Hood tried on the flanking game, which had beat the Rebels so often during the summer; and getting in our rear he tore up the railroad and attacked Altoona, where General Corse with about 3000 men were stationed. Hood attacked with about 20,000 but our boys kept them back.
In the meantime, we had crossed the Chatahoochee River and got back as far as Big Shanty when we heard the firing at Altoona, some 18 miles. We started. Stopped on Pine Mountain for dinner where Sherman sent his famous dispatch, "Hold the fort, for I am coming." We had stopped close to the signal station and as I was always curious to know what was going on, I and one of the boys went up to hear what was going on. The general and his staff was there. Soon after, they got a signal from Rome. The signal officer reported Rome all O.K.; and in no time the orderlies were galloping to the different commands with orders to move immediately.
When we got back we found our guns and traps laying on the ground, and it took a good hour to catch up with the company. We kept on until we reached Altoona, the Rebels leaving before we got there. They had had a desperate fight, killing and wounding nearly half of Corse's men, but they stood their ground and held the fort. We then started for Rome, which was the next place threatened, but they did not attack there but kept on to Resaca. We heard the firing in the night, got up and started, knowing that there was only a small force there. They had drove the boys into the fort and were plugging away at them from every side. They left as we came in sight, going north through Snake Creek Gap, a long narrow crooked pass through the mountains.
Although we had marched hard all night, our corps, the 4th, were ordered to pile everything but our guns and cartridge boxes and take across over the mountains to head them off. I never saw such climbing done in my life. Sometimes a fellow would lose his hold and go tumbling, no telling how far; but we kept on and a little before night came to the mouth of the gap just as the Rebel rear guard were going through. We were then six or seven hundred feet above them. We fired at them and rolled big rocks down on them, but that just made them go the faster. Right at their heels came the 14th Corps, stripped to their shirts, giving them particular fits. If we could have got there an hour sooner we could have captured a lot of them.
We soon after went into camp for a few days, when the army divided, Sherman going back to Atlanta to start on the March to the Sea, while our corps, the 4th, was left to take care of Hood's army. We went to Chattanooga where the troops took the cars from Nashville, all but my brigade, who were ordered through with the wagon train. We had over thirteen hundred wagons to guard, and it would take all day and until way in the night for them (to) pass. Before we got to Nashville we were ordered to turn south to Pulaska, Tennessee, as the Rebels were crossing the Tennessee River and we were likely to have company in a short time. They came along and we started a little in advance. We didn't want them to go and persuaded them to stop a while at Columbia, but they were bound to go so they crossed the river and started, leaving us to follow, but we passed them while they were asleep and beat them to Franklin where we waited for them to come up.
About the middle of the afternoon they attacked us. About half of our force had crossed the river, leaving three divisions at Franklin. We were on the right, and after the second charge they moved and charged the center, making seven or eight charges and getting repulsed every time; and the ground in front of our works being covered with dead and wounded Rebels, many of them being killed on the works.
They charged through the first line at one time when General Stanley called for the second line of our brigade and, putting himself at their head, drove them back and retook the works, capturing quite a lot of prisoners. Stanley was severely wounded in the charge.
Here again, it was my fortune to be in a position to see the most of the fighting. After the second charge in our front, they left our part of the line and although they were charging not more than two hundred yards from us to the left, we were not molested and had a good view of the entire fight. After dark awhile they drew off and did not attack any more; and along towards midnight we crossed the river and started for Nashville, fifteen miles. We were rear guard and at daylight stopped at Brentwood for breakfast. The Rebels came up and fired on us. We went back and gave them a few rounds and then finished our breakfast at our leisure. When we had smoked our pipes and rested as long as we wanted to, we again started for Nashville, which we reached about noon.
My regiment was immediately sent back two miles on the Franklin Pike, where we threw up barricades. Soon the Rebels began to come in sight on the top of a hill about half mile from us. As each regiment gained the top of the hill they had a good view of the city. They would halt for a moment and cheer, then file to the right or left and go into position. By the next morning they had a line of works along the ridge nearly in speaking distance. They did not interrupt us until afternoon when we saw them come out of their works, form their line, start towards us. Every man of them looked seven foot high. I wanted to be somewhere else. I thought the colonel might tell us to go back, but he didn't.
They threw forward their skirmish line and kept coming. It was an open field, and we had a good view of them as they came up. When they had got close enough to almost see the white of their eyes, the colonel says, "Get ready men" (I wanted him to say, "Run," but he didn't) and at the word "fire." Soon the word came, "Front rank fire," which we did. Immediately the Rebel skirmishers dropped to the ground and the whole Rebel line fired a volley. As soon as the smoke cleared away we saw them still advancing. We gave them another volley and were ordered to fall back slowly and in order, which we did. After going back some distance we met our troops coming from the works. They opened ranks and let us pass through. We went to the works while they went on, but the Rebels fell back to their works. When we got to the works we found there was no room for us and we were moved close to Nashville and had nothing to do for two weeks but draw rations and eat them.
On the morning of the fifteenth of December, we were ordered to strike tents. It was so foggy we could not see any distance. We moved to the right and front. Finally we halted and skirmishers were sent forward. Colonel Hallowell, of the 31st Indiana commanded the skirmishes, and we knew something was going to be done.
It was not long until the skirmishers were engaged and we knew we were not far from their works. In a short time, the fog lifted and we found ourselves in plain view of their works. As soon as they saw us they began to shell us. We were ordered forward a short distance where we were sheltered by the brow of a hill where we're ordered to lay down. In the meantime, General Wood, commanding corps; General Kimball, division commander; and General Kirby, commanding brigade; had got together in the rear of our regiment. We were in the second line. We heard the order from Kirby to charge with his brigade. They gave a cheer, and before the orderlies had got started, the whole brigade had started. The generals went with (them), waving their swords. The regiment in our front wavered and then lay down. We passed over them, taking their place in the front line. Colonel Reavers' were shot down till five had been shot, then Captain Tinder took them, only to be shot the next instant, when Colonel Jamison seized them and planted them on the Rebel works. It did not take as long to do this as it takes to write this.
We found the works very strong, being a fort on what was known as Montgomery Hill, with several rows of palisades, a wide ditch and the earth works about eight feet high. I have no idea how we got inside. We captured a number of prisoners and a six-gun battery, and turning right and left down the works, drove them pell mell from their works, giving the rest of the troops, who were charging to the right and left, quite an advantage. We drove them that day from the first line of works, but they had a second line which they fell back to. I was on picket that night and heard them forming their lines and making preparations all night. We knew we would have to attack them in their works the next day and knew that it would be a desperate battle.
Soon after daylight the army commenced moving into position and I was not sorry when I found that our brigade was in reserve. We took position on a hill where we could see the movements for miles. We saw the charge made by the colored troops under Steadman, in which they were repulsed with heavy loss after making a gallant fight. The 3rd brigade of our division also charged but had to fall back with heavy loss.
It commenced raining and rained nearly all day. About three o'clock, the orders were given to charge all along the line. I never saw a grander sight. Both ways to the right and left as far as we could see, the lines were advancing on the double quick. Here and there the line would seem to waver for a moment, then with a cheer they would rush forward again. Then the smoke hid them from our sight, but soon above the deafening roar of artillery and the terrific rattle of musketry we heard the shouts of victory. We hurried forward and took the advance after the flying foe. We captured 19,000 prisoners and sixty-three pieces of artillery and destroyed Hood's army. We followed them until dark. In the darkness and the rain, the remnant of Hood's army made their escape. The next morning we followed through the mud. The Rebels threw away their guns and encountrements, blankets and everything they had.
A Note about the author.
Samuel C. Broughton was born March 19, 1841, in Noble County, Indiana, the son of Edwin and Laura (Hartwell) Broughton. He was a nephew of Noble County residents, William, Nathan, Orville and Samuel Broughton, Emeline Lobdell, Lucy and Cordelia Cramer, and Annue Baker.
Samuel married Martha Ellen Childress in Independence, Kansas, and they had four children, all born in Kansas: Carrie, James E., Samuel H., and Ethel B The family relocated from Kansas to the state of Washington.
He received a Civil War veteran's pension of $17 per month and in 1913 because of poor health, relocated to the Washington Soldier's Home in Pierce County, Washington. Samuel died in 1934 Orting, Washington.
Transcribed by Clara Whan
July 17, 1999
Original journal in the possession of Melvin Hans Jangard of Tacoma, Washington, great grandson of Samuel C. Broughton
Go to Samuel Broughton's Discharge Papers from 1864 and 1865 and obituaries.
Many thanks to Kathy and Mel Jangard who submitted this information.
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