No. 59. report of Lieut. Col. Samuel F. Gray, Forty-ninth Ohio Infantry.
Hdqrs. Forty-Ninth Ohio Veteran Vol. Infantry, Near Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 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 closed, resulting in the capture of the city of Atlanta: From the time we broke camp on the 3d day of May, at McDonald's Station, East Tenn., until the 15th day of the same month, the regiment was commanded by Col. William H. Gibson, therefore it will not be expected of me to give more than a general account of its operations during that time. From McDonald's Station we marched with the brigade, commanded by General Willich, and with it went into position in front of Rocky Face Ridge on the 7th of May, and participated in the operations there without any occurrence worthy of mention until the 9th, when the brigade was formed column en masse, our position being the right of second line and in rear of Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers. In this formation we moved with the brigade by the right flank half a mile to the right of our first position. This movement brought the regiment into an open field in musket-range of the enemy on top of the ridge. Seeing us thus massed he gave us a galling fire that killed 1 and wounded 4 enlisted men. The command was immediately deployed into line on first company and ordered to lie down, taking shelter, as far as possible, behind the slight irregularities of the ground; remained in this position half an hour, when we moved again with the brigade by the left flank about one-quarter of a mile to the left and bivouacked. This movement seemed to me to be objectless, and resulted in what appeared an unnecessary loss of life. On the morning of the 10th we relieved the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers on the picket-line in front of the brigade, occupying a line close up under an almost perpendicular ledge of rocks, from the top of which the enemy rolled stones down on our men, injuring some severely. Our left rested on the top of the ridge, connecting with the pickets of General Harker's brigade. We remained on picket until night, being relieved by the Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers, and returned to our position in the brigade. Our casualties this day were Lieut. Edwin Haff and 5 men wounded, all in Companies F and I, the former commanded byCapt. John F. Kessler, the latter by Capt. M. E. Tyler. On the morning of the 11th, when the division took up position on the hill across the valley in rear of the position held on the 10th, we moved with the brigade. On the evening of the 12th we again relieved the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers on the line. During this night the enemy evacuated the ridge and retreated from Dalton. On finding them gone a skirmish line was thrown forward and 5 stragglers taken in. On the morning of the 13th the regiment with the brigade marched with the pursuing column and took position in front of Resaca on the 14th, where the brigade relieved troops of the Twenty-third Army Corps. During this day the regiment alternated with the other regiments of the brigade on the picket-line. The opposing lines were close together, and firing continual and rapid. Our casualties in this day's operations were 10 enlisted men wounded. On the 15th the situation was unchanged,  and the position and operations of the regiment the same as on the 14th. In the afternoon of this day Brigadier-General Willich was severely wounded; the command of brigade devolving on Colonel Gibson, he turned the command of the regiment over to me. Casualties this day, 2 enlisted men. On the morning of the 16th it was found the enemy had evacuated. On the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th we were engaged in marching with pursuing column; nothing transpired worthy of mention, and having no casualties. On the evening of the 19th, the enemy being found in line of battle at Cassville, about twenty-six miles south of Resaca, the army formed line of battle and advanced upon them. Our position was on the left of the brigade in the first line, the brigade being in reserve to the Second and Third Brigades of the division, did not become closely engaged. During the night the enemy again left our front. Casualties this day, 1 enlisted man wounded. Our position remained unchanged at Cassville until the 23d, when we took up our line of march with the brigade. Marched ten miles south, crossing Etowah River, and encamped on Euharlee Creek at Milner's Mills. On 24th resumed marching; halted for the night after traveling twelve miles. On 25th continued our march, crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek, moving to the support of the Twentieth Corps, which was severely engaged with the enemy near Dallas. On the morning of the 26th the brigade went into position on the left of the troops of the Twentieth Corps, already in line. The day was consumed in maneuvering for positions and fortifying them; we were not at any time during the day brought into close action. On the 27th, when the division marched to the extreme left of the general line of battle, the position of this regiment in the brigade was on the left of the second line, joined on my right by the Thirty-fifth Illinois Volunteers, with the Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers in my front. In this formation we marched through almost impenetrable woods and over swampy ground a distance of several miles, arriving at a position near Pickett's Mills about 3 p. m. Here our lines were now formed, facing those of the enemy. About 4 p. m. our brigade, following the Second Brigade, advanced to the attack. The woods and undergrowth were so dense that nothing could be seen at a distance of 150 yards. I was ordered to maintain that distance from the first line. At the signal I advanced, preceding my command, to observe the movements of the first line. We were soon brought under a desolating fire of musketry and artillery at close range. In a few movements I lost sight of the first line, it having drifted to the left. I could see no organized force in my front, but the woods full of men seeking shelter from the terrible storm of shot and shell. At this juncture I met the adjutant-general of General Hazen's brigade, who, in answer to my inquiries, told me the enemy had a strong position on a hill across a ravine a few yards in advance, and said it could only be taken by storm. The regiment, over 400 effective men, soon arrived at the ravine named, and which I found was enfiladed by artillery and musketry. I could now see the position of the enemy on the other side and a line of our troops lying below the crest of the hill. I then gave the order to charge, and the line advanced on double-quick, maintaining a perfect line; passing over the line on the side hill, advanced to within ten paces of the works of the enemy, and at one or two points got within bayonet reach of the rebels behind [sic] hors de combat, and it was found impossible for us to take a position before  which line after line had melted away, yet we remained without cover in the position we had gained, stubbornly contesting with our foe behind intrenchments until night enabled us to withdraw in safety, bringing off our wounded and losing but 4 in prisoners. I will be pardoned for claiming for my men and officers the highest encomiums for their intrepidity and persistent courage displayed on this field. Our casualty list in this day's fighting attests its severity, being as follows: Commissioned officers-killed, 3; wounded,3. Enlisted men-killed, 49; wounded, 144; missing, 4. Aggregate loss, 203. During the night of the 27th we went into position with the brigade and fortified; remained in the position during the days of the 28th and 29th, and on the evening of the 30th advanced our line nearer the enemy and fortified. Remained in this position until June 4, alternating with the Eighty-ninth Illinois Volunteers on the first line, meeting with no loss. On the morning of the 5th it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated their position in our front. On the 6th marched with the column to camp near Acworth, a distance of eight miles, where we remained to recuperate our wasted energies until the 10th, when the army resumed offensive operations, and on the 12th went into position in front of Pine Top Mountain. The work [sic] nothing was done until the morning of the 14th, when the brigade and division advanced about one mile, finding the enemy in strong works; the position of the regiment in brigade on this day being the right of the first line, with our front covered by the Fifteenth Ohio as skirmishers. Having driven the enemy to their main works, we took position and constructed fortifications. Our casualties this day were 1 officer (Captain Patterson) and I man slightly wounded. During the night the enemy again evacuated our immediate front. Passing over the interval between the 14th and 20th, during which time the regiment was engaged in picket duty and building fortifications in front of the enemy (our loss from the 14th to the 20th being 1 man killed and 4 wounded), on the morning of the 20th the brigade marched to the right one and a half miles and relieved a brigade of the Twentieth Corps in front of Kenesaw Mountain. My regiment was sent out to occupy a wooded knoll taken by the Twentieth Corps the day previous. It stood out from the main line of battle, and almost detached from the ridge held by our troops. Upon this knoll we completed some works made in the form of a crescent, and protected our flanks from the cross-fire the enemy were enabled to give us. Remained in this position until evening, being relieved by the Thirty-fifth Illinois and Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, when we returned to our place in the brigade. Our casualties this day were 1 enlisted man killed and 4 wounded. On the 21st I was ordered by Colonel Nodine, commanding brigade, to take my regiment and place it behind a bald knob just captured by the Fifteenth Ohio, as support. In obeying this order, and while advancing over an open field, I received a cross-fire from a wooded eminence to the right of the bald knob, and directly in front of the wooded knob alluded to above. Deeming it necessary to drive the enemy from this position to enable us to hold the one just gained by the four companies of the Fifteenth Ohio, and seeing the skirmishers of that regiment closely pressed, I exceeded my orders and changed the direction of my [line] and charged the position, driving, with the assistance of  the Fifteenth Ohio, the enemy from it. We at once constructed temporary works of rails and logs, keeping up the fire until they were of sufficient strength to enable us to hold them against any force the enemy might bring against us. Our loss in this affair was 1 officer killed and 13 enlisted men wounded. This movement being made under the eye of the generals commanding division and corps, they were pleased to tender us their thanks. From the 21st to the 27th nothing of special interest occurred. The lines in front of the brigade having been made secure by formidable earth-works, with abatis in front, we remained in them, a continual firing being kept up from both sides, causing frequent casualties. On the 27th the lines of the brigade were reduced to a single line, the brigade extending to the right, covering the space of the whole division for the purpose of aiding the assaults made on other portions of the line. After the failure of the assaults made that day the troops reoccupied their former positions, and the situation remained unchanged until the night of July 2. A change being ordered in the lines, we were relieved in our position by other troops, and marched with the brigade to the left, and occupied the works made by the Fifteenth Army Corps. While this change was going on the enemy was engaged in evacuating their works, and the morning of the 3d revealed their absence from our entire front. Our casualties in front of Kenesaw Mountain from the 21st of June to July 3, 4 enlisted men and I officer wounded. In the movements of the division and brigade from Kenesaw Mountain to the Chattahoochee River we bore our part of the picketing and skirmishing of the brigade without casualties or incident deserving mention. After a refreshing rest of four days at Vining's Station we broke camp on the 10th day of July and marched up the Chattahoochee River to a point about eight miles above the station and crossed to the east side, taking up position about one mile from the crossing at the river and fortified it. The command was engaged on one or two important movements from the time we crossed the river until we broke up camp on the 18th and marched for Atlanta. The movements of the regiment from the 18th to the 22d, from which time the siege of the city dates, I may not record in detail, as it would only be a repetition of much that has been given before. During the night of the 21st the enemy again left our front. We moved forward with the brigade at an early hour of the 22d. When within two miles of Atlanta my regiment was deployed as skirmishers and moved forward, driving the enemy'into their main works around Atlanta. After skirmishing about two hours we were relieved by General Newton's troops and moved half mile to the left and fortified the position held by us during the entire siege. On the 28th I received orders to advance my pickets in front of the regiment. Accordingly, I gave the order, and the men dashed forward and captured the entire line of riflepits of the enemy, forking out with their bayonets many prisoners. This affair gave us much relief on our main line by removing the enemy's line of pickets from an eminence to lower ground. On the 3d day of August we were ordered to make a demonstration in our front and ascertain the strength of the enemy, and, if found practicable, carry his works. I pushed out my skirmishers about 100 yards. Finding the enemy numerous and strongly posted and well protected by artillery I drew back the line to the original position.  In this affair we lost 3 men killed. From this date until the army withdrew from the position around the city, on the evening of the 25th, the situation remained unchanged, nothing occurring worthy of mention in this report. The brigade and division commanders know the character of the operations. Our casualties in the siege, from July 22 to August 25, were as follows: 2 commissioned officers wounded, 6 enlisted men killed, 15 enlisted men wounded. The regiment marched with the brigade and division on the night of the 25th of August from Atlanta, and returned with them to the city on the 8th day of September, with a loss of 4 men wounded in the works before Lovejoy's Station. Leaving McDonald's Station with an aggregate strength of 592, I went into camp at the close of the campaign with 225, having lost in killed and wounded alone 295. To the officers and men of the command, who so promptly executed all orders given them, whether on the march, or while confronting the enemy, all praise is given. In the hour of battle they evinced the highest qualities of the patriot soldier. To Maj. L. M. Strong and Adjt. D. R. Cook my thanks are especially due for their gallantry and very valuable assistance rendered me throughout the campaign. Major Strong was severely wounded in the battle of the 27th of May,. but declined to leave the field and remained on duty and witnessed the crowning success of the campaign. I feel entirely incompetent to pronounce eulogy upon the heroic dead. The memory of Lieutenants Simons, Ramsey, Gibbs, Wallace, and the many brave men who with them have so nobly died, should ever be cherished in the hearts of our people and inspire there, as in the minds of theiF remaining comrades, the determination to defend and forever establish the great cause in defense of which their blood was shed — the hope of humanity, our free institutions — a fitting monument to the glorious sacrifice. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Saml. F. Gray, Lieut. Col., Comdg. Forty-ninth Ohio Vet. Vols. Lieut. W. Mcgrath
, A. A. A. G., First Brig., Third Div., 4th Army Corps.
, A. A. A. G., First Brig., Third Div., 4th Army Corps.