Thursday 3 December 2020

Continuing my researches into the activities of my ancestor, Colonel James McCullough, leader of the 16th S.C. Volunteers in the American Civil War, I came across this short account of activities during the Battle of Resaca during the Atlanta Campaign. 


HDQRS. Twenty-fourth South Carolina Vols.

Jonesborough, Ga., September 10, 1864.

Major: In compliance with the late order from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to report the operations of the Twenty-fourth South Carolina Volnteers during the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, embraced between the 6th of My and the 18th of July last.

 By the organization of the Army of Tennessee, in winter quarters at Dalton, the Twenty-fourth South Carolina Volunteers was attached to Gist’s brigade, Walker’s division, Hardee’s corps. The brigade was composed of three regiments and a battalion, viz, the Sixteenth and Twenty-fourth South Carolina Regiments, the Forty-sixth Georgia, and the Eighth Georgia Battalion…

…On the 14th [of May] the enemy was reported crossing in force at McGinnis’ Ferry, which is about a mile below Gideon’s Ford. The Sixteenth South Carolina Volunteers was in front of McGinnis’ Ferry, on the road leading from the ferry to Calhoun, the distance from the ferry to the town being a short mile. The general ordered the Twenty-fourth to march rapidly to the support of the Sixteenth, which order was promptly obeyed. Arriving near the ferry, after a rapid march of about three miles, we found the Sixteenth retiring slowly before the force of the enemy, which had crossed. Colonel McCullough, commanding the Sixteenth, reported to me a strong force in his front, with artillery. After conferring further with him I deemed it best to move at once against this force, which was then advancing into a wood in our front. Deploying, and moving up to the Sixteenth, which had meanwhile halted, and was firing into the woods, I ordered a charge in concert with the Sixteenth. We easily drove the enemy back to the river, under cover of his artillery, which was posted on the hill to the west side, and under its fire the enemy recrossed in our sight. Not a man was hit in the Twenty-fourth, though there were some casualties in the Sixteenth. I have no idea of the enemy’s loss, though I am satisfied our fire galled him at the river…

[Soon after, the whole of Gist Brigade is ordered to the main line, but appears to have remained in reserve for most of the rest of the battle. The report goes on for quite a bit, but the only other mention of the 16th is when the Major of the Regiment is killed leading the brigade skirmish force during the fighting around Dallas. It is likely that the 16th is part of some of the movements and fighting mentioned, but there is no way to be sure. However, I have included the next two parts for general interest.]

...In the fight of the 24th we captured a sharpshooter who had a small looking-glass attached to the butt of his musket, so that he could sit behind his breast-work, perfectly protected, with his back to us, and by looking into his glass, sight along the barrel of his piece…

…Next day, the 18th, while we were forming to march from our bivouacs to the right a rumor prevailed that General Johnston had been removed from command, and after we had marched some distance on the road to Atlanta a courier handed me a circular order from General Hood announcing General Johnston’s remove and assuming command. Shortly after the farewell address of General Johnston was received and read to the regiment. It is due to truth to say that the reception of these orders produced the most despondent feelings in my command. The loss of the commanding general was felt to be irreparable. Continuing the march and passing by his headquarters Walker’s division passed at the shoulder, the officers saluting, and most of the latter and hundreds of the men taking off their hats. It has been proposed to halt and cheer, but General Johnston hearing our intention requested that the troops march by in silence...



  1. The bit about the removal of General Johnson brings home how difficult communication is during wartime, especially in the days of hand delivered messages.