From the Battle of Pickett’s Mill: Buckeyes on the Dead Line

Flag of the 49th Ohio
Flag of the 49th Ohio

In the nightmarish hell that was Pickett’s Mill, no other unit suffered like the 49th Ohio did, losing 203 men out of the 404 that plunged into the fight.

Lt. Samuel Gray

The 49th, as part of Gibson’s brigade, plunged into the slaughter pen of a ravine after Hazen’s brigade had defined “the dead line.” As the Buckeyes came within range of the Confederates, Lt. Col. Samuel Gray reported, “I could see the position of the enemy on the other side and a line of our troops lying below the crest of the hill. I then gave the order to charge, and the line advanced on the double-quick, maintaining a perfect line; passing over the line on the side of the hill, advanced to within ten paces of the works of the enemy, and at one or two points got within bayonets reach of the rebels.”

However it was futile, and they soon joined Hazen’s men on the ground, seeking protection among the rocks and trees.

1 Response to From the Battle of Pickett’s Mill: Buckeyes on the Dead Line

  1. I have the Ohio Veteran’s Medal issued to John M. Brish posthumously. Brish was a member of Company K of the 49th OVI. John took a bullet through the neck less then 10 feet from the rebel lines and died instantly according to a newspaper article written by Capt. James Patterson…
    For the Seneca Advertiser.
    “Cherish the Memory of the Heroic Dead.”
    Died on the battle field of Pickett”s Mills,
    Georgia, on the 27th of May 1864, John M.
    Brish, in the 29th year of his age. The de-
    ceased served three months in Western Vir-
    ginia, in the 21st O.V.I. After the expira-
    tion of his time he returned with his Regt.
    and then joined the 81st Regt., at Lima, and
    marched to Missouri, serving as 1st Lieut. in
    one of its companies. Not liking the service
    in that region, he resigned his commission
    and returned to his home near Tiffin. Soon
    after, he followed the 49th O.V.I. under Col.
    Wm. H. Gibson, then on the march in Tenn-
    essee, and enlisted in the company of Capt.
    James M. Paterson, to which he was attached
    at the time of his death. The following is an
    account of his death by the Captain:

    In the Field near Ackworth Ga.,
    June 9th 1864 }
    Mrs. Wm. Brish.- Respected Madam: It be-
    comes my painful duty to inform you that
    your son, John M. Brish, is dead, his mission
    on earth is ended, all of him that was earth-
    ly now fills a hero’s grave on the terrible
    field of “Pickett’s Mills.” He was shot
    through the neck when within ten feet of the
    rebel rifle pits, his death was instantaneous.
    It was on the 27th of May at near 6 o’clock
    P.M. I was compelled to leave his body on
    the field, which they held for six days,
    when they in turn were driven off. Our
    dead had all been buried by them in a de-
    cent manner in trenches.
    I deeply sympathize with you in your be-
    reavement and can say as words of condo-
    lence to you that your son is gone, but that
    he died a true hero, at his post. I say hero,
    for he had won that name on more then a
    dozen hard fought fields. But such is the
    ways of war and our cherished jewels are
    thus plucked from us.
    I am with great respect, Madam, yours & c.
    Capt. 49th O.V.I.
    Rob Grant
    Queensland, Australia

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