Showing posts from October, 2018

Buckeyes Among Hawkeyes: Ohioans at Fort Donelson with the 2nd Iowa

The famous charge of the 2nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry upon the works of the strategic Confederate bastion of Fort Donelson, Tennessee on the afternoon of February 15, 1862 has been cited as one of the most poignant charges of the Civil War, and was the decisive event that convinced the Confederate commanders at Donelson to surrender their forces the following day to General Ulysses S. Grant, earning Grant the sobriquet of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.   An eyewitness of the charge wrote that “if fighting is grand, or bravery worthy of praise, then the Iowa 2nd has merited a name that history should extol.” (Letter from Captain Ensign Conklin, Co. C, Birge’s Sharpshooters {later 66 th Illinois Infantry}; The Evening Argus (Rock Island, Illinois), February 25, 1862, pg. 2)      The charge of the 2nd Iowa Infantry upon the Confederate works at Fort Donelson, Tennessee on February 15, 1862.  A number of Ohioans were serving with the 2nd Iowa at the time. (Kurz & Allison)    

Grant's Bodyguard: An Illinois Trooper at Fort Donelson

Continuing on last week's theme of brushes with the legends of the Civil War, this week's post features a letter from Illinois trooper Private George M. Bradley of Co. A, 4th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. Bradley, a native of Akron, Ohio, enlisted September 26, 1861 in the 4th Illinois Cavalry and served three years as a Private, mustering out November 3, 1864.  Perhaps one of the most noteworthy things about his service was the time he spent as a bodyguard for General Ulysses S. Grant during the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. Interestingly, Bradley joined up with the 2nd Iowa Infantry on February 15, 1862 and participated in their celebrated attack that broke the Confederate right and precipitated the surrender of the fort on the following day. The charge of the 2nd Iowa will be the feature of my next blog post as I have a number of accounts from Ohioans who participated as members of the 2nd Iowa. Bradley's letter saw print in the March 13, 1862 issue of the

A Conversation with Stonewall Jackson

This week's post features an article originally published in the Detroit Free Press and copied in the June 17, 1863 issue of the Urbana Union . The article, in the form of a narrative, gives the experience of Captain William Duncan Wilkins at the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Captain William D. Wilkins (Detroit Historical Society) Captain Wilkins, a native of Detroit, had served during the Mexican War as an lieutenant in the 15th U.S. Infantry and was serving on the staff of Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams. General Williams, another Detroiter, commanded the First Division of the 12th Corps at Chancellorsville. Captain Wilkins was wounded and captured on May 2, 1863 and brought to Stonewall Jackson for interrogation just as Jackson was lining up his troops for the late evening assault on the broken Union line.  Wilkins' account is an interesting one in that it adds another perspective on Jackson's final moments at Chancellorsville and I can't say that I'

Interview with Brad Quinlin and the story of Pierre Starr, 39th Ohio Infantry

This week’s post is going to deviate from my normal theme but I think you will find it a worthwhile change of pace as I am featuring a question and answer session with noted Civil War author Brad Quinlin.  We will discuss his newest book For My Grandchildren: The Civil War Journey of Pierre Starr , and share an excerpt from the book which discusses the Battle of Corinth. The 156 th anniversary of this small but important Civil War battle is this Wednesday and Thursday so without further ado… One of the "Boys of '61" (Wood County Museum) Brad and I go back a number of years, each of us sharing a passion for telling the forgotten stories of the Civil War. I first met Brad back in 2007 when I attended a reunion in Georgia for descendants of the 21 st Ohio Infantry and along the way we developed a friendship rooted in our mutual fascination with “the boys of ’61.” You may know Brad from television, as he was featured in the show “Who Do You Think You Are”; the ep