Monday, April 3, 2017

Everett Rainey: Gone for a Soldier - Part 3


 
Federal camp on Tennessee River near Johnson, Tennessee
 
[Part 3  of selections from Pat Raney's novella "Everett," about our Great-great grandfather Everett Rainey's service in the Union army during the American Civil War. Part 2 recounted Everett's movements in Kentucky and Tennessee.] Listen to Battle Hymn of the Republic HERE

Company B left Cumberland Gap on May 17, 1864, arriving at Knoxville on the 20th
 
Knox County, Kentucky


View of Knoxville from south side of Tennessee River

 The next morning they left by rail for Cleveland, Tennessee, going into camp until the 25th.  All  units of the 91st  now assembled for the next assignment.
      
Cleveland in Bradley County, Tennessee
At Cleveland, three divisions of infantry and one of cavalry composed the Army of the Ohio under the command of General John M. Schofield [if you missed his bio in an earlier blog, read it HERE]
 
General Johhn M. Schofield

It moved south along the East Tennessee and Georgia railroad line until reaching Red Clay at the state line.    General Schofield intended to launch a strike against Confederate Joe Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. [His bio HERE]
         
Confederate General Joseph Johnston
 Now commander of the western theater, General William Tecumseh Sherman
General William Tecumseh Sherman
[bio HERE] played a chess game with Johnston, first moving General James McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee down the right through Snake Creek Gap.
 
General James McPherson, killed at Atlanta (his bio HERE]
Sherman then ordering General George Thomas’s’ Army of the Cumberland to push forward through Buzzard Roost and Dug Gap.  After that was accomplished, Schofield moved down on the left.
General George Thomas [his bio HERE]
Assigned to the 4th Division of the XXIII Corps, Company B remained in reserve during this drive.  By the time the company reached Resaca, Georgia, the gray army was moving southeastward toward Atlanta.  Company B marched with the rest of the reserve to Kingston, Georgia.
          
Kingston, Bartow County, Georgia. A large Confederate hospital was there, replaced by a Union hospital. Here was where the ladies of Kingston began laying flowers on graves, beginning the tradition of Decoration Day
At Kingston the 91st was transferred to the 2nd Division and went into the fray.  The three Union armies continued their assault on Johnston’s forces.  The battles that followed read like a geography lesson on Northwest Georgia.  Company B fought at Lost Mountain, June 15; Muddy Creek, June 17; Noyes Creek, June 19; and Kolb’s Farm, June 22.  They assaulted Kennesaw Mountain on June 27th. It was a minor victory for the Confederates. HERE
           
Confederate entrenchment looking down from Kennesaw Mountain



The situation toughened for the rebs put up a good fight at the Chattahoochie River near Atlanta.  The battle started on July 3rd and continued until Confederates Hardee and Hood pulled their units from the conflict July 17th and moved off toward Decatur.  The Federal army caught up with them at Decatur and another fight took place on July 19 and again on July 20 at Howard House.
          
Atlanta is in Fulton County, Georgia

 Two days later, the siege of Atlanta began, continuing for a month. 

Federal trenches at Atlanta
Company B found itself in various roles.  Early in the action, the unit, along with the rest of the division, put pressure on the outskirts of the city driving back rebel units facing them.
          
Federal troops in captured Confederate fort at Atlanta
As August neared its midpoint, the 91st was pulled out for rest, a welcome relief after two months of fighting.  Company B guarded prisoners and scouted south beyond the battle lines searching for forage and food.
          
On one outing, they were attacked by a Confederate cavalry unit. Experienced fighters now, Company B dug in around fallen trees, picking off rebel horsemen until the enemy broke off and left the area. Everett and two comrades passed the afternoon running down loose cavalry horses, returning to camp with eight mounts that were given to the Union cavalry and put to good use. [Read about the Siege of Atlanta HERE]
          
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Confederate generals John Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forrest were attacking the Union rear.  Even after Morgan was killed in Greenville, Tennessee, in the eastern part of the state, Forrest laid waste to railroads throughout the region and captured supplies and armament.  His army was giving Abraham Lincoln in Washington a severe headache.
Enlisted as a private; finished the war as Lt. General, Forrest's formidable bio is HERE
        
The decision was made to send part of Schofield’s troop to Memphis and Columbia, Tennessee, to secure lines of communication in western Tennessee.  This action fell to the 91st Regiment. Companies A, B and C were sent and spent early September of 1864 reinforcing the militia in the area.
 
Columbia, Tennessee
[Although Everett did not march from Atlanta to the sea with Sherman, as I previously believed, he did march down through northern Georgia to Atlanta, so listen to "Marching Through Georgia," HERE  Note in the photographs the federal army tearing up the railroads out of Atlanta.]

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