Thursday, October 1st, 1863
The road, every farm there are entrenchments dug and breastworks, passed through Murfreesborough [TN] and Fallsome [TN] (?) passed through the Cumberland Mountains.
Had a kettle of coffee and some hard tack at Stevenson, Alabama, for breakfast; it is a great depot for provisions, several thousand troops here, reached Bridgeport [AL] at 10 a.m. crossed the [illegible] river on a pontoon bridge, camped here, put up our Crush shack (?).
The whole company detailed on picket, across the river killed two hogs, plenty of fresh meat.
On guard at the pontoon bridge. Gen. Hooker’s Division moved to the front.
This afternoon the Regt. on fatigue, tearing up the Pontoon Bridge.
Picket on the Island, guard the Ford, skiff riding almost all day.
S. Mulligan in camp this morning; my boots, coat [illegible] arrived this morning.
Chaplain preached twice. Robert Sinclair came into camp this morning; he is in fine health. Detailed on guard this evening, 9 o’clock.
On guard all day, relieved this evening six o’clock, orders to leave; the boys have been cleaning a new camp ground all day.
Rained all night and all today, mud and water; we are in a pretty fix without tents.
Still keeps raining and knee deep.
Moved over the river this morning. Camp on the top of a high hill, rains all day. They gave us one dog tent to every four men.
Still raining; we have made us a tent of our rubber blankets and bedded it with leaves and weeds.
The rain cleared off, a very fine day; on fatigue throwing the old shells over the bank of the River.
Rained last night, still raining. Chaplain Newman preached once. Gen. Howard had service in the evening.
On Picket at foot of the Island; weather fine. L. Potter, H. Abney, F.M. Abney, J. Smith, J. Bascue, J. Ruddell; nothing of importance.
Relieved this morning; don’t feel very well. Dress parade this evening.
Still keeps raining.
On fatigue unloading Com(missaries) and Hay.
Detailed on fatigue to load Pontoon boats, still raining.
Preaching at Gen. Howard’s Headquarters. We turn out with full equipment, inspected by Gen. Howard. This evening received orders to march, the 11th Army Corps are moving out.
(Editor’s Note: It was of greatest importance to the Nationals to keep Chattanooga open for sending on supplies to the Army of the Cumberland. This could not be done unless food and supplies could be more speedily furnished. Grant therefore made preparations for the immediate concentration of Hooker’s Corps at Bridgeport with the view of opening the river and main wagon road from that point to Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River by which supplies could be taken to Chattanooga and thus avoid the Confederates at Lookout Mountain altogether. It was planned that Hooker should cross the river at Bridgeport with all the force at his command. Sergt. Hopper was in the corps headed by Howard, one of Hooker’s generals - and threaten Bragg and Longstreet with a flank attack; General Palmer was to cross the river and hold the road passed over by Hooker; General Smith was to go down the river from Chattanooga and seize the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley. Hooker crossed at Bridgeport on pontoon bridges on the 26th and reached Wauhatchie on the 28th; on the nights of the 26th and 27th Smith successfully completed his part of the plan. Before the bewildered Confederates realized what was happening, the Nationals were strongly intrenched and the foe, after an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge them, withdrew up the valley toward Chattanooga. By these operations the railway from Bridge port well up to Chattanooga was in the possession of the Nationals.)
Received orders to march last night, moving at six a.m., we ascend the Mountain and hold Moore’s Gap, descend and continue our march, camp at 8 p.m., march 12 miles.
(Editor’s Note: Leaving guards for the protection of the road over which he was passing, Howard – with the other corps under Hooker’s command – descended through a gorge into Lookout Valley. The valley bounded by Raccoon and Lookout Pts. was divided by a series of steep, wooded hills in the possession of the Confederates, who also held the crest of Lookout Mt.
March 16 miles. Left camp this morning 7 a.m., heard cannonading most of the day, sharp skirmishing about 4 p.m., shelling us from Lookout Mountain, killed 2 men and one horse, camped this evening inside our lines, still shelling us. This evening at 12 the Pickets commence firing; we are called into line, the firing becomes general, the balls begin to whir in every direction. Gen. Hooker, Gen. Carl Schurz, Gen. Howard are here. Brig. Gen. Tyndale is in command of our Division, 3rd Div., 1st Brigade, 11th Army Corps, 12th Corps have had a hard fight, repulsed the rebels, but lost about 300 men killed and wounded. J. Petefish, Co. D., lost his arm from a shel1, still shelling us, we are throwing up breastworks.
(Editor’s Note: As Hooker pushed on toward Brown’s Ferry, Howard in advance, the latter was attacked on the wooded hills near Wauhatchie. In this encounter Howard lost a few men, and others were killed by shells hurled upon Hooker’s column from Lookout Mt. Gen. Geary, with a small force, was ordered to encamp at Wauhatchie three miles from Howard’s position, with a very thin line of pickets connecting them.)
Throwing up breastworks until 12 last night, not much shelling this morning, raining hard.
Ready to march at one o’clock, shelling has just commenced, the rebels are camped about 100 yards from our pickets. Our Division moves this evening; we are on the outer line of Pickets. This has been a hard month for us. Left Union City the 27th of last month, five weeks ago, and traveled 700 miles to Bridgeport, Ala.; since that time we have been on half rations, without shelter tents, and it has been raining almost continually. We left Bridgeport the 27th under command of Gen. Howard of the 11th Corps Army of the Potomac. We are attached to the
3rd Division, Gen. Carl Schurz commanding, 1st Brigade, Gen. Tyndale. We arrived here within a few miles of Chattanooga on the evening of the 28th. The enemy shelled us some; nothing serious resulted from it. In the night they attacked the 12th Corps when a sharp battle ensued and the enemy were driven back with considerable loss; our Division had some sharp skirmishing, charged and took a hill without much loss.
(Editor’s Note: From the time he entered the valley, Hooker’s movements were watched by McLaws’s division of Longstreet’s corps holding Lookout Mt. He did not feel strong enough to fight Hooker openly so fell upon Geary’s weak force believing to destroy it and burn Hooker’s supplies. Geary was prepared for the assault and pushed the Confederates back. The sound of battle aroused Hooker, who sent Gen. Schurz and Gen. Tyndale to aid him. The struggle continued for three hours but early in the morning the Battle of Wauhatchie was ended victoriously for the Nationals.
Sunday, November 1st, 1863
Our Regt. is on the outer line of Pickets; this evening we are all at work falling timber and putting up breastworks, at work all night; put up half mile of breastworks, expecting an attack.
At work all day, put up another line of breastworks. This evening we go on Pickets.
Have not been relieved yet. Not much shelling today.
Still on Picket; our Pickets have been advanced to within a stone’s throw of the enemy.
Still on Picket, rained all day: we are relieved tonight. The ground is muddy; we throw some brush down and spread our blankets and go to sleep, still raining.
Been raining all night; our blankets are all wet. We are up in line of battle at 4 a.m. every morning; still on half rations, detailed on Picket this evening at 1 p.m. Lieut. Shaffer in command.
Relieved of Picket this morning 9 a.m. They still keep shelling us a little from Lookout.
(Editor’s Note: Bragg was in no condition for movements against the Nationals for Longstreet was now fighting Burnside in eastern Tenn. Thus he had to be content with simply holding his strong positions on the northern slopes of Lookout Mt. and the crest of Missionaries’ Ridge. The two armies confronted each other with but three or four miles between.)
On Picket duty again, Lieut. Shelton in command; one deserter came in last night.
Relieved of Picket this morning 9 a.m.: 4 deserters came in.
On Picket again: 7 deserters came through our lines, 1 Sergt., 1 Corp, and 5 Privates; they report one whole Regt. coming in as fast as possible. Lieut. Shelton in command.
This morning relieved of Picket, moved camp, busy fixing tents; 1 deserter came in.
On picket this morning. Lieut. H [illegible] in command.
Relieved from Picket 10 a.m., one Regt. of deserters came in today, mustered for pay by the Lieut. Col. of the 61st Ohio.
On Picket; Henry Shoemaker of Co. F had his arm shot off by a shell.
Arms inspected by a Captain on Gen. Howard’s staff, hear cannonading on our right.
The paymaster here; we sign the rolls.
Receive our pay, $86.
Leave camp at 4 p.m. and arrive in Camp at Chattanooga 9 p.m.
(Editor’s Note: Grant had moved to Chattanooga during the latter part of October. During this time & throughout the first part of Nov. Burnside was being seriously menaced by Longstreet at Knoxville in eastern Term. Sherman was ordered from Bridgeport and the entire force, except one division which joined Hooker & Howard in their position in lookout Valley, marched, behind Chattanooga giving Bragg the impression they were going to Burnside’s aid rather than planning to attack his right. Hooker remained on Bragg’s left. The attack was set for the 21st. Hooker was to attack Bragg’s left on Lookout Mt. Because heavy rains had impeded the progress of part of Sherman’ s forces, the timing was thus thrown off, this movement was suspended & Howard’s corps was called to Chattanooga and temporarily attached to Thomas’s command.)
Orders to strike tents at 4 p.m., commence our moving camp at Chattanooga 9 p.m., some movement on hand. We start without knapsacks with three days’ provisions.
This evening at 3 [illegible] began, our Pickets advanced on them the whole length of the lines and drove them all evening; some heavy firing, especially by artillery.
(Editor’s Note: When Thomas moved out the heavy guns at Chattanooga were directing their fire on Missionaries’ Ridge & Orchard Knob.)
Still the fighting goes on. Hooker is advancing on their left wing, very heavy firing. He drives them from the Lower Ridge of Lookout Mountain [illegible].
(Editor’s Note: The Nationals moved so steadily and swiftly and made such vigorous charges that Bragg did not have time to throw forward supports until too late.)
Last night Sherman advanced on their right wing and drove them finely. We captured one Mountain [illegible], 2500 Prisoners, and five pieces of artillery. This morning we double back 5 miles to Sherman’s reserve command throwing up breastworks; heavy fighting in our front, two of our men wounded, both of Co. G.
(Editor’s Note: It was important to get Sherman’s army over the river without being discovered. To attract the Confederates’ attention, Hooker attacked them on the northern face of Lookout Mt. His guns all opened at once with a destructive fire. Other corps moved in sweeping everything before them, allowing few to escape. Troops scaled the sides of the valley driving the Confederates well toward the crest. Hooker moved down from the Mt. on the 25th and proceeded into Chattanooga Valley; there he cleared the ridge of Confederates. His victory on that part of Missionaries’ Ridge was complete by evening.)
This morning we make another move; before the daylight the whole of the 11th Corps cross the Chickamauga Creek and advance 6 or 7 miles at double quick, drive the Rebs at every point. Hooker advances on their left, Thomas on the center, and Sherman on their right flank. They are retreating in great disorder but still keep up a heavy fire.
(Editor’s Note: Thus ended the Battle of Chattanooga.)
Still pursuing the Rebs; the road is strewn with rifles, guns, cannon shells, and every kind of implements of war. They still keep up a fight to cover their retreat. We keep taking prisoners all the time, capture thousands of men of [illegible]
(Editor’s Note: During the night succeeding the battle, the Missionaries’ Ridge blazed with the Union campfires while the Confederates retreated toward Ringgold; Sherman, Palmer and Hooker were sent in pursuit. Stragglers were numerous and were made prisoners.)
Still pursuing the Rebs; [illegible] men are scattering in different directions. Some skirmishing still going on; we strike out for Knoxville with parts of Sherman’s force, our Cavalry [illegible] their Railroad; communications in every direction.
(Editor’s Note: While the Nationals were successfully routing Bragg and his forces from the Chattanooga area, the Confederate Longstreet was seriously pressing Burnside at Knoxville. Columns of Grant’s army began their march toward Knoxville to aid the harassed Burnside.)
We still march on through a very fertile country; we pass through Gaps in the mountains and still continue our course through a continuous va1ley. It is a beautiful valley, abundance of sheep and every kind of stock.
Capture some more Cars with corn meal, flour and salt, were not such cheap prisoners as Gen. Bragg thought. I think we are living off him just now. The weather is very cold; we cannot keep warm at nights.
Tuesday, December 1st, 1863
Still keep marching on, the Rebels a day in advance. We pass through several small towns.
The Rebs are still retreating and we follow them up slowly, pass through Cleveland, Athens, and some other small towns [TN].
We arrive at Loudon; the Rebs ran four engines and several cars into the river. They also burnt a large quantity of stores, ammunition, etc. The bridge across the river was burnt by [illegible] We took 100 prisoners here.
(Editor’s Note: While Burnside was resisting Longstreet, heavy columns were moving to assist him. Sherman was ordered to take command of all troops moving to his relief and to proceed as swiftly as possible. The army crossed the Hiawassee the next morning and pushed on toward Loudon, Howard in advance. Sherman entered the Union lines on the 3rd when Longstreet, finding an overwhelming force near, retreated in the direction of Virginia, pursued by Burnside’s forces; thus ended the Siege of Knoxville.)
We laid over most of yesterday. This morning we have orders to march at 4 a.m.; orders countermanded.
This morning we leave at 1 a.m. March 9 miles to the Pontoon Bridge, afterwards we march 14 miles, camp about 6 p.m. March 22 miles.
Sunday; we lay over today, get some molasses and Sow Belly.
This morning leave camp at 7 a.m.; take the Backward track, cross the Tenn. River at 1 p.m., continue our march for 7 miles, march 20 miles.
March at 7 a.m. Rained most of the day, camped about 3 p.m. at Sweetwater, passed through Philadelphia.
March at 7 a.m., rained most of the night. Passed through Mouse Creek, and camped at Athens at 5 p.m.
At Athens; we stay here a couple of days to rest the boys.
March at 8 a.m. Passed through Riceville and camped at Charleston on the Hiawassee River: the bridge here has been burnt since we passed through but is repaired. It rains all night.
We lay at Charleston over Sunday; Chaplain Newman preached to us.
Left Charleston 8 a.m. and marched to Cleveland where we camped at 5 p.m. I was detailed on Patrol and had to march 12 miles after night which was a hard pill.
Left Cleveland at 8 a.m., marched 14 miles and camped at 6 p.m., got supper and our beds fixed and received orders to march further. It rained and poured down, marched 8 miles and camped in a cornfield.
This morning we left camp before daylight, marched on the Railroad, arrived at Chattanooga 1 p.m., marched to Lookout Valley, camped at 4 p.m. on our own old camp ground.
In camp recruiting after our long march of 26 days and marching very near 300 miles. (Recuperating?)
In camp lying around.
Move camp and commence clearing of the ground for winter quarters. [Near Chattanooga]
Commence putting up our winter quarters. Our houses are 10 feet square and five feet from the ground to the roof.
Only six axes, 3 shovels and 3 picks to the Regt. so that our work goes on slowly.
Today the whole Division is detailed to build plank road from River to Commissary, five miles in length; the roads are so bad we cannot get rations.
We get along slowly with the roads on account of scarcity of tools and work on our shanties by night.
General Holiday, issued full rations and some whiskey; we built our house today; rained most of the day.
Still at work on the road.
At work on the road, mud knee deep, get more axes.
Sick today, excused by the Doctor; the most of the boys are at work on the roads.
The boys finish the road today.
Mustered for pay, raining all day.