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Chicamauga

The last major battle of the summer of 1863 occurred along a little northern Georgia creek called Chicamauga. General Braxton Bragg's forces attacked the Union army headed by General Rosecrans on September 19, 1863. In two days of bitter fighting, casualties totaled 35,000 men. The federal troops were routed on the second day, causing President Lincoln to say that Rosecrans was "confused and stunned, like a duck hit on the head."

Chicamauga was particularly costly to Shelby County, Ohio families. More than a score (20) were killed, wounded, or captured. William Barker of the 99th Ohio was struck in the back by a bullet and "left for dead on the battlefield," according to his service record. He finally died. William Crowell of the 11th Ohio was killed and his body hid in a thicket by his comrades to prevent looting. Isaac Gallimore (who was believed to be a relative of the Confederate general Braxton Bragg) died with the battle flag of the 31st Ohio in his hands. 99th Ohio soldier Epsy Dill was reported missing in action. He never was accounted for. Many local boys were captured by the rebels, including Alfred Swander, James Dodson, and Joseph Wilkinson. Swander and Dodson never survived the southern prisons to which they were sent.

Battery M, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, played a key role in the battle. Known as 'Schultz's Battery,' it was composed of German-speaking soldiers from Shelby, Miami, and Auglaize counties. Prior to noon on September 20th, the rebels, commanded by General Bushrod Johnson, were driving the Yankees in confusion before them. As the federal lines around them fell back, Schultz's battery poured round after round into the advancing enemy, checking their advance.

In his journal, Lt. Eben Sturges of Schultz's Battery told how "Our shells and cannister kept the enemy in front of us at bay...Corporal Eisenstein was among the wounded...a ball through the knee." The additional time the battery bought the Union troops was essential in allowing them to form an organized retreat. In Captain Schultz's subsequent battle report, he listed four men wounded and eight horses killed or wounded. A monument honoring the heroism of the men of Schultz's Battery was erected on the Chicamauga battlefield (shown below).

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General Braxton Bragg
Monument honoring the heroism of the men of Schultz's Battery on the Chicamauga battlefield.

The only monument located in Shelby County, Ohio honoring a local Civil War unit also memorializes Schultz's Battery. It can be found in the park at the confluence of Ohio and Main avenues near the Big Four Bridge at the south eastern edge of Sidney (at right).

 

 

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Shelby County's Monument honoring the heroism of the men of Schultz's Battery on the Chicamauga battlefield.

'Civil War' segment written in July, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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