Sunday, July 27, 2014

Threads of Memory - July 1864 - Oberlin Star

This block celebrates the town of Oberlin Ohio and the role of the local people in defying the Fugitive Slave Act -

The first time I made it for some inexplicable reason, I put put the tiny triangles on the inner side of that 4-way intersection - where I have the red fabric. I lost the effect of a glowing rounded square behind the star so I remade those four quarter-square triangle segments. 

I like this Ohio Star with the added detail.

I have no letters from Eli or Shepherd with Indiana's 52nd Regiment for July 1864. The Regimental History shows them moving around, spending most of July in Mississippi. Picking up where I left off  in June, it says: "Colliersville, Tenn., June 23. Near Lafayetteville June 23. Smith's Expedition to Tupelo July 5-21. About Pontotoc July 11-12. Harrisburg, near Tupelo, July 14-15. Old Town (or Tishamingo) Creek July 15."  On modern maps, I can find Collierville (no "S") outside of Memphis, and  Lafayette County in Mississippi, not far west of Pontotoc and Tupelo, but no Lafayetteville in either Tennessee or Mississippi. Tishomingo Creek is north of Tupelo.

Here is a link to a brief Wikipedia description of Smith's Expedition to Tupelo - a Union success except they almost immediately had to retreat back to Memphis because of spoiled rations.

There is no other activity noted for the 52nd until the first of August.

My Great Grandfather John and great-great uncle Billy are still with the 82nd - we left them at Kennesaw Mountain at the end of June. They continued to battle the rebels, pushing to Atlanta. On the 4th, they fought a short battle at Marietta and were given the rest of the day to celebrate the holiday. Fighting continued for the next four days at the Chattahoochee River. One of the 82nd's soldiers was wounded and another killed. Company commander Allen W. Brown wrote a letter describing the country as "the most forsaken looking that I have even seen since I have been in the Army for nobody is at home and not many ever lived here. But everything is flying south before the Yankee Army." In another letter, he tells his wife, "The boys are all well and feel very well considering the heavy march that they have made. Our Regt. lack twenty men now of being as big as Co. A and B when we left Madison. Company A and B had 200 men then and now the whole Regt. only has one hundred and 80 men now commissioned and all there is some other Regts. with less a number than us." They have full rations and their communications are safe. To reassure his wife he will not be harmed, he describes exchanges during the fighting - "We are about a quarter of a mile from the river and the river is about two hundred yards wide and the Rebels occupy the other side of the river. But the boys are on very peaceable terms and when our boys have orders to shoot, they will holler "you to your holes Jonneys" and when the Rebels have orders to shoot, they will holler "you to your holes Yanks", and the first shot fired from either side is always aimed high so as to give each party time to get into their holes." He also credits the Rebels for not giving up and says they are "not demoralized as some of the newspapers say they are... they are well organized and determined to hold their ground." 

The Army constructed a pontoon bridge to cross the river under cover of night on the 17th. They advanced to Peach Tree Creek and had to ford it, as the bridge had been burned.  It took some maneuvering, but the rebels were outnumbered and fell back with little resistance.  The press to Atlanta continued through the end of July.

This Wikimedia Commons map depicts the Union Army's advance from Chattanooga, back in May through the end of August.

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