Civil War - An Account of Lucien Greathouse's Death

This letter is from the Illinois State Historical Library and contains a contemporary and possibly eye-witness account of Lucien's death. This does not have the feel of an eyewitness account. Assuming he was a musician, he would have been most likely on stretcher duty during the battle and might not have been present when Lucien was struck. I think this is likely based on first hand reports of the men present with Lucien and was the common consensus of the men regarding the event. - Davis Keeler

In the field near Atlanta, Ga.

Aug 3d 1864

Dear Nephew,

With pleasure I now indever to Say a few words to you by way of the silent pen. Yours bairing the date of the 25th of July came to my hand a few minutes a go finding me blest with good health & may sincere hope Is this small Epistol may Soon Reach its destiny & find you well.

Joseph we have been fighting the Rebels for the last few days vary hard on the 21st of July we had Quite a fight. the 48th alone Supported by nothing on our right. Charged a portion of their work[?] after standing under galling fire for one hour & our support now coming up we was Compelled to fall back to our works a distance of 3.000 yds in this Battle C C (2nd Lt. Christian C.] Monroe fell but I succeeded in getting him off the field I must say I mourn the loss of Cris, for he was a good & a brave man. he was highly esteamd through out the whole Regt. on the 22d the enemy charged our works and tried to swing both our right and left flanks. but we gave them a good and genteel whipping taking as estimated by General Logan 12 Thousan & 50 prinsoners. besides killing greate numbers, in this Battal our Colonel [Lucien Greathouse] was killed, poor fellow he was so good a Man. he was a brave & patriotic a Man as ever drew lifes breth. I lovd him as a brother for he always treated me as such. he fell amid the hotest of the contest with his sword in one hand & his hat in the other, cheering his never failing men to victory. fighting hard until night our Boys was vary tired of over heat, for it was a vary hot day. one Rebel Colonel Rode up to our works & demanded a surrender, but he soon fell to the ground, a victim to death & notorious trator to his country. God forbid that this ever is my lot. on the night of the 26th got marching orders to go to our extream Rite flank. all this other fighting was done on our extream left. So on the Morning of the 27th at 3 Oclock took our line of march for the afore said flank. arrived on the night of the 27th laid down took our rest. At next morning just day brake we arose advanct one mile. found the enemy in large force at 10. Oclock the enemy came upon us 3 colums deepe with doubel determination. but our old 15th A C being composed of good true as steel was undanted. So we Stood our ground & whipt them a gain wors than ever. they charged us 7 times but we repulst them as often. our Regt capturd the 19th Alas Colors. they charged rite into our ranks, So that we puled[?] them through our lines & capturd them, in this Battal Jackson Jenkins was killed a nothe good soldier. after the Battal was over there was found in the front of our Div[?], 2250 ded Rebels. besides a greate many wounded & taken prisoner. the loss of the Regt in the three days fighting is 136. Men killed & wounded. George Fields was slightly wounded also Lemuel Bryant. & others. I came out safe only got 2 holes in my clothes. Now Joseph this Campaign is the hardest of the war. I would love to see you & all the rest of my old friends. I am now chief Musician of the 48th. My pay is now 22 per month. Excuse me Joe for not writing sooner I hav writen you the last letter. if you & Julietta will get your photographs & send Me ile make you both a fine Ring a piece & send you. try Me & See. Give my regards to all who make inquiry of me write Soon & oblige your effectionate uncle

W H Odell

[William H Odell served in Co. "B" of the 48th Illinois. Pencil notation from the archivist identifies this as from Jonathan Blair Papers.]