6. August, 1862:
On Wednesday morning the whole country was enveloped in a dense fog and perhaps delayed the attack for a short time. About seven o'clock the 16th Ohio under command of Major Kershner came up and relieved the 14th, which marched down on the road toward Tazewell perhaps a quarter of a mile, into an old orchard, where guns were stacked and knapsacks unslung to await further orders. Here it will be necessary to give some idea of the ground in order that a clear understanding may be had of succeeding events. Tazewell is a small village situated between two elevated ridges and upon quite uneven ground, both ridges sloping toward the town, the sumits [sic] of which are near two miles apart.
On the south side of the village there is a small uneven hill, densly covered with small cedar and pines. The Morristown road crosses the ridge south of Tazewell, through a small depression or gap where the heavy timber is still standing, to the right of which is an elevated cleared knob, and to the left another elevated knob covered with thrifty corn. In the gap there were two guns of the battery and a small reserve force, the rest of the regiment being scattered in different positions through the woods, and on various roads and lookout points, never more than one camp in a place and generally in smaller squads.
The 16th had but just taken its post in these various positions, when some of the enemy's artillery down at Big Spring opened at long range to attract attention in that direction. In a few moments some scattering guns were heard at the outer picket posts, followed almost immediately by rousing cheers and heavy vollies of musketry. The 14th Formed instantly in line of battle and only waited orders to move up the hill to the assistance of the 16th at double quick. Not many moments elapsed, before it was clearly to be seen that the enemy in large numbers had completely surrounded the 16th and the two pieces of cannon. The firing of musketry was very heavy at the time and the cannon were being discharged with great rapidity. A rebel column came sweeping down the hill on the right with loud cheers; each discharge of canister left a wide gap in their ranks, which was instantly closed without the slightest wavering; twice the canister tore though their ranks but on they came within twenty or thirty paces of the guns. The limbers were quickly made fast, and the guns were brought off at double quick and the enemy were so near that the line of skirmishers were in a few yards of the road just as the guns were passing.
Major Kershner's horse was so severly wounded that he had to abandon him and with his small reserve force cut his way through the rebel ranks; the artillery drove into the orchard where the 14th was in line, and again opened fire upon them, and so also did the 14th which somewhat checked them, and afforded some protection to the retreat of the 16th. They were so completely surrounded and cut off from each other that they came down the hill in straggling parties and irregular order, but still maintained a severe and effective fire upon the enemy, who immediately formed in line of battle and came down the hill in excellent order, and with a defiant yell which clearly bespoke their confidence of success. The guns again moved off in haste and the command was given for the 14th to retreat, which was done in considerable disorder, because the regiment had to cross two fences, and the ground was quite uneven, and covered with a dense growth of small pines and cedars, while the rebel regiment was flanking us on the our rear. The boys, however, did some pretty effective shooting in defiance of the orders, which were constantly repeated to cease firing, and move on to the ridge beyond the town. The rebels cheered and moved forward in splendid order, considering the nature of the ground. As soon as we were under cover of the town, our cannon opened fire upon the rebel column, and drove them back in some disorder. The 14th and 16th collected on the ridge in rear of the battery, and formed in line again, also the 22d Kentucky. The 42d in the mean time were under arms a considerable distance from the action, hoping for orders to come into the engagement. -
The day was exceedingly hot and many were almost entirely exhausted from heat and thirst. Our battery played so effectively upon the rebels, that they did not enter the town, but most of their force returned to the ridge from which they had driven us, and in short time they had two cannons in position, and commenced returning our fire. -
The exchange of iron compliments continued during the whole afternoon without damaging us in the least. One of their pieces was finally dismounted by a fortunate shot, and the six guns of our battery poured the shell upon the other so rapidly that they "shut up shop" and hawled [sic] it over the ridge.
About night the brigade started out to take a walk, and they walked to Cumberland Gap before midnight, excepting a few romantic young gentlemen who went to sleep by the road side. It is not a very pleasant reflection to know that they got several blankets, knapsacks, canteens, haversacks, &c., which formerly belonged to Uncle Sam's boys. The fact is that the rebels had received large reinforcements from Knoxville, and had deliberately planned, and very nearly captured our whole force. Major Brown lost his coffin headed charger and gratuitously threw in a fine $ 50 dollar saddle to get the rebs to take him off his hands. The boys left their hard-bread and coffee in haversacks, for their mislead Southern brothers, very cheerful, knowing that they were thereby heaping coals of fire on their heads by fulfilling the scripture injunction, "feed your enemies." The 16th Ohio suffered most; ..and at this writing it is hard to give a definite account of the wounded and missing; however, I will put down the figures...:
... None of the 14th were killed or captured, and but a few wounded, all of whom were brought off the field. Company B, Henry C. Perkins in the right leg (since amputated) company F, Frank Mutters, in thigh, flesh wound; Mordecai Hensley, flesh wound in leg; Sergeant James H. Sperry, slightly in head; company E, Hiram Miller, in shoulder slightly; Several others were grazed by bullets, but no others wounded seriously enough to mention.
[Captain J. H. Davidson, 14th KY, Ironton Register, Aug. 21, 1862]
Regiment went on picket this morning and was attacked by a greatly superior force. They attempted to capture our artillery, but we kept them back until the artillery got safely away. We fell gradually back in good order, firing as we retired. We got in a good position behind a fence, where we fought until our last cartridge was gone. Then we retired beyond the town where our batteries were in position. The rebel's tried to plant a battery, but could not do it. Our gunners soon dismounted their cannon. Our loss in this engagement was 2 killed, 15 wounded, and 52 prisoners. They captured our knapsacks so we returned to camp that night meeting our whole Division near Powels River coming to reinforce us. We all returned to the Gap. [Reid Diary, 16th OVI]
On Wednesday, the 16th relieved the 14th. - The regiment was very weak, only numbering some 400, and divided into eight companies, seven were on top of the hill and two pieces of artillery. At 10 o'clock A.M., we heard some musketry. Colonel sent me out to see what was going on, found out that one gun was in danger and two companies likely to be surrounded. I reported to the Colonel, met him half ways, ordered up the 14th Ky., to support the 16th. A brisk fire had already commenced on both sides. The guns came down the hill all safe which greatly encouraged our men. - Co. C and G protected the guns as they came down the hill and actually dispersed one regiment, and checked another. Sergeant Major Smith went to call in Capt. Tannyhill's and Capt. Edgar's companies which held the advance post and whilst retiring both companies were surrounded. Here the most desperate engagement took place. They actually fought hand to hand. Company C and G ably commanded by the gallant Major Kershner, were finally compelled to retire, their ammunition being expended and the men perfectly exhausted. Capts. Mills, Monroe, Harn and Vandorn held the right while the other two companies retired. The 14th now came to our relief and held the ground as long as they could, and then both regiments were ordered to rally on the reserve, back of the twon on a high hill. There, such a confusion I never saw in all my life, but luckily we had six guns in a position back of town which protected and in fact saved both of these regiments from being anihilated. The two rebel regiments advanced, coming down the hill, on the double quick, while they still had at the least calculation 4 regiments in reserve. The moment we brought up our reserve, the re[?] sight of the them made them fall back, and then our guns kept up a continued fire. They placed two guns and opened fire with a 12-pounder rifle gun and one 6-pounder. Fired a few shot with very good range but our was too much for them. Captains Edgar and Tannyhill's companies stood the whole brunt in the affair. Every man had to look out for himself and some escaped that..day yet. We held our position begind town until dark and having expended most our our ammunition, out of provisions, no forage and ____ before ____determined to return to the Gap, we retreated in good order and marched into camp early the next morning........Lieuts. De Silva, Corn and Vores actually broke through the enemy's lines and rejoined their commands before we got finally into camp. A Corporal and a private out of Edgar's Co. captured a Lieut. Col. (named Gordon) belonging to the 11th Tenn. Regt., disarmed him, and brought him on the hill beyond the town. The gentleman confessed himself that it was the coolest thing he ever heard of. We lost all our knapsacks, overcoats, blanket and haversacks with two day's rations, and some of the men actually were so fatigued that they buried their rifles and afterwards caught up with the Reg. Those that were taken prisoner done the same trick, to some extent. Major Kershner had his horse shot from under him, lost his sword and saddle. Capt. Mills lost coat and sword. Friend Boone, the 16th fought like tigers, but the great misfortune was, the companies were entirely too much scattered, but they held there [sic] ground nobly, actually refusing to come away when ordered until their ammunition was exhausted...The 14th Ky. had several wounded and lost all their knapsacks...We got all the forage this side of Clinch river, confiscated some good horses, mules, &c. and got licked the thunder for it. I got a blooded mare worth $ 1000, at least the owner said he refused that at one time.
[Stein, 16th OVI, Wooster Republican, Aug. 21, 1862]
...from what I can learn from the most reliable sources the action commenced about 11 o'clock and continued about two hours and a half. There were no forces engaged on our side but the 16th Ohio, the other forces on our side being necessary to hold in check some 3 or 4 rebel regiments that were awaiting an opportunity to get into our rear and cut off our retreat and communication with the Gap. The official report shows 54 men missing belonging to several companies...
All the 16th engaged in the fight lost their knapsacks, blankets, overcoats and all their contents, including letters and many other little et ceteras that they had from time to time gathered up.
The rebel force, as nearly as we can learn, was 11 regiments of infantry together with artillery and cavalry. Four of our regiments were engaged in the contest with the 16th Ohio, and were several times repulsed, but they outflanked us and we were compelled to retire in consequence of vastly superior numbers...
[Captain Hamilton Richardson, 16th OVI, Wooster Republican, Aug. 21, 1862]
...a letter from a member of Capt. McClure's company who went from this office. The letter is dated on the 10th inst., and the extract is as follows:
"You have no doubt heard of our fight at Tazewell. Our regiment was pretty badly cut up, as all the fighting on our side was done by the 16th. Our company was divided, and attached to other companies, in order to equalize them. I was with Capt. Botsford's company and had a severe time of it. When the rebels made the attack our company was held back as reserve. As soon as they made a charge we were ordered to support the artillery which we did in handsome style, keeping the enemy in check and our artillery made good their retreat; we then fell back gradually to our main support. When I came to myself again, I found that I was minus my knapsack and haversack, but with them the secesh received about forty rounds of cartidges, which to some of them I think wasn't very agreeable. As you will get a better description of the engagement than I can give, I will leave the rest to them. Our killed, wounded and msissing will amount to about 75. We buried Capt. Edgar last night. His body was procured by a flag of truce.
[Dave, 16th OVI, Wooster Republican, Aug. 21, 1862]
August 6th, about 11 A.M. heavy firing was heard in the direction of Big Springs, between our pickets and their advance, which continued to become more frequent. It soon became evident a general engagement must occur, or we must retire. The 16th Ohio was posted on a high hill in front of Tazewell about 1 1/2 miles distant and between Tazewell and Big Springs, from which the enemy were advancing. The 14th Ky, which had been ordered forward from the Gap to strengthen us was posted at the foot of the hill on which the 16th Ohio was posted, to be ready to support them in case of emergency. Two 16-pound parrot guns were posted on top of the hill. The 22d Ky, and 42d Ohio regiments, and four guns were posted on a hill back of Tazewell, distant about half a mile from town, and commanding the hill on which the 16th Ohio was posted. This was the situation of our forces when the rebels attacked us. There is no doubt that they were perfectly informed of our strength and position when they made the attack. After half or three quarters of an hour's firing, those of us who were posted in rear of town, discovered the enemy had flanked the right of the 16th Ohio, and were about to surround them. In the meantime we remained idle spectators of their useless efforts to drive them back. They were compelled to disburse and every man take care of himself. The 14th Ky., was now within rifle range, and after firing a volley, were ordered to retire behind our artillery on the hill in rear of town, so as to co-operate with the 42d Ohio and 22d Ky. The enemy seeing the 16th Ohio and 14th Ky. retreating, pursued them with tremendous yells, sure of a complete victory. As soon as our men were out of range of our artillery, we opened up on them with three guns, throwing grape and canister, making terrible havoc in their ranks. They immediately gave up the pursuit and fell back on the hill occupied by the 16th Ohio at the opening of the fight. Our artillery continued to throw shell until dark, to which they replied with two guns until we had dismounted their artillery and killed more than one half of the artillerymen, as we have since learned. At dark by order of Gen. Morgan we retired in good order to the Gap, the enemy being satisfied to allow us quietly to depart...The enemy lost in the three day's skirmishing in killed and wounded, 120 men. We captured the Lieut. Colonel of the 11th Tennessee and one Captain. They captured 52 men of the 16th Ohio, Capt. Tannyhill and the Sergt. Major of the 16th Ohio were wounded; 10 privates of the 16th Ohio were wounded, and Capt. Edgar of Holmes county killed; wounded 7 privates of the 14th Ky., and 2 of the 22d Ky., making a total of wounded on our side 19 men, but one of them mortally. Captain Edgar is the only man killed on our side. We brought off all our horses, wagons and artillery. They captured two day's rations for 800 men, and the knapsacks of the 16th Ohio and 14th Ky., and about 50 guns. Two of the 16th Ohio, a private and corporal after their company dispersed, accidentally came in contact with the Lieut. Colonel and a Captain of the 11th Tenn. The boys soon discovered they were not our officers, cocked their pieces and ordered them to surrender, which they did, at the same time giving up their arms. The boys conducted these officers a distance of half a mile in front of the enemy's lines and within rifle range, the boys contending that the line of battle which they saw was ours. Company C shot this same Lieut. Colonel's horse from under him two days before. We are informed this morning from a reliable source they had six Regiments of infantry engaged Wednesday, besides two Companies of cavalry and two pieces of artillery...The most remarkable occurence of the day was that they surrounded one of our guns on the hill and just as they were charging up on it, at a distance of fifty yards our gunners gave them a round of canister which mowed down a whole platoon. The company that was supporting the gun gave them a round also who witnessed that the screams of their wounded and dying was awful. Our gunners immediately lumbered up and run their horses fully half a mile past their lines, a constant stream of fire pouring upon them, but strange to say not a man or horse was touched. Foster's Minnesota Battery are as brave and effective set of men as ever manned a battery. [Captain T. C. Bushnell, 42nd OVI, Ashland Times, Aug. 21, 1862]
Col. DeCourcy went out on a foraging party with his whole brigade, consisting of the Sixteenth and Forty-Second Ohio and Twenty-Second Kentucky, Col. Lindsey, and the Fourteenth Kentucky, Col. Cochran, of Gen. Baird's Division. Col. Cochran was in advance with his regiment, about a mile and a half beyond Tazewell, on picket duty, when he was attacked by four rebel regiments under Col. Rains, comprising the Eleventh and Forty-Second Tennessee, Thirtieth Alabama and Twenty-First Georgia. Col. Cochran immediately formed his command on each side of the road, each flank supported by a piece of artillery from Foster's Wisconsin Battery under command of Lieut. John D. Anderson. The rebels advanced upon the Fourteenth Kentucky in extended line, and their flanking regiments thrown forward with the evident intention of surrounding and cutting off the whole regiment and artillery. Colonel Cochran seeing this retired his regiment in perfect oder as soon as the artillery had placed itself in his rear, and took position where the movement could not be repeated against them. The rebels then changed their plan of attack and charged by column of regiments until when within two hundred and fifty yards of Colonel Cochran, who had stood without discharging a gun, poured a terrible fire upon them, which checked their advance and threw them into disorder. In the meantime Foster's entire battery of six guns had been placed in position on an eminence in the rear and opened fire, which turned the rebel disorder into a route, and no more was seen of them, rebel officers who came in under a flag of truce acknowledged a loss from 200 to 250...Colonel Cochran had fifteen wounded in his regiment, and our total wounded was about twenty-three... [Capt. J. H. Ferry, Louisville Daily Journal, Aug. 16, 1862]
Early in the morning of the 6th instant, not wishing to bring on a general action, I ordered Colonel De Courcy to return to this post, but he was attacked at daybreak on that day. Considering enemy's forces the attack was feeble. Two of his regiments surrounded two companies of the Sixteenth Ohio, detached to protect a section of artillery. The enemy's movement was well executed, and had it not been for the coolness and gallantry of Lieutenant Anderson we would have lost two pieces of artillery. Although surrounded by a vastly superior force, the two infantry companies, under command of Captains Edgar and Taneyhill, fought heroically, and three-fourths of them succeeded in cutting their way through to their regiments. But we fear that Captain Edgar, an officer of great merit, was killed, and Captain Taneyhill taken prisoner. There were several instances of distinguished conduct both on the part of officers and soldiers. A soldier of the Twenty-second Kentucky was shot through the neck and fell. His gun dropped from his hands; his foe contrived to advance upon him, when the wounded hero grasped his gun, rose to his feet and shot the rebel soldier dead when within five paces of him, when he again fell weltering in his blood. Two soldiers of the Sixteenth Ohio had lost their way and were going toward the enemy, when Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, of the Eleventh Tennessee, hailed them, demanding their regiment. With coolness and courage they required him to declare his rank and regiment and took him prisoner. Resuming their march by a circuitous route they rejoined their commands. Gordon speaks highly of their courage and courteous treatment. At 3.30 p.m. a courier arrived from Colonel De Courcy and asked for aid. Leaving three regiments to guard the Gap I marched with my remaining force to his assistance, but when within 2 miles of Tazewell I met him on his return. The enemy left the field at 5 o'clock and maintained his position until 7 o'clock p.m. The enemy's loss is believed to be considerable. I did not pursue, lest with a superior force, he should gain my rear.
GEORGE W. MORGAN,
Col. J. B. FRY.
[G.W. Morgan, O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVI/1 , p. 836]
On the 6th, however, my advance posts, composed of the Sixteenth Ohio, were very suddenly attacked by a very superior force, which I afterward discovered was under the command of General Stevenson, and which I have every reason to believe, from the reports of the enemy stud from our own officers, prisoners in their hands, was composed of about 90,000 men, with a large amount of artillery. This force we held in check on the 6th of August from 11 o'clock a.m. till half past 3 p.m., when they retreated from my front, and merely continued an artillery fire until 6 in the evening, when I made my return to the Gap unmolested or without even an attempt being made by the enemy to follow me.
[O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVI/1, p. 694; Colonel John F. DeCourcy, 16th OVI]
The expeditions under my command proceeded in a due southerly direction as far as Tazewell and operated around that town. On the second expedition to Tazewell I operated in a zone of about 8 miles east and west of Tazewell, and on two occasions approached to within 1 mile of the Clinch River. On the last expedition I encountered the enemy every day and forced him from my front until I was attacked by Stevenson, as already stated in my deposition. I went south about 15 miles from Cumberland Gap.
[O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVI/1, p. 717; Colonel John F. DeCourcy, 16th OVI]
Also, I have found the information on the burning of Tazewell as found in "Goodspeed's History of Claiborne County"- Marlitta H. Perkins, 14th KY Inf. [US] Regimental Historian
On November 11, 1862, upon the evacuation of Tazewell by some Confederate troops who had been stationed there, a fire broke out which destroyed the greater portion of the town. About twenty buildings were burned, including the courthouse, a large brick hotel and several brick storehouses. From this severe loss the town has never fully recovered, but it is still one of the most flourishing and enterprising inland towns to be found in Tennessee. The business interests of the present time are represented by the following firms: R. J. & J. C. Carr, William Eppes & Sons, J. K. Robinson, T. Evans and B. F. Schultz, general merchandise; White & Stone, groceries, boots and shoes and hardware, and T. E. White, manufacturer and dealer in saddlery and harness. The last named is probably the largest retail establishment of the kind in East Tennessee.
The additional accounts:
Foraging in force was not unattended with danger, as DeCourcy's Brigade, two thousand strong, came near being surrounded and cut off on the 6th of August, at Tazewell, Tenn. Only gallant fighting and skillful handling prevented its capture by a three-fold greater force of the enemy. The gravest positions are at times accompanied by ludicrous scenes which tend to relieve their gravity, and occassion amusement to the soldiery. The Battle of Tazewell was fought just south of that town. In falling back the troops all filed through its main street. the 22d Kentucky was in the rear. It was not running, only making good quick-step time. The town is in a deep valley, and on the hills on each side were the batteries of the opposing hosts, which were worked to their utmost activity, whilst the rear was being pressed by the pursuing enemy. Near the center of town a great tall, obese, "sable sister," in the undress uniform of the laundry brigade - a sleeveless bodice and a red flannel petticoat, which, like "Wee Nannie's cutty sark," was in "longitude sorely scanty," - emerged from a side street. Bubbling all over with excitement, and gesticulating wildly, she screamed at the top of her voice, "Oh, oh! you Yanks is skedadling, is you?" She exposed to the profane gaze of the soldiery an amazing extent of rotund nudities. The grotesque humor of the situation was sufficient to have provoked an audible smile under the ribs of death.
[B. F. Stevenson, Surgeon (Major), 22nd KY Inf.; Cumberland Gap, a paper read before the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, June 3, 1885; Cincinnati, 1885, pp. 12/13]
Early in the morning Col. Pardee and his five Companies were relieved...The men thus relieved retired and joined the remainder of the Brigade with the wagons at Tazewell. The two companies on picket duty stacked their arms and began to regale themselves with berries which grew in great quantities in the woods. While thus engaged, Company "B" of the Sixteenth was surrounded by a regiment of the enemy advancing under the cover of the fog, attacked, and Capt. Edgar, its commanding officer, killed. His men made a gallant effort to rally and recover their muskets, and, partly succeeded, but most of the Company was killed, wounded, or captured. The survivors...abandoned the ridge and retreated across the valley to the main body near the village. Stephenson moved up his advance brigade and occupied this position from which the Federal pickets had been driven.
A broad, open valley now lay between the hostile forces. It was evident to Col. DeCourcy that he was confronted by a vastly superior force, and it became an object with him to make the utmost display of his strength, and thereby keep the Confederates in check until his long train of wagons, now laden with forage, could be got well in motion towards Cumberland Gap. About nine o'clock in the morning the fog lifted, and a regiment of the enemy was seen to come out of the woods on the hill where the pickets of the Sixteenth had been captured, and advance down into the valley towards the town. At the foot of this slope and at right angles with the advance of the regiment was a lane following the general course of the brook in the valley. At the point where this lane debouched into the main road, one of the guns of Foster's Battery had been posted the night before, and had not retired when the infantry pickets had retreated in the morning. The gun and its horses were concealed from the view of the advancing regiment by a fringe of bushes which skirted the lane. Sergeant Hackett, in command of the piece, double-shotted it with canister and trained it so as to rake the lane. On came the Confederates down the slope in line of battle, with colors flying, and, without breaking their line, attempted to cross the lane. At that moment, when the narrow passage was filled with men, Hackett's masked gun blazed out of the bushes, sweeping the lane with a hail of canister. How many were killed and wounded is not precicely known, but the slaughter, as related by members of the Rebel regiment, was enormous. The whole force was thrown into disorder, and, under cover of the momentary panic, the gallant Sergeant limbered up his gun and, with his horses at a gallop, made good his escape to the main body. This daring little exploit had been watched with anxious interest by DeCourcy and his command from the hills above the town, and Sergeant Hackett and his squad received on their return the congratulations due to their success, and a warning not to take such a risk again.
The enemy now appeared in still increasing force on the farther hill, and it became a matter of doubt whether he could be held in check until night. Col. DeCourcy had learned from scouts and prisoners that the force opposed to this ltlle brigade was a full division of four brigades, and numbering in all not less than seventeen thousand men. The disparity was so great that in the face of such odds he dared not retreat by daylight. Repeating Col. Pardee's tactics of the day before, he spread out his Brigade in single rank, counter-marching companies over exposed points to give the appearance of an army corps taking position for battle. Gen. Stephenson watched the scene through his glass from his position a mile away, held his division in readiness to meet an attack, and so threw his opportunity away. As darkness settled down over the hills, DeCourcy wheeled his regiments into the road behind the town, and, marching rapidly, reached Cumberland Gap at three o'clock in the morning, without the loss of a wagon or a man except Capt. Edgar and those of his Company who were killed, wounded or captured through being surprised while on picket duty. Every wagon was brought back loaded, and a large quantity of supplies was thereby added to the stores of the garrison.
[Mason, The 42nd Ohio Regiment, pp. 117-119]
Following are two more account of the Battle of Tazewell Joe Payne
Letters to the Tuscarawas Advocate NewspaperMarch, 1862 to March, 1863, John M. Pierson
Letter from the 16th.
Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, August 15, 1862.
Though not organized in your immediate vicinity, a few lines from the 16th Ohio, may not be uninteresting to your readers. Our organization at Camp Tiffin, our trip through Kentucky, and subsequent occupation of this natural stronghold, they are already familiar with.
Since our arrival here , June 18th, the monotony of camp life has only been broken by work upon the fortifications and an occasional foraging expedition inside the enemy's lines. One of the most important of these trips was entered upon Saturday morning, Aug. 2d, by the 26th Brigade, composed of the 16th and 42d Ohio, and the 22d Kentucky regiments under Acting Brigadier General J. F. DeCourcy, accompanied by six pieces of artillery under command of Lieut. Anderson of the 1st Wisconsin battery, and Lieut. Webster of the siege battery.
At five o'clock Saturday morning the Brigade left camp, having in charge two hundred wagons, and after driving in the rebel pickets, encamped the same evening on the brow of a hill overlooking Tazewell, the county seat of Clairborne county, Tennessee, and fourteen miles from Cumberland Gap. Four of the pieces were planted in front of camp, while the 16th Ohio with two pieces of artillery were stationed as pickets on the ground previously occupied by the rebels for the same purpose. The Brigade remained in camp Sunday, while the quartermasters spent their time confiscating rebel horses about town. On Monday morning the Brigade took up its line of march for Clinch river, seven miles distant, where the rebels were reported encamped, eight thousand strong. There was a slight skirmish near Lycomon, in which one rebel was killed and our or five wounded. Our loss nothing. Seventy wagons escorted by two companies of the 16th loaded within three-fourths of a mile of the river, and returned without accident. The Brigade re-occupied its camp near Tazewell, Monday evening and during Tuesday. The 14th Kentucky, which had been ordered up as a re-enforcement, acted as picket Tuesday and during the night.
Wednesday morning at 7 o'clock the 14th Kentucky was relieved by the 16th Ohio. Companies B and E were stationed one fourth of a mile in advance as outposts, the remainder, save companies C and G, picketed in different directions about the hill and ravines. Half an hour after, scattered firing was heard in the direction of the outposts, and the cannon accompanying them was ordered in. No uneasiness was felt for an hour when a simultaneous attack was made on all the pickets, the outposts being entirely surrounded. The outposts had twice been ordered in but failed to receive the message. They determined not to surrender, but to try to run the gauntlet and escape; but a concealed regiment opening fire on them at ten paces, killing Capt. Edgar of company B, and severely wounding Sergeant Major Beatty Smith, broke their ranks when every man for himself tried to make their own way through the lines, and about half succeeded. The remainder were taken prisoners. The rear pickets had been attacked by four regiments who had taken position during the previous night, guiding their movements by cow bells. The reputation of the 16th Ohio was at stake, and the pickets fought desperately. A part of company D supported a rifled Parrot on the brow of the hill, which poured incessant volleys of grape and canister death into the rebel ranks. Then charges were made to capture the piece by a rebel regiment, and once they were so certain of success that their commander ordered them to seize the gun and run it in the bushes; but they had reckoned without their host. The cannon, double shotted, opened on them at twenty paces, mowing down almost an entire company; and while the gallant little fragment of company D poured a deadly volley into them, Major Kershner ordered the piece to retire, and withdrew the pickets to the rear of the ravine. At this juncture Major K's horse was shot from under him, and during the remainder of the fight he gave his commands on foot. he was the only field officer engaged in the fight, and maneuvered his regiment (the 16th Ohio) admirably. For one hour companies C and G held the whole rebel force in check, when the 14th Kentucky came to their assistance, and together they gradually retired, followed by four regiments of rebel infantry. When our regiments had retired a sufficient distance to be out of danger, our artillery back of Tazewell opened on the rebels, when they gave a fine exhibition of a skedaddle back over the hill. They replied with a twelve pounder, but after having it twice dismounted, drew off.
Major Kershner cannot receive too much credit for the manner in which he conducted the fight, and his success in bringing his men and guns from the field with as little loss. He is a cool, brave man, well versed in tactics, respected and obeyed by his men, and deserving of a higher position in the service.
Dr. Chase, Assistant Surgeon 16th Ohio, was the only medical officer in the fight, and sustained the reputation of his profession, being the last man to leave the field, though the balls created anything but agreeable music about his ears.
General DeCourcy was on the field during the latter part of the action. During the fight, the 42d Ohio guarded the Virginia road, to prevent the enemy from flanking, and the 22d Kentucky supported the four guns back of Tazewell.
Two of the 22d Kentucky were wounded while on picket Tuesday, and succeeded in killing two rebel cavalry, and wounding five or six. Capt. Edgar's body was brought in by a flag of truce Sunday and interred with appropriate honors. Our regiment lost one killed and fifty two wounded and missing. Dr. Brashear has today accompanied a flag of truce to Tazewell, to see two or our wounded, prisoners. The Knoxville Register admits one hundred killed on their side, and we are informed on reliable authority that four hundred will not more than account for their killed and wounded. Corporal Paul Wilder, of company B, captured Lieut. Col. Goodwin, of the 11th Tennessee, and brought him into camp. More anon.
WILSCOT. (Unknown Soldier)
Following is an account of the death of Capt. Joseph Edgar
Our company was signally honored on two occasions by DeCourcy, by being placed in a very advanced position, which however resulted very disastrously. At another time while we were moving down along the foot of the Cumberland Mts. on the north side as stealthily as possibley after night, the command was passed back in a stage whisper to halt. The Colonel rode back to us and said, "Capt. Edgar, Select 20 of your most reliable men and go with this guide up the mountain, take possession of a gap there and hold it at all hazards." That expression "at all hazards" sounded dangerous, and as the men were tolled off and stepped to the front, their hearts jumped up into their mouths as if determined to escape. We got there in good time, and the hazard was on the part of the enemy when he appeared with the first streaks of daylight.
History of Company B., 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.transcribed by Michael Wood
Surrounded by the Confederates.
When the boys tried to get out of their predicament at Tazwell, Tenn., found themselves surrounded by thousands of confederates who fired a volley at them at such close range that it must have killed every man but for the fact the enemy was on ground much above them and over shot them. it now seemed every man for himself. There was a little three cornered field there, which sloped from three sides into the valley into which most of the boys got and began to scatter, Detwiler, on seeing this in great earnestness called out "Poys, poys, py hoky let's rally." But rally was impossible with thousands of rebels on all sides of them and they were nearly all made prisoners.
Under a Brush Heap.
George Henderson and Jonathan Cornell took refuge under a brush heap, and in the excitement were not discovered. All day long rebel troops tramped by them not one hundred feet away, while they lay prone upon their stomachs in close communion with themselves. near midnight when all was still they crawled out and started toward Knoxville, in an effort to surround the enemy. Towards morning they came to a colored man's house, who kept them under the bed all day, while the good mammy fed them on corn pone. At night the colored man piloted them to a union man's house, and he in turn did the same service, and in four days they appeared in camp smiling and happy.
Got the Colonel.
Paul Wilder and John mcCluggage made a break for liberty through this little field and across the road, when they found their way blocked, and they squatted down in a clump of bushes to await developements. Presently Col. Gordon of the 11th Ga. regiment came riding up this road all alone, and discovering them drew his revolver and ordered their surrender; quick as thought two hammers clicked and two French rifles were pointed at him, not twenty feet away, and he was in turn ordered to ground his arms and come to them. The chances were uneven, and the muzzle of those guns were not a cheering sight, and being surrounded by his own men, within easy call, he decided to humor them, and rode up into the bushes.
"Now," says Paul, "we'll get out of here. You remain on your horse, and I will go before lead the way and let down fences, and John you keep right behind him, with your gun cocked, and if he makes the least effort to betray us, shoot him through the heart." "I'll do it," says John, and the march was commenced, and they passed within speaking distance and in plain view of two rebel brigades, and on account of the excitement were not discovered.
It was an exxceedingly hot day, and when they landed their prisoner at DeCourcy's headquarters they were well nigh exhausted.
DeCourcy ordered the horse cared for and as the rebel Col. sat on the ground, and saw his men scampering back over the hill followed by the terrible cannonade of Foster's battery, he heaved a sigh and said, "Well, this beats hell."
But such was his treatment as a prisoner by our men, that he was unstinting in his praise. in a couple of weeks an exchange was affected and the boys were all back, save Capt. Edgar who undertook to run the gauntlet and to get out, and was shot through the head and instantly killed.
The Battle of Tazewell - A Confederate Prospective
From: John McDaniel Knoxville
Date: Sun, Jan 31, 2010 5:13 pm
I enjoyed my visit to your Claiborne County website, and noted your reference to the coverage of the battle by the 14th Ky Assn., which is unusually good, compared to many similar military unit pages. However, it does cover your fight strictly from a Union perspective.
My great grandfather, John Wesley Ball, Jr., of Beech Creek in Hawkins County, was color sergeant of the 39th TN Mtd Inf, and fought in that action. I am having trouble finding credible accounts from a Confederate perspective.
I just spent the day writing this up and, here is what I have. If you see any errors, let me know. For instance, I can't find Lycomon on any of my maps:
Having been assured by Raider John Hunt Morgan that "The whole country can be secured, and 25,000 or 30,000 men will join you at once," Bragg decided to leave half his men, under Van Dorn and Price, to defend Vicksburg and Central Mississippi, and to take the rest, some 34,000 men, to Chattanooga, from where he intended to launch an invasion of Kentucky. Bragg believed that Buell would be forced to follow him. If Grant, who had replaced Halleck when the latter was recalled to Washington, also followed him north, then Van Dorn and Price could recover West Tennessee. Bragg could also expect support from Kirby Smith, who was at Knoxville with 18,000 men, including the 39th Tennessee of Colonel T H Taylor's Brigade, and our great grandfather, John Wesley Ball, Jr. who had, by this time, been elected regimental color sergeant.
The key problem for Bragg was getting his men to Chattanooga before Buell could cross the Tennessee River and take the city. Marching by bad roads in summer heat was not likely to get him there in time, so he sent his men, a division at a time, by rail down to Mobile, then to Atlanta, and finally, from Atlanta to Chattanooga, a round-about route of 776 miles. He began the movement on July 23, and they had all reached Chattanooga two weeks later. It was the largest Confederate railroad movement of the war. The details of the plan to invade Kentucky were hashed out in a Chattanooga hotel room on July 31. There was great enthusiasm for Kirby Smith's idea of a coordinated two column thrust north to the Ohio River. By mid-August, what was now "The Army of Tennessee," and which now included Kirby Smith's levees, was ready to launch their campaign. Their objective, at best, was to re-acquire Kentucky for the Confederacy and, at worst, to secure Kentucky recruits for the army, while Lincoln's generals had to defend all the territory between the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, all at once. Both were ambitious objectives.
Meanwhile, after spending almost six months fruitlessly attempting to stop pro-Union Tennesseans from filtering north through obscure mountain passes to join the Union Army, and after fretting for two months over the prospect of Union invasion through Cumberland Gap, which had been captured by an 8,000 man Union force under Brigadier General George W. Morgan on June 18, Kirby Smith advanced toward Cumberland Gap from Knoxville, intending to clear the way through the gap with the 18,000 troops already available to him. While Braxton Bragg was moving his army to Chattanooga, Smith's Army of East Tennessee marched north in early August. With Stevenson's Division in the lead, Smith camped at the Clinch River, where his pickets, perhaps after hearing of atrocities from refugees fleeing south, sighted one of Morgan's foraging parties 7 miles southeast of Tazwell, county seat of Claiborne County, on the afternoon of August 4.
A foraging expedition, made up of the 22nd Kentucky, 16th Ohio and 42nd Ohio, of Brevet Brigadier General John deCourcy's 26th Brigade, accompanied by the 1st Wisconsin Artillery Battery, had left Cumberland Gap early on the morning of Saturday, August 2, 1862 with two hundred wagons bound for Tazwell. They camped that night on a hill overlooking Tazwell from the north, placing four cannon to command the town, so as to forestall any resistance, while the 16th Ohio, with the other two pieces from the battery, were deployed as pickets on Walten's Ridge, just south of the town. Sunday was spent confiscating horses and provisions from the residents in Tazwell, who they chose to characterize as "Rebels," although most of the citizenry were simply trying to survive this war. On Monday morning, August 4, deCourcy, with seventy wagons, marched seven miles further southeast where, at the crossing of the Clinch River on the road to Morristown, they ran into Kirby Smith's pickets. Reversing course after filling their wagons, and after a skirmish at Lycomon, deCourcy returned to Tazwell, reported the encounter and requested reinforcements. General Morgan immediately dispatched the 14th Kentucky to reinforce deCourcy, that regiment then doing picket duty on Walten's Ridge from their arrival on Tuesday through Tuesday night.
When the 14th was relieved from picket duty by about 400 men of the 16th Ohio at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 6, marching down the road a quarter mile to bivouac in an old orchard, Walten's Ridge was covered by dense fog. Within a half hour, Taylor's Brigade of Stevenson's Division, including the 3rd, 39th and 59th Tennessee, supported by the Rhett Artillery, attacked the 16th's pickets out of the fog, driving them down the ridge and capturing 52. When Taylor turned their right flank, the16th Ohio did manage to extricate their two guns from the crest of the ridge but, by the time the 14th Kentucky could be formed to come to their aid, the fight was over and what was left of the 16th Ohio had dispersed. It was very nearly every man for himself. With Taylor's Brigade now in musket range of the 14th Kentucky, and moving to attack both flanks, the Union regiment fired a volley before retiring to the Union line north of town. Then, as Taylor's Brigade advanced toward Tazwell, they passed a lane that ran at right angles to their line of march. Where the lane entered the main road, the Federals had one of their cannon posted, screened from sight by bushes. Sergeant Hackett, who had charge of the piece, double-shotted it with canister and trained it so as to rake the main road and beyond. As Taylor's Brigade came down the slope of Walten's Ridge in line of battle, with colors flying, Hackett waited until his line of sight was filled with gray clad troops before firing his masked gun, sweeping the lane, the road, and the field beyond with a hail of canister. The Confederate casualties from this single discharge are not known, but the slaughter was said to be terrible. In the chaos which ensued, Hackett limbered up his gun and, at a gallop, escaped to the Union position. Both the 16th Ohio and 14th Kentucky lost their knapsacks, as well as two day's rations for 800 men and about 50 small arms that day, but deCourcy managed to save all their wagons and artillery, along with all the horses and provisions they had confiscated. For the rest of the day there was a desultory exchange of artillery fire between the opposing forces on the two hills until, after dark, with the Yankee wagons well on their way to the gap, deCourcy retired.
It had been John Ball's first field and, if he had not, as color sergeant, been marching in advance of the Confederate line, it could have been his last. But what had been an instant of horror for some, became weeks of misery for the rest. deCourcy's rape of Claiborne County had stripped the area of provisions for civilians and Confederate military alike. One of Taylor's men, writing home to his parents in Georgia on August 12, complained of the lack of rations over the prior month, saying that sometimes the troops went without food for three days at a time.
Not wishing to blunt his sword on this unusually strong position, General Smith waited for his reinforcements from Bragg and, as soon as Cleburne's and and Churchill's divisions arrived, bypassed Cumberland Gap through Barbourville to the west, on August 16, leaving Stevenson's Division to watch Morgan's force in the gap, who Smith believed were too well fortified to capture, but too small a force to challenge him in the field. But with Smith now in Morgan's rear, Morgan abandoned Cumberland Gap on September 17, and Stevenson's Division marched through the gap without a shot fired.
Iain Guth MacIan, Domhnullach (John, A Voice, Son of James, one of the Donalds)
Seannache (Clan Historian)
The MacDonnell Of Leinster Association
Have you searched Wikileaks? There is a site that has a search engine where you can do Boolean searches: CABLESEARCH is an attempt for an user friendly search engine of already published documents from Wikileaks. I searched only for TENNESSEE and low and behold the Iraqi Independence was compared to the progress made in the STATE OF TENNESSEE and the reconciliation we have made following the American Civil War. Just great to be known around the world for something.
SUBJECT: VP ABDEL MEHDI TO CODEL VOINOVICH: PATIENCE, PLEASE
DATE: 2007-08-24 16:04:00
ORIGIN: Embassy Baghdad
TEXT: C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002838
Summary: Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi told CODEL Voinovich (Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)) August 20 that an improved security environment and a change in the Sunni "mood" indicate that Iraq is making slow but significant progress.
In reply to repeated questions and expressions of American exasperation over the Iraqi Government's inability to achieve political reconciliation, Abdel Mehdi conceded limited progress but cited recent agreement Iraq's top leaders on the broad outlines of de-Ba'athification, amnesty, and detainee release. On several occasions he cautioned that political reconciliation and Iraq's "radical" transformation from dictatorship to democracy will take time: to drive home his point, he half-jokingly surmised that there may be some people in TENNESSEE, the home state of Senators Alexander and Corker, who have yet to be reconciled to the outcome of the American Civil War. He insisted that the Iraqi Government should not be held responsible for all of Iraq's problems, citing al-Qaeda as "an international problem" and complaining of support by Iraq's neighbors for malign internal elements.