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

Transcripts - Other McMahan Writings: Libby Prison Memo Book, 1863 - 1864

[Inside front cover]


One horse$100.00
" Saddle & Bridle20.00
" Saddle Blanket3.00
gumed "3.00
Pistol "25.00
$ 162.00

[Sideways, inside front cover]

Cash [?]Cr
Nov 2025.00

[Text of Diary]

1863 Battle Chickamauga

Sept 19 Moved under fire of the enemy at Sun down. Lost one man killed and two or three wounded. Strong picket firing during the evening. My horse killed at dark Lt. E. Mason missing. Built breast works of logs and rails and remained all night fronting East South East.

20th About 8 o'clock abandoned this position and moved to left and rear and about 12 o'clock took our position on rise of ground fronting South by West. Became hotly engaged by one o'clock and by 2 1/2 Lt. Col Stoughton was severely wounded.

Brother Frank wounded about 2 o'clock. By three o'clock had repulsed two assaults upon our line. Our ammunition began to fail and Sergt Bolton was unable to find any ordnance train. Cartridge boxes of dead and wounded were searched and farther supply procured.

By five o'clock ammunition entirely expended, dead and wounded at hospitals striped [stripped] of cartridge boxses and furnished us one round to the man.

Enemy moved on our right flank, we met them and repulsed them, having again expended our last round were forced back but regained our position which was held until dark.

Col Trigg's rebel brigade of four regiments deployed in line battle moved upon our right flank having cut the line far to our right and under cover of darkness moved to our rear. Our left and front was also assailed and we were overpowered.

No Surgeon or hospital attendant accompanied our regiment after Sun set on 19th. The detail to remove the wounded did not return to the regt after first fire on 19th.

Diversity in the caliber of arms caused some trouble. Cals .56 .57 .58 Attempts to use cartridges cal 58 in rifles cal 57 proved disasterous. Cartridges cal 57 burst Colts rifle cal 56. Had some trouble to distinguish the enemy from our own men, they wore blue.

Co com'ders to report
No. of men enrolled
No. of men taken into action, officers
No. of guns, kind & calibre
No. killed, wounded, missing
No. rounds ammunition expended
No. meritorious conducts, named
No. misbehavior, named
Remarks on ordnance with minute description of defects if any.
No. of absentees and by what authority so absent, if on duty and what kind.

An approximation


Having been a prisoner of war in the hands of the enemy I was unable sooner to report the part taken by the 21st Regt Ohio vol. Infty. 3rd Brig 2nd Div 14th A.C. in the battle of Chickamauga fought on Saturday and Sunday Sept 19th and 20th 1863.

The regiment moved into action Saturday evening an hour before Sun down under command of Lt Col DM Stoughton having position on the left of our brigade and facing Col Stanley's (2nd) brigade on his right. We engaged the enemies pickets until dark when the firing seased [ceased], after which breast works of logs were constructed facing E S East in front of an open field. This position was held by us with our supports on the right and left as above stated until Sunday morning 20th at which time our pickets became engaged with the pickets of the enemy at day light.

Late Sunday morning 20th, our Regt was withdrawn from this position and moved with its brigade to a new position. Skirmishers from 26th Ohio vols, Genl Woods Division relieved our own skirmishers and that Regt occupied the position from which we had first withdrawn. This position is also only particularly marked by two large vats, used for manufacture of nitre, about two hundred yards to the rear.

At 12 o'clock on Sunday (20) our Regt was [strike]detached from our brigade and [strike] assigned a position upon a hill, our front being South. A deep ravine was in front of this hill, & on our right, heavy timber; on our left, an open field with timber beyond. X There was an old house, about two hundred yards to our rear which was, subsequently occupied by our wounded. X Our support in this position consisted of three or four fragments of regiments with the 9th Ohio, on our left. The 22nd Michigan and 89th Ohio on our right, and the 2nd Minnesota in reserve * . I have not learned any name by which this position may be designated, therefore have substituted a description of it. #

Immediately after taking position (12 m) [12 noon] the skirmishers of the enemy engaged us and in a short time a strong force moved against us. A severe engagement resulted in the defeat of the enemy. Heavy skirmishing continued until two o'clock p.m. when the enemy again made an attempt to carry our position, in which he failed, but our loss in killed and wounded was severe. Our revolving rifles inflicted great punishment upon the enemy. At 2 1/2 o'clock Lt Col D M Stoughton who was commdg the Regt up to this time was severely wounded and reluctantly left the field.

(By three o'clock every effort had failed to procure a further supply of ammunition). Orderlies repeatedly sent to report our condition and position to Col Sirwell cmdg our brigade and to Gen Negley cmdg our Div. and to obtain ammunition, returned without being able to accomplish the objects for which they were sent. C Orders were now given to economise our ammunition and the cartridge boxes of our killed & wounded were all carefully searched. The hospitals were searched for any ammunition that might have been carried there in the cartridge boxes of our wounded men and by this means obtained sufficient ammunition to meet the enemy in his third assault upon our position about five o'clock. In this assault upon us the enemy crossed the ravine in our front and carried his banners up the hill to within twenty yards of our line. He was defeated & driven back with heavy loss. Our own loss was also heavy. During the afternoon a rebel battery had range on our position, its shells bursting in our ranks and setting fire to the leaves, and dry bush in our front. (which must have consumed the killed and wounded of the enemy and cover of his fire). The wounded in our front under cover of our own fire were all removed (from the fire).

Having been defeated in his third attack upon us the enemy retired, leaving only a heavy line of skirmishers to oppose us. A sharp fire from this line exhaused [exhausted] all our ammunition. A short time before Sundown when the 2nd Regt Minn Vols relieved us. (but only such men as were out of ammunition entirely)

2nd At this time Col Vandervere [VanDerveer] who assumed command, ordered me to move my command to the extreme right of our position and meet the enemy should he attempt to turn our flank. [Words struck]The regiment being out of ammunition,[end of words struck] We met the enemy and drove him [words struck] with the bayonet [end of words struck] we taking nine prisoners. [words struck]Our loss however was severe.[end of words struck] 3rd We held this position until dark, [words struck]having fought over six hours,[end of words struck] at which time a brigade of the enemy four Regiments strong under Col Trigg, moved upon us and entirely overwhelmed us.

Simultaneous with this movement of the enemy which was upon our right flank and rear, we received a (heavy) fire from the direction of our left flank which took effect both upon the enemy and ourselves.

My command [Words struck]did not surrender but[End of words struck] maintained its position with the bayonet until we were surrounded and disarmed by force. (Why we were not ordered to withdraw from this isolated position before dark I am unable to state) +

The regiment on the field consisted of one Lt Col, one major, one Surgeon, one asst Surgeon, one Hospital Steward and twelve enlisted men under charge of the asst Surgeon. Seven Captains and thirteen 13 Lts. and 517 enlisted men armed as follows.
175 with Enfield Rifles cal 57, 342 with Colts revolving rifle cal 56,
Total officers 24
Total men 529
Total arms 517


one com off. killed, five wounded
thirty enlisted men killed
one hundred and seventy wounded
four horses and equipments
**one stand of colors
three hundred rifles and accoutrements
complete, (expended 60,000) (rounds ammunition)*
Prisoners 11 com off. 102 men


1 Col Sirwell withdrew with his brigade and did not inform the commander of my regiment of the fact nor did he at any time thereafter communicate with us.

2 We were left without orders to report to anyone.

3 We had no orders at all.


* Revised to wit-

our effective support in this position consisted of 22nd Mich and 89th Ohio on our right, troops under command of Col Walker of 31st Ohio and 9th Ohio on our left and 2nd Minnesota in reserve. [back]

+ The officers and men under my command observed fine discipline and displayed true courage. Our capture cannot be attributed to any fault of theirs. [back]

At the time of our capture Col Vandervere and the troops under his command had withdrawn thus leaving my command without support and without ammunition as before stated.

# [1st?] I had no orders to report to any general officer and obeyed the orders of Col Vandervere because he assumed command. [back]

A I am quite unable to explain why we were abandoned by our brigade and division commanders, without any orders for our guidance or without designating any general officer to whom we might report.

2[nd] A further search for ammunition was fruitful in finding one round each for the men composing my now small command [back]

3[rd] but his fire soon compelled us to retire to the position before held by us by order of Col Vandervere. [back]

I reported to Col Vandervere in person that my ammunition was all expended, he ordered me to have my men lie down and meet the enemy when he came up & I did so.

B I can not close this report without expressing my conviction that our capture was due to the neglect of our brigade commander in abandoning us without giving any orders for our subsequent movements and also to the neglect of Col Vandervere in not ordering us to retire in time to avoid the greatly superior number of the enemy. & c & c & c.

X We were the first troops in position but support soon arrived. [back]

C We continued to hold our position which became very embarrassing in consequence of the scarcity of ammunition and the exposed condition of our flanks. [back]

\\ Thus we lost our stand of colors which were made sacred to us by the blood of many comrades who fell in their defence [words struck]that day [end of words struck] and for their honor on other fields as well as on the unfortunate field of Chickamauga.

Great credit is due the gallant officers and brave men of my regiment for their soldier like bearing and good discipline [words struck]bearing under a heavy fire for six hours [end of words struck] who stood by their colors and contested the fortunes of the day to the bitter end.

I have the honor to report that my regiment did the last firing upon and offered the latest resistance to the advance of the enemy which he received and which (with the darkness that prevailed) checked his advance & ended the battle of Chickamauga.

I do not propose to criticise the conduct of my superior officers in this report, yet I desire to state [Words struck]that I can not understand[End of words struck]

Having been separated from my brigade and division comders. without orders, [Words struck]as before stated,[End of words struck] and not being in communication with any other general officer, (as before stated) I did not comprehend the movements of the army and held my regiment opposing the entire rebel army under Longstreet as long as there was any regiment left.

The reference made to other officers and troops than those under my own command is not intended as a report of any part of their conduct on the field but to describe the position of my command, yet I would be pleased to note the gallant conduct of the troops I have mentioned.

[15 blank pages]

Dec Memorandum

H H Alban Cr [credit]
By bill of goods 6.69
Libby Prison Va

Feby 3rd 1864
Capt M Caton Dr [debit] Paid
to Cash (lent him) Paid 5.00

14 Capt D D Smith Dr [debit]
To Scrip (5.00) .60


Draft 768
Major Dodge

[Accounts page. Erasures not legible, but suggests several personal accounts paid off]

Paid Oct 28th 1864 [checkmark]

[Oct]24Col. VanSchrader$50.00
31Capt. Cusac Paid to his 1/2 of mess acct.$5.00
31Capt Canfield$10.00
Nov 3Col. Van Schrader$10.00
24Capt D.D. Smith10.00
Dec 12Capt Cusac to bal on settlement PAID2.00
31stCapt Cusac dr [debit] To Cash PAID5.00

The following is a list of articles taken from enlisted men at Atlanta
Woolen blankets
Gummed blankets
Shelter tents
Pocket Knives


109 miles west from Augusta or 4 miles west of Madison at corner road running south at right angles with RR. Small wood colored house. South west corner. 68 miles to Atlanta from Madison
Rutledge family
Rutledge Post Office
Morgan Co Ga.


[Date] [Item] [Cost] [Date] [Item] [Cost]
Oct 14Butter5.00Nov 1stButter3.00
Eggs2.003rdHash Mess10.00
Up to 28Sundries15.00
30 & 31stSundries9.00

[Inside back cover]

  • Oct 14th Capt Cusac Dr [debit] Cash 5.00
  • " " Capt. Canfield (Scrip) 3.50
  • " " Capt. Scisor [?]3.50
  • Oct 17th Dr [debit] Bullshard (Scrip) 21.00

[Inverted on back cover]

Amt. Brot for.95.00

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
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections