No. 153. reports of Lieut. Col. Frederick W. Lister, Thirty-first Ohio Infantry.
Hdqrs. Thirty-First Ohio Vet. Vol. Infantry, Near Atlanta, Ga., August 17, 1864.Captain: In compliance with orders from the colonel commanding the brigade, the subjoined report of the part taken by the Thirtyfirst Ohio Veteran Volunteers during the campaign commencing May 7 up to the 5th instant is respectfully submitted. As the regiment was commanded by Col. M. B. Walker for the greater part of the time for which the report is required, I am unable to furnish more than a mere outline of operations. The regiment marched from Ringgold on the 7th of May and was ordered on picket in the vicinity of Tunnel Hill. On the 8th arrived in front of Buzzard Roost Gap and remained in position until the 12th, when it marched to Snake Creek Gap, some miles east of its former position. On the 14th the regiment was deployed on the right of the front line of the brigade, and, being ordered to send out skirmishers, details of veterans from each company, under command of Capt. W. H. Wade, were advanced onto a ridge in front of the open field, then occupied by the brigade. The skirmishers were soon engaged, and soon after the whole line was ordered to advance. Upon reaching the crest of the second ridge a line of troops, said to belong to Hascall's brigade, of Judah's division, Army of the Ohio, advanced from the woods in our rear, and passing our front line, advanced some paces in its front. The regiment being then ordered forward, upon reaching the crest of a third ridge, it was exposed to a heavy fire of artillery from batteries planted upon hills on the opposite side of a valley and distant about 500 yards. The word being still “forward,” the regiment rushed down a nearly precipitous declivity and advanced to the edge of a creek, over which the front line had already struggled. The enemy here opened with musketry and two batteries, but the regiment gallantly dashed into the creek and was emerging from it when the first line (Hascall's troops), unable to maintain their advance under so murderous a fire, fell back, and a portion of it passed through and over the right wing of the regiment, which was not protected by the banks of the creek, which on the left were high and the water deep. A portion of the regiment regained the ridge and there reformed. The remainder were, by order of the colonel commanding, engaged in keeping up a fire on the enemy's works, under cover of which the men retired singly or in small squads and rejoined that portion of the brigade which had been halted on the ridge. After remaining in support of batteries which were then brought up to the front until the following morning the brigade was moved to position on the right and in reserve, and remained there until the occupation of Resaca by the army. On the 16th crossed the Oostenaula River, passing through Calhoun toward Adairsville. Marched on the 17th and 18th. On 19th encamped four miles from Kingston. On the 23d forded the Etowah River. On the 26th were ordered to escort train to Kingston. Returned with it to Burnt Hickory on the 29th and encamped on Pumpkin Vine Creek. Guarded the trains of Fourteenth Corps until the 1st of June, when the regiment marched to a position three miles from Burnt Hickory. On the 5th camped eight miles from Acworth. On the 8th the regiment was detached from the brigade and sent as  escort to Cartersville. On the 15th rejoined the brigade, which was then in position in line. On the night of the 16th six companies were ordered to build works for a battery on the skirmish line, which were executed by daylight. On the 18th moved up to within 200 yards of the enemy's works and sent out 100 men as skirmishers, who, in conjunction with details from other regiments, ultimately drove the enemy from their works. On the 19th moved through the enemy's abandoned position and formed in front of Kenesaw Mountain. Skirmishers being ordered to the front, two companies, under the command of Captains Wade and Stone, advanced to the edge of a piece of woods and soon became engaged with the enemy's skirmishers. The regiment was ordered to support them, and four companies were advanced to the edge of an open field, in which the deployed line had been very imprudently halted by an officer and the inspector of the Second Brigade. So dangerous did their position become that it was only by the personal gallantry of Captain Stone that his men could be supplied with ammunition. It was not deemed prudent to relieve the company until after dark. On the 20th camped in the second line of the brigade. On the night of the 22d was placed in the front line, where it remained under a perpetual fire until the 26th, when it marched to a position on the right of the corps and bivouacked for the night. On the 27th formed at the base of a hill under a very heavy fire of artillery, under which it ascended the hill and was ordered behind works constructed by the Twentieth Corps. Remained there until the 30th; was then advanced to relieve General Geary's division. Remained there until the 3d of July, when, Marietta having been evacuated, the brigade moved forward and took up a position south of the town. On the 5th fortified strongly on the railroad about ten miles from Atlanta. On the 9th advanced a quarter of a mile and fortified strongly. On the 10th marched to Pace's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee River; remained in camp until the 17th; crossed the river on pontoons and camped in reserve. On the 19th was ordered out, “stripped for action;” advanced on Peach Tree Creek and reconnoitered for a crossing; in the evening was ordered to cross the creek, following the Eighty-ninth Ohio and Eighty-second Indiana; crossed without loss and fortified during the night. On the 20th advanced to the crest of the hill, and on the 21st the regiment was ordered to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy. Companies K and G, under the command of Captains Wade and Stone (who, although acting as field officers, gallantly led their own companies), were ordered forward as skirmishers, and soon developed the enemy's position. Companies F, Lieutenant Carlile, and H, Captain Wilkin, were ordered forward in support. Several casualties occurred during this reconnaissance, and the regiment was relieved by the Twenty-third Missouri. On the 22d moved forward on Atlanta and formed in line opposite some heavy works in front of the city; fortified in the third line of the brigade. On the 24th was detached with Eighty-ninth Ohio, Colonel Carlton commanding, in support of General King's brigade, of Johnson's division; constructed works on the second line, and had orders to re-enforce any attacked point; was exposed to heavy artillery fire from the 23d to the 30th, the 64and 20 pounders having a perfect range on the camp. On the 3d of August marched to the right — of the Army of the Tennessee; in the evening crossed Utoy Creek; advanced through thick brush and woods, and at night-fall commenced fortifying; completed works by daylight. On the 4th moved in support of a portion of  the brigade; ordered to advance skirmish line; returned to former position at night. On the morning of the 5th, the skirmish line being ordered to advance and endeavor to capture the enemy's rifle-pits, was strengthened to 150 men. Captain Stone, brigade officer of the day, having arranged a plan of attack, moved forward his line until within 100 yards of the enemy, and, at the bugle-call, in conjunction with the skirmishers of the other brigades of the Third Division, dashed into the rifle-pits and captured nearly the enemy's entire line. The detail from the regiment brought in 2 commissioned officers and 54 enlisted men, with a loss of but 1 killed and 3 wounded, a result mainly owing to the skill, coolness, and, when necessary, daring bravery of the officer in charge of the line. I am happy to be able to express my satisfaction with the regiment during the time I have had the honor to command it. Recruits have vied with veterans in uncomplaining endurance of the privations of this trying campaign, and have in most cases emulated them on the battle-field. I have to deplore the loss of Captain Cahill, who was instantly killed by a sharpshooter on the 23d of June. The service has lost a fine officer and his comrades a courteous gentleman and true friend. I cannot close without making mention of the services of Captains Wade and Stone, respectively acting lieutenant-colonel and major. Ever ready in time of danger, their skill, coolness, and courage render them valuable officers upon all occasions when those qualities are most wanting. Accompanying will be found a list of casualties1 during the campaign to the 5th instant. I am, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hdqrs. Thirty-First Ohio Vet. Vol. Infantry, Atlanta, Ga., September 9, 1864.Captain: In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters, I beg to submit the following supplemental report of the operations in which my regiment took part from the 5th ultimo to the close of the campaign. August 6, regiment took up position on the right of First Division in the second line. 7th, was ordered to form on the right of First Division in advanced position, and fortified during the night. The position was one of great danger, and several valuable lives were lost and many men wounded before the regiment was relieved from the line. During the night the enemy came out of their works to attack, but were soon driven back. Remained in first works until the night of the 11th, when regiment occupied works built by part of Second Division. Remained in that position until the evening of the 26th. During this interval of comparative quiet the men benefited by the rest; the enemy shell the camps occasionally, but do no injury; picket-firing almost entirely ceased, and desertions from the enemy were numerous. At 7 p. m. received orders to march at any moment. The enemy having intimation of the movement open fire upon us with shell and case-shot, throwing them with great accuracy, but the men, being well protected, were unhurt. Marched at 3 a. m. August  27; camped as guard to the train. 28th, rejoined division; cross West Point railroad, and camp in rear of Second Brigade. 30th, marched at 7 a. m. and took up position about three miles from Flint Creek; threw up works. 31st, advanced a mile; threw up works; at 1 p. m. cross Flint River and threw, up works in woods in view of roads on which enemy's columns were passing; at 6 p. m. the regiment, with the Eighty-second Indiana, move out on the railroad to Morrow's Station, to re-enforce Eighty-ninth Ohio; build works during the night on the railroad and prepare to hold them against any force; the energy displayed by both officers and men in constructing works, and general soldierly bearing of the entire command, was praiseworthy in the highest degree. At 10 a m. on the 1st of September ordered to abandon the works and rejoin the brigade, and at 3 p. m. march in rear of the division as guard to hospital train; encamped three miles from railroad as guard to hospitals. Rejoin the brigade at 10 a. m. on the 2d and take position near railroad and about one mile from Jonesborough. Remained until the 6th, when the command marched as rear guard on its return toward Atlanta. The regiment has, during this campaign, had to contend with many difficulties. The short time which elapsed between the reorganization of the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteers and the commencement of the campaign gave but little opportunity to drill and discipline the recruits; nevertheless they have vied with the veterans in endurance and gallantry, and give great promise for the future. The casualties extending over the whole period of active operations fully equal those of a general engagement. I have in my previous report made mention of such officers as distinguished themselves, and with one solitary exception, already reported, the line officers have sustained their former reputations. Assistant Surgeons Varney and Chapel have labored faithfully whilst with the regiment. 2 I have the honor to be, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,