The Road to Atlanta: Another Polk

Brig. Gen. Lucius Polk
Brig. Gen. Lucious Polk

While the fighting raged at the bend of Hardee’s Salent at the Latimar House, on the south end of Hardee’s line above Mud Creek, the men of Cleburne’s Division worked to construct fortifications in the driving rain. Their work was soon interrupted by artillery fire of Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. For more than an hour, they dueled with the Mississippi gunners of the Warren Light Artillery, pounding the line at a range of less than 200 yards.

During this engagement, Brigadier General Lucious Eugene Polk, “reached the rear of Lowrey’s Brigd. A solid shot struck him in the leg tearing away the calf, and breaking the mall bone. This shot passed through his horse killing him instantly.” The grievously wounded Polk fell into the mud in horrific shock and pain.

Polk was the nephew of the Bishop, but unlike his more famous uncle, had proven himself a capable battlefield commander. Captain Irving Buck on the General Cleburne’s staff noted that the loss of Polk was “one…which was never repaired…. He was an able, intelligent young officer, who had served with marked distinction in all the battles in which the division had been engaged.”

Polk was the senior brigade commander in Cleburne’s Division—indeed, commanding the brigade that Cleburne himself had first led. Polk survived his wounding, but lost his leg and never returned to service, spending the rest of the war at his home just outside of Columbia, Tennessee.

He would see his command once more during the war, as they marched toward Franklin during the coming November.

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