|Source: History of Morrow County , Captain Walden Kelly's A Historic Sketch Lest We Forget, Company E, 26th Ohio Infantry, In the War for the Union 1861-1865, ,an article Capt. Kelley wrote that was printed in The Ohio Soldier newspaper, Vol. 3, no.8, Nov. 23, 1889, and excerpts from letters Capt. Kelley wrote home during 1865, and printed in the Ohio Soldier, Vol XIII, no. 21..|
|From History of Morrow County
At the same time that Company C was recruited at Westfield, Morrow county, and in Delaware county, Dr. Sylvester M. Hewitt, of Mt. Gilead, and Henry C. Brumback, of same place, as first lieutenant and James E. Goodman, of Cardington, as second lieutenant, commenced to recruit for Company E. Company E took the nickname: "The Mt. Gilead Guards." Each of their commissions was dated June 5, 1861. Nearly all the enlistments were in June, 1861.
On July 26, Captain Hewitt was promoted to major of the Thirty-second Regiment and on July 29, 1861, James K. Ewart, a resident of Harmony township, Morrow county, was commissioned captain of Company E. He had military training at Norwich University, Vermont, and was an accomplished officer.
Oscar l. R. French was made a first sergeant, and was discharged February 7, 1862, as first lieutenant Company C, One Hundred and Eightieth Ohio Volunteer lnfantry . Henry C. Brumback resigned November 20, 1861, and James E. Godman was promoted to the vacancy December 23, 1861; resigned April 26, 1862, and died at home May 11,1862.
William H. Green was appointed sergeant from corporal October 11, 1861; and first sergeant January 14, 1863, and died October 21, 1863, from wounds received at the battle of Chicamauga, Georgia, September 19, 1863.
Walden Kelly, aged eighteen, was appointed sergeant from corporal February 6, 1862; first sergeant October 22, 1863; promoted to first lieutenant December 9, 1864, and to captain Company F, February 28, 1865, and mustered out with that company October 21, 1865; veteran. His record is a very heroic one. To commemorate the services of Company E, he has written and published a sketch entitled, "A Historic Sketch;" "Lest We Forget"; "Company E, Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry." In it he gives a thrilling account of the services of the company and regiment.
After giving a graphic account of the first day's battle at Chickamauga, September 19, 1863, he says this: "Over half of the company had fallen in two or three hours of desperate fighting, not as Greek met Greek, but as Americans met Americans, so view the field, ye good people of Morrow County; stand by that monument erected by the great State of Ohio to the memory of the Twenty-sixth, two hundred and twelve of whom fell in that bloody battle--three fourths of them undoubtedly on the Vineyard Farm Then, but a few yards away, see the one erected by the State of Georgia in memory of the Twentieth Regiment of Infantry, Confederate States of America, and read the inscription on it 'this regiment went into battied with 23 officers and of this number 17 were killed and wounded."
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Young was in command of the Twenty-sixth Ohio at this battle, and his report shows 350 men of the regiment engaged, and the total loss 213. Company E, had 32 in the battle, of whom 20 were killed and wounded; Killed and mortally wounded, First Lieutenant Francis M. Williams; First Sergeant William H. Green; Sergeant Silas Stucky; Corporal Luther Reed and Privates Moses Aller, William Calvert, John Blaine, James R. Goodman, Coos. A. R. Kline, Samuel Neiswander, Emanuel W. Stahler, and Robert W. Stonestreet The wounded were: Corporals James W. Ciifton and isaac D. Barrett; William H. H. Geyer, Henry C. Latham, McDonald Lottridge, John Mishey, Joseph L. Rue, Henry Stovenour and Isaiah Sipes.
Twenty killed and wounded out of thirty-two of Company E, and only one of the wounded, William H. H. Geyer was ever able to rejoin the company.
The services of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, at the battle of Mission Ridge, Tennessee, November 25, 1863, and on the Atlanta campaign, from May 3 to September 5, 1864, in many battles, as well as during the Nashville campaign in the destruction of the rebel army under General J. B. Hood in December, 1864, were very heroic and those who "paid the last full measure of devotion to their country" with their blood and their lives of Company E. in these campaigns were as follows: William Derr (twice wounded), Daniel Densel, John Derr, Origen M. Iles, Joseph Wallace Miller, Henry G. Shedd, Socrates Shaw, James H Smith, Hudson H. Thompson and Joseph utter. The company and regiment were tinally mustered out October 21, 1865, at Victoria, Texas, and discharged at Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio in November 1865.
The descendants of the soldiers of the Twenty-sixth Ohio Regiment can refer with pride to the services of their fathers.
These served three years: Sergeant George W. Jackson; Corporal Andrew M. Smith; Socrates Chandler, Peter Craley, Joseph Cromer, William H, H. Geyer, Henry L. High, Martin M. Karr, McDonald Lottridge, and Philip Metzger. These served as veterans and were mustered out October 21, 1865, at Vicloria, Texas: First Sergeant Samuel Watson, Sergeant John Bechtel; Corporal John L. Richardson; John W Emerson, Charles Henderson, George W. Longstreet, James W. Longstreet, and Edmund L. Thompson.
Excerpts from Captain Walden Kelly's speech printed in The Ohio Soldier newspaper, Nov. 23, 1889, entitled, History of Company E, 26th OVVI, after being read at the 1889 reunion at Mt. Gilead..
" At the late reunion of the Twenty-sixth Ohio the following very interesting history of company E, of that regiment was read by Captain Wal. Kelley, of Osborn, Mo., he having entered the service with that company and remained with it until promoted to captain of company F:
" Mr. President, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen: We thank the mayor and the good people of Mt. Gilead and vicinity for the hospitable and kind manner in which the home of company E has provided for our entertainment and comfort, and also for our visiting friends and comrades.
I presume that there are more of Captain Hewitt's company here to day than have been in Mt. Gilead at any time since we 'fell in' on the 14th day of June, 1861. Over twenty-eight years ago, on the public square, not one hundred yards from where we are now gathered, nearly the entire populace, old and young, went with us as we marched to waht was then Gilead station ( now Edison), and with tears coursing down their cheeks, a warm grasp of the hand, many kisses and prayers for a God speed, we were off for the war, the first complete company raised in Mt. Gilead. Little did we
or the people who on that day bid us that hearty good-bye think that four and one-half years would elapse before the remnant of that company, thirteen in number, would come home to stay and enjoy the benefits and blessings of a free and united country-- the country which we and our comrades of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, including those lost and wounded and those whose failing health had compelled us to leave along the way, had done so much to maintain.
Captain Hewitt's company, upon arriving at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, became company E of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, a regiment organized of ten companies with no two of them from any one county, if from any one congressional district... After six weeks of drilling and being disciplined to camp life we were presented with gray uniforms and armed with the old 'Harper's Ferry' muskets-- the government not being able to furnish regulation uniforms and good arms as fast as the demand required.
We were sent to West Virginia [ actually, western Virginia ], by railroad to Cincinnati, and steamboat up the Ohio and Kanawha rivers to Charleston, West Va. From there we met our first experience in marching, going to Gauley, which, was about forty miles, and when we were united with General JD Cox's command and actual service in the face of the enemy was ther commenced, we were in the front and remained there until after the surrender at Appomattox.
While in western Virginia we received our introduction ' under fire'. This was a Horseshoe Bend. A report of this action was published in the daily papers, north and south, giving the glowing description of the heroism and terrible loss of the enemy; and as far as we have since been able to learn there were no casualties on either side except by accident. L:ater in the war our regiment participated in engagements in which a large per cent of loss was sustained, and of which we have never yet seen an account in print, viz.: Lavergne, December 27th, 1862, and at Kenesaw Mountain, June 23rd, 1864.
To illustrate our knowledge of war at the time of our first skirmish I will relate a circumstance which occurred at Horseshoe Bend. A part of the Twenty-sixth Ohio were sent at night some ten miles up New river from Gauley bridge to reinforce a part of the Eleventh Ohio, who had been falling back in front of General Wise's confederate troops on the day before . Our plan was to get them to attack us and we were sent forward for that purpose. All of our troops were secreted and out of view, except, company E, who were deployed across a bald hill in plain view of the road upon which the enemy were expected, and in fact the only road by which they could approach us---it being a mountainous country. The enemy had one piece of artillery, and when they rounded the point of the mountain and came into view about a quarter of a mile off they opened fire. When the first shot was fired we received orders to lie down. The second shot was a shell which passed over us and exploded about a hundred yards in our rear, when one member of company E, who knew nothing of the nature of a shell, jumped up and exclaimed: ' Boys, we are surrounded'.
We participated in the Sewell Mountain campaign, being the advance guard part of the time while on the advance and rear guard on nearly all the retreat. Then followed the Cotton mountain and Fayetteville campaign and Mud march, and we went into winter quarters at Fayetteville.
During our service in West Virginia our casualties were very light, except from exposure, sickness and disease, which played sad havoc among us. The measles perhaps crippled our regiment more than any one cause, for the first six months of service reduced our numbers about one half. This I presume is the experience of every new regiment. The losses in battle were to come from the remaining half or from those who were able by power of endurance and constitutions of iron, to withstand the hardships of army life.
In the month of January, 1862, we were transferred from Virginia to Kentucky. Starting from Louisville, Ky., in February, we marched with General Thomas J Wood's Sixth division, department of Ohio, under Buell, via Bardstown, Mumfordsville, and Bowling Green, Ky., to Nashville, Tenn., thence southwest to western Tennessee, arriving just in time to take the advance in following Beauregard's defeated army from Pittsburg Landing [ after the battle of Shiloh].
We were in the siege of Corinth, amd when it was taken we marched across northeastern Mississippi, northern Alabama, central Tennessee to east Tennessee; then back through Nashville, Bowling Green and Mumfordsville to Louisville, Ky., having marched since leaving Louisville in February about two thousand miles. But our marching was not yet over. We stopped but a few days when Wood's division took the advance in following Bragg's army. We found him at Perrysville [sic] and followed him on to Cumberland Gap, where we left him and went back to Nashville.
After a few week's rest we started on the Stone river campaign, in which our regiment gained for itself a reputation seldom equaled and never excelled in the history of wars. While on the advance at Lavergne a galliant little charge was made. I say little because of the shortness of the period required to reach success. With one rush we swept all before us, giving the enemy but one chance to fire; but in that one volley they left twenty-eight of our brave boys dead, dying or wounded.
At Stone river we were crossing the stream early Wednesday morning, December 31st, 1862, to lead the attack upon the right of Bragg's army, when the extreme right of our army was flanked and driven from position. The flanking columns were of such numbers and force as to break the entire right wing and center of our army.
We were recalled and thrown into the front line near the intersection of the Nashville and Murfreesboro pike and the railroad. There was a continuous break in the union army lines from the extreme right of the army extending to the left until it reached the position occupied by the Twenty-sixth Ohio. There it stopped.
For four hourswe, without fortifications of any kind, held that key to the battle line against the exultant and , as they had been up to that time, victorious army. Their reserves and fresh troops were hurled again and again against that position only to be repulsed. For four long hours were our staying qualities tested to the extreme, and until Rosecrans could establish a new, perfect and compact battle front did we act as a pivot and rallying point for the army of the Cumberland.
Company E's commanding officer, Lieutenant David McClellan, was killed. Colonel Garashe, General Rosecrans' adjutant general, was killed near our regiment [ beheaded by a cannonball ], and when we were relieved during a lull in the battle, we left over one third of our number either killed or wounded. Gen Rosecrans was there in person and stated to the regiment that relieved us, after they had passed two paces in front and while we were still in position: ' All that I ask of the Twenty-third Kentucky is to do as the regiment you relieve have done; hold this position against every odds.'
Then he ( Gen. Rosecrans ) went with us in person over a slight hill about three hundred yards in the rear and said to us:
' Twenty-sixth Ohio, you have gained for yourselves today almost immortal honors, and have done more than I ought to ask of you. Fill your cartridge boxes first and then sit down and rest yourselves.'
Stone river was changed from an apparent defeat into a victory. Murfreesboro became ours, and after a liberal rest in camp the Tulahoma campaign followed. Then came the march across the Cumberland mountains, over the Tennessee river, Sand and the frowning from Lookout mountain. Then Chattanooga was ours, and permit me to say that the Twenty-sixth Ohio was the first complete union regiment into that city. Company E was on the skirmish line and the advance guard of the army when we rounded the point of Lookout mountain. It is, however, true that some daring members of the Ninty[sic]-seventh Ohio had crossed the Tennessee river and planted their colors on the fort near the city, and also a part of the Ninty[sic]-second Illinois mounted infantry passed us during the two miles between Lookout mountain and the city, but that was after it was plainly demonstrated that the city was ours. We did the patrol duty in the city the first day and night after the capture.
Then followed the the[sic] terrible battle a Chicamuaga[sic], just inside the northern border of Georgia, and but twelve or fifteen miles from Chattanooga. At this battle occurred the heaviest per cent of losses ( the entire force of both armies being taken into consideration ) of any great battle during the civil war. The Twenty-sixth Ohio sustained a loss in killed and wounded which was equalled by but few regiments during the war, going into the engagement with about 350 and losing 212, thus losing over 60 per cent. [ Note: Most of the losses were at the East Viniard Fields battle location ]. Company E had its commanding officer, Lieutenant Francis M Williams, killed.
In two short months 50 per cent of the remaining heroes of the Twenty-sixth Ohio went down in that most brilliant charge of the war, Missionary Ridge, our regiment capturing the enemy's worksiwithin two hundred yards of Bragg's headquarters and on the direct line of the wagon road leading from the ridge back to Chicamauga[six] station. By our being immediately crowded half a mile back on the road we cut off all possibility of the artillery from the ridge making a successful retreat. Fifty-two cannon and 6,000 prisoners were the fruits of this brilliant charge. Company E again lost her commanding officer, William B Johnson, who was very severely wounded. Think not that I try to claim all the honors of this brilliant charge for the Twenty-sixth Ohio; for I call to mind two companies besides our own which were organized at Mt. Gilead who share their honors with ours. In the first brigade to our right was the Sixty-fifth Ohio and in it that gallant Company D, and in the second brigade to our right was that magnificient Fifteenth Ohio, and Capt J.G. Bird was wounded while leading Company C.
We had been besieged in Chattanooga for two months and had beedn on very short rations during a greater part of the time. When we left our tents and camp equippage to open the battle of Chattanooga on November 23d, 1863, we left it not to again camp in itor to have a change of clothes or the use of tents for about two months. At the close of the battle of Chattanooga we were immediately started on a forced march to relieve General Burnside, who was besiged by Longstreet at Knoxville. From the 23d day of November, 1863, until the 18th of January, 1864 ( during a winter noted for its cold weather ) we did not have a change of shirts. [ Note: Further it should be mentioned, that the 26th Ohio was encamped in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. ] Think you then that it is strange for us to say taht we would know a 'grayback' if we met one in the road, or any place else?
We veteranized and cam home, or in camp parlance, to 'God's country', for thirty days, visiting loved ones, including the 'girls we left behind us'. The veterans were the most economical soldiers for the government that it ever saw. There was no waste of time in drill and in disciplining and waste or depletion by not being able to stand the service. Everyone of them had been tried by exposure and battle for over two years, and they were perfect soldiers ready for immediate action. Our furlougs soon expired, and parting once more from home and mother, father, sister, brother. wives and loved ones, we started once more to the fronat and soon started on the Atlanta campaign, in which our company and regiment took a prominant part.
We all remember the battles of Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Adairsville, Dallas, Kennesaw mountain, June 23d, and again June 27th, Smyrna Camp Ground, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro and Lovejoy Station. And on the second day of September, 1864, Atlanta was ours.
After a few day' rest we were sent back under that grand old man, Gen. 'Pap' Thomas, while Sherman marched on to the sea. During this campaign we took a very prominant part in the battle of Spring Hill [Tennessee], where it was supposed for a time that the Twenty-sixth Ohio had been sacrificed to save the army, but they fought their way out, and when Cpat. Raper, riding Colonel Clark's horse, reported to General Wagner that the Twenty-sixth Ohio was coming, in his joy the genearl rode across the field to meet us, and commenced to express his feelings, but his voice failed him and he turned and rode away. On the following day he passed our regiment and said: ' Boys, I intended to say something nice last evening but I could not do it.'
On the following day, after the battle of Spring Hill, we were at Franklin, and in the thickest of that terrible engagement. Up to that time, duringthe Hood campaign, we had been fighting against big odds, two or three to our one. Two or three weeks later, however, when we had been reenfored until our forecdes were about equal to that of Hood's army, we, under Thomas, utterly destroyed Hood's army at Nashville....
We wintered at Huntsville, Alabama and in the spring of 1865, we went Bud Springs, east Tennessee. It was about dark one evening when a special telegram came announcing that Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. And you, my comrades, remember the time we had that night. Among the many things done in our joy over the news, with Major
Spence to line and that red headed captain of the Fortieth Indiana to lead in the music, was to sing that old familiar song, 'Go, tell Aunt Rhody, the old gray goose is dead', and all joined in the chorus.
The war was over, but to us there was another disappointment. Maximillion, with the French , was in Mexico, and our Fourth army corps was chosen as one to go to the frontier. We wer compelled to continue our patriotic devotions on the Mexican frontier in Texas. We had, however, nothing to do there and we were mustered out, and arrived at home on the 18th day of November, four years, five months and four days from the day we marched to Gilead Station."
[ Note: At the end of the article is a listing of the roll call of 132 members of company E. Information included here has been added to the solders' roster information pages.}
Excerpts from Captain Walden Kelley's A Historic Sketch Lest We Forget Company E, 26th Ohio Infantry in the War for the Union 1861-1865. Note: These are selected transcriptions quoted verbatim with only clarifications in brackets [ ].
A Historical Sketch of Co. E, 26th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
About the fifth day of June, 1861, Sylvester M. Hewitt, assisted by several others, began the enlistment and organization of a company of volunteer infantry at Mt. Gilead, Morrow county, Ohio, under the first call of the President for three-year troops...
[ WESTERN VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN ]
The Quartermaster's department was unable to furnish regulation uniforms as fast as the new troops organized, hence our first uniforms consisted of gray pants and roundabouts. ?This caused great annoyance during the first two or three months of our service in Virginia by our troops mistaking us for the enemy and firing upon us. General J D Cox ordered that we be kept inside duty until properly uniformed. We arrived at the front at Gawley [sic] Bridge, Virginia, August 11th, 1861. After our gray uniform experience we were continually in front in all campaigns of the army in which we served. We remained in Virginia until February 1st, 1862, and participated in the campaigns to Boon Court House, Sewal [sic]Mountain, Cotton Mountain, and Fayetteville and were engaged with the enemy at Horseshoe Bend, Sewal Mountain and New River....
[ ARRIVAL IN KENTUCKY ]
The regiment was transferred to Louisville- " Way down in old Kentucky, Where they never have the blues, Where the Captains shoot the Colonels, And the Colonels shoot the Booze"- And marched to Bardstown where the regiment became part of the 15th brigade, commanded by General Milo Haskel [sic]; 6th division, commanded by General Thos. J. Wood; army of the Ohio, commanded by General Don Carlos Buell. In this brigade* [ * In the reorganizations of the army it changed to different divisions and corps and its number changed to correspond, regiments left and also other regiments joined, but at no time was the brigade organization broken up.] the 26th regiment remained during the entire war, the other three regiments forming the brigade leaving us at different periods- the 17th Indiana to Wilders Mounted Infantry, the 58th Indiana became the pontooniers of the Army of the Cumberland, and the 3rd Kentucky was transferred to General Harker's brigade, remaining in the same division. In February, 1862, the division moved to Bowling Green, thence to Nashville, Tenn. and from there was the 4th division in line of march, under Buell, to Pittsburg Landing, arriving on the field of battle as the enemy was leaving...
[ ASSAULT ON CORINTH ]
In the slow approach of our army on Corinth, Miss., we were several times quite heavily engaged, skirmishing with the enemy, losing a few men from the regiment, but Company E suffered no losses. On the evacuation by the Confederate forces we were moved eastward along the line of the Memphis & Charleston railroad, crossing to the north side of the Tennessee River at Decatur, Alabama, about July 6th, 1862, thence through Huntville, northeast into Tennessee via Fayetteville, Winchester, Deckard and Hillsboro to McMinnville, on August 30th, 1862, by a very rapid march of eight miles. Terminating by the double quick, we succeeded in striking Forest's [sic] cavalry, driving them so rapidly that we captured their ambulance, with medical supplies, and also one of the General's horses. For rapidity of march and promptness in action the regiment was complimented in general orders by the division commander. September 2nd, we started from McMinnville via Murfreesboro, Nashville, Bowling Green and Mumfordville, for Louisville, Ky., to intercept Bragg, who had invaded Kentucky through East Tennessee and was threatening Cincinnati and Louisville. We were the advance division under Buell, skirmished heavily with the enemy at Mumfordsville [sic]...
[ BATTLE OF PERRYVILLE ]
October 1st the army moved from Louisville, via Bardstown to Perryville, where on October 8th, the battle of Perryville was fought. We were on the right in battle line under General George H Thomas and skirmished lightly with the enemy, expecting orders, which never came, to attack. We listened to the roar of battle to our left and were not heavily engaged; we followed the retreating enemy through Danville, skirmished heavily with them at Stanford and followed on southeast through Crab Orchard to about 30 miles beyond Mt Vernon, when we were ordered back...to Nashville. While at Nashville we were engaged in three skirmishes while scouting and guarding foraging trains... found orders waiting us to have three days' rations in haversacks, strike camp and march at dayling the following morning, December 26th, 1862. This was the opening of the Stone River or Murfreesboro campaign...
In the reorganization of the army under General Rosecrans we were in the First brigade, First Division, Left wing, Army of the Cumberland. The Left wing had the direct line of march of Murfreesboro... Wood's division took the advance and our brigade deployed. The enemy, from an elevated position and under cover of buildings, firmly resisted our advance, and we wer compelled to charge the place [ Lavergne, Tenn.], losing 32 men from the brigade. Our regiment, making the direct attack, lost 28 [sic 18?] of that number. By rapidly driving the enemy a distance of seven miles, we saved the bridge at Stewart's Creek and captured 50 or 60 prisoners....
[ BATTLE OF STONES RIVER ]
...Monday, the 29th, moved forward, our division on the left...driving the enemy to their fortified line at Stone River. We remained in line of battle on the 30th...we received orders that night to cotrss the river [ Stones River], which the left of our division joined, and attack the enemy on the following morning. While executing this order the roar of the battle reached us from the extreme right of the army and our movements were by orders changed and we recrossed the river. General Bragg, during the day and night of the 30th, had moved the bulk of his army so that it reached far past our extremee right, and early commenced doubling our lines back from that flank; our regiment was placed in the line of battle to the right of Hazen's brigade, this being the point where the retrograde movement in our line ceased. This position, on an open plain, without protection, we held for several hours, repulsing three seperate and distinct charges, exhausting our 60 rounds and being repeatedly supplied by details sent from company. Thus for hours we held the key position of the battle, until a new line was established at nearly right angles to us. We spent the last night of 1862 on the battlefront until morning....On the morning of January 2nd we occupied a position, the left of the regiment joining the Nashville and Murfreesboro pike, in an artillery duel fought by several batteries and an equal number of the enemy. In the forenoon we were in the direct line of shot and had several casualties in the regiment. Tis was the last day of heavy fighting, Bragg retreating on the night of the 3rd. Company E still retained its good luck, losing its commanding officer* [* 1st Lieut. David McClellan of company G, was killed while in temporary command of company E. No officer belonging to the company being present.] killed and six wounded, out of a total loss from the regiment of 102 during the campaign....
[ TULLAHOMA CAMPAIGN ]
In the Tullahoma campaign we failed in coming into direct contact with the enemy. Bragg retreating before we reached our lines, and our division was stationed at Pelham and Hillsboro, at the west slope of the Cumberland Mountains, until August 16th, 1863, when the advance over the mountains commenced. We reached the Sequatchie Valley at Thurman, marched down the valley and crossed the Tennessee River on flat boats at Shell Mound and held the advance on the direct line south of the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. The 26th Ohio was the advance regiment marching in column and company E the advance guard, and came around the point of Lookout Mountain in a skirmish line, extending far up the slope to near the upper palisade. After we came in sight of the city- or town, as it was at that time- and demonstrated that the enemy was gone, a regiment of mounted infantry passed us. We , however, took possession and did the patrol duty , gathering in many prisoners during the afternoon and night of September 9th...
[ BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA ]
For the purpose of demonstrating the severity of loss and that the reader may more fully comprehend them, I will here, after its two-year-and-three-month service, all of it in actual war, most of it in very hard campaigning, show its strength: January 1st, 1863 (previously stated 63 enrolled), increase by promotion and transfer, three; * [* Our captain, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants had each been promoted from other companies of the regiment and transferred to company E.] making 66; discharged in 1863, previous to September 19th, 11 men; there were on detached service at division headquarters, 2; at Columbus, Ohio, one; musicians 3; to the 8th Indiana Battery 2, to Pioneer Battalion 3, teamsters 3, absent temporarily 1, absent sick 8, present with the company 32.
Company E went into the battle of Chickamauga with 2 officers and 30 enlisted men. We plainly heard the roar of battle nearly four miles to our left, down the stream from us, or to the north ( the Chickamuaga flows north and we were on the west bank of the stream, fronting to the east), early in the forenoon, Saturday, September 19th. This continued growing nearer until about 3 p.m., when we were ordered double quick to the left following the Chattanooga & Lafayette road in the direction of the heavy fighting, for near two miles or to the Vineyard [sic] farm. The regiment formed line of battle in the ordinary way of that date, two ranks touching elbows, in the timber facing east about 60 feet east of the road and parallel to it. We had no supporting line and were the extreme left of the brigade. In our rear across the road and parallel to it was a cleared field about 600 feet wide gently sloping from each side to a draw or ravine near its center. The place was strange to us. A line of our men was supposed to be in our front and extending to our left. The underbrush of and under the timber prevented us from seeing more than a short distance. We were ordered to fix bayonets and lie down. We formed the opinion that we were to make a charge...
Three hundred and fifty men, the peer of any equal number in any one body that the United States had ever produced, with two and one quarter years' experience, all of it war, inured to hardship and danger, never having been repulsed or driven, thoroughly drilled and disciplined, well officiered, a perfect fighting machine!
We heard the tramp of moving troops in our front, supposing it to be our own men, but the enemy in full charged appeared in our immediate front and secured the advantage of the first voley. Quickly we responded with a rattling fire, not waiting for orders. Load and fire at will was the impulse and action of all. Commands could not be heard. The enemy's line was fairly repulsed and their second line had come to their assistance. We were holding our own and gradually gaining, with full comfidence that we were whipping or gaining the fight. During this period of time our division and brigade commanders were sending orders for us to fall back--our left flank was being turned---but orders were slow in reaching us. Horses could not live to carry them on that bloody field, our regimental field officers were quickly dismounted and in the furry [sic] of that musketry the word had to be passed along the line that our flank was exposed and we must retreat across the field. Gradually that line moved back to the road where all could see the line of gray already swinging across the open to our left. A hasty retreat was made to the fence on the opposite or west side of the field, where, with a promptness under fire never excelled, the regiment rallied and again opened on the enemy, which lasted but a few minutes, when reinforcements ( a brigade from Sheridan's division), came rushing to our left. We recrossed the field, driving the enemy beyond our first position in the timber on the east side of the road, for hours without protection of any kind, at very close range. We had contended for the position of that road, and as the sun closed its gaze by passing behind the western hills we were masters of the situation.
Over half of the company had fallen in two or three hours, desperate fighting, not as Greek meets Greek but as Americans meet Americans. Go view the fields, ye good people of Morrow County! Stand by that monument [located just north of Viniard field and east of Lafayette road] erected by the great State of Ohio to the memory of the 26th, 212 of whom fell in that blody [sic] battle, three-fourths of them undoubtedly on the Vineyard [sic] Farm, and then, but a few yards away, see the one erected by the State of Georgia [ located further east along the Alexander Bridge-Viniard road] in memory of the 20th regiment infantry, C.S.A. from that state, and read their inscription (" This regiment went into battle with 23 officers; of this number 17 were killed or wounded"...
Soon a temporary truce was formed, details made, and Johnnie and Yank were soon mingled together, caring for the wounded as best they could. At about 2 or 3 a.m., Sunday morning, orders were quietly whispered along the line to prepare to move, and very soon the line silently moved to the left a distance of nearly two miles and was halted on the east slope of Missionary Ridge [ on the west edge of the Dry Valley Road], nearly a mile north of the Wido Glenn house [ General Rosecrans' field command headquarters until 9/20/63 A.M.], and we were informed that we were to be the reserve. This position we held until 9 or 9:30 a.m., when we were moved to the front line, Wood's division relieving taht of General Negley.
The 26th Ohio was about one-fourth mile southwest of the Brotherton house, it being the extreme right of the division. The losses of the previous day had shortened the division line until we failed to fill the space vacated by Negley, and in order to do so extended to the right to reach the left of McCook, until our line became attentuated. We heard the roar of the battle to our left gradually coming nearer; we were heavily skirmishing with the enemy [ Hood's Division, of Longstreet's corps] while in this condition about 11 a.m. when General Wood received written orders from General Rosecrans "to close up on Reynolds and support him." A division line of battle, as we formed at that time, was half a mile or more. Reynolds commanded the 2nd division at our left, Brannon's intervening. Hence Wood, when he executed the order, moved in rear of and parellel [sic] to Brannon, we being the extreme right of Wood, by moving in column to the left, the 8th Indiana Battery in our immediate front.
When we had marched nearly half a division length, the battery, in its difficulties, having no road in the timber, much of it heavy underbrush with bad ravines to cross, delayed the two regiments in the rear, while the head of the column was hastening to the support of Reynolds. This had left us far in the rear. In this condition we received the enemy's charge. Naturally and rightly, all that could followed the head of column as per orders. We of the 26th Ohio and 13th Michigan, in the extreme rear, were compelled to stop and repulse the charge, thereby becoming isolated from all our commands and in the center of the one-half-mile gap that was created by a mistaken order and resulted in dividing the army.
As soon as the battery extricated itself from its difficulties, Colonel Young, our regimental commander, ordered us to fall back. It was useless sacrifice to do otherwise. We were halted several times at favorable localities to check the enemy, and that gallant band of heroes, if you please, held its organization under as trying circumstances as war produces, its last stand being made upon the side of a spur of Missionary Ridge, where a tablet now stands to mark its heroism [ on the east slope of a hill at the northwest side of Dyer Field]. Here we held position for nearly an hour, aided by the 8th Indiana and 6th Ohio Batteries. To our left the right of Brannon's division was flanked and to protect itself swung back to the north. To our right the left of Davis' division was flanked and to protect itself swung back to the south, thus widening the gap and leaving us that much farther from support on either side, the enemy advancing , taking protection of timber to the south and also to the north of us, gaining our flanks, and we were compelled to abandon our position. Here the 8th Indiana Battery by its loss of horses was compelled to abandon their pieces. We retreated by the dry valley road and thence with Sheridan and Davis to Roseville [sic]. Our part in the battle of Chickamauga was over.
Colonel Fox, under the head of " maximum percentage of casualties in a single engagement under circumstances that few if any of the missing were captured men", places the 26th Ohio thirty-fifth in the list of over two thousand regiments that were in the service during the war of the rebellion...Company E lost 20 [ at the Battle of Chickamuaga], or even 62.5 per cent....A large per cent of the Union dead remained unburied until we came in possession of the battlefield after the battle of Chattanooga....
The following day, September 1st [ actually September 21st], we were in the regular line of battle on Missionary Ridge, north of Roseville [sic] Gap, and offered battle to the enemy. During the night we formed a line of battle closer to Chattanooga, the flanks touching the Tennessee River, above and below. Our position was at Fort Wood, which we aided in building, due east of the town.
In the reorganization of the army, the 20th and 21st army corps were practically consolidated and formed the 4th corps. In this organization we became part of the 2nd brigade, commanded by General Geo. D. Wagner, 2nd division commanded by Major General P H Sheridan...
[ ASSAULT ON ORCHARD KNOB ]
Under Grant's instructions Thomas ordered the two divisions of the 4th corps, Sheridan and Wood, to advance and drive the enemy from their outer line and capture Orchard Knob. This movement was made about 3 p.m. November 23d, and was the opening of the battle of Chattanooga. Our losses were nearly two hundred, mostly from Wood's division, none from company E. We occupied our new position three-eighths of a mile south of Orchard Knob, one mile west and in plain view of the enemy's line of works at top and foot of Missionary Ridge, and were under the fire of their field and siege artillery drung the 24th, listening to and watching Hooker's fight above the clouds at Lookout Mountain, and remained in this position on the 25th, watching Sherman's battle at the north end of Missionary Ridge until 3 p.m. or perhaps later.
[ ASSAULT ON MISSIONARY RIDGE ]
Between our position and the ridge was a plain, partly open and part timber, most of the timber having been recently cut by the Confederates. All the fences were gone. Missionary Ridge lies nearly north and south and extends from the Tennessee River at the north many miles south. Its average elevation is 600 feet above the plain and the distance from the base to summit near one-fourth of a mile [ Note: this is probably an underestimate; more likely between a 1/3 and 1/2 mile ] About 2 p.m. each man was notified that when six shots were fired in regular succession from the artillery on Orchard Knob we were to move forward in order, keeping well our alignment, and take the Confederate works at the foot of the ridge. A tiresome wait of one or two hours followed. The men's faces became pale, but firm pressure of the lips showed the determination. The time passed slowly, for the mental strain was great. Finally, the signal came, carefully counted by each, and when the sixth sounded all stepped over our temporary works and moved forward.
The enemy's artillery promptly opened in full force from the top fo the ridge, the shells exploding all around us. A file or two of men fell near the colors. The men began quickening the step-- no pale faces now--the excitement of battle was on. You could constantly hear the officers' command--" Steady men! Go slow!" Time flew by like a dream. The enemy's line in the lower works at the foot of the ridge became demoralized and they left before we reached them. The reverse side of their works offered us no protection from the artillery and infantry fire from the top, and by common impulse, without orders, we contined the charge up the side of the ridge.
We had the usual double line formation, the 26th Ohio in the front line, the 15th Indiana supporting 150 to 200 paces in the rear. We were to a great extent winded, having made the last three or four hundred yards double quick. We moved up the hills slowly, loading and firing, taking advantage of such protection as was available. The enemy was at this time largely overshooting us and the 15th Indiana, in our rear, was suffering heavily. When half or two-thirds the way up the ridge they came forward to our assistance where they could take part in the shooting...
We reached the enemy's works and captured them, taking a few prisoners, nost of the enemy escaping down the eastern slope of the ridge, which was not so precipitous as the western which we had come up. The road leading from General Bragg's headquarters, ( about three hundred yards south of where our regiment reached the top), going east down the slope, was the only way available for the Confederates' artillery to make their escape.
General Sheridan, quick to seize and hold the advantage, came to the left of this division and ordered Colonel Young, with his 26th Ohio and the 15th Indiana, to hasten northeast down the slope and capture all we could reach or head from the road mentioned. This we did for nearly a mile, gaining two brass guns at one place, four brass and two Parrott guns, several caissons and limbers at another. ...A quarter mile or more of gap now existed between our right and the brigade, which was advancing in line along the road mentioned and became heavily engaged. Sheridan sent orders for us to oblique to the right. It was now dark and under Colonel Young's directions we moved carefully and slowly over ravines, through brush, guided by the sound of battle, striking the enemy's lines on an abrupt knob, which we, without hesitation or any delay, charged, and captured two more pieces of artillery and many wagons.
General Sheridan, in his official report of the battle, in speaking of this part of the engagement states: " But a few moments elapsed ere the 16th Ohio and 15th Indiana carried the crest. When the head of the column reached the summit of the hill the moon rose from behind and a medallion view of the column was disclosed as it crossed the moon's disk and attacked the enemy."
Our part in the battle was over. That the reader may more fully understand the important part taken by us I will give a few statistics taken from the official records: Loss of Sheridan's 2nd division 4th army corps, 1346, the heaviest of any division in the army...Our 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 4th army corps, lost 730... The magnificant 15th Indiana regiment that was in the second line supporting us, that came so gallantly to our aid and so nobly stayed with us ( see official report), went into the battle with 334 officers and men, and of this number its loss was 199 killed and wounded, the heaviest regimental loss in the battle. The three regiments sustaining the greatest loss were all in our brigade. The 26th Ohio numbered present about 150 and lost 36. Company E, 13 engaged, loss 5. All of them had participated with the company at Chickamauga. Thus of the 32 engaged on September 19, seven were left, two of whom were later killed in battle while with the company.
James H Smith was shot, a minnie (1 oz.) ball passing through his leg while we were going up the ridge. He examined the wound and remained with the company, the blood spurting from the top of his shoes at each step until he was ordered to the hospital by Colonel Young after the battle was over. No organization in the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga carried their banner higher on the roll of fame than did the 26th Ohio.
[ KNOXVILLE CAMPAIGN ]
The following day, November 26, the two divisions, Sheridan's and Wood's , of the 4th corps, were ordered to march to relieve General Burnside, besieged at Knoxville. We were expected to live largely from the products of the country ( now largely exhausted). We had drawn no clothing since leaving Murfreesboro in June. Our mules and horses were either dead or unfit for service...We left our camp in Chattanooga and saw it no more until January 18, 1864.
This was a memorable and a cold winter, with its historic cold New Year's day...During the night, when we could, we built log-heap fires, and when the ground had become thoroughly warm, we divided the fire, cleaned away the coals and ashes and slept on the warm ground between the two fires. January 1st, while at Blains Crossroads, northeast of Knoxville, the regiment veteranized or re-enlisted and was ordered home on thirty days' furlough...
[ START OF THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN ]
We left Columbus, Ohio , on our return to the front, about March 4th, joining our brigade at Charleston, Tennessee, about March 15th. In April we moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, and from there started on the Atlanta Campaign, May 3rd, and came under the fire of the enemy's guns May 7th, and remained in hearing of their guns and under fire until September 5th-- at least over one hundred days under fire. We ( our brigade) advanced along the Eastern slope and near the summit of Rocky Face Ridge, supporting Harken's brigade, moving along the summit, assaulting the main line of works. We came under the direct fire from their main line, but were restrained from assaulting. We held this position until Sherman' entire army...had moved south along the west base of the ridge to Snake Creek Gap, and through it to near Resaca, when Johnson abandoned his fortified position at Rocky Face and hastily retreated, we following on the direct line of his retreat and on arrival joining at once in the battle of Resaca, driving the enemy's lines into their fortifications. ... The night of May 15, bridges were floated and the Oostanaula River crossed, the 4th corps taking the advance, driving Johnston's rear guard. On the 17th, our division ( Newton now commanding, Sheridan having been ordered to the Eastern department) was in the advance. One brigade deployed. In the evening two brigades were deployed and the enemy's lines were driven until a line of works was developed. Artillery was freely used, the 26th Ohio losing over twenty men. Darkness closed the fighing and in the morning their works were abandoned...
May 23rd we crossed the river [ Etowah ], keeping to the west of the Altoona Mountains in the direction of Dallas, the 20th corps under Hooker having the advance on the road to New Hope Church...In the effort to reach this point Hooker became heavily engaged and we, the nearest division of the corps and army, were rushed to his aid, and ust as twilight faded into darkness, in the midst of a very heavy rain, thunder and lightning storm and the roar of artillery and crash of musketry, we closed upon Hooker's left with 300 yards of the enemy's main line of works. Here we fortified and remained under their fire and responded to it until June 6th....
We moved forward southeast, heavily skirmishing almost continuously, the artillery firing constantly, to Pine Mountain [ where Confederate General Pope was killed by artillery fire ], Lost Mountain, Muddry Creek and Kenesaw, each of these being thoroughly fortified. [ Note: the proper spelling is Kennesaw, not Kenesaw, but during the war, union soldiers frequently spelled it with only one 'n'.] We reached the west slope of the latter June 20th, and on the 22nd drove the enemy's skirmishers into their main line. While holding our position and building rifle pits for our pickets, Daniel Densel of company E was mortally wounded...
[ BATTLE OF KENNESAW MOUNTAIN ]
I dislike to leave this heroic assault without a short description.The ground [ at Kennesaw Mountain ] in our front was heavily timbered, descending for 200 yards to a ravine, thence a thirty per cent rising grade for 300 yards to their line of works, consisting of heavy embankment with head logs, so mounted as to give space for firing underneath. A wide and deep ditch was in front of the works. A large share of the timber was felled with tops down the hill, all twigs and light limbs cut off, so that in advance up to their works haste or alignment was an impossibility. Through this in double column we struggled, a few of the men falling very near the ditch and others actually reaching their embankment, but they could not reach them in mass sufficient to drive the enemy. A new stand of colors, presented to the regiment by the ladies of Chillicothe, Ohio, was carried into this desperate charge. The color sergeant was killed and several of the color guards killed and wounded and the staff of the colors was shot in three pieces with fifty-seven bulled holes through the colors...
Sherman continued fortifying and lengthening his battleline to the right ( nearly south), until the morning of July 2d, when we found the Confederate lines were vacated. We followed close to their rear guard, about seven miles to "Smirny Camp Grounds", where we became quite strongly engaged, driving their rear and developing a strong line of works. Here we were held with very brisk skirmishing until July 5th, losing a few men from the regiment on the 4th. Again we moved briskly south, hoping to meet our enemy in the confusing of crossing the Chattahoochee River, but we failed. From the bluffs on the north side of the river we first saw Atlanta, ten miles away...
[ BATTLE OF PEACH TREE CREEK ]
On the 16th we crossed the river [ Chattahoochee ], advancing slowly that the army of the Tennessee and Ohio
( McPherson and Schofield)...might be nearer. On the 20th we crossed Peach Tree Creek and gained a ridge about half a mile south...the Confederate army, now commanded by General Hood, had concentrated in front of this position, intending to crush us while we were in the confusion of crossing the stream, and did make a most furious attack when but part of the line had gained position. Those not in line, being close, countercharged, driving the enemy and establishing a connected line. Hood repeated the assault, but was at every point repulsed. Thus less than half of the army of the Cumberland alone, without fortications and hardly an equal show with the enemy, lacking a completed line at the opening, thoroughly repulsed the combined strength of Hood's army.
[ SEIGE OF ATLANTA ]
On the 22nd we advanced in line to the front of the main fortifications around Atlanta... We skirmished very heavily and were under the direct fire of their artillery from the main line of fortifications in front of the city. This continue more or less until Auguat 26th....our division the extreme left of Sherman's army. We readjusted our line of fortifications, making a refused flank with completely inclosed forts supplied with surplus ammunition, water and food.
Sherman's flank movement by the right to the south of Atlanta commenced on August 25th by withdrawing our 4th corps to the rear of the 20th corps and moving it ( the 20th) to and across the Chattahoochee River with all surplus trains and artillery, we the 4th corps continuing to move to the right, on the following day passed beyond the extreme right of Hood's army and on the 28th advanced to the Mount Gilead Church, skirmishing heavily and driving the enemy across the West Point railroad. On the 29th and 30th, continuing the movement, we gained posession [sic] of the Macon railroad, thus severing the last line leading from the city, and September 1st, until about 4 p.m., we were buning the ties and heating and twisting the rails , moving south as we did so, and by so doing were prevented from reaching Jonesboro in time to envelop the flank of Hardee's corps. We were rushed hastily into position and were driving their shattered flank when darkness and the entanglement of brush, ravines, etc., and the danger of coming into conflict with our troops closed the movement. In the morning we found the enemy had fled. During the night we heard the explosion of the magazines and trains of ammunition at Atlanta, over twenty miles away. We followed Hood south to Lovejoy Station, when we drove their skirmishers and outposts into their main line of works.
We remained in front of them until the 5th, when we withdrew and marched back to Atlanta, where we remained in camp until about the 20th. During our stay at this place official reports were made covering the losses of each organization during the Atlanta Campaign...The 26th Ohio had killed and wounded, as officially reported, 117.* [ * Official report of General Wagner, our brigade commander. ]...
Clark became captain of the company in December, 1862. He was on detached service, commanding a battalion of pioneers, and did not join the company and regiment until we veteranized in January, 1864... Company E was made the detail from the 26th and we were exempt from picket or skirmish duty. We were required to each carry either a pick, shovel or ax in addition to that required of each soldier. Our place was with our regiment, but subject to call to any point, to build fortification rifle pits or to open or repair roads. We might justly compare our industry to that of the honey bee. During the campaign we stopped work only long enough to take part in the fighting and some of the time were using tools when the shell and minnie were adding impetus to our mental and muscular skill. About the close of the Atlanta campaign Captain Clark became the commander of the regiment and was soon afterward promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and continued in command until mustered out with the regiment.
[ BEGINNING OF THE TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN, 1864 ]
About September 25th Hood's flank movement around Atlanta had advanced so that Sherman divined his intentions and ordered our division by rail to Chattanooga. The 26th Ohio was thrown in the lead ( advance guard) on two passenger coaches, each man with loaded gun ready for immediate action. ...On arriving at Chattanooga we were kept on trains much of the time and moving from place to place between Dalton and Bridgeport, many times nearly smothered with smoke as we rode on top of the cars through the tunnel under Missionary Ridge. After Hood moved west into Alabama we started to join the main army west of Rome, Ga., where orders met us by which we crossed Lookout and Sand Mountains to Stevason [sic], Ala...going from there by rail to Athens, Ala., thence marched to Pulaski, Tenn., thus placing ourselves between Hood, now at Florence, Ala. and Nashville, Tenn. We held this position until Hood advanced
via Columbia. We moved October 21 to Lineville and to Columbia on the 23rd formed line of battle, each flank reaching Duck River, one above the other, below the town. This position we held, skirmishing lightly , until the night of the 27th when we crossed to the north bank.
[ BATTLE AT SPRING HILL ]
Early in the morning of the 29th, Thomas at Nashville ordered General Schofield ( in direct command at Columbia ) to fall back to Franklin. The trains, over eight hundred wagons, were started on the Nashville pike. When the head of this train reached Spring Hill, eleven miles away, they were stopped by the enemy's cavalry. Our division, General Wagner commanding, hastened to the relief of the train, arriving about 1 p.m., Opdyke's brigade leading, and drove the
enemy out of the town north. Bradley's brigade, the second in line of march, formed line facing east and advanced nearly a mile, our brigade, Colonel [ John Q ] Lane commanding, forming the reserve.
The 26th Ohio soon after was ordered to extend the skirmish line east of the pike farther south and take possession of and hold a dirt road [ Kedron Road] coming into the pike over a mile south. At this place we were located near a cotton gin, on which an outlook was posted, who soon reported Confederate troops in sight. We built a rail barricade, each man got out of cartridge box and bit off ten cartridges and made all the arrangements we could for rapid firing. The gray lines could be seen by Sergeant Hall ( the outlook ) for a long distance and he kept posting us as to their movements. He held his post too long and was killed in the effort to reach us at the barricade. It was undulating farm land where we were located, with timber showing south of us and also in our rear three-fourths of a mile or one-fourth west of the pike. We could see the gray lines east of us, at some places half a mile away, as they were advancing, but owing to the roll of the land they passed out of our view nearly one-fourth of a mile in front or east of us and did not appear again until less than one hundred yards away. We opened fire and effectually stopped them in our front and temporarily to right and left, but to our left, north of us, they soon pressed forward, passing directly between us and Spring Hill.
Wagner, seeing our situation from his position, over a mile away, rushed a battery forward and opened fire, we getting the effect as well as our enemy between us and the guns. We held this position until all or nearly all had consumed their ten rounds, when Captain Clark gave the orderto escape if possible. In doing this we obliqued to the southwest to escape a heavy fire now reaching us from the north and the quicker to get protection from the rolling ground. While the battery held them in check we crossed the pike and made a complete half circle to reach Spring Hill, which we did, losing 77 men from the regiment. Sergeant John F Chambers of company E was among the slain.
Schofield, with the army from Columbia, began to arrive about 11 p.m., and leaving our division, now confronting Hood's entire army, in position, moved north, driving the rebel cavalry from the pike, the wagon train following, just as it began to show the light in the east, the last of the wagons crossed a bridge at the north edge of the town. Our division swung back in line of battle across the pike and became the rear guard as the train moved off rapidly and cleared the way. Lane's ( our brigade) and Conrad's ( formerly Harken's) swung into the pike, leaving Opdyke's the rear guard.
[ BATTLE OF FRANKLIN ]
This order was kept, holding the enemy in check until we reached the heights [ likely Winstead Hill], about three miles south of Franklin. Here Opdyke moved to the inside of the works being built, Lane and Conrad moving back gradually from one position to another until nearly one-third of a mile in front of the hastily constructed fortifications. Here, through a blunder that General Schofield should not escape by charging it to others, as we were in plain sight and had been on extreme duty without cooked food of any kind for thirty-two hours, and every soldier in the line knowing we were in a false position, our two brigades of the division that had protected his rear saved the entire train, fought the battle of Spring Hill and stood guard during the night while the army and train moved on. To be left on the plains without works and both flanks exposed was a gross error.
The 26th Ohio was the extreme right of this exposed line upon the plain. We saw the solid lines of Hood's army as it advanced. We held this position but a short time. Those to the left of us being more advanced, owing to the lay of the ground, than we, were struck and brokent,we fell back to the main line. Company E was less than 200 yards to the right of the Carter House and the main line was not broken at this point. We fought with other troops that occupied the works when we reached them. Here the enemy was repulsed. A short distance to our left, near the Carter House, they had gained part of our line. The 26th, under orders from Captain Clark, moved or closed to the left to aid in repelling them from this place. Our lines, with the other troops in the works, formed in ranks four or five deep, the rear men loading and passing the guns to those in the front, and the firing was constant until long after dark, when Hood ceased his efforts to make his lodgment permanent and firing gradually ceased...Company E had one man wounded.
In the view of the fact that General J.D. Cox, in his writing on this battle, has left the impression that the two brigades
doing outpost duty continued their retreat past the main line to the river, I feel that in justice to those brigades ( and more especially to company E, 26th and company D, 65th Ohio, both Morrow County companies), I should say a few words more. I have never yet seen in any official report a single statement justifying his position. Cox on that day was in command of the 23rd corps. It was his line that was broken at the Carter House and it was Opdyke's brigade of our division that , without orders, started the countercharge which, with the assistance of Lane's comrades and part of the 23rd corps, reestablished the continuity of the line...When we started from our first position, exposed on the plain, it became ncessary for us to make speed and clear the field in front of our main line that our men in the works might open fire. In this hasty retreat it was but natural for the men to incline to the left or east towardd the pike or road by which we had retreated from Columbia, and some of the extreme left of our regiment reached the works near the Carter House and found them already vacated by our troops and occupied by the enemy, and two or three of company B were taken prisoners after reaching the main line...
From the recent call for volunteers and the draft, quite a large assignment of new troops had been made to some of the regiment's in Lane's and Conrad's brigades. ( Our regiment received none. ) These new troops reached us while on the retreat from Pulaski but a few days before. They had never been drilled and it is probably that a large share of them may have continued their flight beyond the main line. Opdyke's, Lane's , and Conrad's brigades ( 2nd division, 4th army corps) lost more men than the entire other four divisions of infantry and the cavalry corps that was present, and as a rule, if you follow the trail of blood, you are keeping close to the fighting line.
The veterans of that old division [ referred to as Sheridan's Old Division ], whose well-tried courage shone forth in historic grandeur, it is not overpraise to say were practicaly panic-proof. Opdyke was in the direct line of retreat, and on the same reasons given by Cox and others for the break in the line at the Carter House, he (Opdyke) with no line of works to protect them would certainly have been "carried away" if the flight of Lane and Conrad had continued to the river.
[ BATTLE OF NASHVILLE]
The men of the 26th were called from the lines and we crossed the river before midnight and continued our march, arriving at Nashville December 1st, near noon, where we made coffee and lay down to rest for th first time since the morning of November 29th. In the evening company E was called to tear down some buildings in front of our es