View Full Version : Writings of Lt.-Col. Franklin Sawyer - 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

06-08-2018, 06:03 PM
Antietam after battle report:

Report of Lieut. Col. Franklin Sawyer, Eighth Ohio Infantry, of
the Battle of Antietam.

September 18, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the killed and
wounded of the Eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, and of the part taken by
the regiment in the battle, on this field, of yesterday:

We left our bivouac on the east side of the creek with your brigade early on
the morning of the 17th, and, moving in our proper position in the line,
forded Antietam Creek and deployed in line of battle on the hills, our
position being to the left of the Fourteenth Indiana. So soon as the line was
formed, by your order we moved directly to the front and upon the enemy,
who appeared to be masked behind fences, corn-fields,
and in ditches on the crests of a series of ridges. We gained the position
assigned us under a perfect storm of the enemy's balls and shell, where, in
connection with the other regiments of your brigade and French's division,
we maintained, from 9 o'clock a. m. until near 1 p. m., our position under
a most sanguinary fire of musketry and shell. The enemy were within 20
rods of our position in strong force, and were repeatedly re-enforced during
the action, and had, besides, the advantage of considerable cover at points
very near us. The position of the Fourteenth Indiana and the Eighth Ohio
was greatly exposed, and the battle raged along our lines with such fury as
to threaten our annihilation, but not a man faltered or fell back. Our
ammunition being exhausted, the cartridge-boxes of the dead and wounded
were rifled to supply our arms.

The enemy were finally driven from our front, but the lines to the right of
the Fourteenth Indiana giving way, the enemy undertook to turn that flank,
but the Fourteenth Indiana and Eighth Ohio rapidly and gallantly changed
their front, and drove the enemy back with great slaughter. At this time,
other troops going to the front, by your order I brought off the Eighth to
replenish its ammunition, and then took position with the brigade to the
right. We were not again engaged during the day, but were constantly
annoyed, and suffered some from the enemy's shell, which continued to fall
among us until dark.

During the entire engagement my officers and men behaved with the utmost
bravery and gallantry; not a man gave way. Our colors received seventeen
balls, but were never once depressed during the storm of battle. Maj.
Winslow and Lieut. David Lewis, acting adjutant, were constantly at their
posts, and performed their whole duty. All my officers and men who were
present deserve especial mention, but as they fought under your own eye it
is unnecessary now. Our record of losses is a long and sad one. We went
into action with 17 officers and 324 men, of whom 2 officers were killed and
7 wounded. Of the noncommissioned officers and privates, 30 were killed
and 122 wounded, and 5 missing, probably killed.* Appended hereto is a list
of the killed and wounded, name and company; also the name of Corpl. W.
W. Larner, killed the day previous.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

Lieut.-Col. Eighth Ohio Volunteers, Commanding.

Commanding First Brigade.

*Source: Official Records: Series I. Vol. 19. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 27

06-08-2018, 08:33 PM
Nice post. Thank you for sharing. I find this kind of after action reports interesting and impressive to read how these men conducted themselves under fire.

06-09-2018, 02:23 AM
Nice post. Thank you for sharing. I find this kind of after action reports interesting and impressive to read how these men conducted themselves under fire.

Thanks! I'll be posting more from Franklin Sawyer as I have access to quite a few of these after action reports plus he wrote a book. He was a pretty incredible leader and I'm looking forward to sharing more of his stuff which bridges some Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Peninsula Campaign, Maryland Campaign and so much more.

06-09-2018, 02:01 PM
Chancellorsville, VA after battle report:

No. 99.

Report of Lieut. Col. Franklin Sawyer, Eighth Ohio Infantry.

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken in
the recent campaign across the Rappahannock by the Eighth Ohio

We broke up camp on the morning of April 28, and, with the brigade,
marched to near the United States Ford, where we bivouacked for the
night, and where we remained until Thursday morning, when my
regiment was ordered out to picket three points on the river. The enemy
appeared to have left, and our pontoons were put down, and, about 3
o'clock, the Eighth Regiment, preceded by a company of the Tenth
Regulars, crossed the bridge, and, forming in line of skirmishers, passed
through a thick wood, and came upon a pontoon train on the road from
Chancellorsville to the ford. Here we halted, and were joined by the
balance of the brigade, when we marched to near Chancellorsville,
where we bivouacked for the night.

The next day (Friday), we were moved out past Chancellorsville, but
returned before night, and formed in line of battle near a wood, where
we remained during the night.

On Saturday, our front was changed, looking toward the river, and
rifle-pits constructed along our line. Toward evening, our position was
shelled by the rebels pretty vigorously, and my regiment was moved to
the left of our line, where it remained during the night.

Early on Sunday morning, I was ordered by Col. S. S. Carroll to
support a battery near a frame house on the road, and near where
Gen.'s Hooker, French, Meade, and other officers had their
headquarters. My men were thrown into barns, outbuildings, and behind
temporary breastworks, trees, &c., and which position we held
something over on hour, when we were withdrawn, and united with the
brigade. Soon after, I had orders to send Maj. Winslow, with the right
wing, into the wood south of the road, as skirmishers, where he was
posted for nearly an hour, when he was withdrawn by order of Col.
Carroll, and the regiment
men united to the brigade, when we were ordered to take a position on
a line nearly at right angles with the road, and where Gen. Sykes had
been posted the day before. This line we fortified by rifle-pits and
breastworks, and held until Wednesday morning, when we were, at
about 3 o'clock, withdrawn to this side of the river, and returned to the
camp occupied by us before the movement.

During the days of Saturday and Sunday we were within reach of the
enemy's shells, and on Sunday 7 of my men were struck, but none very
dangerously hurt. My horse was also struck with a fragment of a shell
and seriously injured.

On Monday, we were subjected to occasional shots from the enemy's
sharpshooters, in the trees in our front, and on Tuesday morning, about
10 o'clock, our pickets were driven in, but Capt. Reid, of Company
D, reformed them, and drove the enemy back to his works, losing 1
man killed and 1 wounded; 2 others were also wounded in our rifle-pits.
I subjoin a list of casualties.*

All my officers and men behaved with great courage and coolness.
Among the officers, I can mentioned Maj. Winslow, Lieut. O. G.
Daniels, acting adjutant, Capt.'s Reid, Kinny, Lewis, Pierce, Gregg,
Craig, Butterfield, and Nickerson as particularly conspicuous and
attentive to their duties. My loss on Sunday was 7 wounded, and on
Tuesday 1 private killed (Company D) and 3 wounded.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

Lieut.-Col. Eighth Ohio, Cmdg.

Lieut. J. G. REID,
A. A. A. G., 1st Brig., 3d Div.

*Source: Official Records Series I. Vol. 25. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 39

06-12-2018, 02:56 PM
Gettysburg after battle report:

Report of Lieut. Col. Franklin Sawyer, Eighth Ohio Infantry.

On the Field, near Gettysburg, Pa., July 5, 1863.
Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the part
taken by the Eighth Regt. Ohio Volunteers during the late battle
near this place:

The Eighth Regt. occupied the right of the brigade, and participated
in the several maneuvers and changes of position by the brigade
until about 4 p. m. of the 2d instant, when I received an order
from Col. S. S. Carroll, U. S. Army, commanding brigade, to move
my regiment forward to the picket line in front of our position and
on the left of the pickets of the Eleventh Corps. This was at once
executed, the regiment moving forward gallantly under a smart fire
of the enemy's pickets and sharpshooters. I received a further order
from Col. Carroll to throw forward four companies as an advanced
line, and to support them with the balance of the regiment, and to
hold my line to the last man.

The enemy did not advance upon us in force until about 4 p. m. of
the 3d, and our position was maintained during the twenty-four
hours without any relief, although we had suffered severely from the
enemy's pickets, sharpshooters, and shell, 4 of my men having been
killed, and 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, the sergeant-major, and 38 men
wounded up to noon of the 3d.

Soon after 2 p. m. the enemy opened a terrific fire from sixty-four
pieces of artillery, in a semicircle which inclosed my position. This
was replied to by our batteries, and we suffered severely under the
fire for nearly two hours.

This artillery duel was followed by an immediate advance of two
divisions of the enemy's infantry, which advanced at the first in
three long lines of battle, but ployed into close column by division
as they advanced, excepting, perhaps, a regiment on each flank. The
column directed itself upon our battery to my left, and the line on the
left flank of the column directly upon my position. I advanced my
reserve to the picket front, and as the rebel line came within about
100 yards, we poured in a well-directed fire, which broke the rebel
line, and it soon fled in the wildest confusion.

Being relieved from this direction, I changed front forward on the
left company, thus presenting our front to the left flank of the advancing
rebel column. Our fire was poured into their flank with
terrible effect for a few minutes before the Second Brigade at the
battery opened, but almost instantly on the fire from the front, together
with the concentrated fire from our batteries, the whole mass
gave way, some fleeing to the front, some to the rear, and some
through our lines, until the whole plain was covered with unarmed
rebels, waving coats, hats, and handkerchiefs in token of a wish to

The Eighth pressed forward, capturing a large number of prisoners
(about 200) and 3 stand of colors; one marked Thirty-fourth
North Carolina and one Thirty-eighth Virginia were captured by
Sergt. Daniel Miller, of Company G, and have been turned over, by
order of Col. Carroll, to the division commander. One captured
by Private James Richmond, of Company F, was taken from him
on the field by a staff officer of our army, but whose name is unknown.*

During this time we were under a terrific fire from the rebel batteries
and infantry, and my loss in all on both days is 101 killed and
wounded and 1 missing, and includes 4 captains wounded, 1 first
lieutenant killed and 1 wounded, 4 second lieutenants wounded, the
sergeant-major wounded, 2 orderly sergeants killed and 4 wounded,
2 duty sergeants killed and 6 wounded, 2 color corporals wounded, 1
corporal killed and 8 wounded, 9 privates killed on the field (4 since
died), 52 wounded, and 1 missing.

My officers and men behaved with the utmost courage and bravery,
and have contributed all that could be asked of any men to the glorious
results of that day.

I desire to mention especially Capt. William Kenny, who acted as
major, and Adjt. John W. De Puy, who behaved with great gallantry,
and rendered me every assistance. Capt.'s [John] Reid,
Miller, Pierce, and Nickerson were all wounded while gallantly leading
their companies, Capt. Nickerson, it is feared, mortally, while
Capt. Lewis, Lieut.'s O'Reilly, Farnum, Galwey, Travis, and
Hysung, who were in command of companies, deserve the highest
praise and credit. I have to lament the death of Lieut. Hayden,
who fell while cheering his men to the conflict.

I would also mention especially the color sergeants, [James] Conlan
and [Romeo W.] Foster, who bore our colors (which were often
struck) gallantly to the front during the whole of the fierce conflict.

A list of the killed and wounded has already been forwarded, but
several have since died, making a revised list necessary, which will
be forwarded as soon as possible.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

Lieut.-Col., Comdg.

Lieut. J. G. Reid,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 2d Corps.

06-19-2018, 11:37 PM
Report of Lieut. Col. Franklin Sawyer, Eighth Ohio Infantry.


Culpeper County, Va., December 3, 1863.
SIR: Pursuant to circular of this date, I have the honor to make
the following report of the part taken by the Eighth Regiment
Ohio Volunteers in the late movement of this army:

No especial duty was assigned to the regiment until we arrived
near Robertson's Cross-Roads, when, evidences of the enemy
appearing, this regiment was ordered to equalize its companies in six
companies, to move to the right-hand side of the road, to deploy all
the regiment except two companies as skirmishers, and to move
forward, dressing on a body of sharpshooters, who were to move up
the road, in command of Captain Jones, Fourth Ohio.

We advanced, under this order, over some farm lands for about
half a mile, when we came to a dense wood, where the regiment
was halted by the command of Colonel Carroll, commanding
brigade, after advancing in the wood a few yards for cover. Our
skirmish line was dressed up and some temporary defenses of rails
made, as the enemy appeared to be in some force, and firing
constantly upon our skirmishers. My whole reserve prior to making
the defenses had been moved to the right of the line, as the enemy
appeared on that flank, but was withdrawn after General Webb
advanced and joined our line on that flank.

We maintained the above position until about 2 p.m., when we
were ordered to advance through the woods, dressing to the left,
which we did in good order, although the enemy stubbornly
disputed the ground, and formed our line as directed by Lieutenant
Sheppard, aide-de-camp to Colonel Carroll. This line we held until
relieved by the Fourth Ohio, about 8 o'clock in the evening. During
the whole time picket firing on both sides was constantly kept up,
and at one time the enemy took advantage of a gap made between
us and General Webb's line by our advance (his line remaining) and
we received a volley from our right and rear, which for a few
moments created some confusion in so changing our line as to successfully
meet the enemy, and this confusion was increased by the fact
that some of the enemy had on our overcoats, and some of our officers
believed it was General Webb's line advancing. I sent Captain Reid
to the right with his company, and Colonel Carroll and some of his
staff coming on the field at that time, our line soon reformed, pushing
the rebels back. Just at sunset they again tried the same
maneuver, but finding our line stubbornly resisting them, fell back
without giving us much trouble.

Major Winslow commanded the skirmish line, which duty he
performed well. The officers and men behaved with their usual bravery
and courage.

Our loss was 1 killed and 8 wounded, a nominal list of which has
already been forwarded.

Our movements after this evening were with the brigade, being
in support of the skirmish line on Saturday and Saturday night, and
from Sunday morning until our arrival in this camp, we were not
again under fire or called upon for any especial duties.

During the march the conduct of the men was especially commendable.
There was no straggling, and all cheerfully performed their

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel Eighth Ohio Volunteers, Comdg.

Lieut. J. G. REID,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 29. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 48.]

06-23-2018, 04:31 PM
Excerpts from "A Military History of the 8th Ohio Vol Inf'y: Its Battles, marches and Army Movements" by Franklin Sawyer.


Regarding the regiments' first fight at Romney, Western Virginia - September 23rd, 1861.