Archive for April, 2012

Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, Shiloh After Action Report

Posted in Shiloh, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , on April 6, 2012 by 40thindiana

On the Battle-field, near Pittsburg, Tenn., April 10, 1862

Col. J. B. Fry,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division in the battle of the 7th instant:
About midday on the 6th instant, while two brigades of the division— the Third Ohio Cavalry, and the three batteries of Cockerill, Cochran, and Schultz, with the baggage and supply trains— were on the march toward Savannah, and about 18 miles thence, an order was received directing me to leave baggage and supply trains in the rear and to press forward with the troops, provided with three days’ rations in their haversacks and 40 rounds of ammunition in the cartridge boxes. I was also ordered to bring forward the ammunition train. While arrangements were being made to carry the order into effect I received a second order, directing me to press forward as rapidly as possible with the troops, but to bring forward also all my train· An intimation also accompanied the order that the enemy had not made a substantial attack, but simply a forced reconnaissance.
I immediately recommenced the march, in compliance with the second order, but the movement was painfully slow and laborious, as the route was entirely blocked with the numerous trains of the divisions in front. It was impossible to advance more than a mile an hour. While thus engaged I received a third order at 5.30 o’clock p.m. reiterating the first order, with the additional direction not to bring on the ammunition train. I was also informed with this order that the attack seemed to be in earnest Dispositions were at once made to comply with this order but before these were fully completed night had fallen, and two brigades (less the Fifty-first Regiment Indiana; Volunteers, left as a guard to the train) and the batteries commenced a night march over a road almost inconceivably bad and obstructed by wagon trains, many of which were immovably stuck in the mud. With all these embarrassments to impede the movement and render it laborious and slow, about 12 o’clock the darkness became impenetrable and the rain began to fall in torrents. It was impossible to see a pace in advance, and it was absolutely necessary to halt until the storm had passed and the road had become sufficiently illuminated to permit the onward movement. The troops were eager to advance to the assistance of their hard-pressed brethren, and their chafing and impatience under the inability to advance may be more readily imagined than described.
So soon as the subsidence of the storm and the faint returning light permitted-the march was resumed and pressed vigorously. Savannah was reached early on the morning of the 7th, and so soon as possible the embarkation for the battle-field commenced. Wagner’s Brigade (the Twenty-first), consisting of the Fifteenth, Fortieth, and Fifty-seventh Indiana and Twenty-fourth Kentucky Volunteers, was first embarked. In order to hasten, by my personal supervision, the embarkation of the remainder of the troops I remained in Savannah till the Twentieth Brigade (Garfield’s) embarked, and ordered one of my aides-de-camp, Captain Lennard, to accompany the Twenty-first Brigade to the battlefield and report it to the commanding general. The brigade had fully debarked by 12 m., and for its operations from that hour to my own arrival, at I p.m., I refer to Colonel Wagner’s report, herewith submitted, with the simple remark that it did good service in driving the enemy from his last strong stand, and compelling him, by a vigorous pursuit, into a rapid retreat. The Twentieth Brigade, consisting of the Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Ohio and Thirteenth Michigan Regiments, was embarked so soon as transports were ready, and finding it would be impossible to get transportation immediately for the artillery and cavalry of my division, I accompanied this brigade. It was debarked on arriving at Pittsburg with the least possible delay, and under an order received from Major-General Grant to conduct it to whatever part of the field on which the firing seemed to be hottest, I led it to the engagement.
By this time the valor of the troops hitherto engaged had been crowned with the deserved success of forcing the enemy from his last obstinate resistance, and it was left to the Twentieth Brigade simply to vigor in the pursuit. This was done at once, and though pressed with vigor, it was never near enough to reach the fugitives with small-arms, notwithstanding it was under the fire of the battery covering the retreat of the enemy. General Garfield’s report is herewith submitted, showing more in detail the operations of his brigade. It was unfortunate that transports could not be obtained to bring forward the artillery with the foot of my division. I cannot doubt the usefulness and efficiency of its action, after the artillery previously engaged had been materially exhausted in pressing the retreat of the enemy, and, perhaps fortunately, causing it to degenerate into an utter rout.
As early as practicable after the pursuit had been desisted from I reported the Twentieth Brigade to the commanding general (Buell), and was ordered to place it to the right of the Twenty-first Brigade, which he had already placed in position. The two brigades bivouacked the night of the 7th instant on the line of the retreat of the enemy, ready for the battle on the morrow should he have the temerity to renew the contest.
On the 8th I was ordered to make a reconnaissance with the two brigades and Captain Stone’s battery (in conjunction with two brigades and a cavalry force, under Brigadier-General Sherman), several miles in advance, on the enemy’s line of retreat. By this reconnaissance it was discovered that the enemy had retreated rapidly and in disorder, leaving many of his wounded and dead in his rear. The line of retreat was marked by abandoned and destroyed stores and munitions of war and arms. Various field hospitals filled with wounded were discovered on both sides of the road by which he had retreated. It was also determined satisfactorily by the reconnaissance that the main body of the enemy repassed Lick Creek, distant several miles from the battle-field, on Monday night, leaving only a cavalry force in rear to protect his rapid retreat. The Fifteenth Brigade (Brigadier-General Hascall’s) was detached, by an order of the general commanding, three days’ march from the Tennessee River, to make a detour by the way of Lawrence-burg, which prevented it, notwithstanding it made a rapid and laborious forced march, from arriving on the battle-field until 10 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Worn as it then was, it was anxious to participate in the forced reconnaissance. The troops under fire behaved with great coolness and were eager to engage the enemy. The cheerfulness and alacrity with which they bore the labor and fatigue of rapid march, compactly conducted, of 140 miles, from Nashville to Savannah, is an earnest of their zeal to be present in the great battle and victory, and I take great pleasure in commending their soldierly conduct, as well on the march as in the action, to the notice of the commanding general.
From the part borne by my division in the action, where all behaved well, it is difficult to discriminate individuals for special commendation; but I deem it only an act of justice to signalize the brigade commanders, Brigadier-General Garfield, commanding the Twentieth, and Colonel Wagner, commanding the Twenty-first Brigade for their good conduct and efficiency.
To the officers of my personal staff, Captain Schlater, assistant adjutant-general, and Captain Lennard, Thirty-sixth Indiana, and Captain Clark, Twenty-ninth Indiana, aides-de-camp, as also to the officers of my general staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Gass, Sixty-fourth Ohio; Surgeon Mussy, senior medical officer of the division; Lieutenant Gregg, Sixty-fifth Ohio, division commissary; Lieutenant Hunt, Sixty-fifth Ohio, division ordnance officer, and Lieutenant Martin, Twenty-first Ohio signal officer, my thanks are specially due for their promptness and general good conduct.
A field desk was captured on the field by my division, containing the order of General A. Sidney Johnston, commanding the Grand Army of the Mississippi, organizing his army for the late great battle. The order shows how grand and well organized was the attacking force, and bears evidence that the troops had been drawn from every available source. The desk also contained a copy of General Johnston’s address to his army. The address, made on the eve of the march to the encounter, shows that the commander-in-chief sought to inflame the zeal and courage of his troops by the most incendiary appeal, as well as proves how momentous was the conflict through which our troops have so fortunately and honorably passed.
A copy of the order and address is herewith submitted,(*) as also of my own order of congratulation to the division.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.


Sad Duty, Death Notification Letter

Posted in Missionary Ridge with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by 40thindiana

One of the saddest moments during a soldier’s life must have been notifying family members that a loved one had died. Going through the pension paperwork for Private Taylor McIntosh’s (Co. H) mother, Eliza McIntosh, I noticed a letter sent to her from Chattanooga on a 40th Indiana Infantry letterhead. The news was not good, Private Taylor McIntosh received a head wound during the assault up Missionary Ridge, November 25th, 1863. On December 19th, 1863 McIntosh would die of his wound in one of the hospitals established in Chattanooga, TN.

I am a little confused who wrote the letter, as it has two signatures. The first signature is William Oliver of Company C, he was from Waveland, Indiana, as was Taylor McIntosh. The two were probably close friends before the war and remained close while serving in the regiment. The rolls show William Oliver is later killed during the assault at Kenesaw Mt., June 27, 1864.

The second signature is from the 1st Lt. of Company H, John.C. Barnhart. John Barnhart was from Lafayette, Indiana, he mustered in as a corporal in Company H. John was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on December 14, 1862. The muster roll shows Barnhart resigning on November 22, 1863 before the Missionary Ridge attack. He is still in Chattanooga almost a month after resigning from the regiment, possibly waiting for the paperwork to go through.

Some of the content in the letter makes me believe that William Oliver is the author of the letter. At the end of the letter is the statement, “as I Rite (wrote) to you a few days ago” and he wanted Eliza McIntosh to correspond back. If Barnhart wanted Eliza to write him back, he gave no forwarding address to Lafayette, and does not mention resigning.  Lt. Barnhart could have put Oliver’s words down on paper, or the two were close friends with McIntosh and composed the letter together on Barnhart’s 40th Indiana letterhead.

I have tried to keep everything the way it appears in the letter. Not many punctuations were used.

Head Quarters

Co. H, 40th Reg Indiana Vol. Inf.

Camp Chattanooga Tennessee Dec. 1863

Eliza McIntosh

Dear Madam

I take my pen in hand to inform

you of the death of your son he

Died yesterday morning the 19 of Dec.

he was wounded the 25 of November

and lived until yesterday morning

he was well cared for and had all

the care that a soldier could hav

him in the Army Hospitals

I was to see him Every Day after

I came up I was not (with) him at the

time of the Battle But was here

in a few days after

His things that you sent to him

is here and they will be sent to

Just as soon as the administrators

Can Do it or the money and will

Be Sent first as they think Proper

But you will get Every Thing that he

had or the amount of it in money

He died as a True Soldier and

One that Loved his country

he died fighting for the Rites of

man and God and no man

never Died in a more nobler

Cause. Well as I Rite you

a letter afew days a go

I will close by asking

you to write to me

Wm. Oliver  – (either H or &)

J. C. Barmheart

1st Lt. Co. H 40th Ind Vols

Gen. Wagner’s Shiloh After Action Report

Posted in Shiloh, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by 40thindiana


With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh upon us, I thought it proper to post the  report of the Twenty-first Brigade  submitted by General (Colonel at the time) George D. Wagner.

Source: Official Records

Report of Col. George D. Wagner

Fifteenth Indiana Infantry,

Commanding Twenty-first Brigade

Headquarters Twenty-First Brigade

In Camp, near Pittsburg,

Tenn. April 9, 1862

“Sir: I have the honor to inform you that this brigade arrived upon the battle field on Monday, April 7, 1862, in time to participate in the winding up of the great battle of that date. We disembarked, and were immediately ordered by General Grant to re-enforce the left wing of the army, which was then being hotly pressed by the enemy. The Fifty seventh Indiana Volunteers were first engaged, being thrown out and to the right of the brigade and on the left of General McCook, where they did good service, advancing upon the enemy under a heavy fire with the coolness of veterans until the enemy were driven from the field. I was ordered by General Buell to take up position on the Corinth road with the remaining portion of my brigade, to wit, the Fifteenth and Fortieth Indiana and Twenty fourth Kentucky. We advanced in line of battle, driving the enemy before us, until ordered to halt. While holding this position the enemy attacked us with infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The cavalry were soon dispersed by a few volleys from our advanced line with considerable loss to themselves. The infantry retired at the same time. We capture some 40 prisoners, among whom was a field officer, a chaplain, and a surgeon, and retook some of our own men who had been captured by the enemy. The enemy at the same time retreated beyond the range of our guns. I was then ordered by General Buell to retain that position, which I did until your arrival.

“I must be allowed to commend the coolness of both officers and men of my entire command.

“My casualties during the engagement were 4 wounded, all of which were in the Fifty seventh Indiana Regiment.”

I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G.D. Wagner Col,

Colonel Commanding