John J. Hight.

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

. (page 11 of 47)
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 11 of 47)
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Stallings, Joab Mead, Samuel E. Blair, Francis M. Smith, Geo. Williamson.

Killed — Privates: Alfred Goodman, Alfred Noe.

Wounded — Color Sergeant Jesse B. Miller; Sergeants Jolm ^V. Pace.
George W. Wilder. Privates: William Young, James Bohanan.


Total etfecti\c force, officers and men, of the Regiment engaged in the
battle. 410.

Killed and ;uortally wounded. ._ 27

Wounded and discharged .. i ;;

Other wounded 7.1

Prisoners. G

Total ..i>j


Ix Camp at Miki-reksboro — Rkor(;axiza'itc>n of the
.\raiv — Drill, Picket Dltv and Fora(;in(; — Exjov-
ixG Camp Life — A Military Executiox — Closj^
Call for a 58T11 Deserter — Aim^eal of 'imie Offi-
cers Pre\'Ails — Pardoxp:]) uv the Pkesioexp —
Plans for a Ri:(;imextal ?*1oximi:xt Pickfixtei).

1 V 1 in fii"st da\"s tijL;"hl
and had been paroled h\ the rebels. A\'e jiassiMl ihi'ono-h the
town and took up our old position on the letl. Dt'tails \\(^re
sent out over the battletield to bur\- the death 'I'he PioncHM-
Bricrade was set to work to n^jiair llu> railroad brido'e aeross
Stone Ri\er, so that supplies mio-ht l-)e brouij^ht iVom \ash-
\-i11e. It was ascertained that Bra^'g's arm\- had n-tired to
Talhih tail and Shelbvville, but th > road> w.M'e bid. and th.^
ditlieult\- of (^-etlinj;- supplies made it imjiracticable tor our
arm\- to follow them. 80 we settled down to t-amp lit'e.and
bciran recruit in now desiir-
nated as the 20th Corps, 14th Corjis, and 21st Corjis, com-


niaiuled respectiveh' b\' (jcnerals IVIcCook, Thoma.s aiul
Crittenden. The se\-eral l)i\isions and Brigades in each
Coi'jis were also numbered ditlerenth', the number beginning
at one in each case. According to this new arrangement
the I)i\ isions and JJrigades in the 2ist Corps, commandeil
bN- (General Critli-'nden, were numl>ered as lollows:

I'^irst I)i\ision ( tormerh' Olh) commanded b\- Cieneral

Second Division (lormerh- _}.th) commanded 1")\- General

'I'hird Di\ision (t'ormei-h- 5th) commanded b\- (ieneral
\'an Clex'e.

Th'.' Brigades ol ilie First Dixision were numbered as t'ol-
lows :

First lirigade. (lormerlv 15th) in whicii was the 5Sth,
commanded b\- Ct)lonel F\-tle (vice Ilascall.)

Second Brigade (lormerlv 2 1st), commanded h\ General
\\ agner.

Third I>rigade ( lormcM'h' 20th. commanded b\- General
Cjrartield), commanded b\- Colonel Ilarker.

Rosecrans" arnu' took position in tVont ot the town, with
the right ;nul left wings thrown considerably to the rear,
almost completing the torm of a semi-circle. General
McCook occupied the position near the Shelbxville and
Salem pikes : General Thomas tVonting eastward tow ;ird
McMinnville and Tullaboma ; General Crittenden took a posi-
tion near the Liberty pike facing ea>t. The left of General
Wooers Division rested on tlie Lebanon pike. General \'an
Cleve being on the left of the jiike, connecting with Woods
lefi. Our Brigade (the First) was on the left of Wood's
Division, and was tiieret'ore located near the Lebanon \V\kv.
Pickets were thrown well to the tVont, with strong i-a\alr\-
videttes on the pike. A line of breastworks was tin-own up
along the entire Ironl, so tliat we might be in a condition to
resist an attack, ot which tiiere was some apjirehension.

Alter we were settled down in our regular camp, where
everything was kept clean and healthful, we began to



take on new lite. Those ot our Regiment who had been
sick or convalescent rapidly improved. The spirits of the
men became more bouyant than ever. With the opening of
spring the improvement of the men became still more
marked. The camp was full of life. There was a great
deal of jov and hilarity prevalent, and much amusement
indulged in. But it was not all frivolity and profitless pas-
time that occupied the men of the 58th. Many of them
emploved the time in learning to read and write, having been
denied these educational advantages at home. Strange as it
mav seem, there was a large number of men in all Regi-
ments who could not write their own letters, nor read those
receiv^ed from loved ones at home. Until the^' became sol-
diers and were separated from home and friends, these men
had not known the need of this acquirement. Now they
knew the lack of an education, to their sorrow. So it was
that when an opportiinil\' was aflbrded them at this camp, to
learn to write and read writing, nearly all availed themselves
of it. Instruction was given regiilarh^ bv the Chaplain
and a number of members of the Regiment, who had the
ability to do so. The consequence was, that when the Regi-
ment left that camp there was scarcelv an\- who could not
write and read his own letters.

We spent a great deal of time drilling while here. We
also had some foraging to do. This was no small business,
either. It was necessarv to go manv miles alter forage, and
then there was danger of a conflict with the numerous bands
ot rebel cavalrv that were hoverin he died, he was buried. l^hiis
pavssed one himian b(.>ing troni earthlv st-enes. His crime
wa.s desertion.

"^rhree citizens were hung not tar tVom our camp hv order
of (leneral Rosecrans. Thev were guilt\' of the murder ol
an old citizen near the town, some time prior to oiu" coming.
Several of otu* Regiment went to see the exectition, which
was in an open tield in lull view ot the camps.

The ^Sth had se\-eral tard\' deserters who were court mar-
tialed here, and subjected to variotis kinds ot punishment,
but onlv one who was sentenced to be shot. Richard Hem-
bree, of Companx' K. was that untortunale one. His sen-
tence was read to liim about ii o'clock, Sunda}', June 21 :
the execution was to take jilace between twelve and three
o'clock, Monda\'. Tiie aniu)uncement ol this sentence
created great consternation among oflicers and men.

It is safe to sav that no event occurred during our entire
service tip to this time, that stirred the sympathies and teel-
ings of the men so nuu'h as did this announcement, thai
came so suddenlv and unexpectedly. Becatise ol this teel-
iniT, and the imivei'sal interest that the incident e.xcited at
the time, is a suflicient justitication for giving the full details

fifty-ki(;htii Indiana iJE(iniKNT. i.!:;

Following- is ;i c )]')V of the oOicial dociinu'iU lluU was
handed lo Adjutanl C C. Whiting by an orderly iVoin
Division Ileadqnarters, about ten o'cdock ot the day men-
tioned :


Ml RFREESBORo, Tenn., June gth, 1863. )
General Orders /
No. 137. \

I. At a general court martial, which con\ened at MiirtVeesboro, Tenn..
on the first day of May. 1S63, pursuant to Special Orders No. 38, from head-
quarters 1st Division, 21st Armv Corps, Department of the Cumberland, and
of which Lieutenant-Colonel R. C. Brown. 46th Rejriment O. \". 1.. i^ jires-
ident, was arraigned and tried.

1st, Richard llembreo, a private of Company E, s^th Rcgimenl
\'olunteer Int'antr\-, on the tbilow iiig charge and specification:
Charge, desertion.

Specification. — In this, that private Richani llenihrec, of Company \i,
5Sth Regiment Indiana \'olunteer Infantry, licing duly enlisted in the serv-
ice of the l.'nited States, did desert the service of the L'nited States. Ids said
Company and Regiment then and there being in constant expectation of bat-
tle; all this near Perryville, K\-., on or about the seventh day ot" Octolxr,
iS6j. And the said Richard llembreo did remain absent until tlie eleventh
dav of Mav, 1S63, when he was dulv arrested and brought to his Reginu'iU.

To which charge and specification the accused plead as. follows:

'i'o the specification, guilty: to the charge, guilty.

Findings of the court. — Of the specification, ginJtv ; of the charge, guiltv.

Sentence. — Ami the court do therefore sentence liim, Private Richard
llembree, of Companv 1',, ^Sth Regiment Iniliana X'olunteer Intantrv, to l)e
shot to death, at such time and jilace as the commanding Cieneral mav
.direct, tvvo-third> ot' tjie members of the coiut concurring therein.

II. The proceedings of the court in the case ol' Private Riihard ilem-
biee. Company K, 58th Regiment Indiana \'olunteei- I nfant ry. was a|iproveti.
The sentence will be carried into execution under tlie direction of the Com-
mander of the Division in which his Regiment is serving, on Mondav, the
22d day of June, 1S63, between the hours of twelve m. and three p. m.

I>v command of MajorCieneral Rosecrans.

Officiai,: Assistant .\djutant (ieneral.


Assistant Adjutant (ieneral.

Adjutant Whiting, after having intbrmed Cok)nel Buell
and Lieutenant-Colonel Embree of the contents of this order,
proceeded to the Regimental guard house, where llembree (IIAIM-AIN HKiHT'S IIISTOI.'V OK THK

was contiiK'd, and read to iho jirisoner the court's sentenee
and order tor his execution, and made a detail of guards to
con\e\- him to Division headc^uarters. When the order was
read to him. Hembree was astounded, and utterly unable to
comprehend the tuU meaning of the terrible fate that was
awaiting him. It was some time before he could fully real-
ize his situation. Adjutant Whiting told him that Colonels
Buell and Embree were going to intercede for him with
General Rosecrans, and that everything possible would be
don2 to save his life. With this assurance, Hembree became
somewhat more reconciled and soon announced his readiness
to go with the guard to Division headquarters.

In the meantime Colonels Buell and Embree had set about
getting a reprieve for the prisoner, or at least a commutation
of his sentence. They w^ent together to General Rosecrans"
headquarters, but as he was at church did not liave an oppor-
tunitv of seeing him. An appointment was made, however,
throucfh General Tames A. Gartield, Chief of Statf, bv w4iich
thev were to meet the commanding General at three p. m.
At the appointed hour they returned and presented their
case. General Rosecrans heard them, but did not evince
much sympathy with their plea, in fact, he rather discouraged
liie hope of anv change of the decree of the court. Failing
to get trom General Rosecrans any assurance that he would
revoke the order, Buell and Embree returned to the Regi-
ment. Colonel Buell was disposed to abandon the case as
hopeless, but Colonel Embree was not willing yet to give it
up. By profession he was an attorney, and his experience as
an advocate gave him a strong ad\ antage in a pleading of
ihis kind. He resolved to bring all his skill as a lawyer and
liis power as an advocate to bear, in an effort to save the life
of this man. He again repaired to General Rosecrans'
headquarters, and, through the intercession of General Gar-
lield, a ]x>rsonal friend of Colonel Embree, secured another
audience with the commanding General. This interview
lasted about an hour, during which Colonel Embree pressed
his suit with all the ardor of which he was capable. Rose-

FlFTY-KKiH 111 INDIANA KE(i 1 M KN'i'. i:!:>

crans listened willi nit)re interest than at tirst. and e\en com-
plimented Colonel Embree on his ability as a lawyer, and
especially uj-)on liis earnestness in pleadino- this ca^■e. He
tin ally said :

"Colonel Embree, you ved of the plea tor an extension of the time.

General Critteiulen did not commit liimself stronijh- either
way, but talked rather more favorablv for the prisoner.

General Rosecrans argued against the petition, but admit-
tetl sexeral points well taken. Incidentallv, he gave the
petitioners a jtist rebuke for going into battle unprepared lor
(K'atli. He. however, conchided to grant a reprieve luilil
the will ot the President could be known.

(ieneral WOod notified Ilembree of the decision, and of
coursi* we were all greatK' relitwed. We know that Pi'esi-
di'nl Lincoln has a tender lieart, aiul the jirobabilitv is that
Ilendiree will be pardoned.

The lollowing is a coj)\' ot the otlicial documents in this
case, including the appeal ol the Regimental otlicers, the

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 11 of 47)