J[ohn] H[amilton] Se Cheverell.

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

. (page 6 of 17)
Online LibraryJ[ohn] H[amilton] Se CheverellJournal history of the Twenty-ninth Ohio veteran volunteers, 1861-1865 → online text (page 6 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

able our artillery to cover an hourly expected attack.
The situation remained the same until November 23d,
when, toward night, the beat of the "long roll" called
Geary's division to arms. It at once moved promptly
forward, formed line of battle, facing Lookout heights,
and advanced to its base along the creek. Osterhaus'


division of the Fifteenth corps, and Whittaker's brigade,
of the Fourth corps, now advanced to the left of Geary's
division. The rebels soon discovered this movement
and promptly moved a strong force down the mountain
side within easy musket range, where they strongly
fortified during the night.

The morning of November 24th opened out a simul-
taneous discharge of our entire artillery, which was
parked along the mountain's point, the infantry on our
left advancing to the base of the mountain. The First
brigade, led by Colonel Creighton, and followed by the
Second and Third brigades, moved rapidly up the creek
to the right under cover of the woods, then debouching
to the left. The First brigade took the advance and be-
gan the ascent of Lookout heights, being favored by a
friendly ravine extending toward the crest of the moun-
tain. The brigade had advanced perhaps two-thirds of
the distance before the enemy discovered its movements,
and now the men renew their efforts, driving the enemy
before them despite the terrible fire poured into our ad-
vance, and after a desperate struggle reach the rocky
crest and disappear in a thick mist (referred to by most
writers, we believe, as clouds, and which gave this en-
gagement the title of the "battle above the clouds").
The line of the whole division is extended, and in a
moment sweeps down in an impetuous charge on both
the rebel flank and rear. Their batteries are reached,
the cannoniers beaten back, and the guns captured. On-
ward, upward, with loud cheers our columns rush to vic-
tory, carrying everything before them. A whole brigade
is captured, and Lookout mountain, since famous in
song and story, is ours. This victory was won by
Geary's men, assisted only by Whittaker's brigade acting
as support. The troops below now came gallantly(?) up


the mountain to claim, as usual, the honors won, as the
voluminous reports subsequently written by their gener-
als amply attest. Geary and his brigade commanders
had no reports to make save that their division stormed
the heights and carried them, capturing the enemy's
artillery and the entire rebel force occupying the main
defenses of the mountain. Some time after the capture
the standard of the "white star" division was planted on
the crest and the stars and stripes was soon waving be-
side it. No danger was incurred by this, as none of the
enemy remained except the prisoners, yet it has been
written and rewritten as if it were an event of some im-

"The morning of November 25th revealed the white
star standard of Geary and the glorious old stars and
stripes to the army below, floating triumphantly side by
side on Lookout's rocky crest. Prolonged huzzas
greeted the victors from below, and to confirm that *to
the victors belong the spoils,' a detachment from two
regiments of Geary's command take charge of the pris-
oners, seven stand of colors, and a great number of can-
non captured."

The rebels had burned the bridge across Lookout
creek, which delayed our further advance a short time.
A bridge was soon improvised, however, and a crossing
was effected. The command moved on to Rossville,
where it engaged Braggs' left, while General Thomas, ad-
vancing from Chattanooga valley, moved up Missionary
ridge, striking Bragg a crushing blow in the center, and
Pap Sherman was making it warm for his right flank.
About 2 o'clock p. M. the firing became general along the
entire line, which continued until late in the afternoon,
when the rebels were driven from the field with great


loss. The Union army advanced a short distance and
bivouacked for the night.

November 26, we moved on after the retreating army,
and at a small creek near Greysville, Georgia, had a
skirmish, driving the enemy as far as Ringgold and Tay-
lor's ridge, where they were in position behind breastwork
in the narrow pass extending through the ridge in the
direction of Dalton.

27th. Geary's division made a gallant charge upon the
rebel works. The First brigade, commanded by Colonel
William R. Creighton, made a direct assault on Taylor's
ridge, while the Second and Third brigades engaged the
rebels in the narrow defile. After a terrible struggle the
Nationals were forced back a short distance. A battery
was moved forward and placed in position, which opened
with double shotted guns upon the enemy, soon driving
them precipitately to the rear, leaving the Nationals in
possession of the field. In this engagement the Union
loss was quite heavy.

On the 28th the army moved back, Geary's division
reaching Wauhatchie valley on the 29th. Resting a few
days, when the Twenty-ninth Ohio regiment broke camp
and on December 3d moved across Lookout creek,
marched about two miles west of Summerville, on Look-
out mountain, where it camped for the night. Returned
to its old camp at Wauhatchie, Tennessee, on the
5th day of December, and the campaign of 1863 ended.

At Wauhatchie, on the loth day of December, 1863,
the Twenty-ninth Ohio, though now reduced to less
than three hundred effective men for duty, almost to a
man re-enlisted for three years more, should the war so
long continue, and were given a thirty-days' furlough
home for the purpose of recruiting. The headquarters
of the regiment was established at Cleveland, Ohio.


It remained here some two months. At last the deci-
mated ranks were filled and, on the morning of February
8, 1864, the regiment bade a second good bye to friends,
and amidst their prayers for success and a safe return
departed for the front, determined to die for the flag if
necessary, and, after a tedious ride of many weary miles
arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama, via Louisville, Nashville,
and Murfreesboro, where it went into winter quarters and
remained until the opening of the spring campaign of



Shelmound— Wauhatchie Valley— Ringgold — Battle of Dug or Mill
Creek Gap or Buzzard's Roost — On the Move.

On the morning of May 3, 1864, at 10 o'clock, we
broke camp, crossed the Tennessee river, and moved
eastward along its south bank to Shelmound, where we
encamped for the night. On the following day the march
was resumed, the column halting for dinner in Wauhat-
chie valley. Crossing Lookout Creek and mountain,
we encamped for the night on its east side and two miles
distant from Chattanooga. The column resumed its
line of march at 7 a. m., on the 5th. Moving cautiously
durmg the day, in the advance, it halted for the night a
short distance west of Ringgold, Georgia. At daybreak
on the following morning we moved forward, and about
9 o'clock formed line of battle, remaining here during
the day and subsequent night. The beat of the ''long
roll" on the following morning called us to arms, and we
immediately advanced in Ime of battle. When near
Gordon's Springs General Kilpatrick passed to our right
with his command. Our column came to a halt for the
night near Tunnel hill.

At about II A. M., on May 8th, we pushed forward in
order of columns right in front, and at 3 o'clock arrived
in front of John's Mountain at Rocky Face Ridge, on
the summit of which the enemy were entrenched in force.
The Twenty-ninth Ohio regiment and Twenty-eighth
Pennsylvania of the First brigade. Colonel Candy com-
manding, with three regiments of Buschbeck's Second
brigade, formed in line, the latter on the right, andin this


order at once moved forward to storm the ridge. The
position of the Twenty-ninth regiment in the assaulting
column was on the extreme left, the Twenty-eighth
Pennsylvania next on its right, connecting with' the
Second brigade. Our instructions were to make a strong:
demonstration, and to carry, if possible, the rebel posi-
tion. While advancing to the assault, the brass bands in
our rear indiscreetly commenced playing National airs,,
which attracted the attention of the rebel commander^
who rapidly concentrated reinforcements in our front.
The advance up the declivity was nearly as difficult as
Lookout Mountain, and more completely fortified. Its
summit was steep, precipitous, and covered with scraggy
rocks and immense boulders. From our position we
commanded a fine view of Dug Gap, a narrow, artificial
cut through the rocky summit, connecting with a road
extending almost parallel with the ridge to the gap
beyond, and by a zigzag course reaching the mountain's
base. The rebels had so completely fortified themselves
that it was next to impossible for our assaulting force to
get nearer than their base. As we approached the rebel
line, a regiment was moved by left flank across our front.
At this moment the rebel line opened a fire so deadly in
effect that the regiment in our front became disordered
and broke through our ranks to the rear, causing a mo-
mentary confusion in the ranks of the Twenty-ninth regi-
ment. At this moment the order was given to advance,
which was executed with a rush despite the deadly volleys
that were cutting through our ranks. Up ! up ! we ga
to death or victory! and commenced to scale the obstruc-
tions close to their works; and now a storm of deadly
missiles are hurled against us. Rocks, boulders, and
even cart-wheels come crashing down upon us. Yet we
moved steadily in the deadly advance until ordered back


by our officers, when we retired a few paces to reform
our line, the fallen trees only separating us from the

Here we made a determined and bloody fight, but
having no support to cover our flank we were subjected
to a deadly cross-fire from the left, yet the regmient stub-
bornly stood its ground, returning shot for shot until its
ammunition was exhausted. More was secured from the
cartridge-boxes of the dead and wounded, and with this
we fought on, determined to hold the position until rein-
forcements should reach us. Just before dusk an order
came from the commanding general for the Twenty-
ninth regiment to retire, all the other regiments having
done so some time previous. To cover our retreat a
line of skirmishers was thrown out, composed of men
from each company who volunteered for this dangerous
duty, and right nobly did they perform this work, firing
with deadly precision as they retired from the field into
the valley below, where the Twenty-ninth were already in
bivouac, and comrades cheered lustily as the skirmishers
came in, happy to know they had not met the fate of

John Davis, of company B, a Scotchman by birth and
one of the best shots in the regiment, fired the last shot
in this day's action, and was the last to leave the field.

The Twenty-ninth regiment in this fight distinguished
itself by brave conduct, though at last compelled to
retire from lack of support. Our losses in killed and
wounded was more than double that of any other regi-
ment engaged : Killed, 26; wounded, 67; captured i;
total 94.

General Geary highly complimented the regiment for
its gallantry, remarking that he never saw men advance
under such murderous fire, especially when unsupported


and where the chances of success were so desperate.
The Twenty-ninth regiment lost nearly one-third its
numbers during this three hours' engagement, and many
were the individual acts of heroism displayed, which it
would give the writer pleasure to record. As but few
are now remembered, the remainder would suffer an in-
justice were these given. It is, however, but simple jus-
tice to state that the regiment fully sustained its previous
reputation as a fighting organization, each individual
doing his full share in the terrible work. Subsequent
events proved that this assault was made to draw the
enemy to this point, thus giving McPherson's corps and
Kilpatrick's cavalry an opportunity to possess Snake
Creek Gap, a desirable situation several miles in our
right rear, opening a flank movement directly on the ene-
my's rear.

On May 9th we encamp at Mill Creek, near Johns
Mountain, where vve remain until 12 o'clock, midnight.
We then move to the right and throw up earthworks.
May loth we are still at work. We receive the news of
General Grant's victory over General Lee at the Wilder-
ness, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, where our regiment
received such a baptism of blood a little more than a
year smce. Alas ! how many of our brave boys have
gone down to death since then.

May nth. Still in the same position, hourly expect-
ing orders to move; quartermasters remove all extra bag-
gage to the rear; all men unable for active service sent to
hospital, and everything possible put into perfect fighting
order, and by the way it's ever so much nicer penning
these lines here in our cosy room in the far away Western
Reserve of the Buckeye State than was the actual ex-
perience in Secessia during those early May days of


On the 1 2th instant we moved forward to Snake
Creek Gap, forming a junction with the Fifteenth and
Sixteenth corps (McPherson's), where we remained dur-
ing the night. At 2 o'clock p. m. on the following day
we advanced toward Resaca, fully occupying Snake
Creek Gap. Our cavalry are sharply engaged with the
enemy. Here brave General Kilpatrick is wounded. At
4 o'clock p. M. the battle is still raging fiercely, and the
enemy are being slowly driven back. At last a hill is
captured which covers the entire rebel line. Here we
fortify and rest for the night.

May 14th a severe engagement opens near Resaca;
we advance by a circuitous route to the left; the Four-
teenth corps is engaged; during the afternoon we
joined our Twentieth corps and moving rapidly to the
left; succeeded in rescuing a portion of the Fourth corps
from disaster and defeat, and one of its batteries from
certain capture, the infantry support having been driven
back, leaving the battery at the mercy of the rebels.
Robinson's brigade, of Williams' division, Twentieth
corps, who were in the advance, fortunately reached the
scene of action in time to prevent the capture of an-
other battery by making a counter-charge on the advanc-
ing rebel legions. We came up soon after this support,
which soon ended in the complete repulse of the rebels,
driving them beyond their fortifications. The Twentieth
army corps received the compliments of the command-
ing general. Hooker, for their gallant work, which re-
sulted in a loss to the enemy of some four hundred men
killed and wounded.



Battle of Resaca, Georgia— In Pursuit of the Fleeing Chivalry (?)
At an early hour on the morning of May 15th sharp
skirmishing opened along our entire front. General
Geary's Second division moved a short distance to the
left and halted for orders. About 1 1 o'clock Generals
Sherman, Hooker, and Thomas, with their respective
staffs, reached the battlefield and immediately held a
council of war. General Hooker is requested to assume
command of selected troops to take the offensive, and
is asked how large a force he required to capture a cer-
tain fort directly in our front, known to be the enemy's
stronghold and the key to his position. Hooker aston-
ished his superiors by replying : *' Geary's division can,
I think, carry that position if it can be done by anyone."
As this conversation was heard by our men we were pre-
pared for what was to follow.

As soon as General Geary had received his instruc-
tions, the Second division moved to the attack in the
following orders : Second and Third brigades in the
advance, with the First brigade closely massed in their
Tear, the latter advancing closely in support of the attack-
ing column. Our advance was met with obstinate resist-
ance, yet we steadily pushed forward, driving the enemy
back and gaining possession of three lines of hills in
rapid succession, the last of which was in close proximity
to the rebel fort, only a narrow ravine intervening. The
enemy are strongly entrenched in earthworks extending
in the rear of the fort. The First brigade commenced


a rapid firing at short range to cover the sortie being
made by regiments of the Second and Third brigades.
These regiments rush gallantly forward to the assault.
They are repulsed but quickly reform, and, with other
regiments sent to their support, they again pass forward.
The fort was captured and lost three times in succession,
but at last the rebels are forced to flee before our furious
■charge. Leaving the guns they join the main line.

The Union forces prevented the rebels from again
occupying the fort until dark, when detachments from
the Twenty-ninth and other Ohio regiments of the First
brigade were sent to open a trench through the earth-
works of the fort through which to move the guns into
the ravine below. The rebels discovering this charged
down upon us to recapture the guns. Expecting such
an attack the First brigade had moved forward into the
ravine, and now waited the coming of the rebels. When
close upon them a signal was given, which was followed
by a sheet of flame along our whole line, dealing terri-
ble destruction into the rebel ranks, immediately fol-
lowed by a determined bayonet charge, which threw their
lines into disorder and they fled panic-stricken over
their fortifications, closely pursued by our command,
whose loud huzzas sent Johnston's army in rapid retreat,
abandoned all its cannon, hospital, and commissary
stores, and with their usual savagery leaving their own
dead and wounded upon the field. We also captured
many prisoners.

This success was a grand victory for the "white star"
division of the Twentieth corps, yet not unattended with'
losses, which were, however, light in comparison with
those of the enemy. In fact, in the night attack we
had so thoroughly surprised the enemy that but feeble
resistance was made.


At an early hour on the morning of May i6th we
pushed rapidly forward in pursuit of the retreating rebels.
At 9 o'clock A. M. we came into line on the bank of the
Coosa river, near the railroad bridge, which our cavalry
had prevented the rebels from burning, though they had
made repeated efforts to do so. The enemy's flight was
so rapid that he had not even time to seriously impair
the railroad track. Our locomotives, with trains of sur-
plies, soon came in sight. We now advanced across the
river and encamped for the night.

At 12 M. on May 17th, the general forward move-
ment of our army was resumed. The Twenty-ninth
regiment was the advance guard of its division, and
assisted in driving the rebels from the little village of
Calhoun, where we halt for the night. At 5 o'clock on
the following morning we again moved forward in the
direction of Rome, Georgia. At Rome cross-roads the
rebels were met and promptly engaged by the Fourth
corps; a lively fight ensued, resulting in slight losses on
both sides. The enemy retreated, and we continued the
pursuit until 9 o'clock P. M., when we encamped for the

On the next morning at early dawn we pushed for-
ward, continuing until 3 o'clock p. m., when we halt and
form line near Kingston, Georgia. The whole force of
the enemy are immediately on our front, and the Fourth
corps promptly open fire upon them, which resulted in a
further movement of the chivalry to the rear.

We remain here until the morning of May 23d when
we move about daylight via Cassville and Cass station to
the Etowah river, which is crossed on pontoons, and a
halt for the night made on its opposite bank. The next
morning we resume the weary march, coming into
line of battle at about 9 a. m. We advanced in this


order up the Raccoon hills, or Alatoona range, until
night, when we encamp at Burnt Hickory. The First
brigade, as advance guard, moved ahead at daybreak,
via the Burnt Hickory road.




Pumpkin Vine Creek — Dallas, or New Hope Church— Slight Unpleas-
antness — Personal.

At Pumpkin Vine creek we discover the enemy and
drive back his skirmishers, who are stationed on its op-
posite bank, recovering the bridge, which we cross and
throw out skirmishers on the opposite side. While this
was being accompHshed, General Hooker and Staff, with
a small body guard, pushed ahead to reconnoiter. He
had not advanced far, however, when he was attacked by
a force of rebel sharp shooters. He now came tearing
back into our lines shouting to General Geary to move
his First brigade into position to hold the enemy in
check nntil the Second and Third brigades should come
up, they being some four miles in our rear. We quickly
formed line by columns to the right and left, the Twen-
ty-ninth Ohio occupying position on the extreme left,
Knapp's battery taking position immediately in our rear,
to cover the bridge in case we were forced to retire be-
fore reinforcements should reach us. As the left com-
pany of the Twenty-ninth were completing the battle-
line a rebel column was found marching in close
proximity to our flank.

Ten paces to the front the skirmishers were hotly en-
gaged, but our flank was uncovered. We immediately
face to the left and prepare to fire, but are prevented by
instructions not to draw on a general engagement but to
hold the position at all hazards. The rebel column on
our flank, however, slowly retired without firing a gun,
and forming on their main line, which was massed in the


woods a short distance to our front. During this time
we hastily changed front in form of a semi-circle to pro-
tect us from flank attack. This movement was executed
none too soon, as the enemy came immediately to the
attack, and a sharp engagement opened all along the
line, which was a hot one, yet it gallantly held its own
until the balance of its division came up. Forming in
bolumn with us, we advance on the rebel line and drive
them slowly back.

The battle now became fierce and our assaults were
heroically met. Generals Hooker and Geary were present
and ordered the attack, the plan of which was to advance
lines and fire, to be followed by bayonet charges, by
which the enemy was steadily driven back. Our front
line was frequently relieved by columns from the rear,
thus keeping fresh men at the front. Geary's division
alone had driven Hood's rebel corps back to the forks of
the road at New Hope church, when Butterfield's Third
division arrived and took position on our left. Soon
after, Williams came up with the First division and
passed to the front, which allowed the Second division
to drop in the reserve long enough to clean our firearms
and replenish cartridge-boxes, when we again advance in
support of the First and Third divisions.

Just as the sun disappeared in the western horizon.
General Geary ordered the First brigade to charge the
enemy. This movement was executed on the double-
quick, and as our columns passed in perfect alignment
to the front, Butterfield's and Williams' commands
greeted us with hearty cheers of genuine admiration.
Onward the column rushes, and closing with the enemy
delivers a terrible volley. The charge is continued, the
air resounding with defiant cheers as the enemy is driven
from the field and down a hill at a brisk run. It was



now beginning to grow dark, and the impetuous rush of
the men soon brought them within a short distance of a
line of brush-covered work which concealed the enemy's
batteries, who at once opened a terrific and deadly fire of
grape and canister into our ranks. Instantly falling on
the ground, we deliver so destructive a fire on their
cannoniers that their guns are soon silenced. Our left
being without support, an attempt to carry their works
was extremely hazardous. The regiment on our right
had already retired some distance to our right rear, mak-
ing the situation of the Twenty-ninth regiment one of
great danger, but owing to the darkness we knew nothing
of it until an officer of Geary's staff came forward with
an order to fall back, when we retired to a position some
forty paces from the rebel line.

The enemy had now ceased firing, and perfect silence
reigned, only broken by the groans of the wounded and
dying. The Twenty-ninth regiment had suffered severe

1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryJ[ohn] H[amilton] Se CheverellJournal history of the Twenty-ninth Ohio veteran volunteers, 1861-1865 → online text (page 6 of 17)