"...about 4 O.C. PM. our troops were quickly formed in three lines of
battle - & as some of our artillery had not yet arrived from Columbia - our
battery was divided in sections with the corps - one going to the right &
the one of which I was a member remaining in the center. Our section was ordered
to go out in front of the advance line & commence firing. We were soon in
position - guns loaded, & at the command fire! sent two shells screaming
through the air in the direction of the fortified little city.
This was a signal for our men to prepare for a charge all around the lines
- & a deafening roar of artillery - attended with the bursting of shells
& whizzing of minnies - from the enemies guns, was heard in return. Our
pieces fired as rapidly as possible & until our first line of battle passed
- then limbering up - fell in their rear to join in the charge. This was the
first & only instance during the war in which we were ordered to charge as
artillery - but Hood's intention on this occasion was to take everything by
storm - & had he been sucessful - when a good position for artillery had
been reached - we would have been ready to plant our guns. Our advance exteneded
down an open field, over a small ravine & railroad - up an inclined plain in
full view of the enemy. Our horses had become almost wild with excitement -
rearing & pitching to free themselves from their drivers - & escape the
'hailstorm' of shot & shell, that was tearing up the ground around them.
In crossing the railroad, one of the wheel tugs of my gun broke which
necessitated a short halt. While I was assisting the wheel driver to mend it - a
minnie ball from the enemies gun, hit my canteen, mashing one side into the
other - I was excited! & did not feel the jar. My companion hearing the
sharp crack - asked - Sam didn't that strike you? I said no. & was not aware
of what a protector it had been until sometime afterward...We had moved but a
few paces from where the breakage occured - when this same wheel driver was hit
on top of the head with a fragment of shell & fell forward between his
horses - lodging upon the bridle reins & end of pole. He was born from the
field & place filled by one of the cannoniers. We succeeded in driving the
enemy from their first & second line of works but our first line of battle
becoming so decimated by the continous hail of shell, grape, canister &
minnies into their ranks - had to be filled up by the second & third. Not
being able to obtain a position, from which we could do execution, without
endangering the lives of our own men - the battery was halted at the first line
of works - but our infantry kept steadily on - on! until their enemy was driven
behind the last line of entrenchments. We were told to remain in place, subject
to orders - & I assure you the continual riar of shot, shell & the sight
of our comrads falling around us - made our position anything but a pleasant
one. To be a silent & helpless spectator, when death in all its horridness,
is hovering over you - listen to the cries of the wounded & dying as they
are being 'Carted' off the field - requires greater nerve - than to face the
cannons mouth in heat of battle.
Our Infantry after reaching the last line of entrenchments - met with such
stubborn & overwhelming resistance, & failing to rout their adversaries,
dripping down in the outer ditch, where they kept up firing at each other across
the works - by elevating the breech of their rifles, with one hand - at the same
time crouching as low to the earth as possible, to avoid exposing their bodies.
Some of our infantry told me after the battle - the Feds threw shovels &
picks over the works at them, & were hurled back from whence they came, with
as much force as possible.
The outer ditch was filled with our men sweltering in their own blood while
the inner one in like manner was filled with the enemies dead & wounded.
Some time after dark our company moved back a short distance, & at 9 O.C. PM
firing ceased all around the lines, except occasional sharpshooting..."
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Gordon County commission votes to proceed with battlefield project
Lydia Senn, Calhoun Times
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners has voted to move forward in an agreement with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to construct the Resaca Battlefield Park.During a special called meeting held Nov. 20, they signed a letter of intent with the DNR that would allow the county to gain control over $3.4 million in state funds to create the Resaca Battlefield Park.Originally, the DNR was helmed with the responsibility of creating the park and visitors center. However, according to a statement made by David Freedman, Chief Engineer of the Department of Natural Resources at a prior meeting due to the state’s economic situation the park was not a feasible endeavor.The county will now be responsible for maintaining the park, keeping it staffed and setting up exhibits. The county will also be allowed to profit from the park by charging admission.According to Commissioner Dick Gordon, the county will cut costs by having memorabilia on loan from members of the community and from the Historical Preservation Society.Gordon also believes the battlefield park will be a thriving destination in Gordon County.“This gives us an opportunity to put a road into Gordon County,” said Gordon.While the park will have eventual economic benefits, commission Chairman Allen Long says he feels the county has been pushed into the project.“I think we don’t like the fact the state has forced Gordon County into the situation we are in,” said Long.The state offered the county the funds with the understanding that county and the city of Resaca would have to contribute a combined $1 million to construct a road into the park area. The City of Calhoun has agreed to provide water services and power lines to the site.Long said if the county could not gain a bid under the $3.4 million cost estimate, the program would not move forward.“I do think the Resaca Battlefield is a worthy project,” Long said.The approval of the letter of intent was voted in 3 to 1 with one abstention.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Colonel William R. Creighton was a dapper soldier, he had enlisted along with the rest of the 7th when Lincoln issued the call to arms in the spring of 1861 to preserve the Union. Creighton, born in Pittsburg, PA, had moved to Cleveland, OH, a few years prior and found employment with the Cleveland Herald. He had earned a name for himself in the local social circles as commander of the Cleveland Light Guard Zouaves, a drill team inspired by Elmer Elsworth's efforts, and with the call to arms, quickly raised a company for service. Creighton would find himself a Captain in the newly formed 7th Ohio Infantry. Seeing service first in Virginia, by the late summer of 1863, Creighton was Colonel of the regiment and bound for Chattanooga, TN. In the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Creighton's brigade commander, Col. Charles Candy, was injured giving Creighton command of the brigade, which he would command for a few days before being mortally wounded at Ringgold Gap, moments after his friend, Liet. Col. Orrin J. Crane was killed. Creighton's body along with Crane's would be carried back to Cleveland and buried side by side.
The 7th Ohio never recoved from the fight at Ringgold, and refused to reenlist in the spring of 1864, feeling they had been needlessly sacrificed at Ringgold.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
About dark a small body of cavalry dashed in ahead of us and captured and carried off one piece of artillery and Colonel John F. House, General Maney's assistant adjutant-general. We will have to form line of battle and drive them back. Well, we quickly form line of battle, and the Yankees are seen to emerge from the woods about two hundred yards from iis. We piomptly shell off those sides of bacon and sacks of hard-tack that we had worried and tugged with all day long. Bang, bang, siz, siz. We are ordered to load and fire promptly and to hold our position. Yonder they come, a whole division. Our regiment is the only regiment in the action. They are crowding us; our poor little handful of men are being killed and wounded by scores. There is General George Maney badly wounded and being carried to the rear, and there is Moon, of Fulcher's battalion, killed dead in his tracks. We can't much longer hold our position. A minnie ball passes through my Bible in my side pocket. All at once we are ordered to open ranks. Here comes one piece of artillery from a Mississippi battery, bouncing ten feet high, over brush and logs and bending down little trees and saplings, under whip and spur, the horses are champing the bits, and are muddied from head to foot. Now, quick, quick; look, the Yankees have discovered the battery, and are preparing to charge it. The limber, horses and caisson to the rear. No. 1 shrapnel, load, fire—boom, boom; load, ablouyat—boom, boom. I saw Sam Seay fall badly wounded and carried to the rear. I stopped firing to look at Sergeant Doyle how he handled his gun. At every discharge it would bounce, and turn its muzzle completely to the rear, when those old artillery soldiers would return it to its place—and it seemed they fired a shot almost every ten seconds. Fire, men. Our muskets roll and rattle, making music like the kettle and bass drum combined. They are checked; we see them fall back to the woods, and night throws her mantle over the scene. We fell back now, and had to strip and wade Chickamauga river. It was up to our armpits, and was as cold as charity. We had to carry our clothes across on the points of our bayonets. Fires had been kindled every few yards on the other side, and we soon got warmed up again.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"After another battle I am permitted by Providence to write you announcing
my safety. I would have written sooner but the movements – backwards, I am sorry
to say, prevented. We have met with one of the most severe and unaccountable
defeats of the whole war. There are only two reasons I can assign.
1st. the necessarily great lengths of our lines, and the scarcity of troops, the
number being entirely inadequate to its defence.
2nd. An unaccountable panic seizing the whole left of the army.
As far as the results are concerned other than the loss in the battle, I can't think they are other then would have been yielded without a struggle. There is no doubt that Genl. Bragg intended to have fallen back on the night of the 25th. Nov. if he had not been attacked and forced to yield the position.
I will write you a full account of the battle as soon as I have time, I saw most of it with my own eyes, and can speak from knowledge.
It has been reported and I hear circulated as far as Mobile that our Brigade was the first to give way. If you hear any one say so, contradict it at once. Breckenridge's troops ( a little more than his Division) gave way fully 15 minutes before our Division did. And our Brigade did not give way until both of the Brigades on our right and left had gone, and the enemy not only firing upon our left flank with small arms, but had already turned our own guns upon us, and fired several rounds enfilading our line. The enemy was driven back every time in our front with severe loss and did not reach our line until they formed a line on the hill on our left (which they had taken)
perpendicular to ours, and marched down on our left flank. The loss in the army
will amount to about 5,000 – principally prisoners. The right of the army
repulsed the army very handsomely. I was proud to have been in the left at
Chickamauga, but I am extremely mortified to have been there at Chattanooga.
I feel very much mortified at the result of the battle. We ought never
to have been driven away by a front attack.
The Yankees moved up to the attack in most gallant style. I don't think any feat of the war can equal their attack on Missionary Ridge. If our men had only held their ground it would have been but child's play, however to have whipped them, so strong was our position naturally. But instead of this, they fled panic stricken before the enemy. If any one deserved any credit, I believe our Brigade does, but the whole army deserves censure. They ignominiously left a field which could have been theirs
had they but nerved their hearts to take it.
When I saw the men running I could not believe that they were the heroes of Shiloh, Perryville, Belmont, Oak Hills, Murfreesboro and Chickamauga. Can our past virtues and successes cover our present defeat? The Banner of the proud army of Tenn. is trailing in the dust. I am perfectly willing to trust to them to raise it again triumphantly in the face of a now victorious foe. Our men feel their disgrace and are
determined to wipe it out in blood. Our next battle will be a glorious victory
to our now dishonored arms.
I can account for our defeat only as a judgment of God. I can see no other cause. God only could have given our foes victory when such great advantages of human intellect and position were given us.
I am glad to say that our army is not all demoralized, and as soon as
we can supply our losses in material and collect our stragglers we will be
ready to face the foe and pay him dearly for his temerity. "
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
"Our whole brigade only numbered about fifteen hundred men, while the whole of Hooker's Corps was rapidly advancing on us. General Walthall was upon the ground early and changed our front...I ordered my men behind rocks, trees and every cover that nature afforded, and instructed them not to fire until the enemy moved out in the open space in my immediate front. In the meantime the Federal troops advanced...The slaughter was terrible on both sides. I
saw our color bearer shot down within a few feet of me, but the colores were
immediately taken up and held by one of the color guard...General Walthall had ordered me early in the morning "to hold my post till hell froze over," and thinking at this juncture that the ice was about five feet over it, I went up the lines and ordered my regiment to retire...and reform in the rear of the Cravens House..."
Monday, November 23, 2009
"About 4:30 o'clock the enemy formed two lines of battle with a skirmish line in front, and began to move forward. About five o'clock, their skirmishers came within range of ours, and the fight commenced. Out advanced troops were soon driven in by their line of battle, who moved steadily to the attack. Their first line was checked by our fire, but the second line coming to their assistance, together they moved forward in spite of our fire, which was not heavy enough to deter them, and came in contact wuth the reserve line of skirmishers. Both regiments behaved gallantly, many of them fighting hand to hand; but the odds against them were irresistible, and Lieut. Col. Butler, 28th Ala., Commanding, in order to save his regiment, was forced to give the order to retire. The other regiment, 24th Alabama, had already given way. Had they contended much longer, they would have been killed or captured to a man, as the lines to their right and left had broken, and the enemy were getting to their rear. The 28th lost a good many, the 24th fewer-in all about 175 men. Having obtained possession of our picket line and the hill mentioned, the enemy seemed satisfied, and pushed forward no further. Our skirmishers retired about 350 or 400 yards and halted. Whilst the enemy advanced large numbers immediately in front of the hill to protect and hold it, he set large parties to work upon it, building breastworks and batteries for their artillery. In rear also was a large reserve force, and for the security of this point to which they seemed to attach much importance they must have held in front at least 6,000 men, exclusive of the two lines in front."
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Of the Army of Northern Virginia, Shaara writes:
They are rebels and volunteers. They are mostly unpaid and usually
self-equipped. ... It is Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. Though there are many
men who cannot read or write, they all speak English. They share common
customs and a common faith...
Of the Army of the Potomac:
It is a strange new kind of army, a polyglot mass of vastly dissimilar men,
fighting for union. There are strange accents and strange religions and
many who do not speak English at all. Nothing like this army has been seen
upon the planet. ... They are volunteers: last of the great volunteer armies,
for the draft is beginning that summer in the North.
Aside from beating these two descriptions up with big sticks of scholarship that, admittedly, have come largely since Shaara wrote, I have another important question. Would the modern neo-Confederate movement agree with this characterization of the Confederate Army anymore?
I pose this stemming from Jonathan Sarris' lovely characterization of the neo-Confederate movement's recent obsession with finding -- creating -- "Black Confederates" as an effort to find a "multicultural" Condfederacy and thereby counteract their well-deserved stigma of racism. Has the Anglo-Saxon Protestant A.N.V. been replaced by the equally mythological enlightened paradise of a rainbow coalition army fighting for libertarian values?
My my, What would the old boys think?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I think that material culture has two important interpretative uses. 1) Strategic. As anyone who has been on one of Jim Ogden's staff rides at Chick-Chatt can attest, the materiel of the Confederate soldier is a window into the political economy of the Confederacy, Chattanooga being the gateway into the industrial heartland of the Confederacy. A Johnny writing home about the abundance of goods - and, yes, that happens despite mythology - reveals the extent of the (to quote The Ogden) "Confederate military-industrial complex."
2) Social. What do clothes say about the man? What prewar associations did soldiers make between cloth and status? Is the fact that the Confederacy resorts to the cotton-wool blended jean cloth vice the all-wool uniforms of regulation (and their U.S. counterparts) significant? I think it is, particularly with this army emerging from a southern slave society. How do Confederate soldiers, particularly those from elite backgrounds, react when they are issued uniforms of jean cloth? Is it degrading to wear the material often associated with "jeans wearers," a term antedating "redneck" and "hillbilly"? Is it more degrading when, after hauling off large quantities of jeans from the 1862 Kentucky Campaign, slaveowning Confederates are issued suits of the same goods marketed as "negro cloth" before the war?
This is, also, something I've been playing around with recently. I mentioned a while back poking around on a project on the relationship of the 5th Ky. Inf. to the rest of the Orphan Brigade. That issue of interpreting material culture, using it for more than its purely descriptive, "wonder what it was like..." value. In a paper I'm prepping for the Appalachain Studies Association's meeting in the Spring in Dahlonega, I bring out Kentucky Confederates' association of cloth and class. One brief illustrative point from my paper, my take on an account of the 5th Ky. joining the rest of the Brigade, which by that time was uniformly uniformed in what is now known as the "Columbus Depot" jacket.
"'Say, there backwoods, bawled one [Orphan], 'any more butternut jeans where you
came from?' And such attacks came quick and fast." Such attacks, of
course, associated both class - jeans coats - and space - the backwoods - with
the men of the Fifth Kentucky and as a consequence with the mountains as a whole
without regard to material evidence of the Fifth's actual range of sartorial
Lee, if I remember correctly, has found some similar evidence of disdain for rough jeans from his South Carolinians. Any more we're aware of?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Green challenges us to think of military schools not as bastions of Southern landed wealth and privilege as often seen in the late nineteenth- and twentieth centuries, but instead as academies of discipline, order, hard work, and a middling position of both subordination to higher authority and some independent command -- all demanded of both junior officers in the field and of the professional men of the South.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
CCNMP Study Group 2010 tours March 12 and 13, 2010.
Friday Morning: Bragg in Command, part IBy Bus, we will trace Confederate Commander Braxton Bragg’s movements to the field between September 9th and 19th, discussing his command decisions and the information he had at the time. Stops will include Lee and Gordon’s Mills, Rock Springs, Lafayette, Leet’s Tanyard.
Friday Afternoon: Bragg in command, part IIBy Bus and foot. We begin with a hike down to Thedford Ford, discuss Bragg reaching the field on the 19th and subsequent decisions that day, then hike back. From there we will discuss the morning confusion with Polk, the decision to order everyone into action, and later meetings. We will visit Brotherton Field and the 20th HQ site near Winfrey Field.
Saturday Morning: Cleburne AttacksOn foot. While Breckinridge’s Division overwhelmed John Beatty’s Brigade and nearly broke through into Thomas’ Rear, the southern end of Kelly Field was assailed by DH Hill’s other Division, under Pat Cleburne. Cleburne’s men had a difficult fight that morning, and it was not the command’s best performance. We will examine Polk’s attack, Wood’s delay and wandering, and finally, Deshler’s desperate action at noon. We will visit Polk’s tablet on Alexander Bridge Road, move overland to Wood’s approximate departure point, track his brigade’s attack with Stewart into Poe field (visit Alabama Monument) and work our way up the ridge to Deshler’s mortuary monument.
Saturday Afternoon: Final defense of Battle line RoadOn foot, we will examine the defense of Battle line road, and the final retreat from that position on September 20th. We will focus primarily on Baird’s Division and the difficulties they experienced as they tried to disengage, on how well the overall retreat was managed, and on the nature of the final Confederate attack in this sector.