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Battle of Chickamauga (17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry )

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The 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (or 17th OVI) participated in the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19th and 20th, 1863. The unit suddenly became the shoulder of the right wing of the Army of the Cumberland when a mixup in orders resulted in the disintegration of one third of the army to the south of their position under the assault of James Longstreet who had recently arrived via rail with new reinforcements. The mix-up in Union commands caused a quarter mile gap immediately to the south of the Seventeenth. By coincidence, this happened to be the precise location where Longstreet would attack in force. Confederate General Hood noted that the right wing was suffering from enfilading fire from the "Ohioans" on the right of their assault and so sent 3 brigades to extend the Ohioans right and silence their troublesome fire. [1]

Most of the casualties that the Seventeenth Ohio sustained were inflicted these forces in Hood's division. When Longstreet attacked at the point vacated by Wood, Hood's division moved to protect the advancing column, sending 3 brigades in a diagonal charge, placing maximum pressure on the 17th. Few other regiments were in a more dangerous position. Fresh troops under one of the most able generals of the south were attacking the front and flank of the Seventeenth at the moment the units to their right had abandoned their positions.

1863-09-20 Chickamauga- Ohio 17th

Seventeenth Ohio on September 20 (yellow stars)

Half of the Seventeenth retreated in disorder until it was successfully rallied and regrouped by Colonel Connell and Major Butterfield at a point west of their former position "on the second range of hills to the rear of the road"[2] General Negley assumed command of Connell and ordered him to retreat to Rossville. Not knowing that the other half of his brigade was on the ridge to his left on Snodgrass hill, he complied with the order.[3] The other half of the brigade including Seventeenth commander Durbin Ward and company B Captain Stinchcomb; Colonel Hunter of the 82d Indiana, and Captain Church's Fourth Michigan joined Mendenhall's artillery on Dyer field. On the ridge, the infantry units defended the point of the ravine to the west of Hill 1 ("Snodgrass hill". Durbin's horse was shot from under him at Poe field and Church's lieutenant gave him his with which he rallied his unit to defend Snodgrass Hill.

Command of the Seventeenth at the time of battleEdit

At the time of the battle, his chain of command was:

CasualtiesEdit

The total casualties to the Seventeenth Ohio were:

  • Killed: 1 officer killed (Captain Ricketts), 15 Men
  • Wounded: 11 officers, 103 Men
  • Missing: 3 officers, 18 Men.
  • Total: 151 [4] Total strength of the Seventeenth on the 20th was 505, of which 10% did not participate according to Brigade commander Connell. Of those participating in the battle on the 20th, 33% were casualties- Compare this to the 41% casualties of the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.
17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regimental colors

Regimental Colors of the 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Killed in Action at Chickamauga:
Enlistment
Name Rank Age Date
John W. Baker (1838) Priv 23 09/23/61
David D. Ballinger (1843) Priv18 09/02/61
William Dixon (1843) Priv18 09/12/61
Thomas Faighly (1842) Priv 19 09/03/61
Isaac L. Foutz (1843) Priv18 09/23/61
James B. Hancock (1839) Priv 22 08/30/61
Thomas Johnson (1828) Priv 34 09/13/62
Calvin Messerly (1845) Priv 17 09/14/61
Solomon Miller (1840) Priv 21 08/30/61
Christian Ream (1835) Priv 26 09/29/61
Amos Richards (1836) Priv 25 09/10/61
Ezra Ricketts (c1828) Captain 33 09/19/61
John W. Shaw (1843) Priv18 09/04/61
Isaiah E. Skinner (1843) Priv18 08/30/61
Solomon Smitters (1833) Priv 28 08/30/61
David Sullivan (1840) Corpl 21 09/02/61
Samuel R. Tilton (1836) Corpl 25 09/10/61
Alexander Trunkle (1829) Priv 32 08/16/61

Summary of eventsEdit

September 19th

September 20th: actions in the vicinity of the 17th Ohio

  • 3AM Bivouacked in Dyer's field without blankets. There was a frost. In the morning there was a fog and a blood red sunrise. [5]
  • 7AM- 1st Brigade assembles on the west side of the south end of Poe's field. They are just north of Brotherton cabin. The line:
Reynolds Croxton
second brigade
31st Ohio, 1st brigade Fourth Michigan Battery 17th Ohio (Wood's division disappears)
14th Ohio (2nd brigade) 82nd Indiana
  • minor skirmishes in the morning, then several movements to the left finally winding up at the west side of Poe field.
  • Stewart's forces fire on Brannan's front- Michigan battery returns fire. This goes on for 20 minutes. [6]
1863-09-20 Chickamauga hour 1110-1130
  • 11:15AM Attack by Longstreet begins
  • Hood sends 3 brigades along the right wing of Longstreet's assault corridor: Sheffield's commanded by Perry, Benning's , and Robertson's. [7]
  • Perry's brigade is moving due west at the double quick, which in his words becomes a "wild impetuous rush". He receives enfilading fire from the Ohio lines on his right so he sends the 44th Alabama regiment to confront them running into the 17th Ohio at an oblique angle. Benning's Brigade is at the 44th's right. [8]
  • Connell orders the 17th to turn to the south to face the onslaught but the 17th is caught in motion when Perry's 44th Alabama engages his right flank.[9]
  • 4th Michigan Battery delivers massive barrage to Southern troops assaulting their front. These would be Benning's Georgians and portions of the 44th that could be hit without firing towards the 17th.
  • The 44th falls back, being disrupted by small arms from the 17th and Church's battery fire. The 44th does not recover from this position during the day. [10]
  • Possibly Captain Ricketts was struck down at this point along with many of 17th Ohio's casualties, including Calvin Messerly (1845)
  • Connell's brigade is next engaged by Benning's.
  • Ohio 17th falls back and passes in disorder over the Indiana 82nd. [11]
  • Indiana 82nd wait for the 17th to pass and counterattack retaking the breastworks vacated by the 17th. "Jacob M. Ruffner, Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers, acting provost-marshal, drew upon himself the attention of all by his daring and coolness. After our lines fell back he remained at the breastworks, standing with the colors of the Eighty-second Indiana in his hand, and firing with his revolvers upon the enemy. He was wounded, in the neck, painfully but not seriously."
    • James Stinchcomb is with 200 members of Ohio 17th 300 yards from its former position and along with his Company B charges the confederates. Captain Church refers to it in his report as a "slaughter". This is where the Seventeenth took the majority of its casualties. Of the 200, only 52 left the field. The survivors under Stinchcomb proceed to Snodgrass hill. [12]
  • Benning reports that he sees a column threatening the 44th Alabama's right from the direction of Poe Cabin. "Benning

immediately ordered his brigade to wheel right to support and confront the threat from Colonel John Croxton’s 2nd Brigade, and elements of Colonel Connell’s 1st Brigade". [13]

  • The 82nd is driven back by Benning's brigade from the breastworks and the 4th Michigan has lost a number of its limber horses to enemy fire- The 31st remains in support to cover them as they succeed in withdrawing with three of their five guns.
  • The 4th Michigan moves through brush to the road and then to "the ridge where the reserve artillery" is located to Mendenhall's position in the west.
  • At about 12:00 Connell has rallied some of his command one mile west and has a few score men on the ridge occupied by Negley. This ridge is to the far right of the position Steedman will defend. A depression separates their ridge and that of the Snodgrass far right. Major Butterfield is present with a squad of his company of the 17th along with Lister and some of his men of the 31st Ohio.[14] By the time Connell reached Rossville, he collected 350 of his brigade. (The other 200 of the first brigade were in Stinchcomb's counterattack). When Brannan later met Connell in Rossville, he asked why he had not met him at Snodgrass. Connell replied that Negley ordered him to retreat. The Court of inquiry found that it did not hear testimony that Negley had ordered Connell to retire.[15] Connell resigned in November.
1863-09-20 Chickamauga hour 1300
  • Brannan was with Croxton's brigade supporting Battery C and ordered it to wheel to the south.[16] Croxton is shot though and his brigade abandons the battery. Benning has dislodgde Croxton capturing the cannon of Battery C, and proceeds into Reynold's rear. Here they were surprised on their right flank by Reynolds' reserve regiment. Thinking they were being flanked by a brigade, Benning's unit is scattered in confusion. Benning, a politician not a soldier thought his command had been annihilated and flees to inform Longstreet of the debacle. Benning's unit reformed to protect the captured pieces but were out of any further action.
  • Brannan effectively has no command left and proceeds west to Negley in order to secure additional forces for the defense of Snodgrass hill. Hunter has no knowledge or contact with Brannan and does not see him until 1300 when the 21st Indiana shows up.
  • 11:45am The 82nd Indiana is first organized unit on Snodgrass hill. Stragglers from Jeff. C. Davis's division are organized by Hunter on his left, but they leave the lines when Hunter is attending his right. The 82nd sets up breastworks at the ridge and repel rebel attacks. [17]
  • Some of the retreating 17th (apparently those who would link up with Connell) crash through Sam Beatty's Brigade, waiting to move up Glenn Kelley road. The Seventy-ninth Indiana is disrupted. They are flanked by the attacking confederates and much of the unit is carried away along with Sam Beatty to the west. Colonel Stout of the 17th Kentucky manage to move North with 100 men to Snodgrass hill.
  • 1st Brigade commander Connell and "half of the 17th" retreats due west and will proceed via the Rossville Gap to Chatanooga along with Rosecrans and one third of the Army of the Cumberland.
  • The other half of the 17th Ohio that had rallied with Stinchcomb and counterattacked move north to the ridge at Snodgrass hill and will come into line to the right of the 82nd who has already taken a position there. Commander Durbin Ward, and Company B under James Stinchcomb occupy an area around Snodgrass Cabin. Colonel Morton Hunter of the Indiana 82nd is placed in temporary command of this scratch unit, with General John Beatty (1828) in overall command. Hunter estimated he had 100 men in the 82nd, and the total for the remnants of Brannan's division on Snodgrass hill was estimated at 400.[18][19]
  • 1200 According to Thomas's report, at 2PM (must be 12PM), he hears the noise of fighting on his right and goes to investigate. He sends Captain Kellogg to hurry up Sheridan, but Kellogg returns soon after stating there are enemy skirmishers in the corn fields below. He sends Kellogg to warn Reynolds there are enemy in his rear in strength. He then orders Harker's brigade that there may be enemy approaching from the east.[20]
  • After an extended time (Hunter estimated nearly an hour and a half in his account), the 82d Indiana is joined by elements of the 31st Ohio under Walker. Hunter does not mention Durbin Ward, but John Beatty and a member of the 31st mention Stinchcomb's furious efforts in erecting barricades.
  • Brannan succeeds in persuading Negley to send him the 21st Ohio equipped with 7 shot wikipedia:Spencer repeating rifles. The Twenty first will later take a position to the right of the 82nd.
  • Woods orders Harker to attack the right flank of McNair, Perry's, and Robertson's brigades.
  • McNair's and Perry's brigades are thrown into confusion. Kershaw moves to confront Harker.
  • At 12:50 Harker is retreating north up Snodgrass hill with his two remaining regiments. He is concerned about possible flanking attack by Kershaw's South Carolinans.
  • 1300 Kershaw is in pursuit of Harker up Snodgrass ridge but is devastated by fire from the 21st Ohio.
1863-09-20 Chickamauga hour 1330
  • Twenty minutes prior to Longstreet's assault on Thomas's newly formed right, the ridge is reinforced by Granger's reserves who have moved up in response to the noise of battle. Steedman holds the far right.
  • Throughout the afternoon, the 17th Ohio repulses several assaults. They are facing units from Preston, Kershaw, Humphry, and Gracey. Commander Durbin Ward is shot through the chest and arm.
  • Thomas orders a retreat under cover of night.
  • Ward is carried back five miles via stretcher and is resting at a cabin. General Steedman visits him and braces him with Whiskey. [21]

Background on the disastrous order to WoodEdit

The blunder occurred when division commander General Thomas J. Wood obediently followed a nonsensical command from Rosecrans. Rosecrans was known for micromanagement of units and 90 minutes earlier had subjected General Wood to a severe reprimand in front of his staff for not following orders immediately. At the time of the order, Rosecrans was under the impression that a unit to Wood's left was in motion to the right. Rosecrans' intent was to close what he thought would be a gap between Wood and the other unit (Reynolds). The order read:

Headquarters Department of the Cumberland
September 20 - 10:45 a.m.
Brigadier General Wood, Commanding Division:
The general commanding directs that you close up on Reynolds as fast as possible, and support him.
Respectfully, etc.
Frank S. Bond, Major and Aide-de-Camp


In military language, "closing up" means to stay in line and close any gap. However, the second part means something quite different. A support position would require him to move out of line to the rear of Reynolds.

"Starling gave the order to Wood, and as he was reading it, began to explain its intent, but Wood cut him off. Wood could clearly see that Brannan's division was still in position on his left, between he and Reynolds. He pointed out to Starling that there was no gap in the line to be filled. "Then there is no order", Starling told Wood. Yet this did not suite Wood. As will be recalled, Rosecrans had hotly berated Wood in front of his troops a short time before that morning for not obeying the order to come into line quickly enough after Negley was ordered to the north. Additionally, Rosecrans had sent a written rebuke across the wire for all to see, following Wood's part in a failed reconnaissance mission on Lookout Mountain some days before the battle. Being twice humiliated by the commanding general in front of his troops was enough for Wood. He snatched the order out of Starling's hand. The order was quite clear, he told Starling, and he would obey it at once. Wood expressed that he was glad Rosecrans had put it in writing, as it would be a good thing to have "…for future reference". Before placing it in his pocket notebook, it is believed that he held the order aloft and waved it around in front of his staff. He said "Gentlemen, I hold the fatal order of the day in my hand and would not part with it for five thousand dollars" (Cozzens, 1992) With that, incredibly and spitefully, Wood ordered his division out of line."[22]

Although Wood could have verified the meaning of the instructions since Rosecrans was 5 minutes away, Woods decided instead to follow the orders creating maximum vulnerability at exactly the point where the Confederates would attack. Rosecrans fled the battle and did not return to assist Thomas in his stand at horseshoe ridge which averted destruction of the army. Rosecrans was quickly relieved by Grant in October. click for picture of battle.

When rebel troops poured into the gap created by Wood, Colonel Connell ordered the Seventeenth to turn and face south towards the 44th Alabama brigade that was threatening his now unprotected right flank. Under the command of Col William F. Perry, the 44th Alabama caught the Seventeenth as it was in movement, and the Seventeenth broke when the rebels got within 75 yards of their line at Poe field.[23] As reported in the History of Fairfield county, only Company B retreated in order. It then turned, gathered others of the 17th and charged. Those killed from the 17th may have died during this late morning action or later in the afternoon when the confederates attempted to dislodge Thomas's forces from Horseshoe Ridge. The remnants of the 17th Ohio were at Snodgrass hill. Col. Ward was shot through the right shoulder sometime during this afternoon battle, so it is possible it was an afternoon rather than the morning battle in which Calvin died.[24]

AftermathEdit

  • John Connell resigned in November, 1863 and took a State Senate seat. [25]
  • James Stinchcomb was promoted from Captain to Major 4 months after Chickamauga and was assigned to staff work. After Major Butterfield was killed at Missionary Ridge, he commanded the 17th. Nonetheless, he resigned his Commission on May 2,1864 citing his deteriorating health.
  • Durbin Ward did not recover the full use of his right arm but petitioned the army to allow him to return to his command. After 6 months he returned to take command of the 17th in April, 1864 and participated in campaigns with the Ohio 17th with General Sherman. Mustered out as a brevetted Brigadier General.
  • General Negley and Rosecrans were relieved of command. General Thomas was promoted to command the Army of the Cumberland.

MapsEdit

Chickamauga Sep19 1 Ohio 17th copy

Seventeenth Ohio on September 19th

Chickamauga Sep20 1200 Seventeenth Ohio

Seventeenth Ohio on September 20th

1863 09 20 chickamauga Snodgrass defensive line topo map

Horseshoe ridge defensive line and opposing forces in the afternoon of the 20th *Yellow stars indicate the location of the Seventeenth Ohio volunteer Infantry regiment. Right to left: 1)Position at 11:15 in woods at southwest corner of Poe field. 2) Noon to Night-time location of the 17th who were with Lt. Col. Ward and Captain Stinchcomb. Also in the first brigade's was the 82nd and members of the 31st Ohio. 3)Other half of the 17th that had become separated reforms in part here- Col. Connell and Major Butterfield are present along with one of his squads, and Captain Lister of the 31 Ohio.

Excerpted accountsEdit

Note: The following accounts are copied here not necessarily because they are more important than others referred to in the notes. They are here in order to assure that they do not become unavailable in the future.

Colonel John Connell report on Chickamauga actions of Brigade 1
Report of Col John M. Connell, Seventeenth Ohio Infantry, Commanding First Brigade.
Hdqrs. 1st Brig. 3D Div., 14th Army Corps,
Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26, 1863.

Captain: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the engagements of the 18th and 20th instant:

After marching all night of Friday and halting about 6a.m. on the 18th for breakfast, my command- weakened by the detaching of the Thirty-eight Ohio to guard the general supply train- was ordered forward toward one of the fords of the Chickamauga Creek, forming in line of battle on the left of the Second Brigade of this division. When in position for advance, I was ordered to take my command to a point near the left of the Second Brigade of this division. When in position for advance, I was ordered to take my command to a point near the house afterward used as a hospital on the Chattanooga road, and hold it in reserve, to support either the Second or Third Brigade which ten moved forward to engage the enemy. In a few minutes the Second Brigade was heavily engaged on my right and skirmishing commenced in front of the Third Brigade. I was then ordered forward, and under personal directions of the general commanding the division, moved with the Fourth Michigan Batter, and the Seventeenth Ohio, and the Eighty -second Indiana, to the support of the Third Brigade, leaving the Thirty-first Ohio to be ordered, if necessary, to the support of the Second Brigade, both of which brigades were now engaged. When forming my command in line to support the Third Brigade, I received orders to move with my whole command to the right to support the Second Brigade, the Thirty-first Ohio having been ordered there also. I moved rapidly to the right, but was halted and ordered to send the Seventeenth Ohio to report to Colonel Van Derveer, Third Brigade; returning to support of Colonel Van Derveer, Third Brigade; returning to support of Colonel Van Derveer with my whole command, except the Thirty-first Ohio, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, Seventeenth Ohio, to report to Colonel Ban Derveer, who posted him on the right of teh Ninth Ohio, and I placed the Fourth Michigan Battery on the left of Colonel Van Derveer's line, supported by the Eighty-second Indiana. Here the Seventeenth Ohio supported the Ninth Ohio in a charge, resulting in the retaking of the Fifth (regular battery, which had just fallen into the hands of the enemy.

The enemy, having broken the regular brigade into confusion, charged Colonel Van Derveer's line, but was quickly repulsed under a rapid fire of Church's Fourth Michigan and Smith's Fourth (regular) battery, and by the obstinate resistance of the Third Brigade. The casualties in my brigade during this attack and repulse of the enemy were, 1 killed and 3 wounded in the Eighty-second Indiana, who maintained their position, Smith and Church both working their batteries with great energy, regardless of the flight of the stragglers. I assisted in rallying a number of the fleeing regulars and formed a nucleus for a successful rally.

The heavy fighting being now over, the Seventeenth Ohio returned to my command, and I received orders to occupy a position on a hill to the right of the road, to resist an expected attack, which was done. No attack having been made I was ordered to retire to a point about 1 mile from the hospital, where with the Third Brigade I remained in position until ordered to move to the right to the assistance of General Palmer, following the Third Brigade. I arrived there just before sundown, there being joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Lister, Thirty-first Ohio, who had in supporting the Second Brigade been obstinately engaged the whole day, and moving to the neighborhood of the spring, where a hospital had been established, bivouacked with my whole command.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lister fought his regiment gallantly and well, with heavy loss, but as he at the time was detached from my command, I beg leave to refer to his report[26] herewith of the part taken in the engagement of that day by his command.

At 11 o'clock that night I was ordered to take up a position on the left of General Negley's line, about a quarter of a mile in front of where I was bivouacked, which was done, and the brigade rested till morning.

Second day. Early in the morning of the 20th the Second Brigade, Colonel Croxton, having come into line on my left, my right joining Colonel Stanley's brigade, of Negley's division, slight skirmishing commenced on our front, but all was quiet on our front for some time. Our line about 8 o'clock commenced moving to the left. My orders were to move to the left, keeping my formation of two lines, and closing on the Second Brigade. Heaving fighting was going on for hours on my left during the continued movement by the flank to the left, but nothing but slight skirmishing occurred for some time on my front. About 9 o'clock Stanley's brigade left our right flank, which was wholly exposed. I at once dispatched an aide to inform the commander of the division that the enemy were forming on our right and front about 300 yards distant, and received answer that my right would be supported, and in a short time a division moved down on to my right- I believe Van Cleve's.

About this time Captain Church got effective range upon the enemy then engaged to my left, and opened a continuous, rapid, and deadly fire, which was kept up, notwithstanding our continued movement to the left, for more than an hour.

The battle now steadily approached us from the left. At this time I received orders to move to the left, following Croxton's brigade and passing to the rear of Reynold' division, but before the movement was executed the order was countermanded, and we remained in the same position, but the division on my right moved away, passing in my rear rapidly, and again uncovering and exposing my right flank. I was at this time left without support either in my rear or upon my right flank. I dispatched Lieutenant Davis, acting assistant adjutant-general, at once to inform the commander of the division of my critical position; threw out flankers to my right under command of Major Slocum, of the Eighty-second Indiana, to watch the enemy's approach there, where I knew it would be sure to come, and gave orders to the commanders of regiments to change front by the right flank as soon as the enemy appeared on that flank. These orders had scarcely been delivered before the enemy, making an oblique advance, following almost the retiring division on my right, most furiously and in tremendous force, attacked my front and flank. The Seventeenth Ohio, forming the right of my front, attempted to change front, but could not, and after vigorously resisting for a few moments, and when the enemy had approached on its front and flank to within 75 yards of its line, was completely broken on its right wing, which retired in confusion, soon followed in confusion by its left wing. The Eighty-second Indiana, forming the right of the rear line, very gallantly moved forward through the flying ranks of the Seventeenth Ohio and attacked the advancing enemy, then nearly inside of our breastworks, but was unable to stay, and fell back in confusion, at which time the whole brigade, together with the Second Brigade, broke in confusion and fled to the rear. In the meantime a portion of the Seventeenth Ohio had rallied and again moved forward upon the enemy, only, however, at great sacrifice, to be driven quickly back.

Before my brigade gave way, a large portion of the division which had passed to my rear, without firing a gun or making an effort to assist me, and without being under direct fire, fled panic stricken from the field, hurrying away over, and running down the fleeing men of my command, whom I was vainly endeavoring to rally in the road and in the cornfield in rear of our position.

All efforts after this to rally my command seemed fruitless, but pushing after the fleeing men, and with scores of other officers engaged in the same apparently vain and painful task, we succeeded in occasionally collecting squads of men from different commands, and finally halted on the second range of hills to the rear of the road. Here I found of my command, Lieutenant-Colonel Lister, of Thirty-first Ohio, with a number of men he had rallied, and Major Butterfield, of the Seventeenth Ohio, who had also a squad of his command, and several officers of the two regiments, who had been laboring hard to rally their men.

At one time it looked as if we would be able to collect enough stragglers to make a successful stand, but at this time General Negley appeared with an unbroken force, and assuming general command, it was announced that he would conduct the retreat in an orderly manner and cover and protect the artillery and trains, then in apparently inextricable confusion on the hills. By his orders all stragglers were to be collected and marched with his command, in retreat, in as orderly manner as possible, until a point of safety could be gained, where a rally and reorganization could be effected.

Without any information that the commander of this division was making a brave and determined stand in the rear about a half a mile to the right of this point, with a handful of stragglers and broken divisions there rallied chiefly by his efforts, I accepted the announcement that General Negley was conducting the retreat and commanding the rear guard, and joined his command with all of the rallied men under my orders, and thus moved to a point about 2 miles from Rossville, and at least 3 from the battlefield, where proper precautions were taken and arrangements made for reorganizing straggling regiments and brigades.

Here I succeeded in collecting about 350 men and organizing them in their proper commands, Lieutenant-Colonel Lister being present and in command of the remnant of the Thirty-first Ohio, Major Butterfield in command of the rallied men of the Seventeenth Ohio, and Adjutant Hunter in command of a large squad of the Eighty-second Indiana. At the same time a large number of men of the Second Brigade were rallied and reorganized.

Riding back to gather up the stragglers who were still coming up the road, I saw Lieutenant Germain, of the division staff, who first informed me that General Brannan was making with his rallied forces, a desperate but successful stand in the rear. I started back immediately to take my rallied men back to General Brannan's assistance. Reaching the point where I had left my command, I found that it had been ordered by General Negley to Chattanooga. I pressed after my men and succeeded in overtaking them about 2 miles from Chattanooga, and at once ordered them back. Before reaching the former rallying point, however, information reached me that the battle was ended, and that General Brannan was moving his forces to the rear without further molestation from the enemy.

Many of my command had joined General Brannan, and under Colonel Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana, and Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, Seventeenth Ohio, had fought most nobly. Their conduct not having come under my personal observation, I can only refer to the reports[27] of Colonel Hunter and Lieutenant-Colonel Ward for the full details of that brave, determined stand by at first, but a few unorganized and rallied men, which truly and most fortunately changed the fortunes of that disastrous day, and saved the army from worse than defeat.

I refer to the regimental reports for incidents of individual heroism and gallantry, unparalleled in the history of hard fought battles. Under my personal observation came the truly heroic conduct of Colonel Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana; Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, Seventeenth Ohio, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lister, Thirty-first Ohio. The former charged with his brave command through our fleeing troops and retook and for a moment, held our breastworks, when wholly unsupported on right flank or rear.

Lieutenant-Colonel War, with the enemy all around him, our supports right and left fleeing, and in a storm of shells, bullets, and canister, rallied on-half of his command and charged forward to the breastworks. Lieutenant-Colonel Lister held his command in position after the line broke to the right of him, stayed with it as long as the battery could be worked, and himself left last of all, carrying off his regimental colors.

The staff officers of my brigade behaved well. Lieut. Jacob M. Ruffner, Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers, acting provost-marshal, drew upon himself the attention of all by his daring and coolness. After our lines fell back he remained at the breastworks, standing with the colors of the Eighty-second Indiana in his hand, and firing with his revolvers upon the enemy. He was wounded, in the neck, painfully but not seriously.

Lieut. Frank Spencer, Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers, acting topographical engineer, is missing, and is supposed to have been killed[28] on the road in the rear of the breastworks, where he was most gallantly engaged in rallying our fleeing men.

Lieut. T. R. Thantcher, Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers, brigade inspector, while rallying men, was struck from his horse (one already having been shot under hum), and lay on the field until the enemy's lines had passed over him, when he succeeded in escaping.

Lieut. James J. Donohoe, Thirty first Ohio Volunteers, acting commissary, while making his way through the enemy's lines on business in his department, was severely wounded, but still remained on duty.

Lieut. Jacob C. Donaldson, Thirty eight Ohio, aide-de-camp, bravely and efficiently acted throughout the day; was in the thickest of the danger and received a shot through his clothes, which fortunately missed his body.

Capt. A. J. Davis, assistant adjutant-general and Lieut. Robert H. Mullins, Twelfth Kentucky Regiment, aide-de-camp, bore themselves well on the field, and rendered most efficient service in the transmission of orders and rallying men.

I am happy to say that, notwithstanding the disasters of the 20th, on the 21st my command was all present, or accounted for in the sad list of casualties; was in perfect order and condition, in good spirits, and ready to meet the enemy with confidence.

The Thirty-eight Ohio Volunteers, Col. E. H. Phelps commanding, much to my regret, had been detached on the 18th instant, to guard the general supply train. The duty assigned Colonel Phelps was well done, and by his efforts and supervision the train was all safely taken to the rear; but I shall ever regret that his very fine regiment under his efficient command, could not have been with the brigade in its hour of trial.

In the confused retreat of the brigade, when forced from its position, It was possible only to bring out three of the pieces of Church's battery. Two of them were subsequently lost. Thus were lost five pieces, but all of the caissons were saved; and but 5 men of the battery wounded. And here I desire to bear testimony, not only to the extraordinary efficiency of and great service done by this battery, but to call attention to the heroic conduct of Captain Church, his officers and men, who continued to work their pieces when almost surrounded, and their support on the right gone.

I send herewith the reports[29] of Colonel Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lister, Thirty-first Ohio. No report has been received from Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, Seventeenth Ohio, on account of his inability to prepare the same, from a dangerous wound received by him on the afternoon of the 20th. The casualties of the brigade were as follows:

The three regiments which went into the fight had effective strength as follows, as per last morning report before the the engagement: Seventeenth Ohio, 505; Thirty-first Ohio, 517; Eighty-second Indiana, 316.

At least 10 per cent of this force were not in the engagements.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. Connell,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. Louis J. Lambert, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[30]

Report of Capt. Josiah H. Church, Battery D, First Michigan light artillery
Hdqrs. Fourth Michigan Battery
Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26, 1863.

Captain: On the morning of the 19th instant I was ordered by Colonel Connell, commanding First Brigade, Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, to take a position on the left of the Chattanooga road and about 50 yards in rear of the line of battle formed by the First Brigade at this point. I remained about half an hour, when I was ordered to follow the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Regiment, which order I immediately obeyed. We moved into the woods about 1 mile, where we found the Third Brigade, of the Third Division; they were in line of battle, Company I, Fourth Regular Artillery, being in position with them. Soon after the First Brigade joined the the First Brigade joined the Third, Colonel Van Derveer, commanding the Third Brigade retired his line some 50 yards and formed on the right of the First Brigade. Lieutenant Smith, commanding Company I, Fourth Regular Artillery, placed his battery on my right, the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel Hunter, being on my right as support. In this position we were engaged by the enemy for a short time, when they were driven back by the fire of artillery and infantry. I then changed my front a little to the left. Lieutenant Smith placed one section of his battery on my left, commanding an open field in his front. In this position the Fifteenth Regiment Infantry acted as support on my left. Here we were soon hotly engaged by the enemy, they advancing on our front and left. As they advanced I fired shell until they were within about 200 yards, when seeing the support on the left break, I ordered my men to double-shot their guns with canister, and firing low and rapidly, with the help of the Fourth Regular Battery and the infantry support on my right, the enemy were soon driven from our entire front so far as could be seen by me. During this engagement I had 2 men painfully but not seriously wounded. My officers and men without exception behaved like veterans, every man doing his duty faithfully.

From this position I was ordered farther to the right, after which, in accordance with orders from General Brannan, I changed position five times, but fired no more during the day, and at eve I retired with the First Brigade about 2.5 miles to the right and rear into an open field near a hospital and spring, where I bivouacked for the night.

Sunday, September 20, 1863, about 12 o'clock at night I received orders to move to the front about one quarter of a mile, where I formed my battery in the front line on the right of the Seventeenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and on the left of the Eleventh Michigan Regiment, Belonging to Colonel Stanley's brigade of General Negley's division. In this position I remained until daylight. I then made several moves with the First Brigade, gaining ground to the left, on the same line as before, each time getting into position for action, doing however but little firing until we arrived at our last position. In this last position I was supported by the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry on a line with my pieces and the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry on a line with my limbers on the right; on the left, by the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry on a line with my pieces and the Fourteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry on a line with the limbers. I had been in this position about one hour, when I received orders to limber up, the fighting being at this time very heavy on our left and was gradually coming toward our front. I had just obeyed the order to limber up when we were attacked. I then gave the order, "Action rear," and engaged the enemy as they advanced. I had an enfilading fire on a portion of their advance, and by hard firing fro about fifteen minutes I succeeded in checking the enemy and silencing their battery, which had been playing on our lines. I then ceased firing until the enemy again engaged our front, when, as soon as I ascertained their position, I commenced firing. We held our front in good order some twenty minutes, when the enemy advanced obliquely on our right an in such overwhelming numbers that my support on the right was obliged to give way while endeavoring to change their front.

The enemy were then so near I ordered the pieces to be double shotted with canister and kept the enemy back for a short time. As soon as the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry had passed to the rear, the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry arose and advanced to the line of rail breastworks raised and just left by the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but the fire was too heavy for a small body of men to contend with, and they were forced back. I should have changed my front to the right if I could have fired, but my support was in that direction, rendering it impossible to do so. I then (After the Eighty-second Indiana Regiment had fallen back) ordered my men to run the pieces off by hand. We succeeded in getting off four pieces through some small bushes and about 50 yards in rear of our fighting position. Here three pieces were limbered up with much difficulty, under the most galling fire, and got away. The horses had been shot belonging to the other limbers, so that it was impossible to get them off the ground. My caissons had already been taken away by Sergt. S. E. Lawrence, who had been in charge of them during the 19th and 20th. I ordered the three pieces I had saved moved to the ridge in our rear, where the reserve artillery was planted at this time. The Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry had rallied and went in again only to be slaughtered and driven back. Lieutenants Corbin and Wheat and myself remained with a few men hoping to recover the pieces during the charge of the Seventeenth Regiment, but it was impossible. We then went to the rear on foot, my horse having been captured and Lieutenant Corbin having given his horse to Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, of the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry (his having been shot), to rally his command. When I reached the hill occupied by the reserve artillery, the enemy were pouring a deadly enfilading fire on our right and pressing hard on our front. Here I fired a few rounds of the 12 pounder howitzer, commanded by Sergeant Hazzard. By this time nearly all my horses had been shot down and 3 cannoneers wounded, and we were obliged to leave to of the pieces on this ridge getting away only one 12 pounder howitzer. I then moved what I had left of my battery to the rear on the Chattanooga road.

My officers and men behaved, without a single exception, as veteran soldiers, obeying orders and attending to their duties. Liutenants Corbin, Sawyer, and Fuller did their duty nobly during the two days fight, and Lieutenant Wheat, although sick with a fever, could not be kept off the field on the 20th; although feeble in health, he was strong in heart and rendered me valuable service during my last engagement. Serft. S. E. Lawrence deserves the utmost credit for his conduct while in charge of the line of caissons, and by obeying orders promptly and watching our movements, saved all the caissons and brought them off the field in good order. Sergt. S. W. Allen also deserves great praise for his coolness and courage; he remained with his gun, defending it with his revolver until he had discharged the last round and came near being run through with a rebel bayonet when he made his escape. His pieces was left on the ground for want of help to get it off. As my number of cannoneers were short the day previous, I was obliged to take a portion of his detachment to assist in getting off another piece. Sergeants Seymour, Hazard, Haymaker, and Durfey deserve credit for their determination and courage. All my corporals discharged their duties faithfully and deserve all credit. My saddler H. H. Bartlett, deserves much praise for his services in getting my battery wagon, forge and headquarters wagons off the field in good condition, they being nearly surrounded by the enemy before he was aware of his condition. During the two days' fight I had 1 sergeant and 6 men wounded, and 4 men missing. I received a slight wound on my left arm from a spent musket ball.

It here becomes my duty as well as a great pleasure to tender my thanks, as well as those of my officers and men to Col. J. M. Connell and staff for their efficiency and noble deeds on the battlefield during the two days' battle.

I also tender the thanks of myself, officers, and men to the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer infantry, the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry and their gallant commanders for the handsome manner in which they fought in support of my battery during the fight.

With respect I remain &c.,

J. W. Church,
Captain, Comdg. Fourth Michigan Battery.

Capt. A. J. Davis, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.

[31]

September 19th: Regarding counter attack by the 9th and 17th Ohio to recapture an abandoned battery
The panic did not affect Ferdinand Van Derveer (1823) and Connell's men. They had replenished their cartridges after Ector's attack and now lay quietly while the Regulars ran through their ranks and the cheering Rebels drew near. When the Mississippians close to within forty yards, the Federals rose up and delivered a volley that brought the Mississippians to an abrupt halt. The ten guns of Church's and Smith's batteries swept the field with canister and Walthall's line began to back out of range. At that moment Colonel Gustave Kammerling road up behind the Second Minnesota at the head of his Ninth Ohio Infantry. It was an all German regiment, using German tactics and speaking only German. The Ninth began the day in the rear guarding the corps ammunition train, a duty that Kammerling and his men regarded as an ethnic slur. At the first sound of firing, Kammerling "raved and tore about... attacking every general officer he met and asking to be ordered into his command, until finally he succeeded in getting an order to rejoin his brigade. Now Kammerling feared he had missed the action. "Where dem got tam rebels gone," he yelled angrily at no one in particular. Someone pointed to the front. Without hesitating a moment, Kammerling formed line of battle and led his men past bemused Minnesotans on the run. Van Derveer yelled at him to come back, but his voice was drowed out by the German cheers. Van Derveer sent his adjutant, Captain John R. Beatty (1828), after Kammerling and then saw to it that no one else joined in the fun, halting the 87th Indiana the moment it started forward. The hapless Connell, on the other hand, merely watched as his 17th Ohio disappeared into the woods after the Ninth. Kammerling and his 502 Germans must have looked like a brigade to the Walthall's tired Mississippians. They struck the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-fourth Mississipi head on and and completely lapped Walthall's right flank. The Mississippians fell back rapidly past Burnham's ruined battery, and the Germans swarmed around the abandoned cannons. [32]

Account of the 82nd Indiana commander Colonel Hunter- the brigade supporting 17th Ohio
BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. THE PART TAKEN BY THE EIGHTY-SECOND INDIANA Address delivered by General Morton C. Hunter Columbus, Indiana, October 7, 1887.

Fellow-Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:

On the morning of the 19th of September, 1863, about 8 o'clock, Brannon's Division, to which the Eighty-second Indiana belonged, opened the battle of Chickamauga.

We had marched all the night previous, as also had the Confederate Army, each intent on getting to Chattanooga first; but the roads came together near Chickamauga River, about twelve miles from Chattanooga. The river lay between the two armies, but most of the enemy had crossed, and the two armies met face to face. Brannon's Division was in the advance. It was reported to Thomas that a brigade of the enemy had been intercepted by Dan McCook's cavalry force and cut off from its main command, by the burning of a bridge where they had attempted to cross the Chickamauga River, and Brannon's Division was sent to capture it. He made the following disposition of his division; General Crockston's Brigade moved on the right and General Vandaver's Brigade on the left, and our brigade, commanded by Colonel Connell, with the Fourth Michigan Battery moved in the center. There were but three regiments in our brigade during the whole fight, to wit: The Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio and the Eighty-second Indiana, the Thirty-eighth Ohio having been sent to guard the train to Chattanooga. We had not gone far until Vandaver's Brigade encountered a division of the enemy, said to be commanded by General Walker, and Crockston's Brigade encountered Forrest's Cavalry and drove it back till it became engaged with infantry. The enemy that we had thus attacked greatly outnumbered Brannon's forces; he sent to Thomas for reinforcements but could get none. Our brigade was soon divided. The Seventeenth Ohio was sent to Van Devene and the Thirty-first Ohio was sent to the right to the support of General Crockston's Brigade and the Eighty-second Indiana with the Fourth Michigan Battery were left to the support of General Vandaver's Brigade. We had gone but a short distance till we were halted on the brow of a hill, where we could distinctly see the fighting. Vandaver's Brigade was hard pressed, but the regular brigade which belonged to General Baird's had given away and was coming back, and the enemy after them. Captain Church, of the Fourth Michigan Battery, had six guns which he was ordered to put in position, each of which he double-shotted. The Eighty-second Indiana was placed on the right of the battery to support it, and the men were ordered to lie down so that they would not be seen by the enemy, and were ordered not to fire till the regular brigade had passed over them. They lay down but a few moments until the regular brigade had passed and the enemy came up, pressing them with all their might. When within fifty yards of us, the battery and the Eighty-second Indiana opened fire and gave them a volley. Then I ordered the Eighty-second Indiana to their feet and followed up the firing as rapidly as possible, and the battery did the same, which was so sudden and so deadly that it gave them a check; in an instant, almost, they were on the retreat. When the regular brigade passed over us they halted and gave us their support, and we immediately cleared the enemy from our front. Vandaver's Brigade, the Eighty-second Indiana, and Fourth Michigan Battery, were then sent to the right, to the support of Crockston's Brigade, which was hard pressed. When the enemy saw the re-enforcements coming, they, supposing that they were much larger than they were, gave way and left us masters of the Held. By this time lighting had become general and we could hear it distinctly for some distance to our right; but that ended the lighting of our division on the first day. The officers and men of the division acted gallantly and were in good spirits, feeling that they had defeated the enemy in their front, though the losses were heavy on both sides.

We stayed on the field guarding our front till near sundown, when General Baird took our place and General Brannon received orders to march to another position, which was some two miles to the right. We arrived there about dark and camped in an open field, in which there was a straw stack. It was a very chilly evening; the men were without blankets, having left them where they had prepared to enter the battle in the morning, the ground of which was now occupied by the enemy. That night a very heavy frost fell, and being near the enemy we could not build fires, in consequence of which the men suffered very much during the night, but the boys stood it without a murmur.

About 3 o'clock in the morning we marched out a short distance, the frost cracking under our feet like a young snow, and took position in the new line of battle as formed; the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio occupied the first line and the Eighty-second Indiana the second line, about sixty yards in the rear. The main army which formed the line of battle was divided into three parts, the right, the left and the center. The right was commanded by General McCook, and was composed of three divisions, to wit: Jeff. C. Davis', Sheridan's and Johnston's divisions. The left was commanded by General Crittenden and was composed of three divisions, to wit: Van Cleve's, Palmer's and Wood's divisions. The center was commanded by General Thomas, and had four divisions, to wit: Baird's, Negley's, Reynold's and Brannon's divisions, with General Granger's Division in reserve.

The line of battle as formed was imperfect in this, to wit: The right was not closed up against the center, but left a gap of a quarter of a mile or more between Thomas' and McCook's commands. Had McCook been closed up against Thomas' command, our line could never have been broken. Now the Eighty-second Indiana was in Brannon's Division, which was on the extreme right of Thomas' command, where this open gap appeared, which made it more difficult to defend. That was the position of the army on the second day's battle. [The line of battle given here.]

That morning the sky was clear, and when the sun arose it looked as red as blood through the fog, and was an omen to many as to what the day would be. The light commenced on the left about 9 o'clock in the morning and grew more furious each moment thereafter. Many supposed the attack on our left was a mere feint to draw our forces from the right to oppose it, while the enemy massed his troops in front of our line where this gap of a quarter of a mile or more appeared. Be that as it may, the enemy finding themselves unable to break the line on the left, suddenly commenced an attack in our front. About fifteen minutes before the fighting commenced in our front, General Wood moved a brigade of his to the left and in line with us, but Rosecrans sent to him an order to close to the left and support Reynolds, as the fighting at that time had reached .Reynolds, but Wood did not know how to obey the order unless he moved out of line and to the rear of Reynolds, as Brannon was in line between him and Reynolds.

Woods' brigade stayed there but a few moments when it moved out of line, and went to the left in rear of Reynolds. It had been gone but a short time when the enemy commenced a heavy attack on us. The Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio had made a breastwork of rails in their front. When the enemy made the attack it was so furious and angry that the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio, resisting with all their power, soon gave way, and came back to the rear and passed over us. I had the Eighty-second Indiana lying down. The enemy were pressing the Seventeenth and Thirty-first with all their power, when I ordered the Eighty-second to fire, and to raise and charge them, which they did. The fire proved so deadly, and the shock was so great and unexpected to the enemy that they gave way, and we pressed them until we regained the breastworks from which the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio had been driven. In going this short distance of sixty yards I lost ninety-two men, killed and wounded. On looking to my left I saw the whole line had given way as far as I could see. I expected that the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio, when they had passed over my regiment, and saw that I had gone to the front, would reorganize and come to our support. When I reached the breastworks from which they had been driven I looked around, and not a single man in the Union army, outside of the Eighty-second Indiana, was to be seen. My regiment was left alone, and had to take care of itself. I did not go any further than the breastworks, seeing I had no support, and ceased firing, when the enemy, about five minutes later, saw there was no force following them, reorganized and came back. When I saw them coming on our right and in front of us I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, of my regiment, to throw back the right of the Eighty-second so that the enemy could not surround us. He did so, and then I ordered the regiment to fall back and wheel and fire about every fifty yards, which kept the enemy in check. While we were falling back, Captain McCallister, of Company K, a brave officer, was killed, and our flag-staff was shattered to pieces and the flag was disconnected from the staff, when Colonel Davis seized the flag and carried it with him.

We fell back about half a mile or more to the top of a hill. While going up the hill we met stragglers by the hundreds coming from Jeff. C. Davis' command, saying that they were flanked. I looked around and could see no one in command. I tried to take command of them, and did stop quite a number of the men from going to the rear, and put them on the left of the Eighty-second Indiana, as the Eighty-second was an organized body. When we reached the top of the hill I determined to go no farther, and ordered the men to throw up a breast-work of rails, a fence being there. While superintending the breast-works, Captain Roop, of my command, came to me and said Colonel Davis wished to see me. He was to my right. I immediately started and met him, and he then told me he had ordered the men of the Eighty-second to put anything in their front they could find. I told him that was right, that I could see no place of safety and I proposed to fight it out there. While I had gone to see Colonel Davis, quite a number I had stopped left, and the brunt of the fighting fell on the Eighty-second. We had been there but a few moments till the enemy pressed up and made an attack, which we repulsed.

A short time afterwards they made a second attack, which was much more severe than the first, which we again repulsed. In a few moments they made a third attack with still greater severity, which we again repulsed, we having advantage of position.

In the meantime the firing being heavy, it attracted the attention of General Thomas, who could not have been far distant, as he sent one of his staff officers, whose name I have forgotten[33], but "he rode a large black horse with white in his face." He asked me "What troops were fighting there? If the officer is living he will remember this. I told him it was the Eighty-second Indiana and some men I had stopped going to the rear and put in line. He asked me how long I supposed I could hold the hill. I told him as long as our ammunition would last, and I asked him if he knew where I could get a new supply. He made no reply, but rode away. In about fifteen minutes from that time fourteen men came up, carrying fourteen boxes of ammunition. Where they came from I do not know unless this staff officer had sent them. I immediately caused this ammunition to be distributed to the men. When we had time we still strengthened our works.

We had been on the hill, I should judge at least one hour and a half, before I saw a living man, except General Walker, of the Thirty-first Ohio, who is a brave and gallant officer, and Captain Byers, adjutant of the Thirty-first Ohio, the enemy against us, and the men in the Eighty-second Indiana and those I had stopped and put in line. The first troops I saw were the Ninth Ohio. They came up and charged down the hill on the enemy. It soon got too hot for them and they came back and formed on our right and turned logs in their front.

A few moments later we saw troops coming up and going into line on our right, until I supposed we had about three thousand men in line, with the order from Thomas "to hold the hill at all hazards"

This hill proved to be the key to the battle field, for the enemy had to take it in order to get around Thomas. While Brannon was coming up with his troops and going into position, the enemy were massing their forces in our front. About 1 o'clock the enemy made the most determined and furious attack upon us that I ever saw or heard of-charging right up against our line, which we repulsed with great slaughter to them and with equal determination. They made charge after charge and the more we repulsed them, the more furious they became, until the roar of battle and the surge of the charge made the very earth tremble beneath us; everything was drowned by the rattle of musketry and the tumult of the onslaught. I judged from the way they fought us that they knew that they had three or four times the number of men we did, at least they kept up the lighting, never ceasing for scarcely a moment for nearly four hours. I did not know certainly what troops were opposing us, but understood it was Longstreet's command, which consisted of his corps and other troops that were placed under him.

Sometime in the afternoon, about 3 o'clock, when the fighting in our front was heavy as it could be, General Steadman came up with a division and went to the right of Brannon, in a ravine, and entered the fight with us. The hill butted up against the ravine so that the enemy could not get farther to the right. No artillery was used on either side, at least I could hear none, but it was a fight with the deadly musket, wielded with all the skill and power of gallant soldiery. But we could not be dislodged from our position, and stayed there as though we were frozen to the hill.

Steadman, as well as we, on the hill, held his ground and was never driven an inch. In our front everything was mowed smooth by bullets, and the dead lay thicker than I ever saw them on any other battle field. General Ward and Major Stinchcom of the Seventeenth Ohio came up with the last troops and acted nobly and gallantly. General Ward fell pierced with a minnie-ball and was carried from the field dangerously wounded.

The fighting, after some four hours, subsided a little, but the enemy kept it up till dark; then everything quieted down. I supposed the enemy was defeated, or, at least, was satisfied that they could not whip us. We had shot away all the ammunition that we could get, and were determined to hold the hill with the bayonet, which had already been used by those who were out of ammunition. We had fought all day without food or water, when an order came [at least I was told so] that other troops would take our places, and that we should go down the hill, on the opposite side from the enemy, in the bottom and take supper. We moved by the left flank, which threw the Eighty-second Indiana in advance. We marched some distance, when we came to a road. One of Thomas' staff officers was there. General Brannon asked him if that was the road to Rossville; he said it was. Then General Brannon ordered me to take it and go there, which was the first intimation I had that we were going there to take a new position. You can imagine my feelings better than I can express them. I supposed the enemy was defeated, and instead of us taking a new position for defense we should be preparing to advance, for we had undoubtedly defeated the enemy in our front, and I supposed the rest of the army had done likewise. I could not see any of our forces but a small portion of them on our left, about a half a mile a way, and could not hear anything that was going on, for everything was drowned by the roar of musketry. But I soon learned the facts, and found that we had been holding the enemy in check until Thomas had gotten the rest of the army out of danger, and that we were now merely bringing up the rear. Besides, we were now marching away from our killed and wounded. I had two brothers in my regiment, and I did not know whether they were with us or not; my Lieutenant-Colonel had a son who I knew was wounded, but did not know where he was, besides all the killed and wounded, leaving them to fall into the hands of the enemy. I did not know our losses, but knew they must be heavy.

When we made the charge in the bottom after 10 o'clock, after the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Ohio had given way from the breastworks, I knew our loss must be terrible in killed and wounded, for when we came out of the charge our regiment did not look as large by half as when we entered the fight.

I expected when night came to have our killed and wounded cared for, but now we could see after none. It was eight miles to Rossville, the night dark, and the surviving troops were tired, as they had fought all day without food or water, and yet had to travel this distance, leaving an enemy between us and those we loved so well. But enough of this, for the very thought of it unnerves me.

Now what I claim for the Eighty-second Indiana is this, They are entitled to the credit of being the first troops on the hill, which proved to be the key to the battle-field, and held it against the enemy for at least one hour and a half, until Thomas could learn its importance and send up reinforcements which held it and saved our army. Had the Eighty-second Indiana not gone on that hill the enemy would undoubtedly have destroyed our forces, for they would have gotten behind us and assaulted us in the front and rear. Rosecrans had left the army and gone in the direction of Chattanooga and given up, as also had the commanders of the right and left wings of the army, and the whole command fell on .Thomas' shoulders. Thomas could not have learned the importance of this position had not the Eighty-second Indiana taken and defended it until he had time to see and know the advantage it afforded; hence the order he sent, "to hold it at all hazards."

The fighting we did on that hill to hold it, on the 20th day of September, 1863, is equal, if not superior, to that of any battle fought during the war. In this remark I include all the troops on the hill, and Steadman's in the ravine to our right.

It is claimed that when Steadman came into the fight he saved our army by keeping the enemy from flanking Brannon. That may be true, but Brannon was of as much importance to Steadman as Steadman was to Brannon. If he kept the enemy from flanking Brannon on the right, Brannon kept the enemy from flanking Steadman on the left. One was just as important as the other. The truth is just as I have stated it, the honor of saving the army was due to all the troops that fought on the hill and in the ravine to our right- to one as much as the other, for it took the fighting of all to hold the position.

In anything I have said I do not wish to be understood as detracting from the rest of the army, for I believe every regiment did its full duty, and is entitled to credit therefor. Some regiments had more fighting to do than others, because they occupied a position the enemy thought was more important for them to take than others, hence the hard fighting of the Eighty-second on the second day, for we occupied a position with other comrades the enemy desired to take, and massed their forces to take, and tried with all their power from 1 o'clock till dark to accomplish it, but utterly failed in their attempt.

In the morning before the fight commenced, I ordered Major Slocum, of my regiment, to take thirty men and go out and form a picket line and guard the open gap to our right. He and his men who were not killed or wounded when the enemy made the attack, fell back on the hill about one hundred and fifty yards to our right and joined Brannon's forces and fought there bravely till dark and joined us at Rossville. When we got to Rossville we stayed there all the next day and next night, prepared and waiting for the enemy. The question is often asked by many, why was it that the enemy did not follow us up and attack us? The answer is this, they could not; they would have done it if they could, but their army was so badly hurt that it had but little fight left in it, so little that they would not attempt it. If they had it would have proved a failure, for we formed a line across the valley at Rossville that would have held it against any force they could have brought. We moved from Rossville to Chattanooga on Tuesday morning without interruption, except their cavalry made a little show of fight when we got to Chattanooga, hut took good care to keep out of range of our muskets. After we got to Chattanooga we fortified in twenty minutes, so that we could not have been gotten out of there with twice their force. Chattanooga was the objective point; we got there in good shape and held it. The battle of Chickamauga would have terminated very differently from what it did, had McCook on the second day's fight been closed up against Thomas, for then our line could never have been broken, but that fatal gap of a quarter-mile or more was left open where the enemy came in and flanked our army both ways, which was the fatal blunder. It was always a mystery to me, after our army was flanked how Thomas could hold together as he did till dark, and then draw off his forces without loss to Rossviile. That blunder, which Thomas was not responsible for, caused us a retreat to another position, but not a defeat. I had about three hundred muskets in line that day, and my loss, as I now remember it, was one hundred and thirty-seven killed and wounded; none of my men were taken prisoners except the wounded.

When I wrote my account of the battle of Chickamauga, and delivered it to my regiment at a reunion held at Columbus, Indiana, in the fall of 1887, I then regarded it as true, though written twenty-four years after it occured, and written, too, from memory; for that battle was more indelibly fixed in my mind than all the battles I was ever in, for the reason that it was the most dangerous and critical in which I was ever engaged; and thought it would be borne out by my report made immediately after the battle, when published by authority of the United States, giving a history of the war. Since that time the reports have been published, and mine does not appear among them. It is reported "not found," though I know it was made, and forwarded in the regular channels of reports, as shown by my brigade commander's report, published in volume thirty of the "Chickamauga Campaign," on page 410. I find among said reports General Brannon's. He was my division commander. His report, published on page-400 of said book (Chickamauga Campaign) does, as I think, my command great injustice. On page 402 of said report he says: "Wood being taken while marching by the flank, broke and fled in confusion, and my line actually attacked from the rear, was obliged to swing back from the right, which it accomplished with wonderful regularity under such circumstances (with, however, the exception of a portion of the First Brigade, which, being much exposed, broke with considerable disorder.)" In that part of his report the thing I complain of is this: He does not say what part did its duty. In order that you may see how our division was placed, I will give the exact position. It was closed up against Reynolds. The Second Brigade was on the left, the First Brigade was on the right, with the Third Brigade in reserve. Wood's division having moved out of line of battle, left the right of my brigade exposed, as there was a gap open as far as I could see-being more than 250 yards. I never saw my division commander from the morning of the 20th until after night, when we moved off the hill. I don't know where he kept himself; but am sure he was not around where I was during the 20th. For I believe, under the circumstances, he should have been in the rear of my brigade, for it was the place of danger, for the reason that the Seventeenth Ohio and my regiment (Eighty second Indiana) formed the right flank of his division, where this gap appeared. General Longstreet was in front of us with his picked corps of the Eastern army, with his troops six lines deep, to march in said gap when the time came for him to advance, for we had no protection on the flank for the Seventeenth Ohio and the Eighty-second Indiana, except Major Slocumb, who was thrown out with thirty flankers to do the best he could where the enemy made their appearance. Before the attack was made by General Longstreet the Third Brigade, which was in reserve, was sent to General Baird for his assistance. General Croxton, commander of the Second Brigade, was closed up against Reynolds. Then came the Thirty-first Ohio of our brigade, supported by the Fourteenth Ohio, one of Croxton's Brigade, then the Fourth Michigan Battery, then the Seventeenth Ohio, supported by my regiment, the Eighty-second Indiana, about sixty yards in the rear. Now, had Brannon been there, and I believe he should, then he could have seen what the First Brigade did instead of guessing at it as he did. He would have learned the perils that the First Brigade was in when the enemy appeared and fired upon us. Their coming was so furious and determined-like a cyclone-that the Thirty first and Seventeenth Ohio, who were occupying the first line, after exchanging a few shots with them, gave way and came back over us. After the Seventeenth had passed and the rebels had crossed our line of breast-works, I had the Eighty-second lying down with bayonets fixed, when I ordered them to fire and rise and charge them, which they did with a will. Their fire was so deadly, and so unexpected was the charge, that the rebels who had crossed the breast-works gave way, and we pressed them until we regained them and drove the rebels from our front. In that charge my regiment numbered only about 200; lost 90 in killed and wounded of as brave men as ever shouldered a musket. When I got to the breast-works, and had driven the enemy back, I looked around to see what support I had, and, to my surprise, I could not see a single soldier to my left except the Eighty-second Indiana. They were all gone as far as I could see, and I was left alone out in the field to take care of myself. Had any regiment come to my support I should not have left, but fought it out there. In this charge many of the rebels were killed and wounded, among whom was General Hood, wounded, one of the bravest generals in the rebel army, and I believe the Eighty-second Indiana did it, for they were the only ones engaged in this charge.

I never saw men fight braver and more determined than my men did. General Brannon and the Second Brigade had all given back; at least I could not see anything of them. Being left alone and without any prospect of support, and the rebels coming on my right and left, I had Colonel Davis to throw back my right, to keep from being surrounded. I ordered my men to give back and wheel and fire every fifty yards, to keep the enemy in check. I moved straight to the rear, moving neither to the right nor the left, and kept ahead as fast as we could walk.

That we made this charge, I refer you to Colonel Connell's report, my brigade commander, page 411 of "Chickamauga Battlefield," where he says: "Under my observation come the heroic conduct: of Colonel Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana, Colonel Ward of the Seventeenth Ohio, and Colonel Lister of the Thirty-first Ohio. The former, charged with his brave command through our fleeing troops, and retook, and for a moment held our breastworks, when wholly unprotected on right flank or rear." Could more be expected of my gallant command than that? For it made one of the bravest charges against superior numbers, and against troops that were the flower of the rebel army, that was made during the war. And my division commander should have recognized my brave command in his report, instead of saying: "With the exception of a portion of the first brigade being much exposed, broke with considerable disorder." I will venture the assertion that my command left the breast-works after General Brannon had fallen back. While we were retreating four rebel regiments followed us up and kept firing at us. At one time Captain McAllaster was killed, and the flag staff shattered, and the flag fell to the ground, when Colonel Davis picked it up, and carried it to the top of the hill. The men for a moment were excited, but I spoke to them and soon quieted them down. By this time our regiment was tolerably long, and scattered out, when I was informed that General Brannon rode up with two orderlies, but I did not see them, and ordered my brother, Adjutant Hunter, to form at a fence about five hundred yards in our front (we were then going to the rear) when Adjutant Hunter and some forty men moved up faster than the regiment to the fence on the hillside. When the adjutant got there, General Negley ordered him to move to the rear, for if he stayed there two minutes he would be captured. The adjutant insisted on waiting until I would come up with the rest of the regiment, but Negley insisted that we would be captured before we got there.

The Adjutant and his men went up the hill with him and joined the Eighty-fourth Illinois and started for the rear. When I got to the fence and started up the hill, I saw stragglers from Jeff. C. Davis' command, and tried to stop them, and did stop a few and put them on the left of the Eighty-second Indiana. When I got to the top of the hill I saw in an instant, from the lay of the ground, that it was the place to fight, and determined to do so as long as my ammunition would last, for I never could consent to going down the opposite side of the hill, giving the enemy the advantage of being above us. I instantly deployed my regiment along the brow of the hill and told them to throw logs, rocks, stumps, rails or any other thing in their front that they could get for their protection. The enemy, in about fifteen minutes, came up and attacked us and we repulsed them. We repulsed them for three different times. Then they seemed to leave us alone for a time. The first man I saw on the hill was one of General Thomas' staff. He came up and asked me who was fighting on the hill; I told him the Eighty-second Indiana and a few men I had stopped and put into line. He asked me how long I could hold the hill. I told him I thought I could hold it as long as my ammunition would last, and asked him if he knew where there was any more, to which he made no reply, but rode away. In a few minutes fourteen men came up carrying fourteen boxes of ammunition, and I immediately had it distributed among the men. Where it came from, I know not, unless this staff officer sent it. The next men I saw were Colonel Walker and Adjutant Byers of the Thirty-first Ohio. In a few moments more I saw the Ninth Ohio (Colonel Kammerling's regiment) coming up from our left and rear, who charged down the hill. I told them before they charged that they had better stop on the top of the hill and throw logs in their front and let the rebels charge them. But Colonel Kammerling insisted on going and I told him to go. The regiment stayed about five minutes and then came back. Colonel Kammerling, when he came back, remarked that the rebels were too d-d thick down there. Then he formed his command on my right and turned logs in their front.

As evidence of what I say is true, I herewith submit the statements of Captain Henry S. Byers, of the Thirty-first Ohio, and Colonel Gustav Kammerling and members of the Ninth Ohio.

"BLOOMINGTON, IND., January, 1893."I, Henry S. Byers, late Adjutant Thirty-first Ohio Veteran Infantry, take pleasure in making this statement in honor to Gen. Morton C. Hunter, and his regiment, Eighty-second Indiana. That on the 20th day of September, 1863, between the hours of 12 M. and 1 P.M. I saw General Hunter and the Eighty-second Indiana in position on the left of the hill, known as Snodgrass Hill (and the key-point to the field), they being the first troops to take position. Some time after I saw the Ninth Ohio, Colonel Kimmerling, come up and take position on the right of the Eighty-second Indiana. Afterward other troops took position, and held the ridge until dark.

"HENRY S. BYERS."
"TELL CITY, IND., February 7, 1893.

" I take pleasure in making the following statement of facts that took place on the 20th of September, 1863, at what was known as the 'Battle of Chickamauga," viz.: About 1 o'clock p. M., Sept. 20, 1863, I moved my regiment (the Ninth Ohio) on to what is known as 'Snodgrass Hill,' and found Col. Morton C. Hunter with the Eighty-second Indiana Regiment, and formed on his right along the brow of the hill, and there was no other troops on the hill at the time I arrived there but the Eighty-second Indiana. We held our positions until after night, and then moved off under orders.

"Gustav Kimmerling, " Late Col. 9th O. V. I."

"We, the undersigned, members of the Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, being present at the time mentioned above, take great pleasure in fully indorsing the statements of our brave Colonel, knowing them to be true:

Name Rank Company Regiment
Christ. Haffner, Private, "I." Ninth O. V. I.
C. W. H. Luebbert, Private, "D." Ninth O. V. I.
Fred. Bertsch, 1st Lieut. "B." Ninth O. V. I.
Geo. A. Schneidey, 1st Sergt. "C" Ninth O. V. I.
Gerhard Ferber, Corporal, "F." Ninth O. V. I.
John Schmutt, Private, "I." Ninth O. V. I.
Wihjalm Stagge, Private, "D." Ninth O. V. I.
Fredrick Freever, Private, "B." Ninth O. V. I.
Joseph Scherer, Private, "B." Ninth O. V. I.
Adam Klingel, Private, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
Carl Haller, Private, "F." Ninth O. V. I.
Herman Howind, Private, "G." Ninth O. V. I.
F. Bedecker, Private,
Louis Mark, Sergeant, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
Chas. Bemimger, Private, "E." Ninth O. V. I.
Joseph Deitsch, Private, "H." Ninth O. V. I.
John Loge, Private, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
George Rimpler, Private, "E." Ninth O. V. I.
H. Gunklack, Private, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
F. Wendel, Private, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
Wm. Leipnitz, Private, "G." Ninth O. V. I.
Peter Miller, Private, "C." Ninth O. V. I.
A. Voegmann, Private, "K." Ninth O. V. I.
Chas. Nulsen, Corporal, "C." Ninth O. V. I.
Bernard Sentro, Corporal, "H." Ninth O. V. I.
A. Bachlet, Private, "A." Ninth O. V. I.
Deitrick Dorst, Private, "E." Ninth O. V. I.
Adam Fath, Private, "E." Ninth O. V. I.
John Heine, Private, "I." Ninth O. V. I.
George Maier, Private, "B." Ninth O. V. I.
Chas. Schuly, Sergeant, "B." Ninth O. V. I.
Igwers Hoch, Private, "I." Ninth O. V. I.
Jacob Setter, Private, "K." Ninth O. V. I.
John Boecual, Private, "I." Ninth O. V. I.

In about fifteen minutes other regiments came up, which I said in my speech were Brannon's troops. I then did not know, but supposed they were. But since I have read the reports of the various officers in volume 30 of the battle of Chickamauga, I can't find any of them that say that they were sent or brought by General Brannon on that hill, except one regiment sent by General Negley after the fight commenced. I suppose they came up of their own accord (at least, they were not sent or brought by General Brannon), because they were brave officers and men, and knew that they had to fight or surrender, and that being a good place to fight, formed on the right of the Ninth Ohio, along said ridge, and made the line about 400 yards long from left to right, where the heaviest battle was fought during the war. No body blames General Brannon for taking command of the troops, for he was the ranking officer, and it was his duty to do it. What I blame him for is this: After the battle was fought, and it was successful, he claimed all the credit of selecting the position. From his report you would come to the conclusion that he had selected that hill as the key to the battle-field, and he had made every preparation to defend it; when the truth is that my regiment, the Eighty-second Indiana, had been on that hill for more than an hour before he came on it, and had repulsed three charges of the Rebels made upon it, and yet he does not give my command any credit for doing a single thing, when it is entitled to the credit of holding that hill against the enemy until re-enforcements came up and assisted in holding the enemy at bay. Had my regiment not gone on that hill the enemy would have been on top of it an hour before General Brannon came there, and would have crushed our army and taken us as prisoners of war. I hold that the fight on the hill was purely accidental, for when I came upon that hill I did not know where to go. But being pressed by the rebels, the top seemed like the place to fight. Without giving it a moment's thought, I immediately deployed my men along the brow and froze to it. I claim that all the officers and men, without exception, are entitled to the credit of holding it; but no man or set of men is entitled to the credit of selecting it. That was purely accidental; but when Brannon came the line of battle was fixed by my regiment and the Ninth Ohio. There was nothing left for troops to do except to form on the right of the Ninth Ohio along the brow of the hill. There was no other place for them to go, if they wanted to defend the hill. For Brannon to say that he selected the place for them to go is simply preposterous.

My regiment took its position upon the top of that hill on the left in line of battle before twelve o'clock of that day (Sept. 20,1863) and maintained it by as hard fighting as was ever done by man. I never saw any one during the day with a star on his shoulder, save one, I think he had, though I am not certain, whom I did not know at the time nor for a long time afterwards, and that was General John Beatty, of Ohio, who came in with some troops on the left of my regiment. He spoke of others as well as myself, during the heaviest charge that I ever saw made. He spoke as follows, on page 370, Chickamauga Campaign: "* * * Of Colonel Hunter, of the Eighty-second Indiana, * * * as men who deserve the gratitude of the Nation, for an exhibition on this occasion of determined courage, which I believe unsurpassed in the history of the Rebellion." After dark, about eight o'clock, General Brannon came to me, the first time that I saw him since early that morning, and told me that we would go off the hill. We moved by the left flank, which threw me in advance, and we marched down the hill and thence to Rossville.

I feel that I have done my duty as a soldier, and am now in declining years and care nothing for honors, unless due me. Knowing the cause for which I fought was successful, I would not bother myself to ask for justice to myself; but knowing the soldiering qualities of my brave command, I can not think of keeping quiet until I see them given the honor so justly due them. I never gave them an order but what was cheerfuly executed, no difference how dangerous. It was so general I am unable to point out a single instance of failure. Brave boys. I cheerfully make this statement so justly due you.

[Colonel Davis and myself were the only field officers in command of the regiment during that bloody encounter on Snodgrass Hill. Colonel Davis is now dead and gone. He was as brave an officer as ever lived, and is entitled to as much credit as I am in that struggle.]

The regiment reached Rossville about 10 o'clock the night of the 20th, and took position in rear of Reynolds' Division, near the Dry Valley Road. The army remained in position guarding Rossville Gap and roads leading to Chattanooga until 10 o'clock p. M. of the 21st. "Brannon's Division was posted at 6 p. M. on the road about half way between Rossville and Chattanooga to cover the movement. The troops were withdrawn in a quiet, orderly manner, without the loss of a single man, and by 7 A. M. on the 22d were in their position in front of Chattanooga, which had been assigned to them previous to their arrival." I make this statement from General Thomas' report to show that our division was the rear guard covering this movement, having heard many soldiers claiming that their division was the one who performed that duty. In one hour after reaching Chattanooga the army had succeeded in throwing up breastworks that defied the assault of the enemy, and in a few days the defense of Chattanooga would have defied all the rebels that were contending for the establishment of the Southern Confederacy. General Roseerans was soon removed from command and the greatest General of them all placed in command, i. e., George H. Thomas, better known by his soldiers as "old Pap Thomas."

[34]

From wikipedia article on the Battle of Chickamauga:
Thomas requested reinforcements, and Rosecrans began shifting units to react to the initial attacks on his flank. At about 11 a.m., General T. J. Wood was ordered to replace Brig. Gen. John Milton Brannan's division, which had been ordered to Thomas's aid. Brannan had not followed the order, however, after being attacked by Stewart's men; the order was poorly written and told Wood to close up and support Reynolds. Although he could not close up on him, he could move his men to a supporting position, which created a real gap that corps commander Alexander McCook was trying to fill when Longstreet's entire wing of the army attacked. They were able to exploit this gap and struck the columns of Union soldiers in their flanks as they moved. Longstreet had, however inadvertently, achieved another successful surprise assault, for which he had a well-deserved reputation in the war.
The Union troops in the gap began to retreat, carrying Rosecrans along with them, and McCook's and Crittenden's commands soon followed. By 1 p.m., Thomas was the sole commander left on the battlefield. He received word from Rosecrans to withdraw the troops to Rossville, Georgia, a few miles to the north in the direction of Chattanooga. But Thomas was too heavily engaged to move. He began consolidating forces on Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill. The Union Reserve Corps commander, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who was north of the battlefield at MacAfee's Church, heard the firing to the south and, on his own initiative, sent Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman to support Thomas. Steedman arrived about 2:30 p.m., just in time to stop Longstreet's attempt to envelop Thomas's right flank. At about 4 p.m., Longstreet made one final effort but could not break the stubborn Union defense.




History of Fairfield County:
At the battle of Chickamauga the regiment was on the extreme right of the center, attached to the corps commanded by General Thomas. When General Wood's division was double- quick out of the line, the gap left exposed the right flank and front, causing it to lose heavily, and scattering the men in confusion. Company B, being the only one of the regiment that retreated in a body, was halted about three hundred yards from where they had been driven, gave three cheers, sounded the rally for the Seventeenth Ohio, gathered some two hundred of them together, and charged back on the enemy, but to little purpose, as the rebels outnumbered them ten to one. Falling back again, now only about one hundred strong, they held a given point, and fought throughout that memorable day, leaving the field with but fifty-two men. The loss of the Seventeenth in this battle in killed and wounded was over two hundred, not counting those with slight flesh wounds. This was the severest fight in which the regiment had participated. The gallant Captain Rickets fell dead in the early part of the fight, and Lieutenant Colonel Ward fell about the middle of the afternoon, on the front line, badly wounded.[35] [36]




from Biography of James William Stinchcomb[1] (Captain of Company B)
After the Confederate forces had penetrated the Union center, they wheeled right and hit the First Brigade(Connell's Brigade) in front and flank, sending most of the Brigade reeling back in disorder. At least half of the Brigade, including Col. Connell was routed, and sent reeling back towards the Rossville Gap, and Chattanooga. Company B had retreated about two hundred yards, in a compact formation, rallied and charged upon the advancing Confederates, losing at least half their number in this futile charge. The Senior Officer, Lt. Col. Durbin Ward pulled his remaining men back behind the thin Union line, and were consolidated with elements of the 31st Ohio, under Col. Moses Walker, and the 82nd Indiana, under Col. Morton C. Hunter (1825), who was placed in temporary command of all three units, with overall command being by Brig. Gen. John Beaty. This scratch unit was placed in location upon Hill no. 1, on Horseshoe Ridge, building barricades from rail fences, and helping to repulse the savage, multiple charges of Confederate General James Longstreet's Confederate Soldiers upon the thin Union line gathered on Snodgrass hill, and Horseshoe Ridge.


Regarding the afternoon defense of the ridge
I filled up an unoccupied space on the ridge between Harker, of Wood's division, on the left, and Brannan, on the right, and this point we held obstinately until sunset. Colonel Stoughton, Eleventh Michigan ; Lieutenant- Colonel Rappin, Nineteenth Illinois; Lieutenant- Colonel Grosvenor, Eighteenth Ohio ; Colonel Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana; Colonel Hays and Lieutenant-Colonel Wharton, Tenth Kentucky; Captain Stinchcomb, Seventeenth Ohio, and Captain Kendrick. Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania, were there, each having a few men of their respective commands; and they and their men fought and struggled and clung to that ridge with an obstinate, persistent, desperate courage, unsurpassed, I believe, on any field.[37]


BurialEdit

1863 Chickamauga 17th Ohio monument at Poe field

This monument is within a few hundred yards of where Most of the casualties on the 20th most likely fell in battle

The Union army was in retreat in the face of overwhelming rebel strength, so it is doubtful that any bodies were recovered. The number of dead on both sides was staggering, and the few marked graves indicated by findagrave for Chickamauga Military Park are those of southern troops. During the months that the rebels were in control of the battleground, Union soldiers were placed in such shallow graves that portions of their bodies were above ground. They were reburied by Union forces after rebel forces retreated following their decisive defeat at Chatanooga when Thomas's forces took Missionary Ridge.


From "John Basil Turchin and the fight to free the slaves":

"Three months after the bloody fighting at Chickamauga, the obligation of providing a proper burial for the dead remained. The confederates were in possession of the of the ground for a month after the battle. While the rebels went through the motions of burying the dead of both armies, it was generally felt that 'they had treated the Union dead in a most shameful manner... at the best but a slight covering of earth was given the remains of many.' The federal government had done nothing more in the two months after the Confederate withdrawal to Dalton. Nadine Turchin wrote in disgust in her diary,

"what is horrible to say and incredible to acknowledge is the fact that up to now no official steps have been taken for a decent burial for all these defenders of our country fallen on the battlefield. When the enemy occupied the land we denounced loudly and repeatedly through the press the inhumanity of the Confederates for letting dogs and pigs devour our dead. Although the enemy was beaten and driven back thirty miles a month ago, we have not yet thought to bury the remains of our poor soldiers... Horribly unbelievable but true.'
"The Army of the Cumberland sent a detail from every regiment to collect and bury the remains. They proceeded on December 16. General Turchin and his staff accompanied the burial details. Turchin upon returning told his wife, "Many corpses are no more than bones". Men of the Eleventh Ohio reported finding 'many arms and feet protruding above ground, and parts of bodies half burned.'" [38]



ControversiesEdit

In reading the primary and secondary sources, it becomes evident that there are unusual divergences between some accounts.

  • The truth about Chickamauga advances the argument that Brannan's account consists of fabrications and that an injustice has been done to Negley "whose reputation was seriously and permanently besmirched by the abuse which was heaped on him...". Regarding Brannan: "General Brannan and his lieutenants protected their own lives and gained their freedom from captivity by deliberate sacrifice of their comrades without their knowledge or consent."[39]
  • Discrepancy: Colonel Hunter stated that after retaking the breastworks, there were no units to either his left or right. This is at odds with the account of Captain Church's report who recounted the heroism of the 82nd's retaking of the breastworks. It is difficult to believe that Church had the time between the interval of the 17th's departure and the 82nd's arrival that his unit could have retreated with 3 of his field pieces. Hunter's account is 24 years after the battle. His original submitted brigade report referred to in Colonel Connell's report cannot be found in the federal records.
  • Negley is often pilloried by many secondary sources on the battle. For an alternate view, see General John Turchin's analysis of what Negley knew about the strategic situation when he issued the orders he did: John Basil Turchin (1888). Chickamauga. Chicago: Fergus Publishing Company. pp. page 122. http://books.google.com/books?id=6DD4lfLjXFAC&f=false. 

Further readingEdit

  • Highly regarded: Peter Cozzens. This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-06594-1. 
  • A co-member of Company K wrote his memoirs:
    • Sgt. A. Lanson Gierhart Co. K 17th OVI. (1907). A. L. Gierhart Papers. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Historical Society. 
    • 18 items. Photocopies of papers which include 15 letters to family. Other items include history of Co. K, 17th O.V.I., and Gierhart's reminiscences of three years service, written in 1907. Call# VFM 3004.
  • C T De Velling (1889). History of the Seventeenth regiment, First brigade, Third division, Fourteenth corps, Army of the Cumberland. E.R. Sullivan. 
  • Life, Speeches and Orations of Durbin Ward of Ohio[2] By Elizabeth Probasco Ward. This possibly will shed light on the movements of the 17th Ohio from Poe Field to Snodgrass hill and both the early and late engagements on the 20th. However, pickings may be slim since this volume is a collection of speeches and none appear to explicitly devote themselves to an account of Chickamauga.
  • The bibliography for the 17th may have further useful sources
  • Ohio Roster Commission (l886). Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion.. 2. Cincinnati, OH: Wilstach, Baldwin. pp. page 535-73 and 770-74. http://books.google.com/books?id=NbAKAAAAIAAJ&lr=&pg=PT586. 

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Peter Cozzens. This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. page 371. ISBN 978-0-252-06594-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=wVfKPS-wT90C&pg=PA371&f=false. 
  2. ^ For location, refer to topographic map. Connell was on the ridge marked with the first yellow star on the left on this map.
  3. ^ Negley deprived Thomas of other units that otherwise would have returned to the Union line on Thomas's right, and both Brannan and Wood wouldn't let it be forgotten. The condemnation was not universal. Even one of Thomas's commanders, General Turchin defended Negley's decision, pointing out that he had no evidence that the left was still intact, and given the facts Negley knew at the time, there was no other prudent choice. Even though the court of inquiry found no wrongdoing, Negley was relieved of command after the battle.
  4. ^ John Basil Turchin (1888). Chickamauga. Chicago: Fergus Publishing Company. pp. page 234. http://books.google.com/books?id=6DD4lfLjXFAC&pg=PA234#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  5. ^ Hunter's account relates the conditions of the bivouack and weather)
  6. ^ Church report
  7. ^ Brigades sent against brigade 1 according to this Wikipedia Chickamauga map see description in the wikipedia article at the portion mentioning the assault of Evander McNair.
  8. ^ Kyle J. Foley (pdf). JOHN BELL HOOD’S DIVISION IN THE BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. US Army. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA416445&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf. 
  9. ^ according to Connell's field report
  10. ^ Op. Cit. Foley.
  11. ^ The break of the Seventeenth was reported both by Connell, and Church
  12. ^ A. A. Graham, ed (1883). "Chapter XIX:War of the Rebellion". History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, Ohio. 3. W. H. Beers & Co.. pp. page 120. http://www.perrycountyohio.us/fphhistory/fphpart3chap18.htm. 
  13. ^ Op. Cit. Foley
  14. ^ According to Connell's report
  15. ^ Negley Court of Inquiry (1890). "Chapter XLII / document 234: Record of the Negley court of inquiry". In Calvin Duvall Cowles. The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. 1. US Government Printing Office. pp. page 1043. http://books.google.com/books?id=-8E9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1043. 
  16. ^ According to Brannan's report
  17. ^ see Hunter report
  18. ^ For location of this position see "Brannan" near lower right star on map File:1863-09-20 Chickamauga- Ohio 17th.jpg
  19. ^ Archibald Gracie (1911). The truth about Chickamauga. Houghton Mifflin company. pp. page 249. http://books.google.com/books?id=h-gLAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA249#v=onepage&f=false. 
  20. ^ Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. Thomas report on Chickamauga. http://www.civilwarhome.com/thomaschickamauga.htm. 
  21. ^ An incident of the war:How General Durbin Ward's life was saved by General Steedman. New York Times. October 21, 1883. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9A01EEDF1538E033A25752C2A9669D94629FD7CF. 
  22. ^ Rick Byrd (2001). "Battle of Chickamauga - Part 2". MilitaryHistoryOnline.com. http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/civilwar/chickamauga/part2.aspx. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  23. ^ Peter Cozzens. This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. page 371. ISBN 978-0-252-06594-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=wVfKPS-wT90C&pg=PA371#v=onepage&q=%22connell%22%20%22poe%20field%22&f=false. 
  24. ^ John Basil Turchin (1888). Chickamauga. Chicago: Fergus Publishing Company. pp. page 122. http://books.google.com/books?id=6DD4lfLjXFAC&f=false. 
  25. ^ "Biography of John Connell". rootsweb. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~connell/index18.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  26. ^ Report footnote: "Not found" (Lister regimental report)
  27. ^ Report footnote: "Not found" (Hunter and Ward regimental reports)
  28. ^ Report footnote: "Spencer was not killed"
  29. ^ Report footnote: "Not found" (Hunter, Lister and Ward regimental reports)
  30. ^ Colonel John M. Connell, Commander, Brigade 1 (1890). "Chapter XLII / document 49". In Calvin Duvall Cowles. The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. 1. US Government Printing Office. pp. pages 407-412. http://books.google.com/books?id=-8E9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA407. 
  31. ^ Captain Josiah H. Church, Commander, Battery D First Michigan light artillery (Fourth Michigan Battery) (1890). "Chapter XLII / document 50". In Calvin Duvall Cowles. The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. 1. US Government Printing Office. pp. pages 412-415. http://books.google.com/books?id=-8E9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA412. 
  32. ^ Peter Cozzens. This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. page 147-148. ISBN 978-0-252-06594-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=wVfKPS-wT90C&pg=PA148#v=onepage&f=false. 
  33. ^ The Thomas staff officer investigating the right was Captain Kellogg. See Thomas report for details.
  34. ^ General Morton C. Hunter (1887-10-7). Eighty-second Indiana address. Columbus, Indiana.  as quoted in:
  35. ^ A. A. Graham, ed (1883). "Chapter XIX:War of the Rebellion". History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, Ohio. 3. W. H. Beers & Co.. pp. page 120. http://www.perrycountyohio.us/fphhistory/fphpart3chap18.htm. 
  36. ^ An uncited copy of this account may also be found at rootsweb: rootsweb.com - History Of Seventeenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry
  37. ^ John Beatty (1879). The Citizen soldier: Memoirs of a volunteer. pp. page 340. http://www.archive.org/stream/citizensoldiero00hobagoog/citizensoldiero00hobagoog_djvu.txt. 
  38. ^ Stephen Chicoine. John Basil Turchin and the fight to free the slaves. Praeger Publishers. pp. pages 181-182. ISBN 978-0275974411. http://books.google.com/books?id=wetIoBgUAq8C&ots=uAVM8Obebt&pg=PA181#v=onepage&f=false. 
  39. ^ Op. cit. Truth about Chickamauga page 198

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