Letter written by Private Cecil Fogg of Company B, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to his father from Chattanooga, TN. Fogg mentions the recent battle at Chattanooga. He has been at work clearing the ground for a National Cemetery between Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge, and can hear the Engineer Corps blasting as they work on the road around Lookout Mountain. The troops are on reduced rations until the railroad is completed. General William T. Sherman’s 15th Corps recently passed through as well as General Joseph Hooker’s troops. Fogg describes them as being in “destitute condition.” He mentions a letter printed in the Nashville Union from the 2nd Minnesota Regiment, which describes the battle at Missionary Ridge on November 24th and “straightens up” a misleading account written by a member of the 6th Indiana. He states that the 11th Ohio’s flag was the first one in the Confederate works, though it was his division led by Absalom Baird which engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat.
Chattanooga, Tenn. Dec. 21st 1863
I rec’d yours of the 11th yesterday. There is nothing of importance going on here at present. I have written to you twice since the last battle [Chattanooga]. I also sent you a Nashville Union and Louisville Journal, and will send another by this mail. The Union is the anti-slavery paper of this section, and sells the quickest among the soldiers in this army. But the news dealers will persist in bringing on Nashville papers, Dispatches, Louisville Journals, etc., and consequently they have large quantities of them left over which they have to sell at reduced prices for waste papers, etc. The price of newspapers has been reduced from 10 to 5 cents here lately. There are no
sutlers here, and therefore we have to do without some little necessary articles as well as conveniences. I wish you would send me a skim of thread in a letter the next time you write. The Engineer Corps are at work day and night at the road around Lookout [Mountain]. We could hear them blasting rock all night last night. The river is up higher than it has been before since we came here, and it has been very cold for a few days. About a week ago there was a hard thunder shower, with some of the loudest thunder that I ever heard. It rained 2 or 3 days and then turned in very cold. I was at work one day last week clearing off the ground for a National Cemetery. One-hundred of our regt. done the first day’s work on it. It includes almost 30 acres
and is on a knoll about halfway between Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge, to the right of “Orchard Knob,” the Knoxville R.R. running just on this side of it. We are still on ¾ rations, without any prospect of any more than that until the R.R. is completed to this place. Sherman’s (15th) Corps passed down the 18th, but I did not get to see the boys in the 53rd [Ohio] as I was out at work that day.
Hooker’s men passed down the day before, and they were in very destitute condition. A great many of them were bare-footed, and many of them had no blankets. They left their knapsacks here when they went up the river. They lived off the country nearly altogether, they said, having drawn only 2 day’s rations from the gov’t since they left here (about the 28th of Nov.). In the Nashville Union
of the 17th, which I send [to] you, is a letter from a member of the 2nd Minn. Regt., which partly straightens up a very exaggerated and partial account of the battle of the 24th [of November – Missionary Ridge], which was written by a member of the 6th Ind, (Johnson’s Division) who doesn’t do any fighting himself, but stands back at Ft. Wood till the battle is over, and then tells about what “we done” at Mission Ridge and Lookout Mountain. Our brigade was not in the advance when the charge was first attempted on Ms. Ridge, but we were on top of the ridge as soon as any of them on our part of the line. The flag of the 11th Ohio was the 1st one in the Rebel works on our part of the line. Our regimental flag was not there, or it would have been on the ridge as soon as any of them. It was our division (Baird’s) which engaged the enemy in that hand to hand fight on the left just about sundown after we had driven them a half mile out along the ridge. My overcoat has not arrived yet, but I suppose it is safe as it is in the hands of the Express boat.
Cecil Fogg enlisted in Company B of the 36th OH Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 at Marietta, OH at the age of 20. He served through his three year term of service and re-enlisted for the war, but was mustered out July 27, 1865 based upon a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The 36th served in West Virginia in 1861, and participated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam as a part of the 9th Corps before being transferred west in January 1863. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland’s 14th Army Corps (George H. Thomas), the regiment fought at Chickamauga and later in the Atlanta and Savannah, GA (March to the Sea) Campaigns.