Page 337-343

FIRST ENGINEERS AND MECHANICS

This regiment was one in which the Grand River Valley was deeply interested, having been raised by one of her citizens, and largely composed of men from that region.

The succinct history of the operations of the regiment, which follows, is from the Adj. Generalís Reports. Appended is list of officers of the regiment who belonged to the Grand River region:

This regiment left its rendezvous at Marshall on the 17th of December, 1861, for Louisville, with an aggregate force of 1032. Most of the varied service performed by it has been by detachments, the regiment having been more or less separated most of the time since it entered upon duty. One of these detachments, under Gen. O. M. Mitchell, comprised the first Union troops to enter Bowling Green after its evacuation by the enemy; another was at the battle of Chaplain Hills. The regiment has been employed in the repair or re-opening of railroads between Nashville and Chattanooga, Nashville and Columbia, Corinth and Decatur, Huntsville and Stevenson, and Memphis and Charleston, and has twice assisted in re-opening the road from Nashville to Louisville, During the month of June, alone, it built seven bridges on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, each from 84 to 340 feet in length, (in the aggregate 2,758 feet,) and from 12 to 56 feet in height. After the battle of Pittsburgh Landing, it was engaged eight weeks in the construction of steamboat landings and crossings, with only one dayís rest.

From the 1st of November, 1862, to June 29th, 1863, this regiment was stationed at Edgefield and Mill Creek, near Nashville, Lavergne, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and at a point near Nashville, on the Tennessee and Alabama railroad. During this time the regiment built nine bridges, a number of magazines, buildings for commissary, quartermaster and ordnance stores, and repaired and re-laid a large amount of railroad track. January 1st, while at Lavergne, the regiment was attacked by a cavalry force numbering between three and four thousand, with two pieces of artillery, under the rebel Generals Wheeler and Wharton. The rebels retreated with considerable loss, after having vainly endeavored to compel a surrender. The loss of the regiment was 1 killed and 6 wounded. June 29th, the regiment received orders to move south from Murfreesboro, to open and repair the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad. During July and August it was engaged in repairing the railroad from Murfreesboro to Bridgeport. In July the regiment built five bridges, one of which, over Elk river, was 460 feet in length, and one at Duck River Crossing 350 feet in length. During September and October, detached companies were employed in building a bridge at Chattanooga, making pontoons for a bridge at Bridgeport, constructing commissary buildings at Stevenson,

building and repairing bridges, & etc., on lines of the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad, and Nashville and Northwestern railroad. October 31st, the headquarters of the regiment were at Elk River Bridge, Tennessee. During the year, in addition to the work mentioned, the regiment got out a large amount of timber for buildings, and a great number of railroad ties, and performed a very large amount of repairing to railroad tracks, stations, etc.

This regiment, during the months of November and December, 1863, and January and February, 1864, was employed in building trestle work and bridges on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, and in the construction of storehouses and other buildings at Chattanooga and Bridgeport, for the Quartermaster, Commissary, Ordnance and other Departments of the Army. During a portion of the time, the battalion at Chattanooga was employed in refitting saw mills. In March and April a battalion was stationed at Chattanooga, where it was engaged in running saw mills, and in getting out railroad ties, building hospital accommodations, and work on the defenses at that point. Detachments from the other companies were engaged in erecting block houses on the Tennessee and Alabama, Nashville and Chattanooga, and Memphis and Charleston railroad. During the month of May, the battalion at Chattanooga remained at that place. Two companies were employed at Bridgeport in erecting artillery block houses. One battalion was stationed on the Memphis and Charleston R.R., building block houses from Decatur to Stevenson, and two companies were at Stevenson completing the defenses of the post. Two companies at Stevenson remained at that point at work on the defenses up to the date of the last monthly returns received, September 30th. In June, July, August and September, the regiment, with the exception of one company at Chattanooga, one company at Bridgeport a portion of the time and the two companies at Stevenson, were engaged on the line of the Atlantic and Western Railroad, building block houses, getting out ties, repairing, etc. The headquarters of the regiment on the 30th of September were at Atlanta, Ga. The information as to the details of the operation of the regiment during the year is too limited to permit a more extended notice. The regiment is known to have done a great amount of work, which was of much value to the armies with which it has been connected.

On the 31st October, 1864, the original term of the regiment expired, and such officers as desired to leave the service were mustered out, also the enlisted men whose term of enlistment had expired. The re-enlisted veterans, together with the recruits who joined the regiment, enabled it to maintain its full strength and organization entire. From the 1st to the 15th of November, the regiment, with the exception of companies L and M, was stationed at Atlanta, Ga., . and was employed in construction defenses, destroying rebel works, depots, rolling mills, foundries, has works and other rebel property, tearing up and rendering useless the various railroad tracks in the vicinity. On the 16th November, attached to the 14th Army Corps, it marched from Atlanta as a part of the Engineer force of General Shermanís Army, to Sandersville, Ga., thence moved with the 20th Army Corps to Horse Creek, where it received orders to join the 17th Corps, with which it marched to Savannah, reaching there December 10th. During the march the regiment was required to keep pace with the movements of the Army, traveling over 20 miles a day, and during the time was employed in tearing up railroad tracks, twisting rails, destroying bridges, repairing and making roads through marshes, and building and repairing bridges. On the 10th and 11th December, the regiment built a dam across the Ogeechee Canal, under fire of the rebel batteries. From that time until after the evacuation of Savannah by the enemy, the regiment was constantly at work taking up railroad tracks and destroying the rails of the several railroad leading out of the city, and in constantly long stretches of corduroy road for passing and re-passing wagon trains. On the 23d December it moved into the city, and by direction of General Sherman. These works, constructed by and under the supervision of the regiment, were over two miles in length, and included several strong batteries and lunettes. January 3d, 1865, the regiment was again in motion, marching to Poolerís Station, to convert the railroad into a wagon road, and again returning to Savannah. On the 26th it embarked on transports for Beaufort, S. C., and on the 31st started with the army on its march to Goldsboro, N. C. The regiment moved with the 15th Corps to Banbury, S. C., and thence with the 20th Corps to Columbia, then with the 17th Corps to Fayetteville, and thence to Goldsboro with the 20th Corps, where it arrived on the 23d March. It is estimated that during this campaign, besides making and repairing a great distance of corduroy road, the regiment destroyed and twisted the rails of thirty miles of railroad track, and built eight to ten important bridges and crossings. At Edisto the bridge was constructed under fire from the enemyís sharpshooters. At Hughes, Little and Big Lynch Creeks, the bridges and crossings were built by working in the night. At the latter place the water was waist deep; and where a foot crossing was made in one night nearly a mile in length, and the next day the same distance was corduroyed for the army trains to pass over. At Columbia the regiment was employed in destroying factories and stores; at Cheraw, ordnance and stores; at Fayetteville, the arsenal shops and stores.

Companies L and M, which had been detached from the regiment early in the summer of 1864, and placed upon the defenses at Stevenson, Ala. Having completed these defenses, which consisted of a system of eight block houses, were retained in the Army of the Cumberland, to be employed on the defenses of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and on the 28th November were moved to Elk River Bridge, and stationed in detachments along the line of the railroad, to Fort Rosecrans, at Murfreesboro, engaged when not interrupted by Hoodís army, in building block houses. During most of the month of December, these detachments, except the one at Elk River Bridge, were doing duty in Fort Rosecrans while Nashville and Murfreesboro were invested by the forces under Hood and Forrest, and were engaged in completing and repairing the works at the Fort. On the 15th December, a detachment of Company L, with several companies of an Illinois regiment which had been sent out to assist in bringing in a railroad train of provisions sent from Stevenson, Ala., were captured, after six hoursí hard fighting. Companies L and M left Murfreesboro March 1st, 1865, to join the regiment, and proceeded by rail via Louisville, Indianapolis, Crestline, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, to New York, where they took steamer to Beaufort, N. C., and thence by rail to Newbern, joining the regiment at Goldsboro, on the 25th of March.

On the 10th of April General Shermanís army broke camp, at Goldsboro, the regiment moving with the 20th Corps and soon after reached Raleigh, where it remained until the negotiations were completed for the surrender of Johnstonís army, and on the 30th moved with the 17th Corps, on the march to Washington, crossing the Roanoake River at Monroe, and passing through the cities of Petersburg, Richmond and Alexandria, Va. On the 24th, the regiment passed in the review of the armies at Washington, and went into camp near Georgetown, D.C. Early in June it was ordered to Louisville, Ky., to report to Major General Thomas, commanding the Department of the Cumberland, and was ordered to Nashville, Tennessee where it arrived July 1st. There the regiment was employed out of service and ordered to this State, arriving at the rendezvous, at Jackson, September 25th, and on the 1st of October was paid off and disbanded.

 

 

 

BATTLES AND SKIRMISHES

 

Location Date

Mill Spring, Ky. January 19, 1862
Farmington, Miss. May 9, 1862
Siege of Corinth May 10 to 31, 1862
Perryville, Ky. October 8, 1862
Lavergne, Tenn. January 1, 1863
Chattanooga, Tenn. October 6, 1863
Siege of Atlanta, Ga. July 22 to September 2, 1864
Savannah, Ga. December 11 to 21, 1864
Bentonville, N.C. March 19, 1865

 

OFFICERS OF THE ENGINEERS AND MECHANICS

FROM THE GRAND RIVER VALLEY

Name Rank

William P. Innis Colonel
William H. De Camp Surgeon
Barker Borden Captain (resigned February 14,1862)
Silas Canfield Captain (resigned July 12, 1862)
Heman Parmerlee Captain (resigned July 30, 1862)
Wright L. Coffinberry Captain
Perrin V, Fox Captain
James W. Sligh Captain (died from wounds Nov. 15, 1863
Lucius F. Mills Captain
James D. Robinson Captain
John W. McCrath Captain
John W. Williamson Captain
Joseph C. Herkner Captain
William S. Nevins Captain
Andrew B. Coffinberry Captain
John W. Williamson First Lieutenant
James D, Robinson First Lieutenant
Joseph C. Huckner First Lieutenant
Lucius F. Mills First Lieutenant
Albert H. Kimball First Lieutenant (resigned Aug. 18, 1862)
Albert B. Culver First Lieutenant
Henry F. Williams First Lieutenant
William S. Nevins First Lieutenant
Charles W. Calkins First Lieutenant
Albert Wells First Lieutenant
Benjamin A. Colton First Lieutenant
James M. Sligh First Lieutenant
William Bettinghouse First Lieutenant
Elias A York First Lieutenant
Albert B. Culver First Lieutenant (resigned Jan. 8, 1864)
John W. McCrath Second Lieutenant
Edwin Baxter Second Lieutenant (honorably discharge for disability Feb. 16, 1864
William T. Hess Second Lieutenant
Albert B. Culver Second Lieutenant
William S. Nevins Second Lieutenant
Henry T. Williams Second Lieutenant
Charles S. Wooding Second Lieutenant
Lyman I. McCrath Second Lieutenant

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 12 June 2010
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/everett1878/1stMichEM.html