Corporal James Oxley
A History of Company
H. 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry
On the morning of the 6th of May we brok camp at 4 at four in the morning and all we had for breakfast was a little mush & molases. We marched to Rock Spring where we had three days rations given us which was to last us 6 days. With this we marched to Big Sandy four miles beyond Rock Springs. At this we wer expecting an atact from the Rebs. We remained fear for several days and then On the eighth Gen Grant reviewed the troops.
May tenth broke up camp. E. Hodgin, W. Mitchell, J. Boyer returned to duty. We marched all day & camped within 18 miles of the Vixburg & Jackson railroad. At this point Gen Sherman pass us. He had with him the 4th 8th 9th 12th 25th 26th 30th 35th Iowa Inft Regiments & the forth Iowa Cavelry All ragiously and confidentially pressing on to meat the enemy who wer but a fiew miles from us. In one advance May 12 broke up camo marched in the dirction of Edwards Station. March about 8 miles when we met the Rebl pickets and shelled them vigerously for a short time. When the line of battle was formed we advanced cautiously across an open field in the direction of Edward Station.
And as we was marching with unflinching steps into where every one suposed (except the Generals) there wer Reb in abundence many hearts beet rapidly and wild with dellight when we reached the woods. We made sufficient serch to ascertain that there wer no Rebs in force closer than five miles. We made ourselves as comfortable as posible and retired for the night not nowing what the morning might bring forth. We arose early in the morning as all soldiers do. Our scanty meat was soon served and the word was fall in fall in and we was soon in line of march. Crossed a small crick went about one mile further & formed in line of battle and deployed as skermishess in a peace of woods so thick that Jeff Davis himself could not go threw in one week. We remained hear until after noon when sudent as a clap of thunder came the word by the right flank double quick march and we went out of there as if the devil was after us. We had not proceded very far when we came to where the Pioneer Corp had cut a road threw the wood which we passed threw and soon found ourselves on the main road leading to Jackson Miss.
We discovered afterwards that this movement was one of those masterly peaces of stratigy of which this campain is so full. While we was making this division of the enemy Sherman had advanced his Corp to Raymond where he met a portion of the enemy defeated them and was pushing on to Jackson while we wer holding a large portion of the enemy at Edwards Station who wer expecting us in on them every moment. We followed as rapidly as possible and on the 13th pased threw Raymond and on the railroad. We learned hear that Sherman had taken Jackson.
We then turned for Vicksburg where we expected to drive the lion into his den and plac the chain onhim. We had met the enemy at severel places and defeated him in every encounter and now we had the possesion of the rail road between the two principal towns in the state and the only avaleable rout in which the enemy can get suplies. We had killed captured and destroyed one forth of there army and this place it now appears that it is but a matter of a few well directed blows to lay the giant who had bin daring us defiance at our feet. After resting a few hours at Clinton moved stedely on. We met a small body of Rebs at the next station which is severel miles from Clinton but they like all others which we had met so often found it convenient to have bisness in some other quarter. We camped on a >very high eminence and lay in line of battle all night. John W. Carmichel, Joseph Carnahan was sick. George P. Roder detailed on ordinence train.
May 16th 1863
We broke up camp and marched at 8 oclock. We had proceded about four miles when there began to be indications of a battle which are well understood by every soldier. We wer soon ordered into line of battle and formed in a open field clost at a dense undergroth of vines & brush which are every where to be seen in the state of Miss. The skermishers was thrown out forward and soon found the Rebs laying in mass in the hollows beyond the field and the boom of cannon to our left and front awoke every suspition in our mind that something was about to happen. Our first brigade went around to the right of the wood in our front and sudently came upon the force which wer concealed in the hollow beyond our position. The oppened battle immediately commensed and soon the clatter of muscatry was heard with an ocasionial boom of cannon which is the precav? Of a bayonet charge. The contest waxed warmer and warmer. The cannon worked more vigarous when a deefining yell is heard above the din of battle. The battery was captured after a desperate struggle and the Rebs wer forced to retreat. Eleven oclock the battle rage with intensesty as if the two contending parties wer in the last struggle of life and national existance. By this time both the right & senter was engaged and Osterhaus on our front and on the flank of the enemy kept up a constant fire. By this time we had found out the enemies position and it was evident that they was massing there forces in our center.
At this time the 2nd brigade of Hoveys Division was ordered in and we darted in to the woods as eager as houns for the chase and after many manevers from right to left in changing our position as the cercumstanses of the last seemed indicate we finely found ourselves emerging from the woods into an open field. The first brigade went still in our front and a little to the right. The 47th Indiana and our fifty six Ohio on our left and 28th Iowa on our left we crossed the fence in this shape and rapedly crossed the field. When a short hault was ordered and we was informed that in a fiew hundred yards wer the Rebs. Strongly posted they had a battery which was for us to charge and capture it make it safe for men to par? threw that field. The enemy was fast massing his forces more left when the 2nd Iowa was ordered to charge a six gun battery which was only a fiew hundred yards in our front.
No sooner had the gallent sons of Iowa received the orders to charge till they went not willing that the fare fame of Iowa soldiers deminished rushed like wild and enraged tigers upon the men & batteries. Giving at the same time one of those furious yells which startled fear there ?dinging the Rebs and they wer driven like chaf before the wind.
There guns wer captured and they was fleeing before us when alas the right gave way and we was flanked on eather side and was soon almost surrounded so that it was with grate difeculty that we excaped getting all taken prisoner. At this fearful spar we lost some of our brightest jewels of the 24th Iowa. Capt William Carbee fell hear whil he was trying to escape. Of his bravery for there was none braver or truer than he to his men he was kind to his country was true and liked by all who knew him. We lost many valuable men of whome it is but just to say that better truer or more obedient men wer not to be any where in any country. The names of the men of our Company in the Battle of Champions Hill May 16th are as follow
F. A. Jones
After this blody and fearful charge was made the scattering fragment of the regiment. Was picked up and gathered together and we pursued the fleeing Rebs for a distance of 2 miles when we stoped for the night. Sadly that night we trooped together ?ating on the many dangers of the day and feeling deep down in our hearts of loved ones at home as the sad news reaches them of the fall of husbands fathers & brothers.
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