previous next

[35] sweeps the hill. Never, during all my experience, have I witnessed such a storm of shell and shot of every character as on that day tore the earth and shivered the trees on the little knob held by the Twenty-seventh Missouri. No musician extant could allot to its proper place in any diapason known the perfectly incredible and inconceivable variations in sound that on that day floated through the valleys of Oostanaula. Ear never before heard, I am sure, such a perfectly hideous transfusion and jumble of noises, such a perfect salmagundi of screeches, hisses, howls, rolls, yells, thugs, and even whispers, as was heard on that occasion.

Shortly after three o'clock Colonel Williams' brigade of Harrison's division emerges from the wooded hill to the left of the road, and swinging round to the left of the bald knob, enters the fight. His right is in an open field, but his left is somewhat sheltered by the forest. From the time the brigade entered into action until five o'clock in the evening it battles and bleeds, and at nightfall bearing with it five wounded officers, one killed, eighty-two wounded soldiers, and fourteen killed.

The figures speak for the gallantry of the brigade, and every regiment of which fought with all the bravery and tenacity that the occasion demanded. To this brigade the famous Irish regiment (the Ninetieth Illinois) belongs. It is indeed a proud spectacle to see America's adopted sons from the Emerald Isle baring their breasts in battle with the colors of the Union and the green flag of Ireland floating side by side.

As I looked upon the bronzed and bloody faces of the heroes borne upon litters from the field, I could not but regret that the monuments that Irish bravery had reared on every soil the sun of heaven shines upon should not be planted on their native soil, among a people united in heart and hand as when Erin's bards sang of Ireland's independence, and told in song the story of brave deeds wrought by her brave sons.

Evening came on; thousands of camp-fires shot their bright beams through the darkness from every knoll and depression in the plain; long, thin, spiral columns creep upward through the twilight, and all around, far as the eye can reach, busy thousands, just returned from battle, are preparing their frugal meals; wagons and artillery and horses and men are moving over the plain, their voices and noises commingling to make one continuous din. What a change!

But yester eve, so motionless around,
So mute was this wide plain, that not a sound
But the far torrent, or the forest bird,
Hunting among the thickets, could be heard.

The line to-night was as follows: General M. L. Smith held the ridge to the right of the road. Two pieces of the Fourth Ohio battery occupied the hill immediately next in order to Bald Knob, on the opposite side of the road, and the First Indiana still held Bald Knob.

Supporting the First Indiana, lay along the foot of the hill General Ward's brigade of Harrison's division. Colonel Walcott, of the Forty-sixth Ohio, with his brigade, relieved Colonel Williams. A gap between General Johnson and the Fifteenth corps was supplied for the night by throwing into it General Daniel Butterfield's division of the Twentieth corps, and so let us look into the operations on the fourteenth.

Johnson's left was too far out of line, and he determined to swing around and align with Butterfield, pushing up further towards the brink of the ridge, which at this point is very precipitous. The line was early in motion, and the progress, though disputed, was steady.

Before I refer to the charge made by Judah, and gloriously supported by Turchin, of Baird's division, let us, after the shifting and manoeuvrings of the few past hours, look again at the line, and notice the position of the forces.

We have already seen that Johnson was successful in rectifying or straightening his line. His left, then held by King, touched Baird's right, held by Van Derveer. Turchin, on Baird's left, joined Hascall, the right of General Judah's line, and Este, of Baird's division, lay in reserve.

Take, for instance, the letter L. Let the longer stroke represent a ridge about five miles in length, the shorter one the ridge occupied by the Fifteenth army corps, and running a distance of two and a half or three miles, to the Oostanaula. Place the letter so that the longer ridge inclines a little to the northwest. Now grasp the shortest stroke and pull it back so as to add to the angle it makes with the longer at least fifteen degrees. Now imagine enough of the ridges at the angle cut away to measure two hundred yards, and you have our line of battle at Resacca. In this open space of the angle is where Colonel Williams' brigade fought so long and lost so heavily.

The rebel line of works run along the summit of a ridge of almost equal altitude, and as nearly parallel to the one occupied by the Federal forces as two ridges ever were. They are separated by a narrow valley not more than six hundred yards in width, measuring from base to base. Two water courses traverse the valley. One hugs the base of the Union ridge, venturing out only now and then, and then only apparently to water some little willow copse. The other is a serpentine little stream, winding about in more contortions than a reptile could display in a lifetime, and finally joins the other at the farther extremity of the valley.

The rebel ridge is unbroken save at the extreme right, where a gap admits the Dalton road. Ours is broken in two places, at the angle and about half way down the line. Just where the ridge is broken in the centre, terminated Baird's line on the terminus of the part next the angle. Judah's line began just on the point of the continuation. The opening here is perhaps two hundred yards in width.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Scotia (2)
Oostanaula river (Georgia, United States) (1)
Dalton, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)
America (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Baird (5)
Seth Williams (3)
Judah (3)
Turchin (2)
R. W. Johnson (2)
T. J. Harrison (2)
Daniel Butterfield (2)
J. N. Ward (1)
Walcott (1)
Morgan L. Smith (1)
Adam E. King (1)
George W. Johnson (1)
M. S. Hascall (1)
Este (1)
Derveer (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: