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Doc. 13. the battles of Chickamauga, Tenn.

headquarters Third brigade, Second division, twenty-First Army corps, in camp at Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept. 27, 1863.
Major-General J. M. Palmer, commanding Second Division:
Sir: I have the honor to make a brief report of the part this brigade took in the recent engagements with the enemy. I crossed the Tennessee River at the mouth of Battle Creek, on the night of the third of September, by means of log rafts, sending most of my train by way of Bridgeport, six miles below, to cross on the bridge. I passed over without any loss of either men or property. My command consisted of the Sixth Ohio, Colonel N. L. Anderson; Eighty-fourth Illinois, Colonel L. H. Waters; Twenty-fourth Ohio, Colonel D. J. Higgins; Thirty-sixth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel O. H. P. Cary; Twenty-third Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel James C. Foy; aggregate officers and men. including staff, one thousand six hundred and eighty-seven.

To which were attached Batterries H and M, Fourth United States artillery, commanded by Lieutenants Cushing and Russell (ten pieces). In conjunction with the division, we marched thence to Shell Mound, to Squirrel Town Creek, and thence to Lookout Valley; and on the morning of the ninth instant, with the Twenty-fourth Ohio, Twenty-third Kentucky, and Eighty-fourth Illinois, I ascended, or rather climbed, upon Lookout Mountain, near Hawkins' farm, nine miles to the right of Chattanooga, and met and drove the enemy from the mountain, with no loss to my force. The enemy left the mountain to the north-east, via Summer City. Cavalry was all that I found on the mountain. As I reached the point of the mountain overlooking Chattanooga, the remainder of my brigade, with the first brigade, General Cruft's, and General Wood's division, were entering the city. I may here notice Captain Isaac N. Dryden, of the Twenty-fourth Ohio, and his company, for daring bravery in the advance, in ascending the mountain, and driving and punishing the enemy. With light but successful skirmishing near Graysville, Ringgold, and Chickamauga Creek, and a reconnoissance from the latter to Worthen's farm, to a pass in Pigeon Mountain, I was directed, on the morning of the nineteenth instant, to make a reconnoissance below Lee and Gordon's Mills, on the Chickamauga Creek, in the State of Georgia, which I did, and found the enemy in force, and on receiving orders I withdrew the brigade, joined the column, and with it moved upon the enemy, into an open woodland to the right of the road leading towards Chattanooga. My position happened to be on a small elevation, General Cruft's brigade to my left, and General Reynolds' division on my right. We met the enemy's lines about twelve o'clock M. My brigade was formed in double lines; the Twenty-fourth Ohio Colonel [74] Higgins, and Twenty-third Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Foy, in the front line; the Thirty-sixth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Cary, and the Eighty-fourth Illinois, Colonel Waters, in the rear line; the Sixth Ohio, Colonel Anderson, in reserve. On meeting the enemy with the front line, the troops on the right of my brigade gave way, and the Thirty-sixth Indiana was immediately changed to the right to defend the flank, and in a very few minutes the enemy passed so far by my right and rear, that the Sixth Ohio, as well as the Thirty-sixth Indiana, Twenty-fourth Ohio, and Twenty-third Kentucky, were all desperately engaged, and so continued for two long hours.

Here was the best fighting and least falling out of ranks (except the killed and wounded) I ever witnessed. Finally, the ammunition of these four regiments gave out, and there being none at hand (bad luck), they had to be retired. Now came the time for the Eighty-fourth Illinois to come into the breach. The Colonel changed front to the right, and with his brave and hitherto well-tried regiment, contested every inch of ground until compelled to give way before overwhelming numbers. The enemy having reached his then right flank (our former rear), all was retired in tolerably good order, which ended my fighting for the day. General Cruft's brigade, that had not yet exhausted its ammunition, nor been seriously engaged, now changed front to the enemy, engaged him, and came off master of that part of the field.

The ensuing night we laid upon our arms, without water or rest, and though the fatigues had been great, yet there were more to endure upon the coming day. Ammunition replenished, we were again in position for the fearful labors that awaited us on the holy Sabbath. Early, I was ordered to take position on the right of General Hazen's brigade, on the right of our division, which was done, and each regiment quickly threw before it barricades of logs and such materials as could readily be obtained; but before the action on our part of the line commenced, one of my regiments, the Twenty-third Kentucky, had been loaned to General Hazen, to fill out his lines, and with the other four, about nine o'clock, I was ordered to the left of General Baird's division (General Rousseau's old division) to strengthen his left. Before we arrived at the intended position in the line, the enemy came upon Baird's division, and consequently upon my command, in fearful numbers. I formed the four regiments, under a destructive fire from the enemy, in a woodland covered with a heavy underbrush, fronting nearly north, and at right angles with the main line of battle; the Thirty-sixth Indiana and Eighty-fourth Illinois in the front line, the Sixth and Twenty-fourth Ohio in the second line. Thug formed, we met the enemy and had a desperate, struggle, with fearful loss on both sides. The brigade advanced and was repulsed, advanced a second time and was repulsed, and with some forces that now came to our assistance, advanced the third time and held the woodland.

In this contest for mastery over the wood-land, fell many of my best and bravest officers and men. The dead and dying of both armies mingled together over this bloody field. Here I parted with my comrades in arms for ever, particularly old messmates of the Thirty-sixth Indiana, and whose remains I was unable to remove from the field. In this conflict, and amid the shifting scenes of battle, Colonel Waters, of the Eighty-fourth Illinois, with a part of his regiment, became detached from the brigade to the west of the road, and became mingled with the division of General Negley, who, it seems, shortly after ordered that portion of Colonel Waters' regiment, with at least a portion of his own command, towards Chattanooga, on the pretext of sending that of Colonel Waters as train guard; for particulars of which reference is made to the report of Colonel Waters. The residue of the Eighty-fourth Illinois regiment, under the command of Captain William Erwin, of Company C, with Lieutenants McLain, Scroggan and Logue, with parts of four companies, remained with the brigade,and on the left of, and with, the Thirty-sixth Indiana, did efficient and good service. Captain Erwin deserves notice for coolness and bravery during this fight, as well as the lieutenants above named. After the fighting had ceased, and with seeming success to our arms on this portion of the line-now about one or two o'clock P. M.--I withdrew the Thirty-sixth Indiana, Twenty-fourth and Sixth Ohio, with that portion of the Eighty-fourth Illinois under command of Captain Erwin, to near the position we had taken in the forenoon, near the right of General Hazen's brigade, and put my men in position to rest, and to await further developments; the Twenty-third Kentucky having remained with General Hazen at that point where I had left it in the morning. The enemy's sharpshooters and occasional cannonading kept up amusement for us in the meantime. It was here, near by me, that Colonel King, of the Sixty-eighth Indiana, fell a victim to the aim of a sharpshooter.

In these two days my command took a considerable number of prisoners and sent them to the rear. Amongst them was Captain E. B. Sayers, Chief Engineer of General Polk's corps. He surrendered to me in person, was put in charge of Lieutenant Scott, my Engineer, and sent back to General Thomas' corps hospital. Sayers was one of the Camp Jackson prisoners, and formerly a citizen of St. Louis, Missouri. I presume many of the prisoners taken on Sunday escaped.

About four o'clock a deserter came in and informed us that Breckenridge's division of the rebel army was advancing towards the same point where we had been in such deadly strife during the fore part of the day, which statement was soon verified by the roar of artillery and small arms in that direction, again moving [75] upon Johnson and Baird's shattered divisions ; about the same time a heavy force of the enemy commenced an attack to our right and rear, from towards Lee and Gordon's Mills, and from the direction we had come in the morning, and opened the most terrific cannonading I had heard during these battles, and in a few moments completely enfilading our entire rear. At fifteen minutes before five o'clock, Lieutenant Thomas, Major-General Palmer's Aid, brought me an order to “retire my command.” Which way or where to retire to was not an easy question to solve; the enemy fast approaching from the right and left towards our rear, their artillery fire meeting. I, however, immediately sent orders to the regiments there with me, to retire across the farm to our rear, passing to the right of the farm-house, in the following order: Sixth Ohio, Thirty-sixth Indiana, and that portion of the Eighty-fourth Illinois with me, the Twenty-third Kentucky to bring up the rear; portions of the Twenty-fourth Ohio were with each of those regiments. My artillery had been retired to the west of the farm. The forces that were to my left, when faced about. had to retire further to my right and cross the farm further north. When I commenced the move it seemed evident that my now small command would be swept away by the artillery fire of the enemy. To prevent breaking of ranks or any further panic, and to indicate to the men that this was a time for coolness and “steady habits,” with Lieutenant Boice, one of my Aidesde-Camp, he carrying the brigade flag at my side, we rode on the left of the front regiment, and in the direction from which the most terrible fire of the enemy emanated, until we passed the ordeal of danger. As soon as we passed the point of greatest danger, I halted the two front regiments, Sixth Ohio and Thirty-sixth Indiana, and into line faced them to the rear to defend and cover the retreat; this was done coolly and deliberately. General Palmer was here to consult with me and give directions. Here was the last I saw of Captain J. R. Muhleman. A. A. G. of the division, and I presume he fell near this place, for we were yet under a sharp fire. As soon as all was closed up and had passed this line, I again retired the force across another farm about one-half mile and ascended a high wooded hill, and re-formed, faced as before, now out of the range of the enemy's fire. It was now dusk, and as soon as all was closed up, and meeting General Cruft, with his brigade, here, we consulted together with our division commander, and retired to Rossville, about four or five miles distant, on the Chattanooga road, and rested for the night. It is due that I mention, in this place, an act of bravery and danger of my Aid, Lieutenant Boice. After we had passed over the first farm, fearing that my orders to Captain Erwin, of the Eighty-fourth Illinois, had not been definitely understood, and that he, with his command, might be left behind and lost, I directed Lieutenant Boice to return again over the field of death, and see that the captain was coming with his command. The direction was promptly obeyed, and the lieutenant made the trip and returned unharmed. My fears for his safety were inexpressibly relieved when I saw him safely return. For this and similar efficient service during all these battles, Lieutenant Boice deserves the most favorable notice. In the position assigned me, with my command, at and near Rossville, on the twenty-first, although I did no fighting, and a better situation could not have been given me, yet I lost one man killed and one wounded from the enemy's artillery. From thence we withdrew to our present position without further harm.

Lieutenant Russell, in command of M Company, Fourth United States artillery, on Saturday, the nineteenth, was placed in position in the centre of my front line, and did effective service. On Sunday he, as well as Lieutenant Cushing, commanding H Company, Fourth United States artillery, played a heavy part upon the enemy's columns. Those lieutenants, although they look like mere boys, yet for bravery and effective service they are not excelled, if equalled, in efficiency by any artillerist in the army. They have the credit of being in the last of the fighting, and then retiring, all but the loss of one piece, of Lieutenant Cushing's, that had been disabled during the engagement. Colonel Waters, with his brave regiment, deserves great credit for the manner in which the one commanded, and the other performed the perilous duties devolving upon them during the battles. The brave Colonel Nick Anderson, with his regiment, Sixth Ohio, performed a whole duty up to the evening of the nineteenth; he having been wounded during that day, was compelled to be relieved. The command there-after devolved on Major Erwin, who performed it highly satisfactory. Lieutenant-Colonel Carey, Thirty-sixth Indiana, brave to the last, received a severe wound during the battle on the nineteenth, and was succeeded by Major Trusler in command, who deserves a high meed of praise for continuing the good management of the regiment. Brave old regiment, your country will remember you when these trying times are over. Lieutenant-Colonel Foy and Twenty-third Kentucky, side by side with your comrades and brothers in arms from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, you did your duty well. Colonel Higgins and Twenty-fourth Ohio can boast of as bravo and dutiful officers and men as can be found in any army. Captain George M. Graves, my Assistant Adjutant-General, a brave and good officer, fell by my side mortally wounded on the nineteenth, while Tendering efficient service. He has since died. Rest in peace, brave soldier. Isaac Bigelow and George Shirk, two of my orderlies, were wounded on the twentieth, the latter seriously, and who was carrying the brigade flag when he fell. Corporal Dossey Lennin, of Company I, Twenty-fourth Ohio, seeing the flag fall, rushed to it, rescued it, and bore it off the field, as he did his own regimental colors on [76] two occasions the day before, when the color guards had been shot down. Such bravery and high bearing as this is highly deserving the notice of the appointing power. My grateful thanks are due to the brave officers and men of the brigade for their noble conduct through these trying scenes in behalf the right, and to put down the wrong. My staff officers, Captain Brooks, Inspector; Lieutenant Scott, Topographical Engineer; Lieutenant Livzey, Aid-de-Camp; Major Kersey, Medical Director; Captain Peden, Provost Marshal, with those heretofore mentioned, as well as my non-commissioned staff, have my grateful acknowledgments for their kind and efficient help during these laborious battles; and they, with me, unfeignedly lament the fall of our comrade and brother, Captain George M. Graves. Many officers and men of my command, that it is impossible to refer to especially, are equally deserving with the best of soldiers. Patriots, Captain Adams, Eighty-fourth Illinois; Captain Tinker, Sixth Ohio; Captain Wadsworth, Twenty-fourth Ohio; Lieu-tenant Patterson, Thirty-sixth Indiana; Lieu-tenant Hoffman, Twenty-third Kentucky, with fifty-seven brave enlisted men, fell on these battle-fields a sacrifice upon their country's altar. My heart sickens to contemplate these irreparable losses. To the suffering wounded: may the God of battles soothe their afflictions, heal and restore them again to usefulness.

The following table shows the casualties of the brigade, as near as is possible to ascertain at the present time:

Loss and Casualties.

Commander. command. killed. wounded. missing. total. aggregate.
Commissioned Officers. Enlisted Men. Commissioned Officers. Enlisted Men. Commissioned Officers. Enlisted Men. Commissioned Officers. Enlisted Men.
Colonel William Grose Headquarters 1     3     1 3 4
Lieutenant-Colonel Carey Thirty-sixth Indiana Vol. Infantry 1 13 8 89   17 9 119 128
Colonel Higgins Twenty-fourth Ohio Vol. Infantry   3 3 57   16 3 76 79
Colonel Anderson Sixth Ohio Vol. Infantry 1 13 7 94 1 16 9 123 132
Colonel Waters Eighty-fourth Illinois Vol. Infantry 1 12 2 81   9 3 102 105
Lieutenant-Colonel Foy Twenty-third Kentucky Vol. Infantry 1 10 3 49   6 4 65 69
Lieutenant Russell Battery M, Fourth U. S. A.   2   6       8 8
Lieutenant Cushing Battery H, Fourth U. S. A.   4 1 16   1 1 21 22
    5 57 24 395 1 65 30 517 547

Add to this the six hundred and fifty-nine loss at Stone river, with many other casualties in smaller engagements, it shows a fearful destruction of human life in one small command.

For further and more minute particulars, reference is made to the reports of regimental commanders herewith forwarded.

I have the honor to be

Your most humble servant,

W. Grose, Colonel, commanding Third Brigade. L. Boice, Lieutenant and A. A. D. C.

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