The 29th Fights While There is a Man Left: The Bloody Demonstration on Dug Gap

In one of the opening moves of the Atlanta campaign, the 29th Ohio attacked the Confederate position atop Dug Gap on Sunday, May 8, 1864. “Our instructions were to make a strong demonstration and carry, if possible, the Rebel position,” one veteran later noted.

          While advancing to the assault, the brass bands in our rear indiscreetly commenced playing national airs which attracted the attention of the Rebel commander who rapidly concentrated reinforcements in our front. The advance up the declivity was nearly as difficult as Lookout Mountain and more completely fortified. Its summit was steep, precipitous, and covered with scraggy rocks and immense boulders.

The 29th Ohio lost roughly 100 casualties "demonstrating" against the Confederate position atop Dug Gap, including all three field officers with the regiment. "It was a terrible blow to the regiment," John Rupp later wrote. It was only the opening move in a campaign which would last the rest of the summer. 


From our position we commanded a fine view of Dug Gap, a narrow artificial cut through the rocky summit connecting with a road extending almost parallel with the ridge to the gap beyond and, by a zigzag course, reaching the mountain’s base.

The Rebels had so completely fortified themselves that it was next to impossible for our assaulting force to get nearer than their base. As we approached the Rebel line, a regiment was moved by the left flank across our front. At this moment, the Rebel line opened a fire so deadly in effect that the regiment in our front became disordered and broke through our ranks to the rear, causing a momentary confusion in the ranks of the 29th Ohio. At this moment, the order was given to advance which was executed with a rush despite the deadly volleys that were cutting through our ranks.

Up, up we go to death or victory. We commenced to scale the obstructions close to their works and now a storm of deadly missiles are hurled against us. Rocks, boulders, and even cartwheels came crashing down upon us. Yet we moved steadily in the deadly advance until ordered back by our officers. We retired a few paces to reform our line, the fallen trees only separating us from the enemy. Here we made a determined and bloody fight, but having no support to cover our flank, we were subjected to a deadly crossfire from the left.

Yet the regiment stubbornly stood its ground, returning shot for shot until its ammunition was exhausted. More was secured from the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded, and with this we fought on, determined to hold the position until reinforcements should reach us. The 29th Ohio in this fight distinguished itself by brave conduct, though at last compelled to retire from lack of support. Our losses in killed and wounded were more than double that of any other regiment engaged: 26 killed, 67 wounded, and 1 captured, a total of 94.

The “demonstration” proved to be one of the tightest spots the regiment ever got into as remembered by one of the survivors John Rupp.

          “Sunday morning, the sun shone bright and clear. We moved on with the 7th Ohio men out as skirmishers, my regiment in the advance of the brigade,” wrote Rupp. “Amongst the rocks and timber, no good line could be kept, but we went up until we reached the road running up the mountainside and held our position until nightfall. Color bearer after color bearer went down and all of our regimental officers. It was a terrible blow to the regiment. We camped that night in the field where we had left our knapsacks. There was much sorrow in the regiment and little rest. It was said that this was a demonstration so the army could make Snake Creek Gap.”

          The 29th suffered mightily and the news shook the communities from which the 29th hailed in northeastern Ohio.

    “The veteran 29th that fights while there is a man left and which has been almost decimated on one or two occasions before, has suffered severely again,” reported the Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph. “At the pass of the Buzzard Roost near Dalton, Georgia, both officers and men bore themselves most gallantly in the heat of conflict. The [Ashtabula] Sentinel quotes from a letter from Lieutenant E.B. Woodbury putting the loss of the regiment at 105 men, of whom 21 have given their lives for their country. Colonel Fitch and Lieutenant Colonel Hayes are said to be getting along comfortably. The wounded are all properly cared for and on the 9th were transferred to Ringgold, Georgia by ambulances and from thence to Chattanooga by rail.”

29th Ohio Casualty List for Dug Gap

Field & Staff           3

Colonel William T.  Fitch, wounded in right leg, discharged October 13, 1864, for wounds received in action

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Hayes, wounded in right shoulder, discharged November 4, 1864, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Adjutant James B. Storer, wounded in right shoulder

 

Company A             6

First Lieutenant Winthrop H. Grant, killed

Sergeant Thaddeus E. Hoyt, wounded

Sergeant Andrew L. Rickard, ball through palm of right hand, killed June 15, 1864, at Pine Knob, Ga. [buried at Marietta National Cemetery]

Private John Ellis, ball through arm near shoulder

Private Adrian M. Knowlton, killed

Private Franklin Potter, killed

 

Gravestone of Private Andrew J. Bright, 29th Ohio at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Company B              5

Private Andrew Bright, severely wounded and died of wounds June 3, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee [burial at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Private John Edwards, wounded

Private Nathan A. Germond [German], seriously wounded

Private William Potter, leg amputated, died of wounds and acute diarrhea July 6, 1864, at Hospital No. 19, Nashville, Tennessee [buried at Nashville National Cemetery]

Private George Wright, slightly wounded in hand

 

Gravestone of Private William Potter, 29th Ohio at Nashville National Cemetery

Company C              7

Corporal Allen Mason, seriously wounded, died of wounds May 29, 1864, at Jeffersonville, Indiana

Private Samuel Fay, slightly wounded

Private John Gray, killed

Private John Keppler, killed

Private Obed Knapp, slightly wounded

Private Henry C. Lord, slightly wounded

Private James Wenham, seriously wounded and discharged for wounds September 1, 1864

 

Sergeant Samuel Wooldridge of Co. D was killed by "rifle ball passing directly through his head." 

Company D             19

First Lieutenant George Washington Dice, slightly wounded four times, died of wounds June 17, 1864, received June 16, 1864, at Pine Knob, Ga. “Not yet recovered from wounds received at Mill Creek, he returned to the regiment at half past 5 p.m. on the 15th and about 1 o’clock a.m. of the 16th he received the wound from which he died.” [Buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Sergeant Samuel Wooldridge, killed [“a rifle ball passing directly through his head.”]

Corporal George Foust, killed [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Private Thomas G. Bare, killed [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Private Levi Baughman, wounded in right arm, died September 2, 1864, at Cincinnati, O. [buried at Spring Grove Cemetery]

Private David M. Brown, wounded in right arm

Private John Burkert, wounded in face

Private Rufus S. Chapman, severely wounded

Private Charles A. Downey, killed [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Gravestone of Private Jacob Gardner, Co. D, 29th Ohio at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Private Jacob Gardner [Gardiner], seriously wounded in left breast, died of wounds May 24, 1864 [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Private Henry A. Hane, killed [buried at West law Cemetery, Canton, O.]

Private Marshall Houghland [Hoagland], wounded in right arm

Private John H. Huga, wounded in abdomen

Private Isaac Medsker [Medisker], wounded in left leg

Private John H. Montgomery, wounded in leg, died of secondary hemorrhage June 8, 1864, at Hospital No. 1, Nashville, Tn. [buried at Nashville National Cemetery]  

Private Theron W. Smith, badly wounded, died of disease July 8, 1864, at Cleveland, O.

Private John W. Steese, wounded in face and shoulder, listed as killed in action

Private Seth M. Thompson [Thomas], wounded in right hand, discharged May 28, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private John J. White, wounded in hand

 

Gravestone of Private John H. Montgomery, 29th Ohio at Nashville national Cemetery

Company E             6

Sergeant Addison J. Andrews, wounded

Corporal Hiram Dalrymple, slightly wounded in left hand

Corporal Hiram Thornton, slightly wounded in leg

Private Barney Brick, slightly wounded in leg, died September 8, 1864, in Atlanta, Ga.

Private Thomas G. Franklin, wounded in face

Private [James] Benjamin Power, slightly wounded in leg

 

Company F              4

Private Charles Cain, missing

Private Alonzo Cole, slightly wounded

Private Franklin Flood, severely wounded, discharged March 8, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

 

Interment form for Private George F. Braginton, Co. G, 29th Ohio

Company G             9

Second Lieutenant Wilbur F. Chamberlain, slightly wounded in the right foot

Sergeant Ellis F. Green, killed [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Sergeant Christian F. Remley, killed (“Tell my mother I died like a man, doing my duty in defense of my country,” were his last words.) [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Corporal Hammond M. Geer, severely wounded, discharged May 27, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private George Franklin Braginton, severely wounded, died of wounds May 16, 1864, at Nashville, Tn. [buried at Nashville National Cemetery]

Private James Gaul [Gaule], missing

Private William C. Lantz, killed

Private George J. McCormick, wounded, discharged June 1, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private George Murray, wounded and died of wounds May 9, 1864

 

Company H             11

Sergeant Alphonzo Hazzen, wounded

Corporal Floyd Morris, slightly wounded in left arm

Private Warren H. Connell, killed

Private Eli C. Joles, killed

Private Henry J. Knapp, seriously wounded in right shoulder, discharged May 18, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private Charles Osborne, killed

Private James Purine, wounded in mouth and right shoulder, discharged April 1865 on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private John Smith, wounded in shoulder, died of wounds May 25, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tn.

Private Martin Smith, killed

Private James Wild [Wyld], seriously wounded in right leg

Private John H. Wright, right arm amputated, discharged September 21, 1864, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

 

Company I               16

Sergeant Newton B. Adams, slightly wounded in arm, transferred to Veterans’ Reserve Corps January 23, 1865

Private Abel Archer, wounded in knee, discharged June 6, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private William Gilbert, slightly wounded in thigh

Private Alvah Holden, wounded

Private A.W. Holdridge, wounded in leg, transferred to Veterans’ Reserve Corps April 1, 1865

Private Cosam M. Kindig, wounded

Private Cassius M. Nims, killed [buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery]

Private James Perkins, severely wounded in hip

Private Tobias Richard Phinney, killed

Private James Reed, slightly wounded in shoulder

Private Henry Rupp, killed

Private William P. Rushon, wounded in neck

Private John Shannon, wounded in arm, discharged May 4, 1865, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

Private William Steele, leg broken below knee

Private William F. Waterman, wounded in side and leg

Private James Winters, wounded in shoulder and breast, discharged September 14, 1864, on a surgeon’s certificate of disability

 

Company K              5

Orderly Sergeant Ulysses S. Hoxter, slightly wounded in head

Private Luther L. Kinney, slightly wounded in neck

Private Amos Long, killed

Private Frederick A. Rounds, wounded

Private William H. Stratton, slightly wounded in knee

Sources:

SeCheverell, J. Hamp. Journal History of the Twenty-Ninth Ohio Veteran Volunteers, 1861-1865. Cleveland: Np, 1883, pgs. 89-92

“With a Fighting Regiment: Story of Four Years’ Service of the Gallant 29th Ohio,” John Rupp, Co. I, National Tribune, September 27, 1900, pg. 3

Casualty list for 29th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph (Ohio), May 28, 1864, pg. 2

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