Letter – Daniel Adams, 22 January 1863

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Copy of a Confederate letter by Brigadier General Daniel W. Adams to James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, from Marietta, GA. This copy is in the handwriting of Randall Lee Gibson. Adams is petitioning Seddon to promote Colonel Gibson to brigadier general. Gibson is currently commanding the consolidated 13th and 20th Louisiana regiments. Gibson was on continuous duty through the Kentucky and Tennessee Campaigns, and was particularly admirable at the Battle of Perryville. Adams also mentions the “great gallantry” that Gibson displayed in the battles before Murfreesboro. Gibson also commanded Adams’ brigade during the Brigadier General’s absence, as part of Major General John C. Breckenridge’s division. The letter includes testimonies from Brigadier General Patton Anderson, Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, Brigadier General William Preston, and Lieutenant General William Hardee, all of whom are supportive of Gibson’s promotion.


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Marietta Ga Jan 22nd 1863

Sir,

I have the honor to call your especial attention to Col R L Gibson of Louisiana now commanding the 13th & 20th La Regts Consolidated – formerly commanding the 13th La with the view of recommending him for promotion to the Rank of Brigadier Genl

Col Gibson entered the service on the 16th day of April 1861 and has since been actively and assiduously engaged in in it. Within my knowledge – that is since the 1st day of August last at which time his Regiment became a portion of the Brigade under my command he has been continuously on duty through the Ky and Tenn Campaigns. [???] battle of Perryville Ky in command of his Regiments under my immediate and personal observation he displayed great courage, gallantry, coolness, self possession as I have testimony in my official report of the part taken by my Brigade in that battle – throughout the long & arduous march of that Kentucky Campaign he was prompt and energetic in the discharge of his duties. In the recent battles before Murfreesboro he again displayed great gallantry & courage in the engagement of the 31st of December as I have officially reported; and in the engagement of of the 2nd inst as a part of Major Genl Breckinridge’s Div – he being the senior colonel commanded my Brigade in my absence which was caused by my being slightly wounded disabled by a slight wounded received on the 31st of Dec and acquitted himself as I have been credibly informed with great credit.

To my knowledge he is well acquainted and

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proficient in Battalion & Brigade drill and with the rules & regulations of the service and has had considerable experience at [???] during his time of service as a Brigade Commander.

I feel confidently in the assurance that he is well qualified to command a Brigade and deserving the promotion to a Brigadier Generalship; in which opinion I doubt not my superiors in command in this Army will fully and most cheerfully concur. I have the honor to be

very respectfully

(signed) Dan W Adams Brig Genl

Comdg Adams Brigade

Breckinridge’s Div Hardee’s Corps

Hon James A Seddon

Sec of War C.S.A.

Richmond VA.

I take pleasure in adding my testimony to the above. Col Gibson Regiment during the Kentucky campaign composed a part of a Brigade in the Division I commanded. I had opportunities of observing him, and can say is truth, that he managed his Regt on the arduous march with skill and judgment and was highly spoken of by his Brigade Commander for his gallantry [?] on the field of Perryville. I consider him quite competent to command a Brigade.

(signed) Patton Anderson

Brig. Genl. P.A.

I cordially concur in the recommendation of Col Gibson to the office of Brigadier Genl. Col Gibson has shown himself both capable and faithful and would command a Brigade with credit to himself and advantage to our cause,

(signed) L Polk

Lt Genl C.S.A

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I have long known Colonel Gibson and esteemed him for his cultivated intellect, his spotless character and great worth as a gentleman. In my association with him for the last year, and in the trying scenes from shiloh to murfreesboro, my regard has been augmented by finding in him all the qualities of a gallant and skillful soldier, it affords me pleasure to add the feeble testimony of my name to the distinguished recommendations of others under whom he has served to testify my entire confidence in his fitness for promotion to the rank of Brigadier Genl and my belief that the President cannot bestow it on a more faithful, diligent, and meritorious officer,

(signed) Wm Preston

Brigadier Genel Comdg Breckinridge’s Div

I concur in the recommendations given on behalf of Col. Gibson, and cordially recommend him to the President for Brigadier General.

W.J. Hardee

(signed) Lieut General

Hdqrs Hardees Corps

Tullahoma Feb 1st 1863


Randall Lee Gibson was born in 1832 in Versailles, KY into a family of slave-owning planters. He attended Yale and was a member of the Skull and Bones society. After graduating in 1853 he then studied at the University of Louisiana Law School (Tulane) and received his bachelor’s in law. When Louisiana seceded, Gibson joined the 1st LA Artillery as a captain. He was then commissioned as colonel of the 13th LA Infantry. A year after this letter was sent on his behalf, he was finally promoted to brigadier general for the Atlanta and Franklin-Nashville Campaigns. He was captured at Cuba Station, AL May 8, 1865 and paroled on May 14, 1865. After the war he returned to Louisiana and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1874, then the Senate in 1882. He died December 15, 1892.

Letter – Chester Ellis, 4 January 1864

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Letter written by Sergeant Chester C. Ellis of Company H, 80th IL Volunteer Infantry, to his uncle from Whitesides, TN. Ellis says that his regiment has left the 11th Corps, and are now attached to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps, under the command of Colonel Grose of the 36th IN. He writes disparagingly of the “Potomackers,” with whom they fought at Lookout Mountain. Ellis describes the battle as the “grandest” and “coolest” thing he ever saw, and writes how the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Potomac stood side by side with General Joseph Hooker and the Eastern Corps. Ellis goes into great detail about the fighting, which lasted a few days. The day after Hooker stormed Lookout Mountain, his regiment marched to support Sherman. They were marching to Knoxville when they heard that Ambrose Burnside had defeated James Longstreet. Ellis describes a difficult march back to camp, beleaguered by cold weather and a lack of provisions. Some men marched barefoot when they wore out their shoes.


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Whitesides Tenn

Jan 4 1864

Dear Unkle

I received your kind letter when we got back to camp after the fight and was glad to hear from you again And I was glad but somewhat surprised to hear that you had been to Ill I did not get [Pru?]’s letter that you spoke of for 2 weeks after I recd yours. I am in good health and we are all in fine spirits the health of our regiment is excellent. We have left the 11th Corps and are permanently attached to the 3rd Brigade 1st Division 4th Corps. The Brigade is commanded by Col Gross of the 36th Ind. that regiment is here and I saw Mr Turner (I believe his name is) the other day. He has left the hospital &

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is with his Reg; We are are all well pleased with our situation for we did not like the Potomackers a bit but they fought like dogs at Lookout Mountain

We were all through the fight at Chattanooga but it happened to be our luck not to be engaged as a Reg: Althought we lost 7 men on our skirmish line ie wounded one (Lieut)

To take the battle from beginning to end it was the grandest as well as the coolest thing I ever saw We left our camp at Lookout Valley about 9 AM of the 22″ and went over to Chattanooga got there after dark the next morning we got up and found the town full of troops: We all knew what was to be done and it was plain to be seen for down on the plain not a mile distant the rebel picket lines

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and back of them were their camp in full view although they had moved a great many the night before. Their lines and ours were from 150 to 200 yds apart

We lay here until noon: And if a stranger had been along and seen us laughing and talking he would have said that we did not know that we were agoing into a fight that day

About 12, the troops were all brought out on to an open field of some 80 or 100 acres & there was about enough to cover it the different divisions were assigned their places, that was prettiest sight I ever saw. There the glorious Old Army of the Cumberland stood with one Corp of the Army of the Potomac side by side while still further on the right was Hooker with the other Eastern Corp and we all well knew

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that Sherman had gone 8 miles up the river to cross with 2 as good corps as ever shouldered a rifle. such determination I dont believe was ever expressed on the countenances of men as were there shown. you could look over that vast army and see men from almost every state & territory from Maine to California. And judgeing from the flags which waved there they were men of the true blue style for some of their flags had been so cut up in former battles, that had every shred been fastened together there would not have made 1/4 yard of cloth. the staffs were in some places almost cut in two by balls – yet they dared to carry them into another perhaps fiercer contest than ever before. About 1 PM some 8 or 10 Regiments commenced filing off down the hill to form a skirmish line Each regiment followed by 8 or 10 men carrying stretchers to bring back the wounded on. They had not been gone long until the cannon from Ft. Wood opened and then the sharp rattle of musketry announced that the ball was opened. in 20 minutes from the time the firing commenced back came the stretchers loaded with wounded

The men went off down the hill as cool as if they were going

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down there to cut wood: every man had when he started, the flaps of his cartridge box raised and buttoned on his coat so that his pills would be handy after they had been fighting some time we started and double quicked it down to the once rebel picket lines 7 found that our skirmishers had driven them from the first line of rifle pits we formed a line of battle & after maneuvering there some time night came on and we lay down and slept sound

The next morning (24″) we were aroused at 2 and after standing around sometime we again lay down and slept until 5. It was today that they shot so many of our skirmishers Sergt Millburn of our Co: was on

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the line at noon I got his dinner and took it down to him. I got up to within 60 yds of him he says “be careful Ellis theyll shoot you sure” he was standing behind a large tree, he came back and while he was eating his dinner I took his post And poked my head around the tree to see if they’d shoot. I was soon satisfied that they would by seeing the smoke of a gun & drawing my head back the ball came whistling past me And concluding that turn about was fair play I levelled my piece and took a pull at them and we had it turn about there for some time. It was playing Ante over on a pretty rough scale but there was some fun in it. While I was there they shot at the man on my right now “says he “you tried me a pull

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poke your skull a little further around the tree and I’ll try you a shot”. They would stand there & tell each other where they shot whether too high too low of too far to the right or left. If it had been me I would have left it to their own judgement & perhaps they would not have hit so often

About 3 oclock Hooker commenced storming Lookout. I thought I had head cannonading before but this surpassed anything I had ever before heard & they kept it up until 12 that night

The next day we marched 8 or 9 miles to the left to support Sherman who was giving them fits up there, we built rifle pits and lay there until next day when after the fog blew away rebs were gone. but for three days we

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here firing from different quarters as they were retreating towards Atlanta. We then struck out for Knoxville and got to within 15 miles of there when we found that Burnside had whipped Longstreet and the latter was retreating. We then turned back & got to our old camp on the 17″ Dec after the hardest marching we ever done. some of our boys marched 3 days barefooted their shoes being worn out & almost every morning the ground would be froze until 10 oclock yet you scarcely ever here a murmur from them. We marched 250 miles in 15 days counting every day that we marched and some we did not go over 8 miles. We had to forage nearly all our provision and when it comes to foraging for 3 army corps you can guess that it makes food scarce If we had went to Knoxville which I was in hopes we would I would have found Hubbard had he been there

Well Uncle I have strung this out about long enough and will quit by asking you to write soon

your Nephiew

Chet C. Ellis


Chester C. Ellis, from Rome, IL, enlisted on August 12, 1862 as a sergeant in Company H, 80th IL Infantry. After losing heavily at Perryville, KY, the regiment was mounted as infantry in April 1863. Ellis was captured with his regiment at Blount’s Farm, AL on May 3, 1863 by Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command, but was soon paroled. The regiment was exchanged that fall, and Ellis and the 80th IL participated in the Chattanooga Campaign as part of the 11th Corps. In 1864, having been assigned to the 4th Corps, they fought throughout the Atlanta Campaign, but on September 2, 1864 Sergeant Ellis was killed in action at Lovejoy Station, GA.

Letter – August Willich, 19 January 1876

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Letter written by former Brigadier General August Willich of the U.S. Volunteers, to the editor of the Cincinnati Commercial, from St. Mary’s, OH. Willich is criticizing a letter written by General Judson Kilpatrick, concerning the battle at Missionary Ridge which was published in the newspaper. Willich writes that Kilpatrick manufactured heroes in his article by giving credit to a few select officers, rather than the whole Army of the Cumberland, whomoved forward as one without the direct orders of their leaders during the battle. Willich hopes that his letter will be published, to “help lessen the stupid and nefarious hero worship.” A note written in the margins, possibly by the editor, gives the title, “The Battle of Chattanooga and the vindication of history.”


St. Marys January 19th 1876

Editor Comercial!

The Comercial of January, 13th contains General Kilpatrick’s story of the storming and taking of Missionary Ridge.

Public opinion had settled down to the belief, that the whole line of the army of the Cumberland had been carried simultaneously forward and over the entrenchments of the enemy, on the top of the ridge, by an enthusiastic impulse of the soldiers, without order of their leaders.

Those next concerned in this act were willing to let it rest so. Gen Kilpatrick now opens again the manufactory of heros, kept in full blast during the war by so many correspondents, and writers of official reports. In a few phrases, in the sparkling of ey[e]s of one or another intended hero, he absorbs, all the merits of thousands of galant and devoted soldiers and their leaders. A statement of the naked facts of the storm of Miss. Ridge will have the approval of all, who participate in it, and who do not claim, but their due share of the credit connected with it. It may also throw some light on the manner of heromaking, and may help to lessen the stupid and nefarious hero whorship. I ask the favor of you Mr. Editor to give this a place in your paper and oblige Yours Respectfully

August Willich


August von Willich was born in Brausberg, Prussia on November 19, 1810. After graduating from a Berlin military academy he entered the Prussian army, rising to the rank of captain. A follower of Karl Marx, was court martialed and fled to the U.S. in 1853. He worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a carpenter, and in 1858 became the editor of a German language newspaper in Cincinatti. After serving as a lieutenant and A.A.G. of the 8th OH Infantry in 1861, he recruited and was commissioned colonel of the 32nd IN Infantry. His strong combat record at Shiloh, Perryville, and Stones River (where he was captured) resulted in his promotion to brigadier general July 17, 1862. Once exchanged, Willich fought as a brigade commander at Chickamauga, and was foremost in leading his troops in the famous assault of November 25, 1863, up Missionary Ridge. His troops were the first to reach the crest and break the enemy line at “Sharp’s Spur.” Willich was wounded in the shoulder at the Battle of Resaca, GA in May 1864, and later served as commander of the post of Cincinnati, OH. After the Civil War, he went to Germany to fight in the Franco-Prussian War, but was ultimately thwarted in seeing combat. Returning to the U.S. he lived in St. Marys, OH until his death on January 22, 1878. He was rather fondly known for being an eccentric, including having a pet raccoon.

Letter – Jacob Dickason, 22 May 1864

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Letter written by Private Jacob Dickason of Company B, 25th WI Infantry, to his brother, William H. Dickason, and sister, from a camp near Kingston, GA. The letter recounts events from the Atlanta Campaign. He mentions the Battle of Resaca, writing that the 25th WI, 63rd OH, 66th OH, and 27th MO marched in front. On the last day, his regiment dropped to the ground and fought for over two hours through heavy firing. The four regiments threw up breastworks to cover them from fire. He mentions that after the battle, the Confederates left their dead strewn over the ground unburied. He then describes another fight at Calhoun’s Ferry. The Confederates burned a railroad bridge, but were driven away before the fire did any major damage. Dickason hopes that the war will end soon.


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Gorgia May 22end AD 1866

Der Brother and sister it is wih pleasure that I take this present opportunity of riting a few lines to you to let you know how I am and what we have Bin doing since I last rote I have had my health first rate trusting that when this reeches you that it may find you all well for which we should Be thankfull we are in camp near Kingston But are under marching orders By the 23 since we left decatre [Decatur] we have had some prity hot work we had a three days fite at Resaca on the 12-13-14 on the evening of the 14 the 25 wis 633-66 Oh 27 missoura marcht out in front and they opend in on us and they Bullets flew as tick as hail and we dropt flat on the ground and we fot for 2 1/2 hours as fast as we could lode and fire

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when the firing ceast in whicht we lost in our Camp 2 killed and 4 wounded they threw some shell directed at our Camp But we watcht the flash of their cannon and we pord in a few vollyes But we soon silanst them we all 4 Regt threw out a detail and went to throwing up Brest works and By day Brake we had an in trenchment threw up sufficiant to hold the 4 regiments so we was under cover so their fire did not affect us we fot all day Sunday and in the evning we was relievd and that nite the rebs evacuated the town and on monday morning some of our Bois went over in town and where the rebs were formd around on the other hill the dead lay thick of which they had left unburied they left their dead all over the ground monday morning we took up our march

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to Calhouns Ferry where we had another fite But our forces had got them on the run Before we got there But the firing was prity sharp finly [finally] we was haulted for the nite But Before we al had supper over we was calld up in Battle aray a dispatch stating that the rebs was driving our forces we was marcht out 3/4 of amile and drawd up in line of Battle to welcome them in But they did not come we wated about 3 hours we lay down on our arms and lay there al nite and the next day untill nearly nite when we took up our line of march and marcht about 6 miles of which time we was haulted for the nite the next morning we marcht to the plaice where we now are our advance was fiting their rear guard all the way we did not give them time to fortify at Kingston they left for

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Atlanta which plaice the rebs caluculates to reinforce when they left Resaca they set the railroad Bridge on fire But our Batery opend on them that they did now great damage our carpenters went to work imediately and By the time we marcht here the cars came whistling after us the news is incourageing I feel in hopes the war will come to aclose By fall I just recd aetter from home up to the 15 stating that they were all well and that they planted corn on the 12 But I must Bring my letter to aclose Direct Co B 25 regt 4th Divis 16 Army Corpse via Nashville From

Jacob to Wm H Dickason


Jacob Dickason, from Bloom, WI, enlisted on August 11, 1862 as a private in Company B, 25th WI Infantry. Little more than three months after writing this letter, he died from disease during the Atlanta Campaign, on August 31, 1864 at Marietta, GA.

Letter – Lee Fitzhugh, 18 February 1862

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Letter written by Private Lee Mason Fitzhugh of Company A, 6th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from the headquarters of the 4th Division on board the steamer, Diana, while en route to Fort Donelson, TN. Fitzhugh describes the journey from Wickliffe, KY. Brigadier General William “Bull” Nelson put him in command of the division train since his aide, Captain William Preston Graves, did “not attend to things to suit him.” Fitzhugh writes that the general has his own way wherever he goes, including paying whatever he sees fit for hotels and meals. Fitzhugh says he is treated very well by the general, and therefore does not mind acting as his aide. He concludes the letter by mentioning the fall of Donelson.


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Hd. Qrs. 4th. Div.

On board Steamer Diana

En Route to Fort Donelson

Feby 18th 1862

Dear Father.

We left Wickliffe Friday a.m. and marched to Elizabethtown, halted a day for orders and proceeded to mouth of Salt River, (West Point Ky) reaching there Sunday Evening, Embarked on a splendid fleet yesty and are at this moment oppisite Hawesville, Ky from which point this will be mailed. Altho’ it was bitter cold and a deep snow on the ground I enjoyed the march, as I was mounted on a splendid stallion of the Generals and comfortably wrapped up. Had a pair of fine revolvers and a sword for arms, given me by the General to take care of – dont know whether I will have any arms at all or not when I really need them The General placed me in command of the Division Train the other day as his aid- Capt Graves (a young exquisite from Louisville) did not attend to things to suit him. I stopped at the same hotel in E-town & West Point with the General & Staff and eat at the same table on the boat. the General has things pretty much his own way everywhere pays just what he thinks right & no more.

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They charge for meals and a bed 2$ per day on the boat – Nelson pays he’ll pay a dollar a day & no more! he pays my bills or has all but one and that was not his fault. the boy at the Hotel did not include in in the Genl’s, but boned me for it and I had to honor the amt & pay it – he is very kind to me but the moment the least thing goes wrong, up I go, he seems to forget that I am the Adj. Genl’s clerk as he calls upon me to superintend the packing & unpacking of his spring wagon, places trains in my charge and uses me more as an aid than anything else- well, if he always treats me as well as he has I am & will be satisfied.

We have just got the news of the fall of Donelson – glorious news – my next I think will be from Nashville of Clarksville – Much love to all –

from your son in haste

Mason

the boat shakes so

I cannot write


Lee Mason Fitzhugh was born in Madison, IN on November 27, 1838. He enlisted with the 3rd KY Cavalry as a private on June 18, 1861, aged 23. He mustered out on April 15, 1862 for promotion and joined Company A of the 6th OH Infantry. He married Anna H. Thornton on April 23, 1863 in Hamilton County, OH. After the war he worked as a dry goods merchant in Indianapolis selling tea and tobacco. Anna died in 1883 and he remarried in 1885 to a woman named Laura. They moved west to Los Angeles, CA where he continued working as a tobacco merchant. He died March 13, 1906 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, CA.

Letter – Bryant Vincent, 22 December 1864

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Letter written by Private Bryant L. Vincent of Company K, 12th IN Cavalry, to his friends, from Murfreesboro, TN. Vincent writes that he has been in three hard battles, but has come out safely. He mentions defeating Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and comments on the way that Union Major General George H. Thomas “whipped” Confederate General John Bell Hood in Nashville. Vincent describes the battles he has been in since leaving Tullahoma, TN, including the Battle of Overall’s Creek. Another saw his brigade guarding a forage train under heavy fire until they received reinforcements. He writes that he has gotten used to the sounds of cannons and musketry, and they will have to wait until he returns home to fully explain what battle is like. Vincent remarks that the hardest part of being a soldier has been the rations, as food has been scarce for several weeks. The railroad to Nashville has been torn up, and several bridges have been burned.


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Murfreesboro Dec 22 64

Dear Friends

I rec[eived] 3 letters this morning I am well and doing well I have been in 3 pretty hard fought battles since I have been at murfreesboro but I have come through all staraight all though sometimes I thought I would not I have seen some awful hard marches. but it is all in a fellows life time and I guess the fighting in this part of the country is nearly done [???] for we have whipped old Forest here three times and the way Thomas has whippped Hood in front of Nashville will be a caution to him not to try it again and

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but a small part of his forces will ever get across the Tennessee for they said when they came up here that Victory or no Victory they would not go back again we started from tullahoma Nov 30 and got here Dec 2 we marched day and night, the first fight was Sunday the 4 of Dec it is called the battle of overalls creek, the next fight was the 6 of Dec we had to support a battery the revel artillery was playing on our artillery and our co lay right behind the battery and the way the shot and ball came was a caution we lost 2 men both wounded from our co I do not know how many from the regt the next fight was wednesday the 14 our Brigade went out to guard a forage train

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we fought all day and were surrounded on all sides just at night as we had got the wagon loaded with corn and got on to the pike they commenced harder than ever in front and rear we made up our minds we were gobbled and we should have every one of us been taken if it had not been for reinforcements coming out but they fought hard before they gave up. I have got so the noise of cannon and muskets dont bother me much for I have been within sound of it about all the time for 3 weeks, I wish I could give you some idea of what a battle is but I havent room to do so by letter and I will have to wait untill I get home then I can tell you something about it

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[Thad?] is well [???] is not very good but I guess he will be better before long we shall probably start for tullahoma tomorrow, and when we get settled there you can send the box. I am glad you could not send it for it would be nothing but a trouble here I wrote to you the day before we left tullahoma and told you not to send it but I guess the letter did not go through, I dont know how long before this one will but I will have it ready, the hardest has been the rations we have been obliged to live on all most nothing for the last 3 weeks we have drawn only one hard tack and one pint of meal for 5 days rations and had it not been for parched corn I believe we would have starved the railroad is badly torn up between here and Nashville and several bridges burned but there is a large force at work on it and before long we will have a plenty of rations but I have written a long letter and I must close Vincent

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Mother

you must not worry about me for I am all right and have probably seen the hardest I will have to so, you said something about homsick I aint homsick, it is pretty cold here


Bryant L. Vincent, from Pulaski County, IN, enlisted as a private in Company K of the 12th IN Cavalry on November 14, 1864. He survived the war and was mustered out on November 10, 1865. Being a new recruit, his youth and inexperience is fully evident in this letter. The war obviously remained somewhat of an adventure to him despite the hardships he was compelled to rapidly cope with.

Letter – John Wiggins, 3 February 1863

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Letter written by Sergeant John W. Wiggins of Company F, 39th NC Infantry, to Mr. J. J. Colvard, from a camp near Shelbyville, TN. Parts of the letter are illegible. Wiggins writes that he has heard from brother Joseph, who was in good health and heading home. He has heard rumors that Kentucky voted to leave the Union and the government has called thousands of troops to defend the state. He requests news from home, particularly wanting to know who is killed or wounded from Company A of Ashby’s Regiment. Wiggins expects the next move by Union forces to be on the Rappahannock River, though they may try again at Vicksburg.


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Camp near Shelbyville Tenn

Feby 2d 1863

Mr. J.J. Colvard

Dear,

Brother and Sister its with the greatest pleasure that I embrace the present opportunity of Droping you a line to inform you that I

[next 12 lines illegible, obscured by traces of purple surface transfer ink]

John Cross was taken prisoner I suppose… any how that is all of the boys that is gone only them that you have heard of [???] I Recd a letter from Brother Joseph and he was in tolerable health and was on his way home

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There is not any news much here in camp & it is reported that to be true that the KY Legislature has voted out of the union and is now in arrest the Gov has called out (60,000) sixty thousand Troops to Defend the State of Ky this good if true you must write soon and give me all the news and if Joseph is at home tell him to write to me and write who of Co (A) in Ashby Regt was killed or wound we are not looking for the enemy to advance soon

Morgan and Wheeler is watching their movements daily I look for the next move the Yankees makes will be on the rapahannock they started the other day and the mud stoped them it may be that they will try Vicksburg again send my love to Nancy and Joseph and they boy tell Fathers folks that I am well Respectfully your friend until death

Jno W Wiggins Co (F) 39 Reg

NC Vols


John W. Wiggins, age 19, from Cherokee County, NC, enlisted in Company F, of the 39th NC Infantry, circa February 23, 1862. He is listed as a sergeant as of November 25, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River on December 31, 1862, but returned to duty the next day. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company F on March 1, 1863. He was fatally wounded at Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, and died in the hospital on September 21st. He was twice reported on the Confederate Honor Roll for valiant service, at Stones River and Chickamauga.

Letter – John Wiggins, 20 April 1863

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Letter written by Sergeant John W. Wiggins of Company F, 39th C Infantry, to his brother Joseph A. Wiggins, from Shelbyville, TN. Wiggins is replying to a letter from his brother, and writes that he is glad that Joseph is safe. He mentions supporters of Abraham Lincoln, and says they “showed themselves to be what they represent.” He remarks on the deaths of family friends. Wiggins has heard of recent reinforcements sent to the Union army at Tullahoma. Wiggins mentions their hard drilling, and how they have a new brigadier, General William B. Bate. Wiggins hopes that R. B. Vance, who was recently promoted to brigadier, will get command of his brigade.


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Shelbyville Tenn

April 20th/63

Mr. J.A. Wiggins

Dear Bro

its with pleasure that I put my pen to respond to yours of the 7th which has been before me only a few days I was truly glad tohear from you and hear that you had come through on a [???] and from the account you gave me that you was in a tolerable close place and it also seams like the Lincens [Lincolns] and their gallant Leader showed them selves to be what they represent I can inform you that I received a letter from home today and they was all well it was dated Apr 12th it said that Geminie Welch was dead and I also received one from home a short time before this and it said that Calvin Colvard wife was dead;

I expect that we will have something to do in a short time the enemy is reported to have received a reenforcement of (20,000) twenty thousand

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and it is reported that they are reenforcing at Tulihoma [Tullahoma] with 3 Divisions from Miss and it is also reported that they are reenforcing from VA; I would be mighty glad to see we are living tolerable well at present we have to drill tolerable hard we have got a new Brigadier Gen Bate Col R. B. Vance has been promoted to a brigadier but has not been ordered on duty I am in hopes that he will get command of this Brigade Brother Burton was examined and came clear of conscript so I recon I must close for the present so no more only remian Your Brother Respectfully

John W. Wiggins Co F

39 Regt NC Troops 2nd Brigade

McCowns Division


John W. Wiggins, age 19, from Cherokee County, NC, enlisted in Company F, of the 39th NC Infantry, circa February 23, 1862. He is listed as a sergeant as of November 25, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River on December 31, 1862, but returned to duty the next day. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company F on March 1, 1863. He was fatally wounded at Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, and died in the hospital on September 21st. He was twice reported on the Confederate Honor Roll for valiant service, at Stones River and Chickamauga.

Letter – William Smith, 1 November 1888

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Letter written by former Major General William F. “Baldy” Smith, Chief Engineer for the Army of the Cumberland, to General Henry M. Cist, from Philadelphia, PA. Smith writes that he thoroughly analyzed Ulysses S. Grant’s account of the battle of Chattanooga, which he wrote as a reply to General William T. Sherman’s “Grand Strategy of the War” that was published in Century Magazine. Smith never published his analysis, but promises to send a copy to Cist. Smith goes on to describe the roles played by Generals Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Hooker, William T. Sherman, and George H. Thomas at the battle of Chattanooga. Smith writes of how Grant gave the order to attack the rifle pits at the base of Missionary Ridge, a decision that Smith refers to as “absurd.”


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1902 Pine Street Phila

Nov 1st 88

My dear General Cist,

Your favor of the 29th ult. reached me this morning. I have made a very exhaustive analysis of the account of the battle of Chattanooga as given by Grant and his satellites in a paper & wrote to reply to Gen Sherman’s “Grand Strategy of the War” published [in] the Century Magazine last Feb 7, (I think). I have no copy of it, having never published the paper as I intended in pamphlet form as I had no money to put up for such a labor to others’ interests. I will make a copy of that paper so far as it relates to the

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battle of Chattanooga and send it to you. If given out the whole paper in print you would see what an inconsequential writer Sherman is. He it was who began to revile the Army of the Cumberland in his memoirs and before and I always attributed to him the strictures that Grant pressed on it. I was on Orchard Knob during all the time, but knew nothing of Grant’s order to Thomas. It may or may not be true. The first I knew of such a design was the order from Grant in person to go and give the orders to Baird to attack the rifle pits at

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the base of the Ridge at a given signal. If you will read my paper carefully you will find that Thomas had his own views and had given his own orders apparently without consultation with Grant and that Thomas was waiting to hear from Hooker before ordering a forward movement from the A[rmy] of C[umberland]. I told Thomas in the early morning that Hooker would not send him word when Rossville Gap was carried as it would not be for his interest to do so. That he (Thomas) ought to have a staff officer with Hooker to be sure to get the information – About the time when Grant says he had ordered Thomas to make the assault Thomas and I had a short talk on

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Orchard Knob. It was the only time when I ever saw Thomas show worry and anxiety and it was because he could not understand why Hooker was not heard from. The order to assault the rifle pits was an absurd one. It was retrieved from disgrace and defeat because the soldiers went on and did the necessary thing and because also Hooker had crossed the ridge and was sweeping down it so that a lot of prisoners were taken between his command and that of Johnson. I will send you my paper and you may publish what you please of it.

Yours

Wm F Smith


William Farrar “Baldy” Smith, was born February 17, 1824 at St. Albans, VT. An engineer (USMA 1845 – 4th in his class), he was an instructor at the Military Academy prior to the Civil War. He was commissioned colonel of the 3rd VT Infantry in 1861. He served at 1st Bull Run as a staff officer with General Irvin McDowell before being appointed brigadier general of volunteers on August 13, 1861. Smith commanded a division of the VI Corps and then the corps itself from the Peninsula to Fredericksburg, earning promotion to major general July 4, 1862. His outspoken criticism of Burnside and his close ties to McClellan resulted in his removal, and the Senate failed to confirm him as a major general. In 1863 he was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland as its chief engineer. He was re-nominated as a major general, effective March 9, 1864. Smith commanded the XVIII Corps under general Benjamin Butler, and fought at Cold Harbor. Due to his failure to take Petersburg during the early fighting he was removed from corps command July 19, 1864. His continued outspoken criticism of senior commanders resulted in his resignation in 1865 (vols.) and 1867 (reg. army). In civilian life, Smith was the president of a telegraph company, then president of the NY city board of police commissioners, and worked as a harbor engineer for various govternment projects. He lived in Philadelphia for many years prior to his death Feb. 28, 1903.

Henry Martyn Cist was from Ohio, enlisting as a private in the 6th OH Infantry on April 20, 1861. He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant of the 52nd OH Infantry on October 16, 1861, and 1st lieutenant and adjutant of the 74th OH Infantry on Oct 22, 1861. He served on staff duty with Rosecrans as A.A.A.G. before being promoted to captain April 20, 1864, and major 13 March, 1865. Cist was brevetted lieutenant colonel, colonel, and brigadier general for Stones River, Chickamauga, and war service. He was mustered out January 4, 1865, and lived until December 16, 1902. He also wrote for Century Mag.

Letter – Frank Bond, 2 January 1885

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Letter written by former Major Frank S. Bond, Aide-de-campe on the staff of Major General William S. Rosecrans, from NY. Bond is responding to a request from Louis Garesche who is writing a biography of his father, Lieutenant Colonel Julius Garesche, who was Rosecran’s Chief of Staff. Bond was with Garesche on the day of his death. He was riding behind the Lieutenant Colonel and Major General Rosecrans when they came within range of Confederate artillery near Stones River. Lieutenant Colonel Garesche was hit in the head with a Hotchkiss Shell. The Lieutenant Colonel’s body was originally buried in the field, but was disinterred a few days later so the remains could be sent to Nashville. Unfortunately Bond is unable to provide information in regards to a headboard marking Garesche’s grave. He directs Garesche to a Major Skinner if he has any more questions, as Skinner was also present when Lieutenant Colonel Garesche died.


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58 West 23rd Street, New York.

January 2nd, 1885

Louis Garesche Esq.,

P. O. Box, 550, Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir: –

I am in receipt of your letter of December 28th, asking for any information I may have as to the circumstances attending the death of your father, the late COL. Julius P. Garesche.

My knowledge concerning the death of that gallant officer is limited to what I saw. I was attached to General Rosencrans Staff as Aide-de-Camp, and was riding just behind your father at the time he was shot. General Rosencrans and Col. Garesche were riding together, then came Maj. Skinner and myself, then the other members of the Staff, and after them a few Orderlies and an Escort Company.

While riding across a cotton-field, we came within range of two or three batteries of Artillery, posted upon an elevation on the opposite side of Stone River. The Commanding Officer of the Battery seeing a General Officer with Staff within easy range, brought his guns to bear upon us, and for a short time we were under a very heavy Artillery fire.

Among the guns in the Battery, were some Rifled Cannon, carrying what is known as the “Hotchkiss Shell,” having a conical

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solid head. The solid part of one of those Hotchkiss Shells struck your father squarely on the temple, carrying away all that part of his head above the chin.

For an instant I did not realize what had occurred, as the body preserved its equilibrium in the saddle while the horse continued in motion at rather a fast walk, but it very shortly leaned towards the left, taking the horse out of the line, and then fell from the saddle to the ground.

I immediately looked for the Sergeant of the Orderlies, whose place was on the side of the column near to where I was riding, but he had also been shot in the thigh, probably by one of the bullets from the same shell when it exploded.

I then called an Orderly, pointed out the body, and told him to see that it was cared for, so that it could be found after the battle, and then rode alongside of Gen. Rosencrans and told him what had occurred, that Col. Garesche was killed. The Gen. was at the time so much engrossed in watching the movements of the enemy that he was not aware that his Chief of Staff had been struck.

In the evening, or next day, it was reported that the body had been buried on the field, near where he fell, in or near what was reported as a private burying ground.

A few days afterwards, the body was disinterred, I was

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present at the time, and helped to identify it, by the blanket in which it had been wrapped, and by his chin and goatee, the balance of his face having been carried away by the shot. The remains were then sent to Nashville.

These are my recollections of the matter. I shall never forget the shock and impressions made upon my by your father’s death, and the sight of his apparently headless body maintaining its pose in the saddle for a few seconds after he was killed.

I knew Col. Garesche but slightly. I had been presented to him by Gen. Rosencrans, two or three days before the advance of our army from Nashville that resulted in the battle of Stone River, but as the army was under marching orders, no opportunity was offered for social intercourse among the Officers.

I recollect his demeanor as being calm and cool on the morning of the battle, and that he took from his pocket a small religious book, and spent a few moments in reading it, while we were dismounted for a few a moments, quite early on that or the preceding morning. This unusual incident in my limited experience among Staff Officers, impressed itself very distinctly upon my memory.

In reply to your question as to the head board, I can only say I have no distinct recollection as to it, other than the report that a mark had been placed at the spot where he was first buried. I think that two or three bodies were disinterred be-

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fore we found the right one, but when it was found, it was identified beyond all question, both by myself and others who were present.

Among those with whom Col. Garesche was associated, when I knew him, he was esteemed a most brave and gallant Officer, and always a courteous and pleasant gentleman, and I well know the regard and esteem in which he was held by his Commanding Officer Gen. Rosencrans, as well as by all others of his Staff, most whom had known him longer than I.

That the fortunes of war should have removed from so responsible a position, a soldier so capable and so useful as was Col. Julius P. Garesche, is one of those mysterious events occasionally occurring, that lead one to almost doubt the wisdom of an Over-ruling Providence.

I would suggest, that, if you have not already done so, you write a note to Major Skinner, now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, who at the time was Judge Advocate on Ge. Rosencrans’ Staff, as he can perhaps give you additional information, having been, as I was, a witness to the manner of your father’s death, and he will of course be able to correct any errors in this statement, which is made altogether from memory after more than 20 years since the occurrence. If I recollect rightly, Major Skinner was looking directly at Col. Garesche when he was struck.

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I believe I have answered all the inquiries of your letter.

I am very glad to know that Biography of so gallant an Officer is in course of preparation. If intended for general circulation, I shall be greatly obliged if you will let me know where a copy can be obtained.

Yours truly,

Frank S. Bond


Frank Stuart Bond was born in MA on February 1, 1863. He was living in NY when he enrolled in Company B of the 10th CT Infantry as a 1st Lieutenant on March 27, 1862. He was formally appointed Major, A.D.C. on General Rosencrans’ Staff March 11, 1863 but was already serving in that capacity during the Battle of Stones River. He resigned November 18, 1864 and lived in NY and CT. He died February 26, 1912 and is buried in New London County, CT.

Julius Peter Garesche came from Cuba. He was appointed to the US Military Academy at West Point, NY in July of 1837. He graduated 16th in his class and became a 2nd Lieutenant of the 4th US Artillery on July 1, 1841. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant June 18, 1846; brevetted Captain November 9, 1855; brevetted Major May 14, 1861; promoted to Major August 3, 1861; and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel July 17, 1862. He was killed in action at the Battle of Stones River by a Hotchkiss Shell to the skull December 31, 1862. His son Louis Garesche published the Biography of Lieutenant Colonel Julius P. Garesche in 1887.