previous next

No. 149. reports of Cot. Morton C. Hunter, Eighty-second Indiana Infantry.

Hdqrs. Eighty-Second Regt. Indiana Vol. Infty., August 17, 1864.
Captain: In pursuance to orders, I herewith transmit to you a general statement of the part taken by my regiment, Eighty-second Indiana, being one of the regiments in said brigade, in the campaign from Ringgold, Ga., to our present position before Atlanta.

On the 7th day of May last we started out with the grand army of the Division of the Mississippi, composed of three departments, to wit, the Department of the Cumberland, the Department of the Tennessee, and the Department of the Ohio, to attack the rebel army under command of General Joseph E. Johnston, then occupying the town of Dalton, Ga., strongly intrenched. After some circuitous marches and slight skirmishing with the enemy, on the evening of the 9th of May we arrived in front of Buzzard Roost Gap, some six miles distant from Dalton, which was so strongly fortified that it was deemed imprudent to attempt to take it by storm. On the morning of the 12th we moved with the residue of our corps to a position near Resaca, Ga., by the way of Snake Creek Gap. On the 13th we moved and took position in line of battle to the left of General Johnson's division, of our corps. On the 14th we advanced our lines under a heavy skirmish fire until we reached a point about threequarters of a mile from the rebel fortifications, which were some two miles north of Resaca. While here General Judah's division, of the Twenty-third Army Corps, which was to the left and partly in our rear, advanced in two lines to attack and storm the rebel works. As the brigade of that division which was in our rear advanced over our lines, our brigade was ordered to follow and support it. The rebel fortifications were in a level valley under a hill, some 150 feet in height and about 400 yards from its base. In our advance we had to pass over the hill and through a dense undergrowth, which entirely obscured from view the rebel works, until we reached the brow of the hill. From there they could be plainly seen. In front of my regiment I had two companies as skirmishers, to wit, A and B, under command of Captain Whedon. As General Judah's troops advanced in front of my regiment, my skirmish line went forward and drove the rebel skirmishers into their works. When General Judah's first line reached a small ravine, some 200 yards from the rebel works, it stopped, and the men took shelter in it from a most murderous fire that was then being poured in upon them from the rebel lines, and commenced returning the fire. The second line being also similarly situated, advanced rapidly, and took shelter in the same ravine as best they could. My regiment, still advancing, had then just arrived at the foot of the hill, where it was exposed to the most terrific fire of shell, grape, canister, and musketry that I have ever experienced. The troops which we were supporting having stopped and taken shelter, I was placed in a most critical condition, as I could not advance to the ravine for shelter, the same being, already full, and having no orders to fall back I ordered my regiment behind a low fence, which was a short distance in our front, as the best protection that presented itself, but the artillery range was so short and the firing so accurate that the fence seemed no shield whatever, as the rails were knocked and scattered over the men by the bursting [768] shells as though they were so many clubs thrown amongst them. As we could do but little good, and being exposed to such a terrible fire, we were ordered by our brigade commander to fall back to the top of the hill, where we took position and threw up works. In this charge my regiment lost in killed and wounded 23 men and officers, which are embraced in the list hereto attached. On the next morning we moved farther to the right and took position on the line. So tightly were we drawing our lines around the enemy that during the night he evacuated his works. The next morning we moved out in pursuit and camped for the night at Resaca, unable to go farther in consequence of the bridge across the river at that point being destroyed. From thence we proceeded with the grand army in pursuit of Johnston's retreating forces, frequently skirmishing with him, and often forming lines of battle either to advance for the purpose of attacking him or receiving an attack from him, until May 24, at which time we were some ten miles beyond the Etowah River, when our brigade was detailed to guard the train, which we continued to do until June 11, when we again joined our corps and moved upon the enemy, who was in a strong fortified position some five miles from Kenesaw Mountain. He soon gave way, and we continued to drive him from one position to another until the 18th, when he again occupied strong works. Here my regiment fortified in a very exposed and dangerous position, but such was our extreme care that we had but 1 man wounded, to wit, Private John Linenweber, Company G, whose name appears in the list hereto attached. When we were once fixed we soon made the rebel works so uncomfortable that they were compelled to abandon them, which they did under the cover of the night. The next morning, the 19th, we pursued them until they entered strong works previously prepared at Kenesaw Mountain, where they again seemingly took root and offered a most stubborn resistance. Here for some twelve days we were exposed to a very heavy fire from shell and musketry, but we fortified with such care that we were protected from all direct shots and only suffered from the stray ones, as we passed from one point to another. The works of both parties all along the line were but a short distance apart, and it was almost instant death for one of either side to expose himself in the least, as sharpshooters were at work all the time. While here our loss was 5 in killed and wounded. Their names appear in the list hereto attached.

On the night of July 2 the enemy again gave way and we pressed him so closely that we compelled him to seek shelter in strong works previously prepared on either side of the Chattahoochee River. By degrees we advanced our lines and made his works so untenable that on the 9th of July, under the cover of the night, he withdrew all of his forces on the south side of the river and burned the railroad bridge across the same as he retired. In advancing our lines, Sergt. George W. King, Company A, was killed, and Private Barringer, Company B, wounded. On the afternoon of the 17th we crossed the river and commenced our advance upon Atlanta, meeting with serious resistance in crossing Peach Tree Creek, a small but deep stream with difficult banks. On the evening of the 19th my regiment and the Eighty-ninth Ohio were sent to support the Third Brigade, of Davis' division, of our corps, in forcing a crossing of that creek, which was accomplished after a very severe fight, in which Davis' brigade suffered terribly, but fortunately my regiment escaped almost unharmed, 3 men only being wounded; yet the firing was [769] very heavy, but upon my part of the line they mostly overshot us. The names of the wounded appear in the list. The next day was spent in advancing our lines and fortifying. Toward evening heavy fighting was heard on our left. The attack was intended for our corps, but they struck the line too far to our left and encountered Hooker's, Howard's, and one brigade of Johnson's forces, where they got most decently thrashed. On the night of the 21st the enemy again fell back, and on the next morning it was officially stated in camp that Atlanta was evacuated. We moved upon the place with high hopes and firm step, but when within some three miles of there it was ascertained that it was all a ruse of the enemy; that they still held the place, but had so managed as to make some of our superior officers believe that they had left, that they might attack and surprise us when carelessly marching into the city. Instead of going farther, we immediately formed our lines and confronted their fortifications with works equally as strong. On the 24th my regiment was sent to fortify and hold a hill some three-quarters of a mile in our front, which we did under a very heavy picket fire. While intrenching we lost 1 man killed and 1 wounded; their names appear in the list hereto attached. On the morning of the 31st we moved with our corps to the extreme right of the army, a distance of some six miles, where, after driving back the enemy, we took position in prolongation of the main line and threw up works. On 3d day of August my regiment, Eighty-ninth Ohio, and Twenty-third Missouri, all under my command, were sent out to the front in conjunction with the Second Brigade of our division, on a reconnaissance to ascertain the distance to and strength of the enemy's works. The duty was accomplished under heavy fire, and with considerable loss to some of the regiments. In mine but 1 man was hurt, to wit, John H. Sexton, Company H, badly stunned with a shell. On the 5th we were moved to a new position on the front line, and again had to fortify under heavy fire. On this day Morgan Jordan, Company C, was wounded. From the time we left Ringgold to the 6th of this month (when General Palmer, our corps commander was relieved) we have never been out of range of the, enemy's guns. During all that time the men and officers have been exposed to the rain and dust which, under a tropical sun, have been almost beyond the powers of human endurance; yet all believing that they were engaged in the most sacred and just cause upon earth, have marched, worked, and fought without a single murmur. In a general summary, such as I have given, it is an impossibility for me to do my officers and men justice for the labors that they have performed, but suffice it to say that all have done their duty nobly and faithfully, never faltering in the hour of peril and danger, for which I return to them my sincere thanks. When we started on the campaign we had 328 effective men and officers; we have lost in killed and wounded up to the 6th of this month, 39.1 We had at that date but about 200 men for duty. The loss over and above the 39 were those that became exhausted in the fatigue of the march and were back in hospital sick. Our brigade was commanded from the beginning of the campaign to July 15 by Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin, since by Col. Moses B. Walker, Thirty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry. For the efficient manner in which they have conducted the management [770] of the brigade, and the gallantry displayed by each in the handling of his troops upon the field of danger, I, in behalf of the men and officers of my regiment, return to each their sincerest thanks.

Respectfully submitted.

Morton C. Hunter, Colonel Eighty-second Regt. Indiana Vol. Infty. Capt. W. B. Curtis, Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.

Hdqrs. Eighty-Second Regt. Indiana Vol. Infty., Near Atlanta, Ga., September 8, 1864.
Captain: My report up to the 6th of August last, closing with Major-General Palmer's command of said corps, gave a general account of the part taken by my regiment in the great campaign for Atlanta to that date, but as the movements since have been but a continuation of those then in progress, I shall commence where I then left off and give a general summary of the part taken by my command to the present time. On the next day, to wit, August 7, my regiment, still occupying the front line southwest of the city, furnished all the pickets for one brigade, to wit, fifty-five in number, under command of First Lieut. Michael E. Bunger, Company F. On the same day the picket-line was ordered to be advanced, and I was directed to furnish fifty additional men from my regiment to support the line, which I did, and sent them out under command of Second Lieuts. E. J. Robinson, Company B, and J. K. McIlhenny, Company D. In advancing the line my men were exposed to a most deadly fire, the enemy being strongly intrenched ihi rifle-pits, but they accomplished their work without faltering, driving the enemy into his main works. Our loss was heavy, some of our bravest and best men having fallen. The killed and wounded numbered 22; their names appear in the list2 hereto attached. On the night of the 11th we moved still farther to the right, where we found the rebels in strong works, but we soon confronted them with those equally as formidable. While in that position we made two reconnaissances to the right and front, with two brigades from each division of our corps, for the purpose of ascertaining more thoroughly the position of the enemy, preparatory to making a grand flank movement, which we commenced on the evening of the 26th of August, the whole army moving in conjunction, except the Twentieth Corps, which fell back and occupied the crossings of the Chattahoochee River in strong works, the grand object of our move being to strike the Macon and Atlanta Railroad and sever the enemy's communications. On the evening of the 31st my regiment, with the Thirty-first and Eighty-ninth Ohio and Seventy-fifth Indiana, all under my command, aided by Captains Curtis, Whedon, and Grosvenor, of Colonel Walker's staff, moved and occupied the railroad at what is known as Morrow's, or Chapman's, Station, which I believe was the first point at which the road was reached. When we advanced the position was held by rebel cavalry, but they soon gave way before our skirmish line, which was under command of Major Jolly, of the Eighty-ninth Ohio. We spent the night in fortifying our position on the road, which was in the form of a square, one regiment being [771] placed on each side. The works were made very strong and would have withstood a heavy and prolonged fight. We remained in possession of the road until the next day about 11 o'clock, when we were ordered to join our division. While upon the road we burned one car and tore up and destroyed about one mile of the track.

About 1 p. m. of the 1st of September we moved with our corps against the enemy in the direction of Jonesborough. After driving him some two miles, he took shelter in strong works previously prepared, where he was attacked by different portions of the corps, the most difficult being that part of the line charged by the Third Brigade of our division, supported by our brigade. This charge was one of the most brilliant and successful of the war, as the enemy were driven from strong works and sustained heavier losses than we did. While supporting the Third Brigade in this bloody charge our brigade was sheltered by the position of the ground, and, therefore, we sustained but slight loss, the shots mostly passing over our heads. In my regiment only 2 men were wounded. Their names appear in the list. During that night heavy and continued sounds similar to artillery were heard in the direction of Atlanta, which proved to be the exploding of ammunition, the rebels having evacuated the city. On the next morning it was discovered that the rebels had retreated from our front, leaving us in possession of the field. Thus ended the greatest and most successful movement of the war, which resulted in the capture of Atlanta, the great prize of the campaign, and without boasting I feel proud of the part taken by the Fourteenth Corps, and especially that of our division. The campaign lasted four months and one day, the most protracted that the world's history will ever record, and notwithstanding the heat, rain, and dust to which the officers and men have been exposed and the enormous amount of labor performed by them, frequently broken of their rest for several nights in succession, still they appear as healthy and far more cheerful than when the campaign began. I attribute it alone to the fact that they feel that they are engaged in the most sacred cause upon earth — that of preserving their Government-and that their labors have been crowned with success. In closing, I beg leave to express to all my superior officers the feelings of satisfaction of the officers and men of my command for the able and efficient manner in which the troops have been handled and the campaign conducted, which has resulted in the most brilliant achievement ever won by American arms.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Morton C. Hunter, Colonel Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Capt. W. B. Curtis
, Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.

1 Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officer and 5 men killed, 2 officers and 31 men wounded.

2 Nominal list (omitted) shows 3 men killed and 19 men wounded.

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 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.
September 8th, 1864 AD (1)
August 17th, 1864 AD (1)
September 1st (1)
August 26th (1)
August 7th (1)
August 6th (1)
August 3rd (1)
July 15th (1)
July 9th (1)
July 2nd (1)
June 11th (1)
May 24th (1)
May 9th (1)
May 7th (1)
24th (1)
19th (1)
14th (1)
13th (1)
5th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: