Archive for the Wagners Brigade Category

Segeant Scott Elliott, Comapny A

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Soldier Profile, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , , , , on April 28, 2015 by 40thindiana
Sergeant Scott Elliott, Company A

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)

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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.

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Wagner’s Brigade, Kennesaw Mountain

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , on February 27, 2014 by 40thindiana

“ Kennesaw Mountain, June 1864, Bitter Standoff at the Gibralter of Georgia”
By Richard A. Baumgartner and Larry M. Strayer, Blue Acorn Press, 1998; pp 125-128

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“Delegated for the effort from the 4th Corps was Newton’s entire division of three brigades, commanded left to right by Generals Nathan Kimball, George Wagner and Charles G. Harker. Newton and corps commander O.O. Howard had examined with field glasses the terrain to be traversed, and decided to organize the brigades in close-packed columns of reqimental divisions, each presenting a two-company front and a depth of 30 lines. “That formation,” wrote Howard years afterward, “seemed best for the situation; first to keep the men concealed as well as possible beforehand and during the first third of the distance, the ground being favorable for this; second, to make as narrow a front as he could with many men, so as to make a sudden rush with numbers over their works.” In other words, they were to become a human battering ram.”

“…At 9 A.M., one hour behind schedule, the advance began. In front of Wagner, Lt. Col. Willis Blanch’s 57th Ind. Deployed as skirmishers, each man 5 paces apart. Following close behind were the brigade’s five other regiments, headed by the 40th Indiana. The Hoosiers no sooner had crossed the Union breastworks when the left of Cleburne’s line exploded in a blaze of musketry. “Unmindful of the terific havoc in their ranks,” Wagner reflected, “the column moved forward.”

Before the Rebel pickets’ rifle pits could be overrun, their occupants loosed a volley and ran up the slope to saftey. The opposing lines here were separated by only 500 yards, so little time was consumed by Wagner’s leading elements in reaching the Confederate obstructions, 40 yards from the trenches. The 40th Indiana having caught up with the 57th Indiana skirmishers, began tugging and slashing at the abatis in order to clear a pathway. Captain Kirkpatrick, commanding the 40th’s Company G, drew abreast of Wagner and asked him, “Where shall I strike the enemy’s lines?” The general pointed and Kirkpatrick passed on. Suddenly, wrote Sergeant Walter Wilson of the 57th,” the hillside was transformed into the hottest place I ever was in.”

At that moment, two Napoleon 12-pounders loaded with canister fired into the Hoosiers’ faces. The guns belonged to a section of Capt. William B. Turner’s Mississippi Battery, and were commanded by 2nd Lt. W.W. Henry. The young officer’s cannoneers swabbed the barrels, reloaded and fired again into the tightly packed blueclad mass. Among those instantly killed were Kirkpatrick, Capt. Charles Elliott of Co. A, and 1st Lt. John C. Sharp commanding Co. F. An eyewitness recalled: “The enemy reserved their artillery fire till the 40th advanced to within a short distance of their works, had raised the yell, and were moving forward on the double-quick, when they opened a withering fire of grape and canister … The assaulting party was checked, and the men laid down.”

“Behind them the rest of the brigade pushed on, as did Kimball’s seven regiments supporting Wagner’s left……..”

“….It was a nightmare on Wagner’s front. The 57th and 40th Indiana were stymied at the abatis, unable to punch through of find shelter rearward as the 28th KY, 100TH Ill., 26th and 97th Ohio bunched inextricably together behind them. To Capt. Robert D. Smith, a Tennessean serving on Cleburne’s staff, “the slaughter was terrific as our troops literally mowed them down.” Cleburne’s adjutant, Capt. Irving A. Buck, stated that Polk’s Arkansans and Tennesseans “cooly and rapidly poured a murderous fire into the massed Federals, causing losses to them entirely out of proportion to those inflicted upon the Confederates……”

Wagners men twice surged uphill, but all efforts to bypass the inhibiting obstructions failed. In the column’s hindmost regiment, the 97th Ohio, 1st Sergeant John W. Marshall saw his company had no chance to proceed further. “As advance was impossible, the line falters, breaks, and comes rushing back on the next line, which in turn breaks, causing the wildest confusion.” Another non-commissioned officer, Ashbury Kerwood of the 57th Indiana, wrote: “The order was given to fall back by companies from the rear, but in the confusion and excitement it was misunderstood, and a general retreat commenced. The slaughter among our troops at this moment was even greater than when they advanced, for the enemy now rose from behind their works, fearless of danger from the retreating force, and fired with greater precision than when the column advanced.”

“The assault cost Kimball 194 dead, wounded and missing. Wagner’s losses totalled 215. Not all these casualties, however, resulted from bullets or cannon shot.”

While the battered Federals headed rearward, orange flames began flickering along the ground where the fighting had raged fiercest. Soon a sizeable brushfire, ignited by embers from hundreds of discharged weapons falling amidst dry leaves, twigs and pine needles, cracked in front of Polk’s Brigade. The Confederates watched in horror as the flames crept toward the bodies of dead and severely wounded Yankees still lying on the battlefield. Screams rent the air. Lt. Col. William H. Martin of the 1st/15th Arkansas realized that if something was not done instantly, dozens of helpless men would be burned alive.”

“At this stage”, recounted William T. Barnes, an Arkansas private in Co. G, “our colonel sang out, ‘Boys, this is butchery,’ and mounting our head logs with a white hankerchief, he sang out to the Yanks as well as to our own mwn: ‘Cease firing and help get out those men,’ It is needless to add that the Feds never once refused to comply with this request. Our men scaling the head logs as though for a counter charge, were soon mixed with Yankees, carrying out dead and wounded Feds with those who, a few minutes previous were trying to ‘down our shanties.’ Together, the Rebs and Yanks soon had the fire beat out and the dead and wounded removed to the Federal side of the fence.”

Montgomery County Indiana at Missionary Ridge

Posted in Missionary Ridge, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2013 by 40thindiana

Sharing an article I did about Missionary Ridge for a local newspaper in Montgomery County, Indiana.

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(above) Sgt. Wm. Galey of Waveland, IN. KIA 11/25/64

Our Darkest Day; the Battle of Missionary Ridge

Montgomery County is very rich in the annuals of the Civil War. We can boast of five general officers and well over 2000 men that enlisted to fight during four years of Civil War. Many men from MontgomeryCounty fought valiantly in every theatre of the war. Articles could be written for weeks about the battles and hardships endured by MontgomeryCounty men. The purpose of this article is to focus on the actions of Montgomery County solders at the battle of Missionary Ridge. The often overlooked battle took place 150 years ago, on a lofty steep ridge overlooking Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The battle of Missionary Ridge was fought on November 25, 1863.  It was the end result of a long 1863 summer/fall campaign through Middle and East Tennessee. The fight for Chattanooga took place a month after the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. MontgomeryCounty men that fought and died on Missionary Ridge were proud members of Gen. George H. Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland had been soundly defeated at Chickamauga on September 20th and had retreated to the City of Chattanooga. The Confederate Army followed and laid siege to the city.   Grant and Sherman arrived from Mississippi with the Army of Tennessee and broke through the Confederate siege lines bringing aid to Thomas’ army. Members of the Army of the Tennessee, including many of their commanders quietly considered Thomas’ men inferior to their army. After all, the Army of the Tennessee had just arrived in Chattanooga after their great victory at Vicksburg. Tensions would remain high between the two Union armies sitting in Chattanooga.

As overall commander of both armies in Chattanooga, General Ulysses S. Grant was making his battle plans to drive the rebel army off of their strong position on Missionary Ridge. His plan was for Gen. Sherman to assault the Confederate right flank on the northern end of Missionary Ridge and drive the rebels off of the heights. The Army of the Cumberland was to play a secondary role in the action. It was to advance forward, take the Confederate rifle-pits at the bottom of Missionary Ridge and then stop. They were to be a diversion; it was thought they had no fighting spirit after the Chickamauga loss. But, the main attack on the northern end of the ridge didn’t go according to plan. Meeting a strong Confederate resistance, Sherman’s attack stalled. As the Army of the Cumberland stepped off toward the Confederate rifle-pits, the rank and file soldiers felt that they had something to prove. They were going to show Gen. Grant that they had plenty of fight left in them.

Major Henry Leaming, of the 40th Indiana Inf. stated that the Army of the Cumberland would cover “more than a mile, without cover of any sort, over dead level, commanded at all points by the enemy’s batteries, and the last quarter mile under fire of the infantry.” Montgomery County had men present in the following regiments on Missionary Ridge. The 10th, 15th, 38th, 40th, 79th & 86th Indiana Infantry. At 2:00 o’clock the men stepped off to take the rebel rifle-pits, there were no orders to scale the heights. Once the Confederate rifle-pits had been taken, an order was received to advance the quarter-mile to the ridge.  In after-action reports from Gen. George Wagner’s Brigade, which contained the 15th & 40th Indiana Regiments, commanders state that they were taking heavy rifle fire but were making forward progress. The brigade had reached a spot at the bottom of the ridge where they were somewhat shielded from the bullets of the enemy.

Lt. Col Elias Neff, of the 40th Indiana Infantry sums up what happened next. “Scarcely had this movement upon the ridge commenced when the order to fall back to the rifle-pits was received from General Wagner, through an aide, and given to the men. It was with the greatest reluctance, almost amounting to a refusal at first, that this order was obeyed, but the sense of duty prevailed, and they fell back, suffering very severely in the movement; but the shelter thus obtained was not long made use of. Again, under the proper order, the line advanced to its former position, again loosing heavily in the movement. Now commenced the struggle; man by man, as each would gather breath, firing as they went, the brave fellows rushed up, always onward, never backward for one moment. The fire here, on the part of the enemy, rapid and well sustained, both by the infantry and the batteries upon the ridge, which at this time poured a constant shower of grape down the slope; but the advance was not even checked………”

The 15th Indiana Infantry were members of Gen. George Wagner’s Brigade. On November 25 Wagner’s Brigade was one of the hardest hit brigades in the Army of the Cumberland. Company E of the 15th was composed of men from Montgomery County. The ranks of the 15th had been thinned during a bayonet charge performed by the regiment at the battle of Stones River on Dec. 31, 1862. Six men from company E had been killed; numerous others had been wounded and disabled. The company reported 28 men present for duty at Chattanooga. Captain Benjamin Hegler, commanding the 15th Indiana explains the regiment’s assault on Missionary Ridge. “…. The ascent was very steep and our progress so obstinately contested that it was necessarily slow, but in forty-five minutes after leaving the base of the ridge our colors were planted by 2nd Lt. Thomas Graham and the enemy fleeing in disorder.”  Officers and men fought and clawed their way up the slope, paying a price in blood for every step taken. Several color-bearers from the 15th were shot down during the assault, but the men kept pushing. Color-bearer George Banks, who was wounded twice, said the ridge “was a perfect hail of bullets.” The 15thIndiana had the honor of being the first regiment to plant a flag on the heights of Missionary Ridge. On December 10, 1863 a list of causalities from company E appeared in the “Crawfordsville Daily Journal.” The article reported that company E “went into the fight with only 28 men, rank and file; and came out with a loss of just one half – 5 killed and 9 wounded. These numbers would change as several men succumbed to their wounds.  Causalities for the regiment as a whole were 202 men killed and wounded – 60 percent of the regiment.

Also in Wagner’s Brigade was the 40th Indiana Infantry. Companies C, G, &H, contained men from Montgomery County. Every step the regiment took was heavily contested by the Confederate defenders.  Major Henry Leaming of the 40th described his view of the attack; “ I could see our brave boys dropping all around me as we moved forward, some killed, others desperately wounded, but the advance was not even checked. It moved as if each man felt himself invulnerable.” As the regiment neared the ridge top, regimental flags became targets for the Confederate defenders. At one point, 2nd Lt. James Hanna of Waveland was carrying one of the regiment’s flags; he was severely shot in the hip by a musket-ball. Close by James was his brother, Corp. Robert Hanna. Seeing his brother go down, he grabbed the flag from his brother’s grasp and started for the top. 20 year old Robert had only taken a few steps when he was killed, “pierced through the head by a musket-ball.” At another point, James H. Seaman of Brown Township, picked up a flag and advanced with it. Seaman also went down; a musket wound to one of his legs. After the war Lt. Col. Neff cited Seaman for “gallant and distinguished conduct as color bearer of the 40th Indiana Regiment at Missionary Ridge.” Brown Twp. resident, Hezekiah Harrell, was able to grab the regimental colors after it had “fallen five times.” Harrell made it to the summit and planted his flag. The commander of the 40th; Lt. Col. Elias Neff,  picked up the national flag after it had fallen numerous times. Once at the top, Neff planted the flag right in front of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s headquarters. Major Leaming reported; “ The Fortieth took two hundred prisoners, and eight pieces of artillery.” Losses in the 40thIndiana were 158 killed and wounded – 45 percent of the regiment.

To the left of Wagner’s Brigade was the 79th and 86th Indiana Regiments in Gen Samuel Beatty’s Brigade. Company K of the 86th had been raised in Montgomery County. Reverend Henry Newton Ornbaun of Crawfordsville had left his ministry and was serving as a sergeant in company K, 79th Indiana Infantry. The 86th and 79th regiments had been consolidated at Chattanooga because of losses sustained in each regiment at Chickamauga. Beatty’s Brigade experienced a rough time climbing the ridge, especially from Confederate artillery fire. W. H. Laymon of the 86th Indiana sent a letter that appeared in the December 10, 1863 addition of the “Crawfordsville Daily Journal.” Laymon’s description of the assault; “ ….we advanced in fine order, on the double-quick, charged and took that line of the enemy’s defenses, and still charged on and on until the foot of Missionary Ridge was gained, and on up the ridge still we charged against eight pieces of heavy artillery directly in our front, thirty more pieces of artillery constantly  pouring their fire upon us both from the right and the left and Gen. Hardee’s Corps of three entire Divisions in our front, right and left, from behind breast-works pouring their galling fire into us. On up the mountain still charged the noble 86th and 79th.”

Lymon also mentions MontgomeryCounty’s company K of the 86thIndiana. “Capt. Southard was shot in the breast and instantly expired, at the head of his men, when about half way up the mountain. His conduct is well spoken of by all who witnessed him on the battlefield, and his death is severely felt, not only by his own command, but by all the officers and men of the regiment. Poor Billy! His is another good life given for our country”. The other causalities sustained by his company are Serg’t B.F. Snyder, severely wounded in the left hip; Corp. Tillman A. Howard, slightly wounded in the left breast; privates Morris Welch, severely through the right arm; James Harrington, slightly in the left side; Wm. Saunders, slightly in the left knee; Jas. Williams, slightly on left elbow. Lieutenant John Yount was pretty severely bruised by a fall, but it did not prevent him from bravely leading on the noble boys of company K. ”Long may he wave, and enjoy the honors so nobly won.”

Sergeant Henry N. Ornbaun, of Crawfordsville is also mentioned in the Laymon letter. “Serg’t Newton Ornbaun of the 79th, I saw fall, severely wounded in the thigh, whilst bravely charging the rebel breastworks. I hope he may soon be able for duty again, for he is one of the bravest and best soldiers.” Ornbaun’s return was not to be, he would die from his wounds on December 1, 1863. Ornbaun’s body was returned to Crawfordsville, where he was interred in the Crawfordsville Masonic Cemetery on Grant Ave. The following article appeared in the “Crawfordsville Daily Journal,” on Thursday, January 21, 1864.

Funeral of Serg’t Ornbaun

“The remains of Serg’t H.N. Ornbaun, of Company K,79th Indiana Regiment, who fell mortally wounded at the battle of Missionary Ridge, on the 25th of November last, and who died on the 1st day of December, arrived at home on Saturday morning last for interment. On Tuesday of this week, under military escort, the remains were conveyed from the family residence to the Methodist E. Church;(where appropriate funeral exercises were had);and thence to the town Cemetery, where they were consigned to the tomb-the final resting place of all that is mortal of man.”

Once the summit had been gained, the fighting continued down the reverse slope of Missionary Ridge. The Confederates were in a mad retreat, muskets, cannon and wagons were left behind. The Army of the Cumberland was in pursuit, and gathering many prisoners along the way. They had proven that they could still fight and felt as if their honor had been restored. By the morning of November 26, 1863 the great railroad hub of Chattanooga lay in union hands. The Confederate army had been beaten and was in full retreat. The little remembered battles for Chattanooga had opened the door for Union forces to take Atlanta in 1864 and ultimately it helped win the war. MontgomeryCounty had played a significant part in the battle; “our boys” would continue fighting on many other fields of battle. But, never again would we pay such a high price in a single day of battle. Eighteen county men had been lost during the assault and capture of Missionary Ridge. Other local men would be lost in the war, but never on the same scale as November 25, 1863. It was MontgomeryCounty’s darkest day of the Civil War.

As in the case of Sergeant H.N. Ornbaun, several other causalities of the battle rest in MontgomeryCounty. John C. Monfort of the 40th Indiana is also buried in the Crawfordsville Masonic Cemetery. Four members of the 40th Indiana are interred in  Freedom Cemetery, Brown Township.  They were friends and neighbors in life and comrades in company C. They are Sergeant William B. Gayley, Lt James Hanna, Corp. Robert Hanna and James Elrod. They are all in the same general area of the cemetery. A visit to this spot brings the thought of the devastation this battle produced to families in a tight knit community. The valor and deeds of all Montgomery County soldiers that fought on Missionary Ridge should be remembered on this 150th anniversary of the battle.

Our Heroes lost on Missionary Ridge

Sgt. Robert B. Gilbert – 15thInd.

Sgt. Frederick Waltz – 15thInd.

Sgt. Solomon Bowers – 15thInd.

Pvt. William R. Emmerson – 15thInd.

Pvt. Silas Cooley – 15thInd.

Pvt. John C. Tyson – 15thInd.

Pvt. William R. Creek – 15thInd.

Sgt. Alvin Egnew – 40thInd.

Lt. James M. Hanna – 40thInd.

Cpl. Robert C.H. Hanna – 40thInd.

Sgt. Wm. B. Galey – 40thInd.

Pvt. James Elrod – 40thInd.

Pvt. John C. Monfort – 40thInd.

Pvt. James R. Shelton – 40thInd.

Pvt. George Krauss – 40thInd.

Pvt. Taylor McIntosh – 40thInd.

Sgt. William Newton Ornbaun – 79thInd.

Capt. William M. Southard – 86thInd.

Rebel News; The War In Georgia

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Wagners Brigade on July 25, 2013 by 40thindiana

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REBEL NEWS.; THE WAR IN GEORGIA.
The Battle of June 27 at Kenesaw Mountain. THE FIGHTS ON JUNE 21 AND 22. REBEL ACCOUNTS OF THE SITUATION. The Battle of Kenesaw Mountain Highly Important from the Front-Enemy Assaults our Works Repulsed with Heavy Loss. From the Front Assault of our Centre. The Frost. Later in the Evening. The Fights on June 21 and 22. THE FIGHT ON THE 22D. A Complaint Over Mismanagement.

From the “Southern Confederacy,” June 28.From the Southern Confederacy. June 28, 1864″; Editorial. From Johnston’S Army. From the “Atlanta Confederacy,” June 26, 1864.

Published by the “New York Times,” July 12, 1864

MARIETTA, Monday, June 27.

The enemy made a simultaneous attack on our right, when our batteries, ably assisted by those on Kenesaw Mountain, Commanded by Col. Stow French’S Chief of Artillery, opened a most galling fire upon them. Their loss is not yet ascertained, but it is thought to be very heavy. Forty ambulances are now in sight carrying off their wounded.

A brisk skirmish is going on in front of French’s division. One Yankee Colonel and one Major are known to be killed.

About 10 o’clock this morning, the enemy, consisting of part of Palmer’s, Schofield’s, Blair’s, Howard’s and Logan’s corps attempted to gain possession of an angle in our fortifications, on the left and centre, held by Cheatham and Cleburne. They with difficulty came up in seven lines of battle. Our troops reserved their fire until they approached within a few yards of the breastworks, when they opened upon them with grape, canister and musketry.

The fire was so rapid and destructive that the enemy could not rally, but were driven back with a loss of between 800 and 1,000 men.

We captured about 100 prisoners, including Lieut.-Col. John B. Kerr, of the Seventy-sixth Illinois; Capt. H.B. Wakefield, of the Fifty-third Indiana, and Lieut. J.H. York, of the Sixty-third Indiana: also, two stand of colors, one of them presented to the Twenty-seventh Illinois by By Brigadier N.B. Buford.

The woods where the enemy’s dead and wounded lie are now on fire, making it impossible to bring them off.

Our loss, owing to our men being protected by breastworks, was very small on our right and centre.

The Sixty-third Georgia Regiment, under Col. Gordon, of Mercer’s Brigade, was deployed as skirmishers, acted with great gallantry, and held hand-to-hand fight with the enemy until relieved.

The troops engaged in the first-mentioned action were Maney’s and Vaughn’s brigades of Cheatham’s division, and Polk’s and Lowry’s brigades of Cleburne’s division.

Brig.-Gen. Kimball, commanding the First Brigade of the Second Division of Howard’s Fourth Army Corps, was killed, or so reported by his own men who were taken prisoners.

WAGNER’S in Kimball’s brigade suffered very severely.

The enemy made a fierce and vigorous assault upon Hardee’s Corps yesterday, and, we are proud to state, were handsomely repulsed. The attack was mainly directed against the centre of our line at Kenesaw, up to which they advanced four lines deep. The enemy opened fire at nine o’clock A.M., in a heavy cannonade against Kenesaw and the batteries of Hardee, succeeded, about 11 A.M., by a direct charge upon the portions of the line occupied by Cheatham’s, Cleburne’s and Walker’s divisions, the fight extending into Loring’s Division. The enemy’s troops were drunk with whisky, and came right up to the works. Some of them are represented to have been so drunk as absolutely to have refused to discharge their pieces.

Two stands of Yankee colors were captured almost upon the top of our breastworks. The enemy were repulsed at every point of attack, and their loss is estimated at 5,000. Our loss was apparently insignificant.

Prisoners report that Gen. Jackson, with cavalry, is in Sherman’s rear, and that he burned three trains near Tilton, a short distance from Dalton.

There is a rumor that the enemy is falling back by the Villenow road.

About fifty prisoners were brought down last evening, and among them a Lieutenant-Colonel.

MARIETTA, Sunday, June 26 — P.M.

Our lines remained unchanged, and, while a fight may come off at any hour, yet I see no prospect of a general engagement soon. I don’t think it is Sherman’s intention to fight unless Gen. Johnston forces him into an engagement, which he will likely do ere many days.

While the effect of a ball sent from a Hessian’s Whitworth, or from that of a sharpshooter, is equally as great and dangerous as if it had been shot in the heat of battle, yet sharpshooting has become so common that to hear the occasional rattle of musketry along the whole line scarcely excites the dread or suspicion of those witnessing it for the past six weeks. It is true, both armies sustain some loss by sharpshooting; but that loss is of no importance to either.

The enemy’s plans are not yet developed to any one, unless it be to Gen. Johnston, which leaves us to conjecture. The bulk of the Yankee army is probably massing on our left. Of course the chief object is to flank, like the boy by wrestling, but Sherman won’t do so unless he gets all “under bolt.”

The confidence of the whole army is unabated in Gen. Johnston, and the greatest enthusiasm prevails. It can be seen that the army of Tennessee needs one other assistance, and that is Forrest, to command the cavalry. We have a brave corps of cavalry, but there seems to be something lacking. With Forrest, to lead them, Shermans’s rear would be so harrassed as to force him back, or reduce his army by the number of troops required to guard depots and the long string of railroad over which he is obliged to ship his supplies daily.

There is but little discipline in our cavalry — the number of stragglers scattered through the country from that command testifies to the fact. I know that Northeast Georgia is absolutely filled with infantry deserters and cavalry stragglers. I am aware that discipline does not always prevent desertion, but it does strangling.

It is yet known who the President will appoint Lieutenant-General to command Polk’s old corps.

Newspaperman’s Eyewitness Account of Wagner’s Assault on Kennesaw Mt.

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Wagners Brigade with tags , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by 40thindiana

This is a great account of the assault by Wagner’s brigade on Kennesaw Mt. from a relatively unknown Will County, IL. history book. The account before the newspaperman’s is from a veteran of the 100th Illinois Infantry. Link to the book:  http://archive.org/details/fifteenyearsagoo00wood

“Fifteen years ago; or, The patriotism of Will County, designed to preserve the names and memory of Will County soldiers, both officers and privatesboth living and dead: to tell something of what they did, and of what they suffered, in the great struggle to preserve our nationality”  By George H. Woodruff, Published for the author by J. Goodspeed, Joliet, Ill., 1876; pp 337 -341

Chapter VIII – History of the One Hundredth (Illinois); or, Will County Regiment 

“We have come now to the memorable “assault on Kenesaw” the 27th of June, when our division was moved to the right, and made a charge on the enemy’s works in front of the line occupied by Gen. Stanley’s division. Other charges were made in other parts of the line, all of which were unsuccessful. But that of our division was the severest. Our regiment was in the hottest of it. The division charged in solid mass, and found the enemy posted behind heavy earthworks with an abatis of brush in front, and three rows of sharpened stakes driven in front of their works, so that our men could not pass without stopping to pull them out; and to stop while making a charge is almost certain death. With grape and canister raking our boys both in flank and front, nothing but a depression in the ground kept them from being annihilated. Capt. Bowen and Major Hammond with the colors rallied about 150 men just under the hill, after the main part of the division had fallen back, and sent for entrenching tools, and would have made good their position within 60 yards of the enemy’s works. But instead of sending them tools, Gen. Wagner, commanding the brigade, thought it wiser to order the Major to bring the men in. When they got back behind the entrenchments they found the rest of the brigade forming their lines, and the belief current that the Major, Capt. Bowen, and the men, had been killed, and the colors lost, and their return was an agreeable surprise. Our color-bearer, Michael Murphy, carried the colors within ten steps of the rebel works and brought them safely away again.” In this charge which was equal in daring and hopelessness to the famous “charge of the 600;” and which now at least, in the cool distance, seems to have been uncalled for, and made without adequate promise of compensating good, and which Gen. Sherman labors somewhat in his report to justify, – the assaulting column suffered so severely as to draw tears even from the eyes of the enemy. For, as an eye witness relates, (one of the officers of the 100th) “The rebels sent our men word that the woods were on fire, and we had better come and take care of our killed and wounded. Lieut. Bartlett went with a detail of men, and while thus engaged conversed with a noble looking captain of the rebel army, who, as he looked upon the scene, said, with tears rolling down his cheeks, ‘This is awful, awful – but we had to do it.'” In this assault, the severest in which the 100th was ever engaged, the regiment lost three killed and 16 wounded, as in list below. Among the valuable lives lost that day was Gen. Harker, commanding one of the brigades in our division, a man and an officer greatly beloved, not only by his own command, but by all who knew him, and who only four days before had shed tears over the remains of our colonel. The following graphic description of the assault of the 4th corps was written immediately after by the correspondent of the “Cincinnati Commercial,” and is so truthful and interesting that I cannot forbear copying it entire.

“The 4th and 14th corps, the staunch center of the army, were called upon to give fresh proof of their valor to-day. These two corps, though originally in front of Kenesaw, had been pushed by the converging advance of our army to the southward of that frowning peak. The noble 4th corps, though by heavy odds the heaviest sufferer of the army, was the one of the three from which the assault was demanded. The boys were tired of heavy skirmishing; it had grown tedious, and lost its excitement, and I believe when they were apprized that their corps was to furnish two or three assaulting columns, they received the intelligence with a quick interest – nothing more. This thing of killing and being killed, had become an every day affair. Every platoon in the corps had bled freely since the campaign opened. They felt probably, as all veterans must feel, some apprehension, for the result of an assault upon a heavily fortified enemy, but none for themselves. Early in the gray of the morning, the preparations for the assault commenced, the first symptom being an unusually early breakfast. There was no evidence in the movement or bearing of the men, that they were so soon to essay “the deadly imminent breach;” though they must have been conscious that the task laid out for them was one which none but men hoping to meet death would covet. Between 7 and 8 o’clock the lines were formed. Newton’s division, consisting of Generals Wagner, Kimball, and Harker’s brigades, being selected as the storming parties. Kimball’s being on the left and somewhat retired, to act as a support of the other two. Wagner’s held the center, and Harker’s the right. Wood’s and Stanley’s divisions of the 4th corps furnished supports on the flanks of the assaulting brigades, but they were not seriously engaged, and their loss is trifling.

Assault of Wagner’s Brigade

“This splendid brigade, composed of the 40th Ind., 57th Ind., 97th Ohio, 26th Ohio, 100th Ills., and 28th Kentucky, was thrown into columns of regimental divisions, thus giving the brigade a front of two companies, and a depth of 30 lines. The advance regiment was the 40th Ind., commanded by the fearless Blake. The column was formed in good season, and during the brief respite that ensued before the word “charge” was given, the men rested silently in their places, and no one could have guessed from their undisturbed faces, that all the latent gallantry of their natures could be aroused, and lashed into a fury of heroism during the next ten minutes. Here was a man carefully replacing his shoe and tucking away the strings; the proposition that “forlorn hopes” should be well and tightly shod plainly expressed in his movements. Letters were torn and crumpled and thrown furtively aside. Doubtless miniatures came from their hiding places for a moment that morning, but such things are done in the army in profound secrecy. The soldier hates a scene, and none more than the purely sentimental variety.

“At half-past eight the men spring to their feet at the word fraught with death to many. Thirty consecutive lines of blue leaped forward with impetuous strides making their way through the scattered trees and underbrush in splendid order. Before them on the crest of the ridge was the silent, and to the sight, the untenanted convex salient of the enemy’s works, for which they were aiming. They neared it rapidly, their enthusiasm rising with every step, and their hearts rising high as each indistinct object grew plain, as the slopes of the parapet became a mere furrow over which it seemed they must go. At the next moment the gates of hell opened in their very faces! A close, concentrating blast of musketry swept over the front line, leaving it indented, but unwavering! With the momentum of a mighty river, the brigade swept on until but two hundred paces – a mere stone’s throw it looked – divided the assailants from the assailed. The musketry of the enemy died to a mere pattering – muskets must be reloaded, and this fact sometimes looses battles. But palisades and abatis must be passed; and with the next rebel volley fired, as the fearless 40th Ind. reached a point within a hundred paces of their works, came a more awful thunder! Squarely in the teeth of the inspired brigade opened a battery of six guns, belching forth grape and canister, every shot ploughing through the devoted ranks, and the thick fume of their guns enveloping the interval of ground over which our brigade must pass. Every ball from those guns infiladed sixty men, the column of attack as I have already said, being thirty lines deep. The front lines shattered to pieces, slackened their furious onset, which brought those in the rear, jamming up in one confused mass of men – confused – but still bent on their fearfully grim and bloody task. It was intended when the head of the column reached a point within pistol shot of the enemy’s parapet, to deploy into a column of regiments. This was no longer feasible, for organization was lost, and the whole column was a tightly closed surging mass of men, ragged at the edges – but all moving one way – toward the enemy! The rebel battery fired a second volley, completing shattering Wagner’s column, as a column, the cannon blowing aside every animated thing in their front. Masses of men moved to the right and the left of the range of the battery – still bent upon one object. Many struggled up within twenty yards of the enemy’s works, some penetrated the lines of the palisades, and abatis at their base, and a devoted few planted the foot of a color-staff on the slope of a parapet! But the assault had failed – failed heroically in less time than I have taken to relate it. For nearly an hour portions of the brigade held points within fifty yards of the enemy’s line, but all such were thinned out by the deadly rifle men, who nearly secure himself, was at liberty indulge in the uncommon luxury of gloating over a foe, before firing with cool, deliberate and unerring aim. As the remnants of the brigade started back, long lines of rebels swarmed from their trenches, pursuing rapidly with infernal yells. They soon swarmed back, and faster than they emerged, when our reserves opened on them with a withering fire of small arms and artillery. The brigade fell back to the line vacated in the morning, leaving over two hundred killed and wounded. The proportion of officers lost was larger than the average, and here, as elsewhere during the assault, an unusual number were hit in the head. Wagner’s brigade left winter quarters last spring, nearly 2000 strong, but it was reduced to half that number,over fifty percent having been killed and wounded during the campaign. Gen. Wagner fought, where he always fights, at the head of his brigade, and his escape from hurt is most miraculous. Two or three hours after the assault, his men were bustling around their camps, making their coffee, having already exhausted conversation on the great topic which the morning had furnished. ‘D–n the assaults in column,’ I heard one remark as he punched the blaze under his coffee, ‘they make a man more afraid of being trampled to death by the rear lines, than he is of the enemy, they might do on a marble floor.’

“His comments would offend Jomini and Monticella, but the speaker as a member of one of the advanced regiments in the assaulting column had a clear right to speak his mind.”

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

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

HEADQUARTERS. SIXTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO,
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,
TH. J. WOOD,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

Gen. Wagner’s Shiloh After Action Report

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

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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