This letter was written Patrick Clark Hathaway (1842-1872), the son of Ephraim Hathaway (1813-1859) and Sarah Marsh (1818-1879) of Warren county, Ohio. Patrick enlisted in Co. A 35th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 5 August 1862. He transferred on 20 October 1864 to Co. C, 18th OVI and served with that regiment until 11 June 1865.
[Note: This letter was transcribed & posted for auction on the internet in November 1863]
4 December 1863
Through the divine providence of the almighty God I am once more permitted to write you a few lines to inform you of my whereabouts and that I am yet on the land & among the living.
You perhaps have heard of the late battle fought at or near Chattanooga called Mission & Lookout Mountain. I was one of several thousand who participated in the glorious conflict wherein the federal army were unanimously victorious. It is useless for me to give you a minute detail of the battle, as you have or will no doubt see it through the papers. Our (3rd) Div. was on the 23rd ult. all out to front where we lay a day & a half. In the meanwhile Sherman on the left was crossing the river & turning the rebels flank and on the 24th ult, old Joe Hooker was driving them from Lookout Mountain. On Monday the 25th, the 3rd Division moved to the left & about 3 o’clock p.m. were ordered to storm a line of breast works at the base of Missionary Ridge, which was done amid a storm of grape shot & canister & shell which fell about & around us thick & fast but fortunately there was comparatively few [illegible]…the work only [illegible] a few guns.
After resting a short time we again received the word forward & we all simultaneously leaped the works & started double quick for the fort at the summit of the ridge & were again greeted by shell & canister & shot. The ridge—as it is called—is about as high as the hill in front of Thomas [illegible] house but a great deal more steep. Before we had gained half the distance, we were almost exhausted by the charge, but to return would of been madness & so by pulling ourselves up by shrubs & bushes, gained the top & sent the rebs flying, capturing some 8 cannon.
The 2nd brigade commanded by Col. [William] Vandever was the one’s that were in the advance but were not in any order whatever. Every fellow that could run the fastest was ahead. The officers were nearly all left to the rear because their wind was not so good as the sturdy soldier. We had some pretty hard fighting after we got up the hill for the rebs rallied their men and endeavored to make a bold stand but the boys went into them headlong & independently, as the reb prisoners remarked that the yankees fought just as well without officers as with them. Night coming on, the firing grew less fierce & finally died away altogether.
We camped on the field of battle overnight among the dead & dying. On the next morning we drew four days rations & started in pursuit of the rebs. We followed them a couple days but did not get engaged anymore—that is, our division—& then returned back to old Chattanooga which was my wish. I have got pretty good quarters—have a chimney to my tent. Four of uncle Sam’s boys are settled in it & enjoy it first rate when not on duty. The loss of killed & wounded of the 35th [OVI] was 25.
Oh! the horrors of war. To think how so many of the bright young men are killed & many crippled for life. We have one instance which pains me to recall to memory & that is John Venard of Co. F who had been at the Regt. about 2 months & then wounded in the late battle—shot in the knee by a musket ball & lodging. I have since learned that his leg has been amputated. Only 16 & a cripple for life [Venard died from the wound on 26 December 1863]. Oh thank God that it was not Cornelius, myself or Andy [Hathaway]. You will please tell his folks if they have not learned of the fatal news.
Cornelius was not in the fight. He was a reserve & could see all the fighting though did not participate in it. Various are the rumors afloat in camp. Among the rumors is one that the 14th Army Corps—which we belong to—is going to remain here to garrison this place which I hope will come true. If it does, I don’t think we will have any more marching to do. Rations are getting more plenty & we drew a lot of clothing. I drew a wool blanket today. I and my bedfellow have been sleeping between the gum blankets, which are very cold. I hear from Andy pretty frequently, he is doing well. I hope he will get to remain where he is until his time is up, if the place suits him.
I received a letter from Sylvan Jeffrey a few days ago. He wrote a first rate letter. He said that Abe got home. Christmas will soon come up but to me I fear it will be a dry one if the good Lord [illegible] me to get home among you all next Christmas 64 is all I should ask. I have wrote this rather hastily which the scribbling & composition show. You can read it at the table as of you [illegible] or when at leisure. May God bless & protect you all with life & health is my prayer for you all. Write soon & Believe me to be your affectionate son—Paddy Hathaway
P.S. I forgot to say that George Hydee came out of the late battle unharmed though in the most fiercest part. He is a brave fellow. Lem[uel B.] Stump too is a boy that deserves [illegible] Respectfully, — Paddy H.