October 29, 1863
Up to this time I have not given you a complete report of late happenings.
On the 17th of October we were about twenty miles south of Chattanooga. We found the Rebel army was strengthened, we retreated about two miles and took a new position. I was with the wagons that day as guard. The Rebel cavalry fired often at us that day but at last we got the wagons to the decided place in the evening where our brigade camped until the evening.
The 18th our whole army started to retreat at night. I was that evening very sick. I marched in the company for three miles but had to fall back for the first time since my enlistment. I spoke to the doctor but all the ambulances were full. I took my blanket and lay down by the roadside by a large fallen tre where I was not in danger of the horses.
I shivered until I got warm and then slept awhile until our division and also the 4th dvision had passed by.
When I awoke everything was quiet, I felt better, and I got to thinking that all our army had passed by on this road so it was clear that soon the Rebel cavalry could be expected. It was then three o’clock in the morning so I got up, took my knapsack and in a hurry started going.
At five o’clock I passed the 4th division and then expected to get to our wagons which I did at 7 o’clock. I could then hear the rifle shots and the roar of the cannons. I knew then that our regiment was not far away so I wished to be along if something was to be done.
I found the regiment about eight o’clock. They were then ready to go into battle. Captain Donehower asked me if I was better. I answered, “Well enough to do my duty.”
The regiment then threw off their knapsacks and one from each company was ordered to stay back and guard them. The Captain ordered me to guard, so I was not in the battle the 19t of September.
When the regiment came back from the battlefield I took all the knapsacks that belonged to the wounded and went to the hospital and hunted up all of company E, and the captain gave me orders to stay there and nurse the wounded until further orders, but in the evening Swenson came to take my place, and I went then to the regiment which I found at ten o’ in the evening.
The mail came in with my Norwegian letter but I could not read it in the night.
In the morning the 20th of September we had breakfast at three in the morning. I expected then a bloody day. I thought to myself that it is probable that we will lose our knapsacks, so I put my new pants on and threw the old one away. I put on two shirts and put my Norwegian letter in my shirt pocket.
At sun-up we formed the battle-line which set things afire. We met the enemy in an open field, both to our front and to our right.
An unusual roar of cannons and rifles was heard, the enemy line was about twenty rods from our front. A commando was given “fall down” we fell flat to the ground but kept on firing.
The Rebel shots fell down around us like rain, but our shots soon got too many for the enemy, they went on the run and left the wounded and dying.
We went in a hurry after them with our bayonet points.
The enemy came to halt in a woods and we then had the edge of the woods. We again fell down so as to miss the thickest spray of bullets. We still had our knapsacks on, we lay on our stomachs, loaded and fired, often we saw knapsacks go over the field guided by a cannon ball. The The shots took many knapsacks off the soldiers’ backs without hurting the soldiers.
The enemy then went around to our left. We then had to change our position, and an order was given to throw our knapsacks, which we did, we were then almost surrounded. We then took a position on a high place near the road so as to hold our exit, and that position we decided to hold or die.
If we gave up that position our whole division would be prisoners, but powder and lead was not spared. Many times the enemy tried to take us by force, but each time we drove them back with our bayonets.