The National Tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, November 16, 1899, Image 3
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC
CAMPAIGNING WITH A GRAND ARMY
Some of the 104th Ohio’s Service in the Latter Part of the War.
By L F BECKER 104h Ohio
After the capture of Atlanta Gen Sherman's army lay around the city in the following order: The Army of the Cumberland, Maj.-Gen. Thomas, held Atlanta; the Army of the Tennessee Maj.-Gen. Howard, was at East Point, and the Army of the Ohio occupied Decatur.
The topography of the country in the immediate vicinity of Atlanta was carefully studied, and a new line of works constructed for the defense of the place. We now enjoyed a breathing spell, and, to say the least, after nearly one-third of a year (longer time than the war with Spain) of the severest skirmishing, hard-fought battles building of breastworks, etc., at the magnificent sum averaging, on a gold basis, but $6 to $7 monthly, the soldiers received their pay and had ample opportunity to spread it buying sutler’s goods at exorbitant prices.
Maj.-Gens. Logan and Blair were temporarily absent, engaged in the important political canvass then in progress. Maj.-Gen. Schofield returned to the headquarters of the Department of Ohio, at Knoxville, to give his personal attention to affairs in that quarter, leaving Brig.-Gen. J. D. Cox in command of the Twenty-third Corps. "The pen is mightier than the sword" was forcibly illustrated here, when Gen. W. T. Sherman within a week issued the following order:
"The city of Atlanta belonging exclusively for warlike purposes, it will at once be vacated by all except the armies of the United States and such civilian employees as may be retained by the proper departments of the Government. The military posts south of Atlanta."
This order fell upon the ears of the inhabitants of the city like a thunderbolt. They had never imagined that the war would reach Atlanta. Mayor J. M. Calhoun and E. E. Rawson and L C Wells, Councilmen, protested. Sherman however replied to their petition tersely:
"You might as well appeal against the thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. We don't want your negroes or your horses, or your houses, or your land, or anything you have; but we do want, and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we can not help it. Now that war comes homes to you, you feel very differently; you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and molded shot and shells to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people, who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance."
Hood, too, entered the arena against Sherman, whose measure he styled "unprecedented," and concluded: "In the name of God and humanity, I protest, believing you are expelling from homes and fire-sides wives and children of a brave people." The latter, in his characteristic manner, made reply, and says in conclusion: "If we must be enemies, let us be men, and fight it out as we propose today, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity God will judge us in due time, and he will pronounce whether it will be humane to fight with a town full of women and the families of a brave people at our back, or to remove them in time to places of safety among their own friends and people."
During the truce 446 families were moved southward comprising over 700 adults, 860 children, and 79 servants, with an average of 1,650 pounds of furniture and household goods of all kinds to each family.
Below I give extracts from letters written home, under dates of Sept. 13 and 26, 1864, as follows:
"I suppose you have heard here this of the great victory which crowned our arms in the capture of the rebel stronghold. After four months of fighting, skirmishing, digging, and marching from Tunnel Hill to Jonesboro, we defeated the enemy, and compelled them to give up Atlanta. Our corps is encamped near the Augusta Railroad six miles east of the "Gate City," and not so very far from where, less than two months since, Hood's vets attempted to catch our left wing under the lamented McPherson, in the air. Every regiment and battery in this army has the privilege of inscribing Atlanta on its banners. Yes, proud may be that father, mother, brother, sister, or wife, who can say that they had a son, brother, or husband in that army under the brave Sherman."
Hurrying from Richmond to the West, Jefferson Davis visited his army, conversed with his Generals, and gave his orders for their future government. To the army he promised that their feet should again press the soil of Tennessee. To the citizens he avowed that within 30 days the barbarous Invader would be driven from their territory. The retreat of Sherman from Atlanta, he said, should be like Napoleon's from Moscow. I here quote from the "Century War Book," page 260: "Forewarned I took immediate measures to thwart his plans. One division was sent back to Rome, another to Chattanooga; the guards along our railroad were reinforced and warned of the coming blow. Gen. Thomas was sent back to the headquarters of his Department at Nashville, while I remained in Atlanta to await Hood's initiative."
On Oct. 1 Hood began his fatal march to the north, and crossed the Chattahoochee with his three corps of infantry, and pushed northward by way of Dallas. Leaving Slocum with his (Twentieth) corps to hold Atlanta and the railway bridge over the Chattahoochee on Oct. 4, in accordance with his previous intentions and arrangements, Sherman marched with the remainder of his army to Smyrna campground, and on the following day to a strong position at Kenesaw Mountain. The Twenty-third Corps hastened via Vinings to the relief of Gen. Corse who was "holding the fort" at Allatoona Pass, but arrived there too late. The battle was already won by less than 2,000 "noble Spartans." Next day we continued our tramp through Carterville, Kingston and Rome, where we arrived on the 12th. After a brush with the enemy, having thus ascertained that Hood's movement upon Rome had been merely a feint, we marched to Snake Creek Gap, where we lay two days watching the wily Johnnies under Hood, who it seems remembered that a little over five months before we gave them a whipping in this region. Learning by scouts that the enemy had retreated toward the Alabama line, at Summerville, we skirmished with his rear-guard on the 19th, and the next day marched down the rich valley of the Chattanooga to Galesville. At Blue Pond, two miles from town, we went into camp, rested for five days, and lived off the "fat of the land."
Sherman determined, while pausing, to give Gen. Hood sufficient rope where with he entangle himself, to watch his movements. On Oct 26 Sherman detached the Fourth Corps, in command of Maj.-Gen. Stanley, and ordered him to report to Gen. Thomas at Nashville, Tenn.
Returning to Georgia by way of Cave Spring, thence we marched to Rome, where, on the 30th, the Twenty-third Corps was also detached, and under the gallant Maj.-Gen. J. M. Schofield, ordered to at once proceed to Nashville. After bidding good-by to our comrades-in-arms "marching through Georgia", we hasten northward to Tennessee.
Speaking of his invasion in Hood's work, "Advance and Retreat", published by Gen. G. T. Beauregard for the Hood orphan memorial fund, we quote the following:
"The Confederate army rested upon the banks of the Tennessee one month after its departure from Palmetto. It had been almost continuously in motion during the interim; by rapid moves and maneuvers, and with only a small loss, it had drawn Sherman as far north as he stood in the early spring. At this juncture (previously arrived at) I was advised of the Presidents opposition to the campaign into Tennessee. On Nov. 13 I established my headquarters in Florence upon the north bank of the Tennessee, and the following day Gen. Forrest, with his command, reported for duty. On the 15th the remainder of Lee's Corps crossed the river, and Stewart's and Cheatham's Corps were instructed to cross also".
Returning to my narrative, on Nov. 3, near dusk, we reached Dalton, which had been abandoned by its inhabitants, and all unoccupied houses, barns, sheds, etc., were torn down and set on fire. On the 5th we took transportation in freight cars for Nashville, passing by way of Chattanooga. We got a view of Lookout Mountain where about one year before, Jefferson Davis aired his secession doctrine. We could realize the sentiments of that song, "Chattanooga, or Braggs Defeat", one verse of which is here given:
"I wish that you would speak to Jeff,
And all his little fry;
Tell them we still trust in God,
And keep our powder dry.
We never will give up the ship
Until the rebel crew
All bow to our majestic flag
The red, the white, the blue.
"Hie rebs, ho rebs, listen unto me.
The sooner you lay down your arms
The better it will be."
Tune - "Nellie Bly"
After dark on the 7th we reached our destination; found the city all abustle because of the enemy's approach. Here we lay by to take part in the Presidential election of next day. When the polls closed and the votes were counted, it was found that in the 104th Ohio Abraham Lincoln had received some 20 votes to 1 in favor of "Little Mac". That night we were conveyed by train to Springhill, where we encamped in an open forest. I give extracts of a letter written at above place, Nov. 10 as follows:
"Since we left Decatur, Ga., we have marched and traveled by railroad nearly 500 miles. This is a nice town, about 30 miles from Nashville. The Second Division of our Corps is at Johnsonville, and our division is ordered to Pulaski. The enemy shelled Johnsonville, but the gunboats, coming up the river, prevented their crossing. Hood's army suffer terribly, having scarcely anything to eat, etc., and no railroad to supply them. I saw John Klein at Tullahoma. He is in the 178th Ohio, one year regiment; also, cousin Lewis Wagner at headquarters in Nashville."
On the 13th we marched to Columbia, thence by Linnville to Pulaski, near the State line, where we arrived on the 17th.
I will, if the reader will pardon me, write from a military diary belonging to Cyrus Seiler, now located at Elkhart, Ind., of my company. And from this diary I will also draw at intervals for the record of regimental events.
"Tuesday, Nov. 22 - Up at 4 a.m. Weather very cold and blustery. Tents struck and everything in readiness to move by 7 o'clock. Marched about 10 miles to where our men drove the guerillas out several weeks ago as they fired into our soldiers from buildings, of which a part of our men were compelled to burn. Marched over a splendid pike, reminding us of the long marches in Kentucky. Fourth Corps also on the same march. Hutchins rented a room near by, and we built a good fire. The house belongs to a rebel Lieutenant who had both his eyes blown out with powder. Boys burning all the rails far and near. Wind is so strong it almost carries a person off his feet.
"23d. - Same state of weather. The enemy captured some of our skirmish line. March 10 miles from 3 o'clock to 10 p. m., and go into bivouac for the night. Thousands of rail fires built in a minutes time.
"24th. - Still very cold. Up at 4 a. m. Orders to march immediately without breakfast. Hood's whole army reported within five miles of Columbia, and we are yet seven or more miles from there; but by a forced march we reached the place first. Skirmishing was pretty hot before we got within two miles of town. Artillery was soon brought into action and the rebel cavalry repulsed. The 100th Ohio had one man killed and two wounded on the skirmish-line."
(However, I pause to remark, just at this point, that Hood's rash impetuosity in less than a week taught him to be more cautious, even though his vets were confronted with but a small portion of that army they had to cope with on "The Memorable Georgia Campaign", and, to make a long story short, the deeds of heroism performed by all who participated in this campaign made it possible for Sherman's victorious forces to march unmolested to the sea, and so hastened to crush the slaveholders' rebellion.)
"25th - Weather pleasant. Cannonading and skirmishing brisk all day. Our forces consist of the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps. Trains running lively from Nashville. The Third Division (Cox's) about 7 p. m. ordered to pack up and cross over Duck River on pontoons which we did by daylight next morning. Heavy cannonading and fighting all day; rain too. About 5,000 negroes passing for Nashville, mostly women and children, moving in every conceivable manner, some with a whole family on mules or oxen, many with monstrous bundles of clothing, bedding and household furniture on their heads. All poorly clad. Columbia was evacuated, and the magazine in the large fort, with its guns, was blown up, causing a wonderful noise during the night as the shells exploded. The enemy were thick all over town. Great cheering all along their lines when they found the "Yanks" gone.
"28th. - Skirmishing and cannonading heavy all day. Our men shelling a rebel wagon-train and drove of cattle passing through town."
In his "Advance and Retreat" Hood further says: "Col. Prestman and his assistants laid the pontoon (over Duck River) during the night of the 28th. about three miles above Columbia. Orders to move at dawn the following day having been issued, I rode with my staff to Cheatham's right, passed over the bridge soon after daybreak, and moved forward at the head of Granbury's Texas Brigade, of Cleburne’s Division, with instructions that the remaining corps and divisions follow, and at the same time keep well closed up during the march."
Comrade Seilers diary continues:
"29th. - Weather cloudy. Terrific fighting both in our rear and front during the day. The enemy had an enfilading fire on our line, killing and wounding a number of our brigade. Saw a shell explode, over the 128th Ind., killing one and wounding several. About 3 p. m. another sad incident occurred in my company. While on our knees, expecting the enemy to charge us, a shell from their enfilading battery across the river exploded just above our heads, instantly killing Daniel Lamberson and Henry Evans, wounding Samuel Deaters and H. Weinshimer, and severely stunning Clapper, Becker and Shull, the former so bad that he was perfectly crazy threatening to shoot every person he came across. Rebels did some tremendous shelling, and about 4 p.m. Gen. Reilly's Brigade withdrew from their perilous position, and both troops and train, leaving tools in our rear, moved hastily for Franklin. Passing Springhill, where during the day Willich's Brigade repulsed a number of charges, we quietly stole by the enemy, who could be seen standing around their campfires, not far from the pike on which we were retreating.
"After this, in passing near the Toll Gate several hundred Johnny, rebs rose up out of the bushes by the side of the pike and fired into our train, and at the same time, forming across the pike, arrested every one that came along, and set the wagons on fire as fast as possible. However, they had set but a few on fire when our rear-guard came up and drove them off. Our teamsters were so excited that they doubled the wagons up in the road and ran eight or 10 of them down over the embankment.
(To be continued.)
The National Tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, November 23, 1899, Image 3
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC
CAMPAIGNING WITH A GRAND ARMY
Some of the 104th Ohio's Service in the Latter Part of the War
By L. F. BECKER 104th Ohio
"Arrived at Franklin about 7 a.m., Nov. 30. Troops almost worn out. Lines were at once formed around the town and the position fortified as fast as possible. Ten o'clock the enemy pressing our forces closely, cannonading heard distinctly, and their lines could be seen forming in the distance for battle, with colors flying. About 5 p.m. the skirmishers were driven in."
I quote here from the "Century War Book", page 278:
"On came the enemy, as steady and resistless as a tidal-wave. A couple guns in the advance line gave them a shot and galloped back to the works. A volley from a thin skirmish-line was sent into their ranks, but without causing any delay to the massive array. A moment more, and with that wild 'rebel yell' which once heard is never forgotten, the great human wave swept along, and seemed to engulf the little force that had so sturdily awaited it. But worst of all for the Union side, the men of Reilly's and Strickland's Brigades dared not fire lest they should shoot down their own comrades, and the guns, loaded with grape and canister, stood silent in the embrasures."
The battle now raged in tremendous fury. It goes without saying that every man of Gen. Schofield's brave little army nobly did his duty. Gen. Cox was everywhere present, encouraging his men, as also Gen. Stanley until wounded. About 1,000 of the enemy ran on our works, near the Cotton Gin and surrendered. One rebel jumped upon the breastworks on the left of our company and shot Geo. Houser dead. Jacob Rush saw it and at once took aim and shot the rebel whirling over the works. Capt. Kelley also shot several off the works with his revolver. Serg't Porter bayoneted one over the works. All our killed and wounded in front of the works could not be taken in on account of the enemy's incessant fire. Many of the 104th were captured in the skirmish pits.
The battle continued till 9 p. m. Both the Twenty-third and the Fourth Corps acknowledge that it was the hardest fight they ever engaged in. The loss of our regiment in killed, wounded and missing was estimated at about 60. Our total loss was in the neighborhood of 600 or 700. The rebels figured their loss at almost 10,000 including Gen. Adams, of Stewart's Corps (formerly a United States officer), who was killed in front of Co. A, his fine white horse being shot at the same moment, the General having his left arm around the horse's neck and his sword in his right hand. Cleburne and Granbury, of Cheatham's Corps were killed near the pike, the fighting being fiercest between the Columbia Pike and the gin-house. Reilly's Brigade captured 18 stands of colors, of which our regiment captured nearly a dozen.
Capt. D. D. Bard, of Gen. Reilly's staff was mortally wounded and fell into the enemy's hands. About 10 o'clock Schofield silently withdrew his forces across the Harpeth, destroying the bridge over the river, and continued his masterly retreat to Nashville, where (19 miles distant) we arrived about 3 a.m., Dec. 1.
The weather was mild. Troops came pouring into the city, and with them rebel prisoners by the drove. A Johnny Captain remarked that they had the men to whip us and they intended to do it. The army under Gen. Geo. H. Thomas had no misgivings. Everything was now being put into shape far an aggressive campaign. Hood's shattered forces followed and fortified themselves on and along the Brentwood Hills.
On the 2d the weather was drizzling. Our brigade was encamped near Fort Negley, having the most beautiful lines I ever saw, so that the combined forces of the enemy could not take them. Brisk cannonading and skirmishing all day the 3d and 4th. Still drizzly; getting cooler. I give extracts of a letter written home from here:
"I don't believe Hood will try to take Nashville. If he does he'll be sorry for it. His army paid dearly for their rashness at Franklin. He has had a very bitter schooling lately, even though Sherman took the bulk of his victorious army marching to the sea."
All the 5th and 6th weather was getting more disagreeable, and 10 p.m. it "blew up" and got very cold. On the 7th skirmishing and cannonading as usual. Negroes in "corral" almost freezing to death. Boys being obliged to go as far as three-quarters of a mile for wood. On the 9th a rainstorm, intermingled with sleet, the ice getting so slippery that a person could scarcely go about. There was slight cannonading and skirmishing as usual. The 10th was very cold and stormy.
We had all the usual soldier's duties to do up to the battle, which opened five days later. The invincible host, under Thomas, swept all before it completely routing Hood's army, who retreated towards Franklin, closely pursued by our forces.
The weather being rainy, the roads on which we traveled were often a sea of mud, and here and there the "bottom" out the pike, as a teamster with a balky muleteam put it. After our arduous march in drizzling rain and crossing swollen streams we reached Franklin, where our forces captured six pieces of artillery and about 1,000 prisoners, also all the rebel hospitals, with over 2,000 wounded and attendants in them, and some 200 of our wounded, who informed us that the enemy were perfectly demoralized and fled through the town in the greatest confusion.
Here on the field where the battle raged less than three weeks before one could see sights of its dreadful carnage. Many of our men were buried in the trenches, with legs and arms sticking out, some of them with half the body uncovered. Men of different regiments were left to bury their comrades in a decent manner; and where known their graves were marked. The brush in front of our works and the locust grove in rear were all chewed to pieces from root to branches.
Our trains moved with great difficulty, as the pike towards Springhill was blockaded with teams for about five miles. Rain, turned to snow by evening. The 21st was cold and it was snowing, and the men were without rations. On the 22d and 23d it was still cold, and the ground was frozen hard. The cavalry was still in close pursuit of the enemy, capturing a courier with a dispatch to some cavalry commander, stating for him to hurry up his command and head off the Yankee cavalry, or they would rum him.
We arrived at Columbia. Crossing to the south side of Duck River, we went into camp beyond the city, and remained a week. I give extracts from a letter written from this place:
"Camp near Columbia, Tenn., Jan. 1, 1865. We have defeated the rebs terribly within the last 60 days. The Confederacy is nearly gone up. Everywhere our victorius banners go they are gaining ground, thank God! May it be our prayer that the year 1865 will bring peace!"
FROM COLUMBIA TO CLIFTON.
On Jan. 2 the weather was cold but pleasant. We marched out on tho Steubenville pike past the residence and plantation on which James K. Polk was reared, through Monticello, part of the way over mud roads, through thickets and across wild, barren hills. We neared the Tennessee River and encamped at Waynesboro. On the 6th we arrived within a mile or so of Clifton, having marched 17 miles. Boats were coming up the river briskly with supplies. Here we remained until the 16th. Gen. Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, was ordered to proceed to North Carolina, Cox being in command of the Twenty-third Corps and Reilly of the Third (Cox's) Division, while Col. O. W. Sterl, of our regiment, had command of the First Brigade.
The repulse of Hood virtually ended the war in the West north of the Tennessee River. He, with the remnant of his army, retreated to Tupelo, and detachments of his force went to Mobile and to join Johnston in the Carolinas.
About a dozen transports having arrived, the whole division moved down to the river. The 16th Ky., 104th Ohio, and the brigade headquarters all embarked on the Swallow. About 30 boats steamed down the river together next morning.
We arrived at Cincinnati, Jan. 21, took cars next day via Pan Handle, passing through Dayton, arriving at Xenia after dusk, where we were shown the greatest kindness by the ladies of the city, who distributed baskets filled with good things to eat among the boys, many of whom remarked, "Once more in God's country".
We proceeded to Columbus (Schofield having notified them by wire of our coming), where the Invalid Corps had four 42-gallon barrels of warm coffee awaiting us, which, with hard bread, sugar, and boiled pork we had drawn at Cincinnati, was relished. The weather was cold and stormy, and snow fell all day.
Next morning at 5 o'clock we left the Capital City over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for Bellaire, where we arrived at 2 a.m. the 24th, crossing the Ohio River, and again took passage on the same railroad. Everything was screeching cold.
We continued our box-car journey through Cumberland and Harper's Ferry to Washington, where we arrived on the night of the 26th; however, the remainder of the brigade coming up the Ohio on another boat did not arrive until the 28th.
The Potomac being frozen, this afforded us a few days in the city to await a thaw, so we were quartered in Camp Stoneman, but before going out to occupy our new barracks the whole brigade was given breakfast at the "Soldiers' Rest".
The weather getting milder, on the 3d we were ordered to pack up, march down to the river, and embark on vessels. We arrived at Fortress Monroe about 7 p.m. We anchored, but soon got orders from the headquarters ship Atlantic to shove right out. The Chesapeake was rough, and officers and privates were nearly all sick. Out of sight of land, after leaving the point, one could see nothing but the blue sky and raging waters all day. It was tremendously foggy, and we got entirely lost from the rest of the fleet. About noon next day it cleared off.
We anchored off Fort Fisher, and on the 9th, after landing on the beach, we could scarcely walk, as it seemed as though the ship was still tossing around with us. Effects could be seen of the storming the fort had received by Gen. Terry and his brave men 25 days before. We moved up the river two and a half miles. Gunboats were still shelling Fort Anderson.
On the 11th we were up at 5 a.m., ate breakfast, and about 8 o'clock marched out with the Twenty-fourth Corps (colored), who charged the enemy's skirmishers under Gen. Hoke, driving them into their main line of works, capturing 55 prisoners. Our monitors and gunboats moved up the Cape Fear, and shelled the rebel fort. The rebs responded lively with some heavy guns.
On the l6th we took the steamer Wilderness, and were transported across the river, landing at Smithville, some eight miles south. Next day we marched a dozen miles, skirmishing most of the way with the enemy's cavalry, who impeded our advance by throwing trees across the road, etc. On the 18th our gunboats moved up the river. We tried to surround Fort Anderson, an old United States fort, which the rebels evacuated during the night, and which, with 16 prisoners, and about 13 pieces of heavy artillery in good order, fell into our hands. The 104th lost five men killed and several wounded.
The following day after the capture of Fort Anderson, we met the rebels strongly fortified at Town Creek, bordered on both its banks for a considerable distance back by rice fields. It was reported our gunboats were fast removing obstructions in the Cape Fear, and were within five miles of Wilmington.
Rapidly our skirmishers advanced across the creek, our brigade followed and charged the enemy, and in five minutes or so Haywood's (South Carolina) Brigade, composed of about 700 men, with a four-gun battery, was in our hands. Our regiment captured two brass howitzers, three battle flags, etc., with a loss in this engagement of one man killed and 17 wounded; of this number 12 men belonged to Co. C, the most unfortunate, but one of the bravest companies in the regiment.
On the 21st we pressed our way forward across rice swamps. Fort French, below Wilmington, east of the river, fell. The fleet, with Gen. Terry's forces, and we crowding the enemy under Bragg, on the west bank, all hastened the capture of the last Confederate seaport, which, after a sharp engagement, fell into our hands on the morning of the 22d, with a number of guns, about 400 prisoners, etc. The rebels burned several of their new gunboats and transports, and threw hundreds of bales of tobacco, etc., into the river before evacuating thr city. So here 17 days after passing Mount Vernon, Va., we celebrated Washington's Birthday of '65 at Wilmington.
Our forces drove the enemy in direction of Fayetteville. Our regiment and the 16th Ky. being detailed as provost guards, with Lieut.-Col. Jordan as Provost-Marshal, Col. Sterl became post commandant. The boys for more than a week enjoyed their rest. Bragg had been superseded by Joseph E. Johnston. Some 8,000 of our paroled prisoners were in the city. It was an affecting scene to see the hospitals filled with them, and hundreds dying. We drew our pay, so the boys gave them all the assistance it was possible. Saturday evening, March 4, funds of the City Theater - tickets $1, house packed - were all donated for their benefit.
Having been relieved by the Twenty-fourth Corps, on the 5th we started for Kingston. The next day we marched over a marshy and very sandy country, overgrown with bunch and pine forests; bivouacked for the night on the shore of the Atlantic. On the 7th we marched about 18 miles through a similar strip of country as the previous day. For three more days we pressed forward, often over wretched roads, through burning forests of pitch pine, so brilliant after night to behold.
On the 11th we arrived at Kingston, where Gen. Cox's force won a victory over the enemy, who tried by every means to cause his defeat ere Gen. Couch's force could reach him.
We left for Goldsboro on the 20th, the boys foraging heavily by the way, the country through which we marched being rich and fertile, and owned by aristocratic rebels and slaveholders. We passed by regular negro or slave towns belonging to one man, and saw an old slave woman who had welts on her arm as thick as a finger from the effects of the rawhide, which her inhuman master so vigorously applied; also saw stocks to punish negroes with.
All day we could hear Sherman's guns in the distance. Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, took possession of Goldsboro, and on the 21st he formed a junction with Gen. Kilpatrick's cavalry in advance of Sherman's army. The same day Sherman entered and reviewed our corps. As the bronzed veterans of Sherman's victorious hosts whom we bade good-by in Georgia some five months before rejoined us, it goes without saying that we had a happy reunion and lived "on the fat of the land."
Here we lay awaiting orders. One could hear all kinds of reports, however, as Schofield had command of the forces of Sherman, who had gone to City Point, where he had a consultation with Lieut.-Gen. Grant and President Lincoln, whom he had not seen since 1861, returning on March 30.
Gen. J. W. Reilly having resigned, Gen. S. P. Carter, of Tennessee, took his place in command of the Third Division. News of the battles in the vicinity of Petersburg and Richmond reached Sherman at Goldsboro the 6th. Up to that time his purpose was to move rapidly northward, feinting on Raleigh, and striking straight for Burksville, thereby interposing between Johnston and Lee. But the problem was now greatly changed, and, in the expressive language of Lieut.-Gen. Grant in his instructions to Sherman, the Confederate armies of Lee and Johnston became the strategic points.
Gen. Johnston at this time had his army, well in hand about Smithfield, estimated at 35,000 infantry and artillery and 6,000 to 10,000 cavalry. Thus, deeming his adversary superior in cavalry, Gen. Kilpatrick was held in reserve at Mount Olive, with orders to recruit his horses, and be ready to make a sudden and rapid march on April 10.
SURRENDER OF LEE
On the 11th we slowly marched on our journey. On the 13th we reached Turner's bridge, which was burned by the rebs a few days before, and had to cross the river on pontoons. We received the news that Lee's entire had army surrendered to Grant. The boys all gave vent to cheering, and some were so overjoyed that they sprang in the air and turned somersaults.
On the 14th we marched to the intersection of Goldsboro and Raleigh road, where our train was attacked by a lot of guerrillas, being disguised in our uniform (several of them having on officers' shoulder straps), who ordered all teams to turn to the left, and the infantry to the right; thus they succeeded in decoying 26 wagons down into the woods. The 100th Ohio coming up, the Colonel at once deployed two companies as skirmishers, and the enemy were scattered. However, they burned eight wagons, captured the mules from 16 wagons, and, with a number of teamsters and guards, got away with their booty. We took some of the guerrillas prisoners.
On the 15th negotiations for a surrender began between Sherman and Johnston.
News of the assassination of President Lincoln was announced to the army at Raleigh on the 17th, reading as follows:
"Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, in the Field, RALEIGH, April 17, 1865. Special Field Orders No. 50.
"The General commanding announces with pain and sorrow that, on the evening of the 14th instant, at the theater in Washington City, his Excellency, the President of the United States, Mr. Lincoln, was assassinated by one who uttered the State motto of Virginia. At the same time the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, whilst suffering from a broken arm, was also stabbed by another murderer in his own house, but still survives, and his son was wounded. It is believed by persons capable of judging that other high officers were designed to share the same fate. Thus it seems that our enemy, despairing of meeting us in manly warfare, begin to resort to the assassin's tools. Your General does not wish you to infer that this is universal, for he knows that the great mass of the Confederate army would scorn to sanction such acts, but he believes it the legitimate consequence of rebellion against rightful authority. We have met every phase which this war has assumed, and must now be prepared for it in its last and worst shape, that of assassins and guerrillas; but woe unto the people who seek to expend their wild passions in such a manner, for there is but one dread result.
"By order of MAJ.-GEN. W. T. SHERMEN.
"L. M. DAYTON, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General."
SURRENDER OF JOHNSTON
On the 18th negotiations were resumed, which resulted in a memorandum or basis of agreement for the surrender of Johnston's army. But the document was not approved at Washington, so Sherman issued orders to his troops terminating the truce on the 26th at 12 o'clock m. These dispositions were already made when Gen. Grant arrived at Raleigh, from Morehead City, which he reached from the front on the evening of the 23d. He then informed Gen. Sherman that he had orders from the President to direct all military movements, and Gen. Sherman explained to him the exact position of the troops. Gen. Grant was so well satisfied with the situation that he concluded not to interfere with the arrangements already made, and to leave their execution in the hands of Gen. Sherman.
In the interval we maintained a truce in the nature of status quo, and the army was reviewed, and, to put it mildly, never did "The City of Oaks" witness such a sight before. As the troops passed the reviewing stand on Capitol Square, where stood Gens. Grant, Sherman, Howard, Logan, Schofield, Cox, Kilpatrick and others of prominence, with battalion after battalion marching by, one of the citizens, standing near the line of march, remarked, "The scene is awe-inspiring." May I add, it showed that the men of the West were invincible.
Next day an interview with Gen. Johnston followed, the terms of capitulation were agreed upon and signed, and Grant started for Washington bearing the news. In speaking of this much-talked-of matter Gen. Sherman says in his report: "And although undue importance has been given to the so-called negotiations which preceded it, and a rebuke and public disfavor cast on me wholly unwarranted by the facts, I rejoice in saying it was accomplished without further ruin and devastation to the country; without the loss of a single life of those gallant men who had followed me from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and without subjecting brave men to the ungracious task of pursuing a fleeing foe that did not wish to fight. And I challenge the instance, during the last four years, when an armed and defiant foe stood before me, that I did not go in for a fight; and I would blush for shame if I had ever struck or insulted a fallen foe."
By the terms between Sherman and Johnston at Durham Station all tho Confederates east of the Chattahoochee River were embraced in the surrender (on same terms as granted Lee's army at Appomattox), and Johnston by the stipulation agreeing to march his army to Greensboro, and stack arms, etc., park artillery, wagons and ordnance stores, and the men to remain until paroled.
May 2, the vanguard of Sherman's army having already started on their march for Washington, our regiment embarked by cars for Goldsboro, arriving about 4 p.m. Here we found over 20,000 of the Johnnies. The 104th being the first Union regiment in the place, a detail was at once made, and guards placed around the captured property; the rest of the brigade followed us, and as fast as possible a wagon-train with rations, etc., came on, so we could continue sharing rations with our no-longer foes, while the work of paroling and sending the Confederates to their homes proceeded, which ere the middle of the month was finished.
PEACE ONCE MORE
For about a month more our duties were light and pleasant. Part of our brigade lay encamped about a half mile west of the city, while our regiment was acting as provost guards in town. Some of our furloughed men returned from home, among them Capt. Henry E. Everhard, Co. E, bringing with him a beautiful new silk flag, bearing the names of our principal battles and campaigns - Cumberland Gap, Knoxville, East Tennessee, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Utoy Creek, Columbia, Franklin, Nashville, Old Town Creek and Wilmington - emblazoned there-on in gold letters. It was presented by the ladies of Massillon as a token of their esteem.
On the 16th our regiment was relieved from provost-guard duty by the 17th Mass. Next day we were reviewed with the whole division by Gens. Schofield, Cox and Carter.
On the 18th, at 4 p.m., the bugle sounded "strike tents", which raised a yell throughout the camp, and we soon had everything packed up and at once marched to the depot. The sidewalks were lined with citizens, and the soldiers were headed by the 104th band, playing to the tune of "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," "Home, Sweet Home," etc.
At Pittsburg, where we arrived on the evening of the 23d, a committee of citizens met the regiment and conducted us to a great banquet hall, where day and night they furnished homeward-bound soldiers with a substantial meal.
We reached Cleveland about noon on the 24th. Here we marched to the public square and under an immense bower surrounding Perry's monument the patriotic citizens of the "Forest City" provided us with a sumptuous dinner, to which we did ample justice. Afterwards the regiment marched to Camp Taylor, where we remained four days, and received our discharge papers, and also held our last dress parade, and the same day we were joined by the 100th Ohio.
The following is taken from the regimental history by N. A. Pinney: "In the two years and 10 months of our service, we had soldiered in five of the rebel States, had participated in the annihilation of one great rebel army, and had received the surrender of another; had fought in 13 battles, in which we had captured more than 1,000 rebel prisoners, eight pieces of artillery, and 15 stands of colors. We had marched more than 3,400 miles, had ridden nearly 3,000 by rail and 1,300 by water, had uncomplainingly endured many hardships of hunger and thirst, cold and heat, disease and wounds, and had laid hundreds of our comrades in the silent tomb."
On Wednesday, after dinner, Juno 28, 1865, we were paid in full. Then, with handshakings and hearty good-bys, the boys abandoned their last camp, and during the night and next day went home. Having lain aside the implements of war, we spent the jolly Fourth of July as citizens of the Republic we had helped to save.
And now I beg that any one who may read this article, before rushing into print, will accept it (errors omitted) in the spirit in which it is written; i.e., in F., C. and L.