previous next

No. 60. report of Lieut. Col. Ole C. Johnson, Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry.

headquarters Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, Near Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers in the late campaign, commencing at McDonald's Station, Tenn., the 3d day of May last, and ending with the occupation of Atlanta:

At 12 m. on the 3d of May the regiment, under command of Major Wilson, moved with the brigade on the road leading through Catoosa Springs to Tunnel Hill, which point we reached on the 7th [417] at 12 m. The Fifteenth Wisconsin being deployed as skirmishers, advanced to the foot of Rocky Face Ridge, where it remained during the night. On the morning of the 8th the regiment was ordered tU advance and take the ridge, if possible. At 8 a. m. four companies being deployed as skirmishers our right, connecting with the skirmishers of General Hazen's brigade, advanced under a heavy fire from the enemy strongly posted on the crest of the ridge. After a severe skirmish our left succeeded in carrying the crest, where we took up a strong position, which we held until relieved, under proper orders, by troops from General Harker's brigade. Finding it impossible to carry the ridge in front of our right by assault, the troops on this part of the line remained. in position on the northern slope of the ridge, constantly skirmishing with the enemy until the afternoon of the 12th, when we moved with the brigade to the left about one and a half miles to meet a reported movement of the enemy in force in that direction. At 6 p. m. we relieved a part of the Thirty-second Indiana and Eighty-ninth Illinois regiments on the skirmish line, where we remained during the night, and on the morning of the 13th found the enemy had evacuated his position in and about Rocky Face Ridge and Dalton. Our loss up to this time was as follows: Killed, I; wounded, 1. The regiment moved immediately with the brigade in pursuit of the enemy, passing through Dalton about 11 a. m., thence south on the left and on a line with the railroad. On the 14th at 12 m. heavy firing was heard in front; the brigade was formed in three lines, this regiment in the left of the third line, and moved forward about-600 yards over broken country and found the enemy strongly intrenched around Resaca. About 4 p. m. our regiment and the Thirty-fifth Illinois were ordered to relieve a portion of Colonel Sherman's brigade, of General Newton's division, about 200 yards to the right. This position was greatly exposed to an enfilading fire from the enemy's artillery, and would have been untenable had we not been partly covered by the first line of the enemy's works, which had been previously carried by the Twenty-third Corps. Here the regiment was engaged about two hours, when our ammunition was exhausted, and, being relieved by a regiment from Colonel Sherman's brigade, we moved back about 200 yards, where we rested over night. At 6 a. m. on the 15th the regiment relieved the Forty-ninth Ohio on the front line. Hastily constructed barricades having been constructed during the night, we were partly covered from the fire, and from this position we kept a battery of two guns in our immediate front completely silent. We commanded the enemy's works with our musketry, so he could not show his head above the parapets. At 6 p. m. we were relieved by the Fifteenth Ohio, and formed in double column in the second line. At 11 p. m. the enemy made a desperate charge on our line, but was handsomely repulsed and severely punished. On the morning of the 16th the enemy had disappeared from our front, and our skirmishers entered his main line of works, when it was found that he had crossed the Oostenaula River at Resaca Station, and burned the railroad bridge behind him. Our casualties here were as follows, viz: Killed, 4; wounded, 14. About 2 p. m. we crossed the Oostenaula River on the wagon bridge. Moving in a southerly direction, in line with the railroad, we passed through Calhoun toward Adairsville. On the afternoon of the 17th General Newton's division met the enemy in considerable force near Adairsville. We were [418] formed on the right of General Hazen's brigade and threw up breastworks on the crest of a ridge. Our regiment was deployed as skirmishers about 200 yards in front, in which position we remained during the night. On the morning of the 18th, the enemy having retreated, we moved in a southerly direction, passing through Adairs---ville and Kingston on the 19th to within one mile of Cassville, where the enemy was met in force. The Fifteenth was formed in the third line as support where the line might be pressed, but did not become engaged. On the morning of the 20th we found that the enemy had evacuated his position. On the 23d at 12 m. the regiment, together with the brigade, moved to the right, taking twenty days rations in the supply train, to flank the left of the enemy's line at Allatoona Pass. We crossed the Etowah River on a wagon bridge about six miles southwest of Cassville, thence marching in a southerly direction through broken country, crossing Pumpkin Pine Creek. About 4 p. m. the 25th we heard heavy firing in front, which we found was caused by the enemy having hastily left his position in the Allatoona Mountain and hurriedly thrown himself onto the advance of General Hooker's (Twentieth) corps, which was the leading column on this road. Our corps was immediately hurried forward to its support. After crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek the road was somewhat blockaded by troops of the Twentieth Corps, and a rain setting in at night-fall, we bivouacked for the night about 9 p. m. on the left of the road. At 4 a. in. the 26th the brigade was put in position on the left of General Newton's division, fronting east. The Fifteenth, on the right of the Thirty-fifth Illinois, in the second line, moved forward with the brigade to within 250 yards of the enemy's works. The Thirty-second Indiana was deployed as skirmishers and drove the enemy handsomely, and in this position thus secured we intrenched ourselves on a ridge, where three batteries were immediately planted. Our regiment relieved the Thirty-second Indiana on the skirmish line at 6 p. m., where it remained during the night.

At 9 a. m. the morning of the 27th the brigade was relieved by a portion of General Stanley's division and moved about one mile to the left, passing by Pickett's Mills, where the brigade was formed in rear of and supporting General Hazen's brigade in two lines of battle, the Fifteenth forming in the center of the first line, connecting on the right with the Eighty-ninth Illinois and on the left with the Thirty-second Indiana. Our division, having been selected to develop the enemy on the left, moved by the left flank about three miles, passing in the rear of the Twenty-third Corps, which was on the left of our previous position. About 2 p. m. we arrived at a point which we supposed to be the right flank of the enemy's lines. About 4 p. m. General Hazen's brigade being repulsed, the front line of this brigade was ordered forward, closely followed by the Second. Our regiment in crossing a ravine was enfiladed by one of the enemy's batteries. Charging with a yell over the Second Brigade, the regiment went so near to the enemy's breast-works that some of our men were killed within ten feet of them. Finding it impossible to dislodge the enemy, the regiment lay down about fifteen yards from their works, keeping up an effective musketry fire, Companies A and F firing right oblique at a battery that was in position about sixty yards to the right, so as to enfilade our line of battle. The firing from the enemy's musketry and artillery was very heavy, but [419] we held our position until about 9 p. m., when we were ordered to fall back. In attempting to carry off our wounded the enemy charged on us and captured many of our men, including most of the wounded. About 11 p. m. the regiment was put in position some 300 yards to the right, on a ridge, and 200 yards from the enemy's works, where we fortified strongly. In this position we remained, constantly skirmishing with the enemy until he evacuated his position on the night of June 5. The regiment the next morning at 8 o'clock moved to New Hope Church, where it was put into position fronting south, the left connecting with the Twenty-fifth Illinois, on the first line./ Our casualties at this battle were as follows, viz: Commissioned officers-wounded, 1; missing, 2. Enlisted menkilled, 14; wounded, 40; missing, 26. At 9 a. m. June 6 we moved in a southerly direction to within one mile of Pine Mountain, where we bivouacked for the night.

On the morning of the 7th we moved about 600 yards to the front and left and were put into position 300 yards from the enemy's works on Pine Knob, our right connecting with General Harker's brigade and the left with the Fourteenth Corps, fronting nearly south. On the morning of the 14th our line advanced about 200 yards to the left and front, where we formed on a ridge, our right connecting with the Thirty-fifth Illinois and our left with the Fortyninth Ohio. In this position we intrenched ourselves within 200 yards of the enemy's works on the eastern slope of Pine Mountain. On the morning of the 15th the enemy had disappeared from our front.

We advanced at 9 a. m. to the abandoned works and formed in double column on the left of the second line, stacked arms, and rested until Generals Stanley's and Newton's divisions formed and advanced about one mile, when the enemy was found in a second line of works. Our division being in reserve, moved inside of the abandoned works and bivouacked for the night. At 7 a. m. the 17th we marched through the second line of works, the enemy having retreated during the night, and relieved General Stanley's division, which was skirmishing with him. This brigade being formed in two lines, connecting on the right with Colonel Knefier's brigade, and on the left with the Fourteenth Corps, advanced with the Eighty-ninth Illinois deployed as skirmishers, driving the enemy from their riflepits into their main line of works, a distance of one mile. From this position five batteries shelled the enemy in the direction of Kenesaw Mountain. On the 18th at 6 a. m. our regiment was put into position about 300 yards from the enemy's works, and hastily constructed barricades. At 8 a. m. we relieved the Twenty-fifth Illinois on the skirmish line, which was so near the enemy that we fired into his main line of works, and received in return a heavy fire from his whole line of battle. Being relieved at 2 p. m. by the Fifteenth Ohio, we fell back to the main line of works, where we remained until the enemy evacuated his third line in front of Kenesaw Mountain on the night of the 19th. Passing through the third line of the enemy's works at 10 a. m. the 20th, this division relieved a division of the Twentieth Corps, about one and a half miles to the right of Kenesaw Mountain and 500 yards from the enemy's fourth line of works. About 150 yards in the immediate front of this brigade lay Bald Knob, where the enemy was strongly posted behind rifle-pits. On the 21st the brigade was ordered to charge and dislodge the enemy from his position [420] on the knob. At 12 m. the Fifteenth Ohio, deployed as skirmishers, and the Forty-fifth [Forty-ninth] Ohio supporting, charged. and drove the enemy from his position, capturing many prisoners. Our regiment was immediately ordered to relieve the Fifteenth Ohio on the skirmish line, which was effected under a heavy fire from the enemy. We immediately intrenched ourselves on this knob, which we held until the night of the 2d of July, when we moved together with the brigade at 9 a. m., about one mile to the left, and relieved General Woods' brigade, of the Fifteenth Corps. Our regiment formed on the left of the brigade, in single line, occupying strong works built by the troops whom we relieved, about 200 yards from the enemy's works on Kenesaw Mountain. On the morning of the 3d we found that the enemy had evacuated his position on and about Kenesaw Mountain, and retreated toward the Chattahoochee River. Our casualties were at this place, enlisted men, killed, 4; wounded. 8.

On the 3d, at 8 a. m., we moved with the brigade, passing through the enemy's works, about two miles southwest of Kenesaw Mountain, thence in a southeasterly direction past the Military Academy at Marietta, and crossing the railroad one mile south of Marietta, marching on the left on a line with the railroad about six miles, where General Stanley's division found the enemy in force. At 1 p. m. on the 4th we moved one mile to the left, where the brigade was put into position on the extreme left of the army, our regiment fronting nearly east. On the 5th the enemy had again disappeared from our front, and we marched at 8 a. m., passing through the enemy's works, thence to the right till we reached the railroad, on which we marched to Vining's Station, where General Hazen's brigade discovered the rear guard of the enemy across the Chattahoochee River at Pace's Ferry. Our regiment was put in position 200 yards to the left of the road leading to Pace's Ferry, on a ridge about 200 yards from the river, our right joining the Thirty-fifth and our left on the Twenty-fifth Illinois. We remained in this position until the 10th, when we moved about seven miles up the river and bivouacked for the night. At 7 a. m. on the 12th we moved two miles down the river, where a pontoon bridge was constructed, on which we crossed at 1 p. m. On the 13th the division went down the river to Pace's Ferry and drove the enemy from that place to enable the Fourteenth Corps to cross. When General Davis' division had crossed, we were relieved and went back to our former position. On the morning of July 18 the regiment marched on a road leading through Buck Head to Atlanta. On the 119th we went on a reconnaissance and found the enemy strongly intrenched on the south bank of Peach Tree Creek. Colonel Knefler's brigade succeeded in driving the enemy from his first line of works on the right of the road, and the Twenty-fifth Illinois being deployed as skirmishers, crossed the creek simultaneously and occupied the works on the left. The brigade followed the skirmishers, crossing the creek on a hastily constructed foot bridge. At dark we were relieved by General Newton's division, when we marched back to our position of the previous night and rested until morning. At 7 a. m. we marched about two and a half miles when we were put into position on the left of General Newton's division on the north side of Peach Tree Creek, in single line, our right connecting with the Fifteenth Ohio, and our left with the Eighty-ninth Illinois. On the morning of the gIst the enemy had again disappeared, and we marched southwest, [421] on a by-road passing through the first line of works in front of Atlanta, leading to the main Atlanta road. About one mile from the first line the enemy was again found in force. We were put into position within 200 yards of his line, where we put up works, two companies being deployed as skirmishers. On the morning of the 22d we found that the enemy had again evacuated his position, and we moved into the abandoned works and expected to enter the city without further opposition. But the enemy was found strongly posted behind heavy forts and breast-works around Atlanta, and our regiment being put into position within musket-range of the city, fortified and kept up a heavy fire from the skirmish line.

Up to this time the regiment was under command of Major Wilson, but he is now absent sick, and consequently unable to make his report, and I am indebted for the foregoing to Adjt. L. G. Nelson, of this regiment. I returned and took command on the 24th day of July, and from that time no movement was made till the evening of August 25, when, in accordance with previous orders, we moved out quietly with the rest of the brigade, and marched about four miles. The regiment marched with the brigade around and to the rear of Atlanta to Jonesborough, thence to Lovejoy's Station, where we lost I man wounded, and back to Atlanta, and went into camp four miles and a half southeast of the city, September 9.

Casualties 1 not before reported: Commissioned officers, wounded, 1. Enlisted men, killed, 1; wounded, 7.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

O. C. Johnson, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regimento Lieut. W. Mcgrath
, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.

1 Nominal list (omitted) covering the entire campaign shows 21 men killed, 2 officers and 67 men wounded, and 2 officers and 32 men captured or missing; total, 124.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 3rd (2)
18th (2)
September 15th, 1864 AD (1)
September 9th (1)
August 25th (1)
July 24th (1)
July 18th (1)
July 2nd (1)
June 6th (1)
June 5th (1)
23rd (1)
21st (1)
14th (1)
13th (1)
12th (1)
5th (1)
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: