A HISTORY OF THE 80TH OHIO VOL. INF.
On January 4th, 1864, the 80th Ohio and its Brigade was ordered to move toward Huntsville, Alabama. After loading everything on railway cars which could possibly be dispensed with on the march, the Brigade moved out on the morning of the 5th of January at 8:00 a.m. toward Huntsville. On arrival at Brownsborough, Alabama, the Brigade encamped and awaited the balance of the Division to come up. Moving on to Huntsville, the 80th Ohio and its Division were charged with guarding the railroad and telegraph lines from Huntsville to and including Hurricane Creek Bridge. The primary Headquarters of the Second Brigade would be Larkinsville, Alabama. At this time the men of the 80th believed they were to fix the railroad making their way back to Memphis. How wrong they were. They would stay in the vicinity of Huntsville for several more weeks. While here Bill Bungster of the 80th Ohio was killed when the train he was on ran off the track. Bungster was returning to the regiment and was within a few miles of the regiment when he was killed.
The term of enlistment for many of the men in the 80th Ohio had expired, and during March, 1864, a large percentage of them reenlisted for a second term of duty. They were granted veteran's furlough of thirty days commencing on April 1st. Upon expiration of the furlough, the men returned to duty with their Brigade at Larkinsville. Colonel Green B. Raum once again commanded the Second Brigade. Here at Larkinsville, the 80th Ohio took up its old duties of guarding the railroad. General Sherman was massing his forces at Chattanooga for a push into Georgia to engage the confederate Army of Tennessee commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston, General Bragg having been relieved shortly after his defeats at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The railroad guarded by the 80th Ohio was extremely busy, as railway cars carrying troops and supplies for Sherman's men continuously moved past.
On May 4th, 1864, General Sherman moved south from the Chattanooga area with three Armies. The Army of the Tennessee, commanded by General McPherson; The Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General Thomas; and the Army of the Ohio, commanded by General Schofield. Although the Third Division of the 15th Army Corps was part of the Army of the Tennessee, it was ordered to remain behind to continue its important duties in guarding Sherman's supply lines.
On June 2nd, 1864, Colonel Raum received orders from General Smith, commanding the Division, to move his Brigade to Huntsville. The troops were to embark on railroad cars as soon as practicable, and the wagon train would be sent by a dirt road with a sufficient escort. Any surplus baggage or camp and garrison equipage that could not be readily hauled by the wagon train, was placed on cars and transported to Huntsville.
On June 27th, 1864, Colonel Raum was ordered to move his Brigade to Stevenson, Alabama and board railway cars for Kingston, Georgia. The men were to carry three day's rations in their haversacks. Arriving at Kingston, Colonel Raum was ordered to send three regiments of the Brigade by rail, leaving the 17th Iowa at Tilton, the 10th Missouri at Resaca, and the 56th Illinois one-half at Calhoun and one-half at Adairsville. The 80th Ohio was to kept for the time being at Kingston at which place they arrived on the 29th. The Brigade headquarters was to be established at Resaca. The regiments were to patrol the road between the different stations garrisoned by the Brigade.
On July 12th, the 80th Ohio moved to Cartersville, Georgia and encamped for the night. The next morning at 6 a.m. they marched to Allatoona, Georgia. The duties of the Regiment would still be that of guarding the railroad and supply lines. General Sherman had by this time moved to near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, pushing confederate General Joe Johnston farther and farther toward Atlanta. General Sherman considered Allatoona extremely important.
July 14, 1864.
Brig. Gen. JOHN E. SMITH:
I regard Allatoona of the first importance in our future plans. It is a second Chattanooga; its front and rear are susceptible of easy defense and its flanks are strong. The post properly extends from the Etowah to Allatoona Depot, and flanks the Pumpkin Vine and Allatoona Creeks embracing a space wherein can be accumulated supplies that would make a raid to our rear less to be feared, giving us the means of living till repairs could be made. I want you to study it in all its bearings. As long as our army is in front, in good order, of course nothing could threaten Allatoona, and then its garrison should scour the country for miles around, especially up the Pumpkin Vine and Euharlee Creeks and in the direction of Noonday and Canton. Everything in the nature of grain, forage, and vegetables should be collected. No suspicious citizens should be allowed near the railroad or in the country. The safety of this army must not be imperiled by citizens, If you entertain a bare suspicion against any family, send it to the North. Any loafer or suspicious person seen at any time should be imprisoned and sent off. If guerrillas trouble the road or wires between Kingston and Acworth, they should be shot without mercy. Rowland's Springs, Laughing Gal, Canton, and Dallas should receive sudden and unexpected visits by night by parties about 200 strong. I will soon be in motion again and will feel more confidence that I know you are at Allatoona.
W. T. SHERMAN,
On July 25th, 1864, John King of Company C and the Great-Grandfather of the Author's wife, Donna, wrote the following letter to some friends back home in Ohio.
Allatoona, Ga., July 25, 1864
Your favor of July 12th was duly received a few days ago & quite glad to hear from you, but I think you was long about answering. Hereafter try & be more prompt if you don't want me back home to set things to rights. Well we are now at Allatoona, Georgia and right among the mountains. Among these mountains in our view is the famous Kenesaw, which is about 16 miles from camp but can be seen very plainly. This is a very poor country here, the mountains are so close together that there is no room for a valley between, & of course the mountains amount to nothing except for timber and some of them are poorly timbered. They have been kicking up quite a mess around Atlanta for the last few days. They have been fighting like "bull dogs", but I think the "yanks" are fondly for rebs wherever they are to be found and ere long their famous Atlanta will rank among the downfallen & strongholds of their confederacy. I still feel confident of success in the end, but it is hard to tell when that end will come. It is, as you say, we will have to fight for every inch of ground we invade, but we have drove them over their best fighting grounds, or at least as good as they can find in this confederacy and we can drive them over the balance.
But we have lost a noble officer, and his loss is regretted throughout the army. I hope this war may never end until the Stars & Stripes shall wave proudly over his grave.
The weather has been quite cool for the last two days, which is all the better for the wounded. The health of the army is quite good. No news much from the east. Well I believe I have told you all for this time, and when I get home the baby shall have her new dress.
I want you to do me a small favor and that is, answer this letter as soon as it comes to hand and go down to home and get a photograph I left there and send it in the letter, and as soon as I can get some taken I will send several back again. I have been looking to send one to a certain place all with the expectation of getting some back here but can't get it done, and if I don't send it next time, they will place but little confidence in my word, I am well and in fine spirits, I close hoping these few lines to find you all the same.
I remain as ever your friend, J. H. King
The noble officer who was killed and referred to in the above letter was General James B. McPherson, the commander of the Army of the Tennessee. He was killed during the battles in front of Atlanta on June 22nd. General Howard replaced McPherson as commander of that army.
The 80th Ohio remained at Allatoona until August 2nd, when they were ordered to move to Resaca. The regiment moved at 7 a.m., marched 14 miles and went into camp. The next morning they moved through Cassville and on to Adairsville where they camped for the night in a large house. The next morning they marched through Calhoun and on to Resaca. On the 15th of August, enemy forces attacked the railroad south of Tilton. Colonel Raum immediately sent the 80th Ohio, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Metham, and eighty cavalry, under Captain Robinson, to attack the enemy. These troops, although moving rapidly, did not reach the point until after the enemy had withdrawn. The regiment then moved back to Resaca.
Atlanta fell to the Union forces on September 2nd, 1864, confederate General Hood, who had replaced General Joseph Johnston, had withdrawn his army from the city and moved Northwest. General Peter Osterhaus now commanded the 15th Corps as General Logan had gone home on furlough. The Third Division was still commanded by General J. E. Smith, and the 2nd Brigade by Colonel Clark Wever.
General Hood and his confederate army was moving north in the rear of General Sherman's Supply line and his line of march would take him through the towns where the Second Brigade was garrisoned. Hood struck first at Allatoona on October 5th, but the valiant resistance by General Corse and his men kept the confederate army at bay. Sherman moved north also with part of his army to bring Hood to battle. General Hood, knowing reinforcements were coming up for the Union forces, moved on north, this time to Resaca, where the 80th Ohio was garrisoned.
Colonel Wever, having assumed command of the Brigade from Brig. General Raum, was at Resaca. His command there consisted of the 80th Ohio, commanded by Lt. Colonel P. Methan; two companies of the 10th Missouri, commanded by Captain J. Strong; two companies of Kentucky Cavalry, commanded by Captain Coffman, and a garrison battery of four guns, commanded by Lieutenant S. Winsor and manned by details from the Brigade.
From the date at which Colonel Wever assumed command, information was received daily from citizens and other sources that Hood's army was moving northward, and in anticipation of an attack either upon Resaca or some point occupied and held by his command, such as Tilton and Adairsville, every available means was made use of to strengthen their position so as to make the most obstinate resistance possible with the force at hand. At Resaca new rifle pits were made, the old ones deepened and repaired, and crude palisades set around the works until Wever considered them formidable. Wever also directed Lt. Colonel Archer to strengthen the works at Tilton, at the same time ordering him to select seventy men to garrison the block house at that point, and hold the balance of his command in readiness to move at a moment's notice in the event of a probable attack in force upon Resaca. Wever telegraphed for permission to call in all of the garrison at Tilton except 70 men, and in reply was notified by General Raum "the post at Tilton must be held," but at the same time received instructions to bring in Captain White's command in the event of an attack, and also to bring in the 56th Illinois from Calhoun and Adairsville. Wever kept scouts in Snake Creek Gap and beyond. Nothing more than small parties of the enemy's cavalry were discovered until the evening of the 11th of October, when Wever received information through citizens that Wheeler's cavalry and a heavy force of infantry were camped on John's Creek. Wever ordered the troops from Calhoun and Adairsville to come immediately to Resaca and they arrived about midnight of the 11th.
On the morning of the 12th of October, a reconnaissance returned from John's Mountain and reported the enemy advancing in force. Soon after, the road and telegraph were cut about two miles above Resaca. Wever sent a courier to Captain White, ordering him in from the construction camp, but the rebels were already between him and Resaca and the courier could not reach him. He directed Captain Coffman to send a company out on the Villanow road and reconnoiter. They soon encountered the rebel advance and skirmished with it, falling slowly back to the Union picket lines three-quarters of a mile out on the Villanow road, and at the crossing of Sugar Creek. They held the enemy in check until a company of the 56th Illinois came to their assistance and deployed as skirmishers. The firing became intense at this time, and feeling it prudent to keep the enemy beyond the creek as long as possible, Wever sent Lt. Colonel Hall with four additional companies of the 56th Illinois, instructing him to skirmish with and, if possible, determine the strength of the enemy. The left of Colonel Hall's line rested on the Oostenaula River, his right beyond the Villanow road. The remaining five companies of his regiment were posted as reserves to cover the skirmishers in case they were compelled to fall back, at the same time keeping an eye against flanking movements. The enemy could now be seen planting a battery on the bald hill to the westward, and Wever ordered Lt. Winsor to shell them, but the attempt was unsuccessful, as the distance was to great for his guns. Winsor then turned his attention to a column of infantry which could be seen covering the railroad about a mile above the town. The firing was brisk, and at times heavy, increasing continually until about 4:30 p.m., when Colonel Hall informed Wever that a flag of truce was approaching. Wever sent Captain W. W. McCammon, acting assistant adjutant-general, to confer with the bearer of the flag. The captain soon returned in company with Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, bringing the following communication, viz:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
In the Field, October 12, 1864.
To the Officer Commanding U. S. Forces at Resaca, Ga.:
SIR: I demand an immediate and unconditional surrender of the post and garrison under your command, and should this be acceded to, all white officers and soldiers will be paroled within a few days. If the place is carried by assault no prisoners will be taken.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. HOOD,
To this, Wever replied:
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Resaca, Ga., October 12, 1864.
General J. B. HOOD:
Your communication of this date just received. In reply I have to state that I am somewhat surprised at the concluding paragraph, to the effect that "If the place is carried by assault no prisoners will be taken." In my opinion I can hold this post; if you want it come and take it.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
CLARK R. WEVER,
The battle was resumed and continued with ferocity until long after nightfall, the garrison having been reinforced about this time by Colonel Watkins, who came in from the south with 500 cavalrymen. During the night, Colonel Wever strengthened his works. The attack was renewed on the morning of the 13th, but by this time reinforcements had arrived, bringing the strength of the garrison to 2,000 men. The additional strength was noticeable to the rebels, and they were less inclined to assault the post than on the day before. General Sherman, with his men, arrived on the scene that afternoon from one direction, and General Hood's men departed in another. Hood and his army would move into northern Alabama and into Tennessee, culminating in the bloody battles of Franklin and Nashville, where the rebel army would be defeated and scattered by Union forces under General George Thomas.
On the 29th of October, General Raum, having once again taken command of the Second Brigade, was ordered to move the Brigade to Kingston, getting everything in readiness to move, and stripped for a long race. However, these orders were modified on the 31st. The Brigade would instead move to Cartersville.
On November 7th, having been relieved by troops of General Schofield, the 80th Ohio marched from Resaca to Cartersville, arriving there on the 8th of November, 1864. On the 12th of November, the entire command, under Brigadier General Green B. Raum, marched for Atlanta, via Allatoona, Acworth, and Marietta. On the 14th, the command arrived at Atlanta.
At Atlanta the command, after being supplied with quartermaster's stores and with 20 days' rations and 230 rounds of ammunition per man, was ready to move. At 11 a.m. on the 15th of November the Division started south on the campaign. Major General Peter J. Osterhaus now commanded the 15th Army Corps. General J. E. Smith commanded the 3rd Division and General Raum commanded the 2nd Brigade. General Sherman would march to Savannah, Georgia with the 15th and 17th Corps on the right wing, and the 14th and 20th Corps on the left wing, a total of 68,000 men.
The 80th Ohio marched in column, via Rough and Ready, to the vicinity of Stockbridge. The Division found, near the railroad station at Rough and Ready, some rebel pickets, who, evidently surprised at the Division's sudden appearance, fled. Near Stockbridge, they encountered about 1,000 mounted rebel troops and one section of artillery, and held a position, but also yielded it after a feeble show of resistance. The 80th Ohio camped that night near Stockbridge.
On the 16th, the 80th Ohio and its Division moved toward McDonough by way of Lee's Mills. At McDonough, the whole of the 15th Army Corps was now for the first time assembled, and the divisions in supporting distance of each other. General Corse's Division had been delayed at Atlanta, but had now rejoined the Corps.
The entire Corps marched on November 17th in one column to Locust Grove, where two columns were formed, moving on toward Planter's Factory, on the Ocmulgee River, the 80th Ohio and the Third Division going via Jackson. At the Ocmulgee, the 80th Ohio crossed over a pontoon bridge and the Division took up a defensive position on the east side of the river on the 18th. The other Divisions of the Corps remained in their respective camps until the 17th Corps had crossed. Around 7:30 a.m., on the 19th, the 17th Corps having completed their crossing, the remaining Divisions of the 15th Corps commenced crossing. General Smith's Division (that of the 80th Ohio) had previously received orders to march on the direct road to Hillsborough, with the Divisions of Generals Hazen and Woods to follow. General Corse's Division had orders to march via Monticello, to Hillsborough.
On the 20th of November, the 80th Ohio reached the vicinity of Clinton. Some rebel cavalry kept hovering around Clinton, and repeatedly attacked the Division's pickets, but without any serious consequences. Early on the morning of the 21st, the 29th Mounted Missouri was sent forward with orders to destroy the railroad tracks. The 80th Ohio and its Division marched the same day from Clinton on the direct road toward Gordon. The other Divisions moved toward Griswoldville, where they encountered the enemy. A sharp engagement ensued, with the enemy finally retiring with heavy losses.
Entering Gordon, General Smith was ordered to put his men to work on the destruction of the railway. The 80th Ohio and its Division finished the work of destruction in the next two days. On the 25th, the four divisions marched early from their respective camps toward Ball's ferry over the Oconee River. The 80th Ohio with its Division under General Smith moved by way of Irwinton. At the ferry, a few enemy cavalry troops were reported, but they left during the night. Bridges were laid in the morning of the 26th, and the Corps crossed over, General Smith's Division being the last. General Smith had orders to remain until the bridge was taken up and the wagon trains were all on their way. The 80th Ohio and its Division arrived at Irwin's Cross Roads on the morning of November 27th. Marching on the next day, the entire Corps encamped that night in supporting distance and within seven miles of Station 11. The next morning, the 80th Ohio's Division marched on the main Sandersville and Savannah road until they struck, one mile south of Station 11, the 17th Army Corps, who had the right of way. General Osterhaus ordered a parallel road to be cut for about two miles to a fork which led into a road that ran parallel to that taken by Woods and Corse. The country was almost a perfect wilderness of long-leafed pines covering the poor sandy soil and marshy, lined with shrub-like undergrowth, making it favorable to the Corps' operations. An energetic corps of axmen to corduroy roads across the creeks and marshes could be done in a fairly short time.
On November 30th, when marching to the little town of Summerville, the Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions moved part of the way abreast of each other. General Smith's Division with the 80th Ohio halted at Summerville. Here, two roads run substantially parallel to and south of the Ogeechee River and the Savannah Railroad, uniting opposite Station number 2. The Corps was divided into two columns, with Generals Smith's and Hazen's Divisions marching from Summerville via Statesborough, to Station number 2. The other two Divisions would march on the other road. The two columns crossed Scull's Creek on December 2nd, and were ordered to lie over until the next day, to give the columns to their left time to come up with the Corps. These columns were partly employed in breaking up the railroad, and in order to assist this work, detachments of General Wood's troops had crossed the Ogeechee at Green's Bridge on December 1st, and burned the railroad in the vicinity of Station number 8.
On December 2nd, a pontoon was ordered to be laid opposite Station number 7, and the Divisions of Generals Corse and Woods were put to work destroying the railroad there. On the 4th and 5th of December, the two columns continued their march, bringing the left column opposite Guyton, while the right column camped about four miles off on the headwaters of Black Creek on December 5th. General Hazen's Division, leading the right column, had a lively skirmish at Statesborough, dispersing the rebel cavalrymen there.
On December 7th, the 80th Ohio and its Division were concentrated with the Divisions of Generals Woods and Corse near Jenks' Bridge. The next morning, General Smith was left in charge of the trains corralled at Jenk's Bridge on the west side. General Corse, on the east side, moved his Division down the stream toward Dillon's Bridge, which he found burned, and pontoons had to be laid. Corse pushed on the following day and engaged some rebels at the Savannah Canal and drove them off their main line, which he than assaulted and carried. General Smith, with the wagon trains of the Third and Fourth Divisions, moved to the canal, and leaving the wagon trains in camp, early on the morning of the 10th of December, took a towpath along the south side of the canal to a point about four miles and a half from Savannah, where the enemy was discovered in position with a battery, covering a small road. Skirmishers were deployed, and the First Brigade of the Division promptly formed in line. The Second Brigade and the 80th Ohio, General Raum commanding, was formed on the right of the First Brigade. It was found impossible for the skirmishers to advance, owing to the low, marshy ground in front, having been overflowed from the canal to a depth of four to six feet. The road, scarcely ten feet wide, was being protected by the enemy's guns. During the night works were thrown up, and three guns of Battery B, First Michigan Artillery, were placed in position, which opened up on the enemy's guns about daylight on the morning of the 11th of December. The 80th Ohio and its Division were ordered to move to the right at 8 a.m. the next morning, when the guns and line were withdrawn, leaving the skirmishers in position. A brisk fire was kept up by them until the evening of the 11th, when they were relieved by Brigadier General G. A. Smith, commanding the Fourth Division of the 17th Army Corps. The Division's casualties on the 10th and the 11th were: 2 officers wounded, 1 enlisted man killed, and 5 enlisted men wounded.
At 9 p.m. on the 11th, the 80th Ohio with its Division followed the First Division to the right and camped at Anderson's plantation, and on the 12th, took up a position near Miller's Station on the Gulf railroad. Owing to the width of the marsh and the Little Ogeechee River, an advance was impracticable. An outpost was stationed at the abutment of the railroad bridge, the only available ground on the Division's front. At this place one man was killed. Osterhaus sent a section of 20 pounder Parrotts and the 27th Missouri Infantry of General Woods' Division to Cheves rice mill, to assist in some movement against Fort McAllister. General Hazen's Division was assigned the task of taking the Fort. The Assault was made on the 13th of December, and was successful.
On the 19th of December orders were received by General Osterhaus to prepare everything for an assault on the enemy lines on December 21st. The next morning it appeared as though the rebels were withdrawing their pieces from the fort on the Savannah road. To prevent such an undertaking, Osterhaus ordered his artillery to open fire. Later in the day, General Sherman postponed the attack. During the night, the rebels sneaked away in the darkness, leaving their guns and ammunition in the fort. The next morning the Union forces entered the enemy fortifications. The 80th Ohio went into camp on the south side of the city. Savannah, for all purposes, was now in the hands of the Union forces. On the 21st of December the 80th Ohio moved into Savannah, camping in the suburbs between the Gulf railroad and the Shell road.
On December 23, 1864, the First, Third, and Fourth Divisions of the 15th Army Corps were ordered to be ready for review by General Sherman the next day at 9:30 a.m. They would be drawn up in line in the following order: "First Division will deploy their line with the right resting on the park, fronting north, and running west to the corner of West Broad Street, and thence down that street. The Third Division (that of the 80th Ohio), will take up the alignment of the First Division, extending their line down West Broad, and then at right angles into South Broad Street. General Corse's Division will deploy his Fourth Division in South Broad Street, on the left, and on alignment with General Smith's Division. Prior to the review, all officers and men were expected to appear as clean and neat as possible, officers with saber and sash, the men in light marching order, without knapsack, blankets, or haversacks. The companies of each battalion must be equalized, regiments with less than 400 men in eight, with more, in ten companies. Full regiments to be equalized in platoons. Field music and regimental bands would be collected by brigades and placed on the right of their respective brigades."
"Division commanders will, on the approach of the reviewing officers, give the command to open ranks and present arms. Whenever the reviewing officers have passed a brigade, the brigade commander will order the shoulder arms, order arms, parade rest. Preparatory to the passing in review the division commanders will command to close order, break into column of companies (except full regiments which will be broken into platoons). The column will pass in quick step, and therefore only mounted officers will salute the reviewing officers. Commanding officers are cautioned to preserve, after having passed by the reviewing officers, the formation of their columns, and not to break the companies by the right flank, and file left. Such changes interfere with the troops in the rear and create very annoying disturbances. The artillery will pass by sections."
There was considerable grumbling in the ranks over this order. Having not fully rested from their arduous march from Atlanta, they resented having to get "prettied up" for a review by the Generals. However, the men formed and following orders, passed in review in seemingly good spirits the next morning. And on this day, Christmas Eve, General Sherman sent a dispatch to President Lincoln, saying, "I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton."
General Sherman now began his preparations to march north through the Carolinas to Virginia and link up with General Grant and the eastern armies. The 80th Ohio remained in Savannah on garrison duty and work detail, constructing and reinforcing the defensive works around the city.
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Chapter 2 - 1863
Chapter 3 - 1864
Chapter 4 - 1865
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