9th Indiana Light Artillery soldier chronicles trip from St. Louis to Nashville for entire month of December 1864

Wed. Nov. 30: Left Smithland at daylight up the Cumberland River for Nashville, Tennessee. Landed a few minutes at Eddyville, Castle Rock, Canton and Tobacco Point and reached Dover, or FT. Donelson, about 8 1/2 oclock and tied up for the night. The sun has shined about all day for the first for a long time. The river is in a nice boating stage now. We got along today without any troubles or difficulties. Thurs. Dec. 01: I went ashore and went up to the fort this morning. Flood’s Battery and part of the 83rd Illinois Infantry is here yet. We waited for other boats and left Ft. Donelson at 10 1/2 oclock. Run very slow. Passed quite a number of boats today returning from Nashville. We reached Clarksville, Montgomery county, about 8 oclock, landed a few minutes and run all night. Cloudy again.

Fri. Dec. 02: Drizzling rain this morning. Run all night and reached Nashville at 10 oclock and commenced unloading immediately. We got off by 2 oclock and started out to the front and took positions about 4 oclock in the front line of battle on the Nashville Pike about 2 1/2 miles southwest of the statehouse. Our men are throwing up rifle pits in earnest tonight.

Sat. Dec. 03: Rained last night. I went on the top of a high hill nearby where I had a nice view of the city and the troops line of battle and the surrounding country. Saw Maj. Gen. Thomas and Schofield and Brigadier Gen. McArthur and Webster skirmishing all day and about 4 oclock this evening cannonading opened on the left wing but did not last long. A squad of citizens were brought out and throwed us up breastworks. A pleasant day, saw Tom Man. Look some for night attack.

Sun. Dec. 04: The gunboats were heard firing below last night and firing has commenced on the left this morning and kept up all day. Our men are still strengthening their works. The Rebs have throwed up fortifications in front of the 4th Corps. Their works extend to within 1/4 of a mile of ours on the left. The 3rd Indiana Battery throwed several shells into the Rebs line up to 9 oclock tonight, and heavy picket firing was kept up all night. Four prisoners were brought in this morning.

Mon. Dec. 05: Cannonading opened again this morning to our left and was kept up at intervals all day and skirmishing was kept up all along the lines most of the day. A detachment of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry made a charge on the Rebs pickets this evening but found them too strong for them and returned again with two or three wounded after killing six Rebs. Cannonading ceased this evening. On guard today. My time is out today.

Tues. Dec. 06: Cannonading and skirmishing again today. In the evening the 2nd Illinois and 2nd Iowa Batteries opened fire on the right at a Rebel column that was seen moving to the right, and throwed several shells among them. It rained a little last night, has been a pleasant day. The gunboats are firing below here this evening. I went over on the right this evening.

Wed. Dec. 07: Rained a little last night and is warm and cloudy this morning. There has been some skirmishing today but not as much as usual. Our guns were firing all along the lines again today. Our guns throwed several shells into the Rebel lines this evening. It has turned quite cold this evening. Rained a little this evening. Mike Wilkins, David Beeson, Enock Whitted and Jerry Ferman came over this evening.

Thurs. Dec. 08: It was quite cold last night and still continues cold all day. Cannonading again today. We fired a few rounds in the morning. Captain Brown has returned. I took a walk round to the left along our lines this evening. I went about 2 miles. A charge was made on our picket line near the left center, the 31st Indiana was sent out and drove them back into their holes. We unharnessed this evening.

Fri. Dec. 09: Very cold disagreeable this morning. A cold sleeting snow is falling this morning. Ceased snowing about noon and I went down to the city and went into the U.S. Christian Commission and wrote a letter. Quite a crowd of soldiers in the city today. Cannonading and skirmishing has about ceased now as it is rather too cold and disagreeable to fight today.

Sat. Dec. 10: Quiet still this morning. I and R. C. Turner went to the city this morning. Visited the State House which is a splendid building, and after we run round over town till evening, we went back to the camp. There has been a little cannonading today. It is quite slippery getting round now. Everything is very high here in this market, but there is a large amount of business done here.

Sun. Dec. 11: Very cold here in camp. I went down to the city and went to the Baptist Church in the morning. I then took a walk out to the forts in the south part of the city. I went back through town, and Haines and I went to the St. Cloud Commercial and the City Hotel and remained till nearly night and then returned to camp. There has been no skirmishing along the line today.

Mon. Dec. 12: Cold and disagreeable all day. There was some cannonading today on the left. Most of the cavalry has crossed over to this side of the river this evening, and the indications are that a move will be made soon. I went down where the cavalry camped tonight and saw the 12th Mo. Cavalry, also the 11th Indiana and saw Burt Chapman and Capt. Woodard and Col. Mull.

Tues. Dec. 13: Still cold and disagreeable this morning and no move is being made yet for the enemy. I am on guard today and have been writing some letters. It moderated considerable this evening. The snow and sleet has all gone and it is misting rain a little. Skirmishing or picket firing is going on quite brisk up to 11 oclock tonight.

Wed. Dec. 14: Misty and foggy this morning. There was a brisk firing kept up all night on the picket line. It is warm and cloudy and very muddy today. I wrote some letters again today. The cavalry is still in camp near here. There has been no cannonading here today I believe. There is a valley of from 2 to 3 miles width in front of our lines extending all around our lines between us and the enemy.

Thurs. Dec. 15: Still warm and foggy. Left camp at 7 1/2 oclock, formed our lines in the valley in front of our works and begun to advance at 11 oclock. The ball opened pretty heavy about 12 oclock and was kept up till after dark. Our battery and the 2nd Illinois shelled one of their work for 3 or 4 hours, but the infantry charged and took it. 8 guns were captured and turned on the Rebs, also a lot of prisoners. Rained a little today. There was 33 pieces of artillery and 1500 prisoners captured today. We camped tonight where the Rebs camped last night.

Fri. Dec. 16: We were in readiness for action at an early hour and advanced 3/4 of a mile and the ball soon opened. We run our battery right up on the Rebel skirmish line and opened and fired all day from the position. We run out of ammunition for the Napoleons about 3 oclock. The infantry advanced under a galling fire and scaled their walls and took possession of their works. We moved forward about 1 mile and camped for the night.

Sat. Dec. 17: Rained hard last night and continued all day. We captured 22 pieces of artillery and (??) prisoners today, also 3 generals. I went over the battle ground this morning of guns, ammunition, dead horses, wagons stuck in the mud and leaned against trees. It showed there had been a great panic. We hauled off 4 guns and some caisson and left about 4 oclock on the Granny White Pike and then back to the Franklin Pike and into camp about 3 oclock.

Sun. Dec. 18: Left camp at 7 1/2 oclock. Very muddy and disagreeable. Marched along pretty well to within about 2 miles of the town of Franklin and halted about 4 hours. Met several hundred prisoners and 3 pieces of Rebel artillery. Moved up near town a while before night to camp, but got orders to cross the Harpeth River. Crossed over on pontoon, passed through town about a mile and went into camp at 7 1/2 oclock. Marched 8 miles.

Mon. Dec. 19: Rained very hard last night. We have orders to march again today. Heard heavy cannonading this morning in the direction of Columbia. It rained hard all day, a cold disagreeable rain and very muddy. We have a solid pike to travel on today or we could not get on at all. Passed through Spring Hill about a mile and went into camp at 7 oclock. Marched 12 miles, about 10 miles to Columbia.

Tues. Dec. 20: We have a tolerable good camp and there is some talk that we will remain here till morning and then go back. It is still cloudy but it is more pleasant today. We received orders to go to the front yet tonight. We harnessed and went to the ammunition train and filled up our chests about 2 oclock and left about dark and went a few miles, but it rained and was so very disagreeable we went into camp. It is the most disagreeable I ever saw since the war.

Wed. Dec. 21: I never went to bed last night, rained till nearly day and then commenced snowing and continued all day. We can’t cross a creek near here till a pontoon is laid down. The 23rd Army Corps is passing this evening. I am on guard today. This has been one of the most disagreeable times I ever saw in or out of the service. All the little creeks are booming full.

Thurs. Dec. 22: It froze last night and is cold and still snowing this morning. We received orders to move out this morning but the order was countermanded till evening. The 23rd Corps and train is still passing yet. We left camp about 2 oclock and moved toward the front and crossed and went out about 1 1/2 miles and went into camp. The 4th Corps is in camp along here. The road was full of trains and wagons all the way out. Cleared off this evening.

Fri. Dec. 23: Very cold last night and is clear and cold today. The 4th Army Corps commenced moving out last night. The cavalry is crossing Duck River this evening. The 23rd Corps is camped all along the road from Spring Hill to Columbia. There is breastworks thrown up all along here. Gen Girard is commanding our division, and the 2nd, now. It is about 2 miles to Colunbia.

Sat. Dec. 24: Left camp about 3 1/2 oclock and went to the river and found the pontoon out of repair and the 4th Corps train to cross. We had to wait till about 1 oclock before we commenced to cross. The pieces of Rebel artillery was snaked out of the river before we crossed. We got over by 2 oclock and passed through Columbia which has been a very good town. We went out about 8 miles and went into camp about dark. We heard cannonading today.

Sun. Dec. 25: Rained a little this morning and turned off pretty fair day till about 4 oclock and then commenced to rain a little again. The 4th Corps train has been passing all day and our train has come up, also the remainder of our artillery. About 25 Rebel prisoners passed here today on their way to Nashville. The boys are foraging in earnest today. Christmas.

Mon. Dec. 26: Cloudy damp morning, left camp at 12 oclock. The 1st and 3rd Divisions march in front today. The pike is pretty muddy in places. Signs of fighting and skirmishing all along the road. Lt. Caffee started back this morning. We passed through Linwood, small town, partly burnt, marched 10 miles today and went into camp about dark about 1 mile beyond Linwood.

Tues. Dec. 27: Raining a little this morning. We left camp about 11 3/4 oclock. The roads are pretty muddy. Cannoneers all have to walk in this department of the army. Crossed Big Creek and run down it for some ways and turned out and went into camp about 8 oclock. There has been considerable skirmishing along here. A lot of Rebel prisoners passed here this evening on their way to Nashville.

Wed. Dec. 28: Received orders to remain in camp today. The boys are all out foraging near by. I remained in camp till evening and then I and Wilson McCallmont rode over to Pulaski, county seat of Girard county. The town is very much torn up now, but has been a very good town before the war. There are plenty good springs and small streams in this part of the country. 23rd Corps gone down Buck River.

Thurs. Dec. 29: Left camp at 8 1/4 oclock. The roads are frozen so as to bear up this morning. Passed through Pulaski and turned west on the Florence road. Crossed Richlands creek near junction with Weekly’s creek. Marched in a west direction, crossed several small streams, had bad hilly roads most of the way. We went into camp at sundown in about 8 miles of Lawrenceburg and 10 miles of Pulaski. Marched 14 miles. On guard.

Fri. Dec. 30: Left camp at 7 1/4 oclock. On the Lawrenceburg road, had pretty good roads to Lawrenceburg, which we passed about 11 oclock and had very bad roads this evening. Commenced raining before noon and rained a little all this evening. We went into camp about 2 oclock on the Clifton road in about 4 miles west of Lawrenceburg, County seat of Lawrence county. We marched about 12 miles today.

Sat. Dec. 31: Rained very hard and then snowed last night. Clear and cold this morning. Left camp about 11 oclock, had very bad roads all day, not hilly, but very deep, stiff mud. Country thinly settled. We marched in a northwest direction today and went into camp about 4 oclock in about 10 miles of Waynesburg, county seat of Wayne county. Marched 8 miles today.


Original web site source

The original diary was given to the Indiana Historical Society, located at 140 North Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204, phone (317) 232-1879. The society’s resource center is in the Indiana State Library building.

Richard T. Johnson 207 North Howard St. P. O. Box 73 Oxford, IN 47971

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