J[ohn] H[amilton] Se Cheverell.

Journal history of the Twenty-ninth Ohio veteran volunteers, 1861-1865 online

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took possession of Winchester. Troops from here de-
stroyed the Baltimore & Ohio railroad and constantly
harrassed our forces in the direction of Harper's Ferry
and Cumberland. It was of great importance that the
Union arms gain and hold possession of this point,
hence the concentration of Federal troops in this

Skirmishing with the enemy was a daily occurrence,
and, on the morning of March 20th, a reconnoissance in
force was made up the valley to Strasburg. General
Shields, with the Twenty-ninth and its brigade, number-
ing some six thousand men, moved direct to that point,


while Colonel Mason's brigade advanced on the Front
Royal road. At Cedar creek a lively artillery duel
transpired, during which the rebels succeeded in burning
the bridge. The following morning the entire command
fell back to its camp below Winchester. This was a march
which tested the men's power of endurance to its ut-
most. The rain fell lightly but continuously during the
day. For rations the men had barely one cracker each,
and yet they made the entire distance — twenty-two
miles — in seven hours, halting only a few minutes about



The Battle of Winchester or Kernstown — Stonewall Jackson Whipped,

At Kernstown, some four miles south of Winchester,
Jackson's command, numbering fully fifteen thousand
men, was massed, and on March 2 2d attacked the Union
outposts. The citizens of Winchester, who, by the way^
were about as thoroughly imbued with treason as at any
point within the writer's knowledge in the whole of the
chivalrous (?) South, were in high glee at the prospect of
being rid of those odious Lincoln hirelings, and some
were so sanguine of success to the Southern arms that
they prepared elegant repasts for the victors. However
that may be, the rebel horde did not enter Winchester
at this time, except, perhaps, a few dead ones carried
there for burial.

Soon after the firing began the First and Second
brigades of General Shields' division were moved to the
front, and a lively skirmish ensued resulting in the re-
pulse of the enemy. General Shields was wounded
quite severely during this brief engagement, and at night,
when active hostilities ceased, he retired to Winchester,
The dawn of Sunday, March 23d, was heralded by the
rapid boom of artillery and the lively rattle of musketry,
as the advance of the two armies resumed the skirmish-
ing of the previous afternoon. This was continued dur-
ing nearly the entire forenoon. About noon the long
roll beat throughout our camp ; quickly the men fell into
line, and in columns of fours, under command of brave
Colonel Buckley, marched rapidly, a portion of the dis-


tance at a double quick, toward the point of attack.
On reaching Winchester the regiment halted, came to a
front, loaded their pieces, and remained until the artillery
and trains had passed. We then moved on the road
leading to Kernstown, some two or three miles, and
again halted. After some vexatious delay the regiment
again resumed the march and soon reached the scene of
the action, which was about seven miles from Winches-
ter. The enemy were under General Thomas J. Jack-
son (Stonewall). His right extending across the Pike lead-
ing to Strasburg, and his forces on his left masked behind
a stone fence, while at the rear for a considerable distance
the ground was a gradual ascent covered with stumps
and wood which were well used as cover. The Twenty-
ninth regiment and its brigade was moved to the ex-
treme right of the line, and, formed in close column, by
division, moved forward through the timber to the at-
tack. At close range the rebels opened a heavy fire, but
we continued to advance, halting at a small ravine where
we deployed in line of battle, and in this position a sharp
and .determined engagement ensued. The distance
between the opposing forces did not exceed sixteen
rods. Late in the afternoon an order was given the
Third brigade to charge the rebel line. Quick as thought
the whole line sprang forward, and with cheers sounding
above the roar of the conflict, in the teeth of a murder-
ous fire, swept down over the stone wall and at the bay-
onet's point drove the enemy from their chosen position.
To the rear they fled until reaching their artillery, where
another stand was made and a rally attempted. The
Union lead poured into their ranks with such deadly ef-
fect that they soon became panic-stricken, and in the
greatest disorder retreated in whatever direction best
offered an avenue of escape, and Stonewall Jackson, the


pride of the South and by many considered the bravest
general in the rebel army, was whipped, and that, too, by
a force much inferior in numbers, many of whom had
never faced death before.

To make the victory still more sure our forces followed
the disordered mass of fleeing rebels and captured many
prisoners, until darkness closed over all, when our brave
boys returned to rest upon their laurels upon the bloody
field of carnage, bury the dead and care for the wound-
ed. The result of this battle was a loss to the rebels of
the Shenandoah valley, at that time of great importance
to them, with casualties amounting to some five hundred
men killed, wounded, and left on the field, and three
liundred prisoners. The loss of the Twenty-ninth regi-
ment in this action was : Five killed, seven wounded,
two missing; aggregate fourteen. See casualties at the
'Close of the volume for names.



Pursuit of Jackson — The "Long" March — Fredericksburg to Front;
Royal — March to Waynesboro.

At early dawn on the morning of March 24th the
Union army pushed forward in pursuit of the retreating,
rebels. The Twenty-ninth deployed as skirmishes ia
the advance. Many wounded Confederates were found
in private houses along the line of march. About noon
the dashing rebel cavalry officer Ashby came from cover
and suddenly swooped down upon the regiment with
aheavy cavalry force. Rallying by companies and
forming squares, a well directed volley soon sent
the rebels in haste to the rear. The pursuit of
the fleeing rebels was continued until nightfall, when
the regiment went into bivouac near Cedar creek. The
next morning (25th) our columns again pushed forward
until reaching a point a little in advance of Strasburg,,
where a halt was ordered and a camp (Kimball,) estab-
lished. Here we remained for some time, making fre-
quent raids into the surrounding country and skirmish-
ing almost daily with the enemy.

April 1st the regiment again moved after the retreat-
ing army, and about daylight on the following morning
indulged in some artillery firing with the rebel rear
guards. During the month of April the regiment
marched up the valley as far as Newmarket, passing the
towns of Woodstock and Mount Jackson. At the latter
place a hospital was established, and companies G and
E were detailed for provost, and other duties, in andi


around Mount Jackson, while the remainder of the regi-
ment moved up the valley to Camp Thurburn and con-
tinued the usual picket, camp, and guard duties.

May 3d left camp and marched up the valley in the
direction of Harrisburg; halted about three miles from,
town and camped for the night. May 5th, returned
from near the town of Harrisburg and went into camp
four miles above Newmarket, where the regiment re-
mained until the 12th day of May, when it left the
Shenandoah valley at Newmarket on the long march to
Fredericksburg, marched to Luray, and encamped for
the night (marched eighteen miles). Thirteenth, moved
at 7 A. M. The Twenty-ninth, was detailed as rear guard.
Fourteenth, marched at 6, reached Front Royal at 3:30
p. M. and camped for the night. Fifteenth, marched at 9 a.
M., traveled thirteen miles, and went into camp. Six-
teenth, marched at 6:30 a. m., reached Gains' Cross
Road, and camped for the night, (marched ten miles).
May 17th, marched at 6 a. m., and reached Warrenton
(distance of eighteen miles), and went into camp for the
night. Sunday, May i8th, remained in camp. Mon-
day, 19th, marched at 5 o'clock a. m., and at 3 p. m.
reached the Orange & Alexandria railroad at Catlet's
Station, and went into camp. Remained until May 21st,
when the regiment again marched at 6 a. m., halting at
10:30 p. M. for the night. Twenty-second, marched at
7 A. M., reached Falmouth in the evening, and went into
camp. Friday, May 23d, the army under Major-general
McDowell was reviewed by Abraham Lincoln, the Presi-
dent of the United States, with satisfactory results.
Sunday, 25th, marched at 6 a. m., and at 4:30 went
into camp. Twenty-sixth, marched at 5 a. m., and
camped for the night at Catlet's Station. Twenty-
seventh, marched some four miles on the Manassas Gap.


railroad, and went into camp. Twenty-eighth, marched
at 5 A. M. past White Plains: after tramping fifteen miles
went into camp. Twenty-ninth, marched at 7 o'clock
A. M. in the direction of Front Royal, reached Rector-
town at 4 o'clock p. M., and two hours later fell in, in
light marching order, and moved forward, leaving the
baggage until May 31st, when at 4 o'clock a. m. it
moved forward towards Front Royal, reaching Pied-
mont at 9 A. M., and Markham at 4 p. m.; moved to
within six miles of Front Royal, and camped for the
night. June ist, marched to Front Royal, and at 4 p.
M. moved forward some three miles on the Luray road,
and went into camp. June 2d, marched at 6 a. m.,
marched thirteen miles, and went into camp. Third,
marched at 7 a. m., reached Luray at 12 m., passed
through the town on the Newmarket road, some two
miles and camped. Fourth, remained in camp all day.
Fifth, marched at 5 a. m., marched four miles, halted,
put up our tents, and prepared to be comfortable, when
at 3 o'clock p. M. we were ordered to move. This was
•occasioned by the close proximity of the rebel batteries
on the opposite side of the river. The regiment marched
-about one mile and again halted for the night. Sixth,
ordered to march at 4 a. m., fell into line at 5, moved
two miles, halted, stacked arms, soon fell in and
marched about two miles farther, pitched our tents, and
at 6 p. M. fell in and marched back to the place the regi-
ment left in the morning, where we arrived at 12 at
night, and went into camp. Saturday, 7th, the regiment
was up at 4 A. M. and marched at 9 a. m. (the baggage
was ordered to Luray and Front Royal; Sergeant C. H.
Edgerly and Private Willard Denison, of Company H,
were furloughed home for thirty days), marched up the
seast bank of the Shenandoah river, a distance of four-


teen miles, halted at 6 p. m., and went into camp.
Eighth, marched at 4 a. m., halted at 6:30 for breakfast,
and at 8:15 again moved forward; soon heard the artillery
firing at Cross Keys on the west side of the Shenandoah
river and mountain. The regiment moved on up fhe
river and about 5 o'clock p. m. were in sight of the
rebels, whose ambulances and train were moving rapidly
in retreat in the direction of Port Republic from the
battle of Cross Keys. The Union forces were under
the command of Major-general John C. Fremont, and
the Confederate army commanded by Major-general
Thomas J. Jackson. The Union army took shelter in a
strip of woods at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountain,
near Port Republic, Virginia, and bivouacked for the.



Battle of Port Republic— The Twenty-ninth Suffer Great Loss.
On June 9th, in the dim light of early morning the
enemy began to move, and soon our artillery opened a
brisk fire on them. The Twenty-ninth regiment, under
command of Colonel Buckley, was ordered to fall in,
and at 6:45 o'clock marched out of the timber into the
open field, and moved forward a short distance, when
the men unslung knapsacks and other equipage and,
reduced to light marching order, advanced by the right
flank, and when near the rebel position came into line
on the double quick. While doing so we were obliged
to pass a board fence ; and at this critical time the rebels
opened a heavy fire of musketry, but the regiment
moved steadily forward and took position in the open
field. The rebels in front of our right wing were behind
a strong post and rail fence.

From the base of the mountain to the Shenandoah
river was about one-half mile. The extreme left of our
line extended into the timber and near the base of the
mountain with the right flank extending to the river.
The Fifth, Sixty-sixth and Seventh Ohio regiments were
on our left, and the Seventh Virginia, Seventh, Thirteenth
and Fourteenth Indiana on our right. The Twenty-
ninth being about the right center regiment during the
battle, and at this time in support of Huntington's bat-
tery, which was belching forth its shot and shell, doing
deadly execution in the ranks of the advancing rebels.
When in close range the rebels charged. Reserving our


'fire until they were almost upon us, the order was given,
and with a yell the entire line poured its leaden hail
into the gray clad columns of the chivalry, producing
fearful slaughter, and following with a charge so impetu-
ous that they were forced to retire from their secure posi-
tion behind the fence, and here, for more than three
hours and a half, our brave fellows, though outnumbered
ten to one by the enemy and fighting against fate, kept
them at bay and held the position. During this charge
it is said that Allen Mason, of company C, Twenty-
ninth regiment, captured the colors of the Seventh
Louisiana Tigers, and Lieutenant Gregory and a part of
•company F made prisoners of twenty-five of the same
regiment. At last the little handfull, who had so gal-
lantly contended against such fearful odds, were forced
to retire. The Twenty-ninth regiment moved to the rear,
perhaps an eighth of a mile, and came to a halt, holding
the rebel forces in check until the entire Union forces
had passed to the rear. In the meantime the rebels had
opened fire upon us with a battery at close range, which
did fearful execution in our rapidly decimating ranks.
When all our troops had passed, our regiment faced to
the right and moved obliquely into the timber; the rebels
in the meantime passed down the road and we were
nearly surrounded, and now, for a distance of nearly
two miles occurred a desperate struggle for freedom,
The men fought with the desperation born of despair.
Brave old Colonel Buckley (who before beginning the
day's business addressed the regiment, saying : " Aim
low, men, and at every shot let a traitor fall !") on
foot, his own and one other horse having been disabled
by a shot, rallied the men, and with sword in hand with
them succeeded in cutting their way through the cordon
of gray devils almost surrounding them, and escaped to


the mountains near, where some one hundred men of the
different regiments of the Third brigade, with Colonel
Buckley at their head, bivouacked for the night. The
small remainder of the regiment, except those killed^
wounded or captured, succeeded in reaching the main
army. Captain Baldwin says that those who reached the
main army of the Twenty-ninth regiment numbered only
thirteen officers and men.

The night succeeding this eventful day of blood and
carnage was spent amid the gloom and darkness of the
forest. The men gathered about their brave commander
as if to shield him from the damps of night, their
thoughts turning meanwhile to the absent comrades,,
many of whom, how many they knew not, were lying,
still and ghastly, upon the bloody field, a sacrifice to the
incompetency of the general commanding. The day-
following, the little band began its weary march to the
rear, seeking shelter at night in some unused furnace
buildings. The next day they came in sight of the rear
guard of the retreating army, where they found the small
remnant of the Twenty-ninth, who had escaped death or
capture, and who, when they saw their beloved colonel
alive and well, fairly rent the very heavens above with
their glad shouts of welcome.

The number of the Union army engaged in this battle
was some twenty-five hundred, and could form but one
line of battle, while Stonewall Jackson's official report
shows his army to have numbered some ihirty-f our thous-
and. The Twenty-ninth regiment lost heavily in this
battle. The aggregate was : Killed, 12; wounded, 2iZ ">
captured, 105 ; total, 150.

After the battle the Twenty-ninth regiment moved
down the valley to Luray, where the command encamped
for a io."^ days' rest, then forward to Front Royal, and on


to Alexandria, reaching that point on June 27th, en-
camping on a rise of ground immediately adjacent to
the line of fortifications. The Third brigade was now
composed of the Seventh, Fifth, Sixty-sixth, and Twenty-
ninth Ohio regiments, in the order named. General
Shields having resigned by reason of McDowell's mis-
representations in relation to the ill-advised battle of
Port Republic, General Sturgis, who has recently re-
ceived so much adverse criticism through the press of
the country, for his brutal and inhuman treatment of his
men, was placed temporarily in command. After lying
at this point for nearly one month orders were received
to move to the aid of General McClellan on the Penin-
sula, and we embarked on transports, but the order
was countermanded and the Third brigade marched
back to its old camp,

July 25th we were ordered to join the force of General
Pope, then marching via Warrenton to the Rapidan
river. Proceeding by rail to the former point the bri-
gade was reorganized and attached to Banks' Second
3orps, afterwards changed to the Twelfth army corps, as
the First brigade of General Augur's Second division.
Mter a few days of " masterly inactivity " we marched
in the direction of Luray. Debouching to the left on
;he road leading southward toward the Rapidan, we soon
reached Little Washington and went into camp. While
lere the troops were reviewed by Generals Pope and
Banks, who complimented our brigade very highly upon
ts perfection in drill and discipUne. General Tyler was
lere ordered to Washington, and Brigadier-general John
^V. Geary, late colonel of the Twenty-eighth Pennsyl-
;7ania infantry volunteers, was placed in command of our
brigade. His regiment and Knapp's battery were also



assigned to the brigade. A forward movement in the
direction of Culpeper Court House, Virginia (on the
Rapidan), was begun on August 8th. Here the Con-
federates were preparing defences, and at Cedar Moun-
tain, some seven miles to the southwest of our position,
they were strongly fortified.



Cedar Mountain— Battle- Severe Loss of Life— Forward to Alexandria.
August 8th, the regiment moved at 2 o'clock, advanced
to Culpeper Court House, and went into camp ; and
at 10:40, on the morning of August 9th, moved forward
in the direction of Cedar mountain. Halted a short
time, and the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania regiment was
sent to the right on an eminence as signal guard. The
remainder of the brigade soon advanced, halting at
intervals, as the day was insufferably hot (several men
died this day of sunstroke). At last, passing through a
piece of timber, we approached the open field with a
rolling country in our front, and at 1:30, while making
preparations for dinner (near a fine spring of water),
skirmishing and artillery firing was heard on our right,
which continued at intervals until 3:45, when the rebels
appeared in heavy force, ready for battle, and the Union
lines were formed without delay. The Twenty-ninth
regiment (commanded by Captain W. F. Stevens, of
Company B,) was ordered to advance and take position
in rear of a battery which had been placed on a ridge.
Here the regiment took position, the right resting on
the road, and the left extending into the field, covered
from the enemy by the hill on which the battery
was placed. The Twenty-ninth, with other regiments of
the brigade, was about on the right of the left wing of
the line in open field, while the right wing extended
across the road, and into the timber. The regiment


remained in this position, supporting the battery, and
receiving a heavy fire from the rebel artillery in our front.
Here several men were wounded.

At 5 o'clock p. M., we moved over the crest of the
hill, to a cornfield some distance in advance of our pre-
vious position. During the advance to this new position
a terrific cannonade opened on us, dealing great destruc-
tion to our ranks. Apparently every cannon of the
enemy was let loose against us, but j we never faltered in
this march of death, despite the terrible missiles that
were tearing through our bleeding ranks. Comrades
were falling, and brothers dying. The mangled and
bleeding victims of the fury and violence of war were left
thick around us, making the ground sacred on which
they fell ;^ but we wavered not. Reaching a low piece
of ground, we halted, and were ordered to lie down
and continue firing. We remained for one hour in the
open field, exposed to this furious storm of grape and
canister, shot and shell. Comrades gave up their Hves
so gently that it was scarce possible to tell the living
from the dead. The fatal missile struck the victim,
leaving the lifeless clay in the same attitude which the
living body occupied. During the fatal period death
assumed a real character while life seemed but a dream.
The engagement had now become general. The brigade
of General Prince came up, and formed on the left of
our regiment. The Sixty-sixth, Fifth, and Seventh Ohio
regiments were formed on our right, in the order named.
(The Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania regiment was not with
us in this engagement.)

At a given signal the brigade arose and, with defiant
yells, rushed forward to the charge, Prince's brigade on
the left moved forward with us. A sheet of flame and
smoke burst forth from rebel batteries, musketry replied


to musketry, bayonet clashed with bayonet, and cheers
rang out against cheers, as one side or the other gained
the advantage in this deadly conflict. Daring warmed
into rashness, and bravery into recklessness. Hurrah !
we force them back, their line is broken, a battery is
almost within our grasp; when in this moment of seem-
ing certain victory, fresh columns of rebel infantry rush
upon us on the double-quick, masked batteries open on
us at the same moment a most furious enfilading fire,
causing our brave boys to reel and stagger. An
order comes for us to retire, when three-fourths of our
regiment have been placed out of the fight — dead or
wounded. Slowly and sadly the remaining few obey the
order, keeping our faces to the foe until fresh troops
arrive to take our places, when we resume our position
in the reserve near Telegraph hill. Each regiment of
the brigade had done nobly, but all alike had suffered
a loss so great that the four regiments together could
not show a respectable facing front for one regiment.
As night settled over the field of carnage and of death
our entire army corps withdrew to the position it held
early in the day, but our artillery kept up a desultory
firing, with but short intervals during the night.

The casualties of this battle were: Killed, ii;
wounded, 26; missing, 12. Total, 49.

Private George Williams, company F, came off the
field with his third gun — two having been shot from his

During August loth and nth skirmishing continued.
In the afternoon of the last-named day the 29th regi-
ment was inspected. Adjutant Storer reported eighty-
three men only present for duty.

The Union army remained on the field three days,
retiring, on August 12th, to Culpeper Court House,


where it encamped. Our pickets, going over the battle
field on the 13th, reported that dead horses were piled
in promiscuous positions; dismounted cannons, wrecked
caissons, and broken fire-arms were everywhere, while
the graves of the fallen, singly and in trenches, were
scattered over the entire field, only the freshly heaped
up earth marking the spots. In one spot were the
unburied bodies of a boy in blue and one in gray, their
arms interlocked as their brave souls went out to the
God who gave them, the one for the right, the other, it
is hoped, forgiven for his misguided championship of
the wrong.

Twelfth, marched to Culpeper Court House, and went

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Online LibraryJ[ohn] H[amilton] Se CheverellJournal history of the Twenty-ninth Ohio veteran volunteers, 1861-1865 → online text (page 3 of 17)