With the 10th Ohio Cavalry on the Atlanta Campaign: William Wallace Hill
William Wallace Hill was born September 6, 1845 in Weston, Wood Co., Ohio and went to work by age 10 as a laborer on a nearby farm. He enlisted when he was just over 17 years of age in the Union Army on October 8, 1862 in Perrysburg, Ohio, becoming a private in Captain David Stratton's Company G, 10th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. The regiment gathered at Camp Cleveland during the dark days of the war in late 1862, and was mustered into Federal service on January 15, 1863. The regiment was sent south to join General William S. Rosecrans' Army of the Cumberland in its winter encampment near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There the regiment became part of Rosecrans' growing cavalry corps, taking part in the Tullahoma and Chickamauga campaigns in the latter parts of 1863. The regiment served on guard and outpost duty around Chattanooga into May 1864 when it took the field in support of General William Tecumseh Sherman's drive against Atlanta.
Private Hill took an active part in this campaign, and received his first wound on May 13, 1864 near Resaca, Georgia; he was wounded in the left hip by a shell fragment but stayed with his command and did not go to the hospital. The Union Army continued to push south, and Private Hill was wounded again, this time in the right leg, on June 27, 1864 near Kennesaw Mountain while his regiment was supporting a Federal battery. Sherman's army continued to drive the Confederate forces back into the defenses of Atlanta and by the beginning of August, after three very hard fought battles, Sherman's army settled into a siege of Atlanta.
The lifeblood of the Confederate Army in Atlanta was the series of railroads that supplied the city. Sherman proposed to his cavalrymen that they could pry the Confederates out of Atlanta if they could destroy these railroads- it was tried unsuccessfully on several occasions, Rousseau's, Stoneman's, and McCook's Raids being the most well known of these attempts. But in mid August, bombastic General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (also known as Judson “By God” Kilpatrick or simply “Kill-Cavalry” for his profane and hard fighting nature) told Sherman that he thought his command could break the Atlanta and West Point road and the Macon and Western Railroad. “It is not only possible but comparatively easy,” Kilpatrick breezily told his chief. Sherman's directive to Kilpatrick was to “break up the Macon road all to pieces,” and instructed his ambitious cavalry leader that “your real task is not to fight but to work.”
Kilpatrick gathered his division at Sandtown on August 18, all of 4,500 troopers including some reinforcements, which including the brigade of Col. Fielder A. Jones of which the 10th OVC was a part. Kilpatrick formed the men in a hollow square and gave them a pep talk, which given Kilpatrick's propensity for profanity had to be quite a show. The division set off south that evening and soon were brushing aside small detachments of Confederates sent into the area to contest the advance. The 10th OVC had a sharp skirmish with the advance of a Confederate cavalry brigade sent to intercept Kilpatrick near Steven's Crossroads, driving the enemy for nearly two miles and allowing the balance of Kilpatrick's troopers to continue south. Kilpatrick's troopers brushed aside Confederate troops at Fairburn on the morning of the 19th, tearing up the tracks there, then turned to the east to strike the Macon & Western RR south of Atlanta.
The hard riding Federal troopers, aided by artillery, soon battered their way into Jonesboro and set to work destroying the railroad tracks. “It was a wild night,” one soldier recalled. “The sky lit up with burning timbers, the continuous bang of carbines, the galloping of staff officers up and down the streets, the terrified citizens peering out of their windows, Kilpatrick's band playing national airs to the shouts of the men, all created a weird scene never to be forgotten.” Troopers not assigned to ripping up track moved down the main street, looting and torching public buildings including the courthouse, the jail, and the provost marshal's office. A brisk wind fanned the flames and filled the air with smoke and cinders. Arriving Confederate infantry soon put a stop to the revelry.
The 10th Ohio Cavalry was placed in the vanguard of the Union column as it proceeded south from Jonesboro but quickly ran into trouble in the form of veteran Confederate infantry from the 48th Tennessee, and several depleted Arkansas regiments. The 10th OVC was mounted and in the road heading south toward Griffin when “The column came upon a strong barricade hidden by the darkness, behind which the enemy lay in strong force, and from which the advance was forced to recoil from the murderous fire they received.” Col. Jones wrote that “It was dark and would only ascertain the position of the enemy by the line of his fire, which enveloped us in front and in both flanks at point-blank range.”
Jones dismounted two of his three regiments, and charged the unseen Confederates again. “A second attempt to pass the point was made with like result, and the loss of valuable men killed and wounded,” Lt. Col. Thomas Sanderson of the 10th OVC wrote. Among the valuable men wounded was our subject- Private Hill was hit by a musket ball in the left leg, the ball striking him halfway between the knee and the ankle, shattering both bones. Lifted into an ambulance by a comrade, Hill experienced the rest of Kilpatrick's raid from beneath the canvas of a galloping ambulance.
The arrival of the Confederate infantry convinced Kilpatrick that he could no longer hold Jonesboro. But rather than retreating, he moved east then south with the intent of striking the railroad south of Jonesboro and continuing his destructive work. Kilpatrick's ploy didn't work- when his command arrived at Lovejoy Station on the morning of August 20, they found hundreds of infantry guarding the tracks. The Union men charged but could not break the Confederate line along the railroad. Confederate cavalrymen soon appeared in the Federal rear and it was clear to every man that they were in a very tight spot.
Kilpatrick was equal to the challenge- ordering his best brigade commander Colonel Robert Minty to break out the command, the division charged east and blasted a hole through the Confederates, opening a gap wide enough for all of Kilpatrick's ambulances, pack mules, artillery, and escaped slaves to pour through. “With kettles and pans rattling, the slaves flying for dear life, the scene was ludicrous as well as grand.” Once everyone was through, Kilpatrick faced his troopers about and held off the Confederates for a few more hours and withdrew back to Union lines under the cover of a heavy rain shower, arriving at Decatur on the east side of Atlanta on August 22nd.
The results of the raid were negligible, despite Kilpatrick's claims of having destroyed 13 miles of track. The Confederate, rapidly becoming experts at rail repair, had the Macon & Western back into normal operation within a day. “The raid was more brilliant than successful,” one veteran wrote. Sherman, now convinced that he could not break the Confederate hold on Atlanta with cavalry, decided that it would take the full weight of an infantry corps to do the job. And that's what he did 10 days later in the final master stroke of the campaign...
As for Private Hill, he made it back to Union lines and immediately went into a hospital. His condition worsened while he was convalescing at Kingston, Georgia, the wound developing gangrene. The Army granted him a furlough in October 1864 and he was rushed home to Wood County where he was put under the care of two local physicians. Hill slowly recovered, and reported to David's Island, New York in January 1865 once he was able to walk on crutches. Hill spent the remainder of the war in a hospital ward, being given a surgeon's certificate of disability and discharged on June 12, 1865 at David's Island, New York.
Hill began the study of medicine in 1874, attending Western Reserve University and the Toledo Medical College where he graduated in 1883. He was a founding member of the Col. James M. Neibling Post No. 20 in his hometown of Weston, and remained active with the G.A.R. for the rest of his life. But the lingering effects of his severe wound at Jonesboro continued to impede his health, and as a last resort, his left leg was amputated in 1886. Hill's health returned and he lived a long healthy life, prominent in his practice of medicine. He was one of the last remaining members of Neibling Post G.A.R. post when he died August 17, 1926. Dr. Hill is buried at New Weston Cemetery.
Identification of soldiers in Colonel James M. Neibling Post No. 20 Weston, Ohio photo taken during 1900 dedication of soldiers’ monument in Weston Cemetery.
Row 1 Left to right
1. Jacob N. Sautter- Private Co.F, 125th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted December 17, 1862, mustered out September 25, 1865 at Camp Irwin, Texas. March 13, 1838- September 20, 1926 Old Weston Cemetery
2. Lewis S. Baker- Sergeant Co.G, 8th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted June 5, 1861, promoted to Sergeant December 19, 1862, mustered out July 13, 1864. December 1, 1841-June 19, 1927 New Weston Cemetery
3. Ephraim Gross- Private Co.E, 102nd Pennsylvania Vol. Inf., enlisted August 6, 1861, severely wounded at Battle of Opequon Creek September 19, 1864-lost right leg, mustered out as veteran May 21, 1865. June 7, 1834-September 19, 1927 Weston Cemetery
4. Thomas W. Taylor-Private, Co.K, 111th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted August 13, 1862, discharged March 12, 1863 at Bowling Green, Kentucky, Surgeon's certificate of disability, March 22, 1830-October 30, 1903 Weston Cemetery
5. Hiram A. Hunter- Sergeant Co.B 111th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Private August 7, 1862, promoted to Corporal September 5, 1862, promoted to Sergeant December 25, 1862, captured November 16, 1863 near Lenoir, Tennessee, paroled November 27, 1864, mustered out June 27, 1865. June 12, 1839-February 5, 1906 Weston Cemetery
6. Not identified
7. George W. Barnes- Sergeant Co.A 189th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Corporal February 14, 1865, promoted to Sergeant July 11, 1865 and mustered out September 28, 1865. April 23, 1841-May 20, 1913 Weston Cemetery
Row 2 Left to right
1. Dr. Ebenezer W. Schooley- Corporal Co.A 68th Ohio Vol Inf., enlisted as Private October 25, 1863, promoted to Corporal December 24, 1864, mustered out July 10, 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky. Born November 28, 1840
2. John L. Dull- Private Co.I, 144th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted May 2, 1864 mustered out August 31, 1864. July 14, 1845-August 15, 1907 Weston Cemetery
3. Abraham Reams- Private Co.K, 13th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted May 4, 1861, mustered out August 21, 1861. April 4, 1842- December 26, 1919 Beaver Creek Cemetery
4. David G. Hite- Private Co.F, 72nd Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted February 29, 1864, discharged May 17, 1865 at Cleveland, Ohio, Surgeon's Certificate of Disability. February 12, 1845- April 14, 1908 Weston Cemetery
5. Not identified
6. Joshua O. Avery- Private Co.K, 185th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Private February 1, 1865, mustered out June 29, 1865. November 11, 1828-?
7. Harvey D. Baker- Private Co.F, 14th New York Vol. Inf., enlisted May 1, 1861, dropped from rolls as deserter at Sharpsburg, Maryland October 15, 1862. January 3, 1844- March 8, 1914 Weston Cemetery
8. John H. Bortel- Sergeant Co.A, 100th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Private August 5, 1862, promoted to Corporal August 24, 1862, promoted to Sergeant October 9, 1864, mustered out June 20, 1865. 1842- May 1, 1920 Weston Cemetery
9. John P. Hamilton- private Co.H, 21st Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted September 2, 1861, discharged November 11, 1864 as Veteran Surgeon's Certificate of Disability Died August 22, 1914 Weston Cemetery
Row 3 Left to right
1. Not identified
2. Joseph W. Shipman- Private Co.I, 156th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted May 2, 1864, mustered out September 1, 1864. June 1, 1832- October 13, 1907 Weston Cemetery
3. Joseph H. Wright- Corporal Co.C 24th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Corporal June 1, 1861, discharged April 23, 1863 to accept position as Contract Surgeon October 7, 1836- December 24, 1923 Weston Cemetery
4. William W. Sockman- Private Co.H 142nd Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted May 2, 1864, mustered out September 2, 1864. December 16, 1845- June 20, 1907 Weston Cemetery
5. Nathan D. Patterson- Private Co.B, 55th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted September 29, 1861, transferred to 69th Co., 2nd Battalion Veteran Reserve Corps October 7, 1863. September 4, 1838- July 11, 1919 Weston Cemetery
6. Henry H. Weeks- Co.F 10th Ohio Vol. Cavalry? No record found. 1841-1920 Weston Cemetery
7. Not identified
8. Cyrenus Pember- Private Co.B 188th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted February 18, 1865 deserted later. 1827-1914 Weston Cemetery
9. Thomas C. Miller- Private Co.B, 111th Ohio Vol. Inf. No record found. 1844-? Weston Cemetery
10. John A. Stearns- Private Co. E, 144th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted May 2, 1864, mustered out August 24, 1864. July 6, 1839-October 1, 1920 Weston Cemetery
11. Alfred G. Miller- Private Co.D, 21st Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted February 8, 1864, discharged May 17, 1865 by order of War Dept. Died May 23, 1915 Weston Cemetery
12. John H. Whitker- Private Co.G, 130th Ohio Vol. Inf., February 7, 1843- March 10, 1919 Weston Cemetery
13. William E. Smith- Sergeant Co.K, 111th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted as Private August 14, 1862, promoted to Corporal August 1, 1863, promoted to Sergeant May 1, 1865, mustered out June 27, 1865 at Salisbury, North Carolina. December 6, 1830- August 16, 1913 Weston Cemetery
Row 4 Left to right
1. Joshua Barnes- Private Co.I, 27th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted July 22, 1861, discharged August 17, 1864 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. December 9, 1837- October 16, 1904 Weston Cemetery
2. Solon Davis- Private Co.B, 21st Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted April 21, 1861, discharged August 14, 1861. Private Co.I, 68th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted October 15, 1861, mustered out November 25, 1864 at Nashville, Tennessee. On detached duty to 17th Corps Topographical Engineer Corps September 1863-April 1864. On detached duty Headquarters Department and Army of Tennessee April 1864 to discharge. 1842-1929 Weston Cemetery
3. Josiah Smith- Private 6th United States Cavalry, enlisted August 20, 1861, discharged August 20, 1864. Reenlisted Co.K, 1st U.S. Veteran Volunteer Regiment, discharged February 1, 1866. November 3, 1842- April 6, 1926 Weston Cemetery
4. Peter Baker ?
5. Dr. William Wallace Hill- Private Co.G 10th Ohio Vol. Cavalry. Originally drummer boy in 1861 Ohio 3 months regiment. Enlisted October 2, 1862, slightly wounded at Resaca, Ga. May 13, 1864, slightly wounded again at Kennesaw Mtn. June 27, 1864, severely wounded at Jonesboro, Ga. August 20, 1864, mustered out June 12, 1865. September 6, 1845- August 17, 1926 Weston Cemetery
6. Henry Daniels- Private Co.C, 130th Ohio Vol. Inf.?, No record found. October 23, 1842- February 26, 1925 Weston Cemetery
7. Carlo Call- Private Co.K, 100th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted August 7, 1862, mustered out June 20, 1865.
8. William H. Bannister- Private Co.K 111th Ohio Vol. Inf., enlisted August 13, 1862, mustered out June 27, 1865 at Salisbury, North Carolina. October 11, 1823- December 1, 1911 Weston Cemetery
Further individuals are not identified although it is written that John Schmyr of Milton Center Ohio, as well as Arch Conklin and Bill Singer are in photograph.
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