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Thread: Writings of Lt.-Col. Franklin Sawyer - 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

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    Writings of Lt.-Col. Franklin Sawyer - 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

    Antietam after battle report:

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

    ON THE FIELD, NEAR ANTIETAM CREEK, MD.,
    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,

    FRANKLIN SAWYER,
    Lieut.-Col. Eighth Ohio Volunteers, Commanding.

    Brig. Gen. NATHAN KIMBALL,
    Commanding First Brigade.

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

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeThear View Post
    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.

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    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
    Volunteers:

    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,

    FRANKLIN SAWYER,
    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

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    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
    surrender.

    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,

    FRANKLIN SAWYER,
    Lieut.-Col., Comdg.

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

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

    CAMP NEAR MOUNTAIN RUN,

    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
    duties.

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

    FRANKLIN SAWYER,
    Lieutenant-Colonel Eighth Ohio Volunteers, Comdg.

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

    Source: Official Records
    PAGE 733-48 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. [CHAP. XLI.
    [Series I. Vol. 29. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 48.]

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    Excerpts from "A Military History of the 8th Ohio Vol Inf'y: Its Battles, marches and Army Movements" by Franklin Sawyer.

    https://archive.org/stream/amilitary...ge/n4/mode/2up

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

    Last edited by Shiloh; 06-23-2018 at 04:42 PM.

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