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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Civil War Letters Written From Soldiers Residing In Warren County

Dallas Bogan on 28 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

This chapter deals with actual experiences during the War of the Rebellion. These are letters which actually reveals the complete soldier in moments of boredom and crises.


Lying in Rear Line of Breast Works
Near Kenesaw Mountain Ga., July 1st, 1864.

Dear Sister,
It has been sometime since I wrote to you, but have written once or twice home since writing to you. I will endevour to write you a few lines this very warm morning. I haven't much of importance to communicate to you more than I wrote in my last letter. I am this morning in the enjoyment of good health a blessing to be prized. Hope this may find you enjoying the same heavenly blessing.
Our army seems to be at a stand, the Rebs. hold a very strong position here, and they are going to be pretty hard to rout from their defences, but we have great faith in Gen. Sherman who is at the head of our army.
They still hold Kenesaw Mt. Our artillery keep playing on them every day, and don't give them much chance to use theirs. We will rout them some of these days, and they will either have to break across our lines or surrender. I hope it may be the latter. If we can only capture them here, I think our fighting will soon be over. Skirmishing is kept up all along the line. Reports from the east are encouraging. Hope they may continue so.
Josiah Lowes visited us yesterday, he looks well, and is well. He told me to remember to you while I wrote, not particularly to you but to all. He is looking forward to the expiration of his time with anxiety. I don't blame him at all. I think when a man serves three years in the service of his country he has done well, and is entitled to be mustered our of the service, and let others take his place if they are needed. We had quite a shower of rain yesterday afternoon cooling the air for a short time. Occasionally deserters come into our lines, say they are tired of the war, and that there would more desert, if it wasn't that they are made to believe by their officers that we will show them no quarters, that we exterminate them. Sometimes on the skirmish line we and the Rebs. make agreement not to fire at each other and meet and talk together trade coffee for tobacco, then go back to our respective post and commence firing at each other. Don't this look horrible, as it were brother against brother trying to kill each other.
This campaign is lasting longer than was anticipated. It was thought that it would be over by the 4th of July, but the prospect looks dull there is but 3 days and it can't possibly end in that time. I wish it could. I must close. Write soon and often. The boys are well. With much love I am your affectionate brother.
T.C. Patterson

(Note: The actual Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, took place on June 27, 1864. This was the only battle which General Sherman lost. Through his impatience in his flanking movements, he suffered a loss of approximately 3,000 casualties and the Confederates suffered a loss of approximately 750 casualties.)

Within 3 miles of Atlanta, Ga. July 21 st/64
Dear ones at home,
Little did I think yesterday when I wrote to Lou. that we would be so soon in conflict with the enemy. Under a very heavy skirmish fire we took position in line of battle about 3, P.M., filling a gap between the 4th resting on our left and the 14th Corps on our right. After resting for about two hours (for we were almost wearried out with the heat.) The Rebs made an advance on the skirmish line thinking there was nothing more in their way. But they were much mistaken about the time they got up to skirmish line we were there just in time to prevent them from gaining the position and no doubt would have taken two of our batteries. The engagement commenced about 5: oclock P.M. lasting until night came. Our Regt. suffered severely, but I am happy to say that none in our Co. were hurt, except one who was slightly touched on the shoulder but does not amount to much.
There were 64 killed and wounded in the Regt. 10 were killed some have died there wounds being mortal. Our color bearer was amongst the killed. Sergt. Botts was his name. The Rebs. suffered severely. I passed over the battlefield this morning they lay in heaps over the ground. Our men were busily burying them this morning as decently as circumstances would admit. Our men were also decently interred this forenoon, Chaplain Stillwell held religious services thus we paid the last sad rights to our deceased comrades. It is horrible that man will so continue to butcher one another in such a manner. The enemy left the field with their dead and wounded behind. We brought in several wounded Rebs. Never have I seen human limbs lying scattered over the ground like so many beef limbs. Some three or four hundred prisoners were captured some came in and gave themselves up. Say they are tired of fighting. Some are in earnest however, even some of the wounded say if they get well and are exchanged they will try us again.
Phil wrote to you I believe. I suppose he told you all the news. I, and the boys are well. We expect to have fighting before we get Atlanta. May God shield our heads in day of battle, and may we be prepared when called to leave this world.

Farewell write soon. Your Son and Brother. T.C. Patterson

Gen. Johnson has been superceded by Gen. Hood. the Rebs say he is a fighter. Thought he would do something yesterday but missed. The battle yesterday was more than the Resaca Battle.
The weather is extremely hot.

(Note: The actual Battle of Atlanta, Georgia, took place on July 22, 1864. This turned out to be a Union victory. There were approximately 8,000 Confederates killed or wounded and approximately 3,700 Federals killed or wounded.

(Thomas Craig Patterson was born in Warren County, Ohio. He was a member of Company B, 79th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.)
(Thomas Craig Patterson's letters, courtesy of Louise Hutchison)


IN CAMP, 5 MILES FROM GAULY (Western Virginia)

October 10, 1861. JOSIAH HOLBROOK--Co. F. 12th OVI

Dear Mother: Our cannon just fired at something about two and a half miles from here--so the engineers say. We could not tell where the shell fell, but we got no reply from them. We have moved since I wrote you last, five miles toward Gauley. I received your welcome letter yesterday. While marching, Herold met us. You would be surprised to see me marching along; the sun pouring down, an awful heavy knapsack on my back, haversack full, canteen, gun, and cartridge box with forty rounds in it. I did not feel my knapsack for two or three miles after I got the letter. All our troops are coming back; I think the object is to meet the rebels, who left their fortifications and intended, it is supposed, to get back by a round--about way to Gauley, and cut off our supplies; but I guess Rosecrans is equal to them. Osc. and I have just come back from Hawk's Nest, a place where Wise was fortified. It might be made a strong position, but the way Wise had it, two cannon balls would knock it to pieces. While we were there, a patrol of Corporal and four men came after us. They said we had left camp without permission.
On Hawk's Nest is one of the most beautiful views I ever saw. Away up the valley is the winding river, New River, which rushes down apparently right under your feet. The Nest is about 1000 feet above the water. Oh, I wish you could see some of the beautiful scenery along the New and Gauley Rivers.
I was on guard the other night--it was raining hard and the mud was awful. It stopped raining about 10 P.M. I was on the first relief--George Harris and I were next to the Colonel's quarters. The cook had left a fire there, also a bucket. We laid our guns across the bucket and sat by the fire, both wondering what our parents would think to see us there at midnight watching our lonely beat. I am quite well. We have had no long marches lately. The days are very warm and nights very cold; we have to find winter quarters soon. Osc. and I sleep very comfortably. We lay a rubber blanket on the ground, then a woolen one; we take off our pants and blouses, lie down, and cover up with a woolen and rubber.
I often think of home, and wonder what the folks are doing there. We heard that the 35th was in Cynthiana. I hope there will be a move forward soon, to do something; it seems as if the war was too slow. Perhaps we will winter in Ohio; I hope so.

October 11th
Herold is going to Lebanon and I send my letter by him. We had orders to cook two day's rations this morning. Gen. Cox and Brigade are at Lookout, and we are expecting an attack all the time; and we are to hold ourselves in readiness to go to him. I have no idea whether we will go or not. The band is playing now for guard-mounting. More men came from the hospital last night, so that guard duty will not be so heavy. They report a great deal of sickness and many deaths. The typhoid fever is prevalent. Some of our boys are very sick. It seems that those who go with us, instead of going to the hospital, get well the sooner. The idea is quite prevalent that we will winter in Ohio-Camp Dennison.


C. Failor

Dear Father: I received your letter of Jan. 25th last Wednesday night; we was packing up to leave Green River, but had not time to write since, and I received another yesterday dated Feb. 9th and also some postage stamps and a Star this morning. We have had a hard time for the last week, today one week ago, we left Bacon Creek for Green River; arrived at and crossed the river that night and camped next to the battle field of Munfordsville, and saw four horses laying that was killed there, and saw where Col. Terry, Col. of the Texas Rangers was killed. The rebels had three car loads of dead sent here, and would not let anybody know how many there was killed.
We left Green River on Thursday morning about daylight, and came about twenty miles, and then stopped for the night. We thought we would not put up our tents, so we laid on the ground, but Lieut. H. and myself fixed a shed with rails in a fence corner. The next morning everything was covered up with snow, and we would go around to a pile of snow, kick it and somebody would jump up.
On Friday, Feb. 14th, we came on a gallop and hired wagons to bring the knapsacks for the infantry so we could hurry up as we was told the rebels was going to burn the town and leave it, so we hurried as fast as we could, but when we got here the bridge across Barren River was burning, so we could not cross, and Capt. Loomis planted his artillery on this side and commenced firing at ten minutes before 12 o'clock; they fired at an engine that was standing on the track by the depot, one ball passed through two brick walls of the depot, and there were five more locomotives ready to start out, but they then started with one, and left one cannon, and then they went over the the hills and left some of the Texas Rangers to burn the town, they burned the depot and engine house with a lot of muskets, pistols, sabres and tents; they burned nearly all the business part of the town, a large pork house full of pork and bacon.
We had to just stand there and look at it burn, as we could not cross the river, but one of the citizens told us of a ferry that was down the river two miles, at a mill; some of the infantry crossed that night and we crossed the next morning, the town was nearly in ruins.
We went out on the Nashville Pike on Saturday morning about five miles, but did not find anybody, but saw a railroad bridge burning. We came back and took possession of a livery station for our horses, and we are quartered in a large three story hotel. We are having very hard times here, we have to do all the scouting, and most of the picket duty. I have slept but one night since last Saturday week ago, and am almost played out-I expect we will leave here tomorrow for Nashville and then we will be ready to march through to New Orleans.
I expect before this reaches you we will be on the road to Nashville. Some of the boys went out scouting last Saturday afternoon, and returned late last night with a prisoner and his horse. They saw a regiment 17 miles from here and had to retreat. We took 5 prisoners on our route here. We lost nary a man.
C. FAILOR, Co. A 4th Reg. Ohio Cavalry

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This page created 28 August 2004 and last updated 9 August, 2010
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