03 March 2011

The real James P. Fyffe

Photo Portrait of James P. Fyffe

Here's some relevant stuff James P. Fyfe who commanded the 59th OVI.
An excerpt from a letter he wrote to  his mother after Stone's River (he seems to have been a Brigadier by this point):

My old Regiment the 59th had its usual good fortune loosing very 
few men in all the contests.  I cannot hear of over five men being killed, 
about forty wounded, some few prisoners and a Missing, one thing remarkable 
about it is in the first days fight that Regiment was in the front line 
along side the 44th Indiana while the 15th Ohio and 86th Indiana were in 
another line away in the rear over one hundred yards, we were forced to fall 
back by being outflanked, and when the 59th Ohio and 44th Indiana began to 
fall back they were right close to the rebel lines yet did not have an 
Officer killed, and but few men, while the 13th Ohio had their Col. killed 
and three other Officers, they had 8 Officers killed and wounded out of 13 
all they had, they also had about 30 men killed and a great many wounded 
again in the last day fight in the great charge made by Breckenridges force, 
it just missed my Brigade, where it stood in a single line, without any 
Reserves, whatever, and fell about two hundred yards to then my right, where 
Col. Beattys with three Brigades in three lines were parted, sweeping them 
backward like fall leaves before a wintry wind, one after the other the 
lines were swept away, If it had fallen on me, in place of where it did, 
I do not see how a single man could have escaped of my Brigade, as it was, 
I only lost a few men, one of my Colonels was made prisioner as we fell back 
and a few others, but I was not going to describe the battle only to allude 
to what narrow escape my old Regiment had, but as I have told this much I 
will add that Breckenridges charge was intended to cut through our lines 
and get to the ford over Stone River and make prisioners of our Division, 
they succeeded in getting to the ford, turning our right but found themselves
in what the French call, a cul de sack, they found themselves in a bend of 
the river running around them as it were, while the opposite bank was lined 
with fifty pieces of Cannon, and dark with drawn masses of Infantry, I need 
not state what followed - A prisioner in Murfreesboro says when the 
retreating Colum reached the line of guards around the town that night, 
broke right through, and a confused mass went streaming through the town, 
refusing to obey any, and all orders, retreating South -
 See http://www.usgwarchives.org/oh/statewide/military/cw.htm for more

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