John J. Hight.

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

. (page 31 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 31 of 47)
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and two on the other, were on the ground this morning,
caused by the river falling during the night. Alter a break-
fast job, lasting until eight o'clock, the bridge was shortened
to suit the present size of the river. General Garrard's
forces crossed to the northern bank. A small wagon train
was passed to the south side. General Kilpatrick's train of


two hundred wagons had come up from the iSandtown
regions to cross here ; the bridge there had been washed
away. The ist and 3d Divisions,, of the 4th Corps, then
came up from Athmta and crossed over. The 2d Division
had gone some days ago on the cars.

Our Regiment laid a second bridge during the forenoon.
The Tennessee Pontoniers put down one. The trains and
troops continued to cross all night.

Tuesday, October 4. — The repairing corps is removing
a large drift, collected about the abutments of the old rail-
road bridge. Here, recentlv, was a wagon bridge, and
another is to be built. This corps is repairing the railroad

The most of the armies of the Tennessee and the Ohio
have been crossing to-da^'. The wagons are still rolling
over as I write — eight p. m. Tlie 20th Corps remains at

I have no detinite information of the movements of the
rebels. Thev must be moving northward in force, or General
Sherman would not be sending all his army in that direc-
tion. Camp tales assign Longstreet, or Beauregard, to the
command of the rebel army. After entrenching on the
West Point railroad the}^ are said to have crossed the Chat-
tahoochee in force, and are now moving for the AUatoona
Mountains. Our people moved out from Marietta to the
Kenesaw Mountain, this morning, and occupied the rebel
works. There is a prospect of a battle in a few days.

We hear more idle tales afloat, when our communications
are cut, than we do genviine news when the papers come reg-
ularly to camp. We now hear great tidings from Rich-
mond, chiefly brought b}^ the "grape vine" line. These
rumors are all encouraging ; showing at least that the army
is in good spirits.

Our arm}^ has been very much rested by their month's
quiet. Nearly all the articles needed for the good of the
soldiers have been procured. The men almost look like
new men. Many of the gun carnages have been repaired


and repainted. The Army of the Tennessee have the best
horses and mules. Those of the Cumberland and Ohio
never will recover from the severe East Tennessee campaign.

The men are full of life and in good spirits. We have
plentv of rations for several days. But the forage is about
exhausted. Something must be done immediately to open
our communications.

We have orders to get read\^ six hundred feet of our bridge,
for marching. The Army of the Ohio is over, with all its
transportation. The transportation of the Army of the Ten-
nessee is not all over yet. The Army of the Tennessee
pontoons are poor affairs. They now have dow"n but the
fourth bridge of the campaign, and it is badly in need of

Mondav, the 3d inst., the veterans of the loth Indiana,
136 strong, joined our command. They are quartered on
the left of our Regiment. They seem to be very good sol-

■ The grand army is gone. One Brigade of the 20th Corps
remains at this point as a garrison. The 58th Regiment is
encamped on a hill w^hich commands the railroad bridge.
Yet the brilliant genius in command of this post wants this
hill evacuated. If the enemy had it, our other works on
this side of the river would be completely enfiladed. The
Colonel commandini^ — I have not seen him — must be a burn-
ing and shining light, in the military galaxy.

Rumor this evening (October 5th) places the rebel army
at Dallas. Thev are rapidly advancing, occupying our old
w'orks and fortilying. There is said to have been skirmish-
ing at Big Shanty, and in the neighborhood of Lost Moun-
tain, this morning. It is probable that Selma will be the new
base for the rebel armv, and the railroad to Jacksonville the
line of operations. This is a splendid mtnement lor them.
May its splendor be dimmed in the lirst contest. This may
come to-morrow, or next day.

Thursday, October 6. — It has rained nearly all day.
We seem to be in the midst of a rainy season.


The garrison here is putting up tieki works. These com-
mand the approach to the bridge, when the enemy comes up
the river. But no provision is being made to meet an enemy
coming down. There are ah'ead}^ works which are suitable
for this, but thev are not vet occupied. General Slocum
has orders to be well on his guard, in reference to this point.
There is a rumor that a strong force of rebels are within
three miles of here, to-da}^.

The enemv is said to have made a dash on our men at
Allatoona to-day. Result unknown.

The great railroad bridge is being slowh^ repaired. There
is still another span to build.

Six hundred feet of our pontoon bridging is loaded and
on the other side of the river, ready to move at a moment's

Friday, October 7. — An attack on this post is expected.
Additional ammunition has been issued. New held works
are being constructed.

A barrel of whiskey was brought to-day iVom Marietta by
the commissary. Some officers and men are drunk and ac'.-
ing the fool.

Sickness is on the increase. This is usually the case
when the Regiment is lying in camp. There are several
cases of scurvy and two of typhoid fever.

The forage for the horses and mules in the entire army is
out. We must now depend on grazing. The stock can live
but a few days on this. Many have died of starvation, and
many more must shortly die. The army is on short rations.
No trains are running. No mail goes or comes.

The timber, on the hill, to the left of our Regiment, has
been cut down, to prevent it from sheltering an enemy, in
case of an attack. Not having men enough to hold the line
to Peach Tree Creek, our left would be greatly exposed.

Ours is the onlv command in the armv not on short

Monday, October 10. — All has remained quiet to-day at
DeFour's Ferrv. The enemv have not made their appear-


ance. Re-enforcements have been received by our people.
There has been no passing or repassing, except some trains
of raih"oacl iron, to the rear. Our commuications with the
rear is still severed. Mails never come. The stock is with-
out feed.

The news with us, to-day, is that some days ago the rebels
made several unsuccessful assaults on our works at Alla-
toona Pass. They were repulsed, and retreated vmder cover
of the night, leaving their dead and wounded on the tield.
Their loss is said to have amounted to 2,000. We hear
nothing of the movements of the troops who crossed our
bridge a week ago. From the East we hear that a des-
perate battle has been fought. The rebels were defeated.
Thev evacuated Richmond. This came by signals from
Resaca to Kenesaw, and was seen on the bulletin board
at Atlanta. We do not know whether to believe all
this or not, but we note it down as the sum of to-day's

Speaking on this subject I am led to say that Sergeant
Wm. Kendall, of Company H, now in charge of the pioneer
tools, is our most famous grapevine operator. I must do
him the justice to sav, that he is one of the best posted in
reference to the current news, of the Regiment. He reads
all the papers w^e get, and is always making inquiries
amongst passing troops. But he is famous for giving circu-
lation to a thousand false tales. No sooner is it known that
a story came from Bill Kendall, than men begin to laugh at
it as preposterous. lie is a prophet, also. He is now otier-
ing to bet freely that wa^ will not leave this camp until peace
is made.

One drummer and two filers, of the loth Indiana, took up
their quarters with our band. They played the retreat

A parade ground was cleared out to the left and rear ot
the Regiment. Dress parade was held at 4 : 30 p. m. This
is the lirst one we have had in this camp. Our men are so
scattered that it is iiu^on\'iniient to have parade.


Several women were in camp to-day, begging. Thev did
not get anything to eat. Indeed, it is the greatest joke ot'
the season, tor these women to come begging food from
soldiers, who are themselves on half rations, because the
husbands of tliese women are in our rear, cutting off our sup-
plies. If the men can stop one half, and the women beg
tlie other, we mav sav our shortest pravers and die at once.

This is an. exceedingly lovelv night. The air is bracing.
The moon is shining lovely. The earth has been dried by
recent rains. The leaves are still green upon the trees.
Men are sitting about their camp hres. There is no whisky
in camp to-night. A spirit of cheert'ulness and hilaritv pre-
vails. Some are talking and laughing. Some are singing.
Some are playing on some instrument of music.

I am tryincr to learn a tew lessons in German. I wish
that I could speak it. Here I close mv rambling records
for to-day.

Tuesday, October ii. — The momentous event of to-day
is the election in Indiana. I dreamed last night that I voted.
It was late this afternoon. I voted — just as I would have
done had I been at home — for all the Union ticket. State
and county, except Colonel Conrad Baker. He once
insulted me in a small matter, and has never made any
apology. I bear him no malice, but I cannot vote for him
under present circumstances — even in dreams.

I feel a deep interest in the election in Indiana. I hope
our State will not be handed over to Mr. McDonald, and his
faction of disappointed and unpatriotic men. He has no
appreciation of the great struggle we are now engaged in.
He and his people are devotedly attached to the institution
of human slavery. Their success would oiih- prolong the
contest. It must continue until slavery falls.

The news of the evacuation of Richmond is not contirmed
to-day. A dispatch from General Slocum, containing yes-
terda3''s news, has been in* circulation this afternoon and the
Regiments have been hollowing about it. I had rather have
a confirmation for to-day. than a rehash of A'esterda\\s tale.


I find many men in the army who won't believe anything
until they hear it several times ; on the same principle of some
people who tell a lie until they begin to believe that it is true.
The news from Allatoona Pass is confirmed. It will do to
tie to.

Indiana is full of fools and traitors. Between the two
there is some danger that Joseph E. McDonald has been
elected governor. My trust is in God. I cannot think that
He would permit such a calamity to overtake the State.
Surely there are enough righteous men in Indiana to save it.

We had a good meeting this evening. Private Henry W.
Bryant preached on "The Fullness of Christ." One young
man came forward for the prayers of the Church.

Wednesday, October 12. — We are still without any
communication, by rail, with the rear. Telegraphic com-
munication was restored yesterday. I have not heard a
single addition to our stock of news from Sherman or Grant.
In our immediate vicinity, I can only record a slight skir-
mish on the picket line at Atlanta, the passage of 2,000 beef
cattle towards Atlanta, and the exit of a large drove of con-
valescent horses and mules to the rear.

Work is still progressing on the fortitications. A short
line has been constructed to-day, to protect our left.

Our lives are now almost as monotonous as those ol men
in prison. Entirely cut off from all communication with the
rest of mankind, and with nothing to attract our attention,
we are thrown entirely upon our own resources for happiness.

An election was held yesterday and to-day in the 58th
Indiana, merely to ascertain the sentiments of the men on
political questions. The soldiers of Indiana arc not allowed
to go home to vote, nor to have their vote, cast in the tield,
counted. In other words, there is a large portion of the
loyal element of Indiana disfranchised, by the decision of
the last Legislature, which was largely disloyal. Tliis vot-
ing in our Regiment, therefore, vVas only to show how we
would have expressed ourselv^es if we had been given a
chance. r^ojlowinir is the result :




Held and Staff

Company A

Company B

Company C

Company D_.

Company E

Company F

Company G .

Company H .

Company I .

Company K _.

First Detachment, loth Indiana_ .
Second Detachment, loth Indiana.


McDonald vote, 34.













569 503 469




Morton's majority', 435.

There are more McClellan men than McDonald men in
our Regiment.

We have no current news to-day, nor confirmation of pre-
vious rumors of the fall of Richmond. We have no trains,
mail, or telegraphic dispatches. The mules and horses are
still without any feed, except a little wild grass from the
woods and old fields. The weather is exceedingly beautiful
and pleasant. The nights are cool, but there is no frost.

Our Regiment is now reporting to the Brigade com-
mander, of this post, for orders. He belongs to the 3d
Division, of the 2()th Corps.


In Camp on the Chattahoochee — Some Exciting Inci-
, dents to Vary the Monotony — Desertion of Shaw,
fui.lerton and plerson^ — 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
Savannah — Leaving our Pleasant Camps.

SOMETIMES it seems that His Satanic Majesty is in full
control of our Regiment, and that his emissaries are
especially engaged in creating trouble in camp. To-night
(October 13th) was one of such times. When I went to bed,
about ten o'clock, George W. Howard, of the band, was
making considerable noise, in his quarters, on our line.
The Major made him go to bed, wliich was not only tlie
best thing that could be done for the bo}^, but it also saved
him from being engaged in a lirst-class row. wliich was tlien

It seems tliat a few rowdies, in our Regiment, have a
society of some kind — probably devoted to wliisky and lewd
women. After I lay down, this evening, I heard a great
noise in the distance. Soon, the Major was on his feet,
commanding the guard to arrest the party making the noise.
The guard started to perform this duty and soon returned,
bringing some one who had been badly beaten. It was
McAllister, of Company A. He was recruited last spring
by Captain C. C. Whiting, He has been in at k\ist one
Regiment, otlier tlian ours, from which he was ncn-er cHs-
charged. He says he has bi-iMi in llie reliel army, antl was


an orderly to General Hardee. He has a brii^dit and intel-
lectual countenance, but a most villainous eye, and is with-
out education. He has peculiar talents for singini^ and
kicking up all kinds ot' gymnastic feats. To-night, he has
been out, in company with some members of his "society,"
serenading. By this employment, they got enough whisky
to make the entire company drunk. Some mules and horses
were to be taken from the corral. On these they were to
ride, I know not where ; but the brethren fell out by the
way. McAllister was badly beaten by one Hugh Shaw, the
most desperate man in the Regiment. Shaw was just trom
the State prison, when he enlisted in the 58th Regiment, in
1861. He comes of bad stock. He knows how to behave,
and can even assume some of the refinements of good society.
He is smart enough to get along in almost an}^ occupation,
and is a man of many good impulses and traits. He has
once been sentenced to death* since he has been in the
Regiment. He attempted to escape, but w^as recaptured.
The man who was with him has never been heard of since.
In company with Shaw, in the fracas last night, were Charles
Fullerton, leader of the brass band, and James Pierson, alias
"Turnips." They were all arrested and tied up.

Friday, October 14. — This has been another beautiful
and quiet day. We received a mail, but the latest dates
were the 15th and i6th of last month. At that time com-
munications wuth the North were open. So this mail has
brought us nothing new. The rebel army is reported on the
railroad, between Resaca and Chattanooga. The capture of
Richmond is still unconfirmed. I am, therefore, satisfied
that there is no truth in the rumor. I hear again, to-day,
that Sheridan has again defeated Earh^ in the Shenandoah
valley. I suppose that this is the same old story, repeated
for want of something else to tell. If we must liave lies, I
prefer new ones. I hear also hear that Huford has defeated
Breckinridge, in Kentucky. This is the first intimation to

* Tliis was lor a brcacli ol" discipline at Dcchcrd, Tenn., in iS6j. Sec
page 84.


nu" tliat either of thoni was in the bluegrass conimonweahh.
There is great danger that Breckinridge mav carry off some
of the more enthusiastic McClellan men into the rebel army.
With these brief rumors and surmises, and this old mail, ends
our communications with yonder world. We cannot see as
much of it as the inhabitants of the moon, for to them it
appears as a large, beautiful orb. We see a few yards of a
dirty river, and the adjoining hills. Meanwhile, the stock
of rations is getting smaller, and the mules and horses are

The young rowdies of last night's debauch are on latigue
duty to-day, except McAllister, who has not sufficiently
recovered. Howard was released at noon. In the forenoon,
they worked on the entrenchments, and in the afternoon they
buried mules and dug up stumps.

Saturdav, October 15. — Charles Fullerton, Hugh Shaw
and James Pierson deserted last night. The}^ are notorious
rascals. Everybody seems glad that they are gone.

Sunday, October 16. — We received a mail this at'ternoon.
There were no dates later than the ist inst. Tiiere is great
rejoicing in camp, as the men read the names of the drafted.

It seems that Hugh Shaw, Charles Fullerton and James
Pierson, who deserted us Saturday' night, have joined a
band of rebel marauders, who are now infesting the sur-
rounding regions. As we liave no mounted men, our
forage parties are almost entirely at tiieir mercy. Earh-
Ihis morning, as usual, the mules and horses, under the
drivers, protected bv only thirteen guards, imder Lieutenant
Robert Cromwell, were sent out to graze. The mules
were taken two miles up Peach Tree Creek, and crossed
over on a bridge, into an old field, where they were graz-
ing. This is the second bridge on the creek ; the hrst
one is near the mouth. In several places between these,
footmen can cross. Ikit in most places the water is deep
enough to drown a man or mule. Just abov-e tiie place
where the mules were feeding therq is another liridge, on a
road leadinn- from Atlanta to Pace's Eerrw A short (lis-


tance out this road it is crossed by another bridge, leading
iVom the mill, near our camp, to Buck Head. These two
roads and the creek form an angle ; in this, the mules were
I'eeding, as stated above. Lieutenant Cromwell posted his
men in the neighborhood of the road tiiat crosses the creek,
but left the Buck Mead road unguarded. At the same time,
Captain William E, Chappell, with sev^en men and three
wagons, went out hunting for lumber. He left two of iiis
men on this side of the creek, and went with the other fiv-e
to the Buck Head road for lumber. He posted Henry C.
Wyalt and George W. Martin, out in advance, on tiiis road,
as videttes.

In the meantime, an old citizen, passing by, on his way
to mill, called Lieutenant Cromwell and cautioned him to
be on his guard, as there were rebels about. To this, it
seems, no attention was paid by the Lieutenant, as it was
not believed there were any rebels near. Three men, two
in Union uniform and one in citizen's dress, came by Ser-
geant Berr}^, of Lieutenant Cromwell's command. The
men carefully kept their hands on their guns, as they
approached. They said: "Hello, boys! wiiat are you
doing here? Where do you belong? At Gain's Ferry?"
The}^ then further asked, "Have 3'ou seen any rebels
about here to-day?" They then passed on. After
they were gone, the Sergeant spoke to a man on duty
near, about these three fellows. They all agreed that
"they looked at us suspicioush'." The Sergeant, at first,
thought that they were scouts, but afterwards concluded
that they were rebels. The other man said, "they are
scouts, and are suspicious that we are rebels." The
Sergeant was impressed that if they were rebels, it would
not do to arrest them, for said he, "when the first gun was
fired they would all be on us, and what could thirteen men
do?" It was afterwards discovered that two of these men
were scouts, and one a spy — all belonging to our army.
They had seen the rebels a short time before. Why they
did not tell our boys of this, 1 am unable to sav.



Wvatt and Martin left their ]:)()st and wandered along the
Buck Head road, at least a mile, to a house where some
women live. The women told them that the rebels had been
there, that morning, and would soon return, and that they
had better leave, but our boys paid no attention to this advice.
Soon the rebels came from the direction of Buck Head.
Wyatt and Martin were made prisoners. The scouts had seen
them shake hands, and heard one say, "How are you,
Shaw? " The scouts did not belong to our command here,
but to Atlanta. Thither they went, immediately, carrying
such news as they had picked up.

Captain Chappell looked down the road and saw about
twenty rebels, mounted, and charging on his little party.
His three men were loading- boards. He commanded them
to get their guns, but the rebels w^ere too
close on them. They fled into the tim-
ber, followed bv Edward Mason, of Com-
panv D, the hostler for the field and staft'
otiicers. The rebels called aloud for a
halt, and began firing. Mason obeyed
and was marched off by the rebels, on
double quick. The remainder of the
party trusted to the brush and escaped.
In the head of a little ravine, under some
green briars, Captain Chappell sought shelter and found
safety. The rest of the party also escaped. A short distance
farther on, the road leads by the field, where the mules were
grazing. Into this field, the rebels, some twenty strong,
charged with a loud yell. They had passed by the left flank
of the guards. One man of the thirteen — Henry Beck —
fired on the rebels. The remainder of the guards fled, seek-
ing safety for tliemselves. Several of them state tliat tiiey


Company K.

* Was mustered in with the Regiment at Camp Gibson, and served in the
ranks until November, 1864, when he was promoted to Second Lieutenant of
Company K. He was mustered out with tlie Regiment as First Lieutenant.
Since the war, he has been engaged, principally, in tanning, ami now resides
near Waterloo, Kansas.


might have delivered efficient shots, but they tlioiight such
a course would endanger their safety.

Other bands of rebels, besides the twent}^ above named,
dashed into the field ; accounts differ as to numbers. As
they came in, they shouted, and some discharged their
pieces. They seemed more bent on making a noise than on
hurting any one.

The teamsters dispkwed a most astonisliing ingenuity, and
alacrity, in fleeing Irom the marauders. Some fled up the
creek and some down ; some flew rapidly over the bridge,
like Mohammedan going to Heaven ; some plunged into
the stream, as Leander did the Hellespont; others, less
classic, hid in the bushes. The rebels captured but two
men — Caleb Andrews, of Company E, and William 11.
Roberts, of Company F,

M}^ gallant mare caught the spirit of the hour. She
thought, in imitation of Job's war horse, she would "smell the
battle afar ofl'.'' In a moment she was over the bridge, and
soon came dashing by headquarters, with reeking sides.
She reported at the stable, with the Major's saddle and with
the horses of the Surgeon and Assistant.

But an earlier messenger than my mare — but not from the
scene of action — came to camp. The rebel charge and 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 31 of 47)