The Flag of the Seventy-Eighth

Transcribed by Larry Stevens

Headquarters 3d Division, 17th A.C.
Before Atlanta, Ga. 7th August, 1864

About one year ago it became my pleasant duty to present on behalf of the ladies of Zanesville a beautiful flag to my old regiment, the Seventy-Eighth Ohio Infantry. In the desperate engagement of the 22nd of July, 1864, near Atlanta, I had the pleasure of witnessing with what pride the old regiment flaunted that flag in the eyes of the maddened foe, and with what determined courage they defended it; when in the heat of a bloody hand to hand encounter, the traitorous scoundrels tried to wrest from them that beautiful emblem of Liberty. The rebel effort to gain possession of this flag was one of the bloodiest and most desperate ever witnessed. The color guard consisted of Sergeant Russell Bethel, color bearer; Sergeant James R. Earich, Corporals A.H. Wallace, A.G. Shriver, John B. Barnett, John W. Spring and William Hadden. During the engagement Corporals A.H. Wallace and Adam G. Shriver were killed, and all the rest wounded. In the last part of the encounter the rebels seized the colors while in the hands of Sergeant Bethel (a braver and truer man never lived), and the rest of the guard being shot down, it seemed for a time doubtful as to whether the flag would be retained. Bethel is as strong as he is brave, and in the absence of other weapons, he used his large fists to good purpose, and released his colors from the vile grasp of the dirty rebels. But they soon rushed upon him again, and again seized his flag, at the same time wounding him in both legs and one arm, yet he held to his flag with an undying grasp, and still used his fists as best he was able. At this point a rebel was about to thrust his bayonet into the gallant Bethel, when Captain John Orr, of Company H, came to his rescue, and with his sword hewed down Bethel's assailants and again released the colors from rebel grasp. The Seventy-Eighth still proudly waved their colors, though stained with rebel blood, and that of the whole color guard, and though torn by rebel hands and pierced and riven with rebel bayonets and bullets; yet the regiment is more proud than ever of their good old flag, even in its rags. The ladies of Zanesville may be assured that if the rebels ever possess themselves of that beautiful banner, they will purchase it at an enormous cost of life and blood. On the 22d ult. they left hundreds of the slain on the ground that was the scene of the conflict. Very respectfully, 

M.D. Leggett, Brigadier General

From: Military History of Ohio. Illustrated in Editions by Counties. Soldiers Edition ..... Muskingum County. pg. 309. H.H. Hardesty Publisher. Toledo. 1888

Adam Shriver 78th OVI  Photo
Corporal Adam G. Shriver
Company H 78th OVVI
Killed in action July 22nd 1864
at the Battle of Atlanta
while guarding the colors
at Leggett's Hill
Image courtesy of E. Chris Evans.
Web Publishing Copyright © 2011 Larry Stevens

Web Publishing Copyright © 1995 Larry Stevens

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Last updated March 19 2011