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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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 30 of 47)
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important campaign, a short account of which should
be noted here.

A tew days after I left them the Pontoon train was ordered
to move again to Sandtown, about ten miles down the river.
This was their second journey over that road, as the reader
will remember. The object of the move this time was to
afford a crossing for General Kilpatrick's Brigade of cav-
alry, the other time it was for the accommodation of General
Stoneman's cavalry. There was a considerable difference
in the push and energy of these two bodies of cavalry, as we
shall presently see. It will be remembered that Stoneman's
cavahy came and looked over on the other side of the river,
but, for lack of courage, or for some other cause, they did
not go over and take possession. So we had to take up our
bridge and beat an inglorious retreat. With Kilpatrick it
was ditlerent. vShorth' after davliglit one morning we
arrived again at the river, ojiposite vSandtown. The few
rebels on the other side immediately became impressed with
the notion that their presence was not wanted, when they



FIFTY-EIGHTH INDIANA REGIMENT. 363

heard the balls from ovir guns whistling about their ears.
Within a very short time, we had a bridge down and Kilpat-
rick's force began to cross. When thev were all over on
the other side thev formed in column and immediately
started in pursuit of the enemy. A sharp skirmish was
encountered, a tew miles out, but it did not last lonij. The
rebels gave way and Kilpatrick tbllowed fast after them.

For two days our Regiment was encamped at the bridge
on the south side of the river. We had not heard anything
from Kilpatrick. We only knew that his mission was to
make a raid ai^ound the rear of Atlanta, and destroy the rail-
road and stir up the rebels in everv wav possible. And we
knew that whenever Kilpatrick started out to stir up the
rebels he geperally succeeded in his undertaking. So we
were not very much surprised when, one evening about sun-
down, the head of the cavalry column was seen coming back
in considerable of a hurry. The whole Brigade was soon in
our camp, and we soon learned that a much larger force of
rebels was not far behind. It seems that Kilpatrick had
made a success of his enterprise, but in doing so had
attracted a strong force of rebel cavahy, who had followed
him on his retreat. So we were now all confronted with a
superior force of the enemy, and our position was not the
most fortunate. Here we were, one Regiment of infantry
and a Brigade of cavalry against about all the available cav-
alry- in the rebel arm v. Then we were on their side of the
river, with only a single pontoon bridge on which to cross in
case of retreat.

In this condition there was only one thing to do вАФ tliat w as
to make such preparations that retreat would not be neces-
sary. This we at once set about doing.

A line of battle was formed in the shape of a semi-circle,
each Hank resting on the river, the 58th Regiment of infantry
being in the center of the line. There were a number of log
houses in the little village, known as Sandtown. These
were torn down and the logs utilized in building rifle pits.
The men worked like beavers in constructing these works of



;}(i4 CHAPLAIN MIGHT'S HISTORY OF THE

defense, and it was not long until we were in shape to have
giveji the rebels a warm reception. A strong skirmish line
was kept well out to the front, with a stronger force in
reserve. For some reason the enemv did not press our
retreating cavalrv, but contented themselves with skirmish-
ing with our advanced lines.

This disposition of the rebels, and their delav, was a for-
tunate thing for our little force at the river. If they had
pressed their advantage, our men most certainly would
have had a hard time in holding tiieir position. We waited
and worked all night long, making all the noise we could,
meanwhile, but the rebels come not. With the exception
of one or two little brushes with our outline of skirmishers,
there was no evidence that there was any rebel' force near.
Soon after daylight a reconnoisance was made, developing
the fact that the enemy had retired. Of course our men
breathed easier after this was known. Weary with an all
night watching, they betook themselves to rest and sleep.

The Regiment remained here for several da3's after this,
Ijut there was no further demonstration by the enemv. Our
boys, being several miles from the main army, had access to
the fruit, fresh meat, and other articles in which this vicin-
ity abounded ; and, in consequence, were enjoving life.

On the 25th of August orders came to march, and a short
time before simdown the Regiment started, marching in a
southerly direction. The roads were bad and tlie Pontoon
train was long, so that there was slow progress at first.
Some time after dark the Regiment went into camp, about
eight miles from the starting place. The camping ground
here was in a large, open field, and it was discovered that
other troops were there ahead of oin- Regiment. These
were found to be the Fourth Corps ; and tlie fiu'ther tact was
ascertained that this was a movement of the largest part of
Sherman's army around Atlanta, for the purpose of cutting
otV the retreat of Hood trom that belea



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 30 of 47)