Article from the January 30th, 1863 edition
of The Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, page 1, column 6.
the Mich. 21st Regiment.
Correspondence of the Advertiser and Tribune.
Camp on Stone River, Tenn., Jan 19.
We are once more in camp and have again entered upon the regular
routine of camp duties. We are recovering somewhat from the effects of the
hardships and exposure of a week upon the battle-field; and saving our terribly
thinned ranks, things are beginning to assume their usual appearance. We have
lost many a noble generous hearted fellow from our midst. Their loss can never
be repaired. At the camp and bivouac fires their cheerful voices will be heard
no more. But they fell like brave men, and died as the true soldier loves to
die, on the bloody field and amid the crash of battle.
THE TWENTY-FRIST IN THE LATE BATTLE.
The 21st comes out of this fight covered with blood, and not
altogether without honor. The following extract from the report of our brigade
commander speaks for itself: "The enemy having turned our right, was again
advancing in force, when I moved to the rear with the 24th Wisconsin and 88th
Illinois, across the road where I formed, on the left of the 88th Indiana,
leaving the 21st Michigan to support Capt. Hiscox's battery. They were here
assailed by great numbers of the enemy, but manfully held their ground until
the battery was removed, when they fell back in good order, losing heavily
in killed and wounded." (See report of Lieut. Col McCreery.)
In speaking of the officers of his brigade, he mentions Lieut.
Col. McCreery and Adjutant Wells, of the 21st, in the highest terms of praise,
saying: "They behaved with great coolness and presence of mind, being
ever ready to obey my commands."
IN CLOSE QUARTERS.
And here let me add, on falling back with the battery, we formed
again in a thick cedar wood, where portions of Sheridan's and Nagly's divisions
were engaged in the most desperate and determined contest, being almost entirely
surrounded by an overwhelming number of the enemy. Here we experienced the
horrors of war, in all its terrific magnificence and splendor. Heaven and earth
seemed to quake and tremble under the terrible discharges of artillery; the
air seemed literally frightfully alive with hissing bullets and screaming shells.
Huge tress are cut off by solid shot, and come crashing to the ground; the
limbs are torn from the cedars by the bursting shells, and as you move along.
the earth is ploughed at your feet and your clothes are rent and torn as if
by some angry spirit; rider less horses, with flowing manes and distended nostrils,
dash madly through the wood; men are dropping about you on every side; you
see their ghastly wounds, and their faces grow pale in death; you hear their
dying groans despite the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry.
For full two hours were we in the midst of this lead and iron
hail, until two of our flag-bearers were shot down, and twenty six bullet holes
torn in our banner. Scarcely a man in the regiment came out of that wood without
bearing marks of the bullets on his person or clothes. You can form some idea
of the terribly searching character of the fire, when I tell you that the very
rabbits in their nests were killed by it.
DEATHS SINCE THE BATTLE.
Several of the poor fellows, at first reported wounded, have
since died, and many more must go.
CALL ON THE SANITARY COMMISSION.
By the way, have we a Sanitary Commission in Michigan? And if
so, could not something be done to alleviate the sufferings of our hundreds
of wounded in hospitals: Illinois, Wisconsin and other States have their agents
here, looking after the wounded, distributing delicacies, &c., but not
a Michigan man have we seen since the battle.
Dr. John Avery is doing good service in the regiment. He is
an excellent surgeon; very successful in the treatment of all camp diseases;
kind-hearted and patient, he has won the esteem and love of all. He has also
executive ability; everything connected with the hospital is kept snug and
neat, and the sick are made comfortable. Col. McCreery has succeeded in getting
an officer detailed to look after our sick and convalescents in Kentucky, and
to hurry the latter forward to the regiment as fast as possible.
Capt. Harry C. Albee, of Grand Haven, has been sent home on recruiting
service. Lieut. John Morton, of Ionia, I think will be put on the same service.
We feel anxious to see late Michigan papers; Dec 20th is the latest date which
has reached us.
Yours truly, M. B.
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