Maney’s brigade at Chickamauga
Sept. 19, 1863
Gen. Benjamin Cheatham’s five brigades of 6,500 Confederates, fought more than 10,000 Federals in seven brigades that day.
Tipton’s last soldiers to enter the battle were those of Co. C, 9th Tennessee, Gen. Geo. Maney’s brigade. Beginning at 2 p.m., Maney’s 1,300 men were sent forward to relieve Gen. John K. Jackson’s brigade west of the intersection of the Alexander’s bridge and Brotherton roads. Within less than an hour, elements of three Union brigades (P. P. Baldwin, August Willich and Joseph Dodge) attacked Maney’s men, the 19th Tennessee (Strahl’s brigade) on the left, and a thin skirmish line of Geo. Dibrell’s troopers of Forrest’s cavalry. Maney’s men faced more than double their numbers from Willich’s, Baldwin’s and Gen. John Turchin’s brigades.
Maney’s left wing was composed of the Geo. C. Porter’s Tennesseans of the 6th & 9th regiments and the 24th sharpshooters, 300 yards southwest of Winfrey field. Van Oldham recalled “double quickening some distance (as) we entered the fight in a charge.” John Cavanaugh of the “Obion Avalanche,” remembered his brave and loyal comrade Tom Buford say as he was shooting: “Here goes another for Sally and the babies.”
Col. Porter reported:
“The fight was about three-quarters of an hour in duration and extremely severe…The loss in this engagement was heavy…the extreme left held by the 6th and 9th Regiments (consolidated) was most exposed and the chances of the day demanded of this veteran command a bloody sacrifice. It is but a just tribute to say the demand was met by them as becomes heroes in many battles. Their loss in killed and wounded was over half of their number engaged…”
The 368 men of the 6th and 9th Tennessee were fighting nearly 700 soldiers of the 89th Illinois and 30th Indiana. Losses in the Union regiments totaled 258 casualties.
Thomas J. Walker recalled the savage fighting in the dense forest between the Winfrey and Brock fields:
“Crossing the creek, the line of battle formed and immediately in our front across a small clearing on the opposite side of a clearing on an elevated ridge, the enemy was posted behind breast works of rails. The order, ‘Charge the breast works!’ was given. The line swung forward and from some cause a half was made in the center of the file. Orders were given to lie down and fire. Right in front of our file was a large pine tree three or four feet in diameter. We at once placed ourselves behind it that tree and began to fire, thinking we were fortunate in having such a protection. As we soon found out to our sorrow, the enemy had direct fire on our line and that tree became the target.
Before the line advanced to take the fortified line, which they did, every soul behind that tree was either killed or wounded. The writer was among the number wounded. The whole squad, myself among the number with whom I had been so infuriated a few hours before, were either dead or wounded. The dear old rough, burley fellow that had manipulated the stomach pump had his arm shattered at the shoulder joint, and I thought he was mortally wounded. (S. Emory Sweet had the arm amputated.)
As I lay there with my wounded, dying comrades…amid the groaning of the wounded and dying…there came a horror over my soul…I was carried back to the field hospital and there I saw…arms and legs were thrown in a heap by the hundreds…”
Continued next week.