Page images
PDF
EPUB

WOUNDED AT RESACA.

585

WOUNDED.

COMPANY A.

William Smailles, left leg; William Burke, right leg; Edward Nute, hand.

COMPANY B.

Henry Olcott, head; R. Logan, arm; Geo. Ritze, hund.

COMPANY C.

Lieut. J. Sands, foot; R. J. Caldwell, arm; J. A. Porter, stunned; Geo. W. Nichols. hand.

COMPANY E.

W. P. Boyd, leg; Milton E. Cornell, both legs ; Uriah Foster, foot; Fred Bier, foot.

COMPANY F.

Erasmus Anderson, arm; Alfred Tomlin, arm.

COMPANY H.

M. W. Goold, leg.

COMPANY I.

J. S. Thomas, leg; Sergt. H. Hirse, arm.

COMPANY K.

George Laker, leg; J. H. Johnson, leg; ist Sergt. J. M. Gordon, leg; A. Mitchell, lcg; Edward Reeder, leg.

F. J. Nichols, Co. A, Missing.

CHAPTER XXXV.

[graphic]

ADAIRSVILLE.

UR army resumed its march from Calhoun soon

after daylight, May 17th-Newton's Division, First Brigade, being in front; the 36th deployed as skirmishers. Col. Sherman had desired Col. Miller to take command of the demi-brigade,

but this he declined to do. He was therefore put in charge of the skirmish line. We had no sooner arrived at the suburbs of the town and the regiment been deployed, than a volley was fired by the enemy's pickets. Our men made a rush for them, and several prisoners were captured.

On making a sharp turn in the road, a battery opened on us with shell-striking the head of the column and making quite a flurry. The rear guard with the gun had thrown up breastworks, , which it was necessary to flank, and as soon as they were driven out, they fell back to another line, thus fortifying and holding us in check every half mile. The struggle was hard until near noon, when the 88th relieved us, and the regiment, after cleaning their guns and procuring ammunition, fell to the rear of the brigade, which, however, was not a safe place, as a shell soon dropped among us, but exploded without injury.

ADVANCE TO ADAIRSVILLE.

587

Everything passed off smoothly until we were within a few miles of Adairsville, when suddenly a battery opened on us from the front, the shells falling near the regiment. One of them struck a barn in front of us, and exploding, wounded Capt. E. Cass, Company D, and a private in Company I. The brigade was immediately formed in line of battle, and the 36th was sent to re-inforce the skirmish line; the right wing to the right, and the left to the left. Instead of simply a rear-guard, it was found that there was in our front, a whole division of infantry, besides cavalry and artillery. Indeed, from Johnston's own account, we now find that his whole army was close by, and he had Cheatham's Division detailed on purpose to check our advance until nightfall. But though our men were suffering fearfully, it seemed impossible for our leaders to believe that there was anything in front of us except a cavalry rear-guard. Lieut. Turnbull, on the Brigade Staff, gives a lively account of that memorable day:

“Gen. 0. 0. Howard, our Corps Commander, was in constant communication with the front, and told us his orders were to reach Adairsville that day, and he wanted us to do it. Early in the afternoon, our boys came in sight of a rebel wagon train and were in high glee, pressing it closely, when all at once, on passing through a belt of woods, they came upon a heavy line of infantry, protected by good, substantial earthworks, with at least one battery in prominent position. The enemy's line covered more than our front and seemed strong at all points. They opened a furious fire on our thin line, and our men had to lie down and protect themselves as best they could; many being shot while lying down, on parts of the line that were most exposed. This was particularly true of part of the 24th Wisconsin line. After seeing and appreciating the situation, I reported to the Brigade Commander, Col. F. T. Sherman, and asked leave to withdraw portions of the line that were most exposed to the enemy's merciless fire, to a more sheltered position. Col. Sherman said, “Let us see Gen. Howard.” He was near and we went over to him and reported. The General seemed nervous and irritable, and showed plainly that he did not believe the report. He replied by saying, “ Your brigade must move forward. We are to go on to Adairsville to-night. If you do not do it, I will move my troops by the flank right through your line." He then asked, “What force do you think you have in your front ?" I replied, “ At least a division of infantry and several thousand cavalry." The General replied sharply, It is not true. I have information through my scouts every few minutes, and you only have part of a brigade of mounted infantry in your front. Your brigade must move forward.” Stung to the quick by this charge of cowardice on my part, I replied by saying that if the General would accompany me or send a staff officer to the front with me, I would very soon convince him that the report was correct. He did not see proper to comply with the request, and it was probably just as well, for I was then in the humor to have taken him where it was hot. I went forward again and inspected the lines, finding no change, except that the ranks of our boys were being thinned, without their having any opportunity to retaliate. Hurt by the thought that the Commanding General would not give proper support, I again appealed to Col. Sherman to be allowed to retire the line, in the more exposed parts, but he thought that, under the circumstances, it would not do. I then returned to the lines and longed for night to come and stop the carnage.

Just before sunset, some troops (I was told they were Stanley's Division) moved up and took position on our left, somewhat retired, and were not brought under fire. On our right another force was brought up, and crossed the Ooth

DISLODGING SHARP-SHOOTERS.

589

"What do you

I gave

caloga, but one well-directed volley from the enemy forced them back to a safe distance. Night soon set in and the firing ceased.

“Soon after nightfall, my Orderly, Isaac Carson, known as * Ike," came to me and wanted some matches. want to do with them, Ike?' I said. “We want to storm those buildings from which the sharp-shooters have been firing at our boys,' said he. There had been great annoyance given our men from those buildings. Some of our men under their fire had to lie in one position all the afternoon, without moving scarcely a muscle.

him the matches, and in a few minutes I heard a whoop, a few shots, and in a very short time all that was wooden about those old stone buildings was blazing nicely.

“ During the afternoon nearly all the generals whose commands were near, assembled at the spot mentioned by Gen. Sherman in his Memoirs, and were treated once in a while to a saucy shot from a battery in front. Col. Frank Sherman was almost frantic, and appealed for help for his brigade, but Gen. Thomas and others told him that he could not have it. Some have found fault with him for not handling his brigade better, but with one exception I think he was not to blame. In my judgment, when he found that it was impossible to move his command forward, he should have handled it in such a way as to better protect the lives of his men. But with Gen. Howard's determination to move forward, I suppose he was not to blame."

Those wounded in the early part of the day had been cared for, but when Capt. Cass and others were struck, and the number of wounded became numerous, it was necessary to take possession of a neighboring house. Long after night they continued to stream in, until every part of the house and all around in the yard was covered with wounded men-one hundred and nineteen in all, exclusive of those wounded during the day, and

« PreviousContinue »