Excerpts from "The New History of the 99th Indiana Infantry" by Chaplain D. R. Lucas

Edited by Paul A. Boccadoro

 

In 1900, Chaplain D. R. Lucas set about to document the history of his old regiment, the 99th Indiana Infantry. In the past 35 years since the unit had been mustered out, there had been several reunions but no published history to immortalize the 99th's three years of service in western Federal armies. The product of Lucas' interviews is a book comprised of anecdotes, incidents, and history from the 99th Indiana. It served to catch up on veterans' lives since the war, while also providing personal histories and stories from their service. I have extracted the most interesting tales and comments from the book that give insight into the common soldiers serving in the 99th Indiana. To read Lucas' entire unabridged history of the regiment, download the full book.

  Chaplain Daniel Lucas, 1862

Chaplain Daniel Lucas, 1862

  Lt. Col. William Powell, 1862

Lt. Col. William Powell, 1862

  Capt. Robert Andis, Co. B, 1862

Capt. Robert Andis, Co. B, 1862

 

THE ORGANIZATION.

The 99th Indiana Volunteer Infantry was organized under the call of President Lincoln issued August 4, 1862, at Camp Rose, the old fair ground at South Bend, Indiana. In that camp were organized seven companies, six with the minimum number, one with not men enough to muster into the service. At the same time recruiting was in progress in the 6th district for the 96th Indiana Volunteers, but only three companies were recruited so that the two were consolidated and the seven companies predominating the number 99 was retained, and so there was no regiment from Indiana with the number 96.

When these men came together to become soldiers they were ignorant of the duties of a soldier's life, but they were not ignorant of the dangers and hardships of the service. For more than a year the struggle had already prevailed, great battles had been fought, tens of thousands had already lost their lives, and to enlist in the army meant years of hard service for all, and death to many, but still they did not hesitate. For them it was a question of patriotism pure and simple. The nation must perish or they must perish to save it. Ignorant they were of tactics, but not of the issue involved, but they were ready and willing to take the chances.

Recruitment of Companies by County

Company A of Lake County
Company B of Hancock County
Company C of Porter and Benton Counties
Company D of Miami County
Company E of Newton, Jasper, and Carroll Counties
Company F of White County
Company G of Hendricks County
Company H of Marion and Hendricks Counties
Company I of Howard and Miami Counties
Company K of Cass County*

*Only had 70 men at South Bend, not enough to muster. Was not until Dec. 26, 1862, that it had enough men so it spent the winter in Indianapolis, then joined the regiment in the field, May 11, 1863.

  Capt. George Gwin, Co. F, 1862

Capt. George Gwin, Co. F, 1862

  Israel Minnie, Co. D, 1862

Israel Minnie, Co. D, 1862

  Jacob Tritt, Co. D, 1862

Jacob Tritt, Co. D, 1862

In our drilling and learning the manual of arms we were armed with some old muskets that would be as dangerous to the men who aimed them as to those at whom they were aimed, but shortly after reaching Louisville we exchanged them for Enfield rifles, about the best guns attainable at the time. Up to this time we were not soldiers but getting in shape to become soldiers.

There was the usual speculation as to which part of the army we should be assigned, though the general talk of what was facetiously known as the "Castor Oil Expedition" led to a belief, which was soon confirmed, that we were to have a part in that great work, the opening of the Mississippi river, so that as our regimental seer put it, "the waters of that mighty river might How unvexed to the sea." When reminded by the objector that its waters were free enough to go if they wanted to, that it was our boats that wanted to go "unvexed" to the sea, the response was, "There are some men who are as destitute of sentiment as a mule is of music," and that settled the matter.

On the first day of November we drew seventy-two mules and the boys had a great time. Not one of them had ever had a harness on and the task of breaking them in harness and to drive was not an easy one. It was a source of fun, however, and in breaking the mules they broke the monotony of camp life as well. The same day the surgeons were busy vaccinating the men. Though there was no small pox at hand yet it was thought best to be on the safe side and prepare to meet it, as it was expected we would farther south.

  Sgt. Alfred Ream, Co. I, 1862

Sgt. Alfred Ream, Co. I, 1862

  Sgt. Henry Wise, Co. C, 1862

Sgt. Henry Wise, Co. C, 1862

Above is Sgt. Alfred Ream of Co. I as he was ready to start to war. In addition to his regulation outfit he was presented by the boys and girls, with revolvers, bowie knife, blacking brushes, needle box, writing paper, pens, pencils, pipe and tobacco, a bible, deck of cards, hose, shirts, handkerchiefs, etc. In the picture he looks like a walking arsenal, but in six months he got rid of most of them. Revolvers, bowie knives, etc., were the most useless things a soldier could carry when he had a musket. I do not remember how it was with Comrade Ream, but I remember one comrade of Co. C that started with as much in his knapsack as Comrade Ream, but as it was rather shrunken one day on a march, I asked him what he had in it, and he responded: "A navy plug and history of the four kings." A great many soldiers on a march threw their knapsacks in a wagon and made a roll of their blankets and tied them so as to make a collar over one shoulder and under the arm on the other side.

 

HOLLY SPRINGS CAMPAIGN.

The regiment was transported by boats from Louisville to Memphis. A plague of measles hit the regiment, killing 13 men and causing the discharge of another 35. We left Memphis, November 26, 1862, and marched eight miles southeast. On the 29th I wrote the following from "South Branch of Coldwater Creek, Saturday p.m., November 29, 1862:"

"I write you to-day, though I do not know when I shall be able to mail it as our communication by way of Memphis is not very safe, on account of the guerrillas, and we have not yet formed a junction with the army of Grant. We left Memphis about 10 a.m. Wednesday, marched eight miles and camped for the night in a very good place. We started early Thursday, and marched fifteen miles to the north branch of Coldwater creek and camped on the south side of the stream. Yesterday we marched thirteen miles to the south fork of the creek, where we are now camped. We had a stirring time about noon yesterday. Our regiment was the advance guard of the army and it was reported that the rebel pickets were in sight. We formed in line of battle and waited for the rest of the army to come up. We supposed a fight was on and I now know what it feels like to think about going into battle. I do not believe I should run, but the feeling is rather peculiar. The major (Berkey) was in front with two companies of the regiment and was fired upon by some guerrillas but without effect. The major returned the fire and he had the honor of capturing one of them, the first prisoner on the march. We were delayed about two hours, when we resumed the march and had no further trouble.

"To-day we are lying here in camp waiting for communications to be opened with General Grant which our scouting parties are now trying to effect. I heard General Sherman say to-day that we would soon join Grant; if that is the case we will have an army of about one hundred thousand men and I am sure there are not enough rebels in Mississippi to whip us. The weather is good and it is as mild as I ever saw it in Indiana in September. It is reported that the enemy will show fight when we reach the Tallehatchie river; hope they will as the boys are anxious to fight; they say if we have to fight let us do it and have it out so we can go home to our wives and babies. I could not get a horse fit to ride, but I have got a mule and he is all right, a trim good pacer and broken to the saddle."

  Wesley Catt, Co. B, 1862

Wesley Catt, Co. B, 1862

  William Dunwiddie, Co. C, 1862

William Dunwiddie, Co. C, 1862

  Lt. George Walker, Co. F, 1862

Lt. George Walker, Co. F, 1862

On December 20, from camp on Yacuapatafa Creek, I wrote as follows:

"We are here in camp cut off from the outside world. My last letter from you was dated November 20. On the 2d we marched to Wyatt, where we had to remain three days to build a bridge across the river. There we met our first really hard times. Our trains did not come up and it rained and then it poured and we had to sleep on the ground without tent or covering. Even the stars were not above us to look at for the clouds were too thick and heavy.

"We had to leave some comrades by the way, and when I think of it I wonder how many will live the conflict through. Samuel Collins, of Company C, from Valparaiso, and Alison Graham, Company G, from Groveland, were buried on the way, and on the 17th I attended the funeral of a German belonging to Miller's Indiana Battery, who are camped near us. He was cutting down a tree for wood when it fell on him and killed him. I sometimes wonder if they will find their graves on a foreign soil in the end, or whether the Stars and Stripes for which they died will wave over them. I believe in God and so I must believe they have not died in vain.

"One soldier just came in and told me solemnly that peace was declared and we are going to march back to Memphis for discharge. Of course I do not believe it for there are so many sensational reports that I am getting doubtful about some things I know to be true. You ought to have seen me with a hundred others down by the creek, soap in hand, washing my shirts, drawers, handkerchiefs, etc., as we could get no one to do it. I am learning to be a fair washer, but I am sure I shall never be a cook. I can put a piece of fat pork on a stick and fry it over the fire, but that is about all. We are now on short rations and tobacco is scarce. The 'weed' lovers are chewing it fine even if it is plug."

On the 31st, from Holly Springs, I wrote:

"This is the coldest morning we have seen this winter, and the ice is to be seen all about us. Some of our men are quite sick and we are getting them into a house. The town of Holly Springs has suffered greatly and is almost entirely destroyed. This is the last day of the year and our regiment was mustered for pay but when we shall get any is another question; we are all without any money and on an equality, all poor alike. The close of the year brings a sentimental feeling to the hearts of all the men and wherever I go among them they talk of it in a way that may be called the hopeful melancholy. They have received no pay and some of them fear their families may suffer in the cold winter, for I know that under these blue coats are as tender and loving hearts as this earth has ever known."

On January 11, 1863, I wrote as follows:

"'This Sunday morning finds us at Camp Fowler, five miles west of La Grange, Tennessee, where I think we will stay for some time. But I must tell you how we came here, we spent our New Years day at Holly Springs in the usual way of every other day, only all the men tried to have a little extra for dinner and cleaned up lest we should forget the amenities of civilized men. We are building stockades and fitting up as if we were to stay all winter and I think we will. Saw General Grant, but confess he does not look much like a General to me."

 

THE WINTER AT FORTS FOWLER AND DE HART.

When I begin to write of the winter at Fort Fowler and Fort De Hart and Moscow, there come to me some of the saddest hours of our soldier life. The lights and shadows of that winter are so indelibly impressed on my mind that I often live them over again. It was there the regiment was put into the crucible to be tried and the law of the survival of the fittest to have full play. The hard campaign on which we started in November and that did not end until we reached our camp for the winter in January, had been a trying one. The weather had been cold, even for that climate, and rain, rain, rain was the order of many days. Hence many of our men were in a condition that gave disease a hold that made the struggle for life with many an unequal contest. Nearly every day the eyes of some brave soldier were closed in death, and I feel that the first duty is to record the names of the men who in early life gave up their lives for their country.

On the 22d I wrote:

"A day or two ago we got a fine large tent and having pitched it, put in a floor and built a large fire place and so are comfortable. We got some bedsteads from a deserted house in the country and sleep as if we were at home. It will make a fine place for a company to get together and spend an evening . . . Sergeant-Major McGlashon and Orderly Brewer are both good singers and so we have a good time. I can hear men singing in a good many of the tents and cabins in. camp. It is a pleasant sound and brings up the memories of the past."

On Thursday, the 29th, I wrote:

"On Tuesday a scouting party of four was sent out to go about fifteen miles where a body of rebel cavalry was reported to camp. After going eight miles they camped for the night. They had strict orders to keep away from houses, but after dark Corporal John W. Warner of Company E, determined to go into one leaving the others outside to watch. He was gone about an hour when a shot was fired and he ran out with about fifteen men and some dogs after him. The others tried to fire their guns but they would not go and so they returned to camp leaving Warner to his fate. Yesterday Major Berkey took four companies and went out to look for him and found the place where he was supposed to have been killed, but could not find his body or the men who had attacked him. They could not learn surely that he was dead, but it is almost certain that he is. He was a daring and desperate fellow, a good scout, but a good many of his companions say he was no honor to the regiment.

"We have a tent about ninety feet in circumference, a large brick fireplace in one side and our beds arranged around the other sides, with our 'parlor table' in the center. We have built a stockade of logs set in the ground. It is in circular form with only one small entrance and that so it cannot be shot through. We can hold it against a much larger force, as the only exposure to fire of its defenders are in the small port holes. Every man knows his place and when there is an alarm every man goes at once without orders to his place in the fort."

On Wednesday, February 25th, I wrote:

"Major Berkey took a hundred men and went out on a foraging expedition yesterday, and they managed to pick up considerable plunder, so we had fried chicken for breakfast We are to have one of our evening concerts at headquarters to-night; Quartermaster Cathcart plays the violin, Lieutenant Harman the flute, and the sutler's clerk the banjo, and they make fine music, and as we have a number of good singers it helps us greatly in passing the weary evenings away."

  Major Joseph Homan, 1863

Major Joseph Homan, 1863

  Calvin Spurgeon, Co. I, 1863

Calvin Spurgeon, Co. I, 1863

  Cpl. Evan Humphreys, Co. E, 1863

Cpl. Evan Humphreys, Co. E, 1863

 

FROM MOSCOW TO VICKSBURG.

On May 12th I wrote:

"The health of the regiment is better than ever since we entered the service, not a man in hospital now. Am sorry to say our cook got drunk to-day and some of our men got 'tipsy' yesterday, when we got a false report that Richmond had been taken. Oh, my! but how this world is given to lying. If I were to write you all the reports that circulate in camp I couldn't pay the postage."

On Wednesday, June 3rd, I wrote:

"We have been having a delightful time. I commenced preaching on Thursday evening of last week and have preached every evening and on Sunday since that time. On Sunday I baptized six soldiers in Wolf river, two on Monday and six yesterday, making fourteen in all. I was going to continue, but yesterday there came an order to move our camp about half a mile, and to-day all is bustle and hurry and I had to adjourn until Saturday evening. I do not think there is another regiment in the service that is any more moral and religious than ours, and their respect for me is only equaled by my love for them. The friendships we have formed here will abide through life, no matter what the future may be. It is the bright side of the soldier life."

On Monday, June 22d, I wrote:

"On Saturday, Colonel Fowler, Dr. Butterworth, Orderly Harry Brewer and myself, received permission from General Smith to visit the scene of action at Vicksburg. A very pleasant ride of nine miles brought us to our battle lines at dark, and we lay down on the ground with only a blanket, and though there were three guns firing near us, slept very well. We were up betimes in the morning and first visited General Steele's division. We would leave our horses in the rear and go up in the trenches to see the sharp shooters at work and the cannons firing. Could not get very close here, being about forty rods from the enemy. We next visited General Blair's division. Here we got within ten yards and could throw clods into the trenches of the enemy. We followed down the trenches, or pits as they call them, until we were so close to a rebel fort that we were almost under the guns. We next visited General Logan's division where there was an artillery duel in progress. As we were riding toward it a shell went over our heads and burst about 40 feet behind us. We dodged a little you may be sure and our horses were somewhat frightened. Leaving our horses, we went up into a battery and remained an hour watching the artillery duel. It was a little exciting to me, as I had never seen a battle at such close quarters, and as the shells went screaming over head, or buried themselves in the banks of the fort and exploded, the scene was magnificent. I became so interested in watching our men that I forgot about the danger, though I do not think it was very great. It was a good place to study war, however. After seeing and hearing all that we desired, we returned to camp where we arrived about 6 p.m., somewhat weary, but with all doubts about the capture of Vicksburg removed from our minds."

The next day, the 23d, our division was moved out to Oak Ridge on Black river, where we remained until the surrender on the Fourth of July. It was a happy day to all, though it meant an active campaign for our division which was temporarily attached to the ninth corps of General John G. Parke. In the meantime the regiment had been paid and the colonel and officers said I must go to Indiana and take the money home to the families. General Grant, on it being made known to him kindly granted me leave of absence, and that leave of absence with the well known signature of General John A Rawlins lies before me as I write this, March 1900, and is one of the mementos of the war. Rolls were made by the officers with the name of the soldier and the address of the person, and amount of money to be sent. These rolls with the money, about $15,000.00, was placed in a common haversack and slung over my shoulder and over that I put on a linen duster, went out of camp alone and to Vicksburg, took boat for Cairo, and in five days reached Indianapolis, where I secured express envelopes and sent the money according to the rolls, and again breathed more easily. I am glad to say that every dollar went safely to the parties for whom it was intended. I went to Lafayette, spent a few days with my wife and boy, and then back to my regiment.

 

BATTLE OF JACKSON AND CAMP SHERMAN.

[Over the next week, the regiment was engaged with the enemy and participated in the Battle of Jackson, performing valiantly and losing seven casualties. Following the fight, they situated themselves at Camp Sherman. A brief report of the light engagement can be read in full book. –Ed.]

 

FROM CAMP SHERMAN TO CHATTANOOGA.

On Sunday morning, October 4th, I wrote:

"We have a good, large, fast boat, but the orders are to keep all the boats together, and some of them are as slow as tar. We have quite a good many citizen passengers, so the cabin is full. I cannot preach to-day, but I got a fine lot of magazines and papers from the United States Christian Commission at Vicksburg which I have just distributed and everybody is reading.

"Wednesday, October 7th. We are still on the boat and have just left Helena. Nathaniel Matthews, of Company F, fell overboard at 7 p.m. last night and was drowned, at least our boats sent out failed to find him. It is a beautiful sight to go on the upper deck and see all the boats running along together and the boys never tire of it."

From Memphis, Tennessee, Friday, October 9th, I wrote:

"We arrived here yesterday afternoon, just five days from our going on board at Vicksburg. Camped on the wharf last night and this morning we came out two miles east of the city to a beautiful grove where we are now camped. It is now definite that we are to go to Chattanooga. Major Berkey and the other officers and men on furlough joined us here. Quartermaster Cathcart, Hospital Steward Whitman, Lieutenant Downs, of Company E, and how many others I don't know, were married while they were at home. Love and war go together, and no one can blame them. How the lights and shadows mingle in a soldier's life!"

From Iuka, Mississippi, Saturday, October 17th, I wrote:

"We are one hundred and eighteen miles east of Memphis and twenty-five east of Corinth. It is a famous watering place, with springs giving forth five different kinds of water, and is called the 'Saratoga of the South. ' The large hotels are now in use as army storehouses and headquarters for officers."

Tuesday evening, October 20th, I wrote:

"The regiment came to-day and we are altogether once more. Got a large mail and all heard from home. The people at home have no idea of the circumstances surrounding men in the army or the privations soldiers are called upon to endure. They do not complain, but it is pretty hard to get up in the morning, sit down by a smoky fire, eat hard-tack for breakfast, march all day, eat fat pork for supper, and lie down on the hard ground and go to sleep wrapped in a single blanket, with no covering but the sky above."

On Thursday afternoon, November 5th, I wrote:

"To-day has been one difficult to describe. We started early this morning but about 8 o'clock it commenced raining and kept pouring down until we reached Elk river here at noon. There is no bridge here, but our brigade is across and are building a bridge. The river was quite deep, but the boys plunged in and were soon across, saying it didn't make much difference as they were all wet from the rain. We have now at 3 p.m., got our tents up and blazing fires in front of them, and the brigade is 'drying up.' I would give a good deal for a picture of the 99th as they are now, as an Irish soldier said to me just now, 'Begorra, Chaplain, they look like muskrats, an' drowned ones at that.'"

 

BATTLE OF MISSION RIDGE.

[The 99th's brigade participated within the battle, with the 99th suffering three wounded, two of which were mortal. The official report of this light engagement can be read in the full book. –Ed.]

  Major William Butterworth, Surg., 1863

Major William Butterworth, Surg., 1863

  William Spaulding, Drum Major, 1863

William Spaulding, Drum Major, 1863

  Alonzo Thorn, Co. D, 1863

Alonzo Thorn, Co. D, 1863

 

RELIEF OF KNOXVILLE.

Thus it was that the corps that had marched 361 miles from Memphis to Chattanooga, had to start on another tramp of the same length that was not to end until midwinter.

"Thursday, December 3d. Marched to Morgantown, on the Tennessee river, and spent the night and until 11 a.m. of the 4th in making a bridge, and on the 5th went fifteen miles to Marysville, where we learned that the siege had been abandoned. On the 7th we marched back to Morgantown, and on the 8th marched ten miles southeast to Tillco creek, on the 9th went twelve miles to Madisonville, and on the 10th marched back to the old line of march and camped at Athens. There we stayed three days on short rations, and a more ragged, shoeless, blanketless, footsore army could not be found. Colonel J. R. Cockerill, in his report made on the 6th, says: 'Since leaving Bridgeport the officers and men of this command have been without tents, knapsacks, and many without blankets. They have subsisted on less than one-half rations. The shoes of most of the men are nearly worn out, many being entirely so; clothing in bad condition.'"

On the 17th we marched to Chattanooga, crossing the pontoon at the mouth of Chickamauga creek, and went into camp at the foot of Mission Ridge. Since we left there on November 26, we had marched 253 miles, and many were barefoot and some were sick. They were sent in pontoon boats down the river to Bridgeport, where our transportation was left. On December 18th, we marched around the base of Lookout mountain and camped in Lookout valley; a very cold night, and no shelter. On the 19th, we marched twenty-five miles to Bridgeport, where we found our transportation, tents and Company D once more, just thirty-one days from the day we left our baggage behind. Here we spent four days in drawing rations, clothing, etc., and were paid by Major Griffin.

 

THE WINTER AT SCOTTSBORO.

From February 15th to March 5th,1864, the regiment joined with the forces that made a reconnaissance toward Dalton, Georgia, to discover the location of the forces of the enemy. Several days of skirmishing with the enemy developed the fact that a strong Confederate force was gathered about Dalton and vicinity. During this short campaign, the regiment marched about 250 miles and sustained its reputation for long trampers.

 

THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN.

On the 1st day of May, 1864, the regiment started on the Atlanta campaign, the objective point being General Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army that had been gathering in the mountains of Georgia south of Chattanooga during the winter. [The regiment then spent many days marching, deploying, and performing general tactical maneuvers. –Ed.]

The report of Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Berkey made on the 6th of August, 1864, of this campaign, gives the marches each day, and I follow that, putting in such matters of detail as I am able to do from other sources:

May 27th. Took position ordered and commenced building breastworks; Companies I, E and G, were put on skirmish line, one man wounded; two prisoners taken.

May 28th. Two companies, A and B on skirmish line. At 4 p.m., enemy charged driving skirmishers in, when orders were received to fire from line, which, being complied with resulted in routing the enemy, he sustaining the loss of nine dead in our front and eleven prisoners. Our loss, killed, wounded and missing, was thirty-six.

Of this fight Colonel Oliver, the brigade commander, says: "On the 28th (at 4 p.m.) the enemy charged our line and were
handsomely repulsed. The behavior of the officers and men of the command was excellent. Our line was steadily held, no confusion of any kind took place. The fight was severe, the aggregate loss of the brigade in killed, wounded and missing being fifty-five." From this it can be seen that the brunt of the fight of the brigade was borne by the 99th as their loss was thirty-six while the loss of the other three regiments was only nineteen.

[For the following three weeks, they were again involved in multiple movements, temporary entrenching, and being used for support. –Ed.]

July 20th. Marched at 6 a.m. through Decatur, Advanced in line, halting several times, finally went to support a battery. Moved on left of 15th Michigan into an open field where we lay down, receiving a severe shelling from the enemy, resulting in the loss of one killed (James Wigant, Company K) and three wounded.

July 22. Was engaged in the battle, an account of which has been heretofore reported.

July 23d. Lay in works until the 27th, when we marched at 2 a.m. toward the right and rear.

July 28th. Moved at daybreak to the right on the flank of the line; finally came on the enemy's skirmishers. We then threw up some logs and rails for temporary breastworks. At length the enemy came, and firing commenced about 12 m., continuing about four hours. Our loss was twenty-eight killed and wounded. We found thirty-one dead in our front. Took fifty-nine prisoners.

July 29th. Built works all day.

The above report contains as near as can be obtained, the details of the part of the present campaign from the 6th of May to August 3d, inclusive. Recapitulation: Killed and died of wounds received, 15; missing in action, 10; wounded in action, 100; total, 125.

 

BATTLE OF ATLANTA.

The official report of Colonel John M. Oliver, commanding Third brigade in this battle, is as follows:

"On the 20th we marched on Atlanta road; formed line of battle south of the Georgia railroad; threw up works and skirmished with the enemy. On the 21st the 48th Illinois was ordered forward to make a diversion in favor of General Gresham's division, Seventeenth Army Corps, who attempted to carry the enemy's line but were unsuccessful. The rest of my command completed their works during the day. On the 22d, about 9 a.m., moved forward to the works held by the enemy the day before, the 70th Ohio on the left, the 15th Michigan on the right, 48th Illinois and 99th Indiana in reserve. Works at once reversed. Skirmishers advanced about one mile and reported enemy moving through town onto our left. At noon attention was drawn to firing in our rear. By the direction of the general, I at once made dispositions to meet anything coming from such an unexpected direction, ordered the 99th Indiana back to their former position and put them into line occupying the outer slope of their old rifle pits. Two companies were thrown out as skirmishers at once. As the firing in the rear increased there was no doubt of a serious attack. The enemy began to show themselves in the open field on our left and rear. The 48th Illinois was brought over and changed front forward on first company, 99th Indiana making same change to the rear on last company. Both regiments then went forward with a cheer and drove the enemy to the woods again. During this time the troops on the left beginning to give way from this rear attack, the 15th Michigan was ordered out on double quick and came across the open field through the stragglers in fine order, forming on the right of the 99th Indiana across the ravine. The fight was so determined at this time that the 70th Ohio was brought over and placed in position where they could support either this brigade or the second, which were both fully engaged in this attack on the left and rear. The 15th Michigan charged and captured seventeen officers and 165 men and two stands of colors (5th Confederate and 17th and 18th Texas).

"The pickets in our front were reporting the enemy advancing. The 99th Indiana and 48th Illinois were again thrown quickly across the field to the position held in the morning by the 15th Michigan and 70th Ohio, respectively. On this front the fight was bitter and intense for an hour, when the troops on the right having actually left their rifle pits, Colonel Fowler covered our right flank by skirmishers. Seeing that the position on our left that morning must be held, the 15th Michigan was ordered by me to the right of the artillery now massed on the crest in the rear. After this was done I ordered the 99th Indiana to fall back and occupy the works left in the morning and Colonel Greathouse to take his. The 70th Ohio, across the ravine, who had seriously injured the enemy by a flank fire, were now ordered back. After coming about forty yards the order was given by General Harrow in person, to return, and back they went with a cheer. I have heard many an officer say that that hearty cheer of the 70th Ohio, was the most encouraging thing they had heard during the whole five hours' fight. As soon as the lines were formed on the right, we again charged in line and retook our works, threw out skirmishers and began to care for our wounded."

The regiment lost two killed and twenty-two wounded and ten missing. The statement in Colonel Oliver's report that the
15th Michigan captured the prisoners and colors is a mistake, they were captured by the 99th, and afterward turned over to the 15th Michigan. It is not a matter of so great importance, but the truth is that the 99th Indiana captured the prisoners and colors. Of this matter, Lieutenant-Colonel W. V. Powell, at that time captain of Company I, says:

"About 2 p.m. I was ordered by Colonel Fowler to take three companies, G, H, and I, to cross a ravine and climb a hill in our front to the top, about two or three hundred yards, and reconnoiter and hold the position. This was, according to memory, about a mile and a half east of Atlanta.

"As my little command advanced up the hill, a gradual incline, to within about twenty yards of the summit, we discovered a confederate flag floating in the breeze over and just beyond the hill, tolerably close to the top, so close that we could see the flag and staff but not the enemy, and probably thirty to forty yards distant from us. On my order, the three companies laid down on the ground, and I ordered a squad to shoot at the enemy's flag staff close to the ground. At the first fire the flag fell, and a moment later a confederate major, of small stature, advanced toward us cautiously in order to ascertain where the shots came from I plainly saw him looking over and beyond us inquiringly. After he advanced so far that he could not retreat, I jumped up and ordered him to halt and surrender, which he did, saying, 'I do surrender.' I again commanded, 'Thrown down your sword and turn to your men and order them to throw down their arms and march up here. ' He did so, and our prisoners, on count numbered sixty-five, the 17th and 18th Texans. They were sent back to Colonel Fowler under guard of Corporal Henry C. Lindley, and my command held the hill. A little later Colonel Fowler arrived with the balance of the 99th Indiana, saying, 'Captain, you had such good luck I thought I would come over,' and we built temporary works and prepared to hold the position, but soon was ordered to support a battery. Assaults were repulsed from most every direction during the afternoon. It seemed to be a contest in which regiments and companies fought as circumstances and opportunity dictated. I don't now remember seeing any of our brigade that afternoon except the 15th Michigan, which was not far away when we captured the 17th and 18th Texas. I did not know the 15th was near at the time the little major surrendered, but I afterward heard it was near by. I supposed the 70th Ohio and 48th Illinois were all busy, for we went over the same ground several different times that afternoon, and we had possession when dark came."

As to how the flag of the Texans came into possession of the 15th Michigan, Alexander McMillan or Alexander Cress, of Company I, 99th Indiana, found the confederate flag on the ground with the enemy's guns and started to bring it to us when Colonel Hutchinson saw the orderly with it and called to him to bring it to him, which was done. Captain Worrell, at that time in command of Company G, who was on the left of the line, confirms what Captain Powell says, only he claims that the surrender was made to him, and differs a little in some minor details as would be natural after so many years. He
says:

"In the matter of the capture of those prisoners on the 22d of July, I know beyond question that the 15th Michigan had nothing to do with it. It was Companies G, H and I that captured them and there were 173 of them. This is a matter too well known to members of the three companies to permit the 15th Michigan to claim the honor of it."

  Cpl. William Power, Co. B, 1864

Cpl. William Power, Co. B, 1864

  Lt. Col. John Berkey, 1864

Lt. Col. John Berkey, 1864

  Col. Josiah Farrar, 1865

Col. Josiah Farrar, 1865

 

BATTLE OF EZRA CHAPEL, JULY 28, 1864.

[For this hard-fought battle, the author includes several official reports from division and brigade commanders. I have just included the diary entry from a 99th Indiana private to get his view on the action. For the other reports, see the full book. –Ed.]

The diary of Andrew J. Clayton, of Company D, written on the ground, gives the view of a private soldier:

"Wednesday, July 27th. We left our position on the left at 3 a.m. and started for the right of our line; it rained some through the day, which made bad walking. We got to the right at dark.

"Thursday, July 28th. In the morning at daylight our corps commenced swinging around to the right of our lines. We swung in about two miles over the hills and through the hollows and over fences and through thick woods in line of battle and every other way. There was continual skirmishing on as long as we were advancing; about noon we halted and commenced throwing up works; got some temporary works built out of logs and threw up some dirt with tin plates and our hands; we had not worked long until the rebs commenced advancing on us; they came with strong lines and with terrible yells; then came crackings of the Springfield rifles that filled the woods with a victorious echo The woods were very thick; we gave them a few rounds; then we charged on them and ran them back, and our regiment took forty prisoners. We then fell back to our works and they again came more determined than ever, but we held them at bay. The fight lasted until toward dark; the rebs being beaten very badly; they did not break our line anywhere. Their dead lay over the ground like sheaves over the harvest field; they lost easily ten men to our one. The weather was very warm.

"Friday, July 29. We were busy burying the rebels' dead and strengthening our works. It was our corps that did the fighting yesterday. This morning at 3 a.m. the rebs' bugle blew and they left our front and fell back toward the railroad."

 

SIEGE OF ATLANTA.

The siege of Atlanta lasted through the month of August and was a time of great trial to the regiment. I give here the diary of Andrew J. Clayton, of Company D, as the best account I can find from the line of the siege:

Sunday, July 31st. Our brigade is on the reserve today; the First and Second brigade of our division are on the line; slight skirmishing in front; heavy cannonading to the left; where we are on the battle field is a nasty, dirty place, and we have very poor water; got a letter from sister Jane; it rained hard during the afternoon and it was very disagreeable here for the soldiers.

Wednesday, August 3d. In the morning our skirmishers were advanced; drove the rebs out of their pits; Major Brown, 70th Ohio, was mortally wounded. Our whole regiment went on skirmish lines, some firing all night.

Monday, August 8th. There are various rumors in the camp about the enemy's massing their forces on our right. We were ordered to march and take nothing but our guns and cartridge boxes, but the order was countermanded. I was detailed at dark to take shovels out to the skirmished line for the men to work with.

Tuesday, August 9th. In the morning our division moved out on the skirmish line and made it our line of battle. We are now close to the rebs. Heavy cannonading in the evening.

Wednesday, August 10th. We had to keep our heads low down; the rebs are only one hundred yards from us; the rebs have to do the same; at dark our company went on skirmish; we had a line close by the rebs pits. I crawled up within two rods of the rebels' pits.

Friday, August 12th. I was detailed for skirmish in the morning; we were within three rods of the rebs' skirmish pits. I had two fair shots at the Johnnies at short range. Heavy cannonading in the evening.

Saturday, August 13th. Everything goes on as usual along our lines; slight skirmishing and some cannonading. It was reported that there were 200 deserters come in. I understand that we are reinforced with 25,000 men, but I don't credit the reports.

Sunday, August 14th. More picket firing to-day than usual. John Wesley Hahn was wounded this morning by my side while getting breakfast. Wrote a letter home. Weather warm.

Saturday, August 20th. I was detailed for picket, went on at daylight; was within four rods of the rebs and they kept shooting occasionally all day; was relieved at dark; rained hard and it was very disagreeable in our pits; our batteries fire occasionally and the rebs make a feeble reply.

Tuesday, August 23d. We are still strengthening our works; got orders to put another row of stakes in front of our works; this makes three rows; it has now cleared off with the prospects of fine weather; we are still close to the rebs. We lose a man now and then and the rebs do the same.

Sunday, August 28th. Marched on at 8 a.m. in the direction of the Atlanta & Montgomery railroad, very slow; struck the railroad at 3 p.m.; our advance built breastworks. At 10 o'clock at night our regiment went out and destroyed some of the railroad; the country is very broken here.

Monday, August 29th. Lay still all day. The Sixteenth Army corps went out without their knapsacks; destroyed some more railroad; the boys were all very willing to rest; there was very little foraging in that section of the country; weather warm.

Wednesday, August 31st. In the morning the rebs woke up and found the Yankees were in force in their front and they thought we were too close on their communication and that they would drive us back; they attacked us at 2 p.m.; fighting lasted two hours, but the rebs were repulsed with considerable loss; at the same time the rebs attacked us. the Twenty-third and the Fourth Army corps swung in on the left near East Point and took this railroad and destroyed some of it.

Friday, September 1st. Our grand flank movement of the last few days caused the rebs to evacuate Atlanta last night. The railroad being cut, they could not get their ammunition away and they blew up thirty carloads; the rebs left our front last night and we followed them up this morning; passed through Jonesboro.

Sunday, September 4th. Nothing of importance took place in our front; some slight skirmishing; our batteries kept banging away. The rebs used no artillery. Various rumors in camp about going back to Atlanta: got orders to brighten up our guns.

Thursday, September 8th. Marched out at 8 a.m. to East Point, got there about noon; went into camp; it was told that we would stay here some time and commenced cleaning up quarters. General Grant and the president paid their compliments to this army for the taking of Atlanta.

 

THE PURSUIT OF HOOD.

The pursuit of General Hood which begun October 4th, was a part of the service in which the regiment marched 270 miles, and that has attracted as a campaign but very little attention from the country. It was one of those hard, tramping campaigns in which there was much marching and little fighting.

 

MARCH TO THE SEA.

The march from Atlanta to the sea as a military campaign was one of the most original in conception, boldness of purpose and success in execution, of any campaign during the war. The distance from Atlanta to Savannah by the Georgia Railroad was 294 miles; the distance by the wagon road was considerably farther, in fact the 99th Indiana marched, in going from Atlanta to Savannah, 346 miles by actual count. The returns of this army on the 30th of November showed 55,329 infantry, 5,036 cavalry and 1,812 artillery; a total of 62,204; the 99th Indiana was in the third brigade, second division, 15th Army Corps, commanded by John M, Oliver, colonel of the 15th Michigan Infantry. I give his diary of the campaign. [I have included here all of Oliver's diary entries in this book for the purpose of seeing the rigors of the March to the Sea. –Ed.]

November 15th. Left White Hall at 10 a.m. ; marched in a southerly direction, passing through Rough and Ready; camped near Tucker's cabin, Henry county, at 5 p.m. ; marched fourteen miles.

November 16. Left camp at 6 a.m., passing through McDonough; camped two miles south of town at 5 p.m.;
marched sixteen miles.

November 17th. Marched from 3:30 p.m. until 12:30 at night; the troops marched to the left side of the road
while the wagon trains and artillery took the road; marched seventeen miles.

November 18th. Resumed our march at 8 a.m. and camped at Indian Springs at 1 p.m., distance six miles.

November 19th. Left camp at 3 a.m., marched to the Ocmulgee river and crossed on pontoon bridge; halted for the night near Hillsboro; arrived in camp at 4:30 p.m.; distance marched fifteen miles.

November 20th. Marched at 10 a.m., passing through Hillsboro, camped five miles south of town; arrived at 7 p. m; distance marched twelve miles.

November 21st. Resumed march at 6 a.m. ; rained all day; roads in a terrible condition; passed through the town of Clinton and camped within nine miles of Macon; marched thirteen miles; left Fifteenth Michigan infantry at Clinton to guard roads leading to Macon until the trains had passed: about 1 p.m. they had a sharp skirmish with Breckinridge's brigade of cavalry and repulsed them with the loss of two men wounded.

November 22d. Broke camp at 8 a.m., marched in a southeasterly course, crossing the Macon & Augusta
railroad which has been destroyed by our troops: camped on the Gordon road; the enemy attacked the first division and were repulsed: the 15th Michigan infantry reported at 6 p.m. Marched this day sixteen miles.

November 23d. Marched at 9 a.m. in the direction of Gordon by a circuitous route: reaching camp at 12 m.; took position and fortified; marched five miles.

November 24th. Left camp at 9 a.m. arriving at Irwinton at 3 p.m. ; marched five miles.

November 25th. Resumed our march to the Oconee river; passed through the town of Irwinton: arrived at the river at 4 p.m. : the enemy being posted on the opposite bank prevented our crossing; artillery was placed in position and opened on their works; the 90th Illinois and 99th Indiana were detailed to picket the river: the Seventeenth army corps joined us at this point; the Fourth division and pontoon trains also arrived; distance marched twelve miles.

November 26th. The enemy evacuated the opposite bank of the Oconee at 12 o'clock at night. At 6 p.m.
crossed the river, marched two miles and encamped.

November 27th. Marched in a northeasterly course and encamped at Irwin's cross-roads at 12 m. ; distance marched eight miles.

November 28th. Resumed march and encamped; distance fifteen miles.

November 29th. Marched eighteen miles; roads in a terrible condition on account of rain.

November 30th. Marched fifteen miles; had to corduroy and bridge roads continually.

December 1st. Left camp at 7 a.m. passing through Cannouchee post office and camped at the junction of the Jones Ferry on the old Savannah roads, arriving at 5 p.m. ; marched fourteen miles.

December 2d. At 8 a.m. marched on the Savannah road crossing Scull's creek and encamped in Bullock county; distance ten miles.

December 8d. Marched and encamped on Lott's creek; distance five miles.

December 4th. At 8 a.m. resumed march in a southerly course; at 3 p.m. some mounted foragers of the division were attacked by some 600 cavalry near Statesboro and driven back until the enemy encountered the 70th Ohio infantry, who were in advance as guard for pioneers corduroying the road. The 70th Ohio gave them one volley, after which the rebels hastily retreated, leaving six killed and one wounded in our hands; our loss was slight; we encamped at Statesboro; distance marched, fourteen miles.

December 5th. At 9 a.m. marched in an easterly direction and camped at 6 p.m. ; distance thirteen miles.

December 6th, I was ordered to march to Jenks' bridge to secure the crossing; left camp between 6 and 7 a.m., leaving all my trains but four ambulances, two wagon loads of ammunition and the tool wagon. Upon arriving at the river, found the bridge destroyed. The 15th Michigan and 70th Ohio took position on the river bank; the 48th Illinois and 90th Illinois and 99th Indiana were put into position, face to the rear, with a section of artillery from the Third division on a hill back of the river half a mile; distance marched fifteen miles. Stacked arms and went into camp at 12 m. ; the vigor of the troops and their earnest efforts to reach the river, secure the bridge and strike the enemy's cavalry enabled us to make this march with astonishing quickness. When we arrived at the camp of the Third division, which was one mile and a half nearer Jenks' bridge than our camp, we waited an hour and a half, at least, for the artillery, which had not been notified that they were to accompany the expedition; this delay in the outset and some skirmishing on the way left the actual marching' time less than four hours.

December 7th. We were ordered to the Cannouchee river to hold and save the bridge across the river if possible; we met the enemy's pickets on Black creek; skirmishing commenced and continued for twelve miles until our mounted force arrived at the bridge which they found in flames. The officers and men in the command seemed determined to-day to strike the enemy's cavalry who had some twenty-three prisoners whom they fed on sorghum stalks. At Black creek the obstructions in the ford were removed so that our ambulances and ammunition wagons crossed the ford before the troops could get across on the stringers of the still burning bridge; the enemy were pushed so hard they could not destroy the bridge across Mill creek at all. At one place near Bryan county court house the men waded in four ranks through a swamp 300 yards across, up to their waists in Avater. We captured two prisoners and five horses; the mounted force with one regiment of infantry remained at the river and the rest of the brigade camped at Eden (Bryan county court house); distance marched, twenty miles. Lieutenant-Colonel Berkey, 99th Indiana, who was in command of the mounted force of the brigade (sixty men) conducted the operations of the advance with great skill and perseverance.

December 8th. At daylight enemy opened with artillery and shelled the woods fiercely, hurting no one;
skirmished with them all day; sent a detachment of the mounted men to effect a crossing up the river which they were unable to do: the skirmishing across the river was kept up so fiercely that the enemy in two nights and a day could not destroy the bridge across the two lagoons which was 600 feet or more across; if they had been destroyed, we could not have reached the Gulf railroad or saved any portion of King's bridge without making a march of thirty miles. The behavior of the officers and men during this expedition was highly praiseworthy. We had no skulkers. The balance of the division and pontoon train joined us here and commenced to put in artillery during the night.

December 9th. The enemy left during the night but before leaving opened a brisk fire of artillery and musketry; at daylight was ordered to secure and hold King's bridge across the Ogeechee; I at once commenced to cross my brigade over the Canouchee by ferrying them in pontoon boats and swimming the horses. It took us nearly two hours to cross. Pushed rapidly forward for eight miles to King's bridge but were unable to save but part of it. We then returned to Way's station to camp, leaving two companies of 48th Illinois to guard the crossing and prevent further destruction of the bridge. We received orders to destroy all trestles on the railroad; also the railroad bridge across the Ogeechee; we destroyed fourteen trestles varying from thirty to 150 yards long, and the Gulf railroad bridge across the Ogeechee, a magnificent bridge 500 yards long, took eighteen prisoners, finishing our work at 9:30 p.m.

December 10th. Left Way's station at 5 a.m. and returned to the Canouchee river, re-crossed, and marched to the Ogeechee river and crossed at Dillon's ferry and encamped within ten miles of Savannah; distance marched eighteen miles.

December 11th-12th. Rested in camp.

December 13th. Left camp and marched across the Ogeechee on King's bridge within about one mile of Port McAllister and formed. The Third brigade formed the center of division line; the 90th Illinois on the right; 48th Illinois in the center; the 70th Ohio on the left. The 15th Michigan and 99th Indiana were in reserve; advanced half a mile and halted until 5 p.m., to enable other troops to get in position, when the order was given to advance and take the fort. The distance from our line to the fort was about 700 yards through open fields. The taking of this fort was so cheerfully and gallantly done by the troops of this brigade that there is hardly any way to do them full justice. The conduct of Captain Grimes, 4Hth Illinois, commanding skirmish line, in silencing two of the ten-inch guns bearing on our front, by his sharp shooters and his hand to hand fight with Captain Clinch, ought to be noticed in general orders. Captain Smith, of the same regiment, who rejoined us on the 27th of November, 1864, after escaping from Columbia, South Carolina, was the first man in the fort and was killed inside of it. He was a gallant officer. The flag of the 70th Ohio was the first on the fort, though the gallant veterans of the 48th and 90th Illinois were there with them almost at the same time;, both color bearers of the 48th were killed with torpedoes; and the color-bearer of the 70th Ohio was also killed just as he handed the flag to a comrade when climbing' over the abatis; the men of this command under fire cannot be surpassed; the only order I gave them was, when the "forward" was sounded to march steadily until they reached our skirmishers and then go in. The action lasted twelve minutes and our loss was seventy six officers and men, killed and wounded. The results of this action were most important: our communications were at once fully established; captures in the fort by division were twenty-four guns, about 200 prisoners, medical stores, quartermaster's stores, a large quantity of ordinance's stores, ammunition and small arms. A garrison flag was taken by Captain Nelson, of my staff, and sent to your headquarters. On the 14th, the 70th Ohio on account of the conspicuous part taken by them in the capture of the fort yesterday, was ordered to garrison it.

December 17th. Left camp with three regiments, 99th Indiana, 48th Illinois and 15th Michigan for the Gulf railroad; returned on the 2l8t having marched forty miles and destroyed seven miles of the road, burning every tie and twisting every rail; on the morning of the 22d our troops entered Savannah.

 

MARCH THROUGH THE CAROLINAS.

In the report of Brigadier-General John M, Oliver, I find the following diary of the march through the Carolinas: [Here I have once again only extracted some of the more interesting accounts. –Ed.]

January 30, 1865. Broke camp near Beaufort, S. C, at 7 a.m. ; crossed Port Royal river at the ferry on pontoon bridge; took road through Garden's Corners, past Bridge church and then left-hand road to Pocotaligo; reached camp at 3:45 p.m. ; distance seventeen miles.

February 3d. Had a skirmish with the enemy, flanked them with a detachment of the 48th Illinois and drove them from their position on the opposite bank of Duck creek, taking their camp, etc. We sustained a loss of one man killed and one wounded.

February 7th. Broke camp at 8 a.m. and marched to Bamberg station; destroyed one and one-half miles railroad toward Midway station; went into camp in reserve at 4 p.m.; distance six miles.

February 12th. Broke camp at 7 a.m. ; marched to North Fork Edisto river, Third brigade in rear; countermarched and succeeded in crossing 99th Indiana infantry over main river in advance of everything. After the Second brigade had gained the other crossing we waded a swamp (one and one-half miles in width and waist deep), and went into camp on Orangeburg & Columbia road: distance nine miles.

(Every man of the 99th got wet in crossing the river as well as in the swamp.)

February 15th. Marched at 8 a.m. ; crossed Congaree creek at 5 p.m. and went into camp on right of First division; distance, six miles; enemy shelled our line in the rear from the bluff across Congaree river.

February 16th. Moved at 9 a.m. and halted opposite the city of Columbia; the 99th Indiana and 15th Michigan were sent to hold the crossing of Saluda creek, and after a short skirmish with the enemy, we succeeded in crossing about dark and camped on the banks of Broad river; distance seven miles.

February 17th. Left camp at 3 p.m., crossed Broad river, and marched through Columbia, which was formally surrendered that morning by the mayor, the main forces of the enemy having evacuated the city the night previous.

February 18th. At 4 a.m. the Third brigade was called out to suppress riot, did so, killing two men, wounding thirty and arresting 370. The 15th Michigan and 99th Indiana destroyed one mile of Columbia & Charleston railroad; sent the 70th Ohio and 48th and 90th Illinois to destroy one mile, from eight to nine-mile post, on same road.

February 21st. Broke camp at 7 a.m. ; marched twenty-two miles; camped at 8 p.m.

(The "bummers" of the 99th brought in 1,000 pounds of pork and three barrels of flour that day.)

 

FROM GOLDSBORO TO WASHINGTON.

The regiment remained near Goldsboro until April 10th, when they marched seventeen miles in the direction of Raleigh; on the 11th went on twelve miles, on the 12th fifteen miles, on the 13th fifteen miles, and on the 14th reached Raleigh, where they went into camp near Raleigh and remained in that vicinity until May 1st. On the 12th the announcement was officially made of the surrender of Lee to Grant on the 9th at Appomattox, and there was great rejoicing among the troops. All knew it was the beginning of the end of the confederacy. From the 18th to the 26th hostilities were suspended between the armies of Generals Sherman and Johnston, about which there was much controversy, the Secretary of War and General Sherman having a heated controversy over the terms to be granted. On April 26th the confederate army of North Carolina was surrendered at Bennett's house, near Durham Station, North Carolina, and that was the end of the war. The terms were the same as those given to Lee by Grant. On the 17th of April General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 56, announcing to the army the assassination of President Lincoln on the evening of the 14th.

[Over the next three weeks, the regiment marched to Washington, averaging around 20 miles per day. –Ed.]

The grand review has been so often described that I need not repeat it here, only to say that the 99th did not get their new flags and so carried the old flags, if flags they might be called, that had only a few tattered stripes on broken and splintered staffs. The men of the 99th did not care much for the opportunity of displaying themselves, but regarded it as a sort of necessary exhibition to close in a formal way their period of service.

 

FROM WASHINGTON TO INDIANAPOLIS.

On June 5, 1895, the regiment was mustered out of the service of the United States by Captain John C. Nelson, of the 70th Ohio, A. C. M. Leaving Washington they came by rail to Parkersburg and down the Ohio river on the steamer Nashville to Lawrenceburg, and from there to Indianapolis by rail, arriving Sunday morning, June 11th. Final payment was made on the 15th, when all departed for their homes.

 

INTERVIEW WITH COLONEL FOWLER.

On the 20th day of December, 1899, I spent the day with Colonel Alexander Fowler at his home near Bronson, Kansas, and took down from his lips the following statements of his recollections of the days of the war.

"It is a fact also, that some men under the excitement of battle become what I call reckless. A brave man is willing
to risk his life in doing his duty, but he must also not forfeit it unnecessarily. For instance, at the battle of Atlanta on July 22d, while the fight was going on I was riding my old white horse, which all the members of the regiment will remember, and I found, by the way the bullets were coming, that I was becoming a conspicuous, target and so I dismounted for a time and went up and down the line on foot, leaving my horse in charge of an orderly. In the midst of the engagement I was near Colonel Greathouse, of the 48th Illinois Infantry, and as the enemy began to fallback after a repulse, he mounted the works brandishing his sword and calling on the enemy to "come on, come on," in a challenging way, and in about a minute he was shot and killed. He made himself a target and took more risk than was necessary. He was a brave man and a splendid soldier, but his act was an impulse and not one of deliberate judgment – at least it seemed so to me at the time and seems so yet, as I look back upon it."

Here I ventured to ask, "Colonel, were you ever scared in a fight?" to which he responded:

"Yes, I was once. It was in Dallas when the enemy made a night attack. We were under orders to withdraw quietly when the attack commenced. It was very dark, and you could not see anything. Every cannon and musket in the whole confederate line was in use and the noise was terrific. I could not tell what was coming, or from where, and for a few minutes I was somewhat frightened. It seemed to me that what I couldn't see was more terrible than what I could see. I felt a good deal like what General Sherman once said about General Grant and himself. He said: 'Grant is the great general, he makes his plans and goes ahead, cares nothing for what he cannot see, while some things I cannot see at
times scare me like h—l.' I was a good deal that way the night at Dallas."

"I would like to have you give me your impressions of the officers of the regiment now, after so many years," was the next request. He took them up one by one and said:

"Colonel John M. Burkey who I always think of as Major, the position he held so long, was with me until I left the service, and I always got along well with him. We were together a great deal, and I liked him and often favored him when I could. Speaking of the Major reminds me of an incident that I laughed at him a great deal about. The 70th Ohio was a kind of brother regiment with ours, and they being from Ohio and the 99th from Indiana, there was quite a good-natured rivalry between them. Our bass drum had given out and I authorized the major to get a new bass drum, as he was the treasurer of the regimental fund. When he returned to camp with it, I was astonished to see an immense great drum, and said: 'Major, why in the world did you get such a large drum, no one man can handle it and we cannot afford to detail two men to carry it.' In a sort of apologetic way he said, 'Well, I went over and measured the bass drum of the 70th Ohio and we cannot afford to have a smaller drum than they have, so I bought this big one.' The hearty laugh at the major's expense by a number who heard his apology was such that he began to explain again, but they would not hear him.

"The 'march to the sea,' which was my last campaign, could not be better described than it is in the old song", 'Marching Through Georgia.' Before we left, all the old wagons, both of ours and the Confederate army, were gathered up and piled in the great iron depot, as it was proposed to destroy everything that could be used by the enemy for transportation, by rail or wagon road. When this was done it was set on fire and a wonderful fire it made; when all the factories where anything in the way of army supplies could be made, were fired also, it was a picture of the destruction that war causes that is as vividly before my mind to-day as thirty-five years ago. The state of Georgia at this time, was largely the supply ground of the Confederate army. The Confederate government had limited the cotton to be planted on each plantation to ten acres, while the rest was planted in corn, hence it was a great granary and its destruction was a blow from which there was no opportunity to recuperate. Our instructions were to give each person on the plantation five bushels of corn and all the rest to be destroyed. Every mile of railroad was also destroyed. We were allowed only one wagon and two ambulances to the regiment. I was permitted to have two pack mules, but I took a good milk cow in place of one of them, and a negro led and fed that cow all the way, and my mess had milk, and it was a great help to us to have plenty of fresh milk every day.

"Every corps had its special mark so that there was. no possibility of confusing trails. Three cuts on a tree was our mark, and the others had different marks so that a straggling soldier, regiment or brigade would know whose trail they were on, or whether they were ahead of the rest. Marching on different roads this was a good arrangement."

 

ANECDOTES, FACTS AND INCIDENTS.

The regiment marched 3,620 miles in its regular campaigns, was transported by water 1,895 miles and carried 716 miles by railway, making a total of 6,231 miles of travel in fifteen states.

In the days when there were orders against foraging, it was amusing to see how the officers would manage not to see a soldier when he picked up a chicken, or captured a stray pig. One night, while on the march, we went to bed, or rather to rest, for we never really went to bed in those days, without any meat for supper. During the night I discovered in the darkness that there were a dozen sheep making their way through camp and woke up Major Berkey and told him of it. He went out where the boys were sleeping and called out: "Men, get up and put away your bayonets, there is a flock of sheep in camp and they will hurt themselves on them." Having done his duty he went back to bed, but we all had mutton for breakfast. When the chaplain ate of it he recalled Paul's injunction: "Eat what is set before you, asking no questions for conscience sake."

On coming up the river from Vicksburg on the boat the bar was closed and locked, yet a goodly number of the men became intoxicated and had to be put under guard, and the great mystery was where they got their whiskey. A. F. Spaulding now explains the mystery. He says: "Ben Taggart, Al Ream, Jim Tuttle, Israel Minnie and Jonathan Hettinger found an augur in the hold of the boat and crawled up on the coal and wood right under the bar and bored a hole up
through the floor, through the grating on which the barrel rested, and then let the whiskey down into our camp kettles."

In my youthful days no word of reproach was so distasteful as to call a man a "bummer,'" but there was a band of men in the 99th who adopted the name "Sherman's bummers," and any one of them to-day is still proud of the title. They fed the army, scouted the country, captured towns, and did much to make the enemy's cavalry trouble on the march to the sea and up through the Carolinas.

It was the pleasure of the author to go over the works on Sherman Heights at Mission Ridge, three years ago, with Comrade Daniel Summers, of Company I, and we found the whole line of works from those we made on the right clear around to those made by Lightburn's brigade on the left, almost as perfect as the day they were made. They have not been interfered with in any way and if preserved, will remain as they were for a hundred years or more.

A. P. Spaulding, of Company I, a musician, in a note, says: "The worst place I was ever in was on May 15, 1864. After our
regiment moved around to the right and took our place in line at Resacca, we were on the northwest side of the Ostanaula river, in plain sight of the town and the enemy. Our skirmish line had advanced across an old "deadening," the regiment, in battle line, were on a hill overlooking the whole field. We could see the rebel skirmishers as they dodged from tree to tree, advancing their lines. As our skirmish line advanced we saw Frank Trainer, of Company F, badly wounded, shot through the shoulders, and he lay in a kind of a road exposed to the reb's fire all the time, and it was the hottest and wickedest skirmishing our boys were ever in. It was our turn with the stretchers, Paul Dodge, Alonzo Thorn, Wesley Davis and myself. From the time we left our works we were under fire from the rebel skirmish line and also from sharpshooters. Oh! it was awful how the bullets did hiss and strike around us when we got to where poor Frank was. Davis rolled him over and we got him on the stretcher. As we started back a Missouri captain in charge of the skirmish line called out, 'Who in h—l sent you out here in such a d—d hot place after a dead man?' We said nothing but got back as soon as we could. I wonder where Frank Trainer is now, I never knew what become of him."

The musicians who were the "stretcher corps" in time of battle saw many sad scenes that others did not. One of them, A. F. Spaulding, in a letter says: "One of the saddest things 1 saw was at Fort McAlister. My brother, Will, and myself were helping to gather up the wounded, and off in a clump of bushes we heard some one moaning, and on going there found a young rebel soldier shot through the lungs and dying. By him was his little brother not more than twelve years of age, and he was trying to raise him up. The dying man said, 'Oh, Johnny, don't! Let me die just as I am.' He lived but a short time. We learned that the family lived not far from there and the little brother had been there a few days paying his soldier brother a visit, and as it was the fortune of war to see him die. The little fellow appeared heartbroken."

The years have gone but the soldiers love to live over again the days of trial, of battle and march, of camp and field, the days when they took an even chance with death for their country.