History of Battery G
from the pen of Samuel J. Churchill,
Medal of Honor
(for action on 12.15.64)
excerpted from his book, _Genealogy and Biography of the Connecticut Branch of the Churchill Family in America_ (Lawrence, KS: Journal Publishing, 1901), pp. 71-77.
Samuel Joseph Churchill
Residence DeKalb County IL; Enlisted on 8/6/1861 at DeKalb, DeKalb Co., IL as a Private. On 10/5/1861 he mustered into "Battery G" Co. IL 2nd Light Artillery He Re-enlisted on 4/15/1864 He was Mustered Out on 9/4/1865 Promotions: * Qtr Master Serg Other Information: born 11/1/1842 in Rutland, Rutland Co., VT died 6/3/1932 Buried: Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, KS Medal of Honor Information: He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 12/15/1864 at Nashville, TN. (Stood manfully at his post and for some minutes worked his gun alone)
[At Camp Butler, near Springfield, Illinois, the battery was mustered into federal service.]
During the siege of Nashville, Tennessee, by Rebel General Hood, we were in line of battle two weeks, firing more or less every day. We could hear the rebel band play, “Whose been here since I’se been gone.” To answer them our band would play, “Yankee Doodle.” On December 14, 1864, the Union line advanced and attacked the rebel army in their fortifications. We had to march for some distance under a galling fire from the enemy before we could get our battery in position. . . . Our battery was ordered in position on high ground in plain view of two rebel batteries, one to our right and the other directly in front, about 240 yards distant, which were doing their best to dislodge the Union forces, and several men and horses were killed before we could get our battery into position. My gun, a 12-pound Napoleon, was located about eight feet to the right of a large brick house. . . .It was there that I won my medal of honor. [After a member of my crew ran terrified from the gun, his panic spreading to other members of the crew, and] in the face of a terrible rain of shot and shell from the enemy, I loaded and fired my gun eleven times alone before assistance came. The rebel batteries were silenced and driven back and the Union forces took an advanced position. The result of the battle is well known in history. . . .
On December 16, 1864, we fought from early morn until 4 p.m., when we succeeded in putting the rebel army to flight, capturing many cannon and small arms. The Union loss was 400 killed and 1,740 wounded; the rebel loss was 4,462 killed and missing. We followed up Rebel General Hood’s retreat as far as Eastport, Tennessee, where we were obliged to stop on account of our rations giving out; and for two weeks we subsisted on dry corn. Soon after this the Sixteenth Army Corps was ordered down the river to New Orleans, Louisiana, and took ship for Mobile Bay, Alabama, where was one of the last strongholds of the rebellion.
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