No. 139. report of Col. Henry B. Banning, one hundred and twenty-first Ohio Infantry.
Hdqrs. 121ST Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry,In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., September 9, 1864. Captain: In obedience to orders I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the One hundred and twentyfirst Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the campaign commencing May 2, 1864, from Rossville, Ga., and ending with the battle of Jonesborough, Ga., and capture of the city of Atlanta by our forces, under Major-General Sherman, on the 1st and 2d of September, 1864: This regiment having, in obedience to orders, first sent to the rear all camp and garrison equipage, company books, and cooking utensils, excepting such as line officers, non-commissioned officers, and men carried about their persons, with one pack-mule for regimental headquarters and one for the medical department, moved from Rossville, Ga., on the 2d of May, 1864. We encamped on the afternoon of May 2 near Ringgold, Ga., on the north side of the Chickamauga River. On the 5th of May we broke up camp, crossed the Chickamauga at and encamped two and a half miles south of Ringgold. On the 7th moved through Tunnel Hill, the enemy retreating to Buzzard Roost. On the morning of the 8th this regiment was  deployed as skirmishers in front of the mouth of the Roost. After driving in the skirmishers of the enemy, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, with four companies of the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio, namely, Company I, Captain Robinson; B, Captain Clason; G, Captain Patrick, and H, Captain Spaulding; two companies of the One hundred and thirteenth Ohio, two companies of the Seventy-eighth Illinois, under charge of Major Green, and one company of the Thirty-fourth Illinois, I charged, and carried the mouth of; Buzzard Roost Gap. Company A, of theThirty-fourth Illinois, at the same time carried the hill on the right of the railroad and immediately south of the gap, a gallant act, for which the company and its commander deserve special mention. On our advance to the mouth of the gap the enemy withdrew to his trenches and earthworks beyond, making the capture an easy one. In the advance Private Alexander Gandy, of Company I, was wounded. We lay at the mouth of Buzzard Roost Gap until the morning of May 12, 1864, when we moved to the right toward Snake Creek Gap; reached the mouth of Snake Creek Gap about dark and halted for supper. We marched all night, passed through the gap, and arrived next morning in Sugar Valley. During the afternoon we moved to the front, leaving all knapsacks and baggage in the valley, and did picket duty for the Second Division, which was massed in front of the enemy's intrenched position at Resaca. On the 14th, at the battle of Resaca, the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio was in the second line and was not engaged. During the engagement Private James F. Lint, of Company F, was wounded. Early on the evening of the 14th wewithdrew to the rear, drew two days rations, and took up a position on the right of the front line, which we intrenched close up to the enemy's lines. During the night of the 15th the enemy retreated across the Coosa River. On the morning of the 16th we marched back to Sugar Valley for knapsacks and baggage, and drew two days additional rations, and at 2 p. m. took up the line of march for Rome, the expedition, consisting of the Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, under command of General Jefferson C. Davis. Although the weather was very warm and the men were much fatigued and worn out, we reached Rome, a distance of thirty-two miles from Sugar Valley, and drove in the enemy's skirmishers by 3 o'clock on the afternoon of the 17th. On the afternoon of the 17th, after having driven the enemy into his earth-works, he sallied out and charged us, making an energetic effort to drive us back. He was repulsed and driven back, with but slight loss to us, but heavy loss to himself. The One hundred and twenty-first Ohio was posted to cover the artillery, and had no casualties. It was now night, and nothing more could be accomplished for the darkness. During the night our entire line was intrenched. Early on the morning of the 18th Captain Clason, of Company B, who was in charge of the brigade picket-line, notified me that the enemy had left and that he was occupying the enemy's works with the skirmishers of the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio. I sent the information to Colonel Mitchell, commanding the brigade, who sent me an order during the day, hereunto attached, and markedA,1 complimenting the regiment and Captain Clason for being first inside the enemy's breast-works at Rome, Ga. The enemy, consisting of General French's division of infantry and a brigade of Texas cavalry, retreated across the Etowah and Oostenaula, burning the bridges over both streams. In addition to 6 pieces of artillery captured here, we also secured a  large amount of tobacco and cotton and extensive machine-shops for the manufacture of heavy ordnance. The One hundred and twenty-first rested on the north side of the river, where they were supplied with shoes and clothing and enabled to get plenty of vegetables to eat, until the 23d of May. On the evening of the 23d we moved to the south side of the Coosa River. On the morning of the 24th we took up the line of march for Dallas, Ga.; arrived at Cave Spring and camped for the night; Private Samuel Henry, Company G, was wounded by the premature discharge of his gun. Moved on the 25th and bivouacked near Dallas, Ga. On the 27th moved into position and intrenched a line on the left of the Fifteenth Corps, on what is called the Dallas line. On the 28th and 29th occupied the trenches; no casualties, though the enemy shelled our line. On the 30th the regiment was deployed as skirmishers across a gap of over a mile between General Hooker's right and General Davis' left; was relieved on the morning of the 31st by the Thirty-fourth Illinois, and returned to the trenches of the 27th. On the 31st Maj. John Yager, who was on duty in Ohio, returned and joined the command. On the 1st of June the army abandoned the right of the Dallas line, our division moving to the left and relieving a division of the Twenty-third Corps, the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio occupying the front line of temporary works erected by the Twentythird Corps. We occupied these works during the 2d and 3d of June. On the 2d Private William S. Bergen, of Company A, was severely wounded while on the skirmish line. In our front the enemy's works were within seventy-five yards. On the 4th of June we moved to the left of the Fourth Corps. On the night of the 4th, while lying in camp, Corporal Preston V. Lepert, of Company D, was severely wounded by a stray ball in the left thigh. On the night of the 4th the enemy left his position in our front. We rested in our position during the 4th and 5th, and on the 6th moved to within one and a half miles of Acworth, went into camp, and rested until the 10th. On the 11th we moved forward and took up a position near the log house. On the 12th and 13th rested in trenches; all quiet. On the 14th moved and took up a position, with our left resting on the railroad, two miles south of Big Shanty. On the 15th built a strong line of works. On the 16th we advanced one-quarter of a mile and built a new line of works. Casualties on the 16th were 3-Privates Jacob B. Brown, Company G, by minie, in the thigh, since dead; Charles Owen, Company E, by musket-ball in leg, slight; Under-cook Matthew Moore, colored, by musket-ball in leg, since dead. On the 17th the regiment occupied trenches; no casualties. On the evening of the 18th we advanced our line, driving in the enemy's skirmishers. Three companies of the One hundred and twentyfirst Ohio, on the skirmish line, namely, A, D, and K; casualties, 1 killed-Private Chester Bartholomew, of Company D, and 2 wounded-Privates John W. Clifton, of Company D, and John Reid, of Company K. Our skirmishers pushed their skirmish line to within a few yards of the enemy's trenches. During the night the enemy retreated from his strong line of fortifications in our front, and took up his position on the Kenesaw Mountain. On the 19th we followed up the enemy and took up our position at the base of the Kenesaw. The enemy planted his batteries on the top of the Kenesaw, from which position he shelled the woods and camps back from the base of the mountain, doing much damage. I had pushed my line so  close to the base of the mountain as to make it impossible for him to depress his guns sufficiently to injure my command. The One hundred and twenty-first Ohio occupied this position from the 18th until the morning of the 26th, and during all the time only 1 man was injured by their shelling, which was without cessation, namely, William HIammil, of Company F, who was wounded in the arm. During the same time there were 3 men wounded in the regiment, viz: Privates John A. Chapman, of Company I; Philip Vanderan, of Company I, and Abraham Drake, of Company I; 1 man killed, Peter Strine, of Company B, by the enemy's sharpshooters, and 1 man, Private Stiles Simpkins, of Company F, wounded, by an imperfect shell from one of our own guns. On the morning of the 26th the regiment was relieved before day and moved to the right, where it rested with the brigade, in the rear of the first line, until the morning of the 27th. On the morning of the 27th of June, in accordance with orders, I held my command ready to move at daylight. Leaving the sick to guard the knapsacks, tents, and cooking utensils, which I had been ordered to leave behind, we moved out and formed, the Second Brigade being on the right of the line that was to storm the enemy's works. The formation was a column of regiments closed in mass. Our column was four regiments deep. In the front line was the One hundred and thirteenth Ohio; just behind the One hundred and thirteenth was the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio; next was the Ninety-eighth Ohio, and next was the Seventy-eighth Illinois, while the Thirty-fourth Illinois was deployed as skirmishers in front of the column. My orders were to overlap the One hundred and thirteenth Ohio two companies to my right, making the right guide of my third company the guide of my regiment, which I ordered to cover the right guide of the regiment in front, and ordered the two right companies to guide left. The other regiments, I understood, were to form in echelon, guiding and overlapping in like manner. I was also instructed to deploy my regiment to the right when I struck the enemy; that my left would probably strike an angle in the enemy's works, and that I would have to wheel my regiment to the left, and that I would be supported on my right by the regiments in my rear. I deployed my regiment as I raised the hill in front of the enemy's works, and uncovering the angle at the very point at which I had been advised I would find it, I started my regiment upon a left wheel, my left already resting well up toward the enemy's works. The enemy still was reserving his fire, and continued to do so until my command got close up to his ditches on the right, when he opened upon my single line with grape and canister from both flanks and a full line of small-arms from my front. On the left, from the first volley from the enemy, the captain of Company B was mortally wounded; the captain of Company G was shot dead; the captain of Company E was shot through the ankle and carried from the field, from which wound he has since died, while the major who was in charge of the left received three mortal wounds, from which he died before he could be taken from the field. Company I had lost 29 out of 56 men she took into action. Their commander, Captain Robinson, was wounded in the knee, and the only commissioned officer now on the left, while most of the sergeants were either killed or wounded. In Company B all of them were either killed or wounded. The enemy now opened another battery from an angle in his works on my right. On this flank I was entirely without support. Be.  lieving it would be impossible to carry the strong position of the enemy with my now weak and thin line, I closed my regiment to the right and withdrew some twenty paces to the rear, and had my command to lie down, where the formation of the ground offered some protection, and where I would be prepared for any countercharge the enemy might make, ordering my men to keep a constant fire on the enemy to keep him inside his trenches and prevent him from getting possession of my wounded. Having made these dispositions, I sent a written statement of my position to Colonel Mitchell, commanding the brigade, who sent me orders to refuse my right and hold and intrench my position, if I could do it without too great a sacrifice. Leaving one-half of my men on the line to keep up the fire, with the other half I built a line of earth-works in the rear of the line under cover of the woods, refusing my right, and at night-fall withdrew my line behind my earth-works. Having my line thus made safe and secure, my next care was for my dead and wounded. Many of them had lain in the hot sun all day without even water to moisten their parched lips, but they were so situated that it was impossible for me to remove them or get them any assistance whatever. Every. effort to go to the wounded during the day on my left resulted in either the killing or wounding of those who attempted to go to their relief. In the engagement I lost 3 officers killed and 3 wounded, 15 non-commissioned officers and privates killed and 123 wounded. Two of them, who were wounded in the outside ditch of the enemy's works, were captured. The loss was a severe one to my command. How much we damaged the enemy I do not know, but my opinion is their loss was small, as they fought behind heavy earth-works. We fought the flower of the Southern army, being Cheatham's division, of Hardee's corps. We succeeded in making a lodgment so close up to their works as to compel them to evacuate four days afterward. On the night of the 28th the enemy, growing uneasy about the tenacity with which we held on to our position so close to their works, charged us and attempted to drive us away. We repulsed him with the small loss of 5 men wounded. On the night of the 2d of July the enemy, having discovered that we were building a new parallel still closer to his lines, evacuated all his earth-works and forts and withdrew beyond the town of Marietta to a prepared line of heavy works near the Chattahoochee River. In following up to this last position the One hundred and twentyfirst Ohio, while skirmishing with the enemy on the 9th of July, had 3 men wounded. On the night of the 10th the enemy withdrew all his forces across the river. From the 10th to the 17th my regiment rested in camp on the north bank of the Chattahoochee, near the railroad crossing. On the morning of the 17th we broke up camp and crossed the Chattahoochee at Pace's Ferry. After crossing the river a line was formed at right angles with the river and moved down the river in the direction of Peach Tree Creek, the enemy retreating as we advanced. During the night Companies H and F, under command of Capt. Jeff. J. Irvine, acting as skirmishers on our right flank, drove the enemy from a fort on the bank of the river and occupied it. On the morning of the 18th I was sent out with my regiment to make a reconnaissance. I advanced to the Peach Tree Creek, driving the enemy before me and across the river. As he withdrew his forces he burnt the bridge. Having reported my operations, I was ordered to hold the line from the mouth of the Peach Tree to Nancy's Creek, a line three-quarters of a mile in  length. The enemy occupied a strong line of trenches and a large fort immediately in my front. On the night of the 18th Companies B and E, under charge of Captain Robinson, who was assisting me now in the management of the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence, having gone to the rear sick on the 17th, leaving me without a field officer, erected a temporary bridge across the Peach Tree and built intrenchments on the south side. On the morning of the 19th the enemy opened early upon my line and made a vigorous effort to drive my companies back across the river. All day long and until late at night they kept up a heavy fire all along my line, killing 1 man of Company E and wounding 1 man of Company K and 1 man of Company E. My command returned the fire vigorously, expending-- rounds of cartridges. A deserter, who swam the river and came to us under cover of the night, informed me that we had damaged the enemy very seriously, killing and wounding, in addition to 2 commissioned officers, many of their men. Before daylight on the morning of the 20th I crossed four additional companies over the Peach Tree, and at daybreak, with six companies (A, F, G, and E, of the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio, and two companies of the Thirty-fourth Illinois that had been sent to assist me), I drove the euemy from their two lines of rifle-pits in my front into his main fort on my right, on the south side of the river, near the ruins of the railroad bridge. During this advance the other companies of my regiment were posted on the north side of the Peach Tree to cover my retreat should I be driven back. After carefully examining the enemy's position and works I had just completed my arrangements to charge the enemy's forts at 3 o'clock when a staff officer from General Davis brought me orders to withdraw my command to the north bank of the Peach Tree, at the same time informing me that the command that had crossed above me, and which I supposed was still on my left, had been withdrawn for some two hours. In obedience to orders I immediately withdrew across the Peach Tree. The enemy did not follow me up. On the 21st, the enemy having withdrawn from his line south of the Peach Tree, with my regiment I rejoined the brigade some three miles to my left. On the morning of the 22d we moved out and took up a position on the right and south of the railroad within three miles of Atlanta in front of the enemy's works, our right resting near the old mill, built intrenchments, and rested here behind our works until the morning of the 28th, doing only the customary picket duty. July 28, the division, under command of General Morgan, made a reconnaissance to the right toward Sandtown; returned and took up a position at 12 o'clock at night near White Hall. On the 29th advanced our line across the battle-field of the 28th, making reconnaissance to the front. Found the enemy's dead unburied and many of their wounded uncared for. On the 30th advanced our line again to the front and right, the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio acting as skirmishers. On the 31st made a part of division reconnaissance to the right and front, and returned to camp at dark. Rested in camp on the 1st, 2d, and 3d of August. On the 4th moved early in light marching order, Second Division to support First and Third Divisions on a charge on the right. Advanced our lines some two miles and halted for the night. On the morning of the 5th moved forward and took up a new position fronting the Sandtown road. Before we succeeded in getting into position the enemy opened his batteries and shelled my line, our line being about  at right angles with the angle in his works from which he shelled us. My command immediately set to work and threw up works and built traverses, and during the. time they were building them the enemy shelled them from both the front and flank, wounding I officer and 2 men. Notwithstanding the heavy shelling and exposed position, when they were unable to reply, every man stuck to his post, and within an hour they had made themselves entirely safe and secure. On the night of the 5th my regiment moved forward and occupied a new line 400 yards in front. This was a most exposed position. On the 6th, although we had made every possible protection in the shape of earth-works, my command had 1 man killed and 3 wounded. On the 7th we advanced and drove the enemy from two lines of earth-works. In this advance I lost 9 men wounded. We punished the enemy severely, captured a number of prisoners and small-arms, and turned the enemy's second line of works against him. On the 8th, 9th, and 10th the One hundred and twenty-first Ohio was on a reconnaissance to the right to watch the enemy's cavalry, which was said to be maneuvering on the Sandtown road to get to our rear to destroy our trains. My skirmishers came up with and drove away a few cavalrymen from our right, after which the command supplied itself plentifully with green corn, potatoes, and vegetables, and returned on the 11th and occupied a position to the right of the position we left on the 8th that had been intrenched by the Twenty-third Corps. We occupied this position, where we were constantly annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters, until the 27th of the month, when we started on the flank movement which resulted in the capture of Atlanta. During the time my command occupied this line I lost 1 officer wounded, 1 man killed and 7 wounded. The enemy's position here was on a height on the opposite side of a mill-dam, where the ground was higher than our position, giving them the advantage. We moved on the morning of the 27th to the right. On the morning of the 28th, passing through the intrenched line of the Fourth Corps, our corps turned the head of the column toward the Montgomery railroad. The One hundred and twentyfirst Ohio was in the advance, and soon after passing the earthworks of the Fourth Corps I came upon the enemy posted upon a hill, across a small stream with a wide and almost impassable swamp in their front. Six companies, were deployed as skirmishers, namely, A, F, D, I, K, and H, the other four acting as a reserve. They advanced and drove the enemy from his position in a most gallant manner, severely damaging him. In this advance I lost 1 man killed, 2 officers wounded, and 6 men wounded. The enemy consisted of Ross' brigade of cavalry. The column now advanced and we moved on, driving the disorganized brigade before us for five miles, with our skirmishers across the Montgomery railroad. where we first destroyed.the telegraph wire. About 1 p. m. took up a part of the railroad track and posted my command across the railroad and waited for the column to come up. We then went into position about one and a half miles south of the railroad and intrenched. We occupied this position until the morning of the 30th. On the 30th moved in the direction of the Macon railroad. On the afternoon of the 31st2 moved with the division in support of the Third Division to the Macon railroad. The Fourteenth Army Corps rested. with its left on the railroad. The Second Divsiion was the right division of the corps, and the Second Brigade the right of the division, and the One hundred and  twenty-first Ohio was in the second line on the right of the brigade. About 4 o'clock we charged the enemy's position. Just as we advanced to the charge the Thirty-fourth Illinois was posted on my right; to my front and right was the Seventy-eighth Illinois. I was now ordered to leave one-half of my regiment with one-half of the Thirty-fourth Illinois to intrench a position for our protection should we be driven back. In order to have all the companies represented in the charge I left the rear rank and moved on with the front. We passed over the enemy's works in our front, when a staff officer from Colonel Mitchell brought me orders to hasten to the right to the support of the Seventy-eighth Illinois. I moved on double-quick, by the flank, to the right about 200 yards, through the woods, and found the Seventy-eighth Illinois had possession of a 6-gun battery, from which it had driven all of the enemy that it had not either killed or captured. Simultaneous with my arrival the Thirty-fourth Illinois came up. Our arrival was in good. time; the enemy had rallied and was coming back upon the Seventyeighth Illinois (which had already lost largely) in heavy force. But he was turned back from this, and another attempt to retake the guns was most severely punished. The guns were captured by the Seventy-eighth Illinois. The One hundred and twenty-first Ohio and the Thirty-fourth Illinois held the guns and repulsed two desperate charges of the enemy to retake the battery. The second charge was made about 6 o'clock, and from this time until darkness put an end to the conflict the battle raged fiercely. During the night the enemy retreated, leaving his dead upon the field, and his wounded in and about Jonesborough. He left many arms and accouterments scattered over the field. The victory was complete; the enemy had fled in confusion. Cleburne's division, the pride of the Southern army, whose boast had been “they had never been whipped,” was whipped and captured, with all their guns, by the old Second Division, from behind their strong line of earth-works. Sherman's army had struck their center, divided and routed their army, and compelled the evacuation of Atlanta. After collecting the spoils of the victory we returned, and are now in camp near Atlanta. Throughout the long and tedious campaign the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of my command have been at their posts and did their duty. I know of no instance during the campaign of any part of my command-officers, non-commissioned officers, or privates-failing in the performance of his or their duty. I know of no circumstances so trying or hour so gloomy in the campaign (although I have lost in killed and wounded more than onehalf of the armed and equipped men with which I started on the campaign) as to cause my men to lose hope or fail to have perfect confidence in our final success. I started with 429 non-commissioned officers and men, armed and equipped, and 18 commissioned officers. Of the officers, 3 were killed on the battle-field on the 27th of June; 1 was mortally wounded and 8 others have been wounded. Of the non-commissioned officers and men? 22 have been killed and 185 have been wounded, making a total of 218. Two that were wounded in the outside ditches of the enemy's works on the 27th of June were captured and 1 is missing. Among the dead we mourn the gallant Maj. John Yager. Absent on duty in Ohio when the cam. paign commenced, he asked to be relieved and hastened to join his regiment. His high sense of honor would not permit him to be absent  from nis command in the hour of peril and aanger. He joined us at Dallas on the 30th of May, and in less than a month, on the 27th of June, at the assault upon the enemy's works at Kenesaw, at his post on the left of the regiment, cheering on the men, he received three mortal wounds, from which he died before he could be taken from the field. He was a brave man, a true soldier, and loved by the entire command. At the same time and from the same volley the accomplished scholar and soldier, Capt. M. B. Clason, received two mortal wounds, from which he died upon the field, while gallantly leading his company in the charge; also, the young, brave, and dashing Captain Patrick, of Company G, who had before been wounded at Chickamauga and had just been promoted, fell pierced through the heart while cheering and leading on his men. Captain Lloyd, who had just recovered from a most severe wound, with his accustomed determination to overcome all obstacles, and who had pushed up to the very ditches of the enemy with the small remnant of his company, received a mortal wound, afterward promoted major, and since died. The gallantry and bravery of Captain Robinson, of Company I, throughout the campaign entitles him to be specially mentioned. I desire also to acknowledge my many obligations to him for the able assistance he has been to me in the management of the regiment as acting major since the 17th of July, when Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence was taken sick, leaving me without a field officer. The gallantry and bravery also of Capt. D. H. Henderson, of Company K, who was severely wounded in the charge made by the enemy to retake the guns captured in front of Jonesborough. The following officers also deserve special mention for gallantry: Capt. S. B. Morehouse, Company D; Capt. T. C. Lewis, Company H; Capt. J. J. Irvine, Company B; Capt. C. P. Cavis, Company A; Lieut. A. A. Corrello, Company F; Lieut. M. E. Willoughby, Company G; Lieut. John J. Miller, Company E; Lieut. B. A. Banker, Company C; Lieut. James H. Ball, Company G. My adjutant, M. H. Lewis, and Surgeon Hill both did their entire duty, and have my thanks. The health of Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence has been such the greater part of the campaign as to render him unfit for duty. The instances among the non-commissioned officers and men deserving special notice are too numerous to mention. The gallant conduct of themselves and their fallen comrades on the many hard-contested fields of the campaign has made for them and the regiment names that will live forever.
H. B. Banning, Colonel, Commanding 121st Ohio Vol. Infantry. Capt. J. S. Wilson
, Assistant Adjutant-General.
, Assistant Adjutant-General.