Archive for the Franklin Category

Pvt. William H. Earhart

Posted in Franklin with tags , , , , on May 28, 2015 by 40thindiana

william h_ earhart

William H. Earhart enlisted into the 40th Indiana Regiment on October 25, 1864 at Wabash, Tippecanoe County, Indiana The new member of Company C was born on August 31, 1845, Venango, County, Pennsylvania. There were many recruits and draftees being gathered during this time period as veteran regiments were trying to fill their depleted ranks after suffering heavy losses of killed and wounded during the Atlanta Campaign. In the “History of the 57th Indiana Vols.,”  it  is recorded that there were large amounts of new recruits arriving in November, 1864. The new men, including Pvt. Earhart, were not going to have much ‘break in time.’ William would be thrown into his first action around Spring Hill, Tennessee, as the  army was racing to Nashville ahead of a perusing  Army of Tennessee.

After escaping Spring Hill, the Federal Army stopped at Franklin, Tennessee and started building breastworks in order to slow the Confederate pursuit. General Wagner’s men were place forward of the main works acting as skirmishers, there was little cover in this location. On November 30, 1864, massive lines of Confederate infantry unfolded before the eyes of Wagner’s men. To this day it is not fully understood why Wagner, a man with a solid battlefield reputation, did not bring his men into the main works. This would be the downfall of Wagner. Never the less, one can only wonder what was going through the mind of William Earhart and the rest of the recruits. As the Confederates approached, Wager’s men tried to make a stand and were soon overwhelmed by a Confederate attack larger than Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The veteran troops as well as the new recruits soon broke and ran for the main line of their works, with Confederates in close pursuit. There were many men killed and captured during the flight, the stragglers also had to avoid friendly fire as regiments in the works started firing, trying to stem the gray tide that was coming. William did make it into the works, and would be fighting in the works well into the night. After the fighting ended, there was no time for rest , the army was immediately on the march seeking security in Nashville.

After making it safely to Nashville, William would have some time to reflect on the nightmare he had just lived through. On December 15-16, 1864, the Federal Army under General George H. Thomas, would leave their works and attack the remnants of the Confederate Army encircled  around Nashville. The battle of Nashville would be William’s third major combat during his first two months of service. After defeating General John B. Hood’s Confederate at Nashville, the Union Army pursued the routed Confederates into Alabama. The major fighting was over in this theater of the war, but not William’s service. He would go into Texas with the regiment, because there was still work to be done. William Earhart  Mustered out of the 40th Indiana on October 24, 1865. He had seen a lot during one year of service and probably felt lucky to be alive. He returned to his life in Indiana after the war.  Private William H. Earhart died on October 6, 1937, Markle, Huntington, County, Indiana.

Scott Busenbark


James Prevo Diary Entry

Posted in Franklin, Soldier Profile with tags , , , on March 9, 2014 by 40thindiana

hospitalCivil War nurse aiding wounded soldiers, 1863.

Saturday, December 24, 1864

“The second death in the ward. It was that of a young, noble-looking man – Prevo, of the 40th Indiana. He died of a gunshot wound, the ball entering the lungs. He was battling with the grim monster all day yesterday, and thought himself at one time on a forced march through the country of the enemy, and at another in the heat of battle, when he would cheer on the soldiers. A lock of hair and a few words of condolence will go to one more mourning family in place of the dear, noble boy.” – Nurse Elvira J. Powers, Jefferson Hospital, Jeffersonville, Indiana

James Y. Prevo enlisted as a member of Company I, on December 18, 1861 at Covington, Indiana. He marched and fought with the 40th Indiana for three years of war. On November 30, 1864, during the confusion and intense combat at Franklin, Prevo was wounded in the chest by a musket-ball. After being seen in a field hospital, James was transferred to Jefferson Hospital where he died on December 26, 1864. Twenty-three year old James Prevo is buried in the New Albany National Cemetery, New Albany, Indiana

Major Leaming Letter; Battles of Franklin and Nashville

Posted in Franklin, Regimental History with tags , , on March 20, 2012 by 40thindiana

Source: “The Soldier of Indiana In The War For The Union Vol. 2″; Author Catharine Merrill; Published Merrill and Company 1889. pp 764-766

“Huntsville, Alabama, Fortieth Regiment, January 9, 1865”

“You will readily pardon my long silence when you remember that since the last of October we have, save the short time spent at Pulaski, been constantly on the go. Besides it is but poor business writing letters when you are living in the open air, without shelter of any kind, in the winter at that, with the ground for a seat, and your knee for a desk, while your eyes have become fountains of tears, as the smoke from burning fence rails compels them to the outward show of grief for the destruction worked. Now, however, we have been in that Potomacian condition known as ‘winter quarters,’ for several days, (about three,) and having built a chimney to my tent, which has arrived, much to my satisfaction, from the hearth of said chimney is dispensed a genial glow, which, despite the warning winds and dashing rain, almost convinces one that he is enjoying ‘comfort.’  ‘Tis true the ground on which my feet rest, is wet and cold, and occasional droppings here and there remind me at best, tents are leaky things, and not over warm, (except in the summer time,) but in that spirt of cheerful philosophy which urges one to be thankful, not that things are so well as they are, but that they are no worse, I accept the situation, and shall undertake, by most vigorous efforts of the imagination, to persuade myself that there might be something more miserable than ‘comfortable winter quarters,’ and therefore be most thankful that the unknown possibility had not fallen to our lot. As usual my good fortune did not desert me, and I came out of all  the fights without any holes through my flesh. I had a horse killed under me as quick as lightning could have done it, and a ball cut a strap from my saddle , directly in my front, not two inches from where it would have hurt me, if it had hit, making the farther digestion of hard-tack and fat pork impossible.”

” By the way, Hood was terribly thrashed in those same battles, but there can be no doubt that the greatest battle was that of Franklin. There his army was ruined. When we came back over the ground, we could see by the graves the fearful destruction of our fire. I met no prisoners of any rank who did not agree that their repulse there was most unexpected and disastrous. They largely outnumbered us, and our works were very hastily put up, and not finished when the attack was commenced; yet their loss was numerous, and their repulse complete. We fought three corps with three of our divisions. Our regiment captured a battle flag, the man who took it running the bearer of it through the body with his bayonet.”

” At Nashville, where we outnumbered the Rebels, and they had the advantage of position and defences, we took them squarely out of their works, and completely routed them. ‘Tis true they used but little artillery at Franklin, and we an enormous ammount at Nashville, still it was not in the killed or wounded by cannon shots, or in their moral effects that the difference lay, but in the growing conviction in rebellious minds, that they are now paying for a very dead horse, and that a life as an individual concern is a rather big price to pay. Sixteen general officers  and any quanity of smaller fry were killed or wounded at Franklin. It is well known that generals do not expose themselves usually on either side, save in some desperate emergency. General Adams was killed right on our breastwork, and so were some others. Do you not see how difficult it must have been to bring the men to the scratch, when it became necessary to urge them forward by the generals themselves leading them? When we assaulted their works at Nashville, and began to go over them, I never saw more abject terror than among those we captured. It was real, genuine fright. ‘ What would we do with them!’ ‘Would anybody hurt them!’ ‘Do give me a guard,’ &c, &c, they were constantly saying – in fact a badly thrashed set of rascals.”

” The country is now full of deserters. Hood and his army, who were to go to the Ohio river , are completely played out, and quiet reigns in Tennessee. Thus it happens that we go into winter quarters. The men are now busy as bees, cutting and hewing logs for their huts. Soon the men will settle down to daily drills and the consumption of rations, and the officers to the recception of orders to do or leave undone this, that and everything under Heaven that somebody else can think of when having nothing else to do but to devise and issue orders. Reports, returns, tri-weekly, tri-monthly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly, are called for, and the grand aggregate carefully filed away at Washington, never more to be seen by eye of man. The paper wasted on all these things would each day freight a large ship, and Satan himself would yeild to despair at the task of making head or tail of them. The idea is beginning to force itself upon me that, as it is after eleven o’clock at night, I had better stop writing, and go to bed, ‘To sleep – perchance to dream’ of home, and wife, and chicks, and then to wake homesick beyond expression. Ehen!”

” The war is playing out fast. There can be no doubt of that now. Sherman and Grant will prove to heavy for Lee; and the Rebel plan of arming ‘niggers’ will only give us so many more of that sort of soldiers. ‘Tis folley in them, but so was the Rebellion an insane piece of folly. ‘Deus vult perdere prius dementat'”

“Henry Leaming”

Biography of Capt. James Bragg, Co. F

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Franklin, Soldier Profile on January 16, 2009 by 40thindiana


Captain James Bragg, Boone County, Indiana

“Early Life and Times in Boone County, Indiana; Harden & Spahr,Lebanon, Ind. 1887.

Pages 245-246

James Bragg

Was born in Fayette County, Ind., February 10, 1830; moved to the east side of Boone County, Ind., on Eagle Creek, in 1840; came to Lebanon November 1, 1849; was married to Margaret Kernodle April 27, 1851; was one of the contractors in building the present court house in Lebanon, in 1856-’57, in which he lost two years’ hard work and what other money he was possessed with. At that time he was engaged in building many of the old-time brick buildings of Lebanon. He enlisted as a private in Company F, 40th Regiment Indiana Vol. Infantry, at Lebanon, October 7, 1861; promoted Second Lieutenant November 18, 1861; promoted First Lieutenant April 1, 1862. He was engaged in the Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 7, 1862; was in siege of Corinth, Miss., during the months of April and May, 1862; was engaged in all the battles and skirmishes of the Buell campaign to Louisville, Ky., in 1862; was engaged in the Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8, 1862; in Battle of Stone River, at Murfreesboro, Tenn., December 31, 1863, and January 1, 2, 3 and 4, 1863; was engaged in the Tullahoma, Tenn., campaign in 1863; was engaged in the battles and sieges around Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1863; was promoted Captain, March 1, 1864; was engaged in all the battles and skirmishes of the Georgia campaign to Atlanta. He received a concussion by the bursting of a shell from the enemy’s guns near his head while leading the skirmish-line at the Battle of Resaca, Ga., May 8, 1864; received further injury while charging the enemy’s works at Lost Mountain, Ga., during a violent rainstorm, June 18, 1864; was engaged in the memorable charge of the enemy’s works at Kenessaw Mountain, Ga., June 27, 1864, at which time so many of our brave soldiers fell. As autumn leaves fall, so fell the bravest of the 40th Regiment at Kenessaw Mountain, Ga. He was engaged in the battle of Peach Tree Creek, Ga., July 20, 1864; was engaged in all the skirmishes to the taking of Atlanta, Ga., after which he was sent back with the 4th army corps to take care of Hood and the rebel army. Was in the skirmish at Columbia, Tenn., in November, 1864; was engaged in battle at Springhill, Tenn., November 29, 1864. He was prominently engaged in the battle of Franklin, Tenn., November 30, 1864, where he was slightly wounded and had his sash shot from his shoulder. Mr. Bragg says of this battle: “Our division, that of the 2d of the 4th army corps, bore the brunt of this terrible, bloody battle, losing more than 2,000 men. This was the hardest fought and bloodiest battle, for the number engaged, during the war. It was a hand-to-hand contest. The rebels, being stimulated by the aid of whisky, were urged on by the valor of their officers to break through our lines and march on Nashville, Tenn., only thirty miles distant, and the home of many of the brave, rebel soldiers who fell to rise no more at that bloody battle. Each charge made by the rebels was as stubbornly resisted by us Union soldiers. Never wavering or faltering, but each one vieing [sic] with each other in deeds of valor, every one of us baring our breasts to the enemy’s guns to do or to die.” He was engaged in the two-days battle of Nashville, Tenn., December 15 and 16, 1864; marched to East Tennessee, then back to Nashville, Tenn. He then went to New Orleans, La., and crossed the Gulf of Mexico to Texas. He was mustered out at Texarkana, Texas, December 21, 1865, by reason of his services being no longer required, as the war was ended. He re-crossed the gulf, and was discharged at Indianapolis, January 23, 1866.

Col. John Q. Lane’s Franklin Report

Posted in Franklin with tags on May 26, 2008 by 40thindiana

“Official Records”

No. 49

Reports of Col. John Q. Lane, Ninety-seventh Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations November 29 – December 1 and December 15-16, 1864.


SIR: In obedience to orders from the headquarters Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, I have the honor to very respectfully submit for the information of the general commanding the following report of the operations of this brigade from and including the 29th day of November to and including the 1st day of December, 1864:

I assumed command of the brigade on the morning of the 29th ultimo while the troops were in line of battle on the north side of Duck River, near the Franklin pike. The brigade consisted of the Twenty-sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteers, Captain Clark commanding; Ninety-seventh Ohio Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes commanding; Twenty-eighth Kentucky Veteran Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Boone commanding; Fortieth Indiana Veteran Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Leaming commanding; Fifty-seventh Indiana Veteran Volunteers, Major McGraw commanding; and One hundredth Illinois Veteran Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Hammond commanding, making in all 80 commissioned officers and 1,586 enlisted men. At 8 a.m., by order of General Wagner, I moved my command in the direction of Spring Hill. I was notified that a division of rebel cavalry was on our flank, and made the usual dispositions to guard against surprise by putting out flankers & etc. On nearing Spring Hill it became apparent that the enemy was trying to get possession of that place. Leaving the Twenty-sixth Ohio one mile and a half southof town for the purpose of protecting our trains I moved my command at double-quick to the east side of town, formed line of battle, deployed the Twenty-eighth Kentucky Veteran Volunteers as skirmishers, and by order of General Wagner moved at once on the enemy, who was in heavy force on an eminence half a mile east of the town, with his skirmishers within 400 yards of our trains. The troops moved forward in splendid style; the enemy stubbornly resisted for thirty minutes, when he yielded the eminence to Colonel Boone’s Twenty-eighth Kentucky Veteran Volunteers, and moved to my right in the direction of the Third Brigade. I ordered Colonel Hammond, with his regiment (One hundredth Illinois Volunteers), to support Colonel Boone, Twenty-eighth Kentucky, whom I had instructed to hold his position near the town, where we immediately constructed a line of rifle-pits. I had but just madethis disposition of my command when the Third Brigade became engaged with greatly superior numbers, which, after a gallant resistance, commenced falling back in the direction of the town. By order of General Wagner I changed my front forward on the First Battalion, let the Third Brigade pass me and form in my rear, and prepared to dispute the enemy’s farther advance with a line of skirmishers well out. I moved the One hundredth Illinois and Company F, Fortieth Indiana, to my left so as to hit the enemy in the flank, which caused him to stop and reform his lines. Before he could  again advance the darkness of the night made our position secure.

The troops rested on their arms until 4 o’clock on the morning of the 30th, when by order of General Wagner I resumed the march in the direction of Franklin; moving to the right of and parallel with the Columbia pike, with flankers well out, watching the enemy, who was maneuvering for our trains. This march was most arduous to the troops, who had already been twenty-four hours on constant duty without sleep or eating. At 11 o’clock we arrived at Stevens’ Hill, two miles south of Franklin, and formed line of battle, my right resting on the hill, where we remained until 1 p.m., when, by order of General Wagner, I moved my command to the west side of the Columbia pike, in front of Stone Hill, posted a strong line of skirmishers covering my front and flanks, and saw the balance of the army retire to a position in the rear. From the top of Stone Hill in the rear of my brigade I saw the enemy come through a gap in Stevens’ Hill, in two columns, one formed on the right, the other  on the left of the pike. At 2 o’clock I sent word to General Wagner that the enemy was advancing in force and was about to envelop my flanks. With my skirmish line and a section of artillery posted on Stone Hill I retarded the advancing column until I received orders, and withdrew my command to a position one-third of a mile in advance of the main line of works on the right of the Third Brigade. I here received orders to give battlto the enemy, and, if able, drive him off; if overpowered, to check him as long as possible, and then retire to the main line of works. At about 3 p.m. the enemy drove in my skirmishers; advanced in heavy columns, striking the Third Brigade, and pressing down on the Fortieth Indiana Veteran Volunteers on the left of my line. This regiment steadily held its position, driving back the enemy at every attempt to force our lines until the Third Brigade, on my left, fell back, when I gave the order to retire to the main works. We had much difficulty in getting into the works, owing to a heavy line of abatis of locust boughs placed there for some purpose, through which my line had to pass. This caused some delay which enabled the enemy to get within fifty feet of us; fortunately five of my regiments had held their fire, when, forming quickly behind the works, they poured into the advancing column a volley so deadly that the enemy fell back in dismay, only, however, to renew the attack, which now became a hand-to-hand fight over the parapet, lasting until 10 o’clock at night. Fresh troops were constantly hurled against our lines, until the enemy had madeeleven distinct assaults upon our works with a determination only surpassed by the undaunted courage of our troops. Regiments would charge over the parapets into our lines only to be beaten down with clubbed muskets or taken prisoners. Private James S. O’Riley, Company I, Fortieth Indiana Veteran Volunteers, bayoneted the color-bearer of the Fifteenth Alabama Regiment, and carried away the flag. In front of the Ninety-seventh Ohio Volunteers a rebel regiment planted their colors on our works. First Sergt. Alfred Ransbottom, Company K, of that regiment, captured the flag and took the color-bearer prisoner. We captured from the enemy 284 prisoners, 45 of whom were officers.

My loss in this engagement, although fighting behind a good line of works, was 16 commissioned officers and 402 enlisted men.

I could here instance many acts of great personal courage, but where all did so well I deem it improper if not invidious to make distinctions.

My staff consisted of Capt. Henry C. Tinney, assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. Louis L. Cox, aide-de-camp; Capt. John W. Aughe, acting assistant inspector-general; Capt. Orpheus C. Harvey, provost-marshal, and Capt. George A. Lemert, topographical engineer. These officers were of invaluable service to me, promptly carrying my orders and everywhere stimulating the troops to greater exertions. Capt. William A. Munger, acting commissary of subsistence, and Lieut. Caleb B. Gill, acting assistant quartermaster, were on duty with the trains. Dr. Hosea Tillson, chief surgeon of the brigade, rendered every possible assistance to the wounded.

At 11 p.m. I withdrew my command from the line of works and resumed the march to Nashville, Tenn., at which place I arrived at 11 o’clock on the morning of the 1st day of December, 1864.

I have the honor to submit herewith a sketch showing the position occupied by my brigade.*

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Colonel Ninety-seventh Ohio Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.


Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Division, Fourth Army Corps.

Flag Captured by the 40th Indiana

Posted in Franklin with tags , on March 10, 2008 by 40thindiana

Colonel John Blake, Colonel 40th Indiana Reg’t

Image of Colonel Blake

No. 52 -Hdqrs., Fortieth Indiana Vol. Infantry

Near Huntsville, Ala., January 14, 1865

Capt. L.L. Cox

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

Sir: In compliance with your request to send you the rebel battleflag captured by my regiment at Franklin, Tenn., together with a statement of the circumstances attending its capture, I have the honor to report that the flag was captured by Private James S. O’Riley, Company I, under the following circumstances: After a part of the second line at the battle of Franklin had given way a number of the enemy came over our works and some into the yard of the brick house just to the right of the Columbia Pike. Private O’Riley with others stopped behind the house, and the fire they opened prevented the farther progress of the enemy at that place. O’Riley did not long remain behind his shelter, but sallying out met a color-bearer of the rebel force at the other end of the house, and running him through with his bayonet carried off his flag in triumph. Colonel Blake afterward obtained the flag and probably knows where it is. I shall request him to send it back to the regiment.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. Leaming,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Fortieth Indiana Infantry Volunteers

40th Indiana Wounded at Franklin

Posted in Franklin with tags , on March 9, 2008 by 40thindiana


40th Regiment

The following is a list of the wounded of the 40th regiment, Indiana Volunteers, at the battle of Franklin, who have reached Nashville:

Major A.E. Gordon, left arm; Serg. Rogers,F; Serg. Anderson McCabe, C, arm; Serg. J.T. Bartholomew, A, arm; John Altizen, G, thigh; James Prevo, I, shoulder; Nathaniel Garber, G, scrotum; Wm. Smith, E, left arm; J.P. Stephenson, F, left side; J.J. Armstrong, H, scalp; Amos Travis, A, arm; W.E. Dawning, H, back; W.C. Myres, A, face; Marion Matthews, G, arm.

From the “Crawfordsville Journal, December 15, 1864.”