98th Ohio Infantry Battle Letter – Marietta, Ga. July 1st, 1864 – “A truce was had to bury our dead. It was a sad task and a hard one as the smell was sickening.”

This 2 page letter written in nice dark ink is from John L. Erwin who enlisted into Company F of the 98th Ohio Infantry in August of 1862. By the end of the war he had been promoted to 1st Lieut. In our letter he writes as 1st Sergt. “In the field near Marietta, Ga. July 1st, 1864” The whole letter has excellent content and here it is:

In the Field Near Marietta, Ga.
July 1st, 1864.

Dear Brother,
                       I hastily write you a line tonight to let you know that I am still among the living and in the enjoyment of reasonable health though my throat is quite sore tonight. Since last I wrote you we have had some heavy work. On the 27th our Brigade charged on the Rebel center, but was repulsed. The Brigade lost over 400 men. Our Regt. lost 1 killed and 40 wounded, two of whom died soon after. Our Co. lost 1 killed & 7 wounded which was the heaviest of any in the Regt. Killed J. D. McMillin, wounded James T. Cornelius in arm, N. H. Baker in leg, Theodore Wells in side, David A. Guthrie bruised knee, David Palmer right arm, John T. McCombs, William R. Ford slight in arm. The two Regts. in our front gave way when our Regt. was from 50 to 100 yds. of the Rebel works and came back in disorder. Our men lay down and held their line, which we afterward fortified by lying on our bellies and gradually worked a hole for our men and from that on till we got up a formidable work in plain view of the Rebel works and about 100 yds. from our Co. The fire here was warm all the time, and we were obliged to lie very close. Day before yesterday a truce was had to bury our dead. It was a sad task and a hard one as the smell was sickening. I assisted for awhile. Many of our dead were in a few feet of the works. About 3 o’clock that night, the Rebels undertook to charge our works, but the sheet of fire that rolled from our breastworks was too lasting and they gave way. One man in Co. D was killed. Last night we were relieved from the front line and have been resting today. I must close. May God bless you.

Sincerely yours,
John L. Erwin

The boys are well.

#L691OH.7-1-64 – Price $350

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