Category Archives: Battle of Chickamauga

1863: Frank Brown to Charlotte Brown

Frank Brown, 87th Indiana Infantry, sporting his “florid mustache”

This letter was written by Frank Brown (1832-1922), the son of Enoch Brown (1805-1851) and Anna S. Leonard (1809-Aft1870). Frank enlisted at LaPorte, Indiana, in Co. G, 87th Indiana Infantry on 21 August 1862. After two years of hard fighting as a private, he was promoted to Commissary Sergeant and on 10 June 1865 was mustered out at Washington, D. C. Before his promotion, Brown fought at Perryville, Hoover’s Gap, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Pine Hill, Kennesaw, Peach Tree Creek and Utoy Creek.

In his letter of 11 December 1863, Frank speaks of his intention of returning to the battlefield at Chickamauga to look for evidence of missing comrades. It was in the woodlands on that field where “the 87th Indiana established its bravery forever by standing steadfast with its brigade on three separate occasions, each time saving a significant part of the Union army.” [A Stupendous Effort, by Jack K. Overmeyer]

Frank wrote the letter to his sister, Charlotte (“Lottie”) Brown (b. 1835). Frank’s father died in 1851 but his mother was still residing in Almond, Allegany, New York in 1870. Frank had at least two brothers who also served in the Civil War. Joel Brown (1830-1865) served in Co. B, 211th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was killed in action in front of Petersburg on 2 April 1865. Albert Leroy Brown (1838-1862) served in Co. K, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves (40th Penn. Infantry). He was killed at Antietam on 17 September 1862.


Chattanooga, Tennessee
December 11, 1863

Dear Sis,

I don’t like to scold but I really do want you to write oftener. I write to you as often as once a week without waiting to get letters to answer and I would be very happy to have you do the same by me. You will, won’t you? The mails are very irregular at present and I don’t suppose that over two-thirds of the letters that are written ever reach their destination. I have seen nothing of your Mother’s or Henry’s photographs yet. Why don’t you send them? I am going to have some more taken soon and then I will send you another one different style but still with the florid mustache which I shall wear until I am done soldiering.

I am going out on the old battlefield of Chickamauga where we fought September 19th & 20th tomorrow to be gone two days. There is a party going out to see what they can find out about the lost and missing comrades that was with there. I expect it will be quite interesting to me to go over the ground again that we made such desperate efforts to win but was compelled to let it slide.

I don’t much think that I shall get to see you this winter and if I don’t this winter, I shall not for another year. I have made up my mind to stay and see the end of the show if it don’t last too long and I think it is good to last another year yet at least. I may get a furlough but it is not much of an object as they won’t let you be gone only just about long enough to go and return so a poor fellow has no chance to visit. However, I may take a short run up that way. I have the promise of the next chance in our company so watch out or I may come in and take you by surprise. When I do start, I will beat a letter through.

Frank’s brother Joel Brown, 211th Penn. Infantry.

I have no idea that I can get a furlough of sufficient length to go and see my Mother. Too bad isn’t it. I have got two letters from her yesterday and a paper. She thinks I am just one of the best boys there is. I write to her every week and have sent her seventy dollars (70.00) since last payday and shall send her fifty more in a day or two. You may wonder how I get so much money. I do a little speculating on my own account in the stationery line and then I am doing the Orderly Sergeant’s duty and keep our Commanding Officer’s Books and clerk for him for which I make them pay a nice thing. So much for having a good-shaped head.

Henry must be getting to be a large boy. How I would like to see him and all of you. Love to all. write to me about all our friends as far as heard from. Ever yours, — Frank Brown

To Lottie

1863: Melville Cox Follett to Mary & Susie Benedict

Melvile Cox Follett (1836-1903)

This letter was written by Melville (“Mell”) Cox Follett (1836-1903), the son of Abram Hyatt Follett (1808-1895) and Loraine Everest Meacham (1807-1895).

Mell enlisted on 4 September 1861 in Co. A, 42nd Illinois Infantry. At the time of his enlistment he was described as standing 5 foot 10 inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair. Mell’s obituary claims that when he was wounded in the Battle of Chickamauga, he laid on the field for several hours before he was conveyed to a field hospital where he remained three weeks. He was later taken to a hospital in Nashville where he was eventually discharged for disability—his wounded knee never fully recovering. When he returned home he was given a job as a drug store clerk and then as a post office clerk, city clerk, and marshal. He served as the City Clerk of Moline, Rock Island, Illinois from 1881 to 1885. The “rheumatism” pain in his leg never subsided, however, and at the age of 67, he finally committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid.

Mell had two older brothers who also served in the Civil War. John Meacham Follett (1832-1908) of Galesburg, Knox county, Illinois, served in Co. H, 33rd Illinois Infantry. See 1863: John Meacham Follett to Jortense Beauharnais Follett. William Follett (1835-1864) served in Co. C, 112th Illinois Infantry. He was killed on 14 May 1864 at the Battle of Resaca.

Mell wrote the letter to the daughters of his sister, Mary Janette (Follett) Benedict, the wife of Elijah Foster Benedict (1825-1888) who was serving at the time as a sergeant in Co. C, 112th Illinois Infantry.

Mell kept a diary during the Civil War, a portion of it is transcribed and posted below his letter that describes his ordeal from the time he was wounded until he reached Chattanooga. [The Ohio State University Archives]


General Hospital No. 3
Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 20th [1863]

Dear Girls—Mary & Susie,

You will be somewhat surprised to receive a letter from your Soldier uncle at this time but I assure you that you have not been forgotten. I want to tell you about my wound so that you may tell your mother how I am getting along.

I am now sitting up with a chair behind me, my wounded limb in a sling and I am feeling first best. The wound does not run much and I think is doing finely. So you see, girls, I am in a fair way to recover. Father is still with me and I think his coming saved my life as I was very low when he came and by his good nursing, he saved me. I am still very weak but am gaining strength daily and hope soon to be able to go home.

Girls, I hope you will go to school as long as you can and improve your time so that your mother will be proud of you and when your father get home he will hardly know his girls. Mary, you will study, I know, and Sue, you must keep up with your class. Tell your mother that I received her kind letter and father answered it. Give Miss Nowers my best respects and your mother my love and when you see grandmother, tell her I am getting well. I am too weak to write any more.

Your grandfather sends love to your mother and all the children. Yours with much love. — Mell C. Follett

Portion of Mell’s Diary

Sept. 6, 1863:

In camp near Trenton Georgia the first troops that have invaded Georgia soil. Expect to go either to Rome or Chatanooga. Our cavalry had a skirmish yesterday.

Saturday Sept. l9th:

Started on our march about 9 o’clock. Marched forward about seven miles to reinforce Woods division. We were drawn up of battle our company sent out as skirmishers with H & G. about one mile when we discovered our brigade coming. We fell in stacked arms but no enemy came so we went further to our left. Marched double quick most of the time. Soon we came to where the enemy were drawn up in line. We pitched in then being in advance. We drove them a short time when they rallied gave us fits. I soon fell being hit in the left limb at the knee and here I am among the wounded. My wound is doing well.

Sept. 20th:

Weather cool and splendid. Was taken prisoner today by the enemy. So we may expect a trip through to Richmond as soon as we get able to be moved. So far they have treated us with respect. Our captors belong to the lst Ky. Cavalry. We are living on sow belly and hard tack. No news of our division.

Sept. 21st:

Wound still very painful. Dr. thinks he may have to amputate but I hope it may be saved without. I am resigned to my fate—let it come as it will. Such is war.

Sept. 22nd:

My wound still more painful than before. Dr. examined and thinks he will be justified in trying to save it without amputating. Rebs all through our camp but do nothing only trade hats with the boys. Have not heard from the Regt. since the fight.

Sept. 23rd;

Nothing of importance today. My wound very painful. About out of provisions and the Rebs say they cannot furnish us. The enemy took all but the eight or ten men with them of the nurses so we are short of help.

Sept. 24th:

Had an awful night of it last night. We are lying on the naked ground and I became so worn out that I thought I could not live until morning. My wound is very troublesome and gives me more pain than I can tell. Smith of my company is on my left and he discovered that he was completely covered with maggots. Poor fellow how he suffered.

Sept. 25th:

Weather warm and sultry. Passed another miserable night. Never was in such pain. Hope my wound is going well. Our forces are still at Chatanooga and will probably stay here, Braggs army to the contrary and notwithstanding. Bacon and John Tole are still in the field badly wounded. Part of the boys were paroled yesterday and are to report at Atlanta. We are living on boiled wheat that being all that we can get. How the boys suffer. The Rebs furnish us nothing to eat.

Sept. 26th:

Just one week ago today I was wounded. How slow time passes. My wound does not improve any as I can see. There are so many of us here that the surgeons cannot get around to all each day. Some of the slightly wounded will leave here today to try the realities of prison life in Richmond. No news from our army.

Sept. 28th:

Did not feel like writing yesterday as I was in too much pain. Nothing new today the same old feelings the same aching pains. We are living on boiled wheat and corn meal. All goes well. The Doc thinks my wound is improving. Wrote home today.

Sept. 29th:

Still in the same bed of pain. Know of nothing new.

Sept. 30th:

Were all paroled last night and as soon as convenient will be moved inside our own lines. Thank God for that.

Oct. lst:

Were put in ambulances before daylight but did not start until 8 o’clock.

Hauled about six miles when we halted for the rest of the train. I never knew what pain was before. It seemed at times as though I must die. We did not arrive until 10 o’clock at night. Got stuck in a pond hole and could not get out for two hours and then were helped out by the 10th South Carolina Regt. My wound is considered to be improving. I never shall have full use of it again. Such is a soldiers life. I shall be a cripple for the rest of my days.

Oct. 2nd:

Wound much better after resting. Kind friends are all around me and offer to do all in their power for me. Thank God Dr. Hansen has the care of me.

Oct. 3rd:

For the first time since I got my wound I slept all night. I think with Drs. Hansen and Mills and my good spirits I shall soon be able to start for home. I.G. Neaps sent me 2.00 this morning. He is one of God’s noblemen. Cousin Joe came in this morning with his uniform on. He makes a fine looking officer. Gates of my company shaved me and cut my hair this morning.

Nov. 4th:

All has been a blank. My wound has kept me delirious most of the time. Thank God I am gaining. No one heard from home.

Chattanooga Nov. 7th:

Father is at Murfreesboro awaiting me. Oh how I long to see him. I shall soon start for there. I am on the gain hope to soon fet strong. I wish I could see mother as well as father.

1863: Charles Morrill Hammond to I. G. Edward

Charles Morrill Hammond (Illinois State Historical Library)

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.
Chattanooga, Tennessee
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