Skip to content

1864 October 1: The Battle of Jonesboro and the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry

October 5, 2014

The following letter was reprinted in The Prescott Journal of October 1, 1864.  The 22nd Wisconsin Infantry contained many men from northwest Wisconsin, especially in Company C but also scattered in other companies.

The Battle of Jonesborough, or Jonesboro, was fought August 31-September 1, 1864, as part of General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.  Sherman maneuvered to draw Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee away from their defenses at Atlanta, Georgia, so that it could be destroyed.  Although Hood’s army was not destroyed, he abandoned Atlanta and it was then occupied by Union troops for the rest of the war.

The War in Georgia.

What Our Army is Doing in Atlanta.

Sherman’s Movement and Victory.

What Wisconsin Artillery Did.

History of a Wisconsin Battery.

A Soldier’s Views of Politics.

From the Twenty-Second Wisconsin.

Affairs at Atlanta—The Depopulation Order—
Preparing for a Fall Campaign—The Army
in Splendid Condition—It is gaining Strength
Daily—Hood in a Bad Way—Soldiers all for
Lincoln—Recent Losses of the 22nd.

ATLANTA, Sept. 12th, 1864.

MESSERS. EDITORS :—What did I tell you ?  That Gen. Sherman would put the thing through to the full extent.  He succeeded in driving the boasting rebel army beyond Jonesboro, captured Atlanta, whipped the “cusses” badly, and now, to cap the climax, he has issued an order that all citizens who are not actually employed by the United States in a military capacity, must leave the city limits, giving them their choice, “Go North,” or “Go South,” as it is intended to make Atlanta a strictly Military Post.  We know Sherman well enough to appreciate fully just what he means, i. e. :  just what he has said.  This order produces quite a commotion.  To-day, the 12th is appointed for the exodus of the southward-bound outcasts.  Poor people ;  turned out of homes into a wilderness.  The husbands are in the rebel army, and the families destitute ;  squalid poverty stares them in the face.  Great God ! is this humane ?  But what if they stay ?  Are the people of the North willing to feed these families while the able-bodied men are killing their men, my comrades ?  Verily, it may be a necessary evil to do what Gen. S. proposes, but it seems cruel.  They can go North ;  many will.  The wicked bring sorrow to the innocent.¹

Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta, from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War"

Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta, from “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War”¹

Many mechanics and railroad men are already employed by the Government authorities.  The dilapidated works are being repaired, and the “State Works,” etc., are being put in condition to do good work on short notice.  Already the city begins to look like a Military Post, and the Quartermasters and Commissaries generally are in full blast.

Gen. Sherman has ordered that this army be put in condition for a Winter campaign.  The recruiting of the army, settling of accounts, bringing up baggage and supplies, and the thorough inspections of a month or so, are before us.  So we do not rest much, it is only “not fighting.”

Our army is on a line running east and west, from Decatur to the Chattahoochie, the 20th corps in front of Atlanta, all handy to our base.  The trains come up regular, and the “hard tack” and “sow belly.”  The ruins of locomotives and cars can be used by repairing here, so as to increase our rolling stock considerably.

Thousands of convalescent soldiers arrived during last week, and our army gains in strength daily.  The camps are being arranged for comfort and convenience, health and a short respite.  To our success in the campaign we owe this, for I firmly believe if Sherman had not been successful, we should have worked all through our term of service ere he would have given up his object.

Rebel deserters continue to come into our lines, and they report Hood in a bad fix.–Mutiny and Insubordination are Generals of his army, not himself.

The weather is beautiful, and the water in the city is excellent.

We hear that our forces have brought Mr. Weeler [sic: Joseph Wheeler] to a place where his destruction is inevitable.  This dare devil rebel General has had the audacity to tap our communications, but cutting the railroad, but his time is come.  The next thing the cuss knows he will be a second edition of “Johnny Morgan, Esq.,” [John Hunt Morgan] and like him be eulogized by Parson Brownlow [William G. Brownlow].  Bully for Brownlow.

The general health of the army is good, yet there no doubt will be considerable sickness, resulting from the rest and plenty that the army proposes to have, after the “four months” campaign.

The coming elections are engrossing the minds of the soldiers now, and if some few Copperheads could come down here, there could be quite a discussion ;  as it is there are no disputants.  The soldiers are like the handle of a jug–all on one side.  You’ll see for yourself.

The following is a complete list of casualties in the 22d Wisconsin Volunteers since July 20th, 1864, up to September 1st, 1864 :


Parlin E. Watt, G, skirmish line, Aug. 4.


Clement L. Northway, A, head, skirmish line, July 26, died Aug. 2 ;  Henry Grieve, A, July 28, hand, accidental, severe ;  Fred. Tessin, A, Aug. 9, shoulder, skirmish line, severe, died Aug. 12 ;  Albert W. Bullock, B, Aug. 15, head, skirmish line, severe ;  John S. Dayton, C, Aug. 13, abdomen and arm, skirmish line, died Aug. 13 ;  Sergt. A. O. Warner,  E, through abdomen, behind works, died Aug. 20 ;  Chas. Lapp, F, July 21, thigh, skirmish line, severe ;  Evan O. Owens, F, Aug. 16, arm, skirmish line, flesh wound slight ;  Geo. Nelson, H, Aug. 16, head and shoulder, skirmish line, severe.

More anon,                    FAIR PLAY.

1.  “Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta,” from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68):619; available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866).


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: