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Lieut. George W. Landrum
THE respect that should always be accorded the brave
and loyal sons of the National Union who left their
peaceful homes and remunerative vocations, unhesitatingly giving up the serene pursuits of civic life to give
their services and their lives, if need be, to preserve
the integrity of the American Government, is certainly due the
memory of the lamented Kentuckian, to a brief review of whose
life and characteristics the following lines are devoted. Lieut.
George W. Landrum proved his love and fidelity to the Federal
cause, during the Nation's greatest crisis, on the long and tiresome
marches in all kinds of situations, exposed to summer's withering
heat and winter's freezing cold, on the lonely picket line, a target
for the missile of the unseen foe, on the tented field and amid the
flame and shock of battle, where the rattle of musketry mingled
with the terrible concussion of bursting shells, and the deep dia-
pason of the cannon's roar, made up the sublime and awful chorus
of death. All honor to the heroes of the early sixties! To them the
country is under a debt of gratitude which it cannot repay, and
in centuries vet to be, posterity will commemorate their chivalry
in fitting eulogy and tell their knightly deeds in song and story.
To the once large but now rapidly diminishing army that followed
the "Star-spangled Banner" on many sanguinary fields of the
fair Southland, crushed the armed hosts of treason and re-established upon a firm and enduring foundation the beloved Government of our fathers, Lieutenant Landrum belonged. Like thousands of comrades equally as brave and patriotic as himself, he did
his duty nobly and his highly commendable record is unspotted
by a single, unsoldierly act.
Lieutenant Landrum was born in Augusta, Kentucky, July 3, 1830. He was a scion of a sterling old Southern family, and the only son to live to maturity of the Rev. Francis and Mahala Landrum. The father, who was a prominent pioneer preacher, a courageous, earnest, and devout man, greatly beloved by all with whom he came in contact, was summoned from earthly scenes when his son, our subject, was young in years, and not long thereafter the latter's mother removed with her family from the old Blue Grass State across the Ohio River, settling in the city of Cincinnati, where George W. Landrum grew to manhood and received his education. He was an industrious lad and managed not only to obtain a practical education, but contributing the meanwhile to the support of the family and the education of his younger sisters. He gave much promise of a successful career as a man of affairs. But at this juncture the war god, Mars, summoned him to other fields and ruthlessly sacrificed his superb young manhood upon the altar of war.
Young Landrum was one of the first to respond to the first call for troops of President Lincoln, at the outbreak of the war between the States in April, 1861. It seemed that the future was not within the horoscope of the Nation's leaders and they believed that the citizen soldiery would not be needed longer than three
months, so it was for this length of service that our subject joined the "Guthrie Greys," an old military organization of Cincinnati, under the command of General Nelson. The regiment was soon sent into eastern Kentucky, where it spent the major portion of the specified term of enlistment. Meanwhile the Rebellion, instead of being suppressed, had gained in momentum and extent, and a second call was made for troops, this time for a vast army to serve three years or until the termination of hostilities. So, immediately upon his return to Cincinnati, Mr. Landrum began raising a company for another enlistment, and his enthusiastic efforts met with speedy results, and upon the election of officers he was readily chosen as a lieutenant, Mr. James Warnock being the other lieutenant and a Mr. Smith the captain. The company was at once made a part of the Second Ohio Regiment of Volunteer Infantry and hurried to the front. While in the field, Lieutenant Landrum soon gave evidence of superior ability as a soldier, and he was selected as a member of the signal corps, in which capacity he served in a manner that reflected much credit upon himself and to the praise of his superior officers and admiration of his comrades, his industry, bravery, tact, and quick mind resulting in continuous, praiseworthy, and important service to the Federal army in the field. But, like many another of his countrymen, he was a soldier from necessity, not from choice, because he loved the fruits of peace, rather than those of war, as any fair-minded, good citizen naturally would. However, he was a soldier by nature, descending as he did from a military ancestry. His maternal great-grandfather, William Sargent, Sr., was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, dying in the service, and William Sargent, Jr., our subject's grandfather, also fought on the side of the colonists in our War for, Independence, and two great uncles, Richard and Thomas Sargent, carried muskets in that conflict, surrendering their lives for liberty. John. Dominic McNeill, Mr. Landrum's great-grandfather, served throughout the War of the Revolution. Because of McNeill's excellent service and intense patriotism, he was chosen a member of Morgan's Rifle Corps—"a battalion of about five hundred picked men." With this most famous regiment of the war, Morgan joined Washington at Morristown, New Jersey.
So young Landrum felt it his duty to help save the great nation that these sturdy progenitors helped to establish, indeed, he would have felt that he was dishonoring the fair escutcheon of the family name had he played the craven and remained at home when his fair country, consecrated by their blood, was calling him. But this gallant and efficient young soldier was not destined to live to enjoy the blessings of a reunited country, having met a patriot's death in a tragic manner on the sanguinary field of Chickamauga, while courageously endeavoring to accomplish a most important and necessary task, one at which a man of less heroic mettle would have quailed. On September 20, 1863, during the high tide of the second day's struggle of that great battle, Gen. George H. Thomas, after due deliberation, selected
Lieutenant Landrum (because he knew he could rely implicitly upon him at that critical state of the battle) to bear a message to Gen. William Rosecrans. The true soldier that he was, the young lieutenant, "asked not the reason why," but lost no time in mounting his horse and speeding away across the shell-torn field, through the smoke and flame of the conflict, over the bodies of the slain, literally "into the jaws of death," hazarding everything to fulfill his mission, but fate was against him, and before he reached his destination a leaden missile snuffed out the life of the brave message bearer. Mortally wounded and dying, he said to Surgeon J. F. S. Thompson: "I am not afraid to die. I have the consolation of knowing that I die in a glorious cause."
The loss of Lieutenant Landrum was keenly felt by his comrades, all of whom praised him for his daring, fidelity, and intelligence, for he was evidently a young man of distinction, superior attainments, and rare inate ability. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, of the Confederate army, took part with his cavalry in the battle of Chickamauga, and he later said that it was this battle that saved the Union. This being true, some solace may be gained in realizing that the efforts of young Landrum on this fatal field were not in vain.
A beautiful memorial base and flagstaff to Lieut. George W. Landrum has been erected on the grounds of the Methodist Home for the Aged, at College Hill, 0., by his sister, Mrs. Amanda Landrum Wilson. It was dedicated on the forty-sixth anniversary of the battle in which he lost his life, September 20, 1909. The staff is of steel and one hundred feet high above the level of the base, which is forty-three feet square from curb to curb. This superb flagstaff, which is capped with a copper ball finished in gold leaf and massive base built on classic lines of massive proportions, is a fit memorial to the lamented subject of this memoir. The services were under the direction of Bishop John M. Walden, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and were private, owing to the condition of the late Obed J. Wilson's health at that time, he having been the husband of the lieutenant's sister who erected the base and flagstaff; only the family connection, including another sister, Mrs. Sarah Landrum Stone, the Methodist Home family and attaches being invited. After the playing of the "Star-spangled Banner" by Smittie's Band, the flag was raised by Captain Pelton, a seaman many years, now of the Home family, who has charge of the flag, a beautiful bunting one, fifteen by twenty-five- feet, which he gracefully unfurled to the breeze. Its exceptional beauty awakened much enthusiasm. Dr. H. C. Weakley, on behalf of the donor, presented for dedication to Bishop Walden, the splendid flag outfit, and said: "We do well to honor thus the patriotism, moral and religous worth, the courage and fidelity as a soldier that led Lieutenant Landrum to go fearlessly onward amidst the imminent danger in the path of duty to carry the message to General Rosecrans, sending back his comrade, Lieutenant Quinton, to tell General Thomas of the changed position of the Confederate army. But, reared in a Methodist parsonage, with
high ideals of life and duty gotten in the home school, he faltered not before any call of duty."
During the ceremony Mr. Obed J. Wilson impressively recited the following verses from a poem he wrote at the beginning of the Civil War:
All hail to the banner our fathers defended!
This beautiful banner, the ensign of right,
Where the rose and the lily and violet are blended,
And the stars of the firmament cluster in light,
Hail! Flag of our Country, whose rich constellation
Lights the swift growth of Empire, of State linked to State;
Ever broad'ning and strength'ning the stable foundation
Of our glorious Republic, the free and the great.
Long, long, may it wave o'er a united Nation,
Whose people as one shall its honor defend
As the ages roll on, from all base profanation
Of lips that would mock it, or hands that would rend;
Then let us unite in fraternal hosanna,
And give from each soul ever loyal and true,
Three hearty good cheers for the Star-Spangled Banner!
Three cheers, with a will, for the Red. White, and Blue!
May our sons and daughters to remote generations,
Still lift up their voices in loyal acclaim,
To our flag as the flag of the foremost of nations,
In the long roll of Glory, Prosperity, Fame!
May God, in his goodness ever lend his protection,
To its folds floating freely o'er the homes of the free,
And shield all its children from dishonor, defection;
lo Triumphant! Peace,
After the recitation, three rousing cheers for "Old Glory" were given by the patriotic group.
Professor A. H. Currier, D.D., of Oberlin College, read the
BATTLE HYMN OF THE
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword—
His truth is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps-
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal: "
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
Since God is marching on.
He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;
0, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet-
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.
Bishop Walden then introduced the Rev. Dr. R. H. Rust, a former pastor of the family, who made the principal address. It was the effort of a master and inspired those present with new appreciation and love for the flag. He said in part:
"Patriotism is a duty and privilege. The home, the flag, and the cross are symbols of the noblest and most sacred affections or treasures of feeling in human nature. Love and sacrifice are inseparable. The law of love is the principle of the spiritual world just as gravitation is the governing force of space. History has always recognized patriotism as a lofty virtue, and patriots as the brightest jewels upon her pages. Their greatness and services are as valuable as that of poets, philosophers, statesmen, and clergymen. The conflict of the elements of nature was necessary for the beautiful world in which we dwell. War, with its pageantry and pangs, its harvest of heroes and vintage of blood, has ever been the law of human progress. The martyrs of all ages have been our noblest benefactors--"
"`For humanity sweeps onward, where to-day the martyr stands, On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands; And the hooting mob of yesterday to-day in silent awe returns To gather up the scattered ashes into history's golden urns.'"
"Whenever memory dwells on any gifted spirit that has passed from one world to the other, it brings both worlds within our nearer view; the world of this mortal life, and the other world of our ideal vision, of our deepest longings, and hopes of future reunions. This true knight of patriotism gave his life for the preservation of the Union. The soldier of the Republic saved the Nation. Love holds him dear, and the crown of loyalty rests upon his brow, and he is enshrined in grateful remembrance by those who knew his worth and the willing sacrifice he made for this land of liberty. A beautiful, Christian life—death cannot end that. It is great to live it; it is glorious to leave it as the sign that we have been. From beyond the dim mists, from behind the alabaster veil the life still shines timeward. He who so lives as to be missed when he is gone; who has so framed himself into the necessities of the living as to leave behind a lasting influence, fulfills the purpose he was divinely sent to execute, and records a grand success amid countless failures."
Remarks by Rev. F. E. Bigelow, of Newport, Kentucky:
"From the very moment that the breezes caught the ascending flag, and caused it to unfold in all its beauty, we have been inspired by the solemnity and glory of this occasion. This feeling has been intensified as we have listened to poem and address, interspersed with uplifting music. There remains but little for me to say further than to express the sense of honor which I feel at being permitted to share in these exercises. It is right that the noble lives of those who heroically gave themselves for their country should be commemorated, and we all appreciate the fitness of this memorial which we are dedicating to-day. The stainless life of a noble, Christian soldier, who fell in fulfillment of his duty, is best commemorated by the stainless flag. And it is yet more fitting that this memorial should be erected under the shadow of an institution such as this by which we stand—the noblest expression of the spirit of fraternal love which Christianity exemplifies. We
stand at the vantage point of history, and are able to see what was accomplished by the life and death struggle in which our fallen brother had a part. We see how the years have united the once-severed portions of our land, until we are now one Nation, united with a solidity as sure as that suggested by this foundation base upon which we are assembled. And from the center rises heavenward this staff of steel from which is to float the banner of freedom and peace. May the blessing of God rest upon you, the beloved sister, in whose heart was conceived this beautiful memorial, and upon your honored husband. And may its message ever be to those who behold the message of a pure life, of a noble deed of patriotic sacrifice, of a united Nation, whose flag now waves in the name of liberty and peace, and of the spirit of the coming universal kingdom, which is the rule of God in the hearts of men through Jesus Christ, our Lord."
Rev. C. G. McNeill, of the Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, spoke as follows:
"As the flag was being raised, and during the most inspiring exercises connected therewith, we all experienced such an exaltation of emotions as carried us up among the clouds, speaking figuratively. Now that we are all on our feet, on the earth again, I give expression to some of my feelings. Doubtless we all have attended flag-raisings before. In my own lifetime I have been present at many. They were always in the midst of political campaigns. There was always a partisan feeling in connection with it. Each party sought to have the biggest flag, and the tallest pole. Partisan feeling ran high. Never before to-day have I at- tended a flag-raising at which partisan feeling was absolutely nil. Here it was conspicuous by its total absence. Thus it was so much more beautiful and in every way so much better. I am wondering if this day's ceremonies may not be the beginning of a new era in such things, and find myself wishing that it may become a custom throughout our land to have all our flag-raisings, in every community, and at every institution, at some other time than during a political campaign, say on the Fourth of July, or some other similar public day, so that all participants, and all the citizenship round about may have an equal interest in it, with feelings unmarred by divisive rivalry, but with emotions so much more patriotic as to be fraternal. Perhaps the glories of this day's exercises may usher in the beginning of the better way."
Bishop Walden impressively closed the services, emphasizing the significance of the American flag as to religious freedom as well as to our civil liberty, in well-chosen phrase, then offered the dedicatory prayer.
Dr. S. O. Royal pronounced the benediction.
"OFFICE OF THE SIGNAL
"Washington, April 7, 1864. "General Orders, No. 18.
"It is with feelings of profound sorrow and regret that I am called upon to announce to the corps under my command, that one
of its bravest and most talented officers, Lieutenant George W. Landrum, 2d Ohio Volunteers, and Acting Signal Officer, was killed upon the battlefield of Chickamauga."
"The fate of this officer has been, until the present time, involved in doubt and uncertainty. Unceasing efforts have been made to ascertain if he were a prisoner of war (as there have been rumors giving evidence to such belief), but all to no purpose."
"The following extract, from a communication signed by J. T. S. Thompson, Surgeon 3d Tennessee Regiment (Confederate Army), now a prisoner of war, published in a western paper for the information of friends of the deceased, presents, it is believed, a true history of the fate of this gallant officer:"
`"THE FATE OF
' (Cincinnati Commercial, 1864.)
"`The fate of this highly-respected young officer has been involved in doubt since the battle of Chickamauga. At one time it was believed he had fallen into the hands of the Rebels and was a prisoner of war. But his name never appeared in any of the lists of prisoners. His relatives have made every effort, by correspondence and personal inquiry, to penetrate the mystery, but in vain. The following letters, however, show that he died a hero and a patriot at Chickamauga. It is a melancholy satisfaction to his many friends and relatives to be placed in possession of the particulars of his death, and they may well feel a mournful pride and pleasure in the knowledge that his last words were so becoming and so characteristic of the true soldier."—Eds. Com.
" 'Decatur, Ala., March 23, 1864."
"'Eds. Com.—Will you be kind enough to hand the within note to the parents or friends of George W. Landrum, First Lieutenant of Signal Corps, killed at the battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. Surgeon J. T. S. Thompson (a prisoner of war, captured near this place by the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry), learning I was from Cincinnati, informed me of these facts and wrote this request and not knowing the deceased or his parents, I take the liberty of sending it to you."
" 'Dr. Gaines, Post Hospital.'"
`Decatur, Alabama, March 22, 1864.
`Lieutenant George Landrum, of Cincinnati, received his
mortal wound on the 20th day of September, 1863, during the bat-
tle of Chickamauga. He lived about two hours after receiving the
wound, a portion of which time he suffered very much. A Minie
ball passed through the pelvis, penetrating the bladder. He was
on his horse, riding in a gallop, at the time he received the wound.
I saw him a few moments after he had fallen. He was suffering
very much, but rested much easier after I gave him a small dose
of morphine. After he had grown easy he asked me to give him
my candid opinion of his condition. When I told him that I
thought he would certainly die in a short time, he remarked that
he was not afraid to die; that he had the consolation of knowing that he was dying in a glorious cause. He requested me, if I had an opportunity, to inform his relatives of his death, and how he died. He was decently buried the next day after he died.
" ' J. T. S. Thompson,"
`Surgeon 3d Tenn. Reg't, Prisoner of War.'
"Evincing, in his daily intercourse with his brother officers, traits of character of the highest order, brilliant as a man of intellect, and a brave and energetic soldier, his loss is deeply lamented. But, while we mourn him, we may remember, with peculiar pride, that he met his glorious fate of a hero, upon the bloody field of Chickamauga, while bravely discharging his duty. May our last words be his, 'I am not afraid to die.'
"In respect to his memory, the officers of the Signal Corps will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. "By order of
"Major W. T. J. Nicodemus,
(In charge of Bureau of the Signal Corps). "Henry V. Taft,"
"Captain and Signal Officer."
RESOLUTIONS ON THE
DEATH OF LIEUT. GEORGE W. LANDRUM
A meeting of the friends of Lieutenant George W. Landrum was yesterday held in Room No. 2, Superior Court. Chas. E. Cist, Esq., was appointed president, and T. B. Disney, secretary.
"L. D. Champlin, Esq., Judge Hoadley, and Captain James Warnock were appointed a committee on resolutions, and submitted the following, which, after some remarks by Judge Hoadley, Captain James Warnock, Charles E. Cist, and others, was unanimously adopted and a copy directed to be sent to the family of the deceased:"
"George W. Landrum, killed in the gallant discharge of the noblest of duties, at Chickamauga, was in life a man of kindly and genial spirit, and many accomplishments; in death, a hero for whom we mourn, and yet with the consolation of knowing that he felt how glorious a privilege it was to die such a death."
" 'We, his friends and associates, who long hoped that his absence from the army might be accounted for by captivity at the South, have at last learned the manner of his death with grief and pain on our own account, as hereafter to be denied the pleasure of his society in this life, but with gratitude to the Giver of all good, who vouchsafed to our friend so noble an end to a worthy life, and made his death a victory.' "
ADMIRATION OF FRIEND AND FOE ALIKE
The military and noble bearing of Lieutenant Landrum everywhere, especially in the fury of the conflict, arrested attention, which, with his courage and loyalty to duty on the field of battle, won the admiration of friend and foe alike.
The following extracts from letters of Confederate officers who witnessed his death, bear testimony to the truth of this statement:
Col. James D. Tillman, in command of the Confederate troops before whom he fell mortally wounded, writing -under date of Nov. 23, 1894, says : "The incident of the shooting of Lieutenant Landrum on that Sunday afternoon (at Chickamauga) has been spoken of at reunions of Confederate soldiers and around the domestic fireside and on hunting and fishing excursions for more than twenty-five years, but none of us ever knew the name of the officer until I got into correspondence with Mr. Smart."
COPY OF A LETTER FROM COL. JAS. D. TILLMAN OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY
"Fayetteville, Tenn., Oct. 13, 1894. "J. P. Smart, Esq.
"Dear Sir: If there is any place I could locate on the Chickamauga battlefield, it is the place where the Federal officer on the gray horse fell. I have just seen Mr. Bagley, mentioned in my last letter. He also remembers, like myself, distinctly the incident, and I have not seen at any time a member of my command who does not remember it. I will try to come to Chattanooga during the next month, and will try to get Mr. Bagley to come with me. It is admitted that Bagley fired the first of the many shots fired at Landrum. We could give no information as to the place of his burial."
"Jas. D. Tillman,"
"Col. in Confederate Army."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY CAPT. C. B. BAGLEY, OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY
"Fayetteville, Tenn., Dec. 1, 1894."
"Mr. 0. J. Wilson, Cincinnati, Ohio."
"Dear Sir: I assure you it gave me great pleasure to be of service to you and Mrs. Wilson in helping to locate the spot where your dear one fell. I join you in all honor to the brave spirits on both sides who gave up their lives in defense of what they thought was right. Immediately, after meeting you on your arrival at Chattanooga, there came over me a peculiar sadness I never felt before, and on retiring that night I asked the Lord to guide us to the spot where Lieutenant Landrum fell, for the loving sister's sake. The prayer was answered. On coming to the spot it was perfectly familiar, though thirty-one years had passed since I saw it. I did not make it known until I had gone beyond to the point where I was wounded. It was also readily found. All was then clear. I was prepared to point out to you the two locations, which Colonel Tillman also recognized as being the spot."
"C. B. Bagley."
COPY OF LETTER OF R. R. WILLIAMS, AN OFFICER IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY
"Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., Oct. 13, 1894. "
"Mr. J. P. Smart, Chattanooga, Tenn."
"Dear Sir: I have been handed a communication written by you to Capt. W. S. Gennings, who commanded a company of the Third Tennessee Regiment, and he being absent during the battle of Chickamauga, command of the company devolved upon the first lieutenant. I recollect very vividly the circumstances you relate in your i communicaton and they are very accurate in de- tail. Especially do I recall the fate of the brave cavalier, who, so regardless of his fate and intent on delivering his dispatches, attempted to run the gauntlet of our line of skirmishers. I don't remember whether I had charge of the skirmishers or not, but think I must have had, as I was near enough to see all of the affair, and recall the facts as fully as if they occurred but yesterday. I have often wondered who this person was and what was his errand and rank. The flight of his beautiful gray steed, seemingly conscious of the importance of his mission, and the manly, erect, dignified bearing of the rider, to whom danger seemed to develop his fullest stature, recalled to me more than anything I ever saw, the stirring description of the heroic knights of ancient chivalry."
"I have never visited the battlefield of Chickamauga, but if I could be placed on Snodgrass Ridge, I think I could identify the very spot on which he fell, or within a few yards. I suppose it was about one o'clock."
Yours. very respectfully,
"R. R. Williams."
LETTER TO MRS. WM. P. BRADLEY, SISTER OF LIEUTENANT GEORGE .W. LANDRUM, JANUARY, 1863
"Hd. Qrs. Center 14th, Army Corps, Murfreesboro, Tenn. "Dear Minnie:
"You have doubtless read many accounts of the great battle we fought, of the awful sacrifice of life, the almost numberless host of wounded, and the great loss of property. But I do not believe any one can give you in a letter any idea of the terrible reality. The battlefield was strewn for miles and miles with the dead, dying, and wounded soldiers, horses, and negroes.
"There was continuous fighting for five days. The hardest, fiercest fight was on the 31st of December. On that day at daylight the enemy attacked our right wing (General McCook's Corps), taking our men by surprise. Many of our officers were still in their beds, the men cooking their breakfasts, and the artillerymen watering their horses. The attack was fiercely made, and the enemy completely turned our right wing, driving us back about two and one-half miles. The slaughter was terrible. They captured several of our batteries (as the horses were away), a great number of prisoners, and a great many wagons. A perfect panic was started in the right wing, and was fast spreading to our whole army, when General Rousseau came on to the field and
ordered his division—the old Third, now the First—on to the charge. It was beautifully done. He checked, and finally drove the enemy back, slaughtering them by the hundreds. Again they came on, and again were driven back. So it was for four or five hours. Their loss was greater than ours, and they were gradually forced back on the center, but held the ground they had gained on the right.
"At about four o'clock General Rosecrans collected all his batteries at a position to the right, and the fight raged on. Our grape, canister, and shells mowed them down like grass. The cannonading was deafening, and between the discharges of the batteries could be heard the rattling war of the musketry, dealing death to the traitors even more fearfully than the artillery. But they fought like very devils, and for a long time it was doubtful as to whether we could bold our own even. Our right had been turned, our line of battle changed, the enemy's cavalry were in our rear cutting into and burning our wagons by the hundreds. The roads and woods were full of our flying men spreading the report: 'We are cut all to pieces; every officer in our regiment killed! We are all that is left,' etc., ad infinitum."
"All this was as early in the day as eleven o'clock. I had been up for three days and nights working on Signal Station, without any sleep, and with very little to eat. I did not get on to the field until about that time. The road was completely jammed with men flying on foot, on mules, on horses—sometimes two on one horse, some without hats, all without arms. Wagons were being hurried back, and our cavalry were flying in all directions. I finally made my way to the front, heartsick, discouraged, and desponding. I could but see that we were badly whipped, and every one seemed to think as I did; but I determined that it should never be said of me that I had joined in so disgraceful a flight. I would rather be killed on the spot than to have it in the power of any one to point to me as one of the panic-stricken men then flying from the field. I finally made my way to General Thomas, and found him in the thickest of the fight. Never have I seen such terrible fighting, or heard such a continuous roar of guns, or been in a place where the grape, canister, and musket balls rained on us as they did there. Our corps—the center—was gradually being forced back, and it seemed that all was lost; but our brave fellows stood to their work, and the tide of battle seemed to be changing. Again we were driving them back, slowly but surely. The dashing courage and bravery of Rousseau and the gallant, old Third were sure to tell. General Thomas, cool as marble, was there to hold Rousseau in check (as he is brave almost to rashness), and to these two men is due the credit of saving this army from total rout."
The fight raged on, without ceasing, from daylight until it was too dark to see an enemy, and all seemed to desire rest. We did wish it, and were glad of the darkness.
I cannot describe to you my feelings that night. All with whom I conversed acknowledged we were whipped, and expected orders to come to fall back on Nashville. But how? As soon as we attempted to do that it would result in a general rout—perhaps a panic. We were evidently in a very precarious situation. We had lost thousands of our brave comrades; our right was completely turned; the enemy was annoying our rear, destroying our wagons and provisions; and all were discouraged. We did not sleep any that night, but gathered around our little fires, shivering with the cold, hungry, and heartsick—not a smile on a single face; for the first time not a joke uttered; all gloomy, disheartened, and desponding. The generals were near by, in an old log hut, in council. Some were for falling back, some for fighting where we were as long as a man would stand. Generals Thomas, Rosecrans, and Rousseau were with the latter, and it was determined to die where we were. We had held our council outside and come to the same conclusion.
"It was, I am proud to say, my wish to stay where we were if we could not go on. Oh, I can never forget one moment of that gloomy New Year's Eve, nor the desponding men that held the `watch-night meeting' of that night. Every minute the ambulances were passing by us filled with the wounded; the air was vile with their groans; on all sides of us the dead and dying were lying in heaps; and during this time the rain commenced to fall. Our poor men were lying out without fire (we did not dare build fires where the enemy could see us, as it would immediately draw their fire), without food, without blankets, and in the mud, too. At twelve o'clock at night, (New Year's), we shook hands all round and gloomily wished 'A Happy New Year' to each other, talked of our friends at home, and each had some directions to give as to the disposal of personal property about us, if 'anything should happen' next day."
"Day broke at last, and we expected, with its dawn, to hear the roar of the enemy's guns. An hour passed and only an occasional musket was heard; another hour, no attack yet. What could it mean? We had been all over the field; the generals were posting their commands, cheering the men, and preparing to give the enemy as warm a reception as was in their power, should they give us 'a call.' But time passed on. Twelve o'clock came, and no attack yet. We began to feel easier; they were evidently not in the best condition—must have been badly punished, and did not feel like coming up to time. In this way we argued and finally concluded that we were not whipped yet. All seemed to be encouraged, and faces began to wear a more cheerful aspect."
"Our generals rode around as cool as men could be. Rousseau was everywhere, and whenever he appeared there was a wild enthusiasm. Some of the men actually hugged his horse, shook his hands, caught hold of his legs, and nearly pulled him from his saddle. He is the most popular man in the army; just the man to command the volunteers."
"During the afternoon there was an attack made on our right, but after two or three hours of fierce, hard fighting, they were repulsed with fearful slaughter. Our men were well handled, positions well chosen, and we drove them back with small loss on our
side. There had been some skirmishing and artillery fighting all along our lines, and we had been first best all the afternoon."
"We again gather around our little fire at night. Our faces are a little more cheerful, so our conversation. An occasional joke is heard, and we even laugh aloud; we are in good humor. If we only had something to eat, and our blankets, we might persuade ourselves that we were really happy. Again the generals are in council. Their council is ended and we are ordered to mount our horses and commence our rounds with General Thomas. His orders are given cooly, and are executed quickly. The army have learned that they can trust in him. Every post is visited, every place examined. General Rosecrans is with us, cool, calm, selfpossessed—a cigar in his mouth, not lighted--never is—never saw him without it; an old hat on, a common blue overcoat. His long, large, hooked nose, sharp eyes, give him the appearance of a Jew peddler, and you involuntarily expect to hear him cry 'rags, old clothes,' etc., but he is now as cheerful as he can be. He says he has ' 'em' just where he wants ' 'em,' and he and Thomas inspire all with the confidence they appear to have."
"We all expected they would attack us the next morning, but they did not; but in the afternoon they made a terribly fierce attack on our left, and oh, what an awful onslaught it was! One of our brigades, the Twenty-third, in Van Cleve's Division, broke and ran like dogs; but the Thirty-seventh Indiana, Eighteenth Ohio, Nineteenth Illinois, and some other regiments charged on them, and after a hard hand-to-hand fight, they were driven back, Receiving re-inforcements they came on again, but were driven back, this time in wild confusion, and could not again be rallied. This fight, while it lasted, was, I think, the hottest and most-closely contested of all yet, and resulted in a brilliant victory for us. The next day the enemy commenced evacuating Murfreesboro."
"The next day we had some skirmishing, and at about four O'clock p.m., made our first attack on the enemy's lines, and drove them out of their rifle-pits in front of us. That night we had a happy council around our camp-fire, and we could have a 'great, big one,' too. The next morning the enemy had left Murfreesboro altogether, and after we had made a reconnoisance of the road we virtually took possession of the place."
"This is a confused account of a greater fight than the seven days' fight before Richmond. We lost eleven thousand men, killed, wounded, and missing. The enemy lost some fifteen thousand, so they report. They are going to make another stand at Shelbyville, some thirty miles from here, or else attack us here—they say the latter, and I should not be surprised to hear the roar of their guns at any moment. But they will not have the advantage of a surprise next time, as we are doubly vigilant. They did not expect us to leave Nashville this winter, and had built winter quarters here expecting to stay."
"All praise is due our brave men. Never did men do better fighting and suffer greater hardships than they have in this great
battle. They had to lie down in mud knee-deep, without blankets and without food. Many horses were eaten by our soldiers. Such men can never be whipped. They are invincible. Can their country ever be sufficiently grateful to them? Can men deserve more from their countrymen?"
"Well, Minnie, I have been through one more battle, and am unhurt. Men have been shot down behind me, on the right of me, and on the left, and before me. Strange how one escapes and another is stricken."
"When I learned that Colonel Fred Jones was killed, it so unmanned me that I cried. Only a few hours before I had shaken hands with him in front of his men. The enemy were in sight, the bullets flying around us. I was sent there under orders. I can almost feel the grip of his hand on mine as we bade each other `good-bye.' I never saw him more. We have all lost a friend. The country has lost a patriot, a brave officer; one who had ability, courage, and talents of a much higher order than many of our generals. Heaven has gained a saint. I have known Fred for years, and have yet to hear the first ill of him. Among the first to volunteer in defense of his country, he has earned a place in her history that few so young as he could gain, none more deservedly. He has finished his career by giving up his life in a glorious cause. He died a soldier. Let us hope not in vain. I cannot describe my sensations as I passed along the lines and shook the hands of my friends. When I came to Warnock, neither could speak for some time. Finally, our voices came out in 'God bless you, George!' from him, and 'How glad I am to see you! Thank God, we are both alive,' from me."
"You may remember that last spring I described this place to you as one of the prettiest I had seen in 'Dixie.' Oh, what a change! Desolation is written over the face of the whole country. Fences are gone, yards torn up, houses burned or pulled down, and where there were then beautiful flower gardens, there are now mud-holes. Trees have been chopped down for wood, arbors destroyed, and the large, fine, and elegant residences are rapidly falling to decay. All, all is desolation!"
"May God, in his mercy, forever keep war from our peaceful homes in the North."
"George W. Landrum."
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds