Soldier’s letter to his wife
describes Chickamauga fight”.
From: Journal Herald, Dayton OHIO.

I have a copy of an article written in the Journal Herald, but unfortunately I don’t have a date.  Someone was nice enough to give this to me.

 

“Daytonians Fought ‘One of the Bloodiest Battles Ever’
Soldier’s letter to his wife describes Chickamauga fight”.
By Jessie Nicodemus
Journal Herald Staff Writer

 

“It was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought.  And the 35th regiment from Dayton of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry was in the thick of fighting at the battle of Chickamauga, a turning point in the Civil War.

 

One Dayton officer, Lieutenant David Schaeffer (my note, this is David W. Schaeffer) wrote to his wife, Frances, a first hand account of the fighting on Sept. 23(?) 1863.

 

‘Our division entered the woods and we were ordered to throw off our knapsacks, form a line of battle, and move forward,’ he wrote.  ‘In a few minutes our skirmishes were engaged and being hotly fired upon, fell back.  Now the Rebs were seen coming in line and as claimed by some, three deep, while ours was but a single line.  But careless of odds, the old 35th stood like statue waiting until the Rebels came within fair range.

 

And then we let fly at them with such a deadly shower of Minnie balls as soon compelled them to fall back in great disorder.  Three times in quick succession did the Rebels charge our brigade, coming on the double, quick and yelling like demons, each time with fresh troops and every time driven back in confusion.

 

The grand ol third brigade stood there like sacks, never giving an inch, but sent death and destruction through the Rebel lines at every volley.  The first volley fired proved fatal to many of the brave 35th boys.  I assisted Captain Parshall, shot in the abdomen, to an ambulance after he fell from his horse.  All this time the musketry was incessant.   Bullets were flying around us thick and fast, thinning our ranks at every discharge.  The strife shirted our division, hotly engaged in battle for 92 hours, was given a little rest.  I found the 14th Ohio regiment had suffered severely, and so did the 10th Indiana.  The woods were full of dead and dying soldiers.  My heart grew sick at the sights.  Men, torn by shells, cried piteously for water.

 

Then the battle began again in earnest.  The very ground quivered and shook with the roar.  Now a charge is being made, the cannon balls are falling all around me.  The very air seems thick with bullets.

 

Our men finally made a furious charge and the Rebels couldn’t stand the onslaught.  They gave way and the day was ours.  And our men, cheering and firing as they go follow the Rebels as they fall back.

 

They are saying Lee himself was here and directed the battle.  The loss is terrible on both sides, basically in wounded. 

 

I must now close.  Goodbye.  If I should never see you again on earth, remember my last prayer was for your welfare.’”

Submitted by: Lisa Hoffman

 

 

 

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