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D. H. Patton, U.S.V.
Colonel D. H. Patton, U.S.V.
Colonel D. H. Patton, whose proudest title is that of " The Hero of
Jonesborough's Skirmish-Line," was born November 26, 1837, near
Flemingsburg, Kentucky. His boyhood days were spent upon the farm and
attending the village schools. In 1857 the family moved to Indiana, taking
up their residence at Waveland, Montgomery County, where David, then in
his twentieth year, entered the Waveland Collegiate Institute, completing
a scientific course in 1860, when he immediately entered upon the study of
medicine. While engaged in the study of his chosen profession, Fort Sumter
was bombarded; following this came the disastrous defeat of the Federal
forces at Bull Run. The future colonel laid aside his books, relinquished
his cherished ambitions for the present, and with twelve others hastened
to New Albany to join the Thirty-eighth Indiana, already organized and
ready for the field. The regiment passed into Kentucky, and after
innumerable skirmishes and marching and countermarching for nearly
eighteen hundred miles they were face to face with the Confederates at
Perryville, where a battle was fought. It was the fate of the
Thirty-eighth Indiana to bear a conspicuous part on that field, where
their percentage of loss was as great as that of either of the contending
armies at Waterloo. Of the color-bearer and guard, Patton and Sullivan
alone stood erect, and the former, as Colonel Scribner will testify, could
touch the colors any time during the engagement. Of the seven that lay
upon the ground, five were killed outright and one dangerously wounded.
The flag-staff was shot in two twice, and the colors were shot into shreds
on that day.
Their next severe engagement was Stone River, where the colors were
pierced by thirty-one balls, and private Patton again distinguished
himself so much that he was promoted. The regiment participated in the
capture of Lookout Mountain and the " battle in the clouds," in which they
again distinguished themselves. The regiment served in the Atlanta
campaign, participating in all the battles till that city was taken. In
the battle of Jonesboro ugh Lieutenant Patton rendered signal service, and
received the highest praise of his commanding officer, being styled " the
hero of Jonesborough's skirmish-line." To fully understand the importance
of the service rendered, it must be understood that Jonesborough was the
key to Atlanta, and that certain works lying in front of Carlin's brigade
were the key to Jonesborough, and Carlin's brigade was ordered to take the
works. Two regiments were ordered to attack, but were repulsed with heavy
loss. Two more were ordered to the attack, who were also repulsed; but
they had succeeded in getting close enough to the works to learn that an
abatis lay just in front of it that would have to be torn away to make
room for the assaulting column. General Carlin ordered Lieutenant-Colonel
Griffin to take the Thirty-eighth, as it was all there was left, and take
the works. Colonel Griffin ordered Company G, Captain H. F. Perry, and
Company H, Lieutenant David H. Patton, as skirmishers, to take advantage
of the smoke and gathering shades of evening, reserve their fire, to move
as noiselessly as possible, tear away the abatis, and open a way to carry
the works. Captain Perry fell early in the advance, but Lieutenant Patton
and skirmishers cleared away the abatis, and the Thirty-eighth carried the
works. To the bravery of Colonel Patton on that occasion, Colonel Griffin,
in his farewell address to the regiment, feelingly alludes when he says, "
||To the brave boys I can but say
that everything is due to their valor on the field; and remember
that you have a leader in the commander of Jonesborough's gallant
skirmish-line," meaning Captain Patton, who was then the ranking
officer and in command.
After the fall of Atlanta the
Thirty-eighth went with Sherman to the sea; from Savannah they
marched into North Carolina and fought the battle of Bentonville,
where the senior officer, Captain Lowe, fell, leaving the regiment
in command of Captain Patton, who brought it to victory.
While in camp at Goldsborough, Captain Patton was elected colonel by
his brother officers, and received his commission as such. His
military record is a heritage that his children will prize above
gold and silver, and will stimulate them to noble deeds and
After the close of the war, having been mustered out with his regiment,
Colonel Patton resumed the study of medicine, graduating from the Chicago
Medical College in 1867, since which time, up to 1890, he has been in the
continuous practice of his profession at Remington, Indiana. He is at
present a member of Congress from the Tenth Indiana District, and is well
and favorably known.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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