December 20th, 1864 Officer’s diary describes Hood’s fleeing army from Nashville

We started in good time over frozen ground and ice though the pike was tolerable good only in spots. All day we have passed the wrecks of Hood’s fleeing army, signs of hot pursuit. We reached Spring Hill at 4 p.m. and go in camp just before it commences to rain again. The little village is very much dilapidated to what it was when we first saw it. It was near that the Rebs came near cutting off our retreat up to Franklin. Made a search to find commissary wagons but fail and have to crumb it scantily at that. Rain increases and our bed is wet as has been for sometime.

A.L. Ewing (63rd Indiana Infantry) diary for Dec 20th, 1864

Source: The Eli Lilly Library, Indiana University

Indiana officer writes about Hood’s retreat on December 18, 1864

We came about eight miles yesterday and last eve could hear cannon ahead. But now this morning the enemy is reported to be beyond Franklin where they suffered some yesterday trying to check out advance. We move about a mile across farms and get on the Franklin Pike where we find the commissary wagons and draw rations. Some captured wagons and 300 captured prisoners pass to our rear. Some of them barefooted. It is reported we have captured Gen Cheatham.

Source: A.L. Ewing Civil War Diary, Eli Lilly Library

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 3rd, 1864 letter by Indiana officer reveals interesting post-Franklin detail

My Dear Wife,

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December 3, 1864 letter written by Captain Addison Lee Ewing, 63rd Indiana Infantry

I am all of a flutter of joyous excitement. Evening before last I received your long but very interesting letter and papers also, one from brother bearing good news from home. Then last evening I received the coat and contents of its pockets. Then again today one of Company C came up from Knoxville and brought my old valise I thought I would never get again. It came just in time for the Rebs captured our . . . . . [rest of sentence is unreadable, holes in the letter at the crease].

All is good here! Coming in on the heels of the great victory we won over the enemy at Franklin on the 30th Nov makes us feel good. I have no doubt you have heard all about what we accomplished but you must want to know how I came out which was all right. The Rebs fought desperately.  Colonels and Generals rode right up to our faces bringing their men up in fine style but “blue coats” wouldn’t budge back one inch and they fell victims of their own mad actions. A person could walk over several acres of ground passing from one dead body to another. It was a terrible slaughter. We took almost 3,000 prisoners and 12 colors. Many more could have been taken up but it was dark & our forces fell back to this place inside its fortifications, where we can use the Rebble army up if they come on to us. There is no quicker way of suffering this war than by having the Rebs charge our works, when they invariably get whipped.

Well the coat fits a little loose but I suppose it will shrink some so I will keep it. The other one shrank up so I had to sell it.

[Ewing stops writing for the 3rd and picks back up on Sunday, the 4th of December.]

Source: A.L. Ewing, 63rd Indiana Infantry,  The Kraig McNutt Civil War Collection

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.

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