Page One of 22-Page Undated Memoir of the Battle of Nashiville
Civil War Memoir of Captain Jonathan Harrington
Company A, 72nd Ohio
Battle of Nashville
Camp in Rear of Nashville
Tenn Dec 16/64
After Breakfast we the 72d OVVI started for Nash Ville with about four Hundred Prisoners that we had captured the day before After turning over the Prisoners to head quarters we Returned to the front to join our Brigade arriving just in time to go into the charge that day. About the time we reached our brigade an Orderly rode to Gen. A. J. Smiths headquarters and says Gen Thomas sends his compl[iments] and wants to know if you can trust your men. Gen. Smith being a rather high spirited man replied give my compliments to Gen Thomas and tell him that where my men will waver his will run by G-D The Orderly flew to Gen Thomas Head quarters and soon returned with Gen Thomas compliments and wants to know if he Gen Smith could carry the Rebbel works. Gen Smith says give my compliments to Gen T_ and tell him that I can carry anything by G-D. the Orderly wasnt gone but a short time when he Returned with Gen Tho[mas] comp[limen]ts with the command to proceed .Then we the first-Brigade knew we would have something to do. For when there was any hard fighting to be done the First Brigade was sure to be called upon.
Gen Smith wanted to know of Col. McKmillan who in com[mand] of the first Brigade if he thought he could carry the Rebbel works with his Brigade & Col McKMillan Replied I think I can if I can have my own way. Gen Smith told him to Proceed. Col. MckMillan then Ordered the First Brigade to fall in then marched us out in front of our line of Breastworks in plain view of the Rebbel line and Drew us up in line of Battle and ordered all of the commanding Officers to report to the left of the Brigade which consisted of the 10 Minnisotta 114 III 93 Ind the 95 Ohio & and the 72d Ohio. Col McKMillan gave us orders to go to our companys & see that Every man had his gun loaded & bayonet fixed and not to fire a Gun nor speak until we got on top of the Rebble Breastwork[s] and for Every man to get there as soon as his legs would carry him and to start at the sound of the Bugle. Our troops that was lying behind the breast works behind us still did not-dare to look over the Breastworks for fear of being shot but kept saying to us before we started you will all be killed. The Bugle soon sounded the advance and it was a sight to see that old first Brigade dash down that hill and up the other side and scale those Rebble Breastworks without a halt or a yell or firing a Gun. This was a very hard charge to make oweing To the orders which we Received before starting for we had always been in the habit of yelling from the time we started on a charge until we carried it. as soon as we scalled the Rebbel works they layed down their arms and commenced begging for their lives. it was a sight to see the Jonnies that were back in the Reserve light out as soon as we took their first line and the yanks after them. we took a great many Prisoners and I have a Sword at Home that I took from a Rebbel officer that day.
We went into camp that night near or not a great ways from the Battle Field and the next morning we started after the Retreating Enemy and it commenced to Rain and Freeze and by night Everything was covered in ice. During the day we captured quite a number of Rebs that was barefoot with their feet bleeding and played out. that night we went into camp in the woods and everything was covered in ice and not much hopes of warm supper and as I had lost my Lantern & of course could not see much Comrad[e] Woolverton I think it was that was leading me that night led me around and through the woods awhile. finely he found an old log that was lying up from the ground a couple of feet with a lot of leaves underneath and we cralled under them for the night. we had not lain there for more than a couple of Hours before we got so warm that we had to crawl out of our nest. when we layed down our close was covered with Ice and after the Ice had melted off of our clothes our bed began to get to[o] warm for us. The next day we followed the Rebs up until they crossed the Duck River where they Burned the Bridge and we had to lay our Pontoon across the river Before we could cross. Our division crossed the River and then had to lay over for another Division to pass us and this was on Sunday Christmas I think. I know that we had a good square chicken dinner that day. we followed the Rebs as far as the Tennessee River and the chase was then abandoned. we camped in a small town called Bucksnort where there had never been any Yankeys before, for the Town & Country around was full of Chickens. and to put it very small I think every man had from three to four Chickens that night. and I know there wasant a Chicken left to crow the next-morning. we then received Orders to move to East Port and go into winter quarters.
We began to think that we were a going to have a little Rest. The men got their Barracks all in good Shape for the winter but our Rations was getting low and our Quarter Master sent to Nashville for rations and there was Some mistake between our Quartermaster and the Post Commissary at Nashville for in stead of sending us Hard Tack and Bacon they sent us three or five days mule rations of shelled corn I suppose the commissary thought we had endured Every thing that we were mules.
We did not have the Pleasure of Enjoying our winter quarters but a short time until order came one evening for us to get aboard the Transports the next morning for some place we couldant tell where, but we were taken down the River to Vixburd [Vicksburg] and there we were landed to await further orders. Gen A. J. Smith went down the River to Neworleans and returned to Vixburd [Vicksburg] with orders to move down to Neworleans where we were again landed below the city on Jacksons old Battle Ground in the mud and water over our shoe tops. we Remained here long enough to make out our muster Rolls. We were then loaded on Ocean Steamers and taken down the River and across the Gulf and landed on Dauphins Island at the mouth of Mobile Bay . here we Remained several days and lived not on the fat of the land but on the fat of Mobile Bay - Oysters. We then received orders to get aboard Transports and move up Fish River and attack Spanish Fort in the rear. Here we had some pretty Sharp Skirmishing and quite a good day of Fighting to do and a good deal of work to perform building Forts for heavy Guns. we had quite a number of men wounded here and Some killed. we Siezed the Rebbels out of their Fort then moved on Blakely and captured a good many Prisoners. we then moved on to Mont GommeryAla and it was on this march that we got news of Lees surrender which was Glorious news to us. From Mont Gummary we went to Selma and from Selma to Meridian Miss. and from Meridian the different companys were Stationed along the Railroads to guard the cotton that was in store at different Stations We remained here several days and were then ordered to Vicksburg to be Shipped for Home.