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[227]

Major Stafford's report.

headquarters First regiment Ohio Volunteer infantry, camp near Knoxville, Dec. 8, 1863.
Captain John Crowell, Jr., A. A. G. Second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps:
I have the honor to report the part taken by the First regiment Ohio volunteers in the engagements of the twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth of November, near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

On the afternoon of the twenty-third, the regiment was consolidated with the Twenty-third Kentucky, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Langdon, of the First Ohio, and took its position, forming double column closed in mass, on the right and in rear of the front line. In this manner the regiment advanced until the line in front became hotly engaged with the enemy. At this moment I was ordered by Colonel Langdon to take two companies from the battalion and move to the right-oblique, for the purpose of protecting the flank. I did so, taking company B, First Ohio, and one company of the Twenty-third Kentucky, and pressed forward, taking possession of the enemy's line of breastworks on the right, being opposed only by a slim line of skirmishers. A few moments after we had occupied the enemy's works, they appeared upon our extreme right, advancing for the purpose, no doubt, of turning our flank. I deployed a line of skirmishers to cover the flank. At this moment Colonel Langdon came up with the balance of his command, drove the enemy back, and held the position. In this skirmish the regiment behaved nobly, losing one man killed and three wounded.

On the night of the twenty-third, the regiment was occupied in strengthening its position and doing picket-duty. Nothing worthy of note happened on the twenty-fourth. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, two companies of the regiment being on the skirmish-line were ordered to advance along with the balance of the skirmishers of the brigade. They advanced to within about three hundred yards of the enemy's works, under a sharp fire from their infantry and artillery. Soon after the two companies from the First rejoined their regiment, lines were then formed preparatory to an advance on the enemy's works. The First took position on the right in the front line deployed, the first line being under command of Colonel Langdon. About two o'clock the line advanced under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry. Their first line of works was carried by storm, and, after a few minutes' rest, the men pressed steadily forward up Missionary Ridge. About two thirds the way up, Colonel Langdon fell severely wounded whilst bravely leading his men forward. The brave Captain Trapp fell about the same time, badly wounded. Still the men moved steadily on, under a terrible fire, to the crest of the hill, driving the enemy out of their works, taking a great number of prisoners and two pieces of artillery. The crest of the hill gained, our position became very critical, Hazen's brigade being at that time the only one on the ridge, the enemy sweeping the ridge at every fire from his cannon on our right. Our men became considerably scattered in their advance up the ridge, and it was with a great deal of difficulty that a very great number of any one regiment could be gotten together. Hastily collecting about twenty men from my own regiment, the balance having inclined to the left and fighting nobly, and a few from other regiments, I moved to the right on the crest at a double-quick, driving the enemy away and capturing their first two pieces of artillery on our right. They retiring over the crest to the left and opening a flanking fire upon us again, I ordered a charge, and the enemy were driven from their new position. They now opened four pieces of artillery upon us about one hundred yards farther to the right, and also formed a line of infantry across the crest, for the purpose, no doubt, of driving us from the ridge. I now had fifteen men under Captain Hooker and about fifteen more from different regiments; they all seemed determined not to give a single inch, though they were opposed by four pieces of artillery and nearly a whole regiment of infantry. I gave the command “Forward,” and all started at doublequick. It seemed incredible, nevertheless it is true, that our thirty men went at them with a right good will. The enemy broke and retreated in every direction, leaving their four pieces of artillery and a great number of prisoners in our hands. This last battery was captured immediately in front of General Sheridan's left regiment, they being about one half the way up the ridge. We followed the enemy up, and drove them from several pieces of artillery and caissons that they were trying to get off with. We also captured one cannon and caisson and one wagon on the opposite crest of the hill. I then returned and rejoined my battalion, now under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Foy, Twenty-third Kentucky.

The regiment behaved most nobly, both officers and men. They all took example from our noble Colonel, who fell before the action was over. They vied with each other in deeds of heroism. I would respectfully recommend to your favorable consideration Captains Trapp, Hooker, Jones, and Patterson; Lieutenants Leonard, Thomas, Varian, Groves, Ward, Kuhlman, and Young; also Doctor Barr. They are efficient officers, and deserve the highest encomiums for their noble conduct. Lieutenant Wollenhaupt, who was killed while gallantly urging his men forward, was a good officer and beloved by all. His loss is severely felt in the regiment.

The loss in the regiment was heavy--one officer and eleven men killed, four officers and sixty-two men wounded, making the loss in the regiment since the twenty-third as follows: Officers — killed, one; wounded, four: men — killed, eleven; wounded, sixty-five. Total, eighty-one.

Upon the march from Chattanooga to this place nothing worthy of note occurred.

Respectfully submitted.

J. A. Stafford, Major Commanding First Ohio Volunteer Infantry.


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