The 48th Ohio Regiment at Shiloh
By Steamboat to Pittsburg Landing
Transports at Pittsburg Landing a few days after the battle of Shiloh (from a photograph)
The 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Dennison during the Summer of 1861 and Winter of 1862, under the auspices of Peter J. Sullivan, a lawyer of Cincinnati. On the 17th day of February, 1862 the Regiment broke camp and over the Little Miami Railroad reached Cincinnati the same afternoon, embarking on the steamer Hastings and going out for Paducah, Ky., at which place it arrived on the 20th. A few days after its arrival the regiment was outfitted with old Austrian muskets, which had been changed from flint to percussion lock. While standing in line, on the wharf at Cincinnati, awaiting orders to embark, newsboys came rushing along, crying "Extra' "Extra" Ft. Donelson Surrenders". The general opinion of the rank and file seemed to be "The war will be over before we can get into it." Alas! How little any of us dreamed of what was to come."
Capt. F. M. Posegate, 48th OVI
from the DAILY MISSOURI REPUBLICAN, March 25, 1862, p. 1, c. 7
Courtesy of Vicki Betts, University of Texas at Tyler
From the Tennessee River.
Steamer Empress off for the Wars.
Route of the 48th OVI from Cincinnati to Pittsburg Landing
Click on Map for Larger Version
On Tuesday, the 4th instant, the steamer Empress left St. Louis, having on board some 700 tons Commissary stores for Cairo and Paducah, 150 head of cattle for Fort Henry and Col. Bissell's Engineer Regiment, destined for Gen. Pope's Division at Commerce, Mo.,; Wednesday landed the troops at Commerce and Commissary stores at Cairo, coaled and arrived at Paducah on Thursday morning, received on board the Forty-eighth Ohio Infantry, Col. Sullivan commanding, coaled and arrived at Fort Henry Friday morning, being the first arrival for the new expedition; the water had almost completely inundated the Fort; no landing there; proceeded up the river about seven miles; landed in the brush, alongside the Gladiator, Gen. McClennand's headquarters, received a present from Lieut. Col. Parker, of the Forty-eighth, of a splendid American eagle, whose perch is now on the pilot house of the Empress. Here, on Saturday, the 8th, commenced a new phase in steamboating--the Empress is converted into a slaughter house to supply the much needed beef to the army, but "some things can be done as well as others," and there is room on the Empress to do almost anything, and Captain Jas. Gormley and his crew are the men to put things through.
The bully Forty-eighth, however, did not wait for the butcher, but went ashore, and finding a number of porkers that were evidently "secesh," (as they would not take the oath,) they "captivated" them, and soon were frying spare-ribs and tenderloins. ... Left the bridge on Monday afternoon with the entire fleet. The departure of this fleet of ninety boats was a sight seen but once in a life time, and if ever the writer regretted the lack of artistic powers it was there; but to the Empress. She held her way in the midst of the fleet until about 4 p.m., when, espying a large pile of what turned out to be staves, she landed and took them on board. Not finding the owner, word was left with some neighbors that she had taken them and would pay for them. During the evening she passed every boat ahead but one, when a fog arose, compelling the whole fleet to lie by. ...
Tuesday morning the fog having cleared away about 9 a.m., started for Savannah, meeting many demonstrations of loyalty along the shore, and without accident, except that just above Clifton a man rose up behind a cedar bush and fired at the boat, fortunately injuring nothing but the collar of a soldier's coat. ... Landed on the west side of the river, opposite Savannah, at the plantation of Mr. Cherry, a loyal citizen, who has narrowly escaped hanging two or three times on that account. His residence is in Savannah. He is the owner of some forty slaves. Here some of the officers were presented with bouquets of hyacinths and other early spring flowers. Savannah is a pretty village, situated on the bluff on the east side of the river, the plantation above alluded to being opposite in the "sandy bottom," and bounded by a large cane brake, to which the soldiers betook themselves, returning with thousands of fishing rods, which of course were of no use to them. At night saw the light of a conflagration to the southwest of Savannah. Laid here until Friday noon, dispersing commissary stores, when General Sherman's division (to which the Empress is attached) started for Yellow Creek, on the west bank of the river just inside the line of Alabama, where we arrived about 8 p.m. Just before landing, a young soldier of the Forty-eighth died and was here buried on Saturday. ...
Sunday morning, 16th, found us at Pittsburgh landing. Here occurred a curious fulfillment of a presentiment. Capt. Ireland, of the Forty-eighth, had on Sunday the 2d, requested the regimental band to practice a funeral march to play at his funeral two weeks from that day. He also asked a minister (one of the Seventeenth regiment) to preach his funeral sermon. He was then in good health, at twenty-five minutes past 12 o'clock he died of pneumonia, and was buried as he predicted. ...
19th, 7 p.m., left for Savannah. 20th, discharged balance of commissary stores; river all over the bottoms opposite Savannah at least eighteen feet higher than when we went up 20th, left for "home, sweet home." Twenty miles above Duck river, the timber for some distance along the east bank had been recently torn down by the wind--not a tree left standing in the track of the hurricane. Found Fort Henry completely under water. It is, however, dismantled. The morning of the 22d found us on the Father of Waters. 23d, head wind and slight boat have kept us from our homes all day. Home again. Oliver.
Note.--The conflagration mentioned turned out to be the burning of forty bales of cotton by the rebels. The cotton belonged to Mr. Cherry, of Savannah. It was within three miles of that place. We learned at Savannah that on the day previous to our first arrival, there had been a squad of rebel cavalry there, pressing every able-bodied man into their service. Many fled to the woods and got aboard the gunboats, and some 160 enlisted for the war.
Description of the trip in the Regimental History