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Letters from Soldiers of the 36th OVI

[The 36th was organized at Marietta, Ohio in August 1861. Initial duty was in what is now West Virginia. Their first major combat experience was at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run just outside Wasngton DC in August 1862. This was followed by major engagements at South Mountain and Antietam in Maryland in September. In 1863 they were ordered to middle Tennessee to take part in the Tullahoma Campaign and then to the Chattanooga area where they fought at Chickamauga, just across the border in Georgia, and then falling back to defend Chattanooga. Their enlistment was up at this time and the veterans reenlisted in January 1864, and were home on furlough in March and April. Then it was back to Virginia where they were for the duration of the war and where they fought in several battles, including Cloyd's Mountain, Lynchburg, Cedar Creek and others. Mustered out in July 1865. 4 officers and 136 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded in combat and 163 enlisted men died of disease. N. Elvick]

Camp Summerville, Western Va.
Nov. 1, 1861

Mr. Journal:
     Having just returned this afternoon from from a 36 hour tour of picket duty, I will venture to take the responsibility on myself of writing you a few lines for insertion in your valuable paper, that is if you deem them worthy of a place in your columns. We are, as I suppose you are aware, quartered in the village of Summerville, the county seat of Nicholas county, a village about the size of Porter or Vinton. The different companies are quartered in the various houses that were deserted by secesh inhabitants upon the approach of Federal troops. The following is a list of the Companies, and their commanders: Co. A Capt. Devol, from Washington county; Co. B Capt. Adney, from Gallia co.; Co. C Capt. Beckley, from Athens co.; Co. D. Capt. Dunham, from Jackson co.; Co. E Capt. Hollister from Monroe co.; Co. F Capt. Moore, from Washington co.; Co. G Capt. Palmer, from Washington co.; Co. H. Capt. Wilson, from Meigs co.; Co. I Capt. Taylor, from Gallia co.; Co. K Capt. Stephenson, from Jackson co. These and a company of Pennsylvania Dragoons, comprise the troops at this point.
     Our Company (B) is quartered in the Summerville "Hotel;" the eatables at present are dealt out by Acting Commissary Norris. Capt. Dunham occupies the court house; the jail has been converted to a Guard house, and has for its inmates 18 or 20 secesh prisoners, 3 or 4 of the 36th and 3 men out of 47th [sic] Regiments. The health of the regiment has been remarkably good since we left Camp in August last, as there has been but three deaths from disease in that time. At present . . . the men are worn out by forced marches and exposure; the measels [sic] are raging , , , but are principally confined to Company D. The members of the Gallia companies, (B. and I.) as a general thing are well; they have less men in the Hospital than any of the rest of the companies. I will give you the names of the Officers of our company; Capt. W. H. G. Adney; 1st Lieut. E. P. Henry; 2nd Lieut. R. B. Carter; Orderly, Jessee Morrow; 1st Sgt., S. L. Grosvenor; 2nd Sgt., Ransom Wyatt; 3rd H. H. Adney; 4th Sgt. L. E. Jones. The Corporals are: Ira K. Eaton, Ezra Greene, T. S. Matthews, S. S. Dent, C. M. Holcomb, John Holcomb, A. B. Holcomb, and T. S. Durkee.
     The 36th is said to be one of the best Regiments that the Buckeye State has ever sent out. It is well-officered, well-drilled, well-armed, well-clothed, and well-fed. We drill eight hours per day. The field officers are . . .Col. Crook, Lt. Col. Clark, and Major Andrews; the Adjutant is . . . Reuben L. Nye, from Marietta. Lieut. Levi Barber, of Port Harmar is the Quarter Master. The surgeons are Drs. Barr and Whitford with . . , assistants. Capt. Adney and Lieut Henry having been sick, the whole command and care of the company devolved on Lieut. Carter, who. . . is altogether competent While in ranks for inspection this forenoon, Capt. Palmer's men having their arms stacked, someone accidentally knocked down one of the stacks, discharging one of the Rifles . . . wounding 3 men . . . one man was wounded by the bayonet . . . none of them are dangerously wounded.
     The boys here are all eager for a fight, but will not have a chance . . . before spring. . . There is nothing of importance transpiring here now, we having gone into winter quarters, and the people of Gallia know more of the general war news from Western Virginia than we soldier-boys do. . .
     [The] 36th. . .

The Gallipolis Journal
November 14, 1861

[This letter was probably written by Henry C. Shoemaker, who was a Corporal in this unit and who wrote a second letter later.]

Camp Summerville, Va.,

Mr. Harper:
     I drop you a few lines concerning our Regiment, and will endeavor to give you an inkling of our travels, thinking it will be of interest to the friends of the 36th in your county. Well, we went into camp at Marietta about the middle of August, and after remaining there two weeks, were sent to Parkersburg, Va. We had only been at the latter place about twelve hours when we were ordered at 12 o'clock at night, to prepare 3 days' rations and to be ready to move by 3 o'clock the following morning, and such a bluster then you never saw. All the boys were up, packing up their clothes and getting ready to leave, but where we were going we knew not. We proceeded by cars about twenty miles into the country, and were then ordered to load our pieces, as we were in the enemies [sic] land. We travelled that evening about fifteen miles to a village called Elizabeth, where we camped that night. Next morning we arose very early and after a hearty breakfast on dry crackers traveled 30 miles that day. On the following day, we reached a little village called Spencer, where we remained eight days. We then started again and traveled 140 miles further, at the rate of 20 miles per day, when we reached a small village called Summerville, where we are now stationed. Since our arrival here we have been out on several scouting expeditions, and have captured a great many prisoners, horses, cattle, sheep and guns. Six men out of company I were sent for one night about 1 o'clock to go down to Gauley river to watch a ferry. A man from the rebel army had come over the river that day to see his family, and feeling a little dubious, concluded to return the same night. So he started for the camp about the time our boys got to the river, and thinking all was right, he went to a house and got a girl about 14 years of age to paddle the canoe over the river, but alas, when they got within one hundred yards of the river they found the brave boys of company I to contend with. The boys were out of view, and when they raised up and sung [sic] out "halt," it made the very hair on his head stand up. The rascal remarked as he surrendered himself: "Ah, boys, you have got me now," and it made the boys laugh to think they had caught him so nicely. It was previously arranged between the two, that should anything happen at the ferry the girl was to make a powerful fuss, and she attempted to perform her part, when one of our boys stepped up to her and told her if she even whimpered they would cause her life to be taken, and they returned to camp with him before daylight.
     We have had a great deal of sickness in camp this winter, but the health of our Regiment is rapidly improving now. The fever has almost entirely abated, and the measels [sic] are scarcely noticeable. You are aware that the 36th have been paid off, and our boys are all in good heart, and money is as plentiful here as rebels, and if any thing a little more so. Having written more than I intended, I will leave the balance for some one else.
     Corporal Co. I, 36th Regt.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 20, 1862

Meadow Bluff, Va.
June 2d, 1862

Mr. Harper,—Sir:
     Having a few leisure moments, and thinking perhaps some of your readers would be interested in a short detail of the movements of the 3d provisional brigade, and particularly of the 36th Regiment O.V.I., I have seated myself for the purpose of informing them, as far as strict laws and my own ability will allow. At Summerville on the 10th of May, by a general order, we were formed into brigades consisting of the 36th, 44th, and 47th Ohio regiments, Col. George Crook, Commanding. On the 11th another order was read, announcing that the brigade would concentrate at Meadow Bluffs, and for the 36th to prepare immediately for a march in the direction of Lewisburg. We all welcomed the announcement with immense delight, for having remained there so long, we were glad to leave. On the morning of the12th we started, and after crossing, or rather wading Gauley river, we began to march across the mountains. For two days we marched in single file over a path used by bushwhackers, and it was not until the third day that we came in sight of anything that betokened civilization.
     We then came into the valley some twenty miles North of Lewisburg, where there is [sic] some beautiful farming lands. On the third night after we left Summerville, we camped in a nice little village called Frankford, where we heard that a detachment of the 44th and 47th regiments, with Major Hoffman's battery of cavalry, had taken possession of Lewisburg, after routing the rebel cavalry from that place. On the 16th of May we reached the boasted Lewisburg, the town which the rebel General Heth's command had boasted they would never give up to the accursed Yankees, but Heth and his command had gone. We rested at Lewisburg one night. Next morning the 36th and 44th started on a march across the Allegheny, to make a dash on the Virginia Central Railroad, and captured all the enemy's stores at Jackson depot. We passed the White Sulphur Springs and the town of Covington on our route, and on the second day reached the depot, where our commander, Col. Crook, seized the telegraph office, and found that the Provost Marshal of Allegheny county had telegraphed to the rebel General Jackson to send him several regiments of troops, and that he (Jackson) had promised to send them immediately. Col. Crook then burnt the bridge across Jackson river, and fell back to Lewisburg, bringing Capt. Spriggs and other important prisoners.
     On the morning of the 23rd, our brigade was awakened by the noise of drums and muskets, and the firing at the picket post on Greenbrier river indicating that there was work at hand.—Immediately company G, of the 36th, and company D, of the 44th, were sent forward to stop the progress of the rebels. Deceived by the fog, they mistook a body of rebels for our pickets, approached within close range, and it was not until they received a volley, that they discovered their mistake.
     Capt's. Palmer and Tulleys immediately deployed their companies and commenced falling back, for the whole rebel force was upon them. When the rebels discovered this, they sent up a shout of triumph, but alas! for them, they knew not that two as gallant regiments as were ever formed were waiting patiently for the word, "forward," to avenge the insults our flag had received. The rest of the brigade had now fell [sic] into ranks, and were marching down through Main street to form between the rebels and the town, and then to advance on them. By this time they had chosen their position and had commenced shelling our camp, and with one piece they were trying to rake us as we marched through town; one shell burst before us, and another over our heads, and then before they had time to depress their piece, we had filed out of the street, the 44th on the right and the 36th on the left. We formed a line under cover of a hill, and then advanced, and from this I can tell you nothing of the movements of the 44th, for we were seperated [sic] from each other by a row of dwelling houses, but I can say this much, they performed their part nobly, charging on the enemy's battery, and capturing four of their best pieces, and mowing the rebels down like wheat. When we gained the crest of the hill two regiments opened a galling fire on us (the 36th). We then received the command, "forward, double quick," and away we went, driving them before us like chaff before the wind.—Once they rallied behind a fence, but we soon drove them from their positions. Then commenced their retreat, for by this time, the 44th had driven them back from the right in confusion. They burnt the bridge across Greenbrier to cover their retreat, and we marched back to camp considerably elated over our victory; and why not? We had fought at least two to one, and they used artillery while we did not.
     Their force amounted to 3,000 infantry, 8 pieces of artillery, and 100 cavalry, while ours did not at the farthest amount to over 1,400 infantry. Our loss was 13 killed and 50 wounded, while they left 40 of their dead and 60 wounded on the field. We also captured 300 muskets, four pieces of artillery, and 100 prisoners, among them one Lieutenant Colonel and one Major. Several of our wounded were fired on by the citizens, and one of them killed. The house from which the shot was fired, has been burnt, and could the perpetrator of the deed [have] been caught, he would have been hung. We remained in camp at Lewisburg for five days after the fight, when we were ordered to fall back to Meadow Bluffs.
     Co. I, 36th Regiment O.V.

The Gallipolis Journal
June 12, 1862

[The writer of this letter is identified only as H.M. and it isn't specified if he is actually a soldier. However, this does appear to describe the area about where the 36th was at this point. Addressing the editor as Harper rather than Mr. Harper may suggest a personal relationship such as friends, or possibly employer/employee such as if he was a reporter.]

The Falls of the Kanawha, June 21st, 1862

Dear Harper:
     Since I last wrote you, nothing of special interest has occurred in the "District of the Kanawha." All is quiet, and things jog along much as they do with you, rather monotonously. I have been hanging on the outskirts of our army for more than a year, have met with secessionists of all grades, and, as regards Western Virginia, the Union sentiment is growing rapidly and becoming stronger. Nine months ago, a lady friend said to me, she would rather live under Jeff. Davis, as dictator, than under the old flag. Two weeks ago, she wished the South had never seceded, and sincerely wished this terrible war was at an end. Such is the feeling of hundreds, who one year ago were bitter rebels. They begin to see the cause of the South is hopeless, and the Southern Confederacy about played out. When Wise was in the Valley a year ago, we all know how successful he was in drawing young men into the whirlpool of secession; representing that he came here to stay; that the south was never going to give up the Kanawha Valley to be desecrated by the unhallowed footsteps of the Yankees, and all this sort of thing.—He stayed a few weeks and "skedaddled." On his retreat he represented to the terror-stricken people that the Yankees were burning, pillaging and robbing as they came. Men, women, and children were killed, their persons violated, and all manner of barbarities perpretrated. Said a lady to me a few days since: "After telling us all this and much more, frightening us nearly to death, our husbands, brothers, and sons ran away. leaving us unprotected to the tender mercies of these cannibal Yankees." It is funny when you think of it. The Yankees coming to kill and destroy defenceless [sic] women and children, and the men running away leaving them to their fate.
     Riding the mail line towards Meadow Bluffs, is a man by name of R_______. He lives near Cross Lanes, and never once flinched in his devotion to the old flag. During all the troubles last summer he was true as steel. No threats of personal violence could intimidate him. A man of iron nerve, no inducements could swerve him to the right or left. The edict went forth that his life must pay the forfeit of his devotion to the Union. The rebels tried every means in their power to find and then murder him. They were foiled at every step. At last they hit upon a master plan to entrap him. They murdered in cold blood his only son, near the house where he lived, and watched over the body six days and nights, leaving it unburied and exposed, thinking the father would come from his hiding place to get the body to bury it. Unbeknown to the rebels, Mr. R_____ had left the neighborhood several days before, and knew nothing of it. You may well imagine the feelings of the father when his wife told him the fate of his darling boy. He says he knows every man of them who participated in the hellish deed, and he adds, "the last man of them shall die." This I have from the man's own lips, and others vouched for the truth of it. There are many sad pictures connected with this unrighteous rebellion, which would make a man say "can such things be" and retribution not be visited upon the heads of those arch-devils?
     I have seen the past few weeks many families in this district, most of whom have friends in the rebel army, and all have told me their friends are sick of this war, and want to return home.—Many are deserting, and those whose terms of enlistment are about expiring are making preparations to leave the rebel army and come home, and they will do it.
     Yesterday a party of us made a visit up the New river to Hawk's Nest.—My friend Col.___and lady and self and lady, constituted the aforesaid party. Horseback riding is pleasant, but to enjoy it, you must get a lady friend to accompany you. E. is perfectly at home on the back of a horse. You should see how gracefully she appears in her neat riding habit; with what tact she manages her horse; and add to this great personal beauty, and you might well envy me my trip and companion. If you should ever go to the Hawk's Nest, let me advise you to first go to Mr. Hamilton's and get a good dinner, and you will be prepared to "do up the sights." On the hill overlooking the Hawk's Nest, is a grave where lies one of Ohio's soldiers. A rude slab of stone marks the spot, on which is carved G. A., Aug. 25th, 1861. George Allen is his name, I am told. I could not find out where he lived or to what regiment he belonged. Our lady friends planted some flowers on the grave, and as we wondered if the "loved ones at home" were aware of his end, and were mourning for him, our hearts became sad and more than one watered the flowers with their tears. Near the Hawk's Nest is a large rock, which is called the "Lover's leap," and thereby hangs a tale of love and death, which excels anything in romance. I will tell it to you sometime, as I had it from the lips of an aged lady who lives near the spot.
     This letter is lengthy enough. Items begin to crowd upon me. You will hear from me again soon, as events of absorbing interest will soon be upon us.—E. has gone East. I look for her back in ten days.
     H.M. ---

The Gallipolis Journal
June 26, 1862

Western Virginia, July 26, '62

Dear Journal:
     The dead calm which has hung over military affairs in this section, was somewhat ruffled and disturbed yesterday by reports of a reverse to our arms at Summerville. The facts, as near as I can gather them, are these: Two companies of the 9th Va., under command of Lieut. Col. Starr, stationed at Summerville, were surprised yesterday morning before daylight, by rebel cavalry numbering about 200, and captured 110 of our men, including Lt. Col. Starr and all the officers except two. The 1st and 2d Lieuts. of Co. F, together with 20 men, succeeded in making their escape and arrived at Gauley yesterday evening. The rebels burned 3 houses, destroyed commissary stores, wagons, &c., taking with them all our horses and mules.—This regiment seems fated to be taken by surprise. They lost heavily in men at Guyandotte last fall, and they are again taken by surprise and two companies captured. Nobody to blame. When will the rebels learn to give us warning of their approach, so we can be prepared? We need a day or two's notice.
     What Is the Prospect? Will be be driven out of the Kanawha Valley? is a question that more than one is revolving in their minds.—The bitter, unrelenting secesh have lately become jubliant, and many of them publicly say that the Yankees will have to "skedaddle" out of this before long, and couple the name of Stonewall Jackson with such an event. That the rebels may possibly make a dash, similar to the Summerville affair, upon a weak point here and there, I will not gainsay, but they cannot retake the Valley. They cannot subsist an army in this country, and it is too far away from the railroad for them to transport subsistence. What if our forces should be compelled to fall back to Gauley, it only renders us the stronger, for one regiment can hold Gauley against five rebel regiments.
     Morgan in his latest raid had the richest portion of Kentucky to subsist upon. Here an army could not live a week if they depended exclusively upon the country to subsist them. Again, if the rebels came into the Valley it would be the greatest negligence on our part if they got away. A few men could cut them off beyond all possibility of escape. Only one thing will give success to a rebel expedition in the Kanawha Valley, and that is a brilliant victory of their army in front of Richmond.
     Various Matters. Capt. I. B. Gibbs, C.S. on Gen'l. Cox's staff, tendered his resignation, and it has been accepted. Capt. A. V. Berringer takes his place. A change much for the better. The latter gentleman is one of the best officers in the service, combining with great energy and sound judgment, honesty and a patriotism that looks to the best interests of the country. The same can truly be said of Capt. Green, C.S., and Capt. Levering, A.Q.M. at Gauley. Of Capt. Gibbs, the least said the better at present. Col. Crooks' command still remains at Meadow Bluffs with the enemy in his front. You need have no fears of him. He is one of the few men we have who is capable, courageous and honest. The main column under Gen. Cox. is still on Flat Top Mountain, "all safe and quiet." Gen. Pope's order No. 11, creates considerable excitement among the secesh, and they begin to think the Government has commenced to make war in earnest. Capt. Henry Grayum's company is stationed at Loup Creek Landing.—There is a good story told on the Captain which proves conclusively that he is as gallant as he is brave. In a recent scout he came to a pretty farm house and asked a young lady for a drink of water. As a compensation for her kindness he imprinted upon her cheek a friendly kiss, remarking that it was customary in Ohio upon receiving a kindness from a lady, to thank her with a kiss, thereby testifying in an unmistakable manner his high appreciation of the kindness bestowed. A few days after he happened to be along there again, when the same young lady came out of the house and presented him with a nice cake. Query—Did she like the Ohio method of returning thanks?
In my last I alluded to a trip to the Hawk's Nest. My friend the Colonel called my attention to the fact that I had failed to say a word of his lady friend. It was not intentional but from the fact that I was not capable of giving that just praise which her charms of mind and person, and her goodness of heart, bordering on perfection, so eminently deserved. I could only look, admire and remain dumb. My dear Colonel, are you satisfied?
      Au revoir

The Gallipolis Journal
July 31, 1862

For the Gallipolis Journal The Fight at Lewisburg, Va. Official report of Col. J. Crook

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     I send you a report of the fight at Lewisburg. Our loss was 13 killed and 40 wounded. The enemy admit to have taken away 6 wagon loads of their wounded. I have heard of 6 deaths on the road. They left about 50 dead on the field and 66 wounded, many of them mortally.—Capt. Heath came here under a flag of truce; he says their loss in Officers was very large. One of the captured officers says if the yankees had fought like men they could have easily whipped them, but, said he, they fought like Devils. Our Company suffered very little, only 4 wounded. Two of our wounded were shot down in the streets by citizens.
     Yours truly,
     J. M. Clark

[Col. George Crook was the Colonel of the 36th OVI, but here he was also the leader of the 3rd Brigade, which also included the 44th OVI and other units. Crook later would be promoted to General and he was a leader in other notable battles involving Gallia troops, including the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain in 1864 in which the notorious Albert Jenkins (who led the raid on Point Pleasant) was killed.]

Headquarters 3d Brigade, Lewisburg, May 25th, 1862 Order No. 5

     It affords the undersigned great pleasure in congratulating the troops of his command on their brilliant success of the 23d inst. We were attacked by a greatly superior force who not only had the choice of position but had the morale of attack. The 36th and 44th regiments formed line of battle under fire, a move that veteran troops find it difficult to make. They then advanced in good order, driving the enemy before them, dealing death and destruction as they went, until the enemy fled in great confusion, leaving over one hundred of their killed and wounded on the field.—We captured four pieces of artillery, 300 stands of arms and 100 prisoners. The 44th capturing their battery, and the 36th advanced under their heaviest infantry fire.
     The result fully justifies the high standards these regiments were expected to maintain. To make particular mention would be invidious since they behaved so nobly. The artillery, by a misunderstanding, was not brought into action. The 2nd Virginia cavalry, being held in reserve, had the most difficult part to perform, that of being exposed to the enemy's fire without being able to participate. The Medical and Quartermaster's department deserve great credit for their energy and zeal in carrying the wounded and dead from the field. The Surveyors and assistant Surveyors deserve particular mention for their skill and untiring attention to the wounded.
     George Crook,
     Commanding Brigade

The Gallipolis Journal
June 5, 1862

Camp near Fayetteville, Va., Dec. 16th, 1862

Mr. Harper—Dear Sir: Allow me through your columns, to call on our friends in old Gallia, for gloves and socks for the boys of Co. B. 91st Reg. O.V.I. We know it will be a pleasure for our friends to satisfy our wants, and to know that we are comfortable. Send us the socks and gloves. The boys will need them while on picket and out-post duty through the chilly blasts of winter. Such things we cannot buy up here in the mountains; they are not to be had. Please deposit at Messrs. Deletombe & Black's for shipping and oblige many friends.
     Jas. E. Niday,
     Capt. Co. B, 91st Reg. O.V.I.

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     Will you please say to the friends of the 91st Regiment, that if they want to send the boys anything in the way of presents, such as eatables or socks, or anything to gladden the hearts of the bold soldiers, who are away from home in the cold mountains, where there is no mother, wife, or sister to cheer them, that I will be responsible for the delivery of anything you wish to send, by leaving the article at Wm. H. Langley's with a label on it. Have it there by the 6th of January, as I will leave on the 7th. Any person wishing to go up at that time can find company.
     1st Lieut. J. T. Irwin, Gallipolis, Dec. 23, '62

The Gallipolis Journal
December 25, 1862

[The Battle of Antietam still stands as the deadliest day of warfare in our nation's history.]

Camp Crook, Charleston, W. Va., Jan. 12th, '63

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     Vague reports have been in circulation among my friends in old Gallia of me basely deserting my Company and Regiment while engaged in battle on Antietam Creek, Md. As self preservation is the first law of nature, I beg that you will allow me to speak in self-defense through the columns of your paper.—I wish to state a few facts connected with the battle and my mysterious disappearance. Our Brigade fought on the left, in support of Gen. Wilcox's Command. When we were ordered into action the Brigade on our left gave way, which caused confusion for a short time only, when the troops on our left retired a short distance and again formed their lines, leaving us in front and some distance in advance, holding possession of a stone wall which the enemy had recently held. In a short time we (the second Brigade of the Kanawha Division) were ordered to retire, so as to correspond with the lines of other commands which had recently fallen back. The enemy thinking us in retreat, allowed their skirmishers to follow us up. It was while our Brigade was making this movement that I was felled to the earth by the force of what I supposed to have been some deadly missile passing near my head, for I could not attribute my falling to physical weakness caused by excitement or fatigue. How long I remained prostrate and unconscious I know not.—When strength again permitted me to rise, I gazed around unconscious of where I was, or what had befallen me. I was looking for my gun when I discovered that I was surrounded by Butternuts, that had been thrown out as skirmishers. I thought to practice a ruse on them by lying down and appearing to be dead. I was discovered in the act, made a prisoner and marched to the rear of the rebel army. I was taken to Richmond with about two hundred Federal prisoners. We were all parolled [sic] and sent to Annapolis, Maryland, where we remained until the 12th of December. I was then ordered to report to my Regiment, which I did about the 28th of December. I have been legally exchanged, and am now performing the duty of a soldier. I am now willing and ready to march with my commander to avenge the wrongs of my country and the treatment I received from the hands of the rebels while a prisoner among them.
     Lewis J. Drummond,
     Co. I, 36th Reg't. O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
January 22, 1863

36th Regiment O. V. I., Carthage, Tenn., April 11, 1863

Mr. Harper:—
     Allow me permission through the columns of your valuable paper to inform the friends of old Gallia something of our whereabouts, and how we are getting along. I need not mention our departure from the Kanawha Valley, as it is well known to all the friends. We arrived at Nashville, Tennessee, February 8th, and went into camp, where we remained until the 10th, when we received marching orders. We then embarked on Steamboat Liberty and landed at this point the evening of the 28th, where we have remained ever since. The Regiment is in excellent health, and the boys in better spirits than they ever have been.
     Those copperheads at home have no bad influence over the boys, but excite ambition, and it would not be well for one of them to make his appearance in our midst, for we would rather shoot one of them than the rankest rebel in Jeff Davis' army, and if they get so numerous that the Union men at home can't keep them down, we will turn our attention to the poor God-forsaken woodhawks and show them what virtue there is in our Enfields. It is enough to make every heart burn with revenge to think, while we are out here suffering from exposure, patrolling our post in the dead hour of night, the rain pouring down in torrents upon us, the enemy watching and taking every advantage of us, and yet men in the Northern states giving them aid and comfort. These are the sneaks who are calling for an armistice, for peace conventions, or anything else that will encourage traitors that are in arms against us. I ask in the name of God can you permit such traitors to live in the North? Men who desire to recognize the Southern Confederacy; men who desire to unite the Northwest with the South, and more than all, who want to destroy this glorious Government. Although we know they never can accomplish their designs while the soldiers are in the field, they can blow around home while the men are gone to defend their country, and maybe they can scare some poor old lady, but I think it doubtful. They may thank their God that they have not the soldiers to deal with. I wish Governor Stanton would call on the 36th to hunt up such copperheads, I can assure you they would not fare very well. We would show them no quarters, nor ask any; for such men deserve the most barbarous punishment that can be pronounced upon man.—Ask them why they don't go out honorably on one side or the other, and fight for their principles, and they will sneak off as quick as possible. The fact is, they are cowards at heart, without courage enough to face a dog. I trust we have none of those men in old Gallia, for I would be very sorry to hear of it.
     Give my love to all the Union people, trusting while we are here ready to meet the enemy face to face, as we have done, that we still have sympathizing friends at home. And when we have cleaned the Rebs out of Dixie and all returned home, we will advise the Rebs in our rear to skedaddle. J. V.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 23, 1863

[This is not a letter, but rather a news article printed in the Journal. It is inserted here because the casualties listed are from this regiment. N. Elvick]

The following is a full list of the casualties in companies B and I of the 36th Regiment Ohio Volunteers:

Company B, wounded, John Evener, mortally, since dead; Thomas Moler, side, severely; H. C. McMullen, thigh, severely and a prisoner; J. Payne, knee, severely and a prisoner; T. McClaskey, hand; H. Linscott, head; J. Henderson, head; and H. C. Eggleston, arm, slightly. Missing, Jno. Huffman, T. J. E. Ewing, and D. Shenefield.

Company I, killed, H. Hazlett, H. J. Palmer, and J. Whittaker; wounded, J. Hawk, John Lewis, W. P. Small, Jas. Jefferson, severely; J. C. Coffman, L. Drummond, L. Nolin, and J. S. Thomas, slightly. Missing, Jno. P. Walden

The Gallipolis Journal
October 15, 1863

[This is signed by W.H.G. Adney, Major of the 35th OVI. This is most likely an error on the part of the newspaper which transcribed the letter. Major Adney was always with the 36th OVI. You can read about his career by clicking on his name. The photo is of the monument to the 36th OVI, Turchin Brigade on the battlefield at Chickamauga, Georgia. The battle was fought on September 19th and 20th, 1863. N. Elvick]

Chattanooga, Tenn., Dec. 19th, 1863

Mr. Rose:—Sir:Monument for the 36th OVI on the Chickamauga Battlefield
     I received your letter of inquiry three days ago, just as I was starting away for an absence of two days. I had just been thinking of writing what particulars I could gather of your son's death, when I received your letter.—I can guess the anxiety of friends in such a case, to hear from their loved lost ones, no not lost ones but fallen heroes, who have died that their country might be preserved. The story is quickly told as is always the case on the field of carnage. It was when Turchin's gallant men made a rapid advance across the low ground in front of Mission Ridge, over the enemy's rifle-pits and breast works, charged up the bristling slope, and in advance of all others storming Ft. Hindman, on the crest of the hill. Shot and shell and rifle balls were poured upon them as they advanced, but nothing could check the resistless fury of their charge, although the stubborn enemy held the fort until the last moment when they yielded only to the bayonet.
     The long and rapid charge up the steep hill told so on the men, that many fell exhausted, before reaching the top and could not come up immediately. It was only the strongest who could reach the fort at once, and Emmons, was among them, fighting with the most determined bravery. He with a few others had reached the out side of the fort, which was yet full of the rebels and only the wall between them. When he was shot, my brother Robert says, he thinks Emmons, was just in the act of crossing into the fort, and Spiers says, he was on his knees firing at the rebels inside, when a bullet from the higher ground in the front and to the right, struck him in the right breast, ranging obliquely and downward through the body, killing him almost instantly. He never spoke afterwards, as [it] is supposed the ball must have passed near the heart. He is gone, and alas! how are the brave and noble fallen. He died a hero and a true patriot. He has left a record behind him that cannot be forgotten.
     The character that a soldier sustains among his comrades, is always his true character, and they say Emmons was one among a very few of the bravest. That too was always my opinion of him, and his Captain says he was fearlessly brave, and mentions instances of it when skirmishing with the enemy at Cosper's Gap, and other places. He bore himself most gallantly at South Mountain, at Antietam, at Chickamauga and last of all at the glorious but desperate battle of Mission Ridge. He was buried by his comrades on the field of battle, which can be reached at any time.—Any further information, I will cheerfully furnish at any time, and will give you any assistance in my power.
     W. H. G. Adney, Major 35th O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
January 14, 1863

[This probably wasn't written by a soldier, but is included here because it is part of the regimental history. Their enlistment was up but apparently a large number of them had reenlisted at this time. N. Elvick]

R. L. Stewart: Sir
     We are not in the habit of boring editors or the community generally, with incidents pertaining to the locality of the patriotic township of old Morgan, yet we feel called upon to say a word in justice to our own feelings and a host of others who were present at the welcome given to the re-enlisted veterans of the 36th O.V.I., at the house of Henry Shaner, Esq., on Wednesday, the 23d inst.
     It was an occasion long to be remembered by all who had the good fortune to participate in the festivities of the Entertainment. The guests having arrived, the Rev. Mr. Breare was called upon to extend to the brave Veterans assembled, a welcome on behalf of the patriotic ladies who are justly entitled to all the credit for this manifestation of good will. Well did he perform the task allotted him. It was one of the happiest efforts of the Old Patriot, replete with encouragement, sympathy, patriotism: alluding frequently to the great work they had already performed; inspiring each one to renewed efforts in the task yet before them and the noble cause in which they are engaged; touching in a feeling manner upon the sacrifices already made by the many fathers, mothers, and wives there assembled. Tears of joy flitted like sunshine and clouds over the countenances of all present during his speech, from the commencement to its close.
     Every face beamed forth a response to every sentence uttered by this truly noble man. At the conclusion supper was announced, to which ample justice was done by all. The table was elegantly and tastefully decorated. Many of the cakes were ornamented with National and patriotic inscriptions ingeniously wrought upon their surface, showing that Morgan can, not only boast of higher hills and more of them than any part of Gallia, but the ladies, God bless them, have the taste, ingenuity, and patriotic devotion to their county to do it honor on such an occasion.
     After the supper and the "Old Folks" (had) taken their leave.—tables removed and the house put in order, Old Lew. took a position and the dance began, continuing far into the "wee sma hours ayond the twal," when all returned to their homes pleased and benefitted by the social reunion.
     G. H. R.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 7, 1864

Mr. Stewart: Dear Sir:
     We wish through the columns of your patriotic paper to return our sincere thanks to the Union loving people of old Gallia for their kindness to us during our stay with them. To the townships of Clay and Ohio we are especially grateful for their many "rich feasts" and "social entertainments" all of which we enjoyed as only warworn veterans used to "hard tack" could have enjoyed them. Your kindness dear friends shall never be forgotten, and even in the hour of battle it will nerve our hearts and help us by deeds of daring and honor prove ourselves as soldiers worthy of the name. We had the pleasure of meeting but a very few of the SNAKEY TRIBE during our sojourn in Ohio, and the few we did meet "sneaked" away without showing any signs of fight. Guess maybe they were afraid of getting "nigger" tainted. But for fear of wearying your patience we will close by thanking the kind people of Gallia and assuring them they will ever be remembered with gratitude by the:
     Veterans of Company I, 36th O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 28, 1864

     [Although the writer here, M. Stewart, doesn't specifically identify his regiment, his description of their movements over the preceding three months, coincides with the movements of the 36th OVI. There are three soldiers in the 36th with the last name of Stewart, but none of them have the first initial M. Possibly he was using a nickname, or this could have been one of the many misspellings in the records. The 91st OVI was also here but again, no M. Stewart, and also there was no mention of the 91st when he lists the regiments in "our brigade." N Elvick]

Sandy Hook, Md., near Harpers Ferry, Va., July 28th, 1864

Dear Bro.
     I wrote you on Saturday last from Winchester giving you details of our movements up to that date little dreaming of what was to take place on the morrow. Between 9 and 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, firing was heard on the outposts but all supposed at first that it was only a repetition of the previous work, but as time passed the firing grew louder and nearer, soon all were under arms and about 12 M. our forces moved to the front. A heavy line of skirmishers met our view who steadily fell back before our advancing lines until they had gained the summit of the surrounding hills in our front and flanks, then it was that a sight met our eyes that few who witnessed it will ever forget. Instead of a line of skirmishers were two long lines of Infantry advancing in almost the form of a horse-shoe. On they came with shouts and yells, 30,000 against our little band not one third that number—the missiles of death flew thick and fast into our ranks, it was madness to remain where we were and worse than madness to advance against such a formidable force, with their line of battle overlapping ours for more than half a mile—almost enclosing us as it were like a huge boa. To retreat then was the only alternative.—Stubbornly our men fell back contesting every foot of ground—carrying with them their wounded comrades, but few of whom fell into the enemies [sic] hands.
     Our Brigade (1st) marched through Winchester in good order and again formed line of battle on the opposite side. By the fine and successful maneuvering of Col. R. B. Hays commanding 1st Brigade we were able to extricate a body of our cavalry from a very precarious situation. All praise is due this gallant and accomplished officer for the manner in which he brought his men off the field and for the ultimate safety of the Brigade composed of the 5th and 13th Va., and 23rd and 36th Ohio regiments. A cooler, firmer man I have never yet seen in action. Amid a constant storm of balls and shell, he rode along his line seeming always to be in the right place. For more than six miles he marched his command in line of battle facing to the rear—halting at all favorable positions to pour a volley into the ranks of the pursuing columns, until finally growing tired of this a general stand was made—an ambush of the whole command formed in the edge of a wood—just at nightfall, and all commanded to lie down with further instructions to withhold their fire until the enemy got within a certain distance—say 50 yds, and then "blaze away." On came the rebel cavalry—unconscious of the danger that awaited them—until within the desired distance, then a volley was poured into them, a yell given—and we heard no more of the enemy that night. Our retreat was continued until we arrived at Bunker Hill distant I believe 12 miles from Winchester.
     In the foregoing account I have given you the details incident only to the movements of our Brigade in which I was a participant and eye-witness. As regards the movements of the other Brigades comprising the 2nd Div., and of the 1st Div. known as Sullivan's, I know nothing save by hearsay which is very unreliable authority. In this battle the loss in my Co. (B 13th Va.) was 8 men killed and wounded, and in the regt. 89 killed wounded and missing, some of the missing will, however, I think turn up yet, which will reduce the loss to about 75. Of its officers, Lt. J. R. Hall, wounded in the arm, rather severely, Capt. Simon Williams in the head, not expected to recover, Lt. Joseph E. McCoy through both thighs severely, and Lt. James W. Hannah in shoulder slightly.
     The 5th Va. lost 35 killed, wounded and missing, the 23rd Ohio 120, and the 36th Ohio 112. The loss in the 4th Va. (1st Div.) I learn was about 30 men and two officers—Lts. Sisson and Clice. Lt. Col. Shaw 34th Ohio was mortally wounded and died at Williamsport. Col. Mulligan commanding a Brigade—a brave, gallant and efficient officer, was shot from his horse and left in the hands of the enemy. The country will mourn his loss. I shall never forget his appearance as he rode past our lines just in the commencement of the fight, such a look of nobleness I never before saw in man's countenance—as with coat off revealing his green shirt, emblematical of his native land, and without hat his locks streaming in the air, he arose in his saddle and gave vent to his feeling, exclaiming "bully boys, brave boys! stand up to it keep your line unbroken." Many acts of heroism I could relate but time presses.
     Monday morning dawned on us, wet and cold, without shelter exposed to the pitiless storm for hours, our poor boys (as they call us at home) trudged through the rain and mud to Martinsburg only to arrive there a few moments before the rebs. Quickly our forces were disposed in front of the town. A heavy Artillery firing was commenced accompanied by some musketry which lasted throughout the day—towards evening a piece of strategy was practiced on the rebs which reflects great credit on Gen. Crook. The forces were ordered to fall back from Martinsburg in order to let the rebs pursue—scarcely were we out of town till they entered. Our cavalry under Avery and Duffle were drawn up, ready for a charge, concealed on the right by a neck of woods and on the left by an elevation behind which was also posted our Infantry in three lines. The signal for a charge was sounded, the Cavalry 'went in,' completely surprising the enemy, who broke in dismay. The last I saw of them they were still going—from there to this place our march has not been interrupted.
     I do not think a more successful retreat has ever been made from that Maelstrom of Dixie—Winchester—than this one by Gen. Crook. Not a wagon, not a single piece of artillery fell into the hands of the enemy. A successful retreat from a superior force is considered a greater mark of General-ship, than a successful advance against equal numbers. This then establishes the reputation of Gen. Crook as a great military chieftain. I anticipate an early move from here. Of our future movements I am completely in the dark but presume we will aid in driving Early up the Valley.
     We all need rest, many are completely broken down, and it is not to be wondered at either, for no army has performed harder service, than this one, in the last three months.—The extraordinary marching of 1,000 miles, the severe fighting at Cloyd Mt., New Market, Piedmont, Lynchburg, Snickers Gap, the two battles at Winchester, and Martinsburg, have so thinned the ranks as to make the four Div. composing this Department only shadows of what they once were. But I must close. Will write again soon.
     Your Aff. Bro.,
     M. Stewart

The Gallipolis Journal
August 11, 1864

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes

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