19th Michigan soldiers writes about action at Thompson’s Station

CIVIL WAR DIARIES OF EDWARD SPENCER, 19TH MICHIGAN, CO. A, AUGUST 1862- 71

[The Battle of Thompson’s Station took place on March 4th/5th, 1863]

“Our brigade with the 4th Ohio Battery was sent out toward Columbia on a foraging and reconnoitering expedition, when about 6 miles from Franklin found the rebs in force preparing to dispute our progress opened upon us with a ten lb. battery shelling quite smartly for a couple of hours, injuring no one….”

After a quiet night, they ran into the enemy again the next day, with two Indiana regiments moving forward, leaving the 19th Michigan and 22nd Missouri behind.

“In a few moments heavy firing was heard on our right where the Ind. regs. went out. At the same time a section of the enemy’s guns opened upon us from the right dropping shell very close. Our guns replied but without effect. We were then ordered to the right of the road as the enemy were flanking our present position. We were to take a position on top of a hill, the rebs seeing our object advanced toward the top of the hill from the opposite side & the two parties met at the top. We charged and drove them back down the hill and then fell back under the brow of it as protection from their guns which were shelling us lively. In a few moments they charged again and again were driven back. This was repeated four times, the rebs being driven back each time with great slaughter….”

Seeing that they were being outflanked, the brigade fell back to another hill, where they came under an immediate assault. Col. Coburn, commanding the brigade,

“then said our only chance of escape was to charge their lines with bayonets fixed and force our way through. This we were preparing to do when another line of cavalry was discovered, a charge then would be insanity and the col. in order to save the lives of his men concluded to surrender. Accordingly the flag of truce was raised and the Johnnies flocked in upon us from every side. Canteens, haversacks, and clothing were taken from the men and swords and pistols from Officers. Upon the whole it was an indiscriminate robbery of private as well as govt. property….”

Source: Cowan’s auction

2 thoughts on “19th Michigan soldiers writes about action at Thompson’s Station

  1. Daniel morgan joined this unit (the 19th Michigan) in August of 1862. He came from Coldwater Michigan was married with one child. He, according to army records was killed at the battle of Thompson Station. There are approximately 40 letter that exist and are in our possesion between Daniel and his wife Isabelle that commorate his service and personal feeling. I do not have any information of where Daniel was buried. I was suprised to learn that there were prisoners taken.

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