This after action report of the Battle of Chickamauga was written by Charles M. Hammond (1824-Aft1900), the Lt. Colonel of the 100th Illinois Infantry. This was probably a first draft of the report or a hand-written copy that Hammongd kept for his personal files.
Hammond was born in Swansey, New Hampshire, the son of Benjamin Hammond (1792-1858) and Charlotte Richardson (1804-1842). He was married to Lydia Ann Fancher in 1847 and had at least three children by the time of his enlistment in the service. Prior to the war. he ran a livery in Wilmington, Will County, Illinois. After the war, he took up residence in Joliet and was employed as a collector for the Internal Revenue Service. By 1900 he had relocated to Salt Lake City where he worked as a lawyer.
This letter is from the personal collection of Jim Doncaster and is published by express consent.
The following is the personal handwritten copy of the after action report filed by Charles M. Hammond of the 100th Illinois Infantry following the Battle of Chickamauga. The official report may be found on-line at: The Chickamauga Campaign.
Headquarters 100th Illinois Vols.
September 26, 1863
Capt. I. G. Edward, A. A. A. G.
I have the honor to report that on the 19th of September at about 3 o’clock p.m., this regiment (Col. Frederick A. Bartleson commanding) lay in position on the right of the 3rd Brigade, Wood’s Division, who were protecting the ford at Lee & Gordon’s Mill. Orders were received to move in the direction of of Chattanooga on the Chattanooga & Lafayette Road. As a part of the 1st Brigade, this regiment in the advance proceeded rapidly about two miles and formed in line of battle on the right of the road. A battery of Davis’s Division and the 26th Ohio Vols. on our right and left respectively, to support Davis’s Division which was being heavily pressed and giving away, but a few moments intervened for our point to be cleared of our own troops, when the order to advance and charge the enemy was given and promptly complied with under a heavy fire of musketry and with a loss of nearly one hundred men in killed and wounded including Lt. Col. [Arba N.] Waterman who was severely wounded in the right arm. On the order to retreat being given, the regiment fell back and made a stand first behind a breastwork of rails on the left of the road, and afterwards advanced to the right of the road driving the enemy before us and making a stand which was monumental until relieved by troops of Sheridan’s Division when we again retired to the rear of the breastworks and lay down on our arms for the night.
On the morning of the 20th at about 3 o’clock, we moved to the left on a road in the rear, about one mile and a fourth, at at 8 a.m. to the front and relieved a part of Gen. Negley’s Division, our left resting on Harker’s Brigade and on our right supported by the 26th Ohio Vols. and occupied a position behind a light breastworks. Skirmishers were thrown out and as they were met by slight resistance, they were quickly followed by the regiment, which charged across an open field and through a small ravine. Masked batteries supported by infantry both of which opened a fire so deadly that the main portion of the regiment fell back to its original position behind the breastworks. A part of it, however, was rallied by the Colonel commanding behind a picket fence near the ravine checking the advance of the enemy until overpowered when it hastily retreated, leaving the Colonel and several of the men dead or wounded upon the field.
At this juncture I had just returned from the line of skirmishers of the 1st Brigade, which I had located by order of Col. Buell, and found the regiment in a disorganized state without their commanders. I rallied them and formed them behind the crude rail breastworks, and after remaining in that position for 5 or 10 minutes, I called for volunteers to go and recover Col. Bartleson whereupon Adjutant Rouse, Lieut. Weeks, and 4 men volunteered and went soon after. I was ordered by Col. Buell to move the regiment by the left flank and follow the 58th Indiana Vols. and move across an open piece of ground to the top of a hill under a heavy fire. I then lost sight of the 58th Indiana, but discovered a long line of the enemy moving around on our right which I held in check for a short time, but were forced by superior numbers to fall back.
Here portions of other regiments of the 1st Brigade became intermingled with my own. Of these, I took command and attached them to a portion of Gen. Negley’s Division who were drawn up in line of battle, but which eventually fell back with them and a portion of Gen. Reynold’s Division to a point near Cossville which I found Lt. Col. Young of the 26th Ohio Vos. and where I turned over command of the 1st Brigade that I had succeeded in gathering up. I was then ordered into camp by Col. Young with my regiment being 98 officers and men. Respectfully submitted.
Your most obedient servant, — C. M. Hammond