Hd. Quts. 26th Regt. Wis. Vols.
Before Atlanta Ga. July 28 1864
Capt. C. H. Young
A. A. A. Genl.
3d Brig. 3d Div. 20th A. C.
In compliance with orders,
I have the honor to forward the following statement of the part taken by
my regiment in the battle of Peach
Tree Creek on the 28th inst.
We started from Buckhorn in the evening the center regiment of the brigade. Having formed crossed the creek and formed in line of battle, 73d Ohio on our right, 20th Conn. at an interval on our left on very low ground with a hill in my front, facing South. Soon after the 73 O. V. I. was put in my rear and Col. Coburn's brigade joined my right. After our immediate front had been cleared of rebel skirmished, I recluded to the brow of the hill to get a view of the country and found it after rising to the top of the hill declining to a hollow and then rising again to a height somewhat about the first along which there was a fence and road parallel to our line of battle. This line was then held by the main body of the skirmishers in our front, same however advanced beyond. Some time after, I got back, it was reported to me that the enemy was advancing in lines of battle, of which word was sent to brigade headquarters. I got my men under arms and in readiness to advance to the hill in front at once and even the order came to advance. I acted at once and the brigade on my right also. As we gained the top of the first hill, I noticed that our skirmishes were just falling back from the fence. We moved in and just as we got into the hollow the enemy's line of battle gained the fence. We took shelter as much as possible under the foliage of the raving and opened a heavy fire on the enemy. The field in our front was open but some sixty yards form our extreme left, there was a dense woods. The enemy line extended along the fence so far unto the woods so I could see while we had no support on our left. Presently they crossed the fence and advanced close upon us, in many places to within twelve or fifteen paces, in some even nearer, while at the same time they came out of this woods directly upon our left flank and opened an enfilading fire. Our men loaded and fired as rapidly as possible and with the aid of officers, who exerted their utmost to spy and found out the points to fire at, made the fire very effective. I thinned my right and center to reinforce the left, and after a sharp struggle had the satisfaction to see the enemy turn and break. We gave them a very destructive volley and pursued them on the very feet to the top of the hill, Capt. Fuch rustling their flag from their color bearer who fell wounded. There we were again, met by a heavy fire coming mostly form the woods on our left and we replied vigorously. Some fifteen minutes after we gained this position, the 20th Conn. And 55th Ohio came up and joined us on the left. Our ammunition was exhausted, many guns so hot and dirty that they could not ever me loaded with the cartridges we took from dead and wounded rebels, so I sent back to Col. Wood requesting to be relieved, and we were finally relieved by the 73rd Ohio. The intense exertion and excitement together with the scorching heat of the sun had utterly exhausted my men. One officer was sun struck, two officers and several men wounded and a a number of others had to be helped to the rear though not wounded. I allowed most of the men therefor to go back into the raving where there was shade and water to cool and rest themselves for a short time then formed a line again some 40 yards in rear of the 73d Ohio where we remained until the morning of the 23d. The loss of the rebels in our front was exceeding heavy. We buried Col. Drake, 33 Miss. And 34 of his comrades all of whom were found between the ravine and the hill top in front. Of the number of wounded left on the same field I made no count but deem it safe to put them at double the number of killed. These were all very severely wounded, as all others got off. A considerable number were also cut off unhurt when we took the top of the hill but as I needed all my men in front I could not secure them and they were afterwards taken prisoner by the other regiments. Of the Rebel loss after we gained the hill. I can make an estimate. I lost in this engagement two officers killed, on severely and one lightly wounded, seven enlisted men killed and thirty four wounded.
[Not signed, possible draft]
Milw Winkler Correspondence Mss W (ARC) UWM Milwaukee