J[ohn] H[amilton] Se Cheverell.

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

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loss, and only the favorable depression in its front saved
it from annihilation. W. F. Stevens, captain of com-
pany B, was wounded in this action.

The Fifth Ohio, on our right on higher ground, suffered
fearfully from the masked batteries, one company being
almost entirely decimated. This caused the regiment to
retire to the knoll. Colonel Patrick, a most gallant
officer of the Fifth, was killed, also seventy-five of his
men killed and wounded. The loss of the Twenty-ninth
Ohio in this charge was forty killed and wounded, shot
down in almost the short space of time required to
record it.

It was not long before we heard tremendous cheering
in the distance on our right front, which was caused by
Sherman moving a force in that direction, turning the
rebel flank, which was soon in full retreat. Immediately


after, sounds were heard in the supposed deserted rebel
works, which we believed were our own men who had
recently occupied them, and by reason of this supposed
safety our whole command was soon in slumber deep
and heavy from exhaustion of the day's labor.

At early dawn on May 26th the enemy discovered our
close proximity, and at once opened upon us with artil-
lery, and at about the same time advanced its infantry
to attack us in our rear. This movement was dis-
covered, however, in time to prevent its further progress.
After a hot fight the enemy retired to his fortifications.
During the day several attempts were made in the same
direction, but without effect. Near the close of the day
we were temporarily relieved and retired to a ravine a
few yards in our rear, where we received rations, the first
"square meal" in two days.

At an early hour the following morning (May 27th)
our artillery took position at the breastworks and opened
a furious cannonading, which is replied to with spirit by
the rebel batteries. During the afternoon the enemy
made a sortie on our line, a general engagement ensued,
and the rebels were beaten back. The Twenty-ninth
regiment loss was slight, we being well protected by rifle
pits. The rebel loss in this attack was severe, their dead
and wounded being thickly strewn in front of our works.
During this attack General Sherman and staff took posi-
tion in our rear. General Hooker is generally where the
bullets fly thickest, and his utter disregard of danger has
won the love of the " boys," who call him " Uncle Joe,"
and who are all, at any time, ready to go through fire if
he so desires, knowing he will not ask them to go where
he fears to lead.

The battle continues throughout the following day,
with brisk infantry firing and heavy cannonading almost


incessantly. As night again shrouds the bloody field the
Twenty-ninth regiment, with the exception of company
B, which was on the skirmish line, relieved the Seventh
Ohio, One Hundred and Ninth, and One Hundred and
Forty-seventh Pennsylvania. The rebels were unusually
quiet during the night. Company B remained on the
skirmish nearly all of the following day and was kept
hotly engaged. The company's position was not more
than eight rods from the rebel outposts, who made it ex-
tremely hot for us as we went back and forth to the relief
of our comrades, and sometimes unsoldierly attitudes
were assumed to evade their deadly aim. Late in the
day company B was relieved. Henry Brainard, Spencer
Atkin, and Henry Clark volunteered to go out and bring
in the bodies of Albert Atkin, C. A. Davis, and Jerome
Phinney, which they did, the enemy opening fire upon
them with musketry and artillery, the deadly missiles fly-
ing thick and fast about them. Such was the treatment
of the " chivalry " to men bravely exposing themselves
to give Christian interment to the gallant men who had
fought their last battle. However, none were injured.
While performing the last sad rites of burial, the rebels
came out in a sortie and made furious assaults along our
entire line. Our men reserved their fire until the enemy
were close upon them, when, at a given signal, some
twenty cannon, double shotted with grape, opened fire,
which made the earth tremble with their awful thunder,
while the infantry sent deadly volleys into their ranks.
The result of this fire was most terrible slaughter to the
enemy, who broke and ran anywhere to cover, leaving
several hundred dead and dying behind, the ground
between the two lines being literally covered with the
rebel dead. During the 30th there were several sharp
fights, our regiment having several men wounded. May


31st the regiment was under fire, as usual, the greater
part of the day, and at night was engaged in the con-
struction of an advanced hne of works, under a heavy
fire from the entire rebel line. Before they were fully
completed the rebels commenced an attack and we fell
back on the main fine. General Geary being present,
exclaimed, "Get back to your command in readiness for
an engagement." One ensued, which resulted in driv-
ing the enemy back with severe loss to them. We now
resumed work and finally succeeded in completing the
line, though continually annoyed by the enemy's firing.
On the morning of June ist the regiment resumed its
place on the front line and was soon furiously engaged,
which continued during the fore part of the day. At
noon the Twentieth corps was relieved by Logan's Fif-
teenth corps and moved to the left as support to the
Fourth corps (General Howard). The following morn-
ing we moved towards the left and at 1 1 o'clock a. m.
formed line and pushed forward in concert with Scho-
field's Twenty-third corps. We capture two lines of
rebel works, the enemy falling back. That night we
slept on our arms. At dawn on the 3d we advanced
and were soon engaged with the enemy, the skirmishing
along our whole line being very strong. During the day
Sherman succeeded in turning the rebel right, causing
him to retire with severe loss. Twenty-ninth loss :
Killed, six; wounded, twenty-four; captured, one; total
thirty-one. This is the tenth day we have been under
fire. 4th.— Firing during all of last night. All quiet



Advance to Pine Knob — Battle at that Place — A Forward Movement.

At 5 o'clock on the morning of June 6th, the army
pushed forward after the retreating enemy. When about
two miles from Ackworth Station he makes a stand, and
we wheel into line, the Twenty-ninth acting as skirmish-
ers while the other troops were engaged in preparing
rifle-pits. The Fourteenth corps now came up, formmg
on our left, and General Howard's Fourth corps on oui
right. The position remained the same until June loth,
when the Twenty-ninth Ohio is sent forward on a recon-
noissance. A large force of rebels are found to be
strongly entrenched on Pine mountain. At dark the
regiment returned to the main line, where the situation
remains unchanged until June 14th, when our entire
force move forward. The Twentieth, with the Fourth
corps on its left, take position immediately in front of
the rebel army, on Pine mountain. At evening the
Twenty-ninth was again advanced to the skirmish line,
and was engaged, as was our artillery, throughout the
greater part of the night. On the following day, June
15th, occurs the battle of Pine Knob, Georgia.

At early dawn our regiment pushed forward as the
advance of a general flank movement on Pine mountain,
which resulted in its capture without severe fighting.
The Twentieth corps was changed from the front to the
right. Moving rapidly in that direction it soon reached
another strongly entrenched position of the enemy,
"when the column made a left half w^heel, which brought


the first brigade of Geary's division directly in front of
Pine Knob.

This position of the enemy was found to be strongly
fortified. Twenty embrazures, from which as many can-
non bristled, covered all the approaches to it. General
Hooker ordered General Geary to send two regiments in
a sortie against the rebel position, and the Twenty-ninth
Ohio and Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania regiments, the
latter on our left, were at once forwarded to the assault.
General Hooker, mounted on his famous gray charger,
advanced with us, immediately in rear of our line. The
general's presence greatly encouraged the men in this
desperate undertaking.

On the hill were the twenty cannon, which we knew
would soon belch forth destruction to our ranks. The
two regiments silently but rapidly cross a ravine where
they encounter two rebel regiments. These proved to
be the First and Twenty-ninth Georgia. We opened
fire briskly and charging upon them soon drove them in
disorder to the rear.

We pursued them so hotly that our standard-bearer
was at one time within a few paces of the rebel Twenty-
ninth Georgia colors, which we were making desperate
efforts to capture. The rebel color-bearer was shot,
but their flag was grasped again by another rebel who
escaped with it into their fortification. But the regiment
to which he belonged was nearly annihilated before it
succeeded in regaining its main line. Our regiment had
rushed upon them forcing them back step by step until
they were under cover, and we had succeeded in killing,
wounding, and taking prisoners all except the little hand-
ful who escaped with the flag. At the moment of their
escape we made a dash to carry their fortifications, but
were checked by abattis and a deep trench hidden by


brush. At this point their artillery opened with mur-
derous discharges of grape and canister, which produced
terrible destruction in our ranks. Still the line stands
firm. Another instant and our men are laying flat upon
the ground and the deadly missies go hissmg harmlessly
through the air over our heads. We now open a fire
upon their cannoniers, so deadly in its character that the
guns are soon silenced.

Night was fast coming on when our line was ordered
to fall back to a more secure position. The men now
engage inthe erection of earthworks within a few rods of
the rebel fort on the knob, which placed the Twenty-
ninth Ohio in the extreme front, our flanking regiments
assuming a circular position on our right and left rear.
We were under fire all night, the rebel infantry and artil-
lery keeping up an almost continuous rattle in their
endeavors to drive our men from their labors on the for-
tifications. Despite this, however, we held our position,
though suffering a constant loss in our ranks.

Just at daybreak on the i6th instant the Sixty-sixth
Ohio, of our brigade from the reserve, relieved us ; we,
however, left them well protected by the strong earth-
works constructed during the night.

The Twenty-ninth Ohio regiment went into this
action with two hundred members, of whom thirty-nine
were killed and wounded. Among the killed was First
Sergeant Joel E. Tanner, one of our bravest men. Soon
after his death his commission reached us promoting
him to a captaincy for bravery in action. God help that
little wife of his in her far away northern home to bear
his death bravely as the wife of a soldier should, even
though all her hopes and bright anticipations seem shat-
tered by the blow. Generals Joe Hooker and Geary
announced in warm terms their admiration of the " gal-


lant manner in which the Twenty-ninth Ohio and Twenty-
eighth Pennsylvania regiments conducted themselves in
the assault on Pine Knob." The former remarked that
taking into consideration the deadly fire we were exposed
to, we had accomplished that which he never saw so
small a force attempt before. As he was present in the
assault his opinion is of value.

Sharp skirmishing and artillery firing continued along
the line during the day. At night the Twenty-ninth
regiment moved to the front, relieving the Sixty-sixth
Ohio regiment. It was nearly morning when we dis-
covered that the enemy were withdrawing their artillery.
We at once advanced and possessed the rebel fortifica-
tions on the hill with little trouble, as the artillery had
already withdrawn and the infantry were rapidly follow-
ing. After daylight we pushed forward, only to find the
enemy in another strong position, which we at once at-
tacked. A rambling fire was kept up during the entire

During the following day (June i8th) the same state
of aifairs continued, the firing extending along our entire
front. At an early hour next morning the enemy re-
treated, and we moved in pursuit, the Twenty-ninth
Ohio regiment, as usual, in the advance as skirmishers.
Why, I believe the "boys" would have rebelled had they
not been put on the skirmish line whenever there was a
prospect of somebody being killed on our side. Rapidly
we gained possession of two lines of hills, and soon
found the enemy upon a third ridge, strongly fortified.
A skirmish of two hours' duration ensues, and we are
ordered to fall back to the main line, as support to
Bundy's Thirteenth New York battery.

June 20th the Twenty-ninth regiment and its brigade
are in line three miles southwest of Marietta, Georgia,


and skirmished all day with the enemy. As night came
on our division moved to the right, forming on the right
of Butterfield's Third division. Our regiment was again
on the skirmish line, and in active engagement during
the greater part of the night. The next morning we
formed line of battle near Gulp's farm and to the right
of Little Kenesaw mountain. At about 1 1 a. m. our
regiment was withdrawn from the skirmish line, and at
once began throwing up rifle-pits parallel with works of
Williams' First division on our right and Butterfield's on
our left. The Third brigade of the Second division now
advanced and engaged the enemy, our single line afford-
ing feeble protection in the event of an attack on our



Battle of Gulp's Farm orKenesaw Mountain— The Glorious Fourth-
Advance to the Chattahoochie.

June 22d we move to the front, and occupy a ridge on
Gulp's farm, which covers the level on our front. We
had been but a short time in this position when the
rebel General Hood's corps was moved directly on our
front, and immediately advanced in furious attack upon
the divisions of Generals Geary and Williams. Our
artillery was at once turned upon the advancing rebel
columns, which, with the terrific volleys our infantry
poured into their ranks, produced a sudden check to their
further advance, and in less than one hour these two
divisions succeeded in beating back and putting to total
rout Hood's entire command, which suffered great loss,
while ours was but slight. The enemy left on the field
2,100 killed, wounded, and prisoners, besides many
wounded, removed from the field. The estimated rebel
loss was 3,000 men. Eight hundred of the rebel dead
were buried on the field.

At the close of this action a body of our skirmishers
were deployed over the field, finding the enemy's dead
and wounded scattered thickly about. In places they
lay stretched across each other, literally heaped up,
bloody, terrible — dead. Our skirmishers advanced rap-
idly, and were soon engaged with the enemy's rear, but
this soon ceased, and we established a picket line for the
night. We remained on the field until noon of the 23d,
when we were retired and rejoined the main line.

At about 4 o'clock p. m., one hundred guns opened a


simultaneous fire on Little Kenesaw mountain. Directly
in front of our regiment and across the creek, which flows
along the base of the mountain, is level ground. At
this point is situated a block-house and rifle-pits, the
latter between the house and mountain, and both now
held by rebel sharpshooters, who were continually pick-
ing off our cannoniers. General Geary, evidently con-
templating an advance of his line, called for twenty
volunteers from the Twenty-ninth regiment to dislodge
these troublesome occupants of the block-house and
rifle-pits. In response to this call two men from each
company came quickly forward, and at once advanced
across the creek and ravine. The rebels soon discovered
the detachment; and opened fire upon it. Sergeant
Griswold, of Company B, in command, rapidly advanced
his men up the rise of open ground lying between him
and the enemy, and with a rush amidst a perfect storm
of bullets, closed on the rifle-pits, capturing all who
remained in them.

We now approach the rear of the block-house and
demand its surrender. The rebel lieutenant in com-
mand exclaimed from the window of the house: "You
d — d yanks, take us if you can ! " and immediately
opened fire. The door of the house is soon battered
down, and the rebels attempt to cut their way out.
Finding themselves covered by nearly a score of rifles,
aimed by determined men, all, with the exception of the
rebel lieutenant and one other, threw down their arms
and surrendered. The rebel officer fired on the captors
and lost his life by his rashness. We had now a total of
twenty-one prisoners. Several others were killed or
badly wounded. The former were sent at once to the
rear, and the little force deployed along the road to hold
the position until reinforceuients should arrive. How-


ever, they were not furnished, and after holding the po-
sition some two hours a heavy body of rebels came
upon us, stealing along under cover of the bushes on
the opposite side of the road, suddenly arose and fired
a volley at us. The speed we made across the level
field with the rebels in hot pursuit, their bullets whistling
past our ears in the most energetic manner, would have
dismayed a professional pedestrian.

June 24th, skirmishing during the day. As night
came on a detachment of the Twenty-ninth regiment
was sent out on picket. Nothing occurred during the
night, and at dawn we returned to our brigade, where
orders were received to hold ourselves in readiness to
move on notice, cannonading and skirmish fighting being
kept up along the line.

The situation remained unchanged until June 27th.
At an early hour this morning two men from each com-
pany of our regiment volunteered to advance to the re-
lief of the Pennsylvania regiment on the outposts, and
about 9 o'clock a. m. we moved forward. We were also
to dislodge the rebel sharpshooters, who had been allowed
to again possess the block-house and rifle-pits. Crossing
the creek and ravine we made a quick dash toward the
locality mentioned, amid a hot cross-fire from rebels
along the fence before referred to. But as we close the
rebels abandon the block-house and rifle-pits, yet dispute
with the energy of desperation, every inch of our ad-
vance as they retire. We, however, gained possession
of the road beyond the house, an important position
covering the rebel left on Little Keriesaw.

They now opened fire on us from the mountain on
our left and front. Making a flank movement to the
left we came up in rear of some rebel rifle-pits, captur-
ing eleven prisoners and holding the position until the


Fifth Ohio regiment came to our support. That regi-
ment at once began to fortify, while we remained on the
skirmish line under constant fire. The enemy discov-
ered the work of the Fifth and trained their batteries
from different directions on our position, and also ad-
vanced infantry, who made repeated attempts to dis-
lodge us. Solid shot and shell came crashing through
the block-house, the shells bursting amongst us in quick
succession. Nor were their musketry behind in sending
their death-dealing missiles upon us.

Knapp's battery soon came up the hill, and swinging
into position, unlimbered and opened a rapid cross-fire
on Little Kenesaw mountain. About this time the
Fourteenth, with a portion of the Fourth corps, made a
desperate assault on the mountain a short distance to our
left. The engagement now became serious, one shell
killing twelve and another six of our men. To hold the
position we had captured was an arduous undertaking,
and so severe was the fighting that those of us who had
advanced early in the morning had fired nearly two hun-
dred rounds. At dusk the fighting ceased, and we are
recalled to our command.

June 28th, — This morning at sunrise we advance
obliquely to the right, and, reaching an advanced position,
throw up fortifications; rebel batteries open fire on us
meanwhile. Our lookout, as he sees smoke issue from
the rebel guns, calls out: "Lay down," "lay low," or
"look out, she's coming," etc. Many laughable and other
incidents occurred during this bombardment, such as at-
tempts to dodge shells, etc. Charles Upton, of Company
G, while carrying a rail, had it cut in two by a shell ; he,
however, escaped unhurt.

June 29th. — To-day the Fourteenth corps obtained a
temporary truce under flag, during which they interred


their dead. An assault is made on this corps during the
early part of the night, but is repulsed, and we were not
again disturbed.

June 30th. — During this afternoon the Twenty-ninth
regiment received orders to move. About lo o'clock at
night our corps (the Twentieth) was relieved by the
Fourteenth. We at once marched several miles to the
right in relief of the Twenty-third corps.

On July I St our regiment was again engaged. The
fighting ceased only with daylight. Sharp skirmishing
and severe cannonading continued during the entire day
of the 2d, and at night the Twenty-ninth regiment occu-
pied its customary position — on the skirmish line. This
time, however, it was accompanied by the Twenty-eighth
Pennsylvania. Just before daylight on the morning of
July 3d, the enemy were found to be retreating, and we
at once moved forward to find the works deserted, the
troops having evacuated. The position, as supposed,
was almost impregnable to direct assault, being con-
structed to enfilade an attack of infantry.

The army now push forwaid in pursuit of the retreat-
ing rebels, the Twenty-ninth Ohio and Twenty-eighth
Pennsylvania taking the advance in the order of heavy
skirmishers. We soon came upon Wheeler's rebel
cavalry, and engaged his dismounted men so promptly
that they fell precipitately back to where their horses
were picketed. The Twenty-ninth succeeded in captur-
ing nearly one hundred of them in their hurried efforts
to remount. The Second division during the pursuit
captured nearly nine hundred prisoners. The rebels were
steadily falling back on the Chattahoochie river. It was
late when we halted for the night. How sweet the woo-
ing of the drowsy god after such long continued fatigue,
only those who have been there can imagme, the soft side



of a rail on such occasions being more luxurious than
any patent spring contrivance of to-day.

July 4th. On this day, made glorious to all this good-
ly land by the forefathers of both the blue and gray, was
celebrated by the issue of full rations of hard-tack,
s , bacon, and coffee, and wonderful feats of gor-
mandizing ensued. To make the day something of a
reminder of the Northern anniversary, with its tearing
headache of the 5th, General "Joe" ordered an issue
of hquor to the men, the first of the campaign. About
4 o'clock p. M. we broke camp and marched towards the
left, but soon came to a halt for the night.

At dawn on the following day we pushed forward and
took possession of a line of works the rebels had only
evacuated on our approach. They are now crossing
Chattahoochie river. The advance is continued until
within about one and one-half miles of the river, where
we encounter a second line of rebel works, occupied by
the enemy to cover the retreat across the river.

July 6th we occupy the position of yesterday. Dur-
ing the forenoon our regiment was support of Bundy's
New York battery, engaged in shelling the rebels from a
fort. About 2 p. M. we returned with the battery to the
main line, and one hour later moved with our division to
the left and formed line of battle, in which position we
passed the night. On the day following we marched to
the left and assumed position in line between the Four-
teenth and Fifteenth corps. Sharp skirmishing was kept
up nearly all night. This position is maintained by our
regiment, with daily skirmishing, until the early dawn of
July loth, when the Twenty-ninin Ohio is pushed for-
ward on a reconnoissance. We discover that the enemy
have retreated across the Chattahoochie. On reaching
the river we deploy as skirmishers along the north bank,


the enemy being posted along the opposite side. At-

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Online LibraryJ[ohn] H[amilton] Se CheverellJournal history of the Twenty-ninth Ohio veteran volunteers, 1861-1865 → online text (page 7 of 17)