Sergeant Scott Elliott, Company A
The community of Dayton located in Sheffield Township, Tippecanoe County, was no different than other communities across the state of Indiana. When the call for volunteers came in 1861, friends and family from these close knit communities would form companies for military service. For many, it was comforting to know that the men you were serving with were those you had known for a lifetime. I am sure Scott felt this way. Scott was the son of Robert and June Wallace Elliott, born in Sheffield Twp., 1839. Scott enlisted with his cousin Charles T. Elliott. Census records show Scott was engaged working on the family farm.
During December, 1861, Scott and Charles went to Stockwell, Indiana and officially mustered in. After gathering enough recruits to form a company, the men set off for Camp Tippecanoe, located outside of Lafayette, Indiana. On December 30, 1861, this company was officially placed into Company A, 40th Indiana Infantry Regiment. Elections were held for company officers, Scott’s cousin Charles T. Elliott was elected as 1st Lieutenant of Company A. The regiment would travel by rail to encamp at Camp Morton in Indianapolis, it then proceeded South to Bardstown, Kentucky were they would finish their military training.
During 1862, Scott and Charles would help take the City of Nashville without a fight. The 40th would see light action on April 7, 1862 at Shiloh. They would take an active part in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, and would also be lightly engaged at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky.
On December 31, 1862 the 40th Indiana was engaged in the battle of Stones River. Wagner’s Brigade was positioned in the Cedars. The 40th Indiana was squeezed out of the brigade line of battle early on and was placed in a support position between the Nashville Pike and railroad. Being posted on a slight rise the 40th was exposed to heavy artillery and small arms fire, several casualties occurred here. Around 3:00 p.m. the regiment was ordered to relieve the 58th Indiana on the front line. Minutes after arriving in their new position the 40th Indiana started taking Confederate artillery fire, as a Confederate brigade started approaching. The 4th Florida and part of the 60th North Carolina broke off and headed straight for the 40th Indiana Regiment. Major Leaming, commanding the 40th Indiana, let the Rebel regiments come within easy musket range and ordered the regiment to fire. After several musket volleys , the Confederates were in full retreat. At Stones River the 40th Indiana lost 4 men killed, 65 wounded and 12 missing. One of the wounded was Scott Elliott, records state that he was slightly wounded in the shoulder.
During the summer of 1863, Wagner’s Brigade was marching and skirmishing with Confederates that were slowly being pressed back towards Chattanooga. They marched along with Wilder’s Mounted Infantry Brigade and Eli Lilly’s Battery to the outskirts of Chattanooga. Scott would witness Lilly’s Battery throwing some shells into the city one Sunday morning. The Confederates soon evacuated Chattanooga and Wagner’s Brigade was left to garrison the city. This is the reason why Wagner’s Brigade was not present during the battle of Chickamauga.
After the Union Army was defeated at Chickamauga, they would retreat into the fortress city of Chattanooga. On November 25, 1863 Scott and Charles would take an active part assaulting the dominating Confederate position on top of Missionary Ridge where the 40th Indiana lost 158 killed and wounded. It is a wonder that Scott and Charles survived the battle.
During spring, 1864, the 40th Indiana would take an active role in General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. The 40th Indiana was engaged at the battle of Resaca, GA. The men of the 40th Indiana would spend most of their days under continuous musket and artillery fire from the Confederate Army. By this time Scott was a sergeant and cousin Charles was Captain of company A.
By late June the Union Army was in front of Kennesaw Mountain, near Marietta, GA. General Sherman had been flanking the Confederates out of every defensive position they would make in North Georgia. This time Sherman had a different plan, a direct assault on a well entrenched Confederate Army.
June 27, 1864, Kennesaw Mountain. General Newton’s 4th Corps brigades were placed in close-packed columns of reqimental divisions, each presenting a two-company front and a depth of 30 lines.The 57th Indiana were sent forward as division skirmishers and the 40th Indiana occupied the front of the assaulting column. At 9 A.M. the signal was given to advance, the Hoosiers crossed the works, and drove the rebel skirmishers into their fortifications. The enemy reserved their artillery fire until the 40th Indiana had advanced to within a short distance of their works, they raised a yell, and were moving forward on the double-quick, when the Confederates opened a withering fire of grape and canister. The 40th Indiana having caught up with the 57th Indiana skirmishers, began tugging and slashing at the abatis in order to clear a pathway. They were 40 yards from the Confederate works, the men began to panic, pushing and crowding each other. The 57th & 40th Indiana were targets in a shooting gallery. It was a horrific scene. Sometime during this assault Sergeant Scott Elliott was killed, along with his cousin Captain Charles T. Elliott. The 40th Indiana went into the fight with 300 men, it’s loss was 106 men killed and wounded.
Major Henry Leaming wrote a letter to the Lafayette Newspaper which said in part: “Captain C. Elliott, there was no more gallant spirit, no more noble and generous gentleman, a more efficient officer in the whole Army of The Cumberland; his loss is most acutely felt.” (Lafayette Courier, July 11, 1864)
The bodies of Scott and Charles were recovered from the battlefield and shipped home for burial. They were “impressive funeral ceremonies” for the cousins. They are laid to rest side by side in the Dayton Cemetery, Dayton, Indiana.
Another family member of Scott Elliott participated in and survived the hellish assault. Pvt. J. Newton Fullenwider, Company H, was Scott’s brother-in-law. His wife was Mary A. Elliott. She was living near the town of Waveland, Indiana taking care of her children and a farm while Newt was serving in the 40th Indiana. When news of the battle and it’s losses reached her, one can only imagine her emotions. Happy her husband had survived, but utterly torn that she had lost a brother and a cousin. Sometimes we forget about the impact of the war on the home front.