Showing posts from March, 2023

Saving the Army: The 115th Illinois on Horseshoe Ridge

  T he arrival of General James Steedman's division atop Horseshoe Ridge on the afternoon of Sunday, September 20, 1863, in General Thomas' estimation, saved the Union army at Chickamauga. Few of the troops of the Reserve Corps had seen much combat, among them the subject of today's post the 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.       Raised in September 1862 from several counties in the center of the state, the regiment spent it first months in the service on rear area duty in Kentucky before joining the main army in February 1863. It saw its first action at Franklin on April 10, 1863, then participated in the Tullahoma campaign.       The Reserve Corps held open the vital road at Rossville on the first day of the battle before moving to the front the following day. As remembered by Frank Gates of Co. K, the regiment double quicked to the front and came under fire as soon as they arrived on the ridge. " The ball opened in dead earnest, the bullets from our own and the en

Into the Wilderness of Pines: Opening Day on the Left at Chickamauga

  A fter marching all night, the men of the 31st Ohio stacked arms near LaFayette Road on the morning of Saturday September 19, 1863 were a "sleepy, dusty bunch of boys" recalled Sergeant Samuel McNeil. " The boys were short of hardtack and judging by the appearance of their jaded horses, our 4 th  Michigan Battery must have been short of oats. General Thomas, erect and silent as ever, rode by. Perhaps our old hero was not so much to blame as the lamented Colonel Dan McCook for our going into the fight without the usual tin cup of coffee. Let that be as it may, there came the unwelcome order “Fall in!” As the regiment took arms we heard the first, but not the last, of the now historical Confederate brigade that Colonel McCook had found isolated on our side of the Chickamauga near Reed’s Bridge."           Sergeant McNeil’s account of the September 19, 1863 fighting at Chickamauga first saw publication in the April 14, 1887 edition of the National Tribune .