The 67th Ohio commemorates First Winchester, 57 years later

It was a tradition for the veterans of the 67th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry to hold two reunions per year; the primary reunion being held the first week of September while a secondary reunion was held the third week of March. This secondary reunion was specifically held to commemorate the regiment’s first time under fire during the First Battle of Winchester which occurred March 22-23, 1862.

          The veterans took great pride in their efforts in securing this rare battlefield victory over Stonewall Jackson in the spring of 1862. But by 1919, the ranks of the veterans of the regiment had grown painfully thin and this reunion proved to be one of the last. “Only nine of the boys in blue who participated in the battle of Winchester were present at their annual reunion in Ottokee,” the Fulton County Expositor explained. “There were about 25 Civil War veterans present and of course some new reminiscences were brought to line. Letters were read from a number of boys who were unable to be present.”

          Among those letters read was the following from missive from Hosea Shadle of Los Angeles, California. Shadle was among the first to enlist in Co. A, entering service on November 4, 1861, as a private; his time with the regiment was relatively short, poor health leading to his medical discharge on July 30, 1862. That said, First Winchester marked Shadle’s one and only battle and the memories remained vivid even 57 years later. The recent conclusion of the Great War led him to compare the Boys in Blue with the Boys in Khaki.

          His letter appeared on the front page of the March 28, 1919, issue of the Fulton County Expositor.  

 

The second 67th Ohio reunion in 1919 was held at Memorial Hall in Toledo Ohio on September 4. Regimental reunions ended in the early 1920s as the few remaining veterans answered "the Great Roll Call" and joined the "Eternal Bivouac" as Shadle put it. 


Los Angeles, California

March 14, 1919

Comrades of the 67th O.V.V.I. at Ottokee, Ohio:

          Being far away from you on this annual celebration of the victory you won over Stonewall Jackson in Winchester, Virginia on March 23, 1862, I take this means of greeting and extending my hearty good wishes.

          As you are assembled in your annual reunion at Ottokee, I am with you in spirit and am proud to be enrolled as one of those who defeated an army which had never known the bitterness of reverses nor responded to the bugle call of retreat. It is true according to the rules of war that we were defeated three times on the 23rd of March, but we stuck by the Rebels like puppies to a root and through the grime and dust of battle we swept on to one of the most memorable victories of the Rebellion which history records as defeat of Jackson at Winchester, Virginia.

          It brings sadness to our hearts to witness the passing of so many of our comrades as the years come and go and our own thin locks and feeble steps testify that we, too, shall soon be called on to answer the Great Roll Call and join the Eternal Bivouac of those who have preceded us.

Hosea A. Shadle (1834-1925) served as a private in the ranks of Co. A of the 67th Ohio for about nine months at the beginning of the Civil War before being discharged for disability on July 30, 1862. Shadle had moved to Fulton County, Ohio with his parents in 1845 when it was trackless wilderness and enlisted to fight in the Civil War with his neighbors in Ottokee. 

          We as an organization join with the whole world in thanksgiving that the Great War of the Nations has ended and that peace to the world will soon be established. Let every citizen of the Grand Republic stand behind the man of the hour, the hero of the whole world, our own President Wilson in his great struggle with the powers to bring peace out of chaos and to plant the seed of democracy with the downtrodden people of Europe.

          Some critics have averred that the soldiers of today receive too great a salary, $30 good U.S. currency, the best of living with tobacco, cigarettes, candy, and dancing girls, movies, and theatrical performances for their entertainment. In contrast, they point to the boys of ’61 who earned $13 per month in the currency of the times, no tobacco, no gum, candy, nor girls with which to trip the light fantastic; in fact, sow belly and hardtack were often very scarce articles.

We are very proud today that the $13 boys fought as hard battles and performed as great deeds of valor under the conditions existing then as the $30 boys under the conditions that existed in the recent Great World War. It is natural that the world lauds our young men overseas and those that have returned covered with honor and glory and almost forget the old boys who fought to save America. We take our hats off to the World War heroes and are proud that the Yanks saved the day for the Allies. What could we expect from the boys of such fighting stock? They had it in them to win, as we had it in us to win. They won for the world and we won for America. The future years will witness the hand clasps of the Boys in Blue with the young Boys in Khaki with eyes ever turned to the starry banner that led them each to victory.

"The future years will witness the hand clasps of the Boys in Blue with the young Boys in Khaki with eyes ever turned to the starry banner that led them each to victory," Shadle predicted. 

Is Comrade Hoy present? If so, you are assured of a good meeting. When he makes his speech, if he walks up to the rostrum and looks out the north window and grins, look out for something good. As a last word of advice, after eating dinner served by the Gleaners, a dinner such as the ladies of Ottokee only know how to prepare, take a little peppermint for the stomach’s sake. As for me, I never eat much when I got to Ottokee as I am not used to that kind of living.

Hoping that you will all have a good time, I close with love and good wishes from the land of sunshine and orange blossoms to the land of snow and ice.

Hosea A. Shadle

746 S. Coronado St., Los Angeles, California

 It would be six more years before Hosea would answer the Great Roll Call and join the Eternal Bivouac; he passed away October 4, 1925, at the home of his daughter in Los Angeles at the age of 90, one of the last survivors of the 67th Ohio. As was his wish, his remains were brought back to his hometown of Ottokee, Ohio and are buried in Ottokee Cemetery.

 

Sources:

Letter from Private Hosea A. Shadle, Co. A, 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Fulton County Expositor (Ohio), March 28, 1919, pg. 1

“Winchester Reunion,” Fulton County Expositor (Ohio), March 28, 1919, pg. 4

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