About Charles H McCleary
Capture of flag of 4th Florida Infantry (C.S.A.), while in advance of his lines.
A veteran of the bloody Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Vicksburg, McCleary met his greatest test in December 1864 at the Battle of Nashville.
McCleary and the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry were part of McMillen’s Brigade, the unit ordered to charge Shy’s Hill, the Rebels’ key defensive position. McMillen ordered the men to fix bayonets and silently scale the hillside, holding their fire and shouts until the enemy’s artillery was immediately before them.
McCleary sprinted out in front of his regiment, scrambling for the summit. General George A. Thomas and his staff watched the gallant brigade dash headlong into Confederate cannon fire. Through the smoke and flames, the field command saw flags begin to wave wildly as a loud cheer went up. With McCleary leading the way, McMillen’s Brigade smashed through the defensive works. McCleary attacked the artillery man whose cannon bored down on them. He then assaulted the color bearer, capturing the flag of a Florida regiment. The courageous assault turned the tide of battle.