William Thacker Beatty
Buffalo County Beacon
Friday, February 9, 1883
The journal entries for William T. Beatty were obtained from a Beatty, Randall and Williams Family Reunion on
28 September 2002 in Clermont, Ohio.
The entries commenced on Friday, February 9, 1883
and continued each week for 33 weeks.
Retyped by Janice Beatty October 2002 and
Diane R. Beatty Hugo April 2003.
Leaves From My Journal No. 1
Company C., 2nd O. V.I., [Ohio Voluntary Infantry] was enlisted at Goshen, Clermont County, Ohio, In July, 1861, by Captain William T. Beatty, and mustered into the service of the United States on the 20th of August, 1861, at Camp Dennison, Ohio. This regiment was formed under the command of Colonel L. A. Harris, of Cincinnati, Lieutenant Colonel John Kell, of Franklin, Ohio, and Major Anson G. McCook, Steubenville, Ohio.
Sept. 24th – Left Camp Dennison and removed to Covington, Kentucky, opposite Cincinnati. Belonging to Co. C at that time was John D. Randall and Nelson Schooley, now of Gibbon, Nebraska, and Bradford Ringer, of North Platte, Nebraska, and to other companies of the regiment quite a number who are now residents of Nebraska.
Oct. 6th – Left Covington and marched to Paris; camped on the fairground one day and night; left Paris Oct. 8th, and arrived on the 9th at Mount Sterling. At noon here we were furnished an excellent dinner by a loyal man named Oden, and at night were feasted with every variety of fat things by the citizens of Mount Sterling, brought to us on wagons, carts and wheelbarrows, in baskets, boxes and sacks. There were quarters of roast beef, pigs, turkeys, chickens, bread, butter, cakes, pies, apples, peaches, pears, melons, green corn and cider. Ladies and gentlemen, young and old, waited on us with the utmost politeness and promptness, mixing everywhere through our camp with their own colored servants to help us to the best of everything, and filling our haversacks with enough to last two days. It was a grand and glorious reception for worn out soldiers in a country claimed by Rebels.
October 10th – Resumed our march to Olympian Springs, in former days a noted summer resort for the chivalry of Kentucky, such as Henry Clay, Taylor, Webster, Marshal, Crittenden and others. Here we found about 300 home guards trying to save their state from rebellion. We remained here eight days encamped on the grounds of Esquire Gill, the proprietor of the springs. We captured twelve rebels and sent them back to Camp Dennison, Ohio.
Leaves From my Journal No. 2
Left Camp Gill at Olympian Springs on the 19th of October 1861, and marched to McCormicks Pass fourteen miles, and encamped in a very wild and picturesque country. Called our Captain Garret Davis. Some very beautiful scenery here in the mountains, and our soldiers enjoyed it. On the 22nd we again took up our march, the aggressive point being West Liberty, distance thirty-five miles. Traveling all night in a hard storm of wind and rain, wading streams, water up to our arms, plodding through the mud up to our boot tops. We became so exhausted that when ordered to halt for a few moments rest many of our soldiers fell down in the mud and lay there, and when the order came to move forward many were unable to march and were left, among them one captain and several lieutenants.
When the captain became rested he gathered up the soldiers, and took possession of a church near by. Soon after he was attacked by the Rebs, but held his fort until morning, when he was relieved by a detachment sent back. We moved on through the storm the balance of the night, arriving at West Liberty at 9 o’clock on the 23rd. Found the enemy entrenched on the hill west of the town, and after a brisk and exciting skirmish of thirty minutes dislodged them, killing one man and wounding five or six, taking the town, capturing three prisoners, and some horses, cattle and hogs.
Leaves From My Journal No. 3
BATTLE OF IVY RIDGE
Marshall’s Kentuckians being in front recoiled from the fire as they were in a narrow defile and could not form in line, and their horses being unused to the firing became unmanageable. The 2nd Ohio Infantry occupied the narrow road immediately in their rear, preventing them from passing; they dismounted and immediately returned the Rebel fire. The Rebels seemed to be very much excited, as those on our front and left on the mountain ridge or spur shot over our heads into the river, and those over the river on our right shot over our heads, cutting the leaves, limbs and bark from the trees and making them shower down upon us, but very few of their shots taking effect upon us. Colonel L.A. Harris, commanding the 2nd, seemed to take it quite coolly, ordering us to move by the left flank and charge the fortifications on the ridge, the colonel, lieutenant colonel and major leading the way.
But four companies of the regiment could obey the order as the other six companies had almost perpendicular rocks on their left and were obliged to move forward under the fire in order to follow their comrades up the ridge. This they did most heroically for green soldiers in their first battle, not a man of them to my knowledge flinching, but under the most trying circumstances advancing steadily on the works.
The hill being very abrupt with rocks of every form and size in our way, some nearly vertical and others lying at all possible angles, with small cedar trees growing out of the crevices, we were obliged to pull ourselves up as best we could, and all the while the Rebels from their breastworks in front of us pouring volley after volley down upon us, and those on the other side of the river firing steadily upon our exposed backs. Such an experience I have no desire to repeat as we then met with, and I now confess that at they trying hour I would have been glad of a reasonable excuse to leave. But to retire presented as great a danger as to press on, and in one hour and forty minutes we had possession of the Rebel works, and Humphrey Marshall and his boasting southern chivalry flying in every direction. The 2nd lost seventeen men killed, and about as many wounded. Just as we struck the enemy’s works, one section of artillery belonging to our brigade got into position and threw two shells over our heads. This gave us the victory, as the Rebels were badly frightened by them, these being the first shells they had encountered.
The 59th Ohio Infantry, under Colonel Howard, was three miles in our rear when the fighting commenced; they immediately threw down their overcoats, blankets and knapsacks and double-quicked the three miles, getting up just in time to see the enemy retreat, and to give those over the river a parting salute. General Nelson, commanding the brigade, was in the fight; being a very large man, in order to encourage his soldiers, he stood upon a rock conspicuously located and shouted to the men urging them on, and telling them that if the Rebels could not him they could not hit any of them. He escaped unhurt, but was afterwards shot and killed by Colonel Jeffrey C. Davis, of Indiana, at Louisville, Kentucky, in October 1862.
Leaves From My Journal No. 4
During the battle of Ivy Ridge, and while performing the flank movement spoken of in the last number of these leaves, while the writer was leading his company up over the rocks, being almost blind with smoke, dust, chips and leaves, he ran against a man sitting on a rock with his gun across his lap, and accosted him with, “Hallo, what’s this?” He replied, “This darned tube has got stopped, and I can’t shoot.” There he was in the midst of the fire with wrench in hand taking the nipple out of his gun, and repairing it so that he could shoot, and it impressed me as the coolest thing of the day. This was Thomas J. Cramer, then a very small soldier, seventeen years old, and a member of my company, now living in at Fort Wayne, Indiana.
As soon as the battle was over our regiment was called into line, killed, wounded and missing ascertained, and a detail made to bury the dead and care for the wounded. The regiment then moved on up the river about three miles, and encamped in an open field, the rain pouring in torrents and not a tent or shelter to cover us, and a great many of us who were unused to sleeping under such circumstances could not possibly keep our thoughts from wandering back toward home and home comforts, which was kind of natural, I suppose. The next morning we looked like men who had lain out all night. But soon the order came to march, expecting to overtake the enemy at Pikesville, twenty miles up the river. On we plod through the mud, wading the streams and climbing the spurs of the mountain, arriving at Pikesville at night only to find that the enemy had departed taking with them or destroying all the supplies.
Here we were without provisions, having cut loose from our own supplies at Prestonburg, twenty-eight miles below. Our field officers forced themselves upon a few private families that were still in town and by stealth or otherwise obtained their board, but we, poor underlings, small officers and private soldiers must supply ourselves or do without. Company C, with its officers, colors and soldiers soon had possession of an old foundry, and there being broken castings in abundance, we soon had them hot enough to a parch corn and had a bountiful supper of parched corn, washed down with copious draughts of Adam’s ale, and made palatable by hunger which is said to make an excellent sauce.
The next day a detail was made of twenty men to forage for meat, two men from each company forming the foraging party. While hunting for cattle land hogs they discovered a large amount of honey and were about to appropriate it when a woman called to them from the house offering them all the rendered honey they wanted if they would let her bees alone. This they accepted, and having nothing but their haversacks to carry it in they filled them full and at night they came into camp driving some cows and calves, and honey dropping from their haversacks on their saddles and ponies, the flies fighting for the wastage. Some of the cattle were speedily converted into cooked beef and taken care of by our hungry soldiers. The next day we had nearly all the women and children of the neighborhood in town hunting their cows. Our colonel being a whole souled generous fellow sent for the writer and ordered him to go to the cattle yard, and if there were any cows there unfit for beef to turn them out. As there were quite a number of such the women and children were pleased as they led their cows home again.
Leaves From My Journal No. 5
PIKESVILLE, November 16, 1861
During the night a courier arrived informing our colonel that the Rebels had got in our rear and were marching on Prestonburg to capture our supplies, teams, sick and wounded; we were immediately ordered to be ready to march at daylight for Prestonburg, twenty-eight miles distant, and soon we were under way as fast as we could walk, and constantly urged to go faster. Before noon our men began to lag, and some to sit or lie down, so worn out that the officers could not induce them to proceed. The farther we went the worse they became, dropping all along the road. Our field officers being on horseback did not realize the fatigue of the foot soldiers, and when we arrived at Prestonburg the captain of Company A on our right flank had one lieutenant and twelve men: Company C came next with his captain, colors and eight men. Two or three other companies were represented by a few men, and some of the companies were entirely absent, and if the enemy had been at Prestonburg they could have easily captured our whole regiment, for the officers and men came straggling in all night, and in the morning but few were missing.
The second day after, we started for the mouth of big Sandy River with orders to proceed to Cincinnati; we put our sick and our baggage on small boats and rafts while the soldiers marched down the river to the mouth of Johns Creek, where we procured some coal barges and embarked for Catlettsburg. As we pulled out from shore our band struck up “Getting out of the Wilderness,” which raised a shout that echoed and re-echoed among the hills on the shore. Arriving at Catlettsburg, we found one of Cincinnati’s best streamers waiting for us, the Jacob Strader, and now we began to feast again; arriving at Cincinnati we found our friends from the homes of Company C with a supply of underclothing, socks, mittens and gloves – a God-send to us, as the government had not yet issued any clothing.
Soon we were under way again for Louisville, Ky.; arrived in the morning of November 25th, disembarked and marched five miles in a snowstorm and encamped in an open field without tents, the surface of the ground covered with snow and water. This was too much for our field officers, so they called on the writer, and the colonel ordered him to take charge of the regiment until further orders, and they decamped for the comforts of Louisville, and we saw no more of them for twenty-fours hours. Toward night our tents arrived and we speedily had them up; as there were several stack of hay in the field and a good rail fence around it, we soon had comfortable quarters and good fires, the soldiers being ordered to take none but the top rails to make their fires; but it was so very cold that when morning came the top rails and all others were gone into smoke and ashes.
The mud and snow mixed together grew so bad that about one-half of our men got sick of the weather and reported at sick call, wanting to go the hospital at Louisville, but soon orders were issued, and we marched to Elizabethtown, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.
Leaves From My Journal No. 6
ELIZABETHTOWN, KY, December 11, 1861
We remained here six days; General Don Carlos Buell commanding the department of the Ohio is concentrating a large body of troops here for the purpose of making a descent into the land of Dixie. Our camp is called Camp Washington.
Here the 2nd, 21st and 33rd Ohio and the 10th Wisconsin Regiments were formed into the 9th brigade of the department of the Ohio, the brigade commanded by Colonel Sill of the 33rd Ohio, our division being commanded by General O. M. Mitchel, formerly known as professor Mitchel, founder of Mt. Adams observatory at Cincinnati, Ohio (now the Mitchel observatory).
On the 17th we again took up our march, and on the evening of the 19th encamped at Bacon Creek 65 miles from Louisville, on the railroad to Nashville, Tenn.; here we remained until February 10th. On the 25th we received two months’ pay. This was the first money we received as soldiers as soldiers, and it gladdened many a brave heart. The members of Company C sent home $2,000 as a Christmas gift to their families at home.
How different our situation now from or former life; we are not at home with family and friends, nor are we surrounded with comfort and plenty, but surrounded with all the paraphernalia of war, and exposed to all its dangers, privations and difficulties. The snow has disappeared, and in its place we have mud a foot in depth, but because of it we are excused from drill through the courtesy of our lived general O. M. Mitchel, who encouraged us very much by preaching the gospel to us on successive Sabbath days. One thing is seen in Company C this evening – the first time since its organization – three or four men reeling under the influence of intoxicating drinks.
December 30th – Grand review of this division by General Buell, commander of this department.
December 31st – New Year’s Eve. The sun sets most beautifully, casting his last lingering look over the tented field as he sinks into oblivion, like the last moments of the departing Christina, calm, quietly and peaceful. But not so with us poor soldiers; war has changed the scene: while many of us would most gladly be now meeting with anxious friends at home to spend a Happy New Year together, here we are penned up within the huts of a military camp, subject to military rules, not daring to leave without the consent of “red tape,” which in many instances puts on unwarrantable authority; but the inquiring and untiring mind of the Anglo Saxon must have food, and there being several large caves near our camp, a great many of us spent part of our time investigating; thousands of our men find recreation in daily visits to these curious caves.
January 11, 1862 – As the freight train from Louisville was passing our camp a soldier belonging to the 13th Ohio fell from the cars and was instantly killed. Cause, bad whiskey.
January 20th – During the night we were visited by a tremendous storm of thunder, lightning and rain, completely flooding our camp; the next day we gathered up our households and household goods and moved one mile in advance on the banks of Bacon Creek, high above the water, fixing ourselves, comfortable in our new Sibley tents, and being supplied with excellent beef from Cincinnati, we began to feel like men again. The camps of our entire division are in sight, spread over the hillsides and valley of Bacon Creek, immediately east of us. But hark! A mighty hurrah comes from McCook’s division west of us, caught up by the different camp until Bacon Creek valley roars with the echoes.
Leaves From My Journal No. 7
Feb 9, 1862 – Peal on peal the hurrah sounds and immediately the order comes: strike tents, into lines, on to Nashville! And now what a commotion is seen and heard, others on flying steeds rushing from point to point giving orders, while the rumbling thud of heavy bodies of cavalry, the rattle of artillery wheels and the tramp, tramp, tramp of infantry, create such a commotion that once heard and seen can never be forgotten. In a few minutes forty thousand men are in motion, and a march of five miles brings us to Green River; here the Rebels had destroyed the railroad bridge and McCook’s division had rebuilt it, three hundred feet long and one hundred and thirty feet above the water. We cross the bridge, marched three miles up the river and encamp in a beautiful grov
Appearances are here of an extensive Rebel encampment now deserted. A battle was fought here two weeks since Colonel Willick commanding the 32nd Indiana was practicing his men in skirmish drill when he was attacked by 2 regiment of cavalry called the Texas Rangers under Colonel Terry, supported by two regiments of infantry and a section of artillery. The Rangers charged Willick with a yell, but got themselves most terribly whipped; their colonel and a large number of men and horses killed before their supports could come up. When they arrived and saw the cavalry retreating, they w also fled, thus one regiment of green Hoosiers putting to flight three regiments of Texans supported by artillery. Dead horses lay all over the field, and the 2nd Ohio boys gathered up quite a number of cavalry revolvers which had been lost in the fight.
Feb. 12 – Forward again; march 18 miles and encamped at Glasgow Junction; here we found the railroad tunnels filled up, the wagon roads obstructed by trees and logs, the ponds and water supplies, filled with dead horses, mules, cattle and hogs, and our own soldiers so thirsty that they would take water out of a pond, alongside of a dead animal and drink it. Here we learn that fifty thousand Rebels are entrenched at Bowling Green awaiting our approach.
Leaves From My Journal No. 8
Feb. 16, 1862 – Forward again is the order; moved to the railroad and went on board of a long train of flat cars, the rain pouring steadily down. While the troops were boarding the cars our brave general, O. M. Mitchel stood upon a bank by the track and sang us a thrilling war song. Went about twenty-five miles on railway when we found the track destroyed by water. We left the cars and marched three or four miles through the wood and came to the railroad again where we build fires and lay down upon the track for the night.
Feb. 17th – Marched to Gallatin; being entirely out of supplies some Union men informed us that the Rebels had secreted a quantity of provisions about twenty miles out in the country, which we soon appropriated; we lay here two days.
Feb. 20th – General Mitchel rode to our camp and informed us that the Rebels had fled from Nashville and the city had surrendered to him.
Feb. 21st – Marched to Edgefield Junction.
Feb. 22nd – Moved on and encamped within five miles of Nashville.
Feb. 27th – Crossed the Cumberland River on the steamer Silver Moon the Rebels having destroyed all the bridges; marched through the city and five miles out on the turnpike toward Murfreesboro; here we encamped in a beautiful park, formerly a place of resort for the southern chivalry; a beautiful mansion that formerly stood in the midst of the park had lately been burned. We called this camp Andrew Jackson, the tomb of the hero of New Orleans being in the vicinity of this place. The Rebels have fled to Murfreesboro, thirty miles south.
On Sunday, March 2nd, our quartermaster overtook us with our supplies, and getting possessions of our tents and plenty of provisions we began to live again.
March 4th – Our paymaster arrived and paid us the amounts due us for two months of service, my company C turning over to me fifteen hundred dollars which I expressed home to their families.
March 8th – About four o’clock in the afternoon the long roll was beaten, and in about two minutes our regiment was double-quicking it up the turnpike toward Murfreesboro. We soon learned that the noted guerilla John Morgan, had captured b about forty men and eighty horses from the train belonging to the Fourth Ohio Cavalry, that regiment being encamped about four miles in advance. The Rebels left the wagons standing in the road and made off with their prize. But the fourth immediately gave chase and soon recaptured the horses and most of the men, killing and capturing eight or ten of Morgan’s men; we returned to camp the same night.
March 18th – General Mitchel’s division started for Murfreesboro and arrived there on the 20th having had to make quite a circuit on account of the bridges on the direct route being destroyed by the Rebels. Here we encamped and remained until April 4th, rebuilding the railroad bridge across Stone River, which had been burned by the enemy. While encamped here the 2nd O. V. I. Presented our colonel with a beautiful sword which cost $305 inscribed as follows: “Presented to Colonel L. A. Harris by the non-commissioned officers and privates of the 2nd O. V. I., as a token of their esteem. The heart is all.”
April 4th – Took up our march for Shelbyville. This is a beautiful country, excellent turnpike roads lined on either side with evergreen shrubbery, fine farms and handsome buildings. We encamped on Duck River, one mile south of Shelbyville.
April 6th – Sabbath preaching in camp by our chaplain, M. P. Gaddis, of Cincinnati, followed by an interesting philosophical address by our excellent General O. M. Mitchel.
Leaves From My Journal No. 9
April 6th – 1862 – At night a very interesting prayer meeting was held by the 2nd and the 21st Ohio Regiments.
April 7th – Our regiment was again paid for two months time.
April 8th – Rained very hard. Companies C and H were sent forward one mile on picket duty under command of the writer. We took a position on a high ridge.
April 9th – We took up our march at four o’clock a.m. for Fayetteville, twenty-six miles away, and arrived at twelve a.m. on the 10th. The writer was ordered to stake off a camp a la military. The task was about half completed, when I received orders to head my company on the march for Huntsville, Alabama. The 4th Ohio Cavalry under Colonel Kennett was a few miles in our front during this march. Belonging to the cavalry was a young man named Pike, from Hillsboro, Ohio, who was one of the most daring and successful scouts belonging to the army of the Cumberland, always in advance of our Army, braving everything and daring anything. The day before we entered Fayetteville he rode into town full of Rebel soldiers, stopped at the hotel, ordered his horse fed, walked into the hotel, and called for dinner. There were some eight or ten Rebel officers sitting in the office, one of whom challenged him with, “See here, who are you?” “Well, sir,” said he, “I am Corporal Pike, of the 4th Ohio Cavalry, and if you don’t want to be caught in here and had better get out immediately, for the Blue-Coats are close by, and will capture you if you do not leave.” “Well, but,” says Johnny, “how do you know that, and who are you, anyhow? “I told you who I am, Corporal Pike.” “Yes, the devil you are, you are one of our scouts.” So he ate his dinner, called for his horse, mounted and rode off passing a point at a mountain, he came upon a wagon train loaded with bacon; single-handed he captured the wagon-master, compelled him to corral his train, unhitch, take his horses and leave. Pike, then burned the bacon.
We arrived at Huntsville at four o’clock April 11th. General Mitchel took possession of the city, completely surprising the enemy who fled at our approach. Here we captured fifteen locomotives, a large number of cars, depots, roundhouse and machine shops all complete. Also two trains loaded with wounded and paroled or furloughed soldiers just arrived from the battle of Corinth or Pittsburgh Landing. Our general immediately ordered a detail of eight hundred men, with their officers, the whole under the command of Colonel Sill, of the 33rd Ohio, to take a train for Bridgeport, sixty-five miles east and south on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. We ran our train off the track before we left the city, worked most of the night to replace it, then left, surprising every station on the road from Huntsville to Bridgeport, capturing railroad stock and supplies. The citizens had collected at the stations expecting to receive their friends from the Shiloh battle, and stood anxiously gazing at us until they discovered the stars and stripes, then fled precipitately into the woods or into the houses as opportunity offered.
At one place called Woodville, a small town, men women and children ran into the river, waist deep, crossed and fled into the woods. At another town about fifty men were seen on the platform in front of the depot, armed. They gazed intently until we were within a few rods when they ran into the depot, came out on the other side without guns, having left them in the building, and as they were all dressed in citizen dress they said there were no soldiers among them or in the town. Here our general overtook us, having followed on an express train, led us on four miles to a bridge across a stream about eight miles from Bridgeport, on the Tennessee River. This bridge we burned to prevent the enemy from making a dash at us from Bridgeport or Chattanooga.
We then returned to Huntsville, having captured ten or twelve engines, a large amount of rolling stock, twenty-five or thirty prisoners and destroyed a quantity of arms. Huntsville, Alabama, is one of the most beautiful and pleasant places in the south. It is built upon a hill out of which issues a stream of water as clear as crystal and of sufficient quantity to be called a river; and within one hundred feet of the hill a dam is built and machinery put in so that the water, in passing over the dam, turns the machinery and carries itself up to the highest point t in the city into a reservoir which supplies the city with the purest and best of water. The best and most beautiful of evergreens and flowering trees and plants adorn the streets, sidewalks and gardens; and the most beautiful of southern flowers, the magnolia, is constantly seen in the parks and gardens. Here we established our camps; our regiments being encamped at different points in or near the city so as to completely prevent a surprise.
Leaves From My Journal No. 10
April 15, 1862. We remained encamped at Huntsville, Alabama, until the 19th of June. One division of Blue-Coats under O.M. Mitchel encamped in the very heart of the Confederacy for over three months, holding the city of Huntsville, the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, and the Tennessee River for over 100 miles, having a picket line around the city over fifteen miles long. The officers in charge of this line had to visit every picket post on the line every twelve hours. The writer was kept at this duty until he was worn out, and took the typhoid fever, and went to the hospital on the evening of the 15th. Two brigades started for Florence, eighty miles distant by rail, stopped at Town River; here the Rebels had burned the bridge. One brigade, under Colonel Turchin, marched on and took the town, the Rebs fleeing.
Returned to Huntsville on the 18th. Four companies of the 2nd sent to Stephenson, sixty miles towards Chattanooga, under Captain Berryhill. At 2 p.m. we were ordered to move in ten minutes and take the train to Stephenson to reinforce Berryhill, who had sent his first lieutenant to inform our colonel that the enemy was in full force in his front and he was likely to be overpowered. So here we go as fast as steam can carry us to Stephenson. Arrived at his position at ten o’clock same night.
19th – Sabbath morning. Moved cautiously forward through rain and mud and water to attack the enemy, but lo! No enemy there, neither had there been any for a month. Returned to Huntsville through a very cold rain and hail.
24th – A detachment of 200 men from the 2nd O.V.I., under the writer ordered to report to Colonel Moore, of the 33rd O.V.I., who, with 200 men from his regiment, took the train for Jonesboro, remained two days guarding supplies.
26th – Returned to Huntsville; found the 2nd O.V.I. gone toward Chattanooga; ordered to report with my command to our colonel at Stephenson. Took the cars and moved off immediately and reported same night.
28th – 2nd Ohio reconnoitering towards Bridgeport; surprised the enemy’s picket, thirty or forty strong, at a place called Widow’s Creek, taking five prisoners and destroying their camp. Returned to Stephenson the 29th; moved forward again supported by the 3rd and 33rd Ohio and 10th Wisconsin Regiments; drove in the enemy’s pickets, and being reinforced by 10th Ohio Regiment and one section of artillery, advanced on Bridgeport, on the Tennessee River, twenty-five miles west of Chattanooga. Here the enemy was entrenched 3,000 strong, under General Ledbetter, but we merely arrived in time to give them a parting salute, as they retreated toward Chattanooga, having set fire to the railroad bridge to prevent our following. This bridge spans the Tennessee River and is 1,260 feet long. We captured the town, with two pieces of artillery, fifty prisoners, a number of horses and a quantity of provisions. Remained here four days. While here I saw a letter written by a woman in New Orleans to her husband, a Rebel soldier. She sent him some shirts, which she said she had to make out of her own, as she could get neither flannel nor muslin in the city.
May 3. – Returned to Huntsville to our old camp.
Leaves From My Journal No. 11
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, May 6, 1862
The roaring of artillery is heard in every direction this morning, our troops rejoicing over the capture of Yorktown, Virginia. Colonel Harris, of the 2nd, superceded Colonel Norton, of the 33rd, a Provost Marshal of the city; consequently we are acting as Provo-Guards.
Now for some incidents of camp life: As stated in former leaves, the picket line around Huntsville was about fifteen miles long, and it made the duty of the officer in charge to make this circuit every twelve hours and report to General Mitchel at twelve noon and twelve midnight. On the east and south the pickets were posted at the foot of the mountain in very dense timber, composed of different species of evergreen, trees and shrubs.
Those sentinels and pickets were instructed to move as soon as it became dark eight or ten rods from the position they occupied in the daytime, so that if the enemy had discovered them in the daytime they would not find them in the same position after night; consequently the officer in charge would not know exactly where his sentinels were in the darkness, and I have frequently been halted in those deep, dark dells with the “who comes there,” in so stern a voice that it almost made me wish I was at home; the answer would be, “a friend.” “Dismount, friend, and give the countersign.” The sentinel would then bring his gun to a charge, and the officer had to lean forward over the point of bayonet and whisper the countersign in his ear. This I have often done by taking hold of the bayonet with my left hand, and holding a cocked revolver in my right hand, not knowing whether I was dealing with friend or foe; this was spice in the soldier’s life.
On the northeast of the city two miles out, two of the principal roads intersected each other. Near this junction stood a very fine mansion, occupied by a man whom we had captured as quartermaster, when we captured the city. This man was paroled and allowed to stay at his home. At the junction a few rods nearer the city I had a lieutenant with fifty men on picket, and visiting this post in the evening, the lieutenant informed me that he had disobeyed orders (as he had been ordered not to suffer any one to pass out), as he had allowed an old darky to pass and go to the mansion. The Negro had informed him that he was a preacher, and had agreed to marry a couple of Negroes at that house, and that the lady of the house had requested him to send the officer out there when he came. So telling the lieutenant to hold his men in readiness for hear of treachery, I rode over to the house, went to the well and got a drink. The lady came out and invited me in, saying, as we walked to the house. “We are going to have a Negro wedding here tonight, and I want you to be present, as you people up north think we use our servants like brutes. I want you to see for yourself.”
Arrived at the house, she ordered a man to take my horse to the stable, and I went into the parlor. In a short time I was invited to step out on the front porch, and there behind a mahogany stand sat the old darky preacher, with a small book in hand, and two lamps on the stand. In a few minutes there came from the Negro quarters, in the rear of the mansion, about fifty Negroes, men, women and children, preceded by two Negro girls, probably ten years of age, each holding a large wax candle burning with a beautiful light. Immediately following the two girls were the bride and groom, the bride being almost white, with even features and long black hair, while the man by her side was a black as any Negro, with lips as thick as I ever saw. They came in front of the minister, and he first had prayer, then performed the marriage ceremony in a masterly manner. The whole company then filed into the mansion and sat down to one of the finest suppers I ever saw in any country, and the white lady of the house waited on them herself. A finer supper, better conducted wedding, or more polite and pleasant people I never associated with – except the man of the house (the paroled quartermaster); he merely sat there, looking as grum as an old mule, and I could not get him to say anything.
Leaves From My Journal No. 12
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, May 17, 1862
Colonel Harris, of the 2nd, was succeeded as city marshal by Colonel John Beatty, of the 3rd. The 2nd, relieved of duty in the city, returned to its old camp. There are three splendid church edifices in Huntsville, belonging to the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian denominations. The church members here, and especially the ministers, are the worst of Rebels, and have done more at instigating and encouraging rebellion, than any other class.
May 22nd – A deputation of the enemy came in with a flag of truce to exchange prisoners.
May 24th – A detachment of 200 men under Colonel Rell sent to escort a train to Shelbyville.
May 25th – Sabbath. Preaching by our chaplain, Reverend M.P. Gaddes, just returned from Cincinnati. Our officers took possession of one-half of the Huntsville cemetery and buried our dead there, and every time we went to bury a soldier the young ladies of the Rebel persuasion would appear with baskets of flowers, and decorate the graves of Rebel soldiers, while contemptuously scorning the graves of those who died in defense of the union; but we of course said nothing to them, as we had no fight with ladies, unless they PANTED for military glory, donned the Rebel uniform and stood in the Confederate ranks.
June 11th – Still in camp at Huntsville. General good health commanding our army at present; we stand the climate here much better than we anticipated.
12th - Order issued to pack up and move to Stevenson. Took the cars to Belfont, then on foot to Stevenson.
13th - On to Jasper, twenty miles below Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, arriving on the 14th. Here we found Colonel Sill, of the 33rd Ohio, and a part of the 10th Wisconsin; also a body of cavalry; here we remained until the 21st. Ascertaining that the enemy were getting in our rear, we fell back a distance of six miles to the mouth of Battle Creek; here we were reinforced by 20,000 troops, they being a part of Buell’s Army, just arrived from Corinth, or the battle of Pittsburgh Landing. We fortified the north bank of the river, while the foe appeared in force upon the opposite bank. Our pickets being on the north bank and theirs on the south, they would hail each other across the stream, inquiring as to the news, and proposing an exchange of late newspapers. The details amicably arranged, one from each side would plunge into the stream with the papers in his teeth, the two meeting in the middle of the river, completing the exchange, and swimming back to their respective shores, thus contributing to the spread of information as to what was going on in the different parts of the world. Here we lay doing but little and living on half rations. Our camp is called Malotsky, and is situated at the mouth of Battle Creek on the Tennessee River, twenty-five miles below Chattanooga, where General Bragg is organizing a large Army.
24th – Bragg having fitted up his Army, and being unmolested by Buell, crossed the Tennessee and marched for Kentucky, which compelled Buell to fall back to Nashville. Our Army, after enduring incredible hardships marching over the Cumberland mountains, living on green corn, potatoes, and such fruits as came to hand, arrived at Nashville on September 3rd, where we remained until the 6th; left there for Bowling Green, which we reached on the 10th, and remained there ten days, being worn down with the hard service to which we had been subjected.
Left Bowling Green on the 20th for Louisville, frequently coming near Bragg’s Army, Buell steadily refusing to attack him, although pressingly urged to do so by many of his subordinate officers, among them General George H. Thomas, than whom the army of the Cumberland could not produce a better or abler officer.
On the 28th of September Buell arrived at Louisville with 40,000 men. Here he found twelve or fifteen thousand more and re-organized his Army, and on the 1st of October left Louisville in pursuit of Bragg, who had gone southeast. He overtook him at Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky, and two divisions under Rousseau and Jackson, the whole commanded by General A.M. McCook, immediately attacked Bragg and fought him successfully for five hours, while Buell, with 30,000 men, was within three miles, but refused to reinforce McCook, although General Thomas begged him to allow him to lead his division into the conflict. When night closed the scene, it left both sides upon the battlefield, each claiming possession.
Leaves from My Journal No. 13
PERRYVILLE, KY, October 9, 1862
Both armies claimed the battlefield at dark last night. This morning brought to light the fact that General Bragg, with his Army of Rebels, had silently withdrawn during the night, and was in full retreat south towards Chattanooga. But a greater surprise to the Union troops was the fact that our most generous General Buell lay quietly in camp for three days, refusing to let his Army pursue Bragg, suffering him to forage, and carry away all the supplies that he could find conveyance for. This was to us an unaccountable inconsistency, for all our officers were satisfied that we could have captured his entire Army, but General Buell forbade our doing so.
It was said at the time that Bragg and Buell were brothers-in-law, and the consequence was that General Buell was relieved, and General William Rosecrans placed in command, and who immediately pursued Bragg. The particulars of this pursuit I cannot give, as I was severely wounded in the battle on the 8th, and left on the battlefield. Being in command of the Color Company of the 2nd Ohio during the battle, I received a Minnie ball through my thigh, seven ball holes through my coat, and seventeen ball holes through my colors. The 2nd Ohio lost in the battle, either killed or wounded, five out of seven captains, four lieutenants and ninety-nine men. Suffice it to say that General Rosecrans forced Bragg back to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Here Bragg fortified, and Rosecrans attacked him on the 27th of December, 1862; fought him four days, drove him from his position on the 31st and captured the city. It rained almost incessantly during the battle, our soldiers being compelled to remain all night in line of battle in the cold rain, our supplies gave out, and the hungry men cut up the horses that were killed in battle and ate their flesh. Many of them perished with cold and hunger. We lost in this battle about ten thousand men killed, wounded and missing.
On the 20 th of January 1863, I rejoined my regiment: I was going on a crutch, and as we lay at Murfreesboro near four months I recovered, and being promoted took my place as major. During this time our Army was reinforced, reorganized and refitted, and the last of April 1863, took up the line of march for Chattanooga. When Rosecrans attacked Bragg our Army was composed of three corps under Generals George H. Thomas, Alexander M. McCook and Crittenden – McCook on the right, Thomas in the centre, and Crittenden on the left. Murfreesboro is on the east bank of Stone River; the railroad and turnpike leading from Nashville runs on the west side of the river until near the city, where a long bridge crosses the river. Crittenden’s corps were on the east side of the river, marching south directly on the city. Thomas was in the centre, on the west side of the river, on the railroad and pike. McCook’s’ corps were farther west, and in his front was a dense cedar Forrest filled with Confederate soldiers.
The battle raged with desperate fury for two days, when the Rebels concentrated their forces, and with desperate energy and reckless courage forced McCook back at right angles to Thomas who, pouring a desperate fire of shot land shell into their flank, compelled them to fall back, and let McCook partly recover his ground. The enemy immediately whirled around Thomas in front, crossed the river, and passing through the city poured nearly their entire force on Chrittendon, compelling him to give way from the left and swing back on Thomas’ left into Stone River. Thomas immediately ordered a division to their support, who formed on the west bank of the river, and as soon as Chrittendon came down the east bank so as to uncover the Rebels, who were rushing after them, they received such a shower of balls from Thomas’ men that caused them to halt, and Chrittendon immediately reformed his men, rushed back up the hill, and in a hand to hand fight drove the enemy back into and through the city, and Thomas and McCook also moving forward, the whole Rebel Army gave way and the battle was won. But O, the horror of that battlefield! Who shall describe it so as to convey a correct idea to those who never saw a battle?
Leaves From My Journal No. 14
MURFREESBORO, Tennessee Jan. 1, 1863
This morning found General Bragg in full retreat toward Chattanooga, while the Union forces under Rosecrans were hunting something to stop their hunger and rest their worn out constitutions. Now we will take a look at the events of yesterday, and some incidents of the battlefield, as this was one of the most terrible battles of the rebellion. On the east side of the river was a large field and it was over this that the Rebels had driven Crittendens’ corps until they were reinforced by Thomas, and then quickly rallying under their brave and noble General, they threw themselves with the most desperate courage on the enemy; and now comes the real test of brute force against physical force, the corn fed madsills of the north on one side and on the other side the cotton stuffed chivalry of the south. The southerners were flushed with their success, and the northerners stung by their repulse, and both sides were determined to win. Awful and desperate was the struggle. Officers and men were cut down by hundreds, and the roar of artillery, and musketry, and the clash of sabers was most terrible and entirely beyond description, and for hours the carnage went on, until the physical endurance of the mudsills began to tell heavily on the cotton chivalry and mere physical or brute force won the day, equal valor being displayed by both officers and men on either side.
On the west side of the river, nearly opposite to Crittenden’s battlefield was a large plantation, and an immense cotton field was occupied by Thomas’ corps, here also heavy work was done. The mansion house, a very fine brick had fifteen or twenty holes pierced through its walls by solid shot from our artillery as Thomas advanced, and the whole field on either side of the river lay covered with the dead of the late contending armies, side by side when they fell, artillery men, cavalry and infantry in one indefinable mass.
“And there lay the steed with his nostrils all wide”
“But through them there rolled not the breast of his pride”
“And there lay the rider distorted and pale”
“With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mall.”
And in this terrible carnage were found Generals Sill, Jackson, McPherson and several others, with Colonel Kell of the second, with hosts of captains and lieutenants and thousands of privates who had showed the most daring bravery. Twenty days after the battle those fields, and also the cedar forest where McCook’s corps fought were yet covered with broken remnants of the fight. Artillery wheels, caissons, baggage wagons, muskets, swords, sabers, pistols, bayonets, cartridge boxes, caps, hats, and shoes, and tons of shot and shells, with great furrows plowed in the ground by heavy shot and shells, and earth in many places saturated with blood, while in the cedar forest the ground was covered with tree tops, limbs, bark and pieces of trees of every conceivable shape and size, and in many places solid shot had gone through large trees making holes as large as a man’s head. After the battle, large quantities of these trees were cut and manufactured into canes, rulers, toilet boxes and other articles of various kinds as in mementos of the tearful conflict, a great many pieces still having the leaden balls sticking in them. The writer has a large ruler made from a piece of cedar picked up on the battlefield.
Leaves From My Journal No. 15
MURFREESBORO, Tennessee June 21, 1863
The result of this great battle was the retreat of Bragg, and the capture of Murfreesboro by the Union Army; but our men were so completely worn down and used up that Rosecrans did not pursue, but went into camp in land about the city while Bragg finding himself not pursued, went into camps at Fairfield, Winchester, Tullahoma, Deckard, and other points on the road to Chattanooga. Here the two Armies lay until the 25th of June, putting in their time burying the dead, taking care of the sick and wounded, reorganizing and refitting, most of our regiments being reduced by death and sickness to one-half their former number. The 2nd O.V.I. now belongs to the 1st brigade, 1st division of the 14th Army Corps, commanded by General George H. Thomas, and we are all encamped in regular tactic order in brigades, divisions and corps, so that General Rosecrans knew exactly where each subordinate officer was with his command, and could have called his whole Army into line for battle in fifteen minutes.
While we lay here a young man belonging to Brush’s Indiana Battery deserted, was pursued and captured, court-martialed and condemned to be shot. On the day of his execution our whole division was called to see him shot. We were formed in two ranks open order. The condemned man was marched between the ranks, headed by fife and drum playing the “Rogue’s March.” He was then seated on his coffin, his eyes bandaged, and eight soldiers placed ten paces in front of him. These soldiers were then handed eight rifles, four of which were loaded with ball, and four with only blank cartridges, the soldiers not knowing which were loaded. Their commander then said, “Ready, aim, fire,” and four balls pierced the breast of the young man, and he fell backward on his coffin, dead. It was said at the time that it was necessary for the subordination of our army to make an example of this young man, but many tears were shed for him that day by men who would not flinch in battle.
June 25th – Rosecrans has now got a good ready, and sends his aids to notify the different commands to be ready to move at six o’clock in the morning, with five days rations and sixty rounds of ammunition. The next morning came, and with it a tremendous rainstorm; but no matter, soldiers must obey, and out into line we drove, and there we stand for four hours, the rain pouring down. At ten o’clock the word is given to march, and here we go slosh, slosh, slosh, through the mud and water knee deep; but no difference, the field officers have their carriages, or their horses and their waterproofs, and, as to the poor soldier, it don’t matter, they can either lie down and die, or go ahead, it is their only alternate. Hundreds of them did give out and lie down, some of them to die and some to contract disease from which they never recovered, and some of them are mere skeletons, still lingering on the shores of the republic they tried to save.
Our division, under General Rosseau, marched to McMinville and encamped in an open field so covered with water that it was impossible to find dry ground on which to pitch our tents, and we were compelled to get hay, straw, cornstalks or brush and pile in the water, and sleep on them, some men taking rails and making a floor of them, and it is fair to presume that the other commands fared but little, if any, better.
Leaves From My Journal No. 16
We lay at Minville for five days, General Bragg’s troops being scattered over the country south of us. He attempted to stop our march by making a stand against McCook at Tullahoma on our right, but McCook compelled him to retreat, and being unable to carry away his supplies, the roads being almost impassable, he ordered them destroyed to prevent their falling into our hands, and we found in and about Tullahoma thousands of bushels of corn meal, beans and peas, the ground being covered in many places a foot deep where they had been thrown in the mud and ran over by man and animals. Forward again is the order, and we moved to Cowan Station on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Bragg just in our front, growling like a lion, but still retreating. Here we remained in camp for two weeks, having quite a gay time, there being plenty of peaches, apples and huckleberries in the neighborhood. The Yankees were not slow in appropriating them that were just commencing to ripen. The Confederates could not use them and had not destroyed them.
Again we are on the move, crossing a spur of the mountains and striking the railroad again at Anderson station. Here we encamped in a beautiful beach grove, with plenty of supplies and surrounded by full and plenty. This station is named after a man who lives in a fine mansion near the station, and owns twenty thousand acres of rich land, a large part of which is covered with a heavy crop of corn, just ready for us to boil and eat. So here we laid out our camp in regular order, fixed up our hospital and remained three weeks, living on green corn, Army bacon, hard tack, etc., having tea and coffee with sutler’s supplies; that is, the officers had sutler’s supplies, the soldiers having only Army rations. But right here let my say that the Army regulations do not issue free supplies to commissioned officers, they being compelled to pay for all they receive, unless they have agreed in appropriating without charge from some other source. So they are compelled many times to procure their supplies from the sutler or storekeeper that follows the army.
While laying in this camp our men indulged in different kinds of sports and games, and some of them frequently got into disputes and quarrels. Two soldiers belonging to one of our companies were playing cards, when they got into a dispute over their game, get to fighting, and one got the thumb of his comrade in his mouth, bit it badly, and it soon inflamed and in spite of all that our surgeons could do it poisoned his whole system, and in four days he died. When informed that he must die he sent for his comrade land offered to forgive him, and wished him to promise him that he would never gamble any more. This the young man refused to do, and went away sullen and angry. Soon after his comrade died.
Another instance: A number of our officers, principally lieutenants, were in the habit of leaving camp, going to the little towns and public houses and indulging in apple jack and like stimulants. In coming into camp one morning after a night of debauchery, one of them fell and injured his ankle so badly he had to be carried to our field hospital.
Two days after, we were ordered to march. The writer was ordered by the Colonel to remain behind and see that every one left camp in proper order. Rode back