Obituary of Robert J. Morrison

Posted on: November 7th, 2009

Printed in the Springs Valley Herald, French Lick, IN on 22 May 1930 (forwarded by Steve Morrison):

“Robert Morrison was born near Shoals, Indiana March 14, 1841 and departed this life Sunday night, May 1, 1930 at the age of 87 years and two months.  He was united in marriage three times. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Davis, January 31, 1860. To this union four children were born.  Two preceded him in death. The living are Charles of Oaktown, Indiana and Ella Acre of Canton, Ohio. His second marriage was to Mary J. Simmons, August 29, 1872. To this union three children were born of which only Mrs. Laura Fowler of Claysville, Penn. survives him. And his third marriage was to Sarah A. Wilson, May 26, 1877. To this union six children were born of which four survive; him: Harvey of Brooklyn, Indiana, Shirley of West Baden, Ross of Windsor, Ill. and Mrs. Bina Scarlet of West Baden…For three years he has been blind and confined to his home. He was a member of the Methodist church and was converted in 1898. During all his afflictions and pain he was jovial, patient and kind. He expressed his willingness and readiness to take the great departure.  Besides his children and other relatives he leaves thirty-four grandchildren to mourn his departure.

‘The course of my long life hath reached at last,/In fragile bark o’er tempestuous sea,  The common harbor, where must rendered be/Account of all actions of the past.’

We wish to thank the neighbors and friends for help and sympathy, and beautiful flowers also W. V. Rit-ter & Son for their efficient service, Rev. E. C. Montgomery for the consoling words and the choir for the beautiful songs in the death of our father, Robert Morrison.
The Children”

Children of Robert Morrison and Mary J. Simmons

Posted on: November 7th, 2009

After the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Davis, Robert Morrison (13 Mar 1839 Martin Co., IN – 5 May 1930) married for the second time on 29 Aug 1872 Martin Co., IN to Mary J. Simmons (12 Oct 1852 KY – 24 Dec 1876).

According to his obituary, Robert and Mary (Simmons) Morrison had three children, one of whom survived him.  I have four children listed in my file, using the census records as a source.  Details are as follows:

  1. Laura A. Morrison (Jun 1874 – abt 1936) married first, aft 1900, to Robert H. Hicks (source: Stephen Morrison).  Robert and Laura (Morrison) Hicks had one child who died before 1910, according to the census.  She married again about 1913 to Owen S. Fowler (source:  Stephen Morrison).  She is still living in 1930 and is mentioned in her father’s obituary.
  2. George Morrison, twin of Willie below (b. 1874).  The twins are listed in the 1880 census with their father.   They are not listed in 1900.  I do not know what happened to them after they left home, but neither one outlived Robert Morrison.
  3. Willie Morrison, twin of George above (b. 1874 and d. bef 1930, see above).
  4. Florence Morrison (b. 1875 IN and d. 6 Dec 1886).  Source for death date:  Stephen Morrison.

Mary Simmons Morrison died on 24 Dec 1876 and Robert Morrison married his thrid wife, Sarah Ann Wilson on 13 May 1877.  For a listing of their children see the related post.

John Thomas Acre (30 Sep 1861 Martin Co., IN – 15 Dec 1952 Colorado) married on 17 Mar 1887 in Shoals, Martin Co., IN to Sarah Ella Morrison (19 Dec 1869 Martin Co., IN – 8 May 1948 Canton, OK).   Their marriage is recorded in the Martin Co. marriages.

They had the following children:

Rufus R. Acre was b. 28 Feb 1888 in Gove Co., KS and d. 17 Nov 1941.  He married on 5 Dec 1917 to Annie Mary Hyden (source for maiden name:  Wanda White).

James “Jim” Sherman Acre was b. 25 Jun 1889 in Gove Co., KS and d. abt 1985.  He married on 22 Dec 1914 to Edith Letitia Downs (source for maiden name:  Gail Bee).

Robert “Bobby” Acre was b. 24 Feb 1892 in Lacy, OK and d. in Jun  of the same year.

Charles “Charl(ie)” Morrison Acre was b. 27 Feb 1894 Lacy, OK and d. 21 Nov 1964.  He married 24 Sep 1919 to Margaret Christina Paulsen.

Isol Mildred Acre was b. 19 Aug 1895 in Lacy, OK and d. 31 Dec 1962.  She married Ben Walker.

Roy Acre was b. 9 Feb 1898 in Lacy, OK and d. 10 Oct 1905.

Agnes Acre was b. 14 Feb 1900 in Lacy, OK and d. Dec 1985.  She married 12 Feb 1921 to Manuel Baker.

Nellie Maud Acre was b. 9 Feb 1905 in Lacy, OK and d. 17 Sep 1993.  She married in 26 Oct 1929 in Canton, OK to Donald Ferguson Bredbeck.

Bonnie “Bon” Acre was b. 4 Nov 1906 in Lacy, OK and d. 1995 in California.  He married 29 Dec 1935 in Fairview, OK to Noma Webber.

Otha “Othie” Acre was b. 8 Dec 1910 in Canton, OK and d. 25 Dec 1995 in Canton, OK.  He married first to “Tommie” Gard in 1942 and second to Heloise.

Children of Robert Morrison and Elizabeth Davis

Posted on: November 7th, 2009

Robert Morrison (b. 13 Mar 1839 in Martin Co., IN – d. 5 May 1930 in Orange Co., IN) married Elizabeth Davis (b. 23 May 1830 (or 1839) in IN – d. 8 Feb 1872) on January 31, 1861 in Martin Co., IN.

According to his obituary, Robert and Elizabeth Davis Morrison had four children, two of whom survived him.  I have six recorded children and am assuming that the obituary does not include the two children who died in infancy.

Children are recorded as follows:

William A. Morrison b. 30 May 1862 and d. 31 Aug 1864.  The source for this child is Steve Morrison, who indicates that young William is buried in the Acre Cemetery in Halbert, Martin Co., IN.

Nancy J. Morrison b. abt 1864.  She is listed in her father’s household in 1870 and (possibly) 1880.  I do not know what happened to her, but as she did not survive her father she must have died before 1930.

William J. Morrison b. abt 1866.  He is listed in his father’s household in 1870.  I do not know what happened to him, but as he did not survive his father he must have died before 1930.

Charles Morrison, b. Jan 1869 in IN and d. 1946 in Knox Co., IN.  Charles is listed in his father’s household 1870 – 1880.   He married in 1896 and is listed in the census as head of household in Knox Co., IN 1900 – 1930 with his wife Clara Alice (maiden name Chestnut from Steve Morrison).  Their children, according to the census are Flora (Ethel?), Arthur, Jesse, and Ruth.  They must also have had a child who died before 1900.  In his father’s obituary he is listed as living in Oaktown, IN.

Sarah Ella Morrison, b. 19 Dec 1869 in Shoals, Martin Co., IN and d. 8 May 1948 in Canton, OK.  Sarah married in Shoals on 17 Mar 1887 to John Thomas Acre.  Their children were:  Rufus, Jim, Bobby, Charles, Isol, Roy, Agnes, Nellie, Bon, and Otha.  For more information about their descendants please see the separate post.

John Morrison, b. 2 Feb 1872 and d. 17 May 1872.  John is buried in the Acre Cemetery in Martin Co., IN.  As his mother, who died 6 days after his birth.

Following the death of his wife in February of 1872, and his infant son 3 months later, Robert Morrison married for the second time in August 1872 to Mary Simmons.  In the 1870 census it is Mary who is listed alongside Robert instead of Elizabeth.  If anyone knows anything more about this inconsistency, I would be interested in hearing the story.  Please see the NEXT POST regarding the children of Robert with his second wife.

Possible Morrison Origins and Relations

Posted on: November 6th, 2009

My best guess, based on census records, is that Charles Morrison was born in Kentucky about 1804 or 1805.  There are two conflicting entries placing his birth in North Carolina or Tennessee.  The North Carolina entry, I believe is a case of the birth places being a line off from the corresponding names on the census page…this thought based on the b. Kentucky entry in the line above him for a child I know to be born in Indiana.  Moving the births down one line would indicate Charles b. in KY and his wife in NC which is consistent with the other records.  The Tennessee entry was given by Charles’ son Robert when, in his 80s, he indicated that his father was born in Tennessee.  This entry is interesting to me as there are a handful of Morrisons living in and around Martin and Orange Counties who WERE born in Tennessee within 10 years of Charles.  I have no evidence to connect Charles or Robert Morrison to any of these other families, but it is interesting to note who they are.  Included below are Morrison families living in the area around Martin Co., IN beginning in 1830.

James Morrison (the elder):  Listed in Orange Co., IN in 1830 (1m20-30, 1m60-70, 160-70).   There is no male 70-80 found in the 1840 census.

James Morrison (the younger):  Listed in Martin Co., IN in 1840 on the same page as Charles (1m-5, 1m30-40, 1f-5, 2f5-10, 3f10-15, 1f30-40).  He is not found in the area in 1850, however, there are other James Morrisons in Indiana.

John Morrison:  Listed in Martin Co., IN in 1840 (2m-5, 1m5-10, 1m30-40, 1f5-10, 1f10-15, 1f30-40).  He is not found in Martin Co. in 1850, but there is a John Morrison b. 1808 in Tennessee living in Putnam County and a John Morrison, b. abt 1814 in Kentucky in Vigo County.  And in 1860 there is a John Morrison  b. abt 1809 in Kentucky in Daviess County.  Daviess county is adjacent to Martin County.

Zachariah Morrison:  Listed in Daviess Co., in 1840 and then in Orange Co. in 1850.  In 1860 and 1870 what appears to be the same family is in Greene Co., just north of Martin.  Zachariah was born about 1817 or 1818 in Tennessee or Kentucky.  His wife is Mary and their children are:  Henry L., Margaret, John L. (or T.), James (K.), Leodica (Lodice or Dicy), Joseph, Thomas W., and Cora E.  The children are all born in Indiana.

William Morrison:  Listed in French Lick, Orange Co., IN in 1860, William Morrison was born about 1805 in Tennessee.  His wife, Dianna, and their children were also born in Tennessee.  The children are both daughters:  Mary (19) and Sarah (25).  Sarah is married to Robison Dalton.  Sarah and her husband are listed in Orange Co. in 1870, but I do not find the rest of the family again.

Would love to know anything else about these people or about any Morrison connections to Charles Morrison, of Martin County, IN.

Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison in the Civil War

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

While I knew that Ephraim Acre had served in the Civil War and I knew that he named his son Sherman after General Tecumsah Sherman of the Union Army, I did not realize until I started researching the stories of his service in the Union Army the scope and importance of the battles in which Ephraim Acre took part. It is no wonder that he chose to stay put in Indiana after marching, riding, and fighting all over Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.  Robert Morrison, who’s daughter Sarah married Ephraim’s son John T. Acre, fought alongside Ephraim Acre in the war.

Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison enlisted in the Union Army on 14 August 1862 and served in the 17th Indiana Infantry in Company A. This Regiment was organized in Indianapolis about a year earlier, and when Ephraim and Robert joined them they were attached to the 15th Brigade, 6th Division, Army of the Ohio. At the end of August 1862 the Company was near McMinnville, TN at a place called Little Pond. Buell’s Campaign was just ending, the Confederates were invading Kentucky, and moral would have been low.

During the summer of 1862, Major General Don Carlos Buell was supposed to lead 40,000 troops from the Army of the Ohio against Chattanooga. It was one of the biggest Union undertakings of the summer, and it did not go well. He lead his troops from Corinth through northern AL along the railroad lines. It made sense to stick to the railroad lines because it was a convenient way to move supplies and troops. Both sides were using this new technology during the Civil War, but it was also made a convenient and important target as taking out a rail line meant that supplies, troops, and communications could not get through to troops in the field. The civilians in the area were sympathetic to the Rebels and at night the Union soldiers were subject to repeated guerilla attacks, with supplies being stolen over and over again. Soldiers were on half rations and Buell was unwilling to fight or punish civilians. His progress, therefore, was very slow. He left Corinth in mid-June and by July 8 was only half way to Chattanooga. President Lincoln was unsatisfied. On July 13 Confederates destroyed the railroad and captured a garrison at Murfeesboro, TN, and Buell failed to capture them. Just as the rail line was repaired, the group struck again and destroyed several bridges. Again they were not captured and Buell was not making progress. President Lincoln was now very angry with Buell. Buell finally approached Chattanooga in mid-August when another group of Confederates caved in a railroad tunnel which cut off Buell from his supply base at Louisville, KY on the Indiana border. Buell retreated to Nashville. (from Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era).

As a result of General Buell’s failure to reach Chattanooga, General Braxton Bragg of the Confederate Army was in a position to launch a large scale invasion of Kentucky. General Buell was now commanded to head to Louisville in order to prevent this major Union supply depot from falling into Confederate hands. Possession of Louisville meant control over Kentucky. The pressure was on Buell not to fail again. So during Ephraim Acre’s and Robert Morrison’s first month of service the Army of the Ohio was marched north from Nashville to Louisville, desperately trying to beat the Confederate Army. The Union Army followed the railroad north from Tennessee through Kentucky. Bragg was able to capture Mumfordville in mid-September which cut off the Union supply route. But Buell did beat Bragg to Louisville (barely) and arrived with his Army of the Ohio, including Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment, on September 25, 1862. They received 30,000 additional troops in Louisville.

Buell was no more popular with his officers than he was with the President. After the failed Buell’s Campaign there were so many complaints that at the end of September 1862, President Lincoln offered Major General George Thomas the opportunity to replace Buell as commander of the Army of the Ohio. General Thomas was reluctant to relieve his commanding officer of duty, and did not know that the suggestion had come from other officers in the Army. He turned down the officer and Buell was able to remain in charge.

On October 1, General Buell split his Army of the Ohio into four Corps, leaving Louisville for Bardstown to attack Bragg. The 17th Indiana Infantry was assigned now to the 15th Brigade, 6th Division, 2nd Corps under Major General Leonidas Crittenden. The 17th Indiana Infantry had duty in Bardstown, Kentucky from October 1 until October 18. When the Union Army advanced, Bragg retreated towards Perryville. The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War Battle fought in Kentucky. There is no mention of this battle in the description of the 17th Indiana Infantry’s service. Buell did not know the extent of the fighting, going on just out of earshot. Crittenden’s men sat around waiting for orders until it was too late. When he finally did send in some men, Bragg had already retreated.

Buell was slow in pursuit as usual. He didn’t follow Bragg’s Army until the day after the retreat, but no significant fighting occurred thereafter. Bragg eventually escaped through the Cumberland Gap when he was then called to the Confederate Capital of Richmond. Jefferson Davis was as unhappy with Bragg as Lincoln was with Buell. When Bragg was no longer a target, Buell decided to return his troops to Nashville. Lincoln removed Buell from duty after the Battle of Perryville and he was replaced on October 24 by William S. Rosecrans. The Army of the Ohio Corps II was renamed the Army of the Cumberland Left Wing and Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison, in their regiment, were assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division.

It was decided that the Army of the Cumberland should return to Nashville. Tennessee had been the last state to join the Confederacy, and Nashville was the first capital to be recaptured by the Union. It was important during the course of the war to keep it well fortified and to maintain troops there, and it was frequently assaulted by Bragg. It seemed like it might be where he would go after losing his grip on KY. So from October 18 to November 26, Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison and the other soldiers marched south, returning to Nashville. The march back to Nashville was long and hard. Men were under-clothed because it had been so warm when they left Louisville, but quickly turned cold with the approach of winter. Enroute they passed through Lebanon, Columbia, and Glasgow, KY and Gallatin, TN. On arrival in Nashville they were assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 5th Division (Center), 14th Army Corps and had duty in Nashville until February 1, 1863.

Bragg, it turned out, had gone to Murfreesboro, TN following his retreat from Kentucky. And after Christmas, General Rosencrans set out from Nashville, with about half of his troops (not the 17th Indiana) to prove himself a better leader than Buell. The Second Battle of Murfreesboro, also called the Battle of Stones River took place on from December 31 to January 2, 1863. It had the ” highest percentage of casualties of any major battle in the Civil War” (Wikipedia) so perhaps we are lucky that our ancestors were not there. The result was that the Confederates were removed from Middle TN. Following the battle, Rosecrans had troops working until June in Murfreesboro to build “Fort Rosecrans” which served as a supply depot for the remainder of the war. Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment was moved to Murfreesboro on February 1 and they worked there until June.

Rosecrans kept his troops in shape during the time in Murfeesbroro with constant skirmishing. The 17th Indiana Infantry made several short expeditions during their time there, including an expedition to Auburn, Liberty, and Alexandria February 3-8. The Confederates were guarding Liberty and probably other locations as well. Bragg had set up a line of defense north of Tullahoma which was supposed to stop the Union army from advancing towards Chattanooga.

While Rosecrans prepared his army for an unavoidable eventual battle with Bragg’s Army over he was dismayed at his lack of a useful calvary. On February 12, Ephraim’s and Robert’s Regiment was mounted and assigned to duty as Mounted Infantry.  A mounted infantry was a unit that that fought on foot with rifles but rode instead of marching. Many of the missions around Murfreesboro now involved practicing with horses. The men were not cavalry. They weren’t horse men. They practiced riding out, dismounting, leaving the animals with designated “horseholders,” and doing their job as infantry. They made an expedition to Woodbury, March 3-8 with action there on the 6th, another expedition to Liberty, Carthage and Lebanon April 1-8, an expedition to McMinnville April 20-30. It was during these expeditions to test the mounted infantry that they realized that their muskets were too unwieldy for mounted soldiers.

The Army of the Cumberland website states:

“…a volunteer Col. named John T. Wilder, a mechanical engineer and foundry owner from Indiana…came to Rosecrans with a revolutionary idea: take infantry, mount them on horses, arm them with the brand new 7-round Spencer repeating rifle, and use them as mobile shock troops who would ride ahead, dismount, and use their tremendous firepower to attack the enemy in the rear with the force of a much larger body of conventionally armed infantry. Rosecrans listened and gave Wilder the approval to round up the horses. Wilder contracted with Christian Spencer for the delivery of 1400 rifles and made an arrangement with his bank so that the members of his brigade would pay the purchase price ($35 dollars per rifle, a princely sum in those days) in installments out of their monthly pay. Later the government assumed this debt.”

Wilder had been researching guns for a while. Spencer had been touring the army, demonstrating his new weapon. The Spencer Carbines, fired 20 rounds per minute compared with previous guns which fired 3-4. This gave the Union army an advantage over the Confederates. The Army was initially reluctant to switch to the Carbine because of it fired cartridges, which needed to be carried and took up more space than gunpowder. Soldiers tended to, because they could, fire off all the ammo they could carry very quickly…and need to be replaced by another regimen.. So switching to Carbines meant creating a need for additional transportation to hall around additional ammunition. Wilder armed his mounted infantry, including Ephraim Acre’s regiment, with Spencer Carbines on May 18.

The Battle of Vicksburg was ongoing at this time and the Union was concerned that if the Confederates held certain strategical “gaps” through the Cumberland Plateau, they could get troops through to Vicksburg and break the seige. At the same time, Rosecrans may have waited until May to plan an attack on Bragg because by that time he knew that Bragg’s army had been reduced to defend Vicksburg. The battle for Vicksburg was a fight for control of the Mississippi River.

Rosecrans’ superiors wanted him to force the Confederates out of the “gaps”, so the next campaign in which Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison participated was the Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign during late June and early July, 1863 in eleven days of pouring rain. The 17th Indiana Regiment was now assigned to the 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Army Corps (part of the Army of the Cumberland) under Major General George H. Thomas…with Col. Wilder in charge of the brigade.

Rosecrans designed a fake advance to the left of the gap that was supposed to be recognized as a fake and point the enemy towards a fake advance to the right (Shelbyville) that was supposed to seem real. Ephraim Acre’s and Robert Morrison’s regimental history includes Big Spring Gap in the events of June 24 and also says Hoover’s Gap, June 24-26. I cannot find anything about Big Spring Gap, but all accounts include a story about how the men “forced Hoover’s Gap” on the 24th of June and fought until June 26th. It was a big Union victory. And is described as follows by

“Thomas with the 14th Corps waited quietly in the middle. Early on 24 June he unleashed the main thrust. First Wilder’s newly mounted “lightning” brigade (with the firepower of a division) stormed through Hoover’s Gap and overwhelmed the pickets of Stewart’s division which were supported by a small unit of Wheeler’s cavalry. Never before in the history of warfare had so much firepower covered 12 miles so quickly. Wilder was thus able to establish himself on Hardee’s flank and await Thomas’s infantry. While he waited, he held off a counter-attack by Stewart’s entire division. When Thomas arrived, he said to Wilder that his action had prevented 2000 casualties.”

After the Battle of Hoover’s Gap, Wilder’s brigade was called “The Lightning Brigade.”

After the Battle of Hoover’s Gap. Bragg’s troops withdrew to Tullahoma, but Wilder’s Brigade moved forward to occupy Manchester as follows (from The Army of the Cumberland website):

“Wilder also spearheaded the drive into Manchester which turned Bragg out of Tullahoma. I quote from Wilder’s battle report:
‘On the morning of the 26th, we again moved forward, my command, on horseback, debouching into the valley of Garrison Fork, and filing over the chain of hills between that stream and McBride’s Creek, flanking the rebel left, and causing it to hastily fall back before the infantry column of General Reynolds, who was advancing on the line of the Manchester pike. We then moved up McBride’s Creek to the tableland, and marched rapidly around the head of Noah’s Fork for the purpose of turning the strong position of Matt’s Hollow; but on arriving at the Manchester pike, after it reaches the tableland, we found that the infantry column was passing, having met no enemy, they having retreated in the direction of Fairfield. We camped that night 6 miles from Manchester, and at daylight next morning moved forward, cutting off a rebel picket post, and were in Manchester before the few rebels there knew of our approach.’ “

With the occupation of Manchester, Bragg was in danger of being cut of from Chattannooga and he was forced to give up Middle Tennessee. Manchester was the goal for Rosecrans when they charged Hover’s Gap. With Wilder’s occupation on June 27 they had completed their Campaign and accomplished a major victory over Bragg and Confederate Army. For the rest of the summer, Wilder’s brigade camped near Tullahoma, raided the countryside, obtained horses, freed slaves, and participated in skirmishes. The was pressure from the President on Rosecrans to follow through and finish off Bragg once and for all, but Rosecrans was not willing. He wanted to refit his army, much as he had done in Murfreesboro in the winter. So from July 1 to August 16 Wilder’s Brigade was kept in shape by making raids on Bragg’s communications, probably the railroads.

In mid-August, Rosecrans was ready to move on Bragg, then in Chattanooga. When Rosecrans moved on towards Chattanooga he used similar tactics to those he had used before. When they reached the Tennessee River, he had Wilder’s Brigade, including Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison, on the north bank making a lot of noise and pretending to build boats to come across. They shelled the town from across the river, sank boats, and generally caused a disturbance on and off for two weeks. The Regimental history says they captured a depot of supplies at Dechard. Meanwhile the rest of the army had time to get over the mountains to the south. Rosecrans split his army into three groups to traverse mountainous, difficult terrain downstream of Chattanooga and do the actual crossing. The terrain and the smaller groups made them vulnerable, but the plan worked. On September 9, 1863 the Crittenden’s troups, covered by Wilder’s Brigade were the first to enter Chattanooga and Bragg retreated into Georgia.

Chattanooga was an important victory for the Union because it was a geographical hub, a strategically important location, and a Confederate base. They now had control of supplies on the Tennessee River. In addition, Chattanooga was a gateway to the south. It was the perfect staging point for an attack on Atlanta. On the downside, Confederate defeats elsewhere meant that troops were free to join Bragg’s army whereas Union victories meant that Rosecrans had to continue to leave men behind to guard the territory he had won. Bragg’s Army was growing to be as big as Rosecrans. Rosecrans was gleeful and cocky after capturing Chattanooga, but Bragg still held a firm line in the path of the Union Army.

After the capture of Chattanooga, Rosecrans split his troops up again in pursuit of Bragg. Crittenden was instructed to leave a part of the men in the town and take the rest to pursue Bragg. By splitting his troops, Rosecrans could cover more ground and engage the enemy on multiple fronts, but it also left his troops more vulnerable to attack due to their smaller numbers. Bragg intended to take advantage of their vulnerability and concentrate on Thomas’ troops and destroy them, but he was tired and depressed and not communicating well with his men. His orders were not carried out the way he intended.

During the days after Chattanooga, Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison and their regiment passed through Ringgold, Georgia before arriving at Lee and Gordon’s Mills on the 12th where Rosecrans had instructed his troops to reconvene.  There, on September 12 Wilder’s Brigade had a severe skirmish in Leet’s Tanyard on the 12th and 13th. It was during these days that the Union Army passed many deserters who told them that Bragg was on the run, but Wilder began to understand that it wasn’t true. He needed to move with caution, hiding and skirmishing, as he headed for the Chickamauga Creek and Lee and Gordon’s Mills. As they approached the Creek the Confederates were everywhere, but Bragg’s opportunity to surprise his opponent during their vulnerable separation had been missed. If he had attacked when the troops were separated he would have had a definite advantage, but Rosecrans now knew that the Confederates were not on the run, they were preparing for battle. By September 17, 1863 the Union army was back together, both sides had established lines along the Chickamauga Creek, and the stage was set for the Battle of Chickamauga. (maps on Wikipedia)

On September 18, Wilder sent half his men to support Minty and cover Dyer’s bridge and left 1,000 to defend Alexander’s Bridge against 8,000 of Bragg’s army. Territory gave them an advantage as they could fire from above on anyone attempting to cross. The 17th Indiana Infantry was on the right side of the bridge. They held off the Confederates all morning, but they were able to cross to the south. By mid-afternoon, Wilder’s brigade was beginning to be surrounded. They made an orderly retreat, set up a new defensive line, and held off the Confederates so well that the enemy called off the fighting for the night, thinking they were up against a larger force. Wilder’s brigade held the front all night without blankets or tents until 4am when they were relieved and sent to the right side of the line. (Note: The Regimental History for the 17th Indiana Infantry says that on 9/18 they were at Alexander’s Bridge and Hall’s House. There is no mention of Hall’s House in accounts of the battle.)

On September 19, the Regimental History for the 17th Indiana Infantry says they were at Vinyard’s House. The battle description for that day states that it was a full battle in Vinlard’s field. By this time Bragg had managed to cross the Chickamauga. Different Regiments rotated in combat, fighting throughout the day with the Confederates until the cannons finally stopping the Confederate advance. It came on again in the evening. Wilder’s bridgade was a key force, the men were “ordered to wait until [they] could see the whites of their eyes.” (quote from Lightning Bridgade article). Ammunition was dumped on the ground near the soldiers so they could just work their rifles as fast as possible. Finally the Rebels fell back. Many were killed. The battle went on for two more days. The two Armies took turns attacking each other, but the Union Army was slowly retreating from the creek.

On September 20th a planning error by Rosecrans left a gap in the lines and the Confederates were able to split the army. Roscrans was headquartered at the Widow Glenn Farm and as the battle fell apart there was chaos. Troops were running in every direction retreating from the Confederate army. Wilder’s men were cut off (the 17th Indiana Infantry history says they were at the Widow Glen’s House) from the rest of the Army and ordered to fill the gap. Rosecrans fled his headquarters. General Thomas was the last Union commander to leave the battle. When Rosecrans ordered his troops to retreat to Rossville, GA Thomas couldn’t leave the field of battle because they were too heavily engaged. Finally they were able to get out under cover of darkness.Wilder’s brigade held position and was able to halt the Confederates and cover the Union retreat.

The Battle of Chickamauga was a big loss for Rosecrans, but General Thomas was commended for his tenacity. And Thomas commended Wilder for the performance of his Brigade in particular. The Battle of Chickamauga claimed 34, 624 lives. It was the biggest Civil War battle in Georgia, and it eventually cost Rosecrans his command.

Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga where he was besieged by the emboldened Bragg. Bragg wanted to do in Rosecrans. He sent General Joseph Wheeler to destroy the railroad north of Chattanooga and another Confederate General, Philip D. Roddy, called up from Alabama to support Bragg, was making numerous raids on Union communications and supplies. Bragg’s was hoping that Rosecrans would attempt to flee Chattanooga. If he made an attempt at escape Bragg would attack and do them in for good. Rosecrans put the cavalry in pursuit of Wheeler and Roddy, so from September 29th to October 17th, the 17th Indiana Infantry, working under Col. Wilder was engaged in operations against these two generals. Following are some of the details from that time.

On October 3, the Regiment was in Thompson’s Cove, near Beersheba. I found a description in War Talks in Kansas that stated that, in the Sequatchie Valley, Wheeler destroyed a loaded train with supplies. Union force came out of the mountains into “the cove” and

“We marched out in line, and after searching around in the dark for friend or foe for an hour or so, halted, facing a small timbered creek. On the other side, 50 or 100 yards off, we heard the noise of troops. Neither side knew what to do, each was afraid the other might be friends, and still more anxious lest they be enemies. In this dilemma a loud voice called from the other side, “Who are you?” The answer went back, “Yankees; who are you?” “Rebels, by God!” This raised a laugh on both sides, and when it subsided the Rebel spokesman added, “Come over.” To this polite invitation our commanding officer called out, “All right,” and then in a loud tone of command, “Forward, double quick, march’ commence firing.” We went over, pumping at out Spencer rifles, but the other fellows didn’t stay to shake hands, only five or six, and they were dead or suffering from newly inflicted gunshot wounds.”

On October 4, the Regimental history states they went through Glass Cocks and then were on the Mufreesboro Road, near McMinnville. It was here that the Union army was able to forage for food and fill their bellies in an abandoned Confederate camp. They were short on food on this expedition and the men were hungry.

On October 5, Wheeler cut the railroad to Nashville at Stones River. This was a major blow to the Union forces in Chattanooga. Rosecrans tried to send out General Crook to guard the river north of Chattanooga, but they were quickly overcome by Confederate troops. All mounted men in the area were ordered to support Crook, Wilder’s Brigade was among them. They followed Wheeler to Shelbyville (17th Indiana Infantry in Farmington, then Sim’s Farm near Shelbyville on October 7), arriving in Shelbyville on October 10. General Crook took several brigades to attack in the morning just as the Rebels were breaking camp. The Confederates had stolen some Union uniforms in McMinnville and some soldiers were wearing them. A rumor went around that soldiers wearing stolen uniforms were not to be taken alive. It is unknown whether this was a real order, but many Confederate soldiers were killed just for wearing stolen uniforms. The Union was outnumbered in Shelbyville, but what they lacked in quantity of soldiers they made up for in quality. The small Union force chased the Rebels across the Tennessee River and took Shelbyville. Wilder’s Brigade lost 268 men during the entire pursuit of Wheeler.

Rosecrans, still under siege in Chattanooga was finally relieve of duty on October 19. He was replaced by Ulysses S. Grant. Grant put General Thomas in charge of the Army of the Cumberland and the 17th Indiana Infantry was attached to Wilder’s Mounted Brigade within that army. Grant’s priority was to improve the supply lines to Chattanooga. He believed that if supplies could get through it would strengthen the army and make it possible to break the siege.

There is a mention in the 17th Indiana Infantry history about an expedition from Maysville to Whitesburg and Decatur on November 14-17. I do not have details about this expedition, but it was probably minor.

On November 23 General Thomas set out to engage Bragg’s army on Missionary Ridge and break the seige on Chattanooga. From November 23-27 General Thomas fought for Chattanooga. The regimental history states that the 17th Indiana Infantry were involved in the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign from November 23 – 27, including a raid on the East Tennessee & Georgia R.R. from November 24 – 27 (which included time at Charleston and Cleveland on the 26th). It is my belief that Wilder’s Brigade was probably not fighting at Missionary Ridge, but had been sent East.

The East Tennessee and Georgia R.R. ran between Chattanooga and Knoxville and on to the east. General Ambrose Burnside had secured Knoxville during the summer of 1863. He had been commanded repeatedly to come and assist Rosecrans, but he refused, preferring instead to defend his gains in East Tennessee. During November he was fighting off Confederate General Longstreet in Knoxville. On one website I found a note that said that Lily’s Battery (the cannons of Wilder’s brigade) was transferred to the 1st cavalry in November and “participated in a grueling cavalry campaign” in east Tennessee from November until April. It says there were heavy skirmishes and lots of casualties. While I could not find out many details about this “grueling cavalry campaign”, it sounds as though the the 17th Indiana Infantry was also a part of it as they were transferred to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland in November. While they weren’t involved in the major battle to break the siege on Chattanooga, the battles in East Tennessee split General Bragg’s focus and troops, and certainly would have contributed to the Union victory in Chattanooga. The siege finally broken, General Bragg took his Rebel soldiers and retreated into Georgia. The Union position was now strong.

The 17th Indiana Infantry was now sent to assist General Burnside in his defense of Knoxville. From November 28 to December 8 they marched in relief of Knoxville, TN. Things quieted down after that. The Regiment was attached to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland and for the first half of 1864 they had duty at Pulaski, Charleston, and Nashville, TN.  They reenlisted in January and the veterans had a furlough from January 22 to April 2. Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison, and the others would have had a much needed break after all of the action they had seen in 1863.

It was during this time that General Grant was promoted to General in Chief of all Union Armies. He made Major General William T. Sherman leader of the Western Armies. Gen. Thomas still commanded the Army of the Cumberland. Under Sherman in Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, the Cavalry Corps was commanded by W. L. Elliott.

In the Confederate Army changes were also taking place over the winter of 1863-1864. Bragg was relieved as commander of the Confederate Army and was replaced by General Joseph E. Johnston. The Confederate Cavalry was commanded by Gen. Wheeler, and the Corps under him were commanded by Hood, Hardee, and Polk. The next campaign would be a march from Chattanooga to take Atlanta from the Confederates. It would occupy the entire summer of 1864.

The Atlanta Campaign began on May 1 when Sherman’s Army left Chattanooga. The Union Army engaged the Rebels on Rocky Face Ridge May 7-13. The 17th Indiana joined them on May 10 as they passed through Snake Creek Gap in three parts. Confederate General Joseph Johnston retreated towards Resaca, GA. The Battle of Resaca took place on May 14-15. It was not a clear victory on either side, but Sherman did succeed in pushing Johnston back when he threatened his railroad supply line.

Sherman opted not to follow him directly as he retreated towards Atlanta. He was concerned that the Confederates would have an advantageous position in the Allatoona Pass. Instead, the Union Army went around the pass towards Dallas, GA. Johnston anticipated Sherman’s movement and the two armies engaged in New Hope Church (near Dallas) May 25-26. Sherman underestimated the Confederate forces and part of his corps was badly damaged. Fighting continued in this area during the end of May with the 17th Indiana history stating that they were engaged in operations on Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles near Dalla, New Hope Church, and the Allatoona Hills from May 25 to June 5. Casualties were high on both sides and no one was getting anywhere until Sherman’s cavalry was finally able to get control of the railroad through the Allatoona Pass. Johnston was forced to move back.

The North was losing their will power. The march was tiring, the pursuit was relentless, and progress was slow. The whole Atlanta campaign was a never-ending series of attack, defend, sneak around from the side to gain some small advantage. Casualties continued on both sides. The 17th Indiana Infantry was in Big Shanty on June 9. Then from June 10 to July 2 they served in the area around Kenesaw Mountain. They were at Noonday Creek on June 19, engaged in skirmishes at Lattermore’s Mills in Powder Springs June 20-27. The Confederate Army was firmly entrenched on Kenesaw and it was July 3 before Sherman finally forced Johnston off the mountain. On July 4, says the 17th Indiana Infantry history, they were at Rottenwood Creek. Fighting at Ruff’s Mill’s turned Johnston back to the Chattahoochie River. Sherman thought that Johnston would fall back all the way to Atlanta. He was surprised by the continued resistance. He could not force the Confederates back across the Chattahoochie River. It was the last natural obstacle between the Union and Atlanta and would mean a significant boost in morale.

Fighting at the Chattahoochie River went on from July 5 to 17. Relying on the now familiar tactic to separate the Army into three parts, Sherman surrounded the Confederate position and finally forced Johnston to withdraw across the river taking down all the bridges as he goes. There was nothing now between Sherman and Atlanta.

General Hood replaced Johnston as head of the Confederate Army in Atlanta.

The Battle of Atlanta occurred on July 22 (the 17th Indiana Infantry states that they were in Covington that day), but the city didn’t fall. The siege would go on for the next 6 weeks with General Sherman shelling civilians and raiding the supply lines to cut off the city. Sherman used the cavalry, to which the 17th Indiana was now assigned, to destroy these rail lines. The Cavalry units were commanded by Garrard, McCook, and Stoneman. They would ride out for several days and then return.They successfully disrupted railroad communications to the west and east, but had a harder time with the Macon line to the south.

I believe that the raid on Macon is what was referred to as Garrard’s Raid (July 27-31) in the 17th Indiana history. The 17th Indiana was assigned to Garrard’s Unit. On July 27 Stoneman set out for Macon. The plan was that Garrard was to distract the Confederate Cavalry so that McCook and Stoneman could get a head start on Macon. They were to destroy bridges and rail lines and release POW’s in Macon. The 17th Indiana was at Flat Rock Bridge on July 28, Lovejoy Station on July 29-30 and Newman’s on July 30. Garrard engaged Wheeler’s cavalry, but a captured soldier told the Rebels the plan. Hood split his Confederate army to go after McCook and Stoneman. McCook’s unit was defeated. Stoneman was able to burn the bridge over the Oconee River, severing all rail lines into Atlanta, but he was then forced to surrender during the retreat. Many of his men were captured.

Sherman probably didn’t use the cavalry in the best way possible during the siege of Atlanta. Damage to the rail lines was easy to repair and the siege prolonged by lack of able cavalry. At the end of July, the only cavalry fit for service was Garrard’s. The siege continued until August 25. Garrard returned to the infantry following the siege on Atlanta.

The 17th Indiana was engaged in operations at the Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26 to September 2.

Hood finally left Atlanta on August 31 and the city finally fell to Sherman on September 2, 1864. This was a major factor in Lincoln winning the Presidential election in November. As a final blow, the city of Atlanta was burned in November.

Following the Atlanta Campaign Sherman did nothing during September. Men sat around in Atlanta waiting for orders. The Confederate Government decided that Hood should head for Chattanooga, TN to disrupt the railroad and cut off supply lines to Atlanta, which was now under Union control. They wanted to lure Sherman into battle. Sherman, however had other plans. He was determined to take Savannah and was planning his famous March to the Sea. He left Thomas in charge of pursuing the Rebel Army into Tennessee. The17th Indiana Infantry was now assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Wilson’s Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, and from September 29 to November 1 they were involved in operations against Hood in northern Georgia and Alabama.

The 17th Indiana Infantry regimental history places them in familiar territory as they pursued Hood through North Georgia at the beginning of October. They were near Lost Mountain in New Hope Church and Dallas October 4-7. This was in the vicinity of Allatoona Pass. Hood’s first order of business after giving up Atlanta was to take back control of the Western and Atlantic Railroad through the pass. In addition, there was also a depot in the town of Allatoona. The Union Army was too well fortified in the area. Hood was able to gain control of the pass but he couldn’t hold it and were forced to retreat. The 17th Indiana was in Rome and the Narrows on October 10-11 and there was a skirmish on Coosaville Road, near Rome on October 13 as Hood headed north along the rail line. After the Coosaville Road skirmish he abandoned his fight for the railroad and headed into Alabama.

The 17th Indiana followed Hood through Summerville on October 18 and then to the Little River canyon in Alabama on October 20.  If you look at the maps of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, General Thomas had taken the bulk of his army directly into Tennessee, converging with Hood’s army there.  Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment on the other hand, appears to be following Hood directly. On October 21 they were in Leesburg and Grove Road Crossing, Alabama and on October 28 back in Georgia in Goshen.

On November 1, the 17th Indiana Infantry was dismounted and sent to Louisville, KY where they had duty until December 28. There were many people in the Louisville area who were still sympathetic to the Confederate cause. It was under military rule throughout 1864 with lots of guerilla activity making the Union presence very necessary. It was not the front lines, but it was not peaceful.

Hood was defeated near Nashville, TN in mid-December and the 17th Indiana Infantry was sent there at the end of December before being sent to Gravelly Springs, AL. They were still a part of Wilson’s Cavalry in the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi. The second division was commanded by General Eli Long. They had duty in Gravelly Springs until March 1865.

On March 22, 1865 Wilson set out on a raid to destroy a weapons arsenal at Selma, AL. It was one of the few remaining Confederate strongholds. General Forrest was in charge of the Confederate cavalry in the area and there were several skirmishes between the two forces on the way to Selma. Forrest made a stand in Plantersville, AL on April 1, but the Rebel army was not firmly entrenched until they had fallen back to Selma. In Selma, on April 2, the mounted men dismounted and fought hand to hand. General Long was wounded in the head and Forrest was also wounded. The Union Army worked for a week to dismantle “military facilities” in Selma before moving on to Montgomery.

Wilson’s Army occupied Montgomery on April 12. They received word of General Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865 and Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, but they continued towards Macon. They were in Columbia on Easter Sunday, April 16. There was much criticism of looting among the Union soldiers during the end of Civil War, but Wilson and Thomas did not tolerate looting among their men so although they continued to take control of cities and towns (Spring Hill, Mimm’s Mills, Tobasofkee Creek, Montpelier Springs, Rocky Creek Bridge) until they captured Macon on April 20 the men were not permitted to loot. Macon was the official arsenal for the Confederacy and a significant victory for the Union. Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison had duty with the 17th Indiana in Macon until they mustered out on June 22 1865, their Civil War service complete.   One can imagine the two men, having enlisted together in Indiana, and having been through so much in almost three years, now traveling together, gratefully leaving the war behind.  The 17th Indiana infantry mustered out on August 8, 1865. During their service they lost 3 officers and 90 enlisted men to battle and 1 officer and 143 enlisted men to disease.

The war of course was near its end. General Johnston surrendered his army to Sherman on April 26. The last Confederate field general surrendered in Oklahoma Territory on June 23 and the last Confederate Naval force on November 4 in England.


18th Indiana Light Artillery: Lilly’s Battery – This was the source for one quote above, regarding Lilly’s battery. – Article titled “Mufreesboro, Civil War Tennessee, July 13, 1862.”

Army of the Cumberland – Webmaster: Bob Redman. Article titled “The Tullahoma Campaign 23 June – 3 July 1863”. Detailed description of the Campaign including the mounting and arming of Wilder’s Brigade.

Atlanta Civil War Campaign Map – Map of the campaign. Mapicurious is a great website where anyone can make a map of anything.

Bickham, William Denison. Rosecrans’ Campaign with the Fourteenth Army Corps, or the Army of the Cumberland. 1863. Moore, wilstach, Keys & Co.Details about duty in Nashville, the conditions of the troops after Buell’s campaign. Lots of personality added to the history. (Look it up on google books. Digitized February 2006).

Civil War Indiana – Regimental History of the 17th Indiana Infantry, including assignments and battles.

Civil War Timeline – Maintained by Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association, the state of Georgia, and Golden Ink. Detailed timeline. Very easy to search by month and year.

Commandery of the State of Kansas. War Talks in Kansas. 1906. F. Hudson Publishing Company. pp. 69-76. Description of the operations against Wheeler and Roddy with mention of Wilder’s brigade. (find it on google books. Digitized August 2006.)

Common Guns in the Civil War – Published by Emory Hackman. 2001-2007. Detailed history of the Spencer Carbine and other Civil War guns.

Confederate Invasion of Kentucky – site maintained by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Webmaster: Sue Rimmer. Supplies a detailed map of the conflict during Bragg’s attack on Kentucky. Focuses on geological factors.

CWSAC Battle Summaries by State – Part of the National Park Service website.

Garrison, Graham and Pierson, Parke. “Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John T. Wilder and the Lightning Brigade.” Article found on, published by the Weider History Group. Originally published in America’s Civil War Magazine.

Goebel, Greg. “54.1 Rosecrans Moves South/Bragg Withdraws From Central Tennessee.” Writings in the Public Domain. – Detailed description with a lot of color about the Battle of Hoover’s Gap and the capture of Chattanooga.

Grose, William. The Story of the Marches, Battles and Incidents of the 36th Regiment Indiana. 1891. The Courier Company Press. Indiana. pp. 139-142. An account of the return to Nashville. (Look it up on google books. Digitized August 2006.)

Jones, Shirley Farris. “Building fortress Rosecrans was ‘Un-Civil’” and “Battle at Hoover’s Gap Key to Chattanooga.”Articles from The Mufreesboro Post. Account of the building of Fort Rosecrans – Discusses the building of Fort Rosecrans from the perspective of the locals and contains a detailed description of the Battle of Hoover’s Gap.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park – Part of the National Park Service website. Provides a general description of the Atlanta Campaign.

Klunder, Willard Carl. Review of the book: Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign by David Evans (1996). Originally published in History: Review of New Books. June, 1997. Found on

Lenz, Richard J. – The Civil War in Georgia, An Illustrated Travelers Guide. 2002. Provides a timeline, including Coosaville Road.

Mac Pherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. 2003. Oxford University Press. pp. 513-514. – Notes regarding Buell’s Campaign.

Military History Encyclopedia on the Web – Article titled “American Civil War: Tennessee and Kentucky” gives the greater context of Buell’s problem including what happened in Louisville.

New York Times Article from November 16, 1862 about the advance towards Nashville.

Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War – Webmaster Dick Weeks. First Published: January 7, 1997. Wondeful site with many informative articles written to educate about the Civil War. Articles used: “The Western Theater: Bragg’s Kentucky Campaign,” “The Chickamauga Campaign,” “The Atlanta Campaign.”

War of the Rebellion – A Genealogy Inc. website with a myriad of civil war articles including the following which provided information for this narrative: “Battle of Perryville ” and “The Battle of Chattahootchie River.”

Wikipedia – Articles on the Western Theatre of the American Civil War, Spencer Carbines, John T. Wilder, Battle of Chickamauga, Kenner Garrard, Franklin-Nashville Campaign, Wilson’s Raid.

Wyeth, John Allan. Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest. 1908. Harper & Brothers. Information from the Confederate perspective about Chickamauga and earlier battles, including stories about Wilder’s brigade (find it on google books). I didn’t use any unique information from this book in my narrative.