Extracted from the Louisville Anzeiger and Translated by Albert Reutlinger
(former Lieutenant in 5th Kentucky).
Courtesy of Dr. Barton H. Reutlinger, Louisville, Ky.
Franz A. Brohm served in Company E of the 5th Kentucky (the "Louisville Legion) and after his original enlistment of 3 years ended, he served in Company G of the 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. He mustered out August 4, 1865.
Sept. 11, 1910
Episodes of the American Civil War with special reference to the Germans of Louisville.
(Extracts from the diary of Franz A. Brohm, Louisville.)
I came to Louisville Feb. 22, 1861. Politically, everything here was in a turmoil, but the Germans for the most part were for the Union. I stayed in Louisville a short while and then took a position as gardner at the estate of Robert G. Ward, near Beards Station in Oldham County. I worked there until June. Here also there was much political disturbance. They wanted me to join with a Rebel Company. This I did not want to do, so I left my position. I went to a German named Charles Stas. He was a Wu[e]rttemberger and worked a small farm. I worked in that neighborhood a short time as a day laborer, but I tired of this as conditions were unsatisfactory. The blackberries were ripe and we picked 30 or 40 gallons of them which I took to the Louisville market, and expected to get 15 or 20 dollars for them. Things turned out differently. I walked about all day in my stiff alligator boots, but I was only insulted. Finally I made a deal receiving only 3 dollars for all the berries. Captain August Schweizer had formed a company of Germans for the Union. I joined this company on July 3, 1861 at Camp Joe Holt on the Indiana side. It was forbidden in Kentucky to set up a camp, as the State had declared itself neutral. Our officers were August Schweizer, Captain, Stephen Lindefelser, first lieutenant, Adolf Reutlinger, second lieutenant. We were drilled here until Sept. 17 when a general alarm was sounded, we crossed the river into Louisville; and in this way the neutrality of Kentucky was broken. We then went direct by rail to Lebanon Junction. The bridge over Rolling fork was in flames. We made camp on the bank of the stream. The next day the I st Ohio and the 6th Indiana regiments came to reinforce us. Thus we became the first unit which formed the great Cumberland Army, which at first was called the Army of the Ohio. General Robert Anderson took over command. From here we went to Muldrough Hills where I saw for the first time General W. T. Sherman. He told us in a speech that it would take an army of 100,000 to break through, Therefore, we considered him mad. Later we saw, however, how right he was.
On a Sunday morning we went to Elizabethtown where we had our first skirmish and drove the enemy back. From there we went to Nolin Creek where we set up Camp Nevin. Now troops came pouring in from all sides. General Negly's Penn. Brigade, the 19th Illinois Regiment, and other Ohio and Indiana Regiments. From there we set out from Upton Station and Bacon Creek. On Dec. 17th we had a forced march to Mumfordsville where the 32nd Indiana Regiment had a hard struggle to hold the line and they lost 17 men killed among whom was Lieut. Sachs whose bones now lie at Cave Hill Cemetery. We came to the aid of the Regiment and the Rebels withdrew to Horse Cave. We stayed in camp at Mumfordsville until Feb. 15, 1862. Gen. [Alexander] McDowel McCook had command over the entire force, which later was taken over by Don Carlos Buell. Now we marched back to Upton Station in order to come to the aid of Gen. Grant at Fort Donnelson. However, Fort Donnelson fell into his hands on Feb. 16 and we received orders to continue on to Bowling Green. The Rebels retreated in front of us.
On Sunday, March 2, we came into Nashville, Tenn. It was raining in torrents. We went out on Franklin Pike and made camp there on the road in the snow. In this way we found out what the life of a soldier is really like. We set up Camp Andrew Johnson and stayed here a short while. From there we went through Franklin, Tenn. to Springhill and then later withdrew to Columbia Camp.
During the night the riverboat Gen. Warren took us to Pittsburgh Landing. The heavens again opened their floodgates and at daybreak we were soaked through to the skin. Immediately we rushed up the steep bank and upon reaching the summit formed the battle line and at once went into conflict with the enemy. We soon came upon their outposts and the protective barrage began. The enemy retreated along the entire line until about I I o'clock at Shiloh Church we came to grips in earnest. Now the battle was on in full fury and fluctuated from one side to the other until about 2 o'clock. I was slightly wounded in my right wrist. Nevertheless, I stayed in line. The Rebels retreated and we rushed them until about 4 o'clock when we had to give up the chase. Our company had 3 dead - Henry Wempe, Urban and Volhner. Among the wounded were Draher, Henry Bohein, H. Menge, and John H. Schmitt. Thus ended the battle of Shiloh for us.
The Rebels suffered a severe blow. Among the dead was their General Albert S. Johnsen [Johnston]. We camped there a week - cleared the battlefield and then headed for camp at Corinth, Miss. Where the Rebels had withdrawn. It was only 20 miles to that point, but it took us more than four weeks. Again on Sunday, May 30, 1862, the Rebels left the place and avoided a general encounter. The large army that had assembled there then broke up. We went under Gen. Don Carlos Buell to the east, first to Iuka and then to Tuskombia [Tuscumbia,] where we waded through the Tennessee River and then marched farther to Florence, Alabama, and Decatur, Athens and Huntsville, Ala. where we arrived on July 4. The next day we went to Larkinsville, Bellvue, Stevenson, and Battlecreek on our way to Chattanooga, Tenn. There our Regiment received the order to guard the railroad from there to the great tunnel. Our Company E of the legion went to Tantallon Station near the tunnel. Here we set up barricades against any eventuality.
On Aug. 24, 1862, we received orders to march to Cowan Sta. The Rebels under Gen. Bragg were on the march. We stayed in Cowan Sta. a few days. Then we went to Altamont where we encountered the enemy. The latter, however, turned west and went to Nashville. Now our entire army drove on Nashville with forced marches. Upon arrival there we learned that Bragg had turned off and had gone into Kentucky. We immediately branched off and with forced marches went toward Louisville. At Mumfordsville, Ken. on the Green River we halted in order to engage in battle with Bragg. The latter, however, swung over toward Bardstown in order to arrive in Louisville before us. We again hurried off to Elizabethtown. The Rebel army and our army were marching in parallel to Louisville when we arrived Sept. 27. We got there first. Bragg's outposts were at the present St. Matthews. Citizens of Louisville were not pressed to set up fortifications and there was great ill-feeling because many among them would liked to have seen Gen. Bragg enter into Louisville. On Oct. 1, 1862 the march against Bragg was again taken up. At Middletown on the Bardstown road and Frankfort pike we had some skirmishes and the enemy withdrew to Shelbyville. Halt was made here and the divisions were paid off. This was a great mistake because many soldiers who lived here and in Indiana took French leave. We marched then to Frankfort where on Oct. 6 we arrived, but the Rebels under Kirby Smith had gotten out. We left a detachment there and then marched back to Laurenceburg. There we encountered the enemy who tried to hold us up and in which attempt they succeeded. On the 8th we heard the cannon roar at Perryville but were
only able to get there on the 9th, but the enemy had already left. We pursued them but it was too late. As we came toward Crab Orchard we could see the rear guard disappearing over the hills. The Rebels had won horses and provisions but many had lost their lives and we buried them. From here we went to Danville and on Oct. 16 we entered Newmarket where during the night we were surprised by a snowstorm. On Oct. 17 we went to Galatine [Gallatin] to Nashville. We were on the same road we had traversed a month before on our way to Louisville - that is, we made round trip.
Gen. Don Carlos Buell was replaced by Gen. Rosecranz and the army was rechristened from the Army of the Ohio to the Army of the Cumberland. We camped here and waited for events to happen. From now on there was a more aggressive spirit in the army. Under Buell it was forbidden to bum even a fence post; that was all over now. Foraging expeditions were sent out to get provisions for men and animals and here and there were able to get something better than the perpetual salt-pork. At Antioch Church while we were foraging we came upon a party of enemy cavalry, but when they got a taste of our infantry they withdrew. Things went on in this way until Christmas when we received orders to march against the enemy. On Christmas day we went to Lavergne, Tenn., bivouacked there and remained a day. Then we went to Tryune [Triune], we attacked the enemy sharply. Hereabouts we skirmished with them a whole day. It then grew colder and we had snow mixed with rain. We had orders to charge. The battle lines were formed and we advanced in the pelting rain. We came to a stream where I took a running start and jumped over. My neighbor Andreas Kolb wanted to follow me but he landed in the middle of the stream. In his anger he said, "I wish it would rain powder, that lightning would come and set it off to put an end to this story." I reached my gun to him and pulled him out. I replied, "We are wet alright, but that won’t do us any harm." He was soaked to the skin. Now we saw the enemy in front of us. We fired and attacked with bayonets. The enemy was put to flight. A hotel was in flames. We grouped around it to warm ourselves. This was fine and we thanked the Rebs for starting a fire for us. We remained here the next day. On Dec. 30, we marched against Murfreesboro and surrounded the right wing of the army. We went in battle line and the enemy retreated. Toward evening we retreated a bit ourselves and Gen. Willich's brigade held our front.
The next morning, Dec. 31, at daybreak we cooked our coffee. Then firing began on our front. I drew this to the notice of Capt. Lindenfelser. He only said, "Oh, they are only shooting off their guns." But then cannon balls began to fall in our lines. We did not drink any coffee that morning, but immediately went into formation. Willich's and Kirk's Brigades were in disorderly retreat. At the beginning of this battle our Lieutenant Franz Dizzell was seriously wounded, Neukirch and Gottschalk were killed. Jacob Grend lost a leg, Fritz Knoner and Bamhard Kiehl received leg wounds and I got a recochet [sic] shot in my left side. We held for 4 hours and we considered this quite an achievement as we were about 3,500 against 12,000. Our right wing was surrounded and so we had to retreat. Then Gen. Rosseau Div. came to our assistance and the enemy was held. We retreated to the railroad from which position we were not driven away. Our army hereabouts was engaged with the enemy 3 days. On Jan. 3, 1863, the enemy left the battlefield and withdrew to Wartrace and Tullahoma where they entrenched. We took up our positions in front of them until June 24, 1863. Then the order came to advance, Our division, Johnson's, went to Liberty Gap. It began to rain again. Arriving at the Gap the dance was on again.
Towards evening we fought in a ravine, at the outlet of which the enemy fought stubbornly. Willich's and Kirk's Brigades came into the fight and the enemy withdrew. Our Brigade received the order to return through the ravine in order to bring assistance to those at Hubers [Hoover's] Gap. It rained throughout the entire night so that the water in the ravine became a flowing stream. Our people were dead tired but nothing mattered. We had to go through. Adam Kraher of Co. D swung himself up into a tree and made himself comfortable in the fork of two branches. Later he told me that he slept there like a lord. At daybreak we were out again in the open but the whole neighborhood was under water and we were wading up to our ankles. About 9 o'clock in the A.M. on June 25, 1863 we came to Huber's [Hoover's] Gap but the enemy had evacuated the fort and the trenches the night before. This gave us new energy, but we could not understand how they could have left such a strong position. The sun came out now. We were able to dry ourselves, cook our coffee, and prepare our "speck [bacon]." Mail was delivered to us here. Our old friend Kraher came along and remarked that he had almost fallen asleep again. Towards noon we went through the Gap and asleep again. Towards noon we went through the Gap and marched on to Manchester, which we took after a light skirmish. But then we of the left wing of the army advanced upon Tullahoma.
Extracted from the Louisville Anzeiger and Translated by Albert Reutlinger,
(former Lieutenant in 5th Kentucky).
Sept. 18, 1910
Episodes of the American Civil War with special
reference to the Germans of Louisville. (Extracts
from the diary of Franz A. Brohm, Louisville.)
July 4, 1863 we took possession of Tul[l]ahoma which had been evacuated by the enemy. On the same day Vicksburg was taken by the Army of the “Tennes[see],” and General Lee was defeated at Gettysburg. The fortunes of the war were increasingly favorable to the Union. We received the order to pursue General Bragg and we marched to Stevenson, Alabama, where we again had to wade through the Tennessee River. There we climbed Sand Mountain and we came to Broomtown, where farmers met us with the Union flag and girls carried baskets of peaches which they wanted to sell to us. Unfortunately, we had no cash, but I had a dime which I offered to one of the girls. She gave me an entire basket of fruit, which I shared with my comrades. At evening the army halted.
Godfried Kling, J. Karger, and I had to go on advanced guard duty. Here we found the first huckleberries. The woods were blue with them. Kling thought that we ought to be able to distill some huckleberry brandy. As darkness came we made a small fire. Being protected by the forest, we proceeded and soon heard cowbells, which we took as a warning of mounted army sentinels placed in advance of their outpost. Kling wanted to shoot but I persuaded him not to and sent Karger back to give notice that we had come upon the enemy. Immediately a detachment was sent forward and the rebels outpost withdrew and we did not hear any more cowbells. At daybreak our vanguard came up and we were then given an opportunity to rest. Towards evening we went on the march again and about 8 o’clock we arrived at the southern fringe of these mountains. During the night we proceeded and in the morning we halted in a large valley. To the left of us there were great clouds of dust. These were caused by the rebels, marching towards Chic[k]amauga. I came upon a large field which I thought was planted with clover. I pulled out a plant but found peanuts on the roots. So now I knew how they grow too. During the night we received the command to climb up the mountain again. At daybreak we arrived at the summit, tired as dogs.
At Crawfish Springs we filled our canteens and then we went forward again. To the right we saw the 4th Kentucky Regiment. We threw off all our surplus packs and pushed forward. Towards noon we were in fire, but we got to Chic[k]amauga Creek. Towards 6 o’clock in the evening the rebels made an attack upon us. Our lines were thinned and we had to give way. In this encounter Captain Lovett and Captain Lukas of Company F and many others were captured. We had to continue to retreat long into the night. Finally the firing was stopped on both sides. As soon as we halted we began to entrench ourselves. This work took the entire night. On Sept. 20, 1863 at daybreak the enemy fell upon us. Our outpost gave way and then they withdrew to the trenches. Comrade John Huber was hit through the shoulder. Now the rebels were coming in mass and they thought they could push right through us, but the fire that they got from us from about 40 feet away cut them down terribly and those who remained retreated. Soon, however, a second line came up and they were driven back. To the right of us there was a gap through which they could have surrounded us, so we were forced to leave the trenches. There was a cornfield behind us through which we went. We continued to go in circles until noon. Joseph Schetzinger was shot in the hip. Lieutenant Houston was killed. We held off the enemy until 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Now General George Thomas was hurrying to our assistance. The 9th Ohio Regiment made an attack with bayonets and got themselves in a jam. We fired from the right and the enemy had to give way. Then Willich’s Brigade approached and General Thomas could support us. During the night we received an order to withdraw. Very quietly, we withdrew toward Roswell and formed our lines on the summits of Mission Ridge and the battle of Chicamauga was finished.
We halted on Roswell Pike, set up outposts, and waited for daybreak. Now the rebels came up but stayed at a respectful distance. We camped here the entire day of September 21, 1863. During the night the order came to return to Chattanooga. On the morning of the 22nd we came upon Chattanooga Creek and dug trenches immediately. The battle was continuing on Lookout Mountain.
On September 23 our people gave up Lookout Mountain. We were attacked on September 24, but the enemy withdrew. On September 25 Willich’s Brigade relieved us. For seven day we hadn’t removed our shoes. Our entire army was now in the valley between Lookout Mountain and Mission [ary] Ridge with the Tennessee River and Chattanooga Creek behind us. The encampment now began here. We remained here until October 20. Our engineers and pioneers now built a pontoon bridge. A call for volunteers was made to make a pontoon bridge at the foot of Lookout. With 42 pontoons, 40 men to each pontoon, we made the trip to Moccasin Point at Lookout Mountain. We got to the right bank under the overhanging willows. The river here is narrow and has a swift current. We could see the enemy’s outposts very clearly tending their fires and could hear them whistle “The Bonny Blue Flag.” Not one of them knew that we were so close upon them. We thought every moment that the dance would soon be on but everything remained quiet. We got to Wauhatchie Valley and put to rout an Alabama Regiment and the place was ours.
The pioneers soon had the bridge built and in this way connections again were established between Chattanooga and Stevenson, Alabama. On October 22, 1863 the 20th Corps from Raccoon Mountain joined us and took over the eastern part of the valley. Lookout was not occupied on this side by Generals Joe Hooker and Karl Schurtz. The rebels were defeated in several night engagements. Thereupon the mules had a stampede and drove an entire brigade out of their trenches. Our hardship was then removed as the 20th Corps had brought provisions with them. During the last five days we received per man only two ears of corn each. The corn supply was sharply diminished. Hunger was very great. We found a large supply of wheat. We roasted it and brewed it in water and then drank the brew as coffee. Gotthardt Kling shot a farmer’s dog, removed the paws and head, cleaned it, and we stewed the carcass and those who did not know what they were eating finished it down to the bones. At the beginning of November we returned again to Fort Wood. The Illinois Battery of Captain Bridges was located at Fort Wood, but they lacked men and the infantry had to help out. Six men were taken from each Regiment, among whom I was also selected. At the entrance to the fort there stood a great oak, the crown of which at about 30 feet from the ground was broken off. The trunk at that point was hollow so that a man could sit in it and oversee a great area, including enemy territory. The captain requested that I go up to this observation point to watch the rebels and to inform him of any of their movements. It was my job to climb this tree daily, and sit up in this observation tower from the beginning of November until the 24th. I was able to see on the left side as far as the Tennessee River and on the right to see the entire line as far as Fort Negley. As soon as an enemy regiment concentrated itself, I gave notice and immediately our people set up a line against them. My comrade on this tree was a small owl. During the night she flew away and returned early in the morning. She was quite confidential with me and used to sit at my feet. When the fighting was heavy she used to return earlier. I always saved a little meat for her. On November 24 our line was pushed forward to Orchard Knob and we took the trenches there. Captain Wilson of our regiment of Company I was killed here and Captain Hurley of Company B and about a dozen men were wounded. On the 15th our battery was set up on Orchard Knob and I had to leave my oak. I wonder if the tree is still standing.
On November 25 towards noon there was a meeting of the generals at Orchard Knob, among whom were Generals Grant, Sherman, Howard, Willich, Hazen, Thomas, and a few others. I was on guard duty in the midst of them. I heard General Grant say, “I am returning now to Fort Wood and I will give the signal with three shots firm the Rodemen Cannon. The Cumberland Army will then immediately advance, the Tennessee army will harass the right wing of the enemy, and the Cumberland Army will wait at the foot of Mission Ridge for further orders.” About 2 o’clock in the afternoon the signal was given and the Cumberland Army began to advance. Our battery immediately got into the engagement and shot over the heads of our men against the enemy lines. The rebels retreated to the center of the ridge where they dug trenches. They were well within range of our cannons and we let fire upon them. As our troops were taking the first trenches they could not hold them because the second line of the rebels was firing hard upon them. They were unwilling to return so they advanced without orders. The second line of trenches was stormed and the rebel batteries which were on the mountain were captured. The rebels fled down the other side. Their cannons, numbering 42, were turned about and fired upon the retreating enemy. The rebels were driven from Chicamauga battlefield. General Sherman pursued them and this was the end of the battle of Mission Ridge.
On November 26 we received orders to proceed with our division of 4 Corps to Knoxville, Tennessee, to the relief of General Scofield who was beleaguered by General Longstreet. We came from the right side. Longstreet had attacked Fort Sanders but had been driven off. We pursued him over east Tennessee to Clinch Mountain. There he escaped us and went to Lynchburg, Virginia. Now all of Tennessee was in our hands. We then returned to Strawberry Plains. At Plains Crossroads we received instructions from Washington which read that all those who would enlist for three years more service would receive $400.00 bounty, as well as a thirty-day furlough, and these men were to be called “Veteran Volunteers.” The idea of the thirty-day furlough appealed to us and from Company C there were Franz A. Brohm, Wilhelm Strauch, Simon Rehm, Christ Chrismann, Wilhelm Spieth, Andreas Kolb, and Ernst Hofsachs, who took advantage of this. Nevertheless, we had to remain in east Tennessee until the end of January. Then we veterans returned to Chattanooga. On February 15, 1864 we were mustered in for three more years of service. Then we received our discharge from the first organization, $200.00 bounty, and our back pay. Now we were all rich, young, and proud to be able to relate what had happened to us. We purchased new clothing and we took our equipment. A train was waiting and we went to Louisville via Nashville. The thirty days passed very quickly.
We were called at the
beginning of April. On April 15 we
came to Cleveland, Tennessee. Our
Captain Lindenfelser had command of the regiment. I brought him a bottle of whisky. He said “There’s one of you fellows who hasn’t forgotten
me,” as he brushed his hand over his snoot, “Things will be popping here again
since you veterans have returned.
On May 4, 1864, again on a Sunday (at that time there weren’t any Sunday regulations), we marched to Tunnel Hill, Georgia. We arrived there at about 9 o’clock. The rebels retreated in a hurry to Rocky Face Ridge. Our 4th Army Corps went into action. The enemy was up on the mountain. Their outposts were located half way up the mountain. Soon they were captured. The mountain was a bit steep and the “Rebs” rolled down stones on us and we had to duck behind trees. This lasted for about an hour until they ran out of stones. We then advanced nearer to their strong position. Thereupon they fired, but their aim was over our heads so that we suffered very few losses. We held the rebels there and General Newton advanced from the north side of the mountain against them. After two days they retreated from this stronghold and we pursued them. On May 9 we were in Dalton. The “Rebs” withdrew to Resaca and left us a large quantity of peanuts and peas. We made peasoup; that was something new for us.
Extracted from the Louisville Anzeiger and Translated by Albert Reutlinger,
(former Lieutenant in 5th Kentucky).
Sept. 25, 1910
Episodes of the American Civil War with special
reference to the Germans of Louisville. (Extracts
from the diary of Franz A. Brohm, Louisville.)
On May 14 we arrived at Resaca on the Cosa River. Immediately we advanced in formation. During the night of the 15th the enemy attacked us, but they were driven off with heavy losses. On the morning of the 16th of May we crossed the river over a burning bridge. The enemy had again escaped us. Resaca was ours. Our Company lost here Henry Niehaus and August Kohler. We then proceeded to Calhoun and Kingston, Georgia, where we awaited battle, although the “Rebs” withdrew to Newhope Church and Dass. On May 27, 1864 we came to Pumpkin Vine Creek. In the afternoon, about 4 o’clock, we, that is Wood’s Division, stormed the right flank of the southerners. They were ready for us. In two hours we lost 1,640 men out of 3,500 men in dead and wounded. Among those killed in our Company were: Gotthardt Kling, Henry Sauer, John Fritz, and W. Duembel. Among the wounded were: Joseph Stolz wounded in the neck, Phil A. Klein in the right knee, Wilhelm Spieth in the left arm, Phil Sneider in the arm, Franz A. Brohm in the right leg and Comrade Felber was captured. There were 29 of us in the attack and more than a third of us were made lame or killed. I crawled on my haunches until I got to the creek and then stretched my wounded leg into the water. The bleeding let up and I wound my leg in a piece of tent cloth and remained lying there. Our people retired over the creek and reformed their lines. I lay the entire night at the creek between two fires. I pressed myself as close to the water’s edge as possible until daybreak. Then I called out “What regiment is there?”. “The First Ohio.” “I am wounded and I belong to Company E of the Louisville Legion. Couldn’t you come over here?” Then several of these brave fellows came to my help. An ambulance took me to the first aid station. It was my good fortune that our Dr. Enoch S. Swain was there. He took charge of me immediately and removed the bullet. “No bones broken,” said he. “You have saved your leg because you kept it damp.” A small stream ran through the camp. The doctor gave me a piece of castile soap and some bandage. Then he told me to go to this creek and wash out my wound. Now the rest of our wounded were brought in. Those who were slightly wounded were immediately sent to Chattanooga. Next to the creek there was a little house with a garden, and in the garden I saw a bed of onions. I immediately went and pulled out some of these onions, beat them to a pulp and dropped the juice into the wound. At first it pained horribly, but soon the pain let up and I felt so much better that I was able to limp around. The doctor thought that the wound would heal shortly and that I should remain here, and that in a couple of weeks new skin would grow over the wound. That is the way it happened. Now I was able to be of some assistance to the doctor. A little later in June our field hospital was removed to Big Shandy. At this time I received word that my wife Katharina died on May 27 at Louisville. I had lost two children previously. Up to now I had a rather tough time of it in America, but such are the fortunes of war. I shall never forget May 27, 1864.
On June 27, 1864 we were in Big Shandy at Kenesa [Kennesaw] Mountain, a battle was going on and our troops were unable to take the Mountain. Our veteran Lieutenant John Baker went by with a company of Pioneers. As he saw me he said, “Come along. We have to dig trenches and you can be of some help.” I went along. One of our men, John Staab, went off by himself in order to find something to eat. He was tired and sat down on a pile of rock and he began to poke around among the stones with his bayonet. He jabbed into wood, looked further and found a small cache of meat – ham, etc. – enough to look after the entire company. John Staab is still alive and is a member of the local fire department. On July 4 the Rebels left the Mountain and we pushed on to Marietta, Georgia. From there we went through to the Chattahoochee River. The Rebels had over 500 yards of trenches here which the negroes had dug for them. They had over 10,000 blacks with shovels, pickaxes, and axes. We always had to battle against these trenches.
On July 10 we crossed the Chattahoochee and now pressure was put on Atlanta. General Hood made an attack at Peachtree Creek, but he was thrown back with great losses. On July 22 we received orders to march back to Big Shandy. The three years service was now over and the regiment went by railroad to Nashville, Tennessee. From there we had to proceed against Franklin, Tennessee in order to drive out Joe Wheeler, who had broken in there. He withdrew to Columbia, Tennessee.
We marched back to Nashville. The trains were standing ready for us and we immediately left for Louisville. We arrived in Louisville early in September. General Headquarters were at the southeast corner of Second and Walnut Streets. On September 14, 1864 the regiment as such was mustered out of service. There were 264 men in all of the original 1,050. 135 had lost their lives on the battlefield, 160 died in hospitals from wounds and sickness. The remainder had been previously discharged on account of disabilities. We veterans, 87 men, were put under the command of John Baker to go on guard duty at the military prison at the corner of Ninth Street and Broadway. We also had to accompany military prisoners to Columbus, Ohio, and to Rockport, Illinois. We were thus engaged until the middle of November. Then the order came for us to again report at Nashville. There, at the General Headquarters we received horses and we then functioned as dispatch riders. On December 15, 1864 I took dispatches to the negro regiment on our left wing. It was miserable weather – rain, snow, ice and cold. But the Rebels did not have it any better. After I had delivered the dispatches and received my dismissal an attack for the negro regiment was ordered. The blacks went forward with gusto and threw themselves upon the right wing of the Rebels. I returned to General Headquarters, which at that time was also at the front. On December 16 General Hood was attacked and his entire army was almost annihilated. Those who were able to cross the Tennessee River were met by Joe Johnston’s army.
After the battle our division was ordered on to Savannah, Georgia. Here we gave up our horses and returned to Louisville, Kentucky. We went by railroad to Baltimore and New York. We were quartered on Governor’s Island. This was the only time during the four years that I was in a garrison. We remained there until the middle of January 1865. Then about a thousand of us went to sea aboard the transport ship Ajax. The second day out almost all of us were afflicted with seasickness. Off Cape Hatteras we encountered a terrific storm coming from the land. We had a schooner loaded with hay and cattle in tow and this caused our ship to turn. The captain called “Cut the rope.” In a moment this was done and our ship righted itself. The schooner then passed out of our view. Finally the storm was over and we steered then directly to Savannah. On the ninth day we arrived at Fort Pulasky. We then proceeded up the Savannah River toward the city. The rest of the regiment had their camp on the Little Oceedgie River. A train brought us to this point. I was put in Company E. We were again in Georgia. We remained here until February 22, 1865. On this day we went up the Savannah River about 20 miles to Sisters ferry. We built a pontoon bridge there. We then set foot upon the “holy ground” of South Carolina. The general orders read: “Soldiers of the United States, this land belongs to you. Take everything that you need. Plundering is not meant. Violence is punishable by death. Shoot any man on the spot whom you see guilty. Should anybody shoot you from a house, then immediately burn the house down. The white flag is to be respected under any and all circumstances.” Now we marched forward. At Sisters Ferry and everywhere white flags, bed sheets, and so forth were hung out. The same was true at Montecello. Barnwell showed itself inimical and soon stood in flames. We got some tobacco which was divided among the soldiers. From there we went to Lexington, South Carolina. Here we saw only women, children, and very old men. We found there a large supply of coffee in a house, as well as sauerkraut and flour in plenty. We had pancakes every day. We also found salted meats, honey, and things of that kind. It was a French settlement. We went through Wade Hampton. We crossed Big Peedee River, Little Peedee, Edisto, Little Edisto, and Broad Rivers. We saw Columbia to the right of us in flames.
From here we went further through South Carolina. Our front line was about 40 miles wide. We were always on the left wing. General Killpatrick had to withstand a night attack and was almost captured. We, Gordon’s Brigade, came to their assistance and drove off the attackers. At daylight they were beaten and left behind a number of dead and seriously wounded. We crossed into North Carolina at Cheraw. On March 10 we had a skirmish at Averysboro. At Bentonvie General Jackson drew his army together and gave battle. For two days we battled here and then Johnston withdrew to Raleigh. On April 9 when we were near Raleigh, and capitol of South Carolina, we received word towards evening that General Lee had surrendered to General Grant. We then proceeded to Raleigh. Johnston had already retreated to Durham Station. Raleigh was then ours. We immediately went in pursuit of Johnston, but he had already departed for Greensboro, North Carolina. On April 16 a patrol with a flag of truce came to deal concerning surrender. General Sherman was all ready for transacting a truce, but he was dissuaded by advice from Washington. We also received reports here of the murder of Abraham Lincoln. We received orders to hold ourselves in readiness for marching and every soldier received eighty rounds of ammunition. The army was full of wrath, though things turned out better than expected. On April 26, 1865 we received orders to accompany Generals Sherman, Schofield, Howard, and other from Durham Station. We went with an officer carrying a flag of truce about two miles and there we met a rebel escort with a white flag. We halted and General Johnston and other southern officers, as well as General Sherman and his companions went into a farmhouse. The conference lasted for about an hour. General Johnston surrendered his army under the same terms under which General Lee capitulated. The soldiers should all be paroled and the officers should retain their side arms and horses. The remaining weapons should be laid down at Greensboro, North Carolina, and then all the soldiers should return to their homes. These transactions took from the 27th to the 30th of April. We then went to Greensboro. There the weapons stood in rows, cannons without horses. We camped on a large field where a blacksmith shop was set up. There all our horses and mules were to be branded with “US.” As they came towards my mule, he didn’t seem to fancy it. Captain Gilmore commanded, “use your spurs.” I obeyed the command. As the hot iron touched the mule I couldn’t hold him any more. He made a beeline across the field to a large tree. He tried to dislodge me, broke the saddle girth, and I fell to the ground. I received an injury there from which I still suffer today. I have now a growth which has to be lanced every three months.
We now proceeded to Lexington, North Carolina. Our mission now was to round up any Rebels and to deliver them to various depots from where they would be transported farther. It took us about six weeks to clean up. Finally this work was also finished. On July 4 we had a great barbecue. Speeches were made, hands were shook, and peach [peace] was celebrated at this time. In this vicinity I came upon a beautiful garden with plum trees full of ripe plums. I stood there looking at them. A negress came out of the house and asked me in German, “Yes, you want some plums? Take as many as you wish. We have enough.” I was absolutely astonished that she spoke German. “Oh,” she said, “hereabouts we all speak it. They call us Schwobe.” The entire Gatlin Co. was a German colony. We had many Germans in our company to whom I told my experience. The result was that the farmers had many visitors. We had no money now, but we had a good time. On July 17, 1865 we received orders to be mustered out. We received our back pay with the exception of the “bounty” which we should have received when the army departed from Louisville. We then went to City Point. Here a steamer was waiting to take us to Baltimore. From there we went to Parkersburg, West Virginia, and here two river boats were ready to take us to Louisville. On August 2, 1865 we arrived in Louisville and put up in Taylor Barracks. On August 4 we received our discharge and the bounty. The war was over and we were free.