John J. Hight.

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

. (page 43 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 43 of 47)
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preached on "Strength in Weakness." H Cor. xii, lo.
The congregation was large and attentive.

We expect to move back in the morning and encamp, and
await peace negotiations. General Morgan goes to Holly

Friday, April 21. — Got ready to march before orders
carhe. Morgan's Division moves oft' early and we follow
soon after. Many citizens come in, seeking mules and
horses, and they get many. All of the citizens think the
war over. We have orders against foraging, except lor
horse feed. Marched three miles and camped near White
Oak creek, in Ciiatham county. Put up nice quarters to
await peace.

We receive no late papers. We have more rumors than
ever before. The death of President Lincoln is confirmed.
There is a universal distrust of Andrew Johnson — friends
and loes are agri'tnl. I confess that my confidence in him
IS far from strong. We are all greatly in the dark, away


out here, twenty-six miles from anywhere. We go from
one to another, asking: "What's the news? " "Do you
think the war is over? " "Do you think Lincohi is dead? "
Sunday, April 23. — We have had nothing of a general
or exciting nature in camp, to-da}-. We have had no news
from Sherman's and Johnston's peace agreement. We are
ignorant of what the terms are. There is a general impres-
sion that the war is over. I am much exercised lest our
usual tomfooleiy will ruin us at this critical moment. We
received a mail this afternoon. In one of the papers we
read that the neo-ro (jfuard in front of Mrs. General Lee's
residence is replaced by a white man, out of respect for her
feelings. Also, that the negro troops at Richmond were
not reviewed with the white soldiers, recent!}^, for fear, I
suppose, of offending white rebels. There is a call for the
leading rebels of the State of Viro-inia to come to Rich-
mond and set up shop again. Think of the Almighty send-
ing for the devil to reorganize Heaven. A special train is
sent to Burksville for General Grant and staff and General
Lee and staff. Wonder if some people won't want to give
Lee a public reception in the North. There are down-trod-
den Union people in all the seceded states. Into their hands
let the power be given. If there are whites let them run the
civil government until the blacks go to school and get ready
to help them. Where there, are no loyal white people let
the blacks trv it. A loval negro is better than a Caucasian
rebel. The day is fast dawning when men will vote with-
out regard to color. To this end education should be dis-
seminated amongst all the people.


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 Louis-
ville — Impatiently Waiting the Order to Go
Home — At the Dedication of the Regimental
Monument — Mustered Out — Home Again.

ORDERS came for us to march this morning (April
25th) greatly to my surprise. We were accord-
ingly up before day, and by six were read}' and march-
ing. There were, at first, many surmises as to the
direction we were going — whether to the rear, to be
mustered out, at Harper's Ferry, or to the front to fight
Joe Johnston. All this was quieted when we moved
towards Avent's Ferry once more. Then began earnestly
the discussion, "what does this mean?" Generalh^ it was
admitted that it meant more war. The prevailing rumor
was, that President Johnson liad declined to approve Sher-
man's and Johnston's peace propositions. I am much
pleased this morning. I am anxious to get home, but I
have been much exercised at the prevalent disposition, seen
of late, to smother up matters. I care not how much mercy
is extended to men after the}' are caught, but the turning
loose of Lee's army, by pre-agreement, was folly. Permit-
ting his otllcers to keep their horses, and sell them to our
men, is an outrage. Many of these horses were captured
from our people. The rebels never fiivor our officers in this
manner, There is too much talk about pardoning Jeff Davis.



The}' say "catching comes before hani;"ing," so ought par-
doning. Better catch him, first ; tr}^ condemn, and sentence
him, then he is ready for pardon or hanging, as may then
be thought best.

We laid a bridge across Cape P'ear river, and troops and
trains were crossing by the evening of April 26th. In the
afternoon of the 27th orders came to move back to our old
camp at White Oak creek, preparatory to the concentration
of our train at Raleigh. During our March to that place

we learned, definitely, that
Johnston had surrendered
to Sherman . We also read ,
for the first time, of the
terms first made by Sher-
man and rejected by Secre-
tary of War Stanton. I
am glad that these proposed
terms were repudiated. It
would have been the culmi-
nation of disgraceful blun-
ders on the part ot our
Government. There has
been a change of sentiment
in regard to the treatment
of rebels. The people who were in favor of pardoning
everybody engaged in rebellion a few days ago, are now in
favor of hanging them. I hope public opinion will settle
down to a happy medium — let us have mercy, tempered
with justice.

There have been very strict orders issued against foraging,
and the occupation of "Sherman's bummers" is gone.


Company E.

* Was mustered as Second Lieutenant, Company E, at the organization
of the Regiment. Promoted to First Lieutenant May 31, 1S62; to Captain
June 2, 1863, and was mustered out November 11, 1S64, by reason of expira-
tion of term of service. lie returned to his home in Terre Haute where lie
engaged in business as contractor on public works of various kinds. lie is
still engaged in this business in connection with his son, and seems to be


One oi' these was heard to remark, on hearing a rooster
crow, "Oh yes, you can crow in our t'aces now, you know
Uncle Billy has prohibited foraging."

Saturday, April 29. — We reached Raleigh and camped
near town, waiting orders to start on our homeward march,
via Richmond. These were orders for which we had waited
and wnshed for more than three years, and we are now
near the consummation of our w'ish. The war is now over
and we are to start for home in a few days. Peace, glorious
peace is to resume its place in our country.

In the afternoon orders came to divide the Pontoon train,
one-half to go with the 20th Corps, the other to go with
the 14th. Captain McDonald joined us in the even-
ing, with Companies B and G, w^hich we had left at Smith-

All day, Sunday, April 30th, troops w^ere passing through
Raleigh, with banners flying and sounds of martial music.
It was a grand sight.

I follow , the right wnng of the Pontoon train, which is
with the 20th Corps. We are well up in the advance and
march rapidly until we reach Dickenson bridge, on Tar
river. We meet man}^ soldiers of Lee's army, making their
way homeward. They are completely whipped, and some
of them did not appear to be sorry of it. We are all glad
tiie war is over.

We started early on the morning of May 3d, and, after a
hurried march, reached Taylor's Ferry by nine o'clock.
On the way we crossed the State line and entered Virginia,
the ninth State in which our Regiment has been. At this
place we come to the Roanoke, and bridge it ; the width is
six hundred and seventv-five feet. Over this, the 20tli Corps
begin to cross. This is a line stream and a nice place to
camp, but we do not stop here long. We press on, passing
through Boydtown, thence on to Greensboro, in Mecklin-
burg county, and, after a marcli of twenty-eight miles we
go into camp, at eight o'clock ]■>. m. It is the general talk
that there is a race between tiie Corps and the 20th


Corps to gain the advance at Richmond. Ilence, our hur-
ried marchintr.

In our march of May 4th we came to the falls of Notto-
way river, covering a distance of-thirty miles by ten o'clock
p. m. Here we came to a camp of part of the gallant 6th
Corps, of the Arm}^ of the Potomac, from wliom we received
some of the latest papers and much courtesy. After another
hard march on the 5th we reached the Appomattox, late in
the night. But General Davis had learned that the 20th
Corps were taking their time, and were far in the rear, so
he did not order a bridge laid that night ; we were permitted
to rest.

Saturday Morning, May 6. — We were out early, and
soon came to Goode's bridge crossing, were it was necessar}-
to lav a bridge. It was here that General Lee crossed his
army when on his recent retreat from Richmond. We soon
had the bridge completed, and troops began to cross ; while
we go into camp.

About nine o'clock. May 7th, we take up our march, fol-
lowing the other troops, some distance in our advance.
After a march of twenty miles we came to Falling creek,
ten miles from Richmond. Next morning we came on to
the city and found a camping place, two miles out, at Brancli

Here, we remain until the iith, when we move on, cross-
ing the James river on pontoons. There was a hue display
of military, as Sherman's army went marching through
Richmond. We had a chance to see but little of this famous
old city, as we did not stop. There were evidences on
every hand of the demoralization and destruction of war.

Our march from Richmond was by way of Hanover C.
H. to Littlepage's bridge, on the Pamunk}' river. A severe
storm of rain came upon us late in the evening. In the
midst of this we were called to the river crossing where
a bridge was to be laid. Our boys worked in the rain and
mud until late at night, to complete their task, but the troops
did not begin crossing until next morning.



On the I3tli we passed Concord Church, where Meade's
army had camped a few days ago. Went into camp near
Mt. Carmel Church, about nine o'clock p. m., having
marched twenty-five miles.

Next day we move in rear of Walcott's Division and leave
the great battlefields of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania C.
H. on the right. We cross the 20th Corps at Childsboro.

On the 1 6th our column crosses the Rapidan at Raccoon
Ford, the men and horses wading the stream. In the after-
noon of the same day we
cross the Rappahannock,
in the same style.

On Thursday, May 18,
we came to Kettle Run,
camping near the famous
Bull Run battle ground.
Here is where tlie first
great battle of the war
was fought, and it was a
point of much interest to
us. Bull Run is a very
insignificant stream, but
it is very famous. We
stopped lor dinner at
Centerville. Passing
through Fairfax C. H.,
and other places of inter-
est, we found a camping place, ten miles from Alexandria.
Next day we moved to within three miles of the town and
halted. We camp in a low, swampy place, but such are
about the only kind of places to be found hereabouts.


Company A.

* Was imistercci in as pri\ ate in Camp Gibson. Served as Orderly at
Regimental headciuailers for some time. In 186^ he re-enlisted, and in 1S65
was promoti'd to Seri^eant- Major of the Rei^iment and was mustered out as
such, July 2:^, 186^. Returninsr to his home at Princeton lie learned the
blacksmith's trade. After this, he removed to Portland. Oregon, and
engaged in business, in which he has been quite successful. He still resides
in Portland, and from that distant port sends kindest greetings to his old
comrades of the 58th.


The great event of our stay here was the Grand Review
of the army in Washington. On May 22d it was my good
fortune to witness the review of General Grant's Army of
the Potomac. In company with Dr. HoUzman, I got to
Pennsylvania Avenue, just as General Sheridan's magnifi-
cent Cavalry Division began to pass in review. We took
our stand near the Treasury building and witnessed the
grandest military display the world ever saw. It was worth
all our toilsome march through Georgia and the Carolinas
to see this sight.

On the 24th this grand spectacle was repeated, with Gen-
eral Sherman's grand army as the actors.

On the 26th, our Regiment moved camp, to a place near
Mt. Olivet cemetery, in the suburbs of Washington. We
moved to Alexandria, and, in passing through that town,
gave the spectators a review of our Pontoon train. We then
moved up the Potomac, and crossed over the Long bridge.
Marched past the Smithsonian Institute to Pennsylvania
avenue, thence east, passing around the Capitol, and on to
the hill opposite Mt. Olivet, where we found a beautiful
camping place. Here we are to remain for a few days, and
the bovs improve the time in sight seeing. There are many
places of interest about Washington, and every place is
thronged with soldiers. It is easy to distinguish the soldiers
of Sherman's army from those of the Eastern arm 3^. The
Western soldier is, as a rule, taller, and not so careful in his
apparel, as is the one from the East. There is also man-
ifested more of a free and independent air in the Western
soldier. But there is no difference in the fighting qualities
of the two.

May 31st we turned over to the Government our famous
Pontoon train. We bade farewell to our mules and wagons,
without a tear. On the 6th of June we moved our camp, to
a place near Glen wood cemetery, where we were assigned
to 2d Brigade, ist Division, 14th Corps. On the 9th of
June we took up our line of march to the Baltimore and
Ohio depot, where we boarded the cars for our homeward


trip. The accommodations are not first-class, but the boj^s
are patient and cheerful. Along the route the people greet
our train with cheers, and waving of flags and handkerchiefs.
The demonstrations of joy are more apparent in West Vir-
ginia. At every station there is a great crowd of men,
women and children, who greet us with wild delight.

On the evening of June 1 1 we reached Parkersburg, where
we disembarked, and went into camp. We were to take a
boat here for Louisville. Next morning we all go on board
the steamer Coniniercial , and are soon on our way down the

Ohio. It is a delightful
change from box cars to
this elegant steamer, and
the boys duly appreciate it.
But there is one element of
uncertainty that makes our
happiness incomplete.
There is talk of sendinof
part of the army to Texas,
and we are uncertain
whether we are of that part.
The boys contend that tlie
war is over, and the term
of their enlistment has ex-
pired, and I think they are
right. If there are still
some fragments of the rebel armv in Texas, there are
enough soldiers in the regular army to attend to them.

All doubts and appreiiensions were, in a measure, relieved,
when it was learned that Louisville was to be the end of our


Company H.

* Was imistfrcd as First Scrijcant of Comiiany 11, December i6, iS^i.
Promoted to Second Lieutenant June 17, 1862, to First Lieutenant No\em-
ber 7, 1862, and was tmistered out by reason of expiration of term, June 20,
1865. He served jiart of the time as aid-de-eamp on the stafl' of Colonel
Buell, comniandin

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 43 of 47)