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Walker, Joseph Warner and myself were on a post together, and we tried to enjoy the situation.
Several times during the night the pickets of the enemy opened up on us with heavy firing and deafening yells, but neither of them had any fatal effect. When all was quiet they seemed to want information, and would shout at us such questions as these: “Say, Yank, do you want some tobacco ?” Yank, don't you wish you was a union?" "Where's Hooker?" We answered as courteously as the case required.
30. The 12 ist O. V. I. relieved us at 8 A. M., and we returned to our former position and spent the day resting, washing, sleeping, etc. I have been reading “Beyond the Lines, or a Yankee Prisoner Loose in Dixie.” The weather is
warm. 31. The 34th Illinois is skirmishing in our front to-day. The enemy have been annoying our part of the line by an almost continual fire from a battery on the summit of a very high hill in our front. We took shelter in trenches, then took to the woods in the rear and each man sought a place of safety. After an hour we returned to the trenches and remained unmolested till evening. One of our musicians had his horn broken by a fragment of shell.
JUNE, 1864. 1. At midnight, last night, the 113th vacated her works, and moving two miles to the left, stopped in an old field grown up with small pines. Remained till past noon to-day. Then moving to the left, we passed a part of the line occupied by the 20th A. C., and took supper in a hollow. At dusk we occupied a part of the line a mile further to the left, relieving the rooth O. V. I., and the 112th Illinois Regiments, of the Twenty-third Corps. Slept in line with arms and accoutrements on. Company H took the skirmish line. Our line and that of the enemy are within rifle range of each other, and that brings the skirmishers almost face to face. There is no harmony between the two sets of skirmishers, and they are kept hid from each other continually. Some of our skirmish pits fill with water, and the occupants must keep the water tossed out or stay out themselves, exposed to the shots of the enraged foe.
3. Still holding our position in the rain and mud. The balls of the enemy whiz over our heads too closely for safety and comfort. Last night and the night before we fell in and stood in line in our works, expecting the enemy was moving upon us, but they came not. It rains.
4. Our brigade was relieved soon after daylight. Moved to the rear in a heavy rain, prepared and ate breakfast, then moved to the left four miles. Took dinner, drew rations, put up our shelter tents, and stayed for the night. It rains.
5. Drew fresh beef, put it on the fire to cook, but moved before it was half done. Marched a mile to the northeast. Here the right wing of the regiment went into position, and the five left Companies, H, E, K, G and B, went on the skirmish line, relieving troops of the 145th New York Infantry. All is quiet in our front, and we are told that the rebels have vacated this part of the line.
6. The pickets were called from post and formed on Company K, near a frame house. Here are seven rebel deserters who had come in and surrendered to Captain Shepherd's company. They are dirty, poorly clad, ignorant and forbidding in their appearance.
After an hour waiting, the five right Companies, A, F, D, I and C, with the brigade, came along, and we moved, all together, several miles to the right, went into line in the edge of a woods near a cornfield. Here we constructed the customary rail barricade, got supper, took a wash, and then slept for the night quietly away.
7. We are resting where we halted yesterday. This is two miles from Ackworth, and thirty-five miles from Atlanta. The country hereabouts is very little improved, a large per cent. of the whole country being a dense forest.
10. Yesterday and the day before we rested quietly in the shade. At 8 A. M. to-day we moved eastward, and after a march of six miles or less, halted in a peach orchard. Here we spent an hour waiting for the wagon trains of the 15th A. C. to pass.
During the afternoon we traveled seven miles, a tremendous rain pouring upon us. I am ill, and have marched with great difficulty. Was very glad when the order was given to stack arms.
11. We are now confronting the rebel army, and the usual roar of musketry goes on. Countermarched some distance during the forenoon, put up tents, let it rain and took dinner. In the evening we moved on a mile and closed by divisions, en masse, within half a mile of the railroad, near Big Shanty, a station about twenty-seven miles from Atlanta.
12. Sunday. There seemed to be a little respect paid to the day. The skirmishers were not as noisy as yesterday. Another torrent of rain fell. A high, ugly hill a mile or more in our front is the stronghold of the enemy. A somewhat flat and open scope
of country lies between us and the rebel lines.
13. Rain again to-day. Six prisoners were taken by the pickets of our brigade.
14. About noon we took arms, and, preceded by a heavy skirmish line, the brigade moved in line of battle in the direction of the line of the enemy, about a mile, the enemy falling back as we pressed forward. We halted on the north edge of a large, open field, where we put up works.
15. At ten o'clock A. M. I went with other men to get beef. During our absence a fierce artillery fight took place on McPherson's right and to our left, east of the railroad. Our lines advanced and held the ground. Our pickets gained the further side of the field and put up the necessary protection. When we advanced during the engagement many of the rebel pickets ran toward our lines with white flags floating from their arms in token of surrender.
It was a clear case of desertion. Our men cheered them heartily. While this was going on the excitement caused our men to place themselves in conspicuous positions to witness what went on, thus making themselves targets for the rebel sharpshooters. A shot, which must have been fired from a distance of half a mile, struck James Steward, Comany E, 34th Illinois, and Cyrus G. Platt, commanding Company G, 113th 0. V. I., wounding both fatally. The ball passed through Steward's head and lodged in Platt's. He lived till four o'clock this afternoon. Few men hold such a place in my esteem as this man who has just laid down his life for his country. I became acquainted with him early in our term of service, and that acquaintance has grown riper and sweeter as trials and dangers thickened. A few minutes before he fell he passed and addressed me pleasantly, and as he passed on, Sergeant Stratton remarked that Lieutenant Platt was among the worthy men of our regiment. His death casts a gloom over the whole regiment. Late at night we stood to arms in expectation of an assault by the enemy, but he failed to come.
16. My health improves. We have had a day or two without rain. Heavy skirmishing goes on right and left. In our front it is more quiet. I have drawn a pair of new shoes. Have been trying to patch a gap in my pants but gave it up. I was not intended for a tailor. Rebel deserters report the death of Lieutenant General Polk, of the
C. S. A. We improved our works to some extent, and now, if Johnnie wants to come, we are ready.
17. I learn to-day that the mountain to the southeast is called Kenesaw. We have held ourselves in readiness to move all day. A brisk fight took place on our left and in the front of the 16th A. C. Rain. . A rebel signal on the mountain is kept in motion almost continually, day and night. The enemy made a feint in our front at ten o'clock last night, causing us the trouble of getting ready to welcome him, but he halted too far away to suit us. James Anderson, Company C, was wounded in the neck to-day.
18. Rained nearly all day. This evening our line was advanced nearly five hundred yards, and established on the further edge of the cornfield. The enemy seemed not to observe us and offered no resistance.
19. Sunday. During the day our line was advanced closer to the mountain, the rebels having given way.
But he holds a strong position yet on the mountain. Company E went on the skirmish line at the base of the mountain. We were not to fire unless the enemy advanced, consequently we had rather an agreeable time. Late in the afternoon our artillery engaged the enemy and they exchanged compliments over the heads of us skirmishers in a very discourteous manner, many of our own shells falling nearer our skirmish line than the enemy.
20. Part of the line of skirmishers was relieved at 3 A. M., leaving sixteen of Company E still on duty. I was among this number, and I preferred this duty rather than to return to the main line. There is something fascinating about this thing of crouching behind a pile of rocks and being fired at by the foe; it is a game at which two can play, with equal chances of winning.
The artillery practice was resumed early in the forenoon, and continued at intervals during the day, both sides firing over our heads. Many of our shells fell short, and endangered our own skirmishers. In one case rather a strange thing happened: Two skirmishers of the 108th Ohio, on our left, were lying on their faces, side by side, with their feet toward our battery. A shell from one of our guns struck between them, burying itself in the earth. Neither of the men were injured, but one of them had his pants leg torn open from the foot to the waist.
At night Captain Shepherd's company came to our relief, and we joined the line, half a mile in the rear.
21. Considerable rain fell. We are in line, half a mile west of Kenesaw's base. Comparative quiet reigns. I procured the consent of Lieutenant Colonel Warren to use a log stable which stood on our right, to construct better defences in our front. We soon had the logs in position, and by ten o'clock at night we had a complete work constructed.
22. Early in the day the enemy began shelling us from the summit of Kenesaw, and he made a full day's work of it. Our batteries and sharp shooters put in their work diligently, but there was no let up to him. We can see the gunner as he rams the charge home, then comes a puff of smoke, and in two or three seconds the shots come shrieking through the air, sometimes striking in the timber in our rear, sometimes plowing up the dirt in our front, and bounding over our heads and landing a thousand feet behind us. About dinner time we were driven into our pits, leaving our dinners on the fire. We remained sheltered till our dinners were over-cooked. The boys were so mad at this, that they omitted to return thanks at their meals.
Near midnight, while Dr. Wilson was dressing the wounds of one of the men, the light of the candle he was using attracted the attention of the rebel gunner on the mountain, and a shot was fired which was well aimed. It carried off a leg apiece for Esau Rice and Albert Fields, of our regiment, who were assisting the surgeon in his duties. How shall I ever forget the shrieks of these men ? The day and night have been full of terror to us all. During the night we packed up, and for a time expected to move out.
23. Our batteries and skirmishers made it lively for the enemy all day, with little reply from that side till late in the evening. Some of the left companies strengthened their works during the night. We rested unusually well.
24. This has been rather a quiet day. Some of us have not had our clothes off to sleep for many days. A little quiet and rest just now would be appreciated. The rebel guns on the mountain seem to have dissappeared.
25. We learn that yesterday was a day of fasting and prayer with the rebels. If we had known it sooner we would not have disturbed them in their devotions as we did. This statement explains their silence during the day. They have my permission to fast and pray continually. But the prayer of the wicked is an abomination.
They have been shelling us furiously again to-day. There are ten