"accomplished with alacrity" - Twenty-Second Indiana at Leetown

While our esteemed website creator may relish the actions of the "Iron" 44th, another Indiana regiment had a long and bloody existence throughout its service during the Civil War. The Twenty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, probably most known for its devastation at Perryville (where the regiment incurred 65.3% casualties near the Dixville Cross Roads), saw its first hard fighting on March 7th at a place known as Leetown.


The Twenty-Second was organized at Madison, Indiana during July 1861 and would muster into service at Indianapolis on August 15th.[1] The companies were composed of men from the following counties: A - Jennings, B - Jackson, C - Brown, D - Clark, E - Bartholomew, F - Switzerland and Vigo, G - Bartholomew, H - Carroll, Floyd, Scott, and Washington, I - Monroe, and K - Jefferson, and there were a smattering of men from Kentucky and Ohio within the ranks. The regiment's first colonel was one Jefferson C. Davis, the later infamous murderer of William Nelson on September 29th, 1862 in Louisville. Davis would only be colonel of the regiment for a few months, moving into a brigade, then division command. The regiment was sent west and would serve in Missouri before the Pea Ridge campaign commenced. At Leetown Lieutenant Colonel John A. Hendricks, son of former Indiana governor William Hendricks, would command the nine companies totalling 410 men, Company B having been detached. Hendricks was seemingly respected by the men, while Major David W. Daily seemingly had a bit of a liquid problem, as noted by Lieutenant Randolph V. Marshall in a letter written March 4th, 1862:


Col. Hendricks returned and assumed command. All seemed much pleased. The spirit of the Regiment revived. Major Daily was very kind to me from the time Col. H. left till he returned, but he is too much addicted to drinking for a safe commander. During the most exciting and dangerous time, as good luck would have it, whiskey could not be had for love or money, and the Major per force had to remain sober.[2]



At Pea Ridge, the Twenty-Second Indiana was in Colonel Thomas Pattison's First Brigade, along with the Eighth and Eighteenth Indiana Infantry Regiments and the First Battery Indiana Light Artillery, but only the Eighteenth and Twenty-Second would be on the field at Leetown. Lieutenant Randolph V. Marshall would write in the regimental history:


Under orders, leaving a few companies of the 8th Indiana to hold our works, Davis and Osterhaus' divisions changed front and advanced rapidly through the village of Leetown, and in twenty minutes found ourselves engaged with the advance cavalry of the enemy, who recoiled under our well directed fire, and, finding themselves in the presence of infantry, immediately turned and retreated. One of Osterhaus' batteries immediately wheeled into position, the 22nd supporting, and opened fire. In a few minutes the batteries of the enemy opened in reply. The cannonading now resounded like heavy and continued peals of awful thunder. Shot and shells screamed through the air, bursting and scattering their fragments in every direction. Grape and canister rattled through the trees seemingly thick as hail stones. Supporting a battery, which for a time drew the concentrated fire of the enemy's right wing, our position was one of terrific exposure.



This artillery fire would have a direct impact on Company K as Lieutenant Perry Watts would be killed by an unexploded ten-pound shell in his breast, after that same ball had taken off the head of Corporal Abram Alfrey and passing through the neck and shoulders of his cousin Francis Alfrey. (one source mentioned it was a six-pound ball that killed these three men)


Lieutenant Marshall would continue:


Acting as aid to Col. Hendricks, he directed me to proceed to the right, go to Col. Pattison, of the I8th, commanding the brigade, report the situation, request support, and return with orders. This was the last time I ever saw Col. Hendricks alive. He was on foot, in his proper place. closely observing every movement, looking well to his lines and delivering his orders in person, exhorting his men to be deliberate and courageous.



Hendricks himself would be shot through the heart on March 7th (notably his thirty-eighth birthday), and command of the regiment would pass to Major Daily, Jr. Marshall would be directed by Colonel Pattison to tell Colonel Hendricks to hold the Twenty-Second in position, and move only when the Eighteenth Indiana moved. The Twenty-Second's left wing was outflanked, but restored by the efforts of the officers, and supported by the Eighteenth would retake a captured battery and drive back the Confederates.


In his report Third Division commander Colonel Jefferson C. Davis provides an overall accounting of his division's actions on March 7th which includes some details of the Twenty-Second.


"Gen Osterhouse advanced about a mile beyond Leetown and found the enemy in force moving rapidly along the road leading from Bentonville to Elkhorn Tavern where Col Carr's Division had already sharply engaged him. At this time the unexpected appearance of the Third Iowa Cavalry from the field gave proof of the necessity of reinforcements being sent at once in the direction of Leetown, and an order to that effect was timely received.

American Battlefield Trust map of Leetown - Davis's division positions are shown within orange box

Passing through Leetown a few hundred yards I found Gen Osterhouse with the 44 [actually 36th] Ill., 22d Ind, and some Artillery had taken position on the left of the wood and was contesting the approach of the enemy over a large open field in his front. In the mean time the enemy was rapidly approaching and advancing his forces on the right of the road and had already lodged himself in large numbers in the thick oak scrub extending to our camp. I immediately ordered the 2d Brigade to deploy to the right and engage him. This was done in a vigorous manner by the 37th and 59th Ill assisted by Davidsons Battery which I had put in position for that purpose. I soon became convinced by the increasing and excessive fire of the enemy that he was being rapidly reinforced and ordered the 18th and 22d Ind to make a flank movement to right and perpendicular to his lines and the to move forward and attack him. This was accomplished with alacrity but not before the 2d Brigade began to recede before the excessive force of the enemy who had now concentrated his forces to the numbers of several thousand under McCullough and McIntosh, with a large body of Indians under Pike and [illegible]. The 2d Brigade being thus overwhelmed I ordered it to fall back and change front to rear on its right and the 1st Brigade to change front forward on its left so as to attack the enemy in his rear who was now exultingly following up his temporary success. The 18th Ind soon executed the movement as directed and opened a well directed fire upon the enemies rear which had the effect of drawing his fire and disconcerting his pursuit so as to enable the 2d Brigade to reform their as directed lines, but not until the enemy has succeeded in capturing two guns of Davidsons Battery which owing to the precipitate advance of the enemy and disabled horse could not be withdrawn. The 18th Ind pushed rapidly forward and drove the enemy from this part of the field and advancing to the open ground found three pieces in the hands of the enemy - charged and routed them with a heavy loss from them.

"Two Generals Die" by artist Andy Thomas

The 22 Ind during this time engaged a large force of Arkansas troops and Indians, and after a sharp engagement put them to flight. In the meantime the 2d Brigade renewed the engagement when the enemy fled from the field leaving behind him many of his killed and wounded. Among the former were Gels McCullough and McIntosh. At this moment I ordered the Cavalry to charge the fleeing foe, but for some unexplained reason it was not done.

The enemy made an attempt to reform on his former position near the Bentonville road but was easily driven from it by the action of our Batteries. Two regiments of reinforcements with two pieces of heavier Artillery (12 Pounders) arrived at this time from Gen. Sigel's command. These I ordered to take position on the right so as to be able to more readily to the support of Col. Carr's Division which had been heavily engaged in the vicinity of "Elkhorn Tavern" for several hours. Gen. Sigel soon arrived himself and accompanied by Osterhouse's command moved in the direction of Carr's left. I at the same time threw forward the 2 Brigade to the Bentonville and Elkhorn Tavern Road. Finding the enemy gone and night upon us I ordered the troops to bivouac on the field they had so gloriously won."



The Twenty-Second Indiana would see action on March 8th as well, near Elkhorn Tavern at Ruddick's Field, capturing a gun and two caissions. Lieutenant Marshall would write in a letter dated March 9th:


On the 8th, the battle was renewed. We drove them back the day before and rested on our arms in the field and woods. By sunrise were ready, and by 1 P.M. the rout of the enemy was complete.


They ran off in confusion, leaving hundreds of their dead and wounded on the field of battle. I think we killed 700, wounded 800, and claimed 500 prisoners. These are safe estimates, rather under than over. Our loss is not over 300 killed, 400 wounded and but few prisoners. The 22nd was in the whole two day’s fight, and yet lost but 8 killed beside Colonel Hendricks.


In Co. C., Jeff Reynolds is killed. Jeff. Adams badly wounded in the mouth and jaw. Tom K. was struck on the back of his head by a spent ball, - it scarcely broke the skin. He thinks nothing of it and is going around very lively.


Such were the terrific fire of cannon and musketry, that I never had before any just conception of a real battle. Our men were well managed and fought like heroes. It has been a signal triumph over the Secesh. In a few days the papers will give you full details. I never can portray the scenes of the last two days. Through God’s mercy I escaped unhurt.


I was with the boys all the time acting as the Col’s. Aid till he fell, the command then devolving on Maj. Daily, I acted for him till we gained the day and victory was ours.


The last onset which resulted in the rout of Price’s forces, was a grand charge by our whole column nearly 2 miles long. Yelling like savages we rushed on them; they could not stand it. Cyrus was in it all ...with credit and unhurt.[3]



According to one source the regiment would lose nine men killed and thirty-three wounded, ten percent of its strength, over both days of fighting.


After Pea Ridge the Twenty-Second would see action at the aforementioned Perryville, then Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and through the Atlanta and Carolina Campaigns. The regiment would muster out of service on July 24th, 1865 in Washington D. C.

[1] Madison is the final resting place for a few other Civil War colonels, including Alois O. Bachman of the Nineteenth Indiana, killed at Antietam; John Gerber, Twenty-Fourth Indiana, killed at Shiloh; Jacob Glass of the Thirty-Second Indiana, killed at MIssionary Ridge; Michael C. Garber, Quartermaster Department. Also buried in Madison is Admiral Napoleon Collins, responsible for capturing the C.S.S. Florida. Madison, located along the Ohio River, has a vibrant downtown and is worth a stop if one is in the area.

[2] The Civil War Letters of Randolph Vandosen Marshall - collected and transcribed by Helen Gilchrist Marshall ©2021. All rights reserved, and permission granted to the author by James R Pennington, great great great grandson of Randolph Marshall.

[3] Ibid.

SOURCES

American Civil War Research Database

The Evansville Daily Journal, March 20th, 1862.

Indiana Memory website

Marshall, Randolph V. - An Historical Sketch of the Twenty-Second Regiment Indiana Volunteers, From Its Organization to the Close of the War, Its Battles, Its Marches, and Its Hardships, Its Brave Officers and Its Honored Dead. Read at the Re-Union of the Regiment Held at Columbus, Ind., March 7, 1877. Madison, IN.

Shea, William L. and Hess, Earl J. - Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West. University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

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