O. B. Wilcox's letter to John H. Ellis
Letter written by O. B. Wilcox to John H. Ellis, who was formerly in Company D and currently the President of the 60th Ohio Organization.
2022 R. St., Washington, D. C.
Feb. 20, ’95.
Jno. H. Ellis, Esq.,
President 60th Ohio Organization,
Reply to your letter of the 10th ult. has been delayed until now in order to get at the records, so as to enable me to answer your inquiry more fully.
On the morning of the 9th of May, 1864, your regiment behaved with great gallantry, all the more remarkable because it was a new and undrilled organization. In crossing the Nye Rive at the Gayler house at a fort defended by the enemy, the 60th Ohio was deployed as skirmishers, and under Lt. Col. McElroy together with the 20th Michigan skirmish line, handsomely dashed across the river, drove back the rebel skirmishers, and pushed up the adjoining hill slope where the enemy was posted in force.
The regiment then became a part of the main line attacking and holding the hill during a severe and prolonged contest, during which all attempts made by the enemy, both to outflank and to drive us out was finally repulsed. In the heaviest part of the action the 60th bore its full share, and though a part of the regiment was at one time driven back under the crest of the hill, with the left wing of its brigade, a part rallied by Col. McElroy and held on until re-inforcements came up, and the rebels were driven back in turn and the whole line was re-established.
On the whole, the regiments behaved like old troops and shared the varying fortunes and final victory of the day, and slept like the rest, on the field they had won.
The occasion was one of the proudest triumphs of the division which I had the honor to command, during the severe fights of the wilderness campaign. We advanced to within one mile and a half of Spottsylvania Court House and crossed a river in the face of not only the enemy at and near the ford, but of other troops in plain sight and of numbers equaling and if not outnumbering our own strength. This, as you may well remember, was pretty trying to the nerves of new troops like yours.
Our losses from both brigades counted up in killed and wounded, 167, missing 21, aggregate 188. I have not a copy of McElroy’s report handy, and do not remember your losses.
With affectionate regards to all my old comrades of the 60th Ohio, believe me,
Very truly your
Friend and Old Comrade,
O. B. Wilcox.
See Rebellion Records Vol. XXXVI, Part 1, Series 1, page 943 for my report; and page 967 for report of brigade commander. Col. Byron M. Cutcheon.
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Created: 11 Aug 2001
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