By RUSSELL BAILEY

Tipton County Historian

 

The journal of Martin Van Buren Oldham (1840-1884) of Weakley County, has provided much information on the campaigns and battles of the soldiers of the 9th Tennessee Infantry during 1863-64.

 FIGHTING SHERMAN IN GEORGIA

 

ELSBERRY RIDGE –NEW HOPE CHURCH,

 

MAY 28, 1864.  (Continued)

 

Among the wounded of Company D, 154th Tennessee, A. J. Vaughan’s Brigade, were two Randolph residents, Harvey C. Starnes and his neighbor Thomas M. Ballard.  Thomas died at the Confederate Receiving Hospital at Marietta, Georgia on June 10, 1864.  Other than the clothes he had on, Thomas left a knapsack and pair of shoes.  The chaplain recorded Thomas’ home was Randolph, Tipton County, Tenn. and that “he was resigned to the will of God but from the nature of his wound could say but little but declared himself ready and willing to go.”

During the early morning hours of Saturday May 28th most all of the troops of Major General B. F. Cheatham’s Division were moved to the right to the vicinity of New Hope Church.  Lieutenant Edwin J. Rennolds of the 4th & 5thConsolidated Tennessee Infantry, Brigadier General O. F. Strahl’s Brigade, noted that only the soldiers of the Division picket line remained under the command of Colonel Jonathan J. Lamb.  Major General William B. Bate was left in command of the pickets in front of Lieutenant General W. J. Hardee’s Corps.  The First Kentucky Orphan Brigade, Brigadier General Joseph Lewis, remained in support.  Skirmishing continued on picket line for the next two days. Lieutenant Edwin H. Rennolds noted on the 28th the picket with Lewis’ Brigade in support advanced on the Federals to determine if the enemy was still in force on that part of the line.  Captain John T. Irion wrote:

“At Elsberry Ridge, in front of Dallas, we were left for three days and nights to check the enemy and protect supplies, the rest of the army marching on toward Atlanta.  Here the 5th Regiment sustained an irreparable loss in the death of Colonel Jonathan J. Lamb.  He had just led a gallant and successful charge and on returning was re-establishing his picket lines when he fell mortally wounded….Every member of his command loved him like a brother…they never had a truer friend or more gallant leader.”  

Dr. W. J. Worsham, 19th Tennessee, Strahl’s Brigade recalled on the 28th that Major General Patrick Cleburne’s Division moved back to the right of Cheatham’s position.  He continued:

“At midnight…the enemy charged the lines of Cheatham and Cleburne, and soon after that of Bate, and continued until day light, and too in an almost continuous fall of rain.  In these ditches we had to remain, where the water and mud in many places were two inches deep, where we slept when we could.”

Col. J. N. Wyatt, 12th Tennessee, wrote of the activities of Brigadier General A. J. Vaughan’s Brigade that day:

“At 3 a.m. (we) Retied in silence, leaving our pickets, and marched to New Hope Church on our right.  Went to the ditches as a reserve to support Gen. Cantey’s Brigade. The enemy charged our line but were repulsed.  Five men wounded during the day (one who afterward lost his arm.”

Van Oldham, 9th Tennessee, Brigadier General George Maney’s Brigade, records the following for May 28th:

“While laying under the hill we had 2 or 3 men wounded by balls which came 20 feet high but would strike things and glance…there is no safety within two miles of a battlefield…Some fighting was done on our right after night.  This morning at 3 o’clock the Division was moved by the right flank 4 miles near the church where it was formed on the right of (Major General W. H. T. Walker’s) Division who moved with us.”

Continued.

Lisa DeLancey is a staff writer for The Leader, focusing on education. She is a 2016 graduate of The University of Memphis. 

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