No. 58. report of Col. Frank Askew, Fifteenth Ohio Infantry.
Hdqrs. Fifteenth Regt. Ohio Vet. Vol. Infantry. Camnp near Atlanta, Ga., September 12, 1864.Sir: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the campaign just terminated by the capture of Atlanta: From the time we broke up camp near McDonald's Station, Tenn., on the 3d day of May until the 9th day of June, the regiment was under the command of Colonel Wallace, with the exception of a short time late in the evening of the 27th of May, and part of the next day, when Colonel Wallace was disabled by a fall, I took command. During this time we had marched from McDonald's Station to near Acworth, Ga., participating with the brigade in the skirmishing at Rocky Face Ridge, in front of Dalton; in the battle of Resaca, and in the march to and battle of Pickett's Mills, near Dallas, Ga., on the 27th of May. Of the part we took in the skirmishing at Rocky Face Ridge, and in the battle of Resaca, I deem it unnecessary to mention further than that we relieved troops already in position, our losses being, at Rocky Face, 1 enlisted man killed and 2 wounded, and at Resaca, 3 enlisted men killed and 15 wounded. In the battle of Pickett's Mills, on the 27th of May, we occupied, as I understand it, the right of the second line of the brigade in rear of the Eighty-ninth Illinois. Upon moving to the position to attack, about 5 p. Tn., the right wing of the regiment emerged from the woods into an open field directly in front of the position of the enemy, who immediately opened on us from a battery to our front and right. I immediately threw out Company A, Lieutenant Hanson, as skirmishers to cover that part of our front and right flank, and sent word to Colonel Wallace, who was near the left of the regiment, that our right was thrown out into an open field, with none of our troops in front, and nothing connecting with our right to protect us from an attack in that direction, and that the enemy were strongly posted in a line of works on the farther edge of the open field, on rising ground, from us, and apparently enveloping our right flank. We soon received orders from Colonel Gibson, commanding the brigade, to refuse our regiment to protect the right flank. This disposition was partly made when the line was ordered forward. In the advance the regiment was thrown into some confusion, as we were moving  by the left flank at the time the order to advance came, and by some means or other, to me unknown, the line was broken near the center, and in moving forward the right wing, with the exception of Company A, moved in such a direction that it came to the attack to the left of the left wing of the regiment. Upon receiving the order, however, the men moved forward with spirit and determination, under a terrible fire from the artillery and small-arms of the enemy posted behind their works. The fire was so hot and well directed, and decimated our ranks so rapidly, that the advance was checked within a short distance of the enemy's works, where we were compelled to seek such shelter from the storm of shot as the nature of the ground afforded. It soon became evident that the attack had failed, and the recall was sounded by the brigade bugle about 6 p. m. As I could not find Colonel Wallace on the field (I learned afterward that he had been injured by a fall, and had gone or been taken off) I did not think it prudent to withdraw then, as it was still daylight, and an attempt to withdraw then would have exposed us to great risks; besides, we would have been compelled to leave nearly all our wounded in the hands of the enemy. I waited until dark, then sent out parties to gather up the wounded and carry them to the rear. After we had carried off all we could find we quietly withdrew and joined the brigade. Our loss in this battle was Captain Updegrove, Company H, severely wounded; Lieutenant Davis, Company C, wounded in foot; Lieutenant Leiter, Company I, lost right hand. Color Sergt. Ambrose Norton, Company D, was killed, and 5 of the color guard successively killed or wounded with the colors. They were finally brought off by. Sergt. David D. Hart, of Company I, then one of the color guard. Our loss of enlisted men, including these, was 19 killed, 61 wounded, and 19 missing. The missing were mostly wounded, whom we were unable to find in the darkness. On the 28th and 29th of May we remained in about the same position that we took when withdrawn on the night of the 27th in the immediate vicinity of the battle-field. On the night of the 30th we moved forward a short distance, our position being on the left of the first line of the brigade connecting with the right of General Hazen's brigade, and fortified. The next morning the enemy made a demonstration on our front with what I supposed to have been a strong skirmish line. They advanced, chbering. Our skirmishers came in, in obedience to orders, and we gave the enemy a few volleys from our lines, which apparently satisfied him, as he immediately retired. We had 3 men wounded. We remained in this position without further incident of any importance until the 4th of June, when, in extending our lines, we were moved to the right a short distance, and occupied works across the ravine from our former position. We were in this position on the morning of the 5th of June, when it was discovered that the enemy had gone during the night. On the morning of the 6th we marched to, and went into camp near, Acworth, Ga. We remained here quietly in camp on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. On the latter day Colonel Wallace left the command, on a leave of absence, and turned it over to me. The 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th we spent in camp, and in moving into position, confronted the position of the enemy at Kenesaw and Pine Mountains. On the 14th we were on the left of the first line of the brigade, our left connecting with the right of General Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps. We advanced during the day about half a mile from the position we occupied in the morning, a-d  in the afternoon were ordered to relieve the skirmishers of the Thirty-second Indiana, covering the front of the brigade, which I did with Company A, Lieutenant Hanson. Our skirmishers drove the skirmishers of the enemy into a line of rail barricades directly in front of their main line of works, with a loss to us of Lieutenant Hadden, Company A, killed, and I enlisted man killed and 5 wounded, of same company. During the night we fortified our position, and in the morning discovered that the enemy had evacuated their works in our front and on Pine Mountain. The 15th and 16th we rested with the brigade and division massed in rear of the corps, and on the morning of the 17th moved forward, passing through the line of works in rear of Pine Mountain, which the enemy had abandoned the night before, and relieved a part of General Stanley's division, our position being in the center of the first line of the brigade, a part of the Eighty-ninth Illinois covering our front as skirmishers. In this position we moved forward about half a mile, and were halted while the artillery was put in position along our front, and opened fire on the enemy. We fortified our position here during the night. On the 18th it rained incessantly all day. In the evening we relieved the skirmishers, consisting of the Fifteenth Wisconsin and Thirty-fifth Illinois, and had 6 men wounded, 2 of them by shells from our own batteries. Before daylight on the morning of the 19th we discovered that the enemy had evacuated their works directly in our front. Captain (now Major) Dawson, having gone out with three or four men, discovered that the works were unoccupied, and went into them and picked up 2 or 3 stragglers of the enemy, and sent them back under charge of Peter Cupp, a private of Company H. When Cupp was going back he discovered a company of men marching along in front of the enemy's works, and supposed them to be our men, but on a nearer approach discovered that they were of the enemy. Thereupon a conversation ensued, in which Cupp with great coolness and address explained to the captain commanding the company the condition of things; that his (the captain's) friends had left, and that four companies of ours had just entered their works, and were between him and his friends (which to say the least was something of an exaggeration), and that the best thing he could do was to surrender. Cupp's prisoners and his close proximity to the works corroborating his story, the captain concluded that “discretion was the better part of valor,” and surrendered himself, Capt. S. Yates Levy, his lieutenant, and 17 men, Company D, First Georgia Regiment of Volunteers, prisoners of war, and Cupp placing himself at their head marched them into our lines. Company E, Lieutenant Du Bois, also picked up 35 prisoners, and Sergeant Scott, of Company G, and other men of the regiment, a number more, making in all about 80 prisoners that we got that morning. During the day we moved forward about a mile and bivouacked for the night, with the whole brigade massed in reserve just outside the abandoned rebel works. On the 20th we moved forward and to the right about one and a half miles, relieving a part of the Twentieth Corps, and completed works which they had just begun; had 2 or 3 men wounded during the day by the sharpshooters of the enemy. About noon on the 21st of June I was ordered by Colonel Nodine, of the Twenty-fifth Illinois, then temporarily commanding the brigade. to take four companies of my regiment, deploying two as skirmishers  and holding two in reserve, and to take and hold, in conjunction with Colonel Kirby's command, a bald knob in front of the left of our position and the right of Colonel Kirby's brigade, of the First Division, and which the enemy then held with a strong line of skirmishers, protected by rifle-pits. The position had been taken the day before by a regiment of Colonel Kirby's brigade, and they had been compelled to relinquish it. Under instructions from General Howard, delivered in person, I reconnoitered the position and satisfied myself that in order to hold it after it was taken it would be necessary to drive the enemy out of and hold the woods to the right of and front of the knob, which would afford him a good cover to rally under in case he was driven off the knob, or to mass any force with which he might attempt to retake the position. Accordingly, Company B, Lieutenant Smith, and Company G, Captain Dawson, were moved forward by the right flank under cover of a skirt of woods to a place as near the knob as they could get without exposing themselves, with instructions that on the signal from the bugle they should make a right wheel and dash rapidly for the enemy's rifle-pits on top of the knob without halting to fire. Company E, Lieutenant Du Bois, and Company K, Captain Carroll, were moved directly in rear of Companies B and G, with instructions that as soon as the movement was begun by Companies B and G, so that they would have room, to deploy as skirmishers, connecting the left to Company K with the right of Company G, and dash forward into the woods to the right of the knob. The other six companies were moved in column of company, left in front, directly in rear of Companies E and K. At the signal the front companies, B, G, K, and E, dashed forward in splendid style and with such rapidity that the astonished enemy had hardly time to get off, as we captured some 25 or 30 in their works, but in going to the rear some of them went into the lines of the First Division and we got no credit for them. As soon as the front companies had gained the top of the knob and driven the enemy back in the woods I. deployed the other six companies by the right flank on the left company and moved them rapidly forward, so that the left of the left company (H) struck the top of the knob and the right extended out into the woods near the open field, near where the left of General Hazen's brigade afterwards rested. As it was General Howard's instructions that we should fortify and hold the knob at all hazards, I immediately set to work with three companies on the left, viz, H, Lieutenant Dorneck; C, Captain Byrd, and I, Capt. George W. Cummins, together with the pioneers of the brigade, who had been ordered to report to me for that purpose, to fortify the knob. This we did under a most terrific fire from two or three batteries of the enemy posted in their main line of works from 600 to 700 yards distant. At the same time the other seven companies of the regiment were engaged in a hard fight in the woods to the right of the knob, as the enemy had (as we learned afterwards from their newspapers) determined to retake the position, and had sent two regiments, the Fifteenth and Thirty-seventh Tennessee, for that purpose. They approached through the woods to our right and were gallantly met by these seven companies, their advance checked, and, with the assistance of the Forty-ninth Ohio, which about this time came to our support, driven back with a very heavy loss, as they admit, leaving a number of their dead and wounded in our hands. We were then relieved for a short time, until we had gathered  up our dead and wounded, and were again put in the first line, covering our front with Company A, Sergeant Gardner commanding, and Company F, Lieutenant Glover, deployed as skirmishers, and during the night built a line of works. Our losses in this day's operations were Lieutenant Hanson, Company A, slightly wounded; Lieutenant Donner, Company E, severely wounded, and 9 enlisted men killed and 44 wounded. On the morning of the 22d we were relieved from the first line by the Eighty-ninth Illinois, taking their place in the second line. On the morning of the 23d we relieved the Eighty-ninth Illinois, in the first line, and in the afternoon were ordered to advance our skirmish line, which we did a short distance, with Company F, Lieutenant Glover, and Company D, Lieutenant Geiger, deployed as skirmishers, losing Lieutenant Geiger, slightly wounded, and 3 enlisted men killed and 17 wounded, principally from these two companies. From this date, the 23d of June, until the 2d day of July, we were engaged in no important movement, merely holding our position, alternating with the Eighty-ninth Illinois in holding the front line. As we were so near the enemy, it required that the whole command should be kept on the alert and that the utmost vigilance should be exercised by officers and men when on the front line to prevent a surprise, and the command was very much harassed and fatigued. On the evening of the 2d of July we moved to the left and relieved a part of the Fifteenth Corps directly in front of Little Kenesaw Mountain, our position being in the works on the right of the front line of the brigade. During the night the enemy evacuated their works, and Company K, Captain Carroll, and Company E, Lieutenant Du Bois, which were on the skirmish line in our front, picked up some 25 or 30 of the enemy's stragglers. Sergt. Thomas Bethel, of Company K, was killed while reconnoitering the front early in the morning by the pickets of an adjoining command. Of the march to Marietta and Vining's Station and up the Chattahoochee, and the crossing of that river, it is unnecessary to go into details. On the 17th of July, in the movement of our division down the left bank of the Chattahoochee to a point opposite Vining's Station to cover the crossing of the Fourteenth Army Corps, this regiment occupied the extreme left of the first line of the brigade and division, covering that flank with skirmishers. On the 19th of July, in the crossing of Peach Tree Creek, we had 2 men slightly wounded by a stray ball. On the 20th of July we moved to the front and left and relieved a portion of General Stanley's division, completing their unfinished works. During the morning had 2 men of Company K killed on the skirmish line, and in the evening Sergt. T. C. Cory, of Company I, wounded while advancing the skirmish line, making the third wound which the sergeant received during the campaign, the first two of which were not yet healed. He deserves special mention for his courage and fortitude. During the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st the enemy again evacuated their works in our front, and Company F, Lieutenant Glover, which was on the skirmish line, picked up 5 or 6 stragglers. During the day we moved forward and fortified a position on a high hill in support of Bridges' battery and in front of a line of works which was occupied by the enemy. Early on the morning of the 2.2d it was discovered that the enemy had again evacuated, and Company C, Captain Byrd, on the skirmish line, picked up a few stragglers. During the forenoon we  moved forward toward Atlanta, and about noon went into position near the city, on the left of the first line of the brigade, and completed a line of works which some regiments of General Newton's division had begun. These works we occupied during the whole time of the siege of Atlanta, from the 22d day of July until the night of the 25th of August. While in this position, on the afternoon of the 28th of July, we were ordered to advance our skirmish line, and, if possible, take the enemy's rifle-pits in our front. The line was strengthened so that it was composed of Company C, Captain Byrd; Company H, Lieutenant Dorneck; Company E, Lieutenant Du Bois; Company K, Captain Carroll, and Company G, Lieutenant Doolittle. At the signal the whole line dashed forward without firing a gun, and captured in the pits 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 21 men, with a loss to us of but 1 man killed and 1 wounded. With the prompt assistance of the pioneers, under Lieut. J. A. Gleason, the pits were immediately converted to our use and occupied by our skirmish line, giving them a position commanding the main line of the enemy's works and the ground in the rear, and from which they were able to annoy the enemy very much during the remainder of the siege. I deem it unnecessary to describe at length the part we took in the late operations, beginning with our withdrawal on the night of the 25th of August from our position in front of Atlanta and ending with our return to Atlanta and encampment at this place on the 8th of September, as we were engaged in no important battles or skirmishes, either with or detached from the brigade, and the marches were made under the eye of the present brigade commander. Lieutenant-Colonel McClenahan, and Adjt. Alexis Cope, have been present with the command during the whole campaign, and while I have been in command of the regiment have given me their valuable aid and assistance, and have sustained their reputation as good officers and brave men. Dr. William M. Clark, assistant surgeon, has also been present with the command during the campaign, and deserves great credit for his untiring devotion to his duties and care for the sick and wounded. In conclusion, it affords me great gratification to bear testimony to the universal good conduct of the officers and men of this command; to the cheerfulness with which they endured the hardships and fatigue of this most extraordinary campaign, and to the alacrity with which they obeyed orders, no matter with what risks their execution was attended. Our losses during the whole campaign, which will be found in detail in the accompanying list of casualties, are as follows: Commissioned officers-killed, 1; wounded, 6; total, 7. Enlisted men-killed, 43; wounded, 171; missing, 19; total, 233. Totalkilled, 44; wounded, 177; missing, 19. Aggregate, 240. To counterbalance this we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have taken of the enemy at least 160 prisoners and stragglers, including 5 commissioned officers, and put hors de combat in other ways quite a number. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Frank Askew, Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Lieut. W. McGRATH, A. A. A. G., First Brig., Third Div., Fourth Corps.