Ayers (Alexander M.) Papers, 1864
1 Item

Administrative Information

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Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.

Cite As:Alexander M. Ayers Papers, 1864, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-E8-d

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 1996.037

Processed by: Emily Brickhouse, June 2002

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Alexander M. Ayers wrote to his wife (June 27, 1864; 2 ½ pages) about the horrific losses the Army of the Tennessee, under the command of Major General William T. Sherman, endured during the battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Lieutenant Alexander M. Ayers mustered into service on September 3, 1862 with the rest of the 125th Illinois Infantry. He was the Regimental Quarter Master. Ayers’ regiment was apart of the Army of the Ohio and the Army of the Cumberland serving with Major General William T. Sherman throughout the Atlanta Campaign and the subsequent march to the sea. In June 1864, Ayers’ regiment participated in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated with his army to Kennesaw Mountain after the battle of Dallas to protect the Western & Atlantic Railroad, the supply line of Atlanta. Major General William T. Sherman, commander of the Army of the Tennessee, believed Johnston’s arch-shaped line was thinly defended and decided to attack frontally. Artillery was utilized first and then the infantry was sent in. However there was a time delay between the bombardment and frontal assault. The Union soldiers made successful headway across the Burnt Hickory Road where they encountered pickets but could not force the Confederates out of their entrenchments. The fighting was over by noon and Sherman’s army lost three thousand men while the Confederates had five hundred causalities. Ayers mustered out on June 9, 1865.

Scope and Content Note

This letter, written June 27, 1864 describes the scenes Ayers witnessed during the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. “Our loss in officers is the Col 3 Capt & one Lieut & at this time the No of men not known but generally believed to be over 50 men. the loss in the Brig supposed to be near 350 It has been really a bloody day & with all our loss did not gain a single thing nor (probably) killed one man among the enemy.” Ayers was not in the battle himself but worked in the field hospital all during the battle and afterwards. “The sene in the Hospital was really heart sickening I was there about 3 hours & saw much of them suffering it is terrible.”

The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.