97th Reg. OVI

Corporal Andros Guille's Service in the 
97th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment 

The 97th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment was recruited in the Ohio counties of Muskingum, Morgan, Guernsey, and Coshocton during the months of July and August, 1862. Andros Guille enlisted as a Corporal in Company K for three years on 11 August 1862, and received a bounty payment of $25.00 and a premium bonus of $2.00. He became the Company Clerk. The 97th OVI Regt. was mustered into the service at Camp Zanesville on the 1st and 2nd of September. 

In a week, the 97th Regt. moved to Covington, Ky., then to Louisville, when on September 22, it was brigaded into the Army of the Ohio (later, Army of the Cumberland), then in pursuit of Bragg’s rebel forces. On the 4th of October, the 97th Regt. fought in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, driving the Confederate forces back. After breaking off the pursuit of the retreating rebel forces, the army went into camp at Nashville, Tennessee. 

On the 26th of December the Union forces commenced a movement on Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on the 27th, the 97th Regt. met and engaged the enemy’s outposts at La Vergne, 15 miles from Nashville. There, the Regt. participated in the battle of Stones River, Tennessee from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, losing 29 men killed and wounded. After the battle, the Union forces went into a six-month encampment near Murfreesboro.

On the 23rd of June, the Union forces moved south in response to the re-attacking Confederate Army units, forcing them back to Chattanooga. After a long pursuit, the 97th Regt. became the first Federal unit to cross the Chattanooga River, and planted the U.S. flag at the former Rebel Headquarters.

The Confederate Army was driven out of Chattanooga, but managed to regroup and defeat the Union Army at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, and force them back to Chattanooga. In this retreat, the Federal forces lost Lookout Mt. and Missionary Ridge to the rebels, and the two-month siege of Chattanooga began.

By the 24th of September, in Chattanooga with their backs to the Tennessee River, the Army of the Cumberland was surrounded by Confederate troops concentrated in a semi-circle extending from the base of Lookout Mt., across Chattanooga Valley, then north along the foot of Missionary Ridge. Confederate artillery batteries were placed on top of Lookout Mt. and Missionary Ridge. Eventually, the Rebel units on Lookout Mt. were attacked from the north and forced to consolidate their forces on Missionary Ridge.

The Battle of Missionary Ridge commenced at 1:30 p.m. on the 23rd of November, when a long line-abreast of infantrymen advanced from the Federal rifle pits to positions mid-way between the two opposing forces, capturing the high ground at Orchard Knob. (Amidst the sharp-shooting, the regimental postmaster sprinted from man to man, delivering letters received that morning from home.) Gen. Sheridan’s 2nd Division, which included the 97th Ohio, was then halted at the southern base of Orchard Knob. Corporal Guille was in the line of riflemen with Co. K.

At 3:40 p.m. on the 25th of November, at the sound of 6 cannon shots from Orchard Knob, Federal forces were ordered to advance, again in a line-abreast, but only to the Rebel rifle pits at the base of Missionary Ridge ,about a mile away, and halt there. The advance commenced as ordered; but at the rifle pits, the infantrymen took control of the battle on their own, overran the Rebels, and on impulse, swept up the almost sheer face of the 600-foot bluff. The 97th Ohio was in the second line of attacking forces, and stormed up the face of the ridge (just south of where I-24 currently cuts through Missionary Ridge), quickly catching up and mingling with the troops in the first line. The ferocity and speed of the unexpected attack unnerved the Confederate troops, who fell back toward the summit of the ridge. Artillery batteries at the summit fired down on the advancing Union troops with canister shot. Now and then the Rebels would halt and loose a blast of musketry. The soldiers fought each other with bayonets, clubbed muskets, and rocks as they surged up the ridge. Federal forces captured the summit, and turned the cannons to fire on the retreating Rebels. In this battle the 97th Ohio lost 156 men, killed and wounded.

Cpl. Andros Guille was wounded during the advance up the ridge by a fragment of shell, which carried away his entire nose, upper lip, and a large portion of his upper jaw, and inflicted other wounds. Three surgical operations in 1864 were unsuccessful in repairing the damage to his face. The surgeon then constructed a prosthetic device, consisting of an artificial nose and lip (covered by an artificial mustache) attached to a pair of spectacles, which he wore for the rest of his life. To read a contemporaneous account of the treatment, click .

He was mustered out of the Army on 14 April 1864, and was granted an Invalid Pension of $8.00 per month for being "...totally incapacitated for obtaining his subsistence by manual labor." Andros had to periodically justify his pension by obtaining notarized letters from former members of his Company attesting to the action in which he received his wounds. His pension gradually increased over the years to $50.00 per month, but it took the passage of a Congressional Act, H.R. 1340, in 1882 before he started receiving that amount.

Notes: The background images used on this page are from a photograph of the monument erected near the brow of Missionary Ridge, commemorating the actions of the 97th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Battles for Chattanooga.
The background music, "We Are Coming, Father Abraham", was sung by the 97th OVI when they were parading through Cincinnati, Ohio, on 8 September 1862, on their way to Kentucky to start in pursuit of the Confederate forces.

To see the 97th O.V.I. battle flags, click

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