Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fighting Hand To Hand.

On the battle field war can be a impersonal thing, you run across the field firing as you go stepping over the died or dieing, with your eyes fix on your goal, hoping you make it before yourself is killed. At these times one has no time to think of his personal feelings about the war. All he is hoping is that he will survive one more day. One could argue how can war not be personal. True one may have some personal feeling about war, a loss of a father or brother or maybe his home has been destroyed, but on the battle field things are different. The battle field is a very impersonal place, you fire into a mass of men then run then fire again and again till you reach the other side. For those who fire the cannon long distances its very impersonal, for they can not see the faces of those being killed.

But in the heat of battle sometimes it can get very personal, he may come face to face with the enemy and have to fight for his life hand to hand, now the war has become very personal, there is nothing more personal then to have to look into another mans eyes as you fight for your life and know you must win at all costs. So it was with these men listed here all fought hand to hand and won, if you can call killing another man winning.

The Appomattox campaign.

Corpl. Louis W. Hardwick, Company G, Thirty-eighth Wisconsin Volunteers, for conspicuous gallantry before Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865, when he was severely wounded in a hand-to-hand conflict.

Sergt. William Wick, Company D, First Michigan Sharpshooters, was the first to enter the enemy's works in the attack of April 2, 1865, before Petersburg, Va., and engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy.

Battles at Spring Hill and Franklin, Tenn., on the 29th and 30th of November, 1864.
Twenty-fourth Ohio.

Christian M. Gowing, Twenty-fourth Ohio, company H., who had just received promotion from sergeant, distinguished himself upon that occasion in a hand-to-handed counter with a stalwart form who had crossed our works, but soon was made to bite the dust. To give the exact number of prisoners captured would be a matter impossible.

The Richmond campaign.

I wish to call your attention to the braver displayed by Sergt. Alonzo Woodruff and Corpl. John M. Howard. They were posted on the extreme left of the line as the enemy passed our left flank. After discharging their rifles and being unable to reload Corporal Howard ran and caught one of the enemy who seemed to be leading that part of the line. He being overpowered and receiving a severe wound through both legs, Sergeant Woodruff went to his assistance. Clubbing his rifle, had a desperate hand-to-hand encounter, but succeeded in getting Corporal Howard away, and both succeeded in making their escape.

Third Colorado Cavalry, in the engagement with the Indians on Sand Creek, forty miles north of Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter., November 29, 1864.

Captain Talbot, of Company M, fell severely wounded while bravely leading his men in a charge on a body of Indians who had taken refuge under the banks on the north side of the creek. Here a terrible hand-to-hand encounter ensued between the Indians and Captain Talbot's men and others who had rushed forward to their aid, the Indians trying to secure the scalp of Captain Talbot. I think the hardest fighting of the day occurred at this point, some of our men fighting with clubbed muskets, the First and Third Colorado Regiments fighting side by side, each trying to excel in bravery and each ambitious to kill at least one Indian.

Colonel Edward M. C McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland.

I have to note among the casualties of the day the severe and dangerous wounding of Captain W. W. La Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, who fell while leading his men in a desperate hand-to-hand fight. He was a young officer of distinguished bravery and great promise.

The Gettysburg Campaign.

The Fourth Michigan and Sixty-second Pennsylvania had become mixed up with the enemy, and many hand-to-hand conflicts occurred. Colonel Jeffords, the gallant commander of the Fourth Michigan, was thrust through with a bayonet in a contest over his colors.

John H. Morgan, C. S. Army, commanding expedition.
Morgan second Kentucky Raid.

I have also to report that the Federal colonel, [Dennis J.] Halisy, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, commanding brigade, while engaged in picking up some stragglers of mine, was killed in a hand-to-hand conflict by Lieutenant [George B.] Eastin, of my command, and a lieutenant accompanying him was captured. The Federal forces are now moving down upon me. They left Lebanon this afternoon. I leave early to-morrow morning.

Second Manassas.

A number of the enemy's dead were left upon the field. Colonel Brodhead, of the First Michigan, was mortally wounded in a hand-to-hand encounter with Lieutenant [Lewis] Harman, adjutant of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry.

Second Manassas.

I regret to have to report that in this later part of the day, particularly in the last attack of the enemy, we lost many of our most gallant officers and men. Captain Barksdale fell mortally wounded, and Sergeant Smith, after distinguishing himself by his gallantry during the whole day, at last fell in a hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy.

Union Letters.

Sergt. Leander A. Wilkins, Company H, Ninth New Hampshire Volunteers, recaptured and brought off the field the colors of the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers at Petersburg July 30, 1864, after a hand-to-hand encounter. Present.

Private Thomas Robinson, Company H, Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, captured the colors of an unknown regiment at Spotsylvania May 12, 1864, after a desperate hand-to-hand conflict. now absent, wounded.

Lexington, Ky., January 29, 1865.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, District of Kentucky.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the forces under my command are doing good work. Information just received from Adjutant-General Lindsey reports a fight between a company of Fifty-fourth Kentucky Volunteers and a band of guerrillas under the notorious Dick Taylor, the same band that killed the negroes a few days since. Lieutenant Moore and Taylor had a hand-to-hand fight in which Moore was severely cut with a bowie knife and Taylor killed. One other guerrilla was killed and the rest routed.

Mobile Bay Campaign, Wilson Raid.

Sergt. John Wall, guidon bearer, of Company K, was also admirable. His company charged the line hand to hand with the rebels and this sergeant was shot in the bridle hand, the ball also striking deep into the lance of the guidon. He became the target for a line of muskets. He, however, maintained his place with the company, and, though thus wounded, captured a rebel officer in the heat of the battle.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel John M. Crebs, Eighty-seventh Illinois Infantry. HDQRS, EIGHTY-SEVENTH Regiment ILLINOIS VET. VOL. INFTY., Helena, Ark., February 14, 1865.

A Colt army revolver, captured in the skirmish on Sunday near Madison, was before that day unused, and the man upon whom it was captured admits he obtained it but a few days before from Memphis. I respectfully request that Private Hutson A. Keith, of Company I, who captured it in a hand-to-hand fight, and for his general good conduct, having in the last six months in the same way captured two other prisoners and killed in honorable fight a lieutenant in the rebel service, as a mark of commendation, may be permitted to retain the same as private property.

In the Field, near Lynch's Creek, S. C., February 26, 1865.

Corpl. Elijah G. Davis, Company I, Eighty-first Ohio Volunteers, with forage detail, who distinguished himself by refusing to surrender when attacked by four rebels, and fought hand to hand with them until he received seven wounds, and finally escaped death on the spot by the assistance of a comrade. His wounds, it is thought, will not prove fatal, and consist mainly of saber cuts.

Recommendations for promotion.

Major Thomas T. Taylor, Forty-seventh Ohio Veteran Infantry, to be brevet lieutenant-colonel for gallantry in the assault on Fort McAllister, December 13, 1864, and for a severe wound received in a hand to hand combat at that assault.

April 10, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers in the assault of Sunday, April 2, 1865, upon the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, Va.

Corpl. Calvin M. Espy, in a hand-to-hand combat, overpowered two rebels who refused to surrender to him. A great many others performed deeds of a similar character, but to mention all would occupy too much space.

Numbers 140. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Hill, Sixth Maryland Infantry.
April 16, 1865.

Private Alexander Burleigh, Company B, for shooting down a rebel engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Captain John J. Bradshaw.

Appomattox Campaign.

First Lieutenant Nathaniel Burgess, mortally wounded in a hand-to-hand conflict in the battery.

Numbers 18. Gravelly Springs, February 24, 1865.

Captain Joseph C. Boyer, Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, for gallantry in hand-to-hand fight on the night of the 16th of December, 1864, resulting in the capture of his opponent, Brigadier-General Rucker, of the Confederate army.

Near Huntsville, Ala., February 10, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the bearer, First Sergt. Alfred Ransbottom, Company K, Ninety-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, captured the accompanying rebel battle-flag at the battle of Franklin, Tenn., on the 30th day of November, 1864. The incidents connected with its capture are as follows: Our troops occupied a temporary line of works south of Franklin, Tenn., which was frequently assaulted by the enemy. This regiment took a very important part in the conflict, repelling the attack in every instance. The enemy kept up an incessant fire, and charged our line frequently until after night-fall, when volunteers were called for to pass through a gap in our works on the Columbia pike that they might enfilade the enemy and capture a portion of their storming party. Sergeant Ransbottom was among the first to volunteer to execute this perilous task, and as the contest became hand-to-hand he wrested the flag from the hands of the rebel color-bearer and carried it from the field in triumph as a trophy of one of the most hotly contested battles of the war. Such acts of noble daring are seldom equaled and rarely surpassed. I therefore earnestly desire that the military authorities may properly appreciate his personal gallantry.

September 27, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward a report of the operations of this command during the recent engagements from September 19 to date, inclusive

Private David Robinson, Company B, One hundred and fifty-first New York Volunteers, fought desperately hand to hand with the enemy over a gun, being knocked down with the butt of a musket. He, however, succeeded in killing his opponent.

Third Colorado Cavalry.

Private McFarland was killed in a hand-to-hand engagement. But like true soldiers the boys stood their ground, killing 5 Indians and wounding several others.


Captain Levant C. Rhines commanding, was ordered to charge upon the angle of the enemy's works, which they did in most gallant style, capturing the works, with 3 officers, 86 enlisted men, and a stand of colors, which were sent to the rear. The enemy, however, were not disposed to yield the point and soon returned to the fight, which now became a fierce hand-to-hand conflict, in which Captain Rhines, who had displayed the greatest gallantry, lost his life

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