No. 35. report of Lieut. Col. Porter C. Olson, Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry.
Hdqrs. Thirty-Sixth Illinois Infantry Vols., Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.Sir: In compliance with orders to forward an account of the part taken by the Thirty-sixth Regiment Illinois Infantry in the campaign which resulted in the capture of Atlanta, I have the honor to submit the following report: The Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Miller commanding, moved in column on the morning of May 3, 1864, with the First Brigade, of the Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, from Cleveland, Tenn., with an effective force of 18 officers, 315 enlisted men. Arrived at Catoosa Springs, Ga., May 4, from which point the regiment marched with the brigade to Rocky Face Ridge, arriving there on the 9th, and forming part of the force that supported General Harker's brigade while driving the enemy from a part of the ridge. On the morning of the 13th of May, the enemy having left our front, we moved through Dalton, Ga., arriving at 12 m. the 14th within three miles of Resaca, Ga. At 3 p. m. of the same day, by order of the brigade commander, we were brought into action, the Thirtysixth Illinois being the right regiment of the second line. The regiment moved forward over an open field swept by grape and canister to a ravine, which partly sheltered the regiment. After a few minutes' rest the regiment was ordered by Colonel Miller to move upon the enemy's second line of works, the colonel not having been informed that we were simply to relieve a force of ours which held the first line. The regiment behaved well. Our loss in officers and men was severe. On the morning of the 16th of May, the enemy having again left our front, we marched through Resaca to a point one mile from Calhoun. On the 17th the Thirty-sixth Illinois was deployed as skirmishers and moved through Calhoun toward Adairsville. The skirmishing was very heavy, the enemy making a stubborn resistance. Before noon we lost I officer and 12 men; were relieved by the Eighty-eighth Illinois. At 5 p. m. of the same day, in accordance with orders from the brigade commander, the regiment was put into action and behaved with coolness and courage. The regiment again suffered severely in loss of officers and men. On the morning of the 18th of May the Thirty-sixth Illinois, in accordance with orders, started in line of march in the column for Kingston. Moved toward Dallas May 23; arrived near New Hope Church May 26. At this place we were under fire for eleven days, during which time the regiment was engaged in skirmishing, erecting works, and performing other duties incident to a position so close to the enemy. The patient endurance and determined bravery of both officers and men during this time are worthy of highest praise. June 7, we marched to a point near Acworth, from which place, on the 10th, the regiment moved toward Kenesaw. On the 19th of June Colonel Miller was ordered by the brigade commander to advance the Thirty-sixth Illinois as skirmishers. The regiment was deployed and moved into a thicket so dense that but a few feet could be seen in advance; got very near the enemy before seeing them. The enemy were thrown into confusion, and it being utterly impossible to maintain a very regular line on our own part while  advancing through such a place, we soon became mingled with the enemy. While in this condition we took (in conjunction with the Eighty-eighth Illinois) 5 officers and 25 men prisoners. Only 7 men of the Thirty-sixth Illinois were captured by them. The firing was brisk, the enemy's resistance stubborn, as the list of casualties appended to this report will indicate. The Thirty-sixth Illinois formed part of the force ordered to storm the enemy's works on the morning of the 27th of June. Previous to the charge the regiment was advanced to support the skirmish line. When the charge was made the regiment moved forward with the main force. That the enemy's works were not carried it seems to me was not the fault of either officers or men. It was simply an impossibility on our part of the line. The fortifications on our front consisted of heavy earth-works, deep moat, and intricate abatis. In addition to strong lines of infantry opposed to us, our entire front was swept by discharges of grape and canister. The regiment behaved in the most gallant manner. Our losses in the charge were heavy, comprising about 33 per cent. of the officers and men present for duty. Here fell Colonel Miller, mortally wounded, a brave and patriotic young officer of rare ability. The command of the regiment now devolved upon Captain McNeal. For a short time, commencing a few days previous to this, I make my report from data in possession of the adjutant, being myself absent sick. On the 2d day of July, the enemy having left our front, the regiment marched through Marietta, Ga., toward the Chattahoochee River, crossed the river at Roswell on the 9th, and with the rest of the brigade fortified a position on the left bank of the stream. Several unimportant changes were made, when on the 18th of July the regiment marched with the army toward Atlanta, Ga. Was in battle on the left bank of Peach Tree Creek July 20. Our loss was very light and that of the enemy very severe. The regiment remained in camp near Atlanta until August 1, when with the rest of the brigade moved to the extreme left of the army near the Augusta railroad. August 24, Lieutenant-Colonel Olson took command. In accordance with orders from Colonel Opdycke, the brigade commander, the Thirty-sixth Illinois marched with the column at dark August 25, in the direction of the right of the army, upon the Sandtown road. We reached the Macon railroad near Rough and Ready September 1. By direction of the brigade commander, we formed part of the force engaged in the destruction of the railroad between Rough and Ready and Jonesborough. At 5 p. m. I received orders from Colonel Opdycke to form the regiment on the left of the Eighty-eighth Illinois in the second line, this to the left of the railroad and about one and a half miles from Jonesborough. We moved forward for action; the enemy gave way before the skirmish line. The enemy having evacuated, on the 2d of September the Thirtysixth Illinois marched with the column toward Lovejoy's Station. When two miles distant, by order of Colonel Opdycke, I brought the regiment into position to the left of the railroad, the right joining the left of the Eighty-eighth Illinois, and, in further compliance with his order, advanced the regiment with the rest of the brigade to make a demonstration upon the enemy. We moved through a dense woods under fire from an unseen foe. Among the casualties of this day was Captain McNeal, mortally wounded. He was a  brave and faithful officer and a man of much personal worth. We moved back with the column from Lovejoy's, arriving at Atlanta, Ga., September 8, 1864. To detail minutely the part taken by the regiment during the long campaign would extend this report to an improper length. Many brave officers and men have fallen; their memory will be cherished by a grateful country. Among the officers was Colonel Miller, mortally wounded; has since died. His loss will be mourned not only by the regiment but by all who knew him. The enlisted men of the regiment have endured the hardships and privations of this protracted struggle with a patience, zeal, and devotion worthy of the cause. I have not room to mention particular instances of gallantry; they have cheerfully performed every labor, and faced danger in every form required of them. I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of the line officers, their cheerful obedience to orders, their bravery on the field, and their hearty co-operation with the regimental commander is worthy of highest praise. I desire on my own part to thank Adjutant Case for the assistance he has rendered in the management of the regiment. Surgeon Lvtle and Assistant Surgeon Hatch have been untiring in their efforts to relieve the wounded and sick. Chaplain Haigh, in addition to active religious effort, has been of great service to the regiment in providing reading matter and ministering to the wants of sick and wounded. I append to this report a list of casualties.1 Very respectfully, your obedient servant,