John J. Hight.

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

. (page 19 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 19 of 47)
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The way was strewn with cast off articles of the fleeing
rebels. A person could pick up anything from a siege gun
to a lousy shirt. I contented m3\self with a wooden stirrup
which, however, proved of no value when I examined it in
camp. I saw some parties of thieves prowling among the
dead. I am in favor of leaving a detail of good men on such
occasions to shoot down these cowardly scoundrels, who
remain behind to rob the honored dead.


Around in the vicinity of the top of the ridge, the most of
those wounded were of the 40th Indiana and the 97th Oliio.
There were quite a number of rebel wounded and dead along
iho way. Haskins, a half blind and entirely worthless
genius, who ran off in the earl}' part of the charge, took two
of the loose rebels to the provost marshal, in Chattanooga,
and obtained a receipt lor them.

The scene of suffering at the foot of the ridge, in the old
camp, was terrible. In every direction could be seen fires
which had been kindled, and about them was collected the
wounded, trying to keep warm. The night was cold and
many perished from sutTering and exposure. Among those
whom I saw here was Irvin Lowe, of Company G. He said
to me that he would die if nothing was done for him. I
could do nothing to afford the poor fellow relief and he died
next da}'.

It must have been midnight when 1 reached mv quarters.
My horse and mj-self were worn down. It seemed as if the
experience of a month had been crowded into a day.

After a few hours rest in camp I arose and made prepara-
tions to return to the Regiment at the front. My horse was
stiff from over-riding, yesterday, and I had to walk a good
part of the way, leading him. On the way out over the
battlefield I passed many dead and wounded soldiers, who
liad not yet been gathered up by the ambulance corps. In
addition to their wounds, the suffering of the wounded from
the cold last night must have been terrible.

The Regiment had advanced a mile or so from where I
liad lel't it last night. The men were in good spirits,
although short of rations, lliev had some corn to parch
and some meal with which to make "Johnnv cakes." One
solitary rooster had been heard to crow at a neighboring farm
house in the early morning. It was his last crow. The
bovs who had driven Bragg's arm^' from his entrenchments,
on Mission Ridge, were not in a humor to be crowed over.

After I had partaken of a frugal breakfast I set about mak-
ing a list of the killed and wounded.


I then returned to the foot of the ridge to assist in burying
the dead, I found that John Whittelsey, of Company B,
had ah-eady made a very neat coffin for his brother-in-law,
W. R. Blythe. He was engaged in making other coffins
for Sergeant Henry C. Howard and Jasper Blackard. Ser-
geant Gudgel, in charge of a detail, had gone to Chat-
tanooga to have the graves dug. There had, previous to
this battle, been a nice burial spot for our dead selected by
order of the Government. It had been laid offb}^ engineers
of the army. So complete were the arrangements that, even
if there were not monuments to mark the resting places of
our dead, their graves could be easily found by measure-

Sergeant Gudgel procured an order for graves numbered
i6, 18 and 19, and, just at dusk, we committed to earth our
three comrades. A short prayer was offered up to the
Great Author of Life, the graves were filled, and we turned
again to other duties. But there are other hearts that will
not so lightly turn from the contemplation of these dead.
Perhaps, in each of these soldier's graves, is buried all the
world to some fond and loving heart. May He that "beholds
the sparrow's fall," and who "tempers the wind to the shorn
lamb," bind up these broken hearts.

By the time we had completed our sad duty to the dead
our Brigade came in from the front. Some rousing cheers
w^ere given when the boys reached their old camp.
Companv F brought in Orderlv Redman, who was still
living, though unconscious. He was taken to the hos-

To-night, orders were received to march, in the morning,
with four days' rations and sixty rounds of ammunition.
This was a bitter dose for men as tired as ours, and as des-
titute of camp equipage.

Friday, November 27. — The order for marching this
morning is countermanded for the present. It is rumored
that we are to go to Knoxville, to the relief of Burnside,
now besieged by Longstreet.


I went early this morning to look after our wounded. In
the brick hospital, on Main street, I saw Lieutenant Zack
Jones, w^ho is severely wounded in the foot. Captain Gard-
ner, formerly of Colonel BuelFs stat^', is in an adjoining
room, with his leg amputated. I saw several of our soldiers
in the lower ward. I then went to Sheridan's Division hos-
pital. Here I found Lieutenant Gus Milburn, who had
received a terrible wound in the face. Isaiah Hay, of Com-
pany A ; C. J. Mvers, and several others of our men, were
in this hospital.

George Taylor, of Company A, was in an adjoining
church, severe!}' wounded in the leg. I saw a brutal sur-
geon, wath a cigar in his mouth, trying to ascertain if Tay-
lor's leg was broken. I was strongly tempted to lay aside
whatever of religious scruples migiit be in the way, and
whatever of military discipline that would restrain, and
knock that scoundrel of a surgeon down, then and there.
But I did not do it, and am sorry that I did not, after think-
ing it over. Surely, hell is too good for a man who would
treat a suffering soldier as that surgeon did Taylor.

Robert Redman, of Company F, died to-day. Irwin
Lowe, Company G, died last night. Both were brave, good
soldiers, and their death, from wounds received in battle,
adds two more names to the roll of patriot heroes.

Following is a complete list of the killed and wounded in
the battle of Mission Ridge :



KrLLED — Private William R. Blythe.

WoiXDED — Sergeant Jason H. Crow; Corporals A. R. Redman, George
W. Tajlor and Isaiah Hay. Privates: George Willis, George W. Loomis,
Daniel Dejarnett, James S. Bljthe, George W. Richardson and Harrison


Killed — Private Jasper Blackard.

Wounded — Captain James M.Smith. Privates: John Hedrick, Frank-
lin Durham, Robert W. Morgan.



Wounded — F'irst Lieutenant Augustus iNIilburn; Sergeants Monroe Key
and James S. Kitterman; Corporals Daniel Harrison, Ezekiel Hadlock and
Asa Watts. Privates: Emery Burnett and Albert Shreves.


WoLiNDED — Sergeant Charles C. Montgomer\-. Privates: Adam C ].
Myers and Mattjiew Swan.


Wou.VDED — F'irst Lieutenant George W. Hill, Sergeant A. Mouser, Cor-
poral J. W. Holder. Privates: A. O. Adams, Y. M. Boyles, J. C. Corn and
Newton Cavender.


Killed — Orderly Sergeant Robert A. Redman.

Wounded — Corporal Alfred H. Medcalf. Privates: Edwin B. Hanes,
James O. Jones, Martin Small and Otto Wielhelmas.


Killed — Private Irwin Lowe

Wounded — Sergeant Henry Beck, Corporal James Elder. Privates:
Perry Amos and William R. F^owler.


Wounded — Captain Green C. McDonald, First Lieutenant Zachariah
Jones, Orderly Sergeant Peter Honey, Corporal George A. Vierling. Pri-
vates: Wm. R. Engler, James H. Saulter, James A. Smith, Thomas Moore
and Joseph Fregans.


Wounded — Privates: Wm. H. Doades, Daniel P. Hawkins, Alvin S.
Pride, Thos. J. Kinnman, John Nelson, James Jones, Henry C. Wyatt and
Josiah Wiley.


Killed — First Sergeant Henry C. Howard.

Wounded — Privates: Council B. Wilder, Wm. Smith and John Corr.


Killed 5

Wounded 6i


KxoxviLLE Campaign — An Unpropitious Beginning of
A Tour into East Tennessee — Condition of the
Tourists — Incidents of the March — Siege of
Knoxville Raised — Longstreet Stile Hovers
About — Marching Without Sense — A Foolish
Panic — More Foolishness — Suffering from Cold
and Hunger — The Veteran Question — Re-enlist-
ment as a Regiment — Return to Chattanooga.

ABOUT noon, Saturday, November 28, orders came to
"tall in," and our contemplated march towards Knox-
ville was begun. We wait until the lirst Brigade of our
Division, under the command of Colonel Sherman, of the
88th Illinois, passes. The Regiments look small, but as there
are twice the number in a Brigade as formerlv thev present
a strong force, as a whole. We started on alter the tirst
Brigade. We did not take along much baggage, in fact did
not have much to take. Very few of the officers or men had
a change of clothing. One of the most necessary things —
the shelter tent — was left behind, which was a great mistake.
We have a man in the state prison at Nashville because he
refused to take his shelter tent on picket. Now a whole
Division is started for Knoxville, more than a hundred miles,
in mid-winter, without their tents. These tents will not
weigh more than a pound or two, and yet they are a great
protection from rain and cold. Is it not strange that oiu^
commanders are so thoughtless?

We marched very slowly, as there were obstructions in the
way. We did not cross Missionary Ridge, but kept near
the river. Our Division (Slieridan's) was followed bv that
of General Wood.


Just after dark we passed through a wide swamp, where
the boys had to wade through mud and water. It was an
unpleasant introduction to a long winter campaign, but the
boys plunged in, and, with loud cheers and shouts, seemed
disposed to make the best of it. We camped for the night
just beyond this swamp, having marched seven miles to-dav.

Sunday, November 29. — We had to hurry our breakfast
this morning, in order to take our place near the head of the
column. We came to the banks of the Chickamauga, where
we found the remains of General Sherman's camps, and the
rifle pits constructed by him.

There was a pontoon over Chickamauga, laid during tlie
recent operations, for the purpose of sending our cavalrv to
the enemy's rear. It was protected bv an earthwork tor
ridemen on the Chattanooga side. The banks of this creek
were very steep at this point. The ground was almost a
quick sand. The little feet of the mules sank deep in the
mire. It was almost impossible to get the wagons across.
General Wagner stood swearing on the thither shore. He
called Heaven's severest penalties on mules, drivers and
wagons. His language was enough to "make the cheek of
darkness pale." It is shameful to have such an example set
before the soldiers.

We soon debouched into the open country. The roads
improved. The column moved briskly forward. About
twelve m. we passed through the village of Harrison. It
never had been much of a town ; even in its palmiest da vs.
The houses were poorly' planned, and worse constructed.
Now, desolation was everywhere apparent. Here and
there '"cheap cash store," or some other trite sign was let-
tered on empt}' houses. At one corner stood a delunct inn,
labeled, "The Alhambra ;" as empty, but not as romantic, as
the original. A few woebegone specimens of humanitN'
hung about the fences, or peered through the doors. Such
is Harrison, the county seat of Hamilton county.

We went but a short distance beyond Harrison, as the
bridge over Bear Creek was destroyed. It was torn up by


our retreating Ciivalr^', when they returned from their expe-
dition, spoken of above. Men were detailed to repair this

After traveling eleven miles we went into camp, not far
from the Tennessee, where the wind from the river had full
sweep. We hastily collected rails and leaves. Lieutenant
Mason, with his Company, was detailed for picket. As 1
am messing with him, I concluded to go on picket also.
We passed over a hill into a pleasant vallev. We rested
well on a bed of leaves. We were called in next morning
before day.

Early in the afternoon of Mondav we approached the
Hiawassee River, and camped for an hour in the woods.
Near dark we went down to the river bank. Here we found
the steamer Paiiit Rock, which had come up loaded with
rations and towing barges for transporting troops over the
Hiawassee. The 58th was soon passed over. 1 left mv
horse in charge of Sergeant C. C. Montgomery and went
over with the Regiment. We stopped amongst the weeds,
rails being scarce.

Rations were issued to tlie Regiments at night, as it was
expected that we would march earlv in the morning. Gen-
eral Granger had informed the troops that we were to go on
a forced march to relieve General Burnside, now besieged
at Knoxville. I went to draw rations for mv mess. I had
to wait until the troops were all supplied. Then I could not
get near for the crowd of officers and negroes. The weather
was intensely cold. Few nights of more intense suffering
have fallen to my lot. It was one a. m. when I succeeded
in getting my rations. If I could have spent the remainder
of the nigiit pleasantly I might have almost forgotten the
early part of the night. But the longest and coolest nights
have an end. Morning was exceedingly welcome.

Tuesday, December i. — It was noon before all our trans-
portation was over and we were permitted to resume our
march. We passed through Georgetown. There was more
signs of life here than at Harrison. Here and there a flag


was hung out — a genuine star spangled banner. Some of
the people seemed glad to see us. One small boy declared
that we looked like "meetintj folks." Our men were very
uncouth, but were nice and genteel, as compared with the
rebels, whose lank and ragged lorms had tVequented these
parts of late.

We marched thirteen miles and it was alter dark long
before the march was completed. At last we turned into a
dark woods. Soon a thousand fires illuminated the scene,
and we were made warm and comfortable.

We camped Wednesday evening, after a twent\'-tiye mile
march, on a rich farm. It was old Tom Prigmore's, The
boys went in heavy on straw, hay, oats, rails, chickens,
et id omne genus. Alas ! for old Tom Prigmore.

W^e came to the railroad next day. Here we began to see
signs of war. Fences were laid down, or entirely destroyed.
We soon came to a village called Philadelphia. In the
center was a fine spring, bubbling up amongst the rocks.
The people seemed poor. Desolation reigned supreme. A
few weeks since, Colonel Woolford had been surprised here
by some of Longstreet's forces. The result was of course
disastrous to our arms.

We supposed up to this time that we were to go to Lou-
don. But we left it and turned towards Morgantown.
After marching twenty miles we camped on the farm of
William Fowler. Near us, on the right, was Sherman's
army. Thus lar I had been disappointed in East Ten-
nessee. It was better than I anticipated. Instead of small
valleys, as I had anticipated, it was one great valle}'. The
soil is generally good. Springs of fine water and mill
seats abound. I never saw such a country for water power
in my life.

We remained in camp Friday, December 4th. The
rations drawn at the Hiawassee river were out, and, as we
could get no more supplies by the regular channel, it became
necessary to obtain them from the country. So the mills in
the neig-hborhood were started.


Saturday, December 5. — We left camp at seven a. m.
We marched to the Little Tennessee, at a point opposite
Morgantown. We took a very circuitous route to reach this
river. Cause, unknown. The Little Tennessee is a mag-
nificent stream ; clear, swift and fordable, for horses. A
trestle bridge had been made over the stream. Over this,
the arm}' was passed, except the horses, which waded.
After crossing the river, we struck out through a range of
hills. A few poor people lived here.

We came to the most
magnilicent pine forest I
ever saw. It was grand
beyond description. The
Heaven above is com-
plete! v shut out. The
road runs like an aisle ot
some grand cathedral,
and the columns a long
train of worshipers.
Sounds echo as in a cav-
ern. From this we de-
bouched into an open
countrv. We came to a
broad dirt road, leading
to Maryville. On this
liio-hwaN' twilitrht came
upon us. Just at this
hour we moved into a
wood on the lelt of the
road. A large barn furnished an abundance of hav and
straw. We were soon prepared to rest well at night. But
rations were entirelv wantin

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 19 of 47)