This Day in Dayton, 20 June
From June 10 to July 2, 1864, Sherman’s army carried out operations against the heavily fortified Confederate position atop Kenesaw Mountain. On June 19, the 72nd Indiana Volunteer Regiment, with men from Sheffield and Lauramie townships, took part in the first assault, an attempt to strike across Noonday Creek. As the men moved forward on foot, the skies opened and rain fell so heavily that they did not see the creek until they reached it. The Confederates opened fire from the opposite bank. The creek was not wide, but it was deep, and the opposite bank was higher than the one where the 72nd stood. On their stomachs in the woods, the men fired across the creek. The smoke was soon so thick that neither side could see across the creek, but fired at the flashes made from the other’s guns. The Spencer repeating rifles, which could fire seven shots in succession, soon proved their superiority over the single-shot rifles of the Confederates. When the Brigade’s artillery battery opened fire on the Confederate works, they found some of their ammunition had become damp, causing it to fall short and explode within the ranks of the 72nd. Finally the infantry on the right crossed the creek and forced the Confederates to retire. The fighting at Kenesaw Mountain continued every day that early June of 1864 as Sherman tried to find a way to drive Johnston from the mountain. The 72nd was involved in several assaults, and also did picket duty. On June 20, 1864, when Minty’s Cavalry Brigade became trapped, the 72nd was among those who went to their rescue.