John J. Hight.

History of the Fifty-eighth regiment of Indiana volunteer infantry. Its organization, campaigns and battles from 1861 to 1865 online

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HIvSTORY



OF THE



Fifty-Eighth Regiment



OF



INDIANA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY.



ITS ORGANIZATION, CAMPAIGNS AND BATTLES

FROM 1861 TO 1S65.



FROM THE MANUSCRIPT PREPARED BY THE LATE

CHAPLAIN JOHN J. HIGHT,

DURING HIS SERVICE WITH THE REGIMENT IN THE FIELD.



COMPILED BY HIS FRIEND AND COMRADE,

GILBERT R. STORMONT,

[formerly CORPORAL CO, b]

PAST DEPARTMENT COMMANDER INDIANA G. A. R. EDITOR PRINCETON

(IND.) CLARION.



ILLUSTRATED

WITH

MAPS OF CAMPAIGNS AND MARCHES, AND PORTRAITS OF A

NUMBER OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN

OF THE REGIMENT.



PRINXPrrON :

PRESS OF THE CLARION.




\ ^\ I I /■ / y-l./^/'_






Entered according to act of Congress, in the jear 1S95,

By gilbert R. STORMONT,

in tiie office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



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TO THE COMRADES

OF THE

FIFTY-EIGHTH INDIANA REGIMENT,

LIVING AND DEAD, WHOSE STRENGTH OF PATRIOTISM AND

VALOR IN BATTLE HAS NEVER BEEN SURPASSED

TO THE MEMORY OF HIM WHO SO FAITHFULLY
RECORDED AND SO CAREFULLY PRE-
SERVED THE EVENTS HERE NAR-
RATED, THIS VOLUME
IS RESPECTFULLY
DEDICATED.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I. PAGE

Preliminan' Events of iS6i — How the News of tlie Firing on Fort
Sumter Aroused the Loval People — Enthusiastic Response to the
Call of Governor Morton — Companies and Regiments in Southern
Indiana — The ^Sth Indiana Regiment in Camp Gibson 21

CHAPTER II.

On the Way to the Front — First Experience in Camp — On the March
to Bardstown — Brigade Organization — Flag Presentation — Through
Kentucky — Tennessee — At Nashville 33

CHAPTER III.

Personal Experiences — How a Local Methodist Preacher Became an
Army Chaplain — Difficulties and Discouragments in Getting Started
— Observations by the Way — Arrival at Nashville — At the Regi-
mental Camp — A Cold and Cheerless Reception — An Unfavorable
Impression of Camp Diet and Arrangements for Sleeping 42

CHAPTER IV.

Forward Movement — On the Way to Savannah — Some of the Officers
in Command — Baggage and Equipments — Through Franklin —
Columbia — Some Fine Plantations — Grapevine News — Incidents of
the March — Weary and Sick Soldiers — Burial by the Wa^'side —
Sound of Battle — Hurrying to the F'ront — Pittsburg Landing 4S

CHAPTER V.

On the Battlefield of Shiloh — First Impressions of Pittsburg Landing —
Visible Eftects of the Great Battle — Distress, Misery and Mud
Everywhere — Rumors of a Renewal of the Engagement — Marching
to the Front over the Battle Ground — Evidences of the Dreadful
Carnage — Resting on Arms, Waiting for the Enemy — Review of
the Two Days' Battle and the Events Preceding — Some Critical
Comments on the Conduct of Commanding Officers 60

CHAPTER VI.

Shiloh to Corinth — Camping Among the Dead — Uncomfortable Qiiart-
ers — Moving Toward the Enemj-, by Slow Degrees — General Hal-
leck as a Commander — Corinth Evacuated — Halleck Outwitted by
Beauregard 7^



6 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.

From Corinth to McMinnville— Getting out of Malarial Swamps into
a Healthful Country— Incidents of the March Through Alahama—
Tuscumhia— Mooresville— Hot Roast at Iluntsville— Forced March
to Shelbyville — Enjoying Life at Decherd — Up the Cumberland
Mountains and Back Again— Watching the Movements of Bragg—
A Brush with Forest 75

CHAPTER VIII.

Retreat from McMinnville to Louisville - Through Murfreesboro —
Nashville — Bowling Green— Fight at Mumfordsville— Rapid March-
ing After Bragg — Arrival at Louisville — Tired, Ragged, Dusty and
Discouraged ^9

CHAPTER IX.

Louisville to Nashville— Driving Bragg from Bardstown— Following
him Through Springfield— Long and Dusty Marches— Water
Scarce— Battle of Perryville— Dilatory Movements— Blundering —
Bragg, with his Booty, Escapes — Turning Toward Nashville — An
October Snowstorm — Columbia — Glasgow — Silver Springs — Look-
ing after Morgan — Again at Nashville 9S

CHAPTER X.

Stone River Campaign — Preliminarr Events — Official Changes — Mov-
ing on to Murfreesboro— Sharp Fighting at Lavergne — Driving the
Rebels Across Stewart's Creek— Opening of the Stone River Battle
—Panic on the Right— The ^Sth Holds the Key Point— Engage-
ment on the Left — Incidents of the Several Days" Battle — Casualties. loS

CHAPTER XI.

In Camp at Murfreesboro — Reorganization of the Army — Drill, Picket
Duty and Foraging — Enjoying Camp Life — A Military Execution
— Close Call for a 5Sth Deserter — Appeal of the Officers Prevails —
Pardoned by the President — Plans for a Regimental Monument
Perfected i::S

CHAPTER XII.

Advancing on TuUahoma — Marching Through Mud anil Rain — Climb-
ing the Mountain — Demonstration of Cannon County People —
Tullahoma Evacuated — In Camp at Hillsboro — Killed by an Over-
Zealous Guard — Excitement and Indignation in the 5Sth — Military
Funerals — Religious Services in Camp — Celebrating the Fall of
Vicksburg and Victory at Gettysburg — Numerous Events of Inter-
est Detailed 146



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XIII.



On to Chattanooga — Crossing Cumberland Mountains — Sequatchie
Valley — A Fertile Spot — False Alarm — Fruitless Expedition — Bob
White, the Union Spy — Crossing the Tennessee — Nickajack Ca%'e
— First View of Lookout Mountain — Reconnoisance — Chattanooga
Evacuated — Wood's Division Occupies the Town 167



CHAPTER XIV.

Chickamauga — Movements and Position of the Armv - Crittenden's
Corps Moves after Bragg — Stubborn Opposition — Discovery of
Rebel Plans — Critical Condition of Rosecrans' Army — Concentra-
tion at Lee and Gordon's Mills — Opening of the Battle — Fifty -
eighth in the Fight — Charging the Enemy — Noble Lives Sacrificed
— A Night on the Battlefield — Changing Position — Battle of the
20th — Break in the Lines — Confusion and Disaster — The Rebels
Checked — Rosecrans' Army Saved 175

CHAPTER XV.

Siege of Chattanooga — Falling Back from Rossville — Evidences of
Demoralization— Preparations for Defence — Chattanooga will be
Held — Reorganization — Getting in Position — Rebel Demonstrations
from Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain — Short of Rations —
A Battle at Night .. 197

CHAPTER XVI.

Battle of Missionary Ridge — Record of Events Preceding that Engage-
ment — Hooker's Battle Above the Clouds — The Star Spangled
Banner Waves over Lookout Mountain — Sherman's Success on the
Left — Cheering Prospect for the Union Army — Army of the Cum-
berland Advances ^ — -Magnificent Pageant — Charging the Rebel
Rifle Pits — Onward and L'pward, Without Orders — Crest of the
Ridge Gained — Bragg's Forces Routed — The Victory is Complete —
Casualties of the Fifty -eighth ... 211

CHAPTER XVII.

Knoxville Campaign — An Unpropitious Beginning of a Tour into East
Tennessee — Condition of the Tourists — Incidents of the March —
Siege of Knoxville Raised — Longstreet Still Hovers About — March-
ing Without Sense — A Foolish Panic — More Foolishness — Suffer-
ing from Cold and Himger — The \'eteran Qiiestion — Re-enlistment
as a Regiment — Return to Chattanooga 22S



8 • CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVIir.

Cliattanooga and Vicinity — Wonderful Changes tliat have Taken Place
and are in Progress — A Strong Military Post — Preparations for
Another Campaign — National Cenietery - A Visit to Lookout
Mountain — Relics of the Recent Battle — The Re enlistment (Ques-
tion Settled — The Regiment Finally gets Started Homeward — Inci-
dents of the Journey . 250

CHAPTER XIX.

Indianapolis to Chattanooga — Furlough Ended — Returning to the Front
— Louisville to Nashville by Rail — "Hooting it" to Chattanooga —
Incidents by the Way — Familiar Camping Places Revisited —
Arrival at Chattanooga — Preparing for an Active Campaign —
Drilling — Fatigue Duty — The Pontoon Service 267

CHAPTER XX.

Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign — Chattanooga to Resaca — Inci-
dents Preliminary to the Move — Breaking Stone — Organization of
Regimental Christian Commission — Racket with Colored Troops —
Small-pox — Pontoon Train Starts for the f>ont — Over Familiar
(i round — Chickamauga Battlefield — Sound of Battle on the Left —
Hurrving the Pontoons to the Front — Battle of Resaca — Flight at
Lav's Ferry — Crossing the Oostanaula — Resaca Abandoned by the
Rebels — Sherman's Army in Full Pursuit iSS

CHAPTER XXI.

Progress of the Atlanta Campaign — From the Oostanaula to the Chat-
tahoochee — Crossing the Etowah — Johnson's Position at AUa-
toona Flanked — About Burnt Hickory — Skirmishing all Along the
Line — Repairing Bridges — Pontoons at Etowah Station — Incidents
of the Forward Movement — Ackworth — Pine Mountain — Kenesaw
— Marietta — Fronting Rebel Ritle Pits Across Chattahoochee 301

CHAPTER XXII.

Along the Chattahoochee — Moving up the River — Surprising the Enemy
at Phillips' Ferry — Bridging the Stream at Several Points — Driv-
ing the Rebels Back — Some Severe Fighting — Night Expedition to
Sandtown — Change of Rebel Commanders — Progress of the War,
East and West — A Sick Chaplain — Leave of Absence ._ 339

CHAPTER XXIII.

On Furlough— A Chapter Pertaining to Personal Matters — Delays and
Discomforts of Travel by Rail — At Chattanooga — At Nashville —
At Louisville — At Home — How the Time was Spent — What I Saw
and Heard — How I Got Back to my Regiment 351



CONTENTS. 9

CHAPTER XXIV. PAfjE

An Expedition to Sandtown — Crossing Kiipatrick's Cavalr}- — A Raid
to the Rear of Atlanta — Stirring up the Enemy — Following our
Cavalry — A Critical Situation — Preparation for Defence — The
Rebels do not Come — March to Jonesboro — Atlanta Evacuated —
Campaign Ended — Back to Chattahoochee — Our Regimental Camp
— Other Matters of Importance ^C>2

CHAPTER XXV.

In Camp on the Chattahoochee — Some Exciting Incidents to Vary the
Monotony — Desertion of Shaw, Fullerton and Pierson — Capture of
our Mules — Exciting but Fruitless Chase — Communications with
the North Severed — New Recruits — Watch Presentation — Non-
Veterans Return Home — Preparations to Join Sherman in his
March to Sa\annah — Leaving our Pleasant Camp 3S2

CHAPTER XXVI.

From Atlanta to the Sea — Moving Out from Chattahoochee — Burning
our Q^iarters — Destruction of Atlanta — A Gorgeous Spectacle at
Night — Pathetic Scenes — The Grand Army Moves Out in Three
Cohmins — The Pontoniers Divided — A Historic Battlefield — Mil-
ledgeville — Bridging the Oconee — Buffalo Creek — Sandersville —
Ogeechee — Rocky Comfort — Refugees — Heartless Conduct of Gen-
eral Jeft". C. Davis at Buck Head Creek — Also at Ebeneezer —
Plenty of Variety and Excitement to Suit Everybody 406

CHAPTER XXVII.

"And so We Made a Thoroughfare — For Freedom and llcr Tiain —
Sixty Miles of Latitude — Three Hundred to the Main — Treason
Fled Before us — For Resistance was in Vain — \V'hile we were
Marching Through Georgia — Closing in Around Savannah — News
from our Fleet — The City Evacuated — Occupying the Place — Some-
thing of its History — Places of Interest Visited and Described 431

CHAPTER X.XVHI.

Leaving Savannah - Marching Through Georgia Qjiicksands — Stuck in
the Mud — At Sister's Ferry — Torpedoes — Preparation for Crossing
the River — Difficulties in the Way — A Flooded Country — Pontoons
and Perseverance Never Fail — Into South Carolina — No Leniency
for that Rebellious State — Incidents of the March 460

CHAPTER XXIX.

Carolina Campaign Continued— Lexington District — An Abundance of
Forage — War's Desolation — Thoughtless Destruction — Crossing
Broad River Under Difficulties — Bad Generalship — At Winsboro —
Columbia — Charleston ICvacuated — General Sherman — Officers of



10 CONTENTS.

the 14th Corps — A Roast for General Davis — Crossing the Cataw-
ha — Disaster to the Pontoon Bridge — The Boy that Stood on the
Bridge — In North Carolina — Favelteville — Events Crowding upon
Events 4S0

CHAPTER XXX.

At Goldsboro — Close of a Campaign Full of Exciting Events^Some
Severe Fighting — In Communication with Home and Friends Once
More — Preparing for the Final Campaign — News of the Fall of
Richmond — Lee's Surrender — Great Rejoicing — Moving on Toward
Johnson's Army — Now for a Completion of the Work of Crushing
the Rebellion 506

CHAPTER XXXI.

Closing Events of the War — ^Johnston's Surrender — Peace Declared —
On our Homeward Journey — Raleigh — Richmond — Bull Run —
Alexandria — Washington — The Great Military Review — Farewell
to the Pontoon Train — On to Louisville — Impatiently Waiting the
Order to Go Home — At the Dedication of the Regimental Monu-
ment — Mustered Out — Home Again 526

CHAPTER XXXII.

From Chickamauga to Richmond — How Sergeant W. B. Crawford was
Compelled to Make the Journey — Some of the Experiences of a
Prisoner of War — Taunts and Jeers by the Way — Thieving Propen-
sities of the Captors - Likewise their Inhumanity — Their Utter In-
difference to the wants of the Prisoners — Sickness, Hunger and
Starvation — Incidents in Pemberton Prison — At Danville — Tunnel-
ing — In Hospital — Exchanged — Under the Stars and Stripes Once
More — An Entry Into the Better Land 541



APPENDIX.

One of Sherman's Bummers 55S

The Army Poet ^f>2

Chaplain Hight's Report to Conference ._ 564

Biographical Sketches —

Dr. Andrew Lewis ,- 567

General George P. Buell... 56S

Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Moore 571

Lieutenant-Colonel James T. Embree .. 572

Colonel H. M. Carr _ 573

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park _. 574



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

John J. I light Frontispiece

Gilbert R. Stormont 14

President Lincoln 23

Dr. Andrew Lewis 26

Mrs. Ophelia Hanks Mowry 36

Mrs. Irene Kirkman Coolidge 3S

Mrs. John J. IIight_ 43

Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Moore 52

Captain C. C. Whiting 58

Dr. W. W. Blair 63

General George P. Buell 76

Captain J. M. Smith So

Dr. J. R. Adams 85

Andrew Gudgel 96

Dr. W. R. McMahan 109

John M. Stormont 125

Monument of Fifty-eighth Indi-
ana Regiment . 143

Captain Charles II. Bruce 190

Captain William E. Chappell 2oy

General P. II. Sheridan .. .. 214

Valentine E. Ilobbs 221

Monroe Key 232

Isaiah S. Hay 245

James C. Knox 275



PACJE

Map of the Atlanta Campaign 303

Captain IIenr^• Torrence 311

Gilbert Armstrong 337

Qiiincy A.Harper 354

George W. Gasaway 360

Destroying a Railroad 365

S. F. Utley. 386

Thos. J. Haddock 399

Map of Marches through Georgia
and the Carolinas 429

Dr. S. E. Holtzman 462

Rev. Wiley Knowles 47S

Rev. Abner M. Bryant 510

John W. Emmerson 515

R. M. Munford 518

Captain William Davis 519

Henry Hudson Phillips z^22

Captain J. E. Voorhees 527

Andrew McMaster 530

Lieutenant Zack Jones 532

George W. Shopbell 535

Joseph N.Davis 53S

Rev. William B. Crawford 543

W. J. Redburn.. 559



STATEMENT.



DURING his army service, Chaplain Hight kept a daily
journal of events, writing down, in detail and with
precision, everything of interest that transpired in the
Regiment, and such incidents connected with the army
as came under his personal observation. These notes
were made day by day as the events occurred, or at least
while the events were fresh in his memory. The manu-
script was carefully preserved and from time to time, as
opportunity offered, the completed sheets were sent to his
home. Thus, at the close of the war there had accumu-
lated nearly two thousand pages of this manuscript. It
was the writer's intention to revise and arrange this for pub-
lication, but on account of other duties more pressing this
purpose was postponed from time to time. The collection
of manuscript, however, was carefully preserved among his
papers, waiting for a leisure time in the busy life of the
author, when he could carry out his purpose of preparing
this history for publication. That leisure time never came.
In the midst of the activities of life he was stricken down
by the hand of disease, and his life work was soon ended.
The work he had laid out concerning the publication of the
book must be done by others, if done at all.

At a meeting of the 58th Indiana Regimental Association,
held in Princeton, in December, 1892, the matter of taking
up and completing the work contemplated by Chaplain Might
was presented. Mrs. Hight was present at this meeting and
offered to donate to the Association the manuscript of her
late husband, provided a way could be found to publish the
book. She also offered whatever assistance she might be
able to contribute towards this undertaking;. The unani-
mous expression of all tlie members of the Regiment was



STATEMENT. 13

in favor of publishing the book, and a commiltce was
appointed to devise ways and means for the accomplishment
of this desire. This committee was composed of Mrs. Mary
M. Hight, G. R. Stormont and Dr. W. R.'McMahan.

After due consideration the committee reported in favor
of raising a guarantee fund, by voluntary subscriptions, by
which an amount might be secured to pay the expense of
publishing the book. This plan was approved at a meeting
of the Executive Committee of the Regimental Association,
and steps were at once taken to secure the required number
of subscriptions to the proposed guarantee fund. For one
cause and another the project was delayed, so it was some
months before the committee was able to announce that the
guarantee fund had reached an amount sufficient to justify
undertaking the work. At this time the publishing com-
mittee was increased by the addition of the "other members
of the Regimental Executive Committee.

In April, 1894, this committee entered into a contract with
Gil. R. Stormont, publisher of the Princeton Chxrion, to
revise and arrange the manuscript, and to publish the same
in a substantial book, in accordance with the specifications
submitted. Within a short time after this the work was
begun by the compiler and publisher, and has been pushed
to completion as fast as possible under the circumstances.
As to the arrangement and mechanical execution of the
work, the book itself is submitted in evidence. The Com-
mittee believes that it is a work that does honor to the
memory of Chaplain Hight and to the Regiment to which

he w^as so earnestly devoted.

Mrs. Mary M. Hight,
Dr. W. R. McMahan,
Gil. R. Stormont,
Capt. C. C. Whiting,
Dr. W. W. Blair,
R. M. Munford,
John M. Stormo.xt,

Publishing Committee,



PREFACE.



IN the catalogue of books pertaining to the war this
volume will occupy a somewhat unique place. Unlike
other histories of the war period, it is not made up
from memory of events long after they have transpired, but
is a record written day by day, while the events were fresh
in the writer's mind. The book does not make any pre-
tensions to accurate description of the general move-
ments of the army ; all this has been done, and sufficiently
done, in other publications.

This is a simple story of what was done by one Regiment
— a very small part of the grand army — in the work of
crushing the rebellion. It is a plain recital of the minor
incidents in the daily life of one of the Regiments that was
but an insignificant part of that mighty host, beneath whose
tread a continent was rocked more than a quarter of a cen-
turv ago. It is a record of the personal experiences and
observations of one individual who, as a part of one of the
minor organizations of this grand army, shared the priva-
tions and dangers common to all. It is a pen picture of a
soldier's life in camp, on the march and on the battlefield.
It is the drawing aside of the veil that hides scenes of
the past, and disclosing to view, in a most realistic manner,
events that were so familiar to those who participated in
them, a generation ago.

In the arrangement of Cluiplain 1 light's manuscript for
publication the compiler has endeavored to preserve the gen-
eral features of the text, and carry out the design of the
author, so far as this was known from personal expressions




GILBERT R. STORMONT,

COMPILER AND PIBLISHRR.



PREFACE. 15

frequently made before his death, and from expressions
found in the manuscript itself. Only such changes were
made as seemed to be necessary to conform to this general
design. The greater part of the writing was done by
the author under circumstances that were not con-
ducive to the most careful thouo-ht. Often the facil-
ities for writing were of the crudest sort ; and yet a
very remarkable feature of this most remarkable col-
lection of manuscript, is that it was so well written
and was kept in such excellent condition. In the
earlier months of the Re



Online LibraryJohn J. HightHistory of the Fifty-eighth regiment of Indiana volunteer infantry. Its organization, campaigns and battles from 1861 to 1865 → online text (page 1 of 47)