Chickamauga Vignettes

In 1892, the Union Veteran Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois published a wonderful volume of soldiers' biographies that is loaded with first hand accounts of the Civil War. Entitled the Soldiers and Patriots' Biographical Album, this source is relatively obscure but thanks to the "power of the internet" it is now hosted by Google books and can be viewed here

Today's blog post gives just a sampling of some of the stories contained within the Album, the common denominator being that these are all accounts from Illinois soldiers regarding the Battle of Chickamauga.

Shot 13 times and survived
Sergeant Thomas J. Scott, Co. I, 25th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Third Brigade (Heg), First Division (Davis), 20th Army Corps (McCook)

          Scott arrived on the ground at the opening of the last named battle [Chickamauga] after a long and forced march and immediately joined in that fierce and desperate struggle. Mr. Scott was in the very front where the firing was hottest and his comrades, without his knowledge, during his excitement had retreated leaving him alone as a target. The bullets flew around him like driving rain and soon he was struck in the side with a ball, felling him to the ground. His blood flowed freely from what he feared was a mortal wound, but calming himself and bracing his mind for the inevitable, he struggled to his feet to seek a place of safety. He had almost reached a ravine when the sound of what appeared to him a thousand rifle shots echoed in his ears and simultaneously he again fell pierced by a dozen Rebel bullets. With his life’s blood coursing from 13 wounds, he lay helpless upon the battleground. His right arm was the only limb not disabled.
Colonel Hans C. Heg
15th Wisconsin
Killed in action September 20, 1863

          During the night, four of his comrades found him, tenderly conveyed his prostrate form in a blanket to camp, where the surgeon intimated that his case was hopeless. He however extracted some of the balls and dressed his wounds. Besides his first wound, two balls had entered his hip, another broke his collar bone, another took away his right heel, another in the leg above the knee, and others lodged in different parts of his body. His belt was also pierced on the left side, the ball coursing around his body to the right side, cutting his shirt and waist band but making no mark upon his body. The following day, the hospital was captured, hence Mr. Scott received better treatment, it being believed he had no chance to live. Thirteen days later, he was exchanged and the want of medical treatment had about completed the work so nearly accomplished by Rebel lead. Already maggots had found a lodging place in his gaping wounds. He was carted across the mountains in an ambulance to Bridgeport some 90 miles- a four day trip- exposed to a Southern sun and the miseries he endured cannot be truthfully described in language.

Sergeant Scott spent the rest of the war in and out of Army hospitals and was discharged for wounds September 5, 1864. He died March 24, 1902 and is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Mahomet, Illinois.

Last conversation with General William H. Lytle
Captain John M. Turnbull, Co. C, 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
First Brigade (Lytle), Third Division (Sheridan), 20th Army Corps (McCook)

          After the battle of Stones River, Captain Turnbull was detailed as staff officer to General Frank T. Sherman, first acting as provost marshal. He then was assigned as brigade inspector and acted in this capacity for the remainder of his service. He was kept very active during the Battle of Chickamauga in arranging and looking after the lines. He was on the lamented General Lytle’s staff during this battle; Lytle was killed while forming new lines under a heavy fire. Captain Turnbull had a horse shot from under him but he escaped unhurt though his company and regiment suffered heavy losses.
          Sunday morning before the battle opened, General Lytle and Captain Turnbull- between whom there was a strong friendship- were sitting on a log together talking in a confidential way. The general had called Captain Turnbull to him, saying he wanted to have a talk. While they were sitting there, he asked Turnbull if he thought there would be a battle that day and upon his replying in the affirmative, Lytle said, “I think so too; I do not think it will make me a coward, yet I feel that I shall be killed in the coming battle, and I have one request to make, one favor to ask, and this is that you will not leave me during the day.” Turnbull replied, “Do you feel this way, General?” Lytle said “I do.” Turnbull said “Then we will not be separated.”
General William H. Lytle
          When the battle opened, they were still together and balls were flying like hail around them, yet they remained untouched by the enemy’s deadly lead, although soldiers of the Union were falling thick and fast upon the bloody field. A little while and the lines below began to break and required attention. There was one whose duty it was to look after them and it was Turnbull, but he moved not, thinking of his pledge. Soon General Lytle told the captain to go down and reform them, but he paid no attention to the order. Lytle then looked at him and pointing his finger down where the battle was raging fiercely said “Go!” Turnbull left without saying a word. Later, in the maneuvering of the contending forces, he saw the General’s gallant steed galloping by riderless. It needed no prophet to judge the result. The noble Lytle had fallen, shot to death by Rebel bullets. He who had but a few moments before so prophetically spoken of his approaching end, and who had but a few hours previous completed that immortal poem “I am dying Egypt, dying, ebbs the crimson life-tide fast…”

Captain Turnbull remained a brigade inspector until sustaining a severe knee wound May 25, 1864 at New Hope Church, Georgia. He resigned his commission November 4, 1864 and returned to civil life in Illinois. He died May 25, 1913 in Monmouth, Illinois, 49 years after being wounded at New Hope Church.

Orderly to General James B. Steedman
Private William M. Perry, Co. I, 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
First Brigade (Whitaker), First Division (Steedman), Reserve Corps (Granger)

          Perry was sent from headquarters at Rossville to the Chickamauga battlefield and was captured by his own pickets as a spy and taken to headquarters where he was not recognized. He was kept up guard that night but next morning some of the staff officers recognized him and he was released and returned the same day. General Steedman had the sole of his boot torn off and sent young Perry to Rossville for another pair and in passing through the woods he came upon a Rebel whom he covered with his gun and ordered to throw up his hands, disarmed him, and brought him into camp, then carried out his order.
General James B. Steedman
          On the early morning of the second day’s battle of Chickamauga, Perry with his regiment went out to reconnoiter, and regardless of the danger he passed along the enemy’s lines in the open field instead of through the timber as the others and for the remainder of the day was kept busy carrying orders from place to place, and at the close of the battle found himself within the enemy’s lines. Being mounted, he put his spurs to his horse and escaped captured but did not reach his regiment until the following morning after 24 hours of continuous riding without resting or feeding himself or horse. He was completely used up and exhausted and scratched and bruised with passing through brush and timber, and his horse rendered useless and was never again mounted.

Private Perry survived the war and mustered out with the 96th Illinois on June 10, 1865. He returned to Illinois, married, and worked in the confectionary trade.

Pantaloons stiffened by blood
Private Jacob Bane, Co. I, 104th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
 First Brigade (Beatty), Second Division (Negley), 14th Army Corps (Thomas)

          In the battle of Chickamauga, the brigade was at Owen’s Ford on September 19th supporting a battery. During this fight, a shell burst at the head of Co. I killing Corporal Chapman. Mr. Bane was struck on the elbow on the right arm, mangling it from shoulder to wrist. Another piece of the same shell struck his left heel, tearing off the flesh. He started for the rear when he was ordered into the ranks by his major in a very emphatic manner. He was complying with the order when his bleeding wounds were discovered and he was sent to the rear, and there lay down in a hole near a tree to escape the bullets that were whizzing about. Soon the stretcher gang came along and carried him beyond the range of shot and shell with his wounded arm dangling from the stretcher.
          On the way they met Dr. Dyer, the regimental surgeon, who examined his wounds and had him placed in am ambulance and taken to Crawfish Springs hospital where his arm was amputated and his wounds dressed. He was the first man taken from the ambulance and placed on the amputation table. While in the hospital, the surviving members of his company came and bade him good bye. He was taken prisoner on September 21, 1863 and remained a prisoner on the battlefield two weeks after being paroled. After receiving his wound, for two or three days his appetite was very poor- food nauseated him. The crackers contained worms, and the mush was made from corn ground with the cob, old stuff, full of worms, and musty. Returning appetite relished this food for which he was voracious. While at the Springs hospital, he had four bedfellows, three Federals and a Confederate- the Federals died. His wearing apparel was very light.

While lying at Crawfish Springs hospital for two weeks, an armistice was entered into between Bragg and Rosecrans, the terms of which permitted the Federal wounded to be removed through the Confederate lines to Chattanooga. Comrade Bane’s wardrobe at that time consisted of a pair of pantaloons which had been saturated and stiffened by blood which had flowed from his wounded arm, and a piece of army blanket. The pants could have been washed but he was advised that the Rebels would take them as soon as removed. The ambulance reached Longstreet’s headquarters near the Rebel lines in front of Chattanooga about noon and there they were halted and not permitted to pass until after dark. Then, passing the lines, the ambulance passed into Federal hands and was driven into Chattanooga.
          Arriving at Chattanooga, he remained two days and one night. A command ordered the slightly wounded to be removed over the mountains to Stevenson, Alabama. Mr. Bane hobbled down to the ambulance, when a doctor came along and asked him about the character of his wound, to which he explained he was slightly wounded. The doctor upon examining ordered him out, to which he gave apparent consent, but when the doctor turned his back, he resumed his reclining position and was carried away. They were five days getting to their destination and while en route the first day, the bandages came off his arm. After 36 hours in Stevenson, he with 52 others took French leave and boarded a flat car; Bane took position astride the brake rod and with feet on the trucks he sat all day and night and although it rained, he says he enjoyed refreshing slumber.

Private Bane was discharged for his wounds April 28, 1864 in Chicago, Illinois and returned to civil life. In 1891, he traveled to Chickamauga for a reunion and while there met the Confederate soldier whom he had shared a bed at the Crawfish Springs hospital. Bane worked as a coroner, a minister, and a pension claim agent for the rest of his life. He died December 13, 1899 and is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

Granger’s Inhumane Order
Orderly Sergeant George W.B. Sadorus, Co. E, 125th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Second Brigade (McCook), Second Division, Reserve Corps (Granger)

Sergeant George W.B. Sadorus
Co. E, 125th Illinois Infantry
        They marched by way of Franklin, Columbia, Decatur, Athens, and Tum, then crossed the country arriving at Huntsville on September 4, 1863, then crossed the Tennessee River at Bridgeport then to Lookout Mountain and went into camp at Rossville with rations for three days only, having arrived several days in advance of the army supplies. The men were soon compelled to go foraging whereupon General Granger issued an order stating that soldiers caught foraging should be hung up by their thumbs for six hours. The men’s necessities compelled them to even take the chances or a violation of the order and being discovered, were subjected to this terrible penalty. Colonel Dan McCook remonstrated with Granger at the inhuman treatment, but without avail. The troops became mutinous, rushed on Granger's tent and turned a battery upon his headquarters. He, seeing the desperation of the men with whom he was confronted, promptly and covered with humiliation, abrogated the order and had the men undergoing such barbarous treatment cut down. This occurred on the eve of the great battle of Chickamauga and caused Granger the loss of all prestige with his command.

Sadorus was later commissioned captain and followed the fortunes of his regiment for the rest of the war, surviving Kennesaw Mountain, the March to the Sea, and the Carolinas campaign. He died June 17, 1911 in Sadorus, Illinois and is buried at Craw Cemetery in Sadorus.


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