Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Liberty, NY Event Report
The Atlanta Campaign
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Walnut Mountain Park
July 17-18, 1999
July 19th, 1864
with The Atlanta Campaign
somewhere north of Atlanta
The old Eighth has been on the move recently, and involved in pursuing the enemy in our front over the last few days. We are deep in the heart of the Confederacy, and getting closer and closer to Atlanta. The division to which we are attached started arriving here Friday last, and the men all came up about the same time. We marched down a scrabble road, past several established camps, turned through a barway, and into a sloping glen. The woods extended down the hill, but were open and shaded. All the dogs went up down in the shade in no time. Our baggage wagon arrived shortly, and all the camp irons, were delivered. We wasted no time in setting up the horseshoe pits in the shade of the woods. The evening was passed with munching goobers, and talking upon every subject that crossed our minds, singing a few songs, until we turned in late. We found ourselves situated in the company of our good friends from the 124th NY, and also the 86th NY regiments.
The next morning dawned hot and humid, and we all got up to get our breakfasts before it got worse. We ate well, heard that the morning dress parade was canceled. About mid morning, however, we were getting ready for weapons inspection, when a company of rebels came pouring out of the woods up the hill from our camp, and opened upon us. There was quite an alarm, but our veterans quickly got into line, and moved forward. Due to the fact that our company alone outnumbered them and the fact that the rest of the camp also responded, the rebels took off up the hill in a flash. We proceed to follow, and went into the brush and scrub on the hillside, looking for them. We halted in a hollow, and waited for them to be pushed out for us, but then got impatient. We advanced in line of battle and rifles loaded. We made contact with them, and focused our attention to the front, and realized that they also had a squad down in the trees on our left flank. We tried to refuse the line there, but we did not have enough force. The 33rd Virginia had overrun us, and we were heavily hurt. We got ourselves out of there as quickly as we could with heavy losses. The rebels then just melted away again, and that was that.
Back in camp, we made our midday dinners, and rested some in the safety of the camp. About 1.00 o'clock, we formed, and marched to the drill field and commenced the customary drilling. We progressed through the normal flank drill evolutions, and the firings, and then exercised the platoon maneuvers. The drill went well, with few omissions, and thus, and probably due to the heat, the Lieutenant ordered us back to camp for a break. We were directed to a well, where our boys filled their canteens with gusto. And there were a few horse troughs hard by that several of the boys had quite a laugh about sticking their heads into for refreshment.
A few hours later, the orders came from headquarters that the entire force present was to form and move against a large rebel force established with their artillery in support. As we came into formation, the weather started turning. The wind picked up, the clouds came in, and the thunder commenced. We moved off to the south, and went onto a side road to await the dispositions for battle, when the rain started on us in earnest, and the lightning began striking the ground. It was too late to disengage, as the guns on both sides were working upon each other. So the troops were placed into line at secure arms, and when the order to advance came, we all started firing on the rebels pouring out from behind their guns. It was a hot and close battle, but our numbers caused them to withdraw back to their works, and there we left them alone. As long as they were contained for now, it was considered acceptable, until the main body of our army was up.
We were returned to our camp, and rigged up quite a fly for our comfort in the rain, and as you might guess, as soon as it was ready for occupation, the rain stopped. And that was first rate for all. We all had a grand round of horseshoe pitching, and was quite exciting at times. David produced some dice for gaming, and got quite a following. And then Cookie came up with a new game that had half the company engaged. It was a first rate game that did not require wagering, but was full of risks. After the new game, Cookie rounded up all the various victuals that we had in our possession as he is know to do on occasion, and worked it into the one dish that almost always is the result, "Wow". But we all were pleased to have our suppers prepared, and enjoyed the meal very much. After supper, out came the mandolin, banjo, and up came the songs. It was quite a good fun, and once more it went well past tattoo, with the officers' blessings. The night sky was clear and full of stars.
The next morning came, and with it a beautiful breeze, lower temperature, and good comfort. Once again, we prepared coffee, cereals, and salt pork. But we were cautioned to hurry it along, since we were moving out on a reconnaissance in force. We were put in formation, and marched off to the north this time, I assume as to fully secure our rear supply lines. After some miles, we broke into companies and patrolled the area, looking for rebel bands in the woods. Off to our left, we could here the engagement of our boys with some guerrillas they had found.Our company hooked wide around the sound of fighting, traveled a long way up the mountain, and upon gaining the crest, proceeded to swoop in on the rebels flank. And when we got there they were gone. We proceeded on our circuit of the mountain top, and came upon the rebels. We engaged, and pushed them hard, they charged with pistols, but our steady and regular fire by rank disrupted them, and they ran away. We determined to follow, and so we did back up the hill. At quite a cliff to our front, we were surprised by a band of rebels hidden behind breastworks, who fired down on us, and then evaporated. We advanced over their position and back up on the open top of the hill. We sent out a scout to our front, and he quickly returned to point the way around to the rear of a rebel company. We quietly got to their rear, and rose to fire, they yelled surprise, and for mercy, as they had no ammunition. Our Lt. agreed, recovered our arms, and took them all prisoners. We opened a gap between our two platoons, and inserted the rebels who were relieved at the treatment we had just given them, and marched them back to our camp. It turns out it was a company of the 33d Virginia that had attacked our camp yesterday morning. Lt. presented the prisoners to the Col., and we went back to our camps pleased in the knowledge that the surprise camp attacks probably would not happen again.
Orders were to prepare three days rations, and so as we knew from the rest of this campaign, that there was marching and fighting to do elsewhere. We slowly started taking down our little camp, and rolling it all up for the march, and getting something in our bellies for preparation. And about two hours later, surely the orders to fall in came down the line.
This was done promptly, and the troops were put under way towards the south once more, flags flying, feet tromping, and spirits high. We marched in the sun, and in the shade, and on the roads, and on the trails, until we came upon a strong rebel force in a glen across a stone wall. Skirmishers were deployed and held the rebels in place, until the three regiments of our brigade came up and into line. We proceeded to volley at them, once more out numbering them. They soon elected to retreat, and so they did to the east. Our lines were wheeled to face that direction, and our guns deployed in line. After some work on their part, our lines all went forward at once, and broke out into a large meadow, dotted with trees. Across the field there we saw a strong rebel earthwork, trenches, and headlogs all visible, and on a rise behind that were earthen gun implacements, frowning across this field. It seems as if we were baited, and lead to this position. Off to our left, there were also howitzers bearing on us. Since our artillery is accurate, they were quickly taking a toll on the rebel guns and men posted on this rise. And then all of our infantry went forward. We made some progress, but then were ordered to retire, which we did in order. Again it was the guns turn to soften up the enemy. We once again formed a brigade front and went forward. This time, we were not halted, and marched into the face of their rifles and guns. The casualties were quickly mounting, and only a handful made it to the works. But the saucy rebels then came out from behind the works, and charged over us, while our guns raked them with canister. Their losses now were mounting as well, due to such needless risk. The opposing batteries then concentrated on each other, and continued for some time. The corpsmen were tending to the wounded under the screaming shells overhead. It closed after there were few to fight, and it left the rebels in possession of the works still. Our survivors pulled back, regrouped, and began countermarching back to the north, around this location. It seemed that the rebels here could pursue us, but likely that they would lay in wait for the next Union spearhead. With this result, it will certainly take some more time to gain Atlanta. God grant the right.
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.