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United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 21st - MS 562: Transcripts

Transcripts - Box 12: Correspondence Copybook: May - December 1864

May 3, 1864

Head Quarters Department of the Cumberland
Chattanooga Tenn
May 3d 1864


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of April 22d 1864 enquiring wherefore you were not informed of the withdrawal of troops from your flanks, nor ordered to withdraw your command of the 21st Ohio Volunteers from the "Horse Shoe Ridge" on Sunday night (Sept 20) at Chickamauga, and would state in reply that at the time of your command being captured no portion of my troops had been withdrawn from the field nor had orders been issued to that effect.- The surrender of your command was accomplished so quietly as to escape the notice of all but the regiment on your immediate left, the balance of which promptly reported the fact to me whereupon I sent the 35th Ohio Vols to hold the position which it did successfully against a subsequent attack of the Rebels.-

The extract quoted from Maj Genl Negley's letter of April 18th 1864 to the effect that the 21st Ohio Vols covered my retreat after dark is incorrect, as that duty was performed by the 68 and 101st Ind Vol Regts being the only troops who had any ammunition whatever.

Very respectfully your obt servant
J M Brannan
Brig. Gen'l. Chf of Art. 14th AC
Late comdg 3d Div 14th AC

Maj A McMahan
21st Ohio Vols

PS. The troops on your right belonged to Maj Genl Grangers Corps and were withdrawn before you were captured without my being notified of the facts. My command was not withdrawn for a considerable time after J M B

July 10, 1864

Head Quarters 21st Ohio Infty Vols
In the Field Georgia
July 10th '64


I have the honor to submit the following report.

Soon after occupying the picket line yesterday morning, in obedience to orders, I formed my Regt to attack the enemy. The rifle pits of the enemy, on our right of the Rail Road were soon carried. The troops on our left failed to support my command and we suffered from a flank fire from the enemy in their works on the left of the Road. I sent Capt. S. F. Cheney with four (4) companys to disloge the enemy on the left of the Road which was promptly accomplished. Support still failed to arrive, and we were forced to abandon the works on our left of the Road. We held the works on the right of the Road. At 4 O'clock this morning the skirmishers under command of Capt Daniel Lewis advanced and occupied the stockade and trenches of the enemy, and in a short time our lines advanced to the Chattahoochee River and occupied the Rail Road bridge. Adjt. E. L. Baird is entitled to credit for his efficient aid in our affair of yesterday.

I moved to the front with twelve (12) officers and Three Hundred and Eighty Two (382) men. Our loss is as follows

Enlisted Men14
Commissioned Officers2
Enlisted Men37
Commissioned Officers1
Enlisted Men1

We captured seventeen (17) Prisoners

Respectfully Your Obt Servant
(signed) A. McMahan
Major Comdg.

To B.P. Demry--A.D.C & A.A.A. Genl
3 Brig 1st Div 14th A.C.

July 14, 1864

Hd. Qtrs. 21st Regt. Ohio Infy. Vols.
Near Atlanta Georgia
July 14th 1864


Herewith is transmitted a statement of the part taken by the 21st Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry under my command at the battle of Chickamauga.

The letters of Generals Negley and Brannan in reply to my letters to them copies of all, which are herewith transmitted are made a part of this report and referred for the information of all concerned.

Special attention is called to the letter of General Brannan, in which my command is charged with surrendering so quietly as to escape the notice of all but the regiment on my immediate left, the Col of which promptly reported to him the facts & c & c.

He will be surprised to know that Col. Carlton, of the 89th Regiment Ohio Vol. Infy., and Col. LaFavor, of the 22d Mich. were the Colonels commanding regiments on my left, both of whom were captured a short time before I was captured myself.

General Brannan may have been misinformed in regard to the position of his troops.

Very Respectfully
A. McMahan
Lt. Col. Comdg. 21st Ohio Vols.

To: Brigadier Genl. Wm D Whipple
Asst. Adjt. Genl.

July 15, 1864

Head Quarters 21st Regt Ohio Vol Infy
Near Atlanta Ga
July 15th 1864


In as much as Genl James S. Negley has asked to see a copy of my statement in regard to the conduct of my regiment at the battle of Chickamauga and as I would be pleased to permit the officers and men of my command to read my report of their conduct in the action referred to- as well as others who are interested- I would be pleased that I be allowed to make my report of the conduct of the 21st Regt OVI at the battle of Chickamauga public, also the letter of transmittal.

Very Respectfully
A. McMahan
Lt Col Comdg 21st OVI
Brig Genl W.D. Whipple
A.A.G. Dept Cumberland

September 9, 1864 (1)

Head Quarters
21st Reg Ohio Infty Vols
Atlanta Ga
Sept 9th 1864


In obedience to orders I have the honor to report the opperations of the 21st Reg Ohio Infty Vols under my command in the Georgia Campaign to the morning of 2d of Sept. 1864.

The regiment moved under command of Col James M. Neibling from Ringgold Ga May 7th and he continued to command it until the morning of May 28th when he was severely wounded and the command devolved upon myself. Not being present the first sixteen days of the Campaign, I cannot mention definitely the opperations for that time. The regiment however participated in the affair at Buzzard Roost and subsequently the affair at Resaca. The casualties in the regiment to the time of my taking command were one (1) enlisted man killed and fourteen (14) enlisted men wounded in action. May 31st Lieut John N Berry having his company (K) deployed as skirmishers in an attempt to regain a hill which was abandoned without a fight on the evening of the 27th before at Pumpkinvine Creek, lost six men killed and two wounded. This little dash gave us the crest of a hill which commanded the position of the enemy in our front, which position was held by this regiment until the enemy withdrew. The firing on both sides continued incessantly between the skirmishers and pickets. It would make this report to[too] voluminous to detail the numerous skirmishes and firing, Earth works built and marches performed by this regiment during the campaign. It has written its history in this respect very indeliably, from Ringgold to Jonesboro Ga. during a period of three months and twenty days of restless vigilence. For twelve days together it occupied the front line at Bald Knob before Kenesaw Mountain sustaining a loss of one officer, the gallant Lieutenant Dilworth killed and eleven (11) men killed and wounded. The artillery practice at this position was the most desperate I have witnessed.

Near Vinings Station Ga on the 9th of July the regiment had a most spirited affair with two regiments of the enemy, the 4th Mississippi and 54th Louisiana. Driving them out of their rifle pits into their main works, killing and wounding a number and capturing seventeen (17) prisoners and their ordnance stores. My regiment commenced the attack with twelve (12) officers and three hundred and eighty two (382) enlisted men. Our loss was fifteen (15) enlisted men killed and two (2) officers and thirty seven (37) enlisted men wounded and one (1) officer missing.

The regiment continued to hold the captured works and to annoy the enemy in his main works. During the night he abandoned his whole line north of the Chattahoochee and by four O'clock A.M. (10th) the skirmish lines under Capt Daniel Lewis advanced and in a short time reached the river. In this affair no other troops than my own regiment was engaged on our side, and it was a fair specimen of the tenacious fighting qualities displayed on other occasions by the gallant officers and brave men composing this command.

On the 21st of July while marching in line of battle the gallant Capt Lewis above named was killed. In the opperations before Atlanta the regiment was under the enemy's fire every day, and though no general battle was delivered by either side along our immediate front our list of casualties became large from the almost incessant shelling and musketry of the enemy.

In the battle before Jonesboro Sept 1st inst which resulted so gloriously to our arms--this regiment was again engaged, charging through a dense brush thicket under a murderous fire from the enemy losing five (5) enlisted men killed, thirty (30) enlisted men wounded and one (1) enlisted man missing. And captured one (1) Rebel Adjutant six (6) men and twenty-four (24) stand of arms.

We took prisoners as follows-

July 9thEighteen (18) privatesVinings Station
July 10thFive (5) privatesVinings Station
July 20thOne (1) privateNancy's Creek
July 22dTwo (2) privatesPeachtree Creek
Sept 1stOne (1) officer,
six (6) privates
Jonesboro Ga
Totalthirty three (33) 
Total stands of arms capturedfifty four (54) 

Our casualties are

Officers killedtwo2
Officers woundedfive5
Privates killedthirty two32
Privates woundedone hundred and nineteen119
Officers missingone1
Privates missingone1

A list of casualties accompanies this report.

I have desire to mention the never failing gallantry of Adjt. E.L. Baird whose efficient aid under all circumstances during the campaign greatly contributed to the success which has attended this regiment in every opperation.

Serg' Major Earll W. Merry displayed courage and coolness in action on all occasions worthy of evaluation. He lost his foot July 20th.

Respectfully Submitted
(signed) A. McMahan
Lieut Col Comdg 21st Ohio Inft Vols

September 9, 1864 (2)

Head Quarters 21st Reg't Ohio Inf Vols
Atlanta Georgia
September 9th 1864

General Order No 3

Officers and soldiers - Comrades in battle! Your glorious conduct in the brilliant campaign just started is the subject of praise with all your fellow soldiers throughout the Department. No commendation of mine can add any lustre to your well won fame. Your laurels gathered in many a well contested field will ever remain fresh in the memory of a grateful nation.

You can refer with pride to Rockyface, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Vining Station, Peachtree creek, Atlanta and Jonesboro. You have closed the campaign as you began it, with honor to your country, your families and your selves. The memory of our noble comrades fallen, will always be inseparably connected with our memory of honorable deeds on the field of battle, and their names will be handed down as worthy exemplars in the defence of a great nation and a glorious cause.

Your labor so well begun, still remains unfinished. Do not allow yourselves to be lulled to sleep by the success which has attended you. But by your discipline, your courage and your perseverance in the performance of your high duty as soldiers in the defence of the great cause in which you are engaged you will conquer a peace, a peace alike honorable to your fellow comrades and yourselves.

By order of
A. McMahan
Lieut. Col. Comdg.

(signed) E.L. Baird
1st Lieutenant and Adjutant

September 16, 1864

Head Quarters 21st Regt. O.V.I.
Near Atlanta Ga.
Sept 16th 1864


In obedience to orders I have the honor to forward the sword of Lieutenant Roberts Adjutant of the 2nd Regiment Alabama Sharpshooters captured by Corp'l Henry R. Skinner Company "H" of this Regiment in the action before Jonesboro Georgia.

This traitor officer stated that he took the sword from the dead body of a Union officer at the battle of Stone River, and carried it until taken from him by Corporal Skinner.

The manner of capture is as follows: In the charge of our Brigade on the enemies works we were thrown across a deep cut for the Railroad near which the color bearer of the 69th Ohio was killed. Being near the enemies[enemy's] works this Roberts sprang forward to seize the colors but in consequence of the interposition of Corporal Skinner failed, and was taken by him prisoner of ours.

I also forward another sword taken by Commissary sergeant George T. Squire July 22nd 1864 before Atlanta Georgia.

(signed) A. McMahan
Lieut. Col. Commanding

Robert H. Ramsey
A.A.G. Department Cumberland

December 30, 1864

Head Quarters 21st Reg't Ohio Inf Vol's
Savannah Ga.
December 30th 1864


In compliance with orders dated December 29th 1864 Head Quarters 3rd Brigade 1st Div. 14th A.C. I have the honor to report the operations of the 21st Regiment Ohio Infantry Volunteers under my command from the 3rd day of September 1864 to the 21st day of December 1864.

After the defeat of the enemy before Jonesboro Ga. September 1st my command returned to Atlanta and went into camp on the 8th. It remained in camp in camp [sic] until the morning of October 3rd when it moved with its Brigade upon the campaign which resulted in the fall of Savannah on the 21st of the present month. I estimate the distance marched during this time to be at least six hundred and thirty (630) miles. It was difficult to ascertain the exact distance marched on byroads and through the country.

The Regiment exchanged shots with a squad of the enemy on the 4th day of December near Lumpkin Station without any result except to check their attempt to annoy the rear of our column. From the 12th to the night of the 20th December the pickets of my Regiment were engaged with those of the enemy before Savannah.

During this campaign the Regiment destroyed three (3) miles of Railroad, and this was the only structure destroyed by my command. At least eight thousand (8000) rations were used by the men from the products of the country which were necessary in addition to subsistence furnished by the Commissary Department. But the meat used which was drawn from the country was not less than fifteen thousand rations. This estimate does not include the great waste of meat and other foraged subsistence which could not be transported, or was abandoned by the men each morning. I estimate the stores wasted or abandoned equal to the amount used. Twenty one horses and mules attached to the Regiment were supplied with forage taken from the country for twenty days. Twelve negroes accompanied the Regiment to Savannah having joined us on the march. Twelve horses and thirteen mules were captured, but many of them were comparatively worthless. Six prisoners of war were captured and turned over to the Provost Marshal 3rd Brigade 1st Div. 14th A.C. The Regiment lost one enlisted man wounded and ten enlisted men were captured, six enlisted men were either killed or captured straggling.

The Regiment entered the city of Savannah at nine o'clock A.M. December 21st 1864.

Respectfully Submitted
(signed) A. McMahan
Lieut. Col. Comdg.

L. G. Badie
Lieutenant and A.A.A.G.
3rd Brigade 1st Div. 14th A.C.

MS 562: Introduction | Transcript List
MS 562 Series Description: MS 562: Introduction | 86th O.V.I. Records | Arnold McMahan Papers
MS 562 Abstracts: Part 1 (McMahan Correspondence) | Part 2 (Box 12) | Part 3 (Box 13) | Inventory
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