In the April 14 letter to his brother, Porter says that “the 8th Battery did good service in this battle without the loss of a single man,” adding, “Our battery was in the fight when they made one of their most gallant charges attempting to drive us into the Tennessee River or take us all prisoners but they found it a little too heavy for the artillery…as they came up we first mowed them down. I was told afterwards by one of the prisoners that they lost more men on that one charge than they lost the hole day.” Too delicate a subject for his sister to read, Porters confided to his brother, “The most horrible scene that any mortal being ever witnessed is the battle field. To hear the pleading of the wounded and the groans of the dying and then those that have bin toren to pieces by shells and cannon balls. I volunteered my sirvises one whole day in hauling the dead and wounded from the field. Some places they lay as thick as cross ties. Some regiments would bury their own men in other places they would dig a hole about 3 feet deep and as long as they wished it and place them with their face down. Some time put one or two wagon loads in each place and then according to Army regulations fire over their graves.” Porter concludes by telling about a strange accident on the battlefield that killed an Ohio boy, a friend named Leonard Ulery. Ulery had been “boxing up some ammunition” when “some soldiers unloading a wagon load of muskets that had bin gathered up off the battlefield and was throwing them down on a pile out of the wagon (when) one happened to go off and shot him. The ball entered in his left side passed through his lung and was taken out his back.”
Twenty-one-year old Jacob M. Porter had enlisted as private in the 8th Ohio Battery in January 1862 and was promoted through the ranks. In September 1863 he became a captain in the 3rd U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery but for some unexplained reason was reduced to 2nd lieutenant in December 1863. Porter was discharged from service in December 1864. Typed transcriptions of both fine battle letters accompany.
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