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This letter was written by Corporal William R. Tittle (1836-1919) of Company H, 55th Ohio Infantry. Tittle enlisted in December 1861 and served 3 years; he was mustered out of the service in December 1864. This letter chronicles the day-by-day activities of the 55th Ohio during the first week of June as Sherman’s army performed a series of flanking maneauvers against the ever thinning rebel lines of Johnston’s army in the days leading up to the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain in Georgia. The only other member of the 55th Ohio mentioned in this letter is Lt. Col. James Monroe Stevens who originally served as the Captain of Company H and lost his left arm in the Battle of Chancellorsville. He resigned his commission on 25 May 1864.
William R. Tittle was the son of Jonathan Allen Tittle (1784-1856) and Susan Beatty (1797-1873). He wrote the letter to his nephew, Marshall Beatty Ferguson (1847-1877) , the son of Martha C. Tittle (1818-1905) and William Ferguson (1817-1900) of Seneca County, Ohio.
Addressed to Mr. M. B. Ferguson, Melmore, Seneca County, Ohio
Camp in Line of Battle near Ackworth, Georgia
June 8, 1864
I received your welcomed letter yesterday and was glad to hear that the folks was all well. I got a letter from Ralph of May the 22. They was all well and at Arlington Heights. I hope they may have a good place and good health.
I have wrote middling often but how many of the letters goes through I don’t know, but I fear not all. A few times I wrote to you. May the 10th is the last you had got when you wrote. The 20th I wrote to Sarah & the 21st I wrote to Ralph & the 27th, I got a letter from Sarah & the 30th I wrote to Sarah. June the 1st I wrote to John.
Wednesday, June the 1st we laid in the second line of breastworks [near New Hope Church] & brisk skirmishing was going on. At noon we was relieved by the 15 Corps and marched 6 miles to the left [East] and camped in the line of battle on a hill to support the left flank [held by the 23rd Corps]. Quiet in our front all night.
Thursday the 2, skirmishing commenced this morning to our right and front. At noon we had a hard rain and rained most all afternoon. At 1 o’clock we had orders to move. We moved about 1 mile & formed in line of battle & stacked arms and had orders to make fires. At 11 o’clock, we marched a little further and camped that evening. The rebels shelled us but didn’t hurt any on our brigade but one killed surgeon and a private in some other.
Friday the 3rd, Skirmishing & a little cannonading all day & at 1 o’clock we had a hard shower and at half past 3 o’clock we marched 2 miles towards Marietta and formed in line of battle in a oats field [near Morris Mill Church]. In a short time we had orders to put up tents & remain there for the night. We had a hard rain about dark.
Saturday morning the 4th. But little skirmishing today. Rained. Occasional shows all day & night.
Sunday the 5th. But little skirmishing & still raining at 8 o’clock. Company H & 6 other companies of the 55th went on picket.
Monday morning the 6th. Early this morning we was called in from picket to march but was sent out again till the division would pass. Then we started & marched 4 miles towards the left & formed in line of battle in a cornfield. That afternoon we built breastworks and at dark we moved to the right in the same line and formed in line in the woods. Quiet all night.
Tuesday the 7th. We built breastworks [near Mount Olivet Church] and washed our shirts and at half past 3 o’clock we had monthly inspection and at 8 o’clock we had orders to march and laid round till 11 o’clock when we had orders to lay down. They didn’t think we would march till morning.
Wednesday the 8th. We are still here yet and all quiet. Warm & cloudy. We have had some very warm weather but we must expect that. Lt. Col. James M. Stevens has resigned & started home this morning. We would like to had him stay but they is no use in him being here. I must come to a close for the present time. I am well and hope these few lines may find you all well and enjoying yourselves. We should feel thankful to the Giver of all good gifts for sparing our lives and giving us health to enjoy them.
It is expected now that the rebels has fell back. We are about 2 miles from Ackworth. I think the cars run to that station now. Write soon and let me know how you are getting along. From W. R. Tittle
by Charles A. Frey
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