part of a volume entitled Fifteen Years Ago: or the Patriotism of Will County by George H. Woodruff
Submitted by Merryann Palmer, email@example.com, to whom every reader should be grateful.
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"On the 11th, we received orders to be ready to move at a moment's notice. But that night about three inches of snow fell, terminating in rain, after which it froze. This made everything so slippery that a movement could not be made with safety, and it was postponed.
"On the 14th, the order "forward" came, and we moved out quietly, but boldly for the works of the enemy, and by two o'clock p.m. had reached, stormed, and carried them in our front, driving the enemy from Montgomery Hill, capturing 10 or 15 pieces of artillery, and turning them upon the fleeing foe, we followed them until darkness closed the engagement.
"The 100th was then ordered to establish a picket line as near as possible to the enemy without coming into collision with them,a nd we rested on our arms. Next morning at daylight we were ordered by our brigade commander (Wagner) to pass the enemy's skirmish line, and if it gave way to drive them to the Franklin pike with a grand right wheel, and press on until we struck them in force. Better, livelier, more brilliant skirmishing has been seldom seen than that which followed this order. We drove them square into their entrenchments on Overalls Hill, bringing our regiment entirely to the left of the front of our brigade, without any support in our rear or left, and perfectly independent, subject only to the orders of the colonel in command, who seemed to feel very proud or our exploit. Presently Gen. Wood came up with two brigades (one colored) and charged the works. The charge was gallantly made, but the position of our enemy was impregnable, and Wood had to fall back. A charge on the right was more successful, and the enemy's line was broken, when Thomas' whole army moved with a bound, and ere long Hood's entire army was one mass of fugitives. As we were pursuing them by column, enroute, the enemy had opened a battery, one or two miles in front, and commenced shelling our troops. One of their shots passed directly between the colonel and adjutant who were riding side by side, striking the ground near the horses' hind feet, and bounding with a right ricochet just so as to miss going through the regiment lengthwise.
"Our casualties were remarkably few. We lost but one man killed, Joseph Butcher, of Co. F, who was a heroic man at all times, and this day especially so. Capt. S.B.D. Lines, of Co. I, was wounded on the skirmish line early in the engagement, sufficiently sever to permit his retiring to the rear, but nothing daunted, he remained at the head of his men, cheering them on.
This was the closing battle of the war in the West - the last time in which the 100th had to face the enemies of the Union in deadly encounter. For a description of it in its general aspects, the reader is referred to works of larger scope than ours. Our county was still further represented in the battles of Nashville. The 88th regiment of infantry bore a conspicuous part in the engagements of both days, and in this regiment, we had three commissioned officers and nine enlisted men. The officers being Maj. L.P. Holden, and Capt. Edwin A. Stolp, of the town of Frankfort, and Lieut. Final H. Morey, of the town of Peotone. Also in the 72d regiment, which took part both in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, we had, first and last, somewhere about 35 men.
"On the 17th, the 100th joined in the chase after Hood, and went to Harpeth river, camping opposite Franklin. Next day crossed over to that place. Here we found two of our wounded (Alfred Penny and Herman Harder, of Co. G,) that we had left doing well. Two others had died (Francis Fisher, of Co. A, and Paul Brandeau, of Co. F) since the battle. We went into camp three miles south of Spring Hill. No others of the missing could be found. It rained all the time, and the roads were very bad. On the 23d we were at Columbia. On the 25th passed through Pulaski, where we left the pike and floundered through the mud. On the 28th we were at Lexington, 30 miles from Pulaski, where the chase terminated. At Athens, January 5th. Thence we went to Huntsville Ala., where we remained almost three months, resting from our labors.
"March 27th we broke camp again, going by rail to Chattanooga, and thence to Knoxville. April 1st, moved on to Bulls Gap, and on the 4th went eight miles farther to Blue Springs, where the troops were sent as a support to Stoneman's cavalry in the rear of Lee. The performances of the boys on getting the news of Lee's surrender, and the probable close of the war, baffles description. Such a shouting and hurrahing! Such a fusillading, such a dancing and cavorting! Such a * * * * was never heard or seen before or since, anywhere. The destruction of hats is said to have been enormous, and to have exhausted the resources of the Q.M. department to repair damages.
"This rejoicing, however, was quickly followed by the news of the assassination of Lincoln, when a marked and sudden change came over the spirit of their behavior. Every eye was moistened with tears, every lip compressed. Vengeance seemed for the time stamped upon every countenance e, and unlucky would it have been for any rebel who had come within their reach. The men gathered in little groups and discussed the matter in whispers. Routine duty was gone through quietly, without noise, every man walking as softly as at a funeral. Had each soldier received the news of the death of his own father, the effect could hardly have been more marked, or the grief more universal.
"On the 18th we started back, going by rail to Nashville, just escaping a catastrophe near Louden. Here we went into a camp a few miles south of the city, on the Harding Pike, and passed the time in drills, reviews, etc.
"On the 9th of May, the 4th corps was reviewed by General Thomas, and on the day following he issued a complimentary order to them.
"The time passed slowly. Every one was anxious to know what was to be done with our regiment, whether we should now be sent home, or held to serve out the balance of our three years. The boys passed the time in playing ball, foot races, and other games.
"The review of the 4th corps, notwithstanding is reduced numbers, was a splendid sight. 12,000 brave men were marshalled in their best trim, now for display, and not for deadly strife, and for the last time! "Old Pap" (as the boys with more love than reverence, were wont to call Gen. Thomas) never looked better, and seemed full as happy as any of us, as he rode his old warhorse down the lines, proud of his boys in blue, that had executed his orders on so many hardly contested fields. It added interest to the occasion, that the review was held on our last battle field, the field of his glory, and ours, where the finishing stroke had been given to the rebel cause in the west. The city was out in holiday attire to witness the scene.
"On the 13th day of June, we broke camp, and folded tents for the last time, and started for home. Arrived at Chicago, Thursday, June 15th. Had a formal reception by the citizens of Chicago, and were addressed by Gen. Sherman on the 16th.
"On the 1st day of July, we received our last rations of hard
......................pages 358 and 359 missed in copying........... ...
of the character of the loyal Kentuckians. The worthy chaplain felt the insult, not so much for himself as for the class he represented, and deliberately rising from his chair, he addressed the person using the offensive language, "Sir, you must take that back, or I'll thrash you." The man looked up at the towering form and flashing eye of the chaplain, and - took it back! This, with one or two anecdotes we have gold of him elsewhere, amy perhaps suggest the thought, that the chaplain had mistaken his calling, and ought to have held d the position of a belligerent. He would unquestionably have made a good fighter, but those who know him, so not need to be told that he was, (and still is) an able preacher, and a kind and faithful pastor, although he believed in fighting the enemies of the Union, and all the boys in the 100th will vouch for his fidelity and kindness as an army chaplain.
In conclusion, let it be said, (without any disparagement to others) that the men and officers who clung to the regiment through its entire service, were all of them true and tried, physically inured to hardship, and unsurpassed in their morale. If they performed no brilliant deed of daring or heroism, they did what is still better, they clung to the fortunes of the regiment, and of the country in its darkest days, and greatest dangers, hazarding life and limb through three long and weary years; seeing their comrades one after another falling victims to disease and exposure, and the accidents of war. Let us not forget the debt we own them.
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