From the Twentieth Illinois

From the "Army of the Tennessee"

Chattanooga, Tenn., May 27, 1864

Published in Kendall County Record, June 9, 1864

Friend Record: Having seen today for the first time, a copy of our new County paper, and feeling that it is the duty of each one who is, or expects to be a resident of Kendall, to sustain by their efforts, such a paper, I propose by your consent to jot down a few remarks which may be of interest to your readers.

It is true, that for some time back the "Army of the Tennessee" has been what is considered inactive. That is, they have after pledging themselves good for another three years, and having enjoyed a pleasant furlough with those whom they fight to protect, now call "time" with Joe Johnston and his ragged but desperate tatter-medallions. According to our latest report they are putting Joe in a position rather dangerous to his own and his Army's personal safety. Today I saw a gentleman from the front that started from here on the 24th inst. To join General McPherson and he found that Johnston had taken to the Altoona Mountains, and Sherman was passing him. Such was the report then. What seeded to verify it was, that Sherman had left no communication with Kingston and Colonel Moore was bringing back to Resaca all the supplies and the few troops left at Kingston. On the night of the 24th, Wheeler with his cavalry captured a train of over seventy of our wagons near Casstown. After burning the wagons and paroling the enlisted men, he decamped with the mules, and carried into captivity the few officers who were so unfortunate as to fall into his hands. Such things are expected of course in a campaign like this, in which all the energies of the whole military division are concentrated.

The 17th Corps, Major General Frank P. Blair, is now enroute from Huntsville to Rome. They will doubtless reach there in a few days. This information is received from Lieutenant Spellman and Mr. James Springer of Co. K, 20th Illinois who arrived here on the evening train from Huntsville. The Lieutenant is very unwell and was sent by rail on account of his being too unwell to march with the command. Mr. Springer looks well. It seems to me that the folks at home have used him excellently. I suppose they do all soldiers who have sufficient courage left after "several" battles to brave the flying artillery of the bright eyed "girls at home," and also tell Uncle Sam to count on their support for three more years. He is, I understand, to remain on detached service with the Provost Marshall General of this department.

Chattanooga, I suppose has been sufficiently described before this to enable your readers to from a pretty correct idea of it. Of one thing rest assured, they cannot make it out worse than it is. I defy any men to do it. Having been the base of supplies for both armies, it has become one of the filthiest little places south of Ohio. No pains are taken to clean it, and the swarm of flies, and effluvia arising from it are disgusting. The only pleasant thing about it, in my mind, is that our Corps (the 17th) was spared the trouble of visiting it. There are very few citizens her. None except in Government employ or sutlers, and money alone keeps them.

Guerillas fire into our trains very often between here and Nashville. They often run cars off the track, but they do not seriously inconvenience us, as they cause but little delay. The generally fare as bad in casualties as we do, so that they find it no very paying business.

The news from General Grant is cheering and our veterans feel a grim delight when they hear of our old man going into Lee at his rapid and matter-of-fact rate. Not withstanding what rumors may say to the contrary, their confidence in him leads them to believe that the fate of Richmond depends on him. That Jeff. Davis and the whole Southern Confederacy can not hinder him from dictating terms in Richmond

At present the weather here is very warm, but occasional showers keep down the dust. Vegetation, a few stunted rose bushes here and there in town, looks green. I could relate many amusing incidents but fear I have already intruded too much on your good nature. Signed J. B. L. [James B. Littlewood]



From the Twentieth Illinois

Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, June 29, 1864.

Published in Kendall County Record, July 14, 1864

Editor Record: Thinking perhaps that may of the readers of your paper would like to know of the whereabouts of old "K" Company 20th Illinois Veterans and how they are getting along, and having little to do this evening I thought I would write a few lines and give you some information concerning them.

On the 27th ult., J. B. L. wrote you a communication. We were then at Decatur, Alabama, on our way to join the Grand Army under Sherman. We formed the junction on the 9th inst. At Ackworth, Georgia. Since that time we have been playing our part in the great struggle. So far we have never made more than one trick at a time.

On the 10th inst. our Corps (General Blair's) moved out to the front. From that time until the present have kept up the extreme left wing of the army. On the evening of the 11th a detail of 15 men in charge of Sergeant Samuel Denton of "E" Company and Corporal E. Howes of our company, were sent out as pickets and sharpshooters. In about an hour Denton returned wound in hand and knee, slight -- no one else wounded. From then until the 15th you would hardly have imagined you were in an enemy's country with and enemy confronting us. Everything was so still and quiet. On the afternoon of the 15th our quietude was broken somewhat by on division of Logan's Corps coming over on our left and kicking up a fuss with the rebs which ended in our gaining a splendid position from them besides 414 prisoners. The position thus gained, our brigade was ordered to occupy and fortify which we did until Sunday morning the 19th inst. when orders came to be ready to move at a moment's notice. We were soon ready and soon began moving. Previous to starting, no one had the least idea of which way we were going. But when we started we found we were moving to the front, where the rebels had, one and a half miles distant, a huge line of fortifications and a battery of six guns. Just at the time of starting one of the heaviest rain storms ever witnessed, broke upon us. Which, by the way, was of much benefit to us as it concealed in part our movements. It was fully an hour from the time of starting to the time we reached the enemy's works. You can hardly imagine our surprise on finding them evacuated. Almost every man that started from their old position fully expected to have a hard combat with the enemy and was prepared for it. But a few straggling shots greeted us as we scaled their works and took possession of thereof.

Anyone to look at the works here would say: Well, if they leave such works as this without making any defense, where in the world will they make a stand. We are satisfied however with the result. From that time until the 23rd we had nothing to disturb our quietude. On that afternoon we made a diversion to our extreme left to favor our cavalry who were protecting our flank, and had got the worst of it in one of two engagements. We skirmished a little and shelled Johnny Rebs considerably, and gained much ground for our cavalry. We returned to our old camp again at dark and lay still again until Sunday night when orders came to fall in without noise and move right out. We moved out a mile to the front and lay still until 9:00 A.M., 27th inst. when we fell in, in light marching order and commenced moving forward against the rebels in position. We drove their pickets and sharpshooters about a mile when suddenly we came to a halt. Why! Because we were within about 200 yards of the rebs main works and as they had opened on us with two or three batteries and we had orders not to bring on a general engagement, of course, we halted.

In crossing an open field two boys of our company, Frank Crowell and Charlie Hall were severely wounded. Frank was wounded in the flesh part of right forearm and right thigh. Hall was wounded in the neck. All the balance are well, gay and happy. Below, I will give you a full list of casualties in our regiment since coming on the lines.

We returned to the position gained on the 19th inst. that night. There learned that the movement had been made for a grand demonstration and that the fighting was done on the right. From what we hear now they did it gaining many advantages. We are slowly, but surely, forcing the rebels back, but we have to fight.

I suppose you have heard of the game of seven-up. The one who has the most trumps wins the game. Sherman so far has made High Low, Jack and is sure for the game for he still holds trumps.

The following is a list of the wounded in our regiment in the skirmishes near Kenesaw, Georgia.

June 11th, Sergeant Samuel Denton, Co. E, right hand and knee, slight.

June 17th, Private William Nixon, Co. H, right leg, severe.

June 27th, Private Stephen Jones, Co. A, Abdomen, mortal, since died.

Private John Lovelady, Co. A, right leg, severe.

Private Paddock, Co. F, right arm, serious.

Private Shearer, Co. F, right arm, serious.

Corp. James McCabe, Co. D, right side, serious.

Lieutenant Charles Taylor, Co. I, right cheek, slight.

Sergeant David Richason, Co. I, left leg, severe.

Private James H. Benn, Co. E, left arm, slight.

Private Frank Crowell, Co K, right forearm and thigh, severe.

Private Charles Hall, Co. K, neck, severe.

There is not much else of importance to write you. There is talk of our being consolidated with the 31st Illinois and called the 1st Illinois Veterans. How it will turn out I know not. That is all. Signed Rextus.


From Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 24, 1864

Published in Kendall County Record, August 4, 1864

Editor Record: This Sunday's sun has set upon an army deprived of a loved commander. Major General James B. McPherson commanding this Department was killed in front of our lines on Friday the 22ndinst., while riding almost alone reconnoitering for a position. He rode too far ahead and ran on to a large squad of rebels, under command, it is said, of a major, who fired a volley at him. One ball struck him in the right breast, killing him almost instantly. He was riding at the time a favorite black horse that has carried him safe through many battles, but here he shared the fate of his noble rider, pierced with numerous bullets. It is said that the rebels had taken off his sash, before our men could retake the body, but the sash and his murderers are all in our hands now. His remains arrived in this city at 2:30 this morning, when he was immediately embalmed. At 7:00 o'clock his body was brought up to headquarters and the coffin was placed in a front room. The coffin was draped in the glorious Stars and Stripes. No fitter pall could be for him, whose young life was given up in its defense. A guard of honor was placed in the darkened room. Officers, soldiers and citizens were permitted to take a farewell look at our gallant dead. Over two thousand persons passed through the room before twelve o'clock at which time the coffin was closed. A funeral escort of a regiment of infantry, a squadron of cavalry and four pieces of artillery were brought up to the front of the building. The coffin (having as a pall, a flag) with the sword, sash and belt on it, was carried by ten of the guards and placed on a caisson carriage. The carriage was followed by his staff, the clerks, and a procession of officers not on duty. The procession took up its line of march for the depot; troops with arms reversed, and a brass band playing a dirge. The body being placed in a special car, and accompanied by three of his aids and a company of infantry, started for Nashville attached to the 1:00 P.M. passenger train.

It will be sent, doubtless, via Louisville and Cincinnati to Clyde, Ohio, where his brother resides.

Brig. General G. A. Smith commanding 4th Division 17th Army Corps was killed, and Brig. General M. D. Leggett, commanding 3rd Division, 17th Army Corps is reported wounded but it has not been confirmed yet. The slaughter on both sides must have been terrific. More particulars in my next. J. B. L. [James B. Littlewood]


From The Twentieth

Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 12, 1864

(Is an account of the battle before Little Kenesaw Mountain near Marietta, GA)

Published in Kendall County Record, August 25, 1864

Friend Record: I have just received two letters from members of the 20th Illinois. I deem their contents interesting to your readers and as they are the first direct news I have heard lately, I will give a few examples.

Mr. Sampson of Co. E, writing July 31st says: "Marching through from Huntsville to Rome we had a hard march and came near getting drowned in the C_______ River. Said our prayers as usual. Since we formed the junction with the army we had a comparatively easy time, till on the 21st and 22nd inst.

On the 21st went into the fight with 130 good men (myself included), had 54 killed and wounded. Mohrle was killed with flag flying, but the flag never got to the ground. Denton took it up then and got wounded in the arm. Cassell took it and brought it out safe. Rebels forced us back, had to leave Mohrle where he was shot. Dick Springer and Franklin went to bring him in. Dick got a serious shot through the arm, but is all right now, recovering fast.

Hagerman and Hanson are also wounded, and White and Leach are missing. Second day, the 22nd, went into fight with 89 men. All killed wounded or missing except 15. Hotter than Shiloh. Yes! Verily I say unto you that it was awful. The cusses had the impudence in their fourth and last charge before we got out of the ditches to get in (to the ditches.) Some of the boys raised a rag (surrendered.) I was going to myself; I climbed over the works and pulled out my towel (once white) concluded to put it back. Did put it back, fired my gun at the advancing column and ran like thunder. Here I am safe, except a slight scratch on my left (illegible.) Number of men who came out of the fight, four of Co. A; two of Co. C; three of Co. D; two of Co. E; three of Co. F; one of Co. G; three of Co. I; and none of Co. K. We are on guard duty at General Leggett's headquarters. We were taken out of the field on the 23rd. Captain Austin (Co. A.) commands the regiment.

Lieutenant Spellman writing August 3rd, somewhat corrects the above, as he wrote three days later. He was not at the front at the time of the fight, having been here sick in the hospital. He says: "I arrived here on Saturday, July 30th, feeling tired and unwell. I am doing pretty well now. You may imagine my feelings when on my arrival at the Company (K) I found only four men present for duty, namely: A. P. White, N. P. Barnard, F. Scofield and L. Preston. On the 21st of July, Corporal Hagerman was wounded in the hand. Richard N. Springer was severely wounded in the right arm above the elbow. N. Hanson suffered a slight flesh wound. On the 22nd of July there were ten men missing in action. Supposed to be prisoners, namely: Clifford, Cary, Coyle, Dann, Gay, Jennings, G. Leach, Todd, George Wilton (sic George B. Wilson), and Corporal Howes. They were all well and uninjured when last seen by our men. James Springer is at the hospital with Rich. (Springer.) They are getting along well when last heard from. The Regiment suffered severely on the 21st and 22nd. Nine enlisted men were killed, 47 enlisted men were wounded. One commissioned officer, Captain Paige, was killed. Five commissioned officers were wounded, Captain Austin, slight, Captain King, slight, Lieut. Rogers, severe, Lieut. Ludwig, severe, Lieut. Taylor, severe, has since died. Captain Wadsworth, Lieut. Bailey, Lieut. Bernier and Lieut. Edminton are missing. There are now about 50 men present for duty. What do you think of the old 20th? What there is of it are doing guard duty at General Leggett's headquarters.

"Lieut. Colonel Bradley is Inspector General 3rd Division, 17th Corps. Adjutant Conklin is Provost Marshall same Division. Major Kennard, I think is Provost Marshall 17th Corps. Captain Austin commands the 20th Illinois. Lieutenants McKowen, Dox and myself are his assistants."

The above speaks for itself. The brave boys are going. Going on every field. It will now be a thing of the past to write from the 20th Illinois. J. B. L. [James B. Littlewood]


From The Twentieth

Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 12, 1864

(Is an account of the battle before Little Kenesaw Mountain near Marietta, GA)

Published in Kendall County Record, August 25, 1864

Friend Record: I have just received two letters from members of the 20th Illinois. I deem their contents interesting to your readers and as they are the first direct news I have heard lately, I will give a few examples.

Mr. Sampson of Co. E, writing July 31st says: "Marching through from Huntsville to Rome we had a hard march and came near getting drowned in the C_______ River. Said our prayers as usual. Since we formed the junction with the army we had a comparatively easy time, till on the 21st and 22nd inst.

On the 21st went into the fight with 130 good men (myself included), had 54 killed and wounded. Mohrle was killed with flag flying, but the flag never got to the ground. Denton took it up then and got wounded in the arm. Cassell took it and brought it out safe. Rebels forced us back, had to leave Mohrle where he was shot. Dick Springer and Franklin went to bring him in. Dick got a serious shot through the arm, but is all right now, recovering fast.

Hagerman and Hanson are also wounded, and White and Leach are missing. Second day, the 22nd, went into fight with 89 men. All killed wounded or missing except 15. Hotter than Shiloh. Yes! Verily I say unto you that it was awful. The cusses had the impudence in their fourth and last charge before we got out of the ditches to get in (to the ditches.) Some of the boys raised a rag (surrendered.) I was going to myself; I climbed over the works and pulled out my towel (once white) concluded to put it back. Did put it back, fired my gun at the advancing column and ran like thunder. Here I am safe, except a slight scratch on my left (illegible.) Number of men who came out of the fight, four of Co. A; two of Co. C; three of Co. D; two of Co. E; three of Co. F; one of Co. G; three of Co. I; and none of Co. K. We are on guard duty at General Leggett's headquarters. We were taken out of the field on the 23rd. Captain Austin (Co. A.) commands the regiment.

Lieutenant Spellman writing August 3rd, somewhat corrects the above, as he wrote three days later. He was not at the front at the time of the fight, having been here sick in the hospital. He says: "I arrived here on Saturday, July 30th, feeling tired and unwell. I am doing pretty well now. You may imagine my feelings when on my arrival at the Company (K) I found only four men present for duty, namely: A. P. White, N. P. Barnard, F. Scofield and L. Preston. On the 21st of July, Corporal Hagerman was wounded in the hand. Richard N. Springer was severely wounded in the right arm above the elbow. N. Hanson suffered a slight flesh wound. On the 22nd of July there were ten men missing in action. Supposed to be prisoners, namely: Clifford, Cary, Coyle, Dann, Gay, Jennings, G. Leach, Todd, George Wilton (sic George B. Wilson), and Corporal Howes. They were all well and uninjured when last seen by our men. James Springer is at the hospital with Rich. (Springer.) They are getting along well when last heard from. The Regiment suffered severely on the 21st and 22nd. Nine enlisted men were killed, 47 enlisted men were wounded. One commissioned officer, Captain Paige, was killed. Five commissioned officers were wounded, Captain Austin, slight, Captain King, slight, Lieut. Rogers, severe, Lieut. Ludwig, severe, Lieut. Taylor, severe, has since died. Captain Wadsworth, Lieut. Bailey, Lieut. Bernier and Lieut. Edminton are missing. There are now about 50 men present for duty. What do you think of the old 20th? What there is of it are doing guard duty at General Leggett's headquarters.

"Lieut. Colonel Bradley is Inspector General 3rd Division, 17th Corps. Adjutant Conklin is Provost Marshall same Division. Major Kennard, I think is Provost Marshall 17th Corps. Captain Austin commands the 20th Illinois. Lieutenants McKowen, Dox and myself are his assistants."

The above speaks for itself. The brave boys are going. Going on every field. It will now be a thing of the past to write from the 20th Illinois. J. B. L. [James B. Littlewood]


Headquarters Department Of Tennessee August 25, 1864

Published in Kendall County Record, September 8, 1864

Editor Record: I expect you have begun to think, as the saying is, that I have "gone up the spout," as I have failed (illegible.) I have almost given up once or twice since I wrote you, but I am not yet down. I suppose you have heard of the great mishap of the old 20th, and full particulars of the casualties. Therefore it is needless for me to say anything pertaining thereof. Suffice it to say that the battle of July 20th was the hardest and most desperate through which the regiment ever passed. (Battle was in front of Little Kenesaw Mountain near Marietta, Georgia.) Not even excepting Shiloh and the battle in and around Vicksburg. Our losses will confirm this assertion. On the 20th of July we reported 146 men; brave, noble, tried soldiers. On the 23rd we reported fifteen men. These figures will tell for themselves the desperation of the conflict.

To change the subject, we are again on the move. Where to, I am not at liberty just now to state. This much I will say that, the "Johnnies" will learn that Sherman has been lying still in one place for the past three weeks. His staff has been at work hatching out some big move to get them out of Atlanta without assaulting their immense works. Our (illegible) it is more likely we will have considerable of a ____ with them. All right; we have made the most of it throughout the campaign and it would be a pity if we cannot give them the most of it yet. They are making up a mail and I will stop and send this off.

After we make our move, if we have anything exciting going on I will give you details, as I am where I can get them now. Signed Rextus.


From The Twentieth

Headquarters Army of the Tennessee

East Point, GA Sep 24, 1864

Published in Kendall County Record Oct 13, 1864

Friend Record: Having moved from Chattanooga to this place since I last wrote you, and seen and heard several things of interest to your readers, I shall attempt to jot down a few words.

Hearing on my arrival on the 14th, that the 20th Illinois were camped about five hundred yards from us, I went over the next day to see my old Regiment. Two short rows pine pole bunks, covered with rubber blankets constituted the camp of the Regiment. They are doing guard duty at Headquarters Third Division, 17th Corps, and are detached from their Brigade. One of the three officers who remain with them is Lieut. Spellman of Company K, all seemed in good spirits, and are generally in good health. Of Company K, I found Private John Leach, A. P. White, P. Barnard, Conner, Preston and Scofield. Mr. Barnard has been sick but is fast recovering. I learned news of those who were captured. He is the fifer of Company B, from Joliet, and says that all of our Regiment are doing as well as possible except Franklin, of Company E, who has the scurvy. There were eight of the Regiment exchanged. As the rest were sent away on the cars (train), he supposes they are gone to Charleston. As none of Company K was exchanged I could learn no further particulars.

Signed J. B. L. (James B. Littlewood, at one time a member of Co. K, 20th Illinois Infantry.


Headquarters Army of the Tennessee

New Bern, North Carolina, April 14, 1865

Published in Kendall County Record, April 27, 1865

Friend Record: The army of Sherman is again in motion. On Monday morning, the 10th inst. I witnessed the march of several divisions of the 15th and 17th Corps through Goldsboro, taking the road to Raleigh. The 3rd Division of the 17th Corps now commanded by Brevet Major General Leggett, containing those in whom your readers are most interested in, shall receive my attention. Having heard Jimmy Coyle rattling along his cavalry saber, I ascertained the direction, in which they would come, and awaited their approach. Jimmy is mounted orderly for Surgeon Richards, of the 20th Illinois.

While sitting in the light, drizzling rain which fell at intervals, I was accosted by a well-dressed half citizen, half soldier looking boy, who responds to the cognomen of Lou White and is now Provost Marshall clerk with the 3rd Division. The division staff appeared, with the portly general at their head accompanied by his two sons. After a few shakes, and wishes for their success they passed. The laughing face of Frank Crowell showed itself among the escort company.

The 1st Brigade, Brigadier General Ewing, was led by that excellent band which, at our headquarters in Beaufort received so much admiration from the citizens there. They seemed contented to be with the boys again, and after sundry remarks about "pay-rolls" alias paper collars, and much advice to "go slow" when I got back to headquarters, they struck up a march, and in correct time the feet of the boys passed through the streets. The 20th Illinois soon appeared led by the brave young Captain, Harry King, who being senior officer of the regiment should soon wear the leaves. The boys want Governor Oglesby to hurry them up.

The regiment has been filled considerably since they were at Beaufort. I could recognize but few of the old boys. Several new officers have been commissioned, and the others promoted. Perry Spellman is now Captain of Co. K, and at the present time A. Q. M. of ordinance for 3rd Division. G. C. Morton was promoted from second to first lieutenant. Samuel Hagerman is First Sergeant, and the other sergeants are N. Hanson, R. M. Springer, and William Preston. Four brave veterans who well deserved promotion. Richard Springer is a mail messenger for the army. He has the responsible duty of conducting mail from here to the front. His brother James is postmaster for this army, and is well qualified for the duty. Since leaving Pocotaligo, the regiment (as I was informed by "Rextus,") has been in over twenty fights and skirmishes, but none of Co. K, were hurt.

The news of Lee's surrender reached here on the 12th and such a time as New Bern saw can scarcely be described. Flags, from the petite battle flag of artillery, to the majestic garrison flag, were suspended from every available point. Bands were playing, bells ringing, and at 3:00 P.M., (to quote the Times) "everybody seemed mellow and decidedly happy." The constant expression was, "Well, the war's over," and so labor and business were suspended. It is rumored that Grant telegraphed to Sherman "not to attack Johnston," but the rumor has not been confirmed.

The weather here is very warm during the day. The trees are in their brightest colors. Before the leaves fall, brown and dry, the army of the Tennessee hopes to be at home with you. J. B. L. [James B. Littlewood]



Last Modified on 2012-12-29 12:58:42-0600 CST by Elmer Dickson