Reports of Maj. Frederick A. Atwater, Forty-second Illinois Infantry, of operations November 20-30, 1864.

No. 58. 

Reports of Maj. Frederick A. Atwater, Forty-second Illinois Infantry, of operations November 20-30, 1864.


Nashville, Tenn., December 5, 1864.

I have the honor herewith to transmit to you a report of the operations of the Forty-second Regt. Illinois Volunteer during the battles of Spring Hill and Franklin, Tenn., November 29 and 30, 1864, including a list of killed, wounded, and missing.

On the morning of the 29th of November, at 6 o’clock, we marched to Spring Hill, arriving at 2 p. m., and were soon placed in position on the extreme right of the Third Brigade and entirely separated from the balance of the brigade, and distant to the right about 150 yards, and, by order of Gen. Bradley, we threw up a barricade of rails in our front as best we could with one line of rail fence, and sent out a line of skirmishers, which was very soon driven back by the enemy advancing in force; we were ordered to hold said line as long as possible, but having 350 entirely new recruits, who had no drill at all and never were under fire, I did not except to hold such a line very long. The enemy soon struck us very in our immediate front, he having three lines of battle plainly visible and moving well to my right. I ordered my men to reserve their fire until the enemy came within very short range, which they did; then we poured a deadly volley into them, which caused them to retire their first line and reform, the second line advancing while the first line moved by the flank and under cover of a hill completely past the right of my of my regiment, when they commenced firing rapidly into our right and rearm and being advised twice by my superiors, the field officers of the Sixty-fourth Ohio, I finally ordered my regiment in retreat, and while doing so the colors of the regiment became separated and the sergeant and all the color guard with one of them were killed and the flag was captured by the enemy. We retreat about half a mile, when we reformed the regiment with only one flag, and the loss of some 110 in killed, wounded, and missing, as per inclosed list.* After dark the Forty-second Illinois was placed on picket and I was detailed as officer of the day, and before daylight of the 30th, the army all having passed, I withdrew the pickets an rejoined my brigade, and arrived at Franklin at noon, where we were soon placed in position on the left of the Columbia pike, with orders to throw up works and to hold them. Not having many told we could not built very good works, and consequently could not hold them long after the enemy came upon us, although we did not leave them until the right and left both gave away, and we were obliged to fall back over a level ground a distance of at least 600 yards and the enemy in very strong force closely following us and continually firing upon us; upon arriving at a main and strong line of works in our rear I halted and formed the regiment and fought as well as possible until long after dark, with a loss of 55 killed, wounded, and missing. During the fight of the 30th one of my recruits shot down a rebel color-bearer and took his flag from him, but was soon ordered by a colonel in the Twenty-third Corps to turn it over to him, which he did and during the night two more of my regiment went out in front of the works and found three rebel flags, which they brought in with one of the rebel soldiers, who was on picket, as a prisoner, but as soon as they came into our lines an officer of the Twenty-third Corps ordered them to give him the colors, and like good soldiers they obeyed the order. So far as the conduct of the officers and, men of the regiment is concerned I have only to speak of it in the highest terms.

About midnight of the 30th we quietly retired from Franklin to Nashville, where we arrived at 10 a. m., very nearly tired out.

I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient servant,


Maj. Forty-second Illinois, Cmdg. Regt.


Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 3d Brig., 2d Div., 4th Army Corps.

Reports of Lieut. Col. Milton Barnes, Ninety-seventh Ohio Infantry, of operations November 29-30, 1864

No. 55.

Reports of Lieut. Col. Milton Barnes, Ninety-seventh Ohio Infantry, of operations November 29-30 and December 15-16, 1864.


Near Nashville, Tenn., December 5, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the recent engagements with the enemy in the vicinity of Spring Hill and Franklin, Tenn., on the 29th and 30th,respectively, of November, 1864:

On the morning of the 29th, Col. John Q. Lane having been called to the command of the brigade, I found myself in command of the regiment, and marched from the vicinity of Columbia to Spring Hill. On nearing the latter place, and in obedience to orders, and learning that our advance was engaging the enemy, I double-quicked the regiment through and to the eastward of the town. The enemy’s cavalry were posted in heavy lines of battle in full view on the hill opposite, and were already bearing down on our skirmishers, of whom Company F, of this regiment, formed a part. Forming my line of battle quickly, and receiving an order from Col. Lane to advance, we charged rapidly down upon them, through corn-fields, over fences, and across the ravine, when the enemy began a precipitate retreat, and, with the exception of a skirmish line, soon disappeared from our immediate front, passing to the right. Our portion of the battle-line did not again become engaged during the day, but we were thrown afterward to the right in the rear of the Second Brigade, in time to check further disaster there. During the remainder of the evening observed the utmost vigilance and were busily engaged strengthening our position with whatever of means were at our command. I have the honor to report no casualties in the affair. Early on the following morning (30th) we marched to the vicinity of Franklin, arriving there about noon, and immediately began to make dispositions to resist a contemplated attack by the enemy in force. Having to change our position several times, much valuable time was lost to us in this regard. Our line was finally formed to the south of the town in the midst of an extensive open plain, where there were natural   there were natural should read there were [no] natural. means of protection of defense, and several hundred yards from our main line of works on the elevation at edge of town, our position being near the right center, and to the right of the Columbia pike, two companies having been left as skirmishers on the hill half a mile beyond.

We had but fairly begun to throw a temporary work, with the very limited means at our disposal, when about 4 p. m. the enemy was seen in several heavy concentric lines, extending in a semi-circular direction, completely covering our front and flanks, and suddenly driving in our skirmishers, came surging across the plain with terrible and irresistible force. They struck first the forces on the left, then the front and center of the line, which soon gave way and exposed us to a front and enfilading fire. Seeing our troops on the left giving way, and having held our position until every other regiment both to the right and left had given way, we were left with the only alternative of retreat or capture. We then fell back under the enemy’s galling fire, with some confusion, to the main works, which we found difficult to enter in consequence of a heavy abatis of locust brush in their front. Most if not all our men succeeded, with great difficulty, in getting inside the works, and doubled on the line already there, which, together with the fact that the enemy, following closely in our rear, immediately commenced storming, and actually entering the works, created for a time an almost uncontrollable panic among both lines, and for a few moments all was in terrible confusion. At this juncture, critical in the extreme, our officers and men, with very few exceptions, exerted themselves to the utmost to turn the tide of battle. At this point it was impossible to recognize regimental or even company lines; but rallying and commingling with other regiments and companies, fought with great desperation, and nobly bore their part in the furious hand-to-hand encounter which soon resulted in hurling back the enemy and deciding the fortunes of the day. Thus they held their ground with the most stubborn heroism, repulsing the enemy at each subsequent assault, until about 10 p.m., when the firing gradually ceased. I received an order from Col. Lane in person to draw off the regiment and reorganize the line. In gathering them together they came from the front.

I have the honor to report the capture of one rebel battle-flag, taken by Sergt. Alfred Ransbottom, of Company K. I respectfully commenced him to the proper authorities for a proper acknowledgment of his personal bravery.I have the honor also to report the capture of seven prisoners.

Our casualties are as follow, viz: Officers–wounded, 5; missing,1; Enlisted men–wounded, 38; killed, 5; missing, 20. Total, 69.

The greater portion of those reported missing are supposed to be either killed or wounded and in the enemy’s hands.



Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

  Lieut. LOUIS L. COX,

  Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade, &c.

Action of 44th Illinois at Franklin, Opdycke’s Brigade

No. 41.

Report of Lieut. Col. John Russell, Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry, of operations November 30, 1864.


Nashville, Tenn., December 6, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to make the following report of the apart taken by this regiment in the battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864:

When we were ordered forward the enemy had driven our forces in on the center and had planted their colors on our works. We charged forward, drove the enemy back, and replanted our colors on the works. As we did so a good many fugitives that had been driven back were rallied and went forward with us. The enemy had captured all that was left of our battery, and as we rushed forward they forced a part of the men belonging to the battery over the works with them. After being driven back the enemy occupied the outer portion of our works for over two hours, when they surrendered. Our colors suffered very much from the terrible fire of the enemy, the flagstaffs were partially cut away in several places, and the flags badly cut and torn. The prisoners captured numbered 83, who reported that they were all that was left of the three regiments they belonged to. Among them were the colonel and a captain of the Eighth Mississippi and Capt. G. W. Covell, Company E, Third Missouri. The two former surrendered to me, and I received their swords, and Capt. Covell surrendered to Sergt. Israel P. Covey, of Company B. They were sent to the rear in charge of Lieut. Lewis C. Mills, of Company C, who delivered them over to the colonel of an Ohio regiment in the Twenty-third Corps.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieut. Col. Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry, Cmdg. Regt.

Col. E. OPDYCKE, Cmdg. Brigade.

84th Indiana Infantry action at Franklin, report of John C. Taylor


December 6, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with orders received from the general commanding I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my regiment in the battle fought near Franklin, Tenn., November 30, 1864:

About 12 m., by direction of the general commanding brigade, I formed my regiment on the north side, my left resting on the Carter’s Creek pike, a little to the rear of the Atkins school-house, where I threw up a temporary line of works. About 3.30 p. m. the enemy attacked the skirmish line in my front, which was soon driven into the main line of works. Having my regiment formed in rear of the works I had built, I directed them to fire upon the enemy, who was exposing two lines of battle about 600 yards to my front. I kept up a brisk fire upon the enemy for about ten minutes, which, in connection with the fire from a battery in position immediately on my left, compelled the enemy to seek shelter by moving by the left flank under cover of a small hill. I ordered my men to cease firing, which they did, with the exception of an occasional shot, which was kept up until about 11.30 p. m., at which time, by order of the general commanding brigade, I withdrew my regiment from the field.

My loss in this engagement was 1 man severely and 1 slightly wounded.

I have, sir, the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


  Maj., Cmdg. Regt.


  Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 3d Brig., 1st Div., 4th Corps.

Editorial note: Taylor’s statement of one wounded contradicts Thomas’ OR of 19 wounded.

Union Order of Battle, Fourth and Twenty-Third Army Corps




First Brigade.


21st Illinois, Capt. William H. Jamison.

38th Illinois, Capt. Andrew M. Pollard.

31st Indiana, Col. John T. Smith.

81st Indiana, Maj. Edward G. Mathey.

90th Ohio, Lient. Col. Samuel N. Yeoman.

101st Ohio, Lieut. Col. Bedan B. McDanald.

Second Brigade.


96th Illinois, Maj. George Hicks.

115th Illinois, Col. Jesse H. Moore.

35th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Augustus G. Tassin.

21st Kentucky, Lieut. Col. James C. Evans.

23d Kentucky, Lieut. Col. George W. Northup.

45th Ohio, Lieut. Col. John H. Humphrey.

51st Ohio, Lieut. Col. Charles H. Wood.

Third Brigade.


75th Illinois, Col. John E. Bennett.

80th Illinois, Capt. James Cunningham.

84th Illinois, Lieut. Col. Charles H. Morton.

9th Indiana, Col. Isaac C. B. Suman.

30th Indiana, Capt. Henry W. Lawton.

36th Iraliana (one company), Lieut. John P. Swisher.

84th Indiana, Maj. John C. Taylor.

77th Pennsylvania, Col. Thomas E. Rose. <ar93_91>



First Brigade.


36th Illinois, Maj. Levi P. Holden.

44th Illinois, Capt. Alonzo W. Clark.

73d Illinois, Capt. Wilson Burroughs.

74th Illinois, } Lieut. Col. George W. Smith.

88th Illinois, }   

125th Ohio, Maj. Joseph Bruff.

24th Wisconsin, Capt. William Kennedy.

Second Brigade.


100th Illinois, Lieut. Col. Charles M.Hammend.

40th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Henry Learning.

57th Indiana:

Lieut. Col. Willis Blanch.(*)

Maj. John S. McGraw.

28th Kentucky:

Maj. George W. Barth.

Lieut. Col. J. Rowan Boone.

26th Ohio, Capt. William Clark.

97th Ohio:

Lieut. Col. Milton Barnes.(*)

Capt. Clarkson C. Nichols.

Third Brigade.


42d Illinois, Lieut. Col. Edgar D. Swain.

51st Illinois, Capt. Albert M. Tilton.

79th Illinois, (+) Col. Allen Buckner.

15th Missouri, Capt. George Ernst.

64th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Robert C. Brown.

65th Ohio, Maj. Orlow Smith.



First Brigade.


89th Illinois, Lieut. Col. William D. Williams.

51st Indiana, Capt. William W. Scearce.

8th Kansas, Lieut. Col. John Conover.

15th Ohio:

Col. Frank Askew.(*)

Lieut. Col. John McClenahan.

49th Ohio:

Maj. Luther M. Strong.(*)

Capt. Daniel Hartsough.

Second Brigade.



59th Illinois, Maj. James M. Stookey.

41st Ohio:

Lieut. Col. Robert L. Kimberly.

Capt. Ezra Dunham.

71st Ohio:

Lieut. Col. James H. Hart.(*)

Capt. William H. McClure.

93d Ohio, Lieut. Col. Daniel Bowman.

124th Ohio, Lieut. Col. James Pickands.

Third Brigade.


79th Indiana, Lieut. Col. George W. Parker.

86th Indiana, Col. George F. Dick.

13th Ohio (four companies), Maj. Joseph T. Snider.

19th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Henry G. Stratton.



Indiana Light, 25th Battery, Capt. Frederick C. Sturm. Kentucky Light,

1st Battery, Capt. Theodore S. Thomasson.

1st Michigan Light, Battery E, Capt. Peter De Vries.

1st Ohio Light, Battery G, Capt. Alexander Marshall.

Ohio Light, 6th Battery, Lieut. Aaron P. Baldwin.

Pennsylvania Light, Battery B, Capt. Jacob Ziegler.

4th United States, Battery M, Lieut. Samuel Canby. <ar93_92>





First Brigade.


130th Indiana Col. Charles S. Parrish.

26th Kentucky, Col. Cicero Maxwell.

25th Michigan, Capt. Samuel L. Demarest.

99th Ohio, Lieut. Col. John E. Cummins.

3d Tennessee, Col. William Cross.

6th Tennessee, Lieut. Col. Edward Maynard.

Second Brigade.


107th Illinois, Capt. John W. Wood.

80th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Alfred D. Owen.

129th Indiana, Col. Charles A. Zollinger.

23d Michigan, Col. Oliver L. Spaulding.

111th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Isaac R. Sherwood.

118th Ohio, Maj. Edgar Sowers.

Third Brigade.


91st Indiana, Lieut. Col. Charles H. Butterfield.

123d Indiana, Col. John C. McQuiston.

50th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Hamilton S. Gillespie.

183d Ohio, Col. George W. Hoge.


Indiana Light, 15th Battery, Capt. Alonzo D. Harvey.

Ohio Light, 19th Battery, Capt. Frank Wilson.


Brig. Gen. JACOB D. Cox.

First Brigade.


12th Kentucky, Lieut. Col. Laurence H. Rousseau.

16th Kentucky, Capt. Jacob Miller.

100th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Edwin L. Hayes.

104th Ohio, Col. Oscar W. Sterl.

8th Tennessee, Capt. James W. Berry.

Second Brigade.


65th Illinois, Lieut. Col. W. Scott Stewart.

65th Indiana, Lieut. Col. John W. Hammond.

124th Indiana, Col. John M. Orr.

103d Ohio, Capt. Henry S. Pickands.

5th Tennessee, Lieut Col. Nathaniel Witt.

Third Brigade.


112th Illinois, Maj. Tristram T. Dow.

63d Indiana, Lieut. Col. Daniel Morris.

120th Indiana, Maj. John M. Barcus.

128th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Jasper Packard.


Indiana Light, 23d Battery, Lieut. Aaron A. Wilber.

1st Ohio Light, Battery D, Capt. Giles J. Cockerill



NOVEMBER 14, 1864-JANUARY 23, 1865.–Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee.

No. 6.–Organization of the U.S. Forces, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, at the battle of Nashville, Tenn., December 15-16, 1864.