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In Their Own Words

May 27, 1864

Letter Described Battle

From near Dallas, Georgia, Major Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry wrote of the status his unit’s involvement in Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign:

“… We are now again in the midst of battle. We are near Dallas, in Georgia. Our corps came here in advance on Wednesday, and the advance regiment of the 2nd Division hit upon the enemy and had a sharp conflict. In the afternoon, our corps was all up and we formed and moved forward to the attack. We drove the enemy back steadily a considerable distance, but finally came to a ridge where he was strongly posted and it was not so easy to dislodge him. We attacked quite fiercely and fought a sharp battle which lasted until night, when we held all the ground we had gained. We were first in the second line, but soon took the front, where we sustained and kept up a heavy fire for about an hour, when night closed upon the scene. Our fire had been so hot that the rebels had been obliged to slacken theirs very much, and when we ceased firing, they showed no disposition to renew it. It was a trying position, but with the efficient assistance of those two brave men, Captain Fuchs and Adjutant Traeumer, I succeeded in keeping the regiment in a firm, steady and unwavering line. When it was dark we ceased firing, fixed bayonets, closed up the intervals the casualties of the contest had caused, and were ready for any action, offensive or defensive. Of course, such an ordeal could not be undergone without loss; I lost five men killed, one officer and thirty-two men wounded, and one sergeant who was out on picket after dark and ordered to reconnoiter the rebels’ line is missing, probably he went too far in the intense darkness and was taken prisoner. The fight had scarcely ceased when it commenced to rain, and there we had to sit and be rained upon without shelter and without a fire. After midnight we were relieved and taken a piece to the rear, but our boys did not come until morning, and hungry, wet, without a blanket, we did not have a very pleasant night of it. At daylight the boys came with coffee, meat, crackers and blankets. We are still in the same place. Yesterday there was only skirmishing, etc., and the army got into position. It seems that the whole rebel army is in our front. Today, it is said at nine A. M. a general advance is to be made; our right, left and center are to make a simultaneous attack. We will probably be under fire before night. May God crown our arms with success. Two of Company G were killed on Wednesday. Robert Templeton and Emerson Smith. They were both excellent men, cool and brave. Truer and braver hearts have never fallen in battle. If you know their parents, tell them how sincerely we condole with them in the loss of those brave boys. We are getting ready to move.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page