ILLINOIS in the CIVIL WAR

part of a volume entitled History of the Ninety - Third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry: From Organization To Muster Out --Statistics Compiled by Aaron Dunbar Sergeant, Company " B", Revised and Edited by Harvey M. Trimble, Adjutant

Submitted by Jeffrey MacAdam, to whom every reader should be grateful.

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CHAPTER VII. THE BATTLE OF ALLATOONA, GA.

Part 5 of 5 for Chapter 7.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the enemy ceased firing. Hats, placed on the ends of ramrods, were immediately raised just above the walls of the western fort, to test whether it was merely a temporary suspension, or, in fact, the end of the battle. After a few seconds elapsed without any firing at these hats, men began to take quick observations over the parapets. Within less than three minutes it was developed that the battle was over. First, a single man, of the Ninety-Third Illinois, then a half dozen others, then a larger number, and then all, rose up and leaped over the parapets and ran out on the Cartersville road. When the "New Fort" road was reached, it was at once discovered that the Confederates were in full retreat, on that road, their guard being fifty or sixty rods away. Other portions of their command, and their artillery, retreated by the Marietta and Dallas roads. The great battle was ended.

Then a shout of triumph rolled over those hills and through those valleys louder and longer than they ever heard before. Men grasped hands and shouted; and shouted and embraced each other. The wounded joined in the delirium of rejoicing. The dying looked to the Flag, still proudly floating above those hills, and thanked God that they had helped to keep it there. Then tears came; tears of joy for the victory; tears for the wounded; tears for the dying; tears for the dead. Hearts that had stood unmoved and immovable through all that fierce storm of battle, uncovered to every danger, could not withstand the power of that incomparable scene of blood and suffering and death, after the storm had passed. Wildly throbbing, they yielded and melted into tears. Then came the care of the wounded. Willing hands soon carried them to hospitals, and helped dress and bind up their gaping wounds. With what cheerfulness and fortitude they bore their pains and suffering no words can ever tell. The surgeon's probe and knife sometimes made them to writhe and give utterance to cries of anguish and for some relief from suffering; but still, they talked of the great victory, and were content with the price they had paid for the achievement. Then came the burial of the dead. Gathered together, by companies and regiments, they were laid side by side near the great trenches that were to receive them. Those burial scenes can never be forgotten. The roar of battle is now exchanged for silence that is oppressive. Men whose voices shouted only defiance to the enemy, now speak in low whispers, or stand wholly silent, in the presence of their dead comrades. Eyes that gave out only flashes of fire through all the hours of strife, are kindly now and full of tears. Men who stood proudly erect against the storm of death that swept those hills, now slowly and gently lower those dead heroes to their final rest, and cover them into the bosom of the field which they so bravely defended and on which they fell. The inaudible expression of every heart was, "Brave souls, farewell!" and "God be with you till we meet again."

"Slowly and sadly we laid them down,
From the field of their fame fresh and glory!

Carved only their names, we raised not a stone,
But left them together in glory."

The next day after the battle, General Corse sent to Captain Dayton, an aide-de-camp on General Sherman's staff, the following dispatch:

Allatoona, Georgia, October 6, 1864, 2 p.m.
Capt. L. M. Dayton, Aide-de-Camp:
I am short a cheek bone and an ear, but am able to whip all hell yet! My losses are very heavy. A force moving from Stitesboro to Kingston gives me some anxiety. Tell me where, Sherman is.
JOHN M. CORSE,
Brigadier General.
In his memoirs, General Sherman said:
"Inasmuch as the enemy had retreated southwest and would probably next appear at Rome, I answered General Corse with orders to get back to Rome with his troops as quickly as possible."

It is not to be doubted that the element of egotism, and the strong language used, in the dispatch of General Corse to Captain Dayton, will readily be pardoned by most readers. But many of the survivors of that battle, while they never strongly criticized it, because of his bravery there, would have much more highly appreciated the underlying sentiment of it had it been framed in milder language and in terms a little less personal to himself.

The losses in this battle, on both sides, considering the numbers engaged, were very great. Colonel Young, the commander of one of the Confederate brigades, who was captured, estimated that the entire Confederate loss would reach two thousand; and that estimate was then accepted as being nearly correct. Their dead and wounded were scattered through the woods and ravines and gulches all around, and were continually found, and the dead buried, from day to day, until the 22nd of October. A publication in a southern newspaper, soon after the battle, which purported to quote General French as authority, stated his total loss at fifteen hundred. But a compilation, which is reproduced in this volume, showing the total losses and casualties in all the battles and engagements of the Civil War, gives the Confederate losses at Allatoona as follows: Killed, 231; wounded, 500; captured and missing, 411. This makes the total loss, 1,142. The numbers of the killed and captured, so given, agree with the report of general Corse. And because that is so, the statement given above is believed to be correct. General Corse, with his command, left Allatoona on the 7th day of October, and it is certain that a considerable number of dead and wounded, found after that date, could not have been covered by his report. A considerable number of those captured were wounded. General Corse seems to have made no report of their wounds. It is also known that many of their wounded were carried away in the wagons which they brought with them for the purpose of carrying away rations. Thus, their wounded were divided, a large number being left on the field and a large number carried away in the wagons. Hence, it was impossible that either General Corse or general French could give the total number of their wounded correctly.

Considering all known facts, the particular statement given above cannot be accepted as correct. It is believed that their total loss was not less than fifteen hundred, and it may have exceeded that number. Even at that figure, the percentage of loss was not so great as that on the Union side. That was attributable to the severe fighting on the outer lines. There, the federal forces had but little, if any, advantage of position, and being greatly outnumbered by the enemy, they suffered heavy losses, not only at the outer lines, but, also, after driven therefrom, while on the way back into the forts. The Confederates also lost three regimental flags, and eight hundred muskets.

The total Federal loss was seven hundred and thirteen officers and men, being a little more than thirty-five percent of the entire force engaged. The heaviest losses, in killed and wounded, fell upon the 7th Illinois, 39th Iowa, 50th Illinois, 93rd Illinois, and 12th Wisconsin Battery, in the order given.

The Ninety-Third Illinois lost twenty-one (21) men killed, three (3) officers and fifty-five (55) men wounded, and then (10) men missing. The total loss was eighty-nine (89) officers and men, being thirty and three-tenths percent of the total number engaged. The regiment went into the battle with fourteen officers and two hundred and eighty enlisted men. The table following shows the loss of each command in detail, to wit:

 
           Commands                           Killed  Wounded  Missing Total
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ninety-Third Illinois Infantry ---------------- 21      58      10      89
Fourth Minnesota Infantry --------------------- 11      33      ------- 44
Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry -----------------  2      12      84      98
Twelfth Wisconsin Battery ---------------------  5      16      ------  21
Detachment Fifth Ohio Cavalry ----------------- -------  1      -------  1 
Seventh Illinois Infantry --------------------- 35      67      39     141
Twelfth Illinois Infantry ---------------------  9      49      ------- 58
Fiftieth Illinois Infantry -------------------- 15      63      ------- 78
Two companies 57th Illinois Infantry ----------  4       8       1      13
Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry -------------------- 40      54      76     170
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Total loss--------------------------------142     361     210     713
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lieut. Col. John E. Tourtellotte, post commander, issued a congratulatory order, as follows:

Headquarters Post, Allatoona, Georgia, October 8, 1864.
Special Order No. 11.
The Lieutenant Colonel commanding desires to express his thanks to the individual officers and men of his command for the promptness and earnestness with which they laid aside feelings of selfishness and devoted themselves to the public service, October 5, 1864, at this place. Among the ancients you would be termed gods; with us, living or dead, will be heroes. Deport yourselves thus and you will ever be successful. I am proud to be in command of such troops; you may be proud of yourselves. Your services in the campaign have been important. Commanding officers will communicate this order to their respective commands in such way as they may deem most convenient.
By order of JOHN E. TOURTELLOTTE,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Post.

Immediately after the battle, General Sherman issued the following order:

"The General commanding avails himself of the opportunity, in the handsome defense made of Allatoona, to illustrate the most important principles in war, that fortified posts should be defended to the last, regardless of the relative numbers of the party attacking and attacked. The thanks of this army are due and are hereby accorded to General Corse, Colonel Tourtellotte, Colonel Rowett, officers and men, for the determined and gallant defense of Allatoona, and it is made an example to illustrate the importance of preparing in time, and meeting the danger, when present, boldly, manfully and well.

"Commanders and garrisons of the posts along our railroad are hereby instructed that they must hold their posts to the last minute, sure that the time gained is valuable and necessary to their comrades at the front."

The night after the battle, Sergeant Major Flint, of the 7th Illinois, wrote a poem, which was published in the history of that regiment, and is deemed worthy of a lace here, as follows:

Winds that sweep the Southern mountain
And the leafy river's shore!
Bear ye not a prouder burden
Than ye ever learned before?
And the hot blood fills
The heart until it thrills,
At the story of the terror and the glory of the battle
Of the Allatoona hills.

Echoes from the purple mountains
To the dull surrounding shore--
'Tis as sad and proud a burden
As ye ever learned before!
How they fell like grass
When the mowers pass,
And the dying, when the foe was flying, swelled the cheering
Of the heroes of the Pass.

Sweep it o'er the hills of Georgia
To the mountains of the North;
Teach the coward and the doubter
What the blood of man is worth.
Hail the flag you pass!
Let its stained and tattered mass
Tell the story of the terror and the glory of the battle
Of the Allatoona Pass.
Allatoona Pass in 1888 [132 Kb JPG]


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