

But Gen. Thomas had been neither idle nor indiiferent, 
and felt that his knowledge of affairs in the Department jus- 
tified his delay. Many of the recruits were still unarmed. 
A large number of horses were arriving daily, and were 
greatly needed by his cavalry, almost one-half of whom were 
still dismounted. The newly arrived horses had to be shod, 
and saddles and bridles had to be taken from the depot to the 
camps. Preparations were so far completed that an advance 
was promised on the 9th, but a heavy rain storm, turning into 
sleet, left the roads and fields so icy that neither men nor 
horses could keep their feet. The cold continued for several 
days, but on the 14th, the weather having moderated and the 



1864] NASHVILLE. 439 

ice disappeared, orders were issued to move the following 
morning. 

Up to this time Gen. A. J. Smith's command had occu- 
pied the right of the line, with the Fourth and Twenty-third 
Corps and Steedman's Division successively on its left, either 
flank resting on the Cumberland River. The Rebel line was 
somewhat shorter, but its flanks were guarded by cavalry 
and heavy earthworks, well supplied with artillery, and com- 
manded the country to the river. 

Thursday, December 15, reveille sounded at four o'clock, 
and before daylight the Union forces were moving out upon 
the right. The plan of the battle was a grand left wheel, 
the right of the line to be so extended as to overlap the 
enemy's left, and take it in flank and rear. The Twenty- 
third Corps early left its place in the line and was moved to 
the right, detachments from Gen. Steedman's command tak- 
ing its place. Under cover of a dense fog the cavalry moved 
out upon the Harding and Hillsboro pikes, and as Gen. 
Smith advanced, extended the swinging column. The Fourth 
Corps moved out simultaneously and was soon engaged. The 
First Division had the centre of the Corps and was in double 
line, the first deployed and the second in column. It hap- 
pened that for the day the NINETY-SIXTH had the second line. 

The plan of the battle was admirably carried out. Gen. 
Steedman made a strong demonstration on the left, deceiving 
the enemy into the belief that the main attack was to be 
made at that point, and causing him to weaken his left and 
centre. The fog served as an admirable shield, and when it 
began to lift, Gen. Hood was surprised to find great masses 
of soldiers in blue lapping his left and breaking across his 
front with rapid musketry and tumultuous shouts. The cav- 
alry still bore to the right, and soon made way for the 
Twenty-third Corps. Meanwhile the First Division, marching 
forward between the Hillsboro and the Granny White pikes, 
pressed the enemy back to his main line, and shortly after 
was shouting and charging with the troops on the right. The 
NINETY-SIXTH followed on, sometimes under heavy fire from 
both musketry and artillery, but without an opportunity to 



440 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rn REGIMENT, ILL. V. 1. 

take position in the front line or to return the fire. There were 
protracted halts, the men hugging the ground to avoid the 
ever-present danger. Occasionally a fine opportunity was 
offered for those curiously inclined to watch the maneuvering 
of the long lines of battle from the elevations gained, the 
country being comparatively open. 

The fog being dispelled, all could see that the Federals 
were achieving a grand success, the heavy breastworks, 
although guarded by formidable abatis, not being proof 
against the vigorous assaults of the resolute and confident 
soldiers. In front of the First Division a fortified hill, with 
artillery, was taken, and a long column of prisoners filed to the 
rear. The same scene was witnessed at other points, and by 
night the enemy had been forced to leave its original line and 
defend a new position, its right upon Overton's Hill, its left 
extending to some elevations known as the Harpeth Hills, but 
with heavy skirmish lines still in their front. The Hillsboro 
and Granny White pikes were both clear, and when night 
closed upon the scene, and the brilliant successes of the day 
were telegraphed over the country,* the Federals were 
noisy and exultant in their extended camps, while the Con- 
federates, sullen and dispirited, were contracting their lines 
and building new earthworks. 

All night the pickets could hear the sounds of preparation 
in their front. The skirmishers were bold, and kept up a vig- 
orous response whenever they were pressed. Trees were 
being felled, and the orders shouted to the moving troops, as 
they massed for their last grand stand, could be plainly heard. 
While their defeat had been so marked the day before as to 
make the outcome of a second day's battle almost certain to 
be a victory for the Union forces, yet Gen. Hood seems to 
have conceived the idea that upon the shorter and stronger 
line he had now chosen he could resist all direct assaults, 

* President Lincoln telegraphed Gen. Thomas next morning : "Please accept for 
yourself, officers and men, the Nation's thanks for your work of yesterday. You made 
a magnificent beginning. A grand consummation is within your easy reach. Do not let 
it slip." 

Gen. Grant telegraphed at midnight: "Your dispatch of this evening just 
received. I congratulate you and the army under your command for to-day's operations, 
and feel a conviction that to-morrow will add more fruits to your victory." 



1864] NASHVILLE. 441 

punish the Federals, as his forces had been punished at 
Franklin, and then, by a night movement to the left, gain 
the rear of the Union lines, as he had sought to do at Atlanta 
and Peach Tree Creek. 

The Federals made only meagre preparations for defense, 
confident that the enemy would not attack. It was a sight to 
be remembered as the troops lay down to sleep that night, 
scattered about and covering every level spot. Each kept on 
his clothing and accoutrements, ready 'at the order to fall in 
for work of any kind. None doubted that there would be a 
renewal of the battle on the morrow, or that the Regiment, 
'having been with the reserves the day before, would lead in 
the advance next morning ; but none seemed unhappy, or to 
delay the hour of retiring to indulge in gloomy forebodings. 

Friday, December 16. Long before daylight the troops 
-were ready for action, and the grand left-wheel of the main 
army was resumed. The Brigade to which the NINETY-SIXTH 
was attached, maneuvered for a time, and when an advance 
was ordered was the left battalion of the Brigade, and in the 
front line. At its left, separated by a space of several rods, 
was the Third Brigade, Col. Grose commanding. But little 
time was lost in preparation, and then the line swept forward, 
past farm-buildings and through fields and openings, for a mile 
or more, the Division gradually swinging to the right, until 
the left of Grose's Brigade rested upon the Franklin pike. 
The enemy's batteries had begun playing long ere this, and 
their skirmish fire was growing uncomfortable, when the lines 
halted near the verge of some timber, and lay down directly 
in front of a battery, which fired rapidly over them. Across 
the open field in front could be seen a fringe of willows, 
marking the course of a creek, along which the Rebel skir- 
mishers had taken refuge as the Union lines advanced, and 
beyond it their main works were visible. Soon word came 
to cross this open field and drive the skirmishers still farther 
back. Leaving the cover of the timber, the long line of blue 
pushed steadily but rapidly across a gently sloping ploughed 
field and meadow, the NINETY-SIXTH having no shelter and 
no support upon its left. How wickedly the bullets came 



442 HISTORY OF THE 96 REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

humming across the field ! Occasionally a man raised his ; 
musket and fired, as a peculiarly tempting offer presented 
itself, but most of them went forward with their Enfields at a 
right shoulder shift ; at first silently, and then with a rousing 
cheer. There was no hesitation anywhere, although the 
skirmishers on the left were soon firing almost lengthwise of 
the line and at short range. John Washburn, of Company 
JB, was shot through the body, being among the first hit, and 
with a single exclamation staggered forward a few steps and 
fell dead, before one half the distance across the field had 
been traversed. Poor fellow ! With a presentiment of what 
was to come he had handed his watch and pocketbook to 
Nile Wynkoop, of the same Company, that very morning, 
and requested him to forward it to his wife when the battle 
was over. His comrades laughed at his fears, but could not 
dissuade him from his purpose. Bravely he went forward 
and met a soldier's death. His brother, Volney Washburn, 
who had joined the command as a recruit but a few days 
before, went back with a comrade and bore the body from the 
field, giving it such burial as he could. 

Sergeant Swanbrough, commanding Company G, turned 
to give some word of encouragement to his men, when a bul- 
let disabled his left hand, giving him a wound that proved 
painful and compelled him to go almost immediately to the 
rear. Sergeant Miller at once ran bravely to the front and 
assumed command, the line moving forward without a break. 
A little further on, Corporal Hamilton, of Company C, who 
had been terribly wounded through the face at Chickamauga, 
was struck squarely in the forehead by a bullet, and fell dead 
without a groan. The bullet passed entirely through his head 
and entered the shoulder of Sergeant Vandervoort, of Com- 
pany H, who chanced to be a step in his rear, inflicting a 
severe wound. Others were also wounded and compelled 
to go to the rear. As the creek was neared, the opposing 
line gave way, running back to another depression, and thence 
to some fences and buildings, where they secreted themselves 
and kept up a most annoying fire. 

This charge was made about nine o'clock. The men were 



1864] NASHVILLE. 443 

ordered to halt at the creek, the bank affording some pro- 
tection, although the position was uncomfortable, owing to 
the mud and water. A few rods in front of the stream, and 
on slightly higher ground, was a rail fence, separating the 
meadow from a cornfield in which the stalks were still stand- 
ing, and to this fence the line soon made its way and began 
to fortify. Grose's Brigade moved up and took position, 
about on a line with the NINETY-SIXTH. Here the troops lay 
for several hours, a light breastwork being soon constructed. 
Looking across the cornfield, the Rebel breastworks could be 
plainly seen, the flags planted upon them being so numerous 
as to indicate a heavy line. A continuous but not a rapid 
fire was maintained. Soon there was a wild cheer, and a 
heavy musketry fire, a little beyond the Franklin pike, oft 
to the left, where, as it proved, a brigade of colored troops, 
who had driven the enemy from the Nolensville pike, were 
assaulting the Rebel intrenchments at Overton's Hill. This 
assault, which was participated in by the Second Division of 
the Fourth Corps, failed, but was renewed and repeated sev- 
eral times, always without success. In these charges, Lieu- 
tenant Woodruff, formerly First Sergeant of Company I, but 
who had been commissioned in a colored regiment, bravely 
met his death, and Captain Collier, formerly First Sergeant 
of Company D, but who had been commissioned in the same 
brigade with Woodruff, was wounded. 

Meanwhile the troops on the right had driven the enemy 
from several strong positions, not only gaining valuable 
ground, but making numerous captures of prisoners and 
artillery. 

The position of the NINETY-SIXTH was not only under a 
severe fire from the front, but became most uncomfortable 
because of the firing of a battery in its rear, the artillerists 
cutting almost every fuse so short as to cause the shells to 
explode long before reaching the Rebel lines. One of these 
shells exploded near the right of the Regiment and wounded 
Sergeant Sullivan, of Company F, so severely as to cause his 
death three weeks later. To add to the discomfort, a cold 



444 HISTORY OF THE 96 r rH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

rain set in, making the ground upon which the men were 
lying extremely muddy. 

The right having driven the enemy back upon his main 
line, orders were given to press at all points, and command- 
ing positions in front of each corps, were selected to be 
assaulted. Major Hicks passed along the line, telling the 
men that they were expected to break the line in their front 
should a charge farther to the right, and then about to be 
made, prove successful. Instantly the men prepared for 
action. There soon came to their ears the rattle of musketry 
and all were on their feet. Some of the bolder ones jumped 
upon the breastworks to watch the result of the charge. An 
instant later, and without waiting for the order, all jumped 
the works, and with a loud and continuous cheer, began 
charging forward. For a hundred rods the route lay through 
a muddy cornfield ; beyond was a deep creek, a farm house, 
with its yard and gardens, some outbuildings, a clump of 
cedars, a high rail fence, partially thrown down at the right, 
but a formidable obstruction on the left ; then a raise of 
ground, with a network of abatis ; then a ditch, deep and wide 
in many places ; then a strong line of works, filled with armed 
men. Just at the left, upon a commanding eminence, stood a 
four-gun battery, which had been throwing shot and shell at 
intervals all day long. 

At a brisk run the line pressed on, entirely outstripping 
every other regiment in the Brigade. The merciless bullets 
cut through the cornfield, each one striking many of the 
stalks, and giving the impression of a hailstorm of lead. 
Men fell out wounded here and there along the way. At the 
cedars a tempest of grape swept above them, mowing off the 
evergreen verdure, and dropping it in showers upon the gal- 
lant men below. The house and outbuildings were swarming 
with Rebel skirmishers when the charge began, some of 
whom kept up a fire as the line advanced, while others ran 
out and sought to escape to the main line. A few were shot, 
but a majority surrendered. A squad of the new men, whose 
softer muscles and heavier knapsacks had prevented them from 
keeping up with the main line, came upon these prisoners, 



1864] NASHVILLE. 445 

and when the latter began waving their hats and handker- 
chiefs, some of these men, not understanding that it was in 
token of surrender, but supposing that the Rebels were mak- 
ing fun of them because they were recruits, actually resented 
the supposed insult by firing upon them, but with such indif- 
ferent aim that only two or three were hit. At the fence the 
rails were splintered by the fire from the main line. " Boys, 
their guns are empty ! " shouted an officer as the volley 
passed. Everyone seemed to catch the idea suggested, and 
to resolve to reach the works before they had time to reload. 
The abatis offered little resistance, and in a moment the fore- 
most men were upon the works and shouting to the occupants 
of the long line to surrender. With rare exceptions the 
enemy threw down their guns and ran to the rear. 

Sergeant John Vincent, of Company A, who, from the 
time of Color-Sergeant Swanbrough's promotion to First 
Sergeant, the previous August, had carried the stars and 
stripes, bravely mounted the works and ran along the parapet, 
only halting when the battery was reached, and then but for 
an instant, when he jumped over the heads of the Rebels in 
the works and joined his comrades, who had crossed the 
line farther to the right, swinging the flag to indicate to the 
troops in rear that the Rebel line had been broken. The flag 
was hit by bullets several times, but the gallant color-bearer 
escaped. The battery fired when the men were swarming 
almost up to the guns, and the commander was shot as he 
turned to strike one of his men because he would not again 
load his piece. Corporal Henry H. Cutler, of Company C, 
who was one of the foremost in the charge, after crossing the 
works, was mortally wounded, dying within a few hours. 
Corporal John McCusker, of Company B, was badly wounded 
near the battery and while shouting to his comrades to 
come on. William Kimball, of Company K, and Francis 
S. Bailey, of Company F, both recruits, were also mortally 
wounded. Lieutenant William Dawson, of Company F, who 
for some breach of discipline had been placed under arrest a 
few days before, went into action carrying a club. He was 
one of the most conspicuous for his bravery, and the sword 



446 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

,he had so gallantly won was returned to him at the close of 
the battle. William J. Fuller, of Company B, who had 
served in a batten- for a time, stopped at the captured guns 
and called to some of his comrades to assist him in turning 
them upon the enemy, but most of the men were too eager 
in the pursuit to halt, and after one or two gun-stocks had been 
broken in the vain attempt to turn the heavy wheels about in 
the mud, the effort was abandoned. Most of the artillery 
horses, which had been standing in a depression at the rear 
of the battery, were disabled or captured, but a few were 
.mounted by their postillions and ridden to the rear. It would 
be impossible to say who was first across the works. A dozen 
men mounted them almost simultaneously, most of them 
leaping over the heads of the foe and then rushing directly 
toward the battery. The guns proved to be four twelve- 
pound Napoleons, and all were hot and the smoke was still 
issuing from their muzzles when the men laid their hands 
.upon them. 

Notwithstanding the great fatigue incident to the long run 
and the climbing of numerous obstacles, the men all carry- 
ing their knapsacks and considerable extra ammunition, 
the Regiment pressed on, capturing scores of the enemy. 
The Rebels shook their hats and handkerchiefs from behind 
every log and tree, and were promptly invited to step out and 
run to the rear. 

The Union battery in the rear seemed not to under- 
stand that the charge had proved successful, although the flag 
was displayed where they should have seen it, and continued 
to play upon the hill, fortunately without injuring any of the 
Regiment. A few of the NINETY-SIXTH ran toward the 
Franklin pike, directly in rear of the Rebel works, gathering 
in many prisoners, among them numerous officers, all of 
whom were directed to report at the battery. But little for- 
mality was observed, but a portion of the prisoners were 
grouped together and sent under guard to the rear. It is 
probable that the prisoners taken by the NINETY-SIXTH num- 
bered nearly eight hundred. Lieutenant Pepoon secured a 
receipt for the captured battery, which he still retains among 



1864] NASHVILLE. 447 

his highly prized army relics. Two other batteries were cap- 
tured by other regiments of the Brigade. 

It happened that the formation of the Rebel works was 
such as to bring the NINETY- SIXTH nearer than other por- 
tions of the Brigade, and as they were the first to start in the 
charge they crossed the breastworks first, secured many more 
prisoners, and suffered heavier loss than the troops on their 
right. Col. Grose's Brigade came forward after the line was 
broken, but not with the impetuosity that had characterized 
the movements of Gen. Whittaker's command, and lost a 
grand opportunity to make large captures, for a brigade or 
more of Rebels were massed close beside the pike, for the 
purDoae, it was said, of making a counter-charge upon the 
Union lines. These troops immediately retreated in consid- 
erable confusion, and had the brigade on the left moved for- 
ward simultaneously with the NINETY-SIXTH, most of the Con- 
federates on the Franklin pike would have been captured. As 
it was, the NINETY-SIXTH spread out along their flanks, annoy- 
ing them with a constant and telling fire, and dropping 
many of them as they ran back along the road. The lines 
opposite Overton's Hill, soon charged forward, capturing some 
artillery and prisoners. 

Captain Rowan and Adjutant Blodgett pushed on to the 
right with a few men, pursuing a brigade and a battery nearly 
two miles, and when near the Brentwood hills captured a 
number of prisoners. Discovering a drove of beef cattle that 
the Rebels were attempting to drive off they succeeded in 
stampeding them toward the Union lines. Farther to the 
right the enemy was completely routed, and an attempt was 
made to push the Union cavalry forward to the pike near 
Brentwood so as to completely cut off' their retreat. In this 
movement many guns, prisoners and colors were taken, num- 
erous wagons and teams were captured, and the enemy was 
sent fleeing through the woods, toward Franklin, in wild 
dismay. 

But the short December day was drawing to a close, and 
darkness came too soon to complete the flanking movement. 
When there could be no farther advance in safety the exult- 



44:8 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

ant Federal army halted for the night, the NINETY-SIXTH 
being about one mile from Brentwood. It was a chilly, rainy, 
winter evening, and there were many vacant places in the 
ranks, but so complete had been the victory to the Union 
arms and so thorough the overthrow of the vast host that had 
exultantly pressed them back from the Tennessee river so 
short a time previously that the camps rang with shout and 
song, all rejoicing most heartily, and none more heartily than 
the recruits, who had all day vied with the old veterans in 
valor and zeal, and moved gallantly in the final charge. 

At no other time did it happen in the four years of war 
that an army was so completely routed as at the battle of 
Nashville. Their line of retreat was lined with everything 
that could be thrown away, indicating precipitate haste and 
utter discouragement. One major-general, three brigadiers, 
two hundred and eighty officers of lower rank, more than four 
thousand enlisted men, fifty-three pieces of artillery, and 
twenty-five battle flags were captured during the two days. 
The Federal losses were stated at about three thousand. 
Few battles of the war were fought upon such open ground, 
or where the maneuvering of either army was so open to the. 
observation of the other. , 

The losses in the NINETY-SIXTH were much less in number 
than might be supposed from the work accomplished, but 
were more than were sustained by a majority of the regiments 
engaged. The swiftness of the final charge, the fact that the 
last volley of the enemy in the breastworks was from higher 
ground than that on which the advancing line was moving, 
and consequently passed mainly over their heads, and the rush 
that followed so quickly that the line was upon them before 
they could reload, were the factors that conspired to make the 
aggregate loss so light. The following were 

THE CASUALTIES. 

Company A. 
WOUNDED. Eugene Langdon, thigh. 

Company B. 
KILLED. John Washburn. 



MAP OF. THE 

Battlefield of 
Nashville. 

'\ T)ec. 15 -Kith. 1864. 




1864] NASHVILLE.' 449 

WOUNDED. Corporal John McCusker, left ankle ; Orskine Ferrand, 
hand ; Joel Grove, left hand. 

Company C. 

KILLED OR MORTALLY WOUNDED. Corporal Henry H. Cutler ; Cor- 
poral Norris Hamilton. 

Company F. 
MORTALLY WOUNDED. Sergeant Michael Sullivan, Francis S. Bailey. 

Company G. 
WOUNDED. First Sergeant John W. Swanbrough, left hand. 

Company H. 
WOUNDED. Sergeant H. S. Vandervoort, shoulder ; R. L. Root, neck. 

Company K. 
MORTALLY WOUNDED. William Kimball. 



rfi&fi 



29 



450 HISTORY OF THE 96TH REGIMENT, ILL. V. I 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



The Pursuit of Hood The Pontoon Train Missent A Halt at Frank 
lin Condition of Affairs in the Village A Stern Chase Delays 
at Rutherford's Creek and Duck River Last Volley at the Enemy 
Floundering in the Mud How Christmas passed Waiting for 
Rations Forward Again The Enemy Escapes Across the Tennes- 
see Results Achieved in the Campaign General Thomas' Con- 
gratulatory Order. 

SATURDAY, December 17, the troops were early on the road 
and pursuing the flying enemy. All were in the best of 
spirits, notwithstanding that the rain continued. Wounded 
men were found in several houses about Brentwood, and num- 
erous stragglers were picked up, most of them in a pitiable 
condition for want of shoes and clothing, and all professing 
to believe .their cause now hopeless. Doubtless their punish- 
ment at Franklin, and their utter defeat at Nashville, made 
the outlook gloomy, and dreading the long march back to 
the Tennessee River and the possibility of other battles, these 
stragglers concluded to leave the service. The road was 
strewn with camp equipage for many miles. The cavalry in 
advance soon overtook the enemy's rear guard, and had a 
lively fight, capturing about four hundred prisoners and three 
stands of colors at Hollow Tree Gap. At Franklin there was 
another skirmish, but the enemy was soon in retreat. The 
NINETY-SIXTH reached the north bank of the Harpeth River 
shortly after noon. The cavalry was able to ford the stream 
and press on toward Spring Hill, but the water was too deep 
and cold for the infantry, and they were ordered to bivouac. 
By a mistaken order the pontoon train took the Murfreesboro 
pike, and had to be recalled, so that nearly a day was lost in 
the pursuit. The troops that crossed the river found a terri- 
ble condition of things in Franklin. All of the public build- 
ings and many private residences had been turned into hos- 
pitals, and two or three thousand wounded were to be cared 



1864] CHASING HOOD SOUTHWARD. 451 

for, although the resources at command were of the most lim- 
ited character. The Federal wounded from the Franklin 
tight were quite numerous, but all were given such attention 
as was possible, regardless of the color of their uniforms, and 
many were removed to Nashville within a few days. 

Sunday, December 18, a bridge having been laid during 
the night, the infantry again set out for the front. The 
approaches to the bridge were terribly muddy, and as a con- 
sequence the column was badly strung out. The NINETY- 
SIXTH was near the rear of the Division, and as soon as the 
bridge was crossed was obliged to make an exceedingly rapid 
march. The roads were soaked with rain, and the pike, cut 
through by the trains and troops that had passed over it, was 
in a terrible condition. Through the town, although march- 
ing almost at a double quick, the soldiers noted many marks 
of the recent battle. On the plain just outside the village the 
graves covered several acres, and the unburied carcasses of 
the horses killed in the engagement were very numerous, 
many of them lying close to the breastworks. 

With occasional brief halts for rest, the column made its 
way southward over the familiar ground, many giving out 
because of the bad roads and the rapidity of the march. The 
recruits suffered most, but all were greatly fatigued, when a 
halt was made for the night in a muddy cornfield, about three 
miles south of Spring Hill. The Sixteenth and Twenty-third 
Corps followed, but were kept a day's march or more in the 
rear. During the night the camp was fairly inundated by the 
terrible storm. 

Monday, December 19, the troops again moved out in the 
rain and mud, but only made about two miles, halting near 
Rutherford's Creek, where that day and a part of T.uesday 
were occupied in constructing a bridge ; the troops succeeding 
in crossing Tuesday afternoon, marching to Duck River and 
camping behind their old works. The rains, which had been 
almost incessant, now gave way to a snow storm, followed by 
extreme cold weather. Much delay was experienced in 
bridging Duck River, and it was not until late in the evening 
of Thursday, December 22, that the Regiment reached the 



452 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. V. I. 

south bank of the stream, and, after a march of two miles r 
went into camp a short distance south of Columbia. 

Friday, December 23, Gen. Whittaker took leave of the 
Brigade and started northward on a leave of absence, Col. 
Moore, of the 115th Illinois, succeeding to the command. 
During the stay at Nashville, a fund was raised among the 
officers and men of the Regiment, amounting to one hundred 
and ten dollars, and an elegant gold-headed cane was pur- 
chased for presentation to Gen. Whittaker. There was a 
delay in having the proper inscription made, and the formal 
presentation did not occur until Christmas Day, when Colo- 
nel Smith met the General in a hotel at Nashville, and after 
a brief address handed him the testimonial, as complete a 
surprise, perhaps, as the General ever experienced. 

From Duck River south the chase was as vigorously 
pushed as the weather and roads would permit. The cav- 
alry were compelled to take the pike, so deep was the 
mud upon the dirt road and in the fields. They pressed 
forward as rapidly as possible, but Gen. Hood had organized 
a strong rear guard of his best forces, and could readily delay 
the advance, for any movement in the fields was exceedingly 
difficult. The infantry did not break camp until noon, and 
within a few miles came in range of the enemy's artillery. 
The Rebels had halted, and were stubbornly resisting the 
advance, when the NINETY-SIXTH and the 115th Illinois were 
deployed, and pushed gallantly forward in line-of-battle. 
The enemy stood their ground for a time, and the firing 
became spirited on either side. The men of the Regiment 
never faltered for an instant, but swept across the open field 
and up the ridge, killing a Rebel captain and capturing five 
prisoners, when the opposing line gave way and fled precipi- 
tately through the woods in their rear. ,Here were fired the 
last shots at the enemy by the Regiment as an organization. 
The pursuit was continued until dark, the Regiment being 
kept in line until a guard detail could be organized, when it 
was relieved and went into bivouac for the night. Next day 
the march was resumed at noon, and was without incident. 



1864] CHRISTMAS ON THE MARCH. 453 

Lynnville was passed and a halt made two or three miles south 
of the diminutive village, after dark. 

Sunday, December 25, the Regiment left camp at eight 
o'clock. The enemy was pressed back rapidly through 
Fulaski. Here the Corps left the pike and marched south- 
westerly over terrible roads. By a quick movement on the 
part of the advance, the bridge over Richland Creek was 
secured and the troops thus saved from a long delay. The 
cavalry made a vigorous fight, and were once driven back 
with the loss of one piece of artillery, but quickly rallied and 
succeeded in capturing a few wagons and a considerable num- 
ber of prisoners. The afternoon was rainy, and the roads 
were bottomless. Five or six miles southwest of Pulaski a 
halt was made, about nine o'clock at night, the Regiment 
.going into camp on a hill-side, where the ground was 
so sloping and the stones so numerous that it was almost 
impossible to sleep. The Christmas had been strangely 
passed. Instead of the holiday feast there had been a posi- 
tive shortage of food. The rations issued three days before 
were meagre at best, and active campaigning, then, as always, 
made the men extremely hungry. A few had absolutely 
nothing left, and were dependent upon the generosity of their 
comrades, who had been so prudent as to save a hard tack or 
two. The country had been stripped of every article of food 
for miles on either side of the road, and it being impossible 
for the army to proceed, the pursuit was practically aban- 
doned at this point, although the cavalry followed the enemy 
to the Tennessee River. 

Monday, December 26, the infantry lay idly in camp, 
awaiting the arrival of the supply train. A cornfield, which 
had been carefully harvested, was visited by hundreds of sol- 
diers, and every nubbin secured. An ear of respectable size 
was regarded as a valuable prize, even though it might have 
been trodden in the ground, or besmeared with mud, for it 
could be washed and made "clean enough for a soldier." 
This corn was parched in the universal frying-pan or skillet, 
.and served to partially appease the hunger which had taken 
possession of every man. The wagons did not arrive until 



454 HISTORY OF THE 96ra REGIMENT, ILL. Y. I. 

after dark, and the early hours of the night were occupied inr 
issuing, dividing and consuming rations. The recruits had 
looked pretty doleful during the day, but cheered up as the 
coffee-pots began to boil and the pork to sputter over the 
ruddy camp fires, their happiness being increased by the 
arrival of a large mail. 

Tuesday, December 27, the march was resumed at day- 
light, over the terrible roads, and in a pitiless rainstorm. 
The country was broken and timbered. At three o'clock 
p. M. the columns halted and went into camp, a mile south 
of Sugar Creek. 

Wednesday, December 28, the command left camp at ten 
o'clock and halted at five, in the neighborhood of Lexington, 
where it was ascertained that the Hebels had succeeded in 
crossing the river. The Corps remained at Lexington until 
Saturday, December 3 1, when it marched nearly to Elk river, 
a distance of fourteen miles. This long delay from Wed- 
nesday until Saturday was necessary in order that rations 
might be brought up. the deeper streams made passable by 
the construction of bridges, and plans for the future partially 
perfected. The country was scoured for forage and consider- 
able amounts secured. 

The twenty-seventh saw the last organized force of the 
army under Gen. Hood cross the Tennessee river in discom- 
fiture. With pleasant weather and better roads it is probable 
that the Federal Army would have captured or dispersed the 
greater part of them, but considering the conditions the pur- 
suit had been as vigorous and as fruitful in results as could 
have been reasonably expected.* Exclusive of stragglers who 
voluntarily left the command, Gen. Hood's Army had lost, in. 
their final invasion of Tennessee, more than thirteen thousand 
men by capture alone, including seven general officers, sixteen 

* Major Sanders, of the Confederate Arrnj', writing of this campaign in the Southern 
Bivouac, of September, 1885, said: " General Wood, commanding the Fourth Corps, pur- 
sued the rear-guard with idomitable resolution and untiring energy. He was incited to 
make his wonderful infantry march to Pulaski by the indications of demoralization, 
distress, and the hopeless condition of the retreating army that abounded all along the 
line of Hood's retreat. * * * * His troops responded to the demands made on their 
endurance, and achieved for themselves a reputation that will live forever in the mili- 
tary annals of their country." 



1864] CONGRATULATORY ORDER. 455 

colonels and nearly one thousand officers of lower grade. 
Seventy stands of colors, seventy-two pieces of artillery and 
many wagons and other valuable material had been captured. 
There were also many deserters, and it is safe to conclude that 
fully one-half of the entire force that marched so hopefully 
northward in November were never again in line after their 
rear guard crossed the Tennessee at Bainbridge. The Union 
losses during the same period numbered about ten thousand, 
very many of whom were slightly wounded and soon returned 
to their commands. 

Gen. Thomas announced, in General Orders, the termina- 
tion and r