Colonel Ezra A. Carman’s Report on the 13th New Jersey Infantry In the Atlanta Campaign

Col. Ezra A. Carman 13th New Jersey Infantry

The 13th New Jersey Infantry entered Federal service on August 25th, 1862, and as a unit in the Union 12th Corps, saw action less than a month later at the Battle of Antietam. The 13th also fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and was transferred with the rest of the 12th Corps in October 1863 to the Chattanooga, Tennessee area as reinforcements for the Army of the Cumberland. In April 1864, the 12th Corps was merged into the 20th Corps (with Major General Joseph Hooker in command), remaining as part of the Army of the Cumberland in Major General William T. Sherman’s army. The 13th New Jersey was in the 1st Division of the 12th Corps, and in that division’s 2nd Brigade, under Brigadier General Thomas Ruger. Joining the 13th New Jersey in the 2nd Brigade were a geographically diverse group of regiments including the 3rd Wisconsin, 2nd Massachusetts, 27th Indiana, and 107th and 150th New York infantries.

In early May, Sherman marched south in the Atlanta Campaign. This culminated with the capture of Atlanta in early September, but along the way, the campaign consisted of a great deal of maneuver interspersed with some significant fighting, first against a Confederate army under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, and later under General John Bell Hood. (Hooker would also be replaced as division commander during the campaign by Major General Henry W. Slocum). Colonel Ezra A. Carman was the commanding officer of the 13th New Jersey. Carman’s official report on his unit’s participation in the campaign, is a good narrative of the regiment’s marching and fighting during the Atlanta Campaign in the summer of 1864.

HDQRS. THIRTEENTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS.,
Atlanta, Ga., September 6, 1864.

SIR: In accordance with circular from brigade headquarters of this date, I have the honor of making the following report of the operations of the Thirteenth New Jersey Volunteers from the beginning of the campaign to the present date:

Tuesday, April 26, 1864, struck tents at Duck River bridge, Tenn., where we had been encamped during the winter, and marched to Tullahoma, Tenn., where we joined the brigade. I commenced on this day with 21 commissioned officers and 413 enlisted men. On the 27th 1 officer (surgeon) was discharged and 18 enlisted men sent to hospital, leaving in my command at the commencement of the campaign 20 commissioned officers and 395 enlisted men. April 28, left Tullahoma and marched to Decherd. April 29, left Decherd and marched to University Place, on the Cumberland Mountains. April 30, marched from University Place and camped at evening on Battle Creek.

May 1, resumed march, arriving at Bridgeport at 11 a.m.; crossed the Tennessee River and camped for the night at Shellmound. May 2, marched to Whiteside’s. May 3, resumed march, passing base of Lookout Mountain, and camping in the valley near Chattanooga. May 4, marched at 8 a.m., passing through Rossville, and camping at Gordon’s Mills. May 5, crossed Chickamauga River, passed Rock Spring, and halted for the night at Pleasant Grove Church, where we remained next day. May 7, left Pleasant Grove Church, crossed Taylor’s Ridge, and marched to Trickum (or Anderson) Post-Office, where we remained until May 10. Left Trickum at midnight of 10th, marched all night, and next morning going through Snake Creek Gap, and bivouacked at its southeast termination, where we remained until May 13, when we resumed the march at 6 a.m., taking the Resaca road; halted and formed line of battle two miles from that place, where we erected works; at 6 p.m. moved one mile farther to the right, in direction of railroad. May 14, moved off about one-half mile to the left, where we remained until 4 p.m., when we were moved off rapidly to the left of the Fourth Corps, the brigade being in the center of division line.

BATTLE OF RESACA.

May 15, at about 3 p.m. we moved to the left, my regiment moving in rear of the brigade and following the One hundred and fiftieth New York Volunteers, the Third Brigade, First Division, following. After marching nearly one mile the regiment was formed in line of battle on the crest of a wooded hill, and by order of General Ruger marched across an intervening plain between the hill and the enemy in echelon, to the left of the Third Wisconsin. When about half way to the position indicated for our line, I was ordered to form on the left of the Third Wisconsin, which was done by obliquing to the right, the Third Wisconsin having swung around some distance to the right and occupying a densely wooded ridge with thick undergrowth. On my left was a knoll on which was situated a dwelling-house and out-building, owned and occupied by John A. Scales. In front of this house the ground was open down to the railroad, at Green’s Station, distant about 300 yards. Between these two regiments (Third Wisconsin and One hundred and fiftieth New York) was a slight depression in the ground, through which ran a country road. My regiment was put in this interval. The two right companies, connecting with Third Wisconsin, were in the woods; the left company, connecting with One hundred and fiftieth New York, had open ground in its front; the other companies had a peach orchard in their front for about fifty yards, beyond which the ground descended rapidly, forming a ravine densely grown with bushes and some trees, obscuring the view of the enemy from a greater part of my line until they approached within 120 yards. On taking this position I was ordered to put out two companies, B and F, as skirmishers, which was done, and then a barricade of rails was hastily thrown up. The skirmishers became immediately engaged after advancing, and being advanced on by the enemy in strong force were forced back, the enemy following in three lines and moving obliquely to our right. They assaulted our whole front with great vigor, but were handsomely repulsed with but little trouble in one hour and thirty-five minutes, the enemy retreating in disorder, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. The wounded were mostly carried off during the night, the dead left unburied. The attacking column was Stewart’s division, of Hood’s corps; the regiments in my immediate front, Thirty-first Alabama and Forty-second Georgia. Thirteen prisoners were taken or came into my command from the above-named two regiments. The loss of my regiment in this action was 4 enlisted men killed and 3 officers and 15 men wounded. After the repulse of the enemy I was relieved by the Eighty-second Ohio, Third Brigade, First Division, Twentieth Army Corps. May 16, marched from Green’s Station, in a southeasterly direction, to Coosawattee River, where we remained until morning of May 17, when we crossed the Coosawattee at Newtown; marched in a southerly direction twelve miles, to near Calhoun. May 18, marched about twenty miles in a southwesterly direction. May 19, broke camp at 1.20 p.m., marched about three miles, where we formed line and advanced about 500 yards, crossing two creeks, driving in cavalry vedettes, and emerging on the open ground in front of Cassville. May 20, the enemy evacuated Cassville during the night, and my regiment moved near town, where we remained until May 23. Broke camp and marched through Cassville at 4.30 a.m., and crossed the Etowah River. May 24, marched through Stilesborough and Huntsville, or Burnt Hickory, and camped one-fourth mile south of the church.

Battle of Resaca by Kurz and Allison

BATTLE OF DALLAS.

May 25, resumed the march from Burnt Hickory at 9 a.m., crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek at 1.30 p.m., taking the right-hand road to Dallas. After going about two miles south of the

Map of the Atlanta Campaign

creek we countermarched, recrossing the creek, and again crossing it on the road taken by the Second Division, Twentieth Army Corps; passed the Second Division. I was ordered to report for duty to General Hooker, from whom I received orders to deploy my regiment as a strong line of skirmishers to protect the right flank of the corps in their charge on the enemy, whom we had found in position in our immediate front. Six companies were deployed and moved forward immediately, Companies B, F, I, and H following as a reserve. We soon met the enemy’s skirmishers, who seemed to be protecting their own left flank, and we drove them steadily for over a mile, finally charging their works or pits and driving them out at dusk. During the most of the time there was terrific firing on my left, the First Division engaging the enemy. I strengthened my position by working all night, and was relieved at 5.30 the next morning by the First Brigade, Second Division, when I reported to my brigade. The position thus gained was a little over half a mile to the right of our line when engaged. My loss was 2 officers and 7 enlisted men wounded. May 26, relieved at 5.30 a.m. by First Brigade, Second Division, Colonel Cobham commanding, and joined the brigade. May 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31, no change in position, but incessant skirmishing in our front, by which I had some men wounded.

June 1, marched to the left of the line about four miles. June 2, at 4 a.m. moved a short distance to the left and relieved portion of General Hovey’s division. Twenty-third Army Corps. At 8 a.m. ordered by General Ruger to relieve the Twentieth Kentucky Infantry, doing picket and outpost duty on our front. I did so, and advancing my skirmishers under Captain Miller, commanding Companies A and D, succeeded in expelling the enemy’s skirmishers from a position in which they had given much annoyance. I advanced my line and connected on my right with the Fourteenth Ohio, which, in the mean time, had advanced and formed the left of the Fourteenth Corps. June 3 and 4, constant skirmishing; moved to the left at 4.30 p.m. one mile. June 5, marched at 10.30 a.m. northeast on Acworth road and bivouacked near Allatoona Creek. June 6, moved at 4.30 a.m. on the Marietta road and took up position at night, and constructed works in view of Lost Mountain; the enemy’s pickets in front and some skirmishing. June 7, 8, 9, 10, no change in position. June 11, moved a half mile to the left near Pine Knob and Allatoona Creek, and in the evening built breast-works. June 12, 13, and 14, no change in position. June 15, marched at I p.m. in southwest direction; at 5.30 p.m. in position east of Lost Mountain, the Twenty-seventh Indiana on the right and One hundred and fiftieth New York on the left. I advanced to this position for over 600 yards in line of battle through ravines and tangled bushes. June 16, during the afternoon the enemy opened with artillery and musketry on the picket-line in my front and the battery (I) in my line, by which Lieutenant Ryerson and 5 or 6 men were wounded. June 17, the enemy evacuated the position in our front, and we followed, marching in the main toward Marietta; halted near a creek and threw up works; heavy skirmishing, in which I had 1 man killed and I wounded. June 18, no change in position. June 19, advanced at 9 a.m. through evacuated works of the enemy two miles and a half southeast, in sight and to right of Kenesaw and in reserve to line of battle. June 20, relieved and march by the rear of the Fourth Corps easterly four miles to a position near Noyes’ Creek and camped on the extreme right of the brigade at plantation of Agnes Atkinson, where we constructed works. June 21, moved 250 yards in advance, building new breastworks.

BATTLE OF KOLB’S FARM.

June 22, moved out of our works, crossed Noyes’ Creek, and formed line of battle in the edge of the woods, the One hundred and seventh New York on my right and One hundred and fiftieth New York on my left, and commenced throwing up a rail barricade. The enemy almost immediately advanced in three lines of battle to dislodge us from the position. On the right of my line a piece of woods ran down at right angles to my position to Widow Kolb’s house and a cotton gin, distant about 350 yards, then running at nearly right angles north and nearly parallel to my line, breaking away rapidly from our front in front of First Brigade. In my front was an open field, through which ran a small branch about midway between my line and the woods opposite. From my position the ground sloped gradually (in spots rapidly) down to the branch and rose from the branch to the woods beyond more rapidly. The enemy massed in these woods, and at a few minutes after 4 advanced rapidly, driving in the skirmishers, and coming up obliquely to our left, their extreme right emerging from the woods at Widow Kolb’s house, and passing the branch about ten yards from the edge of the woods running at right angles to my line. The first line came out in much confusion, being evidently broken by the fire of artillery, which was opened on them a few moments before. On the appearance of the second line, following rapidly the first, I opened fire, and in a short time both lines were checked and thrown into confusion and mixed up in the ravine, in which they sought shelter by lying down. The third line advanced feebly from the woods, but were soon driven back. In my front the enemy had planted two colors and left them. Supposing they had a line in advance of them and protected from our fire and view by a small knoll, I reported to General Ruger my impression and suggested to General Ruger that they could be taken and many prisoners captured, but night setting in and growing dark, and no reserves to spare, it was not deemed prudent to make the attempt. Under cover of the ravine and darkness the enemy moved their disorganized troops from my front by going to our left, where they were well screened from view. Sharp firing was kept up by the third line from the woods opposite until dark, and under cover of the darkness the enemy removed most of their dead and wounded from the field. At night I threw out skirmishers in my front, with orders to advance cautiously to the ravine and see what was there. They brought in 5 prisoners, 1 of whom was wounded. The attacking troops this day were Stevenson’s division, of Hood’s corps. The loss of the regiment in this action was 6 enlisted men wounded. June 23, remained in same position and buried the enemy’s dead. June 24, 25, and 26, position unchanged.

Kolb Farmhouse, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield

BATTLE OF KENESAW MOUNTAIN.

June 27, at 3.30 a.m. moved to our left and relieved three regiments of Second Division, and put in support of battery commanded by Captain McGill. At 7.45 a.m. the enemy opened a very heavy and concentrated fire on the position, which was continued furiously until 11.30 a.m.; but the men being protected by heavy works, the loss was only 1 man wounded. On the failure of the assault on Kenesaw Mountain the regiment returned to its original position, where we remained until July 3; at 4 a.m. advanced through the evacuated works of the enemy to near Marietta, where we turned to the right, marching southeastwardly, halting about three miles from Marietta. July 4, marched two miles south. July 5, passed through evacuated works of the enemy, crossing Nickajack Creek; marched five or six miles and halted three miles north of Chattahoochee River, in sight of Atlanta. July 6, changed from the right center to the left, relieving portion of the Fourteenth Corps, and forming on the right, until July 17, when we crossed Chattahoochee River at Pace’s Ferry, proceeding in a southeasterly direction about seven miles. July 18, at daybreak this morning I was ordered to take my regiment and Eighty-second Ohio and proceed on a road indicated as going north, to find the right of the Fourth Corps, and connect with it. No road led north, but I followed the road leading east and formed a junction with Fourth Corps, which was moving on the road to Buck Head and near Nancy’s Creek. My regiment and Eighty-second Ohio were deployed as skirmishers, with reserves, and moved forward on the right of the Fourth Corps, driving in the enemy’s vedettes, crossing Nancy’s Creek, and seizing a ridge beyond, after a smart skirmish with the enemy, in which I had l wounded and 10 missing. The loss of the enemy was 1 officer (adjutant-general) killed and 23 enlisted men killed and wounded. The force engaged was Williams’ brigade of rebel Kentucky cavalry and two pieces of artillery. They were driven off. By direction of General Williams I returned to the brigade, the Fourth Corps advancing to and beyond the point taken. July 19, marched three miles south to Peach Tree Creek.

BATTLE OF PEACH TREE CREEK.

July 20, crossed Peach Tree Creek in the morning, and took position in rear of the Third Wisconsin. At 4 p.m. changed our position to extreme left of the brigade and on the left of the Marietta road; regiment not actively engaged. Loss, 1 killed and 4 wounded. July 21, position unchanged. July 22, the regiment, by order of General Ruger, ordered to report to general officer of day (Colonel Carman) as a reserve to the skirmish line then advancing on the enemy’s position at Atlanta. They were posted by myself on a knoll lately occupied by the advanced line of works of Third Brigade, First Division. Twentieth Army Corps. My being in charge of the division skirmish line, the immediate command of the regiment devolved upon Captain Harris, whose report I annex. July 23 to 26, remained in position in front of Atlanta building works. July 27, by order of General Ruger, was detailed to burn a house and out-buildings in immediate front of our brigade picket, and distant 150 yards. At 10 a.m. advanced on the position, dislodging the rebel pickets, capturing 13 and burning the buildings. The regiment was subjected to a heavy fire of musketry and artillery from a fort 250 yards distant, and on the Marietta road. Loss, 2 killed, 1 officer and 6 enlisted men wounded. July 28 and 29, position unchanged. July 30, the picket-line was advanced this morning, and held the ridge on which were the enemy’s pickets, and known as the burnt houses, distant from the fort 200 yards. The regiment at 10 a.m. was ordered up to support the picket-line, which was heavily pressed all day. They remained in his position until 3.30 p.m., when they were relieved by the Twenty-Seventh Indiana. Loss, 1 killed, 7 wounded. Being myself in command of the picket this day, the immediate command of the regiment devolved upon Captain Harris, whose detailed report I annex.

Battle of Peachtree Creek

August 1 to 25, remained in position taken up July 22, losing some men by the constant fire of infantry and artillery. Loss, August 1 to 25, 1 man killed, 1 officer and 6 men wounded. August 25, moved back to the Chattahoochee River, where we remained until September 2. September 1, in the morning ordered by General Ruger to report with my regiment to General Williams for reconnaissance. Made reconnaissance with Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, One hundred and forty-first and One hundred and forty-third New York, all under command of Colonel Carman; found the enemy still in the works around Atlanta. September 2, entered Atlanta at 8 p.m. and went into the enemy’s works, which we now occupy, to the left of and near the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad. I add in appendix a complete list of casualties by name and date, and recapitulation of same, giving localities.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. A. CARMAN,
Colonel, Comdg. Thirteenth Regt. New Jersey Vols.

Lieut. E.G. FAY,
A. A. A. G., 2d Brig., 1st Div., 20th Army Corps.

Carman mentioned in his report that while he performing duties as officer of the day, Captain Fred Harris was in immediate command of the 13th New Jersey. Harris filed these two reports:

CAMP THIRTEENTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS.,
Atlanta, Ga., September 7, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that as the rebel line of battle and skirmishers had fallen back from their works in our immediate front during the night of the 21st of July, 1864, to their lines about Atlanta, our skirmishers advanced, and this regiment was ordered to support them (being senior officer present with the regiment the command devolved upon me). We left our bivouac about 7 a.m. and marched about two miles along the Marietta and Atlanta turnpike road, and took position on the left of the road about 700 yards from the rebel works, about 300 yards in rear of our line of skirmishers, on a hill, in the position where the advanced line of breastworks of the Third Brigade of our division was afterward placed. As soon as our men appeared upon the crest of the hill and commenced throwing up some breast-works with rails, the rebels opened fire upon us from a battery of artillery, and we were severely shelled for about an hour. Soon after we had taken our position the skirmishers of the Fourteenth Corps fell back, leaving the right flank of our skirmishers exposed, who were consequently obliged to fall back, but our skirmishers halted on a line with us to protect our right flank. They were again advanced about two hours afterward. During the morning the enemy opened fire twice upon us with their battery and shelled us furiously for a short time, but the position being a valuable one was held by our regiment until we were relieved by a portion of the Third Brigade, when, in obedience to orders from Brigadier-General Ruger, we joined our brigade at about 2 p.m., in rear of and under cover of the hill. We were placed in position during the afternoon on the left of and near the railroad, where we completed breast-works already begun.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

FRED. H. HARRIS,
Captain, Comdg. Thirteenth Regt. New Jersey Vols.

Col. EZRA A. CARMAN,
General Field Officer of the Day.

CAMP THIRTEENTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS.,
Atlanta, Ga., September 7, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that being in command of the regiment July 30, 1864, as its senior officer present, I received orders from General Ruger, commanding brigade, to advance the regiment to the new line of skirmishers on the crest of the hill, where the houses had been burned July 27, 1864, to support and strengthen the line and relieve the Second Massachusetts Volunteers at that place. We reached the line about 10 a.m., when the Second Massachusetts Volunteers retired. The position where the regiment was stationed was about 250 yards from a large fort of the enemy and from their main line of breast-works. From these we were subjected to one of the most severe fires of musketry and artillery that we have been under during the campaign. Our men were protected by light breast-works of rails, which shielded them somewhat from the shower of bullets which was being constantly sent over by the enemy. We remained in this position until about 4 p.m., when we were relieved by the Twenty-seventh Indiana Volunteers. During this time we had expended about 100 rounds of ammunition per man and silenced a piece of artillery in an embrasure in our immediate front. At the same time the breast-works were somewhat strengthened. Loss, 1 killed and 7 wounded.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

FRED. H. HARRIS,
Captain, Comdg. Thirteenth Regt. New Jersey Vols.

Col. EZRA A. CARMAN,
General Field Officer of the Day.

Carman listed the 13th New Jersey’s casualties for the Atlanta Campaign as seven killed, 75 wounded, and 11 missing or captured. The regiment later participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign.

Sources:

A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer.

Sherman’s Battle For Atlanta by Jacob B. Cox.

The Mountain Campaigns in Georgia, or War Scenes on the W. & A. by Joseph M. Brown

“The Struggle for Atlanta” by Oliver O. Howard. In Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume IV, edited by Clarence C. Buel and Robert U. Johnson.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume XXXVIII, Part 2.

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