Showing posts from June, 2018

A Buckeye at Pea Ridge

Over the past 18 years, I have read through thousands of issues of Ohio's Civil War era newspapers searching out soldiers' correspondence, but recently I came across an unusual account that I thought would merit a blog post. In the first year of the war, most of Ohio's soldiers served either in the Shenandoah Valley or in Kentucky and Tennessee, but a few served in the far west, some serving in units from out of state. This extraordinary letter is from one of those few: Sergeant Moses T. Anderson of Holmes County, who was serving in Company B of the 59th Illinois Infantry. Letters from soldiers serving from out of state are not unusual, but battle accounts from engagements fought west of the Mississippi River have proven few and far between, at least in Ohio's newspapers, and that's what makes Anderson's letter special. Anderson's letter, published in the April 10, 1862 issue of the Holmes County Farmer , recounts his regiment's experience at the impor

“The wailing sound dies but slowly in my ears…”

One can imagine the scene- two Federal surgeons sit tiredly at a camp fire. It is Wednesday, September 24, 1862. The two exhausted men are in a regimental camp on Bolivar Heights overlooking Harper’s Ferry.  A mere week before, the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, had been fought just a few miles from where these two, surgeons of the 8 th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, now rested around the camp fire. Both surgeons, Thomas McEbright and Samuel Sexton, sat and wrote, searching for the words to explain to the folks back home what they had just lived through. It was a horror. Looking across the Potomac River into Maryland from Harper's Ferry- one of the most picturesque and historic spots in America.  “After some five days of excessive toil and professional labor with a back nearly broken from continued stooping, I take this first respite from my duties since the battle of last Wednesday near Sharpsburg to report you my version of the mastery as

Honoring Lieutenant Colonel Leroy Crockett, 72nd Ohio Infantry

     While reviewing issues of The Ohio Soldier , a National Tribune-like newspaper printed in Chillicothe during the 1880s and 1890s, I came across a couple of articles written by Captain John M. Lemmon of the 72nd Ohio.  Today's article contains a talk that Lemmon wrote for presentation to the 18th annual reunion of the 72nd Ohio, and which was read at the reunion by Private Orlin A. Harrison of Company A. The subject of the talk was Lieutenant Colonel Leroy Crockett, a rather notable character of the regiment.       Leroy Crockett was 28 years old when he was commissioned as major of the 72nd Ohio while serving as first lieutenant of Co. K (enlisted in Tiffin) in the 1st U.S. Chasseurs, also known as the 65th New York Infantry. Captain Lemmon wrote, " Major Crockett had great capacity as a drill master and as an officer to educate, drill, and fit his soldiers for the field. It was he, largely, who drilled and trained the 72 nd Ohio."  Colonel Crockett was captured t

A Hard Charge at 112 Degrees: Lovejoy Station

It was a hot Saturday night in Georgia...112 degrees in the shade, and General Kilpatrick's raid on Confederate communications south of Atlanta was on the cusp of turning into a first rate debacle. Surrounded on all sides by veteran Rebel infantry and troopers, Kilpatrick was out of options to maneuver, so he opted for blunt force. He would form his expedition into a solid column, and blast his way through the Confederates. In the vanguard, Kilpatrick chose  the hard riding cavalry brigade of three Ohio regiments (1st, 3rd, and 4th) led by one of his most experienced commanders, Colonel Eli Long.  The cavalry charge at Lovejoy Station ranks as one of the most dramatic cavalry actions of the Civil War, and Ohioans led the breakout.  Among those riding in the column was Norwalk resident Private George B. Squires of Company B, 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. In this extraordinary account originally published in the September 13, 1864 issue of the Norwalk Reflector , Squires reco

Receipt in full in red ink- Captain Warren P. Edgarton at Stones River

The Battle of Stones River, for a multitude of reasons, is my favorite Civil War battle to study, and like so many of the bloodiest battles of the war, there are certain stories, themes, and even legends that arise that become part of the lore and canon of the battle. Among my favorite stories are ones about the capture of flags and artillery pieces, the true trophies of battle, and that is the focus of today's post- the capture of Battery E, 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery by the Texans of Ector's brigade in the opening moments of the battle on December 31, 1862.  Union artillery in line at Stones River- author photo from May 2005.  One of the most infamous pieces of battlefield lore made the rounds of the Army of the Cumberland after the Battle of Stones River arose from the fact that the veteran troops of Brigadier General Richard W. Johnson's division had been surprised and routed at the outset of the battle. I have come across dozens of accounts from AotC ve

Indexing the Gallipolis Journal

I was thinking of just calling this blog post "Oh, the joys of indexing," but I figured that would probably elicit a collective yawn from much of my usual visitors although in all honesty, the blog post will share a bit of the joys I find from the slow painstaking work of constructing an index to the Civil War era correspondence in a newspaper. From the number of posts on this blog, you've already enjoyed the fruits of the indexing work- incredible accounts of the Civil War written by Ohioans. Now you can see a bit of how I discover these gems... Today, I finished going through the wartime issues of the Gallipolis Journal , a Republican newspaper in Gallia County that was a consistent supporter of the Union war effort. Located along the bustling Ohio River, Gallipolis was on the front lines of the war in the early days as western Virginia lay just across the river. Gallipolis on the Ohio River is circled in red on the map above. The Confederacy lay just across the ri