September 15, 1863. “McPherson’s corps has joined McCook on the right…”


From the diary of Lt. Robert B. Davidson, the 35th Ohio, 

Sept. 15, 1863.

Weather hot.  we started at seven (7) AM and encamped at twelve (12) noon, after a march of four miles.  Water is plenty and good all over this country but we are unfortunately not close to a good spring this time.  This is a very fertile country, especially the valleys.  The finest corn I ever saw in these valleys.  MY diarrhea is worse today.  It is reported that McPherson’s Corps has joined McCook on the right, and Burnside has joined us on the left.  The reserve corps had moved up.  Genl. Steadman ( commander in the reserve corps) has come up with his division.

The rumors concerning McPherson and Burnside are interesting. Of these, only the news about Steedman was accurate; leading elements of the Reserve Corps reached Rossville the previous day.

Captain William A. Boyd, the 84th Indiana, Steedman’s division of the Reserve corps, describes his march through Chattanooga to Rossville on the 14th: 

Near noon we passed over a part of Lookout [Mountain] high above the river overlooking the city of Chattanooga, and the beautiful valleys and hills adjacent. We left the town to the left and halted at Rossville Georgia, six miles to the east of south. Rossville is entirely untenanted, and never held more than six or eight log homes. The last one of them was the former residence of the Cherokee Chief John Ross. A large cool spring issues from the base of the mountain in rear of the house.

September 15,

We made a shelter of the bushes and limbs of trees. The men had nothing but rubber blankets and the officers but little more.

Sergeant Styles Porter, of the 52nd Ohio, was also present at Rossville on the 15th, describing some internal strife:  

Sept 15, 1863.

Still without rations, some of the boys go out to try their luck foraging, but a few carry it to excess. Then General Gordon Granger sends out a mounted squad of infantry with orders to bring in every soldier they could find. Something like a hundred are caught, about fifty of whom are brought to General Granger’s headquarters, where he had them tied to trees, with their shirts off, intending to have them whipped. When the whip was brought Granger ordered the guard to use it, but the guard refused. The excitement got up the men gathered in knots, discussing the matter. Col. Dan McCook, Major Holmes and Captain Rothacker went to General Granger and protested, with the result that the whipping was abandoned. The General and his staff would certainly have been annihilated by the infuriated soldiers had not the haughty chief let the men go without whipping. Still, to satisfy a fiendish disposition the General ordered an unusually heavy camp guard and seven roll calls a day. I have often wondered why so many of our army officers take so much pleasure in insulting and wounding the feelings of respectable men.


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