Today in History:

653 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II


a heavy skirmish line of the Fifth Iowa Infantry. I was turning round to caution my men to fire low and sure. I was struck by a bullet in the head, which felled me to the ground. I regained consciousness in a few minutes, sent for Colonel Dean, of the Twenty-sixth Missouri, he being senior officer on the hill, turned over to him command of the brigade and orders I had received, showed him the position of the brigade, the safest route to fall back on, also the line of troops advancing to our assistance, and left the field for the hospital.

The long list of casualties will show the loss of many a brave and noble patriot. The loss of Holden Putnam, colonel Ninety-third Illinois, is felt severely by us all. With the colors in his hand, in front of his gallant regiment, defying the enemies of his country and cheering on his men, he was shot through the head and died instantaneously. Not often has it been the lot of one brigade to stand the brunt of battle as much as this. I name Iuka, Champion's Hill, Vicksburg, and Missionary Ridge.

Total loss of brigade in killed, wounded, and missing, 314.*




Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 215.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas C. Buswell, Ninety-third Illinois Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS NINETY-THIRD ILLINOIS INFANTRY, Near Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 29, 1863.

SIR: In obedience to orders, as per circular of this date from brigade headquarters, I would respectfully report through you to the colonel commanding, that the Ninety-third Illinois Infantry was, by order of the general commanding brigade, drawn up in line of battle about 1 p. m. November 25, 1863, and ordered to advance upon the enemy. Moving forward about one-fourth of a mile, we halted for a few moments at the base of Tunnel Hill, so called. Resting here a short time, we had orders to advance to the top of the hill, which orders were promptly obeyed. The regiment moved forward in good line, though under heavy fire from the enemy. Resting once in the ascent we gained the top of the hill about 1.30 p. m. Advancing our line within 20 paces of the enemy's breastworks of logs and stone, behind which was planted a battery that poured grape and canister into our ranks continually, the engagement grew into a fierce battle. For two hours and a half we held our position at the brow of the hill. During this time the enemy made three attempts to charge over, but were as often repulsed. About 4 o'clock the regiment on our right gave way, and the enemy, with three well-formed lines of battle, charged us on the right flank, which obliged us to abandon our position. During the first half hour of the battle, Colonel Putnam, holding the colors in one hand and waving his sword with the other, all the time cheering on his men, was shot dead from his horse. Bravely and gallantly he led his regiment to the contest. But he fell. His loss we feel keenly. The regiment has lost a brave and gallant commander, and the country a willing, earnest, and able defender.


*See revised statement, p. 88.