9th Ohio Infantry

LETTERS AND ARTICLES 

 

LETTERS OF JOHN BOSS

Pvt. John Boss was a native of Switzerland and a resident of Louisville Kentucky, when he joined the 9th Ohio Infantry. He served in Company B until he was discharged for disability on July 23, 1862.

*   Pvt. John Boss’s first letter published in the Louisville Anzeiger was introduced by the newspaper’s editor: “The following correspondence is from a former compositor in our office who prefers the military life to that of a typesetter.” Private Boss’s letter covered the period from June 27 to July 17 and included the movement to and the Battle of Rich Mountain fought on July 11, 1861. The private also bragged about the fearsome Dutch soldiers and bemoaned the lack of pay.

 

 

Louisville Anzeiger, July 28, 1861.

[Camp by Beverly, VA.]

17th July [1861]

[No saluation]

 

As I wrote the last time from Philippi [not published], we believed there would be a fight on the previous evening, instead of that we marched away in the opposite direction, to go around the enemy.  The first day [June 27] we covered 22 miles, the second, 15 miles, and on the third we arrived in Buckhannon after an eight-mile march.  We pitched a Camp there, in which we remained eight days, during which time we laid our eyes on our General McClellan for the first time.  He inspected us and said that our regiment could be placed among the best regiments of all nations, and made it the advance guard of his division.

On Sunday, 7th of July, we marched off from Buckhannon.  During the night one of our reconnoitering detachments was fired on by an enemy cavalry patrol.  No one was wounded but a bullet pierced the shaft of a rifle.  We had a very difficult march because our company had to patrol on the flank in the mountainous country and in the forest covered with undergrowth.  After a tiresome ten-mile march we arrived at a bridge [Middle Fork Bridge], which the enemy had left barely a quarter hour before.  We pitched our camp there, and while we wanted to eat our noonday meal, consisting of coffee and crackers, general march sounded and we had to drop everything and to hasten forward on the road where about 50 to 60 Secessionists men fired out of the woods at our 15-man-strong picket; there a bullet went through the hat of one of our lieutenants without wounding him while one enemy was killed.  When we arrived at that place, the enemy had already disappeared into the bushes.  Then three companies were deployed at different posts about 1 1/2 miles from camp and we were not disturbed after that.

After a two-day stay at this place, where a soldier of the 3rd Ohio Regiment was found shot dead, we marched off cautiously. The road always led up the hill and through thick woods until we lit on a rather large open place after about 7 to 8 miles, where a company of enemy troops had their camp.  With our approach they fired their rifles; our 4 companies went after them in a skirmish line.  They retreated over the mountain.  There are about 20 houses at this place called Rolling [Roaring] Creek.  When we wanted to advance further on the road, [we found] the bridge over the creek burned down.  A strong new bridge had to be built to bring the wagons and cannon over here.  We soon found that we were close to the enemy camp.  The next day [10th] our regiment and a battery made a reconnaissance through the woods.  Our company had to go up one side of the mountain and down the other and had the order to cover the right wing.  Suddenly we pushed to the outpost, where we were immediately fired on and one man was killed and two wounded. We fired and [there were] 7-enemy killed, 3 wounded and 2 taken prisoner. One of the prisoners was severely wounded.36

Besides the rifle-fire, 3-cannon shots were fired on us, however, they went too high; next, general march was sounded in the enemy camp. Afterward the advance post retired.  We had accomplished our objective, discovered the camp and now assembled on the road, where our colonel praised our company.  The prisoners were sent to the general and the next day, the prisoners [no, a local resident] had to lead 4 regiments behind the enemy in a roundabout way, while our regiment together with two others, were supposed to attack the enemy from the front.  We had to cut a route through the woods to bring our artillery and were greeted heartily for this work by two cannon shots, the work took the whole day.

We had to stand in the woods at the advance post the whole night through in constant rain until we were relieved at 5 o’clock in the morning by three other companies, then went into the camp and got about two hours sleep; then general march was sounded and we went in a hurry (without bread or water sacks), advanced to the enemy camp [Camp Garnett], that meanwhile had been attacked in its rear.  When we arrived the camp was still there, horses and wagons, in short, everything, only no more enemy.  They had formidable entrenchments there, so if we had come there on the road, we would have had to come through three [-fields of] fire.  About 300 acres had been cleared on an incline, and formidable abattis prepared, so that, if the enemy made only a little stand, we would have lost very many men.

Behind this camp, laying about a mile further and higher, is located a second [camp] that was vacated.  They had taken away all tents, wagons, horses, cannon and flags in a hurry, after they lost 162 killed and a large number wounded.  From the Indiana regiments 14 men were killed and 3 wounded. Our regiment together with the 4th Ohio Regiment and a battery made a pursuit and after 2 1/2 hours we found ourselves in Beverly. Afterward we still captured several prisoners in the woods.  The next day the news arrived that Gen. Morris had captured the fortified Secessionist camp, 4 miles from Beverly, had been taken by Gen. Morris.

On Sunday 13th July, we marched 15 miles farther and found a large burned down bridge along the way.  On Sunday, 14th July we marched 12 miles in the Allegheny [Mountains] to the Cheat River, which divides East Virginia from West Virginia, without seeing anything of the enemy, but the tracks of horse hoofs, and a lot of tent poles that were sent to Gen. Garfield.39 We had achieved our objective, West Virginia was clear, and McClellan’s order did not go farther than up to said river. 

It was terribly cold on this mountain and in spite of our blankets and fire we could not keep sufficiently warm.  After a half hour’s rest, we then marched back again and arrived in camp around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, after we marched 24 miles with a cup of coffee and half of a Cracker.

Yesterday, we went back to Beverly, and pitched a camp, where we waited on further orders from Washington.  With the capture of the camp by General Morris, 600 enemy soldiers, along with a Colonel [Pegram], surrendered. In the camp that we attacked, someone found a partially burned letter in which it says that they could clearly hear the band of the Unionists, and that in 3 to 4 days would be in possession of the band.  The prisoners said that they would have won if the Indiana Boys had been alone; however, they were frightened by the damned black Dutch who were to blame for their capture. 

With that the war in West Virginia would be ended and fortunately over, the disbursed enemy went home and are now good Union men (?)

So far I am healthy and happy and hope the same for you.

All Louisvillians are well and send all acquaintances greetings.

Up to now we still have not received a cent of pay.

 

                                                                                                            John Boss

Writing from Camp Cox ten days after the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, Private John Boss of the 2nd Company provided his account of the events of September10 and in particular the time he and his company were under fire and the confusion caused by fighting in the pitch-black darkness of the night. Grateful to have survived the fighting, he concludes his letter with the wish “that this sad war would soon be over.”

 

Louisville Anzeiger, October 1, 1861.

 

Camp Cox 42 miles [northwest] from Lewisburg

     19 September 1861

 

After two days’ halt the whole column set off to attack the enemy.  We came to Birch Point in the evening, stayed there a day and took the road to Summersville, and arrived there on the 10th about 9 o’clock in the morning.  The whole hamlet was empty and the fires still burned where the enemy had camped shortly before.  We marched through the town on a terrible road.  When we were 7 miles from Summersville, we heard a single shot.  The 1st Brigade [Brig. Gen. Benham’s] (ours was the 2nd) had come to the advance post of the enemy and driven their pickets back until they were at an open place next to the forest where the enemy lay.  Here the battle began.  The enemy withdrew through the woods to get behind their entrenchments, where a terrible fire was opened with a thunderous cannonade.  Our brigade likewise advanced now.  After three thunderous hurrahs erupted, we moved forward on the road.  The fire had already become very heavy.  The 1st and 2nd companies, (I am in the 2nd) were now sent off the road into the woods to skirmish.  We did not know where the enemy lay, much less that he had fortifications.  We advanced rapidly, always moving somewhat to the right; the signal “half left” was blown and suddenly 10–15 men came out of the thicket there.  The small shrubs were all chopped off; many large trees lay crossways over one another [abattis].  We were barely 6 steps out of the undergrowth when a dreadful volley greeted us from the right flank of the enemy, which luckily went too high.  We moved back into the undergrowth and sought to shelter ourselves as well as possible, when suddenly a fearsome rain of bullets came from the left side and canister and bombs from the middle.  We lay flat on the ground.  Only one [man], who laid down too late, was wounded.  After a volley we continued to advance a few steps.  The bullets hit right and left and tore away the bushes. Later I helped take away a wounded [man] from our company who was hit in the leg by canister.  It had become quite dark now, and the fire had halted; only the cannon fired their dreadful shots and we had to lay down on the ground three times.  One thin tree was broken up by a cannon ball and fell down next to us.  It was a true wonder that in spite of the terrible rain of bullets we still remained alive and no one was wounded.

It was impossible to find our way in the dark, and we stumbled around there the whole night.  It began to rain toward morning.  We were completely worn out because we had made a strenuous march for 2 days and had enjoyed coffee only twice in two days, plus the fight and dragging the wounded.  About 9 o’clock in the morning [September 11] we came to an opening and saw our camp at a distance of 3 miles.  Later we brought the wounded to the hospital and returned to our camp and were greeted with jubilation because we were listed as missing.  Our company lost 1 dead and 6 wounded in this battle, one of who had his leg amputated and died after 8 days. The other companies had no wounded at all. In total the loss of Federal troops amounted to 21 dead and 97 wounded. We captured 2 nice flags, a mass of clothing, blankets, etc.  The losses of the Secessionists cannot be furnished because they carried off everyone when they slipped away during the night.  About 20 prisoners were captured, and we later found about 15 sick in houses.5

Saturday, the 15th [14th], we left our camping place and marched to here over the Gaul[e]y River.  General Cox arrived at this place one day too late; otherwise, he could have cut off the enemy.  We will advance from here toward Lewisburg, where we will soon come to the railroad. As one hopes, we will perhaps be home again by Christmas. We have not received newspapers for several weeks.

It is much wished that this sad war would soon be over, because if it should still continue this winter, as I believe, we would have to suffer much from sickness.  The Secessionists already have so many sick from fever and measles; in addition, [there is] the horrible cessation of commerce, and the needs of the families of the volunteers for whom we are still unable to do anything, because we have not received one cent of pay.

 

                                                                                             John Boss

 

The Louisville Anzeiger published Pvt. John Boss’s report about the battle and the brief pursuit of the defeated Confederates one week after he composed it. The lengthy narrative contained some inaccuracies that deserve mention. Private Boss erroneously stated that General Crittenden had been captured near the hospital and like Colonel McCook he cited the Fifteenth Mississippi “Tigers” as his regiment’s direct opponent.  Except for possibly its 10th Company, the blue-clad Germans principally fought against the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Tennessee Regiments. Boss reported that the three other regiments in the Union line had either retreated or were in trouble when the Germans made their vaunted charge, and overstated the size of the enemy force. Although earlier in the morning part of the Fourth Kentucky had retreated, and so did the Minnesotans for a brief period, and the Tenth Indiana had enemy troops on their flank for a while, these units aggressively engaged with the Rebels and were not about to be overrun. Private Boss, who belonged to the same company as Lieutenant Bertsch, probably had been relied on someone else for this information and was not intentionally misstating the facts, Finally, the Ninth did not capture the enemy hospital. 

 

Louisville Anzeiger, January 29, 1862.

 

Camp Hamilton, Pulaski Co., Ky.,

                                                       22 January 1862

 

It rained the whole day on January 18. In the morning on the 19th we drank our coffee rather early.  We had hardly done that when they called we should make ready because Zollicoffer is approaching.  We did not believe it because it would be the first time that the Secessionists attacked us.  Immediately the alarm was blown.  We heard several shots, thought however that the sentries had fired their rifles because it had rained very hard.  We put on our overcoats and cartridge boxes. The regiment was lined up in front and then went rather quickly through the foot-deep mud on the road.  We had marched about a half-mile when we then heard heavy rifle fire that gradually became stronger. 

The 4th Kentucky Regiment and the 10th Indiana together with 3 companies of  [the 1st Kentucky] cavalry lay about 2 miles in front of us and found themselves already under fire.  We turned right off the road into the woods in order to go around the enemy if possible.  Left of the cavalry camp we deployed in line of battle.  The fire was formidable there the first cannon shots from our side fell.  Immediately after that however the enemy answered with cannon, but without doing damage to us. One of our company was knocked to the ground by a spent bullet without being wounded.  Right after that several soldiers who were on picket came, and the fire now continued rapidly out of the woods.  Meanwhile, we heard fearsome hurrah shouts.  The 4th Kentucky Regiment had to retreat and the 10th Ind. Reg. was threatened to become surrounded; the 2nd Minnesota Reg. wavered a moment—then we stormed up a hill in the double-quick and with thunderous hurrahs and with lowered bayonets charged the left wing of the enemy who, filled with consternation, withdrew but found a rather strong position on a hill behind a fence and overturned tree trunks, whereupon a stubborn fire developed.  Through our bayonet attack we saved the 10th Ind., which immediately let loose with three hurrahs for the 9th, and emboldened the 2nd Minnesota.

The enemy battled with true desperation, but on a huge scale fell behind their fence, because we were well sheltered behind trees and maintained a terrible fire within 40 paces of them.  Now the 1, 2, 3 and 4 Companies made a rapid wheel and we fell on the left wing of the enemy, who could not endure this attack and was in danger of being cut off. The enemy regiments disbursed in wild flight. Our regiment was the first out of the woods in which two cabins served as the enemy’s hospital. We took two doctors prisoner there. A third, who wanted to flee on a horse, had shots fired at him, returned and allowed himself to be taken prisoner. He put his hand out to us, and we noticed two stars on his collar.  We asked him, if he was a general, which he denied.  Later it came out that he was [not] the young Gen. Crittenden.

General Zollicoffer was shot through the heart [“just above the left hip”] by Col. Fry from the 4th Ky. Regt. with his revolver during the battle, and he fell from his horse instantly dead.

When we arrived by the hospital, the colonel said to us: “You have done it, you brave boys.  General Thomas came up right away, thanked the colonel and congratulated him.  He said: “The nineth [sic] can’t be beat. The artillery fired two shells from the hospital at the enemy cavalry, which was rather strong and first made a move to gallop toward us, then, however, took to their heels.

On the road we found a mass of sacks filled with grain and wheat bread, canteens, blankets, rifles, cartridge boxes, etc., also five wagons with provisions and munitions.  Our regiment and the 2nd Minnesota followed the enemy in battle formation.  Other regiments followed behind us and 18 cannon. We captured several prisoners along the way, who stated, that they assemble again.  We pressed through woods, meadows and bogs, often sinking in mire until over the knee, however, could see no more of the enemy.  Here and there the artillery fired bombs into the woods, but no one showed anywhere.  Toward evening we arrived near their fortifications. A cannon shot of the enemy pointed out his position to us, then our artillery on two hills fired on the enemy position with shells.  Darkness prevented us from advancing further.  We had followed the enemy over 10 miles.

A farmer told us that the enemy had left the trenches at 10 o’clock at night on Saturday with 8 [7] regiments of infantry, 3 cannon, and 1,000 cavalrymen. To the question what they wanted there, they had answered, “whippen [to whip] the Yankees.”  They had believed that only 3 regiments of infantry without artillery were here. They made a terrible miscalculation.66 The farmer said they retreated in the wildest flight, without shoes, rifles, blankets, and cartridge boxes; they took two horses and 2 mules out of the stall and rode off with them.  To the question: what happened, he answered: the dutch Yankees fight like devils; they give us hell.  The officers had done their best to get the soldiers to stay, but all for nothing.  One tried to outdo the other in running. 

As it became dark our provision wagon arrived about which we were very happy, because many companies had no breakfast and had taken nothing with them.  We lay on fence rails under the open sky.  Luckily, it was not very cold.  We were not disturbed during the night.  I have forgotten, that our regiment captured a cannon, one they left behind, none were spiked. 

In the morning on the 20th, our artillery opened fire again without being answered.  The tenth shot hit the Steamboat on the Cumberland River, which exploded immediately and went up in flames.68 Now we advanced in the double-quick toward the fortifications that stretch 1 1/2 to 2 miles, but we found they had left.  Thousands of tents and cabins stood empty there.  All was in the greatest disorder.  A mass of beds, clothes, trunks and arms of all sorts lay strewn about.  At the river stood over 200 wagons with provisions, munitions and camps, together with 13-unspiked cannon and complete teams with them, a thousand cavalry horses and mules.  The trenches and cabins across the river were also abandoned.  Many had thrown their rifles into the river, and a number drowned.  Everyone wanted to be the first on the boat.  The cavalry had to swim over, whereby very many died. 

The victory and the booty are very large.  One estimates the loss of the enemy’s property at over $800,000.  It is the largest victory that the Union has won yet, and in fact against an enemy twice as strong.  Zollicoffer’s army is completely broken.  Many, mainly Tennesseans, are supposed to have said that they never wanted to take an arm in their hands again. Our regiment captured three flags, the 2nd Minnesota one. By noon today 360-enemy soldiers [overstated] were buried.  They had more dead than wounded and almost all were shot in the head or breast.  Our regiment lost 6 dead, including Hugo Tafel from Cincinnati, and 23 wounded, among them our Colonel McCook, who was shot in the leg (his horse was shot in its lower body); however, was still very active in the pursuit of the enemy, also our Major Joseph and our brigade adjutant [were wounded]. The 10th Indiana had 14 dead. The 2nd Minnesota, 10.  The cavalry, 4.  The number of wounded of the other regiments I cannot yet state.

On the 20th, in the trenches of the enemy, General Thomas issued a General Order71 in which he thanked the troops for their bravery.  It rained very hard and we therefore quartered ourselves in the cabins and tents. Afterwards we cleaned and aired them out a little, because a terrible mess and stink was in them.  

On the 21st in the morning our brigade marched here again.  Hopefully we have a few days rest, in order to bring our clothes and laundry along with our arms into order.

[Written] in the evening. We have orders to hold Somerset.  The Southerners had their best troops against us. For example, the 15th Mississippi Rifle Regiment, the Water Valley Rifles, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.  The 15th Mississippi Regiment is supposed to be quite annihilated; they also lost almost their whole general staff and very many officers. The prisoners say it was told to them that, if they fell into our hands, they would all be killed, and that we are avowed abolitionists, but they see, that it is a false pretense.  There will still be dead rebels found, so that one cannot give an exact count.  The number of the wounded is very large.

When the soldiers saw Zollicoffer’s corpse they tore his clothing from his body, and split up his shirt, in order to have a souvenir.  A Tennessean wanted his whole scalp, but was prevented from that because a guard was placed there.

 

                                                                  John Boss.

                                                                  Co. B[,] 9th Ohio Reg.

Louisville Anzeiger, February 12, 1862, (extract from letter) written by John Boss.

 

Camp Cumberland near Somerset

                                                           5th February 1862

 

            On January 23 we moved through Somerset and halted 1/2 mile from there.  I went back with several comrades who, like me, had a strong appetite for a snack, and visited several houses, where we were courteously admitted, but could obtain nothing to eat.  We therefore went into one of the nicest houses, where we were provided a really splendid meal, [and] where we had to give an account of the last days.  When we asked how much we owed, the people said: “Oh nothing, you have whipped Zollikoffer [Zollicoffer] for it!” …..  We quartered the wounded from the last battle in empty houses in Somerset and gave them care.  On Sunday the 26th the corpse of a member [Vonau] of the 10th [9th] Company was buried here.  Here in camp up to the 29th we received only meal instead of crackers and not once lard with it.  For 10 days we received no candles, but have not suffered from it because we had provided ourselves with them from Zollikoffer [Zollicoffer]’s camp…. 

During the night of the 30th our sutler’s store was demolished. The goods were all taken far from the tent and destroyed.  This was caused by his shamefully high prices.  For example, days before he sold a pound of butter for 40 c[en]ts, a bottle of Catawba wine and brandy, for which one first had to have an order from the Capt. and Lt. Col., at $1.20 c[en]ts, a loaf of bread 25 c[en]ts, “Punch” for a dollar.  This is a good lesson for him, because he must either sell his goods cheaper or leave the regiment.

            Most regiments under Schöpf and Thomas, except ours and the 2nd. Minn. have crossed over the Cumberland; in any case they still cannot advance very far, because the provisions cannot be transported quick enough because of the terribly inferior roads.

 

[John Boss]

 

 

Letters of Pvt. Jacob Bauer

 

{{Pvt. Jacob Bauer, who replaced the disabled Pvt. John Boss as the Louisville Anzeiger’s correspondent, wrote to the newspaper on April 19, 1863 and reported on the trek to Pittsburg Landing, the shocking and sorrowful scenes observed there and a joyful meeting with members of Col. August Willich’s German regiment.

 

 

Letter 116—Louisville Anzeiger, April 30, 1862.

 

Camp Thums36

Landing by Pittsburg, Tennessee,

                                                                              19 April 1862

Dear Editor:

 

You expressed a wish in a paper sent to me to share with you something about what happened in the battle on the 6th and 7th of this month.  Because our brigade (McCook) came too late to this battle it is a difficult assignment to write of something heard and legends because the more one asks, all the more different sorts of reports one receives about the battle.  I find in your treasured paper some battle reports, which should be rather true.  Should the little I tell you be of interest and suitable for your paper, I would be pleased.  When we were still 30-40 miles distant from Savannah.  (We formed the Advance Guard of Thomas’ Division, the last of Buell’s Army) our brigade received orders to advance quickly.  We made about 18 miles on this day.  The next day a hard rain began and created a true morass.  We marched from 7 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock in the evening; we passed a train of about 300 wagons stuck in the muck about 12 miles from Savannah.  On the 9th we arrived in Savannah and were immediately brought here in boats. 

At Pittsburg Landing we disembarked and pitched our camp about 1 mile from the landing.  The many tents standing around lifted our spirits immediately.  Those who received none built huts from earth or logs.  We furnished them as well as we could.  The march to Savannah was hard.  We slept in the open in a terrible and cold rain.  Out of every 10 [men] only 5 had blankets or overcoats, because our equipage was on the wagons still back. Also, we had no excess of food recently, nothing but crackers and coffee, but that is normal, if one is in the service as long as us.  Today is a year since we were sworn in at Cincinnati [for three months].

Upon our arrival here it appeared really sorrowful, hundred of graves jutting up, staring us in the face, many provided with inscriptions, many without them.  Dead and wounded were still being discovered; [there are] heaps of shot horses, which were partially burned, and a widespread pestilential stench.  Rows of trees lay around shot to pieces, many of them just cut down. Destroyed wagons, [gun] carriages, wagons, rifles, give evidence enough that a significant battle was fought here.  The first night was rather cool, then however it became warm and a rather unpleasant odor spread.  On the 16th our wagons finally came, so we could change our clothes once again.  The wagons drove up to this place and we left our first camp at 9 o’clock in the morning on the 17th in order to change the outpost again.  The whole brigade moved to the outpost.  At 5 o’clock in the evening we undertook a reconnaissance, after we were about 2 miles past the last outpost out there, some shots were fired, probably some cavalry riding out there encountered some enemy pickets.  Because it began to become dark, marched back again; the night was quiet.

Yesterday, as on the 18th of this month, we thought we would be relieved; however, a strong reconnaissance was made by Rousseau’s brigade and one brigade of McCook [’s division] (brother of our colonel) in which Willich’s regiment serves.  Our regiment stood just at the road when we heard drum beats and the opinion was that it was Willich’s Reg. that drummed. Right then, many heartily welcomed old-acquaintances came turning out of the next road with a lively step. Corp. [Cpl.] Frederick Boss,37 Capt. Sievers,38 Lt. Metzner,39 all Louisvillians, looked cheerful, as well Col. Willich, himself, [who] is always happy to get to see us, the Ninth.

Because we were on picket that night we advanced as the reserve.  We moved back about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  I believe the enemy has moved further back toward Corinth. Our brigade returned home to our new camp around 5 o’clock in a tremendous downpour, soaked to the skin, and devoured with great appetite the long missed, already prepared bean soup.  Luckily, I had a pair of new blue pants and socks available and therefore could put on dry clothes; many, however, had only one suit and lay there still wet, meanwhile it continued to rain.  Who wouldn’t be a soldier!  One would like to scream in this weather.  The battlefield extends out for about eight [three] miles.

Savannah is an irregularly built place, [and] when we arrived almost every house was a hospital.  The little hamlet of Pittsburg has, I believe, three cabins.

Since our regiment took the field (we left Camp Dennison, Ohio on June 16) we covered the following distances: about 650 miles in West Virginia, 480 miles in Kentucky, and from Nashville to Savannah over or near 100 miles.

All Louisvillians are well and cheerful except John Boss, who lays sick in Atlanta [Louisville].

 

                                                                              Jacob Bauer

                                                                  2nd Co. 9th Ohio Regiment

 

Chapter 19

Private Jacob Bauer’s second letter published in the Louisville Anzeiger recounted activities and events occurring between June 5 and July 3, 1863, including the long, hot, enervating march to Tuscumbia. He takes a parting shot at the despised Brig, Gen. Thomas W. Sherman and is pleased to be back under the popular Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas.

 

 

Letter 122, Louisville Anzeiger, July 25, 1862.

 

Camp on Little Bear Creek at the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, three miles from Tuscumbia, Alabama,2

3 July 1862

 

Dear Mr. Doern,3

 

 Allow me to tell you again some about our conduct and hustling and bustling since clearing Corinth.

On the day of the glorious, bloodless storming of the Gibralter Corinth, we received orders in the evening to hurry to Pope's left wing, because it was supposed to be in danger. We advanced up to Rienzi,4 a railroad station on the M. and Ch. R.R. [Memphis and Charleston R. R].  We remained here in spite of all the danger we thought Pope was in. The 5th of June laying; on the 6th in the morning, we advanced farther through swamps and mire on the road to Ripley, Miss.,5 in the evening at 5 o'clock a halt was made; some cavalrymen who were out on reconnaissance brought us the news [that] the enemy advance post was about a mile distant from there. We now moved left and right into the forest to wait for further details. Cooking utensils, tents and all Camp equipage were left behind. Our provisions—coffee, Crakes [crackers] and bacon—we had [enough] with us for several days. In the morning about 9 o'clock fell in and marched back about two miles, where we set up a Camp, then built leaf huts and thought about the wonderful life of a soldier. We had a very charming commander [Sherman], to the point that he treated his men like little children. An example of this is that water in this area is from time to time as rare as beer in Lapland, because one would occasionally run two miles to find some to drink. A good spring was about 1/4 mile from our Camp and this upstanding general placed a guard there immediately and let no soldier take water from there, because he took it for his own use. Now, however, thanks to the God of War we are out of his clutch.

We remained in this wilderness until the 10th of June (nothing more was heard from the enemy) then we made our way back again. We made 16 mile on this day, and could quite well have advanced the [additional] 3–4 miles to our Camp, but no, on orders from high, we had to Camp that night in the open. The next morning we arrived at the Camp, happy to finally be able to change our clothes and wash, then it was suddenly called that 

today we go to Pittsburg Landing or the devil knows where. Everyone hurried to get his things in order. Then this evening we received marching orders to march 2 miles to Corinth in the morning. We pitched a Camp some 1 1/2 miles below Corinth on the Memphis–Charleston R.R. Here we first received the news that we were again under the direct command of our old universally popular with us [General] Thomas.

Our camp was nicely situated and abundantly supplied with good water, [we] believed we would be here a long time. We fixed it up as good as we could, thickly surrounded our tents with leaves, built a baking oven (the 1st [Cinc. Turner] Co. had the first one finished, and baked really tasty bread; the 3rd Co. [Capt. Stängel] had the luck however to finish theirs on the evening before we departed. (They could think that something is just not right). The paymaster made his appearance. There is enough beer and wine and we are living magnificently in the world again, waiting for things that are supposed to come, which were not long in coming, because on Sunday, the 22nd, shortly after weapons inspection we received the order to march at 12 o'clock noon. That only the T…..[?], take the whole household at this time, how long are we supposed to be gone? Why are we not marching early in the morning? Why only during the hot hours? Soon the grumbling, mumbling, cursing, all break loose, but helps nothing, because the "mighty" generals only want to get a good sleep and early morning marches could, after all, be harmful, because it is cold in the morning and furthermore, it does not matter that half the soldiers drop down exhausted along the way, and many are also sick— All this is of no consequence to the cause, for it has been like that since the beginning and will continue, if people do not take steps [against it], for even the most patient person gets his fill by the stupidity of the conduct of the war.

 Around 1 o'clock we left our camp and marched until 6 o'clock in the evening; we covered 11 miles. On the 23rd we made 9 M.[iles] and on the 24th, five miles, where we pitched camp near the pretty town of Iuka Station on the M. and Ch. R.R. and remained until the 28th. Concerning these 25 miles covered, we had to march three-days long under the blazing sun, in the meantime, if we had marched at 3 o'clock in the morning without stop until 9 o'clock, could have very well made it in 2 days, because it is really unpleasant in such heat, as it prevails here, where the streets are full of dust, occasionally two inches deep, that mixed with sweat runs in the eyes, and causes a sharp pain. Yes, if only the gentlemen in Washington had to march with us each time, then they would also find our what soldiers have to suffer for the Union, and then would send a stronger regiment against the Rebels. Yes, these traitorous Southern brothers become treated every time not as traitors but as brothers, friends.

In Iuka I met a tailor named Schmidt who earlier resided in Louisville, and has lived here for four months.6 He told me that the last Rebel troops cleared out of this place about two months ago. There was widespread illness among the Texas troops,7 the proof is in a nearby graveyard. Then he said to me that the 15th Miss. Regt. (Tigers), which was sent home rather strongly by us at the battle of Mill Springs, was originally recruited here in Iuka, and later on joined in the battle of Shiloh, where they were supposed to have been thrashed again.

The 18th Regular Inf. Reg. of our brigade remained stationed in East Point [Mississippi] and surrounding area. Our regiment and the 35th Ohio and 2nd Minnesota marched off on the 28th, however, not around 12 o’clock [noon], but around 3 o’clock in the morning, (McCook’s brigade was alone and the former [McCook] is one of the few insightful American officers). After we had gone about 5 miles, we entered Alabama, [and] we still went 9 miles farther, where we then camped. The 29th, early, 3 o’clock, went about 11 miles farther, where we pitched our camp near the Tennessee River. Companies of the 35th Ohio and 2nd Minnesota were left behind as garrison. The last two days we passed splendid countryside, the area is not too hilly, good soil. We passed a cotton field, a mere piece of 200 acres. Most have been planted with very nice looking corn. The Cotton Presses prove that earlier more cotton was planted. The 30th marched early again. After we marched 9 miles we reached the bridge where ours, the 2nd Company, stayed in garrison; the regiment is close to the railroad. Others marched until in Tuscumbia, 3 miles distant from here, the 1st Company of our regiment occupied a ferry between the last place and Tuscumbia. The Farmer to whom the land where we lay belonged (in a peach orchard), appears to be a mischievous Secessionist. He is not dumb, because he is supposed to still have 40 bales of cotton, which he probably can sell well now. Also, for some reason unknown to us, this Greasy Mike8 was given 3 men as garrison every night. Yesterday, however, our colonel was here and lifted the watch on the house. Laughing he pointed at the nearly ripe Peaches that we will take for ourselves, if we do not have to move again.

      One year ago today we celebrated the 4th of July in Buchanan [Buckhannon], West Virginia, with the hope to be able to celebrate this day this year in our homes.

Where will we celebrate the next anniversary? We will celebrate such a day as temperance [people], because at this time we do not have beer wine or other spirits.

                                                                                          Jacob Bauer

                                                                        2nd Co., 9th O. V. Reg., Col. McCook

 

CHAPTER 23

 

Pvt. Jacob Bauer advised Anzeiger editor George Doern that his brigade had departed Gallatin on January 14, and by January 31, had moved to Concord Church by way of Nashville. At Concord Church the Ninth and its brigade lay about midway between both the Nashville and Decatur Railroad and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and could respond to enemy threats against either railroad line. Bauer, a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, mentioned a mission to Hartsville from Gallatin and some events occurring after departing from Gallatin up to February 5.

 

Letter 136, Louisville Anzeiger, February 10, 1863.

 

                    Camp on Mill Creek at the

         Nolanville [Nolensville] Road

       13 miles south of Nashville

       5 February 1863

 

Dear Mr. Doern:

 

I allow myself to share with you news about us once again. Several letters that I wrote to you from South Tunnel and Gallatin where our Regt. had camped for a long time, appear not to have been received.

On the 14th of January our brigade left the little city of Gallatin and marched toward Nashville. After a march of 16 miles we camped on a hill to the left of the railroad. Early on the 15th the 2nd Minnesota and the 87th Indiana Regiment marched back to Gallatin.2 We, the 9th and 35th Ohio Regt. and our battery, marched to Nashville for the 3rd time where we at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in terrible rain encamped on the Hardeen [Hardin] Pike3 about 1 1/2 miles outside the city.— We made about 14–15 miles for the day.

The region between Nashville and Gallatin is I believe one of the prettiest in Tennessee. Also we graced Hartville [Hartsville] with a visit out of Gallatin during which we appropriated about 2,000 bushels of maize that the guerillas had stored there. Nashville is spread out and also lay in a valley surrounded by hills. We saw very few residents there. Well-dressed paroled and wounded prisoners darted very impertinent glances at us. They had participated in the very unfavorable affair (the surrender at Hartville [Hartsville]). They expressed that both German regiments did not flee like cowards there, and generally the 106th Ohio had held well.4

Gallatin is a rather nice little town; however everyone appears to be full-blooded Secesh like in the whole region. A large hospital is located there.

The 18th of January we evacuated our camp by Hardeen [Hardin] Pike in a woods by Shell [Charlotte] Road about 1 mile from the capital. It is boring to be by a city with no money in one’s pocket. There was little beer to be had in the city. The little that was there did not appear inviting but was quickly consumed. Nashville was full of wounded. I visited several hospitals and found them very well organized. In No. 5 on Water Street5 where my friend Heinrich Stein6 is a Hospital Stewart [Steward], prevails great cleanliness, which is essential in a hospital. A large number of convalescents, loafers, creeps, etc., are also found in the streets of Nashville.

On the 30th of January at 12 o’clock noon we left Nashville after the 2nd Minnesota and 87th Ind. came up. We pitched a camp in a wild region near the Nashville and [Chattanooga] Rail Road [Railroad] about 10 miles from Nashville.  The 31st decamped at noon; after about 4 miles marching across a field (the wagons took another route) we reached the [Nolensville] Pike. We bivouaced in a pretty spruce forest. Here orders were given to take with us two day’s rations.

Feb. 1 in the morning we were ordered to march at 6 o’clock leaving behind tents and all Baggage. We marched off at 7 o’clock in order to drive away Wheeler’s cavalry,7 which continually disturbs Rosecrans’ army, attacks Trains. To defeat these people is not easy, as we soldiers only know, because such an expedition usually has already been betrayed before it arrives. After we advanced several miles on the Nolinsville [Nolensville] Pike we turned right on a field path, this means it always went very slowly, and through streams, over stones, hills, knee deep muck, until 5 o’clock in the evening when we pitched camp 1/2 mile from the Franklin Pike (5 miles this side of Franklin). The whole day we did not cover more than 9 miles.

The 2nd of Feb. we retuned to camp again without having seen a Rebel cavalryman, but took a better route. Besides our brigade the 14th and 17th Ohio and two cannons as well as three regiments of cavalry participated.8 The same day as we arrived in camp again, they were transferred here.

 Our brigade is not as strong as earlier. The 18th Regular Infantry Regt. was transferred away from us at Pilot Knob.9 They participated in the Battle of Murfreesboro [also known as the Battle of Stones River]. General Stademan [Steedman] commands our division now and Col. Van Dever [Derveer] of the 35th Ohio [leads] the brigade. The condition of the health of our regiment remains very good. We number close to 700 men fit for duty.

 In the hope your worthy paper receives this, I greet you respectfully.

 

                                                                    J.[acob] B.[auer]

 

 

*    Until early March the German regiment was mostly inactive and occasionally ventured out on foraging expeditions. Pvt. Jacob Bauer’s letter dated March 15, 1863 reported that the brigade broke camp at Concord Church on March 4 and for the next three days made an unsuccessful pursuit of enemy cavalry. A new camp was established at Triune located about halfway between Franklin and Murfreesboro. Bauer also reported that the Ninth had not been paid for seven months, evoking unpleasant memories of the same situation in western Virginia in 1861.10

 

 

Letter 137, Louisville Anzeiger, March 15, 1863.

 

Camp by Triune, Tenn.

  9th March [1863]

 

We left our camp by Nolinsville [Nolensville] several days ago but moved into our current one only on the evening of the 7th after we had made another foray up close to the Duck River. I must tell you something about this foray. In the evening on the 3rd of this month the 2nd Minn. Vol. Regt. together with two guns and some 7 squadrons of cavalry of the 1st East Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Johnson,11 marched off from our camp by Concord C. H. [Church or courthouse?] and bivouacked that night about 3 miles outside Triune, not far from the camp of the Rebels. On the morning of the 4th a squadron rode along the pike in order to look for the Rebels. They must have been betrayed however because about 2 squadrons of cavalry belonging to the 2nd Alabama12 posted in the woods on both sides of the road let our cavalry pass by and then attacked their rear. The gallant East Tennesseans were not deterred, however, and vehemently attacked the Rebels. Dispensing saber cuts left and right (they made little use of firearms) they threw the Rebels into such confusion that they sought their salvation by fleeing. They captured 57-men together with arms and horses. Among the prisoners were 6 severely wounded and 10 slightly wounded who could be transported; 4 mortally wounded were taken to Farmhouses. Among those not wounded were a major and two Lieutenants. We had one man slightly wounded and 5 were captured.13

That same morning as we lay in the soundest sleep the unexpected order came that we would march off at daybreak provided with 3 day’s rations. Quickly a breakfast of Crackers and coffee was consumed, haversacks filled, the blankets rolled and the break of day awaited. We marched off about 6 o’clock. The 35th Ohio and 87th Ind. Regt. with two guns and a cavalry detachment formed the rear guard. In the evening we reached the advanced troops. We remained here a long time because the bridge over the creek had not been reconstructed. I used the opportunity to look at the Rebel prisoners. They seemed more like bandits than soldiers. Cleanliness to these people appears not to be in fashion. Most were armed with short rifles [carbines]. Only a few had sabers. I saw one man who had a terrible cut on his head. His skull was spilt. Another had cuts in his back. Only three to four men had gunshot wounds. One of them had been shot through his eye. The men were mostly out of the regions of Tuscumbia and Florence, Ala., and our regiment is not unknown to them. We were stationed there for a long time.

After a two-hour delay the creek was crossed and we advanced some eight miles further without resistance and moved into a woods for a night camp. During the night several prisoners were brought in. One came into the line of the 9th Co. of our regiment, which was on outpost duty and surrendered. The night was rather cold and we could not sleep much and were happy when the day broke again.

The march was resumed again about 10 o’clock in order to attack the Rebels by Chaplain [Chapel] Hill. After a march of 3 miles we learned from some gunshots that our cavalry was striking the enemy. A thick cedar woods hindered our cavalry’s further advance without protection from the infantry. Our regiment was therefore ordered right into the woods. We soon reached an open field where a line of battle was quickly formed, and advanced through thick and thin, through forest and field, where we had to take down fences a dozen times. Chaplain [Chapel] Hills came into sight after a further advance of four miles. The cavalry dashed now along the road with drawn sabers and hurrahs. The artillery followed at a gallop. The other regiments now also formed a line. Now we thought the dance would start. The enemy fled however without the infantry being able to fire a shot. We advanced in the double-quick into the [Rebels’] nest and pursued the enemy for a mile, whereby we had the pleasure to cool down by taking a cold bath when we had to wade through a rather cold creek. Fires still burned in the Rebel camp; our people set fire to several suspect buildings and then the signal to withdraw was given.15 Several Rebels were wounded and captured, but we suffered no casualties. After we had marched about 10 miles we encamped. We had advanced 12 miles over the line of the Army of the Cumberland.

The 5th, early, marched until a mile from Triune and encamped.14 The First and ours, the Second Company, had to go on outpost duty. The nicest weather favored us here until now but then it began to rain, so that one believed the Day of Judgment had begun. The whole night the rain plunged down in a storm. The few fires that we had were nearly drowned out and it became very cold, too. Thoroughly soaked to the skin we longingly waited for the day, at which time we believed we would march to the old camp at Concord Church.

Early on the 6th however news arrived that our troops by Franklin had been struck and we would have to march to reinforce them. We were even more strengthened in this belief because our wagons were sent after provisions. The rain had slackened. What pleased us the most was that there was still a good wind through which our clothing would dry some. It was 1 o’clock in the afternoon, still no relief or march orders. Then a dark mass moved on the Mufreesboro country road from there, how very romantic it appeared from our high hill where we were on outpost. We soon heard this division was heading to Franklin.15 The same day the 2nd Brigade of our division came also. Our wagon received orders around 4 o’clock to go back to our old camp in order to get our tents and other things. The 2nd Brigade now moved into our position and we moved into this camp that lays 1 mile in front of Triune (more towards Nashville). Our tents arrived at 9 o’clock at night. Then it appeared as if were going to rain again and we partly put up our linen-walled houses and barely had this happened than it began to rain and continued nearly the entire night. Around 7 o’clock in the morning the tents were set up according to regulations and construction of fortifications began immediately.

We covered about 50 miles during the expedition. Went 12 miles beyond the line of the Army of the Cumberland and touched the following places: Nolinsville [Nolensville], Triune, Papple [College] Grove and Chaplain [Chapel]. NOTE?

The region is rich and there were few, and at the last place no Union troops at all. The residents are full-blooded Secesh, therefore we did not spare them. Hardly had we left Chaplain Hills [Chapel Hill] than the rebels arrived with reinforcements and early on the 7th attacked our outpost some 4 miles from here. The 35th Ohio and two guns were dispatched and the rest of our brigade deployed in line of battle on the hills near Triune. Our twelve-pounder began to roar and strong rifle fire broke out for an hour, then the Rebels withdrew. They also had two guns with them. I cannot say if the Rebels had any casualties. Our cavalry had three wounded, including one severely.16

The paymaster appears to have completely forgotten us despite owing us 7-months pay. That the troops are not regularly paid out, which nevertheless could be, is a shame. How many men are in the field whose families at home must live in want.

The weather is most unhealthy just now, as one day’s weather is pretty and then it constantly rains again for three days. Yesterday I received the first Anzeiger in 8 days.

Why that is I do not know.

 

                                                                                    J.[acob] B.[auer]

 

Pvt. Jacob Bauer described his and his regiment’s role in the Tullahoma campaign in a letter written on Independence Day. He also indicated that General Brannan was not popular with the troops

 

Letter 139, Louisville Anzeiger, July 16, 1863.

 

                                                                                           Camp at the Elk River, 9 miles

from Dechard Station, Tenn.

         4th July [1863]  

Worthy Mr. Doern:

 

Because our regiment is also well known in Louisville, I believe many [people] will enjoy hearing something from us again.  I would gladly have sent you news of us long ago; however, time and circumstances did not permit me to do that. The little writing paper that I carried in my haversack had become unusable because of the persistent rain.  I found the paper on which I write this in Tullahoma, where Bragg recently had his headquarters.  Because I do not know how soon we will move forward again, I want to be as concise as possible.

On the 23rd of June in the morning at half-past five, we received the unexpected order to march off at 7 o’clock, with bag and baggage and rations for 3 days in our haversacks.  Never before in our two years of campaigning was something kept so secret as this march route, because no one could say if we go backward or forward.  It was 9 o’clock in morning when we left our nice camp near Triune (it now rains again, and a terrible storm rages).  We marched through Triune, about two miles outside of the little town we turned onto one of the most wretched field paths toward Murfreesboro. The weather was terribly sultry. Almost every half hour our really unpopular division commander Brannon [Brannan] let us rest. These frequent halts make the march much more difficult.  After a march of 13 miles we camped in a large open field near a hamlet, I believe Salem, 4-5 miles from Murfreesboro. After about a half an hour, were soon directed forward, soon backwards, left, right about, in order to set up exactly in the popular line of battle (whether the troops come in the red hot heat of the sun or lay in the most miserable field, [it] appears to Brannon [Brannan] to be all the same). We could only get to work, pitching the linen walled houses we always carry, making a fire, etc.; meanwhile the sky darkened more and more.

On the morning of the 24th around 3 o’clock arms were taken up and tents struck. It was however about 9 o’clock before we left and the heat was again oppressive at this time. We took a road to Shelbyville.  About 10 o’clock it began to rain, and really hard, so that in a quarter of an hour we were soaked through and through, and the road became a morass.  We passed a part of McCook’s corps that day (we were in the center on the march).  About 2 o’clock in the afternoon we came on the Shelbyville Pike. Cannon drummed in front of us; a part of McCook’s corps was engaged in a fight (as I heard, Willich’s brigade).  We marched for a half hour along the road (in the worst rain), turned off to the right, where our brigade formed in line of battle.  Boom!  Boom!  Now the dance begins!  However the soldiers did not seem to need us here, because after we had listened about an hour to the continual crackling of rifles and the rumbling of the cannons, left about was commanded, and [we] marched away on the road, again on such a sloppy road.  We crossed over the Murfreesboro-Tullahoma Railroad by Christian Station [Christiana]. Camp was pitched after a march of 16 miles.  Drying our clothes was not thought about. The rain plunged down in streams during the night.

On the 25th of June at 8 o’clock in the morning advanced again.  The weather cleared up some, a halt was made after a march of 2 miles and rations distributed, because the road was so bad that the wagon could not follow; six miles farther, camp was pitched.

26th June, further march.  We got on the pike about 2 miles from Hoover’s Gap. After we had marched about 1/2 mile farther we turned right into a field and formed a line of battle.  We found ourselves in the center of Thomas’s corps and formed the third line.  Overall the fight was hard, a terrible rain poured down again, and made the maneuvering of the artillery, whose fire was once very strong, very difficult. You now know the course of the battle only too well, so that I do not need to report further.  After the Gap was taken (our division was not under fire) we pitched camp about 5 o’clock in the evening.  About 7 o’clock Rosecrans visited our division, where he was received with great jubilation, mainly by our regiment, to which he first came, and gave us a cheerful talk.  (We were under his command for 6 months in West Virginia, where we participated in the battles at Rich Mountains [Mountain], Carnifex Ferry, etc.).  Rosecrans appears much better than at that time, and only one opinion about him prevails in the army, that of trust, of love and respect.  We also saw our father30 Thomas once again after a long time.

On the 27th of June we marched off around 7 o’clock. We advanced only slowly, because the rain had turned the road totally into a swamp.  (The weather appeared to conspire against us.)  After a march of 18 miles, we arrived in Manchester at 11 o’clock at night, and pitched camp. 

On the 28th of June we first marched off around 10 o’clock toward Tullahoma.  Our division was in the front this time and our regiment was the advance guard.  The 1st and ours, the 2nd Company, had to roam as flankers, left and right, through an almost impenetrable woods. After advancing about 5 miles the left flank of our skirmish line hit the enemy’s advance post line, which was driven by us 1 mile after a one-hour skirmish.31 We were now recalled by the bugle and established our posts.  This had hardly happened when the Rebels returned and fired on our posts.  It was only a little fight; we held our line.  Meanwhile the division encamped. 32 Around nine o’clock we were relieved.  It was a wonder, that it did not rain that day. 

On the 29th of June, 11 o’clock, our division went out to reconnoiter; the Rebels fell back fighting inch by inch. Cannon shots were fired in order to better search out their position, whereby we immediately received an answer.  A shot from the Rebels killed the horse of the adjutant of the 35th Regiment.33 Around 8 o’clock it began to rain as if it was poured out of buckets and continued until 6 o’clock when the firing ceased.  We had only advanced a mile.  The line was occupied and we returned to our camp.  On the way back we had the pleasure to wade through Creeks a dozen times. 

On July 1st the 2nd Brigades under Gen. Steadman [Steedman] occupied Tullahoma. We returned to McCook’s corps in the evening. The losses our division has suffered up to now have not been significant. No one from our regiment is hurt. The Rebels must have cleared out of Tullahoma in the greatest hurry. I cannot say what fell into our hands. I have seen myself several heavy cannons that they left behind.  Tullahoma is a pretty little city, now of course, quite desolate; almost all buildings were used by the Rebels as hospitals, the battlements are not really so terrible, but could have been better defended. Rosecrans however appears to have outgeneraled Bragg. The region is very wooded and flat.  Many prisoners were brought in, they were not the best clothed.

The 2nd of July we merely made 4 miles; the 3rd we waded through the 3–4 foot deep Elk River, (pontoons could not be brought because of the terrible roads); the 4th of July we occupied this camp again on the Elk River.34 Our advance guard had a fight here on July 1 [2], in which the 4th Ohio Cav.[alry] Regiment, suffered the loss of several dead and wounded.35  Our rations are “all gone,” therefore we are supposed to wait for the arrival of provisions.  I believe that if our advance had not been so terribly hindered by so much by rainy weather, Rosecrans would have forced Bragg into a battle at Tullahoma.  We still have not seen our Baggage since the 24th of June and only have with us that which we have on our bodies, besides our haversacks, Indian Rubber (blankets) and tents, very little cooking utensils. We therefore have suffered horribly from the rain.  As I have previously noted, Gen. Brannon [Brannan] is thoroughly hated in our whole division by soldiers as well as the officers.

We do not believe that it will come to a major battle before Chattanooga.  The 4th of July just did not turn out the best for us because yesterday we already had a lack of provisions.  I had to interrupt this letter on the first side for an hour because as a way of passing time once again, a sort of cloudburst occurred, and our tent stands in 1/2 foot of water.

That the Rebels are making incursions into a free state such as Pennsylvania is quite something. Those miserable Copperheads36 who are too scared to fight and just sit home should be taken on.  Hopefully Lee will get his comeuppance in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and Vicksburg will soon be ours.37

We are 7 miles from Winchester and some 14 miles from Bellham [Pelham], where we go from here, I cannot say.

 

As soon as I am able you will hear from us.

 

N. B., Rosecran’s headquarters are located today in Winchester.

 

With respect and friendly greetings

J.[acob] B.[auer]

2nd Co., 9th Ohio Vol. Inf. Regt.

 

Letter 144—Louisville Anzeiger, December 6, 1863.

 

Top of Missionary Ridge,

near Chattanooga

       25 Nov. 1863.

Worthy Mr. Doern:

 

      You will probably have the kindness to place the following lines in your valuable newspaper. 

      It has been lively here for three days.  Yesterday Hooker stormed Lookout Mountain with his troops and drove the Rebels from their positions with large losses, so that the boats can now come up to Chattanooga unimpeded.  Last night the enemy moved back here, where we attacked him around 4 o’clock this afternoon and took the whole ridge by storm. We drove them from every position with an enthusiasm like I have never seen in our army before.  Every regiment wanted to be the first on the ridge.  The victory is complete and [the loss at] Chickamauga erased.  We captured 25 cannon54 and are now camped behind their fortifications. It is assumed that the dance will begin again in the morning unless the Rebels retreat during the night. Sherman is to our left and will duly burn them.

The loss of our army is proportionately smaller. So far as I know our regiment lost 15 killed and wounded, and among them I must sadly tell you is our brave friend and your correspondent Jacob Bauer.  A shell went through his abdomen and killed him almost immediately.  He was a brave young man who enjoyed the love and respect of the regiment.  He died an honorable death.  Rest in peace.  He left behind many friends and acquaintances in Louisville and his deeply grieving parents and his brothers and sisters in Germany.  Of the others known bugler Kotzleb [Kutzleb] was wounded.  He was first wounded in the recent battle [Chickamauga] and had just returned to duty 3 weeks ago.  A round shot tore his left army completely off, so that I have only little hope for him.

Of the 23 Louisvillians who were once in the regiment beside myself, now only 7 remain.  Hopefully we will come out okay.

This is all I can tell you in the haste and excitement, and stop for the time being for this reason.

 

                                                                              Respectfully yours,

 

                                                                              Edward Stremmel

                                                                              Co. A [1st Co.] 9th Ohio Reg.

 

 

 

Letter—145, Louisville Anzeiger, December 24, 1863.

 

Camp by Chattanooga, Tenn.

 14 Dec. [1863]

Dear Editor,

 

Because it will be of interest to the many friends as well relatives of our regiment to hear from time to time something out of the lives and hustle and bustle of the 9th Ohio Regiment, I will not fail your worthy readers, in the place of our fallen friend Jacob Bauer, to now and then furnish details of our experiences.

The telegraph has already reported to you the effects and results of our recent victory in front of Chattanooga.  You will already know enough of the part the old Army of the Cumberland had in it. Meanwhile I would like to communicate something about our condition as well as about our visit to the old battlefield at Chickamauga.

On the 29th of November we returned to our old camp here from our pursuit of the enemy, whom we had driven until above Ringgold, and were really happy to be able to sit down in our cozy huts after our many stresses.  The 4th Corps had marched off with Sherman the day before to reinforce Burnside at Knoxville.55 Presently only the 14th Corps remains here.  The headquarters of Gen. Grant and Thomas are still located here. 

For the time being we are happy to be free of at least the hard field service that we had been exposed to during the presence of Bragg’s army, while it is our ardent wish that Uncle Sam might soon delight us with an abundance of provisions and clothing in front of the walls of this fortress.  They really have no concept of what we padded our stomachs with for rations for the last two months.  Stockings and shirts seem to no longer exist, therefore we have made such out of rags collected (together).  The soldier is practical in the field and knows how to help himself, in any case. 

Meanwhile it is inconceivable to me that with the high water level of the Tennessee River now that the impediments have been removed from that time until now, still no improvements have been made in the Quartermaster Department.  Hopefully, however, as soon as the railroad connection between here and Bridgeport [Alabama] is completed, things will be different. 

It is not probable that operations will take place in the near future, because there is a lack of everything, especially horses and mules, which died by the hundreds because of the lack of forage. Transport wagons are also missing, especially in our corps, because you will remember, that ours, during our first stop here, were all burned by Wheeler’s cavalry between here and Stevenson [Alabama]. This and that are the causes of our current hesitation otherwise we would have pursued the enemy to the Gulf.

 So that you see how barbaric the Rebels are in the treatment of our dead, I will now give you a short report about our visit to Chickamauga.  I had not believed earlier reports of this sort in the newspapers. I now believe everything about it. On Dec. 9 we received the order to make ready to accompany Gen. Grant and Thomas on a visit to the old battlefield. We gladly responded to this request and marched out of the camp about 3 in the afternoon.  We reached Rossville about nightfall, where we camped for the night.  About half-past nine o’clock on the following morning we entered the place [battlefield] and were not a little horrified to see the bare bones of our brave comrades, who sacrificed on that fateful day for the good of the country, pulled apart by swine and dogs.  This however was not all.  Near the house that was used by us as a hospital hut during the battle on the afternoon of September 20 and was set on fire by the shooting, we found the cistern crammed up to the top with the corpses of our fallen [men], so that at the top arms, legs, heads, everything was mixed together, which really did not give off a pleasant odor.56 We found still others as they had fallen on that day. Things were still partly preserved on them, so that several skeletons were recognized as former members of our regiment.  It is really small comfort to see how we are treated when our bit of life has left us!  Someone has put a skull on a tree trunk with the face turned toward Chattanooga.  This is really a horrible new method of warfare that can only be performed by such wretched, miserable riff-raff.

The place where our regiment fought and suffered on that bloody day was sought out and everyone appeared to look, with great interest, at the trees from behind which they had previously fired at the enemy. The marks of the bullets showed only too clearly how hot the battle had been, because I often counted 30 to 40 bullets in the height of a man.  This was especially the case on the hill that Thomas’s corps defended so gloriously on the afternoon of the second day against the five-fold attacks. The Rebels had to have had terrible losses there, because I counted 47 graves there from one regiment (Alabama Legion).57 After we had seen and learned everything, we turned our backs to the terrible scene and reached our old camp here about 7 o’clock in the evening safe and sound.

This for today, and with assurance, that you will hear from us often, I remain.

 

                                                                                                      E. St[remmel]

 

 

Letter 146, Louisville Anzeiger, February 6, 1864.

 

Field Camp of the 9th Ohio Reg.

Chattanooga, 30th Jan. 1864

 

Most worthy Mr. Editor:

 

There probably has seldom been greeted more joyfully good news in the army than the arrival of the first railroad train from Nashville on the 14th of this month. Barely had the first shrill sound of the locomotive been heard in the area of Lookout Mountain than the call “Rail Road [Railroad].” rang out in the entire camp All eyes were directed there immediately in order to see whether all was in order, and the first ray of hope gleamed in us, and correctly— because the iron horse came with freight cars behind. The jubilation and screams of the troops would almost not come to an end, because everyone knew that it brought to an end months of extreme hunger, because everyone knew it, no longer more ox cheese soup and bad water. Things have improved considerably since then and if we still do not receive full rations, we can still be satisfied for the time being in consideration of the circumstances.      

The weather for the last 14 days has been most pleasant, the kind that one can expect during this season in Dixie. The change comes only after the terrible cold with which the new year began so suddenly, so that it probably will remain in the joints in many cases.

New Year's night found our regiment in the little town of Harrison, East Tennessee, in the process of making an expedition to Charleston, where we were supposed to accompany the 10th Wisc. Battery3 and a Provisions Train for our troops around Knoxville. We were detached from here with the 88th Ind. Regt.4 and 8 days' provisions on the next to last day of the old year for that purpose. Through this terrible cold, which also prevailed at this time in the North, we had to suffer much. The conditions on the road were so horrible that we soon had no shoes or socks on our feet. We had the satisfaction however that the residents of the region we came through were good Union people and we were welcomed everywhere.

On the 3rd of January we arrived at out destination;5 however, the bridge over the Hiawassee [Hiwassee] River was out and so we stayed for three days in empty houses there; but our rations would not last, therefore [we] purchased what could be found at farms for money and good value. Meanwhile the transports had crossed over the river by flatboat, from here it was supposed to continue with a new escort.

Eight days before our arrival here the resident troops under command of Col. Laibold[t]  of the 2nd Mo. R.[egiment] and Col. Long of the 4th Ohio Cav.[alry], had a strong skirmish with Wheeler's cavalry, who made the attack with the purpose of taking a large provision train; however they were so beaten that they scattered to the four winds.6 On the 9th of January we arrived in our old camp again with almost 100 prisoners, among them several Cherokee Indians; many had to take an involuntary bath while crossing the Savannah Creek.7

Reenlistment still proceeds strongly in our army and regiments go home from here daily on their approved furloughs. Many veterans join the Veterans [Volunteer] corps in order to escape through a furlough, at least before the hard times. As we hear here, Willich's entire brigade has been recruited; however, they cannot all go home at one time. The regiment that goes home first is supposed to be decided by drawing lots. If the 32nd Indiana draws the shortest lot, their turn will come only in the course of the next summer.8

To date, only one man from our regiment has gone to the Veteran Volunteers Corps, and this will probably be all they receive from us. The opinion out here in our army is quite different, but we are all one in this: That so long as not every young man in the North able to bear arms, who enjoys the protection and benefits of our government, takes up arms in order to do something for the cause of the Union, we will also sit back for a long time and criticize battles and campaigns from behind beer tables. However, when they are all out and a decisive blow is to be dealt, we would gladly be prepared to volunteer again with them to take up arms, as at the outbreak of the war. Therefore you men in the North come out here and support will not be distant.9

There are only two weak divisions present here to perform the garrison duty for Chattanooga. Yesterday, the 1st Division of the 4th Corps,10 which until now was stationed in Bridgeport,[Alabama] marched through here yesterday on their way to Cleveland, [Tennessee] in order to protect the railroad from here to Knoxville, which is now operating again.

It is busy here creating a large National Cemetery in which all of our soldiers who in the various battles at Lookout [Mountain], Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, as well as those who died in hospitals are supposed to be buried. In the middle of this place, which forms a pretty hill in front of Fort Wood, is supposed to be constructed a stone monument 80 feet high. This is a little satisfaction for the brave men who paid for their devotion to the good cause.11

 

                                                                                                      Greeting for today.

 

Yours truly,

E. St……l.

 

Letter 147, Louisville Anzeiger, March 18, 1864.

 

Camp By Ringgold, Ga.,

                                                                              10 March 1864

                             

Worthy Mr. Editor:

 

Only today, after we had somewhat established ourselves rather comfortably in our new camp in order to enjoy for some time Georgia’s mountain air, can I tell you something recent about events at our last camp.

As you know, our army corps, the 14th under the command of Gen. Palmer, left Chattanooga on the 22nd [of February] with 3 days rations in order to make a demonstration for Sherman, and if possible the opportunity to take Dalton.  However, we were not able to do the latter, because our lord general13 had previously mistaken the strength of the Rebel army and our whole available armed forces for this affair consisted of four weak divisions and some cavalry, which if I estimate high, might number 15,000 men.

After we had passed a part of the fateful old battlefield at Chickamauga we arrived about 6 o’clock in the evening in this place—still well known through the defeat Hooker had received from the rear guard of Bragg’s army on November 27 [1863] after the battle at Missionary Ridge because of his impetuous advance.  The signs of this former battle are still visible everywhere; the once pretty city of Ringgold for the most part lays in ruins from our troops.14 Seven families still live here, who are now fed by our commissary. Yes, who could have believed three years ago, that they, the proud Southerners, some day had to live on the mercy of the hated Yankees.

The night of the 22nd to the 23rd we bivouacked here and because the loveliest weather favored our operations; everyone was also in the best mood.  On the following morning, Johnson’s and Davis’s divisions15 advanced on the direct road to Tunnel Hill, while our division under Gen. Baird advanced to Catoosa Station, 1 1/2 miles from here, and remained there until the evening of the 24th.  The advancing divisions for which part of the cavalry served as advance guard, soon butted into the enemy, who slowly retreated under constant skirmish fire to the greater part of its army at Tunnel Hill.  We made our halt three miles from there about 8 o’clock in the evening; likewise we received the order to move up to there, where we arrived around 11 o’clock after a forced march in the darkness of night.  However, our rest was not meant to last long, because about 2 o’clock on the morning of the 25th we were roused out of our sweet slumber in a stubble field in order to prepare to march, and after bacon and Crackers for several days had been distributed, our division set in motion.  We turned left off the road in order to reach a way over the mountain on the road leading to Dalton.  It was very probably the view of our general that the main attention of the enemy is directed on Tunnel Hill, where Johnson’s and Davis’s divisions are advancing, while our division is supposed to make a Dash to Dalton from this side; however, it was otherwise.  We had reached the road at daybreak and there came upon Stanley’s division of the 15th [4th] Army Corps that moved out from Cleveland.16

Now, to come to the details of the individual battles, I must limit it to our own division because the rest were located quite far to our right.  Without hesitation we pressed toward Dalton until we encountered serious resistance four miles from there in Crows Valley where the enemy sent his first greeting to us out of the rifle pits.  Line of battle was now formed and a skirmish line sent out and we advanced.  Our brigade was in the center and had mostly open fields in front of it, while Turchin’s on our extreme right flank had the most difficult task to move forward because the terrain formed the steep slope of the Hard Fall Mountain.17 Very perceptible was the large amount of artillery with us, of which we had just eight guns and these were still in such a poor condition that the horses of the Bodyguard of the general staff had been required to bring them into the desired position. 

The enemy was now superior to us, which was soon discovered; regardless of this, we received orders to push forward as far as possible and probe their position.  Ours and 3 [other] companies of our regiment were advanced as skirmishers and drove the enemy sharpshooters through thick undergrowth on the other side of which again lay open fields.  While we were engaged in the heated pursuit a “halt” was called because Turchin had hit an unforeseen impediment, the first enemy fortifications.  We stayed where we were, then and again exchanged shots with the enemy, and were eyewitnesses as Turchin’s brigade stormed the fortifications. We pushed to the front under a fearsome hurrah and musket fire. The brave 11th Ohio Reg., which was in the first rank, succeeded until it came into the first fortifications; however, had to give up again after it lost 45 [25] men killed and wounded18 because the enemy advanced in overpowering strength again.  It was impossible to hold the position with two weak regiments.  It was lucky for us that we did not advance further, for if we had gone out over the next open field we also would have been caught in a terrible cross fire.

It was therefore decided not to make any further advances and thus the battle ended at darkness.  We remained in our position until about 10 o’clock at night and then withdrew.  It surprised me that the enemy, who must have recognized our marked weakness, made no further demonstrations against us. The undergrowth and foliage were on fire everywhere through the cannon fire and the bursting of the bombs, so that it appeared as though the whole country was on fire.  We marched back to Cora [Catoosa] Station again, where we, after wading through several deep, ice cold Creeks, arrived on the 26th about 8 o’clock.

Johnson’s and Davis’s divisions still held Tunnel Hill from which they had ejected the enemy on the previous day with rather considerable losses, whereby the old Hecker [24th Illinois] regiment lost its colonel.19 About noon, after we had barely rested a couple of hours, we went again to Tunnel Hill, stayed there until 10 o’clock, when our whole corps returned to Ringgold.  Our division formed the rear guard and remained at Chickamauga Creek on the morning of the 27th, from where later the 35th Ohio and 2 companies of our regiment were ordered to escort several loyal family with several wagons, who wanted to go north. We had hardly gone one-half mile before we encountered the pursuing enemy; a quick retreat was our only way out, which we managed without loss.

Our division has been here since that time in order to hold the Gap.  Johnson was located several miles to our left and Davis to our right.  However, our position is a very critical one because should the enemy succeed in breaking through our flanks we would have a poor way out of it.  We must therefore be under arms about 4 o’clock every morning and ready to march at any minute.  However, we hope he does not succeed because this current camp pleases us better than in Chattanooga, although the service is very hard.

The strength of the enemy is estimated at between 30-40,000 M[en],20 therefore not to be scoffed at. Our losses in this story have probably not climbed much over 600 [345] men.21 Our Regiment came out of this the best, because it lost not a single man.

Until the army is totally complete and the veterans have returned, probably no further advances will take place and this could last until mid-April.  Until then we think we will be at a different place because our time of service is nearly up.  Then we will repeat many times in the circle of our friends and acquaintances at home the events during the three years of war.

 

                                                                                                                  Ed. St……

 

     

 

Letter 148, Louisville Anzeiger, May 11, 1864.

 

                                                                                          Camp by Ringgold, Ga.

                                                                                          May 4, 1864

Most Worthy Mr. Doern:

 

“May has come, the trees start to bud” – is an old song that is well known to many of your worthy readers, and has been churned out on many of our arduous marches.23

Finally this month of May has appeared in its splendor.  Probably no one has desired it more ardently than the Ninth, not perchance in order for us to feast our eyes once again on the magnificent sights of nature, no! But this is the fateful month in which the Ninth Ohio will reach the end of its career, and probably many of us doubted whether we would live to see it or not.  Meanwhile, we are still not at the last day and until the 27th a lot can happen that could spoil the joy of the approaching return home for a person.  Meanwhile, it appears just now as if our regiment will remain at the front until the last day and hour, which in any case would be an injustice, not only that we had to endure all the suffering and strain since the beginning of the war, and have done our duty in every way for our country, but because we have already been in service for over three years it may be as it is;24 with the old troops, they have had a thankless task; well we will comfort ourselves with our fate until the last little hour hits.

Our army now stands here on the eve of a great campaign that can begin at any hour. Our whole corps has been assembled here for two days and the assembly place of the 4th Corps is in Cleveland. Whether our army’s new campaign will be crowned with success is for us to learn in the future.  In any case the Rebels will have to give up their fortified positions, and withdraw into the interior of Georgia. If he should not pull out, he will have to accept a battle. Evidently a great job is in front of us. A night seldom passes when they do not drive in a detachment of our Pickets or take prisoners.

Several days ago our brigade together with two regiments of cavalry undertook a reconnaissance.  We drove the regiment that occupied the outpost until they were thick in front of Tunnel Hill, where we found the enemy formed in line of battle.  Because our purpose was to find out how strong the enemy was, and how far he was advanced, we returned to our camp.  Our cavalry had eight wounded; the horse of Gen. Kilpatrick who commanded our cavalry was shot twice. He came out uninjured.25 Gen. Kilpatrick is known through his raid to Richmond in East Virginia,26 he is still a young man, and is, if I should use a soldier’s expression, a capable sweeper, because he was always in the foremost rank, where our buffalo  doesn’t trust himself to be. 27

The enemy lost 12 dead and wounded in this affair according to his own statement.28 Five men who fell into the hands of our cavalry were all shot upon their capture, as revenge for the recent inhumane bloody deed to several members of the 92nd Ill. Regt. Mounted Infantry.29

It appears mainly as if the enemy had foreseen a formal war of eradication, because this proves not only the blood bath at Fort Pillow, no everywhere, here, as well as how they perpetrated the same hideousness in North Carolina.30 With this they are putting a weapon in our hands that when once used universally will break their last hope all the faster. Each of our soldiers should therefore make it his job that for each man slaughtered in this way, to shoot dead a half dozen [Rebels] for it. Thus the 92nd Ill. Regt. decided to take no more prisoners, rather they will let them all bite the dust as the Rebels come.  I want to mention briefly the details of this recent incident.

Every few days the said Illinois Reg. sent a company to the area of Nic[k]ajack Gap, some seven miles from here, to observe that point.  The Rebels, who learned of this through spies, crept in superior numbers over the mountain and fell on the small detachment on the morning of the 23rd of April after they had blocked beforehand every way out. Our brave men, who soon saw that nothing but capture remained for them because no help was in the area, decided to cut their way through.  Fortunately, half of them made it through, while the rest were killed, wounded or captured.  Meanwhile this was not sufficient for the Rebel bloodhounds; after they had taken away the arms of the living who had fallen into their hands they were cold bloodedly shot down and left laying [there].  They were found in this condition by the members of the regiment who hurried to help their comrades.  Several whom I saw myself must have had the weapon held close to their bodies because their clothes were singed where the bullets entered their bodies.31

 

                                                                                                                            E. St.[remmel]

 

Letter written by Col. Robert L. McCook about the death of Cpl. Hugo Tafel. 

Colonel Robert L. McCook’s letter to Gustav Tafel, who was in Cincinnati on sick leave advised the sergeant of his brother’s death and gave some additional information about the battle at Mill Springs Ky. McCook told Tafel that the Ninth fought against the Mississippi “Tigers.” However the regiment fought principally against the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Tennessee regiments.

 

 

Louisville Anzeiger, January 26, 1862.

 

Camp Hamilton, Ky.

[near Logan’s Cross Roads]

                                                                                                              21 January 1862

Dear friend! (Sgt. Gustav Tafel)

 

It is my painful duty, to inform you that your dear brother Hugo was shot on the previous Sunday and died at ten o’clock that night.

He fought like a man and soldier, worthy of his name, his country and his regiment.

Gustav, you have lost through this instance of death a loving brother and a good person. You should be proud that the deceased was your brother.

It is unnecessary to say to you that we all are very sorry about the loss of your brother and that we sympathize with you and your family.  This may however be only a little consolation for you.

Your brother was shot through the lower part of the breast and he had to endure much pain.  It was impossible to preserve his remains, he bled internally and we had to bury him. His body lays in a stately place, where we also buried the other dead.  A suitable monument will mark the place where his mortal remains lay buried.

Now to the battle itself.  If you had seen how our boys attacked the Mississippi “Tigers” [15th Mississippi] with bayonets and caused them to flee you should feel proud that you are a member of the regiment.

Captain Joseph was wounded in the fleshy part of his leg.  I received a severe wound to the bone below the knee.  I hope that the bone is only slightly damaged.  If I had left the field right away, perhaps it would have been better for me.  However, I stayed in the field and pursued the enemy at the head of my regiment for a distance of twelve miles, of which I had to walk three miles in foot deep mud.

My horse received three gunshot wounds; a bullet went through the collar of my coat and the fifth hit me in my leg.  From this you can see that we stood in a furious shower of bullets.  Lieutenant [Andrew] Burt, one of my adjutants was also wounded.  We pursued and drove the enemy behind his fortifications and captured some 100 acres of tents, 150 wagons, 12 cannon, 1,000 horses and mules, and a mass of arms and ammunition.  Zollicoffer is dead. You could hardly comprehend the dimension of his fortifications.  We killed a large number of the enemy, many of their dead still lay on the battlefield.

Greetings to [Judge] Stallo and Henry.

                                          Your friend

                                                      Robert L. McCook

 

LETTERS AND ARTICLES FROM THE  NATIONAL TRIBUNE

 

The National Tribune

February 16, 1911, page 3.

 

How General McCook Died

Comrades Dispute the Assertions made by F. B. Gurley and Members of His Band

In The National Trlbune of Dec 29, 1910 was published an account of the shooting of Gen Robert L. McCook according to Frank B. Gurley and others who claim that he Gurley was a duly commissioned Captain in the Confederate service and not a guerilla. Many comrades dispute this and say that Gurley, who does no deny that he fired the fatal shot was a guerilla.

What the Ohio Boys Say

E. F. Klser, President 9th Ohio Association, 10 Green Street, Cincinnati O. writes:

“The article from F. B Gurley is far from the truth. Some months ago tho 9th Ohio Association received similar statements and appointed a committee to investigate with the following results.

“In his letter Frank B Gurley claims that he received a commission as Captain from the proper authorities and states I got a few other sick soldiers and little boys together to operate inside the Federal lines.”

“It is taken for granted sick soldiers are not able to do duty and little boys cannot be held responsible for their acts. It is self evident by such admission that Gurley was a bushwhacker or guerrilla. The Confederate Government certainly never gave Gurley a commission to enlist sick soldiers and little boys to operate inside the Federal lines.

“The drove of cattle Gurley speaks of was driven thru fully for 24 hours ahead of the passing of the brigade and as Gurley and his men were at home in this locality no doubt he was informed of the coming of the Federal soldiers by the farmers with whom he was personally acquainted.

Not a Shot Fired

”Both sides commenced firing,” says Gurley. Not a shot was fired by our side at this time for the attack was an unexpected one and the men who accompanied McCook had laid their arms in the staff supply wagon that followed the ambulance in which McCook was riding. Mr. Jacob Aug, the sutlers clerk—not a soldier and having no arms—was near the ambulance riding a very tall mule, and also four or five musicians who never carry guns. One of them, Ernest Meinhardt, received a saber cut in the head.

 “ ‘When our brigade came up closer and ascertained what had taken place, they followed the enemy and fired at them. Dr Bcatty s, house in which McCook died, was unharmed when the 9th Ohio left that locality the following day. Following troops or an individual set fire to the house and it was destroyed.

“ ‘Gurley says: “The General was not sick, but was in command of his brigade and riding not in an ambulance, but In a supply wagon.” How can Gurley prove such an absurdity? McCook was sick and Col. Fred [Ferd] Vanderveer of the 35th Ohio, was in command of the brigade, as the records will verify. The 35th Ohio was in the lead, followed by the 2d Minn. and the 9th Ohio. Then came the ambulance with the sick General, the supply wagon, and the other regimental teams.

How MCook Got Shot.

“The road forked and Col. Vandrveer made a mistake and took the road to the left. When McCook reached this point he noticed the error and sent word to Vanderveer. In this way tne 9th Ohio got the advance and McCook with guards and musicians, got at the head of the column. Soon after shots were heard, and some of the guard fell back, pursued by men on horseback. Then we opened fire. When we reached the spot where McCook was shot, a distance of about a mile, the enemy had dispersed. McCook was carried to Dr. Beatty’s house where he died the following day, Aug 6 1862.”

“This statement was approved by C. W. H. Luebbert, Michael Lorentz, Jos. Plesche, Wm. Dublmeier, Frank E. Kaiser, Albert Bocklett, Fred Wendel, Albin Stecher and Gerhard Ferber, members of the 9th Ohio.”

Not According to History

T. C. Wattenspiel, 106th Ohio, Eagle Block, Salt Lake City, Utah, writes:

“The account of the death of Gen. R. L. McCook by a comrade of the 4th Ohio Cav. is at variance with the facts as published in the regimental histories of both of the 9th and the 35th Ohio. As there are members of both regiments living who were there and almost eyewitnesses I leave it to them to contradict our deluded Southern brethren including Capt, Frank B. Gurley.

McCook Was Very Sick.

Herman Beyland, Co. A, 9th Ohio, commissioned Lieutenant 2d Ky. Art., Clifton, Ky. writes:

“Gen Robert L. McCook and his Adjutant Hunter Brooke, were in an ambulance. McCook was in his nightshirt, and was a very sick man. He should have been in rear of the brigade but for a mistake. He had but few orderlies with him. Among them was Andy S. Burt. now General retired., the Portner Washington D. C .

“Being some distance in advance of his brigade, unwary of any danger, his little cavalcade was suddenly attacked. Thls frightened the horses that Adj’t. Brooke was driving. He yelled to the party attacking: ‘Do not shoot; the horses are unmanageable.’ Not heeding, the leader rode up to the sick General and shot him thru the body, wounding him fatally. He was carried into a log house where the Major in command of the 1st battalion of the 9th Ohio found him dying unattended in his agony. The brlgade also came up upon hearing the firing.

“The pathetic scenes that were enacted during that night at the deathbed of McCook and the words by him spoken will never be forgotten. Said he to his Aid: “Andy, what matters the death of 10,000 such as I or you if only this Union can be saved.”

Gurley Much Wanted

Chas. McDonald 2d Ill. Art., Midway, Pa., writes that:

“Comrade Brankam went a long way, from home to find out about the killing of Gen. Robert McCook. In August 1863, I with others under orders of Gen Gordon Granger, was sent for the plantation of Sheriff Gourley [Gurler’s] to try to capture Capt. Gurley, but he was slick enough to get away. We also had orders to burn and destroy everything on Sheriff Gurley’s place and driven away all his negroes, which was done. Among the furnishings of hls parlor was a framed commission of Frank B. Gurley {as Sheriff of the County, who was that day very much wanted at home. His commission was then smashed and burned with the other property

There Were No Cattle

Chas. A. Edwards, Co. A, 2nd Mlnn., Dodgeville, O. writes”

“The facts in the case are as follows:” Gen McCook, with the brigade, consisting of the 2d Minn., 9th and 35th Ohio and Lieut. Smith’s U. S. battery left Florence, Ala., about July 28, 1862, for Winchester, Tenn. McCook who was quite sick at the time was riding in an ambulance from the start until the day he was shot, Aug 5, 1862.

“It was a very sultry day and the McCook ambulance, with the headquarters baggage wagon, with Capts. Miller and Brooke and a guard of a few men, were some half mile or more in advance of the 35th Ohio, the leading regiment of the brigade, to avoid the dust. About noon they met a man of whom Capt. Brooke inquired how far ahead they could find water sufficient for the camp of a brigade of troops, who replied that just beyond a bend in the road which they could see ahead was a fine spring.

“McCook, who rightly judged the people of that section as rebels, said to the Captain: Probably he is a rebel and is lying to you At this the man took from his pocket a pass signed by one of Gen. Buell’s staff und said , “that ought to convince you that I am a Union man.” The party believing it was all right started on and just after passing the bend in the road alluded to, they found themselves surrounded by about 50 armed men who sprang from the thick brush by the roadside and began firing. The General, pierced by the fatal bullet, raised upon his elbow. When the leader of the gang rushed up and was about to complete his fiendish work. McCook said: ‘You had belter save your ammunition; I am done for.’ In the confusion which ensued, the driver of the baggage wagon made his escape and ran back to the advance of the 35th Ohio and reported the disaster to Col Vandev[e]er who started his regiment forward on the run, while his Adjutant turned his horse and started down the line upon the run, shouting ‘McCook has been shot and killed!’

“I cannot understand Gurley’s statement that a herd of beef cattle were with the brigade and that a body of soldiers driving the cattle began the fight. No cattle were being driven by our troops, and no attempt was made by the rebels to kill anyone except McCook. Not more than eight men, all told, were with McCook at the time he was shot, and all save the driver above referred to were taken prisoners and paroled soon afterward.

To find a cause for their hatred of McCook, we must go back to the Fourth of July at Tuscumbla, Ala. The Division of Gen. Thomas at that place celebrated the day by firing a National salute and listening to speeches made by Governor Alex Ramsey of Minnesota, Col Boyington, Gen McCook and others. I well remember some of McCook’s remarks. He said that he was a Democrat and that he enlisted to help put down this rebellion and would favor killing every rebel and freeing every slave in Alabama to do it.

“I know that squads of the 2d Minn,, without the consent or knowledge of their offlcers, burned some buildings, while the 9th Ohio, by details, in charge of officers, burned many buildings. At one of them the 9th Ohio men were met by a woman who begged the Captain not to burn her house. His reply was ‘Madam for the first time in this war an American General has been cowardly murdered. This it shall never shelter them again. I give you 15 minutes to get out your things.’ ”

 Letter Regarding the Batle of Chickmauga

The Perrysburg Journal. (Perrysburg, Wood Co., Ohio)

November 9, 1895

 

 

Recapture of Battery H, Fifth United States Artillery,

By the Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on the First Day of the Battle of Chickamauga.

Pueblo, Col., Sept., 25, 1895

To the Chattanooga Times.

     On the 10th and 20th of Septomber, 1863, your correspondent was an actor in the events which for all time to come saved Chattanooga to our union; and in penning these lines he will make no attempt to add a page to history, but simply narrate what have been matters of personal observation.

     The battle of Chickamauga was fought across and along the road leading from Lafayette, Ga., to Chattanooga, Tenn., and its immediate object was the re-occupatlon of the last named city. By a successful feint the Confederate general, Bragg, commanding the Army of Tennessee, was on the 9th day of September, 1803, induced to evacuate his stronghold at Chattanooga, while the union general, Rosecrans, at the same time became enabled, with his Army of the Cumberland, almost unobserved and certainly unmolested, not only at various places below that city, by means of hastily constructed rafts and pontoons to cross the wide Tennessee river, but also to safely climb and descend the abrupt Raccoon range, as well as Sand and Lookout mountain on north side of the river. Today it is clear to every soldier, that the Army of the Cumberland never, slnce its existence, had been in such a perilous and hazardous condition as when, from the 9th to the 10th of September, 1863. Its three corps were absolutely isolated on a line forty miles apart between Its two wings, each separated from the other by rugged mountain ranges, and in its center confronted by a well organized and concentrated force of superior numbers, which was even then being dally increased by the arrival of fresh troops. And totally inconceivable, then as well as now, is the failure of Gen. Bragg to take advantage of the divided condition of Rosocrans' army, by attacking and crushing the same in detail. The situation of the contending armies was thoroughly understood even by the private soldiers, and this is not, therefore, "wisdom after the fact." Instead of this, however, the confederate general on the 16th of September, resolved to await the arrival at Lafayette of the expected forces from Virginia under the command of Gen. Longstreet, and for the present moment felt contented in trying to overlay the left wing of the union army and thereby cut it off from Chattanooga. This state of affairs, ot course, necessitated, on the other slde, an immediate extension and reinforcement ot Rosecrans' left wing, for which communication with Chatanooga was of paramount and vital importance. For this reason Gen. Thomas, commanding the center of the army of the Cumberland (Fourteenth corps), received, late in the afternoon of 18th ot September, orders to move with his four divisions from the (then) camping place near Pond Spring, in a northerly direction along the Crawfish road, to a point near Lee & Gordon's mill, which Gen. Crittenden had already occupied. And now took place the ever memorable night march of the Fourteenth corps. Silent but firm, following close upon each others' heels, but continually blinded by the smoke of burning fences, these thousands of experienced veterans, four divisions strong, marched along the dusty country road, and many, it really seemed, sniffed from afar in the cold, frosty night air, the slaughter that was to come in the early morning; certain it is that in many places the lines of the two contending armies were so close that the chopping of the axes, the dull rumbling of the artillery wheels and all the notes of preparation for the struggle which was to begin the next day could be distinctly heard. Finally, at dawn of the morning the objective point was fortunately reached, and now brigade after brigade, one closing up in the rear of the other commenced marching by left flank past Crittenden into the designated new line until the last one (Van Derveer's), took its position near the old McDonald house on the Lafayette and Chattanooga road. And so the extension of our left wing was safely accomplished. It was about 7 o'clock a. m. on the morning of the 19th of September, when this last (the Third) brigade of Gen. Brannan's (the Third) division was ordered into the opposite woods toward Reed bridge and the Chickamauga rlver whore desperate fighting had already commenced. That the Third brigade of the Third division, Fourteenth corps, under command of Col. Ferd. Van Derveer and composed of the Ninth and Thirty-fifth Ohio. Second Minnesota and Eighty-seventh Indiana regiment, volunteer infantry, stands second to none in the records, both official and historical, of the effective lighting accomplished upon the bloody field of Chickamauga, is not and cannot be questioned. Only the Eighty-seventh Indiana, Second Minnesota and Thirty-fifth Ohio wore engaged early in the morning of the 10th as the Ninth Ohio haying been ordered to guard the ammunition train of Brannan's division in the rear, had not yet arrived on the battlefield. About 9 o'clock all of a sudden the confederates under Walker and Forrest made such a fierce onslaught on Baird’s division that the two brigades of King and Salbon?  were thrown out of position and repulsed, and by a charge led by Walthall's Mississippi brigade. Gunther's battery H, Fifth United States artillery was captured. Thereby Gen. Baird's line was badly shattered and King's brlgade of his division (the First) was driven in confusion across Van Derveer’s brigade to the left. It was at this critical moment that the Ninth Ohio regiment, led by its Colonel, Gustav Kämmerling appeared, having been ordered to the position at the right wing of Van Derveer's brlgade, and coming up on the run, it passed the point in rear of where the regular brigade (King), had lost its guns. With his usual cool judgement and wonderful ability to instantly perceive the situation of a field of battle, Col. Kämmerling saw the necessity of quickly changing front and attacking the rapidly advancing foe. This was no place nor tlme to wait for orders. So he at once ordered the two wing companies of his regiment to deploy as skirmishers and the remaining right companies to lie down. The ground undulating toward the hillside full of high grass and small underbrush and covered with some trees gave our soldiers a little protection and enabled the skirmishers for a little while to keep up a sharp and well aimed flre by which the enemy's advance was momentarily cheeked. Then Col. Kämmerling, with truly admirable coolness, commanded the skirmishers to lie down, but the regiment to rise and discharge, simultaneously, two regimental volleys in quick succession, whereupon immediately the order to attack with the bayonet was given. And now followed one of the wildest charges that any single regiment ever undertook. The guns on the hlllside stood near a quarter of a mile away and were equally defended by a confederate infantry and a cross fire from distant batteries of our own, but the attack was so sudden and so irresistable that in a few minutes the heavy lines of the enemy were broken and driven off, and the guns taken by the intrepid, unfaltering soldiers of the Ninth Ohio. By this little sldo affair the regiment lost 63 killed and wounded. But no better evidence of the pre-eminent distinction won here by the gallant Col. Gustav Kämmerling can be wanted than the fact that upon the special and urgent commendation of Maj. Gen. Thomas, he was promptly made a brigadier-general. Aftr the enemy had been defeated for the moment and the guns of Battery H, Fifth United States artillery, secured the Ninth Ohio regiment returned to Van Derveer's brigade and came up just as Longstreet's men were hurling themselves in a mass upon the left. The Ninth hero joined its forces to that of its comrades in time to have weight of metal tell in settling deadly conflict.

H.

 

 

The National Tribune., July 19, 1883, Page 7,  

 

Gen. Robt. L. McCook's Commission.

To the Editor Nationai Tribune:

I noticed in your issue of the 26th of June a communication from Comrade F. A, Buckingham, of Company G, Second Minnesota, in regard to the murder of out brigade commander, Col. Robert L. McCook. How well I remember that day. Our beloved commander. although weak and sick went on ahead in an ambulance to pick out a good camping-ground for us. With only a small body-guard with him, and, perhaps, was perhaps a mile or so ahead of the brigade when the guerrillas made a dash by a crossroad, onto him; his body-guard fled and the cowards left our brave commander to his fate. He was killed while the driver was trying to turn his horses, without any request to surrender as a prisoner. What a night of grief that was to the two old regiments—the Ninth Ohio and Second Minnesota. How the curses and anathemas arose from those “bully Dutchmen” when they learned that their chief had fallen murdered in his ambulance! How we pressed forward in the double-quick to reach the spot and and gaze on the bodv of our dear colonel! He had his "bully Dutch" regiment in splendid order, and maneuvered them much in the style of the Prussian army, and there was not one of them but would have laid down his life for his colonel if opportunity offered. This affair happened in August, 1862, when we were on the march towards Winchester. Tenn. As Comrade Buckingham says, we all were proud of our brigade commander, and his taking-off' in such a cowardly manner stirred the passions of every soldier to fever heat. I afterwards saw the leader of this cowardly band of guerrillas a prisoner at Stephenson. Ala., and be was guarded very closely ail the time to prevent the Ninth Ohio boys from shooting him down on sight. In your last issue I read an account of the march we made just before Chickamauga, by Capt.  F. W. Perry, of the Tenth Wisconsin. It brings back to mind at once all the incidents of that greet battle, and I am anxious to read the rest of his account. I could write much of interest of my own personal observation in that fearful fight, but will only say that, of the company I belonged to, we had but thirty men for duly when the fight began on September 19th, 1863,and after two two-days’ battle, there were but eight men left to answer roll-call. I was one of the eight, and we still had our three commissioned officers, but one of them fell afterward on the top of Missionarv Ridge, and I was ported as a guard over his body during that night.

Hiram A. Herrington.


Anoka. Minn. 2d Minn. V. I.

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