Battles of Pea Vine Ridge and Ringgold
Chapter 40 (November 26, 1863 – November 27, 1863)
Battle of Pea-Vine Ridge
Thursday, November 26
We left camp early in the morning, the rebels were retreating and we followed them closely over rough and muddy roads where they were compelled to abandon cannon, caissons, army wagons, and a goodly number of prisoners were taken. The enemy made another stand at Pea-Vine Ridge, where we arrived some time after dark and saw their camp fires plainly.
The evening was cold. A small stable near the road was set on fire and, as many as could, gathered around to warm up our chilly bones. While standing around this fire General Hooker and staff rode up. When the General told us we had better get away from there as the Johnnies might open on us with artillery. Before we left General Hooker said: “Boys, do you see that large fire over on the ridge? Well, that place is going to be my headquarters tonight.” An advance was set at once ordered all along the line. Pea-Vine Creek at the base of the ridge was crossed and the foe was driven off and Hooker’s headquarters were that night on the ridge at the very place he said they would be.
Battle of Ringgold Georgia
Friday, November 27
Broke camp, still following up the retreating foe until Ringgold was reached. Here the Rebels made another stand, on Taylor’s Ridge, near the town. General Ousterhaus, along with the 4th corps, attacked the enemy on our right in the gap thru Taylor’s Ridge. General Greene’s 3rd brigade of Geary’s division, joining Ousterhaus on his left. Only a part of the second brigade of our division was present. The balance were back guarding our camp. The First Brigade on the left of the line of battle, and the 147th Regiment (my own) was on the extreme left of the line.
The Rebels had advantage of position. We formed partly in town and partly on the outskirts. The command was given and the line moved forward in fine style, passing first over the railroad, then up thru a cleared field, then over a fence into the woods. It was a steep place to make a charge, and we knew it was uphill business for us. Pat Cleburne with his Irish brigade confronted us. They were armed with the Mississippi rifles and they opened fire on us as soon as they saw us advancing.
We marched in line of battle about half way up in the woods when the command was given by the left flank. Captain Davis, who was beside the writer now, left my side to take his place at the left of the Company. Hardly had he gone, when he was mortally wounded and carried off the field by James P. Ulrich and others, whom I have forgotten. Lieutenant B. T. Parks, who then became commander of the company, was in the act of passing the writer to the left of the company, when a bullet struck him in the back of the neck, going entirely thru. I stopped and looked at him but as he never moved a muscle I thought he was dead and passed on. Later Ed Fisher and William E. Fausnaucht found him alive and kicking and carried him off the field. After arriving at the hospital Parks made the boys prop him up and light his pipe for him. Then he made Fisher go after his sword, which he had lost on the battlefield.
On left movement we stopped behind a ledge of rocks, when an orderly of General Geary’s came up and told Colonel Pardee to advance the 147th to the top of the hill, take it and hold it at all hazards. The Colonel, seeing all the troops on our right being driven back and a line of Rebels coming down the hill on our left for the purpose of out-flanking us, commanded: “Attention, Battalion! About face, double quick, March!” It took only a very short time to reach the fence at the edge of the woods, when the command, Halt! was given and about face. Any soldier who saw service knows just what an effort it takes to obey a command of this kind under a galling fire from the enemy.
On coming down the hill Jerry Moyer fell headlong on his stomach and someone said there goes poor Jerry. But Jerry was not shot, but his foot had caught in some briars and tripped him. Jerry speedily jumped to his feet, saying something very emphatic in Dutch, which need not be mentioned here. We were all glad he was not hurt. Isaac Knapp was also wounded, being shot thru his side and coming out at his back. At this writing, 1912, he is still living, but his right hand and arm are crippled for life. No doubt Generals Grant and Sherman, thinking this move to Ringgold a very important one, accompanied the White Star Division, Howards troops and others, until the battle had been fought, when Grant returned to Chattanooga.