|Company H History|
|Source: Excerpts from diary of Sgt. Charles D Brusman as printed in The Ohio Soldier, Vol. XI, p. 289, May 7, 1898.|
Note: The account from Sgt. Charles Brusman, as printed in The Ohio Soldier, begins May 3, 1864. This is at the start of the Atlanta campaign. At this point, the 26th OVI has already been in existence for nearly 3 years, seen many major battles, and many of its soldiers have recently reenlisted as veterans. His diary account is interrupted at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain where Sgt. Brusman is wounded on June 27 at sent back to Ohio for convalescence. He returned to the 26th OVVI on October 14, 1864, and his diary resumes at that point.
May 3, 1864- Cleveland, Tenn. Orders were issued to move at noon, and about 11 o'clock troops commenced moving in the direction of Dalton.
May 5- Laid in camp all day. I went to a lot springs called the Catoosa Spirngs, a nice watering place...
May 7- Reveille at 2:30 a.m.; commenced marching at 4 o'clock in direction of Dalton, and after marching about 2 miles we formed line of battle in the open field. The cavalry was driving the rebel cavalry pickets. We then sent out skirmishers, and after they had been gone a short time cannonading was heard on our right. We laid in line about an hour, when we fell in and marched by the flank on the road, which being blockaded we went alongside the road at such places, and marched down to a small town called Tunnel Hill, where the rebels were to make a stand. But when we got there they had left....
May 8- Report says that the enemy is a mile on the other side of the tunnel...Marched about 2 miles, halted, stacked, arms and lay as support for Harker's brigade, which had carried a hill on a ridge opposite Buzzard's Roost...
May 9- ...we came to the foot of Rocky Face Ridge- very steep. At 11:30 we reached the top, very tired, and kept moving along the top of the ridge, skirmishing ahead. ..
May 11- Got up this morning at 4 o'clock and went on picket. Firing on the skirmish line is still kept up. We are in a gorge. Eleven o'clock- the artillery has been shelling the rebel lines, and we can hear the shells as they pass over our heads and can see them burst in the rebel lines. The rebel line is in plain sight; the enemy yell every time the artillery fires...
May 13-Got up at daylight and formed line of battle; marched about 2 miles and passed through the rebel line of breastworks. They are the best works I have seen of their construction. The works were across the valley and on the line with Buzzard Roost. They have piles planted outside the breastworks. We passed through the works and by Buzzard Roost and took to the left and rested in a rebel camp. Their brush shanties are standing. We passed a lot of breastworks in rear of their camps with fallen timber in front. We kept marching and crossed the Atlanta & Cleveland railroad about 400 yards from the third breastwork, and then marched between the ridge and railroad. About 11:30 we were passing some splendid fortifications to our right and left. The town is small and the majority of the citizens are remaining and all look hard. We marched through town...The town is meanly built. There is one foundry in it. Our colors are flying nd bands playing. Rebel deserters are coming in...
We got supper and fell in and started again towards Atlanta...heavy musketry was heard on the left a short distance and the 26th Ohio formed a line of battle and advanced through thick brush and briars a quarter of a mile mile; out skirmishers, and after waiting awhile firing ceased and the 26th Ohio feel back about 200 yards, stacked arms and built fires and were ordered to sleep with cartridge boxers on in rear of arms.
May 14- About 3 o'clock in the morning we were awakened by the firing of the pickets, when every man jumped up at once and made for his arms...We are laying in Sugar Valley. Marched about 6 o'clock till noon when we formed line of battle, and got dinner. Then, having been hearing heavy firing of musketry and artillery on our left, we marched in line of battle to the left, when heavy firing opened, and we then moved to the left and the artillery and musketry were heavy all along the line. We then build breastworks, and just about the time we got them finished we advanced in front of them to an open field, and then moved to the right advancing across a ridge and laid down. The shells flew over our heads...
May 15- We got breakfast a little after daylight, and drew one day's rations. Orders came for us to go in the breastworks, and we laid in them nitl about 2 p.m....The artillery is tearing the enemy's breastworks. The rebels were shooting nails today...At dusk we went into the breastworks again.
May 16- ...About six o'clock in the morning I am sitting on the rebel breastworks, for they evacuated last night. We got breakfast and then commenced moving on Resaca, a town three miles distant. The road showed the effect of our work; everything in bad state. We marched through the rebel works,a dn about 8 o'clock reached the town, which is well fortified. The town is perfectly riddled, clearly showing the effect of heavy shelling. Everything has been destroyed. Three corps are advancing abreast in three columns, and are corssing Oostanaula river. They burnt the railroad bridge; they also left a large amount of stores and artillery. We ate dinner after crossing the river at Resaca, then we commenced marching, our cavalry driving the enemy. We camped at sundown one mile from Calhoun. It is said a regiment of rebels threw down their arms.
May 17- Marched at 5 a.m. and passed through Calhoun. they said the rebels were going to stand, but they are gone. They are leaving , but showing a stubborn rear guard, and fighting on retreat. They have the country well fortified, but they don't stand. We kept pushing the enemy all day until about 5 o'clock, when they made a stubborn resistance, and there was heavy infantry and artillery fighting, when their artillery ceased, for our artillery had quieted the enemy's batteries. We then were moved with our brigade to the right, on a ridge, and laid there until we moved to the front, on the skirmish line, and got there some time after dark.
We relieved the 88th under a heavy fire from the enemy. After we reached a knoll we laid down and poured a heavy fire into enemy who were about 200 yards off. ...Capt. Hamilton was wounded slightly. During the night the rebs and our boys wer getting at one another.
May 18- ..we marched to Adairsville, stacked arms and rested. Everything appears quiet...
May 19- About 7 o 'clock the troops commenced mvoing, and 112 rebel prisoners came inside the lines. We march along sometimes on the railroad and sometimes on the mud road, until dinner time, when we reached Kingston, a small town on the Atlanta railroad. ...The enemy is still retreating; report says that Bragg has command of the rebel army, and is maneuvering the retreat. We laid by the side of the woods until nearly sundown, when the 14th army corps came uip and stacked arms in our rear. Shortly afterwards we took arms and went forward...
May 20- .. we marched back one mile to water and all went in swimming in a river close by. The bridge at Resaca, which the enemy burned on evacuation, has been put up, and this evening there have been trains coming in from Chattanooga. Our generals are determined to keep the road opened and finished to the front. When a train arrives it is welcomed by the army by loud cheers. The bands are making the woods ring with music.
May 23- Laid in camp until 12 o'clock and moved out, marching all afternoon until 6 p.m., and were given one hour for supper. During the afternoon, we passed a large saltpeter works which the enemy had left. We commenced marching at 8 p.m. and marched until 11 o'clock. The dust was bad.
May 24 - Marched from 7 o'clock till noon throush some very fine country; we then stacked arms for dinner near Stilesboro...
May 25- ...The 20th corps had a fight at sundown and the 4th coprs relieved them. Company H was sent on the skirmish line at night. [New Hope church.]
May 26- Were relieved from the skirmish line about noon and went back to the regiment at the first line of breastworks...
May 27- We laid all night on the second line of works, and this morning about 8 o'clock we relieved the 100th Illinois, when heavy cannonading opened. We are lying close by the town of Dallas, and the enemy are heavily fortified before it.
Sunday, May 29- Heavy firing broke out on skimish line at 10:30 last night....
May 30- About 11:30 last night, while we were lying down, the enemy undertook to charge our works, and the hills around shook with artillery and musketry, which kept up half an hour. We laid in the front line of the works, buth tereh was some skirmishing all night.
June 1, 1864- Went on the skirmish line this morning at daylight and had a great time; could see the rebel fortifications about 150 yards in front. At sundown firing ceased on our front, and our boys had a chat with the Johnny Rebs....
Sunday, June 5- Relieved from skimish line about daylight, and the enemy had gone... we moved out to the evacuated works of the enemy, which we found very strong. They had fired the dry leaves inside the works...went forward and passed through three lines of breastworks... The enemy had a strong lot of works. The timber showed the terrible effect of our firing, and the graves showed the killed besides the wounded...
June 6- ...Our division was on the move on time and guarding the 4th army corps train....
June 10- Marched to the front...Camped in front of Lost Mountain, where the enemy is fortified.
June 11-... we took our position on the front line...
June 15- Laid in camp until 9 a.m., then formed line of battle and moved forward, our brigade in front. We kept close to the skirmishers, and after marching half a mile the enemy were driven from the skirmish line and had left our line of fortifications. The regiment was then sent on picket. In a short time the whole 4th army corps came on a line with us, and then the corps was massed with our brigade in front. We moved en masse about half a mile and halted, skirmishing opening heavy in the front, but they succeeded in driving the enemy to their heavy line of works. We then threw up a line of works, and did not have to charge the enemy's works.
June 17- The enemy had left their fortifications on our front...during the afternoon our men massed artillery and opened on the enemy.
June 18- Went on skirmish line at 2:30 a.m., and at 8 o'clock charged and carried the enemy's works. Took a strong line of works and held them. [ Muddy Creek ]
Sunday June 19- Marched all day, and went on skirmish line at night at foot of Kenesaw mountain.
June 20- Came of skirmish line...laid in camp the balance of the day. The artillery shelled the mountain and there was quite a heavy duel between the two sides, but our artillery silenced the enemy's. General Stanley's division charged and carried a line of works, and the enemy tried four times to retake it.
June 21- During last night our brigade moved to the right and went into the camp on the ground that Stanley took....
June 22- We moved to the left and relieved the 3rd brigade; went on the second line of works and laid all day.
June 24- Moved to the right as reinforcement for Kimball's brigade. At 12 o'clock at night went on the skirmish line in front of First brigade...
June 25- Laid in skirmish line and skirmishing was kept up until 4 p.m., when we were ordered to be ready to advance and drive the rebel skirmishers. After the artillery had played on the Johnnys the whole skirmish line of the corps commenced driving the Johnnys. They retreated fron our regimental front ans we soon took possession of the skirmish pits and then rushed forward, but the left of our corps was driven back and we had to fall back to their skirmish pits we had taken. About night w were relieved, having lost 27 men.
Sunday jun e26- Moved back to the brigade and on the front line where the 100th Illinois had been. Colonel Bartleson, of the 100th Illinois, was killed today.
June 27- About 7 a.m. our division moved to the right, charged the enemy's works, and were repulsed.. P. Hastings, J. Miller and C.D. Brusman were wounded. Went to the division hospital.
[ Sgt. Brusman was then taken to field hospital at Big Shanty, and thence by rail to the Cumberland hospital in Nashville, Tenn. He remained hospitalized until August 20th when he was sent to his home near Dayton for convalescence. He rejoined the 26th OVVI at Chattanooga on October 13th. In the interim, Atlanta had fallen to the Union forces. General Bragg has taken his Confederate Army of Tennessee and moved around Atlanta to the northwest towards Chattanooga to attempt to disrupt General Sherman's supply line. ]]
October 14- About 4 p.m. the regiment was orderd and moved to Ft. Negley. During the evening troops came in from Ringgold. The rebels had captured Dalton and were making for Chattanooga. All ment that have arms are ordered to the fortifications. I did not go, having no arms. During the night the First Ohio heavy artillery came in from Cleveland ( Tenn.)
Oct. 15- The enemy have not made their appearance...Our men are waiting for them and all citizens and sutlers are ordered to be armed and ready for duty when called on. The troops are still in their fortifications. About noon our brigade was ordered out on a reconnaissance. They went down to the train and went in the direction of Dalton. We then moved all the baggage down to the railroad to await orders. Report says that the enemy is making for Dug Gap, and Sherman is at their heels.
Sunday, Oct. 16- Laid all day at the railroad. The First brigade of our division went out towards Bridgeport. Report says General Sherman is fighting the enemy, and they are in bad state for grub. They captured Dalton, tore up the railroad track and paroled the men they took. Our brigade came back to Chattanooga at 12 o'clock at night, and drew two days rations of bread and meat to go to Trenton, Alabama. They staid in the cars all night.
Oct. 17- Sherman sent in a dispatch that he was on the rear and left flank of Hood; that our forces should keep him from getting out of the mountains, and he would keep them from going south. General Wood fought them at Dug Gap and took three pieces of artillery, forty wagons, and 700 prisoners. Our brigade left here this morning for Trenton.
Oct. 18- No news, except some men came in yesterday who were captured by Hood's army, and escaped. They say the rebels are marching for Knoxville, Tennessee....
[Oct. 19- Nov. 19- Sgt. Brusman remained separated from the 26th OVVI as he had to remain with the regiment baggage at Chattanooga. On Nov. 22, he and the 26th OVVI baggage headed northwest to join the regiment at Columbia, Tennessee.]
Nov. 25- I went to the regiment after seeing the regimental baggage loaded on the cars for Nashville. About 10 p.m., our division changed position, moving by the right flank so that the right of the line rested on the Duck river...
Nov. 26- At daylight, the enemy commenced advancing upon us and drew on a heavy skirmish...
Sunday, Nov. 27- ...Orders came at 2 p.m. to get ready to march. We laid still all day and skirmishing kept up till about 8 at night, when the whole army crossed the Duck river. It took till daylight for all to cross, and then we burned the railroad bridge, and after daylight, the Johnnys discovering our retreat, rushed down to the river bank and fired. After everything had crossed the river our men burned all the storehouses that would be of any use to the enemy. Artillery and musketry fighting opened along the Duck river. Report says our bridgade is to cover the retreat. We moved with our brigade to the left and took a position on the point of a ridge, which made a steep bluff and ended on Duck river. After we had stacked arms we were ordered to throw up works to protect us from artillery, which we expected the Johnnys to use on us. Skirmishing by artillery and musketrywas kept up all day. At night we had a very good works thrown up.
Nov. 29- Reveille at 5 a.m. About 8 a.m. we struck tents and commenced marching in retreat, our division in advance. After we had marched about an hour we heard cannonading along Duck river. About noon our regiment was put out to the right to protect our trains against a cavalry charge, ans we build a palisade clost to a town called Spring Hill. We laid in palisade until about 3:30, when the rebels charged us with a line of battle supporting skirmish line, and there being a gap between our regiment and the troops at Spring Hill, we had to get up and retreat under the cover of our artillery, whcih did great execution with shell and grape, and checked the rebels. Our regiment lost three killed and four wounded. All fell into hands of the rebels. We then took our position on the line of battle, built works and laid all night. Andrew Boyhan was shot and taken prisoner; some say he was killed.
Nov. 30- Marched at 4 a.m., to Franklin, which place we reached at about noon; then camped and had our breakfast, having had none before starting out; then formed line of battle, and after changing our position twice we were put as a support to a section of artillery. I, having no gun, was ordered to go to town with the unarmed men. I had been in town but a short time when the rebels went to charging our rifle pits, and drove our men from them; but our men retook them. Heavy and fierce fighting was kept up until after midnight, when we evacuated Franklin, and brought away 2,000 prisoners, but left some of our wounded in enemy's hands.
Dec. 1, 1864- Marched from midnight till 8 o'clock and went into camp, my feet being badly blistered. We arrived in Nashville about noon and camped in a woods and afterwards beside Fort Negley.
Dec. 2- Laid beside Fort Negley until about 4 p.m. when our brigade moved to the front about 1 1/2 miles and built works.
Dec. 4- Our artillery shelled the enemy, who were trying to plant a battery.
Dec. 6- Laid in works.
Dec. 9- Laid in front of Nashville. All quiet in front. It sleeted all day and was miserably cold. The sleet froze when it fell, and the horses and mules suffered.
Dec. 10- Cold and raw. A heavy sleet lies on the ground.. .
Sunday, Dec. 11- the weather was very cold last night; was a very severe night; all quiet.
Dec. 15- Got up at 5 a.m. and after getting breakfast we struck tents and laid in camp ready to move. At daylight our regiment was detached and deployed along the line of works. Our brigade moved to the right, followed by the balance of the 4th corps. After our corps had its line formed, the extreme right advanced and came to the centre of the works. The First division, 4th corpss, was the extreme left. In thyey went, and a terrible fight opened. Our men used artillery heavily, and at sundown our men had carried both of the enemy's lines of works. The day's work was well done and the rebel army was badly whipped. Stewart's rebel corps fought in our front. About dark 105 rebel prisoners were sent to Nashville. This has been a heavy day's work. Report says our forces captured fifteen pieces of artillery.
Dec. 17- Got up at 4 a.m., and had breakfast before daylight. Our cavalry commenced pushing after the enemy. Our brigade moved slowly all day. Our cavalry drove the enemy all day, and camped close to Franklin. At night the enemy were driven three miles south of Franklin. Report says the enemy left our captured unguarded in this place; also, 3,000 of their sick were not moved.
Sunday, Dec. 18- Reveille at 3:30; ...The enemy are in full retreat. Commenced marching at 7 a.m. and went through Franklin. The twon was full of rebel wounded that the enemy couldn't take with them. Our cavalry charged a fort and sent the enemy whooping. We got our wounded back. After passing through town we came to the old breastworks. The rebels buried men in ditches, and then in graves, the breastwork's front all along showing the work our men did when the rebels charged our works and were repulsed. Both lines of our works solidly lined with the enemy. The citizens were glad to see us, and said the Johnnys went a humming. The boys called a wench a rebel wench ans she said shw was a Yankee wench. The old lady that was so called, when we fell back was glad to see us again, and wanted to know of the boys that passed her house whether they had their breakfast. We are resting two miles south of Franklin. We have captured three more pieces of artillery...all along the road was strewn with broken wagons, dead horses and caissons... The road showed that the enemy was very much demoralized. Squads and droves of rebel prisoners captured came back under guard. One squad of 105, one of 200, one of 400, and several other smaller squads.
We can hear the cannonading caused by our cavalry pushing the rebels' rear. About 12:30 we passed through Spring Hill, where our regiment came near being captured. The place was filled with rebel wounded who could not be moved by the enemy. We marched until dark and camped about half way between Spring Hill and Columbia. The rebels are still on the retreat; and prisoners were taken all day.
Dec. 20- ...About 3 p.m. we commenced marching, the cavalry having crossed the Duck river and captured Columbia. The enemy set the stockades and fort on fire....
Dec. 21- ... it snowed and got very cold.
Dec. 24- Marched about 12 miles and camped, having passed through Lynnville. Our cavalry had several skimishes with the enemy's rear guard.
Sunday, Dec. 25- Christmas- Reveille before daylight. Our cavalry had some heavy skirmishing yesterday in charging several gaps that we had to pass throughg. Cannonading was heard in the direction of Pulaski soon after daylight. This is a gay Christmas. The brass bands are making the woods sound with their music. One band is playing, " Do They Miss Me at Home?" The prospects are fair for a fight at Pulaski. Our cavalry drove the rebels out of Pulaskin about 1 p.m. and our infantry passed through about 3 p.m. Heavy firing of small arms was heard about three miles from town. We pushed ahead and crossed a small creek on a bridge. The enemy set it on fire, but our cavalry pushed them so hard they could not burn it. Our men captured ten rebels who were trying to burn the bridge. The rebels burned a lot of ammunition in town that they cound not take away.... Our cavalry made the rebels burn eight or ten wagons. The rebels had thrown away a large amount of artillery ammunition. ...The rebels had left some of their dead along the road, being unable to move them. They were retreating in much confusion.
Dec. 27-... A squad of rebels came in from the front....
Dec. 28- ...Marched a quarter of a mile and stacked arms to wait for the cavalry to move out. An official dispatch was read announcing the capture of Savannah. A squad of rebels came back and a couple of officers. We marched till 3 p.m. and camped one mile south of Lexington, Alabama.
Dec. 29- Laid in camp all day near Lexington, Alabama. Orders were issued for all men to go foraging that wanted to. Company H had four men out and they got a sheep, hog, and goose and some corn.
Dec. 30- ... The rebels are reported as having crossed the Tennessee river....
Dec. 31- ...struck out towards Athens. Marched about 7 miles and camped. It snowed last night and the snow laid all day, making it bad to lie on the ground.
Sunday, Jan. 1, 1865- New Year's Day- Reveille before daylight. Chaplain of 97th Ohio preached. Marched 2 p.m. about 8 miles. Three of our men who went out foraging day before yesterday have not got back yet. They are W.C. Gruber, L. Scott and N. Rutledge.
Jan.2- ...The boys are out foraging, and bringing in plenty.
Jan. 3- ... We marched within eight miles of Athens.
Jan. 4- ...passed through and camped 12 miles from Huntsville, having made 23 miles over a very rough and muddy road.
Jan. 5-...On the march; made 12 miles and camped one mile from Huntsville, Alabama.
Jan. 6- Moved three miles from Huntsville to build winter quarters. One year ago the 26th went as a veteran regiment.
Jan. 10- Put up winter quarters; cold.
Jan. 12-18- Laid in camp near Huntsville, and on the 16th got commission as first lieutenant, and was mustered as such Jan. 18th.