Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 23. Some warmer to-day and groups could be seen about noon sunning themselves outside. Dan and Griff went to town early, and returned with a small sheet iron stove, about the size of an inverted camp kettle, $5.00 worth. But it is a prodigy of comfort. In ten minutes we had it blazing and the tent so warm as to be uncomfortable. About dusk a cedar rail mysteriously found its way into our tent, and was speedily converted into wood, nobody knows how, of course.

{ 0 comments }

23rd. Wednesday. Resumed our backward march, the rebs following as far as Fisher’s Hill. Very cold. Walked till sore footed. Went into old camp.

{ 0 comments }

Near Griswoldville, November 22, 1864.

Has been a gay day for our brigade. The other two brigades of our division went to work on the railroad this morning, and we on a reconnoisance toward Macon. Found Rebel cavalry at once. My Companies A and B, were thrown out as skirmishers. Forty of us drove at least 400 Rebel cavalry at least four miles, and kept them a mile ahead of the brigade. I think we killed and wounded at least 20 of them. We finally charged them out of a rail barricade and thoroughly stampeded them. It was the richest thing I ever saw. We got highly complimented on the way we drove them. Griswoldville was the point we started for, and having reached it we lay there an hour or so, and were then ordered back to the brigade. We found it in line along an open field, building a rail barricade along the front. We had a nice open field without even a fence on it, full 600 yards wide in our front. We were getting dinner, not dreaming of a fight, when lively musketry opened on the picket line, and in a minute more our pickets came in flying. A fine line of Johnnies pushed out of the woods after them, and then started for us. We commenced throwing up logs in our front and did not fire a shot until they were within 250 yards of us, by which time our works would protect us from musketry. We all felt that we had a sure thing, and had there been but one line of Rebels, we would have let them come up close to us. But, by the time the first line had got within 250 yards of us, three other lines had emerged from the woods, and they had run two batteries out on the field further to our right which opened on us. Our artillery returned the fire, but was silenced almost immediately. We then let loose on them with our muskets, and if we did not interest them, it is queer. One after another their lines crumbled to pieces, and they took the run to save themselves. There was a ravine 50 yards in front of us, and as the Rebels did not dare to run back over that field, they broke for the ravine. It was awful the way we slaughtered those men. Once in the ravine most of them escaped by following it up, the willows and canes screening them. We let a skirmish line into the ravine, which gobbled some 50 prisoners, a number of Africans among them. It was a most complete repulse, and when the numbers alone are considered, a glorious thing for us. Only our little brigade of say 1,100 muskets ware engaged on our side and no support was nearer than four miles (and then but one brigade), while the Rebels had four brigades and two regiments, about 6,000 men. But the four brigades were “Militia.” We estimate their loss at 1,000, and I do not think it an overestimate. Ours is 14 killed and 42 wounded in the whole brigade; four killed and seven wounded in the regiment; two in my company; 25 out of 30 Rebel bullets went 20 feet over our heads. Not one of ours went higher than their heads. Gen. C. C. Wolcutt was wounded much as Colonel Wright was, but more severely. No officers in our regiment were wounded. Two Rebel generals were either killed or wounded—General George, who formerly commanded in north Mississippi, and General Hall or Call. I was never so affected at the sight of wounded and dead before.

Old grey-haired and weakly-looking men and little boys, not over 15 years old, lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys, they almost all who could talk, said the Rebel cavalry gathered them up and forced them in.

We took all inside our skirmish line that could bear moving, to our hospital, and covered the rest with the blankets of the dead. I hope we will never have to shoot at such men again. They knew nothing at all about fighting, and I think their officers knew as little, or else, certainly knew nothing about our being there. About dark we moved back to this place, two miles from the battle field. The Johnnies drew off before we did, I think.

{ 0 comments }

Tuesday, 22d—The weather has turned cold. We left our bivouac early this morning with the wagon train and at 10 o’clock caught up with our division at Gordon, where they were in camp last night. Gordon is fifteen miles from Milledgeville and is the junction of the railroad running from there to Savannah. General Sherman with the left wing of our army passed through here ahead of us, remaining in the town three or four days. We left Gordon about noon and marched ten miles on a byroad off to the right of our corps, going into bivouac near Irwinton, the county seat of Wilkinson county. This is a nice little town, but like all other places we passed through, is deserted, the citizens running away on the approach of our army, and leaving everything with the negroes. All is quiet at the front.

{ 0 comments }

Tuesday, 22. — Snow on the mountains low down; ground frozen; “sky, chill and drear.” Rode with Roberts to Winchester and the battle-field, to where I crossed Red Bud Creek. An ugly place to cross, it is.

{ 0 comments }

November 22d, 1864.

The storm that has raged the last three days has passed away. Since last Friday evening until today, there has been a steady downpour. The swamps and lowlands are flooded. In our camp, situated as it is on high, sandy land, no inconvenience is felt. Now is the time Grant’s railroad conies in play. Without it we could not hold our position. About half the land between here and the Point is submerged; all of it is as bottomless.

Our furloughed men have all returned. They all tell the same story; a pleasant, happy time, but oh, so short, so quickly passed. They had only fifteen days. So soon as twenty days are offered, I will make an effort to obtain one for myself.

{ 0 comments }

November 22d.—Rained in torrents last night; cold this morning and cloudy.

All quiet below. But there was an alarm, night before last, growing out of a stampede of some 50 of the enemy’s beeves. They charged upon our line, regardless of the fire of cannon and musketry, and were all captured after penetrating our works. Brave cattle!

Gov. Vance writes that if Wilmington be attacked by a large force in the rear of Fort Fisher, its fall is inevitable, unless two brigades of veteran troops be sent from Gen. Lee’s army. He says the defense of Wilmington is as important as that of Richmond. The President directs the Secretary of War to communicate with Gen. Lee on the subject.

We learn that Gen. Grant is on a visit to his family at Burlington, N. J.; and yet the departmental troops (clerks) are still kept in the trenches. It is said the President’s family keep them there by the most imploring appeals to Gen. Lee, and that the President himself does not feel altogether safe while the Federal army is so near him. His house is on the side of the city most exposed, if a sadden attack were made, of which, however, there seems to be no danger at present. Several brigades of Gen. Early’s troops have arrived from the Yalley.

Gold sells to-day at $42 for $1. And it rises in the United States. This produces trepidation in the cabinet.

Snowed a few few minutes to-day, 4 P.M. The clouds are breaking—cold.

What appetites we have! Shin-soup and bean-soup alternately are relished with shark-like appetites.

{ 0 comments }

November 22d. Everything has been quiet with us up to this date. The daily routine comes and goes on from day to day. Weather good for this time of the year. Late today, marching orders received. Must leave here for Halltown, four miles south of Harper’s Ferry.

{ 0 comments }

Nashville, Tuesday, Nov. 22. Last night was a very severe night. Many suffered severely from cold. We slept tolerably warm with the exception of feet. Ground is all hard. Water frozen four inches thick. The day passed, such a day as that which makes people draw close around the family stove, in the warm rooms of our houses. ‘Tis not strange then that every means of warmth was resorted to. Many a fellow lay wrapped up in his blankets all day, while we were huddled around our skillet of coals, replenished as often as practicable from the few heaps of fire out doors (the wood being very scarce). Dan on guard. Clothing arrived. I drew a pair of boots. Boys went strong on overcoats. I would draw one if there was one to be had. Many of them bought sheet iron stoves in town, paying from six to ten dollars. We must get one to-morrow if possible. Strict orders issued to us from Major * * * headed Camp Barry. None allowed to go to town without his pass. Four roll calls a day.

{ 0 comments }

22nd. Went on to Mt. Jackson and found the whole of Early’s army posted two miles beyond. Quite lively skirmishing. 2nd Ohio in rear at the creek. Had charge of 3rd Battalion, broken as soon as rebs charged through town. Colors in front. Charged back several times. Infantry kept close on heels of the cavalry. Lyons, poor boy, is missing. Camped on old ground at Woodstock. A very cold night.

{ 0 comments }