Diary Record of
May 10, 1861, Stephen W. Rutledge and friend Frank Lawrenced joined
Confederate forces of Giles County TN. Oct 19, 1861, Giles County men
formed Company K of the 32nd Tennessee Infantry, Captains Thomas Hanna, John
Brownlow and James Fogg, commanding.
Oct 27, 1861 the 32nd marched to Mitchelville, TN, then on to Bowling Green, KY where they stayed in winter quarters until Dec 9.
Feb 13-16, 1862 the 32nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment participated in the defense of Fort Donaldson. The battallian put up stiff resistance and suffered light casualties, yet were surrendered to General Grant's forces.
The 32nd along with 1500 Confederate soldiers were transported by steamer to Union Camp Morton where they were prisoners until Sep 12, 1862. Then they were transported down river to Arkansas where they were exchanged for Confederate prisoners. They made their way across the Mississippi River to the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg.
Oct 28, 1862 the regiment reorganized and posted to Murfreesboro, TN. During the Battle of Stones River, Stephen's company was detailed to Wartrace to guard the bridges across the Duck River. The remainder of 1862 and 1863 the troops fought many battles, but eventually had to retreat into Georgia.
Feb 20, 1864 Stephen sufficiently recovered from injuries and was re-assigned to the Pioneer Division, which was at Rome, GA. Upon arrival at Rome, Stephen was then assigned to Captain McElwee's Co., which was soon moved to Dalton, GA.
Feb 21, 1864 they marched toward Union forces near Tunnel Hill. "We had marched about one mile when we took grapeshot from Union batteries a mile to our right." "Double quick" said Captain McElwee, "as we ran up a hill to engage Union forces a half mile away. With a battery and heavy gunfire we forced the Union troops to flee back through a gap in the mountain."
Mar 30, 1864 a union shell killed Captain McElwee and wounded several soldiers, including Stephen. Stephen was transported to Buckner Hospital in Newman, GA., about thirty miles NE of La Grange. Then Sep 27, 1864 Stephen was retired by Army Sergeants, Records show he was still in Columbus, GA until November 1864.
Like many soldiers whose families lived behind Union lines, Stephen had to walk home. In 1863 his family was surrounded by Union soldiers in Giles County. They loaded a wagon and moved to Mt. Pleasant in Lawrence Co., TN.
Stephen, on his way home, was captured a second time by Union Troops and put on a train. When the train stopped for water, Stephen escaped into the woods and continued finding his way home. On the way home he wrote about the terrible carnage suffered by Atlanta at the hands of Union General Sherman, and the surrender of Rebel General Hood to Union General LaVerne.
Stephen, with many close calls, eventually made it safely through Union lines to his home at Mt. Pleasant, Lawrence County, TN.
NOTE: There are large gaps in Stephen's diary, especially during 1863. Indications are that the army fought numerous battles between Georgia and Tennessee, but were finally ordered try to defend Georgia.
Submitted by: Don Kelly
Gggrandson of Stephen W. Rutledge