BIVOUAC 14th OHIO,
FRIEND GUIDO:--On the morning of the 9th day of July, we laid in cantonment on the front lines about 214 miles from the river, to which the enemy had been closely crowded, and what he occupied on this side he had strongly fortified. Every avenue of approach was guarded by forts or redoubts, while all were swarming with "Johnnies." The skirmishers on either side were continually hurling a careless shower of random balls at each other, which seemed to do more damage to the main lines than to the skirmishers in their gopher holes, (dug for the protection in a hurry and not without great danger.
Such was the state of things on the morning of the 9th day of July, when the order came to the 3d Brigade to advance the lines. The 10th Kentucky and 10th Indiana Regiments were taken out to support the advance, composed of a detail from all the Regiments in the Brigade. A roll of musketry, a yell, a charge and the rebel skirmishers gave way before our gallant onset. But not long did the enemy remain on the line to which he had been driven. His lines soon moved against ours, but our brave boys were prone to hold their gained ground. Roll after roll, volley after volley were added, until it seemed as if we would have a general engagement along the whole line.
Col. Este, commanding the brigade, was at the front and in the midst of danger. His brigade fought with that determined spirit and courage, which is so highly commendable in our army, but by some misunderstanding our left was not properly supported and our flank was exposed, which fact the wily enemy was not long in discovering and taking advantage of, for he immediately commenced a flank movement, by swinging around our exposed flank. Col. Este, being on the line, discovered the movement, and our line slowly fell back to our works, from which the advancing lines of the enemy received such a deadly fire that he was obliged to recoil to his works, when the musketry firing slackened and died away, while the artillery plunged in a parting salute of shot and shell.
The casualties in our brigade are, as near as I can ascertain, 40 men killed and wounded, and are mostly from the 10th Kentucky and 10th Indiana. But two men were captured by the enemy, who, by a Yankee trick, led their guard astray and run them into the line of the 1st brigade of our division, and then surprised them by disarming the Johnnies and marching them to headquarters under bayonets. Such are the fortunes of War.
The wounded of the 14th were Edward Durphy, Co. G, right cheek; Reynolds Gordon, Co. G, right lung, severe; Daniel Savage, right elbow, severe. Col. Geo. P. Este was struck twice, but fortunately he was only badly bruised; both balls striking the right leg. He will not, however, leave us, although he limps about with a cane, and is not without pain.
On the morning of the 10th it was discovered that the enemy was drawing off, as the flame and smoke of the burning bridges could be seen rising in our front. We immediately moved forward, but without opposition, capturing a considerable number of prisoners, and without firing a shot until we reached the river bank, where skirmishing commenced at long range across the Chattahoochie. The charred ruins of fine bridges were before us--three pontoons, one wagon and the railroad bridge.
We are now in bivouac near the river, where we all go to bathe and swim. The pickets of the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, have come to the mutual agreement with the rebels, not to fire unless an armed force attempts to cross the river. The rebel picket force, stationed on the opposite bank, belong to the 1st Regiment of Regular Confederate Army, and is mostly made up of Kentuckians from the vicinity of Bardstown and Louisville. The boys swim back and forth, and the greatest confidence is placed in this mutual agreement of their own. The Confeds swim over to our side with tobacco and papers tied to their heads, which they trade for coffee and Yankee notions, the latter commanding the most tobacco, which is always plug. Tobacco at present is so scarce and difficult to get that our men are almost wild to obtain it at any price.
I could not but notice the following striking feature of the present war. A member of a Kentucky Regiment swam over yesterday to see his brother, who is in 6 Confederate Regiment. As he neared the shore, one "Johnnie" stretched his hand to assist him in gaining the bank; another hurried off to camp to bring the "erring brother" for an interview, while our "blue-coat," in his natural state, sat down in the shade, to await his arrival. The "Johnnies" expressed their opinions very freely, and some their belief that we would not like Atlanta, and that they did not think it worth holding, as it was another filth hole, such as Chattanooga. They did not doubt our ability to take it, but rather thought we would. But they stuck to the belief that they could not be whipped, and say they will put the women in the field when they have all come to their bitter end. But this is all blow and I only give it to you as such. But there was one, whom I took for one of the most intelligent, who said he thought the South had been too hasty in bringing on this war. Their only hope seems to be that Lee will whip Grant, as Virginia has been the victorious field of the Confederacy. May victory perch on the National Standard in the East, and I know she will be won in the West. Then peace and prosperity shall reign supreme through-out our Nation. By the will of Providence so mote it be.
Home | Regimental History | Selected Letters
Biographical Sketches | Henry D Kingsbury | Battlefields
Prisoners of War | Other Regiments | Links and Reading