Page images
PDF
EPUB

sacca road, nearly to a cross road about two miles from Resacca, when General Kilpatrick was wounded in the leg and compelled to leave the field, the command devolving upon Colonel Murray, of the Fifth Kentucky cavalry.

When the head of the Fifteenth corps reached

battery, I brought forward to the left of the main road, next to the Rodman guns, and opened fire on the enemy's fortifications. The Napoleon guns and the twelve-pound howitzers fired in the morning in the rifle-pits of the enemy, and in the afternoon the four twelvepound Napoleon guns were removed to a posi-the cross road to Calhoun Ferry, it moved to tion in front of Brigadier-General Lightburn's brigade of the Second division Fifteenth army corps. The section of twenty-pound Parrott guns were also removed to a position on the right of the First division Fifteenth army corps, and directed their fire at the railroad bridge. On the sixteenth of May, early in the morn-Oostenaula River, a stream running in a southing, the sections of howitzers advanced at a trot through Resacca, and unlimbered several times to fire on the retreating rebels.

Loss-One man, Corporal H. White, battery F, Second Missouri artillery, and one man wounded; seven horses killed.

The Fourth Independent Ohio battery fired two hundred and twenty-seven rounds; battery F, Third Missouri artillery, fired five hundred and sixty rounds.

CLEM LANDGRAEBER,

Major and Chief of Artillery,

ANOTHER ACCOUNT.

IN THE FIELD NEAR RESACCA,
ΜΑΥ 16, 1864.

At the close of my last letter the grand army was in position, confronting the rebel army, which had been in occupation of Northern Georgia. The flanking movement had been well and skilfully made, a road secured for supplies and the movement of troops. Johnston had been compelled to withdraw from Dalton Sherman had followed with his main army, and was ready to give battle to the rebel army concentrated in his front.

The Federal army was in a novel position. Its front was North. The country in which the battle was fought is rolling, and generally densely wooded, with a growth of timber and underwood. There are occasional openings and good roads; but it was very difficult, at most points along the line of battle, to see anything beyond our immediate vicinity.

The advance commenced early in the morning of the thirteenth. The troops were mainly on the road through Snake Creek Gap to Resacca, the right resting at its intersection with the Dalton road, six miles from Resacca, the rebel left. The rebel pickets were well up to our front. The Third cavalry division, General Kilpatrick, had the advance, and soon drove in the enemy's pickets. Kilpatrick's command was followed by the Army of the Tennessee, the Fifteenth corps leading. These troops keeping the main road, the Twentieth corps moved to the left, at its intersection with the Calhoun road, and the remainder of the centre and left, the Fourteenth and Fourth corps, taking the same direction at the intersection with the Dalton road. Kilpatrick's cavalry had moved forward, driving in the enemy's pickets on the Re

the right and went into position on each side of the Resacca road, the Sixteenth moving down to its right. By one o'clock the different corps were all in position, the enemy was found, and the picket firing was quite lively.

Resacca is situated on the right bank of the

westerly direction, and not fordable. The object of the afternoon's work seemed to be to advance the right so that the Sixteenth corps should rest its right on the river, and that the Fifteenth should secure possession of the hills in front of Resacca.

About two o'clock, General Logan rode up up from Sherman's headquarters of this corpsan old tree in the road-"Where is my staff? Broke up? There is work." Staff officers and orderlies were off with orders, and matters speedily began to assume the serious, lively appearance of preparation for battle.

General Sherman's headquarters were near those of General Logan, on a patch of open timber. The scene there was characteristic and suggestive. Sherman was seated on the ground, leaning against a tree, his feet drawn up to him, and a map on his knees, his coat unbuttoned, his hat anti-regulation and sans cord. Cigar in mouth, he looked no older, and not much worse than when he saved the first day's field at Shiloh, and footed it above Stubs' Bayou. Around him stood a large amount of rankThomas, Hooker, Palmer, Logan, Elliott, Sickles, Butterfield, and a small host of Major and Brigadier Generals. They were receiving their final instructions for the afternoon's field.

Logan moved first and drew the first fire. In front of his second division was an open field, in it were the enemy's skirmishers-across in the woods his line of battle. At the bugle, the division fell into line of battle, deployed skir mishers, and swept across the field, driving the enemy in splendid style. General Logan accompanied the line. At the same time Herron, who had fallen back of the main road to allow Hooker to move to the right, moved on the double-quick to the left of Osterhaus, the two divisions pushing into the thick wood on the left of the Second; Dodge moved his command from the Ferry road down through the forest to fill up the space between the Fifteenth and the Oostenaula, his Fourth division, General Hatch, having the advance. After crossing the field, General Morgan L. Smith entered the wood, and pushed rapidly for the hills in his front.

As the right of the Fifteenth corps came up on the rising ground beyond the open hill, it was found to be uncovered, Dodge's left not being up. The rebels opened a severe flanking fire, from which Lightburn's brigade suffered

considerably. General Smith brought up battery H, and with a few shots from his twentypounder Parrott's, De Grasse upset and scattered the rebels and their barricades. The Fifteenth | moved steadily forward, driving the enemy for a mile and a half, until the corps were in possession of the hills which they had been ordered to take. Their loss was comparatively light. The Sixteenth made its connection to the river, but with a considerable loss to the Fourth division. The Thirty-fifth New Jersey and Twenty-fifth Wisconsin received a fire from the opposite side of the river, while marching by the flank, from which they suffered severely. I send the list of their casualties-the skirmishing regiments, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois, Fifty-seventh Ohio, Sixth Missouri, of Giles A. Smith's brigade, losing nine killed and twenty-four wounded, and the Fifty-third and Thirtieth Ohio, of Lightburn's brigade, losing fifty-four killed and wounded.

The positions having been successfully and brilliantly carried, the remainder of the afternoon was occupied in straightening the lines and bringing up the batteries, a work of great labor, and requiring much care, on account of the great number of hills and ravines, and the thick growth of timber. The rattle of musketry was kept up by the skirmishing lines, the batteries occasionally putting in their heavy notes, so that there was much of the noise of battle until dark. Occasionally a man would come back wounded from the skirmish line, but no serious work was done after the right wing occupied its lines.

In this afternoon's work, the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois, Colonel Martin, were for the first time under fire It behaved well, losing eight killed and sixteen wounded.

The left and centre moved into the positions ordered without serious opposition.

Lieutenant John Rumsey, of Battery A, was wounded late in the afternoon by a fragment of shell. Captain Wood had been compelled, by severe illness, to leave the field on the seventh, and Lieutenant Rumsey was in command of the battery. The wound was severe, tearing off the flesh and denuding the bone of the right shoulder. He was a brave, intelligent officer, very highly esteemed by his men and his superior officers.

On the morning of the fourteenth, the skirmishers commenced firing as soon as it was light. The musketry extended along the fronts of both armies, and at intervals the different batteries opened. In the immediate front of Resacca, the Fourth Ohio, Landgraber's, and Batteries A, B, and H, of Chicago, tried their guns upon the town, the enemy's redoubts, and the bridge. Their practice was most excellent; the school of artillery at the siege of Vicksburg exhibiting its training in every shot that was fired. During the forenoon nothing of any importance transpired.

Soon after noon the dance commenced in the centre and left-centre. First came the rattle of

the skirmishers' musketry as they advanced; the batteries followed, their heavy voices echoing and re-echoing through the ravine, among the hills and back to the mountains, until the earth shook and the air was full of vibrations, and every breath seemed a wave of sound. The heavy music of artillery ceased, and was succeeded by the long roll of musketry. Volley after volley was fired; then rose the cheers of the men, and the battle was opened. In plain language, the army of the Cumberland was assaulting the rebel position on Camp Creek, intrenched by rifle-pits in their front. The first fire of musketry was when the skirmishers were advanced. Under the fire of our batteries the assaulting columns were moved into their places so soon as the troops were deployed into line of battle. The artillery ceased, the advance commenced, with wild cheers from the men, on the double-quick. The first terrible volley of musketry came from the enemy in his rifle-pits; our line returned it in kind, and the struggle was commenced. A few minutes and the riflepits were carried; a few minutes more and with a terrific yell another line of rebels came over the hill and assaulted our men. Artillery could not be used, it would kill alike friend and foe. The struggle was brief, and we were driven out. This line was carried three different times within two hours, and each time lost. The casualties were heavy on both sides. Johnston had evidently massed at that point, and it would seem for the purpose of himself making an attack upon the centre along the Dalton road. The next morning the line was carried by General Thomas and held.

During this terrible engagement on the left the right wing was quiet. Towards its close General Morgan L. Smith opened his batteries upon Resacca and its fortifications to detain the rebels in his front from moving to the centre.

About five in the afternoon General Logan received orders to make an assault upon the rebel lines in his front. On the right of the bridge, on a commanding elevation, the rebels had a redoubt mounting three twenty-four pounders on the face towards Logan. Still further back, and on higher ground, there was another redoubt. Between the first redoubt and the line occupied by the Fifteenth corps were two ridges with a slight depression between them. The space between them and the rebel redoubts afforded an excellent cover to the troops which were massed in it, and was made safer and stronger by three lines of well-constructed rifle-pits. Between the ridge and the line of the Fifteenth corps the ground was an open field, sloping to the south-west, affording but little cover. Near the woods in which our troops lay was a creek not fordable.

General Logan directed the assault to be made by one brigade from each of the First and Second divisions. General Chas. R. Wood's brigade, of the First division, and General Giles A. Smith's brigade of the Second division, were selected. The important and perilous charge

could not have been intrusted to better men. | The remainder of the divisions were put in position to give such immediate support to the brigades as circumstances might require, while the whole of the right wing that was in front acted as the principal reserve.

Generals Logan and Morgan L. Smith were in front, busy along the line. It being very difficult to cross the creek, the troops were passed over singly to the opposite bank on logs, and in any way they best could, under the cover of a heavy fire from the batteries.

The brigade of General Giles A. Smith consisted at the time of the Sixth Missouri, Colonel Van Duzen, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois, Colonel Martin, One Hundred and Twentyseventh Illinois, Colonel Curtis, Fifty-seventh Ohio, Colonel Rice, and One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois, Colonel Froman.

enth Illinois and the right of General Wood's brigade changed front a little towards the right, and the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois on the extreme right, changed direction to the left, and both wings poured in a terrific oblique fire on both sides of the rebel column. It staggered and fell back, but instantly re-formed and renewed the assault and was again repulsed. They massed and assaulted Wood's brigade on the left, and were terribly repulsed. Failing in their direct assaults, they attempted to turn the right of our line. In their last assault the oblique fire on the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh was increased by a part of our Lightburn's brigade. The assaults were rapidly and boldly made. Reinforcements were on their way to the front before the aids asking them ever reached General Logan. But still the main heavy blows of the rebel assaults were received and repulsed by Wood's and Giles A. Smith's brigades before they reached them. The last effort of the enemy was an attempt to turn each flank. In this they were met by the supporting brigades, and repulsed with severe loss; our loss was less than three hundred. The rebel loss of course was very much greater. They admitted a loss of two thousand during the day, on their left. This charge and the en

and was one of the best fights ever made within my experience by Federal troops. They were led by Generals Wood and Giles A. Smith, two of the ablest brigade commanders in the field. The men behaved with the greatest coolness and

rebel columns. The Fifty-seventh Ohio, against which the attack was directed, fired and loaded by front and rear rank at the command. The One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois loaded and fired at the word.

At six the line of skirmishers was advanced to the foot of the hill, driving the rebels. At the order the brigades sprang up from the bank under which they were covered, deployed and marched forward at double-quick. The rebel main line occupied a rifle-pit along the crest of the hill, at the foot of which ran a sluggish creek some three or four feet in depth. Across this creek and up the hill into the rifle-pit they had been driven by the skirmishers. The dis-gagement which ensued lasted until after dark, tance from the lines where the two brigades deployed to the rifle-pit of the enemy was two hundred and fifty yards. Across this space, exposed to a severe fire of musketry, our line advanced with trailed arms, forded the creek, and reached and carried the rebel rifle-pit with-courage while receiving the assaults of the out a shot from their main line. It was well and magnificently done. The shouts of the men were answered by the cheers of their comrades of the corps that were heard for miles. The position had been carried; the problem now was to hold it. General Wood's brigade was on the left and General Giles A. Smith on the right. Under a heavy fire from the redoubts the rebels formed a column to retake the hill. Very soon a strong force, displaying seven regimental colors, was discovered moving to the attack in column, by regiments. From the hill, where Generals McPherson and Logan stood, the attacking column looked formidable. The whole force of the two brigades was deployed in front. The rebel column would strike in a few minutes. If it broke our line the position was gone and the brigades lost. Logan hurried along the front. It seemed but an instant when the whole rebel force made its assault upon the right of Giles A. Smith's brigade. The One Hundred and Sixteeenth Illinois, which was deployed as skirmishers, fell back, forming on the right and left of the Fifty-seventh Ohio. Colonel Froman had been wounded in crossing the creek. The rebel column, a portion of Hardee's corps, came boldly and steadily on. Colonel Rice reserved his fire until the rebels were within sixty yards, when he delivered a terrible fire straight in their faces. At the same time the One Hundred and Elev

The rebel Colonel Stanton was killed, an Aidede-Camp to Hardee was killed, and General Hardee's horse killed under him. I have seen an Atlanta Intelligencer of the eighteenth, which claims a victory in the battle on the centre, and states that the battle in the evening with Logan was terribly severe-their losses heavy, but claims that they finally repulsed the "Yankee charge."

It would be unjust to omit to make record of the universal testimony of officers and men to the conduct of Colonel Rice. With the utmost intrepidity and coolness he remained assisting the assault and handling his men as steadily and with the precision of a dress parade.

During the afternoon a force with a pontoon train had been moved to the ferry across the Oostenaula on the Calhoun road, for the purpose of crossing and making lodgment on the south side of the river. The enemy was found there in force and intrenched. The position of the Federal army after a hard day's work was this: The left and centre was substantially as in the morning. They had fought against positions and a superior force, and had suffered severely. A portion of the right, two divisions of the

Fifteenth, had taken and held an important position in front of the enemy's works at Resacca, while a division of the Sixteenth corps was at the ferry intrenching. Howard had moved along the railroad within eight miles of Resacca. The particulars of the engagement on the centre your correspondent with the army of the Cuntberland will furnish. During the night the advance position of the Fifteenth corps was thoroughly intrenched.

In the morning our forces left their works, and took position about one mile further, and immediately erected new breastworks on the ground they had captured the night previous, and which the enemy had not reoccupied. The object of this advance was to prevent an enfilading fire which had been obtained on our line the day previous, and to find room for our artillery to play upon the enemy with effect. As soon as our men, composed of Stevenson's On the fifteenth, the position at which the and Stewart's divisions, advanced, a brisk fire Fourteenth corps had the battle of the day pre- ensued between our skirmishers and those of vious was carried without great loss. On the the Yankees, but it ceased on the arrival of our right, Sweeney's division of the Sixteenth corps, column. The new works were promptly erectwith a portion of the Third cavalry division, ed, and before ten o'clock everything was preafter a sharp engagement, crossed the Ooste-pared for the anticipated aggressive movement naula at Calhoun Ferry. The passage was effected of the enemy, whose manoeuvres the night prelate in the afternoon. vious, after they were driven from the ridges, indicated that some plan was contemplated by them for the regaining of the lost ground.

About twelve o'clock the Yankee skirmishers opened a heavy fire on our pickets, compelling them to fall back behind the intrenchments, and at the same time heavy columns were seen

The fifteenth was comparatively quiet until after midnight. Occasional shots were exchanged by the pickets. But the evening was the most quiet since the armies were engaged. About two in the morning a most tremendous artillery fire was opened by the batteries of the left, in consequence of the discovery of a move-forming on the right of Hindman's, Stevenson's, ment of the enemy. A short time before day the railroad bridge was discovered to be on fire. The pickets of the brigades of Osterhaus and Morgan L. Smith were advanced, and the colors of the Fifty-seventh Ohio were placed on the abandoned redoubt. Resacca was destitute of rebels and rebel property for purposes of We captured three guns, three forges, some caissons, and a small quantity of salt and

war.

corn.

A rebel regiment was captured by Howard, and a few vagabond pickets were picked up in various places. On the whole, Johnston had gone, and to a great extent had taken his army with him. Twenty-four hours later and he could not have moved off so well and clearly. As to the rebel strength, judging from the length of the line that Johnston held, and the battle which he made on the fifteenth, at different points, it could not have been less than forty thousand. Prisoners claim that it was sixty thousand.

A SOUTHERN ACCOUNT.

IN THE FIELD NEAR CALHOUN, GA.,
Monday afternoon, May 16, 1864.

The army having settled down for a while, I avail myself of the opportunity offered to give a full account of the battle of Oostenaula, between the entire Yankee army and the divisions of Hindman, Stevenson, and Stewart, of Hood's corps-these troops composing the right wing of our army. The enemy's force was reported to be the corps of Hovey, Howard, and Palmer, composing between thirty-five and forty thousand men, evidently the flower of the Yankee army, as they were composed almost entirely of Western troops, who, for fighting, rank only second to our own, as has been proven on many battle-fields during this war.

[ocr errors]

and Stewart's divisions. There were four lines of battle in depth, and appeared to number about eight thousand men, and from the number massed in front of Stevenson's line it became apparent that his division would have to stand the brunt of the engagement. One hour passed off slowly to the gallant men who were gazing over the works in anxious expectation for the advance of the enemy, when at about four o'clock the Yankee line of battle moved slowly forward in fine order. As soon as they crossed a ravine which divided the ridges held by our forces from those occupied by them, Captain Corbett's battery of Georgia artillery was ordered to advance outside of our lines, and about fifty yards from them, and take up a position, which would have given us an enfilading fire on the approaching column. The battery, consisting of four twelve-pounder Napoleons, moved out of the line and took up position as ordered, but before they could fire a gun, or their infantry support could come up, the charge was made along the whole line. The Yankees had crossed the ravine, and with a loud cheer rushed on our works. Hindman quickly repulsed them, but the fighting on Brown's line, of Stevenson's and Stewart's divisions, was long and desperate. Captain Corbett's battery being subjected to a fearful fire, the men left their guns, but not before they had lost thirty of their number in killed and wounded, and entered our line. No sooner did the Yankees perceive this than a fresh_column of their troops was thrown rapidly forward, and uniting with that which had gone before, rushed on the abandoned guns with the hope of capturing them and carrying our line.

Their anticipations were, however, foiled by the gallantry of the Third and Twentieth Tennessee, Colonels Walker and Saffel commanding. These noble men perceiving the intention of the enemy, withheld their fire until the Yankee

column had approached to almost an arm's length of the guns, when a volley, steady and accurate, was poured into the ranks of the foremost column. It broke and ran, having been fearfully cut up. The second column advanced over the bodies of their comrades, and endeavored to achieve what they failed to do. A second volley from the gallant Tennesseeans filled the ground with dead and wounded, and imitating the example of those before them, they fled, but not before two fresh regiments had been thrown forward under cover of their fire, and made to lie behind the four guns of Corbett's battery, at the same time planting their colors on the parapet of the redoubt.

In the meantime the Yankees had advanced on Stewart's line, and made a desperate attempt to take it by storm. Clayton's and Baker's brigades of Alabamians, aided by Stovall's and Gibson's, received them with great gallantry, and poured a terrible fire into the Yankee advance. They, however, continued to move forward, and approached very near the line, when Clayton's brigade gave them another well-directed fire, and they fell down the slope of the hill until out of range of our guns. This charge was desperately made, and the masses of the enemy's dead that lay piled up before Stewart's line attested the courage and determination of our foes.

seeans, and a fourth time they broke and re treated in disorder to the ridge on which their forces were massed.

It was now past three o'clock in the afternoon, and in these two hours of fighting Brown's brigade had expended forty rounds of ammunition, each man. Reynolds' brigade was now ordered to relieve them, and giving a yell, the Fifty-fourth Virginia entered the evacuated works of the Twenty-eighth North Carolina and Sixty-third Virginia. Neither Hindman nor Stewart had need of their reserves, as the charges of the enemy, though made with vigor and gallantly repulsed by these men, were neither as numerous nor determined, and were intended to cover their design on Stevenson, and to prevent the reserves of these divisions from being sent to his support. The three regiments named above took their positions on the line, and General Brown's men retired about two hundred yards to the rear, for the purpose of receiving a fresh supply of ammunition. General Pettus brigade of Alabamians had been ordered up a few minutes before, General Stevenson perceiving the enemy were determined in their purpose to carry his line. The gallant brigade was formed in two lines of battle, behind the Virginians and North Carolinians, about twenty yards apart, and remained there lying close to the ground, for the moment their services were wanted.

At a quarter from four o clock a fifth charge was made, the enemy throwing forward fresh troops every time. The charge was very heavy, and was made with spirit. As the long and close column of Yankees moved swiftly through the winding ravine, every face assumed a rigid

A pause of nearly three-quarters of an hour elapsed, broken only by the incessant fire of the Yankee sharpshooters, who, mounted on trees and other prominent positions, made it dangerous for any one to walk erect along the line. At the expiration of the time named, a fresh column of Yankees advanced upon our lines, and in a few seconds Hindman's, Stevenson's, and Stew-expression of unyielding determination, while art's men were pouring in a well-directed fire. A second time they broke and ran, but still leaving the two regiments mentioned before, which, being ensconced behind the redoubt, were safe from the volleys poured on their comrades, although they suffered terribly from our sharpshooters.

the hearts of those looking on the movements of the enemy almost ceased their vibration with anxiety. It was certain from the large numbers of the enemy that this would be the heaviest charge yet made, and extreme anxiety for success was manifested. At last, with a prolonged cheer, they rushed upon our works. A volleyTwo charges had been repulsed, with heavy a terrible, death-dealing volley-was poured loss to the enemy, and the ammunition of the into their ranks, and a loud and enthusiastic Twenty-sixth Tennessee had been half expended, yell of defiance rang out from the lips of the when fresh columns of Yankees were seen form- Virginians and North Carolinians. This was ing in line of battle opposite Brown's works. The more than the men of Brown's and Pettus' charges on Hindman and Stewart, who were on brigades could withstand, and though threatenthe right and left of Stevenson, had become ed with death by their officers, numbers of the feebler, while the movements of the Yankees gallant Tennesseeans and Alabamians had ennotified the last-named officers that his division tered the pits to assist in repelling the charge. would have to bear the brunt of the engage-But their services were not needed. Almost as ment. Reynolds' brigade had been previously ordered up, and were lying on the ground about fifteen yards in the rear of General Brown's line, the officers with difficulty restraining the men from entering the breastworks before they were called for. The Yankee column made the third charge, and was again repulsed with heavy loss. As rapidly as I can relate it, another fresh column was thrown forward and made the fourth charge. Several volleys were thrown into their ranks by the brave Tennes

quick as lightning, another volley had been already poured into the enemy's line of battle, and they turned and retreated in disorder to the cover of their ridge, followed by the derisive shouts of their victors.

The fifth charge had now been repulsed, but still the enemy evinced neither the desire nor the intention to abandon their efforts to carry our works. They had almost ceased their attacks on Hindman, but continued to assault Stevenson's and Stewart's lines with the greatest

« PreviousContinue »