Archive for the Regimental History Category

Death of Lt. Col. James N. Kirkpatrick

Posted in 40th Haversack, Regimental History with tags , on November 2, 2015 by 40thindiana

An article from the Lafayette Daily Courier, June 12, 1862.

kirkpatrick

Lt. Col. Kirkpatrick’s grave, Wildcat Cemetery, Lafayette, IN.

Col. Kirkpatrick’s Death

D.M. Osburn, of Co. A, 40th regiment sends us a detailed statement of the melancholy circumstances attending the death of Lieut. Col. Kirkpatrick:

“Yesterday morning (June 8, 1862) our regiment took two days’ rations and marched for Bear Creek to help build a railroad bridge where one had been destroyed by the 10th Indiana Regiment in the effort to bag the rebels. After we arrived at the place we were marched above the road into the shade and stacked arms. The Colonel and two other men got into a canoe and started across the stream, and when about two-thirds over, the front end dipped water and the canoe sank. All were good swimmers, and when within about fifteen feet of shore it appears that Col. Kirkpatrick took a cramp, and Col. Blake, seeing that he was sinking, cried out for some men who were in another canoe to hasten to his relief, but none got there until to late. Several of our boys swam across and dove after him, but the water was too deep to find him. He was under water about fifteen minutes, when he was brought up with a hook, but all efforts to resuscitate him were fruitless.”

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Joseph Belton Letters

Posted in Regimental History, Soldier Profile with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by 40thindiana
Joseph Belton

Grave of Joseph Belton

Several years ago I ran across a small collection of letters written by Pvt. Joseph Belton of company H at the Crawfordsville (IN.) District Public Library. The letters do not talk about great battles or life in the field. Joseph Belton became sick sometime in May 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign. Joseph’s letters give a view of life in a Union Army hospital.

Joseph Belton (b.Pennsylvania, 1835) owned a farm & blacksmith shop in Waveland, Indiana. He enlisted in the 40th Indiana on December 15, 1863, when Sergeant Joseph O’Brien returned home from the army to actively recruit for companies C & H. In 1861 Joseph Belton served as Captain in a local state militia, “Waveland Zouaves,” and apparently continued in this capacity until enlistment. Joseph was married to Mary Hamilton, the couple had three children. Frank (b.11/4/1859), Elizabeth (b. 8/8/1861) and Carrie (b. 11/3/1864). During Joseph’s hospital stay, Mary and the children would travel to Ohio in order to be with other family members. Joseph’s brother Samuel, mentioned in the letters, was also a resident of Waveland.

Joseph Belton contracted chronic diarrhea in 1864. At times in the letters it seems that Joseph will make it home. Unfortunately, Joseph would succumb to the disease, dying on March 28, 1865. His remains were returned back to Waveland, Joseph Belton is buried in the Waveland Presbyterian Cemetery.

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Letter written on stationary of the United States Sanitary Commission

Camp Joe Holt, August 5, 1864

Dear Wife – I wrote to you yesterday and under the circumstances had to rite rather a discouraging letter, but I have some better news today. My furlough has not come yet, but the doctor in charge says if it don’t come tomorrow he will send another for me, for he says I shall have it , and so if I don’t come home first now you may be sure I will come before long. And I don’t know but it will be better in the end. It is strange that I have been disappointed in the way I have, but I believe it is for some cause and I believe it is all for the best. It may be the means of saving my life. We don’t know these things, but we can only hope for the best and I have come to believe that all things are for the best. But it is not necessary for you to be uneasy about me for I am getting along very well now. It is true I have a great desire to get home, and you are anxious to see me out, it would not do for me to come only by lawful authority, and I will have to wait until I can get that. But that will not be long. I think my furlough must have got lost on the road or mislaid in some office. I can’t account for it nor the doctor can’t in any but the way I have told you. But there has not been any went away from here but what came back except five that went with mine and they are all lost. The train must have been captured that they went on, and it may come in yet in a few days, but I will have another one started for fear it don’t come. But, wife, I would advise you to learn to bear with disappointments for this world is full of them, and so cheer up and look forward to a better day. Mary, I want you to rite to me and tell me all the particulars in regard to yourself and the children. I expect they would like to see me and I hope they will before long. I don’t know the reason that Sam don’t write to me. I would like to hear from him but I will rite to him tomorrow. I tell you, wife, the most of the boys here are in favor of McClellan for president, and I think he is the man. I think it is time to have peace. Well, Mary, I can’t rite much more now, but I want you to do rite and I will be at home before long, yet, if I live. Give my love to Louise’s folks and the rest of my friends. Nothing more, but I remain yours.

Joseph Belton

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Letter written at Camp Holt, December 25, 1864

Dear wife – I will once more attempt to let you know how I am and when I arrived at this place. I got here last Tuesday. I am in Ward 7 in Doc Carpenter’s ward, but I don’t know how long I will stay here. When I came here they give me charge of the medicine, and so I am giving that out to the patients. That is all the duty I have to do but it is as much as I am able to do for the ward is full, and there is some very sick men here. Four men have died since I have been here. It is now half past one O’clock on Christmas morning, and I am sitting up here all alone in the ward, and it is so lonesome to be here with all the sick and wounded. And when I think of home and then I cannot drive the thoughts of you and my little ones from my mind. But I hope this may find you all well.

I am not well – my back hurts me a great deal, and the piles hurt me some yet out not near so bad as they did when I was at home. I am taking medicine to act on my kidneys but it don’t do me any good yet. I don’t think I will ever be fit for any more duty in the field. But it is hard to tell weather they will send me there or not for they have no feeling for a man at all. I have not said anything to them about my discharge yet. I thought it would be best to wait a few days but I don’t expect there will be any show for it. But I will do the best I can for I know I shall never be able to do any good in the army. There is inspection today at ten O’clock and I expect they will send a lot of men (to the) front, but I don’t think they will send me. I have made up my mind to stay here as long as I can for when I think of my family it gives me trouble enough as it is and if I were to loose an arm or a leg the thoughts of it would kill me. And if I can stay here I may get home and be able to make a living. Mary, it was the hardest task I ever had when the time came for me to leave you and them Dear children, but try and keep up your courage and rite me all the encouraging letters you can, and the time will come when this trouble will be over and we can live at home in peace. But Mary, I want you to conduct yourself rite and try to raise the children in a way that they will not learn any bad habits. If you want anything from the store go to Davises’ and get it and if I stay here I think I will have some money before long. But when you get ready to go home (Ohio) Sam said he would see you started safe from Lafayette, and after that when you have to change I want you to call on the conductor to assist you for three children is more than you can attend to.

Mary, I have lost my gun and wool blanket. I left them in ward when I came home, and somebody stole them, and my haversack and canteen and plate, cup, knife and fork. But I don’t need them while I stay here. I don’t know that I have anything more to rite but I want you to rite me as soon as you get this, and let me know how you are getting along, and when you are going to start home. Direct your letter to Joe Holt Hospital, Ward 7, Jeffersonville, Ind. I have nothing more to say now. Hoping this may find you all well, I will close by saying it remain your affectionate husband

Joseph Belton

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Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind.
February 9th, 1865

Dear Wife- I have just received a letter from your hand, stating that you and family are well which I am glad to hear. I am also glad to hear that the money came to your hand all safe for I was afraid it would be lost. I rote to you since I sent the money and I expect you have got it there this time. Well, as regards my own health is poor for I have the diarrhea pretty bad, and the piles hurt me very bad and I have pain in my back yet. As for my discharge I don’t know yet how it will be for I went to see the surgeon in charge yesterday about it and my descriptive roll has not come and so he sent for it, and send my Capt word if he did not send it right away he would report him to Washington, and have him discharged from the service. So I think it will come now. He said he could not fill out my discharge without my descriptive roll, but when it came he would re-examine me, I told him what was the matter with me near as I could and he talked as if he would discharge me and I think he will, but he may not for all that. But I will have to wait and see for they will take their time for it, and they will do as they please about giving it to me. I have just got a letter from Sam. He is well. They are going to pay out of the draft Sam made the payment on out farm. He says it has been cold there.

Mary, I want you to know if you ever rite to mother. I know she is looking for you there and she is expecting Frank to stay with her. I want mother to have Frank awhile, and I think it nothing but right that you should go and stay with her part of the time. And I want you to take particular pains in looking to the welfare of the children. You may think strange of me giving you such advice but I consider it one part of my duty to give you good advice in regard to yourself and them two, and so if you don’t like it you may take the more of it. I think we have got rid of the small pox here. All that broke out with them was sent to the small pox hospital. They have sent about all the men to the front that was fit and so there is not many left here. I think the government is preparing for a hard campaign when spring opens. I think the southern army will be about broke up this summer, but it is hard to tell when the war will be over. I don’t know of anything more to rite that will interest you, so give my love to the folks and tell them to rite to me. Tell Frank and Belle that I would like to see them and little Carrie. Nothing More, but I remain yours most affectionately.

Joseph Belton

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Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind.
February 20, 1865

Dear Wife – I once more sit down to rite a few lines to you. I got a letter from you a few days agao, but I have been so sick that I could not answer it any sooner. I have been confined to my bed for a week, and am hardly able to be up now, but I am a great deal better than I was. I have had the hardest spell of sickness I have had for a long time, but I think I will get along now pretty well. I am undergoing an examination for a discharge, but I don’t know how it will terminate. You must not feel disappointed if I don’t get it for it is almost impossible to get one at all, and they are giving me a very close examination. They have been at it a few days and I don’t know when they will get through. They have been testing my water and pronounce my kidneys diseased, but I don’t know what else they will find wrong with me, but I will have to wait and see. Mary, I am glad to hear that you are well. I hope that you will keep so for good health is one of the greatest blessings we have on earth.

I got a letter from Mother. They are all well. Israel has lost his wife. She died the last of January. Mother is looking for you there. Mary, I cannot rite any more now for my nerves are out of fix that I cannot hold a pen. So kiss the children for me and give my love to all the folks and rite me soon.

Nothing more out I remain your
affectionate husband,

Joseph Belton

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Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind.
February 29, 1865

Dear Wife – On receipt of a note received from your hand last evening, I will attempt to address a few lines to you for the purpose of informing you of my whereabouts and how I am getting along. I received your letter and read it with pleasure. I am glad to hear that you and the children are as well as you are, and I pray to God that you may be blessed with good health and all other necessaries of life in my absence. It gives me more pleasure to hear of you enjoying yourself. It encourages me and makes me look forward to a future day when all shall be peace and happiness with myself and family again. When I stop to think of my situation being separated as I am from yourself and my children, I do almost give up in despair, but then upon the other hand I look forward to a better day, and I am in hopes it is not far distant. Judging from every movement now we are forced to the conclusion that this is the last year of the war. I acknowledge that I made a bad step when I went into the army and I have regretted it a thousand times, but it cannot be helped, not now, and if you harbor any hard thoughts against me for that act I hope you will forgive me and banish them from your mind. This is a wicked war brought on by wicked men and I was only like thousands of other men. I was deceived in it when I come to study the true causes of the war, they are not what I thought them were when I enlisted. But however we can only hope for the best, and I do sincerely think the end of the war is not far distant. I am well aware the time seems long and dreary for you, separated as we are, and it does to me, but under the circumstances it cannot be helped, and therefore I can only advise you to bear the wait to the best of your ability. I will promise on my part to do everything in my power to make you happy. I have since I have been in the army conducted myself better than I ever did before, and shall continue to do so, and when I draw my pay I will send you some money, and everything I can do to add to the comfort of you and the children you may rest assured I will do. In your last letter you seem to resent the advice I gave you in regard to yourself and the children. I will just say that I meant nothing wrong by it, and I thought you had lived with me long enough to know better than to take offense at anything I might say to you. I rote to you a few days ago, but I directed to Mother, and you may not get the letter at present. For fear you do not I will state here that I have been very sick for about ten days, so bad that I was not able to be up at all, but I am better now. I have been partly examined for a discharge. They pronounce my kidneys badly diseased, but I think there is no prospect of a discharge. I don’t think I will be fir for duty any time soon, but if they have a mind to keep me I can’t help myself. And so I will have to make the best of it.

Well, I don’t know of anything else of importance to rite now. Tell Mother I got a letter from her and was glad to hear from her and the rest of the family. I will try and answer it soon, but for the present you can let her read this and it will answer for both as there is nothing here that will interfere with anybody reading it. Rite me soon – give my love to all. Tell the rest to rite, and I remain your most,

affectionate husband.
Joseph Belton

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Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind.
March 9, 1865

As it has been some days since I rote to you and I feel bad on account of a dream I had last night, I thought I would rite a few lines to you to find out if there was any truth in it or not. I have lost sleep last night, and have been in trouble all day about that dream, but I do sincerely hope there is no grounds for any trouble. The dream was about Frank. I thought he said he was going to (?)fia, and wandered off and got lost and got to what is called the Franklin hospital 14 miles from where mother lives, and in wandering about there to find me he fell into a well and was dead when we found him. When I got to this point I woke myself up by giving way to my grief, and when I awoke it was raining – storming very hard. I expect I think too much of my children is one reason why I have such dreams, but I can’t help thinking of them, and I hope this is nothing more than a dream. At the same time I can’t drive it away from my mind until I get a letter from you in answer to this.

I hope this may find you all well. The Ohio river is so high that it is very near all around our hospital, but I don’t think it will get much higher. It is about two miles wider here now. The first story of a good many of the houses in Louisville is under water. I got a letter from Louise’s in Waveland. Samantha sends her love to you and wants you to rite her. Milt Kinder has got home and is going to work for Sam. He says everything is in good order about the house. Mary, they have moved me to Ward 3. The patients were all moved out of Ward 7 on account of small pox, and so direct mail to Ward 3. I have nothing more to rite now, but kiss the babies for me and give my love to all the folks, and rite to me soon for I have not had a letter from you for some time.

Nothing more, but I remain your true husband,
Joseph Belton

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Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind.
March 22, 1865

I once more attempt to answer your kind and affectionate letter that I received yesterday, dated February 23rd. I feel rejoiced to hear that you are all well and hope when this reaches you it may find you in the same good health and Mother and family also. As for myself I am not well, but I feel better than I have done for some time. I rote a letter to you and directed to Alliance in which I stated as near as possible my affections and feelings towards my family. I therefore think in unnecessary to repeat it at present. Suffice it to say that I widh you all the enjoyments and necessaries of life both for yourself and children.

You spoke of Miss Belle writing to me. I would like to see one of her letters, but I would a heap rather see the lady herself. You can’t form an idea how well I would like to see the children, for it is so lonesome here that I cannot help but think of home and family most of the time; and to keep from it as much as possible I employ a great deal of my time in reading, such as daily papers and good books – something that will be beneficial to me in this world and the world to come. The papers cost us five cents each, but we take turns in buying them and I generally do the reading for the ward, as I am about the best reader there is here. The boys always call on me as soon as there is a paper comes in. As for the books they are purchased by the Christian Commission and are religious books. Our library consists of nothing else. It would be a good thing if it did, for the most of the boys buy novels and read them where if we had a library composed of histories they would read them and get a great deal of information from them and might change their minds to a different course of life. From the daily papers I get all information in regard to the war and I think from the course that things are taking now , the war will close this summer. I think everything bids fair to destroy Lee’s army this spring and if that is done they will be compelled to give up.

Mary, if Frank is not satisfied to stay with mother you can take him away with you, but I would like to have you stay there a good part of your time for it will be better for you as there is no prospect of me getting home for some time and if you go to Waveland you will not be contented there, and mother will be glad to have you with her, and I know the children will be company for all of you. I am glad to hear that Frank learns so fast. I hope he continues to learn his books. I don’t know that I can write anything more of intrest, but kiss the children for me and accept my best wishes. Rite soon.

I remain yours truly, from your husband,

Joseph Belton

P.S. Mother, Jane, and Nancy – I will try and put in a line to let you know that I still am alive and able to take my rations if they are not of the finest quality. I have seen the time that I would of like to had a little more than I got, but here we have plenty such as it is. But then I get along better now than I did at first. I expect Nancy often thinks of me when she has something good for dinner, for she was always grumbling at me for being so hard to please. Well, I am not so hard to please as I was; Jane, I hope you are getting along well. I want you to act as schoolmam over Mr. Frank, and I will try and reward you for it sometime. I want you and Nancy to rite to me, or have you forgot that I still alive. Well, Mother, I have rote all in this letter I can think of (nothing) that is of any importance and so I will close for the present by asking you to give my love to Caroline and tell her to rite to me and don’t forget to rite yourself, for I am always glad to hear from you.

I remain yours,
Jo Belton

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Western Union Telegraph Company

No. 1
To-Wn. Hamilton From-Jeffersonville, Ind Mch 30
Wooster, O. Date Rec’d – Mch 30, 1865 – 5:07 P.M.

Joseph Belton is dead. I will write you the particulars.

Sam’l Belton

Paid

Blake’s Greyhounds!

Posted in 40th Haversack, Regimental History with tags , on March 3, 2014 by 40thindiana

Blake's Greyhounds!

Indianapolis Journal, April 30, 1863

Colonel Blake has returned to his regiment, taking among other testimonials, new national and regimental flags. On the regimental flag is inscribed in gold, Shiloh, Chaplin Hill, and Stone River, in memory of those battles. The ladies of Lafayette have also embroidered in silk, Munfordsville, Manchester, Cornith and Bowling Green, skirmishes in which the regiment was engaged. The regiment having by their rapid movements earned the title of ‘Blake’s Greyhounds,’ a greyhound is appropriately embroidered on the right-hand corner of this gallant battleflag.

Letter from Peter James, Company C

Posted in Regimental History, Soldier Profile with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by 40thindiana

Peter James Grave, Freedom Cemetery

A really great letter written by Private Peter James of Company C. It is addressed to Thomas Glenn, a farmer living in the Freedom Community, near the town of Waveland, Montgomery County, Indiana. Before the outbreak of war, Peter lived near the Glenn family and had been working as a hired hand on Mr. Glenn’s farm. In the letter, Peter has apparently recieved news that Thomas Glenn’s daughter has recently died and tries to console him. Another interesting part of the letter; the view of a Western Theater Federal Soldier on Gen. Robert E. Lee. James pens his thoughts about the possibility of Lee’s complete surrender if Virginia is lost, he seems to have knowledge and respect for General Lee. His predictions would come true in a months time. I found it surprising that  a soldier who had spent the last four years fighting in the West would really care to stay informed on the war situation in Virginia.

At the time of this letter, Peter James was a Veteran Volunteer, he had been serving as a hospital steward for over a year.  Enjoy reading the thoughts and views of a 40th Indiana Private!

I would like to thank Sue Purschwitz for sharing this wonderful piece of history that has remained in her family for the last 150 years. The letter was written to her gg-grandfather Thomas Glenn, an early settler of Brown Twp., Montgomery County, IN.  Sue has other connections within the 40th Indiana Infantry, her gg-granduncles were Lt. James Hanna and Cpl. Robert Hanna of Company C. Both were present at Missionary Ridge, Robert was killed and James mortally wounded.  Another relative, Jonathan Rice Jr., also served in Company C. All lived around the Freedom area of Brown Twp., near present day Shades State Park.

Peter James was born in Indiana on Feb. 25, 1831. Peter worked as a farm hand for Mr. Thomas Glenn and is also listed as a cabinet maker in the 1860 Montgomery County Census. He was married Sept. 4, 1851 to Susan C. Conner. On Dec. 6, 1861 Peter enlisted as a private in Company C, 40th Indiana Reg’t. for three years. He would be with his company during the battles of Stones River and Missionary Ridge. On Feb. 1, 1864, Peter was assigned to duty under the 40th Indiana Reg’t. Field and Staff as a hospital steward. He would serve in this capacity until wars end, an eyewitness to the carnage of the Atlanta and Tennessee Campaigns. Most notably the assault on Kennesaw Mt., GA. and the battle of Franklin, TN. Peter mustered out of the 40th Indiana Veteran Reg’t. on December 12, 1865, at Texana, TX. In the 1870-1880 Montgomery County Census, Peter is listed as a farmer. The 1880 census shows that Peter and Susan have 8 children. Peter died on July 21, 1891, and is buried beside his wife in Freedom Cemetery, Brown Twp., Montgomery County. Indiana. Also resting in this cemetery are several 40th Indiana Reg’t. Veterans including four of Peter’s Company C  brothers who were killed on Missionary Ridge.

(Letterhead)

Thomas Glenn Esq.

Waveland

Montgomery County

Indiana

Peter James Letter

Head Quarters 40″ Ind. Vols.

Huntsville, Ala. March 14″ 1865

Mr. Thomas Glenn

Dear Brother

Yours of March 2″ was gladly recieved today.

I am well and hope this will find you and family likewise.  I have no war news to send you more than is published in papers. I had heard of the death of your Daughter and was very sorrow for she was an useful girl as well as affectionate and will be long remembered by those that knew her.

Not only you have been afflicted so but many thousands in like manner caused by the Struggle for Liberty which after four years toiling and struggling with our fiendish foe who have gave us battle after battle and have caused us to loose many of our best and bravest boys. All this trouble caused by a despotic clan who desire to live without work.

Now we have most got them conquered. Gov. Brown of Georgia has issued a proclamation to the people of Georgia and tells them that Jeff is only leading them to despotism and is in favor of dethroning him. In fact, all that I have seen, prisoners and deserters, have fell out with their President. Lee only promised to defend his native state and has done well. He was noted, before this war commenced for his charitable deeds, Christianity, etc., and in my opinion if he has to give up Virginia he will give up all, either voluntarily or by compulsion.

Rumors today indicate that we will soon be on the march. The 5″ Division had orders today to call in their safe guards and be ready to march tomorrow morning. Whether we will get orders or not is not fully known, but I see preparations that our officers are expecting them and the whole talk in camp is where are we going, but ah – that is a secret for the mail if captured would make known our intentions.

The weather is nice and vegetation is beginning to unfold its beauty according to natures law, not governed by neither Abe or Jeff, nor wars, nor peace,  but by Him that created us and every thing, and is able to bring us safe through this wilderness of war, privations and death, which is a frequent visitor. Will I and you witness the day of our death? We certainly will. You are yet spared and so am I and have witnessed the last of many good soldiers. I must close. Probably we may move tomorrow and I must prepare.

Yours very truly,

Peter James

40″ Indiana Vet Vols

2″Brig. 2″ Div. 4″A.C.

(note written sideways)

NIB I have also received a

Letter today from Susan

And probably will not have

Time to answer it

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”

Sergeant O’Brien’s Recruit’s

Posted in 40th Haversack, Regimental History, Soldier Profile with tags , , , , on January 26, 2011 by 40thindiana

On Thursday, November 26, 1863 an adverstisement was placed  in the ‘Crawfordsville Weekly Journal’ (Montgomery County), by Sergeant Joseph W. O’Brien, of Company H. He had returned home on recruiting duty, trying to replace losses substained in the  1863 Tennessee campaign. He had yet to learn of the great loss in casualties his regiment had just sustained the day before, November 25, on Missionary Ridge. His job as a recruiting officer had just become even more critical for Company H. Sergeant O’Brien would set up a recuiting station in his hometown of Waveland, Indiana.

On Thursday, January 7, 1864, the ‘Crawfordsville Weekly Journal’  ran this article. ”

Serg’t O’Brien’s Recruits

“Our fellow citizen Serg’t Jos. W. O’Brien, since his arrival home, has recruited for the service, principally for his own company, (“H,” 40th Indiana,) the following named persons, who, with but few exceptions, are citizens of Brown Township, this county:

Jerome B. Dooley; 40th, George Rodgers; 40th, Charles Osborn; 40th, Harrison T. Moore; 40th, Hohn Hickman; 40th, John W. Barr; 40th, Thomas Long; 40th, Chancey Smith; 40th, Joseph R. Sharp; 40th, Abner Jarrett; 40th, Samuel E. Shelladay; Company A, 85th Indiana Infantry, Daniel Williams; 126th Indiana Infantry, Joseph Fullinwider; 40th, George Moore; 40th, Joseph Hays; 40th, John A. Reed; 40th, Joseph Belton; 40th, George McIntosh; 40th, William Thompson; 40th, Samuel Eastlack; 40th, Sylvester S. Wolever; 40th, William Batley; 40th, Henry Watts; 40th, Nathaniel McGuire; 9th Indiana Cavalry, Lewis Dorr; 9th Indiana Cavalry, S. T. Whittington; 40th, Andrew J. Hickman; 40th, Aaron Wolever; 40th, William Farris; 40th, Robert Wilson; 40th.

Sergeant O’Brien and his recruit’s would return to the front later in 1864. ‘Company H’ would be up to strength for the start of the long Atlanta Campaign. Battles at Resaca, Kennesaw Mt., Peachtree Creek and Franklin were yet to come. A few of these men would never return home, they would be lost to the horrors of war.

On October 10, 1862, at the age of 33, Joseph Wain O’Brien enlisted  as a recruit in company H, 40th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment  . He was promoted to sergeant on April 1, 1863.  Joseph transferred to Co. C, September 1, 1864 to accept a promotion as 1st lieutenant. On August 15, 1865 Joseph O’Brien was promoted to captain of Company C, 40th Indiana Infantry.  In 1868 after his military years Joseph went west; into the Lumber business with his brother-in-law Hugh McCleery. Joseph was married to Hester Logan, the couple had 2 sons and 1 daughter.  Joesph Wain O’Brien died April 2, 1902 In Oxford, Johnson County, Iowa. 

Thanks to Suezy O’Brien House for the additional information.

Officers of Company B

Posted in Poke Bag, Regimental History with tags , , , on January 21, 2009 by 40thindiana

40th officers

A great image of the officer’s mess of Company B, 40th Indiana. Taken in the field at an unknown date, they seem to be enjoying dinner. Names in the image are Adjutant William Griswold; Capt. Orpheus C. Harvey and Lt. Albert Olinger. The man with the bottle to his mouth has no rank insignia that can be seen. The servant is unfortunately unidentified also. Lt. Olinger resigned February 24, 1864; this dates the image sometime before that date.