Category Archives: Diary

December 9th, 1864 diary entry by 63rd Indiana officer in Nashville

. . . it is cold, raining, snowing, sleeting . . . we are in shelter tents, no wood and nothing to make ourselves comfortable . . . the poor half-clad creatures [Confederates] out a couple of miles must suffer with the cold, for they have no gum blankets nor plenty of good clothing as we do.

There was a rumor just now that they were leaving our front. I wish they would, and go so far that we would see them no more of this winter.

Source: The Civil War Diary of A.L. Ewing, 63rd Indiana Infantry
The Eli Lilly Library, Indiana University

December 1st, 1864 diary entry by 63rd Indiana officer reveals initial aftermath of Franklin action

A prisoner told me that one brigade was sent against us last night with orders to capture us, yet were sent but it was a costly fortune. Rebel General Adams was killed in the ditch. General Pat Cleburne was among the slain. During the interval between their last charge and the time we left, the quiet was broken by the moans and piteous cries of the wounded for water out in the darkness. I could but feel sympathy for the poor fellows though they would do us and our country all the harm they could. We marched hard all last night, took breakfast at Brentwood. The 175th Ohio, a new regiment, was scattered along the pike and seemed to be badly demoralized. We rested a few hours then moved up under the guns of Fort Negley and received mail which was quite a welcomed treat.

Written by Addison Lee Ewing, Captain, Co F, 63rd Indiana Infantry
(Previous posts related to Ewing)

Source: Ewing Mss. Manuscripts department, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.


Order the print

Diary entry for November 30, 1864 by 63rd Indiana soldier who served at Franklin

Early dawn found the head of our weary columns fleeing into Franklin.  Just after we passed Spring Hill our wagon train was attacked by Rebel cavalry   and several wagons burned.  The headquarter guards with the train had quite a little battle before the cavalry was driven off.   Cousin Shelley was Sergt-commanding.   Among the burnt wagons was one containing my valise. Otherwise came through A.L. Ewing with wife Marysafely though it seems a special providence that our rear was not captured consisting of detached portions of troops and artillery and many wagons. It was a terrible march over a narrow road which was one solid mass of moving trains, artillery and infantry.  I completely lost my company in the darkness and crowding. Just as we came in sight of Franklin, I dropped in a fence corner and not particularly caring what happened, I was so worn out. But after a short rest and hearing the firing of our rear guard which was approaching, I went and found a few of my company, and in a short time all of them turned up from various quarters.  We drew rations and made coffee and was lined up in position where we proceeded to throw up temporary works as we often had done.  Our lines was extended from the Harpeth River above town to the river just below, and of a horse-shoe shape.    We rested easy until about 3 pm. Myself and company however were placed out on picket  and had dug some rifle pits to spend the night  and providing the Rebs would let us.  Between 3 and 4 pm the Rebels began showing themselves and our cavalry falling back. There was no skirmishing by us  for the Rebs formed two lines of battle  and came dashing out of the woods  in fine style, a skirmish line in front and one in the rear.    I yelled to my skirmish line to fall back to the works and started myself. Finding I had to cross the range of one or other of two cannons that were planted at angles, I chose my chances to go between them.  The cannoneers were excited and not time for one man to get out of the way. When such a good mark as those advancing columns, I gave a leap at the instant. The pieces were discharged and repaired to my company and loaded guns while the men fired. When the advancing line came up within range  the infantry behind the works , a sheet of flame leaped forth with death and wounds in it for hundreds  of the brave men fighting for an ignoble cause . The whole scene of action was soon covered with smoke that but little could be seen in detail.  For about a dozen times the Rebs was led to charge, only to be repulsed with great slaughter.  Many of their banners were planted upon our works with the most heroic determination but was met with as determined resistance.  The fight lasted for three hours and while it was going on a Reb and Union battery were having a duel overhead with their shells and shot which sometimes passed distressingly low over our heads. At eleven o’clock we were withdrawn and crossed the river on a pontoon and railroad bridge.  The Enemy discovered our retreat and came crowding down the streets of the town. Our guns opened up on them and must have done them considerable damage. The bridges were burned by our forces and they started on their third night march towards Nashville, near which place cavalry firing again commenced . We arrived in range of its big guns and forts very very tired, though rejoicing in possession of 18 captured colors and near 3,000 prisoners.

Written by Addison Lee Ewing, Captain, Co F, 63rd Indiana Infantry
(Previous posts related to Ewing)

Source: Ewing Mss. Manuscripts department, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Diary entry for November 29, 1864 by 63rd Indiana soldier in Spring Hill

Upon learning the entire Federal army had escaped Spring Hill during the night of the 29th, C.S.A. Gen John Bell Hood spoke these words on the morning of the 30th, “the best move of my career as a soldier come to naught.”

Last night passed off quietly. At 8 we are packed ready to move. The forces behind us have just moved out. The enemy have been trying all morning to get possession of the ford, consequently several artillery fights as well as skirmishes today with musketry in fact has been a noisy war-like day. Eve: The enemy just before dusk charged and drove our skirmishers away from the ford but they held on to part of their line. The operation made a great rattling of musketry and supposing the enemy to be attacking in force our Regt was ordered double quick up to the scene of action. The artillery thundered away for a while, and with darkness relapsed into silence. In our movement our Regt was very much exposed to the raking fire through its whole length yet the Rebs did not take advantage of it. Soon after dark we withdrew in silence and was on the march back to Franklin a distance of 23 miles. Just before we got to Spring Hill we could see a long string of lights on our right not far off, and supposing it was the 4th Corps in camp we were looking forward to an immediate rest when to our surprise we were told that it was the lights of a rebble camp. Men ordered not to speak nor let their accoutrements rattle, we were so close we could see their camp guards (night guards).

Written by Addison Lee Ewing, Captain, Co F, 63rd Indiana Infantry
(Previous posts related to Ewing)

Source: Ewing Mss. Manuscripts department, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

175th Ohio soldier (Garner) Dec 1st diary entry

December 1 – Get up and leave.  Regiment all get up at daylight.  March for Nashville.  Road full of troops.  We capture a stand of rebel colors last night and a lot of rebs.  Very hard fighting until midnight.  Boys all fight well.  175th wins a laurel.  B. [Bennett] Settles of Co. A killed.  Several wounded.

Permission granted by Patrick Garner