Camp Chase Chronicles 1861
Camp Jackson, Columbus, Ohio
April 12, 1861:
With the first shot from Morris Island South Carolina on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 , the United States began its greatest conflict now known to us as the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln put out a call for 75,000 troops (for three months service).
The Governor of Ohio was William Dennison of Cincinnati, who was married to the eldest daughter of William Neil, of Columbus. Dennison had the job of calling in the state militias. This call to arms was answered by thousands who came to Columbus to join their units.
AL : Volume 2, page 91-97
" Meanwhile troops continued to pour into the city and had to be temporarily lodged. For this purpose the Capital, the Public Benevolent Institutions, the Starling Medical College and the Penitentiary were drawn upon. At night the terraces, rotunda and crypts of the Capitol were crowded with weary sleepers, who thus first tasted, perhaps during the first night of absence from their homes, the preliminary - but comparatively how significant! -- hardships of the field. A member of the State Senate thus describes on of these memorable scenes:
Going to my evening work as I crossed the rotunda I saw a company marching in by the south door and another disposing itself for the night upon the marble pavement near the east entrance. As I passed on to the north hall I saw another that had come a little earlier, holding a prayer meeting, the stone arches echoing with the excited supplications of some one who was borne out of himself by terrible pressure of events around him, while mingling his pathetic and beseeching tones as he prayed for his country, came the shrill notes of the fife and thundering din of the ubiquitous base [bass] drum from the company marching in on the other side. In the Senate Chamber a company was quartered and the Senators were supplying them with paper and pens with which the boys were writing their farewells to mothers and sweethearts, whom they hardly dared hope they should see again. A similar scene was going on it the Representatives' Hall, another in the Supreme Court room. In the Executive Office sat the Governor, the unwonted noises when the door was opened breaking in on the quiet, business-like air of the room, he meanwhile dictating despatches, indicating answers to others, receiving committees of citizens, giving directions to officers of companies and regiments, accommodating himself to the willful democracy of our institutions which insists upon seeing the man in chief command and will not take his answer from a subordinate until, in the small hours of the night, the noise was hushed and after a brief hour of effective, undisturbed work upon the matter of chief importance, he could leave the glare of his gaslighted office and seek a few hour's rest, only to renew his unceasing labors on the morrow. [ The Ohio State Journal ]
April 17, 1861:
Columbus, Ohio its History, Resources, and Progress : Studer, Jacob: 1873 , page 67.
An immense meeting was held at the Armory Hall, on North High street, on the evening of April 17, 1861. Judge Joseph R. Swan was made president, and a large number of prominent citizens vice-presidents. After patriotic speeches by Judges Swan, Warden, and Rankin, Samuel Galloway, Judge W.R. Rankin, and L.J. Critchfield were appointed a committee on resolutions and retired for consultation. Animated addresses were made by General Joseph H. Geiger and Samuel Galloway, when the committee reported resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.
The resolutions set forth, in substance, that it was the duty of the citizens of Ohio, ignoring past political differences, to yield a hearty and prompt support to the national government in its efforts to put down treason and rebellion; that to accomplish this end, no necessary sacrifice of men or money could be too great; that if need be, the members of this meeting would pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to aid the government in its efforts to maintain the constitution, enforce the laws, and restore the Union to its original integrity, and that the meeting pointed with just pride to our own citizen-soldiers who had so promptly and patriotically tendered their services to the government.
The meeting closed with speeches from Mr. Scleigh, of Lancaster; T.A. Plants, of the Ohio House of Representatives, and State Senator Garfield.
April 18-19, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
Lieutenant-Colonel H. Z. Mills was announced as commandant, but on April 18th he was relieved at his own request. His immediate successor was Colonel E. A. King.
On the Morning of April 18, 1861 they descended on Columbus to form the First and Second Regiments of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry ( The Columbus Videttes comprised Company B. of the 2nd O.V.I.). On April 19th at 3:00 AM they were sent to protect Washington D.C. though badly equipped due to the shortage and quality of arms in the State Armory. It was promised supplies would be forwarded to them.
1st O.V.I. three months service Col. Alex McCook 4-18-1861: from Camp Jackson 4-19-1861 to Washington D.C.
2nd O.V.I. three months service Col. Lewis Wilson 4-18-1861: from Camp Jackson 4-19-1861 to Washington D.C.
Columbus, Ohio its History, Resources, and Progress : Studer, Jacob: 1873 , page 67-69
"Troops now began to arrive rapidly in the city for rendezvous, equipment, and organization. Goodale Park was converted into a military camp called Camp Jackson, for the rendezvous of all the Ohio troops north of Hamilton county, and south of the Reserve [Western]. In the camp all the rules of Military discipline were rigidly enforced, so far as that could be done with such raw and undisciplined recruits. The officer's quarters were in the keeper's house, near the entrance gate; white tents were pitched in the center of the park; large wooden buildings were hastily erected for lodging and dining-rooms; wagons were continually going and coming; volunteers constantly arriving, and all the parade and clamor of camp life might be seen and heard in that so lately peaceful and quiet retreat."
Men continued to come to Camp Jackson in droves. The population of Columbus, was about 18,000 in the beginning of the war. Ohioians 2,343,739 at the beginning of the war.
April 20, 1861:
13th three months service Col. A. Saunders Piatt 4-20-1861: from Camp Jackson 5-9-1861 to Camp Dennison, Ohio.
April 21, 1861:
3rd three months service Col. Isaac H. Marrow 4-21-1861: from Camp Jackson 4-28-1861 to Camp Dennison, Ohio.
April 22, 1861:
The Ohio State Journal : April 22, 1861 ;AL : Volume 2,
"The gates of the high picket fence are guarded by sentinels who keep back the baffled and impatient crowd which surges to and fro from morning till night and only gets now and then an eyeful of the inside, by looking through the palisades ...The white tents are pitched in the plain in the center of the park beneath the yet leafless trees- peaceful above all that martial parade and clamor, and the young grass is crushed and cut in a thousand furrows by the feet and wheels that have passed over it.
A large wooden building, hastily erected near the tents, adds nothing to the picturesqueness of the scene but adds immensely to the comfort of the soldiers, for it is full of "bunks" and is much better defense against the weather than canvas. Wagons are continually coming and going, and the camp is strewn with straw from a stack brought thither for bedding.
The visitors admitted to the grounds are not many and are chiefly ladies. Most of the men's faces you encounter are those of the volunteers, who are splendid looking fellows, and are for a great part-fresh from the fields of the country. They are all ages, from the man whose head is already gray to the boy on whose cheeks the down has not obscured the bloom. All the faces are resonated and there is fight in them ; some are gay, some are grave - as the temperament is, but all are determined. Physically the troops are of good size and in good condition; and having courage and muscle, a week's drill will fit them for active service.
A hastily improvised building near the main entrance to the park is set with long tables and substantial edibles. Great cooking ranges roar with preparation, and the provisional government is marvelously efficient. The officers' quarters are in the building lately occupied by the keeper of the park, and here all the business of the camp is transacted, though the headquarters are, of course, at the Statehouse."
April 25, 1861:
4th O.V.I. three months service Col. Lorin Andrews 4-25-1861: from Camp Jackson 5-2-1861 to Camp Dennison, Ohio.
April 26, 1861:
AL : Volume 2, page 96
" On April 26, Camp Jackson contained about 7,000 men; on the twenty-seventh this number rose to 7,826. The barracks on the grounds were crowded to their utmost capacity, yet were far from being sufficient to shelter all the troops which had arrived. The public halls and armories of the city, the legislative chambers, Supreme Court room, State Library room, rotunda and basement of the Capital and all the available apartments of the State asylums were brought into use as sleeping apartments of the volunteers, and still the accommodations were inadequate. "...
April 28, 1861
AL : Volume 2,Page 106
"Regulations of the camp were announced by the Adjutant- General April 28. They are in substance as follows :
1. Discharge of firearms within the limits of the camp forbidden.
2. Violations of this regulation and all cases of intemperance to be reported by company commanders and punished by severe penalties.
3. Disorder in the dininghalls or barracks, forcing the lines of sentinels, and similar violations of discipline, to be reported to the camp commandant for condign punishment.
4. Each company to organize its own music, including beats and calls, but music during drill hours to be forbidden.
5. Companies attending church in the city to march without music and of the camp exercises only roll calls to be permitted on the Sabbath.
6. Visitors to be admitted only at stated times publicly announced, and not at all on Mondays and Tuesdays.
7. Commanders of companies quartered elsewhere than in the camp to report regularly every morning to the Assistant-Adjutant-General.
8. Soldiers in camp to carry no arms except such as are used in the drill, and these only when the drill is in progress.
9. Evening prayers to be offered daily at four P.M..
10. Religious service to be held at eleven A.M. on Sundays, but companies may attend divine service in the city on permission."
April 29, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
"Fifteen companies were transferred from Columbus to Camp Dennison on April 29, still leaving 6,435 men at Camp Jackson.
(The Early Part) AL
"...a contract was awarded to S. E. Ogden for the supply rations to the troops at Camp Jackson at a rate of $14.50 per hundred; one hundred rations to consist of 40 pounds of beef, 51 of pork, 112 of flour or bread, ten of rice, six of Java coffee, twelve of sugar, one and a half of tallow candles, four of soap, eight quarts of beans and four quarts of vinegar. Among the contracts for army clothing awarded to Columbus men by Quartermaster - General Wright were these: For blouses and cavalry overcoats to Smith & Comstock; for shirts to Dwight Stone; for drawers to J. &. T.E. Miller. (AL)
May 3, 1861:
12th three months service Col. John C. Lowe 5-3-1861: from Camp Jackson 5-6-1861 to Camp Dennison, Ohio.
A second proclamation by the President, calling for 42,000 volunteers for three years, was issued on the 3rd of May.
May 4., 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
The latter was still not an ideally comfortable place of sojourn appears from the following newspaper statement of May, 4 : Yesterday was a wet cold disagreeable day and the mud on the campground was nearly ankle deep."
15th O.V.I. three months service,, 5-4-1861: Mose R. Dickey; from Camp Jackson 5-8-1861 to Camp Goddard, near Zanesville, Ohio.
May 7, 1861:
The Delaware Gazette ,May 17, 1861
W.L.Walker 4th O.V.I.
"Camp Dennison, May 7, 1861. Mr. Editor;- Thinking perhaps many of your numerous readers may feel a desire to here now and then from the Delaware and Olentangy Guards, with your permission I shall take pleasure in gratifying them occasionally."
"While we remained at Camp Jackson through the kindness of the worth Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum, Dr. R. Hills, and his estimable lady, we were provided with comfortable quarters in that institution, and had every comfort and convenience that could be expected or desired. They seemed to spare no pains in endeavoring to make our stay with them pleasant and agreeable, and their kindness and attention in that respect will not soon be forgotten."
"We left Camp Jackson on Thursday the 2d of May, for Camp Dennison."
May 9, 1861:
Democratic Standard, Delaware, Ohio., editor Geo. F. Stayman, May 9, 1861, p2.
The question is often asked us, "What pay the volunteers would receive when mustered into the services of the United States service ?" We insert the following as to answer to all queries is reference thereto:
Lieutenant Colonel $194.00
First Lieutenant $108.00
Second Lieutenant $ 103.50
First, or Orderly Serg't $20.00
Other Sergeants $17.00
May 10, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
On May 10 a military hospital was established at Number 208 South High Street, with Doctor R.N. Denig as visiting physician and Mrs. Rebecca A. Janney as matron. Up to July 15 this Hospital had contained 300 patients.
May 16, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 99
Major Robert Anderson, the defender of Fort Sumter, arrived in Columbus from Pittsburgh, and received the attentions of many citizens during the few minutes that his train halted. Governor Dennison accompanied him on his westward journey as far as London, Ohio.
May 17, 1861:
20th OVI: Charles Whittlesey; left May 17, 1861 for Camp Goddard, Zanesville, Ohio
May 22, 1861:
14th OVI; Col. Steedman arrived in Columbus, was armed, and on the 23rd moved to Zanesville.
May 23, 1861:
21 OVI, Jesse S. Norton, from Cleveland, arrived and was armed at Columbus May 23, 1861 , and pushed on at once to Gallipolis.
May 18/ June 30/ 1861
AL : Volume 2,page 99
"Some serious instances of disorderly conduct by soldiers in camp and in the city are mentioned..
On May 18, a party of thirty three broke guard at Camp Jackson. An armed squad was sent in pursuit and recaptured ten of the fugitives. On June 30 some intoxicated men of the First Regiment destroyed a fruit stand kept by a colored man at the corner of High and Gay streets and mobbed the business place of C.A. Wagner. Two companies of Columbus volunteers under Captains Crum and Parks were called out to suppress these disorders. During the autumn of 1861 a good deal of unseemly conduct by soldiers in the streets was complained of.
NOTE: The first regiment was already gone by June 30.
May 27, 1861:
19th three months service Col. Samuel Beatty 5-15-1861: from Camp Taylor, Cleveland Ohio to Camp Jackson 5-27-1861: from Camp Jackson afternoon of 5-27-1861 to Camp Goddard, Ohio.
May 28, 1861:
AL page 97
Ohio State Journal
By the end of April Camp Jackson was so over crowded that it was necessary to find another location. . On May 28, 1861 workmen where engaged in taking down the barracks for the purpose of removing [them] to a new camp to be organized four miles west of the city. It is to be a regular camp. It will contain one hundred acres. It is plowed, harrowed and rolled smooth and will make a good place for drilling purposes. The Camp thus referred to, comprising a total of 160 acres, was under National - not state - control, and began to be occupied about June 1. "
The land that the camp was built on was very flat recently cleared farm land with several sluggish creeks or run offs which ran from west to east in parallel of the National Road. It had one time been used as a Horse Racing Track, and was opposite The Four Mile House. The Land was owned by Michael Sullivant until January 1861. Michael was selling his Franklin County Lands to buy land in Illinois. Michael sold the land to a Kentuckian named John G. Holloway. Holloway leased the land to the Federal Government. The Camp was under Federal, not State control and was laid out by William Rosecrans , under the command of General George B. McClellan. The building were made of rough wood planks, which stood on wooden stilts to raise it above ground.
Columbus, Ohio its History, Resources, and Progress : Studer, Jacob: 1873 , page 69
Goodale Park, which had been used for a military camp from the first mustering of troops, began, about the first of June, to be gradually thinned of soldiers, or recruits, and was at length altogether abandoned as a camp. In the meantime, a new camp on a more extensive scale was organized on the National Road, four or five miles west of the city. The new camp was at first also called Camp Jackson, but the name was soon afterward changed to Camp Chase, in honor of Solmon P. Chase, Ex-Governor of Ohio, and then Secretary of the United States Treasury. It was ultimately turned over to the United States authorities.
Camp Chase soon assumed the appearance of a military city. It was regularly laid out in squares ands streets, with numerous wooden structures and white canvas tents. Each regiment or other organization had its special quarters assigned. From a camp for the rendezvous, organization, and drill of troops, it became, as the war progressed, the quarters for paroled prisoners of war, and the site of a huge prison for the confinement of rebel prisoners. The camp lasted as long as the war lasted.
William Starks Rosecrans:
Extracted from the 1880 History of Delaware Co., Ohio. Baskins ,O.L.
Was born on September 6, 1819 on Taylor Run in Kingston twp., Delaware Co., Ohio. The son of Crandall and Jemima (Hopkins) Rosecrans, whose parents were among the pioneers of that township. James Stark, John Rosecrans, and his brother Dr. Daniel Rosecrans and his wife who was Sarah Taylor had arrived in Kingston township in 1809. Daniel and Sarah Rosecrans being Williams grandparents.
Williams parents moved to Homer, in Licking Co. shortly after his birth. William , in 1838 became a cadet at West Point. He graduated in 1842 from a class of 56, among whom were Longstreet, Van Dorn, Pope etc... In his class Rosecrans stood third in mathematics and fifth in general merit., He retired from the service at age 34, having given 11 years to that institution. He became a Civil Engineer until the war broke out in 1861.
On June 9, 1861, he was commissioned Chief Engineer of the State, a few days later was made Colonel of the 23rd OVI, and assigned to the command at Camp Chase, and four days after that his commission as Brigadier General in the United States Army reached him, and almost immediately, General McClellan summoned him to service in West Virginia.
June 12, 1861:
By June 12th,1861 Ohio State Journal: had become a liberal sized town of 160 buildings.
June 20, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
The new Camp kept the name of Camp Jackson until June 20, 1861 when it was renamed Camp Chase. Named for Salmon P. Chase, ex- governor of Ohio and Lincoln's secretary of Treasury. Commander was Col. E. A. King (until June 24, 1861), Commissary, E. A. Dennison, Quartermaster R.E. Champion and Post Hospital Nurse Mrs. Elizabeth Richards.
June 21, 1861:
The Delaware Gazette, June 21, 1861:
"There are now thirty-one companies of three year troops at Camp Jackson, and others are arriving daily. Two regiments are already full and two others are rapidly filling up."
June 23, 1861:
23rd OVI; June 23,1861 W.S. Rosecrans,
June 24, 1861:
Change of Command at Camp Chase. Col. E.A. King was replaced by Col. Eliakim P. Scammon of the 23rd Regiment OVI, (He had taken over the command from William S. Rosecrans after Rosecrans was promoted to Brigadier General) until he was called to the field July 25, 1861, 23rd was ordered to Clarksburg, W. Va. The surgeon of the camp was Dr. Norman Gay, of Columbus
Social Life at Camp Chase:
In the early days people from Columbus could, for 25 cents rent a buggy to take them to Camp Chase and walk the grounds. Politicians and Governors with their lady friends would visit the camp regularly , which caused it to be a very fashionable place to be. Merchants and swindlers and prostitutes always plagued the area trying to take a soldiers pay from them. PAC
June 28, 1861:
25th OVI; June 28, 1861; James A. Jones;
June 29, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,
On June 29th , 1861 the first prisoner was arrested and brought to Columbus for alleged participation in the rebellion was a man said to have been detected in firing a bridge. He arrived June 29, and was lodged in the Stationhouse.
July 5, 1861:
AL: Volume 2, page 102
A prison was hastily built at Camp Chase to house prisoners. On July 5th, 1861 the first batch of Secessionist captives brought from the field was a party of twenty three, mostly "wealthy and influential citizens of Virginia" who had been taken in the Kanawha Valley as hostages for Union men seized by Confederates. They arrived, under guard, July 5, and were lodged at Camp Chase, but were released a few days later and returned via Chillicothe and Gallipolis to their homes.
Ohio's Military Prisons in the Civil War; Phillip R. Shriver and Donald J. Breen; ; Article; Ohio State University Press;1964, Page 7-8
Accordingly, in early July a prison was erected in the south-eastern corner of the camp "for the accommodation of 450 inmates, and upon a plan capable of enlargement." Prison No. 1, as it subsequently came to be called was described by one of its more claustrophobic occupants as situated on a plot of "but one-half acre" enclosed by plank wall "nearly 25 feet high, with towers on two sides." Actually, the plank wall was 12 feet high rather than 25, though to prisoners confined within such cramped quarters for any length of time the dimensions must have seemed extreme. Inside, there were three single storied frame buildings, two of 100 by 15 feet and one of 70 by 20 feet which would later serve as the prison hospital. The buildings were divided by partitions to make rooms about 18 feet in length. Each room contained tiered bunks for 18 men, who would constitute a "mess". Each mess would have its own stove, wood, cooking utensils, and provisions, for the prisoners were expected to cook for themselves.
WK : page 111
The names of these Virginians, as given by the local papers of that date and from official records, were as follows:
R. B. Hackney, A. B. Dorst, A. Roseberry, H. J. Fisher, R. Knupp, J.A. Kline, Frank Ransom, J.W. McMollen, J.W. Echard, David Dong, G.B. Slaughter, A.E. Eastham, J.W. Diltz, Robert Mitchell, S. Harfiss, E. J. Romson, F.B. Kline, Sly McCausland, O.H. Selnll, James Johnson, W. A. Roseberry, B. Franklin and James Carr.
July 16, 1861:
AL : Volume 2, page 102
..four arrivals at the camp from Virginia increased the number of captives there to twelve.
Battle of Bull Run.
HD: page 12
At last came the battle of Bull Run with all its shame and broken hopes. I was in the telegraph office [at Delaware , Ohio] that night in a privileged group, listening to the Press dispatches as they were read from the wires by the clerk. I have often wondered by what right he read to us those messages clicking through his office. But the interest of the story held us immovable until the last dregs of the sad story had been tasted.
July 24, 1861:
Ohio State Journal
Major- General Fremont visited Camp Chase in company with Gov. Dennison and "was received by nearly five thousand soldiers with tremendous cheers and applause." He quitted the city on the same day for the West.
July 25, 1861:
23rd OVI; 927: June 23,1861 W.S. Rosecrans, left July 25,1861 for Clarksburg Va. [Note: all regiments starting with the 23rd were three years regiments, rather then three months.]
The Command of Camp Chase was handed over from Col. E.P. Scammon 23rd OVI , to Col Edward P. Fyffe, Col. of the 26th OVI. , who in turn moved into the field on July 30th, and the Command was given to General Chas. W. Hill [6. A1] who had already seen action in Western Virginia, but was an escape goat for McClellan, who was under fire for letting Garnett's army escape, from Red House. He was then placed at the Command of Camp Chase and Adjuant General of Ohio, from August to December 18th , 1861, and was responsible for running the officers school at the Camp.
July 26, 1861:
24th OVI; 923; Jacob Ammen; left July 26, 1861 for Western Va.
July 29, 1861:
25th OVI; 940; June 28, 1861; James A. Jones; left July 29, 1861 for Western Va.
July 30, 1861:
26th OVI; Edward P. Fyffe ; left July 30, 1861 for Western Va.
July 31, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 100
With the return of the three month's volunteers a new difficulty arose which was very embarrassing to the State administration. Nine regiments which had been mustered into the State service in excess of the requisition of the War Department under the 76,000 call had never been mustered as United States troops although their retention under arms had been an act of wise forethought and their services in the rescue of Western Virginia, in pursuance of the plans of Governor Dennison, had been invaluable. On the last day of July Camp Chase was crowed with these men awaiting discharge and final payment, but, much to their disappointment, they received no attentions whatever from the national authorities. Governor Dennison had obtained timely pledges from the War Department that they should be mustered out and paid as United States volunteers, but for some reason these pledges were not redeemed. A paymaster who arrived from Washington refused to recognize them as national troops. They were therefore sent home without pay except that for a single month's service which they had received from the State. Of course this treatment of men who had performed excellent service caused great dissatisfaction, and the State administration was again most unjustly censured on account of delinquencies for which it was in no wise responsible.
William Jameson was appointed as Sutler of Camp Chase to succeed Messrs. Carpenter, deposed. AL page 98.
August 9, 1861:
WK: page 121
Ohio State Journal , Capt. J.W. Free arrived here at late hour last night from Lexington, Perry County, Ohio, with a company of one hundred and fifty men. This company brought with them from Zanesville one hundred and ten Rebel prisoners, which the Seventeenth Ohio Regiment had sent to that place. Among the number were one preacher, one lawyer, and one doctor.
August 17, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 102
Twenty eight more [Confederate prisoners], mostly officers, arrived from Virginia
August 19, 1861:
WK : page 121
Twenty-eight prisoners arrived Saturday from West Virginia via Cincinnati; and of these, twenty-three are on parole. They will be immediately transferred to Richmond, Va. The reporter heard one of them remark that if they took Washington City they would not burn it, for there were too many good buildings there; and as they wished to make it the capital of the Confederacy sometime, these buildings would be needed.
JG: page 25-27 picture included [7. A2] :
August 19, 1861
Dear Friends at Home;
I cannot have any privacy or solitude for the next 24 hours and so will not try to write personal letters but will give you all such general items concerning my doings as can be written between spells. I arrived in Columbus Thursday evening, and on Friday morning was ordered to Camp Chase by the Adjuant General for general duty until my regiment is organized, which may not be for several weeks.
I reported at camp and was placed on General Hill's staff for the present and was appointed Officer of the Day for today. Having no quarters yet assigned me, I slept that night on a pile of straw, and the next morning went into Columbus to make some purchases. I engaged my uniform but it will not be done for a week. Meantime I bought a suit of cheap blue blouse and a regulation cap, for I am required to be in full uniform when acting as Officer of the Day. I staid Saturday night at Mr. Bascom's and received letters from two of you, which I will answer more particularly as soon as I get time.
I intended to write on Sunday, but I went to visit the Governor, and he needed my assistance nearly all day, and at 6 P.M. I was obliged to return to camp; and not yet having blankets, I accepted the invitation of a major, former stage actor in New York and Cincinnati, to share his blanket with him. This morning at eight o'clock O took command of the brigade and police guard of 200 men, and am to sit up on duty till 8 tomorrow morning. I have been exceedingly busy, having taken all the spare time I have had from 8 A.M. till now (4 1/2 P.M.) to write so much of this letter. To give you an idea of the nature of my work, I send you a sketch of the camp, containing 160 acres.
These guards are to be instructed in their duties, and are to serve two hours and rest four hours for 24 hours.
As Field Officer of the Day, I issue passes to and from the camp, and arrest or reprimand any one for disorderly conduct. Six secession prisoners came in about noon, whom I had to take in charge and give a receipt for. One was a hard old hunter, a leather stocking kind of man, who had killed several Federal pickets in western Virginia. All the letters that the 40 prisoners write or receive have to be read by the Field Officer of the Day. I have just had the pleasure of reading some eight or ten. The Governor intimates that I might be sent to Old Point Comfort with a company of prisoners in a few days, but this is not at all certain.
Last night a splendid mounted battery of 6 rifled cannon fully mounted and equipped left here for St. Louis. A regiment of Infantry goes tomorrow morning.
We shall soon organize a school of instruction for officers and men and go into it with all our might. I am glad that some weeks are to elapse before we shall take the field, for I want all I can learn from direct study and practice. I think I know how great a practical problem it is to make men learn to lose their individuality and merge it in the mass, consent to be parts of a machine to be controlled by [us?].
I have the greatest anxiety for the school and for you all. It seems to me, I think more about it than I should were I there with you. I hope you will think it no form of complaint when I urge you to write to me as often and as lengthy as your work will allow you to. I have gone into this as no ornamental work or holiday sport, and I feel deeply the need of all the strength of that conversing with you to keep me feeling that support and hopefulness of heart which I desire to cherish. I shall try to [write] some of you very often, and however long or short my career may be, I will let you know fully what it is.
From present appearances it is probable Ohio troops in the next several months will be sent to the valley with Fremont.
I am obliged to add that the purchases I been compelled to make have completely exhausted my present exchequer, and I shall have to ask some of you to send me $25.00 by next mail if you can do it without distressing yourselves. I will send you back a due bill. I must ride round the camp and prepare for the night watch as it is 5 1/2 o'clock. To our three or four,
always yours, James ( A. Garfield )
NOTE: Brigadier Gen. Charles W. Hill commanded Camp Chase for a few months in 1861, He was Adjutant General of Ohio, 1862-1864, and the commander of the 128th Ohio, 1864-65.
August 20, 1861:
27th Regiment O.V.I.; 898; left Camp Chase for St. Louis Mo., Colonel John W. Fuller
WK : page 121
Ohio State Journal -
GONE. The secessionists who attracted eager crowds at the American Hotel yesterday left for their homes in Virginia today. They were released on parole not to take up arms against the government again.
August 22, 1861:
JG: page 28:
August 22, 1861
My Dear Crete:
Your good letter was received Saturday night and the trunk came at the same time. I am not very well, being still hard pressed with my usual malady [diarrhea]. But I have commenced to take medicine, and I think it will relieve me soon.
Before I write further I wish to apologize for the looks of this letter. I was suddenly called on to act again as Officer of the Day for today and came away here leaving my pen at my quarters, and so must write, if I get in time for the mail, on foolscap and with this old steel pen.
I was very thankful for the many little comforts you had enclosed in the trunk. I find them all coming in play. I will not say much more about my feelings in leaving you and all the dear associations at Hiram, not the least among which is our darling little Trot; but I will say that while I shall at all hazards keep up my heart and work with my might in the duty before me, I shall nevertheless feel very greatly the need of such full and frequent letters from you all as shall make me constantly feel the full knowledge and sympathy of you all.
And our darling! tell me all about her, her changes, developments, and try not to let her memory of "papa, papa" fade away. Have her say it, so that when I come she may know to call me. I think I have no unmanly feelings in regard to the future and my own share in it, but I have more sadness at the thought that should anything befall me she would not remember me. I know how a child feels under such circumstances, and that by experience. Please copy these last few sentences in her journal. And now with these lugubrious thoughts we will dismiss all that style of talk and look at the bright side which is always the right side.
I am entering on the work of the camp with success and shall hope to be able before I leave to be intelligent and efficient. It is a little odd for me to become a pupil again, but I come into it easily and have no fear of very disastr[o]us failure in learning duty. I think I must have a lot of flannel shirts, but you may wait until I learn more about what style will be needed. I want you to have the piano seen to, and as good care taken of it as possible. I must receive at least $15 per term for the use of it, over and above the expense of tuning. I cannot now tell how soon I will be at home, but probably in two or three weeks.
Perhaps Wall had better see if Mr. James will not pay the note of $50. I want to let the larger amounts lie at interest as long as I can.
Since I began this letter I have probably given a hundred orders. Among other things held a trial and sentenced a sentinel to 3 days imprisonment on bread and water for sleeping on his post.
Kiss Trot for me and get her fingermarks on your letter in some way if you can. Ever yours and hers.
James. [A. Garfield]
Democratic Standard Newspaper, August 22, 1861, p.3
" Dr. Longwell of this place and Dr. Brundige of Berkshire have recently "passes muster" and been appointed Surgeon's Mates in the Army. We are glad of their success for they are both very clever gentlemen."
OR vol. 3. Page 27.
Fort McHenry, August 22, 1861.
Hon. S. Cameron, Secretary of War:
The twenty-three prisoners sent on by Governor Dennison from Columbus are here. Shall I send them this evening to Fort Monroe agreeably to your dispatch of the 18th instant to Governor Dennison? An immediate answer will be necessary if they leave this evening.
John A. Dix, Major-General
Headquarters Department of Pennsylvania,
Baltimore, MD., August 22, 1861.
Maj. Gen. John E. Wool,
General: I inclose a copy of a letter addressed to me by the Governor of the State of Ohio. The twenty-three prisoners of war on parole were brought here by Captain Way who will report to you with them, I have no instructions in regard to them beyond the inclosed copy of Governor Dennison's letter except the following dispatch from the War Department just received in reply to an inquiry from me as to the disposition to be made of them:
War Department, August 22, 1861.
Major. Gen. John A. Dix:
Send them to Fortress Monroe as you propose.
Simon Cameron. Secretary of War.
I am, general, very respectfully, yours,
John A Dix, Commanding.
August 23, 1861:
An important order respecting visitors at this Camp has been issued. It provides that "officers of the State government, military officers and parties specially conducted by them, may be admitted to the camp at any time between Reveille and Tattoo. Persons bringing supplies to the camp or engaged in the public service or in the transportation of public property, may be admitted, and pass out at all seasonable hours. But no other visitor will be received or remain in camp except between the hours of two and a half and six and a half o'clock, P.M. The hours assigned for the admission of general visitors will include company drills of Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry, Camp Inspection, and for Infantry sufficiently advanced. Battalion drill and Dress Parade. These are the regulations for week days. On Sundays no visitors will be admitted to the Camp. No huckster, or peddler will be admitted at any time. Visitors will enter on McClellan street teams connected with the Quartermaster, or Commissary Department, or in the service of the Sutler, will pass in and out on Scott street."
All persons concerned, will take notice, and govern themselves accordingly. We should be pleased to see a "General Order," requiring soldiers to be kept constantly in Camp, or not permitted to leave, unless accompanied by an officer who will be responsible for their conduct.
We hear of more outrages and petty pilfering in the neighborhood of the Camp. The gentleman who had his corn stolen mentioned in our last, has since lost a fine six month's calf. Its head was cut off, and the body carried away.
JG: page 29
August 28, 1861
My Dear Governor:
I have a friend, Mr. W. H. Clapp of Hiram, for whom I wish to solicit the appointment of Regimental Adjutant. He was formerly a pupil of mine, afterwards for three years a merchant, and when the war broke out joined the New York 71st Regiment, one of the most efficient in the service. He entered it as a private, but was promoted to the command of leading sergeant in his company and acquitted himself with great bravery in the battle at Manassas. His regiment was in the severest of the battle, and he received commendatory letters from his company and regimental officers, which I can procure for you, if you desire it. I should feel great confidence in entrusting the Adjutancy of the 42nd in his hands, and from my intimate personal acquaintance with him, I know of no one I should prefer for that post.
J. A. Garfield.
August 29, 1861:
Democratic Standard, August 29,1861 p.3
" Dr. Longwell left for VA. on Monday evening last, bearing many tokens to the Delaware boys, from their friends at home. He will be attached to the 4th Regiment, also."
* Longwell will show up at Camp Chase later. in July 1863.
August 30, 1861:
30th Regiment O.V.I; 796; organized on August 28, 1861 & left Camp Chase for Western Virginia, Col. Hugh Ewing.
AL : Volume 2, page 102
Sixteen Confederate soldiers, captured near Cheat Mountain, were brought in August 30.
JG: page 31
August 30, 1861
Dear Friend; [ Luther Day, of Ravenna, Judge and Lawyer ]
I was very desirous of seeing you before I left home, but the pressure of the time forbade it. It was not without rigorous self-examination and, I may add, a struggle of no ordinary character within myself that I enter upon this field of duty. But now that I have flung myself and all my plans of activity into the scale of war, the struggle and questionings are all over, and I am busy and cheerful in the work of tearing down the old fabric of my proposed life, and removing its rubbish for the erection of a new structure. As a mental phenomenon, the work is a curious one. I find so many lines of connection with the world I deem to have left that I cannot altogether and at once sever myself to it. There is one matter of public concern on which I wish to confer with you before I take full leave of political life for the present.
I see many of our journals in a considerable spirit of generosity expressing themselves in favor of a Democrat for Governor, most of them having David Tod as the man. Aside from the fact that I do not regard Mr. Tod as the man for the place, I wish to say that I do not think it a wise policy to select any Democrat for the Governorship. I trust you will understand that I do not say this from any partisan feeling. I want to see a full representation of Democrats on the ticket. It would be a fatal mistake and a great wrong not to have it so. But in my judgment, if we want to give an earnest and patriotic support to the Federal administration in its war measures, we can best do it by electing a governor who stands out as an acknowledged friend of the administration. Were I a Democrat, I think I should insist that no one of my party should take that place. I hold to this, not because the Republican party has the greater numerical strength in the state, nor because of my sight of them, but because it would be an implied censure of your president and mine to elect a man to be his intimate and confidential co-worker, who could not in conscience be his political friend.
This difficulty would not rest against any other member of the state government. I have no pet choice for the governorship. I desire to see a man of conservative views, of thorough business ability and round about common sense made Governor, but it seems to me to elect a Democrat at this crisis would be unwise, to elect Mr. Tod would be a fatal blunder. I am anxious to hear from you and know your views on this question. I feel that very much depends upon the 5th of September Convention.
I have seen with peculiar pleasure your name mentioned, and always with approval, for the Supreme Judgeship. It may be the strength of personal preference that influences me, but, be it what it may, I rejoice that the time has come when I can hope to welcome your name on the ticket of my choice. If there is any way in which I can serve you in this matter it will give me great pleasure to do so. I have conversed with several gentlemen of prominence in Columbus, and the proposition has met with very general favor.
I shall hope to see you here on the 5th prox., and I shall be very glad to hear from you before that time.
Do you think there could be a company of infantry raised in Portage [County] ? I very much desire to have at least one company of our boys in my regiment. Will you present my kind regards to Messrs. Hall and Taylor, and believe me
Very truly yours,
J. A. Garfield
August 30, 1861
Your kind letter was received and read with great pleasure. I am very well, though I had diarrhoea for several days after I came here; yet I am all right again. I hope you will not allow yourself to feel troubled about me in the least, certainly not for a long time yet. My own regiment is [not] yet commenced, and will not be for two weeks. It will probably be five or six weeks before I shall actually go to the seat of war. I am very busy now in camp studying and doing a great variety of camp duties. I live in a board shanty, whitewashed outside and in. It is about 20 by 15, and is divided into two rooms. Outwardly it appears thus:
In the front room are two windows one on each side. In one corner is a table, at which I am now writing. In the other is a cot bedstead with one quilt and one blanket to go over me, and a thick comforter under me. Pants and coat make a pillow. A little piece of board with three shingle nails in it makes my candlestick. In the back room I have a little shelf with a tin pail and cup on it and a wash dish. Three chairs complete the outfit. So you see I am very comfortable.
I board with General Hill and so have not had the experience of regular soldier fare in regard to living. I have go on a flannel shirt for the first time, and it does all the scratching I need. I shall now want to use the woolen socks which you have been so kind as to knit for me. When I go home I shall get them. I can't tell the precise time when I shall visit you, but it will be in the course of two or three weeks, perhaps sooner.
My reason[s] for going into the army are many, but chiefly because the men of military experience were most all now in the service, and still more were needed for the regiments. The Governor wrote to me again and I felt it would not be manly or honorable for me to stay away from the contest longer. I am sure, when you think it all over, and think how great and good a cause we have to fight for, you will not regret that you have furnished one son for it. I know you think better of me now for having gone. I assure you, I did not go from any mere desire to be in battle and gain a name. I went in with a full understanding of the perils and sufferings incident to war. I hope you will not have cause to be ashamed of me, whether I come out of it or not.
And now keep up good courage. Tell Mary I am thankful that she wrote to me, and ask Hitty if she won't just for me, write me a letter too. She has never written me a word. All the rest of our family have. I want to hear from Thomas. I will write him. In order to insure my letters to reach me you must direct [to] J. A. Garfield, Lieutenant Colonel, 42nd Regiment, Camp Chase (near Columbus).
Ever your own,
James [A. Garfield]
August 31, 1861:
JG: page 34
August 31, 1861
My Dear Friends;
I have thought that it might be pleasant to you and to me to gather up occasionally into a general letter the miscellaneous events and reflections incident to my life in camp, and so I will take a few moments of this fine morning for that purpose.
One of my chief afflictions here is the presence of myriads of flies and after ten days of the most perplexing torture, especially when trying to sleep in the forenoon after 24 hours watch. A few days since I went into the city and bought a few yards of pink mosquito cloth, and so I am sitting at my table with this cloth over the paper and inkstand and me, while legions of flies are on the outside, and, like Virgil's winds, "fremunt circumclasustra".
The enclosed scrap of dirty paper shows you our regular programme of daily duties, so that if one is inclined to work there is plenty to do. The duty of instructing the guard in their duties as day and night sentinels has been committed to me and so every morning at eight I am obliged to make the same speech over again, which seems very much like the explanations which we make at the beginning of a term, when we assign rooms and [deliver ?] "Rules and Regulations."
It is very unfortunate for the service that regiments should be hurried into the field with so little preparation. Immediately after the death of General Lyon, the 27th Regiment was hurried off to Missouri before half of its companies had had two day's drill. When the news of Colonel Tyler's defeat reached us, the 27th[sic 30th] under Colonel Ewing (son of Thomas Ewing, with whom I have formed a very pleasant acquaintance) was filled up from other half-formed regiments and last evening left for the valley of the Kanawha. I should dread the responsibility of taking such a regiment into the field. They went out of camp at dusk last evening with arms and three days' cooked rations, thoughtless and jubilant. As the cloud of their own dust shut them in, I came back sadly to my hut, repeating Byron's splendid stanza of "the unreturning brave."
My New German Friend,
A few days since, while on drill, instructing the guard, I saw a sprightly German in the uniform of a United States regular, who seemed to take peculiar interest in all the movements of the manual. When the drill was over I spoke to him in German and found him very intelligent. I finally invited him to my hut and the result is very peculiar and intimate acquaintance and friendship. He staid with me one night till nearly midnight. I will give you his story.
He is of wealthy Silesian family and his mother is a widow, not of the wealthiest, but perhaps the middle class. He was confidential clerk to a Herr Leipziger of Breslau, the head of one of the richest wine firms in the world. The firm has branch houses in Russia, Holland, Italy, France, England and New York, and Lewis has frequently visited all the European branches of the establishment on its business.
Herr Leipziger has an only child Jenny, a blond, yellow-haired, blue-eyed girl of 17 with whom Lewis had associated almost as a brother for the last three years, The old Leipziger never dreamed that there could be any danger of love between the clerk and his daughter. Some miles out of the city the old Herr owned a fine farm and summer residence at which Jenny spent much of her time. The head farmer turned out to be a defaulter and Lewis was sent out there to overhaul the books and discover the extent of the robbery. He was there three weeks and during that time his love for Jenny culminated to the height of rapture. When he speaks of that visit his German enthusiasm knows no bounds.
On his return to Breslau he obtained an interview with Mein Herr and asked [for] the hand of Jenny. The old man was thunder-struck. He had intended Jenny for a very rich old bachelor of 40 and told Lewis so, whereat the young lover went into transports of rage and grief. [He] declared that if that was the decision he would leave his employment and quit Europe immediately. [The] old man expostulated, told him to remain, would be glad to keep him and treat him as a son but not as Jenny's husband. Lewis told him he could not stay on the continent where Jenny was and not know that she was his, demanded to see her; a fifteen minute interview was granted, Lewis's mother being present. Jenny vowed never to marry another and to marry him when he reached legal age (24).
In three days he was on board a Hamburg steamer bound to New York. This was last December. He came to Cincinnati, had money enough but was very unhappy. In a few weeks the war broke out. He had read American history in Germany. I have seen but few young men of his age (21) so intelligent on American history as he. His whole nature is fired up with the love of our Institutes and our Freedom. He knows many of Korner's Schiller's and Goethe's songs for Freiheit by heart. He comprehends the issue with great clearness. At the first call he joined the regular army for five years. He said he could not live without Jenny and he was glad of a chance to bury his suffering in the activities of war. He is a splendid scribe and the Colonel of his regiment at Newport Barracks offered to obtain for him a clerkship at Washington but he would not take it. Night before last he came and read me an eight-page letter to Jenny. It was written with great power and when he went away he said I must not talk so much of Breslau. I can sleep none tonight. Near midnight I passed him through the lines to his hotel where he has been sent to enlist recruits for the regular army.
I have twice been out with the officers to practice at target shooting with the revolver and have thus far come off best shot thanks to my little rifle [sic] and a steady nerve. Inclosed please find an Irish bull which pleased me very much.
Sixteen more prisoners of war were brought into camp yesterday. They are a hard looking set of species of the "great unwashed". Cincinnati is having another periodical scare. She has now asked the Governor to draft 50,000 men for her protection. I hope the 42nd will not be sent to guard slaughtering and pork packing establishments.
Now I am quite in doubt whether a letter of this kind is worth my time to write it or yours to read it. I should like to know. But whatever the letter may be,
I am ever your
James [A. Garfield]
Election of Officers Roster from Company A of the 20th O.V.I. from the Hyatt estate in California donated to the Delaware Historical Society 1-91. Hyatt was elected Captain. No day given.
September 13, 1861:
OR vol. 3. Page 40.
Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, September 13, 1861.
Dear Sir: The undersigned made prisoners of war at Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill on the 11th and 12th of July last and having been by order of General Scott released after giving our parole of honor to yourself and Major Dennison, would respectfully represent that having remained in Beverly at your request and trusting in your assurance that we would be sent home as soon as the sick and wounded under our care were well enough to travel, we have been brought here and put in prison in disregard of said parole, which was faithfully observed on our part. Colonel Bosley, commanding at Beverly, and the other officers there will testify to our good behavior during the eight weeks that we remained there on parole. The sick and wounded under our care (who also gave you their parole on the 16th of July, as your books will testify) recovered sufficiently to travel and got their discharge from the hospital. Some of these left Beverly several weeks ago under the care of our surgeons and as we hear were sent home according to your promise. The rest of them whom we remained behind to nurse have also been brought here and put in prison with us. Our party left Beverly under a military guard last Sunday the 8th instant. We were all assured then by Colonel Bosley that we were to be sent home just as the party that proceeded us. At Grafton we were told by General Kelley and Adjutant Hawkes that we would be sent immediately by way of Old Point and Norfolk. We came here still on parole attended by Lieutenant Delaney with out a guard, and not until yesterday morning, when we were confined in this place, did we learn that our captors were acting in bad faith toward us or else that we had been misrepresented to them.
We do not write you this to tell you of our disappointment or to make you responsible for it. Some of our sick and wounded we believe would never have recovered if this hope of being sent home had not been held out to them, and two of them seem to be sinking under their present disappointment. But we appeal to you as a man of honor to redeem your promise to us to use your influence with those in authority over us for our release from confinement and return home. We are not dangerous characters. Our conduct for the last nine weeks as well as our present circumstances will prove this. We religiously respect our parole and will do so when we get home. We will regard ourselves as prisoners there as truly as we are here.
We are fourteen in number; seven were severely wounded, four of whom are still very feeble; three are just recovering from severe spells of typhoid fever and four have been and still are nurses as above represented.
Believing that you will not suffer us to remain here long to regret that we trusted the word of Judge Key and of General McClellan, and that it is now without your knowledge or consent that we are confined here,
We remain, respectfully,
H.D. Crockett, Co. D. ,20th Reg. Virginia Vols, Powhatan Co.
Amos Curry, Lee Battery, Lynchburg, Va.
Thomas Gentry, Co. G, 23rd Reg. Virginia Vols., Louisa Co.
David Comfort, Co. G, 20th Reg. Virginia Vols., Charlotte Co.
Note: Nominal list of sick and wounded omitted.
September 10, 1861:
HD: page 12
Thus we all knew that the time had come for action. More troops were called for and we must go. It took some time to ascertain the feeling of the Company [ the "Lenape Greys," the 100-man local militia organization to which Dwight belonged], and at last the Captain [ Charles H. McElroy, a Delaware lawyer] felt strong enough to put the question of volunteering to vote. We were drawnup in line. The captain ordered those who were willing to volunteer to step two paces to the front. There was a slight pause, and then Lieutenant [Velorus T.] Hills and I stepped forward. Not another man stirred from his place. Not one was willing to commit himself so far as to go as a private.
The next step after promising to enlist was to find a company in which to do so. Captain McElroy decided to raise a company even if his own men deserted him in the first instance. I enlisted on the 10th of September and attended the Captain at the State Fair every day in my grey uniform in order to attract attention and win recruits from the country boys who thronged the fair grounds. I don't know that I got any recruits save one of my college classmates who afterwards turned out badly. But I was several times invited by farmer boys to treat them to melons in return for their considering the question.
I was warned by my friends not to persist in going into the army. President [Frederick Merrick of Ohio Wesleyan University located at Delaware , Ohio] Merrick of the University painted before my mind's eye the picture of a young man whom he had known whom three months in the army had so demoralized that he could not hold his mind even to the reading of a newspaper. I pitied the poor fellow but persisted in my purpose to try it for myself.
September 16-18 , 1861:
AL : Volume 2, page 102
A squad of fifteen or twenty secessionists, taken in Louis County, Virginia, and fourteen more captured in battle near Summerville, same Sate, were added to the Camp Chase colony on September 16 and 18, respectively.
September 27, 1861:
31st O.V.I. ; 970; organized August 4- September 7, 1861 left Camp Chase for Cincinnati; Col. M.B. Walker.
HD: page 12
At last Capt. McElroy received his full quota of men and orders to report at Camp Chase, Columbus, to the Commander of the 20th Ohio Infantry. [Note: This was the reforming of the 20th O.V.I. the first being only a three-months regiment whose term of enlistment had run out. P.A.C.] The day of departure from Delaware came. The brass band of the town escorted us to the Depot and a great multitude of people came to see us off. We entered the cars, and cheered lustily. One man, a mere boy, joined our company after we had taken our places- he was attracted by the music, and had a brother in the Company. This boy was Harris Newell, afterwards my orderly. It was only when the last sounds of the cheers had died away as our train sped toward Columbus, that I realized what I had done. Then my heart went down into my boots and a cold sweat stood upon my forehead as I thought to myself that now I was a soldier - no longer free to follow my own will, and sure in a short time to be sent into battle. I wondered at my own termerity [sic], wished I was out of it, and then arrived at Columbus in the midst of fresh cheers and a great crowd of boys and men.
It was raining hard and Capt. McElroy engaged omnibuses to carry his Company to Camp, about three [sic four] miles from town. The incongruity of... entering military life by an omnibus in order to escape the rain was present to my mind but [none] of the others thought of it until at the entrance to the Camp we were greeted with derisive shouts.
Camp Chase was a collection of wooden huts in the open fields, where [there] were several Regiments in the course of formation. The soldiers turned out to see the new recruits come by carriage, and offered us their salutations in the form of comments on our personal appearance that were not too flattering. We were assigned to our huts and were informed that we were Company "D," being the fourth company to arrive on the ground. Our quarters were dismal enough - bare shanties, with rough board platforms on which we might lie down and sleep. The delights of martial life were once and forever driven from our visions as we found ourselves huddled together between the bare walls with absolutely nothing that we could call our own save our carpetbags and our shelter from pelting rain, and with no possibility of sitting down save on the muddy floor.
The drawing of rations and camp kettles occupied the rest of the day and in due time we partook of our first meal at Uncle Sam's expense. It had the merit of frugality and we all made haste to go to the Sutler's tent to buy things to eat. The evening was passed in writing home and after roll-call we all went to bed on the boards. That first night was a sleepless one...
We stayed at Camp Chase about two weeks. After we had been examined by the Surgeons to see if we were physically sound we took the oath to obey our officer's and the Army regulations, and were formally mustered into the service of the United States for three years or during the war. I had no idea of serving three years, nor had the others. But we had small notion of what was before us. After muster, we were taken to the quartermaster's and each received a suit of clothes, hat, shoes, stockings, underclothing and cap, together with knapsack, haversack and blanket. The spectacle as each man put on his uniform was surprising [sic]. The little men had the big clothes and vice-versa, and it took considerable bartering and some tailoring to get the suits to fit their owners.
The daily routine of our lives fixed here was continued throughout the war except when actually on the march. At 6 o'clock the drums beat the Reveille (pronounced in our army rev-e-lee) and we tumbled out to answer to our names at roll-call, buttoning our last buttons en route, like college students on the way to prayers. At half past six came squad drill, the whole company being divided into groups of five or six ...At half past seven came breakfast, at eight sick-call when any sick men presented themselves to the Surgeon for treatment... At half-past eight was guardmounting, when those assigned to duty as camp guards went off to the parade ground to join the other details from the brigade. At the same time all the rest of the men were expected to clear up quarters and those detailed for the purpose swept the company street and carried off all rubbish. From 9 to 11 we had Company Drill. At 12 there was roll-call again and then dinner. From 1-3 was drill again, the whole regiment being together. At half-past 4 or 5 came Dress Parade, with another roll-call. Then came supper and the work of the day was done. At 9 o'clock came Tattoo or last roll-call and every one was expected to go to bed and half an hour later three taps on the bass drum gave the signal for putting out all the lights. After taps any one who kept his light burning or talked to his comrades was liable to arrest and punishement[sic].
The duty of guarding the camp was given some spice of excitement by reasons of the persistent determination of some of the men to leave the camp without permission... One night I was ordered to go with a party under command of Col. Garfield of the 42d Ohio to arrest some men who had slipped out of camp to go to a grog shop not far away. I was put in a detachment sent around through the fields to cut off the retreat of the culprits and as we were starting Col. Garfield told us to leave our blankets with him as they would encumber our movement. He himself took my blanket - a nice English Railway rug that my father had given me - and tied it on his horse. We performed our duty, arrested the men and returned about midnight; but I could not find my blanket. I went to Col. Garfield who expressed annoyance at being troubled about such a matter. I then complained to Capt. McElroy, and he applied to [Lieutenant] Col. [Manning F.] Force [acting commander of the 20th Ohio] who asked Col. Garfield about it with no satisfaction. The last time I saw the blanket was when Garfield took it on his horse!
My knowledge of the rudiments of drill led to my being used as drillmaster. In the early morning as we were drilling a spare grave man with an eye that penetrated to the spine of a culprit, was in the habit of appearing on the drillground and caused no small discomfort to both drill-masters and the men by so doing, for he always critical and when he spoke he made every one feel that his day of reckoning had come.
This man was Lt. Col. Force who took the deepest interest in our welfare and so was very strict with our follies. We all respected him for his justice and manliness, and before long I learned to love him like a father. [Force, a 37 year old lawyer in 1861, ended the war with the brevet of major general. Dwight then served on his staff.]
September 28, 1861:
JG: page 37
September 28, 1861
4 o'clock A.M.
My Dear Crete:
I hope I shall not again be obliged to delay writing to you so long as I have done this time, but I know you will not blame me when you know what I have had on [my] hands. This is the third night that I have passed in succession without regular sleep. When I reached Columbus I worked incessantly for two days and most of the nights to get my regimental quarters in condition, and to get blankets and other comforts for the boys. Before this was accomplished other companies began to turn in. We now have five companies in the regiment; and it has been the hardest work of my life to secure the necessaries for their comfort.
I have dragooned and chased down nearly every state officer, and at last started on Thursday evening (not having gone to bed at all the night before) for Cincinnati, where we had made requisition for all our stores. The articles were not in the warehouse of the Quartermaster, and so I went to the contractors one by one and appealed to them, and at 10 1/2 o'clock last night (having ridden to Cincinnati the night before) I took the train and am here waiting for the carriage to take me to camp. I think I am right in saying I never was so tired in my life. I never tried to wrote before when my hand trembled as it does now from sheer exhaustion. But the unprecedented rapidity with which my regiment has been filling up has given me much harder work than I shall have by and by.
So please don't be troubled about my health which [is] excellent, except the occasional pressure of the old trouble. Dr. Wilcox did not send me the medicine. I don't know why. But I will try to get some soon. My surgeon will be here Monday, and then I promise you I will try to attend to myself.
I was greatly disappointed at not seeing you in Ravenna, but then as you said it was such a crowded day that we should not have had much quiet for visiting. I hope when I get into camp I shall find a letter from you. Indeed you must not fail to write if I do. I assure you my heart is with you all the moments I have any leisure to think.
The boys are all well except Charley Raymond who has been quite sick, chiefly because he was terribly homesick. He has not been sworn in yet, and I have concluded to send him home as soon as he is able to go.
I think I shall get arrangements soon to have you come into camp and stay a week or two. Probably Lieutenant Clapp will bring his wife also. I will let you know when the teacher and friends of Company A had better come down. We have established our regimental mess, and were I not too weary I would describe our cook and meals, but for now I must stop. Give my love to all our friends, Kiss Mrs. Polk for me.
James [A. Garfield]
October 2, 1861:
JG: page 38.
October 2, 1861
My Dear Harry:
The drums have just beaten the signal called "Taps" which means for soldiers to put out the lights in all their quarters and retire. This gives me a moment of solitude and my time for study on the lesson for tomorrow. But I take a few moments from it to say that the time of our departure draws near, and I do not believe we shall be here more than two weeks longer if so long. Now I must take no denial but that you shall all according to agreement come down here and spend a Saturday and Sunday with me in camp. I think one week from Saturday is the time, and you had better start on the Friday evening train from Hiram, leave Cleveland on the 5 o'clock train Saturday morning, reach Columbus at 11, and be in camp in time to take dinner with us. Write immediately and tell me how many of you we can rely on, and we will have arrangements to meet you at the depot in Columbus. I am sure we will have a fine time.
I have six companies already, and two more expected tomorrow. I have a fine brass band and a good field band. We will give you a taste of camp fare and camp life. I have never been more than two-thirds as busy as I am here and with the usual abdominal exception am thoroughly well. If the friends that come will bring a box of something for the table it will brighten up the countenance of our darkey cook, the Professor, as well as your friends.
With much love to all,
I am ever yours,
October 8, 1861:
HD: page 14
Henry O. Dwight of the 20th O.V.I. says... On the 8th of October we held our election of Officers for the company. Since I had been prominent in drilling several men proposed me to be a candidate for the office of 2nd Lieutenant. But I, who had no aspirations beyond the position of corporal, declined to seek election. Many told me that if I would ask men to vote for me they would do so. But I said that if they wished to vote for me, they might, but that I would not go about asking for votes. Had I been elected 2nd Lieutenant then, I should have been Colonel of the Regiment before the war was through. [Dwight became 2d lieutenant May 1862, a 1st lieutenant, April 1863, but declined a captain's commission in early 1865.] As it was Capt. McElroy and 1st Lt. Hills used political measures to secure their own election and a man who never could be a soldier in bearing, a hotel keeper, was chosen 2d Lieutenant and others were made Sergeants, who knew nothing about drill, because they controlled votes, and I was made Corporal. Several men tried to make me feel indignant that I had been passed over, but I was too young to feel any real ambition for office... The night of the election, the man who had been appointed 5th Sergeant left camp without leave and got drunk in order to celebrate his promotion. The next morning he was reduced to the ranks as a punishment, and I was appointed Sergeant in his place. This appointment gave me a salary of $17 a month besides my food and clothing.
[From Camp Chase the 20th left for Camp Dennison, on October 16, 1861, where they stayed until the end of October when they moved across the Ohio River to Camp King, which was two miles from Covington Kentucky.]
JG: page 37
October 8, 1861
My Dear Crete:
I took the medicine last night, which Dr. Wilcox sent me, and I am quite sick this morning. But after a little vomiting and purging I think I shall soon be better. I hope a course of medicine will set me right. I have not been very unwell since I wrote you last, but just enough to keep my system in a constant state of irritation and depletion. I will make a vigorous push to get into proper shape. The work is yet very pressing but I am getting the regiment in such shape that it will by and by be easier to manage it.
I have written three or four letters home to different ones and though more than a week has passed since I first set the time I have not heard a word from any one of them whether you are coming or not. I expect you and hope that you will not disappoint me. I have written to Harmon Austin and wife and Lottie according to your suggestion to come down with you. I have also written to Harrison Jones to come and preach on Sunday. I want to know as soon as possible about the number that will come. We will arrange it so that you can all have a touch of camp life. I hope the friends will bring some eatables, and we will try to have a good time. I think you had better bring Trot if you can do so without too much trouble. Still you must do as you think best in the matter. I don't know how long we shall be allowed to remain here in camp, but I think you had better come prepared so that if it seems best, you can stay a week or so. I can't yet tell whether it would be best or not and indeed, I don't know as it will [be] best to bring Trot at all. Do as you think best.
Bring Joe's watch, and I will let you take mine. Bring a couple pairs of sheets to use while you stay. Do let me hear soon.
James [A. Garfield]
October 8, 1861
My Dear Harry:
I have just received your letter. I suppose there would be a large number of persons who would come down to see us with you all next Saturday. Of course I should love to have you come with the rest but I would love still more to have you come when we are in the field.
I wish you could be with me but there is no post open in the regiment which [is] good enough for you. If you really wish to go into the service I think some appointment can be obtained for you.
In regard to regimental colors, I am glad to hear of the movement which is begun in Hiram. Nothing adds so much enthusiasm to a regiment as that which adds to the equipage and pride of its appearance. In a banner is symbolized an army's honor in its country's glory, and if the affection of friends at home can also be expressed in it, it will add wonderfully to the eclat and spirit of the regiment. The stand of colors presented to was magnificent [sic], costing $150, and was considered very cheap at that. It don't become me to make suggestions, but I know of nothing that could do more for the 42nd than to receive such a stand from their friends at home.
The Government has not yet furnished a single banner for the army in this war. It is indeed the duty of the War Department to do so, but the requisition I made on the Department a few days since was returned with the answer that there were none. I am lotting largely on the visit.
I have not received a letter from Almeda since I left home. Is she sick? Hoping to see you soon and hear from you often.
I am, dear Harry,
[Note to Phebe James Garfields favorite cousin who had lost her husband John H. Clapp.]
October 8, 1861
My Dear Cousin [Phebe M. Clapp];
I have not till this moment heard of the terrible blow which has fallen upon you. Had I heard in time I should have gone to you at once.
I know there are no words which can be spoken by any human being which can bring consolation to your heart or in any way help to rebuild the shattered fabric of your household love. Few women have been called to mourn so noble a husband. I have loved and admired him and for a long time have intimately counselled together. I too, feel the loss, oh how deeply for myself and for you. If I live through the war I hope I may in some manner be able to serve you.
With all the love of a cousin and brother, I am
In grief, yours,
October 20, 1861:
20th O.V.I. left for Camp Dennison
October 26, 1861:
JG: page 41.
October 26, 1861
My Dear Harry:
This has been a peculiarly beautiful autumn day, and for the first time for a good many weeks I have enjoyed the subdued splendor, the wonderfully mild beauty of the Indian summer afternoon. Your good letter was received very opportunely. I read it this morning, just before we assembled for preaching on the green turf of the parade ground. You have written me many good letters, but none that has come home to my heart so sweetly sad, and yet so tenderly welcome as this. The very contrast of your quiet with my unrest makes you long for activity and me for rest.
Your reference to the closing days of the full term made my heart swell till I could not breathe quietly. I have always felt at those closing hours of terms that teachers and students came all "with naked hearts together," and measured the strength of each other's influence and the power of their mutual love. Those were always very sacred moments to me. I remember the first full term which closed on me in Hiram and delivered a valedictory. I remember another which brought tears to Burke's eyes as he was leaving school, forever as he then feared. The reflection that all these are past forever with me brings a stifling sense of bereavement which I never have felt on such a subject before.
I have always hitherto in all my absences referred my life and its activities to our little circle of friends as the base of operations and estimated every event according as it stood related to that basis. But now there is no basis. We can draw no diagrams on the sea. Much less can we centralize a life which is launc[h]ed out on the certain currents of war.
You could not have named a book which I more desire to read than Hodson's I have heard of it and shall buy it the first opportunity. I long for some one like Tom Brown to lead me in the war. I feel my sympathies every day cling more to the Tom Brown style of men. I believe they are the true men of this time.
My nature is perversely peculiar. It seems that just now, when I need to be hard and almost unfeeling, my sympathies are weaker then ever. I never felt so much need of love and tenderness. I am lavishing my caresses on my horses. They have both been hugged and patted a score of times this past week, and several times at midnight, and I am fancying that there is a sort of secret understanding between them and me, a mute sympathy, when they lay their velvety noses against my cheek and pretend to bite my beard. I remember it when they are galloping with me on parade and wonder if they do too. I don't know but other men have similar experiences. I noticed the Major the other day looking at his horse who (horses do not belong [in] the grammatical category of thing[s] and brutes) was threatened with the lung fever, and he said, "I had rather have the lung fever myself than to have him have it."
A late occurrence has put a wider gulf between me and the men. I was so proud of them that I was willing to warrant that they were not engaged in any irregularities like breaking guard, etc. But lately I found a few had been engaged in it, and last night I spent nearly all night in scouting. This morning found five of my men in the guard house. It has touched my pride [and] roused all my determination, till I now feel that I must the scourge of many rather than the co-operant friend and leader. I feel, therefore, much more isolated tonight than I have ever done in camp before.
I hope you will come and see me again. I dare not go out into the depth of my desire to be in our dear little circles at Hiram tonight. I feel it much more than I would like to have any one here know. When I think that only a few hour's travel would bring me to you all, I ask myself whether I can plunge away where distance as well as duty will separate us still more inexorably.
I am getting on very well. The regiment is taking shape under my hand, and I feel by degrees a growth in the organic life of it which makes me hope for its ultimate success. My own health is very good. I was at Cincinnati a day and a half during the convention of the American Missionary Society. I made a little speech there under peculiar circumstances which created as much sensation as anything I ever did. Brother Jones or Robison can tell you about it if you happen to see them. I have not the time to tell the details of the affair.
I don't know what to say in regard to your next winter. The correspondent matter would depend a good deal upon what kind of an arrangement you could make with the Herald. I very much wish you could raise fifty or eighty recruits for the 42nd. The minimum would have been reached long ago, but for the failure of the new system [of] recruiting by second lieutenants.
Write me again soon. Tell Burke to write and believe me never more than now,
Your own brother,
James [A. Garfield]
October 27, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 102
Forty three from Kentucky and twelve taken near Cross Lanes, Virginia, arrived "by special train from Cincinnati" October 27.
JG: page 43.
October 27, 1861
My Dear Crete:
I intended to have written before this but I had to go to Cincinnati and it crowed my work. I received your letter, and it together with the whole visit makes and leaves an impression on my mind and heart which will give me hope and joy in a great many dark hours. I am very glad indeed that you came down and staid with [me]. I shall feel much happier in going out into the field than I should if you had not come. I cannot but feel a strong regret that I could not have seen our precious little Trot. Could she have been here at that last sacred and solemn night when we kneeled together almost here where I am now sitting, it would add a great comfort to my remembrance of the dear week in camp.
I am now quite well and am in hopes that I shall acquire a hardy and more constant health than I have hitherto had. I am drilling the regiment every day with a more severe discipline than ever, and I think I can see their growth marked and increasing. The ranks however are filling up slowly. We have now 755 on our rolls. We are constantly harassed by rumors that we are to leave immediately, but none of them are at all reliable.
At this point I was interrupted by calls on business and had to try several cases of misdemeanors and early this morning I was ordered to report as Officer of the Day. So here I am in for it. You remember something of what the duties are. I am beginning to tire of the monotonous routine of camp duties. I hope we may soon be sent away to active service. The thought of remaining during the winter would be unendurable. Still I have not much fear of being kept here.
I saw Major Casement of the 7th when I was in Cincinnati, and in a private conversation he surprised me very much by saying in the most positive and vigorous terms that Colonel Tyler was a coward and one of the meanest and most unmanly men he ever knew. He then went on to say that the feeling was becoming quite universal among the officers, and that they were now becoming aware of Tyler's persistent attempts to injure Cox and build himself up at his expense. I of course said nothing which could be made use of and I hope I was not deficient and regret that any one in the public service at a time like this should prove himself unfit for the post; but I am obliged to confess that I felt that if any one was to be found unworthy it should be one whom I had so much reason to believe was unfit for command. How much was said because I was the auditor, I could not tell; but I think he represented the case fairly. I am sure that Cox's fame will shine brighter hereafter and I believe Tyler has been the chief of his detractors.
Fifty-nine more prisoners came in yesterday. We have now nearly 300 in prison. I wish I had time to tell you about my trip to Cincinnati but I have not.
Love and kisses to our dear little Trot and to yourself,
Ever your James [A. Garfield]
November 6, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 102
Eight [Confederate prisoners] were brought in from the Kanawha Valley November 6, and eleven from Cheat Mountain November 13. The total number at the camp by this time was 278.
Ohio Statesman, November 6, 1861
The following distinguished secesh prisoners have by order of General [O.M.] Mitchell been sent from Camp Chase to Fort Lafayette. Colonel B.F. Stanton, Issac Nelson, Thomas Carten, R.S. Thomas and George Forrester. The rumor is that they concocted well laid plans for an escape from Camp Chase.
November 16, 1861:
OR vol. 3. Page 136
Columbus, Ohio, November 16, 1861.
General Mitchel has ordered improvements and a permanent extension to the establishment for prisoners of war at Camp Chase which must occasion considerable expenditure. The work is in progress. I report for the information of the Department.
W. Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
Ohio's Military Prisons in the Civil War; Phillip R. Shriver and Donald J. Breen; ; Article; Ohio State University Press;1964, page 8,
... a decision in mid- Novermber called for the construction of an additional contiguous unit of three 100 by 15-foot barracks (thereafter referred to as Prison No. 2) as a "permanent extension to the establishedment for prisoners of war at Camp Chase."
November 18, 1861:
Camp Chase, Columbus,
Sunday Nov. 18th 1861
Dear Mother we left Steubenville at 6 o'clock and arrived at Camp Columbus at 2 o'clock without accident or incident worthy of notice. We got our dinners there and then got into a buss and started for camp. Now I suppose you would like to know where Camp Chase is. It is on the National Road 4 miles from Columbus on the fairgrounds. There are splendid quarters built of boards. We are not moved to our houses yet, but will move to our houses next week. We have not got our uniforms yet but they are ready for us any time we want them, nor we have not drilled none yet. Our company is full but not organized yet. I have not seen our Capt. yet. He has not been in camp since we came here but will be here next week. They say he is a bully fellow. We have an election next week I don't know what we will do with old granny Junkins yet but he will come out on the short rows. Stone stands a good chance for Lieutenant. We get plenty to eat and good beds better than we have at home.
Camp Chase Columbus November 18, 1861 Mrs. James Porter.
Mother I cant tell you all on this sheet of paper. The boys are all well and are satisfied. There are about 500 hundred prisoners here. I can't say no more at present give my love to all.
Tobe (James and Will Porter 40th OVI)
AL : page 98.
A contract for provisioning the camp was awarded to Messrs.[ Louis and Jacob] Zettler at $11.65 per hundred rations.
December 5, 1861:
Camp Chase, Dec. 5,1861
Dear Mother I know you are anxious to here from Will but I had not time to write sooner for we have bon drilling all day. The measles are out on him thick and have been out on him all day. He has not eat anything hardly since he took them. He says nothing tastes right. The doctor give him some powders and told him to keep warm and he would get along. He don't seem to be very sick. He sets by the stove most of the time. We had a big time here today. Gov. Dennison review all the troops. The men was all provided with blank cartridges five rounds a piece. The first fire we were all in a line and opened fire on the right flank, I tell you it sounded funny to here the sharp crack of musketry roll along the line. We then deployed to the rear and formed in to a hollow square and fired by sections. Then the cavalry and infantry separated and maneuvered in both ends of the parade ground. It was a splendid affair all though we was out about six hours. I must bring my letter to a close. I will write to morrow and let know how Will is. I would write oftener but we cant get postage stamps here half the time. Tell Jo and Frank to write to me. I think you might mail Will a letter some of you. He don't get a letter very often. Give my love to all.
From your son, Tobe ( James Porter and Will Porter 40th OVI. to their mother in Wintersville, Ohio) [ property of Robert D. Thomas Chattanooga, Tenn.
Note: Will and James [Tobe] Porter were captured at Chickamunga and both died in Andersonville Prison.
December 9, 1861:
1st Ohio Volunteer Cavalry ;1039; left Camp Chase for Louisville, Ky. Col. O.P. Ransom
Four Years in The Saddle : History of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry: Compiled by W.L. Curry Columbus, Ohio. page.-17-
When we were at Camp Chase, Ohio, in the fall of 1861, I remember of being down at the Quartermaster's tent when we had just received an invoice of blankets, and was opening up the boxes, and it proved that the blankets were of all kinds and colors some red some gray, and others striped. Just then the Colonel, an officer of the regular army, as before mentioned, stepped in, and, taking a survey of the situation, commenced swearing, and in a moment the blankets and air were all of the same color - "blue." Said he, "Box them up, send them back, for I'll be d-d if I propose to have my regiment decked out in blankets with as many different colors as `Joseph's Coat' "
It struck me, a raw, verdant country boy, as being extremely funny and ridiculous, and I never forgot it. I presume the blankets were sent back. The writer was orderly sergeant at that time, and when the orderly's call would sound in the morning, I remember we always went up to headquarters with our morning reports with "fear and trembling," for if there was anything in the least degree wrong, he would always send us back to our quarters to correct it, and some of us can testify to-day that we were sent back at least three times in one morning. He never reprimanded the Sergeants, but would say : "Tell your Captain so and so"; and it was not an unusual thing for the Captain to be summoned into his presence, where he usually got a scoring.
At the beginning of the war the Cavalry arm of the service had no separate organization as an army. Yet raw and undisciplined as they were, they were of the same blood and had the same soldierly qualities of dash, vim and independence of all other arms of the service, and never failed to respond to any and every duty they were called upon to perform.
The tramp of their triumphant steeds shook the ground all along the. line, and their bugle calls rang out alike from every valley and mountain that marked the great battles of the war.
The First Ohio Cavalry was organized under the first call for the three year's service in 1861, and as the companies were recruited they rendezvoused at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, and were mustered in as a regiment on the fifth day of October, 1861. The first commission issued was to Captain J. H. Robinson, of Company "A," and was dated August 16, 1861., Company A was recruited in Fayette county; Company B in Guernsey and Muskingum counties; Company C in Fayette, Pickaway, Hamilton and Highland counties; Company D in Licking and Union counties; Company E in Pickaway county; Company F in Franklin, Fairfield and Licking counties; Company G in Clermont, Warren and Hamilton counties; Company H in Highland county; Company I in Miami county; Company K in Union, Madison and Franklin counties; Company L in Washington county; and Company M in Ross county. The members of the regiment were composed largely of farmers' boys, and many of them furnished their own horses and equipments, and as they were accustomed to riding and training horses, they were well adapted to the cavalry arm of the service.
As will be remembered by all members of the regiment, our camp was along the National Road at the extreme west end of Camp Chase, and we were quartered in tents, while all the other troops in camp were quartered in wooden barracks.
The 40th Regiment, 0. V. I., and 42nd Regiment, 0. V. I., were in camp - the 42nd being Garfield's regiment - and with this regiment we had a lively skirmish at one time, and after that we did not have any particular love for each other. The 4Oth and 42nd boys got into a fight something about Post Sutler's quarters. The guards of the 42nd refused to allow the 4Oth boys to pass the guard lines to go to the Sutlers, and this re-sulted in a big racket between the two regiments and a large number of soldiers of both regiments assembled at the guard line. Before the Officer of the Day arrived hostilities had commenced, and the First Ohio re-enforced the 4Oth and took a hand and there were many knock-downs and bloody noses on both sides, and the 42nd was "knocked out in the first round," at least it was so claimed by the boys of the First and Fortieth. This was the "baptism of blood" for these three regiments, that were destined to fight on so many bloody fields within the next four years, and it was a little episode well remembered by every soldier of these regiments present at the time.
During our stay in Camp Chase we had a very enjoyable time, as the fall weather was beautiful, and we had hundreds of visitors from the city and surrounding country", and we. were all very much in love with "playing soldier." The company drills in the facings and marching were kept up regularly, two drills each day, until the regiment had become quite proficient in the dismounted drill before the horses were issued. We received our horses in the month of October, and then the cavalryman was in his glory, for through all the hard work of "setting up" and the many weeks of dismounted drill he had been cheered by the promise and the bright hope that he would soon be mounted on his good steed and ready to meet the enemy in his chosen arm of the service. The dismounted drill, while distasteful to the trooper, was very important, as we learned, after taking the field, that it was necessary to often dismount to fight on foot, and had our horses been furnished immediately after we went into camp, much of the dismounted drill would have been omitted, and we also had more time to devote to saber drill and manual of carbine and revolver. When the horses were issued, they proved to be very fine mounts, as but few cavalry horses had been purchased in that section of the state, and having such a large number of fine horses to select from, many were condemned and rejected. These were the handsomest and most serviceable lot of horses we had during our service - no horse being accepted if he was less than five years of age, and at least one horse of that number was in service to the end of the war, and was turned in at Hilton Head, S. C,, when the regiment was discharged The horses were issued to the companies and the company commanders then had two numbers made out for each horse, one was tied to the head of the halter, and the other put in a hat from which each soldier drew a number and then started on a double quick for the picket line to find his horse. It is safe to say that there was more horse trading done in one day, after we received our horses, than was ever done in the State of Ohio in the same time, as every soldier was anxious to get a good mount, and if his horse did not suit him on the first trial, he exchanged with the first trooper that was willing to trade, and this was kept up for some weeks.
The average cavalryman has reached the height of his ambition when he is mounted and equipped, and we commenced mounted drills at once, and kept it up continuously, at least two drills each day, as long as we remained in Camp Chase. We frequently made practice marches along the National Road and into the city, with drawn sabers, and our new uniforms, gaily-caparisoned horses and clanking spurs attracted a great deal of attention, especially from the fair maidens. The flirtations of these dashing troopers no doubt caused the hearts of the "girls we left behind" to sigh for their cavaliers when we were ordered to the front. As the large percent of the boys recruited in the regiment were farmers, and as in that day a great deal of horseback riding was done, a large majority of our men were, as the saying goes, "raised on a horse's back," and were fine horsemen. To be an accomplished rider, it must be learned when the person is young and at the age when he has a certain amount of recklessness and has no fear, for a person that is timid and has no confidence in his ability to control his horse never can become a good rider.
The First Ohio had a great advantage in this regard over many cavalry regiments that were recruited in cities and in localities where there was little horseback riding, as the men were accustomed to caring for horses and understood feeding, grooming and saddling, and did not have these duties to learn after enlisting. Many of the men brought their own horses to camp and owned them throughout the war, and received forty cents a day from the Government for their service. The men who owned their own mounts usually had the best horses and cared for them the best, as they had a pecuniary interest and also understood the care of horses. With all these advantages, The regiment took up the mounted drill readily, and before we left Camp Chase in December, 1861, had become quite proficient in mounted battalion and regimental drill, which attracted large crowds of visitors, and was viewed with admiration and envy by the infantry soldiers in camp. The manoeuvres of a thousand horsemen at a trot ,gallop and charge is a magnificent sight and, once seen, is always remembered, and has a great attraction for the average young American, and we were all soon imbued with the dash and exciting attractions of the cavalry service...
All day of the eighth was consumed in the dear ones at home and sending a last loving message to the "girl we left behind" But little sleep was had that night by anyone, as many of the boys took advantage of the last night in camp to visit the city, and, as a result, came into camp all hours of the Night, many of them in a hilarious and boisterous condition, much to the disgust of the infantry boys doing guard duty along the National Road, as squads of cavalrymen of from six to a dozen would dash through the guard lines under the spur yelling like a lot of savages. Thus the night of the eighth passed in a whirl of excitement, and just after day-break of the ninth the "general" was sounded, tents were struck, and the straw and debris that had accumulated during over three months' encampment was fired, and for two or three hours we were almost suffocated with the black, dense smoke from the many fires all over the camp. Each soldier of the regiment had been presented by the Sanitary Commission with a large cotton comforter in camp, but very uncomfortable to pack, as they were so large and cumbersome. Imagine a cavalry saddle with the following load mailed on the pommel of the cantle and you see the saddle of a trooper of the First Ohio Cavalry as it appeared when packed for the first time : One double blanket, one rubber talma, one overcoat, one shirt, an extra suit of underwear, socks, etc., one feed sack, one lariat rope, curry-comb and brush, and one cotton comforter. When the saddle was packed and ready for putting on the horse's back, it was a fair rival in appearance to a Pennsylvania moving wagon.
Each trooper had sufficient baggage for three, and it took two of the. boys to lift a saddle up on a horse's back in saddling, and when he mounted, the horses groaned under their heavy Load. Were we had our first experience in "waiting for orders," and we had to wait two or three hours after saddling, but finally, much to our delight, we took up our line of march for the city. It was a beautiful, sunshiny December day, and every soldier who was in the regiment at that time will well remember that march from Camp Chase. One thousand cavalrymen, armed and equipped in heavy marching orders, marching by fours along the old National
Road and through the streets of Columbus, was a grand spectacle and one never to be forgotten. The boys were all in high spirits and as we passed the old Four Mile house [15. ] , the genial landlord of that famed hostelry, with his family, were out on the long porch waving us good-bye, and the boys were singing the "Girl I left behind me," little thinking that many of them were leaving their sweethearts for the last time on earth.
Many of the boys in the regiment, had enlisted from Columbus and from Franklin, Madison, Union, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway and other adjoining counties, and as the word had gone forth that we were to march on that day, scores of relatives and friends had been attracted to the camp to bid their fathers, brothers, sons and sweethearts good-bye and to see them off for the war, and as was usual in all regiments that left for the "front" there were many sad farewells, and "Good-bye, God bless and protect you" came from many a bleeding heart.
There were some amusing and exciting incidents, even in this quiet march to the city, as the loads were so heavy that many of the saddles turned and the horses would become frightened and run, and in some instances broke away from their riders, after they were thrown or dismounted, and some of the well packed saddles were kicked to pieces by the frightened horses, and the big cotton comforters were badly demoralized.
The streets were lined by thousands of people, and as we marched across High Street and out Broadway the regiment was greeted by shouts and by waving of flags and handkerchiefs all along the line, and hundreds of people followed to the stockyards, east of the depot, [10. ] to see us on board the train.
It took all the afternoon to load horses and baggage aboard the cars, and we were ready to pull out just about dark, and the men were marched down to the depot to take the passenger coaches in waiting, and we were soon steaming toward the Queen City with long trains of freight cars loaded with horses and baggage following close behind.
40th O.V.I.; 890; organized completed December 7, 1861 left on December 11, 1861 for Eastern Kentucky. Col. Jonathan Cranor.
OR vol. 1. Page 544.
Federal treatment of prisoners - Horrible barbarities - Statement of a paroled prisoner.
Memphis, Tenn., December 11, 1861.
To the Avalanche:
Having made my escape from Federal prison near Columbus, Ohio, I deemed it due to the 240 brave but unfortunate Southern men whom I left incarcerated there on the 29th of October last to make known to the South and to the world the suffering and indignities to which they are subjected by their inhuman jailers.
The Government prison to which I refer is at Camp Chase about four miles south [sic west] of the city of Columbus, the capital of the State of Ohio. Brigadier-General Hill is the commander under the direction of General Mitchel and Rosecrans, the prison being used for the confinement of military and political prisoners for both Kentucky and North-western Virginia. It contains about half an acre of ground inclosed by a plank wall nearly twenty-five feet high, with towers on two sides. Inside of this inclosure are two rows of board shanties with five rooms (16 by 16 feet) in each. In these small rooms, each occupied by about twenty-five men, and in this contracted space the crowd of prisoners are compelled to cook, eat and sleep. Men of every class and grade are huddled together and all treated as felons.
It will be remembered that Columbus is in a very cold country. The winter winds blow fiercely from those Northern fresh-water lakes over the State of Ohio and Camp Chase prison receives its full share of the chilling blasts. Yet while I was prisoner there including the month of October, when the weather was very rainy and cold, no fires were allowed in the prison to warm the half naked and shivering prisoners. Promises were made from time to time by the subordinate officers that the prison should be warmed either by stoves or by a steam-heating apparatus but up to the 29th day of October no steps had been taken looking to that end. To add to the discomfort of the poor prisoners the wretched shanties, their only shelter, leaked badly, keeping the floors, their only bed, and even their scanty bed clothing soaked with water. The fear was entertained by the prisoners generally and constantly expressed that it was the intention that they should perish from the effects of cold and damp. This treatment of human beings by those calling themselves Christians is unparalleled. Inhumanity and cruelty by the Lincoln Government toward those in its power is a policy which has been suggested by many of its allies to put down the rebellion.
The prisoners sometimes remain in this wretched prison weeks before they receive even a blanket which when they get it would hardly have been sufficient for their comfort in summer let alone in a Northern October. The consequence of this severe exposure was that most of the prisoners were sick from affections of the lungs and throat and a number died while I was there, while many were perishing by inches coughing away their lungs; and many were suffering from pneumonia, measles and other diseases. It may seem incredible that this body of sick and suffering men including a considerable number of prisoners of war were left through that damp, cold and horrible October without fire and half naked in that wretched mudhole of a prison and without adequate medical attention; and yet I assert it to be fact and defy the contradiction of the Lincoln jailers and authorities.
A large number of old men from Western Virginia and Kentucky whose heads were white with the frosts of age were among the prisoners in this bastille charged with sympathizing with the cause of the South. Among them I mention the name of Col. Hamilton, of Virginia, who was carried from the prison in a dying condition, a few days before I left and I have learned since that he died soon afterward of pneumonia. A young man from Western Virginia died two hours after he was removed from prison. I will add in this connection that the prisoners of war who had been in the prison several months were almost naked and that all were engaged in a perpetual strife with the vermin with which the loathsome den literally swarmed.
The food furnished the prisoners with the exception of the bread was of the most inferior kind and in sufficient quantities for the sustenance of the famishing men. The pork was absolutely rotten. But the great complaint was the difficulty in obtaining enough wood to cook the half-spoiled and scanty meal, only five small sticks per day being allowed for a mess of twenty-five men and that often furnished until away in the night, leaving the men starving for want of their scanty meals during the entire day.
I have visited the military prison in this city where the Belmont prisoners are confined (Memphis) and found them surrounded with every comfort - lodged in a brick house well warmed, with good beds, provided with newspapers, books and writing materials, all of which were denied to the prisoners at Camp Chase. These Federal prisoners testified to me that they were well and civilly treated and expressed their abhorrence and regret at my recital of treatment of our prisoners.
It is but justice to the ladies of Columbus to say that they offered to furnish comfortable beds and bedding for us but were denied the privilege by the commandant because he said it was not permitted by the orders. When these kind - hearted ladies visited us in our vile prison and beheld our wretched condition they involuntarily burst into tears. They gave us all they were permitted to bestow - their sympathy and tears.
Among the prisoners were, from Maysville, Ky., Hon. R.H.Stanton, Isaac Nelson, W.B.Casto, Mr. Thomas, John Hall, A.D. Hurt and George W. Forrester, proprietor and editor of the Maysville Express; also Lieut. A. O. Brummell of the Confederate army from Richmond, VA.; Col. Ferguson and Henry Martin from Western VA. and quite a number of other officers from that State who were in rags. I cannot here attempt to enumerate the names of other gentlemen.
Judge J. R. Curry, judge of the Harrison County court; Perry Wherret, clerk of the same court, and W.B. Glave, sheriff of the same county, and myself were arrested at Cynthiana its county seat. We were first taken to Newport,KY., barracks and there confined in the cells without even a blanket for twenty-four hours. We were then marched at night through the rain and mud to the Miami Railroad depot.
But the cars having left we were ordered to about face and marched four miles farther to the Hamilton and Dayton depot where we took the cars for Columbus. During the march Judge Curry who is over seventy years of age being fatigued came near giving out, but the captain of the guard with oaths gave orders to drive him up and they punched and struck him in the most brutal manner with their guns, kicking him at the same time. W.B. Glave who owing to his feebleness was also unable to keep up, the pace being double-quick, was treated in the same savage manner. Our only offense was that we dissented from the measures of Lincoln.
I have given unvarnished statement of facts which will be attested by my fellow-prisoners whenever they can be heard. I do not desire that Federal prisoners shall be treated with less kindness; but I do desire that the Confederate Government shall take some action in behalf of its captive citizens that they may not be murdered by slow degrees in the bastille of the North.
As the attention of the public has been directed by the press to my humble self I deem it proper to say something of the circumstances attending my escape from Federal jailers. My wife being in delicate health was taken dangerously ill after my arrest from the effects of the shock, and hearing of her condition I determined if possible to get out to see her before her death. To effect this I wrote a letter feigning repentance which procured me a release on parole for ten days when I returned to Cynthiana to find my wife had been buried four days. Considering that I was not bound by either law or honor to observe my parole having been dragged to Ohio for my political opinions in violation of the Constitutions of both the United States and Kentucky I embraced the opportunity to escape from my persecutors and after a very circuitous journey attended with my risks and perils I reached this city.
This much, Messrs. Editors, I have deemed proper to say for myself. I do not whine nor ask the sympathies of any one. I am loose from Yankee despotism and with my musket in one hand and the black flag of extermination to the foe in the other I intend to avenge my own and my country's wrongs; and if thoughts of a murdered wife and home made desolate do not nerve my arm to strength and execution I should be an ignoble son of Kentucky.
A.J.Morey, Editor of the Cynthiana, KY., News.
December 15, 1861:
42nd O.V.I.; 941; organized September 25, 1861 left December 15, 1861 for Kentucky. Col. James A. Garfield.
Under the Flag of the Nation. Diaries an Letters of a Yankee Volunteer in the Civil War, By Owen Johnston Hopkins 42nd.O.V.I. Edited by Otto F. Bond ; Ohio State University Press for the Ohio Historical Society 1961. Page 12.
"The Regiment remained in camp, receiving recruits almost daily, until the 14th of December 1861, when orders were read on dress parade that evening to be prepared to march for the front on the following morning, with three day's ration. This order was greeted with loud cheers, as we had grown heartily tired of camp duties and longed for active service in the field. Yet how any of us realized the true sense of the term "active service"! How fraught with danger of sickness and death, of hardships and deprivations! But when we marched out on that clear cold December morning to the step of martial music, every heart was buoyant and hopeful and fully resolved to battle manfully for the old Flag.
Upon reaching Columbus, we found the streets lined with people assembled to witness our march through the city. Flags both great and small waved from window, terrace, and balcony, and the streets were boisterous with busy life. Long after, when marching through the desolate cities of the South, I remembered this scene in the capital of our old Buckeye State, and could not fail to note the contrast.
Marching to the Cincinnati & Columbus R.R. depot, the Regiment was formed in a hallow square and received from Governor Dennison a magnificent stand of colors, which the Governor said he hoped we would never trail in the dust,-- or words to hat effect. Our Colonel, James A. Garfield, in a short but appropriate speech, assured him that no enemy of our country should wrest that beautiful standard from us, but that it should be carried at the cost of our lives "through many a sanguine field to Victory." And many more such patriotic promises were made by the Colonel, -- all of which we confidently hoped we would be able to do when, in fullness of time. we had the opportunity.
Giving the Governor "three times three," we embarked on the cars and were whirled on toward Cincinnati
December 19, 1861:
AL : Volume 2,page 102
On December 19 eight more [prisoners] arrived from Romney.
December 31, 1861:
OR vol. 3. Page 173
Washington, December 31, 1861,
Commanding Officer Camp Chase, Ohio.
Sir: It is understood that Surg. J.W. Bouse is held as a prisoner taken in arms against the United States at Camp Chase. The General-in-Chief directs that he be released on parole with the understanding that he shall be discharged from the parole if he shall procure a like discharge for Surg. J. M. Lewis, Second Wisconsin Volunteers, now on parole at Oconomowoc, Wis.
I am, sir, &c.,
L. Thomas, Adjutant-General.
End of 1861
The following is a copied list which
includes prison records for mostly 1861.
CIVIL WAR PRISONERS AT CAMP CHASE, COLUMBUS, OHIO 1861-1862
James L. Murphy, The Ohio Historical Society
Forward to Camp Chase Chronicles, 1862
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