Friday, March 20, 2015

Michigan Second Regiment Infantry in the Knoxville area 1863-1864

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Michigan Second Regiment Infantry

November 24, 1863

The regiment is mentioned in connection with the operations at Knoxville on the 24th in the "Rebellion Record" as follows: 
November 24th Skirmishing commenced early and briskly on our left front this morning. The rebels had gained a hill and thrown up rifle pits near the round house during the night. The 48th Pennsylvania and 21st Massachusetts, during the morning, charged the pits and driving the rebels out at the point of the bayonet, covered the trenches and returned to their own with a loss of two killed and four wounded. On our left, for some hours, the fire of the sharp shooters was quite hot from a house above the rebel trenches. The 2d Michigan charged there also in the most gallant manner and drove the rebels back. A fierce and bloody engagement ensued with great loss on both sides, our boys remaining in possession of the works which they obliterated, and fell back.

From the New York Tribune:

"About 8 o clock AM, November 24th, General Ferrero, acting under orders, sent forward the 2d Michigan to charge the enemy's rifle pits and drive them out. The regiment was sustained by our batteries as long as it was safe to fire over the heads of our men. They went down the long slope ,over the fallen trees, and through the debris in front, upon the double quick, attacking, driving out the rebels from their pits and occupying them for about half an hour, fighting hand to hand with the rebels over the impalement. They met, however, a whole brigade, and being overpowered sent back for reinforcements. Meantime Adjutant Noble and Lieutenant Galpin were killed, and Major Byington was badly wounded, Lieutenant Zoellner mortally besides a large number of men. The Major, seeing that the effort to hold the place was fruitless. ordered his men to retire. He was immediately made a prisoner."
The extreme suffering from cold and hunger of Burnside's army at Knoxville was without a parallel in the whole war. Following is a memorandum of an inspection of one brigade which unquestionably represented the condition of Burnside's entire army at that time: 


Regiments in the brigade: Second Michigan Infantry, One Hundredth Pennsylvania, Tewentieth Michigan Infantry, Seventh Michigan Infantry, Provost Guard

Without undlothing: 374
No shoes: 386
No blankets: 65
No overcoat: 471
No tents: 218
No socks: 657
No pantaloons: 295
No coats: 186


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