160 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
HISTORY OF CAPTAIN W. W. MCCARTY'S PRISON LIFE, AND SOUTHERN PRISONS.
When I left our landing at McConnelsville some twelve months ago, accompanied by a gallant band of veterans, to rejoin the army of the South-West, I but little dreamed of all the vicissitudes through which I was to pass before I should have the pleasure of seeing the faces of my friends again. It is true, from an experience of nearly three years in the field, I was not insensible of the dangers from shot and shell. I had thought, too, of the diseases of a sickly Southern clime; but the idea of becoming a captive in the hands of the enemy was a matter which had not for a moment engaged my attention. But that Unseen Power that directs the affairs of men as well as of nations seemed to decree that I should experience the realities of war in all its variety.
On the 19th day of July the Seventeenth Army Corps, after a wearisome march through a portion of Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and across the Sandy mountains of Georgia, a distance of over three hundred miles, driving the enemy before us, we arrived within a few miles of Atlanta, where the rebel General Hood had made a stand. On the morning of the 22d we were attacked on the left flank, and in our rear, by General Hardee's Corps, that had moved out the night before, while the remaining portion of the rebel army confronted our right. We were soon apprised of the attack by General Leggett, who rode along our line in person, as well as by the rattle of the enemy's musketry, and frequent visits of the iron messengers sent from the rebel "howitzers." The conflict soon became terrible, and in the early part of the engagement our brave and gallant commander, Major-General McPherson, fell, which caused for a time great consternation among our troops. But our brave boys of the West were not disposed to let the rebels achieve a victory. They fought with desperation.
The Seventy-Eighth, under command of Colonel Wiles, was occupying a line of breastworks from which we had driven the rebels the day before. These works we were ordered by General Leggett to hold. Inspired with confidence in our gallant Colonel, nearly every man in the regiment seemed determined to see the order carried out or die, and during the struggle several of our brave boys fell, some of them to rise no more. We nevertheless held the entrenchment all day, but were compelled to change front several times during the day, repulsing the enemy in several heavy charges. About half an hour before sun-down, the rebels, who had driven the Thirteenth and Eleventh Iowa regiments, and got possession of the left end of our line of works, opened a heavy artillery fire, raking us with grape and canister.
At this time Colonel Wiles was in command of the Brigade, in consequence of the capture of Colonel Scott, which had taken place during the day. Major Rainey was therefore placed in command of the regiment. Pursuant to orders, we at once vacated the entrenchments and moved out into an open field on our right. Here a Brigade of the rebels, of General Claiborne's Division, was concealed in a dense thicket of woods near by, and opened a terrific fire upon us. We had nothing to protect us, and the rebels being in close range, protected by the woods, had every advantage. I saw some five or six of
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