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No. 137. report of Lieut. Col. John S. Pearce, Ninety-eighth Ohio Infantry.

Hdqrs. Ninety-Eighth Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry,
In Camp, near Atlanta, Ga., September 9, 1864.

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following official report of the marches, skirmishes, battles, casualties, &c., of the Ninetyeighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the campaign in Georgia, commencing May 2, 1864, and ending September 8, 1864:

The regiment, with the division, left Rossville, Ga., on the morning of the 2d of May and marched to Ringgold, Ga., and there remained until the 4th, when it was ordered on picket duty one mile south of the town, and also to make a reconnaissance down Taylor's Ridge to Nickajack Gap. Five companies, under command of Capt. John A. Norris, Company C, were at once detached and proceeded on the reconnaissance, while the other five went on duty as pickets. In the afternoon the reconnoitering party returned without any loss or having met the enemy. On the morning of the 5th the regiment rejoined the brigade, and, remaining in camp until the 7th, marched with the brigade on that day to Tunnel Hill, which place we reached about noon. At 4 p. m. the 8th the regiment constituted a part of the assaulting party on the enemy's lines east of the railroad and in front of Rocky Face, meeting with no loss. Was then sent to relieve the One hundred and eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the knoll on the west side of the railroad, and directly in front of the gap. Here we remained skirmishing with the enemy, and at intervals under heavy artillery fire, until the morning of the 12th, losing but I man in the mean time, Benjamin E. Ferguson, Company C, wounded on the evening of the 9th. On the morning of the 12th we, with the balance of the brigade, took up the line of march for Resaca, and, passing through Snake Creek Gap, came up to the enemy strongly intrenched at that place on the 13th. On the morning of the 14th heavy skirmishing and soon volleys of musketry were heard along some portions of the line, and early in the afternoon the regiment was ordered to take position along the creek running in front of and distant about 800 yards from the enemy's main fort on the left of our line. As the regiment was advancing to that position it was heavily shelled from the fort. The only loss, however, sustained was that of Jesse M. Woods, Company B, who was instantly killed, and Paisley, of Company H, and Walton, of Company K, wounded. At night the regiment, having been relieved, moved one mile to the rear and bivouacked, and on the following morning (15th) marched to the right a short distance, and relieved a portion of the Twentieth Army Corps from the trenches. That night the enemy evacuated, and on the morning of the 16th the regiment, with the balance of the division, was ordered to go to Rome, and soon thereafter was on the way, and, after marching about twenty miles, bivouacked for the night eight miles from that place. On the following morning resumed the march and soon came up with the enemy's scouts and pickets. The Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, being in the advance, did the skirmishing, and easily drove the rebels back to within a short distance of the town. After a brisk little fight between the Third Brigade, under command of Col. Dan. McCook, and the enemy's main line of battle, the latter retreated, leaving [692] their dead on the field, and the regiment, with the balance of the brigade, bivouacked for the night one mile north of the town. Next morning we intrenched and then went into camp near by, and there remained until the 23d, when we crossed the river, and, passing through Rome, encamped one mile south of it. Companies D and I were on the 19th detailed to guard wagon train to Resaca. May 24, marched sixteen miles toward Van Wert, and bivouacked for the night at Big Spring. May 25, marched fifteen miles toward Dallas, and, bivouacking for the night, resumed march at an early hour on following morning; reached Dallas at 3 p. m., where we were rejoined by Companies D and I. On the 27th the regiment was on the skirmish line, and, advancing the line one and a half miles, came up to the enemy strongly intrenched on a high hill. Our only loss in the advance was that of Thomas C. Case, Company C, who, it is supposed by many, accidentally shot himself dead. The regiment remained skirmishing constantly and heavily with the enemy until midnight of the 28th, when it was relieved; lost in killed on the 28th, James N. Finney, Company C. The regiment was in camp on the 29th, 30th, and 31st. On the last-mentioned day we were heavily shelled by the enemy, and Nathan R. Householder, Company D, was killed by a fragment of a shell, which struck him on the head.

From the 1st of June to the 27th the regiment did no other duty than occasional marches to the left to relieve other portions of the army along line of intrenchments, skirmish and picket duty on its regular turn, and building works whenever our brigade commander thought it proper and necessary to do so for our safety, &c. In the advance of our brigade toward Kenesaw Mountain on the 18th, Sergeant Hanna, Company D, was wounded. That night the enemy evacuated their line of works in our immediate front and fell back two miles to the mountain. We pursued them on the following morning, and finding them on the mountains we intrenched at their base. On the 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d, and 24th the enemy shelled us at intervals from the mountains, killing and wounding many in the other regiments of the brigade. Our loss during the entire time was not one. This was, in a very great measure, owing to the constant and untiring vigilance of the company officers, who kept their men on the guard at all times, and when the shelling commenced ordered them to their works and kept them there until the danger was passed. On many occasions while we lay here the roar of artillery and explosion of shell were most terrific. The danger to the regiment was increased from the fact that our line of intrenchments was in the rear only a few yards and to the right of our own batteries, whose guns those of the enemy sought on all occasions to dismount. On the 26th marched to the right about five miles, and on the morning of the 27th the regiment constituted the third line in the column that was to charge the enemy's works. At 9 o'clock the charge was made on the double-quick. It was the full distance of three-fourths of a mile from the place where the column was formed to the enemy's works. The column advanced amid a perfect shower of canister and bullets to within a few yards of the enemy's lines, but so strong was their position that their front lines were compelled to give way and came back hurriedly through the two rear lines, carrying with them Companies G and B, of the regiment. Those two companies, however, were soon in position and intrenching, along with the balance of the regiment which held the [693] ground it occupied at the time it was ordered to halt and lie down. I will state here that portions of the troops in the front line of the Third Brigade also gave way and passed back through the line occupied by the regiment. Allow me to say that, in my opinion, the officers and especially the men could not possibly have conducted themselves more gallantly than they did on that occasion. Nothing but base partiality could prompt me to speak or write in praise of one without doing so of all. As soon as the regiment lay down, they commenced with their bayonets to dig, and their hands, spoons, and tin mess-pans to construct earth-works for their protection and defense. Never did men labor with more patience and undaunted bravery than did the musket bearers of the Ninety-eighth Regiment on that occasion. There, under one of the heaviest fires, both of canister and ball, during this campaign, did they erect a work in one hour which afforded them much protection. Now they could raise their heads from the ground with some safety, where before it was almost sure death to take your face out of the dust. In this charge Lieut. Col. James M. Shane was mortally wounded and died in an hour afterward. His loss was a severe one to the regiment. There was not one of us that did not love and confide in him. His true manly qualities won for him the respect and admiration of all who knew him here in the military circle of friendship. His country had no truer patriot, and when he found that he could serve it no longer against its enemies, he asked to be buried with his face to them. Many equally brave and patriotic men fell on this day and merit from me as much the humble tribute I have just paid to the life and memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Shane, but it would swell this report to undue proportions were I to name and speak of all singly. Lieutenant Lindsey, of Company A, was struck on the hand by a piece of shell while leading his company, and was compelled to go to the rear; and many others were wounded, and their names will be given in the annexed casualty list. The regiment at night used the pick, spade, rails, and logs, and before morning of the following day, had strong works erected within seventy-five yards of the enemy. We remained in the trenches until the night of the 30th, when we were relieved by the Thirty-fourth Illinois Regiment.

On the night of the 29th, at 1 a. m., the enemy assaulted our line of works, but were soon and handsomely driven off with a loss to us of 1 man killed, Thomas B. Lisbey, Company D. The regiment, after being relieved, returned to camp, and there remained until the evening of the 2d of July, when, by order, it relieved the Seventyeighth Illinois in the trenches. That night the rebels evacuated their works in our immediate front, and early on the morning of the 3d we went in rapid pursuit of them, capturing some prisoners, and passing through the town of Marietta, bivouacked a few miles south of it. On the morning of the 4th the regiment went out in support of Captain Gardner's battery, which was ordered into position about 800 yards from the enemy's main works. There we remained during that day, and on the morning of the 5th, finding the enemy gone from our front, we with the balance of the brigade pushed forward toward the Chattahoochee River. At 2 p. m. the regiment was deployed as skirmishers, and advanced to within one and a half miles of that river, when, coming suddenly upon the enemy, a brisk skirmish took place, in which Captain Williams, Company I, was wounded by a musket-ball in the left leg. He was sent to the rear, and afterward died in hospital at Nashville. In his death the service [694] has lost one of its best soldiers and the country one of its best citizens. Brave and prompt in the execution of all his duties, as an officer his loss to his company and regiment is almost irreparable. At night the regiment was relieved by the Thirty-fourth Illinois, and, moving to the rear a short distance, bivouacked for the night. Next morning (6th) went into camp two miles north of the river, and there remained, doing no other duty than that of picket until the 17th, when we, with the division, crossed the river, and after marching a short distance, bivouacked for the night. On the following day (18th) marched but a short distance and bivouacked near Peach Tree Creek, where we remained until the afternoon of the following day, when we were ordered to go to the support of the Third Brigade, which had become very warmly engaged with the enemy beyond the creek, and was nearly surrounded. Coming to the creek we crossed it under a heavy fire of musketry, and, in obedience to orders from Colonel Mitchell, commanding our brigade, the regiment was formed in division column and marched across an open field to the rear of the Seventy-eighth Illinois, which had taken position already on the bluff. In crossing the field, Sergeant Hindman, Company D, was killed. Soon we received orders to intrench and to work; we went on the left of the Seventy-eighth Illinois, and under a heavy fire from the enemy; Company C was detailed as skirmishers. On the morning of the 20th Capt. John A. Norris, Company C, while going out to visit the left of the skirmish line, was wounded through the right knee joint so severely as to render immediate amputation necessary to save life. The captain is one among the bravest and most competent officers in the service. Early in the morning heavy skirmishing commenced and continued until the middle of the afternoon, when the skirmishers (Company H being a part of them) advanced, and, with the aid of the battery on the right, drove the enemy away and took possession of their works. Here we remained until the noon of the 22d, when the brigade moved to the extreme right and took position on a high hill, and intrenched. At this place we remained until 9 a. m. of the 28th, when the regiment, with the others of the brigade, made a reconnaissance to Turner's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee River, returning at night-fall; encamped a short distance from where we started in the morning. On the followin morning moved out and relieved a part of the First Division, then in the works on the front line, and in the afternoon moved out to the Green's Ferry road and intrenched, and there remained until the following day, when we were relieved by a portion of the Fifteenth Army Corps, and moved one mile farther to the right and went into camp, where we remained until the 4th of August, when we moved in light marching order to the right of the Twenty-third Army Corps, to protect its flanks, in the advance movement of that day. Here bivouacked for the night, and on the following morning, the 5th, advanced with the brigade toward the Sandtown road. and when near it were ordered to intrench, which we did under one of the heaviest artillery fires of the campaign. Lieut. George C. Porter, commanding Company D, was struck by a fragment of a shell, severely wounding him. At this place the regiment remained until the 12th. A portion of the regiment, under command of Lieutenant Craft, Company B, being on the skirmish line on the 7th, advanced and captured three lines of the enemy's works and many prisoners. The conduct of the officer in command and men in this charge was gallant and meritorious of much praise. Henry T. Albaugh, Company I, was [695] killed, John Holmes, Company C, wounded, and W. I. Giles, Company C, wounded in the head severely, and since died in hospital, and P. Griffith, Company C, missing. On the 12th the regiment with balance of the brigade moved to the right about one mile and relieved a portion of Cox's division, where we remained until the 27th, when the entire division moved about two miles farther to the right. At 4 a. m. 28th moved toward the Atlanta and Montgomery Railroad, which we reached and crossed at 2 p. m., and bivouacked for the night to the right of it. Here we remained until the 30th, when we marched at an early hour about six miles and went into camp.

On the 31st, at 11 a. m., we marched toward the Macon railroad and reached the Jonesborough and Atlanta pike at 4 p. m. The regiment that night went into picket, and early next morning rejoined the brigade and marched with it toward Jonesborough. When we arrived within about one mile of the town the enemy opened on us with shell, and Adjutant Reaves of the regiment was struck by the fragment of one on the knee, slightly bruising the skin. A, F, and D Companies were deployed as skirmishers, and, under command of Capt. D. E. Roatch, Company G, advanced, and by a rapid and daring movement, captured nearly the entire rebel skirmish line. The enemy, calling to the captain from their main lines, said they would surrender. The captain, supposing them to be in good faith, advanced his skirmishers close to the enemy's works; when he discovered that their object was to entrap and capture him with his entire line, ordered a retreat, all making their escape with the exception of William Patterson, Company F, who was taken prisoner. In the mean time the remaining companies were brought forward by myself to within 150 yards of the enemy's line and there intrenched. Companies I, C, and H were then ordered out as skirmishers, with Lieutenant Carson in command. They had not advanced far when the remaining four companies advanced, and, with the skirmish line, moved on the run, charging the enemy's works and assisting in capturing many prisoners, as well as driving the enemy from their works. Nothing could have been more gallant than this charge. Officers and men seemed to be actuated by a power more than human. Owing to sickness I was not then, as I had not been for nearly four weeks, in command of the regiment, yet remaining with it all the time, and unable to advance and keep up with the line in the charge. My thanks are due to the captain for the brave and efficient manner in which he led and commanded the regiment in this charge. No officer could have done better in this charge. We are all called upon to mourn the death of Adjutant Reaves. He was killed by a canister-shot. When he fell he refused to be carried off the field, saying that “It is no use; I will soon die. Boys, go on.” He was one of the bravest and most faithful officers in the command. His manly qualities endeared him to all that knew him.

While it is not a matter of very great importance to the regiment, and perhaps should not be made mention of here, yet, as much feeling, as well as divers opinions, exist in and among the different regiments of this division concerning it, I will state that I think I am prepared with satisfactory evidence to prove that the flag of the Second Arkansas Regiment (rebel), as well as General Govan, were captured by Sergeants Dickerson and Carver, of this regiment. I would not, however, have the commanding generals think that it [696] is either with myself or regiment deemed a matter worthy of any great consideration, unless otherwise regarded by them. Nor do we claim the entire credit for anything that was there done, for we well know that without the assistance of the other regiments of the brigade and division we could not have been successful in anything like that attained in the grand result. We are content to believe that we did our duty to the best of our ability; that our conduct as civilized soldiers on that occasion meets with the approval of our commanding general, and to rejoice with all in the grand success of our arms at Jonesborough on the 1st instant. On the morning of the 2d of September we marched to Jonesborough, and, remaining there with the brigade, marched with it and went into camp near Atlanta on the 8th.

A full list of the casualties1 in the regiment will accompany this report and be a part of it. Throughout the report I have given the names of the officers and many of the men who fell during the campaign, and paid to their memories an humble tribute of respect. This same tribute of respect is as much due from me to all as to aly one, whether he be an officer or private soldier. The graves of the private soldiers will be honored as much as those of the officers,and their memories live as beautiful and bright in the annals of true American patriotism.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John S. Pearce, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment. Capt. James S. Wilson
, Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 2d Div., 14th Army Corps.

1 Embodied in brigade table, p. 683.

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