A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Pages 221 - 225

History of Butler County

Next page | Butler County Ohio | Cyclopeadia index page | Previous page

On the first day of the fight at Chickamauga, says REID in his "Ohio in the War," the Thirty-fifth and the other regiments composing Colonel VAN DERVEER's brigade were stationed on the extreme left of our line, where they engaged, and, after several hours of a fair, stand-up fight, repulsed and beat back three several attacks of HOOD's division of LONGSTREET's corps, the pick of the rebel army. On the next day, September 20th, they were again brought early into action, and with the rest of the brigade made a charge upon BRECKINRIDGE's division, which at that time had passed entirely around the left of our fortified line. The conflict, like that of the previous day, was severe and desperate in the open field, and without any protection. Here was presented the uncommon spectacle of two armies charging each other at the same instant. That of the enemy was disorderly, and with but little attention to discipline, while our men moved as if on drill, and under complete control. The brigade had been moving through the woods in two lines, the first composed of the Second Minnesota and Eighty-seventh Indiana, the second of the Thirty-fifth and Ninth Ohio. Suddenly, emerging from an open field, they found themselves exposed to a murderous fire from artillery and musketry, under which they changed front, and, in pursuance of orders, laid flat on the ground. The enemy were then about one hundred and fifty yards distant, and charging on a run. When the distance was decreased to seventy-five yards, the first line rose and delivered their fire. Immediately the order was given: "Thirty-fifth and Ninth, pass lines to the front! Brigade, charge!" The order was executed promptly, and the rebel line hurled back for almost half a mile at a double-quick, finally making a stand in the woods, where they were effectually protected by their reserves. For more than an hour an obstinate contest was kept up, most effectually ending the attempt to flank the federal line upon the left. When the order was given to return to the position occupied by the brigade previous to the charge it was done in order, by passing lines to the rear, each regiment delivering its fire as it retired.

At half-past two on that day the brigade was reported for duty oto General THOMAS, who was then holding a ridge to the rear and right of the line of the morning. Here the Thirty-fifth was placed in the front line, wehre it built a slight work of wood and stone, less than a foot in height. Behind this it remained until the last enemy had retired, repelling repeated charges of the most formidable and desperate character. Line after line of fresh troops of rebels were sent to the attack, always meeting the same reception, always beaten and crushed. Late in the day anxious inquiry was made for ammunition, but the wagons had been ordered to Chattanooga. Then men and officers could be seen searching the cartridge-boxes of the dead and wounded, and finally, when the brigade commander ordered them to hold their places with the bayonet, these heroes laughed, and promised to stay there.

When night came the Thirty-fifth was formed on and facing the left of the line, and when it was too dark to recognize friend from foe a force of the enemy appeared before them. Those who had ammunition fired, and the enemy precipitately retreated. Those were the last shots fired on the battle-field of Chickamauga by either side. Not a single musket was heard afterwards; and the whole army having marched on the road towards Rossville, VAN DERVEER's brigade, the last to leave the field, under orders from General THOMAS, followed.

In the two days' fight at Chickamauga the Thirty-fifth Ohio lost just fifty per cent of those engaged. Colonel BOYNTON was conspicuous during the whole fight for his gallantry and the skill with which he managed his men, and the regiment was highly commended in the reports of that action.

Lucius B. POTTER sent home a letter descriptive of the battle, in which he says the brigade, after marching all night on the 18th, and going without breakfast the next morning, was engaged over six hours on the 19th, and then bivouacked on the battle-field without blankets or fires, although a white frost covered the ground. On the 20th they were engaged from ten A.M. until seven P.M. In no case did the Third Brigade, or any part of it, retreat until ordered so to do, although the entire right wing was crushed and driven back. At one time, on the 19th, the brigade repulsed an entire rebel division twice within an hour and a half. On the 20th the brigade charged and drove back a greatly superior number for a third of a mile at the point of the bayonet. Even when the ammunition gave out the old Third stood its ground, and maintained its position until relieved and ordered back. The musketry was terrific, and was pronounced more severe than in any other engagement during this war. Men who were at Stone River said that battle was a skirmish by the side of this. The loss of the regiment was as follows: Killed, 21; wounded, 146; missing, 27; total, 194. Most of the missing were known to be captured. Both of the surgeons were in the hands of the enemy, having remained to care for the wounded. The regiment took into the fight 394 officers and men. Of this number 194 were lost. From this it can be judged whether the regiment fought or not. The loss of the brigade was 843, and of the division 2,353.

During the two days' fighting they were never driven back, never gave an inch until ordered, and repeatedly repulsed and drove back four times their number. The Ninth Ohio retook a battery which had been captured from the regular brigade. The brigade captured a good many rebels, the exact number not being ascertained. Colonel BOYNTON in his report said: "To have belonged to the Third Brigade will be the crowning glory of your old age." And not a soldier's heart but swells with pride at the thought of the deeds done by Colonel VAN DERVEER's command during those two bloody days. Colonel VAN DERVEER, said Mr. POTTER, would undoubtedly get his "star." No braver or cooler man was ever seen in action. The manner in which he handled his brigade won the admiration of his superior officers.

Colonel BOYNTON did nobly, and had doubly endeared himself to his men. Not an officer in the regiment flinched. Mr. POTTER's horse was killed in the first fight, being shot through the belly with a minie, and a bullet grazed POTTER's hat band.

Dr. A.H. LANDIS, in the Hamilton Telegraph, furnishes a list of men confined in Libby Prison a the end of November, 1863. He was captured at Chickamauga, and was in prison forty-four days:


After the return of Surgeon LANDIS he wrote a long letter giving a description of the cruelties practiced in Libby Prison:

"On Saturday, September 19th, soon after the commencement of the battle of Chickamauga, I was ordered by the medical director of my division to the division hospital. It was on CLOUD's farm, and at that time nearly two miles north of the left wind of our army. Early on Sabbath morning, in consequence of repeated flank movements on our left by the rebels, our hospital became exposed to a fire of shell and solid shot. The most of these deadly missiles passed over us, but some fell in our midst.

About eleven o'clock a line of rebel skirmishers were seen to emerge from a wood about four hundred yards distant, followed by a large force of FORREST's cavalry. All the ambulances we had were loaded with wounded and sent to Chattanooga, and many of the slightly wounded were sent on foot. The enemy continued to advance until they ascertained it was a hospital, when a squad of them rode up, and for the first time we were in the hands of the rebels.

"Soon afterward GRANGER's forces approaching from toward Chattanooga, the rebels fell back, and we saw no more of them until the following morning, when they took us into custody, and from that time on we were prisoners. Generals FORREST, CHEATHAM, and ARMSTRONG honored us with their presence. General FORREST told us to go ahead and attend to our wounded, and we should not be molested. He also told us that our wounded yet on the field should be removed to the hospitals and receive precisely the same treatment that their wounded received; also that parties had been detailed to bury the dead on both sides. In a conversation I had with Dr. FLUELLAN, medical director of BRAGG's army, the following day at CHATHAMS's division hospital, he made the same promises. These promises may have been in good faith, but from observation I know-and every other medical officer who fell into their hands knows-they were not realized.

I was over a portion of the battle-field three days after the battle, and the rebel dead were buried and ours unburied, and nearly all of them were stripped of their pants and shoes. Their appearance was most revolting, having been exposed three days to a September sun; they were so swollen and changed in appearance that recognition was impossible. I found also at least three hundred of our wounded, all suffering from the gnawings of hunger. Every last wounded rebel had been removed. Some or our men were in cabins, some had been gathered in groups and laid on the ground, and some were still in the fields and woods, where they were wounded, in the immediate vicinity of the dead bodies of their comrades. To the credit of the rebels, they did furnish them some rations the following day. Some of these poor fellows remained in this condition for eight days.

"The question might be asked, Why did we not have them removed to our hospital? We had no ambulance, no wagon, no vehicle of any kind, and the rebels refused to furnish us any; in addition, we had a contract already at one hospital of such magnitude that our energies were taxed to their utmost. Our provisions ran out at our hospital two days after our capture, and then starvation stared us in the face. Finally, after two days' entreaties, we were furnished with fresh beef, hard bread, bacon, and corn meal. The bacon and hard bread were good in quality, but very deficient in quantity. The beef was of Pharaoh's lean kine, but we were glad to get it. Some of the corn meal was musty and scarcely fit for the swill barrel.

"Monday, September 28th, General ROSECRANS sent us rations, and from that time, as long as we remained at Chickamauga, Uncle Sam was our commissary, and we fared sumptuously.

"Friday, October 2d, our wounded having been paroled and sent through the lines, we were taken, eighty in number, seven of whom were surgeons and the remainder enlisted men, to Chickamauga Station, seven miles distant, where we took the cars for Atlanta. We reached Atlanta the following evening, and were lodged in the prisoners' barracks. These barracks consist of about two acres of ground, inclosed by a board fence twelve feet high. The few blankets the privates and non-commissioned officers had were taken from them on entering that filthy hole, and those poor fellows, while they remained there, were without blankets or overcoats, and spent the cold frosty nights with the earth for a bed and the sky for a blanket.

"There were two board shanties in these barracks, in which were about forty of our wounded, all of whom were lying on the floor with but a single blanket, and all of them suffered terribly from cold during the night. Dr. ASHMAN, one of our surgeons, repeatedly asked the surgeon in charge for straw, and in response received some glorious promises, but the straw never came. Major MORELY, of Tennessee, was in those barracks, and had a fifty pound ball and chain for his bed-fellow. He was at the time, dangerously ill with typhoid fever, and finally died. Surgeon YOUNG, of the Seventy-ninth Illinois, who remained several weeks at Atlanta with our wounded, told me that the major had to wear the ball and chain until within twenty-four hours of his death. Two days after our arrival at Atlanta forty surgeons, captured at Chickamauga, and several hundred other prisoners arrived.

"October 6th, all the surgeons but those who remained with our wounded and enlisted men, numbering in all three hundred, were put aboard the cars for Richmond. We passed through Augusta, Georgia; Hamburg, Branchville, and Columbia, South Carolina; and reached Richmond, Sabbath, October 11th, and all the surgeons were lodged in Libby Prison.

"Libby is a substantial brick building, one hundred and fifty feet long, and one hundred and ten feet wide, and three stories high besides the basement. The upper two stories are each divided into three rooms, and in these six rooms, before our release, were over one thousand prisoners, all commissioned officers. The following sign is on the outside of the building:

Ship Chandlers and Grocers.

"Each room had a sink, immediately contiguous to it, and the stench coming therefrom is almost unendurable. The windows were all unglazed when we arrived, and at times we suffered terribly from cold. The most of them were still open when we left, and as the mercury may fall to zero any day in Richmond during the Winter, no one knows what tortures the inmates of Libby may have to endure the coming Winter. Three days before our release the officers in charge of Libby were so obliging as to furnish two stoves for each room, but strange to say, we suffered with cold just as we did without them, for the simple reason that we were not furnished with a single stick of wood, and such will probably be the case through the Winter, as they sometimes refused to furnish us a single stick of wood to cook with for nearly a whole day at a time.

"At one time some of our soldiers, who had been wounded at Chickamauga, were quartered in one of the lower rooms of Libby, immediately under one of the rooms occupied by us. Through a small opening in the floor they told us they had been without food for twenty-four hours, and implored us for something to eat. We had little to spare, but what we had we divided with them. Captain TURNER, officer in charge of the prison, heard of it, and arrested three officers and reprimanded them severely, and ordered that the men should go forty-eight hours longer without food for the crime of talking to the officers. Whether this order was enforced or not we never could learn, as the boys were removed to other quarters. Some of our soldiers came to one of the lower rooms of Libby daily after rations. Some men were barefooted, some bareheaded, and I once noticed one poor fellow barefooted, bareheaded, and without a shirt. We never were allowed to ask them any questions in reference to their treatment, but the mere appearance of their faces told us starvation and exposure were closing the work of death. November 20th, I saw twenty of our boys at work on the street, cleaning one of the gutters, and nine of them were barefooted.

"I will here mention an act of brutality that occurred at Augusta, Georgia. When we reached Augusta we had with us a wounded man, who had become so ill that his surgeon, Dr. MCGAVRIN, of the Twenty-sixth Ohio, proposed to Lieutenant BASS, officer in charge of us, to leave him in the hospital. Lieutenant BASS presented the case to Captain RAINS, commandant of the post. The captain refused to receive him into the hospital, but told Lieutenant BASS to knock him in the head.

"I might extend this communication ad infinitum, and relate some of the horrors of Belle Island, the terrible mortality among our men at Richmond, the manner in which we were tortured by the lice in Libby, also the quality and quantity or our rations. But this is unnecessary, as those facts are all embraced in a report, adopted unanimously, and published by the surgeons released from Libby Prison. 'Sparta knew the names of the men lost in her cause at the pass of Thermopylae,' but America will never know how many of her noble sons perished in the dens of Richmond.

"The manner in which most of us were swindled out of our money at Richmond makes theft and highway robbery honorable. There is no state-prison in North America that can belch forth a more infamous pack of liars and thieves than the officers in charge of Libby Prison. When we entered the prison we were told by Captain TURNER that we must hand over our greenbacks and gold and silver, if we had any, and should we need money while in prison we should have Confederate money at the rate of seven dollars for one, and when released or exchanged our money should be refunded in kind; and if we refused to hand it over, we would be searched, and if money was found it would be confiscated. This proposition was so fair that about nine-tenths of us deposited our cash in the Libby Bank. When we left, November 24th, they commenced paying us off in Confederate money. A few who had small sums deposited received greenbacks, but a large majority had either to take Confederate money or nothing."

"Of the cleared land we saw traveling from Chickamauga to Richmond, a distance of nine hundred miles, I do not think more than one acre in twenty was tilled this year. What little was tilled was in corn, except a few cotton fields. I do not think the corn would have yielded over five bushels to the acre."

During the Fall of 1863 the Thirty-fifth lay with the rest of the army at Chattanooga, and frequently engaged in skirmishes before that place. They were on the front line at Mission Ridge, and were among the first to reach the enemy's works on the crest, from which they drove the rebel force and captured three pieces of artillery. Early in the fight Colonel BOYNTON was severely wounded while leading his men up the height, when the command devolved upon Major BUDD. Next morning the enemy was pursued to Ringgold, Georgia.

The Thirty-fifth took an active part in the storming of Mission Ridge, capturing three twelve pounders and two flags. Lieutenant-colonel BOYNTON received a flesh wound in the thigh, which disabled him for several weeks.

The following letter from W.H. SHARER, of Company B, dated December 2d, 1863, will be found full of interest:

"Well, here we are, snug in camp again, after a flying trip to Ringgold, Georgia, and back, which we completed on the evening of the 29th of November, and to tell the truth, after writing on the 25th of November, about four o'clock P.M., I thought it was somewhat doubtful whether I would ever get back to camp or not.

"Colonel VANDERVEER was ordered to take his brigade and move to the left, which he did immediately, and, after some maneuvering, we were thrown into line, and marched toward Missionary Ridge. After gaining good ground, within five or six hundred yards of their first line of works, at the extreme foot of the Ridge, we were halted, and laid down, not thinking for a moment that they would attempt to charge the Ridge. The brigade now was in two lines, with the Second Minnesota as skirmishers. The signal to advance, which was six guns, was soon heard, the sound of which had not died away before I saw the Second Minnesota take the first line of the enemy's works, and the graybacks flying toward the top of the Ridge. By this time we had advanced into an open field, where the rebels began to try their batteries upon us. We were ordered forward on the double-quick, and I thought the rebels were loading and firing double-quick the way the shells flew around and among us. I saw one burst in the very midst of Company E, and saw several men stagger, but strange as it is, not a man was hurt from it, and I believe all reached the first line in safety. After resting, for we were all out of breath, we were again ordered forward under a most desperate fire. Shot, shell, grape, canister, old musket barrels, ram-rods, and everything else flew around thickly. Lieutenant-colonel H.V.N. BOYNTON, commanding the Thirty-fifth, was wounded shortly after leaving the first line of works, but I am happy to say not mortally. He thinks he will soon be able to lead us again. As soon as we gained the top the reels fell back on our left, where they concentrated, and a desperate fight was the result. But darkness coming on enabled them to escape next morning.

"After burying the dead and taking care of the wounded, we started in pursuit, and came up to the enemy just in time to see them driven from Ringgold, Georgia, and out of TAYLOR's Gap. Here the Seventh Ohio lost heavily; all their officers but one were killed or wounded as they attempted to charge Taylor's Ridge. This was on the 27th. On the 29th we marched back to camp, and now all appears quiet. The loss of the Thirty-fifth was five killed and twenty-eight wounded."

At the storming of Missionary Ridge, near Chattanooga, November 25th, Sergeant William C. STOKES, of Company C, son of James M. STOKES, was killed. He was in his twenty-first year. At the same place and time, Simon KUMLER, private in Company C, son of Jacob KUMLER, was killed. He was in his twenty-second year. The former was shot through the head and lived but three hours, the latter shot through the abdomen and living twenty-four hours. They were young men of unusual promise, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of all who knew them.

In February, 1864, the regiment was engaged in the first battles at Buzzard's Roost, near Dalton, after which they were stationed at Ringgold until the beginning of the Atlanta campaign. They were with SHERMAN from the initiation of this movement until the expiration of Atlanta. They were engaged at Dalton, Resaca, Pine Mountain, Kenesaw, Peachtree Creek, and several others of the fights of that bloody contest.

The Thirty-fifth was mustered out in August, 1864, at Chattanooga.

In their term of three years, says a high authority, the regiment never turned its back upon the enemy, and was never driven from a field.

The following is a list of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the regiment:

Colonel.-Ferdinand VAN DERVEER, commanding brigade after February 28, 1863.
Lieutenant-colonels.-Charles L'H. LONG, resigned July 13, 1863, on account of disability. Henry V.N. BOYNTON, July 13, 1863; wounded at Mission Ridge, November 25th; resigned September 8, 1864.
Major.-Joseph L. BUDD
Adjutants.-George B. WRIGHT, resigned September 18, 1863, on account of disability. John VAN DERVEER, promoted to captain of Company C, March 19, 1864. James H. BONE, September 24, 1863; promoted to captain Company D, March 17, 1864. James E. HARRIS, April 10, 1864.
Surgeon.-Perkins A. GORDON, resigned November 2, 1863, on account of disability.
Assistant Surgeons.-Francis D. MORRIS, resigned August 8, 1862, on account of disability. Charles O. WRIGHT, resigned June 18, 1864. Abram H. LANDIS, mustered out September 27, 1864.
Chaplains.-John WOODS, resigned November 19, 1862. Joshua C. HABLIT, resigned February 19, 1863.
Sergeant-majors.-Benjamin Clark, reduced to the ranks May 1, 1862; promoted to second lieutenant October 4, 1862; wounded at Chickamauga. Lucius B. POTTER, October 14, 1862.
Quartermaster's Sergeants.-Joseph F. SANDERS, promoted to second lieutenant November 27, 1862. Martin BETZ, November 29, 1862.
Commissary Sergeants.-George W. LEITCH, discharged for disability June 30, 1862. Joseph S. CLAYPOOLE, promoted from sergeant Company C, July 1, 1862; second lieutenant September, 1862. Lorenzo BROWN, October 1, 1862.
Hospital Stewards.-Samuel HART, discharged September 10, 1861, for disability. Mordecai CLEAVER, January 1, 1862.
Principal Musicians.-William H. BUSSARD. Clark J. CASTATOR.
Ordnance Sergeant.-James D. RATLIFF.